Will We Tolerate Democracy?

Below is my column today in USA Today on some of the state referendum votes last week. While the presidential election was understandably the focus of media commentary, state referendum votes held some surprises. At a time when a majority of citizens view our political system as dysfunctional and unresponsive, these referendums show that citizens can still take direct action in seeking change. Here is the column:

Finally, change we can believe in. Last week, voters came together in a grassroots movement to demand changes in their government and in their lives. No, it was not the Tea Party movement, which imploded in a spasm of gaffes and extremist rhetoric. It was certainly not the “hope” of the Obama campaign, which for most liberals was an excersise of “hope over experience.” Rather, citizens in various states have crossed party and ideological lines to challenge the federal government on issues such as marijuana and gay marriage. In a triumph of federalist principles, states are going their own way on important social issues, but this is not the type of “change” either party wants to believe in.

Ironically, for almost four years, states’ rights have been a focus of national politics as Republicans denounced ObamaCare for its expansion of federal power. Now, many of those same Republicans are opposing the right of states to reach their own conclusions on issues of same-sex marriage, assisted suicide and legalization of marijuana. Likewise, President Obama has spent the past year trying to repair damage with liberals and civil libertarians over his continuation of Bush policies in areas ranging from national security to medical marijuana. Yet, after going silent before the election to win back liberals, the Justice Department indicated the day after the election that it would continue its policies on marijuana.

It is hardly news that principle is a stranger to many politicians. However, citizens across the country still believe in federalism, the idea that their states should be able to choose their own positions on social and criminal issues. They have the U.S. Constitution on their side. The 10th Amendment states that “powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.” James Madison believed that the states were safely behind a federalist firewall to protect against the “ambitious encroachments of the federal government.” Indeed, Madison assured his contemporaries that it would take a “degree of madness” for the federal government to usurp the power of the states. If that is true, we are truly living in mad times.

State politicians have largely yielded to the madness, but citizens appear to have lingering notions of self-determination. In a couple of areas, citizens have fought back and have asserted direct control over their laws and their lives.

Medical Marijuana

Last week, Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana. In addition, Massachusetts became the 18th state to legalize medical marijuana.

Polls show 74% support medical marijuana. And 56% support regulating pot like alcohol. This makes marijuana one of the sharpest divides between citizens and their government. Despite the fact that only 15% of voters support continued prosecution of medical marijuana cases, Obama has continued the Bush scorched earth prosecutions..

The push by voters for decriminalization is likely only to increase. Washington will allow the sale of pot, which could bring in taxes worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Unless blocked by the Obama administration, that type of revenue (as well as the savings in not prosecuting pot cases) is likely to get the attention of other states in a bad economy.

Despite three out of four citizens supporting the use of medical marijuana, Congress and the White House remain in absolute lock step in expending resources and personnel in the prosecution of these cases. States are expected to adhere to the federal policy regardless of the wishes of their citizens.

Same-Sex Marriage

Last week, Maine, Maryland and Washington voted to legalize same-sex marriage, the first such recognition made by voters as opposed to legislatures or courts. They joined New York, Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Washington, D.C., in the recognition of gay marriage. While the Framers would likely have been surprised by the notion of same-sex marriage, they would have celebrated the role of these referendums. Yet, many conservatives (including self-described advocates of federalism) seek a constitutional amendment to take away the ability of states to recognize such unions.

The effort is even more problematic as an amendment to deny rights as opposed to expand them. Most amendments in the Bill of Rights expanded rights — part of a noble and consistent trend of greater liberties in this country. Faced with citizens who want to expand the rights of their fellow citizens, these fair-weather federalists are moving to stop more states from joining.

Citizens aren’t likely done demanding self-government. Efforts to enact local policy on assisted suicide and deal with global warming issues will continue despite federal policies and laws. This taste for self-determination could become insatiable. Once you realize you have a voice, you tend to want to use it.

Jonathan Turley is a professor of public interest law at George Washington University and a member of USA TODAY’s Board of Contributors.

November 13, 2012

143 thoughts on “Will We Tolerate Democracy?

  1. Guess it’s up to the states.


    One day after endorsing gay marriage proposals in Washington and Maine, President Obama told MTV viewers Friday that he would not be pushing gay marriage in his second term, ABC News reported.

    According to Obama, “it would be up to future generations of Americans to implement meaningful reform,” ABC added.

    “First of all, I’ve been very clear about my belief that same-sex couples have to be treated before the eyes of the law the same way as heterosexual couples,” he told MTV’s Sway Calloway. “I think that’s the right thing to do. It’s based on my personal experience, seeing loving couples who are committed to each other, raising kids and are just outstanding people,” he added. “And I was supportive of civil unions, but they taught me, if you’re using different words, if you’re somehow singling them out, they don’t feel true equality.”

  2. I followed the link to the Cuyahogo County numbers. I didn’t count the 0’s or 1’s or 2’s but there were enough of them that it seems to support the article. These are touch screen machines so there is no easy way to see if this is what the voters intended short of getting the list of voters from the BoE and interviewing them. There were also problems with votes intended for Romney lighting up the Obama vote instead.


    Barack Obama received more than 99% of the vote in more than 100 precincts in Cuyahoga County, Ohio on election day. In fact, there were a substantial number of precincts where Mitt Romney got exactly zero votes. So how in the world did this happen? Third world dictators don’t even get 99% of the vote. Overall, Mitt Romney received 30.12% of the vote in Cuyahoga County. There were even a bunch of precincts in Cuyahoga County that Romney actually won. But everyone certainly expected that Cuyahoga County would be Obama territory. And in most of the precincts that is exactly what we saw- large numbers of votes for both candidates but a definite edge for Obama. However, there are more than 100 precincts in Cuyahoga County where the voting results can only be described as truly bizarre. Yes, we always knew that urban areas would lean very heavily toward Obama, but are we actually expected to believe that Obama got over 99% of the votes in those areas? In more than 50 different precincts, Romney received 2 votes or less. Considering how important the swing state of Ohio was to the national election, one would think that such improbable results would get the attention of somebody out there. Could we be looking at evidence of election fraud hidden in plain sight?

  3. bettykath,

    Here’s the link if you want to check the numbers.


    I don’t know if you are familiar with Cuyahoga County but I am. I’d be hugely surprised if Romney got a single vote in many of those precincts.

