Morning Links

Friday, February 25th, 2011
  • It’s still legal, for now, to grow your own tobacco in Brooklyn. What’s sad is that New York has imposed the phalanx of restrictions that make an article like this contemplatable. (Yes, I’m pretty sure I just made that word up.)
  • Jury nullification advocate is indicted in federal court for jury tampering. I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing much, much more about this case in the coming years.
  • Huge wave of pain clinic raids in Florida. Note that the USA Today couldn’t find room in a very long article to quote even one critic of these crackdowns.
  • In Esquire, a long profile of exoneree Ray Towler.
  • Why liberals should support eminent domain reform. This is a pretty important credibility issue for the left. We aren’t talking about public use, here. If you can’t bring yourself to support laws barring the government from taking land from poor people to give it to rich developers, it’s pretty darned clear that your priority isn’t protecting or advocating for the poor, it’s preserving government power. Or just opposing property rights because you don’t like the people who support them.
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62 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Aresen | 

    Or just opposing property rights because you don’t like the people who support them.

    DING! DING! DING!

  2. #2 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    There seems to be a great Catch-22 here for the gov’t.
    The more they try to suppress FIJA and Heicklen, the more people learn about FIJA and and nullification. Can’t wait for the trial.
    I wonder if they’ll manufacture some brave new retroactive pre-emptive law
    saying that he tampered his own jury pre-emptively. But it would of course
    have to be applied retroactively.

  3. #3 |  Nate | 

    Could it be that this case will bring more attention to jury nullification? Perhaps those that brought the suit should be indicted for jury tampering given the publicity this will generate.

  4. #4 |  Marty | 

    growing tobacco is becoming quite the homebrew thing. Hopefully, it grows a new industry, much like allowing people to brew their own alcohol (thanks Jimmy Carter!) revolutionized the beer industry.

  5. #5 |  karl | 

    Radley and #1 are right… in part. Another problem (and I am a confirmed anti-eminent domain liberal) is that the communitarian impulse in modern liberalism sometimes gets in the way of property rights advocacy. The conflicts between “a man’s home is his castle” and “we all have to live together” aren’t limited to the left, of course — power (or your friendly HOA) has no ideological bias.

  6. #6 |  Nate | 

    Beat me to it Yizmo. Should have just made the post without reading the rest of the links first.

  7. #7 |  Stephen | 

    In Esquire, a long profile of exoneree Ray Towler.

    This one points to a USA today article about pain pill raids in Florida.

  8. #8 |  TomG | 

    As far as eminent domain, I’m a hard liner – I completely oppose government taking privately owned land for any reason, if the owner refuses to sell.
    I also don’t like historical societies being able to decide under what conditions private property can be renovated or demolished. In my view, if you don’t own the property and you cannot persuade the owner to agree with you, you don’t get a say in what they do to the property – no matter how “worthy” or “historically significant” the building is.

  9. #9 |  Alex Knapp | 

    Perhaps my memory is foggy, but I remember there being quite a bit of liberal opposition to Kelo.

  10. #10 |  Mario | 

    I’m all for informed jurors and activist jurors resorting to jury nullification; however, if Mr. Heicklen is standing outside the courthouse entrance with a sign reading “Jury Info,” as is alleged, he may very well be relying on potential jurors mistaking him for some kind of court official. That seems a little sketchy to me.

  11. #11 |  Muffy | 

    I’m liberal, I know lots of liberals, and we all hate Kelo. We’re just not elected to congress. “Blight” has become synonymous with “I’m rich and I want that land”. But remember that most democratic members of congress aren’t actually all that liberal. Save abortion, gay marriage, and a few other wedge issues most congressmen, republican or democrat, are the same animal.

  12. #12 |  claude | 

    “This is a pretty important credibility issue for the left. We aren’t talking about public use, here. If you can’t bring yourself to support laws barring the government from taking land from poor people to give it to rich developers”

    I have yet to run into a liberal who supports that. None of them like Kelso – New London. When it comes to taking property from the avg joe and giving to some corporation… thats a republicans wet dream.

  13. #13 |  Radley Balko | 

    When it comes to taking property from the avg joe and giving to some corporation… thats a republicans wet dream.

