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October 2008
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When the crazies come out to play

We’ve talked a little bit about the World Forum Against Drugs held in Sweden earlier in September, and their bizarre declaration.
But there’s so much more to ridicule…
You see, when these hard core sadomoralist drug warriors get together on vacation without bothering to unpack reason from the dusty corner of their checked bag, or worrying about appearing coherent to… the rest of the sentient world, well then their utterances become hilariously frightening.
For example, check out these amazing “rebuttals”

Seven arguments against cannabis

The journalist Pelle Olsson answered to the 7 most common pro cannabis arguments at his session

‹It‰s a soft drug.Š
Even though it is a ‹softŠ drug, it‰s still a drug.

‹Alcohol is more dangerous.Š
Cannabis is a harmful drug and it is not essential to compare it with alcohol.

‹The use is widespread.Š
Actually, only 4 % of the average adults worldwide have tested cannabis the last year.

‹I‰m free to do whatever I want.Š
The laws must be the same for everyone and dependence also takes away freedom.

‹Marijuana can be used as medicine.Š
Maybe you feel better for the moment if you are stoned or drunk, but it‰s not a medicine.

‹Marijuana works as prevention from harder drugs.Š
It is not true; cannabis is rather an entrance to the harder drugs.

‹Putting cannabis in the Convention was a mistake.Š
The cannabis-friends state that it was a mistake to put cannabis in the United Nation Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961. This is not true.

Wow, hard to argue with that kind of reasoning … because it isn’t. It’s argumentation of the form of:

The world is round. No it isn’t.

But wait, there’s more! There were speeches, and included in the speechifying was Drug Free America Foundation’s own Calvina Fay.

I think we can all agree that drugs are a problem. Today we are faced with new and more powerful drugs as well as a society that has, in many countries, become too tolerant of them.
As David Evans mentioned, In the United States, there is a very large and very well financed movement to normalize and legalize drug use and drug trafficking. Much of that movement is funded by a name that many of you know – George Soros, a convicted criminal who has publicly labeled himself as an atheist and yet has claimed that he is God…

I knew they didn’t like Soros, but…

Mr. Soros is about power and fame. His philosophy is to destroy societies that he does not like and then recreate them using his “open society” model. He destroys by creating chaos. And what better way to create chaos in society than to have a drug-addicted population that dominates. To have societies with drug-friendly laws and policies will certainly contribute to creating this chaos.
As in some other countries, Mr. Soros seeks to destroy our political system in the US and to create chaos in our judicial and law enforcement systems and even in our military.
He has contributed millions to the drug legalization movement as well as bought many of our politicians.

Yep. I believe it’s safe to say that Calvina doesn’t like George Soros.
George Soros is just a guy with a whole lot of money who wants to make a difference in the world. Instead of creating a pro-war media empire like Rupert Murdoch did, Soros put his money into efforts to encourage democracy and human rights. Yep, that’s pretty evil. But let’s get back to Ms. Fay.

Just since the beginning of 2008, we have seen an extraordinary increase in drug legalization efforts and activities in the US.

Awww… you noticed. Thanks.

Clearly, we are under attack. And this attack is not limited to the borders of the United States as has clearly been demonstrated from the presentations of others here at this conference. My work at Drug Free America Foundation takes me to many countries. I have had the honor and privilege of working with colleagues from around the world. And everywhere I go, the name and evil influence of Soros is known. His drug legalization blueprint is promoted globally.

Soros again? Come on, Calvina. I’m doing my fair share and I haven’t received one dime of Soros money. Don’t I count?
On to harm reduction.

Those who advocate for softening our drug laws and normalizing and legalizing drugs continuously raise the human rights issue. And certainly we all recognize that human rights are precious and should not be violated. But, these advocates have pushed the envelope too far when they began espousing that it is the “human right” of individuals to use drugs and endanger not only their own lives but the lives of others. With rights, come responsibilities and that is something that drug users know or care very little about.
I maintain that the harm reduction strategies promoted by the drug legalization advocates are a gross violation of human rights. Your and my rights who are drug free but would be affected by drug users – and the rights of addicts who are entitled to effective drug policies and treatment that will help them to get well.

