Tag Archives: obama

Latinos For Tennessee | Faith, Family, Freedom, and Fiscal …

Posted: July 25, 2016 at 3:58 pm

Donate Supreme Court Affirms Rule of Law; Separation of Powers in DAPA Ruling

June 23, 2016

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE June 23, 2016 Supreme Court Affirms Rule of Law; Separation of Powers in DAPA Ruling Nashville, Tennessee The Supreme Court of the United States handed down President Barack Obama a major defeat by deadlocking on the United States v Texas, No. 15-674, a case concerning the legality of an

March 29, 2016

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 29, 2016 Latinos for Tennessee Urges Passage of HB2414 Nashville, Tennessee Today, Raul Lopez, Executive Director for Latinos for Tennessee, a statewide organization dedicated to promoting and defending faith, family, freedom and fiscal responsibility to the Latino community in Tennessee issued a statement concerning Tennessee House Bill 2414,

March 23, 2016

President Barack Obama made history this week by becoming the first sitting United States President in nearly nine decades to visit the communist island of Cuba. As a Cuban that fled to the United States seeking refuge from Communism, it has been tough to watch images of the president shaking hands with Cuban President Raul

March 17, 2016

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 17, 2016 Media contact: Israel Ortega izzy.ortega@gmail.com (202) 345-9130 Latinos for Tennessee Salutes Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey Nashville, Tennessee For over two decades, Tennesseans have been able to rely on Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey as a tireless advocate for freedom, limited government and the free enterprise system. Latinos

February 27, 2016

Even as the number of Latinos in Nashville and elsewhere around the country grows, misinformation abounds about the fastest and youngest growing demographic community. The biggest misconception is that Latinos all speak in one voice. This is patently false and does a great deal of disservice to the millions of individuals who are unique and

February 11, 2016

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE February 11, 2016 Media contact: Israel Ortega izzy.ortega@gmail.com (202) 345-9130 Tennessee House Honors Tommy Vallejos, Latinos for Tennessee Board Chairman Nashville, Tennessee Today, the Tennessee House honored Clarksville, TN County Commissioner Tommy Vallejos, a gang-member turned U.S. Army Gulf War Veteran and now Pastor, for his contributions to the

October 12, 2015

September 16, 2015

PRESS RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 16, 2015 Media contact: Israel Ortega iortega@crispcomm.com (202) 345-9130 Latinos for Tennessee Celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month Makes Appeal to Policymakers for Greater School Choice to Help Close Educational Achievement Gap Nashville, Tennessee Latinos for Tennessee, an organization dedicated to providing the Hispanic community in the state with information

August 24, 2015

When the job numbers came out early this month, they were not pretty especially for the Latino community. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the unemployment rate for the Latino community had risen to 6.8% well above the national average of 5.3%. These numbers suggest that in spite of claims that

July 14, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE July 14, 2015 Media contact: Israel Ortega iortega@crispcomm.com (202) 345-9130 Latinos for Tennessee Co-Hosts Nashville Mayoral Forum on Tuesday Six candidates for Mayor confirmed to attend; Metro Council Candidates also confirmed Nashville, Tennessee Six of the seven candidates vying to become the next mayor of Nashville are set to appear before

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Latinos For Tennessee | Faith, Family, Freedom, and Fiscal …

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Immigration’s Human Cost – human consequences of open …

Posted: July 23, 2016 at 4:26 am

Welcome to Immigrations Human Cost, a website that focuses on the fact that illegal immigration is not a victimless crime.

You can view archives from our original site by following the link in the navigation panel to the right.

Houston mother of five, Tina Davila (picured), was stabbed to death in 2008 when Timoteo Rios tried to hijack her SUV, but she refused to give up the keys because her 4-month-old baby was in the vehicle. The killer was identified by the surveillance tapes from the store near the crime and he quickly fled to Mexico.

He had been arrested earlier for marijuana possession but had not been deported. See my blog from the time, Whyd They Let Him Go? Previously Arrested Illegal Alien Kills Woman In Carjacking Attempt.

Now, more than two years later, the Mexican government has extradited Rios to be tried in Houston. Unfortunately, the extradition come with the usual Mexican requirement that the death penalty not be pursued by the prosecution.

The murder deprived five children of their loving mom, and that kind of pain never goes away. The kids are relieved that some justice may be at hand, but terrible memories are returning. The clip following is from KIAH-TV in Houston, Murder Suspect Faces Extradition.

Illegal immigrant extradited in Houston moms death, Houston Chronicle Blog, December 13, 2010

Tina Davilas youngest child, Kaylynn, was just 4 months old, a chubby-cheeked baby strapped snugly into a car seat, when her mother was stabbed to death fighting off a carjacker in the spring of 2008.

On Saturday, Davilas family will get together to celebrate Kaylynns third birthday. For Davilas older children, the birthday is a reminder of how much time has passed since their mother was buried at a cemetery on the citys east side.

Finally this weekend, her family members saw the main suspect in her murder, 26-year-old Timoteo Rios, extradited to Houston. And as grateful as they are that Rios will have to answer for Davilas death, the extradition has reopened old wounds.

I guess it just brings back too much pain and memories. I think my kids were having a hard time, said Eric Matt, 43, Davilas ex-husband and father of her three eldest children. Each one of them, it makes them angry. It makes them wonder why. With the holidays and everything, it just makes it really hard.

Davilas eldest daughter, 20-year-old Patricia Matt, said the extradition one year and four months after Rios arrest in Mexico brings some relief, but also has dredged up difficult memories. She said she recently saw the video of her mothers April 2008 murder, captured on a surveillance camera outside a Harris County cell phone store, on the news again.

The video shows Davila struggling with a suspect for her car keys before shes stabbed. Witnesses said she screamed, My baby, my baby! before stumbling into the store and collapsing. The carjackers left without taking the SUV, and Kaylynn was unharmed.

We have to go through all of these feelings again, said Patricia Matt, a nursing student who attends San Jacinto Community College. Were pretty much reliving what we first felt.

After Rios was charged with capital murder and fled to Mexico, his case became a high-profile example of problems with Immigration and Customs Enforcement screening at Harris Countys jails.

Rios, an illegal immigrant with a criminal record, had admitted to local law enforcement twice before the slaying that he was in the country illegally, but had not been deported, according to arrest and immigration records.

I just dont think its fair that you can come here without papers and get all of these tickets but not be deported, Eric Matt said. I dont understand why they didnt do anything way back then.

Since spring 2008, the Harris County Sheriffs Office and ICE have taken steps to increase screening at the local jail, which was the first site in the nation to participate in Secure Communities, a federal program that automatically checks inmates fingerprints against an immigration database. The county also participates in ICEs controversial 287(g) program, which deputizes local law enforcement to help ICE agents identify and detain suspected illegal immigrants in detention. Continue reading this article

In August 2007, three college students who were hanging out in a schoolyard were brutally attacked and shot to death by six MS-13 gangsters. Another young woman managed to survive, despite her terrible injuries, which have left her with facial paralysis to this day. The two women were raped and hacked with machetes.

See my report on the first trial First Newark Schoolyard Trial Gets Conviction.

One man, Melvin Jovel, confessed to being the only shooter, and he was sentenced to life in prison.

Admitted triggerman in Newark schoolyard slayings receives three consecutive life terms plus 20 years, Newark Star-Ledger, November 4, 2010

Of the six young men who authorities say set upon a group of college friends behind a Newark schoolyard, fatally shooting three execution-style and leaving the fourth badly hurt, only one pulled the trigger.

The admitted gunman, Melvin Jovel, 21, was sentenced this morning to three consecutive life terms in prison plus 20 years.

Jovel had pleaded guilty in September to three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and weapons charges in the Aug. 4, 2007 attack behind Mount Vernon School.

Jovel said he alone shot in the head Terrance Aeriel, Iofemi Hightower and Dashon Harve. Moments later, he walked over to Natasha Aeriel, Terrances sister, and shot her in the head. Only Natasha Aeriel survived.

He tried to take my life. I dont even know what to say, Natasha Aeriel said in court, before Superior Court Judge Michael L. Ravin imposed his sentence. Aeriel, now 22, made several prayer readings and said she even thanked Jovel for allowing me to get closer to Christ.

She added, he tried to take my life. I dont even know what to say.

Jovel, who listened through a Spanish translator, said little except to tell the judge that one of the other co-defendants, Rodolfo Godinez, sentenced in July to identical counts, had nothing to do with the killings.

While noting that by pleading guilty Jovel spared the victims families another trial, Judge Ravin said he did not believe that was the defendants motivation. Ravin said of the defendant, He was the slaughterer. He was the executioner.

The brutality of the killings Hightower and Natasha Aeriel were sexually assaulted and attacked with a machete shocked the city and became a rallying cry for community groups and Mayor Cory Booker to end the gun violence that has plagued Newark for years.

The six defendants are said to be affiliated with MS 13, a violent Central American street gang.

Jovel is the second defendant to be convicted in the killing. Ravin had sentenced Godinez on the same counts, which under New Jersey law, adds up to 245 years in prison. A jury found Godinez guilty on all charges at his trial in May.

The remaining defendants, Jose Carranza, 31, Shahid Baskerville, 18, Gerardo Gomez, 18, and 20-year-old Alexander Alfaro who is Godinezs half-brother will be tried separately.

The current AP story about the sentencing notes that Jovel is an illegal alien, a fact that was strongly hinted in his first court appearance where he swore innocence:

Newark slay suspect pleads not guilty, Newark Star-Ledger, August 21, 2007

Jovel, who is from Honduras, told the judge he does not have a Social Security number or a green card, but his immigration status remains unclear, prosecutors said. A U.S. passport was found among his belongings when he was arrested Sunday night, but officials are still trying to determine whether the passport is valid, Assistant Essex County Prosecutor Thomas A. McTigue said. Federal authorities have placed a detainer on Jovel because his status is uncertain, McTigue said.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials participated in Jovels arrest, and a spokesman for the agency said it becomes involved when they suspect a person is in the county illegally.

Below, criminals Melvin Jovel, Jose Carranza and Rodolfo Godinez.

There are many tragic stories about the victims of illegal alien criminals, but it doesnt get much worse than the deaths of Leigh Anna Jimmerson, 16, and her boyfriend, Tad Mattle, 19. The couple died in a fiery crash in April 2009 when their car burst into flames after being struck by illegal alien Felix Ortega, who was drunk at three times the legal limit for Alabama.

The prosecutor put together a deal where Ortega pleaded guilty to two murders in return for a 15 year sentence and eligibility for parole in 12.5 years. It was acceptable to both families who presumably didnt want to go through a trial where the horrific details of their kids deaths would be brought out. Even so, the plea agreement seems weak punishment indeed for the preventable deaths of two young people with their whole lives ahead of them.

Tad Mattles mother to Felix Ortega: I hope every day you will think about them, Huntsville Times Blog, August 30, 2010

HUNTSVILLE, AL The mother of one of two Huntsville teens killed when illegal immigrant Felix Ortega slammed into their car in 2009 told him in court today that she hopes he thinks about their deaths every day.

