Top Leaderboard, Site wide
Shop the Truthdig Gift Guide 2014
December 20, 2014
Truthdig: Drilling Beneath the Headlines
Sign up for Truthdig's Email NewsletterLike Truthdig on FacebookFollow Truthdig on TwitterSubscribe to Truthdig's RSS Feed

Get Truthdig's headlines in your inbox!


Loss of Rainforests Is Double Whammy Threat to Climate






Truthdig Bazaar
Diary of a Bad Year

Diary of a Bad Year

By J. M. Coetzee
$16.47

more items

 
Report

The Forgotten War on Drugs and Election ‘08

Email this item Email    Print this item Print    Share this item... Share

Posted on Jun 20, 2007
AP Photo / Leslie Mazoch

Venezuelan army helicopters fly over the Sierra de Perija national park, where poppy and marijuana plants are often discovered.

(Page 3)

Scheer: I want to ask about an economic point.  I don’t know if you want to talk about it, but the bailout of, say, the airlines, or things like that, where the government ends up having to support the private sector.  I mean, couldn’t that money better serve by not doing that and going somewhere and building subways, or is it important that the government help out the private?

Duster: I don’t think that it’s an either/or; I mean there’s so much money that’s available and we can see that from the Iraq war.  We’re talking about 120 billion here, 80 billion there, 60 billion there.  That kind of resources, that kind of money, could be used for both.  I’m happy to bail out some corporations that are flying airplanes because we all fly, we want to have them support it.  Look around the world; many airlines do have public support.  I think we should applaud that.  Alright, the French and the Dutch and other nations help their airlines.  Even the auto industries in some countries are supported by the government.  I’m not opposed to government support for the private sector; I just think that we have come to the point where we don’t think that the public sector could be the solution to these massive public problems that we’re having.

Scheer: The war on drugs obviously became a popular war.  There were other things like going in and saying movies are terrible or any of that kind of thing.  What is going to make these people change their mind, what’s going to make politicians, or are they ever going to change their mind, or are they always going to follow that market flow?

Duster: I think that being opposed to crime in favor of truth and beauty and justice is always going to sell, until it doesn’t.  And that’s what I meant by the crisis.  I think politicians are going to use the drug war ad infinitum; they’re going to use it over and over again.  They’re going to become tough on crime.  I mean, imagine someone coming out saying, well, the big issues that confront us in Oakland today have to do with what’s behind the crime rate as opposed to simply saying we’re going out on the streets to get these kids to stop killing each other.

Harris: I look at the shift of public to private school—privatization in a very different sense.  My kid can’t get a quality education in a public school; I can afford it, I send him to private school.  Problem solved.  Meanwhile, the public sector is dying, it’s overcrowded, it’s overflowed.  The public sector has no resources, no funding to rebuild this, meanwhile the private school, the private resources, are flourishing.  Is it, on some level, our failure as a public to address public problems together that will end all of this?  What do you think about that?

Duster: Well, you put your finger on the problem.  It’s a massive failure of public imagination. People with resources can literally buy services they can privatize.  And you’re quite right that education is the key example here.  Whether it’s a college education, where if you have enough money you can send your kid off to one of these fancy private schools, and you can say why should I be supporting public education, but it happens at the public school level all over the country.  In the last 30 to 40 years, once again this goes back to my opening remarks about Sidney Willhelm.  Back in the 1960s, it’s only about 45 years, but in that period, most American cities were mainly white.  And, if you’ve seen the graphics in the last 30 years, it’s stunning what’s happened in most American cities.  That is, how much people of color have come to dominate the demographics.  Well, in that same period, public support out of Washington for cities has declined.  There’s some figures that I saw, something about 25 percent of the budget of our major cities was coming from federal support back in the ‘60s.  It’s down to about 2 and 3 percent.  And that’s directly a function, I’m not going to say it’s caused by, but let’s say it’s related to the shifting demography of the cities.  So as you see the increasing colorization of Los Angeles, you see the decreasing support from the public sector.  Washington does not support Los Angeles as it did in 1960.  I think 24 percent was Washington-based in the ‘60s, and now it’s down to an infinitesimal amount, so yeah, I think this is all about the ways in which [Americans] robbed the public sector because people who are able to afford to send their kids to private school in Los Angeles do so.  L.A. Unified School District, last time I looked, was something like 92 percent minority.  What’s wrong with that frame?  What’s wrong with that notion, minority?


Harris: When did public stop being cool, when did it stop being cool and OK to care about your public library, your public school, your public partnerships with friends?

Scheer: I think it also has to do with the public school. ... There are public schools that do thrive.  But a lot of it comes from the support of the neighborhood.  If there is a rich neighborhood, they can put more money in the public school.  You see that in Orange County [Calif.], you see that where money is flowing.  That they will, a lot of the funds for the public schools are coming from private citizens who want the public schools to thrive, and when you don’t have any money in the community those public schools are going to fall apart because there is no one watching the store. 

Duster: You know I like to keep the big picture, you guys are on to something big here.  You take a look at what [Bill] Moyers has been saying.  He has done some great stuff talking about what is happening in this country.  Maybe what happened in FDR in the 1930s was the little blip on the screen, and if you look at the big picture from 1870 to 1930, it was really all about corporate society and how big money controlled things.  And then we had a Great Depression, and great shock, and a war, and the combination provided the public sector with the capacity to move in and do something.  Now, what Moyers is saying, and he has a lot of evidence to support it, that in the last 20 years is what you’ve got is people back in positions of authority and power in Washington who are saying “let’s roll back the New Deal; let’s roll back what happened with the 1930s, let’s cut back taxes.”  And the assault upon the public sector is not simply a blip on the screen.  It’s a huge issue.  It’s programmatic assault which has been orchestrated in the last 30 years.  So what we’re hearing over and over again, from the Milton Friedmans of the world, is that the issue is only about markets, and anything that is public is the problem.  But that’s such a mindless formulation, but that’s the Nobel Prize of economics.
 
Scheer: I want to get back to the public schools a little bit.  I’ve gone to both public and private and I think sometimes you see the teachers in the public schools—they need a little imagination too.  I think that the whole system being reading, writing, arithmetic, the teachers need something to have imagination.  There has to be an overall shift, do you think, where you’re teaching other things besides a standardized kind of way about it?

Duster: No doubt.  Here’s the situation at least from one perspective on the schools.  When you pay people a very minimal salary, and you keep them in those jobs for a long time, guess what happens?  Now, despite that we have dedication on the part of many schoolteachers, but in terms of the whole system, what you’re going to see is people shifting away from that into other areas of the economy.  And so, some of the best people are still in the schools but they aren’t challenged by this whole issue around how much money they can make.  I’ve seen my students at Berkeley, and later at NYU, who start off idealistic about education.  And they take a look around theme at what’s happening, and they wind up going to law school.

Advertisement

Square, Site wide

New and Improved Comments

If you have trouble leaving a comment, review this help page. Still having problems? Let us know. If you find yourself moderated, take a moment to review our comment policy.

By Scott, August 13, 2007 at 4:13 pm Link to this comment

If the government has no intention of stopping the drug war the least they could do is be consistent and add tobacco and booze to the list.

Personally I think the laws unequal treatment of people who engage in the same activity (in this case the recreational alteration of one’s mental state) is an even greater threat to society than the war itself.

It reinforces the state’s entitlement to maintain double standards, like those that relate to it’s right to secrecy and our’s to privacy.

Report this

By Douglas Chalmers, August 13, 2007 at 5:21 am Link to this comment

#93926 by Paolo on 8/11 at 5:38 am: “...Louise said, “The war on drugs WILL NEVER BE WON! That’s not the plan.” ........Absolutely true. The “plan” of the war on drugs is to go on fighting it, literally forever, supplying an endless stream of jobs to people who enjoy battering down doors at 3 in the morning and yanking terrified citizens out of bed….”

You can practice in MacArthur Park, LA. Just be sure to wear a black shirt and a helmet!

Report this

By Skruff, August 11, 2007 at 8:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

93926 by Paolo on 8/11 at 5:38 am

“Cheech and Chong made several movies that showed open contempt for drug warrior police, who were often portrayed as fat, lazy, immoral slobs”

Picked up two student hichhikers from East Germany in Maine about 25 years ago.  At the time, East Germany had a police force, known for their contempt of German citizens, and also for their brutality.

We were driving along about 70 (national speed limit still 55), and almost too late I saw an unmarked police car on the side of the road, I hit the brakes at the same time the radar detector went off.

The cop evidently was unable to get a acurate reading, so I avoided a speeding ticket, BUT he made us get out of the car, frisked us, went through the car looking under the seats and in the glove-compartment he claimed he was looking for “safety violations”

He finally let us proceed, obviously upset that these “long-haired-hippies” didn’t have any illegal substances in the car.  After we were well away from the cops, one of my East German hichikers said, “It appears you have no more freedom in America than we do in Germany” to which the other remarked; “nah… Police are the same everywhere.”

I’ll always remember that, and have never found it to be incorrect.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, August 11, 2007 at 6:38 am Link to this comment

Louise said,

“The war on drugs WILL NEVER BE WON! That’s not the plan.”

Absolutely true. The “plan” of the war on drugs is to go on fighting it, literally forever, supplying an endless stream of jobs to people who enjoy battering down doors at 3 in the morning and yanking terrified citizens out of bed.

Oh yes—and these drug war heroes can also plant drugs on anyone they don’t like, to get a quick retribution. [This is why ANY law that outlaws “possession” of something is almost certainly tyrannical.]

