Archive for Bill of Rights

Ethan Nadelmann: The Real Drug Czar

The most influential man in the battle for legalization is a wonky intellectual in dad jeans

(TIM DICKINSON, Rolling Stone,
JUNE 06, 2013)

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The driving force for the legalization of marijuana in America – a frenetic, whip-smart son of a rabbi who can barely tell indica from sativa – has just entered enemy territory. Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, is here in California’s crucible of conservatism, Orange County, to talk about the failure of the War on Drugs and why the government should leave pot smokers alone. As a grizzled ex-DEA agent glares at him from the audience of a lecture hall on the campus of U.C. Irvine, it’s clear that this crowd has not gathered to celebrate cannabis culture. And that’s just the way Nadelmann likes it.

Today, thanks in large part to Nadelmann’s efforts, pot is fully legal in two states and available medically in 16 others. “He is the single most influential policy entrepreneur on any domestic issue,” says John DiIulio, a longtime drug warrior and tough-on-crime academic who has recently come around to Nadelmann’s side on marijuana policy. “He wore me down,” DiIulio says. “What can I say?”

[COMMENT by Lorenzo] This is a somewhat long article, but very much worth the time to read. Here are some of the topics that are covered:
Too High to Fail: Inside Denver’s weed boom
Conservatives Push Marijuana Reform in Congress
The Top 10 Marijuana Myths and Facts

Also, you can listen to a talk given by Ethan Nadelmann in my Podcast 208 – “It’s Time To End The War on Drugs”

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Don’t ever speak to the FBI without a tape recorder running and a lawyer present

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50 Reasons You Despise George W. Bush

( Steven Rosenfeld, Alternet, April 25, 2103)
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Let’s look at 50 reasons, some large and some small, why W. inspired so much anger.

1. He stole the presidency in 2000.

3. He covered up his past.

4. He loved the death penalty.

8. He ignored warnings about Osama bin Laden.

12. Bush turned to Iraq not Afghanistan.

14. He flat-out lied about Iraq’s weapons.

19. Bush pardoned the Plame affair leaker.

22. The war did not make the U.S. safer.

23. U.S. troops were given unsafe gear.

31. He cut veterans’ healthcare funding.

44. Bush let black New Orleans drown.

48. Karl Rove, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld.

49. He’s escaped accountability for his actions.

[COMMENT by Lorenzo: Little Bush is certainly the most simple-minded man to sit in the White House during my lifetime, and most definitely, IMO, one of the worst and most evil of our presidents. But then there was Nixon, who was obviously insane and who had an "enemies list", which was very un-presidential. And now there is Obama with a "KILL LIST", which is very un-American. . . . The Empire is in obvious decline.]

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Richard Dawkins: “Indoctrination of religion” is “child abuse”

(David Edwards, RawStory.com, April 22, 2013)
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Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins on Sunday told a British literary festival that parents who forced their children to believe that religion was a fact were guilty of “child abuse.” . . . Speaking about his family-friendly book The Magic of Reality at the Chipping Norton Literary Festival, the University of Oxford professor warned against the “indoctrination of children,” according to The Daily Mail. . . . “What a child should never be taught is that you are a Catholic or Muslim child, therefore that is what you believe. That’s child abuse.” . . . The author of The God Delusion recommended that children be taught religion in the same way that they are taught literature. . . . “There is a value in teaching children about religion. You cannot really appreciate a lot of literature without knowing about religion. But we must not indoctrinate our children,” he said. . . . In an interview with Al Jazeera late last year, Dawkins had said that being raised as a Catholic was similar to sexual abuse. . . .  » Continue reading “Richard Dawkins: “Indoctrination of religion” is “child abuse””

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Gore Vidal 9/11, war, etc.

This first interview was recorded about one year after the 9/11 events . . . well worth the time to watch.

