Portland Mayor Sam Adams: Not So Fast on Re-Joining FBI Terror Task Force

photo: travelportland via Flickr

Sounds like last week’s FBI Terror Theater™ didn’t go all the way to convince Portland’s Mayor, Sam Adams, that the city must re-join the Joint Terror Task Force. Especially because the City Commissioner who voted against the idea, who Mayor Adams took the Police Commissioner job away from earlier this spring, has asked for discussion of the matter at the upcoming (12/8) City Commission meeting.

A couple of hours after Commissioner Dan Saltzman said Portland should rejoin the federal government’s Portland Joint Terrorism Task Force, calling for city council vote on the controversial issue next week, December 8, Mayor Sam Adams poured all kinds of cold water on the idea.

When asked outside the federal courthouse if he supported Saltzman’s timeline, Adams’ response was fairly curt: “Not at this point.” Although, soon after, the mayor did allow: “That doesn’t mean that I won’t in the future.”

Mayor Adams now seems to have downgraded the five-months-long discussions with the Feebs to ‘sporadic.’

Portland in 2005 became the first city to pull its police officers from a task force—partly because of constitutional concerns arising over how the Bush administration was sidestepping courts, and also because of jurisdictional concerns in lending out its officers. (Then-Mayor Tom Potter also apparently was peeved he only got “secret” clearance, instead of cooler-sounding “top secret.”) But at the time, Saltzman was the only commissioner to say no.

Ironically, it was Adams this weekend—firmly in the majority in 2005—who first raised the issue of rejoining, noting he had had talks with Police Chief Mike Reese after Reese expressed an interest. Adams today said those talks were “sporadic,” and that he had other issues to focus on when he became police commissioner: guns, human trafficking, and hiring more cops.

Of course, it’s not like Team Obama’s record on civil liberties is really any better than the Bush/Cheney crew.  . . . (more…)

My Anecdotal Experience with Talking to “Moderate Independents”

In my experience, they are terrified of “socialism” but don’t understand that social security is “socialism” (redistributing wealth from the young to the old). They assume that we “leftists” are “radical” but don’t understand that we just want to save social security and medicare (and maybe expand them).

In my experience, most independents aren’t opposed to progressive taxation, especially when it’s put in historical context – during the 40’s and 50’s and even 60’s, the uber-wealthy were taxed at 90% and upwards.

In a recent conversation with an independent, I was asked about incentives. “Won’t progressive taxes reduce the incentive to be productive?”

Are there not wealthy folks in Europe? Even in the most “socialist” countries, like the Nordic countries, they still have rich folks. The incentive is still there.

Here in the US, the FED INTENTIONALLY KEEPS unemployment at at least 5% (to keep workers from getting too uppity and wanting better wages), whereas in the Nordic “welfare state” countries, unemployment hangs out around 2-3% – probably the real disability level. How evil of them, thinking that gov should work for most of the people most of the time.

In a nutshell, I think we can win the debate with those who trust neither party; we just have to be able to say what we support and why. That’s it.

That Brooklyn Bullshit, We On It

Joell Ortiz’s verrrrrry long-awaited Free Agent LP is finally out today… Well, maybe not, apparently. But Mixtapekings is telling me it’s now shipping the record, and even though I haven’t heard it, I feel comfortable advising you to pay money for it, as I’m about to do when I finish this post.

Talib Kweli was the last rapper who as expertly combined complex and vivid lyricism with an unsentimental-but-bottomless love for hip hop as a genre. (Coincidence that both are Brooklynites? I’m just noticing.) His Covers The Classics mixtape was one of my favorite records last year, and it suggests that he can’t believe that old heroes like the Lox, Raekwon and M.O.P. — seriously, listen to Ortiz’s verses over the “Verbal Intercourse” and “Recognize” beats — now guest on his own album. (As does Talib Kweli, according to the MTK-provided track listing.) Joell Ortiz is the type of artist you root for.

Update: New release date is February 22, 2011. So it goes.

Barack Obama in “Poker Night”

I’m bored and somewhat inspired by Tbogg’s “Barack Obama Buys A Lawnmower” post, so I thought I’d give this satire thing a shot with a one-act play.

INT. BASEMENT

The basement is dark and filled with smoke as three men are sitting around a poker table, playing Texas Hold ‘Em. MITCH is smirking as he puts down his cards, then scowls when he sees JOHN hold up his own cards, then rake in the chips.

MITCH: Ah, just one more and I woulda had a better hand!

JOHN: Not my fault the cards clearly wanted me to win this one.

BARACK enters the room after running down the stairs. MITCH and JOHN look up from their cards as a third player is dealing again.