    I went to the state of Wyoming Secy of State web site and looked at the breakdown precinct by precinct in each county. Guess what … there were several precincts with “0” votes for Obama, even more with just 1,2,or 3 votes for Obama.

    I guess voter fraud from the Republican side must be in plain sight too.

    Or perhaps the population in certain precincts in Cuyahoga County really likes Obama and the population in certain precincts in Wyoming really likes Romney.

  4. Federalism as played out through state voter initiatives is a mixed bag and I agree with the position that initiatives that restrict rights are more problematic than initiatives that expand rights. Good on Washington, Colorado, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland and Washington.

    An article from Salon quoted/linked in boingboing has an interesting take on the economics of MJ in a state where pot is completely legal.

    “Get High for Free
    If pot were truly legal, joints would cost only a few cents.”

    “…. There’s been relatively little analysis of what a legal marijuana industry might look like. One key but little-appreciated fact is that, according to persuasive research by Jonathan Caulkins, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman in their new book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs To Know, is that legal pot would be amazingly cheap. In fact, midgrade stuff would be so cheap that it might make sense for businesses to give it away like ketchup packets or bar nuts. ….

    This would make pot far and away the cheapest intoxicant on the market, absolutely blowing beer and liquor out of the water. Joints would be about as cheap as things that are often treated as free. Splenda packets, for example, cost 2 or 3 cents each when purchased in bulk.”


  5. This is a test of the emergency Federalism anti-tyranny system.

    Either the Federal government will bend and realize they are not a national government or they will put down the boot and assume more authority than the Constitution allows.

    Given that the previous administration ordered torture and went to war for private gains and the current administration has said they have the authority to execute citizens without due process in violation of the Constitution (and the Separation of Powers Doctrine) already?

    Wadda you think is gonna happen?

    These two items have been simmering for some time as legitimate state’s rights issues.

    How they play out is important for a lot of reasons and they bear close watch.

  6. LK,

    Legal marijuana isn’t just a threat to the alcohol and tobacco industries. Don’t forget Big Pharma, Private Prisons and LE and their suppliers have vested interests in keeping it illegal.

  7. Especially Big Pharma.

    It’s kind of hard to buy off an entire population … lot easier to get the government to lower the big boot.

  8. The nice thing about the WA Initiative 502 (marijuana) is under state law, the Attorney General is bound to defend the law in court if the US gov’t decides to interfere.

    Let’s see if the logjam is broken by WA and CO’s initiatives. Maybe the feds will give up on keeping Mary Jane hidden in the basement.

  9. Ah, yes. Federalism, how do we play that.

    The major issues have already been commented: the influence of those who gain from federal action vs the desires of the people on a state level.

    There is the aspect that the people DO actually desire change and feel that the feds are opposed to that change. What to do? Rebel, or exercise states rights—that much maligned term used to shield Jim Crow for so many decades.

    The point is that the entrenched Federal system is totally
    corrupt, and the people know it—all 3 branches. That is a given.*** Federalism would seem to be the way out to
    those at the state level; and thus state initiatives arise.

    Now comes the rub, will the Feds allow it. The JD says no to marijuana. How will (and can) that be resolved?
    I am sure that there are those here who can cite the precedents from earlier cases and the use of federal armed power. We can all remember the use of federal marxhals in Alabama and National Guardsmen in Kent State, although at Governor’s orders in the latter case. (Really? No fingers?)

    Finding federal solutions to the assassination lists and NDAA confinement through revision of federal action does not seem possible to me. However the legalization of marijuana in opposition to alcohol, tobacco, pharma might be possible in terms of popular support.

    And although I don’t use, I agree that the guy who comes home and lights up a bong is not the one who beats his wife. He might not take out the garbage, but he won’t sit with his nose in a sport the whole evening either.
    So, maybe, as I believe, there will be positive social and quality of life gains in its use more widely.

    Lastly, changing governmemt is done most easily at local level, and most easily corrupted there. So there is the question of big frogs in small ponds (whereof there might be ouitside ones like big gov and big interests) makes for a skewed contest. Bring in the scabs and the private militia, to borrow a phrase from another area and era.
    We can be sure the interests will use more modern methods first, then it is an open question. DEA SWAT teams, Agent Orange spraying, mass raids on suspected homes, ????.

    We have shown in double measure this last election that we CAN. Not only in these state approved measures.
    We have seen diverse minorities (and even majorities within Catholic women) join in opposing hypocrisy and religion gripping after our goveerment and they have defeated them and re-elcted Obama.

  10. Gene, Blouise, yes there are very strong vested interests that do not want MJ legalized and they are going to do whatever they can to keep it illegal. What I liked about the article I linked to though was that it revealed the price of a commercial operation for herb in comparisons that anyone could understand. It also floated the thought that a business could virtually give it away free or sell it at nominal cost. Think about that. It’s a hypnotic, generally a mood elevator and an apatite stimulant. Think about the money to be made by business interests that would like their customers to be mellow, focused and hungry.

    In a totally legalized state a restaurant could serve each patron a joint with the cracker/bread basket before the meal. Theaters could hand them out with each ticket bought (movies would be way more fun stoned and theaters make money off their concessions, not the films. Same for taverns/clubs that have live bands or feature canned music, people would buy weed along with their booze and people that like live music but not booze might show up in greater number. Amusement park rides are more fun for sure. The entire entertainment industry would profit.

    There could well be serious countervailing economic gain for industries other than alcohol and pharma. A state government that legalized, fully legalized weed could benefit in a number of ways indirectly (as could municipal governments) and pick up some tax money too.

  11. I think the ponderous nature of our government was seen as a feature not a bug by the folks who designed it. So many of the tools appear to be built to moderate change. Over the course of 200-some years that has not been an altogether bad thing.

    I doubt the founders ever envisioned a world where states would be so easily crossed or intermixed. Its not surprising that as travel and commerce become easier and broader that there would be a pull between the federal and the local. Its also not surprising that people would prefer to see the final power for any given issue rest in the entity that most closely supports their own position.

  12. lotta,

    Is that the “free market” at work? 😉

    Seriously, it was a most informative link and one point made by the authors sticks with me: “Right now, people smuggle marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border for profits of about $20 an ounce, so a tax substantially higher than that could be tricky to enforce.” (tax evasion)

    The analogy to tomatoes is also an eye opener.

    All in all, an article containing lots of food for thought.

    Lord, I’m not trying to pepper this post with puns but they just keep on coming.

