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Updated:  August 30, 2006

REGIME CHANGE NEEDED AT HOME

by Robert Halfhill

Home

Regime Change Needed At Home

Why Do You Cling To A Religion That Has Burned You At The Stake For 2000 Years

Military Tribunals Are A Security Threat

Bombing Civilians Not "Eye For Eye"

Oil, Empire and Lies

No Pledge Of Allegiance

Historical Bigotry

Police Brutality

Marijuana And Medicine

Pro-Medical Marijuana Letter to MN Legislators

An Agnostic's Reply

OpEd and TruthOut's Kennedy Article Leave No Excuse For Indecision About Theft Of '00 and '04 Elections

Malign Intent Behind Conservative Philosophy

Page 2

Illumination

An Open Letter To Senator Michele Bachmann, RE: Same-Sex Marriage

9/11 Allowed To Occur

9/11: Further Replies

The Folly of Lesser-Evilism

Gay Marriage:  The Afghanistan Connection

We Should Be Mad As Hell And Refuse To Take It Anymore

Lavender Debate On Supporting Democrats

Page 3

Reply To Green Theists

Mpls. City Councilor, Lisa Goodman No Friend of Northwest Airlines Mechanics

Human Rights Complaint To Amnesty International and U.N.

More Amnesty International

Holberg Learns What It's Like To Be Treated Unfairly By The Majority

Minnesota Supreme Court--33 Years of Homophobic Rulings

Links:

The Pen


To email Robert Halfhill CLICK HERE.

By ordering the American people to not finish counting the Florida Ballots in the 2000 election, the U.S. Supreme Court installed a President who not only did not have a majority of the popular votes---he did not even have a majority of the electoral votes!  Since democratic legitimacy is given only to governments who are elected by majority vote, the government of George II has no more democratic legitimacy than that of George III.  A coup by judicial fiat is as illegitimate as a coup by military might; if five generals had carried out a military putsch and ordered us to stop counting the votes in the 2000 election, the government they installed would have been no less illegitimate than our present government installed by five black-robed Neanderthals who sit on our Supreme Court.  It should be obvious to everyone that even if we were living in a democracy, we no longer are. And if it were really true that Osama Bin Laden carried out the World Trade Center atrocity because he "hates freedom," he was operating under a misapprehension.

THE SUPREME INJUSTICES THEREFORE PUT AN ILLEGAL GOVERNMENT IN POWER IN 2000 THROUGH WHAT MIGHT AS WELL HAVE BEEN A MILITARY COUP.

And, the conclusion that the government of George II is illegitimate follows from a complete ballot recount without even considering that African Americans were systematically disenfranchised through inaccurate lists of who was not eligible to vote because of a felony conviction and inaccurate and cumbersome voting machines being predominantly located in African American precincts.

In their order forbidding us to complete the recount of the Florida ballots, the Supreme Court hid behind a smokescreen of confusing legal legerdemain when it ruled that it would not be possible to have a fair statewide recount because the Florida counties had different methods of tabulating ballots, differing between hand counting, punch card machines, laser scanning, etc.  If the Supreme Court Injustices alleged reason for interfering with the election had been anything other than strained and specious reasoning designed to reach a predetermined conclusion, then all the recounts we have had since 1787 would have been invalid because the counties did not have uniform ways of tabulating the ballots.  If we accept the Supreme Court's ruling that the counties' differing methods of counting the ballots made it impossible to have a recount without violating the equal protection clause of the constitution, then every statewide recount we have had since 1787 has violated the equal protection clause.

The news media promised to conduct their own recount of the votes and the
Star Tribune published the long awaited results on November 12, 2001.  Their headline could not have been more misleading if it had been written by Bush publicists.  "In partial recount, Bush wins, review finds." (my emphasis) the Star Tribune headline trumpeted.  But as we read further, we find that in all the scenarios in which all the votes were counted, in which there was a complete recount, Gore won.                               

The news media considered what the outcome of the 2000 election would have been under six alternative ways of tabulating the ballots.  They called their first alternative the
Prevailing Standard under which all punch card votes were counted if at least one corner of the chad was detached or there was an affirmative mark, such as a checkmark, on the optical scan ballot.  Under this scenario, all the votes were counted in a consistent manner and Bush/Cheney received 2,916,397 votes and Gore/Lieberman received 2,916,457 votes.  This was a scenario in which all the votes were counted under consistent standards and Gore/Lieberman won by 60 votes.

Under an alternative the media called
Least Restrictive, under which a dimple on a punch card or any mark on an optical scan ballot was counted, Bush/Cheney received 2,924,588 votes and Gore/Lieberman received 2,924,695 votes.  Under this alternative in which all the votes were counted in a consistent manner, Gore/Lieberman won by 107 votes.

Under an alternative the media called
Most Restrictive, under which a complete punch for a punch card (no chads) or a completely filled oval for an optical scan were counted, although pencil marks on punch cards were also accepted, Bush/Cheney received 2,915,130 votes and Gore/Lieberman received 2,915,245 votes.  Again, under a scenario in which all the votes were counted in a consistent manner, Gore/Lieberman won by 115 votes.

Under a fourth alternative the news media called
Two Corners, at least two corners of a chad on a punch card ballot was detached or any affirmative mark on an optical scan ballot was counted, Bush/Cheney received 2,916,324 votes and Gore/Lieberman received 2,916,429 votes.  Again, under an alternative under which all the votes were counted in a consistent manner, Gore/Lieberman won by 105 votes.  THIS WAS THE ALTERNATIVE THAT BUSH ATTORNEYS HAD ARGUED FOR DURING THE COURT BATTLE OVER THE FLORIDA RECOUNT.

Under a fifth alternative the news media called
Supreme Court Simple, an attempt was made to determine the voters intent in all undervotes in Florida in which the voting machines could not detect any choice for President in all counties except for three counties and 139 precincts in Dade County that had already completed hand recounts.  This scenario attempted to use a range of standards for tabulating ballots used in the various counties.  This recount was incomplete in that it did not include all Florida counties (i.e. the three Florida counties and the 139 precincts in Dade County) and inconsistent in that it used the differing standards in different counties.  Under this incomplete and inconsistent recount, Bush/Cheney received 2,915,438 votes and Gore/Lieberman received 2,914,998 votes and Bush/Cheney won by 430 votes.

In a sixth alternative the news media called
Supreme Court Complex, again all votes were counted except in the three counties and 139 precincts in Dade County that had already completed hand recounts.  Even less attempt was made to adhere to a uniform statewide method for tabulating ballots.  Supreme Court Complex scenario applies "various standards according to how individual counties interpreted the court order," whereas the previous Supreme Court Simple scenario "attempts to implement the court order using a range of uniform standards."  If it used "a range of standards," it cannot be the same one standard used in all cases.  Yet if they are "uniform," it can only mean uniform for each individual county.  Under this incomplete and even less consistent recount, Bush/Cheney received 2,916,559 votes and Gore/Lieberman received 2,916,066 votes and Bush/Cheney won by 493 votes.

And then there was the official certified count in which there was no attempt to complete the vote count.  Bush/Cheney received 2,912,790 votes and Gore/Lieberman received 2,912,253 votes. 
Under this most incomplete of all vote count alternatives, Bush/Cheney won by 537 votes.

And, according to the March 11, 2001
Star Tribune, the confusing "butterfly ballot" used in Palm Beach County, Florida cost Gore/Lieberman at least 6,541 votes.

Bush Republicans tell us, "Bush won, so get over it!"  No one should get over a military coup or its equivalent by judicial fiat.  It is incumbent upon all American citizens to fight for our supposed democracy---to restore it if we ever had it, or to create if we never had it.

Other people argue that "the Supreme Court had the right to order the vote counting stopped."  It is hard to discern from where this "right" comes since no provision of our constitution gives the Supreme Court any "right" to nullify lawfully and fairly tabulated elections.  Others argue that the Supreme Court is the final arbiter of constitutional questions so "the constitution means whatever the Supreme Court says it is."  But this cannot be true since, if the supreme Court were to outlaw, for instance, the Presbyterian Church, such an outlawing would clearly contradict the written text of the constitution where it says in Amendment I that Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof"  If a future Supreme Court were to make such a reactionary, corrupt, and venal ruling, that might be the ruling the governmental authorities put into effect and it would be in effect as long as the citizenry tolerated the continued existence of such a government.  But the ruling would clearly contradict what the constitution says.  In the same way, abrogating a free and fair election are powers that the constitution denied to any branch of government.

