Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Posts Tagged ‘incarceration’

Oregon US Representative Earl Blumenauer Introduces Blueprint to Legalize Marijuana

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 17, 2021

PREDICTION:

Cannabis WILL be legalized within the next 6 – 8 months at the Federal level.

As state after state, and nation after nation is legalizing or decriminalizing cannabis in one form, or another, the United States is facing a decision which was made nearly 100 years ago to make illegal a practically harmless substance, which itself has shown, and continues to show significant promise for the amelioration of serious disease, malady, and human suffering.

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, in their 2017 “Drugs of Abuse” report,

“No deaths from overdose of marijuana have been reported.”

The National Cancer Institute has written that it’s impossible to overdose on cannabis, because our body’s cannabinoid receptors — the chemicals that bind to THC — are not located in areas of the brainstem that control respiration. For that reason, a “lethal dose” of cannabis is like the flying spaghetti monster: It DOES NOT EXIST.

In stark contrast, the CDC has stated in January 2018 that

excessive alcohol use led to approximately 88,000 deaths.

Significantly greater lethality comes from tobacco use, and in April 2018, the CDC stated that

cigarette smoking kills more than 480,000 Americans each year.

In 1972, the Schaffer Commission, officially, the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, issued a report entitled Marihuana: A signal of misunderstanding which was the first report by the United States Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, was largely dismissive of specious claims that there was danger in its use, and recommended ending marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use.

Specifically, it debunked false claims made about cannabis, and found that, contrary to earlier assertions made about during efforts to keep it illegal,

“marihuana was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses by pacifying the user.”

It stated further that,

“neither informed current professional opinion nor empirical research, ranging from the 1930’s to the present, has produced systematic evidence to support the thesis that marihuana use, by itself, either invariably or generally leads to or causes crime, including acts of violence, juvenile delinquency or aggressive behavior.”

Another infamously false claim that marijuana use caused “insanity,” was similarly debunked, and the Commission wrote that

“previous estimates of marihuana’s role in causing crime and insanity were based on quite erroneous information.”

They even warned that
maintaining cannabis’ illegal status
“carries heavy social costs”
and that
“the better method {to discourage its use}
is persuasion
rather than prosecution.”

And in fact, they wrote that “we reject the total prohibition approach and its variations” and instead recommended “a decriminalization of possession of marihuana for personal use on both the state and federal levels.”

A portion of their recommendation was regulation, and wrote in part that “by establishing a legitimate channel of supply and distribution, society can theoretically control the quality and potency of the product.”

Of course, none of the recommendations were followed, and instead, Nixon, the paranoid president who maintained an “enemies list” (and recorded conversations, and narrowly missed criminal indictment, for which reason he resigned the Presidency), initiated his now-infamously-failed “War on Drugs,” and kept marijuana listed on Schedule I.

Nixon’s Domestic Policy Advisor, John Erlichman (1925-1999), was quoted by Dan Baum in Harper’s Magazine April 2016, and said the following of Nixon’s War on Drugs:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968,
and the Nixon White House after that,
had two enemies:
The antiwar left and Black people.
You understand what I’m saying?
We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be
either against the war or Black,
but by getting the public to
associate the hippies with marijuana
and Blacks with heroin,
and then criminalizing both heavily,
we could disrupt those communities.
We could arrest their leaders,
raid their homes,
break up their meetings,
and vilify them night after night on the evening news.
Did we know we were lying about the drugs?
Of course we did.”

Such statements seem to very clearly suggest that laws prohibiting cannabis consumption were left in place for one purpose alone, and that is to use the instrument of law to keep under foot those who might be socially undesirable – most notably, the poor, and ethnic minorities – and that is an egregious abuse of law, and contradicts almost every idea of equality under law in our Constitution.

Our Federal government, along with State and Local governments, regulates and taxes beverage Alcohol and Tobacco (which is 2/3 of the ATF’s name), and does so successfully, and in the process, generates significant revenue for all three levels of governments. Along with that, entrepreneurial enterprises in those two industries hire almost countless numbers of people, and generate significant revenue nationally, and globally through export.

The Libertarian think-tank Cato Institute, in their statement which decries that which they call the “nanny state,” quotes late, former POTUS Ronald Reagan in former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan’s book “The Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World,” as having said, “Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves.” (Penguin Press, Chapter 4, (p. 87), 2007.)

In keeping with the overall sentiment expressed in the Shafer Commission report, Read the rest of this entry »

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50 Years Of Failure – Total Wa$te Of Time And Money

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, June 17, 2021

How long does it take to see a failed social experiment for what it is – a total, abysmal failure, which has taken a wrecking ball to society?

Apparently, at least 50 years.

We learned much more quickly with beverage alcohol.


