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One Nation, Under Guard

from the with-liberty-and-justice-for-some dept

Bad news about the impending police state here in America: it's already here. From the indefinite detention (without trial) of terrorism suspects both foreign and American to the escalating militarization of our nation's police forces, there's little to indicate that any level of government is willing to "walk back" the overreach of law enforcement, much of which stems from the Patriot Act's anti-terrorism aims.

The New Yorker recently published a piece on incarceration in America, highlighting some very disturbing facts about the "land of the free:"
The accelerating rate of incarceration over the past few decades is just as startling as the number of people jailed: in 1980, there were about two hundred and twenty people incarcerated for every hundred thousand Americans; by 2010, the number had more than tripled, to seven hundred and thirty-one. No other country even approaches that. In the past two decades, the money that states spend on prisons has risen at six times the rate of spending on higher education.

More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today-perhaps the fundamental fact, as slavery was the fundamental fact of 1850. In truth, there are more black men in the grip of the criminal-justice system-in prison, on probation, or on parole-than were in slavery then. Over all, there are now more people under "correctional supervision" in America-more than six million-than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.
So, what's contributing to this continued escalation of imprisonment? (Hint: it's not an increase in violent crime. Those numbers are at their lowest level in nearly a half-century.) No, the problem is that the justice system has been put into the position of redefining "criminal activity" while simultaneously having its sentencing discretion removed by national policies:
William J. Stuntz, a professor at Harvard Law School who died shortly before his masterwork, "The Collapse of American Criminal Justice," was published, last fall, is the most forceful advocate for the view that the scandal of our prisons derives from the Enlightenment-era, "procedural" nature of American justice. He runs through the immediate causes of the incarceration epidemic: the growth of post-Rockefeller drug laws, which punished minor drug offenses with major prison time; "zero tolerance" policing, which added to the group; mandatory-sentencing laws, which prevented judges from exercising judgment.
Exhibit A: The War on Drugs. Nothing has been more ineffectual, for a greater period of time, than the supposed War on Drugs. This is directly linked with the other points on Stuntz's list. "Zero-tolerance" policies have taken any sort of perspective or judgment out of the hands of judges and turned possession of minor amounts of controlled substances into 30-year sentences. Zero-tolerance is creeping into other areas of life as well, evidenced by public schools punishing 4-year-old students for hugging each other ("sexual harassment") or the fact that the highest percentage of additions to sexual offender registries are teen boys between the ages of 14-16. Between the growth of zero-tolerance and the expanding definition of such terms as "cyberbullying," "sexual assault" and "terrorism," it's not likely that our nation's incarceration rate will decline any time soon.

This plays right into the hands of the beneficiaries of draconian, zero-tolerance policies: privately-owned prisons.
The companies are paid by the state, and their profit depends on spending as little as possible on the prisoners and the prisons. It's hard to imagine any greater disconnect between public good and private profit: the interest of private prisons lies not in the obvious social good of having the minimum necessary number of inmates but in having as many as possible, housed as cheaply as possible. No more chilling document exists in recent American life than the 2005 annual report of the biggest of these firms, the Corrections Corporation of America. Here the company (which spends millions lobbying legislators) is obliged to caution its investors about the risk that somehow, somewhere, someone might turn off the spigot of convicted men:

Our growth is generally dependent upon our ability to obtain new contracts to develop and manage new correctional and detention facilities. . . . The demand for our facilities and services could be adversely affected by the relaxation of enforcement efforts, leniency in conviction and sentencing practices or through the decriminalization of certain activities that are currently proscribed by our criminal laws. For instance, any changes with respect to drugs and controlled substances or illegal immigration could affect the number of persons arrested, convicted, and sentenced, thereby potentially reducing demand for correctional facilities to house them.
This is at least as chilling as watching our representatives blithely trampling our civil rights, perhaps even more so as you realize that there is likely some connection between mandatory sentencing and the lobbying efforts of private prisons. The enforcement arms of the US government have been pushing to criminalize more and more acts under ambiguous titles such as "cyberterrorism." There has also been little serious effort made towards scaling back either the War on Drugs or the War on Terrorism, despite all evidence pointing to minimal success in either venture.

Perhaps as a result of declining violent crime statistics, many law enforcement entities are expanding their surveillance areas with the use of spy drones. It's tough to justify budget increases if you don't have enough arrests to back up expenditures on military weapons and vehicles. The solution seems to be to cast the net wider and worry about sorting out the innocents after a few hours (or days) in lockup.

The collected legislative bodies of the United States are pitching in as well, with 40,000 new laws scheduled to go on the books in 2012 alone. While many simply deal with compliance issues or budget woes, the sheer number of new laws is bound to catch a few more "criminals," if for nothing more than a short stay for misdemeanors. Even existing laws, like the 111-year-old Lacey Act, are being used to criminalize citizens, as Gibson Guitars can attest.

In addition, immigration policies are swelling America's imprisoned ranks. ICE has detained thousands of illegal immigrants under the auspices of "detaining and deporting unauthorized immigrants who've been convicted of crimes." While it may be an admirable aim, the facts don't match up to ICE's claims (big surprise):
The FOIA request for information on all immigrants in detention on Oct. 3, 2011, turned up a list of nearly 32,300. Forty percent of those held by ICE had not been convicted of a crime, nor were they awaiting criminal trial. Despite what the term "illegal immigration" implies, simply being in the country without status is a civil, not a criminal, offense.
That's about 13,000 non-criminals sitting in detention centers funded by taxpayer dollars and, in some cases, directly benefiting private corporations. With more and more politicians looking to grab voters by touting tough immigration "reform," this will only get worse.

With the expansion of federal surveillance laws and the increase of so-called "secret laws," the government is slowly turning its citizens into criminals, often with the assistance of local law enforcement. Combine this with the still-existent "Can I see your papers?" provision of the Patriot Act, in which a 100-mile area along the US borders is basically a "Constitution-free" zone, and it's easy to see why a declining prison population isn't in our future.

While we may not be at the point where police are sweeping up so-called dissidents with door-to-door raids or locking people up for political reasons, it's really hard to see this as anything more than inevitable. And at what point do you decide that it's enough of a police state to start taking action? Is everything manageable now, but let's give it a few years? Or do we decide that this has gone too far already and a rollback is needed? Even worse, it may be too late. The Patriot Act is over a decade old and no reduction in its powers has seriously been considered by our representatives. The War on Drugs has 30+ years of increasing power and no politician has actively moved towards anything more than some slight decriminalization for medicinal marijuana (which often gets re-criminalized) or has even broached the subject of ending this so-called war.

The worst part is that we're all paying for it. Our tax dollars are being used to put our friends and neighbors in prison. Our money is used to turn 14-year-old boys into sexual offenders and incarcerate large numbers of minorities. It's extracted complicity and as long as those in power continue to see no reprisal for these actions, it will continue until it's truly too late.


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    Jeff (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 5:56am

    I am weeping... where has my country gone?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 5:57am

    Zealot websites in the morning will sometimes wake you as well as coffee.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:02am

    btw bonehead, the war on drugs has not been ineffectual.

    Most kids aren't addicted to drugs.

    -myriad redacted insults-

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:02am

    Its a shame we can't put this in front of all of Congress and make them read it.

     

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    fb39ca4, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:05am

    We need moar petition!

