Court's Medical Marijuana Decision Was a Bummer

  Court's Medical Marijuana Decision Was a Bummer

Posted by CN Staff on June 19, 2005 at 08:13:29 PT
By Neal Peirce 
Source: Sun Herald 

USA -- There are three big reasons to believe the Supreme Court made a big mistake in its June 6 ruling that the laws in California and 10 other states allowing medical use of marijuana are no protection against federal raids and prosecutions.First, morality: By what license, in a free and democratic society, do we deny clearly effective medication to fellow citizens, suffering chronic, horribly intense pain that's resistant to other treatments? Maybe that's why, in a national poll released June 13, 68 percent of Americans opposed (only 16 percent favored) arrest of medical marijuana users.
The legal crux of the Supreme Court's decision was the reach of Congress' constitutional powers over interstate commerce. Did Justice Department agents - enforcing the Controlled Substances Act that was created during President Richard Nixon's "war on drugs" 35 years ago - overstep the federal government's powers when they seized and destroyed home-grown cannabis plants being used by two desperately ill Californians, Angel Raich and Diane Monson?Raich's and Monson's use of the drug is legal under California's Compassionate Use Act, enacted by statewide initiative in 1996, which allows marijuana use for patients who take it for medicinal purposes on recommendation of a physician.But because the tiny amounts of marijuana these women use could theoretically seep into the multibillion-dollar national marijuana market - and thus enter interstate commerce - Justice John Paul Stevens concluded for the court that allowing them to do so against the will of the federal government "would leave a gaping hole in the Controlled Substances Act."It's worth noting our brilliant federal policy-makers have insisted on keeping marijuana classified as a drug "with a high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use." Yet the same federal law authorizes physician prescriptions of morphine, a drug carrying serious risks of abuse and addiction never attributed to marijuana.Second, federalism: Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's dissenting opinion hit the salient point: There needs to be some limits to federal power "to maintain the distribution of power fundamental to our federalist system of government." The first paragraph of her dissent evoked Justice Louis Brandeis' powerful words in a 1932 decision: "A single courageous state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory; and try novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of the country."Given the lack of innovation in today's federal government, its seeming incapacity to think anew on critical issues ranging from energy to global warming, health policy to growing economic disparities, we ought to be celebrating Brandeis' admonition - not burying it.Third, emotionalism: This is a highly emotional issue, both on the medical-personal side and its relation to our contentious and utterly failed war on drugs. Making medical marijuana a big, headline-grabbing national dispute is just another diversion from the big issues Washington ought to be addressing, like taming multitrillion-dollar deficits.One can even make a parallel to Roe vs. Wade, the Supreme Court's 1973 decision legalizing abortion. Even before the decision, a number of states - Colorado (acting in 1967), followed by California, Oregon, North Carolina, New York, Alaska, Hawaii and Washington - had repealed or modified their stiff penalties on abortion.It's fair to ask: Without the jarring and unavoidably divisive Roe decision, would the country have been able to adjust through a variety of state laws, permissive or restrictive as their own cultures dictated? Is it possible the issue wouldn't have taken on its emotional significance, giving rise to the bitterly opposed national lobbying groups that we've seen?Medical marijuana is a touch similar. Left to the states, we wouldn't need another national clash of ideologies and array of competing interest groups. Some states would struggle with the issue, others not. California could be the lead theater - it loves the drama anyway - while others look on, then move when the issue turns ripe for them.Medical marijuana, notes my Citistates Group colleague Curtis Johnson, "just shouldn't be worthy of Supreme attention. States are different. Let everyone be free to live in a cultural environment of their choice. We don't need one monolithic model. This is not Iran."Neal Peirce writes on regional, urban, federal system and community development issues. Source: Sun Herald (MS)Author: Neal PeircePublished: Sunday, June 19, 2005Copyright: 2005, The Sun HeraldContact: letters sunherald.comWebsite: http://www.sunherald.comRelated Articles & Web Site:Angel Raich v. Ashcroft News Case Addles Supreme Court Fight is Hypocritical 

