Local law enforcement narcotics agents now have a new tool in the fight against drugs.
Med Life Ambulance Service has donated a used ambulance to serve as an enforcement vehicle for narcotics agents.
The unit will be used by the Bastrop Police Department and Morehouse Parish Sheriff's Office during narcotics investigations and in the course of executing search warrants. [Daily Enterprise]
Ok, rule number one for conducting narcotics investigations from an ambulance: don't tell everyone about it beforehand. I can't think of anything less discrete than doing a stakeout in a gigantic ambulance. Especially now that the ambulance is famous.
Moreover, ambulances with always be better equipped to help people with drug problems than tactical narcotics vehicles.
Op-ed by patient Mark Braunstein editorial from Harford Courant (it’s about 90% good; the part about the kid in Rhode Island is bad) Danbury Times editorial Stamford Advocate article Hartford Courant article NY Times AP story
The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy said it expects its YouTube messages to be ridiculed, laughed at, remade and spoofed. And they are.
The irony here is that, predictable as it may have been, ONDCP had no clue that this was going to happen. They deliberately generated media coverage of their YouTube page, only to find their videos marred by harsh comments and dismal viewer ratings. ONDCP quickly disabled these options, but the damage was done.
If they had genuinely anticipated this level of hostility from viewers, they would have optimized their page before sending out press releases about it. Because they did not, most ONDCP videos are now permanently stamped with the lowest-possible rating of one star.
This is to say nothing of the countless parodies that are now drowning out ONDCP’s unpopular propaganda. Since YouTube automatically recommends similar videos anytime you watch something, viewers of ONDCP’s materials are unavoidably connected to these abundant counter-messages. It is almost certainly for this reason that ONDCP has not uploaded a single new video since the page was first launched back in September 2006.
In a case like this, the mature decision would be to ignore them. But I find it amusing that even something as perfectly logical as expecting ridicule on YouTube turns out to be a lie when it comes from ONDCP.
Libby Davies, MP Vancouver East HANSARD, House of Commons June 4, 2007 Mr. Speaker, health and addictions professionals across Canada are bracing themselves for the worst when the Conservative government reveals its so-called new drug strategy that will sacrifice the successes of harm reduction and a balanced approach to drug use, for a heavy handed US style enforcement regime. Time and again, empirical evidence has proven that harm reduction works. Programs like needle exchanges and Vancouver's safe injection site, InSite, are reducing the transmission of HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C, and increasing the number of people accessing treatment. I am alarmed that despite this evidence, the government is accelerating the criminalization of drug users. The 2007 budget quietly removed harm reduction from Canada's new drug strategy. It now reads like a carbon copy of George Bush's war on drugs - which has seen drug use rise, along with skyrocketing social and economic costs of incarceration. In 2006, the Conservatives refused to renew the exemption that allows InSite to keep its doors open until pressure from the community forced them to grant a temporary extension. We know the Health Minister and the RCMP are now resorting to propaganda tactics to try and close InSite. Attacking InSite and adopting US drug policies will fail as dramatically here as it has in the US.Read our feature report about this published Friday, "Battle Royal Looms as Canadian Government Set to Unveil Tough Anti-Drug Strategy." Also, we have a fair amount published about Libby Davies, including interviews she's given directly to the Chronicle -- use this search link to review it.
Well, that fence -- the reason I voted for the fence was that was the only alternative that was there, and I voted for the fence related to drugs. You can -- a fence will stop 20 kilos of cocaine coming through that fence. It will not stop someone climbing over it or around it.
And so -- but this bill has a much more reasonable provision in it. It has much -- much shorter fence, it does have the Border Patrol requirement, and it is designed not just to deal with illegals; it's designed -- a serious drug trafficking problem we have.
In case you’re unfamiliar with Biden, understand that he is not suffering from a stroke.* This guy just has a really hard time understanding drugs, but continues to bring them up whenever he’s under pressure. Biden’s unfortunate obsession/confusion regarding drugs has led him to create ONDCP, author the RAVE Act, and propose biological warfare in South America.