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Obama Says He Can Use Lethal Force Against Americans on US Soil without a Trial

( Adam Serwer, MotherJones, Mar. 5, 2013)
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Yes, the president does have the authority to use military force against American citizens on US soil—but only in “an extraordinary circumstance,” Attorney General Eric Holder said in a letter to Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) Tuesday. . . . “The U.S. Attorney General’s refusal to rule out the possibility of drone strikes on American citizens and on American soil is more than frightening,” Paul said Tuesday. “It is an affront the constitutional due process rights of all Americans.” . . . The letter concludes, “were such an emergency to arise, I would examine the particular facts and circumstances before advising the president of the scope of his authority.” . . . In a Google+ Hangout last month, President Obama refused to say directly if he had the authority to use lethal force against US citizens. As Mother Jones reported at the time, the reason the president was being so coy is that the answer was likely yes. Now we know that’s exactly what was happening. “Any use of drone strikes or other pre-meditated lethal force inside the United States would raise grave legal and ethical concerns,” says Raha Wala, an attorney with Human Rights First. “There should be equal concern about using force overseas.”

 

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Cornel West: Obama is a ‘war criminal’ who has killed ‘over 200 children’

(Stephen C. Webster, RawStory.com, February 15, 2013 )
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Professor Cornel West argued that President Barack Obama is, like Presidents George W. Bush and Richard Nixon before him, a “war criminal” uniquely responsible for the deaths of “over 200 children.” . . . West’s words were in response to a question about the administration’s seeming preference for killing terrorism suspects from the air rather than risking American lives to take them prisoner and hold them for an indefinite amount of time in military custody. A legal whitepaper obtained by NBC News recently exposed the Obama administration’s once-secret justification for the program, which authorizes a deadly airstrike if intelligence officials believe it may take out any “senior operational leaders” of al Qaeda or “associated forces,” even if that includes an American citizen. . . . “I think, my dear brother, the chickens are coming home to roost,” West told Smiley. “We’ve been talking about this for a good while, the immorality of drones, dropping bombs on innocent people. It’s been over 200 children so far. These are war crimes.” . . . Troublingly enough, West is right on the number: The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that up to 216 children have died in three countries the U.S. is not formally at war with — Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia — as a result of suspected U.S. drone strikes starting in 2002 and dramatically escalating during Obama’s first term. Out of an estimated 451 total drone strikes during that period, over 300 were ordered by Obama against Pakistanis alone. The Bureau estimates that up to 4,643 people in all have been killed by drone strikes in those three countries. . . . Similarly, a United Nations committee said this month that “hundreds” of children have been killed by U.S. drone strikes since 2008, many which are personally approved by Obama, according to The New York Times. . . . “I think we have to be very honest, let us not be deceived: Nixon, Bush, Obama, they’re war criminals,” West said. “They have killed innocent people in the name of the struggle for freedom, but they’re suspending the law, very much like Wall Street criminals. The law is suspended for them, but the law applies for the rest of us. You and I, brother Tavis, if we kill an innocent person we go to jail, and we’re going to be in there forever.” . . . “I am not somebody who believes that the president has the authority to do whatever he wants, or whatever she wants, whenever they want, just under the guise of counter terrorism,” he said. “There have to be checks and balances on it.”

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Nader: “Obama is a War Criminal”

(Stephen C. Webster, RawStory.com, September 26, 2012 )
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“He’s gone beyond George W. Bush in drones, for example,” Nader told reporter Patrick Gavin. “He thinks the world is his plate, that national sovereignties mean nothing, drones can go anywhere. They can kill anybody that he suspects and every Tuesday he makes the call on who lives and who dies, supposed suspects in places like Yemen and Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that is a war crime and he ought to be held to account.” . . . President Obama’s own attorneys recognize that key portions of the U.S. drone bombing campaign in Pakistan and other countries are legally questionable, according to a report in The Wall St. Journal on Wednesday. That’s especially the case in Pakistan, which has stopped giving direct approval to U.S. drone strikes, but the bombs continue to fall anyway. . . . Casualty figures collected from media reports by the nonprofit New America Foundation show that between 1,877 and 3,177 people have been killed by drone strikes from 2004-2012, most of them being civilians. The vast majority of deaths reportedly happened during 2010, President Obama’s second year on the job. A study published this week by researchers at Stanford and New York Universities also claimed that only about 2 percent of the people killed in U.S. drone strikes were actual militants, saying at least 176 of those slain were children. . . . Nader added that Obama’s intellect and experience helped legitimize Bush’s “lawless war-mongering and militarism,” making him a “more effective evil” than Romney. However, he warned that the former Massachusetts governor is not to be trifled with either, calling him the greater of the two evils and warning that he’s “basically a corporation running for president masquerading as a human being.”