    You must have missed the 5 most liberal S Ct justices voting in favor of New London, then. Or the major newspaper editorial boards across the country that supported the decision. Or that nearly all the eminent domain challenges in this area have come from groups like IJ, Cato, and local property rights organizations.

  14. #14 |  perlhaqr | 

    Why does the Esquire article use poor grammar of a type commonly associated with poorly educated black people? Are they trying to intentionally talk down about this guy?

  15. #15 |  LibertarianBlue | 

    The left should be anti-eminent domain and actively pursuit it. It certainly will give them more credibility if the Muslim community center in NYC issue comes up again. Especially with many conservative hypocrites I met when I tried to talk to people on why Warren Redlich was a better candidate than Carl Paladino, who had a record of using eminent domain and actively campaigned to use it to remove the community center.

  16. #16 |  Justin | 

    I think Current tv had a documentary of sorts about Florida’s “Pill Mills” not too long ago. Don’t you all think that loose laws like those in Florida discredit the concept of pain management elsewhere? I believe very strongly that patients suffering from chronic pain should be able to seek any and all remedies that give them relief, but I just can’t help feeling that something isn’t quite right with Florida’s laws. I mean it really doesn’t feel all that legitimate if you can just walk into a clinic, pay cash and then walk out with Oxycontin. However, it probably isn’t right to punish the doctors either because they were most likely following the law as it was written.

  17. #17 |  Aresen | 

    I mean it really doesn’t feel all that legitimate if you can just walk into a clinic, pay cash and then walk out with Oxycontin.

    Why not?

    If I want to us Oxycontin, MJ, C2H60, Cocaine, Heroin, MDA, it is my body and my business. Or would you prefer that I have to buy these things on a streetcorner from some guy who has probably cut them with unknown chemicals?

  18. #18 |  Brandon | 

    #16: Don’t you think laws against consensual activities like those the DEA enforces discredit government elsewhere?

  19. #19 |  claude | 

    “You must have missed the 5 most liberal S Ct justices voting in favor of New London, then. ”

    Nope i didnt. You cant tell anything party line from the ruling. Werent 3 of the 5 voting for it appointed by republicans?

    On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court, in a 5–4 decision, ruled in favor of the City of New London. Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the majority opinion, joined by Justices Anthony Kennedy, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer.

    On June 25, 2005, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote the principal dissent, joined by Chief Justice William Rehnquist, Justice Antonin Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas.

    Arent Breyer, Souter, and Kennedy all republican appointees? I think they are. I havent looked it up yet today, but if memory is serving me correctly, there is quite the fair share of republican appointees voting in favor of it.

  20. #20 |  freebob | 

    I agree liberals should support eminent domain reform.
    Speaking of liberals lacking credibility Greenwald is especially worth reading today.
    Obama’s war on whistleblowers:
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/02/25/whistleblowers/index.html

  21. #21 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    re: Brooklyn Tobacco grower

    “She has to plant the virtually microscopic seeds in trays indoors and then, weeks later, transplant them to buckets outside. She waters the plants daily until they grow to be about five feet tall, with big leaves that droop from the stem. “Like elephant ears,” Ms. Silk said of the leaves. “That’s why, when people joke around and say, ‘They’re going to think you’re growing pot,’ I’m like: ‘I’m sorry. There’s no one mistaking this for pot.’ ”

    She is seriously overestimating the common sense of her neighbors and local LEOs. As an ex police officer, she should know better.

    Still, good on her for growing her own supply of tobacco. Self sufficiency ftw.

  22. #22 |  Zeb | 

    I think “contemplable” is the word you were looking for.

  23. #23 |  MattJ | 

    Claude:

    I know it’s hard for a lot of people to keep the straight the difference between TEAM BLUE and TEAM RED and conservative/liberal/libertarian, but of all places one should put out the effort to do so, a libertarian blog is probably high on the list.

    That said, you didn’t name any left liberals on the Supreme Court who voted what you claim as the ‘liberal’ position because you couldn’t. The best you could do is point out that some of the lefties and moderates on the Court were appointed by TEAM RED.

    Not even really a nice try.

  24. #24 |  Kristen | 

    Anyone ever read The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Manus PInkwater (awesome name, BTW)? It’s one of the books that made me into a libertarian when I grew up (along with Elmer the Patchwork Elephant).

