Czar Wars

Czar Wars
Posted by CN Staff on November 17, 2002 at 11:13:26 PT
By Bill Steigerwald, Tribune-Review
Source: Tribune Review 
You can’t win an argument with the drug czar. I found that out fast this month when John Walters, the federal government’s tireless, full-time propagandist in the War on Drugs, met for an edgy but civil hour of debate with Trib editors and reporters. Czar Walters, whose official title is director of National Drug Control Policy, came to town as part of his national campaign to debunk the latest crisis of the government’s never-ending drug war — “the myth of harmless marijuana.” 
Later that day, he would tell students at Highlands High School in Natrona Heights that pot is not a soft drug that deserves to be decriminalized or legalized, but a dangerous, addictive scourge that is increasingly destroying the brains and bodies of teenagers. I’m sure Czar Walters thought he would be in friendly territory at the Trib. But after his opening remarks, in which he summarized at great length how his office planned to carry out its presidential mandate to cut drug use in America 10 percent in two years and 25 percent in five, he quickly discovered he was behind enemy lines. No one laughed out loud or was rude. But none of us was buying much of what the czar was selling — especially the part about how marijuana is now apparently a greater threat to the Republic than al-Qaida, Saddam Hussein or Al Sharpton combined. Dimitri Vassilaros, my fellow lovable libertarian, and I made the standard anti-prohibitionist complaints about the heavy cost of the drug war in dollars and lost civil liberties and imprisoned nonviolent drug offenders. But we aging journalists were no match for a five-star drug general. He is smart, competent and blessed with a likable, un-czarlike manner. After months of campaigning, he carries all the government facts, studies, anti-legalization arguments and official policy statements in his head — and his heart. To back him up, he travels with two assistants and a pile of official blue information packets stamped with "Executive Office of the President." In the end, it didn’t matter what we serfs believed. The czar had not come to debate drug policy. He doesn’t believe debate is even possible. He thinks the government’s side — which I would argue is mindless, hysterical, absolutist, puritanical, inconsistent, cruel, totalitarian and embarrassing — is always right and the other side’s arguments have no credibility. Walters accepts the results of no health study — no matter how new or reputable — that doesn’t find marijuana to be dangerous, addictive or a gateway to heroin and crack. He is quick to discredit or disbelieve the recent poll results in Time magazine and elsewhere that show ever-higher majorities of Americans say marijuana should be decriminalized. I’m heartened by those polls. I’m also encouraged to see that 74 percent of Americans polled by the Pew Research Center agree with me and my 84-year-old non-pot-smoking mother that we’re losing our 30-year War on (some) Drugs. Like we eventually did with Vietnam and Prohibition, someday we will look back at the War on Drugs and see we had been waging a costly war that we never should have started, that was fought stupidly and did more to harm society than help it. Czar Walters, of course, would buy none of this defeatist talk. He insisted to us that the war is going well — except, he said, that we need a few billion dollars more for treatment and for helping the Colombians fight the cartels and for beefing up interdiction by the Coast Guard. And except that marijuana is much more powerful and is addicting more of our teens than ever. And except that you can buy drugs in cities like Pittsburgh on the same corners they’ve been sold on for the last 30 years. And except that high school kids have more trouble buying a pack of Winstons than a bag of pot. We lost our argument with the czar, just as the decriminalizers and legalizers lost two days later when voters in Nevada, Arizona and Ohio rejected ballot issues to approve marijuana for medical use, decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana or put nonviolent drug offenders into treatment instead of jail. Czar Walters is probably still cheering these victories. But he should celebrate while he can. The slow, steady revolution of responsible, sensible drug reform bubbling up from some of the country’s most conservative states is not going to go away. Fewer and fewer Americans are such dopes when it comes to supporting federal drug policy, especially as it regards marijuana, a drug that polls say about half of Americans have tried and nearly 72 percent believe possession of small amounts of should be punished by fines, not jail time. Czar Walters and his allies paint drug reformers as threats to the public health and safety, as coddlers of criminals, or as irresponsible dopers who are willing to sacrifice the future of the country’s youth for the selfish right to get high. I’m 55 and don’t use or sell drugs. I won’t lie and say I never did – or that I don’t think my kids never will. But I see the growing drug reform movement as a sign that common sense is not completely dead in America. I’d argue most reform leaders and their followers are responsible citizens who are concerned about individual freedom or interested in minimizing the serious harm done to society by the prohibition of drugs that 16 million people demand and the worst elements of society are willing to supply. But who the reform leaders are, or what their real motives for de-escalating the drug war are, is not the point. The War on Drugs is wrong. A