The Thunderbolt 021314 Ratticus

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The Thunderbolt!!!

 

News — Commentary — Calendar of Activist Events — Dumb Jokes

 

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1)  FYI Section:  Code Pink Appeal for Kharim Khan

2)  Deliver Petition to Ban Fracking to Governor Inslee

3)  Racial Disparities in our Criminal Justice System on TCTV

4)  Early Learning Valentine Delivery Party with Moms Rising

5)  106.5 KOWA FM Open House Potluck and Volunteer Meeting

6)  Grocery Store Day of Action:  GMO Labeling Party

7)  Washington Community Action Network [Washington CAN] Leadership Council and Action

8)  Cannabis Patient Lobby Day at the Capitol

9)  Conference Call to Organize National Day of Action against Bank of America

10)  Bonus Tip of the Day

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The Legend of Ratticus

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For the nothing you have, you have paid way too much

And still you’re living beyond all your means

And that man in the suit has just bought a new car

With the profits he made from your dreams

And now you will swear that a man was shot dead

By a gun that didn’t make any noise

But it wasn’t a bullet that laid him to rest

Twas the low spark of high-heeled boys…

 

—Traffic

 

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This Life is Your Life

 

Hey Kids!

 

As was the case with Nelson Mandela, it is hard to get real choked up when someone dies after making it into their 90’s — especially when many of those 90+ years were spent achieving monumental accomplishments in the face of monumental adversity.

 

Pete Seeger never really rocked it, but with the possible exception of Bob Dylan he folked it like no one else in our country’s history.  There was no other like him.

 

Rest in peace, bro.  You did good.

 

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The Legend of Ratticus!

 

Last week I gently poked fun at snakeophobes.  I did this as I forced them to consider the reality of a snake that can glide through the air.

 

However:  I have found that once people learn about various species that they tend to think more highly of them.  Who was the first snake to come up with that idea — and how many tries did it take before he worked it out?

 

That takes determination.

 

I have recently received serious schooling from a rat.  I moved into a little 100 sq ft plastic house inside my daughter’s garage just before Christmas.  For the first month I thought that I was sharing the garage with both a mouse and a mole.  (The ‘Mole Theory’ came about when a friend said that she had seen a mole and the only glimpse I that I had ever had of my roommate was a very brief glimpse of its ass as it disappeared into a crack— and I didn’t know what it was but I knew it was a lot bigger than a mouse.  Also, since it once carried away an entire loaf of bread, then I knew that no mouse could do that).

 

It took me almost a month to figure out that I was, instead, living with a rather large rat.  The fact that it took me a month of living in very close quarters with him before even figuring out what he was is itself a clue as to what I was dealing with here.  Mice used to set up housekeeping on my school bus with fair regularity, but all I needed to do was to set out a 5-gallon bucket with some peanut butter in the bottom at night.  The mice would go into the bucket for the peanut butter and then they were unable to get back out.  I’d get up in the morning and take them wherever I thought they might be able to get by and dump them out.  I wouldn’t even mind living with them if they’d stop crapping in my food.

 

I have never before lived with a rat.  Therefore, I have no gauge with which to measure the level of intelligence that the rat species possesses as a whole — but as for this particular rat, when he started chewing on my Bose speaker wires I began serious attempts at eviction.  Thus began an epic battle of wits with the creature that has now lasted for nearly two months — and I must now admit that this battle has turned out to be like Wily Coyote trying to catch the Roadrunner.  Not only that, but I must now admit defeat.  The rat has won.  Not only that, but he has also won my admiration and respect.  I now officially surrender.  I will now feed him just to try to keep him out of my other stuff.

 

Here is a synopsis of the critical events in this epic tale:  The peanut butter in the bucket trick did not work.  Upon awakening I found the bucket free of both peanut butter and rodents.  Next, I tied a piece of cheese to a stick that was itself rather precariously holding up a box that would fall if the stick was disturbed in any manner.  The next morning everything was just as I left it — including the rope leading to the little slip-knot that had been tied to the cheese — except that the cheese was gone.  Still thinking that I was dealing with a mouse, I went to the hardware store and bought a small plastic tray filled with a sticky substance.  You place the bait in the middle of the tray and in theory the mouse gets stuck.  While this trick did not work either, this provided me with my first opportunity to actually see my foe in the fur:  Upon hearing a commotion and investigating the matter, rather than espying a cute little mouse stuck in a plastic tray, I saw instead a rather large rat walking around barely inconvenienced by the little plastic tray that was stuck to his foot.  As soon as I appeared the rat ran into a crack.  The white tray would not fit into the crack and I moved to grab him, but the edges of the crack provided the leverage the rat needed to fairly easily pull the tray off his foot, whereupon he disappeared with great alacrity into the wild unknown mazes contained within the mountain of boxes that reside inside my daughter’s garage.

 

I went back to the hardware store and learned that there was also a rat version of the same idea with a much larger tray and much more glue.

 

The next morning I found the tray lying near the nearest crack and the only thing left in the tray was the rat’s little paw prints.

 

Next, I tried a combination hat-trick:  I set the sticky-tray under a box that was precariously balancing on a stick.  Since the rat needed leverage to get the tray off, then I figured there was no way he could get the tray out from under the box without hitting the stick and thus knocking the box down.

