Oly Oly Action Alert 2_21_13

Action Alert Calendar
Justice Perverted:

1) FYI Section:
1A) Pussy Riot in Danger
1B) Executive Session Hearing on Fair Tenant Screening Act
1C) Celebrate Civil Disobedience: Request Film about Tim De Christopher for Earth Day
1D) The PEN has an Anti-XL Pipeline Petition
2) Hearing for the NDAA and Drones in Washington State
3) Community Meeting to End Gun Violence
4) Green Party of South Puget Sound Monthly Meeting
5) Really Big Shoe 7: Entertainment Explosion Benefit Concert for the Homeless
6) Oly Folks One Year Birthday Party Benefit
7) Book Reading: Our Food, Our Right, Recipes for Food Justice
8) Bonus Tip of the Day
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Hey Kids!

The Washington State Legislature is considering a bill that would require welfare recipients to take drug tests and require mandatory treatment if they test dirty.

If anyone has any influence with any cool legislators, please suggest to them that they add an attachment to this bill requiring that all elected officials must also be required to take drug tests and also require mandatory treatment if they test dirty.

I’m pretty sure that there would be no longer be any danger of that bill ever going anywhere…

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Last weekend I attended both the Anti-Keystone Pipeline Rally and the Washington CAN Leadership Council. Both these events were great for firing up and inspiring the troops — but both events were the same people who are always there who already know all this stuff and — except for Republican Senator Benton, whose office was invaded by about 30 members of Washington CAN — they were all the same people who already agree with us about all this stuff. (Well, except for gun control, anyway…)

I am convinced that the important people in our struggle are the people who don’t already know all this stuff and who don’t already agree with us about all this stuff. The more I do this the more I become convinced that we need to figure out how to get to the people who don’t attend all the rallies and actions.

I am convinced, in fact, that this should a core central goal of the Movement. Most people are good people who are guilty of nothing more than believing what they see on their TV’s. I am convinced that the only way to bring change is mass civil-disobedience in the streets and I am convinced that the mass of the American public would be outraged if they knew what was really going on…

…but I don’t see it happening. The Machine almost completely controls the narrative now. They’ve got the media and the government and the schools and now they’re destroying the labor unions that represent the last organized voice that working people have.

As a result of all this, war crimes have become acceptable, insanity of all this has become normalized, and everyone accepts as gospel truth a bunch of ‘facts’ that are actually the complete opposite of reality.

I confess: I am at a loss as to how to get the word out in a form that Average Joe will accept. How can you compete with their TV’s?

As for those of us that are engaged in the battle: Rather than fighting an overarching battle for the soul of our society, we are instead split up into hundreds of little individual battles trying to save the planet and stop the imperialist wars and to stop poisoning and imprisoning people of colour. The maddening aspect to this paradigm is that fighting all of these battles is absolutely vital — even just to slightly slow them down if nothing else — yet these small battles distract us from the true battle that we should be fighting; rather than taking the offensive we are instead forced into desperate defensive holding actions trying to avoid losing what little we’ve still managed to hang on to — and we are losing even on that front. We’ve been doing more-or-less the same things for decades now and — other than an occasional tactical victory — the Machine has been totally kicking our asses the whole time. As far as the core foundational issues of economic justice are concerned we’ve been steadily and inexorably sliding backwards for the last 30 years, Kids.

We are losing and I don’t have a clue of what to do about it. Evidently greater minds than mine need to get to work on this problem.

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The War on the Homeless: Redux

One place where activism can sometimes show some visible effect is on the local level.

According to Jesus, the only way to get to Heaven is to treat ‘the least of those amongst us’ the same way that you would treat Jesus Himself — with the understanding that Jesus Himself was also the Son of God. [Matthew 25:40]

According to this standard, the Olympia City Council will not be going to Heaven.

There have been scores of academic peer-reviewed studies done upon the subject of homelessness. Their almost universal conclusion is that putting homeless people into homes is the cheapest and most effective method of dealing with the problem.

(Though the studies usually don’t mention it directly, this is also the most humane method of dealing with the problem.)

These studies also conclude that the most expensive, least effective (and though they don’t usually mention it directly the least humane method) is to criminalize homeless people and start running them through the jails, giving them a bunch of fines that they will never be able to pay, and otherwise leaving them to crap in the bank’s flower bed if they don’t freeze to death between their repeated and costly stays in jail.

All of this information is immediately in the face of anyone who starts researching this issue. It is not a secret.

This being the case, can anyone explain to me why nearly every city in the United States chooses the most expensive, least effective, and least humane way to deal with homelessness rather than the cheapest, most effective, and most humane way?

I think that this would be a very good question to put to the Olympia City Council.

A lot of people are currently mobilizing to do just that, in fact, and in a manner that the council will not be able to easily ignore.

The situation is especially reprehensible when you consider that for every homeless person in the United States there are five empty foreclosed homes dragging down property values, rotting away abandoned and unloved, and making the neighbors uncomfortable. In many cases the banks that claim to own these homes can’t prove that they do in fact own them and even if they do ‘legally’ own them then more likely than not this means that their masters on Wall Street conducted criminal fraud in order to obtain these homes in the first place…

…so screw them.

Eminent Dominion?

Washington CAN is thinking of taking on a campaign targeting the banks that refuse to work with homeowners to stay in their homes; they want the State of Washington to use the rule of ‘eminent domain’ to force these banks to sell these foreclosed homes to the state at current market rate so that the state can then refinance the loans and keep the people in their homes.

The controversial practice of ‘eminent domain’ is used by governments to take control of private property when there is a ‘compelling public interest’ in doing so.

I think that than keeping people in their homes qualifies as a ‘compelling public interest’.

This is likely to become a serious campaign and the other side will poodliate in their droodliays and fight us tooth and nail thus transforming it into a ‘controversy’ which means a lot of people will be talking about this concept so I think this will be a very good campaign. Stay tuned.

