Terrence Bressi e-mailed me to thank me for writing a defense of his stand against the authorities. I had posted a comment to his article letting him know about my post. He said he's been getting flack from a few individuals for what he did, and that my "reasoned commentary means a lot".
U.S. Decries Abuse but Defends Interrogations
'Stress and Duress' Tactics Used on Terrorism Suspects Held in Secret Overseas Facilities
Deep inside the forbidden zone at the U.S.-occupied Bagram air base in Afghanistan, around the corner from the detention center and beyond the segregated clandestine military units, sits a cluster of metal shipping containers protected by a triple layer of concertina wire. The containers hold the most valuable prizes in the war on terrorism -- captured al Qaeda operatives and Taliban commanders.
Those who refuse to cooperate inside this secret CIA interrogation center are sometimes kept standing or kneeling for hours, in black hoods or spray-painted goggles, according to intelligence specialists familiar with CIA interrogation methods. At times they are held in awkward, painful positions and deprived of sleep with a 24-hour bombardment of lights -- subject to what are known as "stress and duress" techniques.
Those who cooperate are rewarded with creature comforts, interrogators whose methods include feigned friendship, respect, cultural sensitivity and, in some cases, money. Some who do not cooperate are turned over -- "rendered," in official parlance -- to foreign intelligence services whose practice of torture has been documented by the U.S. government and human rights organizations.
Sorry I haven't been posting here much in the past couple days. I'm sick, to put it mildly. I haven't been doing much of anything in the past few days, except sleeping, watching movies, and trying to eat. I think I'll be back in action tomorrow if I get a good night's rest.
I've had this article I've been wanting to post, but my brain's been illin' from this flu or whatever it is, and I couldn't think of clever stuff to say about it. I'm just going to post it basic-style and get it out of the way.
Meet Terrence Bressi, another person gettin' hassled by The Man.
Now, some of you might read his story and think the guy acted like a hardass, and if he had just went along and played nice, he wouldn't have ended up handcuffed on the side of the road for 3 hours. And that's probably correct-- but I think just leaving it at that is a dangerous evasion in the times we live in.
Terrence basically asserted his right to peacefully move around. He wanted to drive home from work unfettered. He encountered government interference, and the officers were less than clear and honest about their intentions. He asserted his constitutional rights, and got detained and cited for it.
The common model we're taught is that of the police officer being in command, and the civilian being compliant. Cops are expected to be hardass and forceful in the assertion of their duties. Civilians are expected (by many) to cooperate with cops unquestioningly and obediently.
There are two issues that should to be considered before adopting such a viewpoint. One is that citizens also have duties, and rights-- just like cops. At the same time that a police officer might be entitled to draw a gun, or break down a door, or pull over a car, the civilian on the receiving end has rights which serve to restrain the officer's actions. And if a police officer is violating your rights, who -- at that moment -- is there to stand up and defend your rights? In most cases, it's cops, cops, and you-- and if the cops are the ones crossing the line, then you're the only one in any position to defend that line.
It's almost always the path to getting hassled even more, as Terrence and Nicholas' stories illustrate, but that doesn't change the fact that the last line of defense of one's rights is oneself. There's lots that can be done after the fact, in court -- just as there's lots that can be done after a crime to catch and prosecute the offender -- but at the moment of "impact", there's usually no one around to assert your rights but you.
The other issue is jurisdiction and cause. There are situations where a law enforcement official rightly has the authority to overrule you, but those situations are rigidly defined-- by jurisdiction, police procedure, and The Bill of Rights, among other things. An officer doesn't have blanket authority to overrule you on all things at all times. They must have cause, they must follow procedure and the law, and they must have jurisdiction. If they don't, they aren't properly acting within their duties, which means they are betraying their badge and title-- i.e., they aren't really acting as a police officer. At that point, who has the authority to decide what becomes of you? Does a police officer who is violating the law have the right to overrule a civilian who is obeying the law?
Of course, in the end the courts decide that. But at the moment it's actually happening, a person has to decide whether he or she is going to act as his or her last defense, and I can appreciate why Terrence Bressi decided to stand firm.
Nicholas Monahan got a major screw job at the airport. It's hard to tell who got it worse-- him, or his wife. He ended up being unfairly charged, arrested, and humiliated. She ended up having her upcoming baby go breech and had to get a caesarean section instead of having the natural childbirth she had planned.
Knowing from experience that there's not much worse than being handcuffed and thrown in a cell, I hesitate to say his wife suffered the worse fate. He doesn't though, and he weeps for all that his poor wife had to go through due to incompetent and over-aggressive airport security.
The state just made a couple more enemies.
Check it out in this wonderfully-titled article: Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife’s Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?
Thanks to Adam Curry for pointing this article out.
I just sent out an e-mail update to my mailing list for the first time in a long time. I used to send updates out with the name "The Free View", but I didn't keep up with it very well. The format just wasn't a good fit for the campaign and my writing style. I've talked about how I had a hard time putting together "Free View" newsletters in the newsletters themselves, which you can see by cruising the archives from November 2000 to August 2001.
I've found my fit with the blog format, however, which I discuss in what should be the last of the old-style Free Views. From now on, my e-mail newsletter is going to consist of a monthly index of the more interesting posts here in the previous month.
Most of what's in here will be old hat to any regular readers (assuming I have those), but I want to provide a web version, and all my other old Free Views are posted here, so I'm posting this last one here as well. Here you go:
Welcome to the campaign newsletter of Lance Brown, Candidate for President -
-The Free View-
Hello Free View subscribers -- long time no see!
I know some of you have wondered if I'm still around, if the campaign is still on, and so on.
The answer is: Yes, I'm still around -- now more than ever, in fact. And the campaign is definitely still on! In fact, there's a lot of new stuff going on.
Read on...it's been a while, and I owe you some updatin'...
* 2002 -- The Trial of the Century
* Campaign Bloggin' in the Free World
* (Many) Recent updates to the site
... 2002 -- The Trial of the Century ...
This year has been a tough one -- real tough. There have been a few ups and a lot of downs, and most of my year has been lived under quite a bit of strain -- the strain of concern for the future of my company and my income, concern for the health of some of my pets, and -- in the last 6 months -- concern about a looming eviction which put my housing situation at risk.
Additionally, this has been a year of internal personal struggle-- most of which I won't get too deep into until I write a self-help book or autobiography. Perhaps not coincidentally, this was the year I turned 30-- a daunting age for many, and maybe a bit more daunting for someone with ambitions like mine. ;-)
The good news is that I made it through, better for the experience. I'm stronger, smarter, and more ready than ever to head into the coming year! One of my favorite quote of all times is (paraphrased) "If it doesn't kill you, it makes you stronger." I keep it in mind whenever I face adversity -- whether externally or internally -- and it has served me well. I think it might be one of those things that only works if you really believe it, because there's no doubt that some people get worn out and weakened by their travails. But if you do believe it, and you look for the strength to be found in your troubles, you'll find it. Every mistake brings a lesson to learn; every defeat brings an opportunity for triumph; every test is really just training for the tests that will come after.
