The whole point of free speech is not to make ideas exempt from criticism but to expose them to it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Speeding on that road paved with good intentions

What is worse than speeding on that road paved with good intentions? Before you answer, read the following opinion piece by Ron Sasso in today's Rapid City Journal.

Starting with the limp, wanna-be-hip title, "

"Medical marijuana would be a downer,"

Rapid City Journal columnist and erstwhile city council candidate, Ron Sasso manages to make about several assertions about cannabis, some of which are false, some bearing a so-what truthfulness, some too funny not to share; the remaining are indecipherable.

1. Sasso sez: "Medical marijuana may be on the ballot next year. Keep in mind that is the gateway to legalization of marijuana."

Decorum Forum says (under the "too funny not to share" category): Thanks for the plug, Ron.

 2. Sasso sez: "The potency of marijuana has radically changed over the past 30 years. Growers have worked the genetics to make it far more potent."

Decorum Forum says (under the "so f*****g what?" category): Thanks for the plug, Ron. That makes it so people don't need as much cannabis to achieve the goal of using cannabis.

 3. Sasso sez: "The argument for legalization is basically hinged on the idea that marijuana is relatively safe."

Decorum Forum says (under the "so f*****g what?" category): Thanks for the plug, Ron. That's exactly what we say. And we're right. There are no known deaths in medical history from ingestion of cannabis. 

4. Sasso sez: "Marijuana has more tar than cigarettes and is unfiltered. It will cause cancer."

Decorum Forum says (under the "false" category): There is no evidence that cannabis smoke ingestion (or any other form of cannabis ingestion) causes cancer. There is evidence that cannabis might be a cancer controvertive. Click here to see Washington Post story supporting that assertion. 

5. Sasso sez: "Studies have shown that marijuana use causes long-term damage that leads to a reduction in IQ — on average, an eight-point reduction. That is a huge change in cognitive functioning. Is this what we want for our country? This could truly be the dumbing down of America."

Decorum Forum says (under the "false" category): We get all laughing-out-loud reading that paragraph from the same guy who wrote the rest of the editorial.

We mentioned good intentions up top. We don't have much patience for people who refuse to look at the evidence before they condemn others to persecution by prosecution. Ron Sasso's intentions are not at issue; I believe he believes something that is obviously not true. That makes him, at the very least, uninformed (for which there is no excuse when the subject is cannabis). There are other possibilities. He might be crazy. Or malicious. Maybe he's just plain stupid. But he has to fit one of those four characterizations. There are no other choices.

Ron Sasso's errant opinion--with no credible support--on cannabis typifies the reasoning used to have ruined the lives of tens of millions of people around the world, and to have left a swath of bodies killed by law enforcement and by the criminals created by the price-support program called "prohibition." The benefit? Cannabis is cheaper, better, and more-readily-available than at any time in the last 45 years.

There are no benefits to criminalization of the attempt to feel better. The evil consequences are plain to see.

Monday, August 11, 2014

The South Dakota Libertarian Party had a party last Saturday

It has been about four months since I wrote anything and published it through this particular venue, but it seemed like the best place to put this stuff.

The South Dakota Libertarian Party, with which I have been involved since 1992, held its 11th Biennial convention on August 9. Emmett Reistroffer and I kinda co-moderated it. In my moments of audience enrapturement I let it be known that I was cynical about politics, along with everyone who was there, including me.

That said, I would say that most people there thought the experience was entertaining, suspenseful, and worth the $30 they paid for the privilege of having a louder-than-normal voice in placing a nominee on a ballot for a statewide elective office.

First we held intra-party elections. Emmett Reistroffer, Sioux Falls, was elected SDLP chairman, and will be the face of the SDLP for a while.

After that, we discussed a number of options to better present ourselves to South Dakotans than simply adopting the national LP platform as our platform.

Then we had some speakers. Former US Senator Larry Pressler led off. Pressler is on the ballot in November as an Independent candidate for US Senator. My analyses on the speakers' messages will be for more based on my observation of their general impression rather than the content of their speeches, which I was not able to concentrate on while I was photographing them and trying to keep to a timetable.

Pressler directed his speech at the crowd in attendance, speaking about the importance of oppositional groups in a dynamic society. I heard him refer to his experience several times on several different aspects of policy. He presented a rather more thoughtful image of himself than I saw in him 30 years ago, but then, I've changed, too. His wardrobe, consisting of a rumpled blue-stripe seersucker suit, along with his general carriage, suggested to me a slightly thickened Hal Holbrook, and that ain't bad. I saw little, if any, hubris. I saw a man who thinks, probably correctly, that he has better ideas than the folks whose peerage he seeks again. I may vote for Pressler this fall.

