Make the FDA Advisory, Not Mandatory

You should control what medicines you use, not the FDA. The FDA should make advisory recommendations only. It should NOT have the power to mandate which drugs you can buy, and which you cannot.

  • If pharmaceutical companies value the FDA seal of approval, then they can pay the FDA to evaluate their drugs.
  • If consumers value FDA approval, then they can decide to only buy FDA approved drugs.

If the FDA’s seal of approval is really so valuable, then it does NOT need to be mandatory. No coercion is necessary. Instead, the FDA should be able to sell its services through voluntary means, just like Underwriter’s Laboratory does.

Consumers and doctors should be free to consult available science, and make their own decisions about which treatments to try.

All human beings are unique. Treatments that might be dangerous for one person, could be the only possible solution for another. There is zero chance that one-size-fits-all dictates can possibly account for the vastness of human variability. Patients and doctors must have the flexibility to deal with individual human uniqueness.

The FDA should serve, not rule.

Talking Points:

There are thousands of reasons why the FDA should lose its power to coerce you and your loved ones. Some of these reasons will be listed below, so that you can use them when writing to Congress, or when asking your friends to contact Congress on this issue . . .

The FDA gives consumers a false sense of security. Americans assume that the FDA is actually protecting them, but it is not. For instance . . .

The Union of Concerned Scientists surveyed 6,000 FDA scientists in 2006, and 1,000 of them responded with the following disturbing admissions:

  • 17% admitted that they had been "asked explicitly by FDA decision makers to provide incomplete, inaccurate, or misleading information to the public, regulated industry, media, or elected/senior government officials."
  • Less than half agreed that the FDA "routinely provides complete and accurate information to the public."
  • 47% admitted to being aware of instances "where commercial interests have inappropriately induced or attempted to induce the reversal, withdrawal, or modification of FDA determinations of actions."

The FDA is constantly attempting to expand its powers. The people in that agency are relentlessly pushing into areas that are NOT part of their mandate — even where there is NO problem that needs to be fixed.

For Example: The FDA has made repeated attempts to regulate vitamins and supplements, even though there is no evidence that these things present any danger. Quite the contrary — vitamins and supplements are a powerful example of how health outcomes can be improved, without FDA involvement. The website of the Life Extension Foundation is full of scientific citations to demonstrate this. For instance . . .

A review of 2009 information for "adverse events" reported to the national control center’s data system shows that, NO major adverse events or deaths were reported for . . .

  • Botanical supplements like St. John’s wort, ginseng, and Echinacea
  • Hormone supplements like DHEA, melatonin, and pregnenolone
  • Phytoestrogen supplements
  • The joint- and cartilage-support supplements glucosamine and chondroitin
  • Vitamins A and E, and only one adverse event each was reported for vitamin B6 and C

In total, 41 major adverse events were reported for the entire spectrum of supplements including botanicals, amino acids, and vitamins, and only one was a death.

In contrast, more than 7,000 major adverse events were reported for pharmaceutical drugs, including a total of 496 deaths. And based on previous studies, we know the overall death rate for physician prescribed drugs to be far higher.

The Downsize DC position is pro-choice. The FDA should serve, not rule.

Use the form at right to send your elected representatives a letter about this issue. It’s easy!

  • Your position will be counted by each Congressional office,
  • Will educate the Congressional staffer who reads it,
  • May be passed up the chain of command,
  • May receive a reply (many DC Downsizers get them). If you receive such a letter, please share it with us at [email protected].

 

Send a letter to Congress

We provide the first few words of the letter so that Congressional offices will see the most important point

right at the start, and so that no one can hijack our system for another purpose.

Here’s the part we provide . . .

Make the FDA advisory, not mandatory.

LINK

CONTINUE READING….

