Monday, January 30, 2006

Rant N' Roll

America holds tremendous value for the world, particularly through the ideals which are espoused through the smudged print of its brittle constitution. But I feel great sorrow and anger when I consider that principles such as personal liberty and responsibility are treated as antiquated relics or impediments to "getting the job done", and are harnessed as sound-bite opportunities for political gain in a tainted system. Many of our so-called representatives have sold the interests and civil liberties of the people down the river, as if they were livestock to be traded.

Some fear-mongering politicians claim we must choose between liberty and security. They advocate warrantless wiretapping, specious wars (on drugs, Iraq, obesity - pick your flavor), and torture. Though they know our courts are imperfect (innocent people are often convicted), they support the death penalty (none dare call it murder), even for nonviolent (though ethically repugnant) crimes such as drug smuggling. They have built the world's largest prison system, incarcerating a higher percentage of the population than any nation on earth, in the name of a war on drugs to "protect the children", while simultaneously releasing thousands of child predators, rapists and killers onto our streets. These corrupt officials act like latent pedophiles, treating their constituents like children and then looking for any excuse to put their hands all over them, even inside them, "for our own good". They have attempted to mechanize humanity. And this is happening right here, in the "land of the free". We don't even own our own bodies anymore. It seems that slavery was not abolished after all, it merely became more covert.

The chickens have finally come home to roost, and the wolves are in our hen house. The pigs may be eating from gold-encrusted plates, but they can't hide their stench. Though America is the world's longest existing democratic republic, the citizenry must remain vigilant against all enemies, foreign and domestic. The founding forefathers did not include constitutional protections to protect us from foreign invaders, but from tyrants that might ascend within our own government. Now those protections are methodically being rendered impotent, one by one, by pigs who've seized the palace.

Wake up, people! Our nation is in crisis! Sound the alarms! Bury your remote controls! Forget the Superbowl and "reality" shows! Put down your booze, your tabloids, and your toilet seats! Call your senators! If you must gripe, do it to the right people! Who cares if the Liberty Bell is cracked? I bet the sucker still rings! Congress needs an enema! Take to the streets, raise your voices, and use your votes this November to flush these corrupt officials like royal turds!

Friday, January 27, 2006

The Mad Scientists – GEOPARISITISM

Welcome to the dark underbelly of experimental psychedelic jazz funk, where conspiracies have global relevance and humanity (to quote brilliant comedian Bill Hicks), is “a virus with shoes”. The Mad Scientists descend into their laboratory to blaze musical trails like hallucinogenic tracers, mocking and deconstructing the capitalism, competition, greed, selfishness, waste, and spiritual disconnection that lead our human race to the precipice of self-annihilation. Geoparisitism will challenge listeners musically and socio-politically. A few of the songs function as fine singles, but this eclectic fusion is rich with sonic layers and overarching lyrical themes, and so deserves to be experienced in full, with a macrocosmically enlightened ear.

Steve Kubby Sick in Jail After Arrest at SF Airport

In a prohibition-free nation, law enforcement and judicial resources could be divested and focused on taking (and keeping) violent criminals off the street. But the public (and public safety) is simply not served by medical marijuana patient Steve Kubby's imprisonment. The District Attorney might claim this is simply enforcement of the law, but if that's true, then the law needs changing. Besides, the DA chose to prioritize this case. Does he care more about power than people?

I wonder how many child molesters, rapists, armed robbers, spouse batterers, murderers and terrorists will be free in Placer County for the next six months, while Steve Kubby sits in jail, denied his medicine, getting sicker and sicker.


Steve Kubby was arrested by a dozen police immediately upon landing at the San Francisco airport and has been whisked off to the Redwood City jail. A welcoming party of supporters and media were disappointed to discover that he had been spirited away out of sight through a back entrance.

"I'm really sick already," Kubby said from jail two hours afterwards, "I'm gonna start puking my brains out." He says his guards laughed at him when he requested Marinol. Kubby says he hasn't had marijuana for half a day and has begun to experience all of the symptoms of his life-threatening disease - nausea, headaches, swollen kidneys. He has chills and has not been able to get a blanket from the guards. "They don't understand that they're dealing with someone with cancer," he says.

Kubby is upset that he was arrested immediately off the plane, when he had offered to turn himself in voluntarily in Placer County on Tuesday. San Francisco airport police said that they had arrested him at the request of Placer County authorities. They said Kubby will be arraigned in court tomorrow morning, though it wasn't clear where - in Redwood City, where he is being detained, or in Placer County. Kubby did not even know where he was being detained when he called California NORML.

Aside from his inhumane medical treatment, Kubby says police have treated him politely. He embarked on his trip in good spirits in the hopes of finally resolving his fight with the law.


Kubby's attorney, Bill McPike, urges supporters to call on the Placer County authorities to release Kubby immediately.

Please contact: Bradford R. Fenocchio
Placer County District Attorney
(530) 889-7000(530) 889-7129 fax
to voice your disapproval over Steve Kubby's inhumane treatment.

- D. Gieringer
California NORML
(415) 563-5858
2215-R Market St. #278
San Francisco CA 94114

Sunday, January 22, 2006

JUNK Review - David Brensilver

"Christopher Largen's use of a War on Junk as an allegory for the War on Drugs is particularly successful at reminding us that what might seem, on its face, absurd, is no more absurd than the reality of certain blemishes on the face of American society. We know the idea that chocolate causes acne is a myth, just as we know that chocolate is not a gateway to more dangerous foods, such as the combination of ingredients that was my artery-clogging breakfast this morning. If marijuana is a so-called gateway, it is only a gateway to the foods made illegal in Junk. However, marijuana is illegal. The gateway to that dangerous bag of Cool Ranch Doritos in your pantry is closed, while alcohol, tobacco and firearms remain as legal as a tossed-salad, regulated for your safety. After all, we know that, individually and certainly in combination, alcohol, tobacco and firearms couldn't possibly be the gateway to anything dangerous. Largen's Junk is a must read for anyone not already a member of the choir. So, have a bacon cheeseburger and dive into Largen's satire. Or, try to convince yourself that the right gateways are secured for your own safety."

David A. Brensilver
Author of ExecTV, published in 2005 by ENC Press

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Open Letter to Ohio Senator Jim Jordan

I sent the following letter throughout the Ohio legislature...

Senator Jordan,

I'm an internationally-published writer, book author, and public speaker. My best friend and co-author, George McMahon, is one of seven patients who receive legal medical marijuana from the United States Government's Investigational New Drug program, administered by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. George smokes the federal marijuana to treat symptoms of pain, spasms and nausea related to surgical maltreatment, multiple accidents and injuries, and a rare genetic disorder called Nail Patella Syndrome. Prior to being accepted to the government program, George underwent 19 major surgeries, was declared clinically dead on several occasions, was taking 17 different pharmaceutical substances on a daily basis (including 400 morphine tablets per month), and used a wheelchair. Since being accepted to the federal marijuana program 16 years ago, George has had NO surgeries or hospitalizations, he no longer takes pharmaceutical substances (aside from the occasional antibiotic), and he swims, rides his bike, and travels the country to educate legislators about the medical value of cannabis. He even ran for Vice-President of the United States in the 90s, and is a recipient of the National Certificate of Heroism.