Felix Ortega pleaded guilty this morning to two counts of murder for the traffic deaths of Tad Mattle and Leigh Anna Jimmerson and received a 15-year sentence as part of a plea agreement. Ortega entered the plea before Circuit Judge Dennis ODell for the April 17, 2009, crash that killed Grissom High School sophomore Leigh Anna Jimmerson, 16, and her boyfriend, Tad Mattle, 19, a 2008 Grissom graduate.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Whitesburg Drive and Airport Road, after Ortega had fled in his truck from a Huntsville police officer whod been called after Ortega hit another car in his apartment building parking lot.

Mattles Toyota burst into flames after the accident, but police have said the collision caused their deaths before the fire started. Prosecutors said Ortegas blood alcohol level was three times the legal limit at the time of the crash.

After he was sentenced, Ortega, who had an interpreter in court helping translate the proceedings from English to Spanish, asked to address the teens families. The parents of both teens were in the courtroom and Ortega spoke to them in English.

I just want to say I never meant for this to happen, he said. I am really sorry for the pain I caused your family and my family. I just pray to God that you find it in your heart, so you can forgive me. I wish I could change it. Thats all.

Tad Mattles mother, Terri Mattle, then addressed Ortega, questioning whether he was breathing a sigh of relief when the teens parents would never see their children breathe again. She told him that both teens were beautiful and had their whole lives in front of them when he took them away. She questioned whether when he took that first drink that day he realized what would happen.

I hope everyday you will think about them, she said. Its not fair. We hurt everyday. It doesnt bring them back and it never will. [. . .]

[District Attorney Rob] Broussard said hes not concerned about public criticism of the plea agreement, given that the difference in Alabama law between reckless murder and reckless manslaughter can be a somewhat fuzzy standard for juries.

I dont worry about that as long as I know Im doing my duty and the most competent job I can in this county, Broussard said. With a guy like Felix Ortega, under these facts, its my duty to keep him off the streets for as long as I am able.

Broussard was asked how the sentence might affect the families and their suffering.

It is my experience that the families will always suffer the loss, no matter what the sentence, even if the defendant gets the death penalty, which was not an option in this case, he said. They will always have a hole in their hearts for that lost loved one. The plea agreement allowed us to avoid having to relive the horrible facts in this case.

Below is a remembrance video of Tad and Leigh Anna, celebrating their brief lives. Why didnt their country protect them from foreign criminals?

A stiff sentence was handed down to Jaime Alvarado, a serial drunk-driving twice-deported illegal alien, who killed Nashville businessman Robert Benn shortly after he arrived in Austin for a new job.

Benn was driving from the airport when his car was struck by the inebriated Alvarado as the Guatemalan was fleeing police because he feared being deported.

In a cruel coincidence for the family, Benns granddaughter was born a few hours before he was killed, so he never got to meet her. Robert Benn was 64 and had three children.

Repeat drunken driver gets 50 years for fatal wreck , Austin Statesman, September 15, 2010

A drunken driver who caused a fatal accident while fleeing police in East Austin last year was sentenced to 50 years in prison Wednesday by a Travis County jury.

Jaime Bonilla Alvarado, 24, had pleaded guilty earlier in the week to murder in the death of Robert Benn, 64, an information technology consultant from Nashville, Tenn., who was in Austin on business.

Alvarado is a construction worker from Honduras who prior to the Aug. 31, 2009, crash had been convicted of drunken driving three times and deported twice. Some of Alvarados family members cried when the verdict was read in state District Judge Jim Coronados court.

After the verdict, Benns daughter Andrea McKee took the witness stand and told Alvarado that she often thinks of her fathers last moments, alone in a strange city. She told Alvarado that her daughter was born earlier the day of Benns death.

Benns wife, Sherrie Benn, said: I wanted justice for Bob. I think we got justice.

Alvarado faced from five years to life in prison. During closing arguments, his lawyer, Brad Urrutia, asked for 25 years.

He is remorseful, and he is repentant.

Prosecutor Erika Sipiora asked for 50 years. She noted that according to Alvarados testimony, he was warned four times the night of the crash not to drive drunk: by two store clerks, a friend and his wife.

For the second time in the trial, she showed video of the smoky crash, taken by a police officers dashboard camera.

Where on this video does it show that Jaime Alvarado was taking into consideration anyone but himself? she asked.

Earlier in the day, Alvarado took the stand and told the jury about his life. He said he grew up poor and received only an elementary school education in the small Honduran town of Santa Rita Yoro.

He said he first came to the United States in 2005, when he was 19, but was caught on his way to Houston and deported. He said he returned soon after and settled with his twin sister and two brothers in Austin.

All three of his DWI arrests were in East Austin in 2006 and 2007. He did not show up for court each time, and when he was finally arrested, he pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 80 days in jail. He was later convicted in federal court of illegal re-entry by a deported alien and was deported again.

Alvarado said he returned to the U.S. within a month of his deportation and worked as a construction worker. He testified that he worked on a house near Loop 360 on the day of the crash a Monday. He said that after work, he bought a 24-ounce Dos Equis beer, a 12-pack of Corona beer and a six-pack of Dos Equis. He drank most of the beer, he said, in a park and in his Lincoln Navigator near a disco on East Riverside Drive.

He was heading home when he drove north on Pleasant Valley Road past a police car and the officer noticed him speeding and playing loud music, according to testimony.

Alvarado did not stop, even though officer Christopher Geck turned on his lights and sirens attempting to make a traffic stop. Alvarado said he was afraid of being deported and ultimately decided he would try to drive home before being arrested so his SUV would not be impounded. [. . .]

Alvarado, who had a 0.20 blood alcohol level, 21/2 times the legal limit, suffered only minor injuries.

On August 1, a previously arrested drunk-driving illegal alien killed a nun, Denise Mosier (pictured left), and seriously injured two others. The alien, Carlos Martinelly Montano (pictured right), had twice been handed over to ICE for deportation, but had instead been released into the community pending a deportation hearing (occasions which have notably poor attendance among those invited).

A few days later, the Chairman of the Prince William County board of supervisors, Corey Stewart requested information from ICE that would reveal how many illegal aliens are being released by the agency into the county and their crimes.

The rather surprising news is that ICE has agreed:

ICE Agrees to Release Illegal Immigrant Data to Virginia Official, Fox News, August 7, 2010

ICE contacted me this morning, with great news for Prince William County citizens. They have agreed to release to Prince William County the identities and final disposition of every convicted criminal illegal alien apprehended in Prince William County, Virginia and turned over to ICE through the countys 287(g) partnership, Stewart said in a statement.

Stewart said his countys police referred Carlos Martinelly Montano for deportation twice in the past after he served sentences for drunk driving convictions. But immigration officials released Montano, who allegedly killed Sister Denise Mosier and injured two other nuns in the Aug. 1 accident, on his own recognizance pending a deportation hearing.

Regardless of which side of the aisle youre on, or on this issue, we can all agree that if you are an illegal alien and youve committed a crime, that you should be deported afterward, Stewart told Fox News on Friday. But this guy had been twice handed over to immigration officials and twice released back into the community even though there was an immigration detainer on him. And of course hes gone right back out and committed the same crime and killed a nun.

This is good news if true. Dependable illegal alien crime statistics are normally hard to find and squishy. The government has routinely covered up, lied about and obfuscated the degree to which predatory foreign criminals have had their way in easy-going America. Authorities like to say they are pursuing the real bad guys, but recent history is replete with multiple cases of dangerous aliens arrested and released without being deported, with tragic results. (One crime that comes to mind is the preventable deaths of Tennesseeans Sean and Donna Wilson at the hands of a drunk-driving illegal who had been arrested 14 times without being deported.)

Some information about illegal alien crime is available, but mostly in limited quantities for local jurisdictions. For example in 2008 the Houston Chronicle did a fine investigative series on alien crime from researching the Harris County records of arrests and releases. The use of 287(g) which checks the status of arrested persons makes the number of aliens arrested available.

A recently released stat from ICEs home office is that 120,000 criminal aliens have been deported in the last three years,/a>. That number is only 40,000 per year, and doesnt count the crimes or classify them regarding violence and deaths. Whats needed is a true picture of the mayhem resulting from open borders and inadequate immigration law enforcement. Of course, all working aliens are job thieves (and may use a stolen Social Security number, a felony), which is not an insignificant crime during this employment depression.

Statistics are lifeless artifacts, which is why I have focused on the individual stories of crime victims for ImmigrationsHumanCost.org, but numeric information is required to develop adequate enforcement policy.

Anyway, the video below has more about Supervisor Stewarts success in getting ICE to reveal local statistics, particularly the number of dangerous foreigners released instead of deported. Obviously the death of Sister Denise Mosier indicates the Obama gang is no more serious about criminal alien enforcement than previous administrations.

From the sanctuary city of Houston: Shatavia Anderson, a 14-year-old girl, was shot in the back and killed by a Salvadoran illegal alien and his Honduran associate, apparently just to rob her.

Suspect in fatal shooting of teen was deported twice, Houston Chronicle, August 12, 2010

The suspect in the fatal shooting of a 14-year-old Houston girl was an illegal immigrant from El Salvador who previously was deported twice by immigration officials, authorities said.

Melvin Alvarado, 22, was convicted of two separate intoxicated driving offenses in Harris County in 2006 and 2007, criminal records show. He was sentenced to 60 days in jail in connection with the last arrest in November 2007.

Gregory Palmore, an Immigration and Customs Enforcement spokesman, said immigration officials removed Alvarado from the country in April 2008 and again in May 2009.

Palmore said it was unclear from his records whether Alvarado was picked up directly from Harris County Jail after the last intoxicated driving conviction.

The second suspect in the fatal shooting of Shatavia Anderson on Saturday, Jonathan Lopez-Torres, 18, was a lawful permanent resident from Honduras, Palmore said. Harris County records show Lopez-Torres was arrested and accused of auto theft in February 2009. That charge was later dismissed.

The two suspects allegedly saw Anderson as merely a target of opportunity for an armed robbery, Houston police homicide detectives said Wednesday.

Read the rest here:

Immigration’s Human Cost – human consequences of open …

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U.S. Mission to NATO

Posted: July 21, 2016 at 2:09 am

11 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Warsaw Declaration on Transatlantic Security Warsaw Summit Communiqu NATO-EU Joint Declaration Commitment to Enhance Resilience Cyber Defense Pledge NATO Policy for the Protection of Civilians

10 July | Fact Sheets, U.S. & NATO

FACT SHEET: U.S. and NATO Efforts in Support of NATO Partners, including Georgia, Ukraine, and Moldova From The White House The United States strongly

10 July | Fact Sheets, U.S. & NATO

FACT SHEET: U.S. Contributions to Enhancing Allied Resilience From The White House At the NATO Warsaw Summit, heads of state and government will commit their

9 July | NATO Summits, President Barack Obama, Speeches, Transcripts

Remarks by President Obama at Press Conference After NATO Summit July 9,2016 PRESIDENT OBAMA:Good evening, everybody. Once again, I want to thank the government and

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Joint statement of the NATO-Ukraine Commission at the Level of Heads of State and Government We, the Heads of State and Government of the

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

The Warsaw Declaration on Transatlantic Security Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Endorsed by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw 8-9 July 2016 I. INTRODUCTION 1.

