Our Insane War on Drugs

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger

Harry_Jacob_AnslingerI’m going to use what has become a cliché to open up this piece. “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing that has failed over and over again.” Often clichés are expressions of reality that nevertheless express problems faced by generation generations and generations of human beings. In my opinion “The War on Drugs” is not only an abysmal failure, but has gone a long way towards destroying the social fabric of this country and corrupting the efforts of law enforcement, by manufacturing a “problem” that they are pressured to solve. The idea for writing this came to mind this week at my local drug store. My wife had sent me for a decongestant that contains pseudo-ephedrine to treat a persistent cold. These medications which were formerly as matter of course located in the Cold and flu section are by law now kept behind the prescription counter. To make my purchase I had to produce a driver’s license, whose number was duly entered into a computer and sign an affirmation form digitally. Now since I was a loyal viewer of “Breaking Bad” I understood why this was seen to be necessary by the government. Pseudo-Ephedrine is used in one common formula to “cook” Chrystal Methedrine, or “Speed”. The idea that I, a 69 year old greybeard, should be recorded as a potential cooker of “meth”, is so ludicrous that it caused me to think about the whole process of drug interdiction that is the result of the War on Drugs.

The reach of the War on Drugs goes far beyond the control of formerly non-controlled substances and has affected and limited the way Doctors prescribe for their patients. This prescription oversight ever expands the categories of controlled substances and puts every physician under undue government surveillance. To illustrate the silliness of this, from my own experience, let me relate that in 2010 I underwent 3 major, life-threatening operations within a 4 month period. After each operation which involved cutting my chest open (the middle one was a heart transplant) in the Surgical Intensive Care Unit I was being given unlimited dosages of morphine to deal with my pain. In each instance after an operation, after two days, I would refuse the morphine because it was affecting my thinking and the pain without it was tolerable. In each instance after practically having to forcefully deny the proffered morphine in the morning, my request for Xanax that evening to help me sleep was denied, even though my Surgeon had prescribed it. This required a late hour call to the Doctor on call to prescribe it. The nurse was only following procedure, but the scrupulousness of the procedure is the result of the War on Drugs. Physicians now treating people for various pain symptoms are now under very close scrutiny regarding the medications they prescribe. To me this is nonsensical, given that addicts always find ways to get their drugs no matter what strictures are put into place. What follows is my examination of the premises behind the War on Drugs, its affect on all of us and my solution to this “problem”.“War on Drugs” is a term commonly applied to a campaign of prohibition, military aid and military intervention, with the stated aim being to define and reduce the illegal drug trade.[5][6] This initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of what said governments and the UN define as illegal psychoactive drugs. The term was first used by United States president Richard Nixon, and was later popularized by the media. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/War_on_Drugs

America’s actual war on drugs started much longer ago that Richard Nixon’s announcement in 1971. The roots in America of the war on drugs formally should be seen as December 23, 1973 with the formation of the WCTU (Women’s Christian Temperance Union).

“The purpose of the WCTU was to create a “sober and pure world”[1] by abstinence, purity and evangelical Christianity. Annie Wittenmyer was its first president. Its second president, Frances Willard, a noted feminist, made the greatest leaps for the group. They were inspired by the Greek writer Xenophon, who defined temperance as “moderation in all things healthful; total abstinence from all things harmful.” In other words, should something be good, it should not be indulged in to excess; should something be bad for you, it should be avoided altogether—thus their attempts to rid their surroundings of what they saw (and still see) as the dangers of alcohol.” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WCTU

Sadly, many of the reforms sought by the WCTU were actually of good purpose and were quite needed in American Society. They were for universal suffrage, reform of the labor laws, against the use of tobacco, for public health care and World peace. Unfortunately, their greatest lasting success was in the creation of Prohibition of all alcohol use. The perspective that the WCTU provided that has lasted far beyond prohibition was that the use of any substance to affect ones’ consciousness was amoral and sinful. They for instance lobbied the Catholic Church to renounce the use of wine in its services as being “against God’s wishes”. Their idea was that if “getting high” was evil and sinful, it was then the proper role of government to interdict the use of any substances that would alter consciousness. If you give it some thought this is the premise that seems to be operant today at all levels of government. It is this perspective that drives the War on Drugs. “Getting high” is per se wrong and it is government’s job to prevent people from “getting high.”

