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Obama's Mixed Messages on the Drug War

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A couple weeks ago, I noted the contradiction between Obama's call for reduced incarceration of first-time nonviolent drug offenders and his support for the heinous Byrne Grant program that has filled our prisons with petty offenders and subsidized mindblowing episodes of racist drug war excess.

These completing agendas in Obama’s crime platform deserve more discussion, thus Radley Balko has a piece at Slate that digs into this.

(This blog post was published by'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.)

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Biden and the 'Drug Czar'

Joe Biden is a career long anti-drug warrior. He helped fabricate and pass some of the worst prohibition legislation going. He helped create the ONDCP and coined the word 'Drug Czar'. This is the man Obama selected to help him change America. If Obama's signal is not loud and clear enough. Consider the fact that he constantly floats statements in order to judge voter reaction. Then he changes his statements if they don't fly with voters. We can only judge his true intent by his deeds. Joe Biden is the worst VP pick he could have made. This speaks for itself. McCain may be wanting to continue the disastrous drug war. But Obama/Biden is a far larger disaster waiting to happen. Because, he won't really reveal what his true intentions are, a pig in a poke. Don't get me started on that sell out Bob Barr. Many people, like myself, don't have anyone to vote for. The rest of you will have to choose the best of the worst presidential candidates this country has ever been force to choose from.

Hey, you better Vote

"Many people, like myself, don't have anyone to vote for. The rest of you will have to choose the best of the worst presidential candidates this country has ever been force to choose from."

Weather you like it or not, it's both the "over thirtys" and the "drop out generation's" fault that we're here. If you don't flex even this admittedly meger form of control then you leave us at the mercy those "over thirtys" and things will just get worse. You don't like any canidate, then vote for anyone else, at least stand up and be counted. You hate their drug policies, then vote indipendant. "Yeah, like they'll ever win." You're damn straight they won't, you're not voting for them.

This goes for all of you! If you don't go out and vote then you might as well call the SWAT team and tell them you've got a pound of dope yourself. Lord knows it's a faster way home than a razor.

"Liberal Drug War"


California is still the King in U.S. Bankruptcy anyone? Spend more on prisons than education and this is what you get. The Drug War Beast needs more and more money to support its size. Soon enough it becomes to big to support its self. How will Obama/Biden handle this ideaological disaster? Biden is present for this reason . You broke it and now you can fix it. Redemption is always welcome. Deception is old news.

COPS studies show you can't regulate criminal controlled markets

I'm glad Radley Balko, the Slate author, discussed Obama's support for Clinton's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services program, but I'm surprised he never cited the following excerpts from COP's own studies on drug law enforcement:

"Simply arresting market participants will have little impact in reducing the size of the market or the amount of drugs consumed.7 This is especially true of low-level markets where if one dealer is arrested, there are, more
than likely, several others to take their place. Moreover, drug markets can be highly responsive to enforcement efforts but the form of that response is sometimes an adaptation that leads to unintended consequences, including
displacement or increased revenue for dealers with fewer competitors."

"In one study in Kansas City, Mo., the effect of intensive enforcement,
including undercover buys, warrant searches and arrests, lasted only two
weeks, after which it almost completely disappeared (Sherman
and Rogan 1995)."


After a $700 billion bailout and huge job losses, how can we afford more drug law enforcement? Hell, how many people have the money to buy drugs?

In a thriving economy, such as under Clinton, drug use flourishes along with drug arrests. The DEA, drug dealers and users all celebrate.


The enormous power abuse clearly exercised by our public servants is exactly why our founding forefathers in the U.S. Declaration of Independence specified Creator-given (not government, or public majority given), unalienable Rights, including Liberty (the condition of being free from restriction and control).

Unalienable means the Rights cannot be taken away by our public servants, the public majority, or anyone else.

My Right to Liberty has the natural limitation saying that I can do what I want as long as I don't defy another's Rights.

It is the defiance of the unalienable that has devastated the U.S., whether that defiance occurs in the private or government sector. Generation after generation has failed to properly secure our Rights, leaving us with this huge mess.

It is not enough for the public majority to simply decry that their Rights are being defied. There must be objective, publicly-accessible evidence confirming that defiance, before a ban can go into effect.

There is no irrefutable evidence concluding that an instance of drug use automatically defies another's Rights, and therefore it is completely un-American (i.e. unacceptable) for drug prohibition to exist at all, such prohibition exemplifying our government's defiance of the unalienable.