Others, argue that it would not have made any difference whether Bush or Gore had won and that we shouldn't waste our energies being angry about the outcome.  While many of us may already know this is true, the sarcastic statement that "It is a good thing we didn't all vote for Nader and let Bob Dole win in 1996 because Bob Dole would have ended welfare as we know it!"  says it all. 

But such people have gotten so far ahead of the majority of Americans that they cannot communicate with them and they have deprived those of us who want democratic government of our strongest argument for reaching them.  The majority of Americans still believe that our government is chosen by majority vote in a fair election (except for the anomalies that occasionally happen with the Electoral College) and they will be extremely distressed when they learn this is not true.  Their illusions about our system and its supposed "liberty and justice for all" will begin to be shattered.

The Declaration of Independence states "That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive to these ends," (i.e. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness) it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."  Two sentences later, the Declaration says respecting the people "...it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security."

The American news media cheered on the Serbian people when they took to the streets when Milosevic tried to steal the Serbian elections.  They cheered them on even more when the majority of Serbians forced Milosevic from office.  It is no less the RIGHT and DUTY of American citizens to take to the streets to reclaim, or claim for the first time, our government.  We need regime change no less than the people of Iraq, whether it be regime change for the Bush/Cheney administration or regime change for the black-robed, venal Neanderthals sitting on the Supreme Court who have nullified our election of 2000 A.D. and stolen the power to select the President and Vice President for themselves.


Letter to Roger Morgan, Jr., November 7, 2003


In regard to our discussion Saturday over my Regime Change pamphlet, the enclosed copy of the Constitution does verify my claim that "The United States shall guarantee every state in this union a republican form of government"  A republican form of government surely requires, ipso facto that citizens vote to select their governmental officials and that all their votes be counted fairly.  The "elections in the former Soviet Union in which the government always won 99 plus percent of the vote does not qualify as republican by the very meaning of the word "republican."  This quote is from Article IV, Section 4 of the Constitution.  And Article IV, Section 2 requires that "The citizens of each state shall be entitled to all the privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states."  "Privileges" surely includes the right to vote and the right to have all the votes counted fairly; otherwise the "right" to vote is meaningless.  Article IV is on Page 6.

The last Presidential election is the first time the Supreme Court has actually abrogated an election.  Rutherford B. Hayes was called Rutherfraud B. Hayes after the election of 1876 but, at the time, there was no law against Hayes and Tilden trading their electoral votes.  The election of 2000 is the first time the Supreme Court has actually done something actually illegal.  The danger is that once having seized this power, they are more likely to do it again.  If the Supreme Court continues to overturn the results of popular elections or forbids them from being completed by halting the counting of votes, there will be no democratic, nonviolent way in which the citizens can change their government.  It will be necessary to have "an extraconstitutional moment" during which the nine black-robed buffoons sitting on the present Supreme Court are ridden on a rail over the Potomac Bridge out of the district of Colombia and a new Supreme Court whose members are untainted by legal sophistry and antidemocratic reactionary views is constituted anew!


WHY DO YOU CLING TO A RELIGION THAT HAS BURNED YOU AT THE STAKE FOR 2000 YEARS?

by Robert Halfhill

The absurdity of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders and Intersexed people continuing to cling to a religion that has burned GLBTI's alive for two thousand years can be illustrated most vividly through an alternate time line story, a device used in science fiction in which the fictional story happens in a world in which some important historical event turned out differently than it turned out in our time line.

In our imagined time line, the Nazis won World War II.  The few Jews who survived had to practice their religion and culture in secret, underground, and in effect had to operate as secret societies.  But, after two thousand years, the Nazis split into competing sects and slowly mellowed.  By the 3900s and 4000s A.D., some Jews were able to come out of hiding and openly fight for equal rights.  But after 2000 years of going through the motions of being Nazis, many Jews had come to really believe in Nazism and thought it was possible to be both Jewish and Nazi.  They formed groups such as the Metropolitan Community Nazis and the Spirit of the Lakes Nazis.  Some Jews tried to reinterpret 2000 year old Nazi writings as not really being anti-Jewish and even tried to show that Adolph Hitler's
Mein Kanpf was not anti-Semitic when properly reinterpreted.  This "scholarship" reached its high point with the publication of Jewish scholar John Wishwell's Nazism, Social Tolerence and Judaism.

Does this alternate time line story about Jewish Nazism seem ridiculous?  Well, it is no more ridiculous than GLBTI's clinging to the religion that has burned them alive for 2000 years and the strained and convoluted attempts to reinterpret Bible verses as not really anti-Gay than the strained and convoluted attempts of Jews on our alternate time line to reinterpret
Mein Kanpf as not really anti-Semitic.

In a second alternate time line story, the Ku Klux Klan seized power.  The few African Americans who survived had to hide in the deepest swamps and most isolated mountains.  But after 2000 years, the Klan mellowed and split into separate sects.  African Americans emerged from hiding and began to fight for equal rights.  But after 2000 years, most African Americans had come to believe in the Ku Klux Klan and tried to argue that there was no contradiction in being a Black Klansman.  African Americans began to form their own Klan sects such as the Metropolitan Community Klan and the Spirit of the Lakes Klan.  African Americans tried to reinterpret Kan writings as not really anti-Black and this trend culminated with the publication of John Bloswell's
Klanism, Social Tolerence and PanAfricanism.

Rididculous, you say?  Well, no more ridiculous than GLBTI's arguing that Christianity is not really anti-GLBTI.  Being a Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender or Intersexed Christian
REALLY IS no different than being a Jewish Nazi or a Black Klansman!  And finally, why not base your ethics and life goals on humanity's experience on what helps or hurts in the real world instead of worrying about whether your desires meet the approval of what some people say are what some alleged Supernatural Being thinks, especially when you have not a shred of evidence for the existence of any such Being!


MILITARY TRIBUNALS ARE A SECURITY THREAT

by Robert Halfhill

Attorney General John Ashcroft and others have been defending the decision to institute military trials by arguing that the "terrorists" are not entitled to the protections afforded by due process and civil liberties.  It is not only "merit" that entitles the accused to due process but also the interests of the rest of us.  If the accused is not permitted to hear the evidence against him or her and present evidence in her or his own defense, we run the risk of convicting someone who is not guilty.  This would leave the person who actually is guilty free and able to inflict another terrorists act on the rest of us.  Due process thus defends the rest of us from being victimized again.

Another problem with arguing that the accused is not "entitled" to a fair trial is that before we have had the fair trial, we don't know if the accused is in fact guilty of terrorism, so by arguing that she or he is not "entitled" because he or she is guilty, we have begged the question by assuming what needed to be proven.

And finally, we are all entitled to not be convinced of something we didn't do and to live in a society where we don't have to worry about becoming one of the disappeared.  The United States has now joined Chile, Argentina and other dictatorships around the world by acquiring 1100 of the disappeared.

Supporters of military tribunals have argued that the O.J. Simpson case shows why we should not risk allowing civilian juries to try terrorists.  The prosecution failed in the O.J. Simpson case because the defense demonstrated that the police officer who first had contact with Simpson had virulently racist views and that the evidence was not kept in secure custody at all times.  Therefore, there was both the opportunity and motive for a frame-up.  My first reaction on hearing the charge of racism raised in the O.J. Simpson case was that is was playing the race card and that its only chance of success was because of dumb, guilt ridden, knee jerking liberals.  But after the defense brought out all its evidence, I had to conclude that while Simpson probably did it, in the sense that the probability of his quilt was greater that 50%, the presence of both the motive and the opportunity for a frame-up meant that there was not proof of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.  If I had been on the jury, I would have had to have voted for acquittal.  So if the government wants to avoid an O.J. Simpson like debacle in a future terrorist prosecution, all it has to do is keep its investigators free of the taint of racism and keep secure custody of the evidence according to accepted police procedure.

Upon rereading the U.S. Constitution, I could not find any clause authorizing the President to establish military tribunals.  Yet the Supreme Court has upheld presidents acting this way at least as far back as Lincoln abolishing the right of habeas corpus during the Civil War.  The Supreme Court has thus been planting the seeds of the destruction of whatever democracy we have since the Civil War.  Wars don't have time for due process.  But because of these past Supreme Court decisions, it will either require a new Supreme Court or constitutional amendments specifically outlawing the establishment of military tribunals by presidential fiat before we are free of our purported democracy's containing the seeds of its own destruction within itself.


