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OfflineDeadPhan
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Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act
    #9671170 - 01/24/09 03:54 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

http://notesonthescene. com/rave_act. html

The RAVE Act: Congress threatens live music culture.

Written and compiled by Rob Robinson
Credits: Drug Policy Alliance and Electronic Music Defense Education Fund
Drug policy enters the dance floor and threatenes innocent pary-goers, musicians, venue owners, and producers with the 'drug crimes' of other people who attended the same event.


“Musicians of the swing band type are responsible for the spread of the marihuana smoking vice.

Harry Anslinger, America’s 1st drug czar, 1943

"The world of club drugs is a brand new world, particularly for parents who don't keep up on the latest fads in music.

Asa Hutchinson, Administrator U.S.
Drug Enforcement Administration, 2001

Music has played a critical role in the war on drugs. Just as an attack on jazz music was used to fuel a racist attack on marijuana users, today the attacks on club music are being used to railroad through excessive legislation against users of so-called ‘designer’ drugs.

The original drug czar, Harry Anslinger, hated jazz and demonized musicians as “the principal users of marihuana.” Musical innovators like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Thelonius Monk, Count Basie, Jimmy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Lionel Hampton and Cab Calloway were accused of marijuana use at a time when few Americans had heard of the drug. Throughout the 1940s Anslinger plotted a clampdown on jazz musicians he hoped would culminate in a “national round-up arrest of all such persons on a single day.


Fortunately, the inability of federal agents to infiltrate the jazz subculture and hesitancy on the part of more levelheaded government officials prevented Anslinger from carrying out his anti-jazz crusade. If Anslinger had succeeded in his quest for cultural purity the world music scene would not be what it is today. The fact that the early jazz musicians targeted by Anslinger were primarily African-American is no coincidence. The Mother of All Drug Laws, the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, was preceded by a wave of anti-immigrant sentiment. Opium was identified with Chinese laborers, marijuana with Mexicans, and cocaine with African-Americans. With alcohol and tobacco by far the deadliest recreational drugs, cultural associations have played a greater role in determining America‚s seemingly arbitrary drug laws than scientifically based health concerns.


Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) and Rep. Tom Feeney (R-FL) took advantage of Congress' engrained inability to vote against anything that might "save the children" to win passage of two measures destined to cause pain and misery for untold numbers of adult partygoers, club owners, event organizers and criminal defendants. Biden, an ardent drug warrior who authored the notorious "crack house" legislation of 1984, hitched his widely criticized RAVE Act (known officially as the "Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act") to the popular Amber Alert bill (S151/HR1104).


The Amber Alert sets up a national system of alerts for kidnapped kids and increases child pornography penalties. Feeney used the bill to pass a measure to limit the ability of federal judges to grant downward departures in sentences—a measure not limited to sex crimes against children and much more likely to be used to prevent federal judges from reducing sentences for drug offenders. The "RAVE" Act makes it easier for the federal government to prosecute innocent business owners for the drug offenses of their customers—even if they take steps to stop such activity. The "RAVE" Act provision was attached to the AMBER Alert legislation during committee after it had passed through both the House and the Senate. (‘Committee’ is where they work out the differences between House and Senate bills after they pass, not to add provisions not yet debated.) These provisions had no public hearing, debate or vote in Congress or the Senate.


Due to overwhelming opposition to the original "RAVE" Act, legislators were forced to remove some of the most egregious language before it passed. For example, the word "rave" was removed from this version of the bill. Also, the original bill suggested that prosecutors should view the sale of water and the presence of glow-sticks or massage oil as evidence of drug use. These preposterous "findings" were removed in large part due to activists who sent over 35,000 faxes, letters and petitions to their Senators between January and April 2003, urging them not to support such dangerous legislation. Despite this, the AMBER Alert bill with the "RAVE" Act attachment was signed into law by President Bush on April 30, 2003.


The Rave Act has the force to stop licensed and law-abiding business owners from hosting events out of fear of massive fines and prison sentences. It amends the federal "crack house law" to make it easier for federal prosecutors to fine and imprison business owners that fail to stop drug offenses from occurring. Businessmen and women can be prosecuted even if they were not involved in drugs - and even if they took steps to stop drug use on their property. Although proponents of the laws are seeking to target raves (and DJs, nightclub owners, and rave promoters have the most to fear), the law applies to any business owner, including festival promoters, bar owners, motel owners, concert promoters, and cruise ship owners. Because of its broad language, the proposed law would even potentially subject people to ten years in federal prison if guests smoked marijuana at their party or barbecue.


The RAVE Act can also stifle musical expression and is a threat to free speech and the right to dance. It is clearly an assault on raves and electronic music, but it also an attack on the live music culture at large. Now that the bill is law, property owners may be too afraid to rent or lease their property to groups holding all-night dance parties, rock and hip-hop concerts, hemp festivals or any other event rightly or wrongly perceived as attracting drug users.


