From “The War on Drugs: A Special Report” \(Playboy, April, “Th i s year, the Congress of the United States is beginning to resemble in a peculiar and discomforting way the Texas legislature of last year. While in 1980-81 there were moms and experts crawling all over Texas lawmakers screaming brain damage and birth defects, something of uncanny similarity seems to be happening now at the Federal level. In both the Senate and the House, there are already scores of bills that threaten to disembowel the Constitution in the name of saving the nation’s children from marijuana. As in Texas, the moms are the ground troops. Their titular leader in the national war is the President’s wife, Nancy Reagan. Much of the legislation currently under consideration in Washington was inspired by the recommendations contained in a report issued last August by the Attorney General’s Task Force on Violent Crime. Following the time honored gambit of declaring a drug epidemic and then blaming violent crime on it, the report attacked the inhibiting effects upon law enforcement of the Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, and 14th Amendments to the Constitution, as well as the exclusionary rule, the Tax Reform Act, the writ of habeas corpus, the Freedom of Information Act and the Posse Comitatus Act all of which the task force proposed to alter in the name of full-scale war on drugs. Out of 61 recommendations concerning “violent crime” in the report, 32 involved references to drugs or narcotics. One of them called for using the military to enforce domestic law. This would violate the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878, which was designed to prevent abuses of military power and even the mere appearance of a police state. T.C.L.U.’s John Duncan explains it this way: “That runs against every precept of civil liberties we have. We have never given the military any police authority other than in an emergency in a very restricted geographical area. Because by putting the military in charge, you suspend the Bill of Rights and all its protections.” The task force called for other radical alterations in the basic protections from Government enjoyed by Americans. In doing so, it made generous use of the kids-on-dope call to arms. That, of course, is the genius of the war on drugs: the extent to which its unsupported and inflated discourse has managed to deflect public attention from the real effect of the campaign to undermine civil liberties. The kids-on-dope idea is brilliant precisely because it makes it impossible for anyone opposing the crusade to sound reasonable; at the same time, it confounds to the maximum degree any attempts to think clearly on the matter of drugs and appropriate social controls. The loaded language of the taskforce report makes it impossible to keep your eye on the ball. Kids on dope is not the issue. The children are being used as a weapon. Playboy on Drug War In the Dec. 18, 1981 issue of the ‘Observer, staff reporter Ruperto Garcia argued that this state’s misguided War on Drugs, by exaggerating the problem of drug abuse, creates a climate conducive to police-state legislation \(Governor Clements’ break, enter, and wiretap Gonzales, writing in the April issue of Playboy, warns that the same thing is now happening in Congress. A formidable combination of cynical politicians, Washington drug bureaucrats, and frightened parents is successfully pushing for repressive legislation, again under the banner of a “War on Drugs.” Texas, Gonzales suggests, is the prototype for this national War on Drugs. He calls Gov. Clements’ drug-law package the bridge between Richard Nixon’s effort to get a national police force by waging a cynical War on Drugs and today’s efforts to gut the Constitution in the name of saving kids from drugs. The connection between Nixon’s war on drugs and Bill Clements is particularly intriguing. Nixon’s first effort to set up his own White House police agency was funded by the now-defunct Law Enforcement Administration Agency agency that awarded H. Ross Perot a $584,000 grant to create the Texans’ War on Drugs Committee. The man who approved the grant was Nixon’s Deputy Secretary of Defense, William Clements. Governor Clements also brought Nixon’s number-two man at the FBI, Jim Adams, to head the Department of Public Safety the agency receiving the newly created wire-tapping authority. “The fight against marijuana is priority business in both the House and the Senate,” Gonzales points out. “It is the pet project of First Lady Nancy Reagan tions, but on balance the formation of a progressive slate is the right thing to do. Those who favor other candidates for certain offices need to put out modified slates of their own. But for the first time in recent memory the outlines of a geniune progressive coalition can be perceived here. While we believe the New Democratic Alliance needs some instruction in the fallacy of cynicism that only money wins elections, we commend this initiative as a general thing, and especially we rejoice that the best candidates running from the humanist point of view will benefit from the joint effort.D [who was in Dallas last week to meet with members of the Texans’ War on Drugs Committee], as well as of the Attorney General, the Department of Health and Human Services . . ., and, lately, the FBI. It is also a very convenient political tool for President Reagan. . . . There are now more than 2000 active anti-marijuana parents’ groups, an average of 40 per state.” Gonzales makes the same point Observer reporter Garcia made back in December: parents concerned about their children will do anything they think will help.” “Unfortunately,” as Gonzales points out, “most people aren’t aware that when they suspend the constitutional rights of suspected criminals, they suspend their own constitutional rights as well. THE TEXAS OBSERVER 3
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