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Saturday, October 8, 2011

Some Thoughts on Occupy Wall Street

First of all, we need to make sure this doesn't turn into another G20 protest where it's all just hippies and anarchists and general liberal types doing all the protesting.  We need get the conservatives involved and make sure they know this is THEIR fight, too.  We have common enemies now: Wall Street and the government that enables them.  BOTH sides have begun to recognize that neither party really serves them but instead serve Wall Street.  The dirty dom-sub relationship between Wall Street and K Street has been put on display and it's finally sinking in to those on the right.

I don't think we need to throw the baby out with the bathwater and rewrite the Constitution.   I think a few drastic changes can fix everything­. We need campaign finance reform. Nothing else gets fixed until we get Wall Street out of politics. We need publicly financed elections and we need to severely punish Congressma­n caught accepting bribes. We also need national ballot-ini­tiatives so the people can decide a few things for ourselves and have a voice in the system beyond electing representa­tives. We need to get rid of the ideas that corporatio­ns = people and money = speech.

Perhaps the first thing we should do is figure out what we agree on. I think most of us agree that neither party really serves us anymore. I think most of us agree it's been corrupted by Wall Street. Most of us want millionair
es and billionair­es to pay higher taxes and/or stop using tax havens and loopholes. Most of us want pot legalized at least for medicinal use. Most of us are now okay with gay marriage. We HAVE TO unite around the things we agree on and form an official organizati­on based on THAT.

It's odd, (I JUST noticed this now) how anti-government conservatives are turning against the corporations while anti-corporate liberals are turning against the government.  Funny.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wolves in the Fold: How Closet Atheists are Suckering the Religious Right Into Abandoning Its Values.

It has long been my belief that many of the conservatives in Congress and on the radio - mostly fiscal conservatives - are closet atheists. I say this because I cannot believe that these men who profess Christ on camera really think they're not going to be in trouble when they stand before God to answer for decades of screwing the poor for financial gain and spreading fear and hate. What are Rush Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly, and Glenn Beck going to say to God when he asks them why they demonized compassion and inflamed people's fears and hatred for others? How are John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and Eric Cantor going to explain their policies of cutting aid to low to come families so they can give more money to those who already have more than their grandchildren will ever need.

Mind you, I have no problem at all with atheists. I'd rather have them in charge than the Religious Right. Certainly most atheists are not the money-grubbing, fear-mongering haters that comprise so much of the conservatives in Congress and infesting a.m. radio. But it almost eludes me how the Religious Right can ally themselves with these people. I fear that this unholy alliance (no pun intended) has cause a lot of religious conservatives to abandon many of the the values Jesus taught. Indeed, many religious conservatives - due to their association with these closet atheists - have abandoned their moral obligation to help others and have in fact joined the choir of those condemning compassion. There's no biblical justification for the Rights almost erotic affinity for guns; in fact, one would think that the party that complains that we have no respect for life anymore would be AGAINST the proliferation of guns. I find it hard to believe that these fiscal conservatives really care that much about abortion given how little they seem to care about babies once they're out of the womb. They DO have some common ground when it comes to gay marriage in that the kind of atheist conservatives I'm talking about genuinely do feel uncomfortable with the gay community, but speaking of discrimination, there's no reason Christians should support the oppression of minorities; even the ones who are here illegally.

I don't mean to say, by the way, that atheists are immoral or even amoral.  I don't mean to suggest that they lack compassion.  I certainly do not believe that morality comes from religion - or at least a belief in God - and that without religion there would BE no morality.  One should not need to be told by God, or anyone else, what is right or wrong.  When I say that their alliance with these closet atheists is causing religious conservatives to abandon their moral obligation to help others, I mean that atheists don't hold themselves accountable to God the way Christians are supposed to.  Christians are supposed to believe that when they die, God will judge them and by abandoning their obligation toward others, the Religious Right is acting like there is no God and they will not be judged for shunning the poor.

The point is, anyone who spends as much time and energy spreading fear and hate and demonizing compassion while serving the whims of the wealthy as so many radio and Congressional conservatives do cannot believe that God will pat them on the back for their efforts and there is no reason those who genuinely DO follow Jesus should ally themselves with those people.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, February 14, 2011

Four Reasons Why the Gate-way Drug Argument Fails

Probably the second most popular argument against legalizing marijuana - after the oh-so-popular and equally fallacious What-about-the-poor-defenseless-children argument - is that marijuana is a gateway drug.  You start out toking joints and pretty soon you're sucking cock in a truck-stop mens room to support your meth habit.  There are a few different reasons I can think of off the top of my head why this argument is patently absurd which I will now innumerate:

1.) Marijuana is the most widely available illegal drug.
The more widely available a drug is, the more likely people are to use it and it's fairly easy to get your hands on some weed.  Even if you live in a small town, you should be able to find a good 10 people who've got it, but even if you live in a big city, you've gotta do some asking around to find anyone who's got coke or heroin.  Yeah, you can find hard drugs (again, IF you're in a big enough town), but it's significantly easier to find weed. 

2.) Most people aren't that interested in trying harder drugs.  
I'm pretty confident I speak for most of the marijuana-smoking community when I say that I'm not interested in trying heroin, cocaine, meth, crack; basically anything that comes in a white powder.  These would all be things to avoid.  The anecdotes I read or hear about involving those drugs don't tend to end well.  Most of us have seen too many "VH1: Behind the Music" episodes where some band member got addicted to some heavy stuff and died or broke up the band to try any of that shit ourselves. According to a 2007 Zogby poll, 99% of us wouldn't use hard drugs if we could.

3.)  Why does the "slippery slope" start with weed?
Prohibitionists point out that most of the people currently in rehab for hard drug addiction started smoking weed first.  In Latin, this is known as the "Ad hoc ergo propter hoc" fallacy.  Just because A happened before B doesn't mean A caused B.  Just because someone smoked weed before they started smoking crack doesn't mean the weed wasn't enough for them.  First, while I've never had crack and never will, I'm pretty sure there's a world of difference between the high caused by weed and the high caused by crack, but more importantly, why does the slippery slope start at weed?  What about alcohol?  I'm willing to bet those same people in rehab for hard drug addiction started drinking alcohol before they ever smoked weed.  Why isn't alcohol the gateway drug?  Or coffee?  Coffee is a stimulant that puts you in an altered state of consciousness.  Why isn't coffee a gateway drug?  I bet a lot of those people in rehab trying to kick heroin started with a cup of Folgers in the morning.  I guess prohibitionists must figure that weed is the top of the slope because it's illegal, which further shows the kind of intellect we're dealing with.

4.) If marijuana were a gateway drug, and if it was as addictive as prohibitionists claim, one would expect to see a corresponding rise in the use of hard drugs along with the growing popularity of marijuana, but no such rise exists.  
While marijuana has been and remains popular, hard drugs remain significantly less so.  Most people who smoke pot DON'T go on to use hard drugs.  Statistics like these consistently show that the number of people who use hard drugs is always a FRACTION (usually a SMALL fraction) of the number of people who smoke pot.

Seriously, does anyone really buy the gateway argument anymore?