A Madness No More

Reefer Madness. That was the title of a popular 1936 film, one of a series depicting in grim detail all the horrors of marijuana from bad dreams and hallucinations to suicide and murder. You name it, marijuana caused it. As a result, one state after another outlawed it and Harry Anslinger, commissioner of the newly created Federal Bureau of Narcotic Control, declared it responsible for “insanity, criminality and death.”

We have come a long way from that prognosis. Today marijuana is the world’s most popular drug, a dramatic change in both attitude and law. Eighteen states in the U.S. have now legalized marijuana and 38 approved its medical use. It’s considered no worse than alcohol which is freely used, maybe a little better. It’s certainly preferable to the harder drugs like Fentanyl which is fifty times more potent than marijuana. Legalization is not entire. Prohibitions remain on excessive personal use, dealing in the drug or involving minors. But for normal everyday consumers, seeking recreation and relief, it’s time to celebrate.

Not for the Mexican drug cartels. They have said all along that legalization of marijuana is more damaging to them than law enforcement. That seems to be the case. For the moment, more drugs than ever are crossing the US. border thanks to a relaxation of rules in Washington, but in general marijuana deliveries are way down along with their price. Since marijuana amounts to about half of their business, they could be in serious trouble.

They have been scrambling to compensate, switching to harder drugs like fentanyl which was largely responsible for the record 93,331 American deaths from overdose last year. They have branched out into human trafficking and are forcing migrants to pay to cross the border which they completely control on the Mexican side.

Now they have invaded the U.S., starting hundreds of marijuana farms in southern California that will let them continue to profit from the drug. How they managed to avoid U.S.authorities in this extensive enterprise on U.S. soil is a major question. Are their farms a Mexican version of the sanctuary cities popular in California? Though they don’t make the official U.S. list of terrorists, they are terrorizing Americans the way they do Mexicans. When a couple of hikers got too close to a farm, a worker appeared with a picture of a bullet-ridden truck with a dead driver inside and warned: “This what will happen to you if you come back out again.”  

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Photo: Steve Petteway/Courtesy of the Collection of the Supreme Court of the United States

Since these farms are not in Mexico but in the U.S., it’s assumed that U.S. law enforcement, once galvanized, can root them out in a timely fashion. Then as soon as possible the remaining states should complete legalization and resolve contradictions with the U.S. Government. As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas notes in a recent statement, it doesn’t make sense for the federal government to continue to enforce laws against marijuana that have been eliminated by the states. “The federal government’s current approach is a half-in, half-out regime that simultaneously tolerates and forbids local use of marijuana. “

Once this is accomplished, the harried cartels will face a marijuana wall of consumerism that could enfeeble them to the benefit of both the U.S. and Mexico.

The Bidens Do Mexico

Somehow in his frequent travels around the world Hunter Biden misplaced a laptop at a computer shop in Delaware. Once it was discovered and turned over to the FBI, its contents were made available and are now being reported. Among the various business ventures disclosed was one in Mexico involving that country’s richest man, billionaire Carlos Slim. A photo shows then Vice President Joe Biden and son Hunter smiling alongside Carlos Slim at a State Dept. luncheon in Washington D.C. in 2015.

Photo by https://nypost.com/

There’s nothing new about top U.S. officials getting photographed with controversial characters. The world is full of them. But doing serious business with them is another matter, especially when Mexico is now inundating the U.S with illegal and dangerous drugs and in the process wrecking its own country. There’s no clear evidence linking Carlos Slim to the drug dealing cartels that basically run Mexico, but it’s not really possible to be a billionaire in Mexico and still be alive without making an accommodation of some kind with them.

In turn the Biden’s have made their accommodation. They are hardly alone. In 2009 Slim made a $250 million loan to the ailing New York Times and is now the company’s second largest share holder. The Times reports very little about the doings of the drug cartels and the dismal situation in Mexico. The same is true of the rest of the mainstream media, which may explain why the Biden’s went so casually into business with Slim. They weren’t aware of his background.

The question arises as to why this enormous drug traffic escapes genuine scrutiny.

One reason may be fear. The murderous cartels have a long reach and in fact these days may be right next door. They are sophisticated, increasingly global managers who may associate with their peers in legitimate pursuits. Just don’t get in their way.

Then there’s indifference. Sensitively attuned to any violation of civil rights within their borders – don’t dare call a Mexican a bad name – Americans seem mindless of the slaughter of Mexicans in Mexico. Not our problem. What’s their problem?

And last but not least there’s money, many billions of dollars available in the U.S. that has not been laundered back to Mexico. It amounts to a vast redistribution of wealth from the less affluent buyers of drugs to the more affluent who profit from them. If the mainstream media were serious, it could examine how this works and what it does to the U.S..

Given the current rush to the border, cracks are appearing in media coverage. Apparently, it’s no longer taboo to mention the cartels whose control of drugs and migrants is so very obvious. But there’s a long way to go to make plain their impact on American life.

How Many Wars and For What?

As he pledged, President Biden is withdrawing from the war in Afghanistan. It will not be easy since it has lasted twenty years and the U.S. has not had its way. The Taliban are likely to assert control not without bloodshed. Biden will doubtless take a pummeling at home for allowing this to happen. But how long can a war be sustained with its inevitable death and destruction, and one that is no longer in the national interest?

MAIN POSHTEH, AFGHANISTAN – (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

As if to make up for this avoidance of battle, Biden has now bombed Iraqi militias that are assumed to be backed by Iran. The professed aim is to deter them from attacking U.S.troops in Iraq. The question is why these troops are still there close to twenty years after the much deplored and altogether unnecessary invasion of Iraq that started the region on its downward spiral of unending war.

It’s obvious time to regroup, say many analysts. A report by the Atlantic Council notes “The core assumptions underpinning U.S. policy – ensuring oil flows, maintaining Israel’s security, preventing the rise of a dominant hegemon and countering terrorism – have been upended by new realities.” The Middle East is not so crucial to the U.S. as it once was. No polity there, including Iran, seriously threatens the U.S. It’s a local matter.

It’s one thing to understand this, another to implement it. U.S. foreign policy is fragmented among various power seekers from Pentagon to State Department to CIA to, yes, the media. Gone are the days of the so-called “Wise Men” who formed an actual establishment and were able to construct a viable foreign policy that stood the test of time. Today the divisions are daily apparent, including the murky doings of a Deep State that manages to avoid serious scrutiny.

The current greatest threat to the US. is also divided – the ever combative Mexican drug cartels that compete with one aother for control of the immensely lucrative drug trade with firepower that has devastated Mexico. But unlike the U. S. they share a common overriding goal – move as many drugs and migrants across the U.S. border in the shortest possible time for the largest possible profit. This they are currently doing perhaps more successfully than ever before.

 US-Mexico border fence in Tijuana. Photograph: John Moore/Getty Images

There are simply no serious impediments to them on the border. Long stretches of its 2000 miles lack any sort of protection. You can cross freely, go back and forth without anyone noticing. A nation that is involved in protecting borders across the Middle East and elsewhere doesn’t seem to want to protect its own border. Even now in the face of an invasion of drugs and migrants, there’s a squeamish reluctance to put the manpower where it’s vitally needed and make it effective. –  on the border.

It’s not that the U.S. isn’t welcoming. A case can be made that all of Mexico qualifies for asylum given the violence that permeates the country. The root cause is the vast American consumption of illicit drugs that keeps the cartels in business. We Americans are responsible for the tragedy on the border. It’s of our own making, and we are the ones to mend it.