Enough is Enough

When is Humanity Going to Get That We’re All in This Together?

Posts Tagged ‘war on drugs’

Why smoking bans are wrong

Posted by majutsu on January 12, 2008

Mr. McKultchison was my chemistry teacher. I loved chemistry, the boiling flask, the dripping tubes, like some sort of nanotech city of atomic construction. He was very old, 85 or so, wore the same maroon sweater every day for four years, and chain smoked constantly. This was in the day when at the ivy’s everyone smoked unfiltered cigarettes everywhere, library, cafeteria, classroom. Although the eighties had dawned and with it came Reagan, shitting on the poor, disrespect of science and reason and embrace of the irrational with a surge in fundamentalism, and worst of all, an obsession with flabby, iridescent spandex “fitness”. Not the fitness of weight-lifting or skiing, some functional activity with man against gravity and other forces of the earth, controlling his movement and action in a perilous sphere, but sad people sweating in a mirrored rec room, raising a stink of mediocrity.

Mr. McKultchison smelled like old classical pillars, and fields of tobacco stretching before the graven steps of Monticello or something. He stood for arcane wisdom and peace, and Buddha’s smile perpetually gracing his dry lips. There was talk of outlawing smoking, and he was on the list. We were doing a reaction one day involving cyanide as a catalyst. With his age, the politics of the time, and the growing purist and shallow trends in public mores weighing heavily on his shoulders, Mr. McKultchison this day was stooped, weighed down, looking as though he was feeling as though he could no longer hold up the values that mattered anymore as the other people around him, head to toe, turned to brightly colored assemblages of plastic. He no longer seemed timeless as he always had, and within a day it seemed, he had begun to appear as someone whose time was very close at hand. He was talking, wistfully, of how many friends he had known who had died, died in fact doing the same reaction we were now doing. He explained how cyanide is so deadly that a tiny vapor can kill you before you even know something is amiss. He explained how like old soldiers of science, he and his friends were taken out one by one, with attendant mourning, planning of funerals and firing of gun salutes, all to show the best method of an isomerization, in general to show overall that we are dancing in a swirl of constant vibration and movement, a ballet of particles and forces, like twirling lovers in an endless dance. He explained that one crack in the pyrex reaction vessel may not even be visible to the human eye, but those one or two cyanide balls, those sentinels that open the doors to death for the two more molecules that follow and slice apart your hopes, dreams and memories, come unannounced. The human brain naturally sounds no alarm right before its destruction by cyanide. It was discovered though that smoking cigarettes while doing this reaction so vastly increases one’s sensitivity to smell that the invisible microscopic sentinels of death now smell profoundly like acrid almonds, sending noxious alarms throughout the body and giving rise to a call to action and self-preservation.

For sixty-five years he had, with each drag, felt the certainty of life, the confidence that he was at his sharpest and most vibrant. Smoking had saved his life, made his life, and he felt tobacco was the wife he never had. She protected him, kept him warm at night, soothed his brow when he was troubled, and most of all, tuned his body so as to be sensitive in the extreme to any threat to remove them from each other, to remove him from the vibrant dance of this life. He dared any man to do this reaction, to understand deeply the nature of this life, this dance to which we cling, to this depth, without the mistress of tobacco to accompany him. As I took my drags with difficulty, he reminded me it took at smart man to do the necessary thing and smoke, as the alternatives were to never be privileged to see this reaction or to be taken out, in all probability, with my cold blue hand being tucked back into the body bag. I never did forget his greater lesson, that the earth is our mistress, and she has given us all manner of plants and animals as tools so that we may have joy and give back that joy in science, art, and loving those around us. This is what we are, alive animals on earth, and purity, non-smoking, drug-free lifestyles are modernist delusions.

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Posted in freedom, war on drugs | Tagged: , , , , , | 4 Comments »

DEA Still Harassing Patients in California

Posted by honestpoet on November 28, 2007

I can’t believe this (just got this in my email) is STILL going on. Come on, Arnold, stand up for your citizens’ rights!

Yet another reason to support Dennis Kucinich is that he sees that the War on Drugs is a failure.

