Send comments, tips,
and suggestions to:
DrugWarRant
Join us on Pete's couch.
couch

DrugWarRant.com, the longest running single-issue blog devoted to drug policy, is published by the Prohibition Isn't Free Foundation
facebooktwitterrss
December 2009
M T W T F S S
« Nov   Jan »
 123456
78910111213
14151617181920
21222324252627
28293031  

Archives

Authors

Michele Leonhart? Really? That's your best choice?

Depressing speculation from TickleTheWire.com, via Main Justice [Thanks, Tom]

WASHINGTON — Despite all the speculation and rumor as to who will be the next chief of U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, word has it that the acting chief Michele Leonhart is still on track to get the nod from the White House for the top post.

Maybe the DEA is so diseased that it would be cruel to waste the career of someone good administering it, or maybe it’s so messed up that you can’t get someone with a shred of integrity to take the job. But… really? Michele Leonhart?

Michele is a career DEA agent, with a long history. Read my article about her written back in 2003. The part that really stuck with me was her relationship with super-snitch Andrew Chambers, who was paid over $2 million by the DEA to testify (and lie) for the DEA. He was finally discredited and removed.

What did Michele think about his lying to help them get convictions?

“The only criticism (of Chambers) I’ve ever heard is what defense attorneys will characterize as perjury or a lie on the stand.”

She continued by saying that once prosecutors check him out, they’ll agree with his admirers in DEA that he’s “an outstanding testifier.”

Perfect choice for head of the DEA. Someone who doesn’t even know that perjury is wrong.

The DEA has way too much power in this world — over doctors, over medicine, over research, over local law enforcement, over public policy — to leave in the hands of someone like Michele Leonhart. If Obama puts her name forward, it seems to me that we should work toward making sure there is a political price to pay. I don’t see any backhanded strategic benefit to keeping here there (if you see one, let me know).

Michele Leonhart also has some detractors in the DEA, although for much different reasons. From hard-liners at DEA-watch:

It is, of course, very distressing that Obaholder is reaffirming the Bush nightmare years by retaining his worst appointees.

When a bad appointee is re-appointed they view their re-hire as a re-affirmation of their bad management and incompetence. They not only continue to do damage but they do more damage because they tell themselves that if they were re-hired then they must have been doing everything right… which in our agency’s case means the drug cartels will be given another three years of enjoying no heat from us and record income.

Leonhart means Christmas is every day to the drug cartels… this agency definitely needs to get back its ‘Jason Bournes’ who can simply eliminate the problem makers in Afghanistan, Colombia and everywhere else they lurk… No Taleban drug leaders means no need for troops to be kept in Afghanistan… no South American Drug cartel bosses means billions spent on drugs by our citizens will go to buy products we grow and make here at home. Its not the enemy ‘soliders’ we need to eliminate, it’s their senior leaders… duuuuuuuh!

Uh, yeah. Sure.

Post to Twitter Post to Facebook Post to Reddit Post to StumbleUpon

35 comments to Michele Leonhart? Really? That’s your best choice?

  • BruceM

    I can’t tell if she’s actually saying perjury is okay or if she is just in denial that the guy actually told lies and perjured himself. In her mind, everything he said was True (true with the capital ‘T’). In other words, a matter of faith, not fact. I don’t know anything about the background here, but “The only criticism (of Chambers) I’ve ever heard is what defense attorneys will characterize as perjury or a lie on the stand” can either mean “he’s great other than that little perjury thing” or it can mean “he’s fine except some criminal defense attorneys, trying to get their guilty clients acquitted, have said Chambers committed perjury.”

    I’ll bet it’s the latter. That’s why she said “defense attorneys” instead of “people”. Not that I’m defending her. Both interpretations of that quote really bother the fuck out of me.

  • claygooding

    I can’t carry on an intelligent conversation about these
    punks,because there is none. My only hope for them is that the studies showing that marijuana blocking cancers are proven up,and they never use it.

  • kaptinemo

    What can I say, except that…the DEA and Leonhart deserve each other. They really do. Let them stew together in the same rancid, stinking, slime-filled kettle…until it becomes obvious to the taxpayer that we can’t afford the kettle – or its’ contents – any longer.

  • BruceM

    kaptinemo: the average taxpayer, ears open for any claimed threat to “the children”, will readily bankrupt himself and his country as long as he/she believes children are being protected from harm.