So that was 2002 for me! :-) Onward Ho! Many apologies for the gap in communication...it won't happen again -- I mean it.
... Campaign Bloggin' in the Free World ...
Ever-dedicated to finding a good way to communicate with my "constituency", I have embraced the ever-more-popular "blog" as a way of posting updates. "Blog", in case you don't know, is short for "weblog". It's basically an online journal which is public. Blogs are tremendously popular these days-- there's a vast community of bloggers, and weblogs are increasingly becoming an influence on the public dialogue. For example, they have been widely credited with bringing life to the Trent Lott story, and keeping it alive until it grew to dominate the news.
So I've hopped on the blog train, inspired in part by a woman named Tara Sue Grubb, who recently ran for Congress in North Carolina (as a Libertarian) and made quite an e-stir when she started her weblog. You can read about her on her press page.
I actually started "blogging" about a year ago, but I wasn't using actual blog software, and I never really got into the habit. But now I'm using very sophisticated blog software, and I've been posting frequent updates, links, and commentaries at the campaign site since the middle of October. You can read my catch-up message from then, "Emerging From the Fog", here.
Since then, I've been posting all sorts of additions on a mostly-regular basis. I wanted to make sure that this was the real deal -- that I was going to be able to keep up and be consistent with this new method -- before I bothered to write to you. I've toyed with you too many times with my inconsistent update schedule, and you deserve better.
Well, this is the real deal. Blogging is working really well for me, and I'm getting even more steady with it as time goes along. I've posted about 80 new "articles" in the past two months or so, and I've converted many of my older writings into blog articles. Now there's a date-based archive at the site, which goes all the way back to 1996 (albeit sporadically).
Now that I've joined the world of bloggers, the site is getting a lot more traffic than it used to-- a trend which promises to accelerate as time goes on (and word spreads). In October, when I started "blogging", the traffic for the month was double the average from the previous 12 months. That number has almost doubled again since then. And I think this is just the tip of the iceberg.
The traffic at the site is still too low to brag about, but the growth trend is what counts. The site now gets thousands of visits a month...soon that will be tens of thousands...and you can guess what comes after that. :-)
Still almost six years away from the election, one of the campaign's top priorities -- "owning" the "Internet presidential candidate" market -- is moving along nicely. The groundwork is being laid for my unorthodox campaign to have an undeniable presence, via the Internet alone, in 2008. And given the increasing influence that bogging is having over the media, this bodes extremely well. If I play my cards right, the blog community will ensure that my campaign is talked about, and the media will recognize the need to include me in polls, and the Internet community will respond by supporting me in polls, and so on.
It's only one leg of the campaign, but it's a crucial one-- the campaign's best weapon against the "establishment" election process.
... Recent updates to the site ...
So with no further ado, here are a selection of some of the updates I've posted in the past couple months. In the future, I'm going to make a practice of sending a collection like this out to this list once a month, with less of the bla-bla-bla stuff I used to send out. Now I'll just post that stuff on the site, and send out links so you can pick what you want to dig deeper into.
If you prefer, you can just go to http://freedom2008.com and click around. You can view each month as a whole page, or go backward or forward through individual entries. My entries from the past 10 days are displayed right on the front page.
Civil Liberties Defense Squad
(A new project I'm involved with locally)
Old StopCarnivore.org Interview
Revived Essay from post-9/11
("I do not shrink from that responsibility, I welcome it.")
Funeral for the Bill of Rights
(An event I planned recently)
(I was an election day panelist on TV)
Crasher of the Month (<-- me!)
Please forward this (or maybe just the links part) to those who might be interested. I welcome your comments and suggestions.
That's all for now. Happy Holidays to you and yours!
Be Well, Be Free,
Candidate For President in 2008
You're either receiving this update as a subscriber to the Lance Brown for
President in 2008 mailing list, or it was forwarded to you.
If it was forwarded to you, and you'd like to subscribe, simply send a
message with the word 'subscribe' in the "Subject" field to:
Send a message with the word 'unsubscribe' in the "Subject" field to:
She said, in part:
Lance Brown is running for President in 2008. w00t! We have a Presidential candidate with a blog, people. What a fabulous idea!! Honestly, if more politicians thought this way, how much easier would it be to decide how to vote in the elections?
The Bill of Rights Defense Committee movement -- my favorite political movement of the new millenium -- is gaining the big press now. Front page of the New York Times, no less.
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz., Dec. 20 — Nearly two dozen cities around the country have passed resolutions urging federal authorities to respect the civil rights of local citizens when fighting terrorism. Efforts to pass similar measures are under way in more than 60 other places.
While the resolutions are largely symbolic, many of them provide some legal justification for local authorities to resist cooperating in the federal war on terrorism when they deem civil liberties and Constitutional rights are being compromised.
Here's an interesting and long article about how many trial lawyers use every trick in the book (and there are many books, apparently -- as well as videos and training courses) to ensure that juries are ignorant and malleable. It then goes into how lawyers manipulate the process in ways beyond jury selection, but the first half is mostly about the jury selection process, and it's quite revealing, and saddening.
Why smart lawyers pick dumb jurors.
It's excerpted from The Rule of Lawyers: How the New Litigation Elite Threatens America’s Rule of Law. Thanks to the Reason Express e-mail newsletter (a highly recommended read) for this one.
I'm watching The Distinguished Gentleman right now-- the Eddie Murphy movie from 1992. I've seen it a bunch of times, but notIt sort of a cheesy comedy at times, but it's one of my favorite political movies. Behind the comedy and the romantic sub-plot (a familiar feature from that era of Murphy's movies) is a hardball portrayal of the system in D.C.. Payoffs, lobbyists, treachery, the whole schmeel...it's all laid bare in nice simple terms.
It's sort of a Fletch crossed with The Candidate. And Murphy's character plays the system in way that's entirely feasible, and nails the bad guys. Good stuff. It's at least on my top 10 political movies of all time list, and maybe top 5. I might get some flack for that, but I'll hold to it.
Oh -- and I'll surely get some flack for this -- I also respect that it has a realistic amount of swears in it. Since PG-13 is supposedly the new golden rating in terms of making money -- or so I've heard -- there's a lot more PG-13 movies, which have a delicate balance of swears, usually a small handful spread out across the movie. And it's just not realistic. A lot of times you can see how the filmmakers have delicately constructed the movie around the rules and guidelines of the rating system. It's counterintuitive to producing art, I think, and it's too bad movie makers spend so much time worrying about what rating their film will get.
