The most frequent and insidious crimes are perpetrated by gun owners not drug users yet we should not expect a well-armed and misdirected police state to affect gun control, nor should we expect a political party aligned with white nationalists to punish gun manufacturers with rational gun laws. I grew up in Tennessee and I can assure you that a very prejudiced police state was well established long before Nixon.

Expand full comment

The "very prejudiced police state" -- or "the very prejudiced state enforced by police, also known as the militia" -- has been there from the founding of the republic. Carol Anderson's book THE SECOND: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America" is a solid complement to Thom's work in this area. (Michelle Alexander's THE NEW JIM CROW, recommended below, is also must-reading.)

Expand full comment

Another excellent post by Thom. The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander offers additional focus on the effect that prosecuting the "war on drugs" has on communities, especially people of color and I recommend it as a compliment to Thom's writing.

I keep trying to get more eyeballs cast Thom's way. It feels like the strength of the astringent truth he writes is too much for a country nourished on its own exceptionalism.

Expand full comment

No, there is something else that it did too. Forfeiture laws allow police departments to make a lot of money by confiscating anything "related" to the drug industry. There have been cases of people who money was taken at airports because it was "suspicious" that they were carrying so much cash, even though some of their businesses, like buying used cars, could involve money up front. Unfortunately this is something that Biden, Ted Kennedy and much of Congress helped expand in the 1980s. There was a little pullback in 2000 and more done later when rich people started having their yachts confiscated, but it remains a nasty and ruinous part of a failed policy.

No one involved will admit that so long as the demand exists the supply will come. But then treating drug use as a medical issue is neither fast, glamorous nor very profitable. Unlike an "Untouchables" style shoot up with a neat ending to the bad guys, it involves long hard work. And it raises questions about a society where so many people feel miserable enough to want to internally escape from it, as well as the logic of a war on plants. (Or for that matter on any other noun, like say "terror".) That way leads to discomfort and a loss of power.

Expand full comment

Confiscation of property, is the domain of the sheriff. Cops seize drugs, money, guns in connection with an arrest, but the confiscation of property, cars, planes, boats anything titled is the monopoly of the sheriff. A sheriff is agent of the sovereign, and sovereignty was delegated to the several states., in which counties are the administrative representatives of the state.

Ultimate sovereignty is of course the Federal government, but the constitution was written to delegate and empower the states, particularly the slave owning states.

The "Law of Sovereignty" was created by Edward I.

But first let's distinguish between alloidial rights and titles.

Allodial rights are obtained by Conquest. Willilam invaded England in 1066, and after defeating Harold Godwinson at Hasting, took possession of England, as his personal property, by right of conquest.

He parceled out his domain to people called barons, fief or feudal lords) there purpose was to control the population, and ensure that there were taxes to collect for William, as that was his purpose for invading England, to use it as a tax farm.

As the centuries rolled by, the monarchs would become completely overbearing and the worst act was to strip a baron of his title, castle and land, and give it to a court favorite.

Eventually the barons revolted and demanded change, so Edward I, assuaged their fears, by issuing them all titles, which were theirs forever and could be passed to heirs, so long as the barons Obeyed the sovereigns laws, paid their taxes, and contributed arms and men to the defense of the sovereign.

That didn't stop the sovereign from arbitrarily evicting the barons,, but this time he used false charges and manufactured evidence to prove among other things treason, or a refusal or inability to pay taxes or provide weapons and men at arms to the sovereigns liking.(I am not talking of the barons of the Magna Carta, which was simply a bitch list by the 1%) and had nothing to do with the freeman and serf. There were at least three baron revolts.

Allidial law became English common law. And we citizens no longer own (or are sovereign) over own property. This is evident in the fact that we don't own, our homes,our land, our cars, boats, planes or anything that is Titled.

He who giveth can taketh away, and it is the State, not the Federal government, that actually owns via allodial rights, your titled property, andthat is the basis for a SCOTUS ruling that a state could reposses (void the title) of those who break the laws and/or don't pay the taxes levied by the state and its barons.

The American political landscape,makes sense when you realize that Congress was based on the English Parliament,l with a House of Commons (Representatives) and a House of Lords (Senate) and that the several states, are a Duchy, being the state, and a baron being a county. With the King being a temporary president, which is not what Alexander Hamilton wanted, he wanted a permanent executive (King). Which explains why Mike Pence went to the performance of Hamilton.