  • claygooding

    Since speaking out in here is sorta like singing too the choir,it is still an outlet for our frustration with a system that refuses to learn from past mistakes,and they have made many. But just in case someone is reading these words that doesn’t understand why we,the people,abhor this law enforcement agency and the ONDCP so thoroughly,
    READ THESE:
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/fada/fadamenu.htm
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/YOUNG/index.html
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/studies/iom/IOMReport.htm
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/general/who-probable.htm
    http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/Library/nylawyer.htm
    The above site will allow you to better understand our position that the prohibition of marijuana should never have happened,and proves that despite scientific and social evidence,our government has continued and is still vigorously pursuing a war on it’s own citizens
    for it’s own purpose.

  • claygooding

    I posted a comment with all the studies done on marijuana since 1972 that shows that our government has pursued their own agenda with this war on drugs against their own citizens and refused repeatedly to listen too science or even their own federal judge. It is not showing up and when I try to re-post it it is saying already posted.
    I am trying this as test to see if it goes through.
    I have reloaded the page several times and it is still a no show.

  • It’s a thankless job with no growth potential. Worse than that, it’s a job that requires a hall-monitor personality. I’m not surprised that Obama his having a hard time finding someone who wants the job. He’s not a zealot regarding drugs, and I doubt anyone he really knows is a zealot either. So it’s easier to reappoint someone at least until he can actually find someone somewhere who actually wants the job.

    Even worse, there’s another gap of education, experience, and intellectual honesty. The generation of students he was with all tried pot, and some even tried coke for a little bit. They all know the truth, and can hardly lie effectively about the dangers of pot. They may even know people who still toke privately. So finding someone who would be an uncompromising foe of drugs is probably impossible.

    It’s easier in the Republican Party where there’s a significant Evangelical subculture where some folks have never indulged at all, and where the moral disapproval of doing so can provide sincere motivation for cracking heads. So Leonhart will probably stay on for at least a while.

  • kaptinemo

    Bruce, the same could be said about alcohol Prohibition…and was. And look what happened. The economy ‘went south’, and then the hysterics about “The children! The children!! WHAT ABOUT THE CHIL-DRE-EN!!!!!” soon became “End Prohibition for Their sakes!”

    As one author I read long put it succinctly, “A society has the ethics it can afford.” America’s moralizing has always, in the end, taken a back seat to economic necessity. So it was with alcohol Prohibition, so it shall be with drug prohibition…and, just as before with alcohol Prohibition, drug prohibition’s grave will be dug by accountants, not preachers.

    Of course, a new spin will be applied to cover the retreat from the ‘moral’ position…and is being applied, right now. It’s called being ‘smart on crime’ as opposed to being ‘tough on crime’. But whatever the brave noise made by a retreating army, it is still making that noise while marching backwards.

  • Sorry, Clay — the Spam filter caught it. (That list of links looked just like spam to it.) I always sort through the net when I get a chance and free any that get caught. Just takes a little longer.

  • Bruce-e

    Ohh oh. Could this be why my pal Dug spent an hour hugging a car tire and shouting “I think I’m gonna die!” after smoking some good skunk? S’got me worried.
    He didn’t die though, and within an hour was back strumming his guitar. Roll them skunk joints skinny…it’s not called ‘high grade’ for nothing.
    h ttp://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/6691992/Skunk-linked-to-huge-increase-in-risk-of-psychotic-disease.html

  • Bruce-e

    The joint pictured in the Telegraph photo is about 4 times bigger than it needs to be. A joint of skunk that big would rattle most normal unprepared folks enough to consider calling paramedics.
    Roll em skinny
    Ahhhh Ooooooom
    Hea-ven
    Moody Blues
    Operation Moderation

  • Servetus

    Michele Leonhart is the type of clown a politician would appoint to head the DEA if the intent is to disgrace and befoul that bureaucracy with ineffective leadership, overt scandals, and subsequent bad press reviews destined to bring about a quicker, ignominious end to the agency. In that sense, Ms. Leonhart is a good selection for bringing about a final solution to the DEA.

  • zak822

    About the skunk thing, we had the same problem back in the late 60’s when weed started coming in from Thailand and Nam. My girl friend and I turned her Uncle on to some good Thai stick I had, dude tried to got for a walk–out the second story window! We finally distracted with with some inane re-run on TV. Not a new problem, folks!

    And the DEA-Watch piece implies that we’ve been assasinating drug lords. I don’t have any sympathy for the brutal and rapacious, but that just doesn’t seem wise or legal.

  • divadab

    The DEA cannot but be corrupt – since it is charged with enforcing a corrupt prohibition. And Ms. Leonheart is as corrupt as the organization – she spent $125,000 of the Peoples’ money to charter a plane to take her and her henchmen to Colombia for a meeting with that country;s corrupt military leadership. A regular flight would apparently be beneath her exalted view of her own importance.

