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October 2020
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The ever-popular ‘there might be drugs’ excuse

Force Against Protesters Was Necessary Because Of… Drug Traffickers, Feds Assert

The supposed presence of “drug trafficking organizations” at protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death justified the use of “escalated force” at the demonstrations, U.S. Customs and Border Protection claimed in a memo revealed Wednesday.

There’s not any evidence to back up that claim in the memo, a copy of which was obtained by Yahoo News.

Nonetheless, at the top of an incident report dated Tuesday, the Homeland Security agency said that “due to nefarious actors and drug trafficking organizations using these protests as façades, there have been incidents where law enforcement (LE) officials have needed to respond with nonlethal and escalated force — incidents including the use of pepper spray, riot shields, and rubber bullets.”

The claim came two days after the Justice Department signed off on a Drug Enforcement Administration plan to act as federal law enforcement at the protests outside of the agency’s usual narcotics activities.

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Get off my lawn

Maybe I’m getting old, but it makes me just a little bit cranky to see everybody on Facebook finally “discovering” that our criminal justice system is broken.

SMH

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DEA becomes latest all-purpose hammer for the corrupt Justice Department to use domestically

For an agency that has always looked at the world as a nail.

The DEA Has Been Given Permission To Investigate People Protesting George Floyd’s Death

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been granted sweeping new authority to “conduct covert surveillance” and collect intelligence on people participating in protests over the police killing of George Floyd according to a two-page memorandum obtained by BuzzFeed News. […]

Attorney General William Barr issued a statement Saturday following a night of widespread and at times violent protests in which he blamed, without providing evidence, “anarchistic and far left extremists, using Antifa-like tactics,” for the unrest. He said the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives would be “deployed to support local efforts to enforce federal law.”

I really hate this, but it may be time to remind people of my Drug War Victims page.

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Little Proof that Drug Counseling Works

A study headed by Elizabeth O’Connor, PhD, at the Kaiser Permanente Evidence-based Practice Center in Portland, Oregon, has bad news for drug counselors and the youth-focused drug prevention industry:

26-MAY-2020–Bottom Line: The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has concluded that current evidence is insufficient to make a recommendation regarding primary care-based behavioral counseling interventions to prevent illicit drug use (including nonmedical use of prescription drugs) in children, adolescents and young adults. The USPSTF routinely makes recommendations about the effectiveness of preventive care services and this recommendation is consistent with its 2014 statement, although it now includes young adults ages 18-25. Illicit drug use, defined as the use of substances (not including alcohol or tobacco products) that are illegally obtained or involve nonmedical use of prescription medications, contributes to the leading causes of death among young people ages 10-24. […]

Further conclusions and relevance:

…The evidence for behavioral counseling interventions to prevent initiation of illicit and nonmedical drug use among adolescents and young adults was inconsistent and imprecise, with some interventions associated with reduction in use and others associated with no benefit or increased use. Health, social, and legal outcomes were sparsely reported, and few showed improvements.

A thorough investigation of the efficacy of drug prevention has long been overdue.

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The Supreme Court and Flushing

There’s an old Guitherism:

The entire philosophy behind SWAT-style drug raids is that the death of a mother, a child, or the family pet is an acceptable risk to prevent flushing.

I spent years railing about the drug-war exception to the 4th Amendment, and so I tend to still perk up when I hear discussions about it.

So this headline caught my attention: Why a Toilet Flush Is Chief Justice John Roberts’ Worst Nightmare Come True

Ah, finally, a critical 4th amendment case?

No, merely the sound of a toilet flushing in the midst of online oral arguments.

Naturally, this hit pretty much every news outlet.

Grow up.

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John Prine, RIP

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Marijuana is Essential

Tom Angell points out one of those incredible “how far we’ve come” indicators…

Coronavirus Crisis Shows Marijuana Is ‘Essential’ And Mainstream

In state after state, governors and public health officials are deeming cannabis businesses “essential” operations that can stay open amid coronavirus-related forced closures and stay-at-home mandates. People might not be able to go bowling or see a movie in theaters, but they can still stock up on marijuana.

