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Blast Hits Mexico's Televisa TV Station

Location: 
Monterrey, NLE
Mexico
Mexico's largest television broadcaster and the largest producer of Spanish language content in the world, Televisa, has come under attack by drug trafficking organizations in the northern city of Monterrey. Investigators say it was a warning for journalists to stay away from reporting on drug prohibition violence.
Publication/Source: 
Press TV (Iran)
URL: 
http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=138859&sectionid=351020705

Jane Hamsher Talks Marijuana Legalization on MSNBC

Hey, watch this unbelievable video of firedoglake's Jane Hamsher hurling marijuana legalization like a hand grenade into the middle of the immigration debate:




…and everyone just nods in stunned agreement. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I sure haven't seen much coverage of marijuana policy on MSNBC recently, if ever. Is it necessary to tell them you'll be discussing immigration in order to get some airtime for legalization on the most left-leaning cable news network?

It's time to stop labeling marijuana reform as a liberal issue when FOX News has two pundits talking about it constantly, and MSNBC's got nothing to say.

Medical Marijuana Comment Approved on the Fresno Bee Opinion Talk Blog

http://fresnobeehive.com/opinion/2009/12/what_are_your_dumbest_trends_o.... My local newspaper, The Fresno Bee, posted an entry in their Opinion Talk Blog asking, "What are your dumbest trends of the decade?" and continues: As this decade stumbles to a conclusion, media outlets have begun putting together their best and worst lists. So I'll join in with my picks of the dumbest trends of the decade, and I hope you'll add yours in the comments section. There are plenty of possibilities in this bizarre decade. I submitted the following comment about medical marijuana, and they included it: One of the dumbest trends of the decade has to be that city and county governments waste so much time and resources that could be better used to better their communities on trying to circumvent California State Medical Marijuana Laws. Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was a California ballot proposition on the November 5, 1996 ballot regarding the medical use of marijuana. It passed with 5,382,915 (55.6%) votes in favor and 4,301,960 (44.4%) against. Here we are 13 years after the voters made it perfectly clear that sick and disabled people have the right to use marijuana as medicine so long as their doctor approves, and we might as well be back in the Nixon or Regan eras. Because California's medical marijuana laws are so clear on the rights that qualified patients have to grow, possess, transport and use marijuana medically, local government officials are resorting to such underhanded measures as twisting the wording of their zoning ordinances to exclude any business that has anything to do with medical marijuana. The will of the voters was made clear years ago! We have had S.B. 420 and the State Attorney General's Guidelines issued since then to clarify that medical marijuana patients have those rights! Wake up, local government officials! You were elected to represent the will of the people, now Do Your Job! That's just my I hope it helps.

 

 

It's Official: The Media is in Love With Marijuana Legalization


It all started last winter when, after decades of spoon-feeding the American public an infinite litany of anti-pot propaganda pieces, the press rather spontaneously discovered that it's better for business to talk about legalization instead. In an industry that was virtually devoid of voices for reform just a couple years ago, one can now scarcely find a prominent political pundit with anything nice to say about our marijuana laws.

This segment from This Week with George Stephanopoulos might be the best example yet:



Here, let's try to paraphrase that:

George Will: Legalizing marijuana will destroy the drug cartels.
John Podesta: It'll be legal once everyone figures out it can pay for health care.
Laura Ingram: Cancer patients, botox, whatever. Gimme some brownies!
Al Hunt: Now that my kids are all grown-up, I suppose I'm cool with it.
Cynthia Tucker: Really, we need to rethink all our drug laws, not just marijuana.

That's about as solid a bipartisan consensus as you'll ever see on a Sunday talk show, and you've gotta wonder how much longer the war on marijuana can survive in a political climate like this.

Amsterdam vs. Bill O'Reilly


O'Reilly said a couple pretty nasty things about the Dutch recently, prompting this delightful response from some genius on YouTube:



Now O'Reilly responds to the response, and check how he addresses the question of why rates of marijuana use are lower in the Netherlands than the U.S.:
Why have so many more people in the USA, where marijuana is illegal, tried it? 40% of people in the USA compared to 22.6%...

