Author Archive

Pentagon claims Islamic State tried to use mustard gas on US troops

September 23, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"The top U.S. military officer confirmed Thursday that Islamic State militants targeted a military base in Iraq where U.S. troops were stationed with a potentially deadly chemical weapon this week. 'We assess it to be a sulfur-mustard blister agent,' Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the Senate Armed Services Committee. Dunford did not elaborate, but the shell landed at a military base in northern Iraq where U.S. military advisers are helping Iraqi forces prepare for an upcoming offensive, according to an earlier account from two defense officials. They asked not to be named because they were not authorize to discuss the issue publicly. The defense officials suspected the Islamic State, also known as ISIL or ISIS, of launching the attack." (09/22/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2016/09/22/pentagon-confirms-isil-chemical-attack-near-us-troops-iraq/90841824  

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Obama poised to veto 9/11 bill, could face first successful override

September 23, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"Distribution of power is the essence of the U.S. Constitution. In fact, the Constitution does very little to pave the way for efficient government; rather, sparking conflict among the three branches in an effort to make power diffuse. Even in an atmosphere of constant conflict, however, a rare constitutional meteor shower is about to light up the skies. At issue is a white-hot bill approved by both bodies of Congress to permit families of 9/11 terrorism victims to sue the government of Saudi Arabia. President Obama wants to veto the measure. Both bodies of Congress are tentatively prepping to override Obama's veto." (09/22/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/22/obama-poised-to-veto-911-bill-and-could-face-first-successful-override.html  

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Trump Foundation, charity in name only

September 23, 2016
posted by

Debra J. Saunders Town Hall
by Debra J Saunders  

"Donald Trump famously said in January that his supporters were so loyal, 'I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose any voters.' It's amazing that Trump was able to exhibit his low view of his supporters, and not lose ground in the polls. Still, I wonder how his die-hard faithful will feel as they learn more about how Trump used the ostensibly charitable Donald J. Trump Foundation to launder purchases of high-ticket items the billionaire coveted and to settle legal issues for his luxury ventures. ... Mr. Big Spender hasn't given a dime to his namesake charity since 2008. Instead, other business people have contributed to the Trump Foundation -- while Trump took credit for their generosity." (09/22/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/debrajsaunders/2016/09/22/trump-foundation-charity-in-name-only-n2221986  

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One other reason Johnson & Stein should be invited to the debates

September 23, 2016
posted by

John Nichols The Nation
by John Nichols  

"Toward the end of the first Democratic presidential debate, CNN's Anderson Cooper turned to former US senator and Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee and asked, 'Edward Snowden, is he a traitor or a hero?' ... 'I would bring him home,' Chafee said of the American whistle-blower who leaked classified National Security Agency documents that exposed details of the NSA's surveillance programs in the United States and abroad. 'Bring him home, no jail time?' asked Cooper. '[What] Snowden did showed that the American government was acting illegally for the Fourth Amendment,' said Chafee. 'So I would bring him home.' Cooper then turned to former secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was of a different opinion altogether. 'He broke the laws of the United States,' said Clinton, who claimed Snowden wasn't really a whistle-blower but someone who 'stole very important information.'" [editor's note: Gee, do you suppose that's maybe why neither she nor Trump wants either of them up there? SAT] (09/22/16)

https://www.thenation.com/article/theres-one-other-reason-gary-johnson-and-jill-stein-should-be-invited-to-the-debates  

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Cannabis is not a gateway drug, admits Obama’s Attorney General

September 23, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"Marijuana is not the substance that pushes people to use harder drugs such as opioids, according to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch. In a Richmond, Kentucky town hall meeting on Tuesday, Lynch told a group of high school students that prescription pills can have a greater chance of leading to future drug abuse compared to marijuana, reports the International Business Times. 'In so many cases, it isn’t trafficking rings that introduce a person to opioids. It’s the household medicine cabinet. That’s the source,' Lynch told students before fielding questions from the audience." (09/22/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/09/22/marijuana-is-not-a-gateway-drug-admits-obamas-attorney-general  

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Wells Fargo shows exactly how structural racism works

September 23, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Theo Anderson  

"Wells Fargo is a curious case. Often overshadowed by banks like Chase and Citigroup, it was, until it took a hit from the recent uproar, the biggest bank in the world by market capitalization. It was also once 'viewed as one of the good guys,' as Bloomberg put it, because its 'conservative lending policies had helped it weather the worst of the housing bust' in 2008. On the 'Vision and Values' page of its website, Stumpf claims that 'everything we do is built on trust. It doesn’t happen with one transaction, in one day on the job or in one quarter. It’s earned relationship by relationship.' Despite its good-guy reputation in some quarters and its professed commitment to building trust, however, Wells Fargo was a central player in the lending practices that contributed to the housing crisis of the late 2000s. And it is still dealing with the fallout from lawsuits dating back to that era -- notably, a case to be heard by the Supreme Court in its coming term." (09/21/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19488/wells-fargo-shows-exactly-how-structural-racism-works  

