Thursday, March 5, 2009

The War on Drugs - American Style

Thanks to Patrick, I saw this wonderful video today, which touches on a number of our favorite topics. The script includes this gem, speaking about the war on drugs:

It has led the charge in the dumbing-down of America.

I very much liked the comments of Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts. On Wikipedia he's quoted as having said this about himself:

"I'm used to being in the minority. I'm a left-handed gay Jew. I've never felt, automatically, a member of any majority."

That's enough for me to like him right there, but his common sense ideas about government non-involvement in the lives of the people make perfect sense to me. What do you think? What's his opinion on gun control? I didn't see mention of it in his short Wiki bio, but I'm sure some of our commenters will tell us.

Recently we discussed this prison problem here. I came up with a broad-brush proposal
Here's my three-part plan:

1. White collar criminals get out immediately, but it's not a get-out-of-jail-free card. They'd have to pay heavy fines and submit to severe supervision.

2. Then, we remove all the alcoholics, drug addicts and mentally ill from prisons and give them the mental health care they need.

3. After that we release the 25% least dangerous prisoners, right across the board, under the same conditions as the white collar guys.

With all the savings generated we could afford the proper upkeep of the present facilities including the mental hospitals and make the necessary increases in the probation departments.

Maybe that 25% figure in point 3 could be adjusted up or down to accommodate the statistics in the video. What do you think?

Obama promised to do something about this during his campaign. Do you think he will? Has the new Attorney General shown any indications of making the necessary changes? It seems to me this is a deceptively large issue. With so much focus on the wars and the economic crisis, do you think this very important situation will be overlooked?

Please tell us what you think.


  1. War on Drugs, War on Crime, War on Terrorism.......all examples of the militarism in American culture and politics. we all know that the wealthy do not do time. Just look at that investor billonaire with the Ponzi sheme. he should be doing hard time. crime and punishment in america is a huge and complex issue. Did you know that America is one of the only countries that has made business out of crime. I am talking about the jail bond industry. America is the only OECD country that demands money from the accused before they are sentenced or in jail. I read an interesting article last year on this issue. If I find it, i will pass it on.

  2. Mike- I applaud your plan and it makes great sense. Imagine the added benefit of decriminalizing some drugs like marijuana. That would surely empty many jails and save tax-payers tens of millions of dollars. It would also reduce the influence of the Mexican drug cartel and make our border with Mexico more safe.

    These thoughts and yours are perfectly sensible, but there is a trump card yet to be played that nullifies it all.

    There are some in our society who need to have vengeance and punishment meted out, and may I add, dealt out to the minority population in general.

    These people are 'purists' who could never imagine springing people from prisons or permitting mj to be legalized.

    They will fight your proposal and mine through their political allies in Congress. They will filibuster and blather mountains of nonsense in an attempt to scare society into keeping the status quo. They are not interested in change or leniency.

    Need I add that they are found on the right side of the political spectrum and in oh-so righteous christian churches[as if you didn't know].

  3. Consensual criminals go free. Drugs and prostitution shouldn't be crimes. I don't see much to disagree with in the video.

    I still don't get the protection for white collar criminals--Fraud and corruption is serious, if not violent. We recently had a major national peanut butter supplier accused of knowingly distributing contaminated peanut butter that failed inspections--Is that white collar?

    And Frank's government non-involvement sounds good, but does he really mean it? Does it include financial and regulatory freedom, or just where he thinks we deserve to be free?

  4. Notice how Frank thinks we should be free to do drugs....but Congress hasn't gotten around to changing the rules on how free America should be to do drugs...or carry firearms.

  5. Those are good questions about Franks, but what I'm wondering is what is his stance on gun control. If he talks all that government non-interference, sort-of Libertarian stuff, and then supports the MA gun laws, there'd be a contradiction, wouldn't there?

  6. So if you are interested Mike, find out!

    We aren't here to be your research department. Heck you doubt and dismiss most of our research if not all of it.

    Find out for yourself what his stance on gun control is.

  7. F rating from the NRA, 100% rating from the Brady Campaign.

    ...and looking at other issues, I don't see evidence that his "minimal interference" extends very far to things he disagrees with. Except for the Patriot Act, he seems to vote for new taxes and regulation far more than against.

  8. Barny Frank is easy - He is against guns, against free speech, and for higher taxes, bigger government and government control of the economy. He is everything American is supposed to be against. . .