This Is Your War on Drugs
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This Is Your War on Drugs
Posted by CN Staff on June 30, 2009 at 05:55:24 PT
By Monika Bauerlein and Clara Jeffery
Source: Mother Jones 
USA -- Among our leaders in Washington, who's been the biggest liar? There are all too many contenders, yet one is so floridly surreal that he deserves special attention. Nope, it's not Dick Cheney or Alberto Gonzales or John Yoo. It's a trusted authority figure who's lied for 11 years now, no matter which party held sway. (Nope, it's not Alan Greenspan.) This liar didn't end-run Congress, or bully it, or have its surreptitious blessing at the time only to face its indignation later. No, this liar was ordered by Congress to lie—as a prerequisite for holding the job.
Give up? It's the head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), a.k.a. the drug czar, who in 1998 was mandated by Congress to oppose legislation that would legalize, decriminalize, or medicalize marijuana, or redirect anti-trafficking funding into treatment. And the drug czar has also—here's where the lying comes in—been prohibited from funding research that might give credence to any of the above. These provisions were crafted by Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Bob Barr (R-Ga.) and pushed for by then-czar Barry McCaffrey, best remembered for being somewhat comically obsessed with the evils of medical marijuana. A few Dems complained that the bill, which set "hard targets" of an 80 percent drop in the availability of drugs, a 60 percent decrease in street purity, and a 50 percent reduction in drug-related crime and ER visits, all by 2004—whoops!—was "simplistic" and "designed to achieve political advantage." Though the vote count was not recorded for history, it got enough bipartisan support to be signed into law by Bill "Didn't Inhale" Clinton.If this tale strikes you as the kind of paranoid fantasy you'd expect from someone who's taken one too many hits off the joint, consider that it isn't the most bizarre, hypocritical, counterproductive moment in our nation's history with drugs. Not by a long shot. Consider that Prohibition came about when progressives got into bed with the Ku Klux Klan, but was rolled back once they'd had enough of the Mob. Or that the precursor to today's drug czar supplied morphine to Sen. Joe McCarthy because he worried about the national security consequences—not of the red-baiter's habit, but of its potential exposure. Or that drug war progenitor Richard Nixon ordered a comprehensive study on the perils of marijuana, and then ignored the study once he learned it recommended decriminalization.But then, the drug war has never been about facts—about, dare we say, soberly weighing which policies might alleviate suffering, save taxpayers money, rob the cartels of revenue. Instead, we've been stuck in a cycle of prohibition, failure, and counterfactual claims of success. (To wit: Since 1998, the ONDCP has spent $1.4 billion on youth anti-pot ads. It also spent $43 million to study their effectiveness. When the study found that kids who've seen the ads are more likely to smoke pot, the ONDCP buried the evidence, choosing to spend hundreds of millions more on the counterproductive ads.)What would a fact-based drug policy look like? It would put considerably more money into treatment, the method proven to best reduce use. It would likely leave in place the prohibition on "hard" drugs, but make enforcement fair (no more traffickers rolling on hapless girlfriends to cut a deal. No more Tulias). And it would likely decriminalize but tightly regulate marijuana, which study after study shows is less dangerous or addictive than cigarettes or alcohol, has undeniable medicinal properties, and isn't a gateway drug to anything harder than Doritos. See "The Patriot's Guide to Legalization." -- why don't we have a rational drug policy? Simple. Forget the Social Security "third rail." The quickest way to get yourself sidelined in serious policy discussion is to stray from drug war orthodoxy. Even MoJo has skirted the topic for fear of looking like a bunch of hot-tubbing stoners. Such is the power of the culture wars, 50 years on.There is some hope. We have, at long last, a post-boomer president, one who confidently admits he partook back in the day. And while Barack Obama has said he's not interested in overhauling drug policy, his administration has made moves toward honesty—acknowledging that US demand fuels overseas production, that federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries are a waste of time and money, and that treatment should be our top priority; the Pentagon has even said that Mexico rivals Pakistan atop the list of states most likely to fail. There are other signs of a thaw: Those noted hippies at The Economist and Foreign Policy have called for ending "prohibition at any cost." Drug warrior Bob Barr is lobbying for the Marijuana Policy Project. And Joe Biden—who helped create the 100:1 crack-vs.-coke sentencing disparity—has finally issued a mea culpa.Meanwhile, the new drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske—the first since moralizer-in-chief William Bennett not to hold Cabinet-level status—has even dared suggest that the phrase "War on Drugs" be retired. But Kerlikowske still remains bound by the 1998 mandate prohibiting him from speaking the truth. If we want a sensible drug policy, ditching the liar's law would be a good start.Source: Mother Jones (US)Author: Monika Bauerlein and Clara JefferyPublished: July 2009Copyright: 2009 Foundation for National ProgressWebsite: Justice Archives
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on July 01, 2009 at 09:33:02 PT
Slowing Down
Made me think of this song.Slow down you move too fastYou got to make the morning lastLOL!The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy)
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Comment #18 posted by Hope on July 01, 2009 at 09:23:49 PT
So true, Museman.
