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October 2010
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Will no one hold the Government to any standards of honesty at all?

One of the unchanging constants of the drug war is that the Government lies.

And yet, time after time, “serious” people in the media repeat those lies, mindlessly furthering the dissemination of Government lies and evading their responsibility to investigate the truth.

They should be outraged, screaming at the top of their media lungs, seeing the trust of the people so perverted, so undermined, so treasonously betrayed.

Others, academicians somehow ignorant of the role of a Government Of the People, By the People, and For the People, seem to think that the Government is merely another partisan with an agenda of its own that should be judged equally with other activists.

That’s also outrageous.

Let’s take a look at a sane world: You’d have legalizers on one side, pushing their agenda, pointing out the facts that support their agenda (that’s what activists do), and you’d have groups like MADD and Partnership for a Drug Free America on the other side, pushing their agenda, pointing out the facts that support their agenda. Both sides might select, out of competing facts in uncertain futures, those scenarios that look particularly good for their side. That’s a fully appropriate role for activists.

In the middle, not taking a side, would be the Government, the repository of as much information as possible, to help citizens sort between the competing interests.

But no, in this perverted system, we have the Government as an activist, not only exaggerating and cherry-picking the data, but actively lying.

This puts those of us on the side of legalization at a horrendously unfair disadvantage (which makes our successes all the more incredible and a testament to the truth being mostly on our side).

But people are so used to the Government lying, they forget to be outraged.

Maia Szalavitz, usually an excellent writer on the drug war, forgot who the players were in her recent article in Time Magazine: The Marijuana Number That Was Too Good to Check

Over the last few years, supporters and opponents of marijuana legalization have both cited the same statistic to back their cause: 60% of the profits made by violent Mexican drug lords come from marijuana. But now, it seems, both sides have been wrong.

Both sides.

Who are these two sides? Why, us, and the Government.

Turns out that the Rand study believes that 60% is too high, but they don’t know for sure what number is correct.

So was it the legalizers that made up this number?

Where does the 60% figure come from? It was released by the Office of National Drug Control Policy — the federal drug czar —in 2006, but its origins and exact derivation were not made public. With legalization advocates using it enthusiastically, however, the agency officially backed away from it in September, claiming that the models on which it was based “are dated and may no longer apply.”

Maia actually treats the Government as merely one side in a partisan debate and blames both sides for playing loose with the numbers, even when it’s the Government that supplied the number in the first place.

She has essentially said that the Government need not be held to any higher standard than a blogger or a special interest group. That’s… unbelievable.

She’s so used to it, she’s forgotten to be outraged.

The latest in Government lying, supported fully by a complicit Michel Martin at NPR, has to do with marijuana use and kids — another blatant attempt to spin legalization efforts as being responsible for increased use by children.

White House Turns Attention To Teens And Drugs, Michel Martin, host.

MARTIN: What leaps out at you about this survey? What do you think is the most important finding?

Mr. KERLIKOWSKE: I think there are two important findings. One is that this increase in drug use is led by marijuana. And the second part is that the age of initiation – the first time a young person started using marijuana – dropped from 17.8 years to 17 years, and that’s actually quite significant.

MARTIN: Because that’s an average. So one has to assume that if that’s the average, the actual earliest use for some people is much younger.

Mr. KERLIKOWSKE: And that’s exactly right. And the concern there is that for the six years that we have had that data, the number had always gone up. This was a year that it not only went down, but it went down by a significant number.

MARTIN: Why do you think that is?

Mr. KERLIKOWSKE: Well, I think there are a couple of reasons. One is that there is a huge amount of public attention to equating medicine and marijuana. And that is the wrong message. I have met with high school kids from Portland to the Bronx. And when they talk about medicine and marijuana, they say this is sending the wrong message to us.

So the age of initiation dropped from 17.8 to 17 years. What does that mean, exactly?

Well, Kerlikowske isn’t giving the whole story. Erin Rosa at the Narcosphere caught it in The Drug Czar Office’s Misleading Claim on Teenage Marijuana Use

After a closer look of the data cited by the ONDCP, the claim that teens today are currently using marijuana at younger ages is misleading. In fact, the same data shows that young people who recently tried marijuana are doing so at older ages.

