Marijuana Laws Are A Prime Example Of Broken Federal Government

As the Federal government undoubtedly prepares to pounce on Colorado and Washington after voters in each State opted to legalize recreational marijuana use, it seems the Feds are fighting a losing battle with the American psyche.

Antiquated Federal prohibition on marijuana brought forth when “Reefer Madness” was considered an acceptable argument against recreational or medical use of the drug will drive the Drug Enforcement Agency to come down hard on States that, through populist vote, accept the drug for recreational purposes. And sporadic prosecution will likely continue against States that have allowed forbidden medical marijuana initiatives to pass against the will of the Federal government.

The problem with the Federal War on Drugs and the government’s obstinacy in admitting it may have been wrong about marijuana (and other drug) policy is that it is making unwitting hypocrites of nearly everyone involved.

Conservative who hold general disdain for a burgeoning police state and champion self-responsibility in making choices in the American spirit of liberty also champion a Federal drug war against marijuana because of archaic societal views and junk science from the early 20th century.

Fiscal conservatives who argue that drug users are a sap on society’s resources have no qualms about spending thousands of dollars per nonviolent drug offender to fill overcrowded prisons and providing untold thousands of dollars more to law enforcement agencies throughout the Nation to round up the offenders.

A Presidential Administration that claims to understand the benefits of marijuana as a medical product hides behind Federal laws to quash States that allow and regulate its use. And a Congress — listen up, Republicans — that claims to hold in high regard the rights of States to operate with as little Federal meddling as possible rolls over each time the criminal Department of Justice tramples the will of State residents.

Looking at the numbers, it isn’t hard to understand why — despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary — the criminals in charge throughout government have such a hard time admitting that they were probably wrong about marijuana back in the day. According to drugsense.org, between State and Federal government the United States has spent almost $36 billion on the War on Drugs this year. That money has led to some 1.5 million drug-related arrests and about 9,500 drug-related incarcerations.

That’s a lot of fines, court costs and jobs for judges, prison employees, police and lawyers. Likewise, there is an entire industry that thrives (simply because certain drugs remain illicit) by selling drug tests as well as kits to help users mask drugs in the very same tests.

With the explosion of methamphetamine across the United States and the horrific destruction the drug causes, the drug war remains defensible by law enforcement and communities that don’t want a criminal class of doped up zombies roaming the streets. The same argument has been used for the drug war at the height of crack and heroin epidemics in the Nation.

But the people citing meth, crack and heroin to embolden support for the drug war often leave out a key fact: Marijuana arrests continually make up nearly half of drug-related arrests throughout the Nation.

“As in past years, the so-called ‘drug war’ remains fueled by the arrests of minor marijuana possession offenders,” NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in a recent press release. “Cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes upon legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. It’s time to stop stigmatizing and criminalizing tens of millions of Americans for choosing to consume a substance that is safer than either tobacco or alcohol.”

Indeed, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths, including more than 1,400 in Colorado, are attributed to alcohol use alone (this figure does not include accidental deaths). But the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana. The argument that marijuana-related car accidents would compete with drunk driving figures do not apply to these statistics; as mentioned before, they do not include accidental deaths.

What the figures do explain, however, is why the alcohol industry frequently lobbies against State initiatives to legalize marijuana.

There is another key player in the fight against American marijuana reform, perhaps the most evil and well-funded of all: the pharmaceutical industry.

The included chart, taken from a 2010 paper entitled “Medical Marijuana: Therapeutic Uses and Legal Status” from the University of Connecticut School of Pharmacy, lists some of the medical conditions that independent medical experts in a number of States have said marijuana could be used to treat.

Imagine the sheer number of pharmaceutical drugs that would find competition from an easily grown plant in treating the conditions and the financial implications that would result for a number of big-name drug makers.

The decision made by voters in Colorado and Washington last week to lighten up on recreational marijuana laws and the decisions made by a handful of other States in recent years to allow the drug for medical benefit are not going to stop the prosecution from the Federal government (paid for by police unions, private prison corporations, alcohol manufacturers, Big Pharma and prison guard unions) anytime soon.

What is coming to an end, however, is the willingness of the American public to believe that Federal officials are working in the citizenry’s best interest when it comes to marijuana prohibition. Oftentimes, lawmakers appear to be simply doing what keeps the money flowing to their coffers from monied special interests. A Rasmussen telephone poll conducted just yesterday relates the following:

  • Only 7 percent of American adults think the United States is winning the war on drugs.
  • Fifty-one percent of respondents said alcohol is more dangerous than pot, while 24 percent said pot is more dangerous and 24 percent aren’t sure.
  • Eighty-eight percent of respondents said they had not smoked marijuana in the past year.
  • Sixty percent said State governments “should decide whether marijuana is legal in a state,” while 27 percent said that responsibility belongs to the Federal government.
  • Thirty-four percent said that the United States spends too much on the drug war; 23 percent of respondents said we don’t spend enough; and 24 percent said drug war spending is “about right.”