"You are in danger of becoming that which you say I am."I was thinking of Zandor's, and he's not the first to say it, statement yesterday. If you live long enough, Zandor, some newer person may well be wanting you to "die off" and get out of their way.Dang! What a way to win. Wait for your "enemy" to die of old age?And of course, you forget too easily, that many, many of your best allies are in that same age range that you are hoping to see kick the bucket as soon as possible.I have to say, although, I do like you, still, Zandor... a lot, that's a pretty damned weak tactic in the struggle.I've held back my reactions to such statements so many times. Should have said something a long time ago.I appreciate our youth so much, and especially those who join in the struggle. In my mind, it's been so much about things being better for them... since we didn't make the deadline of getting it better for ourselves in our own youthful years.... but...Whipper snappers!:0)
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Comment #17 posted by museman on July 01, 2009 at 08:34:40 PT
Thanks for the addendum, I wholly agree -and am most grateful for the reference to 'Native culture' as it seems like the most important spiritual/ecological/natural information available is constantly being ignored by the mainstream. The Hopi elders certainly have more grasp on reality than any politician to ever grace the TV. -for example-About the generational thing; I had some conversations with my adult children yesterday about this, and a phrase came to mind that sums it up;To those youngers, who view their olders slower approach to everything as somehow deficient;"You are in danger of becoming that which you say I am."And even though my kids say they 'got it' they were really moving too fast to really get it, and at some point it will dawn on them as a revelation.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #16 posted by christ on July 01, 2009 at 08:15:06 PT
unity against prohibition
I like museman's writing style; i like Zandor's writing style. I like museman's content.I too am discontent with actions and statements of both the R's and the D's. Preaching "change", then laughing parts of it off is a pretty effective way to burn a bridge. But look at what HAS happened versus a 3rd term (if that were possible). The POTUS urging "compassion" in judicial sentencing; an affirmation of States' rights; an end to the "War on Drugs". Significant favorable progress has recently been made. B.Frank is even pushing for more positive change. Politicians are starting to put the people's desires into action. The people can help by giving support to their Representatives.The politicians who are out for their best interest aren't listening to a select few. They're listening to the majority. So why make divisive statements if instead we can unite more people with a common goal?
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Comment #15 posted by afterburner on June 30, 2009 at 23:10:58 PT
museman #12
Many of the youth of every generation seem to have what don Juan Matus called "the fallacy of clarity" (thinking that everyone else perceives life the same as they do).Each generation is genetically programmed by DNA to meet the challenges of the day until they are brainwashed by dead knowledge and media 'reality.' In our generation, the SDS youth that broke into college Presidents' offices to smoke his cigars had no clue about real change of consciousness. The dominance of media culture makes too many young people think that none of their elders understands the true nature of life, consciousness and action.The true revolution lives in quiet moments anywhere, changes in the state of mind, lives in the 'underground', in the forest, off the grid. I too have learned to respect the elders from my contact with Native culture and their love of nature's providence. Appreciation follows from the recognition of the guidance that flows from those elders whose embrace of life demonstrates their dedication to growth of consciousness.
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on June 30, 2009 at 16:35:05 PT
Well said, Museman.
A lot of our generation has done a lot and devoted much of their lives to bringing us this far.I always feel sad when I see someone wanting us to "die off". Good freaking Lord! That's not a very smart thing to say when we have been doing all we can and we are hoping so much for the next and future generations. Good grief.Thanks for speaking up, Museman.
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 11:42:05 PT
Woo! Woo! Woo!
