John Kerry on Drugs
Jr Senator (MA), Democratic nominee for President
All this, remember, while we're spending millions supposedly fighting the "war on drugs," a phrase first coined by Nixon in 1969.
“Yes,” said John Kerry, leading off. “Yes,” said John Edwards . “Yes,” said Howard Dean. None of these three baby-boomer candidates said anything beyond their short, declarative affirmations. None followed with a hurried explanation that it was just a few times, that it was some kind of “youthful indiscretion,” or that he didn’t inhale. The implication of their answers seemed to be, “Yeah, so what?”
In fact, the defensive answers tended to come from those replying in the negative. “No,” said Dennis Kucinich. “But I think it ought to be decriminalized.”
“I grew up in the church,” said Al Sharpton. “We didn’t believe in that.”
“I have a reputation for giving unpopular answers,” said Joe Lieberman. “I never used marijuana. Sorry!”
In the next day’s news coverage, the admissions of marijuana smoking were largely ignored.
Drugs have made Colombia rich; the nation is awash in profits earned by the export of cocaine to the US and the rest of the world. But the country has been all but stolen from its people, virtually taken over by the drug cartels.
Many legitimate businesses have been pushed out of the economy; businesspeople cannot always afford to care about whether their cash flow--or their financial backing--is dirty or clean. Legitimate agriculture has been pressured too; coffee is less attractive to grow when coca is so much more profitable. A willing army of young Colombians enlist with the cartels, dreaming of easy money, while some young Colombians join the police, army, and customs department just to make money by cooperating with drug criminals.
Cocaine is smuggled in stealth-like semi-submersibles that are capable of transporting a few tons of cocaine over 1,000 miles and thus can enter any country, including the US, without having to cross a port of entry. Cali has several of these.
In some ways, those submersibles are perfect symbols of the Cali cartel's approach. Unlike the dramatically violent Escobar, it stealthily smuggles its products and insinuates itself into "respectability." But the differences are ultimately illusory. The Cali cartel is an empire based on murder and the cocaine-induced destruction of the human spirit. The Cali cartel cannot coexist with a democratic government. Between them there can be no negotiations, for in the end, only one can survive.
A bill to target cocaine kingpins and address sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.
Sponsor's introductory remarks: Sen. Biden: My bill will eliminate the current 100-to-1 disparity [between sentencing for crack vs. powder cocaine] by increasing the 5-year mandatory minimum threshold quantity for crack cocaine to 500 grams, from 5 grams, and the 10-year threshold quantity to 5,000 grams, from 50 grams, while maintaining the current statutory mandatory minimum threshold quantities for powder cocaine. It will also eliminate the current 5-year mandatory minimum penalty for simple possession of crack cocaine, the only mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession of a drug by a first time offender.
Drug use is a serious problem, and I have long supported strong antidrug legislation. But in addition to being tough, our drug laws should be rational and fair. My bill achieves the right balance. We have talked about the need to address this cocaine sentencing disparity for long enough. It is time to act.
Sen. FEINSTEIN: This act is designed to address problems that the Drug Enforcement Administration, DEA, has identified in the implementation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005. The bill that I introduce today would:
This is a common-sense bill, designed to strengthen the implementation of the Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act. This bill would create incentives to ensure that the self-certification process of the law is made both effective and enforceable. I urge my colleagues to support this legislation.
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