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 Post subject: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Wed 01-13-2010 8:22PM 
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No, this isn't another Obama thread (not yet, unfortunately).

If you feel like reading.. Click here.


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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Wed 01-13-2010 8:48PM 
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Cylord wrote:
No, this isn't another Obama thread (not yet, unfortunately).

If you feel like reading.. Click here.


can you copypasta it? i don't want to register with THE FUCKING GOVERNMENT

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Wed 01-13-2010 11:05PM 
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O.. Didn't realize u had to register. My bad.

Sorry if the formatting sux.. Large amounts of text editing on this iPod is damn frustrating and tedious.
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The War on Drugs is a War on People
BY ETHAN NADELMANN
CATEGORIES: DRUG TREATMENT, MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION, PRISONER REENTRY, WAR ON DRUGS
PUBLISHED JANUARY 13, 2010 @ 06:42AM PT

1146 Views

Ethan Nadelmann is part of Change.org's Changemakers network, comprised of leading voices for social change. Change.org asked Mr Nadelmann to respond to questions to provide context for his work and the causes he supports

Change.org: What cause or causes would you most like to promote as a Changemaker and why?

Nothing matters to me more than ending the war on drugs and reducing our extraordinary overreliance on the criminal justice system. I want to make marijuana legal, decriminalize all drugs for personal use, and shift our drug policies to a health-based approach.

The U.S. has less than 5 percent of the world's population, but almost 25 percent of the world's prisoners, ranking first in the per capita incarceration of our fellow citizens. We have increased the number of people behind bars from roughly 500,000 people in 1980 to 2.3 million today – and altogether we now have over 7 million people under criminal justice supervision.

The drug war – the dominant role of the criminal justice system in dealing with certain drugs and the people who buy, sell, make, and use them – is driving this explosive increase in incarceration more than anything else. The U.S. arrests almost a million people for marijuana each year and over a half million people are behind bars tonight for a drug law violation.

The movement for drug policy reform stands in the footsteps of other movements for individual freedom and social justice – it currently stands where the gay rights movement stood in the 1970s, or where the civil rights movement stood in the 1950s, or where the women's rights movement stood in the early part of the 20th century.
In each case, it's about advancing freedom and justice. In each case, it's about fighting powerful vested interests in our society.

And in my case, it's specifically about articulating a core principle that underlies much of my work: that no one deserves to be punished – or discriminated against or amongst – simply for what we put in our bodies, absent harm to others.

Now, the fact of the matter is, there has never been a drug-free society in human history, and there never will be one. Our challenge therefore is not how best to build a moat between ourselves and drugs; rather, our challenge is to learn to live with drugs – the reality of drugs – so that they cause the least possible harm and the greatest possible benefit.

It's on this basis that we can build a movement for freedom and justice that ends America's exceptional reliance on incarceration and the criminal justice system – and that embraces a drug control policy grounded in science, compassion, health, and human rights.

Change.org: If you could ask 1 million people to all do 1 thing to advance your cause or causes, what would it be?

Come out of the closet about your drug use. Drug war propaganda demonizes and dehumanizes people who use drugs. Let your fellow citizens – your colleagues, your friends, and your family – know the real face of the American drug user.

We need credible people, especially public figures, to stand up and say, "I contribute to society, I work hard, I love my family, and I am an otherwise law-abiding citizen – but I do not believe that people should be treated as criminals simply because of what they put into their bodies. This law is wrong."

The war on drugs is really a war on people. Roughly half of all Americans have used an illegal drug, and the last three U.S. presidents have all used illegal drugs – in fact President Obama was quite candid about his marijuana and cocaine use. Would Obama, and our country, be better off if he had been arrested?

Think about someone you know who has used an illegal drug. Then ask yourself: would that person be better off in prison? Would that person be more likely to have become a productive member of society if they were stripped of their freedom, their property, their children, and their job?

Once the silent majority of illegal drug users begin to speak out, the stereotypes that drive the drug war will be impossible to sustain. The vast majority of Americans who use drugs illegally are doing no harm to anyone else, and in most cases are doing no harm to themselves. None of us deserve to be treated as criminals or locked up in a cage.

Change.org: If you could ask President Obama and the U.S. Congress to do one thing to advance you cause(s), what would it be?

