Friday, November 24, 2006

ROBERT HALFHILL WEB PAGE UPDATED -- JUNE 12, 2006

I have decided to copy the entire contents of my web page onto my blog. This means that this latest blog is long -- 232 KB in fact. But for those stumbling on to my blog for the first time who are put off by the length of this 11/24/06 post, shorted and earlier blog entries follow. And I hope that many readers will be interested in and find food for thought in this web page blog.
Robert Halfhill

ROBERT HALFHILL WEB PAGE UPDATED: JUNE 12, 2006
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

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.
Holberg Learns What It's Like To Be Treated Unfairly By The Majority
REGIME CHANGE NEEDED AT HOME By Robert Halfhill
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!

■■■ To email Robert Halfhill CLICK HERE. Links: The Pen
Executive Orders
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.

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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.

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CHRISTIANITY'S PERSECUTION OF GAYS: historical bigotry
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.

■■■ REMEMBER PROHIBITION?It still doesn't work! 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) REPLYby 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.)

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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.

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ILLUMINATIONby Robert Halfhill
I first had my moment of illumination about the nature of this society, the moment when it hit me on a gut level what I had known intellectually since the 1960's in 1999, after I had been beating my head against a wall about the plight of the HIV positive inmates at Parchman State Prison in Mississippi since early August of 1997. The HIV positive inmates were being confined in summer temperatures that are lethal to anyone who is debilitated from AIDS, cancer or any other cause. Temperatures at Parchman could reach 99 degrees Fahrenheit, which with the humidity common in the Gulf states, is equivalent to 115 to 120 degrees. Needless to say, five inmates had already died from the heat in the last year and others would die over the next two years while I fought to mobilize support and help for the inmates. The plumbing in the building where the inmates with HIV were segregated from the rest of the prisoners was so bad that, when the toilet in one cell was flushed the toilet in the adjacent cell overflowed and dropped down onto the bedding of the prisoner in the cell below.
The inmates had to constantly bat flies away from their food in the mess hall and, given the propensity of flies to fly around and alight at random, it was a statistical certainty that some of these flies had been crawling around in the toilet waste from the overflowing toilets before they alighted on the inmates' food. Most of the food was of poor quality and inedible and had become cold by the time it reached the AIDS unit from where it was cooked.
Most of the inmates with HIV/AIDS were not even getting AZT, let alone the three drug regimen with regular viral load monitoring that was the standard of care for HIV/AIDS. There was very little of any other medical care as well. One inmate, Michael Buckley, broke his hand while playing ball. In spite of the prison nurses repeatedly telling one of the two prison doctors that there was something wrong with his hand, the doctor kept saying there was nothing wrong with his hand. He was left in pain and in danger of losing his hand for eleven days until he was finally treated at the University of Mississippi Hospitals. Inmates who had had strokes received no rehabilitative therapy and did not regain the ability to move the parts of their bodies affected by the stroke.
Another inmate, Manuel Carothers, had injured his back in a car accident and the prison doctor told him that he had injured his back before coming to prison and it was his responsibility to treat it. One of the inmates later wrote me that the prison doctors had "criminal medical backgrounds." In other words, the doctors could not get a job anywhere but a prison "medical" facility.
In addition to sending letters of protest to the warden and other prison officials, as well as Governor Kirk Fordice, and later, Governor Ronnie Musgrove, I contacted the American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International and the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights. Amnesty International began having people write the prisoners and publicized their plight. The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights can only investigate with the permission of the government that is the subject of the complaint and cannot tell the complainant how his complaint worked out. It took thirteen months for the ACLU to decide to take the case after I contacted them. I also wrote the U.S. Justice Department but they wrote back that they could only intervene if there was "a pattern or practice" of discrimination. When I first learned about this situation, there were over sixty HIV positive inmates so, if that does not constitute a "pattern of practice" I don't know what does. The last time I checked, there were over 150 HIV positive inmates.
The ACLU was eventually able through litigation to get a judge to order that the plumbing be improved and that the inmates receive the three drug treatment and regular viral load monitoring. The guards retaliated against the inmates with what was called "a reign of terror" with beatings, fabricated rule infraction reports and solitary confinement. (Inmates in solitary had to wash their clothes in the toilet. I forgot to ask whether they had to DRINK out of the toilet bowl, although I remember reading in one of the popular, mainstream magazines (Life? Look?) about a Mississippi inmate on death row who did have to DRINK out of the toilet bowl in his solitary cell. I remember reading this sometime in the 1950's.)
The lower court would not remove the class counsel for the inmates and replace him with the ACLU, even though all of the 150 HIV positive inmates asked that the ACLU be their class counsel. The inmates' class counsel, Ronald Reid Welch, had been the inmates' class counsel for twenty years, in one year receiving nearly $100,000.00, while doing virtually nothing for the inmates. The ACLU eventually won on the appellate court level, replacing Ronald Welch. The situation as reported to me by the ACLU lawyer for the inmates, as I contacted her at intervals of several months for updates, was that the Appellate Court ruling had led to the ACLU's achieving a livable solution to all the problems of the HIV positive inmates except for the lack of air conditioning. At best, this means that half the problems of the HIV positive inmates have been solved; at best, with the better plumbing and adequate medical care, only about half as many inmates will die. But with the extreme heat and humidity during the summers at Parchmen, approximately half as many HIV positive inmates will still die. The ACLU counsel for the inmates, Margaret Winter, told me that no court is likely to order the prison to install air conditioning.
I sent letters to Physicians for Human Rights and Amy Goodman of the radio program, Democracy NOW!, at the Pacifica Network in the hope that PHR would be in a publicity campaign to pressure the Mississippi Department of Corrections to take the final step of installing air conditioning and that Amy Goodman would cover the plight of the inmates. But Physicians for Human Rights, which used to have chapters in cities around the country, is now apparently down to one chapter in Boston. The letters to PHR and Amy Goodman were written in December, 2001. I have not received a reply from PHR and when I call their office, the secretary cannot tell me anything. I don't know if the letter to Amy Goodman got lost in the Pacifica bureaucracy and never reached her, but she has not replied to my letter and I don't know if she has covered the story.
But the Parchman situation, at least by 1999, had led to my realization on a gut, emotional level, as opposed to only intellectually, that hey, this Parchman situation REALLY is something going on in this country that is just as bad as the atrocities that went on in the death camps of Nazi Germany and the former Yugoslavia and what happened in those medieval dungeons! Actually, that realization came as soon as I read the letter from Mike (Julius) Neilson, a former resident of Bloomington and then current Parchman inmate to ACT-UP/MINNESOTA asking for help in August, 1997. The additional realization I reached at least by 1999, sometime during the stretch between the District Court's decision and the Appellate Court's favorable decision in the ACLU's appeal, after I had been already been slogging away with this case for two years and having started with the realization that it rested on my shoulders as a single individual to organize a fight against an entire state to win justice for the inmates, was that, having grown up in the 40's and 50's, I had grown up being taught that our government didn't do things like this, that things like this didn't happen in America! I had realized intellectually in the 1960's that our government was not the proponent of unalloyed goodness that I had been taught it was, but now it struck me on a gut, emotional level that our government REALLY was JUST AS BAD as those other governments I had cited. I did not realize the full significance of my realization until a week later while I was listening to the news on the radio and found I was getting excited over the realization that unlike most of the people in the world outside my apartment, I really understood what was happening. This gut realization that our government REALLY is this BAD was like what people who have mystical experiences have in that it did not give me a special route to knowing new facts, but gave me a sudden new emotional attitude to the facts I already knew. But, this moment of illumination not only threw into high relief facts that I already knew, but brought my attention to facts that I had previously noticed in the back of my mind, facts which I was only peripherally, if at all, aware of. I said to someone a short time later that I had grown up being taught that our government didn't do things like this and that I expected at least that much. He indicated that my expectation was unrealistic, "especially for late capitalism." I thought about this for awhile; is it true that all human societies must inevitably fall under the control of "power elites?" that it really is too much to expect a government that actually represents the will of the majority of its people, where police only used the minimum of force necessary to subdue criminals, where prison guards only used the minimum of force needed to keep inmates under control, where Departments of Corrections did not preside over death camp like conditions for its inmates, where the government is actually trying to promote freedom around the world instead of supporting dictatorships, etc?
Some of the founders of the United States tried to achieve such a government by establishing a tripartite system of checks and balances - legislative, executive and judicial - and the ACLU has proposed a special prosecutor with his or her own investigative staff to investigate accusations of police brutality since county and state attorneys are reluctant to prosecute the police upon whose cooperation they depend to prosecute criminal cases. A tripartite system prevents any one group from monopolizing power since the other parts of the triad can keep watch over each one. So maybe, by abolishing large concentrations of economic power - i.e. overthrowing capitalism - extending democracy into the economic realm, maintaining free elections, civil liberties, freedom of the press, etc and extending tripartite checks and balances throughout the institutions of our society, we can really have a government and society that is like what we were told we already have. It was within a week of this conversation that the realization that our government REALLY WAS THIS BAD and that we REALLY DID HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPECT THE KIND OF GOVERNMENT WE WERE TOLD WE ALREADY HAD, that my gut realization solidified.
This experience did not give me a special route to knowing new facts other than the ordinary route of tedious empirical investigation. It did not give me direct knowledge of the existence of God or put me in direct touch with a "ground of being;" in fact, I am still an atheist. I suppose mystics who have a sudden realization of the "basic rightness" of everything would also be an example of acquiring a whole new attitude towards facts already known. But, I would still say that anyone who has an "illumination" of the "basic rightness" of the plight of the HIV positive Parchman inmates, a feeling that everything including the situation at Parchman is "just right," is suffering from an hallucination, even if it is only an attitudinal hallucination.
My experience, incidentally, should only be considered a minor mystical experience in that it was only a realization and new attitude towards the society I am living in; it was not an "A-ha!" experience about the whole universe. I doubt that anything useful would result from an A-ha! experience or attitudinal shift about anything transcending our range of experience and knowledge as the whole universe.
Another example of how the U.S. government REALLY IS THAT BAD is exemplified by the issue of medical marijuana. But first, a basic principle of ethics is that no one has the right to interfere with the behavior of anyone else unless it harms him or her. If you don't like commercial sex or prostitution, then don't participate in it yourself; neither a buyer or a vendor be. But you have no right to interfere if someone else wants to buy or sell sex. This includes supporting laws that make commercial sex illegal. You're out of line, and at least half of the evils of this world are due to people who just won't mind their own business. If you don't like abortion, then neither have or perform one yourself. But mind your own business is someone else chooses to have or perform one. And if you don' t like marijuana (or heroin or cocaine or crystal meth, for that matter), then don't use it yourself and mind your own business if other people use it.
But beside the ethical principle that no one has the right to interfere with behavior that does not affect other people, the government is continuing its drug jihad in the face of evidence that marijuana has important medical uses.
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 acts 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.
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 eye 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 more effective with glaucoma than Delta 9 THC. THC 8, for example, was far superior. Drs. Hepler and Frank, along with J.T. Ungerleider, reported on the superior efficacy of marijuana in treating glaucoma in the December, 1987 American Journal of Opthalmology.
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.
The Star Tribune of May 29, 2003 (p. D1) reported that about 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year. Over 1 million end up on chemotherapy. About 70% to 80% experience nausea and vomiting during their treatment. In other words, at least 700,000 people suffer nausea and vomiting each year because of the government's ban on marijuana, which mounts up to millions of sufferers after three years. How many more People With AIDS suffer and have their deaths hastened because they cannot keep their food down or absorb adequate nutrition or because they don't have the appetite to even eat a sufficient amount of food and are denied the appetite stimulating effects of marijuana? How many more are condemned to blindness or confinement to a wheelchair because the government has made the medicine that can help them illegal? But, of course, we are taught that our government wouldn't condemn millions of its citizens to suffering, disability and death. These things don't happen in America!
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 (my 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 (my emphasis), the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of common law." Yet the government can now confiscate property without a trial, even though the U.S. Constitution requires that there can be no confiscation in criminal cases without "due process of law," and, even in civil suits, where "the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved."
We threw out the British for less than this, taxation without representation. But now we have confiscation without trial. We considered it the right of the Serbian people, when they were under the thrall of a tyrannical government, to take to the streets to regain their rights. Should not the citizens of the United States have no less a right? The Serbian revolution was achieved primarily non violently, although the threat of violent means was always there, lurking in the background. Yet our ancestors (at least the ancestors of those of us of European ancestry whose ancestors were in this country before or during the Revolutionary War of 1775 to 1783) even raised armies, i.e. they used violence, and we considered it their right. And Thomas Jefferson said it was the right of the people to alter or abolish their government when it no longer met their needs. Doesn't the present generation of Americans still retain this right?
Furthermore, the courts no longer allow the medical necessity defense, either not allowing the defense lawyers to raise it at all or instructing the jury, if there is one, to not consider it. Yet the necessity defense is generally allowed in most cases, i.e. if you are lost in the woods in thirty below temperatures, you can avoid criminal liability by raising the necessity defense if you break into a cabin and even start a fire in the fireplace and even eat any food that is stored in the cabin. Yet, if you must smoke marijuana to control the nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy and AIDS, avoid blindness from glaucoma, control the muscle spasticity from multiple sclerosis or spinal cord injuries, or for a host of other reasons, you are not allowed to raise the defense of medical necessity because of some legal sophistry.
Also, for a very long time in English common law, juries have had the power to acquit, even if there is guilt according to the laws in force, if they determine that a verdict of guilty would be unjust. Yet, defense lawyers and defendants are not allowed to raise this defense. The defense lawyers would be cited for contempt and lay defendants would be ordered by the judge to stop if they tried to inform the jury that they had this power and the jury would be instructed to disregard what the defendant had said. He or she would be cited for contempt and fined or jailed if she or he continued to inform the jury that they had this power in violation of the judge's orders.
One of the many outrageous cases resulting from this legal tyranny and sophistry is the case of Peter McWilliams, author of "Ain't Nobody' s Business If You Do." McWilliams had been arrested after attempting to control his nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy with marijuana. Upon his conviction and placement on probation, he was told that not only would he be imprisoned if he smoked marijuana but that he would be regularly drug tested and the property which he intended to will to his family would be confiscated. After vainly attempting to control his nausea and vomiting with the inadequate FDA approved drugs, he was found dead. He had died after a severe attack of vomiting. The government had condemned him to die by vomiting his guts out!
The Supreme Court also overturned the referendum passed by the majority of California voters to legalize medicinal marijuana although legislating what substances people choose to put in their bodies is not one of the powers granted to the federal government in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution. And Amendment X provides that "the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."
