Archive for March 2009
When you read this from Ron Paul ask yourself why would local businessmen and women in Humboldt County NOT want the marijuana laws repealed. Here’s a link to Ernie Branscomb’s blog for a good example. He also posted this tongue-in-cheek back Saturday, August 9, 2008: And you thought Marijuana was harmless…
We have recently heard many shocking stories of brutal killings and ruthless violence related to drug cartels warring with Mexican and US officials. It is approaching the fever pitch of a full blown crisis. Unfortunately, the administration is not likely to waste this opportunity to further expand government. Hopefully, we can take a deep breath and look at history for the optimal way to deal with this dangerous situation, which is not unprecedented.
Alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s brought similar violence, gangs, lawlessness, corruption and brutality. The reason for the violence was not that making and selling alcohol was inherently dangerous. The violence came about because of the creation of a brutal black market which also drove profits through the roof. These profits enabled criminals like Al Capone to become incredibly wealthy, and militantly defensive of that wealth. Al Capone saw the repeal of Prohibition as a great threat, and indeed smuggling operations and gangland violence fell apart after repeal. Today, picking up a bottle of wine for dinner is a relatively benign transaction, and beer trucks travel openly and peacefully along their distribution routes.
Similarly today, the best way to fight violent drug cartels would be to pull the rug out from under their profits by bringing these transactions out into the sunlight. People who, unwisely, buy drugs would hardly opt for the back alley criminal dealer as a source, if a coffeehouse-style dispensary was an option. Moreover, a law-abiding dispensary is likely to check ID’s and refuse sale to minors, as bars and ABC stores tend to do very diligently. Think of all the time and resources law enforcement could save if they could instead focus on violent crimes, instead of this impossible nanny-state mandate of saving people from themselves!
If these reasons don’t convince the drug warriors, I would urge them to go back to the Constitution and consider where there is any authority to prohibit private personal choices like this. All of our freedoms – the freedom of religion and assembly, the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unnecessary government searches and seizures – stem from the precept that you own yourself and are responsible for your own choices. Prohibition laws negate self-ownership and are an absolute affront to the principles of freedom. I disagree vehemently with the recreational use of drugs, but at the same time, if people are only free to make good decisions, they are not truly free. In any case, states should decide for themselves how to handle these issues and the federal government should respect their choices.
My great concern is that instead of dealing deliberatively with the actual problems, Congress will be pressed again to act quickly without much thought or debate. I can’t think of a single problem we haven’t made worse that way. The panic generated by the looming crisis in Mexico should not be redirected into curtailing more rights, especially our second amendment rights, as seems to be in the works. Certainly, more gun laws in response to this violence will only serve to disarm lawful citizens. This is something to watch out for and stand up against. We have escalated the drug war enough to see it only escalates the violence and profits associated with drugs. It is time to try freedom instead.
So what’s wrong with trying Ron Paul’s version of freedom?
Joe had to smile to himself when he read this:
Think of all the time and resources law enforcement could save if they could instead focus on violent crimes, instead of this impossible nanny-state mandate of saving people from themselves!
Sounds like something Joe stood for the last 50 years. Maybe it’s time to throw off the “mandate.” Be responsible and demand accountability while you still can.
But then, no one would make any money off your slavery, would they?
The virtues of public anger and the need for more
Joe says, “These gutless, effeminate politicians can’t withstand honest anger when it comes from realizing you’ve been betrayed by the very one’s entrusted with defending and protecting you, your family and your country from the plundering elite. It’s about time!”
With lightning speed and lockstep unanimity, opinion-making elites jointly embraced and are now delivering the same message about the public rage triggered this week by the AIG bonus scandal: This scandal is insignificant. It’s just a distraction. And, most important of all, public anger is unhelpful and must be containedor, failing that, ignored.
This anti-anger consensus among our political elites is exactly wrong. The public rage we’re finally seeing is long, long overdue, and appears to be the only force with both the ability and will to impose meaningful checks on continued kleptocratic pillaging and deep-seated corruption in virtually every branch of our establishment institutions. The worst possible thing that could happen now is for this collective rage to subside and for the public to return to its long-standing state of blissful ignorance over what the establishment is actually doing.
It makes perfect sense that those who are satisfied with the prevailing order — because it rewards them in numerous ways — are desperate to pacify public fury. Thus we find unanimous decrees that public calm (i.e., quiet) be restored. It’s a universal dynamic that elites want to keep the masses in a state of silent, disengaged submission, all the better if the masses stay convinced that the elites have their best interests at heart and their welfare is therefore advanced by allowing elites — the Experts — to work in peace on our pressing problems, undisrupted and “undistracted” by the need to placate primitive public sentiments.
