Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Rainy Days, Rainy News

For all of you out there who still think that Obama is the hope this nation has been waiting for, the shining bastion of moral integrity to fill the void that has been so painfully palpable since the days of JFK, allow me to share with you a short series of news stories I stumbled upon this morning.

Obama backs out of promise to have the Feds stay out of state matters regarding marijuana cultivation
OK, here's a good one to start with. It would appear that the Obama administration figures that at this point we've all forgotten Obama's promise to keep the Feds out of states which had legalized marijuana cultivation for medical purposes. The DEA, in cooperation with the ATF, FBI, and local law enforcement, conducted a state-wide raid earlier this week against a series of medical marijuana grow operations and dispensaries in Montana. Chris Williams, co-owner of Montana Cannabis, said he was not given a reason why 1700 plants were seized and his employees were detained at gunpoint while federal agents orchestrated a standard shock-and-awe campaign, bursting on the scene with guns drawn.

While I can't say that these actions surprise me, my favorite part is the tight-lipped silence on the part of our government. Statements were refused to be issued from the attorney general's office, the local sheriff's department, and the DEA. Any request for information was met with a cold "details will be released at a later date." Yet people continue to call me paranoid...

CIA man freed after 'blood money' payment to victim's families
Next up, a heart-warming story out of Pakistan. In case you haven't been following this story, CIA contractor Raymond Davis was accused or murdering two Pakistani men in a recent altercation. The United States, infuriated that one of their own was being detained for murder, demanded that the Pakistani government grant Davis diplomatic immunity. In the end, all charges were dropped once Davis ponied up the 'blood money' for his offense, a common practice in Pakistani courts wherein the accused is granted a full pardon after supplying a negotiated amount of cash to the victim's families. The article makes no mention of the amount of money required to purchase the pardon, and once again US officials remained silent when asked to comment on the matter.

While none of this may seem too nefarious, as the mire of foreign court systems can certainly be alarmingly alien and confusing, it is the comments from the attorneys of the victim's families that throws up the red flag here. The victim's lawyers openly claim that they were detained en route to meeting with their clients, and unable to communicate with them while the families received phone calls from court officials, and summarily bullied into accepting the blood money in exchange for the loss of their loved ones. Once the papers were signed and the money was paid, Davis was acquitted of all charges and allowed to leave the court house in the company of a US consulate.

White House pushes to make illegal audio and video streaming a felony
And last but not least, we have this shining gem from Yesterday the White House proposed that Congress take up a sweeping reform of copyright laws, making it a felony to illegally stream copyrighted audio of video content on the web. Among many of the finer points of the proposal, the Obama administration is asking Congress to approve using wire-taps on "investigations of serious crimes", piggy-backing the paper on the Patriot Act's privacy invasion.

Also mentioned in the report is a warning against foreign-controlled and operated sites being an obstacle for US enforcement efforts. Now, I have no problem with paying for my digital content. I'm lucky enough that most of the music I listen to can be legally obtained for free as the bands I enjoy support live taping of their concerts, and my Netflix account isn't breaking the bank at 10 bucks a month. My fears arise out of the inclusion of wire-taps in the literature presented in the proposal.

You know, I remember a time when personal liberty was of paramount importance in this country. Yet this collection of news articles proves to me that the country I grew up loving disappeared long ago. There was a saying that I heard often growing up, used to describe willful children. "You give them an inch, and they'll take a mile. You give them a finger, and they'll take the whole arm." It's a sad state of affairs when cutesy quotations used to describe children can just as accurately be applied to the emerging fascism of a country who's government was designed to protect "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."

Go back to bed America. Nothing to see here.

1984, yeah right bro! That's a typo, Orwell is living large!!"
--Cereal Killer

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