Former Carter Staffer Attacks Pat Robertson for His Stance on Pot, Over-Incarceration

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During a 700 Club broadcast earlier this month, evangelical firebrand Pat Robertson repeated his belief that marijuana should be decriminalized, and that "every time the liberals pass a bill—I don't care what it involves—they stick criminal sanctions on it. They don't feel there is any way people are going to keep a law unless they can put them in jail."

Right on cue, Jimmy Carter's former secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare Joseph A. Califano has an op-ed in the Washington Post begging—nay, demanding—that Robertson think of the children:

I can't understand why an evangelical leader like the Rev. Robertson, who claims to be so devoted to protecting the young in our materialistic, instant-gratification, sexually-charged modern society, would want to legalize a third drug like marijuana, when we have shown such little ability to keep our two legal drugs, tobacco and alcohol, out of the hands of our children and teens.

In World War II we used to say, " Loose lips sink ships." In debates about the war on drugs, loose lips can sink children and teens.

Parents and teachers, clergy, and everyone involved in a child's life should understand that marijuana is a risky and addictive drug with serious health and social consequences. Rev. Robertson, before you speak again on this subject please remember this: Drugs are not dangerous because they are illegal; they are illegal because they are dangerous.

As for Robertson's suggestion that pot be regulated like alcohol and tobacco, Califano rejects it out of hand:

Contrary to Robertson's belief that legalizing marijuana will reduce our nation's incarceration rates, the fact is that only 2 percent of all inmates are incarcerated for marijuana possession as their controlling or only offense.

Indeed, legalizing marijuana will likely increase criminal activity. Some two-thirds of incarcerated felons (1.5 million) meet the medical criteria for addiction and marijuana is commonly one of the first steps on the road to other drug addiction.

Most violent felonies, such as murder, rape and aggravated assault, occur when the perpetrator is high or drunk, and the lion's share of property crime involves people seeking money to buy drugs. And the legal drug alcohol that Robertson wants marijuana to be treated like is implicated in more violent crime than any other substance.

The notion that taxing sales of marijuana will provide a windfall for our public coffers is another (bong) pipe dream. For every $1 of taxes on tobacco and alcohol, our nation incurs $9 in state and federal health-care, criminal justice and social-service costs. These costs will skyrocket if legalization becomes the norm, increasing the drain on our public coffers.

We can't help young people unless we hurt them first

Perhaps Califano hasn't read up on Portugal, which decriminalized drugs across the board and saw its addiction rates plummet; the occurrence of new HIV cases plummet; drug-related crimes plummet; and drug-related law enforcement spending plummet.

As for the one-dollar-in-nine-dollars-out claim: The Office of National Drug Control Policy will have a budget of around $25.6 billion next year, and local and state governments will spend billions more of their own tax revenue investigating, arresting, trying, and locking up users and dealers; treating uninsured meth makers for third degree burns (incurred via the shake-and-bake method, itself a product of anti-meth policies); giving public assistance to drug-war widows and orphans; and drug-testing unemployed people applying for both jobs and unemployment benefits. Forget one dollar in, nine dollars out: This year, just like last year and every year before it, the U.S. will takes zero dollars in—because you can't tax something that's illegal—and fork out billions. 

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  1. Most violent felonies, such as murder, rape and aggravated assault, occur when the perpetrator is high or drunk

    Emphasis added. Citation needed.

    1. Don’t forget, when the colored are high, they have superhuman strength, and will rape your wives and daughters.

      1. How dare you accuse them of rape? Everyone knows they hypnotize them with voodoo and reefers in order to get them to engage in consensual miscegenation. Like the executive director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, a certain Mr. Harry J Anslinger warned everyone back in the 1930s (gratuitous insult added):

        “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others” (except Harry J.)

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  2. …when we have shown such little ability to keep our two legal drugs, tobacco and alcohol, out of the hands of our children and teens.

    Bullshit. When I was in high school, bringing any kind of alcohol almost guaranteed that you’d end up getting laid because of the sheer difficulty of obtaining it. Nobody really cared about weed or acid because you could buy that shit in the cafeteria during lunch.

