Uncle Sam's Drug Problem

  Uncle Sam's Drug Problem

Posted by CN Staff on May 03, 2002 at 07:11:41 PT
By Joel Miller 
Source: WorldNetDaily 

It's nice when folks tell the truth. It's just a shame when you have to go to a foreign country to do it. Speaking in Jamaica on Monday, Raphael Perl, international narcoterrorism expert for the Congressional Research Service, came right out and said what drug-law reformers have been saying for years: Legalizing drugs cuts crime. The less glamorous trade-off is equally well known: More drug use. "It is very clear that there is a direct correlation between decriminalization and legalization, and levels of addiction and drug use in a society," said Perl, according to the April 30 Jamaica Daily Gleaner. 
For "the societies that have experimented in this area, drug use goes up ... but crime goes down." When Sen. Morris Sheppard introduced a draft of the 18th Amendment to prohibit alcohol, he labeled liquor "a narcotic poison," that "produces widespread crime." The solution, according to the prohibitionists, was simple: Ban booze. The trouble was, the prohibitionists were wrong. As it happened, an eruption of violent crime occurred after passage of the 18th Amendment and enactment of the Volstead Act. It was the time of the gangster, the mobster, the Mafiosi, retaliatory gang warfare and the original drive-by shootings. During Prohibition, "if I'm not exaggerating, there were about 10 mobs in Chicago," one illicit liquor distributor recalls in Arthur Kobler's "Ardent Spirits." "Of course you had to protect your territory. You couldn't call for help. … So when you were infringed upon, you had to retaliate immediately, or you didn't have nothing left." Prohibition made for rough times. Property crimes ratcheted up 13.2 percent, homicide 16.1 percent, while robbery soared 83.3 percent, according to economist Mark Thornton. "Fluctuations in economic activity and major government programs … no doubt played some role in these statistics," explains Thornton, "but Prohibition appears to be the significant explanatory variable for changes in the crime rate." Most telling: The crime rate began a long-term decline starting in 1933 – the same year Prohibition ended. The factors that go hand-in-hand with prohibition – barring legal tradesmen, artificially jacking-up the market, creating perverse economic incentives that lure violent men to the trade, bankrolling corruption – all contribute to crime. By repealing prohibition, those factors are eliminated. Hence, the corresponding drop in crime. Perl agrees; he's just stuck on the prospect of more drug use. "Do we want to make a trade-off in our society, where we have more drug use and less crime?" he asked. Drug use "scares me," said Perl, whose concern, according to the Gleaner, "was based on the technological advances which will make it possible to create even more addictive drugs." While more drug use will probably arise from legalization, this is somewhat of a red herring. When folks imagine legalized drugs, they typically imagine crazed dope fiends looting the cities and taking the white women. Instant Hun – just add heroin. In reality, it is prohibition that spurs on use of more dangerous drugs. It happened with the 18th Amendment; bootleggers could get more bang for their buck moving hard alcohol than beer. Likewise, opium importation fell off after passage of the first U.S. anti-drug law in 1914, replaced by greater amounts of heroin. The story is similar with marijuana and cocaine in the late '70s and cocaine and crack in the middle '80s. When the legal squeeze is on, traffickers and pushers opt to move in more potent, profitable drugs. It helps better justify their risks. When they finally corked Prohibition, beer and wine made a comeback. So, I think, will softer, less harmful drugs if legalized. In short, what scares Perl is a bogeyman. And to the extent that it isn't, for the drop in crime, it might be a good trade-off nonetheless. "I don't like legalization," said Perl. But, recognizing the validity of the option, "I think that this is a decision that each society has to make for itself." Here is where Perl's presentation is most interesting. It is OK for Jamaicans to discuss legalization, but it's a no-no here in the U.S. Crime rates have been on a decade-long drop, but crime is still a problem. Legalization would provide an answer. Unfortunately, because drug warriors have zero respect for the constitutional division of powers between states and the federal government, each society does not get a chance to make that decision for itself. Every time a state moves away from the one-size-fits-all, federal anti-drug policies, the feds clamp down. Thus, while local politicians and law enforcement are charged with protecting the citizenry from crime, the federal government robs them of a valuable tool to better carry out that charge and instead leaves them with something that exacerbates and intensifies the problem. Any way you cut the product, that's a bad deal. Source: WorldNetDaily (US Web)Author: Joel MillerPublished: May 3, 2002Copyright: 2002, Inc.Contact: letters worldnetdaily.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:What's New in Drug Policy Reform Forbidden Herb - Is Ganja Bad For Your Health? Laws Archaic, Says Doctor Articles - Prohibition

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Comment #8 posted by Rambler on May 03, 2002 at 22:29:23 PT
Here's What Uncle Sam is up to
Ridge eyes new driver's licensesBy Dee Ann Divis and Nicholas M. Horrock
UPI Correspondents
From the Washington Politics & Policy Desk
Published 5/2/2002 9:11 PMWASHINGTON, May 2 (UPI) -- Homeland Security Director Tom Ridge for the
first time disclosed Thursday the Bush administration is studying ways to
set national standards for driver's licenses that would assist in preventing
fraudulent identification and expose aliens who overstayed their visas.In a briefing for senators and the public arranged by Sen. Orrin Hatch,
R-Utah, Ridge said the Office of Homeland Security is studying proposals by
the National Governor's Association and other state groups to establish