The other federal patients receive marijuana to treat symptoms associated with bone tumors, Multiple Sclerosis, and glaucoma. All of the federal patients, their doctors, and expert researchers report marked symptomatic improvement in these patients, with fewer side effects than pharmaceutical alternatives.

You were recently quoted in the Columbus Dispatch as saying, "Every place they try to do this, they say it's for medicinal purpose... I'm just totally opposed to that concept, which is why I'm not excited about having a hearing and will probably wait as long as possible to schedule one." I hope your comments merely reflect your lack of knowledge regarding the subject, rather than a bitter spirit bloated with power. Throwing sick and dying people in jail for using cannabis to treat their symptoms is morally repugnant and politically risky. A majority of your constituents support legalization and regulation of medical marijuana. It is your constitutional duty to represent them, not to threaten their sick loved ones with prison, or block legitimate attempts at receiving a fair and balanced hearing. Though you are ineligible to run for another four-year term, you must live by your conscience and your honor. The people you represent deserve better than misrepresentations, distortions, and obstruction of justice.

If your mother was undergoing cancer chemotherapy and could benefit from cannabis, would you really handcuff her to a wheelchair? Are you truly a conservative who supports smaller government and more liberty? Then take the time to educate yourself about valid scientific research from the international community. Search deep inside your heart, and then do the right thing.

Your Classic Iconoclast,

Christopher Largen
Author of Prescription Pot (New Horizon Press, 2003)
and JUNK (ENC Press, 2005)

DEA Agents: Thug-Smuggling

DEA agents involved in drug smuggling, kidnappings, and murder? I wouldn't put it past some of them. And I wouldn't trust internal investigations within the Department of Justice, especially under the Bush administration.

US TN: Wiretap Whistleblower Or DEA Dupe?
Pubdate: Thu, 19 Jan 2006
Source: Nashville Scene (TN)
Copyright: 2006 Nashville Scene
Author: John Spargens


Local Assistant U.S. Attorney's Explosive Justice Department Allegations Make National Waves

The seven-page document reads like the screenplay for Scarface, had it been written by a Justice Department attorney instead of Oliver Stone. U.S. Drug Enforcement agents in Bogota, Colombia, help local drug lords traffic narcotics. When a confidential informant tips off DEA agents in Florida about the illegal actions of their Bogota counterparts, a Florida agent alerts DEA higher-ups and is put on administrative leave. Meanwhile, DEA agents in Bogota summon an informant to a meeting; as he leaves, he is murdered.

It's not Scarface. It's a December 2004 memo written by Thomas M. Kent, a lawyer then working in the Justice Department's Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section ( NDDS ) who is now an assistant U.S. attorney in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the middle district of Tennessee. It was first reported this week by The Narco News Bulletin, an online newsletter that publishes Latin American and U.S. news about the war on drugs. Kent, whom present and former colleagues praise as smart and honest, sent the whistleblower memo to NDDS Chief Jodi Avergun and deputy chief Michael Walther with the subject line, "Operation Snowplow-Dissemination of information on corruption within the DEA and the mishandling of related investigations by OPR to the Public Integrity Section." The memo, which is stamped "Confidential," contains explosive allegations.

Corrupt DEA agents stationed in Bogota allow U.S.-friendly informants to be locked up, kidnapped and killed because they're disrupting the narco-trade that lines the agents' pockets. These same rogue federal law enforcers leak damaging details about informants to people who want them dead. A Bogota informant makes jailhouse contact-in one case, videotaped-with a member of an armed Colombian insurgent group who wants to obtain illegal communication equipment. Eventually, the informant tells Miami DEA agents that there is weapons-grade nuclear material for sale in Spain.

Time and time again, Bogota-based DEA agents shut down the investigation against colleagues' wishes. Eventually, they claim that the informant is a pedophile, although a Bogota agent "could not provide any evidence to support it," Kent wrote. Just as important as Kent's allegations of corruption in Colombia, though, is his contention that the Justice Department covered it up. "The first allegation was brought to OPR," he wrote, referring to the Justice Department's Office of Professional Responsibility. "

By all accounts OPR did nothing about it. When confronted with the allegations, the investigators at OPR treated the reporting agents as if they had a disease and did not want anything to do with them or the evidence they amassed." Kent wrote that one agent was fired and another was retaliated against after blowing the whistle on corruption; he also claimed that OPR failed to transmit damning documents to the Inspector General's office. Furthermore, he wrote, an informant with incriminating information against Bogota DEA agents passed a polygraph test, but the examiner was "instructed by OPR not to report on the test. He was instructed that the test never took place."

Sounds pretty Orwellian. But is it true? In response to media requests, a branch of the Justice Department is looking into it. "DEA takes very seriously any allegations of misconduct, abuse of position or criminal action," says agency spokesman Garrison K. Courtney, in a statement provided to the Scene. "The allegations that are reported in the Narco News Bulletin are extremely serious. DEA's Office of Professional Responsibility is reviewing the allegations that have been made." Courtney says the Justice Department's Inspector General is in charge of any investigation that may or may not be conducted in response to the memo's disclosure. One insider says that an investigation was done by the Inspector General's office in 2002, and Kent's charges all proved false.

"It's absolute B.S.," says a Justice Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It's been completely investigated, and it's totally baseless. Tom is a smart young lawyer, and he was, I believe, taken in by a couple of disgruntled DEA agents who had an axe to grind at the agency, and were part of a rivalry between DEA Florida and DEA Bogota." According to this official, confidential informants are the lifeblood of DEA investigations, and Kent stepped right into a turf war without knowing it. His four-alarm memo was well intended, then, but false, the source says.

Kent, who now works on wiretapping for Nashville-related federal drug investigations, didn't return calls for this story. His current boss, U.S. Attorney Jim Vines, says he's an outstanding attorney and a great asset to the department. "He does a great job, he's a very experienced prosecutor, very knowledge about T3s," says Vines, referring to the complex federal statutory scheme for wiretaps-the kind for which you still need court approval. "It's a very tricky area, and you can get in trouble when you don't do it correctly.... To have him assigned here has been a godsend to us."

Before he moved to the Justice Department, Kent worked for the New York attorney general in a special narcotics office in Manhattan. He eventually moved to the federal Narcotic and Dangerous Drug Section, where he wrote the memo, before taking the job in the local U.S. Attorney's office. Vines tells the Scene that he didn't know about Kent's memo until recently, although one source says the Nashville U.S. Attorney's Office knew about it before Kent was hired approximately one year ago. Regardless, his supervisors and colleagues say he has their full confidence-and more importantly, he's very good at what he does. But he's either one of the biggest whistleblowers in DEA history or a super-sized sucker who put his career on the line for a few washed-up law enforcement jerks.

