Sunday, December 27, 2009

AMERICA UP IN SMOKE: THE POLITICS OF MARIJUANA

By John Springston

The Courier Journal did a story on Christmas Day entitled Candidates run again and again. It was a story about people who run for office over and over with little chance of winning. You can read it here: http://www.courier-journal.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009912260311.

Stories like this from mainstream media show one good reason why some candidates continue to run. It is because the same problems still exist and are not addressed. To intentionally cast these candidates aside choosing to slant in favor of the status quo is un American in many eyes.

The first person they mention is Gatewood Galbraith and predictably once again try to discredit his candidacy by using the one divisive word the mainstream media has used against him over the years.

Marijuana.

Gatewood has been an outspoken advocate for legalizing marijuana for 30 years. Today at least 19 other States are considering this. 30 years ago Gatewood set himself apart from the competition who prefer things the same old way. He often jokes that, "30 years ago people said I was ahead of my time so here we are 30 years later..."


He took the hits through the years and today his stance is the popular one and yet folks like the CJ continue to want to live in the past. Gatewood has stated “I'm a perennial candidate because Kentucky's got perennial problems.”

And he's right.

The CJ, or any other media for that matter, have not allowed their audience to see Gatewood's entire platform including education, job creation, and just about everything under the sun that affects each and every Kentuckian opting instead to go on the attack against anyone who has fresh new open ideas.

Want to hear some? Listen to Gatewood and his running mate Dea Riley on the MyViewMatters radio show at
http://springston.blogspot.com/2009/07/myviewmatters-radio-show-with-gatewood.html. This show actually allows ALL candidates who want to be heard GET to be heard.

Funnily enough they are the only ones who do this setting them apart from the rest.

The Courier ask why these candidates continue to run?

They run because the problems have not been resolved and in many cases gotten worse. They run because the same old tired pathetic way of thinking with our so called "leaders" have not produced anything substantial to address the problems we face. They run because it's necessary to look at all options available to us in seeking solutions to our problems rather than ignore those problems in hopes they will go away.

Problems created by the same old tired leadership. Any wonder why they cannot fix them?

Since the CJ has decided to open the door once again to the same old divisive garbage and interject it into this political season I will open the door to discussion of the single issue they use.

Marijuana.

The number one reason marijuana was criminalized was because the timber industry was forced to compete with hemp for business. View here for a history
Why is Marijuana Illegal? - Drug WarRant. The military and our own Government was using hemp as a cheaper alternative for rope, ladders and so forth, so the lobbyists did what lobbyists do. They bought a few elected officials and stamped out a threat.

The face changed but the game did not. It just moved from the timber industry to the drug industry. This is not a shock, nor is it anything new. The game is the same as it has always been.

In the early to mid-1900's the timber industry spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, through lobbyists and the use of lies and misconceptions, to push for the criminalization of marijuana. Leading the way was media mogul William Randolph Hearst who stood to lose megabucks if hemp was allowed to continue to be grown since his money was in the timber industry. Hearst used the "power of the press" with a full campaign based on racism, deception, and lies to paint an ugly and untrue picture of marijuana.

Who says the press does not have power over the people? As we speak, decades later, marijuana still remains a criminal and federal offense because of this fight led by the press.

Never, in the years that have passed has there ever been a vote by the people. Never have states been allowed to regulate their own laws regarding this matter, nor have the citizens bothered to fight hard enough for State's rights.

Almost every study created within the past 10 years has shown that marijuana is not only less addictive, but less harmful than alcohol, tobacco, and most pharmacy drugs yet they remain legal.

How many people are hit by drunk drivers? I myself have been hit by a drunk driver and still support it being a legal product. I don't remember meeting a politician that didn't drink. Not that they do not exist. They exercise their RIGHT OF CHOICE to drink or not. The same right they are denying others to make in regards to marijuana.

One Senator in California was quoted in a documentary, one of the many I have watched recently, "In Pot We Trust", "American Drug War"....etc., stating that not only would the state save over $1 Billion dollars per year in drug preventative measures it would also generate over $1 Billion dollars per year in new revenue. That's a $2 billion swing. It would also allow annual growth if legalized for medical and recreational use.

Imagine if 19 other states did the same thing. Would we still keep talking about the economy as if there is no solution that doesn't include the usual way of thinking? Tobacco remains legal although they try to squeeze as hard as they can to take that freedom away from us.

The drug industry?

They not only openly admit that their products are addictive, harmful to the body with even the slightest over-usage, but in many cases the side effects are worse than the original symptoms. Which of course means you now have to get even more medication to combat the side effects and the cycle continues.

All worse than marijuana, all FDA approved, and all of course legal.

The drug industry is a thriving, multi-billion dollar corporation that spends millions of dollars on lobbying against marijuana whether their "facts" are true or not. They give millions of dollars to political candidates to practically buy elections.

