Hypocrisy: Trump Signs Veterans’ Mental Health Bill as Jeff Sessions Declares War on Their Medicine

veteransveterans

President Trump signed an executive order that was presented as an effort to improve veterans’ mental health treatment, just days after reports claimed that Attorney General Jeff Sessions plans to wage war on their medicine by rescinding a policy that keeps federal prosecutors from aggressively enforcing federal law in states where cannabis is legal.

Trump signed an executive order titled, “Supporting our Veterans during their Transition from Uniformed Service to Civilian Life” on Jan. 9. The order calls for the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and the Secretary of Homeland Security to work together to provide “seamless access to mental health treatment and suicide prevention resources for transitioning uniformed service members in the year following discharge, separation, or retirement.”

The measure is intended to improve reintegration into civilian life and to prevent suicide if at all possible. But the type of mental health services Trump is asking for almost certainly do not involve using cannabis for PTSD, depression, or chronic pain. That is because the U.S. Attorney General just rescinded the Cole memo, allowing state Attorney Generals to go after legal weed.

As The Free Thought Project has reported on numerous occasions, legal cannabis and access to it is not supported by VA hospitals. In fact, we interviewed one veteran who suffers from PTSD and lives in Phoenix. For privacy reasons we will call him “Jeremy.”

Jeremy told TFTP that his disability benefits are directly connected to his blood tests. If his blood does not demonstrate a measurable level of psychotropics then the VA will end his disability benefits. In other words, if he does not take dangerous antidepressants and antipsychotics then he loses his monthly cash benefit.

While Trump’s executive order will guarantee 100 percent of veterans will now be able to get mental health benefits (whereas only 40 percent were able to get them before), what veterans really want is access to legal weed. So do the majority of Americans. They also do not want to be forced to take psychotropics, drugs that have actually caused the very suicides the executive order has stated it is attempting to combat.

Jeremy is a budtender at a Phoenix-area marijuana dispensary. He said he loathes being forced to take psychotropics but cannot part with the significant disability payouts each month. So he takes as little as he possibly can and throws away the rest. He says weed works much better and he would use it exclusively if he could.

Sessions’ move to rescind the Cole memo follows months of similar actions by the government. As TFTP reported in July, the House Rules Committee blocked an amendment called the “Veterans Equal Access,” which would have allowed the VA to discuss cannabis as an option for veterans’ treatment in VA hospitals. The amendment did not pass largely because cannabis is still classified as a Schedule I narcotic (purely for political and Pharma-Cartel reasons) much to the dismay of a majority of Americans, including veterans advocacy groups, like the American Legion, who want cannabis made available to veterans.

Veterans who choose to go against the VA and to use cannabis as a viable mental health protocol not only face the loss of financial benefits, they run the risk of prison time as well. Kristoffer Lewandowski is an honorably discharged veteran of the USMC was arrested in Oklahoma for personal possession of marijuana. He says the VA had him taking 18 different medications daily for his PTSD, which included deadly opiates. At one point, he was taking 180 Percocets per month, but the drugs were killing his liver.

After finding that cannabis worked better, Lewandowski quit taking his prescription pills. Because Oklahoma does not have medical marijuana, he began growing a few plants for his personal use and treatment of PTSD. The police discovered the plants and arrested him.

Lewandowski was charged with cultivating marijuana, and the police confiscated the ounce of cannabis they found. They charged his wife as well and took their children away. After getting approval from the OK district attorney, the family bonded out of jail and moved to California. But Lewandowski’s freedom was short-lived. After missing an appointment at the Veterans Administration’s psychiatric hospital, he was arrested again. Later, he accepted a plea deal and was allowed to stay in California to continue taking the plant he says saved his life.

While Trump’s executive order sounds like a great idea by giving all veterans access to mental health services, what veterans really need and want is universal access to cannabis as a natural treatment for depression, PTSD, and pain. Instead, they are given prescription pills, which are needlessly driving up the suicide rate among veterans.

Ironically, one of Trump’s campaign promises was for veterans was that they would be able to bypass the VA and go wherever they wanted for treatment. That promise has yet to be fulfilled and almost certainly did not mean going to the marijuana dispensary for their medicine.

It’s time for Congress to act on behalf of all veterans and Americans to legalize marijuana across the nation. Too many people are in jail, are going to jail, and are being charged with felonies for a plant—one that has demonstrated the power to treat pain, depression, addictions, and to prevent suicide.

