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Toronto Mayor Rob Ford dead at 46

Toronto Mayor Rib Ford, on drugs
Former Toronto mayor Rob Ford died at age 46.

TORONTO – Rob Ford, the former Toronto mayor, died over the weekend after a long battle with “just having an awesome, good time.”

The infamous Toronto mayor actually died painfully from cancer. Ford was a human being whose pain led him to drugs and partying, which was fun – even if the fun was only for himself – and may have led to his early demise.

Listen (or look): I am not going to sit on my internet ass and tell you Rob Ford was a good leader. He wasn’t even a good man. But like so many of us, Ford did not give a fuck to please you or anyone around him. But unlike so many of us, Mayor Ford did not hide his growing contempt for society and family, which you’re all so intent on creating for us. Ford cared, but only in that kind of, “I wish you were all better, but none of us are, so I’m getting fucked up now,” sort of way. I saw him, insane in the eyes and beautifully grotesque, and for once in my life, I could relate to a public official. I could discuss politics.

Who hasn’t been there? You’re at one of those imperceptible milestones – you can’t see it, but you know – this is as good as you’re ever going to do in life, but you’re fucking it up at the same time as you witness previously undiscovered definitions of mediocrity reveal themselves to you.

Some of us handle this with pure rationalism. Others, delusional barking, and lashing out. And some of us, like Mayor Ford, internalize that battle and fight against ourselves, so hateful for the enemy whom everyone knows best – himself. Attacking the problem at the source, we destroy ourselves and maybe a few others along the way. Ford went down in a hateful quiet, fighting cancer while we laughed at his death throes. Drugs and alcohol. His mental illness was hilarious. His death, our punchline.

Don’t you hate it? Kick him out on corruption charges. Since everything is a joke anyway, to Mr. Ford, you had him die alone, as a joke. But who cares? He was corrupt, by any definition of the word. Offensive by every sense.

We saw in Rob Ford what we saw in ourselves. A depraved, emaciated, psychotic animal, clawing its way out, ugly and wet, and reeking of urine. In fact, Rob Ford’s open manner of drug abuse and public freakouts are the two main activities that built this very website, chronicle.su, so here’s to Rob Ford, who died carrying that message to so many people: Thank you.

We have your back, sir. We’ll carry this torch.

“I might look like Robert Ford, but I feel just like Jesse James.”

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Christian Stork: The Megalomania of Aaron Swartz Prosecutor Carmen Ortiz


Massachusetts District U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz (Courtesy: Wikipedia)
Massachusetts District U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz (Courtesy: Wikipedia)

WASHINGTON — In a not-so-stirring defense of academic conglomerate JSTOR, U.S. Attorney Carmen Ortiz said of Aaron Swartz‘s offenses, “Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away.” While common sense and lore would tend to at least lend more sympathy to Robin Hood- or Jean Valjean-type characters, who might be at least functioning out of some concern for others, Ms. Ortiz remained steadfast in her pursuit of recent “an Hero” Mr. Swartz, trying to see him put in jail for potentially the rest of his life.

Over at WhoWhatWhy Christian Stork does a nice little breakdown of this U.S. attorney’s wading into murky waters of civil asset forfeiture, one particular case in which she agreed to help confiscate a rundown, mom-and-pop Massachusetts motel because because “from 2001 to 2008, .05 [percent of at least 125,000 visitors] were arrested for drug crimes on the property.” This was a theft just like Aaron Swartz’s. Except not it was not a theft in the high-minded name of educating the world’s downtrodden, but in that of fattening the pockets of law enforcement agencies, treating poor drug abusers as criminals, alongside those who might dare house them.

Mr. Stork paints a disturbing picture of a civil asset forfeiture system in which being in debt vis-a-vis a mortgage — meaning that a bank, and its lawyers, has some has some skin in the game — means that the owners of this motel would have been in an even better position to disavow their affiliation with three handfuls of guest drug offenses. But alas they ran out of lawyer money, and the government all at once took five decades of family property worth $1.5 million.

Mr. Stork also outlines a direct financial, not an external ethical, motive for law enforcement to take on these kinds of civil asset forfeitures. He cites the testimony of a DEA agent claiming that federal attorneys never go after anything with less than $50,000 in equity. Additionally, local law enforcement, for cooperating with the feds, can look to take home up to 80 percent of what was seized. That’s a major incentive to turn a blind eye to a violation of property rights. In fact it’s more of an incentive to turn a blind eye to property-rights violations than the Pirate Party ever had: It’s money straight to the bank!

