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A 'balanced' response

So with the huge AP story about us having wasted a trillion dollars on a failed drug war hitting almost every media outlet this week, I was wondering when the Drug Czar would start “pushing back.” (Oh, wait, that was the old name of the “blog.”)

Well, the ONDCP’s ofSubstance “blog” has responded: ONDCP Agrees: A Balanced Approach is Needed, But Mischaracterizing Our Progress Helps No One

The ONDCP seems to think that if they say the words “balanced approach” often enough, they’ll actually be both true and effective. Truth is, it’s neither.

The budget piece is fair to focus on, but we told AP that we objected to the article’s mischaracterization of current policy. A fairer and more nuanced observation would have been: This does look/sound a lot different, but the budget scenario hasn’t changed overnight (it never does, in any realm of government) and it will take some time to test the Administration’s commitment to the new approach.

OK, that might have been nice for the AP to say from the Drug Czar’s perspective, but it would have been nonsense. What’s the point of a commitment to a new approach if you’re still asking for funding for the old approach?

It’s like saying that you’re committed to dramatically reducing your fat intake, and then going out and filling your shopping cart with bacon, eggs, ice cream, doughnuts, oreos, and two extra-jumbo cans of lard.

The Drug Czar goes on to mention some of the things that should have been discussed in the AP story.

The article did not address whether legalizing/decriminalizing drugs, posited in the story as a responsible alternative – works, or why, if it does, more countries haven’t taken this approach.

Are you saying that the U.S. would stand idly by while a country legalized drugs? With the ONDCP and the UNODC looking over most countries’ shoulders, it’s a wonder that we have the examples like Portugal and the Netherlands that we do, and, in fact, there are more and more that are taking little steps toward that direction. Not to mention that we’d have more states going that route if the feds weren’t constantly a threat.

The greater use of today’s high potency marijuana has probably been a critical factor in the unprecedented surge among those seeking treatment for marijuana and ER mentions.

Now there’s an old and tired out and out lie. Notice the pathetic attempt to avoid responsibility for the lie by using the word “probably.” Once again, for those who haven’t been paying attention, the entire reason for the surge in those getting “treatment” for marijuana is because of criminal justice referrals (essentially people who don’t need help signing up for “treatment” to avoid jail).

This Administration is trailblazing a commitment to strengthened international partnerships – witness the unprecedented global support for US goals at the recent UN Commission on Narcotic Drugs meeting in Vienna, Austria.

Right. You put the worst drug warriors around the world in a room, and they like what the U.S. is doing. That’s supposed to make us feel better about these new goals?

Obviously, no one story can cover everything, but we should engage in a new discussion on why drug abuse policy is so important and what evidence-based strategies are at our disposal (there are a lot of them) to reduce its deadly toll.

Guess what, we finally are engaged in that discussion, and it turns out that prohibition isn’t one of those evidence-based strategies at our disposal, and anybody who relies on it as 2/3 of a “balanced” approach has nothing to add to the discussion.

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21 comments to A ‘balanced’ response

  • Just me.

    This does look/sound a lot different, but the budget scenario hasn’t changed overnight (it never does, in any realm of government) and it will take some time to test the Administration’s commitment to the new approach.

    This all such BS , It doesnt take time. All it takes is for government to do as we all know to be right and with a stroke of a pen…its over…no time needed.

    Word games an posturing is all our government does , They cant talk directly on any subject, weasels looking for wiggle room to continue their agendas on all fronts.

  • claygooding

    When a bureaucratic empire has a $15 billion budget,do you realize how many government employees and spin off
    industries are relying on that budget. If the congress were too end the funding of the ONDCP,the unemployment statistics alone would jump more than the leadership wants too see,especially right now.
    Watched the O’Rielly factor tonight,a very interesting exchange between a prohib journalist and O’Rielly about the war on drugs,both agreed,after watching the video of the MO bust,that that is just a part of the war on drugs that while regrettable,was no reason to abandon the WOD.
    No surprises there,but at the end of their conversation,the prohib journalist said he would support a testing of legalized marijuana in a couple of states,just too see if there were more deaths on the highways,increased health costs,etc,and O’Rielly more or less agreed.
    The wall is starting too crumble and it is becoming more evident every day. Oh,yeah,they both agreed that they did not necessarily want Ca to be a test state.

