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Same as it ever was.

I know a lot of people like blackwaterdog's diaries. I also know it's good to have a variety of opinions. Diversity is  a strength, not a weakness. Democracy is messy, not sanitized.

Last November, I read a blackwaterdog diary with which I disagreed strongly enough to write a specific response. I discovered during Meta Wars: BWD edition that this diary ultimately got taken down. In that diary, I was disappointed by the use of some specific language.

Here, I have a substantive beef. Drug policy is an issue that means a lot to me. It's what you might call my 'pet' issue or a 'litmus' test issue or a 'moral obligation'. Like hundreds of thousands of Americans, I applied for a job in the Administration; the ONDCP is where I'd like to be, a chance to be involved on 'the inside' at the heart of our war on drugs. Unfortunately, even though we're on our third consecutive baby-boomer President who has used controlled substances illegally, those of us advocating for sensible drug policies are still treated to derision and scorn.

Despite consistently ranking highly on venues such as change.gov, despite questions about drug legalization being posed directly to the President of the United States, Obama has been pretty consistently clear.

...I don't know what this says about the online audience...the answer is no, I don't think that is a good strategy...

In case you didn't get it then, then there was this

I have to say this...I appreciate the boldness of your question...that will not be my job strategy...

Is Obama better than Bush? Is Gil Kerlikowske a superior ONDCP head? Yes. And that's good. That's why we voted for Obama. But those aren't the questions.

The question is why do we arrest more drug users every day than the total number of war criminals and financial crooks who have been arrested over the past decade?

Blackwaterdog titled the diary WH new drug policy. If the Administration was actually charting a new course, shifting from police action to harms minimization, that would be excellent. But what you won't find in the two articles that make up that section of the diary is what exactly the war on drugs actually is, in real life, what the criminalization of drugs does - a criminalization that the Administration has repeatedly, and strenuously, refused to reconsider.

Blackwaterdog doesn't usually add much policy analysis to what's discussed, so sometimes there's not really anything to add to the discussion. But here, there's a video that's received some attention recently that touches upon one bit of the drug war that I think serves as a really good compliment or counterpoint to the notion that a few dollars put toward treatment is equivalent to a new drug policy. I don't know if you own a dog. If you do, be forewarned before you watch this video. But do watch the video. To paraphrase those classic heroin commercials, this is your (family) on (the war on drugs).

From the heartland, with love.

You can watch this all over again at The Seminal at FDL - and everywhere from YouTube to Fox.

Originally posted to washunate on Tue May 11, 2010 at 08:55 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  yeah, I'm pissed off (20+ / 0-)

    That doesn't make me a bad Democrat. Or a disloyal one. It makes me a human being.

    The real question is: why aren't you pissed off at the war on drugs?

  •  Do they pay blackwaterdog? (0+ / 0-)

    I'm wondering...

    •  who's 'they'? (7+ / 0-)

      She's a legit poster, that's not the issue here (at least, I don't believe that to be the issue, and I think bwd's a she - I don't subscribe, so I basically just see what makes the rec list, which is pretty regular the past few months).

      The issue I have is that so many otherwise reality-based, highly educated, empathetic Democrats have such a huge blind spot on the war on drugs. Our political leaders won't lead on this issue until we collectively decide the madness must end.

      •  Are you sure she is not paid? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Teeth

        The regularity of the diaries and their lack of a message except for promoting Obama suggest to me that she is being paid. This would not be the first time that has happened. Look at slinkerwink who was paid by FDL.

        If she is being paid then it doesn't make sense to hold up the positions in her posts and say, "This person has a blind spot." I'm saying they may not actually be her positions.

        •  Is there really a distinction? (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Kevskos, dreamghost, gardnerjf

          Someone possessed by a cult of personality and a paid blogger are essentially the same.  Both have suspended their own critical thinking skills.