The War On Drugs: 50 Years Later

After 50 Years Of The War On Drugs, “What Good Is It Doing For Us?”

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/17/1006495476/after-50-years-of-the-war-on-drugs-what-good-is-it-doing-for-us

When Aaron Hinton walked through the housing project in Brownsville on a recent summer afternoon, he voiced love and pride for this tight-knit, but troubled working-class neighborhood in New York City where he grew up.

He pointed to a community garden, the lush plots of vegetables and flowers tended by volunteers, and to the library where he has led after-school programs for kids.

But he also expressed deep rage and sorrow over the scars left by the nation’s 50-year-long War on Drugs. “What good is it doing for us?,” Hinton asked.

As the United States’ harsh approach to drug use and addiction hits the half-century milestone, this question is being asked by a growing number of lawmakers, public health experts and community leaders.

In many parts of the U.S., some of the most severe policies implemented during the drug war are being scaled back or scrapped altogether.

Hinton, a 37-year-old community organizer and activist, said the reckoning is long overdue. He described watching Black men like himself get caught up in drugs year after year and swept into the nation’s burgeoning prison system.

“They’re spending so much money on these prisons to keep kids locked up. They don’t even spend a fraction of that money sending them to college or some kind of school,”  said Hinton, shaking his head.

Republican President Richard Nixon explains aspects of the special message sent to the Congress, June 17, 1971, asking for an extra $155 million for a new program to start his infamous social experiment which he called the “War on Drugs.” He labeled addiction and drug misuse “a national emergency” and said the money would be used to “tighten the noose around the necks of drug peddlers and thereby loosen the noose around the necks of drug users.” In 50 years, his plan has proven to be an abysmal failure. Behind him on the LEFT is Egil Krogh, Deputy Director of the Domestic Council. At right is Dr. Jerome Jaffe, MD who Nixon recruited to lead a new drug strategy. (AP Photo/Harvey Georges)

Hinton has lived his whole life under the drug war. He said Brownsville needed help coping with cocaine, heroin and drug-related crime that took root here in the 1970s and 1980s.

His own family was scarred by addiction.

“I’ve known my mom to be a drug user my whole entire life. She chose to run the streets and left me with my great-grandmother,” Hinton said.

Four years ago, his mom overdosed and died after taking prescription painkillers, part of the opioid epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of Americans.

Hinton said her death sealed his belief that tough drug war policies and aggressive police tactics would never make his family or his community safer.

The nation pivots (slowly) as evidence mounts against the drug war

During months of interviews for this project, NPR found a growing consensus across the political spectrum — including among some in law enforcement — that the drug war simply didn’t work.

“We have been involved in the failed War on Drugs for so very long,” said retired Major Neill Franklin, a retired Major with the Baltimore City Police and the Maryland State Police who led drug task forces for years.

During a press conference this week, he said, Read the rest of this entry »

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A Better Argument For Alabama #ALpolitics To Legalize, Regulate & Tax Marijuana

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Saturday, February 27, 2016

Recently, on February 23, 2016, AL.com published an OpEd entitled “Would legalizing cannabis solve Alabama’s budget problems?” written by Reggie C. Pulliam, whom was identified as “a resident of Gulf Shores who has worked on public policy and criminal justice reform in Washington, D.C.”

I found his Op-Ed unconvincing because it’s poorly written.

The Colorado Department of Revenue reported that for December 2015 (State of Colorado Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees Transfers and Distribution December 2015 Sales Reported in January 2016), Total All Marijuana Taxes, Licenses, and Fees was $13,247,434.

The year-to-date increase was $4,689,293.

Based upon the December figure, on an annualized basis, that’s $158,969,208… which is not exactly chump change.
(See “Alabama Senate Approves Shifting $100 Million Away From Schools” published September 15, 2015.)

Linked here is the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Colorado Marijuana Tax Data.

Figuring into the state cost : benefit analysis & calculations also is a decrease in costs associated with Read the rest of this entry »

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More Stupid Questions: The “More Cow Bell” Curve, and other Standard Equal (and Unequal) Distribution post

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Friday, September 28, 2012

Originally entitled as: More Stupid Questions: The “More Cow Bell” Curve, and other Standard Equal (and Unequal) Distribution post

I have returned to the title which I originally started… though I vascillated between this one, as well:

Yes. More Stupid Questions… and, “I gotta’ have more Cow Bell.”

Okay, the title says it all.

That is, unless you don’t understand statistics, the bell curve and equal distribution.

But, just in the case you don’t, here’s some low-down.

