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MARX: A HERO FOR OUR TIME? — Suddenly, everyone from the Wall Street Journal to Rolling Stone seems to be talking about Karl Marx. Louis Proyect delves into this mysterious resurgence, giving a vivid assessment of Marx’s relevance in the era of globalized capitalism. THE MEANING OF MANDELA: Longtime civil rights organizer Kevin Alexander Gray gives in intimate portrait of Nelson Mandela and the global struggle of racial justice. FALLOUT OVER FUKUSHIMA: Peter Lee investigates the scandalous exposure of sailors on board the USS Reagan to radioactive fallout from Fukushima. SOUTHERN DISCOMFORT: Kim Nicolini charts the rise of Matthew McConaughey. PLUS: Mike Whitney on the coming crash of the housing market. JoAnn Wypijewski on slavery, torture and revolt. Chris Floyd on the stupidity of US policy in Ukraine. Kristin Kolb on musicians and health care. And Jeffrey St. Clair on life and death on the mean streets of an America in decline
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/