Pot People for Kerry

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The Drug War Chronicle reports that the organizers of Seattle Hempfest, "the country's largest annual pro-marijuana event," last week "broke with tradition by calling on pot people to help elect Democratic Sen. John Kerry president in November." Although Hempfest my have been officially nonpartisan until now, this endorsement sadly reflects a longstanding tradition among leftish antiprohibitionists of deluding themselves into believing that Democratic politicians are better on the drug issue than Republicans.

The main complaint against the Bush administration is its crackdown on medical marijuana, but that cruel crusade began under the Clinton administration, during which marijuana arrests reached record levels. Kerry, meanwhile, has been an enthusiastic proponent of asset forfeiture, an aspect of the war on drugs about which many Republicans have qualms. If anything, Democrats tend to bend over backward to show they're not "soft on drugs." It's their way of displaying their law-and-order bona fides.

For more on Kerry's drug policy history, see the discussion introduced by Al Giordano, the Drug Policy Alliance's summary, and a site with the promising title "John Kerry–Drug Warrior."

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  1. Hempfest support of Kerry is pretty ignorant. Blind faith that a Democrat will be better while ignoring all of the available evidence.

    As relations improved between the United States and the Soviet Union under Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, Kerry advocated deep cuts in military programs. He called for cutting $500 million from the “Star Wars” missile defense system and directing the funds to the war on drugs. He also proposed using military bases slated for closing as detention centers for first-time drug offenders.
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/president/kerryprofile.htm
    06/25/2004, USA Today

    Kerry advocated converting military bases into concentration camps for first time drug offenders.

    Kerry has always used drug policy to run to the right when he has to run from the liberal label.

    John Kerry…Drug Warrior http://mysite.verizon.net/aahpat/kerr.htm

  2. Sigh… how do I respond to this without making a “stoned” joke?

    I’m sure that the reason these guys support Kerry is the assumption that Democrats will just put them in mandatory re-hab rather than a prison cells that conservatives like Rush “Hey Doc? Can you give me something for this pain in the ass…” Limbaugh demand.

    It doesn’t make the lefty anti-prohibitionists any less dumb, though.

  3. Edit: …in the prison cells…

  4. Pat-

    I agree. As an individual politician, Kerry’s record is clearly nothing to celebrate. As a party, the Democrats overall are nothing to celebrate in regard to the drug war.

    There may very well be some mavericks who support genuine reforms, and there may very well be be quite a few whose drug war stances are softer than those of the worst Republicans (then again, there are by definition quite a few Republicans whose stances on drugs are better than the very worst in the GOP). Overall, however, the Democrats have a lot of people who talk tough about drugs “for the children”, and people who go after drugs to prove they aren’t soft.

    I have said before, and will say again, that drug reform will have to come with very strong GOP support for the same reason that only Nixon could go to China.

  5. mpp gives kerry a better rating than Bush — but its still stupid — probably more due to iraq war and plain bush hatred in general

  6. “I have said before, and will say again, that drug reform will have to come with very strong GOP support for the same reason that only Nixon could go to China.”

    Sorry, but as long the the JEEZ-us fucks control the Republican platform, that’s about as likely to happen as the GOP becoming pro-choice or pro-gay.

  7. Mark-

    Absolutely. The religious right will have to be marginalized in the GOP before drug reform can happen, and I’m not holding my breath. But I’m also not holding my breath for the Democrats to seriously broach the issue, aside from some progress on medical marijuana. Anything beyond that is just too much for the Democrats to risk. They lack the “tough on crime” credentials to seriously push this notion, and too many in their base would probably oppose drug reform “for the children.”

    Only some tough-looking Republicans could push the economic arguments for drug reform without being tarred as a bunch of counter-culture types looking to legalize their own vices. And they’d still need support from some Democrats who could assure “soccer moms” that drug legalization will reduce crime so it’s “for the children.”

  8. . The religious right will have to be marginalized

    Couldn’t the religious right just be euthanized, instead? I think it would be cheaper and easier.

  9. Sorry, but as long the the JEEZ-us fucks control the Republican platform, that’s about as likely to happen as the GOP becoming pro-choice or pro-gay

    It is certainly the case that Christians aren’t going to be endorsing the murder of unborn children anytime soon. So, yes, unless you can convince them that fetuses aren’t human beings, I imagine they’ll remain “pro-life”.

