CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

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Blacks Were Targeted for CIA Cocaine: It Can Be Proven
by Michael C. Ruppert
January 28, 1999
(© 1999 From The Wilderness Publications and Michael C. Ruppert at



For a long time, many people have believed that African-Americans were targeted by the Central Intelligence Agency to receive the cocaine which decimated black communities in the 1980s. It was, until now, widely accepted that the case could not be proven because of two fallacious straw obstacles to that proof. Both lie smack dab in the misuse of the word "crack" and that is why, in my lectures, I have strenuously objected to the term "CIA crack".

First, it cannot and probably never will be established that CIA had anything to do with the first creation of crack cocaine. Chemically, that problem could have been solved as a test question for anyone with a BS in chemistry. The answer: add water and baking soda to cocaine hydrochloride powder and cook on a stove. A study of the literature (including articles I wrote 14 years ago for The U.S. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence), as opposed to, for example, that pertaining to LSD, shows no CIA involvement whatever in the genesis of crack cocaine. Also, there has never been any evidence provided that CIA facilitated the transport or sale of crack itself. What is beyond doubt is that CIA was directly responsible for the importation of tons of powdered cocaine into the U.S. and the protected delivery of that cocaine into the inner cities.

Another obstacle has been the fact that CIA imported so much cocaine that, even if every black man, woman and child in the country had been using it, they could not have used all of what CIA brought in. Ricky Ross, the celebrated dealer of Gary Webb's Dark Alliance, sold approximately four tons of cocaine during his roughly five years in business. Yet one CIA ring, that of Miguel Angel Felix Gallardo and Rafael Caro-Quintero, was moving four tons a month. And that was only a fraction of the total CIA operation.

Leaving the unsupportable arguments aside, is there a supportable case that CIA directly intended for African-Americans to receive the cocaine which it knew would be turned into crack cocaine and which it knew would prove so addictive as to destroy entire communities? The answer is absolutely, yes.

And the key to proving that CIA intended for blacks to receive the drugs which virtually destroyed their communities lies in the twofold approach, of proving that they brought the drugs in and interfered with law enforcement - AND that, by virtue of CIA's relationships with the academic and medical communities, they knew exactly what the end result would be. Knowing that, we then have a mountain of proof, especially since the release of volume II of the CIA's Inspector General's Report (10/98) that the CIA specifically intended and achieved a desired result.

For anyone not familiar with the ways in which CIA studies and manipulates emerging social and political trends I cannot encourage strongly enough a reading of The Secret Team by L. Fletcher Prouty, Col., USAF (ret.).

This article is a start, a beginning on the painful work that needs to be done to build a class-action lawsuit. Such a suit, by necessity, will have to include room for all the whites, Asians and Latinos who also fell prey to cocaine addiction. But this article should convince any reader that the argument is solid - and winnable. I thank Gary Webb and Orange County Weekly reporter Nick Schou for giving me the missing pieces I had waited nineteen years to find.

As a budding LAPD narcotics investigator I was selected in 1976 to attend a two-week DEA training school in Las Vegas. The diploma I received from that school, approximately 30% larger than the one I received from UCLA, hangs above my desk to this day. At that school I was given the official position of the DEA and the government, which was that cocaine was less addictive and less harmful than marijuana. I had only made one arrest for cocaine, a heroin addict who liked speed balls (heroin and cocaine mixed), and I had seen it less than a half dozen times in my life.

One of those times was right after my fiance Nordica D'Orsay, a CIA agent, had broken her ankle in the summer of 1976. Before I could take her to the emergency room she had to make some urgent calls from a pay phone equipped with the then new touch-tone technology. Our home phone was monitored, she said. Having broken both ankle bones she was in severe pain. She went into her purse and produced a paper bindle filled with a white crystalline powder. She rolled a dollar bill and snorted the powder. Her people, she said, recommended it to treat pain when an agent was wounded or over-tired and needed extra strength. Once she ingested what was in the bindle we delayed for about an hour while she made the urgent phone calls from a gas station. Only then was I permitted to take her to the hospital. Her ankle had swollen to the size of a grapefruit. She came out five hours later with a cast from her toes to her crotch. Who was I to question the CIA?

That was the only time I was ever aware of her in physical possession of cocaine. But it was not the only time she ever talked about it.

In 1979 Congress held rushed hearings into the perils of cocaine and was told, time and again by expert after expert that cocaine was not a problem because it was not seriously addictive, too expensive and not easy to find. The hearings, chaired by Republican Congressman Tennyson Guyer in the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control did not live up to Guyer's hopes of finding a devil in the drug cocaine.

"Witness after witness trooped up to the microphone to tell Congress that cocaine was not only a relatively safe drug, but so rare that it could hardly be called a nuisance, much less the menace Guyer was advertising." (Webb - p24). Ron Siegel, PhD of UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute (NPI) had written in an earlier monograph, "The rediscovery of cocaine in the seventies was unavoidable because its stimulating and pleasure-causing properties reinforce the American character with its initiative, its energy, its restless activity and its boundless optimism." (Webb - p19).

Siegel, one of the world's leading experts on drug abuse had, however, written a February, 1979 article for The New England Journal of Medicine which warned of a growing trend toward the smoking of cocaine (freebase, not rock) in the western United States. He traced the origins of freebasing back to 1974 in the San Francisco Bay area. He, like others, noted that smoking was a much more effective and powerful way to ingest cocaine because the surface area of the lungs absorbed the drug more rapidly, more efficiently and in larger quantities. He cautioned that smoking cocaine was also many times more addictive than snorting. Yet Siegel concluded, "All in all the long term negative effects of cocaine use were consistently overshadowed by the long term positive benefits," (Webb - pp. 31-33).

The witnesses testifying before congress included the heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration, that National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and a host of medical and psychiatric experts. The conclusion: cocaine was not a problem.

[NOTE: My sixteen years in 12 Step recovery from alcoholism and my work with scores of recovering alcoholics and addicts belies the fact that powdered cocaine can be, in and of itself, extremely destructive and addictive.]

Only one man, Dr. Robert Byck of Yale University was insistent that trouble was coming and it was BIG trouble. Byck was a professor of psychiatry and pharmacology at Yale Medical School. He began his testimony by stating, "What I would like to talk to you about for the most part is the importance of telling the truth. We have given a great deal of cocaine to many individuals and find it to be a most unremarkable drug."

But, according to Webb, "Byck told the Committee that he'd hesitated for a long time about coming forward with the information and was still reluctant to discuss the matter at a public hearing. 'Usually, when things like this are reported, the media advertises them, and this attention has been a problem with cocaine all along.' The information Byck had was known to only a handful of drug researchers around the world.

"For about a year, a Peruvian police psychiatrist named Dr. Raul Jeri had been insisting that wealthy drug users in Lima were being driven insane by cocaine. A psychiatrist in Bolivia, Dr. Nils Noya, began making similar claims shortly thereafter." What had been discovered was an addiction so overwhelming that middle and upper class students and middle class wage earners in Peru and Bolivia had abandoned every aspect of a normal human life, including eating, drinking, personal hygiene to the point of defecating in clothes that would remain unchanged for days, family and shelter in the pursuit of "basuco". (Webb - pp25-30).

Basuco, a sticky paste, was the first-stage product in the refinement of coca leaves into powder. Although frequently mixed with a cesspool of toxic waste such as gasoline, kerosene and other chemicals, the pharmacological effects of smoking basuco are identical to the effects of smoking crack cocaine which became popular in the US ten years later. So intense was the addiction that desperate South American psychiatrists had resorted to bilateral anterior cyngulotomies (lobotomies) to stop the addiction (Ruppert 3). But even these drastic measures resulted in a relapse rate of between 50-80% (Webb - p36) (Ruppert 2). Yale medical student David Paly, working under Dr. Byck, recalled a 1978 conversation with his mentor. "The substance of my conversation with Byck was that if this ever hits the U.S., we're in deep trouble." (Webb - p30)

Byck traveled to Peru to attend a symposium on cocaine with Siegel and other experts in 1979. Later he obtained police permits and federal grants to begin intensive research into cocaine smoking (Webb - p 31). The CIA routinely monitors overseas travels of U.S academics and the purposes of their travels. Since the Nixon Administration, emerging drug trends in producing countries had been a mandate of CIA collection efforts. When law enforcement grants, approvals and funding crossed international boundaries, the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) and several special units within CIA were automatically notified. Here, we begin to see that CIA must have been well aware of the effects of basuco. The CIA's well-documented role in providing training, assistance and advice to Latin American law enforcement agencies guarantees that CIA was collecting intelligence on the destructiveness of cocaine smoking as soon as it began to be a problem. (Colby, Prouty). That was as far back as 1974. (Webb - p33).

By the time the government was compelled to acknowledge that cocaine smoking had reached the U.S., and that it was having a devastating effect, the experts, including Siegel and Byck, who was now warning of an epidemic of near biblical proportions, encountered nothing but resistance from the government.

According to Webb "Byck said the Food and Drug Administration shut down attempts to do any serious research on addiction or treatment, refusing to approve grant requests or research proposals and withholding government permits necessary to run experiments with controlled substances. 'The FDA almost totally road blocked our getting anything done. They insisted that they had total control over whether we could use a form of cocaine for experimental purposes, and without a so-called IND [an Investigation of New Drug permit] we couldn't go ahead with any cocaine experiments. And they wouldn't give us an IND.

"'Why not? Once you get into the morass of government, you never understand exactly who is doing what to whom and why.'" (Webb - p 37)

Again, to understand how CIA infiltrates various government agencies including the FDA, The Forest Service and the Postal Service I recommend Prouty and From The Wilderness (Dec. 1998).

What was Ron Siegel's experience? According to Webb, "When Siegel, under U.S. Government contract, finished a massive report on the history and literature of cocaine smoking, he couldn't get the government to publish it." (Webb - p37). This writer interviewed Ron Siegel a number of times in the mid 1980s and what I learned was that all of his studies had shown that "rock" smoking, as it was then called, was, in effect, the bubonic plague of drug abuse.

Between 1984 and 1987 I served as the West Coast Correspondent for The U.S. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence. During that time I had a number of occasions to interview some of the world's leading experts on drug abuse and rock cocaine. They included Dr. Louis "Joly" West, Dr. Sidney Cohen and Ron Siegel. All were a part of UCLA's Neurospychiatric Institute (NPI) which is a world-renowned facility that includes among its specialties drug abuse research. NPI is also jointly funded by the RAND Corporation, which was a creation of the CIA and the U.S. Air Force. How tight is the relationship between NPI and RAND? A check of NPI's home page on the Internet ( reveals that 5 of 19 faculty scholars and 19 out of 54 current investigators at NPI come from the RAND Corporation.

A check of the RAND Corporation's home page ( leads to the following quote: "RAND's research agenda has always been shaped by the priorities of the nation. With roots in the Cold War competition with the Soviet Union, the early defense related agenda evolved -- in concert with the nation's attention -- to encompass such diverse subject areas as space, economic, social and political affairs overseas; and the direct role of government in social and economic problem solving at home."

I remember when I was as a young boy, that my father, who worked on CIA related projects for Martin-Marietta Corp, met frequently with people from the RAND Corporation. In fact, my first boyhood crush was on the daughter of a RAND executive. It was no small matter of pride in my family that RAND was known to be part of the CIA.

As further corroboration for RAND's connection to both UCLA and the CIA, I met with UCLA Political Science professor Paul Jabber in early 1982. It was Paul who confirmed for me that the National Security Council and CIA had approved the use of heroin smuggled through Kurdestan, as a means of (re)arming the Kurds to fight against Saddam Hussein in 1975. This was the operation which, when I discovered it, ended my LAPD career in 1978. (For further on this see my written Senate testimony at

Paul Jabber had been a RAND consultant and an NSC/CIA consultant throughout the Carter Administration. He was still a RAND consultant when I met him at UCLA.

A search of retired CIA officer Ralph McGehee's excellent CIABase ( reveals 73 pages of annotated references to CIA's longstanding relations with academia. Two portions of those printouts are telling. One, a response to a Freedom of Information Act request, turned up more than 900 pages of documents relating to CIA contracts with the University of California. Another quote indicates that, circa 1957-77, "Docs released under FOIA reveal long history contacts between CIA and University California. Activities cover wide range cooperation between several of its 9 campuses including: UC Vice Presidents 2-week tour with CIA in which he advised Agency relating to student unrest, recruiting UC students, Academic cover for Professors doing research for the CIA, and improving CIA's image on campuses; a series of CIA sponsored seminars in Berkeley and other sites for professors to share info with CIA; providing a steady flow of CIA material on China and the USSR to CIA-approved professors."

The CIA connections grow deeper and more ominous. Louis "Joly" West, who died this month, served for many years as Director of NPI. The documentation from government records is voluminous that West was a pioneer for CIA in the development of and experimentation with LSD in the 1950's and 1960s.
The first time I met him a group of doctors were joking about how he had "administered 10,000 micrograms of LSD to an enraged elephant for the CIA. The elephant died. I recall one doctor quipping, "I sure am glad it was a communist elephant!"

One last note before we move on: Joly West, is extremely well documented from CIA's own records as having been one of the principal researchers in CIA's MK-ULTRA program which used drugs and torture to produce mind-control assassins and other useful servants. I recall one telling discussion with NPI's sympathetic Dr. Sid Cohen who knew of my past struggles against CIA. He told me, "CIA pretty much knows everything we do at NPI. It was set up that way from the start." Cohen was qualified to speak on this subject. He had been a consultant for the State Department, the U.S. Army and the World Health Organization.

If that was the case, and if NPI housed some of the world's foremost experts on crack cocaine, it is impossible not to believe that CIA didn't know what UCLA, RAND and the governments of Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia knew.

Until the book Dark Alliance and an absolutely fabulous series of articles appeared in The Orange County Weekly by reporter Nick Schou, I had been unconvinced that CIA had directly targeted African-Americans. I believed it in my heart, but I had never seen the evidence to prove it. In August 1996, right after the Webb stories appeared, I was a call-in guest on a number of radio talk shows with Gary, and I recall stating that I knew nothing about CIA selling crack cocaine on street corners, but I knew a great deal about CIA bringing it in on airplanes and boats. It was not until Schou's series and Webb's book appeared that I was not only convinced, I was certain that CIA had targeted blacks.

It is beyond the scope of this article to describe just how well Gary Webb used court records, DEA, Justice Department, CIA and L.A. County Sheriff's records to establish that the drug dealing operations of Danilo Blandon and Norwin Meneses were sanctioned and protected by both DEA and the CIA. The revelations in both volumes of the CIA's Inspector General's reports, as covered in From The Wilderness, corroborate much of Gary's work.

In particular, Webb documented how Ricky Ross always seemed to avoid arrest at the peak of his career. Danilo Blandon's direct connections to CIA assets and agents are now a given. Let's look at what Ricky Ross had to say about Blandon. "All I knew was like, back in LA he [Blandon] would always tell me when they was going to raid my houses. The police always thought I had somebody working for the police.

"And he was always giving me tips like, 'Man don't go back over to that house no more,' or 'Don't go to this house over here.'" (Webb - p179)

The police told of serious frustrations at trying to arrest Ross. The most telling event was when a joint task force of Sheriffs, LAPD and other agencies set out to raid fourteen different locations in 1986. All of them had been cleaned out by the time the surprise raids hit. (Webb - p310-321). Only one location, the home of Ronald Lister, turned up anything of value -- government documents. Both Webb and Schou tied Lister directly to CIA and Contra support operations and to Scott Weekly, an Annapolis classmate of Oliver North. Subsequent investigations, lasting into 1997, not only showed evidence of Weekly's links to CIA and DIA, including FBI wiretaps of his phone conversations, but also established links between Weekly, North and the staff of Vice President George Bush (Webb - pp320-323). Sheriff's deputies and LAPD officers were amazed and knew full well that they were investigating a CIA operation, which was being protected. Hundreds of pages of government documents mysteriously disappeared from Sheriff's custody and Blandon never got arrested. Neither did Ricky Ross until much later.

One of the heroes of Dark Alliance, Bell PD detective Jerry Guzetta, summed up all of the police experience in trying to arrest Ricky Ross and Danillo Blandon. "Every policeman who ever got close to Blandon was either told to back off, investigated by their department, forced to retire, or indicted," (Webb - p375).

In early November 1996, two weeks before I confronted CIA Director John Deutch at Locke High School in Watts, I attended another congressional town hall meeting in Compton hosted by Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald. At that meeting, before I took the microphone to talk about CIA drug dealing, I had an opportunity to talk in private with Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Bromwich and the commander of LAPD's Narcotics Group, Commander (now Deputy Chief) Gregg Berg. I told both men exactly how CIA protected their drug operations.

At the time, all police agencies belonged to an organization known as the Narcotics Intelligence Network (NIN). Any law enforcement agency conducting an investigation of a drug trafficker must first run the suspect's name through a computer search to find out if anyone else has an ongoing investigation of that suspect. Such an arrangement is necessary to prevent one agency from arresting another agency's undercover operatives. What the CIA does is to use its contract agents or deep covers within local police departments to constantly monitor NIN, which has to be notified of pending raids. The CIA also uses its deep covers within police departments to monitor investigations and warn CIA assets in time to avoid arrest.

How did I know this? Ten years before the Ricky Ross raids, in 1976, my CIA agent fiance had told me this was how "her people" protected certain things. The job she was recruiting me for, which I refused to take, was to work myself, with a little help, into a position where I would be the one doing the monitoring -- and the warning. She once told me that she had asked "her people" if she could give me information which would lead directly to a Los Angeles arrest of a major dealer. They wouldn't let her because I had already told her that I would never overlook illegal narcotics. The unspoken message was that if I wouldn't overlook when asked, I couldn't be given a "freebie".

Lister, an ex-policeman who served as a bodyguard/courier for Blandon delivered both drugs and money while enjoying CIA protection. He and Blandon delivered drugs and guns all over South Central. Danillo Blandon even sold guns to Ricky Ross' immediate entourage. Ollie Newell, Ross's partner, was able to purchase a .50 caliber machine gun on a tripod (Webb p 188). This is a pure military weapon known as a "Ma Deuce," and something which is not obtainable at your local surplus store.

Webb and Schou also documented that the police and the FBI knew that Lister and Blandon were delivering not only guns but sophisticated radio equipment (which enabled the monitoring of secure police frequencies) to Ross and the gangs (Webb - pp. 179-193) (Schou). I knew then that the whole operation was protected from start to finish by the Central Intelligence Agency. Why? If you walk into a room filled with policemen and yell "Anybody want to take some drugs off the street?" maybe half the room will stand up. But if you walk into the same room and yell, "Anybody want to take some guns off the street?" you will be crushed in the ensuing stampede. Only the federal government, and especially the CIA, have the horsepower to make cops stay away from arresting those who put guns on the streets.

Nick Schou demonstrated how Lister, through arms dealer Tim La France and Weekly (who is himself a firearms master), was working on Agency contracts serious enough to secure him end-user certificates from the State Department to export weapons in a matter of days, when the process usually requires months. Indirect confirmation of these relationships was established when the FBI denied release of some of Lister's documents under provisions of the National Security Act (Webb - p 193).

As documented by phone records and telephone calls placed to the Fluor Corporation in Irvine, California by Lister's associates, Ron Lister held frequent meetings with a Fluor Vice President named Bill Nelson (Webb - pp191-193) (Schou). Bill Nelson was a retired Deputy Director of Operations (DDO) of the CIA who had personally overseen the destabilization and overthrow of Chile's Salvador Allende in the 1970s. The DDO is the second most powerful position in the CIA, and is directly in charge of all covert operations. The Fluor Corporation, according to confidential sources, was a major multi-national corporation which regularly provided services and cover for the CIA over a period of roughly fifteen years.

