The world and the United States are currently experiencing a increase of opiate overdoses that, in some parts of the US, has reached epic proportions. Take the state of Maine where in 2015 drug overdose deaths increased by 31%, most of them due to heroine. Recognizing the need to save lives, the state legislature, urged …
Tag: war on drugs
Apr 26 2016
Apr 18 2012
In the failed “War on Drugs”, President Obama appears to be standing alone in his refusal to consider the alternative to the “zero tolerance” policy which has been an abject failure, that has cost thousands of lives, imprisoned millions, mostly minorities for minor offenses, and cost billions of dollars. At the recent Summit of the Americas in Colombia, demands by the leaders of Latin American countries for exploring the option of legalizing drugs and institutional regulations are being dismissed by Pres. Obama.
With demand for drugs increasing and drug-related violence worsening, we ask if it is time to reassess drug policies.
“Drug addiction in the vast majority of countries is a very serious public health problem. Drug trafficking continues to be the principle financier of violence and terrorism. Colombia and many other countries in the region believe it is necessary to begin a discussion, an analysis of this issue, without judgment and without dogmas, and look at the different scenarios and the possible alternatives to confronting this challenge with the greatest effectiveness.”
Juan Manuel Santos, the Colombian president
With the total failure of the drug war causing many Latin American political leaders to publicly question the wisdom of prohibition, President Obama was forced to repeatedly address the issue this weekend at the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia. Unfortunately, Obama did his best to quickly dismiss the topic with incoherent excuses. From the LA Times:
Facing calls at a regional summit to consider decriminalization, Obama said he is open to a debate about drug policy, but he believes that legalization could lead to greater problems in countries hardest hit by drug-fueled violence.
“Legalization is not the answer,” Obama told other hemispheric leaders at the two-day Summit of the Americas.
“The capacity of a large-scale drug trade to dominate certain countries if they were allowed to operate legally without any constraint could be just as corrupting, if not more corrupting, than the status quo,” he said.
This is simply an absurd defense of prohibition. If drugs were legalized and regulated like any other product, the business running them would be operate like any other legal business such as beer breweries, pharmaceutical makers, car manufacturers, alcohol distillers, dairies, etc. While corporations can and sometimes do have a corrupting influence over a nation’s politics, the idea that the level of corruption and violence from a legal business would ever be on the scale that we see with the cartels in the illicit drug trade doesn’t pass the laugh test.
Watershed summit will admit that prohibition has failed, and call for more nuanced and liberalised tactics
Otto Pérez Molina, the president of Guatemala, who as former head of his country’s military intelligence service experienced the power of drug cartels at close hand, is pushing his fellow Latin American leaders to use the summit to endorse a new regional security plan that would see an end to prohibition. In the Observer, Pérez Molina writes: “The prohibition paradigm that inspires mainstream global drug policy today is based on a false premise: that global drug markets can be eradicated.”
Pérez Molina concedes that moving beyond prohibition is problematic. “To suggest liberalisation – allowing consumption, production and trafficking of drugs without any restriction whatsoever – would be, in my opinion, profoundly irresponsible. Even more, it is an absurd proposition. If we accept regulations for alcoholic drinks and tobacco consumption and production, why should we allow drugs to be consumed and produced without any restrictions?”
He insists, however, that prohibition has failed and an alternative system must be found. “Our proposal as the Guatemalan government is to abandon any ideological consideration regarding drug policy (whether prohibition or liberalisation) and to foster a global intergovernmental dialogue based on a realistic approach to drug regulation. Drug consumption, production and trafficking should be subject to global regulations, which means that drug consumption and production should be legalised, but within certain limits and conditions.” [..]
Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil and chairman of the global commission on drug policy, has said it is time for “an open debate on more humane and efficient drug policies”, a view shared by George Shultz, the former US secretary of state, and former president Jimmy Carter.
This is a discussion that is long past due.
