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Maptalk-Digest Sunday, December 28 1997 Volume 97 : Number 556

SENT:LTE: SFChron -- Official calls for Methadone
    From:  (Joel W. Johnson)
Re: REPEAL ROCKY'S DRUG LAWS
    From: Pat Dolan <>
Re: Donald Christen is back with the accusations, mudslinging
    From: Jim Rosenfield <>
SENT: Letter to Ann Landers 
    From: "Tom Murlowski" <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
SENT:LTE: Ottawa Citizen -- Needle Exchange Editorial
    From:  (Joel W. Johnson)
Swedish Prohibitionists Launch Offensive
    From: mario lap <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
SENT: War orphans
    From:  (susan phillips) (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
SENT: Thank You for Voice of Reason/ltr to A. Landers
    From: Bj Peak-Graham <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Subj: SENT:LTE: SFChron -- Official calls for Methadone
From:  (Joel W. Johnson)
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 10:47:16 -0800

Re:  S.F. Official Calls for Easing Curbs on Methadone
Pub:  Friday, December 26, 1997

To the Editor:

San Francisco Supervisor Gavin Newsom's contends "it is time to treat
heroin abuse less as a crime and more like a medical problem" and
recommends operating methadone programs to combat addiction.  A fantastic
notion!  Remove "heroin" from his statement,  however, and it becomes a
brilliant methodology for which to fight all drug abuse in general.

Drug abuse and addiction, after all, is a medical problem.  But, somehow,
we choose to combat the act of facilitating addiction, not the addiction
itself.  It should be no suprise that our War on Drugs has completely
failed to solve the very problem for which it is intended.

But not only has the war prevented us from addressing drug abuse, it has
created a black market flooded with guns, violence, corruption, and a
temptation to our youth that can only be created by prohibition.

Should we follow Newsom's strategy, we might take notice that while
methadone progams are more effective than prisons, they also diminish the
drug problem that our war has been incapable of denting.

We could then finally surrender the War on Drugs and realize that the only
path to victory over drug abuse is with doctors, not police.

Sincerely,

Joel W. Johnson
(contact info)

------------------------------

Subj: Re: REPEAL ROCKY'S DRUG LAWS
From: Pat Dolan <>
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 12:22:22 -0800

Sent: LTE
Pubdate: Saturday, 27 Dec 1997
Source: Times Union (Albany, NY)
Section: Editorial
Contact: 
Website: http://www.timesunion.com/

REPEAL ROCKY'S DRUG LAWS 

Gov. Pataki Didn't Go Far Enough In Commuting Sentences Of Three Convicts
.........................

Dear Editor,

Thank you for a fine editorial. The Times Union should prosper with your
hand at the helm.

You say Gov. Pataki should "lead instead of follow". I agree entirely. 
Unfortunately, that would require him to show to show two qualities which 
are in scant supply in our leaders in publlic life: courage and integrity.

It would require him to to maintain a steadfast indifference in the face of 
his accusers: all those who would malign him, accusing him of being "soft
on drugs". 

And it would require him to follow the promptings of conscience and do what
is right, rather than follow the easier, "politically correct" line.

And how many men do you or your readers know in public life, Mr. Editor,
who have 
the courage and moral integrity to do that?

Best wishes to you and all your staff and for the success of the Times Union 
in 1998.

Yours etc.,

Pat Dolan

------------------------------

Subj: Re: Donald Christen is back with the accusations, mudslinging
From: Jim Rosenfield <>
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 13:00:49 -0800

Dear Don:

Gee, the pristine logic and total clarity are impressive.
The humanity and generosity shine through.
Such warmth and understanding.
I will watch out for you in the future.

>Look around, where is this standing house you talk of.  All we seem to
>have is disention from everywhere, with no support for any plans because
>someone always has a "better" idea. These AMR Elitests have done more to
>seperate us all then the "system" has and all you so called hero's can
>do is wine about who's plan is "correct".  I have had it with this
>bullshit and am getting back to work with the People's endorsed plan in
>Maine.
>  FORNICATE    AMR   AND    ALL    YOU   OTHER    ELITEST  ASSHOLES
>
>You all don't have to worry about the Message Being Sent fueling the
>other side because they are well aware of our policies and actions up 
>here in the Northland.  Maybe its time for a real "war" to shake this
>whole movement up, to see who is really on who's side, because it sure
>does look like all the Nat. DPR groups are deserting us for the big
>money that has corrupted most others that make it to Washington.  All of
>these groups tout total legalization of marijuana, and most would
>legalize all drugs, but are suddenly waffling on this issue.  This is
>just short of treason by any military standards, and will cost their
>credibility and reputations plenty when the news of this is made known
>to the public.  The public in Maine is well aware of our agenda, which
>hasn't wavered, unlike the nationals who are virtually unknown up here.
>We have a term for people like them up here, called FLATLANDERS, and
>they are not well liked by the natives. The FLATLANDERS initiative will
>be exposed for what it is by all Maine Reform Organizations and we will
>work to defeat their unworkable piece of fecies.   The END

