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RainDog

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Quote/Unquote

Il est dangereux d’avoir raison dans des choses où des hommes accrédités ont tort. ~Voltaire (1752)
It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.

Corruptisima republica plurimae leges. ~Tacitus, Annals III 27
The more corrupt a republic, the more laws.

Member from upstate New York: “Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?”

Speaker Rayburn: “I don’t know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it’s a narcotic of some kind.” (Marihuana Tax Act Hearing, 1937)

If people let government decide which foods they eat and medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny." ~Thomas Jefferson

Prohibition... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control mans' appetite through legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not even crimes... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our Government was founded ~President Abraham Lincoln (December 1840)

The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this. ~Albert Einstein "My First Impression of the U.S.A. (1921)

Five years of Prohibition have had, at least, this one benign effect: they have completely disposed of all the favorite arguments of the Prohibitionists. None of the great boons and usufructs that were to follow the passage of the Eighteenth Amendment has come to pass. There is not less drunkenness in the Republic, but more. There is not less crime, but more. There is not less insanity, but more. The cost of government is not smaller, but vastly greater. Respect for law has not increased, but diminished. ~H. L. Mencken, "The American Mercury"

I’d rather see MY CHILDREN up against a wall and see them SHOT DOWN BEFORE MY EYES than to know that any one of them was going to be A DRUG SLAVE! ~Col. Levi G. Nutt, head of the Narcotics Division of the US Treasury Dept, via Hearst newspapers (1929)

Persons using this narcotic (marijuana) smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be injured without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility...If this drug is indulged in to any great extent, it ends in the untimely death of its addict." Emily Murphy, Edmonton Canada (1923)

The marihuana cigarette is one of the most insidious of all forms of dope, largely because of the failure of the public to understand its fatal qualities. The Nation is almost defenseless against it, having no Federal laws to cope with it and virtually no organized campaign for combating it. ~Washington Times Editorial (1937)

It creates delusions of grandeur and breaks down the will power and makes the addict ready for any crime, even murder. ~Ida B. Wise Smith, Women's Christian Temperance Union, CBS radio network speech

Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim's life in Los Angeles?...THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES – that is a matter of cold record.” Hearst Newspapers

Harry Anslinger, First Commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN)

"Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men."

"This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."

"...the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races."

"How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured..." (yeah, Harry, we know it was all "conjecture."

It is possible to stop most drug addiction in the United States within a very short time. Simply make all drugs available and sell them at cost. Label each drug with a precise description of what effect - good or bad - the drug will have on the taker. This will require heroic honesty. Don't say that marijuana is addictive or dangerous when it is neither, as millions of people know -- unlike "speed," which kills most unpleasantly, or heroin, which can be addictive and difficult to kick. Along with exhortation and warning, it might be good for our citizens to recall (or learn for the first time) that the United States was the creation of men who believed that each person has the right to do what he wants with his own life as long as he does not interfere with his neighbors' pursuit of happiness (that his neighbor's idea of happiness is persecuting others does confuse matters a bit) - Gore Vidal, "Drugs," 1970

Our youth can not understand why society chooses to criminalize a behavior with so little visible ill effect or adverse social impact...On top of this is the distinct impression among the youth that some police may use the marihuana laws to arrest people they don't like for other reasons, whether it be their politics, their hair style or their ethnic background...

Federal and state laws (should) be changed to no longer make it a crime to possess marijuana for private use. State laws should make the public use of marijuana a criminal offense punishable by a $100 fine. Under federal law, marijuana smoked in public would merely be subject to seizure. ~National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding" March (1972)

Marijuana leads to homosexuality ... and therefore to AIDS. ~Reagan White House Drug Czar Carlton Turner (1986)

(Turner resigned on Dec. 16, 1986 after an October 27, 1986 Newsweek editorial lambasted him for his lies. He went on to make a fortune by going into the urine-testing business with partner, Peter Bensinger, a former head of the National Institute on Drug Awareness.)

