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1 US: Web: GAO Green-Lights White House Interference in ElectionsMon, 26 Apr 2004
Source:LewRockwell com (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:295 Added:04/26/2004

With two federal watchdog agencies freeing the White House drug czar to overtly influence state ballot initiatives, the Senate is poised to reauthorize this anti-democratic exercise for the next five years - the wheels greased by a ten-year total of $4 billion in taxpayer-funded advertising designed to sway the votes of those who pay for it.

The General Accounting Office recently declared the Bush administration's $22-million multimedia ad campaign touting new Medicare drug benefits to be marred by "omissions and other weaknesses" though not downright illegal. The GAO has also agreed to examine whether the administration's video news releases with fake reporters promoting the Medicare changes violate laws against government "covert propaganda."

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2 US NY: Web: Blair Talks TurkeyTue, 16 Mar 2004
Source:DrugWar (US Web) Author:Forbes, Dan Area:New York Lines:266 Added:03/16/2004

By the way, the sex for drugs was with men. Or - saying he was revealing details he'd told no one else - so Jayson Blair told me Friday night, the two of us alone on a Harlem sidewalk following his first public reading. The drugs were primarily cocaine, sometimes crack and "a little heroin" to come down on. But cocaine was his decided favorite. Blair said he was "born a decade too late" - that is, after coke's peak. Regarding the sex-for-drugs, I asked only the gender involved and whether any New York Times staffers participated. With yet another of his grating, ingratiating giggles, Blair said no about any Timesmen, "but that would've made a good story, hunh?"

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3 US: The New American Police StateFri, 01 Aug 2003
Source:Cannabis Culture Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:400 Added:08/01/2003

America's New Patriot Act and Patriot II Trash the Constitution and Brand Political Dissent As Terrorism.

America's war on Iraq, and now possibly Syria, has drawn public and media attention away from the burgeoning state security apparatus focused on US domestic matters. Those who think they know better than the rest of us have set their sights on dissidents of all stripes, including afficionados of a certain plant.

No matter the Marine Corps Semper Fi inked on your bicep, to indulge in a bowl on your back porch brands you a dissident. In the broadest sense under the post-9/11 regime, just about any crime is terrorism. If it's been on TV it must be true: Drug use equals terrorism. Or so the White House has instructed the citizenry to the tune of $150 million and more a year.

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4 US: Web: Halting Drug ReformFri, 18 Jul 2003
Source:TomPaine com (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:254 Added:07/18/2003

Drug reformers of varying stripes embrace different goals, from the widely supported decriminalization of medical marijuana to relieve the pain of cancer, wasting from AIDS, or the spasticity of multiple sclerosis to the legalization of recreational pot, the distribution of clean needles to addicts and the mandating of treatment rather than incarceration for low-level drug offenders.

Though there's been scattered progress on these goals around the country in recent years, overall, especially on the federal level, interdiction and incarceration remain the goal if not always the reality. Handcuffed by his foolish, glib remark about not inhaling, Bill Clinton never dared veer from the prohibitionist mindset. While George W. Bush gives lip service to treatment, on his watch Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agents point rifles at Suzanne Pfeil, a paraplegic in California. When she was unable to rise at the agents' command, they handcuffed her to her bed while proceeding to destroy the medicine growing in a garden outside. This is repression with a decidedly uncompassionate face.

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5 US: Web: New Law Assists Political IntimidationSun, 15 Jun 2003
Source:Nation, The (US) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:143 Added:06/18/2003

Drug reformers and concert promoters united a year ago to block passage of Democratic Senator Joe Biden's Rave Act, which would have subjected promoters and club owners to prohibitive fines for any but the most incidental drug use at their events.

This year, though, Biden--who said the law was needed to deter drug use and "protect kids"--attached it to the anti-child abduction AMBER Alert bill, which passed in April.

It took about a month for reformers' fears to be realized.

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6 US: Web: Drug Czar StymiedTue, 10 Jun 2003
Source:TomPaine com (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:153 Added:06/10/2003

Although not quite a bloodied-nose defeat for House Republican drug warriors, the Drug Czar reauthorization bill that was voted out of the Committee on Government Reform recently was certainly, as one congressional staffer put it, "a strategic retreat." By denying Republicans bipartisan cover for the Office of National Drug Control Policy's (ONDCP) controversial media campaign, committee Democrats killed several onerous provisions of the pending bill.

Originally, H.R. 2086 had covertly extended ONDCP's authority to use up to $1.02 billion in anti-drug advertising to counter state ballot initiatives -- or even candidates -- the White House opposed.

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7 US: Web: GOP Pot Attack StallsMon, 02 Jun 2003
Source:Nation, The (US) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:153 Added:06/04/2003

House Republicans anticipated smooth sailing for legislation to reauthorize the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), including its controversial antidrug media campaign.

But Democrats rebelled in late May over provisions that would have allowed drug czar John Walters to use the publicly funded advertising as he saw fit to oppose state ballot initiatives or even specific candidates.

