It’s time this drug ‘war’ ended

Even though the administration of President Obama has championed “change” as its hallmark, many of its domestic policy and funding programs reflect more a “continuation” of the big spending ways of his predecessor. However, in the area of drug control policy, early signs are that Obama is serious about charting a new course — and a better one.

Barely moved into his office in the nation’s capitol, Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, more commonly known as the office of the “drug czar,” signaled a bold change in direction and emphasis in the federal government’s long-running anti-drug program. In one of his first public statements, Kerlikowske officially jettisoned the term “War on Drugs” to describe the federal effort to combat mind-altering drugs. The short-hand nomenclature had been in common usage since 1971, when then-President Nixon first attached the term to the national anti-drug program.

Kerlikowske’s law enforcement career began in Florida in the second year of the “war” he now plans to alter and took him to police chief in Seattle in 2001, where he stayed until being sworn in as drug czar. Despite his strong law enforcement credentials, Kerlikowske will not have an easy job of shifting the direction of the massive and costly anti-drug effort directed from Washington. For four decades, the primary focus of the federal anti-drug effort has been enforcement, interdiction and incarceration as opposed to demand reduction, prevention and treatment.

The figures on the allocation of the nearly $15 billion dedicated directly to the federal anti-drug effort in the current 2009 fiscal year illustrate the magnitude of the task facing Kerlikowske. Fully two-thirds of that amount is consumed by enforcement, interdiction and international activities; only one-third goes toward treatment and prevention. Obama’s preliminary requests for the 2010 budget barely change those ratios.

Still, the signal Kerlikowske is sending in the deceptively simple vocabulary shift away from the war rhetoric is important. Although his agency has no enforcement power, it helps set the president’s “policies, priorities and objectives” in this arena. If Kerlikowske is in fact reflecting Obama’s priorities, and, more importantly, if the president is willing to back him up, then true change may indeed be in the offing for the government’s drug program, and change is long overdue.

Regardless of whether one is a “drug warrior” or a “drug legalizer,” it is difficult if not impossible to defend the 38-year war on drugs as a success. Illicit drugs are every bit as easy to score on America’s streets and in her schools now as they were more than three decades ago. Last year, just under 84 percent of 12th-graders considered that marijuana was “very easy” or “fairly easy” to obtain; virtually the same as in a 1975 survey.

America’s prisons continue to burst at the seams with drug offenders, who are serving longer and longer sentences (thanks in part to mandatory sentence terms which came into vogue in the 1980s). While the country’s population was increasing by 46 percent from 1970 to 2007, our prison population exploded by 547 percent. The lion’s share of that huge increase is the result of drug and drug-related arrests, which soared by a factor of 14 from 1968 to 2007. The direct cost to America’s taxpayers of housing this prison population is staggering, with the Bureau of Prisons’ budget mushrooming more than 740 percent since 1971, to more than $5.5 billion.

More important than the monetary cost of this multidecade effort, however, is the human cost. If Obama and Kerlikowske are indeed serious about refocusing not only rhetoric but action toward demand reduction (and focusing the enforcement effort on violent criminal activities), then the years ahead might actually witness some true successes in keeping our nation’s youth off mind-altering drugs.

73 comments Add your comment

Jon

May 25th, 2009
7:20 am

I just hope that ending the war on drugs is not a power-grab by the administration. Call me crazy, but I can see this president calling for the care of all drug addicts. If they can’t tke care of themselves, who else but the federal government could help them out. I am in favor of ending this war, I just hope it’s not one less government program in exchange for 2 more.

Terry

May 25th, 2009
8:26 am

We no longer need this war (read Job Program) since we have a newer, much more expensive one, the Job Program on Terror. The Job Program on Climate Change is also ramping up nicely.

Just curious though, how many families have been destroyed by this phony war?

Matt

May 25th, 2009
8:50 am

I agree. Our justifying much of what is done as a ‘war’ on the front lines is only bolstering power of the underground thugs successful at bribery and other corruption. The problem is not going away, only getting worse. On the back end, too many non-violent ‘criminals’ being pursued and incarcerated in a pseudo rehab and public housing front. We need to address the problem in the light of day, regulate and tax massively on the consumer end and regulate the distribution. I don’t want my kids being solicited by back of the school yard pushers – I saw this 25 years ago and I hear about it today. I agree with Jon, this needs to be done carefully so we don’t end up with a flood of additional government assistance.

