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couch, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
April 2009



And now for something completely ridiculous…

Peter Hitchens in the Daily Mail

Eliot Ness couldn’t stop booze, but he would win today’s war on drugs

[…] If only our policies were actually punitive. But drug use and possession are almost entirely unpunished, which is why they carry on growing.

As for ‘prohibition‰, the drug lobby uses this expression to mislead the gullible into comparing the winnable struggle against narcotics with the doomed war against booze fought by the ‘Untouchables‰ and others in Twenties Chicago. Alcohol had been legal for centuries, part of the culture of Christian civilisation. You might as well try to make breathing illegal. But cannabis, cocaine and heroin are alien to our world, and could be driven out by firm action.

Actually, US Prohibition recognised that the cause was lost before it began. Congress never made it illegal to drink or keep alcohol, only to sell, transport or make it. Our most important drug laws are utterly unlike Prohibition because they rightly ban possession. And if our cowardly courts and bureaucratic police would only enforce the existing law, we would see a swift decline in the use of illegal drugs.

I particularly like the line: “But cannabis, cocaine and heroin are alien to our world, and could be driven out by firm action.” Right — it’s not like they just… grow in the ground or anything. They came in spaceships. We need to be firm and tell the space aliens to load up their cannabis, cocaine and heroin and take it all back to planet Druggie.
In actuality, Peter Hitchens is whole lot more alien to this world than cannabis.
In one way, I would actually like to see Peter Hitchens’ message spread further. I would like to take all the people in jail for drug offenses and put them in a room* with Hitchens and let him explain to the group that the “cowardly courts and bureaucratic police” aren’t enforcing drug laws.
That would be something to see.

* Unfortunately, no existing room is large enough for the purpose – it would have to be the size of a city.

Rex Reed reviews American Violet

In the New York Observer

It‰s rare, I‰ll admit, but occasionally a good movie raises its head through the muck and mire and leaves me grateful but shocked with disbelief. Such a movie is American Violet, a harrowing, compelling and profoundly true story that dares to tackle an important but too rarely exposed issue of the abuse of power in the American criminal justice system. […]
It‰s hard to believe this kind of discrimination and racial profiling exists today, even in Texas. But American Violet is an eye-opener on several levels. It shows why American prisons are overflowing with more than two million convicts, 90 percent of whom accepted plea bargains, in a country with 13 million convicted felons on the outside of prison walls who cannot vote, apply for passports to leave or enjoy the benefits of Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps and housing subsidies. It is also an indictment of the hypocrisy of backwoods ‹lawŠ that sanctions all-black arrests in hamlets ruled by all-white cops, scowling court-appointed lawyers and crooked judges. […]
At a time when almost every movie I see is about nothing at all, American Violet rattles a few cages with its story of personal courage against overwhelming odds. Sensational, nerve-racking stuff that leaves you shattered while it teaches you something.

Maybe this will help it get in more theaters.

A bag of tea

It’s April 15, and apparently some people are buying bags of a different kind of tea (Pekoe, not sensi) and waving them around, or mailing them, or something, in some kind of FOXnews-run protest against taxes that don’t exist yet… and gay abortion, I think — it’s been getting kind of confusing (it seemed to […]