It is like living in the Matrix, we have the world of our senses, and propaganda that has been our breast milk, with Democracy, liberty , independence as living memes, but we are living underground, subject to rules, police who enforce those rules, courts that operating under a dubious rule, not in the constitution, invented by Chief Justice Marshall of Judicial Review.

A two edged sword that worked for the people sometimes, but mostly against he bible, especially with the Roberts court.

Which seem to be working as the slave states demanded. After 227 years of the greatest social experiment on Earth, Roberts and his five evil henchmen, have ignored judicial precedent and turned the clock back to 1789, and they aren't done yet.

Off topic comment, The tenure of the Supreme court is not inviolate or set in stone. Congress can pass a law limiting their terms (lots of luck with that considering the ideologial divide).

However he who giveth taketh away. SCOTUS justices are not approved by Congress, but by the senate. There is nothing in the constitution about needing the House of Commons"(Reps) to approve a federal judgeship, that is the sole authority of the senate. Those that claim that he House of Commons is needed to change tenure or unseat a judge, are obfuscating in service to the shareholders of America Inc.

And the liars and obfuscaters are legion, from universities, law firms, politicians, and civil servants, and especially the media. Media are corporations, owned by other corporations and private equity, the salary and prestige of the staff, especially pundits, and especially hosts that are prone to telling it like it is (Keith Olbermann, and Tiffany Cross come to mind) find themselves unemployed, Politicians who speak truth to power, are soon unemployed.impeached, unseated or threatened into submission.

If it weren't for politics there would be little work for lawyers, and with the exception of a few, no incentive to run for office, other than the ability to improve your income.

Thom is right most politicians have no talent and would be resigned to selling insurance and pencils.

Expand full comment

....and many CEO's, without the Articles of Incorporation, might be doing the same - at least, they wouldn't own the country.

Expand full comment

Articles of incorporation are known as Charters.

The king of England would authorize (if bribed) to issue groups of what were then called corporations. An example is the Monopoly charter given the London Company of Virginia, aka the Virginia Company which in 1607 set sail with gentry overseeing indentured servants and freemen to establish an outpost in the area England then labeled Virginia which stretched from what had been the Roanoke Colony to Maine.

Adventurers would be called stockholders,

In 1619, a letter from the Virginia Company formed the first step of a Democracy, which formed around the House of Burgess. It established Virginia as a self governing entity, which sole responsibility was to provide a positive return to the stockholders.

Sound familiar.

And when those men, mostly slave owners, formed a union of the 13 states, they drew up a Charter and called it the United STATES of America. And America became a corporation, owned by landed, white men. Overtime the ownership has been consolidated, until Teddy Roosevelt said "enough" and started busting the cabal of oligarchs, whom were called Trusts.

Since then there has been an expansion, then a contraction (because of, primarily, acquisitions and again we are increasingly faced with, smaller and smaller groups of oligarchs owning a bigger and bigger slice of the American economy and through the money is speech ideology, control of the three branches of government.

The idea of a democracy has always been a social fiction, that over time served as well, today is being shown to be a total fiction, by a radical, racist, bigoted Congress and SCOTUS, and when the Republicans gain the Executive, a quasi fascist, authoritarian corporation, they have already bought SCOTUS.

From one perspective it is America Inc, with 50 subsidiaries, and over a thousand branches (Counties)

Since 1789 it has been two steps forward and one step back, until Reagan and then it has been 1.5 steps back, and since Trump, a full halt, then a full on regression, to the society that existed when the first Charter was written, to gather the support of land, white and slave owning males.

Now it'sballs to the wall, via SCOTUS and as General Bee said of Gen Jackson, there he sits like a stonewall, and hat was a slur, not a complement, because this was the first battle of Manasas or Bull Run, and the confederates were at first in dire straits, yet instead of moving his division into the battle, they were the reserves, there he sat like a stonewall.

We have that in our Democratic leadership. For instance the DOJ is still run by Trrump appointees as is the FBI, NSA, DHS and even DoD, and managed by rabid right wingers like Garland, the cockroaches still run the Postal Service, and Biden has blow his chances to appoint Democratic governors and fire DeJoy. (DOJ) waited a year and half before it started an investigation into Trump, and did so only because they were shamed into it by Liz Cheney of all people. (That radical right wingers gets no props from me.