Michael H. Smith

May 25th, 2009
9:20 am

a “continuation” of the big spending ways of his predecessor?

Nah, no one can top Obumer when it comes to bigger spending than has ever before happened in the history of this country, from George W the first to hopefully George W the last. Obumer will go down in the pages of history as having spent more money than of all the Presidents’ combined including Jimmy Carter and oh yeah George the last W.
No doubt Obumer and Company is on a power grab, one that leaves even Dick Cheney in a state of shock and awe.

Onto drugs, a Libertarian dream plank: America can handle drugs Bob Barr! Man has America ever handled drugs. Like no other nation on this earth we American have handled drugs. To my good liberal-tarian one toke over the line friends, a better sale promotion that does justice to the truth and advertising clause would be, “America can mishandle Drugs”.

America really does not have a drug problem in all honesty. We have the best drugs and the most drugs of any country. It’s more the addiction problem we can’t deal with and the acceptance thereof.

When as much emphasis is put on making drug use, especially the illegal drug use SOCIALLY UNACCEPTABLE, as has been placed on cigarette smoking, then and only then, will the tides turn on addressing the drug addiction issue. Just saying no really does not work to reduce consumption of drugs; neither will legalization, nor will alternatives to present drug treatment programs produce more than minimal results. Like it or not, admit it or not, as most of us don’t and won’t, negative peer pressure does work were other social remedies fail – Et al the campaign against tobacco use.

However, don’t look for focusing the enforcement effort on violent criminal activities. Obumer and Company has all but wilted on the vine in that area and America has only become less safe because of that miserable failure as a matter of nation security. In fact, Obumer and company again, even more so than his predecessors, has become the “Great Enabler n’ Chief” of enhanced violent drug criminal activities via a call for the renewal of the failed AWB (despite the debunking of the 90% claim), a failure to secure our nation’s border with Mexico as it is known from where, in very point of fact, the transporting of 80% of all illegal drugs that enter this country originates;
and a failure to enforce the immigration laws of this country against an illegal alien population that provides cover and camouflage for violent drug dealing narco-terrorists activities to continue through a network of street gangs established in well over 200 American cities as reported.

StevenCee

May 25th, 2009
1:23 pm

First off, hats off to Bob Barr; I only wish more in the public arena had the courage to speak out against this hopelessly failed 40 year “war on drugs”…

Perhaps lost in the flurry of political rhetoric flying around these comments, is the simple realization that once we end this futile, costly, & self-destructive “war on drugs”, or more accurately, “Prohibition Pt.2″, many other current challenges & circumstances will also be altered.

The border with Mexico does serve as the primary conduit of illegal drugs, it will never, even with the US Army on our borders, be stopped. As a drug cartel member told CNN recently, “as long as there is the huge profit in drugs”, they’ll keep on coming. Whether it’s boats, planes, tunnels, or simply paying off a local sheriff, they’ll come, and along with the drugs, the violent, murderous gangs who profit from them.

I’d suggest people do two things to really get the real picture:
1. Spend even a little time reading up on the history of the first attempt at Prohibition, see how it only exacerbated the problems it attempted to solve, created the rise of violent, powerful criminal gangs, & in many ways, so damaged society that even those who supported it, wanted it to end.

2. Go to the website: http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com
This organization, LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), made up of many present & former local, county, & state cops, federal agents, local, state & federal DAs, as well as judges, politicians, & commentators & think tanks from ALL sides of the political spectrum, offers a wealth of information & reasoned arguments on this issue. Obviously, these are veterans from the front lines of this 40 year “war”, and their credibility should not be overlooked, and the fact that most of them are not drug-users as well, speaks to the lack of subjective agenda involved in their viewpoints…

If we took the illegal drug trade off the table, it would immediately dry up the funding all these criminal gangs have thrived on, as well as save (& even bring in) billions of dollars & allow thousands of law enforcement officers to turn their attention to cracking down on violent criminals, instead of drug-users & nickel-&-dime street dealers…..

RetLTC

May 25th, 2009
1:44 pm

Jon, the greatest power grab and threat to our freedom in the history of this country was perpetrated by the Bush administration when they created the Department of Homeland Security. That kind of centralized control of so many functions allows for the appointment of one political lackey willing to do the will of the administration in power. THe Department of Homeland Security is nothing more than a homegrown gestapo poised to unleash it’s full power against us. We are their enemy. In their minds we are all “terrorists”.

