Saturday, January 12, 2013

Big Pharma's Patrick Kennedy Creates Pot "Reeducation" Program

Big Pharma's Patrick Kennedy Creates Pot "Reeducation" ProgramPoliticians have some nerve. Apart from being completely disconnected from the real world, they unashamedly protect their lobbyist friends' financial interests by wielding power over us in the "best interest" of our well-being. Case in point: Patrick Kennedy of *that* family has created an anti-marijuana legalization group that focuses on user "reeducation" (read: brainwashing). Kennedy, of course, has strong ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

In case you missed this story, here Reason's synopsis of Kennedy's harebrained indoctrination program. Kennedy, by the way, has been on record stating that alcohol prohibition should have never been repealed!
Project SAM, the anti-marijuana legalization group started by former Obama administration advisor Kevin Sabet and chaired by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy (D-Rhode Island), has unveiledits website and policy goals.

Topping the list is the recommendation "[t]hat possession or use of a small amount of marijuana be a civil offense subject to a mandatory health screening and marijuana-education program. Referrals to treatment and/or social-support services should be made if needed. The individual could even be monitored for 6-12 months in a probation program designed to prevent further drug use."

Kennedy announced his involvement with Project SAM, which stands for "smart approaches to marijuana," earlier this month. Sabet is on the organization's board, and president of the group's umbrella organization, the drug policy consulting firm Policy Solutions Lab. Newsweek/Daily Beast columnist David Frum is also on Project SAM's board.
While the group's existence has been public for less than a week, the Marijuana Policy Project has already called for Kennedy to resign.

"Former Congressman Patrick Kennedy is the chairman of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), a new national organization that wants to force marijuana consumers into treatment and subject them to mandatory health screenings and 'marijuana education' camps," reads a petition from the Marijuana Policy Project.

You can read rest of Project SAM's policy positions after the jump.
In addition to the mandatory education and monitoring for users, Project SAM advises:
  • That there is an end to the practice of “stop-and-frisk.”
  • That no marijuana use in any form is permitted in public view.
  • That smoke-free laws apply to marijuana and tobacco.
  • That there is expungement of any personal record regarding possession of small amounts of marijuana.
For growers and sellers, Project SAM advises:
  • That they remain misdemeanors or felonies based on amounts possessed.
  • An end to mandatory minimum sentences so judges can exercise discretion under the law.
  • Assessment and mandatory treatment in prison for those who are addicted. Appropriate aftercare should be provided by service providers licensed by the state upon release.
  • Restoration of all civil rights once sentences have been served.
  • Services for re-entry into the community through Justice Reinvestment or similar programs, such as the Drug Market Initiative(DMI).
For drivers, Project SAM wants to see:
  • Driving with any amount of marijuana in one’s system be at least a misdemeanor. Repeat offenses need harsher punishments.
  • Driving under the influence of any amount of marijuana result in a mandatory health assessment, marijuana-education program and referral to treatment or social services.
  • If/when a marijuana impairment level is established, driving with impairment or higher levels of marijuana in one’s system be at least a misdemeanor. Repeat offenses need harsher punishments.
You can read more at the group's website, learnaboutsam.com.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Hagel And The End Of Neoconservatism

Hagel And The End Of Neoconservatism
I like people who call it like it is. Pat Buchanan is one of those people. Yes, Buchanan's unfiltered stream of consciousness sometimes gets him in trouble. His latest book, for example, Suicide of a Superpower, which lists caucasians' decreasing natality as a factor in the demise of the United States, has limited his speaking opportunities in the MSM. But, despite the challenges clarity sometimes brings him, Pat trudges on speaking his mind, often hitting the nail on the head.

Buchanan hit the nail on the head today. Writing about Chuck Hagel's controversial nomination for secretary of defense, he correctly identified those opposing the nomination as coming from outside of the mainstream in the rapidly-changing American political landscape:
“Chuck Hagel is out of the mainstream of thinking … on most issues regarding foreign policy,” says GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham. Neocon William Kristol concurs: Hagel is “out on the fringes.”

