Libertarian gun rights activist and Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh was arrested in his Northern Virginia home last night and charged with possessing hallucinogenic mushrooms and an unlicensed firearm. More than 20 armored SWAT team members surrounded his house and used a battering ram to break through the front door, then detonated a flash-grenade in the foyer, according to his five roommates. The 31-year-old former Marine was held overnight in prison; if convicted for both the drugs and the firearm, he could face at least twelve years in prison. “We were expecting this. We were expecting the government to raid our house,” his roommate, Darrell Young, told reporters. This past July 4th, Kokesh posted a YouTube video of himself loading a weapon in the Freedom Plaza in DC, where carrying a loaded weapon—concealed or unconcealed—is illegal. “We will not be silent," he says in the video. "We will not obey. We will not allow our government to destroy our humanity. We are the final American Revolution. See you next Independence Day.”
Kokesh, who was deployed to Iraq from 1999 to 2004, has been actively involved in protesting the Iraq War and advocating for freedom of speech and the right to carry guns. He has been arrested numerous times for civil disobedience, including in 2011 when he staged a silent flash mob on the Jefferson memorial to protest a ruling against dancing on the monument. He had initially had planned an armed “Open Carry March” into DC on July 4th, in which participants would carry loaded guns from Arlington to Washington, but he opted for the YouTube video after police said they would crack down on the march. A statement posted on Kokesh’s website Wednesday morning suggests his recent arrest has not quelled his activism. “We will continue to spread the message of liberty, self ownership, and the non-aggression principle regardless of the government’s relentless attacks on our operation," he writes. "We will continue to combat its desperate attempts to crush a worldwide, revolutionary shift in the people’s understanding of the state’s illegitimacy—after all, good ideas don’t require force.”
A dramatic departure from standard practice saw a group of disgruntled British tourists stage a sit-in at a 5-star Caribbean hotel, claiming "drunk and rowdy" locals had ruined their holiday. About 160 guests at ClubHotel Riu Merengue in the Dominican Republic camped for a day and a half in the hotel's reception area, demanding to be moved to another hotel after an "invasion" of locals who "come on a very cheap all-inclusive package holiday," to the detriment of the overseas guests, according to vacationer Tony Walton, a British sales manager. Walton, 48, organized the sit-in last Thursday after the travel firm that organized the trip—Thomson—told him to pay £1,800 ($2,690) to move to another hotel. "They destroyed everything, ate everything," says Walton. "People were peeing on the sun loungers with people on them." The locals also reportedly cleaned out the buffet and defecated in the pool, shutting it down—creating an atmosphere that was a far cry from the "tropical retreat" promised by the brochure. "I have nothing against Dominicans," says Walton. "These people were not at all representative, they were drunk and rowdy." Eventually, up to 100 people including Walton's group were relocated to another, less swanky hotel and offered £30 ($45) in compensation. Walton says he will continue the fight at home in Doncaster. "I paid a lot of money and I have wasted it," he says of his £12,000 ($17,900) two-week holiday at the hotel. "Thomson have been absolutely useless and Riu [the hotel chain] even worse." The hotel called the vacationers' ordeal an "isolated incident."
The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Brandi Glanville defends her public intoxication by claiming that getting drunk is "not murder" and explaining that she was just accepting free drinks to be "polite." The mother-of-two was photographed on Monday night at the London Hotel in West Hollywood, flashing various body parts, falling down and being escorted out by a male friend. She later acknowledged via Twitter that she "f*cked up," but lashed out at those who criticized her behavior. "I got drunk with my gays its not murder,, everyone kept sending us drinks. I was being polite," she tweeted yesterday. "When ur PERFECT and make all the right decisions ALL [of] the time, and don't have at least a bit of cellulite on ur ass, get back 2 me." Glanville, 40, also jokingly tweeted at Jennifer Gimenez, the house mom on Dr. Drew's former VH1 show Sober House: "See what happens when u leave me alone for 2 long!" On a more sober note, she wrote today: "I'm not perfect but I do the best I can and apologize when I'm wrong." Glanville has previously accused country singer Leann Rimes (currently married to Glanville's ex-husband Eddie Cibrian) of being addicted to alcohol and prescription drugs and even dubbed her an "angelfish" because she "sings like an angel and drinks like a fish." Cibrian countered by accusing his ex-wife of being consumed by "wine and narcissism."
South Dakota's Pine Ridge Indian Reservation is now considering lifting its 100-year ban on alcohol sales and using the tax money to help fund substance abuse treatment and prevention. The reservation has long been plagued by alcoholism and related poverty and crime. As a new approach to the problem, the Oglala Sioux's tribal council voted in June to hold a public referendum on whether to legalize alcohol sales. Those in favor argue that alcohol is already widely accessible in nearby towns or from bootleggers, and regulating its sales could provide much-needed revenue for the reservation, which has an unemployment rate near 80% and a per-capita income of $7,890 in 2011. “I see it as a way to get revenue to support prevention, intervention, rehabilitation and education," says Robin Tapio, a tribe member who has been sober for 12 years. But opponents say legalization of alcohol would only bring more problems to the reservation. "To have such easy access to alcohol just opens the door to worse things," says Cordelia White Elk, director of a tribal employment office. "It's like saying, 'Let's kill our own people to save them.'"
Still, evidence suggests that opening casinos and other businesses can help boost reservations' economies, and nearby tribal leaders say drunk driving accidents decreased after their booze bans were lifted. "The alcohol is here and it's not going to go away," says Larry Eagle Bull, a council member who endorses the coming referendum. "Prohibition didn't work. If we legalize alcohol, the tribe will be sellers and we'll generate the money ourselves." Almost every household in Pine Ridge has at least one family member who abuses alcohol, and a quarter of children are born with alcohol-related disabilities. Currently, life expectancy on the reservation is estimated at 45 to 52 years. Ultimately, those in favor of lifting the ban believe it will improve overall quality of life. "It's not all about the money," says Tapio. "It's about trying to heal our people, and move in a new direction."
Thirty-one Thai monks from several monasteries have been officially defrocked after testing positive for drugs. An official for the kingdom's Buddhist clergy confirmed that one abbot was charged with drug trafficking and that the 31 monks, from the Ban Mo district of Saraburi province, tested positive for methamphetamine in urine tests. A local government official who wished to remain anonymous said that local villagers "frequently complained of suspicious gatherings in temples and most of them are drug users or people involved with drugs." However, the monks will be welcome to reenter the clergy upon completing rehab and abstaining from drugs. Historically, most Buddhist sects denounce the use of any intoxicating substances which can cause "heedlessness" and are thought to hinder the path to enlightenment. Thailand's Buddhist clergy has been at the center of numerous recent scandals, with local media reporting on cases of alleged drug use, gambling, and visiting prostitutes. Recent footage of three monks flying in a private jet with Louis Vuitton bags also caused outrage.
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- I’m Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Ask me anything! [Reddit]
- Cigarette Cards: The Life Hacks of 100 Years Ago [The Week]
- California Tests Out Comedic No-Smoking Signs [KY3]
- South American Drug Dogs 'Killed to Retrieve Cocaine' in Italy [News.com.au]
- Farrah Abraham Kicked out of Rehab Program Early for 'Disruptive' Behavior [New York Daily News]