It is inconceivable that a courier and contractor like Lister could have held regular meetings with a retired DDO in Southern California unless he was protected at the highest levels. One good narcotics detective could have tailed Lister to one meeting which would have been enough to totally compromise the Agency -- especially if it had occurred just after Lister had transported twenty kilos of cocaine or a trunk load of sub-machine guns. Conversely, it is also inconceivable that a retired DDO would meet with anybody unless he knew everything in the world there was to know about that person beforehand. The Agency just does not work that way.

A former CIA officer, John Vanderwerker, confirmed to Schou that Nelson and Lister knew each other (Webb - p195).

Crack cocaine was particularly devastating for African-American communities. This was, I believe, by design. In early 1985, USC Sociologists Klein and Maxson researched the phenomenon of crack use. "One thing they were unable to explain was why crack was found only in L.A.'s black neighborhoods. 'The drug," the sociologists wrote, at least currently seems to be ethnically specific. Cocaine is found widely in the Black Community in Los Angeles, but it is almost totally absent from the Hispanic areas," (Webb - p184).

And the effects of crack use were, indeed, biblical. In 1985, 50% of the emergency room admissions in L.A were due to crack. Full-blown cocaine psychosis was occurring as soon as eight months after first use, and crack cocaine hit hardest among those African-Americans who had some college education and held steady jobs (Ruppert1&2).

I wrote in 1985. "So pervasive is the epidemic that it is threatening the political and social systems that have held black communities together in the face of cuts in social programs and rising unemployment in an already depressed economy," (Ruppert 1).

The Webster Commission, charged with finding the causes of the 1992 LA riot/insurrection, found that one of the primary causes was crack cocaine. The LA riots remain, to this day, the largest domestic insurrection since the civil war.


Picture a jury trial for a man accused of arson. No one saw the man light the match (taught the dealers how to make the crack). Yet there is incontrovertible evidence that the man knew and had studied fire science and thus knew that by pouring gasoline onto dry wood and striking a match, that the wood building would burn. There is also incontrovertible evidence that the man brought gasoline, small bits of kindling and a person who liked to play with matches to a large building. There is also hard proof that the man, once a fire had started, deliberately interfered with fire fighters attempting to reach the blaze. Then he brought in lots more gasoline. Not only that, but the man provided the match striker with guns and radios which monitored the fire department frequencies so that he could fight off firefighters and continue lighting more fires.

As the building burned, and people died inside, our suspect attempted to cover-up for the match lighter, and interfered with law enforcement investigations into his activities. He even lied to Congress, which was alarmed by the damage and the number of deaths. And, being trusted by Congress, our suspect continued to thwart attempts to stop the fire and find the cause.

Such a man would be convicted of arson in a heartbeat.

10 April, 1985

We were tasked with flying six coolers marked "medical supplies" to San Lorenzo, Honduras. While we were flying on 9 April, Dr. Gus (General Gustavo Alverez), delivered six coolers to Dustoff operations. I opened all six coolers to check their contents. I only counted the packages of cocaine in one of the coolers. There were 110 packages. Major Hethcox, the Aviation Support Commander, sent his Administrative Officer, Lt. Willett, to Dustoff Operations to fly one leg of our flight as my co-pilot. I suspected Hethcox was curious why we were flying so much. We loaded the coolers marked "medical supplies" and headed for San Lorenzo (SLN). Upon arrival we hovered to a C-123 cargo aircraft that we had met the previous day. The C-123 was based out of El Salvador and was tasked with carrying the cargos from San Lorenzo back to El Salvador. I noticed something familiar as the C-123 pilot approached. It was Barry Seal, an old friend.

Barry was holding a jar of olives in his hand as he walked up to the chopper and greeted me. Barry had promised me weeks before in Panama, during a meeting with Harari, Noriega, and North, to see that I got some olives. I had visited the base liquor store (Class 6) at Howard Air Force Base, but it was out of olives, as was the commissary. I told him that I didn't expect "curb-service." He gave his cherub laugh and invited us to a caf‚ for a coka-cola. The crew joined us as he commandeered an Air Force truck for the short drive from the airstrip to the village.

Barry and I walked outside of the cafe so that we could talk privately. I asked Barry to level with me concerning the drugs and who was involved. I felt that Barry Seal was the only person I had met to date that I could get a straight answer out of. The following is what Barry Seal told me concerning the drugs in general and, more specifically, the destination of the drugs which we delivered to San Lorenzo on 9 and 10 April, 1985.

"The Contras needed weapons for their rebellion against the Sandinistas. When the CIA approached the Contras in the early 80's they promised total support in weapons, training, and money required to sustain the operations. This is what prompted the Nicaraguans to begin open recruiting against the Ortega-led Sandinista government. But, as time went on, the U.S. renigged on their promise to the rebels. Not only did the U.S. cut money needed for medical and food supplies for the Contra camps, but they also refused to provide the weaponry needed to stay alive. This left the Contras in a hell of a spot. William Casey met with Adolfo Colero and it was decided that the Contras would get the much needed money and weapons in exchange for cocaine. Casey put Ollie North over the project. North, at the CIAs promptings, recruited Seal to oversee delivery of the products, and a man named Ramon Navarro (Medellin Cartel) to train the Contras in the manufacturing process. Colero was the "point man" for the Contras. He dealt with Washington and others as needed. Contra leader Enrique Bermudez was tasked with getting the cocaine kitchens built and protected. Bermudez had solicited three other Contra commanders to assist in this project. Their names are Commander Fernando, Commander Franklin, and Commander Marlan. Ramon Navarro supplied the cocaine paste and raw coca leaves to the Contras. The U.S. provided the equipment. It was delivered to the camps by Chinook helicopters (CH-47) out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky (159th Aviation Battalion). It was Barry's job to deliver the finished product and monies to destinations as dictated by Mr. North.

Barry gave me the names of his various drop points and told me to be very wary of North. "He'll give up his mamma if he has to!" was his comment concerning North's lack of honor. He also gave me the names of U.S. officials, politicians, and drug enforcement officials involved in the cocaine enterprise.

I asked him to be exact about the shipments so that I could better understand. He used the six coolers that we just delivered as his example. He said that these coolers and the coolers delivered the previous day would be taken to El Salvador. From El Salvador they would be taken to a site in Southern California. There it would be distributed in rock form called "crack." I made note of his comments and his "Boss Hog" list, as Barry called it, on the back of the flight plan concerning this specific flight. The notes were made on the evening of 10 April, 1985.



Delivered 6 coolers of cocaine to SLN. Met Bany Seal in C-123. Ramon Navarro was with Seal. Asked Seal what was up with the cocaine being made in contra camps. - Said it was a CIA OPN. This shipment was going to Calif to make a drug called crack. Seal said that the CIA planned to get all the niggers in the U.S. hooked on it & then throw 'em in prison. Said the $'s for the crack goes to buy weapons for the contras. Asked him who is involved -- he said it goes all the way to the white house. Said I could talk to the boss -- he'd be here (in Honduras) in a couple days. Took notes on back of AA. Msn request for RMTC. Will include with this flight plan. Msn RQ dtd 6 April.

-- The Chip Tatum Chronicles: Testimony of Government Drug Running, by Chip Tatum



The Dark Alliance The Straight Dope- Between The Rock and a Hard Place by Michael C. Ruppert, The LA WEEKLY, March 8-14, 1985 (referenced as Ruppert 1).

- Rock Cocaine Hits L.A. by Michael C. Ruppert, The U.S. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, February, 1985 (referenced as Ruppert 2).

- U.S. Drug Experts Cancel S.A. Trip, by Michael C. Ruppert, The U.S. Journal of Drug and Alcohol Dependence, November, 1984 (referenced as Ruppert 3).

- Thy Will Be Done, The Conquest of the Amazon: Nelson Rockefeller and Evangelism in the Age of Oil. - Gerard Colby, Harper Collins, 1995 (Referenced as Colby).

- The Secret Team (3rd Edition), L. Fletcher Prouty (1973, 1992, 1997). This book has been erased even from the Library of Congress. To my knowledge it is available only on the Internet at (referenced as Prouty).
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:34 am

"Crack King" (Freeway Ricky Ross)
by Myra Panache
© 2016




Rayful Edmond, III may have introduced crack cocaine to the East Coast (Washington, D.C.) but ‘Freeway’ Ricky Ross has the distinction of introducing crack to the West Coast (Los Angeles). Ross was also the first person to cook up powdered cocaine into ‘rocks,’ he invented this process, calling it, ‘ready rock.’ Ross grossed $3 million dollars per day in drug profits despite being illiterate, he couldn’t read or write.



Ricky Donnell Ross (pictured above) grew up poor in Troup, Texas. He and his family moved to South Central, Los Angeles.

Ross was a talented tennis player at Dorsey High in the 1970’s. His dream of a college scholarship evaporated when his coach discovered he could neither read nor write.

Ross dropped out of school and attended a trade center where he learned to bind books. To pay his bills, Ross picked up a side racket, stolen car parts. He was arrested in the late 70’s for stealing a car and had to quit the trade center while the charges were pending.

During the Christmas holidays, a friend told Ross about a jet-set drug called cocaine, the friend also told Ross that the drug was going to be the new thing and everybody was doing it. At the time, in South Central, cocaine was virtually non-existent because it was the drug of the rich and famous. Intrigued, Ross set off to find out more about this drug.

Ross got connected through a former teacher who hooked him up with a South American contact who sold Ross inexpensive amounts of cocaine.

Ross would eventually head the first cocaine ring in South Central, grossing upwards to $3 million dollars per day.

Despite being the biggest drug deal to come up from the streets of South Central, Ross had a reputation for helping people out and giving money back to the community. He also drove flashy cars and wore expensive clothes and he never got high, he didn’t drink or beat women.

He invested the money in millions of dollars worth of real estate, including houses, motels, theaters and several other businesses. His nickname ‘Freeway,’ came for the fact that he owned properties near the Harbor Freeway in Los Angeles.

Ross would set up five cookhouses, where he turned the powder into crack. The houses had huge steel vats of cocaine bubbling atop restaurant-size gas ranges.

Barry and I walked outside of the cafe so that we could talk privately. I asked Barry to level with me concerning the drugs and who was involved. I felt that Barry Seal was the only person I had met to date that I could get a straight answer out of. The following is what Barry Seal told me concerning the drugs in general and, more specifically, the destination of the drugs which we delivered to San Lorenzo on 9 and 10 April, 1985.

"The Contras needed weapons for their rebellion against the Sandinistas. When the CIA approached the Contras in the early 80's they promised total support in weapons, training, and money required to sustain the operations. This is what prompted the Nicaraguans to begin open recruiting against the Ortega-led Sandinista government. But, as time went on, the U.S. renigged on their promise to the rebels. Not only did the U.S. cut money needed for medical and food supplies for the Contra camps, but they also refused to provide the weaponry needed to stay alive. This left the Contras in a hell of a spot. William Casey met with Adolfo Colero and it was decided that the Contras would get the much needed money and weapons in exchange for cocaine. Casey put Ollie North over the project. North, at the CIAs promptings, recruited Seal to oversee delivery of the products, and a man named Ramon Navarro (Medellin Cartel) to train the Contras in the manufacturing process. Colero was the "point man" for the Contras. He dealt with Washington and others as needed. Contra leader Enrique Bermudez was tasked with getting the cocaine kitchens built and protected. Bermudez had solicited three other Contra commanders to assist in this project. Their names are Commander Fernando, Commander Franklin, and Commander Marlan. Ramon Navarro supplied the cocaine paste and raw coca leaves to the Contras. The U.S. provided the equipment. It was delivered to the camps by Chinook helicopters (CH-47) out of Ft. Campbell, Kentucky (159th Aviation Battalion). It was Barry's job to deliver the finished product and monies to destinations as dictated by Mr. North.

Barry gave me the names of his various drop points and told me to be very wary of North. "He'll give up his mamma if he has to!" was his comment concerning North's lack of honor. He also gave me the names of U.S. officials, politicians, and drug enforcement officials involved in the cocaine enterprise.

I asked him to be exact about the shipments so that I could better understand. He used the six coolers that we just delivered as his example. He said that these coolers and the coolers delivered the previous day would be taken to El Salvador. From El Salvador they would be taken to a site in Southern California. There it would be distributed in rock form called "crack." I made note of his comments and his "Boss Hog" list, as Barry called it, on the back of the flight plan concerning this specific flight. The notes were made on the evening of 10 April, 1985.



Delivered 6 coolers of cocaine to SLN. Met Bany Seal in C-123. Ramon Navarro was with Seal. Asked Seal what was up with the cocaine being made in contra camps. - Said it was a CIA OPN. This shipment was going to Calif to make a drug called crack. Seal said that the CIA planned to get all the niggers in the U.S. hooked on it & then throw 'em in prison. Said the $'s for the crack goes to buy weapons for the contras. Asked him who is involved -- he said it goes all the way to the white house. Said I could talk to the boss -- he'd be here (in Honduras) in a couple days. Took notes on back of AA. Msn request for RMTC. Will include with this flight plan. Msn RQ dtd 6 April.

-- The Chip Tatum Chronicles: Testimony of Government Drug Running, by Chip Tatum

Ross was being supplied with 100 kilos of cocaine a week, which was rocked up and distributed to major gangs in his area. At wholesale prices, that’s $65 million to $130 million worth of cocaine per year, depending on the going price of a kilo.

Ross expanded his empire to include: St. Louis, New Orleans, Texas, Kansas City, Oklahoma, Indiana and Seattle.

In city after city, local dealers either bought from Ross or got left behind. It didn’t make a difference to Rick what anyone else was selling if for. It would just go in and undercut himself $10,000 a key.

Before long, the supplier was giving Ross hundreds of kilos of cocaine on consignment -- sell now, pay later -- strategy that aided in the expansion of Ross’ crack empire.

In 1987, under pressure from a Task Force, Ross decided to retire from the drug trade and move to Cincinnati but he shelved these plans when he was approached and agreed to help a friend unload 13 kilos of cocaine, the friend offered the kilos to Ross for $10,000 per kilo.

Ross started during business in New York and Miami. In 1986, Ross was arrested on federal charges in Los Angeles for conspiracy to distribute cocaine in St. Louis. The case was later dismissed for lack of evidence.

In 1988, Ross allegedly attended a meeting in Kentucky, about the transportation of cocaine from Miami on an unknown date.

In 1989, the DEA tried to seize assets owned by Ross that were believed to be the proceeds of drug sales.

Ricky Ross also became the suspect in a bank robbery in Indianapolis, Indiana. A bank teller identified Ross from a photographic spread as the bank robber. The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Indiana decline to prosecute the case.

Ross was suspected of another robbery for the theft of $337,673 in jewelry from the ‘Shane Company’ in Indianapolis.

Early investigative reports found that beginning in 1987, Ross had recruited young blacks from Los Angeles to travel to Cincinnati to sell cocaine and crack on the streets. Most of these people were reported gang members. The recruits were given apartments, beepers, cocaine and instructions on how to conduct street sales by using phone booths, pagers and mopeds. The drugs were stored in the trunks of parked cars placed around the neighborhoods. In Cincinnati, Ross was known as the “Six Million Dollar Man” because people perceived that he was making a fortune.

In June 1989, ten individuals, including Ross were indicted on drug charges in Cincinnati. After Ross was arrested on state charges in Los Angeles for assault on a police officer, he was transported back to Cincinnati and held without bail, pending trial on indictment.

Ross pled guilty to the charges in Cincinnati and was sentenced to 121 months in prison and three years supervised release -- a sentence within the guideline range.

After his release, he was arrested again in 1993 on a warrant issued from Smith County, Texas, arising out of the interception of a call in 1988, which Ross agreed to supply a cousin in Tyler, Texas with two kilos of cocaine. Ross pled no contest to the Texas state charges of conspiracy to possess cocaine and was sentenced to ten years to run concurrently with his federal sentence in Ohio. He was paroled in 1994 by the state of Texas.

After his release, Ross said he hoped to head back to his old neighborhood as soon as possible and devote his life to warning youngsters about the mistakes that kept him locked up for most of the last five years. Ross was reportedly broke, having lost his drug profits to attorney fees, shaky business deals and double-crossing rivals. Ross also stated that he learned to read and write in jail.

Ross didn’t keep that promise to go clean, in 1996, Ross was sentenced to life imprisonment after being convicted of trying to purchase more than 100 kilograms of cocaine from a federal agent. The sentence was brought to a federal court of appeals where his sentence was reduced to 20 years. Ross is eligible for parole in two 2008.

Currently a movie is in pre-production based on his life, titled “Freeway” Ricky Ross. The movie is slated for a 2008 release.

Source: “Dark Alliance” series by Gary Webb
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:56 am

Casual Drug Users Should Be Shot, Gates Says
by Ronald J. Ostrow
Los Angeles Times
September 06, 1990



WASHINGTON — Casual drug users "ought to be taken out and shot," Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl F. Gates told a Senate hearing Wednesday on the first anniversary of the Bush Administration's war on drugs.

Gates, discussing his comment to the Senate Judiciary Committee, said his harsh assessment was aimed at those "who blast some pot on a casual basis" despite the illegality of the act, as opposed to hard-core addicts who are driven by their physical need for illicit drugs.

Gates, whose remark to lawmakers was reminiscent of a 1972 proposal by former Los Angeles Police Chief Edward M. Davis to hang airline hijackers at the airport, said in an interview outside the hearing that he was not being facetious.

"We're in a war," Gates said, and even casual drug use "is treason."

In Southern California, reaction to Gates' remarks was mixed.

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Ira Reiner, an advocate of stronger penalties against casual drug users, said he agreed with Gates in concept, although not necessarily with his "colorful choice of language."

Los Angeles Police Lt. George V. Aliano, president of the Los Angeles Police Protective League, said that, although police officers generally agree that casual drug users should be dealt with more severely, Gates' comments were overly "severe," if not "inhuman," and reflected an attitude of "giving up" on drug users.

"There are a lot of police officers, like other people in society, whose children, brothers or sisters, may be casual users," he said. "And none of us want to see that (shooting) happen to them. We haven't given up on our people."

Ramona Ripston, director of the ACLU of Southern California, said that Gates' proposed "smoke a joint, lose your life" approach to law enforcement was "absolutely absurd" and "shows a disrespect for the entire judicial process."

In a briefing earlier in the day to mark the anniversary of the anti-drug campaign, President Bush cited "clear signs of progress" in the fight against narcotics but said that "the crisis is far from over."

Federal drug czar William J. Bennett, citing various measures of improvement, said the nation's drug scourge "is no longer getting worse, and in some very significant respects is now getting better--not victory, but success."

But Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.), the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman who led the drive to establish Bennett's office, coupled praise for the Administration's efforts to build strong public disapproval of drug use with what he sees as shortcomings in the program.

Although casual drug use "appears to be plummeting," Biden told the hearing, the nation "probably has more weekly cocaine users today than ever (and) the hard-core addict count is up and appears to continue to rise."

Biden, citing a Judiciary Committee staff assessment of the first-year effort, said the Administration has significantly under-counted weekly, or "frequent," cocaine users, contending the number is close to 2.4 million--three times the Administration's estimate.

Bennett cited several accomplishments--disruption of drug cartel operations in Latin America, indications of cocaine supply shortages such as sharply rising wholesale prices and declining purity, and a drop in cocaine-related admissions to hospital emergency rooms.

"Last year's hopeless cause is this year's revived opportunity for victory," Bennett said.

In a report on leading drug indicators issued by Bennett's office, he conceded that not all trends are encouraging. By most measures, "violent crime in the United States continues unabated," the report said, while noting that the relationship between drugs and crime "is ambiguous and complex."

"Although the wave of recent homicides across the country is commonly associated with the drug trade, many law enforcement experts speculate that rising murder rates in many cities might be due, paradoxically, to a shrinking drug market--a situation in which gangs and dealers battle one another over restricted turf and fewer customers," the paper stated.

