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May 2013
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Open Thread

Busy time here with the last week of school and finals.

Had an interesting and somewhat frustrating set of discussions dealing with people who seemed to think that attempting to prohibit substance use for college students during their final weekend of school was a practical (or even possible) idea. Clearly, however, harm reduction, reducing binge drinking, and providing safe and supportive environments is the far smarter approach if you really care about the well-being of the students.

I wish marijuana was legal so substitution could be actively encouraged.

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46 comments to Open Thread

  • VarrK, Klingon HQ

    Exerpts from Last Nites Think-Tank;

    “Bletsch KitseemaH!” (Warned you not to trust Kirk! HAHAHAaaa!..)

    “Keh SgblorgGkocH!” (Even Joined at Hip with BORG, You shall FAIL!!..)

    “Yaww” (Bwahahahaha)

  • Yeti

    Hello
    Reach Higher
    Vote YETI
    Thank You
    Goodbye

  • allan

    A not bad piece at the Brown Political Review, somehow Kleiman is the only “ex-spurt” used by the writer:

    The War on Drugs: Coming Soon to a Suburb Near You

    • claygooding

      The title is pure Klieman,,insinuating that the wosd isn’t already in every neighborhood,,next thing you know he will be blaming pot users for making cops work all those overtime hours and training Jack Russells as targets.

    • Awaiting/moderation

      My comment has spent 10 hours there patently awaiting moderation.

      Kindly google “Kleiman is a prohibitionist” and you’ll see articles going back decades.

      “Third, even on those rare occasions where Kleiman does not endorse prohibitionist policy, his analysis is infused with a prohibitionist morality. In his often superb chapter on marijuana, his evidence forces him to consider alternatives. Yet he is reluctant at every turn. He brings himself to admit that the costs of the current prohibition (e.g. each year 350 000 arrests and up to 10 billion dollars in enforcement costs and lost revenue) are probably too great for the ‘benefits’ received. But he still conceives of the alleged deterrent value of prohibition as a benefit, and again implies that he believes marijuana use is in itself somehow ‘bad’.”
      —Prohibitionism in Drug Policy Discourse by Craig Reinarman, University of California, Santa Cruz,
      INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF DRUG POLICY, 1994. VOL 5 NO 2.

      “He also bases his support for prohibition on the fact that the criminal justice system does not do a good enough job of preventing drug-related crime. Most informed observers, however, trace many of the problems in our criminal justice system to the burden and corruption placed on it by narcotics prohibition. Finally, I would note that even Mr. Kleiman realizes that only a small percentage of the population develops abuse problems with any specific drug and that we do not know what makes a given person have an abuse problem with a given drug. Why then does he recommend a nationwide policy that is oppressive, impersonal, and ineffective?
      —Mark Thornton, Auburn University.
      A Review of Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results, 1992.

      Make no mistake, Mark Kleiman is a typical parasitic-gravy-trainer who has spent his whole life leeching off the government (our) purse. Do not expect him to do anything to derail his own gravy train!

      “Kleiman is a tee-totaler sado-moralist who believes intoxication is a disease.”
      —Allan Erickson, The Media Awareness Project

      “I’ve been going around the country trying to convince people that knowing the unsatisfactory results of marijuana prohibition doesn’t prove that any specific implementation of legal marijuana will turn out to be an improvement.”
      —Mark Kleiman, 2013

      “I’ve been going around the country trying to convince people that knowing the unsatisfactory results of alcohol prohibition doesn’t prove that any specific implementation of legal alcohol will turn out to be an improvement.”
      —Mark Kleiman’s grandfather, 1933

  • Mr. Scrooge

    This Tyranny is Getting too Expensive. I Suggest Motion to Scrap It.

  • HeadMaster

    It has been cruel entering GeezerHood. A wagging Boney Finger and Hurtful Gaze are having to take the place of Administering Beatings. It hurts to say, but I also support an ending to the Hostilities.

  • allan

    ooh ooh! Calvina’s latest offering:

    Action Alert – Reject HR 1635

    This is one of those mass letter campaign things. What some of us have done with her previous similar efforts is to edit the letter to fit our stance and then send it on. Have fun!