     

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    fb39ca4, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:07am

    Lawhammer 40K!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:08am

    Maybe Tim Cushing can tell us from experience what role drugs played in him going from a potentially productive member of society to an emasculated babysitter that thinks the above article is the best he can contribute to society.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:11am

    Re:

    *golf clap*

    1/10 - You get one point for actually looking at the author line before the rambling attack.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:11am

    Re:

    Maybe AC can tell us from experience what role drugs played in him going from a potentially productive member of society to an emasculated babysitter that thinks the above article is the best he can contribute to society.

     

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    Prisoner 201, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:12am

    Wow, massive influx of baseless insults and trolling, this must really have hit a nerve.

     

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    John Doe, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:13am

    The "war" on "insert name here"

    I think We the People should declare war on the wars. Prohibition was obviously a law the people didn't want but the government pushed on them anyway. The war on drugs was next and isn't working any better. Now we have the war on terror that has turned the volume up to 11.

    We are spending a fortune, locking up too many people, turning many more into criminals which will make it hard for them to get even a lousy job for the rest of their life. The cost to society has been great and is only getting worse.

    In my tinfoil hat thinking, I feel like at times it is a purposeful plot to turn people into criminal because once they have a record, their rights can be taken away and they can be controlled.

     

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    Prisoner 201, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:17am

    Re:

    You do know that correlation does not always denote causation, right?

    For a number of years I have sacrificed a twinky to Yog-Sothoth every sunday in order to stop kids from taking drugs. Most kids don't do drugs, so obviously it works!

    All hail Yog-Sothoth!

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:21am

    Re:

    Adderall ring a bell?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:35am

    Re:

    Most kids weren't addicted to drugs when the "War on Drugs" started, so what does that have to do with it?

    The fact is that the "War on Drugs" has not stopped drug usage. It has not even proven to have effectively decreased drug usage (beyond what can be just as easily attributed to other mitigating factors). There is even some evidence that suggests that the "War on Drugs" has in fact driven some to even harder and more dangerous drugs than they would have without it.

    In fact, there is ample evidence in places where drug usage has been decriminalized and combined with other efforts to be much more effective at reducing drug usage, drug addiction, and drug related crimes.

    There is an entire US prison system, and (by some estimates) as many as 50,000 dead in Mexico in the last half decade or so, that refute the claim the war on drugs has been ineffective.

     

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    gorehound (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:37am

    I wrote a song for my first punk band The Transplants called Police State and that was in 1977 - 78. I still play punk rock and play in two bands.I knew decades ago that this Government would get worse and worse not better.I was right !!!This Government has truly sunk and it is still sinking lower and lower.
    Well I think it's coming here and not to long
    Everything points to it and I know I'm not wrong
    The Economy is going down the drain
    And You Can't do nothing cause you got NO SAY
    Police Police Police State Is Coming Here (4 times chorus)

    Dowenload links for all my Art are here if you want to hear the old Transplants tunes:
    http://www.bigmeathammer.com/archives.htm

     

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:47am

    Isn't it ironic

    The War on Terrorism is Terrorism. Politicians have discovered the ultimate political weapon. Terrorize the populace with the idea that terrorists are out there and ready to strike any moment, then they can pass just about whatever law they want with little to no objection.

    The Patriot Act is anything but Patriotic, but any politician that suggests otherwise lives in fear of being voted out of office.

    The War on Terrorism is perfect. How often does terrorism occur in the US? Not very often. So our politicians get to look as if they are protecting us by saying, "See, we've increased security and nothing happened because of that" when statistically nothing would have happened anyway. They might as well be telling us that all of their efforts have stopped comets from hitting the Earth.

    The FBI has thwarted a number of "terrorist plots" that they have manufactured in an effort to prove we are safer.

    It just seems the real War on Terrorism should begin in DC.

     

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    malcolm kyle, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:51am

    It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    Some simple facts:

    * Colombia, Peru, Mexico or Afghanistan with their coca leaves, marijuana buds or poppy sap are not igniting temptation in the minds of our weak, innocent citizens. These countries are duly responding to the enormous demand that comes from within our own borders. Invading or destroying these countries, thus creating more hate, violence, instability, injustice and corruption, will not fix our problem.

    * A rather large majority of people will always feel the need to use drugs such as heroin, opium, nicotine, amphetamines, alcohol, sugar, or caffeine.

    * The massive majority of adults who use drugs do so recreationally - getting high at the weekend then up for work on a Monday morning.

    * Apart from the huge percentage of people addicted to both sugar and caffeine, a small minority of adults (5%) will always experience the use of other drugs as problematic. - approx. 3% are dependent on alcohol, and 1.5% dependent on other drugs.

    * Just as it was impossible to prevent alcohol from being produced and used in the U.S. in the 1920s, so too, it is equally impossible to prevent any of the aforementioned drugs from being produced, distributed and widely used by those who desire to do so.

    * Prohibition kills more people and ruins more lives than the drugs it prohibits.

    * Due to Prohibition (historically proven to be an utter failure at every level), the availability of most of these mood-altering drugs has become so universal and unfettered that in any city of the civilized world, any one of us would be able to procure practically any drug we wish within an hour.

    * Throughout history, the prohibition of any mind-altering substance has always exploded usage rates, overcrowded jails, fueled organized crime, created rampant corruption of law-enforcement - even whole governments, while inducing an incalculable amount of suffering and death.

    * The involvement of the CIA in running Heroin from Vietnam, Southeast Asia and Afghanistan and Cocaine from Central America has been well documented by the 1989 Kerry Committee report, academic researchers Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott, and the late journalist Gary Webb.

    * It's not even possible to keep drugs out of prisons, but prohibitionists wish to waste hundreds of billions of our money in an utterly futile attempt to keep them off our streets.

    * The United States jails a larger percentage of it's own citizens than any other country in the world, including those run by the worst totalitarian regimes, yet it has far higher use/addiction rates than most other countries.

    * Prohibition is the "Goose that laid the golden egg" and the lifeblood of terrorists as well as drug cartels. Both the Taliban and the terrorists of al Qaeda derive their main income from the prohibition-inflated value of the opium poppy. An estimated 44 % of the heroin produced in Afghanistan, with an estimated annual destination value of US $ 27 Billion, transits through Pakistan. Prohibition has essentially destroyed Pakistan's legal economy and social fabric. - We may be about to witness the planet's first civil war in a nation with nuclear capabilities. - Kindly Google: 'A GLOBAL OVERVIEW OF NARCOTICS-FUNDED TERRORIST GROUPS' Only those opposed, or willing to ignore these facts, want things the way they are.

    * The future depends on whether or not enough of us are willing to take a long look at the tragic results of prohibition. If we continue to skirt the primary issue while refusing to address the root problem then we can expect no other result than a worsening of the current dire situation. - Good intentions, wishful thinking and pseudoscience are no match for the immutable realities of human nature.

    * The urge to save humanity is almost always a false-face for the urge to rule it. - H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) American editor, essayist and philologist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:51am

    Re: The "war" on "insert name here"

    It's not a purposeful plot, merely a natural byproduct of a society that has stopped being vigilant and failing to hold their government to certain standards of transparency and accountability. While predicting specific events or timelines accurately may be difficult to impossible, predicting general trends is not that hard.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:56am

    Thank you!

    Tim, that was well written and a good read.

    I'm glad to see a little more light shed upon the prison-industrial complex & their lobbying efforts to get everything criminalised.

     

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    Vincent Clement (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:05am

    Re:

    You need a revolution.

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:09am

    Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    Just one correction, sugar is not a drug.

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:12am

    Next generation?

