Consider, the last few years have witnessed a very disturbing trend in the pharmaceutical industry. First, their lobbyists and the industries huge contributions to the Republican Party have been instrumental in creating an atmosphere in which the industry is given the unbelievable right to have their own physicians sit in charge of the FDA's testing of new drugs in which damaging information is simply ignored or withheld and it is only the eventual and predictable deaths and further physical injury to patients that eventually exposes that deceit. Even then, Congress has created such a protected and loving environment for Corporate America's many abuses that uncovering any recourse for pain and suffering is nearly impossible. (1)
Furthermore, where once the industry competed to find relief from or cures for truly horrible diseases such as AIDS and HIV related diseases and cancer and Muscular Dystrophy and Muscular Sclerosis and on and on, the unthinking and useless charge now is to discover cures for male pattern baldness and penile dysfunction (notice any sex bias here?). As a nation, we have allowed ourselves to sink into the slime of corporate behavior so vile that a man's hair problems and erection deficiencies are more important and deserve more study than actual illnesses. (Granted, as a man I find one of the two previous topics of earth-shaking importance but, when I look at the bigger picture, that is a personal concern, not a national need.)
Notice the complete loss of fantastic discoveries that benefit the majority of Earth's citizens - women? From the many (as women termed them in the 1950's Kansas) "female troubles" to menopause to breast and cervical cancer, research in these areas have taken a far lower priority than pills to block the body's absorption of fat in order to make you girls slimmer and more attractive to us he-men and mood altering drugs so that the daily hell that so many women experience as second-class citizens can be washed away with that wonderful old advice, "Don't worry! Be happy!". The message for women in America is crystal clear - "Just take the damn pill, woman, and shut up!"
Another interesting phenomena associated with the previously discussed two sides of the pharmaceutical coin is the very strange way that women can only receive their remedy by paying the fee to consult a physician and to take the time and energy to convince them to prescribe the drugs while men can now purchase Viagra directly off the Internet without the bother of actually even seeing a doctor let alone having to overcome the obstacle of proving a need for the drug.. I receive at least ten separate offers every week by e-mail directing me to various web sites where Viagra can be purchased with a credit card and sent to me in a "plain brown wrapper". Viagra has become the recreational drug of choice for thousands of men whose desire is not to cure a problem but simply to stay erect longer (an ability that many immature males falsely believe shows their superior potency but only shows their stupidity in taking superfluous drugs).
Now let's reexamine the politics of our insane War on Americans Who Use the Wrong Drugs.
Two states that I am currently aware of have voted overwhelmingly to deregulate the use of marijuana when prescribed by a licensed physician to alleviate the many debilitating and lethal side effects of chemo-therapy or any other use that has been proven effective by scientific studies. In San Francisco, California (the last bastion of the historically progressive and caring attitudes that characterized the entire state until Ronald Reagan was elected and destroyed any possibility of intelligent thought or debate for the next thirty years) Marijuana clubs opened up to cater to the now legalized uses of marijuana, their clientele being made up of mostly cancer patients, both male and female, the vast majority of middle age to elderly.
Were these clubs harming anyone? Was there even a shred of evidence that they were serving unqualified individuals without physician instructions? Was there even any evidence that the marijuana being dispensed was finding its way out of the clubs or the hands of those to whom it was given? The answer to every one of those questions is a resounding and firm No!
Nevertheless, the reaction from that perfect example of the phrase "ignorant Republican", California's own Attorney General Dan Lungren, immediately set up meetings with every law enforcement agency in the state and asked but one question, "How do we continue the War on Drugs in the face of Prop 215?" The agencies, nearly unanimously, stated that they would wait for clarification from the federal agencies and Congress before they acted against any of the new cottage industries that had sprouted up in the San Francisco area. Naturally, Lungren stood back and waited for the federal officials to clarify their positions, right? That is, indeed, a rhetorical question because, as this space has so often shown, the two words "Republican" and "intelligent" can seldom be found occupying the same space and time continuum.
Instead, Lungren ordered the San Francisco Police Dept. that he wanted the clubs closed. Naturally, they refused since, one, they were more intelligent than he and, two, they simply stated that the law in California had changed and until it was found to be unconstitutional by a court of law, their oaths of office required them to uphold that law. Undaunted, Lungren then ordered the California Highway Patrol to do his nefarious bidding and, naturally, they refused for the same reasons given by the SFPD and added the rather obvious fact that the clubs were not on a California highway nor could they be expected to be there any time soon. Now furious, Lungren decided to just ignore the law and the courts entirely and went to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) whose charter apparently has never included fealty to laws and the voice of the people and who make Republican yahoos look reasonable on the subject of so-called illegal drugs. These thugs immediately donned their best riot gear (bullet proof vests, helmets with bullet proof visors, heavy steel-toed black boots), drove to their intended target in a battering ram type tank and, upon arrival, attacked the open glass door with hand held battering rams, breaking the glass in the windows and open entrance door, flung middle aged and elderly women against the walls, handcuffed them and confiscated all of the shop's marijuana stock. These brave and noble officers dragged these defenseless women to the nearest federal building where they were booked on charges of possession of a controlled substance and held until they could post bail. (Don't you feel just all warm and fuzzy knowing that those dangerous middle aged and elderly cancer and AIDS patients were rounded up by these brave men of our federal law enforcement?)
The upshot, of course, is that the proposition will soon make its way to the U.S. Supreme Court where the five conservative judges appointed by Reagan and Bush are undoubtedly drooling at the chance to once again criminalize the largest portion of America possible. These futures of these innocent and very ill people will probably be moot as the majority will be dead by the time the case is finally decided.
Gentle readers, the reality is that the long fought War on Americans Who Use the Wrong Drugs has not only been lost but the costs to the American taxpayer and the massive number of human casualties have been enormous and unforgivable. There is no winning strategy and all future attacks against the American people will only make the situation worse. The unbelievable growth in the useless prison construction and the outrageous costs to the taxpayers to staff these unnecessary edifices has been exposed only as a conservative's way to steal any remaining crumb left in state and federal budgets for programs that benefit only those who truly need the relief and to transfer those funds into the pockets of Corporate America's owners who, surprise - surprise, also own our government.
America must wake up and demand that an open and intelligent debate be initiated on this important subject, one in which scientific facts are used for the basis of the arguments and one where the emotional garbage that the inane DARE program forces upon our children is forbidden unless their claims can be corroborated with facts born out by the scientific methods and studies conducted using only the procedures which prove reality and not predetermined politically desired outcomes. Until discussions using these fundamental and common sense principles are allowed, then the alcohol and tobacco and pharmaceutical industry will continue to hold Americans hostage to the prison industry and the nation hostage to an exorbitant and damaging war. (2, 3, 4)
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