Bennett, in his oral comments, characterized the phenomenon as "one criminal drug organization blowing another away."

Biden, whose committee has held 25 hearings on the Administration's drug strategy, suggested improvements in three areas. He said more emphasis should be placed on combatting hard-core addiction, efforts should be expanded to move the economies of Andean cocaine-growing countries away from their "drug dependency" and more support should be provided for drug education.

Biden said the Administration's strategy aims primarily at casual drug use, "but it is hard-core users that cause our crime problems and are responsible for a tremendous percentage of drug distribution."

"Getting these addicts off the street--into drug treatment or into jail, whichever is appropriate--is the only answer," Biden said.

The panel's staff report found that, over the last year, fewer than one in 10 pregnant addicts received treatment, about 300,000 more "drug babies" were born, fewer than one in seven imprisoned addicts was treated and 3.6 million criminal drug users were released without having been treated.
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Sat Apr 30, 2016 6:59 am

'Crack baby' study ends with unexpected but clear result
by Susan FitzGerald
The Inquirer
July 22, 2013



Jaimee Drakewood hurried in from the rain, eager to get to her final appointment at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

Ever since her birth 23 years ago, a team of researchers has been tracking every aspect of her development - gauging her progress as an infant, measuring her IQ as a preschooler, even peering into her adolescent brain using an MRI machine.

Now, after nearly a quarter century, the federally funded study was ending, and the question the researchers had been asking was answered.

Did cocaine harm the long-term development of children like Jaimee, who were exposed to the drug in their mother's womb?

The researchers had expected the answer would be a resounding yes. But it wasn't. Another factor would prove far more critical.

A crack epidemic was raging in Philadelphia in 1989 when Hallam Hurt, then chair of neonatology at Albert Einstein Medical Center on North Broad Street, began a study to evaluate the effects of in-utero cocaine exposure on babies. In maternity wards in Philadelphia and elsewhere, caregivers were seeing more mothers hooked on cheap, smokable crack cocaine. A 1989 study in Philadelphia found that nearly one in six newborns at city hospitals had mothers who tested positive for cocaine.

Troubling stories were circulating about the so-called crack babies. They had small heads and were easily agitated and prone to tremors and bad muscle tone, according to reports, many of which were anecdotal. Worse, the babies seemed aloof and avoided eye contact. Some social workers predicted a lost generation - kids with a host of learning and emotional deficits who would overwhelm school systems and not be able to hold a job or form meaningful relationships. The "crack baby" image became symbolic of bad mothering, and some cocaine-using mothers had their babies taken from them or, in a few cases, were arrested.

It was amid that climate that Hurt organized a study of 224 near-term or full-term babies born at Einstein between 1989 and 1992 - half with mothers who used cocaine during pregnancy and half who were not exposed to the drug in utero. All the babies came from low-income families, and nearly all were African Americans.

Hurt hoped the study would inform doctors and nurses caring for cocaine-exposed babies and even guide policies for drug prevention, treatment, and follow-up interventions. But she never anticipated that the study, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, would become one of the largest and longest-running studies of in-utero cocaine exposure.

One mother who signed up was Jaimee's mom, Karen Drakewood. She was on an all-night crack binge in a drug house near her home in the city's West Oak Lane section when she went into labor. Jaimee was born Jan. 13, 1990, weighing an even 7 pounds.

"Jaimee was beautiful when she was born. A head full of hair. She looked like a porcelain doll," Karen Drakewood, now 51, said recently in her Overbrook kitchen. "She was perfect."

But Drakewood knew looks could be deceiving.

"My worst fear was that Jaimee would be slow, mentally retarded, or something like that because of me doing drugs," she said. She agreed to enroll her baby in the cocaine study at Einstein. Drakewood promised herself that she would turn her life around for the sake of Jaimee and her older daughter, but she soon went back to smoking crack.

Hurt arrived early at Children's Hospital one morning in June to give a talk on her team's findings to coworkers. After nearly 25 years of studying the effects of cocaine and publishing or presenting dozens of findings, it wasn't easy to summarize it in a PowerPoint presentation. The study received nearly $7.9 million in federal funding over the years, as well as $130,000 from the Einstein Society.

Hurt, who had taken her team from Einstein to Children's in 2003, began her lecture with quotations from the media around the time the study began. A social worker on TV predicted that a crack baby would grow up to "have an IQ of perhaps 50." A print article quoted a psychologist as saying "crack was interfering with the central core of what it is to be human," and yet another article predicted that crack babies were "doomed to a life of uncertain suffering, of probable deviance, of permanent inferiority."

Hurt, who is also a professor of pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania, is always quick to point out that cocaine can have devastating effects on pregnancy. The drug can cause a problematic rise in a pregnant woman's blood pressure, trigger premature labor, and may be linked to a dangerous condition in which the placenta tears away from the uterine wall. Babies born prematurely, no matter the cause, are at risk for a host of medical and developmental problems. On top of that, a parent's drug use can create a chaotic home life for a child.

Hurt's study enrolled only full-term babies so the possible effects of prematurity did not skew the results. The babies were then evaluated periodically, beginning at six months and then every six or 12 months on through young adulthood. Their mothers agreed to be tested for drug use throughout the study.

The researchers consistently found no significant differences between the cocaine-exposed children and the controls. At age 4, for instance, the average IQ of the cocaine-exposed children was 79.0 and the average IQ for the nonexposed children was 81.9. Both numbers are well below the average of 90 to 109 for U.S. children in the same age group. When it came to school readiness at age 6, about 25 percent of children in each group scored in the abnormal range on tests for math and letter and word recognition.

"We went looking for the effects of cocaine," Hurt said. But after a time "we began to ask, 'Was there something else going on?' "

While the cocaine-exposed children and a group of nonexposed controls performed about the same on tests, both groups lagged on developmental and intellectual measures compared to the norm. Hurt and her team began to think the "something else" was poverty.

As the children grew, the researchers did many evaluations to tease out environmental factors that could be affecting their development. On the upside, they found that children being raised in a nurturing home - measured by such factors as caregiver warmth and affection and language stimulation - were doing better than kids in a less nurturing home. On the downside, they found that 81 percent of the children had seen someone arrested; 74 percent had heard gunshots; 35 percent had seen someone get shot; and 19 percent had seen a dead body outside - and the kids were only 7 years old at the time. Those children who reported a high exposure to violence were likelier to show signs of depression and anxiety and to have lower self-esteem.

More recently, the team did MRI scans on the participants' brains. Some research has suggested that gestational cocaine exposure can affect brain development, especially the dopamine system, which in turn can harm cognitive function. An area of concern is "executive functioning," a set of skills involved in planning, problem-solving, and working memory.

The investigators found one brain area linked to attention skills that differed between exposed and nonexposed children, but they could not find any clinically significant effect on behavioral tests of attention skills.

Drug use did not differ between the exposed and nonexposed participants as young adults. About 42 percent used marijuana and three tested positive for cocaine one time each.

The team has kept tabs on 110 of the 224 children originally in the study. Of the 110, two are dead - one shot in a bar and another in a drive-by shooting - three are in prison, six graduated from college, and six more are on track to graduate. There have been 60 children born to the 110 participants.

The years of tracking kids have led Hurt to a conclusion she didn't see coming.

"Poverty is a more powerful influence on the outcome of inner-city children than gestational exposure to cocaine," Hurt said at her May lecture.

Other researchers also couldn't find any devastating effects from cocaine exposure in the womb. Claire Coles, a psychiatry professor at Emory University, has been tracking a group of low-income Atlanta children. Her work has found that cocaine exposure does not seem to affect children's overall cognition and school performance, but some evidence suggests that these children are less able to regulate their reactions to stressful stimuli, which could affect learning and emotional health.

Coles said her research had found nothing to back up predictions that cocaine-exposed babies were doomed for life. "As a society we say, 'Cocaine is bad and therefore it must cause damage to babies,' " Coles said. "When you have a myth, it tends to linger for a long time."

Deborah A. Frank, a pediatrics professor at Boston University who has tracked a similar group of children, said the "crack baby" label led to erroneous stereotyping. "You can't walk into a classroom and tell this kid was exposed and this kid was not," Frank said. "Unfortunately, there are so many factors that affect poor kids. They have to deal with so much stress and deprivation. We have also found that exposure to violence is a huge factor."

Frank said that cocaine - along with other illicit drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes - "isn't good for babies," but the belief that they would "grow up to be addicts and criminals is not true. Some kids have stunned us with how well they've done."

Jaimee Drakewood came to her last visit at Children's with her 16-month-old son KyMani in tow. It was the 31st time she had met with the researchers.

"We do appreciate everything you've done, because it's not easy to get to all these appointments," said team member Kathleen Dooley, as she handed Drakewood a framed certificate of appreciation. "We are proud of you and we feel you are family, because you are."

The team plans to stay in touch with study participants each year. They have started a new study that uses MRI and other tools to explore the neural and cognitive effects of poverty on infant development.

"Given what we learned," Hurt said, "we are invested in better understanding the effects of poverty. How can early effects be detected? Which developing systems are affected? And most important, how can findings inform interventions for our children?"

The team considers Jaimee and her mother, Karen, among their best success stories. Jaimee is heading into her senior year at Tuskegee University in Alabama and hopes to become a food inspector. She is home for the summer with her son and working as a lifeguard at a city pool.

After a few starts and stops, including a year in jail, Karen Drakewood is off drugs and works as a residential adviser at Gaudenzia House. Her older daughter just received a master's degree at Drexel University; her son is a student at Florida Atlantic University. Even in the worst moments, Karen Drakewood said she tried to show her kids "what their future could hold." "If a child sees the light, they will follow it."

Jaimee Drakewood credits her big sister and mother for keeping her on track. "I've seen my mom at her lowest point and I've seen her at her highest. That hasn't stopped me from seeing the superwoman in her regardless of where she was at," Jaimee said.

Despite her family's history, Jaimee believes she and her siblings are "destined to have accomplishments, to be greater than our parents."

Susan FitzGerald, a former Inquirer reporter, has written periodically about the cocaine study. Now an independent journalist, she is coathor of a parenting book, Letting Go With Love and Confidence and can be reached at .
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Mon May 02, 2016 4:57 am

Coverup: Behind the Iran Contra Affair
Narrated by Elizabeth Montgomery
Music by Ruben Blades, Richard Elliot, Pink Floyd, Lou Reed
Produced by Barbara Trent, Gary Meyer, David Kasper
Directed by Barbara Trent



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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Wed May 04, 2016 11:48 pm

Why Kids Are Ruining America
Teens are running roughshod over this country -- murdering, raping, gambling away the nation's future -- and we have the bills for counseling and prison to prove it. Sure, not all kids are bad -- but collectively, they're getting worse. Why should we blame ourselves?

by Bret Easton Ellis
Photographs by Mary Ellen Mark
George Magazine
June/July, 1996





This being an election year, politicians will feel compelled to demonstrate their sympathy with the electorate by trotting out the usual standby diagnoses of what is plaguing the country: a collapsing middle class, rising crime, a poor educational system, welfare, prurient entertainment, the budget deficit. But there's something far more insidious infecting America: Kids are ruining all of our lives. Their predilection for violent crime is at an all-time high, which has, in turn, inspired a multitude of new laws and regulations that threaten to dismantle the concept of civil liberties in the U.S. Add to this the fact that kids control the entertainment industry with their buying power, not to mention that they lie and cheat more than ever, and it's not surprising that a fair amount of hand-wringing (a nice euphemism for freaking out) is going on.

I have been responsible for demonizing the kids of my generation in four consecutive books (with a fifth on the way), though it was Less Than Zero -- set in L.A., the city where I grew up -- that brought the first taste of notoriety to both me and them. A jaundiced eye cast, a youthful disgust with American values, parental authority distrusted. But when I was a teeanger, in the early '80s, I felt I was growing up in a fairly sinister period. Exclude the fact that I witnessed a thousand onscreen deaths of my peers in the slasher movies that opened every week, and still it was the seemingly excessive behavior that disturbed me: the obsessive club-hopping, the sexual ambiguity (pre-AIDS), the casual drug use (pre-Just Say No), the studied nihilism; all of this set in an increasingly dangerous city. So when I wrote that book, I truly felt we were all headed for disaster (and for those who stayed in Hollywood and became screenwriters, we were); though now, by comparison, it looks like a relatively innocent era.

There never was really any moment in my own youth when I felt I was on the verge of careening into crime or mayhem -- with the exception of occasional drug use or driving while intoxicated. But class created the boundaries of what was tolerable. The people I knew growing up were for the most part rich (or, in the particulars of L.A. life, nouveau riche), but we had the same concerns and interests as did most kids, rich or poor: status, the desire for things, the cloying need for acceptance, an obsession with the way we looked, sex and junk culture and pop music. We also tended to ape the attitudes of our parents even while parodying them: We drove their cars, we took their pharmaceuticals, we went to their hairdressers, we watched the way they held themselves at parties. It was a put-on in some ways, if an extravagantly sophisticated sone. (Sometimes, though, it was hard to see where the put-on ended.) No matter how flawed or ridiculous our parents seemed, they still held on to a rigid set of values: screwed-up values at times but never explicitly antisocial.

It would be easy to be glib and condescending about the topic of kids in America, but things have changed drastically in the last 20- years, to the point where one can really only chuckle in grim disbelief. Cheating on exams? Smoking cigarettes? Shoplifting? You wish. Murder, rape, robbery, vandalism: the overwhelming majority of these crimes are committed by people under 25, and the rate is escalating rapidly.

Given that the generation who raised this group of kids was so disconnected, so embroiled in its own narcissism, who can blame the kids themselves? We get the kids we deserve. And when your formative years are so sketcy, and you live in a world where drugs are as available as soda and sex will kill you if it's not planned carefully (even though condom sales among kids are stagnant); a world where divorce reigns; where your fear of violence is so paralyzing your classmates carry box cutters and guns to school; and then you pile on top of this world the usual set of adolescent anxieties, is it any wonder that kids either turn into computer geeks alienated from actual experience or retreat into the solidarity of urban gang life? What did we expect the outcome to be? Eddie Haskell?

Should the government decide what's best for kids? Well, it decides what's best for their parents, so, in some cases, I'm inclined to think yes. For example, having lived in Los Angeles, I have no sympathy for gang members who complain about city curfews. Let Louisiana lower the drinking age to 18, as it did in March. Let cyberporn rule the Internet; make gambling more easily available to kids. Why bother baby-proofing society? The way kids are built today, they will surely just resent it. Besides, it's always better to work with kids than against them. They're going to take over anyway. Consider this consolation as you proceed through these scenes of minors in America: The kids of today will have to deal with the kids of tomorrow.


THEY KILL: A KNOCKED-OUT WINDOW, SNIPPED TELEPHONE WIRES. A RANSACKED LIVING ROOM SPLATTERED WITH CANINE BLOOD AND FECES. A BED STRIPPED AND BLOODSTAINED. NEXT TO IT AN OPEN JAR OF VASELINE. POLICE IN NEW PORT RICHEY, FLORIDA, STUMBLED UPON THIS gruesome scene at the home of 71-year-old Mildred Boroski in March 1995. They had come to tell the widow that they'd found her red Ford Tempo abandoned on a street by the Anclote River. But at the modest house, with its pink awnings and palm tree out front, no one was home.

TV crews swarmed into the middle-class neighborhood looking for answers. Johnathan Grimshaw, a tall, wiry 17-year-old, who lived across the street and sang in the school choir, gazed into the cameras as he stroked Boroski's cat, Twinkles. "She was such a nice old lady," he said, adding that he planned to adopt the pet.

Four days later, Boroski's partially clothed corpse was found in a nearby woods. Two months later, police arrested Grimshaw and another neighborhood boy, 17-year-old Nathan Ramirez, for first-degree murder and kidnapping. The teens reportedly confessed to the crime, saying it was a burglary gone awry: They had been lured into the elderly woman's home by the birthday presents stacked in the living room from her celebration the day before. Once the teens were in the house, the widow's poodle started yapping, so they bludgeoned it with a crowbar. They tied up Boroski with telephone cords, and Grimshaw allegedly raped her. They snagged two guns belong to her late husband and $30 in cash. They shoved Boroski into her car and drove to the woods, where Ramirez allegedly shot her twice in the head. Then the boys blew the cash on video games.

The murder was just the latest in a series of brutal acts by local youth against the elderly residents of Florida. Neighbors were still aghast over the so-called pinkie murder in nearby Hudson, in which a trio of teenagers -- the youngest age 14 -- killed a 55-year-old man and his 75-year-old mother, sawing off the man's little finger as a memento. "We're going to find someone to kill," Alvin Morton, the eldest of the three, had told his friends. Before that, another trio of teens had raped an elderly woman and forced her husband to watch. Why was so much evil flourishing in this region, residents wondered.

New Port Richey is a mellow, almost entirely white community where bingo is a big to-do. With affordable housing and lots of golf courses, this Gulf town of 17,000 is filled largely with retirees, many of whom now see the young as the enemy. Sales of guns and security systems have soared. "We're considered the runaway capital of Florida," says Mike Schreck, a local homicide detective. "Most crimes are committed by juveniles."

By Florida standards, the area's juvenile crime rate is low. But both the state's juvenile and overall crime rates rank among the highest in the country. Last year in Florida, more than 102,000 juveniles were charged with criminal offenses; more than 12,000 were arrested for violent felonies: murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

Florida's statistics mirror nationwide trends. And sociologists are troubled by the prediction that the national teen population will swell by more than 20 percent in the next decade, thanks to a mini-baby boom in the last 1980s. "We are facing a potential bloodbath of teenage violence in years ahead that will be so bad, we'll look back at the 1990s and say those were the good old days," says James Alan Fox, dean of criminal justice at Boston's Northeastern University. "Teenagers have higher rates for violent crime than any other age-group. The rate of killing by teenagers has increased 172 percent since 1985."

Fox's dire forecast is underscored by Pulitizer Prize-winning author Edward Humes, whose recent book, No Matter How Loud I Shout, documents a year in the L.A. juvenile court. "We have an army forming on the horizon," says Humes. "It's going to invade in the next 10 to 15 years, and we're not doing anything to defend ourselves."

The typical response of local authorities is to crack down on youth activities that could lead to violence. In Florida, cops enforce curfews in many cities and narcotics squads have set up drug stings in schools. As in other states, Florida's courts often try violent kids as adults; Morton, the pinkie murder ringleader, now sits on death row.


It's Friday, the equivalent of open-mike night in Judge Michael Corriero's Manhattan courtroom. There's the ninth-grader who went on a robbery spree, the two girls who wielded a butcher's knife to steal a 12-year-old's knapsack, the 15-year-old accused of fatally shooting a man. Judge Corriero, who could pass for Al Pacino's younger brother, listens intently before deciding who gets jail and who gets probation, who gets youthful-offender status and who gets thrown into the much harsher adult system.

Rehabilitation or punishment? This vexing question, which Corriero weighs dozens of times each day, lies at the heart of a major political and philosophical battle over juvenile crime, which could have the emotional explosiveness of last year's welfare reform debate.

This crackdown on young lawbreakers has been fueled by the rising number of juveniles arrested for violent crimes. After remaining virtually constant between 1972 and the late '80s, the juvenile crime rate nationwide began to spike in 1990 and by 1992 had reached a 20-year high.

From 1988 to 1991, the youth murder-arrest rate climbed 80 percent. A handful of stomach-churning incidents also made teenage offenders seem more impulsive and vicious. Now, Hawaii is the only state that treats all kids under age 16 as juveniles. In Illinois and North Carolina, 13-year-old offenders can be treated as adults; in Vermont, 10 is the cut-off. In New York, only murder suspects under age seven are automatically treated as juveniles, and Governor George Pataki recently vowed to further toughen the state's law.