Jim Rosenfield           
- -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
tel:  310-836-0926                  fax:  310-836-0592
http://insightweb.com		

------------------------------

Subj: SENT: Letter to Ann Landers 
From: "Tom Murlowski" <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 16:42:52 -0500

Dear Ms. Landers,
I was touched by your column on Christmas day. I agree with you that the
War on Drugs has been a colossal failure. Case in point:
A dear friend of mine, Suzan Penkwitz, was recently sentenced to six and a
half years in federal prison for 'trafficking in heroin'. She was a
passenger in a car coming across the border that had 43 lbs. of heroin
hidden in the gas tank. The U.S. attorney who tried, convicted and
sentenced her admitted at her sentencing that, "Ms. Penkwitz obviously
didn't know about the heroin in that car." I was there, fighting for
Suzie's freedom. It was all made clear to me on that day. What unbelievable
arrogance! I guess six and a half years is considered a fair sentence for
being innocent these days.
The government knew, THEY KNEW, that Suzie had nothing to do with those
drugs, and they still ruined her life. Somebody had to fall, and Suzan was
the easiest to put away. The federal prosecutors in the War on Drugs are
virtually beyond any kind of restraint or ethical monitoring, and they are
out of control. They are more interested in mass conviction rates than the
truth, and that's why the War on Drugs is failing. All the wrong people are
going to prison; the bit players, and the innocent patsies, like Suzie. The
easy convictions; those without the resources to defend themselves. All the
real criminals are able to plea bargain their way to freedom or reduced
sentences on the backs of victims like Suzan. In Suzie's case, all her
friends and family came forward and attested to her innocence. There was
only one witness against Suzan, and she testified in exchange for a MASSIVE
reduction in her own sentence. She was looking at fourteen years to life,
and she received a potential six month sentence in exchange for her
purchased testimony.
There wasn't a shred of any other evidence against Suzan. The word of one
admitted drug smuggler, lying under oath to save her own skin, obviously
carried more weight with the government than seventeen law abiding and
productive citizens. This goes far beyond a simple miscarriage of justice;
this is an absolute obscenity!
Ms. Landers, yours is an advice column, so let me ask you for some advice:
How am I supposed to feel when my own government is this far out of
control? How am I supposed to not be bitter? Suzie has been locked away,
without bail, for eleven months, with no end in sight. I am watching the
woman I love slowly be destroyed, and I am helpless. It's a struggle to get
through every day, knowing what she's going through. Everyone I've gone to
for help tells me we have to be patient, to have faith in our 'Criminal
Justice System'. How am I supposed to have faith? She wouldn't be in prison
in the first place if there was any justice! Her loneliness and terror
haunt my days and darken my nights. Her spirit is with me always; I see her
face everywhere I go. Sometimes my arms, of their own accord, will reach
out to hold her, as if I could reach across the distance and through the
forbidding steel and concrete to give her comfort and hope. Her life is
being ripped apart before my eyes, and I feel helpless to save her. I feel
like I am slowly sinking under the crushing weight of despair and sadness.
Please, give me some words of wisdom. What am I supposed to do? I have
spent almost literally every free minute since this nightmare began
fighting for her, and she is not one step closer to freedom. Is there
nothing to be done? Or must I consider her a simple collateral casualty? We
are, after all, a nation at War.
Please forgive my melodrama. It's so hard to reign in my desperation. I
write this missive as I fight back tears. My country has broken my heart,
in the name of corrupt politics and meaningless rhetoric. Please, tell me,
what am I to do?
Sincerely,
Tom Murlowski
Regional Director/Webmaster
The November Coalition
5150 Balboa Arms Drive #E14
San Diego, CA   92117
E-mail: 
Web: http://www.november.org

Prisoners of the Drug War - Don't let them be forgotten.

