Why Wall Street loves the War on Drugs

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The raid on Oaksterdam has just about everyone in local politics engaging in a little head-scratching: What possible reason would the Obama administration have to crack down on medical marijuana in an election year? How does it help the president, who will be facing an unsettled and angry electorate in a still-tough economy, to alienate the pot smoking liberals of the world, who were at one point among his most loyal constituents?

What a fucking idiot.

Here's what make it worse: I don't think anyone at Goldman Sachs talked to the White House about this, but the 1 percent clearly have a lot to gain from the drug war.

And it has nothing to do with drugs.

Let's be logical here. There's only one possible way to increase economic equality in this country, and it involves government intervention. With union membership at a fraction of what it once was, government is the only institution with the power these days to enforce income redistribution. The wealthy have to be forced to pay higher taxes, and that money has to be spent on public education, affordable housing, economic development, public-sector-driven job creation and other programs that are proven to narrow the wealth gap.

But that's tricky, since the Right has done such an effective job (with the help of corrupt politicians of every stripe, including liberals) of making Americans mistrust government. How do you get people to vote for higher taxes when they think the money's going to be wasted on pointless wars and crony contracts -- and on sending federal agents to roust pot clubs?

The two factors that most accounted for the fall of economic liberalism in the 1960s were Vietnam and pot. My parents generation saw the government as the nation's leaders who got us out of the Great Depression and won World War II. My generation saw government as the assholes who were sending us to die in Southeast Asia and putting us in jail for smoking weed. That's why when Ronald Reagan announced that "government is not the solution, it's the problem," so many of my peers nodded (through the haze) and said: Right on.

There are more progressives in the Bay Area today who distrust and dislike the federal government than there were before the raids began. We're going back to the days when "the feds" became a dirty word. And it's undermining everything that Obama is tyring to do with the economy.

Yeah, Wall Street, which is trying to get rid of pesky regulations, loves this -- if you hate the feds in Oaksterdam, it's hard to love them at the IRS and Securities and Exchange Commission. That's what the 1 percent relies on. And it's working.

 

 

Comments

in both the White House and Congress, it's not clear to me that Obama is doing anything different than continuing a long-term American policy.

And as much as you might enjoy puffing a doobie and feeling cool that you do, the majority of people and voters support the government.

I find it's ironic that you are so in favour of government power and regulation, and yet so qucik to do a 180 when it doesn't work out the way you want.

Either you want a strong central government or you do not. You can't cherry pick.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 2:27 pm

You make an excellent point. The only flaw to your conclusion is that polls consistently show that more than 50% of Americans nationwide favor the legalization of marijuana. So your premise that the majority of people favor the government is just a false pipe dream.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 9:26 pm

This is why I'm voting for Ron Paul, he is not corrupt and he understands the downsides of too much government involvement in any part of government.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 1:53 pm

If , as you say, Wall Street, hates regulations and the IRS etc., then they should really care less about Oaksterdam. Heck if anything, the Pharmacetical companies and Tobacco companies would probably love to see MJ legalized- a whole new legal product that is popular with the 18-35 demographic.

Your article really needs some editing as I honestly am not sure how you are relating the hippies in the 60's to Wall Street now and with brief stop to hang out with Reagan.

Posted by DNative on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 2:45 pm

The pharm and Tobacco companies would certainly not want legalization. Pharm companies damn sure don't want a basic pain reliever that you can grow yourself. Tobacco companies don't want a healthier option to stress relief. Marijuana is healthier than both groups' products when consumed or vaporized. YOU ARE WRONG ON ALL ACCOUNTS.

Posted by You are making...less sense (negative sense)? on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 8:17 am

But really ow many Donald if it were legalized, how many would? The mere fact that there are so many dispensaries shows the basic flaw In your argument. Big drug companies could easily produce MJ more efficiently and with better quality, I.e you would know scientifically how muchTHC was in each joint, etc.

Plus with it legalized, you would actually see a drop in production in places
Idle Mendocino and Humboldt as it would not be as profitable.