    • allan

      here’s my edited version:

      As a concerned citizen, I am writing to urge you to approve H.R. 1635, legislation that will set up a National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy that will finally overturn years of ill-considered and poorly created drug policy.

      H.R. 1635 contemplates the nomination by various politicians of people with expertise and qualifications to review decisions of federal agencies already made concerning marijuana.

      For instance, the Commission would be reviewing whether marijuana is appropriately placed in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.). The DEA regularly reviews the scheduling of marijuana and just recently, upon the recommendation of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Food and Drug Administration, wrongfully determined that marijuana is appropriately scheduled.

      National and international experts, not fanatical fringe special interest anti-drug groups, should set drug policy to make it sound (based on scientific research rather than anecdotal stories) and protect patients and the general public.

      Federal drug policy is determined and implemented by a corrupt network of federal agencies created to work in a fashion meant to maintain prohibition at all costs. H.R. 1635 would bring needed change to these agencies.

      The Congressmen proposing H.R. 1635 don’t like what medical doctors are saying about marijuana. The Commission would be charged with reviewing the “health impacts, both benefits and risks, related to marijuana use, and in comparison to alcohol and tobacco use.”

      Medical associations, including the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, National Institutes of Health, Institute of Medicine, American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Glaucoma Society, and American Academy of Ophthalmology wish to see more research into cannabis as medicine, unhindered by the current pro-prohibition regime.

      At such a critical time in our economy, we cannot afford to continue wasting billions of dollars just because drug war profiteers have found the golden egg laying goose. Sound drug policy must be rooted in evidence-based science, not driven by special interest groups who are looking to profit at the expense of our nation’s public health and safety. Approve H.R. 1635!

      And remember, the only ones benefiting from the drug war status quo are the cartels and prohibitionists.

      >

      • claygooding

        I put it where it can be copy/pasted after deleting the one they wrote,,nothing beats sending it through them

      • DonDig

        Bravo Allan,

        May I add an additional tag to your re-write? (there may be a more succinct way to say this, but I think my point is clear):

        And it’s worth mentioning that the way drug laws are being and have been enforced has maintained/created de facto ‘legally sanctioned’ racism in our society and justice system, a class of policies we had otherwise (wisely) abandoned many moons ago, and certainly would rather not admit to perpetuating, nor sanctioning now.

        (End of addition.)

        The racist elements are another HUGE ignored elephant in the room for me, pink or otherwise. Since these laws (apparently) cannot be enforced with racial equality, it’s just another reason they’ve got to go.

    • Windy

      I LOVE doing that! The most recent case in which I turned a petition or letter writing campaign around on the group promoting it was the anti-gun (liberty hating) Mayors, I edited their form letter to a pro-gun stance and sent it to my Senators. Glad to do this one to my Rep., too.

  • Servetus

    A drug effect is discussed at the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz called the ‘nocebo’ effect:

    “The mere anticipation of possible injury may actually trigger pain or disorders. This is the opposite of the analgesic effects we know can be associated with exposure to placebos.” The new study illustrates how media reports about health risks may trigger or amplify nocebo effects in some people.

    What the research implies is that prohibitionists who cite the ill effects of certain recreational drugs may influence people to believe, and thus act out, the said effects through a kind of auto-suggestion. A complete novice to a particular drug experience who is told by prohibition propagandists that a particular drug makes people violent, crazy, or lethargic, might thereby act accordingly. This could be another example wherein false claims made by prohibitionists are potentially dangerous.

    • Duncan20903

      Well there’s no doubt in my mind that the egg came first.

      • primus

        Nope, it was the rooster. The rooster came first.

        • Duncan20903

          .
          .

          Well primus, I never would have pegged you as a creationist. So tell me, why the heck wouldn’t an omnipotent being create an evolutionary system? It would be a heck of a lot less work you know. It also accounts for the duck billed platypus.

        • primus

          Not creationist. Just have ‘different’ sense of humour. Joke relates to when you get an order of eggs in a restaurant with uncooked white on the top; Rooster cum.