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw 8-9 July 2016 1. We, the

9 July | Fact Sheets

FACT SHEET: NATOs Enduring Commitment to Afghanistan From The White House NATOs mission in Afghanistan has been the Alliances largest and one of its

9 July | NATO Summits, Speeches

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg Opening Remarks Following the Meeting of the North Atlantic Council at the Level of Heads of State and Government in

9 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Issued by the Heads of State and Government of Afghanistan and Alliesand their Resolute Support Operational Partners We, the Heads of State and Government of

8 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Cyber Defence Pledge 1. In recognition of the new realities of security threats to NATO, we, the Allied Heads of State and Government, pledge to

8 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Issued by the Heads of State and Government participating in the meeting of the North Atlantic Council in Warsaw, 8-9 July 2016 We, the Heads

8 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Joint statement of the NATO-Georgia Commission at the level of Foreign Ministers We, Allied Foreign Ministers and the Foreign Minister of Georgia, met today in

8 July | NATO Summits, Speeches, Transcripts

Press Statement by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the Signing Ceremony of the EU-NATO Joint Declaration Followed by Statements by President Tuskand PresidentJuncker July

8 July | NATO Summits, President Barack Obama, Speeches

Remarks by President Obama, President Tusk of the European Council, and President Juncker of the European Commission After U.S.-EU Meeting July 8, 2016 PRESIDENT OBAMA:

8 July | Cooperative Security, Fact Sheets, U.S. & NATO

FACT SHEET: U.S. Assurance and Deterrence Efforts in Support of NATO Allies From The White House In the last 18 months, the United States

8 July | Key Documents, NATO Summits

Joint Declaration by the President of the European Council, the President of the European Commission, and the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization

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U.S. Mission to NATO

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Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times

Posted: July 16, 2016 at 11:15 pm

Latest Articles

The rules fell short of many environmentalists demands to cut off such drilling entirely, but oil companies complained that they would stymie exploration.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The all-stock deal, worth $13 billion, would combine the American and French companies, which have been hit hard by the global plunge in energy prices.

By STANLEY REED

Long a ticket to the middle class, especially for African-Americans, they have become increasingly difficult to find.

By ANNIE LOWREY

The regulations are aimed at preventing the kind of failures that caused the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and come amid a proposal for Arctic drilling.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The Obama administration has hopes that gas export efforts will help build peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East.

By ISABEL KERSHNER and STANLEY REED

The decision to postpone the plan, called Browse, comes as prices for the fuel in Asia have fallen steeply.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell cited the militarys reservations about drilling near some of its largest installations, plunging oil prices and widespread local concerns.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The Obama administration yielded to opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashed the hopes of many of those states leaders.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The realization is adding momentum to efforts to convert some of the platforms into artificial reefs once they are decommissioned.

By ERIK OLSEN

Environmentalists disagree over whether outdated oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., can become an addition to the marine ecosystem.

By ERIK OLSEN

Many coastal residents, fearing a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, see potential disaster, while those inland speak of economic opportunity.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

Paragon Offshore, which operates offshore drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

By MICHAEL CORKERY

While the dispute raised tensions between the neighbors, it did not approach levels seen in 2014, when anti-China demonstrations turned into deadly riots.

By MIKE IVES

The rig was at the center of a standoff between the countries in May 2014.

One worker on the drilling rig was killed, and two others were injured.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years.

By STANLEY REED

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a long-delayed deal with an American-Israeli partnership that is expected to turn the country into an energy exporter.

By ISABEL KERSHNER and STANLEY REED

Workers have been evacuated, but one of two lifeboats capsized in rough seas, leaving 29 people missing and presumed dead.

By ANDREW E. KRAMER

The Southern Environmental Law Center calls on President Obama to reconsider plans to open the coast to oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department also rejected appeals by Shell and Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, to extend existing Arctic leases.

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

The rules fell short of many environmentalists demands to cut off such drilling entirely, but oil companies complained that they would stymie exploration.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The all-stock deal, worth $13 billion, would combine the American and French companies, which have been hit hard by the global plunge in energy prices.

By STANLEY REED

Long a ticket to the middle class, especially for African-Americans, they have become increasingly difficult to find.

By ANNIE LOWREY

The regulations are aimed at preventing the kind of failures that caused the disastrous 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and come amid a proposal for Arctic drilling.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The Obama administration has hopes that gas export efforts will help build peaceful relations between Israel and its neighbors in the Middle East.

By ISABEL KERSHNER and STANLEY REED

The decision to postpone the plan, called Browse, comes as prices for the fuel in Asia have fallen steeply.

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell cited the militarys reservations about drilling near some of its largest installations, plunging oil prices and widespread local concerns.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The Obama administration yielded to opposition from coastal communities from Virginia to Georgia but dashed the hopes of many of those states leaders.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

The realization is adding momentum to efforts to convert some of the platforms into artificial reefs once they are decommissioned.

By ERIK OLSEN

Environmentalists disagree over whether outdated oil rigs off the coast of Long Beach, Calif., can become an addition to the marine ecosystem.

By ERIK OLSEN

Many coastal residents, fearing a repeat of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, see potential disaster, while those inland speak of economic opportunity.

By CORAL DAVENPORT

Paragon Offshore, which operates offshore drilling rigs from the Gulf of Mexico to the North Sea, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

By MICHAEL CORKERY

While the dispute raised tensions between the neighbors, it did not approach levels seen in 2014, when anti-China demonstrations turned into deadly riots.

By MIKE IVES

The rig was at the center of a standoff between the countries in May 2014.

One worker on the drilling rig was killed, and two others were injured.

Opening the taps in the Corrib field is a breakthrough for the oil and gas industry in Ireland, which had mostly disappointing results in recent years.

By STANLEY REED

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu authorized a long-delayed deal with an American-Israeli partnership that is expected to turn the country into an energy exporter.

By ISABEL KERSHNER and STANLEY REED

Workers have been evacuated, but one of two lifeboats capsized in rough seas, leaving 29 people missing and presumed dead.

By ANDREW E. KRAMER

The Southern Environmental Law Center calls on President Obama to reconsider plans to open the coast to oil and gas drilling.

The Interior Department also rejected appeals by Shell and Statoil, the Norwegian oil giant, to extend existing Arctic leases.

By CLIFFORD KRAUSS

Continued here:

Offshore Drilling and Exploration – The New York Times

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Is this the dawn of bake-me-a-cake libertarianism …

Posted: June 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm

The Libertarian Party just nominated two former governors, New Mexico’s Gary Johnson for president and Massachusetts’ Bill Weld for vice president, in a year when more voters than ever may look for a third choice.

But Johnson and Weld at times seem to be working hard to push away one particularly homeless voting bloc that could ally with Libertarians this year: social conservatives. From their rhetoric to their policy proposals, the Libertarian nominees seem to be running against conservatives more than for liberty.

Weld and Johnson held their first post-nomination joint interview on Tuesday, on liberal network MSNBC. “We’ve never bought into this anti-choice, anti-gaysense of the Republican Party,” Weld said, as his first comment to the national television audience.

The message was clear: We don’t need those backward Christian Right bozos as much we need as you MSNBCers.

Johnson has sent similar signals, suggesting that his love of liberty is second to his revulsion to religion. In January, for instance, Johnson said he would make it a federal crime for women to wear the Burqa, the full-body covering worn by women in certain strains of Islam. Johnson recanted a day later, while continuing his warnings about the threat of Sharia Islamic law in the U.S.

This spring, Johnson pushed aside freedom of conscience. When asked in an Oregon debate about laws and lawsuits requiring caterers to participate in gay weddings, Johnson took the big-government side for coerced baking in the name of gay rights. When later asked about this anti-liberty view, Johnson made the standard liberal conflation between selling off-the-shelf cupcakes to a gay customer (which is straight-up discrimination against a person) and refusal to participate in a ceremony (which is a freedom of conscience issue, a freedom of association issue, and often a free speech issue).

The dress-code libertarianism and bake-me-a-cake libertarianism Johnson has embraced isn’t libertarianism at all it’s left-wing social engineering enforced at gunpoint. Coming from Johnson and Weld, it reeks of raw identity politics. The only consistent theme is that religious people are bad.

Johnson’s quick reversal on his Burqa ban, and his logical fallacies and weird arguments on coerced baking suggest that he doesn’t hold libertarianism as a principle he is really just a social liberal and economic conservative, as he says. This is the heart of Weld’s campaigning, too.

Maybe Weld and Johnson haven’t been paying attention since they left office, and that’s why they conflate “socially liberal” with libertarian. These days, it’s not the conservatives trying to use government to enforce their morality. The Obama administration is trying to compel nuns to provide contraception for their staff. The ACLU is suing to force Catholic hospitals to abort babies. Gary Johnson’s own state fined a Christian wedding photographer for refusing to participate in a gay wedding.

Also from the Washington Examiner

Hillary Clinton is back to her April level lead over Donald Trump.

06/29/16 6:07 PM

The “anti-choice” side in America today is usually the cultural Left.

At the very moment when social conservatives would be most open to libertarianism, though, the libertarian nominees are running against conservatives.

This puts Johnson and Weld at odds with the rest of libertarianism. The Cato Institute and the Reason Foundation both filed amicus briefs on behalf of Hobby Lobby, the Christian-owned store that objected to Obama’s contraception mandate.

Even on abortion, Johnson and Weld could find common ground with social conservatives. The most libertarian GOP candidates in recent cycles Rand Paul and Ron Paul were both pro-lifers who pointed out that libertarianism doesn’t preclude protecting babies from homicide. In fact, all the most free-market lawmakers are staunch pro-lifers. For instance, the three senators with the highest 2015 Club for Growth scores are Mike Lee, Ben Sasse and Marco Rubio. You have to go down to No. 48 on the Club’s ranking to find a senator who’s a legitimate moderate pro-lifer all the top 47 are strong pro-lifers.

Social conservatives are homeless this election. They are also increasingly the victim of big-government culture wars. It won’t come naturally to Johnson and Weld, but they could reach out to social conservatives this election. Such outreach would expand the coalition, and maybe help persuade some social conservatives that the fight today is mostly about limiting government’s role in our lives.

Also from the Washington Examiner

House lawmakers said that the payments are illegal and the admin. has stonewalled attempts to get docs.

06/29/16 5:57 PM

Johnson and Weld just need to decide whether they are more dedicated to liberty or to identity politics.

Timothy P. Carney, the Washington Examiner’s senior political columnist, can be contacted at tcarney@washingtonexaminer.com. His column appears Tuesday and Thursday nights on washingtonexaminer.com.

Top Story

Abedin testified that only she, Clinton and Chelsea used accounts hosted by the “clintonemail.com” server.

