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RainDog's Journal
RainDog's Journal
March 28, 2013

Indiana Senators Increase Penalty for Marijuana to Appease Extremist Gov.

Mike Pence, the transvaginal rapist governor of Indiana, has decided he doesn't want to encourage new business to locate within the state by continuing a hard right turn. This follows a voucher program in which one Christian school with an "F" ranking for performance is receiving tax payer dollars to continue their program of indoctrination that is, apparently, so bad they cannot even get a mercy "D." This follows Indiana's intention to make abortion unsafe.

Or, maybe he just wants to appease Eli Lily corporation, located in Indianapolis.

Considering all the other crap Pence and other Republicans are bringing up - I think the reality is that they're just too fucking stupid to recognize how out-of-touch with reality they are. Which would lead you to wonder what drugs they're taking - but it's probably abuse of religion, not a pharmaceutical, but maybe it's both.

Indiana residents, from both sides of the political aisle, overwhelmingly support legalization of medical marijuana and 56% support legalization of all marijuana.

Whose interests is Pence representing? Obviously not the voters in his state.


Sponsors of legislation overhauling the state’s criminal code hope changes made to marijuana penalties Thursday will help ease Governor Mike Pence’s concerns.

One of the goals of the criminal code revision legislation is to reduce penalties for low-level, first-time drug offenses in an effort to focus more on rehabilitation. But Pence waded into the debate last week, expressing concern the bill was not tough enough on drug crimes.

After changes by a Senate committee Thursday, the bill still reduces overall sentences for low-level drug crimes, but it reduces marijuana penalties less.

Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) says the marijuana sentences were set at the bill’s original levels to keep them proportionate to other crimes.

Stoops is rightly concerned about singling out penalties for marijuana, considering his city is the home to approximately 40,000 students, and those students overwhelmingly support legalization. The parents of those students, or the students themselves, might want to reconsider sending their child to a university in a state that wants to treat the possession of marijuana, a substance less harmful than alcohol, as a criminal offense while the trend, across the nation, is to revise marijuana law to reflect reality, not prejudice.

Students might mistakenly believe that attendance at one of the public ivies would shield them from such laws. They might be right, since Mitch Daniels sold LSD at Princeton and was let go with a slap on the hand. Dan Burton's son, also, was arrested for carrying LSD across state lines, a federal offense, but because his daddy (and another family's daddy at the same time) was Dan Burton, he got off with a slap on the wrist.

Which gets to the real issue: the law is racist in its application and is used as a political tool by right-wing extremists.

Indiana is the only state in the nation that seeks to increase penalties for mere possession of marijuana.

If Indiana wants to know why others think the state is, generally, a backward hell hole, well, here's your answer.
March 28, 2013

Cali Lawsuit: Police Brutalize Dispensary Employee


Security camera footage of the incident, which happened June 19 of last year, show employee Dorian Brooks, a young African-American with no prior arrests on his record, lying on the ground when an LBPD officer steps on his neck, reports Nick Schou at OC Weekly.

The footage also shows police officers trying to destroy a security camera after the attack.

When Brooks -- who posed no visible threat to the officers -- cried out in pain from the weight of the cop standing on his neck, officers roughly handcuffed him, according to the complaint, and said, "You're a black drug dealer; you should be used to this."

When officers battered down the security camera -- allegedly trying to destroy evidence of their misbehavior -- debris from the camera fell on Brooks, and he again cried out in pain. At that point, one of the officers told him, "Shut up, you dumb nigger," according to the complaint.

So much for the claim that California doesn't need legalization.
March 22, 2013

The Most Politically Important Marijuana Dispensary In The Nation


The first dispensary in D.C. is set to open soon, only blocks away from federal legislators who have been tasked, by a bill from Democrats Polis of Colorado and Blumenauer of Oregon, to overturn decades of poorly thought out and wrongly-enacted prohibition legislation.

“I’ve talked to people all over the country about marijuana,” said Corey Barnette, a principal at District Growers, the cultivation facility that will service the center. “Everyone is highly focused on what happens in Washington, D.C. We are a city on top of the feds, and with Congress right here. If we can make it work, it can work anywhere.”

...regardless of what individual states do, the use or cultivation of marijuana remains a federal crime under the Controlled Substance Act. This means that even if state law enforcement allows for use of the drug, federal officials do not. In the eyes of the federal government, there is no such thing as “medical marijuana.”