      • Mark
        You sir, are a Godless Philistine! Sodom and Gomorrah love folks like you, and all your commie sidekicks, (oh crap, I gotta go), ‘HEY AIRPLANE FLYING OVERHEAD, IM COMMIN ABOARD”, (Im hevin me one a them thar FLASH BACKS,
        cuz I usedtobe one of yew dope smokin HIPPIE commie types! TELL CAPTAIN KIRK AND THE MOTHER SHIP ILL BE UP SOON, “BEAM ME UP SCOTTY”
        Seriously, you are correct, marju-AN-a is one of the best “drugs” I have ever used. Makes you sleepy, relaxed, hungry, and feel great the next day. I believe the legalization of it is long overdue. The Kennedy liquor faction hates the idea, cuz you can pahk the cah in the haba, and drown your secretary, but don’t legalize anything that competes with liquor!

        • thelbert

          you left out the fact that booze may have caused teddy’s brain tumor. he sure had an unlimited supply. plus free medical at taxpayer expense.

    • Matthew Meyer

      Sociologist Howard Becker expressed similar ideas in some of the essays in Outsiders, particularly with regard to marijuana and LSD.

      Of course he’s right.

  • Cannabis

     
    The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that local municipalities can legally ban medical marijuana dispensaries, dealing a massive blow to the burgeoning industry that’s exploded across the state since 2009.

    The ruling in City of Riverside v. Inland Empire Patient’s Health and Wellness Center (PDF) boils down to whether the California constitution trumps provisions in the state’s medical marijuana laws.

    California Supreme Court Deals Massive Blow To Medical Marijuana Industry
     
    In several West Coast cities, federal officials are initiating a new round of crackdowns against dispensaries that are seemingly complying with state medical marijuana law. In Seattle, 11 dispensaries received shutdown warnings. In San Francisco, almost half of the city’s small number of state-licensed dispensaries received similar warnings. And in neighboring cities like San Jose, several others were warned.

    Feds Ramp Up Crackdowns On Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

    • Plant Down Babylon

      It’s all about deliveries now. Mobile dispensaries are hard to target, and there’s really nothing to seize regarding asset forfeiture.

      Brick n Mortar dispensaries are sooooo yesterday.

      I love capitalism

    • Windy

      Rumor going around in my town claims dispensaries will be closed by feds here, too, on the 20th. Where do they intend to get the personnel to do this? Local LE will NOT cooperate or comply (tho knowing our Sheriff, who does NOT honor his oath of office, he may choose the feds over the County residents, though individual Deputies may balk).

  • darkcycle

    Seattle landlords got letters that are rather more harsh than the last round. Landlords are now being threatened with 40 years in jail. Problem is, this means the landlords are being forced to evict these tennants in violation of State law, which requires 30 Days notice PRIOR to eviction papers being served. ALso, State law does not allow a landlord to TOUCH the tennant’s stuff (IE, physically evict) for 90 days AFTER this 30 days has expired. And the State Courts are enforcing STATE law when these cases are coming to courts. Leaving the landlord swinging, with no legal way to remove these businesses from their premises. Real bastards, they are. Still attacking the people who are most at risk, but least culpable. http://www.alternet.org/40-years-jail-landlords-renting-legal-pot-dispensaries-massive-new-federal-crackdown-legal-marijuana

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      The tenant can agree to move voluntarily too. to the best of my knowledge they haven’t made a move against Harborside’s Oakland landlord and it wasn’t able to evict and nobody has mentioned Harborside voluntarily relinquishing the property.

      Now remember that the only thing that kept Harborside from being evicted was the fact that they didn’t fib, fudge or lie on their paperwork. Given the nebulous legal status of “collective gardens” in Washington over the past couple of years, what are the odds that the lessees involved there were as forthright as was Harborside?

      Then there’s different Courts. In California if someone steals your medicinal cannabis then their home hazard insurance will treat it as a covered loss. In Washington the last ruling on that issue says that because its Federally illegal it has no insurable value.

      Are you sure that the same rules apply to commercial leases? There are lots of consumer protections that people think are across the board that really aren’t. Consumer credit, auto insurance, and home mortgages all have laws governing them that just aren’t in place for businesses. The bank can’t call me up and tell me I have to pay off my mortgage, but they sure can call up a store owner and do that if he holds a commercial mortgage.