Both Democrats and Republicans have recognized the political rewards of outraged fist-pounding: 700 legislative proposals to prosecute minors as adults were introduced last year, a trend that President Clinton promised, in his State of the Union address, to pursue.

Meanwhile, 24 states allow kids under the age of 18 to get the death penalty. Although no criminal has been executed while a minor, some sentenced while minors have been put to death. Currently, 42 juveniles sit on death row.

-- Patricia Cohen


"HOW COME YOUR PANTS ARE SO SLACK IF YOU'RE NOT GANG-BANGIN'?" DEMANDS DEPUTY SHERIFF DAN BELLAND, TUGGING THE WAISTBAND OF THE 15-YEAR-OLD LATINO LEANING spread-eagled over the hood of his cruiser. The kid pleads absolute innocence, while his friend stays silent. It's 9:45 on a Friday night in Lancaster, California, and Belland has just found a pair of teens hanging out on a dimly lit corner. "Curfew in fifteen," barks Belland. "Don't let me see your faces."

With five minutes to go before ten o'clock, Belland guns his cruiser into a local strip mall multiplex parking lot on the scruffy northern edge of L.A. County and noses it up alongside a half-dozen teens just out from seeing Happy Gilmore. Freezing their attention with a spotlight, Belland rolls down his window and warns: "y'got five minutes to go. I see any of you here past ten, I'm doing the curfew thing on you. Got it?" The kids scatter, some heading for the pay phone to call for a ride home.

In the Antelope Valley desert communities of Lancaster and Palmdale, city fathers are intent on preventing the spread of the youth violence that plagues the city of Los Angeles 50 miles to the south -- a place satanized in local parlance as simply "Down Below." If the kids violate curfew, they will be written up, part of Lancaster's three-year-old experiment in strictly enforcing an older municipal ordinance. That will oblige them to appear in juvenile traffic court -- where due process is streamlined -- accompanied by at least one parent. For the first offense, a parent can expect to pay up to $250. For a second violation, the fine can triple, and the teen can be slapped with probation and community-service work, theoretically even jail time.

Apart from the routine nightly patrol, the sheriff's department conducts a Valleywide "curfew sweep" on average once per month, combing the parks, fast-food joints and mall parking lots for minors and writing them up -- as many as 70 per operation. But that's just one of many law enforcement obstacles these teens must navigate. The conservatives who dominate the politics of Antelope Valley have established random high school drug inspections by dope-sniffing dogs. All seven public high schools now have a permanent, armed deputy sheriff on campus. Some kids caught in truancy raids are required to attend morality lectures by a former sheriff's deputy who is also a fundamentalist preacher. And teens are offered rewards of up to $1,000 for turning in peers involved with weapons, drugs, graffiti or other crimes. A new "daytime loitering by minors" ordinance will start fining parents just as the curfew law does.

In the private sector, the local mall prohibits groups of more than four teens from congregating. A dress code bans baseball caps worn backwards or sideways. "This was a quiet area off the beaten path in the '60s and '70s," says conservative mayor George Runner, a moving force behind many of the teen laws. "But with our phenomenal growth in the '80s, things started getting out of hand. Graffiti started appearing and people felt violated, like who's in control out there? So we started attacking the causal factors." Graffiti is down 75 percent since the curfew law started to be aggressively enforced, the mayor claims. Local police say youth crime is "stable" and argue that without this host of special measures, things would get worse.

Across America, some 1,000 cities and towns enforce juvenile curfew laws. Of the nation's largest 200 cities, 160 use curfew ordinances, including Houston, Dallas, San Diego, Miami and New Orleans. In Charleston, South Carolina, police ask parents to sign permission forms allowing officers to bring children home if found on the street after hours. In San Diego, detained kids are routinely handcuffed, fingerprinted, photographed and held, often overnight, until a parent comes calling.

A growing number of communities are also taking measures aimed specifically at gang suppression, including prohibiting young people from wearing certain colors, fraternizing with suspected gang members or displaying hand signals. In Jefferson Parish, near New Orleans, the police compose lists of suspected gang members and contact their parents. In Mentor-on-the-Lake, Ohio, 20 miles outside Cleveland, antigang rules include daytime curfews. Proponents of such laws argue that they are merely responding to a youth crime epidemic. But critics of the curfew laws -- such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which is waging legal battles to stop their implementation -- say these statutes criminalize status as opposed to conduct; do little if anything to address the economic and social roots of teen crime; ratchet up youth resentment; and are designed mainly to placate a frightened and aging electorate.

Many teens complain that their elders would do better to invest resources in activities and jobs. "There's no place to go, nothing to do around here," complains a 17-year-old senior at Lancaster's Quartz Hill High School. "You party at someone's house or hang out at the Taco Bell. Now the cops get you coming from either one."

Meanwhile, in Lancaster, a city rattled by near-tectonic social shifts, the get-tough approach still enjoys wide popularity. Through the '70s and '80s, Lancaster and neighboring Palmdate were among the fastest-growing American towns. A stream of almost entirely white, middle- and working-class families poured out of a declining Los Angeles and took up well-paying jobs in the booming aerospace sector. But defense downsizing hammered the local economy. Today, the two cities continue to grow at slower if still appreciable rates -- 3.5 percent instead of 12 percent -- but attract a poorer, more racially mixed group of settlers. "People used to come here looking for a future," Deputy Belland says as we cruise 30th Street. "Now, about the only future you're gonna find is in law enforcement."

With that we pull into the beach-size parking lot of the Taco Bell, at the corner of 30th West and Avenue L -- notorious as the site of a 1991 youth shooting and as the hangout for the Valley's high school kids. "You could come here on some nights and find 200 kids just hanging out," says Belland. "Our phones down at the station would be ringing off the hook with calls from citizens afraid to use the other stores in the shopping center." But on this Friday night, at 11:30 there are only two or three cars in the lot, and everyone inside them is of age. Belland looks out over the rest of the empty parking lot. The cold desert wind pushes weeds and papers across it, giving the place the feel of a sodium-lit ghost town. "I guess this curfew thing is working," he says. "It's mighty quiet tonight."

-- by Marc Cooper

Florida officials, like their counterparts in other states, are also trying to understand just what makes kids turn to crime. In Tampa, 50 miles south of New Port Richey, a two-story yellow cinder-block building houses the jewel of Florida's recent efforts. The Juvenile Assessment Center (JAC) is the first stop for young lawbreakers in Hillsborough County. Here cops, counselors, juvenile justice officials, human resource groups and substance abuse specialists join to assess juvenile crime from all angles. More than 20,000 cases have passed through here since May 1993. JAC has two sections: one for truants, the other for kids who've been arrested. In the latter, all doors are locked and movements videotaped. Three deputies stand behind computers, pulling records from police and judicial data banks. A restraining chair sits in one corner, awaiting the unruly, who are strapped in and wheeled to a separate room.

On a Wednesday afternoon, nine youths -- some black; some white -- are dropped off at JAC, fingerprinted, photographed and given a drug test. They are asked 139 questions about family, school, drug use, friends, sex and their emotional well-being. Eight of the nine have been there before. Most come from violent backgrounds, and most live with single parents, almost always their mothers. Their crimes are typical: car theft, assault, shoplifting, drug possession and dealing. It's not unusual to see a lengthy rap sheet: A 16-year-old may have more than 20 offenses. "We've had little kids abusing their parents," says Deputy Mary Horne. "We've had eight-year-olds in here for sexual battery. Nothing shocks us anymore. After working here, I don't want to have kids."

Some JAC youths will land in group homes, where they will continue schooling and learn job skills such as woodworking. Some are put into intervention programs, such as Drug Court. Others will be put on probation or house arrest. And all will be assigned a caseworker to recommend them to assorted family and peer counseling groups. Despite the individualized attention, tracking and involvement of families and schools, many kids will be back.

A tremor of anxiety seems to run through the place. How can the community predict which teens will turn murderous and, more important, how can they reverse the tendency? So far, no one has arrived at a surefire tool to identify the seeds of evil behavior -- the search goes on across the country, as it has over the centuries. "You can assess kids from now until doomsday and it still adds up to nothing if you don't have places to send them," says Michael J. Dale, law professor at Nova Southeastern University in Ford Lauderdale and former director of the Youth Law Center in San Francisco. "Some kids just need a haven to get them away from their homes. Others need to be locked up for a good long time. And there are lots of in-betweens. Figuring out which kids need what is not the hardest part. The hard part is doing something about it."


Parental Rights

As the government increasingly sets parameters for teens, some parents are fighting to ensure that their child-rearing decisions remain preeminent. In 1995, the Christian Coalition proposed a parental-rights amendment to the Constitution. Sex education, parental consent for abortions and home schooling are among the issues that have spurred this drive.

Teachers' unions, abortion rights advocates and civil liberties groups have called the movement a "stealth campaign" to give Christian conservatives more control over public education. Greg Erken, executive director of the parental-rights group Of the People, claims its own proposed amendment on the state level is an exercise in consciousness-raising. "We want to get a debate going about whether parents really matter. Or can we have teachers, social workers and cops raising children? In a democracy, it's an act of faith that if you give citizens rights, they'll act responsibly. We're saying that we ought to place that same faith in citizens in their capacity as parents." Prince v. Massachusetts (1955), the decision that declared the state's right to enforce school attendance, vaccination and child labor laws and to protect children from abuse, would not be challenged, proponents argue. The amendment has been introduced in 24 states, and an endorsement in January by Governor George Allen of Virginia highlighted the issue. The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on a parental-rights bill co-sponsored by Bob Dole this summer.

-- Joy Press


A PILE OF $5 BILLS FLUTTERS ON THE SIDEWALK IN FRONT OF CROWN FRIED CHICKEN, A JERSEY CITY HANGOUT RIGHT ACROSS THE STREET FROM LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL. A GROUP OF LINCOLN STUDENTS IS GATHERED AROUND THE CASH, throwing dice. The game is called C-low, and students say it's not uncommon to see $500 riding on a singl eroll. Today, the kids are playing for just five bucks a game, but at this harried, casinolike pace, the stakes and the consequences can add up: Last year, a dispute over a C-low game led to the shooting death of 18-year-old Ricky Bradley, a former student at nearby Snyder High School. As the game continues, the pressure builds on the players not to let down the growing number of spectators -- the guys smoking pot and bobbing to the chaotic rhythms of four competing boom boxes, and the girls inside Crown eating lunch and watching the game through the plate-glass windows. A 17-year-old student blows on the three dice, rubs them against the arch of his sneakers for luck, then casts them toward the pile of cash: double threes and a four.

Doubles and a five or six will beat his roll, as will triples, or the elusive, magical combination known as C-low: four-five-six. A one-two-three combination is an automatic loss -- "aced" -- and the onlookers taunt the next roller with calls of "123rd Street, last stop!" The kid confidently tosses the dice against the concrete wall. The crowd closes in, the young girls inside. Crown press their faces to the window. "C-low, baby!" he shouts. Then, reaching for the money, he says, "That's dough."

C-low, a street variation on craps, has been around for years, but it's showing a strange resurgence among high school students these days. It's part of a nationwide gambling fixation among the young. Studies by Harvard Medical School and Illinois State University have concluded that between 6 and 8 percent of teenagers are compulsive or problem gamblers. Dr. Howard Shaffer, the director of Harvard's Center for Addiction Studies, believes that for kids in the '90s, gambling addiction is becoming as big a problem as drug addiction. And as with drugs, gambling often leads to other crimes. In Newark this year, a 16-year-old boy was charged with pimping his girlfriend to pay off his sports gambling debts. And in suburban Nutley, authorities busted a high school bookmaking ring after one debtor was kidnapped and then abandoned near a housing project in Newark's Central Ward.

To gamble, kids need money, and these days, they have access to plenty. According to Teenage Research Unlimited, youngsters in the U.S. spend $109 billion a year; two-thirds have their own bank accounts, and nearly one in five plays the stock market. By the time they're 19 years old, 37 percent carry credit cards.

If it's not their own money they're spending, kids are telling their parents what to buy. And their power is growing rapidly, says James McNeal, a professor of marketing at Texas A&M University, who found that preteens directly influence the spending of $170 billion a year. Indirectly, they influence the spending of hundreds of billions more.

Habits formed in early years often translate into adult problems. Ed Looney, head of the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey, says that the majority of adult compulsive gamblers who call his hot line say they placed their first bets by age 14. "They start out with pogs or milk tops, then go to C-low, lottery tickets and on to sports, horses and casinos," he says.

Ray, a 28-year-old member of Gamblers Anonymous in New Jersey, says his problem started "at about nine," when he first saw older kids pitching quarters. "One day a fella hit $50 and I thought he was like a millionaire. I played and lost nine bucks to my brother. I stole from my sister to pay for it." The bottom fell out last year, he says, when "my fiancee walked out on me after six years because I was drinking and gambling." Ray joined Gamblers Anonymous -- whose members pledge not to buy even raffle tickets or invest in the stock market -- and says he hasn't wagered a dime in 12 months.

Finding ways for kids to cut down on spending isn't a political priority. In fact, as the bottom falls out of education funding, schools increasingly rely on the support of the private sector, which inevitably comes with strings attached. Advertisements proliferate on the sides of school buses and even in textbooks. To deal with their addiction and debts, kids are lesft to their own devices. In New Jersey, a proposal before the assembly to include one hour a year on compulsive gambling in the high-school health curriculum is opposed by Governor Christine Todd Whitman's Department of Education. And of the state's nearly $1 billion annual gambling-related revenue, $130,000 has been allotted for gambling-treatment programs. When asked what he would do if C-low got him into the red, a 16-year-old boy lingering outside the Crown in Jersey City didn't hesitate before answering: "I'd hold somebody up and get the money."

Under Surveillance

At Seminole Middle School, in Plantation, Florida, an intricate web of cameras provides sweeping coverage of hallways, doorways, the cafeteria and a bicycle rack. A supervisor armed with a Handycam at Dana Hills High School, in Dana Point, California, zeroes in on a student skipping class. At Hazen High School, in Renton, Washington, students watch one another on a 19-inch video monitor located in a lounge. While the mode of surveillance varies, a rapidly increasing number of schools -- some 3,000 to date, according to the National School Safety Center -- are succumbing to the allure of electronic-age security.

Dr. Roger Damerow, superintendent of schools for Waterbury, Connecticut, says that the roughly $22,000 from the Federal Safe and Drug Free Schools Program invested on surveillance cameras was money well-spent. "Our goal is to deter bad behavior, such as making an obscene gesture at a passing car or consciously creating trouble. Our intent isn't evil; it's simply to ensure the safety of our children and create a record of who did what to whom. We're occupying the moral high ground here."

Don Sadler, director of operations for the Huntsville, Alabama, school system, where an elaborate Integrated Services Digital Network was recently installed, agrees. The nearly $2 million spent in the past ten years to monitor all of its 44 schools has saved Huntsville $700,000 in insurance premiums alone. Adds Sadler, "Regardless of financial concerns, any measures to create a safe environment can't be justly criticized."

Students at Middleton High School, in Middleton, Wisconsin, might feel differently. In a case of life imitates art or, more specifically, life imitates the film Sliver, a reporter for the school newspaper discovered a hidden video camera whose scope covered the entire boy's locker room. The principal, Charlene Gearing, had it removed. She told the press that although the camera, installed by her predecessor, was meant to prevent crime, it was still an invasion of privacy.

Loren Siegel, director of public education for the American Civil Liberties Union, sees the enormous increase in the use of video surveillance across the United States as cause for concern. "The availability of new technologies makes it easier. But just because it's easier doesn't make it wiser."

-- Chris Nutter



THE TWINS CAN'T SING. THEY CAN'T DANCE. THEY CAN'T ACT AND THEY'RE NOT FUNNY. MULTI-TALENTLESS THEY MAY BE, BUT THE NINE-YEAR-OLD OLSEN SISTERS, MARY-KATE AND ASHLEY, ARE PERCHED PRETTILY ATOP A SHOW BUSINESS EMPIRE whose tentacles reach deep into many media. At the tender age of nine months, the girls made their small-screen double-duty debut as the gurgling, chimplike Michelle on Full House, a sitcom so squishy it should have been preceded by a parental guidance notice warning off any diabetics in the audience. Nonetheless, it consistently ranked among the 15 highest-rated shows during its seven-season run.

The elusive charm of the blond, blue-eyed Olsens led to popular demand for more entertainment products in which the two sibs could be seen in their unremarkably identical glory. Top-rated TV movies begat CDs, feature films and their own upcoming sitcom. A series of home videos -- some featuring the Olsen girls as the crime-solving Trenchcoat Twins, others with them in their jammies inviting watchers to a sleep-over -- propelled their company, DualStar, into second place in home video income, behind only the colossus Disney.

If the above information causes you to scratch your head and mutter, "Olsens? Trenchcoat? Sleep-over? Huh?" chances are you're clawing at a bald spot that first felt the pressure back in 1977, when Star Wars changed the face of entertainment. Star Wars was a B movie given A treatment. It was also a lunch pail, a video game, a comic book, a pillowcase and a hamburger wrapper -- in other words, all about kids. And since then, since that moment of epiphany when it became evident that a bunch of clueless, pockmarked, metal-mouthed 12-year-olds could not only open a movie but also supply the repeat business to push it into the stratosphere, everything's been all about kids.

Star Wars was an explicit warning to the over-30s that it was time to head home and microwave their own popcorn, because the national multiplex was about to be cordoned off by a velvet rope that they stood no hope of squeezing past. Of the top 20 grossers of all time, only two predate Star Wars: the kid-sedating Gone With the Wind and Jaws, which pretty much wrote the summer-movie-as-thrill-ride rule book. And only four -- Forrest Gump, Beverly Hills Cop, Ghost and Terminator 2: Judgment Day -- could be described as containing even vaguely adult themes. If the '80s was an extended exercise in adolescent wish fulfillment, the current decade has seen movie screens crammed with fresh-faced, moist-nosed preteens, not a goatee or a track mark among them. Eighties teen tycoon John Hughes became the kind of kindergarten with Home Alone as he ransacked the creche for younger and younger talent. Family-aimed features have swelled the bank accounts of actors Elijah Wood, Tina Majorino, Christina Ricci, Gaby Hoffman, Jesse Bradford, Brian Bonsall, Jason James Richter and Brad Renfro. Even Jim Carrey and Saturday Night Live spawn Adam Sandler and Chris Farley can attribute a substantial part of their success to the prepubescent audience that wets its pants every time one of these cut-ups wets his pants.

It's the tots who went and went and went, and made their parents take them and take them and take them, to The Lion King, Beauty & the Beast, Pocahontas and The Little Mermaid, which in turn funded Disney's attempts to pursue legitimacy with Oliver Stone's Nixon and Martin Scorsese's forthcoming Dalai Lama biopic (I'm already planning not to go see it).

It's the tykes, transfixed by the purple dinosaur Barney and taught to talk by Sesame Street, that have kept PBS in the anesthetic business. Nielsen ratings -- toppers Seinfeld and Friends may be too packed with overgrown kids to allow for any genuine anklebiters among the cast but the nightly listings are otherwise awash in precocity, training bras and prom traumas. A full three cable networks -- Nickelodeon, Disney and MTV -- are devoted entirely to teen tastes. ABC and the laughingstock netlets WB and UPN all set aside entire nights of programming for kids under age 14. CBS has its yenta Mary Poppins in The Nanncy. Even NBC, with its massed ranks of the adorable twentysomething audiences, still makes room for its Fresh Prince and for Brotherly Love -- the vehicle for Blossom veteran Joey Lawrence and his two brothers. Hoping to slice off a little of the Olsen action for themselves are two other sets of twins: Tia and Tamera Mowry, the scary, synchronized scenery-chewers from Sister Sister; and the va-va-voomy future centerfolds Cynthia and Brittany Danile from Sweet Valley High.

