An Hour With The Drug Czar

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  An Hour With The Drug Czar

Posted by CN Staff on March 05, 2011 at 05:40:27 PT
By Bruce Ramsey 
Source: Seattle Times 

Seattle, WA --  The Editorial Board’s meeting with Gil Kerlikowske turned into a big deal. Kerlikowske, the former police chief here in Seattle, is now director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. In other words, he’s the “Drug Czar” -- a title he made fun of in our meeting when he responded to a question by saying, “If I knew the answer, I’d be more than a czar. I’d be king.”In the paper of Sunday, Feb 20, The Times published an editorial arguing that marijuana be legalized, regulated, taxed and sold by the state of Washington. Two days later we received a request from Kerlikowske’s office that he wanted to talk to us; he could pay a visit March 4 at 2:45 p.m. Sure, we said.
Clearly this was because of our editorial. I recalled a year ago, when I wrote a column saying that legalization was coming, and that I favored it, that I received a call from Kerlikowske's office for the first (and only) time. The Director would like to talk with me, the woman said. Would I be available at 3:00 the following afternoon? Yes, I said, I would. I wondered if he was going to chew on my ear, but in the event he missed the call, and instead sent me a copy of a speech he had given to police chiefs in San Jose.This time around, the word got out, probably through me, that he had asked to speak to the Times Editorial Board. Dominic Holden of The Stranger called me and asked me about it and put out a report on their blog, The Slog. Holden quoted me accurately, but his headline framed Kerlikowske’s visit as an attempt to “bully” The Seattle Times. It was a stretch to call it that. Holden wrote that it was “an apparent attempt by the federal government to pressure the state's largest newspaper to oppose marijuana legalization. Or at least turn down the volume on its new-found bullhorn to legalize pot.”NORML, The National Organization to Reform the Marijuana Laws, picked up the story from The Slog. Paul Armentano, deputy director of NORML, portrayed Kerlikowske’s visit as an effort to “squelch” our mainstream-media voice.I started getting emails. Here was one from a woman in New Mexico:“Please, give Mr. Kerlikowske hell for all of us. To want to actually come down to censure (and censor) your paper - your editorial opinion is downright unconstitutional and un-American.” And this morning there were picketers from Sensible Washington, the group that ran the marijuana legalization initiative last year, and are running one, Initiative 1149, this year. They were picketing The Times in favor of our editorial stance and against Kerlikowske. Some of the signs portrayed his visit as an attack on the freedom of the press.I couldn't think of anything Kerlikowske could do to squelch the freedom of The Seattle Times, and I never interpreted his visit that way. The folks that did were well-meaning, and regarding cannabis legalization I agree with them. But Kerlikowske was not bullying us, or threatening us, or attacking our freedom to air our opinions. As it turned out, he was cordial and almost laid-back. At one point he steered the conversation to prescription drug abuse, which had nothing to do with our editorial. When we asked him about legal marijuana he did disagree with us, but so gently that some of the attendees wondered why he had come at all.Like many powerful people, he was careful what he said, responding to some questions without answering them as they were cast. For example, my first question to him related the costs of marijuana prohibition, and ended with the question of whether they were “worth it” (which I think of as “the Madeleine Albright question”). He didn’t answer it.Later, when I asked him whether the War on Drugs was a success, he did a double-take: Didn’t I know that one of his first acts as Drug Czar was to declare the War on Drugs over? Hadn’t I seen that?No. I thought the War on Drugs was still on.