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Trump Administration Following in Obama Administration’s Footsteps on Marijuana

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Last month, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions sent a letter to congressional leaders urging them to oppose Congress again including in Department of Justice appropriations legislation a provision intended to stop, through a restriction on the use of appropriated money, the US government from arresting and prosecuting people for actions that comply with state medical marijuana laws, even if those actions violate US drug laws. Some people are reacting to Sessions’ letter, which was revealed this week, with condemnation of Sessions and the Trump administration for departing from Obama administration policy that showed increased leniency in regard to marijuana. But this claim appears to misrepresent the Obama administration’s marijuana history.

Tom Angell, who revealed the Sessions letter in a Monday article at MassRoots, suggests that Sessions’ request is consistent with the position under the Obama administration given that President Barack Obama, in his last two budget requests, suggested Congress remove the medical marijuana language. Indeed, Sessions pretty much makes this same observation that he is continuing the prior administration’s policy in the first sentence of his letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY), House or Representatives Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Sessions starts the letter as follows: “I write to renew the Department of Justice’s opposition to the inclusion of language in any appropriations legislation that would prohibit the use of Department of Justice funds or in any way inhibit its authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).”

Further, Obama administration Justice Department lawyers, after the appropriations provision was in effect, defended in the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals case of United States v. McIntosh ignoring, in ten separate drug law cases that had been consolidated for review on appeal, whether defendants complied with state medical marijuana laws. In each case, the individuals were being prosecuted for actions that they argued complied with state medical marijuana laws.
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The War In Afghanistan Is A Racket

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The United States will again escalate the war in Afghanistan.

Sixteen years ago the U.S, invaded the country and decided to eliminate the ruling Taliban for something that was planed elsewhere by a different group. Since the invasion the U.S. tried to defeat the Taliban. It has lost that fight. As soon as it leaves Afghanistan the Taliban will be back in power. But no one is willing to pull the plug on the nonsensical military approach.

The Taliban are part of Afghanistan and a significant segment of the population supports them. When the U.S. invaded Afghanistan it put the brutal and utterly corrupt warlords back into power. These were exactly the people the Taliban were created to hold down and the reason why they could take power in the first place. While demanding a strict religious life the Taliban successfully took care of local security and eliminated the lawless and corrupt rule of the warlords.

It is no wonder then that a large part of the population wishes to have them back in power.

The U.S. supported government in Kabul is utterly corrupt. The Afghan military and police the U.S. pays is likewise only motivated by money. It is not willing to fight. It takes high casualties during Taliban attacks and therefore avoids contact with them whenever possible. Some 60 % of the country is now more or less back under Taliban control. The government's say is restricted to the bigger cities.
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New Russia Sanctions: The Deep State Unifies Congress

When it comes to bad foreign policy, the House and Senate are completely bipartisan. Yesterday's 97-2 Senate vote for more Russia sanctions was a perfect case in point. What justifies yet more sanctions on Russia? Violating the territorial integrity of Ukraine, meddling in the US election, and conducting war in Syria. But if this is the measure, shouldn't the Senate sanction the US government as well? After all, the US is violating Syria's territorial integrity with its illegal base, it has meddled in more than 100 elections since 1945, and it has been fighting a proxy (and real) war against the Syrian government since 2011. But the Deep State wants another Cold War, so the Senate abides.
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Tyranny Over There but Not Over Here

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One of the fascinating aspects of tyranny is that people can recognize it when it happens in other countries but are blind about it when it happens at home. The American people, especially the US mainstream press, are a perfect demonstration of this phenomenon.

Consider the following article from last Sunday’s New York Times: “Dilemma for Uber and Rival: Egypt’s Demand for Data on Their Riders.” It details a request by the military dictatorship that governs Egypt that Uber provide government officials with all of its data about customers and their Uber rides.

The purpose of the request?

To monitor the activities of the citizenry, of course. Or as the Times puts it, “The software would be a powerful tool in the hands of Egypt’s security services, which, under President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, have ramped up spying on citizens as part of an effort to stifle dissent and entrench Mr. Sisi power.”

See how easy the Times recognizes tyranny … when it’s in Egypt?

That’s not all. The Times writes: “The security services can already track Egyptians through their cellphones. But ride-share spying speaks volumes about Mr. Sisi’s ambitions for electronic surveillance, at a time when his government has already imprisoned citizens for social media posts, has hacked activitists using fake emails and has blocked encrypted messaging applications….”
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Gen. Mattis Admits Afghanistan Truth: After 15 Years, No End In Sight

Defense Secretary James Mattis was grilled before the Senate yesterday, with Sen. McCain expressing his frustration that there is no new strategy yet to "win" in Afghanistan. Mattis promised a new approach by July, but the real question is that after the 2009 surge of 100,000 US troops, what kind of victory might be achieved by yet another surge, this time of perhaps 5-6,000? In today's Liberty Report we point out that victory is not possible because Washington doesn't even have a clear view of what it might look like. How many more billions of dollars wasted? How many thousands more lives lost?
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The Saudi War Against Qatar

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What in the name of Allah is going on with the spat between Qatar, on one side, and the Saudis, the United Arab Emirates, and most of the rest of the Arab states on the other? Accusations that Qatar is the fulcrum of “terrorism” in the region, emanating from Riyadh and Abu Dhabi – the twin epicenters of Islamic extremism on earth – seemed to have been broadcast from Bizarro World. And the incident that sparked the controversy — in which much of the Arab world, led by the Saudis, blockaded tiny Qatar — added the extra-hot spice of cyber-espionage to an already indigestible dish.

