Monthly Archives: April 2012

Drug War Statistics

Drug Policy Alliance

Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: More than $51,000,000,000

Number of people arrested in 2010 in the U.S. on nonviolent drug charges: 1,638,846

Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2010: 853,838

* Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 750,591 (88 percent)

Number of Americans incarcerated in 2009 in federal, state and local prisons and jails: 2,424,279 or 1 in every 99.1 adults, the highest incarceration rate in the world

Fraction of people incarcerated for a drug offense in state prison that are black or Hispanic, although these groups use and sell drugs at similar rates as whites: 2/3

Number of states that allow the medical use of marijuana: 16 + District of Columbia

Estimated annual revenue that California would raise if it taxed and regulated the sale of marijuana: $1,400,000,000

Number of murders in 2010 in Juarez, Mexico, the epicenter of that country’s drug war: 3,111, the highest murder rate of any city in the world

Number of students who have lost federal financial aid eligibility because of a drug conviction: 200,000+

Number of people in the U.S. that died from an accidental drug overdose in 2007: 27,658

Number of people annually infected with HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis C by sharing contaminated syringes: 32,000

Tax revenue that drug legalization would yield annually, if currently-illegal drugs were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco: $46.7 billion

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In Memoriam

He is born, more often than not, in some out of the way place and suspended in some era of clouded time. He comes shambling up from the rush-choked valleys of central Tennessee in the late twentieth century or off the rainy edges of Salisbury plain in the twelfth. What he knows has mostly to do with how birds lie in the autumn dusk or what it takes to cure a dog’s bruised pad. He is usually a distinct creature of a particular time and place – a very brief time and a very small place – and what the rest of the world does to itself or how it conceives of itself in the ugly little vanities that are often the origins of war are none of our man’s affair. Indeed, the world beyond his time and place usually bewilders him.

While still young he learns a fundamental lesson – that the world will not let him alone. It has a need for him, not his lightness or darkness of spirit, but for his flesh which is the firmament upon which war is based. If he isn’t present, there is no one to kill and no one to die and without each you can’t have a successful war. So, they come looking for him under some pretext which, by its very abstraction, is beyond his comprehension. It used to be that they gave him a glass of beer with a shilling at the bottom and, having taken the king’s shilling, he was the king’s man. Nowadays they use a card with a number on it, which turns him into a possession of the state.

He is taken from his valley or his plain, given schooling in injury, put into the proper suiting and sent off to confront other young men of like bewilderment. He is re-named ‘our brave boy’ and is the subject of much oratory by powerful men.

He is, usually, both terrified and slightly outraged by the confused disruption of his existence. Occasionally he admits to it. Shakespeare had him say, before the battle of Agincourt, “I am afeared there are few die well that die in battle; for how can they charitably dispose of anything when blood is their argument?” In his other, contemporary version, I have come upon him doubled over his own, mangled gut on a muddy road in Vietnam, weeping like the child he barely is not, because it hurt so much and because he was afraid he was going to die. He did.

When dead, ritual sets aside a day for him and some of the more impassioned survivors make songs that wonder where all the flowers have gone. But he has had the last, best word on himself. Lying dying at the battle of Chancelorsville, he was recorded by a witness as saying, “it had nothing to do with me.’ Indeed, it didn’t. It never had and it never will. He never made the wars. He only fought them.

This is Rod Macleish in Washington. Radio report 20 may 1969

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Filed under History, Peace, Security, Terrorism, War

Conservative Nonprofit Acts as a Stealth Business Lobbyist

by Mike McIntyre, New York Times, 4/21/12

Desperate for new revenue, Ohio lawmakers introduced legislation last year that would make it easier to recover money from businesses that defraud the state.

It was quickly flagged at the Washington headquarters of the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a business-backed group that views such “false claims” laws as encouraging frivolous lawsuits. ALEC’s membership includes not only corporations, but nearly 2,000 state legislators across the country — including dozens who would vote on the Ohio bill.

One of them, Bill Seitz, a prominent Republican state senator, wrote to a fellow senior lawmaker to relay ALEC’s concerns about “the recent upsurge” in false-claims legislation nationwide. “While this is understandable, as states are broke, the considered advice from our friends at ALEC was that such legislation is not well taken and should not be approved,” he said in a private memorandum.

The legislation was reworked to ease some of ALEC’s concerns, making it one of many bills the group has influenced by mobilizing its lawmaker members, a vast majority of them Republicans.

Despite its generally low profile, ALEC has drawn scrutiny recently for promoting gun rights policies like the Stand Your Ground law at the center of the Trayvon Martin shooting case in Florida, as well as bills to weaken labor unions and tighten voter identification rules. …

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New Occupy Crackdown Documents Show Federal Involvement

By Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, 21 April 12, at Reader Supported News.

Two days before the NYPD’s eviction of the Occupy Wall Street encampment from Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, Brookfield Properties’ security was in direct communications and sharing information with the US Park Police in Washington DC, and communicating with other cities around the country, according to newly released internal documents from the National Park Service.

The documents were released late Friday to the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund (PCJF) in response to the civil rights legal group’s FOIA demands to the NPS, FBI, CIA, DHS and other federal law enforcement agencies seeking information about the role of Federal agencies in the coordinated nationwide crackdown that led to the eviction of Occupy encampments in cities throughout the United States. The request was made also on behalf of author and filmmaker Michael Moore and the National Lawyers Guild Mass Defense Committee The PCJF is making the documents immediately available for review, and highlighting key initial findings.

“When the PCJF issued this FOIA request we wanted to uncover and expose whether local government and local law enforcement agencies were working in a coordinated way with the federal government to suppress and shut down the Occupy Movement which had inspired the country starting in September, 2011,” stated Mara Verheyden-Hilliard, Executive Director of the Partnership for Civil Justice Fund. “What these documents are beginning to reveal is also the coordination between law enforcement agencies and private corporate entities representing the 1% that wanted to see the Occupy movement removed from public view and shut out of America’s parks.”…

continue reading at Reader Supported News

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