While Americaâ€™s political kingmakers inject their millions into high-profile presidential and congressional contests, Democratic mega-donor George Soros has directed his wealth into an under-the-radar 2016 campaign to advance one of the progressive movementâ€™s core goals â€” reshaping the American justice system.
The billionaire financier has channeled more than $3 million into seven local district-attorney campaigns in six states over the past year â€” a sum that exceeds the total spent on the 2016 presidential campaign by all but a handful of rival super-donors.
His money has supported African-American and Hispanic candidates for these powerful local roles, all of whom ran on platforms sharing major goals of Sorosâ€™, like reducing racial disparities in sentencing and directing some drug offenders to diversion programs instead of to trial. It is by far the most tangible action in a progressive push to find, prepare and finance criminal justice reform-oriented candidates for jobs that have been held by longtime incumbents and serve as pipelines to the federal courts â€” and it has inspired fury among opponents angry about the outside influence in local elections.
Demanding wholesale reform of Argentine narcotics legislation yesterday, over 500 respected legal voices commemorated the 30th anniversary of the Supreme Courtâ€™s landmark â€œBazterricaâ€ ruling and called for an end to the so-called â€œWar on Drugs.â€
The experts, who spoke in a room at the National Congress, said the landmark ruling by the landâ€™s top court â€” which in 1986 declared the unconstitutionality of prosecuting individuals for possessing narcotics intended for personal consumption â€” had paved the way for change.
â€œThe current law prosecutes the most vulnerable sectors of our society. There must be a sincere answer from the Argentine system, so as to judge what needs to be judged and to give users the healthcare and assistance they need,â€ said Judge Ãngela Ledesma.
Introducing a declaration endorsed by 250 magistrates and 300 other signatories at the National Congressâ€™ Blue Room, the Association of Penal Thinking (APP) â€” an NGO dealing with criminal law â€” filed a petition asking for a modification to National Drugs Law 23,737, which criminalizes the possession of narcotics for personal consumption.
Ledesma argued that the â€œWar on Drugsâ€ was failing and said that decriminalization is the only way forward.
A Christian publication takes a hard look at the need for a new view on dealing with drug problems.
Americans have a long history of viewing drug use as a moral weakness and drug users as criminals who need to be punished. But the failure of the war on drugs, and the evident success of other approaches, is changing minds. A fundamental shift in policy is under wayâ€”a shift toward a more humane and hopeful policy. For millions of drug users and their families, it canâ€™t happen soon enough.
Note: I’m still on my extended road trip vacation. Started in Wisconsin, and headed to Ontario, Niagara Falls, the Hudson River, Manhattan, the Connecticut coast, Rhode Island harbors, Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod National Seashore, the scenic roads of Vermont’s Green Mountain Forest, Stowe, New Hampshire’s White Mountain National Forest and the top of Mount Washington, the Lakes and Mountains region of Maine, Ogunquit, Vinalhaven Island, and tomorrow head for Acadia National Park. Will soon be heading into easter Canada.