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Former Congressional Staffer Admits Mistakes in the War on Drugs

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Kevin Ring has an appalling piece in The Daily Caller spelling out the careless and politically-motivated process through which new drug laws are created. This is some really jaw-dropping stuff.

I know it happens because I did it. I had the high honor of working as a counsel for then-Senator Ashcroft on the Senate Judiciary Committee in the late 1990s. After deciding to forgo a presidential run in 2000 and instead focus on keeping his Senate seat in Missouri, Ashcroft needed to show he was focused on the threats facing the Show Me State — and none was scarier at that time than the growing menace of methamphetamine abuse and production. Meth was becoming known as the crack of rural America. We drafted a bill to impose the same mandatory minimum sentences on meth trafficking that applied to crack.

People can debate whether the effects of this law have been good or bad, but I can tell you that when we put the bill together, I did not know half of what I should have known. I did not know what the average sentence imposed on meth traffickers was at the time, whether those sentences were sufficient at deterring use, whether alternatives to prison might have been more effective at reducing recidivism, or how much these new, longer sentences would cost the federal government. These are things policymakers — or, at least, the staff they entrust to craft their legislation — should know before making national policy.

If I did not know these critical facts as the lead staffer on the bill, how little did other Hill staffers (and their bosses) know when they agreed to let this bill pass? I know this for certain: If someone had objected, I would have recommended that we accuse the objector of not being serious about saving Americans from this deadly threat.

This is just incredible. Rarely, if ever, have we seen the twisted agendas and rank idiocy of drug war politics displayed with such precision. Indeed, only a true insider could issue such a devastating indictment and I have no doubt that the countless other guilty parties will be quick to single out Ring as a hack seeking to tarnish the broader anti-drug effort by exposing his own incompetence.

Unfortunately for them, this story couldn't more perfectly diagnose the origins of the ill-conceived fiasco that festers before us. The credibility of Ring's account is upheld by the tragically obvious fact that nothing else could possibly explain the magnitude of the errors that have long characterized Washington's mindless anti-drug crusade. These people were never looking for solutions to anything except their own immediate political interests and they've left a legacy of incalculable waste and destruction as a result.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Paths of Political Resistance

Despite a long history of exalted appeals to man’s inherent right of resistance, there has seldom been agreement in how to relate in practice to unjust, immoral laws and the oppressive social order from which they emanate.  The conservative, who does not dispute the validity of revolutions deeply buried in history, invokes visions of impending anarchy in order to legitimize his demand for absolute obedience.  Law and order, with the major emphasis on order, is his watchword.  The liberal articulates his sensitivity to certain of society’s intolerable details, but will almost never prescribe methods of resistance that exceed the limits of legality—redress through electoral channels is the liberal’s panacea.”—Angela Y. Davis, from “Political Prisoners, Prisons, and Black Liberation” (Marin County Jail, 1971).

Startling similarities to Torquemada­'s inquisition

Alcohol prohibition in the US run from 1919 to 1933 - Now google 'The Great Wall Street Crash' and see when that happened!

During alcohol prohibition, all profits went to enrich thugs and criminals. Young men died every day on inner-city streets while battling over turf. A fortune was wasted on enforcement that could have gone on education etc. On top of the budget-busting prosecution and incarceration costs, billions in taxes were lost. Finally the economy collapsed. Sound familiar?

China has recently been in negotiation with a number of countries, asking them to replace the Dollar with the Chinese Yuan as their reserve currency. This, when it happens, will remove the Federal Government's ability to keep printing cash to cover the trillions it costs to fund prohibition. It’ll bring true freedom but the transition period will be more hectic than a slasher movie. It never had to be this way; we should have learned our lesson from studying the mayhem that alcohol prohibition wreaked on us.

We all have our victories and defeats as regards fear, but most of us strive not to let fear rule our hearts or our minds. Being free means being free to live and love as if death and fear had no power over us. Freedom also means that we have an ethical and moral responsibility to expose blind hate, lies and ignorance by shining eternal light, truth and love, sending such dark forces fleeing to the shadows from whence they came.

