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Tipping point?

At Salon: A Tipping Point is Happening – an interview with filmmaker Eugene Jarecki

We became an enormous world power, and we’ve handled that power questionably, and ultimately, I would argue, to our own detriment. And certainly to the detriment of people who don’t benefit from the industrial system. And this [the drug war] might be one of the most pressing, and sort of inspiring, areas as a possibility for real reform. Whether we’re going to continue the kind of state-following and fear-mongering that we have had since the end of the Cold War, where we almost needed a new enemy, so into that pipeline we put the drug dealer and drug user.

Could we step back and say, there must be a better way for us to lead the world? Morally, spiritually and otherwise. We are now in many ways a laughing stock for the rest of the world due to the enormity of our prison population. We have outpaced every totalitarian country in the world. Not only proportionally, but in real numbers. China has five times the population, but it has a smaller prison population. So it seems to me that the moral bankruptcy of the war on drugs would be something that really should be a central topic of these upcoming elections.

Of course, it isn't a central topic of the upcoming elections.

Sure, it's done better than perhaps it ever has — particularly in the Republican debates — in terms of visibility, and we do have a number of state-wide votes of significance in the drug war, but it's still not anywhere near an “election topic.”

In particular, if you look at the partisan liberal and conservative websites and blogs, you find almost no mention of drug policy (it's all about attacking the other guy, and drug policy doesn't really fit since both sides are terrible).

This just makes it all the more important to find a way to get Gary Johnson into the debates.

 

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53 comments to Tipping point?

  • claygooding

    Unless we get Johnson/Gray in the televised debates the Dems and Reps will never mention this issue,,and it could be fought on several fronts,,as an economical issue while congress is debating cutting funding for social services instead of cutting failed policies,,as a racial issue and the wosd being the new Jim Crow law,,as a civil liberties eating machine with totalitarianism as it’s ultimate ending,,as a medical issue that congress is failing to address until we make them.

    • Yes Clay, all that COULD and SHOULD occur, but it will not. How can anything that represents some modicom of intelligence be addressd when we are busy squabbling over whether or not Romney ran Bain Capital at the same time he ran the Olympics. Both sides are doing an awesome job of diverting a confused and blissfully unaware poulation away from what matters. Hell, hardly anyone seems aware or concerned that we are going over a fiscal cliff as early as the first quarter of 2013. A cliff that will change America in a fundamental way that will be difficult to deal with. Out of this chaos the economic picture you paint may come to pass if for no other reason than the loss of ability by the government to wage a drug war…time will tell my friend.

      • claygooding

        Scooby,,67 and 68,Americal,,if J/G get the 16% it will be impossible for the candidates to ignore this issue,with the questions opened up to the debate organizers just by them being there.
        And it doesn’t take much more to get them there so instead of admitting defeat why not try and push for J/G support,at least in the polls,,so that it does happen?

        • Clay,
          My comment in NO way admits defeat. I have been a anti-prohibition warrior for a long time and will continue – NO MATTER WHAT – However, what I am trying to point out is that there are things about to occur that may make a lot of this lesiglation a moot point.

    • War Vet

      Isn’t our war and economy a political talking point? The war on drugs created drug prohibition and drug prohibition creates illegal drug money and illegal drug money financed 9/11, terrorism and insurgencies. Because drugs are illegal, American troops went to Iraq . . . America spends well over $300 million a day on drug prohibition –most of our war on drugs money goes to Iraq and Afghanistan –supplying our military to fight against drug money. Because drugs are illegal 9/11 happened. Because drugs are illegal, we will have spent over $3trillion dollars on the war on terror (Brown University, NY Times), which helped create our current economic situation. Drug legalization has really nothing to do with people’s right to use drugs without fear of arrest –drug legalization is about making sure someone doesn’t lose their legs in Afghanistan or airplanes don’t crash into American buildings. As we all have read, the War on Drugs is why we call Russia –Russia and not the Soviet Union . . . the war on drugs made them lose all their satellites and states in the name of going bankrupt from their 9yr War in Afghanistan.