The Eighteenth Amendment to our Constitution introducing Prohibition in the U.S. took effect on January 17th, 1920. With Prohibition’s institution came an immediate ramp up of Agencies and funding for enforcing Prohibition. As we know the effort to ban alcohol was not only a complete failure, it resulted in the creation of a network of organized criminals throughout the country. One of the federal prohibition agents hired was one Harry J. Anslinger, who rose to high levels within the government and in 1930 was appointed Director of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics. With the election of FDR and the repeal of the 18th Amendment Anslinger found his role and power within the Treasury Department in a decline. Anslinger’s response was to find another substance to use as a “bugaboo” and developed a campaign to paint marijuana as a destructive substance that threatened the public with crazed addict raping and killing innocent citizens.

“Some of his critics allege that Anslinger and the campaign against marijuana had a hidden agenda, DuPont petrochemical interests and William Randolph Hearst together created the highly sensational anti-marijuana campaign to eliminate hemp as an industrial competitor. Indeed, Anslinger did not himself consider marijuana a serious threat to American society until in the fourth year of his tenure (1934), at which point an anti-marijuana campaign, aimed at alarming the public, became his primary focus as part of the government’s broader push to outlaw all recreational drugs” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_J._Anslinger

You will note the last sentence of the paragraph above “at which point the anti-marijuana campaign, aimed at alarming the public, became his primary focus as part of the government’s broader push to outlaw all recreational drugs.” This blog has had numerous bog posts documenting the excesses and the failures of the “War on Drugs”. In fact if you write “War on Drugs” in the blog search function you will be taken two five archived pages on the subject including many of my own. I don’t to intend to present a rehash of what I feel is a proven proposition, which is that the War on Drugs is a failure, has made a joke of our Constitution and has wasted literally trillion$ in an endeavor that we could argue actually contributes to what it purports to end.

What I want to propose instead is that not only do we end the War on Drugs, but that we decriminalize all substances used to get people high. To my mind humanity has at least found that “getting high” is a normal and pleasurable part of life for at least 10,000 years which is the timeframe put on the invention of beer. My guess, and that of many paleontologists, is that the use of mind altering substances may go back as much as 100,000 years in human history. Some even attribute the use of psychedelics to the creation of modern religion, which I find persuasive, but not dispositive. Why are we doing this? Why are we expending so much energy and money on outlawing something that our species has used throughout its history to not only make life more pleasant, to reduce pain and to help alleviate the suffering appended to the lives of many humans? Much of this disdain for what is essentially a human tendency can be attributed to religion and its need to control the lives of its believers. However, much of the impetus for this can also be attributed to people with power who want to further exert control over the people they have power over. To me this is madness and does meet the definition of insanity.

The question will then be asked what expertise I have in this field to be able to propose this change? It’s a fair question and the fair answer is that I am an expert in it. For 32 years I worked for the New York City Human Resources Administration. During my time there I worked in all of their sub-Agencies that dealt with drug addiction and drug addicts, including the pilot project of the DAB program which dealt with those disabled due to addiction. My last 20 years in that Agency were spent aqs a high level executive, who was recognized for his expertise regarding addiction and regarding psychological issue. This is because I am an Institute-Trained Psychotherapist, who has also attended numerous practicum’s and symposia dealing with addiction and its psychological effects. Then too, for 6 years after my retirement from HRA I created and ran 8 programs that specifically dealt with drug addiction including one that created “sober” living for 38 addicts that also had severe psychiatric disorders. Disability was the only reason that I retired and the programs I created still exist nine years after my full retirement from the field. So by most people’s definition I am an expert.

Now though I’ve also openly admitted on this blog that until 1981 I was a recreational drug user and had sampled most all of the drugs available until that time. However, the only substance I was ever addicted to was tobacco and beating that addiction was a long time struggle for me. One can say though, that in addition to experience and training, I have also had much experience with the field from the inside. The sum of all my experience and knowledge has led me inescapably to the conclusion that there is no reason for our Country to waste so much effort and to have degraded the freedom of our society, trying to ban something that is a very human predilection. One can also say that the banning actually encourages use, because by spreading myths about the more benign drugs like marijuana, the Drug Interdiction Industry loses credibility with possible users, who then don’t heed the real warnings regarding the truly destructive drugs such as Cocaine, Crack and Meth.