As with so many other issues, Americans defining themselves as both conservatives and as liberals have a common gripe against the Federal government when it comes to the marijuana debate as it relates to personal liberty and States rights. The issue, it seems, is yet another pushing the Nation dangerously close to the realization that, for decades, “government for the people, by the people” could be more accurately described as government against the people to the benefit of a few.

Wednesday Morning News Roundup

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • While White House officials likely won’t take the petitions from Texas, Louisiana and Florida to secede from the United States too seriously, the petitions have received the required number of signatures for a response. Officials say that those petitions will now be reviewed and receive some sort of response from relevant policy officials.
  • The price of the Chinese yuan against the U.S. dollar has reached a record high at 6.2262.
  • Worries about the coming “fiscal cliff” coupled with the re-election of President Barack Obama have prompted many wealthy Americans to begin dumping assets like stocks, businesses and homes as the year ends to avoid higher taxes.
  • Despite the ongoing sex scandal, former CIA Director David Patraeus will still testify before Congress about the 9/11 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya. It remains unclear whether Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, who claimed a scheduling conflict, will testify.
  • A U.S. citizen who has worked for American Airlines for 13 years as a gate agent, in cargo operations and at the airline’s South Florida headquarters was placed on the government’s no fly list without explanation.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Center-Libertarian America

The people of the United States appear to be becoming more politically “center-libertarian” than the traditional “center-right” Nation that many described the electorate as in years past, according to some political observers.

A recent article published by the Los Angeles Times examines the outcome of several races throughout the Nation last Tuesday to conclude that while most Americans are fiscal conservatives, social liberalism is on the rise.

From the article:

After 32 straight losses for same-sex wedding laws, four states approved marriage-equality proposals last week. Two other states legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. Wisconsin elected the first openly homosexual U.S. senator in history, Tammy Baldwin. An Iowa Supreme Court justice targeted for removal because he voted in 2007 to approve gay marriage, David Wiggins, defeated an effort to oust him. And, crucially, Obama won with 60% of voters telling exit pollsters they supported the president’s call for higher taxes on the rich.

Aside from taxes on the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans, fiscal issues remain dominated by conservative viewpoints, with 51 percent of voters telling election exit pollsters that the Federal government should be reduced in size and debt and do less.

In some key races that would have been easily won by fiscally conservative candidates last week, GOP contenders lost as a result, some people believe, heavily because of social issues like gay marriage and abortion.

Some Celebrities Aren’t Just Shills For Obama

In the upcoming film “September Morn,” a handful of noteworthy Hollywood skeptics are expected to revisit the events that took place on 9/11 and examine the veracity of the 9/11 Commission’s report.

The film is to be produced by the same company that made a documentary about the Oklahoma City bombing called “A Noble Lie” which offers a different angle on the story of that event than what was reported by mainstream media.

It is rumored that Martin Sheen, Woody Harrelson, Ed Asner, John Heard, Esai Morales and Judd Nelson are set to reopen the investigation into 9/11 that the government closed more than a decade ago. All of the actors are members of the group Actors and Artists For 911 Truth, which calls for a second look at the often-criticized official story of 9/11.

Sheen said while his involvement is not completely certain, the project interests him.

“I read the script and talked to the director, but it’s not a fait accompli,” Sheen told The Huffington Post Canada during a recent interview. “[September Morn is] a very interesting examination of the 9/11 Commission’s report, and it really challenges a lot of their findings as being very, very less than complete.”

Sheen says that he became interested in the topic because his son, Charlie Sheen, has been vocal about his distrust for the official 9/11 story for years.

 

 

“He got me interested,” the elder Sheen acknowledged. “There are obviously a lot of unanswered questions, let me leave it that way, that are very, very disturbing. The key to that is Building 7 and how that came down under very, very suspicious circumstances.”

The film is still up in the air, and it is uncertain if other actors like Harrelson have committed to the project.

Harrelson narrated a 2011 documentary, “Ethos,” which examines how a handful of wealthy banksters used the Federal Reserve to gain global control.

You can watch the full film below:

Get Hit By NYPD, Fix The Car

A man in New York City who was hit by a New York Police Department cruiser and injured received a letter from the department requesting $1,000 for damage to the vehicle.

Jesse Zorski, 25, was hospitalized at New York Downtown Hospital after the patrol car struck his left leg, causing him to fall into the side-view mirror and hit the ground. The uninsured man incurred $1,200 in medical costs due to the accident, according to the New York Daily News.

