Outside View: Drug War Double Standards 

Outside View: Drug War Double Standards 
Posted by CN Staff on May 20, 2003 at 15:54:30 PT
By Paul Armentano
Source: United Press International
Washington -- Allegations in Rolling Stone magazine that Jenna and Barbara Bush enjoy an occasional toke should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with the proclivities of 21-year-olds, especially those as notoriously predisposed to partying as the "first twins."But while allegations of the first twins' pot smoking is hardly surprising, its implication with regard to political policy should not go unnoticed.
Whether the allegations are confirmed, the extraordinary fact remains that their father's administration has now overseen the arrest of more than 640,000 Americans for engaging in such "youthful indiscretions" -- even going so far as to prosecute medicinal marijuana patients and their providers in states where the use of physician-approved pot is legal.Unfortunately, drug-warring politicians have a long history of adhering to the "do as I say, not as I do" philosophy, particularly when it comes to their children. Take California Rep. Randy "Duke" Cunningham. He co-sponsored legislation mandating the death penalty for "drug kingpins," but pleaded for mercy when his son Todd was convicted for smuggling 400 pounds of pot. The seven-term Republican, known for his career-long vitriol against "soft on crime" judges, found himself begging a federal judge to waive his son's five-year mandatory sentence. Fortunately for the San Diego Republican, the judge was "soft" enough to give Todd 30 months in prison -- half the federal "mandatory" minimum.Similar treatment was given to Dan Burton II, son of the 11-time Indiana congressman. He was arrested several times for marijuana and firearms felonies in the mid-1990s but never received more than community service and probation. Prosecutors jumped through hoops to keep Burton's kid out of jail, including underestimating the total weight of the 30 plants he was caught with as only 25 grams, thus reducing his charge to a misdemeanor.His son's brushes with the law apparently meant little to the elder Burton, who following his son's arrest voted against legislation to expand drug treatment as an alternative to prison for qualified drug offenders.And of course there are the escapades of Noelle Bush -- niece of President George W. Bush and daughter of Florida Gov. Jeb Bush -- whose run-ins with the law made national headlines last year. First, the 25-year-old got popped attempting to purchase tranquilizers with a forged prescription. That charge alone could have netted her five years in prison, but authorities sentenced her to drug rehab instead -- a move her father lauded, despite previously opposing a ballot initiative mandating treatment instead of jail for other people's daughters facing similar non-violent drug charges.But Noelle's special treatment didn't end there. While in rehab, she was caught again with unauthorized prescription drugs -- another felony, or in her case, a minor transgression punishable by three days in jail.After returning to rehab, she was busted a third time; this time allegedly with crack cocaine. However, her father's lawyers filed a successful motion with the courts forbidding the police from gathering evidence or statements from the rehab facility's staff about the incident. Noelle ultimately served a total of 13 days in jail for her bevy of drug charges, while her father denounced allegations that she received preferential treatment.It is possible that Jeb Bush believed he was telling the truth. After all, if the sons and daughters of the political elite never face the brunt of their parents' Drug War, maybe the president, the Florida governor and their politico brethren assume nobody else's children do either.Which brings us back to Jenna and Barbara Bush and their alleged pot smoking. Chances are the White House will refer to the alleged incident as a private matter. But with an astonishing 250,000 Americans now behind bars for drug offenses, it is painfully obvious that the matter has become quite public -- that is, for other people's children. Until this reality changes, expect the children of the political elite to keep on smoking, and expect the Washington to keep dropping the hammer -- on someone else's kids, of course.* Paul Armentano is a senior policy analyst for the NORML Foundation, a group that supports the liberalization of America's marijuana laws, in Washington.* A UPI Outside View Commentary: Outside view commentaries are written for UPI by outside writers who specialize in a variety of important global issues. Source: United Press InternationalAuthor:  Paul ArmentanoPublished: May 20, 2003Copyright 2003 United Press InternationalWebsite: Contact: Articles & Web Site:NORML Tokin' Appearance By Bush Twins? Deal for Noelle Bush's Double Standard
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #11 posted by escapegoat on May 22, 2003 at 07:31:53 PT:
AMW - was this on the Izzy Asper channel?
"We occasionally get America's Most Wanted, which is full of it."Sounds like Canwest Global -- they have a TV channel down there, right? I can tell you that their parent in Canada loves to shovel sensationalist BS.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by malleus2 on May 21, 2003 at 07:18:49 PT
What was it that someone here used to say?
That the laws won't change until the children of privilege are caught by them? Well, how privileged is the Bush (Crime) Family?
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by 312 on May 20, 2003 at 23:16:53 PT
Rant on
Hi SoberStoner (and all other readers),Do you know the Maori word for America actually is Amerika. It was on TV the other day and I couldn't help but think of CNews as a result.