    However, in spite of the fact that most conservative Christians are homophobic, homosexuality is legal and the Republican Party is not trying to make it illegal again. The general attitude of conservative Christian Republicans is that homosexuality is a sin, but one which hurts only the sinner; therefore it should be legal, but private, and kept away from children.

    Now, the Bible says nothing about pot and cocaine. There is no consensus among Christians that drug use needs to be eradicated. In other words, Christian opposition to drug use is even weaker than Christian opposition to homosexuality. So there’s plenty of room for Republicans Christians to come around to a viewpoint such as “people shouldn’t use drugs, but as long as they’re only hurting themselves it might as well be legal to do it”. Which is basically the Libertarian position, and that of most legalization groups.

    On the other hand, the Democrats have been cozying up to the nanny-statists for years: the anti-tobacco folks, the anti-alcohol folks, the anti-food folks, the anti-soft-drinks folks, the anti-drug folks, you name it. The notion that something might *not* be the government’s business is entirely alien to current Democratic Party thinking. The Democratic Party does not believe that people should be allowed to do things that “hurt themselves”; by definition, such people are victims, which means somebody needs to be punished for their injury.

    The drug war will come down to the Republicans saying that drugs should be legal, and the Democrats saying that Republicans are endangering the lives of children in order to line the pockets of Big Marijuana.

  10. Frank, is that your final solution?

  11. As to the ‘for the children’ argument, more kids have more access to drugs today BECAUSE the drugs are on the street and completely unregulated.

    MORE STUDENTS SAY SCHOOLS DRUG FREE

    Yet Survey Finds Marijuana Easier To Get Than Beer

    Glen Hanson, acting director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a federal agency, said…

    Since access to beer and cigarettes is restricted at the retail stage, Hanson said, youths have significant hurdles to obtaining them.”

    As far as marijuana is concerned, there is not any control there,” he said. “If you want it, you can get it. That is not good news.”
    Aug 2002
    Boston Globe
    http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v02/n1551/a10.html?1318

    I tend to agree that the Republicans are more likely to have the balls to address the drug war. I won’t go so far as to put it beyond the Bush administration but as much wishful thinking goes into that thought as the pot heads for Kerry.

    The Drug Policy Alliance, working on the ‘Nixon goes to China’ scenario, will be buying a full page ad in the New York Sun which will be distributed to all delegates at the convention.

    Here is the jist of the text titled: The Right Response to the War on Drugs

    “Can any policy, however high-minded, be moral if it leads to widespread corruption, imprisons so many, has so racist an effect, destroys our inner cities, wreaks havoc on misguided and vulnerable individuals and brings death and destruction to foreign countries?”
    Milton Friedman
    Nobel Prize Winner (Economic Science, 1976)
    Presidential Medal of Freedom (1988)
    New York Times Editorial
    January 11, 1998

    “…I wouldn’t be surprised if in 10 years or so you saw the conservative coalition come out for an end to drug prohibition.”
    Grover G. Norquist
    President, Americans for Tax Reform
    poz.com Interview
    June, 2001

    “…We need at least to consider and examine forms of controlled legalization of drugs.”
    George P. Shultz
    Secretary of State (1982-89), Secretary of the Treasury (1972-74), Secretary of Labor (1969-70)
    Wall Street Journal Article
    October 27, 1989

    “Take it from a businessman: The War on Drugs is just money down the drain.”
    Gary E. Johnson
    Governor of New Mexico (1995-2003)
    Intervention Magazine Interview
    2004

    “Eighty-five million Americans have experimented with illegal drugs. Since the object of criminal law is to detect and punish the wrongdoer, should we reason that 85 million of us should have spent time in jail?”
    William F. Buckley, Jr.
    Founder, National Review
    September 10, 1996

    “…if your doctor prescribes marijuana, then I think that people should smoke it if they need it for medical care.”
    Arnold Schwarzenegger
    Governor of California (2003-present)
    MSNBC Article
    August 28, 2003

  12. “The general attitude of conservative Christian Republicans is that homosexuality is a sin, but one which hurts only the sinner”

    I think a lot of conservative Christian Republicans would disagree with you there. I’ve certainly heard many talk about how homosexuality (not gay marriage, or gay sex in the streets, or forced gay experimentation in kindergarten – just homosexuality) is more dangerous to society than Larry Flynt and evolution education combined. Of course there’s probably an sampling bias, since the people with the stupidest ideas are the ones most likely to mention them loudly and frequently.

