One year after legalization, marijuana use is down among teens in Colorado and in Washington State:
University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future study, now in its 40th year, surveys 40,000 to 50,000 students in 8th, 10th and 12th grade in schools nationwide about their use of alcohol, legal and illegal drugs and cigarettes.
“There is a lot of good news in this year’s results, but the problems of teen substance use and abuse are still far from going away,” Lloyd Johnston, the study’s principal investigator, said.
After five years increases, marijuana use in the past year by students in all three grades declined slightly, from 26% in 2013 to 24% in 2013. Students in the two lower grades reported that marijuana is less available than it once was, the survey found.
One year does not make a trend of course, so I’m not jumping up and down over this, even though I support legalization.
I had expected a small bump in the usage numbers — even if teenage pot smoking had remained unchanged — because it’s safer to tell a pollster you’re doing something legal, than it is to admit to breaking the law.
It will be interesting to see what the next few annual polls brings.
I suppose this was inevitable — a nicely appointed RV to take you and some friends on a tour to some of Colorado’s natural wonders, and to some of Colorado’s perfectly legal head shops.
They even do weddings.
(H/T, Colorado Rebecca.)
We are entering a Stoned New World here, as Colorado entrepreneurs come up with new ways to make money in the new… ah… atmosphere… of tolerance. It’s also an interesting test case for longtime proponents of legalization such as myself, to see what happens when perfect theory encounters an imperfect world. Our first stumbling block is that the state-sponsored growers and sellers cartels have kept prices artificially high (no pun intended), so we still have a black market for the green herb. That also means, as we’ve discussed here before, that tax revenues are not meeting expectations.
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth: that is what one swears to tell in a court of law. One lies there and then. It is a noble ideal that one swears to, but one that in practice is impossible to live up to. Not only is the truth rarely pure and never simple, as Oscar Wilde said, but it is never whole, even in the most rigorous of scientific papers.
Not that scientific papers are often as rigorous as they could or should be. This is especially so in trials of drugs or procedures, the kind of investigation that is said to be the gold standard of modern medical evidence.
Considering how every doctor learns that the most fundamental principle of medical ethics is primum non nocere, first do no harm, it is strange how little interest doctors often take in the harms that their treatment does. Psychologically, this is not difficult to understand: every doctors wants to think he is doing good, and therefore has a powerful motive for disregarding or underestimating the harm that he does. But in addition, trials of drugs or procedures often fail to mention the harms caused by the drug or procedure that they uncover.
This is the royal road to over-treatment: it encourages doctors to be overoptimistic on their patients’ behalf. It also skews or makes impossible so-called informed consent: for if the harms are unknown even to the doctor, how can he inform the patient of them? The doctor becomes more a propagandist than informant, and the patient cannot give his informed consent because such consent involves weighing up a known against an unknown.
A paper in a recent edition of the British Medical Journal examined a large series of papers to see whether they had fully reported adverse events caused by the drug or procedure under trial. It found that, even where a specific harm was anticipated and looked for, the reporting was inadequate in the great majority of cases.
But that’s not how they see it in the City of Buttinsky Angels:
The Los Angeles city attorney filed a lawsuit Tuesday to shut down a mobile phone application that arranges medical marijuana home deliveries.
The suit alleges that the iPhone and Android free app, Nestdrop, is a “flagrant attempt” to bypass restrictions contained in Proposition D, the medical marijuana law approved by Los Angeles voters last year.
Nestdrop links customers with delivery services. It started as an alcoholic beverage delivery service but added marijuana in November, promising arrival within an hour.
Pot delivery is currently only available in Los Angeles, but the company has said it wants to expand throughout Southern California.
California, the birthplace of beach music and hotrods, now takes the fun out of everything.
