Obama Goes to Colombia, Says No to Legalization

Obama weighs in on HookerGate, in which some secret service agents may have retained the services of prostitutes in Colombia, before Obama arrived.

I hope it doesn't get buried that Obama also ramped up the war on drugs while there:

He announced an increase to more than $130 million of funds dedicated to bolstering security and going after narco-traffickers and "gangs" in the region.

Here are his comments from the summit addressing drug legalization. Not surprisingly, his view is "Just say no" to legalization:

"I personally, and my administration's position is, that legalization is not the answer." He reiterated that position while talking at the summit itself, saying "the United States will not be going in this direction."

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    "...legalization is not the answer." (5.00 / 2) (#1)
    by Dadler on Sun Apr 15, 2012 at 07:41:58 PM EST
    Another in a long line of dopes.  Nothing like the leader of the "free world" who can't tolerate the thought of real freedom as an answer to a problem of prohibition.

    So dumb it's too depressing to joke about.  Sigh...

    And so, (5.00 / 2) (#2)
    by Chuck0 on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 07:58:01 AM EST
    the War on the American People continues . . .

    Scandalous.... (5.00 / 2) (#3)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 09:32:58 AM EST
    that the United States refuses to see the error of her ways regarding drug policy.

    Scandalous that we don't allow Cuba to participate in the summit, last I checked Cuba is in the hemisphere.

    Scandalous that we don't back Argentina in their claim on the Falklands.

    Hookergate?  The only scandal there is a member of the secret service allegedly try to stiff a sex worker out of her compensation, if true that is f8cked up.  Other than that, prostitution is legal in Cartagena, and so is drinking...so whats the problem?  Secret Service agents aren't allowed to party on their own time?

    As usual we've got it arse backwards as to what is scandalous and what ain't.

    Well... (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by ScottW714 on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 10:51:28 AM EST
    ...I think the scandal is the cops and the embassy were called.  No offense kdog, but we assume secret service isn't the rolling Stones circa 1978.  I am sure they are there to work, to make sure the POTUS has a safe journey.  And although I don't know the specifics, I am pretty sure they are on duty 24/7.

    Had this been on their own time, then no big deal, but they weren't.  And I am pretty sure drinking and whoring happens a lot, but when the cops and the US Embassy get involved, there is a problem that has to be addressed.

    And as far as Obama giving them more money, WTF, does Congress no longer approve of expenditures, or have they given so much money to this war, that a measly $130M is just laying around ?

    I really hope they go legal and push all the problems this policy creates to our borders.  Imagine the insanity if entrepreneurs in these countries can legally get goods to the border, America will finally be faced with absorbing the real reality of our failed policies.


    I too am sure.... (5.00 / 2) (#5)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:03:09 AM EST
    the drinking and whoring is not uncommon, so whats the scandal again?  Obama wasn't even in country yet.

    The funny part is I read a report that the agent ended up paying his bill for 47 dollars US, but at that point the police had already been called, and the embassy notified.  47 measley dollars...how cheap and stupid can you be?


    I think part of the concern is (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:46:29 AM EST
    1. potential blackmail and

    2. security breaches

    No doubt (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by sj on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:25:44 AM EST
    I think part of the concern is (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:46:29 AM EST

    potential blackmail and

    security breaches

    Although he is not longer a potential target for this particular indiscretion.  But also agree with kdog:
    how cheap and stupid can you be?

    Bingo (none / 0) (#9)
    by indy in sc on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 12:24:55 PM EST
    I'm surprised I'm agreeing with you :).

    Set aside moral judgments on the activities they chose to engage in, which were lawful where they were,--this is more about the appalling lack of discretion and potential for ensuing security breaches.

    We're supposed to have faith that the Secret Service (particularly advance teams) can carry out their work efficiently behind the scenes and with little fanfare.  If the allegations are true, the agents who were involved invited the risk that an agent might "share" classified information to keep the activity from being made known and they also made the agency, and by extension the country since they serve in our name, the object of ridicule and derision.  Agents serving honorably will now have the shadow of this hanging over them as they travel to other countries asking them to respect their requests and their presence going forward.


    I suppose its possible... (none / 0) (#10)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 12:37:14 PM EST
    though it doesn't say much about the Secret Service's hiring practices if a member would sell out the president just so his wife doesn't find out he had too much fun in Colombia.  Seems far fetched to me.  

    Well (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:11:15 PM EST
    The thing is, when you take a job in the Secret Service, or any other type of government job where you have clearance or access to higher-ups, you kinda know going in that there may be extra limitations to your actions.

