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The Path Less Taken

..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Now, think carefully.
What would you say, if the question 'how good do you feel about life in general' was put to you?
We have, on this island, an air of suspicion which has wafted in like a mist, falling on everyone's shoulders. There are cliques forming in many camps.
While we in Scotland have recently put political fervour behind us, for the most part at any rate, the parliamentary kettle is bubbling merrily away in England. It could be considered disturbing to watch the growing support for what used to be a marginal party with limited appeal blossom into a force which could conceivably form a substantial presence in the Commons come the 3d of this May. The United Kingdom Independence Party, or UKIP, has snatched seats in by-elections from all of the established parties, and it's leader, Nigel Farage, has graduated from a joke, to a powerful joke.
We have been told our economy is recovering; little seems to have changed as far as the ease with which the average household income stretches. We have been told being 'British' carries a responsibility by the media and David Cameron; we are told several times a week of how British football supporters have disgraced themselves abroad and at home, and of British men and women running amok. We are maintaining; we look over our shoulder guardedly. 

But never you mind..
Put on the kettle.. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

Time to get back to the simple musings of a simple mind.

It's interesting to note, that should one care to cast an eye back to that which was written as far back as 2006, or perhaps even 2005, could have been written today..
Odd how that old French saying is so often born out.. plus ca change, plus que le meme chose..

These days, when an ear is turned to other's conversations when the volume of the communication makes it impossible to do otherwise, the general tone is one of confusion and, dare one say, fear. 
The Almighty (and perhaps the almighty) knows well the pressures facing today's man on the street. The ubiquitous presence of those who would run amok; the terrorist hidden in plain sight posing as your neighbour. An economic situation which, when looked at from a birds-eye perspective, indicates a snail trail towards a faint light which we have been told is the end of the tunnel, but which offers nothing in the way of an immediate relief. The knowledge that those in education will, in all likelihood, have to leave the country to use their knowledge to gainful effect. The inevitability that those who are presently employed, will face years of deep debt before they then have to realize a diminished old age due to a diminished return on their investments in pension funds. A host of emotional taxing effects, which when listed, stretches away into the infinite.
And, this generation.. this present population, feels somewhat personally affronted..
One can add to this list of pressures the lack of knowledge of history. Knowing this has been the constant situation for all of mankind through all of it's history affords a modicum of.. perhaps fatalism is the word.

But, not to worry. 
You put on the kettle, and we'll have a nice cup of tea.

As a coda.. watch the developments at the meeting of the Eurozone Finance Ministers which starts.. officially.. at two this afternoon..
There is a draughty window open, and this house of cards is vulnerable.

Another trend which is developing throughout Europe.. notably in the UK and France.. is the 'radicalization'  of Muslim youth. I must add this is a new word to describe a new situation.
The Met has issued a BOLO on 3 young women, one of them 15, who are thought to be on their way to Syria to join IS.
Now it's not what one would call a bad thing, for youth to be interested in, and active in, their faith. However, the bastardization of the tenets of Islam by those who use the Q'ran as justification to murder innocents is beginning to work it's way into the Zeitgeist furthered by social media, and when it begins to become an issue which is turning our young into modern Brownshirts, it becomes an issue which deserves the attention of all of us.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Continuing today with yesterday's theme, let us look at Prime Minister David Cameron.
He is a graduate of Oxford, earning an MA in PPE (that is, Philosophy, Politics and Economics) in 1988. From there he became involved in politics immediately, as Special Advisor to Norman Lamont, the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Becoming tired of the hours he was putting in at the Commons, he left politics in 1994 to work for Carleton Communications as Director of Corporate Affairs.
But he was marked by the Conservative Party as an up-and-commer, and returned to serve as Member for Whitney in 2000, and moved through the ranks to become the youngest Prime Minister in over 180 years.
It's interesting to note, that while at Eton College, he was caught smoking cannabis.
Oh dear.
Little came of it though, the punishment amounting to writing 500 lines of Latin verse.
Seems that was a fitting end to the incident, at least in the eyes of the College.

