Drug-Foe Souder on Defense 

Drug-Foe Souder on Defense 
Posted by FoM on May 07, 2001 at 07:49:48 PT
By Sylvia Smith
Source: Journal Gazette
If Americans weren't willing to stick so much cocaine up their noses, the coca farming-cocaine producing-drug smuggling circuit wouldn't be so lucrative to poor Latin American countries. After the umpteenth time a Colombian or Mexican official made that point to Rep. Mark Souder, he began casting around for a way to (at least symbolically) ratchet up the consequences for U.S. users. 
"One of the charges I constantly hear in South and Central America is that we don't do enough to stop the problem here in the United States," Souder said. He added that the complaint comes "most often from students who studied in American colleges." In 1998 Souder ushered through legislation to withhold federally backed financial aid for college students with drug convictions. "If individuals want to get benefits from other taxpayers - specifically subsidized student loans - then they have obligations that go with it. It's a privilege, not a right," he said at the time. Souder's bill to deny aid for a year, two years or forever depending on whether the conviction was for selling drugs or possessing them unless the student completed drug rehab was adopted by Congress as part of a larger education bill. No one raised any objections, and Souder's proposal was passed on a voice vote. But that doesn't mean the issue is controversy free. As soon as the law started being enforced, so did squeals of protest. Among the objections: - People who have committed far worse crimes - armed robbery or even murder - don't have any restrictions when it comes to their eligibility for financial aid. - Because students from wealthy families don't apply for financial aid, the law disproportionately affects the poor. - It's foolhardy to deny a college education to someone who could benefit from it the most - a low-income student who is trying to reject a drug life. - The law disproportionately affects black and Hispanic students because even though drug use is about the same in all racial groups (about 13 percent), there are far more drug convictions among blacks and Hispanics than the white population. Souder agrees, to an extent, with some. For instance, he said he never intended the law to apply to drug convictions before the applicant was a student. In his view, all first-time applicants should be waived from answering the "have you ever been convicted of a drug offense" question. Otherwise, he said, "it potentially impacts disproportionately on minorities." Besides, he said, "Why would I, as a Christian, not believe in repentance?" But Souder quarrels with the premise of some of the other objections. Without disputing the statistics about the percentage of drug convictions among minorities compared to the white population, Souder said the percentage of convictions among college students of all races is about the same. Now in its second year of implementation, protests over the law have moved beyond college newspapers. The Indianapolis Star, for instance, recently editorialized that it is "a feel-good gesture that was flawed from the start." Last year The Journal Gazette advised Congress to "drop the whole program and let the Department of Education stop being the Drug Enforcement Agency." In recent weeks, The New York Times and the Columbus Dispatch wrote articles highlighting the situation of a Ohio State University freshman who lost his financial aid eligibility after a conviction for smoking marijuana. Legislation to revoke Souder's restrictions has 35 co-sponsors in the House, all collected within a month of the bill's introduction. The same bill proposed in the last two-year Congress had only 30 backers in 20 months. Souder sees these markers as signs that public opinion may be shifting on drug laws. "Across America, we're facing a concerted attack on any anti-drug efforts," he said, blaming it in part on the movie "Traffic" and the story line in TV's "West Wing"; state referenda on legalizing the medical use of marijuana; and Peru's shooting down of a planeful of missionaries mistaken for drug runners. "Across the board we're playing defense," he said. Souder and his legislation are trapped in a public policy conundrum: How to acknowledge the very valid complaints of drug-producing countries who contend the United States isn't doing enough to curb its appetite for drugs vs. a public that thinks withholding student aid is overkill. Newshawk: irokSource: Journal Gazette (IN)Author: Sylvia SmithPublished: May 6, 2001Copyright: 2001 Journal GazetteContact: mroeger jg.netWebsite: Article:Souder Decries Evil Position of Medical-Marijuana Articles - Mark Souder 
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Comment #6 posted by freedom fighter on May 08, 2001 at 20:17:18 PT
Funny thing happend on my way to courthouse
Saw kids hanging about looking sullenlyNothing to do..souderI cannot think of any name for you..So sorry souder, no name calling for known as a maker of idijits has shown what he wears underneath the fine suit he wears everyday.."Nothing!"
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Comment #5 posted by Kevin Hebert on May 07, 2001 at 13:27:31 PT:
Across the board we're playing defense, he said.
And they will lose. How can you be on the defense when nothing you say can justify what you have done? Answer: you can't. Now is the time for us, all of us, to really ratchet up out efforts. The truth CANNOT be silenced forever.
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Comment #4 posted by sm247 on May 07, 2001 at 13:25:41 PT
Souder on the run ???
 I think we are making some progress against Mr. Souder we need more letters to him directly. Do so at ... These zip codes are some that are in his area 46710 46701 46784 46755 that will make the form pull his name up.Or even better use petition to congress and 360 some other reps will get the same letter besides Mr. Souder.
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Comment #3 posted by BruceR on May 07, 2001 at 12:47:03 PT
Working for the wrong guy's
"One of the charges I constantly hear in South and Central America is that we don't do enough to stop the problem here in the United States," Who did he swear to serve? South and Central America or us and are childern!
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Comment #2 posted by dankhank on May 07, 2001 at 11:02:09 PT:
Ratchett Up????
Ratchett this up, Souder ...In case you can't see this it is my middle finger.So, what about murdering another human being ...?Is that not deemed as serious as smoking a doobie?THAT is why we laugh at you, sir, you are ludicrious ...
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Comment #1 posted by kaptinemo on May 07, 2001 at 09:24:23 PT:
Further and further, into the corner
The antis keep painting themselves into corners. Souder is a perfect example.The consequences of the Republican attempt to duplicate the Democrat impulse for social engineering were evident from the start. But he wouldn't listen; nor would the pols who voted for it with him. But they are going to find out that 'squeals' of protest are actually muted roar of an oncoming avalanche of parental anger...and the volumne will climb ever higher with the resumption of the Fall semester.I repeat: when Mr. And Ms. Middle Class realize that their tepid, rah-rah cheerleader-like support for the DrugWar has cost little Johnnie and Suzy their chance for college because they were caught with a doobie, there'll be Hell to pay. As Souder and Company are finding out. The warnings were as plain as the noses on their faces, but they wouldn't listen.But they're listening now. And Souder is sweating bullets.As is every pol who will now try to distance themselves from him when they come calling and demand an explanation.Would like some more paint, Mr. Souder?
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