The Last Drug Czar

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  The Last Drug Czar

Posted by CN Staff on June 30, 2009 at 11:20:21 PT
By Eli Sanders  
Source: American Prospect 

USA -- In late May the new leader of America's fight against illegal drugs, Gil Kerlikowske, returned to Seattle, the dope-tolerating city where he'd previously served as police chief. As part of the visit, he stopped by a local morning radio talk show, where right off the bat he declared, "I'm ending the phrase, 'the war on drugs.'" As far as statements from high government officials go, it was a radical declaration. Kerlikowske, and by extension Barack Obama, was rejecting four decades of federal government marching orders -- a bold departure that would have been unthinkable in previous administrations. But even more striking than his announcement was the reaction: crickets.
It's not just that Kerlikowske made the statement in liberal Seattle or that he was seated inside the studio of a local National Public Radio affiliate when he spoke the words. The reaction had been similarly muted earlier that month, when he'd made a virtually identical comment to a very different audience, The Wall Street Journal and its readers, telling a reporter, "Regardless of how you try to explain to people it's a 'war on drugs' or a 'war on a product, ' people see a war as a war on them. ... We're not at war with people in this country." There was no immediate outcry, no conservative clamor for Kerlikowske's head, not much of anything except expressions of gratitude from drug-policy-reform advocates. It's easy to figure out why Kerlikowske's statement has been such a notable nonevent. For a majority of Americans, the failure of our militant anti-drug policy has now become self-evident. Recent polling found that more than 75 percent of people in this country think the drug war has not worked and will not work in the future. "Just say no" long ago morphed from a Nancy Reagan public-service announcement into a national punch line. Pot-smoking pop-culture figures are everywhere, from Woody Harrelson's open advocacy of marijuana legalization to Jennifer Aniston's nonchalant statement that "I enjoy it once in a while." The last three presidents have all admitted to trying drugs. Bill Clinton acknowledged he at least put a joint to his lips, though whether he actually inhaled or not remains fodder for comic speculation. George W. Bush artfully non-denied his past cocaine and marijuana use. And Barack Obama, who on the campaign trail memorably said, "The point was to inhale," wrote in his memoir, Dreams from My Father, that he "tried drugs enthusiastically" as a young man. The evolution of these three presidential candidate statements on the matter -- from Clinton's unbelievable denial to Bush's tacit admission to Obama's frank acceptance of past drug experimentation -- tracks neatly with the evolution of American attitudes toward the war on drugs. The national mood has shifted from unbelievable denial about the drug war's failure to frank acceptance, from tough-guy bravado about the need to chase down drug traffickers to sensitive instructions to look within ourselves for the sources of the drug problem. That is not to say that America is on the brink of an immediate, Amsterdam-like legalization scheme. Rather, we are moving into an era of new openness to different approaches, an openness that allowed Obama to call the war on drugs an "utter failure" on the campaign trail with decidedly positive results and, once he was president, appoint someone who agrees with his assessment. The Seattle radio host, Steve Scher, asked Kerlikowske why he wanted the job in the first place. Kerlikowske replied that he was excited by the opportunity to use his experience as a former police chief, in combination with the "bully pulpit" his new position provides, to "change the conversation." After all, he added, "the addiction problem, the drug problem in this country is much more complex than a 40-year-old metaphor for a war on drugs." The situation, he said, should instead be seen as "a public health problem where law enforcement is a big, key player." Kerlikowske, in other words, sees himself as a credible mouthpiece who can say the things that cops, conservatives, and other longtime drug warriors don't tend to want to hear from doctors who haven't spent time in squad cars. He can say, as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did in March on a trip to Mexico, that the drug problem is an addiction problem -- a demand problem requiring treatment just as much as it is a supply problem requiring police action. He's fine with Obama having demoted the drug czar post from Cabinet rank before he even got the job; in fact, Kerlikowske said he doesn't even want to be called "drug czar," a term coined back in 1988 by then-Sen. Joe Biden. He prefers "director" -- as in, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy -- though he jokes that his wife still likes the term "czarina." Given all this, one gets the distinct impression that Kerlikowske is positioning himself as a caretaker who can put an old model out to pasture while a new discussion is initiated. Scher asked the obvious next question: "Do you have power?" Kerlikowske first gave a short, technical answer about overseeing certain federal budget items. Then he gave a bland answer about having the support of the president and vice president. Later on he circled back to his focus on shifting the way we talk about drugs, which seems to be where he thinks the real power lies: ending the war metaphor, changing the conversation. This rhetoric-shifting strategy is trademark Obama. On everything from race relations to the Middle East mess to the torture debate, the president's style is to lay the foundation for a new discussion first and let that lead to a new policy. On drugs, the data clearly back up the idea that a change is needed -- and not just to the conversation. The United States now boasts the largest prison population on the planet, with some 2.3 million people behind bars. Almost a quarter of them are there for drug offenses, a half million people who make up a group larger than the entire prison population of this country in 1980. This unfortunate distinction is a direct result of the government's long-standing decision to respond to illegal drug use with a strategy that has mainly involved arrest and interdiction -- and, when that hasn't proved sufficient, more arrests and even grander interdiction schemes. To the dismay of decades of drug warriors, it turns out that the threat of arrest and, in some cases, harsh mandatory sentences has done nothing to halt the public's demand for illegal substances. Nor has it lessened the eagerness of street dealers and drug cartels to deliver those illegal substances to markets large and small. Close to half of all Americans report they have tried illegal drugs. Given this kind of persistent demand, it's no surprise that the targeting of suppliers hasn't succeeded. Take just one example: Under