By Doug Porter
I’ll lead off today’s roundup of the news with the subject of international headlines: Edward Snowden, trapped now in the bowels of Moscow airport.
Nineteenth century historian Lord Acton is generally credited with coining the phrase “absolute power corrupts absolutely”. Here in the twenty-first century knowledge is power, more so than tanks, treasuries or theology.
Nowhere is this more obvious than in the travails of Edward Snowden, formerly employed within the industrial-spying complex. Troubled by the vastness of contemporary intelligence collection, he sought to turn loose the secrets of the National Security Agency, only to end up in a kafka-esque nightmare, trapped in the Moscow airport.
Apparently no country wants him. Even nations with hostile relationships with the United States are distancing themselves from this modern day Robin Hood of the information wars.
This story is not about foreign policy interests; it’s about membership in the club. It’s about ‘they all do it’. Ecuador, for example, lost interest in Snowden shortly after some ‘activists’ leaked information about that nations purchase of sophisticated electronic surveillance systems from an Israeli company.
What Snowden, or any leaker for that matter, can expect is a continuing onslaught of negative press, focusing on any peccadillos that can be found, i.e., did you know his ex-girlfriend was a pole dancer? Any in the media who dare associate with such an individual will also be tainted with that same “unpatriotic” brush.
Snowden’s only hope at this point is for a rogue nation, one with a low information leader who fails to understand the stakes involved. And any country dumb enough to take him in can expect to see all their dirty laundry published in the world press shortly thereafter.
If the former intelligence contactor surrenders to U.S. authorities, he can expect some variation on the treatment afforded Army Private Bradley Manning or the non-persons languishing in secret prisons around the world. Solitary confinement, secret trials and enhanced interrogation techniques all await him.
After all this is about intelligence, the sacred shield that protects against the horrific hordes waiting to over-run civilization as we know it. In nations all over the world ‘We’ have granted our governments authority to do whatever it takes.
And that’s what they’re doing. It’s not the ‘secret facts’ being published in the Guardian and other newspapers that count here; this story is about secrecy as a means unto itself.
The European nations’ faux horror at spying revelations will only be in the headlines as long as it takes to protect the politicians that enable their own collection processes.
It will take a lot more than one guy screaming at the heavens to alter the course of history here.
Fight for the Future, July 4th
Here in San Diego and nearly 80 cities around the country, activists are planning demonstrations for July 4th , calling for restoration of the Fourth Amendment of the Bill of Rights. From the group Fight for the Future:
Grassroots Internet users have organized Restore the Fourth protests on the ground all over the U.S. on the 4th of July. Building off the energy of the StopWatching.us coalition (which now has over 550,000 signers), and aiming to amplify the protests on the ground, we’re raising the Internet Defense League’s “Cat Signal” on July 4th, asking websites and organizations to show call out the NSA by displaying the text of the 4th Amendment. We just started outreach and we’ve already got EFF, WordPress, 4chan, Reddit, Namecheap, Imgur, Mozilla, DuckDuckGo, Fark, and Cheezburger signed up to participate.
The local demonstration will start at 11am on Thursday with a rally at the Balboa Park Fountain, followed by a march to Senator Diane Feinstein’s office at 750 B Street. For more information, go here.
Also, San Diego’s Overhead Light Brigade –the folks who like to light up freeway bridges with protest messages—is planning to put on a visual show on Thursday, July 3rd starting a 8pm at the Clairemont Drive overpass of I-5.
ChalkGate: Goldsmith’s Idea of a Deal
Any doubts remaining about City Attorney Jan Goldsmith’s true allegiances should be resolved by reading Dorian Hargrove’s latest reporting in the San Diego Reader.
Following the news of ‘not guilty’ verdicts on all 13 counts leveled against BofA chalker/protestor Jeff Olson, the prosecution issued a press release intended to assure the citizenry that this case was never political.
“As with most graffiti cases, Mr. Olson was offered reduction to an infraction after completing volunteer work service cleaning up graffiti,” read the statement. “His refusal resulted in the trial and his successful defense.”
So, what was this deal offer Olson that he refused? From the Reader story:
On May 16, [City Attorney] Hazard told Olson the City would drop the case if he agreed to serve 32-hours of community service, attend an 8-hour seminar by the “Corrective Behavior Institute,” pay Bank of America $6,299 in restitution for the clean-up, waive all Fourth Amendment rights guarding against search and seizures, and surrender his driver’s license for three year period.”