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Comment #34 posted by jose melendez on June 22, 2005 at 15:05:24 PT
preach on, max!
"As a bee without harming the flower, its colours or scent, flies away, collecting only the honey, even so should the sage wander in the village."Heavy buzz, Max Flowers. Thank Ja you have found a place here to seek Hope and wage peace.Let's continue throwing the books at these hypocritical drug warriors.
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Comment #33 posted by Max Flowers on June 22, 2005 at 11:36:45 PT
Curses, foiled again...!
My plan to bore and frustrate the scripture-posting Christians with ponderous Buddhist text didn't work! Drat!Anyway apologies for the temper tantrum, I have just been having to read "around" those posts for a good 1.5 years and on that morning, I seemed to reach my limit. Oh well, moods are impermanent.Back to our regular programming...
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Comment #32 posted by Richard Zuckerman on June 22, 2005 at 09:54:39 PT:
A book I recently purchased about State Constitutions says that the "natural rights" declared in State Constitutions were merely writing down what had already been traditionally respected as the law. The Marijuana laws are preempted by these "natural rights." State v. Mallan, 950 P.2d 178, 208-209, 218-219 (Hawaii 1998)(Dissenting opinion by Justice Levinson). Do the courts of law have any respect for State Constitutions? Or the federal constitutional Right against unreasonable searches and seizures in one's own residence? Or the "pursuit of happiness" in the Declaration of Independence?Richard Paul Zuckerman, Box 159, Metuchen, N.J., 08840-0159, richardzuckerman2002
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Comment #31 posted by jose melendez on June 21, 2005 at 23:36:39 PT
Re: Comment #25
Mechanisms of action: Plants, Aromas and the Chemistry of Life. Allelopathic interactions are undoubtably an important factor in determining some species distribution and abundance within plant communities. See also:
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on June 21, 2005 at 07:19:12 PT
It sounds like you had a great day. That is real horse country down there. I wish there was some news to post but once again I can't find any. Hopefully I will find something good to post sometime today. Your link didn't work and I removed the extra post. I love being busy with news but I get really tired when all I can do is keep looking and nothing shows up. This would be a good vacation time but as soon as I would plan to do something the news would break lose and I'd miss it. So I'll listen to Neil and keep on singing along.
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Comment #28 posted by Nick Thimmesch on June 21, 2005 at 02:02:54 PT:

Why yes I was...
...FoM: took The Boo for Big Daddy's Day to my friend Liz's farm outside of Fredneck, Merryland. Liz is a grandmother who was a neighbor near where we grew up in Chevy Chase, has a wonderful sense of humor and likes to smoke pot for medicinal purposes once in a while (never when kids are around for our pals at ONDCP whom monitor this site)to ease her 70 year plus afflications. She's got horses, fresh air and a great swimming pool: everything Sophia loves. The reason I used B & B was the "bummer" reference in the title of this story: things have been a bit of a "bummer" of late but folks should not be bummed out, just more determined than ever to set things straight via the good old American political system, that does, despite how it looks, work.Semper High, as our Marine buddies might say: THIMMESCH
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Comment #27 posted by FoM on June 20, 2005 at 17:27:12 PT

You just crack me up. Beavis and Butthead? I know what the problem is. You were out in the sun too long yesterday! 
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Comment #26 posted by Nick Thimmesch on June 20, 2005 at 14:36:54 PT

He said...
..."bummer", dude: heh, heh, heh, heh!
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Comment #25 posted by FoM on June 20, 2005 at 12:16:31 PT

Yes we are but the lesson I got from MF words are deep meanings of soul searching. Fragrant and not fragrant gave me that interruption. We should strive to be a fragrant flower. No aroma means shallow and without substance. ***As a flower beautiful and brilliant of hue, but without fragrance, even so fruitless is the well-spoken word of one who does not practise it.As a flower beautiful, brilliant of hue and full of fragrance too, even so fruitful is the well-spoken word of one who does practise it.

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Comment #24 posted by whig on June 20, 2005 at 12:09:29 PT

Different kinds of flowers are mentioned. We are indeed flowers blowing against the wind, are we not?
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Comment #23 posted by FoM on June 20, 2005 at 12:06:33 PT

My Thoughts
As I read the words that Max Flowers posted I thought it meant we are to become like flowers and stand out as something desirable to enjoy and learn from.
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Comment #22 posted by whig on June 20, 2005 at 11:45:08 PT

Max Flowers
Interpretation of flowers (of sensual pleasure): poppies, perhaps?
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Comment #21 posted by FoM on June 20, 2005 at 11:32:20 PT

