A good read at the UKCIA News Blog: Stupid, scared of the Daily Mail or corrupt?
Drug law reform activists have a problem, quite a serious problem. One of the assumptions UKCIA was based on, and more importantly groups such as Transform, is that governments make policy based on fact and evidence. Therefore, the logic went, all we really have to do to end prohibition is to promote a factual examination of the situation, look at the cost-benefits of prohibition compared to other possibilities and the truth would out. […]
What is far, far worse however is that it doesnâ€™t matter which party is in power, the situation is always exactly the same. Itâ€™s not just that all governments are sympathetic to and promote the claims of the prohibition lobby â€“ that would be bad enough â€“ but increasingly they are unwilling to listen to anybody who suggests another way. Whatever the evidence presented or who presents it, or no matter what the suggestions for changes may be, the government will carry on doing what itâ€™s doing come hell or high water. […]
This can only be due to one of two things: Either governments are composed of utter idiots, or they are corrupt and following an agenda for some unstated reason. Can it really be that the government is made up of total idiots? Sadly, thatâ€™s unlikely.
Of course, they’re talking about the UK government, but the same is surely true here.
The positions of the government defy science, defy logic, and even defy political expediency (if you’re talking about votes). There are already people talking about the number of votes Obama is likely to lose from the latest nonsense, for example. And yet the position is so firm, it’s like a religious belief.
So why? Obviously it’s corruption–money and power. But is it one driving force or many? Is it the pharmaceutical industry, pressure from law enforcement, the lobbying of private prisons and drug testing industries, the need to have a drug war in place to control and infiltrate foreign countries, the desire to marginalize a sector of the population?
I’m not a conspiracy nut–it’s too hard for government to be competent enough to arrange a complex conspiracy. However, you know there have to have been some discussions about drug policy at very high levels, about keeping prohibition in place in order to protect the interests of… X.
I also know that there are a lot of people who work in government who may not be thrilled with what’s going on around them, and are willing to do something about it.
So… who’s got the memo? The audio recording? The smoking gun? Shouldn’t there be one out there?
Remember, exposing corruption in government is not wrong (despite those in government who would love for you to believe that and will try to make your life hell). It is, in fact, a patriotic duty.
Update: Good discussion in comments, as usual. And no, I’m not getting cynical — just exploring ideas. I also agree with Duncan that a perfectly viable option was omitted: corrupt blithering idiots.
While the route of conspiracy may seem unlikely for you. Keep in mind that many of these things are out in the open. We have the pharmaceutical industry, alcohol, DEA, local police, FBI, DEA offices in some 80 countries, and religious zealotry. There need be no conspiracy, it’s all out in the open anyway. Just because they don’t hide their intentions doesn’t mean that it isn’t a conspiracy.
Conspiracy definitions #5: any concurrence in action; combination in bringing about a given result.
Sorry, Pete, but Occam’s Razor cuts pretty straight to the bone on this one. Corruption. Institutionalized corruption.
Who does not want to see re-legalized drugs? Banks, for one. Takes away all those unearned, fabulously huge profits from money laundering. From the banks, it’s all downhill, but it starts with them. And banks practically are governments, powers unto themselves.
Governments have to come begging to them, hat-in-hand, to continue running. Needless to say, banks have their own agendas when it comes to legislation…and they usually get what they want. And the number one item on that agenda is maintaining profit margins…profit margins underpinned by illicit drug money.
* Not realizing that prohibition is morally, socially and financially unsustainable surely makes them all appear stupid.
* Slowly awakening to the reality of what they’ve actually become a part of must definitely be starting to worry many of them.
Many? I think not! A few? Perhaps.
I don’t know who “X” is, but I believe the following quote provides a clue:
â€œThe demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction or parole standards and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them. Legislation has been proposed in numerous jurisdictions that could lower minimum sentences for some non-violent crimes and make more inmates eligible for early release based on good behavior.â€ â€“ Corrections Corporation of America 2010 Annual Report
Certain Drug Prohibition, as entrenched as it is, ironically is a house of cards.
Prohibitionists literally cannot sustain a single point in their favor.
All it takes is a mainstream spotlight (with the beloved newsworthy angle) to sufficiently expose the complete lack of prohibitionist credibility to the point where the people in power put their credibility at serious risk by supporting such prohibition.
There is really only one goal in our movement. Expose the lack of credibility.
There are two groups who need that lack of credibility exposed — the prohibitionists and the members of the mainstream media who unethically support them.
Our tools include the whole truth and the most advanced communications system humanity has ever experienced.
