Friends around the world keep asking me questions. Are you excited? What do you think of Obama? Others are simply congratulating me. And I must say, it was a thrilling moment.
As a teenager, in 1984, I volunteered for the Mondale/Ferraro campaign, mostly pushing bumper stickers. An anti-nuclear group was doing this, in the belief that Mondale would be less likely to cause Armageddon. I grew up in an overwhelmingly white, Republican town. I was a news junky from an early age, though, and politically active in one way or another. Of the Democratic candidates my favorite was Jesse Jackson, but looking around me I reasoned he had a slim chance of getting elected.
As an adult, living in urban areas all over the US, I saw little to dispel this illusion. There were more African-Americans getting elected to political office, but usually we were talking about mayors of majority-Black cities or Congresswomen from hotbeds of progressivism like Berkeley. But here I was, hanging out with my toddler, listening to my favorite local band, the Pagan Jug Band, sitting in a pub in Portland, hearing that Barack Obama has been elected President.
My initial reaction was that of Jesse's. I got a lump in my throat, and tears came to my eyes, thinking about the insanity of all the suffering that has gone down for so many centuries, the homes, dreams, and bodies broken by slavery and racism. And in fact until very recently, on the news broadcasts when they would mention the number of Black people in the Congress, in order to be factually accurate they always had to include the caveat, "since Reconstruction." More than that is rarely said about this ten-year period of Union Army occupation that allowed something approximating democracy, and even serious land redistribution, to exist in the South, before the Union withdrew and the South was plunged into at least a century of Apartheid rule.
Whether South or North, the prisons are filled with mostly dark-skinned people from places where you can graduate from high school without having learned how to read, where you can get asthma from breathing the air, where the police shoot first and ask questions later. They're in prison, but Barack Obama's not, he's on the TV giving a humble victory speech, quoting Lincoln. And this crowd of mostly young white people around me at the pub are all cheering at the TV screen, shouting his name, laughing, crying, and drinking. I'm pretty sure they all voted for him. Or if some of them were slacking too much to get around to it, they would have voted for him.
I had just gone there to hear the music, but it turned into a spontaneous Obama party, at that pub and at pubs and sidewalks and streets in cities all across the US, and apparently in other parts of the world as well. I remember being near the front of a march of tens of thousands of people back in 1985 or so, seeing Jesse Jackson at the front of the march with many of his volunteers lining the marchers, all wearing football-style shirts that read "88" on them, for his next Presidential campaign effort. I remember seeing on the faces and the placards of this mostly white crowd of marchers, an admiration and affection for the man at the front of the march, and I was wishing the whole country could be more like this crowd. And I feel so gratified that all the people talking about the so-called Bradley effect were wrong, that a majority of our eligible voters (not counting those millions of ineligible felons) would really end up voting for Obama.
There was one black-clad young man from Olympia who happened to be at the crowded pub, which was more crowded than I had ever seen it before. He bummed a light from me and started to talk. "This is great, you know, but I just can't help but think, 'meanwhile, in Afghanistan...'"
Every party needs a spoiler, and here he was. Too cynical to be entirely swept up in the moment, he was worried about the possibility that Obama might actually follow through with his campaign promises and send more troops to Afghanistan. And then over the past few days, the news gets more and more grim. Rahm Emanuel, a zealous supporter of Israeli Apartheid for Secretary of State. Larry Summers, Clinton's chief advocate for the World Trade Organization and deregulation of the financial sector, is being suggested as an economic advisor. Joe Biden, who voted for the war in Iraq, is already his VP.
Obama is surrounding himself with folks from Bill Clinton's administration. I remember those eight years well, I was protesting his policies the whole time. Welfare was reformed and social spending was gutted even more. The prisons became even more crowded with nonviolent drug offenders. The sanctions and ongoing bombing campaign in Iraq that happened on Clinton's watch killed hundreds of thousands of children, and his Secretary of State said the price was worth it. NAFTA was passed and then the WTO was formed, all with Clinton's blessings. These trade deals that Clinton and most of his party supported plunged millions of people around the world into poverty and an early death. Yugoslavia and Iraq will glow for thousands of years because of the nuclear waste littering the land that fell during the Clinton years.
Of course, Clinton inherited the mess in Iraq, and Clinton certainly did not invent neoliberal economics, nor did Clinton start the process of the de-industrialization of the US, the growth of Mexican sweatshops, or the support of the death squad regime in Colombia. But he embraced all of that, and much, much more.