Some will attempt to rebut my argument by stating what will we do about those who are in the throes of addiction? We currently spend an estimated $100 million per year on the war on drugs. Only a small fraction of that goes for treatment of what is really a medical/psychological problem. We could easily increase the availability of good drug treatment for a small percentage of that $100 million to take care of those addicted. The unshared secret of the War on Drugs is that methadone gets people high and yet is encouraged as a treatment for heroin addiction. In fact the methadone programs are organized in such a way that if one is found to be using barbiturates for instance (used to increase the effect of the high) they increase the daily dosage of methadone. People on methadone have been historically able to lead stable lives and to even hold jobs. The same would be true of many heroin users, if heroin was decriminalized.

I am absolutely not suggesting that heroin, cocaine and meth are good for people. They are poison and no one should use them. However, people sniff glue and people get high on other really weird dangerous substances. A fool is born every minute. One must admit though that the interdiction and illegality of these substances increases their attractiveness to a certain group of people. In my opinion every addict, by addict I mean that someone who can’t go through an extended period of time without getting high, is suffering from a personality disorder of serious proportion. Instead of medically and psychologically treating the disorder, we are treating the symptom with criminalization. That too is madness to me. It is not the drug that is the evil, though certain drugs are deadly, it is what causes the person to seek out the drug. Anyone who has ever seen someone get high with heroin via a needle, has to wonder what in hell that person is thinking and what pain is that person feeling to want to do that? We shouldn’t be sending people with psychological programs to jail It is cruel and inhumane punishment and history has proven it doesn’t work.

Finally, when it comes to people using substances I am a full on libertarian in belief. The government has no business regulating whether or how people “get high.” History has proven that this regulation and interdiction not only doesn’t work, but it is counterproductive. Having known and treated many addicts in my life I have tremendous empathy and sympathy towards people in the struggle. My feeling is that in the end it is an individual and not a government matter, except in the sense of providing resources for those who find themselves lost in their addiction.

Submitted By: Mike Spindell, Guest Blogger.





33 thoughts on “Our Insane War on Drugs

  1. Another great post Mike!

    This week voters in Lansing, Jackson, and Ferndale joined several other municipalities (including Ann Arbor and Detroit) in essentially decriminalizing marijuana possession. I think we’ll reach the tipping point on pot legalization within the next decade. As for other drugs, I don’t think that using drugs should ever be a criminal act (selling them, on the other hand…) and I think addicts should be given their drugs (and needles if they use them) and, as you said, given treatment as well. I think that this makes financial sense for any society—the human benefit is just a bonus.

  2. Good stuff Mike. I posted a comment earlier today which bears repeating and this is a good place to repeat it. I am convinced the “war on drugs” actually increases the crime rate rather than decreases it. There are drugs that really do need to be controlled, such as “bath salts” and Krokodil, but marijuana and some of the milder drugs are not such a major health problem that it justifies a vast expenditure of money and usurpation of civil rights. The real underlying motivation behind the war on drugs is the prison-industrial complex, which needs to be fed and they wield immense political power.

    Of course, there is still a very large cohort of righteous purists who cannot bring themselves to leave others alone. As someone once wrote, cannot abide the idea that somebody, somewhere, is having a good time.

    Speaking as one who has a lot of experience with drug abusers, I understand both the cravings of the user, and the market demands those cravings create. by cutting off the supply of milder and less dangerous drugs, the war on drugs creates the demand for designer drugs such as bath salts and Krokodil as less dangerous drugs become harder to obtain. If addicts and habitual users were able to get the milder drugs without a hassle, then ER doctors would not be seeing people who look like the Krokodil users shown in the photographs on this web page about the stuff:

    [Fair warning, these photographs are not for the squeamish]

  3. OS,

    You’re right over the target with your post! I skipped the pictures for tonight, it’s late.

    RE: All the Rapes & Assaults by LE

    One thing that is doing to happen tomorrow or the next day is that LE is going to have to be Drug Tested Daily if they are involved in making arrest.

    IE: Patrolmen: I smelled alcohol around his breath.

