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Given that repeated polling shows a majority of Americans support medical marijuana and even outright legalization, Mayor Filner's call for jury nullification is a watershed event. "Drug war" deadenders may resist legislation to change marijuana laws, but that won't matter if they can no longer seat juries willing to convict.
by Marijuana Policy Project
SAN DIEGO, CA — The Mayor of San Diego is encouraging jurors of an upcoming medical marijuana case to reject the prosecution’s argument, which rests on the fact that marijuana is banned at the federal level.
The feds arrested Ronnie Chang of San Marcos in 2009 for operating a medical marijuana dispensary. He is just one of the many Californians who have faced legal consequences for their state-sanctioned efforts to bring relief to patients.
Mayor Bob Filner is outraged at Chang’s situation. “Someone should not be going through this stage of prosecution for trying to help people to have access to medical marijuana,” he told reporters.
A champion for civil rights and a former Freedom Rider, Mayor Filner wants jurors to send a message to the federal government this fall, when Chang’s trial is expected to begin.
Results from a year-long investigation into the activities of the United States' expansive counter-terrorism apparatus found that, throughout the country, the government has turned the tax-payer-funded intelligence-gathering against its own citizens in an effort to suppress dissent.
New revelations about the manner in which President Obama's Department of Justice has pursued journalists thought to have garnered government secrets is being called not just a "war on whistleblowers," but an assault on "investigative journalism itself."
Last week, uproar followed the Associated Press announcement that the DOJ had sought two months of phone records in order to establish the identity of the government official who may have leaked sensitive information to the news agency.
by Robert Kuttner
Austerity has failed in Europe, where the European Union just racked up 18 months of negative growth with no end in sight. It is failing in the United States, where this year's deficit reductions will cut the growth rate in half.
But austerity is succeeding as politics. The German government shows no signs of taking its heavy foot off Europe's oxygen hose, and President Obama seems determined to strike a 10-year deal with the Republicans that would equal 10 years of sequesters and then some.
What might change this grim politics?
Last seek, Senator Elizabeth Warren -- how splendid to be able write the words Senator and Warren in the same sentence -- showed the way. Warren introduced her very first free-standing bill, and fittingly it was a bill to cut interest rates on student loans.
Warren's bill is only a start. It would prevent an increase in Stafford Loans, federally subsidized loans to low and middle-income families, which are slated to double in cost on July 1 from 3.4 percent interest to 6.8 percent. Warren's bill would cut the rate to the Federal Reserve lending rate to banks, currently 0.75 percent.
by Kevin Gosztola
During a press briefing on Tuesday, White House spokesperson Jay Carney mechanically repeated a line when asked about the Justice Department’s seizure of the Associated Press’ phone records, suggesting President Barack Obama supports a “balance” between freedom of the press and national security.
“The president feels strongly that we need a—the press to be able to be unfettered in its pursuit of investigative journalism, and you saw, when he was a senator, the president co-sponsor legislation that would have provided further protections for journalists in this regard,” Carney said. “And he is also mindful of the need for secret and classified information to remain secret and classified in order to protect our national security interests. So there are — there is a careful balance here that must be attained.”
by Deborah Burger
If there is one problem that symbolizes the ongoing national healthcare emergency, it is the rampant price gouging in the healthcare industry that continues to price too many Americans out of access to care and into financial ruin. Not only is the problem not solved by the Affordable Care Act, but it is a likely reason many will continue to demand more effective reform, as in expanding and extending Medicare to cover everyone.
Predatory pricing practices can be found nearly everywhere in healthcare, by the drug companies, insurance companies, medical suppliers, outpatient clinics, boutique medical services, and many others as chronicled this spring in Time magazine.
U.S. hospitals are among the biggest abusers, as illuminated in recent data released by Medicare on hospital charges for a variety of common procedures as well as brand new findings by the Institute for Health and Socio-Economic Policy, the research arm of the National Nurses United, based on Medicare cost reports.
The editorial board of the News-Gazette felt compelled to issue an editorial in the May 14 edition blasting a medical marijuana law that, after more than 3 decades, will finally let Illinois citizens have legal access to cannabis.
Make not mistake about it. Just about any patient in Illinois who needs cannabis can get it now. Except for the News-Gazette's editorial board and State's Attorney Julia Rietz, most other citizens of Illinois are not so dorky they can't find a dealer if in need. The ONLY thing the new law does is allow them _legal_ access. It does create a government-regulated monopoly system that requires those participating to give up some fundamental human rights. The state apparently feels it can't compete with the black market, so imposes its use on anyone who participates, as well as a number of ridiculous restrictions.
Since Citizens United, the super rich are using nonprofits to shield their political spending. They need more oversight
by Arn Pearson
The recent IRS admissions about the use of "tea party" or "patriot" labels to flag applications for nonprofit status for additional scrutiny raise serious questions about political bias, and should receive a thorough and independent investigation.
There is rightly a growing call for House and Senate hearings to answer those questions, but any investigations must delve deeper into the bigger problem facing our democracy after the Supreme Court's decision in Citizen United: the dramatic surge in the misuse of nonprofits to hide political spending by billionaires and corporations from American voters, and the lack of any meaningful enforcement response.
Although the IRS must enforce the law impartially, the agency should not abrogate its responsibility to enforce it in the first place. While Common Cause strongly supports an investigation, we are concerned that partisans on both sides will use this tempest to cow the IRS and forestall enforcement of the tax code.
by Will Bunch
Attytood spoiler: That day was May 7, 2012...but first a quick history lesson.
Sigh...I know, I know, I write too much about the late 1960s and early 1970s, but this time it's really important. Because today that is the rallying cry for any presidential scandal, that this one is "worse than Watergate." But the Watergate break-in happened 41 years ago, which means that more than half of all Americans weren't even born yet, so you can't blame a lot of voters if they don't know much about what Watergate and the related scandals of Richard Milhous Nixon were all about.
by Doug Fine, National Cannabis Coalition
Stigma, the final front in the Drug War, was on my mind as I addressed my colleagues at the Society of Professional Journalists’ Southwest Regional Conference in Santa Fe on a recent brisk spring afternoon. I assumed, since 80% of Americans want the Drug War to end, that I was of like mind with the news anchors, radio hosts and newspaper editors who had traveled to the conference from Wyoming to the Mexican Border. After all, everywhere I go to speak, young and old, left and right, and men and women alike seem to nearly universally recognize that the United States’ longest and most expensive war soon will finally end on the federal level.