        •  Yes, it has been verified by the admins here, (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          AxmxZ, Dr Teeth, DemandTruth, Miggles

          who contacted her to verify her identity and posted to say so. Keep up these accusations after you've been informed is inappropriate, and you posed this after I already answered your question earlier. Please knock it off. Oh and if you don't like reading her diaries for whatever reason, you don't have to.

          •  Why would it even matter? (0+ / 0-)

            In the strictest sense we are all peddling propaganda with each diary we write.  Whether it is our own creation, something we read or something someone pays you for (I would like to know how to get the gig btw), the issue is with the view point being presented.

          •  Do you have a link to this? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Dr Teeth

            And your post did not post until after I finished writing. I think YOU are the one who should stop making accusations. I am just trying to understand the situation.

            •  Go to "search" (0+ / 0-)

              put in blackwaterdog

              It will go to her profile

              At the top of that, click "Comments"

              those will be her comments.

              Within the last 30 days, I'm thinking, she answers your question.

              Since you won't beleive what anyone writes here, do the research yourself.

              One man alone can be pretty dumb sometimes, but for real bona fide stupidity nothing beats teamwork." - Mark Twain

              by ohmyheck on Wed May 12, 2010 at 06:47:54 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

    •  No, no one pays her. This has been asked and (7+ / 0-)

      answered many times. She's just a woman who truly admires the president and like to bring diaries to the site that focus on what she perceives as good news. This time she missed the mark because this new drug policy is not good news.

  •  It is Orwellian (13+ / 0-)

    Each administration ends up right back here.  They end up at war with Eurasia and Eastasia.  A drug user becomes the constant agent of sedition threatening to overturn the social order.

    Now we check a citizen's urine in order for them to gain employment.  If everyone could just take a step back, would they see how fucked up that is?

    I don't mean to say that drugs don't have negative consequences both socially and individually.  They certainly can.  Still those consequences dwarf in comparison to the drug war criminalization has created.

    Yet still every administration thinks they can smother the fire  by throwing more wood on.  More funding, more police, more severe sentences and not a single thing to show for it.

    It is lunacy, and Obama is becoming a lunatic.  There are times, when I believe politics is a collective mental disorder.   The barrier between ideologies only marks the nature of the delusion.

  •  I'm worried about it. (10+ / 0-)

    You see, I have chronic pain from a foot injury (I need a joint fusion) and torn ankle ligaments, and fibromyalgia, and severe ADD that made it impossible for me to finish most of what I started throughout life.

    So I am on an opiate, an amphetamine, a benzodiazapine, and a skeletal muscle relaxer. And unless I take my foot and ankle out of the nice discreet black brace, you can't tell there's a damn thing wrong with me. I am scared to death that I look like a prescription drug abuser, and might pot help the chronic pain? Help me sleep through the night? Maybe. But I don't dare give it a try to see. And objectively, that's a pity, since if it would help I would be a productive tax-paying citizen.

    •  You and me both (6+ / 0-)

      I have chronic pain and I am not permitted, because of my kidneys, to take any over-the-counter pain medication for it. None. If I get a headache, I can't take aspirin. If I have muscle cramping (common in dialysis patients), I can't take ibuprofen. If I have serious difficulty going up and down the stairs in the house because of arthritic knees, I can't take Aleve. I can take Tylenol. Tylenol knocks down a fever - sometimes, not always. For me, it does absolutely nothing for pain. Never has. (Tylenol 3 does but that's got the same issues as any other opiate.)

      So I need prescription pain meds, and that means narcotics because I can't take any NSAIDs, whether they are prescribed or not. Not a single one. I can take a muscle relaxer called orphenadrine if I need to, and sometimes I do. I regularly - 3 times a day - take gabapentin (Neurontin), which helps keep the pain from starting in the first place. But when it does flare, I need opiates, and they're definitely going to show up in any drug test that I undertake.

