Who Hijacked Our Country

Friday, June 03, 2005

War on Drugs: You’re Drafted!

What if you could combine the worst excesses of the Patriot Act, the War on Drugs, mandatory minimum sentences and the California 3-strikes law (i.e. life imprisonment for stealing a video or a candy bar)? While we’re at it, let’s throw in a few odds and ends from Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union (people being forced to inform on friends, neighbors and coworkers).

Uncle Sam Wants You!! To enlist in the War on Drugs. Actually, enlist isn’t the right word — You're Drafted!

This is straight out of George Orwell’s most chilling novels, or those old film clips of Hitler Youth members turning their parents over to the Gestapo.

It can’t happen here, right?

Orwell himself couldn’t have come up with a better name for this proposed law. HR 1528 is called the “Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act.” What a nice name. Who could be against a concept like that?

Behind the flowery title, this proposed law will force everyone who witnesses a drug violation of any kind to report it to the proper authorities — within 24 hours. Failure to do so will result in a minimum prison sentence of two years (and possibly up to ten years).

The drug offender could be your best friend, a family member, next door neighbor, coworker, someone across the room at a party — it doesn’t matter. You will be a Good Citizen and report the offending behavior, Comrade. Or Else!!

If you “witness” or “learn about” any such drug offenses, you are not only required to report it to the authorities. You are also required to provide “full assistance in the investigation, apprehension and prosecution” of the offender.

The brains (using the term loosely) behind this law is William Sensenbrenner, R-Wisconsin, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee. This guy makes Joseph McCarthy look like a Libertarian.

There hasn’t been a peep out of the “liberal media” about this. They’re too fixated on Michael Jackson and the runaway bride to bother worrying about the Constitution. But this bill — and its quiet steady progress through the House — is well documented.

In addition to AlterNet, this law is being highly publicized by Downsize DC. They’re a non-partisan group best known for trying to free all internet communication from campaign finance laws, and for promoting a law that would require lawmakers to read every bill before they vote on it. Their website provides an e-mail (text already filled in) to send so you can protest this law.

The Drug Policy Alliance also goes into great detail about this proposed law; they also provide an e-mail that you can send.

If you do a web search for “HR 1528” you’ll come up with a lot of additional links.

If you don’t want to be thrust into George Orwell’s worst nightmare, please send these e-mails. And forward them on to everyone you know. It can happen here if we’re not careful.


cross-posted at Booman Tribune

21 Comments:

Blogger chrisbilal said...

One of the less known highlights of the bill is the racial disparity. There are bigger offences and pnlties for urban traffickers (black) than suburban (white). And if you look at my picture- you get the picture.

chrisbilal of TheYoung Liberals

June 3, 2005 at 8:41 PM  
Blogger PATCAM2005 said...

Hell while we're at it, maybe we can cruise the speed limit on the freeways, and if somebody passes us we will write down their tag numbers and report them to our local police departments as a means of traffic accident prevention. Truly, I do not want to be big brother.

That would be like hall monitor duty in grammer school...

Interesting post, they never seize to amaze me, especially with things like the USA Patriot Act.

June 3, 2005 at 10:24 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Chrisbilal: I'm sure you're right. I don't remember reading about that in any of the links in this post, but it's such a standard part of our drug laws, it's barely noticeable. (Easy for me to say.) All of our victimless crime laws are racist to the core. That's the reason for most of these laws' existence in the first place (i.e. marijuana represented all those Mexicans and Puerto Ricans bringing their nonwhite drug into white neighborhoods in the '30s and '40s) and the laws are also enforced according to prejudices. Cocaine vs. Crack: same drug, totally different sentences. It's like saying underage drinking of gin or whiskey is ten times more serious a penalty than underage drinking of beer or wine.

This proposed law just combines every police state tendency this country has ever had, and incorporates our entire racist history as well. I hope more people find out about it. The only other blog I know of that has mentioned it is:

http://goddem.blogspot.com/2005/06/dirty-rats.html

Hope you'll check it out. She posted about it 2 days before I did. Hopefully this story will get out if enough bloggers write about it.

patcam2005: Yeah, we're all hall monitors. Except, if you miss somebody's infraction, you don't just get chewed out by a teacher; you get 10 years in prison. Great huh?