------------------------------

Subj: SENT:LTE: Ottawa Citizen -- Needle Exchange Editorial
From:  (Joel W. Johnson)
Date: Sat, 27 Dec 1997 18:04:49 -0800

RE:  DOING HARM BY DOING GOOD
Pub:  December 22, 1997

To the Editor:

I was shocked by the incompetency of the author who wrote "Doing Harm by
Doing Good" (December 22).  Unfortunately, we cannot draw any conclusions
about the efficacy of needle exchange programs, for every smidget of
supporting evidence was either horribly misleading or outright fatuous!

For example, the author cited that in 1996 Vancouver distributed 2.38
million needles and still "eight per cent of Vancouver's intravenous drug
users are HIV positive, as against only five per cent in Miami's ghettos."
Without any information on the amount of people who were HIV positive in
Vancouver before 1996, the percentage of people in "Miami ghettos" who use
heroin versus those in Vancouver, or data reflecting how much of the virus
was spread by sexual contact in either city, the author's conclusion is
completely meaningless.  Instead, it is as valid as comparing the rates of
moose highway deaths, without first examining the relative moose
populations of Miami and Vancouver.

Second, the author declares that the U.S. needle exchange system (which is
entirely non-existent with the exception of a few liberated cities) has
failed because "the rate of new AIDS cases per million people per year in
the U.S. was 276 while in Brazil it was 75, in Mexico 46 and in Argentina
48."    Again, without any information on the relative populations of
intravaneous drug users and those spreading the disease through sexual
contact, the statement is senseless.  Further, the rate of HIV spreading is
directly proportional to the population who already has communicated the
disease -- in other words, the more infected people, the faster more people
will be infected.

I would continue to dismantle this horrible display of journalism, but,
rather, I will wait until you print an apology and a piece in which the
conlusions about needle exchange programs can actually be drawn from the
data presented.

Thank you for your attention to this matter,

Joel W. Johnson
(contact info)

------------------------------

Subj: Swedish Prohibitionists Launch Offensive
From: mario lap <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 08:22:17 -0500

Swedish Prohibitionists Launch Offensive

by John Yates

Sweden is launching a prohibitionist counter offensive against the
legalisation movement ahead of the debates on drugs policy in the European
Parliament and United Nations General Assembly in 1998.
The Swedish controlled ECAD (European Cities Against Drugs) is to hold a
"World Conference Against Drugs" in Stockholm in the middle of May.
Representatives of all 500 member towns and cities from all across Europe
are invited to attend along with representatives from the USA, Canada,
Australia, Latin America, Africa and Asia. The conference will last 2 days
and will try to make maximum impact on politicians due to discuss drugs
policy at the United Nations in New York one month later.
In other moves, two Swedish prohibitionist groups have sent letters to all
Euro MP's asking them to vote against Hedy d'Anconas proposal on drug policy
due to be voted on in January. Here is the full text of the letters: 

			         ****

Stockholm December 12, 1997 

TO ALL MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

Vote no to the proposal of Hedy d'Ancona on drug policy The proposal
suggests that "soft drugs" should be legalised. "Hard drugs" should be made
available on prescription. It also envisions a change in the United Nations
International Conventions on Drugs, which would reverse a century of
cooperation in international law. 
The National Swedish Parents' Anti-Narcotics Association, FMN, rejects all
proposals which would give our children an increase in the availability of
drugs for non-medical purposes. Such a move would also run counter to the
aims and provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
Child (1990). 
Some European countries have allowed experimentation with an open
availability of drugs, which they have been forced to pay a high price for
in the form of young peoples' lives being demeaned, destroyed or lost
through disease or death. 
Drug laws have been proven to deter young people from experimenting or
continuing with drugs. Individuals who get hooked on drugs destroy their own
lives and the lives of their families. Drugs have been proven in many
scientific studies to cause severe and long-lasting hazards. 
FMN, being the oldest parents' association of its kind in the world (founded
in 1968), is a self-help organisation for families who have experienced the
inferno of drug abuse. 
We ask you, as an elected representative and most likely a parent, the
following question - Would you like your child to have free access to drugs? 
As a Swedish non-governmental organisation, representing tens of thousands
of parents afflicted by the harmful effects of drugs, we ask you to reject
the d'Ancona report when it comes to voting in the European Parliament. 

>From the people who have lived for years with the harmful effects of drugs. 