The ads, mostly on television, have stirred controversy since Walters took over and began running strident drugs-equal-terrorism spots that declare that personal use of marijuana supports terrorism.

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8 US: Web: Buying InitiativesWed, 21 May 2003
Source:TomPaine com (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:155 Added:05/21/2003

A House committee is marking up a bill on May 22 that could strike at the heart of ballot initiatives nationwide, significantly undermining the efforts of drug policy reformers.

A little-known segment of a bill reauthorizing the mission of the nation's anti-drug agency could give the drug czar authority to use taxpayer dollars to pay for media campaigns directly targeting state ballot measures.

If the bill passes, and agency chief John Walters uses public funds to hammer initiatives the administration opposes, it would run counter to the whole purpose of ballot initiatives, establish a disturbing precedent for federal electioneering and hobble advocates pushing for saner alternatives to the War on Drugs.

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9 US CA: Web: A Peek Behind the Rosenthal Grand Jury Veil:Tue, 04 Feb 2003
Source:DrugWar (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:California Lines:343 Added:02/04/2003

Groping for an indictment of Ed Rosenthal http://www.green-aid.com/edrosenthal.htm from a California grand jury veering out of control, Assistant U.S. Attorney George L. Bevan, Jr sought some reply to a rebellious grand juror who'd just argued that most of the jury had probably voted for the state's 1996 medical marijuana initiative. Said this official of a federal government currently running roughshod all over California, "Whatever, that's good."

And then this federal prosecutor admitted: "The fact of the matter is it allows marijuana for your personal use and - to be cultivated, and if you are the primary caregiver."

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10 US: Web: Drug Czar Super Bowl Ad Features Anti-Abortion SubtextThu, 30 Jan 2003
Source:DrugWar (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:199 Added:01/30/2003

No, the White House anti-drug ads don't work, the latest, stealth report from the federal government indicates. Commissioned by the Office of National Drug Control Policy and conducted under the auspices of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, it states: "There is no evidence yet consistent with a desirable effect of the [Media] Campaign on youth." Though this semi-annual report builds on the poor results documented previously, the taxpayer-funded ads - despite their demonstrated inability to keep kids from drugs - do serve any number of purposes. One new use for the campaign made its debut during the year's high-profile advertising showcase, Sunday's Super Bowl.

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11 US: Web: Pot FlashbackThu, 16 Jan 2003
Source:Reason Online (US) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:137 Added:01/17/2003

Did Drug Czar John Walters illegally campaign against a pro-marijuana ballot initiative? Nevada's Secretary of State wants to know.

Derided by the White House as "nothing more than a cheap political stunt," marijuana advocates' attempt to hold Office of National Drug Control Policy head John P. Walters' feet to the fire for his overt, taxpayer-funded political campaigning against drug-reform state ballot initiatives bore some small fruit this week.

Responding to a formal complaint from backers of the Nevada marijuana legalization measure that received 39 percent of the vote in November, Nevada Secretary of State Dean Heller formally charged the nation's drug czar to issue "a written response to the complaint" by January 27th.

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12 US: Web: The Myth of Potent PotTue, 19 Nov 2002
Source:Slate (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:138 Added:11/19/2002

The Drug Czar's Latest Reefer Madness: He Claims That Marijuana Is 30 Times More Powerful Than It Used To Be.

Marijuana lost big on Election Day. Nevada's pot legalization proposal took only 39 percent of the vote. An Arizona decriminalization initiative did little better with 43 percent. And a mere 33 percent of Ohioans voted for a measure to treat instead of incarcerate minor drug offenders.

One reason for the ballot-box failure may have been the full-throttle, anti-marijuana campaign tour by White House Drug Czar John P. Walters. Walters, whose official title is director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, inveighed against the demon weed in campaign swings through Ohio, Arizona, and Nevada (twice). At the heart of Walters' sermon: "It is not your father's marijuana." Today's users, he claims, confront pot that's up to 30 times stronger than what aging baby boomers smoked.

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13 US OH: Web: Medical Marijuana Activist Claims Ohio First Lady Manhandled Her atMon, 04 Nov 2002
Source:DrugWar (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:Ohio Lines:386 Added:11/04/2002

Proponents of Issue 1, the Ohio treatment rather than jail initiative, know well the official opposition buzzsaw. Gov. Bob Taft's anti-initiative campaign has been furious and effective, though the measure may still squeak by. Following Friday's debate in Cleveland among Taft, the Republican incumbent, and his Democratic challenger, Tim Hagan (as well as Natural Law Party candidate, John Eastman), a prominent Ohio medical marijuana activist claims she now knows what it's like to be physically restrained by none other than Ohio First Lady Hope Taft herself.

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14 US: Web: Drug Warriors Crusade Against Reform InitiativesThu, 24 Oct 2002
Source:AlterNet (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:430 Added:10/25/2002

On drug policy, the voting public has proven ready to lead spaniel-like politicians by the nose, voting for one liberalization measure after another. But government, state and local officials have begun a crusade to scuttle reform initiatives around the nation.