Hope springs eternal, but so do financial crises in hospitals. Once, while researching the history of the hospital in which I was working at the time, I discovered that it had been so short of money in the 1840s that it had been forced to sell some land to a railway company that wanted to build a line near the hospital. The physicians were against the sale, for they feared the noise of the trains might kill the patients, “especially the brain cases.” They were overruled, and when the first train went by they observed the patients anxiously to monitor the adverse effect on them. There was none.
However, psychiatric hospitals seem often to be built near railway lines, which act as a magnet to the patients who are suicidal. Patients of such hospitals who commit suicide while on the premises usually do so by hanging, while those who do so outside usually jump from a tall building or throw themselves in front of trains.
A paper from Germany in a recent edition of the British Journal of Psychiatry analyzes the characteristics of 100 suicides of psychiatric patients who threw themselves in front of trains conveniently near to the hospitals in which they were resident at the time. It took the authors ten years to collect their sample, whom they compared with other patients of the same age, sex and psychiatric diagnosis who did not throw themselves in front of trains. The object of the exercise was to see whether such suicides could be predicted and therefore prevented. The authors rather laconically remark that when a man throws himself in front of a train — and nearly two-thirds of the cases were men — it is likely that he really means to die.
From USA Today: “Where America landed on marijuana”
While Florida voters narrowly rejected a plan to legalize medical marijuana, voters in Washington, D.C., Oregon, and Alaska approved recreational pot posession and use by adults
And in Guam, voters legalized medical marijuana use, according to initial returns showing Proposal 14A passing with more than half of the vote.
Supporters say the legalization wins indicate voters think America’s pot prohibition is a failure, especially since non-presidential elections tend to draw an older, more conservative electorate. Twenty-three states and the nation’s capital already permit medical marijuana. Tuesday’s vote means Washington, D.C., Alaska and Oregon join Colorado and Washington in allowing adults to posses and consume marijuana just for fun.
At the Daily Beast on Tuesday: “Judge Could Smash Marijuana Law”
Three states, one district, and two cities will vote on various aspects of the nation’s drug laws on Tuesday but the most crucial marijuana decision being weighed in the coming days will be made by just one person. U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller could be about to start a legal revolution.
After a five-day hearing in California, she is considering the validity of the science surrounding pot’s classification as one of the most dangerous drugs in the world.
In May, she became the first judge in decades to agree to hear evidence relating to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s classification of marijuana which puts it in the same category as heroin and meth. Over the next few weeks, Mueller will comb through hundreds of pages of witness testimony, scientific research, and public health policy to determine whether the Schedule I Substance classification of marijuana is unconstitutional.
Her ruling will only apply in the specific case she is hearing, but some argue that a first judicial ruling against the legality of the DEA’s current drug classifications would invite a flood of similar legal challenges all over the country.
What would you like to see happen? What do you intend to support or oppose? What are the worst and best case scenarios?
image illustration via shutterstock / Iriana Shiyan
Don’t miss last week’s links, collected here: “The 2 Most Disgusting, Soul-Crushing Stories From Last Week (And 81 Competitors)” and Monday’s round-up here: “Man Sent By ISIS to Rape Pit Bull In Neighbor’s Yard? Clown Thugs Terrorize Paris?“ See shocking stories you think should should be included? Tweet them to @DaveSwindle.
At Vice Tuesday:
VICE: What happened to you as a child? Why do you need to make everybody hate you?
Deadanimalsikilled: Maybe I just didn’t get enough attention. Maybe if people cared about me more, I wouldn’t be forced to post such terrible pictures.
Where do you get the photos?
I usually get the images from Yahoo, because I thought that it would be harder for people to find them on Google and realize I was fake. I don’t know if that logic makes sense. I’m just trying to troll people and make them feel really bad.
It seems like they’re trying to make you feel bad, too. How long have you been doing this?
I’ve been doing running Deadanimalsikilled since October 2013. I started with a mouse, and I’m working my way up into larger and larger game. I feel like that’s what a serial killer would do. First a rat, then a crow, and so on.
I get a lot of death threats. People want me dead.
