Are police officers allowed to lie to you? Yes the Supreme Court has ruled that police officers can lie to the American people. Police officers are trained at lying, twisting words and being manipulative. Police officers and other law enforcement agents are very skilled at getting information from people. So don’t try to “out smart” a police officer and don’t try being a “smooth talker” because you will lose! If you can keep your mouth shut, you just might come out ahead more than you expected.

Monday, December 11, 2017

Third acting chief steps down in a week amid racist texts, prostitute sex scandal


Oakland’s police chief job has become a carousel of top Bay Area cops, who seemingly can’t make it more than a few days in the position before succumbing to scandal.

Acting Chief Paul Figueroa said that he is stepping down after only two days — the latest casualty of disarray in a department that is now on its fourth head in a little over a week.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf said that Figueroa had offered his resignation and that assistant chiefs will report to City Administrator Sabrina Landreth while a new replacement is found.

There was no immediate reason given for why Figueroa is withdrawing from his position, though a KTVU reporter said that it involved racial texts and emails.

Schaaf started off her press conference by saying that an investigation into the texts would be concluded in a few days, but would not discuss any possible connection to Figueroa.

A visibly frustrated mayor told reporters that she and her city administrator will “root out what is clearly a toxic macho culture.”

“I am here to run a police department, not a frat house,” Schaaf said at the beginning of her conference, later saying repeatedly that she was not giving details because she does not want to jeopardize getting the “strongest punishment allowed.”

A racist text scandal previously rocked the force in the city across the bay, San Francisco, during a span of a few months.

Oakland’s trouble started, when an investigation into the suicide of an officer last year revealed his and other officers’ involvement with a teenage prostitute known as Celeste Guap.

The scandal widened when the sex worker, now 18, told the East Bay Express that she had sex with more than 20 officers from Oakland and other nearby departments, including three while she was underage.

Guap, the daughter of a police dispatcher, claimed that officers would give her inside information about anti-prostitution raids. She also said she would talk to the wife of Oakland chief Sean Whent about “dating an officer.”

Whent resigned last Thursday, after what local outlets reported was criticism of the way he handled the investigation into wrongdoing by his officers.

Ben Fairow, an assistant chief of the police for the BART mass transit system, was picked as a replacement by Schaaf and was originally supposed to hold the title for six months.

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Saturday, December 9, 2017

Judas Priest - Green Manalishi / Judas Priest - Breaking The Law / Judas Priest - Hell Bent for Leather

Judas Priest - Green Manalishi

Judas Priest - Breaking The Law

Judas Priest - Hell Bent for Leather

Official site: Judas Priest

Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in Birmingham, England, in 1969. The band have sold over 50 million albums to date.[1] They are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time.Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band struggled with indifferent record production, repeated changes of drummer and lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel, which helped shoot them to rock superstar status. In 1989, they were named as defendants in an unsuccessful lawsuit alleging that subliminal messages on the song "Better by You, Better than Me" had caused the suicide attempts of two young men.

The band's membership has seen much turnover, including a revolving cast of drummers in the 1970s, and the temporary departure of singer Rob Halford in the early 1990s. The current line-up consists of Halford, guitarists Glenn Tipton and Richie Faulkner, bassist Ian Hill, and drummer Scott Travis. The band's best-selling album is 1982's Screaming for Vengeance with their most commercially successful line-up, featuring Halford, Tipton, Hill, guitarist K. K. Downing, and drummer Dave Holland. Tipton and Hill are the only two members of the band to appear on every album.

Stay Informed:

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Fleetwood mac - oh well / Fleetwood Mac - The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)

Fleetwood mac - oh well

Fleetwood Mac - The Green Manalishi (With The Two Prong Crown)

Official site: Fleetwood Mac

Peter Green (born Peter Allen Greenbaum, 29 October 1946)[1] is a British blues rock guitarist. As the founder of Fleetwood Mac, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998. Green's songs, such as "Albatross", "Black Magic Woman", "Oh Well", "The Green Manalishi (With the Two Prong Crown)" and "Man of the World", appeared on the record charts, and several have been adapted by a variety of musicians.

Green was a major figure in the "second great epoch"[2] of the British blues movement. B.B. King commented, "He has the sweetest tone I ever heard; he was the only one who gave me the cold sweats."[3][4] Eric Clapton and Jimmy Page have both praised his guitar playing;[5] he is noted for his use of string bending, vibrato, and economy of style.[2][6]

Rolling Stone Magazine ranked Green at number 38 in its list of the "100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time".[7] His tone on the instrumental "The Supernatural" was rated as one of the 50 greatest of all time by Guitar Player.[8] In June 1996, Green was voted the third-best guitarist of all time in Mojo magazine.

Stay Informed:

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Washington's Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade, the Spoils of War

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(How to) Beat any drug test for FREE 

Afghan Heroin & the CIA

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Friday, December 8, 2017

On marijuana, Menifee declares itself ‘non-grow, non-delivery, non-dispensary city’


While some cities have rolled out the welcome mat for the widely anticipated recreational marijuana industry set to debut across the state in 2018, Menifee isn’t one of them.

City officials passed an ordinance last year barring commercial operations related to medical marijuana.