BOMBING CIVILIANS NOT "EYE FOR EYE"

from:  Pulse
November 14, 2001

by Robert Halfhill

Contrary to the signs proclaiming "An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind" at the Sept. 27 antiwar demonstration at te State Capitol, any eye for an eye policy is a good way of deterring anyone from taking away your eyes the first time.  We cannot let someone kill 6,000 people without retaliating and it enrages me to hear people claim that we must.

Yet I supported and participated in the Sept. 27 antiwar demonstration and I will attend future demonstrations.  The only tactic that has a chance of defeating Osama bin Laden is to slip special forces into Afghanistan to capture or kill him.. Bombing mostly innocent Afghan civilians is a war crime and does nothing to further the capture or death of bin Laden.  I will not support the slaughter of thousands - or even millions if it continues long enough - and President Bush's policies will only provoke more of the bitter hatred that led to the atrocity at the World Trade Center.  The attack on the World Trade Center cannot be justified, of course, since most, if not all, of the victims of Sept. 11 had nothing to do with the U.S. policies that provoked such suicidal retaliation.  But then, President Bush's indiscriminate bombing and slaughter are unjustified for the same reason.


OIL, EMPIRE AND LIES

Response to Pro War Editorial in Lavender

by Robert Halfhill

February 24, 2003

The pro war editorial in the 2/22 - 3/6/03 Lavender urges:  "Let us go forward to liberate the people of Iraq from Saddam."  What the pro war editorial fails to mention, however, is that in 1991, the U.S. came within 100 hours of overthrowing Saddam and presumably, "liberating Iraq."  Yet the U.S. did not do so and, instead, left Saddam in power and imposed an economic blockade on Iraq which resulted, according to United Nations estimate, in the death of a million people from starvation and disease.  After the U.S. stopped short when it was within 100 hours of supposedly "liberating Iraq," it would be foolish to expect anything more than the installation of a puppet regime to provide the U.S. with cheap oil.  Since it only costs $10 to produce a barrel of oil while the present world price is around $35 per barrel, it should not be too difficult to imagine the economic boost for our flagging economy Bush hopes to gain from a enormous supply of oil at $25 per barrel below the world price.

Although there is no evidence that Saddam had anything to do with 9/11, the bush administration has used the terrorism on 9/11 to promote the hysterical view that Iraq is a deadly threat to the U.S.  When the U.N. inspectors were unable to find significant quantities of banned weapons in Iraq, the Bush administration claimed that this only showed how clever Iraq was at hiding them.  Or alternatively, that Saddam may get banned weapons someday so we must destroy him forthwith to forestall a catastrophic blow to this country.  And this deadly peril from a middle eastern dictatorship that is even weaker than it was in 1991.  But Bush intends to let no facts stand in the way of America's march to a new Roman Empire, with Iraq to be our first Asiatic province as Pergamum was for Rome.



Letter published in the October, 2003 Atheists For Human Rights newsletter.

by Robert Halfhill

The supporters of war with Iraq keep predicting that we will find the alleged Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction and gleefully anticipating the embarrassment we opponents of the war will feel once the oft promised WMD's are found.  This in spite of the fact that the United States has had unimpeded access to Iraq since the alleged end of the war and uranium reprocessing plants and chemical and biological weapons manufacturing facilities are large, bulky and hard to hide.

Given the war supporters blind faith that these WMD's will be found, I suggest they use the words of one of the earliest proponents of belief without evidence and define the Weapons of Mass Destruction in the words of the Apostle Paul in the first verse of the eleventh chapter of his Epistle to the Hebrews as "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen."  Adopting the words of the Apostle Paul in the twelfth verse of the thirteenth chapter of his first Epistle to the Corinthians and we can proclaim that "now we see through a glass darkly," but on that glorious day when Bush has smitten all the evildoers in the world, then we shall see "face to face."

Actually though, given the complete lack of evidence of any Iraqi Weapons of Mass Destruction, it might be better if we paraphrase Paul's words and define the Iraqi WMD's as the nonsubstance of things hoped for and the lack of evidence of things not seen.

And , given the Bush administration's denial that they ever claimed there were Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq, maybe we should now define the Iraqi WMD's as the nonsubstance of things never hoped for and the lack of evidence of things not seen.


NO PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE

Pledge Breeds False Patriotism

by Robert Halfhill

Letter to Minneapolis School Board 9/03

I am writing to dissent from the Minneapolis Board of Education's decision to not opt out of the state requirement that students recite the Pledge of Allegiance at least once every week.  I had the misfortune of being raised as a Jehovah's Witness.  The Jehovah's Witnesses refuse to salute the flag on the grounds that it is worshipping something besides God.  I am opposed to children who have the bad luck to be born into Jehovah's Witness families or families that teach their children not to say the Pledge for other reasons, being singled out while the rest of the class recites the pledge.

I remember my fifth grade teacher telling me I was going to say the Pledge because "we're Americans in here" and having to have my mother contact that teacher to explain why we would not salute the flag or say the Pledge.

I also remember my elementary school classmates holding my arm behind me in an attempt to force me to salute the flag.  They were not twisting my arm enough to be painful but I thought at the time that even if they did twist it enough to cause pain - or even break it - I would have to continue refusing to salute the flag or else lose my chance to live forever in a future paradise earth and instead be destroyed with the "wicked people" at the "Battle of Armageddon" when God would destroy this present wicked world prior to inaugurating his future paradise earth.

I became an Atheist at the age of 16.  I now object to the state imposed religious observance involved in including the word "under God" in the Pledge.  Lest you think I am nit picking over a point of no importance, I ask Christians to stop and think for a moment of how they would howl with protest if "under Allah" was substituted into the Pledge.  A few years later, I was able to move out of my parent's home.  Now that I had moved out on my own, I was able to live my life according to my own values and one of the first things I did was to become active in the Civil Rights movement.  I remember picketing a segregated swimming pool while a group of adolescent girls shouted "Russia needs you" in the fashion of high school cheerleaders.  I encountered the same right wing
superpatriotism when I became active against the war in Vietnam.  Although my values were completely different from when I was a fundamentalist Jehovah's Witness, I had the similar negative experiences with right wing superpatriotism that I had had as a fundamentalist Christian and so both my pre- and post-atheist experiences reinforced my negative opinion of right wing superpatriotism and showy public displays of patriotism.

Although I did not realize I was gay until the beginning of adolescence at 13, I was turned off even in elementary school by the jingoistic, hetero
pseudomasculinity that was part of the whole complex of things I had negative experiences with.  I still remember one boy machoing it up while one of my elementary school classes sang "My Country 'tis of Thee." 

I have come to realize how men in nation states machiong it up and putting on "manly" displays of aggression when confronting men in other nation states is just the machoing it up and aggressive displays of boys in rival gangs confronting one another writ large in the larger gang of the nation state.

There could not have been a stronger confirmation of the connection between macho violence and nation state patriotism if I had planned it myself when the students rioting and destroying property in Dinkytown at the University of Minnesota's hockey victory chanted "USA! USA! USA!"

I became active in gay liberation in 1969 and I do not see why gays should have love for a country that excludes us from our rightful place of equality, just as I do not see why African Americans should love a country that enslaved them and even now denies them and equal place.

If a Taliban army invaded this country, I would try to get training in how to use weapons and contribute what I could to the battle to fight them off, even though I am now 63.  If the Russians or Chinese had invaded earlier and tried to impose their Stalinist caricature of socialism, I would have contributed what I could to fight them off.  I suppose then you could have said I was serving my country, just as you could say I was serving my country when I was making my contribution to the movement to extricate the United States from the war in Vietnam.

From the viewpoint of an angry Gay militant, the present system in the United States would be the lesser evil than what would be imposed by the Taliban or Soviets or Chinese.  If I had been killed in any of these battles, I suppose you could say I died for my country, and I suppose you could say the same if I had been killed while participating in movements intended to improve this country, such as Civil Rights, Anti-War, Gay Liberation, etc.  But I will never be comfortable thinking of myself in these terms.  For the right wing superpatriots have irretrievably ruined these terms for me.


In response to a letter from Joseph Erickson, member Minneapolis Board of Education

by Robert Halfhill

Thank you for your October 9, 2003 memo in reply to my letter of September 29.  It may be that my gut reaction against showy, public displays of patriotism are due to my own negative experiences with such ostentatious patriotic displays.  However, my objections to the words "under God" in the pledge are not just a subjective reaction.  Just substitute the words "under Allah" in the pledge or praise of Allah in a school fight song and we all know how the majority of Christians would feel their rights were being violated, no matter how much the freedom to opt out was emphasized.

