HB V

is older than it's ever been and now it's even older

1/12/2001

I took a day off from blogging to recharge my creativity battery. It was a Good Thing. I also took the time to clean up my links to the left and post a new section to the DSB. Gratuitous plug alert: Jeff got a story published in In These Times about the Seattle newspaper strike. Good work, Jeff, although too bad about the strike ending just as the article was published.

Republican Hypocrisy 101. John Ashcroft, now target number 1 of progressive types among the Bush nominees, may have used his influence to spring a nephew accused of smuggling dope. This is just about par for the course amongst the GOPers. For instance, our (former) senator Rob Grams' son was released without being charged after an incident involving ten sacks of pot found in his (stolen) car. After the news media picked up the story, the county did go back and charge him, but I have no doubts that nothing would have happened if it wasn't for the fact that it was leaked to the press. Even Grams couldn't get his son out of this one, however. Morgan stole a car, stole a shotgun, fled to New Mexico and finally got busted by the pigs while hiding in a culvert. I haven't heard what his status is now.

Grams is hardly the only Republican to stiffen sentences while springing his progeny. Other Republicans with family drug problems include:

--Rep. Duke Cunningham (R-CA), whose son Todd received half a mandatory minimum sentence of 2 and 1/2 years in prison for smuggling 400 pounds of pot, despite failing three drug tests (cocaine) while out on bail. Cunningham has supported the death penalty for smugglers.

--Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL), whose son Claude was arrested for carrying 13.8 grams of hash. Shelby has continued to support anti-drug initiatives, despite the fact that some of them could have detrimental effects on his son's health:
"The senator may find it hard to be stoic if his drug-fighting colleagues in the House have their way,"
said Monica Pratt, . . . referring to the "Drug Importer Death Penalty Act" (HR 41). . . which would mandate a life sentence without parole for offenders who import "100 usual dosage amounts" of a controlled substance, and a death sentence for such offenders with a prior conviction for a similar drug offense . The measure does not define what amounts constitute "100 usual dosages." Pratt said, "Under this broad definition, Claude Shelby's 13.8 grams of hashish could be enough to qualify him for life imprisonment. . . . The U.S. Sentencing Guidelines provide that 1 gram of hashish is the equivalent of 5 grams of marijuana and that 1 gram of marijuana is two doses.

It's not a stretch to argue that such a low threshold for a death sentence (i.e., second offense of less than two ounces of pot = death penalty) is fascist.

--Rep J.C. Watts (R-OK), whose sister get only a suspended sentence after being arrested for possession and distribution of marijuana, methamphetamine and drug paraphernalia, and maintaining a property where drugs were kept. She pleaded guilty to six drug-related counts in March 1998.

--Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), whose wife was diverted to a treatment program after she admitted stealing Percocet from a humanitarian organization.

--Rep Dan Burton's (R-IN) son was given community service after being arrested twice with pounds of reefer in his car.

Arianna Huffington (a recovering Republican, as she terms herself) has a great idea on the direction Bush should take the drug war. After all, it's arbitrary, capricious, violates the Posse Comitatus act (BTW: link from the Cato institute, about as far right a think tank out there), and costs a colossal amount of money for failing miserably.

Off the topic, unconfirmed, very funny: a review of the Dave Matthews Band in concert. Via popcultureslut.

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