Posts Tagged ‘on’

War on Drugs – FAILED!

Sunday, April 8th, 2012

The war in Iraq was a disaster. The war in Afghanistan is in dire straights. Now, drug prohibition is officially being added to the list of failed wars.

Latin American leaders, in a historic watershed summit, will admit that the war on drugs will never succeed and that alternatives to prohibition must be found, including a more nuanced and rational approach.

Finally! Some common sense coming to the forefront of the great drug debacle. (more…)

Ending the Global War on Drugs

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Armed conflict has a way of entrenching itself into the fabric of a society. Whether it involves a military force overseas or para-military law enforcement back home, if there’s an army being raised you’re almost guaranteed that someone, somewhere stands to reap huge profits off the imminent bloodshed.

Such is the case with the multi-billion dollar drug prohibition/incarceration business. As fruitless as it has proven itself, hundreds of thousands of people still depend upon the illegality of narcotics to earn their living. These inherently pro-prohibition people – DEA’s, jailers, lawyers – could find themselves out of work were drug use treated as a health issue instead of a criminal issue.

This is why the pro-legalization party has such an uphill battle to fight. A movement can have facts and justice and majority support on their side, but without the political clout equivalent to that wielded by the powers which profit from the status quo, draconian policies will continue to hold.

In a bid to bring drug policies up to the 21st century, libertarian think tank the Cato Institute are set to host a major conference today involving many prominent scholars and international leaders. The influential group will analyze global drug policy and propose practical alternatives, such as legalization.

If I had the opportunity to present a case against drug prohibition, it’d be a sweet infographic showing the darkest parts of prohibition contrasted with the light of legalization.

First, we’d look at the death toll along the US-Mexico border, where 11,000 people have been killed this year by criminal drug enterprises. These gangs would not have such tremendous reach without drug prohibition. Few industries pay quite like the hugely inflated narcotics market.

Then we’d look at Portugal, who legalized all drugs almost a decade ago to a resounding success. It turns out, giving users care instead of punishment actually resulted in a decline in drug use. And, without the need to hire armies, legalization ends up being cheaper to taxpayers while being less detrimental to society.

Yeaaaa… that’d make one sweet picture. The prohibitionists wouldn’t even know what hit ‘em!

9/11 – A Legacy of Terror

Saturday, September 10th, 2011

If you’re like me, then you’ve already grown weary from the plethora of 9/11 stories that have surfaced for the 10th anniversary. So I’ll keep this one brief.

Terrorists win when the response they provoke does more damage than the initial attack. In this sense, America has lost, and is continuing to lose badly, ever since September 11, 2001.

Just look at what is happening in New York this weekend – security stops everywhere, fully automatic weapons menacing the street corners, an entire city on edge – it’s a veritable police state. That ain’t freedom, nor is it a state of being worth protecting.

And look at what the American military has been doing in response to the attacks: trillion dollar wars costing millions of lives, campaigns of terror all around the world, and an economy that is threatening to collapse.

All this from a single event, albeit a high profile one. And, apart from some superficial changes,  America is no more secure than they were a decade ago.

So what happens the next time a bomb goes off… will American’s withdraw even deeper into their shell, selling off any remaining liberties in a desperate bid for the illusion of more security?

Or will the US population finally learn from their decade long folly see that the most effective way to deal with terrorists is with defiance – simply ignore them as best you can and go on living life to the fullest.

When Terrorists Win

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

(These sirens are damned annoying. How does one opt out?)

Bin Laden sought to destroy America by bankrupting it. With a wavering economy and foreign debt broaching $15 Trillion, it seems the United States may have succumb to the deceased Face of Terror’s devious plan.

This is precisely how the terrorists win – by provoking a response from society that ultimately does far greater harm than the initial attack.

Unfortunately, as the decade long failure known as the War on Terror can attest, there is little we can do to directly prevent terrorism. For as long as humans are free, some might choose to hurt other people for whatever stupid reason.

But that doesn’t mean we should give up our liberties. Especially not for a predominantly trivial threat, like terrorism, which kills about the same number of people as bathtubs.

Instead of running for the hills every time some bad guy says boo, we can just accept that getting-exploded-by-some-ideological-douchebag is just one more item in a long list of things that can kill us.

This way, we’ll have more energy to focus towards a broader approach to terrorism, attacking the underlying social issues, like poverty, which foster violent extremism.

US Taxpayers Funding Taliban

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

In what can accurately be described as a colossal fuck-up, the U.S military estimates that $360 million in U.S. tax dollars has ended up in the hands of the Taliban and other criminals.