The adolescent dollar has always oiled the pop chart wheels, but in 1991, when Billboard introduced the SoundScan method of sales tabulation (whereby pop charts reflect actual record sales rather than the number of records shipped out to stores), previously marginalized genres swept into prominence. Suddenly, the collective appetite for grunge and gangsta rap, hitherto regarded as the province of stubbly, academic rockpress scribblers, caused hernias and heart murmurs among radio programmers and record executives caught on the hop once again by the mercurial nature of ... the kids! Meanwhile, the younger brothers and sisters of the pierced constituency began buying releases by their own contemporaries, sending such product skyrocketing up the charts. Queen of the pack is the sloe-eyed, platinum-selling Brandy, who is positioned to take over preeminence from that granny Whitney Houston. Nipping at Brandy's heels are the similarly single-monikered Monica, 3T (the sons of the much-maligned Tito Jackson) and the excellently named Immature.

Does anyone these days launch a big-budget movie, album, television show or software without factoring teen appeal into the equation? Doubtful. The kids have the disposable income, they've got the free time, and they've got the obsessive nature.

You might have thought that, rather than receiving the V-chip without complaint, craven network executives and communications paymasters could have mustered the defense that, far from brutalizing and desensitizing the nation's youth with shows pitched over their heads, the networks were actually coddling and pampering kids with everything they could ever hope to see. Because everything's about kids. You want to know why you get bored so fast watching television? Why you can't pay attention to anything for more than two minutes? Why you covet your friends' possessions and why you burst into frustrated tears at the slightest provocation? Because you're immersed in a world of kid-aimed entertainment, and it's having an adverse affect on your emotional growth. The first pol who proposes compulsory installation of a K-chip will win by a landslide.











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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

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"Children": Excerpt from "Voices for Freedom: An Amnesty International Anthology
by Amnesty International Publications
© 1986 Amnesty International Publications




Every October Amnesty International organizes a week-long publicity campaign highlighting prisoners of conscience. The theme of the campaign in 1979 was Children. This extract from the report 'Children' shows that the treatment meted out to children was often little different from that imposed on adults.

Children are subject to arrest and detention, not only because they may have been taken to prison with their parents, but also because they have been imprisoned for their own beliefs -- or what the authorities believe to be their beliefs.

Some are put into prison for no reason at all.

A child of 11, Veneque Duclairon, was among the peasants of Plaine de Cul-de-Sac, Haiti, who were arrested in 1969 following protests against deteriorating economic conditions. All were imprisoned without charge or trial.

Under the conditions which have applied to detainees in Haiti, the child found himself completely isolated from the outside world and without any chance of obtaining the assistance of a lawyer. If he is still alive today, he is 21 years old. But those who have tried desperately to obtain information about him now fear that he may have died in prison.

A former Haitian political prisoner has reported that Veneque Duclairon died in 1973 in the national penitentiary. This information cannot be confirmed; however, he was not among the group of 104 Haitian political prisoners released by a presidential decree in September 1977.

On the other side of the world, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, Sumilah, was arrested in October 1965 at the time of the attempted coup in Indonesia. Amnesty International has no reason to believe that she was involved in the attempted coup, or in the violence which followed.

She was detained in various camps but was never taken before a court or given the right to contact a lawyer. After 14 years in detention she was released in April 1979.

This photograph, taken secretly in Alexanderplatz, East Berlin, shows the arrest in 1977 of the Gerdes family who had, minutes before, unfurled a homemade banner in support of their request to be allowed to leave the German Democratic Republic. Prior to demonstrating in public they had submitted 10 unsuccessful applications for permission to leave the country. In February 1978, the parents were sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment. Their children, Claudia and Ralf, were aged 12 and 13 at the time of the arrest. They were held in a children's home until their parents were released and allowed to travel to West Berlin.

Among Indonesia's thousands of political prisoners are many who, like Sumilah, are now in their 20s. Among them are youths who were arrested in 1965 at a government paramilitary training centre for young people at Halim airport, just outside Jakarta, which served as a military airbase. During the events surrounding the attempted coup in 1965, all those at the young people's training centre at Halim airport were arrested, regardless of whether they were airforce personnel or trainees. Most of those arrested have never been charged or tried. As a consequence young people whose sole offence was that on 30 September 1965 they were at the Halim centre have spent the past 14 years (in many cases this is more than half their lives thus far) in prison.

In South Africa in recent years children have been detained without trial under the Terrorism Act and other security laws. They do not appear to be given different treatment to adults detained under the same laws: they are subject to interrogation and brutal treatment by security police and are frequently kept incommunicado and in solitary confinement.

Although the South African authorities have admitted that a large number of children are in detention, they have refused to give details about their ages. On 21 February 1979 the Minister of Justice stated in Parliament that 252 young people under the age of 18 had been detained under the Terrorism or Internal Security Acts during 1978. Twenty-five of these were girls.

The South African authorities are not obliged to give information to the parents of children detained incommunicado under the Terrorism Act. The parents are not allowed to visit the children and cannot demand habeas corpus or any form of effective legal protection for the children.

Children are also subject to prosecution and imprisonment for political offences on the same basis as adults. In answer to a question in Parliament in June 1978 the Minister of Justice admitted that six children, one of 14 and five of 15 years of age, were imprisoned on Robben Island, the prison island off the Cape Town coast -- the maximum security prison for black prisoners.

Carlos Patricio Farina Oyarce

Carlos Patricio was 13 years of age when he was detained on 13 October 1973 in his home in Santiago, Chile.

A few days before his arrest, he had been taken by his mother to a juvenile court after an accident in which another child playing with Carlos Patricio was wounded by a pistol shot.

The judge sent him to a reformatory from which he escaped, claiming he had been threatened and sexually assaulted by older boys. His mother wanted to return him to the court but the boy was ill with a fever. He remained in bed until the morning of 13 October when a group of soldiers and policemen surrounded the house. Two policemen, four soldiers and two civilians broke into the house and demanded that his mother hand over the boy. Without accepting the mother's explanations, the two policemen pulled the child out of bed. One of them hit him in the chest with the butt of his rifle, knocking him to the ground. The boy was then taken to the Santiago National Football Stadium where he was placed with the political prisoners who had already been taken there after the coup.

His mother's pleas were in vain. Carlos Patricio was last seen in the prison camp of the Mounted Infantry Regiment No. 3 of Sen Filipe. But a search of the camp proved useless, as did inquiries about the boy at police stations and military regiments. No trace of the boy's whereabouts could be obtained despite repeated appeals by his mother to the authorities from 13 October 1973 to 6 September 1976. On that day the Chilean Government informed the United Nations Human Rights Commission that the person in question 'had no legal existence'.

Senora Oyarce died of cancer on 22 November 1977 without further news of her son.


This is Carla Rutilo Artes from Bolivia. Her mother, Graciela, is Argentinian but has lived in Bolivia since she was nine years of age.

On 2 April 1976 both mother and daughter were arrested by the Bolivian Police, taken to the capital city, La Paz, and separated. The mother was held in the Ministry of the Interior where it is alleged that she was subjected to torture. Her daughter Carla was sent to an orphanage where she was registered under a false name.

On 26 August 1976 Carla was removed from the orphanage and three days later both mother and child were handed over to Argentinian authorities at the border of the two countries. There had been no formal extradition order.

Relatives of the family state that the mother had no known political affiliation. The sole motive for the arrest would appear to be her support, as a representative of a students' organization, for the Bolivian tin miners' strike.

Carla was found in August 1985 when a man wanted in connection with crimes attributed to an Argentinian "death squad" was arrested. She had been living as his adopted daughter since 1977 when he had adopted her and changed her name. Carla was returned to the care of her maternal grandmother after a federal judge was presented with evidence confirming her identity. However, to date there has been no news of her mother.

Published October 1979
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

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Race, Crime and the Pool of Surplus Criminality: or Why the 'War on Drugs' Was a 'War on Blacks
by Kenneth B. Nunn
6 Journal of Gender, Race and Justice 381-445, 386-412, 422-427
(Fall 2002) (519 Footnotes Omitted)



The War on Drugs that has been a centerpiece of American foreign and domestic policy over the past two decades should not be viewed as a war against a particular collection of inanimate objects. The War on Drugs in this sense is but a convenient, yet inaccurate, metaphor. Instead the War on Drugs should be understood as a special case of what war has always been -- the employment of force and violence against certain communities, and/or their institutions, in order to attain certain political objectives. Race has played an important role over the years in identifying the communities that became the targets of the drug war, consequently exposing their cultural practices and institutions to military-style attack and police control. Although the drug war has certainly sought to eradicate controlled substances and destroy the networks established for their distribution, this is only part of the story. As I shall explain, state efforts to control drugs are also a way for dominant groups to express racial power. Before addressing the historical and culturally entrenched connection of drug control and race, I first want to explore the origins of the most recent round of American anti-drug policies -- the so-called War on Drugs -- and examine the impact of these policies on African American communities.

A. The War on Drugs

1. Origins of the Drug War

In October of 1982, President Ronald Reagan declared war on drugs. Speaking to the nation in his weekly radio address, Reagan promised a 'planned, concerted campaign' against all drugs -- 'hard, soft or otherwise. ' Reagan described his campaign in military terms, using words like 'battle,' 'war,' and 'surrender.' '[W]e're going to win the war on drugs,' he vowed. President Reagan increased anti-drug spending and increased the number of federal drug task forces. Most importantly, the Reagan administration launched a public relations campaign designed to change the public perception of drug use and the threat posed by illegal drugs. The centerpiece of this public relations campaign was a new rhetorical strategy that sought to demonize drugs and ostracize drug users. Presidents Bush and Clinton continued the Reagan administration's anti-drug policies. President Bush established a national office of drug policy, appointed a drug 'czar,' increased anti-drug spending and intensified drug law enforcement efforts. President Clinton, for his part, increased the anti-drug budget by twenty-five percent, proposed expanded drug testing rules and intensified efforts toward drug interdiction and prosecution.

No matter who has occupied the executive branch, the United States has pursued the same overall policies throughout the drug war. Anti-drug policies can be separated into two general camps, 'supply-reduction' and 'demand-reduction.' Supply-reduction strategies seek to reduce the availability of drugs by limiting access to drug sources and increasing the risks of drug possession and distribution. Demand-reduction strategies, on the other hand, seek to reduce demand for illegal drugs through drug use prevention and treatment. The rhetoric of war helped shape the strategies that were used to combat the perceived drug threat. The Reagan administration embraced a supply-reduction strategy focusing on interdiction, seizure and criminal prosecution, rather than a demand-reduction strategy that focused on public education and drug treatment designed to reduce demand for illegal drugs. The supply-reduction strategy adopted by the Reagan administration fits a war model of the drug problem. Viewing the drug problem through a war model implies that the perceived drug problem can be attacked through aggressive law enforcement measures designed to seek out and destroy contraband and interrupt distribution networks. These kinds of measures are more analogous to the military tactics one would expect to see in warfare than are demand-reduction measures, which are primarily social service based.

According to Michael Tonry, the drug war was 'fought largely from partisan political motives to show that the Bush and Reagan administrations were concerned about public safety, crime prevention, and the needs of victims. ' While the drug war may have been initiated out of political motives, this assessment does not tell the entire tale. To understand the origins of the War on Drugs in its entirety, we must know what was going on in the cultural landscape that made it politically advantageous to fight a war on drugs.

When Reagan declared war on drugs, a broad cultural change was underway in the United States. The country was moving from a period of relative liberalism that included skepticism toward government and authority and an emphasis on personal freedoms, to a period of relative conservatism that included respect for government and authority and an emphasis on personal responsibility. Reagan's very election to the presidency was in large part a manifestation of this shift in attitudes. Reagan was the embodiment of a mainstream reaction to the counterculture of the 60s and 70s. Part of this sea change in cultural attitudes was a different perspective toward drugs.

In 1982, when the drug war began, the recreational use of illegal drugs was in decline. Tonry points out that in 1982, surveys conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse showed significant drops in drug usage over long periods for a wide range of age groups. This decline impacted the use of both legal and illegal substances. For example, the percentages of respondents 18 to 25 years of age reporting marijuana use during the preceding year dropped by approximately 15% between 1979 and 1982, and continued to decline sharply throughout the decade of the 80s. Reported use of cocaine by the same age group also dropped by approximately 15% between 1979 and 1982, and continued to decline throughout the decade. Finally, 18 to 25 year olds who reported using alcohol during the preceding year rose only slightly from 1979 to 1982, but also declined sharply following a peak in 1985. According to Tonry, these statistics 'signal a broadly based and widely shared change in American attitudes toward the ingestion of dangerous or unhealthy substances that can have little to do with the deterrent effects of law enforcement strategies or criminal sanctions. ' Consequently, Reagan's declaration of war tapped into a growing public sentiment against illegal drug use. Many citizens viewed drugs as a menace and many of these same citizens were readily supportive of Reagan's proposals to address the drug problem.

This widespread public support explains the political value of the War on Drugs. The cultural environment created virtually unanimous bi-partisan support for an extensive and costly intervention into the world of drugs. Both Republicans and Democrats sought to exploit the public sentiment against drugs. The drug war also fostered a remarkable level of cooperation between the executive and legislative branches. In response to Reagan administration proposals, Congress quickly moved to pass and fund tough drug enforcement initiatives. Fueled by political considerations, the drug war took on a life of its own. For each anti-drug measure that passed, it became necessary to further escalate the war so that no one, Democrat or Republican, executive or legislative branch, could be called soft on this critical issue.

In addition to shaping the methods used to address the drug problem, the rhetoric of war also shaped the impact of those methods, for a war requires not only military strategies, but an enemy as well. For the constituency the Reagan Administration was trying to reach, it was easy to construct African Americans, Hispanics, and other people of color as the enemy in the War on Drugs. These are the groups that the majority of white Americans have always viewed as the sources of vice and crime. Reagan's anti-drug rhetoric was skillfully designed to tap into deeply held cultural attitudes about people of color and their links to drug use and other illicit behavior. According to mass communications scholar William Elwood, Reagan's rhetorical declaration of a war on drugs had a deliberate political effect. In Elwood's view, 'Such rhetoric allows presidents to appear as strong leaders who are tough on crime and concerned about domestic issues and is strategically ambiguous to portray urban minorities as responsible for problems related to the drug war and for resolving such problems.' Thus, the origins of the drug war can be traced to shifting public attitudes toward drugs in the early 1980s. President Reagan sought to exploit this change in attitude through a public relations campaign that promised to wage 'war on drugs.' As the metaphor of war might suggest, the War on Drugs required both weapons and enemies. A punitive law enforcement policy of prohibition and interdiction provided the weapons and, while the professed enemies of the War on Drugs were drug cartels in drug source countries, those most affected were people of color in inner city neighborhoods, chiefly African Americans and Hispanics.

2. How the Drug War Targeted Black Communities

By almost any measure, the drug war's impact on African American communities has been devastating. Millions of African Americans have been imprisoned, many have been unfairly treated by the criminal justice system, the rights of both legitimate suspects and average citizens have been violated and the quality of life of many millions more has been adversely affected. These effects are the consequences of deliberate decisions; first, to fight a 'war' on drugs, and second, to fight that war against low-level street dealers in communities populated by people of color. In this section, I consider the impact of the War on Drugs specifically on the African American community.

a. Mass Incarceration and Disproportionate Arrests

As a result of the War on Drugs, African American communities suffer from a phenomenon I call 'mass incarceration.' Not only are large numbers of African Americans incarcerated, African Americans are incarcerated at percentages that exceed any legitimate law enforcement interest and which negatively impact the African American community. While African Americans only comprise twelve percent of the U.S. population, they are forty-six percent of those incarcerated in state and federal prisons. At the end of 1999, over half a million African American men and women were held in state and federal prisons. A disparity this great appears inexcusable on its face. However, the inequity is even worse when one considers the rate of incarceration and the proportion of the African American population that is incarcerated.

The rate of incarceration measures the likelihood that any African American male will be sentenced to prison. In 2000, the rate of incarceration for African American males nationwide was 3457 per 100,000. In comparison, the rate of incarceration for white males was 449 per 100,000. This means, on average, African American males were 7.7 times more likely to be incarcerated than white males. For some age groups, the racial disparities are even worse. For young men between the ages of 25 and 29, African Americans are 8.7 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites. For 18 and 19 year olds, African American men are 8.8 times more likely to be incarcerated than whites.

Another way to measure the extent of mass incarceration is to examine the proportion of the African American population that is serving time in prison. In some jurisdictions, as many as one third of the adult African American male population may be incarcerated at any given time. Nationwide, 1.6 % of the African American population is in prison. However, nearly 10% of African American males ages 25-29 are in prison. Nearly 8% of African American males between the ages of 18 and 39 are in prison.

The mass incarceration of African Americans is a direct consequence of the War on Drugs. As one commentator states, 'Drug arrests are a principal reason that the proportions of lacks in prison and more generally under criminal justice system control have risen rapidly in recent years.' Since the declaration of the War on Drugs in 1982, prison populations have more than tripled. The rapid growth in prison populations is particularly clear in federal institutions. Although the overall federal prison population was only 24,000 in 1980, by 1996, it had reached 106,000. The federal prison population continued to grow in the 1990s. In 2000, the federal prison population exceeded 145,000. Fifty-seven percent of the federal prisoners in 2000 were incarcerated for drug offenses. In 1982 there were approximately 400,000 incarcerated persons. By 1992, that number had more than doubled to 850,000. In 2000, there were over 1.3 million persons in prison. [b]From 1979 to 1989, the percentage of African Americans arrested for drug offenses almost doubled from 22% to 42% of the total. During that same period, the total number of African American arrests for drug abuse violations skyrocketed from 112,748 to 452,574, an increase of over 300%.

Jerome Miller analyzed arrest statistics from several American cities to determine the impact of the War on Drugs on policing. He found striking racial disparities in how drug arrests were made. In many jurisdictions, African American men account for over eighty percent of total drug arrests. In Baltimore, for example, African American men were eighty-six percent of those arrested for drug offenses in 1991. The fact that African Americans are incarcerated in such large percentages and are arrested and incarcerated at such disproportionate rates is shocking. It is obscene in the absence of a strong showing that African Americans are responsible for a comparable percentage of crime in the United States.

The claim that African Americans violate the drug laws at a greater rate, and that this justifies the great disparities in rates of arrest and incarceration, seems unlikely. Most drug arrests are made for the crime of possession. Possession is a crime that every drug user must commit and, in the United States, most drug users are white. The U.S. Public Health Service Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported in 1992 that 76% of drug users in the United States were white, 14% were African American, and 8% were Hispanic. Cocaine users were estimated to be 66% white, 17.6% Black, and 15.9% Hispanic. Rather than demonstrating patterns of use that approach arrest disparities, African Americans 'are less likely to . . . [use] drugs than whites are, for all major drugs of abuse except heroin.'

There also seems to be insufficient evidence to conclude that African Americans are more likely to deal drugs, and thus more likely to be arrested. Most drug users purchase drugs from persons of the same race and socio-economic background. So, the large numbers of white users would suggest an equally large number of white dealers, as well. On the other hand, there are logical reasons to conclude that the number of African American dealers may be disproportionately large. Still, it is unlikely that drug use and offense are so out of balance that Blacks constitute the vast majority of drug offenders given that they are such a small minority of drug users.

Disproportionate enforcement is a more likely cause of racial disparities in the criminal justice system than is disproportionate offending. Differences in the way that Black dealers and white dealers market drugs may encourage law enforcement officers to concentrate efforts against African Americans. Michael Tonry argues that it is easier for police to make arrests in 'socially disorganized neighborhoods' because drug dealing is more likely to occur on the streets and transient drug buyers are less likely to draw attention to themselves.

