Why Kerlikowske?

So as far as I can tell, there hasn’t been a huge buzz about President Obama nominating ONDCP director Gil Kerlikowske for the post of Commissioner of Customs and Border Protection.

The best article about Kerlikowske’s planned departure is from Eric Sterling

Kerlikowske has been an unimaginative drug czar, often invisible. Having come from Seattle, Washington where he had been police chief, he was shrouded with hope that he would have enlightened views about harm reduction and marijuana use and enforcement. Those hopes were soon dashed. His office has accomplished little and his public statements have been uninspiring. He demonstrated no ability to influence the federal bureaucracy, and left ONDCP irrelevant in national drug policy efforts. ONDCP’s role in forums of the United Nations, such as the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, has been to stifle adoption of harm reduction, a singularly backward approach. His departure is good news for drug policy but bad news for the Department of Homeland Security and people who care about Customs enforcement.

And this brings us to the really unanswered question. Why Kerlikowske?

Thomas Winkowski is the current deputy commissioner of Customs and Border Production (CBP) and acting commissioner. As far as I can tell, they’ve had acting commissioners since 2011 when Obama nominee Alan Bersin left. I’m not aware of any major political push to fill that position permanently.

I can’t imagine anyone saying, “Gee, we really need someone to step in and take charge of our borders. Let’s get that guy who goes around the country talking about treatment.”

I can’t envision a scenario where moving Kerlikowske to CBP solves a CBP problem for the administration.

That leaves the possibility that Kerlikowske’s “promotion” is about clearing him out of ONDCP in order for the administration to do something different with drug policy (although I have no clue what that would be).

Whatever the plan is, we probably won’t know right away. It takes forever to get nominees confirmed. In the meantime, once Gil leaves, ONDCP Deputy Director Michael Botticelli will probably run the ONDCP until a new director is confirmed.

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44 Responses to Why Kerlikowske?

  1. Viggo Piggsko Flatmark says:

    Maybe he wants his pension and retire.. and asked for it.

  2. Cannabis says:

    No one had better start floating Kevin Sabet’s name for the Drug Czar’s position. He’s been working for that job his whole life, but the direction that a modern drug policy should and needs to go does not require people like him anymore.

    • Pete says:

      What about Patrick Kennedy….

      • claygooding says:

        Patrick Kennedy no fan of marijuana plan


        “”Kennedy said his interest in fighting medical marijuana is to prevent more addiction.

        “If this was really about medical treatment, it would be sold at a pharmacy,” Kennedy said. “How many doctors would tell their patients to go smoke opium for their pain?”””

        comments open but I posted 2 and -0- showing yet.

        • Jean Valjean says:

          “How many doctors would tell their patients to go smoke opium for their pain?”
          Poor old Pat, he’s never had an original thought in his life…Sabet and Barthwell supply all the talking points he’ll ever need…

        • Jean Valjean says:

          Here’s Pat from a couple of months back getting destroyed by Bill Maher:
          Since the W era Americans have become better at identifying nepotism’s fence-post turtles, and Pat is a classic example of someone in way over his head. The whole performance is deer in the headlights stuff

        • Howard says:

          “If this was really about medical treatment, it would be sold at a pharmacy,” Kennedy said.

          Patrick, you imbecile, it WAS sold in pharmacies for decades until cannabis prohibition reared its ugly head. How hard is it to review a little history?

          There’s something else hinted at here that I’ve often wondered about. It seems to me that the biggest issue boneheads like Kennedy, Sabet, Fay, et al., have with cannabis use is that it’s most often SMOKED. They just can’t stand it. Something in their lizard brains just gets all twitchy when they think about it. I suppose they would prefer everything be administered in suppository form, their favorite way to take everything.

    • tensity1 says:

      What is up with all you sadists bringing up Sabet’s and Barthwell’s and Kennedy’s names in the past few posts? Have you no shame or decency? Think about the kids! No, seriously, think about the harm to America’s kids if any of these jokers get in and continue implementing policies that chase the drug-free Utopia delusion.

      JUST SAY NO!

  3. War Vet says:

    Tommy Chong should be our new Drug Czar. He’d be the most active and harshest drug czar we’d ever have. He’d request maximum sentences to all drug offenders like the DEA . . . and because everybody knows that the act of drug prohibition creates drug money and that drug money creates more sex crimes, means that all DEA would be required to register as the sex offenders they really are, simply because they are willing to allow sexual abuse at the hands of their drug prohibition’s strive and consequences (knowing is intention –intention is guilt).

    Sadly, the best weed and the few hundred mushrooms growing within walking distance of me (thank you cows, grain and rain) won’t encourage such a vision.