But where, exactly, is the mainstream on foreign policy in 2013?
Since the Bush II years, “the three amigos”–Sens. Graham, John McCain and Joe Lieberman–have clamored for new wars.

“We are all Georgians now!” thundered McCain when Vladimir Putin was thrashing the Georgians for attacking South Ossetia.

“Bomb, bomb, bomb–bomb, bomb Iran,” trilled McCain in 2008 in parody of the Beach Boys’ “Barbara Ann.”

Ten days ago, McCain, Graham and Lieberman urged the U.S. to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, provide weapons to the rebels and send Patriot missile batteries to protect northern Syria. And what has been the response to their calls for air strikes and new wars? The sound of silence.

George W. Bush ignored McCain on Georgia, and in 2008 McCain was crushed by a dovish Democrat who had opposed the Iraq War.

Like Hagel, who voted for the Iraq War, a majority of Americans have come to believe that 8-year war was a mistake. Even some neocons have expressed second thoughts.

Obama pulled all U.S. troops out of Iraq and is pulling them out of Afghanistan, and he won easy re-election over the more hawkish Mitt Romney. And has anyone heard any echo of the amigos’ call to plunge into Syria’s civil war, outside the editorial pages of the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal, and the little magazines of the neocons?

Let’s do our nation-building here at home, Obama said in the debates.

Any doubt this idea had been poll-tested as a winner?

How many Americans today are saying that what we did in Libya, Iraq and Afghanistan was worth doing and should serve as America’s model for dealing with Syria and Iran?

From 2001 to 2005, McCain, Graham and Lieberman were in the mainstream. Those were the days of bipartisan votes for war, of “either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists,” of our goal being “to end tyranny in our world.” Those were the days of the democracy crusade of George W. Bush.

But that was yesterday. The crusade is over. Americans want the crusaders home.
This is not an argument for mindlessly seeking out and parroting mainstream thought. If the amigos believe that intervening in Syria and war with Iran are essential to the national security, they should continue to say so.

Nothing wrong with being out of step with majority opinion, if that is where one believes that truth and wisdom lie.

But the amigos and neocons deceive themselves if they think that in their hostility to Hagel’s views they occupy the mainstream.

Set aside the nonsense about homophobia and anti-Semitism. What, at bottom, are Hagel’s views? Where does he part company with much of the Senate GOP? What are the substantive disagreements?

First, Hagel believes in direct communication with our enemies, be it Hezbollah, Hamas, Iran or Cuba.
Second, he believes war is a last resort to be undertaken only after all diplomacy has failed, and war should not be undertaken unless vital interests are imperiled.
Third, he believes a Pentagon budget as large as all the defense budgets of the other 190 nations combined is bloated and too big to carry when, as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Mike Mullen said, the deficit and debt are the greatest strategic threats to the United States.

On communicating with enemies, was Richard Nixon, who rescued Israel in the Yom Kippur War, wrong to go to Egypt and Syria, and meet with Anwar Sadat and Hafez Assad, who had launched the war?

Was Yitzhak Rabin wrong to negotiate with Yasser Arafat, his enemy, to achieve the Oslo Accords? Was Bibi Netanyahu wrong to give Hebron to Arafat or deal with Hamas for the return of Pvt. Gilad Shalit, in exchange for 1,000 Palestinian prisoners?

Was it not absurd that, to get a ceasefire between Hamas and Israel, both parties had to go to Hosni Mubarak, because the world’s superpower does not allow itself to talk to Hamas?
If we are going to cut a deal with Iran where it retains the right to peaceful nuclear power, but we get solid guarantees of no bomb, how do we do that without sending representatives to negotiate the deal with Iran?

Is a nation that kept an embassy in the Third Reich eight years, whose presidents sat down with Stalin and Mao, now fearful of being contaminated by having to sit across a table from Raoul Castro?

Hagel speaks for the realist school of foreign policy, and he can speak for the nation. For he reflects the views of a president who just won another decisive vote of confidence from that nation.

Sorry, Sen. Graham, you are no longer in the mainstream.

