I'm trying to figure out who I should be more impressed with- ABC News for actually printing the story, or Devin Dwyer for actually writing the story.
The piece, Obama’s Own Drug Use a Backdrop to More Lenient Sentences, ran on Monday and started with a fair point- saying Obama knows what it's like to be a low-level, nonviolent drug offender. I mean, there's already enough people calling Obama criminal for the stuff he's doing in office as we speak, but at least Dwyer threw a punch he knew he could land by sticking to the things Obama has actually admitted to doing.
We already know that Obama admitted to smoking pot, maybe doing a line here and there in high school. Seriously, who could blame him? If I went to high school in Hawaii, ya damn right I'd be getting baked, and not by the tasty rays. I have too much Irish in me to make that safe.
From that point forward, however...it starts creating questions. According to Dwyer, Obama has been "quietly retooling" the War on Drugs. Cue the hard eyeroll. Saying it wouldn't make sense to make recreational users a priority in states that have determined it is legal (which he did to former journalist Barbara Walters this past December, Dwyer points out) is all well and good when dealing with someone who thought bringing in Jenny McCarthy to The View was a good idea. The number of raids that have been done on medical marijuana dispensaries in states where it has been passed seems to run counter to the President's softball answer to a softball question.
I'm not sure how to approach the Eric Holder quote from the article: "“With an outsized, unnecessarily large prison population, we need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, deter and rehabilitate, not merely to warehouse and forget.” That's a fantastic point, Mr. Holder, but if I may be so bold as to axe you why it is that there are still large numbers of these nonviolent offenders incarcerated? Perhaps, just maybe, that's one of the reasons we are the most heavily incarcerated nation on the planet. Just saying, is all. Just throwing that out there.
The one fact Dwyer pointed out I found utterly laughable was that Obama's proposed 2014 budget (yeah, I didn't think we did budgets anymore, either) plans to seek the largest percentage increase in drug treatment and education in decades, up to $10.7 billion for next year. The budget would also cut spending on international drug control and interdiction efforts by 20 percent.
This is the same guy who called the War on Drugs "an utter failure" as a presidential candidate way back in 2008, you know, back when hope and change were still marketable concepts. So how does this work, again? While I can't say anything negative about cutting spending on international drug control efforts, given the ridiculously low historical success rates (in the 3% territory annually for confiscation), the increased education spending is particularly pandering, in my opinion.
When has it ever panned out, throwing more money on education? Not to call this education in a pure sense, just the kind of propaganda one gets when someone can make a buck off it down the line. For all the money spent on anti-drug educational programming, materials, instructors, and so on down the line, how does it seem like more and more of the populace are starting to figure out (on a daily basis) that not only has the War on Drug truly been an utter failure, but that the government spends too much damn time sweating some damn weed?
We all know the reason- because more and more people are starting to figure out that it's bullshit. The only reason marijuana has been illegal for so long is that the government figured out a way to pad pockets with the prohibition. Companies getting paid to put out simpering and stupid programming and advertising, cops getting a few hours overtime here and there playing afterschool specials and having rap sessions, breathless religious types who don't feel like getting their hands dirty with gays or abortion clinics, corporate corrections companies making money to run third-word jails with our own borders, government entities getting fat off confiscation and fines.
For all their brilliance, vigilance, and moral indignation, if they would just figure out (like all us potheads did) that legalization would bring in three times the money prohibition does, and with a fifth of the paperwork and red tape, then maybe this utter failure Obama mentions from time could finally be put to bed so our federal government can get back to all that other important nothing they have been doing the last several years...
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(Best Overall Writing), 2011 Blogger's Choice Awards