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Inside Mexico’s Drug Trade

We’ll go deep inside Mexico’s multi-billion-dollar drug trade, and the American market that drives it.

Federal police agents present Jaime Herrera, alias "El Viejito," alleged member of the Pacific drug cartel, to the press in Mexico City, Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012. (AP)

Federal police agents present Jaime Herrera, alias "El Viejito," alleged member of the Pacific drug cartel, to the press in Mexico City, Tuesday Feb. 14, 2012. (AP)

In the past two decades, Mexico has become a giant funnel feeding illegal drugs into the United States. And Americans have been more than willing buyers. The Mexican drug cartels feeding cocaine and heroin and pot and meth north are huge, violent organizations.

The man at the top of the biggest is Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman. Kingpin of the Sinaloa cartel. The world’s most powerful drug trafficker, says the U.S. government. Atop maybe the most successful criminal enterprise in history.

This hour, On Point: Inside the Mexican drug world of “El Chapo.”

-Tom Ashbrook


Patrick Radden Keefe, a staff writer for The New Yorker and a fellow at the Century Foundation. From 2010 to 2011, he was a policy adviser in the Office of the Secretary of Defense. His big story Cocaine Incorporated appeared in the New York Times last weekend.

From Tom’s Reading List

The New York Times “Known as El Chapo for his short, stocky frame, Guzmán is 55, which in narco-years is about 150. He is a quasi-mythical figure in Mexico, the subject of countless ballads, who has outlived enemies and accomplices alike, defying the implicit bargain of a life in the drug trade: that careers are glittering but brief and always terminate in prison or the grave.”

Toronto Star “After nearly a decade at No. 2, last year’s death of Osama bin Laden bumped Mexican drug trafficker Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman to the top of Forbes magazine’s “World’s Most Wanted Man” list. Mexico and the U.S. have put their money where there mouths are, offering $7 million in rewards for his capture.”

Newsweek “After six years in office, Calderón is ready to step down in December, and the 50,000 people who have died during his drug war in Mexico continue to dominate the headlines. But a less-publicized and equally important story is that of the military generals spearheading the fight, the men who have led the charge against the ruthless, well-armed narcos who seem hellbent on reducing Mexico to a failed state.”


“Chapo Guzman” — La Liberacion

“Narco Batallón” — Beto Quintanilla


Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Salzburg

    Limiting the discussion to cocaine seems too narrow. As quoted from the NYTimes article, “Guzmán’s organization is responsible for as much as half of the illegal narcotics imported into the United States from Mexico each year;” the ‘illegal narcotics’ altogether is problematic in my eyes. 

    If the goods being handled weren’t illegal we would be speaking about the great business organization Guzman runs. I want to know his exact business model, so I can copy his success for my own (legal) product. And think about it: He doesn’t pay taxes nor contribute to society.

    The end user needs to be scared off. Last year the Europeans stopped eating cumbers because some people were poisoned by E. coli (EHEC). It was first (mistakenly) reported on Spanish vegetables. Maybe enough casual consumers can get sick from contaminated drugs that people would be too scared to use them. That could be a solution.

  • Salzburg

    Another thread….

      since Guzman’s wife is an american citizen and her income must of reached the tax free limit, shouldn’t she pay taxes on income earned while living outside the country. Is there an “exit tax” for the very rich who choose to renounced their U.S. citizenship, if she’d choose that path to avoid the IRS?

  • AC

    i wonder if legalizing drugs wouldn’t just be the best way to end the violence once and for all…..
    i know it would means less jobs, but i can’t help but feel this is the solution anyway.

    • Noam Trotsky

      Why do you say it would mean less jobs?

      • AC

        less swat team/law enforcement type work…..but i suppose, more farming type work instead?

        • J__o__h__n

          or more likely pot farmer subsidies

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      Cocoaine, Meth, Crack or Bath are not supposed to be LEGALIZED because they are extremely dangerous to make. Gasoline and Methane are use to make those drugs except Marijuana which is grown naturally and no chemicals like gasoline is mix with it.

      Marijuana is the only one should legalized not those Heavy dangerous toxic drugs.

      • Salzburg

        Marijuana is a mood altering substance.

        Marijuana is a drug.

        Todays production methods would move it far off the organic shelf if your thinking it is so innocent and harmless. 

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

          Compared with Cocaine, Meth and Bath or crack marijuana is an infant compared to those chemicals.
          My friend’s a father uses it regularly
          it never made HIM insane. He has been smoking since my friend was in her mother’s womb.

          Never compare Marijuana to those Heavy Narcotic Chemical drugs.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            You would have to have used better grammar, and English, NOT drug-slang, to have made your point. 
               Know someone NOT into drugs, that is good at English, that can explain your mistakes?

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

            Aren’t you glad I can speak english? If I don’t you still ridicule me.

            Does the english language has to be so perfect in order for you to understand me.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Easy, Bro.  I was pointing out that the mistakes in these particular comments do not support your position well.  
               If you are multi-lingual, I understand the mistakes better, and will ignore them.
               Most other languages have many differences to English, and especially U.S. English, making conversion extremely difficult.  I applaud multi-lingualistic people.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

          I said no chemicals added with Marijuana - it is a natural process.

          Have you seen how they make Meth and Coke?

          Marijuana you just pulled the plant and dry them that’s a simple process. it does not cost a buyer 8 ball to buy one.

          pot cost only a dime to get one and 2 bucks for a blunt to spack it.

        • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

          TV is a mood-altering substance, as is fast food and most of what we consume. 

          Marijuana has profound medicinal value, and doesn’t cause cancer.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

            But the medical field don’t say anything about the positive of the Cannabis.

          • jefe68

            No, you’re wrong on that. It’s been proven to be very useful for chemo patients in fighting nausea and apatite loss. I know someone who was prescribed THC medication during cancer treatment.
            It’s called medical marijuana.

          • Steve_T

             Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes- from the AMA

            Report 3 of the Council on Science and Public Health (I-09)

            (Resolutions 910, I-08; 921, I-08; and 229, A-09)


            Objective. This report: (1) provides a brief
            historical perspective on the use of cannabis as medicine; (2) examines
            the current federal and state-based legal envelope relevant to the
            medical use of cannabis; (3) provides a brief overview of our current
            understanding of the pharmacology and physiology of the endocannabinoid
            system; (4) reviews clinical trials on the relative safety and efficacy
            of smoked cannabis and botanical-based products; and (5) places this
            information in perspective with respect to the current drug regulatory

            Data Sources. English-language reports on studies
            using human subjects were selected from a PubMed search of the
            literature from 2000 to August 2009 using the MeSH terms “marijuana’”
            “cannabis,” and tetrahydrocannabinol,” or “cannabinoids,” in combination
            with “drug effects,” “therapeutic use,” “administration & dosage,”
            “smoking,” “metabolism,” “physiology,” “adverse effects,” and
            “pharmacology.” Additionally the terms “abuse/epidemiology,” and
            “receptors, cannabinoid” in combination with “agonists,” or “antagonists
            & inhibitors” as well as “endocannabinoids,” in combination with
            “pharmacology,” “physiology,” or “metabolism” were used. Additional
            articles were identified by manual review of the references cited in
            these publications. Web sites of the Food and Drug Administration, Drug
            Enforcement Administration, National Institute on Drug Abuse, Marijuana
            Policy Project, ProCon.org, and the International Association for
            Cannabis as Medicine also were searched for relevant resources.

            Results. The cannabis sativa plant contains more
            than 60 unique structurally related chemicals (phytocannabinoids).
            Thirteen states have enacted laws to remove state-level criminal
            penalties for possessing marijuana for qualifying patients, however the
            federal government refuses to recognize that the cannabis plant has an
            accepted medical benefit. Despite the public controversy, less than 20
            small randomized controlled trials of short duration involving ~300
            patients have been conducted over the last 35 years on smoked cannabis.
            Many others have been conducted on FDA- approved oral preparations of
            THC and synthetic analogues, and more recently on botanical extracts of
            cannabis. Federal court cases have upheld the privileges of
            doctor-patient discussions on the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes
            but also preserved the right of the federal government to prosecute
            patients using cannabis for medicinal purposes. Efforts to reschedule
            marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act have been
            unsuccessful to date. Disagreements persist about the long term
            consequences of marijuana use for medicinal purposes.

            Conclusions. Results of short term controlled trials
            indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves
            appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle
            mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple
            sclerosis. However, the patchwork of state-based systems that have been
            established for “medical marijuana” is woefully inadequate in
            establishing even rudimentary safeguards that normally would be applied
            to the appropriate clinical use of psychoactive substances. The future
            of cannabinoid-based medicine lies in the rapidly evolving field of
            botanical drug substance development, as well as the design of molecules
            that target various aspects of the endocannabinoid system. To the
            extent that rescheduling marijuana out of Schedule I will benefit this
            effort, such a move can be supported.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Maintains the easiest targets for the ‘War on Drugs’, giving justification, funding, and income for crooked law enforcement?

