Saturday, March 28, 2009

[Not] all the children are insane…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 5:03 PM Permalink

…which was what I was beginning to believe when I read Sailor's piece below about testing welfare and food stamp reciperants for drug use and cutting them off if it is found out that they have indulged in one of man's all time favorite vices.

Missouri Republican's say:
"Nobody's being forced into these assistance programs," said Craig Blair, a Republican in the West Virginia Legislature
. Link He continued:
"If so many jobs require random drug tests these days, why not these benefits?"
Maybe because being poor doesn't require any kind of special license, special skills requiring a license, no highly technical skills (the skill-set of which must require extensive training, years of schooling, and then testing to satisfy regulatory authorities in that field), and doesn't even require a college degree, even though many college graduates, thanks to the GOP, find themselves both unemployed and/or unemployable.

And at $400 a test this can hardly be justified during these awful, republican-induced, and disastrous financial times. So it is now apparent that these scathingly stupid legislators have come up with a scathingly stupid idea to deprive help and hope to those who need it the very worst.

BUT WAIT, Obi Wan Kenobi! There are still people out there that care, many of them attempting to right the ship of state through only one of the means still available with the power to stop this nonsense.

See this from the LAT titled:
Former judge fired up on making pot legal

I'm sitting in Costa Mesa with a silver-haired gent who once ran for Congress as a Republican and used to lock up drug dealers as a federal prosecutor, a man who served as an Orange County judge for 25 years. And what are we talking about? He's begging me to tell you we need to legalize drugs in America.

"Please quote me," says Jim Gray, insisting the war on drugs is hopeless. "What we are doing has failed."…

But take a look at the world, people.

Mexican drug lords are better armed than police and killing thousands who don't buy into the corruption, with the violence crashing our borders, and American enemies abroad are financed by the opium trade.

Ten days ago I visited a Los Angeles elementary school where students practice dropping to the floor and making themselves as flat as pancakes to avoid stray bullets from the gang-infested neighborhood, and drugs play a role in that violence. On Wednesday I strolled through downtown Los Angeles and marijuana smoke filled the air, a mocking reminder of the impossible task of eradicating drugs, despite the trillions spent and the thousands of people we've locked away in our jails and prisons.…

Gray was on the Municipal Court bench in the 1980s when he took his first hit from the reform pipe. The vast majority of the cases coming before him were alcohol-related, he said, and he was able to divert defendants into screening and recovery. But he couldn't do the same in drug cases, and he was frustrated, both on the Municipal Court bench and later on the Superior Court bench.

"Our jails are filled with low-level users who sold to support the habit," says Gray, who believes that the tougher the criminal justice system gets on drug offenders, the fewer resources it has to go after rapists, robbers and other criminals.…

If Gray had his way, no one under 21 could buy drugs. But anyone older than that could legally buy marijuana -- which, he says, causes nowhere near the amount of death and disease as alcohol. The state would need to see how that works, he said, before moving on to legalizing the sale of harder drugs. Sure, he says, legalization might lead to more toking at first, but he believes drug use would wane when it's no longer forbidden and the novelty wears off.

I'm not sure I agree, but I do buy into Gray's argument about who the winners are in the current system.

First, there are the drug lords in Mexico and beyond. Then the drug gangs that peddle the stuff here. Next come the law enforcement agencies, prison contractors and prison guards, which use the war on drugs to demand more resources. And finally, there are the politicians who have wooed voters since the Nixon administration by pledging to support the war on drugs.

"My personal opinion," says Gray, "is that we couldn't have done worse if we tried."
Couldn't possibly have said that better myself, Judge Gray. By now the GOP has suspended your library card.

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At 7:53 PM, Blogger Earthmother said...

My sentiments exactly.

Here's a link to something I wrote about the issue.


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