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Sabet slays science with propagandists’ sabre

8:25 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

In an opinion piece posted recently on the CNN International news website, a former White House Drug Policy Advisor named Kevin Sabet denounced the nascent but growing movement to end the prohibition of cannabis in the US in a 763 word ‘comment’ that does not include a single statistic about the subject substance : Cannabis. That the writer spends 377 words of the piece presenting alarming statistics about the horrible and horribly addicting drugs heroin, cocaine and tobacco should cause readers to question the motivations of this law enforcement scientist and his use of the misrepresentational mechanism of false equivalency and scare tactics may lead readers to question the honesty of CNN International for presenting this piece of propaganda (even couched as it is as opinion) to its readers.
While reading Sabet’s piece we grew more and more furious with every paragraph and with each incidence of an intellectually dishonest apple to oranges example that Sabet presents, we were moved to find out more about this lying flack for the disgusting alliance who seek the continuation of the harmful ‘war on drugs’ that we all know is addicted to cannabis prohibition; drug criminals, militarized law enforcement, pharmaceutical companies and private prison builders. As readers of mLaw are aware, we have zero tolerance for vested players who lie and frighten uninformed or ill-informed citizens to support their goal of perpetuating the insane, discriminatory, harmful, anti-science prohibition of cannabis through lies, distortions and reiterations of discredited scientific studies as well as other more disturbing forms of propaganda including those that rely upon promoting stereotypes and bigotry.

It turns out that this scientist (and Sabet is indeed a scientist – well, he’s not a medical professional, but rather holds a doctorate in the field of “social policy”) was actually an unabashed drug warrior from the wee age of 15, when he stood up to the Orange County school board who chose not to accept federal matching funds for an after school anti-drug program. That action brought Sabet at that young age to national prominence amongst drug warriors, which eventually led to the youth (and when I say youth- I’m talking about a teenager) to work with the National Institute of Drug Abuse in its public relations department. We wonder why Bill Clinton’s (dry doper) NIDA would hire a 19 year old, not yet graduated from college, non-scientist to work on public relations projects?

This serial prohibitionist’s past history of being utilized by the propaganda spreading federal boosters of the notion that criminal enforcement action is the only effective response to drug use in the US includes Sabet’s work for all of the ‘dry doper’ presidents who have occupied the White House over the past 20 years, all of whom (embarrassed or ashamed of their own cannabis use and how it threatened their narcissistic march to be ‘the most powerful man on the planet’) have been proud, swamp-science supporting, let patients live in pain, swarthy American jailing drug war enthusiasts – countering compassion, reason and scientific study with their aggressive pro-prohibition actions.

Throughout the past 20 years, the same time that Sabet has been a paid functionary in the ‘war on drugs’, the medical establishment and popular consciousness have made a dramatic shifts in their perceptions of the natural and curative substance cannabis. While at the same time, federal and state prosecutors have arrested hundreds of thousands of American citizens for cannabis related crimes every year (over 700,000 last year alone), the largest percentage of these arrests being for simple possession of cannabis for personal use.

An awareness of how this anti-drug ex-teenage-zealot has been used for his entire post-adolescent life by propagandists to uphold the drug war and proselytize dross of the type that fills the easily debunked CNN piece can inform us of the tactics used by those who conspire to continue cannabis prohibition. It is also instructive to observe the statements of propagandists like Sabet to identify some of their most often employed tactics. The pro-prohibitionists in DC, including the choomer in chief Barack Obama, know full well that cannabis is curative and minimally harmlful, and they also know they need the support of both soccer-moms and hippy busting cops; and therefore, they must lie. And, when the goal is to counter good sense, compassion, known science and objective reality as it is perceived by the tens of millions of adult Americans based upon their own experiences, propagandists must make appeals to unreasoned fear.

Sabet says legalization of cannabis will increase addiction. But, as a scientist I am sure he must be aware that that statement is not supported by science. A review of the science by the Institute of Medicine reveals;

“Because it is an illegal substance, some people consider any use of marijuana as substance abuse. However, this report uses the medical definition; that is, substance abuse is a maladaptive pattern of repeated substance use manifested by recurrent and significant adverse consequences. Substance abuse and dependence are both diagnoses of pathological substance use. Dependence is the more serious diagnosis and implies compulsive drug use that is difficult to stop despite significant substance related problems,

and further; Read the rest of this entry →

Obama tells the truth, Obama re-tells the lie

6:41 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross posted at mLaw

Following the punch-a-hippy&sick-person scheme that has worked so well for President Obama, the White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest, responding to a reporter’s question, stated on August 21, apparently reading from a prepared text, that the president will not reschedule the substance cannabis for medical or recreational use, even suggesting that Obama will not even consider rescheduling to allow for medical research of the curative and pain management potential of the promising natural medicine. And that’s the truth.

