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http://www.salon.com/2012/10/18/the_libertarianmarijuana_conspiracy_to_swing_the_election/

 

The libertarian/marijuana conspiracy to swing the election

 

Robocalls urge pro-drug legalization voters to support libertarian Gary Johnson, and could push the state to Romney VIDEO

 

By David Sirota

Topics: 2012 Elections, Barack Obama, Colorado, Gary Johnson, Marijuana Legalization, Mitt Romney, War on Drugs, Politics News

colorado_sirota_rect2-460x307.jpg (Credit: AP/marekuliasz via Shutterstock/Salon)

The term “perfect storm” is so overused as to be a pathetic cliche — but alas, in politics, it is about the best phrase to describe Colorado in the upcoming election. The state could decide the outcome. And if it comes down to that, it will likely be messy, for we are watching an epic convergence of factors that seem poised to make the square state 2012′s version of Florida in 2000.

Here in the center of the Intermountain West, we have polls showing a nail-bitingly close race between the Democratic and Republican nominees for president. We have a chief election official, Secretary of State Scott Gessler, who has tried both to engage in mass voter purges and to block the mailing of ballots to eligible voters, all while openly saying a “good election” is one in which “Republicans win.” On the ballot, we also have a headline-grabbing ballot initiative about marijuana legalization and a popular former two-term governor of a neighboring state, Gary Johnson, running a Libertarian Party presidential candidacy.

The armchair pundits in Washington and New York typically write off these latter two factors as forces destined to aid the president’s reelection campaign. The conventional wisdom is rooted in oversimplified cartoons and caricatures of voter preferences. Essentially, the idea is that the marijuana measure will bring out liberal, Obama-loving hippies, yuppies and crunchies from Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins, while the libertarian candidate’s campaign will siphon conservative votes that would otherwise go to Mitt Romney, thus making Johnson the Republican “version of Ralph Nader,” as the New York Times predictably projects. But that kind of hackneyed red-versus-blue story line — so prevalent in the national media echo chamber — ignores how these forces are playing out on the ground.

The marijuana ballot measure, for instance, is defying conventional Democrat/Republican and liberal/conservative narratives, effectively scrambling the political establishments of both parties. In the last month, Colorado’s Democratic Party elite, led by Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock (D), have repositioned themselves as committed drug warriors proudly leading the charge against the ballot measure to end the costly war on weed (this is particularly stunning for Hickenlooper, considering his famous career as a drug pusher). Meanwhile, former Colorado Republican congressman Tom Tancredo and a group of fellow GOPers made headlines recently when they wholeheartedly endorsed the measure. Put this together with the libertarian streak in Colorado’s Republican politics, and it becomes clear that the pot initiative could boost voting in ways that don’t correspond to traditional red-versus-blue turnout models and stereotypes.

This is particularly true considering the intersection of the pot initiative and the Johnson campaign. Despite the punditocracy’s narratives to the contrary, the former New Mexico governor has already been taking as much — or more – support away from Obama in Colorado as he has been from Romney, according to polls. And Johnson’s anti-Obama effect could be come much more pronounced in the next few weeks, thanks to how his supporters are deftly leveraging all hoopla around the marijuana initiative to sharpen their candidate’s appeal and message to disaffected Democrats.

This message is not just word-of-mouth anymore; it has been elevated to the big leagues by a new voter outreach campaign. Indeed, a new automated telephone call focused on the pot measure and playing to liberal disappointment is right now hitting Democratic households in Colorado. Here’s what the message says (you can listen to the full audio below):

Hello fellow Democrat. Like you I was thrilled to vote for Barack Obama in 2008. In 2008, candidate Obama promised not to use the Justice Department to prosecute medical marijuana in states where it was legal. But the real Obama did just that, more than doubling prosecutions, putting people in prisons and shutting down medical marijuana facilities in Colorado. That’s not the change you wanted on health freedom. But you can still be a force for hope and change by voting for Gary Johnson.