OK, now this is just completely in la-la land. It amazes me when people make up new and creative definitions for the word “rights” that mean precisely the opposite.
She is apparently arguing for the right to not be bothered by other people having rights, and that her right trumps theirs. It’s as if she was saying…

Abolitionists claim they’re advocating for the human rights of slaves, but the true rights they would violate is the right of us white plantation owners to sip mint juleps while being served by our slaves. They would take away our right to our life of ease and our right to own other people. And, I maintain, abolition of slavery would harm the rights of the slaves themselves — yes, to have a structured life of work that keeps them out of trouble and away from the pesky cares of free men. Abolitionists would bring chaos and endanger all of us.

That is the argument world of Calvina Fay.
OK, Calvina, can you take that bizarre thought even further?

And speaking of getting well – let’s talk a minute about the fraudulent campaigns to legalize marijuana as a so-called medicine. This illusion that has been created by the Soros [Soros, again?] minions that marijuana is a so-called medicine is a huge violation of human rights!

You keep using that word. I don’t think it means what you think it means.

Truly sick people who deserve legitimate medical treatment have been duped into believing that marijuana will help them, while in reality it is hurting them. All because a special interest group is advancing a hidden agenda to normalize and legalize marijuana use. The sad thing is that people smoking pot probably do feel better even if they are not getting better but they could also feel better by smoking crack cocaine or injecting heroin. Will these be the next drugs to legalize as so-called medicine?

Nothing new here. The same old claptrap that they always trot out to argue against medical marijuana. I’ve countered it so many times that it’s boring. But if anyone wants me to do it again, just ask. (Go ahead, Calvina. Ask. But you won’t, because you already know the answer.)

The drug legalization movement certainly has more money than we do but, we are on the right side.

God, that one cracks me up every time I hear it. Drug Free America Foundation receives funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Department of State. The drug prohibition lobby has the resources of the governments of many countries, the United Nations, police forces, DEA, business interests, and tons of our own taxpayer money for media campaigns.
I get Google ads.
But Calvina continues…

We have science and solid data behind us. History has shown that restrictive drug policies do work. The very successful restrictive drug policy of Sweden is a perfect example of what works!

Sweden is often invoked by the prohibitionists (that’s why this was held in Sweden). Steve Rolles does a nice job of exploring the Sweden drug policy fantasy. Check it out. But back to Calvina…

Contrary to what the drug legalization advocates claim, it is not the restrictive drug policies that are harmful, it is the drug itself. There are no “safe” ways to use drugs. Policies that condone and prolong drug use should not be tolerated. Such policies are a travesty and a gross violation of the rights [again?] of individuals who suffer from addiction.

Note that there is absolutely not one word used to actually address the rock solid anti-prohibition argument that prohibition causes more harm than the drug. She merely asserts a harm for drug use and then studiously avoids acknowledging the existence of the elephant in the room.
And the “there are no ‘safe’ ways to use drugs.” Talk about nonsensical statements!
Calvina ends her speech with a long and very strange tribute to Ronald Reagan, whom she apparently admired greatly. She seems to want to compare her war against… well.. us, to Reagan’s “Tear Down This Wall” speech. Like I said, very odd.
Here are a couple of highlights from other speeches:
Jo Baxter of Drug Free Australia came up with a new one for describing harm reduction:

This policy equates to ‘parking the ambulance at the bottom of a cliff to catch the people as they fall off’.

Colorful. Wrong, but colorful.
Mr Sven-Olov Carlsson, President IOGT-NTO Sweden parrots the apparently ubiquitous talking point:

Human rights are incompatible with drug abuse. All individuals have the right to a life that is not harmed by drugs. Policy-makers need to defend and protect this right. The rights and interests of drug users are not served by supporting the continuation of drug abuse.

Apparently human rights are served by locking people up, smashing down doors, shooting their dogs, taking away their children, their jobs, their student loans, fueling black market violence and corruption, and making people piss in a cup.
HE General Khodaidad, Minister of Counternarcotics, Afghanistan:

This session is about whether Afghanistan can get rid of the opium problem and the short answer is of course “YES”. But when – I do not know.