While that framework is arguably reasonable where the establishment class is competent, honest, and restrained, what we have had — and have — is exactly the opposite: a political class and financial elite that is rotted to the core and running amok. We’ve had far too little public rage given the magnitude of this rot, not an excess of rage. What has been missing more than anything else is this: fear on the part of the political and financial class of the public which they have been systematically defrauding and destroying. Read the rest of this entry »
Amy Goodman reports: Lawmakers Debate Establishing “Truth Commission” on Bush Admin Torture, Rendition and Domestic Spying
MICHAEL RATNER, human right attorney and president of the Center for Constitutional Rights and author of the book The Trial of Donald Rumsfeld:
You know, I won’t say I’m exactly biased here, but I think essentially that the Leahy commission is an excuse for non-prosecution. It’s essentially saying, “Let’s put some stuff on the public record. Let’s immunize people. And then,” as he even said, “let’s turn the page and go forward.” That’s really an excuse for non-prosecution. And in the face of what we’ve seen in this country, which is essentially a coup d’etat, a presidential dictatorship and torture, it’s essentially a mouse-like reaction to what we’ve seen. And it’s being set up really by a liberal establishment that is really, in some ways, in many ways, on the same page as the establishment that actually carried out these laws. And it’s saying, “OK, let’s expose it, and then let’s move on.”
And he even says, he says what we’re going to do with the truth commission is we’re going to look and see what mistakes were made. I mean, just ask the hundred people who were tortured in the secret sites about what mistakes were made, or ask the 750 people at Guantanamo, or ask the people at Abu Ghraib. This is not about mistakes. This is about fundamental lawbreaking, about the disposal of the Constitution, and about the end of treaties. So I think, actually, that Leahy’s current proposal is extremely dangerous. I call it the lame commission or basically an excuse for non-prosecution.
Joe has had some interesting conversations this past week about the detrimental consequences to the North Coast social structure caused by decades of lawless profiting by everyone and their brother cashing in on the marijuana “trade.” None of these people ever gave one damn about themselves, living legal, what they were doing to their communities or what they were teaching their children. Now, all they can talk about is getting pot-growing legal in such a way that they can still protect their pocketbooks. They think that will get the monkey off their backs. Problem is, they don’t want anything to do with all the monkeys they put on the backs of all the law-abiding folk that really care about the communities they live in. Well, we know what they were teaching their children. Everyone on the North Coast lives with that reality.
It all may have seemed a simple matter of survival to all these lawbreakers. Grow and sell a little pot for food and shelter. It’s just a harmless weed that people use for private reasons. What’s the harm? Local businesses were suffering and all that cash money was a god-send. That symbiotic relationship grew until the hills and the towns proliferated with their blood money. In the meantime, no thanks to these criminals, everyone was subjected to their corrupt influences. Mob rule became the norm, the ends justifies the means and now these rebels all want everyone to forgive and forget; amnesty. So, is it any surprise that the Bush Republican’s and their complicit enablers’ assault on the law these past years gets the same pass? Read the following article by Glenn Greenwald and see if the hair doesn’t stand up on the back of your neck everytime you think about what these people have done to society.
Tuesday March 3, 2009 06:31 EST
Various universal perception biases always make it difficult to assess how genuinely consequential contemporary events are: events in the present always seem more important than ones in the past; those that affect us directly appear more significant than those that are abstract, etc. (though powers of denial — e.g.: all of those bad things I’ve read about in history can’t happen to me and my country and my time — undercut those biases). Whatever else is true, it seems undeniably clear, at the very least, that the extreme decay and instabilities left in the wake of the Bush presidency will alter many aspects of the social order in radical and irrevocable (albeit presently unknowable) ways.
One of the central facts that we, collectively, have not yet come to terms with is how extremist and radical were the people running the country for the last eight years. That condition, by itself, made it virtually inevitable that the resulting damage would be severe and fundamental, even irreversible in some sense. It’s just not possible to have a rotting, bloated, deeply corrupt and completely insular political ruling class — operating behind impenetrable walls of secrecy — and avoid the devastation that is now becoming so manifest. It’s just a matter of basic cause and effect.
Yet those who have spent the last several years pointing out how unprecedentedly extremist and radical was our political leadership (and how meek and complicit were our other key institutions) were invariably dismissed as shrill hysterics. As but one of countless highly illustrative examples, here is a November, 2004 David Broder column scoffing at the notion that there was anything radical or unusual taking place in the U.S., dismissively deriding the claim that there was anything resembling an erosion of basic checks and safeguards in the United States:
Bush won, but he will have to work within the system for whatever he gets. Checks and balances are still there. The nation does not face “another dark age,” unless you consider politics with all its tradeoffs and bargaining a black art.
That was (and still is) the prevailing attitude among our political and media elites: it was those who were sounding alarm bells about the radicalism and damage of the Bush administration — not Bush officials themselves — who were the real radicals and, worst of all, were deeply Unserious.
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Anyone get the connection?