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Home-grown tomatoes, and other foods, give me a mellow mood, and lots of pleasure!

        • jefe68

          So are sugar, nicotine, alcohol, TV and Smart phones. 

      • AC

        i’m sure you could put regulations in place for those who enter the business, esp. if it is the govt itself. that would actually be better, too – haven’t there been un-intended explosions and what not with innocent bystanders/their children injured? there must have been a few, tho i’m speculating here

        • Don_B1

          Meth “factories” do regularly explode; but just using a room to make meth can contaminate the walls, etc., so that subsequent occupiers are made sick. Often “meth” houses have to be destroyed. It really creates a problem for landlords.

          • AC

            i thought so, but i wasn’t confident because i couldn’t remember where i heard that….thanks to both of you

        • Terry Tree Tree

          Yes, MANY innocent bystanders HAVE been damaged by drug-production, ESPECIALLY Children!
             Kentucky NPR has a spot about a ten-year-old that SNIFFED a 2-liter soda bottle that he found on the road, and wound up in hospital, for over a week.
             Meth-makers expose their children to MANY toxic chemicals, and a life of addiction and other damage?

      • Steve_T

         Totally agree.

  • TheOldWar

    Remember Regan’s war on drugs? All the politicians were jumping on board. Bill Bennet was boasting about how they were going to “beat this thing”. The problem wasn’t government. The problem was Ronald Regan’s mental incompetence.

    His whole war on drugs is an absolute failure. Talk about governmant wasting money.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      It was a failure only if you assume that its purpose was to stop the flow of drugs. If its purpose was to militarize our neighbors to the south and help them control the masses while building a prison-industrial complex at home, then it was a stunning success.

      A thriving illegal drug industry also provides cover for the chief source of covert income for the CIA, and launders billions of dollars a year through major US banks.

  • Noam Trotsky

    The photo above is SO third world!  It is literally a half step above something Al Qaeda might put out.  What the hell is wrong with Mexico!?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      I wonder what first world pics looks like? If you seen the Feds photos from the past and present. I think they all look like the pic above. There are no differences.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    The war on drugs is unbeatable. FARC and the Columbian Cartel are much more powerful than ever before.
    The Mexican cartel is also much power than ever before.
    If the government wants to stop the drugs. They should convince and educate the teen agers and users that drugs can and will detroy their lives.
    It is time for the US government to concentrate more on the people who uses the drugs not the people that make the drugs
    The drug war against the suppliers will never work.
    Bombardment of anti-drug ad and campaign will stop new users. IT WILL STOP THE DEMAND.

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      It never has and never will. Young people, who by nature want to take risks and ignore authority, just laugh at those campaigns.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        How can you say that it will fail when there is no Adverstising against Narcotics like coke and meth?

        We see anti-tobacco campaign. It never hurt to try the anti-drug ads on television.

        • Drew (GA)

          “This is your brain” egg is displayed.
          “This is your brain on drugs” egg is cracked and placed in pan to cook.

          “Just say NO!” Thanks Nancy.

          It’s worked well hasn’t it?

      • Drew (GA)

        Absolutely correct. The best way to motivate most people to do something (especially the young adults) is to tell them not to do it.

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

          And how do you tell those teens? by buying a bull horn and visit every town in America yelling anti-drug campaigns.

          TV Ads is the way to go.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I told my children, LONG before they were teens, the TRUTH about drugs, as well as I knew it.  The good and the bad.
               I told them the types of jobs they could never get, if they got caught using, selling, or around drugs.  As far as I can tell, they don’t use, not even much prescription drugs.

    • William

      I agree. The casual drug user has always been the problem and more efforts should be used to go after them.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      Government Anti-Drug Campaigns lost a LOT of credibility in the 40′s and 50′s, when they demonized Marijuana to be as bad and dangerous as Meth and Crack Cocaine evidently is?  When people realized the pot-smokers they knew, were mostly mellow, instead of crazy and dangerous, they lost trust in the government ‘WORD’!

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        That was the 40s and 50s people in those day think Old School when homosexual and Women are second class citizen. it is the 21st century and Kids nowadays knows better than those old schools.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    How can a government beat a revolutionary group like the FARC with thousands of followers?

    How can we beat the Mexican Cartel when towns and cities are control by those cartels?

    The answer is we CAN’T.

    • William

      The Colombian Army has done a pretty good job the last ten years destroying the FARC. It would help alot if the government of Venezula would quit helping FARC. 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        I think that is not true. That’s another Black Propaganda by the Rich Velenzuelan against Hugo Chavez voted by the Majority of poor of Velenzuela. Remember the rich Velenzuelan controls the media.

        FARC is still a strong ally of the Columbian Cartel if the Columbian Army is winning there will be less coca in American but the supplies are getting plentiful as i speak.

        • William

           Venezuela is quickly joining the ranks of failed nations being led down the road by a failed President.

  • Yar

    I have a solution for our nation’s Drug problem.  It is a common sense approach.  My logic is that a drug user must learn to live in a world where drugs are available and choose not to use drugs.  Alcohol is a drug, I would include drunk driving as an offence that warrants drug rehab prison.
    Here is how it works.  I person convicted of using drugs is sent to a rehab facility, they serve their time in rehab prison as determined by their sentence.  While in prison they have access to any drug they choose, but using any drugs at all adds a one year drug free requirement to their sentence.  In other words they must live drug free for a full year to get out.
    Using drugs in prison rehab has a random fatal combination included, so a user has a 1 in 10 chance of receiving a fatal dose of the drug they request.  Opiate replacements are included in the drug free requirement, but don’t have the fatal combination included.  So the user has to be methadone or suboxone free for a full year to get out.
    Am I cruel or caring?  My logic is that drugs kill, and the only way to save lives is to teach users to live in a society with drugs and chose not use them.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      It is like saying let the pedophile have access to child pornography while in custody. But in fact what I am saying is true. check a jail in California that let convicted sex offenders have access and can watch pornographic videos while in jail.

      You can let them take drugs while in custody. Have you seen a person high on Meth or Bath (eat people alive).

      • Yar

        I have a different solution for violent sexual crimes, a pedophile would lose their right to procreate and more. These are not simple problems, and simple solutions don’t really solve them but as a society we must do something. We are killing our citizens by inaction. This idea is a start to a conversation on what is the best solution.
        We have a prison economy that is both corrupt and exploitative. We must establish just prisons before we can have a just society.
        The justice system has a codependency with the criminal element, neither side really wants to solve the crime problem. Is life in prison a worse punishment than instant death? Why does it cost more to end a life than to keep one alive in prison?

        • Ellen Dibble

          Did you divulge your solution for violent sexual crimes?  And I missed it?  I do believe that sexual criminals are despised in the prison system, and are sexually abused there just for starters.  The last one I noticed in this state was actually murdered in prison by that sort of treatment.  Plenty of criminals are macho in the extreme.  “To hell with the legal system; they aren’t fair to us anyway; we’ll make our way using our own testosterone.  And women, you know, the honest ones we worship.  The bitchy ones, we treat them the way our code tells us.  Someone has to.”

          • Terry Tree Tree

            I’ve been told that some prisons have such a high percentage of sex-offenders, especially Child-Molesters, that the sex-offenders RULE inside the prison, and protect each other.
               I don’t recall info about ANY sucessful rehab program for sex-offenders, including the ‘religion-based’ ones.

        • jefe68

          Interesting ideas. Except you leave out the rights people have under the law. I’m not defending pedophiles but you can’t have one law for them and another one for the rest of society. Personally I think long prison sentences are in order for pedophiles.

          Marijuana should be legalized and taxed like tobacco and alcohol. Think of the revenue.   

      • Terry Tree Tree

        IF a jail or prison is supplying Child-Pornography, they are committing a CRIME!

        • J__o__h__n

          Churches should be exempt.  We wouldn’t want a “war on religion.” 

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Churches DEMAND their right to perverted activities, while condemning those same activities of consenting adults!
               “Men of God”?

    • http://riversong.wordpress.com/ Robert Riversong

      “Am I cruel or caring?” 

      Niether. Just idiotic.

      First, drug addiction is a medical problem, not a criminal one unless we criminalize possession and use, force it into the black market (and we see what that does in Mexico), and force drug users into associated crime to support their habits.

      Second, we already have the largest absolute and per capita incarceration rate in the world, mostly non-violent and drug offenders, and have created one of the few growth industries in private penal institutions that are not indicative of a healthy society.