We explore outer space with various forms of space craft, but many choose to explore inner space via nature's abundant chemistry - an infinite journey into the heart of God. Whatever, we are here to explore this glorious universe. The Prohibitionist's brand of hateful, choking pseudo-Conservatism is the antithesis of all that. Like a lion who cannot grasp that he can do more than walk in a circle the size of the cage he's recently been freed from, the prohibitionist is incapable of exploration beyond the boundaries of his own fear, prejudice and loathing. We are all free to choose how we walk our own path, but when we choose to go beyond this by supporting drug-war demagoguery, to the point of even threatening others with imprisonment and physical violence, we loose the right to expect any form of respect from the once free and prosperous society that we are helping to totally destroy.

Thanks to prohibition we're about to lose all semblance of that once ordered, prosperous and safe society. Myself, along with many others, have been debating prohibitionists on this for many years. We have shown what destruction prohibition has wrought on all the civil institutions of this once great nation, -we've always provided facts and statistics - they, the prohibitionists, have countered with either lies, personal abuse or even serious threats of violence.

Ending the insanity of drug prohibition by legalized regulation, respecting the rights of the responsible users and focusing on addiction as a sickness, like we do with alcohol and tobacco, may save what remains of our economy and civil institutions along with countless lives and livelihoods. Prohibition continues unabated for shameful political reasons. It cannot, and never will, reduce drug use or addiction.

Prohibition has permanently scarred our national character as well as our individual psyches. Our national policies and cultural practices have become pervaded by the fascistic, prohibitionist mind-set which has turned our domestic police force into a bunch of paramilitary thugs who often commit extra-judicial beatings and executions while running roughshod over our rights in order to "protect us from ourselves".

When we eventually manage to put the horrors of this moronothon behind us, we'll need to engage in some very deep and honest soul-searching as to what we want to be as a nation. Many of our freedoms have been severely circumscribed or lost altogether, our economy has been trashed and our international reputation for being "free and fair" has been dragged through a putrid sewer by vicious narrow-minded drug warrior zealots who are ignorant of abstract concepts such as truth, justice and decency. We'll need to make sure that such a catastrophe is never ever repeated. This may mean that public hearings or tribunals will be held where those who’ve been the instigators and cheerleaders of this abomination will have to answer for their serious crimes against our once prosperous and proud nation.

Each day you remain silent, you help to destroy the Constitution, fill the prisons with our children, and empower terrorists and criminals worldwide while wasting hundreds of billions of your own tax dollars. Prohibition bears many strong and startling similarities to Torquemada­'s inquisition­, it's supporters are servants of tyranny and hate. If you're aware of but not enraged by it's shear waste and cruel atrocities then both your heart and soul must surely be dead.

Millions of fearless Egyptians have recently shown us that recognizing oppression also carries the weight of responsibility to act upon and oppose that oppression. 

cynical manipulation

It comes as no surprise to me that cynical political calculation drives this war. Until a new calculus applies, and Politicians begin to suffer for taking a hard line on drugs, it will be more of the same. The kicker in this story is not the cynical purpose of the legislation, but the admission that these people were never serious enough about this problem to look at the real costs and benefits of their policy. Yet they stood ready to level that very same accusation at anyone who would have questioned the proposed laws. The pinnacle of cynicism.

OOPS! He Did it Again.....

The biggest error in Mr. Ring's analysis comes in his statement:

"The general public needs to temper its calls for new laws every time a new threat arises or a single tragedy occurs."

It is not the general public but the Federal Government that is foisting this bogus drug war upon its own citizens-witness the raids on dispensaries in California a state where some two-thirds of the population support medical cannabis. Nationally a majority of US citizens support medical cannabis while three out of four recognize the drug war as a failure. It is not the public who needs to temper its calls for new laws but the Feds. Indeed the drug war is unconstitutional in that it sublimated States rights to the Federal government and thusly to a relatively small and far from rational body of unelected political appointees. It is sad that this insulated group of policy hacks are able to wreak such economic and social havoc upon those who pay their salaries.