CIVIL Uprising

As far as defending the homeless: Homeless people are tough to defend because hardly anyone really likes them. Other than social workers and the occasional activist they have no constituency and no political clout. They piss of conservatives and embarrass liberals. None of them ever have any cigarettes. Most people wish they would just go away. Many of them are almost completely helpless and many of them are truly offensive human beings. A highly disproportionate number of them are seriously mentally ill. A highly disproportionate number of them have drug and alcohol problems. A highly disproportionate number of them are veterans who fried their brains in service to their country and were then thrown onto the trash-heap once that country was done with them.

More and more of them are families with children.

All of them are humans.

CIVIL [Citizens in Violation of Illegal Laws] has been on hiatus lately, but whenever the downtrodden are being trodden down, CIVIL stands ever ready to mount their horses and draw their swords!

There are some major actions being planned, and there is a strategic escalation plan being discussed and if required there is likely to be a little civil disobedience that will be aimed at the city around their criminalization of homelessness. If it reaches that point then we will need both volunteers willing to be arrested and volunteers willing to not to be arrested so that you can provide outside support for those who are arrested.

As always, this action will be fun, powerful, and symbolically appropriate. (Don’t tell anyone but it involves tents…)

I’ll keep you updated on the public events and if you want to participate in the non-public events then contact me directly and if you vet I’ll plug you in.

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Justice Denied, Part II

So after my little ‘January Explosion’ of torrential linguistic excess, I suffered a temporary case of ‘writer’s block’ — and so the last couple of weeks I have just more-or-less cut-and-pasted stuff that I had already written about low people in high places in the Justice Department and the CIA.

Tonight I am taking on the Prison Industrial Machine on a personal level…

I have now mentioned more than once that I spent six years in a federal prison on pot charges.

Tonight I will explain exactly how this came about.

This story is actually quite scary. You may want to wait until the kids go to bed.

Act One

The dramatis personae for the first act of tonight’s Passion Play are Dallas Stoner (his real name) and Dave Hoover (also his real name and I think he was originally from Olympia so someone might know him — he would be in his late-30’s now and all of this happened back in 2001…)

(If you do know him, he is a federal snitch who sent me to prison for an act that he committed — and I would actually love to see him again, so if you do happen to know his whereabouts…?)

Anyway, I started building my little pot-kingdom by having a friend of mine front me ounces so that I could break them up into $20 bags and sell them on ‘The Ave’ (i.e. University Avenue in Seattle’s U-District). Shortly after I started building my thing up Dallas got his start when I started fronting him ounces and he began selling $20 bags on ‘The Ave’ — and then he kind of rode my coattails as I pretty much took over the pot market in the U-District. Dallas eventually branched out and started his own operation in the Midwest and he actually built a mini-empire much larger than mine — but only because I absolutely positively wanted to escape the interest of the feds. At that time the feds were only picking up pot cases if you had at least 100 lbs or more (they have since seriously lowered their standards) so I always kept my operation at a relatively modest level.

20 lbs turned out to be a good number. If I got caught with 20 lbs then I would be looking at a few months of state time. I could carry 20 lbs by myself and hike by myself and avoid the complications of having to hire anyone else. Depending upon where I took it, I made between $30,000 and $40,000 profit on 20 lbs. for the kind of money I was making I was more than willing to risk a few months of state time.

And another aspect of hiking alone: Hiking through the deep-frozen crystal-clear nights of eastern Washington by yourself with a $40,000 backpack is pure magic.

So as I said, while I was willing to risk a few months of state time I wasn’t willing to risk years of fed time. $30,000 and $40,000 profit for a week to ten days of effort was plenty rich for me. (I was somewhat embarrassed by the kind of money I was making in fact — though I was easily able to apply my ironic humour to the situation.) I wasn’t willing to risk years of fed time just to make even more money, so I took pains to remain small enough to stay under the federal radar; I religiously never carried more than 20 lbs at a time.

In March of 2001 Dallas and Dave were smuggling buds into the US from Canada when their driver no-showed at the last minute leaving Dallas stranded with a butt-load of pot at a small motel in Greenwood, British Columbia. I was living in nearby Nelson so Dallas called and asked if I would come pick he and his buds up and then drop he and his buds off at a snowmobile that was already parked about 20 kilometres from Greenwood in the woods near the border.

I was a fugitive in the United States at this point and one of several ironies is that as far as pot-smuggling was concerned I was retired. My plan was to smuggle until I got caught twice (a third time and I was looking at serious time even on the state level) and since I had been caught twice my plan was to get a new identity and open an espresso stand in Nelson and live happily ever after selling espresso to Canadians.

When Dallas called I hadn’t smuggled for several months and I hadn’t worked with Dallas for a couple of years and I really didn’t want to do it — but I owed Dallas a big favour (long story) and I couldn’t really say no for a few other reasons as well — so I said ok but that I wouldn’t cross the border and that I wouldn’t touch the buds. (Fingerprints, ya know.)

Now: Dallas was one of several kids whom I schooled in the fine art of smuggling buds and I always strongly encouraged my students to pay some Seattle street kid $500 plus expenses to go sit in a strategic spot with a walkie-talkie out in the woods for a few hours whilst you were hiking the buds south. This was cheap insurance and I figured that there was almost no risk to the kid as he was never anywhere near the buds.

(Naïve me was still unfamiliar with federal ‘conspiracy’ statutes at this point…)

Anyway, I drove to Greenwood, I met Dallas, and I immediately experienced my first unease when he began throwing several large duffel bags into my truck.

My experienced eye estimated that there was right around 100 lbs there.

(My estimate was a little off: Charging documents later revealed that there was actually 117 lbs there.)

I admonished Dallas and told him that if he got caught with this much pot then he was looking at several years in a federal prison.

His reply was that he wasn’t planning on getting caught.

His reply should have been that if he got caught then actually I was the one who was looking at several years in a federal prison — but more on that in a minute…

I noticed that Dallas didn’t have a walkie-talkie so I asked him if he had ears on south of the border. Since I knew that Dave was waiting for him then this seemed easy. However, not only did Dallas lack ears south of the border, but in a move that I had also previously admonished him for he had left his rented van parked in the woods right next to the border on the American side for the several days that he had been in Canada rounding up his buds.

