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March 2012
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We knew this was coming

Joe Biden brings the checkbook.

US offers more aid to fight Central America drug crime

Mr Biden said the US had supported Central America under a regional security initiative with some $361m (£230m) since 2008.

“We’re asking our Congress for another $107m next year,” he said. […]

The drugs issue is likely to surface next month when regional heads of state, including US President Barack Obama, gather in Colombia for the sixth summit of the Americas.

Joe’s writing checks on money we don’t have in order to try to keep President Obama from having to face tough questions about failed policy.

Update: Even writing checks isn’t going to silence the region. Check out this outstanding article by Laura Carlsen that was picked up in Honduras Weekly: Upping the Drug War: Doing Biden’s Bidding

His message is that the administration that presides over the nation with the largest illegal drug market in the world and actively funds a global war to enforce ineffective prohibition policies will not consider any form of legalization. But it supports “dialogue.”

Can that position really qualify as dialogue? A dialogue on how to “be most effective in confronting transnational criminal organizations” must start from the recognition that the current US strategy has increased violence, done nothing to reduce crime or illicit drug flows and had a devastating impact on “people’s daily lives and daily routines” in Mexico and Central America.

A real discussion on effective strategies has to include the option of legalization. […]

Biden appears to have been charged on this trip with deterring any move toward legalization in the region and aligning nations in the war on drugs.

He has a tough road ahead of him. Latin American citizens and government leaders are openly protesting a model where their nations pay in blood and lives to fill US defense contractor’s pockets and spread the Pentagon’s global reach — with few, if any, positive results.

Biden may have taken the checkbook with him and these countries will probably take the money offered, but that doesn’t necessarily mean anymore that it will buy their silence.

To use that influence to suppress debate on innovative and very possibly effective alternatives to the bloody drug war is bad politics and the opposite of the kind of “equal partnership and mutual respect” the Obama administration promised at the Trinidad and Tobago Summit in 2009. Part of the purpose of Biden’s trip was to prepare for the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena in April. At that summit, the hemisphere’s nations will be able to judge whether Obama’s presidency changed relations as promised three years ago.

If Biden’s trip was only about locking in policies of drug war militarization and discouraging independent regional initiatives, the Obama administration will arrive in Cartagena having broken those promises and dashed hopes of a more just realignment of relations in the hemisphere.

I’m thinking that the Summit of the Americas is going to be something to watch.

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24 comments to We knew this was coming

  • ezrydn

    BIDEN: We’ll have dialogue on what we absolutely won’t accept or consider.

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  • kaptinemo

    Definitely on topic: a good article on the forces behind continuing drug prohibition.

    Why Can’t You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs

    from the article:

    John Lovell is a lobbyist who makes a lot of money from making sure you can’t smoke a joint. That’s his job. He’s a lobbyist for the police unions in Sacramento, and he is a driving force behind grabbing Federal dollars to shut down the California marijuana industry. I’ll get to the evidence on this important story in a bit, but first, some context…

    Shortly after President Obama’s stimulus program passed, Lovell went to work channeling the taxpayer money for California into drug war programs. According to documents Republic Report obtained from the Police Chiefs Association, Lovell helped local departments apply for drug war money from the Federal government. Here’s a copy of one letter sent to a police department in Lassen County, California...

    The Federal anti-marijuana honeypot might have dried up if Prop 19 had passed. Legalizing marijuana would have generated billions in tax revenue for the state of California, while also reducing victimless crime prosecutions. But for lobbyists like Lovell, legalization was a direct assault on hundreds of thousands of dollars in potential fees for helping to solicit taxpayer money for his clients. (Emphasis mine – k.)

    Just doesn’t get any plainer. But those ‘grants’ are from inflated, borrowed money. It’s an illusion of solvency; the country is freakin’ broke.

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    • strayan

      Malcolm, add him to the list of people to stand trial for crimes against humanity.

      Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

    • Chris

      But that’s the problem! We can’t get any of these people in court under oath so that we can catch them lying (they have no other options besides silence). I’ve heard this said again and again, but are there even any ways to make that happen?

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    • strayan

      We are now at the point where drug war profiteers and the architects of drug prohibition must be held accountable.

      All prohibitionists who escapee punishment at the end of the drug war must be doggedly persued. Especially the scoundrels like John Lovell who have been the recipients of largesse — jobs and government money to name a couple of things.

      Those who have endured the cruelty of their policies (mostly poor black bastards and third-world-looking folks) must demand justice.

      Let us not forget that for every high-ranking sadistic drug prohibitionist, there were thousands more who assisted them directly (through action) or indirectly (through silence) that need to be called to account.

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  • Francis

    Arsonist to homeowner: “You want to put the fire out?! That’s crazy! What if I offered you some more free gasoline, would that change your mind? I mean, we could really get this thing going then.”