June 3, 2005 at 11:52 PM  
Blogger Ken Grandlund said...

What a way to clean up all the rif-raff. Hell, you could lock up an entire wedding party just for seeing the best man smoke a joint. You could imprison an whole crowd of concert goers, maybe as many as 20,000, just for smelling some pot in the stadium. You could put an entire high school behind bars for knowing who visits the smoke hole off campus. We won't need social security or medical care or education dollars. We jsut need more prisons!

(I've sent my e-mails! Hope all of you do the same!)

June 4, 2005 at 1:35 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Ken: Yeah, at some point America will be 290 million prisoners and a few thousand prison guards and wardens. Who'll invade the next country? Who'll arrest the next round of drug users? All eligible potential soldiers and cops will be in jail for knowing about someone who knew someone whose roommate had an acquaintance who saw someone smoking marijuana.

June 4, 2005 at 1:52 AM  
Blogger ~jay said...

The hearsay precedent this could set is absolutely appalling and has the potential to shatter countless lives and families that these neocons keep insisting they are trying to "protect." Come on, I know I wouldn't be the only one.

The War on Drugs has always been a distraction tactic. Now it's a destruction tactic.


~j

June 4, 2005 at 4:43 AM  
Blogger Ol' Froth said...

SO, how exactly will I know that I've witnessed a drug crime? That joint could be a hand-rolled cigarette. The guy smoking a cigar could have taken the tobacco out and replaced it with weed. Id that powdered cocaine in the purse, or talcum for the baby? IS that hypodermic filled with heroin, or insulin?

What, exactly, does a drug transaction look like and how will I know one when I "see" one?

June 4, 2005 at 7:38 AM  
Blogger Brother Kenya said...

To paraphrase Roy Scheider in "Jaws," it looks like we're gonna need a bigger prison...

June 4, 2005 at 8:24 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

~jay: I don't know what sort of "family values" these people have in mind, if every family has several members in jail for refusing to be snitches.

I've always thought the war on drugs was the worst project our government ever undertook. It not only makes criminals and ex-cons out of millions of people who weren't bothering anyone else; it drains trillions of dollars from the treasury and strengthens the foothold of every gang and organized crime family.

Ol' Froth: I guess we'll all have to become experts at pretending to be deaf, dumb and blind.

Brother Kenya: Oh yeah, we'll need lots of new huge prisons for all those criminals who refused to snitch.

June 4, 2005 at 10:27 AM  
Blogger Gretchen Ross said...

tom et all, this is perhaps one of the most chilling pieces of legislation Ive read about since Bush's legislation to forcefully mental screen the entire US population. I have written about both pieces of legislation on my blog.

The implications aren't just Orwellian, they're downright Hitler-esque. If you don't rat out your friends, you can go to jail, minimum 2 years, maximum of ten.

Under this new bill, the police can force you to go undercover to gather evidence against family, friends and stranger, even make you wear a wire or hidden cameras. Do it or go to jail.

And as someone else pointed out to me, this is the perfect way to get warm bodies into uniform without reinstating the draft. Round up a bunch of college kids on insane drug laws and then offer them an "out"...war, instead of a long prison sentence.

The US military announced last week that it needs 80 thousand new recruits by October. And recruitment is at an all time low. I guess people don't want to die for oil? Who knew...

Anyways, it's stuff like this that makes it impossible for me to sleep at night anymore.

Im telling you all in American right now. Get the fuck out. While you still can. The ballot box is never going to fix this.

You have until Jan 1st, 2006, at which point every citizen will have a national biometric photo ID card, and will not be able to leave the country without it.

June 4, 2005 at 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Gretchen: I just checked out your post at Green Lantern. Very well said. When I did my post yesterday, I hadn't seen this mentioned anywhere else except the Downsize DC e-mail. Since then I've discovered one other post on HR 1528, also very well written:

http://goddem.blogspot.com/2005/06/dirty-rats.html

Word needs to get out about this. I hope it get get at least one tenth the publicity of Terri Schiavo or Michael Jackson.

And this would make a perfect substitute for the draft, without having to call it that. Just threaten a bunch of people with 10-year jail sentences for not ratting out the pothead next door, and then offer them the "alternative" of fighting for "Freedom" in Iraq.