I wish I could use non-answers like that in my job.

At the end I would like to thank once again the organizers of this important forum and I pray for a world free of drugs and terrorism.

Drugs and terrorism. Right.
There’s more, but this post is long enough. At a later point, I may discuss the truly disturbing words of Robert L. DuPont.

[Thanks, Steve]

DEA Museum opens tomorrow at the California Science Center

I mentioned earlier that the execrable DEA Museum Exhibit: Target America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Drugs Cause had not been put out of its misery, but instead was continuing its tour – now to California.
A number of people wrote to the Science Center to express their dismay, and Center staff responded:

Thank you for your email. You are referring to an earlier version of the
exhibit, and are not aware of the changes and modifications that have
been made for the Los Angeles venue.

The California Science Center recognizes that science knowledge and
technological innovation play important roles in understanding and
breaking the cycle of drug abuse and addiction. It is with this
perspective that the Science Center’s Ethics Advisory Committee reviewed
the Target America exhibit prior to agreeing to host the exhibit. Upon
review, we appreciated the potential of the exhibit to educate guests on
the science of drug abuse and the health implications of drug addiction
with certain content modifications. Since last spring, the exhibit has
been refurbished, expanded and updated to reflect these concerns.
Specifically, the DEA Museum Foundation has updated and enhanced the
current science content, added a Local Story component, and modified the
exhibit to better balance the issues of prevention, treatment, science
and enforcement.

Additional programming will further support the science and technology
educational messages. You are welcome to attend these programs and to
engage in these discussions. We are confident the current exhibit will
support our mission and provide a powerful educational experience on the
damage drugs cause, and invite you to review the revised exhibit,
opening Oct. 2nd.

Sincerely,
Shell Amega

Vice President, Communications
California Science Center

So before I rush in guns blazing (figuratively – I don’t have any guns and I can’t make it to California), I figure we should at least give him the benefit of the doubt and check out the exhibit.
So anyone who can — please visit the exhibit, take notes and pictures, and report back.
The good news: neither the California Science Center nor the DEA’s site feature the really offensive World Trade Center wreckage sculpture that was the centerpiece of the exhibit in previous locations. If they’ve removed it, that’s an encouraging sign. (Please let me know if they continue to promote the drugs-terrorism connection in any way.)
Additionally, the Science Center has downplayed the DEA’s involvement to merely “Developed by the Drug Enforcement Administration Museum and Partners.” I wonder if this means that it will be less of a DEA infomercial than the Chicago exhibit was.
However, I don’t see any way that the California Science Center could have actually properly fixed this exhibit and still have the DEA involved at all. Because quite frankly, there’s no way that the DEA would allow any truthful representation of the dangers of prohibition, which means that the “science” is still propaganda, not science.
If you do check it out, you’ll have the opportunity to:

Play a wacky basketball game that gives you a sense of temporary memory loss first-hand, as you learn about the latest research from UCLA scientists on the effects of drugs in the brain.
Speak into a wiretapped microphone and see your unique voice print. Learn about innovative technology pioneered in Southern California and view footage of drug enforcers and wiretaps in action.
Through an immersive theater experience, ride along with seasoned Southern California drug enforcement officers on a simulated drug bust. Discover the science, technology and skill of surveillance and apprehension.
Spin the Wheel of Misfortune and see the various risks drug addicts face. If you‰re lucky enough to land in Rehab, spin the Wheel of Recovery and see what your chances are for long-term recovery. Find what treatment options are available throughout the southland.

Sounds like fun, doesn’t it?
And, of course, you’ll be able to view actual wreckage from a drug-related car accident, a tenement crack-house, and the bedroom of a young teen that has accessed a Web site that sells illegal drugs.
Check out my site: DEA Targets America: Opening Eyes to the Damage Caused by the Drug War for my response to the earlier form of the exhibit, and the flyers we used to pass out to museum patrons.
I’m still open to revising the flyer further based on what we learn about the current version of the exhibit, and making quantities available to those who would like to help educate the patrons of the California Science Center as to any aspects of the science that have been neglected.