Via Drudge Tuesday:
At Mother Jones:
Fishers are forest-dwelling, cat-sized mammals—and one of the only known predators of porcupines—that were nearly wiped out by trapping and logging during the 19th and 20th centuries. Some of the current threats to the fishers are familiar, like wildfires and logging. But FWS found the misuse of rodenticides, more commonly known as rat poison, to be a “relatively recent and troubling threat.” There are now about 4,000 fishers left in dispersed pockets in California, Oregon, and Washington. FWS cited a study that found rat poison in the blood of 85 percent of fishers studied between 2012 and 2014.
The rise in rodenticide usage stems partly from the proliferation of “trespass grows,” or hidden spots in public parks, forests, and tribal lands where marijuana growers cultivate their goods. Each year, the United States grows about 22 million pounds of marijuana, and nearly half of the cannabis eradicated by law enforcement comes from trespass grows. It’s difficult to overstate how much the grows contribute to the weed industry: In 2013, 72 percent of the outdoor plants seized by law enforcement in California came from trespass grows.
TMZ reports that McDaniel is only legally prohibited from spending time with Shannon’s daughter Anna Cardwell, whom he forced to engage in oral sex when she was 8 years old. McDaniel subsequently served 10 years in prison on other charges, and reportedly rekindled his relationship with Shannon when he was released in March.
According to law enforcement officials, McDaniel has not been in violation of legal requirements that he stay away from Cardwell, who is now 20 and has a child of her own.
My PJ Media colleague Allston has just launched his call for your “greatest rock drummers.”
(Be sure to add your nominations in his comments.)
Allston will annoy a lot of people by saying that Keith Moon wasn’t a good drummer.
I’ll leave it to actual drummers and other musicians to fight that out.
Even Moon himself acknowledged his technical limitations by joking that he was “the best Keith Moon type drummer in the world.”
But I wanted to get in on Allston’s round up early, by nominating someone who other drummers say was highly skilled technically.
Surely being called “underrated” for 20+ adds up to The Clash’s Nicky Headon — “the human drum machine” — qualifying as one of the best?
One lamentable feature of the contemporary West is the ruthless efficiency of the nanny state. It works overnight. You wake up, slouch over your coffee and corn flakes, and read of the new Bad Thing that must be stopped Right Now. In Britain, the latest activity slated for oblivion is smoking in public parks. Readers, I’m sure, do not need to be reminded that parks are outdoor places; the traditional excuse of “secondhand smoke” does not appear to apply (although it is possible to find “studies” on the dangers of “thirdhand smoke”).
Nevertheless, British officials moved quickly. In September 2013, the mayor of London, alleged conservative Boris Johnson, ordered a “major review of health in the capital,” according to The Independent. The results are already in: Lord Darzi, Britain’s former health minister and the appointed chair of Johnson’s special commission, has said smoking needs to be banned in London’s parks and public squares. There is news that ”councils throughout England are also understood to be analysing how the proposals could be applied locally, paving the way for potentially the biggest crackdown on smoking since the Smoke Free legislation of 2007.”
Hat tip to Jon Rowe, from The Atlantic in 2012: “The Case for Drinking as Much Coffee as You Like”
“Coffee and caffeine have been inexorably intertwined in our thinking, but truth is coffee contains a whole lot of other stuff with biological benefits,” said Martin. And most concerns about caffeine’s negative effects on the heart have been dispelled. In June, a meta-analysis of ten years of research went so far as to find an inverse association between habitual, moderate consumption and risk of heart failure. The association peaked at four cups per day, and coffee didn’t stop being beneficial until subjects had increased their daily consumption to beyond ten cups.
Caffeine might also function as a pain reliever. A study from September suggested as much when its authors stumbled across caffeinated coffee as a possible confounding variable in its study of the back, neck, and shoulder pains plaguing office drones: Those who reported drinking coffee before the experiment experienced less intense pain.
