Head and shoulders image of man with black curly hair with his mouth open next to the words Bob Bites Back

Twenty years ago, the Columbus Free Press came back into print backed by donations from the pro-hemp/medical marijuana movement. Our underground anti-war publication originated on the Ohio State University campus as an as a reaction to the Kent State killings in October 1970, and after 25 years we went strictly online. Through donations from hemp festivals at Rainbow Farm, arranged by legendary local activist Cannabis Kenny Schweickart, the Free Press was resurrected in 1998.

This month’s paper is a fond retrospective of the reborn Free Press. Our first issue was a celebration of cannabis, including a manifesto for a hemp revolution. 

The Free Press has always been pro-legalization, and has argued specifically for the legalization of hemp and marijuana on a policy basis for decades. For many years the paper sponsored the Hemp Journal, the publication promoting yearly Hemp Festivals on the South Oval, also co-founded by Schweickart. It should be noted that Schweickart gathered some 90,000 signatures for hemp legalization and medical marijuana back in 1997.

Sadly, in a tragic clash with the FBI in 2001, the two owners of Rainbow Farm were killed and the farm was burned to the ground rather than release it to federal authorities. An excellent account of this can be found in the book Burning Rainbow Farm. The Free Press has persevered.

Fast forward to 2014 when the Ohio Rights Group, run in part by Free Press cannabis investigative reporter and columnist Mary Jane Borden, attempted to get the legalization of medical marijuana on the Ohio ballot. Free Press readers can thank Kenny and Mary Jane for their lifelong commitment to exposing the facts about the health effects of marijuana and hemp.
After this long and arduous struggle, the Free Press editorial staff believes that this may be the year of the leaf! The insane drug war against marijuana (and hemp) is about to finally be defeated in Ohio in 2018.

Togo goes Trump-o

By now you undoubtedly know of Trump’s proclaimed “victory” in the United Nations, where his policy to move the capital of Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem was condemned by a vote of 128 nations. Nine nations voted in  favor – but subtract the U.S. and Israel, and you’re down to seven countries.

What a tremendous force they are! Four of these are tiny island chains. One is the mighty republic of the Marshall Islands, a former U.S. territory with 53,000 people. They are joined by Micronesia, twice the size, with a population of 105,000 or so. Also, the powerful Palau, formerly known as the U.S.-owned Caroline Islands. Lastly, the previously British-controlled Nauru Islands. At one point the three former U.S. territories were designated to be one nation – the federated state of Micronesia – their official currency is the U.S. dollar and their language English.

If we subtract the four island powerhouses, we’re down to three actual nations. Two are perennially corrupt Central Americans nations – Guatemala and Honduras. Guatemala is infamous for the 1954 “United Fruit Coup” and the drug “imports” through U.S. companies. In 2009, Hillary Clinton’s State Department supported a coup to overthrow the democratically-elected government of Honduras.

This leaves Togo to round out the Jerusalem supporters, a country that used to be a British colony. Togo originally broke relations with Israel over their illegal occupation of Palestine, but had re-established a relationship again in 1987. Togo has been ruled by the same dictatorial family for fifty years. There’s no logical explanation for Togo being the only country in Africa to back the resolution other than golden crumbs from the United States.

Some media outlets will no doubt hail this illustrious support as a triumph for Trump. We should not be fooled. The whole thing is merely a diversionary tactic to keep the focus off the greatest looting of national treasury in the history of our country in the form of tax reform.

Advice for the Dems

The best candidate the Democrats could run in 2018 is Dennis Kucinich. His policies are better than Bernie’s. Why do I think so? His battle to save Cleveland’s electric utility in the late 1970s was a legendary and epic victory for the people. He was one of the few people in Congress who not only voted NO on George W’s illegal attack on Iraq, but he organized against the unconscionable and endless war. Perhaps even more important, he introduced articles of impeachment against Bush and Cheney while he served in the U.S. House.

In 2012, the Clinton warhawk wing of the Democratic Party and their allies gerrymandered Kucinich’s district away. Current Democratic Party Vice Chair Keith Ellison noted when Kucinich was redistricted out of office, that “At the end of the day, we’re really going to miss Dennis. Dennis is a transformative leader. He stood up and spoke eloquently, passionately about Iraq, Afghanistan, Iran. He was a consistent voice for peace.”

More than any other candidate running for governor, Kucinich reflects the populist insurgence. He has long been on record for universal health care. He voted against the Patriot Act that set up our massive surveillance state. Before there was Al Gore, there was Dennis Kucinich fighting against climate change and to ratify the Kyoto Protocol. He earned a 100% rating from the Human Rights Campaign and the National Abortion Rights Action League.

While in Congress, Kucinich voted IN FAVOR OF: hemp, alternative sentencing instead of prisons, renewable energy programs, campaign finance reform, protecting immigrants’ rights, and union organizing, to name a few.

He voted to END: capital punishment, free trade agreements including NAFTA, the No Child Left Behind debacle, Voter ID requirements, and random drug tests, to name a few.

It seems a perfect moment for progressives to actually turn the Democratic Party in a direction that favors people over profit, protects the environment and is a counter its current condition as a listless and moderate corporatist party.

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