  13. Gov. Hickenlooper and Holder are engaging in conference calls about the legislation so we will see what happens. Holder is probably leaving in any case. Hickenlooper is one of the up and coming democratic governors. So glad Colorado went blue. Those of us in red states won’t be benefitting from progressive legislation. We just get voter suppression. I see Minnesota turned down the anti gay marriage amendment and voter id.

  14. I have complete faith that Obama will continue to both oppose legalized marijuana and to fail to support legal gay marriage – full and equal treatment including parental rights and adoption. As is the case with all politicians lately, he is a narcissistic whore who will do the bidding of his corporate backers while speaking lies and platitudes to those of us who vote every two years, but do not attend $50 thousand per plate fundraisers.

    My favorite quote about the election came from the Washington Post which pointed out that we spent about $6 billion in total to end up pretty much where we started.

  15. I’m kind if middling on Mr. Cohen as a performer, but he’s a very competent song writer and a world class poet. And he’s got a great hat. Good choice, OS.

  16. “Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper held an 11-minute conference call with U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday in an attempt to gauge how the federal government will respond to Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.

    The governor’s office provided few details on the call and didn’t indicate whether any agreements were reached. State Attorney General John Suthers also participated in the call, which took place a little after 3 p.m.

    “They emphasized the need for the federal government to articulate what its position will be related to Amendment 64,” Hickenlooper’s spokesman, Eric Brown, said in a statement. “Everyone shared a sense of urgency and agreed to continue talking about the issue.”

    Amendment 64, which Colorado voters approved Tuesday with 55 percent support, legalizes possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for any purpose for people ages 21 and older and also allows specially licensed stores to sell marijuana starting in 2014.” Denver Post

  17. It’s coming through a hole in the air
    From those nights in Tienanmen Square
    It’s coming from the feel
    That this ain’t exactly real
    Or it’s real but it ain’t exactly there

    From the wars against disorder
    From the sirens night and day
    From the fires of the homeless
    From the ashes of the gay
    Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

    And it’s coming through a crack in the wall
    On a visionary flood of alcohol
    From the staggering account
    Of the Sermon on the Mount
    Which I don’t pretend to understand at all

    It’s coming from the silence
    On the dock of the bay
    From the brave, the bold, the battered
    Heart of Chevrolet
    Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

    It’s coming from the sorrow in the street
    The holy places where the races meet
    From the homicidal (b-word)
    That goes down in every kitchen
    To determine who will serve and who will eat

    From the wells of disappointment
    Where the women kneel to pray
    For the grace of God in the desert here
    And the desert far away
    Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

    Sail on, sail on
    O mighty ship of state
    To the shores of need
    Past the reefs of greed
    Through the squalls of hate
    Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on

    It’s coming to America first
    The cradle of the best and of the worst
    It’s here they got the range
    And the machinery for change
    And it’s here they got the spiritual thirst

    It’s here the family’s broken
    And it’s here the lonely say
    That the heart has got to open
    In a fundamental way
    Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

    It’s coming from the women and the men
    O baby we’ll be making love again
    We’ll be going down so deep
    The river’s going to weep
    And the mountain’s going to shout “Amen”

    It’s coming like the tidal flood
    Beneath the lunar sway
    Imperial, mysterious
    In amorous array
    Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

    Sail on, sail on
    O mighty ship of state
    To the shores of need
    Past the reefs of greed
    Through the squalls of hate
    Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on

    I’m sentimental if you know what I mean
    I love the country but I can’t stand the scene
    And I’m neither left or right
    I’m just staying home tonight
    Getting lost in that hopeless little screen

    But I’m stubborn as those garbage bags
    That time cannot decay
    I’m junk but I’m still holding up
    This little wild bouquet
    Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

  18. LK, Good comment about the alcohol lobby being money behind the anti-cannabis laws. Diane Feinstein gets a lot of money from the wine lobby. A couple years ago she pushed through, on a voice vote, a draconian increase in Federal sentences for cannabis edibles. The pretext was of course, “protecting the children”. A child might eat a cannabis brownie! The draconian increase harkens back to the dark episode in Dem politics vis a vis crack cocaine sentences. LK, What the liquor, particularly the wine industry, fear is losing women. That was the real motivation behind Feinstein’s little publicized vote. Men comprise a much larger % of cannabis smokers. Generally, men are smokers, snorters and shooters, women are pill poppers. Edibles are something women abide. The few women I see in dispensaries are usually buying edibles. My observations in dispensaries are ~4-1 men. However, while all the good points made about liquor, pharma, private prisons, etc. However, you’re missing the public sector monied interests..police, attorneys, probation, prisons, etc. They will lose ~2-30% of their “business.”

  19. Wasn’t there a post recently about “Too Much Government.” I think we need a Blogger v Guest Blogger cage match!

  20. Gene, Woosty, SwM, Blouise,
    Thanks. Seemed appropriate to post that particular song/poem here. I think Leonard Cohen is aging like fine wine. His voice has become deeper and richer as he has gotten older. But aside from personality, the words ring true. We can always hope.

  21. Leonard should have stopped after his ’69 tour of Europe and Jerusalem. Oh, I loved that tour and him then.
    He had some years left to give. But seeing him selling “yeah yeah USA” is not fun. Reading the lyrics makes that clear. He’s no longer the ladies dream and to judge from the lyrics, no longer a true poet, ie true to his creed. He was a beautiful example of a man, can’t judge his guts now.

    “deserts here and deserts there….” ackackack. Scheister.

  22. “I think Leonard Cohen is aging like fine wine.” (OS)

    Very true. I must admit that K.D. Lang’s version of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah is one of my favorites

  23. Otteray Scribe,

    With all due respect to your fine intentions to address the blog theme, Cohen’s words did not sing to me, but sounded like program-written propaganda based on standard image phrases. All he needed was to add a boy-girl theme and the sales would zoom. If folks think that that is where democracy comes from, then we will never get any.

    America needs its own Tian Men Square instead of this song.

    Don’t misunderstand, this was written out of respect for you and disrespect fot the honesty of the song.

  24. “I believe that the most tyranny in our country’s history has been perpetrated by State Governments and local municipalities. My belief is rooted in the idea that the forces of wealth and tyranny can much more easily manipulate on the local, rather than the national level. Even if a group such as the Klu Klux Klan might only be supported by a minority in a particular State, their radical and violent agenda is such that they can intimidate the majority on a local level through fear. Then too, a polluting company for instance, that provides so many local jobs, can influence and defeat efforts to stop their devastation. A example of this is the influence of the Coal Industry in a State like West Virginia.