    Any chance the politicians in charge in 20 years will have different attitudes towards the war on drugs? Or will the lobbying money just corrupt them too?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:16am

    Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    Sugar is poison, and addictive. It actually lowers immune response for hours after ingesting it

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:21am

    Re:

    Right. BTW I have a rock that prevents tiger attacks, would you like to by it cheap? No really, I have had it all my life and never been attacked by a tiger.

     

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    Planespotter (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:26am

    Legislate, Regulate, Taxate...

    We've done it with beer and cigarettes, now time to do it with all the major drugs.

    Just because something is legal doesn't mean everyone is going to do it all the time, the vast majority of people don't turn up at work drunk so there is nothing to say that they will turn up to work high on Cocaine.

    Also by regulating it you can get Big Pharm to make the stuff so it cab be approved and sold in licensed premises.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:31am

    Re:

    But you can! Slip it in between dozens of stacks of hundred dollar bills

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:34am

    Private prisoners are definitely part of the problem, while free market capitalism may be our economic system, there's things the free market simply can't do better then government. One of those areas is housing prisoners.

    If it's a business that couldn't exist without the government as a customer then the government is better off doing it itself, because private business will become as corrupted as the government, and will start to spend some of their 'profits' to lobby government to give them more money.

    Private prisoners out west quite regularly push for longer and harsher prison sentences for EVERYTHING, since longer prison sentences means more money for them. A private prison in western PA even corrupted a judge, paying him to find kids of any crime they're accused of and sentence them to jail time at their private prison. The judge made hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes, sentencing young kids to years in jail for so much as stealing a $1 water bottle.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:36am

    There was a good documentary about this, I wish I can find it. It talks about how big media makes a huge deal out of (violent) crime when the fact of the matter is that you can walk down Compton or even the worst neighborhoods and you have a greater chance of getting hit by a car or maybe winning the lottery (I can't remember exactly) than being a victim of a violent crime.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:37am

    Re: Next generation?

    Maybe, but most likely not. I think it will take one more generation to really bring the change we need.

    Think about this: The people causing all this massive harm is from the same group of people (baby boomers) that did all the drugs and protesting back in the 60s and 70s. They got old and now embrace the mentalities of "GET OFF MY YARD" and "DO WHAT I SAY, NOT WHAT I DO" as a way of life.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:38am

    Re:

    (and it also talks about how the fear of (violent) crimes has risen despite a drop in violent crime rates).

    I suppose you can call it crime inflation, where the real crime rate has decreased but the nominal crime rate (due to expanding definitions of what constitutes crime) has increased.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:43am

    Re:

    Yeah, now that the shock of the SOPA and PIPA have partially worn off. We have a lot more trolls and shills here. I noticed the increase a couple days ago.

    Have you noticed they are mainly insults and ad hominem attacks, with no real substance. I miss the super troll we had here a couple weeks back. At least he-she was amusing to read.

     

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    Trails (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:49am

    Re: Re:

    Y'AI'NG'NGAH
    YOG-SOTHOTH
    H'EE-L'GEB
    F'AI THRODOG
    UAAAH

     

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    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    Sugar is poison, and addictive. It actually lowers immune response for hours after ingesting it

    No, sugar is not toxic. And no, it is not possible to become addicted to sugar. In fact, taken broadly, your body turns much of the food you eat into sugar (glucose). This sugar fuels everything your body does. And if you have credible references to support your assertion that it lowers immune response, you should add that to Wikipedia's page on sugar, because there's no mention of it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:51am

    and speaking of crime inflation

    "It will be of little avail to the people, that the laws are made by men of their own choice, if the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed?"

    -James Madison

    http://centanium.com/2010/07/too-many-laws-too-many-changes.html

     

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    Vincent Clement (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:57am

    Meanwhile, this is the direction that the Conservative government of Stephen Harper in Canada is taking. Mandatory minimums. Expanding what you can be arrested and jailed for. New prisons. Good times for the law and order sector.

    Back in reality, the Provinces are balking at the Federal government's proposal and asking 'who is paying for this'? Several Republican Governors have told Harper not to proceed with mandatory minimums due to the budget hit of new prisons.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 7:58am

    I've been telling the US is a Police State for a while now. Rogue Police State if you ask me, completely out of control.

    I'd say it's late to fight back but better late than never. "Land of the free" is just a romantic expression that is no longer real.

    And drugs are used as means to escape some difficulty or problem. With all the fear the Govt advertises in its wars and terror thing one would expect ppl to get more and more dependent on drugs, legal or not... How is the consumption of the legal depression drugs going in the US?

    It's amusing to see the US criticize China. Truly amusing.

     

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    Bengie, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 8:02am

    Re:

    Alcohol?

     

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    Paul Hobbs (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 8:09am

    A personal appeal

    I really don't understand how the US got itself into such a deep pile of shit.

    For the past 100 years the USA has produced some of the finest minds (and bodies) in history - incredibly talented, creative and productive people in virtually any field you care to name - science, literature, music, technology, industry, sports, etc. Your founding fathers were clearly very smart guys, and while not perfect, your constitution is a marvellous document.

    Yet, despite having such talent, and such a solid blueprint for a system of government, the US is in a seriously bad way right now. And it baffles me how you got to this state. Perhaps it is just complacency. Global Warming alarmists often use the example of a frog and boiling water - if you drop a frog in boiling water it immediately jumps out. If you put a frog in cold water, and heat it up gradually, the frog will stay there until it boils to death. Lock everyone up in prison in one fell swoop, and you would have nationwide riots. Take away one freedom at a time, and people don't notice (or if they do, "it's only one freedom, we've got plenty more where that came from").

    Washington politics is so corrupt and dominated by special interests; corporations wield unbelievable power (and have the same rights and status as a person); so many of the freedoms for which the USA was famous (and admired/envied) are being eroded (or have been taken away completely); the news media (I'm looking at you Rupert Murdoch) has lost any semblance of journalistic integrity; the entertainment industry (which should be nurturing and supporting art and artists of all kinds), has become petty, greedy, corrupt, and seems to have completely lost sight of the importance of the arts in the evolution of culture. It's almost like the US needs to press a big RESET button.

    Something has to change. As a people, as a society, you have to rise up and demand change. A few hundred people occupying Wall Street was a nice idea, and an admirable place to start. But it's going to take a lot more than that. Look at the Arab Spring - look at what the people of those countries have had to do (and have been willing to do) in order to shrug off the yoke of oppression.

    As I understand it, roughly 50% of the population votes in an election (of any kind). That means that HALF of eligible voters are too fucking lazy to get off the couch and go and cast a vote. In my view, that is half the problem right there - does anyone honestly believe that George W. would have "won" the election in 2000 if you had complete voter turn-out? In Australia (where I live), voting is compulsory. You can argue all you like about how mandatory voting takes away a person's "freedom to choose", but at the end of the day, we get over 90% of eligible voters casting a vote. Sure, some cast invalid votes, but the majority don't. I have one friend who refuses to vote, simply because it is compulsory. IMHO, that is plain dumb. By not voting, he is abdicating his responsibility to participate in a democracy, and he surrenders any right to criticise the government of the day.

    Speaking very personally, I am counting on you. All around the world, you hear people talking about "you Americans" as being arrogant, or loud, or ignorant, or ultra-conservative, or ultra-liberal, or whatever. And such generalisations are ALWAYS unjustified and not even close to accurate. But on this issue, it really is about "you Americans". All of you. The rest of the world will follow your lead, in whichever direction you go. Head down the draconian, omnipresent government path, where even talking about a movie is a crime, and the rest of the world will go that way too. Head down the path of greater freedom, greater personal accountability, less government interference, etc, and the world will head in that direction. In fact, some countries will race you to see who can get there first (whichever way you go). But if you do nothing, and you let the Chris Dodds of the world dictate which path you follow, it won't just be your country that suffers. My country, Australia, will almost certainly follow suit.

