Episode 270: Seventy Years of C.I.A. ‘Drug Running’ w/ Chris Calton

Episode 270: Seventy Years of C.I.A. ‘Drug Running’ w/ Chris Calton

64 Minutes

PG-13

Pete invited Chris Calton back to the show. Chris is a Summer Fellow at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama and has done extensive research into the history of ‘grigs’ in America for his Historical Controversies podcast.

He looks at the C.I.A.’s hand in facilitating the drug trade all over the world.

The Historical Controversies Podcast

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Episode 224: Thaddeus Russell on the Murder of John Galton and the Heroism of Lily Forester

Episode 224: Thaddeus Russell on the Murder of John Galton and the Heroism of Lily Forester

57 Minutes

Not Safe for Work

Pete asked Thaddeus Russell to return to the show. Thaddeus is co-producing a documentary on a couple, John Galton and Lily Forester,  who fled the United States to escape draconian drug charges. Shortly before Thaddeus was set to travel to Mexico for the interview, John was murdered in front of Lily.

This is the story of Thaddeus making the trip to interview Lily, the fear he felt, the frustration and the discovery of a heroic woman who should inspire all libertarian/anarchists.

Stateless Documentary w/ Crowdfund Link

Donate to Lily

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Episode 174: Is Psilocybin The Next ‘Drug’ to Be Legalized in Denver?

Episode 174: Is Psilocybin The Next ‘Drug’ to Be Legalized in Denver?

51 Minutes

Suitable for All Ages

Mance invited the campaign director of ‘Decriminalize Denver,’ Kevin Matthews, to come on the show. Kevin is collecting signatures with the intention of getting the decriminalization of psilocybin mushrooms on the ballot in Denver in 2019.

Mance wanted to talk about the initiative but is very focused on the research behind psilocybin that is focusing on everything from treatment for depression to end of life care.

Decriminalize Denver Website

Decriminalize Denver on Facebook

Episode 169: The Opioid Crisis Exposed By Mises Senior Fellow Dr. Mark Thornton

Episode 169: The Opioid Crisis Exposed By Mises Senior Fellow Dr. Mark Thornton

43 Minutes

Suitable for All Ages

Mance welcomes Senior Mises Institute Fellow Dr. Mark Thornton to the show. Dr. Thornton recently gave a talk at the Mises Institute Supporters Summit on the opioid crisis that is plaguing the United States. Dr. Thornton lays out a short history of this tragic epidemic that is taking lives every day.

He addresses how doctors prescribe these drugs, how government regulates them and explains what happens when people are forced into the “black market” to sustain their addiction.

The Skyscraper Curse

The Real Cause of America’s Opioid Epidemic

Mises.Org Mises Wire

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Another Problem with the War on Drugs

Another Problem with the War on Drugs

A local news story in my area, Tallahassee, Florida, reports that a sheriff’s deputy has been stopping motorists and planting drugs in their cars for at least two years, leading to hundreds of convictions. The story reports that 263 cases in which the deputy “found” drugs in cars are being reviewed and that 48 cases have already been dropped.

While a new story here, the problem of police planting drugs on people, leading to their arrest for drug possession, has been reported in Baltimore, Los Angeles, and other places (see here and here for other examples).

The war on drugs is misnamed. Drugs are an inanimate object. It is really a war against people. At one point I characterized it as a war against people who buy, sell, or use drugs, but these examples show I was too narrow in identifying the targets of the war on drugs. People who have nothing to do with drugs can become victims as police frame them for “crimes” they did not commit.

All victimless crimes are an attack on liberty. Government is violating people’s rights, not protecting them when activities that do no harm to third parties are criminalized. But criminalizing drug possession has another negative aspect: No other people are involved, so there are no other people who are in a good position to speak up for the accused.

Read the rest at independent.org.

The Drug War Is Pushing More Migrants to Our Borders

The Drug War Is Pushing More Migrants to Our Borders

Over the last couple of weeks we have been bombarded by news coverage of the US government handling of foreigners illegally crossing the southern border and having their children separated from parents by our government. At first I tried to avoid subjecting myself to this circus, but I have been paying close attention for about a week.
I describe it as a circus because of the hysteria involved. Everyone from the Know- Nothing wing of the Trump party to the ultra-PC progressives, and the libertarians, and even the First Lady Melania Trump have jumped on the emotional roller coaster. The story is all the rage on talk shows and even reporters for NPR, remarkably, have shown audible signs of emotion.
Despite my diligence in reluctantly following this story, without exception there has been no coverage of the reason why these people from Central American are risking their lives during a treacherous journey. They leave all to get to a country where they face our hostile president and government and they don’t even speak the local language. While Mexicans have been crossing into America at least since the US annexed Texas in 1845 and stole the northern half of Mexico in 1848, Central American immigration to the US is a relatively new phenomenon.
If we knew what was causing this new phenomenon of the highly risky immigration we might be able to stop it and end all the hysteria. Yet, the media does not appear to be interested in discovering the cause of this effect. Maybe they are not bright enough to recognize that most effects have causes?