On the other hand, in previous generations, things were different. Before the export of America's manufacturing base, before all the free trade agreements, before real wages in the US lost half their value, the US was run by liberals. Liberals like FDR and Nixon. Nixon? Yes, well, I studied economics a little, and social spending in the US actually continued to increase from the time of FDR to the time of Nixon. It was under Nixon that the EPA, the NEA and other such institutions were born. It was after Nixon that the budget-cutting began in earnest. From FDR to Nixon, whether the administration was Democratic or Republican, social spending increased. Since Nixon, under Democratic and Republican administrations, social spending has decreased.
There have, of course, been variations. FDR enthusiastically bombed Japan into the stone age, killing millions of innocents. Eisenhower was a Republican president, he preferred to bomb Koreans and Vietnamese. Johnson bombed them a lot more, killing millions. Nixon did it, too, of course. All along the way, by and large, there was overwhelming bipartisan support for these policies. Not among the population, but among the elite who rule it.
Several days ago I was exchanging email messages about the state of the world with my good friend Terry Flynn, a professor of economics and the social sciences at Western Connecticut State University. In one email he wrote, "a damn interesting time. The hegemon is rocked. I'm sure we're witnessing a re-configuration of the global order on par with the post-WW2 period." I asked what kind of reconfiguration did he see happening, and this was his eloquent reply:
It's a shift from one hegemonic era to another. The U.S. took over from the U.K. after the war. But our time is up. Don't know which country or alliance will dominate in the next cycle. The major contenders are China and India. But Russia is working very hard to leverage its massive geopolitical presence, natural resources, and techno-military culture, despite huge demographic deficits in comparison with the former countries. Russia has Europe by the balls due to, e.g., Germany's utter dependency on Russian natural gas. And it's far superior to India and China in many important ways. It's still a fucking wreck in terms of law and economic and social policies. But this whole transition is probably a 20 year affair. I just think that the catastrophic U.S. response to 9/11 and the current financial crisis push the regime change hard against the U.S.
If Obama wins the election, he might very well be a fine negotiator for the new, diminished role for this country. He can sell it as enlightened internationalism, not the decline of the American Empire. Of course, the patriots here will insist on waving the flag and encouraging the barbarians to bring it on. They won't go down without a fight. However, the U.S. simply can't afford to sustain its customary role. And there's no reason that China will continue to lend money for us to do so.
Anyway, that's a taste of my thinking on this matter. Oh, by the way, I don't for one minute expect that the new regime will be any kinder to the working classes. They'll still be global capitalists with a lust for power. In principle, no better or worse than the present crew. But as our country is diminished we might start talking seriously about peace and environmental degradation, etc. That could be ironic.
The Democrats have gotten more corporate donations than the Republicans in this last election cycle. The corporate elite has mostly decided that the Dems are better for business now. Better to send them in to clean up the mess. Obama is most definitely his own man, and an extremely intelligent, eloquent, youthful, good-looking and well-organized one at that. He has a brilliant background in community organizing and a first-hand familiarity with reality, the realities, for starters, of poverty, racism and US foreign policy -- those realities that, among others, so desperately need to be changed. Not only is he his own man, but he's the man of the people, of so many people, who so enthusiastically have supported his campaign, going door to door as part of his well-oiled campaign machine, giving him hundreds of millions of dollars in small donations, packing stadiums around the country and around the world, and waiting in line for hours to vote for him in the polls.
But he is also the man of the corporations, of the banks, of the insurance industry, who have funded his campaign massively, and are expecting a dividend for their investments. And they're getting it already, in the form of the appointment of those "liberals" (whatever that means) who supported Clinton's wars, sanctions and neoliberal economic reforms.
Obama has promised to raise taxes on the rich back to what they were under Clinton. I haven't carefully studied the numbers, but I believe we are talking about increasing the income tax on anything above $100,000 from 35% to 38%. Nobody is talking about returning it to what it was when the Progressive Income Tax was formed -- 90%. He is talking about taking soldiers out of Iraq and sending them to Afghanistan -- not bringing them all home and cutting military spending by 90%, in line with international norms, and doing away with this rapacious empire. He is talking about the middle class, and sure, he had to do that to get elected, but when does he ever talk about the poor, the imprisoned millions, the thousands of homeless walking cadavers haunting the streets of every major American city? Every politician talks about building schools, but what about free education through graduate school like they have in most European countries?
