March 7  2013    No sooner do we express admiration for a Democratic Party liberal (Lawrence O’Donnell) than he gets flummoxed by Rand Paul’s filibuster. (The legitimacy of assassination from the sky as an instrument of US foreign policy is now established. The current argument is only about the ground rules.)

The filibuster is an anti-democratic tactic and serious liberals like Hendrik Hertzberg of the New Yorker want it abolished. But Paul’s demand seemed so righteous that serious liberals —including you, I assume— find themselves in a double bind. Mild E.J. Dionne had to tell O’Donnell, “You’re wrong, Lawrence.” Cool Eugene Robinson had to explain that we do need clarity on whether the President of the United States thinks he has the legal right to direct a drone strike against a U.S. citizen on U.S. soil.

The rightwing mouthpieces —Limbaugh, Hannity, Gingrich et al— claimed that the popular support for Paul had something to do with them and their worldview. Pshaw!  Rand Paul is not just the darling of “the Tea Party” (a media concoction if ever there was one). Millions of Americans know about and greatly appreciate his pro-hemp position, and this —plus an echo of his dad’s anti-foreign-entanglement-line— is the real source of his mass support. Hemp and peace —Why let the righties snag those causes?

David Bronner, who is no rightwinger when it comes to wages and working conditions at Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap company, is a leader of the political drive for letting U.S. farmers grow hemp. At the 2012 NORML conference he spoke very highly of Paul. As reported in O’Shaughnesssy’s:  

Bronner said he recently had an encouraging conversation with Rand Paul’s chief-of-staff, and that the junior Senator from Kentucky, a Republican, “wants to make this his issue.” Paul and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkeley (Democrats from Oregon) and Bernie Sanders (Independent from Vermont) have introduced a hemp bill. According to Bronner, Paul “is going to really push the Senate. Rand Paul is all about hemp. He’s a rock star on the Republican side.”

It doesn’t matter how many states pass industrial hemp bills, Bronner reiterated.  “What we’ve lacked is a champion at the federal level… All that needs to happen is a policy change from the executive branch —DOJ saying that hemp grown pursuant to state law is fine.

“That’s why Obama has been so disappointing. As a state senator in Illinois he voted twice for industrial hemp farming.”

Bronner is tall and thin, looks like a holy man. The Magic Soap Company’s ad in O’Shaughnessy’s is the only one we accepted/got.  Walking into the soap factory is a fabulous olfactory experience, and good pay and working conditions make for a calm, friendly floor.  Martin Lee says Bronner’s policy re wages is that the boss can make only five times as much as the lowest-paid worker. Dr. Bronner’s Magic Soap —an American manufacturing success story. And wait till American farmers can grow hemp!

PS:  Martin Lee spoke at the Commonwealth Club last night (on the subject of cannabidiol) and Karen Elliot House was speaking at the same time (shilling for Saudi Arabia).       —FHG