Central American Violence

The direct cause of this migration is violence in their home countries. The level of violence has risen dramatically in this century. According to UN statistics, the Central American country of El Salvador had the highest murder rate in the world with a recorded 83 murders per 100,000 inhabitants in 2016. Its neighbor to the north, Honduras, had the second worst rate at 57. Tiny Belize had the 7th worst rate. Guatemala was 15. th
On a recent excursion into the otherwise tranquil and picturesque country of Costa Rica, I learned that violence and murder were the country’s main problems. The murder rate there is 12, which is slightly worse than Uganda!
Looking at 20 countries with the highest murder rates, 17 are below our southern border in Central America, the Caribbean, and South America. Those facts should give us a strong hint as to what is causing the exodus from Central American countries.

America’s War on Drugs

A big factor here is our own War on Drugs. The production of illegal drugs occurs in large amounts in South and Central America. The US government has used its military and other resources to stop the shipment of these drugs via planes and boats so the smugglers use the jungles and deserts of Central America as a pipeline to the US.
In addition, the drug cartels and kingpins use the tiny Central American countries, where state security services are lightly armed, as their base of operations and for warehousing their drugs, money and weapons.
The cartels use violence and the threat of violence to intimidate the local population and governments. They do not require control over entire countries, but only a small conduit. As a result, the violence is highly concentrated in the areas they wish to have power over. In these places, life outside of the cartels is intolerable. This is the same reason for the hysteria in previous years about children without guardians making the treacherous journey from their homes in Central America to the US on their own.
If you care as much about the immigrant children in US detention centers as much as I do, then you should care at least as much about their frightened, terrorized cousins back in their home country.
Some of you might harbor the idea that a building a wall would stop illegal immigration. It won’t. Others might think that immigration is an inherently evil thing. It is not.
We have it in our power to end this travesty by ending the War on Drugs — which subsidizes and pressures Central American and South American governments into maintaining prohibition. This, in turn, enriches the cartels.
Ending the War on Drugs would go a long way to bring down high rates of violence and murder. Life in Central America would then return to some state of normalcy. With this, there would also be a big increase in foreign investment which would create jobs in those countries. In fact, this would also be a huge spur for immigration into Central America from North America and Europe creating even more service and construction jobs.
Meanwhile, trust your free market instincts and don’t trust the political process and the mainstream media for answers.

Mark Thornton is a Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute and the book review editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. He has authored seven books and is a frequent guest on national radio shows.
The Drug War Is Pushing More Migrants to Our Borders

This Is Your Hand on Opioids: Trump's 'Very Bad Commercials' Rely on Dishonest and Pernicious Scare Tactics

Three months ago, Donald Trump promised to spend “a lot of money” on “very, very bad commercials” that would “scare” teenagers away from opioids by depicting “pretty unsavory situations.” Today the White House unveiled four of those government-sponsored ads, and they are indeed very, very bad, in the sense that they rely on deceptive tropes and misleading half-truths.
“The first four ads, which are based on real life, tell the graphic stories of four young adults going to extreme lengths to maintain their prescription opioid addiction,” says White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “These ads show young adults how quickly opioid addiction can occur, and the extreme lengths to which some go to continue use of drugs while in the grips of addiction.”
All four ads feature young people who deliberately injure themselves so they can obtain prescription pain medication. Amy crashes her car into a dumpster, Kyle smashes his hand with a hammer, Chris closes his arm in a door, and Joe drops a car on himself by crawling under it and releasing the jack. “I didn’t know they’d be this addictive,” each of them says in a voice-over narration. “I didn’t know how far I’d go to get more.”
Read the rest at reason.com.

The Drug War Is Pushing More Migrants to Our Borders

3/21/18 Andrew Cockburn on how the United States boosts the Afghan opium trade

Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine Andrew Cockburn returns to the show to discuss his latest article “Mobbed Up: How America boosts the Afghan opium trade.” Cockburn explains how Trump’s major contribution to the war in Afghanistan has been to take the existing restraints off the air force so they can, Cockburn says, “try to pacify Afghanistan from 20,000 feet.” Cockburn and Scott then discuss the war on drugs in Afghanistan and Cockburn outlines why the narrative that the Taliban relies on opium for its power is overblown. Finally Scott and Cockburn discuss what Trump once got right about Afghanistan and why things went wrong.