Plan Colombia, the United States spent more than seven years and $6 billion defoliating portions of the country where coca beans, the organic basis for cocaine, are grown. Yet today in Colombia, which supplies most of America's coke, there is more coca being grown than ever before. Nevertheless, the annual sums spent on the drug war have continued to balloon in an almost inverse relationship to its success: from $65 million during one year of the Nixon administration to over $20 billion per year during the second Bush administration. If, as Kerlikowske is saying, the government now believes that drugs cannot be defeated in a warlike manner, then other, long-neglected tools must be pulled off the shelf. In keeping with what Obama has said about basing federal policy on evidence and sound science, Kerlikowske says he wants to focus more on using proven public-health methods to treat drug addicts, curb the harm they do to themselves and their communities, and combat drug use in general. To make it all politically palatable, this type of change is being presented as a shift in emphasis and being compared -- like everything these days -- to a slow change in the course of an ocean liner, a change that won't really be noticed until a long time in the future. But given the path we've been on for so long, it is potentially something far more significant: a sharp left turn in terms of the perspective from which the drug problem is approached. The question is, will specific policy changes flow from the new conversation being pushed by Kerlikowske and Obama? Or is it, to reprise a campaign-season attack, "just words"? The only unambiguous (if largely symbolic) action so far has been to demote the drug czar from Cabinet rank. Obama said during the campaign that he supports needle-exchange programs but then failed to allocate funding for them in his proposed budget. The president also promised to end federal raids on legal medical-marijuana dispensaries, but the administration's early record on this is spotty. All of which has reform advocates scratching their heads and waiting to see what Kerlikowske actually does down the road. "He's the best drug czar we've ever had," said Sanho Tree, an expert on international drug trade at the Institute for Policy Studies. "Which isn't saying a lot. But I'm cautiously optimistic." In one of the grittier sections of downtown Seattle, inside a small storefront on Second Avenue, one gets a sense of how familiar Kerlikowske, 59, is with some of the first-step changes to federal drug policy that reformers have in mind. The storefront is sandwiched between a low-end nail salon and an unfinished high-end condo development, and the blue lettering on its window reads: Seattle Needle Exchange. Since 1989, it has been run by the local health department and funded by local tax dollars. A skinny white man walks in, pulls out a red cloth wallet, pulls from that wallet two used needle-and-syringe combinations, drops them into the mouth of a see-through container embedded in the counter, and picks up two clean needles and some sanitizing wipes -- all with no questions asked by the staff and few words other than "hello" exchanged between them. Signs hanging on the walls offer depression counseling, enrollment in narcotics anonymous, and advice such as "never lick your point before you shoot." The man leaves without taking much notice. But studies around the world, and statistics connected to this particular program, show that needle-exchange programs help even when they don't serve as portals into addiction counseling and treatment. A 1997 study published in The Lancet found that cities without needle-exchange programs saw a 6 percent increase in HIV infection among intravenous drug users while cities with such programs saw a 6 percent drop among the same population. The Seattle program exchanged about 3 million needles and placed 426 people in drug treatment last year. King County, in which Seattle sits, runs several similar needle-exchange centers and, consequently, the county has one of the lowest rates of HIV infection among intravenous drug users in the nation: 2 percent, a number that has been stable for the last 15 years. The whole program costs $1.1 million annually and, with the lifetime cost to treat someone with HIV estimated at around $385,000, it more than pays for itself if it prevents infections in just three people each year. But despite their effectiveness, federal funding for such programs has been prohibited since 1988, on the grounds that they encourage drug use. In fact, needle-exchange programs have proved effective at connecting addicts with treatment and slowing the spread of blood-borne diseases, Kerlikowske told the Senate Judiciary Committee during his confirmation process. He supported needle-exchange programs as Seattle's police chief, and he said that as drug czar he would "strongly consider the current research on the subject" -- research that, he told the committee, speaks favorably of needle-exchange results. As police chief, Kerlikowske also had to abide by an initiative that Seattle voters passed in 2003 mandating that police make arresting pot smokers their lowest priority. Kerlikowske opposed that measure, though not with incredible gusto, and he told the Judiciary Committee that the new law had "almost no effect on changing law-enforcement practices in Seattle." That could be understood to mean that police ignored the law and still went after low-level pot users, but in fact the reverse is true: the city was tolerant of individual, non-criminal pot smokers before the law passed, and it remained tolerant of them afterward. An annual event called Hempfest, held on the city's waterfront and reliably featuring clouds of pot smoke, always drew a light touch from Kerlikowske's department. (He defended this to the Judiciary Committee by saying he'd directed police not to tolerate open marijuana smoking but to police the event in a manner similar to a rock concert.) It's impossible to know what the experience in Seattle really taught Kerlikowske. He arrived in the city by way of Florida, where he was raised; the Army, into which he was drafted in 1970; the Nixon administration, where his role was to salute the president as he boarded Marine One; St. Petersburg, Florida, where he began his policing career; and Buffalo, New York, where he was Police Commissioner from 1994 to 1998. But it is clear that no great harm befell Seattle because of his policing practices, or because of his support for needle exchange, or because of the citizens' initiative that de-prioritized pot busts. In fact, a reasonable person could conclude that living in Seattle during Kerlikowske's tenure might have, at the very least, offered a lesson in favor of the decriminalization of marijuana. It's an idea that about 40 percent of Americans now support, and one that the Republican governor of California, Arnold Schwarzenegger, wants to study as a way of potentially increasing state revenue through possible taxes on the drug. In April, Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat from Virginia, announced that pot legalization is "on the table" as part of his sweeping reappraisal of the American criminal-justice system. However, Kerlikowske, like Obama, says he opposes marijuana decriminalization and approves of marijuana's current status as a Schedule 1 drug, which places it in the same category as heroin and morphine. When it comes to other drugs, Kerlikowske is in line with Attorney General Eric Holder -- and the president's campaign trail promises -- in wanting to fix the crack-powder sentencing disparity. (Crack possession carries a mandatory minimum prison sentence while powder cocaine possession does not. The result is tremendous racial disparities in drug sentencing.) He's also made a point of publicly noting Americans' abuse of legal pharmaceuticals, a part of the national drug problem that, once recognized, leads easily to discussion of which drugs should really be illegal, and why. Reformers hoped that Obama would appoint an experienced public-health hand as drug czar and thereby signal a truly stark break with the past. Kerlikowske doesn't fit that description but, as he's been pointing out, his police credentials will allow him to better sell this policy shift. Over the last four decades a lot of people have become accustomed to fighting drugs under the "war" rubric, chief among them law-enforcement agencies whose funding is now tied up in the old metaphor. As the Obama vetters surely realized, it's probably best for a former cop to be the one who stands up and tells them that the drug war needs to end. It also doesn't hurt that Kerlikowske comes with a personal connection to the demand problem. Earlier this year, after his name was floated as a likely drug czar nominee, it emerged that his son, Jeffrey, had once been arrested on drug-related charges. When he accepted the nomination, Kerlikowske turned the potential source of concern into a valuable personal connection to problems he would be addressing. "Our nation's drug problem is one of human suffering," he said. "As a police officer, but also in my own family, I have experienced firsthand the devastating effects that drugs can have on our youth, our families, and our communities." What's fascinating about this moment in the drug-reform debate is not just how strongly the tide has turned against the failed war strategy but also how little clarity there is on the ultimate end goal of policy reform. "There is no 18th amendment of drug prohibition that's going to be repealed," says Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of New York's Drug Policy Alliance. "Reform is only going to happen in an incremental way." Incremental is perhaps too strong a word for describing the actual reforms that have thus far come from Obama's promises to roll back the drug war. Just two days after the president was sworn in, federal drug-enforcement agents raided a medical-marijuana dispensary in South Lake Tahoe, California -- despite Obama's campaign pledge to end federal raids on legal medical-marijuana providers. The administration suggested the raid was a result of crossed wires at the Justice Department at a time when the new attorney general had not yet been approved. This, combined with Obama's failure to propose federal funding for needle-exchange programs, was taken as a worrisome sign by reform advocates, who say that remedying those two problems -- and bringing an end to the crack-powder sentencing disparity -- are important, realistic first-term reforms. But even if these changes all take place, they will at best represent tentative baby steps. "I don't expect Obama to do anything bold on drug policy in the first term," Nadelmann says. He believes that's the correct approach given the issue's volatile combination of increasing public support and entrenched stay-the-course constituencies. "I see this as a giant wave, and we're surfing that wave, for now. ... But I don't see the drug-war infrastructure crumbling quickly, if only because the old mind-sets have been there for a long time and there are powerful interests vested in the status quo." Sanho Tree, of the Center for Policy Studies, agrees. "It's very difficult to predict tipping points, and when it happens it's going to happen quickly," he says. "We are already at the tipping point societally in terms of ending the drug war. But the people who have to act on this are in Congress, and they won't do so because they have to face re-election. A lot of these politicians have fairly reptilian brains -- you know, fire, burn, bad. ... They think that because something was toxic a few years ago, it's still toxic today." Which raises the possibility that the greater policy changes in this arena during the Obama administration may actually come from the states, many of which are in various stages of liberalizing their marijuana laws -- a sort of gateway reform, to borrow a phrase. In April, 56 percent of Californians reported that they favored legalizing marijuana, taxing it, and using the proceeds to pay down the state's budget deficit. And last November, voters in Massachusetts effectively decriminalized marijuana, making possession of less than an ounce punishable by only a civil fine of $100. If Obama and Kerlikowske sit back, let the states work as laboratories for drug-law changes, and focus simply on changing the tenor of the discussion in D.C. while also achieving a few modest federal policy reforms, it will, in fact, amount to a significant change. And it will be a step toward achieving what Obama, when asked about drug-policy reform during the campaign, said he believes in: "shifting the paradigm." Eli Sanders is the senior staff writer for The Stranger, an alternative weekly in Seattle. Source: American Prospect, The (US)Author: Eli Sanders Published: June 29, 2009 Copyright: 2009 The American Prospect, Inc. Contact: letters prospect.orgURL: Justice Archives

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Comment #63 posted by museman on July 04, 2009 at 16:01:17 PT
No trying to prop up anyones character, I suppose they are 'guilty' in that sense. And you are absolutely right that fame and fortune is no excuse for bad behavior, even if the media glorifies it.I have pre teen memories of a different Elvis than the haunted, over-weight, pill-popping,'treasonous' patsy for Hoover that he became. And I watched MJ metamorph all the way from "ABC". I watched the innocence, and humanity of both get sucked/drained dry by an unforgiving world.Nugent on the other hand started off as an obnoxius egomaniac- as far as I can tell, and his 'fame' is not from his talent, but from his producers and money-backed, marketing. MJ and Elvis are in the Music, and Rock 'm Roll Hall of Fame. I doubt if Ted is, and if so, palms were greased no doubt.But I guess the one thing, is that both MJ and Elvis are forever suspended in the images we last associated with them, and they can no longer correct any errors that they might have made. They are gone from this world forever.
