More progressives lying to support Obama’s drug war

Mike Riggs nails it with his description of the love-fest given to the Obama drug war by the Center for American Progress today: How the Obama Administration Plans to Convince Progressives That it Ended the War on Drugs

Step 1: Say that the drug war is over.

Step 2: Convince the largest and most powerful progressive think tank in America to agree with you, invite you to their headquarters, praise you for having “transformed” drug policy in the United States, and pitch you softball questions.

Step 3: Repeat step 1.

Based on an excellent question asked by Scott Morgan and ignored by Kerlikowske, Riggs hits a very important point that I’ve been wanting to talk about (and will soon at some length) …

Here’s the thing: The words “compulsory treatment” may not appear anywhere in the 2012 Drug Control Strategy report, but it’s nevertheless an inherent aspect of Obama’s supposed shift to a public health approach. Every single alternative to incarceration proposed by the Obama administration–from drug courts to prison rehab programs to family doctor-catalyzed interventions–features some form of compulsory addiction treatment. This is the tradeoff Americans will soon be forced to make: Government-mandated counseling instead of jail time.

That Kerlikowske whiffed on this question is incredible. It means that although the Obama administration thinks compulsory treatment is better than jail time, it’s afraid to come out and say that. Let me repeat that: The Obama administration is unwilling to talk publicly about the central plank of its drug policy platform.

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48 Responses to More progressives lying to support Obama’s drug war

  1. darkcycle says:

    Of course they aren’t willing to discuss it. It will only work if they are able to implement it without that sort of scrutiny. The proper way to install a huge, new bureaucracy is to do it in the shadows, when no one is looking. It’s already underway, but the roll out isn’t going quite as smoothly as they planned it. Drug Courts are harder to fund when you have to take from the enforcement side, and when you do, that cuts your business from -ahem- referrals. Right now with the budget woes, a huge investment in what will be attacked as a social program just isn’t in the cards. It has them years behind schedule.

  2. claygooding says:

    Again,,compulsory rehab is for the people that can afford it,,the poor and indigent population will still fill our prisons,,I wish someone had asked Kerli if the federal govt or state govt was going to pick up the tab for the poor.

  3. Cliff says:

    Watching Ironman 2 was very instructive. The main defense contractor in the story wanted to get his hands on the technology created by Tony Stark and ‘weaponize’ it.

    Mr. Obama’s plan will weaponize our health care system so it will be just like our prison industrial complex, only infinitely more destructive to our liberty, sovereignty and economy.

    Forced rehab for some, drug tests on demand for everyone.

  4. Scott Morgan says:

    Wow, great piece from Mike Riggs. The answer I got was actually more ridiculous than I was expecting, so I suppose I made him uncomfortable.

    • darkcycle says:

      Scott, as a psychologist, the idea of compulsory medical treatment (treatment that will be prescribed by a judge, not a medical practitioner)is disturbing enough. The implicit criteria for requiring this treatment is a single arrest. Not a pattern of behavior that suggests a chemical dependency, but a single encounter with police, absent any other indicators of problem use. The assumption on the part of this policy is that every single low level drug offense is due to problem use. An assumption that flies in the face of the evidence, at least as applies to Cannabis. (the rate of cannabis addiction is 1 1/2 to about three percent of those who use the drug. And there are those like myself that will argue in the face of a well defined withdrawal syndrome, it cannot even be counted as addictive)

      • darkcycle says: the face of the lack of a well defined withdrawal syndrome.

        • darkcycle says:

          Right you are, Primus. Ask three people, get three different definitions. Compulsory treatment is unpalatable no matter how you parse it, but it is made even more indigestible by the lack of any clear definition. Assume for a moment you have a new, comprehensive definition. Then, after you’ve done the impossible and got professionals from different schools of thought and diverse professions to agree on the definition, you get to try for consensus on diagnostic criteria. Good luck.
          More than anything else, what they’re proposing resembles the inquisition, where witchcraft was what the inquisitor said it was, and the accused was then subject to arbitrary and extra judicial trials by ordeal.

      • primus says:

        Notwithstanding the lack of consensus as to what addiction actually is. The definition keeps changing.

  5. Cannabis says:

    Click here to watch the Center for American Progress’s event. There are a lot of nuggets of information in the video, including Gil Kerlikowske invoking God a number of times and, if you paying attention, somewat lays out how he is going to help the drug testing and forced treatment industry profit. A lot of it has to do with the drugged diving entry points into the system.