This is where Polis and Blumenauer come in. The duo has dropped a series of bills to end the federal prohibition on the drug, impose federal tax on sale of legal pot, and protect the rights of patients using medical marijuana. At this point, especially in a Republican-run House of Representatives, these bills have an upward climb toward becoming law. But the way things have been shifting, that could change rapidly.

In this sense, the congressmen and the dispensary can help each other out. District pot sellers need the protection of a federal law, and the congressmen could use a place to show to their skeptical colleagues what it really looks like and it’s impact on a community.

Nate Silver, the guy who correctly predicted the Presidential election, in spite of Republican insistence that their views had popular support, suggested Republicans could find some relief among disgustipated voters by returning to their conservative principles and undo prohibition.

I think some of the current crop of Republicans are too stupid to "get it," but, as Polis and others have demonstrated, undoing prohibition laws - by removing cannabis from the drug schedules and moving it to regulation under the Tobacco, Alcohol and Firearms bureaucracy - is a winning and correct position. This is the aim of H.R. 499, introduced by the Democratic legislator, Polis.

Who is leading the way to saner and more just law? People like Chellie Pingree, from Maine. A Democrat.

Pingree, a Democrat representing Maine’s 1st District, is currently the only member of Congress from New England to sign on in support of H.R. 499, titled the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013. The only Republican co-sponsor is U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California.

“It makes no sense to punish individuals for using a substance less harmful than alcohol,” David Boyer, Maine political director for the Marijuana Policy Project, said in a statement Thursday. “Instead, we should allow adults to use marijuana legally while regulating the production and sale of the substance. We will not only better control production and sales, but we will also create new jobs and generate tax revenue.”

“The alcohol industry has become manageable. We’ve been able to reduce the amount of alcohol being consumed by teenagers and we’ve been able to hold people responsible for their actions, and that’s what we’d want to do with marijuana,” Marshall said. “Marijuana is undoubtedly America’s No. 1 cash crop, and all that [money is] going untaxed and it’s going to people who are not running legitimate businesses in the eyes of the law.”


THANK YOU to Democrats who are working to create a more egalitarian nation based upon the rational examination of actual evidence.
March 17, 2013

Thomas Paine and the American tradition

Even tho the American Revolution had already begun, Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" is considered a pivotal work of the era. It was not universally loved among the American Revolutionaries. Adams hated it because it called for the right to vote even for those who did not own property! How dare Paine extend this right to those who were not rich enough to buy it!

Loyalists hated it because they knew that, without monarchy, government would degenerate into...democracy.

Yet it was a best seller in the colonies. Pamphlets were cheap to produce and easy to disseminate. They were the revolutionary era version of a blog or a discussion board and their intent was to reach people and change their opinions.

Paine claimed that monarchies and aristocracies were ancient tyrannies and that revolutionaries should oppose these tyrannies. He used the rhetoric of religion to tell the revolutionaries they were "twice born" - once in their religious convictions and a second time in their political ones.

He opposed all European aristocratic institutions, most especially monarchies, yet he also met with the French King to gain financial support for the revolution in the states (and this support a huge factor in the French financial crisis that led to the French Revolution because aristocrats did not want to pay taxes to support their govt's actions, while they continued to receive their benefits because they were born into wealth.)

Yet he was not revolutionary enough for the leaders of one faction that held power (many did, for a time, until they were executed) and was jailed in France and came close to execution himself. He was one of the most important English-language voices in support of the French Revolution until he was imprisoned. While in England, he had written "Rights of Man" in support of France, and in opposition to liberals (classic liberals, not the current American usage) like Edmund Burke, who recoiled at the excesses of the French when they deposed their king. He faced arrest in Britain for this pamplet. The poet, William Blake, encouraged him to go to France. The anarchist William Godwin and others faced trial in Britain for publication of Paine's work.

When he was imprisoned in France, he published the first part of Age of Reason. He critiqued revealed religion (that same religion he appealed to in his "twice born" rhetoric.) He attacked organized religion and presented questions about the validity of the bible.

He was writing about ideas that had long been part of the conversation about religion among the educated British, French and American populations. But his pamphlet brought those ideas into a form that was accessible, and, as was his style, it was written without jargon. He argued that reason, rather than revelation, was the real work of god, because he, like many of the founders, was a deist who thought that god was just as subject to the working of the natural world as any other process found within it.