    Being subject to the influence of well funded interests can also lead to results that severely infringe the U.S. Constitutional Rights of classes of people on a State level. The infamous Proposition 8 in California is a case study of what can happen when a well-funded group of people who oppose the rights of Homosexuals can initiate and pass a State Constitutional Amendment banning their marriages, which to me is in violation of the of the “Equal Protection Clause” of the U.S. Constitution.”

    That was my view and remains my view about ballot initiatives and yet this election past the majority of ballot initiatives that I personally supported were passed, while the ones dealing with State Constitutional change, wuch as in Florida were defeated. Forgetting ones personal political beliefs this was a strange election on many levels. Popular wisdom dictates that money wins in elections. This election was the first real test of the Citizens United decision and the amounts spent by the beneficiaries of the SCOTUS ruling was staggering. Yet from the Republican/conservative side of the ledger the money seemed spent in vain. With the defeats and victories of initiatives that entailed Gay rights, the Fundamentalists money and efforts failed across the board. Finally, the legalization of marijuana in two states and the acceptance of medical marijuana in another, were very good results indeed.

    The question to me is then have I underestimated the people in their ability to reject local campaigns funded by noxious special interests, or is this year merely an atypical manifestation of that ability. My desire is to deem it perhaps a most positive trend towards America’s future, but my innate cynicism in observing our political process for going on seven decades leads me to intellectually believe that one election year does not predict revolutionary changes.

    Although Marijuana should be legalized it is part and parcel of the “War on Drugs” Industrial Complex which includes the massively funded DEA. this entire complex is probably a two hundred billion dollar industry that ranges from enforcement costs, weaponry, detection instruments, drug rehab programs, Physicians and NIMH, to the private prison system. Its subtext is not only racism, but also the suppression of poorer Americans. As such its lobbying is a difficult force to overcome, as is the false “moral authority” that is given to its proponents and the media portrayals of dire consequences of drug use.

    The history of banning marijuana in the U.S. is inextricably tied to Harry J. Anslinger. He had held high office in the Federal government’s anti-prohibition program and then was put in charge of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He single-handedly led the fight to make marijuan illegal and succeeded. He also had powerful allies in this battle that represented varied business interests. See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_J._Anslinger
    That he was also an avowed racist completes the picture:

    “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage.This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.” http://quotes.liberty-tree.ca/quote/harry_anslinger_quote_846a

    One of the tests of this second term will be how the Federal Government deals with these initiatives. given the pressures and money aligned against legalization and given the racist history of ts institutionalization,
    I wonder how it will turn out.

    By the way Gene I disagree; Leonard Cohen is a wonderful singer.

  25. I did my best, it wasn’t much
    I couldn’t feel, so I tried to touch
    I’ve told the truth, I didn’t come to fool you
    And even though it all went wrong
    I’ll stand before the Lord of Song
    With nothing on my tongue but Hallelujah



  26. “but sounded like program-written propaganda based on standard image phrases.”


    Leonard Cohen is hardly and establishment propagandist if you know the full body of his work:

  27. nick, If it had not been a presidential year with a large turnout of progressives, most of the good initiatives would have been defeated and the bad ones such as the anti- gay marriage amendment in Minnesota would have passed.

  28. MikeS,

    Magnificently put as usual.

    May I suggest for consideration to you USA folks that my belief is that it is the people contact, from mouth to ear, that made local changes both locally and nationally.

    I am reminded of Blouise’s account of a luncheon with other ladies, mostly Republican leaning, who she managed through skillful questioning find out that they thought the Republican position on contraception, etc beyond the pale. They could not vote for Romney.

    Thus the word may have gone, intra-ethnically and between at the mixing points in the nation. “Down with that crap, up with the only hope left, Obama. Vote, above all vote.”

  29. MikeS,

    Are you reading too quickly today?

    This was a criticism of this particular song. Not his other works, and I said that I loved his early works and did NOT know well his works of later years. Did you read my words?

    I claim not to be an knowledgeable person on Leonard, but I do own and enjoy several of his books of poetry and lyrics from his early era.

    He is an example of why I am fascinated with the jews and their history.

    He represented to me an almost mystical viewer, a seer of other worlds, those scenes near us but not here.

  30. MikeS,


    “but sounded like program-written propaganda based on standard image phrases.”


    Leonard Cohen is hardly and establishment propagandist if you know the full body of his work:


    I did not anywhere say he was an establishment propagandist.
    You are seeing things that are not there.

    Take Vivaldi: Four Seasons. Programmatic music.
    1812 Ouverture, also programmatic.
    Scheherazade, also programmatic.

    Seldom great music, but stirring.

    Add a message, as Cohen did in his text, and you have propaganda promoting the Gread America meme. And if it seems to coincide with the one used by the corporations and the establishment, then those are your words, not mine.

    I don’t have to put my blinders on just because it is Cohen who is singing. The critics role is most important on such occasions.

    You’ll have to ask Leonard if he has sold out. I have no idea, and did not say that he had, NOWHERE.


  31. FWIW, Leonard Cohen is Jewish, but has been ordained as a Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk and took the Dharma name “Jikan.” He is a mystic. He is also Canadian, not an American citizen.

    I have trouble listening to this all the way through without choking up. (Warning, annoying commercial lead-in.)

  32. “My belief is rooted in the idea that the forces of wealth and tyranny can much more easily manipulate on the local, rather than the national level.”~Mike S.
    the old saying that a local snake can defeat the mightiest dragon has been defeated….again. :) The thing about the local scene is that those who bully with position and wealth are fashioning a prison for themselves with every obstacle they throw in the path of those who strive forward honestly and without the tools of manipulation and obstruction. It is a bad recipe for anything other than the poop hitting the fan….which is what we all witnessed. That said, I think Citizens United is still in the crosshairs of anyone who sees the inequality it delineates in a so-called Democratic system….the house is getting cleaned….or the dirt is being swept under the rug….but not in the dark anymore…

  33. Otteray Scribe
    1, November 13, 2012 at 11:16 am
    He may be a Jewish Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk but that piece has a distinctly Christian sensibility and rolling the rock from the tomb is Christ based visionary essence and it is a truly lovely hymn……thank you again….