According to the Justice Department source, the investigation prompted by Kent's 2004 memo didn't lead to any disciplinary measures against agents in Bogota or Miami, nor did it hurt Kent's career. "[T]he cracks in the lid DEA and OPR has [sic] attempted to place on this problem are getting bigger. It is only a matter of time before this thing explodes," Kent wrote 13 months ago. "If we are unable to arrange for a sit down between the reporting agents and those attorneys within the Department of Justice who are tasked with ensuring that corrupted agents and officials are held accountable, then I firmly believe that we will watch from the sidelines as the allegations play out in a courtroom, on the news, and/or on Capital [sic] Hill." Did Kent get taken advantage of by disgruntled DEA agents, or was he silenced by his Justice Department superiors? Only a handful of people can answer that question, and so far, Kent's not talking.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Questioning US Arrest Statistics

Who would you rather have living next door to you, a pot smoker or a pedophile? The following article raises serious issues for police, judges, criminologists, and citizens...

Pubdate: Wed, 18 Jan 2006
Source: Christian Science Monitor (US)
Copyright: 2006 The Christian Science Publishing Society
Author: Scott Christianson
Note: Author is a former NY state criminal justice official, is the author of several books about crime and punishment.


SAND LAKE, N.Y. -- Policing in the United States has changed a lot during the past 50 years. Higher education and training requirements have led to greater police professionalism, and most departments' ranks have benefited from huge increases of personnel, stunning technological advancements, forensics breakthroughs, and affirmative action policies that presumably have led to a more representative workforce sensitive to civil rights. Policing's academic side has also prospered from decades of ample government research grants. Many observers credit the police because reported crime in the nation has generally been going down for nearly a decade. Reported homicides in New York City and other jurisdictions recently hit their lowest level in more than 40 years.

But discussions of police performance often fail to note another important but overlooked trend, apparently unrelated to the falling crime rate: Federal statistics reveal that the nation's "clearance rate" - the percentage of cases for which police arrest or identify a suspect - has fallen dramatically. And this shift is fraught with implications. The arrest clearance rate for reported homicides recently dropped to about 60 percent compared with about 90 percent 50 years ago. This means that a murderer today has about a 40 percent chance of avoiding arrest compared with less than 10 percent in 1950.

The record for other FBI Index Crimes is even more dismal: The clearance rates have sunk to 42 percent for forcible rape, 26 percent for robbery, and 13 percent for burglary and motor vehicle theft, all way down from earlier eras. In Boston, the homicide clearance rate plummeted to only 28 percent in 2004 - a shocking development for a city that gained lavish praise for crime reductions in the 1990s.

Judging a police department or the criminal justice system as a whole based simply on arrest statistics wouldn't be wise, for the police can and do fulfill many crucial functions in our society, such as maintaining public order and helping to protect citizens from terrorist attack. But ignoring measures of how the police deal with reported serious crime isn't smart either.

It's not that America's cops haven't been making arrests - in fact, their total annual arrests jumped from 3.3 million in the nation in 1960 to 14 million in 2004, a staggering number that helps to explain why the United States imprisons more of its citizens than any other country in the world. So, if reported crime has been going down and arrests have gone up, what accounts for the plummeting arrest clearance rates for murder, robbery, rape, burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft?

Part of the answer must involve drug law enforcement - victimless offenses that aren't reported to the police or included as FBI Index Crimes. Instead of arresting suspects for burglaries and other serious reported crimes, cops today spend much of their energy going after illegal drugs. Their arrest rate for drug possession ( especially marijuana ) has shot up more than 500 times from what it was in 1965.

And what are some possible implications of this shift? For one thing, it may give criminals the impression they can get away with nondrug related crimes. For another, it may lessen public support for the police. Polls show those who live in "high crime" neighborhoods are generally the most dissatisfied with the police. Maybe this is because they have reported to the police that they have been victimized by robbery and other serious crimes, then witnessed that the police are not arresting anyone for it but are instead aggressively waging a "war on drugs" in the community.

Nevertheless, the matter of falling arrest clearance rates hasn't received much scrutiny from the police or the public. Asked why the arrest clearance rate has dropped so much, one leading police scholar, Professor David Bayley of the State University of New York at Albany, said, "I haven't a clue. I've been involved in the field for 40 years and best as I can tell, nobody has even raised this stuff. Hearing about it now is like being hit by a bus."

One interpretation might be that the changing statistics actually indicate that today's police are acting more judiciously, for as one former New York Police Department homicide detective, now a private investigator, put it, "Just because cops were more likely to arrest somebody in the old days than they are today doesn't mean they didn't make a lot of mistakes back then, by beating false confessions out of innocent people and such." Whatever the reasons, this significant trend in the police response to reported crime should prompt some serious discussion about contemporary law enforcement's priorities and effectiveness.

I Found A Bullet In My Car

I never imagined that a stray bullet would show up in the back seat, especially on Martin Luther King Day. When I bought my car ten months ago, it was totally clean, to my knowledge. I do not own a gun, so the ammunition had to come from somewhere else.

This bullet has worried me. I used to protest Ku Klux Klan rallies across Texas. My writings have attacked certain government officials, drug kingpins, and child molesters. I have counted some very nasty people among my political opponents. So if the ammo was purposefully left in my car as a veiled attempt at a threat, it could have come from anywhere.

I've dealt with threats before. My car has been vandalized repeatedly, and I receive my share of hate mail. But I can't let angry individuals intimidate me into silence. I value my words too much to render them impotent because of the reactionaries in our midst.

I will be filing a report with the City of Denton Police Department today, in the event this bullet was more than an idle threat. And I promise to keep my readers posted on any further developments. Please keep me in your thoughts and prayers.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Cracked Cop Needs Refresher Course on First Amendment

Didn't this officer have more important things (like child molesters and murderers) to worry about than a citizen merely exercising free expression? You be the judge...

US CO: Driver: Pro-Pot Sticker Led to Ticket From Offended Cop
Pubdate: Sat, 14 Jan 2006
Source: Rocky Mountain News (Denver, CO)
Copyright: 2006, Denver Publishing Co.
Author: Javier Erik Olvera, Rocky Mountain News


AURORA - The rear window of Paul Wansing's Ford pickup truck is decorated with an array of political stickers, including one with the message: "Legalize Marijuana - Just say know more." Wansing claims that's the reason he was pulled over by an Aurora police officer who he says told him he was "offended" by the sticker then cited him for a cracked windshield.

On Friday, two days after the traffic stop, Wansing stood with members of the pro-pot group SAFER outside Aurora's municipal building. "In my eyes, this is a violation of freedom of speech," said the 26-year-old Aurora chef. "My mission is to let people know that rights are being violated by certain members of law enforcement."