Lee

May 25th, 2009
2:04 pm

It is said that the two groups who were most adament about not ending prohibition were the bootleggers and the cops.

ANYTIME you prohibit a product, whether it is booze, drugs, guns, or whatever, you create a profit motive and there will be someone who will fill that demand. In layman’s terms, congratulations, you just created a black market.

It’s really that simple.

Michael H. Smith

May 25th, 2009
2:34 pm

The drugs will never stop coming across the border so as long as “the corruption” in our government remains in place that profits from the illegal drug trade. Make no doubt the U.S. border with Mexico can be secured if the will to do it existed without the corruption that prevents it and assures that it will never happen.

The high tone rhetoric that says the legalization and taxation of drugs will solve the all problems related to illegal drugs has the empirical facts of history weighing heavily against that argument – Et al the problems related to and associated with, Alcohol and Tobacco legalization and taxation in this country. And, the cops are still dealing with nickel & dime street drunks killing people that say they can hold their liqueur and handle their drug, alcohol.

Americans can definitely handle drugs but they will never be responsible enough to handle their addictions. Until we Americans can handle our addictions to what are now illegal drugs I will remain ardently against legalization and never laud anyone for supporting such actions.

Michael H. Smith

May 25th, 2009
2:50 pm

The greatest power grab and threat to our freedom in the history of this country was perpetrated by the Bush administration “when they” created the Department of Homeland Security?

Whoa! Lets do a little fact checking on that claim. If memory serves correctly the Democrats wanted DHS created. Correct me if I’m wrong but I do believe that is the case in fact. Though your assessment of the appointment of one political lackey, as fits the current head of DHS, I would be totally in agreement.

Larry

May 25th, 2009
3:26 pm

Imagine your neighbor has a huge hornets nest in a tree right next to your yard. Your kids get stung by the hornets everytime they go outside. You ask the neighbor to knock down the nest and kill all the hornets and they refuse. You have 2 choices. Let your kids get stung, try to swat and kill each hornet as you see them, treat the stings and repeat each time they go outside OR go over to your neighbor’s yard, without permission, and knock down the nest and kill all the hornets. Easy choice right. Apply this to the drugs flying over the border and stinging our kids. Kill the source and you stop the drugs.

StevenCee

May 25th, 2009
6:40 pm

Michael the facts of drug decriminalization show conclusively (see Holland, Canada, & recently Portugal: http://rawstory.com/news/2008/Portugals_drug_decriminalization_bizarrely_underappreciated_Greenwald_0406.html) that it leads to far less problems. And what problems we have with alcohol today are still way less than had Prohibition been allowed to remain in place for nearly a hundred years!

Larry, your analogy doesn’t quite work so well. The “source” is not in one place, and the means of moving shipments into the US are far too numerous to adequately rein in. For one, pot grows about anywhere, including indoors, and we have not only the Mexican border, but a few thousand miles of border with Canada, as well as thousands of miles of coastlines. If our forces in Iraq have not even been able to stop the flow of infiltrators coming from Iran & Syria, how can we ever expect to halt all flow of anything?

As for Americans not being able to handle our drugs, well, we don’t handle our guns very well either, but there’s no call to make them illegal, “guns don’t kill people, people do”, and just as true, “drugs don’t kill people, people do”. So, will America ever become consistent with it’s beliefs, or will we always employ double standards & condone hypocrisy, due to emotional reactions, or our personal feelings?

Michael H. Smith

May 25th, 2009
9:00 pm

Good luck on clearing away the commonly shared world wide hypocrisy of humanity and America is not Holland which now regrets having legalized street drugs, among other things. So I’m not buying the argument on how successful Holland has been with drug legalization and the liberalizing of social standards. America is about as consistent as any nation with its’ beliefs, double standards & condoning of hypocrisies due to emotions, personal disposition or whatever else. America bashing gets nothing from me but disdain. But, Holland is one place that does make taxation in America look beautiful in comparison.

As for pot growing: The U.S. is one of the best places in the world to grow Hemp, actually better than Mexico. Prior to WWII the Hemp Industry in this country was a major player and even during the war Hemp was the source of many needed items that supported the winning war effort. If not for the THC found in Hemp it would be still grown in the U.S. for the many other benefits and products the Hemp plant can provide.