    I’d just like some of these scum to taste unemployment. The whole sorry enterprise needs to be eliminated like the boil on the ass of the country that it is.

  • About the plane, I don’t begrudge that. Given that the DEA has many enemies, it’s probably better to take a charter flight with no publicly available schedule than to trust that some low-level employee won’t tell the cartel people that the DEA chief and staff are coming.

    Still, the fact that very few people are vying for this position, or that very few can actually jump through all of the hoops necessary to take the position, is a sign of change. Smart people know that it’s a hopeless task (same with gun prohibition) and would rather not waste their time even for a good paycheck.

    Perhaps she can be the last Director.

  • kaptinemo

    “Still, the fact that very few people are vying for this position, or that very few can actually jump through all of the hoops necessary to take the position, is a sign of change. Smart people know that it’s a hopeless task (same with gun prohibition) and would rather not waste their time even for a good paycheck.

    Perhaps she can be the last Director.

    And that is the sense I get from the choice of Mr. Kerlikowske as ‘DrugCzar’. A caretaker in the political sense, particularly since there has been increased interest in modifying or even ending cannabis prohibition in the MSM.

    Since it has finally become ‘safe’ to speak about the subject, and more public voices are being raised in defense of the idea of debating the need for cannabis prohibition at all, attempting to maintain the bureaucracy necessary will become more politically untenable. Especially as the economy deteriorates further.

    (All the recent glowing talk by business ‘talking heads’ about turnarounds does not negate the fact that the system, itself, has not been reformed, and is subject to the same corrupt and unethical practices of those who have benefited so handsomely already. We are still ‘in the salad’, and will be for some time.)

    When that debate finally makes it ‘front-and-center’ in the public mind, the inevitable questions about the waste, fraud, racism, etc. that have always plagued the DrugWar will make anyone who speaks publicly in favor of it seem a fool…or a beneficiary of that corruption and racism. Again, a very untenable position politically. Particularly when you consider the millions of unemployed people in dire need of the funding that has already been proven to have been wasted courtesy successive GAO reports for the past 20 years.

    I cannot help but think that Ms. Leonhart is the sort of person who’s intelligent enough to know the hopelessness of her assigned task, but accepted it anyway for the material benefits and small degree of political power it provides. But the gravy train has had its’ fuel exhausted and is now coasting on inertia. How long she will continue to benefit from that inertia remains to be seen…

  • ezrydn

    I got an email from Howard today that reinforced what I’d long believed, and still do. This battle we’re involved in is not one to be decided primarily at the Federal level. It will be decided by the States, which is what we’re currently seeing happen.

    It’s good that we have the position and backing to throw momentary roadblocks in front of the retreating army spoken of above. It’s our way of pulling back more of the curtain and letting more of the monster show itself.

    Ultimately, I think we’ll see the Feds restructure the whole thing to accomodate the wishes of the States. Until then, talk to more people!

  • just me

    (EZ :Ultimately, I think we’ll see the Feds restructure the whole thing to accomodate the wishes of the States. Until then, talk to more people!)

    And talk I do! I talk to anyone that will listen , I talk to those that wont till they walk away.

  • claygooding

    A good sign,or bad,will be the budgeting of the DEA for next year,if the federal cops are going to stop using marijuana as their main focus of enforcement,allowing the states to choose continuing with prison sentences or moving into treatment. As I recall,they hadn’t changed any numbers in their request yet,and it still stands with little budgeted towards treatment and millions for enforcement.
    Has anyone heard of any changes in their budget request for 2010? And we may not hear it until they are passing the budget. No changes = bad news = no change

  • Bruce-e

    LOL Zak 822 about that 2nd story…Was at a house and went to step outside wheeee no back porch… In the next morning light there were concrete footings with rebar sticking up..ooo la la luck-ee bullseye.. I think I now know what exiting a plane feels like. Backdoro Airlines skunk suggested but not compulsory.

  • Duncan

    clay, FY2010 started on October 1. The budget should be done, though the Senate is still putzing around with appropriating the money.

  • kaptinemo

    Clay, the inertia of the perception that things are still status quo regarding public support for the drug laws (when, in fact the long-awaited groundswell for changing those laws has begun to have an impact on local and State politics has become evident) is still ruling the actions of Reps and Senators.

    That inertia could itself become a factor in our favor, if we keep pointing out the obvious: The DrugWar is an ineffectual policy that wastes scores of billions in funding that is desperately needed by American families and why can’t these goofball pols realize what is obvious to everyone else?