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CA: Swastikas, “hateful” language found inside San Jose state dorms

September 23, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle    

"San Jose State University authorities are investigating the discovery of two swastikas and 'hateful language' found inside on-campus student housing, officials said. Staff at the school were informed on Tuesday that two swastikas were found on floors primarily with freshman students at Washburn Hall and Campus Village, according to a message sent by university’s president, Mary Papazian. 'I am both saddened and outraged by this news,' Papazian said in the message, which was also emailed to students, faculty and staff. 'Although I am in Long Beach for CSU meetings, I have spoken with campus and community leaders and shared our resolve to provide a safe learning environment where difficult issues can be addressed collaboratively and transparently.'" (09/22/16)

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Swastikas-hateful-language-found-inside-9239237.php  

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Science: DNA hints at earlier human exodus from Africa

September 23, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"Hints of an early exodus of modern humans from Africa may have been detected in living humans. People outside Africa overwhelmingly trace their descent to a group that left the continent 60,000 years ago. Now, analysis of nearly 500 human genomes appears to have turned up the weak signal of an earlier migration. But the results suggest this early wave of Homo sapiens all but vanished, so it does not drastically alter prevailing theories of our origins. Writing in Nature, Luca Pagani, Mait Metspalu and colleagues describe hints of this pioneer group in their analysis of DNA in people from the Oceanian nation of Papua New Guinea." (09/22/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-37408014  

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Third-party candidates don’t have to be spoilers

September 22, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Scott Lemieux  

"Donald Trump has between a 25 percent and 44 percent chance of becoming president (I'll pause while you fix yourself a stiff drink), although he doesn't crack 45 percent of the vote in prominent poll aggregators. One reason for this is an unusually strong collective showing by the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and the Green Party's Jill Stein. Millennial voters, in particular, have the sound judgment to solidly disapprove of Trump, but are disproportionately attracted to third-party candidates. I think voters of any age who don't want Trump to be president, but are considering a vote for Johnson and Stein, are making a mistake. But voters should not be faced with this dilemma in the first place." [editor's note: The title is deceptive; this is a pitch for IRV or other voting reform, and not in any way an endorsement of 3rd-party options (he goes on to trash and dismiss both), though it is at least a challenge to the present mess - SAT] (09/22/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/137012/third-party-candidates-dont-spoilers  

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Senate splits over bill to avoid “government shutdown”

September 22, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"A behind-the-scenes congressional battle to avoid a U.S. government shutdown broke into public view on Thursday when Republicans produced a stop-gap funding bill that Democrats immediately rejected. The federal fiscal year ends on Sept. 30 and Congress must pass a spending measure by then to keep the government open. In recent years, lawmakers have seldom been able to agree on a full federal budget and instead have relied on stop-gap measures. Senate Majority Mitch McConnell capped weeks of labored negotiations by proposing a continuing resolution that would fund government agencies from Oct. 1 through Dec. 9 at an annual rate of just over $1 trillion. The measure also includes $1.1 billion to combat the spreading Zika virus, $500 million in flood relief for states including Louisiana and funding for U.S. military operations overseas at an annual rate of $74 billion." (09/22/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-congress-funding-idUSKCN11S2DF  

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The Republican purge to come

September 22, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Gabriel Schoenfeld  

"The message from Republican Party chairman Reince Priebus wasn't subtle: Anyone who ran for president this year and agreed to support the primary winner, best get on board the Trump Train. Otherwise, he said on CBS'[s] Face The Nation, 'I don't think it's going to be that easy for them' to run again. 'It's not a threat,' he added. 'It's just a question that we have a process in place.' He has it precisely backwards. If there's going to be a purge, banish Republican officeholders who supported Donald Trump. The GOP needs to rid itself of those who turned what should have been a banner year for Republicans into a moral disaster and, tightening polls notwithstanding, likely a political one as well." [editor's note: This is going to be fun to watch, regardless of how the GOP disintegrates; one down, one to go ... - SAT] (09/22/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/09/22/trump-penalties-kasich-bush-cruz-ryan-giuliani-racism-gop-column/90796472  