Sincerely yours, 
Leif Birgander 
National Chairman FMN 

				*****

TO MEMBERS OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT - VOTE NO TO THE DRUG LIBERAL
                       PROPOSALS OF HEDY D'ANCONA 

The proposal suggests that 'soft' drugs should be legalised, 'hard' drugs
should be available on prescription. It also envisages a change of the UN
Conventions (on drugs). 
The National Association for a Drug-Free Society, RNS, the Stockholm Section,
strongly objects against such a policy, hostile to the well-being of the
families who bear the burdens of drug abuse. 
The consequences of such a proposal will lead to a widespread passivity of
European youth, who will then neither be able to take advantage of their
democratic rights, nor to fulfill their obligations. 
We do not accept the terminological distinctions between 'soft' and 'hard'
drugs! All drugs are dangerous and dependence-producing. Marijuana and
psychotropic drugs are much stronger today than they were in the 1970s and
therefore much more dangerous. To legitimise marijuana by listing it as
'medicine' is against all scientific evidence. The abuse of marijuana has
already had serious consequences to the public health of Europe. 
The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (1990) says that "we shall take
all appropriate measures, including legislative, administrative, social and
educational measures to protect children from illicit use of narcotic drugs
(article 33)." 

TAKE RESPONSIBILITY! 

BE SURE THAT YOU ARE PRESENT TO VOTE NO for the sake of the youth and their
families! For a drug-free Europe where people should be able to travel
freely without running the risk of being exposed to legal (narcotic) drugs! 
A successful restrictive drug control policy can only be achieved through
prevention, early intervention, treatment and post treatment programs,
including work and housing. 

Stockholm December 14, 1997 
Gun Nordin 
Chairman 
The Stockholm Section 

The National Association for a Drug-Free Society (RNS)

				*****

The Swedish prohibitionists are worried by the growing strength of the
legalisation movement and will do all they can to damage us. They are
completely fanatical and irrational and have full use of the financial
resources of the Swedish State. Expect them to cause a lot of trouble.

		John Yates

The drugtext press list.
News on substance use related issues, drugs and drug policy


------------------------------

Subj: SENT: War orphans
From:  (susan phillips) (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 09:07:12 -0500

Thank you for speaking about the failure of the War on Drugs in your
Christmas message.  As in other wars, there are children falling casualty
to this one.  The Center for Children of Incarcerated Parents estimates
that on any given day more than 1.5 million children in our country have a
parent in jail or prison.  If that many children were touched by any other
war, the evening news would be full of their pictures and humanitarian
relief efforts would be underway.

As the United States has taken more prisoners in its 'war on drugs',  jail
and prison populations have skyrocketed.  Women have been the fastest
growing part of these populations - nearly 8 out of 10 are mothers. While
they serve time, the majority leave their children in the care of
grandparents.  If imprisoning these mothers was the answer to the
deep-rooted social problems facing our country, then surely by now we would
be living in Eutopia.

A report by the Department of Justice shows that most people in jail or
prison who need drug treatment don't get it.  Other studies show that most
of the women in jail or prison were victims of abuse as children and/or
adults - prison doesn't address that issue either.  While mothers are in
prison, their children are often subjected to extreme poverty.  The
grandparents who care them are left alone to find help for their children.
Our child welfare system pays hundreds of dollars per month to strangers to
keep children in foster care, yet provides little if any support to
grandparents trying to keep children out of that system. As a nation we
ignore these children's fears for their mothers, their shame, their hurt,
their feelings of abandonment and their anger.   No one should be surprised
that the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that over half the children in
the juvenile justice system had a parent who had been incarcerated.  Given
that we're oblivious to these children's plight, why should it surprise us
that many of these children eventually turn to drugs to deaden their pain,
vent their anger by turning it against others, or find some sense of
belonging and acceptance in gangs.

Stock holders in for-profit prison companies are reaping the financial
benefits of the billions of dollars federal, state and local governments
are spending to incarcerate mothers. But these mothers leave prison with
all the problems they had when they started AND a criminal record. It's
hard enough for a single mother to support her children...a criminal record
does nothing to help her job prospects. Now, because of welfare reform,
mothers convicted of certain drug offenses are banned for life from
participating in welfare-to-work programs when they leave prison or  from
receiving food stamps. Other laws prevent them from living in public
housing.  So what do they do? They go back to their children; try to
support them; find they can't;  resort to old ways of surviving; and end up
back in prison.