  • You are quite correct, it should be a major topic in the elections as it directly equates to the freedoms that the new totalitarian regime allows us to have. The fact that this issue is not addressed, not only for it’s own merit but for how it destroys constitutionly give rights for American citizens, forces me to both despise and not support this government and the foot lackey’s that enforce the oppresive laws it passes. I served in the military in the mid seventies and early eightes. I was proud to serve then. I can tell you unequivocally that I would not lift a leg to piss on the government that represents this country today. A bit of a rant….yeah your dammn right!

    • Windy

      I only have one tiny nit to pick with your comment, Scooby.
      “constitutionly give[n] rights for American citizens” should have more properly read “Constitutionally PROTECTED rights for American citizens”, since the Constitution did not “give” those rights, it only recognized the natural rights that are part of every human being’s birthright and admonished the fed gov to protect those unalienable (cannot be lawfully removed) rights. This is an important point that too many Americans overlook or ignore.

  • ezrydn

    Scooby,

    65-66, Nam here. “Welcome Home,” Bro’, and a “DITTO” on your comment.

    • Thanks Ezrydn, For the ditto. I did not serve in Nam because of my age…joined shortly after the “evacuation” of Saigon. Hats off to you Bro and all who served in that difficult time. Man, when I think back to the social movements of that time due to both the war and a developing police state…….I now shake my head in amazement in what we find in society today. The government has done a great job of dumbing down and confusing the population…not to mention all the free shit they can get….2013 will bring an upheaval the likes of what we have never seen….wish you well….Oh! don’t let me forget to mention the music from the Vietnam era !!

  • claygooding

    Latin America Wants Drug Peace; Washington Demands More War

    http://tinyurl.com/6pkpkzf

    “”The Drug War is over. The U.S. government hasn’t stopped arresting people for using pot and other illicit substances. But no one seriously believes Washington is going to “win,” whatever that means. The Drug War is on autopilot, with American politicians afraid to admit the obvious.”” ‘snip’

    “The U.S. government should stop treating a moral and health problem — drug use — as a matter for the criminal law. Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol. Prohibition isn’t working for drugs. Rather than insisting that other nations continue to follow its foolish lead, Washington should follow the lead of other countries in ending the failed War on Drugs.” “snipped”

    Another article for the Sabet and Evan’s crowd could/will/should counter,,no comments allowed at their response,of course.

    • Autopilot or not the drug war will not be over for me until:
      1) All nonviolent offenders are released from prison.
      2) ALL DRUGS are commercially available for sale to people over the age of 21…for to have any one drug remain illegal is to have a continuation of cartels, street gangs and corner dealers who do not worry about selling to children.
      3) An apology by the US government to it’s citizens for both a war waged against them and the constitution.
      4) The complete dismantaling of the DEA and all it’s counterparts and criminal charges including reparations brought against those who abused their power against fellow citizens.
      4) All taxpayer funds that are used for enforcement are diverted to treatment and education.
      5) LAST but not least, the freedom for a citizen over 21 to indulge in the substance of their choice – IN THEIR OWN HOMES – without worrying about a paramilitaty unit breaking through the front door

      • Cliff

        I’m tired of being considered a criminal in my own country because I choose to exercise control over my own biological processes, my own perception of reality and my own consciouness. Other than the use of my God given medication, I have played by the rules, served my country, got an education, treated people like I wanted to be treated, worked hard and paid my taxes.

        I’ve worked my ass off to get what little I have, probably harder than someone who did it with clean urine, because I always have to do it better and faster without bitching and calling attention to myself. I have over 50 years on this planet and for the better part of 3 decades I have been gainfully employed with unauthorized metabolytes in my urine. One time I held a job in the same company for 15 years and right now I have worked for same 2 companies (2 companies because you can’t make it on 1 job anymore) for over 5 years.

