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Drug Czar’s got nothing

It was bad enough last week to see the DEA’s ridiculous document titled Speak out Against Drug Legalization.

Well, Kerlikowske’s got his own. It’s a new ONDCP “fact sheet”: Marijuana Legalization: A Bad Idea. What was a bad idea was putting together this “fact sheet.” Embarrassing.

It starts out with a discussion of marijuana current use by young people and how that relates to perceived risk of marijuana. Of course, always missing from that discussion is the salient point: What if the young people are right in perceiving that the risk of using marijuana is low? But then, that’s the whole point of the ONDCP. They don’t care whether the risk is real. They only care that it’s perceived, and they’ll lie like crazy to accomplish that.

Then they get into the Bullet Points.

Marijuana use is harmful and should be discouraged

  • Marijuana use is associated with dependence, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and impaired cognitive and immune system functioning, among other negative effects.

“Associated.” Milk is associated with refrigeration. Liberalism is associated with Marxism and Socialism. Conservatism is associated with Fascism. The colors red and green are associated with Christmas.

  • Marijuana intoxication can cause distorted perceptions, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory.

First, you don’t have to get “intoxicated” just like you don’t have to get “intoxicated” with alcohol, which causes worse problems. Second, to the extent those are true, they are short-term effects, not long-term. Third, some of those are a feature, not a harm, of marijuana intoxication.

  • Studies have shown an association between chronic marijuana use and increased rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and schizophrenia.

Ooh, look — “associated.” And most of those studies have later been proven wrong by stronger and more comprehensive studies.

  • Other research has shown marijuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. Marijuana smoke, in fact, contains 50‐70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke.

All right, this is one of those lies that needs to be put away and buried 6 feet under. It’s such a blatant lie. You know that they know about the Tashkin study proving no link between even heavy marijuana use and head, neck, or lung cancer. That’s why they don’t say “marijuana causes cancer.” Instead, they vaguely talk about “carcinogens” in the hopes that you’ll interpret that to mean that marijuana causes cancer. It’s still a lie, and may be worth another Data Quality Act challenge.

Legalization would lower price, thereby increasing use

  • A recent report from the RAND Corporation, “Altered State,” discusses how legalization would cause the price of marijuana to plummet, triggering Current Use of Major Substances in increases in use of the drug.

I love the use of the word “discusses.” It allows this “fact sheet” to ignore that the RAND report also said that they had no clue what would actually happen.

  • Illegality helps keep prices higher. And because drug use is sensitive to price, especially among young people, higher prices help keep use rates relatively low.

Relatively low? Right… And regarding price sensitivity, drug use is relatively inelastic in price sensitivity. Back when I was in college, people would pay $15-30 for an ounce of marijuana. Today, they think little of paying twice that for an eighth. At most, you might get some substitution with price shifts. If marijuana prices get low, then maybe some people would switch from alcohol. And that wouldn’t be a bad idea.

  • Use of the legal substances alcohol and tobacco far outpaces the use of marijuana, a strong indication that laws reduce the availability and acceptability of substances.

When Salvia was legal, use of the illegal substance marijuana far outpaced the use of Salvia, a strong indication that laws don’t reduce the availability and acceptability of substances.

What are the actual facts?

“The available evidence suggests that removal of the prohibition against possession itself (decriminalization) does not increase cannabis use. ” – British Journal of Psychiatry, February 2001.

“In sum, there is little evidence that decriminalization of marijuana use necessarily leads to a substantial increase in marijuana use.” – National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM). 1999.

“There is no strong evidence that decriminalization affects either the choice or frequency of use of drugs, either legal (alcohol) or illegal (marijuana and cocaine).” – C. Thies and C. Register. 1993.

“The reduction in penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use does not appear to have been a factor in people’s decision to use or not use the drug.”
– California State Office of Narcotics and Drug Abuse. 1977

Lots more here

Moving on…

  • Our experience with even tightly regulated prescription drugs, such as Oxycontin, shows that legalizing drugs widens availability and misuse, even when controls are in place.

There’s a huge difference between misusing Oxycontin and misusing marijuana.

Tax revenue would be offset by higher social costs

  • The costs to society of alcohol and tobacco – substances that are legal and taxed – are much greater than the revenue they generate.

And what has that to do with marijuana?

  • Federal excise taxes collected on alcohol in 2007 totaled around $9 billion; states collected around $5.5 billion. Combined, these amounts are less than 10 percent of the estimated $185 billion in alcohol‐related costs to health care, criminal justice, and the workplace in lost productivity.

And what has that to do with marijuana?

  • Tobacco does not yield net revenue when taxed. Each year, Americans spend more than $200 billion on the social costs of smoking, but only about $25 billion is collected in taxes.

And what has that to do with marijuana?

Legalization would further burden the criminal justice system

  • Legalizing marijuana would increase use of the drug and, consequently, the harm it causes, thus adding to the burden on the criminal justice system. Arrests for alcohol‐related crimes, such as violations of liquor laws, public drunkenness, and driving under the influence, totaled nearly 2.7 million in 2008. Marijuana‐possession arrests under current laws in 2008 totaled around 750,000.