Max Flowers
That's good and true. Who will be able to understand himself, this world, heaven and hell?
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Comment #20 posted by BGreen on June 20, 2005 at 11:31:43 PT

Max Flowers
We welcome religious dialog from all religions, especially when they're presented because of spite.The reason that people quote the old and new testament writings, in my humble opinion, is because it speaks to the so-called "rulers" of this country using THEIR Holy Book, showing them how they are disobedient to THEIR God in an effort to educate them.If they were anything other than disobedient christians we'd use the teachings of that religion, but as long as the Bible is falsely being used as a weapon against us it's an equally effective defensive weapon.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on June 20, 2005 at 11:19:37 PT

Max Flowers 
I have a very strong background in religion and scripture but I am not a person who would ever be preachy because I've always minded that. I believe that the Bible is an historic document and there is good to be learned from the different stories in the Bible. I have always been curious to learn why different religions believe in different ways but there again it is historic to me. I'm not trying to convert anyone to anything.
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Comment #18 posted by Max Flowers on June 20, 2005 at 11:11:11 PT

Bible verses in a news/political forum?
Over and over again here, I keep seeing bible scripture posted and I get confused... am I at a site devoted to cannabis news, or is it a Christian site?Then I start wondering, am I free to start posting off-topic Buddhist scripture any time I feel the whim? Cause you know, I really like sticking my religion in front of other people (not!)To my friends posting the verses, here's a taste of mine guys, hope you like it and don't worry, I have lots more where this came from:Pupphavagga - Flowers
(verses 44-59)Who will be able to understand himself, this world, heaven and hell? Who will fully realize the well preached Doctrine, which is like a garland fixed by a clever garland maker?The disciple in training (sekha) will be able to understand himself, this world, heaven and hell. He will realize the well preached Doctrine, which is like a garland fixed by a clever garland maker.Knowing that this body is like foam, and comprehending its mirage-nature, one should destroy the flowershafts of sensual passions (Mara), and pass beyond the sight of the King of Death.The man who gathers flowers (of sensual pleasure), whose mind is distracted, death carries off as a great flood sweeps away a sleeping village.The man who gathers flowers (of sensual pleasure), whose mind is distracted, and who is insatiate in desires, the Destroyer brings under his sway.As a bee without harming the flower, its colours or scent, flies away, collecting only the honey, even so should the sage wander in the village.Not the faults of others, nor what others have done or left undone, but one's own deeds, done and left undone, should one consider.As a flower beautiful and brilliant of hue, but without fragrance, even so fruitless is the well-spoken word of one who does not practise it.As a flower beautiful, brilliant of hue and full of fragrance too, even so fruitful is the well-spoken word of one who does practise it.As from a heap of flowers many a garland is made even so many a good deed should be done by one born as a human being.The perfume of flowers blows not against the wind, not does the fragrance of sandalwood, tagara and jasmine, but the fragrance of the virtuous blows against the wind; the virtuous man pervades every direction.Sandalwood, tagara, lotus, jasmine: above all these kinds of fragrance, the perfume of virtue is by far the best.Of little account is the fragrance of tagara or sandal; the fragrance of the virtuous, which blows even amongst the gods, is supreme.Those, who are virtuous and who live a life of heedfulness, are set free through attaining perfect wisdom and Mara cannot find a way to them.The lotus will grow even in rubbish thrown away. It will delight the heart with its sweet smell and beauty.Just like a lotus, the disciple, by his wisdom, will shine among them that are ignorant, blind and unconverted. 
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on June 19, 2005 at 20:27:23 PT

Ahhhh....The Good Ole Days
I remember when hardly anyone was a "criminal".Now nearly everyone is, was, will be, or knows someone who is.Amazing.Times have changed.We've come a long way?
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Comment #16 posted by PainWithNoInsurance on June 19, 2005 at 18:54:40 PT

Grand Theft Auto Game 
I was watching the report 60 minutes presented about the computer game Grand Theft Auto and the fact that the player portrays a criminal. The player does many criminal acts to other people and kills cops. People where wondering why anyone would make such a video game and why the game has sold millions of copies and is so popular. My intitial answer to that would be ,if the police weren't orded to stop people going about their business just to fine them for seat belt violations, harass, and arrest people for drug violations, maybe there wouldn't be a Grand Theft Auto Game. My point is that prohibition and police intrusion in our lives required by the government crosses the line of rightousness and causes hate between the police and citizens. Anyone doing drugs would wrongfully have some hate against the police. While soft drugs should be left to the individual, hard drug users truely need to be shown a new direction but none deserve jail or prison, they deserve help. 
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Comment #15 posted by global_warming on June 19, 2005 at 17:59:22 PT