Now, in a 5-0 vote Wednesday, Dec. 6, the Menifee City Council has extended that ban to all potential businesses catering to recreational use. Marijuana dispensaries, delivery businesses, cultivation facilities and processing plants are all prohibited.

“We did not change our status,” Mayor Neil Winter said by phone Friday, Dec. 8. “This is still a non-grow, non-delivery and non-dispensary city.”

The council also voted to set limits for personal cultivation.

Under Proposition 64, which paved the way for recreational marijuana use in California following voter approval in November 2016, up to half a dozen cannabis plants may be grown per residence by people 21 or over for personal, non-commercial use.

Following those guidelines, Menifee’s new law allows such growing to take place indoors, but specifically prohibits more than six plants and requires that they be kept in a secure, locked space that isn’t visible to the public.

The ordinance prohibits growing plants outdoors.

“We don’t want this to be accessible to the youth,” Winter said.

The council also addressed where one may use marijuana, barring smoking and consumption at public parks and all city facilities.

And the council prohibited marijuana cafes.

Given that under the ordinance there will be no legal pot businesses, the city did not adopt any marijuana taxes, Winter said.

A staff report prepared by Cheryl Kitzerow, community development director, said the attitude across the southwest Riverside County towards Prop. 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, doesn’t necessarily reflect the attitude of the state overall.

“It is important to note that while the majority of voters in California supported the Act, the majority of voters within the City of Menifee did not support the Act,” her report stated.

Winter added, “We’ve gotten several calls from people who have been complaining because they have smelled the odor of marijuana being consumed.”

But the bottom line, he said, is Menifee is content, for now, to watch the recreational marijuana industry unfold in other communities and let them wrestle with whatever issues come up.

“We are watching how this all rolls out,” he said. “We don’t know what the crime impact will be on cities.”

Stay Informed:

It's the Opium Stupid, Afghan surge guarantees CIA Drug Profits

Washington's Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade, the Spoils of War

100 Years of a War on Drugs

Afghanistan: CIA's Shady history of drug trafficking

(How to) Beat any drug test for FREE 

Afghan Heroin & the CIA

Federal Agents Allowed Tons Of Cocaine To Be Smuggled Into The U.S.

CNN: CIA admits it overlooked Contras' links to drugs

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Soldiers Suicides and The War...on Drugs

Marine Corporal Michael Cataldi woke as he heard the truck rumble past.

He opened his eyes, but saw nothing. It was the middle of the night, and he was facedown in the sands of western Iraq. His loaded M16 was pinned beneath him.

Cataldi had no idea how he'd gotten to where he now lay, some 200 meters from the dilapidated building where his buddies slept. But he suspected what had caused this nightmare: His Klonopin prescription had run out.

His ordeal was not all that remarkable for a person on that antianxiety medication. In the lengthy labeling that accompanies each prescription, Klonopin users are warned against abruptly stopping the medicine, since doing so can cause psychosis, hallucinations, and other symptoms.

What makes Cataldi's story extraordinary is that he was a U. S. Marine at war, and that the drug's adverse effects endangered lives -- his own, his fellow Marines', and the lives of any civilians unfortunate enough to cross his path.

"It put everyone within rifle distance at risk," he says.

In deploying an all-volunteer army to fight two ongoing wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Pentagon has increasingly relied on prescription drugs to keep its warriors on the front lines. In recent years, the number of military prescriptions for antidepressants, sleeping pills, and painkillers has risen as soldiers come home with battered bodies and troubled minds. And many of those service members are then sent back to war theaters in distant lands with bottles of medication to fortify them.

According to data from a U. S. Army mental-health survey released last year, about 12 percent of soldiers in Iraq and 15 percent of those in Afghanistan reported taking antidepressants, antianxiety medications, or sleeping pills. Prescriptions for painkillers have also skyrocketed. Data from the Department of Defense last fall showed that as of September 2007, prescriptions for narcotics for active-duty troops had risen to almost 50,000 a month, compared with about 33,000 a month in October 2003, not long after the Iraq war began.

In other words, thousands of American fighters armed with the latest killing technology are taking prescription drugs that the Federal Aviation Administration considers too dangerous for commercial pilots.

Military officials say they believe many medications can be safely used on the battlefi eld. They say they have policies to ensure that drugs they consider inappropriate for soldiers on the front lines are rarely used. And they say they are not using the drugs in order to send unstable warriors back to war.

Yet the experience of soldiers and Marines like Cataldi show the dangers of drugging our warriors. It also worries some physicians and veterans' advocates.

"There are risks in putting people back to battle with medicines in their bodies," says psychiatrist Judith Broder, M. D., founder of the Soldiers Project, a group that helps service members suffering from mental illness.

Prescription drugs can help patients, Dr. Broder says, but they can also cause drowsiness and impair judgment. Those side effects can be dealt with by patients who are at home, she says, but they can put active-duty soldiers in great danger. She worries that some soldiers are being medicated and then sent back to fight before they're ready.

"The military is under great pressure to have enough people ready for combat," she says. "I don't think they're as cautious as they would be if they weren't under this kind of pressure."

