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January 2010
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Open Thread

bullet image An outstanding article by Paul Campos in the Wall Street Journal: Undressing the Terror Threat.

It’s primarily about the dysfunctional war on terror and the stupidity of playing by “Terrorball” rules:

  1. The game lasts as long as there are terrorists who want to harm Americans; and
  2. If terrorists should manage to kill or injure or seriously frighten any of us, they win.

It’s a climate that has fostered “the current ascendancy of the politics of cowardice—the cynical exploitation of fear for political gain.”

Terrorball, in short, is made possible by a loss of the sense that cowardice is among the most disgusting and shameful of vices. I shudder to think what Washington, who as commander in chief of the Continental Army intentionally exposed himself to enemy fire to rally his poorly armed and badly outnumbered troops, would think of the spectacle of millions of Americans not merely tolerating but actually demanding that their government subject them to various indignities, in the false hope that the rituals of what has been called “security theater” will reduce the already infinitesimal risks we face from terrorism.

Campus also relates this to the war on drugs:

…not treating Americans as adults has costs. For instance, it became the official policy of our federal government to try to make America “a drug-free nation” 25 years ago.

After spending hundreds of billions of dollars and imprisoning millions of people, it’s slowly beginning to become possible for some politicians to admit that fighting a necessarily endless drug war in pursuit of an impossible goal might be a bad idea. How long will it take to admit that an endless war on terror, dedicated to making America a terror-free nation, is equally nonsensical?

We’ve always said that the current approach to fighting the “war on terror” has its roots in the corrupt war on drugs. They are inextricably linked in their dysfunction.

[Thanks, Daniel]

bullet image A former New York City police commissioner backs his car into a pregnant woman and drives off. He faces no consequences.

Interesting.

Yet when drug war victim Jonathan Ayers feared for his life when undercover officers approached his car, and backed into one of them when trying to get away, that was justification for shooting and killing him.

bullet image New Jersey Scraps Mandatory Minimums Tied to Drug-Free Zones

Yesterday the New Jersey State Assembly passed a bill, already approved by the state Senate, that allows judges to waive heretofore mandatory sentences for nonviolent drug offenses committed in “drug-free zones.” Under state law, such zones include any place within 1,000 feet of a school or 500 feet of a park, library, museum, or public housing project. Selling drugs (or possessing them with intent to sell) within that area triggers a mandatory minimum sentence of three years.

Mandatory minimums based on zones have been a particularly ugly aspect of drug law, as they have a greater impact on inner cities and minorities.

Here’s an example of a map from a small town in New Jersey. You can imagine what it’s like in a big city.

bullet image Scott Morgan says It’s Time to Legalize Medical Marijuana in Professional Sports

bullet image Judge orders CHP to return 60 pounds of marijuana. I would have really loved to watch them return it.

[Thanks, Tom]

bullet image Oregon police chief admits incompetence, says medical marijuana law is “unenforceable.” Seems to me he might want to be a little more concerned about what’s causing those mutant horses in his newsletter’s banner picture.

[Thanks, Allan]

bullet image Couldn’t happen to a better guy… Grand jury investigating Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Arizona

I guess the real question I have is… how can this feudal Sheriff of Nottingham, with such obvious contempt for civilized society, our country’s principles, and our Constitution, operate with impunity for so long?

bullet image DrugSense Weekly – a weekly review of the most interesting or relevant articles in the press and on the web related to drug policy reform.

bullet imageDrug War Chronicle – weekly update of drug war news and analysis from Stop the Drug War.org.

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9 comments to Open Thread

  • claygooding

    Sheriff Arapio is the one that was Noriega’s liason with the DEA and said his deputy acted within his jurisdiction
    when he stole a paper from a defense attorney’s briefcase
    in open court,on camera. In other words,the constitutional sanction of client/attorney privilege had no bearing on the case and that stealing the paper was justified. It is no surprise that he is under investigation. The surprise will be if he gets anything but a slap on the wrist. He is a cretin.
    Not sure,but I believe he was DEA involved with Oliver North’s contra arms deal,where the CIA traded weapons and equipment for cocaine.
    In other words,he will be calling all kinds of favors in to protect himself and they will protect him,just to keep him quiet.

  • Buc

    1. The map of the small town is very informative. I had no idea that you could have a majority of land in municipalities with within 1,000 feet of a school zone, especially rural ones.

    2. With regards to the California Highway Patrol officer testifying, incorrectly, that the person transporting the dankness was doing so illegally, could the officer be charged with perjury? I would think probably not, as he honestly didn’t know his mistake. However, in a more righteous world the officer would have to pay all of the legal fees to the man and personally deliver, on his off-hours, the bud back to the peeps.

    3. May Joe Arpaio burn in hell someday. I have no doubt he will.

  • Buc

    Also wanted to comment on the Paul Campos article. I agree with almost everything he is saying. It’s a brilliant article except when he can’t resist putting forth the idea that all private gun ownership should be banned.

    One of the major arguments of not having government intrusion into your life, whether it’s with regards to the drug war, terrorism or gun ownership, is that by criminalizing people who would otherwise not necessarily be harming anyone else, you create an entirely new set of outlaws and therefore grow government by default since you need more police to enforce the new rules.

    In short, if all gun-owners (drug users) are outlaws, then only outlaws will own guns (do drugs).

    I never could understand why so many pro-gun people are anti-drug policy reform and vice-versa.

  • Duncan

    Is cannabis considered a performance enhancing drug in the world of professional competitive eating?

  • Fabulous Furry Freak Brother

    Is there a war against war?

  • Steve

    I was reading some of the comments on the Joe Arpaio article and it just blows my mind that there are people out there that commend his behavior. They say people hate him because he is actually enforcing the law…….ugh it feels like bashing my head against a wall.

  • DdC

    White Nationalism in the Age of Obama
    GRITtv with Laura Flanders
    Thurday 07 January 2010

    Quality Data for Journalists and Researchers

    How Big Pharma Profits From Fear

    Let’s Blitz Sacramento for Legalization!
    We are kicking off 2010 with a major legalization blitz in Sacramento. The California legislature will be hearing Tom Ammiano’s landmark legalization bill AB 390 on Jan. 12th. We are asking all California activists to start the new year by contacting their Assembly members in support of AB 390. The legislature is returning into session on Jan 4th, so we have just one week to do this.

    Pain Doctors Discriminate Against Medical Marijuana Patients
    December 29, 2009 – NORML has received a flood of recent complaints from chronic pain patients wrongfully denied treatment by pain clinics for having failed unwarranted drug tests for medical marijuana.

  • Just me

    Maybe one day Politicians and the people will pull their collective heads ouuta their collective asses and realize, all government is good for is war, taxes, and taking our freedoms.

    How bout we look out for one another instead of having the nanny do it.

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