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Maptalk-Digest Monday, December 29 1997 Volume 97 : Number 557

Regarding the Prison labor article
    From: Nora Callahan <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
Big Smile!!!
    From: "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>
HT: SENT: my effort to Ann Landers
    From: "W.H.E.N." <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
thoughts on Abernathy and us
    From: David Borden <>
re: thoughts on Abernathy and us (double post)
    From: David Borden <>
thoughts on Abernathy and us
    From: David Borden <>
Re:  thoughts on Abernathy and us
    From: "Carl E. Olsen" <>
Sent UK Daily Mail
    From: Peter Webster <>
Re: thoughts on Abernathy and us
    From: "clifford thornton" <>
SENT: Re:  Editorial: Doing Harm By Doing Good
    From: PointsRUs <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
Re:  thoughts on Abernathy and us
    From: Lcwmc <>
Sent to Ann Landers
    From: Alan Mason <>
Sent: lte to Ann Landers
    From: Allison Bigelow <>


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

Subj: Regarding the Prison labor article
From: Nora Callahan <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 08:57:20 -0500

From: Nora Callahan <>

Regarding the Prison labor article.

I am sending a letter, our newspaper and prisoner profile brochures to
Douglas Brackett, VP of the American Furniture Manufacturers
Association... asking that he look at the War on Drugs...

I am also sending emails all night to Furniture manufacturers that have
addresses I can find.

Thank you MAP - thanks Matt and Mark and all the newshawks. 

The email I am sending is posted here:
_____
PRISON LABOR CAUSES A STIR AS A SOURCE OF UNEMPLOYMENT

Manufacturers Say They Are Losing Jobs, Profits

With inmates at 72 federal prisons crafting hundreds of millions of
dollars in pajamas, desk chairs and other products, American
manufacturers are complaining prison labor is stealing their jobs and
profits.

The idea that some workers, whose taxes pay to keep an inmate in jail,
might lose their jobs because of prison labor ``just doesn't sit well
with
us,'' said Douglas Brackett, executive vice president of the American
Furniture Manufacturers Association in High Point, N.C. Furniture makers
especially have rallied around a bill introduced last month by Rep.
Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., that would stamp out an advantage enjoyed by
Federal Prison Industries -- a requirement that federal agencies shop
first with the inmate program, even though the goods aren't always
cheaper or better made.
____
The entire article can be viewed here: 
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v97.n426.a03.html
____
What many manufacturers do not realize is that the Drug War fuels the
government's fast growing slave labor force. Drug law violators have
more than tripled our federal prison population in the last ten years
alone.  Prior to incarceration the men and women now behind bars, had
not only jobs - but careers. Their non-violent nature makes them "model"
employees. Our burgeoning prison population has all to do with the War
on Drugs and corporate profits. It has little to do with reducing the
harm of illicit drugs in our culture.

When you look at this issue of competing prison labor - please study the
reasons why UNICOR thrives. It is simply another consequence of the War
on Drugs. I am the director of the November Coalition. We are prisoners
of the Drug War and their loved ones. We urge you to study this issue of
the Drug War. Please remember that a bank robber or a murderer seldom
makes a good employee. When the Federal government metes out sentences
that span an entire "career" - UNICOR is not a rehabilitation tool. My
own brother will be almost 70 before he is released. Drug war prisoners
are almost 70% of those in Federal prison.  

Our loved ones are slaves. Our loved ones do not deserve more prison
time than murderers. Please help us by realizing that the drug war is
what is fueling this steady competition and threat to your workers.

Sincerely,
Nora Callahan
Director, The November Coalition
- -- 
Nora Callahan        
- ---------------------------------------------------
tel:  509-684-5929 (Eve) or (509) 684-1550 (busy if on the net)
http://www.november.org               

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

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

Subj: Big Smile!!!
From: "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 13:30:51 -0500

Check out

http://www.penncen.com/psotd/

today!

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

Subj: HT: SENT: my effort to Ann Landers
From: "W.H.E.N." <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 16:42:46 -0500

Dear Ann:

The harsh antidrug approach we've used actually causes illicit drug abuse
to rise.  In spite of the tough approach, the US has only 5% of the world's
population, but uses half the world's drug output.  Other countries with
surprisingly thoughtful approaches have the reductions in youth drug use
that has eluded us.  In the other direction, China uses harsher measures
against drugs than we; and their drug-problem has exploded.

