“Michelle Alexander, highly acclaimed civil rights lawyer, advocate, Associate Professor of Law at Ohio State University, and author of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, delivers the 30th Annual George E. Kent Lecture, in honor of the late George E. Kent, who was one of the earliest tenured African American professors at the University of Chicago.
“The Annual George E. Kent Lecture is organized and sponsored by the Organization of Black Students, the Black Student Law Association, and the Students for a Free Society.”
Tag Archives | War On Drugs
Esquire declares that the War on Drugs is over, and drugs won:
The world’s most extensive study of the drug trade has just been published in the medical journal BMJ Open, providing the first “global snapshot” of four decades of the war on drugs. You can already guess the result.
To sum up their most important findings, the average purity of heroin and cocaine have increased, respectively, 60 percent and 11 percent between 1990 and 2007. Cannabis purity is up a whopping 161 percent over that same time.
Not only are drugs way purer than ever, they’re also way, way cheaper. Coke is on an 80 percent discount from 1990, heroin 81 percent, cannabis 86 percent. After a trillion dollars spent on the drug war, now is the greatest time in history to get high.
Via the Huffington Post, the militarization of our police can be turned back, and Radley Balko explains how:
… Read the rest
Today in America, SWAT teams are deployed about 100 to 150 times per day, or about 50,000 times per year – a dramatic increase from the 3,000 or so annual deployments in the early 1980s, or the few hundred in the 1970s. The vast majority of today’s deployments are to serve search warrants for drug crimes. The question is, how could the U.S. roll all of this back?
End the Drug War – Even decriminalization would take away many of the incentives to fight the drug war as if it were an actual war. Your average small town SWAT team would probably continue to exist, at least in the short term. But these teams are expensive to maintain, and without federal funding, it seems likely that many would eventually disband.
End The “Equitable Sharing” Civil Asset Forfeiture Program – Under civil asset forfeiture, police agencies can seize any piece of property – cash, cars, homes – that they can reasonably connect to criminal activity.
Perhaps to be on the safe side, we should prohibit growing plants in general. NBC 5 Dallas–Fort Worth reports:
A small organic farm in South Arlington is demanding an apology from police who raided the property in early August. Officers raided the Garden of Eden, a 3.5-acre farm, searching for marijuana in the gardens, according to search warrants. Police did not any drugs.
Quinn Eaker, a resident, told NBC 5 that the six adults who live at the farm were handcuffed when SWAT officers from the Arlington Police Department came to their home with weapons drawn. According to a statement posted on the Garden of Eden’s website, the raid of the farm lasted for an estimated 10 hours.
Code compliance officers mowed the grass on the property and removed wild, cultivated plants including blackberries and okra. Eaker said that the plants police mistook to be marijuana were likely tomatoes: “They can’t even tell the difference between tomato plants and a marijuana drug cartel.”
Finally something to like about Attorney General Eric Holder? Politico reports:
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Attorney General Eric Holder is calling on the federal government to rein its use of one of the most ubiquitous tools in the war on crime—minimum mandatory sentences—and he’s making a unilateral move to cut down on such sentences in drug cases even as Congress debates a broader rretreat from the once-popular sentencing concept.
“Some statutes that mandate inflexible sentences–regardless of the facts or conduct at issue in a particular case–reduce the discretion available to prosecutors, judges, and juries,” Holder is to say in a speech to the American Bar Association Monday in San Francisco, according to advance excerpts the released by the Justice Department. “They breed disrespect for the system. When applied indiscriminately, they do not serve public safety. They have had a disabling effect on communities. And they are ultimately counterproductive.”
Holder plans to announce that he’s instructing federal prosecutors not to charge garden-variety drug dealers with crimes that lead to lengthy mandatory minimum sentences.
The phone, internet, and email data gathered by the NSA isn’t kept for terrorism investigations, but rather is secretly shared with law enforcement across the country for use in drug prosecutions and more. Prosecutors then pretend they acquired the information through other means. Reuters reveals:
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A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.
The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated.
The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.
At approximately 1:27:00 into the following amazing documentary, “The House I Live In”, reflecting on the work of Raul Hilberg , Richard Lawrence Miller provides a summary of the step-by-step process of destruction as it relates to America’s War on Drugs (relevant video segment follows the full documentary):
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1. Identification – a group of people is identified as the cause of the problems in that society. People begin to perceive their fellow citizens as bad or evil. Their lives become worthless.
2. Ostracism – we learn how to hate these people, how to take their jobs away, how to make it harder for them to survive. People lose their place to live and are often forced into ghettos where they are physically isolated, separated from the rest of society.
3. Confiscation – people lose their rights, they lose civil liberties. The laws change so that it becomes easier for people to be searched and for their property to be confiscated, and once you start taking people’s property away, it makes it easier to start taking people away.
How to Make Money Selling Drugs?
via Salon Andrew O’Hehir
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A slick documentary with a jokey premise argues that the “war on drugs” has been a soul-destroying disaster
Despite its slick packaging and overtly facetious premise, director Matthew Cooke and producer Adrian Grenier’s faux-educational documentary “How to Make Money Selling Drugs” packs a wallop. While imparting lessons about the economic realities of the drug trade – a thriving, booming and ever-diversifying realm of entrepreneurial capitalism, in spite of the massively expensive attempt to shut it down – Cooke’s film reminds us that America’s destructive global misadventures of the last 20 years have a corollary that’s every bit as bad right here at home.
If anything, the “war on drugs” has been even worse and even stupider than the “war on terror,” although they’ve become so intimately interconnected in moral, technological and philosophical terms that it’s not like we get to choose.
There are so many new synthetic “designer” drugs becoming available on the streets that governments just can’t keep up, reports the Guardian, concluding that “The war on drugs has not been lost, it has been made obsolete”:
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The term “designer drug” became popular with the acid house and ecstasy boom in the 1990s, but it was never really accurate. The main ingredient in ecstasy pills – MDMA – was first synthesised in 1912 and began its life as a recreational drug in 70s California, years before it became notorious on the rave scene. The drug was never created for the party crowd, but the “designer drug” label stuck as the perfect phrase both to glamorise and demonise the fashionable new high.
There have been some genuine attempts at designer drugs through the years – where people have attempted to create new recreational substances to evade drug laws – but most have been abject failures.
If we were to have a sane and adult conversation about drug use and abuse in America instead of waging a war on drugs the same way we wage a war on terror, we might come to the realization that we’re letting the bad ones in our homes freely while some of the most helpful to improving the quality of life of the average person carry some of the highest minimum prison sentences of all, while touting an infinitesimal number of related deaths. Some of you may have read Thad McKracken’s well thought out article on the state of drugs in society today. The numbers fall in lockstep with his thoughts.
It turns out that, aside from Alcohol, Big Pharma is the #1 killer while drugs that have been used traditionally as entheogens hardly appear in the statistics at all. Drugs like LSD, DMT, Marajuana, Peyote and other psychedelics are used as a religious sacrament in many belief systems around the world, but are vilified because of their tendency to provide people with what Terence McKenna simply called ‘funny ideas’.… Read the rest