"If adults want to take such chances [using marijuana], that is their business." Ronald Reagan

"Of course Dad was for legalization. He wasn't crazy. He didn't want his kids in jail!" Michael Reagan interview

One substitute for the disappearing Evil Empire (The Soviet Union) has been the threat of drug traffickers from Latin America. In early September 1989, a major government-media blitz was launched by the President. That month the AP wires carried more stories about drugs than about Latin America, Asia, the Middle East and Africa combined. If you looked at television, every news program had a big section on how drugs were destroying our society, becoming the greatest threat to our existence, etc. ~Noam Chomsky, What Uncle Sam Really Wants

Medicines often produce side effects. Sometimes they are physically unpleasant. Cannabis too has discomforting side effects, but these are not physical they are political" ~The Economist, March 28th 1992

The most reliable scientific sources say permanent brain damage is one of the inevitable results of the use of marijuana. ~Ronald Reagan

This morning you said you were against mandatory motorcycle helmets because it's a limit to personal freedom, and then later this afternoon you said you were against decriminalizing marijuana because it causes brain damage. Can’t not wearing a motorcycle helmet cause brain damage a lot of quicker than marijuana by, for example, the head splitting open so that actual material from the road enters the brain? -- Al Franken to Ronald Reagan, as reported in Rush Limbaugh Is A Big Fat Idiot

And on the seventh day, god stepped back and said and said, "This is my creation, perfect in every way... oh, dammit I left all this pot all over the place. Now they'll think I want them to smoke it... Now I have to create Republicans. ~Bill Hicks, Comedian

Casual drug users should be taken out and shot. ~Daryl Gates, former L.A. Police Chief

There are no violent gangs fighting over aspirin territories. There are no violent gangs fighting over whisky territories or computer territories or anything else that's legal. There are only criminal gangs fighting over territories covering drugs, gambling, prostitution, and other victimless crimes. Making a non-violent activity a crime creates a black market, which attracts criminals and gangs, which turns what was once a relatively harmless activity affecting a small group of people into a widespread epidemic of drug use and gang warfare. ~Harry Brown, Libertarian Party

What's going on in many cities isn't people being hooked on drugs; it's people being hooked on drug money. If you undermine that, it would lead to a reduction in violence. Not the elimination—there's always going to be evil in the world—but (reduction of) this high level tied to drug distribution. ~Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore

...Short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, the report urges that “the Schedule I status of marijuana be reviewed with the goal of facilitating clinical research and development of cannabinoid-based medicines, and alternate delivery methods. ~American Medical Association. November, 2009

DEA Online: "Exposing the Myth of Smoked Medical Marijuana"

Q. Does marijuana have any medical value?

A: The American Medical Association recommends that marijuana remain a Schedule I controlled substance.

Marijuana is dangerous and has no medicinal benefit. ~White House drug czar Gil Kerlikowske, at a Fresno, Calif., press conference, 2009

I’d always done a lot of (sniffing) glue as a kid. I was very interested in glue, and then I went to lager and speed, and I drifted into heroin because as a kid growing up everybody told me, ‘don’t smoke marijuana, it will kill you’ ~Irvine Walsh, Trainspotting

The chemistry lesson from last century is that no drug has ever caused as much problems as the attempts to rescue us from them. ~Arnold Trebach, professor emeritus, American University.

(Our current prison state) has the dual effect of getting rid of a superfluous population of basically unskilled workers (with a close race-class correlation), and also demonizing them...The drug war is basically for this - It has nothing to do with drugs, but it has plenty to do with criminalizing an unwanted population and scaring everybody else." ~Noam Chomsky, "Free Market Fantasies: Capitalism in the Real World," Harvard, 1996

Racial minorities comprised a strikingly disproportionate percentage of the prison population. African Americans constituted 46.5% of state prisoners and 40% percent of federal prisoners, although they constituted only 12 percent of the national population. ~Human Rights Watch World Report 2001: United States

The War on Drugs has been an utter failure. We need to rethink and decriminalize our marijuana laws. But I'm not someone who believes in legalization. ~Barack Obama





okay. decriminalization would be a good start.

