I’ve been writing for a little over a year now and I thank those who diligently read what I share. However the discussion I had hoped to engage in with those opposed to marijuana legalization never really bore fruit. My ultimate desire though is to attract as much attention as I can to the horrors of prohibition and the disparity of justice along race and class lines. So I am going to try something else. I am in the process of purchasing puppets to use in making video political satire associated with the failed war on drugs. While waiting for the puppets I will be building stages and props for the puppet show
Not too many years ago several towns or communities were known as Sundown Towns where blacks were not welcome after dark. Mostly by reputation some were even known to post signs declaring the unwelcome visitors should leave by sundown or else. One such town was Vidor, TX. Racial intolerance was so prominent that in 1993 the federal government actually moved several black families into subsidized housing in Vidor which resulted in a Ku Klux Klan demonstration. It’s kind of reminiscent of the old western movies where one cowboy would declare that there is not enough room in this town for both of us and one would leave or a shoot out in the street would ensue.
The war against marijuana is also similar in that marijuana users are not welcome in society. Although their drug of choice is far safer than the legal alternatives, they are denied gainful employment and subjected to arrest and confiscation of property and in some cases even having their children removed from their custody. The heavy disparity associated with prosecution of marijuana crimes along racial and class lines makes it a racial issue as well.
As bad as that is, the fact that this war on a peaceful class of people is perpetuated by the federal government makes the situation much worse. We can’t just get out-of-town because the federal law is valid in all states and territories and also pushed on foreign governments as well, such as Columbia and Mexico. Violence and corruption are epic in those countries that are part of the supply line in America’s hunger for marijuana. Mostly I see that prohibition is ignored and unwelcome by marijuana users, but for those unlucky few that catch the eye of authorities, the punishment is horrible, hateful and unjustified.
The biggest problem I have with prohibitionists is the adamant insistence that the only places for us in society are unemployed, homeless, in jail or forced into rehab to correct our errant behavior. Any resistance to that must be met with the force of law, up to and including a lethal response. It can’t be that there is not enough room in this country for people like me. I am an American and it’s my country too.
Nick Gillespie from Reason wrote an article in Time titled “What is so bad about casual drug use” . The article is an excellent read that exposes the hypocrisy and dishonesty involved in the war against drugs. That led to a very spirited discussion section where one of the respondents, Mike Parent who is a member of LEAP, joined in on the conversation offering many links to information about the lies used to fuel marijuana prohibition. I found this quote from William F Buckley interesting,
“Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy … and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’ … fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others. … The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.”
– William F. Buckley,
Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495
Lately I have been saddened by the division in our Nation. I think it has always bothered me that we have a long history of division. Like when we hated on the Indians and all but annihilated them and enslaved a portion of our society that was predominately black and further punished them with segregation and Jim Crow laws, but I had hoped we had left some of that behind. The most obvious division today is among the Haves and the Have Not’s and between those who want more government control and those who do not. Those we have elected to lead us have been putting on a pretty good show of fighting for the cause of their constituents, yet our government continues on its set course. That course being more control over its people and more information about their lives and more of their money. Obviously they are not content to just control their own citizens, but people all over the world as evidenced by the surveillance of foreigners and the constant intervention in other nations by our government. Should we be in a constant state of war without a defined enemy. The stated enemy is terrorism yet we refuse to acknowledge that it is a war with Islam where the Quran calls for the killing of non-Muslims. We also have the internal and external war on drugs where tens of thousands of people have lost their lives in a struggle to illegally provide the United States with drugs and hundreds of thousands of Americans are imprisoned and lose their property because their drug of choice is not alcohol or tobacco. These things are being used as an excuse to gather information on every citizen in this country and many abroad. Privacy in our communications, information searches, shopping habits and our medical history is gone and all that information along with our location is now available to our government. We have surrendered our individual sovereignty for the illusion of safety.
Lets consider some of the implications from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One provision is the smokers have been accessed a $3000 penalty or premium increase that cannot be subsidized with tax money. That $3000 is just an arbitrary number. What if it increases to $6000 or more and how hard would it be to say that anyone who uses an illegal drug should be charged more. You could always just not tell them but likely medical exams in the future will include toxicology exams since the government is picking up the tab. Laser powered molecular scanners will very likely find their way into medical diagnostics and drug use will be obvious, both legal and illegal. If you do not report your drug use you will be guilty of felony fraud.
The use of the Internal Revenue Service as the enforcement arm of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is also troublesome. Does anyone remember the abuse of power about awarding or withholding tax-free status to groups and individuals along party lines. The Internal Revenue Service has always been used by our elected leaders to reward those in their favor and punish those who are not. It is also being used to divide our nation. We are split between the Haves and the Have Not’s where according to CNN Money, 10% of the people pay 70% of all income taxes. Randi Rhodes once told me that it wouldn’t do any good to tax the poor because it is like squeezing blood from a turnip but I disagree. Those who do not pay income taxes ( about 47%) don’t have any skin in the game and they can vote for whatever benefits they want from government and not have to worry about how it is paid for. When we authorize our government to take away from a few to supplement others it is theft, even if it is backed by the rule of law. If everyone pays, then we could find the level of government benefits that we can agree on and pay as we go. This astronomical national debt thing has to stop if we are to leave any kind of decent future for our children and grand children.