        I’ve smoothed things over with irritated clients, won contracts, worked extra off the clock to do things right and come in under budget. I’ve scrubbed toilets, mopped floors, cleaned up people’s shit, piss, blood and vomit, written reports, drafted, measured, surveyed, inspected, analyzed and computed and I found the value of doing a good job, right the first time, and giving my boss his money’s worth.

        However, due to the federal government’s war on some drugs, to most employers, because I have unauthorized metabolytes in my urine, I’m somehow unfit and too damaged to be able to hold a job or be allowed to freely pursue any job of my choice for which I’m qualified.

        By now, the whole thing has become very tiresome, but I’m too invested to give up. Therefore, nothing less than the complete and total legalization and reasonable regulation of my and others medication(s) of choice will indicate anything coming close to a victory. God give me the strength to see this through.

        • amen to that Cliff… that microscopic particulates matter more in employment than all the things a quality worker brings to and accomplishes at a job is literally nuts. Shameful, un and anti American, a violation of human dignity and individual sovereignty…

          And ya know, a lot of folks will be paying more attention to what the Kardashians are doing than will notice when the upcoming economic and environmental fireworks arrive… interesting times.

    • TieHash

      I hate the “moral” problem language. Alcohol is the most immoral drug ( as it leads to violence and fornication .) The moral problem is the ruination of millions of lives through arrest and criminalization.

  • darkcycle

    New formulations of Oxycontin not solving the problem of opioid abuse…duh: http://tinyurl.com/7n3xny8

    • darkcycle

      Shocked I tell you. I’m flabbergasted. I thought addiction was a thing of the past….
      Sorry to lapse again, but…WHAT A PASSEL OF ASSHOLES.

      • they have a pill… for everything. When I saw that they were working on a pill for folks with shopping compulsions a few years back, I knew all was curable thanks to big pharma.

        A pill for all occasions, kinda like a druggie Hallmark store… pill of the month… 2013 Pin-up Pill Calendar…

    • Isn’t their level of stupidity simply astounding?

  • Outlier

    As someone who really respects Gary Johnson and will probably vote for him, I don’t think trying to get him into the debates is achievable or worthwhile. You need 15% consistently in polls to get there and he’s not a Ross Perot with millions of dollars to do that. It’d be much better if we focus on winning all the initiatives on the ballot this November which will force the issue to the federal level when the new congress comes in and the presidency is decided. Debates do very little to change people’s minds on this issue, and the format likely wouldn’t even let Gary call out Obama for his bullshit on the issue.

    • Well, because Gary Johnson’s biggest threat is in the swing States he has the capability to change the entire complexion of the Presidential race win or lose. Large portions of the electorate are undecided and unhappy with the choice over which Corporations they want to support – Republican or Democrat.

      I don’t think it will be ignored and I don’t think the debate format can silence things, so I just can’t see it not making a big impact. The initiatives will move along anyways.

      Business as usual is not the prescription for this election.

    • Francis

      I’m certainly not ready to predict that Gary Johnson’s campaign will catch fire, but I think you’re underestimating his chances to have a substantial impact on the election. Here are the main reasons I’m cautiously optimistic:
      1. It is still very early. Most “normal” people haven’t really begun paying attention to the presidential campaign yet. That will start changing soon.
      2. The Ron Paul factor is huge. There’s a massive amount of energy behind the Ron Paul movement that is still tied up in his campaign. After Tampa (assuming no miracles), that energy will be looking for a place to go. Gary Johnson’s campaign could be a natural outlet. (I’m still holding out hope that Ron Paul will formally endorse Johnson following the convention.)
      3. My sense is that there’s an enormous segment of the electorate that is deeply dissatisfied with the “choice” offered by Obamney. Look at the record number of voters who are refusing to self-identify as either Republicans or Democrats. If ever there were a year for a third-party candidate to break out, it seems like this should be that year.
      4. Potential for a positive feedback loop. This is somewhat related to point no. 1. Gary Johnson’s biggest liability is that relatively few people know who he is or what he stands for. If you asked 100 voters to name the Libertarian Party’s 2012 presidential candidate, how many of them could do it? Ten? Fifteen? As people begin to pay more attention to the campaign, Johnson’s visibility and name recognition should increase. That should translate into higher poll numbers leading to even more visibility, etc. Crossing the threshold to get into the debates is simply one important “tipping point” in that larger process.
      5. Gary Johnson himself. The guy is impressive. People are calling him the “most credible Libertarian Party presidential nominee” we’ve ever had. I’d say he’s the most credible nominee of any party that we’ve had in a very, very long time.
      6. YOU. If you really think his candidacy is worth supporting, don’t just hope it catches fire. Do something to help it catch fire. Get involved!

