Drug czar uses marijuana study to distract media from crime drop in Denver after legalization

DEA Stormtrooper

The empire strikes back.

With studies showing drug legalization in Colorado has already lowered Denver crime rates, the feds have to do something to protect their lucrative drug war.

According to data from the Denver Police Department, violent crime (including homicide, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault) fell by 6.9% in the first quarter of 2014, compared with the same period in 2013. Property crime (including burglary, larceny, auto theft, theft from motor vehicle and arson) dropped by 11.1%.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy, office of the U.S. “drug czar”, is the anti-drug propaganda arm of the U.S. government. At the ONDCP, it’s actually against the law to tell the truth about drugs, a fact highlighted by a Feb. 4, 2014 hearing of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The hearing was originally planned by Republicans to denounce the president, but that backfired when deputy drug czar Michael Botticelli was made to look like an idiot by Democrats defending Obama’s factual observation that marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol.

Recent events that led up to the timing of the release of the latest federally-funded anti-marijuana study:

1. President says marijuana is less dangerous than alcohol.

2. Study is published showing crime rates fell after medical marijuana decriminalization in the 2000s.

3. Crime rates in Denver fall up to 11% in 2014 Q1 after full legalization of marijuana.

4. Feds continue to get angry, crack down on dispensaries in Denver and whine about legalization in D.C.

5. ONDCP hauls out their zillionth anti-marijuana study, after being embarrassed in a Congressional hearing.

6. Worthless news media takes ONDCP study seriously.

7. Tabloids do ONDCP’s dirty workrepeatedly.

8. Reports on the recent study showing crime rates falling after decriminalization get buried by ONDCP propaganda.

At least USA Today, a semi-literate newspaper full of colorful pie charts, is playing it safe, probably under the assumption that anyone who reads USA Today must be stoned:

Gregory Gerdeman, a biologist and neuropharmacologist at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Fla., said he has no reason to doubt the new study’s findings but worries generally about marijuana research funded by federal agencies… “If you’re getting money from the drug czar’s office, that money’s not going to continue if you don’t end up publishing something that at least supports the general story of the danger of drug abuse,” Gerdeman said… “if it were my child, even with this study, I’m more comfortable with young people having a casual marijuana habit than drinking regularly.”

As usual, President Obama says it’s up to someone else to do something about the inequities of the drug laws. Since Congress never does anything they’re not compensated for, that leaves things open for the anti-drug cartels to recapture their market share. After all, drug war is big business for federal agencies, contractors, and private prisons.

This will all come down to money in the end. Capitalist entrepreneurs turned legal drug dealers aligned with states hungry for tax revenues will compete against federal agencies desperate to maintain their funding, all to see who can bribe the most people on Capitol Hill. Welcome to America.

Stop Offering Me Marijuana

"With me it's a full time job. Now behave yourself."

“With me it’s a full time job. Now behave yourself.”

Every time I go uptown, people come up and try to offer me marijuana, and I have to explain to them that they’re contaminating public perceptions of my drug philosophy. Recreationalists should not be allowed on the streets. They are a danger to our children. If only there existed a drug squad that could send all these heretics to reeducation camps. Behind barbed wire, professional drug users could counsel these misguided souls to stop wasting their lives on soft drugs and social lubrication, and turn them into professional philosophers of the one true church of psychonautic smack addiction. This is a way of life, not a pastime for dilettantes and the homeless.

Now hiring: experienced junk counselors to advocate drug use as a philosophical modus vivendi. First we go door to door like Mormons. Then maybe try Kickstarter.

A grateful world to the dealer in happiness: the Count of Monte Cristo on drugs

Monte Cristo isletAlexandre Dumas’ 1844-46 serial The Count of Monte Cristo is one of the most popular novels in the world. Despite what you might expect from a 19th century adventure story, its dark protagonist is complex and philosophical. The Count’s intellectual mind, his fractured idealism turned jaded pessimism, and his ruthless individuality makes him an existential philosopher-of-action par excellence.

