Decriminalized? Pot possession now a ticketable offense in California

Lately it feels a lot like we are moving back to the 1960s and 70s when we had greater personal freedom.  It will take a long time to undo the damage done by Reagan and all the right wingers.

Ending the War on Drugs is only part of it.  We also have to criminalize corporate drug testing as a warrantless search.

From Raw Story:

By Daniel Tencer
Friday, October 1st, 2010 — 5:53 pm

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday signed into law a change to California’s marijuana laws that some describe as a reduction of criminal penalties and others are describing as being effectively decriminalization.

The move comes a month before California voters decide on Proposition 19, a ballot initiative that would fully legalize, regulate and tax marijuana in the state — a move the governor opposed even as he signed the new bill into law.

Under the new legal regime, marijuana possession will be a civil infraction, like a speeding ticket, and will be punishable by a $100 fine. Previously, possession was a misdemeanor, even though the penalty was the same — a $100 fine, with no jail time possible.

For some observers, this is a de facto decriminalization, as marijuana possession would no longer be reflected in a criminal record. But, as CBS News notes, the fundamental change will be that those who are issued a ticket for marijuana possession will no longer have the ability to challenge the charge in court.

“Notwithstanding my opposition to Proposition 19 … I am signing this measure because possession of less than an ounce of marijuana is an infraction in everything but name,” Schwarzenegger wrote in his signing statement. “In this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors, defense attorneys, law enforcement, and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources prosecuting a crime that carries the same punishment as a traffic ticket.”

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US sorry over deliberate sex infections in Guatemala

This is because the people in power in the US don’t value human life.

If that sounds snarky then consider how many times I’ve heard ultr right wing conservative wankers in the pundocracy use that line about the people they are dehumanizing in order to pump this country up and get them to go murder the chosen scapegoats.

And to think some people consider me a conspiracy nut for opining that I wouldn’t put it past the right wig neo-fascist Cristian racists who came to power in 1980 to have used AIDS as a biological warfare weapon.  Maybe not used it but tested it on three of their favorite scapegoats;  Drug users, gays and people of color.

After all they have shown time and again that they don’t value human life when it belongs to people they consider sub-human.

From BBC:

1 October 2010 Last updated at 19:04 GMT

The United States government has apologised for deliberately infecting hundreds of people in Guatemala with gonorrhoea and syphilis as part of medical tests more than 60 years ago.

None of those infected – mentally ill patients and prisoners – consented.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has condemned the vaccine research as unethical and reprehensible.

Meanwhile, Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom has accused the US of crimes against humanity.

‘Shocking, tragic, reprehensible’

Syphilis can cause heart problems, blindness, mental illness and even death, and although the patients were treated it is not known how many recovered.

Evidence of the programme was unearthed by Prof Susan Reverby at Wellesley College. She says the Guatemalan government gave permission for the tests.

No offer of compensation has yet been made, but an investigation will be launched into the specifics of the study, which took place between 1946 and 1948.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Friday the news was “shocking, it’s tragic, it’s reprehensible”, and said President Barack Obama planned to call Mr Colom to apologise personally.

The joint statement from Mrs Clinton and Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said: “Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred
under the guise of public health.

“We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologise to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.”


The study by Prof Reverby shows that US government medical researchers infected almost 700 people in Guatemala with two sexually transmitted diseases.

The patients – prisoners and people suffering mental health problems – were unaware they were being experimented upon.

The doctors used prostitutes with syphilis to infect them, or inoculation, as they tried to determine whether penicillin could prevent syphilis, not just cure it.

The patients were then treated for the disease, but it is unclear whether everyone was cured.

Prof Reverby has previously done research on the Tuskegee experiment, where the US authorities measured the progress of syphilis in African-American sharecroppers without telling them they had the disease or adequately treating it.

The experiment ran from 1932 to 1972, with President Bill Clinton eventually apologising for it.

