If you've been watching ONDCP for the past six years as I have, there's nothing surprising about any of this. Still, it's gratifying to see the drug czar's utter contempt for the law revealed for all to see.
Our friends at SSDP have created a petition demanding Drug Czar John Walters's resignation, which perfectly articulates how politics have guided Walters's actions throughout his tenure, and not just during campaign season:
* You've spent taxpayer money to campaign and lobby against citizen ballot initiatives and state legislation that would reform aspects of the ineffective War on Drugs.Frankly, it is an indictment of the press and the Congress that it took until July 2007 to discover that ONDCP is deeply corrupted. Only by stepping into the realm of partisan politics did ONDCP finally manage to earn the full-blown public relations crisis it has long deserved.
* You've attempted to prevent Congress and the public from gaining access to a scientific evaluation of your "anti-drug" advertising campaign because you didn't like the results showing that the ads actually cause more, not less, teen drug use. Despite these alarming results, you've kept the dangerous ads on the air.
* You've spent millions of dollars a year spraying poisonous chemicals on the jungles and fields of Colombia in a failed effort to eradicate coca crops and prevent cocaine from entering or country. Yet while continuing to publicly advocate this eradication program, you admitted in a private letter to Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) that cocaine prices on America's streets are dropping and its purity is increasing.
* You've actively pushed for the continued federal criminalization of seriously ill Americans suffering from cancer, AIDS, and multiple sclerosis who use medical marijuana with their doctors' recommendations, even where it is legal under state law. In an affront to federalism and states' rights, ONDCP and the Food and Drug Administration released a politicized statement last year criticizing states with medical marijuana laws.
(This blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)
Drug Policy Alliance Press Release: Hillary Clinton Vows to End Federal Raids on Medical Marijuana Patients
CA NORML Release: DEA Announces Federal Medical MJ Indictments in So. Cal - Business as Usual in DEAland?
John P. Walters, President Bush's drug czar, said the people who plant and tend the gardens are terrorists who wouldn't hesitate to help other terrorists get into the country with the aim of causing mass casualties.Silly me. I thought maybe the reporter had taken Walters's statement out of context, but ONDCP calls it a "good story." Apparently, it is actually necessary to explain that pot growers aren’t terrorists and don’t want to help other terrorists kill lots of people.
Ok, let's begin. Basically, I think the difference between pot growers and terrorists is that pot growers grow pot and sell it to customers for profit, whereas terrorists build bombs and blow up innocent people for political and/or religious reasons.
Since pot growers are trying to make money and avoid law-enforcement, it isn’t in their interest to work with terrorists. Terrorists want to kill the pot grower's customers, and they also attract all sorts of unwanted attention from the military and various high-level federal agencies. Moreover, pot growers don't want to hurt or kill people. They sell pot, which is widely believed – correctly – to be relatively harmless. I've never heard of a pot grower who generally wanted to hurt people or who thought that what they were doing would cause mass casualties.
Some of the confusion here may stem from the fact that pot growers sometimes keep weapons around. This is actually to protect their valuable gardens from thieves, primarily wild animals. Incidents involving pot growers shooting people or fighting with police are incredibly rare. We know this, because if such a thing occurred, it would immediately be prominently displayed on the ONDCP blog and discussed endlessly by them. This has not occurred.
But perhaps the best evidence that pot growers don’t want to help terrorists is that pot growers never help terrorists. In the history of the U.S., no pot grower has ever been found helping terrorists get into the country or expressed any interest in doing so.
If Ed Rosenthal ever hijacks a plane and tries to fly it into the Sears Tower, I'll reconsider. But for now, I think it’s safe to conclude that pot growers and terrorists are two completely different things.
Politicization of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy At the request of Sara Taylor, the former White House Director of Political Affairs, John Walters, the nation’s drug czar, and his deputies traveled to 20 events with vulnerable Republican members of Congress in the months prior to the 2006 elections. The trips were paid for by federal taxpayers and several were combined with the announcement of federal grants or actions that benefited the districts of the Republican members. A November 20, 2006, memo from Ms. Taylor summarizes the travel Director Walters took at her request. An agency e-mail sent the following day describes how Karl Rove commended the historically nonpartisan Office of National Drug Control Policy and three cabinet departments – Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture – for “going above and beyond the call of duty” in making “surrogate appearances” at locations the e-mail described as “the god awful places we sent them.” Other documents include an e-mail from the Interior Department to Ms. Taylor’s predecessor stating: “these folks need to be reminded who they work for and how their geographical travel can benefit this President.” Chairman Waxman wrote to Ms. Taylor to request her attendance at a Committee deposition on or before July 24 and her possible appearance at a Committee hearing on July 30. He also wrote to White House Counsel Fred Fielding, the Republican National Committee, Director Walters, and the Secretaries of the Departments of Commerce, Transportation, and Agriculture requesting relevant documents.There's a complete set of links to the documents mentioned at the House Oversight and Government Operations Committee web site linked to in the title of the Waxman release. It makes some interesting--and damning--reading. Waxman looks like he will schedule some hearings on this soon. Gosh, it sure is fun when we have someone on the oversight committee who actually practices the first definition of the word!