Wow, that one gets extra points for degree of difficulty. I think it was a double twisting backwards somersault. Not only did they conflate criminal behavior induced by alcohol with marijuana, but they actually used marijuana arrest rates that are based solely on the drug being illegal as a base line for estimating increasing arrests when you remove the illegality of it! So, not arresting people for marijuana will result in arresting more people for marijuana.

  • Most people whose only crime is marijuana possession do not go to prison. A survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that 0.7% of all state inmates were behind bars for marijuana possession only (with many of them pleading down from more serious crimes). Other independent research has shown that the risk of arrest for each “joint,” or marijuana cigarette, smoked is about 1 arrest for every 12,000 joints.

If that’s the case, then why keep it illegal? From that description, it’s like marijuana laws are either a lottery (certain random people have to pay the price for what everyone else is doing), or it’s used as a racist/classist tool to go after “undesirables,” while leaving most everyone else alone. This is supposed to be a vindication of current law?

Legalization would do little, if anything, to curb drug violence

  • Marijuana accounts for only a portion of the proceeds gained by criminal organizations that profit from drug distribution, human trafficking, and other crimes, so legalizing marijuana would not deter these groups from continuing to operate.

It’s a good start. Then we can legalize all drugs and remove most of the rest of their proceeds.

  • Under the most commonly proposed legalization regime – one that imposes high taxes on marijuana – violent drug cartels would simply undercut legal prices to keep their market share. With increased demand for marijuana resulting from legalization, these groups would likely grow stronger.

Yeah, maybe as strong as those big, violent tobacco cartels. Have you noticed that even with massive taxes on cigarettes, people still go into the gas stations and convenience stores and buy them?

Well, that’s it. Them’s the “facts.”

It really is embarrassing. And what makes it worse is actually seeing the United States Government White House seal on this. It drives home just how morally bankrupt our government can be, when it is pathetically eager to lie and distort in such a blatant manner.

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42 comments to Drug Czar’s got nothing

  • claygooding

    Beautiful,,,,,book marked the page for reference.

  • Buc

    Damn, there should be an award for most outrageous statement associated with the drug czar every year. Think about how many things you could associate with him.

    So many to pick from.

  • Ben Mann

    2 more years of this bullcrap…

  • darkcycle

    They aren’t gonna drop this, they think this is “getting out ahead” of the next initiative. Well, apparently they twigged to the fact that this is not only not going to go away, It’s getting bigger.
    Well at least more people have experience with pot than not, and that number is growing, and enoough lies have paved the way for these nobody is going to take them seriously. (except the Media who will no doubt parrot them at every opportunity)
    Them’s some impressive acrobatics though, and I’m quite surprised that it took them this long toget this piece of dog feces out. I expected more of this before the election.
    But hey, the threats worked like a charm, why extend the intellectual energy? Bullying takes sooo much less thought.

  • ezrydn

    It’s just their same old “War of the Worlds” script, dug out, dusted off and rebroadcast. Notice, the script never changes. It’s still packed with the same old lies. Data Qualitry Act material, for sure. Pin them down every time they try this hold-over crap.

    We should have a site, akin to, “ONDCP-Reloaded.com” to counter their BS. I’ll even offer to cover the URL (domain name) registration cost (plus renewals) if someone wants to run with it. Takers? Pete? Anyone? I’ll even cover hosting, if necessary.

    We’ve got to start establishing our “blocking forces.”

  • Matthew Meyer

    ezrydn sez:

    >We should have a site, akin to, “ONDCP-Reloaded.com” to counter their BS.

    We do. It’s called drugwarrant.com.

    Pete, way to keep pushing the ball upfield.

  • Herman Münster

    Just read a pre-prop 19 vote essay stating that marijuana prohibition is the cornerstone of a fascist police state. That will get ya thinking, something the powers that be don’t want.

  • Servetus

    Didn’t Kerlikowske claim he had ended the drug war? It still looks like business as usual to me. For Czar Kerlikowske’s future reference, here is a definition of the word ‘end’ from Merriam Webster:

    End. 2. a: cessation of a course of action, pursuit, or activity.

    The most pressing topic Kerlikowske could address is how he intends to end the racial disparities in drug arrests if he refuses to end drug prohibition. Maybe he can start by arresting more rich white people.

  • NCC Mike

    From VHA Directive 2010-035:

    “Medical conditions associated with the use of medical marijuana include, but are not limited to: glaucoma, chemotherapy induced nausea, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and chronic pain.”

    Although the feds will try to use “associate” to infer the links as mentioned in your post, I’m quite sure that in discussing this VHA directive they will make thee same arguments you just did in decrying that association.

  • ezrydn

    While I love Pete like a brother, I also understand that DWR is mostly keeping the “ground troops” up to date, not necessarily the public, whom we have to start addressing. The next time my VN reunion is held in the Chicago area, I’ll definitely track him down and share a cup of Joe with him. Just as I did with Howard this last time.

