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WATCH: Jeff Sessions Marijuana Rolling Papers Are a Thing

March 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Phillip Smith, AlterNet

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Turn up the heat on the attorney general next time you light up.


A group supporting the legalization of marijuana has come up with a nifty fundraising scheme: Rolling papers with the attorney general's image on the packaging.

Who better to poke fun at than the cluelessly anti-marijuana Sessions—the man who claims “good people” don't smoke pot, that marijuana is a gateway drug, and who once said he liked the local Ku Klux Klan boys until he found out they smoked weed?

The folks at #JeffSesh apparently agreed, selecting the attorney general's visage to grace the packages of “General Jeff's Old Rebel Session Papers,” replete with the warning to “Don't Beauregard That Joint My Friend.”

“We’re not criminals, junkies or idiots. Regular Jeffs all over the country — good, responsible, patriotic Americans — have a sesh now and then… and it's OK!” the group's website proclaims. “Every time you sesh with any brand of JeffSesh papers, you’re helping keep the law moving forward — and not back to the Nixon era,” the website says. “You’re saying we’ve moved on, Jeff.”

The rolling paper packages come in either black or white and go for $5 each. #JeffSesh says they're selling out, but hasn't said whether any money raised will go to any specific marijuana legalization groups.

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What I Learned at a Big Fat Salvadoran Wedding

March 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Jefferson Morley, AlterNet

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Notes on the tragic country trashed by our big fat president.


I arrived in El Salvador to attend a family wedding last week, just days before President Trump tweeted about this “shithole country,” depicting it as a danger to and a drain on American society.  

In fact, El Salvador is a tragic country, a victim of American brutality and amnesia, as well as a beneficiary of and contributor to American prosperity. It is a beautiful, depressing, dangerous, and delightful place. The difference between hellish image and complex reality is the story of this small country on the Pacific Coast of Central America.

Trump’s tweet did not make big headlines in San Salvador’s daily newspapers, not like the 23 homicides that happened in one day during my stay. “Arrestan La Violencia” (Stop the Violence), one tabloid proclaimed rather hopelessly. Salvadorans have bigger things to worry about than Trump’s rantings.

Salvadorans in the United States have reason to worry about Trump’s decision to end the humanitarian program known as Temporary Protected Status or TPS. After a pair of devastating earthquakes struck the country in 2001, the Bush administration granted TPS to undocumented Salvadorans living in the United States. Now some 200,000 longtime U.S. residents will be subject to deportation in the next two years, and they will return to a country plagued by violence and unemployment, a daunting reality that both countries have barely begun to reckon with.

Reason to Celebrate

The wedding, …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Mainstream Pundits Give Right-Wing Conspiracy Theories Power

March 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte, Salon

Parkland conspiracy theories started on the internet, but they get life from pundits who wink at them on TV.


As happened after the Sandy Hook school shooting, conspiracy theories started to fly around online, suggesting that the recent school shooting in Parkland, Florida was somehow faked. Paranoid gun nuts, unwilling to admit their preferred gun control policies lead to mass murder, flocked to online forums to swap claims that the teenaged survivors are “crisis actors” and the whole incident is a “false flag” being perpetrated by a shadowy cabal of “globalists.”

Craig Timberg and Drew Harwell of The Washington Post published an interesting piece on Tuesday, tracking the rapid spread of these conspiracy theories through 8chan, YouTube, social media and sites like Infowars, arguing “the episode became the latest cautionary tale about how the Internet itself had become a potent tool of deception wielded by political extremists, disinformation warriors and conspiracy theorists.”

It's all very true, but what their analysis fails to take into account is how these conspiracy theorists are empowered by more mainstream conservative figures, those who are on TV, radio and published in traditional newspapers — and by the president himself. The internet may be teeming with lurid claims, but conservatives working for media outlets that supposedly have vetting processes have developed a habit of hinting at conspiracy theories and winking at their proponents, a process which helps validate and perpetuate those conspiracy theories.

The Parkland shooting conspiracy theory machine is a crystalline example of this process. While pundits on Fox and CNN weren't about to utter the words “crisis actors,” they got busy validating the idea that the young people on TV talking about their experience with gun violence were insincerely parroting lines written by others — which is to say, accusing them of being a kind of crisis actor. And while TV pundits won't quite say that the whole thing is a “false flag,” they did wink at the idea that there is something not quite real about the shooting. And while you absolutely will never hear conservatives in more mainstream spaces outright claim an international conspiracy of Jews is running the whole thing, they …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Huge Organizing Effort, '40 Days of Action' Launching to Fight Poverty

March 4, 2018 in Blogs

By Eleanor J. Bader, AlterNet

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Fifty years later, a new Poor People’s Campaign connects religious faith to social justice.


The Rev. Dr. Liz Theoharis, co-chair of the recently launched Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival, grew up in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, one of three kids in a family she describes as deeply committed to improving life for the excluded and marginalized.  

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu and other peace and anti-apartheid activists were frequent guests in her home, and even as a child, Theoharis understood that religious faith—in her case, Presbyterian—had to be linked to social justice.

This coupling—faith and justice—led Theoharis to work with the National Union of the Homeless as a University of Pennsylvania undergraduate. “Their organizing was inspired by the Poor People’s Campaign led by Dr. King in 1967 and ’68, and I quickly learned the extent of the unfinished business that still needed to be done,” she begins.

By 2001, Theoharis was in New York City, attending Union Theological Seminary and studying “moments in history where poor people crossed racial and geographic lines” to foment change. Her work brought her into contact with scores of activists including the Rev. Dr. William Barber II, whose Moral Mondays protests in North Carolina helped lay the groundwork for the contemporary Poor People’s Campaign.

That campaign kicked off on December 4, 2017, with Theoharis and Barber at the helm. The challenge is enormous. Census figures from 2016 put 12.7 percent of U.S. residents (43.1 million people) in poverty and want—living on an annual income of less than $15,060 for a single person, $30,750 for a household of four.

Theoharis recently spoke to AlterNet reporter Eleanor J. Bader about the campaign and the upcoming 40 Days of Action that will begin on Mother’s Day.   

Eleanor …read more

Source: ALTERNET