OREILLY (interrupting): The way they use statistics in the Netherlands is different, plus it's a much smaller country.
Huh? The guy just lies so reflexively, it's astonishing. Of course, by denying the validity of the statistics, he tacitly acknowledges that they would be significant if they were true. Well, they are true, Bill, which means all your paranoid fulminations about the horrors of legalization are nonsense.

I just hope he's right that the U.S. is on course to implement Dutch-style drug policies.

Remembrance: Walter Cronkite on the Drug War

Epilogue by Walter Cronkite at the close of ""The Drug Dilemma: War or Peace," The Cronkite Report, June 20, 1995:

Every American was shocked when Robert McNamara, one of the master architects of the Vietnam war, acknowledged that not only did he believe the war was, "wrong, terribly wrong," but that he thought so at the very time he was helping to wage it. That's a mistake we must not make in this 10th year of America's all-out War on Drugs.

http://www.stopthedrugwar.org/files/waltercronkite.jpg
Walter Cronkite
It's surely time for this nation to stop flying blind, stop accepting the assurances of politicians and other officials, that if we only keep doing what we are doing, add a little more cash, break down a few more doors, lock up a few more Jan Warrens and Nicole Richardsons, then we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Victory will be ours.

Tonight we have seen a war that in its broad outline is not working. And we've seen some less war-like ideas that appear to hold promise. We've raised more questions than we've answered, because that's where the Drug War stands today. We're a confused people, desperately in need of answers and leadership. Legalization seems to many like too dangerous an experiment; to others, the War on Drugs, as it is now conducted, seems inhumane and too costly. Is there a middle ground?

Well, it seems to this reporter that the time has come for President Clinton to do what President Hoover did when prohibition was tearing the nation apart: appoint a bi-partisan commission of distinguished citizens, perhaps including some of the people we heard tonight, a blue-ribbon panel to re-appraise our drug policy right down to its very core, a commission with full investigative authority and the prestige and power to override bureaucratic concerns and political considerations.

Such a commission could help us focus our thinking, escape the cliches of the Drug War in favor of scientific fact, and more rationally analyze the real scope of the problem, answer the questions that bedevil us, and present a comprehensive drug policy for the future.

We cannot go into tomorrow with the same formulas that are failing today. We must not blindly add to the body count and the terrible cost of the War on Drugs, only to learn from another Robert McNamara 30 years from now that what we've been doing is, "wrong, terribly wrong."

Goodnight.

How Bush's Drug Czar Fooled the Media and the American People


Remember back in 2007 when Bush's drug czar John Walters announced that cocaine prices were spiking and proceeded to do a proud drug war victory dance in newspapers nationwide? It was the high-water mark of his tenure in terms of positive press for the national drug strategy he'd championed shamelessly since taking office in late 2001. If drug prices were increasing, his argument claimed, then our campaign to rid the nation of drugs must be on the right track and our arsenal of brutal drug war tactics was being vindicated for all to see.

John Walters
Well, it looks like the truth finally caught up with him. Ryan Grim has a fascinating piece at Reason laying out the plotline behind Walters's victory parade and it's really a remarkable window into the epic dishonesty that characterizes not only John Walters, but the foundations of the drug war itself.

I recommend reading Grim's account to understand how badly Walters manipulated the data to make his case, but what I find most troubling in all of this is the role of the press in enabling such a transparent and self-serving deception. This is the story of a man who had already jettisoned all credibility through an endless series of similarly dubious pronouncements. ONDCP's bogus theatrics were sufficiently notorious by this point that even the conservative Washington Times balked at the opportunity to break the story of the Bush Administration's self-proclaimed surprise victory in the war on drugs.

It was Donna Leinwand at USA Today who gave Walters a podium from which to deceive the American public about the success of his policies. Drug policy was – and remains – Leinwand's beat at USA Today, thus she could easily have included a counterpoint in her coverage from one of the many experts that would gladly take her call. Instead, she uncritically passed along the claims of a notoriously deceitful propagandist to the American public, igniting a firestorm of press coverage that fraudulently propped up the drug czar's political agenda.