  25. #25 |  omar | 

    She is seriously overestimating the common sense of her neighbors and local LEOs. As an ex police officer, she should know better.

    I used to live in Brooklyn and grew hops in buckets in my back yard. “Are you growing pot” was the #1 question any of my neighbors and friends asked when I told them what I was doing. It’s a big joke and the first thing that comes to mind when you are growing something unusual. I find it sad the same people who will joke with you about it wouldn’t bat an eye if you actually went to jail for said offense.

    In an age of “anything can and will be used against you, I would never even acknowledge the joke, preferring to explain what hops are for and moving on to the part of the tour where we would eat a cherry tomato.

  26. #26 |  CyniCAl | 

    Heicklen is my hero. I wish I were half the man he is.

  27. #27 |  Justin | 

    Re: Aresen

    Haha, I should have known better to even ask and I basically agree with you, but unfortunately that is not the opinion held currently by our government or most citizens. I wasn’t really debating drug use generally; instead I was raising this objection based on the system we have currently. All I was trying to say is that I think situations like these actually hurt the very concept of “pain management”. Which leads people to be turned off by the idea because it doesn’t seem legitimate. Also I don’t entirely agree that drug use is completely a my body my business situation because there are potentially significant “externalities”, especially with highly addictive drugs. Obviously, there are already laws for many of these “externalities”, but often families of those who use these drugs are the ones suffering the most, but I guess no law will ever fix that.

  28. #28 |  claude | 

    Regarding the tobacco story… can the local or state govt trump the feds on that one? I was going to grow tobacco myself a couple years ago and still might do it. I dont really care what i get off of it, i just want to do it for the sake of doing it. I figured i would mess up on curing it. But, when i checked, i think it was 3/4 of an acre you can grow (fed law) without them killing your dog during the raid.

  29. #29 |  omar | 

    often families of those who use these drugs are the ones suffering the most, but I guess no law will ever fix that.

    true and true.

    There is no benefit to keeping drugs illegal unless you are in enforcement or a criminal.

  30. #30 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    If protesting (Arab style) ever does come to America, it would be great if it were over a collective bag of: drug laws, ED, SWAT, recording po-pos, and jury nullification.

    But it will probably be public service unions and/or the more crazy Con issues.

  31. #31 |  Aresen | 

    Justin | February 25th, 2011 at 1:27 pm

    Also I don’t entirely agree that drug use is completely a my body my business situation because there are potentially significant “externalities”, especially with highly addictive drugs. Obviously, there are already laws for many of these “externalities”, but often families of those who use these drugs are the ones suffering the most, but I guess no law will ever fix that.

    Anyone who does not think there are externalities to drug use, gambling or any other ‘vice’ is kidding themselves.

    The problem is that laws 1) do little, if anything, to mitigate those externalities and 2) create new externalities – contaminated product, criminalization of people who are otherwise harmless, criminal enterprises, corruption of courts and law enforcement, self-serving bureaucracies, etc – that are much worse.

  32. #32 |  CyniCAl | 

    The Scott Sisters are back in the news, with predictably complex ethical questions:

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110223/ap_on_re_us/us_sisters_released_kidney

  33. #33 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “If protesting (Arab style) ever does come to America”

    Argggh. The long lost things that used to seem so “American.”

  34. #34 |  claude | 

    Oh hey… if you guys havent googled “santorum” (quote marks dont matter), do it once. Its worth it. O:-)

  35. #35 |  ALowe | 

    So how do you try a man for informing juries of their right to nullify without informing the jury of it’s right to nullify?

  36. #36 |  Gobias Industries | 

    #16 — Agreed! Saw the doc on Current. Very well done. And while I would normally agree that doctors/patients should be free to treat legit pain as needed, these guys are simply exploiting the system to feed their bank accounts & others addictions. As in the doc when they investigated & were chased down by thugs from one of the doctors who owned a series of cash only clinics.

    http://current.com/shows/vanguard/91183979_the-oxycontin-express.htm

    Bigger, and perhaps naive question, why have we not put pressure on pharma to help prevent these abuses? I understand it’s not in the interest of their profits but still, I’d like to see 1 step up & do something proactive in that vein.