Oh yes—they can also expand their war to include products that are not themselves drugs: the so called “war on paraphernalia.” See the case of Tommy Chong, who was convicted of the “crime” of selling pipes that “could be used for smoking illegal drugs.” Of course, they could also be used for smoking the legal drug/plant extract known as tobacco.

Why did the drug war Gestapo target Tommy Chong? Because Cheech and Chong made several movies that showed open contempt for drug warrior police, who were often portrayed as fat, lazy, immoral slobs (boy, that’s a stretch, isn’t it?)

The REAL purpose of the “war on drugs” is to provide an excuse for snooping on private citizens, terrorizing them, and taking their property [see “civil asset forfeiture” for more information.]

I submit that your CANNOT oppose government tyranny without also opposing the horrific “war on drugs.”

Report this

By Louise, August 9, 2007 at 4:56 pm Link to this comment

#91159 by Skruff on 7/31 at 1:47 pm

I guess you might call this better late than never.

Private prisons do not get more scrutiny. To the contrary when a private prison, AKA major corporation needs more of anything they simply lobby the rep/senator(s) of choice, [State and/or Federal and surprise, usually republican] that will cooperate, for a variety of reasons ... usually coming back to money.  And now that the country has been geared up to accept the idea that illegal emigrants need to be imprisoned, the private prisons stand to increase their bottom line significantly.

Prison is not a great place to be, I’m sure. but since society needs someplace to put law-breakers, a necessary evil. But increasing the prison population deliberately by creating drug laws that guarantee incarceration without treatment serves only one purpose ... to build the need for more cells, hence more private prisons. But don’t take my word for it ... go google. Amazing what you can find out about the connections between legislative committees, congressers, private prisons, their corporate boards and the heads of various legislative committees and corporate boards, who coincidentally sometimes have the same names.

http://www.alternet.org/story/17392/

http://www.democracynow.org/article.plsid=07/02/23/1532252&mode=thread&tid=25

http://mediafilter.org/caq/Prison.html

By the way, private prisons typically do not allow unions.

One other by the way. The war on drugs WILL NEVER BE WON! That’s not the plan. If it were, becoming a DEA agent with the intention of making it a lifelong career would make no sense at all. Takes a lot of money to run that agency, train all those career people and keep them busy. Solve the drug problem and you put a lot of “high value” government employees out of work. They’ll do away with Social Security and put a few million old folks out in the street before they’ll do that!

Report this

By topmi, August 9, 2007 at 3:19 pm Link to this comment

The War on Drugs and all the other ‘wars’ are political ‘dog and pony’ shows for the gullible consumer. The heroic law enforcement efforts are overwhelmed by a decades old epidemic inside the world’s biggest consumer of legal and illegal drugs. Factor in the huge profit returns and no workable plan beyond law enforcement, the war keeps rolling along, until the next election.

Report this

By Alida, August 8, 2007 at 9:58 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, I got on my soapbox and didn’t address your comment.  I think state and federal govt’s should regulate drugs.  Such as drinking or smoking pot and driving.  I agree your body is your own.  I don’t smoke, but if you’re an adult and you have all the facts and you want to light up…go ahead.  I think abortion is rather sad, but I’m not about what to tell anyone, including close friends what they should do about an unwanted pregnancy.

You can’t regulate morality and what is immoral today changes tomorrow.  I resent the govt. creeping into such personal aspect of life when they can’t even manage the simple things…like reinforcing levies or bridges!

Report this

By Alida, August 8, 2007 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

Sorry I’m not a jackbotted drug warrior thug or worse I cou’d've been Ardee!!!  You are right, I think I’m pretty reasonable.  Not to far right, not too far left, although more left now that I have a family.  It’s amazing to me that more people aren’t outraged in general!  Good Lord, I’m even homeschooling my kids because I don’t trust the government to do it.  I’m not a conspriracy theorist or a tree hugger (although I try to do my part)I’m just a normal middle of the road american who looks around and it’s all so scary.  I’m not talking about the terrorist!

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, August 8, 2007 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Hi Alida,

Darn! I thought you might be a jackbooted drug warrior thug, but it ends up you’re just a reasonable person.

Mike Gravel is better than most of our pathetic presidential candidates, almost all of whom want to continue both the war on (selected) drugs, and the phony “war on (some forms of) terror” (not including massive aerial bombing, which our side uses, and therefore cannot cause terror). Oh yes, and using nukes is not “off the table.”

As Gravel said, “you guys scare me.”

If the Demopublican party will not let them run on their ticket, I think Mike Gravel and Ron Paul might make a great third party ticket.

The fundamental question in the “war on drugs” is: who owns your own body? Is it you—or is it the state?

Gravel and Paul are the only ones who seem to understand that YOU own your own life and your own body.

Report this

By Alida, August 8, 2007 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

I going to post a comment, Ardee if your happen to be reading just ignore me and move on.  No need to insult me.

Sorry, had an issue with Ardee before!

Reading some of the comments on the prison system, it sounds like your talking about education too.  The federally system is just awful, especially after no child left behind, but I don’t know, does it improve when taken over by the private sector or does it just become elitist?

As far as progressives, has anyone taken a look at Mike Gravel?  He’d like to see both the war on terror and on drugs come to an end.  He like to legalize marijuana and decriminalize or drugs so that users can get help instead of being thrown in jail where they learn to become better criminals.
I like that idea.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, August 6, 2007 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

Well, shoot! Almost twelve hours later, and no jack-booted drug warriors have appeared to try and defend the immoral, unconstitutional “war on [selected] drugs.”

Will someone step forward, at least to make it interesting? Are you drug warriors total cowards?

Or, are you not smart enough to read Truthdig? Hmmmm.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, August 5, 2007 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

Dang! Every poster on this subject agrees with me! I almost wish we could have some jackbooted, drug-warrior fascist enter the fray here, just to make it interesting.

Any of you drug warrior thugs out there, feel free to try defending the immoral, unconstitutional “war on [some] drugs.”

Report this

By JEP, August 2, 2007 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Pot is not illegal because it is a drug, that is the ultimate, historic “smokescreen” created to protect corporate monopolists from competition.  It would take a whole new form of “trustbusting” to uncover the broad conspiracy to keeo this plant off the open commodity markets.

Pot is illegal because it is competes against cotton as a fiber, against the oil industry as a biodiesel source, and against the paper industry as a viable, immediate alternative to trees. Not to mention the construction industry, food additives, animal feed and a hundred other versatile uses that have been scuttle3d by the monopolists to protect their markets. And, to top it all off, pot smokers just don’t take pharmacueticals like non-smokers, it is a proven fact.

All the impending, doomsday “drug” implications are just a front for DuPont chemical and many other commodity interests, whose monopolies are threatened by this versatile and much maligned, extremely versatile botanical blessing from God.

The recently released propaganda about marijuana contributing to phobia in people, is just the first salvo we will see coming from front groups for the monopolists.And why, now, such a concerted effort to again vilify a simple plant?
Because “they” know there are more and more states looking at both industrial hemp and medical marijuana appearing on upcoming ballot initiatives.

So they will start drumming up the “drug” talk, over and over again, constantly advocating against marijuana use, while meth, alcohol and oxycontin addictions go unmentioned.

Unfortunatley, when it is posed as such a big social issue, the common citizen can’t see past the smokescreen to witness the conspiracy going on behind that cloud.

Report this

By Skruff, July 31, 2007 at 2:47 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

91117 by Louise on 7/31 at 11:15 am

The State prison system is not cheap, but costs less than the private system. But even if it didn’t, “privatizing” prisons is not a good thing, for three reasons.

1) Private prisons are paid for with the same tax dollars state prisons are paid for. So this is another example of a private corporation using our tax dollars for personal gain.

2) Private prisons like all corporations are profit motivated. Therefore they must generate ever more income. How do you generate more income from an incarcerated given? You continually increase the size of the prison population. A very effective way to do that is to ratchet up the drug problem, lower the sentencing standards and request more “State” money.

[Of course the prison operators can’t do that by themselves, but their political buddies can]

3) Private prisons remove well paying jobs from the public sector. Manufacturers contract with the prisons to provide labor. The inmates are given work, at a very low pay scale. The prisons can negotiate a wage that will put profit in their corporation, pay the prisoners and still offer a lower cost contract to the manufacturers than the public sector.

I have to disagree with you. The State run prison systems I have worked under have the same difficulties you site for private prisojns.

The Guards Unions are constantly lobbying local officials to increase penalties, addd crimes, and extend sentences when demographics show we should be experiencing a lull in crime.

Private prisons are more likely to get public scrutany, as no politician sees examination of privaate business as a threat to him.

You believe State run prisons are not exploiting the labor of prisoners at the expense of the private sector?

Here in Maine we have prisoners building highways, mowing lawns, picking crops, painting State owned buildings, and we even have a call center for a large department store operating out of our minimum security facility in Charleston.

No, I’m not convinced.

BUT I’m listening.

Report this

By Louise, July 31, 2007 at 12:15 pm Link to this comment

#90573 by Skruff on 7/29 at 5:13 am

“So we have a “private” prison industry.”

It was lousy when “The State” ran it, and it hasn’t improved under privatization, so I would go with “cheap”

***

The State prison system is not cheap, but costs less than the private system. But even if it didn’t, “privatizing” prisons is not a good thing, for three reasons.

1) Private prisons are paid for with the same tax dollars state prisons are paid for. So this is another example of a private corporation using our tax dollars for personal gain.