Zorski’s family sued the NYPD to cover the cost of the medical expenses, but received a bill in the mail rather than help covering the medical costs. A letter accompanying the bill demanded he pay for $1,028.08 in damage done to the patrol car. The department threatened to file a lawsuit against the victim if he did not address the fine quickly enough.

The NYPD defended its actions, claiming the officer who struck Zorski at a crosswalk in the city had the right of way, and claimed that pedestrian had been drinking.

The two beers he had drunk and the hearing aid he wears did not affect his walking, Zorski claims.

“I was perfectly coherent,” Zorski said. “I was shocked, certainly, but not inebriated.”

The man said he believes the department was trying to punish him for filing suit over his medical costs.

The department has since withdrawn the case against Zoriski.

Tuesday Morning News Roundup

Here is a collection of some of the stories that Personal Liberty staffers will be keeping an eye on throughout the day. Click the links for the full stories.

  • With the help of mainstream media, the scandal surrounding former CIA Director David Petraeus is quickly becoming depraved enough to be fit for reality television.
  • Conservative commentator Charles Krauthhammer thinks the timing of the sex scandal is a little suspicious.
  • Iranian officials said this week that the nation would “break Obama’s grasping hands” before launching massive “wargames” on Monday to test its ability to repel an air attack against “hypothetical sensitive sites.”
  • American Catholics are vowing civil disobedience if the Obama Administration doesn’t stop trouncing on their religious freedom to reject Obamacare abortion and birth control provisions.

Check back for updates, news and analysis throughout the day. Like us on Facebook.

Another TSA Sexual Assault

Shocking stories of unprofessional conduct, inappropriate actions and sexual molestation at the dehumanizing checkpoints set up at mass transportation hubs throughout the Nation abound. But for frequency, stories like that of 58-year-old Maggie Buckenmayer, who could be anyone’s mother or grandmother, are no less shocking.

Buckenmayer’s ordeal began at a Transportation Security Administration checkpoint at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport in Birmingham, Ala., as she tried to travel home to San Diego. Because the passenger has artificial knees, she was subject to a patdown by TSA agents, which involved groping of her genitals, thighs, buttocks and breasts. The agents proceeded to inform Buckenmayer that they had found a “protrusion” or “abnormality” between her legs.

“I’m shocked, I’m humiliated, so I don’t know what to say, I blurt out ‘I don’t have a penis’ and she looks at me and says ‘well I’m going to have to perform a second pat down on you,’” Buckenmayer said.

She was subject to a second search which she describes as “akin to sexual assault” before a group of TSA agents proceeded to discuss her female anatomy. After being taken to a private screening room, Buckenmayer angrily removed her pants, spread her legs, pointed at her crotch and said, “Do you see anything abnormal here, do you see a protrusion?”

After yet another patdown and having her genitals probed with a wand, the woman was finally cleared to board her flight and given a form to evaluate the TSA.

“I can’t believe you’ve just subjected me to this sexual assault, this emotional assault, there are bad guys out there… Why are you picking on me?” Buckenmayer asked TSA employees at that point.

Below is a video of Buckenmayer discussing the ordeal. She has asked that all who view it pass it along to stop the TSA abuse.

“Our country is a country of great civil liberties… Why the TSA is allowed to emotionally and sexually abuse passengers, I don’t get it. If some stranger did this to me, what one of these TSA agents did, that stranger would be convicted of sexual assault and sent to prison. Please, please get my story out,” she said.

 

Secede, Or Don’t: The Beginning Of The End Of The Federal Monopoly On Power

When the White House implemented its “We the People” page on its website to give Americans an easier way to engage the Federal government with grievances and complaints, officials likely didn’t expect the type or the volume of petitions that have been logged in the wake of the re-election of President Barack Obama. Now, tens of thousands of Americans in at least 20 States are petitioning for the right of peaceable secession from the United States.

While the petitioners have been called everything from “a handful of rabble-rousers” to “idealistic dreamers,” many of the petitions state the portion of the Declaration of Independence that lends credence to the idea (Civil War notwithstanding) of peaceable State secession being an option:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

As of the writing of this article, a petition asking the Federal government to “Peacefully grant the State of Texas to withdraw from the United States of America and create its own NEW government” has the most virtual signatures at nearly 21,500. The “We the People” page promises that the appropriate individuals will review and possibly respond to petitions that reach 25,000 signatures within 30 days of the petition’s creation.

The Texas petition laments:

The US continues to suffer economic difficulties stemming from the federal government’s neglect to reform domestic and foreign spending. The citizens of the US suffer from blatant abuses of their rights such as the NDAA, the TSA, etc. Given that the state of Texas maintains a balanced budget and is the 15th largest economy in the world, it is practically feasible for Texas to withdraw from the union, and to do so would protect it’s (sic) citizens’ standard of living and re-secure their rights and liberties in accordance with the original ideas and beliefs of our founding fathers which are no longer being reflected by the federal government.

