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As I’ve said many times, I’m a pragmatist. If there is hard evidence that something works, then I’m for it, ideology be damned. I like single-payer health insurance because it works in so many countries around the world, giving better health results for far less money spent.

Conversely, if something doesn’t work, like trickle down economics, then I’m against it. Cutting taxes might personally benefit me quite a bit, but would make my country worse off by hurting the economy and leading to more economic bubbles and crashes, and I love my country too much to want that.

Unfortunately, reality doesn’t seem to matter much any more, which is the only explanation for why Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants to bring back the D.A.R.E. program. The Drug Abuse Resistance Education program was the pet project of First Lady Nancy Reagan, and generally involved uniformed police officers speaking to students about the dangers of drugs and trying to scare them.

In 1998, a comprehensive report to Congress concluded that the program did not reduce drug abuse at all, because it did not focus on the root causes of drug use.

There is even less reason to believe that D.A.R.E. would work any better today. Twenty six states (a majority) and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana use in some form, and eight have legalized it entirely for recreational use. And the results have been generally positive. Fewer people are going to jail for smoking weed, and more tax revenue has been raised, which can be used for drug treatment programs.

Note that I’m not promoting drug use, I’m just pointing out that prohibition didn’t work to prevent alcohol abuse, and it won’t work to prevent drug abuse. There are even countries (like Portugal) that have decriminalized all drug use, and the results have been generally positive. For example, deaths from overdoses have dropped dramatically.

But Sessions not only wants to bring back the D.A.R.E. program, he also wants the federal government to overrule state laws legalizing marijuana. It doesn’t work, and will be a complete waste of money.

Laws should be based on evidence and facts, not ideology and misguided wishful thinking.

Also published on Medium.



  1. Wildwood wrote:

    Puritan-American should be a designation on forms for party affiliation and employment.

    I remember something, I think was called The Liverpool Experiment. Decades ago, I saw it on, I think, 60 Minutes. I have not been able to find anything on the show I watched, but I did find this transcript of a show.

    Treating drug addicts should be totally rethought. The show I saw said that many addicts, after being given their drugs in a safe environment, with safe drugs that have not been cut, managed to resume productive lives without fear of arrest, or being forced to steal, prostitute, or die. If I remember correctly, Thatcher put an end to it after the Reagan’s started Nancy’s “Just Say No” campaign.

    This program appeared to work well but was ended because of Puritanical zeal. Logic and facts, never a good argument against that.

    Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 9:34 am | Permalink
  2. notycoon wrote:

    A rarely cited statistic that I’ve created indicates that of those who are between the ages of 18 and 37 and have used drugs in one form or another for recreational purposes, 98% completed a DARE course during their cruise through our public education system. Now that’s saying something. 98% of younger drug users went through DARE. What a record of success. “>D

    Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 10:07 am | Permalink
  3. Wildwood wrote:

    Noty, now that you have created a statistic and posted it here, you can rest assured that it’s rarety is a thing of the past. đŸ˜‰

    Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  4. redjon wrote:

    Drugs, legal or not, are readily available everywhere in the United States and, as a general statement, everywhere in the world.

    Use of addictive substances results in addiction.

    Treatment is not always successful, but has a MUCH higher success rate than prohibition and is less costly to society.

    Education is not always successful but, likewise, has a MUCH higher success rate than prohibition or denial.

    Treatment does not make headlines, however, and neither does education.

    Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 12:29 pm | Permalink
  5. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Slightly different topic, but still in the vane of making smart decisions and saving money.

    Trump requested a provision to the NDAA to allow base closures as it currently does not allow for that. A republican submitted a bill to remove language that would clear the way for the DOD to assess and close under utilized bases, saving taxpayers an estimated 2 billion a year by 2027.
    The amendment was voted down. It seems they like their pork and want to eat it too.

    Term limits, term limits…..

    Thursday, July 13, 2017 at 5:23 pm | Permalink
  6. Iron Knee wrote:

    PSgt, do you have any evidence that term limits would help in any way, or are you just going on gut feeling (or worse, what you hear on some “news source” that is just trying to distract you)?

    Here is some evidence:

    Of course Donald Trump is in favor of term limits for Congress (but not himself). It would tip the balance of power in our government toward the executive (Trump). And it would give more power to lobbyists and special interests.

