Tag Archives | Politics

Happy 420!

via chycho

Cannabis_sativa

April is indeed one of the most exciting months of the year. On April 19 we have the pleasure of celebrating Bicycle Day, and on April 20 we follow it up with 420.

April 20 has been designated as global cannabis appreciation day. It is a day to let the world know that this beautiful plant genus is part of our society and one of the most important bounties of nature. As our civilization expands and evolves, it has become essential for us to recognize and celebrate this day and share the wealth and knowledge that comes from harvesting and consuming what we have so generously been provided.

As for how this day came to be chosen as an official holiday for the 420 community, in the following 2002 interview, Steven Hager, at the time the editor-in-chief of High Times magazine, explains its origins.

The earliest use of the term began among a group of teenagers in San Rafael, California in 1971, calling themselves the Waldos, because ‘their chosen hang-out spot was a wall outside the school’.

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Thinking About Becoming Minority Population Leads Whites Toward Conservative Politics

Fear of a black planet?

PIC: PD

PIC: PD

Via the Association for Psychological Science:

Facing the prospect of racial minority groups becoming the overall majority in the United States leads White Americans to lean more toward the conservative end of the political spectrum, according to research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

The findings suggest that increased diversity in the United States could actually lead to a wider partisan divide, with more White Americans expressing support for conservative policies.

Psychological scientists Maureen Craig and Jennifer Richeson of Northwestern University noticed a substantial amount of media attention when predictions were made that the “majority-minority” population shift would happen in 2050 or sooner.

“We wondered how this kind of ‘us-vs-them’ framing would be perceived by members of the current majority,” says Craig.

Craig and Richeson first examined data from 369 White participants who had described themselves as politically unaffiliated in a national Pew Research survey.

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Beyond The ‘McCutcheon’ Decision

The Roberts Court

The Roberts Court

Everyone’s taking about the Supreme Court’s perfectly predictable “Citizens United 2” McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission decision.  It’s what we are NOT talking about that worries me.

Ironically, the far right that many on the left see as the only beneficiary of a decision that treats money and free speech as if they are the same thing, is also not happy with it. They wanted, and may still get, the end of all campaign finance reform.

This decision keeps individual giving caps in place and, in the Right’s view doesn’t go far enough, although in their war of many slashes and cuts, they clearly see laws and policies trending in their direction.

If the escalation of the email that has inundated my in-box is any indication, Dems and the progressives see it in apocalyptic terms–the end of democracy as we know and the final nod towards plutocracy, if not fascism.… Read the rest

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US Supreme Court Opens Up Federal Elections To Richest Bidders

Make no mistake, the US Supreme Court’s decision to remove limits on monetary donations to candidates for federal political office is a game changer. The New York Times editorial board weighs in on the implications:

John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States of America.

John G. Roberts, Jr., Chief Justice of the United States of America.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday continued its crusade to knock down all barriers to the distorting power of money on American elections. In the court’s most significant campaign-finance ruling since Citizens United in 2010, five justices voted to eliminate sensible and long-established contribution limits to federal political campaigns. Listening to their reasoning, one could almost imagine that the case was simply about the freedom of speech in the context of elections.

“There is no right more basic in our democracy,” Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. wrote in the opening of his opinion for the court in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, “than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”

But make no mistake, like other rulings by the Roberts court that have chipped away at campaign-finance regulations in recent years, the McCutcheon decision is less about free speech than about giving those few people with the most money the loudest voice in politics.

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Citizens United 2.0: Major Supreme Court Ruling Will Further Expand Reach Of Money In U.S. Elections

supreme courtThe Supreme Court’s conservative majority feels that any limit on the flow of money into political campaigns is a violation of free speech, the New York Times reports:

The Supreme Court on Wednesday issued a major campaign finance decision, striking down some limits on federal campaign contributions for the first time. The ruling, issued near the start of a campaign season, will change and most likely increase the already large role money plays in American politics.

The decision, by a 5-to-4 vote along ideological lines, with the court’s more conservative justices in the majority, was a sequel of sorts to Citizens United, the 2010 decision that struck down limits on independent campaign spending by corporations and unions. But that ruling did nothing to affect the other main form of campaign finance regulation: caps on direct contributions to candidates and political parties.

Dissenting from the bench, Justice Stephen G. Breyer called the decision a blow to the First Amendment and American democracy.

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Gazing Inside The Deep State That Controls The American Empire

pentagonVia BillMoyers.com, Mike Lofgren describes the branches of the structure that actually rules us:

Yes, there is another government concealed behind the one that is visible at either end of Pennsylvania Avenue, a hybrid entity of public and private institutions ruling the country according to consistent patterns in season and out, connected to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we choose.

As a congressional staff member for 28 years specializing in national security and possessing a top secret security clearance, I was at least on the fringes of the world I am describing. Like virtually every employed person, I became, to some extent, assimilated into the culture of the institution I worked for.

The Deep State is a hybrid of national security and law enforcement agencies: the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the Department of Homeland Security, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Justice Department.

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Democrats, Republicans See Each Other as Mindless—Unless They Pose a Threat

PIC: Roanoke (CC)

PIC: Roanoke (CC)

Via Newswise:

We are less likely to humanize members of groups we don’t belong to—except, under some circumstances, when it comes to members of the opposite political party. A study by researchers at New York University and Harvard Business School suggests that we are more prone to view members of the opposite political party as human if we view those individuals as threatening.

“It’s hardly surprising that we dehumanize those who are not part of our groups,” says Jay Van Bavel, an assistant professor in NYU’s Department of Psychology and one of the study’s co-authors. “However, what is interesting is that we may be motivated to perceive the presence of a mind among political adversaries who threaten us.

“It’s possible that when we believe our political opponents are formidable we may humanize them in ways we don’t with members of other out-groups.”

The study appears in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

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The Climate Change Deniers Have Won

PIC: Greenpeace China (PD)

PIC: Greenpeace China (PD)

What’s with the “let us hope” bullshit?  Nick Cohen writes at the Observer:

The American Association for the Advancement of Science came as close as such a respectable institution can to screaming an alarm last week. “As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” it said as it began one of those sentences that you know will build to a “but”. “But human-caused climate risks abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes.”

In other words, the most distinguished scientists from the country with the world’s pre-eminent educational institutions were trying to shake humanity out of its complacency. Why weren’t their warnings leading the news?

In one sense, the association’s appeal was not new. The Royal Society, the Royal Institution, Nasa, the US National Academy of Sciences, the US Geological Survey, the IPCC and the national science bodies of 30 or so other countries have said that man-made climate change is on the march.

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