Misplaced Aggression

Misplaced Aggression
Posted by CN Staff on March 07, 2003 at 14:47:45 PT
By George Deutsch
Source: Battalion
Apparently frustrated with the miserable failure of the war on drugs, Attorney General John Ashcroft and Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator John B. Brown turned their ill-informed aggression toward legitimate businesses in a nationally televised address on CNN last week. Citing ambiguous federal law, Ashcroft, Brown and others announced the indictment of more than 50 sellers of tobacco pipes, or as Ashcroft might say, illegal drug paraphernalia distributors.
What should enrage freedom-loving Americans is not the crackdown on drug paraphernalia, but how broadly "paraphernalia" is being defined. According to the government cites Title 21 U.S. Code Service Section 863, a 1996 law concerning what constitutes paraphernalia. Among the many vague stipulations considered about a product under this law are "circumstantial evidence of the ratio of sales of the items to the total sales of the business, the existence and scope of legitimate uses in the community and expert testimony concerning its use, ... (and any) other logically relevant factors." Well, that clarifies everything.The fact that the federal government itself is determining the "existence and scope of legitimate uses" of these products and what factors are considered "logically relevant" is disheartening, as no government agency could ever make these decisions objectively, assuming the agency even understood the obscure jargon of this law. This is the type of stupidity of thought that tax-paying citizens should hold their representatives accountable for.Equally disappointing is that the two nationwide crackdowns, which the DEA smugly refer to as Operations Pipe Dream and Headhunter, come as this nation is going up and down the colors of the terror alert ladder and preparing for a possible war with Iraq. Given the tense nature of the current climate, not only is an attack on alleged marijuana pipes and their distributors by the federal government laughable, it is downright embarrassing. Though exact figures were never revealed by Ashcroft, the fact that these are U.S. tax dollars at work is clearly a shame.National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws Director Keith Stroup rightly identified Ashcroft as a man with a personal agenda possibly vying for future political advancement. Just like Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) used video game violence to propel himself up the political ladder, Ashcroft is taking on pipes.According to, Stroup said, "This latest enforcement is primarily an expression of extremism of this particular attorney general. President Bush and most of his serious advisers have more (important) work to focus on right now than whether someone's selling rolling papers and roach clips." Ashcroft probably has more important work to focus on, too.But when incarcerating actual drug dealers presents too much of a challenge, the easy-to-catch, law-abiding businessman is targeted. Just because marijuana can be put into a pipe should not make pipes illegal and their dealers criminal; such an assertion is comical. Pipes and bongs can be made from simple household items as well, such as two-liter bottles, soda cans and tinfoil. These items, too, must apparently be confiscated and destroyed by the government, as they can be broadly defined as drug paraphernalia. Really, anything can.According to this line of thought, guns should be illegal because they can be used as instruments of crime when loaded with bullets. One must totally disregard the fact that they have practical, legal uses. And as ridiculous as all this sounds, it is exactly what this nation's government is implying.In reality, a pipe in its own right hurts no one. Drug abuse may very well be a problem in this country, but destroying pipes with legal uses will do nothing to curb that problem. The issue does bring to light another, much bigger, problem: governmental irresponsibility. Unless U.S. citizens hold agencies such as the DEA and individuals such as Attorney General Ashcroft accountable, they will continue to persecute and prosecute innocent Americans, defining federal law as they see fit.Complete Title: Misplaced Aggression: Ashcroft Wasting Time and Money on Trivial Issues Source: Battalion, The (TX Edu)Author: George DeutschPublished: March 07, 2003 Copyright: 2003 The BattalionContact: mailcall thebatt.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:NORML's Pipe Nightmares on Head Shops Hits San Diego of Government: Wasted on Pipe Dreams
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Comment #6 posted by i420 on March 08, 2003 at 09:03:40 PT
Open letter to asscroft
Hey Asscroft, 
   We are all out of weedies.
If u didnt get it read the odd couple screenplay.
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Comment #5 posted by malleus2 on March 08, 2003 at 06:52:32 PT
"Ethnic cleansing", American style
Surely many of you have thought the same thing.Back when I was going to a liberal arts college, I ran into many fundamentalist types. To a greater or lesser extent, they were social outcasts. But the peculiar thing is that many of them were outcasts by choice.It wasn't so much their extreme beliefs (i.e. the Devil runs Earth, all the Jews must go to Israel so that World War 3 could begin, wiping out most Jews and ushering in a 1,000 year reign of peace on Earth, and other such ideas) but the fact that they chose to segregate themselves from the rest of the campus by associating only with other fundies.This only seemed to concentrate their extremism and make it even harder to communicate with them, as they saw the Devil tempting them in every mundane act.Needless to say, such extremism didn't sit well with their fellow students, who were more than willing to live and let live. But the fundie penchant for proselytizing tended to get them plenty of frowns. Which only added to their resentment of the secular world.And their desire to punish it.So now, we have fundie fruitcakes running the Justice Department. Fruitcakes who have 1 mile wide and 4 mile long chips on their shoulders for having been 'marginalized' by secular society for so long.A 'marginalization' that they created with their incessant demand that everyone believe as they do.For them, this is a long delayed payback against those easygoing stoners who refused to be brainwashed with fundie nonsense. In short, we are witnessing the latest stage in what can only be called culteral genocide. A.k.a 'ethnic cleansing'. The fundies see their opportunity to use the apparatus of the State to attack the very people they feel have hurt them in the past...while not recognizing that their own behavior is no different from that of the Romans who persecuted the early Christians.Which makes arch-fundie Ashcroft no better than Pontius Pilate.  
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Comment #4 posted by delariand on March 07, 2003 at 18:33:46 PT
I appreciate the concern Alvin
I've already posted of my activities on another website, or I probably wouldn't have here. I just wanted to illustrate the point that everything can be considered paraphenilia by the government's current definition.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on March 07, 2003 at 15:38:41 PT
Climbing the ladder
I like the comment about how Lieberman and Asscraft are persecuting others to advance their careers. That's what I was thinking about MP Randy White in Canada and medical MJ. All you have to do to get the full attention of the media is be the politician that opposes a med-MJ victim. Immediately the full spotlight of media exposure surrounds you, and validates everything you say as some kind of Natural Law. Drug policy reform activists have to work their asses off for years to get one article on the front page of the paper. Politicians are treated like God by the media.How disgraceful it is to exploit someone else's suffering for you own gain. 
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Comment #2 posted by AlvinCool on March 07, 2003 at 15:16:42 PT
Just a suggestion
delariand,I assume you live in the US. I would highly suggest you never make another comment like this online again. With Patriot Act II about to be enacted statements like this will do you no good. Stick to activism.Just my opinion, no flames please.
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Comment #1 posted by delariand on March 07, 2003 at 15:04:46 PT
Ridiculous paraphenilia laws
Over the weekend, I built a little closet garden, in which I plan to grow some marijuana. Everything I needed was easy to find at my local Home Depot, I just came in with a list and an employee told me where to find every item.I guess Ashcroft had better freeze the assets of the company, arrest the employees for conspiracy to manufacture illicit substances, and confiscate their entire inventory?
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