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Republicans would rather impeach than disclose

September 22, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Eliza Newlin Carney  

"From the upside-down perspective of Republicans, the biggest threat to American democracy comes not from the millions in unregulated, undisclosed money sloshing through campaigns, but from the slightest attempt to shed light on the big donors funding secretive political groups. So alarmed are conservatives by the specter that non-disclosing groups will be politically harassed and intimidated that they have set out to impeach Internal Revenue Service Commissioner John Koskinen. It's a move that worries GOP leaders, but that has fired up the right-leaning House Freedom Caucus. It all goes back to a federal Inspector General's finding in 2013 that the IRS had improperly targeted tax-exempt Tea Party groups for special scrutiny." (09/22/16)

http://prospect.org/article/republicans-would-rather-impeach-disclose  

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Fed stands pat on rates, signals December hike

September 22, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today    

"A divided Federal Reserve held its key interest rate steady Wednesday and once again lowered its projected path of rate increases amid a weaker economic outlook, but signaled that a hike later this year is likely. 'The Committee judges that the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened but decided, for the time being, to wait for further evidence of continued progress toward its objective,' the Fed said in a statement after a two-day meeting. The decision was widely expected and marked a significant concession from a Fed that in December had forecast four quarter-point rate increases in 2016. Instead, it's almost certain the Fed will bump up rates just once, at most, this year, possibly at a mid-December meeting after the presidential election. Yet a move later this year appears increasingly likely. Ten of the 17 Fed officials still expect one rate hike this year." (09/21/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2016/09/21/fed-stands-pat-rates-signals-dec-hike/90776920  

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On the border, hostility to Trump’s wall

September 22, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Rick Jervis  

"The three acres of shady land just off of Highway 281 have been in Eloisa Tamez’s family’s possession for more than two centuries. Tamez traces her roots on that small patch of land to 1767, when an ancestor won a grant from the Spanish crown for a stretch of land along the Rio Grande. The land has since been parceled, farmed on and sold off, with Tamez’s three acres one of the last remnants of that family heritage. Today, an 18-foot-tall metal fence runs through the middle of the property, pinching her off from half of her land and providing a daily, rusty reminder of the federal government’s willingness to impose its will on the Rio Grande Valley. 'It's very depressing,' Tamez told me recently. 'We’re law-abiding American citizens, and we’re not free to move around in our own land.' I visited this stretch of the border recently to see what border residents and leaders thought about Donald Trump's proposed border wall. They have experience: They've lived with an 18-foot-fence and other barriers for nearly a decade." (09/20/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2016/09/20/voices-border-wall-texas-trump/90675360  

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Egypt: News chief fired after airing wrong Sisi interview

September 22, 2016
posted by

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]    

"The head of news at Egyptian state television has been sacked after the channel mistakenly aired an old interview of the country's President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi. Channel 1 was expected to broadcast a recent interview the president granted to the US network PBS. But it instead aired a year-old interview with the same network. The transmission was halted when staff realised the mistake. Mostafa Shehata confirmed he was fired. But he told AFP news agency that it was 'illogical' as other people had been involved in the transmission as well, putting it down to 'fate.' The broadcast had been timed to link in with the president's current visit to the United Nations General Assembly in New York." [editor's note: Maybe Egypt is coming into the modern world, since he was fired instead of just being beheaded - SAT] (09/21/16)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-37430845  

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Now is the time to plan for a post Islamic state Mosul

September 22, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Mina Al-Oraibi  

"Mosul, Iraq, is known as the city of two springs, with autumn days that are as fine as those ahead of summer. This fall, those days could turn even finer. Iraqi forces, supported by the U.S.-led coalition, are preparing for an assault on Islamic State's most significant stronghold in Iraq. Barring a reversal of policy in Baghdad or Washington, it is almost certain that the military campaign will succeed. What’s uncertain is the cost of that success. The immediate priority will be to protect the city’s 1.5 million-plus civilians and prevent criminal gangs from establishing themselves as the alternative to IS, which has held the city since 2014. Decisions made now, especially in determining whether the Iraqi government, or sectarian and ethnic armed groups will be able to hold Mosul and provide security, will decide the fate of Iraq's second city -- and the rest of the country." (09/21/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-mosul-islamic-state-commentary-idUSKCN11Q1H3  

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UK: Anti-Trump campaigners hit London’s streets in red bus