Mason Tvert, a founder of SAFER, which persuaded Denver voters in November to legalize possession by adults of small amounts of marijuana, said "anti-marijuana madness has got to end." "The demonization of marijuana in this country is apparently so out of hand that police officers feel it appropriate to pull someone over for simply suggesting that marijuana should be legal," he said.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Attorney General John Ashcroft Breaks Bread...and Wind

Here's an oldie but a moldy... Former Fascist-in-Chief John Ashcroft professes to belief in Jeezus H. Christ, but he lacks faith in our civil liberties. Is Ashcroft's anthropomorphic god not strong enough to prevent citizens from discussing terrorism, illegal wars, the Bill of Rights, drug policy reform, and Paris Hilton, assuming that's what his supremely-supreme deity truly desires? It appears that modern pharisees simply annoint themselves with Vaseline and hock crucifixes like salvations on sticks, defecating on the Constitution, wiping their pimply buttocks with a flag in front of money-clad gherkin-jerkin' CEOs who come to buy Caesar, not to praise him.

Ashcroft composed "Let the Eagle Soar", which he sang at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in February 2002. He wrote and sang many other songs and created compilation tapes, including In the Spirit of Life and Liberty and Gospel (Music) According to John.
He teamed up with Senators Trent Lott, Larry Craig, and James Jeffords, to form a barbershop quartet named The Singing Senators. Sometime in the 1970s, Ashcroft recorded a gospel record entitled TRUTH: Volume One, Edition One with Max Bacon.

Ashcroft's singing? It's nothing like a chorus of angels, but if your taste includes overwrought patriotic anthems with bland Muzac-styled backing, his voice is actually tolerable. Personally, my favorite line in this little ditty is "Only God, no other kings". If Ashcroft really means that, then why is he using the power of his political position to proselytize? Does he secretly believe the government is God? Is he a fundamentalistic nationalist?

Let the mighty eagle sooooooar...over the Justice Department to excrete a speckled bomb (Bush cronies and NSA agents take note, the bomb refers to a mere bird-turd, not an explosive device), plopping it right on Ashcroft's flag-waving lapel pin. Now wouldn't that make great copy?!

Got your ears plugged, folks? Good. You have been warned. Here's your tax dollars at work...

Friday, January 13, 2006

Letter to Eagle-Tribune

Regarding "Pot Bill Still Needs Careful Review"...

Eagle-Tribune editors claim that federal law outlaws the use of marijuana "for any purpose". However, the Controlled Substances Act contains an exemption for federal research, and for the past three decades the National Institute on Drug Abuse has cultivated and distributed therapeutic cannabis to patients with widely varying symptoms, including bone tumors, pain, spasms, nausea, and ocular pressure. Private research on these federal patients has demonstrated that smoked marijuana can provide significant symptomatic relief, without the strong toxic side effects associated with pharmaceutical alternatives.

District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett expresses concern that marijuana is a "gateway drug". However, marijuana is not scientifically classified as a drug, but a flowering herb. And the federally-commissioned Institute of Medicine study effectively debunked the gateway theory, indicating the only gateway was socioeconomic, not physiological. In other words, because marijuana consumers purchase their goods on the black market, through unregulated street dealers who are often pushing more dangerous and addictive substances, the gateway is an unintentional by-product of the prohibition policies themselves. It appears that fighting fire with gasoline is a lost cause.

There will undoubtedly be reationary resistance to therapeutic cannabis use in Massachusetts, largely based on ignorance of scientific facts. But ask yourself two questions... If someone you care about gets sick and could benefit from cannabis, would you rather they obtain it through a doctor's recommendation or through a mobster's network? Would you really want your loved one thrown in jail?

Your Iconoclast,

Christopher Largen

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Netherlands: Scientific Conference Hears Of Tumor Reducing Effects of Marijuana

Yet more evidence that cannabis has medicinal value, information many U.S. officials and news outlets are willfully ignoring, at the expense of American lives, to please corporate sponsors in the pharmaceutical industry, which currently cannot patent cannabis under strict "anti-drug" policies.

Pubdate: Thu, 01 Dec 2005
Source: Oaksterdam News (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Oaksterdam News
Author: Chris Conrad


A prestigious gathering of scientists and researchers met in September in Leiden, The Netherlands, where the International Association for Cannabis as Medicine biennial conference heard first-hand reports of tumor reducing effects and other benefits of marijuana and cannabinoids. Cannabinoids are compounds found in the cannabis plant. Endocannabinoids are naturally occuring compounds in the human body that are similar in structure and effect to those in cannabis.

Much of the funding for the research projects was funded by government agencies such as NIDA and were designed to look for harmful effects rather than health benefits, which skewed the information somewhat. Nonetheless, significant benefits and relatively few harms were revealed. In fact, the marijuana smokers in general appeared pretty normal when compared to the rest of society, based on the reports that were given.

Not all research presented was government approved. Mark Gibson reported on his work with Canna-Biz Chocolate, which he and his wife produce and provide to a number of multiple sclerosis sufferers in the UK. They monitor their patients and saw significant alleviation of symptoms. Shortly thereafter, police came in and arrested them, shut the service down, took away their medicine and charged the couple with trafficking. Mark faces prison for his work. A court trial is planned for next year.

Jorg Fachner compared topographic EEG brain mapping changes of cannabis induced and sound-trance induced altered state of consciousness. Tumors reduced by cannabinoid Research on the tumor reducing effects of cannabinoids were one of the most exciting pieces of new information brought forth. The research, backed up with photos and measurements, showed that rats with large, induced tumors clearly benefited from application of cannabis derivatives, and not merely as an adjunct to chemotherapy. Researchers from Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Israel, including Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, credited as the discoverer of the THC molecule, led an international team investigating the use of cannabinoids to treat cancer. Dubbed HU-331, cannabidiol-hydroxyquinone was produced from cannabidiol and used to treat tumors in vitro and in vivo, meaning both in petri dishes and also on living mice. "HU-331 shows very high effectivity against human cancer cell lines in-vitro and also against in-vivo tumor grafts in nude mice. At 35 days after cancer cell injection, the tumors in the treated group were half the size of the tumors in the controls," they reported. HU-331 inhibited T-cell lymphoma cell growth more than known anticancer drugs, including doxorubicin, mitoxantrone and etoposide. HU-331 proved much less toxic than doxorubicin, mitoxantrone and etoposide.

Promising review of Sativex Researchers from GW Pharmaceuticals reported on the company's work with natural, broad spectrum inhaled cannabis extract. The medication, already available in Canada, utilizes patented technology to ingest and regulate the dose without smoking by using a device similar to the asthma inhaler. Their research concluded that the plant-based medicinal extract Sativex produced significant improvements in a subjective measure of spasticity which were maintained on long-term treatment with no evidence of tolerance.