Source Article from http://thefreethoughtproject.com/trump-signs-veterans-mental-health-bill-jeff-sessions-war-medicine/

Rand Paul: Calling Trump 'racist' hurts immigration negotiations

In an exclusive interview on Meet the Press, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) tells Chuck Todd that he thinks the backlash against the president hurts efforts to find a compromise over immigration

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Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/rand-paul-calling-trump-apos-063636748.html

7 times Trump critics called Russia a ‘s***hole’ & worse, and no one cared

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Source Article from https://theuglytruth.wordpress.com/2018/01/14/7-times-trump-critics-called-russia-a-shole-worse-and-no-one-cared/

Trump’s Over-the-Top Hostility Toward Iran

Trump’s Over-the-Top Hostility Toward Iran



by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)



Trump’s business success speaks for itself. Geopolitically he’s out of his element, a know-nothing, wholly dependent on what he’s told and views on television, no way to stay informed. 



He’s not a reader like Teddy Roosevelt, Jack Kennedy and other past US presidents, nor geopolitically savvy like Dwight Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Franklin Roosevelt and Woodrow Wilson, an academic before entering politics.



Trump is a front man for a nation bent on world conquest and dominance, aiming to replace all sovereign independent countries with pro-Western ones – Iran one of America’s prime targets for regime change.



Will Trump go for it belligerently while in office? His short-lived color revolution attempt failed. Is naked aggression his next option?



His address last May from Riyadh pleased his Saudi host and Israel, hammering Iran irresponsibly, falsely accusing its government of “fund(ing), arm(ing) and train(ing) terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region” – a US specialty along with its rogue allies worldwide, Iran’s agenda polar opposite.



Trump’s tough talk on Iran numerous other times reflected  longstanding US hostility toward the nation since its 1979 revolution.



Iran hasn’t attacked another country in centuries, threatening none now. 



Vilified for its sovereign independence and opposition to US imperial aggression, it favors 


cooperative relations with all nations – urging world peace, stability, and a denuclearized Middle East.



Israel is the region’s only nuclear armed and dangerous country, along with America’s presence.



Trump knows nothing about the Iran JCPOA nuclear deal. He never read it, doesn’t understand what’s in it, nor Tehran’s abhorrence of nuclear weapons and peace agenda.



Calling the JCPOA “one of the worst deal’s ever” was testimony to his ignorance of the enormous amount of time and effort taken to craft an agreement acceptable to America under Obama, Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China (the P5+1 countries) and Iran.



Wanting it unravelled is irresponsible, a way to stoke conflict, not prevent it. Earlier Trump lied claiming the deal puts Iran “on a path to a nuclear weapon.”



He promised to rescind it in office. He’s heading toward trying to undermine it.



On Friday, he waived reimposition of JCPOA sanctions for another 120 days, saying:



“Despite my strong inclination, I have not yet withdrawn the United States from the Iran nuclear deal.” 



“Instead I have outlined two possible paths forward: either fix the deal’s disastrous flaws, or the United States will withdraw.”



“This is the last chance. In absence of such an agreement (among the P5+1 countries), the United States will not again waive sanctions in order to stay in the Iran nuclear deal.”



On the same day, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin announced new (illegal) sanctions on 14 Iranians and companies, including head of Iran’s judiciary – over phony accusations of human rights abuses, censorship, and support for weapons proliferators, no evidence supporting the claims.



Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif blasted Trump, calling his decision a “desperate attempt to undermine a solid multilateral agreement, maliciously violating its paragraphs 26, 28 and 29,” adding:



The “JCPOA is not renegotiable: rather than repeating tired rhetoric, the US must bring itself into full compliance – just like Iran.”



A separate Foreign Ministry statement said “(t)he internal solidity of and international support for the agreement have blocked attempts by Mr. Trump, (Israel’s) Zionist regime, and the ominous alliance of hard-line warmongers to terminate this agreement or make changes to it,” adding:



“The Islamic Republic of Iran stresses clearly that it will take no measures beyond its commitments under the JCPOA and will accept no changes to this agreement now or in the future and will not allow that the JCPOA be linked to any other issue.”



Trump’s Friday announcement was expected. Key is what he and other hardline administration officials intend next.



His first year in office showed he’s just another dirty politician – clearly worrisome for what’s ahead.



VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.



My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”



http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html


Source Article from https://www.freedomsphoenix.com/Article/232887-2018-01-13-trumps-over-the-top-hostility-toward-iran.htm?EdNo=001&From=RSS

SOTT FOCUS: Why is The Trump Administration Selling Weapons to Ukraine?