Christians Against Prohibition

https://christiansagainstprohibition.org/node/628

I just came across this site and thought I'd share.

What's interesting is to see the rhetoric of religion used in support of something I also favor. I still don't find much value in the rhetoric but, hey, bring it to the people who share your view in the language you speak.

How Americans Really Feel About Drugs

http://www.salon.com/2012/01/04/how_americans_really_feel_about_drugs/singleton/

Sirota has an excellent piece about the way in which propaganda is employed to continue to lie about the WoD, specifically in relation to cannabis.

Almost exactly eight years ago, I wrote an essay for the Nation magazine looking at how terms such as “centrism” and “moderate” were beginning to be deftly manipulated to shape the parameters of America’s political discourse. In almost every policy debate, these words were being used in with-us-or-against-us fashion to delineate what was — and what was not — acceptable. Through such linguistic propaganda over the last decade, America was gradually taught that anything called “centrist” or “moderate” was Good and Serious because it supposedly represented “mainstream” thinking in America — even as “centrism” was being used to describe policies and politicians that, based on empirical data, increasingly diverged from the actual center of our nation’s public opinion. By contrast, anything positioned in opposition to that branding was wild-eyed “leftist,” “extremist,” “ideological,” “fringe” — and most of all, Evil and Unserious.

As dishonest as this kind of agitprop is, it unfortunately — but predictably — continues unabated. This is, after all, the golden era of agitprop — a moment in which wars are no longer wars, corporations are people, and top New York Times scribes are given a national platform to declare that a key architect of the Republican Party’s infamous K Street Project “is not a representative of the corporate or financial wing of the party.” And so when it comes to who is a “centrist” or “moderate,” the distortions persist without so much as a peep of editorial protest.

The latest example of this insidious framing comes in the form of a Monday New York Times Op-Ed. The piece is written by Kevin Sabet, formerly one of President Obama’s top drug policy officials. Titled “Overdosing on Extremism,” he employs the “centrist” and “moderate” code words to criticize those pressing for reforms that, for purposes of law enforcement, would treat currently outlawed drugs such as marijuana just like far more dangerous yet legal drugs such as alcohol. With the possibility of these reform proposals roiling the presidential race and appearing on statewide ballots in 2012, a breathless and hysterical Sabet sounds an old fear-mongering alarm,

Mere weeks after Gallup’s new poll showed a majority of Americans support full legalization of marijuana, Sabet insists that it’s a “fact” that the public doesn’t support legalization. And mind you, it’s not just Gallup’s surveys that show public support for legalization — in state-based polls in politically diverse states like Massachusetts and Colorado, it’s essentially the same thing: widespread public support for pot legalization.


Here's that Gallup Poll:


Here's a link to Sabet's NYT's piece: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/02/opinion/drug-policy-needs-centrists.html

Here's Sabet's most egregious lie: "...a few tough-on-crime conservatives and die-hard libertarians dominate news coverage and make it appear as if legalizing drugs and “enforcement only” strategies were the only options, despite the fact that the public supports neither." (well, yeah, unless you take into consideration all the legalization polls for mmj for the last 15 years, the recent Gallop Poll, or the President's own web site with more calls to legalize than for any other petition presented there... ever.)

Please go to Sirota's piece at the top link and read the way in which Sabet is trying to frame this issue in a way that simply denies reality.

The most extensive analysis of any drug in the history of mankind



Arnold Trebach discussing the DEA rescheduling hearings of 1988 with Judge Francis Young.

Federal judge dismisses lawsuit challenging medical marijuana in AZ (x-post from kpete thread)

A federal judge on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legalization of medical marijuana in Arizona.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer filed a lawsuit against her own state’s medical marijuana law in May. She claimed that state employees could be in jeopardy because the state law conflicts with federal laws, despite Arizona’s former top federal prosecutor saying publicly the federal government has “no intention of targeting or going after people who are implementing or who are in compliance with state law.”