Getting closer to that wilderness,..alive before the LORD, to make an atonement, might be our only humble purpose.Mat 12:31Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.Lev 16:8 
And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat. Lev 16:9 And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.Lev 16:10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.
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Comment #14 posted by FoM on June 19, 2005 at 17:35:23 PT

I do remember learning about the Jubilee and I thought it was very interesting. You were given land you could squander your gift to use or make the land work for you. You could lease the land but when the Jubilee came around the land was restored to the rightful occupant. 
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Comment #13 posted by global_warming on June 19, 2005 at 17:26:48 PT

The land shall not be sold forever for the land is Mine. Leviticus 25:23And in all the land of your possession ye shall grant a redemption for the land. Lev 25:24 Treaties and bargains..neglect and forget, this war on drugs, is a war on human beings, sickness, must never be punished.
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Comment #12 posted by whig on June 19, 2005 at 17:08:23 PT

Re: Comment #11
The land shall not be sold forever for the land is Mine. Leviticus 25:23
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Comment #11 posted by global_warming on June 19, 2005 at 16:52:37 PT

"My Ancestry was here before they where! "Where is here?The Americas, the home, of the free and the brave?Are you suggesting, that your title and land ownership, has some valid argument?The indigenous people of this America, are hammering the "rule of law", alongside, reparation, and the Palestinian people. I might ramble a bit about Satan and my myopic mindset, those that cannot see the next step, in this journey, into the sunset, and they, might be correct, we may be manufacturing God, and the Christ, may be a child of some pipe dream, and this world, may appear as some misty experience, that has clouds and, Hope.My Jehovah person, stopped bye this morning, I felt a little bit nervous, we talked, for about a half hour, he, reminded me, that we are in the end of Times, 1914, marked the year, that this world, God> set into motion, the Second Coming, we talked about, our world, and how in the New World, we will embrace a cup of tea, and relax, in the New World Garden.Perhaps, while he stood in my garden, he witnessed, the balm of a garden?The seasons, each leave their footprints, with each push of the wind, that brings warm airs, and cold airs, onto our faces, and we turn towards that air, and know, what is coming.Like dogs and horses, all the animals, can smell the air.The stink that is carried in the air, can also be heard, the constant sounds of the public, motoring along in their good old chevrolet, in aeroplanes, and fast moving jets, everybody, is locked into some matrix that is controlling, everything, everyone.When do I sound crazy, where are the lines drawn, that mark a person insane?Like suicide, insanity, is closely behind.These subjects, are rarely discussed, much like spirit or Soul.The Scarlet Letter, that binds Dark Skinned Peoples, "non-white", is based on the "rule of law", some how, the law, has been bound up with teachings of the Christian Doctrines, and slavery, indenture, is what God wants..Mat 15:30And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus' feet; and he healed them:Did he take any Money? Did he receive any payment?Those chubby people, up their in DC, are forgetting, their greatest importance, they are sitting, on the most important human Constitution, and they have the opportunity to further the Founding Fathers, dreams, hopes for the Future.We, are all in America, "do we want to do this"..??Do we want "Freedom", is the highest court in the 'world, a slave?Have all the wealth of all the kingdoms, filled your belly, where taste has no salt?On the news, i read, that sunshine and vitamin D, is very healthy, it chases bad health away.Best to use that "sun block" potion, sparingly.Peace,
very, very long
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 19, 2005 at 15:39:20 PT

The problem is the corporation not the people. People need to work and corporations are the ones that are sending our jobs away so we just don't have enough to go around anymore. I have no idea what the up and coming generation will do for a job unless they get a college education and even then jobs won't be as available. The Internet will make it easier for people to work from home and that's a good thing but what happens to all the restaurants, buildings and shopping malls etc. that depend on traffic? I see real trouble ahead anyway I look.
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Comment #9 posted by siege on June 19, 2005 at 14:42:42 PT