When Cataldi talks about what happened to him in Iraq, he begins with an in incident that took place on a cold January night in 2005, when he and five other Marines received a radio call informing them that a helicopter had disappeared.

The men roared across the desert of western Iraq and found what was left of the chopper. Flames roared from the pile of metal. Cataldi, 20, was ordered to do a body count.

The pilot's body was still on fire, so he shoveled dirt on it to douse the acrid flames. He picked up a man's left boot in order to find the dog tag every Marine keeps there. A foot fell to the ground. "People were missing heads," Cataldi remembers. "They were wearing the same uniform I was wearing."

The final death toll from that crash of a CH-53E Super Stallion was 30 Marines and one sailor.

For days, Cataldi couldn't escape the odor of burning flesh. "I had the smell all over my equipment," he says. "I couldn't get it off ."

When he returned to his stateside base at Twentynine Palms, California, he knew he'd brought more than memories back from Iraq. He would cry for no reason. He flew into fits of rage. One night he woke up with his hands around the throat of his wife, Monica, choking her.

"It scared the crap out of me," he says.

He went to see a psychiatrist on base.

"He said, 'Here's some medication,' " Cataldi recalls. The prescribed drugs were Klonopin, for anxiety; Zoloft, for depression; and Ambien, to help him sleep.
Later, other military doctors added narcotic painkillers for the excruciating pain in his leg, which he'd injured during a training exercise. He was also self-medicating with heavy doses of alcohol.

Those prescriptions didn't stop the Marine Corps from sending Cataldi back to Iraq. In 2006, he returned to the same part of the Iraqi desert to do the same job: performing maintenance on armored personnel carriers known as LAVs. He also took his turn driving the 14-ton tanklike vehicles, one of which was armed with a 25 mm cannon and two machine guns and loaded with more than 1,000 rounds of ammunition.

Marine Major Carl B. Redding says he can't talk about the medical history of any Marine because of privacy laws. He says the Corps has procedures to ensure that service members taking medications for psychiatric conditions are deployed only if their symptoms are in remission. Those Marines, he says, must be able to meet the demands of a mission.

But it's difficult to square those regulations with Cataldi's experience. His medications came with written warnings about the dangers of driving and operating heavy machinery. The labels don't lie.

One night, Cataldi took his pills after his commander told him he was done for the day. Five minutes later, however, plans changed, and he was told to drive the LAV. He asked the Marine sitting behind him to help keep him awake. "I said, 'Kick the back of my seat every 5 minutes,' and that's what he did."

Cataldi says he managed on the medications -- until his Klonopin ran out. The medical officer told him there was no Klonopin anywhere in Iraq. So the officer gave him a drug called Seroquel. That's when Cataldi says he started to become "loopy."

"I'd go to pick up a wrench and come back with a hammer," he says. "I wasn't able to do my job. I wasn't able to fight."

Soldiers have doped up in order to sustain combat since ancient times. Often their chosen sen drug was alcohol. And Iraq isn't the first place U. S. military doctors have prescribed medications to troops on the front. During the Vietnam war, military psychiatrists spoke enthusiastically about some newly psychiatric medicines, including Thorazine, an antipsychotic, and Valium, for anxiety. According to an army textbook, doctors frequently prescribed those drugs to soldiers with psychiatric symptoms. Anxiety-ridden soldiers with upset bowels were sometimes given the antidiarrheal Compazine, a potent tranquilizer.

But the use of those drugs in Vietnam became controversial. Critics said it was dangerous to give soldiers medications that slowed their reflexes, a side effect that could raise their risk of being injured, captured, or killed. That risk was real. In a report supported by the U. S. Navy 14 years after the United States withdrew from Vietnam, researchers looked at the records of all Marines wounded there between 1965 and 1972. Marines who'd been hospitalized for psychiatric reasons before being sent back to battle were more likely to have been injured in combat than those who hadn't been hospitalized.

Critics of medication use in Vietnam also said that a soldier traumatized by battle may not be coherent enough to give his consent to take the drugs in the first place. Plus, a soldier would risk court-martial if he refused to follow orders, they said, making it unlikely he could make a reasoned decision about taking the medications.

After the war, the practice of liberally giving psychiatric drugs to warriors fell out of favor. In War Psychiatry, a 1995 military medical textbook, a U. S. Air Force flight surgeon warned about the use of psychiatric drugs, saying they should be used sparingly.

"Sending a person back to combat duty still under the influence of psychoactive drugs may be dangerous," he wrote. "Even in peacetime, people in the many combat-support positions . . . would not be allowed to take such medications and continue to work in their sensitive, demanding jobs."

Colonel Elspeth Cameron Ritchie, M. D., M. P. H., a psychiatrist and the medical director of the strategic communication directorate in the Office of the Army Surgeon General, acknowledges that writing more prescriptions for frontline troops was a change in direction for the Pentagon. "Twenty years ago," she says, "we weren't deploying soldiers on medications."

Today it's not uncommon for a soldier to arrive in Iraq while taking a host of prescription drugs. The Pentagon explained its new practice in late 2006, stating that there are "few medications that are inherently disqualifying for deployment."