    I do agree that the best hope for an end to the war on drugs is from the reps, and that almost all of the very few prominent and meaningful politicians who have seriously suggested it in recent years have been reps.

  13. The main complaint against the Bush administration is its crackdown on medical marijuana, but that cruel crusade began under the Clinton administration, during which marijuana arrests reached record levels.

    …And this is what we get after Bush declared that medical MJ is a states right issue while he was campaigning in 2000. As long as Greens and Libertarians remain fringe political parties, who the fuck else can Hempfest support?

    You can bet your bottom dollar that this group is still pretty pissed over the wasted Clinton years and his appitite to lock up his would be voters. But when you have a flip flopper like Bush, who says one thing to get elected and does another, you have no choice but to give the new guy a chance.

    Now if only the Republicans would accept an invite to Hempfest and come represent. We have the Dems, Greens, and Libertarians, what does the Republicans have to fear? Just like with minority groups, once pot smokers and medical MJ activists become an influential voting block, Republicans will be trying to play catchup.

  14. Considering the tactics taken in Nevada by John Walters, et al. in the 2002 election, could California, Washington, and Oregon been able to pass the medical marijuana laws under Bush? At least they got done under Clinton and allowed pro-pot bills to get rolling.

    I recognize many good pro-marijuana laws have been passed while Bush was in the Whitehouse, especially Seattle’s I-75, low enforcement for pot possession law, but the snowball did get started while Clinton was in House. Unfortunately for pot smokers, Bush wants to be like Reagan a little too much for comfort and caters far too much to the religious right as mentioned above.

  15. The Democrat’s support of the drug war boils down to the police unions. Cops are barely Democratic to begin with and risking their secure employment with a reduction in the police state would surely lose plenty of votes.

    As for the hemp people, their dope must be better than mine for them to think they’d be better off under Kerry.

  16. But when you have a flip flopper like Bush, who says one thing to get elected and does another, you have no choice but to give the new guy a chance.

    Kerry isn’t “the new guy”. As a Senator he was actively flip-flopping on drug issues while Bush was still a cokehead Texas businessman.

  17. Here are some drug policy and other social interest votes of Kerry starting in 1989.

    October 5, 1989
    To require drug testing for applicants for title IV, Social Security Act benefits aid to families with dependent children.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    October 5, 1989
    A bill to implement the President’s 1989 National Drug Control Strategy.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    On the Motion to Table (Motion To Table Amendment No. 956 ) (voted to keep the bill in play)
    Vote Number: 230 Vote Date: October 5, 1989
    To provide Federal drug interdiction agencies with the authority to use necessary and appropriate force to compel airborne drug traffickers to land their aircraft.
    Kerry (D-MA), Nay

    On the Motion to Table (Motion To Table Amendment No. 935 )
    Vote Number: 228 Vote Date: October 5, 1989
    To provide authority for the President to use the armed forces of the United States to secure the removal of General Manuel Antonio Noriega from his illegal control of the Republic of Panama.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    On the Amendment (Wilson Amdt. No. 951 )
    Vote Number: 225 Vote Date: October 5, 1989,
    To prevent the defiling of the American flag.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    September 29, 1989
    To provide additional funds for construction of facilities for U.S. prisoners in non-Federal institutions.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    On the Amendment (Specter Amdt. No. 882 )
    Vote Number: 210 Vote Date: September 28, 1989
    To make funds available for multilateral anti-narcotics efforts. (to fund police interdiction by the military.)
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    On the Amendment (Coats Amdt. No. 872 )
    Vote Number: 208 Vote Date: September 27, 1989
    To provide for voluntary random drug testing of students participating in voluntary, extracurricular activities in schools that voluntarily choose to participate in a drug testing program.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    September 27, 1989
    To provide additional funds for drug programs.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    On the Amendment (Helms Amdt. No. 822 )
    Vote Number: 196 Vote Date: September 21, 1989
    To prevent federal funding for the distribution of needles and bleach for the injection of illegal drugs.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    On the Amendment (Helms Amdt. No. 752 )
    Vote Number: 178 Vote Date: September 14, 1989
    To transfer $150,000 from the D.C. Statehood Commission to the Drug Emergency Fund.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    On the Motion to Table (Motion To Table Amdt No.614 )
    Vote Number: 155 Vote Date: August 1, 1989
    To authorize Federal law enforcement agencies to use appropriate force to compel airborne drug traffickers to comply with instructions to land their aircraft.
    Kerry (D-MA), Nay

