Making change

bullet image Radley Balko’s crime column is on the Columbia, Missouri drug raid we’ve been talking about.

The officers in that video aren’t rogue cops. They’re no different than other SWAT teams across the country. The raid itself is no different from the tens of thousands of drug raids carried out each year in the U.S. If the video is going to effect any change, the Internet anger directed at the Columbia Police Department needs to be redirected to America’s drug policy in general. Calling for the heads of the Columbia SWAT team isn’t going to stop these raids. Calling for the heads of the politicians who defend these tactics and promote a “war on drugs” that’s become all too literal—that just might.

bullet image Police review board prepares for crowd

Residents who want to voice their opinions about the Feb. 11 SWAT raid at Jonathan Whitworth’s southwest Columbia home will have an opportunity […] The 7 p.m. [today] meeting has been moved to the Columbia City Council chambers at the City Hall Addition, 701 E. Broadway, to accommodate the large crowd board members expect. Concerned residents, bloggers and commenters on the Tribune website have organized on social networking websites to form groups and spread the word of the opportunity for their voices to be heard.

bullet image Burton touts restrictive policy

More changes have been made to Columbia police search warrant protocol in response to a Feb. 11 SWAT raid that Police Chief Ken Burton said was flawed. […] Effective yesterday, the narcotics sergeant and SWAT commander involved in investigations have been removed from the decision-making process about whether and how a drug search warrant will be served.

[Thanks, Tom]

bullet image From Law Enforcement Against Prohibition: New Obama Drug Strategy Just Like Old “Drug War” Approach

“The drug czar is saying all the right things about ending the ‘war on drugs’ and enacting a long-overdue balanced strategy focused on a public health approach,” said Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore cop and incoming executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “Unfortunately the reality of the budget numbers don’t match up to the rhetoric. Two-thirds of the budget is dedicated to the same old ‘war on drugs’ approach and only a third goes to public health strategies. My experience policing the beat tells me that it’s certainly time for a new approach, but unfortunately this administration is failing to provide the necessary leadership to actually make it happen instead of just talking about it.”

The strategy devotes 64 percent of the budget to traditional supply reduction strategies like enforcement and interdiction while reserving only 36 percent for demand reduction approaches like treatment and prevention. And, due to accounting changes made under the Bush administration and maintained by Obama, the budget ratio doesn’t even take into account some costs of the “war on drugs” such as incarceration.

Drug policy reform advocates are pleased, however, with the strategy’s support for syringe exchange programs and its criticism of laws that bar people with drug convictions from receiving public benefits like student aid.

“It’s great to see the administration starting to talk like they want to actually change failed drug policies,” said Franklin. “But we can’t let them get away with claiming that they’ve ended the ‘war on drugs’ while we continue to arrest 800,000 people a year on marijuana charges alone.”

bullet image Must-see TV: Gary Johnson on The Colbert Report

The Colbert Report Mon – Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Gary Johnson
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This is an open thread.

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16 Responses to Making change

  1. Just me. says:

    Know What really is frightening? the fact that people are acting as if this raid buisness just started. If it has taken 30+ years for people to wake up , how long will it take for them to wake up to other areas of government and LE , things like say …THE BAILOUTS! We need much more to wake up and speak out about things like the bailouts and these raids. We are being robbed and beaten and jailed.. Hope it changes. At least we are closer to auditing the fed. Government has to change , We the people arent backing down.

  2. wes says:

    Don’t forget to mention Marc Emery has been extradited. . They did it on the last day too. Now he awaits sentencing in Seattle

  3. Carol says:

    I would love to vote for this Gary Johnson for President. He seems much more progressive than most of the so called Democrats in power positions at this point. Just by virtue of the fact that he can see and openly state the illogical nature of cannabis prohibition shows him to be a good person of integrity who can think for himself.

    This quality is what we need in leaders. So there are some out there, they just need encouragement and support.

  4. kaptinemo says:

    There are ‘progressives’ and there are progressives. I’ve found that the absolute litmus test to tell the difference between the two is to ask them what their attitude towards the War on (Some) Drugs is.

    The real progs want it over yesterday and are willing to stick their necks out and risk criticism for saying so; the fake ones will hem and haw and try to ooze away from you for fear their faux prog creds might suffer by being associated with such a radical as yourself.

    Try it sometime. It’s fun to watch how the latter faux progs squirm as they try to avoid you. It would make for good video on YouTube for those properly equipped with good cameras.

  5. warren says:

    dURING ww1 PICKING OFF THE MESSENGER was a prime target. You could have got rid of politicians by the thousands the war would still have draged on. Not until the killing reached an unacceptable level did the war stop. Buy some bullets.

  6. oz says:

    this guy is just what the GOP needs. they could probrably regain some political ground in 2012 with this guys as a presidential candidate.

  7. as long as “reformers” are content to just peck away one little bit at a time (for example legalizing only pot, or worse, only med-pot) are also completely complicit in continuing the war.

    every one of us involved in reform needs to wrap our brains around the singular focus of ending it all completely and as soon as possible.

    no compromises, no “citation instead of a record” or any of the other bullshit that the “leaders” in dpr have been spewing for 40 years.

    we’re done — enough is enough! we have the data, the historical evidence and millions of us who have been smoking pot for decades.

    i’m getting tired of being a lone wolf! yes, i know, i’m not alone — but there are far too many of you sunshine friends out there.

