1982 The Year Freedom Died in America
Drug Dealers, a Former First Lady in Red, Patriot Actors, Money Launderers, Tony Montana, Draconians, Misanthrops, Psychotic Predators. Join Johnny Punish as he takes a historical look back at Freedom. Find out who killed her!
by Johnny Punish
In 2010, many believe that freedom is on the decline in the USA. Many seem to believe that this decline started on 9/11. With the Patriot Act passage and all the homeland security surveillance, that would seem logical but it would be very wrong. I mean most Americans have no clue when the assault on their freedoms started. It was way back during the Reagan Administration. Welcome to reality!
Yes, 9/11 was a huge major event. Like any major earthquake, it moved the freedom fault off its axis but it was NOT the shot that started the decline. No-sir-ree, the shot heard across the known world that truly launched the end of freedom was made by a tiny thin lady with all the good intentions of your own grandmother who just wanted to save our kids from falling into the ditch.
There was no way that this grand dame of America could have foreseen the massive avalanche that she launched when, in 1982, she said that little phrase “Just Say No” to a little schoolgirl in trying to give her advice on what to do when someone offered her drugs. She, like our own mothers, was just trying to care for our kids. Oops!
So who was this lady with the megaphone and the ability to tear down the USA?
It was Anne Frances Robbins! Who do you say? Yep, Anne Frances Robbins! Most of you know her by her acting stage name, Nancy Davis, or her political name, Nancy Reagan, the former first lady of the United States of America and wife to President Ronald Reagan. Yes, Nancy Reagan!
“What?” you say! How could Johnny Punish blame lil’ ole Nancy Reagan for the shot that killed freedom? I can and will.
First, we all know that Mrs.Reagan was a bit kooky with her astrology but that’s not a reason to blame her for the destruction of freedom in the USA. No, she was just trying to help our kids be safe and that was truly noble. But what transpired because of her “Just Say No to Drugs” campaign has reigned down on our people like a humongous asteroid hitting us on downtown main street flattening our freedom institutions, and buildings, and placing our social fabric into the fire of hell at a temperature so high that we can’t even recognize who we were launching us into the Idiocracy that we have today. Plainly speaking, Nancy pulled the trigger on the gun that shot our country dead and rendered freedom a long-lost virtue!
But how did this happen? How did we lose our Freedom? To paraphrase her husband, President Ronald Reagan, “Well my friends, let’s tear down this wall”.
Previous to 1982, our laws were not perfect but guilty until proven innocent was a mantra and mainstay in our law. This went for everyone and everybody. There were no exceptions.
Our jails, not a business back then, were filled with criminals that were processed using what is called “due process under the law” and “habeas corpus”, an important legal instrument safeguarding individual freedom against arbitrary state action. We had a normal stable average amount of people incarcerated commensurate with our population. Frankly, our justice system was revered worldwide as a positive example for civil societies worldwide. Granted, it was never perfect but at least it was stable and widely considered the best in breed worldwide.
The History of “Just Say NO” and Freedom
Nancy Reagan launched the “Just Say No” drug awareness campaign in 1982, which was her primary project and major initiative as the first lady. Nancy first became aware of the need to educate young people about drugs during a 1980 campaign stop in Daytop Village, New York. She remarked in 1981 that “Understanding what drugs can do to your children, understanding peer pressure and understanding why they turn to drugs is… the first step in solving the problem.”Her campaign focused on drug education and informing the youth of the danger of drug abuse.
In 1982, Nancy Reagan was asked by a schoolgirl what to do when offered drugs; Nancy responded “Just say no.”The phrase proliferated in the popular culture of the 1980s and was eventually adopted as the name of club organizations and school anti-drug programs. Reagan became actively involved by traveling more than 250,000 miles (400,000 km) throughout the United States and several nations, visiting drug abuse prevention programs and drug rehabilitation centers.
She also appeared on television talk shows, recorded public service announcements, and wrote guest articles. She appeared in an episode of the hit television drama Dynasty to underscore support for the anti-drug campaign. As she continued to promote “Just Say No”, she appeared in an episode of the popular 1980s sitcom Different Strokes and in a 1985 rock music video, “Stop the Madness”. When asked about her campaign, the first lady remarked, “If you can save just one child, it’s worth it.”
In 1985, Nancy expanded the campaign to an international level by inviting the First Ladies of various nations to the White House for a conference on drug abuse. On October 27, 1986, President Reagan signed a drug enforcement bill into law, which granted $1.7 billion in funding to fight the crisis and ensured a mandatory minimum penalty for drug offenses. Although the bill was criticized by some, Nancy Reagan considered it a personal victory. In 1988, she became the first First Lady invited to address the United Nations General Assembly, where she spoke on international drug interdiction and trafficking laws.
Reagan hosts the First Ladies Conference on Drug Abuse at the White House, in 1985.
Critics of Reagan’s efforts questioned their purpose and argued that the program did not go far enough in addressing many social issues, including unemployment, poverty, and family dissolution; Nancy’s approach to promoting drug awareness was labeled as simplistic by liberal critics. Nonetheless, a number of “Just Say No” clubs and organizations remain in operation around the country, and they aim to educate children and teenagers about the effects of drugs.
Then, in 1983. Al Pacino screamed “You wanna play rough? Okay. Say hello to my little friend” as he exposed the American public to the underground drug dealers of Miami in the movie Scarface.
Before Scarface, average Americans were NOT completely aware of the mafias involved in their cities and towns. But after this movie, laws started to pass in cities, counties, states and on the federal level that would turn our freedoms into a draconian nightmare.
