They just don’t make them like John Walters anymore

Drug enforcement is not racist by John P. Walters and David W. Murray.

Yep, that John Walters. The former drug czar, and subject of hundreds of drug warrant postings. And yes, he and David Murray are arguing that the drug war isn’t racist.

His argument construction is truly masterful in its evil obfuscation.

Note where he tries to take you. From “the drug war is not racist” to this explanation:

A 2008 study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found that fewer than 0.3 percent of those incarcerated in state prison (which is where most US inmates are incarcerated) are there for simple marijuana-possession offenses — and many of those have just “pled down” from more serious offenses.

Wow. I’ve seen others misuse the state prison argument, but none to this degree. Of course, the drug war is way, way more than simple marijuana-possession offenses, and, of course, simple marijuana-possession offenses are not likely to end up specifically in state prison, but that doesn’t mean that the hundreds of thousands arrested each year for it are not harmed. Note the “which is where most US inmates are incarcerated” line, which is intended to make you think that anything else is an insignificant aspect to the argument.

Are African-Americans targeted victims of the drug laws? No — race is not the driver of “disparate impact.”

This is also fascinating. The drug war is racist because of its impact, not necessarily because of conscious effort on the part of all those enforcing. But here, he uses one aspect in the question, and a different one in the answer, making it seem like they follow when they don’t.

Walters was really good at this kind of paragraph construction when he was drug czar. He’d place disconnected statements next to each other in a way to make you think there was a connection between them.

Read the rest of his piece and see how he uses this in many of his arguments (also pay particular attention to words like “associated with” and “linked,” as well as his use of the perfect solution fallacy). Analyzing his writing is good practice for us.

Walters has definitely been consistent as a manipulative sadomoralist, even going back to his early days, when he was co-author of “Body Count: Moral Poverty.. and How to Win America’s War Against Crime and Drugs” with William J. Bennett and John J. DiIulio, Jr.

In some strange way, I almost miss this evil genius. Today’s buffoons like Kevin Sabet really don’t hold a candle.

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28 Responses to They just don’t make them like John Walters anymore

  1. Mr_Alex says:

    It is racist, start looking at New Zealand, the war on cannabis arrest has a high statistic on maori and Asians and Europeans being arrested or incarcerated

  2. claygooding says:

    The entire history of hemp prohibition is steeped in racial bigotry and now it is being used to marginalize the very people the Tax Stamp Act was aimed at.
    The new Jim Crow is the war on drugs and John Walters is an idiot.

  3. Rick Steeb says:

    Anyone who has put the strings “beet field peon” and “white man’s shadow” into a search engine knows full well the origin and purpose of the “drug war”. For Walters to deny its racist implementation and effects requires either blatant unconscionable dishonesty or life-threatening ignorance.

  4. darkcycle says:

    Absolutely cynical. He never fails to make my jaw drop with the blatant and incredible lies he tells and then DEFENDS.
    He is a “True Believer”, and sees no problem at all using manipulation, lies and violence to support his belief. He really believes that any means are justified.
    Dangerous man.

  5. N.T. Greene says:

    Perhaps Eric Hoffer (the man behind The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements) put it best:

    “The true believer is eternally incomplete, eternally insecure.”

    I recommend reading it if you haven’t. Same goes for Rules for Radicals.

    • N.T. Greene says:

      More from Hoffer:

      “The frustrated are also likely to be the most steadfast followers. It is remarkable, that, in a co-operative effort, the least self-reliant are the least likely to be discouraged by defeat. For they join others in a common undertaking not so much to ensure the success of a cherished project as to avoid an individual shouldering of blame in case of failure. When the common undertaking fails, they are still spared the one thing they fear most, namely, the showing up of their individual shortcomings. Their faith remains unimpaired and they are eager to follow in a new attempt…The frustrated follow a leader less because of their faith than because of their immediate feeling that he is leading them away from their unwanted selves. Surrender to a leader is not a means to an end but a fulfillment. Whither they are led is of secondary importance.”
      (section 94)

    • Jay Bergstrom says:

      Ya know, I’ve tried twice to read it, but just put in down in rage. Because it is me. I am a true believer of antiprohibitionism. (whew) Puts me in some weird company.

