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March 31, 2009

Drug Warrior
Posted by Jim Macdonald at 10:19 AM *

There’s some commentary over at CNN.com from Jack Cafferty, titled War on drugs is insane.

They say,

Editor’s note: Jack Cafferty is the author of a new book, “Now or Never: Getting Down to the Business of Saving Our American Dream.” He provides commentary on CNN’s “The Situation Room” daily from 4 to 7 p.m. ET. You can also visit Jack’s Cafferty File blog.

Well, the “War on Drugs” is insane. Yes. We’ve been saying so for years. But here’s where ol’ Jack goes off the rails:

They [Mexican drug gangs] have been able to infiltrate those 230 cities because we have not bothered to secure our borders. In addition to illegal aliens who come here to work and avail themselves of our social programs, we have criminals from Mexico bringing drugs in, taking money and guns back, and recruiting American kids into their criminal enterprises while they’re here.

Because we have not bothered to secure our borders? Oh, come on. Get real. Drugs are available to the prisoners inside Federal prisons. Are you trying to say that prisons haven’t bothered to secure their walls? Exactly how much securing are we talking about, here? Find something else to hang the right-wing Evil Foreigner Border Wall tripe on.

Comments on Drug Warrior:
#1 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 11:34 AM:

Next, the Canadians.

#2 ::: Ken Houghton ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 11:53 AM:

That's right; blame Canada for everything...

(Side note: is Mr. MacDonald the "Jim from New Hampshire" who TDS said is calling the White House at 3:00a.m. saying "I need a jump"? Am I the only one who immediately assumed he was?)

#3 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 11:56 AM:

Amen on all counts!

#4 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 11:56 AM:

Dave Bell @ 1... Why do you think I moved from Canada to the USA? Bwahahahah!!!

#5 ::: Xopher ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 12:14 PM:

Right, because the US drug problem is something the Foreign Devils are doing to us, and has nothing to do with the demand for drugs among our citizens. Just like teenagers would never THINK of having sex if it weren't for that goddam librul sex edumacation!

Gods I hate these boneheads.

Meanwhile, known liberal magazine The Economist has come out for legalization (only they call it legalisation) of drugs as the "least bad" solution to ending the drug wars. They mistakenly believe that the drug wars, at least in the US, have anything at all to do with actually stopping people from using drugs.

#6 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 12:14 PM:

Nick Davies has a very good article on his Flat Earth News website called What's wrong with the war against drugs. It roughly aligns with what I feel about it and he's done the research. It's worth a read, this bit sums it up:

"Drugs and fear go hand in hand. The war against drugs is frightening - but not, in reality, for the reasons which are claimed by its generals. The untold truth about this war, which has now sucked in every country in the developed world, is that it creates the very problem which it claims to solve. The entire strategy is a hoax with the same effect as an air force which bombs its own cities instead of its enemy's. You have to go back to the trenches of Flanders to find generals who have been so incompetent, so dishonest, so awesomely destructive towards those for whom they claim to care.

"The core point is that the death and sickness and moral collapse which are associated with Class A drugs are, in truth, generally the result not of the drugs themselves but of the blackmarket on which they are sold as a result of our strategy of prohibition. In comparison, the drugs themselves are safe, and we could turn around the epidemic of illness and death and crime if only we legalised them."

The people in the War on Drugs (on both sides) have a vested interest in keeping it going, with everyone else losing out. Didn't the Economist just say so?

#7 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 12:15 PM:

Apparently they did...

#8 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 12:27 PM:

Paul Herzberg @ 6... That reminds me of an interview with Groucho Marx where he said that some people he'd known had had no interest in booze or booze-making until the Prohibition came along.

#9 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 12:33 PM:

Paul Herzberg #6:

Also from your article, another "keystone" quote:

"There is no drug known to man which becomes safer when its production and distribution are handed over to criminals."

And the major obstacle to legalization:

Senator Gomez Hurtado, former Colombian ambassador to France and a high court judge: "... The income of the drug barons is an annual five hundred thousand million dollars, greater than the American defence budget. With this financial muscle they can suborn all the institutions of the state and, if the state resists, with this fortune they can purchase the firepower to outgun it."
#10 ::: Larry ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 12:42 PM:

First you have the Economist, then Jim Webb talking about it now this. What is has done is turn the US into a growing prison state.