Now once again, we have a case of a politician who knows the effects of cannabis on a first hand basis. Doubtless he, or his staff, have read the recent studies pertaining to the medicinal effects of cannabis, but who has made no move towards either removing the stigma surrounding the drug, or relaxing the Draconian legal prohibition of it.

It strikes a dissonant chord. A strong position against the legalization of medicinal marijuana would smack of base hypocrisy, yet thousands of Britons are languishing at Her Majesty's Pleasure for the simple 'crime' of cultivating for personal use. A significant demographic would see the laws in Briton change, yet the man leading our government appears oblivious to either the hue and cry being raised by proponents of the medicinal use of the plant or the evidence that would support such a change in legislation. That the man himself has used cannabis, albeit for recreational purposes, should give others who use the reasonable expectation that he would be sympathetic to their cause.

It is unacceptable that British citizens should be handed punitive fines or incarcerated for cannabis.

It is unacceptable that a significant segment of the population is marginalized.

It is unacceptable that recent medical studies are ignored by those who wield legislative power.

It is unacceptable. Period.

Monday, October 28, 2013

It is interesting to note the qualifications of those who have been elected to represent our best interests in Parliament. It is especially interesting for those who have taken a firm stance against the decriminalization or legalization of cannabis, despite the groundswell of support for such moves not only in Britain, but across the US and Canada, and EU countries the likes of France, Poland, Spain, to name just three. It might be noted, that in Portugal, it is a Constitutional right to grow cannabis in one's home, and has been for years.
Take one of the most outspoken opponents to any move towards legalization of cannabis in Britain, Home Secretary Theresa May. She is the daughter of a Church of England Minister, which might be a clue to her reticence concerning drugs in general. Before her election to political office, she achieved a BA in Geography from Oxford in 1977, and went on to work for  the Bank of England, and from 1985 to 1997 was a financial consultant and senior adviser in International Affairs for the Association for Payment Clearing Services. From there, she dipped into politics as a Councillor for a London Borough, and stood twice for the Labour Party unsuccessfully, before becoming a Conservative and taking a seat in the Commons for the constituency of Maidenhead.

Now, this lady has no pharmaceutical background. She has chosen to ignore the plethora of reports which have been published of late touting the efficacy of cannabis for too many conditions to be listed here. She has also chosen to ignore historical evidence supporting the same. Yet, she has announced she will fight any move to legitimize cannabis or it's derivatives.

It would seem that her attitude, as might be said for most who stand in the path of legislation aimed at removing the stigma attached to cannabis, is based on nothing more than inherited antipathy. There is no other conclusion that can reasonably be supposed.

It is long past time that those we elect represent the will of the people who cast their vote to give them a seat in Parliament. It is incumbent upon them to research this issue, to understand the pro's and the con's, before announcing their opposition to a change in legislation.

It is not acceptable that gut reactions determine the Law.

It is not acceptable that misinformation be disseminated.

It is not acceptable that those who could benefit for legalization of cannabis be deprived of it's medicinal properties.

It is simply not acceptable.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The human collective mind is an odd beast; we each of us see ourselves to be unique, just like anyone else. Yet we are ruled by memes, which, aimed across the demographic spectrum, lead our steps as surely as a guide dog leads the blind, while swallowing wholeheartedly the concept of 'the greater good'.

Many infringements into the sphere of our human rights have become commonplace, accepted as a necessity in these days when one can never be sure who's plotting what. We abrogate our responsibility willingly, meekly, submitting to that ethos, 'the greater good'. Thus is justified our loss of privacy, of a free media, of the ethic which once led the enfranchised to examine the issues which directly affect various aspects of all our lives. An ethic which questioned authority, and required an accounting for the reasoning which led our elected representatives to adopt a stance, and an indication that representative would follow not only the Party Line, but address issues of current importance to his constituents.