Javelin antitank missile

    

Last month, the Trump administration approved the largest US sale of lethal weapons to Ukraine since 2014 by approving a commercial license authorizing the export of sniper systems to Ukraine for $41.5 million. A few days later, the antitank Javelin missiles that the Ukranian government requested were added to the sale – the total package is now valued at $47 million. Although the US State Department announced the measure as providing Ukraine with “enhanced defensive capabilities as part of our effort to help Ukraine build its long-term defense capacity”, Russia has rightly suggested it will exacerbate the conflict. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov stated that the US has become an accomplice in the war and that the sale makes it impossible for Russia to remain “indifferent”.

Writer Daniel Larison calls Trump “a fool” for arming Ukraine, as Russia will respond more aggressively and will always outmatch whatever support the US gives, because it has far more at stake. The situation will lead to a “fruitless and unnecessary competition with another major power” – a power that Trump promised barely a month earlier to seek a good relationship with. Likewise, Professor Stephen Cohen is right when he says it doesn’t make any geopolitical or strategic sense.

Cohen warns about the danger of Kiev interpreting the arms sale as a signal from Washington for a new offensive against the Donbass, which will end again in military disaster for the Ukrainian regime. This may bring the neo-fascists closer to power, and the new Cold War closer to more direct war between the nuclear superpowers.

Add to this the recent approval of a $133 million US anti-ballistic missile sale to Japan, which Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova denounced as a violation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty between the US and Russia, and which she sees as part of a bigger plan by the US for a “global anti-missile system.”

So why is the Trump administration backtracking on improving relations with Russia and potentially putting the entire globe in danger?

Alexander Mercouris thinks this is part of a pattern of confrontational decisions taking place “since the US military effectively took charge of the US government back in the summer”, when Steve Bannon left the White House, leaving generals Kelly, McMaster and Mattis in control. Regarding the weapons sale to Ukraine, he offers the following possible explanations:

  1. the US weapons are being supplied to facilitate a planned Ukrainian offensive to conquer the Donbass;
  2. the US weapons are being supplied as a gesture of political support for Ukraine in its continued confrontation with the two People’s Republics and with Russia;
  3. the US weapons are being supplied to enable the US to gain political leverage over Russia in the ongoing negotiations to settle the Ukrainian crisis;
  4. the US weapons are being supplied to help Donald Trump politically at home by stifling criticism that he is “giving up” on Ukraine and in order to show that he is “getting tough” with Russia.

Cohen’s view is in line with the last option. Assuming it was Trump’s decision, he says, “it was no doubt to disprove the underlying premise of the still unproved Russiagate allegations that he is a lackey of the Kremlin”, and it is in this sense that “Russiagate has become the No. 1 threat to American national security, certainly in regard to nuclear Russia.” The point being, the US intel agencies that concocted the Russia collusion story did so because by accusing Trump of being a Kremlin agent, they knew he would be forced to prove otherwise and take a belligerent stance towards Russia.

T-72 Tanks Donetsk Ukraine

    

While all such explanations are no doubt part of the equation, there is another possibility that while perhaps more mundane, is no less alarming. Consider that Trump has not only surrounded himself by generals, but also by former weapons industry executives:

Examples of Trump’s industry-heavy administration include Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a former board member at General Dynamics; White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who worked for a number of military firms and was an adviser to Pentagon contractor DynCorp; former Boeing executive and now Deputy Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan; former Lockheed Martin executive John Rood, nominated as undersecretary of defense for policy; former Raytheon Vice President Mark Esper, newly confirmed as Secretary of the Army; Heather Wilson, a former consultant to Lockheed Martin, who is Secretary of the Air Force; Ellen Lord, a former CEO for the aerospace company Textron, who is Undersecretary of Defense for Acquisition; and National Security Council Chief of Staff Keith Kellogg, a former employee of the major military and intelligence contractor CACI.

These are the people who have the ear of the man seeking to fulfill his campaign promise of creating jobs in the US by selling goods and services abroad and to bring down the country’s trade deficit from a six-year high of $50 billion. In fact, the Trump administration is expected to announce in the near future a “Buy American” plan that would ease rules on US military exports (including human rights and arms control considerations) and would call for military attaches and embassy staffers around the world to act “as a sales force for defense contractors, actively advocating on their behalf”.

The Washington Post reports that Trump personally approved the Ukraine sale license after being presented with a memo by Defense Secretary James Mattis, a former board member at General Dynamics and a man who openly claims that Russia is out “to undermine Western institutions” through the use of “hybrid warfare”, and who refuses any normalization with Russia until Crimea is given back to Ukraine. The latter is a position virtually identical to Joe Biden’s and that of the neocons.