The Distinguished Gentleman isn't loaded with swears or anything, but it has them when people get angry or excited, and when they're being casual and familiar, which is when people swear. It was refreshing.
This might explain why I tend to have so much energy and optimism. I've been protesting almost all my life! :-)
So remember kids: A protest a day keeps the doctor away!
Protesting May Be Good for Your Health
Mon Dec 23,11:02 AM ET
LONDON (Reuters Health) - Taking part in protests and demonstrations can be good for your physical and mental health, a new British study suggests.
Psychologists at the University of Sussex found that people who get involved in campaigns, strikes and political demonstrations experience an improvement in psychological well-being that can help them overcome stress, pain, anxiety and depression.
The finding fits in with other studies suggesting that positive experiences and feeling part of a group can have beneficial effects on health.
"Collective actions, such as protests, strikes, occupations and demonstrations, are less common in the UK than they were perhaps 20 years ago," researcher Dr. John Drury said in a statement.
"The take-home message from this research therefore might be that people should get more involved in campaigns, struggles and social movements, not only in the wider interest of social change but also for their own personal good."
This is a little old, but still a useful tool to help raise the awareness of the yet-to-be-convinced. I've printed it out to mail to my Mom.
A fed-up librarian offers this addition to the war on the war on civil liberties.
Jessamyn West of librarian.net wins a link in the blogroll for this one. I've never felt so close to librarians as I have since the "USA-PATRIOT Act". (<--.pdf file)
FWIW, I basically predicted this over 2 years ago.
I know this has been making the Internet rounds for a while now, but in case you missed it:
Thanks, as always, to The Onion, for a few chuckles during this whole mess.
When I read the story about the rounded up Muslims from a couple days ago on the BBC's web site, I had a small amount of hope that it was a false report. I hadn't seen any other sources, which allowed me to cling loosely to that hope.
Hundreds Are Detained After Visits to INS
Thousands protest arrests of Mideast boys and men who complied with order to register.
INS Arrest Numbers Inflated, U.S. Says
Officials accuse groups of exaggerating figures involving immigrants from Muslim countries.
Reuters via ABCNews.com:
Orange County Register:
Arrests amid INS effort spark ire
Middle Easterners, Muslims express anger, fear as they try to comply with federal program.
Iranians furious over INS arrests
Abuse alleged after men agreed to register in L.A.
WASHINGTON – In a development that confirms the American Civil Liberties Union’s initial fears about a controversial immigrant fingerprinting and registration program, the Immigration and Naturalization Service is apparently using the program as a pretext for the mass detention of hundreds of Middle Eastern and Muslim men and boys.
I'm really getting about fed up with all this police state nonsense.
Seriously...the federal government has stepped over the line so many times in the past year+ that it seems to be forgetting that there ever was a line at all. Selectively clamping down on people because of their nationality and gender; arresting people who show up to cooperate with the law under the guise of the war on terror; strip-searching people for overstaying their visas. All of that at once, no less.
Welcome to fucking America. Pardon my language, but I'm really pissed. I'd be dishonest if I said it any other way, because that's just what's going through my mind.
The key, I think, is that we must redouble our efforts with each new gross violation of liberty that the warriors on terror commit. Tomorrow, I'm going to call 5 local Libertarian Party leaders and convince them to start Bill of Rights Defense Committees in their areas. And on Monday, I'm going to call 10 more.
You wanna go, Bush Administration? You want to take my country away? You just keep pushing and pushing and pushing...assuming, I presume, that we're just going to roll over and take it. Well, you're wrong. I know a little about the power of the people, and the power of the people is greater than the power of government. So, you wanna go? Fine. Bring it on. I'm not afraid of you.
To quote Ice-T:
You try to keep us runnin'
And runnin' faster
But I ain't runnin' from ya
I'm runnin' at ya
If you're pissed off like I am, why not join the fight? Go to the Libertarian Party's State Directory, find your state, and pick 5 or 10 county Chairs to call. Or find a campus group. Call them up, let them know about the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, and urge them to put one together in their area. Tell them to call me if they want (530-274-2474), or e-mail me,and I'll talk them through it. I'm a county LP Chair in Nevada County, CA. Or if Green is more your flavor, find some local Green Party groups and do the same thing. They can call me too -- I like working with Greens.
Better yet, start a local BORDC on your own. You can do most of it on the phone and at your computer, and before you know it you'll have a coalition of people willing to help out.
The Bill of Rights Defense Committee movement is a winner. It's smart, effective, and relatively easy. It will continue to grow, and it will inevitably reach a critical mass that can't be ignored. And it will raise mad amounts of awareness in the process. The BORDC is going to be in the history books -- mark my words.
Wouldn't it be nice to take part in real-deal history-making? Well, then get on board, 'cuz it's on.
I've got the audio from my radio appearance last week online now. It's a pretty hefty file -- 6.28 megs. I'll be breaking it up into smaller pieces soon. It's about 50 minutes long, and it's pretty solidly packed with stuff about the war on civil liberties. It's me and local Green activist Kent Smith on a local show called "Public Planet" on KVMR, hosted by Mike Thornton.
I was hoping the file would stream, but it seems you have to save it by right-clicking on the link and choosing "Save As" or whatever similar option your browser has. (Then play the file once it's loaded.)
Also, there are two video clips from the Funeral for the Bill of Rights online now here. Others will be added soon.
Damn. I'm speechless.
US immigration officials in Southern California have detained hundreds of Iranians and other Muslim men who turned up to register under residence laws brought in as part of the anti-terror drive.
Reports say between 500 and 700 men were arrested in and around Los Angeles after they complied with an order to register by 16 December.
(If you're looking for pictures of the Bill of Rights, click here.)
Here are some pics from Sunday's funeral. I'm the one in the greyish overcoat.
These are the same photos I referred to a few posts back, but I figured I'd make it easier for people, plus add a little color and life (so to speak) to the 'ol home page for a while.
Just a gentle reminder -- if you find this site or campaign or me interesting, I'd appreciate it if you let people know about the site. Preferably people with massively popular blogs, but sending a note to your friends and family is encouraged as well. :-)
I'm getting pretty on track with this daily updating business, so there should be plenty of new stuff to check out for anyone you might invite. Which is to say, I'll try not to disappoint them. I'm going to post some pictures from the funeral for the Bill of Rights in just a minute...surely you know someone who would get a kick out of those.
It's just that I'm getting more into posting "live" stuff -- stuff that's happening in my political life right now -- and it's more fun to read about it now than years from now when it's deep in the Archives. Well actually, I don't know that for sure, but I'm assuming.