 

The next morning my box was still propped up but the tray was lying empty next to the nearest crack.

 

That was it.  I was out of ideas.  The only choice I saw now was to deploy lethal means.  I really didn’t want to and I felt really bad about it but chewing my speaker wires is completely unacceptable behaviour in a roommate and I wasn’t going to sacrifice a $250 speaker system (purchased back in the days when I had ‘disposable income’ — which state I seem unlikely to ever find myself in ever again thus making my Bose speakers literally irreplaceable) for a frigging rat, no matter how smart he was.

 

I went to the hardware store and purchased the extra-jumbo rat-sized snap-trap with the deadly spring-loaded bar that usually catches them right across the neck and kills them instantly.

 

The next day I set the trap.  About an hour later I heard it snap.  I went out into the garage and saw the trap with a seemingly dead rat attached.

 

Then, to my great consternation, the rat wiggled around for a couple of seconds and then went still again.

 

Crap.

 

I moved in and saw that Ratticus (yes, Shari named him when she heard the story) had almost gotten away with it again.  He had lost — literally — by a nose.

 

In fact, I’m afraid that Ratticus has lost his nose.

 

He wiggled again when he saw me, but went still as I slid a piece of cardboard under him.  Keeping one hand on the trap to make absolutely sure that he couldn’t get away, I took him two blocks away to the back of a very large schoolyard with several houses and garages nearby.  When I released him from the trap he just lay there.  I left.  It was raining.  I felt really bad.  I wondered about the survival odds for a rat without a nose.

 

I went back 10 minutes later and he was gone.

 

I felt a loss.  There was an empty space in the garage now.  I began recalling now-fond memories of Ratticus’ genius in making me look like an idiot.

 

And now, the next day, he is back.  I saw the tell-tale curtain wiggle that happens whenever he uses one of his pathways behind my desk and I heard some clattering around out in the garage.  The peanut butter I set out was gone within minutes.

 

Wow.  He crossed two streets and ran a gauntlet of cats to get back here.

 

I am done.  I bow in true respect before my better and offer to him my sword in unconditional surrender.  Me and Ratticus are now buds.  I am moving out of here at the end of the month anyway.  Ratticus is welcome to it.

 

He is much quieter and much less active now.  He has been through a traumatic experience and he is seriously injured.  He is probably crippled for life.  His sacrifice, though, has taught me some important things and I hope that he’s now teaching some of you some important things.  I don’t think that many rats have ever accomplished this feat.  At least, then, Ratticus didn’t lose his nose completely in vain (says he in a transparent attempt at assuaging guilt…)

 

Ratticus just had some organic peanut butter for breakfast.  I wish him the best.

 

Sorry about the nose, dude.

 

Just please quit chewing on my speaker wires.

 

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Threat Assessment II

 

The most dangerous threat to American men is not rats, it is heart disease.

 

The most dangerous threat to American women is not rats, it is American men.  In the United States, three women per day are killed by their partners.

 

Judging by the odds, then, a woman would be crazy to go out with a man — yet the survival of our species depends upon them doing so, so I guess it’s a good thing they still do.

 

I don’t think rats have this problem.

 

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Poorfluenza

 

I’ve written nine novels.  You can read and/or download them here:

 

https://dana98501.wordpress.com/dancing-angel-media/

 

One of the main differences between fiction and non-fiction is that fiction needs to maintain at least a semblance of credibility.  The un-believability of actual reality always far exceeds anything that I could possibly get away with making up.

 

If you haven’t heard about this one then you need to know because this is so made-to-order symptomatic and such a classical case of encapsulating our problem into an anecdote that someone should have written this into a script:  A privileged rich white kid named Ethan Couch had a BAC three times the legal level and he got into an auto accident that killed four people while seriously injuring four others, one of whom is in a vegetative state for the rest of his life.  The prosecutor asked for 20 years in prison.  Most of the local press familiar with the local norm said that around 10 years in prison would have been standard.  (The prosecutor always asks for more than they know they can get.)

 

Instead, Ethan Couch got probation.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/7/affluenza_defense_lands_wealthy_teen_in

 

Ethan Couch got a slap on the wrist because a psychiatrist diagnosed the young man as having a heretofore unknown and undocumented affliction that he called ‘affluenza’, wherein due to having very rich parents who pursued their own selfish ends and neglecting their child leaving him to run wild — thusly ipso facto (that’s lawyer talk) this poor benighted child shouldn’t be held responsible for the mass-destruction that his drunk driving had caused.

 

Everyone is outraged.

 

Well — shock gasp — the Thunderbolt takes another view.  I think that what the judge said about the young man is probably true.  I think that this is not only a perfectly reasonable verdict but I think that this is a very enlightened verdict.

 

The problem, of course, is that this very same judge recently sentenced a young black man to ten years in prison because when he punched someone in a fight that person fell down and hit his head on a sidewalk which killed him.

