Legalize All Drugs Now

I don’t make a business of having popular opinions, and this rates as one of my least popular opinions: legalize all drugs, destroy the narco black market tomorrow.

Some of these newly legal substances are more dangerous than others, a one-size-fits-all reform policy would be unworkable.

The first part to understand in my reform policy is that drug addiction is treated as a “disease” as in a medical disorder. All forms of chemical / substance abuse must be recognized legally as individual physical impairments. This effectively separates the non-violent drug offenders from violent offenders.

Drugs like marijuana that are not connected to cases of death via overdose would receive the same treatment as alcohol and tobacco. Regulating based on age restrictions and driving under the influence based on existing regulations regarding alcohol.

Drugs that fail the standard of “death via overdose” should be subject to prescription. Just as we already have a Methadone program, we should do away with this and model after them dispensaries that provide clean, safe environments for addicts to get access to recovery programs and their drugs in the same place. For free.

I feel that decriminalization may prove to be the viable solution to getting the non-violent drug offenders out of the criminal justice system and ceasing the needless waste of the false ‘war on drugs.’

However, advocating for decriminalization has always been merely a pragmatic stance of mine given that the notion of having what I would call “sane drug policy” in the U.S. is likely too much commonsense to ever actually happen.

Boston Judge Rules Gay Marriage Ban Unconstitutional

A touch of good news out of Boston.

It is about time the simple issue of a violation of equal protection under the law created by gay marriage bans of any sort was struck down as unconstitutional by a federal court.

HuffingtonPost.com:

BOSTON (Associated Press) — The federal law banning gay marriage is unconstitutional because it interferes with the right of a state to define the institution and therefore denies married gay couples some federal benefits, a federal judge ruled Thursday in Boston.

U.S. District Judge Joseph Tauro ruled in favor of gay couples’ rights in two separate challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, known as DOMA, a 1996 law that the Obama administration has argued for repealing.

The rulings apply to Massachusetts but could have broader implications if they’re upheld on appeal.

The state had argued the law denied benefits such as Medicaid to gay married couples in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions have been legal since 2004.

Tauro agreed and said the act forces Massachusetts to discriminate against its own citizens in order to be eligible for federal funding in federal-state partnerships.

Buffet Offers Optimism To Krugman

Warren Buffet has presented a rosy sunshine picture of the U.S. Economy to contrast against the desolate landscape in Paul Krugman’s warnings of “the early stages of a third depression.

I believe Buffet may be practicing the concept that psychology rules a large part of every economy. As strange as it is, it might help change a ‘fragile recovery’ to a ‘full recovery’ just by beating the drums of “we are coming back.”

The stimulus is working, though more money should have been allocated directly to the states that need it the most. And in the next two or three years is certainly the time frame in which we will know if Krugman or Buffet was right.

SB1070 For Dummies & Hayward Hung By The Toes

This YouTube video from 4409 “Wake Up America” Productions is what people really need to understand about ‘that law’ that everyone is talking about when not picturing BP exec Tony Hayward in some contraption from one of the Saw movies.
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“Please don’t kill me, America! I promise another ad campaign and more toxic dispersant!”
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This is not about immigration. This is about encroaching on civil liberties first with racial profiling and then moving forward from there to effect all groups.
At least five lawsuits have been filed thus far to fight against the Arizona law coming on behalf of the ACLU and others.
AZCentral.com:

A group of 14 civil and immigrant-rights organizations and 10 individuals on Monday filed a federal lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Arizona’s new immigration law. It is the fifth legal challenge of the law, which goes into effect July 29 and makes it a state crime to be in the country illegally.

All the lawsuits seek to prevent the law from going into effect. However, this latest case names Arizona’s county officials as defendants, while previous suits were filed against state officials.

Participants in this case include the American Civil Liberties Union, Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, National Immigration Law Center, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, National Day Laborer Organizing Network and Asian Pacific American Legal Center.