    On the Resolution (S.Res.151 )
    Vote Number: 95 Vote Date: June 22, 1989
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea (cosponsor)
    To express the sense of the Senate on the decision of the United States Supreme Court, declaring unconstitutional the Texas statute prohibiting the desecration of the flag. (Agreed to by Senate) expresses its profound disappointment that the Texas statute prohibiting the desecration of the flag was found to be unconstitutional

    On the Motion to Table (Motion to Table Motion to Waive Budget Act )
    Vote Number: 72 Vote Date: June 1, 1989
    Purpose: A bill to provide for additional funding for Federal prison space.
    Kerry (D-MA), Nay

    On the Amendment (Specter Amdt. No. 75 )
    Vote Number: 59 Vote Date: May 3, 1989
    To provide funds to relieve State prison overcrowding and to provide additional funds for the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    On the Amendment (Specter Amendment No. 49 )
    Vote Number: 45 Vote Date: April 18, 1989
    That it is a sense of the Congress that the 800-bed local correctional treatment facility be completed at the earliest possible date to assist against crime generally and drug-related crime, specifically.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    On Passage of the Bill (S. 607 )
    Vote Number: 25 Vote Date: March 16, 1989
    A bill to prevent the desecration of the United States Flag.
    Kerry (D-MA), Yea

    August 4, 1990
    To authorize the transfer of $400,000,000 of the funds authorized to be appropriated for the Strategic Defense Initiative for drug treatment, pregnant women, and veterans health programs.
    Kerry (D-MA), Nay

    August 3, 1990
    To establish a demonstration program to allow drug addicted mothers to reside in drug abuse treatment facilities with their children, and to offer such mothers new behavior and education skills which can help prevent substance abuse in subsequent generations.
    Kerry (D-MA), Nay

    John Kerry…Drug warrior http://mysite.verizon.net/aahpat/kerr.htm

  18. Did he vote against any of those bills before he voted for them?

  19. Pot smokers make the same mistake as African-Americans. They vote a party ticket thinking those guys on the left will treat them better than those on the right… and yet year after year very little changes.

    The only the way leftists will support marijuana is to make it a government run program like the methadone clinics. Mr. Reardon also makes a salient point. The War on Drugs is really a full employment act for law enforcement. In the “homeland security” era, the police sit atop the government food chain.

    “With high base salaries, opportunities to work lucrative construction details, and one of the nation’s most generous overtime programs, Boston’s rank-and-file police officers brought home $78,906 on average in 2002, and those who earned higher-education degrees made considerably more.” Boston Globe

    Add the incentive of seizing “drug dealer” property and you have a strong economic incentive to continue the fruitless war on drugs.

  20. This comments thread turned into a Republican vs. Democrat debate pretty quick, but the Hempfest people didn’t endorse voting the straight Democratic ticket. They endorsed John Kerry over George Bush.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. Kerry is pretty far from what I’d like to see on drug war issues. But the vote list above is pretty misleading – each of those bills were guaranteed to pass, and the only thing a vote against would have accomplished is to marginalize oneself as an effective, electable politician. You want to hit Kerry for being a herd animal on landslide drug bills, you won’t get any argument from me, but selectively listing bills that got a yea vote as a way of examining how a career politician feels about an issue demonstrates either a deliberate effort to mislead, or an astounding naivete about how sausage gets made. What else was in each of those bills? What was getting cut to set up the demonstration program, I wonder?

    Similarly, the “concentration camp” proposal and the drug war funding proposal are transparent “peace dividend” gambits, meant to start conversations about military spending levels in the post-Cold War world. And the “camp” proposal would have represented a softening of incarceration procedures for first time drug users, as it would have replaced hard time with treatment. Not good enough for me, or for most of you I imagine, but not the “concentration camp” imagery being spun here.

