Stop The Welfare State, Vol. V: How We Wasted A Trillion Dollars on The War On Drugs
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06-07-2013, 03:41 PM
Stop The Welfare State, Vol. V: How We Wasted A Trillion Dollars on The War On Drugs

Around the turn of the twentieth century, a bunch of nosy busybodies who didn't like the idea that some people relaxed by drinking alcohol, decided begun a nationwide movement to outlaw booze. The temperance movement in the United States began, largely in the southeastern United States, but spread through much of the nation. So popular had the movement become that, in 1918, Congress passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the manufacture, distribution, sale, and consumption of intoxicating liquors. It was believed this would finally put an end to the nation's addiction to alcohol and put an end to the social scourge created by it.

Well Americans apparently didn't get the memo because they still wanted their booze. Overnight, illegal hooch production went through the roof. Appalachian moon shiners had booming business and struggled to keep up with the demand. Homemade liquor manufacturers kicked in with very little knowledge, concocting dangerous bathtub stills whose products killed or blinded thousands. Underground speakeasies opened up to serve the sauce to willing customers. Irish and Itialian mafias began to corner the distribution networks and when these groups clashed, bloody turf wars broke out. They killed gangster and bystander alike and booze built brutal crime empires and gang bosses like Al Capone. Prison populations swelled with Prohibition offenders. America was dry as a martini and it still had the drunks, shiners, and gangsters to prove it.

Then a miracle occurred. The nation, struggling under the weight of the Great Depression and looking for a way to curb the money supply for organized crime plus generate jobs and revenue, passed the 21st Amendment, which repealed the 18th Amendment, again allowing the legal sale of alcoholic beverages in the United States. The tide began to change. Legal, good quality hooch fed the demand. Mafias were largely bankrupted and when the money left, so did the politicians and the muscle, and the Treasury reaped the re-established flow of federal taxes on liquor.

While prohibiton was the posterboy for failure of the Pious to regulate what people enjoy, the same types never learned from their mistakes. America accepted alcohol, along with its negative aspects on society because it knew that fighting it was far worse. But the holy rollers could never see how this applied elsewhere and they, as always, found a new demon the people loved and bent over backwards to get the government to reign in: recreational drugs.

For those who don't understand, getting high is as American as Mom, Apple Pie and Fireworks on The 4th of July. Drugs are a pointless, wasteful, often dangerous and lethal substance that destroys families ald lives.

and Americans just LOVE them.

One of the first tasks the Pilgrims did upon landing at Plymouth was to brew beer. Backyard wiskey manufacturing (moonshine) has been a staple of Appalachian whites since well before the Colonies cut ties with Great Britian. Today about 150 million Americans either currently uses or has used recreational drugs, be it getting drunk at a bar, or needing a coffee fix in the morning, or a crackhead smoking a rock. We are the world leader in consuming this stuff along with legal, regulated pharmaceuticals which offer everything from relief from clinical depression to rock hard, long lasting erections.

But we're also largely religious and the Good Book frowns on this (though there are plenty of examples of Biblibal characters getting high such as a drunken Lot having sex with his daughters or Jesus making booze at weddings.

The reasons for the moral assault on recreational drug use are many; is a combination of people who lost loved ones to drug addiction, religious aversion, power hungry seeking a villian to gain votes, a general dislike of drugs, even racism. Cocaine was first outlawed in the South because, it was feared it would make black men so frenzied, they would go out and rape white women. True story.

Whatever the reasons, America has now spent nearly fifty years fighting a drug was. Started by Nixon in 1968, the war on drugs has cost the United States over $1 trillion to fight and that figure grows by $33 billion annually. The results? We have overcrowded prisons, filled to the brim with nonviolent drug offenders, drugs still flood into the country at alarming rates and finance criminal organization from street and prison gangs to major criminal cartels throughout the world.

You'd think we could learn from the failures of Prohibition.

While drugs do hurt the public - look at a gaunt ice addict with a mouthful of rotting teeth sometime - the real damage and costs of this drug was are less apparent but far more reaching.

- Nearly 1/2 of all state and federal prisoners are serving time for drug related charges. These are nonviolent offenders doing hard prison time and have their lives ruined with a felony conviction simply because they like to get high.

- The criminal supply of drugs fuels terrorism. Most of the opiates like heroin available in the US come from poppies harvested by the Taliban in Afghanistan. The profits from this trade are used to purchase weapons to kill US servicemen and civilian alike.

- 10,000 Mexican citizens are brutally murdered annually by warring drug cartels vying for control of the lucrative cocaine and marijuana markets in the United States.

- the high levels of incarceration are providing record profits for private prison companies like Wackenhut who in turn use the cash to buy political support for this broken system keeping their jails full and creating a virtual slave class of convicted felons.