May 12 2011
They tell us we’re dropping about $10 billion a month in Afghanistan so we can catch that Bin Laden guy…but eventually, we’re gonna catch him, and as soon as we do you can imagine that folks will be wondering why we’re still over there – and I gotta tell ya, I’m one of those people.
I mean, we’re over here talking about how we’re so broke that we have no choice but to cut a couple of billion from heat assistance for the poor, and a billion-and-a-half from the Social Security operations budget, and money from food stamps and childcare assistance and tornado forecasting in Alabama…but every single month, just as regular as clockwork, we seem to be able to find another $10 billion to spend in Afghanistan, even as we have an economy that could badly use another round of truly productive stimulus.
And I don’t think y’all even realize just how much money $10 billion really is – but today we’re gonna see if we can’t fix that with a bit of a thought exercise.
Imagine if we set up a program that took that Afghanistan money and spent it right here at home for a year or two – and it was spent in the form of a lottery, where we stimulate the larger economy, help fix the mortgage crisis, and create a more energy-independent nation, all at the same time.
I got all we need except a catchy name; with that in mind let’s move on to the description of how the Happy Super Fun Day Peace Lotto Stimulus Thingy works.
Nov 10 2010
This just came up on McClatchy. Because of the outcome of the November 2, 2010 election, with the new Republican House majority, there is now less pressure on President Obama to stick to his earlier pledge of beginning a troop withdrawal timeline of July 2011 in Afghanistan. This December was supposed to be the month for the big “review” of the ongoing military operations (and the Pentagon budget was supposed to be passed before the pre election campaign break and the lame duck session, and that didn’t happen, either) and now it will be a smaller review – ‘with no major changes in strategy.” Other than those American troop withdrawals will be delayed at least until 2014. Remember when a few weeks ago the military said the Afghan transitional stuff was going better than expected? Wrong narrative when you’re on the international arms sales circuit.
NATO’s spent 19.4 billion on “training” Afghans in the past 7 years. What is the current message for the NATO meeting on Nov 18 in Lisbon ? send more trainers. “No trainers, no transition.”
The only thing McClatchy didn’t mention was that the Taliban and assorted terrorists and homegrown guerrilla combatants traditionally take the winter off in Afghanistan.
And of course, they’re trying to blame Pakistan. You could see this coming a mile down the road. Why would Pakistan wish to interrupt the gravy train of having a foreign country “fighting” your pesky terrorists and selling intelligence to it ? The earlier 2011 date, claims a Pentagon advisor in the story, had Pakistan trying to negotiate a “political settlement instead of military action.”
“This administration now understands that it cannot shift Pakistani approaches to safeguarding its interests in Afghanistan with this date being perceived as a walk-away date,” the adviser said.
And of course, everyone was speaking anonymously. There is now no timeline, nor will Gen. David Petraeus being doing one of his publicity tours, er, testimonies before Congress in December, the way he was all last spring and summer before the latest Afghanistan/Pakistan offensive.
Whoops. Did I say Pakistan.
Oct 18 2010
From CNN, Your Most Trusted News Source:
The October Surprise
Anonymous NATO Spokesperson Upgrades Osama Bin Laden From Cave To House in Pakistan, Getting a Jump on the Latest Wikileaks Which Will Show He’s Working at al- Zawahiri’s International House of Naancakes
Kabul, Afghanistan, CNN, Monday, October 18, 2010
Osama bin Laden and his deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are believed to be hiding close to each other in houses in northwest Pakistan, but are not together, a senior NATO official said.
“Nobody in al Qaeda is living in a cave,” said the official, who declined to be named because of the sensitivity of the intelligence matters involved.
The official would not discuss how the coalition has come to know any of this information, but he has access to some of the most sensitive information in the NATO alliance.
Wikileaks Donation Site Shut Down
CNN, Friday October 15, 2010
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claims the U.S. government was behind the decision by Moneybookers to shut down the account, an allegation denied by American officials.
