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February 2012
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Open Thread

bullet image Part of the Count the Costs Initiative comes this short film by the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union on the Human Rights Costs of the War on Drugs:

Via Transform.


bullet image Napolitano: Mexican drug war ‘not a failure’

Clearly realizes that she can’t call it a “success” so she tries to back-door her way through “not a failure.”

And yet, given her stated objectives:

“a continuing effort to keep our peoples from becoming addicted to dangerous drugs.”

… how can it be considered anything else than an abject failure. It hasn’t kept people from anything and has fueled massive levels of violence.


bullet image Legalizing marijuana in US has potential for positive effects by Simon Cantarel in The Oklahoma Daily — another excellent OpEd by a student. More SSDP influence?


bullet image Interesting juxtaposition of headlines in my newsreader:


bullet image Marijuana Federalism by Jonathan Adler at Volokh Conspiracy

… each time another state moves against drug prohibition is another opportunity to reconsider drug prohibition and the nature and extent to which federal resources should be devoted to the war on drugs.


bullet image Bob Barr: Libertarians should vote for Gingrich

This provokes the rather obvious question: “Has Bob Barr always been insane?” I’m getting convinced that his “conversion” to libertarianism was little more than his insanity causing him to believe he was a libertarian, much like the psych wards are populated with deluded crackpots believing themselves to be Napoléon Bonaparte.

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31 comments to Open Thread

  • Peter

    was just about to post a link to the volokh article. like the first comment bootleggers and baptists linked together in opposition of colorado initiative

  • Cold Blooded

    I wouldn’t call Bob Barr crazy, just a little to willing to compromise on important principles. Gingrich, sleazy though he may be, is an operator and could no doubt get things done if elected (whether you like the things he gets done is another issue.) I think Barr is essentially saying: “Candidate A’s views match my own perfectly but he has a low probability of being able to implement these ideas. Candidate B’s match my views only a third of the time, but he has a higher probability of getting them accomplished.” That’s a rational calculus, in my opinion. You might not agree with it. Anyway, in that article he goes on to say that he likes Ron Paul and Gary Johnson’s ideas.

  • Peter

    The human rights video hits the mark with the observation that a young man named Obama, had he been caught smoking marijuana as he admits to doing, would not have been employable as a school janitor and would have lost the right to vote. Time to do the right thing Mr President.

  • Dante

    “Drug war not a failure”????

    That is an instant classic, along with:

    “The U.S. does not torture it’s prisoners”

    “Iraq has WMD’s”

    “We don’t spy on innocent Americans without a warrant”

    “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”

    and the biggest lie of all, which could be applied to any politician:

    “I am not a crook”.

    • Jake

      Oh, and here I was thinking that Gil said that the ‘drug war’ was over and everything was rainbows and lollypops.. when did it start back up again?

  • As probably the only person here on Pete’s couch that knows Barr personally, his calling for Libertarians to support and vote for Newt is not surprising. Insane, yes, but not surprising. But I still believe Barr was the best choice we Libertarians could have made in 2008.

    That he ran a stupid campaign and lied to me and others notwithstanding, had we selected any other candidate, Gary Johnson would not be running for the 2012 Libertarian nomination. It was generally held by many that, as bad as Barr was, selecting any of the other candidates would have been the final nail in the Libertarian coffin.

    Gary Johnson may very well get the Libertarian nomination. But he continues to hold some very non-libertarian positions, and runs the risk that the more radical faction of the Libertarian Party will saddle him with a wing-nut VP – just to keep a wildeye watching.

  • claygooding

    If the 50,000 dead in Mexico are mostly drug trafficking related,,why are their more drugs than ever now?

    And cheaper,,brick quarter pounds dropped back to $150>$200 recently.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    I haven’t been hearing much about Oregon’s proposed ballot initiative to re-legalize cannabis. But the language and title of the proposed initiative has been certified by the Secretary of State and signature collection is underway. Jolly good domain name that they chose: http://www.endprohibitionagain.com/

    From my observations Oregonians are pretty good at getting proposed laws on the ballot. Don’t forget that in 1997 the Legislature passed and the Governor signed a law re-criminalizing cannabis. But it appears in Oregon the people can object to a law passed by the legislature. The people put the re-criminalization law on the ballot and struck it down by a margin of 2:1. That same ballot Oregonians approved their State’s medicinal cannabis patient protection law.

    It’s only fitting that Oregon should re-legalize first, or at least tied for first since that State was the first to decriminalize.