Watch it! The government knows where you live, and espousing Assange-like views will get you hunted down like a dog!
What are you really afraid of Ben? That we’ll eventually put your coward ass in a jail cell?
Your ship is sinking, buddy!
After 34 years of waiting, I have to say if Ben’s nonsense were true that they’d be well advised to give up hunting for dogs. They’re simply not competent is that particular endeavor.
I’m not hiding anymore Ben. I’m certainly not scared of the nitwits who are in charge of the epic failure of public policy which we call the war on (some) drugs.
There are many institutions within the private sector that benefit from prohibition. I suspect most are keenly aware of their individual stake in prohibition, as CCA appears to be from the annual report excerpt above. But I doubt representatives of these various institutions get together and discuss overall strategy. They don’t really have to – there is only one strategy: Absolute prohibition today and absolute prohibition tomorrow.
Various actors within government also have incentives to maintain prohibition, and some are required by law to support prohibition (the drug czar, for example, as Pete has noted).
Elected officials who do pay some attention to public sentiment might be looking at it this way right now: Drug policy reform may have some public support, and it is a time to take a hard look at government programs due to budget constraints…
Unemployment is a huge issue. No matter how high the unemployment rate goes, it is still artificially suppressed by America’s outrageous incarceration rate. The people behind bars aren’t counted as unemployed. Upon release, prisoners won’t be applying for unemployment benefits, so they won’t be counted then either. And many who find that their record is too great a hindrance to finding a job will never be counted again.
On top of this, consider the economic ramifications for some communities if prisons were to close. There are towns in Illinois where prisons aren’t merely the biggest local employer – they actually sustain local political power within the state because the prisoners are counted as local residents thereby boosting population numbers.
Again, I don’t think the various benefactors of prohibition discuss this amongst themselves. But they all know where their bread is buttered, so to speak. Therefore they act in a way that can be summarized in another tired but apt metaphor: The foxes are guarding the hen house.
Interestingly (and perhaps hopefully), I think the Occupy Wall Street protests have been based on a similar realization about financial power: The Federal Reserve, Goldman Sachs, Bank of America, etc. are the foxes, while those of us not involved in controlling the money are the hens.
I think people are getting tired of that sort of power imbalance – but it’s tough to change.
Been down that road, Pete. It leads to ultimate cynicism. The forces that are arrayed against us may seem organized and conspiratorial, but it’s really a confluence of different interests. Corrections Corp, the banks, alcohol and pharmaceuticals, even insurance. When you look at the vested interests of all of these individual industries (as well as others I’ve neglected to mention), they all profit in some tangible way from prohibition. It doesn’t take an organized conspiracy, merely a few powerful players whose interests coincide to set policy in this country. Money makes the laws and buys the politicians. For their part politicians are the most spineless, gutless creatures you will ever find, and taking a stand on any topic is the last thing they want to do. There, as I see it, (along with Government’s inertia and it’s self perpetuating nature) is the source of the drag on our efforts. Lots of resistance, but little organization.
I agree – it’s an informal coalition of interests. There is, however, a large degree of coordination. I challenge you to apply for a job in the corporate sector and find ONE employer that doesn’t drug test.
The prohibition machine is pervasive. And, of course, an offense against natural law, U.S. constitutional law, and against human dignity. It’s evil masquerading as good. It’s supported by reactionary dominionists who fear the future and try to force everyone into their grey unimaginative world. Its downstream effects are ALL bad: it makes the police into racketeers; furthers oppression of minorities ( I mean, it IS an oppressive regime); creates violent criminal markets; corrupts governments and other institutions such as banks; and destroys respect for government since the government must LIE to justify their corrupt prohibition regime.
What kind of government criminalizes virtually all its founders? Answer that and you’ve found a big part of what ails America.
The Founding Fathers were criminals by choice, nobody criminalized them. The American way and tradition of bringing about social change is accomplished by breaking the law until it changes. Americans simply do not countenance unjust laws, and have not since day 1.
Good point – the founders are a v. good example of principled civil disobedience. What I meant was that almost all the founders grew hemp and are therefore criminals according to the current oppressive usurper regime, counter-revolutionary traitors to the Republic.
The problem isn’t that so few have so much.The problem is that they influence our lawmakers to write laws that benefit them.Which does’nt bode well for weedapeople.
” Is it the pharmaceutical industry, pressure from law enforcement, the lobbying of private prisons and drug testing industries, the need to have a drug war in place to control and infiltrate foreign countries, the desire to marginalize a sector of the population?”