“The War on Drugs is over,” he said. “We’ve stopped looking at it as a criminal justice issue alone.”“Alone” is the key word in that statement. The Obama administration’s “middle position” on drugs that leans toward treatment but requires penalties also, he said, because about half the users who go into treatment “have to be encouraged.”We asked Kerlikowse about the regime in Seattle, which voted in 2003 to make adult marijuana possession the lowest police priority, and last year, under City Attorney Pete Holmes, to stop prosecutions of simple possession cases.Kerlikowske reminded us that he and then-City Attorney Tom Carr had opposed the 2003 initiative. “It didn’t change anything,” he said. “Marijuana possession cases among adults were not a particularly high priority for police resources anyhow.” Not a particularly high priority--but still, the public vote in Seattle, and the subsequent turning out of Carr in favor of Holmes, did matter. Would Carr have tolerated Seattle's first Cannabis Farmer's Market, which took place last week? I'm not so sure. But Holmes did.Kerlikowske offered several arguments against legalization. At one point he cited the RAND Corp. study as debunking the idea that a state would make money by selling cannabis through the liquor stores. I haven’t read the study, but the summary of it tells me the study was about how much legalizing marijuana in one state would affect the revenues of the Mexican drug cartels. It said it wouldn’t affect them a lot because they have other states and other drugs. But judging from the press release, the study does assume that if a state legalized cannabis, the Mexican drug cartels would lose the cannabis trade in that state. In other words, it assumes the very thing Kerlikowske doubted.At other points in our conversation, Kerlikowske argued against legalization because it would increase usage by a dramatic amount. But if it did that, the state would be making money off it, would it not? (I not sure it would increase use by a dramatic amount, but I think it would increase it some, but that the possible negative effects would be hugely outweighed by the reducton in financial and human costs of prohibition.)The big question of the hour was about federal response if the Washington Legislature did pass Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson’s legalization bill, H.B. 1550. Kerlikowske reminded us that the feds had agreed not to interfere with medical marijuana in those states that had passed laws allowing it (even though he thought medical marijuana was “an attempt to make it legal…by calling it medicine”). But what if the state law legalized it for general adult use? “I can’t answer that,” he said. “That would be up to the Department of Justice.”Really it would be up to one man: Barack Obama. Of course, he's the man who appointed Gil Kerlikowske.Source: Seattle Times (WA)Author: Bruce RamseyPublished: March 4, 2011Copyright: 2011 The Seattle Times CompanyContact: opinion seatimes.comWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives 