    On matters of significance, matters where there is actually the possibility of achieving significant change, John Kerry has made two notable stands: he has opposed mandatory minimums (which he took a huge hit for, and almost cost him the 1996 election), and he has supported states rights on medicinal mj.

    Trying to cast Kerry as an uber-drug warrior is ridiculous. He has worked in favor of softening drug laws when there is a possibility of actually achieving improvements.

    As for the big question, I’m in the Nixon-in-China school; it can only happen under someone with impeccable tough-on-crime credentials. It won’t have to be a Republican leading the charge, but it will have to be someone who’s seen as conservative on social issues, and who can bring Republicans along.

  21. it will have to be someone who’s seen as conservative on social issues, and who can bring Republicans along

    It will also have to be somebody who has complete and utter confidence in his security detail, and isn’t afraid to take on a multi-billion (trillion?) dollar industry that has lots of gunmen and lots of assistants inside the government.

    Then again, maybe the drug cartels will try to play reverse psychology and assassinate politicians who vote to uphold prohibition. Public sentiment in favor of reform might evaporate if drug warriors are martyred by “narco-terrorists”. The rallying cry will be “If we legalize cocaine the terrorists will win!”

  22. I wonder, how many other Democrats have these “leftish antiprohibitionists” endorsed? Gore over Bush? Clinton over Dole? Clinton over Bush? Dukakis over Bush?

  23. It will also have to be somebody who has complete and utter confidence in his security detail, and isn’t afraid to take on a multi-billion (trillion?) dollar industry that has lots of gunmen and lots of assistants inside the government.

    Ugh, enough with the conspiracy talk.

    The Prohibition-era local and federal governments of the United States were far more corrupt and crime-infiltrated. Bootleggers were heavily armed and unafraid of murdering opponents. In spite of these facts, the repeal of Prohibition was not met with a wave of assassinations of high government officials.

    Here is the simple math for a drug lord: If a President supports drug legalization, I can either (a) deal with the fact that my profit margin will shrink or (b) kill him, benefitting nobody, least of all myself, because I’ll be blown to little bitty pieces by a cruise missile the next day.

  24. The voting record says volumes. But not everything. As long as Congress can tack on a completely unrelated amendment to a bill, you will have congresscritters voting against a bill they should have voted for or voting for a bill they should have voted against.

  25. Dan-

    No conspiracy talk. I don’t believe that the entire capitol is run by drug lords or anything like that. I believe that 99% of all drug enforcement agents, local cops, prosecutors, etc. are probably NOT on the payroll of drug dealers. But that 1% is all they need to go about their business.

    And when I spoke of “confidence in his security detail” I didn’t mean that one of them might be bribed, since the odds are quite low. I just meant that he’d better be confident in their ability to deal with vicious and well-financed enemies who don’t play by any sort of civilized rules.

    As I think about it, the manipulation from the drug dealers would probably NOT be in the form of assassinations. They’d probably use blackmail and bribery if drug legalization ever became a real possibility. And they’d probably bankroll the campaign to defeat a drug legalization bill. Don’t believe me on that? Read Judge Jim Gray’s book about what happened when a “dry” county in Nevada tried to legalize alcohol. The campaign to defeat the ballot measure was largely financed by liquor stores in adjacent counties, who would lose money if customers could buy liquor in their own neighborhood instead of driving 30 miles to the next county.

    If that’s what legitimate businesses will do to keep a prohibition law in place, I don’t want to guess what drug dealers will do. They might not assassinate a President, but blackmail, bribery, and advertising via surrogate groups (hey, a new use for 527’s!) is within the realm of possibility.

    I need to learn more about how Prohibition was ended and how they overcame resistance from the Mafia.

  26. TO: joe at August 31, 2004 12:21 PM

    The problem with destroying crops is that it can’t be done. The government learned in South America that there is what they call a balloon effect. Squeeze it in one place and it pops out some place else. AlQaeda is in more than 57 countries many with environments that can grow opium.

    Using our military to destroy crops is impossible because the job is too big. We don’t have enough troops now. John Edwards said today in the Washington Post that Kerry will get the Europeans to help. The Europeans have already made it clear that they don’t want to divert limited national security resources to the drug war either.

