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Senate To Reconsider Wiretap Immunity 222

Posted by kdawson
from the true-patriots dept.
bughunter passes on a report from Wired Threat Level about the effort by Democratic lawmakers to roll back some provisions of the Patriot Act. Three of its provisions expire at the end of this year, and the reform attempt is expected to be attached to legislation to renew them. "Lawmakers are considering key changes to the Patriot Act and other spy laws — proposals that could give new life to lawsuits accusing the nation's telecommunications companies of turning over Americans' electronic communications to the government without warrants. On Oct. 1, the Senate Judiciary Committee likely will consider revoking that immunity legislation as it works to revise the Patriot Act and other spy laws with radical changes that provide for more government transparency and more privacy protections." Among the other likely goals of reform efforts, according to Wired, are limiting the government's power to issue National Security Letters, and limiting "black bag" searches to cases of spying or terrorism — 65% of past searches were authorized in drug cases.
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Senate To Reconsider Wiretap Immunity

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  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:02AM (#29538537) Homepage

    65% of past searches were authorized in drug cases

    That the War on Drugs has done more to rape civil liberties than any other government initiative in modern times.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:07AM (#29538587)

    The fine summary leaves out the minor fact that Obama is opposed to watering down the Patriot act.

    So much for hope and change.

  • Re:Show of Hands (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spartacus_prime (861925) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:09AM (#29538613) Homepage
    You would think that, with a Democratic majority, this sort of stuff would pass without much trouble. This administration is too nice to the Republican minority.
  • by curmudgeon99 (1040054) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:11AM (#29538625)
    As expected when they proposed it--the Patriot Act was not used as advertised.
    Just 3% of the "National Security" Letters were used for terrorism-related cases.
    65% of them were instead used for drug cases. So many of the actions taken by the Bush Administration to allegedly protect us from "Terrorists" were instead used for the meat and potatoes Law and Order issues the Republicans favor. Despicable!
  • Re:Show of Hands (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rogerborg (306625) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:15AM (#29538669) Homepage
    They're all owned for by the same 'campaign contributors', so why on earth would they be different? Are you saying that Democrats aren't enough honest enough to stay bought?
  • Re:Show of Hands (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf (835522) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:16AM (#29538683) Homepage Journal

    You would think that, with a Democratic majority, this sort of stuff would pass without much trouble. This administration is too nice to the Republican minority.

    It's not a Republican vs. Democratic issue. I know it seems like it, but it's not. The Democrats are going to put on a nice show for all of us to show us that they at least "tried", but in the end, this won't pass. Big telecom has powerful lobbies, and the TPTB in the military and civilian intelligence agencies have all deemed telecom immunity to be too important to national security.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:22AM (#29538731) Homepage Journal

    Indeed. But I think that's what the war on (some) drugs is really about -- a power grab that has turned the US into a police state. We have secret police ("plainclothesmen" and "undercover agents") only because of victimless crimes like drugs, gambling, and prostitution. We have the highest incarceration rate of any nation on earth, with a high percentage of them being non-violent drug prisoners.

    The worst part is, these laws cause the very problems they allegedly were written to combat. For example, "marijuana leads to harder drugs". Well DUH, of course it does; the same people who sell pot sell the other drugs. "Got any weed, man?" "No, dude, it's dry. I have lots of coke, though, good shit, too." Then there's "think of the children!" Odd how it's easier for a teenager to buy pot than beer or cigarettes, and easier for a teenager to get than for an adult.

    Don't get me started on drug gangs and their violence. When prohibition was repealed, the alcohol wars between rival gangs ended.

    We are a nation of fools, blindly following the leadership of the amoral.