So does Biden dramatically misunderstand the role of actual people in physically transporting cocaine across the border? Is it really necessary to explain that some of the people who climb over or around the fence carry cocaine with them? Does he know that 20 kilos fits in a backpack?
Whether Biden realizes the absurdity of his remarks is beside the point. He got cornered for flip-flopping on the fence issue, so he cried “Drugs! If my positions appear contradictory, it’s because I was trying to fight drugs.” That’s what he does, because he knows there’s no accountability when you talk about “Drugs!”
*No offense to stroke victims. I’m not really comparing you to Joe Biden.
Washington, D.C., is one of America’s AIDS hot spots. A significant proportion of infections can be traced back to intravenous drug users who shared contaminated needles and then passed on the infection to spouses, lovers or unborn children. This public health disaster is partly the fault of Congress. It has wrongly and disastrously used its power over the District of Columbia’s budget to bar the city from spending even locally raised tax dollars on programs that have slowed the spread of disease by giving drug addicts access to clean needles.The Times titled the editorial "Congress Hobbles the AIDS Fight." The activist paraphrase of that, which is how the editorial was first presented to me, would be "Congress has blood on its hands." Last week the Times also ran a news feature about DC's needle exchange, and an online "slide show" featuring the program's Ron Daniels. The larger legislation in which the DC funding ban could get repealed is expected to move quickly, with markups scheduled for Serrano's subcommittee tomorrow and the Appropriations Committee of which it is a part next week -- you never know how quickly something will really move in Congress, but that's how it looks right now. Stay tuned.
There’s something rather disturbing about TV ads for trade school criminal justice degrees. You may have seen them: “Call now to begin your exciting career in this growing industry! Help put the bad guys behind bars!”
As the proud owner of a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice, I find it more than a little unnerving to see this complicated subject reduced to a flashy 30-second TV commercial. Unlike most career opportunities, the field of criminal justice ideally shouldn’t be a “growing industry.” Everyone knows criminals are bad, and the brand of justice getting administered these days is often a crime in itself. America’s ongoing crime problems are more depressing than “exciting,” and the solution is not for more people to get up off the couch and start cracking skulls.
This weekend I saw a new ad for Westwood College, which begins with a man in the shower reading Miranda rights to an imaginary suspect. An announcer then says something to the effect of "do you fantasize about a career in law-enforcement? Call Westwood today…" I’m left wondering if I really want this crazy idiot who plays cop in the shower running around my neighborhood with a badge and a gun.
Westwood College’s criminal justice page does little to placate my pessimism:
Why are there so many TV shows about the criminal justice system? Because it's exciting. All the dynamic elements that make for great TV also make for a great career.
Are you taking notes, class? Lesson 1: being a police officer is just like being an action hero on TV. So if you’ve been watching enough CSI Miami, you’ll ace Forensics and probably Firearms, too. You could take engineering if you want, but then you’d be wasting all that career experience you absorbed inadvertently by watching Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Did you know Vincent D’Onofrio and Chris Noth are team-teaching the section on homicide interrogation?
Seriously though, comparing any activity to being on TV automatically appeals to the lowest common denominator. It should go without saying that anyone who’s apt to believe that a career in policing is as exciting as watching The Shield probably shouldn’t be enforcing laws in real life. It’s a particularly disturbing prospect in this context since police on TV are often trigger-happy and prone to habitual misconduct. Surely these aren’t the “dynamic elements” Westwood has in mind, but if they have a clue what kind of crap passes for crime drama these days, they ought not to invite the comparison.