06/29/16 2:58 PM

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Is this the dawn of bake-me-a-cake libertarianism …

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Natural Disasters and Socio-Economic Collapse

Posted: June 28, 2016 at 2:57 am

For millennia, people have considered what events might transpire at the end of the age. The ancient prophet Isaiah predicted, very explicitly, events at the end of human history, as we know it, when he wrote Isaiah 24:1-23. Most of that passage speaks of the eventual laying waste and devastation of the earth. God will not do this because He is cruel, ruthless, or evil. Rather, He will do this because of the following:

However, there always was one essential ingredient missing: a seven-year agreement, involving Israel. Encompassed within the final seven years of this age, also known as the 70th Week, will be the events that will alter human history as we know it. The prophecy, making a reference to this unique perioda week of seven yearswas given by the angel Gabriel to the Israeli prophet Daniel:

Never before, in history, has Israel engaged in a seven-year agreement with anyone, much less one that reinforced a previous accordthat is, until the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) was established and funded in October 2006. Not only is the ENP scheduled to run specifically for seven years (2007 through 2013), but it confirms and strengthens a prior accord: the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership (EuroMed) of 1995, of which Israel also is a member.

Furthermore, included in the collection of ENP documents, involving Israel, is the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument: Israel. This document contains language affirming a goal, by the European Union (EU), to bring about peace between Israel and the Palestinians:

Now, if the ENP is the prophesied seven-year agreement, we would expect to see an increase in instability around the globe, not only in nature, but also socio-economically as well, during the first half of the seven years. Jesus referred to this time as the beginning of birth pains (Matthew 24:8).

Indeed, such things have been occurring, especially during 2008 and 2009. Besides record-breaking floods, droughts, and tornadoes in the USA, as well as a marked escalation in the frequency of earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, famines, and plagues worldwide, there also has been a severe financial breakdown globally.

Today (March 1, 2009), the stock market dropped 299.64 points; it is down to a 12-year low of 6,763.29. There may be some short-term improvement; but, in the long run, there probably is no bottom in sight. As such, I look forward to the return of the Lord Jesus, at the end of the 70th Week, to rule and reign. Jesus, alone, is the light at the end of the dark tunnel.

So what is next? Well, according to the Daniel 9:27 prophecy, in the middle of the seven-year period, an end will be put to sacrifice and offering , and the abomination that causes desolation will be set up in the holy place (Matthew 24:15)in Jerusalem. On my proposed time scale, sacrifice and offering should cease during the first week of April 2010, which happens to be Passover Week 2010.

I feel that at the midpoint of the 70th Week, the Fourth Seal (Revelation 6:7,8) of the heavenly scroll will be opened. This will commence the darkest period of human history up to that point, the Great Tribulation, described by Jesus in Matthew 24:21. (In Jesus narrative, some Bible versions use the phrase great distress; other versions read great tribulation.)

This is how John described the events to take place at that time:

As such, if my time frame is correct, I anticipate the following things to take place after Passover Week of 2010:

To make things worse, I predict that there will be huge power outages, phone and internet service interruptions, food riots, bridge and building collapses, escalating unemployment and homelessness, bankruptcies, foreclosures, drug abuse, crime, murders, widespread civil unrest and revolts, declaration of martial law, and other related occurrences. The widespread denial that any of this is going to happen will make it be a great deal worse when it actually does happen.

Aside from an increase in catastrophic natural events, causing a great deal of death on the earth, there will be a global socio-economic and financial collapse, not to mention horrendous tax increases and skyrocketing hyperinflation. It may be that once the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 fails (see my Feb. 17, 2009 entry), President Obama will be forced to tell the American public that their problems, economic and otherwise, are insurmountable.

Possibly the North American Union (Canada, USA, Mexico) will be formed, with the Amero, worth a small fraction of the dollar, as the common currency. The NAU will be immersed in a much greater global crisis, and this will require global solutionsby a global leader. As such, it may be that Obama, identifying this leader as the only one who can help us, will become the False Prophet: the second beast of Revelation 13:11-17 (see Barack Obama: False Prophet?).

After entering the holy place in Jerusalem, and setting up the abomination that causes desolation inside, the first beast or Antichrist will set himself up in the temple, proclaiming himself to be God (2Thessalonians 2:4). He also will exercise his authority for 42 months [3 years] and blaspheme [the true] God (Revelation 13:5,6). Many people will be taken into captivity, and many will be killed (13:10). I also believe that during the final half (3 years) of the seven years, there will be escalating conflicts between the Antichrist and Gog (see Gog vs. Antichrist).

Once the Seventh Seal is opened, the earth and much of the life on it will be utterly devastated by the supernatural Trumpet Judgmentsthe initial wave of Gods wrath being blown out upon the earth. It is at this time that most of Isaiah 24:1-23 will come to pass. I place the opening of the Seventh Seal, most likely, in September 2012. (See an email question and response, If we have entered the 70th Week, do you see any special significance to the year 2012?)

With all of this great tribulation, suffering, and tremendous devastation of the earth to take place within less than a handful of years, what can people do to prepare for, or perhaps to avoid, most or even all of it? I am convinced that it is imperative to develop an intensely close and strong relationship with our Sovereign Lord and Master, Jehovah-Adonai. This is done mainly through prayer and obedience.

Learning as much as possible about God and Jesus (see Who Is God?, Was Jesus God?, and My Beliefs and Faith) will be critically important. For those who have not read the Bible from cover to cover, this would
be a good time to do it, to understand whom God truly is and how He works (see Chronological Reading of the Bible in One Year). God does not change (Malachi 3:6). Just as He protected and delivered the ancient Israelites who loved and obeyed Him, He also will protect and deliver those believers, during the worst of times, who do the same.

A Rapture is an event in which believers (in Jesus/Yeshua as Lord and Messiah) will be caught up and away from the earth, prior to the worst destruction and desolation that is to take place. Most likely, there will be multiple Raptures events (see secondary rapture events), removing true believers, at successive times, who have developed a real and intimate relationship with God. However, those who have allowed themselves to embrace the notion of a Pre-Tribulation Rapture, to take place prior to the beginning of the 70th Week, have set themselves up for a gigantic disillusionment. This view of the Rapture is a bogus, pie-in-the-sky fantasy, with no valid basis in Scripture.

Potentially, Matthew 25:1-13could be indicative of a Mid-Tribulation Rapture, to occur midway through the final seven years, since the Bridegroom (Jesus) is seen to come at midnight (25:6) for half of the waiting virgins (Perhaps these are the believers who will have acquired their oil by properly utilizing, rather than wasting, the gifts of the Holy Spirit that God has provided them.) On my proposed time scale, this would be during the first week of April 2010. Interestingly, the exact midpoint is April 4, 2010, which just happens to be Resurrection Day (Easter). I believe it is possible that as many as half of believers could be caught up and away at that time.

If so, the majority of remaining believers would have to wait for the Pre-Wrath Rapture event to take place, soon after the opening of the Sixth Seal, but prior to the opening of the Seventh Seal (initiating Gods wrath). In any case, anyone who is present on the earth during the Great Tribulation period might wish to read repentance, endurance, and overcoming in my Chronology of Revelation commentary.

I also recommend that, besides becoming spiritually prepared for the dark tunnel ahead, people also should become psychologically and emotionally prepared as well. The world, as we know it, is going to change radically and drastically. Many of our comforts of daily life, and many of the things that we take for granted, will be compromised, or even eliminated altogether. Prices of common necessities, such as food and gasoline, will skyrocket, due to scarcity and hyperinflation. Sadly, multitudes of people will not be able to cope; unfortunately, the rates of insanity and suicide will soar.

It is advisable to stock up on items on my Adversity Supplies Basic Check List. This will provide at least some buffer when massive shortages (scarcity) and enormous price increases (hyperinflation) occur. It also is a good idea to recommend to friends, neighbors, and other family members that they do the same. Otherwise, when shortages occur, these people may come to you for help, and you will not be able to supply everybody that you know.

Know always that the Lord God is in charge. Nothing is too difficult for God. He provided, miraculously, for the ancient Israelites, drifting through the desert for forty years. Likewise, He can provide for those who acknowledge Him as Lord and God and follow His commandments.

Those who take the mark of the beast (Revelation 13:16-18) will be forever sorry that they have done so (14:9-11, 16:2). At the same time that satanic miracles will be abounding, to deceive those who are lost (2Thessalonians 2:9),Jehovah-Jireh will be performing miracles of provision and deliverance for those who have refused the mark and who willingly and faithfully pledge their allegiance and devotion to Him. And those believers who die during this horrific time in history will have the blessed assurance and comfort that they will be with their God for eternity.

So if my seven-year hypothesis is correct, here is a summary of the things that can be expected to take place, beginning a few months into 2010:

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A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

Posted: at 2:57 am

The Early Stages of Drug Prohibition

Many currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, opium, coca, and psychedelics have been used for thousands of years for both medical and spiritual purposes. So why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It’s not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs but it has everything to do with who is associated with these drugs.

The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws, in the South in the early 1900s, were directed at black men. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.

In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy.

In June 1971, President Nixon declared a war on drugs. He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.

In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.

Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization. In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted. Proposals to decriminalize marijuana were abandoned as parents became increasingly concerned about high rates of teen marijuana use. Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.

The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.

Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed crack. Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan “Just Say No.”

This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that casual drug users should be taken out and shot, founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.

In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population. In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation’s “number one problem” was just 2-6 percent. The figure grew through the remainder of the 1980s until, in September 1989, it reached a remarkable 64 percent one of the most intense fixations by the American public on any issue in polling history. Within less than a year, however, the figure plummeted to less than 10 percent, as the media lost interest. The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration.

Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.

He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, health secretary Donna Shalalas advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use “should be decriminalized.”

At the height of the drug war hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a movement emerged seeking a new approach to drug policy. In 1987, Arnold Trebach and Kevin Zeese founded the Drug Policy Foundation describing it as the loyal opposition to the war on drugs. Prominent conservatives such as William Buckley and Milton Friedman had long advocated for ending drug prohibition, as had civil libertarians such as longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser. In the late 1980s they were joined by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Federal Judge Robert Sweet, Princeton professor Ethan Nadelmann, and other activists, scholars and policymakers.

In 1994, Nadelmann founded The Lindesmith Center as the first U.S. project of George Soros Open Society Institute. In 2000, the growing Center merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the Drug Policy Alliance.

George W. Bush arrived in the White House as the drug war was running out of steam yet he allocated more money than ever to it. His drug czar, John Walters, zealously focused on marijuana and launched a major campaign to promote student drug testing. While rates of illicit drug use remained constant, overdose fatalities rose rapidly.

The era of George W. Bush also witnessed the rapid escalation of the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement. By the end of Bush’s term, there were about 40,000 paramilitary-style SWAT raids on Americans every year mostly for nonviolent drug law offenses, often misdemeanors. While federal reform mostly stalled under Bush, state-level reforms finally began to slow the growth of the drug war.