    • Swooper420

      Hi, Duncan

      From Portland Oregon

      There are currently 3 initiatives gathering signatures for inclusion on the November ballot. 2 are just initiatives, 1 is a constitutional amendment.

      Haven’t heard anything myself as to how the signature gathering goes, but at least 1 initiative should make it to the ballot.

      With regard to the Medical Cannabis program here…Although supported by 70% of the population, Rethuglians in the Legislature are always introducing bills to gut our program. So far they’ve raised the registration fee by as much as 1000%, added a bunch more fees – $100 to make a paperwork change, for instance – and this is forcing some Oregonians out of the program. The state Legislature has decided that we, the poor and sick, can support other health programs to the tune of $6.7 million a year… all raised by fees on 50,000 patients. We have a lot of problems here, 99% caused by the Rethuglians.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    While they’re still in desperate need of treatment for rabies, The “National Families in Action” have launched the But What About the Children? Campaign, which spells out the conditions under which legal marijuana would be acceptable to them.

    Have we ever before seen a group of foaming at the mouth prohibitionist propose terms to settle the controversy in favor of re-legalization no matter how daffy the proposed terms? Maybe I’m making too much out of this but it appears that they’re starting to come to grips with reality.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        Wow, that one is so old that I thought it was news. Silly me for thinking that everything that shows up on a past 24 hours Google News Search is a contemporaneous event. Scott certainly made me infer that it was new info. Never mind.
        ———
        DC it really isn’t too farfetched to speculate that the entire left coast will pass their State’s respective ballot initiatives for a hat trick. Assuming they all make it to the ballot.

        • Since it’s a web page and not an article, it can often be hard to tell when it was established, especially when they have new articles posted there. It may have been the first time Scott encountered it.

  • darkcycle

    Yeah, I’d love to believe the Washington initiative had a better chance (it’s not dead in the water), but we’re heldback by the conservative East of our state, and an unfortunately large number of religious nutcases.

    • claygooding

      It is being subjected to the efforts of prohibs to split the vote,,the same tactic used in CA,,driving a wedge between medical and recreational users that results in people voting against the initiative that will keep it on the back burner for two more years.

      • Duncan20903

        .
        .

        The medical people aren’t in need of any prodding from the prohibitionists. Only an idiot would prefer to maintain the status quo over some fictional cohort of people that are going to be convicted of “drugged” driving with the per se clause. I think its presence will draw substantially more fence sitters to vote in favor of starting the end of the stupidity. I think most of us know that we have to offer some kind of concession and the DUI-m thing is something that resonates with those who are close, but otherwise would be likely to vote no in its absence.

        • darkcycle

          Frankly, unless you are drinking alcohol, or wind up in an accident, it seems like a non-issue. It is already the case that if you are in a collision and high on anything, you are faulted. Nobody I know has ever been pulled over for erratic driving after smoking a bowl. And in accidents they only give impairment tests if they suspect impairment.
          I fail to see how it affects the issue, since testing is expensive, time consuming and only done if you give ’em a reason. The only people affected would likely be drinkers, then I say “fine”.

    • Swooper420

      The WA initiative, I-502, has a lot of good things in it, but also a fatal flaw.

      The per se impaired driving limit of 5 ng/ml has no scientific basis, and will prevent most medical cannabis patients from driving or face the risk of jail. There will be hundreds of false arrests, where there is no impairment, but a blood level over 5 ng/ml, and most will end up in jail. Great bill, NOT!

  • Peter

    I’m not too familiar with the concept of nanograms, except that they are one billionth of a gram. Would someone with a more scientific background please explain how much cannabis we are talking about here with the proposed limit of 5 ng/ml? How does this compare to the alcohol limit taking an average sized person? I am guessing that drivers are legally permitted to be substantially more intoxicated with alcohol than cannabis?

    • Servetus

      Okay, I’ll give this a hit. Or two.

      Given that micrograms, or 1000 nanograms, is the measurement standard for one of the most powerful mind-altering drugs on the planet, 100-150 micrograms for a typical LSD dose, then 5 ng/ml is a mere trace of a drug much less powerful, THC in this case. Yes, scientific instruments can reveal minute quantities of shit. Whether that’s useful or not depends on one’s agenda.

      There is no proof or experimental evidence that 5 ng/ml constitutes a THC level leading to dysfunction, or that marijuana creates any kind of realistic dysfunction at all. But that doesn’t matter, because facts in general don’t matter to prohibitionists. That’s just how they are.

