The Dark Heart Exposed

With all the howling over the outrageous comments of Mr. Trump there is one thing most people aren’t commenting on. That is, that the things he is saying are exactly what Republicans say when they think no one is listening.   His racist comments and now his comments about Senator McCain’s service are nothing I have not heard before from my Republican acquaintances and friends.

Republican outrage at Trump’s comments is not surprising given their silence when an equally valid war hero, Secretary Kerry was attacked over his service. Speaking from personal experience, I have never had my service or the benefits I receive for that service, questioned by a person of the Democratic persuasion. I have, on several occasions, had my service and service connected disability questioned by staunch Republicans. A Republican relative on my wife’s side of the family went so far as to call my wife and tell her we were no longer considered part of the family because I was granted VA disability. She then went on about her husband not being able to get his Social Security because I was using all the money up! These people are ‘very’ well off financially. Why the wealthy begrudge our Veterans and the poor what little help and benefit the Government might give them is beyond my understanding but it is the fabric of what they say when they think no one is listening.

Remember Romney’s 47% comment? That 47% of the people would not vote for him, the 47% who receive benefits from the Government. The, as he said it, people who are takers! He was not only talking about the poor, but anyone receiving benefits including Veterans.

If that comment, spoken with candor and expected privacy, does not expose the true nature of the conservative soul of today then I don’t know what does! Trump may be a jerk but he is a jerk speaking out loud what is normally said in private.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Root Cause? Poverty!

There has been a lot of speculation about the current unrest over heavy handed police actions resulting in the deaths of several African American men around the country.

The militarization of the police certainly is part of the problem.  Sparked by the War on Drugs, Federal dollars expanded police agencies and bought the latest equipment.  Beefed up City and Sheriffs offices started acting like a branch of the military and the military started a program of giving old military equipment to local police forces.  The problem is that a military force needs an enemy and we, my fellow citizens are that enemy!  This is especially true if one lives in an economically depressed area, are a member of a minority or are poor.

What then is the root cause of the unrest?  Simply put it is poverty.  Crushing poverty that has a man working 40 hours a week and still needing food stamps to survive.  Poverty that has a man making only enough to feed his body enough energy to go work another 40 hours.  Servitude of the ‘Company Store’ variety experienced by our coal miners in the past.

We can eliminate poverty here in America if we choose, we have both the tools and the wealth.  Here’s how we could do it!  Eliminate the cap on taxable income for Social Security currently at 160,000 dollars and raise the tax to 8%.  Then lower the age of eligibility to 50 years old.  Place a tax on all Stock Market trades of one or 2% and use that money to create a basic citizen stipend equivalent to 3 meals and a place to live say, 1500 to 2000 a month for all from age 21 to 50 as a right of citizenship. This stipend could have a means test to cut costs.  For our young citizens we should start an account for all newborns that the government under some kind of formula deposits money into on a regular basis that the child gets when they turn 21 to get started in life.   Of course 4 year college would be free as it is in other modern countries.

There it is.  The elimination of poverty in America.  Think of what freeing our citizens from economic servitude would do.  The creative energies of our citizens would change the world.  One could dedicate oneself to improving his life and the lives of all if one were not being held in economic servitude.

The nay-sayers will tell you that if people have a basic income, enough to cover 3 meals and a place to lay one’s head they will not work.  However Social Security recipients work, military retirees who receive a good pension work so there is no reason to believe that those receiving the basic citizen stipend would not.  One of the reasons businesses do not open in depressed areas is because the population does not have any money to spend.  The basic citizen stipend would change all that.

There is no question that the plan outlined above can, with some tweaking if needed, work.  It works in other modern countries so there is no doubt, if properly administered, it will work here in America.   We have the tools and wealth and ability to end abject poverty in America, we only lack the will.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ending Long Standing Internal Conflict

The much heralded and long awaited deal with Iran over its nuclear bomb making capability is another coup for the current administration and the American people in their desire for peace and stability.

It seems the current President is bent on ending all of our long standing disputes with other nations as the overall goal of our Foreign Policy.  From the deal currently being worked out to curb Iran’s nuclear weapons program, to ending our Cold War holdover beef with Cuba, our outstanding and outdated conflicts are being resolved or mitigated not only to our advantage, but to the advantage of the nations we were in conflict with.