  • by SirLanse (625210) <swwg69@yahooBALDWIN.com minus author> on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:26AM (#29538761)
    I voted for the president that would protect me better. (Gore/Kerry were/are jokes) I got an Atty Gen that took short cuts. Absolutely Terrible. Hovever - What Exaclty is a phone company supposed to tell the FBI or CIA when they show up with a request from the AG/President? "No, you must get some local judge to ok that"? When that company wants to open a new office/expand/file tax returns will that "lack of cooperation" be held against them?
  • by ZekoMal (1404259) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:28AM (#29538789)

    Hovever - What Exaclty is a phone company supposed to tell the FBI or CIA when they show up with a request from the AG/President? "No, you must get some local judge to ok that"? When that company wants to open a new office/expand/file tax returns will that "lack of cooperation" be held against them?

    When you fear retribution from your own government for following constitutional laws, your government failed.

  • Re:Show of Hands (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NoYob (1630681) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:30AM (#29538805)
    Thank you.

    That's right. It annoys the piss out of me when folks, regardless of the issues, get in your face about how their party will fix the issue and how the other party caused it.

    The next big issue will be tax increases in 2010 - it's gonna happen even if there's a 100% Republican control in the Congress. But, that's another issue.

  • by ZekoMal (1404259) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:35AM (#29538843)
    With the introduction of TV, they can scare us all into believing that drugs cause so much violence. With the hiding of history, they can make us forget that prohibition leads to violence.
  • by ZekoMal (1404259) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:39AM (#29538877)
    1. Vote in politician who promises to better education.

    2. Politician warps education to dumb down next generation.

    3. Think of the children collapses us all.

    4. Average voter stupidly votes in more corruption by the truck full, adamantly believing they have no choice but Corrupt A or Corrupt B.

    5. Politicians profit, people suffer.

    Therefore, it's our fault, and now we're too lazy and stupid to fix it. So uh, who wants to grab the first torch? I'll follow with the pitchfork. This country needs a good revolution, methinks.

  • by OrangeMonkey11 (1553753) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:42AM (#29538899)

    "For example, "marijuana leads to harder drugs". Well DUH, of course it does; the same people who sell pot sell the other drugs."

    I agree with what you are saying but I have to disagree with this statement. People lead themselves to harder drugs; true the same pot dealer sell other drugs as well but it is the choice of the buyer. The whole notion of Pot being a "gateway drug" is a remnant of the early 1900th propaganda. I'll believe pot being a gateway drug when someone provide definite proof that smoking pot would eventually make someone look for coke, heroin, etc.. as their next fix.

    Other then that well said; we do live in a nation of fools who believe in the war on drug will end violence and gangs.

  • Re:Show of Hands (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jellomizer (103300) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:46AM (#29538921)

    I would say more I would like to see this chapter to end.
    You can't expect all companies to have a moral compass. That is why you needs laws and regulations. So when the US Governments goes and puts pressor to the Telecom companies, what would you do... Really and honest here...
    Are you willing to say no and have the government (which at the time was considered unstoppable) go after you. Or are you going to say yea lets go.

    A willing Pawn is still a pawn. If you are going to sue you should sue the people who pressured the telecoms to do so. Because we can't and shouldn't expect them to do what is right. Especially with all their money and investments having a goverment OK on it. (you know those cell towers and telephone poles all have to have government OK at some level) so Fighting them really isn't much an option as they could just as easy go to say Well Verizon helped us and you didn't so I think I will OK Verizon to have the towers put up. So in short the Risk of saying No was really too high. (sure Google said no, they suffered low stock for a few months, but they don't have government ties like the other Telecoms do)

  • Re:Show of Hands (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Nadaka (224565) on Friday September 25, 2009 @09:52AM (#29538987)

    A slightly different but overlapping set of campaign contributors.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:08AM (#29539159) Homepage Journal

    They did it before TV too. Have you ever seen the 1936 movie Reefer Madness? [wikipedia.org] You can download the movie at the Internet Archive [archive.org] as it's in the public domain.

  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:09AM (#29539171) Journal

    Democracy isn't rule by the person, it's rule by the people. The people are emotional nitwits who can't decide anything with reason. That's not my failure, that's democracy's failure.

    I know it's tangential and related to your point, but Democracy is neither of those things. Democracy is rule by the pedagogues (since the nitwits listen to the pedagogues).

