The ‘war on drugs’ language

Keith Humphreys at The Reality-Based Community poses a provocative suggestion.

Sending this language to the dustbin of history would be a worthy goal for policy reformers.

Some people would respond “I will not stop calling it a war on drugs until war-like policy X is stopped!” (Where X is overcrowded prisons, no knock raids by police in riot gear etc.).

This may be a logical fallacy however, in that it assumes that the language itself doesn’t justify the objected-to policy. As any careful student of politics knows — and as cognitive psychology research teaches — words can cue us consciously and unconsciously to think that certain actions are more or less justifiable. […]

If everyone simply stopped using “drug war” language, doors that are closed to us might swing open, including in places we that were literally unthinkable “in a time of war”.

Obviously, it’s an idea that has some personal impact as my blog even has the “drug war” words in its name and url, but I don’t want to dismiss it out of hand. And yes, there’s a certain attractive logic to this line of reasoning. If we stopped calling it a war, maybe people would stop treating it like one.

The first thought that came to mind was a little police action in a country called Vietnam that we were involved with back in the 60’s and 70’s. I tried to think whether not calling it a war helped end it.

I don’t think so. In fact, it was the fact that young people considered it a war that finally led to a drop of overall public support.

The second thought that came to mind was the eagerness with which Drug Czar Kerlikowske acted to banish the “war” language. “I ended the war on drugs, if you didn’t know this war was over. That was last May,” he said.

And yet, it seems to me that the whole reason for his semantic approach has been to avoid talking about how much the U.S. government continues its enforcement and supply side emphasis in budgeting, while going around pretending that treatment and prevention is the “new” approach.

The drug war machine requires, demands, and will get its loot, and even though everyone knows that supply side interdiction and enforcement is a complete waste of money, the Drug Czar doesn’t have the power to cut off the gravy train. All he can do is banish the words in the hopes that people will ignore the truckloads of cash going down the sink hole of a militarized drug war industry.

And the third thought that came to mind… It seems unlikely that changing the terminology will do anything about More than 30,000 drug war deaths in Mexico since 2006

The 12,456 gangland killings reported in Mexico between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 brought to 30,196 the number of drug-related murders since President Felipe Calderon took office in December 2006 and militarized the struggle against the cartels, the Attorney General’s Office said Thursday.

I think we’ve got a war.

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52 Responses to The ‘war on drugs’ language

  1. primus says:

    The term “Drug War” makes no sense in the first place. How can you have a war on an emotion (Terror) or substances. You can’t, because in a war, there is mutual aggression between two parties. That is what makes it a war. A better word would be “Pogrom”. There are two benefits; it is more descriptive, and it sounds vaguely foreign and somewhat sinister. A pogrom is when the government picks some identifiable group and proceeds to harass, arrest, jail, and generally make miserable any members of that group which it can get its hands on. Does that not sound like what we have? In Mexico, they have both a pogrom and a war; the government is engaged in a pogrom, and the cartels are engaged in an internecine war.

  2. strayan says:

    Euphemisms. Gotta lov’em.

  3. I agree with Pete that we shouldn’t dismiss Keith Humphreys’ idea. I’m inclined to take Humphreys’ suggestion and modify it: sometimes drug policy reformers should avoid using this language, while on other occasions we should say it loud and proud.

    It all depends on the context. If I am representing Law Enforcement Against Prohibition in a one-on-one meeting with an elected official who has a master’s degree in public administration, am I going to use the phrase “War on Drugs”? Perhaps not. However, if I am giving a guest lecture to a group of first year university students, I will definitely use the phrase because I want something that grabs their attention.

    “Tough on crime” politicians may have come up with this language, but that shouldn’t stop us from using these words on our terms and to our advantage.

  4. Sukoi says:

    David, thank you sooo much for what you do; it is appreciated to an extent that you probably don’t even realize – THANK YOU!

  5. denmark says:

    Over 30 thousand killed in four years. Moment of silence, seriously.

    My stomach feels sick. That’s what’s missing Pete, Prohibitionists have no inner organs, no heart, no stomach and certainly no brain!

    Agreed, this is war and will continue to be a War on Drugs until the last politician STOPS telling LIES.

  6. claygooding says:

    It matters little what you call a piece of shit,it still smells bad.
    And there is nothing the drug czar or congress can do to make it smell any better because they don’t have it in their vocabulary.

  7. until they stop pursuing, jailing and killing us (and our dogs), it is absolutely a war and needs to be understood as such.

    every person alive has heard about the issue repeatedly over the course of their entire life — to the point that the vast majority of them simply tune it out as background noise. so i think we are better served by creating as much awareness as we can about the fact that a no-shit, world-wide, all-out war is going on, and that it is being waged against the entire world — even directly against our own citizens.

    we can talk nice over tea at the grip and grin ceremony.