One thing that was nice about organizing this funeral is that it ran me through all my activist paces, and I felt pretty good about my range of skills as an activist. I've grown to the point where I can take a given event, easily assess the most effective way to make it happen in the available amount of time, and basically rattle off all the details of how to make it work without any trouble. And then -- and this is the kicker which was made clear to me through this event -- I can basically do all of the steps required to make it happen. My ability to do so was tested boot-camp-style in preparing for this funeral.
Now let me say that I'm not trying to brag here -- I'm just assessing myself as an activist and politician. And in no way am I claiming that I could have done this event alone. I depended on a great number of people in bringing this together, and I couldn't have done it without them. An activist alone is extraordinarily limited, no matter what his or her skillset is.
I just figure many of you come here thinking, "What's so special about this guy, that he thinks he can pull off this crazy presidential campaign thing?" I paraphrase, of course, but I assume you wonder what I bring to the table. One of the things I intend to bring to the table in the long run is to be a super-activist, the kind of activist that sends resounding ripples of activism around the country, and inspires people and stuff like that. And I've spent a long time developing a foundation of skills and knowledge in myself to make sure I'm up to the task.
I won't need all these skills in every situation, but I'm working to make it so that I have a functional level of knowledge and skill in almost every facet of politics and activism. Not only will it make it so I can play any role that might be needed -- from Emcee to poster designer to cameraman to spokesperson -- but it will mean I am more informed about the process, from the ground up. This will help in almost every decision I make as a politician, and as a campaigner.
Most importantly, it helps me help other people do activism, which is essential. I can help them first-hand, by making them a poster or writing a press release or outlining a strategy for them, and I can teach them what they need to do to make the change they hope for, so they can forge ahead on their own, hopefully a little wiser from my contribution.
One thing I want to work on is creating "carbon-copy events", and the Funeral for the Bill of Rights has great potential to be one of those. A carbon-copy event is a unique activist event which can be easily replicated in other places. Women in Black is an example of a very simple carbon-copy event turned into a movement. The Bill of Rights Defense Committee is an example of a much more complex (and much more effective) carbon-copy event turned into a movement.
(I don't mean that as a diss to Women in Black...I think they are a great organization, and their chosen action -- standing in black in silent vigil to oppose violence and war -- is a good one. It's simple, and it's not going to create the kind of major political change that the BORDC will, but it's one of the base components that acts as a glue for the movement. Your average peace rally is like that too. They don't achieve easily measurable results, or reach definite landmarks, but they serve their movements nonetheless. If peace activists didn't have peace rallies, the energy of their movement would suffer. And if Women in Black weren't out being silent and in black, it would be a lot easier for people to forget about the violence of wars in distant lands. Every little bit counts...even the folks who just cut out a newspaper article and make copies to post around town are a key part of things.)
I intend to draw up a manual for holding a funeral for the Bill of Rights, which will lay out all the steps, and provide all the materials I can give from here, like press releases, web pages, posters, etc.. I'm also going to start calling local LP leaders and insist that they start Bill of Rights Defense Committees in their areas, and hold a BoR funeral while they're at it.
As usual, I went on more than I intended...and I didn't even get to what I was going to write about, which was all of the tasks I did in preparation for this event. Well...what the heck, let me try and bust that out real quick. Note that I wasn't flawless in all this, by any stretch of the imagination, but I was at least competent, and in most cases fairly proficient. The short timeline cramped things big-time, and toward the end lack of rest was starting to get to me. One of my big weaknesses is putting so much into things that I wear myself out, and often I'm almost too worn out to perform effectively on the actual day of the event. I was right on that line at the funeral Sunday, and the same effect impacted my TV and radio appearances. Not so much tiredness (except for this morning's interview, where tiredness was definitely a factor), but being too hectic with things, and thus not sufficiently prepared.
That said, here are the various activist skills that got a workout this past week:
Networking: I did a lot of phone and e-mail networking with the core group of the new NCBORDC, and lots of other folks. Really, that coalition took shape a lot this past week along with the funeral preparation.
Press release: I wrote a press release for the event. I found a typo in it afterward, which burned me up. I have little tolerance for errors on publicly released things. You can see the release here. My friend Mary Nelson added the last paragraph.
Op-ed piece: I wrote a pretty sweet op-ed piece for the local paper, and I have gotten a number of calls and e-mails thanking me for it. It was the most-read opinion piece at the paper's website yesterday, for what that's worth. It was my second annual Bill of Rights Day op-ed. Last year I talked about Carnivore and the brutalization of the Fourth Amendment.
Web site: I set up the basic intro web site for our new coalition, and got it up in two days, in time for my op-ed piece, which directed people to the site.
Radio appearances: I did two radio appearances: an hour-long one in-studio, and then a five-minute one this morning over the phone. (Audio from these will be online fairly soon).
TV appearance: I was on the local community TV news hour. I've been both a guest and a co-host of this show a few times. The video of that appearance is here.
Desktop publishing: I designed the literature that we handed out that during the procession and funeral. I took a shortcut and used a copy of my op-ed piece for a big part of one side of it, but it served the purpose well, and time was short. i spent a lot of hours putting that op-ed together, and I didn't have a lot more hours to come up with another version of what would have amounted to the same points.
Props: I made the gravestone, which came out really nice. That wasn't easy, because art isn't my strong suit. More the opposite of that, really. But no one stepped up to the plate to make it, so it fell to me. I was painstakingly careful about making it, because it was the central visual prop in the demonstration, and it came out pretty close to perfect. There are pictures of it on the NCBORDC site. I also did a ton of work restoring and preparing the coffin. It was already made -- it's a leftover prop that was donated by the local Greens -- but it was really worn out. It's made of cardboard, and since the forecast was for rain, rain, rain, I had to make sure it would hold up. I fixed all the sags, used a big roll of packing tape and sealed it all up, and then re-painted it. The cool plaques on the side weren't made by me, but I conceived them, found the person to do it and oversaw the design (plus brought them in to be laminated). And I duct-taped them on the coffin. I also cut up a pair of my black sweatpants to make armbands for folks who didn't come dressed in black.
Supplies and grunt work: I planned and bought all the supplies, and brought lots of stuff from home on event day that needed to be brought -- like posterboard, markers, a digital camera, black armbands, etc. I also reserved the TV equipment, picked it up, and brought it to the event.
E-mail appeals: I sent out a couple good e-mail appeals to some of the main activist lists in the county, asking for help and then encouraging attendance in spite of the rain. I think the latter e-mail got through to at least a few people...it was all dramatic and persuasive, talking about how people had given their lives to defend the Bill of Rights, and couldn't they give an hour in the rain to do the same? That kind of thing.
