Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Twisting With Hamid the Night Away, Rocky Mountain Highs

Kathleen Parker
Dana Milbank
Andrew Kramer

"The debate over whether Americans ought to have the right to be stupid -- or to make other people seem more interesting -- continues apace after 40 years of the (failed) "war on drugs." - Kathleen Parker
"The United States has the most privatized health-care system in the advanced world, and also the least efficient."  - Paul Krugman

The big story today is that the runoff election will happen in Afghanistan. No big deal, we have them all the time. But its a big deal in a country rated as having the fifth most corrupt government in the world. Senator John Kerry spent the last five days working on Hamid Karzai to accept the election committee's findings and have the runoff. I think Kerry threatened to bring his wife and move in with Karzai until he changed his mind... The unsettling part is how Kerry and Hillary Clinton had to buddy up to Hamid and confess their own electorial defeats and in Kerry's case, allegations of fraud in Ohio. Hey, don't feel bad about being a loser...

The UN had to be embarrassed into action, when an American whistleblower was fired after he accused his boss of withholding information of fraud, afraid to confront Mr Karzai. Then, pressure was on the Afghani election committee to accept the UN recount. The Obama administration favored creating a coalition government, with Karzai sharing with his hated rival, Abdullah Abdullah, but it has been pointed out that it is against the Afghan Constitution."Mr. Abdullah said he had received a telephone call Tuesday from President Obama. He said President Obama congratulated him on the results and thanked him for his conduct during the election. But he said the president did not ask him to join in a coalition with Mr. Karzai. “I am not under any pressure from the international community for any scenario,”

The real problem will be to get involvement in the runoff by the population. Its hoped that this would re-establish faith in the government as a democratic entity, when most people see it as a means to corruption, bribery, and amassing wealth illegally. Yeah, they pretty much have it right. Nobody has asked people in the villages what they think except for some soldiers, and nobody has bothered to ask the soldiers what they think about the war, so we have a rather large group of opinions that are being ignored. As always... It remains to be seen if the UN will monitor the runoff elections, the Afghan election committee may not allow it. Mr Karzai has appointed almost all of the committee members, so he has a stake in local control. In solidarity with the Afghan people, I propose that Mr Karzai duct tape his brother to a chair and televise it for the length of the election. It may do the most to legitimize it, and I propose a campaign slogan: Too Legit to Sit...

Its interesting that most of the constructive diplomatic work has been done by John Kerry, Jim Webb, Bill Richardson, and Bill Clinton instead of the special envoys and ambassadors. It's good these people have created special relationships that we can take advantage of. They are all Democrats, perhaps we can find some Republicans who have forged a special bond with other right wing dictators and take advantage of them, in the spirit of bi-partisanship, of course.

rocky mountain high, Colorado...
Guess I'm going to have to change what I write about and apply for a new job at the paper Westworld. They are going to hire a critic of the medical marijuana dispensaries that are popping up all over the state. This will be a popular column, especially after the Federal government publicized its new wide stance of tolerance towards the medical marijuana industry. I'm waiting for the special Consumer's Digest issue, with their Pot Poll...

I've actually been toying with the idea of becoming a user of medical marijuana. I have consistent lower back pain 24/7, and now the cortisone injections I had several weeks ago are wearing off. It was nice to have had the pain lessened, I walked straighter, took stairs more confidently, and my grumpiness took on a silver lining. The only other thing that helped was smoking some marijuana before I went to sleep before I discovered tramadol, a non-narcotic pain reliever. But in the interests of journalism I could convert back, pun intended.

The Colorado Attorney General is worried that the rise of marijuana dispensaries is causing a rise in crime, and that they are turning to the dreaded Mexican drug cartels to restock supplies: "Still, in an attempt to undermine what Kriho sees as scare tactics, Cannibis Therapy Institute is encouraging caregivers to take a new pledge -- to Always Buy Colorado cannabis.

According to Kriho, Mexican cannabis is a snap to identify. "They compress it into large bricks," she says. "You can tell the difference immediately." Moreover, she argues that alleged shortages are fictional. "I just talked to a dispensary owner in Nederland, and he said there's actually a surplus at this point. It's harvest season, and everybody's harvested their outdoor crop. He said he's had people coming in to try to sell him locally grown cannabis."

Given this evidence, Kriho believes "the attorney general and the DEA are working off the fear factor, trying to make the public afraid of problems that don't even exist at this point." Sometimes, being patriotic to your home state seems like the right thing to do... Support here for medical marijuana comes from all sides of the political spectrum, even from those who have never inhaled. Personally, if it can help those who suffer from acute chronic pain, then let's give the stuff away for free. If you have ever been in a hospital setting where people are literally crying out because they are in pain, it strains the limits of compassion. And if it could be an alternative to getting those people in the hospitals addicted to morphine and other, stronger painkillers, let's use it in as many theraputic settings as possible. Just keep it away from your kids...

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