 Nugent is still here, stinking up the place. -and fortunately not with music.PeaceFREE CANNABIS FOREVER
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Comment #62 posted by BGreen on July 04, 2009 at 13:07:49 PT
museman, re: the nugent reference
As a musician and person who owned no Elvis or Michael Jackson records, but who jammed my teenage ass off to three Nugent albums, Ted Nugent, Free For All and Cat Scratch Fever, let me clarify my comment.You'll notice I used the word "treasonous" in that comparison. I refer to the definition of treason as being "the betrayal of a trust or confidence," which is what all three are guilty of.Nugent, with his latest offer to become the Drug Czar, saying "Hippies, dopeheads, corrupt politicos and various forms of human debris hate me, making me the perfect for the job," ignores that he would be nothing except a loud-mouthed animal killer if it weren't for all of the "hippies and dopeheads" like the teenage BGreen who bought his albums.By supporting the DEA and the war on illegal drugs, both Presley and Jackson f #$ed over millions of their fans, all the while hypocritically stuffing their mouths and veins with drugs much more dangerous than MY choice of medicine, blind to their own hypocrisy.Talent doesn't excuse us from behaving like human beings, even if your last name is Presley or Jackson.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #61 posted by museman on July 04, 2009 at 10:59:54 PT
The sad truth, is that both Jackson and Presley were victims of their own fame.The paranoia that comes to some creative minds exposed to the inundation of public adoration, leads to situations where they can be exploited and used by status qo wormtongues for any propaganda they choose. Celebrity has been used by the status quo since Rome had its favorite Gladiators.I surely do not support the political platforms that they were led to appear to embrace. Don't forget how the status quo raked Michael over the coals of 'morality' and 'behavior' that was 'outside the parameters of acceptability.' Michael was a tragic figure, and even though I never really liked his music all that much, I don't think he was really deserving of all the mockery and derision he had to suffer through in his final years. What does a person do who cannot take one step without cameras and reporters jamming into their lives 24/7? The man obviously had some issues with his own self esteem. With a world that throws expectations of some kind of super-person -because of celebrity- at anyone who achieves a modicum of 'success' in mainstream awareness, creative, passive, meek personalities like Jackson easily get confused over who they are. How many times have celebrity tried to tell us and the paparazzi that they are 'just people.'Yes both Michael and Elvis were 'filthy rich' and over-the-top in decadence in the way they flaunted their wealth and tossed it around like it grew on trees in their back yards,
but they gave a lot of people joy and happiness with their music. And their gifts were a lot more deserving than 99% of the fake product and middlemen 'services' that get rich through global vampirism.Lumping that talentless hack Nugent in with these sad, but truly talented artists is not copescteic.RIP MICHAEL
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Comment #60 posted by FoM on July 03, 2009 at 13:44:13 PT
You like him! Oh no! LOL!
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Comment #59 posted by BGreen on July 03, 2009 at 13:09:09 PT
Michael Jackson and Elvis Presley
Both of these men were apparently no better than Ted Nugent in their hypocrisy and treasonous actions towards millions.Presley and Jackson stood on an anti-drug platform all the while killing themselves with prescription drugs.I can never forgive Presley and his Nixon/DEA charade, and the fact that Jackson was taking drugs so dangerous they're only used in the operating room yet 800,000 + people are still arrested for the non-life-threatening cannabis plant makes it hard for me to have any sympathy or compassion for this fraud and hypocrite, no matter how talented he might have been.I really don't care if anybody wants to inject themselves with Diprivan, the FDA approved safe and effective drug that is so deadly your vitals must be constantly monitored while taking it, but when you concurrently stand up for cannabis prohibition, you need to just shut the hell up and die with the needle in your arm and your mouth shut.The Reverend Bud Green
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Comment #58 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 11:51:45 PT
I enjoyed catching a glimpse of the Cavemen.
Not enough to watch the series they had for a while. But they were seriously cute. Cute in a hairy, brooding sort of way.
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Comment #57 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 11:49:47 PT
Don't mess with my lizard!:0)I'm partial to him.
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Comment #56 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 11:48:12 PT
Off topic... too.
I haven't been reading too much of the Michael Jackson tragedy, but I did see something that sort of made me smile. I hadn't realized he'd pulled a George Foreman. All three of those children, including the girl, are legally named Michael.I think that's odd... but loving.
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Comment #55 posted by FoM on July 03, 2009 at 11:43:44 PT
I thought it was a creative commercial. It is different for sure. If I never see a Free Credit Report commercial ever again it would be too soon. Same with Slimfast. Not to mention Geico. Now Progressive is doing the same thing as Geico. 
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Comment #54 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 11:38:36 PT
I've looked it over and experimented with it a bit.It's bookmark worthy for having that commercial alone.
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Comment #53 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 11:33:22 PT
I love it when the woman makes the bird noise
and I'm already laughing and just lose it when I see that lady go "Hyundai!" like that. I love it.
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Comment #52 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 11:28:41 PT
Comment 50
That is so funny.
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Comment #51 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 11:25:41 PT
Oh yes!
I noticed those!I couldn't have told you what it was about other than search overload. I sort of like search overload. That's how I surf sometimes. Probably means you stayed on the net for a long time and did a lot of intense searching.It's funny how they talk, or read... in their minds... outloud, about as quickly as, probably, most people might scroll through the results of a search. That caught my attention.They are funny.
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Comment #50 posted by FoM on July 03, 2009 at 09:23:59 PT
Here's a Bing Commercial
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Comment #49 posted by FoM on July 03, 2009 at 09:20:10 PT
A person is asked a question and another person starts rattling off all the possible answers to the question like a robot. I really thought it was funny. Information overload is the theme and simplifying it by using Bing was the purpose of the commercial. 