majority of ordinary Americans know it, even if their political leaders don't or are terrified to admit it. And the sooner our government declares defeat and ends it, the better. We said all that, though not so clearly, to Czar Walters, who looked suspiciously relieved when his time in the Trib torture chamber was up. I didn’t set out to make him uncomfortable, and maybe we didn’t. Maybe he’s used to being argued with. I sure hope so. When I shook his hand good-bye, I made a point of telling him something else. “Please tell the president that the War on Drugs is shameful and unbecoming a free society.” I didn't deliver that message to be nasty or try to change his mind. I did it so he and his boss in the White House will know that the dissenters in the drug war include stone-sober grandfathers like me. Source: Tribune Review (PA)Author: Bill Steigerwald, Tribune-ReviewPublished: Sunday, November 17, 2002 Copyright: 2002 Tribune-Review Publishing Co.Contact: letters tribune-review.comWebsite: Articles:The Drug Czar Wins the Pot Drug Czar Distorts Report
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Comment #13 posted by TroutMask on November 18, 2002 at 06:49:47 PT
John Walters and the Holy Grail
Ever see Monty Python and the Holy Grail? If not, go rent it and come back to this post later.Walters reminds me of the black knight who wouldn't quit figthing the good knight even after both the black knight's arms and legs were cut off. Always persistent in the face of certain doom, he taunts the good night..."It's merely a flesh wound!" "Come back here and I'll bite your ankles off!" So persistent is John Walters in his close-minded puritanical ignorance that it almost makes me feel sorry for him. Almost.-TM
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Comment #12 posted by DdC on November 17, 2002 at 20:27:39 PT
Kennedy used ganja for his back...
The story is online...still looking...found these..."Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution
inevitable." -- John F. KennedyWe are not afraid to entrust the American people with unpleasant facts, foreign ideas, alien philosophies and competitive values. For a nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. 
President John F. Kennedy "Today, we need a nation of Minutemen, citizens who are not only prepared to take arms, but citizens who regard the preservation of freedom as the basic purpose of their daily life and who are willing to consciously work and sacrifice for that freedom." -- John F. KennedyUp-to-Date Chronology of Cannabis Hemp
1962 AD : President Kennedy sacks Anslinger. Kennedy using cannabis as a pain relief. Cannabis Users. High Society excerpted High Society Expose' sativa: one of the most important medicines by G. M. Swartwout
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Comment #11 posted by CongressmanSuet on November 17, 2002 at 17:05:47 PT
Kennedy DID use Cannabis...
 I remember reading a few years ago in an article that there were two objectives he had, one ,I believe had something to do with true civil rights reforms, and the other with his goal of legalizing Cannabis, which provided him with much relief from his back ailments. Wonder if Bobby would have taken up the gauntlet?
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Comment #10 posted by FoM on November 17, 2002 at 15:55:34 PT
About President Kennedy's Drug Use
ABC World News Tonight is doing a segment on his drug use. Thought some of you might be interested in this article.Report: JFK Bore Excruciating Pain NEW YORK (AP)--President John F. Kennedy suffered more pain and illness than previously known, and took as many as eight medications a day, according to a published report. Newly disclosed medical files from the last eight years of Kennedy's life, including X-rays and prescription records, show he took painkillers, anti-anxiety drugs, stimulants and sleeping pills, as well as hormones to keep him alive, according to a story for Sunday editions of The New York Times. The records were revealed by historian Robert Dallek, who is writing a biography, ``An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963,'' to be published next year by Little, Brown. Dallek was allowed to examine the documents last spring by a committee of three longtime Kennedy family associates, who for decades refused all requests to look at the records. He reviewed the documents with the assistance of physician Jeffrey A. Kelman, but was not allowed to make photocopies, the newspaper said. Their findings appear in the December issue of The Atlantic. As president, Kennedy was famous for having a bad back, and since his death, biographers have pieced together details of other illnesses, including persistent digestive problems and Addison's disease, a life-threatening lack of adrenal function, the newspaper said. The records reveal that Kennedy variously took codeine, Demerol and methadone for pain; Ritalin, a stimulant; meprobamate and librium for anxiety; barbiturates for sleep; thyroid hormone; and injections of a blood derivative, gamma globulin, presumably to combat infections. The new information also shows Kennedy went to great lengths to conceal his ailments, even denying to reporters that he had Addison's disease. Other presidents, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt, also kept their illnesses secret. Writing in The Atlantic, Dallek said while Kennedy's secrecy can be taken as ``another stain on his oft-criticized character,'' the records also reveal the ``quiet stoicism of a man struggling to endure extraordinary pain and distress.'' AP-NY-11-17-02 1720ESTCopyright 2002, The Associated Press. 