The data is even more intriguing — and more convincing — for caffeine’s effects as a salve against more existential pains. While a small study this month found that concentrated amounts of caffeine can increase positivity in the moment, last September the nurses’ cohort demonstrated a neat reduction in depression rates among women that became stronger with increased consumption of caffeinated coffee.
And a new article at The Atlantic today: “Research suggests that a person’s consumption of the beverage is determined in part by his or her DNA—and that its benefits could extend beyond a caffeine buzz.”
A study released last Tuesday by an international consortium of caffeine scholars may help explain why some of these customers visited more often than others. Spearheaded by Marilyn Cornelis, a research associate at the Harvard School of Public Health, the team investigated the link between genetics and coffee consumption. By analyzing DNA as well as data on 120,000 adults of European and African-American heritage, the researchers identified eight genetic variants that predispose individuals to seek out and drink caffeine.
“Our results show that people are naturally consuming the amount of coffee that allows them to maintain their optimal level of caffeine” to get that good caffeine feeling without becoming jittery, Cornelis told me. “If we need more, we’re reaching for it.”
Six of the genetic variants examined in the study were newly discovered by the researchers. According to Cornelis, individuals whose DNA expressed all the variants tended to drink around half a cup of coffee more than those without them. Additionally, the new genes can explain about 1.3 percent of all coffee-drinking behavior, or about the same amount that genes can explain other habits, like smoking and alcohol consumption. While those effects may seem small, Cornelis said the study sheds light on why individuals’ bodies and brains react differently to caffeine—and how some people feel anxious after a single cup of coffee, whereas others can down a Starbucks Venti and feel just fine.
I wonder who the editor(s) might be at the Atlantic with the serious coffee habit…
Anyway, what do you recommend for daily caffeine consumption? Is waking up to the smell of coffee every morning a good enough reason to favor it over tea?
And if you have a coffee/tea or other product you’d like to see reviewed at PJ Lifestyle then please get in touch: DaveSwindlePJM @ Gmail Dot Com @DaveSwindle on Twitter
A few weeks ago, I was in New York City to meet someone for drinks, and got on the subway at 34th and 7th to head downtown. I dislike the New York subway for many reasons. It is the only such system in a major Western city to look as if it had been swapped with the metro of a third-world backwater. Pick any otherwise dodgy country on Earth, and chances are the subway of its capital city is a gleaming tube with smooth rolling stock and palatial stations. Not New York. The trains lurch between filthy platforms like winos stumbling to and from tenement doorsteps.
It is also a place in which I am continually confronted with the human condition. Sometimes it takes the form of rudeness; other times, drunkenness. On this particular day, it was poverty. Immediately after the doors closed, a disheveled man entered the car at the far end, battered cap in hand, and made the following announcement to us passengers:
“Ladies and gentlemen, if I could have your attention for one moment, please,” he said loudly. “I don’t want to bother you, but I am a homeless veteran. If you could spare some money, I would greatly appreciate it.”
I read the headline at Drudge: HHS shock: 1 in 12 Americans use illegal drugs, could fill all MLB stadiums 19 times:
America is doped up — and drunk.
According to a shocking new report from the Health and Human Services Department, there were 24.6 million people aged 12 or older who used illicit drugs during just one month last year.
“That’s enough people to fill every major league baseball stadium in the U.S. 19 times,” said the report. There are 30 MLB stadiums.
Even worse: Of the 24.6 million dopers, 2.2 million were adolescents aged 12 to 17.
Actually, I’m surprised the number isn’t higher. It’s like the ’70s all over again but worse, with drugs, apathy and incompetence rewarded or at least rarely penalized and success, achievement and hard work treated with disdain and distaste. I wonder where this will lead?
