Drug war hysteria – The SWAT team

How ridiculous has the drug war become? Check out some of these stories about SWAT teams gone wild in Maryland.

In November 2007 Prince George’s police raided the wrong home of a couple in Accokeek. Though the couple presented the police with evidence that they were at the wrong address, the police still detained them at gunpoint, refusing even to let them go to the bathroom. The couple asked the police if they could bring their pet boxer in from the backyard. The police refused. Moments later, the police shot and killed the dog.

In June 2007 police in Annapolis deployed a flash grenade, broke open an apartment door, and kicked a man in the groin during a mistaken drug raid. When they later served the warrant on the correct address, they found no drugs.

Most victims of these mistaken raids experienced the same callousness and indifference from public officials that Calvo did. When police in Montgomery County conducted a mistaken 4 a.m. raid on a Kenyan immigrant and her teenage daughters in 2005, the county offered free movie passes as compensation. When police in Baltimore mistakenly raided the home of 33-year-old Andrew Leonard last May, the city refused to pay for Leonard’s door, which was destroyed during the break-in. When Leonard called the city’s bulk trash pick-up to come get the door, no one came. Days later, city code inspectors fined Leonard $50 for storing the broken door in his backyard.

This stuff didn’t get exposed until a SWAT team mistakenly raided the home of a mayor. What a joke. Decriminalize the stuff already.


Idiotic drug war

This is disgusting.

A musician who was denied a liver transplant because he used marijuana with medical approval under Washington state law to ease the symptoms of advanced hepatitis C died Thursday.

The death of Timothy Garon, 56, at Bailey-Boushay House, an intensive care nursing center was confirmed to The Associated Press by his lawyer, Douglas Hiatt, and Alisha Mark, a spokeswoman for Virginia Mason Medical Center, which operates Bailey-Boushay.

Dr. Brad Roter, the physician who authorized Garon to smoke pot to alleviate for nausea and abdominal pain and to stimulate his appetite, said he did not know it would be such a hurdle if Garon were to need a transplant.

The case has highlighted a new ethical consideration for those allocating organs for transplant, especially in the dozen states that have medical marijuana laws: When dying patients need a transplant, should it be held against them if they’ve used pot with a doctor’s blessing?

Garon died a week after his doctor told him a University of Washington Medical Center committee had again denied him a spot on the liver transplant list because of his use of marijuana, although it was authorized under Washington state law.

“He said I’m going to die with such conviction,” Garon told an AP reporter at the time. “I’m not angry, I’m not mad, I’m just confused.”


NY Times researches Obama’s drug use in his younger days

The New York Times concludes that Obama’s drug use was not very extensive.

Mr. Obama’s account of his younger self and drugs, though, significantly differs from the recollections of others who do not recall his drug use. That could suggest he was so private about his usage that few people were aware of it, that the memories of those who knew him decades ago are fuzzy or rosier out of a desire to protect him, or that he added some writerly touches in his memoir to make the challenges he overcame seem more dramatic.

In more than three dozen interviews, friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised, someone who did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed to dabble only with marijuana.


Give me liberty . . . .

Conservatives have completely abondoned the concept of liberty. Forces like the religious right, big-government conservatives and the fears generated by 9/11 have led many conservatives to argue that the government needs to regulate our moral lives, and it’s getting hard to find any conservatives who will champion the concept of freedom. Many conservatives like David Brooks are welcoming this new concept of “moral guardrails.”

Many of us are getting sick of the government, the GOP and the religious right telling us how to live our lives. Fortunately, some conservatives are still willing to fight for the concept of liberty. Radley Barko obliterates Brooks’ argument that we need the government watching over us on moral issues. He points out how almost every indicator, from teen pregnecy, to divorce rates, crime and abortion rates are down and heading lower. These trends began in the early to mid 90’s (under Clinton, who Barko does not mention). Meanwhile, this has also happened while our society has become much more liberal about things like homosexuality and our pop culture has become more course. He ends with the following, which should be a punch in the gut to all conservatives who have tolerated th moral nanny state:

So what gives? Seems to me that technology, relaxed public attitudes, and consumer choice have given Americans more lifestyle freedom over the last 15 years than we’ve ever had before. Yet not only is our national moral fabric not unraveling, it appears to be as durable and fibrous as it’s ever been.

So why exactly do we need more moral guardrails from the government aimed at restricting behavior?

(Interestingly, the one trend that hasn’t significantly declined over the last 15 years — or at least hasn’t receded as quickly as the others — is drug use. And that’s the one vice the government has been most aggressive about policing.)

Frankly, I think these statistics speak for themselves. We handle our liberty just fine, thanks. The vast majority of Americans don’t need government-imposed “guardrails.” Family, friends, churches, and other support networks more than suffice.

Twenty years after Ronald Reagan declared government to be the problem, today’s conservatives want to use government to cure every social ill imaginable.

The questions is whether Democrats and liberals will fight for our freedoms. Democrats are so afraid to speak their mind because they don’t want to piss off the morals crowd, yet they keep losing elections because nobody believes them anymore.

Speak up. Stand up for liberty. It’s the right thing to do, and it might actually be good politics as well.


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