There are indications the British Parliament is aware the War On Drugs is lost. There are indications many Members would support a move to change legislation. There are indications Home Secretary Theresa May will fight any such move ferociously. There are indications several Chief Constables and as many Judges would prefer the laws be relaxed.

There are also indications it will rain here tomorrow.

It can be a frustration, this Scottish winter. What's indicated could well be complete bollox.

Wednesday, October 09, 2013

We have quite a dilemma here.

Our elected government(s), which purport to represent the will of the people, the electorate, for whatever misguided 'nanny protectiveness' are ignoring both rational argument and collective desire, in criminalizing a significant number within our society.
Perhaps even worse, they deny those in medical need of treatments which are far more efficacious and far less addictive than that currently provided by our pharmaceutical companies. This, in spite of recent international developments, and research which is in diametric opposition to claims made during a time in our past which delighted in witch-hunting and asserting the right of those elected to know what is best.
Long gone are the days in which 'politician' isn't compared to 'used car salesman'.
People do not have the same inbred respect for those in power as did those who fought in the Korean War.. or the 'Leave It To Beaver' generation which followed.. More and more are posing questions which those who hold office are uncomfortable with; more transparency is demanded, and more justification for Acts of Parliament.
Yet despite the growing demand for changes to a law which is patently absurd, it remains in place.

Begs the question: 'Why?'

Who benefits from the criminalization of cannabis? Who's holding legislation back which, if passed, would permit hundreds of thousands of the population to enjoy a non-addictive substitute for such as OxyContin or Vicodin?

Who's profiting from the incarceration of users of cannabis?

How can such an enlightened group of legislators stick fast to inherited opinions on the effects of the plant, when current research denies their 'facts'? For what profit?

How deep is the bushel?

Saturday, October 05, 2013

This is worth looking at..


Contrary to popular belief, the marijuana plant is a whole lot more than just a psychoactive drug that "stoners" use to get high. In raw form, marijuana leaves and buds are actually loaded with a non-psychoactive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer nutrient compound known as cannabidiol (CBD) that is proving to be a miracle "superfood" capable of preventing and reversing a host of chronic illnesses.

Though you may not have heard much about it, the CBD found in the marijuana plant -- marijuana is technically just a vegetable, by the way -- is a highly medicinal substance with unique immune-regulating capabilities. Since the human body already contains a built-in endogenous cannabinoid system, complete with cannabinoid receptors, inputting CBD from marijuana can help normalize the body's functional systems, including cell communication and proper immune function.

The way CBDs work is that they bridge the gap of neurotransmission in the central nervous system, including in the brain, by providing a two-way system of communication that completes a positive "feedback loop," according to Dr. William Courtney, a medical marijuana expert and founder of Cannabis International. As opposed to a one-way transmission, which can promote chronic inflammation of healthy tissue, the unique two-way transmission system engaged by marijuana CBDs mimics the body's own natural two-way communications system.

So individuals whose systems are compromised by autoimmune disorders, cellular dysfunction, chronic inflammation, cancer cells, and various other illnesses can derive a wide range of health-promoting benefits simply by consuming CBDs. And one of the best ways to obtain CBDs is to juice raw marijuana leaves and buds, according to Dr. Courtney, who currently runs a clinic in Luxembourg that provides raw cannabis medicinal services to patients in need.

"CBD works on receptors, and as it turns out, we have cannabinoids in our bodies, endogenous cannabinoids, that turn out to be very effective at regulating immune functions, nerve functions, bone functions," says Dr. Ethan Russo, a Seattle, Wash.-area physician who is also a senior advisor to GW Pharmaceuticals, a British drug company that is utilizing CBDs in a new marijuana mouth spray known as Sativex.

"There's a tendency to discount claims when something appears to be good for everything, but there's a reason this is the case. The endogenous cannabinoid system acts as a modulator in fine-tuning a lot of these systems, and if something is deranged biochemically in a person's body, it may well be that a cannabinoid system can bring things back into balance."

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