Vets in Colorado Springs will have the chance to get free pot this Saturday, courtesy of Operation Grow4Vets:
The organization’s goal is to help veterans suffering from emotional and physical pain. They hosted their largest-ever cannabis giveaway event in Denver Saturday. KDVR reported about 500 people–mostly veterans–attended that event. Each veteran at Saturday’s event got $200 worth of cannabis products for free, according to KDVR. The bag included a week’s supply of tincture, a cannabis chocolate, and eight marijuana seeds to grow.
I’d rather see MDMA legalized for this kind of purpose, as it’s been shown time and again to have real and lasting benefits to helping people cope with PTSD.
According to this article, 10% of Americans go to work high:
Showing up to work high? You’re not alone.
A new report has found nearly 1 in 10 Americans are showing up to work high on marijuana. Mashable.com conducted the survey in partnership with SurveyMonkey, and found 9.7 percent of Americans fessed up to smoking cannabis before showing up to the office.
The data analyzed the marijuana and prescription drug habits of 534 Americans. What’s more, nearly 81 percent said they scored their cannabis illegally, according to the survey.
Cannabis and the workplace seem quite linked lately. Entrepreneur and venture capitalist Peter Thiel recently chimed in on marijuana and work. While criticizing Twitter during an appearance on CNBC Wednesday, Thiel said Twitter is a “… horribly mismanaged company—probably a lot of pot smoking going on there.”
I find it amazing that this many people would confess to smoking at work and that 81% stated that they obtained the cannabis illegally. Some businesses drug test but others don’t or can’t afford it.
Do you mind if your barista or server is high? What about your doctor? Isn’t this a problem to be taken more seriously? How are these high people getting to work? I see a lot of people in my area riding bikes on the main roads these days. Maybe they are high just trying to get to work. I guess a bike is better than driving, but it still doesn’t seem like a great idea.
image illustrated via shutterstock / gabriel12
The question is important because public health emergencies allow governments to ignore the usual restrictions or restraints upon their actions. In public health emergencies, governments can override property rights and abrogate all kinds of civil liberties such as freedom of movement. They can .r our goods and tells us where to go and where to stay. They do so only for our own good: health being the highest good, of course.
A recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the issue in the context of the declaration of a public health emergency in Massachusetts by the governor of that state, Deval Patrick.
In most people’s minds, no doubt, a public health emergency would be something like the Black Death, the epidemic of plague that wiped out a third of Europe’s population in the fourteenth century. A natural disaster of large proportions might also count, not only because of the death and injury caused directly by the disaster, but by the epidemics which often follow such disasters.
What, then, was the public health emergency that “obliged” Patrick to declare that it existed and that he could and should take uncontrolled administrative measures to halt it?
You probably already saw yesterday’s Washington Times report that welfare recipients can use EBT cards to buy pot. If not, here’s the gist:
Welfare recipients can’t use their EBT cards at liquor stores but they can at marijuana dispensaries in states such as Colorado that have legalized pot, Sen. Jeff Sessions revealed Tuesday.
The Alabama Republican announced that he was drafting legislation to close the welfare-for-weed loophole after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services confirmed to him that marijuana shops were not off limits to EBT cards, which replaced food stamps, or other federal benefits.
I know there’s a proper moral attitude of “They shouldn’t be allowed to use welfare money to buy [junk food/booze/cigarettes/pot/lap dances]!” But money being fungible, the most you can do is put up easily-scalable barriers to people doing what they will with other people’s money.
But leave it to Berkeley to take an uncomfortable situation and make it comically awful:
The Berkeley City Council has passed a law requiring medical marijuana dispensaries to distribute 2 percent of their stashes to people making less than $32,000 per year or $46,000 per family.
Under the new ordinance, which was approved unanimously this summer, only city residents will be eligible and they must have a prescription.
‘Basically, the city council wants to make sure that low-income, homeless, indigent folks have access to their medical marijuana, their medicine,” Councilman Darryl Moore told CBS San Francisco.