    1. bringing any kind of alcohol to a party

      The squirrels ate part of my sentence!

    2. When I was in high school, bringing any kind of alcohol almost guaranteed that you’d end up getting laid because of the sheer difficulty of obtaining it.

      That was my experience. And yet another reason why being 6’9″ and 270 in high school, before the “we card everyone” crap, was so glorious.

      1. And yet another reason why being 6’9″ and 270 in high school…

        Goddamn it Night Elf Mohawk, you’re about as big as a damn mountain!

    3. That was pretty much my experience too. Except for stealing it from parents (which you could only do so much without getting caught; I used to make some nasty concoctions with a little bit of everything so only a little woudl be gone from each bottle), alcohol was relatively hard to get.

      1. Yeah, random booze suicides were usually pretty gross. As was the “martini” I thought I was making.

    4. agreed – in the suburban wasteland I grew up in it was much easier to score pot than booze.

      1. In the rural Texas Bible-Belt town that I grew up in, I don’t ever recall noticing the lack of either for any length of time.

  3. For every $1 of taxes on tobacco and alcohol, our nation incurs $9 in state and federal health-care, criminal justice and social-service costs.

    Fuck you, you socialist asshole!

    1. It’s just nonsense. What the fuck is he even trying to say there? Are those costs due to tobacco or is that just the raw numbers on tobacco taxes and public health care expenditures? Or did he just pull it out of his ass?

    2. Fuzzy math. The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.

    3. This also assumes that people would not smoke tobacco or drink alcohol were they illegal, and that all the alleged $9 in costs are due to legal use that would go away if it were illegal.

      He should look into the Prohibition years.

      1. It also assumes the absence of substitutes. And it goes both ways. Were marijuana legal the costs related to alcohol may very well decline. And if alcohol were illegal the costs related to some other substance would probably increase.

      2. It also relies on accounting methods that would make the former Enron accountants blush with envy.

        Canada says that drinking alcohol costs their government an additional $165.11 in health costs and $153.43 in enforcement costs (per user, per year) for a total annual cost of $6,378,458,657.22.
        http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/pu…..abis/bck/7

        Adjusted for the population disparity the US would be spending just under $60 billion presuming costs are similar to Canada. The study to which Mr. Califano refers claims that the US is spending $373.9 billion.
        http://www.casacolumbia.org/te…..&zoneid=85

        Perhaps the Canadians are just much more intelligent than Americans. The propagandists have a lot of people falling for bullshit. “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public”* indeed.
        (*H.L. Mencken)

    4. If this is his argument for not legalizing and taxing marijuana, then the answer is obvious: prohibition on tobacco and alcohol (again)!!!

  4. Hey, I’m still stuck on the atheism as religion thing.
    Pot? At least it would stop the police being so interested in people’s electric bills.

  5. Perhaps Carifano hasn’t read up

    Nor CaLifano.

    on Portugal, which . . .

    –decriminalized drugs across the board and saw its addiction rates plummet;

    – the occurrence of new HIV cases plummet;

    — drug-related crimes plummet; and

    — drug-related law enforcement spending plummet.

    For the political class, the last “benefit” above is more “bug” than “feature” of any plausible legalization.

    1. This.

      And what could be more productive and beneficial than saving people from themselves?

  6. But I thought Jimbo deregulated homebrewing? Now his secretary hates decriminalization. Oh well. Soon there will be more Republicans supporting pot than Democrats, and the irony will be glorious.

    1. Irony? Democrats have always been against pot. Publicly that is. They’ll smoke it themselves in private, but can’t stand the idea of it being smoked legally in public.

      1. I think that the majority of Democrat voters are for legalization of pot anyway. But the party leadership still seems to be terrified of being associated with hippies or seen as soft on crime, or something.

        1. What is it they always say about marijuana? TAX it and REGULATE it.

        2. Correct. Dems have always had a pro-drug policy insofar as it’s your body, do what you want. It’s part of the party line as far back as I can remember. They just wont admit it in a position of power because it’s taboo still.