That river changed course, half a decade ago.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Goodbye, Property Rights: Couple Fined For Keeping Garden

Goodbye, Property Rights: Couple Fined For Keeping Garden
The city of Orlando has fined a couple $500 for keeping a vegetable garden in their front yard, and will continue fining the couple until the last vegetable is dug up:
Michelle Obama does it, but at your house? Not so fast.

That, at least, is the message Florida couple Jason and Jennifer Helvenston have been getting ever since the Orlando city government told them that their front yard vegetable garden violated municipal codes.

Dig it up by tomorrow (Jan. 10), the city has ordered, according to news reports, or face a $500 a day fine.

Take that, urban gardening trend.

The Helvenstons knew this could be coming. They first got word from the city back in November that Orlando preferred its front yards to be tidy and grassy and property-value friendly, not scraggly with annoying things like vegetables.  But a report from Click Orlando at the time sparked an outpouring of support, and after being flooded with hundreds of emails, the government said it would hold off with the fining – for a little while, at least.
But now, the news organization says, the Helvenston’s garden is back on the chopping block. And the couple is launching a “Plant a Seed, Change the Law” protest in response.
“The greatest freedom you can give someone is the freedom to know they will not go hungry,” Jason Helvenston was quoted as saying by Click Orlando. “Our Patriot Garden pays for all of its costs in healthy food and lifestyle while having the lowest possible carbon footprint. It supplies valuable food while being attractive. I really do not understand why there is even a discussion. They will take our house before they take our Patriot Garden.”

Back at you, city government.

Except... it turns out that Orlando is far from alone in its laws.

Although there have been changes in municipal laws in recent years to adjust for the swell of urban gardens and yuppies-turned-horticulturalists, (we ran a story about this a couple of years back), a slew of zoning ordinances limit the reach of suburban green thumbs. Turns out that the well manicured lawn still has a lot of sway – and that a lot of neighbors are less pleased with squash and cabbage than with pansies and daffodils.

(Not to mention the chicken-next-door controversies.  For those of you who don’t have farm families: Chickens produce more than just eggs.)

We’re not taking sides here. (Although I’ll admit to thinking the whole American-grass love story is bizarre.) Just keep the Helvenstons in mind the next time you decide to organize some natural learning for Junior.  You might end up teaching a civics lesson as well as biology.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Glenn Beck Rebranding The Blaze As Libertarian Network

Glenn Beck Rebranding The Blaze As Libertarian Network
Libertarianism is the future of conservatism, and even Glenn Beck sees the light. BuzzFeed reports that Glenn is rebranding his online network The Blaze as a global libertarian news source:
Glenn Beck announced plans Tuesday during his online television program to expand the news operation in his media company, The Blaze, and refocus it as a libertarian network, opening three foreign bureaus, debuting a nightly newsmagazine show, and relocating his New York staff to showy new offices.

Beck introduced his ambitious plans by standing in front of a split screen with MSNBC's Chris Matthews on one side and Fox News's Sean Hannity on the other, and bemoaning the fact that cable news has devolved into the "far left [and] far right... yelling at each other."
"We're not gonna play in that crazy space as a network," he said, adding, "I consider myself a libertarian... I'm a lot closer to Penn Jillette than I am to Chuck Hagel."

He said over the next 60 days, The Blaze will open three foreign bureaus in cities that are "important to America." He will also relocate his New York staff from their current midtown offices into a building that will "send a very clear message to everyone in New York... it will piss everyone off."

Beck also showed a teaser for a new nightly 30-minute newsmagazine show called For the Record.

"Our Nightline will be a nightly half hour broadcast to update you on a topic that no one else quite frankly has the balls to do. I will," he said.

The trailer for the show — which he said will be "the most expensive show on the network, including mine" — featured future episodes exposing the NSA for turning America into a "surveillance state," and warning that the UN "want[s] your guns," both big issues in libertarian circles.

After the in-your-face trailer ended, Beck chuckled, "Security is going to be a real issue for the people in our company."

The Blaze also has plans to hire investigative journalists and plans to produce more documentaries, Beck said.