  6. Servetus says:

    John P. Walters’ writing is deliberately vague. He also seems to believe whatever bit of nonsense will make his point. There is a danger in believing your own hype.

    Gone are the details, relevant numbers, and any other information that would betray his intent, which is to cover up the fact that drug enforcement has always been used to subjugate targeted groups of people. Race, anti-intellectualism, socioeconomic status, belief or non-belief in a particular religion, or some combination thereof; there are no exceptions to this rule to be found in the history of prohibited drug consumption.

    For someone unfamiliar with the drug war and its collateral damage, Walters sounds reasonable. Walters is addressing the ignorant, not the educated. He knows drug savvy people see through him, but he doesn’t care. He’s not communicating with them. Instead, it’s all about Walters’ patriarchy and narcissism. He’s the designated high priest of prohibition. People are supposed to accept what John Walters says, because he’s John Walters.

  7. Jay Bergstrom says:

    Walters wrote this oped in the WA Times last week:

  8. DdC says:

    J. Pee Waldo oozes evil… I think if he spins around real fast he becomes Cheney or Rove or his mentor Billybob Bennett. As his friend, family and admirers call him. Ole Scum of the Earth. Gives parasite Bahá’u’lláh Kevin Abraham Sabet-Sharghi wet dreams. Filthy bugger.

    Americas New Drug Pusher (is) John P Walters
    – Just Say No to Walters
    – Prohibitionist Deceptions

  9. pfroehlich2004 says:

    Does Obama’s normalization of relations with Cuba have anyone else feeling optimistic?

    Two more years in office, I’m thinking maybe rescheduling has a shot at happening. Maybe even a mass pardon of all federal marijuana prisoners?

    • skootercat says:

      From Mr. Obama’s Cuba missive “we have been doing the same (wrong) for 40 years” I can not help but think cannabis prohibition is the same argument. You may be right PF. I hope you are.

  10. Matthew Meyer says:

    A couple points stood out for me. One was where Walters attempts to provide a link between his anti-pot stance and the racist backlash against those protesting police brutality by floating an argument parallel to the “blacks should stop killing each other” theme. Racial disparities in drug arrests come from racial disparities in drug use and dealing, he wants to say. “Uncle John wants you in his tent, and watch your pointy hat on the way in…”

    The other part that stood out is the last graf, where he joins the notion of “legalization” to the idea of “abandoning the police.” And of course, if we “abandon the police,” the thin blue line will disappear, and race war will ensue…

    Really very scary weaving of webs of hate.

  11. Servetus says:

    We’ve witnessed the malicious efforts of Dixiecrat John P. Walters to preserve Jim Crow. Compare Walters’ piece of trash-talk to Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s latest CNN video on marijuana called “This is your body on weed”. Other pot friendly videos follow it in sequence. Learn how to set up a marijuana bakery inside a racecar trailer.

    CNN finally figured out which way the wind blows. Truth and reality are refreshing things. It’s like taking a shower after suffering through an episode of Walters-speak.

  12. kaptinemo says:

    Aaaah! Holy Shite! There really are zombies! Just lookit: back from the political dead, there’s Johnny Pee, shambling about, arms forward, hands cupping specimen bottles, muttering “Piiiiissss……piiii-iiiss…..

    Hey, Johnny, while you’re up, how about coughing up the phone records between your former Number Two Andrea Barthwell and GW Pharma? Might make some interesting reading about how they met, and about how as a result of that meeting, the official dogma of all medicinal cannabis being a ‘cruel hoax’ (the party line of the day) was changed to only smoked medical cannabis being a ‘cruel hoax’.

    The ONDCP, since its inception, has been rife with scandal…and a lot of those scandals happened on his watch. Should some enterprising journalist take a good long look at its shenanigans, they’d find a treasure trove of similarly suspicious activity, even to today. Johnny should just shamble back under a rock; he dodged a political and social bullet once; he might not be so lucky this time with an electorate full of people who want cannabis legal again and who are not in the mood to be BSed by prohibs like him anymore.

    They’ve heard him before and as students had to listen; now, they’re not a captive audience..and they’re more than a little irritated with the presumption that people like him have license to insult the taxpayer’s intelligence perpetually, in office or out.