September 22, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters    

"Activists urging American expats in Britain to vote in the upcoming U.S. presidential election took to the streets of London on Wednesday in a red open-top double-decker bus adorned with anti-Donald Trump posters. Organisers, online activist network Avaaz, put up flags, balloons and posters reading 'American Abroad: Vote to Stop Trump' on the bus, referring to the Republican presidential nominee who faces Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 vote. Some 30 activists filled the top of the bus as it made its way around the British capital, chanting 'Stop Trump!' and singing along to the Bruce Springsteen song, 'Born In The U.S.A.' The bus made stops along the way, with campaigners using tablets to help some expats register for the vote. Some eight million Americans live abroad, of which more than 220,000 live in Britain. However, just 12 percent of them vote, Avaaz said in a statement." (09/21/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-election-london-bus-idUSKCN11R292  

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Study: Policy issues nearly absent in presidential campaign coverage

September 22, 2016
posted by

Raw Story Raw Story    

"The stakes in the election are high. Key decisions on foreign and domestic policy will be affected by the election’s outcome, as will a host of other issues, including the appointment of the newest Supreme Court justice. Yet, journalists have paid scant attention to the candidates' platforms. That conclusion is based on three reports on the news media’s coverage of the 2016 campaign that I have written for the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, where I hold a faculty position. The third report was released today and it covers the month-long period from the week before the Republican National Convention to the week after the Democratic National Convention." [editor's note: Although this pierce reads like a commentary, it's really a report on the study ... by its author' "journalism" has never seemed fuzzier - SAT] (09/21/16)

http://www.rawstory.com/2016/09/harvard-study-policy-issues-nearly-absent-in-presidential-campaign-coverage  

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Don’t waste your vote on the corporate agenda, vote for Jill Stein & the Greens

September 22, 2016
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Kshama Sawant  

"Presidential-election years aren't usually characterized by explosive social movements. Too often, a presidential election sucks all the oxygen out of the political space, shifting the discussion away from the needs of ordinary people and toward the false choice between a corporate Democrat and a yet more horrifying Republican. But this year has proven different, with tens of thousands of people becoming politically active for the first time. Just in the last month, we've seen Native Americans rallying at Standing Rock against the Dakota pipeline with the largest gathering of tribes in a century. This bold stand has drawn attention to this nation’s historic and ongoing disregard for both treaty rights and the rapidly advancing crisis of climate change. And in the latest telling character note of this election, among the courageous protesters at Standing Rock for whom arrest warrants have been issued is ... Green Party candidate Jill Stein." [editor's note: Posted as a sign that not everyone on the "left" is drinking the Clinton kool aid; as usual YMMV as to the proper alternative - SAT] (09/21/16)

https://www.thenation.com/article/dont-waste-your-vote-on-the-corporate-agenda-vote-for-jill-stein-and-the-greens  

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CA: Skin care company donates over $600,000 to cannabis legalization efforts

September 22, 2016
posted by

San Francisco Chronicle Smell the Truth    

"The people behind Dr. Bronner's are just as concerned about legalizing cannabis as they are creating high-quality skin care products. The Vista, Calif.-based company dedicated to producing all-natural organic body care products will donate over $660,000 towards responsible marijuana legalization initiatives in California and four more states slated to vote on the matter this November, reports the Cannabist. Following a move to leave the Organic Trade Association over removing mandatory GMO labels, CEO David Bronner decided instead to use their resources to help current ballot campaigns to raise the minimum wage, provide animal welfare, and reform marijuana laws. Working with allies New Approach and the Marijuana Policy Project, Dr. Bronner's donations will help go into responsible cannabis legalization and regulation campaigns in California, Massachusetts, Maine, Arizona and Nevada." (09/20/16)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2016/09/20/dr-bronners-donates-over-600000-to-marijuana-legalization-efforts-in-five-states  

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Clinton & Trump foundations hit with new allegations

September 22, 2016
posted by

Fox News Fox News    

"The Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump campaigns are both dealing with new questions about the dealings of the foundations that bear their names -- after one report claimed the GOP nominee used charity money to pay legal fees, while another detailed a new case of alleged overlaps between Bill Clinton's speaking fees and a Clinton Foundation grant. A Wall Street Journal report Wednesday detailed how The Fragrance Foundation (a perfume trade group whose industry would later benefit from a Clinton Foundation project in Haiti) had in 2014 given Bill Clinton $260,000 for a speech that lasted less than an hour. After the speech, the foundation organized and partially funded an effort to get Haitian farmers to plant thousands of lime trees to help both the farmers and the perfume and beverage industries which were suffering from a shortage of limeoil, the Journal reported. A spokesman for the Clinton Foundation told the Journal there was no connection between the speech and the work in Haiti, saying the project was part of an effort to reverse deforestation in Haiti and help the economy. However, the Trump campaign blasted the Clintons over the report, saying it showed the foundation is 'first and foremost an arm of the Clintons' political and buck-raking apparatus.'" (09/21/16)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/09/21/clinton-trump-foundations-hit-with-new-allegations.html  

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Wells Fargo had a bad day. That’s a start.