    Senator Grassley’s recent gaffe is a perfect example of that inertia…and what happens when it catches up to you. The public perception shifts, Grassley doesn’t realize it, makes the same kind of move prohibs have made in the past with impunity (the 1998 DC MMJ amendment preventing a vote count comes to mind).

    But this time, because of the perception shift on the public’s part, he catches political flack for that dumb move every way he turns. He got a taste of what people outside the Warshington ‘bubble’ were really thinking, and immediately begins to dissemble and backpedal. The taxpayers let him know his autocratic sentiments were to be kept in his pocket because the public wants debate on the subject.

    In short, Grassley received a classic ‘attitude adjustment’.

    That kind of thing has to happen, and a lot more of it, before the talks for the next fiscal year begin. And the fact that this is a critical election year doesn’t hurt.

  • kaptinemo

    Sorry, I meant 2010 is a critical election year. But that doesn’t mean we have to wait for Father Time to retire the present calendar. We as a movement need to pick up the pace even more.

  • pvnky brewster

    How’s that hope and change working out for ya?

  • kaptinemo

    “Pvnky” I have no illusions as to the nature of politics in this country. “Put not your faith in princes” has always been good advice, ever since the thousands of years since that was written. Any ‘princes’.

    Washington’s admonitions in his Farewell Address has proven to be sadly prophetic, especially when it came to political ‘parties’…I consider the ‘two’ parties to actually be only one, and that controlled by the very interests and sentiments that Ol’ George tried to warn us off from.

    But a window of opportunity has opened up for drug law reformers…thanks in no small part to the savage treatment civil liberties have received, courtesy of the previous Administration. (That this latest one has not seen fit to dismantle the machinery of officially-sanctioned domestic fascism such as the so-called PATRIOT Act, created in the last Administration, is most disquieting. As I said, ‘party’ labels are meaningless in that light.)

    So, regardless of Administration, we’ve been plugging away, and will continue to do so until the eventual victory. But we’re making greatrer advances under this Administration that we have previously. So, in one respect, there is hope for demonstrable change. Thank you for asking…

  • Duncan

    “(the 1998 DC MMJ amendment preventing a vote count comes to mind).”
    Actually they held the vote, and it passed with 70%. The Barr Amendment was attached to the DC appropriations bill which forbid them from spending money to implement. Initially it prevented them from even counting the vote but the Courts struck that down. The House repealed the Barr Amendment earlier this year, and I59 will take effect if the Senate confirms and Obama signs. There’s a darn good chance it’s going to happen, as it certainly seems that DC home rule is one agenda of this administration. When they’re going to get around to finishing appropriations for FY2010 I sure don’t know. Maybe in time for FY2010 at the rate they’re progressing.

  • kaptinemo

    Sorry I wasn’t clear enough. That’s just what I meant. The same kind of autocratic move the prohibs have engaged in previously, as if they were The Pope and speaking ex cathedra on something, preventing further debate. A tactic that Grassley tried, and was kicked in the political arse for this time.

    It’s just one more instance of the ‘sea change’ we’ve long been waiting for…and the one the prohibs have tried to forestall for many years.

  • DdC

    Ma Bell?

    Seriously we have to stop believing in DC commix like Biraq Obombo are going to be the great white hope for reform. He plays the game and doesn’t mind hypocrisy one bit. He toked and knows its not qualified to be a schedule#1 narcotic. As for Lionheartless La Bitch, is this really a surprise? He choose Klintoons whisperer Rahmdom and Iran Contra Gates. Joe frickin Liar Bieden of the RAVE Ax scam, outlawing bottled water and glow sticks but really only deterring NORML gatherings. Its all either in the present acting Americans or “others” turning their backs and bartering away Constitutional protections for hobgoblins. Gutting checks and balances promoting blind faith. Censored press and programmed media. PC school books and diplomas of ignorance determining the future of what they never learned from the past. Its bound to be a failure, but keep it going for the gipper, we might as well get rich on the misery.

    A STINKY STOCKYARD FULL OF SACRED COWS
    Suppose the dopeheads were allowed to buy their intoxicants at a pharmacy or liquor store, minus the enormous premium built into the price by contraband law, and go home and get high in peace. It would not be the end of the drug problem, but it might be the end of most of the crime problem.

  • kaptinemo

    Thank you, DdC; that article is the kind that I believe will become even more frequent as it becomes obvious we are nowhere ‘out of the woods’ yet WRT the economy.

  • Clay, the inertia of the perception that things are still status quo regarding public support for the drug laws (when, in fact the long-awaited groundswell for changing those laws has begun to have an impact on local and State politics has become evident) is still ruling the actions of Reps and Senators.