Three wealthy drug reform proponents have backed a string of successful state ballot initiatives across the nation. Focusing initially on medical marijuana measures out west, billionaires George Soros and Peter Lewis and multi-millionaire John Sperling have won 12 of 13 ballot measures since 1996. Their handiwork also includes Proposition 36, which mandates treatment rather than prison for low-level drug offenders and was passed overwhelmingly in California in 2000. Other activists have similarly outflanked the officials who lag behind public opinion, and the reform movement as a whole has won 17 of 19 ballot measures -- much to the chagrin of drug warriors.

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15 US CA: Bound by a Patient in a Chair, the Feds Call Local CopsFri, 06 Sep 2002
Source:DrugWar (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:California Lines:325 Added:09/08/2002

The Drug Enforcement Administration believes in starting at the top. By shutting down two of the most aboveboard and righteous of California's medical marijuana operations, the feds can perhaps instill such fear that they free themselves from chasing the shaky and the small-fry. Last October they shuttered the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center, so respected that the city of West Hollywood co-signed its mortgage and so open that it allowed Congress's General Accounting Office in for a look.

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16 US MI: Web: White House and DEA Work to Defeat Michigan Drug InitiativeMon, 02 Sep 2002
Source:DrugWar (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:Michigan Lines:764 Added:09/02/2002

Drug initiative backers with the contumacy to flank a laggard government by appealing directly to the people are met yet again with a covert, multi-state gathering of government officials planning partisan electioneering on the public dime. And, given the presentation by the Bush Administration's drug policy second-in-command - a job senior enough to require Senate confirmation - the White House-backed effort will apparently include government propaganda to sway the vote of those who pay for it.

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17 US: Web: The Mouse That Roared- Calling for an End to the War on DrugsFri, 9 Aug 2002
Source:DrugWar (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:684 Added:08/17/2002

The small, influential Unitarian Universalist church has issued the rather remarkable call to: "Make all drugs legally available with a prescription by a licensed physician, subject to professional oversight." That's one element - certainly the most controversial - of the denomination's recent Statement of Conscience, all of it meant to be taken at face value. Entitled, "Alternatives to the War on Drugs", the statement was approved through a process of amendments, debate, lobbying by drug reformers in and outside the church and, finally, a formal vote at the Unitarian Universalist Association annual General Assembly, held in June in Quebec City. It was passed by the required two-thirds majority of the 1,500 voting delegates among the 4,200 UUs (as they often call themselves) in attendance.

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18 US: Web: Drug Warriors in a Dead HeatFri, 16 Aug 2002
Source:AlterNet (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:326 Added:08/17/2002

Rabid drug-warrior Bob Barr and the equally avid, though low-key, drug warrior John Linder are in a dead-heat Republican primary this Tuesday in Georgia's newly drawn 7th Congressional District. The question is, if Barr loses how much credit can the national Libertarian Party claim?

The LP's fetchingly named "Incumbent Killer Strategy" has -- with good reason -- targeted Barr as the drug war's point man. So the party has purchased nearly $50,000 of airtime on metro Atlanta cable stations (with a few ads on broadcast Fox and NBC slated for this final, pre-primary weekend) for a wrenching, 30-second ad featuring a woman who's suffered from multiple sclerosis for 31 years and is obviously in the last stages of a painful struggle.

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19 US: Web: Open Letter: Daniel Forbes Responds to Richard LinnettWed, 12 Jun 2002
Source:AlterNet (US Web) Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:United States Lines:225 Added:06/13/2002

Advertising Age columnist Richard Linnett's article (6/10/02) on my recently published work demands a response. He wrote of my months-long study published by the Washington think tank, the Institute for Policy Studies. It discusses the covert campaign - pursued by public employees while on the clock - embarked on by the administration of Gov. Bob Taft (R-OH) to defeat a treatment rather than incarceration initiative likely to appear on the ballot in Ohio this November. It's modeled on a similar ballot measure, Proposition 36, that passed overwhelmingly in California in 2000. Among other topics, the report discusses the supposedly apolitical Partnership for a Drug-Free America's cooperation with the Taft administration effort. Its URL: www.ips-dc.org/projects/drugpolicy/ohio.htm

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20 US OH: The Governor's Sub-Rosa Plot to Subvert An Election in OhioThu, 30 May 2002
Source:Institute for Policy Studies Author:Forbes, Daniel Area:Ohio Lines:131 Added:05/30/2002

Ohio Governor Bob Taft and the highest reaches of his administration have embarked on a concerted, months-long effort to subvert the state's electoral process. With overall control of budgets, jobs and sentencing policy at stake, the Taft administration has organized a sophisticated, sub-rosa campaign to defeat a drug treatment rather than incarceration amendment likely to appear on the ballot in November. Starting last spring, Gov. Taft himself, First Lady Hope Taft, his chief of staff, Brian Hicks, two of his cabinet members and numerous senior and support staff have - while on the clock, ostensibly serving the public - conceived and directed a partisan political campaign.

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