 

Unlike ‘affluenza’, then, evidently ‘poorfluenza’ or ‘blackfulenza’ (if they can make up words then so can I) does not absolve youth of responsibility for their actions.  I guess it is only fluenzas that affect rich people which rob youth of all ability to control themselves thus absolving them of any responsibility for their actions.  Not only do they have dysfunctional families, but they must also deal with being rich!  Cry me a river!  Failure to deal with being poor, though, evidently shows that you lack character and that you thus present a major threat to society.  So you grew up desperately poor with dad in prison and with mom smoking crack all day!  That’s no excuse!  Get over it!

 

No wonder so many poor kids grow up to be the way they are.

 

No wonder so many rich kids grow up to be the way they are.

 

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Minority Report

 

I have been pointing out for a long time that Obama’s drones and his night raids are being used to mass-murder civilians in the Middle East.  It is also a thoroughly established fact that — on Obama’s direct orders — his drones killed both Anwar al-Awlaki, an American-born citizen and radical Muslim cleric — and then two weeks later they also killed Mr. al-Awlaki’s 16-year-old American born citizen son, Abdulrahmanal al-Awlaki even though even they acknowledged that Abdulrahmanal had absolutely nothing to do with terrorism.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/6/7/exclusive_nasser_al_awlaki_to_obama

 

They claimed that Abdulrahmanal was ‘collateral damage’.

 

Really?  That seems shady as hell in this particular case, yet at the same time it is actually quite possible as Obama’s drones have been causing a lot of ‘collateral damage’.

 

Our Heroes Glen Greenwald and Jeremy Scahill have just provided a partial explanation for why there has been so much ‘collateral damage’ involving Obama’s drones and night raids:  They have released a new story that claims a large number of these fatal ‘mistakes’ are made because the NSA targets cell phones rather than people without any idea whether the person with the cell phone is the person that they actually want to kill.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/10/death_by_metadata_jeremy_scahill_glenn

 

Oh, ok!  Why didn’t they say so in the first place!  It was all just a mistake!  That makes everything cool!

 

Of course, this does not address the fact that these drone strikes also kill everyone else that happens to be in the area, but whatever.  They’re just Muslims, so who cares?

 

Killing people with drones is bad enough.  Killing the wrong people with drones is off-the-charts.

 

That’s not all.  Mr. Greenwald and Mr. Scahill have also just exposed the fact that Obama now not only wants to murder yet another American citizen without a trial but he wants to murder him for something that he is allegedly planning to do doing rather than for anything that he has actually done.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/10/report_obama_administration_considers_assassinating_another

 

Evidently Obama not only thinks he can act as judge jury and executioner without even presenting evidence for things Americans have done, but now he is claiming that he can execute Americans without a trial or without presenting evidence for things they haven’t even done yet!

 

Welcome to Minority Report.  For real.

 

Is anyone reading what I just wrote?  Does anyone doubt the literal truth of what I just wrote?  If you aren’t foaming at the mouth in outrage right now, then that fact alone illustrates the problem beautifully.  Thanks to Bush and Obama this stuff has now become ‘normalized’.  The fact that Obama can even get away with saying crap like that without being impeached — much less actually doing it — perfectly encapsulates why we are going down the toilet.  No matter what specious garbage he uses to ‘justify’ his drone strikes, it is totally completely without doubt without question illegal for him to kill people without a trial — especially if the ‘target’ is an American citizen.  Thus, Barack Obama is a murderer.  By definition.  He has publically confessed.  This is irrefutable fact.

 

Is anyone reading what I just wrote?  Does anyone doubt the literal truth of what I just wrote?

 

Concerning Obama’s current conspiracy to commit yet another murder, the military did an analysis upon the wisdom of murdering an American citizen without a trial — not questioning whether they should murder an American citizen without a trial, but questioning whether enduring the public blowback from murdering an American citizen without a trial would be worth it.

 

They concluded that it was worth it.

 

Several government officials are now trying to portray Mr. Greenwald as a ‘thief’ and they are very obviously trying to figure out a way to prosecute him.  In other words, a bunch of murderers and their accomplices want to prosecute a journalist for exposing their murders.

 

Is anyone reading what I just wrote?  Does anyone doubt the literal truth of what I just wrote?

 

Mr. Greenwald is not backing down; not at all.  He has, in fact, taken the offensive.  In reaction to Jeff Bezos’ recent purchase of the Washington Post, noted E Bay founder Pierre Omidyar has spent the same amount of money as Bezos spent on the Post ($50 million) to start a new journalism aggregation website called First Look.

 

https://firstlook.org/#/home

 

First Look will feature a collection of online magazines and its meme can be determined by the fact that the first magazine, The Intercept, will be run by Mr. Greenwald, who will use the Intercept to centralize his information about secret government nastiness.

 

This is an antidote to the Machine’s Media Conglomeration.  It will be supported mostly by donations.  Please support this site.

 

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The Wrath on Khan

 

I recently reviewed a powerful movie about Obama’s drone war called ‘The Wounds of Waziristan’ that was produced by a young Pakistani woman named Madiha Tahir.  I included a quote from the movie by an anti-drone activist named Kharim Khan, whose son and brother were both killed by a drone.  Here is the quote:

 

“I think there is no bigger terrorist than Obama or Bush, those who have weaponry like drones, who drop bombs on us while we are in our homes.  There are no greater terrorists than them.”

