Campaign to Regulate Alcohol Like Marijuana

 

Here's a Westword profile on Bill Althouse, the fellow who wrote the letter to our Governor reprinted below. I don't know the man at all, but I'm signing onto Althouse's satirical Campaign to Regulate Alcohol Like Marijuana. Count me in as a card-carrying member. Since Westword had no problems reprinting this entire letter, I don't see why it would be a problem here. Our campaign needs as much publicity, and ability to connect with legislators, as possible. We haven't hired fancy-schmancy, high-priced lobbyists yet. But just you wait.

 

Dear Governor Hickenlooper,

Your Amendment 64 task force has shown great courage in protecting our youth from harmful substances and bad parental role modeling. This willingness to protect citizens from themselves is a great opportunity to add safeguards from the most dangerous drug of all, alcohol. Alcohol is the leading cause of all violent crimes in Colorado. Alcohol is the major factor in 75% of domestic violence, in 50% of all traffic fatalities, 60% of rapes, 57% of murders, and 60% of assaults. 70% of all teens have had alcohol, and alcohol is the major factor in over 50% of all teen fatalities from suicide, murder, traffic and drowning. When public safety is the issue, controlling alcohol is the answer. Constitutionally, marijuana must be regulated in a manner similar to alcohol. Instead of giving marijuana producers and users the equal rights of current alcohol users, we should regulate alcohol like we intend to regulate marijuana and save our children from the most dangerous drug of all, alcohol.

The Campaign to Regulate Alcohol like Marijuana recommends that rules and regulations be implemented into the Colorado liquor laws so that alcohol users and producers are treated the same as marijuana users and producers. These new rules and regulations would create the following conditions.

1. A glass of wine with dinner or a Beer after work on hot day is proof of alcoholism

2. Consuming one drink of alcohol on the weekend is grounds to be fired by any employer

3. If a child sees a parent consume alcohol, Protective Services may remove the child from the home

4. If a parent has one drink, it will cause loss of custody of children in a divorce case

5. No alcohol may be served by the drink anywhere in Colorado

6. All publicly viewable consumption at sporting events, backyards , political rallies, fraternal organizations, breweries, vineyards, farmers markets, and picnics, even if the alcohol is free, is a crime

7. Alcohol consumption outside a private home is a crime

8. No alcohol consumption may be viewed by a child, including private homes if a passing child could see through a window or door

9. No alcohol advertising is allowed except for adult only publications

10. All alcohol production and sales must be a monopoly selected by the State

11. All craft beer is illegal, only large brewers may be licensed as retailers

12. All alcohol sales are package sales only, must be in child proof containers and placed in plain dark paper exit packaging stapled shut before leaving the store

13. Non Colorado citizens will be limited to one bottle of beer per purchase

14. Colorado citizens will be limited to a six pack per purchase

15. Home brewers must grow their hops under artificial lights in a separate locked space and brewing must also occur in that locked space. Using sunshine is a crime

16. All hops for brewers must be grown under artificial lighting on commercially zoned property

17. Crops intended to produce alcohol must not be grown on agriculturally zoned land

18. All brewers must grow all their own hops, and brew all their own beer

19. Each brewer is limited to a single retail package outlet

20. Alcohol retailers must only sell alcohol and nothing else

21. There are strict limits on the number of licenses that can be owned by one individual or group, the size of licensed premises, and the size of the brewery

22. Outside investment in beer production or hops growing is illegal

23. The State must discourage the consumption of Colorado alcohol products

24. Everyone one must work for the alcohol monopoly. Free enterprise is a crime

25. All transactions must be in cash and no retailer can use credit or banking services

26. All brewer waste, grains, spillage must be not be placed in the trash or given to anyone one including animal feeding. All waste must be safely disposed of according to DOR regulations

27. All alcohol is for intoxication only, any other medical or laboratory use by hospital, university, biotechnology, pharmaceutical, biofuel, or industrial entities is a crime

The Campaign to Regulate Alcohol Like Marijuana is dedicated to educating decision makers and parents about the dangers of alcohol. If you need any additional information please contact us.

