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January 13, 2009

Land of the Free?

As the US economy continues to unravel like a cheap suit in a hurricane, the day’s news supplied an overdose of prison-related irony: a thoughtful AP item asks an obvious question about the possibility of reducing the financially burdensome prison population that has quadrupled since passage of the execrable Controlled Substances Act in 1970, making us hands-down world leader in incarceration.

One is hard put to come up with a government entitlement program with greater built in cost, less scientific validity, or more onerous social consequences than the drug war and the prison expansion it has spawned. Nevertheless the hatred and violence now endemic in our overcrowded prisons are real, as anyone who has watched a few of the proliferating TV prison documentaries or read any thoughtful descriptions of modern prison culture knows only too well. Thus the choice of which prisoners to release early would become critical and, given the track record of our criminal “justice” system (how’s that for an oxymoron?), I wouldn’t trust them to get it right.

In another incarceration-related item, a federal magistrate in New York decided that Ponzi King Bernie Madoff isn’t a flight risk; thus allowing him to remain on house arrest in his luxurious penthouse. That may even be true, but I have several bitter personal memories of sick medical marijuana patients who were terribly mistreated by federal judges; at least one of whom was murdered, and another who was denied bond and forced to remain in a miserable county jail while awaiting trial after a purely vindictive change in venue. The deliberate mistreatment with which our federal government routinely treats Californians it has arrested for medical marijuana violations has made me more contemptuous of those who work for it than I ever believed possible.

Oh yes; the twerp in the White House gave his last press conference today; he admitted to some rhetorical excesses, but stood by his disastrous invasion of Iraq. I suspect history will have a very different opinion.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at January 13, 2009 08:06 AM