      I surprised that no one’s been talking about these C&D letters from the DEA. Since when does the DEA offer to let drug law violators slide if they just shut down? In the past they just show up one day, shoot the dogs, steal or destroy the property and then hand out mandatory minimums to everyone in sight. Isn’t the fact that they’re offering people the option of walking away a significant departure from past policy?

  • allan

    dang those pesky studies:

    Bladder Cancer Risk Lower in Pot Smokers

    SAN DIEGO—For the first time, a study has found that cannabis use may be associated with a decreased risk of bladder cancer, researchers reported at the American Urological Association 2013 annual meeting.

    In a study of nearly 82,000 men, bladder cancer developed in 279 over an 11-year period. Subjects who smoked marijuana, but not tobacco, had a significant 45% decreased risk of bladder cancer compared with those who did not, after adjusting for age, body mass index, and race and ethnicity, according to lead investigator Anil A. Thomas, MD, a researcher with Southern California Permanent Medical Group in Los Angeles. Men who smoked tobacco, but not marijuana, had a significant 52% increased risk, a finding that is consistent with numerous previous studies. Men who smoked both had a 28% increased risk.

    Of the 82,000 men, 41% reported ever using marijuana and 57% reported tobacco use; 27% reported used both tobacco and marijuana. [emphasis mine]

  • allan

    almost forgot, a word from today’s guest sponsor, Johnson & Johnson:

    Boys! Are you disappointed that after all those bong hits you still haven’t grown breasts? Well we have good news! Try Risperdal®, it works! And yes, you may grow breasts up to a D cup. Think of the hours of fun you’ll have, all by yourself…

    • Freeman

      Having smoked weed for almost forty years now, I’m happy to report that I’m finally starting to grow those man-boobs I was promised so long ago. Funny — I had assumed they would be perkier!

    • darkcycle

      If I could figure out the Tor browser, I would check it out, just to satisfy my curiosity. But I cannot make TOR work on this piece of shit Dell.
      (hint hint…any help?)

  • Dis Chord

    Can’t Understand a Word, Almost Clicked it Off, But, In this Rare Gem, She Mentions America and Melts Yours Truly into Puddle of Love, Gotta Be A Good Thing.

    http://youtu.be/Ie-zPDqx6N4

  • After reading through Pete’s last post on Mexico and a number of other stories in the comments I’m struck by how much support there is for legalizing cannabis, while at the same time very little support for legalizing anything else.

    It’s interesting how there are a number of organizations that advocate for the rights of cannabis users but comparatively few for the users of other drugs. Sometimes I hear people argue that heroin or cocaine should remain illegal for this reason. I find this argument specious, it essentially says heroin users do not deserve rights since they do not (collectively) demand them.

    It does beg the question as to why there are so few within the US. There are drug user unions in many other countries. It’s hard to say exactly why that is the case, but in reading some of the forums where opiate users post, I have noticed a greater degree of guilt and shame coming from North American posters compared to those of other countries.

    I agree with Peter Cohen in his essay, Junky Elend, (“junky misery”) that junkification is largely a result of our drug policies.

    But, there is another kind of social aspects of junkification, which is grounded in a special kind of general social interaction between ‘normal’ members of society and junkies. I still support Zinberg’s view that junkification might be understood as a normal consequence of stimulus deprivation (Zinberg and others[6] ref. to Cohen 1984, in Cohen 1990). By forcing heavy users of heroin in severely ostracised and a-social situations, their ways of relating to the social world around them will change. One of the consequences of ostracism is that many users are no longer seen as normal persons towards whom normal behaviour is required. In their turn heavy users will experience that if they behave normally this has little effect on the way they are treated. Their behaviour is met with enormous distrust. Ergo, users will say good bye to the old rules of behaviour because these rules are not productive for them. Abiding or not abiding to basic social rules will make little difference on their being seen as outcasts. So why stick to the rules. On the other hand, living the life of an outcast and paria is extremely difficult and many are in danger to collapse psychologically in the process. Very special kinds of adaptation to this are required, adaptations that will in turn enhance or at least confirm the outsiders view of the ‘crazy junky’.