     

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    Jon (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 8:44am

    Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    Maybe don't do illegal stuff? Whether or not you think certain laws are just, not breaking them seems to be the easiest way to stay out of jail. Obviously, there are a large majority of citizens who manage to do just that.

     

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  40.  
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    The Devil's Coachman (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:10am

    It's over. There's nothing more you can do. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Or jailed. Or terminated. They have won. The populace has lost. Mopping up is all that remains for them.

     

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  41.  
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    Atkray (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:12am

    Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    "Just one correction, sugar is not a drug."

    Not yet. There is now an effort underway to make sugar a drug.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/artcarden/2012/02/02/should-we-regulate-sugar-like-alcohol-or-t obacco/

    Original article is in Nature and behind a paywall.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    No is biofuel.

     

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  43.  
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    hothmonster, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    http://www.lurj.org/article.php/vol1n1/sugar.xml

    Not sure I agree with everything in there. But your defense, that your body produces it naturally so its not, addictive, toxic or a drug does not hold water. All drugs have effects that the brain/body can and does naturally produce, they just produce them in mass and often damage the bodies ability to produce them naturally.

    http://olsonnd.com/what-sugar-does-to-your-brain/
    This one talks about how sugar can damage normal brain function. In much the same way as heroin does with dopamine and opiates, oversupplying the brain causes it to stop producing needed chemicals.

    This is coming from someone who drinks 2-3 cans of soda a day. I'm not against sugar but you should be aware that its not all roses and the proliferation of HFCS or massive amounts sugar into everything is not a good thing. Everything in moderation.

    I have never heard that it lowers immune response.

     

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  44.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re:

    "the war on drugs has not been ineffectual."

    That the war on drugs has had no effect on the rates of drug addiction is a provable fact. The war on drugs has had one effect, though -- it's dramatically increased the harm associated with drugs, both to users and non-users alike.

    Even more than that, did you know that the percentage of the population that is addicted to drugs is roughly constant regardless of the nation, time period, or severity of laws prohibiting drugs? What changes are which drugs are preferred and how much harm is done by them. The more draconian the prohibition, the more harm they cause.

     

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  45.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Re: Re:

    Wouldn't work. It would just get shredded when is jammed up their bill-counting machines.

     

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  46.  
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    DogBreath, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    Maybe don't do illegal stuff? Whether or not you think certain laws are just, not breaking them seems to be the easiest way to stay out of jail. Obviously, there are a large majority of citizens who manage to do just that.

    No, no one does that.

    You Commit Three Felonies a Day.


    From the book description at Amazon.com

    The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day. Why? The answer lies in the very nature of modern federal criminal laws, which have exploded in number but also become impossibly broad and vague. In Three Felonies a Day, Harvey A. Silverglate reveals how federal criminal laws have become dangerously disconnected from the English common law tradition and how prosecutors can pin arguable federal crimes on any one of us, for even the most seemingly innocuous behavior. The volume of federal crimes in recent decades has increased well beyond the statute books and into the morass of the Code of Federal Regulations, handing federal prosecutors an additional trove of vague and exceedingly complex and technical prohibitions to stick on their hapless targets. The dangers spelled out in Three Felonies a Day do not apply solely to “white collar criminals,” state and local politicians, and professionals. No social class or profession is safe from this troubling form of social control by the executive branch, and nothing less than the integrity of our constitutional democracy hangs in the balance.

     

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  47.  
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    abc gum, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:20am

    Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    "Maybe don't do illegal stuff? Whether or not you think certain laws are just, not breaking them seems to be the easiest way to stay out of jail. Obviously, there are a large majority of citizens who manage to do just that."


    Your statement might be applicable to those who actually commit crimes ... you seem to assume that all arrests made by the various law enforcement agencies are without error, they would certainly never:
    1) plant evidence to cover up their incompetence, inflict revenge, silence someone, etc, etc
    2) arrest anyone based upon incorrect interpretation of law
    3) you get the idea ... insert your favorite here

    Now, lets say you are arrested on trumped up charges which you know would be thrown out of court if you had a good lawyer .... too bad most people can not afford one. The state supplied attorney who is over worked and probably under experienced will recommend a plea "deal" which will reduce your sentence. Arguing that you are innocent will do you no good because you are told that you will lose and will face the maximum sentence - better take the plea deal, which includes your "confession". This ties everything off because then these prisoners are guilty by their own admission and we can sleep at night.

    So, yeah - believe what you want ... reality is something others worry about.

     

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  48.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:20am

    Re: A personal appeal

    "I really don't understand how the US got itself into such a deep pile of shit."

    I do. We got lazy and complacent and started to actually believe what the TV told us.

     

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  49.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:22am

    Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    How is that a solution to unjust laws?

     

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  50.  
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    Jon (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    "Now, lets say you are arrested on trumped up charges which you know would be thrown out of court if you had a good lawyer .... too bad most people can not afford one. "

    Maybe so, but corrupt police don't just pick random citizens to trump up charges. Most people who are arrested did something to be in that predicament in the first place.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:36am

    "More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. "

    Tim, you will always be wrong when you fail to read and understand the causes of the problem. Mass incarceration isn't a result of stricter laws or some misguided attempt to lock up everyone for fun, it's a failure of the system, of families, and of communities to address basic issues of education, and of life choices.

    Failure to educate, failure of the families to encourage education, failure of police and authorities to do enough to clean up bad areas... all of it contributes and causes the problem. The number of people in jail is a result not of the way the system works, but the attitudes people take in their lives and they way they are brought up.

    Drugs are bad for many reasons, and a war on drugs is still an important thing for the US to do. Drugs are not just harmful directly to the user, but to all around them, to the community at large. Drugs are, by and large, a indication of a lack of concern for societal norms, a lack of concern for others, and a lack of concern for yourself. Tolerance of drugs by a community is like giving everyone in the community cancer. It's just about a death sentence.

    The lack of pride, the lack of concern for being a good citizen, for respecting the rights and living standards of others is a real problem. Drug addicts don't just use drugs, they steal, lie, and cheat to get enough money to afford the drugs, and as a result they hurt everyone else in the community.

    Do you have a double lock on your front door, an alarm system, maybe bars on your lower windows? All of that is there because enough people are willing to come in and steal your stuff. Having the police patrol and follow up on these crimes, arresting people and perhaps having them end up in jail isn't your fault - it's the fault of a part of society that thinks it is acceptable to go to jail.

    Go back and look at the root causes, go back and look at why we are here - that gets you way more than bitching about the "war on drugs" or the "war on piracy". We aren't at war because we needed something to do on a Saturday. It's a result of all that has come before it.

     

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  52.  
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    DogBreath, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:37am

    Re:

    It's over. There's nothing more you can do. Resistance is futile. You will be assimilated. Or jailed. Or terminated. They have won. The populace has lost. Mopping up is all that remains for them.



    Maybe Private William Hudson was right all along.

    Game Over Man, GAME OVER!

    (Take note of how the corporate shill character in the background of this video is trying to distract the people from taking action to save themselves, and even possibly trying to get them to sing a couple of songs and violate copyright by public performance without having paid the requisite fee.)