2) Private prisons like all corporations are profit motivated. Therefore they must generate ever more income. How do you generate more income from an incarcerated given? You continually increase the size of the prison population. A very effective way to do that is to ratchet up the drug problem, lower the sentencing standards and request more “State” money.

[Of course the prison operators can’t do that by themselves, but their political buddies can]

3) Private prisons remove well paying jobs from the public sector. Manufacturers contract with the prisons to provide labor. The inmates are given work, at a very low pay scale. The prisons can negotiate a wage that will put profit in their corporation, pay the prisoners and still offer a lower cost contract to the manufacturers than the public sector.

Ergo: Private prisons need a severe and growing drug problem. Private prisons remove jobs from the community.

[Do you suppose some of these prisons may be located in “depressed” areas with high unemployment? Do you suppose those folks might rather have the work the prisoners are doing, instead of the work of watching the prisoners?]

It’s always been a good idea to offer prisoners the opportunity to learn a skill and make a little money. However under State operation, it was never for a profit to a private corporation. And one has to wonder how much more quickly those who are in prison for a drug offense might be released into a rehabilitation and treatment program and/or back into society, if they weren’t seen as a weighted inmate unit by the private prison system. [figured in dollars based on income per inmate minus dollars in cost per inmate equals dollars in profit per inmate]

Report this

By Skruff, July 30, 2007 at 5:27 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

90719 by Paolo on 7/29 at 4:03 pm

“In short, the “war on drugs” is immoral, insane, and criminal.”

I believe we share the same thoughts on this subject, with the exception that I have seen many hitherto unreported side effects of continued drug use.  My cousin died with Parkenson’s which his doctor said was a result of continued use of cocaine, reasonable because there is no history of parkensons in our family.

Having said that, I fully agree that in a “free” country one should be able to use drugs if they wish.  One benefit from “legalization” might be that packages would come with warning labels, human based studies on effects would not be outlawed, and we could have an intelligent conversation about cost/benefit.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, July 29, 2007 at 5:03 pm Link to this comment

Response to Skruff, who said,

“The poor may use drugs to stem depression, take a vacation, or just to blot out their lives, BUT then how does one account for the rich boys and girls at Greeley?”

Yup. I don’t even agree that we have a “drug problem.” What we have is a “drug prohibition problem.” Most of the rich kids and investment bankers and stock brokers who shoveled cocaine up their noses did so without any significant harm. Fact is, most of these people indulge in these drugs occasionally, but are not “addicted” to them in any clinical sense of the term.

Of course, the inordinately high price of cocaine—a simple plant extract that can be manufactured for pennies per dose—makes it a “high style” drug, very trendy among the up-and-coming. Thank drug prohibition for the high price and the allure of the forbidden.

If all drugs were legal, the cost would plummet, and organized crime would lose interest in the trade overnight.

If all drugs were legal, the occasional person who really did have a problem with drug over-use would feel no qualms about seeking professional help to rid themselves of their habit.

By the way, I don’t personally use any illegal drugs, not because I respect prohibition in any way, but because they just don’t interest me. Polls, however, repeatedly show that a majority of Americans have tried Indian Hemp (given the racist name “marijuana” in the 1930’s to emphasize the danger of white women being seduced by dark-skinned Spanish-speakers under the evil influence of this roadside weed), including most police officers, and most politicians. 

Thus, police officers routinely arrest and assist in prosecuting people for the exact same behavior they have indulged in.

And politicians make political hay by demonizing the alleged evils of drugs that they themselves have indulged in.

In short, the “war on drugs” is immoral, insane, and criminal.

Report this

By Skruff, July 29, 2007 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Grob,

“Drug use is the result, at least in part, of growing mental depression, boredom, and feelings of hopelessness in the face of declining prosperity for the majority of Americans and especially for poor minorities.”

Maybe true once, but I don’t think the sad story of the poor doing drugs plays well.  The premier druggie high school in New York State is Horace Greeley in Chappaqua, about two miles from Hill&Bill;’s digs.  These boys and girls have everything, they will be going on to Harvard, Princeton, or Yale, drug conviction or no… Poor children needing student loans are prohibited from applying if they have so much as a pot charge on their record…. Funny though, although drugs have been a big factor at Greeley for a number of years, there are no news stories, no one marching in the streets for change, and damn few cases that even reached court stage and, of course, far fewer convictions.

The poor may use drugs to stem depression, take a vacation, or just to blot out their lives, BUT then how does one account for the rich boys and girls at Greeley?  When my father was still on Wall Street the traders down there were pushing coke up their noses with snow shovels, and the wealthy A-table set in Hollywood seems (from reports) to like drugs OK.

Oh, and lets not forget Hamilton Jordan, Mike Deaver Charles S Robb, and perhaps even our illustrious president who has been rumored by the Kennebunkport Waitress and busboy set to have a friendly neighborhood connection for his after hours entertainment.  Even Heroin the ultimate street drug (when I was a kid) has made it into some fairly fancy neighborhoods.

I just don’t but the “I’m poor and unhappy” excuse anymore (if I ever did)

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, July 29, 2007 at 10:30 am Link to this comment

Hi Grob,

“Drug use is the result, at least in part, of growing mental depression, boredom, and feelings of hopelessness in the face of declining prosperity for the majority of Americans and especially for poor minorities.”

Perhaps this is true to some degree, as you stated.

The fact of government making these substances illegal makes marketing them very profitable! If you asked any drug dealer, point blank, whether they would want the “war on drugs” to end, they will quickly say, “hell, no!” I guarantee it! Trust me—they know that making their products illegal allows them to jack up the price, hundreds of times higher than it would be if the products were completely legal.

Seeing little opportunity in taking a low-income job, many minorities see big bucks in selling drugs. Sure, there’s risk, but the profit margins make the lure irresistible.

Many undoubtedly see the choice as: work a crummy job for a few hundred bucks a week, or sell drugs and make thousands in the same amount of time.

Legalize all drugs, and the whole rotten structure implodes instantaneously.

Report this

By Skruff, July 29, 2007 at 6:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

89582 by Louise on 7/25 at 7:10 pm

“A few NASTY facts!

Our caring politicos obedient to the “haves” have been busy for decades selling us on the notion that privatizing everything is a really good idea.

In fact, they have been so unrelenting in their determination to sell us that lie, they have pretty well succeeded in convincing us.

So we have a “private” prison industry.”

Well, I’m not qualified to speak on privatization in general, however as far as the prison indrustry;

It was lousy when “The State” ran it, and it hasn’t improved under privatization, so I would go with “cheap”

Report this

By grob, July 28, 2007 at 6:02 pm Link to this comment

The corporate sponsored ruling elite of both parties, should take responsibility for our problems, but the elite blame each other.  One side says that we need more tough love and the other says we need more compassion.  If you want an explanation for why the country is the way its is, look toward those who have prospered the most in the last 30 years. 

The most significant change is our society is the incredible concentration in income and wealth that has occurred in this short period of time.  The ruling elite should take the blame and credit.  Credit is owed if you are rich and blame if you are not.  The Bushs, Clinton, and Reagan have all contributed:  They are all free traders.  Liberal trade policies, NAFTA, GATT, and the 86 Immigration Bill.    Maximum exploitation of cheap labor from outside of the U.S.  It’s not that Americans can’t produce everything, they consume.  It’s that American workers want too much in terms of wages and benefits.  Tear down the trade bearers that were erected to protect American workers from having to compete with the poorest of the world’s poor.  Free up American manufacturers to move their factories to poor countries and assure these corporations free access to American consumers for as long as their wealth holds out.  For service jobs that can be, outsource them to India.  For domestic jobs import the labor:  legal or illegal, it doesn’t matter.

None of this was mentioned by Troy Duster.  Drug use is the result, at least in part, of growing mental depression, boredom, and feelings of hopelessness in the face of declining prosperity for the majority of Americans and especially for poor minorities. 

In 1954, Duster points out both white and black youth unemployment was a relatively low   12 %.  Thirty years later in 1984 black unemployment shot up 42 %.  In 1954, Americans produced virtually all of their own goods, in addition to much for export.  By 84 Reagan had opened up the American automobile market to cars produced with foreign labor.  American auto factories were starting to layoff workers.

Despite high unemployment in minority communities,  American employers started hiring illegal aliens in huge numbers.  In 1986, members of both parties passed an Immigration bill that granted millions of illegal aliens amnesty, and lead to an influx of between 12 and 20 million more illegal aliens within the next 21 years.

Duster asks “ there are over 35 million black people and unemployment rates are extraordinarily high, now the question changes.  What is the country as a whole going to do to increase the employment rate of this part of the population?”

One of the answers that he did not give was to enforce immigration laws to help stop the flow of cheap illegal labor into our country.  American corporations are addicted to cheap illegal labor which has been depressing wages for the most under privileged Americans. 

If illegal immigration were stopped and trade policies were changed for the benefit of poor American minority workers much of the motive these minorities have to escape bleak employment prospects would be alleviated.

Report this

By Louise, July 25, 2007 at 8:10 pm Link to this comment

A few NASTY facts!

Our caring politicos obedient to the “haves” have been busy for decades selling us on the notion that privatizing everything is a really good idea.

In fact, they have been so unrelenting in their determination to sell us that lie, they have pretty well succeeded in convincing us.

So we have a “private” prison industry. And like the “private” army, and the “private” military suppliers, and the “private” health-care industry, they need fodder to fuel their machines.