“It is unconscionable for Governor Brewer to continue to force very sick people to needlessly suffer by stripping them of the legal avenue through which to obtain their vital medicine,” said Ezekiel Edwards of the American Civil Liberties Union, which had urged the dismissal of the lawsuit.

“Today??s ruling underscores the need for state officials to stop playing politics and implement the law as approved by a majority of Arizona voters so that thousands of patients can access the medicine their doctors believe is most effective for them.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/01/04/judge-tosses-lawsuit-against-arizonas-medical-marijuana-law/

Sativex revenues for 2011: £29.6 million

but full year profits dropped. However, as GW Pharma enters into phase III trials for Sativex as a cancer pain treatment... well, let me just say that any of you with money to invest - if you make a killing in this market and didn't know about it before, please remember the poor...

Sativex is whole plant cannabis that contains about a 50/50 mix of Sativa and Ruderalis cannabis used for the treatment of MS. The Ruderalis offsets the euphoric effects of the Sativa to create a 1 to 1 THC to CBD ratio. In addition to THC and CBD, this whole-plant cannabis medicine (i.e. marijuana suspended in liquid spray form) contains terpenoids and flavonoids that are also properties of cannabis.

Sativex is sprayed under the tongue. When administered in this way, it takes effect faster than a pill. (Like the less-effective but legal synthetic THC marketed as Marinol for nausea.)

Cannabis medicine has an even faster effect if it is vaporized rather than suspended in liquid and sprayed under the tongue. However, this delivery system would be considered simply "marijuana" and, thus, has little to no likelihood of being made legal in the U.S. when it is so profitable for certain groups to maintain its illegality.

The U.S. has blocked legalization of Sativex in the U.S. because (other than the fact that it's marijuana) the medicine is delivered as a spray. The U.S. wants GW Pharma to make the delivery system of the spray limit the amount of Sativex that a patient may access.... yeah... stunning, isn't it? Take as many pain pills as you like, but limit the dosage of a medicine that is so safe there is no known dosage that can kill humans or animals.

No other country in the world demands this ridiculous "blocking" technology (which would drive up the cost of the same here if it were legalized.) Of course, the reality is that the DEA would have to reschedule cannabis in order to allow the sale of Sativex in the U.S. because this medicine is, again, marijuana. Currently, the U.S. federal govt. bureaucracies responsible for scheduling state that cannabis has no medical value. In spite of its legal use as a medicine elsewhere based upon a full complement of clinical trials for its use as a medicine for MS, the US bureaucracies are SO CORRUPT and SO SELF-SERVING they refuse to acknowledge what the rest of the world now does - that cannabis is a medicine.

http://www.proactiveinvestors.co.uk/companies/news/35947/gw-pharmaceuticals-says-sativex-sales-top-expectations-but-full-year-profit-drops-35947.html

Sativex sales jumped 59 percent to £4.4 million, while milestone income amounted to £5.3 million compared to £11.2 million a year earlier. The group’s cash position has increased from £25.2 million at the end of 2010 to £28.3 million.

Sativex sales were lifted by its launch in the UK, Germany, Spain and Denmark during the past year with GW expecting further approvals and launches in Europe in the current financial year.

The drug is expected to be launched in the Czech Republic, Italy, Sweden, and Austria in the coming months.

The group has also signed license agreements to commercialise Sativex in Australasia, Asia (excluding Japan and China), the Middle East and Africa.


GW Pharmaceuticals is also in phase III studies of cancer pain treatment that will begin in early 2012. The market for use of Sativex for cancer pain treatment is HUGE compared to the profitability of the creation and distribution of Sativex for MS.

"The goal of treating cancer pain is also important for GW because, if successful, it will mark the entry-point for Sativex into the all-important U.S. market"

Pretax profit in the prior year (2010) to Sept. 30 increased to 4.6 million pounds ($7.37 million) from 1.2 million pounds a year ago, as sales of Sativex jumped by 64 percent to 2.8 million pounds from 1.7 million pounds.