This was stupid. I had told Dallas that this was stupid the last time he had done it, and I told that it was even stupider this time. This was in a very isolated spot way out in the woods in eastern Washington during the winter. I pointed out that a rented van parked in the deep snow right next to the border in the wilds of eastern Washington for several days was very likely to draw the attention of the Border Patrol.

Since Dallas was quite the opposite of stupid I don’t know why he ran his operation in such a sloppy manner. I think he was a danger junkie. Twice before he had barely escaped capture even as everyone else that had been with him gotten caught — though both times Dallas himself also got away with the buds (this was back in the days before he required trailers to carry his buds) so the cops had no evidence on the people they did catch and so they were only prosecutable for minour offenses. In the first instance Dallas had just slipped away in a dark field at night as his three compatriots were rounded up; the other time involved a high-speed vehicle chase on dirt roads in the mountains of eastern Washington which ended when Dallas slid to a stop, grabbed his pack full of buds, and took off running…

…and got away.

(Dallas was an ex-athlete and an ex-Eagle Scout while the border patrolmen on the Canadian border in those days tended to be the overweight middle-aged near retirees.)

While Dallas’ girlfriend and another friend were left in the truck and caught — Dallas had escaped with the evidence, and so this time they were guilty only of being passengers in a car that had tried to elude law-enforcement.

Anyway, (I keep wandering here) I dropped Dallas and his buds off at his snowmobile.

He actually had a snowmobile trailer for the five duffel bags of bud.

Dallas wanted to drop the buds off with Dave, grab a bunch of cash, and then return to Canada to buy more buds, and so I hung out in the woods and awaited his return.

He had estimated three hours. Five hours later I began to worry, especially since I had a strong sense that something had gone wrong. I was torn between getting the hell out of there and waiting, but since I really didn’t want to leave Dallas stranded in the wilds of British Columbia with hundreds-of-thousands in cash, I waited.

As dark was descending I finally saw the headlight of an approaching snowmobile coming from the south. Since I had moved my truck in Dallas’ absence I ran out to wave him down.

When he stopped, I was very surprised when rather than greeting Dallas I instead found myself suddenly confronted by a Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer.

He had been back-tracking Dallas — and there I was sitting right at the end of his tracks.

I tried to say that I was just looking for a place to sleep for the night, but as soon as he ran my name (I hadn’t yet established my new identity) it came back in bold 14-point type with red lights flashing that Dana Walker was a Pot Smuggler Extraordinaire Fugitive Wanted by Several Jurisdictions within the State of Washington.

Dallas had ridden directly into a Border Patrol ambush that had come about because a rented van parked right next to the border for several days in an isolated spot in the middle of winter had drawn the attention of the Border Patrol. They were keeping an eye on it and so they had cruised up on Dave while Dave was waiting for Dallas.

Dave was far from the sharpest rock on the pile (I had never had any idea as to why Dallas kept him around) and evidently Dave had not had a cover story ready for such an eventuality. According to the police reports the story that he did come up with so incoherent and stupid and he was so obviously freaking out about talking to cops that he convinced the cops they were onto something. They called some of their buddies and organized a welcoming party for Dallas.

Dallas stayed true-to-form, though: He ran their roadblock and he got away again!

(Even if in the process of getting away he did lose his trailer full of buds in a tight sliding turn and even if he did run over a cop’s foot with his snowmobile…)

Then, two other confederates who had been enroute to meet Dave saw Dallas. Dallas ditched the snowmobile and jumped into their van.

So far so good. Dave was likely to go down, but maybe not if he kept his mouth shut and everyone else was getting away clean.

Unfortunately, a local saw Dallas ditch a snowmobile and leave it running as he dove headfirst into a van that immediately peeled away at high speed and this seemed suspicious so the good citizen reported the incident to the police…

…thus Dallas not only got caught after all, but his two friends that were driving the van went down too. (Darn those conspiracy laws anyway!)

Evidently Dave immediately began singing for the feds because word of it was passed to me within days and I had to go to rather extraordinary lengths to warn concerned parties whilst being transported in the infamous jail-chain (i.e. when they slowly transport you from one place to another via busses that run around taking prisoners here and there — and in my case it was much longer and more circuitous because since the Canadians dropped me off at the Idaho border then my transfer was both international and interstate).

Further complicating matters was how to warn them on phones that I knew were recorded and sometimes monitored.

Finally, since I always referred to law enforcement as ‘Johnny’, I called a couple of strategic people and simply told them to let everyone know that “Dave was now the lead singer in Johnny’s band”.

As far as my case was concerned the feds had not one single doodly of any sort of squat concerning any ‘evidence’ of any kind whatsoever. The feds had not caught me with a single gram. I had not bought or sold any pot and I had not even crossed the border. I naïvely thought the Americans couldn’t prosecute me for something I did in Canada.

All they had against me was coerced testimony from blackmailed snitches that were most happy to tell the prosecutor anything they thought that he might want to hear — and many if not most prosecutors have no problem telling their little army of snitches exactly what it is that they want to hear.

I did not think the feds had a case.

I did not yet realize that the feds can do pretty much whatever the hell they want to do.

Dave, on the other hand, had bought the pot, Dave had helped smuggle the pot over the border, and Dave was the one planning on transporting and selling the pot — but since he snitched and since I didn’t snitch then Dave got six months in a halfway house while I got three years in prison.

Dallas technically snitched too; however, rather than saying what the prosecutor wanted to hear (i.e. that I was a criminal mastermind extraordinaire) Dallas instead told the truth (i.e. that I was just the driver and that I had nothing to do with the pot-smuggling operation). (I had not even asked to be paid.)

However, when push came to shove — as I later read in his sentencing transcript — Dallas said what they needed to hear: “I do believe that Dana Walker was fully aware of what I was doing and that he voluntarily helped me to do it.”

That was all they needed to charge me with ‘conspiracy’.

