What Coalition to Defeat ISIS?
(Events are moving rapidly in the Middle East, so rapidly that this material, current as of this morning ... 9/23/14 ... may be outdated by the time you are reading it.)
Of course, coalition partner Sunni states such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Bahrain, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates fear ISIS, but they do so because the Islamic State is pledged to abolish secular governments in the Arab world, replacing them with what amount to theocracies. When it comes to troops on the ground, It will be very difficult to get Sunnis to battle Sunnis, particularly when those they will have to attack are part of the most successful opposition to Syria's Iranian-supported Alawite regime, opposed by these nations, which happens to be ISIS.
These countries want to get rid of Bashir al-Assad in Syria, where the Shia’ Iranians and Russians have significant influence. They fear Iran. They see ISIS as the strongest opponent to Assad, having already taken over a large portion of Syria, and are reluctant to fight the Islamic State whose defeat would actually serve to strengthen Assad. Our attempt to find and arm Sunni rebels in Syria who are more “moderate” than ISIS is a gigantic task so long as Assad considers ISIS to be his prime antagonist in Syria. Once "moderate" rebels are armed, will they be more interested in attacking Assad than their Sunni brethren in ISIS? We do not know. I commend the Congressmen who voted against arming them.
Here is how technology is changing the world we live in. Go to sleep, as Rip Van Winkle did, and wake up a generation later ... and you will be mystified. Check out this fascinating eight and a half minute video ... and if you cannot access it, visit it via your browser at
Should Sports Get Favorable Tax Treatment?
Medical Marijuana on Florida Ballot
Why should those who are both for and against medical marijuana vote “No” on Amendment 2? We offer five reasons.
First, the amendment is so broadly cast and vague, it will open the door to the general use of marijuana, not the carefully regulated medical use of a drug for those truly suffering. When proposed amendments are placed on the ballot, voters see a ballot title and ballot summary written by the amendment sponsors. Most voters don’t have the time or inclination to read the full text, much less study its impact. We have read the amendment and studied its impact. And, we are troubled by what voters are being told about Amendment 2. Voters are led to believe that medical marijuana could be used only for “debilitating diseases.” But the full text of the amendment allows the use of marijuana for virtually any medical condition at the discretion of any recommending physician, and no actual prescription is required.
Second, Amendment 2 endangers Floridians by granting broad immunity from criminal and civil liability to virtually everyone involved in the chain of custody of marijuana. Today, our criminal and civil justice systems protect citizens from harmful acts and compensate victims and families in cases of medical malpractice and negligence. But under Amendment 2, those providing and using medical marijuana, including every “certifying physician,” would be immune from basic enforcement and accountability that protect our safety.
Third, Amendment 2 creates a right to use marijuana, coupled with a right to privacy for medical marijuana users, without regard to age. This could be construed to allow minors to obtain marijuana for purported medical reasons without the knowledge or consent of their parents.
Fourth, Amendment 2 creates the role of medical marijuana “caregiver.” There is only one requirement to be a caregiver — be at least 21. Amendment 2 requires no medical expertise, training or background checks for caregivers, who would have the authority to provide marijuana to multiple individuals. This caregiver provision could be used as a legal shield to protect drug dealers from prosecution. The Florida Department of Health estimates that if Amendment 2 passes, there will be approximately 250,000 caregivers and nearly 1,800 pot shops that would dispense marijuana. This calls into question the state’s ability to adequately regulate the distribution of marijuana, since it would not be obtained from traditional pharmacies but from shops run by the marijuana industry.
Fifth, if Amendment 2 is approved, it would be almost impossible to fix its many flaws because it would be enshrined in the constitution, rather than being a general law that can be changed or improved as needed to respond to inevitable problems.
Whether marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes is an issue about which reasonable people disagree and more study is needed. But anyone who reads the full text of Amendment 2 should readily agree that it is plagued by loopholes and vagueness that would lead to myriad unintended and undesirable consequences. Amendment 2 doesn’t belong in the Florida Constitution.
For your information, here is the text of what will appear on the Ballot as Amendment 2 on November 4.
ARTICLE X, SECTION 29. Medical marijuana production, possession and use.—
(a) PUBLIC POLICY.
(1) The medical use of marijuana by a qualifying patient or personal caregiver is not subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law except as provided in this section.
(2) A physician licensed in Florida shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law for issuing a physician certification to a person diagnosed with a debilitating medical condition in a manner consistent with this section.
(3) Actions and conduct by a medical marijuana treatment center registered with the Department, or its employees, as permitted by this section and in compliance with Department regulations, shall not be subject to criminal or civil liability or sanctions under Florida law except as provided in this section.
(b) DEFINITIONS. For purposes of this section, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:
(1) “Debilitating Medical Condition” means cancer, glaucoma, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), hepatitis C, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Crohn's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis or other conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient.
(2) “Department” means the Department of Health or its successor agency.
(3) “Identification card” means a document issued by the Department that identifies a person who has a physician certification or a personal caregiver who is at least twenty-one (21) years old and has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana.
