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Decriminalization is a big step for a lot of folks. Too big. In the interim I think what we can do is modify punishment. Instead of sending people caught with slightly over personal use of pot or coke or whatever to prison is to put those folks under house arrest.


There are many people who otherwise were employed and contributing members of society who are now in prison. We ended up with hundreds of thousands of folks who were making..lets say..on average of 30k a year, just to pull a number out of the air, and contributing to the economy to people who now cost on average of 60k a year to the taxpayer to house and feed.


The person with too much pot loses their job and ends up costing Mr. and Mrs Taxpayer 60k to house and feed and when the get out they can't get the same job back because they now have a criminal record.


My idea, until we decriminalize is instead of sending them to jail, let them still be contributing members of society and have them be on house arrest for 12 hours each work day and 16 hours on the weekends. Lets say the are free from 8AM to 8PM. Allows them to keep their job, then for a number of time, 2 months, 3 months, whatever they wear an ankle braclet. Trust me, you restrict someone to their home and it becomes a pain in the ass. They come in for a pee test once a week, and any violation can mean an extension of house arrest or make them pick up trash on the highway or tutor kids or whatever. Make them contribute.


I would also allow them to have the record expunged after a period of time so they can still get a good job.


I grew up in a neighborhood that was known as a heroin neighborhood. Things got bad when it changed to crack.


Why? You can function on heroin. At least many people can, it depends on your body chemistry but there were people in our neighborhood that had and maintained a mortgage, a job and were recreational, often weekly users of heroin. Its very possible. Many jazz artists were hooked on heroin for years and functioned. Entertainers and some rock stars.


The thing with crack is that you can't function while on it. Everyone I've seen on it were completely out of it. They could not maintain any job or function in society at all while on it.


When the neighborhood changed to crack in the '80s, break ins skyrocketed. We never had break ins before. Heroin had a code. I'm not saying heroin is good mind you, just that the guys who dealt it, only sold to adults and didn't sell on street corners. There was a house you went to buy. Crack was being sold by kids, often to kids and sold in the open on the corners. Because you can function on heroin you can keep a job so you can feed your habit. On crack, you could not hold down a job so you had to steal. First from your own family then after they kicked you out, you stole from neighbors or anyone you could find.


Also, I think you will find that after decriminalization that there will still be a social stigma and that there will be an unofficial ban. Employers do drug testing now. More will do drug testing after decriminalization. I think that will be the check against using. If you want to get a job you better be clean.

Good post Steve, I doubt you will get a lot of support though.

I agree about crack users, they're either out and incapable or "jonesing"

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Not convicts Flash, Pitcairn was established by navel seamen blinded to reason by a surplus of brown crumpet.

(It still happens I believe.)



I figure the Bounty crew transported themselves, since they knew they'd be dangling from a yardarm otherwise. And Captain Bligh did end up a guv in Oz. :hmmm:



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I have to agree that this is possibly a cure for dishonesty, Australia was founded on the convict transportation system and look at the noble, honest and hard working race that came about.


Funny thing is a good number of America's early settlers were convicts as well. Indentured servants were common and that is known as well. We like to glorify our history and maintain that they were all Pilgrims seeking religious freedom. Only in some states (Penna, Mass, Rh. Isl being the more famous). They were the religioius nutcases of the day. The 'scientologists' of England if you will.


I like our history because we were castoffs and outcasts. Aussie's get a tag on them but frankly I'd be proud of that. They made a great country out of convicts, many of whom were just poor folks who got railroaded by the court system or got sentences that were way over the top for the 'crime' committed or didn't really committ any crime at all than the crime of being poor and defenseless.


I read a story once that the reason why Aussies and Americans were tough as people was because they were settled by the hardiest of people. People who survived a long voyage in the worst of accomodations for weeks on end. Survived disease, and a hard, hard life. The result of this Darwinian, only the fit survive, are a 'race' of hardy, tough, innovative folks.


Specifically to America, for the immigrants from Europe and the UK to survive that long voyage were not good ones and as well as after they arrived. Even moreso with blacks from Africa who survived even worse conditions onboard for a longer voyage and then enslaved under similar harsh conditions as their northern immigrant brethren. The result: A great, wonderfully stubborn and proud people.

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Al Sharpton and his kind don't like to talk about the slave ports and slave pens of West Africa, since it points out how deeply Africans were involved in the slave trade. The Europeans by and large bought their slaves from the ports of West Africa after they had been captured or kidnapped from further inland by other Africans. The slavers took only the young and healthy. The old, the sick and the disabled were left behind. Then as you point out the Atlantic passage killed off any weak ones who may have got that far. Survival of the fittest indeed.


<< Several nations such as the Ashanti of Ghana and the Yoruba of Nigeria were involved in slave-trading. Groups such as the Imbangala of Angola and the Nyamwezi of Tanzania would serve as intermediaries or roving bands, waging war on African states to capture people for export as slaves. European and Arab slave-trading agents also supported rulers agreeable to their interests. They would actively favor one group against another to deliberately ignite chaos and continue their slaving activities. >>





Indentured servants in early America were sort of temporary slaves. One of my history profs showed us a diary a man had keep after his arrival in Pennsylvania in the early 1700s as an indentured servant. He mentioned being SOLD several times. An outraged descendant had changed "sold" to "hired", but you could see the original word under it. Debtors in England might be sold as indentured servants and shipped to North America, while very poor people might sign an indenture as a way of getting to the New World. Any criminals sent would have been convicted of quite minor offenses. Ironically, those first Africans who arrived in Jameston, Virginia before the Pilgrim ever set foot on Plymouth Rock were not slaves. They were indentured servants, and as soon as they had served out there time could claim land as citizens of Virginia. It wasn't until the late 1600s that Africans began being brought in as permanent slaves. The reason was that since anyone free could claim their own land, nobody wanted to work on anyone else's farm or plantation.


Something else I've seen in the case of my own ancestors was that people would agree to sign over the land they recieved in Virginia to a wealthy man, who would then pay for their passage. They weren't indentured, but they'd given up their free land and had to work to save enough to buy some. I have some ancestors who did this in the 17th century (Quakers) and in the 18th century (Scots-Irish). This looks to be very preferable to being indentured:



<< Like slaves, indentured servants could not marry without the permission of their owner, were subject to physical punishment (like many young ordinary servants), and saw their obligation to labor enforced by the courts. To ensure uninterrupted work by the female servants, the law lengthened the term of their indenture if they became pregnant.


But unlike slaves, indentured servants could look forward to a release from bondage. If they survived their period of labor, servants would receive a payment known as "freedom dues" and become free members of society. One could buy and sell indentured servants' contracts, and the right to their labor would change hands, but not the person as a piece of property.


On the other hand, this ideal was not always a reality for indentured servants. Both male and female laborers could be subject to violence, occasionally even resulting in death. Richard Hofstadter notes that as slaves arrived in greater numbers after 1700, white laborers became a "privileged stratum, assigned to lighter work and more skilled tasks." >>





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Bachmann criticizes black farmer settlement


I slightly recall the case and frankly, I don't know enough about it to say the money isn't merited. Its over a billion dollars.


What I would say is that, the government needs to address something much bigger and that are the subsidies going to corporate farms as an ongoing corporate welfare that goes on. Bachman must be trying to win points with the fringe of the party. I get that. Get the 'angry white guy' vote. Its been done with the issue of social welfare. I have no problem with cutting social welfare and its been cut massively during the Clinton years. What I find hypocritical is the lack of concern for corporate welfare and tens somes times hudnreds of billions going to companies that don't need the money. Companies that oftentimes don't even hire american workers and relocate factories, etc. overseas.

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