 

I mention this because Mr. Khan has been engaged in legal proceedings against the Pakistani government for their failure to investigate the killings of his son and his brother and he was also scheduled soon to address several European parliaments about the effect of drone strikes upon his people.  However, all of this is now on hold — possibly forever — because Mr. Khan was kidnapped on February 5th.  According to witnesses, Mr. Khan was kidnapped by “up to 20 men, some wearing [Pakistani] police uniforms”.

 

He has not been seen since.

 

http://www.democracynow.org/2014/2/11/headlines#2111

 

Mr. Khan asked the appropriate question indeed:  Who are the greatest ‘terrorists’ around here, anyway?

 

Code Pink has mounted a campaign to find out what has happened to Mr. Khan.  The details are in this week’s calendar if you wish to participate.

 

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 The Narrative vs. the Reality

 

I have heard ‘history’ defined as a bunch of bullshite put forth by the victors.

 

That’s not strictly true — but there is a lot of truth there.

 

The narrative for the Watergate Scandal is that Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein bravely did their journalistic duty and uncovered evidence that brought down a corrupt president.  That narrative has been so firmly and unquestioningly established that it remains the dominant meme even though we now know that actually Woodward and Bernstein were almost certainly not only unwitting dupes in a coup d’état, but they were unwitting dupes in a coup d’état that was orchestrated largely by the same people that had organized the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

 

(At least the War Machine is bi-partisan.)

 

Woodward, at least, has since become a very willing dupe — but that is another story…

 

Think about what that means for a minute — and then think about what this means for all of the other narratives that we use to describe who we are.

 

I mention this because the New York Times recently published an editorial stating that Edward Snowden should be granted Whistleblower Status.

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/02/opinion/edward-snowden-whistle-blower.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

This would appear to be very good news on its face — until you factor in the understanding that the New York Times publishes all the news that’s ‘print to fit’.  When that is understood then this editorial becomes highly suspicious.  I could go on and on about how the Times was a lead cheerleader for the Iraq Occupation in that they ignored and/or marginalized nearly everyone who spoke against the invasion and ignored the fact that the world’s two leading outside experts on WMD’s in IraqScott Ritter and Hans Blix — were both running around all over the world with their ‘hair on fire’ yelling that Iraq did not have any WMD’s.  I could also list the numerous very important stories that the Times has covered up at the government’s request — but the point is that everyone needs to understand that the New York Times is a wholly owned propaganda outlet for the War Machine…

 

…which leads to questions about why the Machine evidently now wants Edward Snowden to be granted whistleblower status?

 

I don’t even have a guess.  Gonna have to do a wait-see on this one.

 

It’s time to get to work…

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The Thunderbolt Calendar

Week of February 13th thru 20th 2014

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1)  FYI Section:  Code Pink Appeal for Kharim Khan

 

Code Pink has put out an appeal for Kharim Khan, the Pakistani journalist and anti-drone activist featured in The Wounds of Waziristan.  Mr. Khan was kidnapped last week.  Most think that this kidnapping was done by the Pakistani security forces [ISI].  I have previously covered Mr. Khan in The Thunderbolt.

 

From Medea Benjamin:

 

 

 

A message from the leader

CODEPINK: Women for Peace


Sign the Petition to His Excellency Ambassador, Mr. Jalil Abbas Jilani

Posted By: CODEPINK: Women for Peace (campaign leader)

In October 2012, I was with a CODEPINK delegation in Pakistan meeting families impacted by US drone strikes.  Our friend Kareem Khan, a journalist from the tribal area of Waziristan, told us the heartbreaking story of the drone strike that killed his son and brother.  Since then, Kareem has been organizing other drone strike victims to seek justice through the Pakistani courts, and he was scheduled to visit Europe on February 10th to tell his story to parliamentarians.

 

Yesterday we received the horrifying news that in the early hours of the morning on February 5, Kareem was kidnapped from his home by 15-20 men in police uniform and plain clothes, right in front of his wife, children, and neighbors.  He has not been seen since. 

 

We need your help: sign this petition to demand that the Pakistani government release Kareem Khan immediately!

 

Take further action by calling the Pakistani embassy in Washington, DC at (202) 243-6500 and the Pakistan desk at the State Department at (202) 647-9823.

 

It is outrageous that Kareem has been kidnapped for speaking out—through peaceful, legal means—about the terrible ordeal he went through losing his brother and son to a US drone strike in 2009.  And I doubt the Pakistani government would have done this without the consent of the US government.  Recent news has revealed the secret role of the NSA in the American killer drone program, but today people across the world are standing up to fight back against mass government surveillance at home and abroad.

 

Kareem’s fate is now in our hands. I am worried about my friend. Please help –– join me to urge the government of Pakistan to release him immediately.

 

Your voice can, and will, make a difference.

 

Thank you,

Medea Benjamin

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2)  Deliver Petition to Ban Fracking to Governor Inslee

Thursday February 13th (Call for Time and Place)

 

This is a Move On thing but probably more effective due to that fact.