According to Colonel Ritchie, military officials have concluded that many medicines introduced since the Vietnam War can be used safely on the front lines. Military physicians consider antidepressants and sleeping pills to be especially helpful, she says. Doctors have also found that small doses of Seroquel, an antipsychotic, can help treat nightmares, she says, even though the drug is not approved for that use.

Two months after the new drug policy was issued, President Bush ordered more than 20,000 additional troops to Iraq in an attempt to quell the violence. This surge in American military presence in Iraq increased the pressure on Pentagon officials to quickly redeploy soldiers and Marines just back from war.

Surveys of behavioral-health professionals offer hints about what has happened as soldiers are medicated and then sent back to fight. In last year's surveys, carried out by teams sent to Iraq and Afghanistan by the Army Surgeon General, a staff member reported that there had been "quite a few [evacuations for] psychotic breakdowns."

"Many of these soldiers are sent to Afghanistan," the staff member said, "despite a doctor saying they shouldn't go or leaders knowing they shouldn't deploy."

To meet its needs, the army has also begun accepting more people with existing medical or psychiatric conditions. A recent study by U. S. Army medical staff found that 10 percent of new recruits reported a history of psychiatric treatment.

In an article in the journal Military Medicine, Jeffrey Hill, M. D., and his colleagues wrote about soldiers who had made suicidal or homicidal threats at a base in Tikrit, Iraq. Of 425 soldiers evaluated for psychiatric treatment, they reported, about 30 percent had considered killing themselves in the previous week, and 16 percent had thought about killing a superior or someone else who was not the enemy.

Each of these soldiers poses a dilemma for physicians, they wrote, because of his or her duty "to conserve the fighting strength" -- the motto of the U. S. Army Medical Department. Doctors must try to avoid sending these soldiers home, but they must also recognize the dangers of keeping them in Iraq, where weapons are everywhere.

When Travis Virgadamo arrived from his army unit in Iraq for a visit with his family in July 2007, he hesitated to tell his grandmother, Katie O'Brien, what he had seen.

" 'I've seen little children killed,' " she remembers him saying. " 'You can't imagine what it's like, Grandma. You just can't.' "

Virgadamo, shy and quiet as a boy, had grown up wanting to be a soldier. "It was his dream," O'Brien says. "He was a good kid. He would do anything for you."

Soon after entering the army, however, Virga damo began to have problems. In boot camp he became angry and suicidal, prompting an army doctor to write him a prescription for Prozac, his grandmother says. Not long after that, he was sent to Iraq.

One day as men in his unit were cleaning weapons, the commander sent Virgadamo for some gun oil, O'Brien says. When he didn't return, they went to look for him. They found him with a gun in his mouth.

Virgadamo was sent home to Pahrump, Nevada, to be with his family for 10 days. Then he would be returned to Iraq. O'Brien learned that he was sent to a class meant to help him, and that he had been given a new medication instead of Prozac. The day he supposedly completed his class, O'Brien says, his commander gave him his gun back.

That night he used it to kill himself.

"They all knew he was in a very serious situation," O'Brien says. "He was a danger to the other soldiers as well as to himself."

She is furious that the army gave him Prozac. She points out that the labeling of Prozac, Zoloft, and similar antidepressants state that the drugs have been shown to increase suicidal behavior in people age 24 and younger -- a group that includes large numbers of American soldiers.
Virgadamo was 19 when he died.

"It was so unnecessary," she says. "We can't bring him back."

The U. S. Army's suicide rate is now at an all-time high. Colonel Ritchie says officials are studying the reasons for the increase, including the possible role of medications. Soldiers taking antidepressants have killed themselves, she says, but so far there is no evidence that the risk is higher for those taking the drugs.

Instead, the army has found, soldiers who committed suicide often had personal problems, such as troubled marriages or financial difficulties. Repeated deployments can strain family relationships. "The army has been at war for a long time," Colonel Ritchie says, "and everyone is kind of tired."

At age 26, with a new wife and child, Michael R. De Vlieger never seemed to have enough money.

He had resorted to selling his blood plasma for extra cash when he noticed the recruiting station next door to the donation center. That was in November 2004. Fifteen months later he was on the ground in northern Iraq, a gunner with the 101st Airborne.

Not long after he landed in Iraq, roadside bombs blew apart two Humvees from his platoon, killing nine soldiers, including men he knew well.

The next month, as he manned a Humvee on patrol passing through a crowded market, grenade-throwing insurgents jumped from behind the fruit stands. One antitank grenade landed under the vehicle. The blast didn't pierce its metal, but the force drove De Vlieger's knee through the door.

He was later evacuated by helicopter and returned to Fort Campbell, in Kentucky, to recuperate. But his personality had changed. He began to drink heavily, and flew into rages. One day, he attacked his wife's dog.

"I had lost so many friends and went through a near-death experience," he says. "I wasn't who I was when I left."

He was updating his will and preparing to return to Iraq when he broke down. His wife, Christine, found him awake in the middle of the night, rocking while babbling incoherently. Frightened, Christine called his squad leader, who took him to the base emergency room. Doctors then sent him to a nearby private psychiatric hospital, where he stayed for 16 days, receiving medications to calm his panic and treat his blood pressure and depression. The doctors released him with four prescriptions.