Hotel de Lauzun

Dumas was a member of the Club des Hashischins (Hashish-Eaters Club) in Paris, which existed from 1844-49, around the time of the publication of Monte Cristo. So it isn’t surprising that the Count of Monte Cristo is a hashish eater. In fact, in the tradition of de Quincey, Coleridge and Keats, he’s also an opium-eater and quite a proponent of the two drugs. Monte Cristo pops pills he concocts himself from a 50/50 mixture of opium and hashish. Dumas borrows heavily from the Orientalism that we see associated with drug culture in earlier 19th century literature and poetry, but he does so with a flourish that is so perfected it still holds its magic after 170 years:

“There is a struggle in nature against this divine substance—in nature which is not made for joy and clings to pain. Nature subdued must yield in the combat, the dream must succeed to reality, and then the dream reign supreme, then the dream becomes life, and life becomes the dream. But what changes occur! It is only by comparing the pains of actual being with the joys of the assumed existence, that you would desire to live no longer, but to dream thus forever. When you return to this mundane sphere from your visionary world, you would seem to leave a Neapolitan spring for a Lapland winter—to quit paradise for earth—heaven for hell! Taste the hashish, guest of mine—taste the hashish.”

Dumas expounds upon the joys of hashish at some length:

Charas HashishThat kind of green preserve is nothing less than the ambrosia which Hebe served at the table of Jupiter! …We frequently pass so near to happiness without seeing, without regarding it, or if we do see and regard it, yet without recognizing it. Are you a man for the substantials and is gold your god? Taste this and the mines of Peru, Guzerat and Golconda are open to you. Are you a man of imagination—a poet? Taste this and the boundaries of possibility disappear… Are you ambitious, and do you seek after the greatness of the earth? Taste this, and in an hour you will be a king… Is it not tempting what I offer you, and is it not an easy thing, since it is only to do thus? Look!”

At these words he uncovered the small cup which contained the substance so lauded, took a teaspoonful of the magic sweetmeat, raised it to his lips and swallowed it slowly, with his eyes half shut and his head bent backward…

Hashshashin

“Did you ever hear…of the Old Man of the Mountain, who attempted to assassinate Philippe Augustus?”

“Of course, I have.”

“Well, you know he reigned over a rich valley, which was overhung by the mountain whence he derived his picturesque name. In this valley were magnificent gardens planted by Hassen-ben-Sabah, and in these gardens isolated pavilions. Into these pavilions he admitted the elect; and there, says Marco Polo, gave them to eat a certain herb, which transported them to paradise, in the midst of ever-blooming shrubs, ever-ripe fruit and ever-lovely virgins. But what these happy persons took for reality was but a dream; but it was a dream so soft, so voluptuous, so enthralling, that they sold themselves body and soul to him who gave it to them; and obedient to his orders as those of a deity, struck down the marked victim, died in torture without a murmur; believing that the death they underwent was but a quick transition to that life of delights of which the holy herb, now before you, had given them a slight foretaste.”

“Then,” cried Franz, “it is hashish! I know that—by name at least.”

Masyaf“That is it precisely, Signor Aladdin; it is hashish—the purest and most unadulterated hashish of Alexandria—the hashish of Abou-Gor, the celebrated maker, the only man, the man to whom there should be built a palace inscribed with these words: ‘A grateful world to the dealer in happiness.’”

“Do you know,” said Franz, “I have a very great inclination to judge for myself…”

Later, the Count, impresses his wealth upon an audience of Parisians with a flourish of a large, hollowed emerald, and casually remarks that he carries it at all times. Why? Because it contains his opium.

Colombian Emerald“May we inquire what is this recipe?” asked Debray.

“Oh, yes, I make no secret of it. It is a mixture of excellent opium, which I fetched myself from Canton in order to have it pure, and the best hashish which grows in the East—that is, between the Tigris and the Euphrates. These two ingredients are mixed in equal proportions, and formed into pills. Ten minutes after one is taken, the effect is produced…

“But,” said Beauchamp, who, as a journalist, was very incredulous, “you always carry this drug about you?”