The U.S. Supreme Court reached a new low in the election of 2000 A.D. when they ordered the vote counting halted before all the votes had been counted. If five generals had conducted a military coup and ordered the vote counting halted, the government thus established would have been illegitimate and illegal. A government established by five black-robed Neanderthals on the Supreme Court is equally illegitimate and illegal. Hence, the government of George II has no more democratic legitimacy than that of George III. And the news media count of all the votes established that Al Gore won under every scenario in which all the votes were counted. Again, when Milosevic stole the Serbian elections, we considered it the right of the Serbian people to take to the streets to regain their rights, and even if their implicit threat of violence had been converted into actual violence to regain their rights, we would have considered it their right. The people of the United States have no less a right.
In Puritan New England, insane women were hanged as witches. We are not further advanced when a Texas woman who drowned her five children, a prima facie indicator of insanity, is sentenced to life in prison.
Another example of how the U.S. government commits acts which REALLY ARE JUST AS BAD as acts committed by the governments of Nazi Germany and in the former Yugoslavia, as well as the acts committed in medieval dungeons, is the immolation of the Branch Davidians. The U.S. government has long had the policy in hostage situations to strike as quickly as possible, using the element of surprise to rescue the hostages and capture or kill the hostage takers. The success of the Peruvian, government in digging a tunnel under the Japanese Embassy where the Shining Path were holding hostages, planting explosives under the floor of the embassy ballroom, which is normally not occupied, setting off the explosives, storming into the Embassy, rescuing all but one of the hostages and killing or capturing the guerillas is an example of the effectiveness of this technique.
Yet in the case of the Branch Davidians, the government drove tanks up to the Branch Davidians' compound, punched holes in the walls and introduced tear gas through the holes, giving the Branch Davidians more than enough time to set their compound on fire and immolate themselves. And Janet Reno, the then U.S. Attorney General, claimed that they had microphones planted on the roof and were able to tell that David Koresh was becoming more and more abusive to the children in the compound and thus knew that they had to act soon. It is very likely that modern listening devices are sensitive enough to pick up normal conversation since they are used to detect the movements of armies miles away. Therefore it is likely that the government listeners could overhear the Branch Davidians making plans to immolate themselves. But even if the government listeners could not overhear the Branch Davidians planning to set their compound afire, and could only pick up Koresh's yells and the children's screams, the first point about the generally accepted need for fast and decisive action in such situations still holds.
And the press mentioned the possibility of the Branch Davidians immolating themselves a number of times before the final holocaust. The few children who were released from the compound, the ones not sired by Koresh, produced drawings of fiery holocausts when they were examined by psychologists and had verbalized these images and this was widely reported by the press. Therefore the U.S. government had ample reason to know about the strong possibility of the Branch Davidians immolating themselves.
We were brought up being told that even in cases where there are criminals holed up, the government doesn't normally permit holed up criminals to burn themselves alive, let alone allow them to burn hostages and small children with them. We were taught that things like that don't happen in America! And the press keeps alternating from reports of evidence that the government caused the fire, to reports that a reexamination of the evidence has cleared the government of starting the fire, to reports that there is evidence the government caused the fire.
Still another example of how the U.S. government commits acts which REALLY ARE JUST AS BAD as the acts of other governments is Ruby Ridge. Randy Weaver, a right wing, racist, fundamentalist Christian, had been entrapped by the government into breaking some law against possessing certain weapons. Weaver and his new wife, also a right wing, racist, fundamentalist Christian, and his teenaged son from another marriage had holed up in a cabin on Ruby Ridge. Federal law enforcement agents had been probing around the cabin for about a year when the final assault began. Weaver's wife was shot in the head by an FBI sharp shooter and killed as she was nursing her new baby. Weaver's fourteen year old son fought with his father in the ensuing gun battle and was killed. Weaver was subdued and received a year or two in prison.
Now we clearly see how the FBI sharpshooter had to shoot Weaver's wife in the head as she was standing by an open window nursing her baby. Why, she might have come charging out of that cabin swinging her baby by the heels and bashed all those FBI agents brains out and killed them all!
The case of Richard Jewel, a guard at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics who realized that a bag lying unattended in the park as the crowd was celebrating might be a bomb and got the crowd moved far enough away so that only one person was injured is another example of the U.S. government's stupidity and dishonesty. When the FBI could not find out who planted the bomb, some of their personnel got the brainstorm that Richard Jewel had planted the bomb so that he could rescue people and have them think he was an hero. They had no evidence for this supposition but leaked the story to the press anyway. Jewel and his eighty something mother were harassed with obscene and threatening phone calls and could not even shop at the supermarket without the media following them around with both TV and non TV cameras. The identity of the bomber eventually became known but the government did not apologize to Jewel, let alone indemnify him and award him the hero's recognition and medal that he deserved. Even after the administration of Bush, Sr. was succeeded by the Clinton administration, the federal government did not award him the apology and medal that he deserved, with the press reporting that Jewel was still persona non grata within the federal bureaucracy. The administration of Bush, Jr. has not coughed up the apology and medal either.
Then there is the case of Wen Ho Lee. When the government was smarting with embarrassment over the Chinese government's coup in obtaining America's nuclear secrets, the government looked around for a scapegoat and picked out Lee out of pure racism. He was Chinese American. Lee was held in solitary confinement for eight months and when brought to the visiting room to see his daughter, he was handcuffed to the table. It took a month before his lawyers were able to get him even allowed a radio in his solitary cell. As the evidence of Lee's innocence mounted and the government became more and more embarrassed as its case came nearer and nearer to collapse, the government finally offered Lee a plea bargain where he would plead guilty to one of the counts the government had trumped up against him and would be released with no further imprisonment. Faced with a government determined to get him and with multi billions to spend prosecuting him. Lee agreed. His career as a government research scientist was destroyed and he now had a criminal record. He was convicted of taking computer tapes about top secret nuclear research home to work with on his home computer. It was a common practice for other government scientists to take computer tapes about secret government research home to work with on their own computers but Lee was singled out. Richard Deutch, who headed the CIA, also took computer tapes about his work home to work with on his own computer, but there had been no effort to prosecute him. In a feeble attempt to lessen its own embarrassment, the government did have Deutch plead guilty to some crime or other a few months later. But Deutch had not had to spend any time imprisoned.
In the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings, congressional investigators knew of three other woman whom Thomas had sexually harassed besides Anita Hill. Yet the Senators confirmed Thomas as a Supreme Court Justice after ritually raking him over the coals about Hill. The Democratic Senators went along with this, apparently putting their unwillingness to bring the system into disrepute over the interests of their own party.
Also, the May 29, 1996 Star Tribune (p. E1) printed a review of a book by a Black woman, Rebecca Rice, who had adopted a Black male child. Her son, Jo Jo, was now 23 and had just graduated from Rice University. Yet as he had grown into adolescence, he would return home "bruised, sometimes bloodied, invariably humiliated after being stopped, frisked and roughed up by the police." Rice had found that she could not protect her son from being beaten by the police as he grew into adolescence. The police would explain "He fits the description."
Isn't this an outrage? That in a country that claims to have "liberty and justice for all," that it is accepted as a matter of course that a black male teenager is far more likely to be beaten by the police than he would be if he were white? And that this could be printed in a newspaper off-handedly, as if it were something everybody just knew and took for granted without the OVERWHELMING MAJORITY of the citizens DEMANDING that this situation be put right IMMEDIATELY! And the solution to the problem of racial profiling should be obvious to any government. And that is to make it clear that we hired those pigs to protect us from murderers, rapists and robbers, not to work out some racist, sexist or homophobic agenda of their own. And if they will not or cannot do their job the way we want it done, there are plenty of other people who would be willing to do it the way we want it done.
The Civil Service Commission has degenerated from a body that protects workers from arbitrary and unjust firing to a body that makes it virtually impossible to fire a policeman for brutality, even if he has cost the city, as in the case of Mike Sauro, a million dollars in damages! Mass demonstrations and even mass civil disobedience will be necessary to force the replacement of the present Civil Service Commissioners with new Commissioners who will operate under new and reformed rules. And as for racial profiling, the government should make it clear to the police that if you don't have any reason to stop the car or make an arrest if it is a white person involved, then you don't make that arrest or stop that car if the person involved is Black, Brown, Yellow or Red!
There is no excuse for homelessness. The societies of the developed world are richer than any societies that have previously existed on earth. If even primitive hunting and gathering societies can take care of their elderly and infirm, there is ABSOLUTELY NO EXCUSE for our society not doing it as well!
As for the war in Afghanistan, the pacifist claim that we must let someone kill 3000 people and not retaliate is enraging. If the pacifist chooses not to resort to violence to keep himself or herself from being beaten, raped or killed, that is a personal, albeit stupid, choice. But what if she or he must resort to violence to prevent someone else from being beaten, raped or killed? If he or she is clever enough to prevent another person from being beaten, raped or killed without resorting to violence, we may admire her or his cleverness. But if there is no other way except violence to keep someone from being beaten, raped or killed, it is immoral not to resort to it. Can someone maintain and prove that someone can always prevent assault, rape and murder without resorting to violence?
However, dropping bombs on Afghani cities and killing people indiscriminately is a war crime, the bombs have only a remote chance of landing where Osama bin Laden or his lieutenants are, and can only make Afghanis less likely to cooperate with U.S. forces in capturing bin Laden. Slipping special forces into Afghanistan to capture or kill bin Laden would have and will have far more chance of success. 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 the victims of September 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.
Virtually all the commentators in the press assured us when 9-11 happened that Iraq had nothing to do with the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and that, in fact, Saddam Hussein's government and Al Qaeda were hostile to one another. Yet, through constant repetition of the lie that Iraq is responsible for 9-11, the Bush Administration has the majority of Americans believing it. The oft alleged weapons of mass destruction have never been found in Iraq and we can now paraphrase a much earlier proponent of belief without evidence, Saul of Tarsus, and call the Iraqi weapons of mass destruction not "the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen" but as the nonsubstance of things never hoped for and the lack of evidence of things not seen. The much touted weapons of mass destruction have not turned up although chemical and biological weapons manufacturing facilities and both nuclear weapons and their manufacturing facilities are large, bulky and hard to hide. Since one of the President's constitutional duties as Commander In Chief is to keep us accurately informed about dangers to the nation and effectively counter them, the malfeasance in office involved in fabricating false reports of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq is an impeachable offense!
The Bush administration has now changed the reason for the war on Iraq to freeing the Iraqis from a murderous dictator. The actions of the first Bush administration in the first Gulf War proves that freedom for the Iraqi people was never a reason for either Bush administration. When the U.S. forces under Bush, Sr. were within 100 hours of toppling Saddam Hussein and presumably "freeing the Iraqi people," U.S. forces suddenly halted their advance, allowing Saddam to remain in power and recover his forces so that he could slaughter the Shiites and other revolting groups.
At the time, the Star Tribune published a cartoon showing the Allied generals facing a map of Europe with only Germany marked as still under Nazi control and saying, "We'll force them back into their own borders so that they'll only be able to oppress their own people." Actually what the United States did in Iraq was far worse, comparable to continuing the embargo on Germany after the War and causing millions of their population to die from starvation and disease. The United Nations estimated that a million Iraqis died from disease because they were not allowed to import chlorine to purify their water. There are undoubtedly Iraqi parents who lost not one but several of their children because of the embargo.
This ought to give us reason to comprehend why there is so much bitter hatred against the U.S. in Iraq and elsewhere around the world that there are people willing to immolate themselves by crashing airliners into the Pentagon and World Trade Center in order to get at us. As I have already said, their actions were unjustified because most if not all the people in the World Trade Center did not have anything to do with the policies that led to a million deaths in Iraq and millions of other deaths around the world. The atrocity at the World Trade Center cannot be justified of course but considering such facts as the deaths of a million Iraqis because the U.S. would not let them import chlorine to purify their water and to import other medicines ought to break through people's naive bemusement as to why people hate us so much that they are willing to burn themselves alive in order to get at us!
And actually, since National Public Radio and other news media played tapes of U.S. ambassador April Glaspie assuring Saddam Hussein that the U.S. would have no objection if he invaded Kuwait, it seems that Saddam Hussein was set up by the U.S. For years before the first Gulf War, the press had periodically ran reports on how Iraq was allegedly months away from obtaining nuclear weapons. The most likely explanation was that the U.S. government had decided that Saddam was a third world client who was getting too big for his britches, even though it was the U.S. who had originally put him in power.
Now, that the U.S. has invaded Iraq for the second time, we need only contemplate the economic advantages of cheap oil from Iraq, especially since National Public Radio has reported that the U.S. is forcing Iraq to sell its oil at below the world market price, and remind ourselves of the views of pundits such as Richard Pearl, who is now part of the Bush Administration and who advocated that the U.S. embark on a course towards empire, to understand why the Bush Administration is now trying to digest Iraq in its attempt to make Iraq the first province in a Twenty-first Century Roman Empire.
Attorney General John Ashcroft and others have been defending the decision to institute military trials (so far, only for non citizens) by arguing that the terrorists are not "entitled" to the protections afforded by due process and civil liberties. But 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 terrorist 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 he or she is not "entitled" because she or he is guilty, we have begged the question by assuming what needs to be proven.
And finally, we are all entitled to not be convicted 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.
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 purportedly have since the Civil War. Wars typically last for years so there is no justification for the argument that we don't have time for due process. But because of past Supreme Court decisions, it will either require an "extra constitutional moment" to remove the black-robed buffoons presently sitting on the Supreme Court and ride them on a rail over the bridge out of the District of Columbia, and to be as safe as we can, constitutional amendments specifically outlawing the establishment of military tribunals by presidential fiat before we are free of the danger from our purported democracy's containing within itself the seeds of its own destruction.
Since my moment of illumination, my realization that the U.S. government REALLY is THAT BAD, I feel like I am privy to a special knowledge about the true nature of U.S. society. But, as I have previously stated, this illumination has not given me an extra empirical way of knowing new facts, only an entirely new outlook on the facts I already know and an extra sensitivity and likelihood of noticing facts whose significance I did not realize before. An analogy might be suddenly deciphering a visual puzzle upon realizing what the puzzle was supposed to represent. Out knowledge about the position and orientation of every line and dot of the picture is exactly the same as they were before; yet the lines and dots have taken on a whole new meaning in a new context.
There is nothing transcendent or supernatural about such an experience. The prominent British Agnostic, Bertrand Russell, once described a mystical experience he had had in Mysticism and Logic. It can also be described as a writ large version of the aha experience involved in telling, or thinking of, someone, "I've just realized how despicable, or admirable, you are!" In my case, the aha experience was writ somewhat larger in that I suddenly realized JUST HOW BAD the U.S. government and ruling class is!
Actually, the only new significance I realized with respect to facts I already Knew was with respect to Ruby Ridge. I had been bothered in the back of my mind by the FBI sharpshooter shooting Randy Weaver's wife in the head. I am embarrassed to say that I only had a vague discomfort about the way Randy Weaver's wife died. One shouldn't have to have a moment of mystical illumination to realize that the government had no reason and should not have killed a nursing mother as she was standing by an open window by shooting her in the head. But we all tend to take habitual injustices for granted until we find a new way of thinking about them. Bush stealing the 2000 election with the aid of five black-robed Neanderthals on the Supreme Court happened after this moment of illumination so, at most, it only helped me realize the full implications of this theft a little sooner than I otherwise would have.