    Mike Riggs should have written his thress steps like an Internet meme:

    Step 1: Say that the drug war is over.

    Step 2: Convince the largest and most powerful progressive think tank in America to agree with you, invite you to their headquarters, praise you for having “transformed” drug policy in the United States, and pitch you softball questions.

    Step 3: Profit

  6. Friendly Fascism says:

    Re-education and indoctrination for druggie scum. They are unproductive and contribute no taxes to the golden parachute of the overlords. We care so much about their health and know what is best for them. How dare they try and unplug from the matrix by getting high. Everyone must suffer equally in the vibrant equalocracy.

  7. Diversion, drug courts and alternatives to incarceration always sound easier to agree to than going to prison or jail. It is easier to admit guilt when faced with treatment instead of incarceration. Courts are quick with guilty pleas galore leaving time for plenty more Justice. That leaves plenty of bucks left for Community Mental Health programs to run education programs for children, and plenty of money for community drug testing programs earmarked as “prevention” money. Triple pronged approach: drug test-treat-indoctrinate. Plenty more money for Mental Health programs and drug testing. Plenty of money for drug testing Corporations (community based of course). The lines between drug use and drug abuse merge. Kerlikowske didn’t seem to be able to tell the difference between the two.

    Mental Health Funding is never cheap. Neither is drug testing. Getting high on pot is a treatable illness curable through the local Department of Mental Health and your local Sheriff’s department. Nothing sounds any different to me except for a new line of presentation with much, much more emphasis on treatment (free behavior modification).

    Much emphasis on drug testing to force both compliance to treatment and probation regulations, and to enforce a drug free society that is happily aided by the local Government funded community treatment programs. What a wonderful drug free world.

    • darkcycle says:

      T.C., Mental Health and Addiction “treatment” are separate disciplines that cannot even agree on the best approach to treat the disease. For the last thirty years the addiction “treatment” industry’s model (a NON medical model that includes stuff like appeals to a “Higher Power”) has reigned supreme and unchallenged. Please, the Mental Health community has enough going wrong with it (I.E. the complete capture of the field by the pharmaceutical industry) without having to take the flack for this. This is NOT part of the Mental Health system.

      • I mentioned Mental Health only because it came out of Kerlikowske’s mouth during the questions and answers.

        • darkcycle says:

          There’s actually quite a bit of professional hostility between the two disciplines.

      • Peter says:

        The treatment industry has quite shamelessly sought to cash in on the the 12 Step model, which is offered for free by AA etc. Lately drug warriors like Andrea Barthwell and Gil Kerlilowske have tried to co-opt aspects of the 12 Step model for their own political purposes, and to try to associate their “gentler” drug war lite with 12 Step focus on abstinence, despite AA’s traditional avoidance of all endorsements.
        Recovery in AA is a voluntary activity, unlike that proposed by drug warriors and, in some instances, the treatment industry. The definition of a Higher Power in AA is entirely an individual choice and for many AAs this is simply the supportive power of the group and need have no supernatural component. No doubt many in the treatment industry like Betty Sembler ignore this for their own fund-raising and/or political purposes.

        • Francis says:

          With compulsory “treatment,” I’m pretty sure the drug warriors have themselves in mind as the “higher power” to which we’re supposed to “submit.” No thanks.

  8. Peter says:

    progressive my ass. with her cosying up to neocons like hilary clinton and conservative dems like obama, tanden is a disgrace to the political left. funny how the drug war has become the litmus test for genuine progressives. weeding out the careerists like tanden.

    • Cliff says:

      “funny how the drug war has become the litmus test for genuine progressives. weeding out the careerists like tanden.”

      The Progressive Movement was started in the early 1900’s and part of its aim was to create a better human through the prohibition of drugs and alcohol. It’s no surprise that Mr. Obama is walking lockstep with the compassion nazis.

      • kaptinemo says:

        A point which I make at what I never fail to call ‘so-called progressive’ sites at every opportunity when the issue of the DrugWar comes up. They always seem as if they are in shell shock, stumbling around, bashing their feet on the big chunks of failure strewn in their way, and they never seem able to look down from their intellectual heights and realize that these obstructions are of their own making…and maintenance.

        They really don’t like it when I remind them that their ideological ancestors saddled us with this mess…and judging from its’ continuance, there’s bloody damn little evidence of anything being done on their part to correct it. Another point they either hang their heads in silent, sheepish shame, or pathetically try to rationalize their self-imposed impotence.