After Pressler, Independent candidate for governor, Mike Myers, spoke. Myers has a wonderful speaking voice, which he seems not quite sure of how to use. He seems sincere and trustworthy, but his message, largely about the control of medical services by a few providers, already difficult to convey to us the consumers, kinda gets lost in the mix of playfulness, seriousness, and populism.

Myers was followed by Eric Leggett, an Independent candidate for SoDak House of Reps from Dist 15, mostly downtown Sioux Falls. Leggett sure looks and acts like a young legislator. His delivery is sincere, just impassioned enough to let you know he has the passion, but also has a handle on it. He's not bashful about saying he wants to end the drug war, and I doubt he's ever seen a drug except from across the street. I also had a few moments of interaction with his wife (no dummy) and son, who entertained the crowd until he got tired of it. 

After the outside speakers, each of whom was involved in a race not contested by a Libertarian, of course, we turned to nomination of folks to the "constitutional offices," Secretary of State, Attorney General, Auditor, Treasurer, Commissioner of School and Public Lands, and Public Utilities Commissioner.

Emmett Reistroffer was nominated for and will be on the ballot in November for the office of Secretary of State.

  In the photo above, Emmett moderates the half-hour forum during which Attorney General candidates Haber and Evans project their views on the office.

Kurt Evans and Chad Haber each presented a character wanting to achieve transparency in an office characterized by thuggery and and whimsical exercise of power. Haber won the nomination by virtue of having invited, and gained, more people in attendance having met the requirements to vote at the convention, than did Evans. If you're reading this, you're aware of the current prosecution of Haber's wife, Annette Bosworth, and of the allegations against Haber himself. What I saw at the convention was two young (to me) men whom each conducted himself well, and one won in a political move I can't fault. He inspired more people to show up and vote for him than did his opponent.

The next six pictures are of, first, Kurt Evans, then of Chad Haber, during the course of their debate.

The SDLP convention was covered by some media representatives, including David Montgomery from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader,

Leo Kallis, far right (but whose face is still visible), publisher of a blog whose name I hope someone will supply since I can't remember. And Lee Stanahan, far left, who publishes the Dakota Reporter.

And Todd Epp, Northern Plains News/KSOO. The couple in the background are Doug and Candice Boes, whom have undergone huge heartache in having foster children taken by tribal court and awarded to relatives who indisputably abuse the children.

Ken Santema, a businessman from Aberdeen, was nominated for Treasurer. Ryan Gaddy, Sioux Falls musician, promoter and videographer, got the Public Utilities Commissioner nod. John English, a Sioux Falls landscape designer is on the ballot as the Libertarian nominee for Commissioner of School and Public lands.

I have a picture of Santema, directly below. I didn't get an individual shot of Gaddy or English.

However, I got one of the six Libertarian nominees for the constitutional offices. L-R, Emmett Reistroffer, Kurt Evans, Ryan Gaddy, John English, Chad Haber, and Ken Santema.

I'll close with a photo that may encapsulate much about the day.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Now that Madville Times is a hot item...

On April 9, 2011, the blog, Madville Times, posted a video of its moderator in a candidate forum as he replies to a less-than-friendly query from one of the six-or-so concerned citizens who appeared to be in attendance.

The query had something to do with temper.

Madville Times and its moderator, Cory Heidelberger, have achieved recent notoriety because Heidelberger has filed a formal accusation of perjury against Annette Bosworth, of whom you may not have heard prior to this scandal.

Heidelberger sent a letter to the Secretary of.... Oh, just go browse through the past ten days posts at Madville Times.

I assume Cory made a reasonable assessment of the evidence, and, after browsing Annette Bosworth for Senate on Facebook, I can easily believe his charges.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Perfect job for a sociopath

Radley Balko wrote a blog entry for the Washington Post yesterday that you should read.

The Head Doorkicker of the DEA has always had to be either criminally stupid or criminally inclined to enforce the craziest and most counterproductive US Gummint policies that have ever existed in this country. This is maybe the best gummint job for a sociopath, amidst several choices.

