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In too deep to quit

bullet image Radley Balko talks about a recent O’Reilly show with Charles Krauthammer on to talk about the Missouri SWAT raid.

I really loathe this about cable news. They bring in the same personalities to talk what’s going on in the news. It doesn’t matter if those personalities have the slightest idea what they’re talking about. They’re on TV not because they have specialized knowledge about a given story, but because they’re talented at applying standard partisan talking points to a wide variety of issues. And now, Dick Morris will talk about the Federal Reserve. Joining us to explain what the drug war violence in Mexico means to you, here’s Democratic strategist Bob Beckell. Their job is to tell the portion of the audience that already agrees with them what the audience already thinks it knows. Everyone is stupider for it.

What the hell does Charles Krauthammer know about the drug war? He knows he’s in favor of it. That seems to be about it. What does he know about the increasingly militaristic way the drug war is being waged? Judging by this video, absolutely nothing.

I stopped watching cable news long ago for that very reason, but I realize that many people get their view of the world from idiots who don’t know what they’re talking about.

bullet image The Bizarre Universe of Drug Prohibition by Charles Shaw for openDemocracy.net

International drug policy is at a tipping point. Emerging from a forty year repressive dark age following the excesses of the 1960-1970s, the world seems ready to begin making serious changes in response to problems that have not been getting any better. But has the world learned enough to craft a saner, more compassionate approach to drug use?

bullet image Depressing quote, but way too common.

While Treviño and other local officials would not call the drug war a failure, they admit much progress needs to be made in the fight against drug trafficking and abuse. None said the battle should end. And those interviewed said they do not favor legalization.

“We can’t just pull out,” Treviño said. “We must continue fighting drug gangs. The stakes are way too high and we are in it too deep to quit.”

“… we are in it too deep to quit.”

Wow.

It’s like driving the wrong way on the expressway all night, knowing something is wrong, but refusing to get directions because you don’t want to face the fact that you’ve wasted all that time, so you continue heading the wrong way.

bullet image

This is an open thread.

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31 comments to In too deep to quit

  • daksya

    I’ve often thought that if there was a way for the US establishment to legalise drugs and also save face, it would get done sooner rather than later, despite the vested interests behind prohibition. Alas, I think there isn’t, and we’ll have to wait for a generation or two.

  • Scott

    “We must continue fighting drug gangs.”

    I agree.

    The best way to defeat the drug gangs is to end drug prohibition like we did with alcohol prohibition to defeat alcohol gangs.

    The ‘drug war or defeatism’ argument is ridiculous, as it is the prohibitionists who are the defeatists, surrendering to the obviously wrong ‘forcing of a round peg into a square hole’ methodology, apparently just to secure more money for themselves (the only snug peg-to-hole fit they care about).

    We are working to find the right way to deal with drug abuse, starting with ending their destructive policy that, despite heavy resources, shows no solid evidence proving such policy benefits society at all.

  • ezrydn

    I started my broadcast career in front of the camera and retired from fixing the things. Yeah, talent to engineer. Money was better! I’m fully aware of the “pull” of the industry. And, I’ve sat in on the discussions about “how” to present a story.

    Here in Mexico, I’m lucky that I don’t have all the US TV telling me what to think. However, here, TV AZTECA seems to be the driving “influence.”

    No matter what their lead announcer says, it’s TRUTH and “set in concrete.” I’ve noticed him boldly lie several times, slanting stories horribly in the opposite direction.

    Imagine CNN or FOX today, showing up on 1950s TVs. How would people react? Just look at the people in Mexico to understand. Personally, I put TV AZTECA on the same level as FOX.

  • claygooding

    The post about a federal judge appears to be a scam.
    Alll information about the alleged bust starts and ends
    at steelescase.org.
    I have asked the poster at marijuana.com 3 times to send me a news article concerning the bust and all they give me is more information from steelescase.org.
    http://www.marijuana.com/legalization-decriminalization/147541-federal-judge-allow-medical-defense-marijuana-cultivation-case-landmark-case.html
    The “indictment”: http://www.steelescase.org/docs/Indictment.pdf
    And 3 videos at youtube all posted within the last month.
    As much as I wish it were true,I am calling bull on the
    claim of a federal judge allowing m/m testimony in a trial.
    They have listed the case with Norml,ASA and at a lot of marijuana sites and I believe it is to solicit funds for a defense of a case that does not exist.
    I have searched at every newspaper in Garden Grove.Ca
    area,MAPinc and every news source using the defendants names on the indictment,the name of the collective and all the information gleaned from info from steelescase.org and all info begins and ends at them.
    Please search for yourself before you donate any funds to these people.