Of all our disagreements with other countries around the world in the last half of the 20th century and into the 21st, none has done more damage to the country and its citizens than the war we are waging with ourselves over drugs, drug use and personal freedom.  As a society we turned this problem over to the police to handle, the branch of society least suited for dealing with what is really a medical problem.  Even with the experience of the failure of alcohol prohibition, four years after its end, somehow all the harms associated with alcohol use were being applied to marijuana use and we got the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act which was declared unconstitutional in 1969.  President Nixon doubled down on prohibition with the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 while ignoring the recommendations of his own appointed committee, the Shafer Commission which concluded that drug use and abuse was a medical problem and that marijuana should be decriminalized.

Now, hopefully, we may be finally coming to our senses.  The current administration has shown an interest in abandoning the ideology of prohibition which has cost billions and incarcerated more of our citizens than any other country in the modern world, and embracing a policy of reform based on science and good medical practice.   Turns out it is less harmful to allow people to do these drugs and to fit them with proverbial seatbelts, turn signals and other safety devices than it is to incarcerate them, destroy their families and communities and put them through a revolving door of prison and poverty.

This shift to harm reduction has worked in other modern countries and it will certainly work here.  We must finally admit that our War on Some Drugs and not on others that are equally as dangerous has been an abject failure.  Alcohol for example is every bit as addictive as heroin but alcohol is far more damaging to the body than heroin yet heroin is illegal, supposedly has no medical value and is dangerous, and alcohol is not. It is curious that drugs like heroin are illegal where drugs that are synthetic heroin like methadone, are ok. No logic or science to this difference but it keeps our police agencies funded, the prisons full and our Drug Warriors in a job.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Kentucky Medical Association’s Willful Ignorance

In an article on the Louisville Business First website the President of the Kentucky Medical Association is quoted as saying that its members need more information on medical marijuana before they could support medical marijuana legalization.   Dr. David Bemsema said that, ‘if there was a well-designed study that showed a positive medical benefit from marijuana use , Kentucky Doctors would have to consider an alternative delivery method. It wouldn’t consider smoking it as a delivery method because the group is opposed to smoking.”

Let’s just start with the willful ignorance of the members of the KMA.  There are numerous studies proving the efficacy and safety of medical marijuana.  Actually too many to list here but let’s just review the ones listed in the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws web library under the listing Gliomas/cancer.

[1] Guzman et al. 1998. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol induces apoptosis in C6 glioma cells. FEBS Letters 436: 6-10.

[2] Guzman et al. 2000. Anti-tumoral action of cannabinoids: involvement of sustained ceramide accumulation and extracellular signal-regulated kinase activation. Nature Medicine 6: 313-319.

[3] Guzman et al. 2003. Inhibition of tumor angiogenesis by cannabinoids. The FASEB Journal 17: 529-531.

[4] Massi et al. 2004. Antitumor effects of cannabidiol, a non-psychotropic cannabinoid, on human glioma cell lines. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Fast Forward 308: 838-845.

[5] Guzman et al. 2004. Cannabinoids inhibit the vascular endothelial growth factor pathways in gliomas (PDF). Cancer Research 64: 5617-5623.

[6] Allister et al. 2005. Cannabinoids selectively inhibit proliferation and induce death of cultured human glioblastoma multiforme cells. Journal of Neurooncology 74: 31-40.

[7] Torres et al. 2011. A combined preclinical therapy of cannabinoids and Temozolomide against glioma. Molecular Cannabis Therapeutics 10: 90.

[8] Guzman et al. 2006. A pilot clinical study of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol in patients with recurrent glioblastoma multiforme. British Journal of Cancer (E-pub ahead of print).

[9] Parolaro and Massi. 2008. Cannabinoids as a potential new drug therapy for the treatment of gliomas. Expert Reviews of Neurotherapeutics 8: 37-49

[10] Galanti et al. 2007. Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits cell cycle progression by downregulation of E2F1 in human glioblastoma multiforme cells. Acta Oncologica 12: 1-9.

[11] Calatozzolo et al. 2007. Expression of cannabinoid receptors and neurotrophins in human gliomas. Neurological Sciences 28: 304-310.