      You know what would help a lot? Medical marijuana. I could take that and it would ease the pain without being an opiate. But I cannot take that, although I do qualify for a prescription (I've checked). If I get a prescription or start using it, I will lose transplant eligibility. The transplant center at which I'm registered made national news a couple of years back when it denied a liver transplant to a guy who had been prescribed medical marijuana by his physician and who was using it. The transplant center said that this showed that he had an "addictive personality" and denied him on that basis. He died because he used medical marijuana. He died because of the prejudice against a drug which is legal in this state if you have a prescription for it! I'm on the transplant list and do not dare even get a prescription because of this. Instead, I keep taking narcotics some of the time to deal with the pain, and try to have at least two days without using them afterward (usually accompanied by an excruciating level of pain) just to minimize the possibility of addiction! Medical marijuana would probably be far easier on my body, but it could well (probably would, in fact) cost me a kidney, no matter how I took it.

      This is one hell of a bind. They'd rather I have a monkey on my back than use a legal prescription drug that they don't approve of, which would actually do me less harm than the narcotics.

      Living kidney donor needed; type B, O, or incompatible (with paired donation). Drop me a note (see profile).

      by Kitsap River on Tue May 11, 2010 at 10:29:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  This isn't about blackwaterdog, it should be (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ben masel, Dr Teeth, washunate

    about the policy. The policy statement they released today is fucked up.

    There was a lot of good discussion about that in blackwaterdog's diary.

    I think you make a mistake in making her the target of this diary. Your title says this will be about the new policy. That would have been a good topic because it deserves a focused discussion.  

    •  fair point, but there's lots on the policy (4+ / 0-)

      In fact, people who support the war on drugs rarely actually answer the policy discussion.

      Here, as I describe, I'm adding a compliment in blackwaterdog's style. Not a litany of written-out arguments for why the drug war is wrong. Rather, a video showing a SWAT team shooting somebody's dog.

      •  I just read your diary again, and it comes across (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Dr Teeth, washunate

        as primarily a criticism of Blackwaterdog, or of her diary from today at least, rather than a serous criticism of the policy, let alone any real in depth information about the new policy statement.

        In her diary Meteor Blades posted a link to the actual document and I spent some time earlier tonight reading it. Lot's there to dissect. I was hoping for a discussion about some of those issues.

        •  well, here's my two cents on approaching (4+ / 0-)

          the war on drugs from a little while ago.

          as primarily a criticism of Blackwaterdog, or of her diary from today at least, rather than a serous criticism of the policy

          I don't disagree. I'm disputing the editorialization embedded in the title of a rec-listed diary. And I'm disputing that not with bullet points or a thesis paper. I'm doing it with a video which has been going around recently which I think hits this home really well.

          I was hoping for a discussion about some of those issues.

          I'm kind of hoping MB posts just such an exploration. But I may try to add my two cents, too.

  •  There is no way I can watch that video (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohmyheck, Dr Teeth, washunate

    I know it will make me so angry and upset that I may not sleep for a few days. That's what happened the last time I merely read about one of these stories. It happens all the time and it is a huge fucking outrage. But being outraged, or staying up all night in tears, doesn't change a thing, unfortunately. I want this to stop. I want it to have never happened. But is does and there is nothing I can do. It makes me furious.

  •  I detest the War on Drugs! (6+ / 0-)

    I left the GOP because of their outrageous drug war policies. How disappointing that the Democrats aren't much better.

    When will we have serious drug policy reform? Let's start by re-legalizing marijuana. I believe most Americans will support it.

    Every movie is a popcorn movie.

    by methylin on Tue May 11, 2010 at 10:03:18 PM PDT

  •  Most Americans WOULD be for Re-Legal.... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimreyn, ohmyheck, washunate

        ization if they knew the truth, instead of the Reefer Madness B.S. they have heard. Truthfully, most people are ignorant of the Cannabis plant. Why have we, the people, allowed this travesty that is a War on a plant?  More specifically, the flowers of a plant? And we sit back and take it, like everything else. When are we going to Wake Up?!

  •  Question (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohmyheck, washunate

    ...I applied for a job in the Administration; the ONDCP is where I'd like to be, a chance to be involved on 'the inside' at the heart of our war on drugs.