  37. #37 |  jlhoover | 

    I’ll bet the DEA was watching Justified this week — main plot revolved around an “oxy-bus” returning from those Florida pain clinics.

  38. #38 |  Josiah | 

    They don’t intend to let him have a jury.

  39. #39 |  CyniCAl | 

    Interview with Brian Aitken, the man imprisoned and freed in NJ for transporting his guns legally.

    http://dailycaller.com/2011/02/23/man-freed-by-gov-chris-christie-speaks-out-about-prison-life-becoming-a-libertarian-activist/

    A clear case of libertarianism happening to people.

  40. #40 |  Nathan A | 

    “The words ‘pathetic excuse for a man’ come to mind,” Aitken says of the judge who would have let him rot away his prime years in prison.

    That is pretty much what ran through my head when reading again about how the judge refused to consider the fact he was transporting the guns to a new residence. Well judge, if you refuse to consider that, you are not doing your job and don’t deserve to keep it (and probably shouldn’t have been there in the first place). Thankfully Gov. Christie helped him out in that department.

    Good link, Cynical.

  41. #41 |  CyniCAl | 

    Thanks Nathan, I first heard about that case here at The Agitator.

  42. #42 |  Kristen | 

    Good for Brian Aitken….I hope he doesn’t have to be a felon for much longer, and I really, really, really hope he can get some custody of his son. That’s the real tragedy here – because of a fucked-up legal system and horrendous gun laws yet another boy will grow up without a father.

  43. #43 |  Cyto | 

    “People were coming down from Kentucky to Broward, going from clinic to clinic and going back with thousands of pills,” Pisanti says. “Their demand caused the supply to grow.”
    The patients could purchase 100 pills for $225, but could sell them by the milligram and make about $5,400, he says.

    I think I’ve spotted the flaw in the system. Removing prohibition in Kentucky would eliminate the markup for the black market. Problem solved.

    This message comes from the heart of Pill Mill Central, in Broward County Florida. I, like our jury nullification pamphleting and pot law protesting friend have never been into recreational drugs. But I’d sure like to be able to decide for myself what drugs I’m going to use and what advice to seek about the topic should the need arise.

    Oh, and I rather doubt their street price numbers. Who in the world would pay $55 bucks for a single pill of Oxycontin? Can’t you buy straight-up heroin for less than that? My google-fu claims prices as low as $10 per dose for heroin. Why in the world would you pay over fifty bucks for micro-encapsulated heroin when you can have plain old ordinary heroin for ten? Particularly when I hear (from the news, so who knows?) that the way you use Oxycontin is to grind it up to remove the time release and then snort it. Raw heroin doesn’t even need such treatments…

  44. #44 |  Cyto | 

    #40 | Nathan A |
    Pulling the quote to go with your sentiment:

    “As for the judge that sentenced Aitken, he’s no longer on the bench. Gov. Christie declined to renew his appointment.”

  45. #45 |  Andrew Roth | 

    The basic problem with Florida’s “pill mills” and medical marijuana laws in other states is that they force people who want to legally obtain psychotropic drugs to rely on physicians and pharmacists who commit ethical violations as a matter of practice. It is unethical to write or fill prescriptions that did not result from a good faith medical examination.

    As ethical infractions go, however, these ones are very minor, and they would be all but eliminated if opiates could legally be bought over the counter, or marijuana directly from growers or other vendors. The scandal over prescription abuse is a straw man created by drug warriors, and an effective one. The authoritarians force people to breaking the law in order to get a fix, then scold them for not abiding by the law and gin up hysteria about lawlessness surrounding drugs.

    Debbie Downers who live for the next Oxycontin fix are wasting their lives. So are people who do nothing but drink tall boys by the railroad tracks behind the Bypass Liquor. But we absolutely need to stop putting people in jail just because they are addicts or enablers.

  46. #46 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: #43:

    Three advantages come to mind for Oxycontin over heroin. It’s legal, at least after a fashion, it has more consistent quality control than street heroin, and it doesn’t require intravenous injection, so users can avoid getting track marks and being arrested for possessing needles.

