10/26 Decades-Old Myths Of The “War On Drugs”, And How They Shape Our Perception Of Mexico w/ Benjamin T. Smith

October 26, 2021

Sam and Emma host Benjamin T. Smith, professor of Latin American history at the University of Warwick, to discuss his recent book The Dope: The Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade. They begin by addressing the myth of the Mexican drug trade, built by both US and Mexican authorities around this moral binary of cops and federal agents versus evil Mexican cartel members, birthed, in part, from this image of a Mexican marijuana culture that never really existed outside of prisoners and soldiers, and how these elements worked to reinforce US nativist ideology. Professor Smith then discusses how the drug industries in Mexico did come around, looking at the massive boom in marijuana consumption in the US starting in the 1960s, and the resulting increase in Americans looking to Mexico for their product, before he dives into the role of local governments and police in protecting cartels for a small black market tax, even while the federal government in Mexico and the US brought out more and more punitive measures for drug trafficking. This brings them to the DEA, as they dive into their “divide and conquer” policy of turning cartels against each other and taking out kingpins with relative success working to bolster their war on drugs financially, even as addiction, drug use, and overdoses continue to soar, and they take on the similarities between this war, and the amorphous, never-ending war on terror. Professor Smith, Emma, and Sam wrap it up by looking at the continued development of organized crime as it has moved from the drug trade to more violent industries, and how this has been handled in the transition from Nieto’s policy of “hugs not bullets” to Obrador’s work with the Military during his presidency. Emma and Sam also discuss Mitt Romney’s first pro-immigration stance when it comes to billionaires, and Joseph McCarthy’s white scare of a rumor.

And in the Fun Half: Pep from WA calls in to discuss US immigration and discrimination between US-sponsored vaccines and non-CDC accepted vaccines, Dan from the infertile crescent talks objectivism, Ayn Rand, and what boss you would take to a deserted island. Emma and Sam watch Tucker just get blown away by hearing someone else reiterate his own talking points on the feminization of the US, Jimmy Dore proves that lack of reading comprehension is truly a side effect of not moving past the headline, Rep. Cawthorn gets laughed out of a Dartmouth College Republicans meeting, and Thomas from VA calls in to discuss rampant Right-wing success in the suburbs and local Dems favoring incumbents over party strength, plus, your calls and IMs!

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