    • claygooding says:

      I alwys got the impression Tommy was the “brains” in the duo but that was before Cheech owned Anderson Cooper and a Harvard graduate at Jeopardy during a charity series game.

  4. Pingback: Conspiracy Theories! | Why Kerlikowske? – Drug WarRant

  5. Well since we are dreaming – how about Ethan or some of the fantastic talent at LEAP – Christ or Franklin?

    • Tony Aroma says:

      That would be a horrible position for somebody from LEAP, or anybody really qualified to make a difference. Besides, I can’t believe anybody who really wanted to change things would take the Drug Czar job. It’s not like they’d be able to express their own opinions or in any way affect policy. That’s not in the job description. The Drug Czar is just a spokesperson.

      The only people who’d be offered that job, or that would seriously consider taking it, would be those willing to regurgitate the official propaganda. In other words, someone with no integrity.

  6. Pingback: Conspiracy News! | Why Kerlikowske? – Drug WarRant

  7. I hate to be a pessimist (I am not one) but I don’t expect Obama to have the inclination or courage to do anything progressive or in the interest of ending prohibition. Probably quite to the contrary. He seems to be more of a tool than an innovator in this area. I really do wish he would surprise everyone.

    • I don’t know what to think anymore about congress. 2016 tells a better story I hope.

    • Howard says:

      Unfortunately two reasons to be pessimistic is the president’s recent defense of considering Larry Summers as Federal Reserve chairman once Ben Bernanke vacates that post. And the fact that our president in 2010 nominated Michele Leonhart for the position of DEA Administrator. Abysmal choices among others.

  8. Francis says:

    Congrats, Gil. Few jobs in this world are as important as using violence to prevent people and goods from travelling freely across imaginary lines drawn on maps. I have no doubt that your demonstrated ability to unthinkingly follow orders without regard to their irrationality or immorality will serve you well in your new role.

  9. darkcycle says:

    It would be perfectly consistent with prior practice for him to simply leave the post unfilled.

    • Francis says:

      I suggest we do the same thing with Congress and the Presidency.

    • Pete says:

      Yes, but then why make the move at all?

      • claygooding says:

        surely moving congress into DMV clerk jobs and Obama as a federal game warden in Northern Alaska would be satisfactory.

      • claygooding says:

        Something occurred to me,,,what if Biden runs ONDCP ad-hock until Obama finds a replacement,,you know he has always wanted the reins on that baby because he helped build it,,and it would fit with the prohib corporations demanding a stronger opposition towards WA/CO and they’re laws.
        It could prove to be real interesting if they turn Joe loose without a leash.

        PS: plz disable thumbs down on this post,,,just a feelin.

      • darkcycle says:

        There are lots of reasons that won’t be readily apparent. Maybe even Gilley. He’s a cop, not a propagandist. My guess is he may be unhappy with the position. He’s fully out of his element, it’s clear.
        There may be other reasons. He’s a loyal tool. If they have changes in mind at Customs/BP, he’s the perfect guy to strictly and faithfully execute those things. Particularly in an environment of institutional hostility to change. (I’m NOT suggesting we would LIKE the change he has in mind. Experience shows, we will likely be appalled)
        But, in the end, it’s politics and appointee musical chairs. It’s all window dressing. The policies come from another level.

  10. Thud/on/location says:

    LEBANON – The Lebanese government will not attempt to eradicate marijuana fields blooming across the country’s Bekaa Valley, Beirut’s Daily Star newspaper reported Friday.

    Sources cited by the Star said it was because of the fragile security situation in the area near the border with Syria and because the government had been unable to live up to pledges to provide financial compensation to farmers whose crops were destroyed last year.

    They are also up against Bekaa Valley marijuana farmers in no mood to see their livelihood messed with.

    This year’s pot crop would be “wonderful,” Shamas said. “We moved from 5,000 dunums of cannabis-cultivated land to 45,000 dunums,” he said. (A dunum is about a quarter of an acre.)


    • strayan says:

      You left out the good bit:

      “In the absence of alternatives, we will break the hands and legs of anyone who dares destroy our crops,” one of the region’s biggest growers, Ali Nasri Shamas, told the Daily Star. “We will not be gentle with them [the security forces] like we usually are,” added Shamas, who is wanted on several arrest warrants, including on a charge of attacking the Army. “It will be a full-blown war if necessary.”

  11. Servetus says:

    I doubt Kerlikowske would be leaving his comfy post had he not requested it. All Gil had to do was wait until the end of the Obama term, perhaps tell a few lies now and then. Maybe he burned out playing Angry Birds in his office all day. More likely he’s following the Asa Hutchinson strategy that kept Hutchinson’s public service career alive.