    Every referendum passed, every bill passed into law to re-legalize, is a honking big hatpin stuck in a prohib effigy…in places where it hurts. And those pins are being placed there with young hands jabbing them in with relish. Hands belonging to minds the prohibs arrogantly dismissed as being fundamentally vacant, tabula rasas, fit for their garbage programming.

    In the sweetest of ironies, the BSers forgot their own cardinal law against believing their own bilge, were BSed by their intended targets, and are now in shocked bewilderment publicly wondering why they lost the propaganda war for the hearts and minds of the future taxpayers needed to continue the gravy-train/con-game called prohibition.

    People like Johnny Pee is why. But, like vampires around mirrors, they can’t see that their overbearing, arrogant, mendacious selves are the source of their credibility problem.

  13. Francis says:

    Maybe I’m missing something, but isn’t the nature of the debate surrounding the racism of the drug war pretty telling? I mean, imagine that we were talking about an actual crime like murder. There, I think you’d have outrage if black murderers were arrested and convicted at a disproportionately low rate, because the focus would (quite properly) be on the murder victims. And because most murders are intra-racial, fewer arrests and convictions for black murderers would mean less justice for–and claims that “the police don’t care about”–black murder victims. Also, I don’t think you’d have many people complaining that the police were “disproportionately targeting whites for murder law violations.”

    Why are the drug laws any different? Ok, so black Americans are disproportionately likely to be arrested and incarcerated for drug law violations? Well, if you actually believe in the wisdom and justness of those laws, being arrested and incarcerated is what’s “supposed to” happen to people who violate them. And if you actually believe that “drug use isn’t a victimless crime,” then you’ve got to figure that the “victims” of black drug use are, for the most part, themselves black. And so, according to this view, disproportionate enforcement of drug laws against black Americans–even if it’s the result of deliberate “targeting”–is not something that black communities are being “victimized” by; to the contrary, they are the lucky beneficiaries of more robust and effective drug law enforcement. So why don’t more drug warriors make that argument? Well, probably because it’s obviously bullshit, and on some level, even they know it.

    • free radical says:

      Right! I can back that up by saying that of all the prohibitionists I’ve talked to, I’ve never heard any of the white ones complaining that white people are getting less drug enforcement than black and brown people. But they’ll happily maintain that the drug war isn’t racist.

  14. claygooding says:

    Grassley,,our new Chair on the Judicial Committee has complained that Obama’s lax marijuana policy is causing more teenagers to use marijuana while the latest statistics show that to be a lie.

    Luckily the headline started with” Republican Senator Says Obama Administration’s “Pro-Marijuana” Messages Promote Teen Drug Use”
    so the impact of another Republican hating Obama won’t carry much impact.

    My comment at the article:
    Here is everyone’s answer on whether the corporations that bought the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act in 1937 were ready to give up their guaranteed profits as long as hemp can be kept off the open market,,this is the new Chairman of the Judicial Committee,,,any questions of whether any bill will ever reach the floor for debate has been answered.
    All the smoke and mirrors as Congress acts like they are actually going to do something about marijuana prohibition is countermanded by putting a bought and paid for prohibitionist in charge of law reform decisions.


    I’m a salesman, and I sell propaganda and fear to serve the interests of the powerful colonial elite.

    I operate beyond logic and truth and specialize in idealist fervor that encourages the enlistment of brain-dead prohibitionists because it’s a GREAT BUSINESS MODEL and protector of investor wealth and well-being.

    My name is Johnny Pee Smell and what I worry about is an America that understands this one thing:


    You want to talk about getting HIGH? You know what’s a great high, selling LIES as truth. Getting paid to HATE those things and people my sick ideology demands is freaking AWESOME. Come join me and the Hudson Institute in bringing drug-war lies to your community today!

  16. darkcycle says:

    Launching off topic here, but this is just too good not to share.
    It looks like the very first business transaction to take place on the world wide web was….wait for it…a marijuana deal. While it is not in the least surprising, it is quite a revelation. Yup, us amotivational, do nothing, perennial parental couch occupants will never do anything of note.