  47. #47 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Also re: #43:

    The same sort of interstate smuggling is done with cigarettes. If I remember correctly, the FBI accused Hezbollah fundraisers of running an enterprise that purchased cigarettes in North Carolina, where excise taxes were relatively low, and resold them in New Jersey, where excise taxes were among the highest in the nation. The market for such an enterprise is larger than it was at the time (circa 1999, I think) because many more jurisdictions have subsequently imposed prohibitive sin taxes on cigarettes.

    In a similar vein, the Pennsylvania State Police at least once set up a roadblock just beyond the Delaware state line to check for smuggled alcohol. The twits at the PLCB were pissed off that some Pennsylvanians were choosing not to shop at their state stores, so like any good fascist moron, they had soldiers of the law set up internal checkpoints.

    In both cases, the products in question were legal, of course.

    As long as we retain even the vestiges of a federalist system, this sort of smuggling will continue. Gotta love interstate commerce!

  48. #48 |  Andrew Roth | 

    One bright spot in the USA Today article:

    “Florida is among the states without a monitoring program [for control drugs]. Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, has said the program is too expensive and an invasion of privacy.”

    Amen to that.

    There are also some bright spots in the comments section.

    Still, I have to wonder why the fuck USA Today insists on being a bipartisan version of Pravda. Time and time again, it shows itself to be a propaganda rag written by whores and courtiers, and a badly written one at that. What an utter disgrace.

  49. #49 |  BSK | 

    I’m an unabashed liberal who couldn’t be more opposed to eminent domain. I never knew that liberals were supposed to be on the other side of the issue. Does that make me a bad liberal?

  50. #50 |  Whim | 

    For those interested in learning more about the past few years of Julian Heicklen’s FIJA activism, start at http://www.blogofbile.com, then,
    http://blogofbile.com/activism/filming-julian-heicklen/
    which has several years of text and video entries concerning Julian’s activities OUTSIDE of Federal Buildings on behalf of FIJA.

    His frequent collaborator Antonio Musumeci often is there, and takes video of these activist events, and he was once charged by the FPS/DHS in 2009 for taking photographs without permission.

    The photography charges were later dropped, and Musumeci assisted by the ACLU sued the Federal Protective Service and DHS over this matter.

    Ultimately last year, he prevailed, won a small monetary award $1,500. plus additional fees for attorneys, and “DHS admits that the § 102-74.420 does not “prohibit individuals from photographing (including motion photography) the exterior of federal courthouses from publicly accessible spaces, such as streets, sidewalks, parks and plazas; and FPS has not construed any other federal regulation or federal statute to prohibit such photography of the exterior of federal courthouses, though it makes no representation about local rules or orders.”

    Julian Heicklen wasn’t specifically targeting Federal Courthouses. His target was the plaza, courtyards and sidewalks of FEDERAL Buildings, and which are legally considered public areas. He also did not specifically target jurors.

    Typically, these Federal Buildings ALSO contain Federal Courthouses, so of course the omnipotent Federal Judges have seen what he and his other activist colleagues are doing, and detesting the message, have ordered endless harassment by the Federal Marshals and Federal Protective Service, both units of the eponymous GESTAPO parent organization: HeimatSicherheitDienst.

    Yes, our Homeland Security Dept. is actually named after the original GESTAPO parent organization: HeimatSicherheitDienst. Wonder if that won an original “Name that Department” prize?

    However, while Julian has been arrested many times, it’s always been on the bogus complaints of “pamphleteering”, with such charges always dropped prior to trial.

    Once, to punish Julian, he was sent to Riker’s Island for almost two weeks, housed with hardened criminals, after a cursory mental evaluation at Bellevue. Then, the charges were dropped. No, Julian is not crazy. He is long married, and has adult children.

    I suspect that the ADA will have to get the judge to agree to a new interpretation of Jury Tampering, since jury tampering cases have historically involved SPECIFIC juries, or specific a member or members of seated juries.

  51. #51 |  Andrew Roth | 

    Re: #8:

    Would you apply that laissez-faire standard to Independence Hall or the Gettysburg Battlefield if they were privately owned? I certainly wouldn’t.

  52. #52 |  Duncan20903 | 

    “Anyone who does not think there are externalities to drug use, gambling or any other ‘vice’ is kidding”

    Why don’t you explain a few of them, and then explain why you think that your statement applies to everyone who enjoys catching a buzz. I’ll betcha every one of your “externalization” involves volunteers, is directly caused by prohibition, or is something that you have no claim to, like the canard of “lost productivity”. You do not have an entitlement to the productivity of others.