[12] Foroughi et al. 2011. Spontaneous regression of septum pellucidum/forniceal pilocytic astrocytomas — possible role of cannabis inhalation. Child’s Nervous System 27: 671-679.

[13] Cafferal et al. 2006. Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits cell cycle progression in human breast cancer cells through Cdc2 regulation. Cancer Research 66: 6615-6621.

[14] Di Marzo et al. 2006. Anti-tumor activity of plant cannabinoids with emphasis on the effect of cannabidiol on human breast carcinoma. Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics Fast Forward 318: 1375-1387.

[15] De Petrocellis et al. 1998. The endogenous cannabinoid anandamide inhibits human breast cancer cell proliferation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 95: 8375-8380.

[16] McAllister et al. 2007. Cannabidiol as a novel inhibitor of Id-1 gene expression in aggressive breast cancer cells. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 6: 2921-2927.

[17] Cafferal et al. 2010. Cannabinoids reduce ErbB2-driven breast cancer progression through Akt inhibition. Molecular Cancer 9: 196.

[18] Sarfaraz et al. 2005. Cannabinoid receptors as a novel target for the treatment of prostate cancer. Cancer Research 65: 1635-1641.

[19] Mimeault et al. 2003. Anti-proliferative and apoptotic effects of anandamide in human prostatic cancer cell lines. Prostate 56: 1-12.

[20] Ruiz et al. 1999. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol induces apoptosis in human prostate PC-3 cells via a receptor-independent mechanism. FEBS Letters 458: 400-404.

[21] Ramos and Bianco. 2012. The role of cannabinoids in prostate cancer: Basic science perspective and potential clinical applications. Journal of Urology 28: 9-14.

[22] DePetrocellis et al. 2013. Non-THC cannabinoids inhibit prostate carcinoma growth in vitro and in vivo: pro-apoptotic effects and underlying mechanisms. British Journal of Pharmacology 168: 79-102.

[23] Pastos et al. 2005. The endogenous cannabinoid, anandamide, induces cell death in colorectal carcinoma cells: a possible role for cyclooxygenase-2. Gut 54: 1741-1750.

[24] Aviello et al. 2012. Chemopreventive effect of the non-psychotropic phytocannabinoid cannabidiol on experimental colon cancer. Journal of Molecular Medicine [E-pub ahead of print]

[25] Di Marzo et al. 2006. op. cit

[26] Casanova et al. Inhibition of skin tumor growth and angiogenesis in vivo by activation of cannabinoid receptors. 2003. Journal of Clinical Investigation 111: 43-50.

[27] Powles et al. 2005. Cannabis-induced cytotoxicity in leukemic cell lines. Blood 105: 1214-1221

[28] Jia et al 2006. Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol-induced apoptosis in Jurkat leukemic T cells in regulated by translocation of Bad to mitochondria. Molecular Cancer Research 4: 549-562.

[29] Liu et al. 2008. Enhancing the in vitro cytotoxic activity of Ä9-tetrahydrocannabinol in leukemic cells through a combinatorial approach. Leukemia and Lymphoma 49: 1800-1809.

[30] Scott et al. 2013. Enhancing the activity of cannabidiol and other cannabinoids in vitro through modifications to drug combinations and treatment schedules 33: 4373-4380.

[31] Manuel Guzman. 2003. Cannabinoids: potential anticancer agents (PDF). Nature Reviews Cancer 3: 745-755.

[32] Marcu et al. 2010. Cannabidiol enhances the inhibitory effects of delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol on human glioblastoma cell proliferation and survival. Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 9: 180-189.

[33] Guzman. 2003 op. cit.

[34] Preet et al. 2008. Delta9-Tetrahydrocannabinol inhibits epithelial growth factor-induced lung cancer cell migration in vitro as well as its growth and metastasis in vivo. Oncogene 10: 339-346.

[35] Manuel Guzman. 2003. Cannabinoids: potential anticancer agents (PDF). Nature Reviews Cancer 3: 745-755.

[36] Baek et al. 1998. Antitumor activity of cannabigerol against human oral epitheloid carcinoma cells. Archives of Pharmacal Research: 21: 353-356.

[37] Carracedo et al. 2006. Cannabinoids induce apoptosis of pancreatic tumor cells via endoplasmic reticulum stress-related genes. Cancer Research 66: 6748-6755.