  • claygooding

    Thanks for the verification. I was so wanting the case to be true. How did the bust not make any news stories in 2007?
    Now I feel like the fool I am.
    And the failure of steelescase.org to furnish any new stories on the bust just convinced me that it was a scam,
    There are no busts news articles from all the papers in the area or at MAPinc. Amazing

  • denmark

    My cable news viewing is done sporadically, there is no schedule or favorite. The news anchors really are nothing more than actors on a stage.
    Yesterday, while waiting for the husband to get ready for work I had a few minutes to relax and was flipping the remote. That’s when I heard CNN say Kerli-boy was coming on.

    Wanted to share with the readers here what Kerli and Bennett said. Will post this then add the transcript.

    Did you know CNN has a transcripts page?
    Could be a useful tool: http://bit.ly/be3jgg

  • denmark

    BLITZER: Marijuana vs. alcohol — should the federal government ease up on one and get tougher on the other? I will speak about that, and more, with the current drug czar and the very first drug czar.
    America has a huge drug problem, but the Obama administration now wants to end what’s been called the war on drugs, and start treating this as a public health matter.
    I sat down with the current drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske — he’s director of the Office of National Drug Policy — and with CNN contributor Bill Bennett. He was the first drug czar back in the George H.W. Bush administration.

    Does the change in focus suggest the government is open to legalizing marijuana?

    KERLIKOWSKE: No. Legalization is an absolute nonstarter in the Obama administration. And it just makes no sense.

    But what we do know is that there are a lot of people frustrated about the war on drugs. They don’t see success. They know friends. They know relatives. They know what’s happened in their own neighborhoods. We’re going to bring some other people into this issue at the same level that we have law enforcement. That’s where we’re headed.

    BLITZER: Because the argument in favor of legalizing marijuana is sort of this: We legalized alcohol. We regulate it. People deal with it. Why not do the same thing with marijuana and, as a result, open up efforts to deal with much more serious drug-related issues, like heroin, for example?

    KERLIKOWSKE: You know, as a police chief for a long time, I never saw officers in Seattle running around spending an inordinate amount of time chasing people for a small amount of marijuana.

    We know that the health costs of alcohol, the health costs of nicotine vs. the taxes collected doesn’t even begin to pay for those social and criminal justice costs. Why have another mood-altering drug made legal, and then more widely available because of its legality? It makes no sense.

    BLITZER: Well, would you want to criminalize alcoholic use?

    KERLIKOWSKE: No. I’m not going back down — down that path.
    But I don’t think that we need another thing that causes so much hurt to families and people.

    BLITZER: Is this a waste of resources, though, to spend…

    BENNETT: No.

    BLITZER: … so much law enforcement, judicial effort criminalizing people who want to go out and smoke pot?

    BENNETT: No, we had 40,000 people die last year because of drug use. We can make that 80,000 or 120,000 or 360,000 by making it legal. You make it legal, you make it more accessible, you give permission for it.

    Alcohol is legal. We have plenty of alcoholics. We have plenty of people whose lives are wrecked, plenty of families whose lives are wrecked because of alcohol.

    BLITZER: Because there’s one argument that alcohol — potentially a lot more dangerous than marijuana.

    BENNETT: It may be. I think if you really examine the arguments, you might want to think about more restrictions on alcohol than opening up marijuana. When you see the effect of marijuana on the brain particularly —

    BLITZER: You don’t want to go back to prohibition.

    BENNETT: I don’t want to go back to prohibition but I certainly think the rules on drinking, if they were enforced, for example, on college campuses, where we know what this leads to from time to time — it leads to a lot of things every weekend, but someone weekends it leads to some of the horrible violence of we’ve seen.