    As long as alQaeda and Bin Laden exists I don’t want to divert America’s limited national security resources to a gardening job that can be better addressed with a regulated market.

    The only reason that the terrorists, gangsters and other predators can thrive on the drug market is because it is a black market created by the drug war prohibition policy. Regulate the trade and the creeps have no market to grow in.

    John Kerry…Drug Warrior

  27. joe-

    I have no desire to burn down opium fields in Afghanistan. For every field we burn down another one pops up. I’d rather just devalue the fields by legalization.

    But I do see your point.

  28. Can somebody at Reason delete these multiple posts?

  29. Neither party will end the drug war because the right wing that dominates both parties depends on the drug war to suppress potential nonconformists in America. Nonconformists who might grow into dissidents like in the 1970’s as they view the world.

    The right wing two party hegemony cannot tolerate having its authority questioned. Since the 1970’s drugs have been the litmus test and medicine for identifying and neutralizing people who question authority. Any America who demonstrates a willingness to act on questioning the drug laws is as likely to act on questioning other dogma and dictates of the two right wing dominance parties. bust them for drugs and they can be marginalized, demonized and mass disenfranchised. More than four million Americans suffer criminal disenfranchisement. More than half for drugs. Most non white Americans.

    Richard Nixon and the Wallace wing of the Democrats created the Drug war not to mitigate the efects of drugs on society but to neutralize and subvert the electoral empowerment effects of the Voter Rights Act and the Twenty-sixth Amendment. At this the drug laws are a complete success.

  30. thoreau:

    “…drug reform will have to come with very strong GOP support for the same reason that only Nixon could go to China….And they’d still need support from some Democrats who could assure “soccer moms” that drug legalization will reduce crime so it’s “for the children.”

    Will thoreau win his first Nobel for physics or political strategizing? Oh; no prize for that category? But seriously, let’s start with pot. What an affront it is to liberty that marijuana is illegal. And, all the suffering that this prohibition causes. Half of all federal prisoners
    are in for drug “crimes”. What a tragedy. What’s the fraction in for pot?

    The worst reason for legalization? More tax revenue. Actually, that part of the dynamic would harm prosperity because as it is now, this activity goes on sans taxation.

  31. “Neither party will end the drug war because the right wing that dominates both parties depends on the drug war to suppress potential nonconformists in America. Nonconformists who might grow into dissidents like in the 1970’s as they view the world.”

    Right wing? Isn’t that conservative/reactionary? The Democrats became leftists back in the 30s, and the Republicans followed after that (with Barry Goldwater and the libertarian wing of the Republican Party as holdouts).

    Basically, both parties are variations of leftist. And the “nonconformists” of the 1970s were demanding yet more leftism.

    Our current economic system is essentially fascist (private ownership of property with government control for the “common good”). It was put in place by the New Deal and Great Society Democrats, but as far as I can tell most mainstream Republicans have bought into the idea fully.

  32. TO: Don at August 31, 2004 01:47 PM

    While its not the topic here I have to say that you have an extremely out of date perspective of the parties.

    The Democrats have been driving leftists, progressives and liberals out of the Party since the 1970’s. Lately even moderates are not welcome. This is why the Nader, Greens, more newer Libertarians and the fastest growing segment of voters the Independents exist.

    The Republicans have been dominated by the white religious right since the 1970’s. Moderates this week are even threatening publicly to not vote Republican.

    Both parties are dominated by their right wing. all others are excluded from the process except as a facade to give the two right wing parties democratic legitimacy.

    When it comes down to it there is one political voice heard from the American body politic. Everyone else is marginalized with denigration, as your note so ably demonstrates, demonized with moralistic crap or out right disenfranchised.

    According to the Justice Policy Institute more than 4.2 million Americans are criminally disenfranchised. Swing States: Crime, Prisons and the Future of the Nation

    People for the American Way and the NAACP released a report this week asserting that more than 4 million more America were disenfranchised in the 2000 election by dysfunctional voting systems, incompetent election officials and/or racial based malice.
    The Long Shadow of Jim Crow: Voter Intimidation and Suppression in America Today.

    Both reports are Aug. 2004 publications.

    None of this has anything to do with the topic.