Guns don’t kill people, people do, is true but guns will never be able to alter a person’s mind or physically control the body of an individual like drugs do and that is why guns remain legal. As for the legal OTC drugs alcohol and tobacco there are no good arguments other than it usually takes them longer to kill and deliver the negative social effects as opposed to most illegal street drugs; even though eventual because they too are addictive the end results can be about the same. So why would anyone rationalize saying give us more of the things that addict us and eventually can kill us when the two legal OTC drugs we have in America is more than bad enough to deal with absent a 100% sure-fire cure for the addictions to them?

Take it for what it is worth Steve, you’ll not see illegal street drugs legalized on a national basis in this country, ever again. Based solely on the empirical evidence of the history of drugs and drug abuse in this country.

jt

May 25th, 2009
10:45 pm

M. Smith- You asked.-

“So why would anyone rationalize saying give us more of the things that addict us and eventually can kill us when the two legal OTC drugs we have in America is more than bad enough to deal with absent a 100% sure-fire cure for the addictions to them?”

Most of us grow up and don’t need their MOMMY anymore.

Michael H. Smith

May 25th, 2009
11:41 pm

Oh, now I’m impressed. Can’t give a rational answer so an irrational cheap shot is all you can post? :)

The REAL GodHatesTrash, Superstar

May 26th, 2009
6:53 am

Actuallly, Colonel, most of the rightwingnutters on the AJC blogs are dupes and sheep, way too stupid to be dangerous to anyone else except maybe their poor families.

Billy Bob

May 26th, 2009
9:21 am

StevenCee,

Drugs like opium (heroin) and cocaine were legal in this country prior to the twentieth century. They were even an ingredient in that venerable local beverage that I won’t name. The drugs were legal, used often but created a culture of self destruction that society deemed unacceptable. Ultimately the opium dens were closed and cocaine use made illegal.

So make your arguments about legalizing drugs but they’ll fall on (my) deaf ears. We’ve been there and done that. What we need is a very public campaign that reveals the murders, kidnappings and gang violence CAUSED BY drug users. Casual snorters, tokers and similar vermin. They are all part of the conspiracy and they need to know it. Don’t talk to me about how you’re helping society by volunteering for ‘Habitat for Humanity’ and then degrade all societies by using.

Communities require sacrifice and this is where the “rubber meets the road.”

DJPCPS

May 26th, 2009
9:31 am

I just wonder where Bob Barr’s sudden revelation came from – his stance on the Drug War was one of the reasons the Libertarian party worked so hard to defeat him in his last bid for re-election. HMMM, he’s no longer in office, and suddenly he realizes the Drug War is contrary to the Constitution????

Erik

May 26th, 2009
9:36 am

Minus the rhetoric, the real question is, why is it easier for a teenager to get illegal drugs than alcohol or tobacco. Hint, it might have something to do with your local dealer not asking for ID before a sale.

Billy Bob

May 26th, 2009
9:44 am

And so my fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country. -JFK

Billy Bob

May 26th, 2009
9:49 am

Erik, (counter-hint) it’s not just teenagers who don’t need to self-destruct. Requiring an ID to use just limits the age when you get to use. Even then, what’s to keep people from continuing to supply teenagers illegally?

PMC

May 26th, 2009
9:51 am

A logical approach to combating drug use can only be a positive change for the better.

Whattheheck

May 26th, 2009
10:00 am

i dont understand why the government doesnt, subversively, introduce a line of drugs into the marketplace that make people really, really sick or cause hormonal imbalances. just think, if you were a teenager, would you take a drug that may make your “you know what” shrink?

Whattheheck

May 26th, 2009
10:00 am

as clarification to my earlier post, i meant to introduce a line into the current drugs, i.e. taint the current drugs in the market.

Tina

May 26th, 2009
10:12 am

So much of this is untrue, it’s hard to know where to start. In the states, the vast majority of people convicted for felony drug possession (not trafficking) do not go to prison. Those that do almost universally have other charges or recidivist records. For simple possession, the justice system already operates almost exclusively as a diversion/treatment program, for better or worse — often worse, and often at the expense of neighborhoods that are forced to house repeat offenders who get out of jail on burglary and car theft charges because they say they are addicts in court. I’m sure Barr’s neighborhood is not under assault because of this policy, but others are. To demand that the courts become what they already are is disingenuous. Those drug offenders who end up serving time are almost universally traffickers and recidivist, dangerous armed felons — is this who you want to let free? The federal system is similarly selective, though the sentencing is more strict.