    But let me just say a word about the war on drugs, properly understood. Not to get into a war with Gil Kerlikowske about the phrase, but if you energize people, motivate people, to talk about this issue, as Gil Kerlikowske has at will, I don’t think the president has enough at all, and I think he should.

    You can have success. Remember 1979 there were about 24 million drug users in this country. This country decided to do something about it. There was a drug czar appointed. The country mobilized. The number in 1992 was 11 million. That’s not victory, but from 24 million to 11 million is a big decline.

    It’s now back up to 20 million. Now I think if you press right on this thing, don’t call — fall for the siren song of legalization, and I applaud the drug czar on that, and going out to California and fighting this issue, you can get those numbers back down. And that’s what you want. You want the numbers down, not up.

    BLITZER: Let me pick up one point that Bill just made. In your mind — and you’re an authority on this — is alcohol potentially more dangerous than pot?

    GIL KERLIKOWSKE: Two points. One, alcohol does cause more problems than marijuana. But alcohol is legal. If you make marijuana legal, it will therefore become much more widely available, and therefore the damages and detriment to society and to individuals would continue to increase.

    But let me mention also, President Obama is actively engaged in this. When I met with him and he gave me some directions to get the voice of the American people into this strategy, that’s what’s in there. When I briefed him a week ago about this strategy, he could not be more supportive.

    BLITZER: How do we reduce the demand for illegal drugs in the United States?

    KERLIKOWSKE: Smart education through a variety of trusted givers.

    BLITZER: Nancy Reagan used to say just say no.

    KERLIKOWSKE: She did, and, you know, it’s a little more complex than that. If parents, teachers, faith, community, and neighborhood groups all give young people the same consistent message and they repeat it about making healthy choices — underage drinking is mentioned in the strategy, the drug problems, and, of course, if they get healthy choice advice about exercise, nutrition — they will actually be prevented in the future.

    BLITZER: But we’ve been hearing this for decades now.

    KERLIKOWSKE: Well, we’ve only kept it to four hours in a health care class about drugs, and maybe four hours about nicotine. It has to be across the whole continuum —

    BLITZER: I remember —

    KERLIKOWSKE: Young age.

    BLITZER: I was a little boy growing up in Buffalo, New York, I heard all those stories, the horrors of drugs and we were taught that, and I assume since then all the kids are taught about that. KERLIKOWSKE: One, we don’t want to use scare tactics, and number two, we want to use the evidence-based systems. And that’s what the most recent analysis tells us. Across the board quality advisers giving kids the right piece of information.

    BLITZER: Is this going to make a dent?

    BENNETT: It does if you do it — again, across the board. And Nancy Reagan’s statements were underrated. A lot of the kids liked those statements They like it because it was clear. Just say no. It’s a heck of a lot better statement than if it feels good, do it. It’s a lot clearer.

    You want that statement, but you also want sound education programs and sound policies in the schools. The problem is, the kids get a message of ambiguity from adults and when you have this legalization stupidity out there you’re going to have more young people confused.

    BLITZER: Other than you’re not — you don’t like that you’re not hearing enough directly from the president on this issue —

    BENNETT: Right.

    BLITZER: — is there any basic problem you have with the Obama administration’s efforts to deal with this issue?

    BENNETT: Not really. Again, I’d like more attention, more publicity. There are a lot of things going on. We understand it competes for attention. But this strategy if people read it, I think would be impressive.

    It’s a clear moral message and it talks about working on a variety of fronts. I think it’s quite good. But what you had back in the ’80s was an entire society mobilized and this is what leadership does.

    You did have all those ads, the guy jumping off the diving board into an empty swimming pool. This is your brain on drugs, this is the two-fried eggs. Because the society decided it wanted to push back —

    BLITZER: Those public service —

    (CROSSTALK)

    BENNETT: It pushed back. It went down and we can do it again.

    BLITZER: They’re coming back.

    KERLIKOWSKE: Yes. The president asked for $66 million in those advertisements and those advertisements are directed towards specific groups. In fact, just last week we released the strategies for meth on reservations in tribal nations those kids. Those are targeted directly to that youth group and we’re going to continue to do those things.

