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Why the Drug War Has Been a Forty-Year Lynching

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman

Poster of Nixon about the drug war

The Drug War has been a forty-year lynching….
…the corporate/GOP response to the peace and civil rights movements.

It’s used the Drug Enforcement Administration and other policing operations as a high-tech Ku Klux Klan, meant to gut America’s communities of youth and color.

It has never been about suppressing drugs. Quite the opposite.

And now that it may be winding down, the focus on suppressing minority votes will shift even stronger to electronic election theft.

The Drug War was officially born June 17, 1971, (http://www.drugpolicy.org/new-solutions-drug-policy/brief-history-drug-war) when Richard Nixon pronounced drugs to be “Public Enemy Number One.” In a nation wracked by poverty, racial tension, injustice, civil strife, ecological disaster, corporate domination, a hated Vietnam War and much more, drugs seemed an odd choice.
In fact, the Drug War’s primary target was black and young voters.

It was the second, secret leg of Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” meant to bring the former Confederacy into the Republican Party.

Part One was about the white vote.

America’s original party of race and slavery (https://zinnedproject.org/materials/a-peoples-history-of-the-united-states-updated-and-expanded-edition/)was Andrew Jackson’s Democrats (born 1828).

After the Civil War the Party’s terror wing, the KKK, made sure former slaves and their descendants “stayed in their place.”

A century of lynchings (at least 3200 of them) (http://www.yale.edu/ynhti/curriculum/units/1979/2/79.02.04.x.html)efficiently suppressed the southern black community.

In the 1930s Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal social programs began to attract black voters to the Democratic Party. John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson’s support for civil and voting rights legislation, plus the 24th Amendment ending the poll tax, sealed the deal. Today blacks, who once largely supported the Party of Lincoln,  vote 90% or more Democrat (http://blackdemographics.com/culture/black-politics/).

But the Democrats’ lean to civil rights angered southern whites. Though overt racist language was no longer acceptable in the 1970s, Nixon’s Republicans clearly signaled an open door to the former Confederacy (https://www.thenation.com/article/why-todays-gop-crackup-is-the-final-unraveling-of-nixons-southern-strategy/).

But recruiting angry southern whites would not be enough for the Republicans to take the south. In many southern states more than 40% of potential voters were black. If they were allowed to vote, and if their votes were actually counted, all the reconstructed Democrat Party would need to hold the south would be a sliver of moderate white support.

That’s where the Drug War came in.

Reliable exact national arrest numbers from 1970 through 1979 are hard to come by.

But according to Michelle Alexander’s superb, transformative The New Jim Crow, and according to research by Marc Mauer and Ryan King of the Sentencing Project, more than 31,000,000 Americans were arrested for drugs between 1980 and 2007 (http://newjimcrow.com).

Further federal uniform crime report statistics compiled by www.freepress.org indicate that, between 2008 and 2014, another 9,166,000 were arrested for drug possession.
Taken together, than means well over 40,000,000 American citizens have been arrested for drugs in the four decades since Nixon’s announcement.
It is a staggering number: more than 10% of the entire United States, nearly four times the current population of Ohio, far in excess of more than 100 countries worldwide.
A number that has gutted the African-American community.  A national terror campaign far beyond the reach of even the old KKK.
Justice Department statistics indicate than half of those arrests have been for simple possession of marijuana.
According to US Bureau of Justice statistics, between 1980 and 2013, while blacks were 12% of the population, blacks constituted 30% of those arrested for drug law violations and nearly 40% of those incarcerated in all U.S. prisons.  Thus some 20,000,000 African-American men have been sent to prison for non-violent “crimes” in the past forty years.
If the Hispanic population is added in, as much as 60% of drug arrests are of racial or ethnic minorities.   \
On the 40th anniversary of the Drug War in 2010, the Associated Press used public records to calculate that the taxpayer cost of arresting and imprisoning all these human beings has been in excess of $1,000,000,000.
Sending them all to college would have been far cheaper.  It also would have allowed them to enhance and transform their communities.
Instead, they were taken from their families.  Their children were robbed of their parents.  They were assaulted by the prison culture, stripped of their right to vote and stopped from leading the kind of lives that might have moved the nation in a very different direction.
Nixon also hated hippies and the peace movement. So in addition to disenfranchising 20,000,000 African-Americans, the Drug War has imprisoned additional millions of young white and Hispanic pot smokers.
Thus the DEA has been the ultra-violent vanguard of the corporate culture war.
In 1983 Ronald Reagan took the Drug War to a new level.  Using profits from his illegal arms sales to Iran, he illegally funded the Contra thugs who were fighting Nicaragua’s duly elected Sandinista government.
The Contras were drug dealers who shipped large quantities of cocaine into the US—-primarily in the Los Angeles area—-where it was mostly converted to crack.
That served a double function for the GOP.
First, it decimated the inner city.
Then Reagan’s “Just Say No” assault—-based on the drugs his Contra allies were injecting into our body politic—-imposed penalties on crack far more severe than those aimed at the powdered cocaine used in the white community.
In 1970 the US prison population was roughly 300,000 people.  Today it’s more than 2.2 million, the largest in world history by both absolute number and percentage of the general population.  There are more people in prison in the US than in China, which has five times the population (http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=11).

