Improbable Anecdotes

I am excited to announce that my book — Improbable Anecdotes: Surprisingly true nuggets from the life and adventures of Pete Guither — has been published.

Improbable Anecdotes: Surprisingly True Nuggets from the Life and Adventures of Pete GuitherThis is a book of brief stories – some funny, some odd, some enlightening. The kind of stories I would tell to friends over scotch and cheese about my days as a lounge lizard, or in my theatre management classes about the wrong way to do things. 234 pages containing 160 stories (including color pictures). There is a full chapter devoted to my drug policy work, but the stories are from every part of my life. Each story (or chapter) can be simply read on its own, or, taken together, they form a sort of uncensored no-holds-barred autobiography.

“A life well lived and stories well told. I should know… I’m in a few of them.” –Roger Reitzel

“Pete encouraged the most risk, creativity, and fun from me during a pivotal moment in my growth as an artist. It was wonderful to read about his life and all the people who encouraged risk, creativity and fun from him.” –Keith Habersberger

“The Redbeard fan base has been itching for an origin story. This one absolutely demolishes what we thought was canon!” –L. Adams

“A fast read… unless you’re a slow reader.” –Rogina

“Where’s that damned piano player?” –Henny Youngman

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Some strange man with a horrible idea

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Future Headline

“Mexican cartels gearing up for new payday: abortion pills”

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Prohibitionist Senator Chuck Grassley Accused of Insurrection

Iowa Senator Charles Ernest Grassley, a fierce and longtime advocate of the war against cannabis, who introduced anti-marijuana bills into Congress often in a bipartisan alliance with prohibitionist California Senator Dianne Feinstein, is accused of participating in the January 6 insurrection. As a pivotal figure no less. The evidence comes from a tweet:

NEW: Iowa’s Sen. Charles E. Grassley, the Senate president pro tempore, says he and not Vice President Pence will preside over the certification of Electoral College votes, since “we don’t expect him to be there.” […] 7:06 AM—JAN 5, 2021.

The insurrection didn’t go as planned:

“Pence was supposed to step aside willingly. Adam Schiff said the most chilling words he had heard in the entire investigation were Mike Pence’s words to the Secret Service that he wasn’t getting in the SUV to be whisked away. Pence knew they were trying to get rid of him, get him away from the Capitol so that Grassley would count the electors and reject those from the contested states.”

The 88-year-old Senator is running for the Senate in November. He may be forced to testify before Congress first. Deemed a conspirator and insurrectionist, Chuck Grassley would not be allowed to hold public office again, civil or military, according to Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

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So, on drug raids, they knock and then wait 40 minutes before busting down the door. Right?

When SWAT was created in the 1960s, the idea was to have a specially trained unit to deal with bank robberies and hostage situations – where the immediate violent breach was necessary to save innocent lives.

By 2015, there were roughly 80,000 SWAT deployments a year, mostly for serving drug warrants.

Has it gotten so bad that the original concept of SWAT has been forgotten completely?

Here is the Uvalde, Texas SWAT team.

Picture of the Uvalde, Texas SWAT Team

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DEA Loses Parking Space for its Plane

A DEA owned Beechcraft twin-turboprop King Air (costing from $1.45 to $2.6 million) had its hangar contract voided at Toluca Airport outside Mexico City because the plane—long used for “elite-level ops” in drug enforcement—is seen as no longer serving a useful function.

“Hugs, not bullets,” reflects the latest in a string of political embarrassments for the Drug Enforcement Administration. That’s the latest message from Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) concerning the drug war:

…AMLO stated that his administration “cared for” cartel members just as it did for soldiers in the nation’s armed forces, because the criminals “are also human beings.”

The DEA’s Vigil also pointed out that the populist president AMLO has a track record of hampering U.S. law enforcement programs in Mexico as part of his “Abrazos no Balazos” [“Hugs not Bullets”] campaign, which aims to take a softer approach than his predecessors to organized crime.

“The first three years of President Lopez Obrador’s administration have been disastrous for the DEA. He has placed limitations on the activities of the agency, eliminated the Sensitive Investigative Unit, dismantled Plan Merida and now the most recent blow involving the DEA aircraft,” said Vigil, who added that AMLO has also reneged on diplomatic immunity for U.S. agents. […]

The dismantling of Plan Merida must come as a severe shock to U.S. politicians and all other drug war Beechcraft turboprop elitists who staked their professional careers on the scheme’s success. This is not to say the King Air 300 is a bad choice of planes just because the DEA owns one. With its short takeoff or landing capabilities, top speed of 368 mph at 28,000 feet, range of 1570 miles, maximum payload capacity of 2570 pounds, and service ceiling of 35,000 feet, it’s obviously an excellent aircraft for smuggling contraband.

One use for the Beechcraft that would go a long way toward cleaning up the DEA’s public image would be for the agency to recommission its plane to transport cannabinoid medicinals and psilocybin mushrooms or spores to remote areas where they would be greatly welcomed by traumatized indigenous populations. Call it Operation Drug Peace. Citizens currently living in the battered Ukraine would top the list for a first delivery.

