Note of explanation: Since I will be traveling for the next two weeks this edition is being sent out early, and there will not be an edition sent out next week. Somehow I’m sure that we will all survive. . .

Question: What is the major source of funding for terrorists and other thugs all around the world?  Answer: The sale of illicit drugs.  Just start out by considering Afghanistan, which is and has been the world leader in exporting the opium poppy that is used to make heroin.  When the DEA began to be successful in eradicating the crop during our war effort there, the US Department of State ordered them to cease their operations because they were beginning seriously to disrupt the Afghan economy.  And now after the fall of that government, even though it directly contradicts their stated religious beliefs, heroin is fueling the Taliban.  BTW, how about some irony?  Scott Horton in his book Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan (The Libertarian Institute, 2017) documented a situation in which the US Department of State had ordered the DEA not to bother a particular drug lord who was raising the opium poppy because he was so helpful to us with our war effort – to the extent that for a time we actually had our fighting troops protecting the opium poppies in his fields from theft by neighboring drug lords!

And the same thing has happened for years with other rogue countries.  For example, North Korea has probably made enough money in exporting illicit methamphetamines around the world to fund its nuclear arsenal.  In addition, the Fidel Castro government in Cuba and the Erich Honecker government in the former East Germany routinely sold illicit drugs to bring in lots of hard currency into their countries.  Furthermore, in many places in Mexico the drug lords now actually have more money and weapons than the local governments, so they control what goes on there.  And all of this disruption and hardship, as well as the corruption, violence and even beheadings, have nothing at all to do with drugs – they are all caused by drug money!  And much of the money comes from us!  But, since we virtually lead the world in pursuing this failed policy of Drug Prohibition, if we were to change away from this approach to one of strictly regulating and controlling these substances, we would take away tens of billions of dollars from a lot of terrorists and other thugs.  And most of the civilized world would probably heave a big sigh of relief as they joined us!  Something for us to think about?

Story for the week: Recently when a man was on a commercial airline flight the pilot came on the intercom and introduced herself as Captain Sara Jones.  As a result, when the passenger said to the female flight attendant that this was the first female pilot he had ever flown with, she responded that not only was the co-pilot female but so was the entire flight crew.  So, she went on, instead of referring to the front of the airplane as the cockpit, we now call it the box office. . .

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.) Superior Court of Orange County, California 2012 Libertarian Candidate for Vice President

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