    Feel free to call this fake news. But I would like you to show any case in which term limits fixed any of the problems you keep complaining about.

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 12:30 am | Permalink
  7. PatriotSGT wrote:

    No i don’t IK. I am just frustrated by whiny, complaining, bickering do nothings serving 30-40 years. It’s not the way the system was intended to work IMO. As your article about California says, there are certainly pros and cons. I don’t know what the fix is, but the current system is broke. So IMO term limits won’t make it necessarily worse, and may or may not make it better. Do you have any suggestions on how to improve/solve the problem? I’m all ears.

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 2:42 am | Permalink
  8. Yudith wrote:

    Republicans, you keep biting the hand that feeds you. You bit on more than you could chew. What can you do? D.A.R.E., dare to be stupid.

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 4:59 am | Permalink
  9. Iron Knee wrote:

    PSgt, sure I do!

    What did help in California (and other places) are two things: “jungle primaries“, a single primary where the top two vote getters advance to the election (which is more of a runoff) regardless of party. That reduces partisanship, which is something you have said you want to do. The second thing is to get rid of gerrymandering, which is what keeps those incumbents in office beyond their expiration date. Take redistricting away from partisans. Both have been tried and worked.

    Beyond that (and harder to achieve) is to reduce the length of election campaigns, like they have achieved in Canada, the UK, and other places. Or anything else that reduces the need for massive amounts of cash to get elected.

    I’d be willing to consider term limits as well, as long as I can see any evidence that they will work. After all, as I said in this post, I am a pragmatist.

    Now we’re talking!

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 7:06 am | Permalink
  10. Jonah wrote:

    I think improving voter intelligence is also one way of getting things done. There’s no point in crying about nothing getting done if the wrong person is elected. For example the current president was elected as a change candidate. But there are signs of nepotism, incompetence and even criminal behaviour which are all attributes that are being complained about. It seems voters arent sure what they are angry about. If they truly wanted change then at least from the republican front a candidate like Kasich should have emerged. That trump was elected indicates that voters rely on lazy intelligence gathering and go by information they glean from message boards and reality tv.

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 8:30 am | Permalink
  11. Ralph wrote:

    IK – from your screen to the gods of politics eyes. Term limits would probably be a mute point if we didn’t have this extreme partisan gerrymandering and Citizens United further mucking up the swamp.

    Still, if term limits are good enough for the President it should be good enough for Congress too. Ten to 12 years should be plenty enough time for a public servant to make their mark. Much beyond that and you’re just feeding at the trough and I’m hard pressed to think of any lifers there who are presently doing the country many favors. Anyway, most of them are millionaire lawyers, lol. Personally, I’d like to see more scientists (esp on the Science and Technology Committee!) and educators in the mix.

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 8:49 am | Permalink
  12. Ralph wrote:

    I would just add, in support of term limits, that if our elected officials knew beforehand their tenure had an expiration date, they’d be more likely to spend time doing their jobs and less time humping for donations and running (i.e. posturing) for the next election.

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 12:48 pm | Permalink
  13. Joe Blow wrote:

    RE drug use – have a read about the “Rat Park” experiment if you get a chance.

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Permalink
  14. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I like your ideas IK. The gerrymandering is a problem blue and red. We have districts here in my blue state that look like somebody threw spaghetti on a map. And I like the “run off” style election. But seeing how each state runs their own style of election it would be hard.
    Limiting election time (maybe most so in the presidential cycle) would be great. It seems like it’s 2 years long and probably is.

    With term limits, there is that concern about experience, but perhaps we could start with 2 six year terms for Senate and 5-6 terms for congress.

    Jonah, your right and wrong IMO. Right about increasing the intel level. But on the Trump phenomenon they were just tired of politicians. That’s the simple but real truth.
    For them and me, he said what many were thinking but told they couldn’t utter the words, the rest of the primary reps were too afraid to speak out. Kasich in particular, I still don’t know what he stands for.

    But on the brute side the fickle American voters can completely change their minds in the next election if they don’t like what they have. And that IS what makes democracy great!