War feeds the private army and private army suppliers.
Bad health care feeds the private health care industry. And the “drug problem” feeds the “private” prisons.

The sink-hole we “have-nots” are falling into wasn’t created to simply feed the “privateers” but rather to feed an insatiable lust. A lust that is so all pervasive, so all consuming that it cant really even be called simple greed.
The “privatizing” the “haves” profit from today was not the sole reason for “it’s” creation. It’s like the age-old question, which came first, the chicken or the egg? Only in this case, the question is, which came first, the pigs who have to have it all, or the tools they use to get it all?

Of course we are not all have-nots. But rest assured. If the insidious creeps that control our economy, our churches and our politics continue on unchecked ... we soon will be.

Well, unless you happen to be one of the privileged few who were born into that amoral society, or married into it, or sold you sole to the highest bidder so you could be a part of it.

Politicians, corporations, preachers and the family names so many of us recognize.

Nothing new here. This kind of lust has been with us since the first cave-man clubbed the first cave-man that had something he wanted. Watch these folks and think about all the bad things that have happened to the working class since someone first started keeping records. Never mind God, it becomes hard not to believe in the devil and reincarnation.

By the way, some interesting reading:
http://gnn.tv/articles/705/King_George_s_Dilemma

And http://www.alternet.org/rights/57689/ You Have No Rights

WE ARE THREE MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AWAY FROM IMPEACHMENT HEARINGS
http://www.usalone.com/cheney_impeachment.php

IMPEACH BOTH: http://www.usalone.com/impeach_both.php

You know we the people really are the biggest and most powerful lobby! But we better hurry, because “they” are building more prisons, planning more wars and discovering new ways daily, to steal everything we have.

And The most disgusting thing of all? They don’t even pretend to care anymore!

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, July 23, 2007 at 7:28 pm Link to this comment

Response to Steve Hammons, who said:

“In addition, some researchers such as Andrew Weil, MD, in his book THE NATURAL MIND, theorize that humans have a natural curiosity about “altered consciousness” whether it is through spiritual quests, danger (adrenalin), sports and physical activities, sexual activities, meditation or other behaviors.”

Well said, Steve. Almost all human cultures have a favorite mind-altering substance. In Europe before the Renaissance, practitioners of Wicca made potions from local plants like henbane, which, when taken in a carefully-measured dosage, would induce sensations of flying (probably this is responsible for the idea of witches “flying on broomsticks”).

In America before the European invasion, Native Americans used tobacco (which many considered their most powerful drug), coca leaf tea, and peyote.

In many of these cultures, the local mind-altering substances were used in a male “rite of passage”, in which the elders of the tribe would assist an adolescent male in taking the local psychotropic substance, while also educating him on tribal customs, how to treat women respectfully, how to behave with dignity, and so forth.

One of the unfortunate aspects of American culture is that, with the federal government deciding which drugs are “good” and which are “bad,” there is no “rite of passage” any more, in which older men of the tribe guide younger men into adulthood, using traditional substances that induce an altered state of consciousness. Used in this context, such substances are almost never harmful.

Instead, we have “male bonding” with alcohol, which is probably the worst mind-altering substance around, unlikely to induce profound perspectives on the nature of a man’s role in society. Usually, it just induces horrific traffic accidents and spewing.

So effective has the “war on drugs” propaganda been, that the idea of “allowing” people to use naturally-occurring substances for such rituals is looked upon as “kooky.” But is it? Would adolescent males make the transition to adulthood with less crime and less antisocial behavior, if they could experience such traditional rituals?

Food for thought….

Report this
Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, July 23, 2007 at 6:31 pm Link to this comment

War is all about money and power for the war makers, whether it’s the war on drugs or the war in Iraq. As long as there’s a fucking war, they’re happy.

Report this

By nf, July 23, 2007 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

Well said, Paolo.

Report this

By Hammo, July 23, 2007 at 9:16 am Link to this comment

A more intelligent way to deal with the issues of drugs in society might be to examine more accurately what the various drugs do to human consciousness.

For example, we know that meth is an antidepressent of sorts and triggers huge releases of pleasure-related chemicals in the brain. However, rapid onset of delusions, paranoia, violence and psychosis are very problematic. Meth also becomes acutely addictive.

Narcotics, whether natural (opium, heroin) or synthetic (Oxycontin, etc.) kill pain effectively but numb the person in many ways and are also very addictive.

Cannabis, on the other hand, is considered less habit-forming than tobacco, coffee or alcohol. Some people claim that it has therapeutic properties as a medicine for various physical ailments and can potentially have some positive effects on psychology and consciousness, when used therapeutically.

In addition, some researchers such as Andrew Weil, MD, in his book THE NATURAL MIND, theorize that humans have a natural curiosity about “altered consciousness” whether it is through spiritual quests, danger (adrenalin), sports and physical activities, sexual activities, meditation or other behaviors.

Getting to the root of the situation by looking at human consiousness might help. Food for thought in the article ...

“Emerging discoveries in human consciousness”

PopulistAmerica.com (Populist Party of America)
May 29, 2007

http://www.populistamerica.com/emerging_discoveries_in_human_consciousness

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, July 20, 2007 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

To Cactus Jack:

Well, you absolutely nailed it. The DEA is a typical Washington “fiefdom.” Back in the thirties, when the Volstead (prohibition) act was repealed, all those thousands of federal alcohol police had to be put to work. Thus was the “war on drugs” born.

Initially, the “war” focused mainly on Indian Hemp (ludicrously demonized in the government-approved propaganda film, “Reefer Madness”), and heroin.

Indian Hemp is quite possibly the best nausea-suppressant known to man, especially when smoked (because the active ingredient, THC, is immediately transferred to the bloodstream through inhalation). Heroin is possibly the most effective pain-killer known to man. If the issue were researched, I would bet a hundred bucks that illegal heroin is far more effective for pain relief than “legal” drugs like Oxycontin (“hillbilly heroin”), with FAR FEWER undesirable side effects (ask Rush Limbaugh, who lost his hearing as a side effect of his addiction to Hillbilly Heroin).

BUT, here’s the kicker that proves your point: neither Indian Hemp nor heroin can be patented. Thus, there isn’t any money to be made by “Big Pharma” selling Indian Hemp or heroin. Hence, they are both illegal.

You don’t think they were made illegal just because the federal government cares so much about us poor, ignorant commoners, do you?

As always, to find out what motivates a certain policy, “follow the money.”

Report this

By CactusJack41, July 19, 2007 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To Reality Checker.  You should have expanded on your thinking there.  Not just the merchants, not just the drug companies, but:

The DEA… They would all lose their jobs.

The off-shore drug cartels…There would no longer be profits for them.

You are so right that the war on drugs is only to keep the supply low and consequently the price as high as gold.  You would think that a country like the US that is based on the laws of supply and demand would understand that.  But as long as we champion the religous right, we will never understand that.

Report this

By Reality Checker, July 19, 2007 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

The war on drugs is about keeping the price of these ‘drugs’ higher than the price of gold.

People just want to feel good and they will pay big bucks to get there.

The merchants that control the world like it that way.

The drug companies like it that way too.

Peace will spread throughout the world when they legalize the cultivation of marijuana poppies and coca, not a minute sooner.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, July 18, 2007 at 9:40 pm Link to this comment

Tony Wicher said,

“Face it folks, weed is just plain good for you.”

This is true enough. Even if you “abuse” (a highly subjective term) weed, you just get “pot-headed”—hardly a dangerous state.

Weed does have medicinal value. A former Libertarian Party candidate for governor of California has lived for over a decade with cancer of the pancreas—a supposedly impossible feat—by using specially-grown pot.

Peter McWilliams wrote a book, “Ain’t no one’s business if you do,” calling for complete legalization. He was able to control his cancer and the nausea he got from chemotherapy by using pot. That is, until Federal Gestapo got ahold of him, ruined him financially, and forbade him from using pot medicinally.

He died in his bathtub, choking to death on his own vomit, unable to use pot for nausea-suppression.

In essence, the federal drug Nazis murdered this poor fellow. Do a google search and explore the story, if you can control your outrage.

I agree that, if alcoholics switched to Indian Hemp (not the racist term “marijuana” dreamed up by the federal drug police), we’d be better off by far. No destroyed livers, no drunk driving (pot smokers tend to drive with excessive caution—ask any policeman).

If Indian Hemp were legal, people would grow it in their own backyards, essentially for free. There would be no reason for the criminal class to sell it.

This is so commonsensical, I am amazed Americans don’t call for complete legalization at a ratio of a hundred to one.

Report this
Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, July 17, 2007 at 12:00 am Link to this comment

Face it folks, weed is just plain good for you. If there’s anything wrong with you, weed makes it better, and if there isn’t, it keeps you healthy. It’s virtually unabusable. Not only is it not a “gateway” drug, but on the contrary it is the best cure there is for drug abuse. I was headed for being an alcoholic until I discovered weed in college. Alcohol is an incredibly dangerous drug. Weed is an incredibly benign substance. God or Mother Nature or somebody put it on this earth to make us happy. Its illegality is a measure of the insanity of our society.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, July 16, 2007 at 10:30 pm Link to this comment

Skruff,

You are so right.

People who smoke Indian Hemp tend to become exceedingly mellow. “Like, Oh Wow, man!” They might be boring, but they’re never homicidal or cruel, as people are when using alcohol or crack.

