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August 2012
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Open Thread

I’m working on preparations for taking my show on the road to Rochester, New York. If you’re in that area, please come see me (and the show). Performances are Friday and Saturday.


bullet image Why Russell Brand is Wrong about Methadone by Maia Szalavitz.

Interesting article on a subject that’s outside of my expertise.


bullet image Rio de Janeiro drug dealers saying no to crack, planning a ban on the destructive drug

Nonetheless, the other gangs are signing up, said attorney Flavia Froes. Her clients include the most notorious figures of Rio’s underbelly, and she has been shuttling between them, visiting favelas and far-flung high-security prisons to talk up the idea.

“They’re joining en masse. They realized that this experience with crack was not good, even though it was lucrative. The social costs were tremendous. This wasn’t a drug for the rich; it was hitting their own communities.”


bullet image US, Mexican officials Brokering Deals with Drug ‘Cartels,’ Wikileaks Documents Show by Narco News


bullet image When Cartels Are Cartels, Public Safety Wins

Homicides are way down in Ciudad Juarez, which the Mexican government naturally attributes to its own successful policies. But not everyone is convinced and William Booth thinks local people have “another, more credible reason for the decrease in extreme violence: The most-wanted drug lord in the world, Joaquin ‘El Chapo’ Guzman, and his Sinaloa cartel have won control of the local drug trade and smuggling routes north.” […] The drug trafficking organizations are commonly known as cartels, but the horrific violence stems precisely from the fact that they aren’t cartels.


bullet image Russell Simmons needs to read a bit more about Joe Biden. (Via Radley Balko)


bullet image Also via Radley: Embattled N. Georgia magistrate resigns

Cochran agreed never to seek or hold judicial office again, according to a consent order the JQC posted on its website Thursday.

The JQC’s public report said its investigation focused on “whether the judge pre-signed blank arrest warrants for completion by law enforcement officers while he was absent from office.” The report also said the inquiry included “whether the judge allowed the prestige of his office to advance his private interests.”

Blank warrants. Hey – just go ahead and arrest anyone you want! Who needs evidence or probably cause?

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36 comments to Open Thread

  • darkcycle

    Here’s one at Just Say Now, Colorado will have the candidates dancing all over the place:
    http://tinyurl.com/9j3xmaa

  • We now have clear evidence that our Government has become criminal within itself, using some type of Machiavellian concept of National Security.

    http://tinyurl.com/9ftbt66

    Between this and Pete’s referenced Wikileaks article I would say we have a very serious situation in our Country.

    • claygooding

      We have had plenty of hints,,,from the Iran/Contra days until now,,,the CIA was,is and will be a major player in the illicit drug business and is one of our staunchest opponents too reform,,,it is why congress refuses to discuss reform,,it is why Obama laughed at us.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    With her Election as Oregon Attorney General on Election Day all but guaranteed, Ellen Rosenblum discards the supporters of cannabis law reform like they were used toilet paper:

    Oregon medical marijuana law needs to be clarified, Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says

    /snip/
    Rosenblum spoke with the newspaper while touring southern Oregon. She said her position on medical marijuana was mischaracterized in the Democratic primary against Dwight Holton, the former U.S. attorney for Oregon.

    It wasn’t my issue, I hope you know that,” Rosenblum said in an interview Monday with the Mail Tribune. She noted it came up during an early debate at the Eugene City Club between her and her opponent, fellow Democrat Dwight Holton, when the question was asked about medical marijuana.
    /snip/

    Have I ever mentioned in this column that I think that cannabis is the Rodney Dangerfield of substances on the naughty lists?

  • Matthew Meyer

    With regard to Brazil, the “owners of the hills” in Rio draw a bit on the whole patriarchal caudillo vein of Latin culture: their discourse relies on securing, or seeming to have secured, the moral approval of their communities.

    This has often put them in the seemingly paradoxical position of guarantors of public safety in “their” neighborhoods. When things go well, they can point to the beneficence of their reign as a reason for citizens to support their continued operation.

    The latest announcement ought to be understood in this context. But that doesn’t mean ignoring its business aspect. With the upcoming international events in Rio, the drug bosses’ police allies are probably putting pressure on them, too. I wouldn’t be surprised if the “crack truce” is only temporary.

    The drug bosses are Brazilian, yes, but they’re also businessmen.

  • C.E.

    I’m glad that judge who signed blank search warrants got thrown out of office. But at least he was being honest about being a rubber stamp. I mean, what possible difference would it have made if he bothered to review each warrant application? Would he ever even deny one?

    Pre-signing them just means he didn’t have to get up from his afternoon nap every time some pain-in-the-ass cop wanted to search some criminal’s house. He was probably too busy trying to figure out how to do away with the whole jury trial thing to bother himself with inanities like search warrants.

    Other judges are probably pissed that they actually have to sign warrants as they come in now, because that judge ruined it for everyone.

  • Duncan, didn’t you declare the story about the Rio de Janeiro crack ban “utter hogwash” just recently? I think you did.

    Do you still stick by it? If you’re right, it would certainly be cool if the gullibility and narco-naïveté of Associated Press (and Washington Post, NPR etc.) could be exposed.