This will drive these gatherings further underground and away from public health and safety regulations. Prosecutors are already insinuating that selling bottled water and offering "cool off" rooms is proof that owners and promoters know drug use is occurring at their events—which makes business owners too afraid to implement any harm-reduction measures.


The Drug War isn’t a purely Democrat or Republican issue. Members of both parties support punitive policies, perpetuating the stigmatization of drugs and drug users. Senator Joe Biden, a Democrat, introduced the Rave Act in the Senate in 2002. Biden’s RAVE Act was co-sponsored by Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Charles Grassley (R-IA), Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) and Strom Thurmond (R-NC). Pressure from the activist community counter-campaign worked to get two of the original co-sponsors of the bill, Richard Durbin(D-IL) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) to withdraw their support for the bill because it was too broad and goes too far.


Senator Biden’s pet issue is the drug war. Biden was one of the original drafters of the legislation that created the Office of National Drug Control Policy, an anti-drug office of the White House (primetime TV ads linking terrorism to marijuana users was one recent campaign). As mentioned earlier, Biden helped to craft the original crack-house statute, which was designed to punish owners of properties on which drug offenses take place and co-sponsored legislation that created federal mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. Biden then sharpened his focus on the drug ecstasy and raves, most likely in response to media hype about the alleged dangerous drug parties corrupting our nation’s young people.


Since its beginnings the electronic music dance phenomena has been condemned by forceful politicians, sensationalist media and concerned parents. Today, electronic music parties are being directly targeted by law enforcement. It is the official position of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that a rave is nothing more than a venue for drug sales, distribution and use and consequently, the agency has sought to criminally prosecute electronic music concert promoters under the federal "crack house" statute and encourages local authorities to do the same.


One such outrageous abuse of local power in Racine, Wisconsin, where hundreds of music fans were ticketed for being in a crowded nightclub where a few people used drugs. Those ticketed had no drugs on them. The police didn’t even have any evidence that they had ever used drugs. Their only “crime” was dancing at a nightclub where other people who used drugs were arrested. Although only three drug arrests were made, police issued citations to 445 innocent attendees with a penalty of $968 each for being "patrons of a disorderly house.
"

Thanks to a public outcry from people like you, work by the Drug Policy Alliance, Electronic Music Defense Education Fund, NORML and others, as well as an ACLU lawsuit, the citations were ultimately dismissed.


Now, it has happened again; this time in Flint, Michigan. In March of 2005 the local police raided a popular nightclub, Club What’s Next, and ticketed music fans who were attending a dance night known as “Getting Lucky” (the DJs included Halluci-Nate, Sparkimus Prime, White Rabbit, Captain Cheddar and California's DJ Primo.) While some people were arrested for possessing or selling illegal drugs, most people were ticketed for “frequenting a drug establishment,” a misdemeanor offense.


That’s right—in Flint, Michigan (and many other cities) if you go out dancing on a Saturday night and the police happen to arrest other people at the club for drugs, you could be charged with a drug crime even if you had nothing to do with drugs. These innocent party-goers now face up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine. They also face a criminal record with all the legal and social barriers that brings. Several people at the club that night reported that club-goers were also subjected to strip searches, including full cavity searches...even though they had nothing to do with drugs.
Imagine the police walking into your favorite bar or nightclub and making you submit to a strip search for no reason! Imagine spending 90 days in jail or paying a $500 fine for dancing!

Several events have been shut down due to the DEA or local police threatening venue owners with this law. At least three legalize hemp and/or marijuana events have been targeted by this method and shut down. Clubs in NY, CA, MI, WI and others have been shut down with RAVE/crack house type laws.


If that is not bad enough, in 2004, Congress considered two new bills that threatened to effectively ban live music and dancing while throwing innocent people in jail. The Ecstasy Awareness Act (H.R. 2962) would have thrown anyone in jail who “profits monetarily from a rave or similar electronic dance event knowing or having reason to know” that some of the event-goers may use drugs. Similarly, Section 305 of the CLEAN-UP Act (H.R. 834) would have made it a federal crime—punishable by up to nine years in prison—to promote "any rave, dance, music, or other entertainment event, that takes place under circumstances where the promoter knows or reasonably ought to know that a controlled substance will be used or distributed.
"

This makes no sense. When the government cannot even keep drugs out of our federal prisons, everyone has reason to know drugs may be used at their event. Every music concert attracts some people who may use or sell drugs. These provisions would have made criminals out of every concert promoter, nightclub owner, and stadium or arena owner.