    We really need look no farther than Switzerland that has practically eliminated the “externalizations” of heroin use by supplying it free to their junkies. The Swiss voted by better than 2-1 that they approve of the program.

    There are externalizations galore when the highly addictive, mind bending drug in question is drinking alcohol. But about 85% of drinking alcohol users don’t produce any externalizations. According to gubmint statistics only about 9% of potheads do so. When one realizes that not everyone who smokes pot or uses drinking alcohol or heroin (Jerry Garcia, Mick Jagger) causes a burden on society, one needs to answer the question, “Why is it OK for people who have caused no problems or committ

    Isn’t personal responsibility of paramount importance to a healthy society? It is wrong to punish someone who doesn’t own a car or have a drivers license for driving while impaired. But that’s what is happening when the argument for keeping pot illegal is because somebody might go out and do so. I can tell you right now that no one in my crowd would think about driving while impaired.

    Yes, we do have the resources to hire taxi cabs to take us where we want to go, or to rent hotel rooms to sleep it off. That makes it easier, but the reason I don’t drive while impaired is because I’m fond of being alive and able to walk from here to there on my own two legs.

  53. #53 |  MPH | 

    Mr. Roth @ 47: I recall hearing another one about Pennsylvania, and I think, New Jersey. PA trooper parked across the street from a NJ liquor store a short distance from the state border watching for PA license plates in the parking lot, and radioing PA officers back in PA to have them pulled over. Of course, people from PA saw the car, and passed by the store. The store owner called NJ police to complain that the PA car was having an impact on his business, and the PA police officers were arrested and the car impounded.

    Hopefully, PA residents near the border know their rights, and refuse to allow searches of their cars (entering PA is not probable cause for a search).

  54. #54 |  MassHole | 

    #51

    I don’t think Aresen was stating that EVERY user of alcohol/drugs creates externalities. You are quite correct that most people can and do use mind altering substances safely and responsibly. However, there is no question that those who cannot handle it do create externalities. The drunk who beats his wife, the junkie who steals to feed his habit, the meth-head that neglects their kids, etc. What I think we can all agree on is that these externalities are not created by the substance. They are created by bad personal decisions.

    All the laws in the land cannot save people from themselves. Taking away the freedom of responsible people because others can’t keep it together is wrong. Ingesting substances never creates a victim, but assault, theft, and child abuse do. These things are already illegal, because they create victims. Thus, until a drug/alcohol user creates a victim, then they should be able to pursue their intoxication as they please, without the interference of the man.

  55. #55 |  supercat | 

    #35 | ALowe | //So how do you try a man for informing juries of their right to nullify without informing the jury of it’s right to nullify?//

    Simple. Accuse the man of being a liar who made up phony citations, refuse to allow the defense to present any evidence that his historical citations are accurate, and claim that the reason the defense can’t present any historical evidence to back his citations is that there isn’t any. I wouldn’t lay odds against the prosecutor getting away with doing precisely that.

  56. #56 |  So how’s that jury box workin’ out? « Restore The Constitution | 

    [...] ..and what was that old saying about the jury box and the ballot box?  (h/t – Agitator): [...]

  57. #57 |  Duncan20903 | 

    re #48, heroin does not require injection. Perhaps you’ve never heard of “chasing the dragon”? Google it.

    Oxycodone doesn’t require injection, but there is a not insignificant number of users who prefer that delivery method.

    Why is it that people who aren’t aware of the basic facts of a subject feel compelled to post their opinions and subject themselves to being laughing stock by people who know better?

    Cannabis does not require smoking.
    Heroin does not require injecting.
    Powder cocaine doesn’t require intranasal delivery.
    etc, etc, etc.

  58. #58 |  Duncan20903 | 

    re: the drunk who beats his wife more than once is beating a voluntary victim.

    The junkie that steals to support his habit is an externalization of the idiotic prohibition laws. Drunks are just as much degenerate addicts as heroin users, but drunks can use a cardboard “will work for money or food” sign to supply their drug of addiction. Fortified wine costs about $3 a day to keep an extreme alcoholic happy.