However, since an October 27
Star Tribune letter claims that Allah is just the Arabic word for God and claims that he would not be offended, let's substitute "under Huitzilopochtli" for "under God" in the pledge.  The Aztecs sacrificed 20,000 prisoners every year to Huitzilopochtle and other gods.  The priest would cut out the still beating heart of the sacrificial victim and lay it on the altar.  I doubt that the Star Tribune letter writer would argue that "Huitzilopochtle" was just the Aztec word for God.

And, if Atheists ever became the majority and decided to substitute "under no God" in the pledge or, better yet, "under no God nor King" to pick up on the resonance of our revolution against King George III, an Atheist majority would have no more right to add such language to the pledge than the Christian majority now has to put "under God" in the pledge.  This country was founded as a secular republic so let's keep either pro or anti religious wording out of our common public ceremonies.


HISTORICAL BIGOTRY


CHRISTIANITY'S PERSECUTION OF GAYS

by Robert Halfhill

The present dispute over Gay rights legislation is only one of the latest incidents in the Judaeo-Christian religion's history of persecuting Gays and Lesbians.  The question that arises is whether Christianity can be reformed of this bigotry or whether it is an intrinsic part of this religion.  To answer this question, we must go back and examine the historical record.

When we examine the Old Testament, the anti-sexual erotophobic nature of the Judaeo-Christian tradition becomes immediately clear.  The God of the Hebrews, in contrast to the gods of all the other ancient religions, is never reported to have engaged in sex with goddesses or humans.  It might be objected that a monotheistic religion by its very nature cannot have other divinities for the God to have sex with, but when the oldest portions of the Old Testament were written the religion of the Hebrews was not monotheistic.

Like all their neighbors, the ancient Hebrews believed that their god was supreme in the territory they controlled, not that he was the sole god.  If they were victorious or defeated in battle with neighboring people, it meant that their god had been victorious over or defeated by the neighboring god.  Yet the mythologies of all the surrounding peoples attributed full sex lives to their gods, while the Hebrew god was never portrayed as having any sexual experience whatsoever.  This is a clear sign that the Hebrews, in contrast to all their neighbors, believed that there was something wrong with sex, so it would be sacrilegious to attribute it to the deity.

The myth of original sin in the Garden of Eden is another example of Judaeo-Christian erotophobia.  The phallic symbolism of the serpent and the "forbidden fruit" is quite clear.  But if this symbolism is not enough to convince, we also learn that after they ate the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve were ashamed of their nakedness and covered themselves with fig leaves.

Furthermore, the punishment for the original sin also is sexual, for the myth has God saying to Eve in Genesis 4:16:  "I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception.  In sorrow thou shall bring forth children.  And thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee."

Because of the above passage in the Biblical myth, many Christians in the past opposed all medical efforts to facilitate painless childbirth, and some still use it to argue against equal rights for women.

This erotophobic attitude of the ancient Hebrews was intensified to an even greater extreme in Christianity.  There is no sex in the Christian heaven and Christian mythology claims that when God became incarnate in human form, he was born of a virgin without the aid of sex.

Paul intensified Christian erotophobia even further when he stated in I Corinthians 7: 8-9:  "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them to abide even as I.   But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn."

It is instructive, while examining the connection between the religious mythology of a culture and its sexual mores, to look at an offshoot of the Judaeo-Christian tradition where the erotophobia has been attenuated.  Muslim law prescribes death for Gays.  Yet in most Islamic countries this law is seldom enforced and sexual relations between members of the same sex are viewed to be as normal a part of life as heterosexual relations.  This is especially the case in Morocco.  C.A. Tripp points out in
The Homosexual Matrix that "A number of sex researchers from Havelock Ellis to Kinsey have estimated that homosexual activity outnumbers heterosexual activity in Arabic countries."

And when we look at Islamic religious mythology, we find an attenuation of Judaeo-Christian erotophobia.  There is sex in the Muslim heaven.  Sura LII, 20-24 of the Koran promises that in paradise one can enjoy "houris with large eyes," while the pleasures of Gay sex are promised in Sura LXXVI, 19, where one may enjoy "immortal ephebes, whom you might take for separate pearls."


Almost all authorities are agreed that virtually all the cultures of the ancient world accepted Gays and Lesbians.  These authorities include Hans Licht,
Sexual Life in Ancient Greece; Edward Westermarck, The Origin and Development of Moral Ideas; Wainwright Churchill, Homosexual Behavior Among Males; and C.C. Ford and F. A. Beach, Patterns of Sexual Behavior.

These authorities report acceptance of Gays and Lesbians among the Greeks, Germans, Scandinavians, Egyptians, Etruscans, Cretans, Carthaginians, Sumerians, Chinese and Japanese.  In India, the penalty was only a ritual of self-cleansing in water instead of the Christian penalty of death by fire.  Ford and Beach report that in a recent survey of anthropological data, 49 out of 76, or 64 percent of the cultures for which information was available, accepted some form of Gay or Lesbian sex.

In a study of 193 world cultures, P. Hoch and J. Zubin reported in
Psychosexual Development in Health and Disease that 28 percent of the cultures totally accepted male Gays, 58 percent partially accepted them, and only 14 percent rejected Gays.  The corresponding figures for Lesbians were 10 percent, 79 percent and 11 percent.  It is no wonder then that psychologist Wardell B. Pomeroy stated in his essay "Homosexuality", printed in The Same Sex, that Western culture is almost unique not only in its rejection of Gays and Lesbians but in the prescriptions, the anxieties and the rigidities with which it has surrounded sex in general.

D.J. West states in
Homosexuality;  "for a perfect example of a homosexually oriented civilization none can compare with classical Greece.  When Plato wrote so sublimely of the emotions and aspirations of love he was describing what we would call perversion."  The pre-Christian Romans had only one law dealing with Gays, the Lex Scautinia, and it only prohibited sex between a freeborn youth and a slave.  By the time of the Empire, even this was not enforced.

However, there was an increasing asceticism in the last centuries of the ancient world as people turned from the increasing hardships of this world to the joys of an imaginary better world.  Christianity, as a fusion between Hebrew religion and Greek philosophy, combined the worst aspects of the erotophobia in both.  Although the first Christian emperor, Constantine, did not pass any laws against Gays, his successor, Constantius issued a decree in 342 A.D. calling for Gays to be beheaded.  The penalty of burning alive was first decreed by Valentinian II on August 6, 390 A.D.  The practice of burning gays alive continued in Europe until the latter part of the 18th century.

Gays and Lesbians are, of course, not the only groups that Christianity has persecuted.  Of all the world's religions, it is only the Western religions of Christianity, Judaism and Islam that have shown an inclination to forcibly convert others to their faith.  And of these three, Christianity has been the worst.  Even its closest rival in intolerance, Islam, has not carried out as many religious wars and pogroms against the Jews as Christianity.  All things considered, the world would have been a slightly better place if the Christian religion had never existed.

When one sees Christians today hypocritically claiming that they have the rights to discriminate against Gays and Lesbians and screaming like they have been subjected to a pogrom when their intolerance is called by its right name--bigotry--one might almost wish that the real pogroms of Nero and Diocletian had been successful.

The question still remains, however, whether Christianity can be reformed of its bigotry towards Gays and Lesbians.  It seems unlikely that people can grow up in a society in which the Divinity has no sexual character, in which the afterlife is reputed to be completely sexless, and in which their God is alleged to be born asexually of a virgin without believing that sex is bad.  And such an erotophobic social climate will create a tendency to tolerate only those forms of sex which lead to reproduction.

None of the above critique of Christianity is meant to deny that there are liberal Christians who support and even work for Gay and Lesbian rights.  There are even Christian churches and organizations that are part of the Gay and Lesbian liberation movements, such as the Metropolitan Community Church, Dignity, Integrity, Gay Lutherans, etc.

But even in liberal Christianity, the anti-sexual tendencies are like a latent virus that threatens to become active at the first opportunity.  Gays and Lesbians should work with liberal Christians, but we should always remember that our final salvation lies in the dying out of this sick and morbid religion.

It was only after Christianity began to lose its influence that the penalties for Gays and Lesbians were moderated from burning at the stake to imprisonment.  Further diminution of Christian influence led to the removal of the laws against Gay and Lesbian sex in some countries.  But how many Gays and Lesbians were burned alive over the last 2000 years before this diminution occurred, not to mention the guilt and self-hatred inflicted on those who escaped the extreme penalty.  It is impossible to give an exact number, but over nearly 2000 years the numbers of those burned may have been in the millions. 

Other Gays may still consider themselves Christians, but when I think of what Christianity has done to Gay people, I can only regret the lack of sufficient lions in the Roman Empire.