If there's a lesson to be learned from all this, it seems not to have sunk in yet. Only a month ago, Leinwand was still promoting misleading claims about the success of the war on cocaine. It is, of course, perfectly appropriate to quote the leaders of the worldwide war on drugs as they endeavor desperately and predictably to highlight any and all miniscule data points that favor their fixations. But that should only be half the story. If you base an entire news report on something a drug war cheerleader told you, then your story won’t be true and the public that relies upon you for drug policy news will end up understanding less about the issue than if they'd never read your article to begin with.

Ironically, widespread disgust with John Walters and the entrenched drug warrior mentality he represented has likely helped set the stage for the present political climate in which the drug policy debate has finally gone mainstream. The case for reform is at long last embraced and amplified by the same media that once ignored it at every turn. Prominent journalists themselves are speaking out and saying things that used to be off-limits.

Still, all those who rejoice at the impending collapse of the great drug war juggernaut should not lose sight of the fact that only 2 years ago, a single man was able to freeze time with a simple lie.

Walter Cronkite on the Drug War

Epilogue by Walter Cronkite at the close of ""The Drug Dilemma: War or Peace," The Cronkite Report, June 20, 1995:
Every American was shocked when Robert McNamara, one of the master architects of the Vietnam war, acknowledged that not only did he believe the war was, "wrong, terribly wrong," but that he thought so at the very time he was helping to wage it. That's a mistake we must not make in this 10th year of America's all-out War on Drugs. It's surely time for this nation to stop flying blind, stop accepting the assurances of politicians and other officials, that if we only keep doing what we are doing, add a little more cash, break down a few more doors, lock up a few more Jan Warrens and Nicole Richardsons, then we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Victory will be ours. Tonight we have seen a war that in its broad outline is not working. And we've seen some less war-like ideas that appear to hold promise. We've raised more questions than we've answered, because that's where the Drug War stands today. We're a confused people, desperately in need of answers and leadership. Legalization seems to many like too dangerous an experiment; to others, the War on Drugs, as it is now conducted, seems inhumane and too costly. Is there a middle ground? Well, it seems to this reporter that the time has come for President Clinton to do what President Hoover did when prohibition was tearing the nation apart: appoint a bi-partisan commission of distinguished citizens, perhaps including some of the people we heard tonight, a blue-ribbon panel to re-appraise our drug policy right down to its very core, a commission with full investigative authority and the prestige and power to override bureaucratic concerns and political considerations. Such a commission could help us focus our thinking, escape the cliches of the Drug War in favor of scientific fact, and more rationally analyze the real scope of the problem, answer the questions that bedevil us, and present a comprehensive drug policy for the future. We cannot go into tomorrow with the same formulas that are failing today. We must not blindly add to the body count and the terrible cost of the War on Drugs, only to learn from another Robert McNamara 30 years from now that what we've been doing is, "wrong, terribly wrong." Goodnight.

"The potent smell of marijuana legalization is in the air"

This report from CBS News is a perfect example of how much the debate has changed. The story itself is great (a revealing look into the unimpressive origins of our marijuana laws), but it's the packaging and context that jumped out at me.

(CBS)  This story was written by Charles Cooper and Declan McCullagh as part of a new CBSNews.com special report on the evolving debate over marijuana legalization in the U.S. Click here for more of the series, Marijuana Nation: The New War Over Weed

The giant "Marijuana Nation" banner at the top of the page is emblematic of the mainstream media's sudden fascination with marijuana legalization. Unsurprisingly, the story is pulling huge web traffic thanks to Digg.com, whose visitors love stories about legalizing marijuana.

It took a long time, but the press has finally picked up on the fact that skeptical drug war reporting is extremely popular with the public. That simple concept appears to be reshaping and amplifying the drug policy debate right before our eyes.

Feature: Censorship in California -- MPP Marijuana Ad Campaign Hits Bumps as Stations Reject It

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) kicked off a TV ad campaign aimed at gaining support for a California marijuana legalization bill in the legislature on Wednesday, but ran into problems with several TV stations around the state, which either rejected the ad outright or just ignored MPP efforts to place it. Still, the spots are up and running on other Golden State stations.