Dave, on the other hand, basically reversed our roles; Dave said that yes indeed, Dana was the criminal mastermind extraordinaire ‘co-conspirator’ and that he, Dave Hoover, was just the innocent driver.

From the instant of my arrest I had not said a word to anyone other than my lawyer, but the prosecutor had to know that Dallas was telling the truth and that Dave was lying — yet he still gave Dallas minimal snitch-points and he tacked on a large enhancement to Dallas’ sentence for being a ‘kingpin’. He thus actually had to spend a couple of years in prison.

Dallas was 22 years old and had a baby on the way. He did his best to balance protecting his interests and doing the right thing. He could have screwed me a lot worse than he did and it was also telling that the prosecutor wasn’t going to put him on the stand during my trial.

On the other hand, he got caught specifically because he chose to ignore my advice and then he made me do prison time for his crime.

Even so, I don’t seriously begrudge him.

Dave, on the other hand, was a cowardly squirming slimy lying piece of shite.

Even so, I pity him more than hate him. Yeah, I spent six years in prison — but I have no trouble looking myself in the mirror. I have earned a badge of honour. Dave has earned nothing but contempt and dismissal as a serious person.

Anyway, the prosecutor then engaged in a common practice that I call coercion and bribery but that they call ‘plea bargaining’; I was offered a deal wherein I would get 41 months if I pled guilty rather than the 5 years that I would get if I went to trial and lost.

Since the bar for convicting someone of ‘conspiracy’ is so incredibly low, my lawyer assured me I would almost surely lose — so I took the deal, pled guilty, and received a 41 month sentence.

But they weren’t done with me yet, oh no!

For you see: I could have taken down the marijuana smuggling/ growing/ distribution networks for a good chunk of Seattle and a good portion of British Columbia and since a whole bunch of people who knew a lot of things about me were evidently freely sharing their knowledge with the feds, then the feds knew that I could take down the marijuana smuggling/ growing/ distribution networks for a good chunk of Seattle and a good portion of British Columbia. When I refused to do what I call ‘selling your soul to the devil’ and what they call ‘cooperate with law enforcement’ then they became quite upset with me — and so a US Customs agent manufactured a completely bogus case out of whole cloth and had me prosecuted me for a second smuggling operation that I had had absolutely nothing to do with!

There are many more details in this narrative than I really needed to make my central point here but the central point is this: Even without calling you a ‘terrorist’ and executing you without a trial, they can still throw you into prison for decades without any evidence other than coerced testimony from blackmailed felons.

This means they can throw pretty much anyone that they want into prison.

And as much as what they did to me sucks — the truly alarming aspect of the situation was how easy it was for them to do…

Act Two

The day after my sentencing I was called for a visit. Since Dallas had been caught in eastern Washington and since eastern Washington does not have any federal holding facilities, I was housed in the Spokane County Jail during these proceedings. The ‘visiting room’ in the Spokane County Jail was (and probably still is) a small concrete hole that is split in half by a wall that framed a bullet-proof glass window embedded with chicken -wire, a metal bench, and a phone to talk to people on the other side of the wall.

I was expecting my friend Consuelo, who lived in nearby Coleville and who occasionally dropped by to see me.

Instead of Consuelo, though, I saw what I immediately knew to be three cops.

The guy in charge was a shriveled ugly old man who was sitting on the bench; a young and very attractive male-female couple was standing at attention behind him.

I asked if I needed a lawyer. Customs agent Johnny Walker (his real name) gleefully replied that I did indeed need a lawyer.

I was slightly distracted at first; I had already been locked up for over a year by this point and the girl was very beautiful in a cold distant way, but Walker, in spite of being a very ugly arrogant and condescending prick, got my full attention when he informed me that since I had failed to ‘cooperate with law-enforcement’ then I was being charged with a second conspiracy charge.

He showed me the indictment. Upon perusal I realized that this involved one of Mike’s operations and I realized that I had had noth¬ing to do with this, especially when I saw that ecstasy was involved.

Mike was another ex-U District street kid who had followed me up the ladder and he had also eventually started his own smuggling operation — and he had also ignored my advice and allowed his operation to expand enough to attract federal attention.

I had never worked with Mike’s crew. I didn’t even know most of Mike’s crew. I had never in my life so much as seen ecstasy and I wasn’t even real clear on exactly what it was.

I protested: “I didn’t have anything to do with this!”

Mr. Walker said, “Well, I have three witnesses who say differ¬ent, so it doesn’t really matter whether you did or not.”

Then I realized what was happening…

Utter disgust now: “You piece of shite…”

Mr. Walker just gave me an evil smile. He was a little shriveled man who probably had a little shriveled soul and a little shriveled penis. He had probably been the weenie that everyone had picked on in school.

(It takes one to know one.)

(However; rather than becoming a bully myself, like Mr. Walker, I instead grew to utterly loathe bullies with an abiding passion.)

I found Mr. Walker’s smirk to be highly annoying. I decided that I wanted to wipe that smirk away.

I said: “I under¬stand that things like honour and courage are alien concepts to some¬one in your line of work but I am afraid that they are concepts that I live by. Sending someone to prison for something that you know they didn’t do is fifty times worse than the worst thing that I have ever done in my entire life and you are an exceptionally vile human being. I wouldn’t give you so much as the time of day much less sell my friends to you, so you just go ahead and do whatever you’re going to do and then go f**k yourself.”

I have never seen myself when I am truly angry, but judging from the reactions of others I can evidently be quite intimidating — and evidently even that applies even through bullet-proof glass that is embedded with chicken wire.

I tend to speak very levelly — but very intensely — and I tend to smile whilst doing it.

It is not my normal friendly smile — but people seem to have no trouble discerning the difference.

After delivering my ‘screw you and your mother too’ to Johnny Walker, I dismissed him and shot an inviting smile at the pretty girl. I was hoping to maybe catch a glimmer of amusement or satisfaction or something in her eyes — but all I got was that icy cold emotionless glare that all cops are either trained to wear or just everyone who wants to be a cop is naturally inclined to adopt. (It was most likely a combina¬tion of both.) The Machine had either already killed the pretty girl’s soul or she was very good at effectively hiding it. How sad.