  34. SWM, Aren’t “good and “bad” judgemental words? I thought the “good” people here weren’t judgemental. Allthough, an initiative I “favored” or “supported” in Ca., akin to the Co. and Wa. cannabis ones that passed, was put on the ballot in the 2010 election. That was stupid and I don’t abide stupid.

  35. Did someone mention “democracy”…?

    Oliver Stone on Petraeus: “I don’t see the hero”


    “I was raised a Conservative, a believer in the American mythology…I went to war in Vietnam for it,” Stone said before taking aim at American exceptionalism, “We consider ourselves as…the indepensable nation…we are operating on the edge of a very dangerous precipice,” Stone claimed.

    Turning to Petraeus…

    “I don’t understand all the furor…in American media, they praise him as a hero. I don’t see a hero. I see a misguided policy in Iraq…misguided policy in Afghanistan…the military worship in this country has reached unhealthy proportions.”

    Stone defended his stance, explaining “I am all for honoring people who served…I am a veteran myself,” but added, “I don’t believe in false worship and hero worship.”

  36. nick, Good and just people favor marriage equality. Judgemental ones don’t. You are probably right about cannabis.

  37. “This was a criticism of this particular song.”


    I understood you, but wanted to point out that taken in context with his whole body of work “Democracy is Coming to the USA” is a battle hymn, call to arms, more than a political statement of what he sees the situation is really.

  38. “He is a mystic.”


    That is exactly what Leonard is. His Jewish identification would I guess be similar to yours with your Scottish heritage, a matter of pride from whence you sprung. I truth, while I’m nowhere near his league in any instance, his faith is similar to mine as you know doubt would guess from my Gestalt background.

  39. Rep Paul Ryan pushes Rep Tom Price for House leadership post. He is the anti -science guy that Elaine wrote about. So glad Ryan is not vp.

  40. AP,

    I agree with you and Oliver Stone. I think the reason the General got involved with Ms. Broadwell in the first place was because he felt a hagiography would be another step towards his ultimate goal, the Presidency. Like with all men lusting power, sex got included into the mixture.

  41. sm,

    As you know, I’m guessing, MoveOn backed off in 2010:


    “On June 23, 2010, after President Obama nominated General Petraeus to be the new top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan (taking over the position from retiring General Stanley McChrystal), MoveOn erased these webpages and any reference to them from its website.”


    Petreaus cultivated the media, and they treated him gently

    By James Rainey

    November 13, 2012, 4

    The liberal antiwar group MoveOn.org, though, attacked Petraeus in 2007, calling him “General Betray Us” in a full-page ad in the New York Times and saying he had been “cooking the books for the White House” in order to exaggerate progress in the unpopular war.

    “Petraeus had also made a point to subordinates of the imperative for personal integrity. He told his proteges “that character was what you did when no one was watching,” according to an account in the Washington Post. “And he would always hasten to add, from his most public of perches, that ‘someone is always watching.’ ””

  42. MikeS,

    I think the younger demographic is starting to show up and let their voice be heard. I know this is an anecdote, but when I was in the Marine Corps I served with a Marine who was gay. He was a very good Marine and I never understood why people would let his sexual orientation get in the way of his evaluation. Then I realized criticism was mostly from older people, and almost all of his peers recognized his ability regardless of his sexual orientation.

    I think my generation, in general, is more accepting of different lifestyles, whether it is drug use, sexual orientation, prostitution and other social issues that the GOP seems unwilling to reassess their stance on. It seems to me that the GOP has relied on so many myths to keep people down, and as these myths are debunked, albeit slowly, I believe that inclusiveness will be the rule.

  43. Gays are being allowed to marry according to laws that exist on earth. People allowing weed to be used without being arrested. DSM removing zoophilia from the list of mental disorders. All of this shows that little by little the icy grip of the unseen devil is having to loosen his death grip allowing people to have real freedom. What people for along time called democracy brought bondage, and death in war trying to call it good. For once things are changing for the better. Hatred against people called the pedo needs to change next. Hate leads to murder. Nipping hate in the bud saves souls. A , D word saves no one. Trolls need to metamorphisize to not be hateful controlling trolls.

  44. BLOUISE, OMG OMG I heard KD Lang’s Hallelujah and I was paralyzed. All I could think when it finished was that I wanted to hear him sing with Tonya Pinkins. OMG OMG. THANK YOU!

  45. The conservatives in Arizona are really scratching their heads after this election, they cannot believe that gays, women and pot won over their oppressive small minded theology.

    The governor here was suing the Feds to clarify their position on medical marijuana. Arizona still does not have any pot dispensaries because of this. If you want medical marijuana now, you have to grow it your self!

    The bigger issue is the classification of marijuana as a schedule 1 drug. This has to be changed. Pharma, the alcohol industry and the law enforcement leeches that have been making millions off these draconian policies will fight it out to the end.
    What would happen with rescheduling is it will make marijuana easily available for scientific study. With over 30 different cannabinoids, all of them with different effects, marijuana could become the incredibly useful. Since the human body has cannabinoid receptors in every single organ, these substances could be used to deliver drugs to specific sites in the body. It is a crime that we have not been able to thoroughly study these cannabinoid compounds.

    Also, Colorado may be the first state to grow industrial hemp for commerce. There is no good reason for this plant to be restricted in any way. Hemp is a 500 million dollar a year import market, mainly from Canada. Colorado will be able to capture this market- one that is defined by incredible growth in sales of hemp foods, body care and fabrics. This will expand to single use plastics, auto parts, and eventually hemp based ethanol- it is the very best source for plant based fuels.
    The use of hemp-crete to build zero energy use homes is also a growth industry everywhere but the US, alternative builders have some hope now that they will have access to ‘home grown’ hemp cellulose.

    Really good post JT!


    “Woosty’s still a Cat
    1, November 13, 2012 at 11:24 am
    Otteray Scribe
    1, November 13, 2012 at 11:16 am
    He may be a Jewish Rinzai Zen Buddhist monk but that piece has a distinctly Christian sensibility and rolling the rock from the tomb is Christ based visionary essence and it is a truly lovely hymn……thank you again….”

    Agree wholeheartedly.

    But his own early autobiographical writings indicate that he was more than just aware of
    Christianity, and its challenges to judendom. Perhaps, I say perhaps, it would be regarded as an obligation for a learned jew of the Cohen family to be well-informed and have reflected on the ideas within Christianity. Christianity is of course more than the first interpretations by his disciples, who were jews, that he was the long prophesied messaih.