Politicians now routinely admit to having used marijuana, and even cocaine, when they were younger. When Michael Bloomberg was questioned during his 2001 mayoral campaign about whether he had ever used marijuana, he said, “You bet I did and I enjoyed it.” Barack Obama also candidly discussed his prior cocaine and marijuana use: “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently that was the point.”

The assault on American citizens, however, has persisted. President Obama, despite advocating for reforms such as reducing the crack/powder sentencing disparity, ending the ban on federal funding for syringe access programs, and supporting state medical marijuana laws has yet to shift the majority of drug control funding to a health-based approach.

Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Can
ada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize marijuana.

Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of sensible reforms that expand health-based approaches while reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy. Yet the assault on American citizens and others continues, with 700,000 people still arrested for marijuana offenses each year and almost 500,000 people still behind bars for nothing more than a drug law violation.

Progress is inevitably slow but there is unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform right now. We look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.

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What's a Conservative Ideology and What's a Liberal Ideology?

Posted: June 24, 2016 at 7:34 am

Updated on February 9, 2011

I used to carpool with an old, blind professor to the small college I attended and he use to tell me, paraphrasing Gore Vidal, that politics came from two words: poli, meaning many, and tics, meaning blood sucking vermin. Unfortunately, his somewhat suspect etymology, while proving technically untenable, has turned out to be largely correct in principle.

In American politics, where power has become everything, ideology has become a bastard step-child. American politicians think more about how they can fool the masses or get around popular democracy to further their ends than they do about what they truly believe in, if they actually believe in anything?

Of course, it is not my intent to sweep every single politician under the bus with a broad brush, so for this hub it must be understood that I am speaking in general terms.

There are two major ideologies in American politics. Understanding these helps us understand each other politically and enables us to make sense of what at times seems senseless. These ideologies are labeled conservative and liberal. Although these terms have changed definitions over the years, I will use them as they are currently defined.

If you took a strip of paper that was blue on one end and gradually changed colors until it was red at the other end, you would end up with a spectrum of colors. At some point toward the center of the strip you could get into a few arguments as to whether the color was red, purple, or blue. It is that way with the liberal and conservative ideologies, so I will be concentrating on the ends of the strip, so to speak, and not the middle.

At the core of it, Conservatives base there ideology on what they see as reason and logic and it is individualistic by nature, whereas a liberal’s ideology is based on emotion and ideals and is collective by nature. A liberal is interested in curing society’s ills by social engineering. A conservative is interested in curing society’s ills by individuals exercising their own choices to better themselves. Because of this, conservatives view centralized power with deep suspicion. Liberals on the other hand see centralized power as an opportunity to affect great change for good.

Because of the fundamental differences in the way conservatives and liberals approach the solutions to society’s challenges, it should come as no surprise that they have radically different views on the role of government.

The Liberal View

A liberal wants the government deeply involved in our lives. It is often seen as a parent to us allor the big tent. They believe that the government can force society to confront its ills and legislate and enforce the cures. A liberal point of view diminishes the individual’s responsibility and believes people are victims or victimizers. This point of view does not see individuals as having power to rise above their circumstances in large numbers and therefore a savior must be found to “level the playing field.”

They point to the example of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Without government intervention, they argue, the rights of minorities would never have been acknowledged nor would there be equal rights for all. In fact the civil rights movement is the basis of the modern liberal’s political ideology, and proof that it is essentially correct.

This conviction motivates them to use all means available to impose their vision of goodness on the masses. If they can’t get the populous to support their agenda then they will get the courts to legislate it. This is because they firmly believe that their agenda is for the greater good of society.

Liberalism is naturally sympathetic with socialism and suspicious of individualism and even though it shares the same long-term goals as conservatism it’s approach, as you can see, is radically different.

The Conservative View

Even though the conservatives share with liberals the desire for a better society, they differ sharply in what role the government should play. In a nutshell, conservatives view the role of government as “the less the better.” Since they see the combined strength and sufficiency of the individual as the only honest cure for society they believe that the role of government should be restricted to functions that support and protect individual liberty. They are very suspicious of government interference in individual rights, and they do not see differences in socioeconomic groups as a bad thing since, in their view, it is every individual’s right to change those circumstances by choice and action.

They view the government’s attempts at redistribution of wealth through its tax codes, its interference in commerce by regulations, and its welfare entitlements as enabling individuals to shirk responsibility for their own lives and rely on the government to take care of them. They reason that the more the government takes responsibility for his or her well being away from the individual, the weaker and more dependent society will become.

At this point in American politics the two ideologies have taken a back seat to power, but if they were brought to bear on our government which would be the best: Socialist Democracy, or an independent go-it-alone capitalist democracy? I would submit to you that the extremes of both ideologies are dangerous and would deepen problems in American society and that one, tempered with the other, might be the best ideology of all.

For example: if we have a struggling class in America, we could provided training opportunities for people who wanted to succeed and would put forth efforts on their own behalf instead of entitlement programs that accomplish nothing and consume copious amounts of money? Along with such programs would also come the responsibility for the recipients to put forth efforts on behalf of their own welfare.

We need to have a heart that includes tough love and foresight, one that looks at America’s opportunities and does not retreat into a defensive posture from the world around it. One that can realize the true nature of the threats against America and America’s
way of life. Not a vision that feels good at the thought of America sinking down to the level of the third world, but instead one that forges on a head and shows the way for the third world to follow.

America must continue to provide unparalleled opportunities, but not bend to whiners and self proclaimed victims who want to short-cut the system and reap benefits they never earned. We must in sympathy try to teach fishing, quit giving fish and realize that poverty is not always the rich or the government’s fault. But we must not march on, leaving people behind who, with a little instruction and help, can become productive and successful. In doing this we must also have the heart firm enough to leave those behind who refuse all help and demand instead to be fed from the public coffer’s without a contribution of their own.

We must leave classism, racism, and bigotry behind, regardless if it is the old-school-hard-hearted variety wacky right, or the soft feel-good, guilt-washing, variety of the wacky left. No class of Americans should be punished or be held back based on the color of their skin in order to “even the score.” We need to let go of power and take hold of responsibility; quit giving the media oracle status, and get the job done.

So you go out and finally spend the dough on a weed whacker and after figuring out how to assemble it, you fuel it up, after doing a short chem lab on fuel mixing, and then you move briskly into the aerobics section of…

The face, jaws, and neck are one of the places on our bodies that people view to get an impression of who we are so it is important to reduce fat from your face and here’s how…

Obama’s rise to power was nothing short of spectacular. It was so rapid that it left many of people playing catch up as to just who he was, but it is no longer difficult to understand where Obama is coming from…

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What’s a Conservative Ideology and What’s a Liberal Ideology?

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War on Drugs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted: June 17, 2016 at 5:04 am

“The War on Drugs” is an American term commonly applied to a campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade.[6][7] This initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of psychoactive drugs that the participating governments and the UN have made illegal. The term was popularized by the media shortly after a press conference given on June 18, 1971, by United States President Richard Nixonthe day after publication of a special message from President Nixon to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Controlduring which he declared drug abuse “public enemy number one”. That message to the Congress included text about devoting more federal resources to the “prevention of new addicts, and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted”, but that part did not receive the same public attention as the term “war on drugs”.[8][9][10] However, two years even prior to this, Nixon had formally declared a “war on drugs” that would be directed toward eradication, interdiction, and incarceration.[11] Today, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on these initiatives.[12]

On May 13, 2009, Gil Kerlikowskethe Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)signaled that the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policy, but also that the administration would not use the term “War on Drugs”, because Kerlikowske considers the term to be “counter-productive”.[13] ONDCP’s view is that “drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated… making drugs more available will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe”.[14] One of the alternatives that Kerlikowske has showcased is the drug policy of Sweden, which seeks to balance public health concerns with opposition to drug legalization. The prevalence rates for cocaine use in Sweden are barely one-fifth of those in Spain, the biggest consumer of the drug.[15]

In June 2011, a self-appointed Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring: “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.”[16] The report was criticized by organizations that oppose a general legalization of drugs.[14]

The first U.S. law that restricted the distribution and use of certain drugs was the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. The first local laws came as early as 1860.[17]

In 1919, the United States passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, with exceptions for religious and medical use.

In 1920, the United States passed the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act), enacted to carry out the provisions in law of the 18th Amendment.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was established in the United States Department of the Treasury by an act of June 14, 1930 (46 Stat. 585).[18]

In 1933, the federal prohibition for alcohol was repealed by passage of the 21st Amendment.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt publicly supported the adoption of the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. The New York Times used the headline “Roosevelt Asks Narcotic War Aid”.[19][20]

In 1937, the Marijuana Transfer Tax Act was passed. Several scholars have claimed that the goal was to destroy the hemp industry,[21][22][23] largely as an effort of businessmen Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst, and the Du Pont family.[21][23] These scholars argue that with the invention of the decorticator, hemp became a very cheap substitute for the paper pulp that was used in the newspaper industry.[21][24] These scholars believe that Hearst felt[dubious discuss] that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon, United States Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America, had invested heavily in the DuPont’s new synthetic fiber, nylon, and considered[dubious discuss] its success to depend on its replacement of the traditional resource, hemp.[21][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] However, there were circumstances that contradict these claims. One reason for doubts about those claims is that the new decorticators did not perform fully satisfactorily in commercial production.[32] To produce fiber from hemp was a labor-intensive process if you include harvest, transport and processing. Technological developments decreased the labor with hemp but not sufficient to eliminate this disadvantage.[33][34]

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what Im saying? We knew we couldnt make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

Although Nixon declared “drug abuse” to be public enemy number one in 1971,[37] the policies that his administration implemented as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 were a continuation of drug prohibition policies in the U.S., which started in 1914.[38][39]

The Nixon Administration also repealed the federal 210-year mandatory minimum sentences for possession of marijuana and started federal demand reduction programs and drug-treatment programs. Robert DuPont, the “Drug czar” in the Nixon Administration, stated it would be more accurate to say that Nixon ended, rather than launched, the “war on drugs”. DuPont also argued that it was the proponents of drug legalization that popularized the term “war on drugs”.[14][unreliable source?]