Overall planning: Aside from a little feedback along the way, I basically thought all of this stuff up, and I was pleasantly surprised that I pretty much didn't miss any of the pieces. As I mentioned, the timing of everything wasn't perfect, but it wasn't like I was forgetting a given step -- just that I wasn't able to get it all done in the ideal time frame. The biggest hit due to this was the lack of media coverage, which is a big one. The press release went out way too late, because the time prior to that was filled up with other things. If I had gotten it out two days earlier, we almost surely would have had TV coverage, but I wasn't at all certain that we were going to have a media-worthy event until near the end of the week, and even then that was way in doubt due to the weather forecast. Plus, I had all the steps laid out in front of me, and I honestly wasn't sure if I was going to get them all together in time for the event.
That's all I can recall right now, and I need to stop and go to bed anyway. I just wanted to share a little of what it is that I do. I had the equivalent of an activist fire drill this week, and I passed, with moderately flying colors. I reached thousands of people, changed some minds, built a coalition, inspired and motivated some other activists, and got some extremely favorable exposure for my local Libertarian Party.
Oh, I also laid the groundwork for the future of our local Bill of Rights Defense Committee -- among other things, the local radio station has agreed to broadcast my proposed public forum where law enforcement will be asked to report on the impact of the war on terror in Nevada County and answer questions from the people. That's pencilled in for next February. :-)
I feel I should add a little more info to help with perspective on the fact that only 40 or so people came to the funeral for the Bill of Rights. Of course there's the weather issue, which I mentioned. There's also the fact that just a week before the event took place, it was just an idea in my mind. All the preparations took place in that span of time. A little note from the activist handbook-- if you're planning a major community-wide event, give yourself more than a week to prepare. I knew this, but these were extenuating circumstances. The main factor was that I hadn't thought I would even be living here anymore by this time. I've been going through an eviction saga for the past many months, and have been conducting my local affairs with a short-term mindset. All this Bill of Rights defense stuff came about because this guy got in touch with me and asked to meet and talk about it. Then he told me about how all these communities around the country have been passing resolutions supporting civil liberties and opposing the USA-PATRIOT Act, and it got me fired up. That was about a month and a half ago now, and a lot has transpired from it, not the least of which was this funeral.
Anyway, the main factor I wanted to make clear is how small the population is out here, which is the biggest reason why the relatively low numbers at the funeral were actually a pretty good turnout. My whole county has under 100,000 people in it. The town where the funeral was held is population 3,001. The bulk of the county's population lives either in Truckee, which is a city on the east end of the county, pretty far (and disconnected) from here, or in various ultra-rural unincorporated areas. I'm part of the latter group...my address is technically Nevada City, but I'm way outside the city limits.
So my point is that it's hard to get a large number of people to any event here, unless it's some sort of artistic perormance. Most people do their politics in meetings and the letters to the editor page, not in the streets. That's probably true in most places, but here the law of numbers has a big impact. There haven't been too many demonstrations here with more than 50 people that i can remember. The last big one I remember was when a bunch of high schoolers walked out of school to protest something (I can't recall what just now -- it was a few years ago, shortly after I moved here. I think maybe it was drug testing). I haven't seen a lot of the peace vigils they've been having here lately, but I saw one and it was about 20 people. So that's kind of how it is around here.
The deal with media is basically the same, unfortunately. That news show I was on a while back is the only local TV news. The other "local" news stations are in Sacramento, an hour and a half away. I probably could have gotten one or two of them up here, but the time factor hurt me there, big time. That's definitely my biggest disappointment from the funeral for the Bill of Rights. No major media. We did have a broadcaster from KVMR show up, and she taped some of the ceremony, and played it over the air this morning at the beginning of my my interview with her.
I didn't want to get too into talking about all the details of this past week tonight. I'm still behind on sleep, and today was a rough day -- another weather-related power outage day. Extra pains in the butt related to that ate up a lot of my day.
I'll be talking a lot more about the funeral...I want to compile a lot of notes, to help inspire others to hold them in their communitites. I think it's a really compelling and effective activist event. I'm going to put a couple more thoughts about that in a separate post in a minute actually.
I'm so tired from my recent activism marathon, but I wanted to report that the funeral went really well. Almost 40 people showed up, which was more than I expected. We had the second big storm of the season here this weekend, and it has been high winds and downpours since Friday. Most people were surprised we were even still planning on having the funeral. Last year, our Bill of Rights Day Rally drew just under 20 people, so this year was an improvement, and with much more adverse conditions. Not to mention the unconventionality of the event itself.
Check out a few pictures at the Nevada County Bill of Rights Defense Committee site. Many more will be posted, as well as video, soon. I'm painfully tired -- literally -- so I don't have more to say tonight, but I'll give a fuller report on this way cool event soon.
I've been super-busy. Super-duper busy really. I only have a moment to post.
What have I been so busy doing? Planning a funeral for the Bill of Rights, appearing on the radio, writing a kick-ass op-ed piece, and helping to form a Bill of Rights Defense Committee in Nevada County.
You can see some of the fruits of my labor at my latest web creation-- the website for the Nevada County Bill of Rights Defense Committee.
Now I've got to eat dinner, and get back to coffin repair and gravestone painting.
SIOUX FALLS, South Dakota (AP) -- A man who made a remark about a "burning Bush" during the president's March 2001 trip to Sioux Falls was sentenced Friday to 37 months in prison.
Three years in prison for a bar joke. Remember folks, as Ari Fleischer said, "We all need to learn to watch what we say." He wasn't kidding, apparently.
I was clicking around this site and found another article that needed to be assimilated into the blog entries. It's from September 2001, two weeks after the 9-11 attacks. It's pretty darn inspirational, if I do say so myself. And it's as true today as it was then-- even moreso, really. The article is a call to action for those who would defend freedom and civil liberties, and that call can't be made too loudly for my tastes.
So given all that, I figured it was worth taking a second to point it out to you, since it's now deep in the archives.
It sprouts from a famous JFK quote -- the quote which is pictured inscribed in stone in the upper left corner of this page, in fact.
The Trent Lott fiasco is gaining steam, which is good to hear. I think it's clear that he's not fit to be a major leader of the Republican Party, unless the GOP is really that nasty underside that almost every GOPer will insist they're not-- which is to say, a bunch of "good 'ol boys", with all the negative stuff that can be used to imply.
If they're not that -- and they better not be if they plan to stick around in American politics -- then they should drop Trent like...something that gets dropped very quickly.