    Can you elaborate? Do you really believe that the ONDCP is capable of advocating a rational drug policy? Because I don't see how that is even remotely possible. National drug policy is shaped by people who have determined that human beings have no right whatsoever to choose which drugs to consume, even when the choice an individual might make is proven beyond all doubt to be safer than dozens of already legal drugs. The ONDCP is controlled by people who claim the right to set limits on human curiosity, to criminalize millions of Americans who have never harmed anyone (including themselves) and to incarcerate, brutalize, and legally murder citizens who resist their authority. They don't just shoot dogs.

    Illegal Alien: Term used by the descendents of foreign colonizers to refer to the descendents of indigenous people

    by mojada on Tue May 11, 2010 at 11:11:01 PM PDT

    •  what I believe (0+ / 0-)

      is that we have a duty to work the system as much as possible, to make ourselves available for service if the President so desires it. How can I as a citizen critique that which I'm not willing to help?

      Do you really believe that the ONDCP is capable of advocating a rational drug policy?

      I think this is a very important question. It's the question LaFeminista personifies - do we stay and fight, or do we move to France?

      What I believe is that the ONDCP is capable of more rational drug policy than it displays. What I believe is that the 2010 National Drug Control Strategy could have been better and the 2011 National Drug Control Strategy can still be made better. What I believe is that, ultimately, Congress has to repeal the Controlled Substances Act.

      But in the meantime, the ONDCP could request less money for law enforcement efforts. If my 'influence' could mean $10 million shifted from, say, interdiction to treatment, then that would be valuable. If I could help the culture of the ONDCP shift a little bit from political myths to scientific facts, that would be worth it.

      But clearly, the President prefers me on the outside, being prickly and obstinate and vocal, free from the constraints of having to pretend that criminalization has any value whatsoever

      :)

      •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        washunate

        Pretty solid argument, major points for being willing to throw in for the long haul.

        I still say there's a line that will never be crossed. Not in this country.
        I'll readily concede that signing up to work within the system could indeed have an impact and that in doing so a degree of progress is even possible. What I cannot conceive of is that you or anyone would ever be allowed to step outside the pre-determined perimeter of official doctrine.

        It's clear that it's not an issue of evidence. They know what the evidence is. Science, logic, health, civil rights, justice, decency, human misery, none of it matters. And it's not only because criminalizing drugs allows the corporate leadership class to accumulate staggering fortunes. Even more importantly it's a way to legitimize waging nothing less than a terrorist war against broad sectors of the domestic population. Propaganda has been an unparalleled success in America, but it's never been enough. Paired with the "drug war"' however,  we have the perfect method of ultimate social control in a "democratic" society.
        What better way to impose a form of unlimited and absolute authority upon the insubordinate rabble in a nation where inconveniences like the 1st amendment must still be officially tolerated?  

        Illegal Alien: Term used by the descendents of foreign colonizers to refer to the descendents of indigenous people

        by mojada on Wed May 12, 2010 at 09:35:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Strategy links marijuana, "cognitive impairment' (6+ / 0-)

    We have many proven methods for reducing the demand for drugs. Keeping drugs illegal reduces their availability and lessens willingness to use them. That is why this Administration firmly opposes the legalization of marijuana or any other illicit drug. Legalizing drugs would increase accessibility and encourage promotion and acceptance of use. Diagnostic, laboratory, clinical, and epidemiological studies clearly indicate that marijuana use is associated with dependence, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and cognitive impairment, among other negative effects, and legalization would only exacerbate these problems.

    Do President Obama and Drug Czar Kerlikowski REALLY believe this? Let's find out. I've been a heavy cannabis consumer by anyone's standard for 41 years, so if they're correct, I must have suffered "cognitive impairment" aplenty. I challenge either of them to a chess match, 2 dimensional, so everyone knows the rules. Serious money ($20,000?) cash on the table, optional.

    (I've offered similar challenges to 2 of Kerlikowski's predecessors, face to face, Robert S. Dupont and William "Highstakes" Bennett in reponse to their 'mental impairment' remarks. Both chickened out. Bill, the challenge is still open, we can double the stakes if you like.)


