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Progressive State Rep. David Zuckerman on hemp and the public option

State Representative David Zuckerman of Vermont, a Vermont Progressive Party member and a farmer, comments on hemp laws, the public option, and how they’re related.

Read the full thing on the Prog Blog:

This week a Vermonter, Will Allen, joined others from around the country in an act of civil disobedience in order to get attention to the laws governing hemp cultivation. By attempting to plant help seeds on the lawn of the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) they clearly were pushing the envelope to generate this discussion…

What is particularly interesting to me, is that this is a prime example of corporate (Hearst Paper Co. and others) ability to manipulate the system for their economic advantage. Not only did they have members of Congress (across the political spectrum) already in their camp, but they were able to use their money to influence public opinion by making a short movie as well as by manipulating the stories that ran in the media, all to stigmatize marijuana and by association hemp.

As we look at the healthcare debate is it really any different? Most polls show that 65-75% of the U.S. support the public option.  Yet the corporations own many key players in Congress (Baucus alone has received over $1.5 million in insurance co. contributions recently) and they are now back to work swaying public opinion with half truths (which also means 1/2 lies!)


  1. Melty Melty October 18, 2009


  2. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | October 19, 2009

    I think that a bunch of progressive state and local parties around the nation are in the process of forming a national party, including the Peace and Freedom Party, the Oregon Progressive Party, the Vermont Progressive Party, and the Minnesota Open Progressive Party. I’m not 100% sure about that, but it’s what I’ve pieced together so far from Michael Cavlan’s comments and other things I’ve seen online.

  3. Vaughn Vaughn October 19, 2009

    There already is a progressive party: The Green Party

  4. Hunky Hunky October 20, 2009

    Re: Vaughn’s comment,

    This sounds like a case of election envy.

    The Greens in Vermont are a kind of a joke. The progressives, on the other hand, have actual elected state representatives, like Zuckerman, who are actually sitting at the table and influencing legislation. Our largest city had a Progressive mayor. We have more 3rd party state-level legislators than any other state, I believe, and that’s based on the strength of the Progressive Party, NOT the Greens.

  5. HS HS October 20, 2009

    also off topic… I think IPR might need to put some feelers out for some new, reliable, and credible bloggers. The Thirds has been all over a number of the big stories out there such as the CPNY and Daggett stories.

    I was compelled to bring this up after seeing how libertariangirl had to place an issue in the comments for people to read.

  6. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | October 20, 2009

    HS, we’ve gotten some new bloggers recently. Email Trent if you’ve got anyone to suggest (I wouldn’t mind have the blogger from the Thirds because we don’t really have anyone who’s a political centrist like that, and I’ve also suggested d.eris).

  7. Vaughn Vaughn October 20, 2009

    I was referring to the comment about making a national progressive party. I don’t know much about the politics of Vermont, but it seems like the Progressives and the Greens stay out each others’ way. The Progressives don’t seem interested in running federal candidates and the Vermont Greens only seem to run federal candidates.

    Though on the other hand the Greens in Vermont seems to have have problems my LaRouchian entryists.

  8. Ross Levin Ross Levin Post author | October 20, 2009

    The Progs supported Bernie Sanders in his Senate and House runs, iirc.

  9. Don Lake, late at night Don Lake, late at night October 20, 2009

    Oh, I think many knowledgeable alternative political types would have trouble with Lyndon LaRouche and Company.

  10. Dave Schwab Dave Schwab October 20, 2009


    Vaughn was saying that there is already a national progressive party, the Greens. The VPP is progressive, but not national. Considering the effects of the anti-Nader backlash on the Greens, it is clear that lack of real involvement in presidential politics has helped the VPP succeed on the local and state level. And if Bernie Sanders were not a Dem-leaning ‘independent’ but the first senator from a new national party, how much do you think the Democrats would spend to get him out? By going national, the VPP would make itself much more of a target.

    There’s just no point to forming another national party with a platform so similar to the Greens. “But the Greens have infighting!” Yes, and so will any party that has to share power among states and select a presidential candidate.

  11. Don Lake, late at night Don Lake, late at night October 20, 2009

    “But the Greens [from intimate personal experience] have infighting to the max to the point [like CP, Libs, and the way dysfunctional reform /deform movement] of being self distructive. At the problematic Libs are really a national party UNLIKE THE GREENS!

    Infighting symbol, the Fall 2004 California Green tabloid with Nader and Camejo AND Cobb and LaPresente on the front page above the fold. Again, Greens are not really a national cohesive unit!

  12. Dave Schwab Dave Schwab October 20, 2009

    Don, it’s not 2004. It’s 2009. And in 2008, the Greens had a single presidential ticket.

  13. Hunky Hunky October 20, 2009

    I am a former strong supporter of the greens nationally and in the State of Colorado when I lived there. In 16 years, I’ve never seen a Green elected to county, state or federal office, in a campaign I was involved with.

    In contrast, in 7 years in Vermont, I have seen about 9 different progressives elected to the state legislature, many progressives elected to city and municipal level offices, progressives some close in statewide races and seen the election of Bernie Snaders, who is a progressive in all-but-name only, to the US house several times and to the US Senate.

    Why do people think the Greens are a good model for a national progressive party, when they have such a dismal electoral success record? In contrast, why don’t people look at the Progressives in Vermont and say “Hey, we can do that in our state!”???

    The term “progressive” does not connote the same thing, for most people, as Green. It doesn’t have the same baggage (e.g., Nader, spoiler, dread-headed suburban hippie), although it carries many of the same positive attributes (e.g., people-powered, non-corporate, pro-environment, etc,) Seems like a good model to try to replicate elsewhere! Nationally, too.

  14. Michael Cavlan Michael Cavlan October 21, 2009


    Have you been listening to our super secret meetings?


    Minnesota Open Progressives

  15. Don Lake, late at night Don Lake, late at night October 21, 2009

    “In 16 years, I’ve never seen a Green elected to county, state or federal office” and their day to day operations are just horrible!

  16. Dave Schwab Dave Schwab October 21, 2009

    I love Bernie Sanders, but why do you think they allow his socialist ass in Congress? Because he’s not a threat. Why was Nader scapegoated for an election that the Republicans stole? Because he’s a threat. The Dems don’t give a damn about the VPP, as long as Bernie backs them up and they still get Vermont’s measly 3 electoral college votes. Try starting up a Progressive Party in a battleground state, and let’s see how long before cable news does an expose on the socialist roots of this new menace.

    The VPP has certainly benefited from being a single-state party, with its stronghold in a single progressive city. The Maine Greens are following the same lines – in fact, they’re the largest third party in the country by percentage of registered voters. The GP has had a shitload of drama from trying to be a national party – and there are many who point out that it would be easier to build from the ground up, and many who think it’s still worthwhile to run in the big races. But comparing the VPP to the Greens is apples and oranges. By the way, being called spoilers is the price of success. If you don’t want to be called a spoiler, might as well give up.

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