Finally Mr. Ring ought to understand that drugs are a commodity subject to the immutable laws of the marketplace. If we outlawed the production distribution and consumption of tomatoes and the demand for tomatoes remained unchanged, there would be tomato gangs shooting at each other for control of the black tomato market. I suppose in his cleverness Mr. Ring would remind me that tomatoes are not bad for you. I would then remind him that tobacco and alcohol are bad for you so if you want to take this war seriously why don't we re-outlaw alcohol and reclassify tobacco as a schedule 1 drug. Imagine what our society would look like.....SCARY!

I hope someday we are represented by people of high caliber who are worthy of the "honor" to be counsel to a Senator or a Senator for that matter. Until then I fear for my country.

A mistake?

America's jihad against meth was no mistake; it was planned right from the start to boost the public's flagging interest in, and support for, the holy war.  As someone who used street meth for 18 years, I can tell you the stuff is poison.  I can also tell you that the demand for meth as a street drug was CREATED by the very politicians who now lead the charge to "protect" us from it.  What the average American doesn't know, but what drug warriors know full well, is that pharmaceutical speed is quite safe, and that not even the most diehard speed freak would touch the crap that passes for meth on the street if we could buy the real stuff at Walgreen's.  In fact, neither the crap on the street nor the incredible exploding meth lab would even exist if we, the people, were really in charge of our own bodies.

No Mistake?

This can't be mistake!!! This is the act of preplanned and deliberately done by socalled officials. There is no morality in any kind of human behavior now a days.

Who--why--how behind street meth

Following out @rita's point that politicians caused the street meth plague, there remains to fill in the "why" and the "how".

Why: because politicians are disproportionately under the influence of the tobacco industry and its lawbuyists (current example: John H. Fish, Vice President for Legislative Affairs at R. J. Reynolds, and Bruce Gates from Altria/Philip Morris, both on Speaker Boehner's advisory council), tax payments (nearing $40 billion a year, to US govt. all levels), campaign contributions (mostly to Republicans) etc.  And because Big 2WackGo fears cannabis more than any "rival drug", not only because it could replace tobacco, not only because once legalized, users will grow their own instead of buy from a corporation, but because cannabis users lead the Downdosage Revolution away from hot burning "joints" (AND 700-mg.-per-lightup high profit $igarettes) toward vaporizers and 25-mg.-serving-size one-hitters.

How: the same Drones and Spyplanes and electric meter logging systems which suppressed the grow-house industry since the 90's drove many growers who were primarily in it for the money to switch from laborious, easy-to-detect cannabis grows to easy-to-hide meth labs.

Some may accuse @kyle of carelessness placing "fascistic" next to "prohibitionist".  But if you buy my tobacco premise, above, it may occur to you that (a) "fascis" is an ancient word for "torch", and (b) a $igarette is the #1 worldwide incarnation of "torch", or "torchery" (hot burning overdose) today, and those who profit from that are the obvious beneficiaries of cannabis prohibition.l

What to do-- may sound like a run-around, but: PROMOTE THE E-CIGARETTE!  Made by hundreds of small companies, it has potential to destroy the "Too Big To Fail" $igarette corporations' profit margin and CUT OFF THE MONEY they now use to lobby politicians, among other things, for cannabis prohibition.

This past weekend,

despite "severe winter storm" warnings in northern Arizona, I decided to go ahead with my plans to travel to Las Vegas.  In a Mustang.  Twenty miles out of Seligman, slipping and sliding uphill in 3rd gear, I realized that I had made a "mistake" that could have had, but didn't have, serious consequences for me and my passengers.  Driving in a blizzard in a Mustang is a mistake.  Contributing to the commission of atrocities against an entire nation of people deserves a stronger word.   

Winter Storm!!!

Yup, I'm sitting here in South East Michigan waiting for what they're saying is 15-24 inches of snow coming our way. Don't have any bud sadly, so I'm not sure what all I'll be up to while stuck inside. Who else is waiting for this storm and what do you plan to do? This all being said if the storm actually produces. This one does seem promising, but we all know how weather channels can be.

how best to do that which should not be done?