■■■ 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

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


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.
Holberg Learns What It's Like To Be Treated Unfairly By The Majority
To email Robert Halfhill CLICK HERE. Links: The Pen
Executive Orders
AN OPEN LETTER TO SENATOR MICHELE BACHMANN, RE: SAME SEX MARRIAGE
by Robert Halfhill
I have a number of points to make in opposition to your proposed constitutional amendment to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The first point is that your claim that marriage has been limited to one man and one woman throughout human history ignores the fact that same sex marriages have been honored in many cultures. George Devereux reports in "Institutionalized Homosexuality of the Mohave Indians," printed in Human Biology, 1937, as well as in his "Mohave Ethnopsychiatry and Suicide," put out by the Government Printing Office in 1961, that the Mohave performed Gay marriages as late as the 1890's. E. Evans-Pritchard says in Kinship and Marriage Among the Neur (pp. 108-9) that it was not uncommon for the Neur to perform marriages between two women. According to R. Spencer and J. Jennings in The Native Americans (p. 373), many of the berdaches among the Teton Indians of the Dakotas became the second wives of prominent men. (The berdache among the American Indians and many other indigenous cultures around the world were men who dressed in women's clothing and who often served as the medicine men and religious figures in the societies.) E.A. Hoebel says on page 77 of The Cheyennes that the Cheyennes had a similar institution. Ruth Benedict reports in Patterns of Culture, published in 1934, that the Berdache took husbands among the Zuni Indians. C.S. Ford and F.A. Beach report in Patterns of Sexual Behavior, published in 1952, that the Shamans of the Siberian Chukchee often lived as wives also.
Before the European colonization, the American Indians living in what later became Minnesota had a place in their society of honor and prestige for Gays and Lesbians and also, as we shall see from the autobiography of John Tanner, the institution of same sex marriage. Thomas A. MacKenney in his sketches of a Tour to The Lakes, of the Character and Customs of the Chippewa Indians and of Incidents Connected with the Treaty of Fond du Lac mentions in a letter dated August 4, 1826 the man-woman, men who dress as women and perform all the tasks allotted to women among the Chippewa. MacKenney's letter is cited on pages 214-25 of Jonathan Katz's Gay American History: Lesbians and Gay Men in the U.S.A. Both the fact of the acceptance of same sex marriage among the Chippewa and European disapproval of the same institution comes through in the autobiography of John Tanner, who was kidnapped while still in his teens from Kentucky by the Indians and who lived among the Chippewa for thirty years before returning to live among the whites. In A Narrative of the Captivity and Adventures of John Tanner, (U.S. Interpreter of the Sault de Saint Marie, ) During Thirty Years Residence among the Indians, Tanner tells of being "almost driven from the lodge" where he was staying when the son of a chief who lived at Leech Lake who was an agokwa took up residence and made it clear that she had "come a long distance to see me and with the hope of living with me. She often offered herself to me, but not being discouraged with one refusal, she repeated her disgusting advances until I was almost driven from the lodge."
John Boswell in his Same Sex Unions In Pre-modern Europe has even documented the performance of same sex marriages in the Christian Church in classical and in medieval times, and in some parts of Europe, as late as the 19th century.
Secondly, you have argued that allowing same sex marriage would undermine "the fabric of the family on which society depends." All the people who are inclined to enter this "fabric of the family and society" by entering a heterosexual marriage will not have their inclination to marry heterosexually altered or diminished in the slightest degree when same sex marriages win legal recognition. But even more crucial is the fact that heterosexual marriage is not helped - in fact it is even harmed - by forcing people who are not suited for heterosexual marriage because they are Gay or Lesbian to enter heterosexual marriage anyway because of social pressure, society's disapproval of same sex relations still causes many Gays and Lesbians to enter heterosexual marriages in a misguided attempt to "straighten themselves out." M. Saghir and E. Robins in the first part of their article "Homosexuality" in the February, 1969 Archives of General Psychiatry found that 19% of Lesbians had been married and subsequently divorced, in the--second part of their article in the August, 1969 Archives of General Psychiatry, Saghir and Robins along with B. Walbran found that 14% of Gay men had been married and subsequently divorced. These divorces are not only emotionally painful for the adults involved but they must be especially traumatic for any children involved who see the two adults on whom they are dependent for love and security breaking apart. This societal bigotry, part of which is the unequal restriction of the right to marry to only the heterosexual part of the population, which impels Gays and Lesbians to enter heterosexual marriages in a futile attempt to "straighten themselves out" leaves traumatized adults and children behind and harms, not helps, the institution of heterosexual marriage.
Another argument brought up by opponents of same sex marriage is that it will teach children that "homosexuality" is "an acceptable lifestyle." Of course, this argument could be brought up in opposition to any attempt to allow liberty. In the days when there were religious wars and the followers of the dominant religion in any particular state attempted to outlaw all competing religions, many parents would have protested that they did not want their children exposed to other people openly practicing those "false religions." As a woman from Prior Lake testified before the legislature in the early 1980's in opposition to a proposed Gay rights law, "when you pass laws like this, you are telling my children it is alright." Actually the state was not saying anything about whether any lifestyles were "alright" or "not alright" when a Gay rights bill was finally passed in 1993, just as it had not been saying what particular religions were "alright" or "not alright" when it had earlier passed laws against religious or racial discrimination. The state was merely saying that if you are in a position to employ or rent to people, there will be legal sanctions against you if you arbitrarily refuse to hire or rent to people on the basis or their religion, or race, and now, sexual orientation. If you are in a position to control access to public or private accommodations by, for instance, being the driver of a publicly owned bus or the manager of a private restaurant, you may not deny access to people of certain religions, races, sexual orientations, etc without being liable to legal sanctions. Just as society is justified in not allowing people to exercise their private property rights by maintaining a store of hazardous or explosive chemicals on their property if that property is in the midst of a crowded urban neighborhood, society has found that when there is widespread bigotry against particular groups, the toxic social effects of many individual, bigoted, personal decisions is to create groups that are ill housed and under or unemployed. There are also the toxic social effects of the justified anger of the individual members of the discriminated-against-groups against the larger society and against members of the dominant community.
Actually, in a pluralistic society with many differing values and moral codes, the only grounds for outlawing any behavior has to be limited to whether the behavior does demonstrable, concrete harm to other people. Else, the only alternative the differing religious and ideological groups will have is to come to blows in an attempt to seize control of the state so they can impose their views by force. In order to avoid such religious warfare, the standard of demonstrable and concrete harms to others must be strictly adhered to and the views of any particular religious group towards Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders should never be allowed to determine how we are treated by the law, whether it be the criminal law, anti-discrimination law or the legal status society gives our intimate relations through the institution of marriage.
Fourthly, opponents of same sex marriage have raised the bugaboo of people in other countries suffering legal sanctions because of negative opinions they have expressed about Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals and Transgenders. However our country is unique among the democracies in guaranteeing freedom of speech and opinion so those who express bigoted, anti-GLBT attitudes need not worry about being legally prosecuted. In Canada and Western Europe, one can be legally prosecuted for expressing racist, Nazi or anti-GLBT views but the written Constitution of this country expressly forbids such political correctness run amok. Of course, the words of a constitution cannot simply leap off the page and enforce themselves, this is a reason why anti-GLBT bigots might find it in their interests to ensure that all the provisions of the Constitution, including the provisions against enshrining the doctrines of any particular religion into law, are strictly adhered to. If the doctrines of a particular religion are enacted into law, the violation of one provision of the constitution may tomorrow may be used by the promoters of political correctness as a precedent to violate the free speech rights of anti-GLBT bigots.
Fifth, opponents of same sex marriage also raise the argument that only a heterosexual marriage can produce new life so this is a factual reason for giving heterosexual marriage a special status. But as long as two people in their nineties are allowed all the benefits of heterosexual marriage, this argument must be dismissed as nothing more than a desperate searching around for reasons to justify the present discriminatory laws limiting marriage to heterosexuals.
Sixth, opponents of same sex marriage argue that it threatens the sanctity of marriage. The same number of heterosexuals who think now that their marriage has some sort of religious "sanctity" will think the same after the day when same sex marriage becomes legal. You will not on that day have legions of heterosexuals saying to one another; "Oh honey, our marriage has lost its sanctity! It has been desecrated! We're going to have to get a divorce!"
Seventh, the argument is also made that if we let the barriers down, people will argue for polygamy, or letting people marry their children, or even marrying animals, etc. If these proposals ever come before legislative bodies, legislatures will not automatically adopt them. Most of the people who support same sex marriage will have a host of reasons not to support these extensions. These and other arguments will be raised if such proposals come before legislatures, and if the majority of the legislators consider these objections to these extensions of the right to marry valid, the legislators will be under no compulsion to pass than.
And eighth, I almost forgot the argument that a small group of "activist judges" are not allowing the people to vote on same sex marriage. But the U.S. Constitution has provisions requiring super majorities to amend it and which permit judges to override legislative enactments precisely to prevent 51 % of the population from getting together and outlawing the other 49%. While the above possibility might seem rather theoretical, unpopular minorities would never have got the first civil rights laws passed without "activist judges." If it were not for the much maligned "activists judges," the first desegregation laws would never have been enacted!
Sincerely,
Robert Halfhill