Reprinted from the Minnesota Daily, June 20, 1977, page 5


POLICE BRUTALITY


An Open Letter To Minneapolis Mayor, R. T. Rybak

by Robert Halfhill

In June, I contacted one of your aides about several outrageous incidents of police brutality that had recently been in the news.  After that conversation, I read in the July 4, 2003 Star Tribune about former police officer Matthew D. Olson being acquitted by Hennepin County District Judge H. Peter Albrecht of felony second degree assault, misconduct by a police officer and possessing a dangerous weapon.  Judge Albrecht found Olson not guilty because he ruled that there was reasonable doubt about whether Olson had brought his gun out before or after his confrontation with Willie Cash became physical.  Olson's attorney, Fred Bruno, said that he will attempt to get Olson's police job back. 
Ironically, your aide had cited Olson as an example of a police officer who had been fired after he had committed police brutality on a citizen and who was going to be held legally accountable and punished.

I am certain that if you, I, or any other citizen who is not a police officer had driven the wrong way down a one way street with a blood alcohol level more than twice the legal limit, got into a fight with a citizen driving the
right way down a one way street and pulled out a gun, we would have been convicted and sentenced to prison and we would not have been spared from paying the penalty for our actions because of some legal punctilio about a reasonable doubt about when we pulled the gun!

There was one fortunate thing about the outcome of this incident of police brutality, however.  Usually, it is the victim of police brutality who ends up bloodied and bruised and punished under some trumped up charge.  At least, this time, it was the brutal police officer who ended up with cuts and bruises on his arms and legs, a bloody nose, and two fractures around his eyes that required surgery.

When I called your office and spoke with your aide, I was angry about two other recent instances of police brutality.  According to the June 11, 2003
One Nation News, and the June 11, 2003 Insight, a fourteen year old Black male youth was arbitrarily stopped by a police officer without any evidence or probable cause and ordered to place his hands up against a wall.  The officer ordered the youth to pull out his wallet but, when the young man complies, the officer threw him on the ground, kicked him in his stomach and legs, punched him in the face several times and hand cuffed so tightly that scars were left on his wrists.  The police officer's behavior descended to even lower levels of contemptibleness when he asked the youth why he didn't follow his orders and then denied that he ordered the young man to pull out his wallet when the youth said that he was complying with the officer's orders to pull out his wallet.  Before letting him go, the officer told the youth that he made himself a suspect when he wears "rags," i.e. a bandanna, on his head.

There is no law that authorizes a police officer to stop someone for wearing a bandanna or any other item of clothing not in fashion among the white majority.  Neither is there any valid reason to infer probable cause or suspicion from this item of clothing.  The white and Black citizens as well as the citizens of other races of this city ought to show up in your precinct stations while wearing bandannas to demonstrate how much contempt we have for this arbitrary prejudice about what items of clothing make you a suspect.

In the second incident, reported in the June 18, 2002
Insight, a police officer ripped a 13 year old Black youth off his bike after the young man asked what the officer was doing to his older brother and slammed his head against a wooden fence.  The police officer then threw the youth onto the sidewalk, cuffed his hands behind his back, dragged him face down across the street to the squad car and then dragged him face down back across the street to the fence.  The officer then ordered the gathering crowd to get back and then called for back up.  Eight other squad cars arrived with their sirens screaming.  They then took the two young men away.

Your aide told me that most police officers were "good cops" and that it was only a minority who were brutal.  This I do not believe.  The September 30, 1982
Star Tribune reported on page 1B that when Officer Wesley Edstrom completed a one day Workhouse sentence for striking a female Black teenager in the mouth with a flashlight, other officers were assembled to greet him on his release like a returning hero.  It was the first time in anyone's memory that a police officer had been sent to the Workhouse for brutality.

The September 12, 1980
Star Tribune reported on page 1A that then Police Chief Anthony Bouza had sent a letter of commendation to Sergeant Dennis Yerxa for reporting two other police officers who had kicked a prisoner in the head and side.  Police officials said that Yerxa's "testimony in the hearings was considered crucial" in sustaining the brutality complaint.  Bouza added that "it is very rare for a police officer to initiate a complaint against fellow officers."

But, Yerxa said he had "lived through hell" since his testimony.  When he was asked about Bouza's comment on his part in the investigation, he shouted "You can tell Chief Bouza to stick it up his fanny.  Do you know what I've had to live through the past three weeks?  Two thirds of them (other police officers) won't even talk to me now."  Yerxa's two thirds comment is interesting in the light of an interview with a psychologist on National Public Radio.  The psychologist had said that two thirds of the police were psychologically unfit to be police officers.

And, Yerxa's experience when he reported other officers for brutality refutes the claim that it is only a tiny minority of police who are brutal, the proverbial "few bad apples."  It would require a majority, substantially more that 50% to ostracize another officer for reporting police brutality.  So instead of police brutality being only the fault of a few "bad apples," most or all of the whole barrel must be rotten.  The rottenness of the whole barrel becomes even more evident when we ask ourselves the question:  "If the good police officer knows about brutality by other police officers and doesn't report it, what does that make the good police officer?  There may be isolated instances of police officers who are too naïve to know about the brutality being committed by two thirds of their fellow officers and allowed to continue by the silence of the rest but the number of police who have served for years in a police department without at least knowing about the brutality committed by their fellow officers must be very few.  A few bad apples may not spoil the whole barrel if they are removed quickly enough but a majority of bad apples rapidly make the rest of the barrel rotten as well!

The Judicial System's hypocrisy when it comes to providing equal justice to members of all races is highlighted by two cases, that of Riley Houseley on December 13, 1979 and that of Andra Madison on September 17, 1997.  Over a number of issues, the
Star Tribune recounts how plain clothes police mistakenly broke into Riley Housley's house because they had mixed up his address with that of a suspected drug dealer.  Thinking intruders had broken into his house, Housley defended himself with a gun.  One of the intruding officers, David Mack, was wounded so badly that he was left in a persistent vegetative state.  Although he recovered consciousness years later, he was severely physically challenged and died a few years later.  Although there is no way anyone could be expected to know that he was dealing with officers of the law and not criminals when plain clothes officers break into their house without warning, Housley was prosecuted and convicted.  If the conviction had been allowed to stand, everyone would have been in the position of knowing that if they defended themselves with deadly force when unknown persons broke into their home, they could be convicted and sent to prison if the intruders turned out to be police.  However, the judge gave Housley leave to appeal and allowed him to remain free pending his appeal.  Housley's conviction was overturned on appeal so he never had to spend even one day in prison. 

In contrast to Housley's case, the September 17, 1997
City Pages recounts how the police mistakenly broke into Andra Madison's apartment because they had mixed up his address with that of a suspected drug dealer.  The first thing Madison knew is when all the windows in his apartment were shattered in a hail of bullets.  He confronted the, what to him were unknown intruders breaking into his apartment, with a crowbar.  Subsequent issues of the Star Tribune recount that Madison was eventually sentenced and sent to prison for several years.

So what are the differences between these two cases?  Why was Madison sent to prison while Housley never spent even one day in prison?  Especially when it was Housley who shot, and eventually killed, one of the intruders while Madison only confronted his intruders with a crowbar without harming any of them?  The injustice of our so called legal system is shown in stark relief when we learn that Housley is white while Madison is Black.  I was told when I was a child that we lived in a country that provided liberty and justice for all.  Sure!  If I ever see any of this liberty and justice for all in this country, I might even start feeling patriotic about it!

Actually, it is no secret how any mayor or police chief can end police brutality.  The first step would be to issue a clear, no nonsense directive to the police telling them that we hired them to protect us from murderers, rapists and armed robbers, not to act out some racist, sexist or heterosexist agenda and that if they can't or won't do the job the way we want it done, there are plenty of other people who can do the job the way we want it done and that we will hire them and terminate their employment with our city.

Second, issue a clear directive to the police informing them that in circumstances where they don't have sufficient cause to arrest the white person, they don't have sufficient cause to arrest the African American, Hispanic, Indian, Asian American, etc, and if they don't have sufficient cause to stop a car driven by a white person, they don't have sufficient cause to stop a car driven by an African American, Hispanic, Indian, Asian American, etc.  You will have to issue a number of clear guidelines as to the kind of circumstances that justify an arrest or car stop but they should be simple and straightforward enough so that we don't have police able to quibble over loopholes in the guidelines on the one hand but, on the other hand, make the guidelines so complex and complicated that we are splitting hairs over whether on officer violated section D, subsection b, paragraph J, subsection n, number 13!