    DWR keeps US up to date by supplying us with talking points, elevator arguments and such. It’s where we come to gather our Intel from and help each other. We need something specifically geared to the Pubic. Something to immediately show the lying that’s going on, in a way that Joe Sixpack can understand, not only the choir.

    My comment, in no way, meant to undercut DWR. I’m sure Pete understands that. With 19, we overlooked those that voted No. There’s a segment out there, onliners, if you will, that might not come here, yet read something that was “associated” (sorry, I couldn’t help myself) with the Prohibs, by name.

    It was just a thought and an offer. While some might see it as a double effort, it wouldn’t contain anything other than direct ONDCP postings. Whereas, DWR covers the entire field.

  • claygooding

    “Most people whose only crime is marijuana possession do not go to prison. A survey by the Bureau of Justice Statistics showed that 0.7% of all state inmates were behind bars for marijuana possession only (with many of them pleading down from more serious crimes). Other independent research has shown that the risk of arrest for each “joint,” or marijuana cigarette, smoked is about 1 arrest for every 12,000 joints.”

    And multiplying each prisoner in jail because they failed a piss test or possessed marijuana times 12000 available joints gives a very good estimate of your agencies effectiveness.

    And while most people arrested for marijuana don’t go to prison,they are saddled with an arrest record,barred from improving themselves thru education assistance,
    low income housing and any government employment or training programs.
    Sentenced to a life of mediocre,low paying jobs or forced into a life of crime(usually selling drugs) to provide for their families.

  • kaptinemo

    This is Sabet’s work. Gil’s just not smart enough for such convoluted sophistry.

  • darkcycle

    That’s sure, Nemo.

  • NorCalNative

    You’re “drug czar required to lie” article pretty much said it all.

  • DdC

    Damn, there should be an award for most outrageous statement associated with the drug czar every year.

    Do y’all really think this is all about smoking pot? That these fascist bastards actually give a shit if you toke nuclear exhaust let alone benign Ganja. The Ganjawar is about profit and power. Ganja makes us common folks too damn upity. Drug Thugs have no choice. They’re like the Borg.

    To the DA and Public Safety Commissioners and New Orleans newspapers from 1910 through the 1930s, marijuana’s insidious evil influence apparently manifested itself in making the “darkies” think they were as good as “white men.”

    PREJUDICE: MARIJUANA AND JIM CROW LAWS

    To secure ourselves against defeat lies in our own hands. But the opportunity of defeating the enemy is provided by the enemy himself. If you know the enemy, and know yourself, you need not fear the outcome of a hundred battles. If you know yourself, but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.
    ~ The Art of War – Sun Tzu

    STATE OF THE UNION: CORRUPT

    “Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger.”
    ~ Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, Nazi Air Force (Luftwaffe) commander, the Nuremberg Trials

    Politics of Pot

    Nazism or Drug Worriers

    SCAPEGOATING – Blaming social problems on a cultural, racial, or behaviorial group. PREJUDICE – Selling the public on the idea that all members of the targeted group are ‘bad’ people. LIES – ‘Facts’, which cannot be verified, and pseudo scientific studies are used as propaganda against the targeted group. History is rewritten. NO PUBLIC DEBATE – “These people have no right to have their viewpoiunt aired.” and ” Anyone who disagrees or questions us must be one of them!” DEHUMANIZATION – Characterizing all members of a targeted group as subhuman and typically capable of monstrous deeds and/or crimes. PROTECT OUR CHILDREN – “They corrupt, seduce and or destroy our children.” CIVIL LIBERTIES SACRIFICED – “We must give up some of our freedoms, liberties, and rights in order to combat this menace to society.” LEGAL DESCRIMINATION – Laws criminalize members of targeted group and they may be denied jobs, the right to own property and/or be restricted as to where they may live or go. INFORMERS – Citizens are urged to ‘turn in’ friends, neighbors, co- workers and family members. SECRET POLICE – Non-uniformed police squads set up to wage war on targeted groups utilizing deception, infiltration, espionage and entrapment.
    CONFISCATION OF PROPERTY – Property and assets are seized from people who are members of targeted group. Property may be divided between the informer and the state. REMOVAL FROM SOCIETY – Prisons, rehabilitation camps,’hospitals’, executions and genocide…

    (“Kill Them All” “Zero Tolerance”)

    Thank You Miss Rosa

    “Arbitrary and capricious” is legal language that was used by DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young in 1988 to conclude that DEA was obligated under the Controlled Substances Act to reschedule marijuana as a prescription medicine. DEA Chief Administrator Robert Bonner proceeded to arbitrarily and capriciously disregard Judge Young’s well researched and reasoned decision, which the Act allowed him to do.

    “Through clever and constant application of propaganda, people can be made to see paradise as hell, and also the other way around, to consider the most wretched sort of life as paradise.”
    From Benito Mussolini contributing to the “London Sunday Express,” December 8, 1935

    “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
    Harry Anslinger, U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics, testifying to Congress on why marijuana should be made illegal, 1937.
    (Marijuana Tax Act, signed Aug. 2, 1937; effective Oct. 1, 1937.)