In addition, disproportionate arrests may simply be a function of discriminatory exercise of discretion by police officers. Police officers may decide to arrest African Americans under circumstances when they would not arrest white suspects, and they may be in a position to do so more frequently than with whites because they are more likely to stop and detain African Americans.

b. Crack Cocaine and Sentencing Disparities

Perhaps no aspect of the drug war has contributed to the rapid increase of African American prisoners in federal prisons more than the federal cocaine sentencing scheme. Federal sentencing rules for the possession and sale of cocaine distinguish between cocaine in powder form and cocaine prepared as crack. A person sentenced for possession with intent to distribute a given amount of crack cocaine receives the same sentence as someone who possessed one hundred times as much powder cocaine. This difference in sentencing exists notwithstanding the fact that cocaine is cocaine, and there are no physiological differences in effect between the powder and the crack form of the drug.

The difference in crack/powder cocaine sentencing is significant because African Americans are more likely to use crack, while white drug users are more likely to use powder cocaine. Since the passage of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which first enacted the crack/powder sentencing disparity, virtually all federal cocaine prosecutions have been against African Americans charged with the possession or sale of crack cocaine. Although, the disproportionate racial impact of the Anti- Drug Abuse Act of 1986 has been noted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission, neither Congress nor the executive branch has moved to rectify the disparities in the law.

The disparity in cocaine sentencing is obvious and may be traced to the language of the underlying statute. Even in the absence of such a manifest cause of discrimination, African Americans have traditionally received more severe sentences than similarly situated whites. Although it is by no means conclusive, there is substantial evidence that racial discrimination within the criminal justice system is the cause of the sentencing disparities that exist between Blacks and whites. Numerous surveys have found racial disparities in the sentencing process and attributed those disparities to racial discrimination. For example, a study by Miethe and Moore in 1984 found that African Americans received longer sentences than whites and that African Americans were less likely to benefit from lower sentences as a result of plea-bargaining. Likewise, Welch, Spohn, and Gruhl reviewed convictions and sentences in six cities nationwide in 1985. They found that African Americans were substantially more likely to be sentenced to prison than whites and that the disparity in incarceration rates is due to 'discrimination in the sentencing process itself.' In 1983, Baldus, Pulaski, and Woodworth subjected death sentences in Georgia to painstaking review. Using multiple regression analysis to control for over 230 nonracial factors, the researchers found that the race of the victim was the determining factor in whether a defendant received the death penalty. They found defendants who killed white victims were over four times more likely to receive a death sentence than defendants whose victims were not white. In addition, African American defendants who killed whites were eleven times more likely to receive a death sentence than white defendants who killed Blacks.

If that which is not there is difficult to see, that which is obvious, plain and evident, is at times even harder to notice.

You will agree though that the obvious is the very face of reality. Not missing the things right under our nose is our last protection against danger, loss and disappointment; it grants our judgement to be sound and wise, with feet on ground.

But do fishes notice water? No, because it is all around them. Is water vital for fishes? Certainly, it is.

Indeed, there is a plenty of such manifest and meaningful things around us, on clear display, lying there on our way; some we see, but some important ones we pain to notice, and only if we turn our heads towards them with intent and rub our eyes.

Insidiously, the obvious things turn invisible, like chameleons; those things that were around us or with us for a long, long time, stable, unmoving, became part of the furniture, part of the unquestioned background, of received tradition, or even part of us, self-evident, and beyond suspicion.

Unfortunately, the more I neglect this obvious grown imperceptible, the more it rules my life: It shapes surreptitiously my limits; or I risk to stumble unawares into it. On the other hand, if I care to rediscover it, I wake up and navigate my little boat, aware, to more freedom.

Take notice of the obvious and suddenly, instead of nodding sheepishly "This is how things are." you gain the power to make choices which you and most people around you ignored before.

-- Secret Life of the Obvious, by Ioan Tenner & Daniel Tenner

Racial discrimination in sentencing can only be worsened by efforts to make sentences tougher and harsher. The War on Drugs has spawned a panoply of 'get tough on crime' measures such as 'three strikes and you're out' and habitual offender provisions, as well as enhancements for possession of weapons and for selling drugs near schools or public housing. The cumulative effect of these sentencing policies has been to increase the proportion of convicted drug dealers sentenced to prison and increase the length of their sentences. A substantial increase in length of sentence for drug offenders is precisely what Marc Mauer found when he analyzed the impact of mandatory sentences in the federal court system. Mauer observed:

Drug offenders released from prison in 1990, many of whom had not been sentenced under mandatory provisions, had served an average of 30 months in prison. But offenders sentenced to prison in 1990 -- most of whom were subject to mandatory penalties -- were expected to serve more than twice that term, or an average of 66 months.

Guideline sentencing has also contributed to the increase in African Americans incarcerated as a result of the drug war. The Federal Sentencing Guidelines, by depriving judges of discretion, have resulted in many more defendants serving substantially longer sentences. This combined with the fact that African Americans in general usually get longer sentences than comparably situated whites, means that drug war sentencing has been particularly unkind to African Americans.

c. Driving While Black, Drug Sweeps and the Overpolicing of the African American Community

The gross disparities that exist in the criminal justice system may be traced to the differential treatment that African Americans and other people of color receive from the police. A growing body of evidence suggests that Blacks are investigated and detained by the police more frequently than are other persons in the community. This unwarranted attention from the police is a result of the longstanding racism that pervades American culture. Like all who are socialized in American culture, police officers are more suspicious of African Americans and believe they are more likely to engage in crime. Consequently, police concentrate their efforts in areas frequented by African Americans and detain African Americans at a greater rate.

In part, this concentration of effort may be designed to uncover specific illegal activity. Certain police activity, such as undercover drug buys, may be more frequent in African American communities than in other areas of a city. As a consequence, a disproportionate number of African American drug dealers may be arrested, leading to racial disparities in drug prosecutions and sentencing. To the extent that the concentration of investigation and arrests in African American communities exceeds that in white communities, without reason to believe that African Americans offend at a greater rate than whites, then such practices amount to unjustified 'over-policing.' Over-policing may also occur when the police concentrate their efforts not on illegal activity, but on legitimate citizen behavior with the hope that in the process of investigation some evidence of crime may be uncovered. This kind of over-policing is what occurs when police conduct drug sweeps in Black neighborhoods and detain African American motorists for 'driving while Black.'

'Driving while Black' refers to the police practice of using the traffic laws to routinely stop and detain Black motorists for the investigation of crime in the absence of probable cause or reasonable suspicion for the stop. There is reason to believe that this is a widespread practice performed by police officers throughout the nation. Many prominent African Americans have reported being victimized by these stops. Although they have unfortunately become routine, '[s]uch stops and detentions are by their very nature invasive and intrusive.'

The intrusive and invasive practice of detaining African American motorists without cause has occurred in other contexts as well. 'Driving while Black' is essentially a type of racial profiling. People have claimed to be the victims of racial profiling while walking on the street, shopping or strolling through department stores and malls, seeking entry into buildings, traveling through airports, or passing through immigration checkpoints. In all of these situations, African Americans are subjected to police harassment and denied the freedom of movement to which other citizens are entitled.

Perhaps the most egregious intrusion into the rights of African Americans occurs during so-called 'drug sweeps.' 'Drug sweeps' or 'street sweeps' occur when the police simply close off a neighborhood and indiscriminately detain or arrest large numbers of people without lawful justification. Police conduct street sweeps in order to subject those caught in the dragnet to questioning and searches in the absence of probable cause or reasonable suspicion. One such drug sweep, which occurred in New York City, was described in the following account:

In a publicized sweep on July 19, 1989, the Chief of the Organized Crime Control Bureau (OCCB), led 150 officers to a block in upper Manhattan's Washington Heights. Police sealed off the block and detained virtually all of the 100 people who were present there for up to two hours, during which time the police taped numbers on the chests of those arrested, took their pictures and had them viewed by undercover officers. By the end of the operation, police made only 24 felony and two misdemeanor arrests . . . which strongly suggests there was no probable cause to seize those who were arrested.

African Americans have long had to suffer police harassment and disregard for their rights. However, the drug war made the types of police harassment described above more likely to occur. One of the key consequences of the War on Drugs is that courts have relaxed their oversight of the police. In a series of decisions written since the declaration of war on drugs, the Supreme Court has made it easier for the police to establish grounds to stop and detain motorists and pedestrians on the street. In particular, two recent decisions have made it virtually impossible for African Americans to move freely on the streets without police intervention and harassment.

In Whren v. United States, the Supreme Court held that an officer's subjective motivations for a stop were irrelevant to Fourth Amendment analysis, and that the legitimacy of the stop should solely be determined by an objective analysis of the totality of the circumstances. Under Whren, so long as an officer can offer an 'objective' reason for a detention or arrest, it does not matter whether the officer's 'real' reason for the stop was racist. In Illinois v. Wardlow, the Supreme Court ruled that the flight of a middle-aged Black man from a caravan of Chicago police officers provided reasonable suspicion for his detention and search. In the majority's view, African Americans have no legitimate reason to flee the police. Thus, the Court, in essence, established a per se rule that flight equals reasonable suspicion. As Professor Ronner has remarked, this perspective takes 'an apartheid approach to the Fourth Amendment and actively condones police harassment of minorities. '

d. No-Knock Warrants, SWAT Teams and Military-Style Police Tactics

The War on Drugs has led to the militarization of police departments across the nation. More specifically, it has led to the increased deployment of military-style tactics for crime control in African American communities, with a correspondingly greater potential for death and destruction of property. As these new tactics have become commonplace, the role of police has changed, altering the character of many police departments from law enforcement agencies to military occupation forces.

The militarization of local police forces can be traced to the proliferation of paramilitary police units, often referred to as Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams. Los Angeles established the first SWAT team in the 1960s. Originally, paramilitary police units were intended for use in special circumstances, such as hostage situations and terrorist attacks. In the 1960s and 70s, there were few SWAT units; those that existed were typically found in large metropolitan areas. However, the policies and practices of the drug war encouraged the use of SWAT teams to expand rapidly into small and medium sized cities throughout the country. As a consequence, 'most SWAT teams have been created in the 1980s and 1990s. ' A study by Peter Kraska and Victor Kappeler showed that by 1997, in cities with populations over 50,000, SWAT teams were operated by nearly ninety percent of police departments surveyed. Surprisingly, the survey also disclosed that seventy percent of the police departments in cities under 50,000 had paramilitary units, as well.

SWAT units have provided a conduit for the transfer of military techniques and materials into the hands of ordinary police departments. As a result of a 1994 Memorandum of Understanding between the Justice Department and the Department of Defense, civilian police departments have access to 'an array of high-tech military items previously reserved for use during wartime.' Between 1995 and 1997, the U.S. military donated 1.2 million pieces of military hardware to domestic police departments, including 73 grenade launchers and 112 armored personnel carriers. Other sophisticated equipment provided to police departments includes the following: 'automatic weapons with laser sights and sound suppressors, surveillance equipment such as Laser Bugs that can detect sounds within a building by bouncing a laser beam off a window, pinhole cameras, flash and noise grenades, rubber bullets, bullet-proof apparel, battering rams, and more.'

Although originally intended for extreme and dangerous situations that were beyond the response capability of regular police patrols, the ubiquity of SWAT teams means that police departments often use their paramilitary units for routine law enforcement activities. The main use of a SWAT team in departments throughout the country appears to be to support the drug war. According to Kraska and Kappeler, the respondents to their survey 'reported that the majority of call-outs were to conduct what the police call ' high risk warrant work,' mostly 'drug raids.'' Less than twenty percent of paramilitary police unit calls were for situations understood as typically amenable to SWAT team intervention. Particularly in so-called 'high crime areas,' police departments are likely to use SWAT teams as proactive units to seek out criminal activity, as opposed to using them solely to respond to a crisis situation. Kraska and Kappeler found 107 departments that used paramilitary police units as a proactive patrol in high crime areas. According to some of the SWAT team commanders that Kraska and Kappeler interviewed, '[T]his type of proactive policing-instigated not by an existing high risk situation but one generated by the police themselves -- is highly dangerous for both PPU [police paramilitary unit] members and citizens.'

Warrant work conducted by SWAT teams 'consists almost exclusively of what police call 'no-knock entries.'' The potential danger of allowing police officers to enter homes and businesses without announcing their identity and purpose has been well-known since colonial times. Officers may startle residents who may seek to defend their homes. Officers may inadvertently harm residents or innocent bystanders by the use of force necessary to effect the sudden entry of targeted buildings. Breaking into buildings through surprise and stealth seems like a tactic better suited to an occupying army, than to civilian peace officers.
However, the drug war has worn down the traditional resistance to the no-knock warrant. Since the onset of the drug war, courts have been willing to legalize no-knock warrants and issue them to the police. Thus, African American communities are now subject to this potentially dangerous and intimidating police technique.

The extension of paramilitary police units into everyday policing not only escalates the degree of force and violence that may be interposed between citizens and the state, it also escalates the likelihood that more forceful methods will actually be used. In the context of a war on drugs, the identification of drug users and dealers as an enemy upon whom force may be used, is not surprising. The very use of the metaphor of 'war,' as a conceptual matter, implies the use of force. As Kraska and Kappeler state:

[I]t takes little acumen to recognize how the metaphor of 'war' -- with its emphasis on occupation, suppression through force, and restoration of territory -- coincides naturally with the 'new science' of the police targeting and taking control, indeed ownership, of politically defined social spaces, aggregate populations, and social problems with military-style teams and tactics.

Thus, the growing collaboration between the police and the military can be expected to have ideological consequences, as well as technological ones. As police paramilitary units train with military organizations, they may be encouraged to develop what amounts to a 'warrior mentality.' While training 'may seem to be a purely technical exercise, it actually plays a central role in paramilitary subculture,' as several scholars of police behavior have observed. The inoculation of a 'warrior mentality' in police officers, however, is inappropriate because police and military have different social functions:

The job of a police officer is to keep the peace, but not by just any means. Police officers are expected to apprehend suspected law-breakers while adhering to constitutional procedures. They are expected to use minimum force and to deliver suspects to a court of law. The soldier on the other hand, is an instrument of war. In boot camp, recruits are trained to inflict maximum damage on enemy personnel. Confusing the police function with the military function can have dangerous consequences. As Albuquerque police chief Jerry Glavin has noted, 'If [cops] have a mind-set that the goal is to take out a citizen, it will happen.'

The danger that SWAT teams pose to inner-city communities has been exposed by several incidents in which citizens have been unnecessarily harmed as a result of paramilitary police activity. In Dinuba, California, a man was wrongly killed when a SWAT team stormed his house looking for one of the man's sons. The man was shot fifteen times before he or his wife could determine who was breaking into their house and why. Albuquerque, New Mexico has experienced several controversial SWAT team killings. Professor Samuel Walker of the University of Nebraska was hired by the City of Albuquerque to evaluate police department policies and procedures. 'According to Walker, 'The rate of killings by the police was just off the charts. . . . They had an organizational culture that led them to escalate situations upward rather than de-escalating.'. . . [T]he mindset of the warrior is simply not appropriate for the civilian officer charged with enforcing the law.'

As a consequence of the War on Drugs, the use of military-style weapons and tactics by police departments throughout the nation has become routine. Police departments are locked in a race to see who can arm themselves with the most powerful weaponry available for civilian use. Yet, the easy manner in which military technology can be obtained, and the militaristic attitudes that police officers using this technology also acquire, pose potential dangers to citizens who are unfortunate enough to encounter paramilitary police units, especially those African Americans who live in the areas where these units regularly patrol.

3. Tonry's Thesis: Did Drug Policy Makers Intentionally Target the Black Community?

In 1995, Michael Tonry, a criminologist and law professor at the University of Minnesota, wrote a book published by the Oxford University Press entitled 'Malign Neglect: Race, Crime and Punishment in America.' In his book, Tonry proffered a thesis, which generated a significant amount of controversy. Tonry charged that the racial disparities in the criminal justice system were not merely happenstance, but the result of a 'calculated effort foreordained to increase [the] percentages [of Blacks in prison].' According to Tonry, the planners of the drug war knew that the War on Drugs was unnecessary, and that the policies they selected to fight the War on Drugs would not work. More critically, Tonry charged that the drug war's planners were aware that the ineffective policies they proposed to implement would adversely affect African American males.

The War on Drugs was unnecessary, according to Tonry, because drug use was already declining in the United States, and had been doing so for several years. If less and less Americans were using drugs, then a costly war to reduce drug usage would not seem to make sense. More importantly, Tonry charged, even if the drug war was necessary to address a burgeoning problem with illegal drugs in the United States, the policies the drug warriors selected to deal with that problem were not likely to work. Tonry argues that changes in drug usage are best effected through a combination of supply reduction and demand reduction strategies. The anti-drug policies of the Reagan and Bush administrations were skewed too far in favor of supply reduction approaches to be effective. The drug policy strategists who planned the drug war, Tonry asserts, knew this.

Tonry's most explosive charges addressed the racial imbalance in drug war motivated arrests, prosecutions, and convictions. According to Tonry, 'The War on Drugs foreseeably and unnecessarily blighted the lives of hundreds of thousands of young disadvantaged lack Americans.' Tonry believes the planners of the drug war knew their decision to increase penalties for drug possession and sale would adversely and disproportionately affect African Americans because while white middle-class drug use was declining, other data showed that drug use among poor, urban African Americans and Hispanics remained steady. In Tonry's words:

The white-shirted-and-suspendered officials of the Office of National Drug Control Policy understood the arcane intricacies of NIDA surveys, DUF, and DAWN better than anyone else in the United States. They knew that drug abuse was falling among the vast majority of the population. They knew that drug use was not declining among disadvantaged members of the urban underclass. They knew that the War on Drugs would be fought mainly in the minority areas of American cities and that those arrested and imprisoned would disproportionately be young blacks and Hispanics.

Thus, the adverse impact of the drug war could not be accidental. The architects of the drug war had to know who would be most affected by their policies. They had to understand what Daniel Patrick Moynihan pointed out in 1993 when he said '[B]y choosing prohibition [of drugs] we are choosing to have an intense crime problem concentrated among minorities.' At best, according to Tonry, the explosion in the Black prison population was 'a foreseen but not an intended consequence' of the War on Drugs. At worst, Tonry says, it was 'the product of malign neglect' -- a consequence that was malicious and evil.

If the architects of the drug war knew their plans would have devastating impact on the African American community, then they apparently did not care. What could provide the motive for such an assault on African Americans? According to Tonry, the motive was two-fold. First, [b]Tonry claims that to the extent the Reagan and Bush administrations attempted to craft an actual drug policy, they intended to use the criminalization of behaviors disproportionately found in the African American and Hispanic community to shape and encourage anti-drug values and beliefs in the white community. Thus, the drug war was 'an exercise in moral education' that inflicted great damage on young African Americans and Hispanics 'primarily for the benefit of the great mass of, mostly white, non-disadvantaged Americans.' But Tonry suggests there is another, more sinister, reason for the sacrifice of the young African American victims of the drug war. According to Tonry, the drug war was 'launched to achieve political, not policy objectives.' Reagan's advisors wanted to reap the political benefits of appearing tough on drugs at a time when drug use had fallen into disfavor with the American public. The drug war, then, was a cynical way to 'use . . . disadvantaged [B]lack Americans as a means to the achievement of politician's electoral ends.'

. . .

To fully understand the significance of the drug trade and the oppression of African people and other people of color, one must recognize the central role drug trafficking has played in the European conquest of other cultures and the maintenance of white supremacy worldwide. Addictive and deleterious substances have historically been used to undermine non-European societies and further white interests. In this connection, drugs can be used to weaken a country or culture internally and limit its ability to resist white economic or cultural intrusion. This classic use of drugs for political purposes is what happened to China during the Opium Wars. The supply of alcohol to Native Americans in North America is also a primary example of the use of drugs for oppression.