California research Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather presented a paper developed with fellow California physicians Tod Mikuriya and David Bearman on the "Clinical improvement and reduction of immunosuppressive drug therapy in cannabis treated patients with Crohn's disease." They reported that "The Crohn's patients encountered by these physicians have been treated with a variety of conventional pharmacological therapies including steroids, other immunomodulators and a number of biologic therapies, including anti tumor necrosis factor." Smoked cannabis was found to be more effective in relieving symptoms than were the pharmaceuticals.

Dr. Donald Abrams reported favorably on smoked cannabis therapy for hiv-related painful peripheral neuropathy: results of a randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial. Dale Gieringer, PhD, gave an update on the growth of cannabis medicine in the US: practice and usage in a semi-legal regime. Field trip to official gardens Marco van de Velde discussed "Two years of experience with legal production and distribution of medicinal cannabis in the Netherlands," and participants had an opportunity to take a field trip to the official, government licensed cannabis nursery of Bedrocan.

Prohibition Hurts Police Morale and Public's Respect

Pubdate: Thu, 01 Dec 2005
Source: Oaksterdam News (CA)
Copyright: 2005 Oaksterdam News
Author: Chris Conrad


Norm Stamper, former chief of the Seattle Police Department, is the author of Breaking Rank: A Top Cop's Expose of the Dark Side of American Policing and an opinion piece in the Oct. 16, 2005 Los Angeles Times.

Stamper said he wants to set the record straight. "Yes, I was a cop for 34 years, the last six of which I spent as chief of Seattle's police department. But no, I don't favor decriminalization. I favor legalization, and not just of pot but of all drugs".

These days it's not renegade cops who favor legalization but a swelling tide of mainstream police and retired officers who disavow the Drug War. In fact, at least two political organizations comprised of current and retired law enforcement officers have been working quietly behind the scene to educate and recruit others to publicly join the call for reform if not outright repeal of drug laws. It should be no surprise to learn that Stamper is affiliated with one such group. Law Enforcement Against Prohibition ( LEAP ) takes the position espoused by Stamper, namely legalizing all drugs to lower the incidents of death, disease, and addiction in the United States by ending drug prohibition.

Founding member and executive director of the international organization Jack Cole hales from across the country in Massachusetts but came to the same conclusions as Stamper. After serving in the United States Marine Corps, Cole became a policeman in 1964 and began the long odyssey to being a drug policy reformer. Like many, he waited until after retirement to voice his opposition to drug prohibition.

Boardmember Peter Christ is a retired New York police captain. During his 20-year career enforcing drug laws, he said he became convinced that "the drug war can never be won, and is doing more harm than good." After retiring from the force in 1989, Christ began speaking out publicly against the Drug War and has not stopped talking about it ever since.

Such was not the case for advisory board member of LEAP Judge Robert W. Sweet, a sitting federal court judge who found himself in the center of a firestorm as a result of speaking to his wife's club on effect of the drug laws in December, 1989. "In that speech I expressed my view that the use of the criminal law to deal with the drug problem was expensive, ineffective and harmful, both in human terms and societal values," the now-retired Sweet recalled. The speech catapulted him to national celebrity status. Some 15 years later, his opinions remain unchanged. "All drugs should be appropriately labeled; the criminal proscription on drug use should be ended; and drugs should be sold only to adults and only through licensed pharmacies to persons properly identified. The crime attending the current distribution of drugs would cease; $150 billion dollars would be restored to the economy; responsibility for drug use would be pinpointed and assumed by the user; the beneficial effects of medical drugs -- marijuana, for example -- would be achieved, and a reliable body of statistics would be available."

Advisory board member Eric Sterling, also president of The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, was Counsel to the House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary from 1979 until 1989. It was seeing the laws that were coming from Congress that convinced Sterling to publicly come out against the Drug War. "Police officers have observed that the last 20 years of current drug policy has neither brought an end or reduction in demand for illegal drugs in our country," says Dan Solano, retired Detroit police officer and founder of Police Officers for Drug Law Reform. PODLR is an organization of both active and non-active policemen who make a more limited call for legalizing and regulating marijuana. "It's time to think beyond drug prohibition and adopt a more logical and sustainable drug policy-one that is less reliant on police and imprisonment-a policy with greater emphasis on regulation, prevention and treatment."

Many police admit that they have lost their appetite for busting pot smokers. Whole cities, like Seattle and Oakland, are opting out of making marijuana arrests. So when respected former police chiefs like Seattle's Stamper and San Jose's Joseph McNamara take up the theme of drug policy reform, it begins to weaken the grip of the so-called Drug War lobby. The bastions of resistance remain the police and prison guard unions and sheriff, district attorney and narcotics officers associations. While politicians may face off even the pharmaceutical, alcohol and tobacco lobbies, all our men in blue need do is lock arms together to stop any reform. Now those special interest groups face defections and an outbreak of common sense within their ranks.

To book a LEAP speaker contact, Mike Smithson, Coordinator of Speakers Bureau ( ) at 315-243-5844 or fax: 315-488-3630.

To order a copy of Norm Stamper's book or other fine books on drugs and drug policy, contact Quick Distribution 510-527-7036.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

When Police Won't Play 'Knock Knock'

In order to protect citizens and officers, no-knock police raids should be utilized in specific cases (like hostage situations), where doing so could prevent violence, but indiscriminate military-style operations often provoke aggression. Kudos to the Las Vegas Review-Journal for getting it right...

US NV: Editorial: When Police Won't Play 'Knock, Knock'
Pubdate: Tue, 10 Jan 2006Source: Las Vegas Review-Journal (NV)
Copyright: 2006 Las Vegas Review-Journal

Supreme Court Again Examines Fourth Amendment Issue

A little more than two years ago, in a case out of North Las Vegas, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court ruled it was OK for police to wait as little as 20 seconds between the time they knocked on a door to announce themselves and the time their battering ram took down the door. Lashawn Banks of North Las Vegas was taking a shower on July 15, 1998, when masked and heavily armed officers used a battering ram to break into his apartment to look for drugs. Officers found 11 ounces of crack cocaine and three firearms during their search.

In March 2002, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled the drugs found in Banks' home should not have been used as evidence because police did not wait "a reasonable time" for Banks to respond to police demands for entrance. The 9th Circuit relied on high court rulings as recent as 1997 that held police must knock and announce themselves unless they have reason to believe a suspect presents a danger or might destroy evidence. But in 2003 -- continuing the erosion of the Fourth Amendment's protections under the rubric of the "War on Drugs" -- the high court opted to overrule the 9th Circuit in the Banks case, holding a 20-second delay was ample because more time might give drug suspects time to flush evidence down the toilet. Now, the court is being asked to allow police to wait no time at all.