    For a drug user in general one of the most wounding experiences is that something of very high subjective value, the drug induced state of consciousness, is totally unacceptable for others. Or, in other words, a central part of ones identity is socially unacceptable. For some heavy and regular users this means saying good-bye to the drug, for most it means saying good-bye to their old social world and its criteria for socially acceptable behaviour…

    Before opiate prohibition, users and even addicts, were not ostracized from their communities. Today in the US, being the spiritual home of drug prohibition, persecutes opiate “abusers” to a greater degree than other countries, and hence more junkification. The numerous functional addicts out there stay in the closet, because the opportunity oost of “coming out” is too high. And so the only opiate users that make the news are the accidental overdoses (like Heath Ledger) and the most dysfunctional cases.

    I think this may explain why there isn’t a NORML or MPP for opiates (NOROL doesn’t have the same ring to it, perhaps something along the lines of “We Demand Opium Prohibition End” or “WeDOPE”). There was the Pain Relief Network but their focus was on chronic pain sufferers and not really junkie advocates. And even then the government sought to silence Siobhan Reybnolds’ message.

    It’s gonna be hard to get opiophiles and junkies to organize like cannabinophiles. There’s not as many of us, and too many get taken in by the propaganda of the treatment industry and end up becoming tools for prohibition. Many chronic pain patients, who should be allies, seem bent on scapegoating junkies for the hysteria and crackdown on prescription opioids. And of course many are so busy with the daily hustle, feeding the beast that is the human metabolism (staving off withdrawal) that they have neither the time nor energy to organize politically. I fear that, at least within the US, policy will have to change before opiophiles are able to find their collective voice.

    • allan

      Opie, while not news to you I’m sure, I would suggest riding along w/ LEAP. No other anti-WOD org has the profile. DrugSense and Drug Policy Alliance are also about ending the WOD/Prohibition II. Rally around what support already exists that parallels your needs.

      • I do follow LEAP’s blog and get their newsletter. Frankly I think LEAP is probably the most powerful voice for reform, too often conversations about legalization get bogged down in discussions about pharmacology. LEAP makes clear the fact that the more dangerous the drug, the greater the need for control. They also consistently say that decriminalization does not go far enough.

        On 4/20 I attended a rally and heard Jack Cole speak, and afterward was able to shake his hand and thank him for the incredibly important work he does.

        On the issue of harm reduction, I feel like the DPA has become stuck on methadone and syringe exchange. Nowhere does one hear about opium, or coca for that matter. Most of the harm comes from the black market nature of the drugs (high cost, no quality control, push from plants to concentrated powders) and our draconian policies. In some ways the Transform organization is more consistent in their ideology, their blueprint document is fantastic. I link to it all the time when people ask how would legal heroin or cocaine work. I don’t see why the DPA could not have published something similar a long time ago.

        I’m familiar with the organizations you mentioned, as well as the other links on the side of DWR. They are all important and do good work, but it is frustrating that there aren’t organizations specifically for non-cannabis, illicit drug users.

        Drug User Unions are more like consumer unions than trade unions. Its members are consumers of drug treatment, drug policy and yes illicit drugs. DUU’s can, for example, provide reviews of treatment services, identifying the one’s run by authoritarian assholes who care more about telling you how to live your life than they do about reducing the harms of your addiction. DUU’s could set up a general fund to bail out their members after an arrest so at least they wouldn’t have to detox cold turkey. Like cannabis collectives, DUUs could grow poppy and perhaps coca or khat. A small farm could supply hundreds of users for little or no charge. If users could organize politically, perhaps these ideas could be tried on small, local scales.

  • NIMH Distances Itself From DSM Categories, Shifts Funding To New Approaches
    http://t.co/hPA0xrenyQ

    If NIMH is dumping the DSM, how is that going to affect the new drug plans? Is that how they are getting away with the Obama administration defining regular pot users as people with brain diseases?
    http://t.co/BcjjvxLIDK

    • darkcycle

      That is insideous. The problems with the new DSM are many, and the addiction definitions are only the tip of the iceberg. It catagorizes normal grieving now as a depressive disorder, for instance, and allows doctors to treat it like an illness (by medicating it). The problems with DSM aren’t that it’s too fuzzy (it is). It’s that DSM V both medicalizes normal human issues, and goes too far in it’s atomistic approach. Instead of recognizing the social nature of many mental illnesses, and the roots of them in the structure of our social fabric, they push the “disease” model to the breaking point. It is VERY unfasionable in psychology to suggest anything but a genetic or “chemical imbalance” as a cause. The NIMH just announced that they don’t think the APA has gone far ENOUGH…

