END THE DRUG WAR!

The following is an article by John Stossel recently featured in the Boston Herald.

“I’m confused. When I walk around busy midtown Manhattan, I often smell marijuana. Despite the crowds, some people smoke weed in public. Usually the police leave them alone, and yet other times they act like a military force engaged in urban combat. This February, cops stormed a Columbia, Mo., home, killed the family dog and terrorized a 7-year-old boy — for what? A tiny quantity of marijuana.

Two years ago, in Prince George’s County, Md., cops raided Cheye Calvo’s home — all because a box of marijuana was randomly shipped to his wife as part of a smuggling operation. Only later did the police learn that Calvo was innocent — and the mayor of that town.

“When this first happened, I assumed it was just a terrible, terrible mistake,” Calvo said. “But the more I looked into it, the more I realized (it was) business as usual that brought the police through our front door. This is just what they do. We just don’t hear about it. The only reason people heard about my story is that I happened to be a clean-cut white mayor.”

Radley Balko of Reason magazine says more than a hundred police SWAT raids are conducted every day. Does the use of illicit drugs really justify the militarization of the police, the violent disregard for our civil liberties and the overpopulation of our prisons? It seems hard to believe.

I understand that people on drugs can do terrible harm — wreck lives and hurt people. But that’s true for alcohol, too. But alcohol prohibition didn’t work. It created Al Capone and organized crime. Now drug prohibition funds nasty Mexican gangs and the Taliban. Is it worth it? I don’t think so.

Everything can be abused, but that doesn’t mean government can stop it, or should try to stop it. Government goes astray when it tries to protect us from ourselves.

Many people fear that if drugs were legal, there would be much more use and abuse. That’s possible, but there is little evidence to support that assumption. In the Netherlands, marijuana has been legal for years. Yet the Dutch are actually less likely to smoke than Americans. Thirty-eight percent of American adolescents have smoked pot, while only 20 percent of Dutch teens have.
One Dutch official told me that “we’ve succeeded in making pot boring.”

By contrast, what good has the drug war done? It’s been 40 years since Richard Nixon declared war on drugs. Since then, government has spent billions and officials keep announcing their “successes.” They are always holding press conferences showing off big drug busts. So it’s not like authorities aren’t trying.

We’ve locked up 2.3 million people, a higher percentage than any other country. That allows China to criticize America’s human-rights record because our prisons are “packed with inmates.”

Yet drugs are still everywhere. The war on drugs wrecks far more lives than drugs do!

Need more proof? Fox News runs stories about Mexican cocaine cartels and marijuana gangs that smuggle drugs into Arizona. Few stop to think that legalization would end the violence. There are no Corona beer smugglers. Beer sellers don’t smuggle. They simply ship their product. Drug laws cause drug crime.

The drug trade moved to Mexico partly because our government funded narcotics police in Colombia and sprayed the growing fields with herbicides. We announced it was a success! We cut way back on the Colombian drug trade.

But so what? All we did was squeeze the balloon. The drug trade moved across the border to Peru, and now it’s moved to Mexico. So the new president of Mexico is squeezing the balloon. Now the trade and the violence are spilling over the border into the United States.

That’s what I call progress. It the kind of progress we don’t need.

Economist Ludwig von Mises wrote: “(O)nce the principle is admitted that it is the duty of the government to protect the individual against his own foolishness … (w)hy not prevent him from reading bad books and bad plays … ? The mischief done by bad ideologies is more pernicious … than that done by narcotic drugs.”

Right on, Ludwig!”- http://www.creators.com/opinion/john-stossel/end-the-drug-war.html

Naturally, because Stossel is writing for corporate thugs, his piece lacks the subversive quality of say a Kevin Booth flick. In other words, he doesn’t cite the Government as Vicious and Evil criminals, like they are. But, nonetheless, he makes some key, fundamental points here and the fact that this matter is being questioned in such Right Wing media as the Herald and Faux News, demonstrates that we are moving forward. Yippie!

Film Review: How Weed Won the West

Full Title: How Weed Won the West
Director: Kevin Booth
Year: 2010
Comments:

Kevin Booth and Sacred Cow strike back with another subversive, anti-government/anti-tyranny documentary, following up on their last, eye opening feature, American Drug War. This “No More Drug War” flick is basically in the same vain as its predescessor, but this time Booth focuses solely on Marijuana (as the title indicates), whereas before he discussed the entire Drug War and most of the various substances involved. He takes us on a journey into the lives of those who are victims of the Drug War and in many instances Political Prisoners. We see how the Federal Government uses unconstitutional (violating states’ rights, warrantless raids on Medical Marijuana Clinics) and highly unethical… Ok flat out evil, means to prevent sick and dying Americans from obtaining a natural substance, weed, to medicate themselves and ease the pain, whilst highly addictive, dangerous, and unatural pharmeceuticals are rigorously pushed on the public by savage, Big Business. Booth truly garners an up close and personal look at how the War affects these people’s lives. I like this doc very much, but it is not flawless and does not share the same appeal as the first film. Don’t get me wrong, you will hear/see some shocking and/or revealing information and images, but not nearly as astonishing as the first film. But, then again that goes with the subject matter: before it was the entire War on Drugs and therefore there was more facts and history to be displayed that most folks, like myself, were unaware of. With this topic of Medicinal Marijuana, there is far less material that makes you see just how sick and disgusting our government is; not to say there isn’t any here, there’s plenty, just not as much and not as mind blowing. Secondly, the arguments are not as concrete as they were in the previous doc; I felt like the film could use slightly more screentime for the definitive reasons why Marijuana needs to be legalized. Also, I don’t know if it is because Kevin could not find as many informative people as before or what, but the film could definitely use more sage voices like Judge Jim Gray. Perhaps he was all booked. Lastly, for me, I hate saying this, but it was too “Pro Pot.” Now, I know that sounds stupid, considering the nature of the topic, but at the same time if you look at ADW ( I know I’m comparing the two way too much!) it was far from Pro-Drug and in fact some felt like it made drugs look bad. I felt like it was a great piece to show naysayers why the Drug War was and is so horribly wrong. I feel like for a film arguing so vehemently for legalization and an end to prohibition, it should not be nearly as enthusiastic about recreational drug use as it was. Clearly, most of the film focused on medicinal use and to keep with the consistent aim of showing how important and necessary it is for Marijuana Prohibition to be curtailed, Pro Pot sentimnents should be kept for another flick. All in all, this is a solid and highly informative work from the gifted, Kevin Booth. He is the man and so is his best friend ;) So, if you liked ADW, you will probably dig this as well and if you haven’t seen it, watch it, watch this, and inform yourself. WAKE UP!

Grade: B