The language of the Ecstasy Awareness Act was so broad that bartenders, musicians, and anyone else that in any way profited from an electronic music event could be fined or jailed. Section 305 of the CLEAN-UP Act was so broad that every musical style could be affected, including rock, Hip-Hop, country, and electronic music. Indeed, any property owner (including hotel owners, cruise ship owners, and casino owners) could have been hurt under the CLEAN-UP Act, since it is reasonable to assume that any entertainment event that draws a large crowd (especially young people) will draw people who will try to use or sell drugs.


It gets worse. High-ranking members of Congress want to take the war on drugs to a whole new level. The latest bill introduced (H.R. 1528) is entitled "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005". This will increase penalties for every drug offense. It calls for a mandatory 2-year prison term for anyone who knows someone is selling marijuana on a college campus and fails to report it to the police within 24 hours. It calls for a mandatory 5-year prison term for someone who passes a joint to someone who has been enrolled in drug treatment at some point in their life. It calls to expand the federal "three strikes and you're out" law to include new offenses, including mandating life imprisonment (with no possibility of parole) for anyone convicted a third time under the RAVE Act. These are just a few of the provisions in this new bill. The full text of H.R.
1528 can be viewed by going to http://thomas. loc. gov/ and entering “HR1528” in the search box, checking the “enter bill number” circle under the search box, and clicking “search”. This is one of the worst drug war bills that Congress has ever considered.


We need to speak out against this abuse of power now. Many thanks to thousands of activists and supporters who sent letters, faxes and made phone calls to the Senate and Congress so far. Thousands have attended protests around the country. A coalition of activist, reform groups, party/club goers, DJ’s and bands were able to stop earlier versions of the proposed federal legislation. Work against this dangerous type of legislation will continue. But we need everyone’s support. People should not be punished for the crimes of others, nor should the government be frightening law-abiding businesses away from holding legal events like festivals or concerts, whether the musical entertainment is considered rock, electronic, country, bluegrass, folk, hip hop or any other variety. We must fight to protect property owners, prevent any further criminalization of dance and music events, mobilize opposition and advocate amending this dangerous law. We need to work on drafting model legislation regulating music and dance events in a manner that protects First Amendment freedoms and promotes the health and safety of all involved. If the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act (or something similar) has been used to intimidate, threaten or prosecute you, please contact us and the groups below.


www. drugpolicy. org
—Drug Policy Alliance
www. emdef. org
—Electronic Music Defense Education Fund.


--------------------
 


Big Gulps!  Alright!  Well,  See ya later!
And if i claim to be a wise man, well, it surely means that i dont know!


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act [Re: DeadPhan]
    #9671193 - 01/24/09 03:58 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

I was really disappointed when Obama picked Biden as his running mate.  All the more reason to hope nothing happens to him.  But I think Obama's reason for picking Biden was his foreign policy experience.


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OfflineYour Destination
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Re: Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act [Re: DeadPhan]
    #9671235 - 01/24/09 04:04 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

I'm busy as hell.
Could somebody paraphrase?


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act [Re: Your Destination]
    #9671239 - 01/24/09 04:05 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

Your Destination said:
I'm busy as hell.
Could somebody paraphrase?



Joe Biden sponsored a draconian anti-drug bill several years ago, and now he's vice-president.


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OfflineYour Destination
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Re: Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act [Re: Silversoul]
    #9671255 - 01/24/09 04:07 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Focusing primarily on raves?


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act [Re: Your Destination]
    #9671256 - 01/24/09 04:07 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

Your Destination said:
Focusing primarily on raves?



Yes.


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OfflinefreeDOOM
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Registered: 07/28/08
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Re: Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act [Re: Silversoul]
    #9671266 - 01/24/09 04:09 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Damn. . . :frown:

This would be better fit in the news section. IMO.


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InvisibleSilversoul
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Re: Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act [Re: freeDOOM]
    #9671294 - 01/24/09 04:14 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Quote:

freeDOOM said:
Damn. . . :frown:

This would be better fit in the news section. IMO.



Except that it's really old news.


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InvisibleGreen_T
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Re: Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act [Re: Silversoul]
    #9671316 - 01/24/09 04:18 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Reducing Americans Vulnerability to Ecstasy (RAVE) act: Holds club promoters liable if drugs are used on their premises; AKA if they throw raves, they can be held liable for distributing E.

Loopholes: Anyone can be held liable, even if they aren't complicit. Not just restricted to raves, but also clubs. If you supply water bottles and glowsticks, you can be held liable. Attack on venues which play "ecstasy like music" such as trance and house (remember marijuana and jazz?)


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"I have sworn upon the altar of god eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man" - Thomas Jefferson

Legalize Meth | Drug War Victims


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OfflinefreeDOOM
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Re: Vice Pres. Joe Bidens RAVE Act [Re: Silversoul]
    #9671319 - 01/24/09 04:19 PM (12 years, 11 months ago)

Oh.

Never mind then.


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