Thanks again for your concern for the public safety,

Bill Althouse
Executive Director
The Campaign to Regulate Alcohol Like Marijuana

5 Nanogram Marijuana Bullshit

Reason Magazine calls bullshit on CBS4 and their attempt to justify a five nanogram marijuana driving limit in Colorado:

http://reason.com/blog/2013/03/01/colorado-legislators-should-reject-an-ar

CBS4 concedes that one volunteer, Jeff Underberg, "drove very cautiously" with a THC level four times the legal limit after smoking his first three-tenths of a gram. "While his driving was slow," KIRO reported, "it was still acceptable." According to the driving instructor who accompanied Underberg, "He did real well." But CBS4 inaccurately portrays the performance of the other two subjects. The heaviest cannabis consumer, a medical marijuana user named Addy Norton, did not fail the driving test until after consuming a total of 1.4 grams of pot and achieving a THC level of 58.8 nanograms, almost 12 times Washington's legal limit. Yet CBS4 shows her giggling at the wheel and knocking over a traffic cone, implying that she was impaired throughout the experiment. Another subject, Dylan Evans, smoked three-tenths of a gram, reaching a THC level of 26 nanograms, but still was "doing fine behind the wheel," according to the KIRO report. CBS4 falsely claims that Evans "drove off the course" at this stage, adding that "at one point the driving instructor had to grab the wheel," which did not happen until after the third round of pot smoking.

The impression left by the CBS4 story is so misleading that after watching it Westword blogger Michael Roberts, no fan of the five-nanogram standard, wrote that "the KIRO report shows three volunteers who smoke, then climb into vehicles and attempt to navigate a driving course—and mostly fail badly, by either going far too slow or swerving into cones set up to simulate roadways." In fact, all three subjects performed well after their first round of smoking, providing further evidence that the DUID bill moving through the Colorado legislature is based on a mistaken premise.

Westword’s “Best of Denver” 2010 Readers’ Poll

Westword is soliciting opinions for its next “Best of Denver” issue:

http://polls.westword.com/poll…

Here are a few of the questions:

   9. Best Republican-bashing Democrat

  10. Best Democrat-bashing Republican

  11. Best New Law

I actually wouldn’t mind hearing what others think about those, before I cast my all-important vote.

Plus, the newspaper wants to know what the best local blog is, as well.

Medical Marijuana Stakeholders’ Meeting

A few familiar names will be in attendance at this gathering on Saturday:

Sensible Colorado is happy to announce the following line-up of speakers for 12/19’s Medical Marijuana Stakeholder’s Meeting.  

**Please arrive early and consider carpooling, as parking will be in high demand.**

1pm:  “Patients Perspective” panel featuring Damien LaGoy (AIDS activist), Dan Pope (Sensible Colorado), Roger Ronnas (Colorado Springs), and Vicki Meadows (Longmont).

2pm:  “Policy Makers” panel featuring Sen. Pat Steadman, fmr. Senator Bob Hagedorn, Sen. Chris Romer (invited), and Steve Fox (MPP.org).

3pm:  “Safe Access: Distribution Models” featuring Wanda James (Denver), Dr. Paul Bregman, Jill LaMouriex, and Todd Young (Boulder).

Sensible Colorado would like to send a warm thank you to the nascent DU Law Norml chapter for hosting this important event.  For more on this fine group, contact shauser11@law.du.edu.

Event Details

WHAT:     Stakeholder Meeting to discuss medical marijuana policy in 2010

WHEN:     Saturday, December 19, 2009 from 1-4pm

WHERE:   University of Denver Law School, Student Forum, 2255 East Evans Ave., Denver CO 80208.  

WHO:       This event is free and open to the public.  Join patients, providers, legislators, and advocates.

 

Will California legalize marijuana in 2010?

(In 2006, Colorado Amendment 44 went up in smoke–excuse the pun. Has anything changed? – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Looks like legalization is headed to the ballot in 2010 in California:

http://latimesblogs.latimes.co…

Supporters of an initiative that would legalize marijuana in California say they have collected enough signatures to ensure that it will be on the November 2010 ballot.

The petition drive, which was run by a professional signature-gathering firm, collected more than 680,000 signatures, 57% more than the 433,971 valid signatures needed to put it on the ballot, said Richard Lee, the measure’s main proponent.

“It was so easy to get them,” Lee said. “People were so eager to sign.”

The initiative would also allow cities and counties to adopt their own laws to allow marijuana to be grown and sold, and the localities could impose taxes on any aspect of marijuana production and sales. It would make it legal for adults over 21 years old to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and to grow it in a 25-square-foot area for personal use.

Support for legalization has polled at 56% in California.

What will happen if the vote succeeds? Do you think that the Obama Administration will support the vote — like they’re now doing regarding medical marijuana? Or will it call in the Army (so to speak, if not quite literally)?

And will Colorado follow California’s lead? (Which would probably happen, if it happens at all, following the states of Oregon and Washington legalizing after California, if past trends are any indicator.)