According to e-mails provided to CNN by Assange, Moneybookers informed WikiLeaks of its decision in August, shortly after the Pentagon demanded WikiLeaks return all of the military documents and remove them from its website. WikiLeaks refused to do so and is expected to release hundreds of thousands of additional Pentagon papers later this month.
The first e-mail from Moneybookers that notified WikiLeaks of its decision indicated one of the potential grounds for termination was “to comply with money laundering or other investigations conducted by government authorities, agencies or commissions.”
When Assange asked for a further explanation, he received another e-mail from the company saying the account was initially suspended “due to being accessed from a blacklisted IP address. However following recent publicity and the subsequently addition of the WikiLeaks entity to blacklists in Australia and watch lists in the USA, we have terminated the business relationship.”
Sep 03 2010
CA Senator Dianne Feinstein has come out against economic recovery for her struggling state, by opposing its number one cash crop.
CA Senator Dianne Feinstein has come out for wasting more money the state doesn’t have persecuting growth and use of a mild mood altering, pain relieving herb, one that is the easiest to grow of many garden plants.
CA Senator Dianne Feinstein used to be the mayor of San Francisco, but has decided to pair up with a Southern CA right winger, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, to co chair the opposition campaign to Proposition 19, Marijuana Legalization Initiative, this November.
Remember when Sheriff Lee Baca issued “Homeland Security Support Unit” photo ID cards to his top 50 campaign donors in 2006 ?
CA Senator Dianne Feinstein seems to be working very hard to get Carly Fiorina, a right wing Republican, and business vulture, as the state’s other Senator, by dragging the entire discourse to the right, which can only hurt incumbent Senator Barbara Boxer, irregardless of Boxer’s stance on the issue.
“oppose Proposition 19 – the public doesn’t need to be exposed to the dangers of pot.”
– Public Safety First, No on Prop 19
Dangers of what?
What planet are y’ all on out there in Limo- land ? I’m much more likely to get killed by a drunken driver mixing booze with Prozac, or a tweeker ! Get Real !
Jul 26 2010
The Guardian UK, a British publication, says that they asked to see the 90,000+ wikileaks documents of whistleblower Julian Assange on the Afghanistan War, and has created its own stories on them, and has not paid for this. They say they’ve “crawled through it so you can make sense of it,” which means that they must have had it for a while.
As the U.S. Senate strips out $20 billion of domestic funding resources that would have paid for schools, teachers, and college students, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wouldn’t comment on whether the House will simply approve the Senate measure and send it on to Obama for his signature.
But the pressure to do so is intense, especially after Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned lawmakers this week that unless the measure is enacted into law before Congress leaves for its August recess, the Pentagon could have to furlough thousands of employees.
…. out of yet another war “supplemental” bill above the regular military funding, and is poised to influx another massive amount of deficit cash into yet another surge into a country we’ve now occupied for 9 years, the timing could not be better.
Rachel Reid, who investigates civilian casualty incidents in Afghanistan for Human Rights Watch, said: “These files bring to light what’s been a consistent trend by US and Nato forces: the concealment of civilian casualties. Despite numerous tactical directives ordering transparent investigations when civilians are killed, there have been incidents I’ve investigated in recent months where this is still not happening.
Accountability is not just something you do when you are caught. It should be part of the way the US and Nato do business in Afghanistan every time they kill or harm civilians.” The reports, many of which the Guardian is publishing in full online, present an unvarnished and often compelling account of the reality of modern war.
Most of the material, though classified “secret” at the time, is no longer militarily sensitive. A small amount of information has been withheld from publication because it might endanger local informants or give away genuine military secrets.
The Guardian’s war logs homepage of links is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…
Jul 19 2010
In response to our nation's vast economic and ecological problems, Green Change has launched a campaign for a Green New Deal.
The Green New Deal is an ambitious program to create economic prosperity together with ecological sustainability.
We are building a coalition of candidates, individuals and organizations to support the Green New Deal – starting today.
Join the Green New Deal Coalition now.
