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The Way It Is

by TChris

Let's hope Walter Cronkite, writing for Huffington Post, can persuade the country to accept the obvious: the war on drugs is a failure.

The federal government has fought terminally ill patients whose doctors say medical marijuana could provide a modicum of relief from their suffering - as though a cancer patient who uses marijuana to relieve the wrenching nausea caused by chemotherapy is somehow a criminal who threatens the public.

People who do genuinely have a problem with drugs, meanwhile, are being imprisoned when what they really need is treatment.

And what is the impact of this policy?

It surely hasn't made our streets safer. Instead, we have locked up literally millions of people...disproportionately people of color...who have caused little or no harm to others - wasting resources that could be used for counter-terrorism, reducing violent crime, or catching white-collar criminals.

With police wielding unprecedented powers to invade privacy, tap phones and conduct searches seemingly at random, our civil liberties are in a very precarious condition.

Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on this effort - with no one held accountable for its failure.

Amid the clichés of the drug war, our country has lost sight of the scientific facts. Amid the frantic rhetoric of our leaders, we've become blind to reality: The war on drugs, as it is currently fought, is too expensive, and too inhumane.

But nothing will change until someone has the courage to stand up and say what so many politicians privately know: The war on drugs has failed.

Go read the rest. Cronkite cites tragic examples of injustice perpetrated by prosecutors, police, and politicians, while making a pitch for the Drug Policy Alliance and its extraordinary work to reform draconian (and ineffective) drug laws. His voice deserves to be heard.

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  • Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 07:02:54 PM EST
    Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on this effort - with no one held accountable for its failure.
    Sound familiar? This may be unpopular but the War on Terror is just as useless as the WoD. It, like the War on Drugs has to do with the machinations of power and has diddly squat to do with stopping terrorism. Maybe that is why Shrubs advisors have tried twice to change the name: it is too transparent, because the WoD is starting to be seen as the grand failure that it is. The current WOT is called The Long War. Both 'Wars' keep politicians in power thorough fearmongering and both 'Wars' generate huge amounts of income/expenditure. Money that could be spent on solving the problem only winds up maintaining the cash flow and status quo.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#2)
    by jimcee on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 08:17:13 PM EST
    It is nice to know that Uncle Walter still has moments of lucidity because it has been a while since he has had one. If I remember correctly he believes in alternative energy sources but he has fought against a wind farm that might be in his luxury neighborhood lest it might obscure the view from his own domain. As I said even a dotering old man has moments of lucidity as well as hypocrisy.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#3)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 09:22:46 PM EST
    I'm sure shooter and shrub believe in drillin' for oil. I'm also fairly certain they don't believe in drillin' for it on their front lawn. Does that make them hypocrites? That's what I thought.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#4)
    by scarshapedstar on Wed Mar 01, 2006 at 11:07:25 PM EST
    People who do genuinely have a problem with drugs, meanwhile, are being imprisoned when what they really need is treatment.
    Nonsense. What these terrorists need is a trip to the execution chamber. [/Repug]

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#5)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:08:22 AM EST
    the war on drugs was and will be about one thing "money", it is a joke and a evil joke on you all, ask why so many books have come out with facts about how this evil has attack so many innocent people and why? ask who has been orchestrating this so called war on drug for over 30 years and why. and ask why the CIA Used drugs to make big money. ask why the CIA Help bin laden come to power and who was behind that move.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#6)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 12:26:27 AM EST
    Right.. now we just have to get beyond the 5% of the population that reads weblogs and a real social movement will follow.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 05:39:40 AM EST
    Thank you Walter. Maybe someone will listen to you.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#8)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 05:43:56 AM EST
    charliedontsurf1 - First of all they are windmills, not oil wells, so there will be no chance of a spill, pollution in the water, etc. Both Uncle Walter and Swimmer Kennedy don't want the windmills, although they will be miles and miles from their front yard. Now, given that both of these icons of the Left fancy themselves leaders, why aren't they supporting this valuable alternative energy source? Could it be that they fancy themselves better than the rest of us? They don't want their view ruined? Heavens. I wonder how many poor people had to choose between food and heat last month because of high utility bills which are the result of the NIMBY attitude of the Left?