"Our problem is the demand for narcotics in the US market, which significantly affects Mexico," the Mexican president said. Calderon stressed that no strategy from the Mexican government against drug cartels will be sufficient unless demand is reduced. "It is evident that as long as there is a market, as long as there is drug consumption in the United States, this problem will persist in Mexico," he said.Calderon is, of course, absolutely correct on that score. I've often noted that the prohibition-related violence plaguing our southern neighbor--there have been 1,046 killed in Mexico's drug wars so far this year--is Mexico paying the price for our war on the drugs we love to consume. Where he is wrong is his implicit assumption that the US government can meaningfully reduce demand and that the war on drugs could somehow succeed if--gosh darnit!--we Americans only tried harder. We spend about $40 billion and arrest nearly 2 million people a year in the drug war, and the drug use numbers fluctuate at the margins. The US drug market will never go away. If Calderon wants to see an end to the prohibition-related violence in Mexico, he would be much better off calling for the regulation and normalization of the illicit drug business than waiting for Americans to quit using drugs. The only thing less likely than the US government ending drug prohibition is that Americans are going to change their ways.
Today, Matthew B. Robinson and Renee G. Sherlen presented the findings of their new book Lies, Damned Lies, and Drug War Statistics: A Critical Analysis of Claims Made by the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Impressively, ONDCP's brave "Chief Scientist" David Murray was on hand to address this particularly comprehensive attack on the credibility of his office.
The authors delivered a tight synopsis of their findings, bashing ONDCP propaganda with charts, graphs, and effects. Dr. Murray made a show of feigned surprise and eye-rolling, but the breadth and substance of the criticism leveled against his work was too substantial to shrug off. It almost felt like a set-up; the dignified Cato equivalent of strapping a mob snitch to a chair and beating him with a blackjack.
In turn, Dr. Murray spat blood on his tormentors, dismissing their analysis as biased and incompetent. Unlike his disciplined performance at last year's medical marijuana debate, Murray was irreverent and visibly angry. From my second row seat I could see his face turn crimson, but his voice never shook. Murray's composure and efficiency is the reason he makes these appearances instead of his boss.
The question of the day among my colleagues was why ONDCP would even respond to such a categorical refutation of its right to exist. As a young reformer, I learned from Eric Sterling that drug warriors typically avoid debate because doing so inherently legitimizes opposing viewpoints. Moreover, the discussion of statistics paints ONDCP into a particularly dark corner by rendering irrelevant the emotional appeals and factually-vacant soundbites that generally dominate their rhetoric.
This level of engagement between ONDCP and its critics is rare if not unprecedented. Hostile as it may have been, today's conversation demonstrates that the federal government no longer perceives itself as impervious to criticism. Murray praised the Cato Institute's work in other areas and was clearly exasperated to find himself in its crosshairs. ONDCP's crumbling monopoly on serious drug policy discussion becomes increasingly vivid when calls for accountability emerge from prestigious think-tanks, Congress, and the GAO.
As the old cliche goes, "First they laugh at you. Then they ignore you. Then they fight you. Then you win." They're fighting back now.
SAN FRANCISCO -- The self-proclaimed "guru of ganja" was convicted again Wednesday in federal court of illegally growing hundreds of marijuana plants that he said were meant to treat sick people, which state law allows.Rosenthal will now serve one day in jail (time served), for the crime of helping the City of Oakland provide legal medicine to registered patients. Forgive me, but I've already said everything there is to say about this:
Ed Rosenthal was convicted after U.S. District Court Judge Charles Breyer prohibited the marijuana activist's lawyers from telling the jury he was working for a pot club sanctioned by Oakland government officials. [Star-Telegram]
That's right, American taxpayers. Behold the glorious retribution of the principled and incorruptible federal prosecutors who've exhausted untold sums and incalculable man-hours to protect you from a safe and effective medicine. Amidst Iraq, Katrina, Medicare, etc. the federal government was trying to save you from Ed Rosenthal by putting him in jail for one goddamn day. And they're still working on it, knowing as they have all along, that this is the best they can hope for.Today, a new group of jurors is learning that the federal government tricked them into convicting Ed Rosenthal of something that's legal in their state. Like the previous Rosenthal jury before them, they will be robbed of the pride that comes from serving the cause of justice and they may soon stand with him in solidarity as did their predecessors.
