America’s Longest War and Attorney General Sessions

Attorney General Sessions clearly knows no history, even that of his own lifetime. He is just another petty, cyclical political hack thrust into a prominent position.

Nixon’s War on Drugs which Sessions is now re-intensifying began as a cynical campaign tactic. As described by John Erhlichman, Nixon’s domestic policy adviser:

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.”1

So, more than 45 years ago began America’s longest war. Over this period these policies have locked up a very large number of people effectively ruining their lives because this war also brought on repressive laws and policies that make it very difficult for people released from jail to get a job and restart their lives. And, these policies have done nothing to decrease drug usage in the US. In fact we have seen the internationalization of these failed policies with agents from the Drug Enforcement Agency roaming about in pursuit of drug kingpins. One might also note that despite more than ten years of US armed intervention in Afghanistan, more than a 100,000 deaths, and between 1 and 2 trillion dollars spent2 Afghanistan remains a narco state.

So Jeff Sessions, tough guy, is going to reverse the very modest corrective direction of Obama’s policies to once again refill our jails. More vicious mindless policy making from the Trump regime.

  1. https://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/ accssed 5/13/2017 []
  2. The Financial Legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan: How Wartime Spending Decisions Will Constrain Future National Security Budgets by Linda Bilmes – https://research.hks.harvard.edu/publications/workingpapers/citation.aspx?PubId=8956&type=WPN accessed 5/13/2017 []

1 Our Situation

Our Situation button

For some time I have been thinking, writing, and gathering information, not necessarily in any good order, about our situation here in the US. For more than a decade I have thought that we are in a protracted crisis.

This crisis can be felt at the personal, family, local and national level in all areas of life. Some of the sources are systemic to technological change and the global dynamics of capitalism. Some find their roots in fundamental failures in humans – racism, sexism, religion, etc. Some flow from our political system, some from our economy.

The focus of this work has been to try to identify what this crisis is about within the US context, to describe it, without any real notion of even suggesting solutions.

Where Did This List Come From and Is There an Order?

I first started this list two or three years ago while we were still in the deepest part of the Great Recession. Most of the early entries related to the political system and economic inequality. As I have returned to it I have broadened the coverage of social and political topics. Most recently I have added ones that relate to the mythology underlying our approaches to life in the US.

Here is my current list of topics:

  • Underperforming, expensive healthcare system
  • Political system controlled by big money, private and corporate
  • Distorted role of corporations
  • Quasi-religious faith in “free market” capitalism
  • Race, sex, ethnicity, klans….
  • Myth of social mobility
  • National and State Political Systems Designed to Be Anti-democratic and Dysfunctional
  • 30+ year stagnation of income
  • Disappearance of living wage jobs
  • The rich are at their feeding troughs
  • Expensive, underperforming K-12 educational system
  • Expensive, underperforming higher ed system
  • Web access and infrastructure
  • Homelessness and poverty
  • Bloated, dysfunctional global military and empire
  • Our longest war – the war on drugs
  • Criminal justice system – aka the judicial-incarceration gulag
  • Persistent income disparities
  • Super rich vs. everyone else
  • Intrusion by organized religion into government and politics
  • Energy policy focused on consumption instead of efficiency