Follow-up to Angie Zapata diary: “Two Spirits” film

Recently, MJD posted a much-discussed diary on ColoradoPols: “The Angie Zapata Act”:

http://coloradopols.com/showDi…

Somewhat lost in the celebration and remembrance of Matthew Shepard, the bill’s namesake, was the story of Angie Zapata, an 18 year-old transgender woman from Greeley. She was brutally beaten to death with a fire extinguisher and left for dead just over a year ago because, as the thug who murdered confessed, “gay things must die.”

Zapata, of course, hasn’t been the only overlooked victim of a hate crime. I was just reminded of the case of Fred Martinez–the “youngest-ever victim of a hate crime”–while looking at the schedule for the Starz Denver Film Festival. The documentary “Two Spirits” will playing on November 21:

http://www.denverfilm.org/fest…

In 2001, 16-year-old Fred Martinez was brutally murdered near his hometown of Cortez, Colorado. He was poor, Navajo, and transgendered – a girl in a boy’s body. Fred was blessed to have grown up with the cultural belief there are four genders, not only male and female but mixed identities like his. Among his own people, he was accepted as nádleehí, a word that means “one who constantly transforms” in the Navajo language; it connotes a spiritual and sexual being who is also known to and honored by other Native American cultures as a “two-spirit person.” The traditional roles of such people have included healing, mediation, and the parenting of orphans. The tragedy of Fred’s life, however, is that also he grew up in small-town America, where far narrower views of both ethnicity and gender ultimately proved fatal to him.

Looks like a disturbing — yet worthy — documentary.

(Side note: Music at end of trailer by Patti Smith.)

Doug Lamborn Says Coup Leader Not a Coup Leader

(Much chatter on the national blogs about Sen. Jim DeMint’s rogue efforts to undermine U.S. foreign policy in Central and South America, but not so much about our local band of neocons (or what’s left of them). – promoted by ThillyWabbit)

It’s interesting to see the spin that Republicans are putting on the coup in Honduras, these day. Here’s the Associated Press unambiguously stating that a coup took place, and Rep. Doug Lamborn denying it after visiting the coup leader himself in Honduras:

http://www.google.com/hostedne…



Rep. Doug Lamborn (far left) and Honduras’ interim President/coup leader Roberto Micheletti (far right)

A Colorado Republican is defending his visit to a Honduran leader deemed illegitimate by the White House.

Rep. Doug Lamborn joined three other Republicans on Friday to meet interim President Roberto Micheletti in Tegucigalpa, the Honduran capital. The Obama administration has condemned the coup that ousted President Manuel Zelaya and brought Micheletti to power.

Lamborn insisted that Zelaya was legally removed from the presidency because he broke the law by seeking a second term in office.

“It was not a coup,” Lamborn told The Associated Press by telephone…

But how does that statement jibe with Micheletti’s actions since assuming leadership? Was Democracy “restored” by Zelaya being unceremoniously booted from the country? Not exactly. Honduras has gone from Zelaya illegally trying to hold an election on a non-binding resolution to Micheletti actually suspending civil liberties — quite a trade-off, all in all, for Democracy in the Americas:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10…

The de facto president of Honduras, Roberto Micheletti, appeared to have bowed to pressure at home and from abroad on Monday, saying that he would lift his order suspending civil liberties.

Since then, he has been in no hurry to keep his promise.

Mr. Micheletti spent the week consulting with the Supreme Court and other parts of the government about the decree, which his government announced on Sunday night. But while he has been discussing lifting the order, his security forces have been busy enforcing it.

Back to the first article:

Lamborn said people he met in Honduras don’t think Zelaya was wrongly ousted.

I’m sure that’s true. But, obviously, Lamborn didn’t talk to any of these folks while he was in Honduras, who protested against the coup about a week ago:

Several thousand Zelaya supporters took to the streets again Saturday, in a march on foot and in scores of cars, waving red flags [characteristic of the traditional, centre-right Liberal Party to which Zelaya belongs], honking horns and calling for him to return to office.

http://www.google.com/hostedne…

As far as fact-finding trips go, Doug Lamborn claiming to have discovered democracy-at-work in a country in the midst of a coup d’état is akin to Bob Schaffer not finding any signs of abused workers at sweat shops in the Northern Mariana Islands.

YouTube’s journalism primers

There has been discussion on ColoradoPols previously about how bloggers can better fill the journalistic void caused by the loss of daily newspapers. Lately, YouTube has been producing videos designed to better educate citizen journalists:

http://www.youtube.com/reporte…

As one web site (http://www.ejc.net) puts it:

YouTube’s other journalistic initiative is the launch of its new Reporter’s Center, which posts videos and guides from top American journalists.

