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The Roberts Trap is Sprung

By:  Bill Dunne
One of the most overlooked aspects of the year just ended is the vindication of Chief Justice John Roberts -- a vindication that showed up as the national catastrophe known as ObamaCare got rolling.  Roberts may have also doomed Hillary Clinton's chance to live in the White House again... click here to read whole editorial


Using the Maine National Guard for Drug Interdiction


By:  David Deschesne

Editor/Publisher, Fort Fairfield Journal

November 25, 2015


   Governor LePage recently suggested he should use the Maine National Guard in the event the Maine legislature doesn’t come up with some financial support for the Maine Drug Enforcement agency to combat what is turning into an epidemic of drug abuse in Maine.

  I have several points and observations to make on this suggestion in order to bring about some clarity to the issue so there can be a more reasoned debate and understanding of it.

   I want to start off with my standard disclaimer.  I am not a Democrat or a Republican.  If you look at my voter registration card at the town office you will see that I am classified as “unenrolled.”  That is, I am not affiliated with any political party.  While I do tend to vote small government, Libertarian ideals I generally do not vote for the establishment candidates.  With that said, I did vote for LePage both times because he seems to have at least a thin grasp* on the financial realities facing Maine which is light years ahead of where any of the Democrat candidates are, or have ever been.  I also think he’s doing a reasonably good job taking care of the State’s finances and is a good steward to those ends. (*I say he has a “thin grasp” because the U.S. Constitution mandates “no state shall use any thing but gold or silver coin as a tender it payment of debt” and has never been amended to say otherwise, yet Maine still uses the Federal Reserve’s unlawful debt certificate paper money notes to pay its debts which is what has caused our State and the U.S. to get stuck with the untenable debt load we all suffer under, today.)

   Now that I’ve got all that out of the way and you know this is not a “hit piece” on LePage, I’ll also tell you it’s not a powder puff piece, either.  So, here we go.

The “War on Drugs”

   Like the abolition of alcohol in the U.S. during the 1920’s, the “war on drugs” creates an artificial scarcity that drives up the prices of the drugs and tempts less scrupulous dealers to cut those drugs with sometimes very dangerous substances in order to increase their profit margins to cover the prohibitively expensive cost of distribution.  The same thing was done to alcohol during the Prohibition period where it was cut with dangerous wood alcohol (which is formaldehyde—the stuff used to embalm dead bodies and now used as a sweetener in diet soft drinks, but I digress) and paint thinner.  This created a situation where some alcohol was very dangerous to drink, just as some unregulated, untraceable illicit drugs today have been cut with dangerous substances.  The new fad, so-called “bath salts,” and in some cases tainted heroin, is causing untold grief and despair in the lives of the people who use these substances.  These are the spawns of any prohibition law: lack of safety and oversight.     The second thing prohibition on alcohol—and now drugs—did was generate a lot of money for those involved in the trade.  Yes, there were the traditional private citizen-bootleggers, but there was also a large, loosely organized coterie of police officers, sheriff deputies and federal agents who were “on the take” (being paid to look the other way) and some who actually got out of law enforcement in order to make more money in illegal alcohol sales.

   For my readers in this area, Mardens in Presque Isle still has a few DVD sets available, produced by PBS, for $10.00 entitled, Prohibition which does a really good job of presenting the history of alcohol prohibition in the U.S..  While watching it you can replace alcohol with today’s illegal drugs and see we really are repeating history.  

   The same nefarious activity once associated with alcohol prohibition is going on today with the “war on drugs.”  The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has been in the illegal drug growing and distribution business for decades.  Going back to the Vietnam war, the CIA has been aiding and abetting poppy farmers in southeast Asia in order to assist them in getting their opium and morphine base to market, oft-times using U.S. airplanes to provide the transportation (look up “Air America” when you get a chance).  These nefarious drug running activities have been going on for years in order to fund the off-the-books activities of the CIA. But, have you noticed it’s only the low-level street pushers who are getting busted?  Hey, even the U.S. marines are in on the drug running fun.  They’ve admittedly been protecting the poppy fields in Afghanistan so those farmers can grow their crop to produce opium, morphine base and ultimately heroin for sale in the U.S.  But, we’re going to have a “war on drugs” ostensibly to eradicate illegal drug use.  I submit the real reason is to keep the prices artificially high for the CIA (and DEA) to profit from its sales and at the same time to exercise the government’s draconian asset forfeiture/seizure laws indiscriminately against anyone in society caught with so much as a stub of a joint found in their car—a program that, according to the Institute of Justice, netted the U.S. Justice Department $4.5 billion in 2014, a 4,600 percent increase from 1986 when the U.S. Justice Department established the fund.

   For those of you who think I’m nuts, I invite you to read The Politics of Heroin:  CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade (ISBN 1-55652-125-1) by Alfred W. McCoy, professor of Southeast Asian history at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.     With twenty years of research, nearly 500 pages and just shy of 2,000 footnoted references, it’s not for the timid, sound-bite-driven, three-second attention-spanned, average American.  So, read with care, and with your brain turned on.

   The sickness, death and gangland carnage of the 1920’s prohibition period was for the illegal alcohol trade what the sickness, death and gangland carnage of today’s illegal drug business is for the American people.  The U.S. citizenry finally realized the destruction alcohol prohibitionary laws wreak on society and the Congress and many State legislatures got together to abolish prohibition and to once again license and regulate the sale of alcohol.

   The same arguments against alcohol in the events leading up to prohibition are being used today to maintain the prohibition on drugs, predictably with the exact same results.

The National Guard

   Governor LePage’s suggestion to use the Maine National Guard to assist the Maine Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) sounds sensational at first, but let’s examine things a little more objectively.

   The Maine National Guard (both Army and Air) are not owned by the State of Maine.  They are, as their name implies, “National.”  That is, they are owned and operated by the U.S. military and are simply located in the state.  While Maine does have its own “Maine State Guard” (see Maine Revised Statutes 37-B sec. 222-225) it has no staff and no enlistees; it only exists on paper.  The reason is, there’s no money to fund it.  But again, I digress.

   Whenever a state activates its National Guard, the salaries, expenses and use of equipment and vehicles has to be paid for by the State.  The State has to actually reimburse the federal government for the use of the federal government’s assets. 

  Now, that sounds equitable.  But, if the legislature isn’t supporting the appropriation of money for Maine DEA agents, where is the money going to come from to pay for the National Guard’s participation in enforcing today’s prohibition laws?

   There is a second problem with the idea.  Where Maine DEA agents are trained in the investigation, evidence collection and arrest procedures involved in a drug related mission in order to present the district attorney with usable evidence and information to successfully prosecute, the National Guard has received no such training and it’s not even really a part of their mission statement.  The Air National Guard is trained to fly and work on airplanes.  The Army National Guard here in Maine is an engineering battalion.  That is,  they are trained and equipped to build roads and bridges, prepare grounds for bases of operation and to otherwise maintain the general geographical transportation infrastructure of their area of operations.   While they may be of help during emergencies where they would be called upon for general crowd control, dispensing emergency supplies, water and food, when it comes to actual specialized skillsets such as the Maine DEA has in investigating and successfully concluding an illegal drug investigation, the Maine Army National Guard is no more prepared to be of any usable assistance than the Maine Department of Transportation.



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