According to estimates by the United States Census Bureau, our nation’s population has recently exceeded 314,469,757. And with 4.47% of the world’s population, we are the 3d most populous nation in the world. China & India, with 1,344,130,000 (19.13%) & 1,241,491,960 (17.19%), are 1st & 2d, respectively. American population is about 25% the population of India. Expressed another way, India has 294.7889% more people than the United States.

I mentioned those figures just to give an idea of how small the U.S. really is by comparison.

Nevertheless, I digress. And so quickly! (My goodness!) Let’s return to statistics, the bell curve and equal distribution.

As you may have read in a previous post entitled “Ask a silly question, get a silly answer. Yes, there’s such thing as a STUPID question.”, the bell curve is used to display information.”

In that post I had explained, writing that, Read the rest of this entry »

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Veteran’s Day 2009

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Monday, November 9, 2009

I’m proud to have served my nation in the uniform armed services, having done so voluntarily. I think every young American should do similarly. And, I believe our nation should provide significant benefit to those whom so choose.

Some years ago, I envisioned what I called a “234 Plan,” which would:

  1. Double pay grade for two years up to pay grade E-3 for initial enlistees;
  2. Require a minimum of Four Years of service;
  3. Pay for four years of higher education, up to and including Ph.D., with the ability to transfer benefits to first-degree relatives;

and perhaps most importantly,

4. Provide such income as federally Tax-Free, forever.

At current pay rates, that would be slightly under $76,000 for a period of two years at pay grade E-3 – not a bad nest egg. And then, there’s the 30 days paid vacation, head-to-toe health care, incentive/bonus pay for skills, BAH (basic allowance for housing), and a host of other remunerations and fiduciary potential – all of which are added to Basic Pay, thereby increasing take-home pay. Potentially, managing money wisely, a young enlistee could emerge from a four year commitment with very nearly $125,000 in pocket, VA health benefits, GI Bill benefits, and more.

The money could be used wisely, or squandered. But the principle would forever be federally tax-free – and I think it should be at the state level, as well. It’s well known that young enlistees have high levels of “disposable” income. But WISE fiscal management could yield significant benefits to them individually, and by extension, to our nation.

Part three of the plan I envisioned – higher education – was implemented when President Obama signed the Post 9/1 G.I. Bill, providing the most comprehensive expansion and provision of educational benefits our troops have received since F.D.R.’s presidency.

I recollect a report entitled “Young Virginians: Ready, Willing, and Unable to Serve,” having read and saved it September 2, this year. It was authored and advised by an impressive cadre of Generals, Admirals, field-grade officers, and senior executive NCOs, from all branches of the service, and “supported by the Pew Charitable Trusts, and Pre-K Now, campaign of the Pew center on the States.”

Interestingly, NPR has only recently reported on it.

The problems the report addresses are from a thorough examination of Virginia, though it’s findings can be extrapolated to the United States at large.

According to the report, the three greatest problems disqualifying American youth from service to our nation include:

1.) Criminality – felony and serious misdemeanor offense;

2.) Education – failure to graduate high school, and low achievement in reading & math, 30% unable to pass the Armed Forces Qualification Test; and

3.) Health – specifically obesity, although asthma, eyesight, hearing, mental health, ADHD and additional health problems factor in, thereby disqualifying over half of all young adults.

Additional disqualifiers include single custodial parenthood, and drug or alcohol abuse.

These are all social ills.

Mission: Readiness – Military Leaders for Kids is a bipartisan, nonprofit, national security organization of more than 80 retired generals and admirals,” whom “accept no funds from federal, state, or local governments,”  and “call on all policymakers to ensure America’s security and prosperity by supporting interventions proven to help America’s youth succeed academically, stay physically fit, and abide by the law. Pre-K Now collaborates with organizations and policy makers to lead a movement toward high-quality, voluntary pre-kindergarten for all 3- and 4-year-olds.”

In recent political history, social programs have been an “easy target” for many of the Republican stripe whom have seriously reduced or eliminated such programs’ funding, effectively or outright killing the very programs that could have done much to have prevented these anathemas.

Ironically, prison construction and maintenance is a capital expenditure. And of all the world’s nations, ours has more incarcerations per capita than any other, having exploded (doubling 2.5 times) since 1980 (though incarcerations remained relatively stable since 1920, according to the U.S. Department of Justice).

How’s that THAT for the so-called “Reagan Revolution?” It sounds more like a “Contract on America” rather than “with America,” to me.

Wonder why no more.

Governance is much more than infrastructure expenditures, and military readiness includes a strong social component.

Our Constitution calls it providing “for the common defense,” by promoting “the general welfare,” to “secure the blessings of liberty.”

Healthcare is an integral and unequivocal part of that equation… as we can now painfully, and plainly see.

I suppose it would be apropos and germane – though perhaps trite – to conclude with a line from advertising: “You can pay me now… or, pay me later.”

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