    The big problem is that the pedagogues have so much more power now that a limited number of massive media companies control the soapboxes.

  • by corbettw (214229) <`moc.oohay' `ta' `wttebroc'> on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:19AM (#29539265) Journal

    In my experience, the only gateway effect of marijuana is when someone finally tries it and doesn't die of an overdose or go mad, they start to think "Hmmm, if the cops and politicians lied about the effects of pot, maybe they lied about all the other stuff, too? Might as well try some meth, what's the worst that could happen?"

    This is how my younger brother got hooked on speed and barbiturates, which led directly to his death of an overdose. He tried pot in high school, nothing bad happened, so he figured the other stuff couldn't be that bad, either. The idiocy fueled by the War on Drugs killed my brother.

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:26AM (#29539355) Journal

    You need to add some more questions. A very important one I can think of is "How long do they request to have this power?" If the answer is "indefinitely" then there'd better be a damn good answer to those other two questions you listed.

    Why is it that the only bills that ever seem to "sunset" are tax cuts?

  • by Jawn98685 (687784) on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:26AM (#29539357)
    FTFA... limiting the government's power to issue "national security letters,"...

    Translation: The President of the United States does, in fact, NOT have the power to issue a royal decree which suspends the Constitution of the United States of American whenever he fucking feels like it. Nor do his minions have such authority. The laws regarding due process, privacy, unreasonable search and seizure, and so on, shall stand, and we are very, very sorry that we allowed the terrorists to win by scaring us into passing this absurdly named "Patriot Act".
  • by mayko (1630637) on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:30AM (#29539379)
    Interestingly enough... I have noticed that drug testing tends to push people towards harder drugs. Marijuana is a pain in the ass because it stays in your system for so long. Once people realize that drugs like cocaine don't have an overwhelming odor, can be used discretely and the metabolites are out of your system in 24-72 hours... they might switch drugs (if they don't mind the different high).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:43AM (#29539519)

    I'm sorry to say this, but I may well be the first-

    Your brother killed your brother.

    It's tragic. It's horrible. I'm incredibly sorry for your loss. When my dad did the same thing I also tried to blame everybody else. Whatever else happened, HE took the poison that KILLED him.

    It really is that simple.

  • by nomadic (141991) <nomadicworld@@@gmail...com> on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:44AM (#29539537) Homepage
    Indeed. But I think that's what the war on (some) drugs is really about -- a power grab that has turned the US into a police state. We have secret police ("plainclothesmen" and "undercover agents") only because of victimless crimes like drugs, gambling, and prostitution. We have the highest incarceration rate of any nation on earth, with a high percentage of them being non-violent drug prisoners.

    The war on drugs is more a result of a strain of puritanism in this country than a conscious power grab, I think. It's the same thing that caused prohibition, only there are fewer drug users than drinkers, so no way to politically end it at the moment.
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:48AM (#29539569) Homepage Journal

    That the War on Drugs has done more to rape civil liberties than any other government initiative in modern times.

    Sort of. Really, there's an underlying attitude, motivation, or system of values, that created the war on drugs, and that ("government knows what is best for people and should have the means to force it") is what really rapes civil liberties.

    Citizens do not believe that people should have as many rights as, say, the Bill of Rights tries to protect. The constitution simply does not describe the relationship between people and government, that most people want. If you think the constitution is based on bad ideas, then it really is just ink on a page, not the law.

    And this is just how things are going to be, until people see reasons for freedom.

    This is why I get so disappointed with most pro-legalization advocates. They talk about drugs, not government. You aren't going to convince anyone that freedom is a good idea, by concentrating on minor details like the properties of some particular drug. Marijuana is a 100% irrelevant topic in discussions about legalizing marijuana. The only topic that really matters, is what powers government should have -- and which government (feds vs state vs local) should have them.

    And if that question is irrelevant, or if people think the answer is "the government should have the power to decide anything it wants to," then there's no such thing as "civil liberties."