The statistic used by the ONDCP comes from this sentence in the survey:

In 2009, the average age of marijuana initiates among persons aged 12 to 49 was 17.0 years, significantly lower than the average age of marijuana initiates in 2008 (17.8 years), but similar to that in 2002 (17.0 years).

The Office fails to mention in its press release that the .8 percentage drop in age among first time marijuana users was not based on a survey of teenagers, but came from an older demographic of those aged 12-49 years. There is no indication of when such behavior occurred, or that teens today are in fact trying marijuana at young ages.

In other words, when you ask a 48-year-old what year they started marijuana and they say age 18, that was actually in 1980, and has very little relevance to teens today. Those numbers are really quite meaningless.

If you take a look at recent initiates who initiated use prior to age 21, the age estimate has actually gone up in the last year.

And really, the only way to know for sure if there was an lowering of age of initiation this year is if they actually tracked that specific information, and they appear not to have done so (or, if they did, the numbers didn’t suit Kerlikowske’s agenda).

And once again, the Government is not only not held to a higher standard than a partisan special interest group, but no attempt is made to even hold it to a standard of basic truth.

That is outrageous, and so is the lack of outrage.

….

Update:

PASADENA, Calif.—President Obama’s drug czar is scheduled to visit a Southern California drug treatment center Wednesday to speak out against the November ballot initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana use in the state.

Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske is planning to release new government data showing that California already has a much higher percentage of children in treatment for marijuana use than the rest of the country.

He also plans to highlight statistics indicating the state has a higher than average percentage of residents voluntarily seeking treatment because of problems with pot.

“Celebrity Rehab” host Dr. Drew Pinsky is supposed to accompany Kerlikowske on his visit to the Pasadena Recovery Center.

[Thanks, Tom]

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9 comments to Will no one hold the Government to any standards of honesty at all?

  • claygooding

    The congress to require a bureaucrat to lie is outrageous
    and would seem to be unconstitutional if our government is
    for the people,by the people.
    How can America know the best policy if your elected legislators and their appointed lapdogs are not giving you truthful facts and statistics to make the decisions?

  • darkcycle

    Like the bumper sticker says, Pete, “If you aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying attention”.

  • WatchinItCrumble

    How about “We don’t want to wait until a smoking gun turns into a mushroom cloud”?

  • ezrydn

    As far as I know, the last investigative reporter was Jack Smith, son of Howard K. Smith, of ABC. I knew Jack in Nam when we were both in the 7th Cav. He was in 2nd. Bn. and I was in the 1st Bn. Jack dug into stories and took nothing at face value. But we lost Jack to Agent Orange-induced cancer.

    Today, it’s simply “rip and read.” There’s not even time for “pencil editing” or 1-2 phone calls. MSM today has no news reporters, only flocks of “parrots.”

    I go through several sources of stories to obtain the core truths that are hidden in one story or another. Yet, I remember a time when News was NEWS, not photo ops or press releases. Watergate comes to mind as a classic example of reporting.

    Jack Smith was the first person to write a report for his dad to present on the Nightly News, about the ambush of the 2nd of the 7th as they marched to LZ Albany, the day after the Ia Drang battle at LZ Xray ended. He was there and no one in the brass levels appreciated that he reported how the FU had occurred.

    I miss Jack. He was one of the good guys.

  • Maria

    Oh dear. They are supposed to be rolling out the new big guns now, right? To shatter our treasonous myths with their mighty truths. Etc. So why are they the same as the old big guns? That whole, voluntary treatment trope. Seriously? That’s the big gun? Yes, yes it’s completely voluntary if the other choices are jail time or juvi or expulsion (insert worse thing here), and you get some points out of it.

    You can send a horse to journalism school but you can’t make them think. Most of the so called journalists are just reporters, i.e. they report what they are handed. We need reporters, they serve a solid function, but we damned well need better journalists.