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on November 17, 2002 at 15:20:57 PT
Well then maybe I should welcome you soon to AARP! I keep forgetting how many years Vietnam scanned. My husband went to Nam when he was 18. You are only 3 years younger then him.
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Comment #8 posted by p4me on November 17, 2002 at 14:57:54 PT
He made one mistake
You can’t win an argument with the drug czar.I feel like this opening line should read, "Walters is a robot incapable of new programming." Just because Walters didn't walk away converted doesn't mean he won any debate. When you have an indefensible position how can you win anything? Did he win back any converts to the proposition that the Ganjawars must end with total legalization- the Logical Conclusion? No. He just tried to retain the brainwashed that think the government is really concerned about the true definition of freedom. Walters did not win any debate because 1 plus 1 will never egual 3. Walters is not fit for public service and will not even address how 80% of the people have overcome billions in brainwashing to come to the only logical conclusion that marijuana is indeed medicine. The fascist want to play make-believe with Mr. Rogers, only there is a real world with true realities.Yahoo has a piece on the pains and medicines of John Kennedy. It did not mention cannabis even though there is plenty of reason to think he did use cannabis.FoM, I am 49. I personally regard cannabis as medicine no matter what the fascist goofballs propagandize and I am one of millions that is more than appalled by the fascist position and the public's tolerance of that position. It is glaring and bold, in-your face-fascism that is the enemy. Onward to legalization.1
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on November 17, 2002 at 14:56:11 PT
The C-I-R-C-L-E 
Congratulations! That's great news! Maybe they will publish your interview this week. Let me know!
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Comment #6 posted by The C-I-R-C-L-E on November 17, 2002 at 14:45:47 PT
Hell Yeah! Whatta article...
Woo-hoo! Preach it! Can I get a witness!Thank god the drug tcqzar (why is the U.S. using that word?) isn't Pinocchio or his audiences would all have their eyes poked out.FoM: I don't know why The Union never published the article from last week. I gave the interview on Monday and it was supposed to run on Tuesday. The reporter hasn't called back to let me know what's up. I'll let you know if it comes back into a publication date for your posting.(Gwynna Katherine Ladybug was born last Wednesday! A new cannabis warrior is born...)
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Comment #5 posted by DdC on November 17, 2002 at 13:28:26 PT
May you all stay forever young...
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young, May you stay forever young up Wally by Golly...41's nickname for W the Idiot. Not to be confused with ThugCzar J.P.Waldo the Idiot. Very old people. Like John Prines oldest baby in the world. They were quickly aged of identity after birth. Czarwaldo also molded at Yale, a chemist profiting on pisstasting and tax shelters through his Philanthrapy Rountable. Selling bogeyman books turning fiction into profits from naive twits blind faith in the fascist ganjawar.Bush Crime Family 
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on November 17, 2002 at 13:09:32 PT
New Doonesbury Medical Marijuana Political Cartoon
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on November 17, 2002 at 12:39:30 PT
I hope you don't mind me kidding you about being young because you probably don't feel young but compared to me believe me you are young! Remember young is 20 years younger then a person is! That's how I look at it.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on November 17, 2002 at 12:23:37 PT
Ah gosh golly gee you're just a youngin'! Glad you liked the article!
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Comment #1 posted by p4me on November 17, 2002 at 12:21:28 PT
Another heart-warming article
I was glad to see him mention the waste and lesson of Vietnam. FoM, my father was in Vietnam for two tours, but not me.I do not know how Walters could be happy about the incoming tide. Just because of two elections that only brought a new reality to millions across the country. How could you be happy when there are millions more people calling you a liar and people like this author that openly call you a propagandist?My reality is that the Ganjawar is being fought for the benefit of the fascists. Most people would not know what is meant by the term fascist, but that is coming also. You cannot explain the Ganjawar without using the term fascism and there is no better way to see the face of fascism than to study the government's insanity as displayed in the Ganjawar.This is a great hit-the-nail-on-the-head article.1
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