  • Bruce

    Great stuff. Just want to say I was doing an errand to the store for milk and bread and WHOA found a pile of weed on the side of the street. About an ounce of trimmings. God works in strange ways. After going without for a month,,,Lasted me a month. Thank you LEAF litterbugs. Throw out coins too please. I won’t get mad if you hit me with them. CHANGE for the children.

  • Duncan20903

    The really amusing thing about them ignoring Tashkin’s 2006 completion of his 20 year quest to prove cannabis causes cancer is that it’s Tashkin’s previous work that’s where they get all their little factoids about smoking being deleterious to the pulmonary system.

    Well I still favor saying OK, we’ll keep the act of lighting cannabis on fire and inhaling the gasses produced by combustion illegal. Problem solved.

    I really think the idea of getting people to believe that smoking isn’t bad for you is a total non-starter. Hell, you couldn’t even get me to believe it. And yes, if a person uses a delivery method for cannabis other than smoking and ends up healthier because of it, and another person who smokes an equal dosage and ends up with no health problems has experienced a negative health effect because he’d be healthier if he didn’t smoke.
    —————————————————————————————————————–

    Why do we let them get away with the bald faced lie that tobacco and alcohol taxes don’t offset the costs of abuse? The accounting methods used by proponents of that canard would make Bernie Madoff blush. The largest piece of that ‘cost’ is ‘lost productivity’, a total fantasy land fiction that supposes every extreme possible while taking into account

    Betcha you didn’t know that lifetime medical costs for tobacco smokers are less than those of non-smokers. No, not because it’s healthy, but because it kills you before you cost as much as a non-smoker. I’m not making this up, it’s what the New England Journal of Medicine claims.
    http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJM199710093371506

    In the last two years of her life my sainted mother ran up almost 1/2 million in hospital bills, with about half coming in the last 10 days before she passed. Non smoker, non drinker for decades before passing, ate a healthy diet and exercised regularly and still managed to make anyone reading her medical file’s eyes pop at how much she cost the Navy. Yes, cost the Navy, Dad was a career Navy man and the Navy took care of their medical bills.
    —————————————————————————————————————–

    Didn’t Kerlikowske claim he had ended the drug war? It still looks like business as usual to me. For Czar Kerlikowske’s future reference, here is a definition of the word ‘end’ from Merriam Webster:

    C’mon Servetus, that was the definition of the word before Gil had it changed…umm, or maybe that was Humpty Dumpty? I always get those two confused. Regardless you’ll have to by an updated dictionary so you’ll know what they decide what specific words mean.

  • warren

    The problem is not all the lies. Its the idiots who believe them.

  • claygooding

    You can order an ONDCP “doublespeak” dictionary at the website or pick one up at any local DEA/FBI/ATF office.

    I wonder how may drinks it takes for them to sit around
    the table at the bar when they are writing this crap up?

  • tensity1

    Read The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Talk about a damning layout of the horror and evil of the drug war. Seriously still pissing me off after reading it, along with instilling shame over the institutionalized racial caste system that’s been part of American culture since the founding of our country.

    I want to point out is how race wasn’t a factor in the U.S. until different ethnicities of the lower economic classes banded to challenge the ruling and moneyed classes. Then race was used to divide and conquer, peeling away lower class whites from any coalition of economic challenge to the elites.

    Now think low-information voters with lower education and income than the norm who seem to be regularly snookered into vote against their own interests, usually out of fear. Guess what? Overwhelmingly white.

    I’m not saying white is bad–my point is this: All those middle-America whites who voted in Obama but are now flocking to Republicans (are you fucking serious?). They’ve been snookered into, once again, fearing an “other.” They’re afraid of the black man, again.

    Compare these “independents” and “swing voters” (who, I would argue, have as much patience and brattiness as a . . . well . . . a spoiled brat, along with about the same amount of intellectual, political, and moral maturity a brat usually possesses) to the lower class whites, particularly of the South, who were peeled away by the elites during Reconstruction (via efforts of the Redeemers), during the Civil Rights Movement (keep your place by keeping uppity blacks in theirs), and currently during the drug war and the Obama presidency (need harsh law and order to protect against all the “bad” people; Obama is an “other.”). We as a people are awesome at learning nothing, over and over again.

    Besides the book, for reference on my assertion about swing and independent voters, here’s a link listing some details on their demographics:

    http://books.google.com/books?id=hZ2lHGSqAIoC&pg=PA62&lpg=PA62&dq=American+swing+voter+demographic&source=bl&ots=rF7GeXJ1i0&sig=eCyKK670xXIUqOdwn7mzlRATby0&hl=en&ei=p0_UTNL6AoO8sQP7mtGOCw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=5&sqi=2&ved=0CCwQ6AEwBA#v=onepage&q=American%20swing%20voter%20demographic&f=false

  • tensity1

    I’d also like to post a, well, a rant over all the stupid comments I’ve seen on the net about how Prop 19 was badly written, as if that is a good reason to continue one’s criminality. It was originally intended for an LA Times blog, but my comments never seem to make it there. . . .

    All the people who voted against 19, especially stoners against their self-interests: though more ethnically diverse, they are simply the stupid, low-information voters of few redeeming character traits in my previous post. Rant follows.