      Third, every one of us is addicted to some drug, whether legal like tobacco or alcohol; or socially-condoned like sex, work or shopping; or socially-respected like affluence, power and wealth.

      Fourth, many marginalized people who have trouble functioning in the “outside” are happy to have three hots and a cot at public expense and would be glad to remain in jail, with or without free drugs (the Russian roulette, as evil as that is to impose on others, is how drug users live every day and so not likely to affect their behavior).

      The only way to separate criminal activity from drug use is to de-criminalize drug possession and use, and to offer community-based rehab programs for those who want to quit.

      • Ellen Dibble

        I like a lot of what you say, but what can be done about collateral damage?  People exposed to smoke who are not the smokers, for instance.  (I speak as someone who get awfully sick when people smoke marijuana or cocaine anywhere below me in this building; 12 or 15 hours later I’m still a basket case with a pillow tightly over my aching head.)  I can only imagine what it does to the immune systems of children in utero, or living in the vicinity.  To me, illegal drugs if they do not expose others, whose systems might be less tolerant of the toxins, to those drugs.  

            And if the drugs are not toxic, dangerous to one’s future health or that of one’s offspring, why are they considered illegal?  This boggles my mind.  You might as well include parsley among the illegals.  There could be a huge and highly profitable cartel of parsley dealers to throw some other government off balance.  Think of the possibilities.

        • jefe68

           If someone in your building is smoking cocaine it’s crack which means you’re living with crack addicts. I hope you have good locks on your doors.

          While I’m sympathetic to your plight, using ones own reactions to whatever people are smoking as a gauge to the general population is a far reach.

          Cigarettes are more toxic than marijuana and anyone who smokes while pregnant is a fool. But people do, it’s called free will. 

          • Ellen Dibble

            Someone can be allergic to cigarettes, and there are laws that make it possible for those people to find suitable living situations.  The same cannot be said for marijuana.  For cocaine, I was able to finalize that situation, after about a year.  For marijuana, currently the police can fine people for the use, but I’m thinking if they were using medical marijuana, I wouldn’t be able to do that.  So I’m hoping that medical marijuana can be available as chewing gum or something like that. Brownies maybe.  Something that wouldn’t make me sick.

          • jefe68

            Medical marijuana is available in a pill for cancer patients who need it. It’s in the form of THC pills. Brownies and tea is also an option. 

          • Ellen Dibble

            Do you suppose the law can be written to require people in multiunit buildings to use those forms?  I sure hope so.

          • J__o__h__n

            Probably not as I’m sure the tobacco lobby would think that is the first step towards banning tobacco smoking inside. 

        • J__o__h__n

          Smoking anything should not be permitted inside multi unit dwellings.  The right to clean air is more important.  People should be free to inhale whatever they want but not to force that upon anyone else.  It would reduce the number of house fires too.  I really hate people who stick their cigarettes out of their car windows.  They should have to smell it, not people walking outside.  (And I’m fairly certain that the butt is disposed of outside the window.) 

          • Ellen Dibble

            I was thrilled to hear sometime last fall that a city near here was making all the affordable housing and public housing smoke-free, which I assume means all those kinds of smoke.  And there was a user interviewed on TV who said he was pleased about this move, that people would take their smoking habits elsewhere.  (Elsewhere has to be a certain distance away; I believe in Indiana they have a particular distance, 20 feet or something like that.)

      • Terry Tree Tree

        Easy, Please, Robert?   I have heard, and read FAR more ‘itiotic’ concepts, from ‘experts’, and ‘community leaders’, than what Yar advances.
          ‘Religious leaders’, that have BIG problems in other areas, say to avoid drugs, and just pray?  If some ‘religious leader’ has preyed on you, do you believe in the ‘religion’, or prayer?
           LOTS of ‘hard-core-law-enforcement-proponents, promote the incarceration of ANYONE using ANY drug material, not prescribed by a physican, AND approved by THEM!  They profit from this, in many ways?
           There are MANY more options, that I will not go into, that are more far-out than Yar’s.
           Since you and I are Volunteer Rescue Squad, are we ‘addicted’ to risky service work?

        • Drew (GA)

          Someone must have pissed in Mr. Riversong’s wheaties again this morning, it’s going to be a long day. I’d ask what has caused the ramp up in belligerence the past week or so but I have no desire to draw more fire than I already have.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            If he wants to divulge the reason for his increased irritability, I guess he will.  If not, he won’t. 
               There are FAR worse on here, most of the time.
               I enjoy reading most of his comments, because they usually are more reasoned, and more logical than some.
               Sometimes I agree, sometimes not.   THAT’s conversation.

          • Drew (GA)

            ” I enjoy reading most of his comments, because they usually are more reasoned, and more logical than some.”

            I agree but calling people idiots and morons (whether justified or not) and using profanity isn’t going to produce anything other than resentment.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            That’s why I asked him to ease up.  I responded to name-calling with name-calling, for a little bit.  It doesn’t fit my persona near as much as trying to make real points of arguement, or agreement.

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

            kasi gago ka daw at bakla ka rin sabi ni Riversong

          • jefe68

            You think? He’s a real gent.

        • Terry Tree Tree

          idiotic, NOT itiotic

      • William

        But don’t have you have a problem with the casual drug users buying drugs from criminals?

        • Steve_T

           I can’t speak for Robert, but being lied to about it all gives me a squed  view of the subject.  This is a passage on why MJ is illegal, you may realize that we have been lied to and have been enforcing a law illegally signed into law.

          Yellow Journalism
          Harry Anslinger got some additional help from William Randolf Hearst,
          owner of a huge chain of newspapers. Hearst had lots of reasons to
          help. First, he hated Mexicans. Second, he had invested heavily in the
          timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didn’t want to see
          the development of hemp paper in competition. Third, he had lost
          800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, so he hated Mexicans.
          Fourth, telling lurid lies about Mexicans (and the devil marijuana weed
          causing violence) sold newspapers, making him rich.

          Some samples from the San Francisco Examiner:

          “Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days — Hashish goads users to bloodlust.” “By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly,
          dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very
          heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in
          any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the
          insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once
          your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters.
          Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the
          mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could
          ever get him….”

          And other nationwide columns…

          “Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale
          the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this
          section, especially in country districts are laid to users of
          that drug.” “Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the
          murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim’s life
          in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country
          today are committed by DOPE SLAVES — that is a matter of cold record.”

          Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by Dupont chemical company
          and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis.
          Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The
          pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize
          cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own
          medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies.

          This all set the stage for…

          The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

          After two years of secret planning, Anslinger brought his plan to
          Congress — complete with a scrapbook full of sensational Hearst
          editorials, stories of ax murderers who had supposedly smoked marijuana,
          and racial slurs.

          It was a remarkably short set of hearings.

          The one fly in Anslinger’s ointment was the appearance by Dr. William
          C. Woodward, Legislative Council of the American Medical Association.

          Woodward started by slamming Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of
          Narcotics for distorting earlier AMA statements that had nothing to do
          with marijuana and making them appear to be AMA endorsement for
          Anslinger’s view.

          He also reproached the legislature and the Bureau for using the term
          marijuana in the legislation and not publicizing it as a bill about
          cannabis or hemp. At this point, marijuana (or marihuana) was a
          sensationalist word used to refer to Mexicans smoking a drug and had not
          been connected in most people’s minds to the existing cannabis/hemp
          plant. Thus, many who had legitimate reasons to oppose the bill weren’t
          even aware of it.

          Woodward went on to state that the AMA was opposed to the legislation
          and further questioned the approach of the hearings, coming close to
          outright accusation of misconduct by Anslinger and the committee:

          “That there is a certain amount of narcotic addiction
          of an objectionable character no one will deny. The newspapers have
          called attention to it so prominently that there must be some grounds
          for [their] statements [even Woodward was partially taken in by Hearst's propaganda]. It
          has surprised me, however, that the facts on which these statements
          have been based have not been brought before this committee by competent
          primary evidence. We are referred to newspaper publications concerning
          the prevalence of marihuana addiction. We are told that the use of
          marihuana causes crime. But yet no one has been produced from the Bureau of Prisons to show
          the number of prisoners who have been found addicted to the marihuana
          habit. An informed inquiry shows that the Bureau of Prisons has no
          evidence on that point.

          You have been told that school children are great users of marihuana
          cigarettes. No one has been summoned from the Children’s Bureau to show
          the nature and extent of the habit, among children.

          Inquiry of the Children’s Bureau shows that they have had no occasion to investigate it and know nothing particularly of it.

          Inquiry of the Office of Education— and they certainly should know
          something of the prevalence of the habit among the school children of
          the country, if there is a prevalent habit— indicates that they have had
          no occasion to investigate and know nothing of it.