Obama, I believed you, I trusted you, I voted for you.  marijuana, pot, cannabis, medical marijuana, mmj, protest signObama’s spokesperson then segued serpentine-like into the established position of the administration, that “the president and the administration believe that targeting individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers, is not the best allocation for federal law enforcement resources.” A statement that, on it’s face is difficult to assail as it suggests the Obama team has endeavored to formulate a cogent, mature, reasoned, aware, progressive and public safety conscious program to acknowledge our ill brethren and protect our children. And that’s the lie.

The administration’s continued attacks on the systems of dispensing medical cannabis reveal Obama’s dishonesty and dis-compassion. One has only to scan recent headlines to understand that our leaders are cynically deploying talking points, memes that infer compassion for the sick, as they continue a pogrom of intimidation and aggressive enforcement actions against the very pharmacies that are allowed by state law to provide medicine to “those with serious illnesses and their caregivers.”

Earlier this year, President Obama released his administration’s revamped compassion forward new think war on drugs program (reported here by mLaw). In it’s justification to thwart the onrush of medical progress and quash the nascent small d democratic movement afoot in the US to legalize recreational use of cannabis by adults, the president’s appointees equated cannabis to the drugs heroin and ‘crack’ cocaine. The administration says that it truly believes that there are “addictive” properties to the natural substance cannabis. Because of this, and (of course) for the protection of our children, cannabis has therefore to be dealt with in the same fashion as heroin, cocaine and meth. It’s all about public safety, don’t you know.

Additionally, we as concerned Americans, can’t possibly want criminals to hijack the system of cannabis pharmacies (the administration warns) to traffic cannabis to states that have not yet legalized cannabis for medicinal relief. With this reasoning, the Drug Enforcement Administration, a federal agency under the office of the president, raided the People’s Choice Alternative Medicine pharmacy in Ann Arbor MI on Tuesday August 20. The DEA raided Los Angeles’ oldest cannabis pharmacy on August 8 (cannabis has been legal for medical relief in California for more than ten years). In late July, the DEA raided three cannabis pharmacies in Washington state. All of this follows the May 2013 US Department of Justice coordinated action threatening over 100 cannabis pharmacies in Long Beach, CA and Los Angeles county with up to 40 year jail sentences if the did not close their doors immediately.

Obama’s spokesperson ended the questioning about the future for sick Americans who want to be able to use the medical substance for pain relief by saying that he was, “not really sure what steps are required or what changes could be implemented into the law to have an impact on marijuana research,” adding an attempted joke “this is going to draw me all kinds of traffic on twitter … I’m predicting that now, and maybe I’ll have an update for you later.”

Well, moments before Mr. Earnest stated quite plainly and in apparent earnestness that the administration has concern for “individual marijuana users, especially those with serious illnesses and their caregivers.” One would think that after five years on the job they may have given some consideration to the state of cannabis research in the US and its relationship to the prolonged prohibition of the medically useful substance, you know, in an act of compassion for our sick neighbors.

As it stands today, Obama is happy to continue the cynical self-imposed standoff catch-22 that criminalizes research into the medically beneficial qualities of cannabis; because cannabis is said by politicians and law enforcers to have no medical benefits, researchers cannot procure the drug legally to perform the research that will establish that the politicians and law enforcers are wrong in their assertions. Obama’s continuation of this obvious to all double talk on cannabis research signifies the extent to which the administration desires to help sick Americans.

I live in a country that says it is compassionate and caring for those who are struggling with terminal disease, with debilitating conditions for which there is no cure. I live in a country whose president’s spokesperson replied to a question about our country’s intentional embargo on the medical research of cannabis with a sophomoric joke about twitter retribution.