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Comment #48 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 09:14:59 PT
Bing commercials...
I'm not sure if I've noticed them or not. What happens in them?
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Comment #47 posted by FoM on July 03, 2009 at 08:07:43 PT
A Good Song For a No News Day So Far
Hey Hey My My from Rio
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Comment #46 posted by FoM on July 03, 2009 at 07:31:49 PT
Have you seen a Bing commerical on tv yet? They are funny. I love the Internet and I use it to help me to learn about any issue of importance to me personally. As far as interacting with people I have always stepped back. I don't like to argue and it's hard for anyone to force me into a fight if I won't take the bait. I am happy with the direction we are going now. I know we have serious problems in the USA but we have had them before and they too will pass. 
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Comment #45 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 07:17:15 PT
There was another of those type shows a few years ago that showed them planning and carrying out busts on people. It was a propaganda tool... but they messed up. Went too far and showed too much. Terrifying people in their homes. Babies screaming... terrified. It had more of a "What the hell?" effect than they intended it to. Through it all... in spite of their blindness... it showed that there was... big time... something not really right about what they were doing.You were supposed to think... "Oh these dang dope people... look what they are subjecting themselves and their children to." But it began to be obvious that the law enforcement tactics were way over the top... which they are of course, and a major part of what was really wrong. But people didn't like seeing it nearly as much as they thought they would. Over time it became obvious that the "Heroes" weren't such shiny, marvelous "Good guys" as they liked to purport themselves to be.I know they are still doing stuff like that to people... but the general public, obviously, didn't like seeing it as much as they thought they would... and it definitely began to wear the wrong way in their propaganda efforts.
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Comment #44 posted by Hope on July 03, 2009 at 07:01:27 PT
Cops and Facebook
I never watch Cops. One reason I'm here is because of fury over the way a young man was treated over cannabis on that show. But a friend does and she told me about that one with the pants. It sounds much funnier than seeing it, I'm sure.And Facebook... and My Space and all that. I don't like them either. I read some of them... but don't post. I feel the same way about it. I warn people to not be crazy about what they put up on those sites. Too personal... too much... and I don't really like it. I think it's just hilareous to imagine FoM standing back and throwing stuff at it, though.Cannabis News and other policy sites is and are really all I can barely keep up with anyway.Still... standing back and throwing stuff at it.... I love that.
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Comment #43 posted by Had Enough on July 03, 2009 at 06:26:02 PT
People United for Medical Marijuana – Florida
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Comment #42 posted by knowhemp on July 02, 2009 at 21:16:44 PT:
Honestly, Facebook freaks me out. It's best for sharing links but as far as getting personal on it... I would advise against it - EVERYONE can read that stuff! I'm amazed at what people write.These are not my pants! LOLThere was an episode where the guy had a J in his ear and didn't know it. It was funny, but at the same time 'Cops' is another propaganda tool and the real problem with that guy is he was drunk. They're very select in their portrayal of police and the footage they choose for the show. Obviously.
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Comment #41 posted by Hope on July 02, 2009 at 21:05:51 PT
Comment 37 Knowhemp
So true. They will accuse you of things and say things like they found something to get you to freak and maybe you'll tell them something... or something.I heard about a guy on cops or a cops type tv show... the popo found something in his pants pocket. He immedicately said, "These are not my pants!" I love that story."These are not my pants!"
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Comment #40 posted by Hope on July 02, 2009 at 21:01:47 PT
FoM ... Face book...
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Comment #39 posted by Hope on July 02, 2009 at 21:00:26 PT
Cool brothers you have there. I like that Hangman song and video. A lot!It's the only one I've listened to so far... but it's very, very good.
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Comment #38 posted by FoM on July 02, 2009 at 18:33:44 PT
Thank you for sharing your link. I have listen to a of the couple songs so far and I like them. You are welcome about the Neil Young video. I just checked and they haven't pulled it yet. That surprises me. As far as Facebook I send articles to Facebook but I have no idea how to use Facebook. After I send an article to Facebook I have no idea how to find it! That's bad! LOL!I hope you have a nice holiday weekend!
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Comment #37 posted by knowhemp on July 02, 2009 at 17:58:18 PT:
Rookie cops
3) Deny any accusation or query about "smoking marijuana" or possession.This saved my ass once. Cops are funny, had us all on the curb with flashlights in our faces - they asked my nephew "why his eyes weren't converging properly" and why my "tongue was green" and if I had been smoking "marijuana" I told him I smoked a cigarette earlier. (I don't smoke cigarettes) and they searched the car and said they had evidence. I denied everything and the case was tossed out.
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Comment #36 posted by knowhemp on July 02, 2009 at 17:54:15 PT:
How can I find you on Facebook? Please email me if you like...On another note, loved the Neil Young video - great energy.
Probably posted this before but these are my older brothers to give you an idea of who I am:
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Comment #35 posted by Hope on July 02, 2009 at 16:43:08 PT
He's seven foot tall. He'd laugh.You'll laugh someday, too. How lucky could you be? A seven foot tall, three hundred pound officer in their hot rod Charger? Man!But you survived it.And I'm glad.
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Comment #34 posted by Hope on July 02, 2009 at 16:39:23 PT
Oh yes...
Knightshade... I know you can't help but feel angry... but don't be too angry too long. It makes bad chemicals in your body that poison it and, imagine, if he knew... he might laugh and that would be even more poisonous. So don't eat yourself up being mad."First time for everything! Oh... my ears still ring!"