    The meth head who neglects his children is no different that the alcoholic or the gambling “addict” that does so. This may be a singular exception to the rule that the so called “externalizations” are caused by drugs, but regardless, the same people may have neglected their children in a drug free world. I hear more often about grandma getting stuck with the grand children because of drug abuse than I hear about children getting neglected because of it. That says to me that the meth head know they can’t take care of the kids but arranges for it to be taken care of. Take 10% of the money squandered on the war on (some) drugs and put it into social services. Prosecute child neglect as a serious felony. The last count I saw was that there were 500,000 people who had used meth in the last 30 days. It is highly unlikely that there are 250,000 couple strung out on meth neglecting their children. Heck, I’ll bet dollars to dirt there aren’t even 10,000. Yes, I am asserting that both parents must be involved. Absent dad that doesn’t use meth is much more culpable for mom the meth head neglecting their children than mom herself.But even if we assume that one out of five is doing this, it leaves 4 out of 5 that aren’t, and that makes it wrong to arrest them on that basis. I’m 50, I’ve had a vasectomy and I’ve never had or wanted children, how in the hell could it be the right thing to do to lock me up for child neglect/abuse because others in my shoes do that?
    ————————————-
    “Would you apply that laissez-faire standard to Independence Hall or the Gettysburg Battlefield if they were privately owned? I certainly wouldn’t.”

    Do you really find it enjoyable beating the stuffing out of straw men?

    Historical buildings should be treasured memories. Take a picture before the bulldozer flattens them.

  59. #59 |  MilkeL | 

    Duncan,

    I was going to mention that diacetylmorphine or diamorphine better known as “heroin” was no different than the other opiates. Fact is, they all are about six times less potent when taken orally, but for a pain patient, like me, would be the cheapest med available for treatment if the government would take it off of the class one list and use it for what it should be! I fell and broke my back, last fall, developing cauda equina syndrome.

    I know how my pain should be treated. I used to be one of those guys that tried to be a pain doc and narc cop at the same time. It did not work out!

    But, I should have realized the DEA and politicians knew better how to treat pain than a surgeon!

  60. #60 |  albatross | 

    The pain clinic issue is mostly independent of the drug law issue, in much the same way the use of SWAT teams on drug raids is mostly independent of the issue of whether drugs should be illegal.

    Even if we keep the same set of drugs illegal as are today, we have to decide how to enforce those laws. That choice involves tradeoffs. One tradeoff is, how do we deal with chronic pain patients. Many chronic pain patients are probably, in practice, addicted to their painkillers. Some are simply faking the pain to get the painkillers. Some are selling the painkillers to make some extra money.

    And yet, neither police nor doctors nor courts can really distinguish all the different cases reliably. So at some point, we make a tradeoff–do we want it to be harder to get narcotics via claiming chronic pain, at the cost of having people who are in real, horrible pain going untreated? Or do we want fewer people in horrible untreated pain, at the cost of more people getting narcotics by acting like they’re in more pain than they’re really in.

    We don’t have the option of only stopping the fakers, because there’s no doctor in the world who can tell absolutely for sure whether a person is faking or not, and it’s sure as hell not possible for a policeman or judge to tell. All we can do is decide where we want to set the slider bar, between “more narcotics available” and “more people in unending, unbearable pain.”

  61. #61 |  Rob in CT | 

    “This is a pretty important credibility issue for the left. We aren’t talking about public use, here. If you can’t bring yourself to support laws barring the government from taking land from poor people to give it to rich developers, it’s pretty darned clear that your priority isn’t protecting or advocating for the poor, it’s preserving government power. Or just opposing property rights because you don’t like the people who support them.”

    Agreed. And yet, I can’t think of a single liberal/lefty friend or acquaintance who has been pro-ED. Perhaps that’s because the topic hasn’t come up in conversation. Or perhaps this represents a divide between rank ‘n file and leadership (the people who get elected and then get to use the power… mmm, delicious POWER).

  62. #62 |  FSK | 

    Julian Heicklen is getting a bench trial and not a jury trial. He’s only charged with a misdemeanor.

    That eliminates the irony of showing “jury nullification” pamphlets to a jury.

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