It wasn’t long ago that anyone growing and selling marijuana faced the risk of being arrested, prosecuted and jailed. But now, in the era of expanding legalization, cannabis providers in many states are held up as vital members of the community who are providing a valuable service on par with picking up prescription drugs at a pharmacy or filling up your car at a gas station.

Could any of us even have imagined that 15-20 years ago?

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Open Virus Thread

Hey gang, I know I haven’t been posting here (thanks so much to Servetus for keeping the site active!) Retirement is a different game, and I’ve been hard at work recovering from my shattered leg two years ago.

Some of you may have extra time during these next few weeks due to virus-related closings and self-quarantine. So what are your favorite drug-related movies and music to watch/listen to while quarantined? Let’s get some fun threads going in comments.

I’ll start off with my all-time favorite that has been a go-to for me since I was in college in the 1970s — Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon.”

Side note: I just returned from a week in New York leading a student group, seeing Broadway plays. Unfortunately, Broadway shut down the day we were to see our last show — the first preview of “Flying Over Sunset” at Lincoln Center Theatre. It’s a musical(!) about Clare Boothe Luce, Aldous Huxley, and Carey Grant on LSD. And it has tap-dancing. The concept blows my mind and I really wish we could have seen it!

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Aerial Spraying to Resume in Colombia

Donald Trump has ordered the aerial fumigation of Colombian coca fields using the same controversial glyphosate herbicide employed in the past. The Latin American human rights organization WOLA is raising objections to more fumigation:

On February 10, the Colombian government said it planned to eradicate 130,000 hectares of coca this year, using techniques that will possibly include the spraying of herbicides from aircraft. […]

When assessing the wisdom of restarting aerial spraying, it’s also paramount to consider how this policy will impact Colombia’s obligations under international human rights law. The pursuit of drug control objectives does not relieve governments of their fundamental obligations to protect and promote human rights, including people’s rights to live in dignity, to be free from hunger, and to enjoy an adequate standard of living. […]

Many studies exist about the health and environmental risks associated with spraying of glyphosate, the active ingredient in the herbicide mixture that Colombia used in the past and proposes to use again … El Espectador reported last year on a Colombian government study that found the following:

“‘In humans, evidence of glyphosate exposure was considered as a risk factor for non-Hodgkin lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, lymphomas, multiple myeloma, and miscarriages.’ In addition, it notes that ‘other outcomes reported as an adverse effect from exposure to glyphosate, with statistically significant estimates, were beta cell lymphoma and attention disorders and hyperactivity.’” […]

The original plan was to end the 50 year conflict that had cost 260,000 lives and to reintegrate more than 13,000 FARC revolutionaries back into peaceful society. Complicating the coca eradication program are dozens of killings of FARC fighters after a 2016 peace deal was entered into under former President Juan Manuel Santos. The human rights of Colombia’s most peaceful demonstrators are violated. Deaths of human rights activists are said to be 289 or 736 depending on who is asked. The murders weaken current Colombian President Duque’s prospects for future peace talks with guerrillas.

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Border Wall Scaled with $5.30 of Rebar

Someone forgot to inform the federal government that drug traffickers are clever and resourceful:

The ladders appear to be made by hand from two poles of 3/8-inch rebar and four thinner poles, fitted with steps and bent over at the end in a ‘U’ shape to hook on the top of the wall.

The El Paso Times reports smugglers could be sourcing the rebar from a local hardware store in Ciudad Juarez, a Mexican city just south of El Paso, where six metres of the material costs roughly $5.30 (£4).

To date, almost 100 miles of border have been built under the Trump administration, mostly to replace and improve existing barriers.

Mr Trump’s campaign promised that Mexico would pay for the wall, but thus far the almost $10bn (£7.7bn) budget has come from taxpayer money. […]

A total 450 miles of the barrier is expected to be completed by the end of this year. […]

Failed DEA operations in Afghanistan have already sucked nearly $9 billion into the drug war’s black hole. Total losses in these categories may exceed $19 billion if construction on the Mexican border wall continues. Despite the ongoing fraud and waste, US taxpayers may find a bit of comfort in knowing that a mere 20 feet of #3 rebar can help bring victory and freedom to people around the world in the ongoing struggle against corrupt drug skirmishes and schemes.

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