I must say I really enjoy your rants. I always learn somenthing new. Not being from the states, I am often intrigued at some of the things that I hear about the place. I had no idea about the telecommunications act and how it changed things, for example. I often feel that Australia is similar in ways to the US. In New Zealand we get ABC news, which always seems American in the way it is presented. The guy reading it even sounds American, which probably doesn't help. I can't watch it, not if I have a choice anyway. They recently brought in a law over there so they could prosecute people supplying on premises, effectively putting a damper on the looming coffeeshop industry over there. They even have asset forfeiture like the US. They use the word 'Federal' a lot; a word alien to me. I was pleased to hear about the medical cannabis scheme about to go ahead there. I heard it on the radio on the way to work, but they said it was only for people with 'severe' medical conditions. Why you can't use it for insomnia or some other temporary condition I'll never be able to work out.I saw a DARE car in NZ and couldn't believe they had it here. It seems like almost everyone smokes bud, or dak as they call it, and there is a thriving methamphetamine (P, they call it) industry, especially amongst the gangsters. They changed it to class A, not that it's going to stop them.I'm from the UK so I'm used to watching BBC news. Isn't it sad that people are so used to hearing one-sided politically charged 'arguments' on the news that genuine, impartial debate shocks them.We occasionally get America's Most Wanted, which is full of it. Phrases such as 'lets catch these criminals for the spineless cowards that they are' and '...helping to keep the streets safe' etc. just cause unnecessary fear and people I've watched it with find the US rhetoric disturbing.
My friend once told me (after they moved from US to UK) that Americans only hear about America (in the media) and never hear about the outside world. It seemed that the people living there genuinely thought that the states was a benevolent force; truth is outside the states I have never come across such Anti-Americanism as I see and hear today. Very sad.Keep up the good work folks, it's time for me to go home now and enjoy a fat one in front of the fire (what! someone with a job who smokes! Aren't they all supposed to drop out or something?)Good will to all and peace to all men (as in humen)
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by Virgil on May 20, 2003 at 21:08:12 PT
Preston Peet's interview with Alan Young
There were some interesting remarks at in the interview with Alan Young- It's title is, "Man with a Plan- A discussion with Alan Young" He says the government has applied to extend the July 9th deadline to come up with a working MMJ program. I was disappointed it did not cover the recent pronouncement that possession is no longer a breach of the law in Canada.Preston Peet asked Alan Young his choice between legalization and decriminalization. Where I say legalization is the Logical Conclusion, he says legalization is "the only clear alternative."
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by FoM on May 20, 2003 at 19:30:04 PT
Thank you! That was excellent. Rant away anytime! You aren't only preaching to the choir. I know that people opposed to how we feel read the comments too. How do I know? I don't really know but I'm sure they do. It must be intuition I suppose. Doing news every day is hard. Even when it's good news it still is hard because I really care about what I do and that in itself produces stress. I can't do much to change the world but maybe CNews helps a little and that makes me feel like I'm doing something that will benefit people. That's the only reason. If I felt that no one cared I would stop. As long as people care and don't throw in the towel I'll keep trying. Thank you for the compliment and it's good to see you.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by SoberStoner on May 20, 2003 at 19:18:27 PT
Media in Amerika
Hello everyone,I just wanted to drop in and say that one of the best things I have ever done is turn off my TV and stop watching network news. I used to be a Mass Communications major in college, and even worked for a radio station for a little while until I realized what Mass Media really was.Unfortunately, with the Telecommunications Act of 1996, the airwaves became a capitalistic market instead of a 'free' market (they never really were free, just highly regulated) and the media giants were born. These giants can and will suppress anything they do not think you should hear. Luckily they cant own EVERTHING...yet..but now on June 2, the FCC will be further deregulating the American airwaves and allowing media giants like Clear Channel communications even broader control to your airwaves.After the Tcom act passed, I regretfully predicted that freedom of the press was dead and would instead be controlled by the largest bidder. So far, I have seen little to persuade me that I was wrong. Except for the internet. The net is TRUE freedom. However, Big Brother is working as fast as his bloated evil self will allow in trying to regulate the net as well. However, the world can change so fast that they havent figured out how to suppress the near instananeous exchange of information on the net the way that they can with Radio and TV.I watched BBC news the other day and was amazed that they actually presented an opposing opinion to their previous story that was nearly completely unbiased in either direction. It was near flawless professional journalism. I cant remember the last time I saw that on American 'news'. You wont see this story in a mainstream American media outlet. When nearly 90% of American media is already controlled by 6 people and soon to get worse, dont expect ANY positive cannabis related stories on major outlets before long. Our last source of honest news will be the net. FoM, I've praised you before, and I'm going to praise you again. You are a true patriot and hero. I cant imagine how difficult it is to maintain this