The drug companies feed on our emotions, our wanting to "feel good" at all times. They intentionally raise prices on medicine for their own greed. Look at the vast difference in prices for the same exact medication used around the world. Why are the prices drastically different from Country to Country? Because an addict will spend anything for their next fix and make no mistake we Americans are addicted.

Drug manufacturers know this and depend on it.

One day in a hospital costs thousands, 1 Tylenol that's no better than over the counter costs $50 and up. Prescriptions for pain medication cost $250 and up without insurance, and believe me there's lots of us without insurance. These same blood-sucking leeches then come to us when we find an alternative source of medication that is NOT government regulated and is NOT forced down our throats and tell us we can't have it? Good old Uncle Sam pitches in because he needs his fix?

PATHETIC is an understatement.

During prohibition the law against alcohol brought us serious crimes such as the Saint Valentine's Day Massacre committed by known illegal bootlegger Al Capone.

Legalizing alcohol lessened crime drastically. Legalizing marijuana would have the same effect. People won't be killing each other for it, if they ever have, they could buy it in a store over the counter.

Marijuana has been kept illegal by the rich corporate interests and self serving politicians to ensure that the poor will be reliant on those who would take advantage of us. We would save billions of dollars if we were to legalize marijuana and the prison system would be COMPLETELY unclogged. Maybe then we could get back to prosecuting real criminals and get them off the streets. More importantly the Drug Industry would have legitimate competition to help drive down health care costs something that is desperately needed.

A very valid, yet very debatable point by those so called leaders who suffer from near-sightedness and old habits dying hard?

50% of our prison system is clogged with non-violent drug offenders.

The proof is in statistical databases all over the nation that our politicians choose to ignore. OUR tax-dollars at work. Paying to feed, clothe and otherwise provide for those who would otherwise be able to provide for themselves, and who's only crimes were committed upon themselves. For a nation founded on freedom, and bought with the blood of our youth, our government spares no expense to play God and deny that freedom so many have sacrificed their lives for. It seems our Nations new motto is: "Big Brother knows best do what he tells you to."

If we continue to fall for this we should be ashamed to call ourselves Americans. This single belief, coupled with the combination of citizens unwilling to risk anything and stand up for freedom, is what is destroying our Country.

In the state of Kentucky alone we have 35 people on Death Row and none because of marijuana.

Prisoners given the death penalty are housed separately from the rest of the prison system which means more tax-dollars spent. Separate housing, separate staff, etc.

Death penalty expert attorney Donald Vish with the Kentucky Coalition to abolish the death penalty,
Kentucky Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty: Stop executions, capital punishment, and the death penalty in Kentucky, supplied the following:

There are 35 people on death row in Kentucky, sent there over a period of time when there were more than 3000 murders in Kentucky, the death penalty is so small a part of the criminal justice system and so seldom used, one must ask: What is its purpose?

Deterrence? How do you deter something with 4 executions in 56 years?

Punishment? Is life without parole not punishment?

If it's true that only the death penalty is punishment, then how do we justify only doing it 4 times in 53 years? We have only executed 4 people in Kentucky since 1956. Two of which dropped their appeals and asked to be executed.

Mr. Vish raises some excellent questions. According to Mr. Vish ordinary people who serve on juries have simply stopped imposing it.

Is this a deterrent to crime? It does not appear so. Why then should we continue to finance separate costly facilities?

Imagine if 50% of the prison system was cleared in an instant. Think about the billions of dollars that would be saved that could be spent elsewhere like economic development, health care, and the list goes on. Of course that would lead to less money for the special interests who gain from this system. Think about all of those people awaiting court dates for years due to serious crimes, some of whom are innocent, because of our clogged prison system costing us even more money. What value has been added to society for wasting that money.

All of this to hold on to power due to old traditions and out of date thinking.

We live in trying times to say the least. Times when even the best jobs have no security, when our dollar doesn't stretch as far as it used to, times when pennies mean so much more than loose change to be discarded. More importantly, it is a time when every citizen big or small, black or white, rich or poor must get involved and make a critical decision in our Nations history.

We must ask ourselves one question: How important is freedom?

Is it a "god given right" or is it an idea spoken in whispers in backrooms and town halls. Is it a demand by the people or a forgotten practice that was lost somewhere between the fear of terrorism and the inability to recognize a problem and correct it. Do we live in the result of idle indifference?

We have been faced with these type questions before in our history and Americans have always risen to the challenge.

It seems we have short memories. Was it not illegal for women or African Americans to vote at one point? Was alcohol not prohibited at one point? We stood up then and made changes.

What would have happened if people would have just laid down, "followed the law" and not stood up. We would be a Nation no better than those who we persecute in other countries today. We have become complacent in our own ideas about freedom. We allow our government in our name to fight in other Countries for their right to be free while denying or lessening those same freedoms here at home.

