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March 2006



DEA’s Karen Tandy spreads it pretty deep

Via Tom and Dare Generation.
DEA head Karen Tandy responded to the Washington Post’s piece on Marc Emery with this letter.

A Drug Dealer’s Toll on Americans

Wednesday, March 29, 2006; Page A18

Marc Emery, who distributed millions of marijuana seeds throughout the country, admits the accuracy of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s charges against him, but he denies harming Americans [“High Crimes, or a Tokin’ Figure?” Style, March 18].
Like all dealers, Mr. Emery turns a blind eye to marijuana’s victims — people like Victoria Rogers, a mother driving with her children when she was killed by a marijuana-intoxicated motorist.
Marijuana feeds thousands of addictions — so many that more teenagers enter treatment for marijuana dependency than for all other drugs combined. Thousands of adolescents whose brains are still developing also suffer from depression, memory impairment and diminished judgment because of marijuana. Users destroy their lungs because marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more cancer-causing chemicals than tobacco smoke.
That Mr. Emery sees no consequences of his actions does not change the fact that they destroy innocent American lives and that he should and will face legal consequences as a result.
Drug Enforcement Administration

Well, let’s take a closer look.
How about “Victoria Rogers… killed by a marijuana-intoxicated motorist.” I’ve seen this one used before, and the online record is a little sketchy. But what I’ve gathered is that a Thunderbird side-swiped a truck and then hit Victoria Rogers’ car, killing her. Also that there was some confusion or controversy over who was driving at the time of the accident. But let’s take a look at Karen Tandy’s own words from this speech:

Drug use causes tragic accidents on our roads, such as the one in Springfield, Ohio last February. One Saturday morning, a drugged driverÖhigh on a virtual drug cocktail of marijuana, cocaine, and opiatesÖstruck another car and killed a 31-year old mother, Victoria Rogers

Now that’s a little different than a “marijuana-intoxicated motorist,” isn’t it? It’s like saying someone who had a six-pack of beer and a bag of potato chips was a “Ruffles-intoxicated motorist.” Sure, marijuana can cause impairment, but all the studies show that it’s extremely mild and actually increases caution.
Karen Tandy, in her letter, gives us some pretty amazing proof. Here we have the head of the Drug Enforcement Agency, with all the resources of the federal government at her disposal, and tons of government records, with staff to sort through them and analyze and compile data. And the best example she can come up with for the danger of marijuana is a complex crash with a driver that had also taken cocaine and opiates? This is practically a neon sign flashing “Marijuana is safe.”
Next part:

Marijuana feeds thousands of addictions — so many that more teenagers enter treatment for marijuana dependency than for all other drugs combined. Thousands of adolescents whose brains are still developing also suffer from depression, memory impairment and diminished judgment because of marijuana. Users destroy their lungs because marijuana smoke contains 50 to 70 percent more cancer-causing chemicals than tobacco smoke.

OK, I’ve done these before, but let’s have at them.

…addictions… The Institute of Medicine found that marijuana was not physically addictive and had dependency rates far lower than any other drug, including alcohol and tobacco.
…more teenagers enter treatment… See Treatment Statistics, or The Drug Czar is Lying to You
…depression… See Marijuana users less depressed
… memory impairment… Most intoxicants, including alcohol, can cause some memory impairment. It seems clear that marijuana causes short term memory impairment, but beyond that, there are lots of conflicting studies.
… diminished judgment… This is code for “marijuana will make you have sex” and is much more likely to be true from alcohol.
… cancer causing chemicals… Note that she doesn’t say “marijuana causes cancer.” That’s because it doesn’t. Everything has cancer causing chemicals in it, but it takes a whole lot of complex things to happen for cancer to occur. And no study has yet been able to find any causal link between marijuana and cancer. Zero.

Karen Tandy is just continuing to use the standard tired, discredited propaganda.
Also, don’t forget that when the DEA told their subordinates (the Canadian police) to arrest Marc, Karen bragged about how his arrest would cut down on funding for the legalization movement:

Hundreds of thousands of dollars of Emery’s illicit profits are known to have been channeled to marijuana legalization groups active in the United States and Canada. Drug legalization lobbyists now have one less pot of money to rely on.