  8. Its a war....... says:

    …plain and simple. We are the ones that its being waged on. Its waged because we make a choice that others dont. Its a war on the people of the world and its being waged by people who think they can control our choices.

    Im not giving up my freedom to choose nor the term that describes what being done to us.

    We didnt start this fucking war but we damned well are going to end it.

  9. Bruce says:

    I love it when people talk big and brave and tough then stiffen and run and fuss and whine and sputter when I blow cigarette smoke towards them.
    Hows them roadblocks going? I’ll light my car on fire before it is ever impounded again.
    Used to go to Denny’s almost every day. Always left a two dollar tip. I see reduced smileys for the kids this Christmas.
    Used to spend ten at Chevron every morning. From now on I’ll let the Raccoons chew on my money.
    Used to love the lotto tickets. Month seven. Not another nickel.
    Cops for Cancer? Ffffft
    The sick kids will be hiding under their beds if this keeps up.
    Little old ladies aren’t being helped at the curb because I’m afraid to go out, having a beard and no teeth makes me look ‘suspicious’. I’ve had it with being profiled targetted and searched.

    Fascism. Toxic to all life.

  10. allan420 says:

    aye… it’s a war. It’s a war on us and it’s a war against the nobility and sovereignty of an individual’s life. We are free. That cannot be undone. Right now however freedom is being bound, tighter and tighter. And that can be undone… and must be undone.

    And of course it’s a matter of wordsmithing. As David Bratzer says, point the words to your audience. I’ve written well for years but I learned when I watched myself on a video speaking, I need to work on that. But we’ve been at this awhile. Those of us (especially those of us who have teamed as MAP’s core letter writing group) have distilled these words and phrases for over a decade. I really like to think that somewhere across this nation some cop or DA was moved to epiphany by the simple experience of reading a well crafted LTE (lets say a letter from one of our two best, Kirk Muse or Robert Sharpe) that was the tipping point for that conscience opening cascade of realization.

    For instance, Kirk just had a letter printed in the LA Times:


    Re “Knocking down the kingpins,” Editorial, Dec. 5

    Killing the heads of drug cartels has an effect similar to cutting off the top of a weed. It will grow back stronger than ever.

    The only way to get rid of any weed is to kill the root – and the root of our problem is prohibition.

    Law enforcement didn’t get rid of the alcohol cartels in 1933; re-legalizing alcohol did.

    Kirk Muse

    4 sentences but sharp as a razor… and Kirk and Robert and Steve and Gary and Bruce and Stan and Howard and Chris and Alan and Russell (MAP’s top ten letter writers), myself and bunches of others have flung tens of thousands of these letters at the newspapers of the world, from the Podunk Pisser to the LA Times and the WSJ…

    We have the upper hand in the dialogue because we have been steadfast in the direction our language has consistently taken. We (that’s all of us we) have built
    a platform of fact and phraseology for which the excrementalists have no effective rebuttal. This IS brewing as one hell of a storm and a fight they can’t win.

    I’ve probably made this point here before but consider one of the most iconic images from Vietnam…. the little girl running naked, in terror down the road from the napalming of her village… if those sorts of images don’t get seen, fewer hearts are won… there has been enough death and terror in this war for any of us.

    When we do speak of it as a war… there are ways to make it less palatable. Kathryn Johnston, Charity Bowers… that whole list of names… and videos like the corgy shooters in MO and the Goose Creek HS raid…

    The sharper the point on our words, the deeper they strike.

    If I get going I can brew up some real vile language for the prohibs but it serves only myself to rant that way. Ignore their insults and focus on your point. Avoid the personal comments and stick to what is. Well… unless it be Droop Dogg hisself, then stick him hard. No mercy for a professional liar.

  11. Servetus says:

    It’s obvious the drug czar would prefer the total extermination of the term ‘drug war.’

    That alone should make the government’s motives suspect. Kerlikowske wasn’t the first drug czar to be troubled by the term ‘drug war.’ John P. Walters hated the phrase as well.

    And why not hate it? All wars must end. Ending a war is inherent in the definition of what it means to go to war. To end a war, someone must win, or the parties must declare a draw. And there’s simply no way to end the drug war because the drug war creates what it claims to prevent.

    Real war has benchmarks, victories, definable moments. None of these things apply to the drug war. In the drug war, success is failure. To win is to lose the opportunity to wage war. Just like the Cold War. The Cold War’s implosion as a viable international option not only ended a complicated miasma of political delusions, it sent the U.S. economy into a recession.

    It was Nietzsche who made the philological connection between language and thinking. He noted that the very definition of a word can limit how we think. In particular, the prohibitionist definition of ‘drug war’ doesn’t live up to the reality we confront.

    I say let the prohibitionists be forever plagued by their Nixonian and Ray-Gun ‘drug war’ terminology. They stepped in it. Let them clean it off.

  12. vicky vampire says:

    War on Drugs it should be called Oppression and Repression of Medicine and Reasonable Freedom of Heightened states of Pleasure and Relaxation.