Even in victory, our government's campaign against medical marijuana stands naked before us, utterly fraudulent and disgraceful as ever before.
Sheriff: Driver in ATV fatality used marijuanaAgain and again, we're told about people testing positive for marijuana after accidents with no evidence whatsoever that anyone was high at the time of the accident. In this case, there's even evidence to the contrary:
CARROLLTON – Carroll County Sheriff Dale Williams revealed Monday that Dennis Garrison, 37, of Alliance tested positive for marijuana on the day his 6-year-old nephew was killed while riding an ATV with his uncle. [Times-Reporter]
The deputy at the accident scene reported that Dennis showed no obvious signs of being under the influence.Of course, this quite instructive fact is buried near the bottom of the story, while the completely meaningless urine test results are reported in the headline. It is simply bad reporting to link marijuana use to a horrible tragedy without noting that such use could likely have taken place weeks before the accident even occurred.
After all, you would never see this:
Sheriff: Driver in ATV fatality drank alcohol days before accidentThe fact here is that a young child was killed. To falsely attribute his death to irrelevant factors is not only shameful and dishonest, but also interferes with the important process of learning from the tragedy.
CARROLLTON – Carroll County Sheriff Dale Williams revealed Monday that Dennis Garrison, 37, of Alliance drank beer 5 days before his 6-year-old nephew was killed while riding an ATV with him.
Many of the most passionate appeals against marijuana use emerge from scenarios such as this in which the drug's role is, in fact, dubious or non-existent. Imagine the good that could be accomplished if well-meaning people stopped grasping at straws and finally put marijuana in perspective.
This is just bizarre. I swear, every time I think I'm on the verge of understanding what motivates these people, they find increasingly strange ways to waste our money:
Cooking methamphetamine takes only a few hours and requires simple household ingredients, like striker plates from matchbooks, the guts of lithium batteries, drain cleaner.
"It's pretty gross," said Matt Leland, who works in career services at the University of Northern Colorado and who recently helped cook the drug in a lab. "If someone was truly interested in manufacturing meth, it would not be that hard."
The Drug Enforcement Administration invited Leland and other citizens - such as software engineers, a teacher, a pastor and a school principal - to make methamphetamine last week in a lab at Metropolitan State College of Denver. [Denver Post]
Ok. We understand that DEA is teaching private citizens how to manufacture meth, but why? Why the hell would they do that?
The class was held as part of the DEA's first Citizens Academy in order to give the public a close-up view of what the agency does to keep drugs off the street.
That's interesting, and I'm eager to attend, but it doesn't answer the question because cooking meth isn’t part of DEA's job at all. Their job is, of course, to stop people from cooking meth, which has now become the precise opposite of what they're doing.
The whole thing is mindlessly indulgent when you consider that no one really needs a chemistry lesson to infer that the constant explosions at their crazy neighbor's house might explain why he has so many strange visitors.
If you're gonna teach meth-cooking, teach it to immigrant store clerks before you arrest them for naively selling household items to undercover narcs.
Having noted earlier this week that marijuana users sometimes do rather foolish things, I was pleased to find this today:
Experienced marijuana users perform tasks as accurately after having smoked cannabis as they do sober, according to clinical trial data published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology.
Investigators at New York State’s Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University assessed the impact of acute cannabis intoxication on the decision-making abilities of 36 subjects, as assessed by the Iowa Gambling Task performance test. [NORML News]
It is an article of faith among those seeking to purge this precious plant from the planet that it shrinks your brain, figuratively if not literally. American tax dollars have paid for announcements that marijuana could cause you to shoot your best friend, run over a toddler on a tricycle, get pregnant at a party, get your hand stuck in your mouth, and on and on.