On October 27, 1970, Congress passes the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which, among other things, categorizes controlled substances based on their medicinal use and potential for addiction.[38]

In 1971, two congressmen released an explosive report on the growing heroin epidemic among U.S. servicemen in Vietnam; ten to fifteen percent of the servicemen were addicted to heroin, and President Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one”.[38][40]

In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration was created to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.[38]

In 1982, Vice President George H. W. Bush and his aides began pushing for the involvement of the CIA and U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts.[41]

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[42][43] which mandated a national anti-drug media campaign for youth, which would later become the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.[44] The director of ONDCP is commonly known as the Drug czar,[38] and it was first implemented in 1989 under President George H. W. Bush,[45] and raised to cabinet-level status by Bill Clinton in 1993.[46] These activities were subsequently funded by t
he Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1998.[47][48] The Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 codified the campaign at 21 U.S.C.1708.[49]

The Global Commission on Drug Policy released a report on June 2, 2011 alleging that “The War On Drugs Has Failed”. The commissioned was made up of 22 self-appointed members including a number of prominent international politicians and writers. U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin also released the first ever National Prevention Strategy.[50]

On May 21, 2012, the U.S. Government published an updated version of its Drug Policy.[51] The director of ONDCP stated simultaneously that this policy is something different from the “War on Drugs”:

At the same meeting was a declaration signed by the representatives of Italy, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States in line with this: “Our approach must be a balanced one, combining effective enforcement to restrict the supply of drugs, with efforts to reduce demand and build recovery; supporting people to live a life free of addiction”.[53]

According to Human Rights Watch, the War on Drugs caused soaring arrest rates which deliberately disproportionately targeted African Americans.[55] This was also confirmed by John Ehrlichman, an aide to Nixon, who said that the war on drugs was designed to criminalize and disrupt black and hippie communities.[56]

The present state of incarceration in the U.S. as a result of the war on drugs arrived in several stages. By 1971, different stops on drugs had been implemented for more than 50 years (for e.g. since 1914, 1937 etc.) with only a very small increase of inmates per 100,000 citizens. During the first 9 years after Nixon coined the expression “War on Drugs”, statistics showed only a minor increase in the total number of imprisoned.

After 1980, the situation began to change. In the 1980s, while the number of arrests for all crimes had risen by 28%, the number of arrests for drug offenses rose 126%.[57] The US Department of Justice, reporting on the effects of state initiatives, has stated that, from 1990 through 2000, “the increasing number of drug offenses accounted for 27% of the total growth among black inmates, 7% of the total growth among Hispanic inmates, and 15% of the growth among white inmates.” In addition to prison or jail, the United States provides for the deportation of many non-citizens convicted of drug offenses.[58]

In 1994, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the “War on Drugs” resulted in the incarceration of one million Americans each year.[59]

In 2008, the Washington Post reported that of 1.5 million Americans arrested each year for drug offenses, half a million would be incarcerated. In addition, one in five black Americans would spend time behind bars due to drug laws.[60]

Federal and state policies also impose collateral consequences on those convicted of drug offenses, such as denial of public benefits or licenses, that are not applicable to those convicted of other types of crime.[61]

In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed laws that created a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity for the possession or trafficking of crack when compared to penalties for trafficking of powder cocaine,[62][63][64][65] which had been widely criticized as discriminatory against minorities, mostly blacks, who were more likely to use crack than powder cocaine.[66] This 100:1 ratio had been required under federal law since 1986.[67] Persons convicted in federal court of possession of 5grams of crack cocaine received a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in federal prison. On the other hand, possession of 500grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence.[63][64] In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act cut the sentencing disparity to 18:1.[66]

According to Human Rights Watch, crime statistics show thatin the United States in 1999compared to non-minorities, African Americans were far more likely to be arrested for drug crimes, and received much stiffer penalties and sentences.[68]

Statistics from 1998 show that there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-American drug users made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes.[63] Nationwide African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than other races,[69] even though they only supposedly comprised 13% of regular drug users.[63]

Anti-drug legislation over time has also displayed an apparent racial bias. University of Minnesota Professor and social justice author Michael Tonry writes, “The War on Drugs foreseeably and unnecessarily blighted the lives of hundreds and thousands of young disadvantaged black Americans and undermined decades of effort to improve the life chances of members of the urban black underclass.”[70]

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided that the government needed to make an effort to curtail the social unrest that blanketed the country at the time. He decided to focus his efforts on illegal drug use, an approach which was in line with expert opinion on the subject at the time. In the 1960s, it was believed that at least half of the crime in the U.S. was drug related, and this number grew as high as 90 percent in the next decade.[71] He created the Reorganization Plan of 1968 which merged the Bureau of Narcotics and the Bureau of Drug Abuse to form the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs within the Department of Justice.[72] The belief during this time about drug use was summarized by journalist Max Lerner in his celebrated[citation needed] work America as a Civilization (1957):

As a case in point we may take the known fact of the prevalence of reefer and dope addiction in Negro areas. This is essentially explained in terms of poverty, slum living, and broken families, yet it would be easy to show the lack of drug addiction among other ethnic groups where the same conditions apply.[73]

Richard Nixon became president in 1969, and did not back away from the anti-drug precedent set by Johnson. Nixon began orchestrating drug raids nationwide to improve his “watchdog” reputation. Lois B. Defleur, a social historian who studied drug arrests during this period in Chicago, stated that, “police administrators indicated they were making the kind of arrests the public wanted”. Additionally, some of Nixon’s newly created drug enforcement agencies would resort to illegal practices to make arrests as they tried to meet public demand for arrest numbers. From 1972 to 1973, the Office of Drug Abuse and Law Enforcement performed 6,000 drug arrests in 18 months, the majority of the arrested black.[74]

The next two Presidents, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, responded with programs that were essentially a continuation of their predecessors. Shortly after Ronald Reagan became President in 1981 he delivered a speech on the topic. Reagan announced, “We’re taking down the surrender flag that has flown over so many drug efforts; we’re running up a battle flag.”[75] For his first five years in office, Reagan slowly strengthened drug enforcement by creating mandatory minimum sentencing and forfeiture of cash and real estate for drug offenses, policies far more detrimental to poor blacks than any other sector affected by the new laws.[citation needed]

Then, driven by the 1986 cocaine overdose of black basketball star Len Bias,[dubious discuss] Reagan was able to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act through Congress. This legislation appropriated an additional $1.7 billion to fund th
e War on Drugs. More importantly, it established 29 new, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. In the entire history of the country up until that point, the legal system had only seen 55 minimum sentences in total.[76] A major stipulation of the new sentencing rules included different mandatory minimums for powder and crack cocaine. At the time of the bill, there was public debate as to the difference in potency and effect of powder cocaine, generally used by whites, and crack cocaine, generally used by blacks, with many believing that “crack” was substantially more powerful and addictive. Crack and powder cocaine are closely related chemicals, crack being a smokeable, freebase form of powdered cocaine hydrochloride which produces a shorter, more intense high while using less of the drug. This method is more cost effective, and therefore more prevalent on the inner-city streets, while powder cocaine remains more popular in white suburbia. The Reagan administration began shoring public opinion against “crack”, encouraging DEA official Robert Putnam to play up the harmful effects of the drug. Stories of “crack whores” and “crack babies” became commonplace; by 1986, Time had declared “crack” the issue of the year.[77] Riding the wave of public fervor, Reagan established much harsher sentencing for crack cocaine, handing down stiffer felony penalties for much smaller amounts of the drug.[78]

Reagan protg and former Vice-President George H. W. Bush was next to occupy the oval office, and the drug policy under his watch held true to his political background. Bush maintained the hard line drawn by his predecessor and former boss, increasing narcotics regulation when the First National Drug Control Strategy was issued by the Office of National Drug Control in 1989.[79]

The next three presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama continued this trend, maintaining the War on Drugs as they inherited it upon taking office.[80] During this time of passivity by the federal government, it was the states that initiated controversial legislation in the War on Drugs. Racial bias manifested itself in the states through such controversial policies as the “stop and frisk” police practices in New York city and the “three strikes” felony laws began in California in 1994.[81]

In August 2010, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act into law that dramatically reduced the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine, which disproportionately affected minorities.[82]

A substantial part of the “Drug War” is the “Mexican Drug War.” Many drugs are transported from Mexico into the United States, such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin.[citation needed]

The possession of cocaine is illegal in all fifty states, along with crack cocaine (the cheaper version of cocaine but has a much greater penalty). Having possession is when the accused knowingly has it on their person, or in a backpack or purse. The possession of cocaine with no prior conviction, for the first offense, the person will be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison or fined $1,000, or both. If the person has a prior conviction, whether it is a narcotic or cocaine, they will be sentenced to two years in “prison”, $2,500 fine. or both. With two or more convictions of possession prior to this present offense, they can be sentenced to 90 days in “prison” along with a $5,000 fine.[83]

Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug worldwide. The punishment for possession of it is less than for the possession of cocaine or heroin. In some states in the US the drug is legal. Over 80 million of Americans have tried this type of drug. The Criminal Defense Lawyer article claims that, depending on the age of person and how much the person has been caught for possession, they will be fined and could plea bargain into going to a treatment program versus going to “prison”. In each state the convictions differ along with how much of the “marijuana” they have on their person.[84]

Crystal meth is composed of methamphetamine hydrochloride. It is marketed as either a white powder or in a solid (rock) form. The possession of crystal meth can result in a punishment varying from a fine to a jail sentence. When the convict possessed a lot[clarification needed] of meth on their person, the sentence will be longer.[85]

Heroin is an opiate that is highly addictive. If caught selling or possessing heroin, a perpetrator can be charged with a felony and face twofour years in prison and could be fined to a maximum of $20,000.[86]

Some scholars have claimed that the phrase “War on Drugs” is propaganda cloaking an extension of earlier military or paramilitary operations.[7] Others have argued that large amounts of “drug war” foreign aid money, training, and equipment actually goes to fighting leftist insurgencies and is often provided to groups who themselves are involved in large-scale narco-trafficking, such as corrupt members of the Colombian military.[6]

From 1963 to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, marijuana usage became common among U.S. soldiers in non-combat situations. Some servicemen also used heroin. Many of the servicemen ended the heroin use after returning to the United States but came home addicted. In 1971, the U.S. military conducted a study of drug use among American servicemen and women. It found that daily usage rates for drugs on a worldwide basis were as low as two percent.[87] However, in the spring of 1971, two congressmen released an alarming report alleging that 15% of the servicemen in Vietnam were addicted to heroin. Marijuana use was also common in Vietnam. Soldiers who used drugs had more disciplinary problems. The frequent drug use had become an issue for the commanders in Vietnam; in 1971 it was estimated that 30,000 servicemen were addicted to drugs, most of them to heroin.[9]

From 1971 on, therefore, returning servicemen were required to take a mandatory heroin test. Servicemen who tested positive upon returning from Vietnam were not allowed to return home until they had passed the test with a negative result. The program also offered a treatment for heroin addicts.[88]

Elliot Borin’s article “The U.S. Military Needs its Speed”published in Wired on February 10, 2003reports:

But the Defense Department, which distributed millions of amphetamine tablets to troops during World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War, soldiers on, insisting that they are not only harmless but beneficial.

In a news conference held in connection with Schmidt and Umbach’s Article 32 hearing, Dr. Pete Demitry, an Air Force physician and a pilot, claimed that the “Air Force has used (Dexedrine) safely for 60 years” with “no known speed-related mishaps.”