And of course, it’s so appropriate in our democracy to have government agencies gloating about cracking down on political speech.

Idiots who fail to understand the concept of America

Now I don’t want to go off on a rant here, but… As someone who has studied drug policy for years and the Bill of Rights most of my life, I continue to be astounded by people who fail to understand the concept and importance of rights in a free country that is run by the people.
I see the same stupidity over and over again.

People who have never read (or understood) the quote attributed to Benjamin Franklin: “Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”
People who fail to realize that giving up liberty doesn’t even work in terms of providing safety.
People who think that rights are for criminals, when in fact they are for citizens, and to give them up is to give up government by the people.
People who one day will find themselves accused of something they didn’t do and wonder what went wrong.

Check out Bruce P. Murchison – a political science teacher who needs to go back to school and re-take the constitution test.

By reclassifying all drug dealers and gang members as domestic terrorists, the Patriot Act could be utilized to rid our great state of these thugs. Currently, many of these criminals are being freed due to loopholes in the law. The Patriot Act would make it easier to round up and neutralize this destructive group.
Of course, the American Civil Liberties Union and its allies would decry this as an infringement on the terrorists’ “rights.”
While the ACLU has done some good in keeping the government at bay in some instances, it needs to rethink its position on this issue. Remember, giving aid and comfort to the enemy is a crime, also. It’s called treason.

I think the ACLU would also object to us dropping a nuclear bomb on Arizona. The difference is that the bomb would actually eliminate drug distribution in the state, whereas your approach wouldn’t. You wouldn’t object, would you, Bruce? I mean, you wouldn’t be wanting to give aid and comfort to the enemy by objecting to us dropping the bomb, would you? It’s called treason.
I can’t believe that a teacher has his head so far up his ass that he actually sees:

Violating the Constitution of the United States and taking away the rights of individuals is a good idea.
The ACLU standing up for the Constitution of the United States is treasonous.

Now when it comes to the ACLU, I haven’t always agreed with all of their decisions and emphases, but overall the notion of an organization that has, as its primary mission, protecting the Bill of Rights is incredibly useful and important. When I hear people bash the ACLU, I am reminded of the speech given by President Shepherd in The American President

For the record, yes, I am a card carrying member of the ACLU, but the more important question is “Why aren’t you, Bob?” Now this is an organization whose sole purpose is to defend the Bill of Rights, so it naturally begs the question, why would a senator, his party’s most powerful spokesman and a candidate for President, choose to reject upholding the constitution? Now if you can answer that question, folks, then you’re smarter than I am, because I didn’t understand it until a few hours ago.
America isn’t easy. America is advanced citizenship. You’ve gotta want it bad, ’cause it’s gonna put up a fight. It’s gonna say, “You want free speech? Let’s see you acknowledge a man whose words make your blood boil, who’s standing center stage and advocating at the top of his lungs that which you would spend a lifetime opposing at the top of yours.” You want to claim this land as the land of the free? Then the symbol of your country cannot just be a flag. The symbol also has to be one of its citizens exercising his right to burn that flag in protest. Now show me that, defend that, celebrate that in your classrooms. Then you can stand up and sing about the land of the free.

Stirring and patriotic words.
Which brings me to another idiot. Jay Stephenson has made a crusade out of bashing the ACLU with his Stop the ACLU blog.
Due to an erroneous news report, he mistakenly believed that the outstanding DVD Busted (it really is outstanding — get a copy and show it to everyone you know), made by our good friends at Flex Your Rights was instead made by the ACLU. So he lit into it with his post ACLU Teaching Children How to Be Good Criminals.
He seemed to have the odd notion that it was OK for people to know their rights (imagine my relief!), but we shouldn’t really tell people their rights without some kind of obligatory “Don’t do the crime if you can’t do the time” or “Drugs are bad, mmkay” message attached.