[38] Michalski et al. 2008. Cannabinoids in pancreatic cancer: correlation with survival and pain. International Journal of Cancer 122: 742-750.

[39] Ramer and Hinz. 2008. Inhibition of cancer cell invasion by cannabinoids via increased cell expression of tissue inhibitor of matrix metalloproteinases-1. Journal of the National Cancer Institute 100: 59-69.

[40] Whyte et al. 2010. Cannabinoids inhibit cellular respiration of human oral cancer cells. Pharmacology 85: 328-335.

[41] Leelawat et al. 2010. The dual effects of delta(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol on cholangiocarcinoma cells: anti-invasion activity at low concentration and apoptosis induction at high concentration. Cancer Investigation 28: 357-363.

[42] Gustafsson et al. 2006. Cannabinoid receptor-mediated apoptosis induced by R(+)-methanandamide and Win55,212 is associated with ceramide accumulation and p38 activation in mantle cell lymphoma. Molecular Pharmacology 70: 1612-1620.

[43] Gustafsson et al. 2008. Expression of cannabinoid receptors type 1 and type 2 in non-Hodgkin lymphoma: Growth inhibition by receptor activation. International Journal of Cancer 123: 1025-1033.

[44] Natalya Kogan. 2005. Cannabinoids and cancer. Mini-Reviews in Medicinal Chemistry 5: 941-952.

[45] Sarafaraz et al. 2008. Cannabinoids for cancer treatment: progress and promise. Cancer Research 68: 339-342.

[46] Study shows non-hallucinogenic cannabinoids are effective anti-cancer drugs. October 14, 2013.

[47] Haartz. Israeli researchers say more doctors should recommend marijuana to cancer patients. January 30, 2012.

Marijuana has shown promise or actual benefits for many conditions to include epilepsy, cancer, Alzheimer’s, fibromyalgia, dystonia, hepatitis C, diabetes, pruritus, osteoporosis, MRSA, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, ALS, chronic pain, Tourette’s syndrome, HIV, hypertension, and arthritis.  All of these can be researched at this link—

http://norml.org/library/recent-research-on-medical-marijuana

The members of the KMA need to bone up on the facts.  The medical benefits of medical cannabis are undeniable.  As far as delivery method, the work of Dr Tashkin reported in the Journal of thoracic medicine shows that marijuana smokers get head neck and lung cancer at the same rate as non-smokers.  Vaporizing whole plant marijuana has shown to be the most effective and safe method of delivery with smoking second.  Vaporizing is 80% effective versus 60% effective for smoking.  I’m sure if there was a problem with smoking as delivery method it would have surfaced in the last 20 years medical marijuana has been available to the citizens of California.

So lets put this nonsense behind us and move forward.  Kentucky’s sick and disabled need compassion and support, they need medical marijuana, and they need their Doctors to be up to date on the facts.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Ending Criminal Prohibition as theWay to Control Our Drug Problem

The prohibition of drugs has been a complete failure.  This policy of limiting freedom to keep drugs in check has not gotten us any closer to controlling drugs.  Matter of fact prohibition is the opposite of control because it abdicates the responsibility for controlling drugs and lays it at the feet of the law enforcement community.   We should allow freedom to chart our policies. Allow people the freedom to use if they want and have a robust rehabilitation program for when they are ready to quit. Something similar to Portugal whose policies for dealing with drug abuse are more advanced than any other nation and respect the dignity of all involved with this issue.

Prohibition started with the Harrison Act in 1914. This was in response not to a huge problem with drug users but as a response to the thousands of Chinese railroad workers coming into the country who used opium as their drug of choice. It was also used in the 20’s to crack down on the Black community over cocaine. Cut to the 30s and the prohibition of pot was started in California to harass Mexicans and push them back across the border so they won’t take American jobs. Mexicans used marijuana and Anglos used alcohol. After alcohol prohibition ended marijuana suddenly assumed all the negative consequences of alcohol and marijuana prohibition became national.  This was used to crack down on anti-war protesters in the 70s and continues to this day to be used as an excuse for the police to harass the citizens.   The eighties saw an increase in the use of crack cocaine and the crackdown, as history shows, landed on the African American community.  Not the White suburbs but in the inner cities.   Now in the 2000s we are cracking down on prescription drug use and, here in Kentucky, have made it almost impossible for even legitimate users to get the medicine they need.  The result, a heroin epidemic!