UN: Freeze Funding of Iran Counter-Narcotics Efforts

Source: Human Rights Watch

Surge in Executions for Drug Trafficking

(London) – The United Nations agency charged with combating illicit drug trafficking should withdraw its support for counter-narcotics police operations in Iran until the death penalty for drug offenses is abolished, six rights groups said in a letter published today. The groups made the plea after Iran’s judiciary hanged 18 alleged drug traffickers within 24 hours on December 3, 2014, bringing the number of drug offenders executed in the country during 2014 to at least 318.
Reprieve, Human Rights Watch, Iran Human Rights, the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Harm Reduction International and the Abdorrahman Boroumand Foundation said the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) should follow its own human rights guidance and impose “a temporary freeze or withdrawal of support” if “following requests for guarantees and high-level political intervention, executions for drug related offenses continue.” The six organizations warned the UNODC of “the widening gulf between Iran’s rhetoric and the realities of its justice system,” and described the agency’s decision to continue funding supply-side counter-narcotics efforts in the country as “ineffective if not counterproductive.”
“As Iran executes alleged drug offenders in ever-greater numbers, it beggars belief that the UN sees fit to continue funding Iranian anti-drug operations,” said Reprieve director Maya Foa. “How many more hangings will it take for the UN to open its eyes to the lethal consequences of its current approach, and make its counter-narcotics support conditional on an end to the death penalty for drug offenses?”
The UN agency’s records show it has given more than $15 million to “supply control” operations by Iran’s Anti-Narcotics Police, funding specialist training, intelligence, trucks, body scanners, night vision goggles, drug detection dogs, bases, and border patrol offices, the groups said. UNODC projects in Iran have come with performance indicators including “an increase in drug seizures and an improved capability of intercepting smugglers,” and an “increase of drug-related sentences.”
The United Kingdom, Ireland, and Denmark have all chosen to withdraw their support from Iranian counter-narcotics operations administered by the UNODC because of concerns that this funding was enabling the execution of alleged drug traffickers. When announcing its decision to do so, Denmark publically acknowledgedthat the donations are leading to executions.
The groups had previously written a letter to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon in May 2014 on the issue of UNODC counter-narcotics funding in Iran and Vietnam. In their letter, the groups expressed concern that UNODC continuing support of Iran’s counter-narcotics operations was “lending legitimacy” to executions of drug offenders. In an August 2014 response, UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov responded that his agency sought progress through “engagement and dialogue,” and that he was “gratified” by “potentially favourable developments regarding the application of the death penalty in relation to drug offenders in Iran.”

Iran’s anti-narcotics law imposes a mandatory death sentence for manufacturing, trafficking, possession, or trade of five or more kilograms of opium and other specified drugs, and 30 or more grams of heroin, morphine, or specified synthetic and non-medical psychotropic drugs, such as methamphetamines. International law requires countries like Iran that retain the death penalty to impose it for only the “most serious crimes,” which does not include drug crimes.

Although international law says that all death sentences should be subject to appeal, Iran has apparently limited appeals in drug-related cases. Figures suggest Iran is executing those charged with drug offenses in increasing numbers, despite recent calls for reform by the chair of the country’s Human Rights Council, Mohammad Javad Larijani, who said there were legislative efforts under way to end the death penalty for drug-related offenses.
The rights groups are not aware of any pending legislation in parliament that would end, or even reduce, the number of executions related to drug offenses. On December 16, the Iranian Students’ News Agency reportedthat a high ranking official with the country’s counter-narcotics agency opposed the elimination of the death penalty for drug traffickers, noting that any changes in the law would have to be made by the Expediency Council, an advisory body to the supreme leader, and not Iran’s parliament.
Harm Reduction International and Human Rights Watch previously urged UNODC to freeze funding of drug enforcement programs to Iran, and said Iranian authorities should move quickly to end the death penalty for drug-related offenses. The two groups first met UNODC officials in Vienna in 2007 to discuss concerns regarding the execution of drug offenders in Iran.

… Payvand News – 12/18/14 … —

CONTINUE READING…

12 Of The Sketchiest Things The DEA Has Done While Waging The War On Drugs

 

 

This is part one of a two-part series. Read part two here.

The Drug Enforcement Administration was established under the Justice Department in 1973 by President Richard Nixon. Its mission was to keep the nation off and away from drugs, which, at least according to the White House, were a moral evil and catalyst of criminal behavior. The agency was formed just two years after Nixon launched what became known as the “war on drugs.” Congress and the rest of the nation remained convinced that the scourge of narcotics and drug abusers — and perhaps particularly those who were young, poor or black — was pounding at the gates. Over the next four decades, with most drug policy now firmly in the grips of law enforcement officials, the DEA’s annual budget saw a fortyfold increase, going from a paltry $75 million to nearly $3 billion in 2014.