        The DrugWar was the ‘progressives’ own ‘baby’…and they want to fob it off on conservatives. Who then took in the ‘progressives’ bastard child, fed it steroids, twisted its’ mind and handed it a gun. In either event, the ‘progressives’ refuse to acknowledge their ideological paternity, when the political and historical ‘blood test’ doesn’t lie.

  9. Francis says:

    Steve Fox asked why the ONDCP treats alcohol differently than marijuana, which is statistically safer. Here’s Gil’s response:

    So I think the issue always gets around the debate…Well alcohol is more dangerous, or alcohol causes more deaths, or alcohol. So certainly nobody is going to roll the clock back and say, ‘Gee, we need to institute prohibition on alcohol. But, there are no good reasons to legalize marijuana. I often hear about tax, regulate, and control as an answer. But then I look at prescription drugs, which as I mentioned take over 15,000 lives a year, let alone the people who come into emergency departments. Prescription drugs are already regulated, already taxed and controlled, and we do a very poor job of keeping them out of the hands of abusers, misusers, and young people. So I don’t see that we would do a very good job with a substance that could easily evade the tax, because it doesn’t take rocket science to grow marijuana.

    I see. We can’t legalize an infinitely-safer alternative to alcohol and prescription drugs, because alcohol and prescription drugs kill so many people. And we also can’t legalize and tax cannabis because some fraction of the legal market will likely evade those taxes. The solution is to keep cannabis illegal, thereby ensuring that the market will remain completely untaxed.

    • Chris says:

      I’m really tired of seeing this argument used. Someone mentions comparing the harm to alcohol, so the response is to jump to implying that prohibition of alcohol was anything other than a complete failure, then to compare a regulated, taxed and controlled market for recreational drugs to the prescription drug market – while ignoring the fact that their problems are all caused by not having a regulated, taxed and controlled market for recreational prescription drugs.

      That’s the damn point we’re trying to make here; we need a legal market for non-alcohol non-tobacco recreational drugs!

  10. Emma says:

    There is a great deal of criticism of drug courts and other involuntary drug treatment schemes: they don’t work and they violate human rights.

    Drug Courts Are Not the Answer

    “Twelve United Nations agencies, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, UNAIDS, UNHCR, the World Health Organization, and UNICEF have issued a joint statement in the run up to next week’s Commission on Narcotic Drugs in Vienna, unambiguously calling on member states to ‘close compulsory drug detention and rehabilitation centres and implement voluntary, evidence-informed and rights-based health and social services in the community’ .”

  11. Cliff says:

    Ask Daniel Chong if Obama’s new softer, kinder war on some drugs is a good thing.

    From Reason Hit & Run:

    Several hours after Obama’s drug czar told a room filled with Democratic power brokers at the Center for American Progress that the “war on drugs” was over, 23-year-old Daniel Chong sat down with NBC San Diego to recount the five days he spent handcuffed in a DEA holding cell without food or water after he was arrested at a “4/20 party.”

  12. kaptinemo says:

    OT but important:
    They’re starting to get the message about how wasteful the W(o)SD is, when we need the money for something, anything else:

    A Snapshot of Your Security-Industrial Complex

    from the article:

    “To recap: while Oakland Unified School District is closing five elementary schools to save money — here’s a harrowing account of the meeting where they voted to do it — the Alameda County Sheriff’s department can get over 300 grand from Homeland Security for that stupid thing, just in case Occupy Oakland marchers had some improvised explosive devices up their sleeves, I guess. I heard someone threw a bottle. Without state-of-the-art multi-layered armor technology to protect them, scores of police officers might have been destroyed.”

    More of this, please, as when expressed in this way, this takes the bullshit and rubs it in the prohib’s faces…and makes them out as the cowards they are, as well

    • paul says:

      The money has begun to run out -completely- at the local level in a few specific places like Detroit and some unlucky smaller towns. We can see what is happening in Detroit already, and very soon the mass firings will begin.

      What happens after that will be instructive, to say the least. Entire states are in a similar position, just a bit farther away from complete collapse. We can expect echoes of Detroit in places like California, Illinois, and New York coming soon.

  13. Dante says:

    Today, as the Drug Czar pontificates on how he won the Drug War, it turns out that he is losing the Drug War:

    So let’s review: After all the time, effort, money, and human sacrifice, MORE KIDS ARE SMOKING POT!!!