  • Chris

    Wonder if they’ll let anyone take up that discussion now.

  • Ned

    In the “clubhouse” that is Wash DC, it is extremely rare that those in the room with a seat at the table are told that everything is now going in a new direction, thanks, goodbye and good luck. What is heard from those at the top isn’t about logic or proven effectiveness or anything like that; it’s rationalizations put forward to protect the jobs of crony bureaucrats along with their own jobs. What’s amazing is the resulting “Alice in Wonderland” effect. That’s where the powerless people who are obviously right must debate those in power who are obviously wrong. This illogical and nonsensical situation confuses average citizens enough to preserve the status quo.

    This goes across all of the federal government now. Defense policy, Financial policy, Energy policy, Immigration policy, name it and status quo interests that benefit at the expense of the common good hold sway. We no longer make policy with the common good as the prime motivation. Policy is made based on financial clout and
    status quo economic interests. There is no specific interest group in the room at the table that represents the common good. Normally, one might think a budgetary squeeze might force the issue, but then political calculations are made and smaller
    programs for interests with money are cut instead.

    So the only hope is to chip away at public support, the problem with that is that 51% against the status quo is not nearly enough. Tangible support for the drug war will probably need to fall to less than 35% before anything will really change.

  • Nick z

    Give us a break!

    Anyone who has been following the war on drugs for the last decade or two and doesn’t realize what a bunch of VAMPIRES and VULTURES the WAR PROFITEERING drug warriors are, is just plain dumb.

  • ezrydn

    What I’m reading is “IF AP had written the story the way I told them to write it, I wouldn’t have to be making these statements any longer.”

    Sorry, Gil. It’s not your choice.

  • kaptinemo

    The Pomeranian lapdog media finally woke up and bit the fingers that have been short-stroking it. And now Gil and Company can’t stuff the predigested propaganda down its’ throat. That article was shot across the bow…and it’s been noticed.

  • Just me.

    Your reading it right EZ.

  • claygooding

    I find it especially ironic that the leading purveyor of
    mischarecterization would accuse anyone else of this tried an tried and tried but failed tactic.
    And you are right Pete,that the failure of countries to try decriminalization or legalization is only low because of the sanctions and pressures put upon them by the ONDCP and other US government agencies when they even discuss those policies.
    And I see no mention of the number of Latin American countries that no longer allow the DEA in their countries in their “strong” international agreements. The only countries agreeing with our policies are the countries that don’t have people making money from the production of illicit drugs,but are receiving funding from ONDCP to “help” them fight drugs.

  • ezrydn

    And, pardon me for being so stupid, but how does one “mischaracterize” failure? We ALMOST met our goal? Sorry, doesn’t work.

    “Close” only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades.

  • Maria

    Huh. That was a definitive ‘on the defensive’ response.

    Almost comes across as mildly astounded at the gal of this petty, little media thing. This.. AP.. that did not tow the line.

    If the AP was to address each of their sad counter points they’d need to write a book. Hrm, maybe that’s what whoever got that article out should do. A book in article form. Next article address the supposed increase in Cannabis treatment due to stronger weed grown by Joe six pack in his backyard.

  • Scott

    It is amazing to see the difference when the mainstream media stops completely supporting these folks.

    Better late than never, but that does not help the millions upon millions of people who suffered to varying degrees throughout the many decades that drug prohibition has existed.

    Thankfully, I believe we are making strides to help prevent many more millions of people avoid a similar unconstitutional fate.

    We must continue to pressure the mainstream media (to the extent possible) to keep them well-informed about the whole truth and nothing but the whole truth.

    That truth is the real nail in the drug prohibitionist coffin.