  • by moeinvt (851793) on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:55AM (#29539653)

    Just to be clear, there are TWO things going on here. Please don't get confused.

    1. There are three key provisions of the Patriot Act that are set to expire at the end of the year. Note that Pres. Obama and the Ministry of Justice want to renew these provisions.

    http://www.mainjustice.com/2009/09/15/justice-department-supports-renewal-of-patriot-act-provisions [mainjustice.com]

    2. This article is referring to Russ Feingold "S. 1686" bill (aka the "Justice Act,") which is basically a watered down version of the original Patriot Act.

    I have to give Feigngold credit for his voting record on civil liberties. My concern however is that his bill will be amended to renew the expiring provisions, preserve retroactive telecom immunity, and do very little to restore civil liberties. Recall that the Democrats pretended to put up a fight about telecom immunity when the new FISA legislation was being debated (voting it down once) before eventually approving it (in spirit of bi-partisanship).

    IMHO, the best approach (assuming you care about civil liberties) is to prevent ANY new legislation from passing, thereby allowing the expiring provisions to die.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2009 @10:55AM (#29539657)
    ...not to cheapen your brother's death (that's truly terrible), but it was your brother's willingness to take risks without getting important info first that killed him. Blaming the people that are trying to stop that kind of thing from happening is just as "idiotic", imo, no matter how you feel about the actual effectiveness of their efforts.
  • by moeinvt (851793) on Friday September 25, 2009 @11:31AM (#29540093)

    You sound like a person with a narrow minded "two sides" black and white world view. That's why you automatically react to criticism of Pres. Obama and the Democrats by assuming that it must be someone from the "other side". FYI, there are some people in this country who take a principled stand on issues such as civil liberties. The fact that "Bush did it too" or "McCain would do the same thing" is no justification for Obama's perpetuation of the Bush administation's policies.

  • by Chris Burke (6130) on Friday September 25, 2009 @11:42AM (#29540225) Homepage

    In order for companies to function, they need some predictability. Congress' granting retroactive immunity to the telcos set a bad precedent. But having done so, revoking it also sets a bad precedent.

    No, it sets a good precedent -- don't think you can break the law, and then have Congress retroactively cover your ass, because it won't stick. You want predictability? How about "obey the law as written, not as you hope it might be in the future"?

    Undoing the damage done by retroactive immunity is a good thing.

    On the other hand, is it ever late too late to seek justice?

    No, but... *shrug* The question is, among all the injustices done during the previous administration which will go unpunished, is it so important to punish this one? I'm not really sure. Frankly I tend towards the line of thinking that says "lets move on". It was a crazy time. We, as a nation, were crazy. A lot of people did bad things and ultimately I think most of them at some level believed they were doing good. Not just "I was following orders", but "I was following orders in order to Save America".

    I dunno. I'm very much against retroactive immunity, but at the same time I'm not so sure how diligently we should pursue prosecution for every violation of the law in the last 8 years. I am much more concerned with making sure it doesn't happen again in the future, and I'm not a big believer in punishment as a deterrent for future crimes. No criminal thinks they are going to get caught, and for a lot of the crimes in question the perps probably really believed they were not committing crimes. I'm not sure seeking justice in these cases is, you know, productive.

  • Re:IT's a troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday September 25, 2009 @11:52AM (#29540365) Homepage Journal

    Not all of the PATRIOT act is bad.

    If I were to read about something good about it I might be able to agree with you, but nothing I have read is in any way good. What about the "Cowardly Government antiAmerican Act" is good? What is it about the misnamed PATRIOT act that isn't bad?

    I journaled today about The Cartoon Terrorist [slashdot.org]. It isn't in the national news, but the local paper (and all the local TV news) covered it. There was a plot to bomb the Federal Building here in Springfield (home of Ward 2 Alderman Gail Simpson), and it was uncovered by plain old police work by the FBI. No warrantless wiretaps, nothing else from the PATRIOT act, nothing by the Dept of Homeland Security. Just cops doing their jobs.