Everybody knows that in California, “medical marijuana” was just stealth legalization, so let’s not pretend this is about helping low-income grandma afford her glaucoma relief. This is just Berkeley being Berkeley, and if there’s a way they can glean a bit of smug moral superiority by giving away other people’s stuff, they will.
From CBS Denver:
When voters approved recreational marijuana sales the state predicted it would pull in more than $33 million in new taxes in the first six months. The actual revenue came up more than $21 million short.
The problem is that buying pot is less expensive on the streets where people don’t have to pay taxes or fees.
Medical marijuana is also less expensive than recreational pot, so those with medical cards are sticking to buying that way.
Don’t confuse legal pot with a free market for it. Supplies are constrained by a maze of legal restrictions on what is a weed that can grow most anywhere. Yes, the high-quality stuff is more expensive to produce, but not that much more expensive. Denver lawmakers very smartly put together a pot growers cartel, to which Denver holds the strings. And of course pot shops are similarly restricted. What we need is a modern Bill W. to found Rent Seekers Anonymous.
There might be something else going on here as well. It may well be that recreational pot just isn’t as popular as many people expected it to be. I suspect that most non-smokers didn’t imbibe because we had better things to do, and not because the stuff was illegal. I know for certain that I never met a smoker who was ever more than delayed by prohibition. Deterred? Only when a cop was actually present.
Pop culture has become as much of a religious powerhouse as Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism or any other faith. Don’t believe me? Sit in a college classroom. Better yet, attend a fan convention or simply rent the film Trekkies. Films, shows, bands, comic books and their like have become, for some, sources of spiritual nourishment. Do you feel the power?
12. What was once DVR-able is now weekly appointment television.
“Appointment TV” doesn’t begin to describe your weekly ritual. All pressing engagements are pushed aside, phones are silenced, and ritual food is laid out on the coffee table to be partaken in as the ceremony commences. You still DVR the show for good measure, being sure to re-watch at least once, if not multiple times in deep study so that you may discuss the meanings of both text and subtext with fellow fans.
I don’t know if there’s anything like this yet in Colorado, but California has a booming business in medical marijuana home delivery:
Needing to replenish his stash of pot one recent afternoon, the Burbank resident dialed Speed Weed. Within the hour, a driver arrived with a white paper bag carrying a gram of cannabis, 10 joints and a handful of pot-infused candies and cookies.
“They come to my house, and they’re in and out,” said Reichle, 39, a comedian who spends about $100 a week on medical marijuana. “I shouldn’t have to go to a store.”
I say this as a guy who isn’t about to pare down his martini habit, but doesn’t $100 a week sound a bit excessive? I remember what the stuff used to cost a quarter century ago and how long each purchase would last, and inflation doesn’t come anywhere near to covering the difference. I don’t see how anyone can ingest that much THC and still stand up off the sofa to go to the bathroom, much less do comedy.
That aside, the story opens by claiming that Reichle “couldn’t have gotten a pepperoni pizza much faster.” And I bet right now he’s thinking, “Mmm, pizza.”
image via shutterstock / Juan Camilo Bernal
Pressure to control the consumption of tobacco has grown in tandem with the pressure to liberalize the consumption of marijuana. Perhaps this is not a paradox in the most literal sense, but it is certainly very striking. The yin of prohibition, it seems, always goes along with the yang of permission.
An article in a recent edition of the New England Journal of Medicine discusses the forthcoming tussle between what it calls Big Marijuana – the commercial interests, analogous to Big Tobacco, that will inevitably grow if marijuana ever becomes as accepted as tobacco once was – and the public health authorities. For while the smoking of marijuana does not yet cause anything like as many health problems as tobacco or alcohol, it would do so if its use were as general as the use of tobacco or alcohol. A little statistic that was published some time ago in the Lancet caught my eye: the French police attribute 3 percent of fatal road accidents to intoxication with cannabis and 30 percent to intoxication with alcohol. If, as seems likely, ten times as many Frenchmen drive drunk as drive stoned, marijuana is as dangerous as alcohol where driving is concerned.