With more than 11,000 employees and a host of responsibilities, the agency’s activity has expanded worldwide, all the while attracting scrutiny from critics of the drug war who contend that the DEA is an ineffective agency that uses controversial tools to enforce often misguided or unjust federal drug laws.

The catalog of controversies below helps explain why the public has often questioned the DEA’s priorities, as well as the methods it employs to advance them. While the DEA does its best to keep many of its dealings out of the public eye — it regularly claims secrecy is imperative to the success of its anti-drug operations — here are some of the most sketchy, messed up things that we know it has done:

The DEA claimed Prohibition was a success.

alcohol prohibition officers

Most historians believe the “noble experiment” of alcohol prohibition in the 1920s backfired, creating a myriad of negative unintended consequences and serving as a lesson about the hazards of governing public morals. The DEA, however, tells a different story. In 2010, the DEA and the International Association of Chiefs of Police released a report providing key arguments against drug legalization. In one passage, first highlighted by the Republic Report, the report set out to combat what it called the “myth” that “prohibition didn’t work in the 20’s and it doesn’t work now.” Its main argument was that the 18th Amendment didn’t go far enough to restrict the manufacturing and consumption of alcohol at the onset of Prohibition.

Citing figures that suggest there was a decline in alcohol use during that 13-year period — statistics that are regularly contested and impossible to verify — the document argues that Prohibition was a successful policy. The report also downplayed the secondary effects of banning alcohol, such as the precipitous rise of organized crime, at one point suggesting that those effects were increasing before the enactment of Prohibition.

dea prohibition

A sample of the DEA’s report.

Unsurprisingly, the report made no mention of the clear negative parallels between early-20th century Prohibition laws and today’s laws that target drugs. In both cases, strict prohibition has taken away resources from treatment for addiction and abuse, overburdened court systems and jails, fostered corruption in law enforcement, propped up organized crime and even, some argue, created a damaging disrespect for the rule of law. In return, these incredibly costly enforcement experiments have largely failed to actually limit people’s consumptive habits.

The DEA imprisoned an innocent suspect in a holding cell for five days without food or water.

In 2012, 24-year-old Daniel Chong was detained by DEA agents in San Diego after his friend’s house was targeted by a drug raid. Chong was told there were no plans to charge him and that he’d be released the same day. But he wasn’t released, and agents who heard or saw him over the next five days did nothing, each believing he was somebody else’s responsibility. Chong was trapped in a windowless 5-by-10 enclosure without food or water, all for the crime of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. When he was finally discovered, he was incoherent and required medical attention. He said he’d drank his own urine to survive, and at one point attempted suicide. At some point, Chong began to carve “sorry mom” into his arm with broken glass from his eyeglasses, which he ate before being released.

CONTINUE READING HERE…

Mass water shutoffs in Detroit, Mich., are making news around the world

UUSC Logo

Oppose Detroit Water Shutoffs

Mass water shutoffs in Detroit, Mich., are making news around the world. The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has begun disconnecting water from households that have been unable to pay their water bills. In May alone, the DWSD served 46,000 shutoff notices and executed over 4,000. Local community leaders say the numbers are closer to 3,000 per week.

Water is a basic human right. People need water for drinking, bathing, and even flushing the toilet! At the same time the utility is issuing mass shutoff notices, it raised the cost of water 8.7 percent.

Who will be most hurt by Detroit’s water shutoffs? Individuals and families, including infants, children, people living with disabilities, people who are chronically ill, and the elderly. Their health is at risk without adequate water and sanitation. Child Protective Services must, by law, move to protect children in homes without adequate water and sanitation — children may be taken from their parents and put into foster care.

What happens in Detroit will impact tens of thousands of people and send a message to the rest of the country. DWSD is the third largest provider of drinking water and wastewater treatment services in the United States. We need to take action now to protect families in Detroit and to ensure that clean drinking water in the United States does not become a luxury good.

Take action now: Sign the statement below. Help us send a strong message to Detroit’s emergency manager and water utility director. Help stop mass shutoffs and protect residents of this great American city. Help defend the human right to water.

Petition

Water is not a luxury good. It is a basic human right due to all people, including low-income individuals and families.

