I have to admit that, even with all its problems, including technical difficulties, privacy concerns, or an outright censorship, as was the case with "Just Say Now" Campaign, I still love the Facebook. Facebook provides a forum for millions of people to communicate, organize, advocate for "causes", share their worries and beliefs, or simply be heard on a vast array of issues. For me this is especially fascinating, as I remember well another time and another place, which was the Soviet Communist Empire, where human rights advocates had to re-write forbidden books and other news on scraps of paper, even on cigarette papers, (something that was called "Sumizdat" or "self-publishing"), and circulate those materials among their supporters, always in fear that the KGB would catch up with them and accuse them of "anti-Soviet propaganda", an offense that carried a five-year sentence in the GULAG, as a minimum. When Arkady Shevchenko, a high-ranking diplomat who was the Soviet Ambassador to the United Nations, no less, defected to the United States in 1978, he said that he was "breaking with Moscow" because the Soviet system was "against the human nature". I myself strongly believe that the subsequent collapse of the Soviet Communist Empire was caused, among other reasons, by millions of people feeling "trapped", repressed, hopeless, demoralized, alienated....
Indeed, when large numbers of people feel "trapped" in any society, including the United States itself, to a point where they simply lose hope, such a situation gives rise to highly negative, and often unpredictable, social consequences. Stigmatization and "alienation" play an important role in an inevitable eventual "explosion" which can take many forms, one of which may even be stealing of the highly sensitive secret information and giving it to the "whistle-blower" website, WikiLeaks, thus inflicting a serious damage to the United States' interests on a global scale.
On or about 11-18-10, a preliminary confirmation hearing was held in the US Senate for Michele Leonhart, a known anti-scientific Cannabis/Medicinal Cannabis prohibitionist who single-handedly suppressed important scientific research into the medicinal properties of the Cannabis plant, including in January of this year from the University of Massachusetts. Agent Leonhart is a well-known anti-scientific despot, who is actually a "leftover" from the Bush Administration, and whom President Obama saw fit to nominate as the next "head" of the DEA despite vigorous protests from human rights groups and many members of scientific community, and from practically entire Democratic "base" that helped elect the current President, who ran in 08 on a message of "hope" and "returning the country back to its people". Nominating someone like Leonhart as a future "head" of the DEA does not inspire hope, and neither does it serve to "return this country to its people". Not when, according to a recent research by the University of Iowa, 65% of the US population support the Medicinal Cannabis Legalization, while Leonhart promised a continuing DEA repression with respect to this ancient herbal remedy that has been considered "medicine" for thousands of years.
During the Senate hearing, Leonhart and an extreme right-winger, Senator Sessions (R-AL), publicly "stroked" each other invoking imaginary "social costs" of Cannabis/Medicinal Cannabis Legalization. Leonhart even promised to disregard the Administration's own directive of 10-19-09 to defer to the State Laws when it comes to the Medicinal Cannabis, which was, in my view, a public defiance towards her own superiors; this certainly reminded me of the "State within the State" that was KGB in the former Soviet Empire which defended the unsustainable Marxist "dogmas" with such a vigor that occasionally it was hard to decide who was ruling the Empire - the Kremlin or the "Moscow Center". Let's hope that there has been no "coup d'etat" in this country which could make it possible for Leonhart and for the DEA to publicly challenge their superiors in the Justice Department. Speaking of which I certainly hope that, during the upcoming full Senate Confirmation Hearings, the Senators from States which Legalized Medicinal Cannabis make their Constituents, whom they claim to “represent”, be heard on this Federal level.
Indeed, it is becoming harder and harder for the "Leonharts" to uphold the "dogma" in "defense" of Cannabis illegality. It is now a fairly common knowledge as to how Cannabis Medicinal Plant became illegal in the first place, and how this "illegality" has been supported by the Prison-Industrial Complex for its own nefarious ends for decade after decade. The "father" of Marijuana Prohibition, Harry Anslinger, was not especially "shy" when he articulated his "reasoning" for outlawing and demonizing the Plant:
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.” And also:
“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”
Harry Anslinger said many other things, equally revolting, but we already have an idea, even based on those two examples.
When the reputable Shafer Commission decisively recommended to President Nixon to decriminalize marijuana, as it's "dangers" were nowhere near being enough to justify overriding the "Presumption of Liberty" of the Citizens with respect to cultivation and consuming the Plant, President Nixon blatantly disregarded the Commission's findings, saying to his Chief of Staff H.R. Heldeman that "Every one of the bastards out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish". So, here we go: two racist, crooked, unsavory individuals, Harry Anslinger and Richard Nixon, shoved the Cannabis illegality down America's throat, while their "ideological heir", Agent Leonhart and her "crowd" vow to continue with this ridiculous prohibition.
There have been the statements of truth and reason, however, including from Professor of psychiatry Lester Grinspoon, who said to the L. A. times in 2005:
“Cannabis will one day be seen as a wonder drug, as was penicillin in the 1940s. Like penicillin, herbal marijuana is remarkably nontoxic, has a wide range of therapeutic applications and would be quite inexpensive if it were legal”.
Even earlier, in 1988, Administrative Law Judge Francis Young said that
"Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man".