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#9)
    by Johnny on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 06:22:20 AM EST
    Heavens, the simple solution is, and always has been, to reduce useage. When everything you see, taste, hear, touch, and smell has oil smeared on it, a couple of puffs of wind will do next to nothing. Unless... The entire US makes the switch from oil/coal based heating to electric based heating. Windmills are cheaper (which part of the economy is worth tanking?), and cleaner (unless you count the manufacturing process). And Jim, I am quite certain the NIMBY attitude is not solely an attitude among lefties... And one might just as reasonably argue "Heavens, I wonder how many poor people had to choose between food and heat last month because of high utility bills which are the result of the wrong-wingers lack of compassion, capitalist greed, and un-fettered profiteering of Big Oil?"

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#10)
    by Johnny on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 06:23:07 AM EST
    I might add, unless the entire US makes the switch to oil/coal based heating and electric generation...

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#11)
    by Johnny on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 06:24:05 AM EST
    Again, my fingers outpace my brain, and my sentence structure leaves a lot to be desired. Unless we make the switch from... etc.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#12)
    by aw on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 06:49:11 AM EST
    Hijacking in progress... this thread is supposed to be about the drug war. Walter Cronkite used to be the most trusted man in America, and for those of us who remember him well, he probably still is. Uncle Walter is still telling us the truth.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#13)
    by Johnny on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 07:07:20 AM EST
    The drug war is a hideous mis-appropriation of public funds. At the cost of persuing drugs, we could probably heat every poor old cat-food eating granny's house and buy her a new color TV in the process. But again, what part of the economy are we willing to decide is pointless?

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 07:09:43 AM EST
    aw - True. I apologize for responding to charliedontsurf1. Johnny - I will respond to you on the open thread below this post. et al - As I have said before I believe that we need a rationalization of our drug policy. And even though I find Uncle Walter's overall politcal position as odious as I am sure Osama bin Ladin found Saddam's, I, like bin Ladin, will make common ground with Uncle Walter on this. An enemy of my enemy is my friend. (Image of man pinching nose closed.)

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#15)
    by Talkleft Visitor on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:39:25 PM EST
    or catching white-collar criminals
    ???? ROTFLOL

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#16)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:51:15 PM EST
    Jim cant hear the name Cronkite without seeing images of TANG and Naval Aviation pilots spitting on the returning vets; forgive him.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#17)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 01:57:37 PM EST
    Jondee - I never heard of Naval Aviation pilots spitting on returning vets.... Perhaps you have some special knowledge in this field? BTW - I hope you noted my willingness to work with Uncle Walter. An enemy of my enemy is my friend, eh? Of course, just like OBL and Saddam there won't be anything written down. Would be prudent don't you know??

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#18)
    by jondee on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 02:35:51 PM EST
    ppj - As I said before, start practicing in front of mirror: "Im sorry, I was wrong; what could I have been thinking?"

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#19)
    by Johnny on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 04:07:31 PM EST
    Jim, can you please provide one documented case of anyone spitting on a returning vet?

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#20)
    by Johnny on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 04:12:38 PM EST
    Also, the open thread link, for me anyways (of course I may be suffering a temporary bout of wrong-wingerism) is not working.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#21)
    by Che's Lounge on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:01:03 PM EST
    Johnny, Those are urban legends. How do I know? Well, I knew this guy, see, and he had this friend...

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#22)
    by Johnny on Thu Mar 02, 2006 at 11:09:49 PM EST
    LOL Che, I know.... The wrong-wingers, in their attempts to paint the left as anything short of soldier-killing, cross-burning, terrorist-hugging a$$holes will produce dreck such as that.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#23)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 05:18:20 AM EST
    Johnny - Jondee brought the subject up, not me. You should redirect your question.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#24)
    by Johnny on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 06:30:18 AM EST
    You're right Jim, my apologies.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#25)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 02:24:28 PM EST
    Johnny - Here's a book you might want to read.
    Bob Greene's 1989 book Homecoming: When the Soldiers Returned From Vietnam counts 63 examples of protester spitting,


    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#26)
    by glanton on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 02:46:42 PM EST
    Jim, Greene's claim is unsubstantiated, but if the urban legend he articulates is true, that's a real shame, none of us would defend that. Now, LBJ, that's a different story. He coulda' used more than one spit in the face, that's for sure.

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#27)
    by kdog on Fri Mar 03, 2006 at 06:39:35 PM EST
    How many Vietnam vets served time for drug charges?

    Re: The Way It Is (none / 0) (#28)
    by Johnny on Sat Mar 04, 2006 at 02:40:08 PM EST
    Yes Jim, and perhaps you should read "'The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory, and the Legacy of Vietnam." by Jerry Lembcke. He pretty much tells Greene where to get off. Sorry.