The authors of the article point out that commercial growers and marketers of marijuana are likely, given the chance, to resort to all the techniques and obfuscations employed by the tobacco companies. They will minimize the harms done by marijuana while trying to increase the concentration of the very substance in their product that does the harm. The concentration of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in modern cannabis plants is already much higher than it was when hippiedom first struck the western world; Uruguay, where the cultivation and sale of cannabis has recently been legalized, is attempting to control the strains of cannabis that can be sold, with what success remains to be seen.
I don’t have a lot of pet peeves — why would I keep a peeve as a pet? But since this is supposed to be a cultural blog, I’ll tell you a cultural phenomenon that really bugs me: songs with beautiful music that have crappy lyrics. Now remember those criteria… don’t come back on me and say, “Hey, that song is lovely.” I know it is. The music is. The music is lovely and catchy and lyrical… but that’s exactly what makes the crummy lyrics so, so annoying.
Remember this one? Sometimes When We Touch by Dan Hill:
Really pretty tune but come on!
“Sometimes when we touch, the honesty’s too much, and I have to close my eyes and hide. I want to hold you till I die, till we both break down and cry. I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides.”
I mean, gag me with a spoon! Dan! Danster! Are you a dude or a chick? “I want to hold you… till we both break down and cry?” Bleagh! Does a huggy-wuggy make you weepy-deepy? “I want to hold you till the fear in me subsides…” I’m sorry, check me on this, ladies. If a guy actually said that to you would you 1) laugh in his face and dump him or 2) well, wait, there is no 2…
[My wife says I'd like the song if the sexes were reversed. You know: holding a tremulous girl until her fear subsides... kind of sexy. But this is exactly why I make my wife live in the basement. Or would, if I had a basement. If she's going to start expecting me to make sense, our marriage is doomed!]
Anyway, later in the song, there’s this gender-non-specific stinker: “I’m just another writer, still trapped within his truth.” Hey, listen, I have that problem too. Mostly, it’s when a little piece of cloth gets stuck in the zipper. Just pull sharply.
The Introduction to Pacepa’s Seeds of Knowledge: Starting Down the Yellow Brick Road…
Part 1: The Mask of Marxism
Part 3: Who Needs a Brain?
Part 4: Are Conservatives Cowards?
“The August 1991 coup in Moscow collapsed three days after it had started, providing the ultimate, ironic proof that nothing, not even a coup, could succeed any more in a society whose vital arteries had been calcified by 70 years of disinformation and dismal feudalism. The main loser was the Communist Party.”
– Lt. Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa
Both the Democrat and Republican parties have been disinformed by Marxism. The Liberal wing of the Democrat Party has been duped into putting their faith in Marxism’s many forms (socialism, economic determinism, progressivism), while the Republican Party has legitimized Marxism as a form of party politics instead of a murderous, atheistic religion that empowers despots. The Conservative movement, by and large, is slow to recognize Marxism’s true nature, because we are a nation that has been drugged by Disinformation. Pacepa continues:
At the end of the 2001 summit meeting held in Slovenia, President George W. Bush said: “I looked the man [Putin] in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy.” Unfortunately, even President Bush was deceived by disinformation. Putin consolidated Russia into an intelligence dictatorship, not a democracy. During the Cold War, the KGB was a state within a state. Under Putin, the KGB, rechristened the FSB, is the state. Three years after Putin enthroned himself in the Kremlin, some 6,000 former officers of the KGB—that organization responsible for having slaughtered at least 20 million people in the Soviet Union alone—were running Russia’s federal and local governments.
…Is it too far-fetched to suggest that this new Russia calls up the hypothetical image of a postwar Germany being run by former Gestapo officers, who reinstate Hitler’s “Deutschland Über Alles” as national anthem, call the demise of Nazi Germany a “national tragedy on an enormous scale,” and invade a neighboring country, perhaps Poland, the way Hitler set off World War II?