  13. DdC says:

    It is war. Declared by Congress. So profit should be a crime. War Profiteering is Treason by traitors like Prescott Boosh. It has all the definitions of war. Same casualties and collateral damage. Strategery on both clearly defined “sides”. Including the prerequisites of committing war. Stigmatizing, demonizing and fear hurdling. By the propaganda machines for one reason. Profit. If it can be sold they will sell it. It’s not even complicated, its basic fascism. The same groups who lie, have no regard for definitions. War is war, PA’s are not. Two seperate incidents. Iraq was a war until Mission Accomplished and no bid contracts made Cheney and Haliburtons year. More buzz to keep it chaotic.

    This Ganjawar is mostly a cold civil war except for 92 year old grannies in their nightclothes shooting it out. Or mama’s holding their babies getting blown away by mistake. Ooops, sorry, wrong house, am I a clutz or what? Missionary mama and baby shot down and killed by spooks while bringing Jesus to Cokeland. Pilot and husband survived, no word on Jesus. So war is what they say when you believe it has to be done. We must we must! To the war brokers the Ganjawar only pays when it continues. It balances with stand offs for 40 years by heavier enforcement and gossip when needed. Thats when someone gets a bug up their ass and starts radical treatment for the kiddlets. Finally gonna start Getting Tough on the Ganjawar. Like prison rape and forfeiture and mandatory minimums are too soft for getting “high”.

    Its manipulated on all levels, so it should be exposed, not ConPromised into oblivion. Its fraud, have a frickin war tribunal and charge the bastards. So many red flags just pick one, expose it. Start with 404 gag rules, 3 stripes and man mins. Obvious violations. Piss Quiz? Really? Thats difficult? Taking someone’s piss “may” be Constitutional? Free Press? Unbiased factual, sourced truth? Free Speech? The one symbolic tragedy of the Ganjawar is it ruined the US’s credit rating. Except for China + hundreds of billions in interest to pay the tax dodging Ganjawar brokers. Is anyone seeing a pattern here? Its a revolving ATM for the fat cats. Just feed it blood from kids you saveded from the heathern devil weed. Lame ass rhetoric has fallen to a 3rd grade level of fairy tale dragons and good v evil, but the characters are getting blurred.

    People have to choose to live with integrity. Everyday the lies get more clear and the motives behind them. The cable info may not mention Ganja but the corruption is being seen. Those who neglect and shun the needs of ordinary Americans. The infrastructure neglected for a trillion dollar lie in Iraq, probably Afghanistan and certainly this blasted Ganjawar, mostly on Hemp. Keep embarrassing yourselfs drug worriers, if that’s possible. Except with us you can’t hide. You can get away with Becky’s Ailing O’Palins wailing on facelift among their own kind, but come stinking up the place spewing mouthfarts around a Ganja Warrior and Truth will kick your ass every damn time.

    Its not so comfortable to be on the squirmy side. When you start to see others seeing how full of shit you are. Spewing reefer hobgoblins ain’t as easy as when the media was almost totally controlled. To give us news fit for us. Like Rupee Faux and the alphabet channels. He sells stories, first in dead tree news, then electric made with coal. But he never implied truth, or his mentor Randy Hearst. He sold agenda’s and so does Faux cheerleaders. So do the fatty limbogs and other high bp psycho’s. To sell what they are told for more money than their white trash grandma ever imagined there was. Truth will kill the Ganjawar… Truth would solve a lot of problems and no one wants to deal with it because we don’t trust anyone. Just where they want us said the spider to the blue collar flies. Its not even like they’re keeping it a big secret.

    “…somebody has to take governments’ place,
    and business seems to me to be a logical entity to do it.”
    – David Rockefeller,
    Newsweek International, Feb 1 1999

    Authoritarians Wrecking Crew

    “The struggle between the two worlds
    [Fascism and Democracy]
    can permit no compromises.
    It’s either Us or Them!”
    Benito Mussolini, October 27, 1930
    Address, from Palazzo Venezia balcony.

    A Few Buzzwords 07/13/01

    “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”
    Malcolm X

    “The masses have little time to think.
    And how incredible is the willingness of modern man to believe.”

    “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,
    (Marijuana Tax Act, signed Aug. 2, 1937; effective Oct. 1, 1937.)


    Several highly suspicious circumstances surround the Federal Bureau of Narcotics’ demonization of marihuana in the 1930s. First, there never was a marihuana problem; this manufactured malady was a great media spoof. Secondly, the misinformation, which was disseminated to the public by the Bureau, was based on conjecture and hearsay; the objective truth and the scientific method were summarily discarded. Furthermore, the Bureau even suppressed and ignored information which was unbiased, objective, and contradicted its own special brand of demonization. The whole scenario of the Bureau’s “marihuana education” program is an amazing example of how easily the American public could be deceived by a slick propaganda campaign. In retrospect, this trail of deceitful acts raises the possibility that the Bureau’s decision to demonize marihuana may have been prompted by hidden motives.

