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Open thread

bullet image John Oliver has a good extended piece on the prison system in America.


bullet image Also in comedy-news video, the Daily Show has a segment on asset forfeiture. Good to see that issue being tackled on the Daily Show, although personally I found the segment to be unbearably puerile in its attempts at humor.

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18 comments to Open thread

  • N.T. Greene

    Does this mean we’re finally at the “then they laugh at you” step?

    By the time the actual fighting happens it’s going to be pretty one sided…

    • primus

      First they ignore you. (Check.) Then they ridicule you. (Check.) Then they fight you. (Check–ongoing.) Then you win.

      Ghandi.

      I guess next we win.

      • kaptinemo

        The prohibs are in that terrible state where we have won, but the opposition is still of the mistaken, forlorn hope of reinforcements, and continues their doomed-to-failure fight. They have only each other to fall back on, now. No real outside ‘help’, just their ever-shrinking cohort. To paraphrase a famous line from a (pointless) comedy series, instead of soup, it’s “No cavalry for you!

        The people they were hoping to bamboozle and thus keep their gravy train running are instead blasting holes in its boiler. The train will roll on for a little while, but when the inertia runs out, the train will eventually stop…and its insane crew and passengers can finally be slapped into restraints and carted off to where they’ve always belonged. Or, as I once heard the great insult comic Don Rickles say about Congress in 1983, “They all ought to be put into a ‘home’, and stop bothering the American people!”

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    Oh oh. Everyone knows of the potentially catastrophic consequences when prohibition and anti-prohibition attempt to occupy the same space. This one is from the “I hope that you remember how to duck and cover?” category:

    RAND officials to visit Vermont next week to plan marijuana study
    By Katie Jickling
    07/19/2014

    /snip/
    MONTPELIER — Rand Corporation representatives will be in Vermont next week to begin work on a study of the effects that marijuana legalization might have on the state’s economy, individual health and public safety.

    The international, nonprofit research organization was chosen to conduct the study, which was mandated in a bill passed by the Legislature last session.
    /snip/

    The state will pay Rand $20,000 for the research. Spaulding said that Rand has raised about $100,000 from GiveWell, a nonprofit organization that researches charities and advises donors.

    Neither Rand nor GiveWell, Spaulding said, have a position on marijuana legalization.

    “We were looking for someone who wasn’t going to make a case that we legalize or not legalize,” Spaulding said, adding that Rand is “very well-respected.”
    /snip/

    They must have a very peculiar definition of the word respected in Vermont. Doesn’t this guy know that RAND thinks that their paying customers should provide the desired results so that they can reverse engineer a study to prove it? As a matter of SOP RAND never takes a position until the check clears.

    Off topic: Why is it that I consistently think of The Village People whenever I hear someone use the word mandating?

    • Jean Valjean

      “We were looking for someone who wasn’t going to make a case that we legalize or not legalize..”
      Oh, I know what you need, You need a Third Way! Cue Kevin and Patrick…. Money, it’s a hit…

      • B. Snow

        Sounds like they designed their goal specifically with ‘SAM’ in mind! Although, Kev-Kev just got done professing they don’t get paid to do this – that they’re volunteers working from donations, or some-such crappola?

        And from where I’m standing this: “Neither Rand nor GiveWell, Spaulding said, have a position on marijuana legalization.” – Is an out-n-out, bold-faced Lie!

  • Frank W.

    Considering the softball questions Stewart and Colbert gave to Hilary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi I’m not surprised they have shied away from the police state brutality issue. It makes me think that, above all the wacky bad-boy programming, They have things firmly In Hand.
    I keep hoping to outgrow “Gravity’s Rainbow”, but I reread it last year and it more and more seems to be the true Book of Revelations. Same with “Vineland”.

  • Servetus

    It’s surprising that highway forfeiture and a cop’s license to steal doesn’t incite much protest. Although in Utah, citizens voted a 69-percent majority in a referendum to end forfeitures in their state, only to have the Utah government override the will of the people and reinstate it.