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Comment #33 posted by Hope on July 02, 2009 at 16:29:39 PT
Well, that's glum.What I think?Dang! I'm sorry. You're ok. You came through it. Consider yourself blessed it wasn't worse than it was. 1. Rejoice! Good grief! You made it. :0)2. Wear your safety belt right at all times, driving or passenger from now on. Just do it.3. Have a yard or garage sale. Everybody has something worth something to someone that they'd be, or might be better off without.4. Don't let it hang over you forever and ever and get you picked up and taking the ride someday.5. Rejoice again... be happy when you pay it.6, Feel better. You did ok. Amazing ok. 7. Be cool. Breathe....Well maybe that's seven cents worth. Anyway.I know these encounters with these people can be alarming. Some behave very intimidatingly. Some just are. I kind of perfer encountering the professional but fatherly type. Not cunning or threatening or anything ... not good. With some of the things we all know that law enforcement has done to so many people over the last few decades, right on up to now.  My theory is "Oh no! If it could happen to them it could happen to me!"I stay as calm as I possibly can. I've found what I think of as "Run ins with the law" a bit alarming sometimes, since I was a small child. Not to mention irritating and scary, and of course, financially stressful. Pay the ticket as soon as you can... and rejoice all the way home. Well not too much... you don't want another ticket.
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Comment #32 posted by museman on July 02, 2009 at 15:08:07 PT
surviving cops
1) Never give in. Remember Silence is a right.2) Always try to have witnesses, If you have no witnesess skip to number 5.3) Deny any accusation or query about "smoking marijuana" or possession.4) do not let them search your vehicle without demonstrable probable cause, or warrant. And if they have these things, insist on having a Federal Marshal witness the proceedings to make sure that no funny business occurs, like planting evidence.5) Always be calm. Show no fear, but likewise no antagonism towards the cops. Accept their 'enforcement' when they threaten you with violence, but not when they threaten you with 'law.' Remember these automatons work for us, the people, and they must always be reminded of this.6) Your 'Day in Court' is your greatest opportunity for justice (slim as it is), and due to the bully-like nature of everything 'justice system' if you stand up to them with conviction of your own innocence -of any actual, REAL crime- you will triumph.The lawyer, judges, cops and other things part of the injustice club, like their 'work' to be easy, so if you put truth into their legaleze ritual, freedom comes easier than you might think. Particularly when it concerns something that Yah has given us free and clear of all false claims to the contrary. And it works real well when there are regular people in the courtroom witnessing it. Of course if the D.A. judges cops and lawyers have it in for you, divine intervention may be your only hope. That works too for those who understand what that really is.My 'credentials;'For 23 years I drove all over the continental United States, buses and cars, without a drivers license, insurance, and half of the time in an unregistered vehicle with expired tags. In that time I collected 3 tickets for driving while suspended, 1 for no drivers license, 2 for no tags, all for the original terribly criminal negligence of having a tiny crack in my rear tailight in 1977.Twice I have been busted for growing pot, and both times I witnessed the power of both the truth, and divine intervention -kind of working together- save my ass.FREEDOM COMES TO THOSE WHO SEIZE IT DAILY
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Comment #31 posted by George Servantes on July 02, 2009 at 09:09:11 PT
You did what you did you thought was right thing to do, and I wouldn't tell you you should do this or that. Not all of us are same, and sometimes it's better to be nice since you didn't have anything illegal in your car.
I am sorry this happened to you, you have been just another victim of drug war, it was clear that he was searching you and your vehicle for illegal drugs or plants.When we end the drug war, we won't have situations like this anymore in our country of great freedoms.
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Comment #30 posted by FoM on July 02, 2009 at 04:46:55 PT
It's good to see you and thank you. I post most articles on Facebook but I haven't ever checked it out. I like to keep my thoughts on CNews and the people who post here. I don't like mind clutter. Maybe Twitter etc. are great but for me it probably would be information overload.
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Comment #29 posted by GeoChemist on July 02, 2009 at 04:04:31 PT
That's what happens when semi-retarded people are given guns and power. I don't know how the system is set up in Florida, but I would ask for a hearing and plead my case. Pull out all the stops, generally magistrates are pretty level-headed about stupid things fro, stupid cops....End of line
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Comment #28 posted by knowhemp on July 02, 2009 at 00:08:08 PT:
Give thanks
Hi all,
Haven't posted in a long time and just wanted to say that I'm really impressed by the Cannabis News community. I read here almost everyday and see that over the years (I think 5 for me) the thread that weaves everyone here together is strong as hemp! Good on all of you, and thanks so much for all the golden information and sensibility.  Knightshade... with a record as clean as yours I'm sure you were sweating fear out of your pores-and cops read fear as guilt. It is very hard to say no to a cop if you've never done it before and certainly when you have nothing to pay a ticket with and doubly when a cop is the size of Shaq. I don't blame you for letting him search the vehicle, but it is better to say no and exercise your rights even if there's nothing to hide. Don't let it shake you for too long.PS - if CS had a facebook page I'd subscribe and all my friends would get a slice ;) (although the Facebook thing creeps me out to the point where I had to cancel my account for a week just to get back to normal - don't ask me why)
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Comment #27 posted by Canis420 on July 01, 2009 at 22:18:15 PT:
Florida cops
are absolute jerks. I would not of let him search my vehicle though. They have asked several times and I say no. If they ask why I say its a matter of principle. I have never been challenged when I give this response
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Comment #26 posted by RevRayGreen on July 01, 2009 at 20:04:47 PT
Hope:#22 from Carl Olsen