Just because somebody is in possession of drugs doesn’t mean that that is the only reason they are being prosecuted. They hysteria over our prisons being stuffed with non-violent pot smokers is just that: hysteria. And if you actually look at arrests and prosecutions, you will see that it takes a lot more than a possession charge — or a DUI — or ten of either — to end up in prison.

sd

May 26th, 2009
10:22 am

I agree with Mr. Barr. (There is something I would never have thought I’d write 10 years ago)

The arbitrary lines that we have drawn as to whats illegal and whats not has confused Americans. More people are becoming hooked on legal drugs than ever. Especially prescription opiates. This is because people tend to think of them as socially more acceptable. If there was no illegal/legal line but rather differing lines of regulatory influence, this would negate that perception.

Further, pfizer and Merck, as imperfect as they may be have never hit innocent bystanders with bullets over a turf war like the current bunch of suppliers we have of these drugs.

sd

May 26th, 2009
10:54 am

“Drugs like opium (heroin) and cocaine were legal in this country prior to the twentieth century.”

Drugs like heroin are legal NOW. Its called Oxycotin and its every where.

The legality/illegality of drugs seems to have little effect on the availability of those drugs.

You can get just about any drug you want today, whether its legal or illegal. The only difference is who you have to deal with. You can either deal with a shady doctor who is not likely to shoot you, or a street thug who might. So legality and illegality only make it more or less dangerous to aquire what you want. It certainly doesn’t prohibit you from getting whatever you desire.

williebkind

May 26th, 2009
11:03 am

All of you are just talk! Just like Barr! If you make the illegal drug penalties costly and confine those who break the laws, there would be less use.

You complain about over crowded jails or such but high penalties would pay for itself in the long term. However, if we catch Mr Barr’s grandchildren doing cocaine they do not get a “get out of jail pass”. My research shows that it is the higher income families who are using these drugs with the lower income families using marijuana.

So do not blame any administration but rather groups like the ACLU who wants everyone high, naked, and having sex with eachother.

Copyleft

May 26th, 2009
11:24 am

“groups like the ACLU who wants everyone high, naked, and having sex with eachother.”

LOL… you say that like it’s a BAD thing!

sd

May 26th, 2009
11:25 am

“My research shows that it is the higher income families who are using these drugs with the lower income families using marijuana. ”

You ever hear of meth? Crack?

And we have tried and tried to make the penalties tougher to lessen use. It hasn’t worked. Prohibition has failed. They have been fighting this war a long time. In fact, Nixon coined the term war on drugs. We have spent a lot of money on it. Yet, you can still get anything you want any time you want.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 26th, 2009
1:01 pm

Copyleft, you wrote: LOL… you say that like it’s a BAD thing!

NOT AT ALL!!!!!! IT MEANS THAT LIBERAL MEN AND WOMEN WILL DIE OF AN STD OR DRUG OVERDOSE A LOT FASTER! HA HA HA

Copyleft

May 26th, 2009
1:25 pm

I see the impotent screaming continues from our resident raving lunatic… seriously, Maniac, try to relax a little!

The liberals are right; your views have been discredited; and the country’s a better place for it. More importantly, there’s nothing you can do about it, so RELAX.

Mrs. Norris

May 26th, 2009
1:51 pm

Yeah Billy Bob, the 19th century was rife with drug use. What a wild time! I’m glad we don’t have a drug problem like they did in the 19th century.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 26th, 2009
2:02 pm

Copyleft, my views? You have no idea who I am or what my views are. The country is in deeper dept, unemployment is higher than it has been in 28 years, three countries are about to get the nuke and Islamic Terrorists have a new ally in Obama. Yep, my views are totally irrelevant!

I want people to have jobs, don’t want terrorist with a nuke and hate debt. Yep, I guess your views are better than mine. Moron.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 26th, 2009
2:04 pm

Looks like California, the most liberal state in the union, is against gay buttsex marriage. Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwe. TOO BAD!

California high court upholds gay marriage ban

SAN FRANCISCO – The California Supreme Court upheld a voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage Tuesday, but it also decided that the estimated 18,000 gay couples who tied the knot before the law took effect will stay wed.