I briefly checked with the younger guy too, but he wouldn’t even look at me.

My disappointment over this reaction was greatly mitigated, though, by that of Mr. Walker…

It was like a magic transformation! The smirk was gone, replaced with outrage! The cynical and cruel humour of the omnipotent bully had been replaced with the open hatred of a coward being faced with honour and courage!

If doing the right thing was easy then everyone would do it and it would not be any big deal. Rather than being easy, though, you will more often than not be screwed for doing the right thing — yet I firmly believe that it is worth it. The satisfaction you get from doing the right thing makes you feel much better about yourself and I think that liking and respecting yourself is very important and I think that the best way to do that is to be a respectable person.

And besides, what was Mr. Walker going to do? Throw me in jail?

I pushed the button signaling the guard at the desk that this visit was over and I remained with my back turned toward them (a mortal insult in Lakota culture) until the door was opened.

To my satisfaction, the three cops also had to wait for someone to open their door and thus they had to silently face my backside for a couple of minutes.

Shortly after this I was transported to the Federal Correctional Center in Sheridan Oregon to continue my sentence and after a few months there I began to think that maybe Walker had been bluffing…

…but he hadn’t been, especially since I had spit in his eye. Bullies really don’t like that.

Mr. Walker indeed undeniably and in fact threw me into jail; for several more years as it turned out.

Still; if I had it to do over, I still would have said exactly the same thing.

As is their wont when they transport a prisoner, they awoke me without warning at 2 AM and told me to ‘roll it up’, whereupon they draped me in chains, left me in a cement hole for a couple of hours, then put me on a bus that took me to Boeing Field whereupon an old aging jetliner that looked ready to fall out of the sky flew me and several dozen other federal prisoners to Oklahoma City. When we landed in Oklahoma City we pulled up to what looked like an airport terminal and one of those accordion-pleated things came out to make a walkway just like at an airport terminal — but when we emerged from the walkway and into the terminal, rather than being greeted by Starbucks and yuppies with rolling luggage, we were instead greeted by a small army of marshals waiting to search us, remove our chains, and process us into the facility.

I had no idea what was happening or where I was going. I soon learned that the feds transport prisoners just like Fed Ex transports packages, i.e. they fly everything to a central distribution point and then send everything out from there. Oklahoma City is the feds central prisoner hub. I learned that I could expect to be there anywhere from one day to one month. I would know when they woke me up without warning at 2 AM and told me to ‘roll it up’. In my case, two weeks later they woke me up without warning at 2 AM and told to ‘roll it up’, whereupon they put me on a fancy Lear jet that they had probably confiscated from a drug dealer and flew me to Great Falls, Montana, whereupon two marshals drove me from there to the Missoula County Jail.

I had never done anything that warranted any attention in Montana. I had no idea what was happening other than that this was something to do with Mike’s crew.

Anyway, the dramatis personae for Act Two of tonight’s drama are Mike, Ike (I don’t believe I can’t remember his real name but I can’t remember his real name) Carl Haines, and Orrin Kelly (some of you might know Orrin Kelly if you have ever plugged in with the Okanogan Barter Faire people). (He is also a federal snitch.)

Shortly before Dallas had gotten caught, Ike had gotten caught on a train in Montana with hundreds of pounds of pot and a butt-load of ecstasy. Ike immediately began selling both Mike and Mike’s crew to the feds.

Mike himself was warned and escaped into Canada, but his entire crew were swept up and they began falling all over each other trying to snitch everyone off before they could themselves be snitched off by them — for the rule is that you can’t snitch on someone who has already snitched on you and the amount of snitch-points that you get is directly proportional to the value of the information that you sell to them.

This leads to a situation wherein the kingpins get short sentences because they have valuable information whilst the lowest people on the totem pole are the ones who do all the time.

If you are at the end of the line and there is no one left to snitch on then you are screwed.

You are also open to suggestions from the prosecutor.

That is how federal law enforcement conducts the vast majority of their ‘investigations’ these days.

Ike, Carl Haines, and Orrin Kelly all committed perjury and told a federal grand jury that I had participated with them in smuggling 230 lbs of pot from Canada into the US.

I had done no such thing. I had during that period stumbled over Mike in Nelson and he had stopped by my apartment to smoke a bowl. He had been accompanied by Ike and this was the one and only time I ever met Ike and smoking that bowl with him was the one and only criminal activity in which I ever engaged together with him.

I had seen Orrin Kelly at the barter faires for years and I had smoked pot with him on several occasions; I never smuggled a single gram with him, though.

Carl Haines I had never met in my life.

However, at first I had no idea of who or what was involved. Upon arrival in Montana and upon meeting my lawyer I immediately had him file a motion for discovery, which means that I wanted to see what evidence the prosecutor was going to use against me. I was informed that the prosecutor did not have any evidence. My prosecution was based solely upon witness testimony and the prosecutor wasn’t going to tell me what they were going to say. According to the ‘law’ this is accept¬able because I would subsequently be able to cross-examine the witnesses at trial, albeit that I had no idea what they were going to say and if they lied I had no time to prove it.

Thus, I faced rather daunting prospects as far as prepa¬ring for trial went. According to the law as interpreted by the judge, I was expected to mount a defense when I had not even the slightest idea of what I was defending myself against. Being innocent made it even worse as I had no idea what these ‘witnesses’ were going to say that I did.

Finally, three weeks before my trial date, my attorney obtained a copy of the allegations from the attorney of one of my ‘co-conspirators’ (albeit a ‘co-conspirator’ that I had never met in my life). Upon perusal of this document I was overjoyed! They were saying that I had been smuggling marijuana in eastern British Columbia at a time when actually I had not only been hundreds of miles away but I could prove that I had been hundreds of miles away! In addition to unimpeach¬able witnesses I had a cell phone during this entire period and my cell phone records would show that I was in western Washington every day during the entire period they were saying I was in eastern BC!

My attorney informed me that he didn’t have time to obtain my cell phone records before trial. So what? That’s no problem! Just postpone the trial!