Deists argued that superstition was harmful and ritual and claims of miracles and the ornamentation that was part of religion was a seduction away from the use of reason and rational thought which the founders used as the basis for their claim to independence, and which the French Revolutionaries used to depose a king and the aristocrats and the religious leaders who upheld that system of spoils to the rich.

Paine claimed that original sin was the worst of the teachings of religion because such a claim was meant to hold people in psychological bondage by telling them they were not capable or worthy before they even had an opportunity to prove their ethical actions. This claim was akin to abuse - to hear from birth that you are somehow unworthy simply by the existence of your being.

I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish Church, by the Roman Church, by the Greek Church, by the Turkish Church, by the Protestant Church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church.

All national institutions of churches, whether Jewish, Christian or Turkish, appear to me no other than human inventions, set up to terrify and enslave mankind, and monopolize power and profit.

I do not mean by this declaration to condemn those who believe otherwise; they have the same right to their belief as I have to mine. But it is necessary to the happiness of man that he be mentally faithful to himself. Infidelity does not consist in believing, or in disbelieving; it consists in professing to believe what he does not believe.

Paine claims all have the right to their belief, yet he attacks beliefs such as divine revelation. He attacks the history of the church - both its historical validity and its actions. He attacks the very foundations of Christianity - no matter the variation.

This is part of the history of democracy and the history of religious/political thought in the U.S. and it continues today.

March 16, 2013

Fact Check: Bergoglio, the torture of two priests, and the hiding of political prisoners

I am posting this in GD b/c the discussion of Bergoglio's role related to the Argentinian military junta was mentioned in GD several times in the past few days. Both those of us who accused him of actions and those who defended him have the story wrong, it seems.


From Horacio Verbitsky (an investigative journalist and head of the Center for Legal and Social Studies, an Argentine human rights organization and the author of The Silence: From Paul VI to Bergoglio: The Secret Relations Between the Church and the ESMA.

(ESMA was the naval military group that was implicated in stealing the children of women dissidents, giving those children to military and other fascist friendly families and then throwing those mothers to their deaths in the Atlantic Ocean. The leader of the military junta admitted, in 2011 that the junta had given the children of dissidents to "good families" but denied, in opposition to Truth Commission testimony, that the Navy had murdered the mothers... tho they are still "disappeared" - which was the fascist's term for political murder.)


The two priests who were tortured by the Argentine government were the ones who claimed Bergoglio knew about and participated in their torture because the torturers knew about doctrinal issues within the church that were part of their interrogation...When the military coup overthrew the Isabel Perón government, he (Bergoglio) was in touch with the military that ousted this government and asked the Jesuits to stop their social work. And when they refused to do it, he stopped protecting them, and he let the military know that they were not more inside the protection of the Jesuits’ company, and they were kidnapped.

(Regarding Bergoglio)
...During the research for one of my books, I found documents in the archive of the foreign relations minister in Argentina, which, from my understanding, gave an end to the debate and show the double standard that Bergoglio used
(regarding those two priests.)

...His message is absolutely conservative. He was opposed to abortion, to the egalitarian matrimony law. He launched a crusade against the evil when Congress was passing this law, and in the very same style that John Paul II. This is what I consider the main feature on the new pope.
Verbitsky also talks about Bergoglio as the leader of the opposition to the Argentinian govt. that sought to liberalize laws.

Regarding hiding prisoners from the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights -

No, in this episode, Bergoglio has no intervention. The intervention was from the cardinal that in that time was the chief of the church in Buenos Aires. That is the position that Bergoglio has in the present. But in that time, he was not archbishop of Buenos Aires. When the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights came into Argentina to investigate allegations of human rights violations, the navy took 60 prisoners out of ESMA and got them to a village that was used by the Cardinal Aramburu to his weekends. And in this weekend property were also the celebration each year of the new seminarians that ended their studies. In this villa in the outskirts of Buenos Aires were the prisoners during the visit of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights. And when the commission visited ESMA, they did not find the prisoners that were supposed to be there, because they were— ...Bergoglio has no intervention in this—in this fact. Indeed, he helped me to investigate a case. He gave me the precise information about in which tribunal was the document demonstrating that this villa was owned by the church.

There has been back and forth here about the two priests and the hiding of political prisoners. They are two separate incidents, and in the second one, Bergoglio was not the archbishop who colluded with the fascists to hide political prisoners from the Human Rights organization.

He helped the investigative reporter identify the church property that was used to hide the prisoners.

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