Thursday, February 13, 2014
Real Drug Dealers
When you look at the history of the drug war you can go back to the early 20th Century and see where it began during the time of the Boardwalk Empire. Prohibition was the first attempt to outlaw and regulate drugs. And when you watch that you see the role of ethnicity and the issues that it brings up with regards to both race and immigration and of course crime. But once alcohol prohibition was repealed the next on the drug hit list was Marijuana and the belief that it was a gateway drug and of course part of the evil Mexican empire, yada yada yada. Not much has changed.
As we look to increasingly changing attitudes with regards to Marijuana, the actual whole Mexican thing is right, sadly in Mexico which drug cartels have utterly destroyed communities; however, in America there is still a fear that immigrants are somehow responsible and will do the same thing here.
And of course in our Country almost always there is a historical context. In the 1800s the Chinese were the target, as it was the Chinese immigrants who were encouraged, invited and well brought here as labor, who built the railroads but in turn also built businesses and were also mining gold that suddenly became the enemy. And viola they were also the founders of Opium Dens in which to seduce those innocents into drugs and undoubtedly that was one of the many reasons that led to the Chinese Exclusionary Act, not the money making working part, no, not at all.
After immigrants are targeted who is next and who decides?
Here is where the role of the Media comes into play and in turn riles up the great unwashed and in turn the Legislators to suddenly enact new laws and more regulations about the "drug of the week." There may be a tail wagging the dog here as we can never be sure who the source is but at some point the Media seems to act as the parental scold when often they are simply the echo chamber.
From Marijuana to Psychedelics the belief that in the 60s and 70s that this was the new scourge destroying America's youth. Hippies were a danger to America. Then President Nixon declared drug abuse "public enemy number one." This then marked the change how drugs were once an issue for communities and ways to find treatment and help to criminalization and imprisonment. That they were protesting the war that was a "coincidence" and mostly I am sure due to being hopped up on drugs. Then the whole sexual revolution. No complaints there however until now and oddly we are back to wanting pills as in contraceptives to go away. Well not the sex part men still need that and if you refuse they have drugs to make them do that in more ways than one. Don't see any legislation about those coming soon.
The 1980s and Just Say No era occurred oddly again with another sexual revolution, the gays and the tragedy of AIDS and yet drugs to help those who contracted AIDS primarily IV drug users and homos, those drugs we outlawed. Dallas Buyers Club does a great flash of history on those times. Then once a nice white boy, Ryan White contracted it by neither method and became the poster boy of AIDS, suddenly it was OK to have medical drugs that might actually help people. And in turn make Big Pharma make big money. I love our conflicted relationship to drugs in America.
But it was also at this time Cocaine was declared as the number one enemy as instead of "hippies" we had "yuppies" snorting this powder apparently off the naked backs of hookers as one believes from Scarface, another "Latin" scourge and of course immigrant from Cuba! Which then in turn begat the sudden epidemic of crack that was predominantly the drug of choice for the inner city.
And fueled again by the Media and such television programs as Miami Vice we are sure that again all of this is the problem of those not white bringing death and chaos into the streets. I loved the show but I loved the fashion I have no idea if any of the plots were even logical, let alone realistic, but then again CSI I am sure has people convinced that crime labs are functioning bastions of intelligence and professionalism of highly hot people.
And then from crack begat meth. You could not turn on the news without another story about now the rural cities being destroyed by the numerous meth labs destroying of course more lives and in fact neighborhoods due to the danger of said meth houses and the chemicals within.
Still today the tales of the neighbor cooking more than stew occasionally arise and once again with tragic results.
And again this is another failure that is well documented by the Oregonian which led to a Frontline Special on the subject.
By the time "I did not inhale" Clinton took office in 1993, the violent crack "epidemic" of the late 1980s was already subsiding, but we need to keep law enforcement busy so hey let's look at that evil "weed" again, as that has no lobbyists.
When Clinton entered office, the prison population-local, state and federal-was about 1.3 million. Byt the time he left that number was at over 2 million. He gave us a boon alright, the boon in prison population. A population filled mostly with non violent, victimless "criminals."