According to the Sentencing Project, one in seventeen white males has been incarcerated, one in six Latinos, and one in three blacks.
By all accounts the Drug War has had little impact on drug consumption in the US, except to make it more profitable for drug dealers (http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=tp&tid=11).  It’s spawned a multi-billion-dollar industry in prison construction, policing, prison guards, lawyers, judges and more, all of them invested in prolonging the drug war despite its negative impacts on public health.

For them, the stream of ruined lives of non-violent offenders is just another form of cash flow.
Like the Klan since the Civil War, the Drug War has accomplished its primary political goal of suppressing the black vote and assaulting the African-American community.
It’s shifted control of the South from the Democrats back to the Republican Party. By slashing voter eligibility and suppressing black turnout, the Drug War crusade has helped the GOP take full control of both houses of the US Congress and a majority of state governments across the US.
But the repressive impacts hit everyone, and ultimately enhance the power of the corporate state.
Toward that end, the southern corporate Democrat Bill Clinton’s two terms as a Drug Warrior further broadened the official attack on grassroots America. Clinton was determined to make sure nobody appeared tougher on “crime.”  He escalated the decimation of our democracy far beyond mere party politics, deepening the assault on the black community, and the basic rights of all Americans for the benefit of his Wall Street funders.  Obama has been barely marginally better.
In political terms, the Nixon-Reagan GOP remains the Drug War’s prime beneficiary. Today’s Republicans are poised to continue dominating our electoral process through the use of rigged electronic registration rolls and voting machines. That’s a core reality we all must face.
But no matter which party controls the White House or Congress, by prosecuting a behavior engaged in by tens of millions of Americans, the Drug War lets the corporate state arrest (and seize assets from) virtually anyone it wants at any time. It has empowered a de facto corporate police state beyond public control.
Regardless of race, we all suffer from the fear, repression and random assaults of a drug-fueled repressive police force with no real accountability.
In the interim, the Drug War is not now and never has been about drugs.
Legalizing pot is just the beginning of our recovery process.
Until we end the Drug War as a whole, America will never know democracy, peace or justice.
____________________
THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE 2016 SELECTION will be released by Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman by January, 2016. Their CITIZEN KASICH will follow soon thereafter. Bob’s FITRAKIS FILES are at www.freepress.org; Harvey’s ORGANIC SPIRAL OF US HISTORY will appear in 2016.

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Why it Could be President Bush & VP Kasich

Get ready: the Republicans may not know it, but they’ve all but certified their ticket for 2016, and they will probably win.

The saturation bloviation that followed this week’s Republican presidential debates missed some monumental moments, including:

(1)   There was one (and ONLY one) candidate on the stage that had anything meaningful to say. It was Rand Paul. What he said about war and marijuana were of serious significance.

(2)   The GOP hard core on the stage and in the audience certified their obeisance to a free pass for the horrific presidency of George W. Bush, thereby opening the door for his brother, who can almost certainly win if he runs with the guy from Ohio.

Let’s deal first with Rand Paul. Like his father (and unlike virtually anyone else in the GOP) the Senator from Kentucky seems to have some actual principles. Both Pauls have been firmly committed to the legalization of marijuana for many years, and have not wavered.

When Rand (who’s a medical doctor) discussed pot in the debate, he couched it in terms of those who are struggling to get medical marijuana treatment for their children. Rather than slamming him, Jeb Bush then sheepishly admitted to having smoked it many years ago, puffing it up with the obligatory joke about his truly terrifying mother.

That’s old news. What’s new came from Chris Christie. The New Jersey governor has proudly proclaimed that as president he would send the drug gestapo even (or especially) into states where pot has been legalized to “enforce federal law.”

But when confronted with Sen. Paul’s lament on medical marijuana, Christie whimpered that NJ also has medical marijuana, and that he would not interfere with that.

It was utterly ridiculous. But it underscored how far pot has moved toward full legalization. These were the REPUBLICANS! Only Carly Fiorino jumped in with a lament over the death of her drug-addicted step-daughter, which somehow seemed to support her desire to jail all pot smokers.

Those of us in Ohio were then treated to a high-production-value commercial (it ran at least twice during the debate) featuring a Buckeye mother complaining that her daughter suffers from seizures, and that she and her husband have been forced to move to Colorado to get medical marijuana.

Bordering on the surreal for those of us living in the midwest, the ad was sponsored by a very well-funded group of corporatists who’ve put a legalization measure on the ballot here.

That initiative might fail. But Toledo has just voted to decriminalize and the floodgates feeding full legalization are clearly open. That the national Republicans (Fiorino and Christie aside) have finally stopped falling over themselves to slaughter anyone who even mentions legal pot is good news.

It should be further noted that when challenged, none of the other candidates joined Jeb in admitting that they inhaled. But here in Columbus we are surrounded by former college classmates of Governor Kasich who swear without reservation that he was (and may still be) a major pothead.

There are also those who claim he’s bisexual, but that’s another story. (We will be publishing CITIZEN KASICH, a study of the man who may be Vice President, in early 2016).

Rand Paul’s powerful denunciations of foreign intervention in general and the Iraq war in particular were also significant. His father Ron has delivered some uniquely cogent denunciations of our disaster in Vietnam.  Rand has been equally clear about the on-going imperial fiasco in the Middle East.

Here again we saw a mixed bag on stage. There was serious hemming and hawing about how bad George W. Bush’s plunge into the quicksand really was.

But Jeb was ready. “He kept us safe,” he said of his older brother.

It was an astonishing lie. It was W running the country when 9/11 happened. New York and then the nation were permeated with toxic dust that poisoned our persona and gutted our civil liberties.

Bush2 then presided over one of the nation’s most grotesque military failures, followed by an utter dereliction of duty during Hurricane Katrina, leading to the destruction of an entire great city and many unnecessary deaths. And that’s just for starters.

It is safe to say our nation will never recover from W’s eight years of unelected misadventures.

But the GOP faithful did not groan and puke over Bush3’s defense of his brother. They applauded! Wildly!!

This, of course, in the lair of the Grand Illusionist, the Ronald Reagan who covered his own catastrophic regime with the B-movie madness of endless upbeat enthusiasm, even while delivering a saturation disaster.

Suddenly all the common wisdom that the GOP would not go for Bush3 evaporated. Here was the brother and son of previous Republican presidents, standing tall on a stage filled with utterly boring haters, hacks and one very rich performance artist. The Bush pall suddenly turned to sheen, at least in GOP eyes. Don’t “misunderestimate” that moment, as Bush2 might say.

The poll numbers still seem to favor Trump. But he is too much of a wild card for America’s oligarchs. On three key issues he actually veers left. He supports a single-payer health care system; he says he wants the tax loophole closed for hedge fund financiers; and he clearly believes that children’s vaccines can cause autism.  Sooner or later, the corporate/media hammer will come down on Trump, and he’ll have to decide whether to run third party.  If he does, the GOP (which learned a major lesson with Ross Perot in 1992) will have to decide whether they’ll let him live.  THAT will be the real moment of truth in 2016.