 

From Nan Monk:

 

Hello Petitioners,

 

On Thursday, February 13, I will be delivering the No Fracking Washington petition, with all of our signatures and comments, to Governor Inslee’s office.  During the past few months as the petition gathered names (1,400 Washingtonians signed!), there were many insightful noteworthy comments.  Thank you for your impassioned responses and making this issue vital for the health of our state.   

 

I am writing this letter to let you know that you are invited to deliver the petition with me.  We are asking Governor Inslee to make Washington a model for the nation by supporting a state ban on fracking.  We will also urge him to make Washington a leader in a new energy economy with clean renewable energy sources as the focus.  These ideas are powerful because their time has come.

 

Please join me in Olympia!  I can be reached at 360-661-0247 to set a time and place for us to meet.

 

With sincerity and gratitude,

 

Nan

 

 http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/governor-insleedo-not?mailing_id=19446&source=s.icn.em.cr&r_by=26165

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3)  Racial Disparities in our Criminal Justice System on TCTV

Thursday February 13th from 9 to 10 pm on TCTV

 

Olympia FOR produces a large number of excellent of TV programs on various social justice issues.  I don’t list all of them but I like to include occasional reminders in case you want to check out or plug into their efforts.  You can sign up for Oly FOR’s newsletter if you want to follow what they’re doing.

 

From Oly FOR:

 

“Racial Disparities in Our Criminal Justice System”

Date:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Time:

9:00PM – 10:00PM

Short Description:

Our criminal justice system produces many racial disparities.  We examine problems and solutions.

Location:

Your computer and TCTV cable channel 22

Computers anywhere AND cable TV in Thurston County WA

Contact Information:

Glen Anderson (360) 491-9093 glen@olympiafor.org http://www.olympiafor.org

 

“Racial Disparities in the Criminal Justice System:

Problems and Solutions”

by Glen Anderson, producer and host of this TV series

 

 Everybody knows that the criminal justice system in the United States is full of problems.  Some of the problems are well known, but our society and our political system seem unable to solve them.  Yet, workable solutions do exist.

 

The Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation’s February 2014 TV program examines some of our criminal justice system’s problems – with a special emphasis on the racial disparities – and we also look at solutions.

 

We have three knowledgeable guests:

 

  • Larry Jefferson has 17 years of experience as a defense attorney in King County and in Thurston County, where he provides legal defense for low-income persons through the Thurston County Office of Assigned Counsel.  He is also president of Thurston County Bar Association.  During this TV interview he speaks only as an individual, not for either of those organizations.
  • Sam Merrill chairs a statewide Quaker-based nonprofit organization, the Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy (FCWPP), which works on criminal justice and a number of other social and economic problems at the state level.  FCWPP researches the issues, educates the public, and advocates for significant reforms at the state legislature.
  • Steven Aldrich works as FCWPP’sLegislative Advocate and Policy Analyst.  He and a number of other members of FCWPP do truly impressive work.

 

The United States imprisons more people than any other nation in the world.  This is true in raw numbers and also on a per capita basis.  The U.S. has about 5% of the world’s population, but we incarcerate about 25% of the people imprisoned anywhere on the planet

 

We show some graphs with trends going back to the 1930s, and we discuss some racial disparities, including some that Larry Jefferson, an African-American, has seen during his 17 years as a defense attorney.

 

Economic class also is an important factor in how our criminal justice system works.  As with race, economic class affects many aspects and every step along the way from whom the police stop to who can afford good legal defense.  The worst situation is to be both poor and black.

 

People in prison are not a representative cross-section of the public, but rather are people who have been disadvantaged in various ways, including problems with their education, families, and personal functioning.  Even if not deliberately, our criminal justice system puts into prison the people who are less successful in our society.

 

Instead of our current practice, we should imprison only a small number of people who cannot live in the outside world without damaging other people.  We need to help people get the skills, etc., so they can function effectively in the outside world.

 

The “War on Drugs” makes these problems even worse.

 

For a few decades, politicians have been obsessed with showing they are “tough on crime” by imposing long sentences, mandatory minimum sentences, and so forth.  This “tough on crime” mania also compounds the injustices in our criminal justice system, and it distracts people from actually solving the underlying problems.

 

In 1981 the Washington State Legislature passed a law intended to reduce inconsistencies in the sentences judges were imposing.  HB 440, the “determinate sentencing” law, tightened the range of sentences that could be imposed for various crimes, and it eliminated parole.

 

In most states, the agency that runs its prisons is called the “Department of Corrections.”  But instead of “correcting” people, the “tough on crime” politicians have focused almost entirely on punishment – which does not help people improve their behavior – and cut the funding for rehabilitation and education and other programs that used to exist in the prisons so people could improve themselves when they get out.

 

While this TV program explores problems, we also promote solutions.  Humane and effective alternatives do exist.

 

Research shows that punishment and vengeance do not work.  They only compound the problems.  If we want to reduce crime and improve society, we should rehabilitate people so they will be better able to take care of themselves in the outside world.  People need education, skills, treatment, therapy, etc. 

 

One success story is that in 2009 the Washington State Legislature restored the right to vote after the person has completed prison time and some other obligations.  The person can re-register and start voting again.  We need to find other ways to help people re-connect and restore their relationships with mainstream society instead of being permanently marginalized.