A noncommissioned officer in charge of De Vlieger's unit's stateside operations told him that day that he had to leave immediately for Iraq. Less than 18 hours after being released from the hospital, De Vlieger was on a plane heading for the Middle East. "I was in no condition to leave," he says. "I'm an infantryman. If I'm screwed up in my head, it could cost my life or the lives of the men with me."

Pentagon policy requires that service members with psychiatric conditions be stable for at least 3 months before they can be deployed. Colonel Ritchie says she can't comment specifically on any soldier's medical history, but agrees that sending someone to Iraq just hours after leaving a psychiatric hospital would violate the policy.

DeVlieger says the medications altered his thinking -- a side effect he didn't want to deal with at war.

He threw the pills away.

"I had a weapon, entire magazines filled with rounds. It's not like it would have been difficult for me to commit suicide," he says. "I don't believe it was safe."

Military physicians can be swayed by the aggressive promotional efforts of the pharmaceutical industry just like civilian doctors often are. The military has rules that limit the handouts doctors can take from drug companies. A doctor can go to a dinner paid for by a drug company, but the meal's value can't be more than $20, and the value of all gifts received from a company over the course of a year can't exceed $50.

The drug companies have devised ways of working around those limits.

When thousands of military and federal health-care professionals met in November for the annual meeting of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States (AMSUS), more than 80 pharmaceutical companies and other health-care firms were on hand. The companies helped pay for that San Antonio event in exchange for the opportunity to set up booths in the convention hall, where sales reps pressed doctors to prescribe their products or to use their medical equipment and devices.

The 6-day meeting included a celebration; 15 military and federal doctors and other health professionals received awards that included cash prizes provided by various drug companies.

Colonel Steven Mirick, the association's deputy executive director, says the companies didn't choose the recipients of the awards or influence the meeting's agenda or the educational courses offered. He also said that AMSUS had followed the strict government rules concerning the funding of those awards. Doctors would have to pay a much higher registration fee, he says, if the companies were not allowed to contribute.

Aggressive corporate promotion is one reason behind the army's fast-rising use of narcotic painkillers. Manufacturers of narcotics like OxyContin and Actiq have spent millions in recent years to convince doctors that the drugs aren't as addictive or as dangerous as most people believe. Before such corporate marketing campaigns, many doctors hesitated to prescribe narcotics unless a patient was suffering from a serious, pain-inflicting condition -- terminal cancer, for instance. Drugmakers expanded the market by encouraging docs to prescribe narcotics to people suffering from more moderate pain, and by downplaying the drugs' addictive potential.

These same manufacturers fund organizations like the American Pain Society. The society's noble goal of eliminating pain has made it the perfect conduit for drug marketing.

Military doctors agreed with the American Pain Society that pain treatment should be more accessible. In 1999, the Department of Defense and the Veterans Health Administration began a campaign called "Pain as the Fifth Vital Sign," a motto that had been created and trademarked by the society. Doctors treating active-duty service members and vets were urged to test and treat pain just as they would blood pressure and body temperature.

The Defense Department and the Department of Veterans Affairs also issued a guideline in 2003 that directed doctors on how to prescribe narcotic painkillers for chronic pain. Chronic pain can be related to conditions ranging from arthritis to the phantom-limb pain experienced by amputees. "Repeated exposure to opioids in the context of pain treatment only rarely causes addiction," the guideline noted.

That statement is controversial. In a study at Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston, 22 percent of patients taking narcotics for long-term treatment showed signs of abusing the drugs. The army has plenty of firsthand evidence of how addictive the painkillers can be. At Fort Leonard Wood, in Missouri, officials charged more than a dozen soldiers with illegally using and distributing narcotics, including drugs they'd reported picking up at the base's pharmacy for little or no cost. Many of the soldiers had suffered injuries in Iraq or in training but had later begun abusing the painkillers reportedly prescribed by army doctors.

One problem is that injured soldiers in pain are often also suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which makes them vulnerable to abusing alcohol or drugs. A soldier taking a narcotic can start using it to escape more than his pain.

Cataldi, who's now out of active duty, says that when he returned from his first tour of Iraq, both he and a friend were taking painkillers for injuries. They couldn't seem to get enough of the drugs, he says.

"We'd find pills on the floor," he says, "and just take them."

Narcotics can make patients dizzy and unable to function. Their labels warn about performing "potentially hazardous tasks."

Staff Sergeant Jack Auble took Oxy- Contin, Percocet, and Vicodin for a serious back injury as he worked in Camp Stryker, in Baghdad. Prior to that tour, he had been in the process of being medically discharged from the army after 20 years of service because of severe osteoporosis in his spine. Then he was sent to Iraq.

Auble's job in Baghdad was to monitor a computer that showed in real time what was happening on the battlefield. But the side effects of the drugs made his job impossible, he says. He frequently lost track of what people said to him and the positions of troops in the field. At times, he says, he dozed off in his chair.

"I could not do the job," Auble says. "My judgment was clouded all the time."

