This chapter argues that the War on Drugs has to be understood as a smoke screen for a wider war, on society in general, and on minorities in particular. This smoke screen has enabled US administrations to push forward aggressive foreign policy under the guise of fighting a metaphorical war, especially but not exclusively in Latin America. It is sustained by the myth of drug addiction and searches for 'cures' and 'treatments' that belie the fact that it is our everyday conditions of living which is the problem. Different governments, many of which have ignored the plight of millions of those caught up in the Drug War, such as HIV sufferers, fight the War on Drugs on many fronts. These governments choose surveillance strategies to police the bodies and minds of their populations. Noam Chomsky advocates the development of 'harm reduction' policies and radical re-thinking of the drug laws.
This chapter shows the responsibilities and goals of newly elected representatives and senators. It first describes the kinds of people who get elected into Congress, and then lists the different goals of the new members of Congress. This is followed by a list of the different ways a member of Congress can achieve his/her goals, including policy specialisation and pork barrel. The chapter also cites two examples – the impeachment of President Bill Clinton and term limits – that show the subtleties involved in Congressional decision making.
This chapter discusses the floor deliberations and debates in Congress, which are sometimes televised live. It reveals that very few members are present during typical debates, although more members can be summoned to the chamber when a vote is called or a quorum count is to be held. The chapter states that the floor debate determines the final fate of legislation, and then compares the debates held in the House of Representatives with the debates held in the Senate. It discusses amendments and their main purpose, before studying the differences between voting in the Senate and in the House, and ends with a section on the House–Senate Conference, which serves to reconcile the Senate and the House before the legislation is sent to the President for signing.