    The Ganjawar Fraud…

    Media Matters for America reported that Frank Luntz had advised Fox personalities to use the term “government option.” Luntz said that when the term “public option” was used, the public was split, but when “government option” was used, the public was overwhelmingly against it—a nod to the anti-government sentiment among many Americans.

    I want to be invisible. I do guerrilla warfare.
    I paint my face and travel at night.
    You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag.”
    –Ralph Reed, Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 11/9/91

    “There is a point at which the law becomes immoral and unethical. That point is reached when it becomes a cloak for the cowardice that dares not stand up against blatant violations of justice. A state that supresses all freedom of speech, and which by imposing the most terrible punishments, treats each and every attempt at criticism, however morally justified, and every suggestion for improvement as plotting to high treason, is a state that breaks an unwritten law.”
    – Kurt Huber [The head of White Rose], killed by the Nazis in 1943.

    The Ganjawar, yeah… what is it good for… Harumph!
    Approximately One Trillion dollars since 1937.
    ~ DdC

  14. strayan says:

    Check this out:

    With Google’s new tool Ngram Viewer, you can visualise the rise and fall of particular keywords across 5 million books and 500 years!

    Look at what I learnt about cannabis from a book published in 1865:

    • Pete says:

      strayan – I heard about the new Google tool and was looking forward to checking it out. But… what did you learn at that link? I’m not sure what I’m looking for.

  15. Carlyle Moulton says:

    A better name for the war on drugs for is the war on Niggers, hippies and poor people.

    • Pete says:

      Carlyle, I’m a bit uncomfortable with your use of that word in that way. I realize that what you’re doing is not owning it yourself, but assigning/attributing it to the motives of the opposition. Yet I’m not sure you can actually do that with such emotionally charged words without some of it rubbing off on yourself.

      And while there’s no doubt that the drug war is the most racist public policy since slavery, most of that racism has been institutionalized, as opposed to the hate-filled, personally-charged attack that is implied with that word (although some of that certainly has existed).

  16. Ben Mann says:

    Unless and until someone comes up with a better metaphor, we’re sticking with “Drug War”. Humphreys could accomplish more with his piece if he accompanied it with a suggestion.

  17. Matthew Meyer says:

    How about the Warm Fuzzies Proliferation Campaign? We’ll keep killing old ladies and dogs, but things will seem better under the WFPC.

  18. Duncan20903 says:

    Pete, I was getting ready to congratulate Carlyle for using that word without the usual negatives associated with it but after seeing your post I guess I was wrong.

    I’ve really gotten to see the word pothead in the same way black folks see the n word. I can use it, you can use it, but if Calfina Fay or her ilk use it I want to see them thrashed within inches of their lives.

    Something that seems to be slipping by everyone is that the cartels are moving in. People see them setting up grows in the National forests but don’t seem able to see through the trees that the violence is moving north. How long has it been since there was a war that was fought within our borders? Do we count the War of Northern Aggression? If so do we count it all or do we recognize the Confederacy’s secession and only count battles fought in States that weren’t part of the Confederacy? Am I forgetting battles in the Spanish American war? I guess I think it would have to be in the contiguous 48 before it counts as being fought at home because otherwise the late 1970s/early 1980s had Iran invading the US and taking the hostages from the embassy. Don’t forget that embassies are part of their sovereign country so yes, the Iranians took that action on US soil. Still, it’s just technical, and I’m wondering about the general psychology of having a war fought on our soil.

    Border agent killed in gun battle in Arizona

    By Tim Gaynor
    Wed Dec 15, 2010 11:35pm
    (Reuters) – A U.S. Border Patrol agent was shot dead by suspected smugglers in a gun battle close to the Mexico border in southern Arizona and four suspects have been arrested, authorities said on Wednesday.

    Agent Brian A. Terry, 40, was shot dead after he confronted several suspects while on duty with a special tactical team in a mountainous area a few miles northwest of the border city of Nogales late on Tuesday night, local and federal police said.

  19. Cannabis says:

    A couple of people sharing some thoughts that are apt for this thread. First is George Carlin on Euphemistic Language and the second, well, there is one other video that you will see in the side bar on YouTube that speaks to another word that is best not to use.

  20. Pingback: Tweets that mention The ‘war on drugs’ language - Drug WarRant --

  21. McD says:

    No, I disagree: I think we should keep using it until the prohibitionists openly admit defeat. They were the ones who started it all, thinking, ‘Ahhh, this is gonna be a cakewalk: all those pinko, hippy, faggots with their long hair and stupid-ass ideas… Made us lose Vietnam. We’ll show ‘em. Let’s give the pot-smoking pussies a good ass-kicking and make sure everyone knows who tells who what to do and who beats the shit out of traitor fags for being cowards. We’re going to expose them. We’re going to declare war on them to make them pay for making us lose the Vietnam war and we’re going to make them suffer just because they’re weak and we’re strong and they don’t deserve not to suffer and we deserve to make them suffer.’