Ironically, if Rush Limbaugh had treated his back pain with some plant extracts like marijuana, he wouldn’t have lost his hearing on Oxycontin (synthetic opiate aka “hillbilly heroin”).

Report this

By Skruff, July 16, 2007 at 6:37 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

87148 by Paolo on 7/15 at 7:28 pm

“Alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than marijuana by a factor of probably several thousand to one.”

I’ve never been (in thirth years) on a child abuse case where marijuana was the sole drug of choice.  Most Alcohol, and within the last ten years Crack.

In my (personal undocumented) estimation if we could move folks from Alcohol to pot, we could save thousands of children from child abuse deaths.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, July 15, 2007 at 8:28 pm Link to this comment

Marijuana shouldn’t even be called marijuana. The old term was “Indian Hemp.” The Hearst Newspapers, back in the 1930’s, insisted on using the Spanish name “Marijuana” to appeal to racist fears of white women being seduced by brown-skinned foreigners under the influence of this virtually-harmless plant extract. For evidence of this, see the unintentionally hilarious old propaganda film, “Reefer Madness.”

Marijuana was made illegal in the 1930’s as a way of keeping the jobs of those who had labored in Alcohol Prohibition during the 1920’s. All very cynical.

No one dies from smoking Indian Hemp. Unlike alcohol, Hemp inebriation does not result in crazed, dangerous driving. In fact, any honest cop will tell you they know a driver’s been smoking weed because they drive with excessive caution—very slow and way over in the right hand lane.

Alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than marijuana by a factor of probably several thousand to one.

Marijuana should be completely illegal, unregulated, and left to individual discretion to cultivate for personal use, or to sell.

Report this

By Ga, July 13, 2007 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

And there is no way that we can say that Marijuana is more benign than tobacco or alcohol.

How many die each year from tobacco? How many from alcohol?

Nobody dies from smokin’ pot. Nobody gets cancer from pot. Nobody’s organs fail from smokin’ pot.

It is so friggin’ clear that Marijuana is more benign than tobacco or alcohol.

Indeed! Marijuana has valid medical benefits! Sheeesh!

Report this

By Ellis, July 13, 2007 at 2:07 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

While in law school I researched the topic of drug legalization extensively and wrote a term paper about it. The establishment is unwilling to recognize an individual’s fundamental right to alter one’s consciousness. Back in the days of prohibition the establishment knew damn well people had a right to drink, hence the constitutional amendment banning alcohol. A ” mere ” law banning alcohol would likely have been found unconstitutional and overturned. Funny how the laws prohibiting socially disfavored drugs managed to pass constitutional muster. Even if drug use was found to be a fundamental right ( which it wasn’t ) such a right can be infringed upon if there is found to be a ” compelling state interest “. This analysis completely overlooks the fact that a compelling state interest is exactly what a fundamental right protects one from to begin with.                                The best solution to the ” drug problem ” ?? Legalize drugs in natural forms and monitor use through licensing. Accept the fact that people have and always will have the right to alter their consciousness. Why would the establishment be against this ?? Because they would have a much harder time brainwashing people who are not locked in to what Dr. Andrew Weil calls ” straight thinking “. Expand your consciousness and question authority ?? The establishment can’t let that happen now, could it ??

Report this

By charles, July 9, 2007 at 10:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

YOU CAN GET TWO BAGS OF WEED FOR $5.00 ON THE CORNER OF MY BLOCK TO INCREASE. THE COMPETITION IS THAT THICK.
YOU CAN MAKE MORE MONEY AT YOUR LOCAL WALMART, IF THEY
THEY BUILT THEM LOCAL, IF THEY DID NOT MIND HIRING A FEW PEOPLE WHO COMMITTED YOUTHFUL INDISCRETIONS, IF YOU
DID NOT MIND BEING SUBJUGATED.

Report this

By johnofportland, July 4, 2007 at 11:37 pm Link to this comment

Cactusjack41 -

Sources below will tell you what you want to know in great detail.  Plus, you get to meet Jack Herer – a great soul.

http://www.emperorofhemp.com

Emperor of Hemp – narrated by Peter Coyote, 59 min.  Bill Maher calls it “A triumph for the open-minded.”  The story of Jack Herer, author of:

THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES, best-selling book that blows the lid off the conspiracy and explains all there is to know about one miraculous plant. 

Both are available through url above, or Amazon.com

Hemp biomass for fuel would be cleaner and more economical than any other source.  It is easily grown almost everywhere, and completely renewable.  It gives a far greater yield per acre, and is better for the overall health of the land. However, ignorance, superstition, and greed persist.

Report this

By CactusJack41, July 4, 2007 at 6:50 pm Link to this comment

Thank you JohnofPortland!!! Your history of Hemp really opens lot’s of understanding about this issue. I do completely believe the power of W.R. Hearst and the Dupont Corp when it comes to protecting their interests.
  You talked about the various byproducts of hemp such as rope fiber and oil.  Do you suppose that hemp oil might be a prime source of biodiesel if it could be grown without limits?  As you know, we are in a current struggle nationwide to find a viable source of biodiesel. I think that palm oil is considered to be the best source, but palm can be grown in just a few places in the US.
  I agree completely that our drug laws are based on hysteria and fear mostly coming from the religious right. Do you think the alcohol lobby has something to do with this???? Do you think the alcohol and religious rights lobby could ever be overcome to correct this public fear of hemp?
  Please share with us some more of your knowledge of this issue.  I thought I had a fair knowledge of it; I live in N. CA for 25 yrs and consumed a fair portion of the crop, but you certainly know much more about this than I could ever hope to.

Report this

By johnofportland, July 3, 2007 at 7:27 pm Link to this comment

Was it a conspiracy?  Was a viable industry ruined because it threatened public health, or because a few large businesses would profit from banning it?  Hemp was outlawed in 1937 just as new technology that processed it faster, producing higher-quality fiber with less cost and environmental damage than wood-based pulp, was invented.  Hemp would have undercut competing products overnight.  Popular Mechanics predicted that it would become America’s first “billion-dollar crop.  …10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average [forest] pulp land.”

William Randolph Hearst had a vested interest in protecting the pulp industry.  He owned enormous timber acreage and hemp could put his paper-manufacturing division out of business and ruin his land value.  He slanted the news to protect his investments.  He led a yellow journalism campaign to outlaw hemp.  As example, a car accident in which marijuana was found dominated the headlines for weeks, while alcohol-related accidents (outnumbering marijuana over 1,000 to one) made the back pages.  Hearst popularized the word “marijuana” to introduce fear of the unknown to create a useable hysteria.

The Du Pont Company also had pulp industry interests, patenting a new process for wood-pulp paper.  Their own records show wood-pulp products as over 80% of all their railroad car holdings for the next 50 years.  Du Pont was also drastically changing its business strategy.  Primarily a military explosives maker, they realized after World War I that peacetime uses for artificial fibers and plastics would be more profitable.

Du Pont poured millions of dollars into research to create synthetics like rayon and nylon.  Two years before the Marijuana Tax Act outlawing hemp, they developed a substitute for hemp rope.  The year after the tax, they brought rayon out in direct competition with hemp cloth.  Du Pont assured Congress in secret testimony that they could make synthetic petrochemical oils to replace hemp oil.  The millions spent on research, and hundreds of millions in expected profits would be wiped out if newly affordable hemp products hit the market.  So, Du Pont worked with Hearst to eliminate hemp.

Du Pont’s point man was Harry J. Anslinger, commissioner of the new Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) (out to make it big like FBI’s Hoover).  He was appointed by Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon, chairman of Mellon Bank, Du Pont’s chief financial backer, and Anslinger’s wife’s uncle.  Anslinger used his clout to sway congress.  When the American Medical Association (AMA) argued for hemp’s medical benefits, he led the entire congressional committee to denounce and dismiss them.

Five years after the tax was imposed, the government reversed itself when the Japanese seized Philippine hemp, causing a wartime rope shortage.  Overnight, they urged hemp cultivation and made a movie, “Hemp for Victory” – then, just as fast, recriminalized hemp after the shortage passed.  While it was legal, it saved the life of a young pilot named George H.W. Bush, who didn’t know when he bailed out of his plane that:

-  Parts of his aircraft were lubricated with hemp oil.
-  100% of his parachute webbing was U.S. grown cannabis hemp.
-  All the rigging, ropes and fire hoses of his rescue ship were hemp.

President G.H.W. Bush opposed decriminalizing hemp grown in the U. S.

Does the hemp conspiracy continue?  Doctors can’t prescribe marijuana for patients as medication for chronic pain, although one judge found, “the record clearly shows that marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people and doing so with safety under medical supervision.”

The Anti-Drug Industry continues its ruthless disregard for truth, mercy, and facts.  The evidence of marijuana’s benign nature is fully documented. Propaganda and greed fuel the anti-marijuana crowd, not facts and justice.

See also: # 81950 for health statistics.

Report this
Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, July 2, 2007 at 3:15 pm Link to this comment

#83014 by CactusJack41 on 7/01 at 5:27 pm
(2 comments total)

“Yes, We all want freedom to do what we want when we want, but that’s not a practical answer to the drug wars. And there is no way that we can say that Marijuana is more benign than tobacco or alcohol. It might be, but I don’t think that has been proven.”

I don’t have to prove it. I know it from personal experience. You might not agree, and that’s fine with me. You don’t have to smoke any.

Report this

By Ernie, July 2, 2007 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This is an absolutely brilliant and perceptive commentary!  Fantastic elucidation of the underpinnings of our society. Thank you, Professor Duster!!!