It is kind of amusing that the only way that he can acknowledge that the War on Drugs is nuts is by blaming those evil messicans. If he actually understood the problem he'd realize that the distribution is done by local gangs. He's also realize that the border clampdowns that have occured have actually pushed dealers into smuggling harder drugs since they are easier to hide than pot.

#11 ::: Dave Bell ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 01:47 PM:

I know the total amount of money in drugs is huge.

But the drug barons in country A don't get 100% of the street value of their product when it's sold in country B.

As far as causing crime is concerned, the street value is important to Government B, but it isn't what's available to bribe Government A.

#12 ::: Scott Taylor ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 02:36 PM:

Did we all read the same article?

Because the article I read says things like -

Someone described insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. That's a perfect description of the war on drugs.

and

The United States is the largest illegal drug market in the world. Americans want their weed, crack, cocaine, heroin, whatever. And they're willing to pay big money to get it.

and

If drugs were legalized, we could empty out a lot of our prison cells. People will use this stuff whether it's legal or not. Just like they do booze. And you could make the argument that in some cases alcohol is just as dangerous as some drugs. I know.

and ends

Like I said ... something to think about. It's time.

and this is being written by a guy who looks like this and not like this... and is doing so on the front page opinion piece on CNN!

It ain't perfect. It's got some natavistic bullshit in it. Ending the War on (Some) Drugs will not suddenly result in puppies and rainbows for everyone. Legalizing or decriminalizing drugs will no more completely wipe out the cartels, drug gangs, et al than repealing Prohibition completely wiped out the Mafia in America. It's short, blunt, populist, and not completely researched.

But it would also have been impossible to print twenty years ago in nearly every media outlet outside of the Village Voice and the like. It would have been nearly impossible to get a managing editor (for an outlet of CNN's size, anyways) to "print" ten years ago.

The fact that he can publish this opinion piece at all - and not get fired the same day - and that he is not alone in publishing what some of us have been saying for twenty years - is amazing.

#13 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 02:48 PM:

I've been thinking about this a lot lately. The first time I read a bulletin about a tractor trailer being intercepted at the border with eleventy billion tons* of marijuana, I thought, wow, that sure is a big bust. It wasn't until I read the fourth or fifth that I thought, hey, if they're intercepting giant trucks full of weed, that means someone finds it profitable to drive giant trucks full of weed across the border. And if it weren't, they'd stop. So catching a truck a week... can't be really making a dent in the whole "supply" side of things.

You'd think if even I could catch on, it must be pretty obvious.

*not the actual figure

#14 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 02:58 PM:

There does seem to be a quiet movement towards a more sensible drug policy in the U.S. I don't think major change will come quickly, but you can see little changes all over the place. Decriminalization in Massachusetts & Michigan. Articles like Cafferty's. Jim Webb's National Criminal Justice Commission Act. Even Obama's response to that town hall question about marijuana and the economy was ususual. He didn't use it as an opportunity to grandstand. Instead he made a joke.

#15 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 03:46 PM:

A.J. #14: Things have changed, but it's been a slow, steady creep. In politics as in science, there are some changes that tend to advance "one funeral at a time" -- that is, the old guard simply dies off. I suspect this may be one of those.

#16 ::: A.J. ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 04:06 PM:

it's been a slow, steady creep.

It has been. But social norms can change faster when the realm of acceptable discourse broadens. It wouldn't surprise me if popular sentiment on these topics was changing a bit faster now than, say, 10 years ago.

#17 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 04:47 PM:

ISTM that the major obstacle to legalization is the entrenched interests making either a profit or political hay out of the "War". Imprisoning "criminals" is a large, and more and more privatized, industry in the US, with billions of dollars at stake. That's the profit motive. And a generation of politicians have ensured their elections by promising to be "tough on crime". That's the political motive.

It doesn't hurt this trend that the brunt of punishment falls disproportionately on the lower classes and most especially non-whites; groups with less political clout than the middle class whites who have voted for more prisons and drug penalties. I suspect that some of the reason why it's becoming more acceptable to criticize the "War" is that more and more police officers are beginning to realize that the old methods not only don't work against the current epidemic of meth usage, but that they actually make the problem much worse, and are seriously impeding all other aspects of law enforcement.

