Pulling Drug War from Shadows

Pulling Drug War from Shadows
Posted by FoM on August 29, 2000 at 06:22:41 PT
By Frank Lingo - Special to The Star
Source: Kansas City Star 
Some lingering visions and voices from the Los Angeles Shadow Convention but first an update from the drug war's front lines. President Clinton is visiting Colombia this week after casually waiving the human-rights provision of his billion dollar bonus to Colombia's military. Amnesty International has said Clinton must insist that human rights be restored there and that repercussions should come to the paramilitary perpetrators of massacres that occurred recently. 
Clinton is politically complicit in those murders. Back in the good old USA, a parody newspaper called Los Angeles Crimes, read: "Drug Czar McCaffrey Declares "Total Victory" Over Bill of Rights." The spoof said "the Bill of Rights will be led in chains down, ironically enough, Constitution Avenue." Unfortunately, there's a lot of truth to the joke. The people know it even if the politicians don't. California state Sen. Tom Hayden compared the politicians' problem to another phony fear of the '50s and '60s. "It's like being called soft on communism. They don't want to be called soft on drugs," said Hayden, a backer of his state's Proposition 36. This voter initiative would place those on first and second time possession arrests in treatment not prison. Since politicians aren't involved, it should pass comfortably. Rep. Charles Rangel, a New York Democrat who is perhaps America's most powerful black politician, has apparently changed his tune. The Harlem congressman had been a vociferous force in favor of the drug war that has filled the jails with his black brethren. But now Rangel noted that "we have more prisoners than China -- and we are talking about political prisoners." It's good to get Rangel on board because if the Democrats win back control of the House of Representatives, he'll be House Ways and Means chairman. Then he could cut off funding for the drug war. In front of the Shadow stage paraded a posse of pot pariahs. One by one they told their stories. A woman removed her hat to show a bald head, explaining that she has ovarian cancer. She told of repeated harassment from the government for using marijuana, which she says allows her to eat and feel halfway alive. Another woman told of her husband, a Vietnam veteran with post-traumatic stress disorder, who is in prison for growing his own medicine: marijuana. Incidentally, this disorder is not well understood for its devastating effect on veterans' lives. Vietnam vets have killed themselves in appalling numbers, estimated by some to be over 100,000. Their stories weighed heavy on the heart. And all this despite California voters legalizing medical marijuana in 1996. Isn't it lovely to have the federal government protecting us? There was also a panel on the drug MDMA, or Ecstasy, which has been scarily sensationalized by the media for its connection to dancing parties called raves. Charles Grob, director of child and adolescent development at UCLA, said there had been a lack of truthful information about MDMA's reports of brain damage. He said heatstroke was really the culprit for many problems at raves and that 50 percent of the drugs claimed to be MDMA were really methamphetamine or other substances. "All drugs have risks," said Grob, but "MDMA might be a powerful new adjunct for psychiatry." An old bald bearded guy came onstage in a wheelchair. Ram Dass, formerly psychologist Richard Alpert of the famed Harvard LSD experiments in the '60s, is recovering from a stroke and speaks slowly. He said smoking marijuana controled some of the spastic reactions from the stroke and some of the pain. "It gives me perspective so I can look at the stroke with a certain love and witnessing of it." "We've had the information age, now we'll have the consciousness age," said Ram Dass. "The politicians don't want the populace to see clearly. What we're doing here is freeing consciousness." Frank Lingo can be reached by e-mail at franklingo earthlink.netRelated Articles & Web Sites:Published: August 28, 2000Source: Kansas City Star (MO)Copyright: 2000 The Kansas City StarContact: letters kcstar.comAddress: 1729 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo. 64108Feedback: Shadow Conventions Shadow Convention 2000 News Board Articles On The Shadow Conventions: CannabisNews Articles On The Shadow Conventions: 
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