In case you haven't heard yet, what happened is that Trent made a comment at Strom Thurmond's 100th birthday party, to the effect that things would have been better if Strom had gotten elected President when he ran in 1948. Sounds nice enough, unless you know that Thurmond ran as a racial segregationist candidate, saying, for example, "All the laws of Washington and all the bayonets of the Army cannot force the Negro into our homes, our schools, our churches." Eek. This was almost 100 years after The Civil War. And Trent said -- granted, loosely, at a party -- that it would have been better if Strom had won back then. Super eek.
There are three possible explanations for Trent's statement. There's the one he's using, which is that it was a "poor choice of words". This is being bolstered by his dwindling supporters, who say that he was just flapping lips at a party, trying to pay an old man a compliment, and it wasn't meant to be taken literally.
If that's the case, then Trent should get the boot. The only non-poor choice of words that a major leader in America should use to refer to Strom's sick, racist '48 campaign is some variation on the theme "that's despicable". Paying it any kind of compliment or positive acknowledgement (other than maybe "He ran for President, and that takes some gumption") is inappropriate. If people want to remark fondly on such a thing, that's fine for them, but that's not who America wants to be leading them. There's a very welcoming subculture for folks like that -- it's called "white supremacists", or more simply, "racists".
If Trent isn't one of those folks, then he truly did make a really poor choice of words. So poor as to be incompetent. He chose lots of words in order to make that statement -- it was multiple sentences tied together into a cohesive paragraph, all building up to his thesis. That's a lot of choosin'. It wasn't a word or two he misspoke -- it was a whole statement.
If Trent is capable of choosing such a colossally inappropriate set of words, the GOP would be nuts to keep him as a party leader.
Another possibility is that he was joking, meaning that he was kidding, and meant the opposite of what he actually said. I actually think this would have gotten the best mileage -- if Trent had claimed sarcastic humor. But he didn't, and there's nothing to support the theory. Sure, the comment was made in good humor, but the intent was to pay a compliment. It wasn't a roast, it was a birthday party. It was sincere good humor, not sarcastic. And while Trent apologized for the misunderstanding, he didn't go so far as to say "I didn't really mean to heap praise on Strom's '48 campaign." It's like he expects that we will accept that he meant what he said, but he didn't say what he meant. Or vice versa. Don't think about it too hard -- there's no way out of that conundrum.
Explanation number three is that Trent really meant what he said. Mississippi is really proud of voting for Strom in '48, and Trent really wishes he had won then. And boy oh boy, wouldn't that have been great! None of this messy "negroes everywhere" business like we have today. (Now that's sarcasm. Maybe I should become a Lott speechwriter.)
If that's the real truth -- and I think that's the most plausible explanation...after all, could he really be stupid enough to make such a "poor choice of words"? -- then we're back to what I said at the outset. Unless the GOP wants to be known once again as the party of racists and rednecks -- an image it has worked decades to shed -- then they should drop Trent Lott like...something that's too heavy to keep holding onto.
Word on the streets is that Trent has known ties to a number of racist front organizations, so it's likely that the perception will focus on that last explanation. Whether it's true or not, it's baggage the GOP doesn't need right now. Keeping Trent as Senate Majority Leader would be bad political economics -- and not just because it will involve other Republicans having to try and defend his mistake. There's just little to gain from keeping him there, and lots to lose.
That said, a big part of me hopes they let him stay. I hope their party is so affected by their own grandiosity that they are dumb enough to let him stay in charge. In some respects, a part of me still tries to hope that goodness and morality and real civic virtue and leadership will get a foothold in one of the two major parties, and deposing Trent would present a great opportunity for the GOP to upgrade in that respect, but I just can't be moved to believe it will do any good. There are a tiny handful of truly useful and virtuous Democrats and Republicans in Congress, but their usefulness and virtue generally correspond with their capacity to go against the grain of their party. Which, in a Congress dominated by party politics and "bipartisanship", means they actually aren't very useful at all. They are powerless and ineffectual -- tiny currents against a mighty tide. And if Trent is deposed, as he should be, that bipartisan tide -- not the virtuous currents -- will choose his replacement. And off we go for another round of Same Old-Same Old.
So, given that I think hoping for the reformation of the "bipartisans" is a waste of time and hope, instead I hope for their demise. Not personally, as in the demise of the people in the parties, but the demise of the parties themselves. The sooner those two are out of our national life, the better. If we leave them there long enough they'll ruin the place for good.
In that spirit, I say to the GOP: Keep Trent in charge. He's a real winning ticket. And he couldn't possibly mess up so badly again, right?
( hehe )
More on the Lott controversy:
"Poor Choice of Words," Lott says (Washington Post)
Vacant Lott: The GOP and the Ghosts of Mississippi (National Review Online)
(I give this one the "Most Clever Title" award.)
Lott Decried for Part of Salute to Thurmond (Washington Post)
Lott Apologizes for Thurmond Comment (CNN.com)
Caught Whistling Dixie (Salon.com)
Sorry about the funky display. I'm doing some work. It'll be fixed soon.
As part of my new multimedia kick, I've finally put an old interview I did about StopCarnivore.org up on the web. It's an audio file-- it was a radio interview. The show was "Street Smart with Jim Metcalf", except it wasn't Jim I was on with-- it was his guest host Nicole Nichols.
Here you go: Lance Brown on "Street Smart", January 3, 2002. It's an MP3 file.
It's almost a year old, but better late than never, right? Like I said, I'm on a multimedia kick. Expect to see and hear more stuff like this in the near future. I've got some old TV appearances I'll be capturing and uploading soon, and my radio appearance this Thursday (mentioned at the bottom of this post) will be posted shortly thereafter.
TRAC -- The Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse -- is a lot more exciting than it sounds. Well, somewhat more at least. They gather information about federal enforcement, staffing, and spending. They have studies on trends in those things for the DEA, the FBI, and a host of other federal agencies. I haven't dug in too much yet, but I'm psyched to have found TRAC.
The feds aren't psyched about TRAC though - or any other attempts to examine what the government's been up to lately. As this Washington Post article illustrates, Total Information Awareness is something they want to have a monopoly on. Total information for them, reduced information for us. What a deal! (For the government, that is.)
Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-CA) is a peace-lovin' guy. So much so that he's trying to create a U.S. Department of Peace. I haven't really decided what I think about that idea. While I'm instinctually resistant to the idea of any additions to our already-too-mammoth federal government, of all the possible new cabinet-level departments I can imagine, this one sounds the coolest. Kucinich has introduced legislation to create the department, which I haven't read yet.
I bring this up because I just got an extract from a recent speech of his in my e-mail. I couldn't find it on his website, so I'm just going to paste it on in here.
I'm going to break this post in half though so it doesn't monopolize the front page...
