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April 2021
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Is Joe Biden an old dog?

It’s said old dogs can’t learn new tricks, or not as easily. So does the old dog rule apply to President Joe Biden? Will Joe learn any new tricks? On May 6, 2021, the President is expected to renew a Trump drug policy that enhances criminal penalties for illicit possession or sales of fentanyl and its chemical analogs. It includes mandatory minimum sentences reminiscent of the crack era:

…according to Premal Dharia, executive director of the Institute to End Mass Incarceration …“We must stop repeating historical choices that we know do not work and start working toward building health and flourishing communities for all,” Dharia said.

Dharia and other advocates said the crackdown on fentanyl-like compounds mirrors the crackdown on crack cocaine in Black communities. Like the fentanyl crackdown, the crackdown on crack was also fueled by sensational media reports and led to massive disparities in sentencing between Black people involved with crack and white people involved with powder cocaine.

“Once again, with fentanyl, people of color are being disproportionately policed and incarcerated just as they were with crack, and with a punitive approach based in fear and misinformation,” Taifa said.

The Biden administration has hinted that it may be open to diverging somewhat from the drug war and embracing harm reduction, […]

The Biden administration has done little or nothing to promote harm reduction or drug law reform since he began office, preferring instead to defend and repeat the drug war’s legacy of error and failure. This is where the old dogs and new tricks theory could prove useful.

Congress should consider creating a new federal research facility. It can be called the Joe Biden National Institute of Old Dogs Research. Drug sniffer dogs nearing retirement would be redeployed into its research programs to determine more efficient and effective ways to teach them new tricks, like detecting tree diseases in avocado orchards, or identifying people infected with COVID-19. Any new and successful training techniques discovered by researchers that help old sniffer dogs learn might then be applied to retraining the President and his group of drug war advisors.

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3 comments to Is Joe Biden an old dog?

  • Carlyle Moulton

    Every nation has underclasses that must be controlled. The main mechanism of control is the criminal law so every nation needs laws that provide lots of discretion to the law and police to concentrate enforcement on the underclass.

    Any law against normal human behaviour serves this purpose.

    Use of mind altering drugs is normal human behaviour and when a drug is illegal so many breaches of the law occur that no law enforcement can afford resources to solve more than a tiny fraction of them. In such cases skewing enforcement to “high crime areas” which in fact means where the underclass lives can happen without society noticing how discriminatory it is.

    The result of the skewing is a high drug conviction rate for members of the underclass which proves that they are excessive in drug use but it is the over-policing as much as their excess drug use that causes the the perception that they are a severe drug problem and justifies longer sentences for the drugs that they use and for any drug use a member of the underclass will be treated worse at every stage of the prosecution process than will a member of respectable classes and the relative imprisonment rates will allow respectable people to consider them unworthy undermen on whom government should not waste resources in ways that would benefit them, police & prisons OK, effective education not so much.

    People use drugs for many reasons and different people for different reasons and some people for different reasons. Recreational use is harmless unless it leads to addiction and crime or contact with the justice system.

    For an underclass person contact with criminal justice is a disaster and can lead to a downward spiral into progressivly worse conditions. Breaches of the drug laws and only the drug laws lead to loss of access to government benefits such as welfare education and housing.

    The justification for the drug laws is that drugs cause harm and misery but I believe causality goes both ways, misery causes drug use. The normal state of mind of a member of the underclass is pretty bleak and only drugs make it tolerable including legal drugs like alcohol.

    We should introduce THE TERM HARM MAXIMIZATION POLICY to describe the war on some chemical substances.

    One effect of the war is to switch users and traffickers to stronger drugs as with a stronger drug a certain amount of effect is more easily concealed. The laws actually resulted in the breeding of high potency marijuana and it is obvious that since it a hundred times as effective traffickers will switch to fentanyl but since traffickers mixing may not be very uniform it will result in more deaths.Steeper punishment with fentanyl will not curb its use unless less strong opiates are legalized so there is a choice.

    There are many opiates and they have many very different effects, one should not assume that an analogue of fentanyl has the same effect as fentanyl, in fact some may turn out to be valuable like methadone or naloxone.

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