If it looks like the decision to arm Ukraine lacked any (geo)political strategy or foresight on the part of the president, it may be that the president has no such foresight. As The Saker put it:

For months now President Trump has mostly ruled the US by means of “tweets” which, of course, and by definition, amount to exactly nothing and there is nothing which could be seriously called a “US foreign policy” (with the exception of the never-ending stream of accusations, threats and grandstanding, which don’t qualify).

Perhaps Trump – rather than being mentally unstable, a new Hitler, or a misunderstood savior or negotiating genius – is simply what he appears to be: a businessman with limited political insight who often makes poorly thought-out decisions based on the advice of corporate and deep state representatives who follow their own agendas, those entities constituting the real power in the USA.

Some things in US politics are systemic; they have been so for many decades and are likely to remain so for some time in the future. We should all understand this by now:

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/374143-Why-is-The-Trump-Administration-Selling-Weapons-to-Ukraine

Palestine: Abbas slams Trump’s ‘deal of the century’ as a ‘slap in the face’, Israel’s ‘killing’ of Oslo Accords

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas speaks during the meeting of the Palestinian Central Council in the West Bank city of Ramallah January 14, 2018

    

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has stated he will never agree to the US-championed peace plan in which Jerusalem is “taken off the table.” He accused Israel of “killing” the historic Oslo Accords on mutual recognition.

Speaking at the Palestinian Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Central Council meeting on Sunday, Abbas lashed out at US President Donald Trump, denouncing his decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and a reported proposal by Washington to make a tiny West Bank village a future Palestinian capital.

“We told Trump we will never accept his [peace] plan. His ‘deal of the century’ is the slap in the face of the century, and we will not accept it,” Abbas said, vowing to “slap back,” as cited by Arutz Sheva.

The Palestine Authority (PA) will reject any further peace talks if they are spearheaded by the US, Abbas stressed, branding David Friedman, the US ambassador to Israel, “a settler” and “an offensive human being” with whom he has refused to meet.

“Any future negotiations will take place only within the context of the international community, by an international committee created in the framework of an international conference,” he stressed, according to Haaretz.

A former Hamas official revealed back in December that the US administration had proposed making the 12,000-dweller West Bank village of Abu Dis, which borders Jerusalem, a future Palestinian capital instead of East Jerusalem. The same proposal was reportedly voiced by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman during his meeting with Abbas in November, sparking anger among Palestinians.

Abbas has also slammed Trump for threatening to halt aid to the Palestinians in a recent tweet, in which the US leader claimed he took the issue of Jerusalem “off the table” and accused Palestinians of “no longer willing to talk peace.”

Noting that “nothing is more important than Jerusalem” Abbas stated that he was stunned by the remark claiming that the negotiations have never got going.

“I saw his tweet which said that ‘We will not give aid to the Palestinians because they refuse to relaunch negotiations… When did you offer me this? On the phone? On television? When the hell did negotiations start?!” he wondered.

Trump is slated to follow through on his threats by drastically cutting the US contribution to the United Nations agency for Palestinian refugees, AP reported on Sunday, citing unnamed US officials. According to the report, the US is set to channel just $60 million instead of the planned $125 million to the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA). Washington could potentially scrap funding entirely, the officials said, if preconditions set by the US for further transfers are not met. Among the demands, that might be put forward by Washington, is the revival of Palestinian-Israeli talks. The US State Department has neither confirmed or denied the move, saying “there are still deliberations taking place.”

Since the 1993 Oslo Accords, the US has been among the major donors to the PA, created to manage limited self-governance in parts of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. The milestone agreement included Israel and PLO letters of mutual recognition.

Arguing that Israel has been undermining the agreement, Abbas signaled the Palestinians might quit the Accords, while declaring its effectively null and void during his fiery speech.

“Today is the day that the Oslo Accords end,” he said. “Israel killed them.”

Source Article from https://www.sott.net/article/374140-Palestine-Abbas-slams-Trumps-deal-of-the-century-as-a-slap-in-the-face-Israels-killing-of-Oslo-Accords

Pro-Trump Pundit on NPR: Top Immigrants ‘Treated Worse Than the Tsarnaev Family’

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Source Article from https://www.newsbusters.org/blogs/nb/tim-graham/2018/01/14/righty-npr-immigrant-doctors-and-techies-treated-worse-tsarnaev

Trump Reportedly Wonders Why ‘Pretty Korean Lady’ Isn’t Handling North Korea For Him

There are two things that seem to accompany President Donald Trump in the Oval Office more than any other these days: Diet Coke and racism.

