Open Thread

bullet image The Harmful Side Effect of Drug Prohibition by Randy Barnett

There are so many reasons why drug prohibition is objectionable, it is hard to enumerate them all. In my Utah Law Review article, The Harmful Side Effects of Drug Prohibition, I try to systematically survey just the “consequentialist” arguments against this socially-destructive social policy. If I were to revise this article today, I suppose I would emphasize even more than I did how destructive the “War on Drugs” has been to the black community, perhaps especially because of the incarceration of thousands of black men, depriving their children of fathers, but also because of how the black market profits from the illicit drug trade supports the gang structure that preys upon the community and sucks up its kids. […]

But, as I said, the problem with assessing the War on Drugs is that there are so many harmful “side effects” of drug prohibition that it is difficult even to know where to begin. This article is my effort to be as comprehensive about these effects, yet still be accessible.

bullet image Won’t you please come to Chicago, show your face by Digby

It really doesn’t take much imagination to realize that militarizing the police and outfitting them as if they are about to mount an assault on Fallujah (when they are really just manning a political protest) might lead them to adopt the attitude that they are at war against their fellow citizens.

bullet image Under Asset Forfeiture Law, Wisconsin Cops Confiscate Families’ Bail Money by Radley Balko.

Nothing new to us here, but important for the rest of the world to wake up.

So Greer and her family visited a series of ATMs, and on March 1, she brought the money to the jail, thinking she’d be taking Joel Greer home. But she left without her money, or her son.

Instead jail officials called in the same Drug Task Force that arrested Greer. A drug-sniffing dog inspected the Greers’ cash, and about a half-hour later, Beverly Greer said, a police officer told her the dog had alerted to the presence of narcotics on the bills — and that the police department would be confiscating the bail money.

“I told them the money had just come from the bank,” Beverly Greer says. “We had just taken it out. If the money had drugs on it, then they should go seize all the money at the bank, too. I just don’t understand how they could do that.”

bullet image Congressmen Seek to Lift Propaganda Ban

There’s been a ban?

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28 Responses to Open Thread

  1. Peter says:

    what gets me is that conviscations were based entirely on “dog alerts” and there was no forensic analysis: the dog says this is drug money. they might as well have a glove puppet “oh look, sooty says youre guilty”

    • Duncan20903 says:


      In the case of American currency it’s rather far fetched to claim that the dog alerts are faked. I think everyone here is familiar with the fact that not much less than 100% of it is saturated.

      Hey, can we get a dog to sniff Kevin Sabet’s pocketbook? “Hey Mr. Sabet, the dog says your cash is drug money! You got some splainin’ to do.”

      • Peter says:

        well yes obviously the cops know currency is largely drug tainted thats why im surprised they havent even bothered with the fig leaf of chemical analysis. as i said the dogs have become their glove puppet to prop up their hijacking as balko puts it

      • JamesNseattle says:

        you mean… “you got some spinning to do!”

  2. Cold Blooded says:

    Telling them to bring cash and then confiscating the bail money? That’s got to be a new low.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Fingers crossed that it backfires. Verifiable EFTs sure don’t support the cops claims and completely discredits their dogs ability to differentiate “clean” money from “dirty” money. It certainly appears to me that these assholes went to far. Give a man enough rope…?

      BTW unless things have changed or Wisconsin is different the Courts just don’t take checks for bail. Now it’s been so long since I looked that they may indeed take debit cards but think about it…how many people, particularly those inclined to abscond anyway, might consider writing a bad check to get out of jail?

  3. Duncan20903 says:


    Oh my word, the situation with teens is even worse that we had feared! The results of the semi-annual Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey are out and reveals that teens aren’t eating their vegetables. It also shows that youth are less inclined to engage in physical fitness. Apparently, eating healthy food, exercise, and avoiding video games are the true culprits that cause youth to experiment with merrywanna, drinking alcohol, and cigarettes. The association is plainly demonstrated in these results:

    In 1999, 13 percent of respondents said they smoked marijuana before turning 13. In 2011, that number is down to 4 percent.

    …in 1999, 30 percent of students said they drank alcohol before turning 13. In 2011, that number is down to 17 percent…

    In 1997, 62 percent of Vermont high school students said that [they] had smoked an entire cigarette. In 2011, that number is down 38 points to 24 percent.

    …the number of students attending a physical education class once a week has gone from 53 percent in 1993 down to 38 percent in 2011.

    More than one-third of Vermont high school students said they spend more than three hours every school day playing video games. (an increase of 100% since 1974!)

    There you have it gentlemen, what more evidence do we need? Get out the cupcakes, go sit on the couch and play lots of video games!

    • Duncan20903 says:

      But no loud music!

      Blasting music tied to drinking and drugs: study
      In the report from The Netherlands, researchers found that teens and young adults who spent a lot of time listening to loud music — already risky because of the long-term chance of hearing loss — were also more likely to smoke marijuana, binge drink and have sex without a condom.