Evidently, though, it was a problem: “I doubt if the judge will agree to that.”

My jaw literally dropped. “Let me get this straight: Those records prove that I am innocent, and those records are the only hard evidence in this entire charade of a trial, and you are saying the judge will not postpone the trial long enough for me to obtain them?”

“Yes.”

Wow. We filed a motion to postpone the trial long enough for me to obtain evidence vital to my ability to defend myself. The motion was denied.

This was when I realized: A federal court proceeding is not about justice — it is about railroading people into the Prison Machine.

Even without my phone records I thought I could still win at trial. For one thing, Vivian was willing to witness that she saw me in western Washington every day during this entire period. Besides being the sweetest and most lovable human being I have ever known, Vivian is an evangelical Christian and a ranking member of her church. She often goes on missions to Third-World countries to help starving people.

My daughter was also willing to testify that I she had seen me hundreds of miles away at the time in question and she is also a beautiful personable person that everyone instinctively likes.

It would be Vivian’s and Metiyah’s word against that of convicted felons who had overwhelming incentive to lie to reduce their own sentences.

However — if I lost, I would be in prison for ten years. Also: The feds have a 95% conviction rate — not because they are so good, but because the bar for a ‘conspiracy’ charge is set so incredibly low.

A ten-year sentence was a nightmare.

Then, the prosecutor engaged in the ritual coercion/ bribery and offered a ‘plea bargain’: He offered to lower the charge from ‘Conspiracy to Import Marijuana’ down to ‘Possession with Intent to Distri¬bute Marijuana’ if I would plead guilty. He would recommend a sentence of 36 months to run concurrent with my first sentence. (And did you pick up the fact that actually possessing marijuana is a less serious charge than merely ‘conspiring’ to possess it?)

This meant that I would probably still get out of prison at the same time that I would have originally gotten out anyway and the only real effect was that I would now have yet another felony on my record. Since I already had three felonies on my record (all for pot) I considered this to be a badge of honour if anything.

Thus, I did the hardest thing to do that I have ever done: I pled guilty to something that I did not do.

I did not feel good about it — and even after all these years I had still not learned that I should never do anything that I don’t feel good about.

As you may have guessed, I got totally screwed.

The judge is under no obligation to follow the prosecutor’s recommen¬dation — and once you plead guilty you cannot take it back. I not only received a 57 month sentence for this second charge, but 36 of those 57 months were to run consecutive to my previous sentence.

This meant yet another three years on top of the three years that I was already doing.

In addi¬tion, all of this was to be followed by four years of probation during which time I could be sent back to prison for yet more years upon the whim of a probation officer — even if I had committed no crime.

Keep in mind: I spent time with child molesters and bank robbers and people who stole millions of dollars from grandmothers — all of them received less than half the time in prison that I did for distributing a harmless medicinal herb that should never have been illegal in the first place.

And on a side-note: I went to the Okanogan Barter Faire shortly after my release knowing full well that Orrin Kelly was likely to be there — and sure enough, I got the satisfaction of calling him out in front of all his friends. He actually assaulted me physically — but I had fully anticipated that and had thus made sure that I had three witnesses to the fact that I didn’t lay a hand on him…

Karma

I am aware of the existence of karma.

Please note that I did not say that I ‘believe’ in karma. (For one thing I don’t believe in believing in things.) (In fact, to be honest I think that having an absolute surety about the truth of some highly unlikely fact for which there is absolutely no evidence — or even in the face of contrary evidence — seems to me a form of socially acceptable mental disease.)

Anyway, I know that karma exists because I have quite literally lived on it for my whole life and it has never once let me down — and I have lived my adult life on the edge.

I have absolutely no idea why it works or how it works (I have some theories but I don’t want to wander too far here) I just know it works.

A lot of people think karma means that good people have good things happen to them and bad people have bad things happen to them. Actually it is not that at all — in fact it is often quite the opposite as good people often need to be tempered by fire in order to instill the humility and character required of a good person.

No; karma means you get what you need to get you where you need to go.

When I found myself facing six years in prison my assurance was tested. This seemed like a complete waste and I couldn’t figure out what I could possibly learn from this.

Previous experience had taught me that I would figure it out later, though, and I have indeed.

When I first walked out the gates I was holding my head high; they had me for six years and they hadn’t broken me. I was still me. I was still ready to spit in their eyes.

It did not take long to realize that actually, though, they had wrought some rather profound changes after all — but in my case and at this point in time they are changes that I can not only live with but they are changes that I am thoroughly enjoying.

I know; weird.

Before going to prison I made conscious effort to make every day of my life as different from every other day as I could and I was very good at it. I pretty much lived a life of perpetual motion wandering the highways and byways of North America with guitar in hand seeking adventure, experience, and romance. My life was a madcap never-ending adventure story full of a wide array of colourful characters and incredible landscapes.

My prison experience has evidently completely robbed me of my sense of adventure. These days I don’t even like leaving the Olympia city limits if I can help it.

And that is fine. I’ve already had more adventures than probably any three or four people who lead ‘normal’ lives. What I have never had was being part of a community and I am thoroughly enjoying doing that in Olympia.

I wouldn’t trade my past life with anyone I’ve ever met or anyone I’ve ever heard about, but at this point of my life I am glad that the past is past.

Here I am, Olympia, ready or not.

It’s time to get to work…
_______________________________________

1) FYI Section:

1A) Pussy Riot in Danger

I just got this from Watchdog.net:

The prisons in Perm and Mordovia are some of the harshest camps in all Russia, known for severely unhealthy conditions, a complete absence of privacy and a brutal social hierarchy where convicts are subject to abuse and sexual violence by both prison guards.

This summer, Pussy Riot’s Maria Alyokhina, 24, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 22, began two-year prison sentences there for daring to stand against Vladimir Putin. Now Nadezhda has been hospitalized after toiling in prison yards around the clock — and sources say her life is in danger.

