“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John F. Kennedy
“History doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes.” ~Mark Twain
“In these spiritually degenerate times we encounter many obstacles to our spiritual practice but rather than being discouraged by them we can learn to transform them into the spiritual path by practicing training the mind.” ~Geshe Kelsang Gyasto
Happy Saint Patricks‘ Day 2017!!! Prohibition in the United States was a nationwide constitutional ban on the production, importation, transportation and sale of alcoholic beverages that remained in place from 1920 to 1933.
“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself” ~Franklin D. Rosevelt
Non-hatred is a virtuous mind that is the direct opposite of hatred. We generate this mind by contemplating the faults of anger and hatred. Attachment is a deluded mental factor that observes a contaminated object, regards it as a cause of happiness, and wishes for it. Anger is a deluded mental factor that observes its contaminated object, exaggerates its bad qualities, considers it to be undesirable, and wishes to harm it. Equanimity is balanced mind free from strong attachment and aversion. There are three types of equanimity: equanimity of feeling, which is any neutral feeling; immeasurable equanimity, which is the wish for all beings equally to be free from attachment and hatred; and compositional equanimity, which is a mental factor that functions to keep the primary mind free from mental sinking and mental excitement.
A Brief History of the Drug War
WE are the Drug Policy Alliance published to following true FACTS:
The video traces the drug war from President Nixon to the draconian Rockefeller Drug Laws to the emerging aboveground marijuana market that is poised to make legal millions for wealthy investors doing the same thing that generations of people of color have been arrested and locked up for.”
The Rockefeller Drug Laws are the statutes dealing with the sale and possession of “narcotic” drugs in the New York State Penal Law. The laws are named after Nelson Rockefeller, who was the state’s governor at the time the laws were adopted.
“THUMP! Against the door. Another goddamn newspaper, another cruel accusation. THUMP! Day after day, it never ends. . . . Hiss at the alarm clock, suck up the headlines along with a beaker of warm Drano, then off to the morning class. . . . To teach Journalism: Circulation, Distribution, Headline Counting and the classical Pyramid Lead.”
The Early Stages of Drug Prohibition
“Many currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, opium, coca, and psychedelics have been used for thousands of years for both medical and spiritual purposes. So why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It’s not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs – but it has everything to do with who is associated with these drugs.
The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws, in the South in the early 1900s, were directed at black men. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.”
Nixon and the Generation Gap
“In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy.”
“In June 1971, President Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.
In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.
Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization. In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.
Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted. Proposals to decriminalize marijuana were abandoned as parents became increasingly concerned about high rates of teen marijuana use. Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.”
“The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively.” ~Bob Marley
The 1980s and 90s: Drug Hysteria and Skyrocketing Incarceration Rates
“The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.”
“Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed “crack”. Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan “Just Say No”.
This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that “casual drug users should be taken out and shot,” founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.
In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population. In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation’s “number one problem” was just 2-6 percent. The figure grew through the remainder of the 1980s until, in September 1989, it reached a remarkable 64 percent – one of the most intense fixations by the American public on any issue in polling history. Within less than a year, however, the figure plummeted to less than 10 percent, as the media lost interest. The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration.
Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.
He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, health secretary Donna Shalala’s advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use “should be decriminalized“.
At the height of the drug war hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a movement emerged seeking a new approach to drug policy. In 1987, Arnold Trebach and Kevin Zeese founded the Drug Policy Foundation – describing it as the “loyal opposition to the war on drugs.” Prominent conservatives such as William Buckley and Milton Friedman had long advocated for ending drug prohibition, as had civil libertarians such as longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser. In the late 1980s they were joined by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Federal Judge Robert Sweet, Princeton professor Ethan Nadelmann, and other activists, scholars and policymakers.
In 1994, Nadelmann founded The Lindesmith Center as the first U.S. project of George Soros’ Open Society Institute. In 2000, the growing Center merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the Drug Policy Alliance.”
