Saturday, July 25, 2015

Late Summer 2015 Part 4

The War on Drugs (in the Millenial Age)

The War on Drugs has been a scourge on society for decades. It has increased the prison industrial complex. Its laws have violated civil liberties. People from across the political spectrum have exposed the War on Drugs as detrimental to community development and social progress. We know that families have been damaged by drug addiction and other issues. There is one big myth going on. That myth is that the War on Drugs existed since Richard Nixon started his modern day war on Drugs in the 1970’s. When we look at the truth, we see that the War on Drugs existed long before the 1970’s. During 1914, the Harrison Narcotics Act was passed. This law regulated and taxed the production, importation, and distribution of opiates and coca products in America federally. It was the first law of its kind in America. Back then, Coke used to have coke for real. There is a loophole where doctors can still prescribe for addicts. Harry Anslinger came about to enforce these laws. Also, there was the hysteria that used racial stereotypes against the Chinese, African-Americans, Latinos and other as a way for reactionaries to harass people who had drug usage or had addiction issues. This was called “Reefer Madness” and other names. During the 1930’s, racist anti-Mexican rhetoric was used by some to try to end marijuana usage in America. Anslinger was the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger used agents to harass Sister Billie Holiday when she suffered addiction and she wasn’t a nefarious criminal. People with addiction need treatment not extensive jail sentences. Under Eisenhower, there was the Boggs Act of 1951 had already established mandatory minimum federal sentences for possession of marijuana, cocaine, and opiates, and a committee led by Senator Price Daniel (D-TX, shown left) called that the federal penalties be increased further, as they were with the Narcotic Control Act of 1956. By 1969, when Richard Nixon came into office, he was obsessed with developing the modern War on Drugs that we witness today.

The Presidency of Richard Nixon modernized the evil War on Drugs. Nixon used Operation Intercept to prevent the import of marijuana from Mexico into America. It dealt with displaying strict, punitive searches of traffic along the U.S.-Mexican border, so a crackdown of marijuana can happen. Civil liberties were violated and it was a foreign policy failure. Nixon passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. This allowed the federal government to act in a more aggressive manner to deal with drug enforcement and drug abuse prevention. In a 1971 speech, Nixon called drug abuse “public enemy number one.” He called for treatment first and pushed for the treatment of drug addicts, especially heroin addicts. Nixon also targeted the trendy, psychedelic image of illegal drugs, asking celebrities such as Elvis Presley to help him send the message that drug abuse is unacceptable. Seven years later, Presley himself fell to drug abuse; toxicologists found as many as fourteen legally prescribed drugs, including narcotics, in his system at the time of his death. Elvis’s passing was an unfortunate tragedy. Before the 1970’s, drug abuse was seen as mostly a social disease by policymakers who wanted to promoted treatment. After the 1970’s, many people wanted to view drug abuse as a law enforcement matter that could be stopped by aggressive criminal policies. The DEA was created in 1973. The DEA stands for the Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA are involved in criminal drug enforcement policies. From 1970 to the present, we see the modern era of the war on drugs. During 1982, Nancy Reagan told kids to just say No if someone offered them drugs. During this time, illegal drug usage among children was a more national issue. She told these words to one fourth grader at Longfellow Elementary School in Oakland, California. Nancy Reagan’s words are representative of Ronald Reagan’s anti-drug message. This caused the administration to promote more aggressive federal anti-drugs legislation. Reagan signed the Antidrug Act of 1986, which established a 100:1 ratio for mandatory minimums associated with cocaine. It would take 5,000 grams of powdered cocaine to land you in prison for a minimum 10 years--but only 50 grams of crack. The deal is that powdered cocaine was used mostly by richer people. Crack cocaine was used heavily by the poor since crack cocaine was more affordable than powered cocaine. Therefore, this law caused unfair sentencing policies against the poor, African Americans, and Latinos. The 1994 Omnibus Crime Bill allows the federal execution of drug kingpins. By the 1990’s, the War on Drugs allowed many drug related offenses to be regarded by the federal government as equivalent to or worse than murder and treason.