Some of the current videos in the new channel include CBS News’ Katie Couric explaining how to conduct a good interview, NPR’s Scott Simon on how to tell a good story and The Associated Press Washington bureau chief Ron Fournier on how to do “watchdog” journalism.

The videos tend to be short, simple guides in laypman’s language about how to report on the news. The videos are no substitute for actual journalism school, but they provide helpful hints and tricks on how to do reporting.

Just checked out a decent short video on fact checking, myself.

Hope YouTube helps you, too.

Marijuana on the Menu: Alleged Money Laundering & Political Contributions

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The bizarre tale of Dan Tang, a Chinese restaurant owner who has been accused of laundering money for a large-scale marijuana-growing ring (24,000 plants netted in a slew of raids) involving his brothers, has been making quite a bit of news lately. Tang allegedly profited from the sales of sticky green, indoor-grown bud. He also made generous financial contributions to politicians on both sides of the aisle, before and during his alleged criminal involvement.

The following Denver Post article quotes both Dick Wadhams and Pat Waak concerning Tang’s bipartisan generosity (as well as noting that President George W. Bush dined on Tang’s Peking duck):

http://www.denverpost.com/sear…

Udall is concerned about the “troubling allegations” Tang faces, said Udall’s spokeswoman, Tara Trujillo. Tang contributed a total of $4,000 to Udall in 2004 and 2006, records show…

Tang also contributed a total of $6,600 to Udall’s opponent, Bob Schaffer, in 2004 and 2007. Former Democratic Sen. Ken Salazar received $1,000 from Tang in 2004.

Tang also gave $6,000 total to Republican Bob Beauprez’s congressional campaigns in 2003 and 2005. Allard received $2,000 from Tang in 2002.

Here’s one of the odd facts that has surfaced:

http://www.denverpost.com/sear…

Restaurateur Dan Tang withdrew $400,000 in cash from a safe-deposit box and asked the former mayor of Thornton to hold it for him as agents investigating a marijuana-cultivation ring began closing in on the operation, according to Adams County court records.

The following article in Westword comes recommended. For one thing, will we ever find out who in law enforcement circles tipped Tang off about the coming raids? And what about those troubling political connections that Tang has engendered?

http://www.westword.com/2009-0…

That snitch wasn’t the [drug bust] operation’s only problem: Several local politicians, prosecutors associated with the case and at least one North Metro officer have relationships with Tang – or his money

Question: What’s the takeaway — rather than take-out — of the details described above?

Peter Tosh…er, Tom Tancredo, I mean, says, “Legalize It!”

Okay, that title’s a bit of a stretch…Tancredo actually said that it’s time to “consider legalizing drugs,” according to the report below:

http://www.thedenverchannel.co…

DENVER — Admitting that it may be “political suicide” former Colorado Congressman Tom Tancredo said its time to consider legalizing drugs.

He spoke Wednesday to the Lincoln Club of Colorado, a Republican group that’s been active in the state for 90 years. It’s the first time Tancredo has spoken on the drug issue. He ran for president in 2008 on an anti-illegal immigration platform that has brought him passionate support and criticism.

Tancredo noted that he has never used drugs, but said the war has failed.

Is this unexpected from Tancredo? Not entirely. Unlike, say, John Salazar, Tom Tancredo actually voted against allowing the federal government to arrest marijuana users in states where it’s legal as medicine.

Is Tancredo's "consider legalizing drugs" statement "political suicide"?

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“Both Ways” Bobby Jindal

Guess which state has benefited from an unheard of federal stimulus injection? Louisiana. Guess which governor is the most vociferous in speaking out against the new federal stimulus bill? Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal.

This New York Times photo caption says it all:

Gov. Bobby Jindal is an outspoken foe of federal aid, but his subordinates praise it as effective

.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04…

NEW ORLEANS – Years before Washington spent $787 billion on a national stimulus bill, it staged an unintended trial run in Louisiana, a huge injection of some $51 billion for which historians find few, if any, precedents in a single state.

The experiment is still playing out, but some indicators suggest that what occurred in Louisiana – dumping a large amount of reconstruction money into a confined space in the three and a half years since Hurricane Katrina – has had a positive outcome. The state’s unemployment rate of 5.7 percent in February was considerably below the national average of 8.1 percent, and it was the only state to see a drop in unemployment from December to January…

Perhaps Jindal will want to return the $51 billion in federal dollars that Louisiana has already received, post-Katrina, in order to maintain some semblance of consistency.

Republicans talking about nationalizing banks…

Well it’s come to this…Republicans are putting the nationalization of banks on the table for discussion:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

In a gloomy segment about the financial sector on ABC’S This Week, two self-avowed fiscal conservatives said that the U.S. Government should at least consider nationalizing the country’s banking system as a means of moving beyond the current lending crisis.