    Well-liked Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  • darkcycle

    Biden’s dialog consisted of this:
    Hey! Will you STFU?! Wait, did I hurt your feelings Sweetie? No, don’t cry, here, buy yourself a new dress. Now I don’t want to hear any more of that”Legalization” nonsense, ‘kay? Now be a nice girl and do daddy’s Biden….er…I mean bidding, do daddy’s bidding.

    Well-liked Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

    • kaptinemo

      (Sputtering laughter) Good thing I wasn’t drinking anything when I read ‘…daddy’s Biden’.

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  • Benjamin

    Meh. The summit might provide an uncomfortable moment or two for Obama, but for the most part, the US will be successful in stifling government-level debate on this topic. So long as more than half of Central America declares itself 100% supportive of prohibition, it’ll be impossible for a patchwork of individual nations to actually implement legalization.

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    • claygooding

      Impossible? We have dry counties where no alcohol is sold,we have counties that sell beer only,no hard liquors and we have counties that sell it all in Texas,,,so explain how countries couldn’t operate under the same pattern.

      Well-liked Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  • Duncan20903

    I’d advise the banana republicans to demand payment in hard money.

    Well-liked Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  • darkcycle

    I know this is no open thread, but this is disturbing on many levels. Particularly for yours truly.
    http://cannabiswarrior.com/2012/03/07/butte-county-ada-jeff-greeson-continues-medical-cannabis-witch-hunt-against-families/

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  • quotes are fun!

    “I wouldn’t call him a genius, I’d reserve that for someone like Norman Einstein.” Joe Thiesmann

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  • more like “lecturing” than “dialog” I would say. Dialog would indicate the sending AND receiving of information.

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  • claygooding

    That extra money may be harder to get than it has been in the past,,still no budget hearings,,are they running late or am I just anxious?

    The leaders meeting at the summit are not backed up by legislatures bought and paid for by the monied interests that support prohibition in our country and that is what is driving the price of prohibition up,,and their economies cannot and will not bankrupt themselves as ours will too keep it in place.

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  • claygooding

    NH: House votes to reduce penalty for possession of small amounts of pot

    http://www.unionleader.com/article/20120308/NEWS06/120309913/0/NEWS03

    House Bill 1526 would make possession of half an ounce of marijuana or less a violation punishable by a fine for the first two offenses, but the third offense would be a misdemeanor. According to New Hampshire law, a misdemeanor is a crime and a person who is convicted of a misdemeanor may be sentenced to jail, while a violation is a lesser charge.

    Thud

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  • kaptinemo

    There may be another dynamic at work, and Biden and Company may have just stuck their heads in a hornet’s nest.

    Since the Central and South American nations have been electing mainly ‘Leftist’ heads of state, in a reflection of the rise in political activity after having been suppressed by totalitarian regimes, the idea of Biden showing up to bribe those leaders won’t go over very well, as it smacks of the ‘bad old days’ of the US supporting bloody-handed dictators (who got rich off the drug trade themselves with Uncle’s tacit approval).

    If those leaders publicly refuse the money, or even humiliate Biden in the process, they will gain enormous political capital at home and no small degree of cachet in the Non-Aligned World. And they will signal that they are not dependent upon Uncle’s high-sign to engage in the very debate Biden et al don’t want to take place.

    If that happens, it will spread like wildfire. the logical outcome of this will be whole blocs of nations denouncing the Single Convention Treaty and leaving Uncle and any sycophantic satellites orbiting around him in the dust.

    So…sure, Joe, run down there with OUR checkbook, but don’t be surprised if they rip the check up and throw it in your face out of national pride and political calculus. I’d pay real money to see that…

    Well-liked Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

    • claygooding

      The BBC is reporting that the bribe is for 107 million,,give or take a mill.

      Adding 107 million to the budget this late in the game just to buy more yachts and mansions for SA and CA legislators may catch extra hell in W&M Comm hearings,,scheduled for this month,,still no date showing but today was members day,,whatever that is.

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  • claygooding

    PS,,,Pat Robertson’s support for marijuana legalization is going viral,,newspapers and television reporters are spreading the word!!!!!

    Biden will be talking to him pretty quick.

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  • CNN did not translate the complete text of what CNN Mexico said. So we did CNN article translated

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  • Mr. Ikashini

    The Police Chiefs association makes calls for donations from private citizens over the land line telephone. Is there anyone else who is subject to this possible scam? And with poll data indicating majority support for re-legalizing, why isn’t the knight in shining armor winning any states in the primaries?

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    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      Do you mean Ron Paul? It’s because the main stream media said that it’s not possible for him to be nominated, and everyone wants to vote for the winning candidate. How do you think Dick Nixon and Spiro Agnew got elected by a landslide in 1972?

      Oh, then there’s the matter that nobody wants their favorite government programs cut, no matter how broken the programs or that the Treasury is bereft of money.

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