Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Kerlikowske's nomination announced by Vice President Joe Biden

Vice President Joe Biden formally announced the nomination of Gil Kerlikowske, recently the Chief of Police in Seattle, to be the Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy on March 11, 2009.

Biden's remarks were a pathetic pastiche of the cliches he has been uttering about drugs since he partnered with South Carolina Senator Strom Thurmond in 1981 in the leadership of the Senate Judiciary Committee. Thurmond was Chair, and Joe Biden was the ranking Democrat. Thurmond, born in 1902, was 78 when he took the Chair in 1981. Biden, born in 1942, was 39. When the two of them were on the dais of the committee it was hard to tell who was Charlie McCarthy and who was Edgar Bergen.

Direct quotations from Biden's remarks at today's announcement:
* substance abuse is "one of our nation's most pervasive problems"
* addiction "wreaks havoc"
* "correlation between crime and substance abuse was established undeniably clearly back in the '70s,"
* "Just the health and economic cost alone from drug and alcohol abuse amounts to over $350 billion a year"
* "even bigger cost in human suffering, the lives lost, the lost dreams that result from the pain and destruction that abuse brings to not only the abuser, but to the family and everyone surrounding, everyone who loves that person"
* "the chief [Kerlikowske] has been on the front lines in the battle against drugs"
* "we needed tough laws, and we have tough laws. But that wasn't enough"
* "since the beginning of last year there have been nearly 7,000 drug-related murders in Mexico. If we had said that years ago we would have looked at each other like we were crazy"

* "as drug czar the Chief will play a central role in developing and implementing a southwest border strategy -- one that improves information sharing, harnesses the power of new technologies, strengthens federal, state and local law enforcement efforts against violent criminals, and increases the interdiction of both drugs coming into the United States and weapons and cash flowing out of the United States into Mexico. It's a strategy that we need to bring in order to bring the situation under control, to protect our people, and to bring about the demise of the Mexican drug cartels." [This crap sounds like a speech I might have written for a Congressman in 1984, a quarter century ago!]

* "kids are bombarded with messages in the media that present inaccurate information and glamorize the use of drugs. It only -- that only makes the National Youth Drug-Anti Media [sic] campaign -- something that you, Chief, will now lead as part of your organization, and which I was -- believed needed to be created back in 1998 –- even more important." [This campaign has been found, repeatedly, in independent evaluation, to be worthless!]

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