After 3 months in Baghdad, Auble's pain worsened. The army evacuated him to a hospital outside Iraq. At 44, he is now retired with a permanent disability, and walks with a cane.

According to Colonel Ritchie, painkillers can help soldiers do their jobs by reducing pain, which allows them to concentrate. "But these medications are lethal in overdose and can't be used carelessly," she says, adding that if side effects interfere with a soldier's ability to perform, he or she is moved to another job or sent back to a home base.

"It doesn't do the soldier or the army any good," she says, "if he can't do his mission."

The army is adding safeguards to reduce the chance that soldiers will become addicted to painkillers, she notes. And the guideline informing doctors that the drugs rarely cause addiction is being rewritten.

Cataldi now works as a mechanic in Riverside, in Southern California. He lives with his wife, 2-year-old daughter, and 10-year-old stepson in an apartment at the foot of a mountain. On his living-room wall hang framed photos of his grandfather and uncles dressed in their USMC uniforms.

Doctors at the V. A. still aren't sure how to help Cataldi. His current diagnoses include PTSD and traumatic brain injury that might have been caused by several concussions he suffered in training and in Iraq. He also still feels intense pain in his leg. He shows a visitor snapshots taken at the funerals of some of his buddies. He goes to the kitchen, bringing back four bottles of medications, including Klonopin, the drug he blames for creating a needless ordeal in Iraq. He fears he'll be on Klonopin for the rest of his life. When he tries to stop taking it, he spaces out and isolates himself.

"If I had never been put on medications and just had counseling, I'd be a lot better off ," he says.
They Gave. Now It's Your Turn

The men profiled in this story have risked life, limb, and mental health on behalf of the American people. What can you do for them?

Help injured soldiers transition to civilian life by providing rides to appointments, babysitting, organizing job fairs, or assisting with tax and medical forms. For information, check out your nearest American Legion post to see if it participates in the Heroes to Hometowns program. Or visit your local V. A. hospital's voluntary service office. "Last year, volunteers contributed more than 11 million hours of service to veterans," says Laura B. Balun, director of the V. A.'s voluntary service office. Based on an Independent Sector valuation of a $19.51 volunteer hour, that's worth almost $224 million.

Don't have the time? Not to worry: They'll take your check. "More than $82 million was donated to the V. A. last year to augment services to veterans, such as funding comfort kits, welcome-home events, or homeless events," Balun says. Click on donate. Donations to the American Legion can go to the American Legion Legacy Run (,which provides college tuition money to children whose military parents have died since September 11.

"The key issue for all veterans is funding for the V. A.," says Peter Gaytan, the director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation for the American Legion. "The fiscal year begins October 1, but it's typical for the V. A.'s budget to be undecided until the following January or February. And until it's decided, we can't make any budgetary decisions" -- like how to staff or supply hospitals. Right now, Congress is considering the Veterans Health Care Budget Reform and Transparency Act of 2009, which would allow the Veterans Health Administration budget to be funded a year in advance. Visit legion.orgto learn more, and write to your representative in Congress and urge support. carolyn kylstra
Stay Informed:

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Washington's Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade, the Spoils of War

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Afghanistan: CIA's Shady history of drug trafficking

(How to) Beat any drug test for FREE 

Afghan Heroin & the CIA

Federal Agents Allowed Tons Of Cocaine To Be Smuggled Into The U.S.

CNN: CIA admits it overlooked Contras' links to drugs

Monday, December 4, 2017

The Highwaymen - Highwayman / American Remains

The Highwaymen - Highwayman

The Highwaymen was a country music supergroup, composed of four of the genre's biggest artists, known for their pioneering influence on the outlaw country subgenre: Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson, and Kris Kristofferson. Active between 1985 and 1995, the group recorded three major label albums as The Highwaymen: two on Columbia Records and one for Liberty Records. Their Columbia works produced three chart singles, including the number one "Highwayman" in 1985.

Between 1996 and 1999, Nelson, Kristofferson, Cash, and Jennings also provided the voice and dramatization for the Louis L'Amour Collection, a four-CD box set of seven Louis L'Amour stories published by the HighBridge Company, although the four were not credited as "The Highwaymen" in this work.

Besides the four formal members of the group, only one other vocal recording artist appeared on a Highwaymen recording: Johnny Rodriguez, who provided Spanish vocal on "Deportee", a Woody Guthrie composition, from "Highwayman".

The four original members starred in a movie together: the 1986 film Stagecoach.

Stay Informed:

It's the Opium Stupid, Afghan surge guarantees CIA Drug Profits

Washington's Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade, the Spoils of War

100 Years of a War on Drugs

Afghanistan: CIA's Shady history of drug trafficking

(How to) Beat any drug test for FREE 

Afghan Heroin & the CIA

Federal Agents Allowed Tons Of Cocaine To Be Smuggled Into The U.S.

CNN: CIA admits it overlooked Contras' links to drugs

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Grandmas Smoking Pot For The First Time

Grandmas Smoking Pot For The First Time

Stay Informed:

It's the Opium Stupid, Afghan surge guarantees CIA Drug Profits

Washington's Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade, the Spoils of War

100 Years of a War on Drugs

Afghanistan: CIA's Shady history of drug trafficking

(How to) Beat any drug test for FREE 

Afghan Heroin & the CIA

Federal Agents Allowed Tons Of Cocaine To Be Smuggled Into The U.S.