#18 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 05:37 PM:

A.J. , 16
It has been. But social norms can change faster when the realm of acceptable discourse broadens. It wouldn't surprise me if popular sentiment on these topics was changing a bit faster now than, say, 10 years ago.

I agree, and I think specifically, the election of Obama broke the ability of social conservatives to tie everything to the war on Terra.* So the noise machine is thrashing around trying to find a narrative to hang everything on. Meanwhile rational, normal, people find that the organized opposition to [decriminialization|medical marijuana|gay marraige|gays in the military] has pretty much collapsed. It's almost as though normal people were alienated from the previous administration, and were saving up the changes that they wanted to make.

I mean, really, the pro-gay marriage stuff in VT and NH seemed to move really fast.

*intentional. Refers to the location of the battlefield.

#19 ::: P J Evans ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 05:48 PM:

For what it might be worth, CNN.com has a poll asking about legalizing drugs (with the intention of taxation), and the current results are 59 percent in favor.

#20 ::: B. Durbin ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 05:56 PM:

Solve California's budget crisis.*

Legalize pot. Then tax it.

*at least until our legislature finds even MORE stupid stuff** to spend the money on.

**Seriously. If it were going towards the schools and infrastructure it would be fine, but it goes towards every penny-ante thing they can dream of. And then they complain that they're out of money.

Turn off the air conditioning to the state Capitol, I say.

#21 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 07:34 PM:

One complication of legalizing marijuana: all the no-smoking laws will have to be amended to make it clear that they include pot as well as tobacco. Otherwise a dinner at your local restaurant might include a secondary-smoke high (and a higher dessert bill because of attacks of the munchies at the end of the meal).

#22 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 08:47 PM:

Bruce Cohen @#21: Not an issue... remember, there already are non-tobacco cigarettes out there (or have been -- they might have been casualties of the WOSD), and I doubt anyone would try to argue that lighting one of those up isn't "smoking".

On the other hand, the public-intoxication laws might need some tweaking....

#23 ::: sara ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 09:31 PM:

If they truly plan to legalize marijuana (there are enormous economic and irrational social forces against this -- the prison-industrial complex and scared soccer moms), smoking pot will give people something to do with their spare time when they are unemployed and can't afford to go shopping for anything more expensive than NutterButters. As opposed to drinking, which makes some unemployed and poor people violent.

The opiate of the masses!

/cynicism

#24 ::: Erik Nelson ::: (view all by) ::: March 31, 2009, 10:39 PM:

#21 higher dessert bill

pun intended?

#25 ::: Thomas ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 04:05 AM:

Bruce@21, David@22.

In the Dutch 'coffeeshops' the EU-wide smoking bans are limited to tobacco; the smoking of other plants has the same not precisely illegal status that it had before.

#26 ::: ajay ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 06:16 AM:

23: a few years ago the UEFA Cup (IIRC) was hosted by the Netherlands and Belgium, and there were reports remarking on the difference between English fans in Belgium (lagerlagerdrinkfightdrinksmashvomitdrinkfightsmash) and the same fans in the Netherlands (ambling around in a benevolent haze of plant derivatives, applauding politely when the opposing team scored).

#27 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 06:54 AM:

If federal laws pass legalizing medical marijuana, can state officials be prosecuted when they try to enforce state bans? Civil rights violations, maybe? Assault? Strong arm robbery when prescribed medications are confiscated?

#28 ::: Cat Meadors ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 07:13 AM:

I guess it would depend on how the laws were written. There are lots of things that are legal in the US generally, but not in individual states. (Those little silver balls for cookie decorating, for one. Free the dragees!)

I remember when I worked for the FDA and read medical journals for fun. There was one discussing drug legalization, and the law enforcement representative said that they couldn't be legalized, because that would be showing support for illegal drugs. (But if you legalized them, then... uh... buh... And then my head exploded.)

Seriously, though, I think that's a pretty common argument, and it's not one that can be won, ever.