    Of course the Zen system is one of leader and disciple.
    And the cave is the holy man’s retreat. The stone can also symbolize the stone of ignorance that only the leader can help him move. All that is lacking is the unexpected clap on the cheek.

  47. I think it’s just going to have to be admitted that most Americans do not want to roll back abortion rights, DO want to smoke some weed from time to time, and don’t care who marries whom as long as they don’t have to pay for the weddings themselves. These issues are not the real issues for Americans. The real issues for Americans are more along the lines of being able to make a decent living, get a passably decent education for the kids, keep a roof over their heads and a loaf on the table, and be able to go to the doctor when they’re sick. Oh yeah, and being able to own a tank and an AK-47 dog.

  48. “I think my generation, in general, is more accepting of different lifestyles, whether it is drug use, sexual orientation, prostitution and other social issues that the GOP seems unwilling to reassess their stance on. It seems to me that the GOP has relied on so many myths to keep people down, and as these myths are debunked, albeit slowly, I believe that inclusiveness will be the rule.”


    You can’t imagine how much I fervently want to believe your words.

  49. MikeS,
    “This was a criticism of this particular song.”


    I understood you, but wanted to point out that taken in context with his whole body of work “Democracy is Coming to the USA” is a battle hymn, call to arms, more than a political statement of what he sees the situation is really.”

    But that is not what you said Mike. You said that I had said that he was “and (sic) establishment propagandist”

    If you had given your interpretation as above, then we could have discussed that. To wit, it is in the form of a battle hymn, a call to arms, and is not a political statement—AGREED. But it is equally falsely based on standard images and falsely claims to point out the sources of where democracy will come from.
    But all that is discussable. Not your accusation that I called him an establishment propagandist. Not so.

  50. MikeS, Good comment and article. I’ve read and seen Hedges on tv. My hope for a 3rd party is just what you point out. Moderates and folks w/ just common sense, people who are not professional pols, are being purged from both parties. My hope is a 3rd party of these good, moderate, sensible people. My fear is w/ the disdain so many people have for both parties that a 3rd party demagogue will arise. Someone said that if people have a choice between anarchy and dictatorship, they’ll always pick the dictator.

  51. Many of you seem so optimistic that, as a result of this election, something really will change and we will move forward on progressive issues – freedom to marry whomever you like, freedom to choose the much safer marijuana over booze, Vicodin, and Xanax. I really hope you are right.

    Our country will not only be a much nicer place to live, but finally, a positive influence on the World once again. When was it that we moved from a country founded on tolerance by people running from intolerance? How did it get so far out of balance so fast?

    When I first heard the poem from Martin Niemoller in school, it seemed shocking to me. How could people sit by while the government did this to people? Certainly, I felt, I would not. Yet, they do it so slowly, you hardly notice. Here in the “greatest democracy on earth” many live without basic freedoms – the freedom to marry who you like, to have children with them, freedom to smoke pot if you want to. And the people restricting those freedoms, sit in DC ands don’t even play by their own rules.

    Freedom for one is only truly possible when there is freedom for all.

    First they came for the communists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a communist.

    Then they came for the socialists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.

  52. “Mike Spindell
    1, November 13, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I agree with you and Oliver Stone. I think the reason the General got involved with Ms. Broadwell in the first place was because he felt a hagiography would be another step towards his ultimate goal, the Presidency. Like with all men lusting power, sex got included into the mixture.”

    Right on the money. Two power mad people tried to seduce each others minds, had sex, and got ultimately screwed.

  53. nick, Not as many people disdain the democrats as you say. Young women are quite enamored with the party right now. The base is intact, and the election proved it.

  54. SWM, I’m sure you know the US has horrible voter turnout. In the past 60 years voter turnout has never reached 65%! It peaked @ ~63% in 1960 Kennedy/Nixon. It has been below 50% a couple times, I think the Clinton/Dole election was ~48%. Your view is myopic. When Dems get their base out that means less than 25% of eligible voters. For Repubs a little less. As you know we independents outnumbered both parties this election. We have discussed 3rd party and I know your disdain for it. However, a viable 3rd party would almost certainly increase voter participation . And as Martha Stewart says, “That’s a good thing.” Don’t you think?

  55. Shano,

    Thanks for a great post. Rationality over vested interests and goofball unreason. You did it.

    How many of the 30 cannibioids do I inhale from a joint? And is the medically dispensed a selected group? I am wanting to use myself as a study object. Have they detailed which organs are receptve to which? All half in jest.

    If I burn down a cannabis house, does the fire department have to wear masks and the police evacuate all but medical users?

    FACT: In Thailand (1965) is was a common as grass, and just as cheap. They would give it away at any roadside stand where you stopped to buy fruit.

  56. nick, I think a third or fourth party is a good idea, but don’t see it now. Jill Stein, Gary Johnson and other together polled under 2 %. You also said that Petreaus was taking a fall for Obama. Yep, he started an affair years a go to take the fall.

  57. SWM, All of the current 3rd parties are fringe. You need to look no further than Ross Perot. That midget wacko got ~18% of the vote! That’s what I mean by a demagogue rising, which i fear. The 3rd party I envision is mainstream, moderate, non career pols. I can dream can’t I?

  58. OT maybe,

    You all know that names ending in -us are Swedish in origin, and used to denote a priestyl or bishop’s family name.

    I would gather that the Petra-part is from St. Peter, of the rock….

    For Swedish bishops I refer you to the one in Bergman’s film, “Fannny and Alexander”. Nasty guy.

    The famed Carl von Linnaeus was a theological graduate but became famous for the binomial naming system practiced today. His fame gave him the von-honorarium.

  59. nick, Thomas Friedman provided the money for a centrist party this year but they could not find a a candidate, If Romney had not been nominated, they were going to go with a Snow – Pryor ticket.

  60. SWM, I don’t remember saying unequivocally Patreus was falling on his sword, I thought I said that was a possiblity. My main point was and is even more now, the TIMING. Eric Holder knew about the Patreus scandal in late Sept. It stretches credulity that the President didn’t know until after the election if his AG knew in Sept. Here’s an admitted shoot from the hip scenario. The timing would be right. It was painfully obvious the prez was distracted in the 10/2 debate. One of the hypothesis was he was distracted by Benghazi. Well, he may have been distractred by Benghazi but more so Patreus. Can’t you see the Chicago guys telling Obama this 1/2 punch of Benghazi, Patreus, and now John Allen would be a severe body blow to his foreign policy strength. I think Obama is a good man. I could envsion his good side being distracted by his dark side and his handlers telling him to bury this. Let me repeat, this is a shoot from the hip. But, it is not partisan. I voted for Obama the first time and gave him $, the first time I ever gave $ to a pol. I like him.