That is the secret power of disinformation.
Pacepa share these thoughts with me mere weeks before the Ukranian revolution and secession of the Crimea to Putin’s Russia. Disinformation is wielding its power on the American homefront as well. In his critique of Thomas Piketty’s new book Capital in the Twenty-First Century, David Brooks embraces Piketty’s idea of a tax on the wealthy’s investment capital in order to create intellectual equality among the classes:
Think of how much more affordable fine art would be. Think of how much more equal the upper class would be.
His musings aren’t that far off from those of Russian intellectuals, who are “making do” with their government’s clampdown on free media and the right to protest. In exchange for their rights, these Russians whose intellectual arteries have been “calcified by disinformation” are being doted upon by their increasingly despotic government:
All sorts of entertainment is being lavished on Russia’s hipsters. Their favorite public parks have splashy, beautifully designed restaurants and clubs, comfortable biking areas and luxurious places to chill. Sanctions or not, Fedoseyev’s friends can still dine out at restaurants full of expats, take shopping trips to Milan, or buy their electronic gadgets online. Fashion Week this weekend was another party blooming with charming models and celebrities; the usual hipsters clubs, Solianka, Simachev, Oldich Dress and Drink or Strelka, felt as cuddly and crowded as ever.
To paraphrase Brooks, it would seem that the fine art is quite affordable in Russia these days. Like junkies seeking a quick fix, Russian intellectuals pursue disinformation at the expense of their freedom. Is Brooks suggesting we do the same, or have we already succumbed to the addiction? In either case, what we need to know now is: What is the antidote to disinformation?
According to Mediaite, an “Ohio Paper Can’t Find a Single Person to Argue Against Legalizing Pot.” On 4/15, the Dayton City Paper (DCP) published a “debate” about marijuana legalization it its “forum” section. DCP moderator Alex Culpepper offered a fairly balanced introduction to the debate followed by a pro-legalization piece, “Debate Left: Don’t Believe the Damning Hype About Marijuana” by Marianne Stanley, who is listed as a DCP blogger on the paper’s website. Next to Stanley’s opinion piece is a large empty space with the following disclaimer:
[Editor's note: On behalf of the Dayton City Paper staff, we apologize, but we were unable to locate a debate writer who was able to submit a view opposed to the legalization of marijuana in Ohio at this time.]
The Dayton City Paper (not to be confused with the widely circulated mainstream Dayton Daily News) is a free weekly alternative newspaper that describes itself this way:
Dayton City Paper offers pages full of challenges to prevailing notions, investigations of local institutions and voices that are not those of the usual figureheads in the community. Our entertainment pages are filled with local talent — jazz musicians, filmmakers and musicians. The paper is unabashedly local, unashamedly grassroots and absolutely alternative. And the Dayton market loves it.
DCP claims a circulation of 18,000 (and somehow that swells to a readership of 132,000) through its distribution at over 500 pick-up locations, marketed to an audience you would expect to support legalizing pot:
Dayton City Paper consistently delivers a valuable audience mix of professionals, community leaders and university students. This is an audience interested in our unique coverage of music, art and independent thought. These are readers that other print media wish they could have: professional women, young adults, the highly educated and those with high disposable incomes and the imagination to spend creatively.
None of my friends in Dayton have even heard of the paper, for what that’s worth, and even many Reddit users from the area had never heard of it, though those who did said it was mainly distributed in student-oriented bars and shops around several Dayton-area universities and colleges.
Is it possible that DCP couldn’t find a single person willing to argue against legalizing pot? Well, anything is possible, but the more likely scenario is that the cool kids over at DCP don’t actually associate with the types of people who might be in opposition — or even know where to find them. Their disclaimer (and the celebratory headline that followed from Mediaite) suggests an editorial staff that didn’t try very hard. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out studies showing that long-term cannabis use stifles motivation. You can draw your own conclusion.