  17. thelbert says:

    here’s a story about drug court secrecy:

  18. Duncan20903 says:


    I sure that Mr. Walters would be the first to point out that some of his most foaming at the mouth prohibitionists are black. In my little part of America the problem in selling racism in the drug war war is that a lot of people have a hard time thinking that black people could be racist against other black people. So far I’ve only met one person who doesn’t have a problem with the idea and that includes myself. Hey, he’s black, go figure that one out.

    But I’ve got no problem with thinking that Mr. Walters hasn’t got a racist bone in his body. Every speck of inner space in his body that could accommodate hatred is spent on his hatred of “(some) drugs” users. But then as much as I despise the man I’ve never once thought that he wasn’t/isn’t absolutely genuine.

    • darkcycle says:

      I wouldn’t say that African Americans who support the drug war are “racist”. They see the disparities. The problems are, as I’ve pointed out, muti-fold. The African Americans who believe that tripe are those who think that it’s drugs that help keep the African American population down. That idea is there not in a small part because the propaganda has been inculcated so completely. It can also be laid in large part to the Baptist Church. But those leaders of the African American community who still blame drugs (and not poverty, systemic racism and the American class mentality)are a dwindling minority.
      It is really entrenched propaganda, and misplaced loyalty to a system in which the Church and community are embedded.

  19. Mr_Alex says:

    What that former drug czar did not point out is a single cannabis conviction is life damaging and it is enough to kill off the convicted persons immigration and career prospect

  20. mike says:

    Right on Clay.

    A good thought directed to Willie Nelson make Cannabis the centerpiece of Farmaid 15.
    Show the need for new farm machinery creating many new jobs.
    The value added products are growing all the time,challenging everyone to join in.

    The idea of keeping small farms is worth working for.
    Launch a X Prize for the most efficient use of hemp to make a railroad car as strong but half the weight of one now.
    Show as many products as possible most of the people
    have very little idea of what is being made today from
    hemp or could be.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      The problem is that hemp will cost jobs, not create them. Where did you think the demand for these railroad cars just as strong but half the weight is going to come from? Half the weight will mean that the rails on which the railroad car rides will last much longer.

      With all due respect for Jack Herer I won’t argue the existence of a “conspiracy” to use stuff other than hemp back in the 1930s. Heck, I’ll even presume that it was real for the sake of argument. In the 1930s the industries which “conspired” against hemp were speculative; after all, the argument requires the presumption that these competitor industries would have failed if forced to compete against hemp, right? So the conspiracy was successful and these competitor industries flourished since there was no hemp to put them out of business. The result is that there isn’t a single industrial application for hemp which doesn’t have a more expensive, less durable competitor. How about if we look at cotton for this argument?

      It wasn’t long ago that I realized that my backpack made with hemp was 20 years old. It’s a rather remarkable piece of work. Not only has it lasted for over 2 decades, it still has some of that new fabric sheen. There’s no noticeable wear and tear, no holes, even the stitching is still remarkably tight. Yes, my friend, I use that thing regularly. It’s where I keep my swimming gear, and I do swim regularly. Some weeks so frequently that I don’t take a single shower at home. Sure, the durability is great for the consumer but there are two sides to every balance sheet. Were my backpack made from cotton I think it reasonable to presume that I’d have moved on to my third backpack with the other 2 just disintegrating from wear and tear. Somebody didn’t get paid to make those two cotton backpacks. Somebody didn’t get paid to grow the cotton for those 3 backpacks. Just as an extra bonus cotton grown for industry requires some fairly heavy duty insecticides and the growers appear to prefer chemical fertilizer. None of that is needed to grow hemp for industry.

      As a result a couple of boatloads of jobs just disappear. Some factories just close down. Their equipment and buildings become worthless virtually overnight. Are you starting to get the idea why I think we’d have been better off if Jack had never put together and publish his conspiracy theory? The argument requires the belief that people entered into a speculative conspiracy in order to build an industrial infrastructure worth in excess of a $trillion. So what, these same people aren’t going to put even more effort into protecting their now very real industrial infrastructure?

      • Duncan20903 says:


        Interesting, 2 people disapprove of reality but don’t explain why. Not that it’s any surprise. Most of the people on our side of the table have no clue how the economy works. One of my most significant cross eyed bears.

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