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What costs more: Global Natural Disasters or America's War on Drugs?

Well...go on... take a guess.

You know the answer but it seems so absurd. It's hard to say it.

That's because it is a study in absurdity.

The world community spent $30 billion for global disasters in 2007.

While losses soared in 2007, the figure was far short of the $99 billion Munich Re recorded in 2005 - when Hurricane Katrina slammed into New Orleans.

The world's second-largest reinsurer put total economic losses this year - which includes losses not covered by insurance - from natural disasters at $75 billion - a 50 percent increase from last year's $50 billion, but far below the 2005 figure of $220 billion.


The company said that, in all, 950 natural disasters were recorded this year - up from 850 last year, and the highest figure since the company started keeping systematic records in 1974.

That $30 billion represents what was actually covered and paid for. It appears there was another $45 billion in assessed damage that wasn't paid for.

That article cites global warming as a very real factor in all this and indicates this will all only get worse.

Now consider this: America spends $50 billion a year on it's "war on drugs" alone, $500 billion since the 1970's.

All for nothing.

Paul Armentano, of NORML, writes in Ending America's Domestic Quagmire, that America spends $50 billion a year now on you-know-what.

America now spends nearly $50 billion dollars per year targeting, prosecuting, and incarcerating illicit-drug users. As a result, the population of illicit-drug offenders now behind bars is greater than the entire U.S. prison population in 1980. Since the mid 1990s, drug offenders have accounted for nearly 50 percent of the total federal prison population growth and some 40 percent of all state prison population growth. For marijuana alone, law enforcement currently spends between $ 7 billion and $ 10 billion dollars annually targeting users -- primarily low-level offenders -- and taxpayers spend more than $ 1 billion annually to incarcerate them.

And a recent journalistic tour de force in Rolling Stone magazine cites "After Thirty-Five Years and $500 Billion, Drugs Are as Cheap and Plentiful as Ever: An Anatomy of a Failure."

Even by conservative estimates, the War on Drugs now costs the United States $50 billion each year and has overcrowded prisons to the breaking point - all with little discernible impact on the drug trade. A report by the Government Accountability Office released at the end of September estimated that ninety percent of the cocaine moving into the United States now arrives through Mexico, up from sixty-six percent in 2000. Even Walters acknowledges that for all of the efforts the Bush administration has devoted to overseas drug enforcement, the price of cocaine has dropped while its purity has risen. More than forty percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana, yet the government continues to target pot smokers.

America wasted more money arresting people and putting them in prison than the world community spent trying to clean up and deal with 950 identified natural disasters.

Money spent vigorously making people's lives more difficult, rather than spent on making people's lives LESS difficult.

More from the Rolling Stone article, which talks at length about the failure of the War on Drugs military-style cocaine interdiction:

Overseas military efforts were the least effective way to decrease drug use, and imprisoning addicts was prohibitively expensive. The only cost-effective way to put a dent in the market, it turned out, was drug treatment. "It's not a magic bullet," says Reuter, the RAND scholar who helped supervise the study, "but it works." The study ultimately ushered RAND, this vaguely creepy Cold War relic, into a position as the permanent, pragmatic left wing of American drug policy, the most consistent force for innovating and reinventing our national conception of the War on Drugs.

When Everingham's team looked more closely at drug treatment, they found that thirteen percent of hardcore cocaine users who receive help substantially reduced their use or kicked the habit completely. They also found that a larger and larger portion of illegal drugs in the U.S. were being used by a comparatively small group of hardcore addicts. There was, the study concluded, a fundamental imbalance: The crack epidemic was basically a domestic problem, but we had been fighting it more aggressively overseas. "What we began to realize," says Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University who studied drug policy for RAND, "was that even if you only get a percentage of this small group of heavy drug users to abstain forever, it's still a really great deal."

People who smoke marijuana are a considerably larger percentage of the population that "drug addicts" or hard drugs users not otherwise specified.

Law enforcement arrested over 800,000 Americans for pot last year. Is that not astounding? How can that be "unimportant"?