#29 ::: don delny ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 08:35 AM:

Cat Meadors, 28,
free the dragées
*sporfle*

Cat, you just made my day. Nice little clicktrance too, as I pinged around from the wukipedia entry to assorted little blogs ranting about the horrors of inedible metallic-coated things in our food and, alternately, silver dragees are, like, the Kobe beef of sprinkles.. [Right above a google search result about the banning of genital waxing in NJ.] Paging Ezra Klein! Foodblogging alert!

Slightly more seriously, the redforkhippe blog looks like the real thing: a local blogger who can write with wit and frame things in terms of a story.

Thank you Cat Meadors! You have livened up my day!

#30 ::: Lila ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 09:41 AM:

ajay @ #26, nitpick: lager is also a plant derivative.

We used to be able to get dragées here, but the label said you were supposed to remove them from the food before eating it. I have never known anyone to follow that advice.

So far nobody I know has succumbed to silver poisoning. I think you'd have to be a lawyer to be able to afford that many silver dragées.

#31 ::: Manny ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 02:19 PM:

I think that making drugs boring would be a good thing. I don't remember reading about a kid being killed when two rival gangs of pharmacists had a shootout, for example.

#32 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 02:23 PM:

Manny @ 31...

...must... NOT!... laugh out... loud!

#33 ::: Earl Cooley III ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 03:47 PM:

I don't think pharmacies run by rival gangs is implausible at all. It would combine distribution with money laundering.

#34 ::: Bill in Silicon Valley ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 08:54 PM:

Bruce#21, the dichotomy in smoking laws already exists. When I moved out here in the 90s and started going to concerts at places like the Warfield and the Fillmore, they were about as smoky as they'd been during the Old Days. But the anti-smoking laws were health laws and not fire laws, so the smoke wasn't that nasty tobacco stuff. And as long as you'd gotten there by public transit and not driving, that was fine...
And Cat, if states do legalize marijuana, then pastries with shiny things on top are going to be more risky already.

#35 ::: Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 09:11 PM:

Meanwhile, we have this moron in West Virginia, who wants to administer drug tests to folks in order for them to get their unemployment insurance money.

#36 ::: Craig R. ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 01:05 AM:

in re the maroon who wants to drug test for unemployment benefit eligibility --

It's part & parcel of the same mindset that thinks that lifetime benefit limits for welfare (especially when job training and affordable daycare are excluded) is a good thing.

Yes, you may get some fraud -- but the overwhelming majority will not be trying to defraud anybody.

lets just increase the number of homeless and push crime up more -- that way the for-profit prison complexes will use up the funds not spent on safety-net benefits.

Hell, while we are at it, lets just reinstate debtors prisons for all those who are unemployed and hit with the usurious interest rates when they are late for two credit card payments in an 18-month period

#37 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 01:52 AM:

Bill in Silicon Valley @ 34

I knew I moved away from the Bay too soon!

#38 ::: Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 01:55 AM:

Craig R. @ 36

I was rather surprised that the Shrub Administration didn't institute mandatory indenture for debt. Can't think of a better way to push a work force into the mud.

#39 ::: The Raven ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 02:08 AM:

BTW, former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper writes the pro-legalization blog post. Krawk!

#40 ::: old ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 04:04 AM:

Jim Macdonald ::: (view all by) ::: April 01, 2009, 09:11 PM:

Meanwhile, we have this moron in West Virginia, who wants to administer drug tests to folks in order for them to get their unemployment insurance money.

I live in West Virginia and read about that in the paper. I wrote a sarcastic letter cheering him on, and told him to expand it to everyone who gets any of my hard earned dollars, and that legislators' cars must be equipped with breath-a-lizers. He never wrote back. His idea died in committee, though, I do not believe I can take any credit for that.

#41 ::: Raphael ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 08:15 AM:

Earl Cooley @33, you know the reason why Charlie Stross gave up on the pharmacy business, right?

#42 ::: Paul Herzberg ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 09:41 AM:
BTW, former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper writes the pro-legalization blog post.

And yet the British Police were the ones demanding the reclassification of cannabis a while back. This despite the Advisory Board on the Misuse of Drugs, which the PM had set up to find out whether reclassifcation was advisable, advising that it was inadvisable.

The Guardian have a nice summary of the Advisory Board's findings here.

#43 ::: David Manheim ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 09:43 AM:

It's not reasonable, it's politics.