States where a citizen had petitioned on the website at the time of this writing include: Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, New Jersey, New York, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee and Texas.

Within the bodies of the various petitions, the petitioners cite a number of reasons for wanting to leave the Union. The most popular include domestic spying, the National Defense Authorization Act, Federal fiscal ineptitude, the Affordable Care and Patient Protection Act, illegal and ongoing unwinnable wars, the Federal militarization of State and local law enforcement,  and a general sense of liberty lost at behest of Federal meddling.

While it is uncertain, it remains highly unlikely that any of the aforementioned petitions or those filed on behalf of other States will lead to a Federal willingness to cede power to States. But there are battles on the horizon resulting from last week’s election that will further irritate Federal/State relationships in coming months, when vast swaths of the populace are already clearly tired of Federal meddling in State matters.

The coming implementation of Obamacare, with which many States voted last week not to cooperate, is going to create friction between the already shaky relationship between Federal and State government. And voters in Colorado and Washington who voted to legalize recreational marijuana use are in the Federal government’s sights, as the Department of Justice prepares to use its Federal might to sue the States into complying with Federal prohibition of the drug, regardless of State wishes.

As Americans on both sides of the issues continue to feel more and more that the Federal government does not represent them, the political battle may change from conservatives versus liberals to the citizens of the Nation versus the elitists and corporate special interests in Washington, D.C. This could be a moment in history quite indicative of the beginning of the end for strong American central government.

 

Update

Petitions for secession now exist in at least 47 States and have as many as 375,000 signatures, according to reports.

Is Obama Unfettered On Gun Control?

Second Amendment advocacy groups like Gun Owners of America (GOA) and the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) are predicting a tough four years for the Nation’s gun owners as President Barack Obama readies himself for a second term in the White House.

Larry Pratt, executive director of GOA, said in a recent interview that he is shocked that the President won a second term. He expressed concerns over Washington’s call to restart debates over the United Nations’ proposed Arms Trade Treaty. He contends that Americans can expect the Administration to “openly launch broadsides” against their gun rights.

The Obama Administration joined with China, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and more than 150 other governments to support renewed debate on the proposed United Nations Arms Trade Treaty less than 24 hours after the President was re-elected, according to SAF.

“It’s obvious that our warnings over the past several months have been true,” said Alan Gottlieb, founder and executive vice president of SAF. “The election was called about 11 p.m. Tuesday and by 11 a.m. this [Wednesday], we got word that the United States was supporting this resolution. We have to be more vigilant in our efforts to stop this proposed treaty.”

Amnesty International issued a statement Wednesday lauding passage of the resolution, saying the treaty will protect human rights; but Gottlieb counters that the right to self-defense as allowed by the 2nd Amendment is a basic human right.

While both SAF and GOA highlight the importance of American vigilance when it comes to protecting the 2nd Amendment for those domestic and abroad who seek to undermine the rights it provides, they also say that Congress is unlikely to pass the international treaty if it makes it to the Capitol.

Pratt believes Obama will pursue more gun owner registration, more executive orders designed to limit 2nd Amendment rights and more anti-gun Supreme Court justices in the coming years.

U.S. Oil King By 2017

A new report out by the International Energy Agency predicts that U.S. oil output will be more than that of Saudi Arabia by the end of the decade.

Analysts say that this means two things: America is well on its way to energy independence, and environmental and green-energy advocates in the Nation will likely double down in their protestation against fossil fuels over the next few years.

The IEA predicts the United States will overtake Russia as a top gas producer by the year 2015 and be the world’s biggest oil producer by 2017. The result, according to the agency, will be a continued fall in U.S. oil imports, with North America becoming a net oil exporter by about 2030 and the United States achieving near energy independence by 2035.

“The United States, which currently imports around 20 percent of its total energy needs, becomes all but self-sufficient in net terms — a dramatic reversal of the trend seen in most other energy importing countries,” the report says.

The IEA attributes the expected boon in American oil production to new methods and technologies for mining oil and natural gas in the United States.

“Energy developments in the United States are profound and their effect will be felt well beyond North America — and the energy sector,” the IEA said in its annual long-term report.

“The recent rebound in U.S. oil and gas production, driven by upstream technologies that are unlocking light tight oil and shale gas resources, is spurring economic activity — with less expensive gas and electricity prices giving industry a competitive edge.”

According to Reuters, the oil boom in the U.S. will likely have major geopolitical impacts “if Washington feels its strategic interests are no longer as embedded in the Middle East and other volatile oil producing regions.”

Environmentalists throughout the Nation have protested heavily against domestic oil production, arguing contaminated water supplies, increased air pollution and untold environmental destruction related to fracking will be the inevitable result.