     

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  53.  
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    Keroberos (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Re:

    Just because something is legal doesn't mean everyone is going to do it all the time, the vast majority of people don't turn up at work drunk so there is nothing to say that they will turn up to work high on Cocaine.
    The ones that would go to work high if drugs were legal are the ones going to work high now, so there wouldn't be any difference.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    oh well then, carry on

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:47am

    Re: Re: A personal appeal

    its not all our fault, smart people have been studying how to control your mind for decades. Society was doomed as soon as marketing became a major.

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:51am

    "George Bush says 'we are losing the war on drugs'. Well you know what that implies? There's a war going on, and people on drugs are winning it! Well what does that tell you about drugs? Some smart, creative motherfuckers on that side."

    “Go back to bed, America, your government has figured out how it all transpired. Go back to bed America, your government is in control. Here's American Gladiators. Watch this, shut up, go back to bed America, here is American Gladiators, here is 56 channels of it! Watch these pituitary retards bang their fucking skulls together and congratulate you on the living in the land of freedom. Here you go America - you are free to do what well tell you! You are free to do what we tell you!”

    Bill Hicks, 1961 - 1994

     

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  57.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:51am

    Re: Next generation?

    There are lots of politicians who do are involved in the kinds of things they claim they want to put a stop to, even going so far as proposing legislation, voting for legislation, prosecuting, etc. Think Mark Foley, Larry Craig, Robert A Watson, Eliot Spitzer, et al. Any future politician that does drugs now will either have gotten over the habit by then, or will continue either in silence or while being a vocal opponent against that behavior. Hypocrisy in politicians is unfortunately, rather prevalent.

     

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  58.  
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    Charlie Dickens, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:54am

    One Nation, Under Guard

    This is what it’s come to; the death of freedom with the click of the handcuffs, and the DA’s offer of a deal, and the swing of the gavel. This is what we fought wars for, this is what our friends and loved ones died for, and this is why we look to our leadership for counsel and guidance. Direction that leads us closer to the realization the Orwell was right, we just never noticed it.

    I am ashamed of this country and what we have become. We are the laughing stock of the world and we think they are laughing with us, not at us.

    Beam me up Scotty, there is no intelligent life here.

     

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  59.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re:

    I think he was being as sarcastic as you. Still, glad you caught the bait cause your post made me laugh to tears ;D

    I think I'll start sacrificing 10 twinkies every Sunday to Yog-Sothoth so he can grand INTELLIGENCE and HONESTY to our politicians ;)

    I think 10 is a big enough offer for such an epic-scaled request, isn't it?

     

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  60.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:12am

    Re: Re:

    This AC actually made me *facepalm*, I think he deserves a point for that. Other than this he forgot all the insulting and baseless accusations. But he did miss the point entirely (which adds another point) and introduced the new trolling words of the month: emasculated babysitter and that alone is worth 2 points up so he actually gets 5/10 which is an average score. Not bad for such a small trolling comment =D

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:13am

    Re:

    Thank you. Thank you for providing a crystal-clear example of the kind of thinking which has led your country into the sorry state it is in today. I hope someday you can find a way to forgive yourself for being so ignorant. Good luck. You're going to need it.

     

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  62.  
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    rubberpants, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    Most people who are arrested did something to be in that predicament in the first place.

    Only "most?" Do you see that as a problem?

     

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  63.  
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    akp, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:18am

    Someday soon..

    I'm waiting for the day we can start applying for political refugee status in less insane countries.

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:32am

    Re:

    Nice to see a new crop of trolls! I was getting tired of the Big Media shills. These trolls are refreshing. I wonder if they are minty too!

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

     

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  66.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I use the East Germany Judging system and they start at negative numbers.

    Check my scoring pattern, I think the highest I gave recently was a 3 because the troll figured out I behave childishly. "he" also seemed very butthurt that I scored the trolling.

    There might have been a 5, or it was just the MSG from the rice a roni parting gift they never collected....

     

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  67.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:43am

    Re:

    Most kids wouldn't end up addicted to drugs anyway. There's no such thing as an instantly addictive drug which is an old wives tale at best.

    Not to mention that the two most dangerous drugs and the most people are addicted to are perfectly legal. Nicotine and alcohol. Together they cause society more damage and cost than all the illegal drugs combined.

    Prohibition doesn't work. If that wasn't learned in the 1920s it needs to be now. It leads to more or a role for organized crime, gang wars and fills prisons with users, for the most part, and not smugglers and high level distributors. Nor is it a deterrent, which is often the excuse for continuing prohibition.

    As for the tendency of western countries to expand "criminal" behaviour and the United States in particular for jailing people who fall under those definitions it strikes me largely as political correctness gone wild. Since when was it illegal or harassment for 4 year olds to hug? What codswhallop!

    As for turning prisons over to the private sector it's always struck me as somewhere between dumb and stupid. Worse, it ends up costing more than the state running them as there is a built in advantage to the private operators to lobby for stronger and more stern sentencing even though that's been repeatedly shown not to work.

    Back to the "War on Drugs". It hasn't worked and never will. Though it's caused what are basically civil wars in Colombia and Mexico. Let's not forget gang wars in the larger cities in North America.

    And it hasn't stopped anyone curious enough to try something to try it. As with alcohol in the 1920s the cost has been horrendous in cash, civil liberties and the erosion of rights (constitutional or otherwise). And you want to tell me it's worth it?

    The fact that most kids aren't addicted to drugs isn't germane one way or another. Most kids aren't alcoholics either. Prohibition has nothing all to do with either fact.

     

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  68.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    Like filming a nice officer beating the crap out of a homeless person on a bus?

    Like filming the police going nuts on someone on their front lawn?

    Like filming a high speed chase and subsequent execution of the driver because the cops shot first?

    So your point is we should ignore abuses of authority figures... otherwise they might abuse us. Makes perfect sense. *eyeroll*

     

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  69.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:54am

    Re:

    ProTip: Take the seized drugs, make sure they are untampered and provide them to the addicts. Collapse the market price, don't make them have to worry about stealing another DVD player to get their next fix.

    Regulate, tax, and move on.

    While this might seem like a crazed idea, what your doing has worked so well...maybe its time to give crazy a chance.

    Give them jobs doing old school public works stuff, like during the depression. Stop pretending they are people who just need a chance, or to be fixed. You want drugs... awesome. Here is the quarter mile of highway you will pick up every week, in return we give you a room, food, and your drugs. Lets stop pretending we can fix everything by turning it over to a higher power. Stop shouting at them to just dig a little deeper and find that ray of light that will make them want to take the help. Let them find the path on their own, and in the meantime find ways they can be productive.

    Radical ideas I know, but we could prolly do it for half of what we pay for the "war" on drugs now.

     

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  70.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 10:56am

    Re: Someday soon..

    good luck with that, IP and our own special brand of insanity seems to be our biggest exports.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 11:11am

    Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    Until that legal stuff you do becomes illegal or indicates illegal behavior:

    http://info.publicintelligence.net/FBI-SuspiciousActivity/Internet_Cafe.pdf

     

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  72.  
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    Josh, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

     

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  73.  
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    Greevar (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 11:54am

    Money is at the core of this problem.

    Why is this all happening? If you keep asking why after every response, you eventually encounter the same final answer: money. Money is power and power corrupts everyone eventually. I would certainly become corrupt were I placed in the same position, despite my conscious efforts to not be corrupt. People create these horrible oppressive laws because they can leverage them to make more money. It's always about the money. That's why we need to get rid of money and shift to a different type of economy. Without money driving people to corruption, we will have fewer problems.