      So let’s see if we’ve covered everything:

      Sex? check

      Drugs? check

      Rock and Roll? check

      Yep, that’s everything. (remember, keep the volume low!)

  4. darkcycle says:

    “Congressmen seek to lift ban on propaganda”
    It’s going to take me a few minutes to digest that. Leaving aside the fact that propaganda is only effective if you deny, deny, deny the fact that it IS propaganda…
    This just makes no sense on so many levels. Are Congress critters REALLY that stupid? The more I think on that, the more it makes my head hurt.
    I can’t even begin.

  5. Matthew Meyer says:

    “…another program being developed by the Pentagon would design software to create “sock puppets” on social media outlets.”

    I think this software has visited The Couch.

  6. Servetus says:

    The Thornberry-Smith amendment gives the military industrial complex the same propaganda powers currently possessed by the ONDCP (Office of National Drug Control Policy), a requirement to lie based on Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225.

    Where prohibition is concerned, the ONDCP anti-drug/pro-police propaganda targeting legalization has been a complete failure. Marijuana is heading toward legalization, and more than half the country knows the drug war itself was lost decades ago.

    Perhaps the Thornberry-Smith amendment is meant to convince Americans that an unending war across the globe is a good thing, or that the military can do no wrong, which implies the state can do no wrong; always a futile task.

    The inevitable result of passing the amendment will be the same as it was for prohibition: as with drugs, few thereafter will believe a single word the U.S. government says about its military ventures. Reliance upon foreign news sources for information about U.S. military operations will become the norm for Americans. Fraud and illegal activities by the U.S. government will be more easily concealed. New threats to democracy will arise. The amendment will eventually emerge to have a far bigger effect, one more harmful than the sum of its parts.

    (Extended version of posting cross-posted at )

  7. big rig butters says:

    trevon was found throwing gang signs and breaking into houses.trevon aperently had a gun and started bust caps at zimmerman for calling the police.then trevon started rapping about bitches and hoes.and the zimmerman had no choice but to waste that monkey scum.racism i think not. this is the outcome of lifting different ethincys rights has brought traditional values down.and these ebonics groups refuse to work and say everything needs to be handed to them.cause they were wronged a 100 years ago.which is not the case.theyre propagAnda created by the civil rights movent.which is nothing but a bunch of racist monkeys who dont wanna work and just smoke crack and abandon their kids.

    • darkcycle says:

      Go away, Wiggles.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      C’mon wiggle dude, why in the world would Trayvon be rapping about your mother and sisters?
      New Jersey Legislature appears to be seriously considering the decriminalization of the petty possession of cannabis. I haven’t heard if their too big to fail Governor has issued a public opinion on the idea.
      In other news, Robin Gibb of the Bee Gees is no longer qualified to perform that bands classic song, “Staying Alive”.

      • Jules says:

        Their Governor probably suggested it after he saw how high arrests are in NY for simple possesion! He learned the wrong lesson from the NYPD example. Maybe soon there will be a class action lawsuit against the NJPD too!

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      “…another program being developed by the Pentagon would design software to create “sock puppets” on social media outlets.”

      • Francis says:

        They must still be working out the kinks. Wiggles has a very “Beta” feel to him.

        • Maria says:

          A well known problem in bot detection and AI happens right at the line of distinction, to borrow a phrase, “between sophisticated bots and unsophisticated humans”.

  8. HenryScarsdale says:

    Penn Jillette doesn’t appear to be totally thrilled with Obama’s hypocrisy:

  9. Duncan20903 says:


    What do prohibitionists do in their spare time? Well when they’re annoyed by a rat they invent an amazingly complex rat trap. Like any prohibitionist, this guy is good at trapping, but not so good at identifying his target:

  10. Peter says:

    OT (with apologies to anyone who has seen it before)

    Video from 2007 showing where Romney stands on MMJ treatment for MS patients… first patronize, then just walk away.
    Sound like anyone else running for president?

  11. paul says:

    Yeah, this cash seizure for bail is brilliant! Cops can be as creative as anyone else in any other profession, but this police department must be sampling the acid in the evidence room.

    Seriously, though it is stuff like this which proves their department (but certainly not ALL departments) have become the enemies of the people they supposedly serve. As Glen Reynolds would put it, “Tar. Feathers.”

    And maybe a ride on a rail out of town. That town should fire those cops.

    • Francis says:

      And can’t they also arrest the folks who brought in the “dirty” money? And then when THEIR friends and family come to bail them out, they can seize THAT cash and arrest THEM, and so on…

      Channeling the movie “Jaws”: “we’re gonna need a bigger jail.”

  12. nick says:

    News like the bail story just make me want to literally explode. I can’t stand even reading things like this anymore.

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