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Sometimes you read stuff that makes you sad, then you read things that make you mad. Here are two topics that combine those emotions.
The GOP will be meeting in Minneapolis in an effort to salvage this year’s disastrous political season. They plan to select a president (John McCain), a vice president (probably Mitt Romney), and between parties with high class hookers, they will grab their strongest lipstick, thickest rouge, blackest eyeliner, and try to make their ugliest pig (representing their party) look somewhat less repulsive.
The paramilitary state known as the Minneapolis Police Department, in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Scrutiny is prepared. They are already recruiting spies to infiltrate protest groups. That’s right. Americans spying on Americans, simply for exercising their First Amendment Rights.
They did this in 2004, illegally, and caused the unwarranted arrest and detention of thousands.
Carroll’s story echoes a familiar theme. During the lead-up the 2004 Republican National Convention in New York City, the NYPD’s Intelligence Division infiltrated and spied on protest groups across the country, as well as in Canada and Europe. The program’s scope extended to explicitly nonviolent groups, including street theater troupes and church organizations.
There were also two reported instances of police officers, dressed as protestors, purposefully instigating clashes. At the 2004 Republican National Convention, the NYPD orchestrated a fake arrest to incite protestors. When a blond man was “arrested,” nearby protestors began shouting, “Let him go!” The helmeted police proceeded to push back against the crowd with batons and arrested at least two. In a similar instance, during an April 29, 2005, Critical Mass bike ride in New York, video footage captured a “protestor”—in reality an undercover cop—telling his captor, “I’m on the job,” and being subsequently let go.
According to this story, in trying to hire U of M sophomore Paul Carroll, the local uniformed thugs are looking for a repeat performance, seeking to infiltrate and spy on Americans.
In 2004, people planning to protest in New York were tagged by e-mail and blogs, and once they arrived in NY, identified and spied upon. Here. In America.
It looks like 2008 will be no different.
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From both anecdotal and personal experience, I have heard and seen how medical marijuana helps the seriously ill make it through the day, and even live more productive, less painful lives.
The GOP’s (and this White House’s) fixation on medical marijuana research, legislation, and criminalization is one just one of many absolutely vile realities that we need to change. To claim that medically prescribed use of marijuana is a crime causing one to be put under a sentence of death – that is simply inhuman.
For those interested in changing these archaic, insane laws, both federally and locally, you can contact the Marijuana Policy Project at firstname.lastname@example.org
These guys do really good work, and are chronically underfunded, especially in the face of a determined federal government to put away anyone who lights up a natural leaf. Do us all a favor. Contact them, send them some bucks, and support their hard and very important work.
What is saddening, maddening and just plain wrong is how the current policies have actually led to the deaths of people.
A medical-marijuana user who was denied a liver transplant because of his use of the drug has died, the Associated Press reported May 2.
The University of Washington Medical Center recently told Timothy Garon, 56, that he would not be placed on its liver-transplant list because of his marijuana use; hospital officials said they would reconsider if Garon completed a 60-day addiction-treatment class. Garon, whose liver had been damaged by Hepatitis C — a byproduct of injection-drug use in his youth — died last Thursday.
If this were only a solitary mistake, an error in judgment and misstep in human understanding. If only.
Unfortunately, not. The same damned story is repeating itself, with the probable same damned result.
Jonathon Simchen, 33, of Fife is a diabetic whose kidneys and pancreas have failed. He said he was booted out of the transplant program at Seattle’s Virginia Mason hospital because he admitted using medical marijuana, and then the University of Washington Medical Center transplant officials refused him as well.
“I’m just so discouraged,” said Simchen, a community college student and would-be teacher. “I’ve lost all remnants of hope. I look at my life right now as if it is a prison term. I just have to serve each day.”
What kind of nation have we become? Has fear and loathing replaced all that was good and right with this country? Have the religious reichists, with paranoid, hateful and close-minded policies become so powerful and important that a simple matter of human understanding and respect of others becomes impossible?
As for the domestic spying that the Minnesota authorities are preparing, I actually have some mixed feelings. Given their war crimes, the abuse of the constitution, and the very strong likelihood that this summer’s GOP convention will produce more of the same, I would support domestic surveillance over the GOP – the real lawbreakers, rather than those marching in the streets to protect our constitution.
There is one redeeming point here. At least we know what to expect from the authorities. Closed off fenced in protest areas, fake riots caused by undercover police, and worse. Once people are aware, they are also prepared. Once they are prepared, they will know that spies will be placed in their midst, that fake riots will be blamed on the innocent, and that police will taze, beat, arrest and abuse those who care most for this country. Not all police, and not all DHS personnel, but just enough for use to worry about this nation’s future.
But this medical marijuana story is just astounding. Just imagine if you or a loved one suffered a massive organ failure, and you were given a veritable death sentence – just because you smoked helpful medical marijuana, with a doctor’s prescription.
What happened to our country? And what must we do to get it back?