    When Sheriff Arpaio asks for my papers, I'll hand him a pack of ZigZags.

    by ben masel on Tue May 11, 2010 at 11:18:06 PM PDT

  •  A few positives (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jimreyn, ohmyheck, washunate

    Ethan Nadelman of the Drug Policy Alliance breaks 'em down at Huffpo

    The new strategy goes further. It calls for reforming federal policies that prohibit people with criminal convictions and in recovery from accessing housing, employment, student loans and driver's licenses. It also endorses a variety of harm reduction strategies (even as it remains allergic to using the actual language of "harm reduction"), endorsing specific initiatives to reduce fatal overdoses, better integration of drug treatment into ordinary medical care, and alternatives to incarceration for people struggling with addiction. All of this diverges from the drug policies of the Reagan, Clinton and two Bush administrations.

    but then...

    So, yes, this administration is headed in a new direction on drug policy -- but too slowly, too timidly, and with little vision of a fundamentally different way of dealing with drugs in the U.S. or global society. The strategy released today offers nothing that will reduce the prohibition-related violence in Mexico, Central America and Colombia, or seriously address the challenges in Afghanistan. It dares not take on the embarrassment of America's record breaking and world leading rate of incarceration, especially of non-violent drug offenders. And it effectively acknowledges that politics will continue to trump science whenever the latter points toward politically controversial solutions.


    When Sheriff Arpaio asks for my papers, I'll hand him a pack of ZigZags.

    by ben masel on Tue May 11, 2010 at 11:35:41 PM PDT

  •  If you want to know, listen to what they say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    washunate

    This is the White House policy on marijuana legalization;

    http://www.csmonitor.com/...

    •  yeah, unfortunately (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      C Barr

      what the Administration has been saying is pretty clear.

      Anti-science, anti-family, anti-constitution, anti-economy, anti-public health, anti-human rights...

      Oh, wait, I'm sorry, I meant

      Why Marijuana Legalization Would Compromise Public Health and Public Safety

      We’ve seen the problems of medical marijuana here in this state but also in places like Colorado, too, where kids are given the message that since marijuana is a medicine, it must be safe.

      While there are certainly costs to current prohibitions, legalizing drugs would not cut the costs of the criminal justice system. Arrests for alcohol-related crimes such as violations of liquor laws and driving under the influence totaled nearly 2.7 million in 2008. Marijuana-related arrests totaled around 750,000 in 2008.

      Our current experience with legal, regulated prescription drugs like Oxycontin shows that legalizing drugs is not a panacea. In fact, its legalization widens its availability and misuse, no matter what controls are in place. In 2006, drug-induced deaths reached a high of over 38,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control – an increase driven primarily by the non-medical use of pharmaceutical drugs.

      Why can't we call baloney baloney? What's he saying here? That prescription drugs like Ritalin and Oxycontin should be criminalized like marijuana and cocaine? That legal recreational drugs like alcohol and nicotine should be criminalized?

      The rhetorical maneuverings of the drug warriors we know quite well. It's comical how inconsistent it is. It goes like this:

      We have to criminalize recreational use of drugs like marijuana because other drugs that are legal, like alcohol and aspirin, are more dangerous.

  •  ONDCP is a depressing topic. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    washunate

    I work in substance abuse research. Really, I think ONDCP should be dismantled. But I was hopeful when Tom McClellan got the assistant czar job.

    I can see his hand in the move to increase treatment access. But Dr. McClellan also is a huge, huge harm reduction advocate and noted opponent of the throw away the key mentality. Not so much progress there.

    Yeah, we support clean needle exchanges now. But at the recent UN drug policy conference, a big part of the US statement was concerned with explaining why we refuse to call this harm reduction. So harm reduction still bad.

    ARRRRRRGH!

    _Karl Rove is an outside agitator._

    by susanala on Wed May 12, 2010 at 07:47:31 AM PDT

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