"We are currently looking for our own Woodwards and Bernsteins," he said. "Maybe they don't exist anymore, and if that's the case I don't really care. We'll grow our own!"
Beck launched his online TV network, then called GBTV, in 2011, and has brought all his media properties — including a news and opinion site, a monthly magazine, and an online radio network — under umbrella of The Blaze brand. Last year, the network began airing on a Dish Network channel, and last week, Beck revealed that he tried to buy the channel currently airing Al Gore's Current TV — a sign that he hopes to expand into cable soon.
But Beck's decision to orient the network's programming around libertarian politics — or at least brand it that way — could be a play for younger, conservative viewers, who find the Republican Party, and the network that most closely aligns with its ideals, Fox, distasteful.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Infographic: America's PhDs On Food Stamps

Infographic: America's PhDs On Food Stamps
College, with its skyrocketing tuition costs and high degree inflation, has become a questionable investment in this country:

(Click to enlarge. Graphic from OnlineColleges.net.)

Infographic: America's PhDs On Food Stamps - infographic

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Definitive Inflation Chart

The Definitive Inflation Chart
There are several takeaways from this chart: 1) Inflation was essentially non-existent until the creation of the Federal Reserve in 1913. 2) War, which requires massive government spending, promotes inflation. 3) Inflation has skyrocketed since Nixon took us off the gold standard in 1971, which gave the Fed a carte blanche to print. 4) All of Bernanke's "worry" about deflation has been nothing but an excuse to print. Clearly, deflation has never been anywhere close to being a possibility during the current chairman's tenure.
The Definitive Inflation Chart - historical CPI chart


Just for giggles, let's compare that last chart with a chart of the national debt:

The Definitive Inflation Chart - national debt chart


Is it clear enough that the Fed enables deficit spending?

Both Feinstein And Reid Have Carried A Gun

Both Feinstein And Reid Have Carried A Gun
The two primary players in gun control legislation in the wake of the Sandy Hook massacre, Dianne Feinstein, who has begun an all-out assault on gun rights, and Harry Reid, who has opened the door to new gun control legislation in the Senate, have both been filmed stating that they have carried a concealed weapon. Their hypocrisy in their own words:

First, we see hypocrite Feinstein actually testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee that she carried a concealed weapon after her family was threatened in the '90's:


That video really pissed me off. Next, we see Reid, who has publicly stated that Washington "isn't doing enough" on guns, speaking about his love of 2nd Amendment rights at the opening of a gun range in Nevada:

 

Shameless. Feinstein's and Reid's hypocrisy reminds me of the hypocrisy of celebrities coming out of the woodwork against guns after the Newtown shootings. Celebrities, who often have armed bodyguards.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Iowa GOP Co-chair: Ron Paul Supporters Disenfranchising Republicans

Iowa GOP Co-chair: Ron Paul Supporters Disenfranchising Republicans
The liberty movement is slowly changing the face of the GOP, but, as expected, old-guard conservatives are fighting to preserve their power. Yesterday, Bill Schickel, co-chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, lamented the dominance of Ron Paul supporters within the state party, claiming that they are "disenfranchising" Republicans:
Bill Schickel, the co-chair of the Republican Party of Iowa, on Saturday blasted the dominance of Ron Paul supporters within the state party.

“The words are fine about reaching out and opening the doors of our party, but when are our chair, our executive director, our communications director, our finance director are all from the Campaign for Liberty that sends a message that is disenfranchising  to many, many of our Republicans,” he told GOP central committee members. “So, that is one of the reasons I am running, to bring all of these groups together.”

Paul, a former Republican congressman from Texas, has gained a strong following for his outspoken support of libertarian principles and Austrian economics. He founded the group Campaign for Liberty in 2008.

During the Republican Party of Iowa’s biennial officer elections on Saturday, Schickel failed to obtain enough votes to replace current chairman and former Paul campaign staffer A.J. Spiker. Another former Paul campaign staffer, David Fischer, was elected to be the next co-chair and Paul supporter John Kabitzke was re-elected as treasurer.
No, Mr. Schickel, the manner in which the GOP treated Dr. Paul's delegates (including his delegates from your state) this primary season was disenfranchisement. Ron Paul supporters taking over your state party is a just a harbinger of things to come. Here's the video of Schickel's remarks: