Today on Context Florida: Israel & Hamas, one-up California, wealth lobby and newspapers

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Today on Context Florida:

As each day passes, Steve Kurlander notes that Israel’s “Operation Defensive Edge” is becoming a bloody, devastating war. The result is becoming more certain: Israel will not stop its assault against Hamas, whose strategy is to use innocent Palestinians as human shields both to frustrate the Israelis on the battlefield and to win a cynical public relations battle that has fueled anti-Semitism in the Western world. We Americans need to man up in support of the Israelis.

Ben Pollara writes that if Florida passes Amendment 2 this November — which polls show is likely, and by a wide margin — there is the opportunity to one-up California, as well as the other 22 states that have legalized medical marijuana. We can set the standard for what a strong, well-regulated, medical marijuana system can and should look like.

For Daniel Tilson, the wealth lobby has always been on the scene in Tallahassee politics, often unseen by the average voter. There have always been (and will always be) a percentage of rich folks and big businesses committed to limitless, untouchable accumulation of personal and corporate wealth.What is more is the loss of those targeted, effective taxes has cost Florida $12 billion in revenue, so far.

The scandal over Gov. Rick Scott and other Florida politicians attending lavish Texas hunting junkets as guests of U.S. Sugar Corporation, a powerful Tallahassee lobby, was uncovered not by the opposition but by a newspaper willing and able to stay on the trail as long as it took to pierce the obfuscations. To Martin Dyckman, it is proof that newspapers are both indispensable and necessary.

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Phil Ammann is a St. Petersburg-based journalist and blogger. With more than three decades of writing, editing and management experience, Phil produced material for both print and online, in addition to founding HRNewsDaily.com. His broad range includes covering news, local government and culture reviews for Patch.com, technical articles and profiles for BetterRVing Magazine and advice columns for a metaphysical website, among others. Phil has served as a contributor and production manager for SaintPetersBlog since 2013. He lives in St. Pete with his wife, visual artist Margaret Juul and can be reached at phil@floridapolitics.com and on Twitter @PhilAmmann.