Not one of our drug laws were put in place because of drug use but rather to keep some segment of the population in check.  With the exception of marijuana law reform at the State level, there actually has been no movement to reform our drug laws to reflect the science of medicine and not the science of repression we are using now to treat addiction.

Let us end this wasteful and ineffective policy and craft a drug policy based on science and facts instead of prejudice and fear of our fellow citizens!  Let us begin by ending marijuana prohibition as a start.  The results of state legalization have shown that none of the predicted harms of marijuana legalization touted by those supporting prohibition have surfaced nor will they.  Let us start there and go forward and create a drug policy that works, is fair and relies on science and logic to attain its goals.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Baptist Convention Brags About Killing Medical Cannabis Bill

The Director of the Baptist Convention is bragging about killing the Medical Cannabis Bill claiming victory in doing so. Let’s look at what he has actually done and see if he is still proud of his accomplishment. The ignorance of Baptist Convention Director, Mr. Chitwood and the Baptists on this issue is stunning. Many Religious organizations support the legalization of marijuana for medical reasons.  78 years of prohibition and misinformation certainly worked on Mr. Chitwood!  I bet he still believes marijuana will make little Tommy kill Grandma with her skillet!!!  Another serious question is who elected Mr. Chitwood to the Assembly and why is he practicing medicine without a license?

His warning that if marijuana is legal for medical reasons then everyone will get it any time they want is the same argument given by the Feds in 1996 when California legalized medical marijuana.  It didn’t fly then and it doesn’t fly now!  But if it did let’s take it to its logical conclusion.   Ok, California has had medical for 28 years.  If as you say, anyone can get it, then I challenge you to show us where the bodies are? Where are the schizophrenic teens, the Heroin addicted users that went from pot to heroin? (Studies show a 25% drop in prescription opioid drug abuse in medical marijuana states).  Where is the increase in fatal traffic accidents?

None of this has happened!   In addition to this, teen use in these states is either unchanged or has dropped slightly.

Mr. Chitwood may be patting himself on the back but it’s for stopping thousands of our fellow citizens, many of whom (if statics are to be believed) belong to the Baptist faith, from safely and legally obtaining and using a medicine that is effective for a number of conditions.

A special thanks to you from Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access.  We represent the thousands of Veterans who suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder who need it as the only effective medicine for this insidious condition as testified to at the Interim Joint Assembly hearing of the Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee held on 10 July 2014. Those who suffer from intractable pain from their service offer a special thanks for insuring another year of either suffering with it or breaking the law and risking jail to mitigate their pain.

Oh well so much for the cry, ‘Whatever the troops need’!

I certainly hope you, Mr. Chitwood, and all the Baptists in the State are able to look your version of Jesus in the eye and tell him that you are doing his work by insuring the suffering of tens of thousands of your fellow citizens for another year.  I’m sure He will be pleased to hear it, don’t you?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

An Apalling Lack of Respect and Knowledge

Last night on Kentucky Educational Television’s ‘Kentucky Tonight’ show with Bill Goodman a prominent Northern Kentucky State Senator was asked a question about the Medical Cannabis legislation.  He responded that while fighting heroin he was loath to allow our citizens access to another drug, thus equating the need for medical cannabis with heroin addiction.

His answer, while disrespecting the tens of thousands of our citizens who legitimately need medical cannabis, also shows a total lack of knowledge of either medical cannabis or heroin.  The facts show that medical cannabis can be an effective tool when dealing with heroin abuse. Recent studies show a drop of approximately 25% in opioid drug abuse to include heroin in States that have effective medical cannabis laws and many addicts report success when using medical cannabis to break their heroin addiction.

The citizens of Kentucky who require medical cannabis deserve more than the mouthing of 77 year old debunked drug war propaganda.  They deserve legislators who respond to their needs and take the time to educate themselves about these issues.  They need and deserve access to medical cannabis now, not tomorrow!

You Legislators need to show that you have compassion! Show these citizens that they matter and pass a Colorado style medical cannabis bill this session.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment