Posted: 9:04 am Thursday, August 21st, 2014

Weighing benefits of pot legalization 

By rbadie

Moderated by Rick Badie

Today, we present another conversation on whether to legalize the use of medical cannabis. A former DeKalb County district attorney presents a historical perspective on the prohibition of cannabis and implores the 2015 General Assembly to conduct a comprehensive cost/benefit analysis of legalization for medicinal and recreational use. Meanwhile, a conservative activist supports medicinal use of pot but opposes its use for recreational purposes.

Analyze costs, benefits of legal pot

By J. Tom Morgan

Two states have legalized small amounts of marijuana possession. More than 30 states have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. Recently, The New York Times editorial board called for the decriminalization of marijuana. Kenneth Thompson, the district attorney of Kings County, N.Y., announced he will no longer prosecute misdemeanor marijuana possession cases.

In light of the changes in the rest of the country, the Georgia Legislature should examine whether to repeal Georgia’s own prohibition of marijuana possession. Prior to 1937, cannabis was legal and recognized by the American Medical Association as a legitimate pharmaceutical. It was prescribed by doctors in this country and England; Queen Victoria was prescribed marijuana for menstrual cramps.

In 1937, prohibition had ended, and Harry Anslinger, director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, needed a new cause. He convinced some friends in Congress to introduce a bill criminalizing marijuana.According to the Congressional Record, Anslinger gave the following testimony: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others.”

Congress voted to criminalize marijuana.

In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, chaired by Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Raymond Shafer, recommended the end of marijuana prohibition. Dr. Jesse Steinfeld, the surgeon general, recommended against placing marijuana on the newly created list of prohibited drugs. Still, President Richard Nixon and Congress classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, the most dangerous drug category.

Unlike alcohol and tobacco, marijuana does not appear to cause addiction in most persons who use the drug. Yet alcohol possession is legal for persons over 21; there is no criminal law prohibiting possession of tobacco products by persons of any age. Although it is against the law to sell tobacco products to a person under 18, and it is against the law for a person under 18 to purchase tobacco products, there is no criminal law prohibiting the possession of tobacco products by underage persons.

Some argue that marijuana is a gateway drug to more dangerous drugs. Many baby boomers would dispute this assertion. In my experience representing young people charged with possession of drugs such as cocaine or heroin, it was the drug dealer, not marijuana, who convinced them to try the deadly and addictive drug. Additionally, there is no current evidence of disparity of marijuana use by African-American and Caucasian young adults, but African-Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for possession of marijuana. Whether intentional or not, the criminalization of marijuana results in racist application.

According to the Pew Research Center, 78 percent of Americans opposed the legalization of marijuana in 1991. Today, Pew reports that 54 percent favor legalization. This number includes 52 percent of baby boomers and 69 percent of millennials. It gets a more favorable rating than Congress and the president.

Because of the development of the adolescent brain and our uncertainty of the effects of marijuana on teenagers, I would not recommend legalizing marijuana possession for persons under 21. However, instead of criminal penalties for underage possession, I would recommend civil penalties that could be enforced with the threat of contempt of court. I would recommend the same for underage possession of alcohol. Young persons who commit these offenses should not be saddled with a criminal arrest on their records for the remainder of their lives.

The Georgia Legislature should appoint a committee to conduct an objective cost/benefit analysis regarding the legalization of marijuana. This analysis should examine the law enforcement costs of enforcing the prohibition, criminal prosecution and the stigma of an arrest on the individual charged with possession, compared with the benefit society derives from criminalization. Ignorance, racism and a total disregard of the scientific evidence should not be a part of the analysis.

J. Tom Morgan, former DeKalb County district attorney, is a private lawyer in Decatur.

Let’s balance medical need with common sense

By Julianne Thompson

During the 2014 General Assembly, Kay Godwin and I, co-founders of the Capitol Coalition of Conservative Leaders, and other conservatives even on the religious right supported the use of medical cannabis for intractable seizure disorder.

My heart broke for children suffering day and night with more thanto 300 violent seizures per week that only had one medical choice, and that was to basically be put in a nearly comatose state by prescription drugs. The accounts of parents who had used medical cannabis oil and had amazing success — in some cases taking the seizures down to less than two per week — were encouraging.

One mother stated she had truly not “met” her daughter until the child was 7, when medicinal cannabis (high in cannabidiol and low in THC) allowed her to function normally, to talk, walk, play and communicate as a normal, healthy child — all without a high and without the hideous side affects of FDA-approved prescription drugs. Conservative Republican legislator Allen Peake, who led the effort in the state House, is both brave and pioneering. He has my respect, and I am proud to have supported the legislation and will continue to support it.One question regularly asked is whether the legalization of marijuana for medical use opens the door to legalization for recreational use. I do not believe that to be the case, nor is it a solid basis for an argument against its medical use. If that argument is used, then shouldn’t we also consider banning morphine, codeine, pseudoephedrine and many other widely-used drugs? After all, they are all abused outside of strict medical uses by irresponsible people.

The fact is, anything can be abused, but when a substance’s medical use outweighs its potential for abuse, it would be foolish, even cruel, to ban its use. And the most important point to make on this hybrid cannabis oil is that it is not smoked, it doesn’t make one high and it is low in THC.

So let’s balance medical need with common sense.

The argument I make for cannabis’ medical use I believe to be true while being opposed to its recreational use. I would never support hallucinogens, narcotics, or traditional marijuana becoming unregulated and open to the public for recreational use due to the potential for abuse we see with vicodin, pseudoephedrine and other drugs. We don’t ban their specific medical use, but we don’t support their use for recreational pleasure, either.

Yes, I am pro-liberty, but also believe my personal liberty should not infringe upon another’s safety; we have the right to live in a safe society. Abuse of any narcotic for pleasure can, and most always does, lead to addiction. Addiction leads to heavier use and opens the door to harder drugs. This is a proven fact and in turn puts public safety at risk. It causes the need for more tax dollars to be spent on police and the courts.

It is important to point out that although I do not support recreational use, I do not believe users should be locked up, either. I fully support drug courts and alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders; I applaud Gov. Nathan Deal for his leadership in judicial reform.

In the time I have spent writing this, I realize what a very difficult subject this is. I will continue to fight for the rights of parents who want the choice of using medical cannabis for their children with intractable epilepsy. But when it comes to recreational use, let’s balance facts with common sense. It is not an easy subject. There are a lot of gray areas, and a diplomatic discussion needs to continue.

Julianne Thompson is co-chair of the Atlanta Tea Party.

27 comments
CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

SigFreud said:


Oh, and as you've already demonstrated Captain Cut'n'paste, if I said something in my own words, you would have done me the courtesy of putting it into quotation marks -- so don't pretend for a moment that I said Julianne Thompson is incapable of learning. "


Just to note, your whole rant here is because you are ticked off that my approach will make her not read and learn. That's your whole message about why I am such a SOB. 


As I said before, if anyone refuses to read and educate themselves then it is obvious that they really didn't have any interest in the subject other than their own rant. They want to claim they are all about making society a better place but they obviously aren't. If you are really interested in making the world a better place then you will do things that challenge your assumptions. You will learn. You will grow.


And that will happen regardless of your surroundings. Indeed, for a person of real character, it is something they do whatever their circumstances may be. People of real character don't get put off from the real goal because of a few unpleasant words. If she wants to save society then she ought to expect to work through a little more adversity than an unpleasant day with Cliff.


So, the real message behind your whole rant is that:

1) You don't think she will read anything, either.

2) Which shows that she really isn't interested in correct answers to this problem. She just wants to sound off because self-righteousness feels good.

3) There is still no evidence that she has read or learned anything.


Her excuse for not reading is irrelevant. Every ignorant person has an excuse for their ignorance, and all of them are lousy. One stupid reason is as good as the next. Intelligent people don't stop their own education just because they think someone was rude to them. The fact that you think she will shows you think she has a king-size case of stupid, too.


Now, if you really want to prove me wrong about my judgment of her, and make me hang my head in shame, then show me that she read and learned something. But I guess you can't do that, so my judgment (and yours) stands. 

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

This just in. JAMA Internal Medicine, has an article titled "Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010"


For the study, Bachhuber, of the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania, and his colleagues used state-level death certificate data for all 50 states between 1999 and 2010.


In states with a medical marijuana law, overdose deaths from opioids like morphine, oxycodone and heroin decreased by an average of 20 percent after one year, 25 percent by two years and up to 33 percent by years five and six compared to what would have been expected, according to results in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Meanwhile, opioid overdose deaths across the country increased dramatically, from 4,030 in 1999 to 16,651 in 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Three of every four of those deaths involved prescription pain medications.


So, to do some quick rough math, marijuana prohibition costs about 15 lives per day from opiate overdoses -- as would be predicted from the research done on medical marijuana patients in California regarding their hard drug abuse. 


So, since JT posted her opinion, about another 60 people have died unnecessarily from marijuana prohibition. That nonsense "gateway" idea is exactly backwards and belief in that myth actually means that more people will die.


This kind of BS has been going on for more than forty years that I have seen. It is long past time this nonsense stopped. 

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

SigFreud said:


"Your "stomp them to dust" mentality doesn't accomplish anything other than flattering your own ego."


No, this isn't about my ego. I am perfectly happy to watch someone else do it. In fact, I prefer it and if someone is adequately handling the job I won't enter the fray. So, if you want to blame someone, blame yourself for not getting here and doing the job first. If you leave it to others, then you get what you pay for.


"You didn't write all these comments to educate anyone."


On the contrary. According to your own words, you also think that she is the kind of person who won't change her mind at all. She won't really learn to support a sensible policy (by your own words) so the best we can teach her is to STFU. If that's all that can be taught, then teach them that.


"Julianne Thompson may read one, maybe two of your comments, but she'll pick up on your tone and skip the rest."


So, in your estimation, she is a probably a person who makes important policy decisions based on whether she likes the person speaking, rather than the important points of the policy. In other words, according to you, she is a person of low intellect and character. 


I would hope not. I would hope that she is the kind of person who can work through a little minor adversity and make a sensible decision based on real-world sensible reasons -- rather than the fact that she doesn't like the way I part my hair.


 But, until we get further information, then we go on your assumption that the only thing she could really learn is to STFU. If she wants to change that, then she should step forward and I will devote the same amount of energy to praising her good character. Until then . . . . it is what it is.


Get there first and do an adequate job before me, if you don't like it.



CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

SigFreud, review the story of how Hercules fought the Hydra. The Hydra was a monster with many heads, each of them poisonous. The problem with fighting the Hydra was that, if you cut off one of the Hydra's heads, two more would just grow in its place. Then you have twice the problem. 


So Hercules solved the problem by cutting off the head and then cauterizing the stump. He made sure the heads couldn't pop up again. Thus, he killed the Hydra.


The Hydra lives and breathes and is still killing people. It is the prohibitionist argument. If any part of their argument survives, they will simply spread it and repeat it, and we will have to deal with it again. Kill every part of it and cauterize the stump so you don't see it again.


And that approach is why the only people you will still find defending the WOSD are those in local places who haven't kept up with the national argument. The rest know better. Time for JT to learn.


And I really don't care what anyone thinks about my approach, as long as they learn to stay the hell out of the conversation until they have some dim clue what they are talking about. Stupid talk is dangerous, with real world consequences. I regard these people as fundamentally dangerous to society, because I have seen the real world results of this nonsense. It ain't just about somebody getting a ticket for smoking a joint in the park. It is long past time it stopped.


And, from what you are saying, you think JT will respond in a bigoted fashion and not consider the evidence because she doesn't like me. If you are correct, then my point is made - the only productive thing we can do with her is teach her not to speak on this in public again.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

" I disagree with the tactic of overwhelming her with evidence.  You're not educating Julianne Thompson, you're shaming her for not being more educated.  She's not going to follow the reading list you gave her -- we both know that.  You weren't trying to change her mind, you were trying to win an argument, and there's a VERY important difference between those two things."