national standards for operator's permits. Ridge said the White House would
consider legislation that would do that. "It may be helpful and appropriate
at some time," Ridge said.He said drivers' license expirations should also be linked to visa
expirations.Gordon Johndroe, Ridge's spokesman, told United Press International the Bush
administration opposes a national identification card, but is working with
several national associations including the governors and the American
Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators on ideas to make vehicle
operators permits more standard.One idea, he said, would be to issue resident aliens driver's permits linked
to their visas. If an alien had a visa to visit the United States for six
months, he or she would not be able to obtain a driver's permit that
exceeded six months, Johndroe said. This would require, he said, a way for
state departments of motor vehicles to be linked up with the Immigration and
Naturalization Service or for states to call up INS records. He said that
Homeland Security is also studying proposals to help state motor vehicle
agencies link up.On Wednesday, two Virginia congressmen, Democrat Jim Moran and Republican
Tom Davis, submitted legislation to standardize state-issued driver's
licenses across the United States, mandating the licenses carry a computer
chip and incorporate some kind of unique identifier such as a fingerprint.
The bill would also mandate that state bases be linked.Moran assured reporters Wednesday the bill he introduced was crafted so the
new drivers license databases would not be the basis of a national ID card."The main concern was a national identity card, " Moran said about the
crafting of the bill. "This puts in protections against this becoming that
sort of a database. It's confined within the state. It's not one single
database that you would check against."These are state motor vehicle departments that will have these databases.
This is not a national database," he said.Moran said that the database would not be centralized."You would have the capability, now that this is digitized, to check every
state database. But you have to check individually. This is not a national
data file," said Moran."We're deliberately preventing that from occurring. What'd you want to do is
to check every state where the person says they have a drivers license,
where the person says they used to live. So those are the ones you check. I
don't know that you really need to check all 50 states."The Patriot Act, passed late last year after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks,
appears to open a way for federal, state and local databases to be linked.
The bill authorized $150 million for the "expansion of the Regional
Information Sharing System" to "facilitate federal-state-local law
enforcement response related to terrorist acts."There appears to be growing support in Congress for such an expansion of
access. On Tuesday at a Brookings Institution discussion of
counter-terrorism actions, Rep. Jane Harman, D-Calif., said she thinks the
United States needs what she called "smart card technology.""I think we need increased use of biometrics so that we're sure a person
using some form of identification is in fact the person on the
identification. Obviously to get there and to rely on it, you need to know
the person who is applying for the piece of identification is in fact who
she says she is."Harman, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence and an acknowledged
expert on counter-terrorism, said the identification needs to be connected
to national databases to check on the background of driver's permit
applicants."I think this issue must be looked at. We don't automatically have to call
it a national ID card, that's a radioactive term, but we can certainly think
about smart cards for essential functions, but we need the database to
support that."Asked by a member of the audience if she felt there was political support
for this technology, Harman said, "I think most people are really there.
Keep in mind that if we have a second wave of attacks. The folks who are
raising objections will probably lose totally. The better idea is to do
right now what I call rebalance" Harman suggested meeting increased security
needs but with "very justifiable civil liberties and privacy guarantees.
"Congress did a pretty good job on the Patriot Act," she said. "...We
disallowed some of the things (Attorney General John) Ashcroft wanted
because they were excessive. There still is a balancing mechanism which is
the courts."Later in discussing proposals for national information sharing, Harman said,
"We already have in a sense a private sector based information sharing
system -- credit card companies run it. And the good news is, they're
capable of collecting a lot of information and popping out things using
state-of-the art technology.''She used the example that the credit card companies come to know a pattern
of a customer's charges so well that they can identify when the card is
being used fraudulently and query the customers. "That's a private based
system that works well. There's also a private based system that's abused,"
she said. She did not elaborate on abuses.
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Comment #7 posted by qqqq on May 03, 2002 at 16:08:08 PT
...Sam needs to get Busted!!
I think that money has alot in common with drugs like heroin and cocaine.,,,and to speak of "Uncle Sams Drug Problem",and try to say it's about substances that have been deemed illegal by Sam,,that's kinda like saying the Mercedes dealer has a problem,because they overcharged you a nickel on your $50,000 dollar car.!!... nope ,Uncle Sam has a problem ,,but you wont hear much about it in the "news" media.... Once again ,look at this example of what a Billion is:
 Billions....It takes some perspective to think in billions. Keep the following in mind: one
                    thousand seconds is about 17 minutes. One million seconds is about eleven
                    and a half days. One billion seconds is about 32 years .......!
...OK,,so ,,now,,when you consider that the federal budget for 2003,asks for 396 Billion for the military, and the next highest number is 52 Billion for makes one wonder whether Sam might have a problem that makes crackheads and meth jonesers look almost innocent!..At least drug dealers are not ripping off the poor,and giving to the rich.......... .
.....Yes,,,Uncle Sam is on a binge!...He doesn't have a monkey on his back,,no,he has a gorilla on his back!..Uncle Sam makes a big deal about protecting our children from drugs,,,,but I wanna know who's gonna protect my old ass from Uncle Sam!..If "We The People" ran this country,,we would send SWAT teams in to weed out the crooks in the political empire.....There should be mandatory minimums for such crimes as "Misleading American Citizens" ,,or,"Conpiracy to decive America"...........
..Uncle Sam is a Monster,,,,he lurks behind the scenes,and he manipulates the Sheeple like a Cult leader.. I know ,it aint pretty to say such negative things,,but it seems to me,that the stranglehold of corporate interests,and other dark powers on our democracy is almost complete......the end is near!,,, . But, on the bright side,, we are priveledged to be alive in such an exciting era of world history.The next ten years promise to be absolutely astounding!
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Comment #6 posted by kaptinemo on May 03, 2002 at 10:20:05 PT:
Boogeymen...real and imagined
(Yes, in my neck of the woods, we say 'boogeyman')Mr. Perl evidently has never had a 'home invasion' such as routinely happens courtesy of drug busts. He's never been thrown to the floor with a pistol levelled at his head and a knee in his back, and been told to "shut up! You have no rights!". He's never had cash - or his car! - stolen from him during a roadside traffic stop because some thieving swine of a cop knew that he could get away with it by claiming it as forfeiture proceeds. He's never had shotgun pellets fired from shotgun-wielding, adrenaline-hopping DrugWarriors perforate his children as happened with 11 year old Alberto Sepulveda. I'll trade the imagined boogeyman of heroin addicts peacefully trying to cage money off of me like common beggers (as they tried in Holland) than have to live with the real-life Frankenstein's Monster of the DrugWar anyday.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #5 posted by schmeff on May 03, 2002 at 09:43:18 PT
Free Market Economy
Supposedly, cannabis is the third most popular drug, behind tobacco and alcohol. This in spite of its illegal status. (And of course, those who profit from tobacco and alcohol absolutely do have concerns that this ranking might change, to their disadvantage, should cannabis ever enjoy a level playing field.)This popopularity stems from the fact that consumers are voting with their dollars for a product that they feel is a better drug. Those who use substances for the recreational purpose of altering their perceptions are not interested in harsh side effects like loss of consciousness, toxic reactions, a lifetime of addiction...or death. Think of the preceding sentence in terms of tobacco and alcohol, and you can see why a level playing field is not in the best interests of the 'legal' drugs.These Drug War mouthpieces seem to have a very dim view of humanity. From their perspective, apparently, it is only through their moral guidance that the population doesn't rapidly decline into slobbering crack whores.
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on May 03, 2002 at 09:26:35 PT
Exactly Krutch
Where is even 1 study to support his contention that, long-term, drug use goes up with legalization? America and the UK have had the highest rates of MJ usage and the harshest laws. And the laws were implemented when usage rates were very low (i.e., the laws weren't ratcheted up in response to higher usage).The media seems to have a very tough time understanding issues that are 1-sided. Every story must have a pro and a con, a yin vs. yang. The only downside to legalization is to organized crime and law enforcement - they both get less money and power. Everyone else comes out ahead.
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Comment #3 posted by krutch on May 03, 2002 at 08:27:37 PT:
More Drug Use?
The author seems resolved that legalization will cause more drug use. I am not convinced. Raphael Perl seems to have eluded to studies that indicate that this is true, but no study is cited. If studies that exist are based on surveys, I am still not convinced. Respondents are more likely to admit to behaviors that are legal on surveys, so the increased drug use after legalization measured by these studies may be artificial. I like most of what Joel Miller is saying, but I think he and Raphael Perl are jumping to conclusions on this assertion.
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Comment #2 posted by Dankhank on May 03, 2002 at 07:53:53 PT:
oh yea?
Drug use "scares me," said Perl, whose concern, according to the Gleaner, "was based on the technological advances which will make it possible to create even more addictive drugs." You mean like spiking cigarettes with ammonia to intensify the nicotine "high?"WhoDaThunkIt?
Hemp N Stuff ...
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Comment #1 posted by Sireal on May 03, 2002 at 07:30:03 PT
..hump wouldn't dare utter these words on U.S. soil.I'm so depressed about the current state of affairs.We need a few more than the three billionaires to lead us to freedom.
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