    This is really a technology issue. Technology can solve the issues of resource scarcity by turning them into abundant renewable resources through environmentally responsible product design, if we put in the collective effort to find these solutions. We are such a wasteful society and we do this because it's so very profitable for manufacturers if you keep throwing away (wasting valuable raw materials) the items you buy and then buy more. Most of our waste goes into a landfill and is never utilized ever again. Many of our products are made in such a way that they can't easily be reclaimed for their raw materials to make new useful items. This is unsustainable. So once you have in place an automated system (thus negating the need for human labor) that takes care of making useful items in a way that the raw materials can be reclaimed when the item is no longer useful, then people will have no need for money because they will have an abundance of goods in quantities that satisfy the needs of the entire civilization.

    We can't go on burning dead organic matter for fuel or use dangerous radioactive materials to produce energy. We need to tap the massive amount of constantly renewing thermal energy our planet is generating for us all the time. There is an unimaginably enormous amount of heat in our planet's core that we should be exploiting and we would currently only use about 0.025% of its capacity. It never depletes because the tidal forces of the sun keep shearing the core of the planet producing more thermal energy.

    To get back to the issue with money, with abundant energy from thermal power and automated technology producing goods from abundant sources (which were made possible through responsible design) in a way that makes them infinitely renewable, we would have no need to use money. Without the money driving people to corruption, many of our social problems would become insignificant. Laws can't avert the inevitable issues we are dealing with.

    Laws are not solutions. They are a response to a problem which no one has found an effective solution. Take traffic law for example. Why do we have traffic laws? So people don't crash into each other and get killed. Do traffic laws prevent people from getting into crashes? No, they only mandate that people behave in a particular manner that reduces the likely-hood that people will crash. The real solution would be to design a transportation system that satisfies everyone's needs and makes it impossible for crashes to occur.

    "Well, what people do if they don't have to work to live? Wouldn't they just sit on their ass and be non-productive?"

    Not really, some may do that, but human beings don't require compulsory needs like money for food and shelter, they just need purpose. With the incentive of money out of the way, human beings will simply invent new incentives to drive them to be productive. Human beings languish without purpose, they desire to be self-directed and useful. If something doesn't present itself to compel them to act, they find something on their own. That's why we have artists, philosophers, engineers, scientists, and educators. We have an internal drive to improve ourselves. We want to become more than we are. That's why we learn and grow. We expand our minds and seek to define what it means to be human. We seek to expand what the human species is capable of and find purpose.

    So much human potential goes to waste because we spend our lives laboring to simply attain the means to maintain our existence. That is, in economic terms, an opportunity cost. The time we spend just making a living is time we can't spend expanding ourselves and participating in advancing our civilization. Money is a yoke on the human race that prevents us from progressing beyond a certain point and I believe that this point is coming up very soon. Eventually, we will not be able to continue as a civilization the way we are going about it.

     

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  74.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 11:55am

    Re:

    btw bonehead, the war on drugs has not been ineffectual.

    Most kids aren't addicted to drugs.


    Q: Why do elephants paint their toenails red?
    A: So they can hide in cherry trees.

    Q: Did you ever see an elephant in a cherry tree?
    A: No? See, it works!!!

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re:

    Confirmed, I just found a pachyderm infestation in my backyard. Thanks for your handy tip!

     

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  76.  
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    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Re: A personal appeal

    That means that HALF of eligible voters are too fucking lazy to get off the couch and go and cast a vote.

    No, some are too lazy but some have watched almost all the elected politicians do pretty much the same stuff regardless of party and concluded there's really no point in voting. You don't get to vote on which corporate interests will corrupt your representative, so what good is it to vote on which rep it is that gets corrupted?

    I wouldn't mind compulsory voting, but I'm really not sure anything but public campaign funding can fix the problem.

     

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  77.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    It's fascinating ...

    ... to watch a society develop collective psychosis and self-destruct on every level.

    Will the outcome be civil war, revolution, or (god forbid) world war?

     

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  78.  
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    Grae (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    "Maybe so, but corrupt police don't just pick random citizens to trump up charges. Most people who are arrested did something to be in that predicament in the first place."


    Victim blaming? Stay classy.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  79.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:10pm

    Re:

    failure of police and authorities to do enough to clean up bad areas.

    Right, if only we jailed MORE people it would get better.

    Drugs are bad for many reasons, and a war on drugs is still an important thing for the US to do.

    Why, because it's having some positive effect? Like what?

    Tolerance of drugs by a community is like giving everyone in the community cancer. It's just about a death sentence.

    Got any evidence for that? What happens in communities that tolerate drug use, like Amsterdam?

    Drug addicts don't just use drugs, they steal, lie, and cheat to get enough money to afford the drugs, and as a result they hurt everyone else in the community.

    Why do they have to do that to get drugs? Because drugs are expensive. Why are they expensive? Supply and demand of course. What force is acting on the supply side of drugs in the US?

     

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  80.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    All true, but to throw a grain of salt in there (see what I did?) even water is toxic in large enough quantities.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  81.  
    icon
    Jon (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    "Victim blaming? Stay classy."

    Im blaming criminals, not victims.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  82.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    Just to kind of sum up responses, I think there are a couple of claims by these reporters that are slight distortions. One is that sugar should be classified as a drug. As far as I can tell, there's really no mention of classifying sugar as a drug by the UC researchers, only a claim that it should be controlled. Second, the claim that the researchers found sugar to be toxic. They found that sugar can initiate reactions that produce liver toxicity, not that sugar is a toxin.

    The Lethbridge researcher does claim that sugar should be classified as a drug and that it's addictive. I haven't really studied that research.

     

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  83.  
    icon
    Jon (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: A personal appeal

    "I wouldn't mind compulsory voting, but I'm really not sure anything but public campaign funding can fix the problem."

    That doesn't really work either unfortunately. It was tried in Portland, Oregon a few years back. Most of the candidates didnt have a chance to win, and they basically just took the money and ran. Taxpayers got hosed.

     

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  84.  
    icon
    ltlw0lf (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re:

    The ones that would go to work high if drugs were legal are the ones going to work high now, so there wouldn't be any difference.

    This and if drugs were treated as a social disease instead of criminal activity, more help would be available to those who needed it. I wonder how many people suffer in silence because if they stepped forward and said they needed help, the police would put them in jail for a class 1 felony instead of turning them over to someone who can actually help them (not that police do that, but the fear has to be there.)

    I'd be happy to see employers push random drug tests on their employees instead and offer help and counselling then turn it into a public housing problem (we don't have enough jail space as it is so we're releasing criminally insane, violent offenders, etc to make room.) And just like alcohol, those who drive under the influence will do so regardless, and the more effort should be made to stop this.

     

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  85.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:26pm

    Re: Re:

    There's no such thing as an instantly addictive drug which is an old wives tale at best.

    I don't have any personal experience, but I have seen on TV more than one person say they were addicted to crack after one use.

     

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  86.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    Quoting That Anonymous Coward above:

    Like filming a nice officer beating the crap out of a homeless person on a bus?

    Like filming the police going nuts on someone on their front lawn?

    Like filming a high speed chase and subsequent execution of the driver because the cops shot first?


    Yes, law enforcement is always right, and they never act vindictively or make mistakes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    Yup, so is oxygen. But that doesn't mean that sugar doesn't have the same effects as anything we call a drug. It alters mood, it alters brain chemistry(both short term and long term with regular use) it has physical withdrawal effects, your tolerance increase with use, and there are intoxication effects.

    While its a rather benign drug that is socially acceptable and mostly harmless its still a drug. Not that this is a huge deal but it is something people should be aware of due to the rampant use of sugar in our culture (mine at least, assuming yours). We certainly shouldn't write off the addictive properties of it or the possible and potential negative effects.