MITCH: (muttering to JOHN) Oh man, not him again.

JOHN: You think that idiot woulda learned his lesson after we cleaned him out last night.

BARACK slams a giant stack of dollar bills on the table.

BARACK: (excitedly) Hey guys, can I play now? I wanna be one of the cool kids!

MITCH and JOHN both look up at the stack.

MITCH: Where did you get that money?

BARACK: Well, my friend had this stash, and he wasn’t using it for anything…

JOHN: You took money from your own friend?

MITCH whistles.

MITCH: Well, is that all? Our buy-in is slightly bigger than last time…

BARACK digs into his pockets and pulls out a necklace.

JOHN: Is that your wife’s necklace?

BARACK: Does this show you how serious I am?

MITCH: Sure, sure. Have a seat.

BARACK takes a seat on the opposite side of the table from MITCH and JOHN and picks up his hand after the cards are dealt. After looking them over for a few seconds, he turns them to face the other players.

BARACK: Well, in the interest of fairness, I thought I should start by showing you the cards I hold.

MITCH and JOHN: (sarcastically) Oh my…we can’t possibly beat those cards!

BARACK jumps back with a forlorn expression on his face.

BARACK: What? I didn’t mean to cause any trouble. Please, don’t be mad at me…here, have some of my money as a peace offering.

MITCH and JOHN seem pleased as BARACK takes half the stack of cash and gives the two players an equal share.

MITCH: Well, this seems like a nice gesture.

JOHN: But if you were serious, you would give us the rest of the cash.

MITCH and JOHN laugh with each other at their own joke, but Barack takes the rest of his cash and hands it over to the two.

BARACK: Here, take it, I didn’t mean to make you upset.

MITCH and JOHN continue laughing as he gives them the rest of his cash.

MITCH: Wow, you really are a sucker.

BARACK laughs out loud, thinking he got the joke while the other two simply smile.

JOHN: All right, let’s sit down and play some poker!

BARACK looks at his cards again, and puts his necklace on the center of the table as the other two post their blinds.

BARACK: Guess I better go all in, now that I’ve given you folks an incentive to let me play.

JOHN: Oh, Barry, you flatter us with your honesty.

Eventally, the fourth and fifth cards are laid down on the table, and BARACK appears to have a winning hand after all. Just as he is about to collect the pot, MITCH stops him.

BARACK: What’s wrong? Didn’t I have the right hand?

JOHN: Yeah, but uh…MITCH had “all reds,” which beats whatever your hand is.

BARACK: That doesn’t sound right, but I trust your words. I don’t want to sound too judgmental after all.

BARACK pushes himself backwards and stands up from his chair.

BARACK: Ah well, guess I lose.

MITCH: Yeah, too bad, you really had it going there.

BARACK: (jovially) I’ll be back when I get some money! Just you wait!

JOHN: (sarcastically) Won’t your friends and family be mad at you?

BARACK: Who cares about them? They don’t know how poker is really played like we do! Right, fellas?

BARACK exits the basement via the stairs. After a brief pause, the three players laugh heavily.

MITCH: Oh man, what a sucker!

JOHN: (to the third player) Now I know why you let him join our game!

–fin–

INT, BASEMENT

The basement is dark and filled with smoke as three men are sitting around a poker table, playing Texas Hold ‘Em. MITCH is smirking as he puts down his cards, then scowls when he sees JOHN hold up his own cards, then rake in the chips.

MITCH

Ah, just one more and I woulda had a better hand!

JOHN

Not my fault the cards clearly wanted me to win this one.

BARACK enters the room after running down the stairs. MITCH and JOHN look up from their cards as a third player is dealing again.

MITCH

(muttering to JOHN)

Oh man, not him again.

JOHN

You think that idiot woulda learned his lesson after we cleaned him out last night.

BARACK slams a giant stack of dollar bills on the table.

BARACK

(excitedly)

Hey guys, can I play now? I wanna be one of the cool kids!

MITCH and JOHN both look up at the stack.

MITCH

Where did you get that money?

BARACK

Well, my friend had this stash, and he wasn’t using it for anything…

JOHN

You took money from your own friend?

MITCH whistles.

MITCH

Well, is that all? Our buy-in is slightly bigger than last time…

BARACK digs into his pockets and pulls out a necklace.

JOHN

Is that your wife’s necklace?

BARACK

Does this show you how serious I am?

MITCH

Sure, sure. Have a seat.

BARACK takes a seat on the opposite side of the table from MITCH and JOHN and picks up his hand after the cards are dealt. After looking them over for a few seconds, he turns them to face the other two players.

BARACK

Well, in the interest of fairness, I thought I should start by showing you all the cards I hold.