Report this

By Scott, July 2, 2007 at 12:23 pm Link to this comment

I’ve heared all these arguments for pot for twenty years or more in Canada and its still just as illegal as ever.

I’m not holding my breath on legalization. I don’t think we’ll see legalization here until America’s global influence completely collapses. Even then it could be another generation or two until we’re free of any threat that you might invade us for failing to be with you in the War on Drugs.

I don’t think it will ever be legalized in the US until the US ceases to exist as we know. I think we have to wait until the age of super-rogues is over. The Soviet Union finally collapsed under the weight of its own crap now we just have to wait until the US follows suit. As for China, I suspect the collapse of their environment will occur long before they ever achieve real full blown super-rogue status.

Report this

By CactusJack41, July 1, 2007 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

Yes, We all want freedom to do what we want when we want, but that’s not a practical answer to the drug wars. And there is no way that we can say that Marijuana is more benign than tobacco or alcohol. It might be, but I don’t think that has been proven.

Now, who benefits most from our drug policies? Well, several thousand dea agents have jobs. But maybe the druglords off shore are the ones who really benefit. What if our farmers were allowed to grow the stuff just like tobacco or like distillers make whisky; The druglords would be out of business. Think of the savings to the American taxpayer that would generate.  Think of the savings to the drug user!!! How about the additional revenues to the American Farmers. I could take the same argument into alternative energies that we here could produce ourselves and wean us away from middle east oil.  If we could just get the Religious Right out of our government, we might be able to accomplish some of this.

Now, I agree that everybody should have a right to grow marijuana in their backyard.  Originally, all farmers had a right to grow tobacco, but then the goverment told them how much they could grow in order to stabilize prices on it. Did that hurt them? No, it helped them.  Just think, all you guys that think you have that right, could easily make a nice living on a dozen or so plants if it was taxed and regulated.

My main concern here is that for the past 40 years, we have been making fortunes for off-shore drug dealers at the expense of the American public.  I think that is just plain stupid.

Report this

By Sang Ze, July 1, 2007 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is no war on drugs, just another mechanism for suppression.

Report this
Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, July 1, 2007 at 12:46 pm Link to this comment

Marijuana should not be regulated in a free country. It comes under the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness clause, as far as I am concerned. I claim it as a civil liberty. People should be free to grow their own or sell it commercially. Since it is so benign in comparison to tobacco or alcohol, I would not even have prevent its sale to minors.

For dangerous drugs, like tobacco, alcohol, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and barbiturates, I think they should be strongly regulated to keep them out of the hands of minors. Everyone using them would have to register as a user and in some cases get a doctor’s prescription. This should be combined with honest government education programs about the dangers of using these substances. But these drugs should not be made illegal, or even taxed to make them very expensive, because in the end this will only encourage crime and black markets. People should be able to use them under government supervision if they must. That is the way to deal with this problem.

Report this
Tony Wicher's avatar

By Tony Wicher, July 1, 2007 at 12:30 pm Link to this comment

Marijuana should not be regulated in a free country. It comes under the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness clause, as far as I am concerned. I claim it as a civil liberty. People should be free to grow their own or sell it commercially. Since it is so benign in comparison to tobacco or alcohol, I would not even have prevent its sale to minors.

For dangerous drugs, like tobacco, alcohol, heroin, cocaine, amphetamines and barbiturates, I think they should be strongly regulated to keep them out of the hands of minors. Probably Everyone using them would have to register as a user and get a doctor’s prescription. This should be combined with honest government education programs about the dangers of using these substances. But these drugs should not be made illegal, or even taxed to make them very expensive, because in the end this will only encourage crime and black markets. People should be able to use them under government supervision if they must. That is the way to deal with this problem.

Report this

By Skruff, July 1, 2007 at 9:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually (IMHO) we don’t have a “drug problem” we have a government problem.

In a “free country,” (That’s the pablum we’ve been fed in school right?) a person should be allowed to engage in behaviors unpopular with the majority.

Drug use should be treated (legally) like alcohol use.  If one wishes to in their own house, they should be free to do so. 

I personally an tired of our elected babysitters telling us Do this don’t do that. Wear a seatbelt, don’t smoke in your car, don’t build (on your propeerty) without a permit.

Here in Maine we have a real whopper… Although I own my shore-front (and am taxed for it) to the low tide marker, I may not close that area to commercial clammers, nor may I clam their myself (without a license) My property, maintained for the use of a business from which I recieve no compensation.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, July 1, 2007 at 8:23 am Link to this comment

CactusJack41 said,

“Drugs should be taxed and regulated in such a manner to treat users and rehab them.”

I say, keep the government entirely out of it. Why set up another ridiculous bureaucracy like the one we have regulating tobacco? The government has bureaucracies encouraging the growing of tobacco, and bureaucracies discouraging the use of tobacco. Does this make any sense whatsoever?

If someone wants to grow tobacco or marijuana in the backyard, it’s none of my concern, and none of the government’s.

Report this

By CactusJack41, June 30, 2007 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

Shano, you are right. Drugs should be taxed and regulated in such a manner to treat users and rehab them.  You say that marijuana is the most difficult to deal with since it can be grown so easily… Why not control and regulate it’s growth just like tobacco.  It’s certainly no more damaging to use than tobacco, and our farmers could certainly use the new crop.  The taxes could be quite substanstial

Report this

By shano, June 29, 2007 at 12:55 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Still puzzled why “my generation” has not solved the drug “problem”.  The models are a reality in the world, scientific studies back the experience of Amsterdam:
The same amount of people who have a drug problem while drugs are on the black market will have a problem when they are legal.
About 8%.

Legalising drugs does not cause rampant uncontrolled drug use among a population, the same percentage of the population will have a problem, whether drugs are legal or illegal.  This was probably true of alcohol during and after prohibition.

So I would say the best solution is to tax and regulate drugs, use the money to develop drug treatment and rehab programs for the people who develop substance abuse problems.

Marijuana seems to be the stickler because it is so easy to grow your own!  No tax money generated there.

We must have s sensible conversation about this because building more prisons does not help, and lives have been ruined by this bad set of laws.  Changing the mandatory minimums would be a starting place, but does not go far enough toward controlled legalization, particularly of marijuana.

Report this

By anthony bauwens, June 29, 2007 at 7:23 am Link to this comment

Better programs to let them kick thier habitor harcher punishment.I think drugs is losing terrian at most govnments.Schooling instead so there is work,thus no poverty,ghetto`s that would help allot.

Report this

By anthony bauwens, June 29, 2007 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

It has been a fact that the governments have let thru cocaine purpesly it happend in the US as well as other countries.We are there to stay in Irak to make sure the oil flows thruuntil the Irakees can do it and in Afganistan is to destroy as much opium as we can and help them grow vegetables a prize has not been said.“suggest"truffels?

Report this

By ctbrandon, June 28, 2007 at 5:27 pm Link to this comment

well in that case skruff, let me say it for the record, and for all to hear. let the flaming begin.

Bush Sr., Bill Clinton, Bush Jr., Hillary, Obama, Guiliani, Romney, are ALL the SAME. Hillary’s campaign is being financed heavily by Fox’s Murdoch for crying out loud. It is sad to see the system designed to keep “liberals” and “conservatives” fighting while the rich continue to laugh as they shout “DANCE PUPPETS” under their breath. Do some research folks. Get behind someone like Gravel or Ron Paul. Stop allowing mainstream media and ultra rich to tell you who the president should be.


brandon
http://www.actforyourself.org

Report this

By Skruff, June 28, 2007 at 1:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

by ctbrandon on 6/28 at 9:00 am says:

“There are many poor areas in America, lots of them are predominately black, but many poor whites experience the same problems, and the issue is getting more serious as time goes on, due to the gap bewteen the rich and the poor.”

Get ready for the blast furnace friend.  You are 100% correct (and the solution is a good one) but Unfortunately, those on the left have as much political capital in the “ONLY POOR MINORITIES MATTER” As those on the right.  The idea that po folk of many races could one day get together scares the shit out of the liberals and the conservatives. 

The only way one can generate a more heated argument (here on truth dig) is to suggest that GWB is no worse than other presidents, and it’s the system, not the personalities that broke down.

Report this

By ctbrandon, June 28, 2007 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

In response to:
#81944 by jim crosby on 6/27 at 6:37 pm


Jim. I think the issue goes even a little deeper. Its not about White America controlling the minorities. Its about the rich and elite power controlling the middle class and the poor. There are many poor areas in America, lots of them are predominately black, but many poor whites experience the same problems, and the issue is getting more serious as time goes on, due to the gap bewteen the rich and the poor.

there is only one solution. that is for the majority of americans, be they black white or otherwise, to join together and stand up against the elite. they use racism to keep us fighting amongst ourselves, so we wont stop to think about who the real enemy is.


brandon
http://www.actforyourself.org

Report this

By ctbrandon, June 28, 2007 at 9:55 am Link to this comment

Lets end drug crime right now, legalize it. Stop treating addicts like criminals, and get them help. Give Americans the benefit of the doubt, let them choose what they do and dont put in their bodies. Stop referring to it as a “war on drugs”. There is no war. Its not legal because the drug lords would lose their empires, so they pay off the people in power to keep things just as they are. Cigarettes are insanely addictive, alcohol kills thousands every year, why are they legal?


brandon
http://www.actforyourself.org

Report this

By Jean Grenier, June 28, 2007 at 9:32 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

With all the comments and excuses for drugs in USA
nobody is talking about the corruption of our
politicians, judges, business people and police that are part of the network. When prohibition was the law
the corruption was so pervasesive that the goverment
had to enforce the law wiht federal agents. Even the
FBI could not be trusted. We had this corruption while dealing with “millions” of dollars. Does anyone
believe the corruption is any less when dealing with
“billions” of dollars? There in lies a large part of our drug problem.