    Opposing counsel: Patrolmen, were you drinking Jack Daniels while on Duty that day? When did you quit drinking Jack Daniels? Are you drunk right now? Did you have a blood test for dope in the last thirty days? etc….

    All these rapes & assaults against “We the People” are most likely because of some drug addiction of these patrolmen or mentally ill people being signed up & then under going the similar type training the Nazis put their govt killers through. ie: puppies/SS

    Whatever it is they are clearly Sick Prevs!

    I could not ever drink enough Jack Daniels, whiskey blind, & commit the acts they are committing.

  4. **The idea for writing this came to mind this week at my local drug store. My wife had sent me for a decongestant that contains pseudo-ephedrine to treat a persistent cold. **

    Mike S,

    I went the same thing here about 1 1/2 months ago.

    Also what I’m interested in is Oklahoma & many other states have put in some sort of law on blood test for suspects.

    Now I’ve heard sesame seed hamburger buns will make someone test positive for drugs…. ?

    So now what, taking a cold medicine might make our wifes test positive for meth?

    I don’t know & I haven’t researched the new laws enough to know.

    Now if some idiot texting & they hits my wife is it some how twisted it’s her fault because 3 1/2 weeks ago she took a med containing pseudo-ephedrine?

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with many points brought up in this post. However I just want to ask a question about the incident that prompted this post to begin with. Oregon was a state with an out of control meth problem. One of the things they did was not only to move the pseudo-ephedrine-containing products behind the counter; they simply do not allow them to be sold in the state, period. I am not looking at the statistics, but I believe it is factual to state that since that time the level of problems with meth, while not solved by any means, has at least tapered on a downward path. Thus a rational person might accept that prohibiting certain forms of drugs could be beneficial, especially because society as a whole has to bear the costs of the wasting effects of meth, whether it be emergency room treatments or more crime committed by addicts who want to support their habit.

    So while I support decriminalization, making potentially harmful and addicting drugs widely available may not be so intelligent either. I am not speaking about marijuana; I am merely pointing out that those cold remedies may have a serious down side, the effects of which spread far beyond the individuals who choose to abuse them.

  6. As we know the effort to ban alcohol was not only a complete failure, it resulted in the creation of a network of organized criminals throughout the country.” – Mike S

    Ah yes, Mike has fingered the origin of the banksters.

    We still suffer from the misguided Church Lady zealots who never learned to chill.

  7. One part of the “War on Drugs” you failed to mention was the DUI checkstops.

    What should be punished severely is not the amount of alcohol (or other drug) in the driver’s system but their behavior when dangerously driving. It doesn’t seem reasonable to me to punish someone either more severely or less for the exact same act. Punish the act regardless of whether or not the person has had a few drinks.

  8. PDXBanana,

    It may be true that banning pseudo-ephedrine has cut down the meth use in Oregon and indeed there is a case to be made for the fact that as a medication itself pseudo-ephedrine is not wholly benign. What I learned from
    “Breaking Bad” (maybe not the best source) is that there is a way to cook meth without pseudo-ephedrine, which could mean that the meth reduction is only temporary. What my point is though, is that meth, like all drugs should be decriminalized. Meth is a very bad drug, no doubt, but it flourishes despite interdiction. People who meth leads to commit crimes are covered by normal criminal law. Those who use is and don’t commit crime are welcome to their teeth falling our, severe acne and the behavioral problems meth use entails. There should be treatment available for them. However, we really can’t save them from their stupidity in using it, we can only be there to help them when they are ready.

  9. Mike, another good article.

    “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing that has failed over and over again.”

    The war on drugs is failing only if the desired results are what its proponents say are their desired results. The people who matter do not persist with an apparently failing policy unless it is giving them something they want which I believe it is. What you or I Mike see as undesirable side effects are in fact the desired outcomes.

    Here is a list of types of people and the outcomes they see as desirable:-

    1/ Do Gooders of a certain type who absolutely love to do good to people they despise in a way that maximizes the latter’s misery.

    2/ Anti Negro racists.

    Each time since the civil war that Negros have made social and economic progress there has been a white backlash and policies implemented to roll back Negro gains and prevent any further ones. The first of these occurred in the South after the period called reconstruction laws were implemented to require that Negroes be employed by a White person, failure to be employed was the crime of vagrancy punishable by imprisonment and being leased out for negligible wages to a white man.