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Comment #10 posted by museman on March 11, 2011 at 09:53:31 PT
Had Enough
"Some kind of web has been woven.."Yes, its an old, rough weave. A tapestry of lies and false moral imperatives.A game of catch 22's that the Powers and Principalities have played -using the masses as pawns- for a few millennia now. As we move through the stages of, yes, 'transformation' (as afterburner put it) the pawns are getting fewer and fewer. Intelligence (information) and awareness are displacing the "ignorance of the masses" -the light is beginning to shine in the shadows.Over 40 years ago I was blessed/cursed with a vision of events and occurrences that have now come to be. Not too many people were able to receive that news, and over the years I have had to be real careful and circumspect in who I let in on the info -most just reacted with various forms of rejection, including attacks on my psyche, integrity, person, and family. From mockery to guns pointed at my head - all because I thought I should warn folks about what was coming.Near the end of the century, I had succumbed to despair and depression, because it seemed that all my efforts were for naught, and I felt rather alone in this world, a "Stranger in a strange land." I began to question my own persistence at maintaining pursuance of truths not being looked at by my peers. I nearly gave up. I nearly died from failing health, I had only my family to keep me from falling permanently into the darkness that the rulers of this world wish upon all of us.But then, something happened. Somehow, all the seeds of truth I thought had no purchase in the consciousness of my fellows, that I and some few others sowed in the 'dark before the dawn' began to poke their new growth out of the rubble of many broken dreams. By 2006 I became aware of this Great Awakening that is undeniably now upon us (though many will deny it still - it is to their own confused values and beliefs they cling, some unto death). For the first time since I first saw the great things that were coming, now arriving, I had hope.That sprout of hope grew, even though the Rulers and their henchmen tried to find it and kill it, slow it down, -anything they could to stop its inevitability- but like the clue in Revelations; The Dragon pursued the woman in the wilderness to devour her coming offspring -without success.That child has been born. It is our consciousness -the beingness of the here-and-now, without the time-lag drag of BS held in mental backwards and forwards looking - that has no CONSCIOUSNESS of NOW.We are at the mercy of our languages to communicate truth, and fundamentally most people only use about as much of the efficacy of their language, as they do their brains; about 2 -10%. The mind is not fast enough to grasp the now, except in retrospect, only the consciousness is capable of merging with the Flow of Creation, and understanding what that is, and means to us. These terms; "mind and consciousness" are the closest things to differentiating the phenomenon I am speaking of, so forgive the fact that, like our minds, the language is inadequate to express the wholistic truth.Within the sub-conscious of humanity, the consciousness begins to rise. People are being motivated in ways they feel, but cannot really describe with mental acrobatics -no matter how disciplined the mind.We have left the age of moral law and imperative (dictated by the few elite -for their own edification, comfort, and lifestyle) and entered into the age of Ethical Choice. When enough begin to understand that the truth will indeed set them free, those ethical choices will be made faster than the moral judges can make up new laws to counter them, because they will be made instantly by consciousness, not mired in the deliberation of such failed systems as 'legislation' and governments.I have posted some of this info before, with expected attack and attempts to discredit the info coming quickly on the heels of stating it, but to those who would understand, I invite you to investigate, The best source I have found, other than the "Source" is a man named Ian Lundgold, who gave us some great understandings -based on his understanding of what the Mayan Calendar is really all about. I was very upset to learn he had been taken out under some questionable circumstances having to do with a routine operation that went very bad. However, the info is there for anyone. Google it.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #9 posted by afterburner on March 11, 2011 at 06:27:33 PT
Wisconsin - kaptinemo #3
Two recent articles illustrate the financial dilemma facing lawmakers and point to solutions:The Revolution...Sorry, Transformation Starts Now!
Steven G. Brant,
Social systems scientist, reporting real solutions to society's problems.
Posted: March 10, 2011 10:24 AM.
I predict the naked power grab by the Republican party in Wisconsin will go down in history as the second "shot heard 'round the world" which began the second American Revolution. Except it won't be a revolution. It will be a transformation.
Read Post | Comments (17).
Read More: Abundance , Buckminster Fuller , Egypt Revolution , Energy Innovation , Innovation , Progress , Progressive Movement , Progressives , Revolution , Scarcity , Scott Walker , Social Innovation , Thomas Malthus , Transformation , Unionbusting , Unions , W. Edwards Deming , Wisconsin , Wisconsin Protests , Politics News Head Start But Keep Subsidies for Big Oil? Earth to Boehner...Come In!
Robert Creamer, 03.10.2011.
Political organizer, strategist and author.
Republicans say they need to make budget cuts because "America is broke." But at the very same time they voted to cut education programs like Head Start, they voted to continue $4 billion worth of subsidies to Big Oil.
Read Post | Comments (97)
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Comment #8 posted by Had Enough on March 07, 2011 at 22:27:48 PT
Re: #6
“"You are either part of the problem, or part of the solution." No proxy can decide your future, you must decide that for yourself, and do it every day. LEGALIZE FREEDOM””That line 'should' be the ‘law of the land’But it really is…problem is…most people do not know it…NFL, MLB, NHL, NASCAR, American Idol, latest gossip on the celebrity scene…etc…seems to trump the conciseness of most.Some kind of web has been woven…a cookie for those that cannot resist…a cookie they do not even know they are even ingesting…a cookie that leads them down the road for further misery…a cookie they 'think' they enjoy…
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on March 07, 2011 at 08:09:23 PT