    I wonder how Gil will spin this?

    • Duncan20903 says:

      How will Gil spin this? “Just think of how many school children would be strung out on meth, cocaine and heroin if merrywanna was legal!

    • Jeff Trigg says:

      Many are and will spin it to blame medical cannabis in their call to get rid of that.

      Anyone seen the TV show American Weed on National Geographic? Was it Ft. Collins that voted to ban medical cannabis providers, backed by their creepy former Mayor (and former cop)? He was using arbitrary stats like this to campaign for the ban. Did the idiot call for a ban on pharmacies when teen use of prescription drugs went up dramatically? Who cares if sick people can’t get their medicine locally, we have to protect the children. There are way too many people like him that defy logic.

      I expect the feds to blame this on medical cannabis sending the wrong message to our children in no time.

      I haven’t looked, but what are the Obama folks saying about industrial hemp these days? I doubt they would even mention it, because it is impossible for them to do so without looking like complete control freak fools.

  14. Duncan20903 says:


    ***Propaganda Alert***

    National Study: Teen “Heavy” Marijuana Use Up 80 Percent Since 2008, One in Ten Teens Reports Using Marijuana at Least 20 Times a Month
    By The Partnership at
    Published: Tuesday, May. 1, 2012 – 9:16 pm

    NEW YORK, May 2, 2012 — Only Half of Teens, 51 Percent, Now Say They See “Great Risk” in Using Marijuana Regularly

    ~Teen Abuse of Rx and Over-The-Counter Medicines Remain at Dangerous Levels~

    NEW YORK, May 2, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — New, nationally projectable survey results released today by The Partnership at and MetLife Foundation found that past-month marijuana use – particularly heavy use – has increased significantly among U.S. high school students since 2008.

    The Partnership Attitude Tracking Study, sponsored by MetLife Foundation, found that 9 percent of teens (nearly 1.5 million) smoked marijuana heavily (at least 20 times) in the past month. Overall, past-month heavy marijuana use is up 80 percent among U.S. teens since 2008.

    Be careful Mr. Obama, there just might be a reason that they cherry picked 2008 ending stats as their starting point.

    • kaptinemo says:

      More examples of ‘cut-and-paste’ journalism. The ‘reporter’ could have brought up the fact that ‘The Partnership at Drug Free’ were the same people who put out the fraudulent “This is your brain on drugs” PSA which used the brainwave of a comatose person and falsely represented it as if it were a cannabist’s.

      People who believe in ‘noble lies’ are prone to mendacity, period, and thus are hardly sources of unbiased information. And people who fail to report that fact are just as bad, if not worse, particularly when their job is to unmask those lies.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        kaptinemo that was a press release which I linked. I don’t think you can reasonably expect them to present the other side of the story. PRs are inherently biased to the issuer’s point of view.

    • claygooding says:

      Has anyone got statistics of how many young people used marijuana for the centuries it was legal for everyone,,before our government made it illegal?

      Apparently it hasn’t stopped mankind yet.

    • Francis says:

      “Be careful Mr. Obama, there just might be a reason that they cherry picked 2008 ending stats as their starting point.”

      It looks like you nailed it, Duncan. Here’s Jacob Sullum’s take over at H&R: Teen Pot Smoking ‘Surges’ While Staying the Same.

      The increase hyped by the Partnership happened almost entirely between 2008 and 2009. Since then the numbers have been basically flat. Furthermore, the numbers recorded last year are virtually indistinguishable from the numbers recorded in 1998, the earliest year for which the new report includes data.

      Data from the Monitoring the Future Study, which is conducted by University of Michigan researchers under contract with the National Institute on Drug Abuse, show a similar pattern: Marijuana use rates are essentially the same now as they were in the late 1990s. In between, they went down and up for reasons that remain unclear but that probably have little to do with anti-drug ads, medical marijuana laws, the number of pot busts, or the federal government’s drug control “strategy.”

      • darkcycle says:

        Never doubt Duncan’s innate talent for statistics. He’s usually spot on. He’s got an uncanny eye.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        And as Mark Kleiman, associate professor of public policy at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, notes in Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control, the data are probably inflated by error or exaggeration: Experience with marketing surveys indicates that questions about habitual activities like “On how many of the last 30 days did you use marijuana?” tend to elicit systematic overreporting. Furthermore, the 11-percent “daily use” figure appears to be inconsistent with information from NlDA’s household survey.