    I don’t understand all the intellectual giants, all the Supreme Court Justices-in-waiting who crow about how badly the initiative was written. Just because you can read doesn’t mean you understand jack. 19 was well-written, trying to protect the rights of citizens who just happen to use marijuana; doing away with any probable cause for cops to harass you; and avoiding positive conflict between the feds and the state, among other things.

    A lot of lawyers and smart people helped develop and push this prop, including Chris Conrad, a CA court-qualified expert witness on MJ, and the lawyer (forget name) who has never lost an MJ case in CA. Previous results at legalization from other states were studied. These people thought it was well-written (I should hope so), and it was, but what do THEY know compared to your genius, right?

    “19 wasn’t perfect. It didn’t go far enough. The feds will crack down” Are you serious? Are you waiting for federal (or even the state) legislators to come to their senses, hold hands, sing kum ba ya and legalize? Idiots, every single one of you who voted against or criticized 19. When has any law been perfect or not need to be adjusted later? As far as the feds go, legal CA MJ is so in opposition to fed law that the feds have eliminated med MJ and jailed all the dispensary owners and local governments paying and collecting taxes . . . Fools.

    Enough of the poorly-written parroting. The main lesson to learn is that people as a whole are stinking bags of fear and are too stupid to base decisions on facts and science (especially in this uncertain economy). Just look at the past 20 years–people constantly snookered to vote against their interests over and over (and I don’t mean just MJ).

    Activists: next time, please treat us as the dumb bovines that we are and use your best methods of propagandizing to make us do the sane thing and legalize. Don’t underestimate the opposition’s ability to pull crazy stuff out their ___ ; don’t overestimate people’s ability to cut through the stink instead of dining on the runny ___.

  • claygooding

    While I agree that marijuana laws are now the Jim Crow tool
    of the police,as one NAACP executive said,attacking the
    symptom won’t fix the problem.

  • tensity1

    @claygooding: while I agree with your sentiment, i.e. people’s attitudes stemming from general human greed are the root problem, I’d argue that the new social structure of oppression generates quite nasty symptoms that need to be mitigated with as much conviction and speed as possible. I’m not even sure if the analogy of symptom is the best one in this case, but I have no better one to offer.

    Keep in mind that it was the NAACP throughout the 20th century, along with the ACLU and other civil rights/progressive organizations, that fought against all the symptoms of Jim Crow and segregation by staging protests, sit-ins, and funding legal challenges to the Jim Crow laws. This eventually led to the Civil Rights Act and the dismantling of Jim Crow; unfortunately, the powers that be eventually devised a new strategy, one necessarily race-neutral on the surface (but with a lot of coded racial language) to fool people into supporting it. Voila, drug war. Thanks a lot, all you Presidents from Nixon onward (yes, you too, Clinton, the most damaging in effect, if not intention), but particularly Nixon, who pioneered modern race-baiting politics. Evil racist fuck.

  • darkcycle

    Far more influential than any swing voter phenomena is the fact that Democrats, lifelong democrats, decided not to vote. Basically because Obama has continued every single one of Bush’s illegal, extra-constitutional programs.
    What is a voter to do, when a vote for an incumbent is an endorsement of the policies pursued by that incumbent? You could vote for rhetoric, I certainly PREFER the rhetoric of the left to that of the right, but rhetoric isn’t policy.
    In this election democrats stayed home. Republicans inflamed by racism, or fear of the other, or the defict or whatever, were primed and chomping at the bit. Swing voters probably didn’t play a role. BTW: your research is restricted to self identified swing voters. Most swing voters still identify with a party, though they may not always vote that way.
    BTW: your definition of ‘brat’ would land me firmly in the bad child catagory. But that’s democracy, get used to it.

  • tensity1

    @darkcycle: I’d argue that a lot of the Democrats who stayed home this cycle are the ones who added to the Democratic rolls in ’06 and ’08, aka RINOs who became DINOs aka swing voters.

    Rhetoric isn’t policy, agreed, and there were various good reasons for people to stay home this cycle; but as I intimate above, how much emotion was involved in the decisions to stay home, vs. thought out rationales based on some attempt at fact? Whether an inflamed R or a disgruntled D, how many of us have been influenced, directly or indirectly, by the political spin machine, especially that of radical conservatives?

    Whether an identified swing voter or one who affiliates with a major party (probably due to a lack of choice), does it really matter as a whole? If one swings, one swings–no matter one’s background, whether fitting in with the demographics of self-identified swing voters or not, it comes down to attitude. Of course there are exceptions to the generalities, but how many voters really research candidates and positions, from local to federal level? I’d say not many beyond the politically engaged. If one has the attitude of immediacy and expediency, a mercenary-like attitude born of selfishness and impatience and self-vague political ideals, what does it matter how you identify yourself to the rest of the world? My argument is that just because one has an R or a D or whatever on your voter registration card, it doesn’t necessarily make one politically engaged or knowledgeable.