As a person of conscience, I oppose water shutoffs that affect people who cannot afford to pay and whose family integrity and health are at great risk. It is morally wrong to shut off water to individuals and families, including infants, children, people living with disabilities, people who are chronically ill, and the elderly.

I respectfully call on Emergency Manager Kevyn D. Orr and Detroit Water and Sewerage Department Director Susan McCormick to immediately stop mass water shutoffs in Detroit and immediately restore water services to households at risk. I also request that they put into place protections for infants and children under six years of age, the elderly, chronically ill people, and those living with disabilities — all for whom a water shutoff is an extraordinary burden and risk to health and family.

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

689 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-3302

p 617-868-6600 | f 617-868-7102

[email protected]

FOLLOW LINK TO PETITION!

At least one owner of a Colorado medical marijuana business raided by federal agents last year has been arrested and another has been indicted.

Thumbnail image for kid in handcuffs.jpg

 

 

DENVER — At least one owner of a Colorado medical marijuana business raided by federal agents last year has been arrested and another has been indicted.

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service and Diplomatic Security Service carried out several arrests on Friday, said a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Denver. But prosecutors wouldn’t release their names or describe the nature of the case, saying that was part of a sealed indictment that could become public Monday.

Federal authorities in November raided more than a dozen sites, many of them in medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver and Boulder, confiscating piles of marijuana plants and cartons of cannabis-infused drinks and edibles. Although prosecutors still haven’t disclosed the reasons for them, the raids sent a strong message to Colorado’s marijuana industry in the weeks before the state legalized recreational sales of the drug.

The arrests included that of Denver attorney and dispensary owner David Furtado, who on Friday was seen in video taken by KUSA-TV being led away by agents with his arms behind his back. Neither Furtado nor his lawyer returned calls seeking comment.

An attorney for another targeted dispensary owner, Gerardo Uribe, said his client had been indicted but it wasn’t immediately clear if he was arrested.

Attorney Sean McAllister said he did not know what charges Uribe could face.

“My client continues to assert he conducted his business in a way that was consistent with Colorado marijuana laws,” McAllister said. “He intends to vigorously defend himself.”

Court filings related to the case of Hector Diaz, a Colombian man arrested on a weapons charge during the raids, describe both Uribe and Furtado as “targets in a long-term investigation into marijuana distribution, money laundering and other offenses.” Uribe is further described in the documents as “the head of a marijuana drug distribution organization.”

Diaz had been staying at Uribe’s home in an upscale Denver suburb when he was arrested. Prosecutors said Uribe’s father, Gerardo Uribe Sr., confronted agents at the door “holding a firearm he was slow to relinquish.”

Investigators who searched the younger Uribe’s email found a photo they said shows Diaz posing with two semi-automatic rifles and two handguns while wearing a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency cap, according to the court filings. Diaz’s attorney has asked a judge to dismiss the case against him, saying among other arguments that prosecutors violated his Second Amendment rights.

CONTINUE READING…

Three men sentenced to death by hanging for selling weed in Malaysia

By Jack Daniel in Culture, Global, News

Thursday, June 20, 2013

malaysia.map.flikr.jpg

Deep in the conservative heartland of the upper Malaysian peninsula, the state of Kelantan was once known for its secluded location and coastal piracy, but today is known more for the strict Islamic order that has been put in place by the long standing hardline government. It is that draconian set of laws that has three friends facing death by hanging after being found guilty of selling weed in a hospital parking lot.

The isolated region has been ruled by the Islamic Party of Malaysia (PAS) since 1990. With a Muslim population of over 95%, the PAS has managed to pass local laws in Kelantan that segregate supermarket lines, as well as public seating, by gender. They have restricted public performances by women if any men are present, and have placed outright bans on many traditional Malaysian forms of theater.

These laws, they say, are in place to squash immorality in the name of Islam. Following their interpretation of Islamic doctrine, the PAS attempted to institute punishments like chopping off fingers or hands of thieves, and execution for something as simple as blasphemy. Fortunately, cooler heads at the national level intervened, blocking the most extreme local legislation on constitutional grounds.