      Also, the 5 ng/ml value is an arbitrary and all too common number. It’s not a realistic number of the type one would expect to get from research results, like 3.7, or 8.3. It’s evident that 5.0 ng/ml has been picked from thin air merely to justify arresting marijuana users who drive or who otherwise function as normal human beings.

  • Servetus

    ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ gets its own navy to counter drug traffic across the Rio Grande. Texas apparently prefers spending $3-million on gunboats to spending it on school teachers.

    http://www.khou.com/news/texas-news/140427813.html

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    In last night’s episode of House M.D. Drs. Park and Chase are searching their patients home for clues to the correct diagnosis. During the search Dr. Park accidentally ingests LSD and finds herself “tripping balls” as she herself described her condition. The team promptly jumps to the conclusion that their patient has caused his disease because of “drug abuse.” Dr. Park seems on a collision course with a bad trip but fortunately Dr. House’s mother’s boyfriend has had substantial experience with helping people on bad trips and guides Dr. Park into a happy place. The team realizes that the patient’s disease has nothing to do with the LSD. By the end of the episode Dr. Park has come down peacefully, none the worse for wear, and yet another happy ending.

    Neither is Dr. Park the first member of the team to trip on acid. A couple of years ago Dr. House took some LSD to mitigate a migraine headache which he had purposefully induced chemically in order to prove that an experimental migraine medicine was nothing but a fraud. The writers don’t tell the audience where doctors go to buy LSD.

  • Duncan20903

    It’s the stupid economy.

    Rasquera Marijuana Plan: Spain Town Considers Farming Pot To Create Jobs
    02/28/2012

    With unemployment rates approaching 23 percent, according to a recent report by the Wall Street Journal, Spain has unquestionably fallen on tough economic times. However, the resourceful people of one town in Tarragona, in the Iberian country’s northeast, have come up with a solution:

    Farming pot.

    Rasquera, a town of with a municipal debt of 1.3 million euros, is exploring the idea of growing marijuana on government land to bring in revenue and create jobs, Spanish news agency EFE reports. A nonprofit group, called the Barcelona Association of Cannabis Self-Medication (ABCDA), has offered to pay the town hall 36,000 euros to get the project off the ground, with an annual investment of 550,000 euros for costs that would include land rental and security, according to Basque Radio Television.
    /snip/

    Here we come to save the day!

  • Hope

    In that article, Barr said, “A track record to me is a much better indicator of where these candidates truly stand than what they may say.”

    Weird! That’s exactly why I don’t trust him at all!

  • Interesting reserach re: three-strikes law in California.

    Three-strikes law fails to reduce crime

    California’s three-strikes law has not reduced violent crime, but has contributed significantly to the state’s financial woes by substantially increasing the prison population, according to a University of California, Riverside researcher. /snip/

    Analyzing national crime data, Parker found that crime in California has declined at rates similar to states with three-strikes policies and those without — including large states with no three-strikes laws such as Texas, New York and Illinois — and found little difference. “This suggests that whatever is driving the trend in violent crime over the last 46 years in these states it is not three-strikes policy,” Parker concluded. /snip/

    “There is no justification for continuing three-strikes from a violence-prevention point of view,” Parker says. “My analysis suggests that alcohol policy designed to reduce overall consumption in California may be more effective at reducing violence than three-strikes or other criminal justice policy initiatives.” /snip/

    If inmates sentenced under three-strikes were released immediately, the state and counties would save about $1.3 billion immediately, and likely more in coming years, according to the auditor’s report.

    Source: PhysOrg.com

  • OgdenKeystoneCopsShooting

    After reading all 16 pages of comments, there appears to be a local consensus that supports what’s summed up in the following single comment:

    “Guy gets job at walmart, meets girl, invites girl over, smokes some stuff with girl, guy and girl get a little friendlier, guy buys girl ear rings, girl hooks up with cop that’s going through divorce, guy wants ear rings back, girl rats out guy that wants ear rings back – “ – GitRDunn

    There’s also frequent mention of possible friendly-fire.

    http://www.sltrib.com/sltrib/news/53609058-78/stewart-county-shooting-court.html.csp

  • darkcycle

    Well. A somewht tempered Hurray. I get my laptop back and this annoying tablet will be relegated to portable device status, where it belongs. ETA one hour from now.

    • darkcycle

      GAWDAMNSUMMUDERFUKKINBITCH!! Got it back…ostensibly fixed. Turned it on and…..nothing. NEVER BUY A DELL!!!!!!! NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER!!!!!
      It’s BACK AT THE REPAIR SHOP. At this point I don’t even think I’mgoing to bther picking it back up.