No, the scope of debate is far more limited than that. It is a scope defined by that increasingly narrow grey area in between "conservative" and "liberal." There are distinctions, some of them important. That 3% tax increase will do good things for many people, I hope. Perhaps we won't start any new wars, I don't know. Perhaps we'll withdraw from Iraq, but I'll bet no reparations for what we've done there will be forthcoming. Perhaps there will be no new wars on our civil liberties in the next few years, but I'll bet the prison population will not get much smaller.
I hope I'm wrong. But if I am to be proven wrong and there are to be serious changes in the welfare of people in the US and around the world, it will only be as a result of a popular uprising of people calling for a real New Deal for the 21st century, an end to the empire, housing, health care and education for all, and so on. Because even if Obama secretly wants all of these things, as so many of us would desperately like to believe, he's going to need plenty of popular pressure to point to if any of these things are going to become reality. If he really is the socialist wealth redistributor his opponents said he is, he's going to need massive popular support just to avoid being impeached for treason by those corporate stooges who dominate both parties in the Congress.
And if, on the other hand, he really believes his own campaign promises of meager tax increases for the rich, raising the salaries of teachers a bit, fighting terrorism, passing more free trade agreements, being Israel's best friend, and so on, then what we have in store is another Democratic administration. Different kind of like Starbucks is different from McDonald's -- they both pay poverty wages and feed you shit, but Starbucks includes health insurance. David Rovics is a singer/songwriter and unashamed socialist based in Portland, Oregon.
Food For Thought - Did You Know This ? Mood:
loud Now Playing: Truth in Media - Who is this man ? Topic: POLITICS
Food for thought:
In 1961, a young African-American man, inspired after hearing President John F. Kennedy's challenge to, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country," gave up his student deferment, left college in Virginia, and voluntarily joined the Marines.
In 1963, this man, having completed his two years of service in the Marines, volunteered, again, to become a Navy hospital corpsman. (Corpsmen are the "doctors in the field to Marines" and provide medical assistance to all Navy personnel.)
This man did so well in Corps School he graduated valedictorian and became a cardiopulmonary technician. Not surprisingly, he was assigned to the Navy's premier medical facility in the world, Bethesda Naval Hospital, as a member of the Commander-in-Chief's medical team, and helped care for President Lyndon B. Johnson during and after his 1966 surgery.
For his service on the President's health care team, which he left in 1967, the White House awarded this man three letters of commendation.
What may seem to some even more remarkable is that this man voluntarily entered the Marines and Navy very shortly after the two branches became integrated, and serviced during a time of a growing war in Vietnam with no thought to his personal safety.
(PLEASE NOTE: During the same period that this young man was serving six years on active duty with the Marines and Navy during the Vietnam War, Vice President Dick Cheney -- who was born the same year as the Marine/Navy Corpsman, received five deferments, four for being an undergraduate and graduate student and one for being a prospective father. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, both five years younger than the African-American youth, used their student deferments to stay in college until 1968. Both then a voided going on active duty military service, or service in Vietnam, through family and political connections.)
Who is the real patriot; who is this young African-American youth so devoted to his country? Who is this young Black man who interrupted his studies to serve his nation for six years while the other three political leaders "beat the system" to stay out of harms way and from serving in the active military? Are patriots the people who actually sacrifice something of value, or are they those who merely talk about serving their nation and their love of the country?
After leaving military service to his country, the young African-American finished his final year of college, entered the seminary, was ordained as a minister, and eventually became pastor of a small church in one of America's biggest cities, Chicago, growing that ministry from a mere 87 persons to a congregation of many thousands of persons active for Chr ist and the poor neighborhoods.
This African-American man is the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, the recently retired pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ on the south side of Chicago, and Obama's former spiritual advisor, who brought Obama to Christ and eventually baptized Barack Obama, married Obama and Michelle, and baptized their two daughters.
This man has been much maligned recently with snippets, tiny portions of video taken out of entire sermons, from an entire career of devotion to Christ and the poor of this nation. Before passing judgement on Rev. Wright, or on Barack Obama for being a member of Rev. Wright's congregation, it would be wise for those unfamiliar with "liberation theology" and who question Rev. Wright's patriotism and spirituality to listen to the recent interview on:
Bill Moyer's JOURNAL
on PBS of April 25, 2008 at the following links:
Rev. Jeremiah Wright PBS interview Part I: http://www.pb s.org/moyers/journal/04252008/watch.html
Rev. Jeremiah Wright PBS interview Part II: http://www.pbs.org/moyers/journal/04252008/watch2.html
Please forward to others who criticize Rev. Wright, and to others who may have questions about the Rev. Wright, his relationship with Christ and Barack Obama, and his patriotism to the United States of America.