Posted in cancer, chemotherapy, Dennis Kucinich, freedom, illness, politics, states' rights, war on drugs | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Look, Folks! Another Federal Abuse of Power

Posted by honestpoet on January 21, 2007

To anyone who’s been checking, hoping for new entries, my apologies for being away so long, unannounced. I’ve been using my neurons doing gardening things, and parenting things, and wifely things, as well as making progress with my flute. But I had to come in here and bitch a little about the feds’ absolutely out-of-hand breach of states’ rights recently in their crackdown on medical marijuana clinics in California, Oregon, and Utah. Here’s what the jackass in charge had to say about it:

“Today’s enforcement operations show that these establishments are nothing more than drug-trafficking organizations bringing criminal activities to our neighborhoods and drugs near our children and schools,” said Ralph W. Partridge, head of the DEA in Los Angeles.

This guy’s obviously able to completely disconnect himself from reality.

Here’s the story.

Outrageous. Yeah, this is what we need to be doing, harassing doctors, nurses, and patients. We’re going bankrupt as a nation, fighting terrorism, which, let’s face it, IS a very bad thing (why we ignored our neighbors’ struggle with it, and even fostered it in some places, is another question I’ll leave for now); we simply can’t afford to keep fighting this ludicrous “war” on drugs. Which is actually a war against drug users. And which is totally outside the scope of government.

Some of the statements in the news story and in the discussions online about this make clear that some citizens feel the government HAS to enforce the drug laws BECAUSE they’re the law (clearly people who got stuck at phase 4 in Nielsen’s theory of moral development…you know, that we-can’t-break-the-law-or-the-universe-will-unravel thing). Well, we can change the law. Duh.

I’m not going to argue here about how harmless marijuana is relative to the two legal intoxicants, tobacco & alcohol. There’ve been plenty of excellent arguments made by folks with better scientific credentials than mine for why marijuana should be relegalized. I want to talk about the historical view, which almost always gives a better picture. It’s like stepping away from a painting, or looking down at a city from a tall building. You’d think the guys in charge might try it sometime. But that would involve reading. Oh, I’d forgotten.

I do not understand the disconnect from reality that our government seems to experience. Like Lewis Black says in a bit, it’s like these guys take a big dump on the floor right in front of us and then turn around and insist it’s fertilizer.

Here’s my analysis, after having read and cogitated on this problem for the past 15 years: it’s time to reverse the mistake made last century, when the intoxicant favored by blacks and Mexicans was made illegal in order to give the officers who’d been fighting (again, mistakenly) to keep Americans from drinking alcohol during Prohibition something to do. All that’s happened is the creation of a monstrous and vicious black market, just like the Prohibition did with the mafia. If it hadn’t been for the leg-up organized crime got with that, our country would be a lot more peaceful and less corrupt than it is now. And now the black market in heroin, which is killing so many of us, is funneling money to the Taliban. And all those potential tax dollars are going down the drain, along with the money spent on enforcing this corrupt and inane law.

And that brings us to one of the issues that needs to be dealt with in any discussion about the relegalization of weed. A very large reason why the law hasn’t been changed is that there are too many people making a living off the status quo. Not only the drug dealers and the DEA agents, and myriad police precincts, and privatized prisons, but there’s even an entire industry surrounding drug testing, both the manufacturers of and the lab techs doing the tests, and the folks who make stuff to help users pass them. And then there are the pharmaceutical companies who make a killing selling us toxic medications that treat poorly what marijuana treats well, and gently. It’s an outrageous amount of money we’re talking about. But that’s too bad. Folks had a lot of money invested in the status quo surrounding slavery, too, but that didn’t make it right, and when it was time to change, change came, no matter how much some didn’t want it. These guys can adapt and do something useful or they can be burned off like the parasites they are.

I just hope that we don’t end up at war with each other, like over another states’-rights issue. I do know that there are plenty who are going to continue to oppose the government over this. I’m one of them. And I also know that the government can ill afford to continue to blow our money on something so stupid when we’re fighting a real enemy, at home and abroad.

The citizens of California, Utah and Oregon had the sense and the compassion to pass laws allowing those in need to use marijuana. The feds have no business going against the people’s will on this.

Another thing: America is supposed to be a beacon of freedom. How can they spout that rhetoric and then jail so many of our citizens for non-violent drug offenses? Hardly the land of the free, as far as I can see. It seems like we ought to be doing our best to distinguish ourselves from tyrannical dictatorships. Instead we seem to be moving further and further in the direction of fascism.

Posted in cancer, chemotherapy, history, impeachment, military, Muslims, neuroscience, politics, privacy, ridiculous beliefs, science, skepticism, states' rights, terrorism, war on drugs | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 18 Comments »