    The War itself was never of any great interest to those who started it. Prohibition is just an extension of slavery and the War on Drugs is just a form of control – bullying. Now, the problem for the prohibitionists, much to their surprise and chagrin, is that there really is a God and he really does see everything. Consequently, they’ve lost their war. I don’t think we should let them off the hook now. They wanted it, they started it and they lost it. Why should we try to make them feel good about themselves? They certainly don’t deserve it. They started a war and they lost. Now make them come to terms with their impotence and failure, lest they allow themselves to harbor fantasies about being able to get a different result by doing something differently.

    I can’t understand what the question is about this. No-one (Well, very few, at least.) tries to justify Hitler or Stalin. Why on earth would you want to be any more kind to Anslinger, Nixon, Bush or any of that ilk? At least Hitler and Stalin had genuine desires to improve humanity’s well-being. I’m sure the prohibitionists would say they do as well, but as long as their collusion with, e.g. pharmaceutical companies and manipulation of law enforcement agencies for the sake of money continues, not to mention the intractable lies without which it seems they are simply unable to contemplate their failed war, how are we to believe in their sincerity? No, do not stop using War on Drugs vocabulary until the war is over. The war is not over just because one of its generals has understood he has no hope of winning and decides he doesn’t like it any more. They started it, let’s finish it.

    You’d have a point if you said, ‘We shouldn’t take pleasure in hurting them, because that’s what they do and to do so would just take us down a notch closer to them.’ That’s true, but we can get around that problem by doing what they don’t do, by being honest. We just need to tell them straight out, ‘Yes, you failed because you deserved to. There’s all the science and then there’s the morality, as well: senseless wars lead to the defeat of those who started them. You’ve lost, because you were wrong. Now get over it, start doing your job and earning your salary by making it better.

  22. kaptinemo says:

    Wars leave destruction and death in their wakes. What has been done courtesy of the War on (Some) Drugs has produced precisely that. I see no reason not to continue the usage of the phrase; to cease to use it in order to placate those prohibs who, in their arrogance and bigotry, committed aggressive war against their own people is a hallmark of appeasement. A wholly unwarranted one.

    Like a pup that keeps crapping on the rug, the prohib’s smug, ignorance-dripping faces need to be rubbed in their own verbal excrement at every opportunity. Only way they’ll learn, they’re so dense…

  23. Cliff says:

    After 30 years of holding the line against those who would deny us cognitive liberties and the right to self ownership, prevent us from making a decent living through drug metabolite testing and telling our nation that people like us are the enemy in this war on (some) drugs I say;

    Take no prisoners
    Offer no quarter
    Draw a line in the sand
    Make a stand
    Hold your ground
    In your fortress of truth

    When it’s all said and done, we will prevail.

    When I think about the war on (some) drugs, I think about the ‘tank man’ at Tiananmen Square. We need giant balls of steel like that guy.

  24. allan420 says:

    nice one Cliff. One of my favorite photo-journalism images is that one of tank man (PBS has a great program on it). And it almost didn’t make it out of China. Thank goodness for journalists like photographer Jeff Widener that actually get it and do what they can, when they can. He had to empty the film from his camera and hide it before the Chinese police came knocking on his door…

  25. kaptinemo says:

    Duncan, Scott Henson over at GritsForBreakfast has been sounding the alarm about cartel infiltration of US territory for years, now.

    As usual, nobody in ‘authority’ listened until Anglo bodies began hitting the floor on our own turf, courtesy of Mex cartel bullets. Then they took notice.

    What’s that line about “prophets in their own country…”?

  26. claygooding says:

    They are presently buying houses,warehouses and land all over the US in a buyers market. What is a $50,ooo 3 bdrm house worth(today’s market price)when you can earn a million out of it in 1 year? Harvest 2 crops,walk away and move to another house,another town.
    And yes,they can buy good seeds from BC,Amsterdam and around the world and raise just as an exotic strain or even medical marijuana with the same methods used and published on you tube to compete with any market.

  27. DdC says:

    From another board…

    “Corporations have neither bodies to be punished, nor souls to be condemned, they therefore do as they like.” and “It has no soul to damn and no body to kick.”
    1st Baron Thurlow

    The Corporation (documentary) 1 of 23

    First, it points out that corporations are treated, legally, as a person in terms of rights, etc. So, they look at corporate behavior worldwide, and they evaluate that behavior as if they were evaluating an actual person. What they find is, if you look at corporate behavior from a psychological point of view, you have to diagnose that behavior as psychotic, by definition.

    Secondly, they point out that, as a “person” the corporation cannot be arrested or jailed, only fined. And since the very structure is designed to minimize the personal liability of owners and managers, it encourages those working in corporations not only to act immorally (because they cannot be held directly accountable) but encourages them to view immoral (and illegal) behavior from a profit perspective. That is, if the fines are smaller than the costs associated with compliance with a given law, the law is ignored.