Andrew Cockburn is the Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine and the author of Kill Chain: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins. Follow him on Twitter @andrewmcockburn.

Discussed on the show:

This episode of the Scott Horton Show is sponsored by: Zen CashThe War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.comRoberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc.LibertyStickers.comTheBumperSticker.com; and ExpandDesigns.com/Scott.

Check out Scott’s Patreon page.

The Drug War Is Pushing More Migrants to Our Borders

11/13/17 Alfred McCoy on Opium production in Afghanistan

Professor and author Alfred McCoy joins Scott to discuss his latest article “Washington’s Drug of Choice in the War on Terror.” McCoy describes how heroin first became a major factor of the Afghan economy and credits the Taliban’s capture of the illicit opium market for their recent resurgence. According to McCoy, at the peak of the Columbian cartel’s operations cocaine made up 3% of Columbia’s GDP; in Afghanistan in 2008 it was 58%. McCoy then details how all of the U.S. programs to disincentivize people from growing opium have blown up and actually increased incentives to grow opium. McCoy explains why he thinks that the combination of covert and conventional warfare will make Afghanistan the major war of the Trump administration—and how America’s failure to eradicate opium production in Afghanistan is emblematic of a fading superpower. Finally Scott asks: what’s the solution?

Alfred McCoy is a professor of history at the University of Wisconsin. McCoy is the author of “The Politics of Heroin” “The Question of Torture” and “In The Shadows of the American Century.” He writes regularly at TomDispatch.com.

Discussed on the show:

“This is  what I call the stimulus of prohibition—it’s the underlying illogic of the entire supply side effort of the drug war that the United States has been fighting in Afghanistan since the U.S. intervened in 2002.” —Alfred McCoy

Today’s show is sponsored by: NoDev, NoOps, NotIT, by Hussein Badakhchani; The War State, by Mike Swanson; WallStreetWindow.comRoberts and Roberts Brokerage Inc.LibertyStickers.comTheBumperSticker.com3tediting.comExpandDesigns.com/Scott; and Darrin’s Coffee.

Check out Scott’s Patreon page.

The Drug War Is Pushing More Migrants to Our Borders

10/31/17 Mark Thornton explains why ending heroin prohibition will solve America's opiate crisis

Mark Thornton returns to the show to discuss his latest articles for the Mises Institute “The Real Cause of America’s Opioid Epidemic” and “Big Pharma Makes Drugs that Please Regulators, Not Customers.” Thornton makes the case for why legalizing heroin—and all drugs—would be a major step towards solving the opioid crisis. Instead, because of FDA regulations, doctors and pharmaceutical companies are not held liable for the awful consequences of their use. According to Thornton, and counter to popular opinion, lack of government regulations is what will actually regulate the quality of the product on the market.
Mark Thornton is a senior fellow at the Mises Institute. He serves as the Book Review Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. His publications include The Economics of Prohibition (1991), Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War (2004), The Quotable Mises (2005), The Bastiat Collection (2007), An Essay on Economic Theory (2010), and The Bastiat Reader (2014).
Discussed on the show:

  • Ludwig Von Mises Institute 
  • Chicago School
  • “In one year, drug overdoses killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War did” (Vox)
  • Fentanyl
  • “Authorities seize enough fentanyl for ‘1 million overdoses'” (CBS News)
  • “Trump to declare national emergency on opioids months after initial promise” (CNN)
  • “Tylenol made a hero of Johnson & Johnson : The recall that started them all” (New York Times)
The Drug War Is Pushing More Migrants to Our Borders

10/31/17 Mark Thornton explains why ending heroin prohibition will solve America’s opiate crisis

Mark Thornton returns to the show to discuss his latest articles for the Mises Institute “The Real Cause of America’s Opioid Epidemic” and “Big Pharma Makes Drugs that Please Regulators, Not Customers.” Thornton makes the case for why legalizing heroin—and all drugs—would be a major step towards solving the opioid crisis. Instead, because of FDA regulations, doctors and pharmaceutical companies are not held liable for the awful consequences of their use. According to Thornton, and counter to popular opinion, lack of government regulations is what will actually regulate the quality of the product on the market.

Mark Thornton is a senior fellow at the Mises Institute. He serves as the Book Review Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics. His publications include The Economics of Prohibition (1991), Tariffs, Blockades, and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War (2004), The Quotable Mises (2005), The Bastiat Collection (2007), An Essay on Economic Theory (2010), and The Bastiat Reader (2014).