Also back in 1998, Detroit police did not bother knocking on Booker Hudson's door when they arrived with a warrant to search for drugs. Police say they shouted that they had a warrant and broke in 3 to 5 seconds later. Police found crack cocaine In this new case addressing the same question, the Supreme Court debated Monday whether those drugs can be used as evidence against Hudson because officers were wrong in giving Hudson no time to come to the door. Retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who may or may not vote in the final decision, seemed ready to rule against police, pointing out that the Detroit officer testified he routinely went into houses without knocking. She predicted that policy would be adopted by "every police officer in America" if the court levied no penalty. It's commonly argued that only the guilty need more time to answer the door; the innocent have "nothing to fear." But the court already allows police to explain to a judge the "special circumstances" that require a ( presumably rare ) "no-knock" warrant.

The question here is whether police should, in effect, be allowed to turn the service of every warrant into a three-step process in which they break down the door unannounced, race into the house and hold all occupants at gunpoint, and then shout, "Police! Warrant!" The "normalization" of that procedure certainly could hurt the innocent. Upon opening the door and being given a chance to peruse a warrant, an innocent person might, at least in theory, have a chance to point out the address on the warrant does not match these premises. There are numerous jurisdictions in this country (simply Google "home invaders impersonating police") where outlaw home invaders have taken to yelling, "Police! Warrant!" in hopes of freezing their victims into inactivity long enough to disarm them. Rape and robbery can then proceed with less risk to the perpetrators. There are thus places in this country where it is not an irrational response for the head of the household to grab his firearm when armed strangers dressed in black break down his door unannounced in the middle of the night. Unnecessary deaths have been known to result.

These are the murky waters into which the high court will lower us, should the justices hold that breaking down doors without giving the occupants a chance to peacefully respond should now become "standard operating procedure." No, officers should not be required to stand around watching the minute hands of their watches if they hear the screams of hostages being executed behind a closed door. But in most cases, the time to plead special circumstances is when the search warrant is being requested.

Man Who Raped, Stabbed Daughter Sentenced to Two Life Prison Terms

Two life sentences. See? American judges really CAN lock away child predators - when they want to. But why was this monster of a man let out of prison in the first place? Was it because they needed more jail space for all the nonviolent drug "offenders"? Hope you haven't just finished eating, folks...

WALLACE, Idaho (AP) — A man who raped and stabbed his 12-year-old daughter and left her for dead has been sentenced to two life prison terms without chance of parole after she read an angry statement to him in court.

John Rollins Tuggle pleaded guilty to rape and kidnapping with a deadly weapon, taking responsibility and sparing the victim from the ordeal of a trial, First District Judge Fred Gibler said at Monday's sentencing.

"Other than those two things, its hard to find anything positive to state about Mr. Tuggle," Gibler said.

Tuggle's daughter, who has changed her last name, looked directly at him as she read a letter to him in court, saying she was determined to overcome the loss of her innocence.

"You left me to die and for that you do not deserve life," she said. "I will remove your actions from my mind, as I've already removed you from my heart."

The attack happened last July when Tuggle, 37, was visiting his former wife and children in Athol after completing a nine-year prison term for the rape of his ex-wife's 13-year-old sister, who became pregnant.

Tuggle, who had pleaded with his ex-wife for reconciliation, was allowed to spend time alone with their daughter, Shoshone County Prosecuting Attorney Michael F. Peacock said.

Tuggle took the girl into a wooded area July 20, tied her up under the pretext of showing her how to play a prank on her brother, then raped her at knifepoint, Peacock said.

He stabbed her in the throat, breast and abdomen, then cut the ropes from her hands and sat and smoked two cigarettes while the girl lay bleeding.

Campers later heard the girl crying for help. Tuggle was arrested a week later when he wandered out of the woods looking for food.

The girl was released from the hospital July 30.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

A Few Questions For Child Molesters

Do you think about the lives of the children you've used to satisfy your psychosexual need for power, domination and control? Do you wonder if they cry when you haunt the memories you forced upon them? Do your victims ever visit your nightmares?

Do you feel like you are the victim because you are judged by society, or are you accountable for your devastating choices? Do you minimize or rationalize the damage you cause?

If you were convicted by law, do you resent having to register as a sex offender?

Do you support the National American Man/Boy Love Association, believing it to be your legal right to exploit and traumatize children?

If you are hiding, do you ever grow weary of it? Do you ever get tired of acting like a coward?

Do you know that being abused as a child is no justification for perpetuating the cycle?

Do you have a conscience? Have you ever known love?

When you face the end of your life, will you regret the choices you've made?

Will you get help, or will you continue hurting people weaker than you are?

Meeting Chuck Berry

I met rock and roll legend Chuck Berry twice in my life. The first time was in the early 1980s, in St. Louis, at a restaurant called Blueberry Hill. I was a young kid standing in awe, among a huge throng of admirers.

Six years later, I saw him at a bar in the Plaza hotel in Fort Worth, TX. There was an exceptionally beautiful woman in his arms (no, it wasn't Paris Hilton), as he sat in a booth with a cluster of friends and associates. I walked past his table and said, "Hey Chuck, Blueberry Hill?" I was thinking of the restaurant.

Chuck Berry glanced at me, grinned politely, and nodded his head. But something in his face said, "Doesn't this dumb white boy know that Blueberry Hill is not my song?"

I slithered away, embarassed, with no particular place to go, reeling and rocking.

Majority of Republicans Support Warrantless Wiretaps

A new Associated Press poll indicates that two-thirds of Republicans and one-fourth of Democrats want the President to be able to wiretap private conversations on American phones without probable cause or judicial oversight. President Bush wholeheartedly agrees. So much for that pesky little oath to defend the U.S. Constitution against ALL enemies, foreign and domestic.

The next time you make an overseas call or send an international E-mail, you might consider taking a moment to greet any federal agents who might be monitoring your private communications. After all, those agents are people too, and it must be an arduous job to monitor all your innocuous conversations. Just to be extra safe, you might throw out a "God bless America". Otherwise those agents might suspect you of being a terrorist, or worse yet, a marijuana smoker, even a supporter of Greenpeace, heaven forbid! Remember, don't use the words "Jihad" or "Osama", especially in conjunction with "Paris Hilton", which may be accidentally interpreted by Orwell's rooting swine as a codified message to potential hostiles.

Letter to Editor - Kingpins and Body Bags

In her New York Times column, "Reform the Reforms", Leslie Crocker states, "Sentences for kingpins shouldn't be reduced except in rare instances." This makes sense on the surface; many kingpins are ruthless individuals who fund terrorists and are willing to murder to maintain their black market profits. But those immense profits, not the drugs, are the driving force behind the majority of purportedly "drug-related" violence.

Consider this... It costs the United States Government approximately 90 cents per ounce to produce medical marijuana for NIDA's Investigational New Drug program (, including administrative and security costs. That same ounce could easily sell on the streets for $300. Most kingpins (and the terrorists they support) would prefer to receive 90% of $300 (the other 10% seized by government officials), rather than receive 100% of a mere 90 cents (which would likely be the per ounce wholesale value of cannabis, plus tax, were it allowed in a regulated marketplace).