    The second backlash consisted of Jim Crow, lynching and the KKK.

    The third backlash is the war on drugs which is the counter attack against the gains of the civil rights movement.

    Incidentally is unfair to blame Richard Nixon for the war on drugs, he introduced the term but did not take action, it was Ronald Ray Gun who
    made it reality.

    3/ Investors in private prisons. 1% of US citizens are in prison, this would have been impossible but for the war on drugs but it is very profitable.

    4/ Lawyers, police and prison guards and police and prison unions. The war on drugs increases the need for police and prison guards, and provides them a way of getting convictions that require little work or intelligence. Even a moron can make drug arrests in the Black ghetto.

    5/ Authoritarians have an agenda to turn the US into a police state and to roll back protections for suspects and the accused such as the fourth amendment. Three witchcraft issues have been used to justify the advance of authoritarianism, they are Drugs, Terrorism and Pedophilia.

    6/ Preventing upward social mobility by poor Black people. Upward social mobility is good only when white people are the beneficiaries, the criminal law and the post release discrimination for ex felons make the chance of Blacks making progress already small microscopic.

    I suggest that any who think their is sense in Mike’s article get hold of Michelle Alexander’s book “The New Jim Crow, mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness”, it goes into detail about the racial bias in the War on Drugs.

  10. Great article…..

    All so true…. Every aspect…. What Dredd said Slartibartfast and everyone else….

    Just read about silk road .com reopening…..all your needs….. You use bit coins instead of cash….. Asking for trouble all the way around…..

  11. Mike S:

    “To me this is nonsensical, given that addicts always find ways to get their drugs no matter what strictures are put into place.”

    This argument kind of reminds me of how criminals will always find ways to get their guns no matter what strictures are put into place.

  12. The war on drugs illustrates the folly of trying to criminalize, and then enforce, the unenforceable. This truism can be translated to many areas. Where there is a demand, there is always going to be somebody to supply it. Make a highly desirable thing hard to get, and the stakes are raised to a level of life and death.

    Lawmakers and moral purists learned absolutely nothing from the debacle of the 18th Amendment. That POS law created the Mafia/la Cosa Nostra out of almost thin air. The war on drugs has turned street gangs into powerful drug cartels with as much firepower and equipment as the armies of many small countries. With the escalation of violent behavior on the part of drug manufacturers and distributors, has come an escalation in increasing police equipment, training and militarization. Officers are often accused of being too quick to use deadly force, but it has gotten to the point where every traffic stop has the potential to turn deadly. I used to have a poster on our office wall that said, “Just because you are paranoid, it doesn’t mean they are not out to get you.”

    At the same time, mental hospitals, mental health facilities and substance abuse treatment programs are being defunded. Historically, insurance does not want to pay for mental health treatment, and only pays psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers a fraction of what they pay for treatment of medical problems that are far less labor intensive.

    For a number of years, I was the project director of an alcohol and substance abuse program for inmates. It was based on a cognitive behavioral program, and we had hard numbers to show it was cost effective. Our recidivism rate was much lower than a control group of identical inmates who didn’t get in the program because there was no room. It cost the taxpayers less to pay us to treat the guys than it did to keep them locked up with no treatment. The local criminal court judges loved us, but the funds were suddenly cut off last year. The DoJ was much more willing to spend money for new and better toys to fight the war on drugs with hardware and more jail cells than to….fight the war on drugs by providing treatment.

  13. OT:

    Associated Press

    (AP:WASHINGTON) One of the most influential news outlets covering the Supreme Court sets up shop on big decision days not in the pressroom with other reporters, but in the court’s cafeteria.

    The justices themselves read the award-winning SCOTUSblog, but unlike other media it has no official status in the marble courthouse.

    This curious situation is attributable almost entirely to the unusual, if not unique, circumstances that surround SCOTUSblog publisher Tom Goldstein. The 43-year-old lawyer has made a career out of challenging the established way of doing things, first among Supreme Court advocates and more recently in its pressroom.

    Goldstein is in the position of both making and reporting the news.

    He is not just the founder, owner and publisher of SCOTUSblog, named for the acronym for the Supreme Court of the United States. He also argues before the court, comments on and analyzes news on MSNBC and is quoted widely in media accounts.