Previous to Scarface, drug dealers who were caught were subjected to normal laws of due process.
After, someone got the bright idea that law enforcement was allowed to confiscate proceeds of a drug dealing crime without due process and conviction.
Soon after, every Wednesday, USA Today, a national newspaper, was publishing the items confiscated from everyday Americans like cars, boats, houses, bikes, trailers, and other material items.
Average Americans were told that these people were involved in drugs and that they needed to be taken off the streets at all costs. DA’s played this up and fed the fears against freedom and due process.
Soon we were seeing drug dealer auctions where we could buy the confiscated goods from law enforcement.
Remember, there were no convictions when the items were confiscated, just accusations.
Now, that’s not to say that many of these people were NOT involved in the drug trade. Many were, and some were not. But that’s not the point.
The point is that our whole system of due process, habeas corpus, and freedom was shelved in the name of community safety when, in fact, it was just massive hysteria and fear that drove this, our once amazing system of liberty and freedom, off the cliff.
Soon, DAs were charging alleged drug dealers with money laundering and getting lots of confiscations, humiliations, and eventual convictions; filling our prisons with new drug offenders. Many were just users, some drug dealers, and some not even involved; just in the wrong place at the wrong time. We needed more prisons and more warehouses to house their material possessions. It was overcrowding in what was fast becoming the number one growth industry in the USA.
DAs started to tell their electorates that they should be re-elected because they were convicting 95% of these people and taking these criminals off the streets. Mom and Dad were buying into it hook line and sinker. There was no one yelling “fire”. It was a national movement and NO one was screaming. What about our rights and innocent until proven guilty? Who was minding the freedom store? Americans were becoming conditioned on guilty until proven innocent and confiscations on allegations were just fine with them as long as it did not happen to them personally.
Money laundering, once a crime for drug dealers to “wash” their monies started to become fuzzy. Federal laws were passed quietly outlining that money laundering was now a charge they could make when any fraud was committed and when the banking system was used to “wash” the proceed of a crime.
Soon, every day alleged criminals were being charged with money laundering. These cases had nothing to do with the drug trade. Now, the government could go and confiscate bank accounts, property, homes, cars, boats, and all with only an accusation. Wow! That was amazing! And nobody noticed!
All DA’s would have to do is to allege that the mark was committing a fraud i.e…. misrepresentation.
Yeah, for purposes of an example, if you went to sell a red car and told the buyer it was blue, that would be a misrepresentation. And when you deposit that check for the sale into the bank, that’s money laundering. Yeah, I know, hard to believe right? And with money laundering, your assets were up for grabs with just the word of a DA saying that he thinks you are committing fraud. No conviction, no due process, no freedom.
This is not new. This happened in the late 1980s and is still with us today.
By the mid-1990s our jails were filling up so fast with people that governments began hiring private companies to build jails. Overcrowding and not enough space to house all of these criminals were in effect, In just one decade, the USA became the biggest jailer in the world with more people per capita in jail than any other country on the planet. And still, average Americans were unaware of what was going on. Freedom was barely breathing and everyone was just staring at her with a numb blank look on their face. Amazing!
Then, came 9/11.
When that happened, we were all in shock. Numb! But a few hours after the shock wore off, I remember saying to my friends who were all in the room mesmerized and staring at the TV, that G.W. Bush was going to use this event to clamp down even harder on our declining freedoms.
Amazingly, many people in the room looked bewildered at me. How could I say such a thing and who would think that our leader would do such a thing as to subvert our rights? Crazy right? Well, some got it but most stayed numb and dumb. And sure enough, on cue, the U.S. Congress passed the Patriot Act with thunderous applause. Most in Congress admittedly did NOT read it but signed it anyway. Classic! They just signed on the bottom line trusting in our Commander-in-Chief that he would protect us as our daddy would. Amazing!
Now have you read the lovely Patriot Act? Do you know what’s in that friendly-sounding addition to our declining freedom?
Well, at least most of you, know the stories of the Bush Doctrine. Well okay, maybe not Sarah Palin, but most of us who actually read and understand that pre-emptive strikes against those who have NOT committed a crime are now acceptable. Par for the course! Perfect! Who cares about due process and the rights of man anymore? That’s so 20th century!
And now, in Guantanamo Bay (GITMO), where we still hold prisoners off our shores without charges and due process? Who cares! G.W. Bush signed it while Dick Cheney made love to it kissing its paper and calling it his lovely long lost love. Obama? He’s ignoring it and hoping we, who still believe in freedom, won’t remind him so that he won’t have to deal with those evil forces that have him blackmailed and bent over like John F. Kennedy with J. Edgar holding the whip.
Now you my friend, the reader, are just finding out when you got screwed. So welcome to the party! We’ve been waiting for you. I am just so sorry that we ran out of food decades ago but hey, you can still hang out and watch the last piece of freedom wood burn.
©2010 Copyright – Johnny Punish
Johnny Punish is the founder and owner of VT. He is also a writer, global citizen eco-activist, visionary, musician, artist, entertainer, businessman, investor, life coach, and syndicated columnist. Punish was educated at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (1980-81) and California State University Fullerton (1981-1984) with studies in accounting and business. Before the “internets” had been invented, he owned and ran (5) national newspapers in the United States of America from 1987-1998
Punish has over 100 original songs written. He records and produces music. A member of ASCAP, Punish has several songs placed in feature films. His music is promoted worldwide and played on all digital networks and net radio.
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