Only Kasich said anything else of significance. Briefly but not too subtly, he commented essentially that he has a lock on Ohio. It was an apparent throw-away comment early in the game, missed by most.

Kasich’s latest insult to Hispanic voters is emblematic of his tone-deaf nature. Within the party, it will pass.

But come next fall, one need only do the quick math: Bush carries Florida, Kasich counts Ohio, game over.

Do not “misunderestimate” the fact that 80% of the votes in 2016 will be cast on electronic machines, with access controlled on electronic registration rolls. With this comes a network of private, partisan, for-profit companies that favor the Bushes.

The GOP has both governors and secretaries of state in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa and Arizona. There are many others, but those five swing states could be more than enough.

(We’ll deal with this in THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE STRIP/FLIP OF 2016, also to be published early next year).

Unless something is done about it between now and November 2016, there is no public recourse on any of the machines on which this election will be conducted. They are privately owned. The source code is proprietary. The boards of election have no access. There will be no meaningful recounts.

No matter how the public votes, wherever the governor and secretary of state are of the same party, the outcome can be altered with a few keystrokes in a few seconds. And unless things change, there will nothing to be done about it, especially in light of the billions the Koch Brothers and other GOP stalwarts are spending to buy the White House.

The voter rolls can be stripped and the vote count flipped with Republican spare change.

Yes, this is conspiracy theory. But anyone who doubts the conspiracy has not closely looked at the selections of 2000 and 2004.

The ones that brought us George W. Bush, who “kept us safe.”

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Bob Fitrakis & Harvey Wasserman have co-written six books on electronic election theft. They will publish two new ones this election season: THE SIXTH JIM CROW: ELECTRONIC ELECTION THEFT & THE STRIP/FLIP OF 2016, and CITIZEN KASICH.   Watch for them at www.freepress.org.

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The Other Side of The News Sept 7, 2015-Protest at Ginther fundraiser

Bob Fitrakis & Ruben Herrera speak about an upcoming protest.

orson_wells_Slow-Clap

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Bob and Harvey Discuss Gov. Kasich’s Environmental Record

rainbow bob

Fight Back – Episode: 08/28/15 Governor John Kasick’s (sic) environmental record

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Fight Back – Episode: 08/14/15 A Question Of Justice

Epidemek

Dr. Bob and Dr. Marilyn Howard interview Timothy Richardson and Summer on the issue of selective justice, long prison sentences and accusations of a racist parole board.

Second half of show with Alex and Torrey who suffered an abusive situation at Taco Bell at Ohio State University campus on the way to the emergency room with medical need. More stories of Homeland Security on personal integrity (the return of the Stasi?). See previous show for more background: http://fitrakis.org/police-abuse-in-columbus-the-other-side-of-the-news-august-10-2015/

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To Cuba With Love, Report Back, Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer

To Cuba with Love
Report Back by Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer

Monday, August 24, 2015 – Central Ohioans for Peace meeting
Columbus Mennonite Church
35 Oakland Park Avenue
BobWPic
The Central Ohioans for Peace meet regularly on Monday evenings at 7pm at the Columbus Mennonite Church, 35 Oakland Park Avenue. Each meeting has a different peace-oriented presentation. On August 24, Columbus Free Press Editors Bob Fitrakis and Suzanne Patzer will present on their week-long “To Cuba with Love” delegation with Code Pink. In February they joined in the first large U.S. people-to-people visit to Cuba since the warming of relations last December. They will share their experiences touring the country, meeting with public officials including Mariela Castro, visits with Cuban people and impressions of the state of the nation under the U.S. embargo. Also presenting will be Lisa Valanti, longtime Pastors for Peace activist. They will lead a discussion on the future of U.S.-Cuban relations.
Free and open to the public.
614-253-2571 or colsfreepress@gmail.com

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Quiet Newsday? There Is Always Something going on in Alternative Media

WCRSscrcap

The Other Side Of The News / FightBack

http://www.talktainmentradio.com/shows/fightback.html

The Columbus Free Press . Com

http://freepress.org/

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Police abuse in Columbus, The Other Side of the News August 10, 2015

A must listen. Two friends try to help an Asthmatic get treatment at OSU ER. All of them get arrested. This is their excruciating story in person. Bob interviews three young people who were detained, harassed and arrested by Columbus police.