google Dave Watson+Hortafarm+GW PharmacuticalsSubject: RE: [IowaMedicalMarijuana] The DEA Sativex Connection-HortaPharm is DEA or CIA ?"I worked with David Watson for 6 years, from 1994 to 1999, but I never met him. We published an online journal on the Internet"Here is a link to the journal:Carl
1994 to 1999 online journal 
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Comment #25 posted by knightshade on July 01, 2009 at 19:59:59 PT:
OT: Just got my first ticket
I know this might seem a little left-field, but its driving me insane, and since you're all sane, rational people, I thought you might provide your thoughts.OK, so i woke up at about 8pm. walked the dog and everything, washed my mouth out with orange-flavored listerine, and went to the gas station down the road that i go to at least twice a day. on my way back, i was pulled over by a florida state trooper in an undercover charger. (i rarely get pulled over but the last time was for dark window tint. i scraped it off. this chargers tint was twice as dark as mine. foul number 1).now, i had no idea why i was being pulled over, and was pretty frightened when i, at 120lbs, saw that the cop was 7ft tall and 300 pounds, with a tool-belt full of death.he asked for my license and everything, and said that why he pulled me over was because i wasnt wearing my seat belt. i was wearing it, but i had the chest strap part behind me, as im sure you or someone you know probably does. he didnt act like it was a big deal. so he wanted me to stand outside the car while he ran my id. when he came back, he accused me of being drunk (this is where the listerine part was relevant). he had me take off my hat, and follow a pen with my eyes only, while his flashlight and brightass LED cop lights were flashing in my eyes. he gave up on that. had me empty all 10 of my pockets and took the knife that i keep strapped to my belt. ive been carrying one since i was 4, mind you. again, didnt act like it was a big then he wanted to search the car. i cut him off and said go right ahead before he finished asking. the frst place he checked was the ash tray (haha). looked all around and came back and asked me if anyone had smoked marijuana in my car. i said noooo sir, i smoke black n milds in there sometimes,, he gives me my knife back, and tells me that he could have arrested me for carrying a concealed weapon. then, he gives me a ticket for wearing my seat belt improperly, for 104 DOLLARS!! i just spent my last 10 at the gas station!apparently florida passed a new law today that lets them pull you over only for not wearing a seat belt. they needed another excuse before. and apparently the fee used to be 30. now its 104. and i am flat, i got back in the car, wiped the ass off my lips which i incurred being so nice to the cop out of fear of being beaten/shot/tased, and came home. where i intend on staying. forever. i dont even want to go out there anymore, and be at risk for even greater inconvenience for minding my own god damn business.oh, and the most important part? i have Zero record. no arrests, no tickets of any kind until now, not a damn thing. so he had no reason to hassle me about anything. so yeah... what do YOU guys think about this situation?and thanks for reading my rant and letting me vent. 
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Comment #24 posted by GeoChemist on July 01, 2009 at 04:19:12 PT
Here is what I sent to Gil/ONDCP a minute ago: I, as a citizen of this country am very disturbed by this statement by the director: "The situation, he said, should instead be seen as "a public health problem where law enforcement is a big, key player."
So a high school diploma/GED and a certificate from junior college is qualification to deal with public health problems? There are stiff penalties for impersonating a police officer, good thing there aren't stiff penalties for impersonating a physician. I didn't realize law enforcement were so smart, makes one wonder why they are cops in the first place. On the war on drugs, changing nomenclature means absolutley NOTHING without a change in action/policy. This office needs to be dissolved. Do you remember the phrase this country was founded on? Of the people, by the people, for the people? Well the people don't want you or anyone elses false moral authority. Remember where your cushy salaries come from and WHOM you REALLY work for. Good day.
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 23:25:02 PT
I can't read that stuff... I'm not equipped! There's a note at the bottom that says:(do a “save as” if you want to keep it). Warning for serious readers only! May cause severe short term depressions. (have your medicine ready and be sure you have enough for a few weeks...)
---------------------------------------------------------I think I've already read it though... ill prepared then, too. I'll check more of it out when I can.
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Comment #22 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 23:11:19 PT
Good grief, Rev!
I haven't seen that. It's so convoluted... and I'm tired and ready to go to bed...but I keep seeing DEA Informant and DEA permits and Sativex. I'll have to look at in the morning with fresher eyes. But it looks ugly. Really ugly.Is it true? Do you know?
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Comment #21 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 23:02:00 PT
Coca beans?
I missed that, Afterburner. Guess this piece isn't as flawless as I first thought."impatient for compassionate results"My patience grows thin, too. It's been a very long, sad struggle.
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Comment #20 posted by afterburner on June 30, 2009 at 22:14:11 PT
'coca beans'???
Eli Sanders seems to be confusing cacao beans (chocolate) with coca leaves. Overall a good article though. I hope we can stand the suspense of the step by step gradualism that Obama, Kerlikowske and Nadelmann seem to think is the necessary path to cannabis reform. Schedule 2 seems like a worthy interim goal; both Canada and UK have adopted lower schedules years ago.My heart goes out to those still denied access to medical cannabis and those actively persecuted for their access activity. Their suffering and sometimes deaths make me impatient for compassionate results. Let the debate continue. Let the politicians adjust to the citizen support for change we can believe in.
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Comment #19 posted by RevRayGreen on June 30, 2009 at 22:04:11 PT
Not sure if this was posted already
The Drug Enforcement Administration/US Government connection with Sativex. 
The DEA/GW Sativex Connection
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 21:46:55 PT
Hey, The GCW!
Good to hear from you. I was beginning to wonder if you were ok.I agree with you completely about Kerlikowske's statement, "a public health problem where law enforcement is a big, key player." I hope you're not right about the rest of your prediction, but I know you could be.