Here it is:
WE HAVE REACHED a moment in history where it is urgent that people everywhere speak out, each as president of his or her own life, to protect the peace of their nation and the world. We should speak out and caution leaders who generate fear through talk of endless war or the final conflict. We should appeal to our leaders to consider that their own bellicose thoughts, words and deeds are reshaping consciousness and can have an adverse effect. Because when one person thinks: fight! he or she finds a fight. When one faction thinks: war! he or she may start a war.
When one nation thinks: nuclear! he or she approaches the abyss. What then, of one nation which thinks peace, and seeks peace?
Neither individuals nor nations exist in a vacuum, which is why we have a serious responsibility for each other in this world. Each of us is a citizen of a common planet, bound to a common destiny. So connected are we, that each of us has the power to be the eyes of the world, the voice of the world, the conscience of the world, or the end of the world. And as each one of us chooses, so becomes the world.
THE SPLITTING OF the atom for destructive purposes admits a split consciousness, the compartmentalised thinking of ‘us versus them’, the dichotomised thinking which spawns polarity and leads to war. The proposed use of nuclear weapons pollutes the psyche with the arrogance of infinite power. It creates delusions of domination of matter and space. It is dehumanising through its calculations of mass casualties. We must overcome doomthinkers and sayers who invite a world descending and disintegrating into a nuclear disaster. With a world at risk, we must find the bombs in our own lives and disarm them. We must listen to that quiet inner voice which counsels that the survival of all is achieved through the unity of all.
We must overcome our fear of each other, by seeking out the humanity within each of us. The human heart contains every possibility of race, creed, language, religion and politics. We are one in our commonalities. Must we always fear our differences? We can overcome our fears by not feeding them with more war and nuclear confrontations. We must ask our leaders to unify us in courage.
We need to create a new, clear vision of a world as one, of people working out their differences peacefully. A new, clear vision with the teaching of non-violence, non-violent intervention and mediation, where people can live in harmony within their families, within their communities, and within themselves. A new clear vision of peaceful coexistence in a world of tolerance.
At this moment of peril we must move away from fear’s paralysis. This is a call to action: to replace expanded war with expanded peace. This is a call for action to place the very survival of this planet on the agenda of all people, everywhere. As citizens of a common planet, we have an obligation to ourselves and our posterity. We must demand that all nations put down the nuclear sword.
When peace is not on the agenda of our political parties or our governments then it must be the work and the duty of each citizen of the world. This is the time to organise for peace. This is the time for new thinking. This is the time to conceive of peace as being not simply the absence of violence, but the active presence of the capacity for a higher evolution of human awareness. This is the time to conceive of peace as respect, trust and integrity. This is the time to take the infinite capabilities of humanity to transform consciousness which compels violence at a personal, group, national or international level. This is a time to develop new compassion for others and ourselves.
IT IS PRACTICAL to work for peace as a means of achieving permanent security. It is similarly practical to work for total nuclear disarmament, particularly when nuclear arms do not even come close to addressing the real security problems which confront our nations: witness the events of September 11, 2001.
The purpose of the new Bill HR2459 is to create a Department of Peace in the US. It envisions new structures to help create peace in our homes, in our families, in our schools, in our neighbourhoods, in our cities, and in our nation. It aspires to create conditions for peace within and to create conditions for peace worldwide. It considers the conditions which
cause people to become the terrorists of the future: issues of poverty, scarcity and exploitation. It is practical to make outer space safe from weapons so that humanity can continue to pursue a destiny among the stars.
We can achieve this practical vision of peace, if we are ready to work for it. People worldwide need to meet with like-minded people, about peace and nuclear disarmament, now. People worldwide need to gather in peace, now. People worldwide need to march and to pray for peace, now. People worldwide need to connect with each other on the Web, for peace, now.
Where war-making is profoundly uncreative in its destruction, peace-making can be deeply creative. We need to communicate with each other the ways in which we work in our communities to make this a more peaceful world. Now is the time to think, speak, write, organise, march and take action to create peace as a social imperative, as an economic imperative, and as a political imperative. As the hymn says, "Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me."
This is the work of the human family, of people all over the world demanding that governments and non-governmental actors alike put down their weapons. This is the work of the human family, responding in this moment of crisis to protect the planet and all life within it. As we understand that all people of the world are interconnected, we can achieve both
nuclear disarmament and peace. We can accomplish this through upholding a holistic vision where the claims of all living beings to the right of survival are recognised.
Nuclear disarmament and peace are the signposts toward the uplit path of an even brighter human condition wherein we can through our conscious efforts evolve and re-establish the context of our existence from peril to peace, from revolution to evolution. Think peace. Speak peace. Act peace. Peace.
I'll may have comments to add to this later-- I'll definitely be mentioning Kucinich and the Department of Peace more in the future -- but I have to leave it at that for now due to time constraints.
The video from my recent appearance on my local community access station FCAT is now available online.
It's me and another local activist, Kent Smith, on "Nevada County News Hour", with host Eric Tomb. I'm the one on the right.
Here's a screen shot:
We're planning a funeral for the Bill of Rights as a demonstration/street theater thing, on Bill of Rights Day, December 15th. It should be sweet -- and I'll have video from that too.
Also, Kent and I are going to be on a really popular show on one of the local radio stations, KVMR, next Thursday (December 12) at Noon (Pacific Time) -- and you can listen to it online! Just go to their website -- there's a link to "Listen LIVE!"
Just a quick entry...I'm spending a fair amount of time working on getting the video from my TV appearance functionally online. I got it captured and rendered into a Real Media file...now I'm just figuring out the best way to display it on the site. My video editing software auto-generates a basic page to display it on, but I want to integrate it into the blog format if I can. The page they make embeds the file, so it starts loading and playing right off the bat, which isn't ideal for a blog entry. The home page shouldn't have a mega-file loading automatically. So I'm looking to make some sort of blog entry that doesn't show up in the normal index listing of messages, but instead just sits over somewhere else, so I can link to it. I think I'm figuring it out-- it's just taking time. I'll have something to post by the end of tonight.
In the meantime, peruse the Electronic Frontier Foundation's Surveillance Monitor. That's a page that'll be getting more and more popular, for sure.
I only have time for a short message tonight. I want to try and get my TV appearance up on the web tonight if at all possible, just to get it out of the way.
It's not my brightest moment on TV, but I did alright. I'm still learning how to present myself well on TV, and I wasn't as prepared for this appearance as I should have been. As I result, I was more nervous than I needed to be, and that impacted my delivery. And I'm way too pale...I gotta rub my cheeks or something before I go on-- or just suck it up and wear makeup.
