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Month: December 2016

Obama Dismantles NSEERS Travel Registry To Thwart Trump’s Anti-Muslim Plans

Posted in Archive, Journalism, and MintPress News

President Barack Obama has dismantled an inactive anti-terrorism program in an apparent attempt to block the incoming administration from using it against Muslim immigrants and travelers in the United States.

One of President-elect Donald Trump’s most controversial moves during his campaign was his promise to build a registry of Muslims living in the United States, but a similar program to track immigrants and visitors has existed in the country for the past decade.

Established under President George W. Bush after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System required men over 16 from 24 Muslim-majority countries and North Korea to register with the Department of Homeland Security upon entering the United States.

Under pressure from civil liberties activists and advocates for immigrants, DHS suspended NSEERs in May 2011. On Dec. 22, Obama acted to formally end the program.

Drexel University Abandons Professor After Attacks Over Satirical ‘White Genocide’ Tweets

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

George Ciccariello-Maher, a professor at Drexel University, is facing death threats after a series of satirical tweets about “white genocide,” a concept invented by white supremacists.

The university is also facing criticism for its refusal to wholeheartedly support the free speech rights of its employee in the midst of an onslaught of complaints driven, in part, by far-right news outlets like Breitbart.

“All I Want for Christmas is White Genocide,” Ciccariello-Maher tweeted on Saturday, according to a report published Monday by The Philadelphia Inquirer. A second tweet created on Sunday read: “To clarify: when the whites were massacred during the Haitian revolution, that was a good thing indeed.”

Ciccariello-Maher teaches in Drexel’s Department of History and Politics. According to his university bio, he often appears in the media to comment on “social movements, particularly in Latin America” and also frequently writes about “race, racism, prisons and policing in the U.S. and internationally.”

The DEA Isn’t Making CBD Oil Illegal — Yet

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

An administrative change by the Drug Enforcement Administration has left users of CBD oil, a popular tincture derived from agricultural hemp, fearful that they could lose access to this vital health remedy.

CBD oil is currently considered legal in all 50 states, and agricultural hemp, a non-psychoactive variety of the cannabis plant from which CBD oil is extracted, is legally grown in many states. While scientific research into its benefits is just beginning, preliminary results show that CBD oil can benefit conditions ranging from epilepsy to chronic pain.

But on Dec. 14, the DEA added a notice to the Federal Register that quietly informed the public that it had established “a new drug code for marihuana extract.” The DEA’s argument is that the agency is entitled to regulate CBD oil because all extracts contain trace amounts of THC, the active ingredient in cannabis which remains illegal at the federal level.

Establishing this new drug code is, effectively, the first step toward classifying CBD oil alongside cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act. This act classifies cannabis as a Schedule 1 substance, alongside drugs like heroin which are considered to have no practical medical benefit.

However, legal experts and advocates for hemp doubt that the DEA has the mandate to easily ban CBD oil.

Trump Selects His Anti-Peace Bankruptcy Lawyer As Ambassador To Israel

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

President-elect Donald Trump has selected David Friedman, a notorious opponent of the peace process in Israel and Palestine and a financial supporter of illegal Israeli settlements, to be the next U.S. ambassador to Israel.

Trump, who officially nominated Friedman on Dec. 15, is unlikely to quell the accusations of corruption and nepotism that have dogged the incoming administration with this controversial pick. Friedman is a long-time friend of the president-elect and a lawyer who helped Trump file for bankruptcy in 2004 and 2009.

Friedman fervently supports the ongoing expansion of apartheid Israel’s occupation of Palestine, and many political analysts have noted that Friedman’s political views actually put him to the right of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s far-right prime minister.

An Orthodox Jew, Friedman maintains residences in both the United States and Jerusalem. In the formal announcement for his post released by Trump’s transition team, Friedman suggested that the U.S. embassy be moved from its current location in Tel Aviv to “Israel’s eternal capital, Jerusalem.”

4Chan’s War On Alternative & LGBTQIA Culture

Posted in Austin, Burning Man, Journalism, and MintPress News

After Donald Trump’s election, 4chan declared war on queer people and the American counterculture.

4chan is a lawless, unmoderated and completely anonymous online forum that frequently serves as a hub of internet troll culture. 4chan helped to spawn the Anonymous movement when some of 4chan’s users launched an organized trolling campaign against the Church of Scientology in 2008. That movement later became known for its hacktivism against the wealthy and powerful during the Occupy Wall Street movement that began in fall of 2011.

In recent years, however, the board, especially a subsection called /pol/ have come to be dominated by a hyper-conservative, white nationalist movement. The users believe, with an almost religious fervor, that their “meme magic” helped to elect Trump. More sober analysts are worried that 4chan and Reddit are helping to radicalize a generation by turning disaffected young white men into dangerous neo-Nazis.

Since November 8, 4chan has been linked to two seemingly disparate, but ultimately interconnected stories.

How To Break Rules In 2017 (Gonzo Notes 03)

Posted in Creative Commons, Gonzo Notes, and Journalism

Here in Austin, Texas, activists love to hold rallies at the state capitol building.

It’s a magnificent edifice of pink granite and the symbolic center of our state, so I can understand the impulse. Yet the grounds are so massive that all but the biggest crowds become visually lost among the monuments, and for about 18 months out of every 24 the building is empty (“a big pink tourist trap”).

I’m tired of attending protests outside an empty building. The bigger issue is that strongly worded speeches alone won’t solve the immense problems we face. Neither will petitions or angry letters.

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