Ron Paul

Lying About Drugs OK, Says GAO

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Rep. Ron Paul (R-Tex.) wonders, to the General Accounting Office (GAO), whether it's OK that the Office of National Drug Control Policy uses taxpayer money to spread lies about drug use in order to influence state elections. GAO says, sure. A Marijuana Policy Project account here; GAO response to Paul here.

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  1. OK, according to another thread gov’t employees are getting in trouble for telling the truth about Medicare costs.

    Now it turns out that they are empowered to defeat efforts to change state drug laws, even if doing so requires lies.

    Clinton claims he didn’t have sexual relations with that woman.

    Bush and Powell claimed that we know where the WMD are.

    Somehow it just all makes sense.

  2. Unbelievable – not only is the ONDCP allowed to do this, it’s ordered to do it by federal law.

    Are there any other examples of laws that direct federal bureaucracies to lobby on behalf of one side in an election?

  3. Thank You Ron. Keep fighting the good fight.
    The worst part of this, is how few could give a rat’s ass. Is the bar open? I need a drink.

  4. joe,

    That kind of thing always angers me. Taxpayer money should NEVER be used to lobby for government policies, at any level of government.

    When I drive areas with roadwork underway, there’s always a sign up saying “Your capital improvement sales tax at work.” I don’t care if that sign cost only a penny–they shouldn’t be able to spend even a single cent of our money lobbying for their agenda.

    Same thing goes when there’s a public vote on a millage increase: every publick skool in the county has “Vote FOR millage increase” on its marquee.

    If government employees want to participate, as individuals, in the political process, that’s one thing. But the government has no business lobbying the citiznery, ex officio, to adopt certain policies. Their job (at least according to the myth that they’re our servants) is to shut the fuck up and do what they’re told.

  5. It is clear that voters who are paying attention need to start voting against the war on drugs (WOD), wherever and whenever they can. Here are two more opportunities:

    * Even though it seems a foregone conclusion that either Kush or Berry will be our next president, we can still deny the winner a mandate (or even a credible plurality!) by investing our votes in alternative candidates who carry clear messages in support of liberty. I like the Libertarian Party candidates’ messages, and Gary Nolan’s seems especially clear, especially concerning the spent WOD (www.garynolan.com).

    * If you are in California, the Libertarian Party US Senate candidate, Judge Jim Gray (www.judgejimgray4senate.com), is clear that every vote for him is specifically a vote against the shot WOD. Gray is a sitting judge on the California Superior Court (Orange County), and was both a federal prosecutor and a Navy JAG attorney in his career prior to the bench. He’s a credible candidate by any measure, although few give him much chance to beat Barbara Boxer in November, simply because he runs under the LP banner. We’ll see about that, but even if he loses with a sizeable percentage of the vote, the winner of the race will know, in no uncertain terms, and with none of the doubt and little of the error attached to public opinion polls, that a LOT of Californians want the drug war ended, and want their Senator to put some effort behind that cause. If you are a Californian, wouldn’t sending such a message be a good use of YOUR vote? Please think about it.

  6. I think the biggest problem I have with the text of GAO’s response is that it talks about the need for ONDCP to adopt advocacy positions to fulfill its mandate, however, laying out the THC “talking points” qua “truth” is not advocacy, that is false advertising. THC is not an addictive substance, for instance. You level of use will be a function of your own self-control, not some dependency. Also, the status of marijuana as a “medication” or not is irrelevant. A given item does not have any inherent identity as a medication, rather it is determined to be medication by a specific set of man-made processes which include legal and regulatory exercises. An illegal drug could not by definition be a “medication,” its medicinal value notwithstanding. The contexts of the talking points it seems are designed to mislead people who would not otherwise be intelligent or naieve enough to see through it. It’s your basic con, run against you, and with your money.

    Overall though it meshes well with the GAO letterhead: “Accountability. Integrity. Reliability”. Hah. They forgot “Bullshit”.

  7. Seems to me that all the GAO is saying is that they can’t stop the ONDCP from doing what its doing based on any violation of GAO policies. The GAO response points to the ONDCP’s “statutory role,” which is to oppose efforts to legalize marijuana. So, if you read between the lines, the GAO is saying that Congress is going to have to be the one to squelch the ONDCP. Which means that some Congressperson is going to have to actually take a stand against drug prohibition. Any wagers on when that’ll happen? (We’ve stopped accepting bets on “When Hell Freezes Over.”)

    What this points out, then, is that the ONDCP isn’t a neutral body (big duh) but a propaganda office (big duh). Rather than okaying lying, the GAO has only pointed out the innate, federally mandated hypocrisy of the drug policy.

    The bigger problem is that we never engaged in sufficient debate or study before adopting this drug policy, and in fact the kind of research that might enlighten us on the real dangers of drugs, if any, has been directly hampered by US drug policy (see here, for example: link).

    I’m looking forward to seeing this kind of debate shape up – how do we make sure that government agencies are as value-neutral as possible? Or should they even attempt to be?

    By the way, shouldn’t it be the War over drugs?

  8. What’s disheartening to me is the number of people who know full well the ONDCP is full of it, and yet continue to take them at their word and publicly support their agenda because, after all, “drugs are bad.” Talk about your Orwellian doublethink…

  9. Now if we could just convince the major media outlets (AP, etc.) that since the GAO has established that the ONDCP is allowed to lie, the media shouldn’t print their releases, statements or so-called facts without independent verification.

    If they print ONDCP propaganda, they are now knowingly publishing suspect data.

    It would be great if the AP would start refusing press releases from the Drug Czar based on the GAO response.

  10. Errmmmm ….is it just me ? Letter goes in April 2, 2003. Response back March 10, 2004. Do we actually need any other arguments against bureaucracy ?

  11. Do we actually need any other arguments against bureaucracy ?

    Amen, brother!

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