By Hillel Aron
By Joseph Tsidulko
By Patrick Range McDonald
By David Futch
By Hillel Aron
By Dennis Romero
By Jill Stewart
By Dennis Romero
St. Petersburg, Florida
AS QUOTED IN "DO TWO RIGHTS MAKE a Wrong?," Bill Press is wrong, wrong, wrong about public attitudes toward immigration. The reason there's no organizing is that the courts have thwarted the people's will. Most analysts say that if Proposition 187 were on the ballot today, it would pass again by a huge margin. Doesn't Press read the letters in his daily newspapers? People do not accept that illegals are here. In our frustration we've just chosen to disengage from politics and hunker down in our separate communities.
I'M WRITING THIS MESSAGE AFTER READING Brendan Bernhard's "Minus 10" piece about the Muslim terrorism storyline on Fox's 24 series [Box Populi, December 13-19]. Because, as a TV critic, I wrote about some Muslims' unease about how the show would handle this storyline, and about the producers' insistence that they felt compelled to explore this territory post-9/11, I was looking forward to reading your take on the issue. But I was stopped short by a flabbergasting sentence regarding America's treatment of Arabs post-9/11: "Personally I doubt we're quite that bad." Bernhard then goes on to describe how an Arab shopkeeper he knows felt free to call George Bush a fucking idiot.
Perhaps it's because I just finished reading a story on FBI stats showing that hate crimes against Arabs have jumped from the smallest category to the largest-growing, from 28 in 2000 to more than 400 in 2001. Or maybe it's because I spent time talking to someone from a local Mosque who has had to wipe animal feces and eggs off the building more than once, post-9/11.
Isn't the alternative media supposed to be the place where you strip away complacency and strive for social justice? Somehow, I think running a column that cynically denigrates concern about how America is treating Arabs, and about how one of TV's most trendy shows is portraying Muslim terrorists, doesn't serve that goal very well.
THANK YOU FOR RUNNING DUNCAN Campbell's excellent piece about the insane sentence given Steve Treleaven for growing marijuana. ["The Terror War on Drugs," December 13-19]. Alas, Treleaven is not alone. In the Sacramento area, Bryan Epis was recently sentenced to 10 years in federal prison for the "crime" of growing marijuana for a local medical marijuana co-op. In Los Angeles, Scott Imler of the Los Angeles Cannabis Resource Center faces the possibility of a similar sentence, again for providing relief to AIDS and cancer patients.
As for the alleged link between marijuana and terrorism, the Ottawa Citizen said it best in a July 18, 2002, editorial: "Why do the fanatics of the world zero in on the drug trade, instead of smuggling liquor or coffee, sugar or chocolate bon-bons? It's because drugs are illegal." It's easy — and largely appropriate — to blame conservative drug-war ideologues in the Bush administration for these harsh policies. But it's also past time to start asking why Democrats have been so consistently timid in criticizing our nation's cruel and pointless war on marijuana users. Even alleged liberals like Barbara Boxer and Xavier Becerra have been missing in action.
Director of Communications, Marijuana Policy Project
DUNCAN CAMPBELL'S OP-ED WAS right on target. Drug czar John Walter's attempts to link the war on drugs to the war on terror began almost immediately after September 11. His opportunistic drug-terror ad campaign first premiered amidst beer commercials during the Super Bowl. International terrorists have unfortunately caught on to something gangster Al Capone learned in the 1920s during alcohol prohibition. There are enormous profits to be made on the black market.
With drug-war budgets at risk during a time of shifting national priorities, drug warriors are cynically using drug prohibition's collateral damage to justify more of the same. The illicit drug of choice in America is domestically grown marijuana, not Colombian cocaine or Afghan heroin. Taxing and regulating marijuana would render the drug war obsolete. As long as marijuana remains illegal and distributed by organized crime, consumers will continue to come into contact with drugs like cocaine and heroin. Naturally, government bureaucrats whose jobs depend on never-ending drug war prefer to blame the plant itself for the alleged "gateway" to hard drugs.
Either the government doesn't believe its own propaganda or federal marijuana laws are more important than protecting the country from terrorism. By conducting paramilitary raids on California's voter-approved medical-marijuana suppliers, the very same federal government that claims illicit drug use funds terrorism is forcing cancer and AIDS patients into the hand of street dealers.
Program Officer, Drug Policy Alliance
WHEN IS A POLICY NOT A POLICY?
IN "ANYONE SEEN AN ECONOMIC POLICY" [December 13-19], Harold Meyerson asked the question Who sets the president's economic policy? If you would please direct Mr. Meyerson's attention to the president's December 3, 2002, speech in Louisiana, he sets it out there. He wants to leave the economy alone. That, all by itself, is an economic policy. It is the one that was in effect before President Kennedy came along. LBJ continued with the activism, and then Jimmy Carter just took buckets of money. You might also tell Mr. Meyerson he must make plenty of money if he can afford to snort at a $300 tax rebate. It meant a lot to me.