          Moreover, there is in the Treasury Department itself, the Public
          Health Service, with its Division of Mental Hygiene. The Division of
          Mental Hygiene was, in the first place, the Division of Narcotics. It
          was converted into the Division of Mental Hygiene, I think, about 1930.
          That particular Bureau has control at the present time of the narcotics
          farms that were created about 1929 or 1930 and came into operation a few
          years later. No one has been summoned from that Bureau to give evidence
          on that point.

          Informal inquiry by me indicates that they have had no record of any
          marihuana of Cannabis addicts who have ever been committed to those

          The bureau of Public Health Service has also a division of
          pharmacology. If you desire evidence as to the pharmacology of Cannabis,
          that obviously is the place where you can get direct and primary
          evidence, rather than the indirect hearsay evidence.”

          Committee members then proceeded to attack Dr. Woodward, questioning
          his motives in opposing the legislation. Even the Chairman joined in:

          The Chairman: If you want to advise us on legislation, you ought to
          come here with some constructive proposals, rather than criticism,
          rather than trying to throw obstacles in the way of something that the
          Federal Government is trying to do. It has not only an unselfish motive
          in this, but they have a serious responsibility.
          Dr. Woodward: We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman, why this
          bill should have been prepared in secret for 2 years without any
          intimation, even, to the profession, that it was being prepared.

          After some further bantering…

          The Chairman: I would like to read a quotation from a recent editorial in the Washington Times:
          The marihuana cigarette is one of the most insidious of
          all forms of dope, largely because of the failure of the public to
          understand its fatal qualities.

          The Nation is almost defenseless against it, having no Federal laws
          to cope with it and virtually no organized campaign for combating it.

          The result is tragic.

          School children are the prey of peddlers who infest school neighborhoods.

          High school boys and girls buy the destructive weed without knowledge
          of its capacity of harm, and conscienceless dealers sell it with

          This is a national problem, and it must have national attention.

          The fatal marihuana cigarette must be recognized as a deadly drug, and American children must be protected against it.
          That is a pretty severe indictment. They say it is a national
          question and that it requires effective legislation. Of course, in a
          general way, you have responded to all of these statements; but that
          indicates very clearly that it is an evil of such magnitude that it is
          recognized by the press of the country as such.

          And that was basically it. Yellow journalism won over medical science.

          The committee passed the legislation on. And on the floor of the house, the entire discussion was:

          Member from upstate New York: “Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?”
          Speaker Rayburn: “I don’t know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it’s a narcotic of some kind.”
          “Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?”
          Member on the committee jumps up and says: “Their Doctor Wentworth[sic] came down here. They support this bill 100 percent.”

          And on the basis of that lie, on August 2, 1937, marijuana became illegal at the federal level.

      • Gregg

        Many addictions do not involve drugs. You are confusing the two.

    • Ellen Dibble

      A big problem with jail or more particularly prison is that the population involved can make the subject less able to function legally in the outside.  It’s a perfect School for Anti-Civilization, it seems to me.  If you want to live a socially meaningful life among people who have made their way by thwarting the rules, the norms, you will “do in Rome as the Romans do,” as the saying goes.   You might absorb some of the modus operandi of the guards as well, which being based on absolute authority in the last analysis, is probably not much better.  

          So what sort of people does one find in a rehab facility?   People on probation are often, very often, given a condition of probation a course of rehab.  I believe one thing they teach you at rehab is to avoid the people who use, the places where people use, that sort of thing.  So would that be the people you meet at rehab?  Not so much.  Better to condemn them to something extremely fun, like a debating team, something totally involving but not so high-stress that it tends to derail you.  It has to have its own de-stressors built in.  I suppose relationships should be like that too.  Lots of fun, organized in a meaningful, involving way, but with outlets, punctuation points.  Design it like dance, with time and energy never bottled up in destructive ways.  

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    The big problem is the People who catch the criminals are the once re-selling those confiscated narcotics back in the streets.

    that’s why it is a never ending battle. Money is very addictive worst than those drugs. Where there is money there are drugs (or prostitutes).

  • Michiganjf

    It is social and economic insanity to pursue the prohibition of drugs.

    Countless excellent, well-reasoned and well-substantiated arguments have been made for the legalization of drugs.
    ZERO such arguments have been made for prohibition, the ONLY legitimate reason being the pervasive, intimidating presence of a police state which keeps the populace in fear… remove prohibition, and 80% of ALL crime will disappear almost instantly, while organized crime will cease to exist. Viable criminal “organization” cannot exist solely on the profits of human traffiking.

    This will become one of the GREAT DEBATES of the 21st century… the debate has already begun and will soon pound sense into the heads of our ignorant and mis-guided politicians.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The U.S. has been debating it for over 70 years, and this is the best we’ve done so far.
         Obviously, various governments have PROFITED, in many ways, while the problem has GROWN!
         SERIOUS consideration of methods that WORK, in other places, needs to be done!

  • Terry Tree Tree

    BIG Money controls our Drug Policies!  A LOT of that BIG Money comes from the various Drug Providers, that PROFIT from the drug trade, in one way or other?
       I have read and heard that drug-related crimes are almost non-existent in The Netherlands, and other countries, where drugs are legal.  This needs serious attention.
       I am NOT advocating for legalizing drugs, just giving serious attention and consideration to ALL possible solutions.
       Twenty years ago, I went to our Sherrif’s Office, to obtain a picture of Marijuana plants, for a family member to be able to look out for it on the family member’s property.  About 30 pieces of literature, of various length and cost, but NO  color picture of pot!  HOW does Law Enforcement expect a law-abiding citizen to AVOID, or REPORT marijuana, when they don’t know what to look for?
       WHAT good were all those tax-payer-supplied publications?  MOST of them were just re-wording of the same information, WITHOUT a color picture?

    • Drew (GA)

      If you educated the public regarding what are currently considered illegal narcotics in this country you wouldn’t be able to justify the ridiculous amounts of money each year spent on enfarcement (sic). Someone find me a statistic for the amount of money spent on fuel and maintenance costs for the helicopters that are constantly flying over rural areas in search of Devil Weed. You can’t, just like you can’t get an accurate account of the amount of money and resources we have poured into the failed Drug War. The most dangerous drugs in this country are the ones that have been over prescribed and deemed perfectly legal. Don’t believe me? Research the number of deaths from cocaine, heroine, marijuana, lsd, and pcp combined over the past decade and then compare that with the number of deaths resulting from abuse of prescription drugs. The marijuana crusade is the biggest insult of all. Not one documented death resulting from overdose in human history. How many are sitting in jail draining desperately needed resources as we speak for marijuana related offenses? I don’t condone or practice the use of what are currently considered illegal narcotics in the US but I certainly would never presume to tell another what they can and cannot do in the privacy of their homes when no minors are present.

      • Terry Tree Tree

        You have some good points to consider.

        • Drew (GA)

          Thanks. I probably should have posted as a comment as opposed to a reply but I was compelled by your description of an inability to get accurate information.

          • Terry Tree Tree

            Glad to stimulate a thought-out reply.   You could also post as a comment?

          • Drew (GA)

            I usually try to avoid repetition but I’ll re-post as a comment.

  • Arydberg

    The problem is not Mexico.    The problem is not our use of drugs.    The problem is the steadfast refusal by Washington  to do anything at all.    Witness the success of our governments in getting people off cigarettes.    It was phenomenal.   If they desired to it they could do it again.    They do not want to.    The only conclusion possible is that powerful forces in our government profit from the drug trade.   

    • Ellen Dibble

      The prison system and the pharmaceutical companies would be among those profiting, and plenty of the under-the-radar population include nontaxable commerce in their ways of getting along, so I suppose we can thank the illegal drug economy for that.  Don’t forget the addictions to misuse of prescription drugs.  

    • Terry Tree Tree

      They get CONTROL of people, too!

    • James

      It’s not that these “powerful forces” are in any way 
      mysterious, as you seem to imply. Obviously, the DEA and other law enforcement agencies get huge amounts of funding to fight the unwinnable war on drugs. Not to mention the prison industry and makers of weapons and sensor technologies. No mystery here… a lot of parties are getting rich off this insane drug war.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      that’s what I said about having Anti-drug ads on television and majority said it doesn’t work. if the anti-cigarettes ad were success I think it will help the American society accept that heavy drugs are also bad for our health.

  • Mary

    We’re fighting this was to the last Mexican, and not doing enough to get people treatment who want it.  Jails while not good solution, are a solution that feels good. so that’s the option we take

  • AC

    may i ask what the arguments are AGAINST legalizing drugs?
    I can’t imagine there are that many people who really want to do them, are there? I’m kind of a straight edge person myself, tho i do partake of caffeines and medications when needed :)

    • Drew (GA)

      You can ask but it’s unlikely you’ll get a straight answer and that’s the problem isn’t it? At least you’re asking though, that’s something.

    • Ellen Dibble

      I don’t know about now, but in the hippy era, late 1960s, doing drugs was considered a right of passage, a way of guaranteeing that you were disconnected from the sh*t that your parents and your education had filled your head with.  At the time, there was good sense to the idea that we had been brain-washed.  The whole culture was on the cusp of changing from a mentality organized to fight a world war to one organized for something else — which turned out, around 1980, to be “organized for profit.”  The idea was you had to shake up your wits in order to realize that garden-variety perception would get you nowhere.  

          I was presented with that kind of argument often, and my own mentality was such that I knew full well that my mentality was well shaken up already, and would not be improved by any toxic shake-up, not at all.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      The dangers to children and other innocent VICTIMS?

      • AC

        i don’t disagree, but i think they are in more danger as is. at least there would be manufacturing regulations in place….
        wasn’t there even a woman who sold her 6yr old daughter for drugs recently? she ended up dying (the child) that’s how they caught the woman…

        ok, the argument can be that the daughter will still be sold for something else this delightful example of a parent wants, but – the percentage of awful people has to be low….it’s too depressing otherwise. & i’ve heard there is pain involved with withdrawal & how many products can that woman possibly be addicted to that would make her cross that social taboo?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        Those children are more likely to be physically and mentally abuse by their parents.  I know because a lot of my friends smoke pot their kids are now in College and some are working.

        Those kids so their parents smoke pot or roll a joint but they grew up without any cig or drinking habits.

        it is the parents not the pot that will destroy a family.

  • Michiganjf

    Guzman’s longevity means he is certainly protected by government officials at all levels… many extremely wealthy, powerful, and influential people will undoubtedly be found on Guzman’s payroll, voluntarily or not.

    • Drew (GA)

      Well they have to make sure they maintain their cocaine habit don’t they? It’s voluntary the majority of the time, if the cocaine doesn’t get you the dollar signs will.

  • J__o__h__n

    People are going to use drugs no matter what actions the government takes to stop them.  Some fools even sniff glue.  This failed policy isn’t worth the crime, violence, and loss of civil liberties.  Politicians are too timid of being seen as not being tough on drugs so we aren’t going to get a sensible policy.  Legalize them, tax them, and prohibit people who operate machinery or other such jobs from using them. 

  • Ellen Dibble

    Has Mr. Keefe estimated the corruptive effect of drug dealing on our own law enforcement?  They say that drugs can always be smuggled into prisons, and there must be complicit guards to do that.  And on the street, police departments have confidential informants, people who may have bargained for lighter sentences by offering to use their familiarity with the underworld to bring in information.  They are double agents in a way, and there is huge opportunity for the police to be corrupted along the way if they are going to play that game, and how can they not?  If a police department wants a bead on the actions of the Mexican cartel in their particular locality, the idea is to go along with it, be part of it, even with “contacts” like that, not necessarily formal ones, and then when a big fish comes along, you can catch it, if it seems like a good idea.  But they might prefer knowledge and control to catching the occasional fish.

  • Hidan

    Drug dealing is the purest form of reaganomics and laissez faire suprised the republicans are so against something that has no Too big to fail and only the smartest can stay on top.

    Gangland has some great stories on how many Drug Gangs set-up there Organization like a CEO would in a fortune 500

  • Simmonscriii

    Yup, if we didn’t want’em they couldn’t sell’em.  If we wanted carrots the cartels would be smuggling carrots.  Why does this country so blessed w/ so many good things of life turn to all variety of drugs to find “fun”? 

    • AC

      i saw a documentary once where the animals specifically stop at a fermented fruit tree! it’s not just humans!


      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat


  • Mary

    The Narco corridos also don’t help things, – glamorizing these thugs and violent criminals.

  • Tony

    Isn’t it obvious that the drug war does more damage than the drugs themselves? The US once had enough commonsense to end the prohibition on alcohol; why is it that today these endless, unresolvable wars are tolerated? Both the human and financial cost of the war on drugs are intolerable and untenable. 

  • Amontero34

    There are a number of counterfactuals in your discussion.
    1. Sinaloa is not the only cartel that is fully diversified.
    2. Sinaloa’s market share has been decreasing recently.
    3. The Zetas are the most violent cartel, this is not debatable.
    4. The low estimates are widely thought to be garbage to researchers.
    5. Sinaloa’s violence has been increasing since the 2006 crackdown and especially since the Zetas have been competing for market share.
    6. There are significantly more that 50,000 killed since 2006. That is according to statistics produced by the Mexican government (largely thought to be an underestimate).

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      Vanguard TV when to Mexico to report on the Cartel.
      Vanguard witnessed 5 different homocide in a span of 8 hours in Mexico. Mexicans cops said that’s low for that day.

  • Julia

    So pray tell, who is it in the Federal and State governments on the United States’ side of the border that is turning a  blind eye? You speak of corruption in Mexico, but with such a vast operation going on inside our borders, I find it hard to believe that there is not corruption here, too, allowing these operations.

  • Esparza Alejandra

    I have not yet read the article in full, but important here is also to look critically not only at the drug lords and cartels themselves but how the drug economy trickles down to every single sector of life in Mexico– how money is laundered, how certain parts of govenment —secretaria de comunicaciones y transportes, the people that are hired to run those posts  etc.

  • Noam Trotsky

    As far as fighting the war on drugs, sometimes a fellah has to know when he’s been licked.

  • Aliasdandavis

    Any thoughts on the idea that Mexico is edging toward failed state and that these cartels are emerging as a new form of government? Perhaps, Mexico is already in the grip of a civil war and the US people could change our response to to this situation accordingly.

  • Tina

    And the Republicans speak about “markets” as if they are the next thing to godliness!! 

  • amazon

    I stopped supporting violence to humans via recreational drug purchases in the 1970s.  I stopped supporting cruelty to animals via meat purchases in the 1990s.  Each of us contributes to the world we have. 

    • Adks12020

      I guess it depends on where you buy both what kind of contribution you make.  When home town friends have large expanses of woods for marijuana cultivation and other home town friends run organic, free range farms it’s a little easier to feel ok about both.

    • Tina

      A lot of young people seem very enlightened on so many topics:  gay rights, etc.  Yet … too many do NOT seem to be enlightened in the ways you describe and exhibit.  If only young people could see what violence their drug use causes, this “market” could fail! Meanwhile, way too many comedy shows and comedy acts glorify drug use with NO reference to the attendant violence.  Not funny! 

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        Being gay is not a sin. the Bible said it is but should I believe a book that was created by the Council Of Nicea or the gay person who never did anything wrong to our society. His only sin is being Gay according to the religious people.

    • Tina

      Strange!  I sent you a reply, but it disappeared!  An attempt to say the same thing again:

      So many young people are so enlightened today, for instance, their support of gay rights.  Yet, I don’t hear of any mainstream attitude that suggests the level of enlightenment that you obtained:  “I stopped supporting violence to humans via recreational drug purchases…”

      If this attitude could go mainstream, perhaps the drug “market” could fail!  Meanwhile, comedy shows on TV (and elsewhere) glorify drug use, when the total context of drug use is NOT funny — it’s violent and tragic!  Too much of the rest of our American “culture” glorifies drug use — can your attitude of enlightenment be heard for all the privileged laughter?  I hope and think it can!  Thanks!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1270475378 Ellen Blanchette

    This is the latest tragic result of our so called “war on drugs.” For forty years the US government has tried to stop drugs from coming into our country and has made some pathetic attempt to stop people from buying and using drugs. The violence on the Mexican side of the border is horrible. The failure of the drug policy is obvious. Now, with the violence right across our border, I would hope that a more honest view of the marijuana trade would take place. Marijuana is not addictive, not harmful, has been shown to be of medical value and should simply be made legally available and regulated much as alcohol is. It’s worth noting that alcohol is at the root of many highway deaths, causes serious medical harm and is addictive. We tried making it illegal and it was a disaster. So is the prohibition of marijuana because it is used by so many people in spite of it being illegal. All of those people are drawn into illegal behavior  and that has become acceptable and common in many communities in our country. This is very bad for us. We need to find a way out of this trap.

  • Rosa

    I am Mexican, but I moved to Connecticut a few months ago because of my husband’s work. I read this kind of articles all the time, I listen to radio shows, I watch videos about this problem, but then, I hear my son sharing what his new classmates talk about at school: regular drug use… It seems normal, ordinary, even accepted. It makes me crazy! My son doesn’t get it, I don’t get it. All the violence and corruption in Mexico, and all these kids enjoying their afternoons… illegaly!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      There are towns in Massachusetts that weed or marijuana are just everyday habits. Police officers at those  town will just confiscate the marijuana and let that person go but some rich towns don’t tolerate pot smoking.

