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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 25,856
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In November 2012, Washington and Colorado became the first states—and the first jurisdictions in the world—to legalize the possession, use, and regulated distribution of marijuana. Although Attorney General Eric Holder promised in March 2013 to announce a Department of Justice policy to address the state initiatives, the White House has yet to take a position. This shifting legal terrain is the subject of “High Crimes: Strategies to Further Marijuana Legalization Initiatives,” a new report by the National Lawyers Guild (NLG).
The NLG report analyzes the legalization process under way in the states, suggests strategies to further marijuana legalization initiatives, and highlights current obstacles to ending prohibition. Among the NLG recommendations: reframe drug use as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice problem, challenge the punitive international drug policy framework, support states’ rights to regulate marijuana use, and reclassify marijuana to allow for medical research.
“High Crimes” also calls attention to the role of law enforcement agencies and private prison industry interventions in the field of US drug policy. “It is crucial to examine who profits from the continued prohibition of marijuana,” said NLG Senior Researcher Traci Yoder, the report’s author. “The increasing militarization of police forces is funded through property and financial seizures during drug arrests. Continued profit making by private corrections corporations is contingent upon ever-increasing rates of incarceration.”
As the nation waits for a response from the White House, the NLG joins other organizations and individuals in calling for the end to marijuana prohibition. “Marijuana legalization will create new jobs, generate millions of dollars in tax revenue, and allow law enforcement to focus on serious crimes,” said Brian Vicente, NLG member and one of the primary authors of Colorado’s legalization amendment. “It would be a travesty if the Obama administration used its power to impose marijuana prohibition upon a state whose people have declared, through the democratic process, that they want it to end.”
...full report in pdf at the link.
Posted by RainDog | Fri Jul 5, 2013, 12:53 PM (3 replies)
Independence Day is the High Holy Day of American political identity. If you think about it, the Fourth of July is a strange choice of date. Consider the French equivalent, Bastille Day, which commemorates the storming of the Bastille and thus the event which demonstrated that the French monarchy was over. By similar reasoning, we should be celebrating when Cornwallis surrendered at Yorktown on 19 October, the battle of Lexington & Concord on 19 April, or (my favorite, with my soft spot for lefty activism) the Boston Tea Party on 13 December.
But we don't. We celebrate the day that a bunch of guys signed a piece of paper.
I've posted before about how the American veneration of documents in our political culture reflects our Enlightenment conception of the nation as a human creation, composed of ideas, rather than any essential volkish link from country to nation. Nowhere do we see this more strongly than in our choice of the Fourth of July, the day men signed the Declaration of Independence. The nation was born not when people used force of arms to secure the nation, either for the first time or the last time. Rather the nation was born when the idea of the nation was first named clearly.
It's easy to forget what a rhetorical achievement the Declaration really is. The world of 1776 was a world of kings, and finding a way to think and talk about a political order without kings was very, very hard.
...more at the link
This nation deserves praise for deciding to be a political structure formed by law, rather than by "men."
I would say "humans," but the reality is that, even at that time, those who were granted rights by this agreement to provide law, with checks and balances, to hold power were not women, nor men of color. But that moment was the beginning of an idea, not the end of it.
Since then, we have, by law, extended the idea of human rights beyond property-owning white men. We're a better nation for that.
Our next task, as enlightened citizens, is to destroy the idea of the divine right of capital. We were able to think beyond "the divine right of kings" and all the propaganda that upheld that idea within religious, social and political institutions. But we've not yet learned to overcome the propaganda that capital deserves the power it takes from those who are, by birth or by immigration, part of the contract this nation made with humankind so many years ago.
Here's to the next stage of the American Revolution.
Posted by RainDog | Thu Jul 4, 2013, 02:49 PM (0 replies)
for Democrat, in a two-person presidential race.
Yet you left this out - even tho it's the first sentence in the first link you have here.
But that doesn't fit the race baiting in your post - which you have been doing here since you joined DU.
Where are those African-American voters living - the ones who voted for Obama?