Ever wonder why the world today has such a low opinion of Americans in general?

We are still fed the same lies today that led to criminalization in the 1930's that if marijuana was legal crime would sky-rocket. Where is the evidence? There is no more evidence today then there was back in the 1930's. In other words zero evidence.

The one common denominator in all of this? We have the same dinosaurs in our government today as we have always had. Dinosaurs who refused to believe that change was good.

The same dinosaurs who didn't want women or African Americans voting, the same dinosaurs who felt prohibition would be good, are the same we have always had. Family names and connections who have made careers out of politics forever. They were proven wrong then and are being proven wrong again today. If you continue to think in the past then you live in the past. You cannot move forward with that way of thinking.

You study and learn from the past to build a better future. You don't live in the past and expect a better result.

Today's government tries and tries to control us yet there is still hope. Even in the darkest of days a glimmer of hope shines through from those who would rather die than sacrifice FREEDOM for GREED. Open defiance exist, and must be maintained.

I am the embodiment of those who demand freedom, and all of those who would fight for it until their last breath, so that the next generation of Americans can breathe longer and deeper.

One final question.

Who's with me?

3 comments:

  1. very well written and straight to the point

    ReplyDelete
  2. Death Penalty: Innocence and Deterrence
    Dudley Sharp, contact below

    The 130 (now 139) death row "innocents" scam
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/03/04/fact-checking-issues-on-innocence-and-the-death-penalty.aspx


    "The Innocent Executed: Deception & Death Penalty Opponents"
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/10/08/the-innocent-executed-deception--death-penalty-opponents--draft.aspx


    "The Death Penalty: More Protection for Innocents"
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/07/05/the-death-penalty-more-protection-for-innocents.aspx


    "Cameron Todd Willingham: Another Media Meltdown", A Collection of Articles
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/categories/Cameron%20Todd%20Willingham.aspx


    "Sister Helen Prejean & the death penalty: A Critical Review"
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/05/04/sister-helen-prejean--the-death-penalty-a-critical-review.aspx


    "At the Death House Door" Can Rev. Carroll Pickett be trusted?"
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/01/30/fact-checking-is-very-welcome.aspx


    "The Exonerated: Are Any Actually Innocent?"
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/2006/08/21/the-exonerated-are-any-actually-innocent---new-mexico.aspx


    "A Death Penalty Red Herring: The Inanity and Hypocrisy of Perfection", Lester Jackson Ph.D.,
    http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=102909A


    23 recent deterrence studies finding for deterrence, Criminal Justice Legal Foundation,
    http://www.cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPDeterrence.htm


    "Deterrence and the Death Penalty: A Reply to Radelet and Lacock"
    http://homicidesurvivors.com/2009/07/02/deterrence-and-the-death-penalty-a-reply-to-radelet-and-lacock.aspx


    "Death Penalty, Deterrence & Murder Rates: Let's be clear"
    http://prodpinnc.blogspot.com/2009/03/death-penalty-deterrence-murder-rates.html

    Sincerely, Dudley Sharp
    e-mail sharpjfa@aol.com, 713-622-5491,
    Houston, Texas

    Mr. Sharp has appeared on ABC, BBC, CBS, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, NBC, NPR, PBS , VOA and many other TV and radio networks, on such programs as Nightline, The News Hour with Jim Lehrer, The O'Reilly Factor, etc., has been quoted in newspapers throughout the world and is a published author.

    A former opponent of capital punishment, he has written and granted interviews about, testified on and debated the subject of the death penalty, extensively and internationally.

    Pro death penalty sites

    essays http://homicidesurvivors.com/categories/Death%20Penalty.aspx
    http://prodpinNC.blogspot.com/

    http://www.dpinfo.com
    http://www.cjlf.org/deathpenalty/DPinformation.htm
    http://www.clarkprosecutor.org/html/links/dplinks.htm
    http://www.coastda.com/archives.html
    http://www.lexingtonprosecutor.com/death_penalty_debate.htm
    http://www.prodeathpenalty.com
    http://yesdeathpenalty.googlepages.com/home2 (Sweden)
    http://www.wesleylowe.com/cp.html

    ReplyDelete
  3. What about the discovery of nylon in the early 1930's, as well! It wasn't just the lumber industry lobbying against hemp!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for reading LNP. Open and honest discussions of local politics and relevant issues is important to voter understanding. Please listen to the "Ed Springston Show". We broadcast Monday through Thursday evenings at 7 PM on local media outlets. Please check for the links.
Yours truly,
Ed Springston

JOHNSON TO REMAIN ON COUNCIL.....AS IT SHOULD BE

The Metro removal hearing case against Dan Johnson ended about the way it began. With many in disbelief. I could not understand how the &q...