  33. No conspiracy talk. I don’t believe that the entire capitol is run by drug lords or anything like that. I believe that 99% of all drug enforcement agents, local cops, prosecutors, etc. are probably NOT on the payroll of drug dealers. But that 1% is all they need to go about their business

    So you’re seriously claiming that 1% of the law enforcement community would participate in the assassination of the President of the United States of America if their Drug Lord Masters told them to and you say that’s NOT a conspiracy theory? Um, ok.

    Do you actually have any evidence that it’s 1%? Could you explain *why* drug lords would bother bribing U.S. government officials to be anti-drug when simple democracy yields the same results?

  34. Don,

    As I see it, both parties are controlled by the corporate center. The genuine right and genuine left–the people at both ends of the political spectrum who support libertarian, decentralist approaches–have more in common with each other than with the suits on Crossfire who call themselves “liberal” and “conservative.”

  35. I apologize for the software glitch here last night that did not allow me to see that I had posted the same note arepeatedly.

    _________________________

    Democrats for MORE Drug War…

    …Edwards, interviewed yesterday in the living room of his Georgetown townhouse as he sipped a Diet Coke, said that in Afghanistan, Kerry would push to expand NATO forces beyond Kabul to enhance security and would double the $123 million in funds to counter the drug trade that the administration spent in 2004 in Afghanistan. He said that despite the problems NATO has had in meeting its commitment in Afghanistan, Kerry would push NATO to add troops there and perhaps military equipment, but that the U.S. force of 20,000 would not be expanded…

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A45216-2004Aug29.html

  36. Drug Policy Alliance page with text of an ad directed at the Republicans that the Alliance is running this week in the New York Sun that will be delivered to all delegates at the Republican convention.

    PDF of the ad that will run in the New York Sun this week.

    John Kerry…Drug Warrior

  37. I get more depressed the more I read all the informed comments posted here. America’s head is way too far up its ass to formulate any sensible drug policy. As soon as I’m able to, I’m moving up to Canada.

  38. Mr. Nice Guy,

    While I agree that US drug policy is insane, Canada’s got plenty of its own statist policies in other areas. Sadly, it appears that the US remains the most libertarian country in the world.

  39. My goldfish told me that Hastaart funded his first run for congress by selling nickle bags to the colored folks in his town!

  40. Whoops, wrong thread!

    Still sort of fits, tho.

  41. Nonconformists who might grow into dissidents like in the 1970’s as they view the world

    Dissidents like John Kerry, Democratic candidate for President.

    Any America who demonstrates a willingness to act on questioning the drug laws is as likely to act on questioning other dogma and dictates of the two right wing dominance parties

    Yeah, William Buckley is totally shut out of the Republican Party. Those guys won’t give the National Review the time of day, you know. And George Soros? The Democrats totally refuse to have anything to do with that guy. Yep.

    Of course, possibly the funniest thing about your equation of drug users with dissidents is that Clinton, Gore, and Bush were all drug users. What were our Right-Wing Masters thinking when they allowed such dangerous, rules-questioning men to achieve power…

    Thank you for a good laugh, though; it’s been years since I heard someone argue that drugs are illegal because The Man is afraid of the minds and motivation of potheads.

  42. Mr. Nice Guy

    Better check your destination in Canada. Saskatchewan is pretty much Ala-fuckin-bama with Canadian accents.

  43. I thought Kerry didn’t do anything while he was in Congress.

  44. A driving force which led to the repeal of The Volstead Act in 1933 was the known fact that over half of Americans (don’t have the precise number…but at least 50%) could openly acknowledge periodic or regular use of alcohol.

    In 2004, we don’t have half of Americans using marijuana, though the number is likely much higher than the 25million reported by the National Household Survey.

    Various government sponsored and some private business sponsored (inspired by government in most cases) policies over the past fifteen years has made it VERY difficult for the average marijuana user to openly acknowledge use. Thus, there is an incorrect perception that 21st century Prohibition affects a smaller group of Americans and (allegedly according to policymakers) protects all the others who don’t.

    More marijuana users need to come out of the closet wherever possible. One need not adopt a Cheech and Chong rally cry, but simply need to be able and say publicly, “Yes, I enjoy using marijuana when I can.”

    One outlet to do this is at http://cannabisconsumers.org

    I am number 52 in the galleries…please consider adding your own short bio if possible for you without fear of repercussion from employers etc.