■■■ 9/11 ALLOWED TO OCCUR (A REPLY)
by Robert Halfhill
I myself have reached the conclusion that the government allowed 9/11 to occur. Although some of the actions and inactions of the government can be explained as bureaucratic stupidity, the entire chain of stupidities is too implausible to be credible.
The most important implausibility is that although the military air defense system has been portrayed as being on hair trigger alert, we are asked to believe that ten years after the end of the cold war, the U.S. air defense system had deteriorated to the point that the military could not scramble its fighters in time to defend the World Trade Center and the Pentagon! Everybody knew that the world was still a dangerous place after the demise of the Soviet Union. And the civil air control system has every plane flying in the country in its radar and can detect a plane going off its assigned course immediately. The stupidity is compounded when we learn that the organizational protocol was for the civil air traffic control system to inform the military air defense system immediately whenever a plane deviates from its assigned course.
Secondly, no plans were made to defend the World Trade Center after the first terrorist bombing in 1993. I have never had any government job where I was responsible for counter espionage or forestalling terrorist attacks. I have never had any training in these subjects either. Yet I realized immediately after the 1993 bombing that the terrorists would try to hit the World Trade Center again given its symbolic importance as the center of world capitalism and we would have to be successful in fending off every attempt, whereas the terrorists only had to be successful once. If I, a layperson who had no experience with counter espionage or counter terrorism could think of this, can we believe that the government officials responsible for counter terrorism and counter espionage didn't think of it? Incidentally, the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 could have demolished one of the buildings support pylons. If that had happened, the World Trade Center would have fallen on at least five surrounding blocks (a standard block is 200 feet long) and more people would have died in 1993 than in 2001.
Third, the Minneapolis FBI Office wanted to go into Zacarias Moussaoui's computer after his arrest but the Washington FBI office opposed it. When the Minneapolis Office sent its report to Washington justifying its request, the Washington Office rewrote it so the special espionage court rejected it!
Fourth, the Phoenix, Arizona Office had taken note of the number of middle eastern men enrolling in flight training. One of the Phoenix agents warned the Washington Office that a plane could be used as a weapon. And I, without any background in terrorism had thought of this much earlier. I can remember it being mentioned at a meeting of the Gay Men's Political Discussion Group in the 1980's that planes were not allowed to fly within one mile of the White House. I wondered what could prevent someone from turning a plane at the last minute and crashing into the White House. If I could think of this, why couldn't the government?
Finally, and fifth, the CIA had detected a great deal of chatter on the internet indicating that an attack on the U.S. was immanent. Yet no extra precautions were taken. One of these blunders might be explained away as bureaucratic stupidity. But five?
However, I have some problems with Tim Davis' theories about 9/11. First, if the passengers on four planes were taken as prisoners to another four planes, how did the terrorists solve the logistical problem of transferring not one, but four planeloads of captives to another four planes? Large passenger planes cannot land at isolated clearings in the woods; they require large airports with runways over ten thousand feet long. And since the air traffic control system can detect a plane going off course as soon as it happens, how did the terrorists manage to spirit the first four planes away and where did they hide them! And finally, it is generally known that the passengers made many cell phone calls about their situation. Why didn't they call about the terrorists taking them from one plane to another? And if the terrorists did not allow the passengers to make calls until they boarded the second set of planes, how could the terrorists stop them from talking about it when they did make calls? If the terrorists had threatened to kill them it they did, the passengers who would have received cell phone calls about the first planes crashing into their targets would have realized they had nothing to lose and at least a few of them would have managed to blurt it out.
NEWSWEEK in its article about the neoconservatives quoted Richard Pearl as saying maybe the American people needed another Pearl Harbor to wake them up. In fact, all of Americas's entry into wars since the 1890's have been preceded by incidents in which questions have been raised. These incidents are the blowing up of the Maine in Manilla Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania (sp?) prior to World War I, Pearl Harbor before which the U.S. intercepted Japanese cables about the plans to attack Pearl Harbor, the Gulf of Tonkin incident prior to the escalation of the Vietnam War. I don't know of any incident prior to the Korean War but I wouldn't be surprised if there were one.
9/11 not only justified the second Iraq war in many peoples' minds but also the Patriot Act and other steps toward establishing a totalitarian government.



■■■ 9/11: FURTHER REPLIES...
by Robert Halfhill
First, large passenger airliners file detailed flight plans before they even take to the air and fly well above the height where they can be detected by the air traffic control radar.
(RICK AHRENS HAD POINTED OUT THERE WERE "DEAD SPACES" WHERE SMALL, LOW FLYING PLANE COULD NOT BE DETECTED BY THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM.)
Secondly, it requires human air traffic controllers to notice when a plane goes off course. We have not developed a computer with an artificial intelligence equal to humans that can automate the process of detecting planes going off course. I have not reread my statement word for word but I believe I didn't even use the word automatic. I said immediately or almost immediately.
(AHRENS HAD "REFUTED" ME AS IF I HAD SAID THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL WAS COMPLETELY AUTOMATED SO THAT COMPUTERS COULD RESPOND WITHOUT HUMAN INTERVENTION. I HAVE CHECKED MY EXACT WORDS AND THEY WERE "AND SINCE THE AIR TRAFFIC CONTROL SYSTEM CAN DETECT A PLANE GOING OFF COURSE AS SOON AS IT HAPPENS...")
Third, the transcript of the 9/11 events in the 9/11 Commission Report shows the air traffic controllers detected the planes deviating from their flight plans almost immediately. And news accounts about the military air defense system since I was shown movies about in in elementary school in the 1950's did portray it as ready to react with hair trigger speed. Yet we are expected to believe the military could not scramble fighter planes fast enough to defend the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. And if the Air Defense system was as fast as it was depicted, they could have shot the planes down before they were over populated cities. And even if they had shot the planes down over New York, I doubt that the flaming debris would have killed as many as the nearly 3000 that did perish.
(AHRENS DEMANDED RHETORICALLY WHERE I WOULD CHOOSE TO SHOOT THE PLANES DOWN OVER NEW YORK AND DESTROY THE BUILDINGS BELOW.)

Finally, Mr. Ahrens made much of the accusation that I did not know about the small private plane hitting the White House. I do remember news accounts of the plane hitting the White House. There are many facts in my background knowledge that I may neglect to include in order to avoid producing a text of unreadable length. I am sure Mr. Ahrens has such facts in his background knowledge too, as do many other people. But Mr. Ahrens' technique seems to be to seize on some bit among the indefinitely large amount of background knowledge we both know, imply that the target of his rhetoric is ignorant of this bit of background knowledge if he or she didn't mention it, and hold forth with a seemingly devastating refutation. I wonder if Mr. Ahrens knows about the plane crashing into the Empire State Building in the 1920's. It was not large enough to threaten the structural integrity of the Empire State Building. I have known about this since the 1940's since I can remember my mother telling me about it when I was a child. But don't worry, Mr. Ahrens. Even if you didn't know this fact, I am not going to use it to attack you as ignorant since even if you didn't know about this fact, your lack of knowledge of this one fact would not prove you are ignorant.
Lastly, Mr. Ahrens creates the impression of delivering a crushing and devastating refutation while missing all the main points. Small, private planes may be able to avoid detection by the air traffic control radar at certain heights and places. But this says nothing about the large passenger planes that were involved in the 9/11 hijackings. The air traffic control system's detecting planes deviating from their assigned flight paths is not automatic in that there are no computers that can do it for us. It requires humans who are trained to interpret radar signals. I don't think I even used the word automatic and, if I did, I did not think it was done by computers with human like artificial intelligence.

■■■



THE FOLLY OF LESSER-EVILISM
by Robert Halfhill

I just sent the following post to OpEdnews in response to someone who said he voted for Nader in 2000 but "learned" that you had to be "practical" and voted for Kerry in 2004. The only thing I would add is that if the arguments herein are sound arguments against supporting the Democrats as the lesser evil, they are equally sound against covert lessers evilism where you secretly hope the Democrats will win by only making a serious attemt to campaign in states where you are not likely to throw the election to the Republicans. David Cobb's Vice Presidential running mate, Pat LeMarche said she wouldn't even vote for herself unless the polls predicted that Kerry would get 70% of the vote in her state.
The Democratic Party is always, on balance, less right wing than the Republican Party but both are moving in the same direction -- to the right. So it is not even practical to support the Democratic Party as the lesser evil. If you are on a run-a-way train speeding towards a cliff, your ultimate fate will be the same, whether you are in the Republican first car or the Democratic second car. You had better, if you value your survival, think outside the box and figure out how to get off the train and vote third party.
The futility of continuing to support the Democratic Party is highlighted when we consider the Planned Parenthood fundraising letter that quotes a former President as saying that "a woman ought not to be denied access to family planning because of her economic circumstance." That President was NIXON, once the greatest of greater evils, the bete noire of everyone on the left. The political climate in this country has moved so far to the right since then that Kerry is now to the right of Nixon.
The extent to which people have been conditioned to ASSUME WITHOUT THINKING that the Democrats are always the lesser evil is vividly illustrated by the antiwar movement shutting down to campaign for Kerry. Polls showed that most people THOUGHT that Kerry was against the Iraq War. But Kerry was on record as saying he would have been for invading Iraq even if he had Known there were no weapons of mass destruction there and that he would send more troops "if the generals asked for them." It should be a no brainer that you cannot fight against the war on Iraq by campaigning for a candidate who would have been for invading even if he had known that there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and who would send even more troops if the generals asked for them.
I guess we are fortunate that Bush, Sr. didn't defeat Clinton in 1992. If Bush, Sr. had won, he would have ended welfare as we know it! The Democrats frightening us into supporting them with the threat that the Republicans are even worse has played out on the local, state and national stages. In Minneapolis, the majority of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender communities supported Democrat Don Fraser for Mayor. But police arrests and brutality against Gays was even worse under Fraser than it was under Charles Stenvig. Stenvig had won as a right wing independent candidate, supposedly the GREATEST EVIL, even more evil than the right wing, greater evil Republicans.
It is for reasons like these that in both 2000 and 2004, I did not let the Democrats scare me with the threat of the Big Bad Bush and voted for Nader both times. I will be voting for either Nader or another third party candidate in 2008
The person who wrote on your blog asked what we would do if our vote really doesn't count and elections continue to be stolen. The answer is scary but we must face up to it. If they continue to steal elections and it is impossible to get them out through the ballot, we will have no alternative but to OVERTHROW THEM! The Serbs, Georgians and the Ukraine did it. Why can't you?