Of course, Joey Stoner needn't consult peer-reviewed research to confirm that he hasn’t accidentally killed anyone lately. Still, it's powerfully frustrating that marijuana consumers must defend their own competence against baseless and derogatory characterizations issued by sanctimonious bureaucrats who are, themselves, incompetent in every sense of the word.
Having already flunked math, science, history and social studies, it is those who wage endless war on this useful plant that are truly deserving of a scientific performance evaluation.
A deputy U.S. marshal based in Charleston is suing the makers of the popular cold remedy Zicam over his lost sense of smell, which he says has put him in danger of being unknowingly exposed to methamphetamine labs.Come to think of it, I too am deeply concerned about being exposed to highly-toxic meth labs. Who shall I sue? Perhaps the shortsighted legislators who've created a black market and ensured the continued illicit production of methamphetamine in our communities.
As a federal law enforcement officer, he said his duties sometimes expose him to methamphetamine labs, which are considered dangerous to be in contact with. [Charleston Daily Observer]
And before we get too excited about this cool drug that prevents cops from smelling things, note that Zicam's manufacturer says this is nonsense. They claim that allegations of smelling-loss occur because Zicam is a cold medicine popular among people with horrible pre-existing respiratory problems.
Sounds plausible enough, but good luck explaining "correlation is not causation" to a drug warrior.
SAN JOSE, Calif. - Hershey Co. has sued a Lafayette man who admitted to making marijuana-laced candy and soft drinks, claiming his products violated the company's trademarks.I'm not an expert in trademark law, but those don’t sound like Hershey products to me.
Kenneth Affolter, 40, was sentenced in March to more than five years in prison for manufacturing forbidden treats with names like Stoney Rancher, Rasta Reese's and Keef Kat. [MSNBC]
Hershey's suit, filed earlier this month in U.S. District Court in San Jose, accuses Affolter of trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition.Unfair competition!? To whatever pathetic extent this man actually competed with Hershey, he's now been taken out of commission by the Drug Enforcement Administration. If there's anything unfair going on here, it's the incarceration of a man who provided marijuana edibles to sick people.
So I guess Hershey Co. has nothing better to do than piss off stoners around the world, which is foolish for reasons so obvious they need not be stated. And all they're asking for is $100,000 from a man who is now either destitute due to legal fees and forfeiture, or has buried his assets so deep that neither DEA nor Hershey's will ever see a dollar.
Suddenly those irresistible Hershey's Cookies & Cream™ bars don't sound so good. If Nestle™ has a decent white chocolate product, I can cost Hershey $50 a year on my own. Who's with me?
Don't drive drunk if you've got 25 pounds of marijuana in your car. Seriously, you're off the team if you do that. Flex Your Rights will not answer your email.
Also, don't mail 12 pounds of marijuana to a school.
George Michael, who gets arrested frequently for marijuana, now says it should be legal.
Operation Follow Method Man has also produced results this week: the arrest of Method Man for possessing marijuana and driving around super-baked.
In fairness to our cause, I'm not suggesting that marijuana necessarily causes idiocy. But it can become a crutch for the desperate or confused. As for the celebrities, well, it's already clear that celebrities don't exactly need pot to get arrested anyway. Method Man, notwithstanding this unfortunate incident, would probably get arrested more often if not for his frequent relaxation rituals.
Today was a strange day for marijuana news, but tomorrow will tell a different tale. Bad science, violent raids, urine testing, persecuting patients, blocking research, wasting tax dollars, exaggerating harms, and funding the black market; these things -- and so many more -- are the real story and there aren't enough mailing mishaps or celebrity pot busts to distract us from the hideous truth.