site and you do an excellent job of it. I get frustrated and angry just reading some of these stories, I cant imagine how difficult it is to post them as well. Keeping semi on topic, the only thing I've seen about the Bush Wonder Twins adventures with 'the demon plant of DOOM' has been a small blurb on a tabloid. Kinda sad when the tabloids present more truth than the 'news'.I wonder when Americans will wake up and see that their country has been hijacked. I wonder if Americans even care. I wonder how much longer the rest of the world will take our bullying and strongarm tactics before they take a stand. I fear that when they do, we will face the bloodiest war ever seen, and America will be the 'bad guy'. Let's face facts. America is dying. Our economy is sinking faster than the Titanic, the rest of the world either laughs at us or despises us, the world's oil reserves are running out so we need to find the the oilfields (oops, wasnt supposed to say the last one), and yet still the American policy makers refuse to see that nearly all our problems could be solved by reverting back to a hemp based agricultural society and using Mother Cannabis to the fullest of her abilities instead of trying to senslessly eradicate possibly the greatest gift humanity was ever given. I know I'm preaching to the choir, but I pray that someone reads this and understands that we all must do our part to avoid a disaster, even if it's only posting here, or discussing cannabis openly and honestly with people you know (even one person counts)I can feel another rant coming on, so I'll stop this bloated rant where it is and wish you all Peace and Freedom even though I'm not sure I remember what either of those things are anymore.SS
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by RevHappy on May 20, 2003 at 19:04:23 PT:
Two MJ Cheerleaders with one stone?
Holy cow what a story. The Bush Twins are the PERFECT MJ Cheerleaders! One can write the childrens book, the other can host the pot porno. What a team!Nationwide Talent Wanted- legalizemichigan
Marijuana Cheerleaders
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by FoM on May 20, 2003 at 18:32:58 PT
I barely watch mainstream news anymore. They're back to reporting about murders. There are so many murders and I don't understand why following one closely is what we the people need to know. It's like when real news would have time on tv they talk about issues that all we can say is oh my that's sad. That is shallow and doesn't help anyone with anything. News should inform and educate. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by mayan on May 20, 2003 at 18:25:54 PT
charmed quark...
I doubt if I see this in my local paper either! Also, I've yet to notice any mention anywhere else regarding legal cannabis in Ontario. There is a media blackout in the states. People are getting wise though. Newspaper & cable subscriptions are plunging while more & more folks are getting their news from the internet. The truth will find it's way to the light. Boycott the mainstream U.S. media! Turn off your T.V. & turn on your brain!The way out IS the way in...Unclassify pre-9/11 intelligence: Ruppert on Amy Goodman and the 9/11 Latecomers: Buys FTW Full Page Ad in The Washington Post: Interesting Day - President Bush's Movements and Actions on 9/11: aside, 9/11 questions aren't going away: NORAD's Wag The 9/11 Window Dressing Tale: Film Draws Overflow Crowd:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by FoM on May 20, 2003 at 16:35:54 PT
Press Release from The Marijuana Policy Project
Urge Your U.S. Representative To Support States' Rights Bill FROM: Steve Fox, MPP director of government relationsDATE: Tuesday, May 20, 2003SUBJECT: Urge your U.S. representative to support states' rights billThe States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act is being re-introduced by U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) this Thursday, May 22. Please take a couple of minutes to call your U.S. representative and ask him or her to become an original sponsor of this legislation.This is the fifth consecutive session of Congress in which Rep. Frank has introduced medical marijuana legislation. The states' rights bill would give states the freedom to enact comprehensive medical marijuana laws without the fear of federal interference. This bill is all the more necessary given the callousness of the federal government's raids on medical marijuana patients and providers, primarily in California, over the past two years.To contact your U.S. representative, call the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-225-3121 and ask for your representative. When you are connected to your representative's office, leave a message asking him or her to cosponsor Barney Frank's States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act. (Because the bill has not been introduced, it does not have a bill number.) You can add that you are calling on behalf of the 80 percent of the American people who support medical marijuana.The States' Rights to Medical Marijuana Act is one of two medical marijuana bills in Congress this session. The other bill, the Truth in Trials Act, was introduced last month by U.S. Reps. Sam Farr (D-CA), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and 26 other original cosponsors. This bill would address two of the federal government's most objectionable acts in opposition to medical marijuana -- the gagging of medical marijuana defendants in federal court and the resulting imprisonment of individuals who had complied with state medical marijuana laws.These are not competing bills; they are simply two ways to address unconscionable attacks on medical marijuana patients and providers by the federal government. Please show your support for seriously ill individuals by contacting your U.S. representative at 202-225-3121. 
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by charmed quark on May 20, 2003 at 16:16:48 PT
Nice article ...
But I won't hold my breath waiting to see it appear in my local paper.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment