We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
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Wednesday, April 1. 2009
Simon pointed out that a lot of our (legal) economy depends on heroin, and explains how they do it in Switzerland. (It's the way it used to be done here.)
Related: We are locking up too many people who do not belong in jail. I agree. I want non-violent crims off the public payroll, and paying for their crimes with $ fines. Last I heard it costs us taxpayers around $70,000/year per jailbird.
I would prefer that they pay us for their crimes - with money.
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The European experience in all forms of vice is useful. In various places drugs and/or prostitution is legal. There have been several consequences. First, of course is the reduction of the work load on the police and courts and in the number of people incarcerated. There has also been an increase in the number of drug users and prostitute users. This may or may not be bad, you might even think it is good. But, illegal drug trafficking and white slavery have NOT gone away. There is still an illegal drug/prostitute business.
There may be several reasons for this. Foremost, the illegal business is not taxed or regulated and is most likely more profitable than the legal businesses. Secondly, the users may be able to get what they want from the illegal business but not the legal business. For example, heroin on call and in private without the messiness of prescriptions or doctor's permission or supervision of dose. What doctor will prescribe a dose that will get people really high but might harm them? Then,of course, various kinds of sexual intercourse, such as with children (which is the most common in todays illegal/unregulated business) or animals or violent bondage will not be available in a legal business. In Europe, children and women are still being kidnapped for these purposes and held in slavery. Finally, some people will seek the adrenaline rush of dealing with criminals.
So, legalization will not solve the all (or even any?) of problems associated with drugs and prostitution. One simply has to decide whether the economic benefits to the state exceed the ongoing costs to illegal drug users and prostitutes/Johns.
I am assuming that the Islamic solution of killing anyone who possesses or uses drugs is off the table. However, if Nina Fedoroff (one of Obama's advisers) is correct and the world is currently overpopulated, there may be a point to killing all drug producers, dealers and users.
I tried to post this comment earlier. My thoughts on this subject are perhaps more cynical than MFers can deal with, but I will state my opinion and hope that you give it some thought. I have to ask this question: why, why does this new administration--the very same folks who complained so bitterly about every pair of boots we put on the ground in Iraq--why now that they are in power, do they plan to send such a LAARGE, out of proportion LARGE military re-inforcements suddenly to Afghanistan? My opinion is simple--there are folks here in the US, who have great power and want a great deal more. Using our military is the newest opportunity they have to procure production and guarantee delivery of this very profitable product. Sorry folks--but that is how I see it! It's not about little girls going to school in dusty mountain villages--it is now about keeping various members of the American mafia happy!
I am a recovering addict. I have seen drugs and booze drag many people down and the collateral damage is tremendous. Addicts will do anything to get drugs and do not care who they hurt, legally or illegally. It may be legal to hock your children' s stuff but it sure is hell for the kids. If I may suggest:
1. Treatment with restitution and long term follow up.
2. Treatment, boot camp style facility, restitution and long term follow up.
3. Lock up, all the drugs you want, free, until you die.
Part of the restitution is to take care of the step 3 addicts.
Since the addicts will be working, they can pay for the monitoring themselves. If they stay clean for, say five years, they can go off monitoring.
Seems to me that plenty of treatment is available now, of all sorts.
Need i remind you that America's gigantic increase in drug use occurred during the Viet Nam war? The true victims of the war were those who came home addicted to something they had never even heard of prior to landing in Nam--drugs. There will always be some whiny liberal who screams that there were drugs before Viet Nam--yes there were. In certain areas of this country: Chicago slums, New York slums, New Orleans. A few places had a small drug problem--one you never saw in daylight. When I attended high school in a suburban area very close to a very sophisticated urban area--I never knew there was "whacky tobaccy". I had heard about some people using Heroin with a needle--it was a dark rumor somehow attached to that new music called Jazz, but as a high school student population--we knew nothing of drugs, addiction;had never seen the stuff, and did not know anyone who had tried any.. It was a nicer time. In 1965 when troop increases began those kids left clean and came home dirty. I remember the Berkeley crowd at the Oakland airport trying to hand out joints to the vets coming home--back to the true heart of darkness folks. Those kids who came of age in the mid 60's with the firm belief that they were going to run the world their way. This year their dream comes true!
Those passing out joints must have been on the other side of the aisle from those who were spitting on the returning soldiers?
It's all the soldiers' fault, then and now. Apple pie, you might could start an anti-soldier crusade and save our country!
Howdy, Apple Pie
We did have surge of recognized drug abuse beginning in the '60s and it may have some link to Viet Nam but that's a stretch. The movie "Hatful of Rain" came out in the late 1950's and Dragnet had episodes about high-school drug problems earlier than that. The Beat generation didn't invent drugs or sex.
I read Senator Webb's article carefully. He often spoke of the "mismanagement" of corrections facilities but he never cited any evidence at all that the facilities are mismanaged. His key point was that we were incarcerating too many of perhaps the wrong offenders -- but he failed to prove that point either. He also said "our neighborhoods are growing more dangerous" but this is patently false. Crime statistics sloped downward for a long period and have ticked upward but that's a recent change in trend. It may only be a brief change or may hold out.
Many people who were convicted of drug offenses or pleaded to them were arrested because of disruptive, dangerous or other criminal behavior. When the plea bargaining and other procedures ended, they did time for a drug offense when they were originally apprehended for something else. Very few cases exist of a "first-time minor drug user" going to prison. We also have ten times as many offenders under supervision as we have incarcerated, according to Webb's own numbers. This isn't a "throw away the key" or even a "lock 'em up" mentality.
Drug legalization may be a more sensible course of action. Senator Webb's article didn't prove any of the points he claimed.
Since the WoD is, without a doubt, having terrible effects on society in terms of creating criminal financial and paramilitary empires, in terms of a penal system acting to recruit thousands of young temporary rebels and minor scofflaws away from what would in most cases have otherwise soon matured into satisfying, taxpaying (rather than tax-burning) adulthoods and into those hard criminal enterprises, and since the necessary vast army doing the law-enforcement, running the people's courtroom, and defending the Constitutional rights of the accused would, for society and also for themelves, be in some great number better employed elsewhere, it could be well-asked here, exactly what conditions would be the minimal to demand on the merits a experiment in the alternative of, say, two year's duration --after which, in lieu of suffient abatement of the above-noted great dismal tide, another plebiscite of some design could revert to the WoD status quo.
No way Meta--I love our folks in the armed services! I am always grateful and forever