Monthly Archives: August, 2015

ABORTION by Norm Gottlieb

Abortion is a highly emotional and polarizing issue.  The debate over when life begins and the rights of an unborn verses the rights of a woman to free choice over her own well-being will probably never be fully resolved.  It is a significant moral, religious, and political problem.  A somewhat different way to view the issue and to frame debate is the Right to Life” verses the “Rights of Lives” (the pragmatic impact of an unwanted pregnancy on the birth, family, and others.

Issues related to the Right to Life include:

  • When is an embryo capable of existence outside the womb?
  • Should conception by rape or incest be considered?
  • What about embryo abnormalities?
  • Should fetal tissue be used in medical research even in view of indisputable scientific merits?

Issues related to “Rights of Lives” include:

  • Are the mother-father persons able to rear a child responsibly?
  • Who will assume the costs of birth and child care?
  • What about the mother’s health?
  • What are the medical and legal considerations?
  • What are the realistic options for say a teenager or unwed mother to bear and provide for a child, for persons or families financially stressed, or for child raising by adoption or by others.

The decision to have an abortion is mainly a personal-medical problem.  Each case is unique.  The decision should not be made by legislative or judiical edict.

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DRUGS by Norm Gottlieb

Globally, there are a number of issues critical to survivability and stability that need to be addressed:

  • Climate change and the environment
  • Nuclear weapons possession and proliferation
  • Poverty and the rich-poor gap
  • Healthcare and pandemic control
  • ISIS and efforts by others for world domination

In addition, nationally there are other issues threatening our well-being and democracy:

  • The influence of money in politics
  • Military expenditures versus domestic needs
  • Racial inequality and justice

All of these issues are important, but the so-called “War on Drugs” and current drug policies and practices may well have the most ramification and impact on so many facets vital to life in the United States and elsewhere.

The  “War on Drugs” is an issue demanding immediate action.  It is profound in its consequences and should be stopped.

The “War on Drugs” has been and continues to be an abysmal failure.  Learn from the past – do not repeat the mistaken alcoholic “prohibition”.  Drugs are more plentiful, potent and cheaper than ever before.  The use and addiction to drugs is a social-medical-political problem; force is not a solution to the problem but is actually counterproductive.

Drugs have been used by humans throughout history.  Today most people use drugs in one form or another, be it caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, prescription drugs, designer drugs, marijuana, cocaine or other substances. Demand for drugs is seemingly insatiable.  For most people the use of drugs is a matter of personal choice having little affect on their ability to function in society.  People use drugs to relieve pain, stress, monotony; for euphoria and social purposes.  Some people are not able to use drugs responsibly, and some get addicted

Laws labeling certain drugs as illegal and the “War on Drugs” have engendered a vast expenditure and waste of money and human resources. Some of the issues related to drug trafficking include an increase in gangs, cartels, weapons trade, money-laundering, immigration of people fleeing violence, inconsistent law-enforcement, targeting types of drugs used by minorities, underground economy not being taxed, corruption of officials, arrests for relatively minor n0n-violent offenses, mass incarceration, and international intrusions to try to interrupt the supply of drugs.

What can be done to ameliorate the situation?

  • Legalize all drugs
  • Declassify marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic
  • Regulate and control use by minors or for driver safety
  • Tax the production and sale of drugs
  • Vigorously enforce tax evasion, money-laundering, and other criminal activities
  • Educate people on harmful effects to reduce demand
  • Increase health care and treatments
  • Reform laws and enhance our judicial system
  • Expand research on drug use and alternatives
  • Change three-strikes sentencing
  • Reduce sentences for minor possession
  • Treat crack cocaine and its powder form equally
  • Reduce imprisonment and commute nonviolent offenders
  • Create programs for job training, counseling, mentoring, an for transitional support from prison to reestablishment in society