Thank you for the link. I really appreciate Michael Moore.
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Comment #6 posted by museman on March 07, 2011 at 08:06:04 PT

#3 - 4 Corruption
This is what it looks like.And only a scratch on the very wide political surface of america.The game has been going on for a long, long time.Yet the preoccupation ("jobs" and entertainment) of the 'working class' kept them/us in the dark (all part of the plan) while the "leaders," and economic "masters" lived it up on our dime. It seems hard for many americans to admit they've been taken for a ride down a wide avenue of facade, but I believe the light is beginning to dawn in some places.Some think that the current economic trickery and sleight-of-hand brokering of resource is somehow an actual condition of life, when it is actually a well crafted illusion that hides the fact that our resources, goods, and services have only changed on paper -which, with the control and management of corrupt politicians (all with their hands in the till) created a very real limit to access to those same resources, thus the failing of business that depends on a balanced flow of economy to survive, and the loss of jobs, etc., that lead to inflation and recession -both words connotated by the 'economic community.' We have been in bondage to ignorance, and as long as the wars continued, the rabble-rousers could be siphoned off and 'killed in action', but Cannabis and LSD woke us up during VietNam, and that cat won't go back in the bag.The 'american work ethic' was thrown at us -right along side the bible thump to the side of our collective heads, to make us feel guilty if we stopped to ponder, and all those programmed work-bots are all too willing to take out their alcoholic, red-dye 40 (and other food toxins) inspired frustration on anyone who even appeared to be different.As the 'man behind the curtain' was revealed, smoke screens emerged from every direction (seemingly) and many who were not fooled by the initial social engineering of 'school' and 'church' got easily side-tracked by various fringe speculations to form wild-eyed conclusions that mainstream was sure to laugh at. Those who maintained their clear focus on the truth -yes- the Truth, either had to become rather "wise as serpents,.." or learn arts of camouflage and invisibility so that the 'Shadow Government' didn't take them out like they have so many. And of course the WOD was a sure fire way to stifle the growth of awareness, and exert control in areas the church, school, and wars didn't take care of. But even that wasn't enough, they had to create an 'legitimate' Oligarchy through such things as the NSA, WPA, and the ultimate- "Patriot Act" so that those who actually understand that liberty and freedom is a state of being, not an act of law, would be easily corralled into some 'violation' or another, and taken out of the social mix.The political/economic/professional world is filled to the brim with greedy, callous, corrupt humanity, and they are an exclusive club of elite members who let no one in except they have the adequate tokens of economic substance readily available as liquid or static assets. And the 'inner circle' won't let you in no matter how much fake money you manage to accumulate through your various deeds to get it.The time has come.There are enough people awakening now, that these pretenders to the american throne (you remember 'A government of the people, by the people' right?) have only a short time left before they are defanged, dethroned, and people with actual conscience and dedication to clear ethical action move into place.of course as long as americans believe in the dollar bill over their fellows, as long as they believe being a slave to the corporate feudal lords is somehow 'american' those ignorances will make the transition longer, harder, and more painful than it ever had to be.Time to stop supporting failed systems and concentrate on the potential replacements. Time to stop putting energy into political elitists -stop validating their exclusivity by 'voting' for their limited 'offerings' and false promises.Its time."You are either part of the problem, or part of the solution." No proxy can decide your future, you must decide that for yourself, and do it every day.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #5 posted by afterburner on March 07, 2011 at 07:43:06 PT

America, So Far, Lacks Will to Rein in Big Money 
Michael Moore.Oscar and Emmy-winning director. 
Posted: March 6, 2011 02:53 PM.
America Is Not Broke
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Comment #4 posted by Had Enough on March 06, 2011 at 21:07:12 PT