Is the anti-drug approach gravely awry?  Consider if we had hired some
fire-fighting company to extinguish an oil blaze in 1967, yet thirty years
later the fire was bigger than ever.  We'd investigate how that money had
been so consistently wasted.  If the oil firemen's lobby had the pluck to
request more tax money by saying the conflagration was worse than ever, we
wouldn't do it.  What could justify us paying for opposite results we
expected?  We could have let it burn, saved the money, and be in the same
place we are now.

The fuss has been about illegal drugs and alcohol, because thoughtful
people are not against drugs per se.  When injured or sick, people get what
they need to function respectably.  That's what doctors, hospitals, and
medicines exist for. Considering the worldwide use of caffeine, humans are
under the influence of psychotropic drugs all day, every day the world
over. Indeed humans are a drug-using species.  Per capita, oldsters use the
most drugs, the young use the least–our hysteria over kids and drugs
notwithstanding.

The basis of the drug-problem are fashionable attitudes, not the drugs
themselves. Drug molecules haven't changed. The Americans alive now have
had the same drug training for the last thirty years.  That message has
chiefly been that drugs are despicable, evil, and the loser's road to ruin.
 Only historians seem to know these substances were available
over-the-counter until 1914, and no drug overdose problems before 1943. 
The crime is what's scary.

We want to avoid illegal drugs mainly because of the crime waves that goes
with them. Several American drug-reduction models are available, along with
many more from around the globe.  Of the two drug-reduction policies in
American for the last 30 years: one has been cheap and successful, the
other expensive and disastrous. 

The successful program has been against nicotine, America's most deadly
drug. More die from tobacco in a single day than from all illegal
drug-related deaths in four months.  The anti-tobacco campaign is cheap
compared to the Drug War.  It successfully ushered in a 15%-25% reduction
in tobacco use since it began.  But the Drug War now costs the government
$25 billion a year.  It's worse than ever, has no end in sight, and makes
the problem it's fighting worsen.  To reduce drug use, we must switch all
drugs to use the successful drug-reduction program.

The only solution that will get rid of illegal drugs overnight is to
re-categorize the prohibited substances. The federal government should
reregulate them appropriate to their molecular biologics.  Until that
happens, each city can resort to prevention and enforcement that will lower
youthful drug use dramatically, as has been demonstrated in various
European cities.

Before resuming a harsh stance, let's account for the so-called devastation
being caused by the American drug scourge we hate, and decide whether it's
any more than "neighbor problems."  To do that, we must ascend from a well
of government propaganda that supports the biggest taxpayer boondoggle in
history, and read the newspaper more closely.   

>From the anti-drug lobby's surveys, illegal drug use has soared among US
youth. Even so, increased drug use has no evident correlation to the
apocryphal effects that supposedly flow from it.  Drug use may have risen,
but so have SAT scores.  More young people are in college, they are better
at athletics, they reinvent their own world, and are enjoying a standard of
living unavailable here twenty years ago.  

Further, crime statistics have dropped nationwide since 1993, and figures
this year show it's still decreasing.  Americans are expected to live
longer, they are bigger (too big perhaps), and even the children are more
sophisticated.   The terrible sad news stories about the isolated teen
killers who have inexplicably murdered their classmates are more likely to
have been bullied and felt invisible: never motivated by drug interests. 

Figure it out this century.  America is too solid to be unsaddled by new
waves of boozing, doping, perverse sex, or bad kids.

Bob Owen
Olympia, WA
360-352-6322

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

Subj: thoughts on Abernathy and us
From: David Borden <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 15:46:14 -0500

Friends,

   The recent arrest of Georgia state senator Ralph David Abernathy, son of
the famed civil rights leader of the same name, on marijuana
possession/importation charges, has provoked a debate on some of these
lists.  Participants have properly defended the lightness of the sentence
and Abernathy's right to stay in office (or rather, his constituents' right
to make that decision themselves).

   There is an issue that this incident brings to my mind, that is not
frequently discussed in these circles, but which I feel needs to be brought
up.  I happen to know from private sources that Sen. Abernathy is
sympathetic to at least some, possibly all of our objectives, and who might
well wish to stand up on the issue at some point.  However, by choosing to
take part in illegal substance use (however intrinsically innocuous that
use may be), he has damaged his ability to make a positive difference on
this issue, and probably on any other issue that interests him.  He
partially subordinated his commitment to effecting social change to his
desire for the personal gratification of using marijuana.

   I don't judge Sen. Abernathy for this -- for all we know, he could be a
medical marijuana patient -- and mostly because I believe these things are
personal matters.  And clearly he didn't believe he would be caught.  No
one does!  But I bring this up because it applies to activists.