    I must admit it does sound silly if you assume that freebasing is easy to do at home, but I lack personal experience and the expert knowledge to assert that with any confidence.

  • Freeman

    Valik, Richard Pryor told me freebasing at home can get complicated.

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      I wonder if you’re aware that Mr. Pryor set himself on fire in an attempted suicide? It was not an accident that involved the process of freebasing cocaine. The accelerant he used was rum, not ether.
      linky

      This doesn’t acquit cocaine as the major contributing factor. One of the most unfortunate effects of severe cocaine abuse is that it sucks all the happy out of a person, every last iota. One of my most vivid memories was enjoying a sudden, huge belly laugh that I enjoyed about 6 months after I quit using coke watching a re-run of Mork & Mindy and one particular scene with Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters. Until that day I thought that I’d never laugh again.

  • claygooding

    I freebased before crack was popular and from the drive it had,,it kept me from trying crack,,cause I wasn’t rich enough to play that game…..a steam locomotive rolling up your spine and colliding with your brain is about as close to an analogy as I ever heard.

  • stlgonzo

    From the AP. I wonder if all of those dispensary owners that opposed prop 19 are regretting that decision yet.

    Feds crack down on S. Calif. medical marijuana

    http://bigstory.ap.org/article/feds-crack-down-s-calif-medical-marijuana#overlay-context=article/huge-fire-burns-edge-3-small-calif-towns

    • darkcycle

      Yeah. From no on 19 campaigners to defendants in one easy step.

      • claygooding

        You can’t find many dispensary owners,growers or mmj users that admits voting against prop 19 now.

    • Servetus

      Medical marijuana backers in LA are fighting back against a recent effort to ban all dispensaries in Los Angeles. This problem wouldn’t be happening had Prop 19 passed. The backers need 27,400 signatures to bring the matter to a referendum vote in March:

      http://tinyurl.com/cqaqt7r

  • Duncan20903

    From the “the more things change, the more they stay the same” category:

    $20,000 worth of marijuana harvested, burned

    Marijuana valued at $20,000 went up in smoke yesterday — but not puff by puff.

    An even dozen “trees” of the narcotic weed, some as high as 10 feet, were burned by Lt. Ray Huber and other members of the Sheriff’s narcotic squad and Federal Agent George R. Davis.

    Apparently growing wild, the stuff was gathered from two places–beside the fence of a slaughterhouse at Rush St. and Loma Ave., Rosemead, and in an alley behind 6800 Alameda St.

    Lt. Huber disclosed that the narcotic squad’s attention was first called to the Rosemead marijuana patch two weeks ago. Since then, he said, there has been a “stake-out” there to nab anyone who attempted to harvest it. When no suspicious characters appeared, it was decided to destroy it under Federal supervision as required by law.

    • stlgonzo

      Well if you where trying to be discrete, growing it right next to the street is the way to go. It’s good to see the cops where just as smart back then.

    • claygooding

      I found one that reports the DEA has destroyed 1 billion dollars worth of crops since 07/01/2012,,,couldn’t load it,,at the Inquisitor,,,,drought is making outdoor grows stand out like a sore thumb,,,time to move it into all those houses,warehouses and closed out commercial buildings the cartels have been buying all over the country during this realtor’s nightmare and buyer’s market.

  • Peter

    Recently watched Russell Brand giving evidence to the British Home Affairs Select Committee on Drugs. It was interesting to see two very disparate groups, the mostly Conservative members of parliament on the committee find common ground with the unconventional Russell Brand on the subject of abstinence. It reminded me of the approaches made by Andrea Barthwell to N.A. a few years ago in which she shamelessly used abstinent recovering addicts as pawns in the drug war. This strikes me as being a similar tactic: “Look, even that crazy loon Russell Brand is against legalizing drugs!”
    Rehab CEO Chip Somers looked more than a little embarrassed by the performance, especially when Brand started along the lines of: “Chip used to be an armed robber until he got recovery, and just look at him now!”
    Russell, a little FYI: Tradition 11 was written to protect people like you- – – “Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.” I’m concerned that you’re a relapse waiting to happen.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJnz2Mn1Hv0

  • Curmudgeon

    I realized that we have not properly insulted Mr. Raw Money recently. I therefore propose (in memory of the late Harry Harrison) that he be known as “Mitt, the galactic zero.”

  • stlgonzo

    Can anyone help me out here? It seems as though there are pro-legalization activists that are not in favor of Initiative 502 because it doesn’t go far enough?

    I know some of you were there for hempfest.

    Get real about initiative to legalize marijuana

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/editorials/2018941436_editmarijuanalegalizationxml.html

    • darkcycle

      stl, the main points cited by the opposition to I-502 are the per-se driving limit (although the default under prohibition is zero, EVEN for medical patients), and the fact that growers be limited in number and licensed by the State. The people currently making a killing in the MMJ market do not like it one bit, and even though it changes NONE of the patient protections in force under current law (personal gardens of fifteen plants, more if you need ’em, etc.), they’re whipping patients into a frenzy.
      The law is not one hundred percent agreeable to me, either. But that is the very nature of laws. And I should not have to tell anyone reading here how important it is we start SOMEWHERE.
      I’ve flogged this horse before, and I wouldn’t be surprised if people were sick of hearing me on the subject, so I’ll leave it off there.

