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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
The Giant Sucking Sound of the Supreme Court

Bong Hits for Repression

by PAUL KRASSNER

The Supreme Court sucks so badly it turned itself inside out. An utterly outrageous 5-4 ruling has made it acceptable to suspend a high school student for an off-campus act like holding a 14-foot banner saying "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." That simple joke became a federal case ending with a dangerous precedent for suppressing free speech.

Chief Justice Roberts agreed with the school principal that "the banner would be interpreted by those viewing it as promoting illegal drug use, and that interpretation is plainly a reasonable one"–what a ton of bullshit!–and Justices Alito and Kennedy stated that their decision doesn’t address "political or social issues such as the wisdom of the war on drugs or of legalized marijuana for medical use."

So this is really about the war on pleasure. I once asked the late Peter McWilliams–leading activist in the medical marijuana movement who suffered from cancer and AIDS– "Would you agree with Dennis Peron, the co-author of Proposition 215 [California's medical marijuana referendum], who says–not as a joke–that all use of marijuana is medical?"

"In the general sense that everything we do for our health–both curative and preventative–is medical, I’d agree," he replied. "Even a perfectly healthy person who smokes pot once a month purely for its euphoric effects could be said to be doing so to prevent becoming ill, in the sense that people take vitamin C every day to prevent becoming ill, for I believe that euphoria is both healing and health-maintaining ….

"While I was using marijuana to treat my nausea, I can’t tell you how much I missed getting high. Although I’d smoke it several times a day, the average high school student was getting high more times a month than I was. That’s because after the first month, I never got high, and I really enjoy marijuana’s high. Simply put, recreational marijuana you use to get high; medical marijuana you use to get by."

PAUL KRASSNER is the editor of The Realist. His books include: Pot Stories for the Soul, One Hand Jerking and Murder at the Conspiracy Convention. He can be reached through his website: http://paulkrassner.com/