“This idea of nationalizing banks is not comfortable,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC). “But I think we’ve got so many toxic assets spread throughout the banking and financial community, throughout the world, that we’re going to have to do something that no one ever envisioned a year ago, no one likes. To me, banking and housing are the root cause of this problem. I’m very much afraid any program to salvage the banks is going to require the government… I would not take off the idea of nationalizing the banks.”

…While Graham was supported in his assessment by [Democratic Rep. Maxine] Waters and Rep. Peter King (R-NY), both of whom said nationalization should remain on the table, he found opposition from his Democratic counterpoint on the panel, Chuck Schumer.

Maybe it’s a good idea, maybe it isn’t. But whenever I hear someone talking “nationalization” I somewhat stereotypically picture them wearing a Che t-shirt.

Should banks be nationalized?

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Is Ken Salazar Too Nice?

“Is Ken Salazar Too Nice?”

That’s what an op-ed in the New York Times asks, regarding Senator Salazar’s appointment to head the Interior Department:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01…

The word on Ken Salazar, tapped by President-elect Barack Obama to run the Interior Department, is that he is friendly, approachable, a good listener, a genial compromiser and a skillful broker of deals…

What the Interior Department needs right now is someone willing to bust heads when necessary and draw the line against the powerful commercial groups – developers, ranchers, oil and gas companies, the off-road vehicle industry – that have long treated the department as a public extension of their private interests.

The editorial indicates what a big job Mr. Salazar has ahead of him: picking the right people to fill the “fiefs” within the agency. People who won’t, as the Bush administration’s appointees did, kowtow to oil and coal interests, and seek to, for instance, overturn the Endangered Species Act through the manipulation of scientific reports.

Mr. Salazar has a huge reconstruction job ahead. He should surround himself with a core group of dedicated, quality people, and remember that being nice to everyone won’t cut it.

Sounds like a huge task. Here’s hoping Ken Salazar has the cojones to put the lobbyists in their place, and to serve the public and our lands.

At least he’s not your member of the state GOP…

This is not the kind of the thing that a state GOP chairman wants to be in the paper quoted about, I’m sure:

The bomb that ripped through a West Coast Bank branch in Woodburn [Oregon] on Friday and killed two police officers was the product of a plot that dates to at least November involving a father-and-son team, according to information released by authorities Tuesday…

“I would be very surprised if Bruce Turnidge [one of the defendants, a 57-year-old father] was involved in that,” said Vance Day, the Oregon GOP chairman and a Salem attorney who has known brothers Bruce and Pat Turnidge for several years. “I know him to be strong, very pro-American. He doesn’t believe in violence of that sort whatsoever.”

http://www.oregonlive.com/news…

The Bush legacy will, literally, be toxic…

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11…

WASHINGTON – The Labor Department is racing to complete a new rule, strenuously opposed by President-elect Barack Obama, that would make it much harder for the government to regulate toxic substances and hazardous chemicals to which workers are exposed on the job.

The rule, which has strong support from business groups, says that in assessing the risk from a particular substance, federal agencies should gather and analyze “industry-by-industry evidence” of employees’ exposure to it during their working lives. The proposal would, in many cases, add a step to the lengthy process of developing standards to protect workers’ health…

The Labor Department rule is among many that federal agencies are poised to issue before Mr. Bush turns over the White House to Mr. Obama.

Plus…

One rule would allow coal companies to dump rock and dirt from mountaintop mining operations into nearby streams and valleys. Another, issued last week by the Health and Human Services Department, gives states sweeping authority to charge higher co-payments for doctor’s visits, hospital care and prescription drugs provided to low-income people under Medicaid. The department is working on another rule to protect health care workers who refuse to perform abortions or other procedures on religious or moral grounds.

One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex

Here’s an article in the New York Times called “One Man’s Military-Industrial-Media Complex” about General Barry McCaffrey’s rather, er, active career — tricky business, really — working for defense contractors as a consultant, working for media outlets as a consultant, and acting as a consultant to the US government:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11…

Through seven years of war an exclusive club has quietly flourished at the intersection of network news and wartime commerce. Its members, mostly retired generals, have had a foot in both camps as influential network military analysts and defense industry rainmakers. It is a deeply opaque world, a place of privileged access to senior government officials, where war commentary can fit hand in glove with undisclosed commercial interests and network executives are sometimes oblivious to possible conflicts of interest.