    • Pagassae

      You make an excellent example for legalizing it…and all drugs. The US policy is insane at best.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      Just make sure it is only Marijuana if it’s coke or meth your son has to stop or his life will be hard.

       I am also a parent I know how it feels.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    Ang damo ay hindi dapat tawagin droga kasi ito ay gawa ng diyos. Kapag ang coca at mga chemical ng iginagamit sa pag gawa ng illegal ng droga itoy masama.

  • Jose Aire

    If you’d like to read a fictionalized account of Mexico’s war on the cartels, take a look at Blood, Death, Drugs & Sex in Old Mexico: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/167226

  • Sky

    50,000 Mexicans have died because of Chapo.  Who knows how many Americans have died from the drugs he pushes?  This man and his cartel are a greater threat to our national security than Al Queda could dream to be.  Go after him and his henchman with the real tools of war:  drones and special ops teams.  A violation of international law?  Get a lawyer like John Yoo to write a memo justifying it.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      The Mexican people knows it is dangerous to work for Chapo or the Mexican Cartel but they have to do it in order for them to survive and feed their families.

      There was a Mexican kid that his only job is to kill other dealers or suppliers. He said he get paid thousands of dollars to kill someone.

      He said: he does not regret killing those people. because the people that he killed are the people who are also evil.

  • Adrian from RI

    Of all the idiotic actions our government is engaged in, the War on Drugs must be the most idiotic and destructive action by far. When oh when will we come to our senses? When will we realize that the War on Drugs does infinitely more harm than the drugs themselves?

    Also, how old does one have to be before one becomes an adult, becomes an independent being free to make one’s own decisions however stupid? Let those who act stupid suffer the consequences of their actions. However, the War on Drugs fills our jails and makes us all suffer.

    Please remember, prohibition corrupted only the American justice system. The War on Drugs is corrupting governments around the world and pouring billions of dollars in the coffers of organized crime and terrorist organizations.

    Legalize the stuff like we did with alcohol and the price will collapse and that would destroy the illegal drug business. Our congressmen and senators do for free what lobbyists for drug lords would gladly pay them millions for; namely, keep the drug laws as they are.

    I remember reading in Time 9/27/10 p. 63 that Atlantic City bigwigs in 1920 were celebrating the coming boom that would surely follow Prohibition. They made a toast “To those beautiful, ignorant bastards!” Criminals around the world are still toasting those ignorant bastards in Washington.
    So, I repeat my question: When will we come to our senses and legalize drugs as we finally did with alcohol?

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

      Only Marijuana not coke, bath, crack, shabu or meth.

      • AC

        you’ve been saying this, but why? that doesn’t make sense. pot smokers sit on couches and eat junk food, seriously, i wonder why Frito Lay doesn’t lobby on their behalf!
        but they’re not really in the same ‘class’ as the drugs that are creating this ridiculous cycle of violence…

        • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

          That is a misconception about smoking pot that a smoker will crave for muncheese or be lazy. There is a documentary film about pot smoking i think directed by the “Super Size Me” director.

          • AC

            fair enough, but you still have not explained this statement that ‘only’ pot should be legalized. you have said that in several posts, but w/o an argument, so i’m curious why you think this…

          • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

            Because as far as I know there are positive medical facts about Cannabis Sativa. I want to write more about it but next time. sorry

          • AC

            no, that’s ok. i really don’t care about pot. my focus was on profitting off illegal markets…

    • Terry Tree Tree

      I am concerned, and question the dangers to children and other innocent victims?
        Although I can agree with adult decisions, what about those that are ‘hooked’ by someone slipping addictive drugs to them?
         A family member was born an alcoholic, due to mother’s alcoholism and consumption.  Babies are now born addicts.
         What do you propose for them?

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        Children are more in danger for being mentally and physically abuse by their parents than marijuana. 

        if the parents are violent or alcoholic there are possibilities of those parents hurting their kids.

        if you smoke pot will you let your kids smell the smoke or tell them to leave and go somewhere else? The same with smoking cigarettes.

        • Ashley Yoshida

          We have to improve our society so people don’t feel the need to “Check-out” with drugs, cigarettes, OR alcohol (or food). The drugs and alcohol problems, and obesity epidemic are all symptoms of a much bigger problem. Legalizing drugs is not the answer.  In Amsterdam marijuana  and hash are legal and they have a terrible heroin problem.  In France, there’s no drinking age and they are having a national crisis of teenage alcoholics.  Making the opiates legal is not the answer.  Making the world a place people don’t want to escape from is what we have to do.

  • Pagassae

    The US learns nothing from history. The 18th Amendment was a failure, and so too is the foolish “War on Drugs”. The intellectually bankrupt US government is to blame.

    • Tjones

       Did you hear that, Obama?

      • Pagassae

        Or the tone deaf liar named Romney?

        • Drew (GA)

          I didn’t know he was tone deaf.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BVPFPAE5HFEXDW2TLKKRN4TK3U greatandmightyrulerofallhappin

        Yes, Obama is “the U.S. government”. And David Stern is “the National Basketball Association”, Roger Goodell is “the National Football League” and  George Clooney is “Hollywood”. (Insert rolling-eyes emoticon here.)

    • Alan in NH

       Wouldn’t you say the electorate bears some responsibility in this situation? We keep electing officials that support this foolishness. Who are the fools?

      • Pagassae

        Of course the electorate bears ultimate responsibility for the type of corrupt evil doers we have in Congress. How does one motivate an obese, under informed group of fools…aka the American electorate, to put down their remote controls, get off their fat asses, and learn how their government works? As opposed to worshiping and over paying sports thugs?

        • Drew (GA)

          “As opposed to worshiping and over paying sports thugs?”

          And actors/celebrities, and bankers, and politicians, and financiers, and traders, and brokers, and lawyers, etc.. Everyone except those that are the backbone and the majority of the population. We love everything but ourselves it seems which would go a long way toward explaining our constant need for distraction.

    • Drew (GA)

      It’s not just the US which learns nothing from history which is why we continue to repeat it globally.

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    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

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      Take your unsolicited ware hocking somewhere else. I like the fact that the site is usually loosely moderated except when a Snake-Oil salesman such as yourself comes along.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

        Take it easy man!!! he is just making a living.

        • Ashleyyoshida

           Too many anonymous people “just making a living” are destroying the environment and quality of life for everyone else.  I agree this is DEFINITELY not a place for advertising.  It’s an affront.

          • Ashley Yoshida

             The narcos also consider themselves as “Just making a living”.

        • Drew (GA)

          Take it easy? I think you misinterpreted my comment. I did not yell nor did I use inflammatory language. As Ashleyyoshida correctly states this an affront to OP and the board, all I did was point that out.

        • Drew (GA)

          Bots don’t make a living, their creators do. All you have to do is take a look at it’s profile and comment activity. Hopefully a moderator will do just that.

  • Steve_T

    Reasons for our  War on Drugs. I can’t believe that in this day an age we still buy by the ton, crap from our representatives. It seems we will believe anything, except our own history.


  • Drew (GA)

    If you educated the public regarding what are currently considered illegal narcotics in this country you wouldn’t be able to justify the ridiculous amounts of money each year spent on enfarcement (sic). Someone find me a statistic for the amount of money spent on fuel and maintenance costs for the helicopters that are constantly flying over rural areas in search of Devil Weed. You can’t, just like you can’t get an accurate account of the amount of money and resources we have poured into the failed Drug War. The most dangerous drugs in this country are the ones that have been over prescribed and deemed perfectly legal. Don’t believe me? Research the number of deaths from cocaine, heroine, marijuana, lsd, and pcp combined over the past decade and then compare that with the number of deaths resulting from abuse of prescription drugs. The marijuana crusade is the biggest insult of all. There is not one documented death resulting from overdose in human history. How many are sitting in jail draining desperately needed resources as we speak for marijuana related offenses? I don’t condone or practice the use of what are currently considered illegal narcotics in the US but I certainly would never presume to tell another what they can and cannot do in the privacy of their homes when no minors are present.

    • the electorate

       Probably why you’ve never been elected; no one cares about your presumptions.

      • Alan in NH

         but I don’t see you responding to any of Drew’s arguments…

      • jefe68

        The drone doth protest too much, methinks.

      • Drew (GA)

        It might have more to do with the fact that I have never run for any office, but that’s just my opinion. If you’d wanted my opinion though you would have given it to me wouldn’t you?

        Drone Strike? pft. Strike Out is more like it, hit the bench Troll.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_QME6C6XTBAYFEJP2GYDH3VQEMU Beat

    The American people should ask the Pharmaceutical companies to purchase land to plant marijuana and sell them.