Playing on California's budget crisis -- the state is $26 billion in the hole and currently issuing IOUs to vendors and laying off state workers -- the 30-second spots feature middle-aged suburban Sacramento housewife Nadene Herndon, who tells the camera:

"Sacramento says huge cuts to schools, health care, and police are inevitable due to the state's budget crisis. Even the state's parks could be closed. But the governor and the legislature are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes. We're marijuana consumers. Instead of being treated like criminals for using a substance safer than alcohol, we want to pay our fair share. Taxes from California's marijuana industry could pay the salaries of 20,000 teachers. Isn't it time?"

As Herndon finishes speaking, the words "Tax and regulate marijuana" appear on the screen, as well as a link to Controlmarijuana.org. Clicking on that link actually takes you to MPP's "MPP of California" web page.

"I'm a medical marijuana user," Herndon told the Chronicle. "I was at Oaksterdam University with my husband looking at some classes, and the chancellor [Richard Lee] came out and said I would be perfect for an ad they were thinking about. I talked to my husband, and he said maybe I should do it. It is a cause near and dear to my heart, so I did," she said.

The response from acquaintances has been very positive, she said. "I've gotten lots of positive messages, and a few who are worried for my safety or that my house might be vandalized," said Herndon. "I have gotten a couple of odd phone calls, though, so I've changed my number."

The spots are aimed at creating public support for AB 390, a bill introduced in February by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco). That bill would legalize the adult possession of marijuana and set up a system of taxed and regulated cultivation and sales.

The bill and the ad campaign come as support for marijuana legalization is on the rise in California. A recent Field poll showed support at 56%. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has gone on the record saying that legalization needs to be discussed. And, thanks to the state's medical marijuana laws, millions of Californians can see with their own eyes what a regime of legal marijuana sales might look like.

It would appear that marijuana legalization is a legitimate political topic in California, but that's not what a number of the state's major market TV stations think. At least six stations have rejected or ignored the ads. Oakland NBC affiliate KTVU and San Francisco ABC affiliate KGO declined to air the ad, as did San Jose NBC affiliate KNTV. Three Los Angeles stations, KABC, Fox affiliate KTTV, and KTLA also refused to air the ad.

KGO told MPP that they "weren't comfortable" with the spot, while KNTV said only that "standards rejected the spot." KABC claimed the ad "promotes marijuana use."

But while some local stations have balked, the ad is running on stations in Oakland, Sacramento, and San Francisco, as well as on MSNBC, CNBC, and CNN, via California cable operators.

"We are astonished that major California TV stations chose to censor a discussion that Governor Schwarzenegger has said our state should have on an issue supported by 56% of voters, according to the Field poll," said Aaron Smith, MPP California policy director. "The two million Californians who use marijuana in a given month deserve to have their voices heard -- and their tax dollars should help solve the fiscal emergency that threatens our schools, police and parks."

"That those stations would refuse to run the ad is appalling," said MPP communications director Bruce Mirken. "This wasn't something we expected; this wasn't a stunt to get press coverage. This was intentionally a very innocuous ad."

Mirken took special umbrage at KABC's suggestion that the ad "promotes marijuana use." "It's a really tortured reading of that ad to claim that," he said. "The ad is simply recognizing the reality that there are lots of marijuana consumers out there unable to pay taxes on their purchases because we have consigned marijuana to a criminal underground," he said.

Alison Holcomb, drug policy director for the ACLU of Washington, told the Huffington Post that while the refusals don't "implicate the First Amendment from a legal standpoint," she believes the practice "undermines a core principle underlying the First Amendment: that the strength of a democracy flows from the exchange of ideas."

As Holcomb noted, the various stations' refusal to accept the ad is not a First amendment violation in the strict sense -- no governmental entity is suppressing MPP's right to seek air time to run its ad, and the stations are within their legal rights to refuse it. But the effect is to suppress MPP's ability to compete in the marketplace of ideas, and MPP smells a double standard.

"When the governor of the state has said we ought to have this debate, it would seem to mean letting all sides air their views," said Mirken. "Pretty much all of these stations that rejected our ad have aired ONDCP anti-marijuana ads, which are often blatantly dishonest, so they are effectively taking sides in the argument. That feels fundamentally unfair."

The battle continues. As of Thursday, MPP was effectively shut out of the Los Angeles market, except for the cable news networks. But Mirken said he hoped to have the ad on the air there by the weekend.

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