A company like RJ Reynolds would probably love to add MJ to its product line. They have the experience to market it, produce it inmass quantities etc. tobacco and MJ aren't competing products.

Posted by D. native on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 8:57 am

D. Native, you can't put a patent on a plant, except for maybe GMOs. If you can't patent it, then Big Pharma doesn't want it.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 10:58 am

Copyright specific brands etc. they can also develope their own strains etc.

Posted by D. native on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

So let me get this straight... Wall Street is convincing Obama to raid the dispensaries in order to turn liberals against the government....You do realize that these are the same liberals that are OCCUPYING WALL STREET.

I really hate blind liberalism like this. How can you totally bypass blaming Obama for a policy that HE IS CARRYING OUT.

I can't even begin to point out all the bias in this article and the holes in your logic.

And this is not coming from a conservative or a liberal. This is coming from a college student who is disgusted with the entire American political system.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 2:47 pm

This article is hard to follow. Trying to weave a web between an investment bank, Wall Street, the 1%, the Vietnam war, union membership, and pot seems like a stretch.

Posted by The Commish on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 2:51 pm

It makes perfect sense,

The government needs more power and more of your money to level the playing field and create economic justice

while

The government can not be trusted with too much power to regulate the citizens because it will alienate the progressives who vote for Obama.

also

Legal weed seems to be a states rights issue, while state laws about illegal immigration are a constitutional issue.

not to mention

Unions are self serving but they are good for the average citizen because they are self serving.

Makes perfect sense.... Or not whatever.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

he seemingly with a straight face says that elected people will decide how this money is spent by the will of the people, of the people don't like it the people will vote these spenders out of office. Trust them to do what is right with more and more money seems to be the mantra in that area. I don't think I am misconstruing Tim's position in the least here.

In the case of the costly wars in the middle east the people voted to re-elect George Bush for some reason. Leaving the progressives scratching their asses/heads yet again.

In this case, Tim seems to be upset that the elected are making the wrong choice and making good progressive hate the government, which is good for Wall street.?.?.?.? but this is also the government that we are supposed to entrust with ever higher taxes to finance a bloated military and various wars???? but at some point the people will get it right, vote in progressives who will run the country correctly?

None of these edicts and proclamations make any conjoined sense, it really seems it is about what makes sense after a few bong hits today.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

Of anything. Don't you read this stuff before you blast me? I said I didn't think anyone on Wall St. talked to the White House about this. I just said what the effect was.

The pharma companies don't want California-style legalization of medical marijuana, because it's too easy to grow on your own. Pharma wants to control medicine with patents, because that's how you make money. If anything, the way CA treats medical pot is a terrible precedent for Big Pharma, since there's no way any corporation can make a lot of money off something any decent gardener who reads a couple of books and buys a couple thousand dollars worth of gear can grow in the basement.

Cannabis isn't like corn or wheat, which requires large tracts of land to grow economically. It's Pharma's worst nightmare.

 

Posted by tim on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 4:37 pm
tim

You're so full of shit Tim.

Posted by darius404 on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 5:36 pm

That's brilliant man! And I like how in one instance you spell Tim with a small t then with a capitol T - wow! It's ppl like you that make reading these BG message bds so worthwhile. One just don't get insight like this anywhere else!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 12, 2012 @ 3:40 am

Tim you are kind of missing the point on this one.

California is in the bag for Obama. He can throw a bone to the drug warriors (like Hillary and DiFi, who love the Mexican narco war) and not pay a penalty at the ballot box this fall.

It's Clintonian triangulation. You lie to and screw your friends, because they have nowhere else to go.

Like Obama repeatedly being on record that "marriage is between a man and a woman." The gays think he's on their side because they cannot see that to them they're a demographic with nowhere else to go. So he can sell them out while taking their money and their votes.

Ain't democracy grand?

Posted by AnonForThis on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

First, Hilary Clinton is not an elected official. She is an appointed official in Obama's own administration. So, he has no need to "throw a bone" to her about anything. If he didn't think she was towing his line, he would ask her to step down. (And, she is going to step down anyway, assuming he is reelected).