In more recent times, drugs have been used to advance the political interests of European and European-derived countries in two additional ways. First, as a means to generate finances for covert or 'off the book' activities, and secondly, as a way to reward collaborators and favored parties in countries under attack with a lucrative franchise. In 1946, the French began a secret war against the Viet Minh in Indochina, which they financed by taking over the opium trade in that region. The covert action branch of the French intelligence service, Service d'action, transported large amounts of opium into Saigon and used the profits from the drug trade for covert operations. The United States used the same tactics when it inherited the Indochinese war from the French. To support its mercenary armies, the CIA ferried the opium its clients produced out of the hills of Laos to urban markets. The CIA later relied on heroin smuggling to finance covert operations in Afghanistan and cocaine trafficking to fund military support for the Nicaraguan Contras.

Many in the African American community have long believed that the United States government has been implicated in the drug epidemics that have swept through the Black community over the years. Many African Americans have reached this conclusion after observing the correlation between periods of high Black political activism swiftly followed by periods of easy drug availability in the Black community. In August of 1996, news reports surfaced that stoked African American fears that the government was behind the influx of drugs into the Black community. Gary Webb wrote a series of stories in the San Jose Mercury News, alleging that the government was allowing Nicaraguan Contra supporters to smuggle crack into south-central Los Angeles in order to support their war against the Nicaraguan government. 'For the better part of a decade,' wrote Webb, 'a San Francisco Bay Area drug ring sold tons of cocaine to the Crips and Bloods street gangs of Los Angeles and funneled millions in drug profits to a Latin American guerilla army run by the CIA.' The stories caused a sensation at the time and led to the extraordinary appearance of CIA Director John Deutch at a town hall meeting in south-central Los Angeles in an attempt to defuse the anger of the Black community. Although Webb's story was viciously attacked in some quarters, it was just the tip of the iceberg. Both preceding and subsequent investigations have bolstered Webb's disclosures and expanded the range of government culpability.

While the government was trumpeting its War on Drugs and an anti-drug culture ideology, it was in fact deeply involved in the drug trade. The government had organized and financed organizations that were importing massive amounts of drugs into the African American community and the government looked the other way while they did it. At the same time, the government was vigorously enforcing harsh drug laws that led to police harassment and intimidation of African American communities and the mass arrest and incarceration of low-level drug dealers. These law enforcement efforts had enormously deleterious effects on the entire African American community and did little to stem the tide of illegal drugs. Consequently, the Black community was targeted by a vicious three-pronged assault; a drug epidemic with all of the attendant social, health and economic costs; a draconian prosecution-centered drug policy that did not stop the flow of illegal drugs and exacerbated the Black community's social and economic problems; and the callous exploitation of the African American community's misery to advance the government's larger geo-political ends.



[1]. Professor of Law, University of Florida, Levin College of Law.

[1]. By 'War on Drugs' I mean the anti-drug policies and law enforcement practices commenced by the Reagan administration in the fall of 1982 and continued by the Bush and Clinton administrations until at least the end of the year 2000. This period is only the most recent manifestation of America's ongoing war against drugs. Clarence Lusane states that '[n]early every President since World War II has declared a 'war on drugs.'' Clarence Lusane, Pipe Dream Blues: Racism and the War on Drugs 77 (1991). Steven Witsotsky has identified three wars against drugs in American history. See Steven Witsotsky, Beyond the War on Drugs: Overcoming a Failed Public Policy xvii-xviii (1990). The first began with the passage of the Harrison Act in 1914 and includes the period of its enforcement by the Department of the Treasury. Id. at xvii. President Nixon commenced the second in the late 1960's. Id. at xviii. Nixon's 'total offensive' against drugs set the pattern for the drug war waged by Reagan, Bush and Clinton. See id. For more on America's earlier drug wars, see Edward J. Epstein, Agency of Fear (1977) (examining anti-drug campaigns from the turn of the century through the Nixon presidency). It remains to be seen whether the younger Bush will continue the federal government's drug war policies, since law enforcement resources and priorities have shifted to 'the war against terrorism.'
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Sun May 15, 2016 10:01 am

William J. Bennett
by Encyclopedia of World Biography
© 2004 The Gale Group Inc.



William John Bennett

The American teacher and scholar William John Bennett (born 1943) was chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (1981-1985), secretary of the Department of Education (1985-1988), and director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (1989-1990) During the 1990s he was codirector of Empower America and an active spokesperson for conservatism.

William John Bennett was born in Flatbush (Brooklyn), New York, on July 3, 1943. His family was middle-class and Roman Catholic. He grew up on the streets of Flatbush and described himself as "streetwise." He first attended PS 92 but later transferred to Jesuit-run Holy Cross Boy's School. His family moved to Washington, D.C., where he graduated from Gonzaga High School, another Catholic institution.

Bennett was mostly raised by his mother, but he early found inspiration in such male American heroes as Abraham Lincoln, Roy Campenella, and Gary Cooper. From these life stories he derived an axiom that heroes are necessary for moral development of children and that this development requires adult guidance as well as inspiration. His high school football coach also provided a role model of mental and physical toughness and convinced Bennett of the value of competitive sports.

Bennett went to Williams College to play football. He was an interior lineman who earned the nickname "the ram" from an incident where he butted down a coed's door. He worked his way through Williams, and later through graduate school, with scholarships and part-time and summer jobs and with student loans that finally totaled $12,000.

Graduating in 1965, he studied philosophy at the University of Texas and wrote a dissertation on the theory of the social contract. (At that time John R. Silber was chairman of the Department of Philosophy and later dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.) He did not study all the time. In 1967 he had a blind date with Janis Joplin, and he also played guitar with a rock and roll band called Plato and the Guardians. While working on his Ph.D., which he earned in 1970, Bennett taught philosophy and religion at the University of Southern Mississippi for a year (1967-1968). He went on to study law at Harvard University, and worked as a social studies tutor and hall proctor (1970-1971) until he earned his J.D. degree.

I should like to ask you a question.

What is it?

Would you say that all men are equal in excellence, or is one man better than another?

The latter.

And in the commonwealth which we were founding do you conceive the guardians who have been brought up on our model system to be more perfect men, or the cobblers whose education has been cobbling?

What a ridiculous question!

You have answered me, I replied: Well, and may we not further say that our guardians are the best of our citizens?

By far the best.

And will not their wives be the best women?

Yes, by far the best.

And can there be anything better for the interests of the State than that the men and women of a State should be as good as possible?

There can be nothing better.

And this is what the arts of music and gymnastic, when present in such manner as we have described, will accomplish?


Then we have made an enactment not only possible but in the highest degree beneficial to the State?


Then let the wives of our guardians strip, for their virtue will be their robe, and let them share in the toils of war and the defence of their country; only in the distribution of labours the lighter are to be assigned to the women, who are the weaker natures, but in other respects their duties are to be the same. And as for the man who laughs at naked women exercising their bodies from the best of motives, in his laughter he is plucking

A fruit of unripe wisdom,

and he himself is ignorant of what he is laughing at, or what he is about; — for that is, and ever will be, the best of sayings,

That the useful is the noble and the hurtful is the base.

Very true.

Here, then, is one difficulty in our law about women, which we may say that we have now escaped; the wave has not swallowed us up alive for enacting that the guardians of either sex should have all their pursuits in common; to the utility and also to the possibility of this arrangement the consistency of the argument with itself bears witness.

Yes, that was a mighty wave which you have escaped.

Yes, I said, but a greater is coming; you will of this when you see the next.

Go on; let me see.

The law, I said, which is the sequel of this and of all that has preceded, is to the following effect, — "that the wives of our guardians are to be common, and their children are to be common, and no parent is to know his own child, nor any child his parent."

Yes, he said, that is a much greater wave than the other; and the possibility as well as the utility of such a law are far more questionable.

I do not think, I said, that there can be any dispute about the very great utility of having wives and children in common; the possibility is quite another matter, and will be very much disputed.

I think that a good many doubts may be raised about both.

You imply that the two questions must be combined, I replied. Now I meant that you should admit the utility; and in this way, as I thought; I should escape from one of them, and then there would remain only the possibility.

But that little attempt is detected, and therefore you will please to give a defence of both.

Well, I said, I submit to my fate. Yet grant me a little favour: let me feast my mind with the dream as day dreamers are in the habit of feasting themselves when they are walking alone; for before they have discovered any means of effecting their wishes — that is a matter which never troubles them — they would rather not tire themselves by thinking about possibilities; but assuming that what they desire is already granted to them, they proceed with their plan, and delight in detailing what they mean to do when their wish has come true — that is a way which they have of not doing much good to a capacity which was never good for much. Now I myself am beginning to lose heart, and I should like, with your permission, to pass over the question of possibility at present. Assuming therefore the possibility of the proposal, I shall now proceed to enquire how the rulers will carry out these arrangements, and I shall demonstrate that our plan, if executed, will be of the greatest benefit to the State and to the guardians. First of all, then, if you have no objection, I will endeavour with your help to consider the advantages of the measure; and hereafter the question of possibility.

I have no objection; proceed.

First, I think that if our rulers and their auxiliaries are to be worthy of the name which they bear, there must be willingness to obey in the one and the power of command in the other; the guardians must themselves obey the laws, and they must also imitate the spirit of them in any details which are entrusted to their care.

That is right, he said.

You, I said, who are their legislator, having selected the men, will now select the women and give them to them; — they must be as far as possible of like natures with them; and they must live in common houses and meet at common meals, None of them will have anything specially his or her own; they will be together, and will be brought up together, and will associate at gymnastic exercises. And so they will be drawn by a necessity of their natures to have intercourse with each other — necessity is not too strong a word, I think?

Yes, he said; — necessity, not geometrical, but another sort of necessity which lovers know, and which is far more convincing and constraining to the mass of mankind.

True, I said; and this, Glaucon, like all the rest, must proceed after an orderly fashion; in a city of the blessed, licentiousness is an unholy thing which the rulers will forbid.

Yes, he said, and it ought not to be permitted.

Then clearly the next thing will be to make matrimony sacred in the highest degree, and what is most beneficial will be deemed sacred?


And how can marriages be made most beneficial? — that is a question which I put to you, because I see in your house dogs for hunting, and of the nobler sort of birds not a few. Now, I beseech you, do tell me, have you ever attended to their pairing and breeding?

In what particulars?

Why, in the first place, although they are all of a good sort, are not some better than others?


And do you breed from them all indifferently, or do you take care to breed from the best only?

From the best.

And do you take the oldest or the youngest, or only those of ripe age?

I choose only those of ripe age.

And if care was not taken in the breeding, your dogs and birds would greatly deteriorate?


And the same of horses and animals in general?


Good heavens! my dear friend, I said, what consummate skill will our rulers need if the same principle holds of the human species!

Certainly, the same principle holds; but why does this involve any particular skill?

Because, I said, our rulers will often have to practise upon the body corporate with medicines. Now you know that when patients do not require medicines, but have only to be put under a regimen, the inferior sort of practitioner is deemed to be good enough; but when medicine has to be given, then the doctor should be more of a man.

That is quite true, he said; but to what are you alluding?

I mean, I replied, that our rulers will find a considerable dose of falsehood and deceit necessary for the good of their subjects: we were saying that the use of all these things regarded as medicines might be of advantage.

And we were very right.

And this lawful use of them seems likely to be often needed in the regulations of marriages and births.

How so?

Why, I said, the principle has been already laid down that the best of either sex should be united with the best as often, and the inferior with the inferior, as seldom as possible; and that they should rear the offspring of the one sort of union, but not of the other, if the flock is to be maintained in first-rate condition. Now these goings on must be a secret which the rulers only know, or there will be a further danger of our herd, as the guardians may be termed, breaking out into rebellion.

Very true.

Had we not better appoint certain festivals at which we will bring together the brides and bridegrooms, and sacrifices will be offered and suitable hymeneal songs composed by our poets: the number of weddings is a matter which must be left to the discretion of the rulers, whose aim will be to preserve the average of population? There are many other things which they will have to consider, such as the effects of wars and diseases and any similar agencies, in order as far as this is possible to prevent the State from becoming either too large or too small.

Certainly, he replied.

We shall have to invent some ingenious kind of lots which the less worthy may draw on each occasion of our bringing them together, and then they will accuse their own ill-luck and not the rulers.

To be sure, he said.

And I think that our braver and better youth, besides their other honours and rewards, might have greater facilities of intercourse with women given them; their bravery will be a reason, and such fathers ought to have as many sons as possible.


And the proper officers, whether male or female or both, for offices are to be held by women as well as by men —

Yes —

The proper officers will take the offspring of the good parents to the pen or fold, and there they will deposit them with certain nurses who dwell in a separate quarter; but the offspring of the inferior, or of the better when they chance to be deformed, will be put away in some mysterious, unknown place, as they should be.

Yes, he said, that must be done if the breed of the guardians is to be kept pure.

They will provide for their nurture, and will bring the mothers to the fold when they are full of milk, taking the greatest possible care that no mother recognizes her own child; and other wet-nurses may be engaged if more are required. Care will also be taken that the process of suckling shall not be protracted too long; and the mothers will have no getting up at night or other trouble, but will hand over all this sort of thing to the nurses and attendants.

You suppose the wives of our guardians to have a fine easy time of it when they are having children.

Why, said I, and so they ought. Let us, however, proceed with our scheme. We were saying that the parents should be in the prime of life?

Very true.

And what is the prime of life? May it not be defined as a period of about twenty years in a woman's life, and thirty in a man's?

Which years do you mean to include?

A woman, I said, at twenty years of age may begin to bear children to the State, and continue to bear them until forty; a man may begin at five-and-twenty, when he has passed the point at which the pulse of life beats quickest, and continue to beget children until he be fifty-five.

Certainly, he said, both in men and women those years are the prime of physical as well as of intellectual vigour.

Any one above or below the prescribed ages who takes part in the public hymeneals shall be said to have done an unholy and unrighteous thing; the child of which he is the father, if it steals into life, will have been conceived under auspices very unlike the sacrifices and prayers, which at each hymeneal priestesses and priest and the whole city will offer, that the new generation may be better and more useful than their good and useful parents, whereas his child will be the offspring of darkness and strange lust.

Very true, he replied.

And the same law will apply to any one of those within the prescribed age who forms a connection with any woman in the prime of life without the sanction of the rulers; for we shall say that he is raising up a bastard to the State, uncertified and unconsecrated.

Very true, he replied.

This applies, however, only to those who are within the specified age: after that we allow them to range at will, except that a man may not marry his daughter or his daughter's daughter, or his mother or his mother's mother; and women, on the other hand, are prohibited from marrying their sons or fathers, or son's son or father's father, and so on in either direction. And we grant all this, accompanying the permission with strict orders to prevent any embryo which may come into being from seeing the light; and if any force a way to the birth, the parents must understand that the offspring of such an union cannot be maintained, and arrange accordingly.

That also, he said, is a reasonable proposition. But how will they know who are fathers and daughters, and so on?

They will never know. The way will be this: — dating from the day of the hymeneal, the bridegroom who was then married will call all the male children who are born in the seventh and tenth month afterwards his sons, and the female children his daughters, and they will call him father, and he will call their children his grandchildren, and they will call the elder generation grandfathers and grandmothers. All who were begotten at the time when their fathers and mothers came together will be called their brothers and sisters, and these, as I was saying, will be forbidden to inter-marry. This, however, is not to be understood as an absolute prohibition of the marriage of brothers and sisters; if the lot favours them, and they receive the sanction of the Pythian oracle, the law will allow them.

Quite right, he replied.

Such is the scheme, Glaucon, according to which the guardians of our State are to have their wives and families in common.

-- "The Republic," by Plato

He then moved across town to Boston University, where Silber had just become president. There he served as an associate dean of the College of Liberal Arts for a year (1971-1972) before becoming an assistant professor of philosophy and an assistant to Silber from 1972 to 1976. One of his duties was to escort military recruiters through crowds of antiwar protesters, a duty made easier by his football training.

Opening the Door to Government Service

Meanwhile, he was becoming better known nationally. He served on a review panel for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) in 1973 and was chairman of the "Question of Authority in American High Schools" project of the National Humanities Faculty, a conservative group, the same year. He next was associate chairman of the group's bicentennial study, "The American Covenant: The Moral Uses of Power." He was also writing articles. Among these were "In Defense of Sports" in Commentary (February 1976); "The Constitution and the Moral Order" in Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly (Fall 1976); and "Let's Bring Back Heroes"in Newsweek (April 15, 1977).

In May 1976 he became executive director of the National Humanities Center, which he had co-founded with Charles Frankel, a philosophy professor from Columbia University who took the office of president. When intruders murdered Frankel in 1979, Bennett assumed Frankel's position as well. The same year he co-authored Counting by Race: Equality from the Founding Fathers to Bakke and Weber with the journalist Terry Eastland. The book attacked affirmative action and the Supreme Court for legitimizing it.

A registered Democrat who described himself as sympathetic to "neoconservative" causes,
Bennett drafted the arts and humanities section of the Heritage Fund"s Mandate for Leadership (1980), a series of recommendations for President-elect Ronald Reagan. He became a Republican and was rewarded by Reagan, who appointed him to replace Joseph Duffy as head of NEH in December 1981. One of his rivals for the job was Silber. As director, Bennett proved abrasive and controversial. He acceded to Reagan's budget cuts for the agency and criticized faddish projects, including three documentaries made with NEH funds: "From the Ashes … Nicaragua Today," "Women Under Siege," and "Four Corners, A National Sacrifice Area?" He argued for a return to a strict definition of the humanities and promoted summer seminars for high school teachers. His major goal, to teach students the core of Western values, appeared in To Reclaim a Legacy: A Report on the Humanities in Higher Education in November 1984. This report, along with Bennett's refusal to comply with Equal Employment Opportunity Commission affirmative action goals at NEH, earned him the enmity of women's and civil rights groups.

In November 1984 the office of secretary of the Department of Education became open when T. H. Bell resigned under right-wing pressure. Reagan had wanted to abolish the position, but decided instead to appoint Bennett after such conservatives as Jerry Falwell approved of him. In February 1985 he assumed the position.

Controversy in Two Jobs

Bennett proved even more controversial as the secretary of the Department of Education than he was at NEH. In his first press conference he supported Reagan's cuts in the student loan program, saying that some individuals should not go to college and that others should divest themselves of stereos, automobiles, and three weeks at the beach. Later the same year Americans United for the Separation of Church and State sued to force him to observe the Supreme Court ruling that public school teachers could not teach remedial education at private schools at federal expense. He attacked the educational establishment; said some colleges and universities were overpriced; deplored the high rate of student loan defaults, particularly in proprietary schools; and denounced Stanford University's revised curriculum, which de-emphasized Western civilization in favor of a broader study of world cultures.

He favored education vouchers, merit pay, and a constitutional amendment mandating the federal government to remain neutral in the matter of school prayer. He emphasized moral education based upon the Judeo-Christian ethic while denouncing values clarification and cognitive moral development.
He remained in the limelight with appearances as a substitute teacher of social studies in a number of city schools and with many speeches and articles in the popular press. He was the author of First Lessons: A Report on Elementary Education, published by the U.S. Office of Education in 1987, which lists his personal convictions concerning elementary education. The same ideas appear in Our Children and Our Country: Improving America's Schools and Affirming the Common Culture (1988). Bennett also wrote American Education: Making It Work (1988) and The De-valuing of America: The Fight for Our Culture and Our Children (1992). Bennett's focus in education was on the three C's: content, character, and choice. It was his tireless advocacy of these that left his most lasting legacy on the education agenda of the 1980s.

Bennett resigned from the Department of Education in September 1988 to join the Washington law firm of Dunnels, Duvall, Bennett, and Porter. He had married Mary Elayne Glover late in life (1982) and needed the extra income to support his two sons.