The need for speed, Demitry added “is a life-and-death issue for our military.”[89]

One of the first anti-drug efforts in the realm of foreign policy was President Nixon’s Operation Intercept, announced in September 1969, targeted at reducing the amount of cannabis entering the United States from Mexico. The effort began with an intense inspection crackdown that resulted in an almost shutdown of cross-border traffic.[90] Because the burden on border crossings was controversial in border states, the effort only lasted twenty days.[91]

On December 20, 1989, the United States invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause, which involved 25,000 American troops. Gen. Manuel Noriega, head of the government of Panama, had been giving military assistance to Contra groups in Nicaragua at the request of the U.S. which, in exchange, tolerated his drug trafficking a
ctivities, which they had known about since the 1960s.[92][93] When the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) tried to indict Noriega in 1971, the CIA prevented them from doing so.[92] The CIA, which was then directed by future president George H. W. Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America.[92] When CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA’s activities in Latin America, and the CIA’s connections with Noriega became a public relations “liability” for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of tolerating his drug operations.[92] Operation Just Cause, whose purpose was to capture Noriega and overthrow his government; Noriega found temporary asylum in the Papal Nuncio, and surrendered to U.S. soldiers on January 3, 1990.[94] He was sentenced by a court in Miami to 45 years in prison.[92]

As part of its Plan Colombia program, the United States government currently provides hundreds of millions of dollars per year of military aid, training, and equipment to Colombia,[95] to fight left-wing guerrillas such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), which has been accused of being involved in drug trafficking.[96]

Private U.S. corporations have signed contracts to carry out anti-drug activities as part of Plan Colombia. DynCorp, the largest private company involved, was among those contracted by the State Department, while others signed contracts with the Defense Department.[97]

Colombian military personnel have received extensive counterinsurgency training from U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, including the School of Americas (SOA). Author Grace Livingstone has stated that more Colombian SOA graduates have been implicated in human rights abuses than currently known SOA graduates from any other country. All of the commanders of the brigades highlighted in a 2001 Human Rights Watch report on Colombia were graduates of the SOA, including the III brigade in Valle del Cauca, where the 2001 Alto Naya Massacre occurred. US-trained officers have been accused of being directly or indirectly involved in many atrocities during the 1990s, including the Massacre of Trujillo and the 1997 Mapiripn Massacre.

In 2000, the Clinton administration initially waived all but one of the human rights conditions attached to Plan Colombia, considering such aid as crucial to national security at the time.[98]

The efforts of U.S. and Colombian governments have been criticized for focusing on fighting leftist guerrillas in southern regions without applying enough pressure on right-wing paramilitaries and continuing drug smuggling operations in the north of the country.[99][100] Human Rights Watch, congressional committees and other entities have documented the existence of connections between members of the Colombian military and the AUC, which the U.S. government has listed as a terrorist group, and that Colombian military personnel have committed human rights abuses which would make them ineligible for U.S. aid under current laws.[citation needed]

In 2010, the Washington Office on Latin America concluded that both Plan Colombia and the Colombian government’s security strategy “came at a high cost in lives and resources, only did part of the job, are yielding diminishing returns and have left important institutions weaker.”[101]

A 2014 report by the RAND Corporation, which was issued to analyze viable strategies for the Mexican drug war considering successes experienced in Columbia, noted:

Between 1999 and 2002, the United States gave Colombia $2.04 billion in aid, 81 percent of which was for military purposes, placing Colombia just below Israel and Egypt among the largest recipients of U.S. military assistance. Colombia increased its defense spending from 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 to 4.19 percent in 2005. Overall, the results were extremely positive. Greater spending on infrastructure and social programs helped the Colombian government increase its political legitimacy, while improved security forces were better able to consolidate control over large swaths of the country previously overrun by insurgents and drug cartels.

It also notes that, “Plan Colombia has been widely hailed as a success, and some analysts believe that, by 2010, Colombian security forces had finally gained the upper hand once and for all.”[102]

The Mrida Initiative is a security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America. It was approved on June 30, 2008, and its stated aim is combating the threats of drug trafficking and transnational crime. The Mrida Initiative appropriated $1.4 billion in a three-year commitment (20082010) to the Mexican government for military and law enforcement training and equipment, as well as technical advice and training to strengthen the national justice systems. The Mrida Initiative targeted many very important government officials, but it failed to address the thousands of Central Americans who had to flee their countries due to the danger they faced everyday because of the war on drugs. There is still not any type of plan that addresses these people. No weapons are included in the plan.[103][104]

The United States regularly sponsors the spraying of large amounts of herbicides such as glyphosate over the jungles of Central and South America as part of its drug eradication programs. Environmental consequences resulting from aerial fumigation have been criticized as detrimental to some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems;[105] the same aerial fumigation practices are further credited with causing health problems in local populations.[106]

In 2012, the U.S. sent DEA agents to Honduras to assist security forces in counternarcotics operations. Honduras has been a major stop for drug traffickers, who use small planes and landing strips hidden throughout the country to transport drugs. The U.S. government made agreements with several Latin American countries to share intelligence and resources to counter the drug trade. DEA agents, working with other U.S. agencies such as the State Department, the CBP, and Joint Task Force-Bravo, assisted Honduras troops in conducting raids on traffickers’ sites of operation.[107]

The War on Drugs has been a highly contentious issue since its inception. A poll on October 2, 2008, found that three in four Americans believed that the War On Drugs was failing.[108]

At a meeting in Guatemala in 2012, three former presidents from Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia said that the war on drugs had failed and that they would propose a discussion on alternatives, including decriminalization, at the Summit of the Americas in April of that year.[109] Guatemalan President Otto Prez Molina said that the war on drugs was exacting too high a price on the lives of Central Americans and that it was time to “end the taboo on discussing decriminalization”.[110] At the summit, the government of Colombia pushed for the most far-reaching change to drugs policy since the war on narcotics was declared by Nixon four decades prior, citing the catastrophic effects it had had in Colombia.[111]

Several critics have compared the wholesale incarceration of the dissenting minority of drug users to the wholesale incarceration of other minorities in history. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, for example, writes in 1997 “Over the past thirty years, we have replaced the medical-political persec
ution of illegal sex users (‘perverts’ and ‘psychopaths’) with the even more ferocious medical-political persecution of illegal drug users.”[112]

Penalties for drug crimes among American youth almost always involve permanent or semi-permanent removal from opportunities for education, strip them of voting rights, and later involve creation of criminal records which make employment more difficult.[113] Thus, some authors maintain that the War on Drugs has resulted in the creation of a permanent underclass of people who have few educational or job opportunities, often as a result of being punished for drug offenses which in turn have resulted from attempts to earn a living in spite of having no education or job opportunities.[113]

According to a 2008 study published by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron, the annual savings on enforcement and incarceration costs from the legalization of drugs would amount to roughly $41.3 billion, with $25.7 billion being saved among the states and over $15.6 billion accrued for the federal government. Miron further estimated at least $46.7 billion in tax revenue based on rates comparable to those on tobacco and alcohol ($8.7 billion from marijuana, $32.6 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs).[114]

Low taxation in Central American countries has been credited with weakening the region’s response in dealing with drug traffickers. Many cartels, especially Los Zetas have taken advantage of the limited resources of these nations. 2010 tax revenue in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, composed just 13.53% of GDP. As a comparison, in Chile and the U.S., taxes were 18.6% and 26.9% of GDP respectively. However, direct taxes on income are very hard to enforce and in some cases tax evasion is seen as a national pastime.[115]

The status of coca and coca growers has become an intense political issue in several countries, including Colombia and particularly Bolivia, where the president, Evo Morales, a former coca growers’ union leader, has promised to legalise the traditional cultivation and use of coca.[116] Indeed, legalization efforts have yielded some successes under the Morales administration when combined with aggressive and targeted eradication efforts. The country saw a 12-13% decline in coca cultivation[116] in 2011 under Morales, who has used coca growers’ federations to ensure compliance with the law rather than providing a primary role for security forces.[116]

The coca eradication policy has been criticised for its negative impact on the livelihood of coca growers in South America. In many areas of South America the coca leaf has traditionally been chewed and used in tea and for religious, medicinal and nutritional purposes by locals.[117] For this reason many insist that the illegality of traditional coca cultivation is unjust. In many areas the US government and military has forced the eradication of coca without providing for any meaningful alternative crop for farmers, and has additionally destroyed many of their food or market crops, leaving them starving and destitute.[117]

The CIA, DEA, State Department, and several other U.S. government agencies have been implicated in relations with various groups involved in drug trafficking.

Senator John Kerry’s 1988 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report on Contra drug links concludes that members of the U.S. State Department “who provided support for the Contras are involved in drug trafficking… and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly receive financial and material assistance from drug traffickers.”[118] The report further states that “the Contra drug links include… payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.”

In 1996, journalist Gary Webb published reports in the San Jose Mercury News,[119] and later in his book Dark Alliance,[120] detailing how Contras, had been involved in distributing crack cocaine into Los Angeles whilst receiving money from the CIA. Contras used money from drug trafficking to buy weapons

Webb’s premise regarding the U.S. Government connection was initially attacked at the time by the media. It is now widely accepted that Webb’s main assertion of government “knowledge of drug operations, and collaboration with and protection of known drug traffickers” was correct.[121] In 1998, CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz published a two-volume report[122] that while seemingly refuting Webb’s claims of knowledge and collaboration in its conclusions did not deny them in its body.[123] Hitz went on to admit CIA improprieties in the affair in testimony to a House congressional committee. Some of Webb’s work acknowledging is now widely accepted.

According to Rodney Campbell, an editorial assistant to Nelson Rockefeller, during World War II, the United States Navy, concerned that strikes and labor disputes in U.S. eastern shipping ports would disrupt wartime logistics, released the mobster Lucky Luciano from prison, and collaborated with him to help the mafia take control of those ports. Labor union members were terrorized and murdered by mafia members as a means of preventing labor unrest and ensuring smooth shipping of supplies to Europe.[124]

According to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, in order to prevent Communist party members from being elected in Italy following World War II, the CIA worked closely with the Sicilian Mafia, protecting them and assisting in their worldwide heroin smuggling operations. The mafia was in conflict with leftist groups and was involved in assassinating, torturing, and beating leftist political organizers.[125]

In 1986, the US Defense Department funded a two-year study by the RAND Corporation, which found that the use of the armed forces to interdict drugs coming into the United States would have little or no effect on cocaine traffic and might, in fact, raise the profits of cocaine cartels and manufacturers. The 175-page study, “Sealing the Borders: The Effects of Increased Military Participation in Drug Interdiction”, was prepared by seven researchers, mathematicians and economists at the National Defense Research Institute, a branch of the RAND, and was released in 1988. The study noted that seven prior studies in the past nine years, including one by the Center for Naval Research and the Office of Technology Assessment, had come to similar conclusions. Interdiction efforts, using current armed forces resources, would have almost no effect on cocaine importation into the United States, the report concluded.[126]

During the early-to-mid-1990s, the Clinton administration ordered and funded a major cocaine policy study, again by RAND. The Rand Drug Policy Research Center study concluded that $3 billion should be switched from federal and local law enforcement to treatment. The report said that treatment is the cheapest way to cut drug use, stating that drug treatment is twenty-three times more effective than the supply-side “war on drugs”.[127]

The National Research Council Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs published its findings in 2001 on the efficacy of the drug war. The NRC Committee found that existing studies on efforts to address drug usage and smuggling, from U.S. military operations to eradicate coca fields in Colombia, to domestic drug treatment centers, have all been inconclusive, if the programs ha
ve been evaluated at all: “The existing drug-use monitoring systems are strikingly inadequate to support the full range of policy decisions that the nation must make…. It is unconscionable for this country to continue to carry out a public policy of this magnitude and cost without any way of knowing whether and to what extent it is having the desired effect.”[128] The study, though not ignored by the press, was ignored by top-level policymakers, leading Committee Chair Charles Manski to conclude, as one observer notes, that “the drug war has no interest in its own results”.[129]

In mid-1995, the US government tried to reduce the supply of methamphetamine precursors to disrupt the market of this drug. According to a 2009 study, this effort was successful, but its effects were largely temporary.[130]

During alcohol prohibition, the period from 1920 to 1933, alcohol use initially fell but began to increase as early as 1922. It has been extrapolated that even if prohibition had not been repealed in 1933, alcohol consumption would have quickly surpassed pre-prohibition levels.[131] One argument against the War on Drugs is that it uses similar measures as Prohibition and is no more effective.

