Politicians speak out on drugs (the drug of alcohol).

Reverend Mark A. Matthews, Seattle, 1909:

"The liquor traffic is the most fiendish, corrupt and hell-soaked institution that ever crawled out of the slime of the eternal pit. It is the open sore of this land."

Lyman Beecher:

"I defy any man who understands the nature of ardent sprits, and yet continues to be in the traffic, to show that he is not involved in the crime of murder."

Michigan Governor Woodbridge Ferris, 1916:

"I am convinced that seven out of every ten men in the prisons of Michigan were started or assisted in the course that led to crime by liquor drinking."

Mark Twain, Letter to the Alta Californian newspaper, May 28, 1867:

"Prohibition only drives drunkenness behind doors and into dark places, and does not cure it, or even diminish it.

Illinois State Representative Abraham Lincoln, 1840:

"Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."

Prohibition in Michigan

On May 1, 1918, Michigan passed a law calling for full prohibition, that is, the Michigan legislature voted to turn hundreds of thousands of Michigan residents into criminals. However, on February 18, 1919, the Michigan Supreme Court held that law to be unenforcible.

The period of freedom did not last long. Five weeks later, on March 27, 1919, another law making criminals out of ordinary citizens who like to drink was passed. Before it could be overturned, the U.S. Government passed nationwide prohibition, and legalized all alcohol-prohibiting state laws. This state of affairs lasted until 1933, when the U.S. Government, at long last recognizing the connection between high crime rates and prohibition, got out of the alcohol prohibition business and turned the matter over to the states. A state convention was held in 1933, with one delegate from each state house district. They voted 99 to 1 to repeal prohibition.

During prohibition in Michigan (1919-1933) 54,007 people were prosecuted in Michigan state courts for alcohol "crimes," with 36,327 convicted.

One of those was Fred M. Palm, who got life imprisonment for 14 ounces of gin. See 245 Michigan Reports page 396.

Another was Etta Mae Miller, a 48 year old woman with 10 children who got life imprisonment for 2 pints of moonshine whiskey. See 250 Michigan Reports page 72.

In the year following the reinstatement of the right to drink, homicides in Michigan dropped 70%.

Sex, jazz, and those pesky Negroes

Just 4 years after alcohol prohibition ended the insanity started up all over again. In 1937, the racist, power-hungry politician Harry Anslinger got Congress to make marijuana illegal.

Anslinger, who as America's first drug "czar" marched into minority communities much as other "leaders" were doing in Europe at the same time, testified before Congress:

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."

While other racist gunmen of 1937 such as Hitler and Mussolini, along with their political legacies, have been rejected and buried, the legacy of Harry Anslinger lives on as official U.S. government policy.

Modern Prohibition in Michigan

Of the 198 people serving life under Michigan's modern prohibition (as of November 1995), 10 are women, and 188 are men. Only 26 had ever been to prison before. [NOTE: There are now 224 of these political prisoners, as of September 1, 1996.]

None of these political prisoners are named Clinton, Dole, Gore, Kemp or Buchanan. There is an Alexander, Arthur Alexander, 146053, serving life for drugs at Ryan Regional Facility in Detroit, Michigan. And, there is a Forbes, obviously from the poorer side of the family. Shawn Forbes, 220074, is serving his life sentence for drugs at Macomb Regional Facility in New Haven, Michigan.

Although Orenthal J. Simpson did rather well in his Los Angeles trial for murder, evidently Orville Simpson, 230197, was not as lucky in his trial. He is locked up for the rest of his life for drugs at Jackson Prison in Jackson, Michigan.

I am sure you all remember Dan White, who shot two people to death, including Mayor George Moscone, in San Francisco a few years back. He got 8 years. Val White, 225440, should have tried that strategy. Instead, he possessed drugs, and got locked up for life, at Carson City Regional Facility in Carson City, Michigan. I suppose the lesson for the rest of us is, it is better to kill than to get high.

How would Jesus fare, if he came back to earth today? Not too well, it seems. Jesus Gallego, 233460, is doing life for drugs as well, at Riverside Correctional Facility in Ionia, Michigan.

Chuck Ross

On April 26, 1995, Chuck Ross appeared before Judge Jeffrey Collins for sentencing on his drug conviction. His sister, Robin Ross Case, made the following comments:

Chuck is one of the most thoughtful and considerate people I know and he's generous to a fault. And I actually I can't think of anyone who knows Chuck who doesn't like him. He is a loving and caring father to two great kids who need and love their father very much and have depended on him both personally and financially for all their needs...

My brother is not a man of violence, and he does not believe in--he has never been accused of a violent act and has never carried a gun...

It breaks my heart to think that people in this State believe my brother deserves a stiffer sentence than cold-blooded killers that plan executions such as Charles Manson, child molesters, and drive-by shooters.

His mother, Helen Dean Ross, made these comments:

My son, Charles Ross, has never been insolent or disrespectful to me in his forty-three years...My grandson, his son, is now five years old. And until Chuck was incarcerated eight months ago, Alex was by his side every day until Chuck went to work at 3 o'clock. His son adored him and vice versa...Certainly while his father, family and I do not condone anything to do with drugs, we do feel that life imprisonment without parole for this person, it's not humane or just. And I also feel that imprisonment already served has taught him a lesson he'll never forget.

Interestingly, Chuck's pretrial bond was $50,000. If Chuck had had $5000 (and was willing to sign over his family's home as security), he could have paid a bondsman to post his pretrial bond, and fled to Quebec where he would be free. What kind of drug kingpin does not have even $5000? Judge Collins ruled that Chuck and his lawyer could not inform the jury about the amount of the bond or his financial status, and that they could not tell the jury about the penalty for drugs.

Chuck Ross is now prisoner 242960. His first prison sentence ever is for life in prison without possibility of parole at the Harrison Regional Facility in Adrian, Michigan.

Comedian Tim Allen

One of America's most beloved performers is Tim Allen, star of tv's Home Improvement and the Christmas movie The Santa Clause. From all reports, Tim Allen was funny, entertaining and charming his whole life, even before he reached stardom. However, back in 1978, he was not a star. On October 2, 1978, Allen packed up 1 1/2 pounds of cocaine into a gym bag and brought it to a locker at the Kalamazoo, Michigan airport, where he and an associate were going to sell it to a man they knew as "Mike." "Mike" turned out to be an undercover police officer, and Tim Allen, then known by his birth name of Tim Allen Dick, was arrested. The amount possessed by Allen was just over 650 grams. If convicted under Michigan law, Allen would be required to serve life in prison.

Allen had the good luck to be, in the words of one prosecutor, "an intelligent, personable and remorseful individual." His talents were obviously exceptional, even back then.

Because Allen was funny, entertaining and charming (and willing to testify against others), authorities chose to prosecute him under federal law, where he received a 5 year sentence. The state court imposed no additional time. Circuit Judge Patrick Macauley told him:

"You have the unique ability to get on the stage and perform and make people smile, laugh and be happy. That's an unusual talent. Don't waste it.

You can perfect your talents while in prison. When you come out, I expect to see you very, very successful as a comedian. I expect to see your name in magazines. You are going to be a very successful young man."

Allen served about 2 1/2 years in prison, and then was released. Judge Macauley had picked a winner. Allen went on to become one of Hollywood's most successful stars, beloved by parents and children alike, and coming to represent in a real sense the spirit of Christmas through his movie The Santa Clause.

But what about the people less charming than Tim Allen? What about the ones who will not be successful in show business, and impress prosecutors as being "an intelligent, personable and remorseful individual"? Well, of course they are serving their sentences of life in prison. Just ask Michael Ward, 128627, of the Saginaw Correctional Facility of Freeland, Michigan, a former associate of Allen named with Allen in his federal indictment. Ward is serving life in prison because of his state court conviction for drugs. Although Ward was no more guilty than Allen, Ward must rot in prison while Allen enjoys a successful Hollywood career. Allen can be forgiven, but Ward cannot.

After an article on Allen appeared in the Detroit Free Press on February 26, 1995, attorney James Lawrence wrote a letter to the Free Press as follows:

The article on comedian Tim Allen points up the unfairness of Michigan's drug laws. Hundreds of people are serving life in prison without parole for doing no more than Allen did. If he does not belong in jail forever, why do all those other people belong there forever? If Allen is not a horribly evil person, perhaps some of those other people also are not monsters.

The forgiveness we so readily bestow upon Allen shows that a lifetime of punishment for drug involvement is fundamentally morally wrong. What would our society have gained if Allen had been locked in a cell until he died, instead of being allowed the freedom to be a productive member of society?

Would a released murderer be welcomed into so many homes as Tim Allen? Do we think of Allen the same way we think of a murderer? If not, then why should those who did no more than Allen did have to be confined to prison for life? Tim Allen proves that drug dealers are capable of reform, and that reasonable sentences can do just as much as outrageously draconian sentences in encouraging reform. Too bad the legislators of Michigan care more about sound bytes of being "tough on crime" than they care about justice.

A contrast of two judges

On September 2, 1994, Judge Helen E. Brown of Detroit Recorders Court sentenced Lazaro Vivas to life in prison for over 650 grams of cocaine. However, even as she obeyed her duty to impose the life sentence, she at least had the decency to recognize that the law was unfair. Without being asked, she spontaneously said:

"I don't think it's fair. It is not a sentence I would give you, if I had any choice. But I have to give you this sentence, because I have to follow the law. So, your sentence is life."

In contrast, Judge Jeffrey Collins, also of Detroit Recorders Court, was expressly asked in the case of Chuck Ross (see above) to at least criticize the sentence he was required by law to impose. He refused to do so. He said that even if the law were changed to permit a sentence less than life, he would not change the sentence. "You know how many cases come through this building that are drug-related shooting?" he asked. Evidently, he saw no significance in the fact that homicides dropped 70% when alcohol prohibition was ended.

One brave judge

In 1972, Justice Thomas G. Kavanagh of the Michigan Supreme Court, made the following statement of principle in the case of People v John Sinclair, 387 Michigan Reports page 91. He said:

"As I understand our constitutional concept of government, an individual is free to do whatever he pleases, so long as he does not intefere with the rights of his neighbor or of society, and no government--state or Federal--has been ceded the authority to interfere with that freedom. As has been said:

`The sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of these number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral is not a sufficient warrant.' J.S. Mill, On Liberty, Chapter 1.

...'Big Brother' cannot, in the name of Public health, dictate to anyone what he can eat or drink or smoke in the privacy of his own home."

Justice Kavanagh applied the same reasoning to vote to strike down laws on sale of drugs, in People v Eric Lorentzen, 387 Michigan Reports page 167. He said:

"The right to possess and use something, however, has little meaning unless one also has the right to acquire it, and hence proscription of sale cannot be reconciled with a right to possess and use.

It may be that some legitimate public interest may be served by the regulation of traffic in marijuana, but a statute which absolutely forbids the sale of marijuana is as offensive to the right of privacy and the pursuit of happiness as a statute which forbids its possession and use."

Justice Kavanagh stood alone, which is typical when a person bravely stands up for principle.

I believe I speak for all lovers of freedom when I say: We salute you, Justice Kavanagh.

A Challenge To Our Leaders

Over 500,000 people were arrested in 1995 for marijuana, a 22% increase over 1994. This went up to 704,812 in 1999, an 85% increase over 1993. National leaders like George W. Bush, Clinton, Gore, Gingrich and Clarence Thomas all support the war on drugs, yet were former drug users themselves.

