July 24, 2006

an electrical storm has caught us in a trap


kirsten everberg, Staircase (Concert Hall), 2005

* Top ten conservative idiots. excerpt:

2. George W. Bush

"George W. Bush vetoed his first bill last week, and somewhat unsurprisingly it was a bill which would have given hope to millions of people who suffer from incurable diseases. Can't have that, can we?

"Bush vetoed the bi-partisan stem cell research bill (which passed the Senate by 63 votes to 37) because apparently he's the most moral president ever and thinks that life is so sacred that performing revolutionary medical research on invisible clumps of cells is equivalent to walking up to someone and shooting them in the face. (But -and I must stress this point - it's not the same as dropping bombs on civilians. That's called 'collateral damage in the fight for freedom.')

"Strangely, while announcing the veto, Bush chose to surround himself with families who have all benefited from embryonic research and the destruction of numerous blastocysts. (Or as Tony Snow might put it, the mass-murder of defenseless babies.) The families had created so-called 'snowflake babies' by 'adopting' embryos which had been created during the in vitro-fertilization process, a medical procedure which, curiously, is championed by the very same people who think stem cell research is conducted via satanic ritual.

"There are around 400,000 blastocysts currently stored in deep-freeze; the by-products of IVF treatment. Before the president vetoed the stem-cell research bill, they could have been used to search for cures for diabetes, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, and many other devastating illnesses. Now he's vetoed the bill, there are two options remaining: they can either be adopted, or thrown in the trash.

"And incidentally, when the snowflake families 'adopted' their embryos they had to go through the normal IVF procedure, which involves implanting several blastocysts into the womb in the hope that one will turn into a baby.

"The other blastocysts? Let's just call them 'collateral damage in the fight for fertilization.'"

* Washington Times column: Legalize Drugs. excerpt:

"Our drug war constitutes an assault on individual liberty, privacy and choice, from both the left and right. Liberals fight for a woman's right to abortion and conservatives go to the ramparts to defend gun owners, but both agree to throw into prison an adult who smokes dried, leafy vegetation. With impunity, we can drink ourselves stupid and destroy our lungs with tobacco. But using a recreational substance as old as wine will get us jailed.

"Waste of treasury. When our resources should be directed at lawful attempts to keep dangerous politicized religious fanatics from entering our country, we spend tens of billions futilely trying to interdict chemicals, most of which, in moderation, are demonstrably no more harmful to the body than alcohol and tobacco.

"Government-created violent black market. Alcohol did not create Al Capone. Prohibition created Al Capone, with the mayhem, official corruption and murder that accompanied the 18th Amendment. And cocaine does not create drug cartels. America's War on Drugs creates drug cartels.

"Government violence against its own people. With guns blazing, law enforcement agencies not only deny life, liberty and property to those who work in the government stimulated black market; they rack up untold 'collateral damage,' maiming and killing innocent bystanders, in countless stings gone bad.

"Promoting disrespect for the rule of law. With millions of Americans scoffing at the China-like oppressiveness of the War on Drugs, our policies undermine respect for the rule of law and our democratic policy-making institutions. As the drug warriors clog our courts and fill our jails, we disrupt the lives of the poor and the powerless, who can't afford crafty lawyers and have no political connections.

"Health harm creation. Perhaps most important, our policy is creating untold health harm to millions, particularly the young. We educate them about the responsible use of two potentially very dangerous, but legal, substances, but we try our best to keep them ignorant of the real effects, and side effects, of other psychoactives. While hundreds of thousands die each year from the short- and long-term health damage of alcohol and tobacco, no one succumbs to marijuana, and remarkably few die from other illegal drugs."
...
"I understand how difficult it will be to return to drug policy sanity. I had jury duty this summer and was sent out on a panel for a case of marijuana possession with intent to distribute. I wasn't chosen for the jury, but it made me realize how much the Drug War Industrial Complex has to lose if we change our laws. Probably a third of the jobs in that courthouse would disappear. Thousands of lawyers, prosecutors, DEA agents, and prison guards would have to find productive employment. Local law enforcement offices would lose much of their federal funding for high-tech toys.

"But America would be a less violent and healthier nation. Billions fewer tax dollars would be disbursed as welfare to the legal industries formed around the drug war. And official corruption, stimulated by the lucrative black market we have created with our policies, would diminish, not just in Colombia, Mexico and Afghanistan, but right here in America."

* "Everything one invents is true, you may be perfectly sure of that. Poetry is as precise as geometry." -Gustave Flaubert

* New Pernice Brothers video.

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