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Wednesday, 12 December 2012 10:40

The Feds Are in Denial About Marijuana

NIKOLAS KOZLOFF FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

In light of recent referendums in the U.S. states of Colorado and Washington which have legalized marijuana, could the drug war be headed for a serious meltdown? Such a notion would have been unthinkable just a short while ago, but there is no denying that America is in the midst of cultural change.  Even though the federal authorities continue to prohibit marijuana, baby boomers and a more youthful and progressive electorate seems to be headed in the opposite direction and could force a serious rethinking of the authorities’ heretofore disastrous and misplaced approach to narcotics, which has resulted in the incarceration of 500,000 people at staggering financial cost.  If that was not enough, the drug war has also racked up racially biased arrests, absorbed police time and money, and enriched Mexican drug lords.

Published in Editorials

 WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

A white Ford F-250 pick-up rumbled through town, a Confederate rebel flag on a pole behind the cab; on the rear bumper were a pro-life and three Anti-Obama stickers, two of which could not be revealed in a family newspaper.

It wasn't a lone wolf protest; several cars, trucks, and homes in the area sport similar flags and messages. During the summer, when a 4-wheel Jamboree and a Monster Truck rally are held at the local fairgrounds, attracting thousands from a multi-state area, many trucks fly rebel flags, insignia, and political statements. During the annual eight-day fair at the end of September, vendors sell all kinds of items with the Confederate battle flag, most of them made overseas.

The rebels say they are fierce independents. But, being a "rebel" doesn't mean you can complain about paying taxes, while also denying climate change and evolution. Nevertheless, those flying rebel flags, although they may be disenchanted and alienated from the mainstream, are still part of traditional mainstream America.

Published in Analysis

WALTER BRASCH FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

Roman Catholic Bishop Daniel Jenky, of Peoria, Illinois, ordered all parish priests in his diocese to read a letter to their congregations condemning Barack Obama. The letter, to be read the weekend before the election, declared that Obama and the Democrat-controlled US Senate had launched an "assault upon our religious freedom."

He wasn't the only priest who used the pulpit to attack the President. Bishop David Lauren of Green Bay, Wisconsin, told his congregations that voting for Obama and other candidates who were pro-choice or who believed in embryonic stem cell research or gay marriage could put their "soul in jeopardy." Others, primarily from evangelical Protestant faiths, were even more adamant in their religious intolerance, declaring that voting for Obama would definitely condemn their souls to Hell.

Published in Guest Commentary

STEVEN JONAS FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The general consensus from the right, left and middle (as those terms are defined in the U.S., not world, sense) was that Obama really messed up in the first 2012 Presidential debate.  After all, Romney lied and uttered falsehoods about his positions and the President’s and his own records, all over the place (1, 2, 3).  (By the way, there is a difference between the two: when you tell a lie you know that you aren’t telling the truth.  When you utter a falsehood you may or may not know that it is.)  And Obama didn’t come slamming back at him.  He certainly could have.  He’s got the style, he is a law-school graduate (Harvard no less), and he didn’t need an overwhelming assortment of facts to nail Mitt to the post.  Just a few would have done the job.  So why didn’t he?

Chris Matthews went almost apoplectic over Obama’s generally non-responsive mode.  Ed Schultz got depressed.  My colleague William Rivers Pitt laid into Obama in his characteristically strong but literary way (4).  A good friend of mine, retired teacher Ellen Diamond, put it this way:

Published in Guest Commentary

JONATHAN SIMON FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

According to the "father of exit polling," the late Warren Mitofsky, exit polls are intended for academic analysis of voting patterns and opinions (e.g., what did 25 to 34 year-old white males regard as the most important issue?) and not as any sort of check on the validity of the votecounts.  Unless, of course, you are anywhere else on Earth (other than America), where exit polls are routinely employed, often with the sanction of the government of the United States, as just such a check mechanism, and have frequently led to official calls for electoral investigations and indeed electoral re-dos.

In America, where votecounts in competitive and significant races consistently come out to the right of the exit polls (it is called the "red shift"), the media machine has waved off the exit polls, concluding, without so much as a quick peek under the hood of the vote-counting computers, that the exit polls must be "off" because they "oversample Democrats," conclusive evidence to the contrary notwithstanding.  We're the Beacon Of Democracy, dammit--we don't need no stinkin exit polls!  We're "one nation under God" so our elections must be honest!

Published in Guest Commentary

NIKOLAS KOZLOFF FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

With so much blanket media coverage being provided to the presidential debates in the U.S., it is easy to lose sight of other important international events. On Sunday, voters will go to the polls in Venezuela to decide the fate of Hugo Chavez's so-called Bolivarian Revolution which has been fourteen years in the making. Though the maverick Venezuelan politician has survived many political challenges in the past, and even seems to have overcome his battle with cancer for the time being, Chavez faces a formidable challenger in the form of Henrique Capriles Randonski.

Published in Guest Commentary

NIKOLAS KOZLOFF FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

In the wake of Paraguay’s suspicious impeachment of President Fernando Lugo, which observers have likened to a kind of “quasi-coup,” some may wonder whether underhanded corporate forces may have played a role in the political crisis. Such suspicions were heightened recently when the new de facto regime led by Federico Franco, Lugo’s former conservative Vice President, inked a deal with Texas-based PetroVictory/Crescent Global Oil to open up the remote Chaco region to petroleum exploration.

Supporters of Lugo’s highly dubious ouster claim that Crescent could help to ease Paraguay’s dependence on foreign oil. Richard González, Crescent’s CEO, announced that the company would invest $10 million in the Chaco and start exploratory drilling within the next few months. To be sure, there’s no proof or “smoking gun” that Crescent had anything to do with the political shakeup in Paraguay, yet the timing of the deal raises eyebrows.

Published in Guest Commentary

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

If you are paying any attention to Mitt Romney’s choice for his running mate – and we’d all be better off spending our time doing something else – you certainly understand that there are contenders (shortlisters) and pretenders (long shots).

Published in Guest Commentary

HARVEY WASSERMAN FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

The molten cores at Units 1, 2 & 3 have threatened all life on Earth. The flood of liquid radiation has poisoned the Pacific. Fukushima’s cesium and other airborne emissions have already dwarfed Three Mile Island, Chernobyl and all nuclear explosions including Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Published in Guest Commentary

BILL BERKOWITZ FOR BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT

For many involved with the Tea Party, the days of rallies at the Mall in Washington, demonstrations in cities around the nation, donning colonial outfits, and breaking up meetings of congressional representatives is over. Instead, institutionalization is on the agenda. As Matt Kibbe, the director of FreedomWorks, one of the most powerful and well-funded Tea Party organizations, said in a recent radio interview: “We’re out-Saul Alinskying the left.”

Published in Guest Commentary
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