    In any event, Gil Kerlikowske is leaving drug enforcement. All other drug enforcement personnel should follow his splendid example. Quit now while there are still plenty of non-prohibition jobs open at the DHS.

  12. Tony Aroma says:

    In another comment I jokingly suggested McCaffrey get the job again. Now that I think about it, it’s not so ridiculous. Once he started going around spouting off his rabid prohibitionist philosophy, people would start realizing how bat shit crazy he and his philosophy really is.

    It’s kind of like Steve Ballmer running Microsoft. As the anti-Microsoft folks say, he should run the company “for as long as it takes.”

    • Tony Aroma says:

      Some time back I saw an interview with McCaffrey where he was discussing Native American’s religious use of hallucinogens. In that interview, he referred to their religion as “malarky.” Now that’s the kind of guy I want out there representing the drug war.

  13. Citizen Teus says:

    Since the time Pete posted this Eric Sterling pretty much backed down on the wording of the article.

    In the past year, there has been important evidence of constructive policy change in ONDCP. I apologize for misrepresenting Kerlikowske’s record.

    • claygooding says:

      I wonder if he added that of his own free will?

      • Citizen Teus says:

        Well, if you go by Kerlikowske’s words, as opposed to his actions, and don’t dig to deep….

        Of course Sterling was “reached out to”. He’s about the only journalist, other than Pete, talking about this.

  14. kaptinemo says:

    Reformers have every right to be concerned; Obama’s Janus-like (as in being ‘two-faced’) qualities (as a State senator, against cannabis prohibition; as a President, wholly in favor of it and turning up the heat) and given who his real loyalties lay with (hint: why aren’t the drug money laundering banksters in jail?) have given us reason to be alarmed. Useless, ineffectual, perfect-for-hurled-rotten-tomatoes Ol’ Gil was ‘the Devil we knew’.

    The term ‘lightning rod’ has already been proffered; add to the list ‘another useful idiot’. All while the DrugWar Juggernaur rolls on, crushing lives beneath it’s taxpayer-funded treads. Someone has to be point man for the insanity; what better than someone who is truly insane? Perhaps another Johnny Pee Walters, or a hypocritical overly-religious loon like Mark Souder, wide-eyed, hyperventilating and with foam-flecked lips from raving nonsense, is waiting in the wings to serve as a convenient shield to prove the Obama Residency is ‘doing something about drugs’…all the while that evidence is showing public perceptions about presently illicit drugs and the laws prohibiting them are changing due to generational shift.

    Obama’s bankster masters are not going to allow their precious cash cow to be slaughtered without a fight, and that means the prohib rearguard action they’re fighting now against that generational shift will require a real, live firebreathing True Believer, an honest-to-Yahweh fanatic. For, as Santayan said, a fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts when he’s forgotten his true aims. The prohibs have lost their aims, but they refuse to sink into History’s tarpit a la the dinosaurs without one last – and vicious – swipe at their foes.

    • War Vet says:

      And those banksters you mention are a part of the HSBC? Was it not discovered that they did business with Al Qaeda? Do these banksters you mention have a stake in the cost of the War on Terror or other wars? And for a side investment –a risk like oil in Nigeria and other war torn/politically unstable African regions: the possibility of Afghanistan being mined for precious minerals can best be done if America and other nations occupy Afghanistan . . . the best way to make sure America goes to Afghanistan is if you give our enemy the means to fight us i.e. laws that enable illegal drug money to fund and sustain a long and spread out war, like the CSA/U.N. Single . . . the best way to keep America in Afghanistan is to make sure that those we fight are well supplied and can pay their fighters . . . the best way for that is through funding in the drug game, made possible by the CSA/U.N. Single Laws.

  15. QuaxMercy says:

    IANAL – so I must ask: Why can’t we shape a class action lawsuit in the name of PTSD patients, non-violent “frisked” pedestrians, & dispensary operators to challenge the “unreasonable, arbitrary & capricious” enforcement by DEA, ONDCP & NIDA?