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GAY MARRIAGE: THE AFGHANISTAN CONNECTION


This letter was sent to the STAR TRIBUNE on April 4, 2006
The Republicans and religious right wingers who are trying to exploit same sex marriage as a "wedge issue" are doing exactly what those ignorant mullahs in Afghanistan were doing when they tried to rouse the population against the Afghan government for not executing the Afghan who converted to Christianity. They are both trying to use religious bigotry to gain political power which is a tactic that is beneath contempt.
Secondly, even if the Afghan Muslims ratcheted down their bigotry under international pressure and conceded: "We won't execute Christian converts; we won't even imprison or fine them. We just won't recognize Christian marriages so that the relatives of a deceased Christian's spouse can take all the couple's joint property," that would still be bigotry. If instead of showing the full, naked face of bigotry by killing members of the Christian minority, as the Nazis try to exterminate the Jews, you just deny the minority access to all the rights enjoyed by the majority, it is still a softened form of bigotry.
Right wingers argue that if alternatives to heterosexual marriage such as same sex marriage become legal, there will be less reason for people to enter heterosexual marriage and the institution will collapse. If they think the only way they can motivate people to enter heterosexual marriage is by leaving people with no other alternative, they must not have much confidence in the worth of heterosexual marriage.
When it comes to religious marriage, guarantees of freedom of religion preclude the government from either ordering or forbidding any religion to perform a same sex marriage. But when civil marriage is concerned, it is merely a matter of the government providing all couples access to the same rights and benefits and our constitutional guarantees of equal protection forbid the government from offering these benefits to one group and not the other.
Sincerely, Robert Halfhill


WE SHOULD BE MAD AS HELL AND REFUSE TO TAKE IT ANYMORE
by Robert Halfhill


Statement by the Gay Supremacist Socialist Alliance Distributed at the Friday, July 10, 1986 Minnesota Alliance Against AIDS protest against the U.S. Supreme Court's Hardwick v. Bowers decision.
Most, if not all, of the things that Gay and Lesbian leaders have and will point out about the June 30, 1986 U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the constitutionality of sodomy laws -- that it goes against the separation of Church and State, that it reflects AIDS hysteria, that it is homophobic and bigoted -- are all true. But, with the exception of some mention of a protest against the decision in conjunction with the proposed March On Washington, no one has yet addressed the question of what we are going to do about it.
The first thing we should remember is that the civil rights movement forced businesses to stop discriminating BEFORE civil rights legislation was passed by picketing, sitting in and boycotting. It was in fact this massive pressure that led to the passage of civil rights legislation. We can fight for our rights even without legislation and the current wimpy conservative leadership of the Gay and Lesbian movements is putting the cart before the horse.
Secondly, one demonstration will not overturn the Supreme Court's decision, not to mention the even more wimpy response of limiting ourselves to mere statements of protest. It will take a sustained effort. One of us remembers from his own activities in the civil rights movement how it took over a year of picketing and sitting in to integrate a hotel in Lexington, Kentucky. If we had been satisfied with a one shot demonstration, the hotel would still be segregated. And it would still be legal to segregate since such one shot tactics would have never achieved the passage of civil rights legislation. People should be prepared to continue to fight against this decision after today's demonstration. They say a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step but you will never complete the journey if you don't take the succeeding steps.
To throw out some ideas on things we could do, we could have a weekly vigil of the Federal Courts Building like segments of the antiwar movement did at the University of Minnesota Armory during the Vietnam War. We could picket or sit in at the Legislature to demand consenting adults and civil rights legislation. We could collect signatures on a statement affirming that we have violated the sodomy law and daring the state to do something about it. Perhaps we could revive Frank Kemeny's slogan of the early 1960's and begin a campaign around the slogan of No Taxes For Second Class Citizens.
A due regard for the extent of human stupidity would cause us to stop at this point. Even though we will point out that people can still carry out some or all of the above suggestions even if they disagree with what follows, we are sure that many people will be too dumb to grasp this point, even after it has been pointed out. And there are grounds for doubt as to how much a community where 150 Gays can watch three straight hoods beating up two other Gays only ten feet away without doing anything can be mobilized to do. (Incidentally, those of you who were in that crowd should be too ashamed to look at your faces in the mirror. You know who your are!)
If the Gay Community were decently organized, we would have an arm of our movement analogous to the IRA in Ireland or the Red Brigades in Italy that would be in a position to make the life term appointments of the five Supreme Court Justices who voted to uphold the sodomy laws somewhat shorter than the actuarial statistics would lead one to expect.
Many people will react with outrage to such a statement but consider an analogy. Suppose you were a Black slave on a pre Civil War southern plantation. You had been kidnapped from your homeland and chained for three months on a narrow ledge while the slave ship transported you to this country. The human waste from the captives chained on the ledges above you had dripped down on you during those three months. On arriving in this country, you had been beaten and forced to work for someone else's profit. Wouldn't you have been justified in killing as many of your captors as necessary to effect your escape? And perhaps a few more for revenge? The only consideration would have been the pragmatic one of whether you could get away with it; there would have been no moral constraints whatsoever.
The present oppression of Gays is more comparable to the present oppression of Blacks and other racial minorities than as it is to slavery. But this is a mere quibble. Does one have to wait until he or she is kidnapped or enslaved before he or she is justified in using any means necessary to resist?
Yet many people have been brainwashed into believing that the law, whatever its nature, whether just or unjust, should be obeyed. But if you have the right to defend yourself when a groups of hoods attacks you, that right is not abrogated if the majority of society gets together and calls their unprovoked assault the law. Far too many people have the attitude of "The law giveth and the law taketh away; blessed be the name of the law."
And if Gays ever want to get anywhere, we will have to stop clinging to Christianity, the flag, and the Democratic and Republican parties. As long as this society does not recognize our rights, the flag should be no more than a star spangled rag to us.
The straights' statistics on child and spouse abuse, as well as straight society's record of war, pollution, overpopulation, racism, sexism, classism, etc proves that it is heterosexual perversion, and not Gays, that is a threat to the continued survival of life on this planet. (By perversion, we mean monstrous immorality and not unnatural, since anything that exists is IPSO FACTO natural and heterosexual perversion, unfortunately, exists.)
The science of ethology has established that the aggressiveness of male (heterosexual) animals is due to the survival advantage of the more aggressive animals who are able to impregnate more females and thus leave more progeny behind -- progeny that inherited their aggressiveness. Female (heterosexual) animals however have been shown to be no less aggressive when the opportunity to attack an animal smaller and weaker than themselves is present. It is thus only the homoerotic component in the genetic makeup of humans and other animals and its ability to form bonds between animals of the same sex that enables any social unit larger than the family to exist. The heterosexual aggressiveness in the human genetic makeup led to slavery, class dominance, war and the subordination of women as our species evolved to intelligence and civilization. Heterosexism is thus the root of most if not all other social ills.
While individual heterosexuals can live moral lives despite their perversion, they are statistically more violent and murderous and when they dominate the society, we have the results we see around us.
Furthermore, since the heterosexual at best has no sexual attraction to members of the same sex, and probably regards the idea of sex with his or her own sex with loathing,, he or she, at best, cannot consider him or herself sexually attractive, and probably regards him or herself sexually with loathing. Since there is a sexual component at the root of all forms of love, this means that he or she cannot really love him or herself. A person who cannot love themselves cannot love others. This is perhaps an even more fundamental reason for the violent aggressiveness of heterosexual perversion.
However, despite the present setback at the Supreme Court, Gays can and will win in the end. Sociobiologist James D. Weinrich has demonstrated in a survey of intelligence tests comparing the relative intelligence of Gays and straights that Gays are more intelligent than straights. ("Non-reproduction, Homosexuality, Transsexualism and Intelligence, Part I: A Systematic Literature Search," JOURNAL OF HOMOSEXUALITY, Spring, 1978. Vol. 3, No. 3, pp. 275-289) At present, heterosexual perversion is a necessary perversion. But in the future, artificial reproduction will become possible and Gays can establish our own independent society. Since Gays are more intelligent than and superior to heterosexuals, the new Gay society will crowd out the heterosexual societies.
Hopefully, at the end, some type of genetic therapy for straights can be devised to cure their perversion and convert them to normal Gay sexuality so that this vicious and violent perversion can be put to a humane rest and a humane but final solution to the problem of heterosexuality can be implemented.

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LAVENDER DEBATE ON SUPPORTING DEMOCRATS
This is an exchange of letters in LAVENDER MAGAZINE debating whether GLBTI's should continue supporting the Democratic Party. The first letter is by Robert Halfhill in the June, 14-27, 2002 LAVENDER.

BLUE DFLer LOOKS TO GREENER PASTURES

B.J. Metzger (lavender, May 3, Letters to the Editor) is missing the main point, when she makes the question of whether GLBT and Intersexed people should continue to support the DFL, into the question of whether she is "hypocritical" or our straight supporters in the DFL are "bad." It is just that she and other GLBTI supporters of the DFL are, as she thinks Log Cabin GLBTs are, incredibly wrong.
In Minneapolis, under the liberal, DFL administration of Mayor Albert Hofstede and what was regarded as the even more liberal administration of Donald Fraser, who was welcomed back in Minneapolis as a liberal hero after his martyrdom by Robert Short during Fraser's campaign for the U.S. Senate, police brutality against GLBTIs was worse than it was under Mayor Charles Stenvig. Stenvig was a right wing, third party candidate who was supposed to be even worse than the Republicans.
Going from the local to the national level, I guess we are fortunate that George Bush Sr did not defeat Bill Clinton in the 1992 elections because if Bush had won, he would have ended welfare as we know it! Clinton also promised to end the ban on GLBTs in the military, but, within months of his election, gave us "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," which resulted in even more GLBTs being expelled from the military.
And Senator Paul Wellstone turned on us and voted for the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) on the specious grounds that "marriage is for a man and a woman."
There has to be some limit on how evil we will let the lesser evil become before we stop voting for it. If we continue pursuing this tactic of supporting the lesser evil, the greater evil can afford to become more evil, which will leave the lesser evil room to become still more evil, which will allow the greater evil...and so on, ad infinitum. This is what accounts for the steady rightward march of the U.S. political climate.
This is why I did not let the Democrats pull this lesser evil scam on me, did not let the Democrats scare me with the bugaboo of the big, bad Bush, and voted for Ralph Nader in November 2000. It is also why I will be voting for the Green Party this coming November.
Robert Halfhill
My letter was answered by this letter by Koreen Phelps in the June 28, 2002 LAVENDER.