Obama plays a lot of these semantic games: “no laws were broken,” with respect to the banking criminals, “look forward not back,” with respect to war criminals, “nobody’s listening to your phone calls” with respect to warrantless surveillance of Americans. And most often our courageous White House press corps snicker along with his spokespersons because they are all ‘in on the joke’. Read the rest of this entry →

soft totalitarianism : self-censorship and acceptance of corporate surveillance

11:33 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

cross poste at the demise

The revelation from one of the world’s few remaining independent press organizations, the Associated Press, that, subsequent to the federal government’s attempt to criminalize the act of reportage, its traditional sources regarding governmental wrong doing (or just plain government doing) are choosing to keep mum should be of no surprise to the AP, and also to us, the citizenry.

When confronted with the specter of rulers who make the game up as they go along their merry way committing both immoral and illegal acts (and also, immoral illegal acts) who then claim that they have self-created authority to do these things, which meet the standards of their underling rubber-stampers (which cannot in any case be reviewed by ‘regular citizens’) –many Americans have recently fumbled with, have attempted to define for themselves based upon what they know now is true about how the government operates and from whom it takes orders, have almost brought to utterance but are hamstrung from personally accepting a concept that has been reviled, ostracized, belittled, ignored (all in a self-serving fashion that countervails appreciable extant reality) but is none the less likely the single most apt way to characterize the relationship between our current leaders of commerce and leaders of our nation: that we are living in a neo-fascist state.

Moreover, many citizens are realizing that, with the metastasizing fashion that corporate finance has seized all world markets and made pariahs of those earthlings who do not participate in the predatory system of structured western commerce; we live in a globalized neo-fascist economy where even sovereign state governments are powerless to effect change using systems of democratic governance.

Benito Mussolini, the historic patriarch of the world’s first broadly acknowledged fascist state, is reported widely (but not definitively) to have once described the government that he controlled as “corporatist” as opposed to fascist, because fascism is the melding of the state and corporate interests. Which of these players actually is the controller in this dynamic is less important in my mind (I am not a historian) because when the state’s interests and corporate interests merge, the interests of the populace – the citizens who are supposed to direct polity in democracies – are not the foci of the energies and concerns of the state and our corporate masters.

What concerns fascists, both corporate and political, is often rather; for politicians, the concern to maintain power (do the bidding of corporate controllers) and concentrate power (e.g. presidential signing statements), and in the corporate world, the concentration of power (monopolization) and the maintenance of power (wealth hoarding) – really the same thing, none of which directly speaks to the concerns, needs or wishes of the governed.

When the media complains now about their inability to mine sources due to the government’s threatening actions, they must not want to remember that they (meaning DC media types – but the same holds true at the city and state levels) have over and over again chosen to trade their being given “access” to ask questions of those who govern for their acquiescence to power itself – not embarrassing, not alleging anything untoward, not bringing up unseemly or embarrassing matters; generally kissing the ring, if you will, of the political class in America largely for selfish careerist reasons.

Examples of this fake-style journalism are myriad indeed- to name a few; why no questions to the candidates for president last election on the illegal occupation of Palestine, why no questions about the presidential assassination of American citizens with no due process, why no concern in the media that Dodd-Frank has been neutered by politicians in both parties, why so much agreement that ‘no laws were broken’ when the private banks destroyed the world economy and were consequently made whole with tax dollars handed out in an impressive bi-partisan manner to these private companies with no pre-conditions, why is it fair to make these private parties whole with tax dollars, why no reportage about the corporate/government cooperative program to attack and criminalize the Occupy movement, why no media interest in the detainment and torture of Bradley Manning, why no reporting on the massive surveillance state in the US that has been known about for more than 10 years, with lawsuits being filed, admissions of wrong doing on the part of the highest levels of government, laws being retroactively changed to protect corporations, presidential candidates running on the issues of transparency, illegal surveillance and privacy, as candidate Obama did? The list is nearly endless.

What one can very easily calculate is that the press is understood by the powerful as a tool of propaganda and has been turned into no more than a career building mechanism by reporters and a money maker for media owners, none of whom understand as our founding fathers did that a free and contentious press is a bulwark against totalitarianism and fascism, a necessary component of a free democratic society.

From one standpoint, the questions that are not answered might reflect that concerns such as those referenced above just may not be seen to be of interest to the media because they feel their audience does not care about these. We know this is not the case subsequent to the recent revelations of the massive surveillance state and Americans’ genuine, concerned and almost frantic interest in the story.