Bob Fitrakis Columbus Alive 1996-2002 Article Archives

Here is the Complete Archive of Columbus Alive Bob Fitrakis articles for 1996 in Word Format

1997

1998

1999

2000

2001

2002

The following article Date and Titles are considered “The V-Files”

7/03/1996
Family values (Voinovich/Mifsud)

7/10/1996
Tommy takes the town (Voinovich)

7/10/1996
Building relationships (Voinovich)

7/17/1996
Clap if you believe (Voinovich/Banks)

7/31/1996
The governor…and the mob?

8/07/1996
Out of the frying pan (Voinovich)

8/21/1996
Uh oh Umberto (Voinovich/Turnpike)

8/27/1996
Umberto’s inner-belt blues (Voinovich)
A whiff of Y-Town (Mifsud)

9/04/1996
The high price of bucking the system (Voinovich)

9/16/1996
Who’s Farah Majidzadeh? (Voinovich pay-to-play)

10/23/1996
Deja V (Voinovich)

11/20/1996
With friends like these… (Voinovich)

01/22/1997
Last of the big spenders (Voinovich)

03/12/1997
Retro viruses (Mifsud)

07/23/1997
Banks goes a-courtin’ (Voinovich)

09/10/1997
Raking muck (Voinovich)

10/08/1997
Jailhouse crock (Voinovich)

10/15/1997
Jail sentencing not a problem (Banks/Voinovich)

10/22/1997
Coverage of V Group raises important questions

11/05/1997
Dewey’s decimals (jail/Voinovich)

11/12/1997
Voinovich jail fiasco grows

11/19/1997
Stumping (Taft campaign/Voinovich jail/Betty’s boop)

11/26/1997
Judge lets Banks off

01/21/1998
V Company blackout

2/25/1998
Stern stuff for the V Group

6/12/1998
Bits and pieces (Mifsud)

9/24/1998
The real Voinovich legacy

11/12/1998
Inside the V Group’s pattern of alleged laundering and contract steering

11/19/1998
Law and order (Voinovich)

11/26/1998
Gunslinger (voinovich)

03/04/1999
The good, the bad and the ugly (Voinovich)

4/08/1999
The V report

07/01/1999
Inside the Voinovich campaign financing report

8/12/1999
Dispatch rests while the V Group says it’s not the V Group

10/21/1999
Afraid to ask (Teater/Voinovich jail construction)

12/23/1999
The V Group dragnet narrows

1/27/2000
Oh Lord, don’t let Pauly be misunderstood (Voinovich)

07/22/2000
Holy roller (Voinovich as Bush VP)

11/02/2000
Dispatch buries V report

11/30/2000
You gotta have faith (Knights of Malta)

2/04/1998
Are the Hamiltons using the Bureau of Workers Compensation?

2/18/1998
Just the Facts, Jim (BWC)

4/08/1998
BWC under fire

5/14/1998
Mum’s the word at the State Employment Relations Board

06/25/1998
Whatever happened to Dale Hamilton?

12/28/2000
Clean air villain (Voinovich in Senate)

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The June Free Press Second Saturday Salon

Join us for the June Free Press Second Saturday Salon
Saturday, June 13, 2015
6:30 – 11 PM

Pressing Columbus, Ohio, Not Bought Out By US Investment Firm

The June Free Press Second Saturday Salon
Saturday, June 13, 6:30-11pm @ 1021 E. Broad St.
Free. No RSVP necessary.
Socialize and network with progressive friends for hors-d’oeuvres, drink, art and music. Meeting both inside and outside weather permitting.
colsfreepress@gmail.com, (614) 253-2571.