We all know that the war machine needs to manufacture their enemies, but this is ridiculous! I mean, come on Defense Industry, at least try to be a little more covert when creating people to fight.

It’s like they’ve been getting away with industrialized murder for so long that they’ve completely lost all respect for the dissenting ability of the American public.

But who can blame them… if $20 billion can go unaccounted for in Iraq without any major uproar, then a mere $300 mil should be no big deal.

While these tremendous fortunes are gone forever, not all is lost. Like Dr. Ron Paul says, people are waking up to the silliness of America’s bloated military spending and are no longer willing to just blindly accept anything in the name of defense.

It’s only a matter of time until the majority of humans, everywhere on earth, see war for what it is – a giant waste of lives and money just to hurt ourselves. And this is precisely why institutionalized armed conflict will soon go obsolete, paving the path for peace to overtake our planet.

US Negotiating Terms of Afghan Surrender

Sunday, August 7th, 2011

10+ years, 20,000 human lives, and just under a half a trillion dollars and now the US Military brass are ready to accept the inevitable – they have to move on from Afghanistan.

Alongside the troop withdrawal will be a strategic agreement, to be discussed at an upcoming Traditional Grand Assembly, with any tribal elders and political figures willing to play America’s twisted game.

An early draft of the agreement would let the US establish permanent military bases across the country, with the option to set up more military bases whenever it deems necessary. The draft also requires Afghan airspace to be handed over to American forces after the strategic deal comes into effect.

Not much of a deal for the Afghans. But it was never about them, anyway. Al Qaeda and the Taliban are just unfortunate fall-guys in the US’s bid for global supremacy.

Too bad for the US, they’re still fighting a 20th century battle, leaving top spot in the new frontier – cyberspace – up for grabs.

This is where humankind comes in. The new superpower on earth need not be China or some other private entity. The top force to be reckoned with could very well be humankind itself.

While our common humanity can be lost in the fog of war, social media acts like a lifting wind, exposing just how united we really are.

When enough of us see armed conflict for what it really is – that we are only fighting ourselves – we’ll be strong enough to systematically dismantle the institutions responsible for perpetuating wars around the world.

When enough people get the Internet, the whole world could be just one Twitter trend, one Facebook group, one whatever the heck Google+ does, away from world peace.

War on Terror is Giant Cash Cow for Defense Industry

Wednesday, July 13th, 2011

Journalist Pepe Escobar put up a scathing opinion piece on Al J that parallels a notion oft parroted here, namely, that the War on Terror exists less to kill bad guys and more to line the pockets of certain higher-ups from the Defense Industry and elsewhere.

First, Escobar looks the the numbers:

A recent, detailed study by the Eisenhower Research Project at Brown University revealed that the war on terror has cost the US economy, so far, from $3.7 trillion (the most conservative estimate) to $4.4 trillion (the moderate estimate). Then there are interest payments on these costs – another $1 trillion.

That makes the total cost of the war on terror to be, at least, a staggering $5.4 trillion. And that does not include, as the report mentions, “additional macroeconomic consequences of war spending”, or a promised (and undelivered) $5.3 billion reconstruction aid for Afghanistan.

Then he asks “Who’s profiting from this bonanza?” and offers the following reply:

That’s easy – US military contractors and a global banking/financial elite. The notion that the US government would spend $10 billion a month just to chase a few “al-Qaeda types” in the Hindu Kush is nonsense.

Finally the author analyzes the end goals for these trillions of dollars: expanding America’s network of military bases and securing the territory for a vast $10 Billion oil pipeline that crosses Turkmenistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan (TAP). Escobar:

It’s mind-boggling that 10 years and $5.4 trillion dollars later, the situation is exactly the same. Washington still badly wants “its” pipeline – which will in fact be a winning game mostly for commodity traders, global finance majors and Western energy giants.

From the standpoint of these elites, the ideal endgame scenario is global Robocop NATO – helped by hundreds of thousands of mercenaries – “protecting” TAP  while taking a 24/7 peek on what’s going on in neighbours Russia and China.

Excellent message from Mr. Escobar! Now, if only there was a way to shorten it down and get Lady Gaga to sing it.

Avaaz: Harnessing the Global Voice

Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

Several years ago, I put forth a proposal for a Global Voting System which would run on PDA’s and home computers to create a decentralized polling system, where anyone could put forth new issues and everyone can vote on them.

The idea was to create alternative democratic channels outside of the current, oft-corrupt political system. While my GVS idea didn’t pick up much traction (perhaps it’s just ahead of its time), others have trying to find ways to harness the voice of the world’s people.

One of these organizations – Avaaz – has been making tremendous headway towards leveraging global opinions into political action.

Earlier this month, a petition signed by over 1.5 million people from around the world mounted enough pressure to block a horrendous anti-gay bill from passing parliament in Uganda.

The law would have applied the death penalty for homosexuality. But thanks to Avaaz and millions of engaged people from around the world, the bill has been shelved.

Now, members of Avaaz have set their sights on the most senseless war of all time – the war on drugs – and they’re taking the fight all the way to the United Nations. When signatures surpass the one million mark, it will be personally delivered to world leaders by the global commission.

Awesome! Avaaz is showing what people power can really do. When the collective voice of humankind is finally heeded, a more just global civilization will emerge.

Peace March in Mexico

Monday, May 9th, 2011

Tens of thousands of Mexicans marched through the capital yesterday, urging an end to the bloodshed.  The rally signaled the end of a four day, 60 mile trek that started Thursday.

The outrage expressed by these brave demonstrators is certainly justified. Nearly 38,000 people have been killed in Mexico in the past four years, not to mention how unacceptably commonplace human rights violations have become.

You may look at these numbers and think it’s such a senseless shame, which it most definitely is. But even more tragic is the underlying cause of the majority of this violence – drug prohibition.

Fueling Mexico’s powerful criminal groups are the lucrative profits made from narcotics trafficking. Were prohibition to end, most of Mexico’s gangs would go belly up as their supply of dirty drug dollars dries up.

So, once again, an obvious solution emerges that would solve several deep rooted problems – end the war on drugs.

Most of us already know drug prohibition is an utter failure, but these draconian policies still remain. This isn’t because drug prohibition warrants any merit, but because the people’s anti-prohibition movement hasn’t gained enough steam.

Several industries – DEAs, jails, and drug-peddlers – will each continue to make billions of dollars a year as long as the war on drugs keeps running. Plus, many more industries – pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and alcohol – all stand to lose billions if illicit drugs were legalized.

With so many huge businesses involved, the war on drugs is set to continue forever. At least, until it gets forced to stop, and this will take collective action by millions of informed and engaged citizens.

So be sure to do your part. Get informed about the realities of drug prohibition, then become involved and speak your voice. It’s time this injustice came to an end.

Heinous Hemp Hypocrisy

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

As incredible as we humans are, and amazing as our accomplishments have been, we’ve still some major injustices left to eradicate.

While not as pressing as say, Israel’s oppression of Palestine, an issue that is not given its due credence for its crimes against humanity is… drug prohibition. Yes, the war on drugs is a tragedy of the utmost proportions for many reasons, of which here are two:

First, we’re spending billions a year on soldiers, cops and jails to fight drugs, while the only tangible results are the creation of a gigantic black market to prop up powerful organized crime syndicates.

Second, we’ve actually been stifling our world’s GDP by not harnessing the full potential of a few highly beneficial plants, like Cannabis and Coca, which could each be multi-billion dollar businesses on their own.

So why does the war on drugs persist? Surely not because it has been successful. Today, even though narcotics are cheaper and stronger than ever before, prohibition does far more damage to society than the drugs they vilify.

No, what it boils down to is that these beneficial plants are being made illegal because of their very usefulness. Cheap and plentiful, they offer tremendous competition for other billion dollar industries – a notion vibrantly described by the writers at Absolute Despotism:

Marijuana’s probably bad for you, but so is shoving pine cones up your ass. The reason marijuana’s illegal and pine cones aren’t, is because you can’t use pine cones to make paper… But in the 1930’s a new machine called a “decorticator” made it profitable to produce paper from hemp. So profitable that Popular Mechanics called hemp the “New Billion-Dollar Crop” and reported  ”10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average [forest] pulp land.”

Well a lot of people, including newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, owned a shit load of timberland, and because people don’t like it when new technology comes along and fucks up their business, Hearst started calling hemp marijuana, and launched a newspaper campaign to ban his competition. It worked, and even though the American Medical Association was against banning marijuana (seriously), in 1937 it was outlawed. So thanks to people like Hearst, marijuana was outlawed to prevent competition from hemp.

Hearst was just one powerful guy in the paper industry. Now picture similar rich tycoons within Cannabis’ other competing fields, like oil, cotton, pharmaceuticals, alcohol and tobacco, and we begin to see the real reasons drug prohibition is still around – big money in a few pockets.

But here’s the good news: the sham known as drug prohibition is being exposed to a growing audience. Soon, in the same fashion that alcohol prohibition was demolished, enough of us will stand together against further injustice and bring the world’s war on drugs to a well-deserved end.