      • darkcycle

        You should start fearing being swept up in the mental health system, if you don’t already. They are widening their net to sweep as many in as they can. It’s a boon to both the profession AND the pharmaceutical companies.
        I am so glad to be away from that field. It’s becoming so bad I don’t even want to tell people what I used to do for a living anymore. It used to be enough to simply say “I left the field”, but now just the association is a black mark.

  • kaptinemo

    The so-called ‘progressives’ are finally warming to the idea: End the war on drugs for pity’s sake

    On nearly every ‘progressive’ site I frequent, whenever I bring up the subject, the treatment has almost always been a sneeringly condescending observation that they have better, more important things to do…despite all the evidence that the DrugWar has been the font of nearly all the mutilations of our civil rights they so loudly complain about.

    I can’t tell you how many times I was told, for example, that I should shut up about talking about drug law reform during Mr. Zero’s first campaign, as that would hurt the prog’s chances of getting ‘their man’ in the White House, and that “Don’t worry, he’ll do something about drugs in his second term.”

    (Contemptuous, mocking laughter aimed at progs) Yeah, he sure did. He sicced his DoJ dogs loose on the dispensaries, and makes as if he can’t call them off. It was only when the people, themselves, took action in WA and CO that any steps towards reform were made.

    I can never forget that it was the progenitors of today’s progs that got the DrugWar Juggernaut’s engine cranked up and running for the first time, way back in the first two decades of the 20th century. And it’s today’s progs that have kept it running, by refusing to deal with this issue forthrightly.

    If they are now crying liberal tears over the scores of thousands of Mex dead, they better not try use their hands to wipe them away, away; those hands are already dripping blood from those same dead, lost in no small part due to their damnable political calculus in not wanting to deal with this issue in the manner it demands.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Paul Chabot got a message from yesterday’s California Supreme Court ruling and is feeling his oats. Apparently the California Supremes were speaking in a code only he can understand because he sure got a message that doesn’t appear consistent with the words they used. WTF?? Did he really steal a line from Mr. Bush the lesser?

    /snip/Now that local governments have been given the green light to enforce their bans we can expect the wealthy elites of the drug legalization movement to once again put pot legalization on the ballot in 2014 and beyond.

    So what? Well, that’s exactly my point. Bring it on, pot heads.
    /snip/
    Despite the size of our ranks, we will need to build a larger army. The pot legalization efforts in the future will be in the millions of dollars. Their side will hire lobbyists and paid staff to collect signatures in front of Walmart’s across the state to qualify their ballot for the general election. They will lie like crazy about what legalization will do to “help” California. But we know better. We know what they did to our state with so-called medical pot.

    There is an old saying. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. California will not be fooled again. The game is up and we are readying our defenses to take back our communities and push the drug legalization groups back into the dark shadows from they came from. Join us at the Coalition for a [Reality] Free California.

    Is that the face of steroid abuse?

    • darkcycle

      That is so detached from reality, I actually thought it was funny. The very idea that the Pot Lobby has outspent the Federal Government on cannabis is going to cause me to smile and shake my head for the rest of the day. They’ve spent over a TRILLION dollars on the drug war….and it’s failing. Badly. I’ve givien about $500 so far this year to legalization. But I guess we’re the moneyed elite, folks.
      I going to go dream about what I’m going to spend my fortune on. (probably diapers)

    • kaptinemo

      I’ve said many times before that the more the prohibs lose, the more they get backed into a corner, the more foaming, rabidly irrational they’ll become. It’s happened before; it will happen again.

      They threw away reason by refusing to even cursorily examine the monumental amount of evidence that disproves them; all they have now is emotion. And since at the heart of that is hatred, a hatred for those who will not conform to their idea of a (chimerical) Drug Free Utopia, that will become ever more evident.

      Do that a few times in front of the voting public, let the public see what’s really behind their (increasingly cracking) smiley masks, and they’ll be shooting themselves in both feet for us.