Few illustrate the submerged complexities of this world better than Barry McCaffrey…

Many retired officers hold a perch in the world of military contracting, but General McCaffrey is among a select few who also command platforms in the news media and as government advisers on military matters. These overlapping roles offer them an array of opportunities to advance policy goals as well as business objectives. But with their business ties left undisclosed, it can be difficult for policy makers and the public to fully understand their interests.

On NBC and in other public forums, General McCaffrey has consistently advocated wartime policies and spending priorities that are in line with his corporate interests. But those interests are not described to NBC’s viewers. He is held out as a dispassionate expert, not someone who helps companies win contracts related to the wars he discusses on television.

Boogie Man, the Lee Atwater documentary

Looking forward to seeing this documentary about the late Republican political fixer Lee Atwater on TV next week. It’ll be on Rocky Mountain PBS at 9 p.m. on Tuesday:

http://www.rmpbs.org/content/i…

Boogie Man: The Lee Atwater Story

In the wake of yet another hard-fought and bitter presidential campaign, “Frontline” presents a spirited and revealing biography of Lee Atwater, the charming, Machiavellian godfather of modern take-no-prisoners Republican political campaigns. Through eye-opening interviews with Atwater’s closest friends and adversaries, the film explores the life of the controversial political operative who mentored Karl Rove and George W. Bush, led the GOP to historic victories, and wrote the party’s winning playbook.

It recently played here in Denver at the Tivoli; in fact, ColoradoPols’ Arvadonian recommended it, after seeing it.

Movie’s web site:

http://www.boogiemanfilm.com/

I grew up despising Atwater, but also fascinated by his seemingly schizo personality: the man who pushed the infamous Willie Horton ad against Michael Dukakis was, also, reputedly an accomplished blues guitarist.

Would be interested in hearing others’ opinions, after viewing the flick on Tuesday.

Filmmaker Errol Morris’ People in the Middle for Obama…

Documentary filmmaker Errol Morris (The Fog of War, The Thin Blue Line, A Brief History of Time) has started a web site called People in the Middle for Obama. He’s filmed a series of folks discussing why they’re voting for the Democratic contender:

http://www.peopleinthemiddlefo…

This is a compilation of their statements (the web site includes the individual interviews):

Morris discusses the history of using real people in campaign commercials in this New York Times article:

http://morris.blogs.nytimes.co…

From Morris’ web site:

Roger Ebert has said, “After twenty years of reviewing films, I haven’t found another filmmaker who intrigues me more…Errol Morris is like a magician, and as great a filmmaker as Hitchcock or Fellini.”

Favorites of mine by Morris include Fast, Cheap & Out of Control (which made the naked mole rate a celebrity animal) and Gates of Heaven (about a pet cemetary).

John McCain, meet Augusto Pinochet, unconditionally…

Apparently no pre-conditions for a meeting took place in 1985 when John McCain visited the Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, says an exclusive report on the Huffington Post:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…

John McCain, who has harshly criticized the idea of sitting down with dictators without pre-conditions, appears to have done just that. In 1985, McCain traveled to Chile for a friendly meeting with Chile’s military ruler, General Augusto Pinochet, one of the world’s most notorious violators of human rights credited with killing more than 3,000 civilians and jailing tens of thousands of others.

At the time of the meeting, in the late afternoon of December 30, the U.S. Justice Department was seeking the extradition of two close Pinochet associates for an act of terrorism in Washington DC, the 1976 assassination of former ambassador to the U.S. and former Foreign Minister Orlando Letelier. The car bombing on Sheridan Circle in the U.S. capital was widely described at the time as the most egregious act of international terrorism perpetrated on U.S. soil by a foreign power.

Apparently John McCain was against pre-conditions for meeting with dictators before he was for them.

McCain’s Hero: More Socialist Than Obama!

“McCain’s Hero: More Socialist Than Obama!”

That’s the title of a column over at Slate.com about Teddy Roosevelt:

http://www.slate.com/id/2202950/

Imagine that instead of telling Joe “the Plumber” Wurzelbacher that “when you spread the wealth around it’s good for everybody,” Barack Obama had said the following:

We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used. It is not even enough that it should have been gained without doing damage to the community. We should permit it to be gained only so long as the gaining represents benefit to the community. … The really big fortune, the swollen fortune, by the mere fact of its size, acquires qualities which differentiate it in kind as well as in degree from what is possessed by men of relatively small means. Therefore, I believe in a graduated income tax on big fortunes, and … a graduated inheritance tax on big fortunes, properly safeguarded against evasion, and increasing rapidly in amount with the size of the estate.