From another standpoint, the questions that are not answered are providing cover for politicians who want their anti-democratic programs to never be discussed – in other words, these media professionals are conspiring to cover-up government abuses. And, the same can be said of the press when it comes to writing about corporate excess and corporate crime…we have seen over the past twenty years or more that questions about matters that are ‘sensitive’ to the corporate elite remain, quite simply, never asked and buried.

So, with respect to the media coverage of corporate crime and political malfeasance we see an agreement to present a charade of press freedom as a free press. The political class depends on fake-reporters that self-censor to maintain control and (as we have become aware due to recent revelations), to enlarge the national security state and diminish or negate the rights of Americans to confront and challenge the national security state. A beautiful form of control that relies upon individuals to abandon their sense of community and commitment to the ongoing project of a democratic country. We don’t have the need for Pravda, just look at what a free press we have…soft totalitarianism.

Sadly, we too, the citizenry, have ‘traded-off’ to secure access. Access to coupons, targeted advertising, special offers, reduced prices, free gifts – consumer treats that flow like an unstoppable torrent as we daily agree to the ‘terms of service’ contracts that are presented to us by corporations so we can use the products that they develop.

In light of the revelation that the federal government has been and intends to continue to record every possible communication and transaction that we make, many Americans are rightly concerned about their loss of privacy and its attendant freedom (the right to be secure in your persons, homes, papers and effects). Revealing, this anger and disbelief and concern, as we have each individually and on thousands of incidental occasions over the past ten years consciously, willingly and happily relinquished our anonymity and autonomy to the enticing, invasive and unstoppable culture of complete corporate surveillance.

No need to take away our rights when they have been gifted away to our leaders of commerce by you and me…Soft totalitarianism.

‘beware of maya’ george harrison

Obama’s drug czar addicted to pro-prohibition fallacies

6:36 am in Uncategorized by acmerecords

President Obama’s hand-picked ‘drug czar’, former police chief of Seattle Gil Kerlikowske, denounced legalization of cannabis for personal consumption by American adults at a National Press Club event.

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowski speaks to the National Press Club on US drug policy

Kerlikowski characterized the legalization of drugs in his discussion of cannabis legalization in Washington and Colorado as an “extreme position”, and went further to state bluntly that the Obama administration opposes “drug legalization.”

“The Justice Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged,” Kerlikowske reminded reporters in prepared remarks.  He added, in what can only be interpreted as a warning to the citizens of states that have legalized cannabis through local democratic processes, “Neither a state nor the executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress.”

Kerlikowske then attempted to append a ‘public safety’ rational to his articulated support for a federalized law enforcement crack down on states that have voted to allow adults to use cannabis recreationally by admonishing, “Nor should we lose sight of the fundamental fact that using marijuana has public health consequences, and the most responsible public policy is one that restricts its availability and discourages its use.”

Kerlikowske flanked by health professionals specializing in treating drug addiction, said that the Obama administration’s approach to drug policy was not to wage a “war on drugs” nor was it to “legalize drugs”, rather, Kerlikowske said, the Obama administration favors focusing on reducing “drug use and its consequences” primarily drug addiction.  Kerlikowske said that the key component of the Obama administration’s approach to drug control is to focus on the “disease of addiction.”

Kerlikowske also compared what he termed “substance use disorder” with “progressive diseases”  stating that intervention by health professionals who have access to addiction treatment programs sponsored by the government is a “key aspect” of Obama’s approach to drug policy.  Kerlikowske did not comment on the irony that medical professionals across America prescribe the medicine of cannabis to treat many progressive diseases, including Parkinson’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis.

Kerlikowske’s position that the federal government should take legal action because of the public dangers threatened by the addictive properties of cannabis are not shared by former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders who told CNN in 2010, “Marijuana is not addictive, not physically addictive anyway,” when she called for federal legalization of cannabis.  While the level of addiction that cannabis users experience is debatable, no health researcher or public health authority has stated that cannabis is more addictive than the legal consumer products alcohol and tobacco.

cross posted at mLaw

prohibitionists fear: ‘we just can’t scare the kids anymore’

7:42 pm in Uncategorized by acmerecords

As American adults take action on their awareness that cannabis, though demonized by propaganda from industrialists with a financial stake in preserving prohibition and politicians who have depended upon using scare tactics to forward their political careers, is substantially safer than America’s most used drugs (tobacco and alcohol), policy creators are expressing concern that today’s youth simply will no longer be cowed into submission by the reiteration of factually biased and medically disproven scare tactics.