Second, Dianne Feinstein is an elected official, and presumably she represents what her constituents want. So, I guess you are suggesting most Californians want pot to remain illegal? Also, Presidents "throw bones" to important blocs of voting constituents or to major campaign donors, they don't give a crap what Senators think, except to the extent the Senators are reflecting their constituents' view or the President needs their votes to pass legislation, and Dianne Feinstein has never been the swing vote on any piece of legislation Obama was pushing.

Third, I agree Obama sells out gays, but I think most straight so-called "progressives" do, too. I distinctly recall during the 2008 elections that when some gays pointed out that Obama did not have a very strong record on gay rights issues, they were told by most of the straight progressives to shut the fuck up, and they were accused of being selfish, or worse. Now, of course, since Obama has not pushed the "progressive" agenda in lock-step, the progressives no longer love him, but as a gay person I will never forget the progressives demonstration of complete moral bankruptcy and blind adherence to their political ideology at all costs.

Ultimately, Obama is not "triangulating" anyone. He is vigorously enforcing a law he supports. He is not stupid, rather this is what he honestly believes. And, The so-called "Obama memo" was written by Holder, not Obama, and while he did not remove Holder for it, he made sure his anti-pot policy was followed with the reappointment of a strong anti-pot director of the DEA and clear direction to Holder that the Department of Justice attorneys had better prosecute those selling medical marijuana. In short, the crusade against medical marijuana is Obama's personal policy, and not a result of him trying to appease anyone. Apparently, the "progressives" who support legalizing marijuana were not as smart as the gays who looked at Obama more skeptically.

Posted by Chris on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 11:58 pm

I can agree with that but I live in Ohio and I am angry about this broken promise. I will turn the hearts of at least five people close to me against Obama. He had a chance with me, end the drug war and protect the Constitution while in office. He has shown as an enemy of liberty, even more dangerous than the Bush admin. in several areas such as bombing American citizens with drones, not ending gitmo execution/torture camp and this very zealous prosecution of the drug war.

I am non-partisan so my vote is up for grabs. Literally any candidate who would stand up for freedom and traditional American values I would vote for them no matter their overall agenda.

The drug war is a enemy of liberty, an enemy of humanity and the supreme court is in very bad shape right now we are doomed as a free nation.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 5:43 am

How about Gary Johnson?

Stick it to the Democrate/Republican alliance by voting Ron Paul in your state primary then vote Gary Johnson in the general election.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 7:42 am

Sure, we need more government in our lives, but just not in certain, very specific areas, like smoking weed. The larger the role of the Federal government means more raids like this one and like the recent raids of raw milk coops in Los Angeles. Making some tenuous connection between this raid and big pharma is fairly hilarious. The War on Drugs has been heartily supported by both Dems and Repubs for decades now. We aren't going to hear a single word from Pelosi, Feinstein, or Boxer on this because they support the ideas of big government that Tim supports.

Posted by Kcassidy on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 8:15 pm

"The two factors that most accounted for the fall of economic liberalism in the 1960s were Vietnam and pot." Um, I think the subsequent massive economic failures and high crime rates of the '70s had a lot to do with it, too.

Posted by PapayaSF on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

Sure, we need more government in our lives, but just not in certain, very specific areas, like smoking weed. The larger the role of the Federal government means more raids like this one and like the recent raids of raw milk coops in Los Angeles. Making some tenuous connection between this raid and big pharma is fairly hilarious. The War on Drugs has been heartily supported by both Dems and Repubs for decades now. We aren't going to hear a single word from Pelosi, Feinstein, or Boxer on this because they support the ideas of big government that Tim supports.

Posted by Kcassidy on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 8:36 pm

The War on Drugs does benefit certain corporations--those that would otherwise be required to compete in a free market against the intoxicants currently deemed politicall incorrect. The tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceutical lobbies particularly stand to lose market share should, say, marijuana be legalized.