Since I put “for dummies” in my headline I’ll move forward slowly about the why on this show-me-your-papers law signed by Jan Brewer is unconstitutional. Instead slamming a bunch of legalese at you it’s much better to simply look closely at the Section B paragraph of AZ SB 1070:
“For any lawful stop, detention or arrest made by a law enforcement official …”
This just means anything at all that might be contact with the police. If they flag you down on the street when you are walking, that is a “lawful stop.” It has very little to do with vehicles and everything to do with the security of your person from harassment from the police. Even when a police officer who has mistaken your identity, let’s say, it is still a committing a “lawful stop” to detain you and discover your true identity. In short, this opening clause of the law is both sweeping and overreaching in terms of the authority it grants. In this language alone that law has isolated undocumented workers from seeking police services should they be attacked or threatened in their safety for even requesting police services: a 911 call is nothing more an invitation to legal harassment and then deportation.
“… where reasonable suspicion exists that a person is alien and is unlawfully present in the United States, a reasonable attempt shall be made … to determine immigration status of the person”
Many advocates for this draconian law claim it mirrors the existing federal immigration law, but this is completely false. No standing U.S. law fails to define what exactly “reasonable suspicion” is to be recognized as in regards to infraction in question. You may have heard the phrase: “What does an illegal look like?” This is what these people are referring to. There is no standard set within any part of this law as to what exactly is the definition of “reasonable suspicion” of being here under undocumented (“alien”) status. This failure to define what the terms of “reasonable suspicion” entail creates a violation of the Fourth Amendment’s protection against “unreasonable search and seizure” which requires “probable cause” be clearly established prior to such “reasonable attempt”s of the Arizona law to toss you in a cell or search your person in any manner. Furthermore, the Fifth Amendment also protects any person, be they citizen or not, from incriminating themselves so this very act of having state authorities asking a person to identify their status with the federal immigration bureau is a “reasonable attempt” to force the affected party to admit to a minor misdemeanor. Which still ultimately amounts to a form of self incrimination. Another way to understand this is know that if a undocumented worker knew their rights at the time of a “lawful stop” taking place they would be within their rights to claim the Fifth Amendment protections while being asked by a state official their federal immigration status.
“… may not consider race, color or national origin in implementing the requirements of the subsection …”
This clause was added after the initial drafting of the law and fails to clarify just exactly how an officer is to determine immigration status without the use of “race, color and national origin” as the primary factor is raising the question. Had the misguided authors of this law inserted their media commentary that “clothing” was a factor to be decided upon it would have held more weight than this rather self defeating clause. As I stated above, without the method of attaining “reasonable suspicion” of being here under undocumented status outlined in the this law it remains the only standard in which to enforce such a law would be racial profiling. This clause turned a simply unconstitutional law into a literally unenforceable law.
The greatest layer of the unconstitutionality of AZ SB 1070 is the very top layer:
It is not the business of state authority to tread upon the direct charge of federal agencies. Even when they have a false charge of “inaction” on behalf of the federal government, the state laws never supersede federal authority on existing issues. Before any of the other elements of unconstitutionality would be considered this first brazen disregard for the Constitution will get this anti-civil liberties and pro-racial profiling law thrown out of court.
My point from the beginning is it is disgusting and un-American of all involved with this law to even have to drag this veiled racism mixed with an unconstitutional power-grab into our courts in the first place. Striking down this law effectively and immediately is the only course of action that will save both money and freedom in one swift movement.
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Colbert knows what to do with those Tony Hayward types…
What I myself find especially funny lately is this strange group of people out there, I guess we’ll call them the “Blame No One Party” because that seems to be their game here. They are trying to convince us that blaming someone for the catastrophe that they oversaw and helped create is some act of mad lunacy. That we all should be looking forward. To what exactly I’m not too clear. The next environmental disaster that Big Oil will bless us with? I’ll be over here with my burning Tony Hayward effigy and “Boycott BP” signs, thank you very much.
Don’t forget this is the “worst oil spill in U.S. history” and has turned the Gulf of Mexico “into a dead zone.”
I’m for cutting all our government contracts with BP, and cutting their jet fuel arrangement with the Pentagon as well. A company like BP has no place working under federal auspices of any sort. They have effectively destroyed America. Were this deliberate and not rampant greed and arrogance it could easily be classified as some form of terrorist or economic attack on all of America.
It seems when extremists blow people up: it’s a crime and everybody is mobilized to catch the criminals. But when careless suits at BP blow people up: it’s something to be ignored and just accepted as part of modern life.
UPDATE:
IPC has backed my statements here in their Q&A Guide.

MLA: Open Letter to Arizona Governor

At its May 2010 meeting, the Executive Council approved the following open letter to Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona.

Dear Governor Brewer,

We write regarding legislative and policy initiatives in the State of Arizona that concern us as teachers and scholars of language and literature. You have recently signed legislation (SB 1070) that may place nonnative speakers of English and speakers of other languages in legal jeopardy. In addition, we understand that the Arizona Department of Education has decided to bar teachers from teaching English if they speak English with an accent. Furthermore, you have signed legislation (HB 2281) critical of ethnic studies curricula.

These actions raise several concerns regarding education and language, topics at the heart of the mission of the Modern Language Association of America (MLA). We urge you to keep the following in mind as the State of Arizona pursues its education policy:

(1) There is no rational basis for making language ability an indicator of an individual’s citizenship or residency status. This is especially the case in the United States, where many different languages are spoken on a daily basis. The MLA documents this diversity of language speakers in the United States with its Language Map (http://www.mla.org/map_main), which we urge you to consult. Many native as well as immigrant populations use languages other than English, and English language fluency is, of course, hardly restricted to the United States: a speaker of English is not necessarily a United States citizen or legal resident.

(2) Native and nonnative speakers alike always display considerable variation in accent. This fact holds for speakers of American English—compare accents from the Northeast with those from the Southwest—as well as for speakers of other languages. Indeed, there is no unaccented English. There are only speakers with different accents. It therefore makes little sense to bar individuals from teaching because they “have an accent,” since accent is always unavoidable. Efforts to exclude individuals on the basis of accent will likely be arbitrary and discriminatory. The recruitment and retention of effective teachers should not be impeded by concerns that are irrelevant to the important goal of facilitating student learning.