America’s youth, just like adults in the US, are fully aware that what they have been told by parties that desire to maintain the prohibition of cannabis over the course of 75 years amounts to factually inaccurate, unsubstantiated propaganda.

The wielders of this three-quarters-of-a-century old propaganda are now coming to the realization that the youth in America can actually educate themselves on the issue of ending cannabis prohibition, can effectively and honestly assess the differences between the prohibited substance cannabis and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs that are widely prescribed by physicians in the US, and have determined that the vast majority of what they have been told by police authorities, political leaders, their churches and schools, is not simply wrong, but is intentionally misrepresentational and supports agendas beyond the oft repeated mantra of prohibitionists; “it’s all about the safety of the children.”

In recent public statements, President Obama’s ‘drug czar’ expressed alarm that teen use of cannabis has gradually increased at the same time teen use of alcohol and tobacco have gradually declined. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health found that teen use of cannabis has grown over the past years, but use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, both prescription and illicit, has declined. In the case of alcohol usage by American teens, use has declined to its lowest point since the federal government began tracking alcohol use by minors forty years ago.

Some have analyzed this change as being a positive expression of today’s youth’s ability to decide for themselves whether to use legal drugs that are promoted constantly in American media and culture or to use cannabis, a substance that has been demonized for 75 years by American media and culture. The study results can perhaps signify that America’s youth are aware of the very real dangers of tobacco addiction and alcohol abuse, and are choosing marijuana, a drug that they know presents less risk. Choosing a less harmful drug over more harmful drug could and should be met by our leaders as a very positive sign that indicates a thoughtful choice made by weighing the facts.

The leaders of America’s drug war, when faced with these statistics have instead concluded that the study rather shows that today’s youth are falling under a type of mystical spell that is causing them to “forget” all the propaganda now that adults in this country have demanded that recreational cannabis use be legal.

In recent statements, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the federal agency that performed the survey, opined that teens’ new attitudes about the dangers of tobacco and alcohol compared to cannabis reflect that our young people’s thoughtful choice is rather a reaction to the fact that recreational use of cannabis is no longer prohibited in Washington and Colorado and that “the deterrent” of illegality “is no longer present.”

Volkow’s belief that young people cannot assess the relative dangers between the legal and constantly promoted drugs alcohol and tobacco and the illegal but much less harmful cannabis is an indication that the enforcers have come to believe their own propaganda. The theorem being promoted by Volkow can be framed thusly; “If it is illegal, it must be wrong, bad and immoral.” The thought process that Americans both young and old may be currently operating under may rather be; “The illegality of cannabis was unnecessary and wrong, and predicated upon bigoted stereotypes dreamed up by industrialists who sought prohibition and, carried forth for seven decades by supine and captured politicians and police authorities for reasons that had nothing to do with public safety.”

If it’s true that this mindset is behind the increase in cannabis use by teens in America that the study identified, then America’s propagandists are themselves coming to new understandings. One is that propaganda no longer will suffice to brow beat thinking people into subordinating their experiences, and, perhaps more frightening to these custodians of culture, that many Americans now understand that they were lied to by their government to support the private wealth of business owners for seventy five years.

Being aware of the nearly century long history of lying and propagandizing may inculcate an awareness in our youth that they should aggressively question some of our nation’s other ‘preordained’ policy assumptions. I ask young Americans to do the research and find out if it is true when our leaders tell us that “we have to kill children in the Middle East to protect our “special relationships” with outlaw regimes”, that “torture is an effective method to gain intelligence”, or that “big banks can never be held to account for the crimes that they commit”. The list of queries is long indeed.

If government officials like Volkow say to you that these preconceptions are unchallengeable and have a quality of ‘religious truth’ to them, you can simply advise that, “torture is illegal by international standards”, that “occupying sovereign countries for 60 years is illegal by international standards”, and that “fraud is a criminal violation throughout the world”. Maybe if the prohibitionists hear that these things are illegal, they will be “deterred” from supporting these anti-human policy pogroms.

cross posted at the marijuana legalization awareness wiki Read the rest of this entry →