      • Cliff

        Gary Johnson is the real deal. His record in New Mexico speaks for itself. He was a Republican in a heavily Democratic state and was able to get things done. I would love to see him tear into the 2 wings of the Republocratic party in the debates, call them out and hold their feet to the fire.

      • Windy

        I’m a Ron Paul voter. If the possibility of Romney getting charged with a felony (and having to abandon his candidacy leaving Ron Paul to get the nomination) doesn’t occur, then I would vote for Johnson, even tho he isn’t half the reformer Ron Paul would be (his foreign policy leaves a great deal to be desired, he doesn’t have the best economic plan like Ron Paul does [does Gary even have a plan?], and he only wants to legalize cannabis). He’s better than Obama or Romney, but only a little better.

  • “We have outpaced every totalitarian country in the world. Not only proportionally, but in real numbers.” -filmmaker Eugene Jarecki

    I can’t think of anything more patriotic right now than sitting here on Peter’s couch and pondering how to restore Life Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    Nothing has done more to establish the totalitarian results that the US has blindly emulated than the war on drugs and the prohibition of marijuana.

    While I think you will hear more from Obama and the Congress before the debates, I don’t think an adequate solution will be proposed without the balance that Gary Johnson can provide.

    Whats a debate without an opposing side?

    • Peter

      I think that what we’ll hear from the Obama administration, who will pass it off as real change, is the Sabet authored “Third Way,” i.e. business as usual. I expect this was what the so-called “anonymous sources within the campaign” were referring to when they hinted that Obama would tackle the drug war in a future second term. Change we can’t believe in….

  • primus

    I have maintained for a long time that the Republican convention in August will be very interesting. Now, with Romney shooting himself in the foot almost daily, it could be that the conventioneers do something unthinkable and select Ron Paul as their candidate. That is the surest way to get the topic on the debate list, Johnson is too much of a long shot.

    • Cliff

      I understand that the Republican Parties of some states are making some of the delegates sign oaths that they will vote for Romney, under threat of purjury. It seems that the Paulistas used the rules and got some of their own into a few of the caucus states and upended the smooth process of coronating Romney as the Republican candidate. Police were called at a few places, taunts, empty threats and swear words were exchanged I would imagine. Sweet! Here’s hoping that the Republican convention will be entertaining at least.

      • well, the Republican debates were a great start – what’s better than a car full of clowns! That’s gonna be hard to top…

        And Gary Johnson can still publicly kick their asses even if not allowed (again) to join the debates. As the Libertarian candidate for Prez Johnson has virtually any media outlet he chooses to voice his opinion. He otter hire me as a speech writer. I mean think about that (not about him hiring me)… the ability to call Obamney out, harshly in a major outlet is a powerful thing.

        Obama may be the highest risen pot head in history but he’s a hypocrite and needs to admit his coat turning. His administration will operate on the best available science and fact available my ass.

        But the flip side to that is that we have two outstanding drug policy reformers barking at his heels… a rare, unique opportunity. Let’s not waste it. let’s help Gov Johnson and Judge Gray however we may.

        • Cliff

          allan

          I’m totally on board with the Johnson / Gray ticket and can’t wait to see what the local and state Libertarian Party has planned here in Colorado. I will do something to spread the message of liberty among Coloradoans.

          BTW Thanks for the kind words up-thread.