        Whoa Nellie, is that our good friend Mark Kleiman Mr. Sullum quotes, or some other Mark Kleiman? That quote is from 1989.

        • Pete says:

          Keep in mind that Mark Kleiman is very knowledgeable in drug policy and is also a “legalizer” when it comes to marijuana. It is the fact that he doesn’t use those things for good like he could that makes me target him so much.

  15. SelwynKosciuszko says:


    “I think it’s a powerful point you’re making,” she said. “Also, I think it’s worth noting that the United States has spent more than one trillion dollars waging the drug war since it began — funds that could have been used for education, job creation, etc. It is reasonable that at least a trillion dollars be paid to repair the damage that has been done, reparations that could take the form of massive investments in the schools and community hardest hit by the drug war, as well as payments to individuals and families that have been destroyed.”

  16. ezrydn says:

    There’s no doubt in MY mind that Democrats hate EVERYONE else! If ever there was a political party I’d pull the plug on, it’d be them, with my other hand on the Repub drop lever.

  17. allan says:

    Just a thought… if prescription drug abuse is “epidemic” ought we not remove the pharmaceutical ads from the airwaves like we did w/ cigs and hard liquor?

  18. Servetus says:

    They say the drug war is over, re Kerlikowske. Then why hasn’t it been defunded?

    Money is being spent by the DEA/ONDCP, including their squadrons of crusading prohibitionists, for a non-existent drug war.

    Stop this fraudulent diversion of tax money now.

    Contact your congress people. Let them know the judiciary branch has gone rogue.

    • allan says:

      and… in a time when schools are closing or being grossly underfunded, when local govts are cutting back on everything, unemployment is a disgrace, businesses are closing, prices rising, ad nauseum, ad infinitum… the drug war is getting an increase in funding.

  19. Duncan20903 says:


    Well here’s a bit of a surprise:

    Santa Cruz Sheriff Deputy Nick Baldrige discussed the rising abuse of prescription drugs.

    Baldrige specifically spoke of Oxycontin, a slow-release opiate prescribed as a painkiller that students will take without having a prescription. Baldrige labeled Oxycontin as the second most-used drug by teens behind marijuana.

    According to Baldrige, the majority of heroin addicts he has spoken with said they first started abusing opiates such as Oxycontin.

    Hey Sheriff Nick, don’t you know that cannabis is the “gateway” substance? How the heck did you make Sheriff without knowing that?

  20. Duncan20903 says:


    Sometimes it’s pretty amazing how extremely in our favor comments columns are. I know that we just don’t outnumber the Know Nothings by at least 9-1 and I’ve speculated that the reason for our dominance is most of the prohibitionists are illiterate and so can’t be expected to be found commenting on stories. Recently though I’ve figured out where they’re hiding. I’ve started paying more attention to sports figures who get busted and have noticed comments columns under those articles have a much, much higher prohibitionist to intelligent comments ratio. It’s not that they’re illiterate per se, it just that they’re just politically illiterate. It might be a good idea for us to start paying more attention to sports/”drugs” articles.

    Torrin Tucker faces drug charges
    May 2, 2012

    TAMPA, Fla. — A former Dallas Cowboys offensive lineman is accused of trying to sell marijuana to an undercover officer at a Tampa strip club.

    Here’s some random comment from that article’s peanut gallery:
    haha black ppl always doin dumb stuff
    nate newton quincy carter sam hurd torrin tucker michael irvin pacman jones dwayne goodrich…have I missed any knuckle heads?
    because he was selling drugs, not shooting people with his mom.
    Interesting aside: It seems that Nancy Pelosi’s husband owns a pro football team in a league I’ve never heard of:

    • Peter says:

      probitionists are to be found in large numbers on comment threads on fox news threads. surprise?

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Still nowhere near the numbers found on ESPN, nor anywhere close to the numbers that my liberal friends would represent.

        Did you forget for a moment that I’m DWR’s tokin’ conservative? Yeah, yeah, I know, and the conservatives don’t like me either.

        • darkcycle says:

          …and I used to be considered a left leaning democrat. Today I’m a radical socialist. Face it Duncan, the Overton Window ( has moved so far that it’s left both of us outside, peeping in through the closed sash.

        • Peter says:

          was thinking more along the lines of the information poverty to be found over at fox. the know nuttins have to be fed their prejudices from somewhere. fox seems to be the home of the “youre too drug addled to argue” trope

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