If America wants to turn this around, it can be done, but we have to act in unison. Stop voting for lifetime politicians. Their allegiance is not to you but too their party. Demand term limits and run for office if you are dissatisfied with the selection of candidates. We need more ordinary citizens in office. Above all watch those that take office and let them know what you expect from them. Silence is seen as approval.
The present trend in the legalization of marijuana would seem to indicate that the Feds are losing the war against marijuana. With two states legalizing the drug for recreational purposes and twenty states, plus our nations Capitol, legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes and the latest Gallup poll now showing 58% of Americans favor legalization you would think so. But I am not so sure. I still think the Feds have a few cards up their sleeves. Recently Reason Magazine reported that the NSA has been sharing information with local and federal law enforcement about illegal drug activity obtained through their advanced surveillance of our internet and phone usage and then telling the law enforcement authorities not to reveal the source. This alone is disturbing, but those we elected to protect our freedom through legislation don’t seem to believe we have the right to be left alone and have any privacy and there has been very little public outcry about it. Like I have said before, they view silence as approval and that only makes them more bold. There has not been much in the news about the new laser powered molecular scanners that can tell what you had for breakfast from 50 meters away but I am sure they are being improved and made more portable. Now the IRS will have access to all of our medical records because of the affordable health care act. Privacy is becoming a thing of the past and those we have elected to represent us increasingly see everyday Americans as a threat. Remember how the Department of Homeland Security has been stockpiling ammunition. I am not sure what the intentions of this administration are but so far they seem to tell us one thing and then do another, like when President Obama said that he would leave medical marijuana alone and then escalated the raids on state legal distributors. Soon the government may have what they need to enforce the war on drugs successfully but I don’t know if people will tolerate that level of oppression. I do know that the government has a long memory and they are not very forgiving. The Gallup poll showing 58% approval of legalization does give me hope though. No matter how much the Feds want to control our lives, they still have to get re-elected.
As the House of Representatives votes to de-fund Obamacare, with a bill that would fund the government by raising the debt limit to prevent a government shut down, the Senate and the President have vowed that the bill is dead with no chance of passing. Both Democrats and Republicans are locked in a struggle for a prize that would reward their constituents. That prize being health care, or more importantly who would pay for it. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is actually a huge wealth redistribution scheme. It raises the premiums on those that can afford health insurance to pay for the insurance of those that can’t and will be supplemented with Tax money and money that we had to borrow from the Federal Reserve. The whole problem with the battle is the taking of money. It could be simply called theft by government to give to those less fortunate. And of course while playing the role of the middle man, the associated regulatory bureaucracy, the IRS, will need increased funding in order to pay for expenses associated with running the new government cash eating monster. Why would anyone want to make the IRS bigger and more powerful.?
What we need as a nation is to get our budget under control and stop the process of borrowing 43% of what we spend and begin to pay that money back. The interest on the national debt alone is crippling with an estimated cost of 5 trillion dollars over the next decade. We currently owe $49,000 for every man, woman and child in the United States, or $135,000 per taxpayer in this country and it seems to be accelerating exponentially. The young voters in this country should be screaming at their elected officials to stop this madness that will cripple our future economy with debt we cannot repay. A burden that will be passed to our children and their children. Simply put, we need to pay as we go instead of borrowing the money, even if we have to raise taxes. That gets us to the crux of the problem, who gets the bill. Currently about 50% of Americans don’t pay income tax and some even get money they did not contribute. The people who do not pay taxes are not vested in the system. When those that pay little or nothing start voting benefits for themselves, from the tax revenue of the few that pay the most taxes, it creates hard feelings, stifles innovation, and investment that creates jobs and rightfully so. While I am not a big fan of progressive taxes, lets just skip that part and assume that we should take a higher percentage from those who make more. The poor that can work should not be exempt from some income tax so that they share in the burden of helping those that can’t or won’t. Lets make it a fixed ratio of say, a 2 to 1 ratio or even a 3 to 1 ratio, where the wealthiest taxpayer pays a higher percentage, but all who have income should pay something and get rid of special interest deductions and credits. Then it is no longer the poor stealing from the rich with taxation, and we could raise the tax rates to whatever people were willing to tolerate and pay for what we want from government. We could find the balance that society wants with taxation and government services and it would heal the divide that has split our nation.