(3) For several decades, ethnic studies curricula have provided important gateways for students to learn about the diversity of heritages in the United States, a key educational goal of the liberal arts education that is the bedrock of American higher education. The field has developed sophisticated pedagogies that stretch across the humanities and the social sciences, providing significant insights into American history and society. Students in ethnic studies classes gain an appreciation for a wealth of cultural expression in literature and the arts and a recognition of the multiple traditions that have found a home in our nation. Policies that curtail this vision will weaken the quality of education, thereby depriving students of key learning opportunities as they move on to higher education institutions.

Because citizens of the United States speak many different languages in addition to English, because every speaker of every language has an accent, and because ethnic studies is important to contemporary American education, we urge you to work toward reversing the policy decisions we cited at the beginning of this letter.

The MLA would be delighted to cooperate with you to formulate educational and language policies that are based on sound research and scholarship and that reflect the state of the art in contemporary American education.

Arizona Expresses Their Racism

Eleanor Roosevelt with the Spanish version of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

The Arizona Senate and Arizona Governor Jan Brewer have passed an unconstitutional and pro-racial profiling law that has sparked intense debate across the nation over the issue of illegal immigration.

The law was written to pander to racist elements in the Republican Party and on the political right-wing. It does nothing to solve the problem, and creates a police-state devoid of civil liberties.

It is nothing more than lies that the federal government has done nothing about the issue, thereby making Arizona justified to pass an unconstitutional and immoral law.

FOR ANY LAWFUL CONTACT MADE BY A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICIAL OR AGENCY OF THIS STATE OR A COUNTY, CITY, TOWN OR OTHER POLITICAL SUBDIVISION OF THIS STATE WHERE REASONABLE SUSPICION EXISTS THAT THE PERSON IS AN ALIEN WHO IS UNLAWFULLY PRESENT IN THE UNITED STATES, A REASONABLE ATTEMPT SHALL BE MADE, WHEN PRACTICABLE, TO DETERMINE THE IMMIGRATION STATUS OF THE PERSON.

Revisions to the AZ SB 1070 have changed “lawful contact” to “lawful stop, detention, or arrest” which changes nothing.

A “lawful stop” and a “lawful contact” is the same thing. These revisions are a waste of the nation’s time. Until the law is abolished utterly there is nothing but racism and fascist tyranny being brought forth by Arizona.

This law violates the U.S. Constitution, requires that police officers engage in racial profiling (which is illegal), opens the door to endless lawsuits that will bankrupt the state, and validates the racist lies of immoral monsters in regards to undocumented workers.

I stand proud with the Boycott AZ movement. Those who love freedom and love American values must boycott all Arizona tourism and encourage a complete cancellation of all events and meetings held within the state until the governor and the state senate abolish this draconian law.

I also support the notion of Major League Baseball pulling out of the Phoenix All Star Game unless the state wishes to return to morality and constitutional enactment of laws.

The U.S. Constitution protects persons, not just citizens. The right to be secure in your person, and not be subject to this “show me your papers” fascistic law is a foundation of our country’s values.

These people spouting racism and excitedly endorsing this Arizona law are not Americans, in my view. They are the most disgusting and vile element of our society who hold no love for freedom, truth, or liberty.

WSJ: Drilling Process Attracts Scrutiny in Rig Explosion

Gerald Herbert / The Associated Press

Russel Gold & Ben Casselman of The Wall Street Journal:

An oil-drilling procedure called cementing is coming under scrutiny as a possible cause of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig in the Gulf of Mexico that has led to one of the biggest oil spills in U.S. history, drilling experts said Thursday.

The process is supposed to prevent oil and natural gas from escaping by filling gaps between the outside of the well pipe and the inside of the hole bored into the ocean floor. Cement, pumped down the well from the drilling rig, is also used to plug wells after they have been abandoned or when drilling has finished but production hasn’t begun.

In the case of the Deepwater Horizon, workers had finished pumping cement to fill the space between the pipe and the sides of the hole and had begun temporarily plugging the well with cement; it isn’t known whether they had completed the plugging process before the blast.

Regulators have previously identified problems in the cementing process as a leading cause of well blowouts, in which oil and natural gas surge out of a well with explosive force. When cement develops cracks or doesn’t set properly, oil and gas can escape, ultimately flowing out of control. The gas is highly combustible and prone to ignite, as it appears to have done aboard the Deepwater Horizon, which was leased by BP PLC, the British oil giant.

Concerns about the cementing process—and about whether rigs have enough safeguards to prevent blowouts—raise questions about whether the industry can safely drill in deep water and whether regulators are up to the task of monitoring them.

The scrutiny on cementing will focus attention on Halliburton Co., the oilfield-services firm that was handling the cementing process on the rig, which burned and sank last week. The disaster, which killed 11, has left a gusher of oil streaming into the Gulf from a mile under the surface.

Federal officials declined to comment on their investigation, and Halliburton didn’t respond to questions from The Wall Street Journal.

There are serious questions to be asked of Halliburton Co. and their unwillingness to talk to a source as reputable as the Wall Street Journal begs the question if indeed they do hold some serious level of responsibility in this recent oil drilling disaster.