    SCOTUSblog has gone from a failed marketing ploy designed to attract more business to the law firm Goldstein started with his wife, Amy Howe, to an indispensable aid to Supreme Court reporters and lawyers. The blog’s Twitter account has 144,000 followers.

    The blog is so popular among Supreme Court watchers that it is now helping set the agenda for coverage of the institution.

    SCOTUSblog tries to steer clear of conflicts by routinely acknowledging when Goldstein’s firm is involved in cases the blog writes about. But the court itself is unsure how to deal with this hybrid that Goldstein created, a news outlet that is owned by one of the court’s own practitioners.

    He wears, in his own words, “so many hats” around the court that it is hard sometimes to distinguish one from another. The blog has been reporting extensively on the cases the court has heard this term. Out of the 18 cases heard so far, two were argued by Goldstein, including one last week, and another by law firm partner Kevin Russell, also a SCOTUSblog contributor.

    Howe, a lawyer who has argued before the court, now is a reporter and editor for the blog. So far this term, she has watched some arguments from seats reserved for lawyers, then written about cases for the blog.

    When the justices heard arguments over gay marriage in March, Goldstein listened to them in a room set aside for lawyers, then updated the blog’s followers on Twitter.

    Of all the media organizations with a presence at the high court, including The Associated Press, SCOTUSblog is the only one owned by a lawyer.

    Goldstein said he wants SCOTUSblog to be treated like any other news organization. “We ought to be given the same benefits and be subject to the same restrictions as members of the press corps.”

    Yet he also acknowledged that his peculiar status means that he and the blog sometimes do not act the way other organizations would, including notifying the court when it inadvertently posts orders or opinions online before they are officially released.

    “My thinking is, I have an ethical obligation as an officer of the court that supersedes any other ethical obligation,” he said.

    That caution is in contrast to Goldstein’s penchant for taking risks on other fronts.

    He forecast that Elena Kagan would replace John Paul Stevens well before Stevens announced his retirement. But he also incorrectly predicted the demise of the health care overhaul in 2012. “I would say the administration is probably not going to have the best June,” Goldstein told Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show”.

    Perhaps his biggest gamble was his effort to build a Supreme Court practice from scratch.

    Many lawyers who argue regularly at the Supreme Court attended an Ivy League law school, served as a justice’s law clerk and worked in the Justice Department’s Office of the Solicitor General. Goldstein had none of those advantages when he set out to build a law practice focused on the Supreme Court.

    Instead, he looked systematically for cases in which lower courts disagreed about a legal issue, a situation more likely to draw the Supreme Court’s attention.

    Goldstein avidly pursued clients in these cases, regardless of their ability to pay. Goldstein said he was paid only a few thousand dollars for the first eight cases he argued at the Supreme Court in a three-year period. “It was the only way to get from there to here,” he said.

    The method now is considered routine, but when he first started doing it, other Supreme Court lawyers looked askance. Chief Justice John Roberts, in private practice at the time, was one of them. He compared what Goldstein did to a heart surgeon cold-calling prospective patients.

    In October 2002, the other thing Goldstein surmised might help the law firm he and Howe were running from their house was a blog. “Turns out it was a really stupid idea,” Goldstein said in a C-SPAN interview. “People don’t say, `Get me the guy with the website.'”

    His fortunes have changed since then. Now with 30 arguments under his belt, he is among only a few lawyers in private practice who have argued multiple cases at the court in recent years.

    The blog got a huge boost in credibility when it hired veteran reporter Lyle Denniston, who began covering the Supreme Court during the Eisenhower administration. Goldstein attracted a deep-pocketed sponsor in Bloomberg Law, the legal research unit of Bloomberg LP, and says he now spends $500,000 a year on the blog. The relationship with Bloomberg is in its third and final year, Goldstein said.

    Next year, Goldstein said he intends to sell SCOTUSblog. To that end, he wants a formal press credential for Denniston, whose pass is courtesy of a Boston public radio station for which he works only rarely, and maybe even Howe.

    The formal recognition he seeks is part of a series of moves aimed at making SCOTUSblog more attractive to prospective buyers. “We put more effort into covering the Supreme Court than any other organization in American history,” Goldstein says, including in his claim even specialty legal publications like the American Lawyer.