Here are the ten policies you endorse by joining the Green New Deal Coalition:
1) Cut military spending at least 70%;
2) Create millions of green union jobs through massive public investment in renewable energy, mass transit and conservation;
3) Set ambitious, science-based greenhouse gas emission reduction targets, and enact a revenue-neutral carbon tax to meet them;
4) Establish single-payer “Medicare for all” health care;
5) Provide tuition-free public higher education;
6) Change trade agreements to improve labor, environmental, consumer, health and safety standards;
7) End counterproductive prohibition policies and legalize marijuana;
8) Enact tough limits on credit interest and lending rates, progressive tax reform and strict financial regulation;
9) Amend the U.S. Constitution to abolish corporate personhood; and
10) Pass sweeping electoral, campaign finance and anti-corruption reforms.
Will you help us turn these ideas into reality?
The first step is to agree on these ten priorities. The next step is to push for specific policies to make them happen.
We need your help. Share your ideas about a Green New Deal on the Green Change network.
Apr 20 2010
For decades, the U.S. government has spent tens of billions of dollars, sent thousands of nonviolent offenders to prison, and propped up a black market that fuels violent organized crime at home and abroad.
All this for the sake of marijuana prohibition.
It’s time for a new, more sensible approach.
We know how prohibition works from history class: alcohol prohibition in the 1930s didn’t reduce alcohol abuse, but it did turn a regulated industry into an illegal black market that enriched violent gangsters like Al Capone.
The harm done by prohibition goes beyond gang violence. Thousands of Americans have been imprisoned for no other offense than carrying a small amount of marijuana.
Invasive search procedures and racial profiling have become commonplace, creating mistrust between law enforcement agents and the communities they serve.
Billions of tax dollars are wasted on an ineffective policy that solves nothing.
Legalizing marijuana will cut down on violent crime, reduce unjust imprisonment, repair civil liberties, restore trust between civilians and police, and replace wasteful government spending with new tax revenues.
It will also help American farmers, who will be able to cultivate marijuana as well as the versatile and environmentally friendly hemp crop.
It’s time for a marijuana policy that makes sense.
Tell your Governor and state legislators to sponsor legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana today.
Mar 13 2010
This seems to be progress. The Senate measure is an initial, timid step in the right direction. But it doesn’t end a decade’s long, offensive, racially based inequality in federal drug sentencing. It just makes it a fifth as bad as it was.
The United States at this moment imprisons more than 2 million people. 7 million additional people are under supervision of some sort. Seventy percent of US prisoners are non-white. Approximately one-quarter of all those held in US prisons or jails have been convicted of a drug offense. “The United States incarcerates more people for drug offenses than any other country. With an estimated 6.8 million Americans struggling with drug abuse or dependence, the growth of the prison population continues to be driven largely by incarceration for drug offenses.” Forget the statistics for a second. US prisons are disproportionately jammed with non-white people who have been convicted of drug crimes, and non-whites serve longer sentences than whites for possession of drugs.
Jan 20 2010
Seeking dedicated individual. Interest in Drug Policy reform and Constitutional Rights a must.
Applicant must LIKE meeting people, be willing to shake hands in front of Fenway Park.
Massachusetts Law License required, Criminal Defense experience preferred.
Good pay, great benefits
Applicant must defeat an incumbent in the Democratic Primary, shouldn’t be difficult, as she hates to campaign.
Application (Declaration of Candidacy) due by Feb. 4th, 2010. Employment commences Jan. 2011
Jan 19 2010
We all know Coakley sucks. She crusaded against the Massachusetts decrim initiative in 2008, and after it passed with 65% of the vote urged municipal governments to circumvent it with local ordinances. She then refused to pursue charges against the District Attorneys who illegally used government resources to campaign against the initiative.
So why do I want you to vote for her?
Simple. Brown in the Senate will be just as bad on the issue, but by sending Coakley to Washinhgton we get her nasty ass out of the Attorney General’s office, while Brown remaining in the State Senate will have little impact.