In other words, the kingpins don't care if our agents catch 10% of their shipments, so long as our drug policies are making the other 90% of their product worth more than its weight in gold, tax free. As long as our policies fight this fire with gasoline, the kingpins and body bags will multiply.

Your Iconoclast,

Christopher Largen

P.S. Though most readers would likely consider a federal medical marijuana program newsworthy, particularly in light of recent Supreme Court rulings, the New York Times has never covered the federal medical marijuana program in all of it's 28 years of existence. Is there a legitimate reason why this is so?

Friday, January 06, 2006

Judge Sentences Child Rapist to 60 Days in Jail

A 34 year-old predator named Mark Hulett, who admitted to repeatedly raping and severely traumatizing a 10 year-old girl over several years will spend a mere TWO MONTHS behind bars. At the time he pled guilty to two counts of aggravated sexual assault and one charge of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, Hulett was facing a maximum life sentence, but the state Corrections Department claimed that Hulett was a low risk. Judge Edward Cashman defended the puny sentence, saying it was the only way that Hulett would receive counseling. The victim's family said the sentence is a slap on the wrist.

"The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn't solve anything. It just corrodes your soul," said Judge Cashman speaking to a packed Burlington courtroom (most of the on-lookers were related to the young rape victim). "I discovered it accomplishes nothing of value; it doesn't make anything better; it costs us a lot of money; we create a lot of expectation, and we feed on anger."

I believe in forgiveness, but I also believe in public safety. I want child predators to go to jail for a long time, not because I want revenge on them, but because I don't want more kids being hurt. Does that make sense, Judge Cashman? Can you say "predator"? I knew that you could. And by the way, Judge... A child's safety, sanity and innocence are worth a HELL of a lot more than 2 months.

This is the kind of courtroom travesty that really warms my heart. I'm beginning to suspect that some of these lax judges may be pedophiles themselves. After all, American prisons are filled with nonviolent drug offenders rather than child rapists (who OFTEN receive NO jail time)! Remember the overplayed drug warrior mantra? How did that go, anyway? Oh yes... "We HAVE to protect the children!"

Protect them from what? Not from child rapists, of course, but marijuana smokers. If Mark Hulett had been caught growing marijuana rather than raping children, the courts would have likely sent him to prison for years, if not decades. Am I the only one out there who finds this disparity repugnant and sickening? This is not justice OR public safety.

Here's fifteen minutes of fame for Mark Hulett...

AND Judge Cashman. Don't they make a cute couple? Perhaps they could do sixty-days in jail TOGETHER. It could be the beginning of a beautiful, forgiving relationship. Who knows? They might even keep each other cozy!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Medical Research Community Argues For Medical Marijuana

The Journal of the American Medical Association, one of the top publications in the medical research community published an article by Lawrence O. Gostin, JD, LLD, an attorney from the Georgetown Law center, in their current issue. The article attacks the current federal drug laws as interference in the practice of medicine.

Gostin examines the case of Gonzalez v. Raich in which the federal government re-affirmed its right to prosecute medical marijuana patients. He explains that the case raises questions about the degree to which the federal government has the power to regulate medical substances and proposes that drugs with potential medical benefits should be regulated by specialized health agencies, not the Controlled Substances Act.

Gostin argues that our unique system of American Federalism is being weakened by the federal government’s interference in the practice of medicine. To access the entire article, visit

Sativex Marijuana Mist Approved for Clinical Trials in The U.S.

GW Pharmaceutical announced that the FDA has approved its Investigational New Drug (IND) application for Sativex to treat cancer pain that hasn’t been relieved by other medications. Sativex is an oral spray composed primarily of THC and CBD, the active compound and a non-psychoactive compound found in marijuana.

After reviewing the European data on the safety and quality of Sativex, the FDA has agreed to allow Sativex to proceed to Phase III clinical trials in the U.S., which will involve 250 patients in a controlled study to evaluate the effects of Sativex on cancer pain.

One of the positive aspects of Sativex is that it allows patients with severe pain to reduce their dependency on opioid drugs, which often do not provide sufficient relief and can affect a person's ability to function on a daily basis. Phase III trials are expected to begin sometime late this year, and within 2-3 years the company can be expected to file a regulatory submission, officially making Sativex available in the US.

For more information on Sativex and U.S. clinical trials visit:

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

But Who Will Tap Bush's Phone?

Though it might seem impossible to laugh about America's current political situation, many online artists and ranters have pointed to links between George W. Bush and Osama Bin Laden. It's all over the web! Somebody call the NSA!

I think these satirical photos are interesting whether you are a conspiracy buff or a conservative ideologue.

Clueless Police Fail to Save Child Hostage

WARNING: The following blog entry contains photos that are disturbing and graphic. These images are not included for the purpose of sensationalism or gratuitous revelry. But awareness can empower, and I believe that turning away from the harsh reality is dishonoring to the child victim.

Here's another example of "collateral damage" incurred from the so-called war on drugs, a war that fails to protect society, least of all the children.

These terrifying photos from a bus station in Manila are the types of images that some people would prefer to be swept under the rug. However, this brutal event may have never occurred were it not for prohibition, if drug treatment centers were as readily available as prisons, if addicts were not pushed underground by fear of being criminalized, if police officers had as much training in handling hostage situations as they do in searching for illegal drugs, if more revenue was expended on securing the public transportation depots, rather than monitoring and sanctioning consensual behavior. Police observed this unstable man as he stabbed his child hostage at least 13 times. Then the cops shot both the psychopathic kidnapper and his 4 year-old hostage, right in front of the child's mother.

Protecting the Children - Part 2

When Janet Horwitz, Senior Program Analyst at the Department of Justice and DEA liaison received my friendly E-mail about JUNK, she was evidently not amused, and emailed me this terse response:

I don't know who gave you my email address, but please do not send me any more emails.

I thought, "Gee whiz! Her E-mail address was featured prominently on the official DEA website. Doesn't that imply she wants people to actually use it?"

So I promptly wrote her back:

I won't E-mail you again, but I received your address from the Drug Enforcement Administration website. I assumed that since you are listed as a public servant with the Department of Justice, you might be open to sharing a laugh and having a brief E-mail dialogue with an author and citizen who counts himself among the very few to simultaneously debate John Walters, Karen Tandy and William Bennett in print. You might want to run a search on your name in a few weeks, because I will likely blog about my exchange with you.

Drug warriors often speak of "protecting the children"...

When my two kids (who I delivered with my own trembling hands) can obtain potentially deadly drugs like crack, meth and heroin more easily than regulated drugs like alcohol or tobacco, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children.