Far from following this judicial decision, the DEA refused to follow the Judge's recommendation of re-classifying Cannabis as a therapeutic substance and only intensified the repression, while also "demonizing" Judge Young and his opinion. But the information about remarkable medicinal properties of the Cannabis Plant could not be contained by the DEA and its prohibitionist allies! Fifteen States and the District of Columbia now have passed laws Legalizing the Medicinal Cannabis in those States. A recent CNBC documentary, "Marijuana USA" is a fairly accurate description of the positive role that Cannabis/Medicinal Cannabis Industry plays in the middle of this economic recession. There was a significant inaccuracy in the Documentary, however, as the Historic Proposition 19 in California, which would have Legalized personal Cannabis possessions in that State, was defeated by a margin of less than 4%, and not by a 9% margin, as the Documentary reported. California voters also were quite decisive in sending a clear signal that they were against strangling of the Medicinal Cannabis industry, advocated by a rabid prohibitionist, Steve Cooley, who was defeated by Progressive Kamala Harris, not an enemy of Medicinal Cannabis. Her election was also a sign of approval by the voters in California of the recently passed new Law in the State fully decriminalizing minor Cannabis possessions by individuals! To be sure, Bill 1449 to that effect was signed by the Governor into Law in California on 9-30-10. Those who truly impressed the heck out of me, however, were the Conservative voters of Arizona who rejected their politicos’ unified rant against Medicinal Cannabis and voted to Legalize it in their State on November 2!
Unfortunately, the Medicinal Cannabis Legalization Movement recently suffered a setback in Illinois where the State Representatives bowed to scare-tactics and enormous pressure by the dogmatic prohibitionists and defeated the Medicinal Cannabis legislation on 11-30-10, as the sick people watched how their hopes for relief were crashed by the fear-mongering despots.
How can the people NOT feel "trapped" under these circumstances?! Under the deplorable state of affairs when cancer, multiple sclerosis, or glaucoma patients cannot legally receive their medicine on account of racist and anti-Semitic ideologies of Harry Anslinger and Richard Nixon, while the DEA and its allies use a perfectly "circular argument" saying basically that "marijuana is illegal because....it is illegal, and nothing is to be done about it!" People of this country cannot simply acquiesce to this nonsense! Even the progressive politicians, like the new Attorney-General Elect of California Kamala Harris, are beginning to listen, as she has stated that she has personally known people who are helped by the Medicinal Cannabis! Well then, Ms. Harris, this means that remarkable medicinal properties of the Cannabis Plant have been "empirically" proven to you, and that, as far as you are concerned, Cannabis IS a Medicinal Plant, because under the First Law of Logic it can either be or not be a Medicinal Plant... there is no "middle" that is possible here!
But let's take a look at the enemies of democracy like Sen. Sessions, many other Republicans (and some Democrats) in Congress and the "hate-groups" that support them. Indeed, Sessions and Company come out against the Human Rights legislation in many areas, not just on Medicinal Cannabis! The Republicans just voted down the repeal of "Don't ask, don't tell" despite 73% of the voters, and the Pentagon, being in favor of the repeal of DADT. It seems that Gay people cannot even die for these scoundrels while being true to their own Nature...
Or let's look at the hate groups, such as "Family Research Council" and "Heritage Foundation". These groups are the stale remnants of the infamous "Moral Majority" of Jerry Falwell which now advocate against ALL the progressive issues and ALL the human rights Initiatives; they are against Reproductive Freedom, Gay Rights, Stem-Cell Research, Immigration Reform, or Cannabis/Medicinal/Cannabis freedom! I often want to say to President Obama and his Administration that since the "hate groups" are so wrong on all other major social issues, the "epistemic presumption" should be made that they are also wrong about Medicinal Cannabis! And yet again, who is their biggest supporter? The arch-hawk Senator Sessions, who else!
During the Senate Confirmation Hearings, and this little "I love you" - " I Iove you back" spectacle between Sen. Sessions and Agent Leonhart, the latter said something about "social costs" of marijuana. Social costs of Legalization? You've got to be kidding, Agent Leonhart! It is when people feel "trapped" because of the despots like you, the social costs are enormous; social costs of hopelessness, anger, alienation, perceiving DEA and other "law enforcement" as enemies to be avoided at all costs, instead of being friends and allies to be supported, praised and valued! You may think, Agent Leonhart, that if you just intensify the repression, if you just criminalize and imprison even more people in this country, your "dogma" about Cannabis will be strengthened. This attitude has been tried in many different societies, and it simply does not work! When a lot of people feel "trapped", the collapse is inevitable, sooner or later!
It is noteworthy that the right-wing extremists like Senator Sessions are also against the "Dream" Act that would allow young people who were brought into this country as children, and who broke no laws in this country, to have a "path" to legal status. In this, as in everything else, Sen. Sessions and his Republican allies are just as callous and obstructionist as they are about everything else! These people, and not WikiLeaks, are, in my humble opinion, the true enemies of Democracy!
And now a couple of words about WikiLeaks. There are right-wingers in this country, people like Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, Joe Lieberman and, of course, Senator Sessions, who are calling for criminal prosecution of WikiLeaks. What I am worried about as a Cannabis Freedom Advocate is that any interference with free flow of information on the Web will lead to an ever-increasing Government control and censorship of the Internet content. This would be an extremely ominous development, as "yesterday" it was WikiLeaks that needed to be prosecuted, "today" it is already some of the news media in this country such as N.Y. Times and Washington Post, and "tomorrow" it will be all the "content" on the Internet that the Government may deem "undesirable"! Some people think that it would take a giant step from destroying WikiLeaks to destroying the rest of the Internet Freedom, but those people are sadly mistaken: that would be a very small step indeed, the "step" that can be made practically overnight, with the United States becoming a "closed society", which will then crumble into dust sooner, rather than later, just like all other repressive Empires that rose, declined and fell throughout history!