It would be to commit – in practice, not just in rhetoric – to the principle that federal drug policies should be grounded in science. Our elected officials need new metrics to determine whether progress is being made.

Rather than measuring success based on slight fluctuations in drug use, the primary measure of effectiveness should be the reduction of drug-related harm and drug war-related harm. Despite trillions of dollars spent and millions of Americans incarcerated, the harms associated with illegal drugs – addiction, overdose, and the spread of HIV/AIDS and hepatitis – continue to grow. Meanwhile, the war on drugs has created new problems of its own, such as rampant racial disparities in the criminal justice system, over-incarceration, eroded civil liberties, turf violence, corruption, broken families, increased poverty, and loss of law enforcement credibility.

It's time for a new bottom line for U.S. drug policy – one that focuses on reducing the cumulative death, disease, crime, and suffering associated with both drug misuse and drug prohibition. Federal drug agencies should be judged – and funded – according to their ability to meet these goals.

Change.org: What are the greatest obstacles to change on your issue?

Our greatest obstacles are grounded in prejudice, profit, fear, and ignorance.
The ground has never been more fertile for a change in our nation’s drug policies. Still, I can’t say that we’ve reached a tipping point – at least not yet.

Three forces are at play. First, we’re up against an unholy combination of prosecutors, private prison builders, police and corrections officers unions, and other government-funded agents of the criminal justice system that have never been more powerful. I hope that we don't have to wait until January 2017 for President Barack Obama to have to give a farewell speech warning about the pernicious power of the drug war industrial complex, and the emerging homeland security industrial complex, like the speech that Eisenhower gave in January 1961 with respect to the military-industrial complex. We should not have to wait that long.

We’re also up against the fear of the unknown. It's commonly assumed that prohibition represents the ultimate form of regulation. But, in fact, prohibition represents the total absence of regulation – it is not drug control, but drug chaos. When alcohol Prohibition was repealed in 1933, most people could remember a time when alcohol was legally regulated. Unfortunately, the drug war has continued for so many decades that it is difficult to conceive of alternatives to the presumption that the criminal justice system has to be front and center in dealing with particular drugs in our society.
The final obstacle is the belief that it could never happen.

There are two mistakes we could make right now. The first is to underestimate the power and ability of our opponents, most notably in the drug war industrial complex, to undermine and reverse the progress we’re making now.

But the second mistake could prove even more fatal. That would be to underestimate the potential for rapid and major reform. Most people, a generation ago, would not have predicted the dissolution of the Soviet Union or the emergence of China as the most dynamic capitalist economy on earth. Who, just ten years ago, could have imagined the rapid progress of gay rights, and especially public support for gay marriage? Or that the country would elect as president a black man named Barack Hussein Obama?

Our struggle to end the dominant role of the criminal justice system in drug control is a multi-generational effort – but we should never underestimate the possibility of making sudden and unprecedented leaps forward.

I’m not prepared to predict that we’ll make marijuana legal or end the drug war in the next three years – but it could happen a lot sooner than most people think.


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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Wed 01-13-2010 11:19PM 
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you might enjoy john stossel

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No, this isn't another Obama thread (not yet, unfortunately).


btw: fuck obama

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Thu 01-14-2010 8:49AM 
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This is probably the fifth biggest load of horse shit I've read in the past year. What the hell kind of delusional person really thinks that by legalizing drugs, everything will get better? I have never seen anyone's life improve because of drug use or abuse, and in almost every case, their life was diminished, ridden with paranoia, hostility, and depression. The only exceptions I've witnessed first hand is the use of marijuana, tobacco, or alcohol, but even in most of those cases, the person ended up turning into someone I didn't want to be around, usually when it became an addiction. Drugs have a huge effect on a person's personality, and it is usually for the worse. Even alcohol, in excess, can turn an awesome time into hell, especially when you are rushing your friend to the emergency room because they are about to die of alcohol poisoning.

I am not attacking anyone in this forum, I am stating my opinion and observations. Anything used in excess is going to end badly. Not everything, when used responsibly, is all that bad. However, when a drug's addiction rate is almost near 100% after the first use, or is known to kill its user on the first use, I think it is safe to say that in an effort to keep the stress off of our already thinly-stretched medical community, almost all drugs need to remain illegal.

The last place I want to live in is a country of junkies knocking off neighborhoods just to get their next fix because they are too juiced up to hold a decent job.