    BLITZER: Gil Kerlikowske, thanks very much for coming in. Bill Bennett, thanks for this discussion.

    BENNETT: You bet.

    BLITZER: Let’s hope you make a dent. We’re counting on you.

    KERLIKOWSKE: Yes. Thank you.

  • denmark

    I’m no good at the HTML tags, sorry. Should do a tutorial however time is limited in this household. If the above is too much Pete please let me know.

    I would have bolded many points, especially this one said by Kerli: “We’re going to bring some other people into this issue at the same level that we have law enforcement. That’s where we’re headed.”

  • Hope

    “We’re going to bring some other people into this issue at the same level that we have law enforcement. That’s where we’re headed.”

    That caught my attention, too, Denmark.

    Other people?

    Are they wearing black leather overcoats and carrying peculiar coat hangers?

  • strayan

    Someone should’ve asked Bennet why he thought tobacco consumption has fallen so dramatically despite being even more widely available than alcohol.

  • mikekinseattle

    BENNETT: It does if you do it — again, across the board. And Nancy Reagan’s statements were underrated. A lot of the kids liked those statements They like it because it was clear. Just say no. It’s a heck of a lot better statement than if it feels good, do it. It’s a lot clearer.

    Boy, is he delusional.

  • claygooding

    Kerli is locked in.
    (12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–

    1. is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
    2. has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;

    As long as marijuana remains schedule 1,present and former drug czars are required to do “such actions as necessary” to keep it illegal,regardless of scientific proof,popular opinion or indisputable evidence of it’s
    efficacy as a medicine.
    We shall see how far the drug czar is willing to go in November. We already know that they will lie,buy false science,and skew statistics for their propaganda efforts
    but will they evoke actions or sanctions against California in the event of legalization?
    We have a budget committee putting pressure on them for
    the first time in their long reign of terror.
    A federal judge is going to allow m/m testimony in a federal court in July. Whether the jury returns a guilty or (hopefully) an innocent verdict,it still recognizes marijuana as a medical defense of a schedule 1 drug.
    The polls are climbing in favor of legalization every time a story comes out about the recent SOP drug raids by swat teams,everytime a story comes out about the wasted money in a war with no winners,except the people making their livings from the results that are accomplished,over filled prisons and jails,back logged judicial systems,and no money to build more prisons to clear the judicial systems.
    The pressure from the “green” movement,trying to legalize hemp production as bio-fuel,and all the ecologically safe products that can be produced from it.
    More medical professionals are starting to recognize the efficacy of cannabis for a myriad of medical applications.
    Since the ONDCP budget uses the majority of it’s 15 billion dollar budget buying support for it’s policies ,the price of support and the cost of holding cannabis back goes up as evidence comes out of the need for cannabis.
    We are broke and if they are upset about a 15 billion dollar budget,wait until next year when he wants 20 or 30 billion.

  • here’s the primary issue: “America has a huge drug problem”

    that statement is absolutely (and provably) false, yet it remains the foundation for the entire prohibition argument. the rest of the moralizing bullshit teeters precariously on top of that.

    at this very moment as i type this, i’m watching an episode of “America the Story of Us” i recorded that serendipitously is discussing alcohol prohibition. the narrator uttered the words ” alcohol was the crystal meth of its day.”

    until our side pulls together with a singular coherent message, we will continue to ride the merry-go-round.

  • Hope

    “In too deep to quit”

    One of the anti drug killer/crusader zealots most bizarre and disgusting excuses for continuing their disastrous policy.

  • denmark

    Could they possibly mean military Hope? Don’t know.
    Military doesn’t alarm me too much, for now, as many retired military would love to see legalization. With that said, there is a level of respect within the active military community for those “who have served.”

    Some people have the notion that 50 and 60 year olds are against legalization and I say hogwash. Of any age group that understands marijuana, and wants it legal, it’s that one. The real problem lies in those who are in their 70’s – 80’s.

    And yes, we’re in too deep to quit is one of the all time asinine statements. Who has a mentality like that except a brain washed fool?