You want a better candidate?

You need a better (more informed) American public.

Learn and share the word "unalienable" in the context of the U.S. Make sure that every American through posterity clearly understands this word in this context, so that when our public servants defy it as a solution to a crisis (which is frequently the case), "We the people" instinctively respond by shining a very bright light on that defiance.

I agree. But, it's inalienable rights

I agree. But, it's inalienable rights. Meaning: Incapable of being repudiated or transferred to another. Not subject to forfeiture.

But, our private property is being subjected to forfeiture. Even when it is clear that those properties were not gained from the sale of narcotics. Another right we have lost.

Not Inalienable

It's not inalienable. It's unalienable.

"endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights"

The word unalienable is such a critical part of true Liberty.

It's simply unacceptable for any American to not know this. Please spread the word.

Obama the lesser of two evils

While compaired to McCain, Obama may have the better drug policy but I don't hold out much hope for him as reformer of the drug war. During the early stages of the Democratic primary, Obama appeared critical of the failures of the drug war.But his latest support of the Bryne grants is cause to be concerned that Obama is more interested in appealing to the law and order types.

There are two Presidential candidates who have the right answers on the drug war, Ralph Nader of the Green Party and Bob Barr of Libertarian Party. Sure they don't stand a chance of winning. But they offer a platform for a discussion that the Democrats and Repubicans are totally ignoring. I find fault with the mainstream media for permiting this neglectfulness to occur. Tired of the same old two party system crap? Vote Green or Libertarian!

What have the Green or Libertarian Party done to further reform?

If groups like Drug Policy Alliance or Marijuana Policy Project started their own political parties, I would vote for them in a heartbeat even if they had no chance in hell of winning any major office, because they have accomplished a lot.

What actions over the past five years has the Libertarian or Green Party taken to further drug policy reform other than offer words during an election season to get votes?

Obama is the greater of the two evils.

Obama is the greater of the two evils. He selected one of our nations most rabid anti-drug warriors for VP. Biden helped fashion and pass some of the most restrictive and punitive legislation ever. He helped create the ONDCP. Which has caused a major blocking of the effort to end cannabis prohibition. Biden coined the word 'Drug Czar'. I didn't know that Democrats needed Czar's. Obama couldn't be making it any clearer. He is a straight party ticket man who only cares about getting into power. Sould we trust him? That's pretty hard to do since we have no idea what we're trusting. I'm considering voting for McCain. But, I wonder if there is anyway to let him know that I do not support the war on drugs, or the war in Iraq?

Obama and Biden are not the greater evil by a long shot.

Obama said he will end the raids on states that provide sick and dying patients their medical marijuana. McCain will continue them.

McCain is not a civil libertarian in philosophy and will pack the court with more conservatives who are not likely to be sympathetic to drug policy reform or civil liberties in general.

Furthermore, Vice Presidents don't call the shots. In fact, having Biden as VP will take him out of the Senate, which I believe is a good thing for drug policy reformers.

Instead of judging what Joe Biden did 20 years ago, lets look at his recent acts of redemption described in an article by the Drug Policy Alliance's Ethan Nadelman, published on August 28, 2008:

--"..Sen. Biden has been a strong supporter of treatment and prevention. For instance, he was one of only five senators to vote against confirming President Bush’s drug czar, John Walters, who has a history of short-changing treatment."

--" ..he helped write the Drug Addiction Treatment Act, which makes it easier for family doctors to prescribe buprenorphine and other replacement therapy medications from their offices, taking the pressure off special treatment clinics."

--"..Sen. Biden surprised many by introducing legislation to completely eliminate the 100-to-1 crack/powder cocaine sentencing disparity, leapfrogging more modest reforms put forth by Sens. Kennedy, Hatch, Sessions and others. Like many senior members of Congress, Biden had voted for the legislation in the 1980s that created the disparity. Unlike most though, he has the guts and humility to admit he was wrong. .......Sen. Biden’s groundbreaking bill has seven co-sponsors, including Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Clinton. It is a sign of how politically popular drug policy reform has become among voters that a major presidential candidate not only co-sponsors a reform bill but nominates the bill’s sponsor as his running mate. That Sen. Biden is willing to be on the same ticket with Sen. Obama, who has indicated he understands the war on drugs isn’t working and called for a new paradigm, may be evidence that his own views on drug policy are shifting."

Obama evil?

To even label either McCain or Obama as evil is pretty damn stupid.

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