THE CHOICE: WELLSTONE OR RIGHT WING

In response to Robert Halfhill's letter to the editor ("Blue DFLer Looks To Greener Pastures," LAVENDER, JUNE 14): If you want to risk the loss of all your civil liberties, vote for the Green Party this year. Look at Paul Wellstone's voting record, and you will see that he has supported GLBT issues more times than any other senator.
I have nothing but respect for Bob Halfhill. He was one of the key people in the beginning of FREE(Fight Repression of Erotic Expression), the first group to fight for gay rights. However, I must warn Bob and the GLBT community that voting for the Green Party candidate against Wellstone in the coming election would be a big mistake!
Even though I support the existence of third parties, we cannot afford to vote for anyone other than Wellstone this time. If he loses this election, it would allow the right wing to take complete control of the government. Complete control of Congress and the presidency by the right will not be good for us. Need I say more?
Koreen Phelps
I submitted this reply to LAVENDER on July 2, 2002 but it was not printed. July 2, 2002
When Koreen Phelps raises the bugaboo of GLBT's losing "all your civil liberties" if we don't vote for Wellstone, she has failed to grasp the fact that sometimes the Democrats have been WORSE than the Republicans and therefore the GREATER evil.* Again I remind you that under the administration of liberal "hero," Don Fraser, there were MORE arrests and police brutality against GLBT's than under independent right winger, Charles Stenvig who was supposed to be EVEN WORSE than the Republicans. In this case, the "lesser evil" turned out to be the greatest of three evils. Under George Bush, Sr., the old ban on GLBY's in the military would have remained in force and the number of GLBT's expelled would probably have remained at the same level as before. But under Clinton, who had promised to end the ban on GLBT's in the military but who broke his promise as soon as he was elected and gave us "Don't ask, Don't tell," the homophobic military brass was provoked into stepping up the search for GLBT service people. If evidence was discovered, this constituted the service person's "telling." EVEN MORE GLBT's were expelled from the military under Clinton, which meant that Bush, Sr. had turned out to be the LESSER evil.
Furthermore, Wellstone joined the Republicans and most of the other Democrats in voting for the Patriot Act. Under the Act's definition of "terrorism," if even ONE member of a given group engages in the kind of civil disobedience that led to the abolition of racial segregation, the FBI can secretly investigate ALL the members of that group by secretly searching homes, computers and businesses, listen to phone conversations, obtain internet communications, and search medical, financial and student records. Under this "Patriot" Act, non citizens can be deported by secret tribunals, or after no trial at all, and incarcerated for life if no country will take them back. The Act has enabled the government to announce plans for ethnic profiling and listening in on conversations between inmates and their attorneys.
Voting for the Patriot Act is particularly unforgivable since, if we give up our civil liberties, we have no guarantee of ever getting them back.
The Democrats have been pulling this lesser evil scam on us since, at least, the Roosevelt administration, and, the longer we let them pull this scam on us, the longer they will continually become more and more evil.
Robert Halfhill
The Democrats sometimes turn out to be the greater evil and it is useful to point out such instances to liberals in whom the habit of supporting the Democrats as the lesser evil has become so habitual that they often just assume the Democrats are the lesser evil without even investigating. And example of this is how the majority of liberals in 2004 took it for granted that Kerry was against the Iraq War while, in fact, he was for escalating it.
However, for the Democrats to have successfully served as lesser evil bait since 1867, The Democrats by and large and on most issues will have had to have been slightly less right at any given time than the Republicans. But the movement of both is towards the right and this explains the futility of lesser evilism in the long term and, usually, in the short term. If you are on a run-a-way train hurtling down the tracks towards a cliff, the final disastrous impact will only be slightly delayed if you are in the Democratic second car instead of the Republican lead car. To vary the analogy slightly, if the train is hurtling out of control down the tracks towards a raging forest fire, the heat may be momently less stiffling in the Democratic second car than the Republican first car. But the final fiery denouement will be the same.
Since this exchange of letters, Wellstone, most of his family and two members of his campaign staff were killed in a plane crash under questionable circumstances. It was supposed to have been caused by an off kilter radio beacon at Eveleth which was alleged to have been left unrepaired for thirty years even though the danger of such a non repair was illustrated by the plane crash of Wellstone and his party. The Republicans did win Wellstone's seat as Phelps had feared. Bush was allegedly elected again in 2004, although he actually stole the election.
But the independence of the gains made by social movements from the fortunes of the Democrats was vividly highlighted by subsequent developments. After a second Bush win and with Republican Norm Coleman sitting in Wellstone's old seat, the following year witnessed the U.S. Supreme Court ruling sodomy laws unconstitutional and the Massachusetts Court legalizing same sex marriage.
Robert Halfhill

■■■ Home Page 3 to visit my blog
click here REPLY TO GREEN THEISTS
by Robert Halfhill