    The court, though, has remained noncommittal about how to treat SCOTUSblog. Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said she is reviewing the credentialing process for the first time in nearly 40 years. “We won’t act on any pending requests until we have completed that process,” Arberg said.

  14. Might as well call it the war on the disadvantaged, mostly black folks, for the benefit of political blip verbs. Most cops, judges and lawyers know it is BS. The war also is supported by “legit” purveyors of alternative forms of medicine (pharma) and recreational drugs (alcohol and tobacco), so there is big money opposite common sense. Most people listen to the story propounded by the money folks, since those in the advertising industry know what “sells”.

  15. Excellent post. And I just read that Colorado decided to put a very high tax on recreational Marijuana. What a dumb idea. This is a recipe to encourage a black market in marijuana. They decriminalize it then immediately set up a policy that encourages an illegal market. Tax it, fine, just don’t make the tax so high that you create an incentive for illegal activity.

  16. “Why It’s Always Been Time to Legalize Marijuana

    Let’s put an end to the “war on drugs” that has ruined so many lives.”

    by Katrina vanden Heuvel

    October 30, 2013 | This article appeared in the November 18, 2013 edition of The Nation.



    “At home, as Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance highlighted in our 2010 special issue, there has been rising public support for legalizing marijuana use—from 12 percent in a 1969 Gallup poll, to 25 percent in 1995, to 36 percent by 2005 and hitting 48 percent—almost a majority—last year. The demographic shift on this issue has been stunning, akin to the about-face on same-sex marriage. Nearly a year after Colorado and Washington passed historic legalization measures, Gallup reported in October that 58 percent of Americans support legalization. If Congress—with its dismal 8 percent approval rating—wants to enjoy a popularity as high as marijuana’s, it might consider revisiting pot’s federal prohibition.

    A good start would be a law to regulate, control and tax, which would ease the drug war on people of color, the poor and the young, and raise substantial tax revenues. The House might take up a bill introduced by Dana Rohrabacher, and co-sponsored by Steve Cohen, Jared Polis, Earl Blumenauer and others, that marijuana prohibition as prescribed by the Controlled Substances Act will not “apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws.” This could help more states and localities introduce ballot initiatives to decriminalize marijuana without fear of federal meddling.

    The Justice Department should also adhere to Attorney General Eric Holder’s voluntary guidelines, which minimize the focus on marijuana offenses, ease restrictions on medical marijuana dispensaries and allow states to begin experimenting with saner rules.

    President Obama should order a review of marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I drug, which falsely defines pot as dangerous, addictive and having no legitimate medical use. He should then commute the sentences of those in prison for nonviolent marijuana offenses—or at least lay the groundwork for such action in late 2016.

    After all, the young Barry Obama was only one small step away—one broken taillight on the Choomwagon, one traffic stop by a cop in a bad mood, one unlucky lapse in Hawaii’s famed tolerance—from becoming just another young African-American casualty in this country’s failed drug war.

    Please support our journalism. Get a digital subscription for just $9.50!

    And once that happened: no more Columbia grad. Or Harvard Law Review editor. Or US senator from Illinois. Or president of the United States. Just another painful statistic in a war that should have ended long ago.

    No more wasted lives. Let America exhale.”

  17. The “digital subscription” line slipped past me. (: It breaks the flow…

    Again, Katrina vanden Heuvel:

    “After all, the young Barry Obama was only one small step away—one broken taillight on the Choomwagon, one traffic stop by a cop in a bad mood, one unlucky lapse in Hawaii’s famed tolerance—from becoming just another young African-American casualty in this country’s failed drug war.

    And once that happened: no more Columbia grad. Or Harvard Law Review editor. Or US senator from Illinois. Or president of the United States. Just another painful statistic in a war that should have ended long ago.

    No more wasted lives. Let America exhale.”

  18. “It was based on a cognitive behavioral program, and we had hard numbers to show it was cost effective.”


    Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is the way to go with many treatments including addictions. Were I a younger man I would train in CBT because I am convinced of its efficacy.

  19. Re: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

    I’ve got to step away again but before I go.

    **Survival Shield – Nascent Iodine

    Purchase Now **


    Now I’m not pimping this stuff above, but I am thinking about buying some of it.