Thank you for reading this far news from Indpenedent Media sources
The following is reposted on The Zebra 3 Report from here___________________
The collapse of the Soviet Union in August 1991 and the disappearance of the bipolarity of the international community of states awakened realistic hopes everywhere in the civilized world.For the first time since 1945, a real chance existed for re-ordering the world according to the principles of the UN Charter and the Declaration of Human Rights.
The American empire decided differently.Instead of contributing to a system of collective security, the US refused to dismantle the gigantic military machine built during the Cold War.Against the principle of peaceful conflict resolution, the US chose the way of imperial dictation.Against arbitration and multilateral diplomacy, it opted for the autistic, unilateral world power policy.Instead of a normative economy and distribution of essential goods – above all for the third world – through multilateral conventions, it established the globalized world market totally ruled by American financial capital.
The American capital oligarchy which largely dominates the Bush administration functions according to a code called the “Washington Consensus”.Its four holy rules are¨total liberalization of capital-, goods, services- and patent-streams, privatization of the public sector, deregulation and flexibility of all relations, especially labor relations.
This “consensus” is enforced worldwide by the mercenary organizations of international finance capital which is mostly American finance capital: the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
Thomas Friedman, former assistant of Secretary Madeleine Albright, writes: “So globalization functions, the United States may not hesitate acting as the invincible world superpower.The invisible hand of the market cannot function without the visible fist.McDonalds cannot prosper without McDonnell-Douglas, manufacturer of the F15 fighter jet.The visible fist assures the victory all over the world of technology products from Silicon Valley.This fist is the armed forces, the air force and the marine corps of the United States.”
On October 28, 2001, George W. Bush declared amid the congressional debate on the new “Trade Promotion Authority Act”): “The terrorists attacked the World Trade Center.We will defeat them by liberalizing world trade more forcefully.”Before the World Trade conference in Doha, November 2001, his foreign trade commissioner Robert Zoelinik said: “The deregulated capital streams are not only very efficient economically.These streams also promote the ethical values of freedom throughout the world.”
Globalization is daily terror.Every seven seconds a child under 10 dies of starvation.Every four minutes a person loses eyesight on account of Vitamin A deficiency.Over 100,000 persons die every day of hunger or its immediate consequences.828 million men, women and children were permanently and gravely malnourished last year.The FAO calculates: World agriculture could feed twelve billion people today without problem.Every person could have 2700 calories of food every day.The earth’s present population amounts to 6.2 billion.
There is no fatalism here, only imperial destruction and arrogance.Whoever starves to death today is murdered.Whoever has money eats and lives.Whoever has no money dies of starvation, becomes an invalid and/or dies.
Over 2000 years ago Marcus Aurelius wrote: Imperium superat regnum.The empire subjugates all other powers.The oligarchy of American finance capital takes this lesson to heart most exquisitely.
The American president rejected the agreement on prohibiting the manufacture and sale of anti-personnel mines.The US rejects the Kyoto protocol on reducing air poisoning by CO2 emissions and the treaty to ban intercontinental ballistic missiles with nuclear warheads.The US refuses to sign the protocol against biological weapons.The US opposes the OECD-convention on combating criminal offshore markets.The US rejects the Inrternational Criminal Court (convention of Rome 1998).Every kind of military disarmament is horror to the US.The empire spent 42 percent of the world’s military spending in 2002.
Nothing and noone can explain – let alone justify – the dreadful attack on the New York civilian population on September 11, 2001.Over 3000 persons from 62 nations were killed within three hours.However even the worst crime may not annul the principles of a civilized community like the American community.
The terror bombardments of the American air force on Afghan cities and villages from October to December 2001, the humanly degrading treatment of war prisoners and the refusal to respect the Geneva convention in Afghanistan are trademarks of imperial humanly contemptuous arrogance.
Bush and his accolites from Texas autonomously define who is a terrorist and who is not a terrorist – beyond all principles of international law.
James H. Hatfield’s painstakingly researched book shows the direct influence of Texan oil billionaires on the Bush family.The worldwide war against terror has to do with the profit maximization of investments in the international oil business, especially in the Middle East and central Asia.
The ambiguity of the empire is also sinister to me.Bush claims for himself human civilization, its morality and its defense.At the same time he puts up with the horrific war crimes of the Sharon government in Palestine, particularly the massacre of hundreds of women, men and children in the refugee camp of Dschenin, in Ramallah and Nablus in April 2002.He gave Vladmir Putin a generous debt relief after Putin massacred the civilian population of Tchetchnya.He sends weapons and credits in the billions to the Turkish torturing henchmen.