The second of those two has earned a spot atop the list in light of his comments about “shithole” countries during a meeting in the prestigious office Thursday ―and in a new NBC report Friday that describes a startling conversation the president had with a female intelligence analyst there after a White House briefing.

It’s a doozy, and it’s worth reading NBC’s full account of the exchange:

“Where are you from?” the president asked, according to two officials with direct knowledge of the exchange.

New York, she replied.

Trump was unsatisfied and asked again, the officials said. Referring to the president’s hometown, she offered that she, too, was from Manhattan. But that’s not what the president was after.

He wanted to know where “your people” are from, according to the officials, who spoke under condition of anonymity due to the nature of the internal discussions.

After the analyst revealed that her parents are Korean, Trump turned to an adviser in the room and seemed to suggest her ethnicity should determine her career path, asking why the “pretty Korean lady” isn’t negotiating with North Korea on his administration’s behalf, the officials said.

Somehow, in a matter of only a couple of sentences, Trump managed to roll up both a racist and a sexist cliche into one offensive package. Not only did he reportedly repeatedly refuse to believe a woman who wasn’t white was American, he followed it up by diminishing her role ― reportedly that of an expert in hostage policy ― to that of a “pretty … lady.”

All in a day’s work for the president.

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

Source Article from https://www.yahoo.com/news/donald-trump-once-asked-analyst-224337253.html

Re: Israel is so emboldened by Trump that ministers call openly for killing Palestinians

Israeli Agricultural Minister Uri Ariel wants more injured and dead Palestinians in Gaza. “What is this special weapon we have that we fire and see pillars of smoke and fire, but nobody gets hurt?” he said on local radio. “It is time for there to be injuries and deaths as well.” This was reported by Haaretz.

Ariel’s comments come at a time when, bolstered and emboldened by US support over Jerusalem, Israel is seeking to increase ways in which Palestinians are restricted even further in terms of politics, freedom of movement and resistance to its military occupation. The increasingly threatening rhetoric, combined with its often resultant violence, is a clear message that Israel wants Palestinian existence to be determined according to its own colonial needs.

Indeed the minister’s remarks are indicative of Israel’s need for violence and conflict to sustain its existence. Framing his penchant for more deaths against the narrative of the purported “Palestinian terrorist”, he also amalgamated his demands with Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman’s comments from 2016. At that time, far-right extremist Lieberman recommended the further fragmentation of Palestinians by suggesting that the homes of those involved in resistance should be demolished, and that those who “desire coexistence” should be rewarded. Lieberman’s differentiation of Palestinians, particularly the latter group, is a simplistic approach which negates many of the reasons why not all Palestinians are visibly involved in resistance. One obvious reason which Israel has perpetrated is the juxtaposition of survival due to extreme poverty and lack of basic necessities, and the struggle against several forms of state violence. It also refutes the fact that most Palestinians, unlike the leadership of the Palestinian Authority, do not want to live under colonial rule.

Read: There is more to Trump’s Palestinian aid threat than meets the eye

Whether Ariel’s statement suggests yet another military offensive against the Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip remains to be seen. However, there is no doubt that demands for state violence against civilians will become more brazen, as Israel basks in the impunity which is sustained on two levels: that generated by its own actions and absence of accountability under the pretext of “security concerns”; and the international community’s endorsement of this false narrative.

Another ramification of Ariel’s words is the separation of the visible injuries and killings in the occupied West Bank and the silent forms of slow extermination in Gaza as a result of Israeli-imposed deprivation. Clearly, he prefers the macabre spectacle of multitudes of injured and dead Palestinian civilians in Gaza and, what is more, he is allowed to express himself in such a manner without censure of any kind, safe in the knowledge that killing Palestinians has not only become normalised, but also expected.

The dehumanisation of Palestinians in the Israeli minister’s words is also reflective of how statistics contribute to the absence of Palestinians in terms of collective memory. For Israel, the numbers serve to boost the false claims of self-defence. Conversely, statistics for Palestinians depict the cycles of murder by Israeli institutions. The international community, on the other hand, is partial to the anonymity of numbers, particularly when there is no requirement other than for it to turn a blind eye until Israel decides upon the next phase of Gaza’s destruction, whereupon the UN will exhort the colonial entity’s “right” to defend itself against the colonised. In doing so, it will also affirm its contempt for human rights and resolutions by refusing to uphold the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination and, indeed, their right to resist military occupation by any means available.



Source Article from https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20180111-israel-is-so-emboldened-by-trump-that-ministers-call-openly-for-killing-palestinians/#comment-3707275070