Michelle Leonhart is Head Doorkicker now, having spent 33 years in a law enforcement agency that has utterly failed to control the arbitrarily-illegal industries over which it supposedly has jurisdiction. The DEA presents us body counts: "We have put more people in prison than anyone in history." The illegal industries present us with ever-cheaper psychotropic substances.

Only someone either criminally stupid or criminally sociopathic could oppose allowing sick, disabled and dying people the relief undeniably given them by cannabis, while warning that cannabis might kill your dog, basing her opinion on a newspaper piece that did not say that at all.

This from a woman whose agency, and nearly all "drug task forces," are notorious for killing dogs for no reason during executions of raids on suspected "drug" dealers or users. Balko's story ends with a list of incidents in which various SWAT teams egregiously shot pets, sometimes of people in whose house they found nothing incriminating.

And there's this video of a SWAT team executing dogs.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Legal cannabis or Inquisition? There's no middle ground.

Colorado has 5,268,367 people, South Dakota has 844,877 (2013 Census estimates). That's a 6:1 ratio; SoDak has 16% as many people as CO. I maintain that, in South Dakota, there is at least 10% of Colorado's cannabis sales potential for South Dakota coffers. That would be about $200 grand a month into the South Dakota tax handout system. It could be a significant addition.

How many dollars are extracted in the Inquisition that has SoDak Highway Patrolmen lying in wait on the borders for cars with Colorado or Washington plates, or any car that might be coming from Washington or Colorado?

The weight of the fines ("getting-caught taxes") opposed to the weight of the tax revenue potential; that's the observation South Dakota legislators will increasingly have to face. One by one, South Dakota legislators will announce, "I've always been in favor of industrial hemp." Or, "I've never thought people should have a criminal record just for using cannabis."

Monday, March 3, 2014

Is it sinful to break a law?

It was not all that long ago that the Supreme Court held that runaway slaves had to be returned to their owners, even if the runaway had made it to a free state. People in free states who harbored runaway slaves were breaking the law.

Rep. Hickey and others maintain that it is sinful to break the law. Are the souls of those who illegally harbored slaves still in Hell? Are Catholics who ate meat on Friday back when it was illegal still in Purgatory? Is Thomas Jefferson still trying to justify his defiance of tyranny?


When they said, "We want you to remove your shoes so we can see if you have bombs in them, we said, "Okay, but we're annoyed."

When they said, "We are gonna take scans of you that show your dick and cunt," we said, "Okay, but we're annoyed."

When they said, "We are gonna handle your dick and stick our fingers in your cunt and asshole," we said, "Okay, but we're annoyed."

Then they said, "We are gonna lie about everything we have done and will do."

We said, "Okay, but we are annoyed. Make no mistake. But we are still gonna vote into office those who promote this bureaucratic finger-fucking."

Sunday, March 2, 2014

You've seen the brick wall...

On March 1, I posed the question to Rep. Hickey (R-Sioux Falls): "What is the downside of letting sick, disabled and dying people use an herb, the use of which has caused no death in known history, to palliate their suffering?"

Here are his responses:

"Bob - what question haven't I answered yet? That pot is an answer to prayer? I'm pretty sure God won't answer a prayer by telling us to break the law."

"Bob I've answered the question about the downside. Pot docs moving into SD and prescribing it for 18 year olds who fall off their skate board, law enforcement dealing with the drug lords and runners who are violent and could care less about sick people in pain, the pot of today is stronger and dosages aren't scientific or stable and safe. You've heard all this from me and others before and I know you have counter points. If it was only a matter of people in chronic pain getting it I'd think it would be legal. But it opens the door to so more. That's the downside and why it keeps getting voted down. Take heart though, the nation is moving toward lawlessness and everything will be legal soon everywhere. Obama probably still smokes pots. Why do you smoke it everyday? Pain? What are the stats on traffic fatalities in states where pot is legal? Do we know yet?"

"I'm trying to talk sense and gave you my best answer."

"I'd be happy if we let many of the people in jail for pot use and other nonviolent crimes out of jail. We need prison reform."

"Bob, you've seen the brick wall I hit when I bring big changes to Pierre to help struggling people out. Love Roger's comment on it being self serving. It dawned on me in 4 years now I've lived away from home and my wife a total of one year in Pierre. If this somehow helps me I've yet to see how."

My follow-up includes this observation: Rep. Hickey has placed his opinions and reasoning in the public swimming pool. I'd like to see the reasoning behind the opinions of all those legislators who have not joined the discussion who think pot smokers should be put in jail.