But even national laws in Malaysia leave little room for sympathy when it comes to drug-related offenses. Getting busted with any controlled substance can earn you a heavy fine and instant deportation, at best. Anyone caught with a mere 7 grams of marijuana can be labeled and tried as a drug trafficker, an offense punishable nationwide by the death penalty. They don’t mess around.

The three men convicted today were accused of selling 4.8kg, or over ten and a half pounds, of herb in the parking lot of the Universiti Sains Malaysia Hospital in August of 2007. Ultimately found guilty of all charges, the three men will be put to death by hanging.
They had previously avoided the death penalty when the same High Court ruled on the case in 2010, acquitting two of the men altogether, and reducing the third man’s charges to drug possession, earning him 12 years in prison.

The prosecution wasn’t satisfied though. They appealed the case and were granted a re-trial, through which they somehow cast a newfound doubt in the mind of the Judge. With the facts of the case unchanged since the Court’s first decision back in 2010, today Judge Datuk Azman Abdullah announced his decision, stating that the defense put forth was not enough to re-convince him.

Their story is almost identical to a similar case from March of this year, where three men were convicted of pushing over 14 pounds of illegal pot on the west coast of the peninsula, also in 2007. Seriously, if you like your neck at its current length, don’t sell weed in Malaysia.

The friends in this latest case – ages 42, 48, and 52 – all appear to be Malaysian nationals. Charged and convicted under Section 39B(1)(a) of the Dangerous Drugs Act of 1952, which carries a mandatory death sentence, their only hope now is for some sort of reprieve from the notoriously dispassionate Malaysian national government.

CONTINUE READING…

Ode to the Hemp

A PRAYER TO OUR CREATOR

Richard and his plant

WE COME TOGETHER TODAY TO PRAISE YOUR ALMIGHTY
GIFTS TO US…

YOU HAVE GIVEN US LIGHT FOR WARMTH,
MEADOWS OF FRESH FLOWERS,
AND HERBS,TO KEEP UP HEALTHY,
YOU GAVE US DARK TO SLEEP AND TO REST OUR
WEARY HEARTS AND MINDS FOR ANOTHER DAY,
YOU GAVE US BROTHERS AND SISTERS TO LOVE US,
AND CHILDREN TO CARRY ON OUR NEVER-ENDING
ENDEAVORS – TO CARRY OUT YOUR WILL ,
AS WE KNOW WE WILL NEVER ACCOMPLISH
THIS ALONE.

YOU GIVE US INTELLIGENCE TO BE ABLE TO
SEPARATE THE GOOD FROM THE EVIL,
DEAR FATHER IN HEAVEN,
GIVE US THIS DAY, OUR DAILY BREAD,
AND FORGIVE US OUR SINS,
AS WE FORGIVE ALL OTHERS,

AND

GIVE US THE STRENGTH, TO CARRY ON,
TO RECTIFY THE EVIL THAT TO WHICH WE HAVE
SUCCUMB,
TO BRING BACK THE MEADOWS,
THE FLOWERS AND TREE’S,
TO CONTINUE TO HEAR THE BIRD’S AND BEE’S!
BLESS THE HEMP LORD, AND KEEP IT STRONG,
AND ENABLE US, TO CARRY ON…

AMEN

@ShereeKrider

*Dedicated with Love to Richard J. Rawlings…USMJParty

OPEN Letter to Ohio Legislators and Washington DC

 

 

2007_1110TYPennington0016

by Tonya Davis on Sunday, November 25, 2012 at 9:33pm ·

Lawmakers… Please don’t let me die knowing that this plant could have saved me and you denied the same access as 18 states and DC as well as the 4 federal patients. You can stand up for me and many folks like me..

(I just want to say thank you for reposting my Open Letter Note.)

Come on Obama Administration… I need access to the whole plant of cannabis. I do not buy …. sell or grow… I should have the right to grow it like tomatoes for my medicine. I should be able to use its oils and juice its leaf or eat is raw. or smoke a joint whichever I need at the time.End marijuana Prohibition TODAY!!! and also SAVE Americans at the same time. This plant is the only thing that could save my life. Facebooker’s will you share this everywhere please.

This is an open letter to my Ohio legislators.

I have nowhere else to turn. I hope you hear my cries for help and I hope you stand up for me. Representative Bobby Hagan will be  Re introducing the Ohio medical compassion act which I hope you will consider cosponsoring  in January 2013.