I’ve been hearing about jury nullification as a defense against prosecution for marijuana crimes. It is an interesting concept, where the jury just refuses to convict the defendant just because they disagree with the law or because they believe it should not be applied in a particular case. This was used extensively to stop the enforcement of the Fugitive Slave Act before the Civil War and the Volstead Act during the prohibition of alcohol. During prohibition, as many as 60% of the alcohol violations were nullified by juries. With greater than 50% of Americans now believing that marijuana prohibition should end, it is very likely you could get a member of your jury to vote for your acquittal. NJWeedman, Edward Forchion, a New Jersey medical marijuana patient, has used jury nullification as a way to avoid prosecution. Forchion is an outspoken critic of the war on marijuana and has some very good ideas about mounting an effective defense in court against prosecution. He spent 6 months in jail for exercising his freedom of speech when he made commercials that called for an end to marijuana prohibition, yet he still marches on as a warrior in the fight against prohibition.
The states that have moved to legalize marijuana for medicinal or recreational use have also nullified Federal marijuana laws to a certain extent, by stopping the enforcement of those laws by local authorities. It has been an uphill battle where some local law enforcement have refused to honor the will of the voters in their state and enforce Federal marijuana laws anyway. Still progress is being made where a wave of acceptance for medical marijuana has swept the country and over 50% of Americans now believe marijuana prohibition should end, and that it should be regulated and taxed similar to alcohol.
Oath Keepers is an organization of active and former military, police and first responders that have vowed to uphold their oath to support and defend the Constitution of The United States, by refusing to obey unconstitutional orders such as, to disarm the American people, detain Americans as enemy combatants to be held without trial and to conduct warrantless searches. This also is a form of nullification that protects our freedoms and rights that are under attack by the Federal Government. Their motto is “Not On Our Watch”.
When those we elect to lead us, refuse to honor their oath to support and defend the Constitution, the responsibility falls on us to stand together and defend our rights and way of life. Our best defense against this assault on freedom, is to watch those we elect to represent us and hold them accountable by removing them from office when they fail to protect our rights. That system seems to have failed, where our two-party system yields more of the same, regardless of which party is in majority. Our rights of freedom of speech, the right to privacy, the right to be secure in our personal effects, and the right to self-defense are constantly being eroded by our government. Nullification can be a very powerful tool to prevent the loss of freedom if we just refuse to play their game.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is being admonished by MarijuanaPolicy.org with a billboard outside of Mile High Stadium in Denver, CO, urging fans and players to celebrate with a safer alternative to alcohol, according to a story by Tully Corcoran at Fox Sports News. MPP called out Goodell for punishing players who use marijuana which is a safer alternative to alcohol. MPP’s press release included this statement. “For years, the NFL has been punishing players for using marijuana despite the fact that it is far less harmful than alcohol, a substance widely embraced by the league,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project. “The league would never punish a player simply for having a couple beers, so why does it penalize them for using a substance that is less toxic, less addictive, and less likely to contribute to violence? There is also a Change.org petition initiated by MPP and directed at Roger Goodell to change the NFL drug policy
The NFL has warned the Broncos and the Seattle Seahawks that NFL policy about marijuana has not changed, “Its Legal” will not be a valid excuse. Sadly the NFL is facing another problem with lawsuits brought against them because of concussions brought on by head trauma. Ironically marijuana may end up being a key tool to prevent permanent brain damage associated with head trauma.
It is a shame that the MPP’s ad at the Brickyard 500 race in Indianapolis, IN was pulled due to pressure from the Drug Free America Foundation. MPP needs our support in its publicity campaign, to gain acceptance for users of marijuana. These ads are not cheap, but I believe they are a vital tool to reach people who would not ordinarily listen to arguments about legalization and acceptance of marijuana in society, and what could be a better place to do that than sporting events where alcohol is advertised or served.
The history of George Cassidy’s bootlegging operation in the House of Representatives and The U.S. Senate are chronicled by Green Hat Gin where 4 out of 5 members of Congress ignored the Volstead Act, and purchased illegal alcohol for their own consumption in the Halls of Congress. George Cassidy even had an office in the basement of the Cannon House Office Building for 5 years until Capital Police caught him bringing illegal liquor into the Cannon House Office Building. He was never prosecuted for the crime but simply moved his office to the Russell Senate Office Building and continued his bootlegging business for another 5 years. Then as now Congress holds itself above the law while holding us accountable to their dictate.
Congress is exempt from a number of Federal laws protecting employee rights such as whistleblower protections, protections from retaliation, and compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act among others.
“The House I live In” is a documentary about the war on drugs, from producers, Danny Glover, Brad Pitt, John Legend, and Russell Simmons and directed by Eugene Jarecki. It is a very informative, critical and honest assessment of the drug problem in America and shows different aspects of the war on drugs from a variety of viewpoints. This is a must see for anyone wanting to know more about the drug tragedy facing all Americans, especially the poor and people of color.