And third, and most importantly, the City must curb the powers of the Civil Service Commission so that the civil service system becomes what it was intended to be, a defense against public employees being terminated unfairly or arbitrarily but not a system that rules in the employee's favor no matter what misconduct they are guilty of.  The Civil Service Commission must no longer be a biased body that overrules the firing of a police officer such as Mike Sauro after he has kicked a prisoner whose hands are cuffed behind his back in the ribs and caused the City to have to pay over a million dollars in damages as a result.  The civil service examiner "stripped" the record in Sauro's case according to the examiner's own testimony in the
Star Tribune and struck out the testimony of all the witnesses that he thought would have any reason to testify against the police and kept the testimony of all the witnesses that would have no reason to testify against the police.  In other words, what the hearing examiner did amounted to arbitrarily eliminating all the testimony against the police and keeping that in favor of the police.  I am not aware of this type of arbitrary bias being a problem in the parts of the civil service system that deal with other public employees so it should be possible to curb the powers of the part of the civil service system that deals with the police without involving the other public employee unions.

Sauro's brutality against Craig Mische happened on July 15, 1994 but he was not fired until January 18, 1995.  The examiner reinstated Sauro on December 12, 1995.  The City appealed the arbiter's decision in court but, from reading news accounts of the unsuccessful appeal, I am not aware of the City appealing on any grounds other than the procedural rules of the civil service system.  Since the law contains constitutional rights and civil right statutes, a vigorous court fight establishing that these violations of Mische's rights had in fact occurred and arguing that no mere civil service ruling could supersede these statutory and constitutional guarantees ought to have had more chance of being successful.

But whatever is needed to curb the powers of the police civil service commission, whether it be amending City ordinances, lobbying the legislature for changes in state statutes, lobbying the legislature for permission to amend the City Charter, or an aggressive court fight arguing that no mere civil service commission can trump criminal statutes against police brutality, as well as statutory and constitutional guarantees of rights, the City needs to begin a vigorous fight to make whatever changes are needed in the police civil service commission.

The fact that this problem with the police has persisted since the city of Minneapolis was chartered in the mid 1800s and yet no one has attempted to implement such an obvious solution makes me think that the city authorities don't
want to solve this problem, that for some reason they want minorities and the poor to be picked out at random for arbitrary brutalization.  Perhaps the real intent is to keep the poor and minorities down.

There have been a number of times when governmental officials gave such flimsy excuses for not taking the obvious actions needed to eliminate a problem that I eventually realized that they didn't want to solve the problem and that even they didn't believe in the specious reasoning they used for not taking the obvious action, that instead the specious reasons were merely intended as a flimsy fig leaf to excuse their not doing anything about the problem.  During the 1950s when I was a teenager and into my early twenties in the sixties, it seemed obvious that states rights could not justify segregation in some states and that states rights could not trump the constitutional guarantees of liberty and justice for all.  I was frustrated by thinking that if only government officials reasoned logically, they would not let the weight of traditional icons like states rights stop them from realizing what had to be done.  After I became actively involved in various socialist parties, I realized that the government did not want to abolish segregation and that its flimsy excuses for inaction were merely a fig leaf to cover their not doing anything.

My most vivid realization that a government official didn't want to solve a problem and was just using a specious excuse to cover up his unwillingness to deviate from the status quo happened in the early 1990s when, as a member of ACT-UP/Minnesota, I accompanied a group of homeless people who were asking the Mayor to allow them to continue to live in an abandoned building without the police coming down on them.  The Mayor said that "we are concerned about your safety" living in an abandoned building.  Even a preschool aged child can understand that it is safer to live in an abandoned building than on the street without any kind of shelter.  At the time of this meeting, the effects of global warming had not yet become clearly manifest and temperatures during a Minneapolis winter could descend as low as thirty below zero.  But, here we had a grown man and a grown man who had the intelligence to graduate from college and law school, go on to win election to and serve multiple terms in the U.S. House of Representatives and who was now Mayor of Minneapolis who professed to believe that it was more dangerous to live in an abandoned building than to live without shelter on the streets in thirty below zero temperatures.  This was obviously merely a fig leaf of an excuse to justify his refusal to allow the homeless to make use of abandoned housing.

Since I became so enraged over the police brutalization of the 14 and 13 year old African American youths in June that I was motivated to write this letter, and then decided I needed to do the research to back it up before mailing it, the Minneapolis police have been accused of trying to outdo the New York Police Department by raping not one but two prisoners with toilet plungers.  The unwillingness to carry out medical examinations to conclusively prove or disprove these charges are reason to suspect the charges are true.

During the October 22nd and 24th demonstrations to protest the treatment of Philander Jenkins and Stephen Porter, speakers compared the police to an occupying army in poor and minority neighborhoods.  Since we live in a society where numbers of people lack even the basic necessities of life while other people possess enough wealth to support masses of those without basic necessities in not only an adequate but a comfortable lifestyle, the need for an occupying army to protect the wealth of those who have much from those who have virtually nothing becomes obvious.  (There is an increasingly threatened middle class between these two extremes.)  It is probably even necessary to randomly single out the poor and minorities for random brutality in order to ensure that the majority of the poor and minorities are taught what's what and are intimidated from helping themselves to the vast stores of wealth they see around them.  The need for such an occupying army is even clearer when we realize that, just as the ancient Egyptian Pharaohs did not build the massive pyramids solely with the unaided labor they could perform with their own bodies but rather had to persuade vast armies of workers to erect the pyramids for them, the modern owners of the present productive facilities did not manufacture the vast array of goods produced by the modern industrial economy with their own unaided labor but, instead, had to motivate armies of other people to produce at their bidding.  While Marx may not have given sufficient weight to the value of the ability to organize the productive activities of vast numbers of people, the value of this organizational ability is not sufficient to come anywhere near to justifying the gap between the billions of a Bill Gates or George Soros and the relatively modest circumstances of the middle classes, let alone the virtually nothing possessed by the poor and homeless.  Since the vast majority of this wealth was produced by the people who worked to produce it, it is obvious why you need this occupying army.  It takes an occupying army and the fear resulting from random brutality to deter the majority of people from appropriating what they have produced.

I am urging the Rybak administration and the City Council to do whatever needs to be done to end police brutality.


It still doesn't work!


MARIJUANA AND MEDICINE

by Robert Halfhill


The federal government's so called drug war is actually a fanatical religious jihad since they are actually willing to force sick people to suffer and die because the government won't event allow medical uses of marijuana.  Cocaine may be administered in hospitals but the DEMON WEED must forever be denied to suffering and dying people.

Drs. Steven Sallan and Norman Zinberg published their results demonstrating that marijuana was a superior anti-vomiting agent for patients undergoing cancer chemotherapy in the October 15, 1975
New England Journal of Medicine.  Dr. Alfred Chang confirmed these results in the December, 1979 Annals of Internal Medicine.  Fourteen states and the District of Columbia conducted studies of the medical efficacy of marijuana before the federal government forced the states to halt their research.  The Tennessee study included over 100,000 people and found that 90.4% of the people could control their nausea and vomiting by smoking marijuana but that only 66.7% of the people were successful when they took Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol, one of the active ingredients of marijuana in pill form.  As opposed to smoked marijuana, which worked almost immediately, patients suffering from severe nausea and vomiting often had trouble keeping the THC-9 pill down long enough for it to begin to work.  What was confirmed in the 1970's with respect to the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy applies equally to the nausea and vomiting caused by AIDS.

The May 29, 2003
Star Tribune (p. D1) states that 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer every year, that one million end up on chemotherapy, and that about 70 to 80 percent of these patients experience nausea and vomiting during their chemotherapy.  In other words, 700 to eight hundred thousand people end up vomiting their guts out every year because of the government's refusal to legalize medicinal marijuana and, every three years, the number of people vomiting their guts out mounts up to millions without even considering the additional people vomiting their guts out because of AIDS.

The June 3, 2003
Star Tribune (pp. D1&D2) trumpets the newest drug for preventing nausea and vomiting, MCI Pharma Incorporated's Palonosetron, currently awaiting FDA approval.  This drug, introduced nearly thirty years after plain old marijuana was proven to be a superior anti-nausea and vomiting agent by Sallan and Zinberg, only eliminated nausea and vomiting in 72 to 81 percent of the patients during their first day of chemotherapy and only 64 to 74 percent of the patients after five days.  This in contrast to the Tennessee study which found that marijuana could eliminate nausea and vomiting in 90.4 percent of chemotherapy patients.