        • Welcome Cliff… we do seem to often run on parallel tracks and we’re both in the same biz, more or less. If my finances improve a bit I’m striking out on my own, window cleaning is profitable bizness, especially if one is good at it, can do the more difficult work and is good w/ people. I’m 3/3. And it keeps me in good shape. At 60 I’d be willing to take Mr. Obama on in a 1 on 1 basketball game – he’d prolly win (much taller) but I’d give him a game. Romney I’d beat hands down.

          It may be a bit weird but one of my major criteria in a prez is that he (or she) be able to throw (and catch) a freaking ball.

          One major point in favor of Johnson/Gray is that they aren’t machine politicians. I’m so ready to have a human being inhabit the WH instead of these… playuhs

  • Servetus

    TALLAHASSEE, Florida (Reuters) – The Florida Supreme Court upheld the state’s controversial drug possession law on Thursday, ruling that defendants must prove that they did not know they were carrying an illegal substance.

    In a 5-2 ruling, the state supreme court upheld a 2002 law which puts the burden of proof on defendants. At least 48 other states require the state to prove that defendants knew the substances they were carrying are illegal.

    http://tinyurl.com/83nl262

    • darkcycle

      Vowed I’d never set foot in Florida or Texas again as long as I live. Took that vow about a decade ago. Good to know I made the right decision. But then, they’re always reminding me why… just in case I forget.

      • darkcycle

        Oh, you kin add Arizona to that list.

        • primus

          I boycotted the entire Hew Hess Hay many years ago. Much safer in SE Asia or Mexico.

        • Windy

          Arizona is one of the few (perhaps the only?) States that recognizes and honors the MMJ licenses of other MMJ States. Personally, I love Arizona, it’s a beautiful State and the climate there suits me just fine, tho I prefer the climate in the Oak Creek Canyon (in which resides Sedona) over the climate of the lowlands. And for reasons other than climate, I’d avoid Tucson and Phoenix at all costs.

  • Cold Blooded

    I’m sure it’s a good film, but Jarecki makes excuses for Obama in interview after interview.

  • Peter

    OT
    Alternet has an article about the role of alcohol as the “real gateway drug,” and the way society has been blinded to this since Anslinger’s day by the arbitrary separation of legal from “illicit” drugs. On a personal level, my path to heroin began with binge drinking at age 14, with cannabis playing no role at all until much later.

    http://tinyurl.com/6pxywxy

  • and totally off topic, but if anyone is into American literature this is worth a visit:

    http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/books-that-shaped-america/

    • Peter

      Thanks for that Allen… I find it interesting but unsurprising that the AA Big Book makes the list of books that shaped America.

    • claygooding

      Catch 22 has always been a favorite of mine and helps when analyzing laws and policies enacted by congress,,it helps to recognize the corporate influence when those policies cannot be fixed once enacted. They become a self feeding cancer just like the wosd.

  • Peter

    More desperate barrel scraping about counterfeit goods and ID theft from Yury Fedotov and UNODC, while carefully omitting the obvious fact that prohibition continues to hand “organized crime” the biggest percentage of their profits.

    http://tinyurl.com/7sgk2db

  • Servetus

    University of Saskatchewan researchers have discovered the chemical pathway that Cannabis Sativa uses to create cannabinoids:

    http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2012-07/uos-uos071612.php

  • Doh!

    U.S. report says HSBC handled Iran, drug money

    -snip-

    The failings and lax controls inside HSBC included an inability to properly monitor $15 billion in bulk cash transactions between mid-2006 and mid-2009, inadequate staffing and high turnover in the bank’s compliance units, the report said.

    HSBC ignored risks in doing business in countries such as Mexico, a country rife with drug trafficking, it said.

    Between 2007 and 2008, HSBC’s Mexican operations moved $7 billion into the bank’s U.S. operations. According to the report, both Mexican and U.S. authorities warned HSBC that the amount of money only could have reached such a level if it was tied to illegal narcotics proceeds.

    -snip-

  • Windy

    Hmm, OR gets TWO ballot measures, one of which would amend the State Constitution:
    http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2012/jul/16/marijuana_initiative_sues_oregon