Oddly, the many failures of our drug policy protect it. The simple reason is that failure does not make the policy wrong. The myriad problems that flow directly from these laws protect the Achilles heel. Problems do not make the policy wrong any more than failure. The horrendous implementation of our drug policy blinds us. Our so-called drug war is unauthorized. That makes it wrong. That is the only thing that really matters.

Having no authority to outlaw personal choice, our legislature and judiciary have turned to the indirect but equally unauthorized control of substances presumed dangerous to the public health. Control of ones body, mind, life, death, happiness, pleasure and pain does not involve the public and is beyond the purview of any but the unique individual concerned. Our leaders are pursuing a policy that presumes unbelievable, unacceptable and most importantly unauthorized power.

The liberty defined by the Declaration of Independence in 1776 inspired revolutionary patriots a decade before the Constitution was written to “secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”. Suggesting the liberty defined in the Declaration of Independence is different from the liberty mandated by the Constitution denies self-evident truths and the unalienable rights ordained by our creator. Our Constitution does not redefine the liberty for which our forefathers fought, bled and died. To the contrary, our Constitution defines a government, which must secure that liberty. The Declaration of Independence defines the liberty of all men. It has never been amended or canceled.

Egregious lying on a biblical scale, galactic ignorance, bad science, contempt for man, fear of freedom and evil intent are all distractions. They are moot. We must ignore drug war failures and all the problems caused. Issues of implementation are irrelevant.

The lack of authority is the overwhelming and undeniable terminal fallacy of prohibitions. The violation of personal liberty is unauthorized to any or all in this nation. That is all that matters. It is all we need to restore personal liberty.

Rick Wolfe

The American Drug War is a total failure!