I believe it is all of those things, and that’s why it has lasted for so long. You can’t just get rid of one of the above, you have to tackle them all simultaneously.
Pete, you need to sit down here on the couch and take a toke or two. It is, after all, your couch. And you’re taking on a giant task. Changing the world may be vital and the right thing to do, but if you’re a results-oriented person, it can grind you down.
We’ve had successes- but not the ultimate victory that we want. We’re right though, and if truth indeed prevails, then we will succeed. If not us, then others who come behind. Because as much as they dissemble there is truth out there and those who will seek it and THAT won’t stop.
Think about being on the other end of this fight…it must be worse. To have to lie constantly to keep your job, all the while knowing that you are losing incrementally. Having to try to fight airtight logical arguments with long disproved rhetoric. Knowing that if you fail, your life’s work, as grounded in lies as it is, will not just vanish, but be reviled for ever more…It would be a scary place to live, psychologically. Humans don’t operate well under such circumstances. We tend to react badly to cognitive dissonance of that order. And to LIVE that dissonance…wow. It is no wonder to me they create these “John Walters” types. He didn’t really start out that way, you know, that was a response, and I’d bet my degree on it.
We’re the happier lot, Pete.
dc – it’s not the cognitive dissonance-sufferers I fear – they can reach a breakthrough. It;s the ones who KNOW the evil they do but do it anyway.
Top leadership at the DEA, for example. Milking it. Fucking disgraceful.
Divadab, what’re you up to Wed.? Game for coffee in the AM? I’ll likely be at the “Woods” downtown 10:30ish….
I’m easy to spot, wearing a DWRant hat and all…
sounds good. look out for tall cargo pants beard.
False dilemma. I vote in favor of the blithering idiot theory, unlikely or not. I also vote in favor of the theory of extreme corruption. The two theories are in no way mutually exclusive.
I’ll say it again. We need to install our (currently) elected officials by involuntary conscription, with anyone who actually wants the job excluded from consideration. Yes, yes it would require some significant effort to figure out how to exclude such people. Certainly they would lie in order to get into power, as would quite a large percentage of those who don’t want to be involved would lie to get out of the draft. It would also be rather ludicrous that people would seek political asylum in other countries because they don’t want to be politicians. But we’re talking about the future of our children. Doesn’t anyone care about the children? Mamas don’t let your children grow up to be politicians, indeed.
The people in govt that have the info to expose their corruption are a bunch of nerdy dingus` that are all chucked full of blind faith towards the govt. or they can`t believe an honest? organization such as our corrupt govt could be involved in such a plot. This is why you could be top qualified in any field and not be hired because of metabolites. Heil Obama.
If you are in congress and a lobbyist for the lumber industry visits your office,offering election funds and support in your campaign,,they do not offer you funds to prevent marijuana from being legalized,that would be too obvious,they tell you in order to qualify you must vote down any efforts to legalize drugs and support any legislation that helps America become “drug free”.
Your congressman,eager for the cash and not wanting to be known as soft on crime,signs on,,bingo,cannabis is blocked by an election donation of 100k and your government spends 16 billion a year for the ONDCP budget too meet their campaign promises.
We’ve tread this ground before. I don’t believe there’s any sinister conspiracy behind the maintenance of prohibition, nor is vested interests the primary factor keeping it going. Instead, it’s pretty mundane.
The War on Drugs, language notwithstanding, is a war on behavior i.e. stopping a person from opting to consume a ‘drug’ (psychoactive substance) on their own initiative for fun or other non-medical reasons. Deliberate behavior is shaped by beliefs so a war on behavior is primarily carried out by targeting beliefs. And hence the main weapon in the multi-decade-long WoD has been propaganda about the drugs and the people who use them. This propaganda has been severe enough that society takes for granted the “justness” of locking up a person for years for merely possessing some amount of a drug.
This propaganda is still pretty potent. There’s one drug which buckles the trend, and one drug only viz. cannabis. And that’s solely because of familiarity and a increasing comfort with its presence. Hence the seeming viability of arguments based on enforcement costs vs. legalized tax revenue and so on etc. Public surveys show 40%+ support for pot legalization, but at the same time, show single-digit or low double-digit support for legalization of any other drug. A cost/benefit analysis is an endeavour undertaken by cool heads. But when the the propaganda still holds – by and large – then there aren’t many cool heads to heed the call. Doesn’t matter what the politicians privately believe about drugs. It’s about what they believe the public believes about drugs (and drugs equals not only cannabis).