The overwhelming number of African-Americans live in the south. Since we have an electoral college voting system, those votes count toward a presidential election when the states in which they are made have their electoral college votes assigned to one person or another.
So, who won those southern states?
Again, the reality is that voting populations of those states whose electoral votes went to Obama were made up of a coalition of blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans and whites. All were part of this win and the votes from whites were essential for the Democratic candidate in the last two elections... and in every election. It's not a "white vs. black" issue. It's a conservative vs. liberal issue.
A stunning 54 percent of young white voters supported Obama, compared with 44 percent who went for McCain, the senator from Arizona. In the past three decades, no Democratic presidential nominee has won more than 45 percent of young whites.
again, from your first link. So, Obama won more white votes among those who will be voting most often in future presidential elections - and more votes from these white voters than for any white candidate in 30 years.
...which is, again, something you leave out because you are race baiting.
Hispanics are 8% of the voting population.
Asian-Americans are 3.4% of the voting population
African-Americans are 12% of the voting population (I'm using census numbers that show an increase in the last election.)
So, less than 24% of all votes were cast by the group you talk about in your OP. The point is that elections are about coalitions of people, no matter their ethnicity. The reality is that white people voted for Obama more than any other Democratic president in the recent past. So, if this is about Obama - the reality is that white people voted him into office as much as any other racial or ethnic category, and more whites voted for him than voted for white candidates in the past.
Although blacks voted at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites nationally in 2012, this result was not uniform across the country. In the East North Central, East South Central, Middle Atlantic, and South Atlantic divisions, blacks voted at higher rates than non-Hispanic whites. In the Mountain and Pacific divisions, non-Hispanic whites voted at higher rates than blacks. In the New England, West North Central and West South Central divisions, voting rates for the two groups were not significantly different from each other.
So, in areas of the nation with large white populations, those states include many who voted for and carried the electoral college votes for Obama and the Democratic Party. It was, again, a coalition of voters, across many different categories.
However, the population in this nation that is white and Republican-voting is also the population that considers itself strongly religious.
The categories that lost votes from Obama to Romney were among white Protestant and Catholic voters. But, overwhelmingly, white protestants vote for Republicans. No matter who the Democratic nominee may be. This has been the case since the 1980s.
You could've broken this down in other ways... more people who hold no strong religious belief voted for Obama than voted for Romney or McCain.
The religiously unaffiliated voted 75% for Obama in 2008 and 70% in 2012. This vote for Obama is larger than votes for Gore or Kerry.
This demographic is 20% of the adult population, and growing. This vote is greater than or equal to than any two of the three categories you selected, and nearly equal to all them, combined.
So, those with religious affiliations, other than African-Americans, match your totals for "voting while white." Maybe the problem is certain religion beliefs, as far as voting for any Democrat, since this voting pattern holds no matter who the Democrats run because the religious right is ideologically opposed to those issues that constitute the core of the Democratic platform coalition among black, Latino, Asian-American, white, male, female, straight, gay, religious or non-religious, environmentalist, believer in the public good...
Surprise! (or not, actually) Those same white protestant voters oppose women's rights, gblt rights, equal rights and opportunities for minorities, environmental regulations, business regulation, social safety net upholding...
These same percentages for religious voters will hold true when or if Hillary Clinton runs for president. They will have held true since before she ran, as well, just as they do now, with President Obama.
The good news in all this is that the white religious voter is older and dying off. Younger people continue to disassociate themselves with religion. It seems an effective "southern strategy" for Democrats would be to form coalitions of non-religious voters, of all races, to encourage their other non-religious friends to vote and to become involved in the political process. In the south, such a coalition could help with voter registration and making sure people in their states have valid voter i.d.s.
But this would be inclusive, rather than divisive, so obviously it's not pertinent to your OP.
Posted by RainDog | Tue Jul 2, 2013, 09:51 PM (1 replies)
this is a video of Dreher's work (She's a nurse with a PhD, not a medical doctor, for the sake of clarity.) It's long - 30 minutes, from a professional conference.