  45. And some of this stuff – going after a major source of Al Qaeda/Taliban profits, going after the Columbian cartels – is perfectly ok with me, and I’m against prohibition. I’m glad we helped kill that bastard Escobar, and I hope the Marines burn every opium poppy in Afghanistan. I only wish he’d cut their balls off entirely, and legalized the stuff so the profits went to legitimate businessmen, but we all know that wasn’t going to happen in the 80s and 90s.

    Just because you like beer, doesn’t mean you’re supposed to side with Al Capone.

  46. I really don’t care which party does it as long as it is sooner rather than later. There are important national security, public safety, public health and democratic institutional reasons for confronting these issues in this election.

    National Security:

    In 2002 more than 800 metric tons of illicit substances were shipped to the United States according to the National Drug Intelligence Center of the U.S. government.

    At the outset of the post 911 world, prior to our locking down legal sources of international capital, the Drug enforcement Administration told congress that 39% of the known terrorist groups and armies in the world were funded in whole or in part by drugs. Since the lockdown more of these groups have most assuredly been forced into the narco trade.

    Since the mid 1990’s reports say that alQaeda has also been using heroin as a weapon against western culture in a campaign called the ‘silent jihad’. flooding the west and targetting children. Recent reports from Great Britain say that heroin competes in price with candy bars in small towns. Last week a report from Vermont spoke of heroin being cheaper than a six pack.

    According to the 2002 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: “Since the mid-1990s, the prevalence of lifetime heroin use increased for both youths and young adults. From 1995 to 2002, the rate among youths aged 12 to 17 increased from 0.1 to 0.4 percent; among young adults aged 18 to 25, the rate rose from 0.8 to 1.6 percent.”

    Kerry’s rehab program is directed at in prison rehab. So to get Kerry’s rehab an addict must pay the admission price of at least one crime victim. If the addict is a dealer they will probably leave dozens of new adicts in their ever widering wake before they get committed to Kerry’s punitive rehab program.

    John Kerry…Drug Warrior http://mysite.verizon.net/aahpat/kerr.htm

  47. Dan-

    From what little I know of my father’s business, the amount and type of help he’s occasionally gotten from people in the government would be in the ballpark of a 1% figure for the number of corrupt gov’t employees out there. I won’t describe in detail the types of favors he’s gotten, but if a person in a particular position cut him some slack or gave him some money to launder, and if there is in the ballpark of 100 such people holding those offices in the metropolitan area, then a 1% figure is plausible.

    And I’m not saying these people are paid to be anti-drug. I’m saying that they’re paid to look the other way for specific drug dealers. Drug dealers need both the crooked cops AND the honest cops. They need the crooked cops to keep themselves out of jail, and they need the honest cops to keep EVERYBODY ELSE from entering the drug trade and driving down the price. Of course, some of them wind up going to jail anyway, but given how freely available drugs are in our society it’s clear that only a handful of drug dealers are getting caught, so most of them are probably getting a good return on their bribery investments.

  48. William Buckley is given a pat on the head, his drink is refreshed, and he led to a comfortable chair and allowed to hold forth about the good old days to a bevy of 19 year old college Republican girls whenever he starts wandering off the reservation.

  49. “So you’re seriously claiming that 1% of the law enforcement community would participate in the assassination of the President of the United States of America….”

    Yeah, that *would* look pretty suspicious, wouldn’t it? And I imagine the friendly fire problem would be overwhelming. It’s like Clinton’s idea of “putting 100,000 cops on the streets.” Where am I gonna drive my car?

  50. William Buckley is given a pat on the head, his drink is refreshed, and he led to a comfortable chair and allowed to hold forth

    I’m not arguing that he wields enormous power — certainly not like Soros does. But he is respected and runs what is basically the best-selling Republican Party magazine. You yourself go running to The Corner whenever you’re looking for Scary Republican Quotes.

    According to Pat, Buckley should have been “marginalized, demonized and disenfranchised”, plus arrested. Instead he became the godfather of the conservative commentator community.

  51. Dan,

    Buckley’s a figurehead at NRO. They let him publish his Iraq War was a Mistake piece last year, gave him a pat on the head, and went right on pretending it was the Normandy campaign of the war on terror.

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