(4) “Marijuana” has the meaning given cannabis in Section 893.02(3), Florida Statutes (2013).
(5) “Medical Marijuana Treatment Center” means an entity that acquires, cultivates, possesses, processes (including development of related products such as food, tinctures, aerosols, oils, or ointments), transfers, transports, sells, distributes, dispenses, or administers marijuana, products containing marijuana, related supplies, or educational materials to qualifying patients or their personal caregivers and is registered by the Department.
(6) “Medical use” means the acquisition, possession, use, delivery, transfer, or administration of marijuana or related supplies by a
qualifying patient or personal caregiver for use by a qualifying patient for the treatment of a debilitating medical condition.
(7) “Personal caregiver” means a person who is at least twenty-one (21) years old who has agreed to assist with a qualifying patient's medical use of marijuana and has a caregiver identification card issued by the Department. A personal caregiver may assist no more than five (5) qualifying patients at one time. An employee of a hospice provider, nursing, or medical facility may serve as a personal caregiver to more than five (5) qualifying patients as permitted by the Department. Personal caregivers are prohibited from consuming marijuana obtained for the personal, medical use by the qualifying patient.
(8) “Physician” means a physician who is licensed in Florida.
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(9) “Physician certification” means a written document signed by a physician, stating that in the physician's professional opinion, the patient suffers from a debilitating medical condition, that the potential benefits of the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the health risks for the patient, and for how long the physician recommends the medical use of marijuana for the patient. A physician certification may only be provided after the physician has conducted a physical examination of the patient and a full assessment of the patient’s medical history.
(10) “Qualifying patient” means a person who has been diagnosed to have a debilitating medical condition, who has a physician
certification and a valid qualifying patient identification card. If the Department does not begin issuing identification cards within nine (9) months after the effective date of this section, then a valid physician certification will serve as a patient identification card in order to allow a person to become a "qualifying patient" until the Department begins issuing identification cards.
(1) Nothing in this section shall affect laws relating to non-medical use, possession, production or sale of marijuana. (2) Nothing in this section authorizes the use of medical marijuana by anyone other than a qualifying patient.
(3) Nothing in this section allows the operation of a motor vehicle, boat, or aircraft while under the influence of marijuana. (4) Nothing in this law section requires the violation of federal law or purports to give immunity under federal law.
(5) Nothing in this section shall require any accommodation of any on-site medical use of marijuana in any place of education or employment, or of smoking medical marijuana in any public place.
(6) Nothing in this section shall require any health insurance provider or any government agency or authority to reimburse any person for expenses related to the medical use of marijuana.
(d) DUTIES OF THE DEPARTMENT. The Department shall issue reasonable regulations necessary for the implementation and enforcement of this section. The purpose of the regulations is to ensure the availability and safe use of medical marijuana by qualifying patients. It is the duty of the Department to promulgate regulations in a timely fashion.
(1) Implementing Regulations. In order to allow the Department sufficient time after passage of this section, the following regulations shall be promulgated no later than six (6) months after the effective date of this section:
a. Procedures for the issuance of qualifying patient identification cards to people with physician certifications, and standards for the renewal of such identification cards.
b. Procedures for the issuance of personal caregiver identification cards to persons qualified to assist with a qualifying patient’s medical use of marijuana, and standards for the renewal of such identification cards.
c. Procedures for the registration of Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers that include procedures for the issuance, renewal, suspension, and revocation of registration, and standards to ensure security, record keeping, testing, labeling, inspection, and safety.
d. A regulation that defines the amount of marijuana that could reasonably be presumed to be an adequate supply for qualifying patients’ medical use, based on the best available evidence. This presumption as to quantity may be overcome with evidence of a particular qualifying patient’s appropriate medical use.
(2) Issuance of identification cards and registrations. The Department shall begin issuing qualifying patient and personal caregiver
identification cards, as well as begin registering Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers no later than nine months (9) after the effective date of this section.
(3) If the Department does not issue regulations, or if the Department does not begin issuing identification cards and registering Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers within the time limits set in this section, any Florida citizen shall have standing to seek judicial relief to compel compliance with the Department’s constitutional duties.
(4) The Department shall protect the confidentiality of all qualifying patients. All records containing the identity of qualifying patients shall be confidential and kept from public disclosure other than for valid medical or law enforcement purposes.
(e) LEGISLATION. Nothing in this section shall limit the legislature from enacting laws consistent with this provision.
(f) SEVERABILITY. The provisions of this section are severable and if any clause, sentence, paragraph or section of this measure, or an application thereof, is adjudged invalid by any court of competent jurisdiction other provisions shall continue to be in effect to the fullest extent possible.
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People who live in most countries in the Middle East do not get to vote on questions such as this. In fact, bringing up this question in the Islamic State could lead to your losing your head! So cherish our freedoms and vote, whether you reside in Florida or somewhere else, where other questions and candidates will be on the ballot!
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