Medical Marijuana

There's been a lot of talk about the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes since last week's Supreme Court ruling, but can anyone actually tell me with straight face that there is a medical use for marijuana? Didn't think so, dude.

What would be the first clue that medical marijuana is bogus?

Could it be that all the folks who were behind the push for 100% legalized pot in the 60s and 70s are the same ones who are behind "medicinal marijuana" now? As a dope-smoking teen in the 70s, I don't remember NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) being all gung ho for "medicinal marijuana". Back then they were all about lighting up a doobie for pleasure.

Could it be the fact that all the folks you see on television partaking of the benefits of the "medicinal use" of the wacky weed look like either hippies of the 70s or stoners of the new generation?

Although the "victims" of the Supreme Court's recent decision, to anyone with rational thinking skills, are obviously old hippies and young stoners, they are always portrayed as pathetic, tortured figures in the media's three-minute (or less) "in depth" reports on the Live Jasmin subject. The now-weezened hippie is practically curled up in the corner in a quivering ball of wrinkled flesh due to the pain of whatever malady they are afflicted with. In one of these little vignettes, the "victim" was a six-foot-five, 300-lb 18-year-old with a Mohawk and a nose ring who managed to grunt out "I need it for pain". Whatever, dude. Needless to say, clean-cut Montel Williams types are few and far between in the world of "medical marijuana", but he makes a good poster child for the cause.

Young or old, aged hippie or modern-day punk, the answer to all of these folks' maladies -- the ultimate elixir -- is a toke on a joint or pipe or better yet, a hit (or two, or three, or four) from a big ole' bong. No mention is ever made of alternatives to the wacky tobaccy: These folks need to smoke some dope and they need to smoke it now. Nothing else will do. The government is trying to deprive these poor folks of the ONLY remedy that will solve their, glaucoma, nausea, appetite, and non-specific pain issues. Whatever are they to do for example?

A couple of questions come immediately to mind when you hear these wild claims about the magical properties of smoking dope.

First of all, why is it necessary to smoke a joint or toke a bong to experience the effects of marijuana? From what I've been able to gather, it's just because people prefer getting stoned to taking a pill. One report that was a round-up of several state-sponsored studies from the 80s only included one study that even bothered to give a true comparison between smoking dope and taking synthesized THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol), the active ingredient in marijuana) in pill form. And because THC component of this survey had participants as young as five years old in it while the marijuana component only included participants 15 years old and older who were all "experienced marijuana users" it's not hard to see the clear bias for pot smoking and against the THC pills here. Nearly all of the studies contained superlatives like this about smoking dope:

Without ever providing the corresponding numbers for synthesized THC in pill form. No bias here, dude.

One study came to this definitive conclusion about marijuana vs. THC:

Now there's some hard scientific data for you! Was it a 100% higher percentage, a 2% higher percentage, a 53.596% higher percentage or perhaps only a 5.78935% higher percentage? No way to tell because they aren't telling, dude.

Then there's the little question of whether or not it makes sense to provide some type of non-specific medicinal benefit while frying your lungs at the same time. Even the proponents of medical marijuana say that frying your lungs for some perceived health BENEFIT doesn't make a hell of a lot of sense:

So besides the fact that it fries your lungs with far more toxic substances that the average filtered cigarette, it's cool. This probably makes sense after you've smoked a couple joints.

And despite the fact that the issue of medical marijuana has been studied for literally decades, the best that could be said for the potential of the use of marijuana for "medicinal purposes" even as recently as six years ago was this:

So pot might be valuable as a "therapeutic drug" because it gives you the munchies and makes you disinclined to barf. Now that's a ringing endorsement of the therapeutic use of pot! As far as the "pain relief" aspect goes, any former regular dope smoker can tell you that you can get better pain relief by popping a couple aspirin.

So what's the Chaturbate agenda here, dude? It's pretty simple, actually. As with any liberal issue, incrementalism is what it's all about. The legalized pot folks made great strides back in the 70s and as a former regular dope smoker, I was all for it. In Alaska in the 70s, where I lived and was aware of the laws, it was legal to walk around with as much as an ounce of pot on you. I know that's the way it was in a few other states as well. In the 80s and early 90s, things changed a little bit -- liberal pot laws were tightened up. With this backslide, the pro-pot groups had to regroup and the strategy changed from legalization of pot to legalization for "medicinal uses". The idea is to get their foot in the door (as they have in 13 states) with the "medicinal uses" strategy and expand from there to a push for full legalization.

