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What third way?

The drug czar’s office continues to tout its so-called “third way” of drug policy, rejecting the lock-em-up approach on one side and the extreme legalization approach on the other side.

The truth is that there is no “third way” — the ONDCP is merely trying to avoid taking the blame for the drug war destruction they cause.

The drug czar’s office claims that in the 2013 budget, demand reduction is funded at a higher level than domestic law enforcement. Sure it is. By a very small amount. But that was true way back in 2005 (and has been every year since then).

To be bragging that the feds are spending less on domestic law enforcement than demand reduction is pretty weak, especially since domestic law enforcement is supposed to be the purview of the states (and the states also spend enormous amounts on domestic law enforcement).

If you take a look at total supply reduction efforts (including international interdiction, etc.), it’s very clear that the third way is merely more of the same.

In 2005, the supply reduction portion of the budget was $11,473,400,000 (56.8% of the budget). For the 2013 request, it’s $15,061,000,000 (58.8% of the budget). Note: in 2003, the government simply stopped including many of the DOJ costs of incarcerating federal drug prisoners in their budget numbers, or those supply-side figures would be even higher.

That’s right. The failed supply-side approach to drug policy has increased both in terms of actual dollars and percentage of total budget.

The third way is a sham – a flim-flam game by charlatans who know that the drug war is a failure, but due to self-interest are unwilling to discuss true alternatives honestly. So instead, they hawk their Third Way Tonic to cure all your drug war ills and hope that you’re dumb enough to buy it.

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36 comments to What third way?

  • Cannabis

    The media buys it every time. No one looks at the budget. They are merely stenographers who repeat whatever the National Drug Control Strategy, drug control “expert” of the week, or official spokesperson says. Every so often you will get a blog post on a traditional media site that gives real insight or a major story like the Associated Press’s 40 years and a trillion dollars story, but they are too few and far between to make a real difference. Everyone is too scared of losing access and invitations to the right parties.

  • claygooding

    Exactly,,the rehab instead of incarceration is a sham because it is the same as we have now,,if you have the money honey you can get rehab now instead of prison,even in the strictest states,,so now instead of admitting our justice system is flawed and favors the rich,,they want to act like they are giving everyone a chance at rehab but it is still going to put the poor in prison.

    • Windy

      For someone who is not addicted to a drug, rehab is a form of prison.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        I’d actually rather go to jail. Rehab is much more vividly seen as not being incarcerated by people that have never been to jail and/or rehab than by those who have. At least in jail they don’t fuck with your head.

  • Dante

    The way to approach an argument with the Drug Czar (or any prohibitionist) is:

    Since we started spending Billions, do we have less drug users, less drug dealers, less drug overdoses, less drug-related prisoners, less drug cartels, less drug-related violence, etc.?

    Or do we have more of all of the above? If more, then the Drug Czar’s approach has failed no matter what it is.

    Bottom Line: We have more. The Drug Czar’s approach has failed. It’s time to stop doing the exact same thing each and every year, and try something different – unless the goal is to have more drugs, more drug users, more drug dealers, more drug violence, more drug prisoners, more drug cartels, more death, more grief, more misery.

    Or is that the goal? Who in the world would benefit from such a brainless scheme?

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

    • Jose

      Dante, I think the brainless scheme/benefit angle is the elephant in the room that is now crapping all over the floor. It is the fact that the scheme itself feeds on death, grief, destruction and misery to benefit so many via $$$ and control.

  • Peter

    OT

    The Obama campaign’s “Life of Julia”

    http://www.barackobama.com/life-of-julia

    traces how Obama’s policies affect an everywoman called Julia throughout milestones in her life like going to college. Needless to say there is no section where she gets busted for pot and loses her college funding. Nor is there any mention of her getting sick and being prevented from using the medication recommended by her doctor because it is a Section 1 controlled substance. In the real world she never gets the great job as a web designer because of her felony drug conviction and her son Zachary gets taken by child protection because his mother is a “drug abuser.”
    Funny how Julia’s life is just like Obama’s and, like him, she never falls foul of some of his more oppressive policies.

  • Peter

    Hey Pete
    I’ve tried to post a comment but have been blocked by the duplicate detector, even though the comment has not appeared. Any suggestions? Post referred to the Obama campaign’s Life of Julia.

    • Sorry about that, Peter. I have no idea why the spam filter has gone after that so aggressively. I found all 8 messages you tried to post with that link in the spam folder. I put your original one back in place in active comments.

      • Peter

        The problem seems to only apply when there is a direct link to the barackobama.com web site. If this was Syria I’d be paranoid…

        • Probably someone sent out some mass spam email that had that URL in it, so the spam filter started blocking it wholesale. I imagine it’ll get sorted out.

        • Freeman

          This is getting strange.

          I recently had the same thing happen over at the RBC because it had a link to nih.gov in it. They didn’t even find it in their spam folder. Pete’s probably right about the cause and eventual resolution.

  • Duncan20903

    All of you people are selfish! Like the author said, why don’t you all quit thinking about yourselves all the time, follow orders and do what he wants you to do?