          1. Dems have always had a pro-drug policy insofar as it’s your body, do what you want. It’s part of the party line as far back as I can remember.

            And yet the Dems in office are harder on the crime of mixing caffeine and alcohol than the GOP. Funny that.

        3. But as far as I can tell, the majority of Democratic party voters have absolutely no interest in primary challenges to their politicians to threaten them into supporting the voters’ positions.

          1. Yup. And here we are.

  7. Marijuana laws were conceived, born and nurtured from lies greed and racism. As Sec. Califano supports them he’s either a liar, greedy or a racist. If he believes it’s OK to jail our nearly a million of our fellow Americans annually at a cost to the taxpayers of appx $40 billion annually, for victimless “crimes” his opinion should be totally disregarded.
    LEAP member, NYPD, ret.

  8. We have always been at war with Drugsasia.

  9. Well, fuck Joe Califano. He is every horrible thing a drug warrior could possibly be. Every time I hear anything from him I am amazed that anyone can be such a piece of shit.

    1. tell us how you REALLY feel

  10. In debates about the war on drugs, loose lips can sink children and teens.

    What a creepy, Orwellian statement. So, any discussion is out of bounds. If the children hear anything other than perfect unanimity from their elders, what will they think? They may not come to the same conclusions as Califano. The horror.

  11. you can’t tax something that’s illegal

    The IRS disagrees.

    Anyway, this drug warrior guy came on Stossel recently and basically made a bunch of crap up about all sorts of things including Portugal, making it sound like Portugal is now a crime ridden cesspool because of decriminalization. And of course the main reason was “the children.” He kept saying over and over that he wants to take his kids to parks without having them get contact highs from all the pot smoking that will obviously be done in public parks everywhere.

    1. Yeah, nobody smokes pot in public parks now.

    2. That little shit has been on Stossel before. He and most of these drug warriors remind me of used car salesmen. They’ve go a line of bullshit that really doesn’t stand up to scrutiny. But they talk fast and never answer a question directly. It’s always with some variation of “the sky will fall, you hate children” for any issue. And if all else fails, lie or make shit up.

      1. It is a vile slander to compare used car salesmen in general with senior statesmen who advocate a war on drugs to protect our children.

        Used car salesmen perform a vital economic service and deception is not intrinsic to their business. Many are in fact ethical business men.

        The very nature of the drug war, on the other hand, requires that its advocates be lying, statist pricks.

        1. The guy that says it’s all about “teh children” worked in the administration that came up with the brilliance of the Dept. Of Education. Hmmmm.

  12. Does the left really want to go here? Do they really want to go to the place where drug legalization is a left-right issue where the right is on the “legalize it” side (where at the moment there seems to be more leaders on that side)?

    That can’t be good for their long-term electoral prospects.

    1. Veemee Sashimi – Don’t blame the left for some reactionary guy from a 30 year old Democratic administration. That was a time of reactionary insanity against all drug use, and liberals, moderates and conservatives all agreed on this idiocy.

      It’s also silly to blame “the left” on one guy no one has heard of.

      1. Who do we blame for Obama, Eric Holder, and the current crop of drug warriors?

        1. The people who have to use their budget or lose it.

      2. That argument might work if the current left in power didn’t seem to view things exactly the same way. Or does Eric Holder not count?

  13. so now I’m on Pat Robertson’s side? (at least on this issue). I think part of my brain, the punk rawk bit, just died.

    1. That probably wasn’t the healthiest bit anyhow – and I’m sure it never intended to live past 25.

  14. I’m with you all on this. The most draconian drug laws were by the liberal Republicans and moderate Democrats. It’s time to revisit them all.

  15. Califano is using the wrong argument to refute Robertson. Everybody recognizes mendacious DEA propaganda by now, and only retarded people believe it any longer.