    Friday, July 14, 2017 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  15. Jonah wrote:

    Patriot, I think people voting for trump simply because they were tired of politicians is behavior that wasn’t well thought through. It’s 4 wasted years when someone who had actually gotten things done like Kasich could have been elected and worked with moderate and tea party and liberal reps to improve ocare, immigration and regulations. Just because someone is a politician doesnt mean he/she shouldnt be elected. You can actually see a track record of that politician and explore the ability to achieve actual results. Other than using his fathers millions and bankruptcy rules to become wealthy, trump didnt have any noticeable qualification. The only way his presidency would have worked is if he had been a dictator and then he would have done the little things to appease his voters while enriching his own coffers.

    Some Trump voters would have voted for him out of desperation. People like coal miners and thats sad. The reality is coal energy is dead. Trump misled them by saying he would revive it. Instead he or any other politician should have promised those miners that they would be reducated in another industry because thats the only way they would ontinue to get meaningful employment.

    Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 2:48 am | Permalink
  16. PatriotSGT wrote:

    I understand the way you think Jonah. You have to remember you are a liberal and the policies of Obama are what appeals to you. From the perspective of many conservatives, they don’t want open borders, they do want immigrants. Obama chose as his method of fixing immigration as not enforcing the laws on the books. Conservatives want to enforce those laws, and they also want the system for people coming here legally fixed.
    On Healthcare, they do not want 1 size fits all single payer. Medicare is fine. But they want to be able to buy what they need. If they are man, 50+ they don’t want to by OBGYN coverage. If the 26-30 yo just wants catastrophic coverage for minimum cost.
    They want people to be dependent on themselves not the government, but believe the gov should be their for short term help.

    It’s just a different philosophy. They don’t think the gov’t should be the answer to everything, but just some things. The list goes on, but they’re are many areas of common ground.

    Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 7:40 am | Permalink
  17. Wildwood wrote:

    Pat, Pubs, that I know, are rather picky about the immigrants they want to see coming here. They have to be the correct color, religion, and nationality. Obama may have cherry picked the immigration laws he used, but he deported massive amounts of people and chose to allow others to stay. I see nothing wrong with allowing those who have grown up here to stay here. I agree that there is a lot of fixing needed. I don’t want to pay for Viagra or prostate problems or erectile dysfunction treatments so I think your not wanting to pay for female items makes it a wash. I don’t want to pay for lifetime care for someone who was injured riding a motorcycle, care for someone texting while driving, or someone injured by that same person. But that is what insurance does and is. Coverage for all.

    Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 8:36 am | Permalink
  18. Ralph wrote:

    How do you spell compassionate conservatism.? Oh, I don’t know, let’s check in with Wall St.

    Vulture capitalism, it’s what’s for supper!

    Saturday, July 15, 2017 at 9:37 am | Permalink
  19. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Wildwood, I don’t want to pay for ED either. I don’t want to have to explain to my daughter starting at age 5 what in the heck The ED commercials were talking about.
    Anyway, I agree with some of what you said, but still believe the consumer should have some choices as to what type and how much insurance they buy. Like care insurance, there should be a minimum amount, and then you can add collision, up the coverage, lower or raise deductibles and trailer it to your personal needs and likes. Where I guess we have a disagreement on is what is included in the “minimum”.

    Sunday, July 16, 2017 at 6:19 am | Permalink
  20. Jonah wrote:

    Patriot, its not clear to me what being liberal or conservative has to do with electing a competent politician. BTW I’m no more a liberal than you were ever a democrat. Those labels are meaningless now. Probably the way to classify voters now is by those who voted for trump vs those who didnt.

    Monday, July 17, 2017 at 5:19 am | Permalink
  21. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Good try Jonah. I think it was obvious those who voted for trump did not want a politician.

    As to political parties, the democrats I grew up around are nothing compared to the misnamed democrats of today. The democrats of today should use their real name progressive liberals. Or maybe just split the party in 2. The moderate, depend on yourself, what can you do for your country democrats I grew up with, instead of the what can your country do for you bunch that stole the party away.

    And yes the republicans should split in 2 as well with the libertarian/tea party who stole the Republican Party and the moderate republicans.


    Monday, July 17, 2017 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
  22. Jonah wrote:

    Patriot, so voters preferred a con man to a politician with the difference being Trump was open about being a con man vs some politicians who pretend they arent? That’s smart. Its ironical that in the process these voters chose someone who cared very little for his country but chose to exploit it each and every way.

    Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 7:05 am | Permalink