Pushing Marijuana Legalization Across The Finish Line

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21-04-19 05:31:00,

Authored by Paul Armentano via Counterpunch.org,

After nearly a century of cannabis criminalization, U.S. voters — and a growing number of high-profile politicians — are demanding that marijuana policy move in a different direction.

One in five Americans now live in states where the adult, recreational use of marijuana is legal. And the majority of us reside someplace where the medical use of cannabis is legally authorized.

Many of these latter programs have been in place for the better part of two decades. And it’s plain to see the results have been better for public health and safety than criminal prohibition, because public and political support in for marijuana reform just keeps growing.

According to the latest national polling compiled by Gallup, 66 percent of U.S. adults — including majorities of Democrats, independents, and Republicans —  believe that the adult use of marijuana should be legal.

Separate national surveys, such as the General Social Survey and the latest Pew poll, similarly show that public support for legalization is at a historic high.

Voters’ support for legalizing and regulating cannabis isn’t born out of a presumption that the plant is altogether harmless. To the contrary, society has long acknowledged that cannabis is a mood-altering substance with some risk potential — particularly for young people or among those with a family history of mental illness.

In fact, it’s precisely because marijuana use may pose potential risks that advocacy groups like NORML have long urged lawmakers to regulate it accordingly.

Such regulations already exist governing the use, production, and retail distribution of alcohol and tobacco — two substances that are far more dangerous and costly to society than the responsible adult use of cannabis.

The enforcement of these regulations, coupled with public awareness campaigns to educate consumers about these products’ health effects, have proven effective at reducing the public’s use of these two substances — particularly among U.S. teens.

Specifically, according to 2018 data compiled by the University of Michigan, lifetime use of cigarettes by young people has fallen 70 percent since the early 1990s and is now at a historic low.

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How The US Is Pushing Lebanon Into The Arms Of Iran And Russia

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19-03-19 09:06:00,

Authored by Elijah Magnier, Middle East based chief international war correspondent for Al Rai Media

Lebanon is readying to receive US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week in his first ever visit at a time when the Lebanese economic-political map is being redrawn and while Lebanon is suffering its most serious economic downturn in recent history.

Reasons for the deterioration of the local economy include not only the corruption of Lebanon’s political leadership and lower level administration but also US sanctions imposed on Iran. The latest sanctions are the harshest ever imposed. They will also dramatically affect Lebanon so long as President Donald Trump is in power if Lebanon does not follow US policy and dictates.

Hezbollah leader Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, center, escorted by his bodyguards. 2012 AP file photo

If, as anticipated, Washington declares economic war on Lebanon, the sanctions will leave Lebanon few alternatives. They may force Lebanon to fall back on Iranian civilian industry to overcome US economic pressure, and to rely on the Russian military industry to equip Lebanese security forces.

This will be the result if Pompeo insists on threatening Lebanese officials, as his assistants have done on previous visits to the country. The consistent message from US officials has been: you’re either with us or against us.

Politically, Lebanon is divided between two currents, one pro-US (and Saudi Arabia) and another outside the US orbit. The economic situation may well increase internal division to the point that the local population reacts angrily in order to exclude the US and its allies from influence in Lebanon. 

Such a scenario may still be avoided if Saudi Arabia injects enough investment to reboot the agonizing local economy. Nevertheless, Saudi Arabia fears that those who are not aligned with its policies and those of the US could benefit from its support.

To date, Riyadh has not fully understood the internal Lebanese dynamic and what it is possible or impossible to achieve in Lebanon. The kidnapping of the Prime Minister Saad Hariri was the most flagrant indication of Saudi ignorance of Lebanese politics. The Saudis’ lack of strategic vision in Lebanon will likely prevent any serious support to the failing economy and may lead the country into serious instability.

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US Is Pushing Venezuela to the Brink by Attacking Its Power Grid – Global Research

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11-03-19 02:10:00,

The Hybrid War on Venezuela just took a dark turn – literally – after the US used cyber weapons and insider sabotage to attack the country’s power grid last week, cutting off most of its electricity and creating a chain reaction of negative consequences all throughout the Bolivarian Republic. According to unverified reports cited in one of RT’s recent articles on the topic, the Guri hydroelectric power plant – which provides 80% of the country’s power – failed (possibly due to a cyberattack), which was followed by an explosion at the Sidor Substation that was sustaining most of the country’s power in the aftermath of the aforementioned.

The nationwide blackout undoubtedly led to a worsening of living standards for Venezuela’s over 31 million people, affecting everything from the availability of food supplies to hospital services and creating an insecure environment that’s proved irresistible for looters, though it’s unclear at this moment whether the majority of its citizens believe the American narrative that their own government’s incompetence and corruption is to blame.

Marco Rubio, the Cuban-American Senator from Florida, has quickly emerged as one of the most high-profile public faces of the US’ Hybrid War on Venezuela after he attributed the suffering of the South American nation’s people to Maduro in a provocative post that he made on Twitter, which follows other controversial ones in recent weeks such as implying that Chavez’s successor will meet a similar fate as former Libyan leader Gaddafi or former Panamanian one Noriega.

These messages are part of the US’ so-called “strategic communications” strategy for carrying out psychological and information warfare against the Bolivarian Republic, but they’re supposed to come off as “authentic” because Rubio is Hispanic, with the innuendo being that the” brains” behind this campaign think that the target audience will believe what’s being said just because it’s being conveyed by someone with a similar ethno-cultural identity as them. It’s not known whether this simplistic pandering will appeal to Venezuelans in the future, but it has thus far failed to be successful.

Despite the years of on-and-off Color Revolution unrest and the highly publicized “humanitarian aid” provocation that recently took place at the Venezuelan-Colombian border,

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US Sanctions are Pushing Russia to War

US Sanctions are Pushing Russia to War

13-08-18 03:18:00,

Authored by Finian Cunningham via The Strategic Culture Foundation…

The new round of sanctions this week unleashed by the United States on Russia has only one meaning: the US rulers want to crush Russia’s economy. By any definition, Washington is, in effect, declaring war on Russia.

The implemented economic measures may have a seemingly abstract or sterile quality about them: banning electronic exports to Russia, rattling financial markets, stock prices falling. But the material consequence is that American officials are intending to inflict physical damage on Russian society and Russian people.

It’s economic warfare on a sliding scale to military warfare, as the Prussian General Karl von Clausewitz would no doubt appreciate.

It seems all the more significant that this week also saw US internet services launching a major clampdown on anti-war websites, suggesting that the powers-that-be want to shut down any criticism or public awareness of their reckless warmongering.

What’s more, the latest round of US sanctions – there have been several previous rounds since the contrived Ukrainian conflict in 2014 – is based on nothing but wild, ridiculous speculation. That only adds insult upon injury.

Washington said the new proposed sanctions are due to its “determination” that the Russian state was responsible for an alleged chemical-weapon attack on a former double agent in England earlier this year.

The so-called Skripal affair involving Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia allegedly being poisoned by Russian agents using a deadly nerve agent is as yet an unproven conundrum. Some might even say “farce”.

No evidence has ever been presented by the British government to substantiate its sensational allegations against Moscow. Its claims that Russia was responsible for poisoning the Skripals rests entirely on dubious assertion and innuendo.

Now Washington is proposing sanctions based on a wholly unverified “determination” by the British – sanctions that are intended to crush the Russian economy. The proposed punitive measures go way beyond the usual freezing of assets pertaining to individuals. What Washington is moving to do is attack the core financial operation of the Russian economy.

No wonder that Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev issued a grave response to the latest American sanctions. He said they were comparable to “economic warfare”.

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