 

Another success is that Washington State acted wisely to reduce the number of juveniles in detention. 

 

Restorative Justice is a humane and very practical alternative to the typical criminal justice system.  Instead of focusing on punishing “bad guys,” it looks carefully at who is hurting – victims, offenders and others – and devises ways to heal the brokenness and the damage.  A few years ago the Washington State Legislature passed a law strengthening Restorative Justice in our state. 

 

The Olympia FOR’s April 2010 TV program focused on Restorative Justice and other kinds of restorative practices.  See the April 2010 link on the TV programs page at www.olympiafor.org

Now our county has special courts for veterans, drug users, and persons with mental illness.  All of these are making good progress toward helping special populations in ways that ordinary courts were not doing.

 

Juvenile drug court helps kids who have had no success and use a different methodology in which everybody – including the prosecutor and the judge – helps the kid turn around.  When the kid makes weekly progress and eventually graduates from the program, everybody applauds.

 

Of course, people who are really dangerous can be kept away from society so they don’t hurt people.  But very many people in prison are not dangerous.  We can save a lot of lives – and save a lot of money – by discerning what is really going on and addressing the various kinds of problems in smarter ways. 

 

Our criminal justice system is not designed to really help people.  Lawyers are trained to win, but this is not necessarily what the clients need.  Defendants simply want to get out of the system and go home.  We need to rethink our system and redesign it to address the real problems and provide real solutions.

 

We need opportunities for people to really get the help that they actually need.  This is especially true for crimes that do not involve violence (e.g., drug crimes, which are really public health matters).

 

We need the Legislature and the Congress to fund solutions that will solve problems.  The cost of incarceration competes with the state’s ability to fund the services that would reduce crime and keep people out of prison (education, health, housing, etc.).  We need to invest in prevention!  Let’s help people get off the treadmill of coming back into the system over and over again.  People who are sober and free from drugs – and people who are working or going to school – are much less likely to commit a lot of crimes.

 

Besides reforming the criminal justice system itself, we should also solve some of the underlying social, economic and political problems that lead to crime. 

 

Treatment for anger management, mental health problems, drug and alcohol abuse, etc., would reduce crime, and reduce the number of future victims.  These kinds of treatment would reduce the workload for police and courts and jails and prisons.  Treatment would save taxpayers money.  Treatment would help the individuals involved, and it would strengthen society overall.  Let’s get off the treadmill of violence and legal problems.  Why don’t elected officials fund treatment?

 

Some very good research has proven that humane reforms can solve problems and save taxpayers money.  Now that governments are suffering fiscal crises, politicians are willing to consider this research and soften their “tough on crime” obsession.  This is true even of politicians across the spectrum, including some conservatives.

 

The widening gap between rich and poor causes many social problems, including crime.  Economic disparities are associated with unhappiness of people on each side of the widening economic gap.

 

Schools need to better serve the kids who don’t fit in.

 

When we ignore the needs of our neighbors we also hurt the whole world.  If we can’t take care of our neighbors’ needs we won’t be able to solve the world’s problems.

 

The public is right to be concerned about guns.  Guns cause many more suicides than homicides.

 

One statewide organization that has been working on these problems and solutions is the non-profit organization that Sam and Steven work with – the Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy www.fcwpp.org.  I appreciate FCWPP’s ethical positions on the issues, FCWPP’s smart solutions to problems, and FCWPP’s practical ways of advocating to the general public and through the State Legislature.  See www.fcwpp.org for more information.

 

Quakers have a long history of caring about the criminal justice system.  Quakers’ religious values and their historical first-hand experience have caused them to work on criminal justice issues for hundreds of years.

 

The US’s criminal “justice” system is vastly more punitive and expensive than those of other Western democracies – but the US’s system often makes problems worse.  It causes more crime, and it fails to solve the underlying problems.  It is based on REVENGE instead of rehabilitation.  While purporting to punish crime, it actually reinforces barriers between races, social classes, and ages. 

 

In contrast, “RESTORATIVE” justice would reveal and heal the brokenness that causes crime – brokenness within individuals and within communities. 

 

We also need a “TRANSFORMATIVE” justice that would address the root causes of crime and create true healing for social and economic justice.  We must rehabilitate individuals and our whole society and economy.

 

A number of high quality non-profit organizations are working on solutions to the problems that plague our criminal justice system.  These include the Friends Committee on Washington Public Policy (www.fcwpp.org), the ACLU of Washington (www.aclu-wa.org), and others.

 

At the same, these and many other organizations work for social justice, racial justice, and economic justice in many ways.


 

Every month since February 1987 the Olympia Fellowship of Reconciliation has produced one-hour TV programs on issues related to peace, social justice, economics, the environment, and nonviolence.

 

The Olympia FOR’s program airs several times every week for the entire month on Thurston Community Television (TCTV), channel 22 for Thurston County’s cable TV subscribers.  You can see TCTV’s schedule at www.tctv.net.

 

You can also watch the program described below (and more than 100 of our previous interview programs and special programs) at the Olympia FOR’s website, http://www.olympiafor.org.  Simply click the TV programs link to reach www.olympiafor.org/tv_programs.htm scroll down, and click the program you want to watch. 