Expand full comment

Thanks for the history and for your comments; I couldn't agree more, but don't know if I concur that Garland is part of the same conservative ilk or if he's just a paralyzed jellyfish. Either way, this administration (and the last few administrations since Reagan, including couple of Democratic ones) have only slowed our democracy's (such as it is) death spiral.

Expand full comment

Here is what my opinion of Garland is based on

1, The famous religious fascist Senator from Utah, Orrin Hatch vetted him to Obama.

(Obama was not a liberal, when he was editor of Harvard Law Review he was considered a conservative) Shame on Obama, because all he was interested in was a win, which he could then brag to offset the constant slur of "liberal" which the right wing has been throwing around since Ailes (attack your enemies strengths) he betrayed our trust by acting on self interest and not the interest of America. Garland would be on of the Conservatives on the court, maybe even Chief Justice.

2. Garland was a moderator (10 times) for the Federalist Society.

3. Garland did not even start investigating Jan 6 until embarrassed by the J6 committee and then he has only gone after low hanging fruit, the vast majority got a slap on the wriist, and sentences from misdeamonor "bad boy" to a couple of months in jail. They were forced to give the real civilian leadership a serious felony prosecuttion and years in jail, but that was a ploy to get criticism off their back, because they did not investigate the Trump organization and Trump himself.

Nor has Garland, investigated or indicted Matt Gaetz, for violating the Mann act, and other crimes, but he has not investigated or indicted Lauren Boebert, who texted the go signal for the assault on the capital.

In case you missed it, the plan was to assault the Capitol and hang Pelosi and kill other Democrats, the moment the first challenge was raised as to the counting of electoral votes.

I was glued to the TV at the moment, and the moment that the votes of Arizona were challenged, Boebert texted 1776, the TV camera caught it on her cell phone. Josh Hawley led the charge by pumping his fist. Neither has been charged by Garland.

And BTW, it is still Trumps DOJ. he signed EO 13957 fhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ which created a special class (Schedule F) civil servants. Basically it embedded his political appintees in the most vital of cabinets, like DOJ, DHS, DOD, NSA, and they would unseat and push out long time protected civil servants by reclassifying them as at will.

Biden could have used that EO of Trumps, to reverse the damage, but no, his first act was to sign EO 14003, which rescinded that EO, An EO he could have used to drain the swamp of Trump humpers, but no, he preferred to keep the Trump humpers in place. I call that betrayal of his base, or complicity or cowardice or corruption. Which he has proved time and again. Especially with the federal deficit. Rather than use his powers (Art II and the 14th Amendment) to declare a federal emergeny (Trump declared on for the border wall), and then use the 14th to sign an EO to raise the budget, like a lap dog (Republicans or plutocrats or both) he gave the Republicans a win, which they can now come back to haunt us with, and gave away some of our hard fought gains.

So, Coward, complicit or corrupt.

I am very tempted to sit out this election, at least for the Presidency, I will always vote locally, cause I have the best governor in the nation, Jay Inslee. all though my 3rd district WA congresscritter is a waste of human sperm, even if he is a Democrat and a do nothing Democrat at that.

But I am painfully aware that a no vote, is the same as a yes vote for Trump. He will win the Republican nomination..no doubt. He has proven that he can kill someone on 5th Avenue and get away with it, for he has done worse, committed treason, in plain sight, and is getting away with it, not even Jack Smith will charge him with treason or worse.

I get the feeling that I am watching Kabuki theater.

Expand full comment

Thom, on point as always Nixon was the villain in the black community. They just made up anything. The couple in the store being singled out was a bunch of garbage. Tea, seriously. The War continues. Thom, with all of the information you give people there really is no excuse to be unaware of the facts. You really are the keeper of the gates of wisdom and nothing can ever beat your facts on all of this. Let’s all stay aware with just having your voice to block out the noise.

Expand full comment

LBJ was right when he said (something like,) "if you can convince the lowest white man that he's better than the best black man, you can pick his pocket."

Expand full comment

All weapons production and use on the planet has to be somehow stopped or slowed or something. It's not just the havoc it brings everywhere, it's the pollution caused by every aspect from mining to production to use allowing global warming to continue no matter how much greening countries manage. When are people going to learn to talk to one another without the money grubbers grabbing dominance in every aspect of human existence?

Expand full comment