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Tag: American politics

Despite Support By Experts, Marijuana Still Unavailable To Most Veterans With PTSD

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Thousands of American veterans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and they’re forced to endure the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs while an effective treatment with few side effects, medical marijuana, remains illegal and inaccessible to most.

A 2012 study from the Veterans Administration estimated that as much as 20 percent of veterans of conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from PTSD. Among these veterans, the suicide rate is 50 percent higher than the national average and PTSD is a major contributing factor, according to a 2015 study by the National Institute of Mental Health. Nick Wing and Matt Ferner, writing in The Huffington Post, suggested VA doctors typically treat veterans with a combination of therapy and a selection of dozens of pharmaceutical drugs approved for the treatment of the often debilitating condition. Missing from that list, according to their report, is one particular treatment that’s made a difference in many lives: cannabis.

“[T]the government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug with no medical value and explicitly prohibits VA doctors from recommending marijuana,” Wing and Ferner wrote last month. The federal scheduling system is meant to classify dangerous drugs by weighing their risks versus their potential benefit to humanity. Under this system, marijuana, which studies have repeatedly demonstrated to be relatively safe and carry almost no risk of addiction, is considered more dangerous than heroin or amphetamines.

Netanyahu Has A Twitter Meltdown Over Iran Nuclear Deal

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

As Washington and Iran celebrated a nuclear deal that many see as a historic step forward for relations between both countries, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took to social media to repeat what’s becoming an increasingly tired refrain: that peace with Iran spells impending doom for Israel and will lead to widespread suffering in the Middle East.

On Tuesday, world leaders reached an agreement that brings an end to lengthy negotiations with Iran over its controversial nuclear program. The deal seeks to limit Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear bomb for at least the next 15 years while still allowing the country to continue low-level enrichment necessary for nuclear power generation. To uphold the agreement, international inspectors would have increased, but not unlimited, access to Iranian nuclear facilities. In return, Iranians can look forward to a gradual easing of sanctions that have had a brutal effect on their economy.

While Iranians celebrated the deal, Netanyahu took it as an opportunity to repeat a militaristic message that’s been Israel’s main talking point since before the prime minister’s controversial speech to Congress.

Mailman Faces Felony Charges For Delivering Protest Letters Via Gyrocopter To Congress

Posted in Archive, Journalism, and MintPress News

Doug Hughes made international headlines in April, when he landed a gyrocopter, a miniature personal helicopter he’s described as barely larger than a “flying bicycle,” on the lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Government officials considered the action a threat to national security, but Hughes argues he was simply trying to deliver the mail.

Hughes has been a Florida Postal Service employee in good standing for the past 11 years (up until his direct action, that is), but April 15 was no ordinary day on his rounds. Hughes chose Tax Day to deliver a message to Congress that corporate corruption of politics must stop, because the same corporations spending millions to control U.S. legislators are using that power to prevent themselves from paying their fair share of taxes. He also hoped to highlight efforts by corporate lobbyists to privatize the post office.

With his personal aerial vehicle carrying 435 copies of a fiery letter about corruption, Hughes landed at Congress’s front door and was promptly arrested. Coming months after a series of security violations at the White House, the incident set off a renewed debate in the media about the safety of the Capitol.

The Obama Legacy: Inequality, Corporate Trade Deals, Worldwide War

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

An undocumented transgender woman interrupted the White House LGBT Pride celebrations last week, highlighting a rift between those who praise President Barack Obama’s accomplishments after two terms in office, and those who see a decline in freedoms and a rise in inequality as the real legacy he’ll be leaving behind.

The division between the perception of Obama’s achievements and the reality extends far beyond immigration and the LGBT community. Obama’s presidency has seen destructive Bush-era policies grow more entrenched, and new forms of repression have been added to American life.

With the Supreme Court legalizing marriage for all regardless of gender, many perceive an increase in equality for LGBT people as one of the main legacies of Obama’s presidency. But last Wednesday, Jennicet Gutiérrez interrupted Obama at one of the White House’s annual Pride Month festivities to demand better treatment for an overlooked portion of the community.

“President Obama, stop the torture and abuse of trans women in detention centers!” shouted Gutiérrez, who is an undocumented transgender Latina immigrant, before continuing: “President Obama, I am a trans woman. I’m tired of the abuse.”

John McCain And Endless War: Best Friends Forever

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

Modern American politicians are often criticized for their willingness to bow to popular opinion, changing their professed beliefs from moment to moment based on what they think the public wants to hear. Yet one senator rises above all that through his unabashed love of war — a stance that’s remained consistent regardless of what party sits in the White House and how many civilian lives could hang in the balance.

That senator is John McCain, a Republican from Arizona, who currently leads the Senate Armed Services Committee. In February, as the White House asked for authorization to use military force against the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), McCain appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in support of the idea that there should be no limits on the president’s ability to make war.

“I think we should not restrain the president of the United States,” he said on the show, explaining that to do so would be “unconstitutional and frankly leads to 535 commander-in-chiefs.”

McCain has ensured U.S. support for all sides of the conflict in the Middle East. In 2012, he joined South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham in calling on America to arm the Syrian rebels, many of whom later joined ISIS. Years after helping arm the Syrian rebels, he admitted to Sean Hannity that he’d met ISIS and knew them “intimately.”

Corruption Bird Dogs Accuse Candidates of ‘Governing Under The Influence’

Posted in Journalism, and MintPress News

During the build up to every presidential election, the eyes of the world turn to two states: Iowa and New Hampshire. Home to the Iowa Caucus, and the first primary elections, respectively, they’ve become key campaign stops for every presidential candidate. This time, a group of Quaker-trained “bird dogs” is making these carefully managed publicity tours more challenging.

Created by the American Friends Service Committee, “Governing Under the Influence” is a campaign to challenge presidential candidates to own up to the power of corporate influence in modern American politics. The AFSC is a nonprofit organization created by the Quakers, and in keeping with that religion’s strong anti-war beliefs, the Governing Under the Influence campaign specifically targets military spending, the militarization of the U.S. border with Mexico, and the country’s out-of-control prison population.

In both states, the campaign is tracking the candidates’ every public appearance and sending teams of trained volunteers, called “bird dogs” in reference to their stubbornness and persistence, to ask difficult questions about campaign financing and the future of democracy. The campaign is deliberately nonpartisan, ensuring that all candidates are challenged on their stance on these key issues.