    I’ve been disappointed in President Obama, but not because of his overall policies, but in failing to lead and communicate properly; in allowing bullies to bully (Republican spin machines) instead of giving them an overhand right, which is usually the effective remedy for bullies. I’m not stupid enough to lay all the blame at his feet after not even two years of trying to climb out of the cesspool that was the 00’s. I’ve always decided to give any candidate reasonable time to demonstrate effectiveness, which usually means a full election cycle.

    I know you not at all, but if you want to identify yourself as a brat, by all means do so. As you’ve implied, it’s a free country. I’m used to all that democracy has to offer, including brats–doesn’t mean I’ll not call out their nonsense. 😉

  • […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Toke of the Town and shmadam, TexasNORML. TexasNORML said: Drug Czar’s got nothing – http://tinyurl.com/267mqrr #mmot […]

  • @DarkCycle… crack me up:

    “[…] your definition of ‘brat’ would land me firmly in the bad child catagory. But that’s democracy, get used to it.”

    ‘zactly! I’m witchoo on dat one.

    I work (and used to deliver to) a lot of people’s homes. In town, in the country… and a lot of people have dogs. Lots of dogs… and off and on over 30 years plus of meeting dogs, I’ve been bit once. I meet dogs just like I do their owners (I’m actually nicer to the dogs, I don’t scratch homeowners’ heads, generally speaking;) and dogs, like people usually appreciate an honest acknowledgement of their existence.

    All this… this life, this society… it’s about people for us. Not about systems. When a system is malfunctioning it’s generally repaired or the machine eventually just breaks. And then either emergency repairs take place while the machine is inoperable or it’s replaced.

    But people… we forget I think that what we are is a world of families and we all have elders and youngers and would give our left nut (or left ovary, sorry ladies, didn’t mean to exclude) to save someone we love. If a society’s system of governance is compelled to act in a manner contrary to our best interests and those with whom we share this existence – as defined by us, not them – then it is in a state of disrepair. It does not even acknowledge our existence (“legalization is not in our vocabulary”) and would crush us all to maintain it’s grip. And when it’s at that stage… we have to treat it as a serious threat to the fabric of society.

    I seriously believe that it is time for Civil Disobedience. I think it was Ethan Nadelman that raised the issue a cuppla years ago but dang it… it’s time for attitude (“that’s democracy, get used to it”) to increase. And doing non-violent CD is political attitude at it’s best (and garners attention).

    Oh and a Free the Weed benefit by Willie and phriends needs to be up in two years as well to co-incide with that year’s prez election. 2 years will be on us fast, so plan ahead.

  • darkcycle

    You really don’t get it do you? These policies are made and executed with the agreement of both parties. Imperialsim and capital exploitation first. The only difference between the parties is the rhetoric.
    “Obama’s only one man….”
    “Obama is only the President, he can only do so much…”
    “It’s Congress’ fault”
    “It’s the republicans in the Senate obstructing…”
    All apologies and all inadequate. Presidential power is far more expansive and comprehensive than you seem to believe. For eight years Bush was able to move this country any way he saw fit. And George W. Bush and Co. weren’t the sharpest tools in the shed. And he got re-elected. Where were you for eight years of King George the Second?
    No. the answer is that Obama is pursueing the policies he planned on from the very beginning. Policies that have been in place and in play for thirty years. Reagan, Bush, Clinton, Bush 43, Obama. The only major difference is one of personality and how far they individually are willing to reach in pusuit of the global capitalist agenda.
    So make sure the rhetoric is right before you go to the booth. Since that’s all that seems to matter to simpletons

  • DdC

    The simple answer is Growers only make large profits during prohibition. Prop 19 would have lowered the price of pot, but not the risk of large grow ops. As long as Federal risk is there, high prices will be part of it and any initiative that doesn’t address it will probably be voted out. I voted for 19 because it works for me. But every vote is private and no one has the right to bitch about another choosing a different politician. Not that there is much of a difference. It’s not the vote that counts, its who counts the votes. imho P-19 did a hell of a lot better than I expected and generated a lot of conversation and even got sympathetic air time. Nothing to be ashamed of. Good job.

  • darkcycle

    On a happier note: Pete, just got my ‘incarceration nation’ tee shirt and coffee mug. I hope you see some denero from that cafe press store.
    I’ll be able to wear the incarceration nation tee shirt around campus! No obvious marijauna leaves or such to set off the PC police!

  • Last time

    I dont know why pointing out our government lies on a regular basis even matters anymore. We know full well our government is nothing more than a pack of lying criminals and why anyone…anyone would believe anything they say, reguarding the drug war…any war or just national policis in general, is beyond me… but people do.

    This is proven by this last election.keep believing they can vote out the ‘bad guys’. The people keep believeing thier lies and just keep voting…just keep accepting life as it is.

    Until lying to the public is outlawed…seriously outlawed…nothing will ever change.

    Oh but thats asking the criminals to “please jail yourselves”. good luck with that.

  • strayan

    Who’s doing the vetting at the White House? They need to fired.

