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September 2014
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Odds and Ends

bullet image A tale of two Eric Holders

I suspect that they’re both right, depending on where you place the comparative benchmarks.


bullet image The War on Drugs and The War on Terror.

Many times over the years we’ve talked here about the parallels between the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, and the misguided public policy principles (as well as outright self-interest) that align with both.

Paul Kendrick at TPM Cafe has an interesting piece comparing the storyline of the fictional drug policy TV series “The Wire” with our misguided history in Iraq.

How ‘The Wire’ Explains America’s Fight Against ISIS

The allegory reaches its peak when one dealer and enforcer says to his boss Avon, doubting the wisdom of continuing to battle their rivals: “It don’t matter who did what to whom. Fact is, we went to war and now there ain’t no going back … If it’s a lie, then we fight on the lie. But we gotta fight.”

By the end of the season, Avon is headed to prison and Stringer is gone forever. Though it is not shown to the viewer, the final episode of the season was entitled, “Mission Accomplished.” The demand for drugs is unchanged, and the police inadvertently created a power vacuum. That status will not stand, and, shades of ISIS stepping into the turmoil of a new Iraq, that vacuum will soon be filled by someone far worse than the police ever dreamed of: Marlo.

Kendrick concludes with a seemingly obligatory applauding of President Obama’s approach which, in my opinion, is unwarranted given Obama’s overall record in the wars. Otherwise, I think it’s a good, solid analogy that works in describing why both “war” policies are doomed to failure.

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37 comments to Odds and Ends

  • Daniel Williams

    No fan of either guy, really, but Sterling is closer to the truth.

  • primus

    Sterling is correct; Holder is weak. It could not be otherwise, because if he had been strong, he never would have been appointed. O’Bama is weak, because if he had been strong, the PTB would never have allowed his presidency. Nobody with any strength of character EVER gets elected, except in times of grave national emergency, such as when Churchill became PM of England in the times preceding WWII. Once the emergency is over, the strong leader is thrown out immediately because he is feared by the PTB more than the incompetents who replace him.

  • Frank W.

    Both those guys were way too kind to Holder. How do you “fail” to discipline Leonhart, or “fail” to go after Wall St.? As for Edelman’s article, if Holder’s “vision and passion” can be credited, how did it end up as the massive pot busts that continue to this day? Oh, and here’s another Politico story to shore up that site’s cred:
    http://www.politico.com/story/2014/09/charlotte-clinton-mezvinsky-astrology-111411.html#ixzz3Eil9q47k

  • Howard

    I’m going with Eric Sterling’s position. Certainly the one thing that cannot continue with the Fed’s position regarding cannabis is this constant equivocation. Just a few examples (you all are well aware of these);

    – In Washington state, the prosecution of the Kettle Falls Five continues to move forward while ‘legal’ retail marijuana stores open in Seattle and other Washington cities.

    – The IRS collecting federal taxes from ‘legal’ state marijuana businesses — then fining them because they pay in cash — because they don’t have adequate access to the banking system (I guess the IRS is now involved in some form of money laundering?).

    – The President of the United States of America plainly stating that marijuana is likely less dangerous than alcohol — without any hint of intent to see that marijuana is rescheduled.

    – Per the above, Eric Holder stating, when asked, that he was “satisfied” with his department’s work regarding leaving marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. And recently stating that rescheduling is something that should be looked into — as he’s about to head out the door (along with previously stating that he’s happy to work with congress on this issue even though he doesn’t have to involve congress at all).

    – The United States of America’s emphatic dogmatic position that marijuana has no medical benefits — while the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) holds patent no. 6630507 (titled “Cannabinoids as antioxidants and neuroprotectants”).

    – After receiving certain ‘memos’ relating to ending raids of medical marijuana dispensaries in states where it’s legal, US Attorney Melinda Haag’s office releases a statement that nothing in the memos suggest that “We need to do anything different than we have been. It’s business as usual”.

    – Willie Nelson’s tour bus is occassionally pulled over — with marijuana smoke wafting out when the doors open — yet he is rarely detained and his bus is never seized. Winks and nods later he continues on. But a 19-year-old Round Rock, Texas man originally faced the possibility of life in prison for selling baked goods that included hash oil. Luckily the longest sentence he might now be facing is a mere 20 years (how lucky).

    There are zillions of other examples of this cowardly duplicity. I’m reminded of an article I read a while back. The author’s premise was basically this: the Federal Government needs to crack down, to the fullest extent possible, on all states where marijuana is legal for medicinal or recreational reasons — OR — it needs to rescind all federal based cannabis laws immediately. There really is no middle ground.