Media attention this summer already caused Putin’s puppets to stop pushing for the maximum penalty and pardon one member of the group. Don’t let Nadezhda become a martyr for dissent: call for Pussy Riot to be transferred to a Moscow facility now!
PETITION TO VLADIMIR PUTIN AND RUSSIAN PENAL AUTHORITIES: There is no reason to deny Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova the right to serve their two-year prison terms in Moscow to be closer to their children. The world is watching: Transfer Maria and Nadezhda now!

Click here to sign — it just takes a second.

Thanks,

— The folks at Watchdog.net

P.S. If the other links aren’t working for you, please go here to sign:

http://act.watchdog.net/petitions/2390?n=16028136.ail8HD

****************************************

1B) Executive Session Hearing on Fair Tenant Screening Act
Write/ Call Your Legislators

Part 2 of the Fair Tenant Screening Act is scheduled for an executive session in the House this Thursday, February 21. If FTSA is not voted out of committee, then it will be dead for the session. We have come too far to let that happen.

Ensuring accurate and fair screening of tenants is essential to making sure everyone in Washington has the chance to live in a safe, affordable home. Too often, the screening process becomes a barrier to housing for low-income community members and survivors of domestic violence. It’s time to change that.

It’s absolutely critical for you to tell your representatives in both houses to ensure fair and accurate tenant screening reports. Take action! Visit here and tell your legislators in both the Senate and the House to stand up for fair and accurate tenant screening reports.

In Solidarity,

Sakara

Sakara Remmu
Outreach and Mobilization Manager

206.442.9455 x200 | wliha.com | fb @wliha | tw /wliha

Our vision is that all Washington residents have the opportunity to live in safe, healthy, affordable homes in thriving communities. Help us make this vision a reality: click here to donate.

****************************************

1C) Celebrate Civil Disobedience: Request Film about Tim De Christopher for Earth Day

Tim De Christopher is the guy who stopped that gas lease in Utah by pretending to be a bidder and buying everything, thus invalidating the whole auction. (It was later determined that this auction was illegal to begin with.) There is a move to request a film about Mr. De Christopher called Bidder 70 be played at the Capitol Theater for Earth Day.

This from Gina:

Wahoo!

1. Earth Day is April 22.
2. Tim De Christopher will be released from prison April 21!
3. A documentary about Tim – “Bidder 70” – – is being released for Earth Day celebration. (Watch trailer below.)
4. Olympia Film Society Environmental Film Festival is April 19-21.
5. Write to Helen (helen@olympiafilmsociety.org) to ask that they book the film for Sunday, April 21.
6. Let’s celebrate civil disobedience!

http://www.bidder70.org/video/view/164456/

****************************************

1D) The PEN has an Anti-XL Pipeline Petition

This from the PEN:

Dear Friends and Activists:

Over the weekend was the largest ever rally in Washington, DC,
calling for real action on the looming climate change catastrophe. It
was right in front of the White House because the decision on whether
to allow construction of the Keystone XL pipeline is now an executive
one in the hands of President Obama.

Reject Keystone XL Action Page:
http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1108.php

This proposed pipeline for the most climate-toxic fossil carbon
deposits is being called the key to expansion of the tar sands
industry. At a time when global warming is already having a dramatic
impact on extreme weather events, it would be reckless and
irresponsible to continue to accelerate this activity.

At the state of the union speech last week, and in the face of total
Republican intransigence to do anything about it, President Obama
promised executive action to address this crisis himself. Rejection
of Keystone XL is the singular most important step President Obama
can take to make good on this promise. And he must.

Reject Keystone XL Action Page:
http://www.peaceteam.net/action/pnum1108.php

And after you submit the action page, you can help yourself one of
our beautiful, new “Stop Global Warming” bumper stickers, and you can
have one for no charge, not even shipping. Of course if you can make
a contribution of any amount, this is what makes it possible for us
to send free stickers to anyone who cannot make a donation right now.

Stop Global Warming bumper stickers:
http://www.peaceteam.net/all_bumper_stickers.php

Please also check out the new People Lobby page on Facebook, for
those who are already active over there.

The People Lobby page on Facebook:
http://www.facebook.com/peoplelobby

Please take action NOW, so we can win all victories that are supposed
to be ours, and forward this alert as widely as possible.
Contributions to The People’s Email Network are not tax-deductible
for federal income tax purposes.

If you would like to get alerts like these, you can do so at
http://www.peaceteam.net/in.htm
_______________________________________

2) Hearing for the NDAA and Drones in Washington State
Thursday February 21st at 10 AM @ Committee on Public Safety, Room D, State Capitol

Come tell the state government what you think of the NDAA and the drone program.

This from the organizers:

H.B. 1581 would make it a felony for Washington state citizens to be indefinitely detained under the 2012 NDAA.

[Article about the NDAA bill]

http://www.examiner.com/article/washington-state-s-anti-ndaa-bill-introduced-with-viral-support

H.B. 1771 would give tight restrictions on how aerial drones can be used in the state.

[Article about the drone bill]

http://www.examiner.com/article/wash-state-advances-drone-battle-with-new-bill

The passage of these bills largely depends on the voice of the public. Help make history!

*Be sure to arrive a little early to find parking & the meeting room!*

https://www.facebook.com/groups/togetherolympia/permalink/478591302189915/#!/events/261728870626901/
_______________________________________

3) Community Meeting to End Gun Violence
Thursday February 21st at 7 PM @ Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave SE, Lacey

I am adamantly opposed to gun control but several people asked me to mention this so I will.

One thing I will say though: The Lacey Police Department are a bunch of Nazis.

Go here for info:

http://stopthurstongunviolence.wordpress.com/
_______________________________________

4) Green Party of South Puget Sound Monthly Meeting
Saturday February 23rd , Potluck at 5:30, Meeting at 6 @ Upstairs Above Bucks 5th Avenue, 209 5th Avenue Downtown

Come check out the alternative party that actually represents people rather than Machines.