    Back in my grandfather's day the President said "We have nothing to fear but fear itself". Today's presidents are more like "OMFG ITS TEH TERRORISTS! GIVE UP YOUR LIBERTY, IGNORE THE CONSTITUTION, IMPRISON PEOPLE WITHOUT TRIAL AND TORTURE THEM! RED ALERT! RED ALERT! MOMMIE!!!!"

  • Re:Show of Hands (Score:2, Insightful)

    by babblefrog (1013127) on Friday September 25, 2009 @12:03PM (#29540489)
    Take a look a the 4th, 5th, and 6th articles in the bill of rights. They seem to have been pretty well gutted in the name of "National Security". The 8th is looking pretty shaky too.
  • by Hatta (162192) * on Friday September 25, 2009 @12:39PM (#29540903) Journal

    What exactly did Bush protect you from? Bush is responsible for more American deaths than Bin Laden is. You would not have been able to say the same about Gore or Kerry.

  • by MightyMartian (840721) on Friday September 25, 2009 @12:40PM (#29540907) Journal

    As I recall (and I'm going from memory here), Prohibition did see an overall reduction in drinking. The problem was that whatever perceived or real benefit there was to Prohibition was more than outweighed by the sheer cost of enforcement and by the essential empowerment of organized criminal activity.

    So maybe it's true that keeping narcotics illegal does mean there are fewer addicts, but the cost of enforcement and the destabilizing effects of large scale organized crime means that drug prohibition equally outweighs any actual benefits.

    The problem now is that both in the US and abroad a very vast drug enforcement bureaucracy and infrastructure is in place. Essentially the War on Drugs and the drug producers and distributors are parasitic to each other. The War on Drugs requires illegal activity to justify the employing of tens of thousands of investigators worldwide, and organized crime needs the War on Drugs to create the scarcity so necessary for large returns on investment.

    This is precisely how Prohibition ended up working. The Prohibition Bureau and all those thousands of agents it employed relied upon the rum runners and the mobsters and Mafia that controlled the importation and production of alcohol for their budgets and livelihoods, and the mobsters benefited from the artificial scarcity that Prohibition produced. When Prohibition was repealed, the scarcity disappeared, and the mobsters had to find some other stock and trade (which was nicely provided to them by other forms of prohibition; gambling, prostitution and, yes, the banning of various of narcotics).

  • by jamstar7 (694492) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:00PM (#29541103)

    (And some of us think the government is doing such a bad job of 'fighting the war on drugs' because it isn't really sincere about the effort and would rather keep the prisons full).

    A lot of the problem with the WoD is, the cops are under pressure to produce arrests and convictions, the more the better for the department. What looks better in the papers, a story about how a 3 year investigation nailed the #1 source of $DRUG or 75 street-level arrests that put 70 'dealers' behind bars for 15-30 years? Which story gets mayors and district attorneys re-elected? It's not so much that they don't want to nail #1, but the street-level guys are just so damned convenient to bust, and for every one of them you put behind bars, there's another ready to take his place on the corner to make it so much easier to 'rinse and repeat'. And a lot of local police departments depend on that Federal WoD funding to stay in business.

    Personally, I say, legalise it, tax it like booze and cigarettes. Turn it from a cash drain to a cash cow.

  • by jamstar7 (694492) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:06PM (#29541159)

    The idiocy fueled by the War on Drugs killed my brother.

    Actually, the drugs killed him.

    Back in 'The Day', I tried out acid. It was very educational. Taught me 2 things:

    1. Some people really shouldn't take acid.


    2. I'm one of those people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:26PM (#29541431)

    Parent should be modded +10 insightful. Why people can't see that "crying wolf" is a bad idea is beyond me. When you lie, OVER AND OVER, people stop believing you.

  • Re:Show of Hands (Score:3, Insightful)

    by jamstar7 (694492) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:37PM (#29541571)

    What did you lose specifically since 9/11? Please tell us what you could or was doing that you cannot do any more. what rights do you no longer have?