The New York Post’s Page One would blare: “OBAMA: I’LL SEIZE ‘SWOLLEN FORTUNES’!” Bill Kristol would demand to know, in his New York Times column, what godly powers enabled Obama to discern precisely whose wealth-David Geffen’s? George Soros’?-would “benefit the community.” On Fox News, Bill O’Reilly would start to say something, then sputter, turn purple, and keel over backward in a grand mal seizure.

John McCain, meanwhile, would have to stop saying that Teddy Roosevelt is his hero, because the passage quoted above is from T.R.’s “New Nationalism” speech of 1910. Either that, or McCain would have to quit calling Barack Obama a socialist.

Good historical piece, worth reading.

Ralph Nader on Wall Street bailout & more troops in Afghanistan.

I think Ralph Nader’s independent candidacy is a joke. But I think he presented some interesting ideas on the NewsHour last night. In this diary, I’ll paraphrase what he said.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/vo…

Basically, Nader says that Wall Street and speculators ought to pay for their own bailout. We shouldn’t put the bailout on the American taxpayers. Nader suggests a tax on “security-derivative transactions”: FDR taxed them and the civil war was financed that way. If you buy something at a store, you pay a sales tax; but if you buy a billion dollars worth of Exxon derivatives, you don’t. Put that money into public works. Repair America, provide jobs.

Where’s the justice, asked Nader? Fat cat bosses on Wall Streets jump ship into a “golden lifeboat” and then their companies demand that Socialism in Washington bail out Corporate Capitalism. Nader said, “The only place left for capitalism in this country is small business, because they’re free to go bankrupt–they don’t get bailed out.”

The two major candidates are always talking about the middle class, but mentioning the hundred million poor is a no-no. Meanwhile, more of the middle class are becoming poor.

Nader added that additional soldiers on the Afghanistan-Pakistan, as suggested by both Obama and McCain, are only going to destabilize Pakistan. The US should connect with tribal leaders in Afghanistan who will act as a buffer against chaos. Nobody conquers Afghanistan: the British didn’t, the Russians didn’t, we won’t.

Additionally, it will be a “scar on the conscience” of both Obama and McCain if more troops in Afghanistan lead to the destabilization of Pakistan and a “massive quagmire” that will make Iraq look like small potatoes.

http://www.votenader.org/

Did Colorado illegally remove voters from the rolls?

(A looming disaster? – promoted by Colorado Pols)

Here’s a New York Times article about several swing states — including Colorado — in which voters have been removed from the rolls prior to the election. The Times is questioning the legality of the actions in Colorado.

Mike Coffman’s comment? No comment.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10…

Tens of thousands of eligible voters in at least six swing states have been removed from the rolls or have been blocked from registering in ways that appear to violate federal law, according to a review of state records and Social Security data by The New York Times.

The actions do not seem to be coordinated by one party or the other, nor do they appear to be the result of election officials intentionally breaking rules, but are apparently the result of mistakes in the handling of the registrations and voter files as the states tried to comply with a 2002 federal law, intended to overhaul the way elections are run.

Still, because Democrats have been more aggressive at registering new voters this year, according to state election officials, any heightened screening of new applications may affect their party’s supporters disproportionately. The screening or trimming of voter registration lists in the six states – Colorado, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Nevada and North Carolina – could also result in problems at the polls on Election Day: people who have been removed from the rolls are likely to show up only to be challenged by political party officials or election workers, resulting in confusion, long lines and heated tempers.

The six swing states seem to be in violation of federal law in two ways. Michigan and Colorado are removing voters from the rolls within 90 days of a federal election, which is not allowed except when voters die, notify the authorities that they have moved out of state, or have been declared unfit to vote.

In three states – Colorado, Louisiana and Michigan – the number of people purged from the election rolls since Aug. 1 far exceeds the number who may have died or relocated during that period.

States may be improperly removing voters who have moved within the state, election experts said, or who are considered inactive because they have failed to vote in two consecutive federal elections. For example, major voter registration drives have been held this year in Colorado, which has also had a significant population increase since the last presidential election, but the state has recorded a net loss of nearly 100,000 voters from its rolls since 2004.

In Colorado, some 37,000 people were removed from the rolls in the three weeks after July 21. During that time, about 5,100 people moved out of the state and about 2,400 died, according to postal data and death records.

The secretaries of state in Michigan and Colorado did not respond to requests for comment.

Disturbing business.

At Least He’s Not Your Anti-Tax Crusader

Although Colorado’s aren’t necessarily anything to be proud of, as well.

From the Oregonian newspaper:

http://www.oregonlive.com/news…

Bill Sizemore acknowledged in court Wednesday that he tapped hundreds of thousands of dollars from a tax-exempt Nevada foundation in recent years and used most of it for personal spending that included a car for his wife, braces for his daughter, part of a time-share apartment in Mexico and 15 1-ounce gold pieces.