  • fortyouncer

    I think the part portion of RAND study in which it estimated the amount of imported marijuana in the country was debunked with that huge seizure at the California border anyway. That single seizure was 60% larger than the amount RAND estimated would enter CA in an entire year (RAND estimated about $210 million vs the seizure at about $330 million).

    Although I think the RAND study still had some good info in it, plus some good criticism of the way we collect drug consumption information.

  • darkcycle

    I always refer to the six o’clock news as “News for Cows”.

  • Duncan20903

    WatchinItCrumble:

    How about “We don’t want to wait until a smoking gun turns into a mushroom cloud”?

    I think it’s incumbent on those who make such ridiculous and absurd claims to actually demonstrate that there is actually a gun or explosives involved, or at least that the imagery isn’t totally decoupled from reality. Pithy lines of hysterical rhetoric posted on the Internet are not proof of anything except the ability of the know nothings to spin fiction from whole cloth. The people who enjoy this forum don’t have much tolerance for bullshit pablum disguised as if it were logical thought or anywhere close to the truth. The entire platform of the war on (some) drugs is built on a platform of bald faced lies, half truths, and hysterical rhetoric. Your post is a dictionary picture perfect example of the hysterical rhetoric used by the know nothings to promote their insanity.

    But hey, I’m trying to get someone from your side to explain to me why you people so hate the truth. Did the truth lurk in a darkened doorway late at night and rob you of your money and wristwatch when you were passing by? Come on, there’s got to be a reason why you people so hate the truth and are so willing to denigrate it in your public writings. All the poor truth wants to do is to set you free.
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    I would pay a premium price for ringside seats to watch someone beat the tar out of Dr. Drew. The first match to open the event could be Oprah’s Dr. Phil getting beat to a pulp for being such an asshole. Good lord, and I’m a freakin’ pacifist. How must those who actually approve of violence feel?

    I just got blindsided the other day as sometime in the past few years the prohibitionists better than tripled the number of ER visits where someone mentions cannabis. It was retarded enough when it was just over 100k, now they’ve got it up to almost 400,000 in 2008. They still don’t mention the percentage of ER visits which that represents, or how it compares to alcohol related ER visits. I don’t know the current number but at the turn of the century there were about 125 million ER visits nationwide, with 1/3 being alcohol related, and about 125,000 cannabis mentions. Still drinking alcohol gets a free pass. Nothing new to see hear, now move along.

    In this forum sometime in the recent past someone (Pete?) posted that in California last year there were less than 200 ER visits caused by cannabis. Not ‘well doc, I was sitting under a shade tree enjoying the weather and smoking a joint of some of that new super powered cannabis when a freak thunderstorm came out of nowhere, lightning struck the tree I was sitting under, and I got clobbered on the head by one of the branches’ mentions but the actual reason for the visit. Though that would probably include Mom & Dad coming home from the PTA meeting and finding Junior sitting on the couch stoned to the bejeezus and all the Cheetos in the house gone and calling 911 to take him to the hospital. I’d sure like to get my hands on a citation that shows that less than 200 ER cases in California are actually ’caused’ by cannabis.

    The first rule of propaganda is to always use whole numbers when the percentage is too small, and percentages when the use of whole numbers won’t impress. Example: Today’s my birthday. We’ll go over to my sister in laws for cake and some small presents. If she keeps to her past track record she’ll include a lottery ticket for the Powerball drawing on Saturday. If I stop at a lottery ticket vendor’s on the way home and buy 5 more tickets I will have increased my chances of winning the jackpot by 500%! and I still won’t have the proverbial snowball’s chance of winning. Well I guess a bunch of money could help ease the pain of turning 50.

    It really isn’t unreasonable to think that the government lackeys and stooges made up the 60% number in order to include cannabis as a serious threat. Hell, just about all their statistics are fiction spun from whole cloth, like saying that they seized 10% of all the drugs contraband that crossed the US border. So if you were aware of this 90% of contraband drugs crossing the border why didn’t you seize that as well? If you weren’t actually aware of it why do you state that it happened?