MITCH and John

(sarcastically)

Oh my…we can’t possibly beat those cards!

BARACK jumps back with a forlorn expression on his face.

BARACK

What? I didn’t mean to cause any trouble. Please, don’t be mad at me…here, have some of my money as a peace offering.

MITCH and JOHN seem pleased as BARACK takes half the stack of cash and gives the two players an equal share.

MITCH

Well, this seems like a nice gesture.

JOHN

But if you were serious, you would give us the rest of the cash.

MITCH and JOHN laugh with each other at their own joke, but Barack takes the rest of his cash and hands it over to the two.

BARACK

Here, take it, I didn’t mean to make you upset.

MITCH and JOHN continue laughing as he gives them the rest of his cash.

MITCH

Wow, you really are a sucker.

BARACK laughs out loud, thinking he got the joke while the other two simply smile.

JOHN

All right, let’s sit down and play some poker!

BARACK looks at his cards again, and puts his necklace on the center of the table as the other two post their blinds.

BARACK

Guess I better go all in, now that I’ve given you folks an incentive to let me play.

JOHN

Oh, Barry, you flatter us with your honesty.

Eventally, the fourth and fifth cards are laid down on the table, and BARACK appears to have a winning hand after all. Just as he is about to collect the pot, MITCH stops him.

BARACK

What’s wrong? Didn’t I have the right hand?

JOHN

Yeah, but uh…MITCH had “all reds,” which beats whatever your hand is.

BARACK

That doesn’t sound right, but I trust your words. I don’t want to sound too judgmental after all.

BARACK pushes himself backwards and stands up from his chair.

BARACK (CONT’D)

Ah well, guess I lose.

MITCH

Yeah, too bad, you really had it going there.

BARACK

(jovially)

I’ll be back when I get some money! Just you wait!

BARACK exits the basement via the stairs. After a brief pause, the three players laugh heavily.

MITCH

Oh man, what a sucker!

JOHN

(to the third player)

Now I know why you let him join our game!

Bradley Manning and Julian Assange could destroy the State Dept? Bring It On!

I don’t have to agree with Christian Scientists on treatment to agree with them on diagnosis.

America’s post WWII foreign policy and the State Department employees who implemented that policy have done more evil and more mass murder than any post war “leaders” save Stalin and Mao.

Anything that destroys the power of America and America’s State Department to destroy other nations’ duly chosen leaders and democracies is a force for good.

That’s why Bradley Manning and Julian Assanage are heroes on the side of human rights and global freedom.  Just like Daniel Ellsberg.

The leaked State Department cables corrode – and if we and everyone around the world is lucky, implode – the credibility of US foreign policy and that policy’s apology poodle, America’s State Department.

You know, the poor beleaguered State Department: the institution that at best concealed (and at its dependable worst,  collaborated with) unaccountable Executive Branch power to overthrow other nations’ duly chosen rulers…going back at least to the 1948 Truman supported Greek civil war in which George Polk was murdered.  America’s State Department followed up that horror with active collaboration in and/or propaganda for the:

1953 overthrow of Iran’s Mossadegh,

1954 Guatemalan coup against Guzman,

1961 CIA assassination of Congo’s Lumumba,

1963 overthrow and murder of Vietnam’s Diem,

1963 (and 1975) Honduran coups,

1964 coup against Brazil’s Goulart,

1964/5 overthrow of Indonesia’s Sukarno (and muscular collaboration in targeting hundreds of thousands slaughtered by Suharno, our man in Jakarta) ,

1970 overthrow of Cambodia’s Sihanouk – which opened the way for the Khmer Rouge’s slaughter of millions,

1973 overthrow of Chile’s Allende,

1975 Indonesian invasion of East Timor (and subsequent twenty-four years of genocide)

1979 coup in El Salvador (and all the ensuing State Dept. excused death squads)…

…and I could go on, but I already want to vomit from horror and shame and grief and rage at how the State Department and the authoritarian 1947 National Security Act the Department’s impeccably dressed poodles serve have perverted the values and society of the nation and free people my father and his generation went to World War II to preserve.

Over the sixty-three years since Truman signed the profoundly undemocratic National Security Act, Foggy Bottom and Langley have done far more to destroy America than Berlin and Tokyo – or Bin Laden – could ever hoped to have done.  Always in the name of fighting threats to our freedom and democracy.

The State Department that rightly proclaimed America’s singular role in trying and executing mass murders, torturers, and their collaborators at the Nuremberg Trials which began sixty-five years ago now collaborates to conceal and excuse the war of aggression and subsequent mass murder and torture America’s leaders began seventy-nine months ago – and which America’s current “leaders” willfully continue.