      • claygooding

        I keep telling the No on 502 group that marijuana can fix any bad laws written in our effort to end prohibition,,,but they chose not to believe that just because marijuana convinced them,,after they tried it,,that it will continue to win support and even faster when it becomes a non-crime.

        It took us 40+ years to get from Nixon to states trying to legalize and it won’t take near as long to knock down any “bad” laws.

        Besides,,nothing prevents the WA legislature adopting the very same DUI part of the initiative into law,regardless of 502 not passing,,so then you end up with no legalization and more persecution.

        • stlgonzo

          Darkcycle & Clay,
          That is what I was reading, but like Dark (can I call you dark?) said is what I have always thought. There are no perfect laws, we need to start somewhere. I find it frustrating that there are “No on 502” people that are pro-legalization that don’t realize this. Oh well I know I am preaching to the choir here.

        • darkcycle

          dc works.

      • kaptinemo

        Been saying here and elsewhere, we have to get our foot in the door. If that foot gets a little bruised and the toes get bashed in the process, that’s what band-aids and anti-bacterials are for. It’ll be worth the pain, because once a State re-legalizes, the Feds face a conundrum of truly massive proportions.

        When a State finally legalizes again, the Feds face the prospect of initiating legal procedures (and, given the criminal nature of government these past 12 years, illegal ones) that will lead to an impasse that could start a civil war.

        I am not joking. I am as serious as a heart attack.

        If the Feds attempt to nullify popularly-passed cannabis reform laws, when the people of those States react, that could lead to the gigantic political Pandora’s-Box-with-nukes of a Constitutional Convention, something that The Powers That Be know would lead to the dissolution of the heavily centralized form of government that greatly benefits them…and we suffer from. They obviously don’t want that.

        To fight the States on this issue would also put the final nail in the coffin of the facade of the ‘federalism’ that we are supposed to be practicing as a federation of Nation-States, not as ‘subjects’ in the provinces of centrally-controlled empire, with the ‘States as laboratories’ being the operational motif. (Raich v. Gonzales already did it de jure; the de facto part is in no small part what’s happening to the dispensaries.)

        And that, in an of itself, would strip the central government of any legitimacy. The mask would finally be off, and the snarl the smiley-face was hiding would be in full view for everyone to see, not just the Beast’s current and past victims. Governments that have that happen have only force to rely upon. And with so many Oathkeepers in this country, identified and not, it would not be a good idea for Fred the Fed to start any sh*t, lest we have Syria in downtown Mayberry.

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it a again: A State that legalizes again acquires a cache of garlic-tipped, crucifix-stamped, cast-silver hollow-point bullets to be used against the Fed vampire. The bloodsucker, realizing easy prey is elsewhere, will not attack those so armed, as the Feds have always been like vultures, attacking the weak rather than those who can fight back. A State that legalizes again joins the political equivalent of the Nuclear Club. And that’s what the Feds really fear: someone who can say “No’ to their insanity, and make it stick.

  • Goblet

    Tin foil hat time – has anybody seen anything about how the nueroprotective attributes of cannabis protect against government mind control? That would be a good reason for the govt lie, as well as a great story for a movie.

    • Goblet

      oh yeah, I didn’t make that up, saw something related to a wikileak but it wasn’t very clearly written….

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Doesn’t anyone else ever wonder why all of the challenges of State level medicinal cannabis patient protection laws based on Federal preemption are filed by State and local officials?

    Sunglasses recommended, glaring hypocrisy follows:
    AG files court papers to ultimately halt licensing of Arizona medical marijuana dispensaries

  • Duncan20903

    This one is from the “one of the questions raised is just how flipping stupid do you think other people are?” category:

    Deputy’s marijuana traffic stop raises questions

    By Lee Williams
    Published: Thursday, August 23, 2012

    SARASOTA COUNTY – On a Friday night in May, Sarasota Sheriff’s Deputy Dominic Fornal pulled over a 2003 Jaguar after it left a bar parking lot.

    While following the car at 30-35 mph, and with his windows rolled up, Fornal wrote in a report that he smelled the “strong and distinct odor of unburned cannabis” from the Jaguar.

    “You guys have a lot of marijuana in this car,” Fornal told the driver, Joseph McNeal, and his girlfriend.
    /snip/

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    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Someone needs to run a level one diagnostic of their universal translation matrix. Who the heck would access persistently without a significant sense of urgency?

  • thelbert

    here is lady who knows exactly why some men think a woman can’t get pregnant from legitimate rape: http://www.motherjones.com/media/2012/08/problem-men-explaining-things-rebecca-solnit

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      It’s just too difficult to prove that there are rape babies. Instead of that let’s just point out that these people still believe that you can get STDs from using a public toilet.

      got it from the toilet seat
      got it from the toilet seat
      it jumped right up
      and grabbed my meat
      got it from the toilet seat

      ~~ Frank Zappa Why does it hurt when I pee?