It would merely allow Ohio’s doctors and patients to decide whether or not medical cannabis could benefit them or not. It would allow the department of health to keep an eye on the program and make sure there were no abuses. Anyone that is in the program would be in a database so that you can keep track of this act of compassion.

We also believe that it would save Ohio taxpayers millions of dollars by not arresting, incarcerating  and prosecuting folks for making a choice using cannabis as medicine. we also believe that the Obama administration would not bother our program because there would not be storefronts or dispensaries selling the product.

Over 73% of Ohioans support the compassionate use of marijuana..I am not sure you are aware but our sister state of Michigan has a medical cannabis program. We believe that we should have the same rights as those folks  just across our border.

Also Colorado and Washington just legalized marijuana for personal use.

My name is Tonya Davis and I’m your constituent. I am a mother, grandmother, sister, daughter. I could be your neighbor, friend, coworker. You have seen me at the Ohio Statehouse over the last decade in a suit rolling around in my wheelchair trying to bring your attention to alternative medication that is actually safer than aspirin. Yes I’m talking about medical cannabis and this has been my choice of medicine. For a long time you said to me to "bring in a doctor that supports this issue" I have!  you have said "bring in the science that supports cannabis as medicine" I have.. You have said " get a Republican on board" WE HAVE… we have jumped through the hoops that you have asked us to jump through.

We have a certified petition for the Ohio alternative treatment amendment that was certified by the SOS and the AG October of last year. We currently have house Bill 214  that is being ignored in the health committee because our speaker of the house refuses to give it a hearing. Now I’m asking you to save my life.

My whole life I have begged for help no one ever hears me. I will be heard this time because  this is my life I’m fighting for and I’m going to die on my terms.

Our government knows that cannabis is a medicine and that it is a neuro protective and antioxidant. they have  patents on it.  I am literally fighting for my life and my independence as well as tryin to keep my cognitive thinking okay.  By allowing me the same access as the 18 states plus Washington DC as well as the four patients that are currently allowed on federal level …it is not harming anyone.

I deserve that same access even though I am in the state of Ohio. I should not have to go die like a wounded animal in the woods. (going to a state that does have medical cannabis laws) where  I have no family and a support system.

I am not a drug addict, suffer from mental illness or have any type of criminal record.

I do have my Ohio doctors support , I have my pharmacist support… I have my out-of-state written recommendation from my cannabinoid specialist .  I have lived in same place for the decade ive fought for this issue. Here is a video clip of me and my cannabinoid specialist 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gP5QOvkv77Y&feature=share

My neurologist came into my hospital room and told me a year ago that there was nothing that they can do for me anymore except keep me comfortable and treat symptoms. I have massive calcium deposits on my brain. I have pseudo-hypo parathyroidism which has completely disabled me and caused major medical problems such as crippling arthritis ,diseased esophagus, hiatal hernia ….inflamed bowel disease with adhesions wrapped around it…. severe hypocalcaemia…. very high phosphorous..  my blood pressure is all over the map … my heart rate is through the roof. All of this can be proven and backed up. Will you do the right thing and support compassion not corruption?

My future is bleak but I have an opportunity to change things and to protect what brain that is not damaged yet.  and most importantly die on my terms.

I CHALLENGE YOU TO SEND THIS TO ALL YOUR COLLEAGUES IN WASHINGTON.

ADDITIONALLY, MS. DAVIS WROTE THE FOLLOWING…..

