The DEA: A bunch of thugs, or a bunch of thugs?

So… several medical marijuana dispensaries were raided in Washington State within the past few days.  The feds have already signaled that they don’t give a damn what the people want, they’ll do whatever they want to anyway.  The DEA regularly lies in testimony about the plant, its uses, and its affects.  They get a great deal of funding for chasing something less dangerous than alcohol, so it’s in their best interests to do everything they can to stop any form of legalization.

For those of you who blame it on Obama, let’s make something perfectly clear.  I think he’s going to be another chickenshit in this regard, and call for legalization once he’s out of office–the same way Bill Clinton did.

He was a pothead in high school, as were most of his closest friends.  They all went off to become very successful people.  In fact, a lot of very successful people smoked pot.  And several still do.

But, frankly, it’s not within Obama’s power to tell the DEA NOT to follow the current law.  It’s just not.  Last year Nancy Pelosi said she wanted to look at passing a law giving protection to medical marijuana, but in a dysfunctional congress, that looks to be impossible.  We need a congress capable of working together.

In the meantime, fuck the DEA.

Veganism, shmeganism.

You have to love the kind of people who would decry animal testing and yet suggest we use criminals for the same things we currently use animals for. Especially interesting because I’m sure Hitler would have hated to use dogs–being the alleged dog lover he was–but he clearly had NO problem testing on humans. In fact, we have an assortment of advances in medical science that came directly out of Nazi experiments that should turn our stomachs.

I can think of several reasons that doesn’t work. The kinds of cultures that do that sort of thing aren’t ones we’d emulate. Not if we didn’t want to go down in history worse than we already are. The notion that anyone thinks this is in any way justifiable is absurd.

I’m not a fan of animal testing, but I’m even less a fan of Nazi style testing on humans, regardless of their alleged crimes. In Russia you can be arrested and charged with a felony for even SUGGESTING gay people should have rights. But, fuck, some people would be happy if they tested dangerous drugs on them… downright THRILLED. So basically it’s okay as long as it isn’t YOUR ox being gored. They’re “dangerous felons.” To someone, at least. Not to mention that we already know how our own justice system can be turned on its ear easily enough.

It’s true that at least animals aren’t guilty of using us for their tests… except maybe taste tests. Several different species probably sharpened their teeth on our ancestors… the fact that there were so many nasty predators around when we first ventured out of the trees is one of the reasons we’re so damn violent and warlike. We’re pretty damned soft and squishy for anything out there with claws and fangs that might have wanted a relatively easy kill. It was kill or be killed. Eat or be eaten. The law of the jungle. I think it’s hilarious that people who are quick to recognize we’re animals don’t also recognize that the same rules apply to us as every other creature on the planet. We eat what we got or we don’t eat.  There are damn few people who will choose not to eat.

In just about every ecosystem on Earth, the animals can eat things we can’t… But we sure as hell can eat them. Not a lot of stuff for people to eat on the steppes of Russia, for example, but animals are plentiful… particularly once we started herding. Humans have survived in some of the most wicked terrain on the planet. Veganism is, for the most part, a modern affectation that only works because we have the technology to make up for what the diet would lack otherwise. Many foodstuffs are only available because technology and modern transportation made them so. As recently as a hundred and fifty years ago there were a host of “diseases” that stemmed directly from not having a balanced diet.

Fine if you want to eat that way. But don’t pretend it’s how we’re “supposed to eat.” That’s hogwash. We were designed (or designed ourselves through environment and evolution) to eat whatever we put in our mouth that didn’t kill us or make us wish we were dead. There were only a few cultures in a few places on Earth that might have been able to maintain a strictly vegan diet before the advent of technology that changed the rules.  And these usually supplemented their diets with fish when they could.  Or grubs.

“There is no political solution for a troubled evolution.” Barely more 60 years ago we had a civilization that had no problem with the idea of testing on humans. Hell, I’ll bet N. Korea and China do it to this day. But that’s not us, and thank gawd for that.

Oddly enough, despite our LONG history of being total dicks to animals, there are several recent stories of even wild animals coming to humans for help (usually in fixing something we fucked up in the first place). A wild crow allowing humans to pull porcupine quills out of its face, for example, or the fox that walked up to some humans because it got its head stuck in a piece of human trash. Or the humpback whale that got assistance from some divers to clean her off a bunch of fishing line and nets she’d been caught in. It took hours to free her and she seemed to be thanking each and every participant in turn before swimming away.

Meanwhile, we’re back to killing the apex predators in Montana and Wyoming, even though we now understand the important role apex predators have in keeping a stable ecosystem. One of the reasons coyotes are so numerous is that wolves were probably much better at keeping their population down than humans are, simply because they share prey and the wolf would win most contests. A coyote’s breeding cycle is directly tied to the resources it has available. The more resources, the more pups a female has. But trust rednecks to go off half-cocked and fully loaded.

I read something earlier in which someone stated that going vegan means there are fewer animals killed. Which may be the dumbest fucking thing I’ve heard on the subject. The animals are killed regardless. If anything, it’s just increasing the number of animals who are killed to no good purpose.

I grew up on a small ranch. I know exactly where my food comes from. I know that eggs and chicken meat comes from one of the dumbest fucking creatures I’ve ever had the misfortune to tend. I know that bacon and pork comes from one of the smartest animals I’ve ever encountered. And I know that fuzzy bunnies taste really good.