    • Matthew Meyer

      Sheesh, Duncan, he’s just asking you to follow the law! Yes, he is utterly uninterested in asking whether it is a just law. It seems he’d rather believe that our collective troubles come from the selfishness exemplified by pot smokers. Government overreach? Nah.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        In my lifetime I’ve noticed that almost every time someone accuses someone else of being selfish that person may as well be saying, “hey, quit thinking about yourself all the time, and start figuring out how you can make me happy.”

    • Freeman

      Folks like Ken Herman seem to think this logic is airtight and no rational rebuttals exist. They like to highlight whatever questionable responses they can get out of stoners at these rallies to “prove” their point.

      Yet, not one of them has offered rational rebuttal when challenged to explain why, if demand for recreational drugs is in any way to blame for violence, demand for caffeine is completely exempt from that effect. The best Herman can do is acknowledge that “prohibition contributes to drug-related violence. I get that”, while completely dismissing the point as if it were completely irrelevant by insisting that consumers should be the only ones to change their behavior in response to the violence because he thinks they share some part of the blame, which he makes no attempt to quantify or relate to the magnitude of the contribution of prohibition to the violence.

      I don’t see any reason to feel any guiltier about the violence of the intoxicant supply chain when lighting up a joint than when brewing up a pot of coffee. Caffeine and cannabis are both recreational drugs in high demand. Consumers can rightly be blamed for 100% of the level of violence inherent in the caffeine market (zero, last I checked) because prohibition does not exist there. Rationally speaking, 100% of zero is exactly the proper level of blame consumers can rightly be assigned for the violence of any similar drug market, such as marijuana, where prohibition does exist.

  • Von danf

    Ummm…most people are dumb enough to buy it.

  • Because the US has made marijuana a matter for criminal enforcement, any talk of “treatment” on a Federal level is also thought of as a criminal justice issue. Treatment on a Federal level is still money spent towards a system of forced behavior modification and coerced rehabilitation thru courts and prisons and drug testing. This system only supports the viewpoint that users of marijuana need to be treated as problems for addiction counselors. No provisions in the treatment area allows for anything but treating under the premise that mariujuana is a dangerous and addictive drug. This is not a third way. Its still a one way street to keep the money where officials feel it belongs – driving down the demand for marijuana through use of coersion and force.

  • kaptinemo

    OT: finally, somebody is recognizing what Cartagena was really about (hint: it has nothing to do with the sophomoric, led-by-the-penis Secret Service guys)

    Cartagena Beyond the Secret Service Scandal by Noam Chomsky.

    from the article:

    “When policies are pursued for many years with unremitting dedication though they are known to fail in terms of proclaimed objectives, and alternatives that are likely to be far more effective are systematically ignored, questions naturally arise about motives. One rational procedure is to explore predictable consequences. These have never been obscure.

    In Colombia, the drug war has been a thin cover for counterinsurgency. Fumigation–a form of chemical warfare–has destroyed crops and rich biodiversity, and contributes to driving millions of poor peasants into urban slums, opening vast territories for mining, agribusiness, ranches and other benefits to the powerful.

    Other drug-war beneficiaries are banks laundering massive amounts of money. In Mexico, the major drug cartels are involved in 80 percent of the productive sectors of the economy, according to academic researchers. Similar developments are occurring elsewhere.” (Emphasis mine – k.)

    Been saying this for 13 years, here and elsewhere, and I’m not the only one. But all you get from the LameStream Media is that the SS acts like frat boys who think with their willies. The reality gatekeepers at work, defining for you what is real and worthy of discussion…and what you shouldn’t talk about, as it might upset George Carlin’s Owners. More reasons for not watching TeeVee Nooz…

    • Aye Aye Aye Aye, Delta Sigs always go fishing
      So lets drop our flies, and wait for their cries, then reel them in with our willies.

      Sorry, couldn’t resist kaptinemo. Not all frat boys that think with their willies, and sing about thinking with their willies together in unison in front of sorority ladies, are all that bad.

      I like how Noam can think outside the box. We’re better for having him, although I don’t always agree with him.

  • This third way probably involves advancing drone technology and face recognition, as well as inter-drone communication. Oh now they come armed with tasers, rubber bullets, and tear/pepper spray. By the way, a study linked tasers to heart attacks in over 500 tasering cases, a big blow to pro-stun gun groups. Too bad the FAA is already in the process of relaxing aviation laws to favor drone usage. http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn21789-taser-stun-gun-linked-to-heart-attacks.html

  • claygooding

    Your top election issues of 2012 – CNN.com
    http://www.cnn.com

    We asked iReporters to share the issue that matters most to them in the coming election. Cast your votes to determine what themes make it to the next round of the iReport Debate.

    • John

      Here is a more direct link to the poll:

      http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2012/05/politics/ireport.debate.poll/index.html

      I was disheartened to find that, so far, Marijuana Legalization isn’t even in the top ten. Let’s fix that!

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        I can’t vote for less than 10 things and I’m stuck at 4. The rest are items of division and petty nonsense in which the Federal gov’t has no business.