    Today (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:43:53 AM EST
    They are saying that all the agents and military members were privy to it.  This is a serious lapse in protocol and judgement.

    I get that you don't think it's a big deal, but it is.  We are talking about the safety of the US President in Medellin about to talk about the war on drugs.  Think a special interest of two might want to know about his schedule, or might have some connection of a hooker or two ?  This is a real scandal.

    They aren't talking about if these guys get fired, I think that's forgone conclusion, they are trying top figure out how high the firings will go.

    They are saying it's well know that these groups like to live it up once the President leaves.  That is no big deal, their job is done, time to unwind.


    Not just the wife... (none / 0) (#11)
    by indy in sc on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 12:45:36 PM EST
    though I know there is value to keeping a happy home.  They would want to keep this kind of info from their bosses, the press, etc.  

    Who knows what they could have been into.  To each his own and all that, but most people wouldn't want what they're into in their private sexual lives to be front page on USA Today.

    I guess we'll see if this turns into anything more than what it appears to be on its face, but so far--at the very least, it seems like extremely poor judgment on the parts of the people involved.


    I do worry a bit... (none / 0) (#12)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 12:56:29 PM EST
    that we may be trying to hold public servants to such a high standard that it becomes an impossible standard.  We need to let public servants be human sometimes, blow off steam the way people blow off steam, lest we end up with inhuman public servants.  The Stepford Secret Service, if you will.  Is that what we really want?

    I hear you (none / 0) (#13)
    by indy in sc on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 01:11:50 PM EST
    and agree up to a point.  I think it depends on the nature of the job the public servant holds.  Most regular people blow off steam in ways that do not endanger our employment status.  Most of us know that when we are on a trip for work, even our downtime is not 100% our own.  If we get caught doing something untoward while in a hotel room paid for by the company, we could be in danger of losing our jobs.

    From what I understand, the pay for most agents--particularly the group that is part of an advance team and not on the actual security detail of the Prez or Sec of State) is not that great and so I would assume like most people, they can't afford to lose their jobs and would want to avoid activity that could lead to being fired.

    Also, most people are not responsible for the security of the POTUS, Cabinet, and other high ranking officials.  I think the level of responsibility should be commensurate with the standard we hold them to...


    I see your point... (none / 0) (#14)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 01:27:38 PM EST
    you're saying it is more about the embarassment caused than any real damage done, which appears to be none.

    Last business trip I went on a couple years ago I aged all night long in Boston with some peers, I'm talking a serious bender up to and including scoring some prohibited substances and bringing some new ladyfriends back to our hotel...but we all made it to the meeting on time the next day, hungover as motherf*ckers but we made it, so it was all good.  If I woke up to the police in my hotel room, I would have to expect to lose my job. Might be kinda unfair if totally unrelated to job performance, but understandable. Point taken.

    Moral of the story, have as much fun as you want without the police being called.  And when you're pushing the envelope, a little luck never hurts;)


    oh kdog (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by CST on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:02:58 PM EST
    I gotta say I'm kind of impressed at your ability to turn my quasi-stuffy city into a Las Vegas-esque experience.

    LOL... (none / 0) (#20)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:22:08 PM EST
    the stars kinda aligned for us I guess.  Helluva cab fare from Boston to N. Andover since we missed our bus, and back for the ladies, I'll tell ya that much!  But well worth it.

    Another night that trip we raged in Lawrence of all places, the local Mass. people got a real kick out of that, said we were lucky we weren't stabbed.  Seemed like a safe little suburb to me;)


    you're telling me! (none / 0) (#21)
    by CST on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:44:32 PM EST
    I use to take the chinatown bus to NY every other weekend while I was dating a NYer, and it drove me insane that the bus from NY was cheaper than the cab to my house (I had a habit of coming home at post-train hours).  I live about a 5 minute drive from south station at that time of night, and am still within city limits.  Insanity.

    Lawrence has the lowest median income of any town in MA.  That being said, I think you have to go all the way up to the 4th or 5th poorest town in MA before you hit the national average.  So it's all relative.  The definition of run-down changes a lot when you leave MA, but for people who don't leave MA - Lawrence is pretty much it.  I tend to share your standards.


    Lawrence (none / 0) (#25)
    by ScottW714 on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 09:53:27 AM EST
    I used to live in Andover, but all but all my buds were from Lawrence.  Which i was told over and over is the car steeling capital of the US. This wa in the 90's.  Those were easily the funniest people I have ever met.

    I would add this to one of your points, going to a meeting is not even close to protecting the President.  I go to meetings and get hammered routinely, occasionally I forget to sleep, but I would not want me or you showing up to protect me from FARC in Medellin, period.  I know this isn't news, but the drug trade kingpins aren't fans of the President.  