  • Hope

    Denmark, I considered first if he was referring to military. The military has already been involved. They killed an innocent young man minding his goat protection duties right off the bat.

    They have made “Drug exceptions” to the Constitution, Posse Comitatus and every thing else they could hammer an “Exception” into.

    Do they mean forced “Treatment”? More unreasonable searches and seizures? More testing? No jobs, no driver’s licences, no medical care, no school, no sports, …no purchases without drug testing?

  • denmark

    For me, I believe in the goodness of humanity. NO, not the reefer madness ones out there, they truly are the ones who need medical cannabis.

    Eventually this will all crumble like stale graham crackers because there’s a bigger than life disgust wave washing across America, and the globe for that matter, over the lords (gag) who rule us.
    They push, we shove, they shove, we push … until one gets so tired of it that it ends. And it isn’t going to be the Legalization group that gets tired of all this, maybe discouraged and outraged by their continual lies, but never giving up.

    Don’t know about the forced treatment or other stuff mentioned, Do Know and Believe that what goes around comes around, the Law of Karma in other words. And it isn’t those who want to see Prohibition ended that will end up with a mind boggling Karmic Debt.

  • Hope

    “Other people”? “At the same level that we have law enforcement”?

    That’s puzzling. I guess since it’s a big secret we have to wait to see what they pull out of the bag of tricks they’re selling the tax payer this time, whether they want it or not.

    “We’re going to bring some other people into this issue at the same level that we have law enforcement. That’s where we’re headed.”

  • ezrydn

    I still have to get a good laugh every time the LEOs pop off with “we don’t know what to do.” If we change the top driving speed from 55 to 70, they have no problem with that. If we change purchasing cigarettes from 21 to 18, they have no trouble understanding that. If we change from Helmets to No Helmets, they get a clue there, also.

    Yet, tell them that yesterday Cannabis was illegal and today, the people of the State changed it to a legal substance, every LEO in the State and those surrounding suddenly go gob-slapped ignorant. Totally incapacitated over a rule change.

    If they’re going to be bringing in some “other people,” why not start with some new LEOs who know when a law is active and when one’s been changed. You know, someone who’s not “locked in so deep?”

  • “We know that the health costs of alcohol, the health costs of nicotine vs. the taxes collected doesn’t even begin to pay for those social and criminal justice costs. Why have another mood-altering drug made legal, and then more widely available because of its legality? It makes no sense.”

    If one ignores that alcohol and cannabis markets have cross-price elasticities, the indisputable facts of cannabis’ exponentially lower health risks or deadly effects of marijuana prohibition, then legalization makes no sense.

    Even if tax-free, legal marijuana would transfer a windfall of cash from a now booming prison industry to schools, hospitals and roads.

    How much does it cost to file an amicus brief for, say, Marc Emery? Can we sue the drug czar under the false claims act? Qui Tam, anyone?

    Anyone?

  • Duncan

    Well I’ve got to admit that the frying pan & eggs commercial works very well. I can’t recall how many times I’d be sitting on the couch when that commercial came on stoned to the bejeezus and I’d end up at the 24 hour Denny’s scarfing down fried eggs and bacon.

  • Shap

    Lol anyone who believes that Nancy’s “just say no” campaign was “loved ” by kids really was not present on earth during that time. I think at one point Blitzer says that no one has ever died from marijuana and Bennett responds by saying that 400,000 a year die from drugs. Anyone of minimal intelligence is able to see right through such a pathetic attempted misdirection.

  • Paul

    Does anyone know the current prison statistics? My last number was around 2.2 million currently in jail, but that may be around 2 years old. Anyone have new stats? Is the number still going up?

  • Sniglet

    I despise the drug sub-culture, and the people involved in the ancillary drug industries (e.g. growing, transporting, sales, food/material supplies, etc). This is why I am a huge believer in decriminalization.

    If drugs become legal then all these unscruplous people who are currently attracted to the drug business will find they have to do something productive.

    http://bit.ly/8ZM1re

  • denmark

    Well, the US government has turned Mexico into shambles and now it’s time to go after Jamaica supposedly.
    Good gawd …….