        I suppose I could add “immigration” but would they understand I favor the guidelines enumerated on the Statue of Liberty and think that “closing the border” is anti-America?

        Taxes? WTF does that mean? Is that dog whistle code for soak the rich?

        Help the middle class? More dog whistle code for soak the rich, or does it mean stomp on the poor? Perhaps a bit of both?

        Crime & Justice? Lock up more or less people? Or the same number for an increased or decreased term? Another one which I think very important but would expect people to take my vote to support the opposite of what I believe.

        Student loans? More dog whistle bullshit, this time in favor of more gov’t handouts to the middle class?

        National Security? Would anyone see that as a vote for the US learning to mind its own business?

        Give me your hungry, your tired, your poor I’ll piss on ’em
        That’s what the Statue of Bigotry says
        Your poor huddled masses
        Let’s club ’em to death
        And get it over with and just dump ’em on the boulevard

        Get ’em out on the dirty boulevard
        Goin’ out to the dirty boulevard
        They’re going down on the dirty boulevard
        Goin’ out

        ~~ Lou Reed

  • Hey did anyone see the NYT’s Room for “Debate” on using the military to fight the drug trade in Latin America? Very “fair and balanced” -with the American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institution, and Heritage Foundation all giving their own unique viewpoints.

    http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/05/08/should-us-troops-fight-the-war-on-drugs/?gwh=C18B8F85306EE7155D046E7EB4CC5045

  • Francis

    OT: President Obama Cites ‘Winds of Change’ in Same-Sex Marriage Shift

    President Obama has abandoned his longstanding opposition to same-sex marriage but says the decision on whether or not to legalize the unions should be left up to individual states, which are “arriving at different conclusions at different times.”

    “The winds of change are happening. They’re not blowing with the same force in every state,” he added. “I think that as more and more folks think about it, they’re gonna say, you know, ‘That’s not who we are.'”

    Does it strike anyone else as funny how well that describes the shift in opinion we’re seeing on drug policy in general and marijuana policy in particular? But apparently Obama hasn’t felt those “winds of change” yet. I think we already discussed why. (Oh, and remember when some people thought Obama was a “wind of change” – as opposed to a weather vane that reveals the direction of money flow?)

    • kaptinemo

      ‘Wind’ in the English language can have many meanings. As in to ‘break wind’, i.e. flatulence. Which, in Obama’s case, is emitted from both the north and south ends.

      I’ve ceased to pay attention to anything the man says; his actions prove his true intent.

    • Duncan20903

      Regardless, it’s nice to see the so called left acknowledging that State’s rights exist.

  • Peter

    mitt Romney adopting the the “don’t we have more important issues to discuss” when asked about drug reform, meanwhile 850,000 people are arrested every year for cannabis alone and billions of dollars are wasted:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/09/mitt-romney-gay-marriage-immigration-pot_n_1504805.html

    • Peter

      his idiotic comments on marijuana begin at about the 2:10 mark.

    • Matthew Meyer

      Romney: “Don’t you have any issues to discuss that I feel comfortable talking about?”

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      When confronted by advocates on the subject of cannabis law reform the prohibitionists squeal like stuck pigs and ejaculate hysterical rhetoric about how re-legalization would lead to the end of western civilization.

      Except when they’re telling people that they think the entire subject is inconsequential.
      ———-
      Peter, are you sure that 850,000 number is still accurate? That’s the 2010 number. Has anyone seen the 2011 number? I’m thinking it lost its impact with California’s 2011 decrim of petty possession. That single reform should have eliminated about 70,000 arrests. You know I can’t recall not hearing a year’s total cannabis arrests very soon after the end of the year until this year. I would think that a significant decline would be a reason for celebration, or at least an acknowledgment. BTW I can find 2011 totals for NYC but that number is up. Does most everyone care only for bad news? I’ve been on pins and needles waiting for the 2011 numbers because I expect the number to be good news.

      • Peter

        Maybe it’s only 750,000. It’s still by far the biggest arrest # in the country and i imagine the most expensive L/E issue of recent years. Romney’s excuse for not talking about it is the “economy,” which is of course hugely impacted by this massive so called crime wave and the government waste involved.

      • darkcycle

        ..remember, LE will continue to make arrests regardless of the decrim law in California. The will follow the old pattern of continuing to do what they damn well please until told otherwise by a judge.

  • Peter

    the re-elect Obama campaign has a fantasy going called Life of Julia. Here’s a more realistic version of how julia’s life might be affected by Obama’s policies:

    The story traces how Obama’s policies affect an everywoman called Julia throughout various milestones in her life, like going to college. Needless to say there is no section where she gets busted for pot and loses her college funding. Nor is there any mention of her getting sick and being prevented from using the medication recommended by her doctor because Obama’s policies maintain that it is a Section 1 controlled substance. In the real world she never gets that great job as a web designer because of her felony drug conviction, and her son Zachary gets taken away by child protection officers because of his mother’s “drug abuse.”
    Funny how Julia’s life is just like Obama’s and, just like him, she has the good fortune not to fall foul of some of his more oppressive policies.