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Comment #17 posted by HempWorld on June 30, 2009 at 21:42:32 PT
Kevin Zeese
(for the record PAX HUMANIS POSTERIUM) Kevin Zeese is a good man! One of my own, if I can say so. I've met and had good, heated discussions with Kevin, but, besides being a good man, we quickly indentified our differences. Kevin, if I understand him correctly, does not believe what I published on regarding US history and hemp/cannabis. So, I respecfully disagree with Kevin, I have my own history and background, so be it.Have you hear of HAL? (not science fiction, but the Holland America Line? ...) This is it! Sorry Kevin.
Read This! The Real Reasons! Very Scary!
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Comment #16 posted by The GCW on June 30, 2009 at 21:34:56 PT
Kerlikowski's a tool to limit police union losses.
Kerlikowski is moving in the right direction but that's about it.I feel like anything He does will first please the law enforcement unions of America.***Law enforcement unions have to be aware and SCARED of the direction America is moving in and they must be shacking with withdrawal symptoms.***I feel as though Kerlikowski is being used to limit the damage to police unions.He isn't going to give more than cops are willing to give.He is going to give crumbs and attempt to make Us feel good about it.He is going to give only a small portion of what the country desperatly needs and in effect it will harm the country further. We want the whole banquet.Not just change direction- (and drag Our heels or stop)
-We must then RUN with the ball.
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Comment #15 posted by The GCW on June 30, 2009 at 21:18:54 PT
Excuse Me,
"""The situation, he said, should instead be seen as "a public health problem where law enforcement is a big, key player.""" I don't see it quite that way. There are responsible adults who have addiction issues and unless they become less than responsible to the extent that they are harmful to the general population, then police should not be a "big, key player."They shouldn't be a player at all, that is for the responsible citizen to deal with, just like alcoholism. If an alcoholic lives with their lifestyle with out harming other people... then so be it.Also, what other health problems invite law enforcement as a "big, key player?" -Not cancer, not MS, AIDS, nicotine addiction, broken hips, migranes, etc....I don't think cops get it; not even cops that are starting to GET IT.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 20:23:16 PT
That sounds good...
His performance transports you... sort of.Nice.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 19:03:50 PT
The way amphitheatres  are set up when he starts playing Rockin in The Free World it rolls over you. It's something hard to explain how it takes you somewhere else. I don't return to a normal place sometimes for a day or two. He is an amazing musician.
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 18:53:28 PT
I know that was fun....
attending that concert.He certainly gave them a great show.The two symbols on that guitar strap are about two things that can be very good for the body and soul, it seems to me.What a performance.
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Comment #11 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 18:02:49 PT
Yes I did noticed. That is his Peace Sign guitar strap. He has always used it since I have been following his later career. And his guitar Old Black. I'll never forget hearing him play Rockin in the Free World Live. 
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 17:42:12 PT
Neil Young at Glastonbury Comment 7
Did you notice his guitar strap?I'm sure you did.It's so cool!I love it.
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Comment #9 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 17:33:35 PT
Sanho Tree, Kevin Zeese, Richard Lake...
There are so many brilliant people that have been working so hard for so long towards our goals and with very little recognition.I appreciate them. They are heroes in my book.Of course, there's many more working steadily behind the scenes and several with names that come to mind more quickly to most people, perhaps. But these three come to my mind quite often, along with Mr. Nadelmann and others, as having done particularly admirable work and devoted themselves so much to making things better and seeking more justice for all people.Eric Sterling... Jo-D Harrison...Jacki and Gary...
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 17:24:17 PT
Comment 7
Oh my gosh!That gave me goose bumps!Wonderful!
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 15:00:29 PT
OT: If Anyone Wants To See This
You better do it quickly before it's gone.It's almost 10 minutes long.Neil Young- Glastonbury'09 "Keep On Rockin' In The Free World"
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 13:49:48 PT
Sanho Tree: Institute For Policy Studies
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 13:31:25 PT
I like the way he put that. And the part about "Turning an ocean liner".The way Mr. Sanders writes encourages the thought processes. And God knows we need more people to think and not just move mindlessly with the herd.
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 13:24:09 PT
Eli Sanders
This is so very written and put together. Mr. Sanders is an outstanding writer. To the point, very well informed, and easily understood. Outstanding work.I appreciate Mr. Tree's and Mr. Nadelmann's statements and thoughts very much. They have spoken well for us for many, many years, I think. They haven't faltered. They are truly admirable men. They both have been fighting for this reform for a very long time, and they are stronger and more well spoken and thoughtful than ever. Not to mention, right, smart, sensible, and wise.This piece is so very well done and informative and true, through and through. We, of course, are aware of all these things being reported in this article, but if people that don't keep up with this stuff like we do, read this carefully, they will be amazingly well informed after having read it.Very good. Very good.
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Comment #3 posted by dongenero on June 30, 2009 at 12:51:00 PT
"I'm ending the phrase, 'the war on drugs.'"
........But even more striking than his announcement was the reaction: crickets. There had better be just crickets. For the "personal responsibility" and "small government" conservatives, the time has come to put up or shut up.Well, no one expects conservatives will "put up" by offering anything of value or substance to the dialogue. At least they seem to be shutting up on this one. For now. As soon as there is some political expediency to be had, they'll squeek again.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 12:15:55 PT

OT: Good News
I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!  -- Stuart Smalley ***Court Declares Franken The Winner of Minnesota Senate Race
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 12:03:17 PT

Keeping My Fingers Crossed
Maybe we will finally have a chance at a common sense approach to drug policy.
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