GW is working on the final-stage Phase III clinical trials of Sativex for cancer pain with Otsuka Pharmaceutical, its licensing partner in the United States.


http://www.cannabisni.com/uk-cannabis-news/1795-cannabis-drug-sativex-boosts-profits-at-gw-pharma

To highlight how FUCKING HYSTERICAL the issue of marijuana remains, GW Pharma grows cannabis in SECRET WAREHOUSES in rural areas of GB.

Here's a BBC Horizon excerpt on GW's grow warehouses.

The process by which GW Pharma creates the cannabis for Sativex is EXACTLY THE SAME as the way in which growers in, oh, CA or Oregon produce cannabis medicine - except on a much larger scale.

GW then does something that the guy who touts his cannabis oil in Canada does - GW suspends the cannabis - using the entire plant, stems and all, rather than just the buds, btw, in liquid, reduces this, then bottles in a spray. The reason they can patent Sativex, which is, afterall SIMPLY CANNABIS suspended in liquid, is the suspension and then the form of delivery in a spray bottle.



I swear I have NEVER seen any issue with so much outright corruption, lying and downright bullshit in the U.S. as the issue of cannabis scheduling and its subsequent criminalization. There are probably many others - I don't look at defense contracting often, but they, too get a slice of the federal WoD pie - the biggest slice, in fact.

If your state does not have legal medical marijiuana, you should ask your representatives to justify the taxpayer costs for this corruption at the highest levels of power in the U.S. knowing that it's very likely cannabis will be legal - at least for GW Pharma, by 2013.

What Vietnam Taught Us About Addiction (and change in general)

http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2012/01/02/144431794/what-vietnam-taught-us-about-breaking-bad-habits

This article talks about personal behavioral changes for things much less difficult than heroin use and the response to a war environment - But the larger story is about assumptions about behavior and the way in which toxic or even habitual ENVIRONMENTS exercise control over our actions.

In May of 1971 two congressmen, Robert Steele from Connecticut and Morgan Murphy of Illinois, went to Vietnam for an official visit and returned with some extremely disturbing news: 15 percent of U.S. servicemen in Vietnam, they said, were actively addicted to heroin.

The idea that so many servicemen were addicted to heroin horrified the public. At that point heroin was the bete noire of American drugs. It was thought to be the most addictive substance ever produced, a narcotic so powerful that once addiction claimed you, it was nearly impossible to escape.

In response to this report, President Richard Nixon took action. In June of 1971 he announced that he was creating a whole new office — The Special Action Office of Drug Abuse Prevention — dedicated to fighting the evil of drugs. He laid out a program of prevention and rehabilitation, but there was something else Nixon wanted: He wanted to research what happened to the addicted servicemen once they returned home.

...Those who were addicted were kept in Vietnam until they dried out. When these soldiers finally did return to their lives back in the U.S., Robins (a psychiatric researcher) tracked them, collecting data at regular intervals. And this is where the story takes a curious turn: According to her research, the number of soldiers who continued their heroin addiction once they returned to the U.S. was shockingly low.


What interests me about this article is the question - how could people in poverty change their lives if they were not in an environment geared toward replicating poverty, or drug use among those who have lost hope, or physical abuse among those who take out their anger on those who are also stuck.

Since we have this data, why doesn't it have any bearing upon policies to deal with social problems?

Kurt Schmoke: A Man Ahead of His Time

I don't know how many of you are fans of The Wire. If you've never seen it, I cannot heap enough praise on the show to illustrate how the world works in real time. Sometimes fiction is required to tell the truth.

One man who was an inspiration for part of the series was Kurt Schmoke, the first elected African-American Mayor of Baltimore in 1987 and now Dean of Howard University School of Law.

Even as a young person Schmoke showed leadership beyond most others around him. He volunteered to tutor and mentor inner city kids while in high school. When he attended Yale, he organized a day care center for the children of university janitors and cafeteria workers. He spoke to administrators to ease tensions during student unrest on Yale's campus. After receiving a Rhodes Scholarship and law degree from Harvard, he worked on domestic policy during the Carter administration. He returned to Baltimore and later won election as mayor. He is a true leader - a courageous man who is willing to speak truth to power, whether those powers want to hear it or not.