Melanie Dreher is the dean of nursing at Rush Medical Center in Chicago.
here's a link to her published research.
thank you for the kind words.
Posted by RainDog | Sun Jun 30, 2013, 03:26 PM (1 replies)
don't know if the NYTimes video will post here or not, but here it is:
Posted by RainDog | Fri Jun 28, 2013, 09:47 PM (0 replies)
this is last week's news, but don't know if it was posted on DU, so here you go!
A new bi-partisan amendment to the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 has been passed by the U.S. House of Representatives today in support of industrial hemp by a vote of 225 to 200. Introduced by Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), it allows colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp in states where it is already legal, without fear of federal interference.
According to a statement from the office of Rep. Polis, 19 states have passed pro-industrial hemp legislation. The following nine states have removed barriers to its production: Colorado, Kentucky, Maine, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Vermont, Washington and West Virginia.
Democratic Rep. Polis issue this statement:
Industrial hemp is an important agricultural commodity, not a drug. My bipartisan, common-sense amendment, which I’ve introduced with Representatives Thomas Massie and Earl Blumenauer, would allow colleges and universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp for academic and agricultural research purposes in states where industrial hemp growth and cultivation is already legal. Many states, including Colorado, have demonstrated that they are fully capable of regulating industrial hemp.
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. The first American flag was made of hemp. And today, U.S. retailers sell over $300 million worth of goods containing hemp—but all of that hemp is imported, since farmers can’t grow it here,” explained Rep. Polis. “The federal government should clarify that states should have the ability to regulate academic and agriculture research of industrial hemp without fear of federal interference. Hemp is not marijuana, and at the very least, we should allow our universities—the greatest in the world—to research the potential benefits and downsides of this important agricultural commodity.
Posted by RainDog | Fri Jun 28, 2013, 06:02 PM (0 replies)
There are Democrats who oppose legalization of marijuana. Unfortunately, the reasons for their opposition are grounded in the same lies that have been passed off as fact by the DEA and the Drug Czar office for years.
The face of this backward stance is Patrick Kennedy.
No stranger to substance abuse, Kennedy long ago made public his battle with depression and alcohol and drug abuse, including an addiction to the pain reliever OxyContin. In 2006, he fell asleep behind the wheel and crashed his car into a barrier near the U.S. Capitol. His problems forced him to retire from the House of Representatives.
“In spite of the fact that I’m also an asthmatic, I did try and experiment with marijuana, but I quickly migrated to other drugs and alcohol,” he said.
Mason Tvert, spokesman for the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project, called Kennedy a hypocrite.
“His family made millions off the sale of alcohol, and we hope that he and his organization recognize that marijuana is far less harmful and that adults should not face penalties just for using it,” said Tvert, adding that Kennedy wants to force marijuana users into “education camps.”
Kennedy claims SAM is a truth-telling organization. That's a lie.
One of many.
But here, I also have to point out Kennedy's basic ignorance.
Although they do not qualify as a scientific study, many marijuana users have found that cannabis actually helps rather than hurts their asthmatic symptoms. You can find statements to this effect online. I know about this from the personal experience of a friend with asthma. I would say to that person...why do you smoke cannabis when you have asthma? And he would say... strangely, my lungs function better than when I don't. At the time of these conversations, I would just think... well, he's just telling himself that because he likes to smoke marijuana.
But, it seems, there is medical proof to back up his and others' claims, as published in The New England Journal of Medicine, one of the most prestigious medical journals in the world.
...airway resistance, measured in a body plethysmograph, fell 38 per cent; the functional residual capacity remained unchanged (± 50 ml) throughout, and specific airway conductance increased 44 per cent. Flow-volume loops showed a 45 per cent increase in flow rate at 25 per cent of vital capacity. The low-dose group showed no increase in heart rate but significant, if lesser changes, in airways dynamics. Carbon dioxide sensitivity, measured by rebreathing remained unchanged in both groups.