So remember people, the best way to avoid getting busted by the authorities is to do the responsible thingánot break the law. And the best way to avoid responsibility is to call the ACLU. With all the terrorists they are defending they are sure to find some kind of loop hole for a measly bag of grass.

His big complaint was that the video served to help people who were breaking the law (smoking pot, for example) evade getting caught.
Well, Jay, has anyone ever told you to be careful not to speed on a particular stretch of road because the police have a speed trap there? Isn’t that evading your responsibility to follow the law? After all, you don’t ever actually break the law by going over the speed limit…. Do you? (And before you say that’s silly and you can’t compare the two, consider that many more people have been killed by speeding than by smoking pot.)
So yes. Just like we warn friends that the cops like to catch speeders at a particular place, we inform our friends of their rights when it comes to drugs. After all, if we care enough about our friends to want them not to get a $100 speeding ticket, wouldn’t we want them not to end up in prison for pot possession? How are these different?
Until we can get rid of these unjust laws, we can at least help some people avoid their destructive effects. 110 million Americans over age 12 (46% of the population) are drug criminals (have used an illegal drug at some point in their lives). Some will get caught and end up ass raped in jail. Others won’t get caught and will become Senator or President.
So when it comes to considering showing a film like “Busted,” I suppose you do have a choice of deciding which future your audience deserves (and just maybe Jay and Bruce shouldn’t watch it).

John Stossel on the War on Drugs

John Stossel has a column at Townhall: Rethinking the Drug War.

I was once among the majority who believe that drug use must be illegal. But then I noticed that when vice laws conflict with the law of supply and demand, the conflict is ugly, and the law of supply and demand generally wins. […]

Raich back in court

As has been reported elsewhere, Angel Raich is back in court arguing for her right to use medical marijuana. After the disappointing loss in Raich v. Ashcroft, she vowed not to give up. Yesterday, she took a new approach to the 9th Circuit Court: The right to live. And she’s got the excellent Randy Barnett […]

Student lawsuit scares government, Dept. of Education settles

Government Surrenders Data on Drug Law to Avoid Court Battle WASHINGTON, DC — After being sued by one of the nation’s largest student organizations, the U.S. Department of Education has agreed to waive a hefty fee and turn over data on the effects of a law that strips financial aid from college students with drug […]

U.S. willing to deploy combat troops in Colombia?

From Colombia Journal Online

While the U.S. mainstream media widely-reported the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent indictment of 50 rebel leaders belonging to the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), an announcement by the State Department the next day received surprisingly little coverage. On March 24, Assistant Secretary of State Anne Patterson told Colombia’s Radio Caracol that, while the United States would not initiate any unilateral military action to capture FARC leaders, it would intervene if invited by the Colombian government. Given that the U.S. government’s intervention in Colombia already involves everything but the deployment of U.S. combat troops, it is clear that Patterson‰s comments were intended to illustrate the Bush administration’s willingness to deploy U.S. troops to Colombia to combat FARC guerrillas.


Prison and the War on Drugs

I’ve been doing a little bit of collaboration. Be sure to read Prison and the War on Drugs: Just Say No by Hypatia over at Glenn Greenwald’s Unclaimed Territory. I provided an assist, and will be helping with a couple of other drug war posts there. If you’re not familiar with Unclaimed Territory, it’s a […]

Wrongly accused student commits suicide

The tragedy never stops. (Via TalkLeft)

The Drug Czar’s inventions know no bounds — now it’s Don’t Trust Parents

Link via Dare Generation Diary NPR ran an interesting piece today on drug testing in schools, and the government’s push for increased use of mandatory testing. The piece noted that less than 1/2 of 1 percent of all schools use mandatory random drug testing. It was noted that available statistics don’t support the value of […]

Ohio, on the take

The State of Ohio, which already got a huge black eye this year from “investing” millions in pension funds with a “rare coin dealer” who was also a campaign contributor, is again being shown to have no regard for financial accountability — this time in the theft of citizens’ assets. Greg Schwartz of the Free […]