I have mentioned this before, but I'm an orthodox Jew. That gives me access to a different group of people than most of the regular readers of this blog. I've had this discussion with several groups of people, and the issue is a combination of (unthinking) conservatism and lack of knowledge about drugs.

As strange as this seems in today's media saturated and drug accepting culture, the principle objection of these people is due to the narrow media channels they allow themselves. They do not watch TV, do not read mainstream newspapers, and they will vote in droves against any type of legalization.

I would imagine the situation is similar to that in the bible belt - and if the Republicans don't have gay marriage or abortion as a powerful enough wedge issue, the "think of the children" factor of legalization, reasonable or not, will stop any centrist politician, or values oriented democrat, from supporting it.

#44 ::: Josh Jasper ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 12:32 PM:

Dave Niewert over at Orcinus was blogigng about a related conversation between Newt Gingrich and Bill O'Falafel

You know, being idiotic douchebags can only carry you for so long before everyone with a brain realizes that you're idiotic douchebags.

I'm hoping that the GOP has reached that point. Painting the failure of the WOD as a failure of border security is only going to appeal to people with at least a little bit of white militia or other racist leaning in their lizardbrain.

These people are not a growing movement. They're a generalized rabble who're dying out.

For everyone else, it's a sad sack of failure. The GOP is literally without a head. No one has been running the show since Bush was revealed before the world as a failure. Not Steele, not Limbaugh, not Gingrich, no one. They have absolutely no unity outside of Democrat bashing.

#45 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 02:47 PM:

David #43:

ISTM that this is both a strength and a weakness of our massive level of choice in media. The good news is, I don't have to listen to that screaming guy on MSNBC, or the dude that's always mad on CNN, or that weepy old lady on that other channel. The bad news is, it becomes possible to live more and more in a bubble of media that only re-enforces your starting beliefs and ideas.

Now, this has always happened to some extent in media, and much more in communities. But there's something unpleasant that happens when lots of people can tune out all contradictory evidence/arguments and listen only to folks who think like they do.

On a personal level, the best antidote I know of is to read and listen widely, with at least some willingness to assume that they're not all wrong/crazy about everything. (Some folks with whom I disagree most of the time also have some real insights.) IMO, if you're not getting really p-ssed off/offended from time to time by what you read, you're probably filtering too much.

#46 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 02:50 PM:

Josh #44:

Yeah, it's a little disconcerting to see the current state of the GOP. Because the US system of government basically assumes/requires two parties, and one of the parties has wrecked itself. (Every bit of the damage is self-inflicted, as far as I can see.) That means we don't have a competent opposition party, which is likely to make the Democrats do a worse job of governing, as they don't have anyone able to call them on their excesses in an effective way.

#47 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 02:59 PM:

albatross @ 46... There was no competent opposition udring the first 8 years of the 21st Century. As for Democratic excesses, there's no way they can top what the Other Party did when it had the reins. I for one welcome our Evil Democratic Overlords, and the belief that Science should not be trumped by Politics, among other things.

#48 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 03:57 PM:

Serge:

I hope not, but the current economic crisis, rather like the post-9/11 crazy that overtook the country, offers endless opportunities for corruption, empire-building, ideologically-driven idiocy, short-sighted score-settling, etc. IMO, the country does better when it has two mostly sane, mostly competent parties. Instead, it now has one mostly sane, mostly competent party, and one party that has formed a circular firing squad and opened fire.

#49 ::: Serge ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 04:29 PM:

aklbatross @ 48... True, but the Democratic Party is more into conciliation, which is one reason why it was such a lousy opposition party. Also, that conciliatory approach was a source of contempt for the other guys, who tended to go for I've-got-the-big-dick-and-the-big-stick-and-I-don't-have-to-listen-to-you approach.

#50 ::: Kathryn from Sunnyvale ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 05:23 PM:

Andrew Sullivan has been posting readers' letters about "the cannabis closet." They're interesting.

--the member of a marijuana case jury ('a classic "profile" stop') where all but two jurors were regular users. They found the defendant guilty.

--people noticing just how ridiculously widespread pot use is. But until and unless everyone comes out about it at once, no one can. As this letter puts it "It is indeed the only law I break. But I can never come out of the closet because I'd lose my job. A lot of people are in that position, I believe - not only functioning members of society but high functioning members, who would be deemed dysfunctional by their employers, maybe by society itself, simply because they enjoy the occasional bong hit."