Marihuana smoke, unlike cigarette smoke, causes bronchodilatation rather than bronchoconstriction and, unlike opiates, does not cause central respiratory depression. (N Engl J Med 28885–989, 1973)
Steroid inhalers accomplish the same function, which is bronchodilatation.
Dr. Donald Tashkin has also addressed the counterintuitive but well-grounded scientific research that indicates marijuana inhalation actually results in fewer respiratory problems among subjects than those who have never used cannabis at all. Additional research, published last year, validates Dr. Tashkin's decades-long research into this issue.
Marijuana does not impair lung function—at least not in the doses inhaled by the majority of users, according to the largest and longest study ever to consider the issue, which was published today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Researchers working on a long-term study of risk factors for cardiovascular disease (the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults or CARDIA study) tested the lung function of 5115 young adults over the course of 20 years, starting in 1985 when they were aged 18 to 30.
They found that marijuana use was almost as common as cigarette smoking in the sample, which was designed to reflect the U.S. population. Among participants, the average marijuana user toked 2-3 times a month, while the average tobacco user smoked eight cigarettes a day. Those who smoked both tended to do so slightly more frequently than those who smoked only cigarettes or only marijuana.
The study was “well conducted” and is “essentially confirmatory of the findings from several previous studies that have examined the association between marijuana smoking and lung function,” says Dr. Donald Tashkin, professor of medicine at UCLA and a leading scientist in the area. He was not associated with the new research.
Read more: http://healthland.time.com/2012/01/10/study-smoking-marijuana-not-linked-with-lung-damage/#ixzz2XXpVAolY
Marmar posted about Tashkin's work here: http://www.democraticunderground.com/101645856
That thread includes video, in replies, featuring Tashkin speaking about his work.
Sadly, there are shills whose names are associated with Democratic Party politics who are working to uphold one of the most racist laws in this nation.
Because - here's the truth about Patrick Kennedy. He not only opposes legalization, he also opposes decriminalization - and, contrary to evidence, he also opposes medical marijuana.
"Medical marijuana has been a Trojan horse, really, for decriminalization and legalization. It’s the slippery slope toward legalization,” said Patrick Kennedy, a former congressman who’s the chairman of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana), a national group that opposes legalization.
Kennedy said he regretted ever supporting medical marijuana and that he feared it would lead to more drug abuse among children.
So, in effect, Patrick Kennedy supports the racist application of the law in the U.S. that has resulted in 800,000 arrests, every year, for possession. He supports the anti-science, anti-civil rights action that is prohibition. He denies the thousands of studies that have indicated that marijuana has actual health benefits. He denies that a company, GW Pharma, is trying to market a product in the U.S. (it's already available in at least four nations) that is nothing but whole-plant cannabis in solvent that is inhaled and used to treat symptoms of MS. He denies that marijuana has been shown, in phase II clinical trials, to shrink gliomas (brain tumors.) He denies what epileptics have known, that cannabutter, taken at night, has stopped their seizures. He denies what HIV/AIDS patients found out, in the 1980s, that medical marijuana SAVED THEIR LIVES by allowing them to keep down their medicines and to not die from wasting away.
That's who Patrick Kennedy is - a person in denial.
On the other hand, various state party platforms have supported legalization as part of their campaign platforms - including Texas - and we have legislators at the state and federal level who are working to overcome the stupidity and backward thinking of other Democrats, like Patrick Kennedy.
This issue is a line in the sand.
Democrats should think long and hard before they start cozying up to Bush appointees like David Frum, as Patrick Kennedy has done. You will find yourselves on the wrong side of history. And, if you're Patrick Kennedy, you will find yourself lying about medical research in order to pay your salary. Pitiful.
Posted by RainDog | Fri Jun 28, 2013, 04:47 PM (13 replies)
Source: Raw Story
The United States Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a historic, bipartisan resolution Monday calling on the Obama administration to stop interfering with state and local efforts to deal with the problems caused by marijuana prohibition.
“This resolution will amplify the voices of local officials and voters who are sick and tired of President Obama’s administration doing the exact opposite of what candidate Obama said he was going to do, which was respect state marijuana laws,” Tom Angell, spokesperson for drug reform advocacy group Marijuana Majority, told Raw Story in an email.