- The drug war drives foreign policy and creates a lot of resent,ent for the US across the globe. A great example of this was the DEA's Plan Columbia, a plan to defoliate Columbia cocoa farms, causing havoc for Colombian farmers. It also forces the US into making allies out of brutal strongmen like Columbia's Manuel Noreiga in an attempt to stem the flow of drugs into the US.

President Reagan once said that the Drug War would cease if Americans simply stopped taking drugs. That's great and it would work out fine, if not for the fact that over half of America likes to get high!

This leaves us in an dilemma. Throw gobs of money at a problem that shows no sign of weakening, or simply legalize and regulate a substance a lot of Americans enjoy.

Decriminalization shows signs of progressing. California and Colorado both passed initiatives to legalize marijuana. But Mary Jane still remains illegal in these states under federal law.

In the end it may be a generational thing. As the baby boomers die out, and with them, their love of the drug war, Gen X, Y, and Millenials may accomplish this task in the end as there is strong support in these groups for drug legalization or at least decriminalization.

But in a cash strapped economy like ours this drug war will fail.


"We were conservative Jews and that meant we obeyed God's Commandments until His rules became a royal pain in the ass."

- Joel Chastnoff, The 188th Crybaby Brigade
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07-07-2013, 01:06 PM
RE: Stop The Welfare State, Vol. V
Dare I say it, Amen.

I am a baby boomer from the first wave, 1946, and remain amazed at the fact that as one of the highest voting parts of the public and almost certain to have used recreational drugs in our past we still do not vote in a way that rationalizes drug laws.

I find the current anti drug laws of the US abhorrent. The monies wasted and the lives ruined should cause any thinking person pause. We are a nation where virtually everyone has used recreational drugs or knows someone who does or knows someone who has been harmed by either their use or their production (I am all three) but as a nation we do not know that our approach is terribly flawed.

If any one cares I consume ganja whenever it is available. Ganja is much more pleasant to me and not as destructive as alcohol.
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07-07-2013, 01:28 PM (This post was last modified: 07-07-2013 01:35 PM by ridethespiral.)
RE: Stop The Welfare State, Vol. V: How We Wasted A Trillion Dollars on The War On Drugs
Amen, Hallelujah, Praise be unto Carlo the mighty bug smasher.

...Pot was largely made illegal as part of an anti-Mexican (and to a lesser extent anti-black) agenda at the behest of the powerful paper manufacturers lobby who had vested interests in lumber and who wanted to stem the development of hemp (which is produces cheaper and more sustainable paper). Now it's not only the prison industry that loves pot prohibition but also big Pharma (pot heads don't take prosaic) and big beer (competition is bad for them) which is one of the largest lobbies in the washington thanks to heavy regulations at the end of prohibition.

Also the drug war creates a kind of discretionary fund (mostly spent in South America) for guys like Reagan and Bush Snr to spend on political and economic interference/manipulation/destabilization, under the guise of fighting drugs...See Iran Contra Scandal.

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07-07-2013, 04:26 PM
RE: Stop The Welfare State, Vol. V: How We Wasted A Trillion Dollars on The War On Drugs
Quote:You'd think we could learn from the failures of Prohibition.

Americans do not learn from their mistakes. I suspect that is because far too high a percentage of our population does not think we ever made any.
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11-07-2013, 12:45 AM
RE: Stop The Welfare State, Vol. V: How We Wasted A Trillion Dollars on The War On Drugs
An answer to our financial problems in the United States. Tax Marijuana and subsidize the industry mainly for medicinal areas . It is what, an 80 Billion Dollar industry in the States' ?

" My friends. You bow to no one. " - Aragorn

"A man is accepted into a church for what he believes and he is turned out for what he knows. " — Samuel Clemens low, sell high.

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11-07-2013, 09:27 AM
RE: Stop The Welfare State, Vol. V: How We Wasted A Trillion Dollars on The War On Drugs
I totally agree with stopping the war on drugs, but my cynical side would point out that a huge chunk of your economy would go with it. Namely your privatized prisons, prison labour, law enforcement officers, would all be affected. Lots of jobs would be lost. Prisoners make good slaves too!

That's why I doubt anything will happen anytime soon.

“Forget Jesus, the stars died so you could be born.” - Lawrence M. Krauss
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13-07-2013, 05:39 AM
RE: Stop The Welfare State, Vol. V: How We Wasted A Trillion Dollars on The War On Drugs
Treating a medical problem with the criminal justice system is just stupid. People who have medical issues with drugs (abuse, addiction, etc.) don't belong in jail.

So many lives have been needlessly destroyed. People who have hurt no one (other than perhaps themselves) have criminal records. Some communities have seen too many people go to jail simply for possessing a plant.

The illegality makes the drugs worth more, and gives people more of an incentive to sell them. Those with criminal records have trouble finding other work, and some of them turn to the profitable illegal drug market.

Police have become militarized. Innocents have been killed not only by drug gangs but also by cops. The bill of rights has been shredded.

And all in the name of the "war on drugs." It's disgraceful.
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