Federal court backs up Senate decision to hide the full CIA torture report

A federal appeals court has rejected a lawsuit calling for the full release of a U.S. Senate report detailing the Central Intelligence Agency’s interrogation and detention program following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled against the American Civil Liberties Union, which sought access to the more than 6,000-page document, often referred to as the “Senate torture report.”…

When the report was released in 2014, only a 500-page executive summary was made public. It said the CIA misled the White House and public about torture of detainees. Some captives were deprived of sleep for up to 180 hours, at times with their hands shackled above their heads, and the report recorded cases of simulated drowning or “waterboarding” and sexual abuse, including “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration” without any documented medical need.

I wonder what the response would be to a national referendum calling for “rectal feeding” of some of our elected officials?

The ACLU sued under the Freedom of Information Act in 2013 to obtain the full report prior to its release. Congressional documents are exempt from the law, but the ACLU said the Senate Intelligence Committee relinquished control when it transmitted the report to the White House and other agencies, which are subject to freedom of information requests.

The appeals court on Friday upheld a lower court’s decision in favor of the government.

Transparency becomes less and less a standard, a priority, for the government of the United States. Keep on rocking in the Free World!

Colorado on track to have enough marijuana sales in 2016 to exceed tax target of $40 million for school construction

In the first three months of 2016, Colorado pot shops sold more than $270 million in cannabis and related products, according to new figures from the state Department of Revenue…

The licensed stores sold more than $55 million in recreational marijuana and more than $33 million in medical cannabis in March, the latest month for which the department has released tax data for the industry. Totals for retail and medical marijuana dipped slightly in March after a bustling February, which was the state’s fifth most lucrative month for sales since they began in January 2014, according to Cannabist calculations and state data.

March 2016 totals for recreational pot sales are up 30 percent from March 2015, which shows that “marijuana sales remain strong,” said Christian Sederberg, an attorney for the cannabis industry. “As the regulated system continues to work, we’re also on pace to have over $40 million in excise taxes, meaning there could be additional taxes available from the excise tax to be used for something beyond the public school construction fund.”

Among the taxes collected on retail pot sales is the school-funding 15 percent excise tax on wholesale marijuana transfers, which amounted to $3.5 million in March. One of the cornerstones of the campaign that successfully ran Colorado’s pot-legalizing Amendment 64 says that the first $40 million raised by that excise tax will go toward school construction projects.

That specific tax totaled $13.3 million in 2014 and $35 million in 2015, and industry analysts — Sederberg included — say they are confident it will top $40 million in 2016.

…a new report estimates that retail marijuana sales in the U.S. will total $4.5 billion in 2016.

Golly, aren’t you glad you live in one of the self-righteous states run by politicians who refuse to legalize personal marijuana consumption? Who would want to be bothered by questions over where to build new schools? Which of your older schools should be prioritized for repairs and upgrades.

And the surplus tax money? What could you ever find to use it for? Because we know that all the upright, breast-beating, pure of heart prohibition states don’t need any more money to fund education, health, infrastructure, care for the needy. TV talking heads and political hacks tell us so. All the time.

OTOH, maybe you don’t live in New Mexico.

This November might be the last time Texans vote for a US president – if Republicans/Confederates get their way

On Wednesday, the Platform Committee of the Texas Republican Party voted to put a Texas independence resolution up for a vote at this week’s GOP convention, according to a press release from the pro-secession Texas Nationalist Movement. The resolution calls for allowing voters to decide whether the Lone Star State should become an independent nation.

Texas was, in fact, its own country for nine years before joining the United States in 1845, and while the idea of returning to independence has never been taken seriously by most people, it remains popular as a romantic notion and marketing hook. Lone Star beer is the “national beer of Texas.”…In a 2009 rally, then-Gov. Rick Perry hinted that the state could secede…

Face it. Anyone know any Texas Republicans whose understanding of economics, politics, civil rights, equal opportunities – has progressed beyond 1845?

The Texas Nationalist Movement, once considered a quixotic fringe group, has added hundreds of members in the years since the election of Barack Obama. According to the Houston Chronicle’s Dylan Baddour, at least 10 county GOP chapters are coming to the convention supporting independence resolutions. But this will be the first time in the state’s 171-year history that they will actually vote on one. It’s very unlikely to win. Then again, that’s what people said about Donald Trump.

Racism is a powerful motivation for the natural-born bigot. Add in ignorance, fear, cowardice, you might just have a new nation.

Of course, this crew failed miserably last time they tried this, didn’t they.