If anything happens to me I blame my government for not allowing me the same access as my sister state Michigan or the other 17 states and DC …. I want my President to open his heart and allow me to fight for what life I have left with dignity and feel like I belong in this world as well. No ones ever heard me. As a child being abused and molested raped …I tried to tell anyone that would listen I was not heard or protected from age 5 to 12 when someone believed me I was removed to an orphanage. This is just the beginning of how my life spirals I am asking you remove sick people out of this drug war. I can not understand for the life of me how you can do anything you want to smoke a lot of pot do not get caught and you can be president of the United States. But If you do get caught with one joint it can ruin your life. Can we use common sense for drug policy when it comes to cannabis? why can the sister state Michigan get compassion and we don’t? I could go on about my life and I will but not right now. So as you can see there is a way you can save me. If our doctors are smarter now which I believe they are. They are licensed in the state of Ohio… We trust them to write prescriptions / with our lives in their hands anyway why can’t we trust them on determining whether or not their patient can benefit from the use of cannabis as a medicine? DEA will still have their work because people will still break the law. let our law-enforcement get real bad guys those committing domestic violence, violent crimes, home invasions harder drug addictions anything where there is a victim. There has to be a middle ground. I am tired of feeling like I’m a criminal and I don’t deserve to have to live in fear. It is the worst feeling ever. Let me know what you think on the subject. President Obama you are the one president that could change my life forever. What harm does it cause to allow someone like me to use cannabis as a medicine? I should be allowed to use that plant in any form. You could be America’s hero you could be my hero. Please read my open letter to share with your friends I would like you to care enough to stand with me. You all know this drug war is a lie? Have a lot to say tonight. I also want to say I am watching my friends die off one by one and I’m ready when father God calls me home… I don’t have to die right away I believe that with all my heart. Okay I’m done for a while… I may continue my talk if my community is watching ,thank you for being tolerant of me. You guys gave me my voice. Some day you will hear my whole story my life didn’t change until my mid-30s. It’s been a vicious cycle of domestic violence rape home invasion theft..even kidnapping my life has been a nightmare. No one has ever heard me I always fell before things changed. my life is make life movie. I would call it "If Only Heard" I have a strong testimony and willing to share it as well.. God has been a big part of my survival. seems like I had to experience all this to understand so id be a strong servant. my life is in Gods hand as well as our government…

Judge dismisses federal lawsuit over "forced catheterization"

 

 

Updated: 10:38 am | Published: 12:27 am

Reported by: Jonelle Merrill
Written by: Jonelle Merrill

Gavel (ABC 4 News)

Gavel (ABC 4 News)

SANPETE COUNTY, (ABC 4 News) – A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit involving a young man who believes his constitutional rights were violated when police forced a catheter inside him.

Stephan Cook, 22, brought the lawsuit against several law enforcement officers in Sanpete County and Ephraim City, claiming that they performed a forced catheterization on him, after he refused a drug test in 2008 while attending Snow College.

As the plaintiff in the case, Cook claims the incident in question started on a quiet side road in Ephraim where he was parked smoking cigarettes inside a car with friends. Cook says police officers approached the car, suspecting the young men were smoking marijuana.

“When they approached us, they said it smelled like marijuana, but we said no, we’re smoking cigarettes and we just put the cigarettes out like you asked us to,” says Cook.

Cook refused to offer a urine sample after the cops demanded it numerous times. He adds that he repeatedly asked for an attorney to be present.

 
After obtaining what Cook’s attorneys call a “botched” search warrant, he was forced by police to be catheterized at Sanpete County Hospital.

“The nurse told the officers to hold my shoulders while they catherized me, and after that they took me straight to jail,” said Cook.

According to the attorneys, Sanpete County Hospital still has not produced the urine sample as evidence, or even a record of Cook coming to the hospital. They say it further adds to their belief that the law enforcement agencies involved did not follow correct procedure.

 
Criminal defense attorney Lindsay Jarvis calls the forced catheterization the ultimate violation of her client’s civil rights. “I would say anybody who’s in that position would feel as though they were sexually assaulted – yes. You’ve got a female nurse who is unbuttoning his pants while another individual holds him down. And then, they stick an object into his private parts.”

Prior to filing his civil lawsuit, Cook fought the case in criminal court, where he accepted a plea of abeyance. The agreement allowed him to admit to one count of possession of marijuana and a fine, in exchange for dropping the rest of the charges against him. According to Cook’s legal team, the federal judge dismissed his civil lawsuit partially due to the fact that Cook had previously admitted guilt. However, both Cook and his attorneys say the plea of abeyance was made under duress. The attorneys, who plan to appeal, say the ruling to dismiss the case on those grounds is just plain wrong. “Irrespective of whether he committed this crime, that’s irrelevant to whether they’re entitled to forcibly catheterize him,” said attorney Justin Heideman.

Peter Stirba, defense counsel for the Sanpete County officers issued this statement in response to the dismissal of the lawsuit: “The officers’ behavior was fully justified and certainly was not violative of any of Mr. Cook’s constitutional rights.”