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Thu 01-14-2010 4:13PM 
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tl;dr

but to shadowcat, I agree that even "harmless" drugs (alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana) can change a person and usually for the worse. Of those we only choose to make marijuana illegal. Regardless of its attempted control, it still remains to be everywhere. So instead of realizing the impossibility of enforcing its illegality, we spend millions of dollars finding and arresting people, most if not all are also non-violent offenders. They get out of prison and go on to commit violent crimes. Which made them more of a criminal smoking pot or being locked up in prison?

If you dont like drugs but can at least agree that the current state of drug availability is inevitable, then legalization and taxation is the least of two evils by far. You create tax revenue, take money out of gangs, and stop filling jails and prisons with its users. I don't see what people can't rationally think about this.

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Thu 01-14-2010 5:25PM 
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Not to mention that when the hell did the government become in charge of regulating our "personalities." If someone wants to smoke pot all day and you don't like them for it, then get new fucking friends. It's their own goddamn choice to do something like that, so fucking let them.

And what PROOF do you have that legalizing drugs makes things worse?
http://www.docshop.com/2008/07/17/seven ... -problems/
Take a look at that list.
Notice any country missing? How about Amsterdam?

Besides, it's much more EFFECTIVE and CHEAPER to treat drug addicts than locking them up. Even such things as government-sponsored clean needle clinics where junkies can shoot up and NOT spread horrible diseases is better than the policy we have now.

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Thu 01-14-2010 5:29PM 
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Not to mention that marijuana is OBJECTIVELY safer than alcohol. This isn't just my opinion.


Another link to look at:
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 10086.html
A rating system of danger with various drugs.
There are 20 listed. Notice where alcohol is. 5th most dangerous.

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Thu 01-14-2010 6:41PM 
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ben laden wrote:
Not to mention that marijuana is OBJECTIVELY safer than alcohol. This isn't just my opinion.


Another link to look at:
http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style ... 10086.html
A rating system of danger with various drugs.
There are 20 listed. Notice where alcohol is. 5th most dangerous.


I agree totally with your point, but severely question this ranking of illicit drugs. Besides the fact of this being in the UK, and thus somewhat irrelevant (i.e. wtf is Khat?); weed is worse than LSD? cocaine is worse than meth? weed is worse than ecstasy?

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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Thu 01-14-2010 7:44PM 
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ben laden wrote:
Not to mention that marijuana is OBJECTIVELY safer than alcohol. is.

that's always been one of my arguing points. Rank tobacco, alcohol, and marijuana according to how many people die annually by each drug and then look at which one is illegal.


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 Post subject: Re: Speaking of change...
PostPosted: Mon 01-18-2010 11:12AM 
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The primary reason drugs should be legalized is that the "war on drugs" has become a "war on freedom." Without the war on drugs, there would be no such thing as a no-knock warrant, which has killed dozens of police officers and innocent citizens in the past few years alone. Your right to privacy, and anything under the 4th amendment is practically gone.

I don't do drugs, and I won't even if they are legal. Tobacco is legal, and I don't use it now. Pretty much all drugs are easily available, and I don't use them either. That doesn't mean I like the idea that the police might kick down my door and throw a stun grenade into my bedroom and rush in with machine guns while I'm asleep, because my neighbor smokes pot. I don't like the idea that the police can set up random checkpoints and stop and search me just because there might be drugs in the car. I also don't like how easy it would be for a hypothetical dishonest cop to drop a small, concealable, easily-available object into my house after busting down the wrong door (or the right door, if a confidential informant lies about where he got drugs to get a reduced sentence, as is quite common), in order to avoid a lawsuit.

The war on drugs makes it too easy for anybody to ruin your life. One anonymous tip to the cops, they do a no-knock on your house. If you think it's a break in, and you try to defend yourself with a gun (as about 1/3 of the population would), even if you survive your life will be ruined because there WILL be drugs found in the house, even if you've never touched any in your life. Even if you don't fight back, there's a good chance they'll find drugs in your house, because if they don't, they would lose a lawsuit... and statistically there's got to be at least one dishonest cop in any decent sized force.

The only people who benefit from the war on drugs are the drug cartels and the police departments (individual officers are harmed by it, unless they are dishonest, in which case they can do quite well).

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