  • claygooding

    I have emailed the following too the GAO:
    Dear Sirs,
    Could you please give me the total amount of monies spent by the National Institute of Drug Abuse since it’s inception used to procure studies of any kind for cannabis?
    A referral too the NIDA budget is not what I am seeking. Somewhere in your records you must have a total for research authorized by NIDA for cannabis studies and it’s cost too tax payer’s and that is what I need,with a list of those studies and the dates they were authorized and completed. Please include any ongoing studies.

    It took them 12 days to answer my last request for information about this subject and all they sent me was a link to the NIDA budget summary,which does not designate what the research budget was used for,just the totals spent.

    If anyone has better wording or more effective wording for this request,feel free too try your request and please post their responses here.
    contact@gao.gov

  • Revolution Starter

    The simple reality is that everything that has been done has failed in every conceivable way. These people are directly responsible for pain and suffering on an unimaginable scale and no one is holding them accountable.

    I so am frustrated with every ones complacency with failure and mediocrity. This is all so simple to fix, and it can be done simply and quickly.

    They spent 1 trillion over 40 years and made there problem worse, with 100K and one year the majority of these problems could be on the fast track to 100% resolution with harm to those involved reduced to next to nothing. These people are an f-ing joke!

    Who wants to fund the revolution?

  • Cannabis

    What a bunch of whiners. R. Gil and the gang are essentially saying “All of the other drug czars and his staff got a pass, why can’t we?”

  • james

    Define failure when referring to the war on drugs. I think the real failure here is people failing to remember that they own themselves. Bureaucrats can not give you any rights they can only take them away. I challenge you to show me any government that from it’s very inception wasn’t designed to impose unjust restrictions on individuals right to be left alone. It amazes me that the discussion never gets to the part about how one man has no right to impose his arbitrary will on another. If I impose my will on you I am declaring myself your master. There can be no half-way about that point. Remember though we are individuals and as long as we are not harming anyone’s property in their person or their justly acquired alienable property we should be free to go about our business unmolested by others. Politicians represent themselves and those who pay them the most money so the drug war is not a failure for them. There is money to be made in prohibition by all parties involved who gives a crap about mere individuals and there lives. Aiyana Jones death is the rule not the exception.

  • kaptinemo

    James, the sad fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people in this country mouth the word ‘freedom’ but would be astonished at just how much of that ‘freedom’ has been stolen from them as compared to what their grandparents enjoyed.

    This is why you don’t hear much about lower-case libertarian impulses being the basis for drug law reform. The average citizens think that they still have rights that were in fact stolen under false pretenses by the prohibs, and they don’t learn otherwise until the reality bites deep. Worse, some know it, but are not willing to do anything about it.

    But said average citizens will get incensed when they realize that they are being taken to the cleaners when it comes to money spent on the DrugWar. That gets them riled, when before they just yawn about lost rights.

    It’s not that we are as dismissive of the loss of rights that the average person is; on the contrary. But since money, not freedom, is the god of far too many, we must speak the language to be understood.

  • Just me.

    Aye Kaptin , Tis a sad day when nothing is worth as much as the gleam of gold and the rustling sound of counting the dollar.

  • unfortunately, most of our fellow citizens believe that reciting the pledge of allegiance makes them “real Americans” — somehow it escapes them that the key part of that particular prayer is this: “with liberty and justice for all

    as long as they can say “god” (usually in an exaggeratedly loud voice) while they say it, they believe everything is just fine.

  • Revolution Starter

    To the last 4 thank you! I agree completely. But i guess that’s sort of the point. Our government has failed its people by creating these laws and using our own money to fund a war against us and lying to us the entire time.

    In theory the government is there to help and protect us and it is doing the exact opposite!

    Again in theory our government was created for the people by the people, maybe someone remembers that? Well it has sure been a long time since this government has respected its people let alone helped us out or protected us. Our government is a monument to capitalistic bureaucracy and it needs a stern reminder of why it exists in the first place.

    We the people, not just of this county but all the people of the world must unite against this common foe that seeks to conquer and subjectify us, we should no longer cower to the hand of our government masters, we need to correct the imbalance of power and teach those in power to truly cower at the hand that feeds them.

    The government should be there for the people, not the other way around.