    I’m not a doctor, but because I and other family/friends having had so many rotten experiences with doctors, MDs/Osteopaths, etc…, and their often complete incompetence I and others have been becoming more informed now that we have the internet at our disposal.

    The human body is really a cool machine, an electrical/chemical drive one.

    Just like with a car battery if a short circuit develops somewhere in the system the battery goes dead.

    That’s the reason a Tazer kills so many people.

    Everyone likely remembers that ole saying: “Mad as a Hatter”

    We know they went crazy from mercury poisoning from it’s use in their profession.

    Mercury, Lead, DU and other heavy metals get in humans and short circuit the body’s electrical/chemical system.

    That’s one of the things we believe is causing the cases of autism is the mercury in the vaccines.

    We can also get mercury from coal fired power plants & the mining of coal and it’s waste.

    That Nascent Iodine is a new product.

    What they are saying is that the human body takes in iodine into the thyroid, I think other glands, and that it’s supposed to help our bodies flush some of the heavy metals from our system.

    I don’t know if it does or not, but it’s interest from another stand point of if those heavy metal contaminations are causing Cognitive troubles for many of these people that are having trouble functioning.

    And also even if we are functioning wouldn’t we function better if we can remove those toxins. It seems like common sense to me that we would.

  20. LOL :)

    They’ll arrest my butt in a second for even thinking about smoking cannabis in Oklahoma, but the Koch Bros & other industries can give me all the mercury I can stand and more.

    (Oh well, nothing but the highest quality plumbers glue until the laws change. I’m Joking)

  21. The “war on drugs” is now being taken out on those with chronic pain. The /DEAFDA keeps changing the rules making it harder for those who have no other options then opiods to help control their pain, sometimes just to allow them to get out of bed in the morning.

  22. Oky1,

    Your thyroid needs idoine (to avoid goiters), which is generally not in our food supply (mostly in iodized salt). It is, however, in radioactive fallout, so, to prevent the body from absorbing radioactive iodine there are iodine pills meant so swap your thyroid with iodine so that any of the radioactive stuff will be excreted rather than stored in your thyroid.

    You probably aren’t encountering any radioactive iodine in your daily life, so such pills aren’t a big deal (though they probably wouldn’t hurt anything either) and I’ve never heard anything about them helping purgue your body of toxins (though I agree that the toxic soup we live in is a danger that is extremely under appreciated).

    I also don’t believe there is a causal link between vaccinations and autism. The seminal paper on the link was withdrawn by the authors—in the scientific world, that’s an extremely strong indicator that a theory is wrong.

  23. This is yet another claim of invasive medical probing and tests (amounting to rape) out of New Mexico done this time by the Customs and Border Patrol and doctors. According to the story her medical records state that she did not give consent. This is the third case out of NM. What the hell is wrong with New Mexico?

    “NM woman comes forward with illegal probing claims”


  24. One of the most powerful storms ever recorded killed at least 10,000 people in the central Philippines, a senior police official said on Sunday, with huge waves sweeping away coastal villages and devastating one of the main cities in the region.

    Super typhoon Haiyan destroyed about 70 to 80 percent of structures in its path …” (Guardian).

    We need a war on pollution that is caused by an addiction to a drug that will destroy civilization as we know it if we do not wake up to the real dangers.

  25. The ‘war on Drugs’ has different connotations for those in India & China. I wonder how extensively the opium wars are covered in today’s inner city high schools.

    (CNN) — One of Mexico’s most important seaports is now under the control of the military in a show of force as the government fights corruption and drug cartel violence. The port of Lazaro Cardenas lies on the country’s Pacific coast, in the troubled state of Michoacan. As the military moved in, the city’s entire police was disarmed and detained, Sanchez said. The officers will all be evaluated. All of the public servants who oversee the port will be gradually replaced, he said, in order to “prevent collusion by and between officials.”
    Lazaro Cardenas is one of Mexico’s key ports, handling the second-most volume of any port.

    Imagine a tanker full of corn, or Crude oil. Now Imagine a tanker full of meth precursor. Yea, the DEA has put a crimper in home grown shakeNbake meth, it opens the door wider for the Mex cartels.
    El Narco
    Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town
    2 books that greatly expanded my misunderestimations

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