However, the pull of public service proved too great. In January 1989 President George Bush appointed him head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy with the mission to rid the nation of drugs. Bennett was once again in the throes of controversy because of his outspoken views and his abrasive personality. He himself was an inveterate smoker and successfully kicked the habit in order to set an example. He pushed for more severe penalties for drug dealers, even saying that he had no moral qualms about beheading guilty parties as was done in Saudi Arabia. He used the metaphor of a war in urging the use of American military forces in Colombia and Peru to destroy supplies and set a goal of making Washington a drug-free city. Bennett announced his resignation November 8, 1990, claiming much progress. However his critics disagreed. Bennett considered becoming chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC) but decided to devote his time to speaking, writing, and becoming a senior editor of the magazine National Review.

In 1993 Bennett published an anthology titled The Book of Virtues, which included stories, poems, essays, and fables intended to teach children values. The book sold very well, bringing in a profit of $5 million for Bennett and prompting him to publish similar books, including The Moral Compass: Stories for a Life's Journey (1995).

Spokesperson for Morality

Bennett was strongly favored as a presidential candidate by the conservative wing of the Republican Party in 1994, but he did not run. Instead, he continued to speak out on various topics. He joined the campaign protesting Time-Warner's investment in Interscope Records, which produced some of the most hardcore gangsta rap. He later took aim at some television talk shows. Bennett's issues found their way into the 1996 presidential campaign; even without running, he helped set the national agenda. He was also in demand on the public-speaking circuit, commanding $40,000 per speech. He served as codirector of Empower America, an organization dedicated to the promotion of conservative ideas and principles. Michael Kelly of the New Yorker called Bennett the pitchman of the new moral majority and "a leading voice of the force that is driving American politics right now—the national hunger for a moral society."

Further Reading

There is no full-length biography of Bennett, but his profile and critiques of his programs appeared frequently in popular magazines. Examples of these are portraits in the Wilson Library Bulletin (Spring 1982), Time (March 20, 1985; September 9, 1985), and the New York Times (January 11, 1985). Critiques of his programs at NEH can be found in Nation (April 14, 1984) and National Review (March 8, 1985). A critique of his tenure at the Office of Education can be found in the Chronicle of Higher Education (September 21, 1988), while an appraisal of his success in the drug war is in Newsweek (January 29, 1990). Also see New Republic (June 17, 1996). For articles by Bennett see Harper's (January 1996) and Newsweek (June 3, 1996; October 21, 1996). See the Empower America Web site at <>.

Bennett's ideas are best explained in his books, including Counting by Race: Equality from the Founding Fathers to Bakke and Weber (1979); Our Children and Our Country: Improving America's Schools and Affirming the Common Culture (1988); and The De-valuing of America: The Fight for Our Children and Our Culture (1992). □
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Re: CNN Tonight with Don Lemon on Bill Clinton & BLM

Postby admin » Sun May 15, 2016 10:28 am

Moral Majority
by Wikipedia



The Moral Majority was a prominent American political organization associated with the Christian right and Republican Party. It was founded in 1979 by Baptist minister Jerry Falwell and associates, and dissolved in the late 1980s. It played a key role in the mobilization of conservative Christians as a political force and particularly in Republican presidential victories throughout the 1980s.

Jerry Falwell, whose founding of the Moral Majority was a key step in the formation of the New Christian Right


Before establishment

The origins of the Moral Majority can be traced to 1976 when Baptist minister Jerry Falwell embarked on a series of “I Love America” rallies across the country to raise awareness of social issues important to him.[1] These rallies were an extension of Falwell’s decision to go against the traditional Baptist principle of separating religion and politics, a change of heart Falwell says he had when he perceived what he described as the decay of the nation’s morality.[2] Through hosting these rallies, Falwell was able to gauge national support for a formal organization and also raise his profile as a leader. Having already been a part of a well-established network of ministers and ministries, within a few years Falwell was favorably positioned to launch the Moral Majority.

The Moral Majority was formally initiated as a result of a struggle for control of an American conservative Christian advocacy group known as Christian Voice during 1978. Robert Grant, Christian Voice's acting President, said in a news conference that the Religious Right was a "sham... controlled by three Catholics and a Jew." Following this, Paul Weyrich, Terry Dolan, Richard Viguerie (the Catholics) and Howard Phillips (the Jew) left Christian Voice.

During a 1979 meeting, they urged televangelist Jerry Falwell to found Moral Majority (a phrase coined by Weyrich[3]). This was the period when the New Christian Right arose.[4][5]

Establishment and organizational activity

Falwell and Weyrich founded the Moral Majority in June 1979.[6] According to former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who was Texas evangelicalist James Robison's communications director at the time, Robison's "Freedom Rally" at the Dallas Convention Center was the genesis of the Moral Majority.[7]

The Moral Majority was predominately a Southern-oriented organization of the Christian Right, although its state chapters and political activity extended beyond the South.[1] The number of state chapters grew quickly, with organizations in eighteen states by 1980.[8][9] The variety of resources available to the Moral Majority at its founding facilitated this rapid expansion, and included Falwell's mailing list from his program, "Old Time Gospel Hour". In addition, the Moral Majority took control of the "Old Time Gospel Hour's" publication, Journal Champion, which had been distributed to the show's donors.[10] Through the 1980s, Falwell was the organization's best-known spokesperson. By 1982, Moral Majority surpassed Christian Voice in size and influence.

The Moral Majority's headquarters were in Lynchburg, Virginia, where Falwell was the presiding minister of the nation's largest independent Baptist church, Thomas Road Baptist Church. Virginia has been a seat of Christian Right politics, being the state where the Christian Coalition's first headquarters were established. Falwell was at the head of the Moral Majority and maintained an advisory board, constituting the organization's primary leadership. This leadership was drawn mostly from Falwell's fellow members of the Baptist Bible Fellowship. Falwell insisted the Moral Majority leadership also include Catholics and Jews, although not all members of the leadership approved of this inclusion.[11]

The Moral Majority was an organization made up of conservative Christian political action committees which campaigned on issues its personnel believed were important to maintaining its Christian conception of moral law. They believed this represented the opinions of the majority of Americans (hence the movement's name). With a membership of millions, the Moral Majority became one of the largest conservative lobby groups in the United States and at its height, it claimed more than four million members and over two million donors.[12] These members were spread among about twenty state organizations, of which Washington State's was the largest. The Moral Majority was incorporated into the Liberty Federation in 1985, remaining a distinct entity but falling under the Liberty Federation's larger jurisdiction. By 1987, Falwell retired as the formal head of the Moral Majority, although he maintained an active and visible role within the organization.


By the end of Ronald Reagan's presidential administration, Christian Right organizations were generally in a phase of decline. After Reagan's two terms in office, donations were decreasing, possibly because after eight years of Christian Right-supported leadership, the nation did not appear to donors to be in the same state of moral peril as they perceived it to be when Reagan first took office.[13] The Moral Majority's financial base seriously eroded by the time it became part of the Liberty Federation; its financial difficulties ultimately were a major factor in the decision to disband the organization.[14] Falwell offered an optimistic public opinion about the Moral Majority's dissolution. Announcing the disbandment of the Moral Majority in 1989 in Las Vegas, Falwell declared, "Our goal has been achieved…The religious right is solidly in place and … religious conservatives in America are now in for the duration."[15]

Organizational goals and composition

The Moral Majority sought to mobilize conservative Americans to become politically active on issues they thought were important. A variety of tactics were used to garner support. These tactics included direct-mail campaigns, telephone hotlines, rallies, and religious television broadcasts.[16] Although the Moral Majority operated for only a decade, it rapidly became a visible political force and was relatively effective in its mobilization goals. According to Robert Liebman and Robert Wuthnow, common explanations for this success include:[17]

• The Moral Majority was founded with strong financial backing already in place.
• Its leaders frequently communicated with its constituents, enabling consistent messages to resonate throughout all levels of hierarchy.
• Its leaders generally had previous organizational and management experience.
• The general public was amenable to the issues the Moral Majority emphasized.

Some issues for which the Moral Majority campaigned included:[18]

Promotion of a 'traditional' vision of family life
• Opposition to media outlets that it claimed promote an "anti-family" agenda
• Opposition to the Equal Rights Amendment and Strategic Arms Limitation Talks
• Opposition to state recognition or acceptance of homosexual acts.
• Prohibition of abortion, even in cases involving incest, rape or in pregnancies where the life of the mother is at stake.[19]
• Support for Christian prayers in schools
• Marketing to Jews and other non-Christians for conversion to conservative Christianity

The Moral Majority had adherents in the two major United States political parties, the Republicans, and the Democrats. They exercised far more influence within the former.

Organizational structure

The Moral Majority comprised four distinct organizations:[20]

• Moral Majority Inc. – the organization’s lobbying division, which addressed issues on local, state, and national levels.
• Moral Majority Foundation – the organization’s educational component, through which the Moral Majority educated ministers and lay people on political issues and conducted voter registration drives.
• Moral Majority Legal Defense Fund – the organization’s legal instrument, used primarily to challenge the American Civil Liberties Union and secular humanist issues in court.
• Moral Majority Political Action Committee – the organization’s mechanism for supporting the candidacy of people whose political platforms reflected Moral Majority values.

The state chapters of the Moral Majority were financially independent from the national organization and relied on local resources to conduct their activities. Consequently, the national organization encouraged local chapters to cooperate with their policies but had little control over local chapters’ activities.[21] Political activity of the Moral Majority divided accordingly, with the national Moral Majority office usually focused on addressing multiple issues through Congress while local branches tended to work on a single issue within their respective states.[22]

Political involvement

The Moral Majority engaged in political activity in a variety of ways, including national media campaigns and grassroots organization aimed at supporting particular candidates in elections and using mail and phone calls to reach office-holders.[23] The Moral Majority’s initial political actions were aimed at supporting Jesse Helms’ proposed legislation on school prayer.[24] Before long, the Moral Majority became heavily invested in presidential elections and national politics; although at the state level branches of the Moral Majority continued to pursue specific issues at lower levels of government. As far as elections, state Moral Majority chapters tended to deliberately focus their efforts towards particular candidates. For example, state chapters participated in campaigns to oust liberal members of Congress during the 1980 election. Also, in 1981, the Moral Majority mobilized delegates to the Virginia Republican state nominating convention in order to support Guy Farley, an evangelical candidate for lieutenant governor.[25]

Nationally, the Moral Majority encouraged electoral participation among its members and used registration drives to register church-goers to vote, with the logic that Moral Majority members would be likely to vote for Moral Majority-endorsed candidates, thus strengthening the organization’s electoral efficacy and strengthening its endorsements. Leaders within the Moral Majority asked ministers give their congregants political direction, reminding congregants when to vote, who to vote for, and why the Moral Majority held particular positions on issues.[26] The Moral Majority, however, is probably best known for its involvement in presidential elections, specifically those of Ronald Reagan.

Presidential elections

The 1976 election of Jimmy Carter as President of the United States marked a milestone for evangelical Christians. For the first time, a self-professed evangelical Christian had been elected to the nation’s highest office, bringing the national awareness of evangelical Christianity to a new level. Despite commonality in religious identification, however, evangelical Christians in general and eventually the newly formed Moral Majority in particular would come to be disappointed with Carter’s policies. Carter did not share the Moral Majority’s political imperative to unify personal and political positions and would instead support the positions of his own party, the Democratic Party. In particular, Carter did not actively oppose his party’s general pro-choice platform on abortion, nor did Carter work to bridge the church-state divide, both factors in the Moral Majority’s decision to support Ronald Reagan’s candidacy in 1980.[2]


The Moral Majority was a relatively early supporter of Reagan, with Falwell announcing the organization's endorsement of Reagan before the Republican convention.[27] According to Jimmy Carter, "that autumn [1980] a group headed by Jerry Falwell purchased $10 million in commercials on southern radio and TV to brand me as a traitor to the South and no longer a Christian."[28] Naturally, the Moral Majority continued working on behalf of Reagan after he gained the Republican nomination. Following the organization's heed, more than one-fifth of Moral Majority supporters voted for Reagan in 1980 that had supported Carter in 1976.[29] After Reagan's victory, Falwell announced Reagan's success was directly due to the Moral Majority and others registering and encouraging church-goers to vote who had never before been politically active.[30] Empirical evidence suggests that Falwell's claim about the role of Christian Right organizations in Reagan's victory has some truth, though difficult to determine definitively.[31]

Reagan sought the input from the Moral Majority leadership during his campaign and appointed the Rev. Robert Billings, the Moral Majority's first executive director, to be a religious advisor to the campaign.[32] Later, Reagan appointed Billings to a position in the Department of Education.
This appointment was particularly significant for the Moral Majority, which had lobbied on education policy issues, especially those regarding private schools.[33]


The Moral Majority maintained their support for Reagan’s 1984 reelection campaign and, alongside other Christian Right organizations, influenced the Republican platform for the election, shaping the party's campaign stances on school prayer and abortion.[34] The nation's political climate, however, had changed since Reagan's first campaign. Although Reagan won reelection, the role of the Moral Majority in the victory had changed since 1980. A study of voters in the 1984 election showed that more anti-Moral Majority voters voted for Walter Mondale than pro-Moral Majority voters voted for Reagan, suggesting the Moral Majority may have actually had a negative effect on Reagan's campaign.[35]


1988 was the last presidential election for which the Moral Majority was an active organization. With Reagan having reached his two-term limit, the Republican nomination was open to a variety of primary contenders. The evangelical minister and televangelist Rev. Pat Robertson sought the Republican nomination and would have been, at first glance, a natural choice for the Moral Majority's support. Although Robertson's political platforms were extremely similar to the ones the Moral Majority supported, Falwell gave his organization's endorsement to contender George H. W. Bush instead. Falwell's decision highlighted the rivalry between Falwell and Robertson as televangelists but also revealed the deep-seated tension that still persisted between competing evangelical traditions -– Falwell's fundamentalist tradition was at odds with Robertson's charismatic tradition.[36]

Challenges to the Moral Majority

By the late 1980s, the views of the Moral Majority were challenged widely and the organization started to crumble. With its waning support, critics said "The Moral Majority is neither", meaning the organization was neither moral nor a majority. By 1988, there were serious cash flow problems and Falwell dismantled the organization in 1989.[37]

During its existence the Moral Majority experienced friction with other evangelical leaders and organizations as well as liberal leaders and organizations. For example, Bob Jones particularly sought to challenge the public position of the Moral Majority and was known to make public statements that the Moral Majority was an instrument of Satan.[11] Such rivalries affected the Moral Majority’s grassroots efforts. In South Carolina, the Moral Majority had no presence because Bob Jones University’s religious network had already organized the state’s independent Baptists.[38] The tension between Falwell and Pat Robertson also affected the Moral Majority, as noted in the presidential elections section of this article. On the ideologically opposed side, Norman Lear’s liberal organization People for the American Way was formed with the specific intention of opposing the platforms of the Moral Majority and other Christian Right organizations.[39]

Moral Majority Coalition

In November 2004, Falwell revived the Moral Majority name for a new organization, the Moral Majority Coalition. The intent of the organization is to continue the "evangelical revolution" to help conservative politicians get elected. Referring to the Coalition as a "21st century resurrection of the Moral Majority," Falwell, a father of the modern "religious right" political movement, committed to leading the organization for four years.[40] He died on May 15, 2007.[41]

Notable people within the movement

Jerry Falwell (Founder)
Robert Grant
Jesse Helms
James Kennedy
Beverly LaHaye
Tim LaHaye
Trent Lott
Judith A. Reisman
Pat Robertson
James Robison
Charles Stanley
Cal Thomas
Richard Viguerie
Paul Weyrich

See also

Portal icon conservatism portal
Christian Coalition of America
Christian right
Save Our Children


1. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 58. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
2. Allitt, Patrick (2003). Religion in America Since 1945: A History, p. 152. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12154-7
3. Lernoux, Penny. "A Reverence for Fundamentalism," The Nation, vol. 248, Issue #0015, 17 April 1989
4. Martin, William (1996). With God on Our Side: The Rise of the Religious Right in America. New York: Broadway Books. ISBN 978-0-553-06745-3.
5. Sara, Diamond (1995). Roads to Dominion. New York: Guilford Press. ISBN 978-0-89862-864-7.
6. Hudson, D.W. (2008). Onward, Christian Soldiers: The Growing Political Power of Catholics and Evangelicals in the United States. Threshold Editions. p. 15. ISBN 9781416565895. Retrieved 2014-11-15.
7. Levy, Ariel (2010-06-28). "Prodigal Son". The New Yorker. Retrieved 22 January 2012.
8. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, pp. 31–32. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
9. Williams, Daniel K. (April 2010). "Jerry Falwell's Sunbelt Politics: The Regional Origins of the Moral Majority" (Fee). Journal of Policy History (Cambridge University Press) 22 (02): 125–147.doi:10.1017/S0898030610000011. Retrieved 2010-09-17.
10. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 61. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
11. Allitt, Patrick (2003). Religion in America Since 1945: A History, p. 153. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12154-7
12. Wilcox, Clyde (1996). Onward Christian Soldiers?, p. 96. Boulder: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-2696-6
13. Wilcox, Clyde (1996). Onward Christian Soldiers?, p. 38. Boulder: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-2696-6
14. Wilcox, Clyde (1992). God's Warriors, p. 14. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4263-8
15. Allitt, Patrick (2003). Religion in America Since 1945: A History, p. 198. New York: Columbia University Press. ISBN 0-231-12154-7
16. Robert Wuthnow (1988). The Restructuring of American Religion, p. 205. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-07759-2
17. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, pp. 55-57. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
18. Moral Majority". Columbia Encyclopedia. 6th ed. Columbia University Press. 2004. Retrieved 2007-08-11.
19. Falwell: An Autobiography, The Inside Story, Liberty House Publishers, Lynchburg, 1997 Pg. 395
20. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 54. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
21. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 70. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
22. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 71. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
23. Wilcox, Clyde (1996). Onward Christian Soldiers?, p. 86. Boulder: Westview Press. ISBN 0-8133-2696-6
24. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 34. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
25. Rozell, Mark J. and Clyde Wilcox (2003). “Virginia: Birthplace of the Christian Right,” The Christian Right in American Politics, ed. John C. Green, et al., p. 43. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 0-87840-393-0
26. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 37. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
27. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 36. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
28. Carter, Jimmy (2010). White House Diary. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux. p. 469.
29. Wilcox, Clyde (1992). God's Warriors, p. 117. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4263-8
30. Wilcox, Clyde (1992). God's Warriors, p. 96. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4263-8
31. Wilcox, Clyde (1992). God's Warriors, pp. 115-117. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4263-8
32. Liebman, Robert and Robert Wuthnow (1983) The New Christian Right, p. 60. New York: Aldine Publishing Company. ISBN 0-202-30307-1
33. Wald, Kenneth (1997). Religion and Politics in the United States, p. 137. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Quarterly Press. ISBN 1-56802-157-7
34. Johnson, Stephen D. and Joseph B. Tamney (1985). The Christian Right and the 1984 Presidential Election. p. 125. "Review of Religious Research" 27: 124–133. JSTOR 3511667.
35. Johnson, Stephen D. and Joseph B. Tamney (1985). The Christian Right and the 1984 Presidential Election. p. 124. "Review of Religious Research" 27: 124–133. JSTOR 3511667.
36. Wilcox, Clyde (1992). God's Warriors, p. xv. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press. ISBN 0-8018-4263-8
37. Utter, G., True, J.: Conservative Christians and Political Participation – A Reference Handbook.. ABC Clio, Santa Barbara, California, 2004. p. 68. ISBN 1-85109-513-6
38. Vinson, C. Danielle and James L. Guth (2003). “Advance and Retreat in the Palmetto State: Assessing the Christian Right in South Carolina,” The Christian Right in American Politics, ed. John C. Green, et al., p. 23. Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press. ISBN 0-87840-393-0
39. Williams, Peter W. (1988). America’s Religions, p. 482. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-252-02663-2
40. Moral Majority Timeline
41. "Moral Majority founder Falwell dies", MSNBC, 15 May 2007
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