    And since corporations are both under legal obligation to maximize profit for shareholders, and must maintain a competitive advantage to stay in business, their officers and managers are constantly faced with the “need” to violate the law, and act immorally, in order to maintain corporate survival, despite the fact that this arrangement is turning people into units, and the planet into a rape victim.

    It’s really worth a watch. The Rev

    John Pilger – The War You Don’t See 1 of 7

    John Pilger says in the film: “We journalists… have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else’s country… That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear, however seductive and insidious it is. For propaganda relies on us in the media to aim its deceptions not at a far away country but at you at home… In this age of endless imperial war, the lives of countless men, women and children depend on the truth or their blood is on us… Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power.”

    Eat the Rich!

    Everytime the fascists create these slimball diversions of the Constitution, it should be a bright red flag to all of us, especially those we elect to represent us, not factory’s. Same with 404 gag rules preventing a medical defense. Tax shelters and breaks to fund propaganda DARE groups. Mass censorship of the airwaves, cable and print, especially about the Ganjawar and the properties of Hemp. Mandatory minimum private prison profit incentives and deterrents to jury trials, Leading to please barters for corporate piss tasting and rehabs. Nothing wrong with incorporating except when you sell out Americans. Outsourcing their jobs with trickle down bail outs isn’t employing Americans. Or forcing the addiction of fossil fools over homegrown fuel. Many other examples where we the people sat by and watched or was kept at bay with lies and diversions. Sure glad its 4:20 somewhere…
    ~ DdC

  28. DdC says:

    Coffee Party | Wake Up and Stand Up
    For The People Summit
    January 20-22, 2011
    Washington D.C. and Nationwide

    Americans across the country are singing the same song:
    We the People do not feel represented by our government. The most recent Gallup poll shows the approval rating for Congress is 13%, the worst in history.

  29. Bruce says:

    I love the word; Relax
    It simply is not in the vocabulary of the demonic prohibitors.
    If You tell a fascist to relax it causes them to wail and shriek like a person in pain. “Relax??? RELAX!!! We can’t relax!!! Ubibbly… umbibbly…!!”


    Works every time. Their response a dead giveaway.
    Quack huntin’s fun!

  30. kaptinemo says:

    Bruce: that, and the prohib’s fixation with the word ‘permissive’. They’re really frothing when they use that word to describe a rational parent’s approach to dealing with a child just discovering psychotropics.

    Many, many years ago (the early 1970’s I believe) I read in one of my Mum’s ‘women’s magazines’ a story of a mother who, in order to understand where her young daughter was coming from, smoked cannabis with her, and wrote about the (very positive bonding) experience.

    The article was critiqued by several ‘experts’, one of whom was a ‘minister’ who opened his remarks with “This permissive mother…” You could almost hear the condescending sniff of disapproval rise from the page.

    Even then, in my teens, I could detect the sour hypocritical stench of authoritarianism. I’ve come to believe that most authoritarians are closet Sybarites who were never able to have fun growing up…and thus seek to deny anyone else a chance at happiness out of a mistaken sense of moral superiority…coupled with an internal fear of really ‘letting go’, ‘cutting loose’ and being ‘wild’. Such behavior frightens them to the point of over-defensiveness, and a desire to regulate the behavior of others in order to reduce their own fear.

    What’s worse, they feel a need to demonstrate their (faux) moral superiority by acquiring the same kind of power over others that was used to stifle their own Dionysian impulses. Abused children who overcompensate for their own helplessly endured traumas by becoming bullies themselves.

    It was the great 20th American social critic HL Mencken who said it best::“Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” The Neo-Puritans, a.k.a. the Sado-Moralists, were they not so dangerous, would be an object of pity, not derision. But until their fangs and claws are pulled by re-legalization, they’ll only merit fear and hatred.

  31. Carlyle Moulton says:


    The N word is actually very necessary. It encapsulates all the malice that the vast majority of white Americans have for Afro Americans. This I suspect why Negroes themselves use it so often when talking among themselves as illustrated in the excellent TV series “The Wire”. They are maintaining their awareness that the most important determinant of their fates is the extent to which white people go out of their way to do them harm.

    Examine the timing of the implementation of the “war on Drugs” and you will see that it is consistent with it being the counter attack against the civil rights movement. I read many drug reform blogs and one thing about them irritates me. That is that though they may occasionally mention the racially discriminatory effect of the drug laws on minorities they do not seem to seize on this as they should in my opinion as the most important reason for opposition to the drug laws.

    The best examination of racial discrimination via the war on drugs is to be found in Michelle Alexander’s recent book, the New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Coloublindness. Another book which is valuable resource on the topic is Nate Blakeslees “Tulia: Race Cocaine and Corruption in a Small Texas Town”.