September 21, 2016
posted by

Richard Eskow Our Future
by Richard Eskow  

"People who came looking for drama in Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf’s Senate testimony on Tuesday did not come away disappointed. Stumpf was called before the Senate Banking Committee after his bank was fined $185 million for opening more than two million accounts in customers' names, without their knowledge or consent, over a five-year period. We now know that these two million phony accounts, and the 5,300 employees held responsible, may not reflect the full extent of the wrongdoing. Stumpf announced that the bank had agreed to extend its review of its misconduct to 2009 and 2010, and said he would consider reviewing earlier years as well." [editor's note: As has been noted elsewhere, this was the result of "unintended consequences" of a company incentive program ... kinda like pretty much everything Congress passes? - SAT] (09/20/16)

https://ourfuture.org/20160920/wells-fargo-had-a-bad-day-thats-a-start  

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Don’t blame Millennials for scarily close election, blame Baby Boomers

September 21, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Brian Beutler  

"Sixteen years since Bush v. Gore, Florida still looms large in the liberal imagination as the epicenter of the vote, a symbolic reminder of the importance of vigilance in campaign combat. The state is no longer the bellwether of the Democratic Party's political fortunes it once was, but in this election, it is part of a firewall that will make it very hard for Donald Trump to become president even if national polls remain close. Maintaining a healthy lead in Florida, in other words, is critical to liberal sanity. Cue panic. As if liberals needed more sources of anxiety, the polls are particularly close in Florida right now. A New York Times Upshot poll, which was based on voter records in the same way campaigns conduct their internal polls, finds Hillary Clinton leading 41-40 in a four-way race, and tied 43-43 in a head-to-head race against Trump." [editor's note: Yet another example of how to make 81% (or 86) equal 100%, and nobody notices - SAT] (09/20/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/136928/dont-blame-millennials-scarily-close-election-blame-baby-boomers  

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Would Trump nominate Peter Thiel to Supreme Court?

September 21, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Glenn Harlan Reynolds  

"Last week I went to Washington, D.C. and attended the Cato Institute’s Constitution Day conference, where a host of distinguished speakers addressed a number of important topics. In addition, I spoke. My topic was the Supreme Court's upcoming term. I was assigned to discuss the Court's coming term, which was harder than it sounds because, with Justice Scalia’s seat unfilled after over six months, the Court hasn’t taken very many cases. But, aside from the cases, there are a few other issues that this term raises. One is the possibility that, if November’s election results wind up in front of the Supreme Court, Ruth Bader Ginsburg (known to her fans as 'The Notorious RBG') may have to recuse herself in light of comments she recently made about Donald Trump." (0920/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2016/09/20/supreme-court-peter-thiel-trump-scalia-ginsburg-glenn-reynolds-column/90621788  

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TN: Nashville passes marijuana decriminalization measure

September 21, 2016
posted by

The Tennessean    

"Nashville’s Metro Council made history Tuesday by approving the city’s first measure to allow lesser civil penalties for people caught with small amounts of marijuana, but it may set the stage for a confrontation with the state. Meanwhile, some Nashville judges are now raising concerns that moving minor marijuana possession cases from criminal to civil court may give people fewer options to later erase those encounters from the public record. The council voted 35-3 to give final approval of legislation that will give Nashville police the option of reducing the penalty for people who are found in knowing possession of a half-ounce of marijuana or less to a $50 fine or 10 hours of community service. Councilman Dave Rosenberg, lead sponsor of the bill, told his colleagues that efforts aimed at marijuana decriminalization have become commonplace across the country. He reeled off a long list of cities and states as examples, noting that even the conservative Deep South state of Mississippi has a law on the books. 'All this bill does is give police the option of not treating someone with a little pot like a hardened criminal,' Rosenberg said. 'Because when you start treating good members of our society like criminals they begin acting like criminals.' 'As much as as I'd like to think we're cutting edge on this one, we're not,' he added. 'We're catching up.' Memphis is scheduled to take up a similar ordinance in two weeks." [editor's note: I never thought I'd be able to say it proudly, but, "That's my Councilman!" - SAT] (09/20/16)

http://www.tennessean.com/story/news/2016/09/20/nashville-passes-marijuana-decriminalization-measure/90739806  

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