Now one could argue that there are far worse things than smoking a joint or taking a couple hits off a pipe or bong. But with all the troubles we have in our society these days with the vices that are legal -- booze and gambling, etc -- the last thing we need to do is add legalized pot to the mix. And that's where we're headed when we head down the bogus "medicinal marijuana" road. Don't buy it, dude.

New Gingrich and the Crossroads of Conservatism

Part IV in this series examines Speaker Gingrich’s discussion of domestic policy in his white paper, The Conservative Movement at the Crossroads.

Part I reviewed Gingrich’s central thesis: that the conservative movement had become bogged down as conservatives, elected to reform the institutions of governance, became entrapped by those very institutions. Part II analyzed Gingrich’s four principles for reinvigorating government and his plan to develop “entrepreneurial public management” as a means of combining “the advances of science and technology . . . with the creativity of entrepreneurs and the power of the market to give people a broader range of options” in making public policy. Part III reviewed Gingrich’s position on foreign policy.

Gingrich begins his focus on domestic policy with a plank entitled “Recentering Our Rights On our Creator”. Gingrich recalls the appeals to the Creator made in the Declaration of Independence and correctly notes that the American Constitution is founded on the principle of individual rights as opposed to concepts of “social contract” that define European constitutions.

Gingrich also decries the hostility to religion that has characterized much of the anti-Americanism that has crept into higher education and, through that portal, into American public education. To counter that trend he suggests that “textbooks should be reviewed to ensure that American is being taught factually and not through some radical reinterpretation that distorts America and defames our society”.

Gingrich’s use of the passive voice in this passage is telling. Is he suggesting that the federal government should adopt standards for teaching U.S. history or is he merely hoping that some private enterprise should take up the cause? Advocating for governmental involvement, while a cause celebre for some conservative groups, raises concerns over censorship and religious entanglement. Imploring private organizations to adopt a watchdog role is both belated and redundant. Groups like Accuracy in Academia have been monitoring bias in high schools and colleges for years.

Gingrich doesn’t develop this theme any further, unfortunately, leaving the reader to wonder whether he is content to let private groups lift the laboring oar or whether he truly envisions a governmental solution to anti-religious bias in education.

It is in the area of domestic policy, however, that Gingrich is most comfortable and most availing with new ideas. To strengthen the U.S. economy Gingrich offers a laundry list of suggestions.

Some of these proposals have merit. Others may be interesting, but are so far outside of the mainstream that it is difficult to imagine even offering them up for debate.

The Sixteenth Amendment for example, provides that “Congress shall have power to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived, without apportionment among the several States, and without regard to any census or enumeration.” It was adopted by Congress in 1909 and ratified by the States in 1913 in order to cure Constitutional infirmities that limited Congress’ ability to impose a personal income tax.

While there are abundant reasons to overhaul dramatically the current federal tax code, repealing the 16th amendment is an extreme position. Even if it were possible to convince a majority of Americans to follow this lead, the practical difficulties of repealing a Constitutional amendment would be nearly insurmountable.

Woodward, Bernstein and Frank Rich

In typical left wing fashion, Frank Rich, former Arts & Leisure columnist turned political editorialist, uses the pages of the New York Times to blather on about unfounded corruption in the Bush Administration, guilty until proven innocent.

Mr. Rich's biggest complaint appears to be that the left wing media did not do its duty in making a connection between the corruption that brought down the Nixon Administration and the current Bush Administration. This in the wake of the Mark Felt "Deep Throat" revelation, which has hardly made a blip on the radar screen. "Had the scandal been vividly resuscitated as the long national nightmare it actually was, it would dampen all the Felt fun by casting harsh light on our own present nightmare," says Rich, appearing disappointed and no doubt still distraught that George W. Bush won reelection.

Spending too much reviewing works of fiction has apparently left Mr. Rich creating his own. He has deluded himself into thinking that journalists aspiring to be the next Woodward and Bernstein are being intimidated and snuffed out by the "second-term imperial presidency that outstrips Nixon's in hubris by the day." This is patently absurd, and anyone possessed of even limited levels of coherent thought prior to November 2 knows that there were plenty of attempts--nearly on a weekly basis--to find even the slightest most miniscule scintilla of corruption and deceit in the Bush White House. The reason those and all subsequent attempts at dirt digging failed is quite simple: like the CBS memos, they were and are mere fiction. Despite the fact that there is no basis for a Nixon-Bush correlation, Frank Rich with the help of the editorial pages of the New York Times, attempts to create his own version of the "Memos Fake But Accurate" story anyway.

