LI recommends a story in the Nation, today, about the unbelievable attempt... well, unbelievable is a strong word ... disgusting attempt ... well, disgusting needs a little gas poured on it, and a lit match tossed towards it, to become the right word... the predictably Bushian attempt (ah, that's it) to allocate money to the drug czar's office for any kind of advertising he's see's fit to put on. The bill would allow advertising, funded by the Federal Government, to attack candidates who advocate legalizing drugs.
This is unique.
"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. The House Government Reform Committee tabled action on HR 2086 after negotiations broke down over how far ONDCP could use its social marketing muscle to influence elections. The two parties will attempt some sort of compromise when the matter is considered during the first week in June, but it's hard to see how the Republicans' goal of allowing Walters sole discretion to use the ads to "oppose any attempt to legalize" drugs can be squared with Democrats' opposition to even more overt White House electioneering than in the past. The media campaign cost taxpayers $930 million during its first five years; Republicans seek to boost its five-year funding through fiscal year 2008 to $1.02 billion. (Actual total media time and space will be closer to $2 billion since, by statute, ONDCP makes its ad buys at fifty cents on the dollar.)
"By Walters's lights, even allowing dying cancer or AIDS patients some pot to alleviate their pain is de facto legalization. Until drug reform lobbyists sounded the alarm and Democrats dug in their heels, starting this fall he could have used the ads to urge voters to reject initiatives permitting medical marijuana or mandating treatment rather than jail for nonviolent drug addicts. The ads might also have been used against such candidates as Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank and Texas Republican Ron Paul, who have introduced legislation banning federal prosecution of pot-using patients in states that have legalized medical cannabis. Said Steve Fox, director of government relations at the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), "It's now clear that this media campaign is about politics, not prevention." And, tossing aside seventy years of broadcasting law by exempting ONDCP from the requirement to identify itself as the ad sponsor, the proposed bill would shred the principle that viewers are entitled to know who's attempting to persuade them."
To cure that sick feeling in the pit of your stomach, you will probably have to light up a joint.
We received a nice email from our fave reader, T. in New York City, yesterday. He wrote about our piece on supporting our boys (until the Commander in Chief says we can forget them):
"The Occupation.....yes, well, you are right, The War is over and The Peace is nowhere to be found...now is a time where casualties are not exactly casualties and where troops (those who deserve our support, unconditionally, as we are told) are cops; cops who have minimal training, as such, and are totally without an Oval Office-sanctioned ideological structure to lean on.... to borrow a riff from good old goddamned Baudrillard: The War Is Not Taking Place."