Cook’s mother who is a fellow police officer for a different city strongly opposes the defense counsel’s statement, calling this a matter of police brutality.

“This is a story of contemptive cops. He (Stephan) wouldn’t voluntarily pee, and they were gonna do whatever it took to get his urine – period,” said Stephan Cook’s mother Holly Ziegenhorn.

Cook wants to keep fighting and move forward with an appeal. He says he does not want another person to have to go through what he did. “I never wanted this to happen. I’m willing to stand up for everybody else who can’t,” said Cook.

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Judge Scalia On How “Easy” It Is to Deny You Your Rights

 

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has again treated us to his “textualist” reading of the Constitution, telling an American Enterprise Institute audience that unfettered abortion access, “homosexual sodomy” and the retiring of the death penalty are all “easy” to decide against.

Reports Seattle Pi:

“The death penalty? It’s easy. Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy,” Scalia told the AEI faithful.

[…]

“Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion,” Scalia added. “Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.”

Scalia’s mantra is that the Constitution is not to be treated as a living, breathing document whose promise of Liberty evolves with its people, but rather an iron-clad relic that should be read as it was set down, and in only that way.

This illuminating talk from Scalia comes as several marriage equality cases stand ready to be taken up by the Supreme Court, a number that will directly challenge the federal law that bans the government from recognizing same-sex marriages, the Defense of Marriage Act.

Another case on the Supreme Court’s docket in the coming months, likely after the November elections it would now seem, will be the Proposition 8 case where a federal judge and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the voting majority of California violated state and federal guarantees of equal protection in 2008 by defining away the right to marry a same-sex partner.

Scalia, a Reagan appointee, has sat on the bench for much of the life of the gay rights struggle. He has consistently found cause to rule against gay rights. Most notably, Scalia dissented in Lawrence v. Texas, the case that would serve to eventually make unenforceable state level bans on sodomy.

In the dissent Scalia, while terming the sodomy ban “facially neutral” even though the Texas ban applied solely to homosexual acts, wrote:

Today’s opinion is the product of a Court, which is the product of a law-profession culture, that has largely signed on to the so-called homosexual agenda, by which I mean the agenda promoted by some homosexual activists directed at eliminating the moral opprobrium that has traditionally attached to homosexual conduct…. [T]he Court has taken sides in the culture war, departing from its role of assuring, as neutral observer, that the democratic rules of engagement are observed.

While this may give us a rather face-slapping clue as to Scalia’s overall opinion of gay rights, the case may be of particular interest in that, with his dissent, Scalia found room to criticize the Court’s majority for its concern over the criminalization of sodomy leading to discrimination, citing that this ignored the will of the people:

So imbued is the Court with the law profession’s anti-anti-homosexual culture, that it is seemingly unaware that the attitudes of that culture are not obviously “mainstream”; that in most States what the Court calls “discrimination” against those who engage in homosexual acts is perfectly legal.

Proposition 8′s defenders have harped, seemingly to play a tune to which a conservative judiciary might hum, that the voting people of California, through the democratic process, decided against gay marriage and therefore the will of the people should stand — this of course sidesteps the fact that minority rights will nearly always and by their nature find disfavor at a majority poll.

While Scalia’s approach to law, his “textualist” attitude, seems to give him easy answers on topics like abortion restriction and, to quote again “homosexual sodomy,” one can’t help but feel that a judge who knows how he will rule before he has heard the individual cases at hand might be going in with a level of bias that is, to say the least, concerning.

However, for those of us familiar with Scalia’s views on a variety of topics, none perhaps more eyebrow-raising than his refrain that sex discrimination is Constitutionally sound, Scalia’s latest volley against reason and equality, and his apparent admission that being a Supreme Court justice is “easy” when it comes to issues like these, will not be a surprise.

Equal rights proponents were never looking to Scalia for affirmation, but then Scalia’s celebrity has already been cemented among religious conservatives, legislators like Scott Brown, and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney who has said he would be looking to appoint similarly minded judges.

Scalia’s latest AEI talk serves, then, as a healthy reminder of what that would mean for America.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/causes/judge-scalia-on-how-easy-it-is-to-deny-you-your-rights.html#ixzz291bcIFf0