    I had a friend in school whose doctors eventually linked her severe depression to her sugar intake(which was obscene). She went from heavily medicated and depressed anyway to functioning person without any medications by cutting off almost all sugar from her diet. Trust me there was a withdrawal period involved. Certainly an anecdotal and extreme example but sugar does effect all of us.

    Now excuse me, I need to get another cup of extra dark coffee, 2 creams 2 sugars.

     

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  88.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:17pm

    Re: Re: Yes, its sad. But there is a solution...

    That list would make this guy the only non-suspicious, law abiding citizen on the planet.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  89.  
    icon
    Rapnel (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 1:34pm

    Re:

    Yah! So will a big fat fucking line of crank! What's your point?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  90.  
    identicon
    Ed C., Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 2:02pm

    Re:

    Agreed! For the government, prisons are an expense. For private corps, prisons are a profit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re:

    "Not to mention that the two most dangerous drugs and the most people are addicted to are perfectly legal. Nicotine and alcohol." [emphasis mine]

    Crack, pcp, heroin and meth called, they think you are selling them short.

    otherwise, agreed.

     

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  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    From my understanding the physiological addiction can be instant but a physical dependence takes more than a single use. So they crave it after a use but are not technically addicted. Is that distinction worth making a fuss about? Probably not.

    I am also not an expert.

     

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  93.  
    identicon
    Josh, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 4:27pm

    Ron Paul Has

    "The War on Drugs has 30+ years of increasing power and no politician has actively moved towards anything more than some slight decriminalization for medicinal marijuana (which often gets re-criminalized) or has even broached the subject of ending this so-called war. " . Ron Paul has been for decriminalizing drugs and dismantling the drug war apparatus for a long time now. If you want real change and hope vote for Ron Paul in 2012, otherwise quit complaining when you put the same crooks into office each election season.

     

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  94.  
    icon
    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 4:48pm

    Re:

    Maybe Tim Cushing can tell us from experience what role drugs played in him going from a potentially productive member of society to an emasculated babysitter...

    I've lived a pretty clean existence. In fact, the worst thing I've ever done is your mom.

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Yoshord, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    Anything other than water and table salt has sugar in it. Well I don't think, plastic and glass have sugar either, but those aren't really edible. Fruits may not be as highly concentrated as sodas, but there is still a significant amount of sugar in them. So, how does one remove almost all sugar from one's diet?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  96.  
    icon
    Greevar (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Ron Paul Has

    That's a laugh! One guy, who most people consider to be nuts, is going to lead America away from the war on drugs? Outside of his supporters, the guy isn't taken very seriously. It's absolutely amazing that you could honestly think that all we have to do to fix our problems is vote for the "right" guy into the white house to do our bidding. The president does not have that kind of power. He can't repeal laws (that's the supreme court's job) and he can't pass legislation to change laws (that's congress). The president only has the power to sign or veto any bills that congress passes to him. That's it. That's the only power he has over lawmaking. He has about as much power to change things to your liking, as president, as you do alone, which is basically none.

    No, voting for Ron Paul for president is about as effective as voting Chuck Norris president if you expect change.

    The only thing that will make any change around here is if everybody floods their representatives and senators with messages telling them that you will not vote for them if they continue to take bribes from special interests. When politicians realize that they've lost all support from their voters for taking bribes from corporations, they'll start changing their tune or be booted out next election.

     

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  97.  
    icon
    btr1701 (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 8:25pm

    Wrongful Jailing

    > The solution seems to be to cast the net wider and worry about
    > sorting out the innocents after a few hours (or days) in lockup.

    You're lucky if that's all you get. Try weeks or months.

    http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-wrong-id-20111225%2C0%2C7157038.story

     

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  98.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It's been very effective if your a criminal or a terrorist

    Anything other than water and table salt has sugar in it.

    I think protein foods like meat and nuts have very little sugar. Not zero, but if you ate nothing but meat, nuts, and eggs, and the like I think you would get almost no sugar intake. That would probably have other detrimental effects though.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  99.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Ron Paul Has

    He can't repeal laws (that's the supreme court's job) and he can't pass legislation to change laws (that's congress).

    Nitpicking, but Congress repeals laws, the courts overturn them.

    The president only has the power to sign or veto any bills that congress passes to him. That's it. That's the only power he has over lawmaking. He has about as much power to change things to your liking, as president, as you do alone, which is basically none.

    If he's really determined, which I think Paul would be, he could tell Congress he is vetoing absolutely everything until X Y and Z get done. Or he'll veto A, B and C until he gets X, Y and Z. And then do it. I don't think Paul would mind vetoing bills that most politicians would consider must-sign, like military operational funding, and entitlements.

    I'm not saying electing Paul would solve all our problems, but I do think things would change in one way or another, and he definitely would have a lot more power than you or I even over legislative matters.

    He also of course would have a great deal of power to reshape the executive branch. I'm not sure exactly to what extent since departments are authorized and funded by Congress. For example, the Environmental Protection Act created the Environmental Protection Agency. So I would assume the President can't unilaterally dissolve it. If anyone knows more about that subject chime in.

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 8:48pm

    If more people could "police" themselves and be law abiding citizens then there would not be a need for any of the things spoken of in this article. Get a grip people this country has lost its moral values and has sunk to an all time low. Other countries don't have these problems because they can control themselves. Just because you are poor or a minority does not mean you have to be a druggie or break the law. Same goes for everyone else.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  101.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 9:06pm

    Re:

    Just because you are poor or a minority does not mean you have to be a druggie or break the law.

    That sounds like something Mitt or Newt would immediately regret saying.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  102.  
    identicon
    Dick Timberlake, Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 11:00pm

    Under guard, indeed! Want 2-party, anyone?

    We continually hear about the two-party system. There's nothing in the Constitution about parties, or who may control how many there are, or if some have better ballot access than others. These two big parties of big government, the Republicans and Democrats, have been the duopoly of disaster. The two-party system has robbed us of our rights, destroyed the economy, and intervened at home and abroad until we are hardly free at all. We must say GOODBYE to these people: Get Off Our Damned Backs, You Elitists!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  103.  
    icon
    techflaws.org (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 3:26am

    Re:

    Define most.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  104.  
    icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 12:03pm

    "Justice" in the US

    Great article, but I disagree with the "worst part" - the worst part is we are developing huge groups with a very legitimate anger against the injustice of the American system, and they will be life-long antagonists (many will be criminals, and largely due to the inequities they experience).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  105.  
    icon
    JMT (profile), Feb 4th, 2012 @ 12:22pm

    Re:

    "Drugs are bad for many reasons, and a war on drugs is still an important thing for the US to do."

    How much worse will things need to get before you decide that even though you think the War On Drugs is still an important thing to do, it has in fact been a spectacular failure, and so a completely different approach is required to minimise the overall harm to society?

    If you're can't see that the these policies cause as more or more harm than it's claimed they prevent, you're not looking very hard.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  106.  
    identicon
    HH, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 1:00pm

    where is this (world) country going?

    it is sad to see that such a beautiful country is going in this direction. The worst part is that many countries seem to be following blindly!!! Why is it that so many people can see the horrible truths behind these stories and yet we are (still) unable to turn it around! hang on people, the real truth is on our side.

     

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  107.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Did you mean 'psychological addiction'? Because physiological and physical would be the same thing.