    • War Vet says:

      It’s because of Federal Law. Even legal marijuana in Colorado is illegal by law. Such a lawsuit would not be taken seriously . . . not that such a suit couldn’t be fuel to the fire in dismantling the CSA, but we need more combustible fuels first to make sure the fire starts and engulfs totally. Have you ever lost your car keys (or something else) and spent minutes or longer looking for them –just to realize they were right in front of your face . . . that they weren’t hidden inside a pocket or under the bills on the table or under the newspaper? There are a few laws already on the books that make the CSA illegal, the problem is that ‘We the People’ are not pushing for Federal Law to be obeyed and respected. It’s the age old question: does one Federal Law trump another Federal Law? We must obey and respect all logical Federal Laws because they are good and offer us protection from various threats. The problem with legal weed in Colorado and Washington is it puts a mockery on Federal Law –the kind of Federal Law used to protect people from States Rights sort of laws i.e. Slavery. The Problem with the Federal Government is that it’s riddled with Cancer . . . but some of our Federal Laws could be the antioxidants and tumor fighting drugs we need before it’s too late.

      Ask yourself this Quax: Does American drug enforcement influence(d) other nations and the U.N.? If officer O’Mally does his job of arresting someone for meth or marijuana in Boston, does this influence Officer Zachia in Mali to do the same thing? If all American cops/Feds were made to quit enforcing any and all drug law because of a nullification of the CSA, then will this in the long run affect the U.N. and Japan or South Africa or England? I remember reading something along the lines of Anslinger influencing Latin America to have their own drug prohibitions laws –am I correct? After WWII, we became the most dominate power and when we said jump, many nations asked ‘how high’.

      In regards to Federal Law and tying up with the rest of this: Right now I’m only one sighted on one specific group of laws that already makes the CSA a violation of Federal Law (yes, some Federal Laws can also be a violation of other Federal Laws) . . . but it’s We the People who must demand that Federal Law be respected, honored and obeyed since Federal Law is inherently good (like ending slavery). What are the consequences of the CSA? Did it create Illegal Drugs? Are illegal drugs sold illegally and if so, are they sold for money and or weapons? Do gangs, mafias, cartels, thugs, terrorists etc sell illegal drugs? Therefore the CSA law was the physical body giving life to Al Qaeda funding when it comes to drugs . . . America is in a legal war against Terrorism and Al Qaeda, which would make the CSA a non-legal law, since 9/11, the WTC bombing etc were all illegal . . . there is no proof that the CSA is an authentic Federal Law (if you made a pair of sneakers in your basement and put a Nike logo on it, is it an authentic NIKE shoe?). We have Federal (and State) laws that make it illegal for Americans and politicians and police officers to help our enemies during a time of war. To obey/enforce/indorse/not repeal the CSA law as a cop/judge/DA/Fed Agent/Politician is to help terrorism via the CSA’s ability to create financing out of drug money. We must dismantle the CSA law to stop the DEA . . . to dismantle the CSA law would allow hemp and allow much more states to sell marijuana . . . even if your state was a green free zone, you could still be permitted to buy it, possess it and consume it as long as you buy it in another state. If some crack cocaine bought some bullets and those bullets killed a 12yr old girl riding her bike on a street in Oakland and a cop/politician/judge/Fed/DA etc helped to keep that crack illegal and on the drug black market (where money is used), then those who obey the CSA laws are also responsible for murdering the 12yr old girl . . . it’s illegal for our police to help and fund the Crips and the Bloods. Since NYPD (etc) cops obeying the CSA laws ultimately affect the U.N. drug laws, this means that the NYPD aided the 9/11 hijackers . . . and treason during war is illegal under Federal Law. The only way we can make a drug law legal is if the possibility of no black market for it existing or significantly existing (like moonshine doesn’t fund gangs in America very well). How many police officers know about the embassy closing in the Arab Muslim World? Most of us have heard about Al Qaeda and the Taliban being funded by drug money and most of us have heard about 9/11. Because cops know about the current terrorism threat to our embassies and because cops know about the past attacks on our cities and embassies and because they know about drug money having a hand or a significant hand in it, one could prove premeditated terrorism/murder etc based on the fact cops are not dumb and they have not lived under a rock. Granted, they may not have wanted the attacks to happen, but it happened as a result of laws created by drug money . . . therefore if laws require cops to obey the CSA, then Federal Law clearly states its illegal to be a cop in America –unless we presume 9/11 was a totally legal ‘object’.

      Ending the CSA is so simple . . . do we value death/war/recession/attacks over a drug free America? Not enough Americans look at it that way and thus the push towards legalization only has a few ropes trying to pull apart a pillar or two and not all the pillars at once against the morbid CSA foundation. Another Pillar: The question comes from law and evidence: can we prove WWII happened? Can we prove Hemp for Victory was real? If so, we can then prove that Hemp is not on the Schedule One status of the CSA since to obey that law is automatically giving aid to Al Qaeda since the American military sure as hell could use hemp to kick some terrorist ass. What I mean: the CSA is an optical illusion that has made many delusional . . . it is a cancer. It’s a mutated cell masquerading as a regular and healthy cell, while infecting/influencing other cells to mutate for the worse.