If you realize that pot smoking isn't the horrible thing the ONDCP and others wish for you to believe, that all they will ever tell you is hype and propaganda; if you understand it is far less impactful than tobacco or alcohol (being non-fatal is one handy measure), and if you add to this realization that the main consequence of pot smoking is arrest and involvement in America's "justice system", then you should be able imagine that pot should not be "illegal".

If marijuana is relegalized, what will they have to do? The "pool" of hardcore drug users is dwindling, which is good for us but not so good for law enforcement budgets. Legal marijuana removes a huge focus of law enforcement attention.

Now, if you focus all that manpower and money wasted on marijuana n dealing with the hardcore folks, I suppose they could all be arrested and put in jail. Or community policing. Something that helps the community.

The legislative and law enforcement approach to "drugs" has been a failure, if for no other reason than it is fundamentally the incorrect solution to the problem. Addiction and drug abuse are medical problems first and foremost.

With the population of hard drugs users, one main issue is that in jail they still require care and a lot of these people will be high-maintenance and expensive to keep in prison. Treatment options and availability should be increased. In the end they need treatment because this is a medical issue first and foremost. So one way or another the government is going to pay for treatment for these people.

Which means, legal or illegal, you the tax payer WILL pay for their treatment, like it or not. I say it's better to fund treatment - make it part of the coming healthcare overhaul that is long overdue in this country.

For those who gasp or get all addled when this topic surfaces, relegalization means 2 basic things:

  1. It means that cannabis was once legal. And by following the rules of the Constitution, reformers wish to make it legal again.
  1. Relegalization means regulation.

Tobacco and alcohol are the models for rendering dangerous elements legally available. Regarding specifically tobacco regulation: citing statistics claiming that slightly more tenth-grade students have smoked pot than tobacco as evidence that regulation of tobacco works.

Simply put, we have leverage over tobacco sellers that we don't have with marijuana dealers. Because tobacco retailers and producers are licensed and regulated, we have some control over them. If they want to keep their lucrative businesses, cigarette merchants have a strong incentive to follow the laws -- even laws they don't like.

Consider this: As part of their reaction to the Synar Amendment, tobacco retailers adopted a "voluntary" program called "We Card." Today, virtually any store that sells cigarettes posts a large, brightly colored sign saying, "Under 18, No Tobacco. We Card."


Regulation works. Prohibition deprives authorities of the best tools available to successfully regulate sales and marketing. Prohibition has handed the entire, annual $113 billion marijuana industry over to unregulated criminals, with entirely predictable consequences.

What about the prison industry, though?

Lots of folks are in prison in America.

It's been a growth industy

As of year-end 2006, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) reported that American jails and prisons held a record-breaking 2,258,983 men and women, and that one in 31 adults are now under some form of correctional supervision. Analysis of the report, released last week by The Sentencing Project revealed that, since 1980, there has been a 1,200 percent increase in the number of people incarcerated for the possession or sale of illicit substances, from 41,100 to at least 532,400 today. At nearly double the rate of men, the number of women in prison has increased by 812 percent in that same time period. In October, the Marijuana Policy Project also reported that marijuana arrests exceeded nearly 830,000 in the same year, resulting in one pot-related arrest every 38 seconds.

And we are no safer.

It's irresponsible.

Democratic Policy

It should be the goal of the Democratic party, since it's going to cast off the corporate influences and become a party of "the People", to end the "war on drugs" as it is now known.

The cannabis plant would be relegalized and regulated post haste. This is one of the few major issues that can be corrected relatively easily, quickly and cheaply. There is a massive logjam of laws that has to be addressed, but law enforcement can be ordered to stand down on all cannabis-related matters and their attention immediately diverted to more pressing issues. (unless we find we simply have too many...)

A committee would be needed to work on releasing marijuana prisoners from incarceration.

Effective drug policies would be drafted, including harm-reduction perspectives and drug-diversion courts for addicts.

All of this can start with Democratic Candidates talking about "the need for reform", when the issue arises.  Because the issue is so highly emotional, thanks to decades of highly-emotionalized propaganda, real leadership on this issue will come in the form of Democratic leaders who talk simply and plainly about the overt failure of drug policy, and lament that change is needed.