I see where you are coming from FoM
My Ancestry was here before they where!
and we got the raw end of the deal also.Art.
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Comment #8 posted by global_warming on June 19, 2005 at 14:06:03 PT

re #6
"More than just prohibition will fall, in time..."That is so true, wish I could be alive to see with my feeble eyes, the news on that glorious
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 19, 2005 at 11:59:10 PT

Happy Father's Day
I hope you all have a great day!
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Comment #6 posted by whig on June 19, 2005 at 10:59:17 PT

Not just rescheduling
If the Dred Lock decision (Raich) had gone the other way, 
I foresee that the US national politicians would ultimately seek to "permit" medical marijuana through rescheduling, and we might be expected to celebrate this. But the current situation is in many respects preferable to the rescheduling of cannabis to schedule 2. Such a rescheduling would not effectively make cannabis prosecutions more rare, indeed it would put the government in control of the the supply and distribution of legal pot, just like legal cocaine. The general public support for our cause would be divided, with most being persuaded that non-medical and home grown cannabis should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law. The rate of incarceration for cannabis use, distribution and cultivation would be increased under pressure to show that rescheduling does not mean relegalization.However, because the court and the congress have overreached so far as to bar even suffering people from having the only thing that treats their pain and nausea, more people continue to take our side and oppose enforcement of prohibition. We can expect that jury nullification will become a major problem for the prosecutors, and in their arrogance we may even see calls to replace juries altogether.Do not despair when you see the state behaving with such viciousnes. A cornered animal always becomes vicious when cornered and fighting for its life. More than just prohibition will fall, in time. Without popular support the state cannot govern, the people will not respect the laws and ordinances. This is a genuine social revolution, not a single-issue flash in the pan. But it will take time to spread, as the free flow of information on the internet does not overnight replace the corporate controlled mass media.
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on June 19, 2005 at 10:17:04 PT

I'm really glad to read you are feeling a little hope. The DSM has helped lift me from a terribly heavy feeling about how bad things are now because of what Bush has done to our country and the world.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on June 19, 2005 at 10:08:35 PT

I understand what you are saying. Mexico is becoming a part of the USA and it's being done slowly. Remember the Mexicans owned the land in lots of the USA and we made the line in the sand not them. That really is how I see it. If someone pushed me off my property I would never believe it wasn't mine. See what I mean?
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Comment #3 posted by billos on June 19, 2005 at 10:06:42 PT

.......I Agree with Sam.......
I already feel ostracized from society. Sort of the way normal humans felt when they were amongst the "Pod people" in the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers."
(My apologies to those too young to remember the movie)Born and raised American white male, 53 yo with a degree in IS, can't find a job, Vietnam vet, and I cannot believe the masses huddling in the dark.How do we wake people up? 
( I would like to note that I finally have some hope due to the overdue truth and awareness movement beginning in Congress; you know, the Downing Street memos and all )I just keep praying.
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Comment #2 posted by siege on June 19, 2005 at 10:04:03 PT

O T some thing that go with this 
I live in Tn. if you hire out as farm labor as a White man you get farm labor wages of $2.50 an hour, BUT if your a Mexican you get $12 an hour and then the Govt. subsidizes another $12 an hour for being an ( illegal alien ) How long before we have a Mexican Flag over the White house, ohhh sorry they all ready have them in all the Govt office's around the country...why is SickBush doing this so he can bring the wages down to the Mexican country's leavel, so all his friends can make the big money and kill the USA His next will be to cut the minamun wage to 2.50 to 3.00 an hour, make every state a right to work state, where you can cut the other worker out of his saying you will work for a dollar an hour less then he was..His big thing right now is the old woman on TV thats 80+ y o and still working, so look out we all are in for it...

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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on June 19, 2005 at 09:36:24 PT

Good one
Wow, I love the way this guy clearly grasps the big picture - the wedge issue of medical marijuana, or any marijuana for that matter, as a vehicle to distract people from the growing incompetence and increasing power of the federal government. Something entirely beyond larger mainstream media outlets. But then again, people don't read written news anymore, and papers that present more than tabloid summaries of most issues are going bankrupt left and right.  The overall dumbing down of society is the even bigger and more frightening picture. We're heading back, back to a time when the common man huddled in the dark, shivering with fright from superstitious fears and religion-driven hatred. Those times were awfully sweet for the upper 1%, the corrupt feudal lords and families. 
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