Sizemore, Oregon’s most prolific initiative activist with five measures on the Nov. 4 ballot, did not dispute a series of personal transactions from the foundation account that were obtained by two Oregon teachers unions.

The unions are asking a Multnomah County judge to cite Sizemore with contempt of court for violating a 2003 order that is part of a long-running battle between him and the Oregon Education Association and American Federal of Teachers-Oregon.

The 2003 injunction prohibited Sizemore from using a tax-exempt charitable organization for political purposes. It also required him to file accurate campaign finance reports about his political activity.

Gregory A. Hartman, the unions’ lawyer, said that between 2006 and 2008, Sizemore wrote checks from the foundation account for $660,326, almost all of it for his own benefit. Sizemore also charged another $88,176 to a foundation debit card at Wells Fargo, Hartman said.

Smirking Chimp on Sarah Palin

I always enjoy reading Matt Taibbi skewer politicians. Here are excerpts from his latest column on Sarah Palin:

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/t…

The defining moment for me came shortly after Palin and her family stepped down from the stage to uproarious applause, looking happy enough to throw a whole library full of books into a sewer. In the crush to exit the stadium, a middle-aged woman wearing a cowboy hat, a red-white-and-blue shirt and an obvious eye job gushed to a male colleague[–]they were both wearing badges identifying them as members of the Colorado delegation[–]at the Xcel gates.

“She totally reminds me of my cousin!” the delegate screeched. “She’s a real woman! The real thing!”

I stared at her open-mouthed. In that moment, the rank cynicism of the whole sorry deal was laid bare. Here’s the thing about Americans. You can send their kids off by the thousands to get their balls blown off in foreign lands for no reason at all, saddle them with billions in debt year after congressional year while they spend their winters cheerfully watching game shows and football, pull the rug out from under their mortgages, and leave them living off their credit cards and their Wal-Mart salaries while you move their jobs to China and Bangalore.

And none of it matters, so long as you remember a few months before Election Day to offer them a two-bit caricature culled from some cutting-room-floor episode of Roseanne as part of your presidential ticket. And if she’s a good enough likeness of a loudmouthed middle-American archetype, as Sarah Palin is, John Q. Public will drop his giant-size bag of Doritos in gratitude, wipe the Sizzlin’ Picante dust from his lips and rush to the booth to vote for her. Not because it makes sense, or because it has a chance of improving his life or anyone else’s, but simply because it appeals to the low-humming narcissism that substitutes for his personality, because the image on TV reminds him of the mean, brainless slob he sees in the mirror every morning.

The great insight of the Palin VP choice is that huge chunks of American voters no longer even demand that their candidates actually have policy positions; they simply consume them as media entertainment, rooting for or against them according to the reflexive prejudices of their demographic, as they would for reality-show contestants or sitcom characters. Hicks root for hicks, moms for moms, born-agains for born-agains. Sure, there was politics in the Palin speech, but it was all either silly lies or merely incidental fluffery buttressing the theatrical performance. A classic example of what was at work here came when Palin proudly introduced her Down syndrome baby, Trig, then stared into the camera and somberly promised parents of special-needs kids that they would “have a friend and advocate in the White House.” This was about a half-hour before she raised her hands in triumph with McCain, a man who voted against increasing funding for special-needs education.

Palin’s charge that “government is too big” and that Obama “wants to grow it” was similarly preposterous. Not only did her party just preside over the largest government expansion since LBJ, but Palin herself has been a typical Bush-era Republican, borrowing and spending beyond her means. Her great legacy as mayor of Wasilla was the construction of a $14.7 million hockey arena in a city with an annual budget of $20 million; Palin OK’d a bond issue for the project before the land had been secured, leading to a protracted legal mess that ultimately forced taxpayers to pay more than six times the original market price for property the city ended up having to seize from a private citizen using eminent domain. Better yet, Palin ended up paying for the fucking thing with a 25 percent increase in the city sales tax. But in her speech, of course, Palin presented herself as the enemy of tax increases, righteously bemoaning that “taxes are too high,” and Obama “wants to raise them.”

Palin hasn’t been too worried about federal taxes as governor of a state that ranks number one in the nation in federal spending per resident ($13,950), even as it sits just 18th in federal taxes paid per resident ($5,434). That means all us taxpaying non-Alaskans spend $8,500 a year on each and every resident of Palin’s paradise of rugged self-sufficiency. Not that this sworn enemy of taxes doesn’t collect from her own: Alaska currently collects the most taxes per resident of any state in the nation.