Nearly half of America openly supports changing cannabis laws and doing something about the out-of-control nature of the current war on drugs. Democratic leaders should want to tap into that.

We spend more on chasing pot smokers and drug addicts in the US alone than was spent globally cleaning up from a year of natural disasters. Think what good could have been done with all that wasted money and human effort. It's just wrong to work that hard and spend such astronomical sums of money to make people more miserable than to help make them less miserable.

But then, I am a liberal.

Originally posted to Toking Points Memo on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 07:44 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I know... yawn. (24+ / 0-)

    I think government can work and that we can spend more time, effort, and money helping people than we currently do.

    The war on drugs has been a main avenue in how the government has become more of a disservice than anything else.

    I know folks get tired of hearing this....

    The sooner we deal with it the sooner it stops.

    •  No yawns here (11+ / 0-)


      It's stupid, it's unproductive, and it wastes law-enforcement time that could be spent rounding up hardcore criminals. And wouldn't the tax revenue be helpful right about now?

      Keep it up, Doc, I never get tired of these diaries. People need to wake the hell up and get behind this, because throwing pot smokers in jail is pointless.

      Reality leaves a lot to the imagination--John Lennon

      by o the umanity on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 08:06:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not really. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        You are assuming that the object of an action is the thing against which the action is directed.  This is not necessarily the case.
        The object of incarcerating a lot of insignificant people is to make significant people who don't get incarcertated grateful.
        The object of interdicting cheap mind-altering substances is to enable others (the "legal" ones) to be more expensive.

        The land of liberty has a major problem in satisfying the all-too-human urge to exercise control over other people.

        The land of the free market puts much effort into creating and sustaining monopoly conditions without making it obvious.

        The problems may originate in the fact that many of those who populated this continent were seeking to escape the controls they felt to be onerous at "home."  So, they proclaimed the desire for liberty.  But then they discovered their own liberty would be sweeter if other people could be coerced.  And that pattern persists.  There's always been some group throughout U.S. history that's been subordinated and/or subjugated and ever since various categories have been declared "inappropriate to subjugate," others have had to be identified.

        •  You have a point here somewhere (0+ / 0-)


          The object of incarcerating a lot of insignificant people is to make significant people who don't get incarcertated grateful.The object of interdicting cheap mind-altering substances is to enable others (the "legal" ones) to be more expensive.

          Are you blaming the liquor lobby for the crackdown on pot smokers?

          Reality leaves a lot to the imagination--John Lennon

          by o the umanity on Sun Dec 30, 2007 at 08:32:25 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Weird how torturing is legal (14+ / 0-)

    yet smoking pot gets you thrown in jail.

    It cats could blog, they wouldn't.

    by crystal eyes on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 07:58:17 AM PST

  •  As always, good information n/t (3+ / 0-)
  •  I don't support drug legalization (0+ / 0-)

    It makes me think of the Hippies, the Chicago 7, Woodstock, and other far left people who made the Democratic brand radioactive during the Nixon and Reagan era. While I would be willing to support putting non-violent offenders onto diversionary treatment programs, followed by clearing their record once they've remained drug free, I also don't support widespread legalization either.

    •  I do (7+ / 0-)

      Drug laws are more than drug usage and law enforcement.  They also include invasion of privacy, illegal search and seizure, use of informants, racial inequities, healthcare issues, the rise of faith-based government, and on and on.

      All legalization hopes to do is remove the criminal element from the reality of drugs.  This ends the biggest revenue generator of most career and organized criminals and gangs and saves many billions in taxpayer money.  

      The cost of incarceration alone is almost incalculable.  It would be far better for our society if we didn’t have an entire segment of our population spending 20 years in prison for non-violent offenses.  How can we expect them to be useful citizens after that?  And far more money could be better spent on education and treatment that is now wasted on enforcement and prosecution.

      (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

      by john07801 on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 09:31:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  When I think of drugs I think of those (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        xxdr zombiexx, john07801

        hippies from the 1960s. I fear widespread public drug usage, parks filled with hypodermic needles, and so forth. I fear that everything and everyone will turn into Jerry Garcia and it will be like Woodstock everyday!