Officially funded by the Libertas Institute, the message is accurate in its factual broad strokes. Candidate Obama did explicitly promise to restrain the Justice Department from prosecuting medical marijuana offenses in medical marijuana states, and President Obama has nonetheless overseen an intense Justice Department crackdown on medical marijuana in those states, directly contradicting his pledge.

Though the national media has made the unilateral decision to ignore the massive and destructive Drug War, Johnson and his supporters clearly see the issue as a perfect opening for maximum local — and by virtue of the Electoral College, national — impact. They can make a full-throated libertarian case against the Drug War in a state whose politics are uniquely aligned to convert that argument into an election-winning game-changer for the Republican presidential nominee.

Is this a brilliant GOP conspiracy theory? In other words, is the libertarian candidate deliberately trying to help Romney, as Obama partisans will no doubt grouse? Almost certainly not, as Johnson is no fan of Romney, to say the least. He has run a consistently honest and principled campaign that has been equal — and equally harsh — in its criticism of both parties. For that, despite being on most state ballots, he has been mercilessly shut out of the national debate by America’s bipartisan Political-Media-Industrial Complex. But apparently not shut out enough to potentially shift the outcome of the entire 2012 election.

No, if Obamaphiles have any grievance over the Johnson Effect in Colorado, it should be with their candidate. He was the one who needlessly betrayed his own position on the failed drug war, a position that almost certainly got him votes in 2008 from disaffected Republicans and libertarians. He probably made the same calculation as the national media: He probably believed few care about the Drug War or his drug policy reversals, and that the brazen reversals might even win him votes by making him look “tough.”

But, then, every now and again, such cynical calculations can end up being epic miscalculations, especially when it comes to lying to a motivated subset of voters. In that sense, nobody should be surprised that having been betrayed, many of those Democratic-leaning voters who supported Obama in 2008 specifically because of his position on the Drug War may look for an alternative in 2012. The only thing surprising is that thanks to Colorado’s perfect storm, there’s now a very real chance that the alternative could end up changing the entire course of history.

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Make no mistake, just as many Republicans are voting for Gary Johnson instead of Romney just because they will not vote for Obama either.

 

Romney and the Republicans running the charade have pushed far more Independants and Long Time Republicans away from the party, than Obama will lose solely to Cannabis Supporters.

 

We ll have 4 more years of Obama, or Gary may just win this thing. But Romney? the only way Romney wins is the same way bush did, but it will be Far more obvious than it was in 2000 and 2004. The public in general is Far more aware of the Voter Fraud and Corruption that has been occurring. Add in the way Dr Paul was utterly accosted through the Republican Primaries...

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http://www.salon.com/2012/09/24/romney_advisors_reefer_madness/

 

Romney advisor’s reefer madness

Mel Sembler, GOP's top drug policy aid, founded a rehab that “treated” 50,000 teens with a dehumanizing routine

 

 

When the national political press writes about Republican financier Mel Sembler—a major Romney donor who formerly chaired the finance committee for the party (and the candidate himself)—it typically fails to mention his involvement in abusive addiction treatment and reactionary drug policy. For example, this recent Daily Beast piece on his fundraising simply notes that the Florida shopping mall magnate switched his political affiliation away from the Democrats in 1979 because of his opposition to marijuana use.

 

What it doesn’t mention is that he also founded a rehab that “treated” some 50,000 American teens with a dehumanizing daily routine often involving beatings, days on end of sleep deprivation, brutal restraints that often left youth wetting or soiling themselves, public humiliation (including misogynistic and homophobic insults), lack of privacy and other human rights violations including kidnapping and false imprisonment of both adults and youth.

Nor does it detail how that organization—Straight Incorporated—morphed into the Drug Free America Foundation (DFAF), a group that now fights to ensure that drug policy remains harsh and punitive. Last week, The Nation examined those connections, noting that 95% of the money donated to oppose Colorado’s marijuana legalization initiative, Amendment 64, comes from DFAF’s sister organization, also founded by Sembler and his wife, Betty, called Save Our Society from Drugs. If approved by voters on November 6, Colorado will be the first state to make it legal for adults (age 21 and up) to possess as much as one ounce of pot. The initiative, sponsored by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, would bring the cultivation, sales and consumption of marijuana under state control. (The amendment was supported by a majority of voters, but recent anti-legalization agitprop has tightened the race.)