But I hope you won't leave; we need the anti-Bush/Rove people to stay and help take back our country.

And that ID card that you'll need for leaving the country -- they might have to change that bumper sticker to "America: Love it or DON'T leave it."

June 4, 2005 at 3:02 PM  
Blogger ~jay said...

Precisely my thoughts, Tom. The US prison system is out of control as it is, how can they think of adding more?? soon enough everyone will be in prison.


Well, that would solve the Social Security 'crisis' though... jail is the new nursing home.

you know how sad it must be when I can finally figure out the circular logic of our government?

~j

June 4, 2005 at 5:44 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

~jay: Yeah, this will solve the Social Security crisis. If everyone's in jail getting their 3 hots and a cot, what benefits will anyone need?

And the draft, like an earlier commenter was saying. Threaten a bunch of people with 10 years in prison for not squealing on their neighbors, and then offer them the "alternative" of joining the Army.

Now that you've figured out their circular logic, you're a danger to them -- you know too much :)

June 4, 2005 at 6:42 PM  
Anonymous JollyRoger said...

You do realize, of course, that the private prison system is just tailor-made for this kind of a law?

Expect to see more of this as Government, Corp, and Church become indistinguishable. And one finds one's self locked up for sex outside marriage next door to the mom who didn't rat out her kid's best friend.

June 4, 2005 at 9:54 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Jolly Roger: And don't forget, these adulterers and non-snitches will be serving their 10-year sentences alongside rapists and armed robbers who are serving shorter sentences.

June 4, 2005 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Gretchen Ross said...

tom, I was happy to see you had posted about. I hope more do. I also noticed a new post about it up at liberalutopia, and I did see the goddem one.

Im not in the United States though. My boyfriend is American and he fled the country the second Bush "took" office in 2000.

I wish you all the best of luck and I will do what I can to bring attention to important issues, but it seems more like re-arranging the deck chairs on the titanic to me.

June 5, 2005 at 2:50 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Gretchen: I'm glad to see there's another post on this. I'll check out liberalutopia. After I answered your last comment I looked at your blog again and noticed you were Canadian. Well, I'm close -- a 90-minute boat ride from Victoria, B.C. So I guess if things ever get too wild and frantic...

June 5, 2005 at 4:15 PM  
Blogger Jet said...

Thanks for the links back to God Dem, Tom. This bill needs all the daylight we can shed on it. The more I comtemplate what this bill could be twisted into the angrier I get. I spent hours on the phone today calling friends in Wisconsin. They are all calling Sensenbrenner. This lunacy has to stop.

On a wholly different topic, I regret that I'm tagging you with a meme. Not really my gig, but I'm doing the GTL a favor.

http://goddem.blogspot.com/2005/06/break-chain.html

June 5, 2005 at 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Jet: Thanks for your comment. It's just unbelievable that this bill could be working its way through Congress, and that the media is stone silent about the whole thing. Hopefully more and more bloggers will pick up on this. At least all members of Downsize DC know about it, and hopefully they'll spread the word.

This totally cuts across party lines. Conservatives may preach about morals and values, but they're just as likely to be doing pot/meth/coke and whatever else. I can't imagine who would want this bill.

Now, at the risk of becoming known as the Welsher of the Blogosphere, I'm turning down the meme. Sorry. This is the 3rd one I've turned down in about a week. My reputation will be ruined :)

June 5, 2005 at 5:55 PM  
Blogger frstlymil said...

I'm interested in knowing how they plan to address rehab facilities like Betty Ford - just arrest the entire staff and patient roster? And the school girl that gets mad at a friend and decides to report her for drug use as an act of vengeance? Or neighbors ratting out neighbors they simply don't like, like that Gay couple across the street? The possibilities are endless how this could be abused.

June 7, 2005 at 6:36 AM  
Anonymous Tom Harper said...

Frstlymil: Ah, the possibilities are endless. The sky's the limit. Most of us are guilty of something when nobody else is looking, and most of us have pissed somebody off at one time or another. Might as well just build enough prison space for all of us and be done with it.

June 7, 2005 at 8:23 AM  

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