        •  I thought you said you were against it! (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          moosely2006, geez53, o the umanity


          I see drugs like alcohol is today.  Yes, we have problems but we won’t do without it (Prohibition proved that).  It is government-regulated so it is pure and taxed and controlled, even if only imperfectly.  We don’t want children getting hold of it and we don’t want it used where such use could be dangerous to others (driving, e.g.).  I see no difference in the production, sale and consumption of drugs.  The primary objective is to make them available so that there is no black market.

          No one shoves old ladies down and grabs their purses to buy chardonnay.  Street corners aren’t manned by heavily armed teenagers selling scotch.  And we don’t interdict airplanes in the jungle full of tequila.  In fact, the only illegalities in the liquor world were moonshine and absinthe, both now legal (and taxed and controlled).

          IIRC, alcohol and drugs have a lot of historic parallels.  Both were outlawed during prohibition and the effects were the same.  Alcohol was only available in forms approaching pure ethanol ("bathtub gin") because it was the most power in the smallest package which benefited transportation.  Alcohol poisoning and other related health problems were endemic.  Of course, no one every envisioned that you might one day buy a wine cooler.

          And, of course, everyone knows that heroin was invented and promoted by Bayer.  I recall an ad where it was suggested that babies slept better if given some at bedtime!

          In future generations (we have a problem with a disproportionate number of existing addicts, admittedly), a young person will have the option of working, going to school or escaping through substances.  And that has a lot to do with the need to escape, not the substance.  And after the day’s work is done, you can kick back with a beer, joint or a line of cocaine, keeping in mind that you have to answer the bell again, tomorrow.

          (All this from a teetotaler...)

          (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

          by john07801 on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 10:15:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Most of what you describe (4+ / 0-)

          reflects failed polices and the impact of half-steps, mixed with a lot of propaganda.

          The "fear that everything and everyone will turn into Jerry Garcia and it will be like Woodstock everyday" is patently ridiculous and an artifact of that same propaganda effort.

          Peace = Hippies = Drugs = Left = Communism

          Certainly you've noticed a pattern?

          Reform has been swiftboated for generations.

          You're supposed to think of needle-filled parks because that's what the media transmits about reform.

          There are no "relegalize heroin" movements because it affects a tiny percentage of people and frankly, I am disgusted we still have people screwing around with it. I share your concern about this health menace, but jailing people and inflating the profitability of trafficking just doesn't address the problem at all.

          it simply doesn't work.

          Thanks for the reply!

        •  But (4+ / 0-)

          pot smoking does not involve "shooting up".

          Please consider that unlike other drugs, marijuana is a natural substance that needs no processing of any sort to be consumed. It has been shown in study after study to be beneficial in so many ways, especially for medicinal use.

          The cannabis plant (sh)ould be relegalized and regulated post haste. This is one of the few major issues that can be corrected relatively easily, quickly and cheaply. There is a massive logjam of laws that has to be addressed, but law enforcement can be ordered to stand down on all cannabis-related matters and their attention immediately diverted to more pressing issues.


          And think about this--a plant that is related to HEMP (of which marijuana is a byproduct of), by genus/species, is HOPS. Hops go into beer, a legal substance.

          Seriously--I have my doubts about the general public putting up with legalization of "all illicit drugs" across the board. However, IMO, marijuana is not a drug, it is a plant.

          Please reconsider, at least this much! If you believe there is truly is a God, then you have to wonder why He put this plant on this Earth. I believe He did it for a very good reason--and demonizing users by throwing them in jail and ruining their lives over it surely wasn't what He had in mind.

          Reality leaves a lot to the imagination--John Lennon

          by o the umanity on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 10:21:07 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  legalization != endorsement (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Woody, snazzzybird, geez53

          You might take a look at what LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) has to say.  These guys are ex-cops, ex-narcs, ex-prosecutors, etc. who used to wage the war on drugs for a living.  But they came to realize that the drug war does far more harm than good, in many ways.