In the six years from 2000 to 2006, the U.S. spent $4.7 billion on Plan Colombia, an effort to eradicate coca production in Colombia. The main result of this effort was to shift coca production into more remote areas and force other forms of adaptation. The overall acreage cultivated for coca in Colombia at the end of the six years was found to be the same, after the U.S. Drug Czar’s office announced a change in measuring methodology in 2005 and included new areas in its surveys.[132] Cultivation in the neighboring countries of Peru and Bolivia increased, some would describe this effect like squeezing a balloon.[133]

Similar lack of efficacy is observed in some other countries pursuing similar[citation needed] policies. In 1994, 28.5% of Canadians reported having consumed illicit drugs in their life; by 2004, that figure had risen to 45%. 73% of the $368 million spent by the Canadian government on targeting illicit drugs in 20042005 went toward law enforcement rather than treatment, prevention or harm reduction.[134]

Richard Davenport-Hines, in his book The Pursuit of Oblivion,[135] criticized the efficacy of the War on Drugs by pointing out that

1015% of illicit heroin and 30% of illicit cocaine is intercepted. Drug traffickers have gross profit margins of up to 300%. At least 75% of illicit drug shipments would have to be intercepted before the traffickers’ profits were hurt.

Alberto Fujimori, president of Peru from 1990 to 2000, described U.S. foreign drug policy as “failed” on grounds that “for 10 years, there has been a considerable sum invested by the Peruvian government and another sum on the part of the American government, and this has not led to a reduction in the supply of coca leaf offered for sale. Rather, in the 10 years from 1980 to 1990, it grew 10-fold.”[136]

At least 500 economists, including Nobel Laureates Milton Friedman,[137]George Akerlof and Vernon L. Smith, have noted that reducing the supply of marijuana without reducing the demand causes the price, and hence the profits of marijuana sellers, to go up, according to the laws of supply and demand.[138] The increased profits encourage the producers to produce more drugs despite the risks, providing a theoretical explanation for why attacks on drug supply have failed to have any lasting effect. The aforementioned economists published an open letter to President George W. Bush stating “We urge…the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition… At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition.”

The declaration from the World Forum Against Drugs, 2008 state that a balanced policy of drug abuse prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement, research, and supply reduction provides the most effective platform to reduce drug abuse and its associated harms and call on governments to consider demand reduction as one of their first priorities in the fight against drug abuse.[139]

Despite over $7 billion spent annually towards arresting[140] and prosecuting nearly 800,000 people across the country for marijuana offenses in 2005[citation needed] (FBI Uniform Crime Reports), the federally funded Monitoring the Future Survey reports about 85% of high school seniors find marijuana “easy to obtain”. That figure has remained virtually unchanged since 1975, never dropping below 82.7% in three decades of national surveys.[141] The Drug Enforcement Administration states that the number of users of marijuana in the U.S. declined between 2000 and 2005 even with many states passing new medical marijuana laws making access easier,[142] though usage rates remain higher than they were in the 1990s according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.[143]

ONDCP stated in April 2011 that there has been a 46 percent drop in cocaine use among young adults over the past five years, and a 65 percent drop in the rate of people testing positive for cocaine in the workplace since 2006.[144] At the same time, a 2007 study found that up to 35% of college undergraduates used stimulants not prescribed to them.[145]

A 2013 study found that prices of heroin, cocaine and cannabis had decreased from 1990 to 2007, but the purity of these drugs had increased during the same time.[146]

The legality of the War on Drugs has been challenged on four main grounds in the US.

Several authors believe that the United States’ federal and state governments have chosen wrong methods for combatting the distribution of illicit substances. Aggressive, heavy-handed enforcement funnel individuals through courts and prisons, instead of treating the cause of the addiction, the focus of government efforts has been on punishment. By making drugs illegal rather than regulating them, the War on Drugs creates a highly profitable black market. Jefferson Fish has edited scholarly collections of articles offering a wide variety of public health based and rights based alternative drug policies.[147][148][149]

In the year 2000, the United States drug-control budget reached 18.4 billion dollars,[150] nearly half of which was spent financing law enforcement while only one sixth was spent on treatment. In the year 2003, 53 percent of the requested drug control budget was for enforcement, 29 percent for treatment, and 18 percent for prevention.[151] The state of New York, in particular, designated 17 percent of its budget towards substance-abuse-related spending. Of that, a mere one percent was put towards prevention, treatment, and research.

In a survey taken by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it was found that substance abusers that remain in treatment longer are less likely to resume their former drug habits. Of the people that were studied, 66 percent were cocaine users. After experiencing long-term in-patient treatment, only 22 percent returned to the use of cocaine. Treatment had reduced the number of cocaine abusers by two-thirds.[150] By spending the majority of its money on law enforcement, the federal government had underestimated the true value of drug-treatment facilities and their benefit towards reducing the number of addicts in the U.S.

In 2004 the federal government issued the National Drug Con
trol Strategy. It supported programs designed to expand treatment options, enhance treatment delivery, and improve treatment outcomes. For example, the Strategy provided SAMHSA with a $100.6 million grant to put towards their Access to Recovery (ATR) initiative. ATR is a program that provides vouchers to addicts to provide them with the means to acquire clinical treatment or recovery support. The project’s goals are to expand capacity, support client choice, and increase the array of faith-based and community based providers for clinical treatment and recovery support services.[152] The ATR program will also provide a more flexible array of services based on the individual’s treatment needs.

The 2004 Strategy additionally declared a significant 32 million dollar raise in the Drug Courts Program, which provides drug offenders with alternatives to incarceration. As a substitute for imprisonment, drug courts identify substance-abusing offenders and place them under strict court monitoring and community supervision, as well as provide them with long-term treatment services.[153] According to a report issued by the National Drug Court Institute, drug courts have a wide array of benefits, with only 16.4 percent of the nation’s drug court graduates rearrested and charged with a felony within one year of completing the program (versus the 44.1% of released prisoners who end up back in prison within 1-year). Additionally, enrolling an addict in a drug court program costs much less than incarcerating one in prison.[154] According to the Bureau of Prisons, the fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates in 2006 was $24,440.[155] The annual cost of receiving treatment in a drug court program ranges from $900 to $3,500. Drug courts in New York State alone saved $2.54 million in incarceration costs.[154]

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Don't Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

Posted: at 4:48 am

If you think the Supreme Court is poised to expand or restrict gun rights sometime soon, don’t hold your breath.

As handwringing continues over what might have prevented the Orlando massacre– an old-time filibuster sparked by it even broke outin the Senate on Wednesday — the justices are about to consider a state gun control law enacted in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook school massacre in Newtown, Connecticut.

According to its docket, the court on Thursday will weigh whether to take up Shew v. Malloy, a case with all the elements that could make it emblematic for the battle over the Second Amendment’s meaning.

It’s a dispute between a host of gun rights groups, businesses and individual gun owners against Connecticut over the constitutionality of a sweeping regulatory regime that bans so-called “assault weapons” — semiautomatic firearms and large-capacity magazines of the very sort used in Newtown and Orlando.

Back in October, an appeals court in Manhattan said the Connecticut law and a similarly restrictive law in New Yorkwere constitutional –and the plaintiffs vowed to take the battle to the Supreme Court.

Tom King, the head of New York’s biggest gun rights group, even said he was “happy” to have lost the case because that meant his organization could now ask the highest court of the land to decide the issue once and for all.

Brendan McDermid / Reuters

But then Justice Antonin Scalia died. And suddenly,the gun lobby’s calculations changed — including King’s, who told the New York Daily News weeks after Scalia’s death that it was “just the wrong time” to continue the fight in the absence of a reliable conservative vote at the Supreme Court.

That might explain why Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) glowingly pointed to the National Rifle Association’s opposition to Merrick Garland, the president’s high court nominee, to rationalize his own refusal to hold a vote and a hearing for Garland.

None of this matters, and yet it matters a great deal.

Because despite the pleas from gun rights advocates who still want the Supreme Court to take up the challenge to the weapons ban, the justices could wield all kinds of reasons not to touch the case with a 10-foot pole.

It’s not that they aren’t interested in clarifying the scope of the Second Amendment in the wake of Scalia’s magnum opus in District of Columbia v. Heller, which for the first time recognized a fundamental right to gun ownership in the home. But to echo King, it’s just not the right time — not with a short-staffed Supreme Court, a volatile political environment, and a nomination fight that may very well continue after President Barack Obama’s successor takes office.

As things stand now, all signs point to an extremely quiet and uncontroversial Supreme Court term beginning next October — a dry season that will stand in stark contrast to the current term’s constitutional blockbusters on affirmative action, abortion and immigration, to name only a few.The court just isn’t taking many new cases.

This paucity of potential big decisions aside, the courthassent some signals that the Second Amendment is safe, even as it has rejected dozens of cases challenging gun control measures across the country, leaving lower courts as the final decision-makers.

Over the protest of Scalia and Justice Clarence Thomas, the Supreme Court refused in December to review an appeals court decision that effectively upheld an assault weapons ban in a small Illinois town. Thomas said that decision treated the Second Amendment as a second-class right.

But in March, a month after Scalia’s death, the justices tipped their hand the other way, ruling that a Massachusetts ban on stun guns may violate the right to bear arms, quietly but forcefully endorsing the late justice’s Heller decision.

The Second Amendment extends … to all instruments that constitute bearable arms, even those that were not in existence at the time of the founding,” the court said in a very brief rulingthat no justice signed his or her name to.

But writing separately, Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito said they would have gone further, asserting that indeed, gun ownership for self-defense is a “fundamental right” while making clear that Americans’ safety shouldn’t be “left to the mercy of state authorities who may be more concerned about disarming the people than about keeping them safe.”

Fighting words, as well as fodder for debate about where the court may go next on guns.

It is precisely this seeming tension within the Supreme Court — plus the political fallout from Scalia’s vacancy and all the work that other courts are doing to make some sense of the Second Amendment — that indicates why the justices probably won’t pull the trigger on the next big gun rights case soon.

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Don’t Bank On The Supreme Court To Clarify The Second …

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