A former Colombian politician named Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas was accused of heading the Medellin drug cartel. In the 1980’s, the drug ring was responsible for smuggling 74 percent of the cocaine used in America. He was arrested for drug smuggling in 1987.  Noriega was once aided by the United States. Later, he was overthrown by U.S. forces in 1990. He was accused of drug trafficking, money laundering, and racketeering.  To this day, the Panamanian General Manuel Noriega is in a Miami federal prison. The Colombian drug cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar was killed by police in Medellin in 1993. These events represented an expansion of the War on Drugs. Since Colombia and other places were locations where much of the drugs shipped into America from, America and Colombia collaborate with each other in order to stop drug trafficking in those regions of the world.  The problem is that these wars have been unsuccessful and many of these governments that the U.S. has worked with are blatantly reactionary. The War on Drugs in the 1990’s and during the 21st century has a long history.  Bill Clinton supported Plan Colombia in $1.3 billion in aid to decrease the amount of cocaine produced in Colombia. The aid supports aerial spraying of coca crops with toxic herbicides and also pays for combat helicopter and training for the Colombian military. In 2004, the State Department and the Department of Defense, the DEA announces its involvement in the U.S. Embassy Kabul Counter narcotics Implementation Plan. It was designed to reduce heroin production in Afghanistan, which is the world’s leading opium producer.  In the 21st century, Colombian soldiers readily advance in coca fields after they have been defoliated via plane sprays. Today, we the growth of poppy fields in Afghanistan even after the war on terror started in 2001.  In January of 2006, authorities have announced that they found the longest cross border tunnel in U.S. history. This was the work of what they call a well-organized and well-financed drug smuggling group. The tunnel is a half-mile long that links to a warehouse in Tijuana. In that location, there is about 2 tons of marijuana being seized to a warehouse in America (where 200 pounds of drugs were found).  Another problem with the War on Drugs is that its policies harshly punish nonviolent drug offenders and other people. It violates fundamental human rights. It plain doesn’t work.

The prison industrial complex is blatantly evil as documented by Angela Davis, George Jackson, Michelle Alexander, and other courageous human beings. There are people from across the political spectrum who want to do something about the corruption and injustices found in our prisons nationwide in America including worldwide. For years, the mass incarceration in America has caused America to have the largest apparatus of mass incarceration in human history. In 2013, the U.S. incarceration rate was 716 pr 100,000, which is the highest in the world. About ¼ of all prisoners worldwide are held in American prisons, despite the fact that the U.S. represents just represents just 5 percent of the world’s population. By 2013, the federal prison population had swelled by 15,930 people over the course of the Obama Presidency to 205,700. This is why even the President Barack Obama has talked about criminal justice reform and he granted clemency to 89 prisoners during his time in office, 46 of whom were freed last week. The conditions that prisoners face are deplorable. Mentally ill prisoners and other prisoners face abuse and torture in U.S. prisons. In federal prisons, 61 percent of women and 55 percent of men suffer from at least one mental health problem, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). These rates are even higher in state and local prisons, so that an estimated one in five prisoners in the US has a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia or major depression. The evil practice of solitary confinement occurs against adults and even some children in the prison system.

The United States supports the death penalty which has been banned in most industrialized countries. We have the murder of innocent civilians globally via drone strikes and other forms of military intervention, while many want to portray Western imperialism as virtuous, which is false. Democratic rights are being violated in the prison stem and in the streets of America. Black Americans are more than twice as likely to be unarmed when killed during encounters with police as white people, according to a Guardian investigation, which found 102 of 464 people killed so far this year in incidents with law enforcement officers were not carrying weapons. An analysis of public records, local news reports and Guardian reporting found that 32% of black people killed by police in 2015 were unarmed, as were 25% of Hispanic and Latino people, compared with 15% of white people killed.  The criminal justice system is racist too.  African Americans make up 14 percent of regular drug users, but are 37 percent of those arrested for drug offenses. Federal sentences for black people are 20% longer than whites, even for the same crime.  A study by Professor Devah Pager of the University of Wisconsin found that 17% of white job applicants with criminal records received call backs from employers while only 5% of black job applicants with criminal records received call backs. Race is so prominent in that study that whites with criminal records actually received better treatment than blacks without criminal records.  U.S. Sentencing Commission stated that in the federal system black offenders receive sentences that are 10 percent longer than white offenders for the same crimes. The Sentencing Project reports that African Americans are 21 percent more likely to receive mandatory-minimum sentences than white defendants and are 20 percent more like to be sentenced to prison. An earlier Pennsylvania study found that young white defendants were 38 percent less likely to be sentenced to prison than young black men for similar crimes.