“Always.”

 

Prohibition and Prejudice: Demonization of the Drug User

After I quit methadone, people began to treat me like a different person. I unwittingly transcended the untouchable caste of the junky and became accepted as a normal member of this society that so conveniently allows for reinvention. I might as well have been a black man who turned white overnight.

Anti-Mexican racism contributed to the criminalization of cannabis

Anti-Mexican racism contributed to the criminalization of cannabis

Drug users are among the untouchables of the American class system, the melting pot’s social cousins of the Dalit of India, the Romani of Europe and the Burakumin of Japan. In America, like most places, you are treated more or less like a pariah for being on methadone maintenance. Years of negative drug tests will only make you seem to most people a somewhat more trustworthy and less repulsive specimen of your untouchable caste. Get your methadone prescription from a doctor, take the medication for pain (instead of requiring it to be able to function), and miraculously you are considered a normal human being.

Anti-Chinese racism was largely responsible for the criminalization of opiates.

Anti-Chinese racism was largely responsible for the criminalization of opiates.

I quit methadone a long time ago because I was sick of the discriminatory regulations and travel restrictions. I developed medical problems soon after–problems unrelated to methadone or withdrawal. I didn’t know it at the time, but methadone had alleviated the symptoms and functioned as a therapeutic treatment. Now I have to suffer the irony of doctors forever congratulating me for discontinuing the only medication that relieved symptoms they are trying, with little success, to address with drugs and surgeries that are objectively no better, and often worse than being on methadone.

Not many people are aware that opiates treat conditions other than pain, but as late as the 19th century opium was as widely used as aspirin is today. The public today is encouraged to believe the 19th century opium cure-all was quackery. This is a convenient lie that even most doctors believe. Of course, most doctors alive today have very little understanding of opiates. Like most people, they are prejudiced against their use.

Drug prohibition was founded on prejudice. San Francisco enacted the first U.S. opium ban in 1875, motivated by anti-Chinese xenophobia and racism. Similar laws were passed around the world for similar reasons, often by governments and groups with ulterior motives. Before Harry Anslinger demonized cannabis in Hearst newspapers with scare stories about African Americans raping white women, southwestern states were targeting “marihuana” smoking Mexican immigrants. Japan’s right wing government outlawed the same drug when confronted by a red scare and widespread left wing student protests. Many of the students used marijuana, which became a convenient cause for their arrests.

Naturally, these prejudices against targeted groups expanded to include drug users in general. The use of prohibited drugs became synonymous with belonging to a despised race or subculture. Soon, the idea of drugs—the excuse to demonize—became entangled with the act of using the drug, and thus began the demonization of the drug user in general.

Indiana Cops Teach Child What Marijuana Gets You: Assaulted By Police

Welcome to America

“Protect and Serve”? OBEY AND SURVIVE

To better prepare 11-year-old American children for the police brutality they will soon be subject to as bystanders and victims of the War on (some) Drugs, the Brazil, Indiana Police Department apparently thought it would be a good idea to show schoolchildren what will happen to them when they grow up in America, or, in the case of any American who isn’t white, when they turn thirteen.

First, the police demonstrated drug planting techniques on an 11-year-old boy, a lesson presumably designed to both dissuade and frighten the children by making them aware of the criminality American cops will resort to in their war on the people they claim to protect.

Obey and SurviveThe cops then attacked the 11-year-old boy with a dog named Max, furthering the effectiveness of the lesson with a real-life recreation of police brutality.

National reporting of the story prompted the Brazil Police Department to make good out of a bad situation and teach a further lesson. Authorities are now demonstrating to the child how police reports are falsified to blame victims of police brutality.

Police report: “The first male juvenile began moving his legs around as Max searched him. When the male began moving his legs, (this is what) I believe prompted Max’s action to bite the male juvenile on the left calf.”

The lesson has come under criticism, but it clearly is good preparation for life in a country where the police will shoot anyone without hesitation, bystander or suspect, and 67% of the time will get away with it (100% for federal police).

Obey and Survive

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