_______________________________________

5) Really Big Shoe 7: Entertainment Explosion Benefit Concert for the Homeless
Sunday February 24th from 2 to 4 PM @ Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St SE

Sun Feb 24: “Really Big Shoe 7” Entertainment Explosion benefit concert to serve 1,700 homeless and needy kids locally: Enjoy this selection of song and dances from around the country, including many favorites from decades ago. Proceeds benefit 1,700 needy and homeless kids in Thurston and Mason Counties, in collaboration with Community Youth Services and eight local school districts.

2:00-4:30 pm at the Washington Center for the Performing Arts, 512 Washington St SE, Olympia. Buy $13 or $16 tickets at the Washington Center Box Office (360-753-8586) or http://www.olytix.org

Info:

http://www.entertainmentexplosion.org
_______________________________________

6) Oly Folks One Year Birthday Party Benefit
Monday February 25th from 6 to 8 pm @ Bonjour Cupcakes, 609 Capitol Way S

This is a benefit party to help numerous local organizations and the homeless.

This from the organizers:

Hey there Olyfolks! Come join us at Bonjour for a night of cupcakes and community involvement! This will be a super fun night!

Please bring items to donate to our homeless folks. Will post a list soon!

Also, please think about which local groups we would like to support this year as we will be setting up our 2013 calendar! Last year:

♥ We collected wishlist items for the YWCA Other Bank, Safeplace, Family Support Center, Community Youth Services, GRuB, Pizza Klatch, the YMCA and the Thurston County Food Bank!

♥ We volunteered with the Family Support Center, GRuB & Stonewall Youth.

♥ We had an Easter Basket Assembly Party at Amanda’s! With free passes for each family donated by Hands On Children’s Museum, Wolf Haven & Shankz Mini Glow Golf!

♥ We supported Coffee Creek Community & The Kitchen Bus as they fed anyone and everyone who was hungry!

♥ Rc Ridge & friends, including some of us OlyFolks, sewed, filled and gifted over 400 tote bags to families at the YMCA Family Christmas event!

♥ Mischell & the amazing network of folks who do Free Cakes For Kids made cakes for Camp To Belong!

♥ We learned and raised awareness about homelessness, at risk youths, human trafficking, creating food security, struggles and concerns for our LGBTQIAA youth at school/home/community, time banking, street banking and so many other things I can’t remember them all right now! Our brains must have doubled in size this last year!

♥ We networked & collaborated with other groups and individuals in our community! Such as “Reconditioning Humanity Project (pay it forward with a twist!!!)”, Shankz Mini Glow Golf, No One Left Behind, Zonta of Olympia, and Human Trafficking Prevention Alliance of Thurston County.

♥ And last but not least we connected with each other & shared great food while supporting our local businesses at Bonjour Cupcakes, Brewery City Pizza, La Gitano, and the GRuB Farmhouse!

♥ AND, this year, we have already been busy collecting & donating items to help local homeless folks with the help of Shankz and Mustangs West!

Thank you all for the friendship and community involvement! Look forward to seeing you at Bonjour!

https://www.facebook.com/events/1685213774950921/
_______________________________________

7) Book Reading: Our Food, Our Right, Recipes for Food Justice
Wednesday February 27th at 7:30 pm @ Timberland Library, 313 8th Ave. SE

Learn how to cook with a social conscience!

This from the organizers:

“Our Food, Our Right: Recipes for Food Justice” is a new publication of Seattle-based Community Alliance for Global Justice that promotes community knowledge sharing, self-sufficiency, accessibility, and food justice through a food sovereignty framework.

“Our Food, Our Right” takes you on a journey through many of the current globalized food system’s failures, and showcases creative solutions that communities worldwide are designing to regain control over their food, and the health of their bodies and neighborhoods. “A cookbook with politics that can be as joyful as the food.” – Raj Patel (from foreword)

Readings:

“Resistance is Fertile: Grassroots Alternatives to a Green Revolution for Africa” read by author, Janae Choquette
“The Ritual of Making Black Cake”, the story of Sue Faria’s recipe
“Breaking Bread”, Poem by Merna Hecht
“Traditional Foods of Puget Sound Project”, by Elise Krohn and Valerie Segrest

Order the book online! http://www.seattleglobaljustice.org/book/

Share the Facebook events with your friends!

For more information, contact CAGJ: 206-405-4600, contact_us@seattleglobaljustice.org

https://www.facebook.com/events/422621211153019/
_______________________________________

8) Bonus Tip of the Day:

Demand justice.

Peace.

Dana

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2 thoughts on “Oly Oly Action Alert 2_21_13

  1. Hey Dana, I was one of those few that attended the climate rally last weekend and are with you in the lack of turn out to these events. The labor movement has the same issues with turn out to their events. I am a member of local 443 which has around 9000 or so members in this county and less than a half percent show up to any given event.

    In the current issue of the Nation magazine, and what is being discussed within the labor movement, is organizing the movement. I know labor has problems with organizing and there are organizations that provide the needed training. I have spent my time trying to link the labor movement with community organizations that work on a lot of the same issues. 

    My thoughts were to utilize Media Island in bringing the two together. Maybe solicit funding from labor and with the efforts of the usual suspects at these events to organize the mass movement we all need. What I don’t understand is why doesn’t labor and Media Island work together more directly being in the state capitol, or do they. 

    In solidarity, Ryan

    • Many people insist you agree with the whole range of their issues or they won’t work with you. Libertairans want to audit the Federal Reserve, cut back on foreign entanglements, and end the drug war — yet no one will work with them on these issues because of stands they take on other issues. A lot of these issues are almost universal and I firmly believe in forming coalitions on individual issues with anyone who wants to work on them. We’ve worked closely with labor in the past, especially during the Week of Action in 2011. The problems were with the leadership rather than the rank and file as they insist upon my way or the highway and they are focused on their issues and don’t see the whole and they don’t play well (or organize well) with others. When they do things like support the XL Pipeline because it creates jobs whilst ignoring the numerous and serious problems with XL then everyone shakes their head, but we agree on more than we disagree on so I wish people would put the disagreements aside and work on the common ground. Media Island is always ready to act as a central gathering place for whatever so if we can help with anything in this area let me know.

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