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Friday Night Fun and Culture

From one of my all time favorite music venues Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage Coffee House

Barbara Higbie “Just Like A Woman”

Wall Street Brings Class War to America?

From Huffington Post:

Les Leopold

Author, “The Looting of America”

Posted: October 1, 2010 07:55 AM

As thousands of demonstrators marched in European capitals on Wednesday to protest recent austerity measures, officials in Brussels proposed stiffening sanctions for governments that fail to cut their budget deficits and debt swiftly enough. (“Workers In Europe Protest Austerity Measures”, New York Times, 9/30/2010)

Oh, do the super-rich hate the sound of “class struggle.” Dare to utter the words and they’ll reach for their red-baiting paint guns and spray you silly with invective. It’s un-American. It’s socialistic. It’s an insult to democracy and freedom.

But try as they might, they can’t paint over the reality, which the new Fortune 400 listings make so clear: Wall Street billionaires have more money than they’ll ever be able to use–at a time when more than 29 million of us don’t have that most basic necessity, a full-time job. A hidden class war got us to this point. It’s not hidden anymore.

Once upon a time there was a tangible connection between the plutocrats and the rest of us. Carnegie, Mellon and Rockefeller built sprawling enterprises that employed tens of thousands of workers (even if they did treat them brutally). But today’s billionaire financiers, about 100 of whom are on the Fortune 400 list, have a tough time explaining how their money-making schemes produce any jobs at all. Very few of us have a clue about how they even make their money.

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Class war… Not just for the rich any more…

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New sex ed funding ends decade of abstinence-only

From Raw Story:

By The Associated Press
Friday, October 1st, 2010 — 9:00 am

Beyond condoms: A decade of abstinence-only ends as feds fund comprehensive sex-ed programs

For the first time in more than a decade, the federal government is funding sex education programs that aren’t based solely on abstinence. But they’re not just about handing out condoms, either.

Beginning this school year, a five-year, $375 million grant is being divided among 28 programs that have been proven to lower the pregnancy rate among participants, no matter their focus. Many programs distribute condoms, but about half also aim to boost teens’ academics, get them involved in extracurricular activities and even improve their parents’ job status.

Advocates believe this “above the waist” approach gives kids the tools to help them succeed in school and make better life decisions, especially about sex.

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Stop FBI Repression! National Days of Action October 4 & 5

Thousands have come together in response to the FBI raids on seven homes and an anti-war office on Friday, September 24, 2010. Across the country organizations and individuals are standing together to protest the United States government’s attempt to silence and criminalize anti-war and international solidarity activists.

Jess Sundin said, “These raids and subpoenas are an attack on anti-war and other progressive movements. It is an attack on our freedom to speak, our freedom to assemble with like-minded people, and our freedom to tell the government that their actions and policies are wrong. It is an attempt to clear the way for more wars and occupations of other countries by the U.S. military.”

Protests against the intimidation and harassment have taken place or are planned for 39 cities across the country. From Minneapolis and Chicago ,to Los Angeles, Atlanta, Kalamazoo MI and Dallas Texas, The response has been tremendous an continues to grow.

We are calling for further actions to take place in the coming week as the first Grand Jury Subpoenas call for activists to appear on October 5.

Monday October 4 : Call Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General: 202-353-1555

Demand :
**End repression of anti-war and international solidarity activists!
**Return all materials seized in the raid!
**Stop the Grand Jury Subpoenas of activists!

Tuesday October 5: Act in solidarity with activists called before the Grand Jury

Take action at local federal buildings and FBI offices! Organize demonstrations in your community!

Sign the Petition Now:

Funds for legal defense will be needed. We will announce where they can be sent in the next few days.

Reach out to your organization or community group and send a statement of solidarity.

Steff Yorek, a long-time antiwar activist and one of the activists whose homes was searched said, “The assistance and support we have already received has been tremendously encouraging, with your help we can stop this outrageous fishing expedition and attack on progressive movements.”