    • Windy

      There is also the case of WA Amerind Tim Reed, read his story on page 16 of the current issue of Northwest Leaf under the Court Support heading @ (http://issuu.com/nwleaf/docs/september2014?e=3681025/9161886)

      And here’s an interesting (but unrelated to the above) article: http://www.hightimes.com/read/dr-carl-hart-drug-myths-exposed

      Dr. Carl Hart is not your average scientist. Having studied abuse and addiction for the past 16 years, he has come to the conclusion that most of what is accepted as fact regarding drugs, even in academia, is based on Drug War propaganda and has little scientific basis. Since 1998 — when he became the first tenured African-American professor in the sciences at Columbia University — Hart has been studying the effects of drugs on real human beings, not lab rats, and what he’s found might surprise you. He will tell you that crack in itself doesn’t make people violent, that methamphetamine alone will not make you look like one of those grisly “after” photos in the public service ads, and that cocaine and heroin are not as addictive as is commonly believed. His efforts are detailed in the book High Price: A Neuroscientist’s Journey of Self- Discovery That Challenges Everything You Know About Drugs and Society (Harper- Collins, 2013).

  • claygooding

    Not one law has changed and memos can be shredded tomorrow throwing us back to the wolves at the whim of the next AG and if the Republican’ts win the oval office the next regime can really cost taxpayers a lot of money trying to attack any initiatives that have passed,,and you know that is exactly what the bankers want.
    Holder and Obama really shoved themselves out on a branch with what they have done IMO,,,not too far from a book depository tour I am sure.
    Has anyone heard anything lately about the ATF agent that blew the whistle on the F&F gunrunning episode,,I wonder if he is manning an office in northern Alaska.

    • Windy

      The problem with the CSA and who can alter the schedule of drugs, is that anyone who is a prohibitch getting into the WH, or is appointed by POTUS to any of those special positions, is that even if Holder or Obama changes the scheduling of cannabis before Obama’s reign of terror is over, someone else can come along later and change it back, Biden (whom we all know is a rabid democrat prohibitch) could become president (heaven forbid) and reschedule cannabis into schedule 1, so it is not just some social conservative republicans we need to fear, it is ANY prohibitch of ANY political persuasion. People really need to stop focusing on just republicans as the enemies of cannabis, because there are prominent prohibitches in both parties.

      The only way to prevent that from happening is to demand that congress repeal every single law which negatively affects the legality of all drugs, including the ones that created the DEA, the ONDCP and its drug schedule, and the RAVE Act.

      • claygooding

        That was my referencing the book depository,,,Obama has Biden posed to take over if he even acts like he supports marijuana reform,,I truly believe Obama had to accept Biden or he would not have gotten to be President.

        • Windy

          If so (Obama had to accept Biden or no go), then that is just more proof of Obama’s depravity. In such a situation, a man with real integrity would have said “fuck that fool Biden, you can take your demand and fuck off, or else you can take this job and shove it”, and let the bastards either scramble to find another candidate acceptable to the PTB, or decide to let the man have the running mate he wanted, instead.

          Though, personally, I’d rather we go back to the original way of getting a VP, he’d be the candidate for president who came in second, and it would not matter if he was not the same party as the POTUS, or if they get along.

  • Dante

    The war on drugs only benefits two groups of people: Drug barons and drug warriors.

    The war on terror only benefits two groups of people: Terrorists and politicians.

    Coincidence? Nope. War is always like that, everybody suffers except for the people who started the fight and the people who continue it forever. That is how both groups maintain power.

    I wonder what they will declare war on next?

  • primus

    Since whatever we declare war on inevitably proliferates, I suggest a war on education. That way there will be more educated people who won’t fall for this BS.

    • Duncan2003

      .
      .

      Bastardizing that famous Will Roger’s quote, aren’t you? 🙂

      Why don’t they pass a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? “If it works as good as Prohibition did, in five years we will have the smartest people on earth.” ~~ Will Rogers

      After being introduced to the sentiment of criminalizing education thereby empowering and enriching the education cartels, the first question that just about everyone asks is “how would that affect gangsta rap?” Would it sound like the Library Rap by MC Poindexter & The Study Crew?

  • Duncan2003

    .
    .

    I reiterate my position that I would like to see the gov’t declare a war on war…I’ll bet there are even some government stooges who could do that with a straight face too.

    Of course if we prefer to benefit society in the long term we should lobby for a war on peace if we keep in mind just how easily government screws up it’s objectives. Just look what they’ve accomplished in the effort to make the world “drug” free.

    Now those are just silly. But if we’re to have hope for the end of the war on (some) drugs we need something to keep the prohibitionist parasites and their sycophants from getting into REAL mischief.

    When I consider that the sycophants of prohibition are just none too bright and very easily confused, I can only come up with one solution: the war on bugs. Since bugs rhymes with drugs and has the same number of syllables that will make for a more orderly facilitation of the transition by not confusing the sycophants any more than is humanly possible to avoid.

    The prohibitionist parasites will not lose any job security since this is yet another futile “war”. There’s actually a darn good possibility it will increase their potential for employment because there are so many damn bugs. Also, bugs don’t vote, picket, have any Constitutionally protected rights, or know how to petition the government for redress of grievances. The only potential problem here may be family loyalty or professional courtesy since so darn many bugs are also parasites.

    Mandatory disclosure of personal interest: I may or may not support the proposal as a result of my genuine, deep seated hatred of insects. But unless I’m grossly mistaken nobody really likes bugs except for forensic nerds on CSI.

    • Windy

      At first I thought you meant bugs as in hidden listening devices.

    • B. Snow

      “Right here in River City…”
      “It starts with B an rhymes with D and that spells – Drugs!”