However, to paint the War on Drugs as a corporate plot to destroy the regulatory state is laughable. These very corporations often benefit enormously from government intervention in the market (tobacco being an exception). Entrenched businesses all too often cry out for regulation, hoping to create barriers to entry that will prevent challenges to their dominance by potentially more efficient upstart firms. The author's argument regarding taxation is silly enough that a response would be unwarranted

Yes, parts of Wall Street do gain from the continuation of the Drug War. This gain is not in the form of some indirect ploy to lower taxes by artificially manufacturing distrust of the government. Rather, it is immediate and direct monetary reward that comes as a result of complying with the government--be that by selling gear to be used by SWAT teams or asserting hegemony over the unfree market for intoxicants or medicine. More often than not, and in this case as much as any, intervention helps the super-rich at the expense of the lower and middle classes who would be served better by a freer market.

Frankly, the government alone is to blame for both the tragic collateral damage of the Drug War and the ill-gotten riches of its corporate collaborators. Mr. Obama, by continuing without serious modification the policies of his predecessors (including Reagan, a violent Drug Warrior who is here strangely profiled as some icon of alienated stoners), has proven himself to be as guilty as the rest. If the Drug War does lead to a lowered perception of government among the masses, then perhaps one and only one good thing will have come out of this whole sordid business. The government has created this mess and ought to be held accountable in every way.

The War on Drugs is just another destructive example of the thuggish, prudish and economically illiterate progressive impulse that gave us Prohibition. It is repugnant to the free market and to the individual rights of all citizens. It damn well ought to be opposed, but not for the asinine reasons stated in this article, which essentially hopes to apply the same worn out agenda of governmental control to the economic sphere even more so than it already is. The entrenched, corporatist-progressive elite can only be opposed effectively by a full and consistent embrace of freedom, a position that was in more intellectually honest times called liberalism.

Posted by Eugen Richter on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

at the behest of wall street, he is saying that the war on drugs turns off those who want to torment the citizens with government from the left.

The leftists who want to harass the citizens with Tim's agenda are bothered by the state harassing them so they drop out of the system. It's not that wall street actively promotes the war on drugs, its that the war on drugs turns off people who would be forcing the government on you from the other end.

Tim is upset that his authoritarian agenda that he likes is damaged by the authoritarian agenda he does not like.

Posted by matlock on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 9:18 pm

Your premise is faulty. You seem to want a bigger federal government to redistribute income in a way you believe to be fair. But you're kidding yourself if you think that government would also keep its paramilitary force in check and resist the temptation to prohibit your pot plants, all for the greater good.

There's a good reason why Californians are souring on meddling from Washington and in particular from the Obama administration. It's because of common sense.

Posted by Bill on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 10:01 pm

What, exactly, is it that "Obama is tyring to do with the economy?" You realize (or maybe you don't) that Obama has received more money from the financial and securities industry than any other politician? As he appointed to his financial team Wall St. figures who watched the meltdown happen while denying it was happening, why on earth do you think that Obama is separate from Wall St.

Obama is Wall St.. And besides that, he's every bit the authoritarian that G.W. was.

One would have to be blindly partisan to ignore these objective truths.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 09, 2012 @ 10:25 pm

Prohibition engendered black market profits are obscenely huge. Remove this and you remove the ability to bribe or threaten any government official or even whole governments. The argument that legalized regulation won’t severely cripple organized crime is truly bizarre. Of course, the bad guys won’t just disappear, but if you severely diminish their income, you also severely diminish their power. The proceeds from theft, extortion, pirated goods etc. are a drop in the ocean compared to what can be earned by selling prohibited/unregulated drugs in a black market estimated to be worth 400,000 million dollars. The immense illegal capital, gifted through prohibition, is what gives these criminal cartels and terrorists power. Power that has allowed them to expand into other areas with near total impunity.