The New Millenium: The Pendulum Shifts – Slowly – Toward Sensible Drug Policy
“George W. Bush arrived in the White House as the drug war was running out of steam – yet he allocated more money than ever to it. His drug czar, John Walters, zealously focused on marijuana and launched a major campaign to promote student drug testing. While rates of illicit drug use remained constant, overdose fatalities rose rapidly.
The era of George W. Bush also witnessed the rapid escalation of the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement. By the end of Bush’s term, there were about 40,000 paramilitary-style SWAT raids on Americans every year – mostly for nonviolent drug law offenses, often misdemeanors. While federal reform mostly stalled under Bush, state-level reforms finally began to slow the growth of the drug war.
Politicians now routinely admit to having used marijuana, and even cocaine, when they were younger. When Michael Bloomberg was questioned during his 2001 mayoral campaign about whether he had ever used marijuana, he said, “You bet I did – and I enjoyed it”. Barack Obama also candidly discussed his prior cocaine and marijuana use: “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently – that was the point.”
The assault on American citizens, however, has persisted. President Obama, despite advocating for reforms – such as reducing the crack/powder sentencing disparity, ending the ban on federal funding for syringe access programs, and supporting state medical marijuana laws – has yet to shift the majority of drug control funding to a health-based approach.
Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize marijuana.
Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of sensible reforms that expand health-based approaches while reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy. Yet the assault on American citizens and others continues, with 700,000 people still arrested for marijuana offenses each year and almost 500,000 people still behind bars for nothing more than a drug law violation.
Progress is inevitably slow but there is unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform right now. We look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.”
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” ~Willie Nelson
Reefer Madness is a “[c]autionary tale features a fictionalized and highly exaggerated take on the use of marijuana. A trio of drug dealers lead innocent teenagers to become addicted to “reefer” cigarettes by holding wild parties with jazz music.”
“But the government has spent $20 billion to $25 billion a year on counternarcotics efforts over the last decade. That is a pretty high price tag for political cover, to stop drugs from becoming a prominent issue on voters’ radar screen. It becomes unacceptably high if you add in the real costs of the drug wars. That includes more than 55,000 Mexicans and tens of thousands of Central Americans killed by drug-fueled violence since Mexico’s departing president, Felipe Calderón, declared war six years ago against the traffickers ferrying drugs across the border.” ~New York Times
“The war on drugs turned out to be a complete failure. Drugs continue to stream north to the United States, the great user, and firearms enter Mexico in return, where they kill thousands. The systematic hunting of drug traffickers has yielded a large number of detainees, even some big names like Joaquín Guzmán Loera, known as El Chapo. Jails are overflowing. But 41 percent of those jailed for drug crimes were arrested for possession of controlled substances worth less than 500 pesos (under $30).” ~New York Times
“This short film, narrated by Jay Z (Shawn Carter) and featuring the artwork of Molly Crabapple, is part history lesson about the war on drugs and part vision statement. As Ms. Crabapple’s haunting images flash by, the film takes us from the Nixon administration and the Rockefeller drug laws — the draconian 1973 statutes enacted in New York that exploded the state’s prison population and ushered in a period of similar sentencing schemes for other states — through the extraordinary growth in our nation’s prison population to the emerging aboveground marijuana market of today. We learn how African-Americans can make up around 13 percent of the United States population — yet 31 percent of those arrested for drug law violations, even though they use and sell drugs at the same rate as whites.” ~New York Times
“Since Richard Nixon declared the war on drugs in 1971, it seems as though people rather than products have been most directly affected. But lack of data makes it hard to understand the impact: like most illicit activities, drug production, trade and use is hard to measure accurately. And without knowing baseline values, it’s hard to understand the effect of any given policy – let alone comparing the impact of various policies.” ~The Guardian
As reported by the Boston Magazine 15 March 2015:
Jeff Sessions: Marijuana Is “Only Slightly Less Awful” Than Heroin
“I realize this may be an unfashionable belief in a time of growing tolerance of drug use. But too many lives are at stake to worry about being fashionable. I reject the idea that America will be a better place if marijuana is sold in every corner store. And I am astonished to hear people suggest that we can solve our heroin crisis by legalizing marijuana – so people can trade one life-wrecking dependency for another that’s only slightly less awful. Our nation needs to say clearly once again that using drugs will destroy your life.”
“In the ’80s and ’90s, we saw how campaigns stressing prevention brought down drug use and addiction. We can do this again. Educating people and telling them the terrible truth about drugs and addiction will result in better choices. We can reduce the use of drugs, save lives and turn back the surge in crime that inevitably follows in the wake of increased drug abuse.”
“We don’t need to share the same opinions as others, but we need to be respectful.” ~Taylor Swift
“Only Thing We Have to Fear Is Fear Itself”: FDR’s First Inaugural Address
Franklin D. Roosevelt had campaigned against Herbert Hoover in the 1932 presidential election by saying as little as possible about what he might do if elected. Through even the closest working relationships, none of the president-elect’s most intimate associates felt they knew him well, with the exception perhaps of his wife, Eleanor. The affable, witty Roosevelt used his great personal charm to keep most people at a distance. In campaign speeches, he favored a buoyant, optimistic, gently paternal tone spiced with humor. But his first inaugural address took on an unusually solemn, religious quality. And for good reason—by 1933 the depression had reached its depth. Roosevelt’s first inaugural address outlined in broad terms how he hoped to govern and reminded Americans that the nation’s “common difficulties” concerned “only material things”.
Trump Takes a Gamble in Cutting Programs His Base Relies On
As reported by New York Times:
“WASHINGTON — President Trump’s proposal on Thursday for deep cuts to the budgets of a broad part of the federal bureaucracy was billed as a tough-minded and necessary corrective to the growth of the government’s power. But even members of his own party questioned some of the cuts — and what was not being cut.”
“The spending plan’s bottom line is roughly the same as in President Barack Obama’s last budget request, but it marks Mr. Trump’s first major attempt to dismantle what his aides dismissively call the “administrative state.” The $1.1 trillion spending plan envisions deep cuts to many government programs while leaving entitlement programs like Social Security untouched. It increases spending on the military and border security.”
As reported by CNN Money:
Thanks to President Donald Trump, America’s private prisons appear to be entering a gold age.
“The stocks of the two biggest private prison operators — CoreCivic (formerly know as Corrections Corp. of America) and Geo Group — have doubled since election day. CoreCivic () is up 140% since Trump won in November; Geo Group ( ) has risen 98%.”
As reported by Forbes:
Prison Stocks Soar Under Trump As Jeff Sessions Okays Private Jails
BANKING ON BONDAGE: PRIVATE PRISONS AND MASS INCARCERATION
Failure of private prisons must force a rethink
“If you believe in yourself and feel confident in yourself, you can do anything. I really believe that.” ~Karlie Kloss
To Be A Real Leprechaun
To be a real leprechaun,
and have a pot of gold.
To be able to enjoy the music,
and not be left out in the cold.
Their life of enjoyment,
can be seen in their face.
To be a living leprechaun,
is something I can embrace.
Their little deeds of mischief,
and the matching of their wit.
And a toast of Irish whiskey,
to make this seem legit.
I’d love to be a leprechaun,
So life can be a treasure.
I know that I would love this,
beyond any kind of measure.
Dancing in the moonlight,
and hiding in the flowers.
The weeks are so carefree,
that days seem like hours.
From a thousand shades of green,
that’s called the emerald isle.
I know the life of merryment,
is really quite worthwhile.
To be a living leprechaun,
is something of what I dream.
For if I really was one,
I would be held in high esteem.
~Bernard J. Howe
1 Corinthians 13 (NIV)
13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is LOVE.
Erowid is a member-supported organization providing access to reliable, non-judgmental information about psychoactive plants, chemicals, and related issues. We work with academic, medical, and experiential experts to develop and publish new resources, as well as to improve and increase access to already existing resources. We also strive to ensure that these resources are maintained and preserved as a historical record for the future.