 

Many of our website’s TV program listings also include a .pdf document describing the program.

 

Watch this and 100 of our previous TV programs at www.olympiafor.org

 

http://www.huntcal.com/cal/eventview/tcpronet/tcpronet?vm=s-L&yr=2014&pf=1&id=390185263&d=13&m=2

_______________________________________

 

4)  Early Learning Valentine Delivery Party with Moms Rising

Friday February 14th at 2:30 pm @ Washington State Capitol Rotunda, 416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW

 

Moms Rising will be delivering a valentine to Governor Inslee.

 

From Moms Rising:

 

We are delivering a super-large conversation heart for Governor Inslee to celebrate his dedication to high quality early learning programs (like pre-school and childcare).  This valentine could be the start of great things for little learners in Washington State and we need your help!

 

Join the fun:  You and your loved ones can be a big part of delivering this conversation heart to let Governor Inslee know that real Washington families are counting on him to take action for our babies, toddlers, and preschoolers.  There will be cupid wings for each kiddo (to wear and keep).  Friends, family, kids, and babies are all welcome!

 

www.MomsRising.org

www.MomsRising.org/giantvalentineoly

_______________________________________

 

5)  106.5 KOWA FM Open House Potluck and Volunteer Meeting

Saturday February 15th from 2 to 6 pm @ Media Island, 816 Adams St SE

 

If you haven’t listened to KOWA lately then you are missing out because KOWA is under new management and it is kicking ass!  Come plug in with Olympia’s Voice of the Revolution!

 

From KOWA:

 

106.5 KOWA-FM, your local radical community radio station, is having a winter open house, potluck and volunteer meeting on Saturday, February 15th from 2:00 pm-6:00pm!

 

Come by to check out our studio and performance space as well as to get involved and volunteer with the station!  There are a lot of exciting projects to get involved with this Winter and Spring and we are always looking for new energy and spirits to help take this community station forward!

 

Don’t forget, on March 15th we’re throwing a big benefit concert at the Eagles Ballroom with Yogoman Burning Band, Selector Dub Narcotic and more locals TBA!

 

There is also KOWA 106.5 Presents, our weekly live and local show featuring local artists performing on the air.  KOWA Presents is every Wednesday from 7-9 pm and all are welcome to stop by!

 

This spring will be an exciting time at KOWA as we continue to grow with our local programming and work to bolster our licensed broadcast signal and equip our transmitter with solar power.

 

Stream Us Online 24-7 at http://www.kowalp.org/

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/521035111343950/

_______________________________________

 

6)  Grocery Store Day of Action:  GMO Labeling Party

Sunday February 16th from 1 to 3 pm @ Safeway, 3205 Harrison Ave NW

 

Come encourage GMO labeling.

 

From Wash PIRG:

 

We know that I-522 didn’t pass, however WashPIRG and other PIRGs across the country are working with Safeway on labeling GMO’s in their store brand.  In order for this to happen customers need to voice their support. Let’s show them it’s something Olympia cares about!

 

So come on down for music, fun, free ice cream, to show your support for Safeway labeling their GMO products or just to learn more about GMO’s and why it’s important to know what’s in the food we eat!!!

 

See you there!!!

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/290409737777567/

_______________________________________

 

7)  Washington Community Action Network [Washington CAN] Leadership Council and Action

Monday February 17th from 9 am to 4 pm @ LTBA

 

Washington CAN kicks ass.  Come plug in and get activated.

 

From Washington CAN:

 

The steering committee has just set the date for our next Leadership Council meeting!  We’ll be taking advantage of the President’s Day holiday to visit Olympia mid-session when legislators are in their offices.  Please mark your calendars:

 

Winter 2014 Leadership Council Meeting & Action

Olympia (location TBD)

Mon. Feb. 17th, 9AM – 4PM

 

Washington CAN organizers will be coordinating transportation and meals, as well as lodging for those of you coming from the east side of the state.

 

Thanks all!

 

Teresa Clark
Community Organizer
Washington Community Action Network
www.washingtoncan.org
O: (206) 389-0050 x240
C: (206) 359-1290

_______________________________________

 

8)  Cannabis Patient Lobby Day at the Capitol

Monday February 17th at 8 am @ Washington State Capitol, 416 Sid Snyder Avenue SW

 

It’s Lobby Day for cannabis patients.

 

From the Cannabis Action Coalition:

 

One more time!  We need everyone who can make it to show up in Olympia for another day of direct lobbying.

 

Our legislators are just not getting the message to LEAVE MEDICAL CANNABIS ALONE IN 2014!

 

This event is for EVERYONE AND ALL GROUPS who are united in killing off these bills to protect patient rights.  We need everyone to put aside their personal differences and be there for the patients.  It’s do or die time!

 

Their bills are a direct threat to the patients that rely on cannabis in our state.

 

Our VETERANS will lose the ability to find doctors if they must use their primary care doctors with the Veterans Administration.

 

People who rely on juicing or concentrates will not be able to maintain enough plants.

