November 2012

The Rise and Fall of a Patriot

by Diane Dimond on November 26, 2012

He Dedicated His Life to Serve America

In 1970, a diminutive 18 year old from rural Cornwall-on-Hudson, N.Y. traveled nine miles south from his parent’s home and checked in at the front gate at what would be his new residence for the next four years.

He had worked hard in high school to get the grades to qualify for this unique place and in return he had pledged an additional five years of service to the organization.

The young man was David Petraeus and by walking through the front gate at the U.S. Military Institute at West Point he committed to spending the next nine years of his life connected to the United States Army. By the end of his military career he had served 37 years and reached the rank of four-star General.

This country invested heavily in developing Petraeus into the successful and well-decorated military leader he became. We spent about a million dollars on his extensive education: West Point, Ranger School, the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College. In the mid-80’s there was the cost of Princeton University where he earned both a Masters and his PhD in International Relations. And during that time, according to military and West Point sources, Petraeus would have been receiving take home military pay of between $50,000 and $60,000 thousand a year. Low cost commissary goods and housing (or a housing allowance) were also part of the deal.  [click to continue…]

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America’s War on Drugs Sputters to an End

by Diane Dimond on November 19, 2012

Marijuana Legalized First – Other Street Drugs Later?

I’m going to make a bold prediction. America’s War on Drugs is now officially over.

Oh, no one in Washington is going to make any sort of announcement to confirm this but take it from me – our four-decades-old drug war strategy is now formally kaput. To be entirely honest, it has been sputtering along for years now accomplishing little and costing us upward of a trillion dollars.

Citizens in two states – Washington and Colorado sealed the deal. They voted that marijuana should be legalized, no prescription or medical excuse needed. And not only is recreational pot smoking by adults legal in those two places now, medicinal use of marijuana is already the will of the people in 18 other states and the District of Columbia.

Sure looks like a trend to me. [click to continue…]

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Sniffing Out Justice – But is it Legal?

by Diane Dimond on November 12, 2012

Can a Sniff Be Unconstitutional?

Can a dog violate your constitutional rights? That’s right – I said a dog.

No, this is not a trick question. It is borne of a law enforcement situation so serious that the state of Florida has been joined by more than 20 other states in asking the U.S. Supreme Court to render a decision on the matter.

Here’s the deal. The high court recently agreed to hear two separate cases from Florida in which police dogs, trained to sniff out illegal drugs, alerted their human handlers to the presence of drugs. The question currently pending before the court is: were these drug busts conducted legally?

One instance occurred outside a private home near Miami. Officers had gotten a tip that marijuana was being grown inside the home of Joelis [click to continue…]

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Lessons From Mother Nature in Wake of Hurricane Sandy

by Diane Dimond on November 5, 2012

Super Storm Sandy Smashes the East

More than 110 people were killed but there was no crime. There were widespread blackouts yet there was no systematic looting. Police departments were run ragged but lawlessness seemed to take a vacation.

This column isn’t about crime this time. It is about how, in the the face of crisis crime is replaced by an overwhelming sense of fellowship and mutual survival. Thanks to Hurricane Sandy I am writing this not on my usual laptop computer but on a smaller iPad which is cumbersome to operate via candlelight. I had to slowly charge it to life via a cord plugged into my car’s cigarette lighter.

My family is among the almost five million Americans left without power by this monumental storm. We’re told it could be 10 days before our Hudson River village, about 20 miles north of Manhattan will have electricity again.

But we are alive and feeling so lucky. [click to continue…]

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