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Ohio Theocrats Want Cannabis Criminalized

Baptist pastors in Ohio launched their own private drug war in a deliberate breach of the separation of church and state:

“We support vibrant communities and encourage policymakers to “Believe Local,”Mansfield Pastor Joe Nichols said during the press conference. “Therefore, based on local community standards reflected in its history and leadership, and as clergymen representing one hundred and ten (110) congregations across North Central Ohio, we believe the legalization of recreational marijuana and the relaxation of drug enforcement laws like syringe exchange programs and designated outdoor refreshment areas disrupt health and safety and are morally wrong.” …During the briefing, Pastor Chad Hayes sounded the alarm on the substance abuse crisis. Hayes leads a faith-based RU Recovery drug treatment ministry to battle drug addiction. […]

Believing is one thing. Acting on it is another. Religious groups that assume the role of government risk being seriously disliked just as if they were actual bureaucrats or politicians. Preventing people from obtaining the optimal medicines they need as an effective addition to addiction or pain treatments, cancer treatments, or as an anxiolytic and anti-depressant, can lead to open revolt. Marijuana and psilocybin decriminalization/legalization has been a revolt of sorts. Thomas Jefferson would have approved, “I hold it that a little rebellion now and then is a good thing, and as necessary in the political world as storms in the physical.”

Anthea Butler’s book, White Evangelical Racism: The Politics of Morality in America, presents the moral dilemma of legislating morality when it’s based on racist or xenophobic intent. When facing questions of moral right or wrong, a person’s mind isn’t always changed by the passage or enforcement of laws. Legislators know this. In practice, evangelical lawmakers make detrimental use of divisive moral problems to generate scofflaws who can be singled out for crossing moral lines drawn in a shifting sand.

Numerous Ohio evangelicals are using marijuana prohibition to make a distinction between themselves and other groups for the purpose of defamation, domination, exploitation, or elimination of the other. Nothing about this is new. In biblical times, a symbol or indicator of the other was called a shibboleth. Within the dark and secretive confines of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, it was referred to as an indicium. Heresy in ancient societies was as simple as exhibiting the wrong accent when some unfortunate outlier was forced to say the word shibboleth. Identified members of outlying groups or tribes, or those who suffered a speech impediment such as a lisp, would then be summarily put to death.

Fortunately, hashish was still legal in the 4th century as it had been for thousands of years previously. Its joyful use made early Christianity much more tolerable and less a social and political pain than it is today.

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Rachel Hoffman

Rachel Hoffman
The excellent Shaleen Title reminds me that it was 14 years ago today that Rachel Hoffman died. Caught with less than an ounce of cannabis, she was told by police that the only way out of prison was as an informant. They forced her to buy 1,500 ecstasy pills, cocaine, and a gun. During the botched sting, when was murdered with the gun that she was supposed to buy.

Here’s some of my coverage of the case at the time.

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…former Defense Secretary Mark Esper recounts that in the summer of 2020, Trump asked, on at least two occasions, if the military could “shoot missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs,” saying, “They don’t have control of their own country.” Told all the various reasons this idea was a non-starter, the then president insisted that they could do it “quietly,” adding: “no one would know it was us.” Apparently informed that yes, in fact, people would know it was the U.S., Trump responded that he would simply lie and say we didn’t do it.

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Drug War Industries Face Obsolescence

The drug war business sector is confronting its own obsolescence as cannabis legalization continues to sweep the nation.

Companies selling urinalysis kits are feeling the pinch-off as people recover their rights to privacy while being given a greater range of medicinal choices involving their own bodies. Reactionary responses from Big Pharma and drug war industries can always be expected and often take the form of new tech products that promise an end to the alleged weed menace once and for all.

Topping the wish list is the marijuana breathalyzer. This elusive tech-creature has been the major choice for testosterone-crazed motor cops whose very job existence may depend on how many potheads they bust in a single weekend. Its market introduction is not going well. There exists no clear standard for judging levels of impairment from marijuana. The possibility of creating such a device, one that can be interrelated and quantified with an actual marijuana dysfunction, is doubtful.

Undeterred, the Biden Administration introduced a bill in Congress that provides $10 million toward equipping all new automobiles—starting in 2026—with breathalyzers that must be used to start the car. Yes, it’s true. The US government wants you to give your car a blowjob. Buy your new car now before it’s too late.

Bypassing the device is far more certain than making it work. A counter-tech gadget that blows clean moist air into the breathalyzer might work. Someone could give the random kid on the street ten dollars to blow into the mouthpiece instead of the driver. A handheld breathalyzer could be used to filter a person’s breath before it’s exhaled into the car’s breathalyzer. More research is needed. Breathalyzer hacking will ultimately rule.

A far better use for the taxpayers’ ten million would be to fund preliminary research into how marijuana use might mitigate certain anxiety-driven social problems, such as child abuse by parents, or by public school teachers and administrators—or situations like road rage, wife beatings, poverty, suicides, and homicides. Under our current Congressional dystopia, serious matters such as these may need to wait their turn for law enforcement to fulfill its dream of a drug-free society.

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