 

Writes The Nation’s Lee Fang: Three years after Straight shut down, the Semblers changed its name to the Drug Free America Foundation, headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida. The Drug Free America Foundation, a nonprofit that shares resources, an office and staff with the Save Our Society group financing the Amendment 64 opposition in Colorado, has a contract with the federal government to help small businesses develop their own drug-testing programs for employees. In 2010, taxpayers forked over $250,000 to a Sembler group to oversee a drug-free workplace program for the Small Business Administration. It also helps produce anti-marijuana literature and promotional campaigns.

Straight wasn’t abusive by accident: it was based on an organization called The Seed, which a Congressional investigation compared to the brutal brainwashing conducted by the North Koreans on American soldiers during the war. Sembler co-founded Straight, in fact, because The Seed had treated one of his children and he wanted its tough methods to continue to be used after that program was discredited by the federal probe.

In every one of the seven states where it operated from 1976 to 1993, Straight faced lawsuits and regulatory investigations because its tactics were so inhumane. The abuse wasn’t an aberration: it was the “therapy.” Every single teen at Straight had to sit up tall on a plastic chair for hours at a time; the only movement allowed was “motivating” or wildly waving one’s hands to be called on to speak. If a child refused to participate, hours of restraint would ensue. And participating involved disclosing your darkest secrets and then having that information used to break you.

But having no secrets may have been worse: Straight often admitted youth who were merely suspected of drug use, then subjected them to hours of confrontation to break through their “lies” and “denial.” This led many who had rarely or even never taken drugs to create elaborate tales of addiction, simply to stop the attacks. (For more on Straight’s abusive practices, see The Fix‘s “Mitt Romney’s Big Drug Problem.”)

Hundreds of former participants, not surprisingly, developed post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and worsened drug problems afterward—and there have been dozens of suicides that survivors of Straight say are directly linked to the program.

You would think that people who ran an organization like this would be in prison—or at least, wouldn’t be proud of their actions. The Semblers, however, have never renounced Straight: in fact, Mel Sembler’s online biography boasts that it was a “remarkable program” and claims that 12,000 teens graduated. When the ACLU called it a “brutal program” and a “concentration camp,” Sembler said that their opposition “just shows that we have been doing things right.”

Given their money and influence in the Sunshine State, the Semblers are feted as philanthropists—their past as operators of an organization that practiced what most human rights experts would label torture only rarely linked to their current advocacy for continued drug criminalization.

DFAF is seen as a legitimate think-tank, despite the fact that under its prior name it engaged in “treatment” that would not be acceptable in prisons, let alone healthcare.

Whatever your views on the harms related to marijuana, there’s no evidence that our current policies—or abusive rehab or prison—in any way reduces them. And yet virtually all of the most vocal proponents of a marijuana-focused drug war—including Kevin Sabet, a former official in the drug czar’s office who has written countless anti-marijuana op-eds, including for The Fix (“The Case Against Medical Marijuana“)—have ties to DFAF. Sabet, for example, has served on their advisory board and represented the group at international meetings.

DFAF fights not only against marijuana legalization and in favor of a strong role for law enforcement and the drug war. It also opposes two of the most effective ways to save the lives of addicted people: needle exchange programs and methadone and buprenorphine maintenance. At several UN-related meetings, it has countered efforts to include these and other evidence-based “harm reduction” policies in the agency’s documents and strategies. Using propaganda based on junk science, the group exaggerates the negative aspects of drugs, such as their addictiveness and health risks, portraying the marijuana “menace” as if informed entirely by the 1950’s Reefer Madness—a cult classic for its over-the-top pot panic.

Why is this group seriously? Why do we allow anyone who has not renounced abusive treatment to have any say about anything to do with drug users? Would we accept, in any other area of policy, the participation of leaders who deliberately enabled, ignored or even actively promoted the maltreatment of children? How can anyone believe that a group that brutalized drug users and even suspected drug users is a sane voice about policy related to them?