He is an Open Society thinker. As such:

Schmoke was the first public official in the country who stated that drug addiction should be treated as a public health issue and not a criminal justice issue. His views were widely misrepresented by the press that claimed he wanted to legalize drugs. In his first public statement on the subject, made at a conference of mayors and police chiefs in Washington DC, Schmoke said that he believed "we'd come to a point in our country where we should consider the decriminalization of drugs."


http://www.audaciousideas.org/author/kurtschmoke/

For this stance, NY's Charles Rangel called Schmoke "the most dangerous man in America."

Rangel was speaking as an insider pol - one unwilling to rock the boat or think outside the box of segregation concerning health care issues. Rangel never disagreed with Schmoke, but Rangel did the political calculus among reactionary Americans.

At the time that Schmoke tried to address real problems in realistic terms, 80% of Americans opposed legal cannabis - this was the era of Reagan's vacuous sound bites - before information was widely available and propaganda was rife. Now, only 46% of Americans, nearly half the number during the corrupt and corrupting Reagan era, oppose full legalization of cannabis. (What was always so interesting about Reagan was his willingness to let the U.S. deal in illegal drugs and money and use this to fund his illegal secret wars...who was the criminal in that situation, honestly?)

This turn around in public perception is no doubt due to better education, to seeing that the sky didn't fall when CA made medical cannabis legal in 1996, and to seeing the real value of medical cannabis for those with certain health problems. A better understanding of the black hole of taxpayer money into such legislation of an unending war no doubt has reached the consciousness of many fiscal conservatives as well.

In a 2008 interview, here's what Schmoke said about the way this nation distorts the issue of drug policy.

KS: What's currently called "illegal drugs" have been distinguished from a formerly illegal drug, alcohol, and demonized in a way alcohol was not during the Prohibition era. The reason I say that is because the "drug problem" is viewed by the majority of our citizens as a "moral issue." The majority know people who have an alcohol problem. When you're talking about drugs, it's "those people," not "us." It's "them." There's a moral element to dealing with the drug problem that's not there with alcohol. So we can take penalties off the distribution of alcohol, but we don't do that with marijuana.

GM: To what extent would drug reform affect the American city?

KS: It would have a huge impact. If you took the profit out of distributing drugs at the street level, you would dramatically reduce the homicide numbers. What's going on in many cities isn't people being hooked on drugs; it's people being hooked on drug money. If you undermine that, it would lead to a reduction in violence. Not the elimination—there's always going to be evil in the world—but (reduction of) this high level tied to drug distribution.


http://www.gelfmagazine.com/archives/an_interview_with_kurt_schmoke.php

Schmoke understood the real dynamics of the drug war and had the audacity of courage to speak to this issue two decades ago. Taylor Branch, one of the leading historians and journalists of the 20th century, had this to say about Schmoke in 1988, the year Schmoke began his Baltimore mayoral term.

He (Schmoke) said the law itself has turned the inner city into a war zone. Anti-drug enforcement has created a netherworld of stupendous, artificial profit that now sucks children into a deadly version of NBA fool's gold. Legalizing drugs would eliminate this undertow just as swiftly as the repeal of Prohibition wiped out the speakeasy gangsters. "I don't know of any kid who is making money running booze,” said Schmoke.

...Schmoke’s appeal to the logic of Prohibition reminds us how thoroughly we have banished that astonishing drama from historical memory. Prohibition is a lost epoch of tenacious sincerity and forgotten effect. In revolt against the toxic, demoralizing properties of alcohol, Americans sacrificed almost half of all federal revenues (alcohol taxes produced some $240 million in 1916, compared with income taxes of only $68 million), and we cut the booze habit so deeply that per capita alcohol consumption did not regain pre-Prohibition levels until 1970. Yet, we changed our minds, and undid our fundamental instrument of government for the first and only time. For all that, you have to squint to find Prohibition in standard histories as anything more than an “experiment,” leavened by unfortunate but colorful gangland entertainment. We are sensitive about our Puritanism, and especially about our mad lurchings between liberty and repression. Future historians most likely will see the current drug debate as an all-too-human comedy in pain, like the contortions of Prohibition. On no other subject except race are we so evasive about our past, and none other remains so contemporary.

