Nov 162012
 

By Noe Torres (Reuters) A leftist Mexican lawmaker on Thursday presented a bill to legalize the production, sale and use of marijuana, adding to a growing chorus of Latin American politicians who are rejecting the prohibitionist policies of the United States.

The bill is unlikely to win much support in Congress since a strong majority of Mexicans are firmly against legalizing drugs, but may spur a broader debate in Mexico after two U.S. states voted to allow recreational use of marijuana last week. U.S. officials have said it remains illegal and that they are reviewing the state actions.

“The prohibitionist paradigm is a complete failure,” said Fernando Belaunzaran, the author of the bill from the Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), who presented the proposal in Mexico’s lower house of Congress.

via Mexico lawmaker introduces bill to legalize marijuana | Reuters.

 November 16, 2012  Posted by at 8:18 am Comments Off
Nov 102012
 

By Juan Cole (Informed Comment) Progressives will have to push Obama to the left if we are to get what we want. As for positive accomplishments, here are a few we should pressure him and Congress on:

5. He needs to have the Department of Justice look into the Koch Brother-backed legislation in two dozen states restricting the franchise by requiring a paid-for state i.d., which is a kind of poll tax. In many states, this legislation violates the 1965 Voting Rights act. We can’t let a couple of sour billionaires undo the achievements of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., achievements for which he gave his life.

6. That use of the Department of Justice would perhaps make its workers and its head, Eric Holder, too busy to go around kicking down the doors of medical marijuana clinics and confiscating their computers, records and cash, in states where the state has legalized marijuana. Obama was elected the first time by the youth, and had promised to cease Federal harassment of pot clinics, but reneged and proved much worse than Bush on this issue.

Holder should stop denying the clear medical uses and benefits of pot. In Colorado and Washington states, the same people who voted for him have legalized recreational marijuana. Moreover, the RAND Corp. concludes that legalization would defund the Mexican cartels. If the the Democratic Party continues on this Draconian path, it should not be surprised when it begins losing elections because a substantial younger constituency deserts it for the Green Party.

via Informed Comment: Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion.

 November 10, 2012  Posted by at 6:34 am Comments Off
Oct 252012
 

By Maggie Caldwel (Mother Jones) It’s been dubbed the California Green Rush, but the explosive proliferation of pot farms to meet the sky-rocketing demand for medical marijuana is having some repercussions that are far from green. Local government officials and researchers in Humboldt and Mendocino counties say farmers are engaging in reckless forest clearing, illegal diversion of streams, and use of pesticides and fertilizers that are polluting the waterways and killing wildlife.

via Are California’s Pot Farms Bad for the Planet? | Mother Jones.

 October 25, 2012  Posted by at 8:18 am Comments Off
Apr 202012
 

By Steve Fraser and Joshua B. Freeman (AlterNet) Prisoners, whose ranks increasingly consist of those for whom the legitimate economy has found no use, now make up a virtual brigade within the reserve army of the unemployed whose ranks have ballooned along with the U.S. incarceration rate.  The Corrections Corporation of America and G4S formerly Wackenhut, two prison privatizers, sell inmate labor at subminimum wages to Fortune 500 corporations like Chevron, Bank of America, AT&T, and IBM.

These companies can, in most states, lease factories in prisons or prisoners to work on the outside.  All told, nearly a million prisoners are now making office furniture, working in call centers, fabricating body armor, taking hotel reservations, working in slaughterhouses, or manufacturing textiles, shoes, and clothing, while getting paid somewhere between 93 cents and $4.73 per day.

via Getting Paid 93 Cents a Day in America? Corporations Bring Back the 19th Century | Civil Liberties | AlterNet.

 April 20, 2012  Posted by at 1:13 pm Comments Off
Apr 092012
 

By Kim Murphy (Los Angeles Times) “Prior to the Iraq war, soldiers could not go into combat on psychiatric drugs, period. Not very long ago, going back maybe 10 or 12 years, you couldn’t even go into the armed services if you used any of these drugs, in particular stimulants,” said Peter Breggin, a New York psychiatrist who has written widely about psychiatric drugs and violence.

“But they’ve changed that…. I’m getting a new kind of call right now, and that’s people saying the psychiatrist won’t approve their deployment unless they take psychiatric drugs.”

Military doctors say most drugs’ safety and efficacy is so well-established that it would be a mistake to send battalions into combat without the help of medications that can prevent suicides, help soldiers rest and calm shattered nerves.

via For Army troops, prescription drugs may add to fog of war latimes.com.

 April 9, 2012  Posted by at 7:43 am Comments Off