          The fact is, people who want to smoke pot right now already do it.  Thirty-five years of money wasted and lives ruined has not put a dent in use of pot, cocaine, heroin, or anything else.  So the assumption that we'd all of a sudden see an America with a lot more drug users is probably flawed.

          Public use of drugs (like public use of alcohol) would be tightly controlled under the type of regulatory system that reform advocates typically discuss, and it is highly unlikely that drug use will become more "visible."  For example, cannabis might only be allowed to be consumed in private dwellings or certain adults-only establishments, as in Holland.  Several cities around the world, including Vancouver, San Francisco, and Geneva, have experimented with providing safe injection sites for heroin addicts.  In these cities, what has happened is that the streets got a lot cleaner -- no more shooting up in the public parks.

          Anyway, my point here is not that all or even any drugs are wonderful, but that prohibition 1) doesn't work, and 2) causes tremendous harm in many ways.


          Time to end the drug war.

          by Sam from Ithaca on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 09:01:01 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  You were there? (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          snazzzybird, DeadBee

          You write about Hippies from your own observation and belief, Oceanstar, or is what you know about Hippies only hearsay that you picked up from Rush and Bush? You do seem to have gulped down the anti-Hippie swill of the reichtwing.

          I mean really. Woodstock offends you? You didn't like how Jimi Hendrix rendered the Star Spangled Banner? You were grossed out that some teenage girls may have taken off their tops to frolic on the grass? Did it pain you that more people showed up than could be accommodated (A commode! What this concert needs is a good 5 cent commode!) thus demonstrating a failure of the market economy? Or what is your Woodstock problem?

          (No, I wasn't at Woodstock. I was invited but declined. I don't regret it. Sleeping in the rain, or even slip sliding in the mud, is not my idea of a fun weekend no matter how many mind-altering substances are on offer. But I don't sneer at those who did go. My friends said they had a wonderful time, and I believe them.)

          The Chicago Seven and the Chicago Police riot. Well, I'm glad that I wasn't there either. But are you sure that you have it straight about who did what to whom in 1968?

          What made the Democratic brand radioactive in areas that I happened to be familiar with in the Nixon and Reagan era, and I was there, in Texas and in an ethnic, working class city in Western Pennsylvania, was the identification of the Democratic Party with uppity blacks.

          Admittedly, there were strong  connections between the anti-black feelings nurtured by Nixon and invigorated by Reagan and the anti-Hippie feelings. Hippies were into this peace and love thing, you know, and some of them actually endorsed the idea of racial intermixing. And of course, Hippies and blacks alike were perceived to be heavy users of recreational drugs, that is, marijuana.

          Artifact that I am, I still support the right of individuals of different races to intermix, even sexually (!!!), as well as to enjoy the benefits of recreational drugs. Funny, I don't look like a Hippie.

          •  Anyone who remembers the 60s wasn't there. ;} (0+ / 0-)

            I belong to no organized political party, I'm a Democrat. -Will Rogers

            by geez53 on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 11:39:30 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Was I hallucinating? (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              snazzzybird, sravaka, geez53

              I think I was there. Maybe I was only dabbling in the era. Civil Rights stuff -- I got called a "niggerlover" walking picket lines with blacks in segregated Texas. The War on Poverty -- I volunteered for a year in an after-school enrichment program in a low income housing project.  Vietnam War --    I marched to the U.N. Building in NYC with MLK (with a hundred thousand others, I really did, unlike boy Romney) and I marched on Washington from the '60s into the '70s. Hippie lifestyle -- I wore blue velvet bell bottom pants (size 29 waist, and looked damn good in them!), I indulged in recreational sex and soft drugs, and yes, I did listen to quite a lot of loud music.

              I went on to a substantial career and a good income in my middle-aged years, so most of my hippie lifestyle, like the 29-inch waistline, is long gone. But not entirely forgotten.

              •  It's a T-shirt/bumper sticker. Along with your (0+ / 0-)

                shared memories, i was called a baby killer and a pot smoking hippie. There was alot going on then. The only constant has been really stupid wars. Sad.

                I belong to no organized political party, I'm a Democrat. -Will Rogers

                by geez53 on Sun Dec 30, 2007 at 11:05:43 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

        •  There's widespread public drug usage now . . . (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          did you even read the diary.  "I fear that everything and everyone will turn into Jerry Garcia . . ."