...The problem with legalization, however, is not its practical mechanics (as Rangel suggested). (Then) Surgeon General Everett Koop has shown that in his relatively obscure war on tobacco and alcohol. Koop’s rules of engagement are democratic and simple, You license private distributors carefully and tax the drugs as heavily as possible, ideally to the point just short of creating a criminal black market. You try to ban commercial advertising for harmful drugs, even though their sale is legal, You concentrate police powers on two tasks: prohibiting sales to children, and enforcing strict sanctions against those who cause injury to others while under the influence.

...The legal status of alcohol and tobacco allows Koop to tell people exactly what they are consuming, and what the risks are. With street drugs, purity and contents are guesswork for the government and Len Bias alike. Also, there is no room for Koop’s credible, objective discernment regarding currently illegal drugs because their criminal status almost obliges authority figures to exaggerations of demonology. Officials obscure their own truths in brittle, hysterical cant, as in the extraordinary obsession with professional athletes. Impressionable youths wonder how athletes can perform amazing feats of mental and physical prowess under the influence of drugs that are presented as deadly poisons. The elaborate drug enforcement programs advertise sensitivity and doubt rather than virtue. Public relations and criminal repression lie down poorly together.


http://byliner.com/taylor-branch/stories/let-koop-do-it

By 1993, The Baltimore Sun thought that, perhaps, our national leaders had begun to buy a clue.

After five years of lonely campaigning for the decriminalization of drugs, Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke believes people have at least begun to listen.

At community meetings, audiences sound more receptive. And in Washington, Attorney General Janet Reno says that expensive efforts to stop drugs from entering the country have failed to lessen substance abuse and crime. The government, she believes, should be putting its money into more treatment programs for addicts instead of just jail terms.

She doesn't talk about decriminalization, but Mr. Schmoke nonetheless is heartened. "I can sense movement in the country more toward treatment and prevention," he says.

"I view it (legalization of drugs) as a public health regulatory regime, where public health officials -- doctors, physician assistants, nurses -- are specifically authorized to distribute substances of abuse to those addicts at maintenance levels," he says.


http://articles.baltimoresun.com/1993-05-16/news/1993136042_1_drug-addicts-schmoke-drug-abuse

Since Schmoke first spoke out, Portugal has tried a ten year experiment in decriminalization. The outcomes are encouraging. Portugal provides real data to counter the fear-of-change mongers.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/117038

But, back to The Wire. I've recently watched that series again. If you haven't seen it and don't want to read spoilers, you might want to stop here.

The process by which the police brass came down on Bunny Colvin still rings true - the sad truth that such action was used against one politician - not because the action or policy was good or bad, but because it enabled one pol to score points against another - still rings true - the reality that those whose lives were improved - those who weren't part of the drug scene but lived with the consequences - still rings true. The need to not simply decriminalize but to provide health services for those with addictions who engage in dangerous practices like needle sharing or prostitution still rings true. These things ring true because they are now backed up by real world evidence.

And yet, Schmoke remains one of the few who has been involved in politics who was and is willing to openly discuss ways to improve our society by acknowledging the failures of our past and the possibility of a different future. He's no Ron Paul - Paul would allow society to disintegrate for the sake of a lower tax bill.

What Schmoke talked about was a way to remove the profit from harmful actions so that those in difficult economic and social situations could look beyond crime as a way to elevate themselves in this world.

And for that, he was considered the most dangerous man in American not so very long ago.