Before you get too excited, it was only community access television that I was on-- not network or anything sweet like that. It fit the occasion well enough though, because the reason for my appearance was local. I'm one of the main organizers of a local coalition that's forming to stand up in opposition to the Bush Administration's assaults on civil liberties, as I mentioned yesterday. I'll have more details on that soon, and the video will help explain it if I can get it online. For now, you can check out the Bill of Rights Defense Committee's website to get an idea of what I'm up to. I'm basically doing what they're talking about there. In fact, if you look at their local efforts page, you'll see Nevada County listed there under California. That's me. :-)
I've been pretty silent in this blog lately about the Bush Administration's war on civil liberties. I can assure you it's not for a lack of thought on the subject. I'm actually working right now on building a coalition locally to stand up in opposition to the looming federal police state. We're going to be advancing resolutions before the county Board of Supervisors and the various city councils here, affirming the committment of our local governments to putting the rights and liberties of its residents first, even if the Feds urge otherwise. I'll be posting more about that tonight or tomorrow.
For now, enjoy this animated cartoon about Total Information Awareness. If you're able to laugh and shiver with fear simultaneously, this cartoon by Mark Fiore will probably make you do just that.
I just got this in my e-mail. I'll let it speak for itself.
This Thursday, December 5, the Marijuana Policy Project's Rob Kampia
will appear on FOX News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor," which airs at
8 p.m. Eastern. (The program is repeated at 11 p.m. Eastern; please
check your local cable listings for channel and non-Eastern airtimes.)
At approximately 20 minutes after the hour, Kampia will be featured in
a 5-minute, one-on-one interview with host Bill O'Reilly, discussing
the formal complaint that MPP is filing against Drug Czar John Walters
for his illegal campaigning against Question 9, MPP's recent ballot
initiative in Nevada. (See MPP's media advisory below for details.)
For background on the drug czar's illegal involvement in campaigning
against Question 9, see the following links.
MEDIA ADVISORY DECEMBER 2, 2002
MPP Declares War on Drug Czar's Illegal Campaigning
Formal Complaint to be Announced at Dec. 4 Press Conference
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- On Wednesday, December 4, the Marijuana Policy
Project will file a formal "complaint of possible prohibited personnel
practice" with the federal Office of Special Counsel, charging White
House Drug Czar John Walters with violating federal law by using "his
official authority and influence for the purpose of ... affecting the
result of an election" -- specifically, the election that included
Question 9, MPP's Nevada marijuana initiative.
MPP's Executive Director Robert Kampia and Director of Government
Relations Steve Fox will discuss the complaint at a noon press
conference on December 4. At that time, MPP will also release a letter
to the Nevada Secretary of State's office alleging that John Walters
illegally campaigned against Question 9 without properly reporting his
activities to the state, as required by Nevada's campaign finance law.
"During the fall campaign, John Walters declared war on the law and
war on the truth," Kampia said. "Today, on behalf of U.S. taxpayers --
including the 5,000 who contributed to our campaign -- we are
declaring war on the drug czar for his illegal and dishonest
activities. In filing this official complaint, we are calling for the
removal of John Walters from office for gross violations of the Hatch
Act." The Hatch Act, originally enacted in 1887, bars federal
employees from carrying out certain campaign-related activities.
"Walters has committed numerous crimes against the taxpayers,"
Kampia added. "He used his official authority to affect the outcome of
the Question 9 election, as well as other state drug policy
initiatives, in plain violation of the Hatch Act. Because none of this
activity was properly reported as campaign contributions, he is in
equally plain violation of Nevada campaign finance laws. Walters
conducted a campaign of lies against Question 9, using the taxpayers'
money to spread misinformation."
WHAT: Press conference to announce the filing of a formal
complaint with the federal Office of Special Counsel,
charging Drug Czar John Walters with illegal campaigning
against Nevada's Question 9
WHO: MPP's Executive Director Robert Kampia and Director of
Government Relations Steve Fox
WHEN: Wednesday, December 4, at noon
WHERE: National Press Club, Peter Lisagor Room, 529 - 14th St. NW,
The Marijuana Policy Project works to minimize the harm associated
with marijuana -- both the consumption of marijuana and the laws that
are intended to prohibit such use. MPP believes that the greatest harm
associated with marijuana is imprisonment. To this end, MPP focuses on
removing criminal penalties for marijuana use, with a particular
emphasis on making marijuana medically available to seriously ill
people who have the approval of their doctors. For more information,
please visit http://www.mpp.org .
I've long sung the praises of the MPP-- and I will continue to do so well into the future I suspect. I think history is going to show Rob Kampia in a very favorable light. Or history might barely remember him -- after all, can you name any of the activists who helped end the first Prohibition? Either way, history will certainly be better off for having had him pass through.
I've been not so much with the posting lately, but I come armed with a reason again. My internet connection, which is DirecWay satellite, has had major outages over the past few days. All in all, I lost about 15 hours of prime uptime, and I've been doing a lot of catchup once I've gotten back on. I know I could write while not online, but I find it hard to be productive on my computer without an internet connection. It seems like every other thing I do on my computer involves connecting to the 'net somehow. So most of my offline time was spent cleaning and organizing.
I've also spent a bunch of hours in the past few days working on the Nevada County Libertarian Party Newsletter for December with the party's Secretary, Janet Miller. She's the one who puts most of it together into a first draft, then we spend lots of time polishing it up. I'm pretty picky, and she's pretty open to suggestion, so the polishing can get pretty involved. Also, it's basically a one-page newsletter (the other side has the mailing info and a half-page we usually use to promote upcoming meetings). That might mak it sound easier, but it's actually really hard to make a good one-page newsletter. It would be a lot easier if it were two or four pages really. We try and put a lot in them, and we end up being quite surgical in our effort to do so. By which I mean we end up really cutting away all unnecessary chaff so we can get as much wheat in as possible. Basically every sentence gets checked out word-by-word to see if it's as tight as can be. It's been really good editing experience actually, even though it's just a page a month. It's a hard-earned page.
We'll be posting all the past newsletters over there soon for people who want to do some catching up. It's part of a major revitalizing effort at that web site. I have concluded that the web site is the most efficient way for our (very, very small) organization to gain an intellectual and political foothold here. We just don't have the resources for good on-the-ground politics. I think if we focus a lot of energy on the site, and use it as a freedom news and opinion clearinghouse for the county, we could gather a wide base of local (and loyal) readers. And if we do so we'll earn a lot of trust and goodwill from people who might never come to one of our meetings or events, and we'll educate and inform in the process. Good stuff.
There aren't a lot of news and opinion sources in my tiny county, and if we can become a decent one, I think we'll find a market of folks willing to tune in.
As far as regular posting of messages here goes, I'm really going to try hard to post at least a message a day all December. Hopefully a lot more than that, 'cuz I'm bubbling over with thoughts.