  • nag champa

    “It is clear that we cannot arrest our way out of the problem of chronic drug abuse and drug-driven crime.” Barry Mcaffrey (former drug czar under Clinton) at the Criminal Justice and Substance Abuse Conference, Albany, New York, June 29, 1999

  • claygooding

    @tensity1,

    Chris Conrad gave an interview in an excellent article by Steve Bloom in the Huffington Post:

    Why Northern California’s Pot Growers Said No to Prop 19
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steve-bloom/why-northern-californias-_b_779415.html

  • ray

    canada did some research into costs of cannabis smokers to society and it was about 20 bucks a year. compare that to the costs of alcohol or tobacco and now you know why they do not actually talk about figures for pot users but draw a false conclusion that it must cost a lot more than any possible taxes would bring in.

    now on the other hand, how much have we spent on prohibition of cannabis and what have we got back from all that? lower crime? less use. from what i can tell the US has the highest use around. for my way of thinking that is mainly because people have weighed the risks and known for years the government talks it up.

    Even with all that money and advertising attempts, about if 46 percent of people in the recent USA surveys respond that they want to see cannabis legalized.
    the question is whether it should be legalized not whether we should continue to spend money on arresting or jailing people in a woeful attempt to deter.

  • greg

    where did the idea that the taxes of “X” should be able to cover any costs to society caused by “X”? This is a new twist on justifications for taxation.

    A few problems
    -Is there a fund where all taxes from “X” get deposited, only to be drawn out in the event of a “social cost”?

    -Should items that cause a net BENEFIT then be taxed at a negative rate? (for example, if I were selling ACE bandages (which arguably cause only good outcomes), should the government send me a check for doing so?)

    -in this cost/benefit analysis, how are we quantifying the positive outcome of ‘X’? (where in the case of MJ, it is nearly impossible to do so)

    My point is that taxation has never been about covering “costs”, or discouraging behavior, or anything else. Taxation is about generating revenue for the government, plain and simple.

  • greg

    And the notion that government even cares about balancing it’s books (with income in one column, and costs in another) is so absurd I didn’t even think it was worth mentioning!

  • kaptinemo

    Clay, many thanks for the link. It confirmed my worst apprehensions as to what had happened.

    I am afraid I must share Mr. Conrad’s sentiments on the matter. It’s almost as if the horse-carriage and buggy-whip manufacturers conspired to try to sabotage the development of the ‘aw-toh-moh-beel’ in its’ infancy.

    Well, we all know what happened with that. The growers face the same historical force of progress. Like as not, there’s no stopping mass production of weed once it’s legal again. The NoCal growers who fought 19 are involved in a historical rearguard action…and the rearguard usually winds up hamburger in any hard fight. And the growers picked the wrong side. Now they’re on the scheisse list of everyone else who wants true-market-value legal weed.

    An era is ending, as the old line goes, The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ, moves on: nor all thy piety nor wit shall lure it back to cancel half a line, nor all thy tears wash out a word of it.” Legal weed means an end to a kind of hothouse ‘outlaw’ culture that could only exist under the artificial conditions of prohibition. But in terms of the ‘greater good’, as what ending cannabis prohibition outright would constitute, in this case, the words ‘greater good’ are not uttered sardonically, but with surety.

    It’s long past time.

  • Duncan20903

    Hey ray, here’s the link to Canada’s analysis of cost of tobacco, drinking alcohol, and cannabis. You are correct the peg the health costs at $20 per year. That would be in CAD and I haven’t looked at the conversion rate recently so have no idea what it would be in USD. It was pretty close to 1:1 a number of years ago.

    http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/publications/cannabis/bck/7

    It’s always better with a supporting link, especially since so many people think the health costs of cannabis are huge, or at least very large.

  • Duncan20903

    warren
    November 5, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    The problem is not all the lies. Its the idiots who believe them.

    Hey warren, are you one of the guys that writes the pithy platitudes and aphorisms that the 12 step people so dearly love? I particularly like the ‘I got a bad case of the fukkits’ one that they use when they fuck up their 12 step program and get high. Now that’s clever.
    —————————————————————————————————————–

    tensity I agree with your analysis approaching 100%. I also think you’re a dick headed dumbshit for putting it up on the ‘net. Just because they’re idiots doesn’t mean that they are smart enough to realize how fucking stupid they are. If they don’t have the capacity to understand how stupid they are there’s no reason to point it out and doing so sets you up to be flanked by the propagandists. Now don’t go getting mad at me for insulting you, actually I think you’re likely a pretty smart guy or there would be no reason whatever for me to try making this point.

    Perhaps the stupidity of giving Nixon the credit for the drug war is the only place we part company. I started getting high in 1977 and I promise you there was no trace of a drug war in the late 1970s, at least in the mid Atlantic states. It was early 1982 that Ronald Raygun started the prosecution of the drug war, with Miss Nancy coining the phrase ‘just say no’. He might have used refurbished equipment that Mr. Nixon built but otherwise Nixon’s fingerprints are nowhere to be found on the drug war. Mr. Nixon was a political pariah in the late 1970s. Gerry Ford had no chance whatever of being re-elected because he was seen as a stooge for pardoning Nixon. I heard him sit down at some interview and lay out his reasoning for pardoning Nixon and damned if I didn’t believe he did the right thing after he explained himself. I still do to this day. It doesn’t matter, there was no way he could have convinced the body politic in 1976.

