Drug wars in Mexico are serious business, but, north of the border, the left hand seems to have forgotten what the right hand is doing. All the way to here in hazy San Francisco.
Hey government dudes! (male and female). Give the bong back to Michael Phelps and make up your mind.
Hillary Clinton hit Mexico City yesterday and, in the new Obama confessional of personal responsibility, conceded that our "insatiable demand for illegal drugs" is the fuel that gases up the violent trade that's become a corrosive acid on both sides of the migra fence. And that's admitting a lot, given the recent body bag action.
How often do you hear big governments and their armies described by the POTUS himself as "brave" for taking on drug cartels? Probably not since the bleached white heights of Colombian cocaine hyperactivity.
Only this is much closer to (our) home.
Mrs. Clinton, continuing an impressively but surprisingly low-profile promenade around the world's trouble spots, preferred to concentrate on weapons smuggling back and forth, even though it's a lot harder to get gun control through the US Congress than it is drug legislation. (A cranked shout out to Ohio, where the Columbus Dispatch reports that prosecutors are seeking to eliminate some mandatory sentencing for dope offenses, including possession of some related chemicals.)
So how to cauterize this transnational wound? Unclear from the secretary of state, other than promising to ship down there some more choppers and night vision goggles, which are probably pretty cool when you're loaded.
The demand side went completely unaddressed. Remember: Bill didn't inhale. Maybe she'll resurrect Nancy Reagan's popular and successful "Just Say No" campaign. A slightly easier form of abstinence to sell. Or, at a minimum, she might talk Forbes magazine out of putting Mexican drug emperor Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman on its world's richest people list just as a painful reminder. How would we feel if they put Bernie Madoff on theirs?
Then there was that inconvenient Congressional withholding of about $200 million in drug counter trafficking funds for Mexico.
"There have been lots of different voices from the Obama Administration," the NYTimes quotes Andrew Selee, director of the Mexico institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center, as understating. Kind of like all the voices on those old "Firesign Theater" records.
Back in the US, things are equally contradictory.
Not to confuse medicine with recreation, but the new Attorney General, Mr. Holder, just a week ago said the Administration wouldn't go after medicinal pot distributors (legal ones.) That caused a federal judge in LA to postpone sentencing of a medical marijuana dispensary. Then two days ago, federal drug agents raided Emmalyn's California Cannabis Clinic on Howard St., even though they had a license from the Public Health Department.
The Chronicle's ace reporter, Rachel Gordon, had a government source tell her the bust was about "alleged financial improprieties related to the payment of sales taxes."
But wait! The president himself, asked at his virtual town hall Thursday about legalizing pot as a way to help our current money crisis, said he didn't think that good citizens growing weed and giving the government a bud or two worth as a levy "is a good strategy to grow our economy."
So they're busting pot clubs for not paying taxes, don't want to tax pot otherwise and meanwhile five-foot-tall El Chapo ("Shorty") is the 701st richest man in the world. The Seattle Weekly says, "Maybe Shorty Can Help with Our Budget Deficit."
For more, read Bronstein at Large.