So on June 18, as the June 25 trial date neared, Hazard offered Olson another deal.
Olson would plead guilty to one count of vandalism, agree to serve three-years probation, pay restitution –amount undetermined, spend 24-hours cleaning up graffiti, and surrender his driver’s license for 2-years.
Remind me to count my fingers if I’m ever forced to shake hands with that Hazard guy.
So now BoA hopes we’ll forget about their role in the case so they can go back to focusing on laundering…money for drug cartels, and racial discrimination in lending practices and bid-rigging on municipal bond contracts—the mafia-style schemes that systematically stole from schools, hospitals, libraries and nursing homes from nearly every city, county and state in the United States.
The verdict in the Olson case may have been Not Guilty, but the anger focused on Bank of America continues. In cities around the country, Bank of America “Chalk-ins” are scheduled for Saturday, July 6th. More than 50 people are already signed up to leave their chalk marks on San Diego BofA branches.
California’s Open Source Marijuana Legalization Initiative
California’s pot activists are planning on another initiative for 2014. And they’re looking for ideas on how to word it.
The Cannabis and Hemp Freedom Act, was started as an open-source, grassroots project, intending to combine the valuable content and lessons learned from the previous attempts in California, and to bring everyone together on the “same page” with the next Legalization initiative. To accomplish this the language is hosted in an editable Google Document, located here: http://bit.ly/camj2014. In the essence of the open-source concept, even the name is up for debate. We have gone through a few names at this point, and need your help to pick the final name! This is the first of two surveys in order to finalize the name. For the second survey, we will pick the top 3 results from everyone’s responses. After that we will finalize the name for 2014!
Will this kind of open source legislation writing trump the legalese espoused by the legal/lobbyist set? Will this initiative placate those in the legalization/reform/medical marijuana movement who see evil lurking behind every amendment?
Only time will tell. But the paranoid rants by some of the pro-pot factions have provided the best argument against legalization in the past, IMHO.
Extra! Extra! More Filner Scandal! Or Not…
You might think from reading the first four paragraphs of Voice of San Diego’s latest reportage that Mayor Bob Filner was somehow involved in yet another pay for play scandal involving land developers.
But he’s not. Or is he?
Today’s story concerns an El Cajon Blvd. development called Centrepoint. Apparently it’s now news when squabbles involving development are settled with money later used for community enhancements.
Since Mayor Filner temporarily halted the project following a request from Councilwoman Marti Emerald, hizzoner gets the ‘guilt by association’ tag.
Now the VOSD story is factual. All those things really happened. And nobody’s alleging any criminal activity. No money ended up in any politicians’ pockets, as best we tell.
But that won’t stop Papa Doc’s minions at UT-San Diego. Look for the hang ‘em first editorial any day now.
The headline’s already up at conserve blog SDRostra:
VOSD BREAKS NEW FILNER EXTORTION SCHEME
Carl DeMaio’s New Best Friend?
Speaking of SDRostra, a story went up yesterday and disappeared shortly there after claiming that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor had donated $10,000 to the campaign of Carl DeMaio, the GOP wunderkind who’s running for the 52nd District Congressional seat against Democrat Scott Peters.
Given that the legal limit for individual donations to Congressional campaigns is $2600, I’m sure there must be something amiss here. Perhaps it was only a $1000 contribution. Or perhaps it was to a couple of Political Action Committees. Maybe Bob Filner ‘stole’ it.
All I know is that story disappeared.
Immigration is Not Such a Big Issue for the House GOP
The Washington Post Wonkblog taps a Wall Street Journal analysis to tell us the real reason why the Senate immigration Bill has no chance in the House
First, “only 38 of the House’s 234 Republicans, or 16%, represent districts in which Latinos account for 20% or more of the population.” Second, “only 28 Republican-held districts are considered even remotely at risk of being contested by a Democratic challenger, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.”
So for about 200 of the House’s Republicans, a primary challenge by conservatives angry over “amnesty” is probably a more realistic threat than defeat at the hands of angry Hispanic voters, or even angry Democrats.
On This Day: 1937 – American aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart disappeared in the Central Pacific during an attempt to fly around the world at the equator. 1947 – An object crashed near Roswell, NM. The U.S. Army Air Force insisted it was a weather balloon, but eyewitness accounts led to speculation that it might have been an alien spacecraft. 1990 – Representatives of the Italian Catholic Church announced that they would attempt to halt Madonna’s concerts in Rome because of her alleged inappropriate use of crucifixes and sacred symbols.
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