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Former Justice Souter: ‘Pervasive civic ignorance’ in U.S. could bring dictatorship

(RawStory, Eric W. Dolan, September 17, 2012 )
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Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice David H. Souter thinks the decline of civic education is putting the United States in danger. . . . During a question and answer session last week at University of New Hampshire School of Law, Souter described “pervasive civic ignorance” as one of the biggest problems in the United States. He warned that Americans’ ignorance about their own government could lead to a dictatorship. . . . “I don’t worry about our losing a republican government in the United States because I’m afraid of a foreign invasion, he said. “I don’t worry about it because of a coup by the military, as has happened in some other places. What I worry about is that when problems are not addressed people will not know who is responsible, and when the problems get bad enough — as they might do for example with another serious terrorist attack, as they might do with another financial meltdown — some one person will come forward and say ‘Give me total power and I will solve this problem.’” . . .
» Continue reading “Former Justice Souter: ‘Pervasive civic ignorance’ in U.S. could bring dictatorship”

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Obama Administration Attacks Medical Marijuana Clinics to Cover Up “Fast and Furious” blunders

(Martin A. Lee, Alternet, August 10, 2012)
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Obama Administration sacrifices medical marijuana patients to political expediency.

Team Obama’s decision to crack down on the medical marijuana industry wasn’t motivated by public health concerns. The Justice Department green-lit a scorched earth campaign against medicinal cannabis in order to placate law enforcement and control the damage from the Fast and Furious scandal by deflecting attention to other matters.

Eric Holder, Obama’s embattled attorney general, was under mounting pressure from Congress to explain the botched “Fast and Furious” sting operation, in which 2,000 assault rifles and other firearms were sold to suspected traffickers for the Mexican drug cartels. It was intended as an intelligence-gathering ploy, but U.S. agents lost track of most of these weapons. . . . By early October 2011, there were calls for a special prosecutor to investigate whether Holder had perjured himself during testimony before Congress. Right-wing pundits described the scandal as “Obama’s Watergate.” The ATF announced a major shake-up at the top of the bureau. A chorus of disgruntled sheriffs and other G-men clamored for Holder’s resignation. The attorney general was losing support among law enforcement rank-and-file. . . . But Holder had an ace up his sleeve, and he played it at a crucial moment. . . . Ever since California voters approved Proposition 215, which legalized marijuana for medical use in 1996, law enforcement lobbyists had been urging the federal government to enforce prohibition and choke off the burgeoning industry. . . . On October 7, the same day Holder wrote a detailed letter to Rep. Issa, defending his handling of the Fast and Furious affair, four federal prosecutors in California held a hastily organized press conference in which they threw down the gauntlet and announced the start of a far-ranging crackdown that would nearly decimate the Golden State’s medical marijuana industry. . . . Within 10 months, close to half of California’s 1,400 dispensaries would shut down as the DEA waged an all-out vendetta against what Proposition 215 had unloosed. The drug police weren’t just going after the bad apples; they were going after every apple in the barrel. Cannabis dispensaries abiding by state law were raided by federal agents. Federal prosecutors threatened to seize property from landlords who rented to medical marijuana facilities. The feds also threatened municipal officials who sought to implement state medical marijuana regulations. Federally insured banks and credit card companies refused to service marijuana-related enterprises. . . . Medical marijuana proponents were stunned by the ferocity of the Obama administration’s assault on the industry in California and elsewhere. . . . It’s not as though Americans were dropping like flies because of medical marijuana abuse. More than a million Californians had gotten a doctor’s recommendation to use cannabis, and no fatalities or problematic health patterns attributable to the herb had emerged since the passage of Proposition 215. . . . Team Obama’s decision to crack down on the medical marijuana industry wasn’t motivated by public health concerns. The Justice Department green-lit a scorched earth campaign against medicinal cannabis in order to placate law enforcement and control the damage from the Fast and Furious scandal by deflecting attention to other matters. . . . Medical marijuana facilities were red meat for cops and an easy payday for narcs who were aching to take down pot-selling storefronts throughout the Golden State and beyond. Desperate to shore up support among law enforcement, Holder, a longtime marijuana foe, threw the drug war dogs the perfect bone on October 7, 2011. It was a politically expedient decision designed to protect the attorney general’s bureaucratic position. . . . Marijuana’s illegality has long been a useful vehicle for Machiavellian public officials.

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