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Comment #12 posted by museman on June 30, 2009 at 11:35:46 PT
"There are still too many baby boomer's and pre-baby boomer's that are 60+ year olds running the Nation. Until they are GONE we will not have peace."While I agree emotionally -just like I did back when I was in my 20's and 30's and watching the WW1 and 2 generations wallow in their own particular generational ignorance- I must protest at the continuing ignorance represented by such a statement -and I'm not attacking anybody-Humanity in general, holds, prepetuates, and believes in their own various flavors of misinformation and segregated assumptions, and to believe that change is somehow only contingent on the 'boomer's and pre-baby boomer's' being "gone" is a very revealing -and ignorant- statement.In the movie "Wild in the streets" (a sequel to Reefer Madness) in the last scene in the movie, the leader of a group of pre-teen kids says "We're gonna put every one over ten out of business" I find this statement to be closely related to the statement about generations.There is a phrase, coined no doubt by someone over 50 "Youth is wasted on the young." Its meant to be sarcasm and humor, but there is a bit of truth to it.In my youth I was not part of the general 'disrespect of youth for the wisdom of their elders' and I learned much from those elders while my generation was out discoing, lowriding, street racing, and in general being 20th century youth, doing many foolish things. And likewise, i was not part of the wholesale generational copout that led to the current state of dis-ease and corrupted values that threaten to collapse on the next generation.Every generation has a major population of lemmings, who follow fad and fashion, both in youth and adulthood. Every generation has a majority of status quo ass kissers who will stand together with their peers to maintain their oppportunity to remain ignorant, and resist change.Think of the thousands of years of generations who moved not one measurable amount of distance towards awareness and consciousness, but were content to live out their lives doing just what every one else was doing, and viewed change as evil!And suddenly, one generation comes along that is magicly immune to all of this, and will lead us into a new day?Well, actually, I believe this is true, but that generation did not come to consciousness all on its own, but on the backs and efforts of so many who came before, and who still walk side by side with them in this final age.I have a lot of faith in this new generation, but then humanity, and the weaknesses that have perpetuated darkness, ignorance, fear and opression are just as present in the 20 something generation as they ever were in any other throughout time. And if this generation continues the mistaken path of thinking that they are somehow 'more right' by virtue of their energy levels (the only real difference between conscious youth, and conscious elders) then they will find themselves in the very same frustrating position of every human that every discovered wisdom, along with the realization that most of their peers just did not get it.Humanity, and the life experience goes far beyond the brief flash-in-the-pan of a few decades of youthful energy and expectations. After living this long, I can see the widsom and sensibility of setting the 'legal age' of adult responsibility and priviledge at around the age of 21. In fact, experience has taught me that the age of 21 is far, far from real maturity, and the older (non-christian) cultures that gave municipal, civil, and community authority to their elders, were much happier societies. But this culture practicly throws them away.Division and seperation, whether by age, race, economics, religion, academics, social standing, etc., is only that; division and seperation, and those results are the intention of the powers and principalites of the status quo.Casting blame on generations is missing the true cause and solutions. To rephrase your statement;"There are still too many unconscious humans running the Nation. Until they are brought into awareness and consiousness, we will not have peace."FREE CANNABIS FOR EVERYONE
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Comment #11 posted by HempWorld on June 30, 2009 at 10:55:10 PT
Hemp, hemp, hooray!
The only problem is, if you live in the US, you can't have it! Why? Because it looks too much like marijuana and we would not want to advertise that, now would we? This way we could end up with millions of marijuana smokers in the US. God forbid!So, now hemp is pretty much in the same camp as medical marijuana; you can't really have it unless there is a re-scheduling of both. As long as the DEA is in power, backed by most republicans and a huge lobby (alcohol, pharma, cigs) I don't think there will be real change.It's kind of ironic, Canada has a 10 year lead on the US in cultivating hemp and the US is not even close to allow cultivation. I guess democracy works better in Canada, New Zealand and Australia, where hemp is now (again) a legal crop.
Where is the hemp?
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 10:31:31 PT
More On Oregon's Hemp Bill
 Oregon Resoundingly Passes Hemp Bill June 29, 2009 Monday afternoon, on a resounding 46-11 vote, the Oregon House passed a bill clearing the way for licensing industrial hemp farming in the state. Barring a highly unusual veto of a bi-partisan bill by Governor Kulongoski (D), Oregon will become the 17th state overall to pass pro-hemp legislation - the sixth this year.Now all that's needed is federal action.More on the flip. The bill's chief sponsor, Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), had this to say after the House vote: URL:
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 10:22:43 PT
Oregon: Good News About Hemp
House Oks Industrial HempBy Melissa Repko, The OregonianMonday, June 29, 2009SALEM -- Oregon is a step closer to growing industrial hemp with a House vote on Monday.Industrial hemp, a cousin to marijuana, can be used to make clothes and food products. The bill would allow the production, commerce, and possession of hemp products. The House passed the bill on Monday with a 46-11 vote.Rep. Jules Bailey, D-Portland, demonstrated the diversity of industrial hemp products with visual aids like hemp tortilla chips and a non-dairy milk product.Holding up a T-shirt, Bailey said "Senate Bill 676 is about rope, not dope."The bill heads to the governor's desk.Copyright: 2009 Oregon Live LLC.