The same prosecutor, Carmen Ortiz, who sought to lock up Aaron Swartz for his failure to respect property rights of the proprietors of academic information also sought to seize a family’s business because an extreme minority of their clientele used drugs. Mr. Stork’s article makes clear that this was ultimately the DEA’s initiative, with Ms. Ortiz simply acting as its lawyer. But that doesn’t change that this U.S. attorney lacks any consistency in her modus operandi. It’s pretty obvious that the low rates for staying at this establishment, Motel Caswell, made it an even more tempting target.

Ms. Ortiz’s office released a statement about the seizure, saying: “The government believed that this was an important case . . . because of the deterrent message it sends to others who may turn a blind eye to crime occurring at their place of business.” But Mr. Stork shows this is shmoax because local crime rates dictate that there would have been just as much of a rationale for seizing nearby Walmart, Home Depot, Applebees, Motel 6 and IHOP. But those are large businesses, and no matter how many people shoot up or each other inside, they’ll have the lawyers to keep the whomever or the DEA at bay.

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Solicitor General: Gut Individual Mandate to Further Cannabis Legalization

Acting Attorney General Neal Katyal, who this week outlined the administration's shift from state-based health care exchanges to "chilling out"
Acting Attorney General Neal Katyal, who this week outlined the administration’s shift from state-based health care exchanges to “chilling out”

WASHINGTON — Friday morning Acting Attorney General Neal Katyal announced that the Obama administration would be backpedaling from its take on the commerce clause to forward the “holy, righteous cause” of recreational cannabis legalization. Bolstered by praise from Colorado and Washington state Democratic leaders, and directives from the highest echelons of the Obama administration, Mr. Katyal announced in a press conference that the results of the landmark case Gonzales vs. Raich were “not cool” and were keeping millions of Americans from “chilling out” and “lighting up, man.”

Reached by phone in his Fairfax office at George Mason University Law School, Professor Michael Greve said the new anti-commandeering stance would prove exciting to Libertarian Party devotees at the Mercatur Institute and millions of drug-addled American liberals, most of whom are dependent on federal largesse for their barest subsistence.

“The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act,” said Mr. Greve, “established a conditional pre-emption regime in which the federal government told the states, ‘establish an exchange or we will do it for you.'” Following 18 more conservative states having in essence told the government to come in and establish exchanges, Mr. Greve said, “these states have told the federal government to take responsibility for the inevitable failure of these health care regimes.”

Mr. Katyal said in a press conference Friday morning, “As long as Congress refuses to act to deschedule cannabis from the same tier as heroin — come on, heroin, people — the administration must act.” The administration’s tight, 180-degree turn came on the heel of several online townterviews, during which poll respondents consistently begged the administration to cease the notoriously racist drug war. In his weekly address today, a visibly intoxicated President Barack Obama spoke to his office webcam in a cloud of smoke, admitting, “Millions of toothless Southern and Midwestern Americans, who will never vote for me, anyway, versus a good time for the peace-loving denizens of Colorado and Washington state? That’s an easy choice for me, bra.”

Following an on-screen hit from a gravity bong haphazardly constructed from a Chicago Bears novelty cup, which the 51-year-old U.S. president described as “vicious,” he said, “I realize the insane hypocrisy of my having smoked marijuana for recreation before overseeing a federal regime that incarcerates millions of Americans — particularly African-Americans — in such record numbers. Something had to be done, and I have directed the Department of Justice to just scrap this health care reform thing.”

Attorney General Eric Holder released a statement saying he now concedes that “all of these Republican attorneys general, they’re right, man. Just as we can’t force these conservative states to establish exchanges, we also can’t use the commerce clause to force this horrible drug war down the throats of Colorado and Washington citizens. The voters have spoken. Let freedom reign.”

House Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), speaking to Politico, said that the legislative slowdown that faced descheduling cannabis was fueled by an ambiguity around the level of taxation that the illicit industrial psychoactive crop should receive. “If we had chosen to tax it too high, we would fuel black market activity. If we had voted to tax it too low, we just wouldn’t be taking our deficit seriously, and that would be unpatriotic.”

Internet Chronicle legal analysts have long predicted that the landmark Gonzales case would prove problematic for the Obama administration’s main objective — even if that objective were only background or covert — of legalizing the sticky-icky. In the wake of this decision, Iran and Russia are expected to overtake within weeks the United States in terms of arbitrary and/or politically motivated incarceration.