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Progressive Politics in Minnesota, the Nation, and the World

Condi Rice Is The Antithesis Of Human Rights

Category: Society
Posted: 04/18/14 17:47, Edited: 04/18/14 18:23

by Dave Mindeman

Condoleeza Rice spoke yesterday as part of a Civil Rights lecture series at the University of Minnesota. There were a number of protesters - many of them feeling that Dr. Rice's invitation should have been withdrawn. More of them wanted to make it clear that they consider her a war criminal as an enabler to torture.

I'm not going to go into any analysis on whether or not Dr. Rice should have spoken. That was for others to decide. I DO question the idea that Dr. Rice should be part of a civil rights lecture series. Her involvement in the civil rights struggle was minimal at best - but she has probably done great harm to the cause of human rights.

Conservatives are quick to pounce on Obama's foreign policy....especially when it comes to Russia.

But the policies of G.W.Bush, with Condi Rice, have made a mockery of our moral high ground. When we try to say that nobody should invade another country under a false pretext - who is not going to laugh?

When we talk about Putin's treatment of the Russian people, how are we to argue with Putin's discussion of surveillance on our own people. A policy that began under G.W. Bush.

And when other countries pull people off the streets and imprison them indefinitely without charges, can we say that's wrong? Can we say it the same way Jimmy Carter might have said it? or Clinton?

The full historical perspective about the G.W. Bush years has still not been written. Condi Rice may believe that the Bush administration did what was necessary to protect Americans.

But what is the precedent? Those Tea Party Patriots that reverence the Constitution - can they say that Republicans have protected it? Can they say that that sacred document has been adhered to in good times and bad?

The precedent that Condi Rice defends is one of government by fear. A precedent that believes we need to suspend our rights when we are threatened. That the Constitution is a luxury we cannot afford in times of war or imminent threat.

I don't believe that. Many people do not believe that. But Condi Rice does - she has to because she implemented a wrong-headed policy that continues on and on.

I understand that she has a right to speak. She was invited and she accepted. Case closed there. But if we are being led to believe that somehow Condi Rice can speak to the struggle of civil rights with ANY authority, then we are being deceived.

Rice represents a policy idea that many people totally reject. History will eventually reject it as well.
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MMA Gives Med Marijuana Thumbs Down - Without Checking Evidence

Category: Society
Posted: 03/19/14 19:03, Edited: 03/20/14 20:01

by Dave Mindeman

The board of the Minnesota Medical Association has come out against the Medical Marijuana bill. If memory serves, this is a board of about 15-19 members.

They are basing this position on a survey of about 900 physicians that weighed in on the matter. The results?

Against the bill....46%
Favored the bill...35%
Wishing the Board would take no position at all... 9%

Those favoring and those preferring the board take no position would account for 44% of the survey. With 46% opposed it would be hard to say there is a clear position.

Yet, the board decided to weigh in on the matter...even though they didn't have to.

It should be noted that doctors cannot prescribe marijuana for any purpose under current state and federal law.

In other words, they have no experience with the results of marijuana use, nor do they understand its side effects, efficacy, or even its abuse potential. They would have to rely on hearsay evidence for that....and their own biases.

Their judgments would be the same as you or me....based on anecdotal evidence from the patients they have come in contact with who have used the drug....without their followup or approval.

The board took a position that marijuana should be moved to Class II status for drug classification. This would mean that the drug would be available for drug studies.

Which begs the question, why didn't that position come about years ago? Why the slow walk to usefulness?

Physicians have to take some responsibility for the rampid drug abuse of pain killers like Vicodin and Oxycontin. And with more restrictions being added to these medications, the physicians will soon be running out of usable options for patients with chronic pain.

So why not let medical marijuana at least be an alternative for that dilemma?

I think the answer here is that physicians have the same biases about marijuana that many people have. They have heard law enforcement preach one aspect of the story - but haven't been willing to do their own due diligence on getting or demanding the facts.

It is a steep hill to climb, but we need to keep doing it.
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"All Children Should Be Protected"

Category: Society
Posted: 02/25/14 01:16

by Dave Mindeman

The mother of a 12 year old boy who committed suicide is against the anti-bullying bill that will be proposed in the upcoming legislative session.

Kathy Trosvik, whose son was a fifth-grader at Fridley Middle School in 2006, was being bullied at school. Trosvik's son, Tom, was 12 years old when he came home from school and, without warning, took his own life. She only later found out that Tom's bus driver had noticed the bullying.

She states her concerns this way....

One of Trosvik's biggest concerns is that the bill does not require schools to notify parents of the accused child or the bullied child in all cases. The bill would allow a child to decide if parents should be notified, according to the Minnesota Child Protection League.

Part of the bill, which has garnered a lot of criticism, focuses on forbidding bullying based on race, religion, physical appearance and sexual orientation, among other categories. Trosvik told KSTP her son didn't fit into any of those categories. "It should be just a blanket statement: All children are protected," Trosvik told KSTP. Trosvik does not think this bill would have helped her son.

OK - I respect Ms. Trosvik's opinion on this. But she is assuming that the Minnesota Child Protection League is completely accurate in their interpretation of the bill. That is debatable.

But what is certain is that the previous law which left everything up to the local school districts to derive their own policy has not worked. There have been far too many public instances of failures to prevent the tragedies like the one that happened to the Trosvik family to accept the idea that only local control works. It hasn't.

The new bill sets specific guidelines that are minimums for school districts to have in place - but it doesn't preclude local measures as well. Ms. Trosvik didn't believe that her son fit into any of the categories outlined in the bill. But those categories are broad and any district that is more aware of their responsibilities in bullying situations would have be more reactive to her son's situation than they were when it happened.

As for the Minnesota Child Protection League, they are more worried about perceptions than prevention. It is clear from their rhetoric that they are more concerned about what they perceive as pro-LGBT policies and "anti-Christian" ideas than really protecting children.

Ms. Trosvik's main concern is very real....

"It should be just a blanket statement: All children are protected," Trosvik told KSTP.

On that I think everyone agrees.
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