  8. Duncan says:

    Well what do you know? It seems possession of pot is worse than threatening the POTUS. 3 years for threatening assassination, 5 years for possession of pot. Yeah, yeah,yeah with the phrase ‘intent to distribute’ tacked on as if that meant anything.

    I might point out that guns are absolutely required to do the first crime, but not needed to commit the second, if someone takes issue with the gun part.

  9. Maria says:

    I’ve been thinking about change, about cause and effect.

    I’m glad the Columbia raid got so much attention and was put in front of eyes and ears belonging to people that had never so much as thought about SWAT raids or cannabis or the militarization of friendly neighborhood coppers. Hell, the whole thing has boiled the blood of people who’ve been doing this far longer and far deeper then I have or hopefully, ever will.

    I’m glad so many people got to and are still seeing it, but on the other hand I also needed to remind myself that for these people, this indeed has just started to happen yesterday. That is what an eyeopener does. I was once like that. My first exposure to this obscure reality called the drug war was an eyeopener and then I had to battle my gag reflex when I found out how often and to whom these raids occur. And then, when I found out how long it’s been going on and this was in the late 90’s. After that, the details just kept piling on and I realized an inescapable truth. This. Isn’t. Working. Oh but, it is being successfully worked by so many trough feeding ass-hats.

    So, gently point out to the new eyes and ears that this has indeed been occurring, at this level, in this country, for at least a minimum of two decades but don’t dwell on it. Don’t let this state of naivete get you down. Don’t get all, “how could you NOT know?” Just grin and nudge/shove them in the right direction (blogs like this, LEAP , advocacy and policy groups, research papers, victim support groups etc) to get them started on the long walk to get this damned war hamstrung.

  10. claygooding says:

    I would disagree about guns being absolutely necessary for the killing of anyone,there are too many ways to kill someone to even list. If big business can just keep cranking their organ,POTUS will break his own neck just switching beliefs and promises. He promised changes to get our vote,and he changed his mind about the war on drugs being a failure and that marijuana should be decriminalized. There are the changes,as promised,only it really changes or accomplishes nothing. Status Quo

  11. Cliff says:

    We are reaching a tipping point, where the pure unadulturated truth is being spread at an exponential rate. This is only possible after decades of making a principled stand based on the unshakable foundation of the truth.

    Hats off to Radley for his relentless pursuit of honest answers from the jackboots’ handlers and Pete for blazing a trail for honest and civil debate and discussion regarding one of the most important civil liberty issues in our nation’s history. You are both true patriots.

  12. Cliff says:

    From Reason Hit & Run

    Columbia, Missouri Police Chief,
    “I hate the Internet.”

    Commenter on H&R, speaking on behalf of the Internet,
    “The feeling’s mutual.”


  13. ezrydn says:

    It would seem some DEA agents are beginning to question their own agency. This, from DEA Watch:

    Texas is the hot spot today for hiding cash but Texas wasn’t always hot. I know a former (D/W redacted) in Calif who teamed up with a couple of construction guys collecting rental property starting back in the (D/W redacted) when the former (D/W redacted…) in this agency. They hid their drug money in their property buys and one partner’s construction business. Today they all own multiple properties and live in luxurious homes…

    FBI will never catch any of these guys, our former S/A’s and their punk confederates know the drill too well… the confederates of our former S/As specialize in real estate, construction and tax professions. Besides, some locals in FBI are getting their cut.

    “Charity?” What’s that you speak of? These guys collect money, f**k over other people’s lives, and don’t even give change.

    The only way to end the drug war and eliminate illegal drugs is to get rid of our agency and fire everyone who’s worn a badge for more than two weeks devoted to investigating illegal drugs… then replace these people with any American who has suffered a significant loss because of a drug dealer or a crooked ‘cop’.

    Only the people who have lost something because of illegal drugs, not those who have gained something, will be the ones who will fight the hardest, with the most commitment and honesty in getting rid of the drug trade.

    Our agency needs a serious re-structuring. Any agency created to end a problem but continues to prosper as the problem it was created to end gets worse… demands immediate re-structuring.

    If the Center for Disease Control functioned the way our agency, DEA, has functioned for the past thirty years… everyone in our country would be dead today from some form of serious plague or disease unresponded to…
    A very, very frustrated S/A in the L.A. Div.

  14. kaptinemo says:

    EZ, they just cannot bring themselves to admit that they’ve been engaged in a pointless endeavor as a career. It’s certainly understandable…particularly when you factor in the (have to use lawyer language, here) ‘alleged’ involvement of intel agencies with organized crime and illegal drug running.

    Nothing like trying to climb a hill with someone strapped to your back…and have that person stabbing your back with a bayonet every 10 steps. Which is what the efforts of the intel types and their narco friends amount to.

    If you can find a copy, rent the 1984 movie Flashpoint. There’s a scene where Treat William’s and Kris Kristofferson’s characters have a revealing conversation about the nature of that arrangement, where the (putative) Fed Williams plays points out how useless the whole anti-drugs effort is…and how glad he is of it. it neatly encapsulates just how rigged the game has been from the beginning.

  15. Daniel Cardenas says:

    Thanks EZ – I needed that. I needed it to balance my disgustipation for the agency and the badge in light of its new found “Hollywood sheen”. There’s nothing fucking glamorous about that job, but Al Roker and a few of his ilk are cashing in on the “armchair quarterbacks” who can’t get enough vicarious adrenaline.

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