    Been to an airport lately? I remember a time, WAY the hell back in the late 60's^F^FStone Age, when you could walk out onto the tarmac at an airport, without a boarding pass, without a ticket, get on a plane, and pay for your ticket with a personal check right on the airplane. Mind you, at the time, there were quite a few idiots standing up in mid flight screaming "Take thees plane to HA-VAN-HA! too.

    Driven from Phoenix AZ to Vegas lately? They have these nifty 'TSA checkpoints' on both sides of the dam where they pretty much just wave you through, but sometimes actually pull you over and search your car and person without a fucking warrant.

    I told my grandkids about that once, they thought I was lying.

  • by ssintercept (843305) <ssintercept@nOSpaM.gmail.com> on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:44PM (#29541653) Journal

    Personally, I say, legalise it, tax it like booze and cigarettes. Turn it from a cash drain to a cash cow.

    i agree. why would the government cut itself off from a huge revenue source. isnt pot in the top 5 of cash crops?

    as to the first part about cops under pressure, i really dont agree. cops have a lot of leeway in enforcing law. the police were just at my apartment an hour ago for me to view a photo line up of some crack heads who robbed my buildings super. in plain view were two one hitters, a 2 foot glass bong and a pipe. we all just looked at them, then each other and smiled. i went on with the line up and they thanked me and left.

    as long as you are not a pain in the ass and acting a fool, they will leave you alone. if your a dick or lying about shit, they will fuck you silly. this isnt an isolated incident, when i lived in chicago, the cops could care less about a couple of grams of weed or a pipe.

    the best way to NOT get arrested is to remember cops are someones brother, sister, father or mother. dont act all indignant or self righteous and they will cut you some slack. if your an ax wielding psycho killer YMMV.

  • Re:Show of Hands (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jafac (1449) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:53PM (#29541753) Homepage

    oh- the Democrats did that (voted for PATRIOT) out of sheer calculating political cowardice.

    The NAZI era Germans called it the "zeitgeist" - the mind of the times, everyone was caught up in the frenzy, Germany was so fucked up (economically) after WWI, and the people wanted so badly to believe it was everyone's fault but their own. (dudes, you lost a war. . . that you started). Mass-denial, and failure to take responsibility for their actions (and consequences for WWI were huge, because it was a huge fucking clusterfuck of a war) - and desire to blame it on everyone else: the Jews, the Commies, the French - is what put Hitler into power.

    9/11 had the same exact effect on the US. (and I'm not buying into the terrorist notion that 9/11 was "the result of our mideast policies" - that's also childish blame-shifting. . . I'm just saying you don't blame and punish an entire culture for something that a few hundred whackjobs cooked up on their own). I think that the chickens of US imperialism and arrogance are coming home to roost, and the years following 9/11, Iraq, and all that crap, were part of it. Will the US suffer the devastation that Germany suffered after WWII? Look at photos of downtown Berlin after the Soviets got through with it. God, I hope not.

    Those who do not learn the lessons of History, are doomed to repeat it. And even those who DO learn the lessons of History, are doomed to sit by and watch others repeat it.

    So - to vote against USA PATRIOT would have been political suicide for the Dems. On the other hand, Obama's act of courage (voting against the Iraq war) is probably a big part of what got him elected. Some demographic of Americans still DO actually prefer political courage.

    That's not saying I would not have wanted my representatives to grow a fucking spine, and stand up for my rights. . . and what is objectively Right. That would have been nice, but I think it's expecting too much of people who, as a profession (career politicians), are generally deeply flawed individuals, in a system that generally rewards mediocrity, cowardice, and corruption.

    But this is what I mean when I say there is no FUNCTIONAL difference between Republicans and Democrats. Folks point out the obvious differences, and tell me, hey dude, that's not cool. Then I watch as a guy like Obama goes from "Yes we can!" to signing off on renewing the Patriot Act provisions, in the space of a couple of months. Dude; that's not cool.