And just about any animal capable of eating meat will eat long pig if it suddenly becomes available, domestic dogs being a very rare exception in many cases. Scavengers don’t see any difference in a dead human or a dead anything else.

“I agree with you that there is a natural aristocracy among men.”

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The grounds of this are virtue and talents,” said Thomas Jefferson. I must ask, is it then “elitism” to point out that the sudden flood of racists on-line have a complete lack of one and some serious issues with the other? These high-tech barbarians spreading their bile and venom across the web are proving how powerful racism still is in this country. These are the people who actually feel comfortable saying this stuff out loud. How many out there are NOT? How many keep quiet because they know to speak out could cost them their jobs, or friends and family?

We’d love to believe that racism isn’t alive in well in this country, but let’s be serious. No one with any grasp on reason can think it acceptable that a grown man can follow, harass, and shoot down a young black man for simply crossing public space, doing something he had every right to do. 

TRAYVON was the one for whom “stand your ground” was justified, but because he was young, black, and unarmed, he was the one who died and was then convicted of his own murder.

It’s emboldened that segment of society that’s been lurking in the shadows for so long, that it has. All those folks who’ve deliberately blinded themselves to it can now see it in 3D HD. 

THIS IS WHAT RACISM LOOKS LIKE, FOLKS. It’s about believing that someone else is inferior to you simply because of their ethnicity. This is why I can guarantee you that reverse racism is bullshit. People of color don’t see whites as inferior. They see the racists among us as assholes, and rightfully so, but that doesn’t make whites inferior. They see the blindness with which many of us view the world, not to see how our experience is so different from their own, but that doesn’t mean they think they’re superior because of it. They wonder WHY so many of us are assholes, they don’t blame it on us being white. And that speaks volumes.

Tourist Advisory

Back in 2005, the anti-gun violence, the Brady Campaign, made the national news by passing out informative travel advisories to people visiting Florida. These fliers warned people that Floridians were armed and prone to xenophobic violence.  They were told not to engage Floridians in strident debate or make any movement that might be seen as “aggressive.”

I think that this notion should be revisited.  Florida has no proved itself dangerous, particularly for people of color.  A Black person walking on pavement is now considered armed, and is thus fair game.  Florida’s a big tourist draw.  Maybe it’s time we reminded people that it has a very, very dark side and that sudden death can arrive at any moment–and justice is served raw.

And, yes, this might hurt a lot of people who aren’t responsible.  Maybe they should consider doing something about the “Stand your ground” laws that made this sort of vigilantism not only possible, but tolerable. 

A Stance Worth Taking

I know there are some people who don’t grasp why I take politics so seriously. Because, in the end, nothing else really matters. Your political stance says just about everything about you. Do you believe that men and women are equal, that one race or nationality is no better than another, and that everyone has the right to practice their own religion in their own space without persecution? Or do you think men should have the right to rule women, that YOUR race or nationality is superior to all others, and that freedom of religion means only YOUR religion?

These are vital questions, quite likely the most vital questions of our time. While others argue about the movies they like, the music they listen to, the clothes they prefer, or an assortment of other things that really don’t mean shit in the grand scheme of things, I’m concerned about things that affect the quality of life for every single one of us. I’m concerned about whether or not we’re leaving a planet worth living on to our children and grandchildren. I’m worried whether we’ll finally succeed in sparking perpetual war. I’m worried whether women will be denied the rights to control their own bodies. I’m worried that people will continue to be blocked from voting because of a mix of poverty and race. I’m worried that people will be allowed to starve, or die of disease, simply because it doesn’t matter to those with the power to prevent it. That money will trump humanity and we’ll be little more than well-dressed barbarians with fancy gadgets and no clue about the things that really matter in life.

Compare this to the people who worry if they’ll have the means to kill someone if they deem it necessary, or those who are concerned that not being able to force their beliefs on other people is somehow infringing on their right to practice their own religion. That environmentalists will somehow block a pipeline that will provide a handful of permanent jobs at the risk of massive environmental catastrophe. Worried that businesses will flee America completely if we actually demand a certain level of ethical and socially responsible behavior on their part.

These are not equivalent beliefs.

Some say liberals are a strange new breed of human, because, unlike every other culture that preceded us, we actually care about people with whom we share no genetic ties. We are concerned with them beyond the bounds of family, community, nation, or ethnicity. From one perspective, we’re an evolutionary branch–humans who are more adaptable to change and capable of dealing with uncertainty without curling into a feral, fearful ball with our teeth bared and claws out. It isn’t necessarily uncertainty that bothers us, but certainty. Certainty that humans aren’t causing climate change. Certainty that YOUR religion is the one true religion and all others are the work of demons. Certainty that being an American is the best possible thing you can be and everyone else should worship the ground we walk upon.

Yeah, your politics matter. It informs your approach to social issues and your fellow humans. It suggests what you’re willing to sacrifice to make a better world for your children and grandchildren. Some people are willing to sacrifice some amount of security, some amount of convenience, in order to help usher in a better world for our progeny.

If you’re one of the ones who thinks it doesn’t matter, that politics is just a distraction, I have to question. While you’re focused on which team one the Big Game, or which singer is rocking the mic on American Idle, or which dress looked the best on the red carpet, some of us are actually worrying about the world we’re leaving those who come after us, and are fighting to make sure it’s the best possible world we can make it. Those who can’t understand this are as much the reason things are all messed up as those directly opposing what we’re trying to do.

Don’t EVEN tell me politics doesn’t matter. It’s damn near the only thing that does.