    1. Instead, Califano and his fellow drug warriors should focus on the economic arguments against ending the war on drugs. Nobel laureate Paul Krugman reminds over and over about how war is good for the economy. Just consider how damaging the wholesale destruction of the drug enforcement superstructure would be. Cops, snitches, prosecutors, attorneys, judges, bailbondsmen, probation and parole officers, drug counselors, and prison guards would suddenly lose their jobs, as would their clerks, secretaries, court reporters, and money launderers. The Keynesian multiplier effect on jobs would result in an enormous hit on the economy. But that’s just the beginning of the problem.

      1. Not one of those groups of people or agencies produce a product or in anyway contribute to making this economy better. It’s a classic redistribution of wealth. “Jail a Black teen and make $40K”
        The only thing the Drug War is good for is as a Revenge tool for ex lovers and other malcontents. Call it the “Drop a dime and get even” factor.

        1. Don’t fuck with a man’s livelihood, if you know what’s good for you.

      2. I made an exact replica of a Krugman argument regarding the economics of the Drug War in a brief satire I wrote for my English class last night. I was going for over-the-top lunacy, but now that I think about it I could actually see Krugs shouting “Consider the bullet-makers!”

        Where’s my Nobel Prize?

    2. Over 2/3 of US $100 bills reside outside of the US, many of them used for narcotics transactions. The creation of the new bills demanded by an expanding illegal narcotics trade costs the Fed about 10 cents, but delivers $100 of value to the Treasury. This source of free money would abruptly end with the end of the war on drugs. Taxpayers would have to make up the difference.

      1. You might ask the Zimbabweans if a government can make a profit by printing money. Have you ever wanted to own a $100 trillion bill? You can buy 3 for US$9.99 on Ebay.
        $100,000,000,000,000.00 — not a typo.
        http://www.ebay.com/itm/Lot-of…..231af543d1

      2. costs the Fed about 10 cents, but delivers $100 of value to the Treasury.

        Actually, it represents about $100 of debt issued by the Treasury.

        Those are Federal Reserve Notes, as in promissory notes. They are free-floating debt, backed (to the extent they are backed at all) by the assets of the Fed. Which consist of, you guessed it, more debt, mostly issued by the US Treasury.

        It really is debt all the way down.

    3. Further, prison populations would be diminished by an end of the war on drugs. As prisoners are released, they would be added to the civilian workforce. Since they are likely to remain unemployed due the catastrophic economic effects of ending the war on drugs, this would increase the unemployment rate.

    4. Finally, ending the war on drugs could have a profound effect upon national security. The CIA would lose a tried and true tactic for covert funding of insurgent groups.

      1. Haha yes so lets keep spending millions on taking care of individuals in jail because if they get out they might not get a job?? Easily one of the stupidest arguments ever uttered by anybody and any side of any issue. Is it a jail or a daycare? lol We’re not suppose to be ‘taking care of them’ giving them 3 hot meals a day, a place to sleep, therapy…becuase IF WE DIDNT……THEYD HAVE TO DO IT THEMSELVES……THE HORRRORR!!! Not personal responsibility!!! I cant take it!! ahhhh

      2. Haha yes so lets keep spending millions on taking care of individuals in jail because if they get out they might not get a job?? Easily one of the stupidest arguments ever uttered by anybody and any side of any issue. Is it a jail or a daycare? lol We’re not suppose to be ‘taking care of them’ giving them 3 hot meals a day, a place to sleep, therapy…becuase IF WE DIDNT……THEYD HAVE TO DO IT THEMSELVES……THE HORRRORR!!! Not personal responsibility!!! I cant take it!! ahhhh

  16. Sounds like this dickweed is in favor of revisiting alcohol prohibition and even prohibiting tobacco.

    1. Well, I’ll give him one thing. At least he doesn’t pretend that there is some magical difference between legal and illegal drugs that makes the former OK and the latter evil. I’m pretty sure he would be happiest if tobacco and alcohol were banned (or probably more heavily regulated in the case of alcohol) as well.

    2. WHAT PART OF “FOR THE CHILDREN” DONT YOU FUCKING PEASANT MONSTERS UNDERSTAND?!??!?!!oneoneoneone

    3. Joseph Anthony Califano, Jr. (born May 15, 1931) is Founder and Chairman Emeritus of The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA) at Columbia University, an independent non-profit research center affiliated with Columbia University in New York City.