CNN: CIA admits it overlooked Contras' links to drugs

How Jeff Sessions Plans to End Medical Marijuana


Tears streamed down Claudia Jendron's face this year as her doctor patted her hand and told her, after eight years of failed pain treatments for her spinal fusion-gone-wrong, "This is going to work, Claudia." She was talking about medical marijuana.

For “eight years of hell,” Jendron tried opioids, epidural shots and acupuncture in the hopes that she’d be able to sit down or go to her grandchildren’s birthday parties without having to leave and lie down. None of it worked. At one point, she considered checking into an assisted living facility to receive morphine before she tried medical marijuana. 

Then, early this year, the 66-year-old upstate New Yorker got a prescription for medical marijuana to help what she called “excruciating pain." To Jendron’s surprise, her doctor was right about the weed. Two days after starting a tincture (a liquid cannabis extract dropped under the tongue), her crushing pain subsided to something manageable.

“I can lean over and hug my grandkids without screaming anymore,” she said. “I went to a commitment ceremony in the park the other day, and I lasted all day long without any pain...It’s just, it’s amazing.”

New York is one of 29 states (plus the District of Columbia) that have legalized medical marijuana––a trend that 94 percent of Americans support, according to an August Quinnipiac poll. But on December 8, all of that could begin to change.

Congress has until that day to decide whether to include the Rohrabacher-Farr Act (also known as Rohrabacher-Blumenauer) in a bill that will fund the government through the next fiscal year. Right now, that law, made up of just 85 words, blocks the Department of Justice from using any money to prosecute medical marijuana in states where it's legal.

In May, Attorney General Jeff Sessions pushed back against the bill when he sent a strongly worded letter to Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress, asking them to oppose protections for legal weed and allow him to prosecute medical marijuana.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime," Sessions wrote in his letter.

The bill's 2014 passage, with 170 Democrats and 49 Republicans in favor, was the first time Congress passed legislation that protected medical marijuana users and businesses. It meant that an attorney general could no longer send Drug Enforcement Administration agents (or use other government resources) to bust medical marijuana in states where it was legal.

It was in line with the Obama administration's 2013 "Cole Memo," in which Deputy Attorney General James Cole said the Justice Department would refrain from prosecuting medical marijuana businesses and users in states where it was legal, and that it would prioritize more serious marijuana offenses, like drug cartels and sales to minors. The policy marked a change for the Obama administration, where medical marijuana busts were once rampant.

With his letter, Sessions pushed Congress to end these protections. In a statement on Friday, Sessions announced that the Justice Department would halt the practice of guidance memos, and review Obama administration guidance memos on legal pot to see if they went too far.

Sessions is known for being one of the nation's toughest critics of legal pot. He once said the KKK was "OK until I found out they smoked pot."

More recently, he said at a speech in March in Richmond, "I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana—so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful.”

In the early decades of his career, denouncing marijuana was an unprovocative viewpoint. In the days of DARE and abstinence-only drug education, marijuana was the bogeyman at the gateway to much more dangerous drugs. But despite new research praising medical pot and the skyrocketing approval ratings for the drug, Sessions has only budged ever so slightly in that view.

He nodded last week and said, "I think that's correct" when Representative Steve Cohen, a Tennessee Democrat, said cannabis was not as dangerous as heroin. Sessions said he'd consider thorough analyses of medical marijuana, but that he was not optimistic.

"He’s old fashioned and very conservative," said Philip Heymann, a Harvard Law School professor and former Justice Department official for the Kennedy, Johnson, Carter and Clinton administrations.. "Literally seven years ago, maybe eight years ago, marijuana was thought to be a very dangerous drug. Why would he focus on this issue? Because he’s seven years out of date."

Even the attorney general who set the precedent for federal prosecution of legalized marijuana says Sessions would be remiss to put many resources, amid all of the country’s larger problems, into prosecuting medical marijuana.

“To prosecute an act that is otherwise lawful under state law, one could make the argument [that] as a matter of policy, we’ve got other priorities we ought to be spending our resources on,” Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general for President George W. Bush, told Newsweek. “With respect to everything else going on in the U.S., this is pretty low priority.”

In theory, without Rohrabacher-Farr in his way, Sessions could send DEA agents into a medical marijuana dispensary or producer in any state to bust it. Experts say, if he did this, he'd likely prosecute a distributor or a producer with other violations, like tax or licensing mistakes, in addition to its violation of the CSA.

"They can scream all they like that they haven’t violated state laws, but they violated federal law," said Heymann.

Ilya Shapiro, a constitutional studies fellow at conservative think tank CATO institute and the editor of its Supreme Court Review, said law enforcement would likely first prosecute those in gross violation of federal laws before the average pot smoker––"the same way police go after rapists and murderers before they go after jaywalkers."