Tim Davis recently had a post on the Minnesota Green Party discussion list telling religious believers of all stripes that he was tired of their nonsense. I followed up with another post agreeing with Davis. Robert Schmid replied with a post declaring that many Greens were religious believers and that if we were tired of their nonsense, we were free to leave. Jesse Mortenson agreed that many Greens were religious believers, including Greens who were Christians, and added that antireligious rhetoric had "no place in the Green Party." Lydia Howell, although she had earlier liked my coinage of the term "Christofascists" so much that she asked my permission to use it too, asked that "atheists on this list be respectful of the beliefs of religious believers and not hurt the feelings of those who believed the earth was created six thousand years ago by calling them nuts. Paul Bramscher replied, asking why we should have respect for beliefs that were homophobic, racist, sexist ect, and both he and Linda Mann pointed out the irrationality of believing in something for which we have no evidence.
Those of us who are atheists can reply to Schmid and Mortenson that if they are tired of our unbelief, they are free to leave. The Green Party quite properly requires neither belief nor disbelief in religion as a requirement for membership so, unless one or the other group decides on their own to leave, they are stuck with us and their outrage over what they regard as our impiety and we are stuck with them and our contempt for their nutty beliefs.
When you tally up all the countless lives lost in religious crusades and jihads, the number of women burned alive at the stake on allegations of being witches, the numerous Gays likewise burned alive for being "sodomites," those who lost their lives in anti Jewish pogroms, those who died during the back and forth jihads and crusades between the Islamaniacs and Christ Crazies, and all those who perished in the flames for belonging to the "wrong" religion, it is hard to see how religion has not been a net, negative influence in human history.
I had been aware of the past atrocities of the Christians and Muslims and believed that it would be a nice reform, along with ending racism, ending the war in Vietnam, winning universal health care, etc, etc, if society could evolve beyond the majority of people having religious beliefs and that the steady progress since the Middle Ages in lessening religious beliefs could be completed. Modern, twentieth century people no longer believed in witches, goblins, ghosts, dragons, etc and the people of the future would complete this process by ceasing to believe in God, the Devil, and angels and demons. But I have come to see after several years of membership in Atheist organizations, that religion is not a mere vestigial, comparatively harmless remnant. It fights us at every turn when we try to introduce any progressive reform. Who is our opponent in nearly all the referenda on Gay rights laws? The right wing Christ Crazies. Who is out in front of the lobbying to keep new Gay rights laws from being passed? The right wing Christ Crazies. Who almost always leads the fight against repealing sodomy laws? The right wing Christ Crazies. Who leads the fight against equal marriage rights for Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersexed people? The right wing Christ Crazies. Who continually tries to pass laws limiting women's' reproductive freedom? The right wing Christ Crazies. Who tries to pass laws making it illegal for people in unbearable pain to decide to terminate their lives? The right wing Christ Crazies. The Pope argues against the right to choose the time of ones death by touting "the redemptive value of suffering." It is the right of the Pope and other members of his Church to make that choice for themselves. But they have no right to pass laws forbidding the rest of us from making that choice. And when some Islamaniacs show themselves willing to pursue heir Jihad by immolating themselves by crashing airliners into buildings, they have proved themselves nearly as great an enemy of human rights as the Christ Crazies!
Although I have continually prefaced "Christ Crazies" with "right wing," the threat to human rights is still latent in liberal Christ Craziness. It has only been attenuated by four hundred years of progress since the days when the Christ Crazies slaughtered people by the tens of thousands in religious wars and burned people alive at the stake. Nobel Laureate Steven Weinberg said it nearly best: "With or without religion, you will have good men doing good things, and evil men doing evil things, but for good men to do evil things, that takes religion." If you substitute "people" for the male "men" as the generic designation for humans, you can say it even better.
Robert Schmid argued that there could be a being beyond our universe and that as such, the existence of this being would be beyond the purview of science to prove or disprove. By this, I take it that Schmid has conceded that the existence of such a being is beyond the purview of any rational argument to prove or disprove and that he has conceded that all the traditional arguments that theists have used to establish the existence of this Being -- the first cause argument, the argument from order in the universe, the argument from the existence of ethics, or the argument from the existence of aesthetics, or even the ontological argument -- all fail to establish their conclusion and that he therefore is not claiming it is possible to present arguments either for or against the existence of such a Being. However Schmid's postulated Being could not be truly outside our universe nor beyond the purview of science if there is a causal chain extending either from our universe to the Being nor from the Being to our universe. And the Being would have to be able to perceive objects in our universe if the Being created it. Therefore, objects or events in our universe cause perceptions in the Being. And Schmid cannot avoid this problem by arguing that the Being does not perceive through the causal chain of light rays bouncing off objects in our universe and being received by the Being. Whatever the mechanism of the Being's perceptions, objects or events in our universe determine or cause what the Being perceives. And if the Being created our universe, there is also a causal chain extending from the intentions of the Being to events in our universe. So if Schmid's postulated Being is to be truly outside our universe and the purview of science, the Being would be neither able to perceive nor effect events in our universe.
But this being conceded, the probability of a proposition being true or the probability of the existence of an object for which there is no for or against is not 50/50 or 0.5%. The burden of proof is on the one who asserts the truth of a proposition or the existence of an object. If you assert that an object exists without having any evidence either for or against it existing, you will not subsequently find this object actually existing half the time. For example, the Medieval Europeans imagined many kinds of strange beasts existing in parts of the world they had not explored -- gryphons or winged lions, unicorns or horses with one horn thrusting up from their nose, and dragons or large, flying lizards that breathed fire. If it were true that everything you postulated to exist without evidence either for or against had a 50/50 chance of existing, subsequent European explorers would have found half of these mythical beasts. Explorers found many strange and hitherto unimagined animals living in the newly explored lands but NOT ONE of the mythical beasts. The nearest match with imaginary beasts was the rhinoceros with one horn in the middle of its nose but it looks nothing at all like a one horned horse.
Another example of the bad results that would follow from acting as if propositions that had neither evidence for them or evidence against them have a 50/50 chance of being true comes from the ordinary prudence and caution most of us employ when people we do not know ask us to turn over large amounts of money on the promise that they know how to invest it and return the money to us multiplied many times with profits. If we turned over our money to any stranger who came to us with such a proposal on the grounds that, since we had no evidence that the stranger was or was not legitimate, we were bound to come out ahead half the time, we would find ourselves in the end without any money. Atheists and agnostics have expressed this idea for centuries by asking whether we would give our money to a stranger promising to return large profits to us on no stronger evidence than we had for religion!
A Christian minister who has been attending Atheists For Human Rights meetings asked why my argument about where the burden of proof lies does not apply to negative statements. I.E. if I could say that positive statements such as God exists that had no evidence either for or against them had a far lower probability of being true than 50/50, then wouldn't I also have to say that negative statements such as God does not exist had a far, far lower probability of being true than 50/50? The answer lies in the difference between positive and negative truth claims. This can best be illustrated by considering the case where we are trying to decide between a number of competing scientific theories for explaining a given class of phenomena. The number of possible competing theories is likely to be indefinitely large, although we are likely to have only a few of them in mind. And if these competing scientific theories are truly different, they will be mutually exclusive. Otherwise they would be merely saying the same thing in slightly different words. So when a particular scientific theory is accepted as true, we are ruling out an indefinitely large number of other scientific theories or truth claims. But when we make a negative statement that a particular theory is not true, we are saying nothing about whether any of the other indefinitely large number of theories is true or false. Since we are claiming a lot more with a positive statement than a negative one, it is not surprising that the positive truth claim would have a far lower probability of being true than the negative claims.
Although the case of competing scientific theories was considered first since it most clearly illustrated the difference between positive and negative truth claims, the same conclusions can be established about any group of positive and negative statements about the same subject. And this explains why half of the mythological beasts imagined as existing in unexplored parts of the world did not actually exist and why it is far more prudent to assume the negative about unknown people promising to make us a great deal of money until and unless we have obtained evidence that they are both honest and competent. An even clearer example comes up if you are asked to guess what a given number is. If you guess 3, or any other particular number, you have chosen one number out of an infinite number of possibilities and your chances of having chosen the right number is very, very small. But if you say the number is not three, any other number among the infinite number of numbers would make your guess correct and only one number out of an infinite mumber of numbers would make your guess wrong. Hence, your chances of being right are very, very large and your chances of being wrong are very, very small. (It might be objected that we are in effect assuming that it is possible to divide by infinity and it is not possible to divide by infinity. This is true since when we say that the series 1,2,3,... is infinite, we are merely saying that there is no last term in the series. Whatever number you select, there will always be another number next in the series and therefore, larger. Saying that the series of numbers is infinite only means that there is no last or largest number in the series. Infinity is not a specific number in the series and, therefore you cannot divide by it. However, saying a number is infinitesimal does not meaning you are trying to divide by infinity. You are merely saying that that there is no last term in the series 1/2, 1/3, 1/4 ... or that whatever number you select to designate the smallness of your being right whan you select a specific number such as 3, the chances of your being right are even smaller.) The next argument concerns the danger of believing things without the safeguard of reason. The Christian who had adopted Christianity on faith with no safeguard provided by reason would have to concede that it was only blind luck that led them to make the right leap of faith to Christianity. (And this is only if we concede for the sake of the argument that they made the "right" leap.) It was only blind luck or random chance or the luck of being born into the "right" environment that prevented them from making the leap to Satanism. From an Atheist perspective, it would not much matter which of the two leaps they made. But the leap of faith could just as easily have been to Nazism or Al Qaida. If there is no rational argument to guide the choices, then, why not?
And the next argument concerns what belief means when people speak of making leaps of faith and believing something to be true without evidence. When we believe in the existence of a physical object we perceive with our senses, such as the computer directly in front of me as I write this, the feeling of confidence we feel as we believe in the object's existence comes from immediately perceiving it. Before we proceed any further, it must be made clear that if we speak of believing when the word "believing" has no association with something we experience while believing, the word is just a collection of sounds or marks on the page. To be meaningful, EVERY concept must have SOME connection with what we experience or we don't know what we are talking about. Other beliefs and the feeling of confidence intertwined with the act of believing are based on inferences from what we immediately perceive. For example, in the case of the statement oft used by philosophers to illustrate inductive reasoning, "All crows are black," the feeling of confidence inextricably associated with the act of believing comes from seeing many crows and seeing that all of them are black. The feeling of confidence is a little less firm since, even if all crows have been black after people had been seeing them for generations, an albino crow could be the next crow to turn up, Since we are prone more to error when making a complicated series of inductions, the feeling of confidence in believing is even shakier. Another class of rational or logical inference is deductive reasoning. For example: "All tigers are dangerous. This is a tiger. Therefore this is dangerous." The British philosopher Bertrand Russell demonstrated around the beginning of the 20th century that mathematics was a branch of logic with the publication of PRINCIPIA MATHEMATICA. Mathematics is a perhaps perfect example of how the feeling on confidence intertwined with believing diminishes with a long, complicated chain of inferences since we all know how prone to error we are when performing even simple mathematical operations. Still another example is the hypothetical deductive method used in science. The scientist constructs a hypothesis to explain a body of phenomena, makes a prediction about the phenomena concerning something that has not yet been checked by observation and makes a prediction about what will be observed if certain conditions hold. If the phenomena is observed, this is regarded as a confirmation of the theory. For example, when Einstein developed the Special Theory of Relativity, his theory involved some amendments to Newton's Theory of Gravity. There were three alternative predictions involved since, at that time, it was not known whether light was influenced by gravity. Einstein's amendments to Newton's theory of gravity involved predictions that were only large enough to be observed at extremely high speeds and under intense gravity. The only conditions where these predicted phenomena could be observed was during a solar eclipse when a light ray was passing by very near to the sun. If light was not subject to gravity, there would be no change in the observed position of a star whose position in the sky was apparently near the sun. If light was subject to gravity, the star's position would shift by a certain amount. Under Einstein's theory, light was subject to gravity but his prediction of the star's observed position would be larger than the shift Newton's theory predicted.
In 1919, there would be a solar eclipse visible from the island of Principe. Astronomers traveled to the remote island to make their observations. The amount of change in the star's apparent position was what Einstein had predicted.
The point of this summary of the different kinds of logical inference is that the feeling of confidence inextricably intertwined with the act of believing is present only from observing an object we can immediately see (or feel, or hear, etc) or by inferences made from what we perceive. The immediate perceptions or inferences constitute proof or evidence. So someone who says that "I believe A but I don't have any evidence for it" is merely uttering a meaningless noise or putting meaningless marks on paper and that person literally doesn't know what he or she is saying. Lastly, I will pursue some matters opened up by Schmid's statement that an omnipotent Being could have created the universe 6000 years ago but have created it with all the fossils and other signs of great age that make it appear to scientists to be four and one half billion years old. Actually, the latest estimate of the age of the universe by astronomers is 13.7 billion years. When Schmid raised this point, I wondered whether he was just throwing in a tricky philosophical puzzle to amuse himself by vexing those of us who believe differently. But the passion with which he defended religious faith and the anger in his response to Tim Davis and me make me think he may be serious. Actually, someone in 19th century, Victorian England proposed Schmid's solution, that God had created the world six thousand years ago but with all the fossils and geological strata that made it appear much older. He expected his solution to unify both the creationists and the adherents of modern science with his "resolution" of their conflicting views. He was considerably embittered when both sides rejected his solution. Many people have pointed out that this "solution" can be taken even further by proposing that God created the world only a moment ago along with your memories of a past life extending back years and decades. This position, without the belief in God, is known a solipsism of the moment -- solipsism standing for the position that a person can only know that she or he alone exists. It represents following out the positions taken by modern empiricists in the early 1600's to their logical conclusion. The first of the modern empiricists were John Locke and the circle around him who had decided to jettison the past disagreements among philosophers and start with the assumption that people could only know anything except on the basis of their sensory perceptions. This immediately led to problems since, when people thought of themselves as knowing the properties of a physical object through their sensory perceptions, through the color and shape they saw, the roughness they felt, the weight they felt when they lifted it, ect, they thought of the physical object a having these properties of color, roughness, weight, etc. But what was the physical object that "had" these properties. It was not another property for the additional property would merely be another property that the physical object had. So the physical object itself was distinct from all its properties. But if we cannot even know what a concept MEANS unless its meaning is somehow based on our sensory perceptions, if no matter how long and complex the chain of definitions involved, the chain must in the end refer back to our senses, then the concept of a physical object distinct from all its properties is meaningless. We literally do not know what we are talking about.
But the world and everything in it seems so insubstantial and impermanent without the concept of an object that has the properties of color, weight, etc. When we move away from a tree immediately in front of our eyes, i.e. experience the sensations involved in making the effort to walk away, and later come back to the tree, we think of something substantial that has the properties we perceive with our senses. If the tree had green leaves when we walked away and we find the tree with multicolored leaves when we return three months later, we think of the tree as a physical object that changed during out absence, not as a mere assemblage of perceptions of color, shape, roughness, etc, which, for all we know may have vanished as soon as we moved out of sight. The idea of a physical object which has the same properties or sensory perceptions when we return in some instances and different properties when we return in other instances seems necessary to EXPLAIN the orderly arrangement of the sensory perceptions we experience. But a concept not referring back to our sensory impressions does not even MEAN anything, let alone be a concept that can explain anything. George Berkeley was next in the line of major British empiricists. Since he was a minister in the Church of England and did not like Atheists, his solution was to have everything consist of ideas in the mind of God. Since God could keep all the ideas making up the world in mind simultaneously, that would explain the idea of the tree persisting after we had left and still being there when we returned. However, Berkeley"s "solution" never caught on with other British empiricists and the next major philosopher among the British empiricists, David Hume developed the skeptical position, arguing that we could not infer beyond our sensory impressions to physical objects existing independently of us. What we thought of as the world or universe could simply be a long, complicated dream. We could not know that other minds or people existed since, even if we could establish the existence of physical objects, we could not directly experience the thoughts, emotions, etc in the other minds. Other people might merely be complicated automatons so, for all we knew, we might be the only person in the world. And of course, there might not be a world either since it could merely be our long, complicated dream. Hume went even further by questioning the principle of induction. Empiricists argued that people built up their knowledge by observing occurrences being regularly conjoined events. For example, the more often we have observed water boiling after the water had been heated, the greater the confidence with which we could expect water to boil the next time we heated it. But Hume argued that we could not prove the principle of induction since, if it had always worked when we used it before, we would be begging the question, using circular reasoning, using the principle of induction to prove the principle of induction. Thus we had no way of proving that even our ordered sensory impressions would not dissolve into incoherence in the next instant. Although no major philosopher is known to have argued for solipsism of the moment, some have pointed out that pursuing these arguments for skepticism to their logical conclusion would lead to the conclusion that we could even question the accuracy of all our memories. Thus not only did we have no way of knowing that we were not the only one existing in a world with no other minds or physical objects that existed beyond our sensory impressions and no way of knowing that these ordered sensory impressions might not dissolve into incoherence in the next instant, but we could not know we had not flickered into existence a moment ago and that we would not flicker back into nonexistence in the next moment.
Hume himself said that, after he had played a game of checkers, his ideas about philosophical skepticism often seemed distant and unreal to him. Bertrand Russell followed this idea further by pointing out that no one could live or act according to complete skepticism so we might as well decide what minimum assumptions we needed to justify human knowledge. He illustrated his contention that no one could really believe in complete skepticism, no matter what they said, by telling the story about the logician Susan Stebbing who had remarked that she was a solipsist and that she was surprised that there were no others. Meanwhile, the non empiricist, German philosopher, Friedrich Hegel proposed going beyond Aristotelian logic in which a thing could only be A or non A. Hegel was an idealist philosopher, arguing that basic reality was mental, not physical. Marx retained Hegel's non Aristotelian or dialectical logic but incorporated it in his materialist philosophy of dialectical materialism. So far, we have established that, while there is no evidence either for or against the existence of God and that we are not forced to assume that anything for whose existence there is no evidence for or against has a 50/50 chance of existing. Instead, its probability of existing is much, much lower. But British empiricism seems to have shown also that there is no way of proving the existence of an external, ordered, material world. I am going to argue that non Aristotelian or dialectical logic offers a way of establishing the existence of an external, ordered, material universe. I will begin with quantum theory although there is no way of proving that there is an external, ordered material universe with a particular scientific theory since all scientific theories presuppose the existence of an external universe. But a consideration of quantum theory will make the argument much clearer when we attempt to infer the existence of the external world from immediate experience. Unlike the macroscopic world we experience, there is no way to determine an object's precise location and velocity in the quantum world. When light reflects off chairs or horses that we are familiar with in the macroscopic world, the objects are not moved by the light rays hitting them by any appreciable amount. But when light bounces off an electron in the quantum world, when photons hit it and bounce off, the electron is always moved by the photons hitting it. Further attempts to pin down the electron's location and velocity by bouncing photons off it will just alter the electron's location and velocity again.
John Locke had dealt with the problem of defining the concept of location at the beginning of British empiricism. Unlike color, shape, heaviness, etc, objects do not immediately show a property of location. But if all our concepts must be defined in terms of our sensory experience if they are to have any meaning, location must also be defined in terms of sensory experience. Locke argued that our concept of an object's location came from looking at it from different directions or from triangulating on it. In both the cases considered by Locke and in quantum theory, location is determined by watching light bounce of an object. But, if there is a limit to the precision to which we can specify an object's location, that means that not only is it impossible to determine an object's location beyond a certain precision but the concept of a more precise location is meaningless. And since time is measured by change in an object's location, not only is it impossible to measure time beyond a certain precision but the concept of smaller intervals of time is meaningless. When we consider space and time as laid out in Einstein's four dimensional space-time manifold, there will be a limit to the smallness of the space-time units we can detect or measure. And the space-time units will not be volumes packed tightly together as with grains stored in a silo. The concept of volume involves yet smaller volumes packed in the larger volume which we could measure. But this is impossible in principle. And the boundaries between the volumes will not be discrete shells of lesser thickness than the volumes for that presupposes smaller distances which we could measure. There will not be discrete boundaries but rather regions where it will not be precisely determinable whether the region is in one space-time volume or the other, where movement in one direction will make it more and more likely that the region is in one space-time unit and less and less likely that it is in the other. The space-time volumes will blend into one another with no precise boundaries and the very concept of a more precise boundary will be meaningless. Thus, instead of locations being precise points, locations will be partly in one space-time volume and partly in the other, something that is both A and non A. This explains how there can be a universe with physical laws describing the orderly relations between the space-time volumes. And the physical laws, which by the way, are not separate things IMPOSING order on the phenomena in the different space-time regions but rather DESCRIPTIONS or the order that scientist have observed or determined to be the closest description of what happens by verifying theories through the hypothetical deductive method. If the space-time regions were totally distinct, either A or non A, it would not be likely that the phenomena in the different space-time regions just happened to be in the orderly arrangement described by physical laws instead of in all the other possible arrangements or non arrangements. But if the space-time volumes blend into each other, are partly one and partly the other, or both A and non A, then we would expect the space-time regions to be partly like the adjoining regions and the phenomena in them to be similar or laid out in orderly arrangement. Now when we come back to considering the phenomena in people's sensory experiences, perceived time is not arranged in staccato order, with instants being all one instant or the next instant, either A or non A. Instead the instants and locations all blend into each other, are both A and non A. And it will not do to argue that the blending is an illusion produced by the instants following each other so rapidly, like the separate frames in a movie reel seeming to blend with each other because they are projected so rapidly. Because when it comes to sensory experience, what it SEEMS is what it IS. We may only think an object is red because of an illusion produced by a trick of the light. But if we are perceiving what LOOKS LIKE a red object, it is absolutely certain that we ARE perceiving red. So if the instants and locations in our sensory experience SEEM to blend into each other, they ACTUALLY DO blend in to each other.
Since the instants and locations in our sensory experience blend into each other, i.e. are both A and non A, adjoining instants and locations in our sensory experience will be like each other, i.e. they will resemble but be different from each other. This makes it possible to come up with laws or descriptions of the relations between adjoining locations and instants and, in principle, infer the existence of the external world with its physical objects and other minds and physical laws, which since adjoining regions of space-time blend into each other and are similar, give us reasonable assurance that these laws will continue to hold and that the universe will not suddenly dissolve in random confusion. The concept of a physical object will not be of an object distinct from all its qualities but instead as a hypothesis intended to explain the order in our sensory experiences and the truth of this hypothesis will be confirmed through the hypothetical deductive method.
This philosophical analysis about how our knowledge can be justified or rationally grounded does not commit us to any particular account of how we build up this knowledge in infancy. New born infants do not engage in such high order philosophical reasoning. Whether we were born with the neural circuits already wired in to process sensory experiences into perceptions of physical objects, or whether we learned how to do this from raw sensory data, or whether it was a combination of learning and inherited neural wiring is a scientific question that can only be settled through experiment. As a concluding summary, religion has had a net negative effect on human history; things such as God and Beings outside our universe for which there is neither evidence for or against their existence have a probability of existence far, far lower than 50/50 or 0.5; a Being outside our universe could not be outside our universe if there is a chain of causality going either from the Being to our universe (creation) or from our universe to the Being (perception of our universe by the Being; it is dangerous to believe things at random without proof since, without the safe guard of reason, our random believing could just as easily have settled on Nazism or Al Qaida; that it is both meaningless and self contradictory to claim belief in things without evidence since the feeling of assurance inextricably bound up with the concept of believing is inextricably connected with either immediate perception or logical inference from such perceptions; and that traditional, Aristotelian logic leaves us no way of establishing the existence of other minds and the external world or confidence in the principle of induction, or even any way of assigning meaning to the concept of external objects, and that it is not even possible to see how the phenomena across the expanse of space-time are even likely to be arranged in any non random order, let alone to prove that their behavior is described by physical laws, but non Aristotelian or dialectical logic enables us to establish the existence of other minds and an external world that is likely to continue to follow physical laws in the future.