    We would expect this type of police-state nonsense in a flyover tar-pit like Utah. Tim Leary was offered a pre-release option at the end of his prison sentence to go there, but he refused it, declaring Utah to be little more than a minimum security prison. Of course, Utah isn’t the only proto-fascist hell hole where legislators allow police and forfeiture to run roughshod over people’s lives. The fact that forfeiture happens randomly, and to a limited number of people, probably helps keep it viable, along with the stolen money cops receive.

    It’s a bizarre situation. First the government dumbs down its citizens with anti-drug propaganda, then it openly steals from the innocent while flying the banner of a mythical drug-free America. I can think of no other modern, industrialized nation that does this to its own people.

    America is not the home of the free, nor the brave. Brave citizens who really care about their country and their freedoms would be out on the streets torching police cars and anything else forfeiture money buys. The complacency people display toward something as horrendously destructive as the drug war is not only frustrating, but the mark of a decayed empire. Drugs aren’t the means of decline, but act as a positive human enlightenment, making drug consumption the number one enemy of totalitarian regimes.

  • primus

    The US tried to ban alcohol, but it was too popular. Russia tried to ban religion, but it was too popular. Now that cannabis is becoming so popular, the ban is doomed. The prohibidiots must learn to be satisfied with banning much less popular substances such as cocaine, heroin and meth, at least until such substance becomes sufficiently popular to overcome the ban. By the same token, if they can reduce the number of tobacco users to a low enough number, they can ban that too. I predict that is their end game.

    • allan

      oh, we can’t let the prohibidiots be satisfied w/ anything. And uppers have always been popular. Prohibition gave us bathtub meth.

      I disagree about their endgame… they have no end of game planned. Prohibition is the bureaucratic version of the perpetual motion machine – they want it to run forever.

      • Howard

        “Prohibition is the bureaucratic version of the perpetual motion machine – they want it to run forever.”

        The scariest words prohibitionists never want to hear are, “Congratulations, you’ve won. All the illegal drugs are gone”.

        And with that? Gone would be the DEA (great job, now go find real work).

        The NIDA and ONDCP? No need, see ya (as you clean out your offices, please see the job reference above).

        No more Byrne grants for police departments.

        No more drug related asset forfeiture. (Doh!)

        Rehab centers? The majority would shutter when drug diversion programs would cease and court anointed “addicts” would no longer darken their door (goodbye National Association of Drug Court Professionals, don’t let the door hit you in the ass).

        Swat Teams? No need for you guys to break down the doors of non-violent drug offenders anymore. So hand over most of that riot gear you use to terrorize people in their homes. Keep some of your taxpayer acquired gear for the very seldom, once-in-a-blue-moon, real hostage/terror situation (keep cleaning your stuff, it’s going to get rusty).

        For-profit prisons? Uh oh, your stock value just fell through the floor.

        —-

        There’s much more that could be added to this list of course. But you get the idea.

  • We mourn the murder by police of Eric Garner.
    May his death be as well-known as that of actor James.

    http://www.salon.com/2014/07/22/i_cant_breathe_police_overreach_eric_garner_and_the_chokehold_of_racism/

  • Windy

    Europe is coming to the legalization party:
    https://clicknsign.eu/en/projects/93/legalise-cannabis
    FTA:

    Weed Like to Talk proposes to legalize the consumption, production, and selling of cannabis, and to start a global reflection on drugs in Europe.
    If we are 1 million European citizens to sign this campaign, the European Commission will have to review this law proposal and the European Parliament will be able to vote it. Support and share this campaign for a real change on a tough issue!

  • allan

    I haven’t looked at it yet but this report estimates that New Approach Oregon will generate $38.5 million dollars in tax revenue the first full fiscal year. PDF file:

    http://www.econw.com/media/ap_files/7-22-2014_CannabisFinalReport2.pdf