The submissive lackey-mentality displayed by so many compatriots from the Socialist internationale toward the soul-destroying world ruler aspirants in Washington saddens me as a European and social democrat.Gerhard Schroder and Tony Blair are not the only ones.
On the afternoon of November 9, 2001, I presented my report on the right to food before the UN General Assembly in New York.In the morning I was invited by the editorial board of the New York Times for an exchange of ideas at the newspaper headquarters, 229 West 43rd St.I spoke and answered questions.At the end of the conversation, I asked: “How should a European understand the current strategy oif the Bush administration in central Asia?”Roger Normand from the Center for Social and Economic Rights who also sat at the round table replied: “It’s oil and the military.”All those present nodded in agreement.
I hardly know a more fascinating, diverse and creative people than the Americans.In Greenwich Village and at Columbia University, I learned more about people and the world during four years than during any other time of my life.American hospitality and warmheartedness are unforgettable to me.
The American grassroots democratic opposition against racial laws in the early sixties and the opposition against the murdeerous war in Vietnam in the early seventies are great turning points in the history of civilization.American students, unionists, priests, writers, journalists and simple citizens wrote glowing pages in the book of history.Michael Harrington, the friend of Willy Brandt, is unforgettable to me.
Hatfield and his marvelous book belong in the long line of this resistandcfe exemplary for all people of the world.He paid for this resistance with his life.We owe him admiration, gratitude and solidarity.
The Bush regime came out with a "report" about what it thinks "terrorism" was over the years of 2002 through 2005 and it's a profoundly informative and telling document. What's ironic is that it's an _official_ document by the fascist regime, one they _intended_ to have released in to the every-more-aware public, not something that was leaked by whistleblowing insiders who actually take their jobs to protect Americans seriously.
The intent of the document is to justify the Bush regime's crimes against American citizens under the guies of "fighting errorism" however if you step through this thing you'll find that a tally of the claims that the regime makes shows that roughly ONE THIRD of the unevidenced claims could conceivably be considered to be "acts of terrorism" or "planned terrorism."
Justification of the regime's crimes against us is closely related to the justification and excuses of this regime's BUDGETS. This regime's FBI's budgets skyrocketed under the fiction that money was needed to protect American citizens from vague, illdefined, non-existant "terrorists" -- and of course even before the Bush regime law enforcement experts outside of the FBI have long noted that the FBI's personnel, budgets,a nd equipment could be cut to roughly one third of what it actually is and still effect the agency's charter without ANY ADVERSE IMPACT in the agency's ability to fight crime.
This document is something one would expect to see come from the typewriters of the Third Reigh of from Stalin's Soviet Union. The document and its claims have all of the credibility -- and often the laghable and obvious falsehoods -- that the old Pravda used to carry, and for the same exact reasons.
If you haven't fully encountered this fascist regime's official justifications for some of its crimes against humanity and its treason against America, this document is a good place to start. It's some 80 sheets long if printed to paper but it's probably worth at least a skimming.
Foremost in this fascist regime's civil, Constitutional, and Human Rights abuses are "thought crimes" for which the regime assigned the label "terrorism." Among some of these gross violations of American's basic rights are spewers of right-wing extremist hatred -- which lends another layer of ironic flavor to the document -- which this regime frequently has gone after just like the old COINTEL PRO activities that the Church Committee supposedly put a stop to.
Some of the right-wing extremist groups that employ hate speech are groups that nearly all Americans find disgusting however their activities of speech are putatively protected rights in the OLD AMERICA whereas under this regime -- probably to show that they arrest their own types and are "being fair" -- thought crimes and speech are some how "terrorism."
Another major aspect of core fascism in this document is the re-labeling of simple, mundane crimes as "terrorism" or "terrorist threats" -- such as simple tresspass, minor vandalism, graffitti, CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE, all the way up to relatively minor and ACTUAL offenses like arson, petty theft, and using a public address system after noise cerfews.
What we see in this document is a fascist State claiming that it has the right to violate every law, every freedom, every liberty, and every right of all citizens at any time. What we see here is a fascist State trying to label virtually EVERYTHING "terrorism" so that it can excuse its treason against us.
Denton Co. Judge Jake Collier, a Flower Mound resident, takes top honors in poll of peers, calls for drug policy reform, regulation, control, rehabilitation
Jake Collier, 67, of the 158th District Court in Denton, Texas, is riding the only tidal wave of fame afforded to judges outside of the rising insanity of celebrity justice. Since being named “Best Judge in Denton” by the Denton County Bar Association for his conservative viewpoints, efficient use of court time and strict interpretations of the law, Judge Collier has been the toast of the county’s legal community.
