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Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

I’m sure most of you know my stance on illicit drugs, if you don’t I’ll admit I’m very liberal on it all. Your body is yours and you should be able to do what you like to it whether that includes injecting things, breaking, cutting, modifying it, whatever. If you hurt no one else in the process, be my guest!

This recent article was posted on www.marijuana.com (you can imagine their stance on such matters too). It draws attention to a recent article in particular in The Huffington Post that reports that 300 economists have thrown their support behind the legalization of cannabis. And as they should! Keeping it illegal is by far the more expensive option, where the rest of us (the government included) suffer double the loss when it comes to paying to prevent its distribution in our countries, which we suck at if you haven’t noticed, and also missing out on the taxation that would be gained from appropriate and rationally thought out regulation of the substance (let alone all other illicit drugs), no instead that goes straight into the pockets of each countries organised criminal syndicates, and tax free I might add. (Sorry that was a long sentence).

Anyway have a read of this article, and throw your helmets on if you suss out the linked articles as they’ll throw quite a lot of good information your way.

We have all heard the classic argument. Marijuana could save the government a ton of money if it were legalized primarily in the savings from having not to enforce marijuana laws, not to mention the additional income that could be made from government taxation on the product. But, while this discussion is usually reserved for a stoned debate, 300 noted economists have released a study that backs all of this up, and big time.

The Huffington Post reports that 300 economists, which includes 3 Noble Laureates, “have signed a petition calling attention to the findings of a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which suggests that if the government legalized marijuana it would save $7.7 billion annually by not having to enforce the current prohibition on the drug. The report added that legalization would save an additional $6 billion per year if the government taxed marijuana at rates similar to alcohol and tobacco.”

The petition does not directly call for an end to marijuana prohibition, but, rather, suggests that both sides begin an “open and honest debate” about the current state of pot prohibition and whether it is actually causing any benefits.

In addition, as the article points out, with a $1.5 trillion budget deficit, the government is forced to choose between cutting programs and raising taxes as a way to make ends meet, while ending marijuana prohibition seems like a way to ease a small part of this financial need without the cuts or taxes.

A recent article in Businessweek takes this 13.7 billion figure and trumps it, stating that “based on the amount of money he thinks it would take to produce and market legal marijuana, combined with an estimate of marijuana consumers, (Stephen) Easton guesses that legalizing the drug could bring in $45 to $100 billion per year.” At the high end of that estimate, you are beginning to knock out a large portion of the budget deficit.

Do you think that legalizing marijuana would help the U.S. with their financial burdens? What other ways do you think the government can reduce their deficit?

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I’m getting pretty sick and tired of people constantly labelling Ron Paul as a racist and homophobe. Whilst I may not agree with every one of his beliefs or policies, I do think he has a lot to offer the American public and government with his political and economic principles.

YouTube is abound with clips proclaiming Ron Paul’s racism, and I was especially disappointed when I saw the Young Turks take on it. It’s blatantly obvious the propaganda machine has been unleashed mercilessly Ron Paul in a poor attempt to sabotage his run for President, and worst of all is that so many have willingly bought into it.

The main reason I’m posting this is because I’m fed up with seeing how this man has been treated, more so than wanting to defend him politically. I just don’t think he’s that bad a guy, and I honestly believe that he genuinely wants what’s best for the country for non-selfish reasons–unlike every other GOP candidate–. People just don’t seem to understand, nor research, his views from the angle of libertarianism.

Anyway, disagree with his political and economic policies, his religious beliefs, whatever, but at least be respectful and get your facts right, or you just end up looking like an idiot in any political discussion involving him.

This is repost from Regulate the Regulators blog smashing the whole ‘Ron Paul the racist’ escapade:

I’ve written a long and meticulously cited FAQ in response to this, available here and here. If anyone knows better places to host it, let me know.

Basically, what happened was that for perhaps 3 decades, several newsletters ran under Paul’s name containing some fairly conventional right-wing commentary. Many have attested that Paul personally distanced himself from production and various people with gigs as ghostwriters came and went.

For a brief period from about 1990-1994, a small number of newsletters were released sporadically which contained racially hateful and “homophobic” remarks.

This was during a time when Paul had relinquished responsibility for the newsletters’ operation, retired from Congress and an exhausting presidential campaign, and consigned himself to working full-time as a medical doctor and public speaker, in addition to raising five children.

A few objectionable issues managed to leak out under Paul’s nose, quite understandably. Paul did not then and does not now possess superhuman powers. Believe it or not, there were other things that were occupying him at the time. He didn’t have the ease of mind, the way some people apparently do, to devote his days to scanning the newsletters for the occasional rant against gays. Blaming him for this is ultimately like blaming him for comments on his Facebook wall.