The 6-1 decision written by Chief Justice Ron George rejected an argument by gay rights activists that the ban revised the California constitution’s equal protection clause to such a dramatic degree that it first needed the Legislature’s approval.

The court said the people have a right, through the ballot box, to change their constitution.

“In a sense, petitioners’ and the attorney general’s complaint is that it is just too easy to amend the California constitution through the initiative process. But it is not a proper function of this court to curtail that process; we are constitutionally bound to uphold it,” the ruling said.

The announcement of the decision set off an outcry among a sea of demonstrators who had gathered in front of the San Francisco courthouse awaiting the ruling. Holding signs and many waving rainbow flags, they chanted “shame on you.” Many people also held hands in a chain around an intersection in an act of protest.

Gay rights activists immediately promised to resume their fight, saying they would go back to voters as early as next year in a bid to repeal Proposition 8.

The split decision provided some relief for the 18,000 gay couples who married in the brief time same-sex marriage was legal last year but that wasn’t enough to dull the anger over the ruling that banned gay marriage.

“It’s not about whether we get to stay married. Our fight is far from over,” said Jeannie Rizzo, 62, who was one of the lead plaintiffs along with her wife, Polly Cooper. “I have about 20 years left on this earth, and I’m going to continue to fight for equality every day.”

The state Supreme Court had ruled last May that it was unconstitutional to deny gay couples the right to wed. Many same-sex couples had rushed to get married before the November vote on Proposition 8, fearing it could be passed. When it was, gay rights activists went back to the court arguing that the ban was improperly put to voters.

That was the issue justices decided Tuesday.

“After comparing this initiative measure to the many other constitutional changes that have been reviewed and evaluated in numerous prior decisions of this court, we conclude Proposition 8 constitutes a constitutional amendment rather than a constitutional revision,” the ruling said.

Chris Broe

May 26th, 2009
2:42 pm

They should only legalize kind bud. Keep the skunkweed illegal.

Off Topic: How many of Bush’s war powers did Obama inherit? How many times has Cheney contacted Blackwater this spring? What is happening to Cheney’s Blackwater Army now that it’s been banned by Iraq? Are they coming here?

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 26th, 2009
3:16 pm

“National Socialism will use its own revolution for establishing a New World Order.”
Adolph Hitler

JoshLovesPot

May 26th, 2009
3:51 pm

The goverment tends to attach the word “war” on to anything it wants American citizens to help support. The “war” on drugs has failed miserably… To the extent that it is, in some cases, ruining lives and family structures. A lot of it is political and some of it is good-hearted, but all of it is whack. We, as a country, have a bad habit of putting band-aids on problems instead of trying to fix them and it does nothing but dig whichever hold we are digging that much deeper. Because of mandatory sentences, some people are going to jail after getting busted with Marijuana for much longer than some kidnappers and sexual offenders. No lie, I got busted for pot about 10 years ago and went to court at the same time as this lady who let her father molest her daughter and took pictures of it. I spent a year in jail and got 5 years probation. The lady didn’t spend any time in jail and got 5 years probation. You tell me which crime is worse. We, as a country, were founded on the idea that you, as a sovereign person, could do whatever you wanted as long as it didn’t encroach on the next persons rights. If I sit at the house and smoke a joint, it affects no one else so why should you be able to tell me not to do it?

15 billion dollars a year is a lot of money… How about we spend that money to try and change our status as one of the stupidest developed countries in the world? It’s like here in GA, we are one of the last states in the nation in educatuion, yet Sonny Perdue would rather cut education funding than allow stores to sell alcohol on Sunday and put that extra revenue towards making our children smarter. Sorry Sonny, but your conservative Christian agenda may not be mine. Didn’t we come to this country to get away from religious people trying to tell us what we could or couldn’t do? Didn’t we want to be able to decide for ourselves?

So, let’s quit covering up the problems and start fixing them… And lets start with the war on drugs. I don’t know about you, Mr. John Q. Taxpayer, but $15 billion a year of our money being wasted on a program that has made no progress in 30 something years is a problem we should fix.

Let’s start making this country work for us instead of letting the self-serving politicians in Washington make all of the rules.

JoshLovesPot

May 26th, 2009
4:11 pm

To say that terrorists have an ally in Obama is ignorant, unpatriotic and just childish. You have no basis whatsoever for that statement, unless you are just a racist person who like to stereotype by people’s names. I have a german last name, it doesn’t make me a Nazi.