Additionally, a complicating factor also exists i.e. having committed itself to a prohibition regime for decades, politicians won’t be pleased about admitting that the country has been unjustly locking up people for so long. Especially when the polity prides itself on its moral righteousness.
I was thinking about that decades old wall of propaganda today… it’s a big wall.
One aspect that gets under attention are the roots of this Prohibition II. The point is moot whether cannabis is any of the things either side says it is – good, bad or indifferent. The laws were rotten from the git-go and their rotten to the end. Because they are fraudulent in foundation they are fraudulent in practice and disastrous in result.
To paraphrase a very gay pothead I know, if a bunch of gay men can get pissed off enough to back down the NYPD what’s wrong with the potheads? Of course the question was always followed with a rolling of the eyes and a baleful declaration of oh yeah, they’re potheads…
If gardening or smoking is a crime then seize the vegies and shoot the smokers!
We may not have suffered the terrible wrongs of other minorities but we have had our share… I’d start with Peter McWilliams and Todd McCormick. Peter because they killed him and Todd because jailing a man – who has suffered his entire life – in a place like Terminal Island FCI is cruelty. Torturous probably… I’ve never met the man to ask. His mom Anne(?) popped into the DrugSense chatroom from time to time and she certainly wasn’t a happy mother about her son’s situation.
The planting of pot by those cops in Atlanta on Katherine Johnston (after they’d shot her no less), the shooting of Patrick Dorismond who was saying “no”… the murder of Donald Scott… the millions of arrestees… and the damage done to the Constitution is treasonous.
As many have said before, this isn’t about pot… it’s about the truth and the dignity of free humanity.
Marijuana Legalization Receives 50 Percent Support In New Poll
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 6-9, 2011, with a random sample of 1,005 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is Â±4 percentage points.
Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each sample includes a minimum quota of 400 cell phone respondents and 600 landline respondents per 1,000 national adults, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents by region. Landline telephone numbers are chosen at random among listed telephone numbers. Cell phone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.
“And hence the main weapon in the multi-decade-long WoD has been propaganda about the drugs and the people who use them.”
I often think “Why can’t We the People give it right back to them”.
As in, they hold a press conference – we hold a press conference. They stage a wrong-door raid – we hold a press conference. They kill a little girl and lie to cover it up – we hold a press conference. They plant drugs in order to meet arrest quotas – we hold a press conference.
If only the press were interested. Sometimes I feel like the MSM has been bought and paid for by the DEA, they parrot anything the death merchants say.
If the feds are willing to threaten the newspapers and radio stations in CA,,they can do the same in NY.
MSM only reports what their corporate bosses tell them they should,and failure to put out our drug warrior’s public service announcements could result in difficulty in getting your federal license to broadcast.
In the 70’s,when the hippies were marching on DC,support was at 14% and you can see how scared the establishment was of that 14% then.
If you look at the bottom of the chart you will notice that support in the age bracket that attended those marches are at 31%,more than double since then.
Either my generation has mellowed on reefer madness(unlikely) or,,,,,the people using marijuana then and that have continued using are outliving their str8 peers. “we told you so,,nah-nah-na-na-nah
Clay, what is your age group? Just give a range. I am 55-60. I have favoured legalisation for over 40 years. Tired of waiting for the idiots to catch on. It won’t happen in my lifetime.
yes it will..I expect to plant marijuana in my yard before I die,without worrying about terrorists kicking my door in and shooting my chihuahua.
62,,so my age peers are 49% support,,,so that means if one more kid tells me the old people are holding them back,,I will beat them with my walker.
My 93 year old cousin and her friends all support an end to prohibition. They all lived thru the first prohibition, tho they were very young, and I suspect they do NOT have good memories from that time and are more sympathetic to our cause because of that.
I am 67 and all my close friends also support an end to prohibition, tho that is likely due to my almost constant talking about the problems with prohibition when we are together.
When governments created the huge profit on drugs they also created a drug industrial complex where countless legit businesses and careers are maintained by Prohibition.
Police, prisons, lawyers, judges, politicians, consultants, government public health officials, doctors, drug researchers, treatment professionals, journalism, the entertainment industry, TV, radio, religious organizations, pharmaceutical companies … they all benefit. Anyone threatening the comfortable status quo is up against the problems Machiavelli wrote about.
In reality, however, I believe that the structural changes to these institutions after Prohibition will be a lot less upsetting that most of these interested parties expect. Everyone just likes the comfortable life without much upheaval of established truths and ways of doing things.