Posted by malcolm kyle on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 12:01 am

Tim, it is nothing short of pathetic that you fail to realize that the War On Drugs is the quintessential "progressive" program. It's a pretext for the government to seize unlimited power, to rob us of our property, to routinely invade our privacy, and all too often, to kill people with impunity. You want a nanny state? Well, this is what a nanny state is all about, you pathetic boot licking idiot.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 12:11 am

Drug money is helping keep capitalism afloat. Trillions every year. Legalise and that income is mostly gone. Prohibition brings a lot of negatives too.

The real problem is capitalism and the only solution is communism.
That lesson will be learnt the hard way as capitalism has nothing but worse to offer the working class.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 12:37 am

"There's only one possible way to increase economic equality in this country, and it involves government intervention"

Actually, there is another way. It's odd that you over-looked it because it's the topic of the post. The government can stop arbitrarily favoring some forms of economic activity and prohibiting or imposing costly regulations on other activities. For instance refusing to use public dollars to build private sports stadiums, or ending subsidies to farmers, or ending the import-export bank, or ending prohibition, or ending the use of eminent domain for private development, or starving the military-industrial complex, would all increase equality through ending government intervention.

I think redistributive policies are important and necessary, but until the government stops actively carrying out the morally wrong and regressive policies outlined above, I'm going to be dubious of any claim that the government should be trusted with more tax dollars.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 6:15 am

...The government does things that we don't like, over and over and over. Solution? Lets give the government MORE power!!! After all, if the government has total control over who can have what, there is no way that this could go wrong!!!

I love it.

Great plan.

.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 8:06 am

Does the author even realize that the term "economic liberalism" refers to economic freedom and limited government intervention in the economy? Maybe I misunderstood his point. That's not hard to do, since he has so many points and none of them make any sense. In any case, I'm pretty sure his entire article is a study in blaming everyone he doesn't like for everything that's wrong in this country, and deflecting blame from those he does like.

What is it with San Francisco and willful ignorance?

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 11:26 am

I think the most likely explanation is that the raids poll well among older voters in key swing states.

The oldsters are the ones who killed Prop 19, reputedly, and they're a more reliable voting bloc than younger voters.

The administration wants to strengthen its law-and-order bona fides among a key demographic.

Notice that there are just as many dispensaries in Colorado, but those aren't getting raided. That's because, unlike California, Colorado is still a key battleground state.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

What idiot in their right mind would think that the drug war is keeping capitalism afloat? I would think it would be more consistent for a communist to support the drug war because it's another instance of government micromanaging every aspect of our lives, for what some person with power arbitrarily determines is the "common good."

The drug war is a lot of bad things, among them is being highly destructive to capitalism. Think about it, you have the government interfering and jailing people for voluntary exchanging drugs for money. That infringes on the freedom of people with their personal lives AND their economic affairs.

Maybe the person meant corporatism, you know where governments acquire a lot of power and then use that to benefit certain large interests like corporations or unions. That's not capitalism at all.

Which is why, if you're going to criticize a term or concept, you should know what it actually means in the first place.

Posted by James on Apr. 10, 2012 @ 2:39 pm

This article is the most hypocritical article I've read in the last several years and I've read a lot of really bad stuff. Seriously, it's amazing what mindless dribble leftists have to make up in order avoid realizing that government does nothing but eff others over.

Posted by Giantsfan24 on Apr. 11, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

"San Francisco doesn’t collect its fair share of taxes from the largest, richest corporations.

"The largest corporations already pay little or nothing in local taxes and their highly paid CEO’s are begging for more tax breaks, bailouts and corporate giveaways.

"As a result we don’t get the services we need and frontline city workers aren’t treated fairly. City Hall is cutting health insurance benefits for janitors and closing health care clinics for working families."

http://vimeo.com/39869973

Posted by Guest on Apr. 16, 2012 @ 4:17 pm

This is a very big discussing point and we should discuss on this. Many countries are evolving to sell of drugs to other countries, so that’s the main point.

Posted by Thoughts to paper on May. 21, 2013 @ 1:38 am

This is a very big discussing point and we should discuss on this. Many countries are evolving to sell of drugs to other countries, so that’s the main point.

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