Click here to download the leaflet
***Please print and distribute at Oct 2 March in DC and in your community today!

Committee To Stop FBI Repression:

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Sweden – No safe for trans people – Opening of Council overshadowed by racist and transphobic attack…

[2010-10-01 TGEU]

No safe for trans people – Opening of Council overshaded by attack

Fri, 10/01/2010 – 11:27 — Richard

There is no safe space for Transgender People!

Opening of the Third European Transgender Council in Malmoe over shaded by racist and transphobic attack

In the night of September 30th two delegates from Turkey of the Third European Transgender Council were attacked by a group of five to seven people when leaving a restaurant. The trans activists have been harassed verbally and subject to physical violence.

“There is no safe space for transgender people in Europe. Last night’s attack showed once more that transphobia and racism are not only a problem of certain countries in Europe. Transphobia is everywhere”, says TGEU Vice chair Julia Ehrt.

“We express our solidarity with our activist friends. We are sad and angry and call upon the police to do everything to persecute the perpetrators,” says Dr Carsten Balzer from the “Transrespect versus Transphobia Worldwide” TvT- Research project.

The incident will be followed by the RFSL hate crime coordinator to ensure proper follow-up.

The 3rd European Transgender Council, organized by Transgender Europe in conjunction with a local organizing team in Malmoe brings together more than 200 activists from 35 different countries.

The largest European Human rights event on transgender issues deals among other topics with hate crimes and violence faced by gender variant people. In the last 30 months 33 transgender people were reported of being murdered in Europe according to TGEU’s TvT-project. 79% of trans people are subject to negative comments, harassment, physical and sexual abuse and violence according to the European Hate Crime Study published by Press for Change last year.

The Council is starting today with a video message from Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights at the Council of Europe and Vladimir Luxuria former member of the Italian Parliament. It will last until Sunday October 3rd.

US to apologize for ‘atrocious’ STD experiments in Guatemala

From Raw Story:

By Ron Brynaert
Friday, October 1st, 2010 — 9:48 am

Unlike Tuskegee experiments, doctors intentionally infected patients with gonorrhea, syphilis, encouraged them to spread the STDs and many were left untreated

Nearly forty years ago, the Associated Press reported, “For 40 years, the U.S. Public Health Service has conducted a study in which human guinea pigs, not given proper treatment, have died of syphilis and its side effects. The study was conducted to determine from autopsies what the disease does to the human body.”

In 2002, NPR’s Alex Chadwick noted,

The Public Health Service, working with the Tuskegee Institute, began the study in 1932. Nearly 400 poor black men with syphilis from Macon County, Ala., were enrolled in the study. They were never told they had syphilis, nor were they ever treated for it. According to the Centers for Disease Control, the men were told they were being treated for “bad blood,” a local term used to describe several illnesses, including syphilis, anemia and fatigue.

For participating in the study, the men were given free medical exams, free meals and free burial insurance.

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Hands off my house: Dutch outlaw squatting

Yahoo News:

By TOBY STERLING, Associated Press Writer Toby Sterling, Associated Press Writer 2 hrs 52 mins ago

AMSTERDAM – The scene has unfolded countless times in the Netherlands: Young people break into an unused building, move in a table, chair and bed, and then tell the police they are now the official residents — with no permission from the owner and no plans to pay rent.

On Friday, the once-respected Dutch tradition of squatting becomes illegal. It is the latest pillar of the country’s liberal institutions — such as legal prostitution and cafes that openly sell marijuana — to be abolished or curtailed as the Dutch become more conservative and rethink the boundaries of their famed tolerance.

In Amsterdam, the epicenter of the movement known in Dutch as “kraken,” or “breaking,” squatters plan a demonstration Friday against the new law that makes their way of life punishable by up to one year in prison.

“Of course we’re going to resist: resisting is part of what we do,” says a young English-speaking woman at a “squat,” or occupied building, next to the Amstel River. She identified herself only as Lilo.

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