I realized a long time ago that most of these prohibitionists never would read the evidence. They just aren't going to be convinced, no matter what. In fact, many of them won't even understand the actual questions being asked. There is a good argument to be made that their brains just can't process certain logical concepts, just like some otherwise intelligent people can't do algebra, or can't spell. For many of them, a rational thought process never enters into it.


Therefore, my goal is specifically to overwhelm them. The good ones (including a few working drug prosecutors over the years) finally read the evidence and change sides. For the rest, it is sufficient that they learn that they are just going to look foolish whenever they speak so their best option is to shut up forever. I don't care whether they learn anything other than to shut up because of painful embarrassment.


That strategy has worked pretty well. The DEA stopped coming out for debates in 1994 as a result of that strategy being applied to them. That's the reason that the legalizers have completely dominated the debate on the Internet since 1992. It was a deliberate plan, which you can see in just about every place on the Internet where the subject is discussed. This stupid Reefer Madness has gone on long enough and it is long past time that this nonsense gets exposed for the BS that it is. There is just no point in letting it continue for even one more day. Everybody needs to learn: Get a real education on the subject so you know what the hell you are talking about or shut up. Too many innocent people are hurt by ignorance.


And, of course, that is pretty much the same thing that President Nixon's US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse said -- the ignorant people really need to shut the hell up.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"I fully support drug courts and alternative sentencing for non-violent offenders"


That brings up a question. Most of the people who come before a court for marijuana aren't going to agree that they need treatment for marijuana. You can send them to all the "education" classes you want, but they are still going to tell you to stick it where the moon don't shine because the majority of them just don't see their marijuana use as a problem. And, for the vast majority of them, marijuana isn't a real problem in their lives, any more than the occasional use of wine would be a problem.


What then? What if you have dragged them through this expensive process and they still don't agree with you that they ought to stop? Do you send them through a pointless process again? Do you throw them in jail because they never will agree with you? 


I have a better proposal. Just leave them alone until they have a real problem, and then deal with the real problem, which usually isn't the marijuana use.

SigFreud
SigFreud

I'm afraid Julianne Thompson is wrong.  However, if she grew up in the United States sometime in the last 40 years, it's not her fault.  The Federal Government has made manipulating well-intentioned people like Julianne Thompson a top-priority for four decades.  That's why Uncle Sam hands the ONDCP $25 billion per year: to mislead people like Julianne Thompson.  She's a victim of propaganda, and I don't get the impression she's getting paid to repeat this stuff.


Now, I may agree with everything Cliff said, however, I disagree with the tactic of overwhelming her with evidence.  You're not educating Julianne Thompson, you're shaming her for not being more educated.  She's not going to follow the reading list you gave her -- we both know that.  You weren't trying to change her mind, you were trying to win an argument, and there's a VERY important difference between those two things.  A person who is honestly mistaken can change their mind -- you attacked her presuming she was a paid liar.  I doubt she's on the ONDCP payroll as a member of the Tea Party, although I am surprised she's so willing to recycle their arguments.


She's just mistaken, Cliff -- she's saying things she *believes*.  She's not lying, she's just repeating stuff she doesn't know isn't true.  And even though she trotted out all those false things in a gish-gallop style, she cannot be brow-beaten into changing her perspective.


Cliff, read her essay again, but this time, read it with the intention of guessing, exactly, how much time she's dedicated to personally research the subjects of substance abuse, generally, and cannabis prohibition, specifically.  My estimate is probably the same as yours (not a lot).  Given the sort of arguments she brought up, my guess is that she's probably more convinced by anecdotes than an impressive bibliography.  She needs to hear a story she can remember.


The easiest story I know about understanding the nature of addiction is the story of Sigmund Freud.  Thankfully, it has nothing to do with his work. 


Freud was a coke head.  He was a habitual user of cocaine for years until he learned cocaine would damage his brain -- he quit using cocaine, cold-turkey.  Clearly, he did not become addicted to cocaine.  However, he did become addicted to cigars.  It's no coincidence Freud is usually depicted with one in his mouth.  Freud smoked over a dozen cigars, daily.  Eventually, he developed a tumor in his jaw bone as a result of the cigar smoking.  But Freud hid the truth of his cancer from his friends and family for over three years because he knew they would make him give up cigars.  Freud kept smoking cigars until his jawbone had to be removed.


Addiction isn't easy to understand, if you're *really* trying to understand it.  Its severity is measured by the impact the addiction has on a person's life -- how bad is the physical withdrawal, and how badly does their addiction impact goals and priorities, like work or school or family?  The answers are always *different* person to person, substance to substance.  Freud taught us that much, at least.


And when it comes to cannabis, specifically -- there are no appreciable physical withdrawal symptoms (perhaps some sleeplessness and mild irritability).  And as far as the "social costs" of cannabis are concerned, most of those social costs are imposed by the government -- you can lose your job, your home, your scholarship, or even worse, your freedom. 


So if you can't die using it (no one ever has), you don't suffer when you stop using it, and all the negative consequences of using it are artificially imposed by an over-funded federal monster, really and truly, I think that's all Julianne Thompson needs to know.


CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"We don’t ban their specific medical use, but we don’t support their use for recreational pleasure, either."


This shows a fundamental - often deliberate - misunderstanding of the issue. The issue is not about whether we "support their use for recreational pleasure." The issue is about what we are going to do about it if someone does something that we don't particularly agree with. 


I have found that many prohibitionists are unable to understand this simple logical distinction. Let me give an example.


I do not support the use of recreational cigars. I think they are smelly, disgusting, and they have bad health effects on the user and anyone who happens to be near. I cannot see any reason why anyone would want to walk around with a burning piece of poop in their mouth. They are far more dangerous than marijuana, by any standard of measure.


Having said that, I see no reason to make cigars a crime. If you keep it out of my face, then knock yourself out with hundred-dollar Cubans for all I care. I will let you make your own decisions about that.


Prohibitionists often simply cannot understand that simple distinction. That is why they make statements like "support their use for recreational pleasure."

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"Abuse of any narcotic for pleasure can, and most always does, lead to addiction. Addiction leads to heavier use and opens the door to harder drugs."


Research on medical marijuana patients in California showed that, for those who abused hard drugs, 90 percent greatly reduced their use of hard drugs and ten percent quit completely when they took up the regular use of marijuana. Marijuana actually leads people AWAY from hard drugs.


The explanation for this is simple. Hard drug abuse is driven largely by anxiety-related disorders. Hard drug abusers are attempting to self-medicate problems going on in their own heads. Marijuana is an excellent anxiolytic. It gives them relief from their anxiety without messing them up so badly that they can't function. They are doing the same thing that other people might do if they went to a doctor and got a prescription for anxiety such as Valium or Xanax. For many people, marijuana has far fewer negative side effects than the other drugs.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

Marijuana was outlawed for two major reasons. The first was because "All Mexicans are crazy and marijuana is what makes them crazy. The second was the fear that heroin addiction would lead to the use of marijuana - exactly the opposite of the modern "gateway" nonsense.


Only one MD testified at the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The representative of the American Medical Association said there was no evidence that marijuana was a dangerous drug and no reason for the law. He pointed out that it was used in hundreds of common medicines at the time, with no significant problems. In response, the committee told him that, if he wasn't going to cooperate, he should shut up and leave.


The only other "expert" to testify was James C. Munch, a psychologist. His sole claim to fame was that he had injected marijuana directly into the brains of 300 dogs and two of them died. When they asked him what he concluded from this, he said he didn't know what to conclude because he wasn't a dog psychologist. Mr. Munch also testified in court, under oath, that marijuana could make your fangs grow six inches long and drip with blood. He also said that, when he tried it, it turned him into a bat. He then described how he flew around the room for two hours.


Mr. Munch was the only "expert" in the US who thought marijuana should be illegal, so they appointed him US Official Expert on marijuana, where he served and guided policy for 25 years.


If you read the transcripts of the hearings, one question is asked more than any other: "What is this stuff?" It is quite apparent that Congress didn't even know what they were voting on. The law was shoved through by a small group of lunatics with no real awareness by anyone else of what was happening. 


See http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/History/whiteb1.htm for an entertaining short history of the marijuana laws.

See http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/taxact/taxact.htm for the complete transcripts of the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.


CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"There are a lot of gray areas, and a diplomatic discussion needs to continue.'


Let's try this first. Why don't you simply read something so you have some clue what you are talking about?


Start with the short history of the marijuana laws so you have some clue why we have these laws in the first place. Google "Historical Research on Drug Policy"  That will take you to a collection of histories by different authors. Start with the history by Charles Whitebread. 


Then google "Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy". That will take you to a collection of the full text of every major government commission report on the subject from around the world over the last 100 years. If you read them (I will bet she won't) you will find that all of your concerns and questions have been addressed repeatedly over the years. All of the commissions came to remarkably similar conclusions.


In 1973, President Nixon's US National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse completed the largest and most comprehensive study of the drug laws ever done. At the end of their study, they said that the real drug problem was not marijuana, or heroin, or cocaine. The real drug problem, they said, was the ignorance of the people who have never bothered to read the most basic research. 


In a perfect illustration of their point, Nixon refused to read his own commission's report. We can see from the writing here that the problem is still with us.


And I will bet that Julianne Thompson will still refuse to read any of it.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"It is important to point out that although I do not support recreational use, I do not believe users should be locked up, either."


So the idea is that the market for marijuana should be left intact, but that we should leave control of the supply in the hands of organized crime. That is the same thing we did with alcohol during alcohol prohibition. It obviously didn't work out.


It should be obvious to Julianne Thompson that marijuana is not going to go away any time soon. In fact, it is a business about as big as beer - about 100 billion dollars per year. Therefore, there are only three options for who will control the trade, make all the rules for production and distribution, and spend all the billions in profit. Those options are:


1) Government, with proper regulations and taxes to address social problems.

2) Private business, with proper regulations and taxes to address social problems.

3) Organized crime, with no regulations or taxes to address social problems.


Julianne Thompson needs to explain why she thinks that giving a complete monopoly to organized crime will give us the best control over any problems. 

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"Yes, I am pro-liberty,"


No, you really aren't. You just like the words, not the actuality.


" but also believe my personal liberty should not infringe upon another’s safety; we have the right to live in a safe society."


Well, if someone actually endangers someone else then you don't need a drug law to arrest them, do you? You know, same as for alcohol, which causes far more of those problems than all the illegal drugs combined. Marijuana isn't even a blip on the radar by comparison.



" Abuse of any narcotic for pleasure can, and most always does, lead to addiction."


Wrong. Addicts are a minority for every drug. Furthermore, marijuana ranks as about as addictive as caffeine. Google "NIDA rankings of addictive qualities of various drugs"



"Addiction leads to heavier use and opens the door to harder drugs."


I already covered this nonsense. See my other comments. Google "History of the Marijuana Gateway Myth" for the references. Just FYI, anyone who makes this kind of argument in a college logic class will fail the class.


"This is a proven fact and in turn puts public safety at risk. It causes the need for more tax dollars to be spent on police and the courts."


No. The only thing this statement proves is that Julianne Thompson has never read the most basic research on the subject. The idea has been debunked by every major government commission from around the world over the last 100 years. Google "Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy" and read them yourself.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"I would never support hallucinogens, narcotics, or traditional marijuana becoming unregulated and open to the public for recreational use due to the potential for abuse we see with vicodin, pseudoephedrine and other drugs."


First of all, Google "Licit and Illicit Drugs". Read that entire book and get back to us when you can tell us why these drugs were outlawed in the first place. Hint: It had nothing to do with your modern assumptions.


(I will bet that Julianne Thompson refuses to read this book or any other reference on the subject.)


Second, the real drug of comparison is alcohol -- because we already tried prohibition with that drug. Alcohol leads the field in damage to society. It accounts for about half of all deaths from auto accidents, homicides, suicides, fires, and drownings. It accounts for about half of all domestic abuse, up to two-thirds of all sexual assaults on children, and up to forty percent of all inpatient hospital care. All of the illegal drugs combined don't even come close and they never have.


This should make it obvious that the drug laws never really had anything to do with protecting public safety. If they did, then there would be mandatory minimum sentences on possession of both alcohol and cheeseburgers.


There is only one reason that alcohol is legal, and it is the same reason that marijuana should be legal. That is because we proved conclusively that prohibition causes more problems than it solves. Google "Did alcohol prohibition reduce alcohol consumption?".


As one of the major studies of the drug laws said, the more dangerous you assume a drug to be, the more important it becomes to treat it in a non-criminal manner. The reason is that making it a crime only drives the problems underground where it is harder to deal with them. Alcohol prohibition is the best example.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"One question regularly asked is whether the legalization of marijuana for medical use opens the door to legalization for recreational use. "


I have a simple question for Julianne Thompson. Can you give us the clear, objective rules that you use for determining whether someone is "medical" versus "recreational"? 


Let's suppose that we have two potheads sitting on the couch hitting a bong. They both say that they are "medical" but you and I know that one of them is lying. He is really just doing it for fun and, therefore, needs to go to jail. Now answer the following questions:


1) How exactly do you determine which one is medical and which one isn't? They both claim they have pain, so how do you determine how much pain they have? Furthermore, how do you determine what works to relieve their pain?


2) How is this any of your business in the first place? Suppose one of them is scamming the system and is now smoking a bong that is really recreational. What difference did that make to your life? How did that bother you?


3) Where do you get off even trying to make a distinction? Do you want me to come into your bathroom and second-guess which medicines you should take? Why do you think you should be doing that to anyone else?


I will bet that Julianne Thompson will not be able to answer these questions, or any others.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse, chaired by Pennsylvania Republican Gov. Raymond Shafer, recommended the end of marijuana prohibition."


The full text of this study has been online since the early 1990s. Google "Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy."


"The Georgia Legislature should appoint a committee to conduct an objective cost/benefit analysis regarding the legalization of marijuana."


That would certainly be a good idea. Others have recommended the same thing before. The usual response from the antis is that an open and honest discussion of the facts is "a legalizer's trick". Seriously, that is what they say. Been there, done that, with the Hoover Resolution way back in 1993. 


Prohibitionists have two major characteristics. The first is that they really don't know anything about the subject. The second is that they really don't want to know anything. 


We can prove that right here. I will go through the things that Julianne Thompson got wrong. I will provide references where she can find much better information, including the full text of the largest and most comprehensive studies of the subject ever done. 


I will bet that Julianne Thompson will steadfastly refuse to read any of it. She will absolutely refuse to read anything that she thinks might disagree with her. And that is the real drug problem -- deliberate ignorance.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"Because of the development of the adolescent brain and our uncertainty of the effects of marijuana on teenagers, I would not recommend legalizing marijuana possession for persons under 21."


Nobody that I know of has ever recommended that marijuana be available to minors. The only exception to that is silly prohibitionists looking to make a strawman argument. 


The author does not mention any sources for the statement above, but the usual source mentioned is a study that supposedly showed an 8 point drop in IQs. That study has a number of issues and even the authors said that the conclusion most commonly found in headlines is not supported by the study. That is in addition to the fact that an 8 point drop is less than half the standard deviation on IQ tests. If someone simply takes the same test twice, the normal variance may be 15 points, which means that -- statistically speaking -- an 8-point drop is the same as "no difference at all". 


Then we have to wonder about something else. We have had tens of millions of people smoking tens of thousands of tons of pot in the US for the last fifty years. With all those people smoking all that pot, how is it that this one little study is the first news we have of this problem? Shouldn't this have showed up somewhere before? The only logical explanation is that the study doesn't show what the media claimed, and there were significant problems with reaching any such conclusion.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

"Some argue that marijuana is a gateway drug to more dangerous drugs."


Google "History of the marijuana gateway myth".  Marijuana was originally outlawed in some states because of the fear that heroin addiction would lead to the use of marijuana -- exactly the opposite of the modern nonsense.


In 1937, during the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act, Harry Anslinger was asked directly if there was any connection between marijuana and heroin. He replied emphatically that there was no connection at all.  Google "Schaffer Library of Drug Policy - Marihuana Tax Act."


In 1944, the La Guardia Committee Report confirmed what Anslinger had said -- no connection at all. Their report can be found by googling "Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy."


In 1951, the story changed. Anslinger was up before Congress asking for more money to enforce the marijuana laws. Unfortunately for him, just before he testified, the head of the Federal addiction research program testified that they knew for certain that all of the reasons that had been given to outlaw marijuana in 1937 were completely wrong. It didn't do any of the things that had been claimed.


Anslinger was left with no justification for his request for more money. In fact, he was left with no justification for the marijuana laws at all. In response, he made up the idea that marijuana is the certain stepping stone to heroin. It never had any basis in fact and, in doing so, he directly contradicted his own testimony for the Marihuana Tax Act. 


There never was a shred of evidence for it and the idea has been debunked by every major government commission in the last 100 years that has studied the subject, yet it remains the basis for US marijuana policy. Google "Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy" to read all the major government commission reports that have debunked the idea.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

Neither one of these people is well-informed on this topic. Let's start with the pro side:


"According to the Congressional Record, Anslinger gave the following testimony: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others.”


No, Anslinger never said that. The full transcripts of the hearings for the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 are online. Google "Schaffer Library of Drug Policy Marihuana Tax Act."  Anslinger said a lot of stupid things, he just didn't say that particular stupid thing. Read the transcripts for yourself.

SigFreud
SigFreud

@CliffordSchaffer 


Not about your ego?  So is that why you've compared yourself to both Hercules and David (a-la Goliath)?  Please stop flattering yourself.


Oh, and as you've already demonstrated Captain Cut'n'paste, if I said something in my own words, you would have done me the courtesy of putting it into quotation marks -- so don't pretend for a moment that I said Julianne Thompson is incapable of learning.  By all means, cut and paste the relevant passage in which I even subtly *implied* that to be the case.  If I shared your demented outlook, I wouldn't have commented *at all*.


But I just realized something else -- if you thought you had the moral high ground, your very last sentence would have amounted to more than "calling firsties".  For someone who claims to have been a victim of the drug war for 40 years, you act like you were born in 2007. 


I'm going to apologize to Julianne Thompson on the behalf of cannabis law reform advocates, everywhere, to let her know that not everyone is as petty as you are, "Cliff."

SigFreud
SigFreud

@CliffordSchaffer  Cliff, I do see your point, but the main idea of my comment was that I do not believe Julianne Thompson is a "dyed in the wool" prohibitionist.  Like most of us, she probably grew up in a (don't think) "Just Say No" school district, bombarded with lies from the earliest allowable age.  It might feel like a victory to overwhelm her with information, but would it not feel better for Julianne Thompson to (like many of us) share the victory by learning something she'll pass on to her friends and family?


As it is, I wouldn't be surprised if the only change to her perspective is that she now believes the people who advocate for an end to cannabis prohibition are not just harmless stoners, but also condescending and personally grating.  I know there's a lot of anger because of the way the so-called "drug war" has been victimizing Americans for over 40 years, but it's never going to end if that anger spills into our interactions with people who do not (yet) agree that it should end.


For example, if the DEA truly did stop coming out for debates in 1994, and it was the mid-90s when arrests for low-level drug possession more than tripled to 800k Americans arrested each year, then my worry is that we were better off holding debates.  Maybe they realized they didn't have the morally high road, so they opted for the low road, instead:  arrest everyone.  No more debate if anyone who disagrees with you no longer has a job, a home, the right to vote, or a future as anything but a felon.  I'm concerned your favorite tactic of overwhelming prohibitionists with valid scientific evidence simply made them pursue a different avenue you *can't* argue with.


In an honest debate/argument/discussion, the true victory comes when the person you're conversing with says "I never considered that before."


Julianne Thompson is not a paid shill -- I'm convinced of that.  Paid shills -- people with a vested monetary interest in maintaining prohibition -- those are the people who you can (and SHOULD) stomp into the ground with overwhelming evidence:  Kevin Sabet, Pat Kennedy, David Frum, Robert DuPont, Sue Rusche.  People who pull in six figures a year from the tax payer for the purpose of manipulating tax payers.  By all means, gish-gallop those jokers until they're hyper-ventilating into paper bags.  They're terrible people and they deserve it.  I'll bring the popcorn.


It's everyone else we need to have friendly conversations with -- if someone isn't being paid to repeat the lie, they probably don't know it's a lie, at all.  Until I see something as convincing as Sue Rusche's tax returns for "National Families In Action," I'm going to assume Julianne Thompson is on our side, she just doesn't know it yet. 


Julianne Thompson is a member of the Tea Party, so really, she should be of the opinion that responsible adults can decide what goes in and out of our own bodies, and that the government's control over my life starts and stops at my skin.  She should also be of the opinion that being lied to, perpetually, by the government is unacceptable.  She should be made aware of the lies she's unknowingly been repeating without being made to feel *bad* about repeating them.


I grew up a "Just Say No" kid, perfectly straight-laced.  Just like Julianne Thompson, my assumption was that "Illegal drugs wouldn't be illegal unless they are bad, so they must be bad because they're illegal."  It wasn't until my mid-20s, early-30s that I realized a *lot* of what I learned about the scourge of "drugs" was political, that addiction and death were not automatic results of using drugs.  I learned that some drugs are politicized, others are not, that the federal drug laws we force on our citizens make very little sense, and the enforcement of those laws are almost always skewed by race.


If we're going to share with Julianne Thompson, we're better off with shocking bullet-points:


- No one has ever died from cannabis toxicity in five millennia, while over 32,000 people die from FDA-approved drugs every single year (about 15,000 from prescription pain-killers, alone) and while the DEA keeps approving more narcotics for manufacturing, the overdose rate (from legal drugs) keeps rising.

- Current estimates of how much tax payer money has been squandered on the Drug War over the last 40 years are in the trillions of dollars.

- DUI's and DUI fatalities have been going *down* in states with reformed cannabis laws, despite all attempts to scare people with the idea of "stoned drivers" -- the average reduction is by9%.

- Veterans petition the White House every year so they can use medical cannabis to treat PTSD.  After Iraq, the veteran suicide rate was almost as high as it was after Vietnam.

- Despite attempts to say otherwise, teen use in Colorado has started dropping, since the black market has to compete with legitimate businesses who check ID and only sell to adults.


Fact is, I believe Julianne Thompson is NOT the devil.  She probably has many of the same virtues and ideals that all decent folks share.  No one wants kids getting access.  A legal market would make cannabis as difficult for kids to get as alcohol.  No one wants stoned drivers, but we already have laws prohibiting driving under the influence of *any* inebriating substance, and the evidence indicates perceived threat of "stoned drivers" has been overinflated. 


Just wait until Julianne Thompson learns that it's the endocannabinoid system that our bodies use to naturally prevent and fight off atypical cellular growths, also known as cancer.  Tumors shrink and cannot form new blood vessels to support new growth when injected with cannabinoids.  While rates of different types of cancer have fluctuated a lot since the 1930s, there's no doubt that instances of cancer have been steadily climbing each year -- it's been suggested that cannabis prohibition is responsible for the climbing cancer rates.  We made a crucial part of our diets illegal, and we've been malnourished for nearly a century. 


Just wait until Julianne Thompson learns that cannabis can be used to treat and prevent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.  Or wait until she learns the Federal Government *owns the patent* for using cannabinoids to cure these diseases (Patent #6630507) and has owned it for more than a decade, but refuses to let anyone suffering from these diseases use cannabis.


Julianne Thompson could be the herald that brings the injustices of the Drug War to the attention of the Tea Party.  The federal government wasting tax money to lie, manipulate, and mislead the American public *should* be a Tea Party issue.  It should be an issue for everyone.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

@SigFreud @CliffordSchaffer

"Not about your ego?  So is that why you've compared yourself to both Hercules and David (a-la Goliath)?  Please stop flattering yourself."


You apparently can't read. Those were descriptions of the situation. Analogies. They didn't refer to me. The Hercules thing refers to the Hydra as a metaphor for the way the argument spreads. David and Goliath refers to the entirety of one movement against another, which is quite an apt comparison considering their relative power and funding. You apparently came in late to all of this. Is this too intellectual for you? Was I using too many big words?


"Oh, and as you've already demonstrated Captain Cut'n'paste, if I said something in my own words, you would have done me the courtesy of putting it into quotation marks -- so don't pretend for a moment that I said Julianne Thompson is incapable of learning.  By all means, cut and paste the relevant passage in which I even subtly *implied* that to be the case.  If I shared your demented outlook, I wouldn't have commented *at all*."


You said: "As it is, I wouldn't be surprised if the only change to her perspective is that she now believes the people who advocate for an end to cannabis prohibition are not just harmless stoners, but also condescending and personally grating."


In other words, you don't expect her to read anything. The reason she won't read is irrelevant. The result, and the judgment on her character, is the same. And, in fact, there is no sign that she has read anything, so you might just be right -- she won't read, even when confronted with how wrong she is. My bet is that she wouldn't have done it for your "nice" approach, either. If she had any character at all, and really had any interest in the subject (besides mouthing off), or any real concern about what is best for society, then she would get past both of us and do what is right, and read.


She apparently didn't read, so case closed on that one. You failed with your routine, too. 


"But I just realized something else -- if you thought you had the moral high ground, your very last sentence would have amounted to more than "calling firsties"."


Just letting you know that lots of people are tired of this stupid routine and want to end yesterday. But you apparently weren't here for any of the history of how we got here, so you wouldn't have a clue about that.


"For someone who claims to have been a victim of the drug war for 40 years, you act like you were born in 2007."


Once again, you apparently have trouble reading. I didn't say I was a victim of the drug war. Heavens, no. It hasn't bothered me personally very much at all. My complaint is with what it has done to other people that I know. Legalization won't affect me much one way or the other.


"I'm going to apologize to Julianne Thompson on the behalf of cannabis law reform advocates, everywhere, to let her know that not everyone is as petty as you are, "Cliff.""


Well, that's nice. Then, by what you say, she should accept this gracious gesture and start reading because she genuinely believes in making the US a better place. Yeah, I won't hold my breath till that happens, OK? You would have a better argument if your plan actually worked out. It rarely does.


I also found this bit amusing. You said:


"She should be made aware of the lies she's unknowingly been repeating without being made to feel *bad* about repeating them."


So people shouldn't feel bad about telling lies if they didn't know they were lies? The continuation of the problem due to their ignorance is not something to feel about. Right?  That is an interesting piece of moral reasoning there. 

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

@SigFreud @CliffordSchaffer

"Maybe they realized they didn't have the morally high road,"


I am sorry. That made me laugh. How can I explain this to you? I think this will probably a college-level course in the meaning of the word "oblivious". They are "oblivious" in the Guinness Book of World Records rule book.


I really don't think you understand how they think. Their thinking is a little closer to "God said it. I believe it. That settles it."  Except that they substitute "government" for "God". I find your comment a little mind-boggling, as if you had spoken of nuclear-powered bunny rabbits. Can't happen, as far as I know.


" Cliff, I do see your point, but the main idea of my comment was that I do not believe Julianne Thompson is a "dyed in the wool" prohibitionist."


Maybe, maybe not. Let her prove it. If she actually reads, learns something, and changes her tune, I will be sure to sing her praises. I have made a number of allies that way over the last couple of decades. But that is up to her. If she is really a person of character then she will improve herself whether she likes me or not.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

@SigFreud @CliffordSchaffer

" She should be made aware of the lies she's unknowingly been repeating without being made to feel *bad* about repeating them."


I disagree completely. Anyone who spouts that nonsense should feel bad about it. It does real harm, and continues to do real harm. It needs to stop now. Furthermore, it needs to stop with people like JT who clearly realize the error or their ways and then tell their friends. She should feel bad. She has some making up to do.


"In an honest debate/argument/discussion, the true victory comes when the person you're conversing with says "I never considered that before."


No, the true victory comes when they realize that not even one of the prohibitionist arguments has any basis in fact. That's one of the things I realized about the debate long ago. When I started this, about 25 percent of people believed in legalization. That automatically meant that, if there was any question at all about who won the debate, then the status quo would prevail forever. In order for there to be real progress, the prohibitionist argument has to be crushed so completely that only the extremists will stick by it. Anything else means the argument goes on forever. They need to be completely shut down so they don't continue to spread the Reefer Madness infection.


And it happens, quite a lot. If the opponent has any character at all, then they admit they were knocked out. If they don't, then nothing will reach them, anyway, so just teach them to shut up so they don't spread the mental disease of Prohibition.


"Julianne Thompson is a member of the Tea Party, so really, she should be of the opinion that responsible adults can decide what goes in and out of our own bodies, and that the government's control over my life starts and stops at my skin."


She should be. You will note that the use of logic somehow stopped before she got there. I have found Tea Party people who understood this and others who clearly don't. From some of her statements, I would guess that she doesn't understand this yet. 


"Paid shills -- people with a vested monetary interest in maintaining prohibition -- those are the people who you can (and SHOULD) stomp into the ground with overwhelming evidence:  Kevin Sabet, Pat Kennedy, David Frum, Robert DuPont, Sue Rusche. "


The first point to note is that these are about the only people left in the fight, and most of them never appear in any public forum where they can be asked dangerous questions or engage in honest debate. Only Kevin Sabet does that. He has debated people I have trained and has spent most of his time backing up and looking for a place where he could get some traction. Lately, he is reduced to the argument of "fear Big Marijuana" -- hardly the Reefer Madness of old. 


Both Sue Rusche and Robert DuPont have openly admitted that they have lost the debate. National Families in Action even put out their own list of terms for legalization a few years back and they weren't that much different than what the legalizers want. Robert DuPont recently lamented that the only person on their side willing to debate is Kevin, while the legalizers have a bench 1,000 deep. There is a reason for that -- it was a deliberate plan to build that bench, and wipe out anyone playing for their team. 


I think that when someone is trying to sell the idea that the world is flat, that is just how lopsided the debate ought to be. Anyone who walks on the stage to defend this policy should know that they will walk off tarred and feathered. The policy is just that stupid. I have been watching this stupid routine for more than forty years. It is long past time to shut it down by any means available. If that humiliates a few Neanderthals, that is all right with me.


And you have to remember - this was entirely David and Goliath. We were fighting the resources of the US Government and all the other members of drug war industrial complex. We had no money, and no supporters of any importance. You don't use a strategy to try to win on points in that kind of situation. You either win completely, or you go home a loser. Going home a loser means more innocent people get hurt for no good reason.


As I see it, there is no justification for NOT stomping the prohibitionists into dust.



SigFreud
SigFreud

@CliffordSchaffer @SigFreud 

Fine, "Cliff" -- If you insist on making an argument in favor of acting like a flaming jerk, I'll engage you. 


Your "stomp them to dust" mentality doesn't accomplish anything other than flattering your own ego.  You didn't write all these comments to educate anyone.  Writing those unread novellas was always about feeling like you beat someone you've arbitrarily labeled a prohibitionist.  Well, I don't know what happened to you "Cliff" and I honestly don't care -- whatever happened to you, Julianne Thompson has done *nothing* to earn your misdirected rage. 


Frankly, I've never met a cannabis advocate with your type of anger issues because most of the cannabis advocates I know are too decent to take out their anger on total strangers.  That makes you a horribly vindictive, spiteful person -- you want to punish people who are guilty of believing what they were raised to believe.  That's not Ok.  That's the mindset of someone who puts their own, personal vendetta above all else. 


You didn't write your comments because you wanted cannabis prohibition to end -- you wrote those comments because you wanted to punish someone who, in your mind, has wronged you.  So instead of trying to change her mind, you drown her with information.  That's what I like to call "pathological trolling" -- you assumed from the start Julianne Thompson was your ENEMY.  Well, whatever crawled up your butt and died, dig it out privately -- Julianne Thompson didn't put it there.


I mean, what did you actually accomplish, here? Julianne Thompson may read one, maybe two of your comments, but she'll pick up on your tone and skip the rest.  Maybe she'll skim them, but she'll maintain her current perspective on cannabis prohibition, possibly just to spite you, "Cliff." 


Instead of seeing Julianne Thompson as a victim of propaganda, you think she's as bad as the propagandists.  You're a FOOL if you believe attacking everyone who disagrees with you is the end game, and you're hopelessly deluded if you think you've accomplished *anything* with your "agree with me or face my wrath" approach.  Your approach doesn't change hearts and minds, and thus, doesn't move the polls.


All you've done is post a bunch of garbage that no one will read *except* the people who already agree with you. 


All you've done is squander an opportunity for the state of Georgia.  Consider this, Cliff -- how do you think the 2014 and 2016 elections might change if the co-chair of the Atlanta Tea Party went from denouncing cannabis legalization to denouncing cannabis prohibition? 


Best case scenario given YOUR approach is that she may not weigh in, at all.  Worst case scenario given your approach, if she's half as spiteful as you are, she'll take the side of the prohibitionists simply because of how obnoxiously disrespectful and combative your comments have been.  And I would not blame her.  I mean, you'd have to be an idiot to *not* know how the Atlanta Tea Party is going to react to your declared intention to stomp their co-chair to dust.


My approach is to see it from her perspective so I can help her see it from mine.  You see, I too changed my mind, Cliff.  And it wasn't because I was shamed into it by some internet troll.  Someone talked WITH me, not AT me.


But ya, you just go ahead and keep the chip on your shoulder.  It's only making you insufferably condescending and prolonging cannabis prohibition by making new enemies instead of new friends.  So go forth and "stomp to dust" all you want, if it makes you feel important.  But don't delude yourself any longer by thinking that you're doing it for any other reason than your own, personal satisfaction -- you're no hero in the fight to end the injustice of cannabis prohibition, you and your self-serving attitude are just another obstacle.

CliffordSchaffer
CliffordSchaffer

@SigFreud @CliffordSchaffer


"I mean, what did you actually accomplish, here?"


I will teach one more person, and probably a number of others around her, never to make these arguments in public again. 


Like I said, I have seen this stupid policy go on for forty years. It is probably the stupidest and most destructive policy that this country has followed besides slavery. I view any argument for it as essentially equivalent to making an argument for slavery. 


Why? Because I have seen an awful lot of innocent people that I know personally who have been seriously damaged by these laws for no good reason at all. This policy has laid waste to a lot of lives for a long time -- and I know a lot of those people of all types and varieties. None of them deserved what they got. 


From what I have seen, this isn't just about someone's personal freedom to smoke a joint. This is about the often horrendous consequences that come from this policy -- people going to jail for no good reason, property being arbitrarily seized, etc., etc. This isn't some academic argument. There are real consequences to this policy and they still happen as we speak. While you typed out your words, somewhere across the US the cops have looted another million dollars.


So, yeah, I am of the opinion that, if you speak for this policy, then you should feel something of the pain that has been inflicted on others. You ought to taste a little bit of the lash yourself. There is just no excuse for it anymore, just like there is no excuse for the ignorance that perpetuated slavery. 


And, as I said, that is the best you can do with most of them, anyway -- teach them to shut up. So let JT prove what kind of person she is. If she is what you say she is, then the only productive thing we can achieve is to make sure that she doesn't repeat this nonsense again, so we don't have to deal with it again.


But after forty years of this BS, I am really tired of listening to it. The truth of the issues are just as clear as they were for slavery, so how long do you think that kind of ignorant BS should be publicly tolerated?

SigFreud
SigFreud

@CliffordSchaffer @SigFreud 

No, you're just a coward, "Cliff" -- that's why you go online anonymously, to abuse total strangers free of consequences.  That's why you've gone after Julianne Thompson under the guise of "Cliff Shaffer."  It wasn't to make a point, it was to conceal your identity -- cover for your trolling habit. 


Again, I'd like to apologize to Julianne Thompson on the behalf of cannabis law reform advocates, everywhere. 


"Cliff Shaffer" does not speak for anyone but himself (as that's the only person he cares about, right Hercules?).