   Not necessarily to all activists -- there are some DPR activists for
whom a minor marijuana bust would not damage their personal effectiveness
or credibility or that of their organization -- it all depends on
individual circumstances.  In some cases it might even help!  But there are
many of us for whom such an incident would do damage, to our own careers,
to our ability to make a difference in DPR, even to our organizations or
the cause as a whole.

   I wouldn't presume to tell people what to do or not do, but I do believe
that that is the accurate perspective for activists in this category to
have regarding such decisions -- use of illegal substances amounts to
taking a risk of harming the cause, to gain the personal benefit that comes
from such use.  I am not saying that it is right or wrong, nor to preach; I
am saying that that is the most accurate perspective for activists to have
on prohibited substance use.  Individuals have to weigh the risks attendant
to any given situation, and decide how they will balance their own sets of
priorities, in this context.

 - Dave

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

Subj: re: thoughts on Abernathy and us (double post)
From: David Borden <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 17:27:06 -0500

Sorry for the double post on this topic.  My Eudora malfunctioned, and made
me think the first version had been deleted, when in fact it was not.  Then
they both got sent when I sent my queued messages.

  - Dave

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

Subj: thoughts on Abernathy and us
From: David Borden <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 15:20:28 -0500

Friends,

   The arrest of Georgia State Senator Ralph David Abernathy, son of famed
civil rights leader Rev. Ralph David Abernathy, Jr., on marijuana
possession charges, the (fortunately) light sentence and the ensuing
debate, have attracted some interest on these lists.  Those of you who
jumped into the online forum and defended Abernathy in reasonable ways have
done the right thing, and you should be proud of your efforts.  However,
there is another, more private lesson to be learned from this incident.  I
may come out sounding like a moralist or "fuddy-duddy" for pointing it out;
know in advance that that is not the way this message is intended.  I am
simply pointing out an issue about which I feel activists need to do some
thinking.

   I have previously been told by private sources that Sen. Abernathy is
someone with sympathy for at least some of our goals, perhaps all of them,
and who might well be interested in stepping out and helping to lead the
way.  With his position in the state legislature, and his prestigious
family history, he could be in a position to do a lot of good.  While the
arrest and ensuing publicity may not have entirely ruined his ability to
make a positive difference in the drug issue, it has definitely harmed it a
great deal.  He might not be able to do anything with it now, and if he
does, it will probably be a lot less now than he could have if it hadn't
happened; and it will affect his ability to make a positive difference in
all kinds of other issues as well.  Sometimes things turn out the opposite
of what we would expect, but that is the most likely consequence.
Paradoxically, if he'd been caught with heroin of cocaine, he could claim
to have a "drug problem" and get treated and forgiven, even praised, for
beating it, like Washington's Marion Barry.  But that's not going to wash
very well with marijuana.

   While I would defend Sen. Abernathy and his right to use marijuana, the
point I am making in this private discussion is that he willingly put his
ability to effect social change at risk by doing so.  I bring this up here
because the same line of reasoning applies to at least some activists.
There are some activists for whom a minor marijuana bust would not have an
adverse impact on their effectiveness.  There are others for whom it could
be severely damaging to their personal effectiveness and the effectiveness
of their organizations.

   It would be easy for someone like me who has never touched an illegal
drug and who has no interest in them to say "don't use drugs".  So I won't
say that.  I wouldn't presume to tell others what to do with their bodies.
What I am saying is that those of you who are in the second category should
realize that if you do choose to indulge in a prohibited habit (or break
the law in other ways), you may be risking doing damage to your own
effectivness as an activist, the effectiveness of your organization, and
the greater cause.  How you weigh the risk in any given situation, and how
you balance strategic concerns against your personal need, enjoyment or
utility, is a personal decision that only the individual can make.  But you
should be aware that that is what you are doing -- taking a risk (to some
degree, however small) of harming the cause, in order to gain the personal
benefit or enjoyment.

   I'm not judging those of you who have decided the risk is worth it.  I'm
just pointing out something that individuals need to consider.

 - Dave

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

Subj: Re:  thoughts on Abernathy and us
From: "Carl E. Olsen" <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 17:05:53 -0600

At 03:46 PM 12/28/97 -0500, David Borden wrote:

>   I wouldn't presume to tell people what to do or not do, but I do believe
>that that is the accurate perspective for activists in this category to
>have regarding such decisions -- use of illegal substances amounts to
>taking a risk of harming the cause, to gain the personal benefit that comes
>from such use.  I am not saying that it is right or wrong, nor to preach; I
>am saying that that is the most accurate perspective for activists to have
>on prohibited substance use.  Individuals have to weigh the risks attendant
>to any given situation, and decide how they will balance their own sets of
>priorities, in this context.