 

THIS IS JUST NOT ACCEPTABLE AND DISPLAYS ZERO HUMANITARIAN COMPASSION FOR THE MOST DISADVANTAGED IN OUR STATE.

 

Please join us at the SUNDIAL beginning at 8:00 AM

 

MAKE PHONE CALLS, SEND EMAILS, SET APPOINTMENTS WITH YOUR LEGISLATORS

 

FEB. 18TH IS THE NEXT CUT OFF DATE FOR BILLS

 

WE NEED TO BE THERE THE DAY BEFORE AND CONVINCE THEM TO KILL THESE BILLS BEFORE PATIENTS ARE HARMED!

 

SHARE SHARE SHARE!

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/237503466432276/

_______________________________________

 

9)  Conference Call to Organize National Day of Action against Bank of America

Monday February 17th at 5 pm

 

This is organized by the Alliance for Global Justice.

 

Hi Lovers and Fighters for Economic Justice,

 

You’re invited to join the grassroots backbone of an upcoming action that is aligned with our interests! We’re reinvigorating this list to call upon activists who have taken action against the Wall Street banks to join together for the 3rd year of national protests against Bank of America.  Like the past two years, these protests are to take place during the week of their shareholders meeting, at local BoA branches, ATMs, statehouses, and more.  We’re asking people to take to the streets in creative non-violent direct action to re-iterate that too big to fail is too big to exist and to “Make BoA Pay!”  Last year there were 17 actions in cities across the US and the goal this year is to bring that up to 99 actions for the 99%!

 

We need you!  Join the call, Monday, February 17th, 8pm EST.  This is the first conference call to take place!  For more information you can check out our bare bones website:

http://www.powertothepublic.org/  

 

Or for more from last year you can check out:

http://www.shutdownthecorporations.org/

 

To get on the call register here:

http://myaccount.maestroconference.com/conference/register/41ZX6WB29VLH3Q

 

We’re looking for people willing to organize on the ground in their town a local event. Additionally we are seeking activists to give strength to those protesting at the shareholders meeting in Charlotte, NC.  Throughout all of this we need researchers, web techs, writers, internal media providers, legal observers and promoters.  Finally we are looking for people trained and willing to do awesome non-violent artful activism that may have a small risk of arrest.

 

In the name of Occupy Wall Street, standing on the shoulders of all those movements who have come before them in the struggle against inequality and entrenched power, let’s get to work!

 

Thank you all and solidarity,

-Committee to Make Boa Pay

 

——————

National Day of Protesting Bank of America!

 

Bank of America is bad for America!  Since the 2008 Great Recession was orchestrated by the ‘too big to fail’ Wall Street banks, citizens have stepped forward as the true leaders who reject the too big to fail premise.  Too big to fail is too big to exist.

 

For the past two years protesters have come to Charlotte, NC, to voice their anger at the Bank of America shareholders meeting. The shareholders and CEO Moynihan don’t respect the people. There is no reforming Bank of America. It must be broken up. During this year’s shareholders meeting we are taking the protest nationwide. Last year we had solidarity protests in 17 different cities, this year we have the goal of 99+!

 

A Rasmussen survey shows that 50% of U.S. Adults favor a plan to break up the 12 megabanks, which currently control about 69% of the banking industry. Twenty-three percent (23%) oppose breaking up the largest banks, while another 27% are undecided. This means that the public is with us on this issue and it is up to the people who really care to take to the streets and build the movement that will make it happen.

 

Bank of America, with trillions in assets, won’t break by a few isolated protests. It won’t break by individuals moving their money to credit unions alone.  It will break up by sustained collective will that influences the government, emboldens credit unions, revitalizes labor unions, enlists students and restores homeowners.  Millions of pinpricks and a sustained demand: Breakup Bank of America.

 

Bank of America has an Achilles Heel. A sustained persistent stubborn picket at many of their 16,000+ ATMs and 5,600+ branches around the country. A picket can be as simple as 1 person with a sign in front of a BoA during business hours for an hour a week. Picketers can put on educational events, flashmobs, marches, rallies, sit-ins, teach-ins, institutional divestment campaigns, government divestment campaigns, citizen lobbying, LTE’s, gorilla marketing to grow the campaign. Building our organizing means creating a sustained effort that realizes that goals of root change take prolonged strategic effort.

 

During May 7-14, the week of Bank of America’s shareholders meeting, nationwide picketing, protests, light projections and more creative and artful activism will occur during open business hours at the Bank of America locations nearest you. Be there, welcoming neighbors, carrying signs that win their longterm support. Inform those neighbors, your coworkers, your friends, and ask them to join and support the picket or your action, whatever it may be.

 

In some cities, people will organize marches, some may do creative direct action and some might consider civil disobedience. Organized actions are enthusiastically encouraged but the common picketer, with the sign holding a simple truth, are the everyday heroes that will provide the persistence necessary for the long task of breaking up Bank of America. We hope that coming out of your action will be a dedicated few that are willing to be consistent in presence and determination.

 

————<3—————-

 

LIBERTY, EQUALITY, SOLIDARITY. http://afgj.org

_______________________________________

 

10)  Bonus Tip of the Day:

 

Hug a rat today — NOT!

 

Peace.

 

Dana

 

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