Jimbo

May 26th, 2009
4:19 pm

Che, you have a lot more in common with the tenets of national socialism than you might want to believe. You lack the understanding to accept that others might wish for freedoms different from those you desire. You lack the maturity to recognize that allowing others the freedom to pursue life, liberty, and happiness, even if their pursuit is offensive to you, actually liberates yourself. By placing restrictions on the rights of others you merely make it a matter of time before they turn their attention to what you hold dear. Your zeal isn’t for freedom. Your passion isn’t for liberty. You only want to be right and you want the power to see that your version of “right” is one that prevails over the rights of others. That’s a small and petty way to live a life. So, I pity you Che.. I pity you because your arrogance is a symptom of what’s wrong with our nation. You’re part of the sickness, not the cure.

Now for something on-topic. Prohibition in this nation has always failed. It failed with booze, it fails with drugs, it fails with guns and it will continue to fail. By making something illicit, you only succeed in ensuring that a black market will grow up around it. Where ever there is a demand, there is a supplier, be it drugs, guns, hookers or abortions. The best we can hope to do is to regulate and cross our fingers. Portugal recently began regulating its drug problem and has seen fantastically positive results. The Netherlands tends to regulate almost everything and they have very little crime. By eliminating illicit demand, you cut the suppliers out of the occasion. If you could provide a regulated resource for things people wanted, pot, amphetamines, cocaine, opiates.. you could control the supply with both production and quality. You could make it cheaper, so that drugs like meth and crack disappeared because legal access to quality regulated products could be maintained. It might not be the safest route and we’ll still have addicts, but that’s the beauty of choice.. they can’t all be winners.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 26th, 2009
4:21 pm

Jimbo, are you insane or just flat out stupid? Maybe you need to re-read my earlier postings before assuming this or that about me.

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 26th, 2009
4:22 pm

Jimbo, also, you wrote that I lack the maturity to understand others pursuit of freedoms. Socialism and communism suffocate freedom, dimwit.

JoshLovesPot

May 26th, 2009
4:28 pm

Like Obama said… In this country today, a doctor can prescribe meth but he cannot legaly, under federal laws, prescribe marijuanna.

Doesn’t that seem a little wrong?

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 26th, 2009
4:30 pm

More proof that President Hussein has no idea what he’s doing.

Analysis: US looking for Russians, Chinese to lead

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration has tough words for North Korea, but it’s looking to China and Russia to do the heavy lifting to punish Pyongyang for its latest nuclear explosion.

Whether China is willing to pull away from its traditional ally is an open question given fears of raging instability that might erupt on their common border.

North Korea may have overplayed its attention-getting hand with its test of a nuclear weapon one day and the launch of offensive missiles the next. Or it may be moving its nuclear brinksmanship to a higher and more opaque level.

In either case, the Obama administration’s reaction has been measured. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, said department spokesman Ian Kelly, had been in touch with her Russian counterpart to press for “a quick, unified response to North Korea’s provocative action.”

Russia, once a key backer of North Korea, condemned the test. Moscow’s U.N. ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, also the Security Council president, said the 15-member body would begin work “quickly” on a new resolution.

China said it “resolutely opposed” North Korea’s test and urged Pyongyang to return to talks on ending its atomic programs.

While Russian objections to North Korean behavior were swift, direct and important symbolically, China holds the key.

Cross-border commerce and aid from China keep North Korea afloat economically. China is North Korea’s biggest source of food imports, fuel aid and diplomatic support. Many of North Korea’s international connections — from air transport to financial links — are also routed through China or Chinese-controlled territories.

But dramatically shaving its largesse, Beijing is believed to fear, could lead to nightmarish scenarios. One would see regime collapse and a breakdown of North Korea’s million-man army, with members of the military armed with AK-47s roaming the Chinese countryside as bandits.

Complicating the multidimensional chess game, key U.S. allies in Asia — South Korea and Japan — see a fully fledged nuclear North Korea as an existential threat, in much the same way Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran in the Middle East.

North Korea’s nuclear test forced the Pentagon to scrap much of its planning for a Saturday meeting in Singapore with Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his Japanese and South Korean counterparts.