Drs. Robert M. Hepler and Ira M. Frank reported that marijuana is effective in treating glaucoma in the September 6, 1971
New England Journal of Medicine.  Glaucoma is a disease in which the build up of severe pressure in the eyes leads to blindness.  The Proceedings of the First International Conference on the Pharmacology of Cannabis, held in Savannah, Georgia in December, 1974 reported that other cannabinoids in marijuana were far more effective with glaucoma than Delta-9-THC.  Delta-8-THC for example, was far superior.  Drs. Hepler and Frank, along with J.T. Ungerleider, reported on the superior efficacy on marijuana in the treating glaucoma in the December, 1987 American Journal of Ophthalmology.

Marijuana has also proven superior to the THC pill in the treatment of the muscle spasticity associated with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries.  During hearings before Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young of a case brought by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Valerie Cover, who had been confined to a wheel chair because of multiple sclerosis, testified that she was able to resume her normal activities after smoking marijuana for three months, and that her symptoms would resume each time she stopped using marijuana.  At the end of hearings that took place between 1987 and 1988, Judge Young ruled that marijuana was useful for nausea, glaucoma, muscle spasticity, stimulating appetite, epilepsy, anxiety, depression, pain, asthma, and alcohol and other drug withdrawal.

Even more dramatic evidence has emerged in recent years with reports that cannaniboids kill a variety of human cancer cells in the test tube, including human lung cancer cells, and that regular marijuana users not only do not contract cancer at higher rates than the general population but may even benefit from a protective effect from marijuana.

Donald Taskin, identified by NEW SCIENTIST magazine as a lung cancer expert at a laboratory at the University of California at Los Angeles, reported on such findings at the 2005 meeting of the International Cannabinoid Research Society. Taskin received the names of 1,209 Los Angeles residents with lung, oral/pharyngeal, and esophageal cancer from the Los Angeles County Cancer Surveillance Program. He divided the subjects according to their number of joint years of exposure to marijuana, where a joint year equaled one joint per day times 365. The number 1 stood for the chance of the non exposed control groups contracting cancer, numbers higher than 1 standing for an increased risk and numbers smaller than 1 standing for a lesser risk. For lung cancer, the chances were 0.78 for 1 to 10 joint years, 0.74 for 10 to 30, 0.85 for 30 to 60, and 0.85 for more than 60. For oral/pharyngeal cancer, the respective numbers were 0.92 for 1 to 10 joint years, 0.89 for 10 t0 30, 0.81 for for 30 to 60, and 1.0 for more than 60. Taskin concluded: "So in summary, we failed to observe a positive association and other potential cofounders."  San Francisco oncologist Donald Abrams, M.D. asked: "You don't see any positive correlation, but in at least one category, marijuana only smokers and lung cancer it almost looked like there was a negative correlation, i.e. a protective effect. Could you comment on that?" "Yes," said Taskin, "the odds ratios are less than one almost consistently, and in one category that relationship was significant. but I think that it would be difficult to extract from these data the conclusion that marijuana is protective against lung cancer. BUT THAT IS NOT AN UNREASONABLE HYPOTHESIS." (my emphasis)

The October, 2005 MINI-REVIEWS IN MEDICINAL CHEMISTRY reported that the administration of cannabinoids and endocannabinoids (cannabinoid like chemicals made by the human body's own biochemistry) have been shown to inhibit the growth of human lung carcinoma cells, glioma (brain tumor), lymphoma/leukimia, skin carcinoma cells, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and breast cancer, causing apoptosis (programmed cell death), inhibiting angiogenesis (formation of new blood vessels to provide the tumor with a blood supply) and the metastatic spreading of cancer cells (the breaking off of cancer cells that travel elsewhere in the body and form new tumors).

MARIJUANA AND ECOLOGY

The U.S. Department of Agriculture Bulletin No. 404, published on October 14, 1916, reported that one acre of cannabis hemp could produce as much pulp for paper as 4.1 acres of trees.  It could be produced using soda ash without polluting sulfur-based acid chemicals.  The problem of dioxin contamination of rivers could be avoided by using hydrogen peroxide instead of chlorine bleach.

In "Crimping progress by banning hemp in the
Orange County Register of October 30, 1988, Alan W. Bock states:  "Since 1937, about half the forests in the world have been cut down to make paper.  If hemp had not been outlawed, most of it would still be standing, oxygenating the planet.  Hemp pulp could be used for methanol at competitive prices; hempseed oil could be used instead of petrochemicals for hundreds of uses, meaning less pollution.  We might not be facing the Greenhouse Effect."

In
Energy Farming in America, Lynn Osburn stated that "Hemp is the only biomass resource capable of making America energy independent.  Our government outlawed it in 1938."  The benefits of cannabis cultivation are also discussed in "New Billion Dollar Crop," in the February, 1938 Popular Mechanics.

CIVIL LIBERTIES

The July 28, 2003
Star Tribune (p. A3) reported that there were 2.17 million Americans in state and federal prisons, local and county jails and juvenile detention facilities at the end of 2002, many for victimless "crimes" such as drug use.  This was a 2.6 percent increase in the incarcerated population in just one year.  The August 18, 2003 Star Tribune (p. A4) states that 5,618,000 U.S. adults have served time in state or federal prisons, nearly one in 37 or 2.7 percent.  The study projected that 7.7 million people will have served time in prison by 2010, about 3.4 percent of the adult population.  If the government is allowed to continue imprisoning more and more people because of its drug war, somewhere between the present percentage of the population being in prison and all of the population consisting of prison inmates and prison guards, society will collapse.  It is in the interests of all of us, and especially those of us who plan to be around in 2010 and later, to see that this trend is ended sooner rather than later.

The right to due process of law has been abolished in many cases because of the government's fanatical drug war jihad.  The federal government can now confiscate property worth hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars on the mere
suspicion that the property was acquired with money from drug dealing.  Even if the victim of the confiscation is acquitted in a criminal trial, he or she must sue the government to recover their property.  Yet Amendment V of the U.S. Constitution states that "No person(shall) be deprived of life, liberty, or property (our emphasis) without due process of law."  And Amendment VII requires that "In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars (our emphasis), the right of trial by jury shall be preserved"

When under the thrall of a tyrannical government, we considered it the right of Serbian people to take to the streets to regain their rights.  Should not the citizens of the United States have no less right?




PRO-MEDICAL MARIJUANA LETTER TO MINNESOTA LEGISLATORS

Dear Senators Betzold, Skoglund, Chaudhary, Hann, Limmer, Marty, Neuville, Ortman and Rest:

On Thursday, March 2, SF 1973, the bill legalizing the medical use of marijuana, will come before your committee.

I am particularly interested, given the increasing evidence for the medicinal efficacy of cannabinoids in the treatment of LUNG CANCER, as well as in the treatment of a variety of other cancers, in how much longer you are going to let simple prejudice cause you to continue to deny this medicinal substance to Minnesotans. I am sending you a web page article I wrote summarizing the many ill effects of cannabis prohibition. Although the first evidence that cannabinoids were effective in treating lung cancer came to light in 1974, an additional volume of such evidence has recently received extensive publicity. Although much of my web page article is merely a reiteration of evidence I have already informed legislators about concerning the medicinal efficacy of cannabis, I have added the evidence about lung and other cancers to the end of the section of my web page article on the medicinal uses of cannabis.

Dangerous opium derivatives, including cocaine, are classified as schedule II drugs and are thus allowed to be used in hospitals. No one worries about the influence on youth of opiates being used in hospitals. Yet when increasing evidence emerges that marijuana has important medicinal uses, it seems that the insistence of continuing to classify it as a schedule I drug, which allegedly has no medicinal use, can only be an example of some kind of mental lock established after decades of law enforcement against it. You are reasonable about allowing opiates to be used in medical settings. Why can't you shift gears and be similarly reasonable about cannabis?


Sincerely,
Robert Halfhill




AN AGNOSTIC'S(1) REPLY
by Robert Wakefield Halfhill

Lexington (KY) LEADER, Saturday, January 13, 1962

Basil Overton, minister of the Southside Church of Christ, made another futile attempt to apologize for the Bible and the Christian religion in Viewpoints in the December 30 LEADER. Mr. Overton had eight invalid and sophistical arguments to defend his point of view.

Let us examine our clerical gentleman's first argument. It is that since there are no literary works that are both contemporary with and which attacked the Bible, we are justified in believing the Bible to be true. Nonsense! By the same reasoning, we would have to believe the Illiad, Odyssey and Nibelungenlied, for there are no books attacking these works which are contemporary with them.

