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The truth is that any form of authoritarian control—any type of “government,” whether constitutional, democratic, socialist, fascist, or anything else—will result in a set of masters forcibly oppressing a group of slaves. That is what “authority” is—all it ever has been, and all it ever could be, no matter how many layers of euphemisms and pleasant rhetoric are used in an attempt to hide it. – Larken Rose
It’s no secret that the US government continues to grow larger, more oppressive, and more authoritarian with each passing year.
If one were to attempt to write down all of the ways the government impedes liberty and stomps all over the people it is supposed to serve, it would take days…perhaps weeks…to accomplish.
So, this list is by no means exhaustive, but here are 8 ways the control-freak US government is sabotaging freedom and making life more difficult for citizens.
The War on Drugs
Cannabis has been illegal at the federal level since 1970, when Congress placed it under Schedule I. It was supposed to be a provisional classification. Back then, not much was known about the plant.
In 1972, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse released a report favoring decriminalization of cannabis. The Commission’s chairman, Raymond P. Shafer, presented a report to Congress and the public entitled “Marihuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding,” which favored ending marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use.
The Commission’s report said that while public sentiment tended to view marijuana users as dangerous, they actually found users to be more timid, sleepy, and passive. It concluded that cannabis did not cause widespread danger to society. It recommended using social measures other than criminalization to discourage use, and compared its use to that of alcohol.
But the Nixon administration took no action to implement the recommendation, and the reasons are pretty damn nefarious:
President Richard Nixon saw pot prohibition as a way to destroy the antiwar left, according to clandestine recordings made by Nixon in the White House as well as statements from his staff to the press. Nixon convened The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (what became known as the Shafer Commission) to engineer scientific support for cannabis’s Schedule I placement. “I want a goddamn strong statement on marijuana,” Nixon said in tapes from 1971. “Can I get that out of this sonofabitching, uh, domestic council? … I mean one on marijuana that just tears the ass out of them.”
Nixon aide, John Ehrlichman, told journalist Dan Baum in 1994, according to an article published in Harper’s Magazine in 2016, the truth about the origins of the War on Drugs:
You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings and vilify them night after night on the evening news.
Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.
The War on the People is a more apt title for Nixon’s sinister plan. Unfortunately, the consequences did not end with his reign: the long-term effects have been devastating to society. The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world (land of the free, indeed), and about half of those imprisoned are locked up on drug charges. Who pays for the drug war and the associated mass incarceration? Taxpayers. Each year, the war on drugs costs us $51,000,000,000.
And there’s no end in sight.
On August 11, 2016, the US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced – for the 4th time – that it would not reclassify marijuana. The plant will remain a Schedule I drug. Despite a substantial and growing body of evidence that cannabis NOT a danger to society and even offers incredible health benefits, the agency has opted to keep it illegal at the federal level. Why? Well, it just might have something to do with the DEA’s highly profitable Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program. In 2014, via this program, 4,300,833 cannabis plants were seized, 6,310 arrests were made, and the value of assets seized from “cultivators” totaled $27,342,950.59.
Even states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use are not immunefrom the DEA’s eradication programs:
Last year, they continued in Washington and Oregon. Full state breakdowns have not been provided, but a DEA spokesman said that just under 36,000 marijuana plants were destroyed in Washington last year at a cost to federal taxpayers of about $950,000, or roughly $26 per plant.
In many states, the eradication program money is used to fund aerial operations involving helicopters searching for marijuana plants. Sometimes, overzealous or untrained officers seize perfectly legal plants, like okra, mistaking them for marijuana.
On August 31, the DEA announced that it was going to wage war on another medicinal plant – kratom. The agency plans to list it under Schedule I, like cannabis.
A group of kratom vendors filed a lawsuit against the government to block the move, angry advocates took to social media in protest, and scientists expressed concern over whether they would be able to continue kratom research. After widespread and VERY vocal outrage, the DEA announced it would postpone the scheduling…to allow time for the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to “expedite research” on the plant.
Translation: The DEA is going to get the FDA to pretend to investigate kratom. The FDA will not actually conduct any research, but will claim that it did, and will say it found that kratom is dangerous. The FDA will tell the DEA that listing the medicinal plant under Schedule I is justified. The DEA will do that very thing, and the War on Drugs will shift its focus from cannabis (which is expected to become legal in at least five more states this year) to kratom.
You see, we can’t have kratom being legal and available, because it poses a serious threat to Big Pharma, and pharmaceutical companies and the FDA have a cozy relationship. The FDA has a lot to lose by allowing medicinal plants to be fully legal: the agency has collected $7.67 billion in user fees since pharmaceutical manufacturers began paying the fees in 1992. It costs big bucks to get the FDA to put its seal of approval on a drug. Both cannabis and kratom show a great deal of promise in treating and managing a wide range of serious and chronic health problems. Kratom can be used in place of prescription opiates in the management of pain – and also can treat opiate addiction. And because both cannabis and kratom are plants that are easily grown, we don’t need Big Pharma to provide them for us.
It used to be that police departments focused on solving real crimes – ones with an actual victim. But there’s no money to be made there. While the number of rapes that occur in the US is said to be steadily declining, the country still frequently finds itself among nations with the highest number of confirmed rapes in the world. Obtaining physical evidence of rape is crucial to convicting offenders, and that evidence is collected via the use of rape kits.
But it seems that police departments don’t really care about nabbing rapists. After all, what’s in it for them?
As we recently reported:
Last year, Harold Medlock, Chief of Police for the Fayettville Police Department in North Carolina, admitted that between 1995 and 2008, 333 of their rape kits were destroyed to make more space in their evidence room, of which, 167 were for unsolved crimes.
Even when these kits aren’t destroyed, many of them sit around for years without being tested. It’s been estimated that there is a massive backlog of about 400,000 rape kits in this country, though the actual number may be even higher since many police departments don’t keep track of this statistic.
Rapists are free, roaming the streets…while non-violent drug users are locked in cages.