          If this is honestly your perception of reality the big question becomes "what drugs are you on?"

          "An entire credulous nation believed in Santa Claus, but Santa Claus was really the gasman." Gunter Grass

          by rrheard on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 11:47:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I don't drink booze, smoke tobacco or use (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Woody, sravaka, geez53

      illegal drugs - and I'm not too happy with legal drugs, either.   Prescription medications can be lethal.   That said, I'm dead set against keeping marijuana illegal.  I don't want to spend tax money on useless enforcement, incarceration, judges, attorneys and the horrendous cost of ruined lives.

      Most kids who try drugs and booze grow out of it.   Why criminalize youngsters and make them pay for the rest of their lives?   Can you show me one single positive value we are supporting by keeping marijuana illegal?

      Damn the neo-cons! Full speed ahead!

      by Aaa T Tudeattack on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 10:46:13 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thanks for the diary n/t (4+ / 0-)


    Time to end the drug war.

    by Sam from Ithaca on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 08:44:37 AM PST

  •  I remember hearing an interview (4+ / 0-)

    with the sawed-off Drug Czar, Barry McCaffrey in the 90’s.  He was ranting about his tethered spy balloons at the Mexican border and his drone airplane flights for the same purpose and several other hugely-expensive, wild-eyed proposals to win the "War on Drugs."

    When it was pointed out that availability was up and price was down and, perhaps, these efforts were ineffective, he responded, "To do it right, we need more money.  More money!"  I remember thinking: what an opportunistic, empire-building little shyster.  

    But how else would you handle the job?  You surely can’t win and also can’t admit that fact, either.  So why not use it as a stint in self-promotion?  It's only government money...

    (-7.75, -7.69) No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up - Lily Tomlin

    by john07801 on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 08:57:10 AM PST

  •  economic benefits (7+ / 0-)

    It's our largest cash crop.  It would be a boon to rural areas - it's already the biggest industry in Humboldt Cnty CA among others.  Not to mention that hemp would be a widely available industrial material, benefiting the environment (it is much less harsh on soil than cotton plants, and a more durable fiber).  It might even lead to breakthroughs in renewable energy!!  Cannabis sativa is a remarkable plant, and it's just a shame that we've let it go to waste over fear and lies.

    How do you feel about backyard growers?  Would regulation mean that people couldn't grow their own supply?  Because to me, that is part of the appeal of relegalization - being able to grow your own.  However, I can understand the need for a regulate and tax regime, to make it politically feasible (as if it ever could be... sigh!!).

    La Nouvelle-Orleans: C'est chez nous

    by alpelican on Sat Dec 29, 2007 at 08:39:08 PM PST

    •  Backyard growing would probably be handled.... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      altoid, splashy, snazzzybird, geez53

      in the same way that micro-brewing is handled today. Every adult over the age of 21 has the right to brew something like 20 gallons of alcohol for personal use every year without any special permissions. I may be wrong about the exact quantity, but I do know that's true. I assume that having a row of Hemp plants in your backyard wouldn't be any more of a problem than having a row of beans or corn is now.

      •  As with alchohol (0+ / 0-)

        Most will opt to buy instead of grow, because it takes so long and is tricky to get it right.

        "A common mistake people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools." Douglas Adams

        by splashy on Sun Dec 30, 2007 at 12:11:54 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  End The War On Drugs? Ron Paul Mentions That (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If the Dems are to take the lead on this issue, why is Ron Paul the only one speaking to it?  The Dems are also suck-o-phants to law enforcement, the fear of being "soft on drugs" approaches that of "soft on terror."

    Its not about the candidates my friends, its about their masters - and, to let you in on a secret, its not the voters.  It is a sad state when Hillary expounds as Maggie Thatcher Lite and the left keeps cheering her on - as if her ideas were in any way progressive.

    I'm hoping the whole US comes up with a New Year's resolution to try to build a 3rd party - maybe the Pragmatist Party.

    Thanks Kos for a great year and hope for better in 2008.

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