I quit smoking pot in 1990.  No regrets.  It was the right thing to do.

Sincerely,
Carl Olsen

***********************************************************************
*  Carl E. Olsen                *                  *
*  Post Office Box 4091         *  NORML News archived at:            *
*  Des Moines, Iowa 50333       *  http://www.calyx.com/~olsen/       *
*  (515) 262-6957 voice & fax   *  http://www.commonlink.com/~olsen/  *
***********************************************************************

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

Subj: Sent UK Daily Mail
From: Peter Webster <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 23:31:25 +0000

Letter to the Editor, Daily Mail
From:	Peter Webster	email: 
	...
Sir,
In your featured article Dr. Anthony Daniels maintains that "The fact is that the consumption of drugs (including alcohol) is influenced by price and ease of availability."

He ignores here the most important reason why the use of illicit drugs spreads from person to person: The artificially high prices of illicit drugs resulting from their prohibition ensure that those using drugs will enlarge and promote the market by proselytizing and selling drugs to defray the cost of their own drug use. Without such impetus, it is doubtful if the harder and more harmful of drugs would be very popular.

True, cannabis would no doubt continue to be widely used under decriminalization, but this can hardly be as harmful as the good doctor implies. If Cannabis caused any serious problems at all, we would long ago have found out what they were. His accusation of its harms in the tale of two "patients": "one of whom became temporarily deranged under the influence of cannabis and tried to kill himself with an overdose, and another who, also under the influence of cannabis, put his hand through a window..." is worthy of Harry Anslinger's 1930s Reefer Madness campaign, and it is astonishing that any modern editor or reporter, much less medical doctor, still subscribes to such nonsense. Does he suppose these two "patients" were normal everyday blokes like you and I who, under the influence of the demon drug, became totally insane and suicidal? Pshaw.

Yours,
	Peter Webster	email: 

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

Subj: Re: thoughts on Abernathy and us
From: "clifford thornton" <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 19:05:18 -0500

We were talking with some college students recently about the fact that the
thousands of decent people who use illegal drugs (particularly marijuana)
are silenced by the stigma and fear of consequences.  The people who know
that mj is not addictive or harmful and that it can be truly medicinal
cannot share their experience with very many others.

This made us all realize that prohibition is not as near its end as we would
like to think.

Peace,

Cliff & margaret

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

Subj: SENT: Re:  Editorial: Doing Harm By Doing Good
From: PointsRUs <> (by way of "MAPnews Sr. Editor" <>)
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 20:52:44 -0500

>Pubdate: Monday 22 December 1997
>Source: Ottawa Citizen 
> Section: Editorials
>Contact: 
>URL:  http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v97.n424.a12.html
>

To the Editor:

By only making a surface interpretation of the data involved in the Montreal
needle exchange study and not bothering to do what all good journalists should
do -- dig for a complete set of the facts, you have missed the point.

The Montreal study compares apples to oranges -- in this case populations at
lower risk for HIV not served by the needle exchange studied compared to the
extremely high risk population that makes up their client base.  The Montreal
study reasonably shows only that those with lower risk of HIV have less HIV.
No one should be surprised by this.

What it does not deal with, however, is that the rates of HIV in the extremely
high risk population served by the exchange would be radically higher if the
exchange did not exist.

If it were just a matter of abstract science, your venal misinterpretation
would not be a problem -- but it's not.  The exchange's clients are real
humans deserving compassion, the expenses of the diseases they get are borne
largely by the public purse, and the sex partners and children of their
clients who would be more likely to become ill without the exchange's work are
not abstractions to be treated so callously by your paper.

Further, you've done harm to those who are not yet served by a needle exchange
(and, worse, lack the right to purchase sterile injection equipment at
pharmacies).  The only thing that happens with needle scarcity is reuse and
sharing of syringes with all the attendant health risks.  The best example of
this is the burgeoning rate of HIV in prisons, where, in my region, as many as
two-hundred-fifty people share the same needle before it breaks beyond repair.
The HIV, hepatitis C, pericardial, and other infections due to needle sharing
in these institutions are sickeningly high and growing exponentially.  That is
what you wish on your fellow citizens with your lazy journalism.

Shame on you!