When this reporter called for an interview about bench time, legal philosophy and the dark humor one acquires from a life in legal practice, it was more than a little surprising when Collier began to solicit his views on America’s Drug War.
To begin, however, the judge reinforced the principal requirement of his job.
“It does not matter whether a judge agrees or disagrees with the law,” he said. “We must know it and uphold it, and that’s what I do.”
In the state of Texas, election to District Court Judge requires at least five years as bar-certified attorney. Judge Collier, currently serving in his fifth year with the court, has been a legal professional since 1969, when he first moved to Lewisville. A graduate of the University of Texas, Collier has worked in almost every sector of the legal world, from corporate and real estate law to family law to criminal defense. The father of two children, and grandfather to three, Judge Collier feels his service to the county and the court reflects his respect for the American system of justice and his philosophy of civic duty.
However, he said, there is one frequented issue in his court that causes him a great deal of moral turmoil.
“My experience is the War on Drugs that has been waged by America for all these years is an absolute, total disaster … A failure,” he said. “We’re putting people in jail for possession, and we seldom if ever really run across a dealer. I don’t think, since I’ve been in office, we have not had more than four or five dealers come through my court.”
Judge Collier said he looks at countries such as England and the Netherlands as having a more intelligent approach to substance abuse, especially pertaining to the dangerous and addictive drug heroin.
“[Regulation and control] seems to work in countries that regulate the dangerous drugs,” said Judge Collier. “They do not have the criminal problem with heroin that the Untied States has. I believe Texas is one of just four or five states that do not have a free needle exchange program. In almost every other state, if someone is going to shoot up, they can get a clean needle. Now, we know they’re going to shoot up, and nothing we’ve ever done has made a bit of difference with that, but at least we’re going to help prevent a disease such as AIDS. But Texas doesn’t do that. We’re hell bent; by God, that’s a crime and we ain’t gonna help you do it.”
As for America’s number one cash crop, Judge Collier does even go as far as batting an eye at marijuana.
“Marijuana is well on its way, even in the state of Texas, to not being much of a crime,” he said. “I don’t hear marijuana cases. The only marijuana cases I hear is when somebody has four ounces or more. In other words, they’ve already reduced possession of a couple of joints to the level of a throw-away misdemeanor. I would not be surprised to see it be treated more like a parking violation, where you’d have to pay a fine for being caught with it in public.”
Judge Collier reinforced his belief in incarceration as a tool for reform, or to protect society at large, but continued his insistence that drug policy must be reformed.
“I don’t believe in violent crime,” he said. “Give me a chance and I’ll put you in jail for the rest of your life if you’re violent. But I truly do think we’re making a terrible mistake, locking up all these people for possession of drugs, even serious drugs, especially if they’ve only physically hurt themselves. There’s a philosophical point that says it is not the government’s business what someone puts in their body. Everybody says, ‘Oh, but it ruins lives.’ Well, hell, so does liquor! Liquor is the worst drug in the world. There are more people’s lives and family’s lives that have been ruined and more deaths each year from drinking alcohol than from all the drugs combined.”
However, just because he opines a progressive stance on drug policy does not mean he is somehow soft on crime. This is especially true when confronted with intoxicated drivers, for whom the judge has zero tolerance.
“Within six months of me taking the bench, word was out in the legal community that you do not want Judge Collier to set the penalty in a DWI case,” he said. “By the time I see them, they’re on their third DWI, making it a felony. And to be perfectly honest, at that point, I just do not know what to do other than put them away for their entire lives. You can do what you want to with your body in your own home, but when you drive without clarity of mind, you risk others’ lives and that is unacceptable.”
Finally, Collier concluded: “We’re getting our butts kicked. That’s all there is to it. The Mexican drug mafia is about to move across the Rio Grande into Texas. It’s real simple. If I can buy a pencil for a penny, walk across the street and sell it for a dollar, there’s no way in hell you’re going to prevent me from buying a bunch of pencils and walking across the street. The money is too good. The same is true in the drug trade. There’s no way we’re going to prevent all these people from growing all these drugs and manufacturing methamphetamine and all these things. There’s too much profit. We’ll only reduce drug use if we take away that profit from the bad guys, and put funding into really educating our children that you ought not to do this. That’s the only way we’ll ever stop being a user nation.”