Report this

By benza, June 28, 2007 at 2:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Alcohol and Tobacco are worse than Narcotics say reports of Police and Social surveys.
US tried abolition and wisely withrew it to license them.
Why not apply the same theory and license Narcotics?
Spend the saved money on education, vocational training and revamping slums?
Why not indeed?  Is it the men upstairs with unearned income?

Report this

By nefertiti, June 28, 2007 at 2:22 am Link to this comment

We are led to believe that there is a war against drugs , but those who are “fighting” the war are the first beneficiary of the Drug world industry . Check how Opium and heroic have reached record Numbers in Afghanistan , after it had almost been eradicated previously . Everyone is making big bucks Including the CIA .

Report this

By johnofportland, June 27, 2007 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

There are many terrible drug habits.  The worst is alcohol, in numbers of users and anti-social effect.  It is the leading cause of teenage deaths: 80,000 young Americans a year, 40,000 maimed from mixing drink and driving.  U.S. government/police statistics confirm the following:

*  100,000 alcohol-related deaths annually (compared with zero marijuana deaths in 10,000 years).
*  At least 40-50% of all murders and highway fatalities are alcohol-related.
*  Alcohol is indicated in 69-80% of all child/rape/incest and wife-beating cases.
*  Heroin is indicated in 35% of burglaries, armed robberies, grand theft auto, etc.
*  The FBI reported over 600,000 arrests for simple marijuana possession in 1997.

Approximately 50% of all drug enforcement money, federal and state, for the last 60 years has been directed toward marijuana!  70-80% of all people now in prison wouldn’t have been there 60 years ago.  In cultivated ignorance and prejudice we put 800,000 of 1.2 million people in jail (1998 - not including county jails) for a minor habit.  80% of them were not dealing.  In 1978 there were 300,000 people in jail for all crimes combined. 

After wide cultivation for 10,000 years, marijuana was outlawed in America in 1937.  Was it because it threatened public health – or certain business interests?  Hemp (cannabis sativa) is one of the most useful plants known to man.  Its fibers make rope, sails, shirts, paper; it provides clean lighting and lubricating oils, animal feed, and is safely used in medicines.

What happened?  In the 1920’s and ‘30s, Americans became concerned about drug addiction – especially morphine and a Bayer Company “miracle drug” called “heroin.”  Most Americans didn’t know smoking hemp was intoxicating until William Randolph Hearst began a sensational campaign linking “killer weed” to jazz musicians, “crazed minorities,” and “unspeakable crimes.”  His newspapers featured headlines like:
·  MARIJUANA MAKES FIENDS OF BOYS IN 30 DAYS: HASHEESH [sic] GOADS USERS TO BLOOD-LUST

Not all shared their view.  The U.S. Siler Commission studied marijuana smoking by off-duty servicemen, found no lasting effects, and recommended no criminal penalties apply to it.

But, the anti-hemp campaign had results.  By 1931, after two years of secret hearings Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act.  Unsure if it was constitutional to ban it outright, they taxed the plant prohibitively instead.  Growers had to register; sellers and buyers were buried in paperwork; noncompliance was a federal crime.  The tax was $100 an ounce (“legitimate” marijuana then sold for $2 a pound).  The Act ruined the legitimate industry.  Medical use was too expensive; doctors and pharmacists turned to chemically derived drugs.  Nonmedical uses were taxed to death and farmers stopped growing.  No brainer, it still grew wild all over the U.S.; its “illegitimate” use was little affected by Congress.

Going on four generations now, propaganda and lies have relentlessly drained taxpayer’s money to build government’s anti-drug machine and the conditions of a police state.  Virtually every state is in the midst of the biggest prison expansion ever in America’s and the world’s history, creating political vultures only concerned for the growth of their prison-related crime-fighting industry and job security.  They demand more prisons and more money to pursue this “law and order” madness against an invented crime.

We can moderate society’s problems and reject the police state by simply legalizing marijuana.  We can clear the jails, and re-employ police, court, prison and rehabilitation staff to deal with real crime and hard drug abuse.  We can put money into our schools and health care without raising anyone’s taxes.  We can also stop lying to ourselves, and end a terrible multi-generational injustice.  Let’s just say “no” to these bullying bozos.

Report this

By jim crosby, June 27, 2007 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

this is a message for Troy Duster and his interviewer, you people do nothing but talk around the real issue here, this issue is real simple, it’s called racism, most white Americans were not raised around Black people, they don’t know them and they don’t like them, the problems with the negro in American culture is simple, nobody wants them, period, i mean for God’s sake, look at New Orleans and the whole Katrina fiasco, you gottan be kidding me, the goddamn place has a negro mayor and they still left all those black people out there to die, and many did, and the truth is nobody cares. and i just can’t understand why you people either don’t know that, or you just won’t admit it, yours, james r. crosby

Report this

By anthony bauwens, June 27, 2007 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

Ïf there was a politician that would get it far enough were you can have a certain amount of `pot`for private use and a methadon program in one big city the crime will go down the jails will stay empty.everything thats not aloud is done let them do it you will see that in years things will drop.Look at european countries it works there? Or is it that image that they need them jails filled so the city will get $ from the Governmenteach year?

Report this

By Zena, June 27, 2007 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If they get their superhighway from Mexico thru the United States and let the Mexican militants have ‘amnesty’, there will be 100 times the drugs there are now. Why penalize Americans for buying it and continue to let most Mexicans go free selling it? At least if it were legal there would be more oversight and proably not so easy to get…look at the ‘legal’ drugs in this country.

Report this

By Bill Blackolive, June 26, 2007 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cocaine brings the bankers of the world more revenue than anything, including crude oil.  Actual potheads know they like marijuana better than cocaine, heroin, meth etc.  But, the US of A has built a larger prison industry than is China’s and Russia’s together, primarily non-violent naturally.  Latest DUI/DWI legislation allows even broader ruination and sweep of US poor.  For the industry a criminal class is needed.

Report this

By Skruff, June 26, 2007 at 5:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

81365 by DennisD on 6/25 at 7:36 pm

“Wide open borders and only 1% of the shipping containers coming into this country inspected by customs.”

Courtesy of Walmart the company that singlehandedly blocked legislation to inspect a greater precentage of these containers…

“...follow the money…”

Report this

By DennisD, June 25, 2007 at 8:36 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Wide open borders and only 1% of the shipping containers coming into this country inspected by customs. NAFTA Mexican trucks about to roll over those same borders en masse courtesy of our corrupt politicians. Yep, that’s a “war” winning strategy if ever I’ve heard one. What a f**king joke.

Report this

By Skruff, June 25, 2007 at 10:23 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I remember the racism of the drug war from my youth.  No one gave a damn about drugs as long as they stayed in Harlem, but once drugs started to appear in the hand-bags of white girls from Scarsdale, we had a “drug war’ which was (in point of fact) a war to contain drugs in the slums.

Since we had damn few Mexicans in New York, they called it “The yellow peril” in reference to the alledged chinese connection.

Now Horace Greely High school (about a mile from Hill-the-shill Clinton’s digs) is the biggest drug-den in New York.  Rich boys and girls with everything, living in lush green Westchester County pushing Coke up their noses trying to see the colors… What a fucken shame.

Report this

By dean Hanson, June 24, 2007 at 11:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

” If you want to be ignorant & Free, you want what never was & what never will Be” - Tom Jefferson- I
don’t recall the year he uttered that warning. nevertheless its importance can’t be ignored. Denied maybe but listen: We gotta protect this country(republic) constitution from the rich & powerful. Its a Crime what our(sic) politicians have become. Every Dollar they spend lying about Every dollar they steal is two dollars spent destroying democracy in order to borrow three to deny us our right to change this despotism before it enslaves us. I think it’s worth considering thanks

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, June 21, 2007 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

Mike said,

“How many can we lock-up and still call ourself the “Land of the Free”.  The war on drugs is a joke played on the American people to address a problem of individual morals.  And make law enforcement a ton of money.”

The last sentence says it all, Mike. When Prohibition ended, there were a lot of federal police officers facing unemployment. At exactly the time Prohibition ended, the campaign against other drugs began.

The newspapers bought into the early drug war big time. They even made an editorial decision to call Indian Hemp “Marijuana,” on the grounds it tied more easily into white American fears of the devil weed being used by brown skinned Mexicans as a way of seducing innocent white women. (The War on Drugs, in other words, has been racist from day one).

For an unintentionally funny example of this, see the film “Reefer Madness.”

We should rename the War on Drugs “Prohibition 2.” The War on Drugs mirrors Prohibition in every essential way: gun battles over disputed turf, cops on the take, deaths from impure products—you name it.

Report this

By Scott, June 21, 2007 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

Okay, I’ll take you at your word but I still think that if push comes to shove, that is especially if an election might be close, most Libertarians hold their noses and vote conservative rather than risk having a liberal party in power.

It seems that whenever I’ve heard or read the term ‘big tents’ that right-wing parties use to describe the strange mix of bed-fellows they’re made of, Libertarians are invaribly mentioned.

Report this

By DaveF, June 21, 2007 at 8:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I have been involved in the “Drug War” for 15 years. We are no closer now to “winning” than we were on day one.

