Friday, July 18, 2014

This is Your Government on Drugs

My latest piece on the ONDCP is up at Washington Post's PostEverything. A snippet:

For decades, the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) and its allies have used government resources to marginalize, stigmatize, and demonize drug users.

There were the nonsensical ads like “this is your brain on drugs” and inexplicable demonstrations like torching cars and valued possessions. The ONDCP, Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the Ad Council, and Above the Influence portrayed small time dealers as snakes and users as rats.

They also showed drug use as a gateway to prostitution and, in the wake of 9/11, explicitly linked casual drug users to supporting terrorism and cop killing. The United States has spent millions stigmatizing drug use, sale and abuse — all before one even begins to calculate the costs to arrest, try, and incarcerate offenders for the past 40 years. This, of course, comes in addition to the stigma that comes with incarceration and criminal records.

The Obama administration says it wants to de-stigmatize drug addiction. But no matter how hard it tries, it’s virtually impossible to de-stigmatize behavior that is still a crime.
Read the whole thing here.

bellum medicamenti delenda est

Decoding Sen. Warren

A friend just flagged Sen. Elizabeth Warren's 11 Commandments for Progressivism she talked about at Netroots Nation this week. I include them verbatim as they are in the National Journal article, with a translation below. NB: I'm not translating what she wants to happen, or that she thinks will happen, but what the history and experience shows will likely happen.

- "We believe that Wall Street needs stronger rules and tougher enforcement, and we're willing to fight for it."
Translation: We need more onerous loopholes through which we can enable shady accounting practices to continue, including--but not exclusive to--regulations that will empower the largest firms to hire a squad of lawyers to navigate rules while crowding smaller, less dangerous firms out of the financial sector, centralizing power and money in the hands of the already strongest and most powerful firms.  And, I will pretend that this and so much else of my favored legislation doesn't actually favor corporations over small firms. [Have you noticed so many independent/small practice doctors joining conglomerates since ObamaCare started? Not coincidence. Same stuff is going on with financial institutions under Dodd-Frank]

- "We believe in science, and that means that we have a responsibility to protect this Earth."
Translation: While we rely on statistical evidence showing that anthropogenic global warming is real, we will fully ignore any and all statistical and political evidence that the regulations we suggest, when implemented unilaterally within the United States, will not only have no positive effect on climate change, but may in fact drive polluters out of the country to less regulated regimes thereby increasing carbon and other pollutants into the global atmosphere. These regulations will also likely have negative effects on our economy and make energy consumption harder on the poor. Our embrace of evidence only goes so far.