    KINGSTON, Jamaica – Masked men defending a reputed drug lord sought by the United States torched a police station and traded gunfire with security forces in a patchwork of barricaded slums in Jamaica’s capital Sunday.

    http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/cb_jamaica_slum_standoff

  • fortyouncer

    The costs of alcohol and drug users are not evenly distributed across all users. Moderate alcohol users in general don’t “cost” society anything. Neither would moderate drug users, if it weren’t for prohibition. Prohibition creates costs, where none existed. We could reduce the costs of drug use to society by ending prohibition. That’s what we did with alcohol. More users, but less harm.

    Bill Bennett, doesn’t really care about the costs/harm of drug use to society. He cares about use. Contrast this with the harm reduction theory. Harm reduction proponents don’t care about users, so to say users went from 20 million to 10 million means nothing. They’d be fine with millions using as long as harm is minimized. For the Bill Bennnets of the world this is not an option. For them, it’s about a lifestyle. Drug users represent a lifestyle he is opposed to. The drug war is a way for him, and many conservatives to enforce their religious values on people through the criminal justice system. He doesn’t care if someone can smoke marijuana and not hurt anyone.

    It’s a subtle but important difference. Too often he gets away with the counting the reduction in users as a success (always picking year 1979 even thought the drug war didn’t start then).

    Someone should ask him about the growth in street gangs since 1979.

  • Paul

    fortyouncer,

    “The drug war is a way for him, and many conservatives to enforce their religious values on people through the criminal justice system.”

    The drug war is not driven by reason, but some of the mechanisms of the war are rather diabolically well considered. People like Bennet use the law as a mask for their cruelties. They are firmly in the majority and if they could directly attack the groups they dislike they would, but that’s not feasible these days so they pass laws against other people’s vices and strike at them from behind the law.

    Bill and his fellow travelers cannot kick down your door at 3:00 a.m., hold your family and gunpoint, shoot your dog, and then charge you with felony child endangerment over a dime bag of weed, but the cops can because Bill and his buddies passed laws saying they could. They can’t personally round up a half million…coloreds and cram them into overcrowded jail cells, but their cops can, because these people are all criminals. The law says so, after all, and they should know–Bill’s crowd wrote it.

    I wonder if Bill thinks about the latest police atrocities while he is boozing it up and pissing away his family’s fortune in some casino somewhere. When he pulls the lever on another 1,000 dollar spin, does he think about the children and innocents killed by police enforcing the laws he so vigorously pursues? Does it give him a secret thrill? Or is it really all just about “relaxation,” a quick, drunken gambling high sandwiched between yet another law and order speech to his fellow social conservatives?

  • denmark

    Has been great reading the various opinions on the interview.

    Truth becomes simple sometimes and for me the fact of the matter is that our leaders are repeating the harms to society mantra over cannabis and other drugs. It only exists in their limited minds and is completely false.

    As with most everything in life there will be those who abuse and create a stir but, the greater majority would not entertain nor create any such harm to society.

  • permanentilt

    “BLITZER: Is this a waste of resources, though, to spend so much law enforcement, judicial effort criminalizing people who want to go out and smoke pot?

    BENNETT: No, we had 40,000 people die last year because of drug use. We can make that 80,000 or 120,000 or 360,000 by making it legal. You make it legal, you make it more accessible, you give permission for it.

    Alcohol is legal. We have plenty of alcoholics. We have plenty of people whose lives are wrecked, plenty of families whose lives are wrecked because of alcohol.”
    .
    .

    I think someone’s brain is malfunctioning in the face of the truth. Statement had nothing at all to do with the question. Bill’s answer makes absolutely ZERO sense. Complete logic fail. Also, why does no one say “Yes but under prohibition didn’t we still have the lives wrecked PLUS people dying in the streets due to gang violence?”

  • Hi My name is Malcolm Ershan, I am running a health Centre in Faisalabad Pakistan, working for the drug user people, since 2 years 600 paisents were recovered from our centre, we are looking for some funds, that we contiune work for these young people, please tell us how and from where we can find some funds to work, and what will be the requirments , we are registered from Government, waiting for your reply,
    Malcolm Ershan