The racist comments fly in the face of everything Paul has ever written and said, as many people who know him personally have attested. (Among whom include Rick Sincere, an openly gay libertarian whose run for Congress in 1993 Paul supported and helped collect funds for, at the same time the most hysterical of the newsletters were being churned out.)

Paul was quite angry when he learned of the whole thing. He didn’t issue a full denial in 1996 when it was first brought up only because of the extremely stupid advice of his campaign staff. He has in the past decade addressed the issue several times publically, explicitly denying authorship, and there is every reason to believe it and move on.

There’s also a useful section (#7) addressing the claim that Paul’s voting record establishes him as a racist.

EDIT/update: I’ve added a new section, this time on whether Paul “signed off” on the newsletters or not.

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The evidence is becoming more and more clear these days regarding the effects of marijuana, or cannabis, have on their users. We’ve known for decades now (since at least 1974) that cannabis can fight and even cure cancer, let alone it’s uses alleviating the symptoms of other diseases like HIV AIDS, glaucoma, alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory skin disease, and on and on and on…. On top of this, it has been disproven to be a causative factor in acquiring schizophrenia, it has also shown not to cause brain damage (it’s been shown to protect brain cell death caused by alcohol), to the contrary it has been shown to stimulate the growth of neurons (this study also found it reduced measures of anxiety and depression).

Shall we keep going? It’s been shown to be protective against the neurotoxic effects of stroke and head injury. Further evidence has also proved that cannabis is able to slow the progression of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, MS, Parkinson’s, and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

But more recently, and this is the crux of my post, the greater effects of marijuana on society are being studied.

Two recent studies published in the IZA Journal have found that the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes has some interesting side effects. Although an increase in adult users has been found, surely because it becomes more acceptable and more readily available, no increase is seen its use by minors. Furthermore, and this is the interesting/awesome part, US states that have legalised medicinal marijuana has been found to be linked with a significant decrease in suicides, and on top of that a significant decrease in fatal car accidents (by being a substitute for alcohol).

The abstracts from the two studies:

High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide

Using state-level data for the period 1990 through 2007, we estimate the effect of legalizing medical marijuana on suicide rates. Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males. Estimates of the relationship between legalization and female suicides are less precise and are sensitive to functional form.

Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption

To date, 16 states have passed medical marijuana laws, yet very little is known about their effects. Using state-level data, we examine the relationship between medical marijuana laws and a variety of outcomes. Legalization of medical marijuana is associated with increased use of marijuana among adults, but not among minors. In addition, legalization is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption. Our estimates provide strong evidence that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.

This suggests that the effects of legalising cannabis could be positive in many more ways than helping its medicinal users. Who’d have thunk it? If we legalise weed it may apparently become safer on the roads, and fewer people are would commit suicide…

Of late the argument I often hear and read as to why people don’t care about marijuana legalisation one way or another is simply because they are either ignorant to its uses and effects, or they just don’t use it themselves and thus don’t care. It’s high people started looking at the evidence, politicians included, and start making laws that help people instead of deny people help, let alone their personal freedom.

I think it’s only a matter of time before the US completely legalise marijuana. However, that said, people have been saying the same thing since the 1960s. Until that happens I’m going to remain incredibly ashamed of our society staying tough on marijuana (and other drugs), and continue to deny both the sick and the recreational user access to it. Especially, if in the process people’s lives are being lost that could otherwise be saved.

Our society has plenty of issues that need our attention, and this may not be the most important one to focus on for everyone, but it is a good place to start. And good law reform and increased public awareness and education is only going to help improve our society dramatically.

I’ll throw up a few docos and some links FYI:

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/what-if-cannabis-cured-cancer/

http://robertlindsay.wordpress.com/2009/09/16/does-marijuana-cause-schizophrenia/

http://patients4medicalmarijuana.wordpress.com/2010/01/04/marijuana-cures-cancer-us-government-has-known-since-1974/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_cannabis

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Dan Barker was invited onto Eric Bolling’s Fox News program to discuss an issue in Texas regarding a nativity scene put up on public property in the front of the City Hall, and when he offers up his opinion he’s given the boot.

Eric Bolling, how about actually tackling the issue at hand and not getting so emotional and taking personal offence at someone else’s opposing view to your religious beliefs and shutting things down then and there? As soon as you do that you’ve lost the argument. How weak…

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Wow, I cannot believe this headline was published in a Tasmanian newspaper?! Hardly going to help alleviate the current tension between indigenous Australians and the government. Here’s a full image of the article if you want to read the entire thing.

Even though they may have burned the flag, who gives a toss. At the end of the day it’s a piece of cloth that was probably made in China. Clearly they want attention, they want their problems acknowledged and addressed. Whether you agree with them or not, racism isn’t justified and won’t help in any way.

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