Saturday, June 2, 2018

News That You Can Use (No. 1)

If you're new here, this is a weekly column consisting of letters written to my grandchildren (who exist) and my great-grandchildren (who aren't here yet) — the Stickies — to haunt them after they become grups and/or I'm dead.

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Irregularly Appearing Imaginary Guest Stars
Marie-Louise -- My beautiful muse and back scratcher 
Iggy -- My designated Sticky
Dana -- My designated gentlereader

"The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting." -- Sun Tzu

Dear (eventual) Stickies & Great-Grandstickies,

[Stickies and gentlereaders: "News You Can Use" is the title of a feature that's been a feature of various and sundry media outlets since the dead trees format ruled the Earth. Often legitimately, sometimes sarcastically (HT: WSJ/James Freeman).

I've added the word That, and do hereby declare my intention to crank out an occasional column that will contain legitimate/sarcastic/hybrid news -- That, you can use.]

While I'm certain, My Dear Stickies, that none of you will even consider experimenting with recreational pharmaceuticals till your cerebral cortex is completely mature (age 25) and/or that by the time you're grups we will have come to our senses, as things stand just now...

"Portugal's policy rests on three pillars: one, that there's no such thing as a soft or hard drug, only healthy and unhealthy relationships with drugs;

Two, that an individual's unhealthy relationship with drugs often conceals frayed relationships with loved ones, with the world around them, and with themselves;

And three that the eradication of all drugs is an impossible goal (my emphasis).

The paragraph above is from an article written by Susana Ferreira, and published in The Guardian on 12/5/2017, about why Portugal called a truce in the war on drugs.

I recently read somewhere that Attorney General Jeff Sessions (full disclosure, I'm not a fan) is happy that he recused himself from the perpetual investigation into whether the Donald and the Pooteen are tangled up in a bromance.

Mr. Sessions enjoys being America's top cop and his recusal frees up his time. See, he can concentrate on eradicating other stains on America's character, like the use of recreational pharmaceuticals.

"On November 18, 1918, prior to ratification of the Eighteenth Amendment, the U.S. Congress passed the temporary Wartime Prohibition Act which banned the sale of alcoholic beverages...." --Wikipedia

America went dry and criminals all over America broke out the champagne and raised a toast to The Gummit. Let the profiteering and bloodletting begin! The law of...

[Wait, wait,wait... This ain't news, this is ancient history. I thought...]

Hold on Dana... The law of unexpected consequences was triggered and this failed experiment was ended in 1933. Yes, everyone (well...) knows this.

Big But

Prior to The Gummit coming to its senses, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (the DEAs grandfather) was born in 1930. It was run by one Harry J. Anslinger, a veteran of the Bureau of Prohibition.

Thus, Mr. Anslinger, and many of his fellow teetotalers from the Bureau of Prohibition, were spared the indignity of being on the dole during the Great Depression.

The war on drugs is a holding action and the battle has raged for better than ninety years. It...

[Fine, I didn't know that, but still, it ain't news, it's olds.]

True, but the fact that Portugal called a truce in 2001 and has gained control of its drug problem is news in that most of the world doesn't seem to have noticed.

The British paper the Guardian did.

[Fine then. So, what happened?]

From the Guardian, "...Portugal became the first country to decriminalize the possession and consumption of all illicit substances. ...those caught with a personal supply might be given a warning, a small fine, or told to appear before a local commission -- a doctor, a lawyer and a social worker -- about treatment, harm reduction, services."

"...criminal penalties are still applied to drug growers, dealers and traffickers." -Wikipedia

Back to The Guardian: "The opioid crisis soon stabilized, and the ensuing years saw dramatic drops in problematic drug use, HIV and hepatitis infection rates, overdose deaths, drug-related crime and incarceration rates."

The perpetual war on drugs was canceled and replaced by a public health program.

O.K., well that about sums it up...

[Mon nounours! We are at least a 'undred words short.]

Thanks, Marie-Louise. However, I wish to proffer a lengthy but pointed question that will put us about a hundred words over the official 755 WPC (words per column) limit.

I realize that the gummits, The Gummit and the employees of local, state and federal agencies (roughly 21,000,000 people), for the most part, wish us nothing but the best. Which is cool, because if 1 out of 16 of us works for the gummits or The Gummit, them is (are?) us.

Yet Another Big But

Given that the war on drugs has been going on for better than 90 years and that Portugal figured out that a truce is likely the best one can hope for


Prior to Harry J. being appointed the first drug Tzar/General/whateveral America regarded drug abuse as a public health problem  

["Marijuana is taken by musicians. And I'm hot speaking about good musicians, but the jazz type." --H.J. Anslinger]

Settle down, Harry J. And in light of how the prohibition of alcohol (Iran bans alcohol...) worked out, and how the war on drugs is working out, and the fact that we're spending $50,000,000/year (in the U.S. alone)...

Shouldn't we be funding a Congressional junket, or perhaps even some folks with a clue, to visit Portugal and ask around? Poppa loves you.

[25 Poppa, seriously?]

Yes, Iggy, seriously.

Have an OK day.

[P.S. Gentlereaders, for 25¢ a week, no, seriously, for 25¢ a week you can become a Patron of this weekly column and help to prevent an old crank from running the streets at night in search of cheap thrills and ill-gotten gains.

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©2018 Mark Mehlmauer   (The Flyoverland Crank)

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