    They’re already selling heavy prescription drugs to minor to battle anxiety in children (i never know at the age 0f 6 that kids are already depress but not really).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BVPFPAE5HFEXDW2TLKKRN4TK3U greatandmightyrulerofallhappin

    When your guest spoke of his fascination with the pervasiveness and sophistication of the Mexican drug business I immediately thought of the pervasiveness and sophistication of the propaganda cooperative between the media, the government, the alcohol industry and big pharma that demonized and ultimately criminalized marijuana more than half a century ago. Talk about fascination with the efficaciousness of a large, dishonest and self-interested collective entity and their ability to create a new reality to enrich themselves! I mean, these people created a lie that they still enforce and that is entrenched in the face all facts which points against its suppositions. Of course, here at On Point and in every venue that portends to give light to this subject, those liars on this side of the issue are never demonized, exposed or named. It is simply left unsaid time and time again. 

    • Portend

       Proving that you appear to be on the losing side of this debate, somewhat like Bob Riverbleat on most topics, who also tries to sound smart.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BVPFPAE5HFEXDW2TLKKRN4TK3U greatandmightyrulerofallhappin

        Wow, that’s quite an articulate denunciation of my intelligence! What is it? A couple of sentence fragments mashed together into a run-on sentence all while being devoid of any single thought? Very formidable. I’d hate to meet you in a debate. 

    • Drew (GA)

      Nice comment, missed this earlier. You said that you “immediately thought of the pervasiveness and sophistication of the propaganda cooperative between the media, the government, the alcohol industry and big pharma that demonized and ultimately criminalized marijuana more than half a century ago.” The factors you describe certainly have contributed to perpetuation of the crusade against marijuana, they were not the factors that led to initial criminalization though. Google Harry J. Anslinger or check out the link I’ll provide below. Also, I’m providing a link for a documentary I found to be very informative. Though I don’t use or condone the use of marijuana I have tried to learn something about it over the years to try to understand why it has created such a nightmare in this country. The lumber industry is another perpetrator though you will rarely hear that mentioned.



      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BVPFPAE5HFEXDW2TLKKRN4TK3U greatandmightyrulerofallhappin

        I’m very aware of Anslinger. Indeed, when I put “government” in my list of entities culpable for the outright lies used to criminalize marijuana, Anslinger would be the name behind that “government” indictment. What I find fascinating about the man is the blatant nature of his use of power to create a problem which then perpetuates his power. That is, when the teetotalers of the Prohibition movement realized the futility of their desires and relinquished to the inevitable, endorsing the repeal of the 18th Amendment, Anslinger’s reign was at an end… Unless there was a new evil substance for him to protect hapless Americans from. Enter his crusade to convince people of a problem which didn’t exist. So the beginning of his crusade against marijuana literally coincided with what would have been the end of his immense power during the years of Prohibition. He is a quintessential example of an amoral opportunist who cares nothing at all for destroying others as long as it enriches himself. And, stunningly, that debased will which he personified still runs amok nearly 9 decades later. It’s remarkable how many similarly minded individuals in love with their own quest for power have taken up the baton and advanced it in the face of all facts which indicate against their convictions. 

        • Drew (GA)

          Nice! I figured you were probably well aware of Anslinger’s role in the fiasco but thought many others may not be. Thanks for the well spoken reply!

  • Drone

    If nothing else, the last two days have proven Mexico to be a failed state.  The real question is, when will the president use our technology to eliminate the drug lords?  We certainly have the capability.

    • Max

       You can kill even a king with a drone. You can’t eradicate an ant colony that way. So don’t think that way. It doesn’t work. Please show me one military solution that solved a serious domestic problem.

      • Peter Ohlssen

        And… tehre you go. We do what we want just IF we want to: are we going to invade Mexico to eradicate the drug cartels? Who’s going to take care of the millions of Americans who depend on their business (mind you, they’re not immigrants, they’re American consumers!!!!)

    • Drew (GA)

      “If nothing else, the last two days have proven Mexico to be a failed state”

      If nothing else, the last decade has proven The United States of America to be a failed state.

      Quoted from the provided link: “Typically, the term means that the state has been rendered ineffective and is not able to enforce its laws uniformly because of (variously) high crime rates, extreme political corruption, an impenetrable and ineffective bureaucracy, judicial ineffectiveness, military interference in politics, and cultural situations in which traditional leaders wield more power than the state over a certain area.”


  • Juliasmith

    what really bothers me about this issue is that USA has no problems rejecting immigrants crossing, trying to get a better life cause it’s impossible to live in their home cities while this country is the main consumer of the drugs produced by this cartel.

    you can’t have someone doing the job for you and call yourself completely not responsible for the mess being made.

  • http://twitter.com/Jillikoi Jillian Dyer

    While I enjoy their products, I always try to buy local. 

    (Disclaimer – This is purely hypothetical. I would buy local if I did indeed occasionally indulge in such things. Which, of course, I do not).

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_SJGAGBG34OPWWP7TCU5DPUNXJA Linda Wilson

    Britain and China once fought an actual drug war, The Opium Wars.  No one would dare suggest it was the fault of China’s drug addicts.  British merchants were clearly to blame for pushing their drugs to the Chinese to get access to Chinese goods.

    China wasn’t able to break opium’s hold until the Communists enforced brutal laws against drug users, after decades of exploitation by the British.  I sometimes wonder if their current trade war with the West is in retaliation for those British abuses.

    • Terry Tree Tree

      YOU’ve heard of the Boxer Rebellion?  Know the part the U.S. played in it?  After?
          British and French colonizers got Chinese workers, and Indian workers addicted to opium, for Control, and cheap labor.   I’m sure it was done elsewhere.   I don’t know about U.S. involvement in addicting workers.  After reading part of General Smedley Butler, U.S.M.C.’s book “War is a Racket”, I wouldn’t doubt Capitalists’ involvement.

      • Warren

        When you capitalize you are yelling.You are having Hissy Fits.Many have asked you to knock it off.Show some respect to your fellow posters.PLEEEEEEEEEZE#

  • Jzancronan

    Shameful, Shameful, Shameful.  Your may not have glorified the drug trade leadership and distribution but you spent the program highlighting it.  What about the DEMAND side! Clearly on a very fundamental level Americans NEED the drugs the Mexican narco traffickers are able to supply so efficiently.  That is the one and only reason the business is so profitable.  As shown on “The Wire”, retail drug dealers are able to exploit the weakness and desperation  of impoverish inner city residents.  But I have observed over the past 50 years that drug use is an important part of socialization at all American socioeconomic levels.  Drugs, for many people especially the young, are a highly regarded social lubricant.  As a nation we do not have the guts to admit that fact and the media, including NPR, chooses not to expose that fact to the light of day. 
    More than once, this program referred to over 50,000 drug violence deaths in Mexico.  What about drug overdose deaths in this country, the billions of dollars in lost productivity, and the million of families damaged by drug abuse?  Do we just chalk that up to the cost of doing business?  Drug dependence like credit addiction is a hidden component of the national character.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_BVPFPAE5HFEXDW2TLKKRN4TK3U greatandmightyrulerofallhappin

      And what about the 70,000 deaths from alcohol in this country every year? (As opposed to 5000 deaths a year from all illegal drugs combined.) Not to mention the illnesses and violence associated with the drug of alcohol. Of course, all of those ills are indeed the cost of doing business. Legal and profitable business. But when is there a story about the exorbitant cost to this nation of the legalized and ubiquitous drug of alcohol. Aren’t those who demand this drug culpable for the massive destruction it causes? Without them there wouldn’t be a liquor store on every corner and a beer section in every super market. You make good points but lets expand them to all relevant players in our society’s addiction to being in an inebriated state.

      • Still Here

        Don’t forget potato chips!

      • feettothefire

        Anyone who would support the continued legal status of alcohol consumption while insisting on the continued illegal status of all these other things is either confused about his own motives for believing this way, or he just loves the tax dollars from alcohol. On the other hand, maybe he simply likes to drink, which would mean his deadly substance of choice gets a pass.