Discussed on the show:

  • Ludwig Von Mises Institute 
  • Chicago School
  • “In one year, drug overdoses killed more Americans than the entire Vietnam War did” (Vox)
  • Fentanyl
  • “Authorities seize enough fentanyl for ‘1 million overdoses'” (CBS News)
  • “Trump to declare national emergency on opioids months after initial promise” (CNN)
  • “Tylenol made a hero of Johnson & Johnson : The recall that started them all” (New York Times)
The Drug War Is Pushing More Migrants to Our Borders

I'm "Disappointed" in AG Sessions Too

On multiple occasions, President Trump has said that he’s “disappointed” with Attorney General Sessions.
At first glance, this seems like a reasonable position. Sessions has already taken several harmful actions in his new office that merit disappointment and distress.
In May, Sessions decided to roll back one of few useful things that the Obama Administration did on criminal justice reform. Where the Obama Administration called for more lenient sentencing on drug offenses under AG Eric Holder, Sessions explicitly called for US prosecutors to seek the harshest punishments available under the law.
In June of this year, we learned that Sessions was effectively lobbying Congress in order to start enforcing medical marijuana prohibition, even in states that have legalized it. This enforcement has been expressly forbidden since 2014 by legislation, but Sessions wants to start it anew.
And finally, in July, Sessions’s Department of Justice issued new guidance to expand the use of civil asset forfeiture, through what is known as the equitable sharing. While the details here can get complicated, the essence is straightforward. Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize individuals property before proving they have committed a crime–thereby making a mockery of due process guarantees in the Constitution. And equitable sharing is a program that helps law enforcement get around prohibitions on the practice that have been implemented at the state level. The bottom line is that under Sessions’s new guidance, more presumptively innocent people will have their property confiscated than before.
If you’re a hardcore Drug Warrior who believes, after some 40 years of steady failure, that the US can finally win the War on Drugs by taking away a few more people’s rights, then these might sound like good ideas. Ditto if you’re stoked to pay millions of dollars to keep (many) nonviolent people locked in a cage.
But for the rest of us, these are plainly awful decisions on many different counts. Any one of them would be sufficient cause for disappointment in the Attorney General’s performance thus far.
Unfortunately, President Trump isn’t criticizing him for any of these things. Instead, Trump has fixated on one of the least objectionable actions that Sessions has taken so far–namely, recusing himself from the Russia investigation.
Whatever one thinks of the Russia investigation, Sessions made the right decision here. It does not matter whether his contacts with the Russian ambassador were nefarious or entirely appropriate. What matters is that he was perceived to have a conflict of interest because it’s entirely possible the investigation could implicate him.
If the outcome is to have any credibility, the Russia investigation needs to be carried out by individuals who are independent in fact and in appearance. It’s not enough to simply be independent; one must also be perceived as such. With Sessions at the helm, the investigation could not hope to check both of those boxes. That’s why he was correct to recuse himself.
This line of reasoning should not be controversial. It’s not a fringe idea to think that investigations need to be independent to have legitimacy.
All of which makes Trump’s outbursts about Sessions even more nonsensical than usual. In his comments, Trump went so far as to explicitly say that he wouldn’t have nominated Sessions to be Attorney General if he knew Sessions would step back from the Russia investigation  recuse himself. But of course, this strongly implies that Trump wanted someone in his camp to be in charge of that investigation–and that Trump would expect a better result or process if one of his people were involved.
Naturally, this fuels the narrative that Trump has something to hide from the investigation. This reaction should have been entirely foreseeable, and clearly, it’s not a desirable result from Trump’s perspective. Every time the Russia story seems to finally be dying down, it miraculously gets another lifeline–and several, like this one, have unwittingly come from Trump himself.
The level of incompetence on display here is something to behold. Trump had several compelling possible reasons that he could use for criticizing Sessions; instead, he chose something benign. And in the process, he turned the focus back onto the Russia investigation–which he had apparently hoped a different AG could minimize.
So the Russia story gets new life, Sessions almost looks like a martyr, and substantive discussion of actual policy gets postponed till another day. Trump comes out on the losing end; unfortunately, the rest of us lose too.

Book Foolssm

Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan

by Scott Horton

Book Paulsm

The Great Ron Paul

by Scott Horton

Book Griggsm

No Quarter: The Ravings of William Norman Grigg

by Will Grigg

Book Animalssm

What Social Animals Owe to Each Other

by Sheldon Richman

Book Palestinesm

Coming to Palestine

by Sheldon Richman

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