It was not long ago when President Barack Obama’s new drug czar, former Seattle police chief Gil Kerlikowske, swept into Washington, D.C. and declared the “drug war” a public policy relic.
The Obama administration, he said, would move toward handling drug addiction as a medical problem, moving away from the brash enforcement tactics that hallmarked prior administrations.
“We’re not at war with people in this country,” Kerlikowske told The Wall Street Journal in May.
However, if the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s (ONDCP) budget for fiscal year 2011 is to be believed, Kerlikowske was full of hot air.
According to 2011 funding “highlights” released by the ONDCP (PDF link), the Obama administration is growing the drug war and tilting its funds heavily toward law enforcement over treatment.
The president’s National Drug Control Budget also continues the Bush administration’s public relations tactic of obscuring the costs of prosecuting and imprisoning drug offenders. “Enron style accounting,” is how drug policy reform advocate Kevin Zeese described it, writing for Alternet in 2002.
The budget places America’s drug war spending at $15.5 billion for fiscal year 2011; an increase of 3.5 percent over FY 2010. That figure reflects a 5.2 percent increase in overall enforcement funding, growing from $9.7 billion in FY 2010 to $9.9 billion in FY 2011. Addiction treatment and preventative measures, however, are budgeted at $5.6 billion for FY 2011, an increase from $5.2 billion in FY 2010.
In short, the Obama administration’s appropriations for treating drug addiction are just short of half that dedicated to prosecuting the war.
A ONDCP press release describes these figures as “balanced.”
“The new budget proposal demonstrates the Obama Administration’s commitment to a balanced and comprehensive drug strategy,” Kerlikowske added, in the advisory. “In a time of tight budgets and fiscal restraint, these new investments are targeted at reducing Americans’ drug use and the substantial costs associated with the health and social consequences of drug abuse.”
“It sure was an encouraging signal when Drug Czar Kerlikowske declared that the ‘war on drugs’ was over shortly after he took the job last year,” commented Tom Angel, spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “But until the budget numbers match up with rhetoric, it looks like the war is still being waged.”
Trump biographer mocks president for humiliating foreign policy ‘triple fail’
Trump biographer Timothy O'Brien on Monday published a column for Bloomberg in which he mocked the president for suffering a humiliating foreign policy "triple fail" that exposed his presidency's biggest weaknesses.
In his column, O'Brien pointed out that Trump's threats of major actions against Mexico and Iran never amounted to anything, while also noting that the president backed off his plans to begin the mass deportations of undocumented immigrants.
Trump star vandal arrested for Marilyn statue theft in Hollywood
A man convicted of vandalizing President Donald Trump's sidewalk star in Hollywood last summer has been arrested for stealing a statue of Marilyn Monroe from a nearby monument.
Austin Clay, 25, was identified by police from video surveillance footage.
Having discovered that he was on parole after a conviction for damaging Trump's star on the famous Hollywood "Walk of Fame," investigators searched his home Friday.
According to local media reports, they found evidence linking him to the theft of the statue.
The statue itself -- showing Monroe in her famous flying skirt pose from "The Seven Year Itch" (1955) -- has not been found.
How the New York Times creates credibility for Trump
There’s a good reason why the Times decided against running on its front page news of the latest woman to accuse the president of rape. The Times still does journalism the way it always has. It gives people in power the never-ending benefit of the doubt.
When you are willing to give people in power the benefit of the doubt no matter how many times they have proven they are unworthy of that benefit, it’s not all that important when the 16th person comes forward credibly to accuse Donald Trump of anything, even if, in the case of columnist E. Jean Carroll, the allegation is rape.