      • War Vet says:

        Me wishes the editing function was longer Pete . . . reading it from Word Doc a few times to get the bugs out looks a lot different than reading it once its posted:

        ‘Granted, they may not have wanted the attacks to happen, but it happened as a result of laws created by drug money’

        Correction: Granted . . . as a result of laws creating drug money.

        I hope there are no more errors. I’m too afraid to look for them now.

      • Windy says:

        “As congress continues its daily deluge of anti-American legislation, its un-American activities, bear in mind that just because congress said it, doesn’t make it so. Consider this opinion of the Supreme Court:
        The general misconception is that any statute passed by legislators bearing the appearance of law constitutes the law of the land. The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the land, and any statute, to be valid, must be in agreement. It is impossible for both the Constitution and a law violating it to be valid; one must prevail. This is succinctly stated as follows:
        The general rule is that an unconstitutional statute, though having the form and name of law, is in reality no law, but is wholly void, and ineffective for any purpose; since unconstitutionality dates from the time of its enactment, and not merely from the date of the decision so branding it.
        An unconstitutional law, in legal contemplation, is as inoperative as if it had never been passed. Such a statute leaves the question that it purports to settle just as it would be had the statute not been enacted.
        Since an unconstitutional law is void, the general principals follow that it imposes no duties, confers no rights, creates no office, bestows no power or authority on anyone, affords no protection, and justifies no acts performed under it . . .
        A void act cannot be legally consistent with a valid one.
        An unconstitutional law cannot operate to supersede any existing valid law.
        Indeed, insofar as a statute runs counter to the fundamental law of the land, it is superseded thereby.
        No one is bound to obey an unconstitutional law and no courts are bound to enforce it.
        – Sixteenth American Jurisprudence, Second Edition, Section 177. (late 2nd Ed. Section 256)
        Keep this in mind when your friends and family, or your elected officials tell you that “it’s the law, you have to.” If that law is arbitrary to the constitution, if it renders you subject to illegal or unconstitutional laws and acts it is in fact, null and void. Keep this in mind when the courts rule in favor of corporate interests knowingly violating the rights and protections afforded the people as described in the Constitution. Almost without exception, every law that has been passed by one administration and congress after another in the last twenty years has substantially violated and reduced the rights of Americans.
        One of the gravest mistakes made by Americans today is the mistake of assuming that because congress passed a piece of legislation and the president signed it, the violations of rights and liberties, the assaults on the American people under the guise of [national security] or other created crisis are justified or legal.
        You have guaranteed rights only so long as you defend them from encroachment by the government.”

  16. Duncan20903 says:


    There are people who would actually argue that cannabis is more dangerous than opioids?

    NM Medical Board proposing new rules for medical marijuana program

    By Jeffery Gordon

    New Mexico’s Medical Board is proposing new rules for doctors who certify patients for the state’s medical marijuana program.

    The board says the changes would remind doctors and providers to use the same protocols to prescribe narcotic pain relievers when certifying someone for medical marijuana.

    The board says this is an effort to clear the confusion of the provider’s role in the process.

    Critics argue it is not the same.

    They say since medical marijuana is not FDA approved they cannot prescribe Marijuana.

    Oh wait, I’m just being silly. They’re just going to argue form over substance. I guess that makes it okey-dokey.

    Sheesh, who’da thunk that there was any confusion in New Mexico? I’ve been under the impression that this State had the best balanced State level medicinal cannabis patient protection law. Though I’m kind of embarrassed to say that they gained that status in my mind because I hardly ever hear about the program in my news searches. In the last year I’ve heard more controversy over medicinal cannabis in Idaho and Florida. I am discounting the active controversy over whether that State should pass a proposed medicinal cannabis patient protection law.

    Invisible evidence is dangerous stuff. It’s a significant contributer to confirmation bias. For example, there’s all those people who aren’t menacing our highways because they aren’t out driving while cannabis addled because cannabis is illegal. If you believe that then you need to remember to send $25 of cash money to me at this address by the end of the month.

  17. Well for what its worth, I have come to the conclusion after reading all this that abolishing the ONDCP is the only sane thing to do and would be a real first step in ending – the real war on drugs.

    Appointing anyone else to a department dedicated to continuing prohibition into perpetuity is nothing more than a continuation of the drug war itself. Obama needs to abolish the ONDCP. If he doesn’t, congress should. Anything else is showmanship and rhetoric.

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