  61. SWM, Those book sales for Friedman must be astronomical if he could fund a 3rd party. I doubt the NYT pays much. On Perot, I voted for the whacko knowing he wouldn’t win. Would you want Perot w/ his hands on the nuclear football??

  62. SWM, I’m well aware of the pundits, Dem, Repub, disdain and fear of a 3rd party. The establishment makes it exponentially more difficult than it should be. Dems would much rather lose to a Repub and vice versa rather than have a 3rd party emerge.

  63. But Heck Malisha, if the repubs hadn;t spent all their time on those they might have passed a jobs bill etc and maybe made the president look good (by having a better recovery)

  64. Mike This is not a surprise since Boehner et al also do not care what the people have said with their votes,

    “An interesting story of a local city council prepared to override a recent ballot initiative approved by 2/3rds of the voters.”

  65. I rather Jill Stein or Gary Johnson than Romney or Obama.

    I’m beginning to think that Petraeus got caught in a honeypot for the purpose of an October surprise.

  66. Asked if the voters rejected the Republican vision, Ryan said of the president: “Well, he got turnout. The president should get credit for achieving record-breaking turnout numbers from urban areas for the most part, and that did win the election for him.”

    Actually, the president should get credit for becoming just the second out of the last 10 presidents to win a majority of the popular vote both times he was on the ballot. (Reagan was the other.) Beyond that, the numbers that matter are these ones: 332 and 206. And when you’re the guy who got 206 electoral votes, your vision was rejected. It’s as simple as that.

    Paul Ryan might not like the fact that voters in “urban areas” have the same rights as every other American (and judging from the way his party tried to suppress the vote in cities, it’s pretty clear he’s not alone), but that won’t change the fact that when people voted, they chose President Obama and Vice President Biden. And in doing that a majority of Americans not only rejected the Republican vision as articulated by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan, they endorsed the Democratic agenda. And no matter how much Paul Ryan whines about it, nothing is going to change that simple fact. Daily Kos

  67. A considerable number of people view the propaganda on marijuana and homosexual marriage “extremist rhetoric.”

  68. Swarthmore mom – basically half of the US did not vote for Obama. Obama knew how to play the system and get the votes where it mattered the most. (However some of the districts where they received more votes than registered voters, and the 100% vote count for Obama is rather fishy, to say the least). So America didn’t “reject the Republican vision” if basically half of the US voted for the Republican vision. Additionally, if you check the latest news, there are several states that are wanting to part ways with Obama’s government, altogether. So it isn’t quite as cut and dry as you say..

  69. Again, as I figured, there is a huge factor of voter fraud again. And, as I figured, I sincerely doubt anything will be done about it. The voter fraud such as Obama’s default voting, and the military ballots that were not counted, or didn’t make it to the military in time, or were mysteriously destroyed in a plane crash may actually add up to Obama not even winning.

    But again, I really doubt anything will be done about it. Doing so, one would be labeled a racist and ran out of town.

  70. Malisha,

    Her interpretation of Hallelujah is, in my opinion, the best out there … and there are some really good ones.

    I first heard the piece in the 90’s when I was doing some work in NYC and stopped in at a club one night to listen to Jeff Buckley. I almost fell in love with the dude over that one song. He put it on an album called Grace which I have . I’ll try to see if I can find a cut on youtube that’s closer to the club version as opposed to the album cut

  71. Hubert Humperdinck,

    And properly so, that one did not win either. Nor did the birthing issue, or the contraceptive one, nor Dog should steer all, aka as “Christian sharia rules”.

    Anymore sour grapes in the basket? Did you see the video
    “America mourning” starring Romney supporters.
    Were any of them not obese? Think, a nation with almost 50 percent insane, obese and soon to be diabetic.

  72. Hubert Cumberdale,

    Check out places like Wyoming where Romney got a 100% in several precincts … there are other red states where republicans consistently get 100% in certain precincts but I guess it’s only suspicious when it’s Obama ’cause how could everybody in a precinct actually vote for the democrat when there’s a lovely republican on the ballot. Impossible! Unthinkable! Only republicans are allowed to do that!

  73. Hubert,
    Actually, Obama received more than 50% of the vote nationwide. Show us the evidence of the voter fraud that you are claiming. An amazing claim in light of the significant voter suppression by Republican state administrations.
    good response!

  74. blouise, raff, Since african american support for Obama was at about 95%, there are probably quite a few of those precincts in “urban” areas.

  75. “Additionally, if you check the latest news, there are several states that are wanting to part ways with Obama’s government, altogether.”


    Bye, Bye and don’t slam the door on the way out.

  76. “Doing so, one would be labeled a racist and ran out of town.”


    Actually as someone who doesn’t believe in our system of government I’d label you a traitor, However, I respect your right to stupid free speech.

  77. SWM and bettykath, When I say Dem and Repub would rather have the other win than see a 3rd party win you don’t think I meant us pawns do you? I’m not talking about voters, I’m talking about the established duopoly. You know..the white guys in white shirts, blue suits and red ties.

  78. Mike S.,
    I agree with. If they want to leave, it is more Federal money for the rest of us. No military bases, no Federal monies, no military..good luck.

  79. Swarthmore mom

    blouise, raff, Since african american support for Obama was at about 95%, there are probably quite a few of those precincts in “urban” areas.


    Of course there are and guess what, not all the people in those precincts are black. Yeah, go figure, there are actually white people in those urban precincts who like Obama and, horrors upon horrors, voted for him. Makes little republican heads spin in disbelief.

    NO!! It’s got to be voter fraud! It has to be voter fraud!

    There’s a really good article in the NYTimes today … give it a read and if you are a Republican, have a drink first:


  80. (This not original with me found it posted elsewhere: Gay marriage and marijuana being legalized on the same day, now it all makes sense. Leviticus 20:13 If a man lays with another man he should be stoned

  81. Can anyone answer the following question (and follow up question) I’ve had for along time:

    1st: If the US government holds a patent saying that cannabinoids act as neuroprotectants & etc (patent # 6630507) how can it also claim (via the Schedule 1 rating) that is has no medicinal properties and should be regarded as dangerous as drugs such as heroin?