It specifically focuses on the dominance of organized crime in the black market, racial disparities in arrest statistics, state laws that clearly express an unwillingness to continue marijuana prohibition and recent polling that favors letting states decide the matter.
The resolution adds that the mayors wish marijuana were reclassified under the schedule of controlled substances, which would allow more medical research into drugs based on marijuana and permit more finely tailored laws regulating production and sales. It also calls for the Controlled Substances Act to be amended so as to allow “states and localities” the autonomy to “set their own marijuana policies without federal interference.”
Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/24/u-s-conference-of-mayors-asks-obama-for-flexibility-on-marijuana/
Posted by RainDog | Mon Jun 24, 2013, 11:11 PM (20 replies)
This weekend (June 21st to June 24th) mayors from across the country will convene at the 81st annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, held in Las Vegas. One of the topics up for discussion is a resolution “in support of states setting their own marijuana policies without federal interference”. The proposal – introduced May 22nd – is sponsored by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and 8 other mayors from cities across the country: Aurora (CO), Berkeley (CA), Binghamton (NY), Glendale (CO), Oakland (CA), San Leandro (CA), Seattle (WA), and Tacoma (WA).
The resolution was approved by its initial Conference of Mayors committee today, and will be up for a full vote on Monday.
Here's a site with a petition you can sign and send to your mayor:
Posted by RainDog | Sat Jun 22, 2013, 12:01 PM (0 replies)
The top federal prosecutor in Montana — Mike Cotter, the U.S. Attorney appointed by President Obama in 2009 — (...raided Montana medical marijuana greenhouse and dispensaries, ALL OPERATING UNDER STATE GUIDELINES, and...) charged the growers, their greenhouse workers, their bookkeepers, some of their spouses, and even their landlords who had simply provided buildings to the growers, with decades in prison and in some cases virtual life sentences, all under federal drug trafficking statutes.
The growers all noted they were operating under state guidelines and following the lead of the Ogden Memo.
The defendants pointed to dozens of statements made by Holder and even the President, and specifically the now-infamous Ogden Memo. This was a publicly released document in 2009 document, written by David Ogden, Eric Holder’s deputy, that instructed federal law enforcement officers nationwide to leave medical marijuana growers alone as long as they were abiding by state law. This memo was reported in the national press, and local papers too, as a virtual ceding of jurisdiction by the federal government. U.S. Won’t Prosecute in States that Have Medical Marijuana, heralded a New York Times headline.
...A policy might not have the force of law, but I would argue that a policy is most definitely a promise, especially if it is reasonably interpreted by citizens who are looking for guidance as to how to proceed, and particularly in a case where the Attorney General states that a new set of laws–state laws, as opposed to federal laws–will now serve as the governing code for assessing the legality of a citizen’s conduct. And just because the feds can prosecute, doesn’t mean they should.
So, Cotter believes, against the advice of doctors and scientists, that marijuana is a dangerous drug with no medical benefits. Based upon this erroneous belief, he confiscated property of landlords, after threatening to put them in jail for 20 years. Cotter has no scientific evidence on his side - but he has drug war laws that remain on the books - even if they're not on the books in Montana (he couldn't demonstrate anyone had broken state law.)
THIS is why we cannot exist in this gray area regarding marijuana legalization... because of assholes like Cotter who will do what they can to ruin lives because of their own stupid vendettas brought on by their own reefer madness.
Cotter is not finished. In recent weeks, his office has asked a federal appeals court to increase the sentences of many of the caregivers he put away. They were originally charged with around 80 years in prison; when they pled guilty, Cotter sought to cement the agreements with sentences in the 5-10 year range; but the court would not go along with it in many of the cases, and gave some defendants 18 months or less. Cotter is seeking to have the appellate court overturn these sentences for their leniency. He wants more punishment.
Obama should 86 this asshole.
Posted by RainDog | Fri Jun 21, 2013, 02:15 PM (8 replies)