In life, we have to work hard in order for more progress to be made. We have a long way to go, but we will never quit. It is wrong to tell a bootless person to get up by their own bootstrap. It is right to tell people that they deserve living wages, environmental protections, their civil liberties protected, and for their lives to be treated with dignity and with respect.

It’s very clear that the U.S. elites want a strategy of global world hegemony in the world. The U.S. Department of Defense made public on Wednesday its 2015 National Military Strategy. This is a 24 page document that outlines the perspective of the Pentagon for future military operation. It has a chilling reading. “Future conflicts will come more rapidly, last longer, and take place on a much more technically challenging battlefield. They will have increasing implications to the US homeland.” So declares the foreword by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The report singles out four countries as potential targets for US military action: Russia, Iran, North Korea and China. Three of the four possess nuclear weapons, and Russia and China have the second- and third-largest stockpiles, trailing only the United States itself. The Pentagon has discussed about nuclear war threats for a while. One passage of the document says that: “…In the event of an attack, the US military will respond by inflicting damage of such magnitude as to compel the adversary to cease hostilities or render it incapable of further aggression. War against a major adversary would require the full mobilization of all instruments of national power …” We know that the U.S. is competing against Russia and China for world hegemony. The report begins by dividing the world’s nation-states into two categories: “Most states today—led by the United States, its allies, and partners—support the established institutions and processes dedicated to preventing conflict, respecting sovereignty and furthering human rights. Some states, however, are attempting to revise key aspects of the international order and are acting in a manner that threatens our national security interests.” This categorization of countries is ludicrous. The policies of the West readily violate international law like the Geneva Convention, etc.  The U.S. wants to fight against the growth of China via the TPP treaty. The American ruling class is acutely aware that its power is declining relative to rival powers, particularly China, and that US military superiority is itself threatened by the decline in the world economic position of US capitalism and growth of internal social antagonisms, which make it more difficult to sustain overseas military interventions. The document declares, “We support China’s rise and encourage it to become a partner for greater international security,” and then proceeds to outline the US strategy to economically and militarily encircle the country. It states: “[W]e will press forward with the rebalance to the Asia-Pacific region, placing our most advanced capabilities and greater capacity in that vital theater. We will strengthen our alliances with Australia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, the Philippines, and Thailand. We also will deepen our security relationship with India and build upon our partnerships with New Zealand, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Bangladesh.” The report sums up, “Today, the probability of US involvement in interstate war with a major power is assessed to be low but growing. Should one occur, however, the consequences would be immense.” The Pentagon’s agenda is rather clear. That is why we must promote the international working class, so the poor and all people can have social and economic justice.

There is a massive amount of political news in the world today. The Supreme Court made the evil decision of permitting the death penalty to use dangerous drugs. Another decision allowed the lax enforcement of the regulation of air pollution. Also, Chris Christie is running for President now. Christie is known for his brass language and his reactionary agenda. He may present himself as a “moderate,” but he isn’t one. Christie’s record as governor is reactionary. He ended a tunnel project which would have alleviated New Jersey residents’ commutes. New Jersey’s economy has taken a hit since Christie assumed office. The current 6.5 percent unemployment rate in New Jersey is worse than the national average and the state’s long-term unemployed rate is worse than 48 states. In his five years in the governor’s mansion, the state’s credit rating fell nine times, making it the second worst among the states. He reduced the earned income tax credit and vetoed legislation that would raise the minimum wage to $8.50 per hour. Voters approved an increase in November. The Governor has massively cut pensions. He botched some of the funding of Hurricane Sandy. The governor also enacted strict quarantine practices for New Jersey when Ebola fears in the U.S. peaked last fall, raising questions about how he’d handle public health issues as president. Kaci Hickox, a nurse who was being quarantined, became involved in a bitter dispute with Christie over the policy which kept her confined despite the advice of public health experts. His progressive policies include signing the New Jersey DREAM Act to extend in-state tuition at public universities to undocumented students. Also, he doesn’t deny the existence of climate change, but he has not participated in a Northeastern regional plan to cut carbon emissions. Obviously, I don't support Chris Christie for President for many reasons. He once disrespected a black man by calling him a "boy." That's wrong. Now, there is the Obama policy of allowing an Ambassador to come to Cuba and Cuba having an embassy in America. I have no problem with this policy, but Cuba should never be a client Western state. Cuba should have its independence.

By Timothy

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