SIX children aged as young as five have been forced to live and sleep within metres of toxic chemicals and cancer-causing cannabis plants - all because their parents wanted a quick dollar.Whoa! "Cancer-causing cannabis plants"!?!?!? This is just simply absurd. As far as I know, no one, not even Harry Anslinger, has ever claimed that a growing marijuana plant is carcinogenic. I suspect this is merely bad reporting; as the Australian AP reported in its account of the raids, the equally silly Kids Allegedly Forced to Sleep Near Mum's Toxic Pot:
South West Metropolitan Region Commander, Acting Assistant Commissioner Frank Mennilli, said the raids followed tip-offs from the public. "Hydro houses pose significant risk and it appalls me that anyone would have such a disregard for safety that they would jeopardise the lives of children," Mr Mennilli said. "We've gone into some of these homes where young children – one even on a ventilator – are sleeping only metres away from these plants and carcinogenic contaminants. "In all these homes the electricity supplies have been illegally and dangerously diverted, posing a huge risk of fire – endangering the lives of those inside and people living in neighbouring homes."Ah, it's not the plants that are carcinogenic; it's those darned "contaminants." It appears the "contaminants" referred to here are nothing more than the chemical fertilizers used to make the plants grow faster. As Mennilli put it in the Daily Telegraph story, "So not only do you have the odour from the plants but also you have the chemicals used in relation to the growth of these plants. The "highly toxic" chemical fertilizers are so dangerous they are sold in nurseries and greenhouses and Walmarts and K-Marts across the land. They are so dangerous, they are used by millions of little old gardeners without a second thought. Now, you probably don't want your kid drinking the stuff or making Kool-Aid out of powdered fertilizer, but fertilizer is fertilizer. It's no more dangerous when used to grow marijuana than it is when used to grow tomatoes. The Australian media should be ashamed of itself. It not only uncritically accepts police statements at face value; it then runs with them to the point of simply making shit up. "Cancer-causing cannabis plants," indeed! "Toxic chemicals," oh my! I will give Mennilli and the media accounts props for mentioning the risk of fire from improperly wired, illegally obtained electricity. You can start a fire trying to do that. But even the fire hazard is a function of prohibition, not marijuana. People steal electricity not because it's cheaper, but because they wish to avoid being busted by cops monitoring their electrical use.
The nomination of Gen. Douglas E. Lute as the new White House "war czar" raises the old question of what a "czar" is and why they are needed.
According to Wikipedia, a "czar" (sometimes "tsar") is basically an emperor:
Originally, and indeed during most of its history, the title tsar meant Emperor in the European medieval sense of the term, i.e., a ruler who has the same rank as a Roman or Byzantine emperor due to recognition by another emperor or a supreme ecclesiastical official (the Pope or the Ecumenical Patriarch).Ralph Peters at The New York Post explores the latter question, arguing that the appointment of various "czars" is an indulgent and frivolous exercise. Unfortunately, just as I'm nodding in agreement, Peters' train of logic leaps the tracks and nosedives into a perplexing abyss:
I worked for the most effective "czar" of the past half-century. As director of the Office for National Drug Control Policy, retired Gen. Barry McCaffrey did a remarkable job of getting the government's cats and dogs (and not a few monkeys) to work together for the common good.Here we go again. Drug war supporters talk about Barry McCaffrey like conservatives talk about Ronald Reagan, an unfortunate but necessary absurdity now that the name John Walters has become highly toxic even within Congress and the anti-drug community.
But the major players could blow off even McCaffrey. The general could beat our nation's deadly enemies, but not the Washington bureaucracy.
Apparently, it really is necessary to point out that America wasn't drug-free from 1996-2001 and that Barry McCaffrey's legacy would be considered disastrous outside the accountability-free sphere of revisionist drug war history.
Of course, it's also possible that Peters knows "our nation's deadly enemies" are far from beaten and is merely shielding himself from the wrath of accused war criminal Barry McCaffrey. In either case, this article, which questions the efficacy of appointing various war czars, while simultaneously casting Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey as a glorious hero, is a confusing thing to have bothered writing.