The Justice Department declined requests for comment on its medical marijuana agenda or on the aftermath of a Rohrabacher-Farr expiration. Representatives Sam Farr (D-Calif.) and Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) introduced and passed the bill in 2014, after years of failed attempts, as part of the Commerce, Justice and Science Appropriations Bill for fiscal year 2015. It has been renewed twice since then, until House Republican leadership blocked a vote on it in September.

Under the bill, none of the funds appropriated by Congress to the D.O.J. can be used “to prevent [states] from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana." Congress has to vote on it every year.

Nicholas Vita, the CEO of Columbia Care, a medical marijuana healthcare company with dispensaries across the country, said Sessions "clearly has a bias." His company owns five dispensaries in New York –– including the one in Rochester, where Jendron gets her weed. But, Vita said, “The toothpaste can’t be put back in the tube." With such high support across the country, a full reversal seems extremely unlikely.

Columbia Care’s Manhattan dispensary looks more like the lobby of a luxury hotel than a place to get weed, but with much more security. Its marijuana is mostly stored in a thick and ominous-looking steel safe, an extra-cautious precaution to make sure the dispensary complies with DEA standards. It comes in three, carefully measured formats –– capsules, a tincture (liquid cannabis extract) that patients take with a dropper, and a vape pen.

Vita said public perception on dispensaries like Columbia’s has changed rapidly.

“Five years ago, no one even talked to us,” Vita said. “I couldn’t even tell my mom and dad what I do for a living.” Today, he says leading research institutions reach out to him to partner on studies.

Despite the turnaround, strong dissenting voices remain.

Kevin Sabet, president of the nonprofit Smart Approaches to Marijuana, an anti-marijuana legalization group led by former Representative Patrick Kennedy (D-RI), said legal weed was not as harmless as the recent hype has made it out to be. "A lot of people are being peddled this by an industry that wants to make money, like any other industry," he said. "I have a really hard time with the very small handful of studies out. They’re just not something that the scientific community agrees upon."

Studies are indeed limited, because marijuana is a Schedule I drug, making it hard to get DEA funding for that research. A recent study in Colorado found a reversal of opioid deaths following recreational legalization. Two August studies found, however, that evidence of its efficacy in chronic pain or PTSD treatment was lacking. While far from a consensus, its patients seem hopeful.

For patients like Jendron, the proof is in lived experience.

Chronic pain "manipulates your life," she said. "I'm smiling because I don't hurt anymore."

Stay Informed:

It's the Opium Stupid, Afghan surge guarantees CIA Drug Profits

Washington's Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade, the Spoils of War

100 Years of a War on Drugs

Afghanistan: CIA's Shady history of drug trafficking

(How to) Beat any drug test for FREE 

Afghan Heroin & the CIA

Federal Agents Allowed Tons Of Cocaine To Be Smuggled Into The U.S.

CNN: CIA admits it overlooked Contras' links to drugs

Sessions Suggests DOJ Preparing For Federal Crackdown On Recreational Marijuana

By Harriet Sinclair, Newsweek

Jeff Sessions is suggesting that federal authorities will crack down on marijuana even in states where it has been legalized for recreational use.

The attorney general hinted of a coming Department of Justice crackdown on the drug on Wednesday, suggesting there were likely to be changes to the department's policy on cannabis—which has thus far hewed to the Obama-era guidelines.

“We’re looking at that very hard right now, we had a meeting yesterday and talked about it at some length,” Sessions said at a press conference, reported the Sacramento Bee.

“It’s my view that the use of marijuana is detrimental, and we should not give encouragement in any way to it, and it represents a federal violation, which is in the law and is subject to being enforced,” he added.

The attorney general has previously said he believes cannabis is as harmful as heroin, although in a November hearing he appeared to have softened his stance on the drug; which is legal for medical use in 29 states and Washington, D.C., while recreational marijuana is legal in eight states and D.C., despite being prohibited on a federal level.

"Our policy is the same, really, fundamentally as the (Obama) policy, which is that the federal law remains in effect and a state can legalize marijuana for its law enforcement purposes but it still remains illegal with regard to federal purposes," said Sessions.

Sessions has long been an opponent of marijuana legalization. He stated in March that he did not back the “fashionable” view on weed legalization. However, his agency has not publicly moved to change the existing rider that prevents the federal government from getting involved in state marijuana laws—although that may be about to change.

“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable,” he said in a speech on combating crime.

And this week he reiterated his stance, suggesting the Department of Justice was working on a policy that could affect the states in which recreational marijuana is legal.

“We are working our way through to a rational policy, but I don’t want to suggest in any way that this department believes that marijuana is harmless and people should not avoid it,” Sessions added.

His views have previously been challenged by legal weed states, with a report from Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s office suggesting the state's decision to legalize cannabis had not resulted in a significant increase in drug use among young people.

Stay Informed:

It's the Opium Stupid, Afghan surge guarantees CIA Drug Profits

Washington's Hidden Agenda: Restore the Drug Trade, the Spoils of War

100 Years of a War on Drugs

Afghanistan: CIA's Shady history of drug trafficking

(How to) Beat any drug test for FREE 

Afghan Heroin & the CIA

Federal Agents Allowed Tons Of Cocaine To Be Smuggled Into The U.S.

CNN: CIA admits it overlooked Contras' links to drugs