“Undoubtedly, the developments in North Korea over the weekend will be a focus of that conversation,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell told reporters.

Morrell said it was believed that the meeting would be the first discussion among the three nations’ defense chiefs.

Regional analogies are ofttimes wanting, but in this case it would seem to hold, given that Iran’s missile program is believed to be dependent on North Korea.

“There are those who say that whenever Iran conducts a missile test (as it did recently), the results benefit North Korea and vice versa,” said John Park of the U.S. Institute of Peace.

Those who watch North Korea broadly agree that the country’s latest bout of saber-rattling, which started with a long-range missile test in April, grows from an ongoing leadership transition as factions jockey for position to take power from the ailing Kim Jong Il.

While Obama came to office offering to talk with the North Koreans about their nuclear program, the only answer has been belligerence — in the form of missile and nuclear tests. That would seem to make it clear that, at this point, Pyongyang does not feel the United States has anything to offer.

China does and North Korea, one of the most heavily sanctioned and isolated nations on the globe, knows it.

“The North must feel now that they have overplayed their hand, given the reaction of the Russians and Chinese,” said Ved Nanda, a professor at the University of Denver.

But it is far from certain the Chinese will match their recent condemnation of the North with a decision to order a punishing curtailment of assistance.

To Park, the signs are China is “really taking a longer term view as a hedge against whomever emerges” to lead North Korea after Kim. “That way they really can avoid those things they really don’t want to think about,” he said, such as a collapse of the Pyongyang regime and the chaos that might entail — not to mention the possibility of a major shift in the regional balance of power.

While North Korea has made itself an even more difficult friend for China, the U.S. has few incentives that would make it more appetizing for Beijing to open a public rift with one of world’s few remaining communist regimes, one that could create immeasurable problems inside China itself.

JoshLovesPot

May 26th, 2009
4:32 pm

Che… If you look around you, you will see that Capitalism is on it’s way to suffocating freedom. The more big business controls this country, the less freedoms we will have.

JoshLovesPot

May 26th, 2009
4:33 pm

And Che, please sir… This comment board is for comments on the War on Drugs. Could you please stop publishing long comments about things that do not relate to this topic?

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 26th, 2009
4:49 pm

JoshLovesPot, capitalism is what gives us freedom. It has gotten poor people out of poverty. IT’s made us the richest nation on Earth. And no, Pothead, corporations don’t control the US. If that were true they would not be shipping jobs overseas leaving Americans jobless. Lay off the weed, Cheech. Grow up and regain some much needed brain cells.

Oh, and one more thing Pot, I can post anything I feel like since this is a libertarian blog. If you want stifling irritating one-sided conversations go over to Comrade Bookmans blog and stroke his failing ego.

Michael H. Smith

May 26th, 2009
5:09 pm

That may require sobriety. :)

Che was a homicidal maniac

May 26th, 2009
5:13 pm

JoshLovesPot, you’re one dead brain cell away from being a total zombie. America has been a capitalist republic for over 200 years. Do us all a favor, Cheech, and seek rehab before you flip out on some Jamaican red weed and take a flying leap off a bridge. Troglodyte.

Michael H. Smith

May 26th, 2009
5:30 pm

Jimbo you hit a good number of nails on the head, prohibition doesn’t work. Yet, neither does legal regulation work very well in truth. Even to this day bootleggers are still making moonshine to capitalize on tax evasion. So the idea that make it legal and tax it will kill a black market simply doesn’t stand up as valid. There are no absolutes to any of this and absolutely no one answer or sole solution can best manage drug use legal and illegal or to end drug abuse and addiction. A little here, a little there, a hope and a prayer maybe throw in a lucky rabbits foot if you got one to spare, cause this is a problem we shall all share for a very long time Jimbo.

JoshLovesPot

May 26th, 2009
5:57 pm

Che, your use of insulting name-calling proves what age level you are thinking at. I refrained from calling you anything, but you decided to retort with name-calling. You must be a republican.

And yes, Capitalism may have made us one of the richest nations in the world, but it has also been one of the factors that has made us one of the dumbest and fattest nations. And yes, big business does control this country. You can lie to yourself all you want and say that it doesn’t, but it does. When there are 60 lobbyists for every representative and congressman in Washington, and billions of dollars are spent each year by big corporations to change or keep existing laws, that means that those people are controling the democratic process. You can argue all you want, but the facts speak for themselves.