    That’s why state action is very important. The Feds aren’t going to act until it’s clear that repeal is supported across the board, and that the effects of repeal are manageable. Think about it this way: for the vast majority of Americans, there has never been a time when they remember pot being legal(Fed Prohibition 1937), and only a centenarian plus remembers when all drugs were sold over the counter (Harrison Act, 1914). Even the original Prohibition is stuff that only someone who’s pushing a century has even vague memories of. So there’s a lot of fear and not a little concern about secondary effects of legal pot. As states experiment, real time info can be gathered that can be most useful about moving forward on this issue.

  • DdC

    Yea Kap’t,
    Unfortunately as you well know, common sense seems to come around about every leap year. Maybe lately a little sooner. It doesn’t seem that complicated but inevitably as soon as sense is printed reefer phobic worriers hit the fan. I just wish they weren’t so boring. SOS, getting easier to point out the trolls when they repeat so much. But its sad they do this to their own neighbors. Worse when you hear them grip about government intrusion and wasted taxes and in the same breath blame the hippies for doping everybody up with all that equality and PC psychedelics. I keep wondering if Americans and the Western world even deserve Ganja. I mean if you have to fight them for safer alternatives, clean air and water or equal pay and an actual wage people can live on. Its clear they are allergic to common sense. Who in their right minds can object to affordable health care? I don’t get it. But this reminds me more and more are getting real and since its not the first time I won’t celebrate a victory, but it keeps a few seeds of hope, covered in lint in the corner of the pocket. Like Nixon’s promise about flashbacks. I wish they’d hurry up with all these horrendous things to actually happen, if I have to toke another 40 years before I get all the weird funky schtuff, I’m demanding my money back!
    Be well…

  • kaptinemo

    DdC, I look at it this way: the anti-Prohibition forces honestly thought in 1930 that it wouldn’t be until 1940 that Prohibition would end…and two years later it did. And that because the economy was so far in the toilet that people were making serious noises about adopting Socialism and Communism to replace a broken Capitalist system.

    The same thing is happening today.

    Take a look around. The hard core Left in this country are calling for many things that smack of Socialism, and it has the Investor Class in wide-eyed, gibbering hysterics, as any monitoring of TeeVee Nooz business sections will illustrate.

    For the longest time, Big Business was given just what it politicked for starting back in the mid-1970’s, they were given the run of the political and economic roost in return for promised greater wealth for all thanks to reduced regulation, but instead, look at what happened: they trashed the place…just like they did to bring on the Great Depression. Once more, the social pendulum is swinging in favor of the electorate rather than Big Business, and items like ending cannabis prohibition, just as was ending alcohol Prohibition, are symptoms of that pendulum swing.

    It’s our turn, now.

    The inevitable end of cannabis prohibition may be only a couple years away, given that a confluence of irresistible forces has formed to force the issue into mainstream consciousness. The forces of drug prohibition have always sought to keep it out of the spotlight, to denigrate it, to silence its’ proponents…and thus keep the ineffectual but highly lucrative gravy train going.

    But that’s getting harder and harder to do, and when it becomes evident to the electorate that DrugWar funding = less money for Unemployment and other desperately needed ‘social safety net’ programs, the jig will be up.

    But this does not mean that anyone can rest on their laurels; when it looked like cannabis prohibition would end in the late 1970’s, my generation kicked back and relaxed rather than deliver the killing blow to what was then a weakened monster. We dropped the sword, the monster was given time to heal from its’ wounds and savagely counter-attacked, and thus we consigned ourselves and the next generation to the Hell of the Reagan phase of the DrugWar, which only got worse with successive Administrations.

    This time, we must not stop until the monster’s head is on a pike as a warning to the next ten generations that some ‘crusades’ carry too high a price to be engaged in ever again.

    Victory is close, the monster is weakening once more, and this time, we have the generational numbers to pull it off, mine and the next’s. A lot of arms to heft a lot of swords. All we have to do is develop the will to swing those swords. I’m up for it, if only as atonement, but others have lost far more than I did, and they have even greater impetus to start hacking and stabbing. It’s time to show those swords to the pols and and ask the question: with us or against us?

  • I enjoy reading your article. Thank for provide great information.

  • […] was front and center during the federal closing of California dispensaries during the Bush years. Pete Guither writes on his blog her relationship with super-snitch Andrew Chambers, who was paid over $2 million by the DEA to […]

  • Brian Kerr

    Only one answer is to vote independent in 2010 and 2012,

    and write Obumer and tell him so.