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Mpls. City Coucilor, Lisa Goodman No Friend of Northwest Airline Mechanics
by Robert Halfhill

I am incensed by 7th Ward Council Member Lisa Goodman leading the fight against the resolution supporting the Northwest Airlines strikers and the more I read about her "angry speech" against the proposal, the angrier I get. Several points must be made about this Council decision.
First. any organization, whether private or public, whether a private business or government body, is confronted with the decision during any strike whether to support the striking workers by denying its business to the company being struck or to support he company through its continued patronage. Contrary to Council President Paul Ostrow's statement that the City Council "is not a great debating society" but "a municipal government that has serious business to consider," which company the city chooses to patronize is part of the serious business of a municipal government and, where a strike is concerned, which side the City is on is a matter of business that is even more serious.
Second, I notice that more DFLers voted against the resolution than voted for it. The DFL professes to be the Democratic Farmer LABOR Party and if the DFL has "gotten beyond" or "above" the ideal of representing the interests of working people, labor needs to look elsewhere for representation.
The Democratic Farmer Labor Party was negotiated by Hubert Humphrey when he arranged a "merger" between the Democratic and Farmer Labor Party. Far from being a "merger" however, it meant the assimilation of a party representing working people into one of the two main parties representing the employers. After this "merger," Hubert Humphrey led a purge of socialists and communists from the party.
Third, the Airline Mechanics Fraternal Association was formed in a split from the AFL-CIO because the airline mechanics were dissatisfied with the way the old union was defending their interests in the face of Northwest Airlines constant push for more and more wage concessions. Now, because of the hard feelings resulting from this split, many of the other unions are crossing AMFA's picket lines. And this is in the face of Northwest's demands for wage concessions from many of the unions now crossing the AMFA picket lines. This is a clear indication the Northwest plans to pick the other unions off one by one so the other unions had better forget their comparatively petty resentments about the split and realize that if they don't all hang together, they will hang separately! Northwests' intransigent negotiating posture of attempting to reduce its workers' wages and living standards is merely the latest in a succession of attempts by all airlines to impoverish their workers because of rising fuel prices.
Of courses because of the biases of our culture after the publication of the Reverend Norman Vincent Peale's THE POWER OF POSITIVE THINKING, it is considered absolutely conclusive when Lisa Goodman says "there's nothing positive about the airline or its employees" in the resolution. However, there is nothing positive about Northwest's attempt to roll back the gains of the New Deal and contrary to Goodman's assertion that the resolution is "incendiary" (another liberal buzz word), that "it made her sick to spend time on it" and that "The thing I object to most of all is that it's brought up in this arena in the first place," the thing I object to most of all is Lisa Goodman's not considering the City Council the proper arena to bring up such a resolution and her statement that "it make me sick" only makes me even sicker.
Robert Halfhill Loring Park 7th Ward Candidate for Minneapolis City Council

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THE FOLLOWING COMPLAINT ABOUT THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT'S DRUG WAR HAS BEEN SENT TO AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AND THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS.
Amnesty International -- UK International Secretariat Human Rights Action Center 17-25 New Inn Yard London, EC2A 3EA, England
United Nations High Commissioner For Human Rights (1) Center For Human Rights United Nations Office At Geneva CH 1211, Geneva 10, Switzerland (1)
November 7, 2005

Dear Sir or Madam:
I am filing a human rights complaint with Amnesty International against the United States and all its subordinate state and local governments because of the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision that the U.S. government can criminally prosecute people using marijuana for medical purposes, even though marijuana may be the best or only medicine for their illness. Amnesty International is opposed to imposing the death penalty for any reason so that means you must oppose the imposure of the death penalty against sick people who are guilty of no crime through denying them the medicine they must have to treat handicapping and even life threatening diseases. Secondly, Amnesty International recognized the right to life as a human right and recognized it even before you opposed the death penalty so the logic of that position should compel to oppose the denial of the medicine necessary for continued life as a denial of human rights. And thirdly, people who must violate the law by using the medicine they must use to preserve their life can surely raise a valid necessity defense against criminal prosecution. And fourth, Amnesty also recognizes the right to health and adequate medical care as human rights so you must recognize the denial of the medicines necessary to prevent blindness or confinement to a wheelchair as also violations of human rights and that people prosecuted under laws denying them access to such medicines have a valid necessity defense.
Let us review then a small part of the voluminous evidence supporting the medical efficacy of marijuana. Drs, Steven Sallan and Norman Zinberg published their results demonstrating that marijuana is a superior antivomiting 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 conduced studies on 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 as a pill. 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 (pp. D1&D2) stated that 1.3 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year, that one million end up on chemotherapy, and that 70 t0 80 percent of these patients experience nausea and vomiting during their chemotherapy. In other words, seven to eight hundred thousand people end up vomiting their guts out every year because of the U.S. government's refusal to legalize medical 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) trumpeted the newest drug for preventing nausea and vomiting, MCI Pharma, Inc's palonosetron. then 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 after their first day of chemotherapy and in 64 to 74 percent of these 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 the 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 of marijuana in 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 esophagal 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 equalled 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).
In addition to denying its citizens the benefits of a medicinal substance that is in many cases necessary for continued health and even life, the U.S. government's drug jihad -- and it is a jihad and not a war since it is pursued without regard to the consequences -- against its own people has led to many grave violations of 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) stated 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, the logical outcome will be that somewhere between the present percentage of the population being in prison and all of the populating consisting of either prison inmates or prison guards, society will have passed the point of collapse.
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 aquitted in a criminal trial, he or she must still 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 (my 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 (my emphasis), the right of trial by jury shall be preserved..."
Since access to health care is a human right and denial of such access is a violation of human rights, since denial of access to health care necessary to prevent permanent disability is a violation of human rights and is analogous to inflicting bodily mutilation as a punishment which is also a violation of human rights, and since denial of access to medical care necessary to prevent death is a violation of human rights since it violates the right to life, and since the U.S. government's drug war jihad has led to many grievous violations of civil liberties, I am requesting that Amnesty International begin making inquiries to the U.S. government about these human rights violations and adopt all persons imprisoned solely for seeking necessary medical care as prisoners of conscience.

Sincerely, Robert Halfhill

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HOLBERG LEARNS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE TREATED UNFAIRLY BY THE MAJORITY

April 30, 2006 Star Tribune Letters Editor 425 Portland Avenue South Minneapolis, Minnesota, 55488
On Wednesday, April 26, 2006, when a predominantly non metropolitan group of Minnesota House members voted to not require a referendum for a 0.05% stadium tax, secure in the knowledge that their constituents could enjoy the benefits of a Twins stadium while forcing Hennepin County residents to bear the cost, Representative Mary Liz Holberg said: "It's wrong. Sure, it's an easy vote for all of you who don't live in Hennepin County."
It is ironic that Representative Holberg objected to a majority unfairly trying to saddle a minority with the cost of a Twins Stadium when she is the leading House proponent of the heterosexual majority in Minnesota voting for a constitutional amendment to deny the Gay and Lesbian minority equal access to the benefits of marriage. In this case, it is simple selfishness by a majority voting to enjoy the benefits while forcing a minority to pay the cost. In the case of segregation laws in the south and anti Gay laws, it is bigotry by the white or heterosexual majority towards a Black or Lesbian and Gay minority. But in either case it is a majority treating a minority unfairly and we can all hope Ms. Holberg learns and grows from this experience of unfair treatment by the majority.

Robert Halfhill

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

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

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
To email Robert Halfhill CLICK HERE. Links: The Pen
Executive Orders
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2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I suppose you also think 911 is just a big conspiracy by wrongly elected bush government.Yeah we kill 1,000s of our own for the sake of power.If the republicans where as ruthless as you think the dems would have never got back the house or senate. Now they have it and the world is watching. My money says they will blow it in the next two years. Are you gay? do you agree with the aclu?

11/24/2006 10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SUMMARIES OF OVER 550 JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES LAWSUITS & COURT CASES


The following website summarizes 300 U.S. court cases and lawsuits affecting children of Jehovah's Witness Parents, including 200+ cases where the JW Parents refused to consent to life-saving blood transfusions for their dying children:

DIVORCE, BLOOD TRANSFUSIONS, AND OTHER LEGAL ISSUES AFFECTING CHILDREN OF JEHOVAH'S WITNESSES

http://jwdivorces.bravehost.com



The following website summarizes over 250 lawsuits filed by Jehovah's Witnesses against their Employers, and/or incidents involving problem JW Employees:

EMPLOYMENT ISSUES UNIQUE TO JEHOVAH'S WITNESS EMPLOYEES

http://jwemployees.bravehost.com

8/25/2007 1:02 AM  

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