These leaders are essentially telling drug users: you must suffer, so that others will not use drugs. If they believe that so strongly, maybe they will accept this challenge:

Let Bush, Clinton, Gore, Gingrich and Thomas WAIVE their protection under Statutes of Limitation, making it possible for them to be prosecuted now for their past drug "crimes." Let them provide full information about their past drug crimes, and not leave any out. Let them name all of those who have seen the crimes or participated in them (i.e., their former friends and associates). Let the witnesses named come forward with their information. [They will be free from prosecution: they are not waiving their statute of limitation rights.] Let Bush, Clinton, Gore, Gingrich and Thomas be prosecuted for their crimes. Let them be sentenced to prison, lose their jobs, and suffer the way they want other American drug users to be punished.

Then we will see exactly how committed they are to their grand ideals.

I believe you will find that these 5 hypocrites, like the tens of thousands of other past and present drug users now serving as judges, legislators and government bureaucrats throughout our nation, will support the idea of individual suffering for the good of society only when it is someone else doing the suffering.

The Future of Prohibition

Some scientists have concluded that tobacco is dangerous to your health. Smoking it will soon be a crime.

The leading preventable health problem in America today is not tobacco or drugs. It is obesity. Will we soon see compulsory diets for fat people? If we stay on our present course, it is not far away. But first there will be increasing restrictions on what people are permitted to eat. After all, not one word in the US Constitution expressly protects a citizen's right to eat, drink or smoke what he or she chooses.

Certainly butter is not good for you. It contains fat, which is linked to numerous health problems. Why should citizens be allowed to do something unhealthy?

My doctor says people should cut down on their sodium. Why not simply make trafficking in salt illegal? Sure, salt does not kill most people, but neither does cocaine.

What about coffee? Like cocaine, it comes from Colombia, it is addictive, and people suffer withdrawal symptoms from being deprived of it. Like marijuana or tobacco, there are different varieties, which connoisseurs evaluate for taste, aroma and potency. It has been linked to a variety of health ills. Coffee is certainly on the way out.

Some scientists have concluded that beef is dangerous to your health. They have found that beef-eaters are more likely to contract heart disease, and certain forms of cancer. Eating beef will soon be a crime, while selling beef will be as serious as rape or murder. Soon, we will all be forced by our government to be vegetarians, whether we like it or not.

Why? The reason is the religion of Science Supremacy. This religion demands that if something makes sense scientifically, then all persons must be forced into it, using the full power of Government to make them toe the line. If people must be imprisoned, or killed, so be it. If crime goes up, that is a small price to pay. This religion caused alcohol prohibition, the war on drugs, and other government atrocities. It will soon make you a vegetarian.

After seeing hundreds of years of European persecution of one religious group by another, our founding fathers decided to create freedom of religion. Before that, any group with governmental power that felt another group was living the "wrong" way could compel that group to start living the "right" way, at the point of a sword. After all, the "wrong" people were not only ruining their own lives, but by their example were infecting others with their "wrong" way of living. They had to be stopped.

The founding fathers pressed for freedom of religion because they respected personal autonomy. They saw that when society is permitted to invade the right of individuals to make personal decisions in their lives, when a nation is permitted to label huge segments of its own population as being evil and worthy of the most severe punishment, the result is a society perpetually at war.

Just as in the Vietnam War, the drug warriors measure their success in body count, and see the light at the end of the tunnel. Yet, the reality is that we cannot even keep drugs out of prisons. How can we possibly hope to keep them out of a free society?

We have over 1.5 million prisoners in state and federal prisons. So, we round up another ten thousand. Did the rest of the people stop using drugs yet? Not yet. So round up another ten thousand. Millions still using drugs? Of course. So, lock up another ten thousand. And so on, and so on, forever. Will 2.5 million prisoners be enough? 3.5 million? 10 million?

If we are to move to a just, free society, we must adopt the rule that citizens shall have freedom from the religion of science. People must have the right to smoke cigarettes, watch too much tv, eat meat, snort cocaine, or stay up late at night, even though science may dictate those activities are unwise.

If you agree, perhaps you shold join the Libertarian Party.

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