Hundreds of new prisons have been built to accommodate them, giving rise to a prison-industrial complex that defies imagination. New drug courts and judges have been added to state and federal rosters; 100,000 new police, with their attendant paraphernalia-guns, cruisers, station houses and adjunct non- uniformed personnel-have been hired to search out small-time drug users; tens of thousands of jail and prison guards have been added to state and federal payrolls.
There has not been such a boon to public construction since the Works Progress Administration of the 1930s. Our military and Drug Enforcement Administration forces overseas have exponentially expanded as well, particularly in Latin America. All of this had been an enormous help to the then booming Clinton economy.
The strategy was brilliantly devised: Increase incarceration by three- quarters of a million, add a couple of million workers to create and maintain the prison infrastructure, and voila! Lower unemployment and a healthier economy. And to help pay for it all, the Feds and states used a tool that became available only a few years before Clinton's inauguration: forfeiture. Add that to the many other legacies of the Clinton Administration that were utter frauds, from drug policy to economics to foreign policy, no President has quite the bull in shit as does Clinton.
Talk about the Defense budget and Government spending, how much of this is truly needed and used with regards to protecting our shores from invaders who would actually bring us harm or is this really about drugs? Oh wait they are the same thing right? So instead let's stop food stamps, Medicare/Medicaid and Social Security. Priorities people and they let them die from illness, starvation or just get old and die already.
It was also during this time period our current Vice President, then Senator, Joe Biden's 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill included a provision allowing for the federal execution of drug kingpins. As it implied that the the War on Drugs had ultimately reached such a level that drug-related offenses were regarded by the federal government as equivalent to, or worse than, murder and treason.
I wonder how VP Joe is responding to his boss, President Obama's and his drug "czar", Gil Kerlikowske and Eric Holder who have called for an end to the War on Drugs terminology, and attempt to rebrand federal anti drug efforts as simple harm-reduction strategies, including seeking clemency and asking for voting right restoration? I guess that Biden is responding as he did guffawing like the idiot he seems to be and as he did during the SOTU. Is he the most moronic VP since Grant? Debatable.
And then came the Hoffman death and the new focus on the ADHD drugs that have been the focus of media hysteria. One is illegal and oddly again reeks of Mexican villainy and suspicion and the other Big Pharma prescribed medicine. Of course a large majority of heroin addiction is tied to legally prescribed drugs and opiates that was the official "gateway" to Heroin but don't expect that to be quite as villianized.
And today another lament in the New York Times about the medical values in Marijuana demanding proof that it does more harm than good. That debate I suspect will only get further accelerated as more states move to legalize and in fact monetize what it brings. The new Boardwalk Empire.
I recommend those curious about the Drug War and the money it generates to watch this Frontline series.
But what cannot be ignored is the role of Big Pharma in this war. They are the largest player with the biggest arms and they need no guns or special armory, they carry something much bigger, checks.
An excellent article on the role of Big Pharma and the money generated by their obstruction of justice is in this Mother Jones article, The Merchants of Meth. But isn't that what it is? Is not obstruction when you prevent lawmakers from making laws and doing their jobs protecting the community from the killers of people, I mean they are killers right these drug kingpins that Joe Biden wanted dead?
And there are numerous sites dedicated to exposing the fraud and the mythology associated with the WAR ON DRUGS. This one is my favorite, Drug War Distortions, and it has quite substantiated list of sources which they use to breakdown the statistics, the junk science and "facts" often equated with the hysterical mouth breathing by those in the Media and in turn the Government to validate their reasoning, excuses and idiotic ideas.
But the real perps go ignored. Somehow I don't see the SWAT team breaking down the CEO's door soon.
I would love a 21st Century Crockett and Tubbs invading and no knock warranting Pfizer. But instead of gorgeous Armani suits they would wear those over the top warrior uniforms. I wonder if Armani would consider adding a design to those?
Then they could take the drug samples to the CSI lab for analysis to show how damaging they are. Maybe then people would have a reality check on how misguided and misdirected this war truly is.
For the War on Drugs is the longest lasting war in American History. And it ain't over.