Assange, Manning, and the Wikicables could destroy America’s complicit diplomats and the global Murder, Inc. we call our State Department?

Bring it on, Julian and Bradley.  Bring it on.

WikiLeaks: Bradley Manning isn’t a criminal. He’s a hero.

Many are condemning Bradley Manning for allegedly providing WikiLeaks
with sensitive reports about US foreign policy. But a government that
can make war while keeping essential information about its
justification and conduct secret is neither open nor fit for free
people.

By Sheldon Richman / November 29, 2010

Little Rock, Ark.

First it was a video of a helicopter gunship killing and injuring unarmed Iraqi civilians, including two children, and two newsmen as they walked down a street in Baghdad.

Then in two separate document dumps, hundreds of thousands of classified military field reports from Iraq and Afghanistan were released to the public. Now more than a quarter-million State Department cables, more than 15,000 of which are classified “secret” and/or “noforn” (not to be shared with foreign governments), have been released without authorization.

The US government’s problems with WikiLeaks continues, and the Obama administration “condemn[ed] in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”

IN PICTURES: Wikileaks and the war in Iraq

The White House said the release of “stolen cables” was “reckless and dangerous.”

It attributed the leaks to Pfc. Bradley Manning, who has been in custody since the release of the Baghdad video, which WikiLeaks titled “Collateral Murder.” In July, Mr. Manning was charged with “transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system” and “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source.” He faces up to 52 years in prison.

Naturally, WikiLeaks refuses to confirm that Manning was the source of the documents, but assuming he was, what are we to make of him? Is he a hero or a villain?

I say hero. When a government secretly engages in such consequential activities as aggressive wars justified by at best questionable and at worst fabricated intelligence, covert bombings and assassinations, and diplomatic maneuvering designed to support such global meddling, the people in whose name that government acts – and who could suffer retaliation – have a right to know……

Watercooler – Senate Passes Food Safety Bill

While meat, poultry and eggs may not be safer, your veggies might be. (photo: Martin Cathrae via Flickr)

The Senate has just approved a sweeping overhaul to the nation’s food safety laws by the large margin of 73-25. The bill, however, was not without its share of controversy:

It drew fire from some tea party activists, who see it as government overreach. On his television program this month, talk show host Glenn Beck suggested that the measure was a government ruse to raise the price of meat and convert more consumers to vegetarianism.

The bill has also revealed a divide between the burgeoning local-food movement and major agriculture businesses. Small farmers concerned about the cost of new federal regulation were initially opposed to the bill and argued that since most cases of national food-borne illness are caused by large companies, small producers should not be required to meet the same standards.

Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.), a farmer, added an amendment before Thanksgiving that would exempt small farmers and those who sell directly to consumers at farmers markets and farm stands.

But the Tester amendment has angered large agriculture groups, which argue that no one should be exempted from producing safe food. The Produce Marketing Association and the United Fresh Produce Association withdrew their support for the bill in light of the Tester amendment.

Pass the turkey and the sweet potatoes! What’s on your mind tonight?

Late Night: Willie Nelson, the Border Patrol and the Teapot Party

Border Patrol agents stopped a tour bus carrying Willie Nelson and band members at a checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas, 100 miles from the Mexico border, smelled weed, called the K-9s and found six ounces of wackybaccy on the bus. Nelson posted a $2,500 bond and was released four hours later.

The singer now faces 180 days in jail and $10,00 fine. Local county sheriff says he’d like to have Nelson cook and clean and maybe wear one of theose stripey outfits.

Rolling Stone reports

The arrest doesn’t sit well with Texas attorney Dick DeGuerin, a criminal defense lawyer who recently represented Tom Delay and country singer Billy Joe Shaver, and was lawyer to David Koresh during the 1993 FBI siege of the Branch Davidian ranch outside Waco, Texas. DeGuerin questions the lawfulness of the search, which he says occurred 100 miles from the Mexican border. “It needs to be contested,” he says.

“It’s supposed to be a checkpoint only for aliens, and [agents] overstep their authority all the time,” he says. “I’ve had several cases from that checkpoint and they just use the opportunity to check out anybody they want to. If you have long hair, if you’re driving a van or it looks like you’re from California or you look like a hippie, they do profiling.”

Nelson said in an email to CelebStoner.com:

There’s the Tea Party. How about the Teapot Party? Our motto: We lean a little to the left. Tax it, regulate it and legalize it. And stop the border wars over drugs. Why should the drug lords make all the money? Thousands of lives will be saved.

This is Nelson’s third arrest for pot. I hope he doesn’t pull a celebrity rehab redemption…Nah. Check out the stoners in this video.