The obvious answer is politics: Sembler’s fortune and influence in the swing state of Florida, together with his huge donations to the Republican Party, have long bought him not only access but appointments as an advisor on drug policy to presidents and governors, not to mention several ambassadorships.

But an even more insidious answer is that people with addictions are seen as less than human—and anything to “fight drugs” is still seen as acceptable, even if it backfires as destructively as Straight and bans on needle exchange and methadone have done. If we are to have drug policy that is both more humane and more effective, we need to stand with the survivors of Straight and not allow those who harmed them to inflict further harm on teens, drug users or those suspected of using.

If the supporters of marijuana legalization initiatives like Amendment 64 had a prior history of using force to convert prohibition supporters into drug users, would it be seen as irrelevant? Somehow I think not.

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Unfortunatley i still say Obamas the lesser of two evils. A vote for one of the alternatives [Johnson, Paul, ...] will only help to pull votes to a candidate with no chance of winning and most likely from the Obama side. The last thing we need is Romunisian in charge. Especially in light of this: Apperantley he has some shady connections, with speculative goals:

gallery_2767_472_18013.jpg

 

Willard and Bibi Their other cohort not shown here is the owner of the Israeli Newspaper and one of their biggest supporters: $heldon Adlesome .

 

"The connection between Romney and Netanyahu goes back decades. It started in the mid-1970s when they were corporate consultants at the Boston Consulting Group and has lasted nearly 40 years -- with Netanyahu, the world-wise politician, occasionally offering advice to Romney, the successful financier turned politician.

 

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/25/romney-overseas-tour-chance-to-showcase-netanyahu-friendship/#ixzz29wI9OJxr"

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romneys donor ran straight inc, theres a lot of videos on them:

 

romney doesnt even recognize medical marijuana. what his true agenda on it will be, no one knows.

will he be for sativex? will he copy george bush and ignore it? will he follow obama and raid dispensaries?

 

no clue. he is very quiet about it.

obama just laughs when asked about it. which is very annoying.

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There is also a video out there recorded of him telling employers to threaten their employees if they vote for Obama. I cannot remember which site had it up now. Either way, that is totally not cool.

 

Look up Chris Hays on MSNBC. He did a piece yesterday morning regarding some emails that the Governor sent to heads of companies instructing them to advise their employees how to vote if they wanted to secure their jobs. I believe that he has them posted on one of his web sites if you want to do the leg work. It doesn't look good in mine eyes.

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I send an email to the president every time I get a request for donations with a link to this story http://www.thedailychronic.net/2012/12418/medical-marijuana-supporters-not-donating-to-obama/

 

If all of us would do the same, don't you think that they would notice us? It only requires a few minutes to tell the man how you feel. And, above all else, be nice. If you unable to write, swallow your pride and ask a friend for help.

 

Time is of the essence, please do it now.

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romneys donor ran straight inc, theres a lot of videos on them:

 

romney doesnt even recognize medical marijuana. what his true agenda on it will be, no one knows.

will he be for sativex? will he copy george bush and ignore it? will he follow obama and raid dispensaries?

 

no clue. he is very quiet about it.

obama just laughs when asked about it. which is very annoying.

no obamma doesnt just laugh...hes on record...he said he would leave it to the states and then went on to pursue us like a rabid dog. on top of a huge number of arrests...after he said he wouldnt, he was also the first president to ever pursue mmj via the IRS. obamma and romney arer equally bad for mmj

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I send an email to the president every time I get a request for donations with a link to this story http://www.thedailyc...ating-to-obama/

 

If all of us would do the same, don't you think that they would notice us? It only requires a few minutes to tell the man how you feel. And, above all else, be nice. If you unable to write, swallow your pride and ask a friend for help.

 

Time is of the essence, please do it now.

 

Good Choice Herb.

 

That is a proper way to effect change.

 

And yes, if tons of previous donors donate with that link instead, it would definitely make them think twice. :-)

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