Shortly after President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia, where he announced his “anti-terrorist” initiative, the web site of the Qatar News Agency, run by the Qatari government, was hacked. A “fake news” story was posted by the hackers, purporting to describe a speech given by the current Emir, Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad al-Thani, in which he called for better relations with Iran, praised Hamas and Hezbollah, and predicted that Trump’s term in the White House would be short.

Despite the Qataris’ claim – since verified by the FBI, according to Qatar’s foreign minister – that the Qatar News Agency site had been hacked, and that the Emir had given no such speech, both the Saudis and the UAE, through their official media outlets, launched a campaign targeting Qatar. Overflight rights were revoked: diplomatic contacts ended: Qatar citizens were forbidden to enter Saudi/UAE territory even to change planes. And in a public statementdelivered in the rose garden of the White House President Trump clearly sided with the Saudi/UAE consortium, complementing a series of remarkably stupid tweets that basically said the same thing.
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Lynching Free Speech: The Intolerant State of America

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My hometown of Charlottesville, Va., has become the latest poster child in a heated war of words—and actions—over racism, “sanitizing history,” extremism (both right and left), political correctness, hate speech, partisan politics, and a growing fear that violent words will end in violent actions.

In Charlottesville, as in so many parts of the country right now, the conflict is over how to reconcile the nation’s checkered past, particularly as it relates to slavery, with the present need to sanitize the environment of anything—words and images—that might cause offense, especially if it’s a Confederate flag or monument.

In Charlottesville, that fear of offense prompted the City Council to get rid of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that has graced one of its public parks for 82 years. In doing so, they have attracted the unwanted attention of the Ku Klux Klan.

With more than 1,000 Confederate monuments in 31 states (in public parks, courthouse squares and state capitols), not to mention Confederate battle flags on display in military cemeteries, and countless more buildings and parks named after historic figures who were slaveholders, this isn’t an issue that is going away anytime soon, no matter how much we ignore it, shout over it, criminalize it, legislate it, adjudicate or police it.

The temperature is rising all across the nation, and not just over this Confederate issue.
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Global Peace Index: Where Do We Rank...And Why?

The new world ranking of peaceful and non-peaceful countries is out, and the results present the best case imaginable against US interventionism overseas. Of the ten least peaceful countries, nine of them have been on the receiving end of US destabilization, "regime change," or "liberation" efforts over the past decade or so. While US interventions are sold to the public as in our national security interest or to promote humanitarianism, the interventions all have one thing in common: they make things worse for the recipient country. So why do we keep doing it? Tune in to today's program...
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Liars Lying About Nearly Everything

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The United States has been using lies to go to war since 1846, when Americans who believed in manifest destiny sought to expand to the Pacific Ocean at the expense of Mexico, acquiring by force of arms California and what were to become the southwestern states. In 1898 the US picked up the pieces of a dying Spanish Empire in a war that was driven by American imperialists and the yellow dog reporting of the Hearst Newspaper chain. And then came World War 1, World War 2, and Korea, all avoidable and all enabled by deliberate lying coming out of Washington.

More recently, we have seen Vietnam with its Gulf of Tonkin fabrication, Granada and Panama with palpably ridiculous pretexts for war, Iraq with its nonexistent weapons of mass destruction, Afghanistan with its lies about bin Laden, Libya and its false claims about Gaddafi, and most recently Syria and Iran with allegations of an Iranian threat to the United States and lies about Syrian use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons. And if one adds in the warnings to Russia over Ukraine, a conflict generated by Washington when it brought about regime change in Kiev, you have a tissue of lies that span the globe and bring with them never-ending conflict to advance the American imperium.

So lies go with the American Way of War, but the latest twist and turns in the Middle East are bizarre even by Washington’s admittedly low standards of rectitude. On the 5th of June, Saudi Arabia led a gaggle of Arab and Muslim nations that included the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Bahrain to cut off all diplomatic, commercial and transport links with Qatar, effectively blockading it. Qatar is currently isolated from its neighbors, subject to sanctions, and there have even been Saudi threats of going to war against its tiny neighbor. Salman al-Ansari, the president of the Saudi American Public Relation Affairs Committee, even tweeted: “To the emir of Qatar, regarding your alignment with the extremist government of Iran and your abuse of the Custodian of the two sacred mosques, I would like to remind you that Mohammed Morsi [of Egypt] did exactly the same and was then toppled and imprisoned.”
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Qatar Chaos: Washington's Middle East Mass Confusion

Shortly after President Trump returned from his Middle East trip, Saudi Arabia and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) broke diplomatic relations with fellow GCC member Qatar and established a blockade around the tiny country. The Saudi pretext was that Qatar supported terrorism and interfered in the affairs of other countries -- something the Saudis do in spades. President Trump initially signaled support for the Saudi move, but his Secretary of State and Defense Secretary, likely understanding that the largest US military base in the Middle East is in Qatar, have urged the countries to patch up their differences. US interventionism has backed us into a corner in that corner of the world. We discuss options in today's Liberty Report...
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