A grandmother who attends a support group for grandparents caring for
children while their mothers are incarcerated wrote: "Grandparents feel
they are alone in a war.  Help them, please."  I know that she, and all the
other grandparents in this country who are caring for orphans of the drug
war, will be heartened by your recognition of the fact that the war on
drugs is indeed 'a collosal failure'.

------------------------------

Subj: SENT: Thank You for Voice of Reason/ltr to A. Landers
From: Bj Peak-Graham <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 09:05:13 -0500

>Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 00:47:05 -0500
>To: <>
>From: Bj Peak-Graham <>
>Subject: Thank You for Voice of Reason
>
>Dear Ms. Landers,
>        Thank you for your Christmas message to all this year,
>especially for your valued insight on the colossal failure of the Drug
War. This year  was particularly hard for me because of my awareness of a
young woman and her family  that is being unfairly harmed by these laws.
Kemba Smith is a young woman who at age 22 was sentenced to 24.5 years
because suicidal, pregnant and a target of the war of drugs, she pleaded
guilty to drug conspiracy charges when in fact she was not part of the
conspiracy at all.
>
> The majority of those sentenced for murder at the time that this young
woman was sentenced are home now, or have murdered again and are back
behind bars. This family has 22 more years of holidays of separation left
to endure. This young woman  is one of hundreds of thousands of first time
non-violent drug law violators serving decades of hard time.  Unfortunately
many of these are young African-American college women who are preyed upon
by smooth drug dealers that have access to college campuses, like Hampton
University where Kemba Smith was a student.
>
>Kemba Smith has been unjustly sentenced to 24.5 years, imprisoned for drug
law violations while she was under duress, coercion and threat of a
batterer, 8 years her senior.  Her actions in a drug conspiracy were
described by the federal prosecutor as minor.  The same prosecutor admitted
that she never used or handled drugs, nor did she handle the drug money.
Her real crime was that she unknowingly became involved with a man who was
a drug dealer whose background she discovered much too late, after the
beatings began.  Just what was a 21 year old, previously sheltered by her
parents in a close, middle-class family expected to do in this situation?  

  At the time of her commission of the so- called crime, she was a 21 year
old college student who was being viciously beaten by a drug dealing
kingpin, who during the course of their relationship, murdered his best
friend.  This young woman had no previous encounter with the law.  The
courts refused to acknowledge the extent to which the battering played in
her buying a car in her name which was the extent to which she was actually
involved in the "drug conspiracy". Kemba Smith was charged with drug
conspiracy activity of her batterer that occured long before she met him.  

Kemba Smith is currently serving time at Danbury (CT) Federal prison. She
should be home taking care of her 3 year old son who is being cared by her
very loving and supportive parents.  Hundreds of people across the country
have invoked the intercession of the U.S. Justice Dept. to get a habeas
petition before the courts who have refused on the basis of time
limitations which the Justice Department agrees is an
erroneousinterpretation of the law to no avail.
>
>Anthony Lewis of the NYTimes wrote the following in an October, 1997
column about this case:
>>"Ms. Smith came up for sentencing in April 1995. A doctor testified that she
>>had suffered from battered women's syndrome, unable to end her relationship
>>with the abuser. But the judge, Federal District Judge Richard B. Kellam,
>>said, "I think there isn't a soul alive that can understand how any woman
>>or girl would permit some man to beat on her and then to continue to live
>>with him and to love him."
>>
>>The judge held her responsible for all the drugs covered by the indictment.
>>On that basis he sentenced her to 24 years in prison. She was 24 years old."
>
>When public sentiment builds and the people of this country demand changes
in our drug laws - change will come. There are many
>organizations who are active in drug law reform, join their efforts and
>turn despair into action. Thank you for being a voice for the many
unfairly damaged beyond relief by a flawed and unproductive law.
>
>
>        Sincerely,
>Bj Peak-Graham
>Our Commong Ground Communications, Inc.
>The Kemba Smith Justice Project
>

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       what we have into enough, and more. It turns
       denial into acceptance, chaos into order, confusion
        into clarity. It can turn a meal into a feast, a house
         into a home, a stranger into a friend. Gratitude
         makes sense of our past, brings peace for today,
         and creates a vision for tomorrow.

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------------------------------

End of Maptalk-Digest V97 #556
******************************

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Media Awareness Project              /' _ ` _ `\ /'_`)('_`\
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