    I really may be coming down with a bad case of the fukkits when it comes to politics.

  • Duncan20903

    greg, I hope that wasn’t criticism of the benefit of having an ongoing national debt. It would really be undesirable for the collective pocketbook of Americans. It has gotten out of hand in relation to percentage of GDP. We’re actually approaching World War 2 national debt to GDP. But in WW2 we wiped out the infrastructure of our global competitor companies and that led to one of the most prosperous stretches in history. Hey since WW2 which POTUS oversaw the smallest national debt:GDP ratio? Did anyone say Jimmy Carter? Hire a psychiatrist because you must be nucking futz, but there it is.
    http://tinyurl.com/2bwjxg5 He was pretty intent on getting rid of the national debt. Gosh, we had nothing even remotely resembling a prosperous economy in 1980. The problem with the national debt today is not its size but the fact that the money was squandered on lining the pockets of George W and Dick Cheney as well as the ongoing debacle of the drug war. Borrowing a couple of hundred thousand to purchase a home that’s within your means is smart, borrowing the same sum of money in an identical fiscal profile and spending it on hookers and blow is stupidity. Mr. Reagan’s deficit spending was the former, George W’s is most definitely the latter. Mr. Obama had little choice but to throw borrowed money at the problem. Where he let us (me?) down was his choice of sending that money to the perpetrators of W’s financial house of cards rather than to the victims. Even better he shouldn’t have made any judgments whatever and should just have sent a lump sum of freshly printed money to every man, woman, or child with a valid Social Security number and let the markets decide who got the bailouts. But no, that would have been too damn simple. No, that money would not have been ‘free’ money to the recipients, it would have been compensation for the abstract loss of value because printing that money devalued what was already in circulation. As it stands now the everyman gets screwed for the loss of value which did actually happen but the the special interests got the compensation. It was just an act of abject stupidity.

    BTW, the ‘unfunded liability’ of social security 20 years from now is bullshit. That accounting is more Madoff style con games as the people who like to point it out count up every dollar socialist security will end up spending but then not account for any income down the road. If you want a sneak peak of our economy 15 years from know learn how to read Japanese and look at how Japan is faring. We might do better than they did because they have managed to keep undocumented immigrants out and their population is aging faster than ours. They may yet be done in by their rampant national xenophobia. We need to promote immigration by young, hardworking people, and to encourage them to reproduce for the simple reason that in 15 years my wife and I will be due a socialist security check and somebody has to cover that cost.

    All of it IMHO!

  • tensity1

    @claygooding:

    Thanks for the link. That was a good article.

    @Duncan20903:

    “tensity I agree with your analysis approaching 100%. I also think you’re a dick headed dumbshit for putting it up on the ‘net. . . .”

    Lmao. Strangely wonderful to get torn a new one and enjoy it. From a play-nice, persuading point of view, no, pointing out stupidity is not a good tack at all, but I’ve developed various fukkits already. Besides, I’m probably one in a gazillion pointing out stupidity in one form or another, so I’m not too worried about adding to any negative perceptions for prohibitionists to use. (I am a bit shamed at contributing to the lowering of the level of civil discourse on the ‘Net. Such is the allure and downside of electronic semi-anonymity.)

    I chose Nixon for the start of the modern drug war since he decided to ignore his Schaffer commission report; also, because in the book I mentioned, the author asserts Nixon’s campaigns used racially coded language and messaging to draw Southern D’s into the R fold during the civil rights upheaval, and the fact that he asserted liberals, hippies, and “the blacks” are the problems needing to be taken care of (without seeming to target them). Now, with Watergate, of course he didn’t have the opportunity to ramp up the drug war (and as you point out–which is pretty much what the book’s author lays out–Reagan is the one who really jacked things up), but I believe Nixon laid the institutional groundwork for it.

    @darkcycle:

    And I thought we were having a nice debate. I’m assuming your latest comment was for me. If not, close your eyes and don’t read the rest.

    Maybe I don’t get it. But I guarantee I’ve considered politics and rhetoric, especially in America, to be a control tool of the masses to benefit the elite and wealthy. But maybe you’re the one with the clarity (since your view is so original)–I won’t deny you that, since I think highly of my own views and the stupidity and simpleness of others’.

    There may not be much difference between the two parties, especially in contemporary times, but I believe there is enough of a difference (have you been around for the last 8 or 30 years to notice?). But what about elites demoralizing citizens enough to not want to participate in their government, or spinning things so they vote or do other things against their self interests? Is that a possibility? One among thousands, I’m sure. It’s enough to make one stop smoking MJ just to get rid of extra paranoia. And watch The Matrix again . . .

    So, was it my rant, or my characterization of swing voters or independents, that got your goat? Did you vote R–or not vote–out of protest, or are you just apolitical and wouldn’t deign to participate in sham elections or try to influence (such as pushing for legalization of MJ) the rigged politics of your country?

    It doesn’t matter, it’s none of my business, but Duncan20903 is probably on to something . . .