He also criticized Obama's "dismissive" answer about legalization in the online town hall Obama recently did. AH has a point, especially given that many of Obama's friends and colleagues are likely to be occasional partakers--and Obama knows this. It was a hypocritical cheap laugh.

#51 ::: Linkmeister ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 06:20 PM:

albatross @ #46 on the Democrats: "they don't have anyone able to call them on their excesses"

Oh, they do, but it's internal. In the Senate that faction has a loud but usually ineffectual "leader" named Evan Bayh; in the House there are several caucuses (Black, Hispanic, Blue Dog) which can cause all manner of trouble if their wishes aren't met.

#52 ::: albatross ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 09:52 PM:

Linkmeister: That sure didn't work out so well for the Republicans, who also have genuine fiscal conservatives, people who genuinely care about civil liberties and limited government, etc.

#53 ::: Lee ::: (view all by) ::: April 02, 2009, 10:37 PM:

albatross, #52: It only works when the groups that play internal watchdog actually have some influence in the party as a whole. The fiscal conservatives have been effectively a fringe group in the Republican Party for at least the last 20 years, since a lot of what they wanted was anathema to the big-money donors.

#54 ::: Warren B Fritze III ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2009, 11:45 AM:

I'm sure this has been said many times, many places, and by many people, but no amount of "secure borders" will ever stop the massive amount of craving and need and want for personal use of narcotics. Speaking as a drug addictions counselor, one who works with people who are in the throws of a most devastating dis-ease (that being addiction and the thoughts/behaviors that go hand in hand), that basic craving to escape lives, even for a moment, will never end.

Yet, the powers that be, those same powers that want this insane "war" on drugs, appear to be blind and delusional to the basic fact of why drugs are used, who uses them, and the effects of drugs.

Sad, really.

#55 ::: David Harmon ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2009, 01:37 PM:

Warren B Fritze III #54: On the contrary, I'd say your making a basic error here: You assume that the politicos' actual reasons for doing these things, are the same as their claimed reasons.

Remember, both the original 1940's war on Marijuana, and Nixon's 1970's "War On Drugs", were well within living memory of the original Prohibition, and all the associated gangsterism. Prohibition I demonstrated quite clearly that in the face of such laws, people would keep using the forbidden substances regardless.

So, instead of booze (which turned out to be used by too many white folks), they outlawed the "marijuana" associated with Mexicans and other Hispanics. Later, Nixon focused on the harder drugs used by "ghetto blacks", and the hallucinogenics (with pot, again) used by "those dirty hippies". I have no reason to think they really believed that they would, or could, actually stamp out use of those drugs -- but it made it really easy to arrest "those people" essentially at will.

Of course, they clearly didn't see (or care) just how counterproductive those policies would be in the long term! (Hint: Fashions commonly emerge from various subcultures and underclasses!)

#56 ::: chris ::: (view all by) ::: April 03, 2009, 06:33 PM:

Bayh doesn't block the Democrats' excesses, he blocks their successes.

As of right now, I'm not sure the Democrats *have* any excesses - they still have all the cringe reflexes they built up over the last 28 years, *and* the status quo is so far to the right that almost any leftward movement is really centerward movement.

That would eventually change, if they actually achieve one-party rule, but I wouldn't underestimate the Republicans' ability to come back even while remaining batshit insane. Republican sympathizers own the media (literally own it, and when the reporter argues with the owner about which stories to run, the owner wins and the reporter looks for a new job; which makes those frequently-hawked polls of *reporters'* political leanings kind of irrelevant) and as Adlai Stevenson said, it isn't enough for the Democrats to get the votes of every thinking person, they need a majority.

#57 ::: Terry Karney ::: (view all by) ::: April 06, 2009, 01:41 AM:

B. Durbin: Want to fix our budget crisis? Make bonds a 60 percent+1 to pass, and taxes a 50+1.

Because we are paying huge penalties for paying for things with bonds (the average bond costs the taxpayer twice the value of the revenue received, and is paid for out of the general fund).

We routinely pass bonds with about 53 percent of the vote, and defeat taxes with 56 percent of the vote.

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