Mr. Overton offers the resurrection of Jesus as a sign made by God in response to man's devotions. However, since we have no reason to believe the Bible, we have no evidence that the resurrection actually occurred.

Mr. Overton attempts to justify sin by protesting that our inability to explain sin does not entitle us to reject all that is good. He has certainly missed Mr. Rolls' point. We agnostics (1) do not deny the existence of good; the point is that the existence of any evil at all is not what one would expect if an all powerful, benevolent God existed. If God were good, He would want to end evil, and if He were all powerful, He could do anything that He wanted to do. The existence of evil proves that God, even if He exists, cannot both be all powerful and good.

Mr. Overton tries to apologize for sin by asserting that man is responsible for it, not God; and that the horrors of sin may be the very thing we need to make us realize our dependence on God. But a God who is all powerful and who can do anything He wishes would be able to create human nature so that man (2) would not need to suffer to realize his(2) need for God. The only possible conclusion is that God, if He exists, wants men (2) to suffer. And as for man (2) being responsible for sin, it is God who created man (2) and made him (2) able to sin.

Mr. Overton"s next assertion is that evolution does not explain how life originated. I ask Mr. Overton to explain how God originated. Surely, if the theists are allowed to postulate an infinite, all powerful God Who knows everything, we evolutionists should be permitted to postulate one little microbe from which all living things come.

As for evolution not being able to explain how the plant and animal kingdoms came about, the explanation is as follows: After the plants came into existence, certain defective plants, that were unable to manufacture their own food, began to live as parasites on other plants. Thus animals evolved. Mr. Overton's concluding argument was that fossils repudiate evolution. But what about all the skeletons of submen(2), intermediates between man(2) and his(2) ancestors, that have been found?

(l. I am an Atheist now.)
(2. I would now use a non sexist term like humans since I have since learned that it is sexist to refer to all humans with the male pronoun.)




OPED AND TRUTHOUT'S KENNEDY ARTICLE LEAVE NO EXCUSE FOR INDECISION ABOUT THEFT OF '00 AND '04 ELECTIONS

by Robert Halfhill


During this discussion about what establishment liberals label "conspiracy theories" or, in the language of gutless liberalism par excellence -- "irresponsible conspiracy theories!!!, even people who are not willing to reject the assertion that the 2004 election was stolen, vacillated with phrases like "if it is proven that the 2004 election was stolen." To shut the people up who were dismissing the fact that the 2004 election was stolen as "conspiracy theories" as well as the vacillators, I posted the OpEd article, How The GOP Stole The 2004 Election, a 19 K article with numerous url's to click on for even more evidence.

No one has attempted to refute the OpEd artice or commented on it at all. It seemed on the surface like the OpEd article was being ignored. But it did have an effect since both the rejecters and the vacillators did shut up for a few days. But both groups started posting again after a few days. I am becoming increasingly irritated by people talking about the theft of the 2004 election as if it were open to question when the evidence is overwhelming. So I attempted to post a TruthOut artice by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. entitled "Was the 2004 Election Stolen? Despite the title being in the form of a question, the article comes down hard on the side that the election was stolen -- by three billion to one evidence according to one of the url's. Since the article is 107K long, it was not accepted by the moderators of either the Minnesota Greens or the 5th District Greens discussion lists. For those of you who have expressed irritation over lengthy posts, you have a delete button and you would not have been compelled to read it!

However Lydia Howell has posted a shortened version of the Kennedy article so a summary of the evidence has been posted on these lists.

Now will you people who keep vacillating as if this were an open question (as well as the outright rejecters) please read both the OpEd article and the summary of TruthOut article and attempt to put together a reasoned refutation before you open either your mouths or your word processors again! What's wrong with you people? Are you afraid to let the evidence lead you to the conclusion that the 2004 election was stolen because then you would have to undertake the risks involved in joining the attempts to overthrow the people who stole the 2004 election? Or else admit that you don't have the courage to take on the risks of becoming involved in such an attempt?

You should realize that a refusal to reach a conclusion in the face of such mountains of evidence is a manifestation of intellectually timid liberalism.

Also, Linda Mann repeated the conventional Marxist line of we should avoid getting snared in futile attempts to prove the existence of any ruling class conspiracy. But actually such attempts are not always futile. Watergate is the most striking example of a conspiracy that was proven and its exposure led to a major shift in the average person's consciousness. Many people have remarked to me that Watergate marked the end of blind trust in the government.

Subsequently, Senator Frank Church's Commission revealed that the military had conducted secret germ warfare experiments over a number of major American cities, including Minneapolis. They sprayed a bacterium believed to be harmless over these cities in order to study the dispersal patterns of germ warfare agents. But a few people did die of acute pneumonia.

Still later, the mainstream press, including the Minneapolis TRIBUNE, carried an article on how the auto companies conspired in the 1950's to lobby the cities into abandoning their streetcar systems in favor of buses and automobiles. The STAR TRIBUNE published a map of the old streetcar system a few years ago. It extended out past Minnetonka, making even the most ambitious of the projected light rail systems a joke in comparison.





[The following article is a reply to BUSH IS NOT INCOMPETENT, by George Lakoff, Marc Ettlinger and Sam Ferguson. The authors argued that the real enemy behind Bush's action was Conservative philosophy with its three central tenets: Individual Initiative, The President As Moral Authority, and Free Markets. Bush's astronomical deficits can be explained as an attempt to make the government unable to fund social programs so people will learn to depend on their own initiative in the free market. Bush's incursions on civil liberties can be explained by the belief that the President is the moral authority with the responsibility to defend us and the power to do whatever he thinks is necessary to defend us.

I argue that as important as conservative philosophy is in motivating Bush and like minded government officials, the malign intent behind the conservative philosophy is what is really central to their motivations.]


MALIGN INTENT MORE IMPORTANT THAN CONSERVATIVE PHILOSOPHY

by Robert Halfhill


It was malice and not just conservative philosophy which wanted people to not be dependent on the government which can only explain the U.S. governments more spectacular fiascoes. For instance, the chain of stupidities around New Orleans and Katrina are so numerous that we have to conclude there was malign intent and not just ideological conservatism involved. Foreign ships were prevented from approaching New Orleans to offer aid. Other groups were prevented from approaching New Orleans by land. A fleet of 500 WalMart trucks with food and Water was turned away. The radio system that the city used to communicate with its police cars was reduced to only 10% functioning by the hurricane. Someone with city authorizations went to the northeast to obtain the necessary parts. He was halted by federal troops manning a roadblock a few hours from the city. They would not let him explain that he had city authorization and forced him to pull over to the side of the road. A doctor performing heart- lung resuscitation on flood victims was forced to stop by a federal official because he did not have the necessary federal credentials. Perhaps 50,000 people were left in the hell of the Superdome for days without food and water. New Orleaneans trying to escape across the bridge to a community ac cross the river were stopped by the police and told they were not going to bring New Orleans' problems to their community. A few hundred refugees found a concrete apron beneath the bridge where they set up camp for a few days. NPR interviewed a woman who said that after a few days, a policeman charged down there, with "every other word out of his mouth beginning with f," telling them to get out. After they left, a helicopter descended and blew all their possessions off the apron.

I will need to get independent confirmation for the CITY PAGES feature about the refugees who did get out being held in camps by armed troops who profanely threatened to shoot them if they ventured within so many feet of the barbed wire.

The point is that this was not merely some kind of free market religious fundamentalism but the naked, racist, classist face of Amerika exposed in all its frightful ugliness in the wake of Katrina. The seemingly mind boggling chain of stupidities make perfect sense when we realize they reflected a malign, evil intent to replace a Black, democratic city with a white, Republican one.

I assume you read my posts on the Minnesota Green Party discussion list about how the incredible string of stupidities that let to 9/11 can only be explained by a malign intent to bring about a new Pearl Harbor and create the super patriotic hysteria that swung the political climate in this country so markedly to the right and created the ground swell of support for Bush's war adventures and encroachments on civil liberties.

And of course the Bushites were not actually so stupid that they actually believed there were WMD's in Iraq. And no one could be so stupid that they would arrange for the voting to be done on machines that could be hacked and that left no paper ballot trail. No, they INTENDED to steal the election.

So the conservative free market fundamentalism is merely the epiphenomenon and the idealogical fig leaf. The real forces operating are the ruling class's malign intent is to establish a planetary Pax Americana to succeed the ancient Pax Romana, replace our facade of a capitalist democracy with a domestic dictatorship and Imperium, hog yet more outrageous displays of wealth to themselves while everybody else is cast in to abject poverty and inflict whatever unmitigated hell on minorities that is necessary to achieve their purposes.


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