The Stupidity of Ronald Reagan

looks like Slate is pulling some older pieces from the archives. This is Hitch from 2004.

http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/fighting_words/2004/06/not_even_a_hedgehog.html?wpisrc=obinsite

"...Ronald Reagan claimed that the Russian language had no word for "freedom." (The word is "svoboda"; it's quite well attested in Russian literature.) Ronald Reagan said that intercontinental ballistic missiles (not that there are any non-ballistic missiles—a corruption of language that isn't his fault) could be recalled once launched. Ronald Reagan said that he sought a "Star Wars" defense only in order to share the technology with the tyrants of the U.S.S.R. Ronald Reagan professed to be annoyed when people called it "Star Wars," even though he had ended his speech on the subject with the lame quip, "May the force be with you." Ronald Reagan used to alarm his Soviet counterparts by saying that surely they'd both unite against an invasion from Mars. Ronald Reagan used to alarm other constituencies by speaking freely about the "End Times" foreshadowed in the Bible. In the Oval Office, Ronald Reagan told Yitzhak Shamir and Simon Wiesenthal, on two separate occasions, that he himself had assisted personally at the liberation of the Nazi death camps.

There was more to Ronald Reagan than that. Reagan announced that apartheid South Africa had "stood beside us in every war we've ever fought," when the South African leadership had been on the other side in the most recent world war. Reagan allowed Alexander Haig to greenlight the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982, fired him when that went too far and led to mayhem in Beirut, then ran away from Lebanon altogether when the Marine barracks were bombed, and then unbelievably accused Tip O'Neill and the Democrats of "scuttling." Reagan sold heavy weapons to the Iranian mullahs and lied about it, saying that all the weapons he hadn't sold them (and hadn't traded for hostages in any case) would, all the same, have fit on a small truck. Reagan then diverted the profits of this criminal trade to an illegal war in Nicaragua and lied unceasingly about that, too. Reagan then modestly let his underlings maintain that he was too dense to understand the connection between the two impeachable crimes. He then switched without any apparent strain to a policy of backing Saddam Hussein against Iran. (If Margaret Thatcher's intelligence services had not bugged Oliver North in London and become infuriated because all European nations were boycotting Iran at Reagan's request, we might still not know about this.)

One could go on. I only saw him once up close, which happened to be when he got a question he didn't like. Was it true that his staff in the 1980 debates had stolen President Carter's briefing book? (They had.) The famously genial grin turned into a rictus of senile fury: I was looking at a cruel and stupid lizard. His reply was that maybe his staff had, and maybe they hadn't, but what about the leak of the Pentagon Papers? Thus, a secret theft of presidential documents was equated with the public disclosure of needful information. This was a man never short of a cheap jibe or the sort of falsehood that would, however laughable, buy him some time.

The fox, as has been pointed out by more than one philosopher, knows many small things, whereas the hedgehog knows one big thing. Ronald Reagan was neither a fox nor a hedgehog. He was as dumb as a stump. He could have had anyone in the world to dinner, any night of the week, but took most of his meals on a White House TV tray. He had no friends, only cronies. His children didn't like him all that much. He met his second wife—the one that you remember—because she needed to get off a Hollywood blacklist and he was the man to see. Year in and year out in Washington, I could not believe that such a man had even been a poor governor of California in a bad year, let alone that such a smart country would put up with such an obvious phony and loon."

Fuck Ronald Reagan.

Montana Jury Stages 'Mutiny' In Marijuana Case

http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_d6b1aaca-edfc-527f-ad11-f1691fdc6e3b.html

"A funny thing happened on the way to a trial in Missoula County District Court last week.

Jurors – well, potential jurors – staged a revolt.

They took the law into their own hands, as it were, and made it clear they weren’t about to convict anybody for having a couple of buds of marijuana. Never mind that the defendant in question also faced a felony charge of criminal distribution of dangerous drugs.

...District Judge Dusty Deschamps took a quick poll as to who might agree (with one juror who questioned why the govt. was wasting time and money prosecuting the case at all.) Of the 27 potential jurors before him, maybe five raised their hands. A couple of others had already been excused because of their philosophical objections."

May this be the future in 2012 and beyond for ALL such cases in every state in the U.S. until the govt. changes this bad law.

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