When drug cartels are getting rich selling a completely unregulated product, turning our streets into war zones, and divesting money to terrorists, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children. The violent thugs who head the drug cartels don't care if our officials catch 10% of their shipments, so long as our policies make the other 90% of their product worth its weight in gold. Incidentally, it costs the United States Government a mere 30 cents per ounce to cultivate therapeutic cannabis for it's Investigational New Drug program. That same ounce could be sold for $300 on the streets of our drug-war torn country. Prohibition has increased the value of the product 1000 times! Regardless of altruistic intent, a prohibitionist is a mobster's (and a terrorist's) best friend.

When drug addicts invade the homes of families and commit violent crimes to pay the inflated prices imposed by black market producers, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children.

When police can't keep even drugs out of our schools, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children. There is some evidence indicating that illegal drugs are more commonly found in schools than tobacco and alcohol, even though illegal drugs are penalized far more harshly than booze and cigarettes. Reckon there is a connection?

When violent predators receive lighter sentences than drug offenders, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children. In my hometown of Denton TX, children share the city streets with 27 criminals convicted of sex crimes against kids 13 and younger, who never received a single day in jail for their crimes. This same dynamic is occurring in counties throughout the nation. Just how does a person sexually assault a four year-old girl and not serve any jail time? It's not for lack of resources - after all, we're sending many marijuana growers to jail for years, decades, or life. This dynamic will soon be exposed in a feature-length documentary entitled Broken Silence.

When children are placed in neglectful and abusive government group "homes" because their parents were given unnecessarily harsh prison sentences for using prohibited substances, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children.

When drug offenders are denied financial aid for college while child murderers and rapists receive Pell Grants, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children.

When the father of a eight-year old boy is brutally tortured with a battery charger clamped to his testicles by Tennessee Sheriff's deputies who are angered when he merely exercises his Fourth Amendment right to not give consent to a search of his family's home, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children.

When a DEA officer literally shoots himself in the foot while giving a drug and gun safety lecture at a public school (in front of a diverse crowd that included young kids), and then immediately horrifies the audience by pulling out yet another gun, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children.

When teenagers die from heroin overdoses because their "friends" won't take them to the hospital for fear of arrest, abandoning them to an early grave, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children.

When our nation doesn't properly fund schools, yet has more prisoners per capita than any nation on earth, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children.

When officers storm a high school with barking dogs, pointing loaded guns in the terrified faces of innocent students, handcuffing them and forcing them to lie on the ground, the drug war is FAILING to protect the children.

When prohibition laws engender general disrespect for the law among our nation's youth, encouraging criminal behavior and devastating penalties for minors, the drug war is FAILING to protect our children.

Sorry you didn't enjoy the JUNK satire, Janet. Fortunately, it's not yet against the law for citizens to advocate reform, or for artists to mock inaptitude and corruption in action.

Hope you sleep well tonight. If you have children, hug them close. They deserve your protection.

Your Iconoclast,

Christopher Largen

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Rhode Island Becomes 11th Medical Marijuana State

First Medical Marijuana Bill Since Supreme Court Ruling Passes Via Historic Veto Override

PROVIDENCE, RHODE ISLAND -- The Rhode Island House of Representatives voted to override Gov. Donald Carcieri's veto of the Marijuana Policy Project's medical marijuana bill today, making Rhode Island the 11th state to make medical marijuana legal and the first to enact a medical marijuana law since the Supreme Court's June decision in Gonzales v. Raich. Rhode Island's medical marijuana law is the third to be enacted by a state legislature, and the first passed by overriding a governor's veto. (The other eight states' medical marijuana laws were enacted via ballot initiatives.)

A coalition of Rhode Island patients, medical experts and health advocates built support for the bill. Organizations working to pass the bill included the Rhode Island Medical Society, the Rhode Island Nurses Association, and AIDS Project Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition.

Medical marijuana legislation continues to receive support in state legislatures around the country. Medical marijuana bills were introduced recently in Michigan and Wisconsin. Similar legislation is poised to pass in New Mexico.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Pastor Robert Tilton Has The Power

And to think that all this time, I assumed Tilton was a mere huckster, a pharasiacal swiller of Satan's semen who enlisted the name of God to dupe naive and desperate followers out of their Social Security checks. That last part kind of sounds like George Dubya Bush, no?

After seeing this photographic evidence, however, I'm a true believer...

Drug Lords Corrupting Mexican Military

Reckon the kingpins have corrupted the U.S. Government as well?

Mexico: Cartel Wooing Mexico's Military
Pubdate: Tue, 27 Dec 2005
Source: San Jose Mercury News (CA)
Copyright: 2005 San Jose Mercury News
Contact: male2('letters','');
Author: Alfredo Corchado,Dallas Morning News

CARTEL WOOING MEXICO'S MILITARY - Analysts Finding Signs Of Corruption

WASHINGTON - U.S. officials and analysts say there are new signs that drug corruption is spreading within the Mexican military, an institution long regarded as more professional and less prone to criminality than the country's law enforcement agencies. In interviews, four senior U.S. officials, a senior Mexican intelligence official and three independent analysts all expressed concern about the expanding role of the Mexican military in the drug war. Some pointed to low pay among the middle and lower ranks as making military personnel vulnerable to offers from cartel leaders who may double or triple their pay. "Corruption is more serious in the Mexican military than just about any other Latin American military," said a U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The reason is not that the Mexicans are any more venal; it's that we're talking about huge amounts of money . . . and that makes them more vulnerable."

Questions Deflected

Spokesmen for the Mexican Embassy in Washington and for Los Pinos, the presidential residence, declined to comment, referring questions to the military. Military officials requested questions in writing but said there would be no reply for now. The concerns were underscored in a video sent to the Dallas Morning News in October and made public earlier this month. The video shows four men, bound and bloodied and prodded by an unseen interrogator, talking about their work for a drug cartel. Two of the four identified themselves as former military men and said that their job was to recruit for the cartel from Mexico's special forces. The emergence of two new paramilitary groups, Los Negros and Los Numeros, which may seek to bolster their forces with military personnel and federal agents, has added to the concern, U.S. officials said. The groups are said to work for the Sinaloa cartel, purportedly headed by Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman. They were recruited to battle the rival Gulf cartel and its enforcement arm, the Zetas, and to spread the Sinaloa cartel's dominance along the entire U.S.-Mexico border, the officials said.

Military's Key Role

The Mexican government's central role in fighting drug trafficking is a relatively recent development. In 1996, during the administration of President Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de Leon, the U.S. government encouraged the Mexican government to give the military a central role in anti-narcotics efforts -- in part because the military was viewed as uncorrupted, analysts said.

"We're the ones who pushed the Mexican military into fighting narcotics," said Armand Peschard-Sverdrup, head of the Mexico Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. "We've pushed them into narco corruption."

In the past five years, President Vicente Fox has dramatically increased the military's participation in anti-narcotics efforts by including military personnel on the attorney general's payroll. Since 1996, the U.S. government has spent at least $225 million in training and other military assistance for anti-drug aid programs, according to a report by the Washington Office of Latin America, a non-governmental organization that monitors military cooperation between Mexico and the United States.