     

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  108.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 7:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Auto-correct can be cruel sometimes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  109.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 4th, 2012 @ 7:44pm

    Re:

    Wow. Think about what you just typed, there. I'm poor, and I'm neither a druggie or break the law. Insinuating that either of those points makes you one, the other or both is disgusting. We don't need all these laws, or people like you telling us we're doing it wrong. Stay out of my life, and you won't have to worry about me waving about my '2nd Amendment rights.'

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  110.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2012 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I can see it now...

    "Boy those are some impressive cherry trees! Wait a tic... I don't recall planting cherry trees, and are those tusks?! Aha, I appear to have an infestation of toenail painting, yet badly confused, elephants!"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  111.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 5th, 2012 @ 11:13am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:02am

    The same can be said for Portugal where they have decriminalized all drugs. Truth is, most kids don't want drugs.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  112.  
    icon
    Mac (profile), Feb 5th, 2012 @ 8:32pm

    Re: "More than half of all black men ...

    "More than half of all black men without a high-school diploma go to prison at some time in their lives. "

    AC, you got the numbers right, but I see this as another way to disenfranchise black voters, lots of black voters. Doesn't a felon lose the right to vote in most states?

    If I remember correctly, the original laws against weed were drafted to target blacks, and maybe Mexicans.

    Wasn't hemp also outlawed because newspaper magnate Hearst had thousands of acres of trees to make into paper pulp, but it was an inferior product compared to the paper made by hemp? So he pushed legislation through the power of the press, (his newspapers that is,) to outlaw the growing of hemp.

     

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  113.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 9:05am

    Re: Re: Re: A personal appeal

    That's true, of course. Americans are the most heavily propagandized people in the history of propaganda. In that view, it's kindof remarkable that there is as much agitation for improvement as there is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  114.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Ron Paul Has

    "I'm not saying electing Paul would solve all our problems, but I do think things would change in one way or another"

    But not all change is for the better.

    I agree with much of Paul's foreign policy stands. I am diametrically opposed to nearly all of his domestic policy stands. I would prefer almost any random Republican over Ron Paul overall.

     

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  115.  
    identicon
    The Real Fake AC, Feb 6th, 2012 @ 7:49pm

    Re: Ron Paul Has

    Ron Paul is a states-rights activist. The only reason he wants to stop the (Federal) War on Drugs is to allow the states to implement their own mish-mash of laws, and effectively remove what little protections you still have by way of the Constitution.

    He may some good ideas, but only in the same manner as a stopped clock being an accurate time source.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  116.  
    icon
    nasch (profile), Feb 6th, 2012 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re: Ron Paul Has

    Ron Paul is a states-rights activist. The only reason he wants to stop the (Federal) War on Drugs is to allow the states to implement their own mish-mash of laws, and effectively remove what little protections you still have by way of the Constitution.

    You know the states have to obey the Constitution too. How does ending the war on drugs remove our Constitutional protections?

     

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  117.  
    identicon
    coonassbeaux, Feb 7th, 2012 @ 3:39am

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 3rd, 2012 @ 6:02am

    Obviously you not from the southside of what ever town ya live in mr/mrs coward. The war on drugs hasnt stopped me OR anyone that i know from smoking marijuana. It also has not even put a DENT in the crack being sold or smoked in the usa. To say that the big money spent on the war on drugs was effectual, is just assenine. Being a former chemical user i am uniquely qualified to tell ya. IF YA WANT DOPE YOU CAN GET SOME! Even in countries where possesion means DEATH its DOABLE! Whats next? Death for junkies in the usa? Why bother they killin themselves. Why waste money on it? Let them do what they want to, they gona anyway!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  118.  
    identicon
    coonassbeaux, Feb 7th, 2012 @ 3:45am

    Re: Re:

    Sorry I didnt notice there were two of yall, haha. If i wuz uou id swap names so as not to be confused with someone thays....so obviously....confused..lol. ;-)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  119.  
    identicon
    coonassbeaux, Feb 7th, 2012 @ 3:52am

    Re: Re:

    Yep it sure does. I took it as replacement therapy. Its ONE OF THE REASONS I HAVE NOT, REPEAT, NOT SHOT DOPE IN OVER FIVE YEARS! So if, in the future ya wish to disparage on something ya MITE (yep them things on a chickens ass in morton mississippi) want to talk to someone who its helped as well as some faulures! Harumph! Opinions are lile buttholes, everybody got one and all of them STINK!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  120.  
    identicon
    Tracey Davis, Feb 8th, 2012 @ 12:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Acathla, mundatus sum.
    Mabra, brahoring, mabra...
    Shuffle, duffle, muzzle, muff.
    Fista, wista, mista-cuff.
    Lemarchand, Lament, Lemarchand,
    Khornath! Slaaneth! Nurgolth! TZINTCHI!
    Darkness beyond darkness, deeper than pitchest black.
    Buried beneath the flow of time...
    From darkness to darkness, your voice echoes in the emptiness,
    Unknown to death, nor known to life.
    You who know the gate, who are the gate, the key and guardian of the gate:
    I bid you open the way for him, and manifest his power before me!
    Har---

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  121.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Feb 20th, 2012 @ 8:48am

    I also found this article interesting

    "the FBI released statistics Monday that showed the opposite in 2010: Violent crime across the U.S. dropped 6 percent, marking the fourth straight annual decline. Property crime was down for the eighth straight year, falling 2.7 percent.

    Within violent crime, robbery fell 10 percent, rape 5 percent, and murder, non-negligent manslaughter and aggravated assault more than 4 percent.

    Each type of property crime also decreased. The largest, a 7.4 percent drop, was for motor vehicle thefts. Burglaries fell 2 percent and larceny-thefts 2.4 percent."

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44578241/ns/us_news-crime_and_courts/t/crime-decline-why-lo w-inflation-among-theories/#.T0J4b3mI5EM

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  122.  
    identicon
    Raven Morris, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 1:48am

    Re: Isn't it ironic

    It's doubly insulting considering they have "USA" in the title, but it means something other than "United States of America":

    "USA PATRIOT Act" -> "Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act"

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  123.  
    identicon
    Raven Morris, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 2:05am

    Re: A personal appeal

    "I really don't understand how the US got itself into such a deep pile of shit."

    It's rather simple: the monetary system was designed as a societal control mechanism, i.e. a method of enslaving the masses by siphoning all the value in money into an ever-smaller group of people.

    Whoever is allowed to charge interest for fabricating virtual money (loans) will eventually have all of the wealth in the monetary system. This fabrication of artificial money for loans is why there is inflation.

    This is where we are today, with the financial institutions having stolen most of the value of most of the currencies around the world.

    In the USA the middle class has fallen out, becoming the lower class, while the lower class has been thrown into prison or enslaved by debt.

    The monetary system is working as it was intended. It isn't coincidental that the basics of monetary system function are generally not taught in schools, and not understood by the masses.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  124.  
    identicon
    Raven Morris, Mar 3rd, 2012 @ 2:20am

    Re: Re:

    "There's no such thing as an instantly addictive drug which is an old wives tale at best."

    There are many drugs that can have long-term, brain-altering effects and possible physical cravings -- all from a single use. This includes drugs like crystal meth (instant cravings), LSD and mushrooms (brain-altering).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  125.  
    icon
    weneedhelp (profile), Mar 29th, 2012 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Isn't it ironic

    "Politicians have discovered the ultimate political weapon."

    The art of leadership... consists in consolidating the attention of the people against a single adversary and taking care that nothing will split up that attention.

    Nah, they just took lessons.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  126.  
    identicon
    joe from tampa, Apr 25th, 2012 @ 10:19am

    5 words government: from my cold dead hands

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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