    And if you think taking notes is the same as providing security to the President, well I positive you understand the vastness of the differences and the ridiculousness of the suggestion.


    The president... (none / 0) (#26)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 10:17:20 AM EST
    wasn't in country yet...this was their chance to party!  

    Even Hillary was out after midnight getting her groove on Colombia stylee...and good for her.

    I grant you some discipline is granted, but I still think calling it a "scandal" is ridiculous.  The scandal is our insistence on defending a bloody failure of a drug policy and not letting Cuba attend.  


    No, the scandal (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 11:39:54 AM EST
    is human sex trafficking and exploitation. Which, BTW, Hillary has worked hard to eradicate.

    See huzzlewhat's comment below.


    The prohibition of sex work... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 11:57:12 AM EST
    is no way to combat human trafficking and exploitation imo, it just makes it harder to eradicate those scourges.  

    I think the best way to help women working in the sex trade is to legalize and regulate.

    Just like drug prohibition, it makes the whole industry more dangerous for everybody when you let gangsters run it black market style. Colombia is closer to getting it right than we are I'm afraid.  

    The poverty issue that forces people to do physically/emotionally damaging things for a buck is a tough nut to crack.  Until we solve that one, we can at least try to make the dirty jobs safer for all involved.


    It's been explained to you before (none / 0) (#29)
    by Dr Molly on Tue Apr 17, 2012 at 04:41:41 PM EST
    Multiple times, by several different posters, with data, that legalization, where implemented, has done nothing to reduce trafficking and exploitation but instead made it worse. Including for child prostitutes  You are still choosing to ignore that. I have to wonder why.

    The unintended consequences... (none / 0) (#30)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 18, 2012 at 11:34:45 AM EST
    on those we are trying to save.  Link

    Just look at this incident...if a sex worker in NYC gets stiffed by a client, she can't go to hotel management or the police for help, she may as well put the handcuffs on herself should she try.

    I also look at it as a kinda numbers game, the more consensual adult behavior we tolerate, the more resources we have to address the nonconsensual expoitive behavior we cannot tolerate.


    Sounds like it was quite the trip ;) (none / 0) (#15)
    by indy in sc on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 01:32:48 PM EST
    Legendary... (none / 0) (#17)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:03:21 PM EST
    I still keep in touch with the little wrecking crew we formed that week...a couple crazy Canadians outta Toronto, one an exec who played fast and loose with his expense account, a French Canadian outta Montreal, a Cincinnati native who is a fellow Clash fanatic, and a couple good 'ol boys from Alabama.  Salt of the earth all around;)

    You should agree with me more often (none / 0) (#19)
    by jbindc on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:12:53 PM EST
    Hey, I called Romney as the nominee (even though I was pilloried) back in 2009!

    If they're secret service, they have clearances (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by seabe on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:04:29 AM EST
    And if you have a clearance, you aren't allowed to do stuff abroad if it's illegal at home. People have been denied clearances for smoking marijuana in Portugal -- where it's not a crime -- because it's not legal in the US. So I assume the same goes with prostitution. Not legal here, you can't do it. Period.

    Fair enough... (none / 0) (#7)
    by kdog on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 11:17:22 AM EST
    I still think we're confused about what is truly scandalous.

    Oh fer pity's sake... (5.00 / 3) (#22)
    by huzzlewhat on Mon Apr 16, 2012 at 02:48:17 PM EST
    Sure, prostitution is legal in Columbia, so no harm, no foul, on to the important stuff, I guess. But Colombia has over 1 million child prostitutes, and most of the adult women in the trade started off as child prostitutes. These women aren't prostitutes because of the glamourous lifestyle, but because they were raised to be or because poverty offered them few options. It's a horrible state of affairs. And the idea that Secret Service members hired prostitutes while working to protect an administration that has made the fight against human trafficking and to raise the status and rights of women around the world a key part of its foreign policy ... well, it's deeply embarrassing and disturbing.

    Drug War (5.00 / 1) (#31)
    by MSimon on Fri May 04, 2012 at 04:27:02 AM EST
    It corrupts every government it touches. That is the Elephant in the room. To believe our government is not corrupted from the top down is to ignore the obvious. Three presidents since Clinton have admitted to a greater or lesser extent drug use. And yet the war goes on.  

    "The Latin American drug cartels have stretched their tentacles much deeper into our lives than most people believe. It's possible they are calling the shots at all levels of government." - William Colby, former CIA Director, 1995

    BTW what was this thread mostly about? Sex. The distraction worked.