Additionally, Mr. Rich seems to be unaware that it is not the duty of the media to give the American public history lessons on a daily basis. That duty falls to the U.S. education system. However, given the vast energies expended by Frank Rich and other liberals over the years to deconstruct American history it is no wonder most people have never heard of Watergate. Having encouraged the notion that America is nothing special in the grand scheme of things, why does it surprise Mr. Rich that most people are not interested? Perhaps, those same journalists to which he refers, have never heard of Watergate either. Hence, they did not ask any questions. After all, in school they probably were taught more about politics and journalism in Aztec and Mayan society. Perhaps Mr. Rich should look to himself for the reasons for the jasminelive public apathy.

Also, again seemingly stating the obvious, it not often that one gets to question the President directly. As such, most journalists would rather take that rare opportunity and ask substantive questions on the pressing issues of the day. This as opposed to querying the President about his thougths on Meriwether Lewis having reached the Great Falls of the Missouri River in 1803. The idea is to stay on point, if you will.

The absurdity does not end there. Rich, in a rather sly manner, deftly conjures up the imagery of the infamous "Daisy" ad from 1964, wondering why no left wing journalist pounced on "the false intimations of incipient mushroom clouds peddled by American officials to sell a war that now threatens to match the unpopularity and marathon length of Vietnam." To the casual reader indifferent to the more obscure aspects of history, it would be easy to be ignorant of the fact that it was Democrat Lyndon Johnson who ran the "Daisy" ad while running against Barry Goldwater. It is as if Rich implies that the war on terror is being waged merely on the basis of a "false intimation," while he echoes Al Gore's maniacal screams of "he played on our fears!" We have heard it all before, Mr. Rich, and no one bought it then and they are not buying it now.

The 8 years of the Clinton administration were the epitome of the "lapdog news media" that Mr. Rich foolishly believes exists only now to the benefit of the Bush Administration. President Clinton invoked executive privilege in an attempt to block prosecutors from questioning his senior aides during the Monica Lewinsky investigation, as well in an attempt to prevent Kenneth Starr from questioning deputy counsel Bruce Lindsey, communications adviser Sidney Blumenthal, and other top officials in the same investigation. Clinton abused the obscure power of executive privilege to impede the impeachment investigation, but no one in the mainstream media seemed to mind. Frank Rich did not opine thereagainst. Ironically, it was Bill Clinton's manifest abuse of "executive privilege" that got his name linked with Richard Nixon.

If Frank Rich is so concerned with, in his opinion, the blatant misdeeds of the Bush administration, perhaps he ought to do some of his own investigating. Let him scare up his very own "Deep Throat," secret signs, codewords, dark alleys and all. Perhaps if, in Mr. Rich's eyes, today's journalists don't have the cojones to be the next Woodward and Bernstein, he ought to boldly step up to plate.

In the end Frank Rich may even come to realize that in politics and Hollywood not everything is always as it seems.

Why Is The Senate Apologizing For Lynchings?

In a gross example of the Senate wasting its time on absurdities, the 109th Senate recognized the failure of the Senate to stand against the lynching of black people.

This is no more than a "feel good" apology, and quite frankly, a waste of time and a diminution of the integrity of the Senate. It took until the 86th Congress to pass Civil Rights legislation. Thus, atleast 23 incarnations of the Senate have come and gone since the Senate failed to act against the lynchings. Since when is the Senate in the business of atoning for the sins of their fathers, so to speak?

With 80 Senators co-sponsoring this bill, a healthy mix of Democrats and Republicans no doubt have their hands in this bill. So, amongst those Democrats who are atoning for the failure of the Senate of old--who through their inaction sat idly by as 4,743 people were lynched--is there not a bit of hypocrisy? After all, how many of those Democrats voted against and continue to speak out against the War in Iraq, which ousted a dictator who killed hundreds of thousands as the Senate sat idly by?

It is outrageous the Senate is wasting their time on such debauchery when there is a war going on, there are judges to be confirmed, and a nominee for UN Ambassador that needs a vote, to name a few things. Perhaps the Senate should waste more time and apologize for waiting too long to pass Seat Belt laws? Perhaps they ought to apologize for the anti-gun legislation that just didn't have the power to save all those people killed by guns. Where does it end?

This kind of feel good legislation is unfortunately commonplace in Congress, and thus will have to be accepted. However, hypocrisy need not flourish in the cherished halls of Congress.