    2nd: How (since when) can any individual or entity hold a patent on a naturally occuring plant?

    Deleting a long rambling post (its late in the day and I am tired) I’ll leave with this thought I had awhile back regarding the wonderful planet saving properties of Hemp…

    “Maybe God made getting high on weed as pleasurable as he did, just so that we’d realize Hemp can be a solution towards a lot of our problems”

  82. Bolouise: “The analogy to tomatoes is also an eye opener. All in all, an article containing lots of food for thought. Lord, I’m not trying to pepper this post with puns but they just keep on coming.”
    Good evening dear, I got to the blawg late and have to catch up, talk to you later.:-)

    AP, “Knock, Knock”- I REALLY like that picture. Thanks:-)

    leejcaroll: “Gay marriage and marijuana being legalized on the same day, now it all makes sense. Leviticus 20:13 ….”
    Thanks for passing that along, it is choice.:-)

  83. Nick, the law enforcement/prison industry is a problem on many levels, I think approaching it on a strictly economic, actually tax saving issue, would work on a state level. Do you want bridges and roads and medicaid for your mom and pop’s nursing home bill or do you want to put people in jail for smoking a weed? That kind of message would make headway.

    So many of these issues boil down to jobs. Lotta’ folks work in the law enforcement/prison industry and losing those jobs is an issue in many states, there’s heavy competition for the building of prisons. Lack of jobs is a drag on social progress IMO.

  84. Mike S “Actually as someone who doesn’t believe in our system of government {HC, I presume} I’d label you a traitor, However, I respect your right to stupid free speech.

    OMG, are we going to have a problem here? I’m a socialist by preference.:-)

    You OK lately? You are posting kind of testy here and there (I have noticed) and you (along with Mespo, who posted a few very testy comments a bit ago) are consistently the most gentlemanly and even-tempered posters on this blawg, year in and year out. You OK or is it that ‘teh stupid’ is getting on your last nerve; a circumstance I know nothing about.:-) Election seasons are hard on blaws and their posters. You OK?

  85. “Last week, voters came together in a grassroots movement to demand changes in their government and in their lives. ”


    Just seems appropriate, overdue, and beautifully deja vu:

  86. I’d like to point out that traitor is a very specific charge and that socialist countries can be democratic Constitutional representative republics – socialism is as much an economic model as it is a political model and our Constitution enshrines no particular economic model just as it doesn’t enshrine the Democratic or Republican political parties.

  87. LK,

    I generally am even tempered so people haven’t noticed that occasionally I sting like the Scorpio I am. What sets me off the most is the disingenuousness of some people and the blind, smug stupidity of others. My beef with HC is not so much about his politics but the vitriol of his hatred towards those that disagree with him. His history here is as a tea bagger and to me tea baggers have little difference from the KKK, or the Aryan Nation, thus deserve short shrift.

    Now as to whether socialists are Americans my belief is that Capitalism is nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. Anyway, some of my best friends are socialist, but the question is would I want them to marry my children?:)

  88. Google confirms: ‘Government surveillance is on the rise’

    Published: 13 November, 2012


    “Google has released its bi-annual transparency report and says that the government’s demands for personal data is at an all-time high.

    Elsewhere in the report, Google says it’s more than just surveillance of individual users that is on the rise. The US has also been adamant with censoring the Web, writing Google five times between January and June to take down YouTube videos critical of government, law enforcement or public officials. In regards to the five pleas to delete seven offending videos, Google says, “We did not remove content in response to these requests.””

  89. There is a big problem on the horizon in Washington (no idea about the Colorado initiative) in the form of DUI enforcement.

    Initiative 502 enforces a 5ng/ml “THC” blood level and there is absolutely no way to prove “impairment” using a blood test as the “THC” level is actually a measure of metabaloids produced by the body as it processes THC. The metabaloids are a byproduct (they can remain in the system days after use) and most assuredly not an intoxicant, which renders a blood test useless in determining impairment. In addition, the measure provides that anyone under 21 cannot have any traces of “THC” (again, the metabaloid) in their system, which puts this measure squarely in conflict with the state’s medical marijuana law.

    I think it a bit premature to light up a bong and bake some brownies in celebration of freedom; this law could actually expand the power of the state in ways that the voters and proponents of the law may not have intended.

    Here is the text of the bill:


    Part V deals with DUI.

  90. Comment on re-post
    “Gene H.
    1, November 13, 2012 at 9:53 pm
    I’d like to point out that traitor is a very specific charge and that socialist countries can be democratic Constitutional representative republics – socialism is as much an economic model as it is a political model and our Constitution enshrines no particular economic model just as it doesn’t enshrine the Democratic or Republican political parties.”

    Amen!: FYI, Sweden has a parliament whose members are elected and represent the district from which they are elected. All citizens (with exceptions) are automatically voters.

    The nation has a constitution which can be changed by two succeeding decisions of the parliament, but that is not done hastily nor often. It is the law by which all other laws are subservient. Most notably in contrast with the USA, it stops all investigations as to press sources.

    Socialism appears nowhere in the constitution, only in party platforms. It is regarded by even non-socialist party supporters as a form os sharing costs, even within the private sphere, and as assuring that there are reasonable compensation and safeguards for all citizens.

    The socialist party has not had a 50 percent majority since decades.

  91. Part of the reason that we have difficulties with government is thst it is impeded by the structures and strictures dictated by law; and also by the bureaucracy itself. In addition we have the problem of who does what with whose money. Fed, state, county, city, private.

    Here’s an example from NC, regarding regulating eligibility for federal funding of care for mentally impaired persons with different degrees of handicap.


    Besides the NC problems, which also illustrate the overarching problem named above, this provides room for speculation on whether the cost of administration exceeds by far the funds allocated for assisting these persons.

    Hope that does not sound tea-baggish. Just seeking the golden way is all.

  92. http://www.palmbeachpost.com/ap/ap/florida/fla-man-distraught-over-election-kills-himself/nS6Nw/

    I’m putting in a word here that I think this past cycle was soooooo *&*%$$$*#@ toxic in rhetoric and lies that this article did not surprise me in the least. I think the currently acceptable level of toxic discourse is causative to much fear and harm now present in the population post election. I believe that those who run for office have an absolute obligation to inform and educate the public honestly and sincerely and up front regarding their platforms, promises and party line.

    and blah blah blah too!

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