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Federal Court Strikes Down Federal Provision Used To Bar Trademark Protection For Redskins and Other Controversial Names

I have previously written about my disagreement with the US Patent and Trademark Office decision to rescind federal trademark protections for the Redskins as a racially disparaging name as well as the underlying law used to strip the team of its trademark protection. The law allows for a small administrative office to effectively dictate the outcome of a long simmering societal debate over the team name. More importantly, the standard for determining what names or words are disparaging remains dangerously undefined with striking contradictions as we have previously discussed in permitted and disallowed trademarks. 

One of the cases that I have discussed involves an Asian-American rock band called The Slants, which was also barred by the office. Now the band has won a major victory not just for itself but also the first amendment in the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC The Court struck down the part of the law allowing the denial of the registration of offensive trademarks. The case, which is likely to appealed to the Supreme Court, will have a major impact on the Redskins controversy.
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Will Marijuana Be Rescheduled in 2016?

In January, President Barack Obama stated that rescheduling marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act’s Schedule 1 is “a job for Congress.” At the time, prominent advocates of liberalization of United States marijuana laws countered that the executive branch has the authority to unilaterally move marijuana to a lower schedule. A letter sent Monday by Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), along with seven cosigning senators, to the heads of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) suggests that the Obama administration may have since decided to move forward with unilateral executive branch rescheduling of the plant during Obama’s final year in office. 
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White House Schizophrenia - Kerry: 'Assad Can Stay'; Obama: 'Assad Must Go'

Just three days ago, emerging from Moscow meetings with Russian foreign minister Lavrov and president Putin, US Secretary of State John Kerry signaled a major shift in US foreign policy toward Syria. "The United States and our partners are not seeking so-called regime change," he told the media. The media rightly reported the apparent US about-face as, "Assad can stay."

The shift was seen as paving the way for the adoption of a UN Security Council Resolution calling for a ceasefire and political solution to the nearly five-year old brutal war in Syria. This would not have passed the Security Council, where Russia is a permanent member, if the official US position was still that "Assad must go."
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Obama Wants to Take Away Santa’s Guns

Lauren Davis of WVLT-TV reported on Thursday about the predicament of Patrick Hackett, a Knoxville, Tennessee veterinarian who found out in 2004 that he is on the United States government’s No Fly List. Hackett has a long white beard and dresses up as Santa Claus for photos with people and their pets. He also enjoys dressing up in western clothing while carrying guns, a hobby President Barack Obama is threatening to end with a proposal to bar gun ownership by people on the No Fly List.
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Ron Paul: Save Trillions of Dollars and Millions of Lives by Replacing Militarism with Defense

In a new interview with host Deirdre Bolton at Fox Business, Ron Paul explains that most United States Department of Defense spending is on militarism rather than defense. This spending on militarism, Paul continues, is “a negative,” wasting trillions of dollars on counterproductive foreign interventions that produce millions of deaths overseas while reducing Americans’ safety.

Paul, the chairman and founder of the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity, points out the money thrown into militarism harms the economy and contributes to the “dwindling” of the middle class in America. Spending on defense of our own country instead of on imposing the will of the US government on people overseas, Paul explains, is much cheaper in terms of both money spent and lives lost.
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US Foreign Policy of Interminable War to Support the National Security State

Continuing his insightful analysis offered in October RT and November Real News Network interviews, Lawrence Wilkerson, a former United States Army colonel and chief of staff for Secretary of State Colin Powel, expands this month on his exploration of the US national security state. In an in-depth interview this week with host Abby Martin at teleSUR, Wilkerson explains how “interminable war” is a goal of the national security state.

Many people suppose that US foreign policy is purposed to protect the American people from danger or to achieve altruistic aspirations overseas such as the spread of democracy or the protection of human rights. Consider, for example, the Afghanistan War that was justified as a response to the September 11, 2001 attacks on America and also promoted as having humanitarian purposes.
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How About Perjury Prosecutions for Cops Who Lie About Other Cops’ Killings?

It is disheartening to see police unjustifiably abuse, injure, or kill people and then just return to their jobs after perfunctory investigations. In the instances when a cop is charged with a crime, so often the grand jury does not indict or the trial jury does not convict. Not every cop accused of criminal activity is guilty. But, it does seem like in many cases police do the crime but not the time.

At Mimesis Law, Ken Womble suggests employing an underutilized means to ensure some accountability for cops behaving badly: Prosecute police for perjury when they lie in their reports and to investigators. Womble looks to Chicago for an example of where such prosecutions could be undertaken. How about, he asks, prosecuting any police who were present when their fellow cop Jason Van Dyke killed Laquan McDonald and who then described the occurrence in a manner that is inconsistent with the video of the shooting but supportive of Van Dyke’s contention that Van Dyke’s lethal actions were in response to a threat from McDonald?
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RPI’s Adam Dick on the San Bernardino Killings, Mass Murders, Gun Control, Killer Cops, and US Militarism

Ron Paul Institute Senior Fellow Adam Dick was a guest this week of hosts Jason Burack and Eric Dubin on the always interesting Welcome to Dystopia podcast. The conversation begins with a discussion of the killings in San Bernardino, California last week and Dick’s Sunday article “‘No Gun for You!’: Obama’s ‘Soup Nazi’ Gun Control Proposal” that challenges United States President Barack Obama’s proposal that people on the No Fly List be barred from possessing guns. From there, the conversation turns to a variety of related topics.
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Prayer Request for Ron Paul's Daughter

Lew Rockwell writes over at LRC:
Lew Rockwell writes at LRC: Ron and Carol’s oldest daughter, Lori Paul Pyeatt, is very sick with cancer. Please pray for her, and for the whole Paul Family.
I would second Lew's request and only add that as a long-time manager at the FREE Foundation, Lori is a valued colleague of ours at the Ron Paul Institute. I would also add on a personal note that Lori has become a big part of our daily life now that the Ron Paul Institute is in Clute, Texas. Her smile and great sense of humor brighten the mornings and we look forward to her quick return to the office.
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After US Bombers Wipe Out Syrian Village, US Will Investigate Itself

Just days after what looks to have been a terror attack in San Bernardino, it is worth remembering that while thankfully rare in the US, such attacks are commonplace in the countries the US seeks to "liberate." Just yesterday, in the Syrian village of al-Khan, US bombers wiped out at least 36 civilians as they hit the center of the village.
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