    Lies, damn lies, and statistics. Damn it would be so cool if Mr. Clemens were around today to comment on the idiocy of the war on (some) drugs. Perhaps he’d say something like “The shortage of cherry pie in the US comes from the gov’t monopolizing the cherry picking industry for their own dastardly agenda in prosecuting the war on (some) drugs.” OK, ok, I confess that I’m no Mark Twain.
    ——————————————————————————————————————
    There really is substantive evidence that degenerate addicts start getting high at a very early age whether they first get high on booze, cannabis, heroin, or something else is more a product of happenstance than some magic gateway drug. The last propaganda I heard is that ‘if a person doesn’t get high in their first 21 years its very rare that person will ever have a problem with getting high. That is a absolutely true statement. But it doesn’t make the statement that if we locked all the chillums in a room until they were 21 that action would prevent them from becoming addicts.

    At some point people have to grasp the ultimate truth that degenerate addicts are born that way. It is a congenital condition.

    Hey have people really been spreading the rhetoric that today’s heroin imported by the Mexicans is new and improved, super potent, double secret, not your daddy’s heroin? As simply mind boggling as that thought is the answer is yes. How do these people account for the government statistic that there are less than 200,000 past month heroin users? They still like to warn against getting ‘tricked’ into ‘becoming’ an addict with a ‘lifelong’ path of misery and self destruction. More government statistics show that there are almost 4 million that have tried heroin. Following their ‘reasoning’ shouldn’t we have almost 4 million degenerate addicts that prefer heroin rather than 200,000? How did those other 3.8 million people that tried heroin manage to dodge the addiction bullet? Even more intriguing is I was watching Dragnet 1967 and Sgt Friday was regurgitating anti-drug statistics for the late 1960s, including that there were more that 150,000 current addicts at that time. The country’s population has doubled or better than doubled in that time but the number of heroin users has remained more or less constant. Oh well, unlike the propagandists I will point out a significant difference between now and then is the availability of oxycodone for recreational use. Even degeneerate addicts prefer their drugs to be produced in an inspected, clean, and professionally run lab.

    Oh and that Sgt Friday wasn’t such a one dimensional fellow as everyone seems to think. He did say that LSD is the bomb. He said it in the clip linked below while discussing the benefits of taking LSD with a fellow that may remind you of Timothy Leary. Remember, LSD was legal until the late 1960s in the US, and Timothy Leary was a significant promoter of its use at that time. Tune in, turn on, drop out was his motto. In that time frame Dr. Leary more or less played the role that George Soros does today, that role being the bastard spawn of the devil trying to undermine everything we hold precious and dear in life.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Twre6ItGEI

    One of the pieces of misinformation the gov’t used that really disappointed me was they’re promise that if you ate acid you would get free trips later. I’m still waiting for my first flash back and it makes me feel cheated that it never happened. They promised dammit. I should at least get some free compensatory doses. Just another government lie. Actually one of the more interesting things from my experience with acid vs other drugs is that I used it, enjoyed the hell out of it, and at some point in the 1990s simply lost interest. I had something like 13 hits that I held onto for over a decade before finally just flushing them because of my lack of interest. My disinterest in taking LSD still persists to this day, and I don’t believe that’s likely to change at anytime in the future.
    —————————————————————————————————————–
    I’ve got another nomination for the let’s make fun of Calvina Fay contest. Pink’s Mother from The Wall by Pink Floyd.
    http://i.ytimg.com/vi/Obtdq61MTv0/0.jpg

  • jackl

    @Duncan20903 who said [blockquote] “But hey, I’m trying to get someone from your side to explain to me why you people so hate the truth. Did the truth lurk in a darkened doorway late at night and rob you of your money and wristwatch when you were passing by? Come on, there’s got to be a reason why you people so hate the truth and are so willing to denigrate it in your public writings. All the poor truth wants to do is to set you free.”[/blockquote]

    One of my favorite quotes (on my FB page) explains this:

    “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.”
    – Upton Sinclair (American author)