      The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse is pretty much an across the board advocate for prohibition of just about everything it considers addictive or prone to abuse. It has been criticized by many for shoddy and simplistic research.

      In spite of making “outlandish claims [that] reflect on the integrity of [CASA], and unfortunately on Columbia’s as well” Califano is still a prominent member of the Democratic Party establishment and is regularly granted honorary degrees by prestigious institutions.

  17. This guy is the biggest tool in the toolbox. We get it. Obey our petty rules…or else.

  18. another (bong) pipe dream

    If only you could send in the SWAT for horrible, horrible word play. I’m not even sure how that line is supposed to work.

    “another bong dream”? “another bongpipe dream”? neither makes sense.

    “hey man, fill up the bong pipe and let’s do some pot!”

    1. I think the kids say it more like “Hey dude man, fill up the bong pipe so we can hit do pot weed!”

      1. We like the weeds that give us high!

  19. Over 2/3 of US $100 bills reside outside of the US, many of them used for narcotics transactions. The creation of the new bills demanded by an expanding illegal narcotics trade costs the Fed about 10 cents, but delivers $100 of value to the Treasury. This source of free money would abruptly end with the end of the war on drugs. Taxpayers would have to make up the difference.

    1. Taxpayers would have to make up the difference.

      what else is new…

  20. oh, and, “Former Carter Staffer”…..why, precisely, does ANYONE give two licks of a shit what this guy says?

    (“oh, but, fried wylie, you seem to care”, “oh, fuck off.”)

  21. The shake’n’bake method of meth production is actually not a byproduct of prohibition. Its popularity may be but it’s also called the Nazi method and that’s because it was invented by the Nazis to insure their soldiers would never be cut off from their supply.

    http://illinoisattorneygeneral…..r-Ho-43198

    1. you just godwin’d meth.

      *80’s movie slow clap*

      1. Mike Godwin made up his law as a joke.

        My post is historically accurate. I’m not saying anyone is acting like a Nazi, I’m not saying meth will turn you into a Nazi, I didn’t even mention that Mr. Hitler was a big fan of methamphetamine.

        If I posted “Nazi Germany invaded France in May of 1940” have I just “godwin’d” France? That’s beyond absurd, just like Mike Godwin’s joke of a “law.”

        1. fucking grammargodwin nazi.

  22. Alt-text fail. Looks like Pat is taking a shit and simultaneously rooting for Texas. Probably some connection there.

  23. You know that the liberals are really fucking whacked out these days when Pat Robertson of all people is trying to explain common sense to them.

    1. Yeah. I was thinking that Pat Robertson was just being silly when he blamed the liberals for this, and then this guy comes in on cue to prove Pat Robertson right.

      OMG! what else might Robertson be right about?

  24. Drugs are so dangerous, we need to make them illegal for children to get them. Because we care about protecting our children.

    And if a child uses drugs, we will jail them. To protect them.

    And if a child’s parents use drugs, we will jail them and ship the child off to Child Protective Services. Because we care about the children, and want to protect them.

    Makes sense, doesn’t it?

    1. Children are dangerous, and that is why we make them illegal.

      1. This contraception mandate is starting to make sense.

    2. Makes sense to me! My kids will never use pot, or drink or have sex! What is it that Hilary says – “It takes a village to raise an idiot?”

  25. Is it National Opposite Day and no one told me?

  26. Indeed, legalizing marijuana will likely increase criminal activity.

    Does he know the relation between legal and criminal?

  27. I’d never thought I’d be coming to Pat Robertson’s defense on anything but here’s my response to Mr. Califano: GO SCREW YOURSELF!!!!

  28. Great article, but you can tax things that are illegal. In fact, our government does just that. They may not get much revenue from it, but they do put people in jail for not paying it.

  29. Despite the different opinions about using medicinal cannabis for treatment, people with serious ailments can testify that it relieved them from the painful and debilitating symptoms and provide them a functional life.

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