Tag: war on drugs

Reporting from Int’l Conference on Drug Policy Reform

(Not quite live from the Albuquerque Convention Center, I’ll be updating through the weekend.)

Opening plenary

El Paso City Councilman Beno O’Rourke:

With a District bordering Ciudad Juarez which had been rocked with 1600 “cartel” murders in the previous year,  the City Council took up a resolution deploring the deaths.

He moved an amendment, calling for the US and Mexican governments to begin an open and honest debate on ending Prohibition to stop the violence. To his surprise, the amendment carried unanimously.

Congressman Reyes, who represents the El Paso, then  called all the City Council members, threatening to cut off funding to the City. In a subsequent vote, the Council retreated.

Holder pushed 5 year sentences for marijuana possession (1996)

As US Attorney for DC in 1996, Reported Attorney General nominee Eric Holder responded to a battle for control of street dealing in weed by pushing the DC City Council to escalate penalties for possession, and for the DC Police to step up enforcement, endorsing New York Mayor Rudolf Giuliani’s arrest ’em all “quality of life” clampdown.

X-post at kos’ place

Color Me Unimpressed

Well, it seems every time I turn around, Obama has hit a new nadir in my opinion of him.  

Right now, the news folks are all falling all over one another talking about what a great VP pick Joe Biden is.  And maybe they are right.  Perhaps, in some way that I don’t fathom, picking a long-term Senator and repeat failed Presidential candidate from a state which is a slam-dunk for the Democratic nominee, and is worth a mighty three electoral votes, is brilliant.  Perhaps this man, who rambled on for over 40 minutes when he had his chance to grill Sam Alito before the Senate Judiciary Committee without asking a single question, will really be the brilliant political attack dog that the media says he will.

What troubles me regardless of whether they are right or wrong is that Biden has a terrible history of “leadership” in the War on Drugs, still America’s longest-running and most utterly failed war.  Biden was the author of the awful Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act (also known, sadly, as the “Biden Act”).  This act included the massive expansion of capital punishment, adding sixty different crimes to the list of those for which Federal prosecutors could seek the death penalty.  It eliminated the ability for prisoners to get grants for education while incarcerated.  Biden is also the Chairman of the International Narcotics Control Caucus, and as the head, was the brilliant person who created the cabinet position of “Drug Czar”.  He has remained, throughout his career, an ardent drug warrior, sponsoring the RAVE Act in 2003, and leading the attempt to make steroids such as androstenedione, which were abused by professional baseball players, illegal under Federal law.

In other words, exactly the person who was leading the charge to put millions of black men, who experiment with marijuana and cocaine, just like Barack Obama, in prison.  Just the sort of person who has been repeatedly accused by the ACLU and other civil libertarians of drafting laws which abridge the rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.

So, maybe the talking heads are right, and Biden is the correct choice for Obama’s political benefit.  But, from all the available evidence, I believe that Sen. Biden is exactly the sort of person who should not be advanced any further than he has been by anyone with the interests of American citizens at heart.


Celebrate it. I know, I know, everyday is 420, but today it is, uh, like, really 4/20, man. And it’s a full moon too. So light ’em up, listen to this tune and join me after the jump.


Dems and Medical Marijuana: Harkin v Michigan, IL

xpost at kos

While 1500 delegates to the Michigan Democratic State Convention were approving, by acclamation, a resolution supporting legal access to cannabis as medication (On Monday, an Initiative was approved for the Statewide November Ballot), Iowa Senator Tom Harkin replied to letter from a constituent/patient with hyperbole that would make even a Republican White House Drug Czar blush.

Meawhile, the Illinois Senate’s Health Committee holds a hearing today on a State Medical Marijuana bill. Action link

$15,000,000,000 to fight the “narcotics trade,” and Blackwater may get some

It gets more and more surreal.

Since the U.S. government is now a wholly owned subsidiary of a conglomerate of defense contractors and the fossil fuels industries, it’s important to find new and better ways for our tax dollars to support those murderous kleptocrats- preferably ways that attract little scrutiny, and play into the warped values so carefully calibrated by our corporate media. We can’t spend money on things that might actually help children, like ensuring that they have safe homes, nutritious food, clean clothes, and quality educations and health care. That would be socialism! But we can try to keep them from having sex! And we can try to keep them off drugs! Homelessness, hunger, and lack of opportunity are of little import, but kids on drugs is bad! And it exists in a vacuum. It has nothing to do with that homelessness, hunger, and lack of opportunity!

So, the Wall Street Journal is reporting today that:

A Defense Department contract involving antidrug training missions may test the durability of the political controversy over Blackwater Worldwide’s security work in Iraq.

The Moyock, N.C., company, which was involved in a September shooting in Baghdad that left 17 Iraqis dead, is one of five military contractors competing for as much as $15 billion over five years to help fight a narcotics trade that the government says finances terrorist groups.

Also competing for contracts from the Pentagon’s Counter Narcoterrorism Technology Program Office are military-industry giants Raytheon Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and Northrop Grumman Corp., as well as Arinc Inc., a smaller aerospace and technology contractor.

Of course, the first reaction is to wonder why in hell we’d be considering giving more money to a bloodsucking private army that murders civilians and is run by a fundamentalist religious fanatic. That’s the obvious question, and it will remain unanswered. As our nation is dismantled and sold for scrap, Blackwater is the future. But the bigger question, which is, of course, overlooked by the Journal itself, is why are we looking to spend $15,000,000,000 on the war on drugs?!


America’s War on Minorities

In 1980, an African-American was equally likely to be either living in a college dorm or living in prison.  Not anymore.  In the last twenty-six years, we have made remarkable progress.

Today, the Census Bureau will release a study showing that American blacks are more than three times as likely to live in prison than in a college dorm.

And the study has more good news as well.  Hispanic Americans in 1980 were more likely to live in college dorms than in prison.  Now, there are 2.7 Hispanics in prison for every Hispanic in a college dorm.

Noted Without Comment

There is essentially nothing I can add to this, which is the biggest unreported story in America as far as I am concerned:

For the fourth year in a row, U.S. marijuana arrests set an all-time record in 2006, according to the just-released FBI Uniform Crime Reports. Marijuana arrests totaled 829,627, an increase from 786,545 in 2005. Similar to previous years, 738,916 or 89 percent were for possession, not sale or manufacture, and marijuana possession arrests again exceeded arrests for all violent crimes combined…

Despite record arrests, marijuana use remains higher than it was 15 years ago, when arrests were less than half the present level, and marijuana is the number one cash crop in the U.S.

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