Marla Stevens
Dir. of Public Policy
Prevention Point of Indiana
133 W. Market St., Ste. 201
Indianapolis, IN 46204

(317) 635-0001

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

Subj: Re:  thoughts on Abernathy and us
From: Lcwmc <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 22:32:46 EST

In a message dated 97-12-28 17:33:22 EST,  writes:

<<   There is an issue that this incident brings to my mind, that is not
 frequently discussed in these circles, but which I feel needs to be brought
 up.  I happen to know from private sources that Sen. Abernathy is
 sympathetic to at least some, possibly all of our objectives, and who might
 well wish to stand up on the issue at some point.  However, by choosing to
 take part in illegal substance use (however intrinsically innocuous that
 use may be), he has damaged his ability to make a positive difference on
 this issue, and probably on any other issue that interests him.  He
 partially subordinated his commitment to effecting social change to his
 desire for the personal gratification of using marijuana. >>

i don't understand your perspective on this issue.  Why and with whom would he
lose credibility?  I agree he could be a valuable player.  so why not show our
support for him instead of taking the damned if you do/ damned if you don't
stance ?.......lyn

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

Subj: Sent to Ann Landers
From: Alan Mason <>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 08:12:02 -0800

Dear Ms Landers:

Thank you for your inspiring Christmas message that, while acknowledging
that we do not live in a perfect world, still retained a tone of hope and
optimism.

In particular, I would like to thank you for having the courage say that
the war on drugs is a failure. Anyone who reads your column on a regular
basis knows that you could never be described as "soft on drugs" - the
phrase that is often used against those who, like you, are willing to speak
this truth, a phrase that bears a chilling resemblance to the "soft on
communism" of the McCarthy era. Fining, imprisoning and seizing the
property of those who go against our current prohibition does not work
today any more than it did in the first prohibition, yet we continue to do
it. In the process we are ruining the lives of hundreds of thousands of
non-violent and otherwise law-abiding citizens, yet illegal drugs are more
easily available to our children than legal alcohol.

One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and
expecting different results. I look forward to the time when you you take
the next courageous step forward and join the thousands of other voices,
great and small, who are calling for the end of Prohibition II AND the
creation of a legally regulated system that will truly control the sale of
drugs and keep them out of the hands of our children.

Alan Mason
contact info

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

Subj: Sent: lte to Ann Landers
From: Allison Bigelow <>
Date: Mon, 29 Dec 1997 10:17:11 -0800

Dear Ann Landers,
	I grew up reading your advice column, I'm 39 now. I've usually felt
that you are on the right track. Now again, with your Christmas message,
you seem to have your finger on the pulse of the nation. It takes great
insight and courage to suggest that youth violence and substance abuse
stems from "the war on drugs (that) has turned out to be a colossal
failure."
	Women, mostly mothers and grandmothers, were the people responsible for
bringing alcohol prohibition to an end when they finally realized that
the rise in crime and the strong foothold gained by organized crime were
direct results of alcohol prohibition. I'm so tired of the rhetoric of
our leaders who can't figure out why parents are doing such a poor job
of raising their kids. Perhaps it's because it's hard to parent from
behind bars. Experts say that the most cost effective method to reduce
substance abuse is treatment. Why then are we forced to punish people
that are sick, and need treatment? Many judges question how wise our
sentencing laws are, where a drug user has more mandatory time to spend
incarcerated than murderers and child abusers. What a sick people we
have become wishing to see drug addicts punished instead of helped out
of their misery.
	For the last two years I have felt that our legislators are responsible
for inflicting this maddness upon our cities and children. I know that
many of them may believe they are doing the right thing by forcing this
"war" on the country. Some may know better but don't say anything for
fear of appearing "soft on crime." Still some, those in the pockets of
the tobacco companies, and those with stock in the prison building
industries, know darned well what they are doing. I say whether they
know or not, they are responsible for every drive by shooting, drug
overdose, or drug related murder. They should be tried for war crimes,
because when it comes down to it, when we all take the gumption it takes
to look into this, the current drug laws are responsible for the state
of our union.

Sincerely,
Allison Bigelow
(snip)
contact info

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

End of Maptalk-Digest V97 #557
******************************

Mark Greer ()         ___ ___     _ _  _ _
Media Awareness Project              /' _ ` _ `\ /'_`)('_`\
P. O. Box 651                        | ( ) ( ) |( (_| || (_) )
Porterville, CA 93258                (_) (_) (_) \__,_)| ,__/
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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/list/maplists.htm           (_)

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