  • Peter Ohlssen

    Hi Tom, and all involved.
    Truly… how is it possible not to acknowledge, first of all, our capacity for consuming more drugs than the whole world combined. If there’s an in-depth inquiry to develop a good documentary report on this issue, please try to go to some historical themes that have led to the actual narco situation. First of all, the “importing” of Chinese opium labourers to Sinaloa decided by the governments of the US and Mexico as a necessity to provide opium to the front during WWI. Afterwards, both governments didn’t know what to do with a growing population that increasingly influenced the state economy with their skills as farmers and businessmen. No one even attempts to go deeper into the stage in which the northern Mexican state of Sinaloa turned against the Chinese and an extremely violent phase of discrimination against their kin that almost wiped them from Mexico. Or the amazing riches forged during that period by Chinese businessmen that are still amongst the most powerful men in the region. And the transfer of power. And the influence of both countries in facilitating the process of smuggling drugs into the US. The multi-billion dollar arms business in the US to arm the Mexican druglords. The untouchable status of many Americans that head the drug business. The thousands of children and young people on the streets of L.A., New York, Chicago, Miami, Lincoln, Little Rock, Detroit, Portland, Sacramento or Annapolis are used by our own druglords, and how they, sometimes, support their families and drive beemers, armed to the teeth. And how many a party in Manhattan, full of Wall Street do-gooders-white-collared-executives is welcomed with a bowl full of the purest cocaine. 

    In the end, we have to accept the fact that as long there is such a huge demand as ours, our borders will be open to everything we ask for.

    As Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, former President of Bolivia told CNN after a bold question from the reporter about how they made ends meet with such poverty, -knowing there were tons of money coming from the coca leaf business: “Oh, I really can’t say a thing about it! I have no influence on these trees that grow here!”

    Tom: I love your program. I listen to it every day since I don’t know when. But, please, when going into topics that really need an in-depth investigation… we have to do it! Something akin to the magnificent series Sasha did on Alzheimer. And, especially, if we’re talking to the Nation. We deserve this kind of opinion programmes: to make them really work, we need voices, lots of voices that can tell the whole story, not just a partial view of something so important. There are many published investigations on both sides of the border. It would be a blockbuster series! 

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  • Still Here

    WH takes executive privilege in fast and furious! Nice transparency!

    • Warren

      The Warrior who was killed was armed with a Bean Bag Gun.The Dept.of Justice is now the Dept.of Social Justice

  • Warren

    What’s the difference between Chapo and Al Capone.Not a thing.Mexico is my favorite country in the world.Don’t codemn them,they are supplying the American Market.Legalize Pot,and keep Heroin and the highly addictive drugs illegal.Forget Cocaine,now that American Psychiatrists and the Social Workers of the Industrial Social Service Complex have discovered Adderol,the market’s flat.
         Bruce Babbit,Mike Bloomberg,Bill Bradly,”W”,Bill Clinton,Paul Cellucci,Lincoln Chafee,Every KENNEDY SINCE TIME IMMEMORIAL,Lawton Chiles,Cuomo,Howard Dean,John Edwards,Newt,Al Gore,John Kerry Barack,Sara Palin,the Governator,and on and on and on.Who are they you ask?.They are all admitted Loadies.
            I always thought Rocket Man an honest man.If they’d drug tested the Solons who sat in Judgement,half would come up dirty.Now they’re after Lance Armstrong.He’s come up clean on everyone of the 500 times he’s been tested.

  • Warren

    As for American Drug Dealers give them school vouchers so they can get an education.Reintroduce the Nuclear family.Drug Dealing is the only avenue we afford.Democrats are all for choice,except for the schools.

  • Paul

    Hi Tom, 

    Thank you for this great story on the Mexican drug cartel. At some point in the story Keith mentioned that “Chapo” is like a CEO and that his cartel is run like Amazon and UPS. He also stated that the estimated  annual revenue is 3-4 billion dollars (conservative value).  If that is the case then what percentage of that profit is leaking back in the global and US economy. I would think with the small army of men they maintain and these jet planes and other expensive toys they are buying are keeping a few companies afloat in this dismal economy. (may not be a lot, but someone who is running a legitimate business is benefiting). Also, if the US is a major consumer and we have not made any headway in winning this war. Perhaps we should focus our taxpayer resources in stopping the consumers from taking these drugs.  For example, we’ve spent an excess of 39 billion dollars on the “War on drugs”. If we took that money and divided  it by the total number of people in the US between the age of 5-75 group we might have a better chance in deterring people from using drugs.   That is, if our goal is to stop Americans from using drugs. Another method maybe to reward those kids who are in school (elementary, high school, college) who voluntary get themselves tested each quarter. It may sound like a joke, but the joke is the “war on drugs” is certainly not working.  

  • feettothefire

    No substance consumed by humans has caused more death, heartache, and hardship than alcohol. Yet, it remains a legally consumed substance, as it should. We should all be allowed to infuse our lives with however much  heartache we wish. It’s none of the governments business. But, every time some jackass claims the WAR ON DRUGS is necessary, and these various substances must remain illegal, he fails to explain the reasons why the most insidious of them all gets an exemption. If the motive behind the silly war on drugs is to protect us from their horrible effects on our lives and our society, then we must apply the same standard to alcohol, the worst of them all. But, of course, we don’t. We’re free to drink ourselves into oblivion. We watch tens of thousands of people being killed every year by drunk drivers. We watch even more die from the destructive health consequences of alcoholism. I throw the word hypocrisy around quite a bit on this forum. But this is the granddaddy of them all. Alcohol is legal, while these other things are not. Any politician who suggested the slightest possibility of controlling it more tightly, even despite the terrible toll it takes on our society, would be out on his ass before he could finish his sloe gin fizz.  Oh, and they also love the tax dollars alcohol brings into government coffers.                                              When a significant number of these phoney-baloney WAR ON DRUGS supporters declare that alcohol use should be banned because it has a far worse effect on our society than all the rest of these substances combined, then I’ll take seriously any of their “concern” for the public good. Right know, I think a  Bass Ale would hit the spot quite nicely.

  • feettothefire

    To The producers. I don’t know where to make this suggestion, so I’ll make it here. It would be helpful to many if you would do a show on the effects of Benzodiazepine use in this country. For many years, drugs like Valium, Xanax, Klonopin, and many more have been wreaking havoc on unsuspecting patients looking for something to take the edge off of hard times. Well meaning but poorly informed MD’s have been prescribing benzos for years. Usually these prescriptions are for nothing more than the routine anxiety that any of us might feel now and then, not for truly clinical cases of debilitating anxiety. These doctors universally fail to mention the annoying side effects or the extreme difficulty encountered when trying to discontinue use.                        In Great Britain, over a quarter century ago, the medical community decided that benzo use should NEVER be used for more than two to four weeks. They watch in disbelief as American doctors prescribe these things with the idea of lifelong use in mind. They’re great in the short term, marvelous, even. In the long term they become an albatross around the neck of the poor people who can’t stop taking them long after the initial source of anxiety has abated. I’m 56 years old. I’ve been trying to get off Klonopin for three and a half years. My initial reason for taking the drug is long gone. I need Klonopin because I take Klonopin. It really is that simple. One caveat. If you ever do a show on the topic, it’s vital that you include physicians or researchers from outside the U.S. The U.S. medical world loves drugs too much to give an honest assessment.                          Thanks for your consideration.

    • Drew (GA)

      Great comment and suggestions. I really wish On Point would provide a static board for show recommendations, they could link it in the sidebar along with or below the OP blog section. I assume (yes I know I shouldn’t do that) show suggestions are supposed to be sent in via email but that strikes me as counterproductive. If there was a static board, future topics could be directed by recommendations (at least occasionally, maybe once a week or bi-weekly?). I understand and appreciate all of the OP staff’s efforts to present current and relevant topics. Listener appreciation and consideration would be nice once in a while though. It would also provide a better representation of what the die-hard listeners really want to learn about. I really hope the show you propose happens at some point, I’d love to hear it.

  • donniethebrasco
  • David in Lowell

    We demonize Mexican drug cartels while our children wear pirate costumes for Halloween, and our drones bomb thousands. Drug lords deserve condemnation, but so do organized killers of northern European descent.

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  • Bigger Hammer

    If Mexico made private ownership of firearms nearly impossible (as many Democrats want to do in the USA).  Yet the Narcos are using Machine guns, Grenades & rocket launchers (things you can’t buy in the USA unless you get them from the Military).  Many of the Narcos weapons from the USA are coming from the Mexican Government (to whom the USA give machine guns, grenades & rocket launchers to “fight” the war on drugs.  Mexico banned guns from the public in fear of a revolution against their corrupt state.  Let’s not follow that path in the USA please

  • erins_deals
Sep 2, 2014
U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., talks with Mark Wilson, event political speaker chairperson, with his wife Elain Chao, former U.S. Secretary of Labor, at the annual Fancy Farm Picnic in Fancy Farm, Ky., Saturday, August 4, 2012. (AP)

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One outspoken fan’s reluctant manifesto against football, and the big push to reform the game.

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This Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 photo shows a mural in in the Pullman neighborhood of Chicago dedicated to the history of the Pullman railcar company and the significance for its place in revolutionizing the railroad industry and its contributions to the African-American labor movement. (AP)

On Labor Day, we’ll check in on the American labor force, with labor activist Van Jones, and more.

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