    And no - there's no third-party in particular that I think would be any better. I think it's the system that's hopelessly broken, and incapable of steering us back onto the right track.

    I'm just stocking up on ammunition and canned food, and waiting for the inevitable, like everyone else.

  • by Golddess (1361003) on Friday September 25, 2009 @01:57PM (#29541803)
    No, it really isn't that simple. I'm not saying that the brother is 100% not to blame, but you cannot ignore the fact that the state lied about marijuana. By lying about marijuana, the state loses it's credibility as a trusted source of information of what is good and what is bad, and people lose respect in the state. And when that happens, people will just do whatever they feel is right, because they can no longer trust the state.
  • by TheCarp (96830) * <sjc@@@carpanet...net> on Friday September 25, 2009 @02:13PM (#29542001) Homepage

    It was probably more than that. Drug use tends to be a symptom of underlying issues more than a cause. He may have even been self-medicating for a condition that he didn't even realize that he had, and now nobody will really know. Though there have been published findings of connections betwene drug use and other mental disorders... what is cause and what is effect? There is also anecdotal evidence that some of the conditions most associated with certain drugs can actually be effectively medicated with them. Of course...if you start taking your medicine to get high, and don't see it as your medicine, that just opens the door for massive abuse as you find a reward that actually goes beyond being high... even if you don't recognize it completely.
    (specifically pot has been found to be useful in both manic and depressive stages of bipolar disorder)

    Of course, younger people often think that they are invincible, and without a supportive and open social context, can easily slip into rather extreme use patterns. I often think that is one of the most backwards parts of prohibition. Driving dangerous behavior out of where it can be seen and monitored and creating an atmosphere where a parent, peer, or teacher can't be understanding and say "you need to cool it a bit, your pushing it too far" because everything has to be "zero tolerance" well.... I just see it as counterproductive and better at producing good liars than responsible people.

    Frankly, the whole discussion makes me think of the scene in the movie Kinsey, where the good doctor stands before his "marriage" class... full of married adults.... and tells them:

    Because society has interfered with what should be a normal biological development causing a scandalous delay of sexual activity which leads to sexual difficulty in early marriage. In an uninhibited society, a 12-year-old would know most of the biology which I will have to give you in formal lectures.

    -Steve

  • by orangesquid (79734) <orangesquid.yahoo@com> on Friday September 25, 2009 @05:33PM (#29544333) Homepage Journal

    I think a more accurate way of saying it would be:

    Your brother technically made the choice that led to his own death. However, there is a good chance he would have not made that choice had the State not grouped marijuana in with meth, pcp, coke, heroin, etc., which are at least tens of thousands of times more dangerous, and mushrooms and acid, which are hundreds of times more dangerous. In truth, cigarettes and alcohol are thousands of times more dangerous. Why doesn't the State provide accurate statistics of addiction potential, long-term health effects, likelihood of overdose (defined as death or organ damage during use, or maybe anything requiring medical treatment excluding shooting people tripping with thorazine, which has been shown to be more likely to cause a bad experience than letting the hallucinogen or entheogen wear off), etc.? There's a lot of conjecture about that, but there is some info from NORML and a lot of academic study of Prohibition and its conjectured, eventual effects on our drug policy.
    Accurate information could well have saved your brother's life---we don't know---but if we had a study with a sort of "control group" (though it wouldn't be a blind study), comparing two similar countries where pot is treated differently (there's arguably at least one, the Netherlands, maybe two if you include Mexico), and see what happens, we could give some loose statistics about the likelihood that your brother would still be here.

    I am sorry for your loss as well. You can probably indirectly blame the State, but we can only surmise what could have happened, sadly.

    [Note to future employers scouring the web for dirty secrets: having an opinion on the drug policy doesn't mean I do drugs---perhaps I just care about how the State treats so many people I have read stories about in the paper.]

"A great many people think they are thinking when they are merely rearranging their prejudices." -- William James

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