      Or, something like that… (Sorry, I’m too tired to make that sound and/or otherwise work out better.)

  • If we compare:

    1. what Eric actually did … compared to

    2. what needs to be done, and gauge that against

    3. what he was capable of in that office,

    I would say it barely scratched enough surface to be considered appeasement. Appeasement to a public fed up with a government that has an uncanny ability to ignore them.

  • Jean Valjean

    Just doing a little research on Elizabeth Warren and came up with these two stories from a couple of years ago:

    “Asked last night whether she supports legalizing and regulating marijuana, leading Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren gave a flat, no-nonsense (and no-common sense) “no.”

    http://blog.mpp.org/prohibition/elizabeth-warren-flunks-marijuana-question/10062011/

    Followed by this hilarious video of her, somewhat the worse for wear, telling us about her love for beer:

    “”One lite beer and I’m like, ‘Whoa, I’m ready to par-tay.'”

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/25/elizabeth-warren-beer_n_2016621.html

  • Howard

    Uh oh, those who are addicted to subjecting people to court ordered rehab aren’t going to like this;

    Most People With Addiction Simply Grow Out of It: Why Is This Widely Denied?

    http://tinyurl.com/pplzhxg

  • strayan

    Trust a fellow Australian to publish this POS http://anj.sagepub.com/content/47/2/176.full.pdf

    • Crut

      .
      .
      Just sad. Such a weird piece.

      They list out some of the very damning Cons of Prohibition, but then, the VERY FIRST example used to try and explain the Pros of Prohibition is the reduction of LEGAL tobacco cigarette use!

      one of the surest [harm-reduction methods] is to reduce or limit aggregate levels of drug consumption. The figure below illustrates the point by plotting the fall in male lung cancer against the fall in the prevalence of male cigarette smoking.

      Oh, the stupid, it hurts.

  • DdC

    Always a day late and dollar short…

    Eric Holder Questions Marijuana’s Schedule I Classification As He Resigns http://www.mainstreet.com/article/eric-holder-questions-marijuanas-schedule-i-classification-as-he-resigns via @mainstr

    Is the war on drugs winnable?
    http://www.examiner.com/article/is-the-war-on-drugs-winnable via @examinercom

    Cannabis and Ebola
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/888
    Texas patient confirmed as first Ebola case diagnosed in US

    End Marijuana Prohibition To Serve and Protect The Public
    http://www.cannabisculture.com/node/46741

    Does Using Marijuana as a Teen Make You Dumber?
    https://www.facebook.com/222DdC/posts/10152592612637326

    “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
    ― Albert Einstein

  • DdC

    @MichaelPhelps was arrested on a DUI charge this morning
    https://twitter.com/search?q=%22Michael%20Phelps%22&src=tren

    Sabet credits SAM for bringing him home from the darkside.

    Michael Phelps, Hypocrisy, & American Drug Policy
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1515

  • Higher Ground: Marijuana prohibition, an alchemy that turns a weed into gold
    http://tinyurl.com/ojqqc2d

    “With prohibition, the value of pot has skyrocketed, and an entire industry is funded to enforce this system of alchemy. That’s the single reason we still have marijuana prohibition. It’s not because it’s a dangerous drug. It’s not because of the children. It’s because a lot of people are making a lot of money — and on the sales and cultivation side under federal and many a state law, that money is tax-free.”

    • claygooding

      The ONDCP and DEa are nothing more than market control when we patrol the valley where 90% of the world opium supply is produced and not one big bust or drug money seizures in 14 years.

      The heads of the drug cartels are not swarthy men with cantaloupe calves but bald headed white men sitting behind mahogany desks on the top floors of the worlds largetst banks.

      All the drug war does is keepthe right cartels making the money.

  • claygooding

    For a copy of Russ Belville’s Sabet rebuttal poster download here:

    http://tinyurl.com/n7vzhtt

    It should be handed out anywhere Sabet makes an appearance.

    • jean valjean

      usa #12 in mj use despite massive imprisonment campaign. netherlands #53 in mj use after 40 years of decrim. Kevins own statistics shoot him down in flames. the man doesnt have a clue.

  • Atrocity

    And now Holder is whining because Apple and Google plan to add default encryption without a regime-friendly back door to their phones. He’s worried about The Children, of course.

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/10/us-top-cop-decries-encryption-demands-backdoors/

    If it oinks like a pig and rolls in shit like a pig…

    • Windy

      Actually, pigs do NOT roll in shit if they are in an area large enough that it allows them to avoid it. Pigs are actually very clean animals, yes they wallow in mud, but that is to help keep them from becoming sunburned and also to help them rid themselves of bugs on their skin. Having become quite familiar with pigs by raising them, I find the use of the word “pigs” to refer to cops is insulting to pigs.

  • John

    Off Topic: Vermont State police seize car and leave driver on side of road in 20° weather because driver refuses to give consent to search. They also wouldn’t allow driver to retrieve wallet or cell phone from car so he couldn’t arrange alternative transport.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2014/10/02/1333859/-Vermont-State-police-seize-car-and-leave-driver-on-side-of-road-in-20-weather-snow-covered-tag?