When the failure to curtail the supply and use of drugs is added to the wide spread corruption facilitated by drug profits along with the huge drug related crime and resultant prison population it is not hard to ascertain the fact that the “War on Drugs” is an utter disaster.

Any serious CEO looking at an equivalent failure in a private corporation would see that the return on investment was not acceptable and either change their approach or abandon the project completely.

Government policy that aims at reducing unemployment across all ethnic lines and providing enhanced resources for public education would be a better way to use the money currently being wasted on the “Drug War”.

Public work projects that repair and improve our nation’s city infrastructures would not only help stave off future disasters like raw sewage related health problems but also provide jobs and improve living standards for all classes of Americans.

The drug problem is more of a health and social problem than a crime problem. Public money spent on counseling and rehabilitation would be better spent that on building more prisons.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, June 21, 2007 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

Scott said,

“$10 bucks says you still vote conservative Paolo. Why Libertarians have anything to do with the right-wing will always remain a deep mystery to me.”

Thanks, Scott! That’s the easiest ten bucks I ever made. In lieu of cash, please send $10 to your local Libertarian Party.

If I vote at all, I’ll vote for a Libertarian. But frankly, I usually don’t vote, on the principle that voting would be sanctioning a system I don’t endorse.

You make the common error of conflating libertarians with so-called “conservatives.” On the subject of the foolish, immoral, and unconstitutional “war on drugs,” libertarians call for complete legalization: hardly a position endorsed by most “conservatives.”

You brought up the restrictions on sales of tobacco and alcohol. The decision among adults as to when to purchase alcohol should be entirely at their discretion and judgment. A drink at 2 AM can be as harmless as a drink at noon; it all depends on the situation. A person who buys a fifth of gin at noon and makes a few drinks at 8 PM harms no one.

Regarding drunk driving and MADD: since a drunk driver is in imminent danger of harming others, he/she can and should be arrested. Libertarians support laws that protect people from deliberate or negligent harm in such cases.

Regarding tobacco: there should be no restrictions on sales to adults, period. Also, there should be no restrictions on growing tobacco, which is now one of the most tightly-regulated of all crops. Tobacco, like any other substance, can be used either responsibly or irresponsibly, but the irresponsible user harms only himself.

Just as many, if not more, libertarians come from the “left” as from the “right,” though those terms are very slippery and poorly defined.

Thanks for your $10 donation, and best wishes!

Report this

By Scott, June 20, 2007 at 7:46 pm Link to this comment

A Libertarian eh?

$10 bucks says you still vote conservative Paolo. Why Libertarians have anything to do with the right-wing will always remain a deep mystery to me.

I think of alcohol and tobacco as being right-wing drugs. Conservatives (right-wingers) usually complain the loudest when it comes to rules that limit smoking in public places and they also promote greater public access to alcohol. In Canada at least, many support private alcohol sales in corner stores and longer hours for bars, so consumers can have more choices and business owners can make more money. I understand many conservatives are aghast at the thought that the government should be performing a private sector function such as selling liquor. Regarding its position towards other drugs I think the government is in a conflict of interest myself.

I’ll offer a pure conservative perspective you often hear in Canada, “one law for all”.

One of the more important sections in our Charter of Right’s and Freedom’s (funnily enough most conservatives in Canada dislike the Charter) states; “Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.”

No one in Canada has ever succesfully challenged a drug charge by arguing that their guaranteed right to equal protection and equal benefit was denied. I wonder however if the law could be challenged from the other direction. If nothing else laws are intended to protect the public from harm. I often wonder why groups like the Mothers Against Drunk Driving don’t sue the government for failing to provide equal protection from all dangerous deadly mind altering substances?

Of course the ramifications for tobacco if such a case went against the government would be enormous.

Needless to say groups like MADD stand shoulder to shoulder with right-wingers everywhere against the legalization of anymore drugs.

One law for all indeed.

Report this
Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, June 20, 2007 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

Let me shake up this discussion with a pure libertarian perspective.

All drugs should be completely legal. It’s nobody’s business but your own what you put into your own body. All victimless crime laws should be overturned.

The War on Drugs should be ended on moral grounds. Once the war is ended, a thousand practical benefits will also occur. Addicts will no longer fear seeking treatment. Sellers of drugs, now subject to the legal system, will have to make their products high quality and safe (just as, when prohibition ended, “bathtub” gin, which frequently poisoned and blinded people, was replaced with Gilbey’s and Beefeater).

Once drugs are legal, no one will have to rob stores to pay for a habit. Heroin, cocaine, and marijuana can be produced, on the free market, for a few pennies per dose. A hundred dollar a day habit would become a dollar a day habit. If a person wanted to seek assistance in breaking a drug habit, they would not have to fear being arrested.

That’s my opening salvo. I know there’s a lot to be discussed, so I’ll stop here for now….

Report this

By Mudwollow, June 20, 2007 at 4:50 pm Link to this comment

I guess it’s the job of doctors of sociology to pick apart and examine to death all aspects of their subject. But people like the good doctor seem to be piss poor at making their work relevant to those other than academics like themselves.

One way to get a handle on the mind boggling drugs situation in America is to compare it to the persecution of witches not that many centuries ago. Not a perfect comparison but similarities abound. And information surrounding the war on drugs is so full of crap that it pays to go way back and try to understand it by looking at similar examples in history.

In the 21st century it’s difficult to find another subject in which people who consider themselves educated and well informed, hold beliefs so similarly absurd as those held by peasants who joined in the burning of witches. As in the days of witch burning, it’s today the doctors and lawyers and high-ranking church officials that make it all seem so scientific and legitimate to the common folk. And today’s 21st century peasants go right along with the preposterous absurdity of drug wars as if freedom of thought somehow passed them by completely.

The drug wars are not about race, but race is convenient and racial inequity will always exacerbate any social misdirection. There really aren’t a lot of people we can point to as witches anymore. But we seem to need to burn someone. We need to make some group wrong so the rest of us can be right. It’s getting harder and harder to do that with women. People who practice Judaism and other religious types have learned to defend themselves preemptively. Homosexuals are even getting harder to bash these days. Race is still a pretty good way to make a person appear like a witch because different races look different from “the rest of us”. In the good old days, when (usually) a woman was accused of being a witch, she would be taken away, tortured, raped, her hair shaved off and starved. Only then would she be brought before the public as an accused witch. One look would tell anyone she was a witch after that kind of treatment. We create “different from us” evil drug offenders in much the same way today no matter what race they are.

Few subjects more accurately embody the notion “everything you know is wrong” than the war on drugs. Marijuana may be one of the most innocuous substances on the planet. It doesn’t do much of anything to people, it’s not addictive and not nearly as toxic as coffee. But marijuana is the mainstay of the drug prohibition industry. On the other end of the spectrum is crystal methamphetamine. We are told that we must stomp this crystal methamphetamine drug out because it is evil. And meth probably is among the most crappy drugs ever invented. But that doesn’t stop the US military from issuing crystal methamphetamine to pilots and other military combatants. It doesn’t stop NASA from issuing crystal methamphetamine to astronauts. Apparently it’s very useful for these people, because unlike caffeine, users don’t get the jitters. The jitters probably aren’t a good thing when your finger is over the bomb release button. How many people know that the very same crystal methamphetamine that’s so horrible in our society has been used by the American government since the Korean War?

There were probably a great many people during the times of witch burning who could see through the lies and hysteria and could see the real reasons behind that practice. But witch burning went on to the delight of the crowd’s for centuries. Today we watch as our neighbors are hauled off to jail, their families ripped apart, their possessions confiscated. We shake our heads and wonder how they could’ve turned into such an evil nonhuman. Then we go off to Starbucks or the local bar to talk about something less disturbing.

Report this

By Scott, June 20, 2007 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Efforts to manage drug problems are a mixed bag because the reasons for doing so are just as mixed up.

I recall the lecture I got when I was caught smoking a joint years ago, first my Dad poured himself a drink and my Mom lit a cigarette and then they proceeded to tell me about the evils of doing drugs.

I knew there was something wrong with this picture right from the get go.

In likewise fashion the same governments that get revenues from the sale of tobacco and alcohol (in Canada our provinces actually run the liquor stores) are also responsible for prosecuting people that do other drugs.

It really is a funny world sometimes.

Report this

By Hammo, June 20, 2007 at 7:20 am Link to this comment

Efforts to manage “drug problems” seem to be a mixed bag.

Drugs such as “meth” truly are very dangerous and strong steps are needed to prevent its manufacture and use.

On the other hand, hemp and cannabis seem to be not overly harmful, and actually good natural resource a therapeutic medicine respectively.

Check out the article ...

“George Washington’s whiskey distillery rebuilt; first president also grew hemp at Mount Vernon”

http://www.americanchronicle.com/articles/viewArticle.asp?articleID=14731

The same article appears as ...

“Liberty, whiskey and hemp”

http://www.populistamerica.com/liberty_whiskey_and_hemp

Report this
 
Monsters of Our Own Creation? Get tickets for this Truthdig discussion of America's role in the Middle East.
Right 1, Site wide - BlogAds Premium
 
Right Skyscraper, Site Wide
Right 2, Site wide - Blogads
 
Join the Liberal Blog Advertising Network
 
 
 

A Progressive Journal of News and Opinion   Zuade Kaufman, Publisher   Robert Scheer, Editor-in-Chief
© 2014 Truthdig, LLC. All rights reserved.