Re: #3... Florida's new High Sheriff

Well said…very well said…One thing though…Florida…Hhmmm…Not all is as it appears…the new Governor is armed with many mirrors…and a lot of the wrong kind of smoke…***Whistleblowers Say Rick Scott Knew About Medicare Fraud*** fraud case detailsOn March 19, 1997, investigators from the FBI, the Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Health and Human Services served search warrants at Columbia/HCA facilities in El Paso and on dozens of doctors with suspected ties to the company.[19]Following the raids, the Columbia/HCA board of directors forced Scott to resign as Chairman and CEO.[20] He was paid $9.88 million in a settlement. He also left owning 10 million shares of stock worth over $350 million.[21][22][23]In 1999, Columbia/HCA changed its name back to HCA, Inc.In settlements reached in 2000 and 2002, Columbia/HCA plead guilty to 14 felonies and agreed to a $600+ million fine in the largest fraud settlement in US history. 
Columbia/HCA admitted systematically overcharging the government by claiming marketing costs as reimbursable, by striking illegal deals with home care agencies, and by filing false data about use of hospital space. They also admitted fraudulently billing Medicare and other health programs by inflating the seriousness of diagnoses and to giving doctors partnerships in company hospitals as a kickback for the doctors referring patients to HCA. They filed false cost reports, fraudulently billing Medicare for home health care workers, and paid kickbacks in the sale of home health agencies and to doctors to refer patients. In addition, they gave doctors "loans" never intending to be repaid, free rent, free office furniture, and free drugs from hospital pharmacies.[3][4][5][6][7]In late 2002, HCA agreed to pay the U.S. government $631 million, plus interest, and pay $17.5 million to state Medicaid agencies, in addition to $250 million paid up to that point to resolve outstanding Medicare expense claims.[24] In all, civil law suits cost HCA more than $2 billion to settle, by far the largest fraud settlement in US history.[25]***

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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on March 05, 2011 at 10:20:37 PT:

A man may smile and smile, and still be a villain
Or so The Bard said in Hamlet.The personality of the leadership of drug prohibition organizations makes little difference; what Mr. Kerlikowske serves is the source of so much misery and murder that it doesn't matter how engaging his personality may be. Nothing can assuage that. As the old Scottish saying goes, "Once you touch the Devil, you can never let go." Gil has embraced a particularly seductive devil; but it doesn't detract from the fact that what he serves is patently evil. In a world governed by rationality, such evil would have been recognized as such and disposed of courtesy of changing the laws to reflect the failure of drug prohibition to achieve any of its' goals. Our grandparents did that long ago with alcohol Prohibition.But those individuals and groups, like Mr. K and the (vile) alphabet soup of State and Federal agencies he is allied with, whose paychecks and organizational survival are dependent upon maintaining this evil, have worked very hard indeed (on our dime and our time) to defeat any such rational changes.But no matter: the time is coming very soon where a force much vaster and more powerful than any bureaucracy will cause the very rational changes needed to end this prohibition. Said force cannot be 'reasoned' with, cannot be intimidated, cannot be bribed, cannot be imprisoned, cannot be blackmailed or injured or killed. That force is the continued shrinking of the economy, and it is forcing the glaring necessity for honest, hard debate on budgetary program cuts out into the open where no amount of bureaucratic double-talk or appeals to emotion (Wild-eyed, sobbing hysterics: "What about the children? Won't somebody think of the chil-dre-he-hen?!")can paper over that necessity.As recent events in Wisconsin and Ohio and other States are revealing, this matter of the necessary budgetary triage and what gets cut is an explosive issue. But some things are easier to cut than others, and some Governors in States like Florida are cutting the local 'anti-drugs' organizations out of the budget for the wastes of taxpayer's dollars they are. As targets, they are much 'softer' than, say, the right to collectively bargain. Politically, cutting 'anti-drugs' programs would be 'meat on the table', as the only supporters of those programs generally are the ones with a personal stake in their continuance, and thus could be accused of being selfish should they raise an objection. And nothing Kerli and his gang can say will negate that. Smile all he wants, he's still captain of an unbelievably expensive, plague-infested pirate ship in desperate need of sinking.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on March 05, 2011 at 10:12:07 PT

pretty funny
OF COURSE he was in town to bully the paper! Look, they even printed a little column with his side of the won't find a better example of pure propaganda that this! The Propaganda Minister was dispatched from 3000 miles away by the Emperor to deal with a rhetorical uprising in the provinces.....

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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 05, 2011 at 05:43:08 PT

I Thought It Was Just a Bunch of Hype
I am so glad he is tolerant and not like John Walters.Excerpt: I couldn't think of anything Kerlikowske could do to squelch the freedom of The Seattle Times, and I never interpreted his visit that way. The folks that did were well-meaning, and regarding cannabis legalization I agree with them. But Kerlikowske was not bullying us, or threatening us, or attacking our freedom to air our opinions. As it turned out, he was cordial and almost laid-back.
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