    You refer to the discrimination of the drug war being institutionalized, but this does not mean that the motives that have led to the institutionalization are not racist, and one cannot have much effect in reversing this institutional discrimination if one does not highlight and attack the racist memes behind it.

    I suggest that you peruse the archives of Alan Bean’s Friends of Justice blog where you will find many examples that analyse how racism drives the discrimination via law against Afro-Americans.

  32. Carlyle Moulton says:

    Of course the majority of white Americans would indignantly deny that they bear any malice towards, Blacks, nevertheless this is the case. Racists as a rule do not know that they are racists since they see the unconscious beliefs that lead them to act in a discriminatory way as obvious incontrovertible truths stored with other such ideas in that part of their minds labeled common sense. Neither are racists necessarily evil, many could be sensitized to their own racist thinking by programs such as those pioneered by Jane Elliott famed for the documentaries “Blue Eyes” and “A Class Divided”.

    Of course some racists are worse than others. That some are careful never to use the N-word does not mean that they don’t have KKK level malice towards Negroes. However the way the law has developed it is impossible to prove that the actions of the authorities are racist if they have the self control not to use the N-word.

  33. Carlyle Moulton says:

    I would keep the name “War on Drugs”. The important word is “war”, the first casualty of war is truth, and in war there is always “collateral damage” which of course is never the fault of our troops.

  34. Bruce says:

    In Canada financial status supercedes race. Once the Welfare applicant signs the 7 signatures required to engage in the three week waiting period for a stipend inadequate to feed a baby Raccoon, Pandora’s box is opened resulting in all manner of targeting and Stasi style unpleasant surprises. Where ya goin? What’cha doin? Found some empty beer cans and cashed them in? Ninety cents off your cheque. Bit of grocery money from your parents? Whoa! Thats undeclared income! You don’t get a cheque! Its as if Scrooge clone beaurocrats are forced to dig into their own wallet to render assistance. Rotton teeth? Sorry! we can only pull two. You’ll have to wait for your annual review. Sorry! You’re not covered! Wait till it abcesses and, if you don’t die, we may be able to consider it an emergency. But,,, we can only pull two!
    Oh! by the way!, You’ll need 65 X-Rays to go with that!
    Month seven. Never again, Vichy. Death before Dishonor.

  35. Ya Bruce....... says:

    …Government healthcare just like the war on drugs is supposed to be a GOOD thing….my ass.

    They can keep their good , I’ll keep my freedom.

  36. C.E. says:

    How about replacing “drug-related violence” with the term “prohibition-related violence”?

  37. Richard Steeb says:

    Evidently someone explained to Kerli that making WAR on one’s fellow citizens is the definition of TREASON.

  38. strayan says:

    Why hasn’t anyone posted this before?

  39. darkcycle says:

    Yo, Bruce? they’ll actually pull two teeth a year? The reality is alot of private sector jobs provide no health care at all. Let alone dental. Try working as a line counselor in most of the places I worked at the beginning of my career. They require a bachelors degree (can you say ‘debt’?), pay about the same as Wendy’s, and offer no health care whatsoever. Many places can’t afford benefits for line workers at all, but provide them for office and management/professionals. So they hire only part time workers. Defined by law as 36 hours a week or less, so they work ’em the full thirty-six and send ’em home without enough to pay the electric bill, let alone pay for some insanely expensive private plan. Sheesh. Maybe you’re healthy and haven’t had to go to a doctor for awhile, but I spent my working life in the health care system in this country, and it’s fucked up. Socialist health care may be a bureaucratic nightmare, but at least under that people GET health care, and it doesn’t bankrupt those countries.

  40. malcolm kyle says:

    How about replacing “drug-related violence” with the term “prohibition-related violence”?
    And how about replacing ‘prohibition related’ with ‘prohibition engendered’?

  41. Bruce says:

    A single male applying for welfare in BC is pretty much invited to use the exit and die. Pretty good coverage for families and persons with disabilities. I don’t know the system now, have not applied since 2003 but the way they treated me am never going to go back. I found myself wishing I had jumped the wall into East Berlin in 1973 when the opportunity presented itself. No fattened dictator government Scrooge clone power hungry wicked witch that does not even know how to change a flat tire is ever going to treat me that way ever again. Ohm’s law fades into insignificance under the level of impedance poured forth in a fountain of mumbo jumbo by the petty tyrants in their fortified serpent lairs posing as ‘social services’
    No surprise to see so many dysfunctional males wandering the streets pushing carts full of dumpster trash. The way that venal and phoney establishment operates is TOXIC TO ALL LIFE

  42. Jake says:

    Although ‘prohibition-engendered’ is technically correct.. ‘prohibition-related’ sounds better to the zombie masses, it is easier to identify with for those that don’t have a clue other than what successive governments have spoon-fed them.