This is a looong comment in favor of ending marijuana prohibition but I promise it is worth reading... Months have been devoted to the research and writing of this article.  The events and circumstances I present here are well documented in The Congressional Record, The Library of Congress, Medical journals, The Encyclopedia Britannica and other trusted publications.  My opinion as stated here is shared by millions of intelligent, productive, tax paying Americans.        Everyone knows that the American Drug War is a total failure. Having spent a trillion dollars in the last 40 years, we now find that marijuana is cheaper, more potent and readily available to anyone who wants it.  During the last ten years, polls show that public school students say that marijuana is easier to get than cigarettes or alcohol.  Drug dealers don't ask for ID's.  It's high time to end the insanity. Prohibition didn't work with alcohol and it won't work with drugs either.        The Drug War is all about greed, power and control... The government and law enforcement lose more credibility every day that they maintain their irrational, narrow minded stance against legalization. We The People need to stand up and speak out for full legalization of marijuana and industrial hemp as soon as possible. We need cannabis hemp for medicine, food, fuel and fiber. In spite of common knowledge and widespread scientific support, the federal government has for almost 30 years kept cannabis in Schedule 1 in order to deny patients access to medical marijuana.  Marijuana has been to shown to alleviate asthma, migraine headache, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis and lately has been shown effective against cancer.      We should stand up for our rights. We should be allowed to light up a joint for relaxation and recreation.  It's no different than the average Joe kicking back and having a couple of beers after a long day's work.  What we do in privacy is our own business, not Big Brother's... No one has ever died from a marijuana overdose; it is not toxic to the human body. Alcohol and tobacco ARE bad for you, and addictive too... but still they are legal. Think about how many people die each year due to alcohol and tobacco abuse. Cannabis is no more addictive than coffee! Ever wonder why marijuana is illegal?       Greed, yellow journalism, racism, outright lies and vicious, misleading propaganda were used by W.R. Hearst (newspaper publication,timber and paper industry), the DuPonts(plastics made from oil), the Rockefellers (big oil) and our government to get hemp banned in the first place. They were afraid of the competition then and they still are! The Drug Czar at the time The Marihuana Tax Act was passed, Harry Anslinger, used lies, racism and underhanded politics to further the agenda of the Rich and Powerful. Every Drug Czar since then has followed in Anslinger's footsteps. Nowadays, 15 billion dollars is wasted each year on prohibition. Our government forces marijuana prohibition on other nations, causing hardship and increased crime.  Look at what it's doing to Mexico...       Want to talk about addiction? Our government is addicted to the profits from the Drug War. It is a sad fact that our own government no longer has the best interests of the American People at heart. The federal government's insistence that we must not grow hemp because there is no way to discern industrial hemp from marijuana is absurd; inspectors in other nations which do grow industrial hemp have no problem figuring out the difference. The federal government is lying to you if they say otherwise.       Stand up for your rights. The Powers That Be who are pulling the strings that control our federal government are doing everything they can to keep knowledge about the benefits of marijuana and industrial hemp from you because Big Oil, Big Pharma, Big Lumber, Big Law Enforcement, Big Tobacco and Big Alcohol realize that their cash cow (the lost Drug War) is at stake. Big Pharma knows  that marijuana is good medicine but they don't want you to have it unless they can control it; they're after the MONEY. But they can't patent a natural plant. Many medical organizations agree that marijuana is good medicine for a wide variety of ailments.       Big Brother knows that legalization would put the power and the money back in the hands of the people and they hate the very thought of that happening. They are quite willing to be heavy handed, to use blackmail and to lie to the American public (all documented) in order to keep marijuana from being legalized. All those hundreds of thousands of men and women (many of them very young) who have been incarcerated for cannabis should be released so that they can resume their productive lives. Within three or four years, we can be making enough alcohol from hemp to allow us to almost completely quit using gasoline. Fuel prices will go way down. Hemp oil is an excellent lubricant. You can make excellent biodegradable plastics from hemp.      Big Oil fears cannabis hemp mightily. It will cause them to lose their stranglehold on us and nations of the world. Hemp will grow anywhere, from deserts to mountains to rain forests... It is much better for our environment than other crops, such as cotton and makes much better, longer lasting products. Small farmers will have a way to make a better living. We can stop cutting down our old growth forests.  Crime will decrease; Mexico can finally be allowed to legalize. The drug cartels in Mexico will lose a huge portion of their business overnight. Crime down there will decrease dramatically. Mexico DID LEGALIZE IT a few years back but backed off quickly from that after much pressure was applied by the U.S. government... I could go on and on.       Inform yourself; study everything you can find out about it, then you will be convinced that legalization is The Right Thing To Do... God put this herb on the earth for us to use. Let's use it wisely. Cannabis hemp is the world's premier renewable resource.  Legalize it, regulate it, tax it at a reasonable rate-- 5% off the top ought to be enough.  Keep it illegal for minors, just like alcohol. This new income would provide a much needed boost to our economy. Be wise. Pray about this. Listen to your heart. Then support legalization. Your country needs this. The world needs this. Our damaged environment needs this desperately. Support NORML, The Marijuana Policy Project and other organizations working for legalization. Contact your representatives in the legislature (state and federal) and let them know how you feel. The time to stand up is now. It is no longer a question of IF cannabis will be legalized but WHEN...Big Brother is scared and getting desperate!       If you are still skeptical about what I'm saying here, please understand that the events and circumstances I've presented here are well documented.  A recent CNN poll shows that close to 95% of all Americans are in favor of legalizing medical marijuana  [url][/url]  and the latest Gallup poll shows that 46% of all Americans favor full legalization of marijuana and that support is growing.  [url][/url]  The book you need to read for the real reasons why cannabis hemp was banned in the first place is "The Emperor Wears No Clothes" by Jack Herer,  available online at [url][/url]  Fully documented, this book will open your eyes to the truth about marijuana. Abraham Lincoln responded to the kind of repressive mentality that we are seeing now, in December, 1840, when he said "Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." "Make the most of the Hemp, and plant it everywhere!" --George Washington “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.”—President Jimmy Carter, August 2, 1977 "And God said, Behold I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. ...And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so. ...And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold it was very good.  And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."  (Genesis 4:29-30) "Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;... Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron;... Forbidding to marry and commanding to abstain from meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. ... For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of good doctrine, whereupon thou hast attained. For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it be received with thanksgiving:"  (1 Timothy 4:1-6) "And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more."  (Ezekiel 34:29) "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; that which cometh out of the mouth defileth a man." (Matthew 15:11) "I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing that is unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. " (Romans 14:14)

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