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 09:18:54 PT
We must be aware of the past I agree. What I mean is we need to keep our minds open and try to get things changed while we have a progressive president. Step by step. That's how we have gotten as far as we have over a relatively short time when you think about it. Dwelling on the past makes people bicker and what good does bickering do but stop us from doing something productive.
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 09:15:05 PT
Just a Comment
I am listening to the Rolling Stone's song 'You Can't Always Get What You Want'We do get what we need.I am just a person who looks for answers to what I think are important issues and vote that way. Right now we have a popular and progressive administration not without fault but good so far and I am happy to let it develop over the next 7 years and some and then I will decide if it worked or failed in my eyes. 
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Comment #6 posted by Zandor on June 30, 2009 at 09:10:58 PT
Forgetting the past??
Sorry FoM all respect dude but...Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.My opinion:To break down the barrier one must understand the enemy and their logic behind their attacks. In order to fend off those attacks.We have been on the defense for too long..Now is the time to pick up some offense and push logic, reason and science into the forefront. We MAY and I stress MAY have an Ali in Washington but politics is a dirty game and in the end you can count on NOBODY. When they pass laws in the dark of the night to avoid anyone examining the laws in the light of day, you have NO FRIEND!!Study this article, learn from the past and hold elected officials accountable to the will of the people. A recall is always a good tool to bring a politician to his or her scenes.Religious Problems still persist:IF given a chance again good Christians will DESTROY this country through the Republican party...Never, Never, Ever Again Trust a Republican!!Keep a close eye on the Democrats too after all they are politicians and ALL politicians LIE!!Our single largest problem in this Nation is from the Good Christians on the Right. They have a plan for this Country and the people...But WE ARE NOT INCLUDED IN THEIR PLAN!!The Christian Right are planing a Global Jihad crusade in 2012. So watch your backs and those of your friends, they can't be trusted!! Definition of a Jihad: Two or more groups arguing over who has the best imagery friend!!We need Generational Change:The end of the war on us is close to an end...BUT not yet.There are still too many baby boomer's and pre-baby boomer's that are 60+ year olds running the Nation. Until they are GONE we will not have peace.Obama is a new generation...But he is running into the wall of the old guard that will just not let go or make any real change. They still pander to the Right and to the older generation and care little for the next generation who is forced to clean up their mess.PeaceZandor -
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Comment #5 posted by Skillet on June 30, 2009 at 09:07:36 PT
I'll give an amen to both of those comments. The "R"'s and "D"'s have worn me out. They as a group are all the same. Meaning, in too much of my life, business and pocket book. Each take sides on issues and scream about it until we are divided as a nation.
I don't need the government to regulate a plant for me thanks very much. Mother nature does a fine job!
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Comment #4 posted by christ on June 30, 2009 at 08:07:39 PT
what FoM said...
Can I get an Amen?!same for Sam Adams' comment on the Libertarian party. Despite Barr's "rebirth", I'm hoping they pick a new candidate in 2012.
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on June 30, 2009 at 07:23:44 PT
About This Article
This article was too much about blame for me. The past is gone and the future with our new President is ahead. I want to look forward and not be angry since times are changing now thankfully. Drug policy reform has come of age. What an exciting time we are living in.
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on June 30, 2009 at 06:21:43 PT
You wanna be sumthin' someday kid?
Then comb your hair, stand strait up, straiten your tie, look them right in the eye and lie! 
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on June 30, 2009 at 06:21:27 PT
overall great article. It's interesting that they just hammer away at drug prohibition all the way through until the end - then they end up supporting most of the WOD!The whole article is dedicated to how both parties - Dem. and Repub - are conniving liars when it comes to prohibition, and then it foolishly expects this same system and government to magically make enforcement "fair". this is why I prefer the libertarian party. Government enforcement on banned consensual acts will NEVER be fair - the whole point in banning consensual acts is to scapegoat and persecute targeted minorities and political opponents.They expect the current government to "tightly regulate cannabis". Sorry, after 90 years of "tight" government regulation I do not expect them to suddenly change and become fair. These authors can't break out of their "Big Government" brainwashing.When someone has willfully done a terrible job for 90 years they don't suddenly become "fair". That's not a realistic plan, it's a child's daydream
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