    Either one though, would be a welcome change. Imagine newscasters saying ‘prohibition-related/engendered violence’ has caused the death of 30,000 people in Mexico.. would have much more of an emotive effect on people than ‘drug-related’ as the term ‘drug’ in this context has far too many negative connotations currently. I think a simple language/word change such as this could have a huge impact!

  43. allan420 says:

    @ Jake and C.E… go read some of Kirk Muse’ LTEs… he has 1200 to choose from and he’s a master at turning that phrase:

    Re “Marijuana’s biggest problem” ( Speak Out, Oct. 21 ):

    No doubt you have lots of “drug-related crime.” Actually it’s drug prohibition-caused crime.

    I on the other hand often prefer to be the smart-ass in the back of the classroom:

  44. Carlyle Moulton says:

    May I suggest that those who have some free time over Christmas borrow or buy a copy of Michelle Alexander’s recent book, “The New Jim Crow Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”. Initially Michelle Alexander herself thought that it was hyperbole to state that the main motivation of the drug warriors was anti-Negro racism, but after looking in to the problem in depth she concluded that it is not hyperbole at all.

    If you do not have access to this book, an alternative is to peruse the archives of Alan Bean’s Friends of Justice website. Many of the recent articles there are prompted by this book and the general theme is racist discrimination implemented via the criminal justice system.

  45. Carlyle Moulton says:

    The website for Friends of Justice is here.

  46. Duncan20903 says:

    It’s so plain to see that the laws were based on xenophobia and racism it’s unbelievable that there are people who still think that any of the drugs on the naughty list got there because of the governments benevolence and concern for the public’s well being.

    From the February 8, 1914 edition of the New York Times:

    NEGRO COCAINE “FIENDS” ARE A NEW SOUTHERN MENACE; Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower Class Blacks Because They Have Taken to “Sniffing” Since Deprived of Whisky by Prohibition.

  47. DdC says:

    Denver Doctor Could Lose License for Recommending Marijuana thread
    A medical marijuana recommendation for a pregnant woman could cause a Denver doctor to lose his license. It would be the first time a Colorado doctor loses his license over an improper pot recommendation.

    One toke over the line Dec 20 2010
    The assertion that Prop. 19 is contributing to a rise in teenage marijuana use is unfounded.


  48. DdC says:

    Angela Davis on the Prison Abolishment Movement
    I would like to see, as Fay Honey Knopp, who was an abolitionist during the ’70s and the ’80s and one of the co-authors of a wonderful book called Instead of Prisons: An Abolitionist Handbook, you know, I would like to see an emphasis on decarceration, an emphasis on ex-carceration. You know, I would like to see us examine the ways in which the criminalization of certain behaviors, such as drug use and drug trafficking, has allowed the prison system to expand the way that it has. The vast majority of women who are behind bars are in prison in relation to a drug charge. I would like to see us decriminalize drug use, for example. I would like to see us engage in a national conversation on true alternatives to incarceration. I’m not speaking about house arrest and probation and parole and so forth. I’m talking about ways of addressing social problems that are entirely disconnected from law enforcement.

    Part II: Michelle Alexander on “The New Jim Crow:
    “Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness”
    Part II of our interview with legal scholar, civil rights advocate and author Michelle Alexander. Her book is The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. Alexander argues that although Jim Crow laws have been eliminated, the racial caste system it set up was not eradicated. It’s simply been redesigned, and now racial control functions through the criminal justice system. [includes rush transcript]

    Thank You Miss Rosa

    November Coalition

  49. Carlyle Moulton says:


    “It’s so plain to see that the laws were based on xenophobia and racism it’s unbelievable that there are people who still think that any of the drugs on the naughty list got there because of the governments benevolence and concern for the public’s well being.”

    Nevertheless the vast majority who support the war on drugs cannot see what is in front of their eyes and smell what is beneath their noses. Michelle Alexander describes hearing other people giggling nervously while making comments to the effect that the drug war is a war on blacks. The nervous giggles were a signal that they knew they were exagerating. Initially Michelle Alexander was also skeptical of the racism drug war connection, it took her 10 years of study at the coal face to come to the point of view which she now holds.

    Racism is consequence of unexamined unconscious thought processes.The human brain works by jumping to conclusions based on binary associations of concepts. The concepts “of the white race” and “criminal” have a much lower strength that that between “of the Negro race” and “criminal”. This means that if a white policeman sees a black man in civilian clothes with a gun at the scene of a crime he is likely to shoot that Negro dead before finding out that the Negro is another policeman responding to the same crime. A good dramatization of such an occurrence is to be found in an episode of season 4 of the HBO series “The Wire”. In this a white policeman shoots an under cover bllack policeman, is overcome by grief, resigns and takes up teaching in a poor black school. The point is that the white policeman is not racist, but his unconscious associations of ideas cause him to respond in a racist manner when needing to react quickly.

  50. Carlyle Moulton says:


    Here is part 1 of the Amy Goodman interview with Michelle Alexander.

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