Monthly Archives: August 2012

The Benefits of the Legalization of Marijuana

Recently I read something in a news article that was both interesting and frightening.

“The U.S. incarceration rate in 1980 was 220 for every 100,000 people, according to the Center for Economic and Policy Research. Today, with more than 2 million people incarcerated, the rate has climbed to 743 per 100,000 people. Reason magazine’s Veronique de Rugy points out nonviolent drug offenders account for ‘roughly one-fourth of all inmates in the United States, up from less than 10 percent in 1980.'” (Source citation: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/spending-on-prisons-higher-ed_n_1835889.html)

According to the BJS study, “Drug Use and Dependence, State and Federal Prisoners, 2004,” 12.7 percent of state inmates and 12.4 percent of federal inmates incarcerated for drug violations are serving time for marijuana offenses.  And this costs taxpayers $1 billion dollars annually. (http://norml.org/news/2006/10/12/nearly-one-in-eight-us-drug-prisoners-are-behind-bars-for-pot-taxpayers-spending-over-1-billion-annually-to-incarcerate-pot-offenders)

The “war on drugs” is a failed war. It’s a war that can never be won. It’s a war that’s not designed to be won, much like the “war on terror.” They are to be unending wars waged by faceless boogeymen to keep the population in fear.

Legalizing marijuana is one of the smartest things that American politicians could do on a number of levels. For one, there’s the obviousness of the $1 billion dollars that taxpayers pay annually to incarcerate petty weed offenses. That’s $1 billion dollars that could go to social programs and to things like education and health care. Both of those would vastly increase our quality of life in this country. We wouldn’t have to see schools closing down or making major cuts to their art and music programs.

Where I live in Ohio they’ve already closed down one of the four local elementary schools and the middle school. Now 5th and 6th graders stay in elementary school and 7th and 8th graders go to the high school. To me this raises a big problem. Putting 12 and 13 year old children in with high school students? That increases the chances of them being preyed upon by older students for either bullying or sexual purposes. We already see children being more sexually active at younger ages. I believe this increases if you put young, impressionable minds interacting daily with older, horny teenagers.

Second, it would make a substantial dent in the problem of overcrowded prisons. Of course $1 billion annually to taxpayers, to put it another way, generates $1 billion annually to for-profit jails and prisons. This is the evil of privatization. So they may not be all that interested in decreasing the prison population.

Third, it would stimulate the economy. If marijuana was made legal, people could then open businesses that specialized in selling marijuana. They could then hire people to work in their stores. This would help with the high unemployment rate. The marijuana could also then be taxed, thus generating more tax revenue. Marijuana could then become an American export which would also bring in more revenue for the United States.

These same arguments could be made for the legalization of prostution, which I think is another absurd and fascist law. Prostitution is nothing more than consentual sex between two adults where money is exchanged for a service. If prostitution was made legal it would cut down on the number of peope in prison for petty “soliticiting of a prostitute” or “prostitution” charges. Less people incarcerated means less of a taxpayer burden. And if prostitution was made legal then people could open up businesses specializing in sex for money. This would help stimulate the economy and lower unemployment rates. Also, legal prostitution would cut back on child prostitution (which would still be illegal) and would protect prostitutes who would no longer have to rely upon a pimp for protection. Prostitutes wouldn’t have to worry about being beaten or getting hooked on drugs by their pimps.

Advocating the legalization of weed and prostitution? I can hear the heads of Conservative Christians collectively exploding right now. And I can also hear the accusations forming as we speak, so allow me to address them beforehand.I do not smoke weed. I haven’t smoked weed since I was a teenager. I’ve never solicited a prostitute. I wouldn’t smoke weed or go to a brothel if both were legal. They just aren’t my thing. But even if I did that’s none of your damn business! That’s the point!

 

And I personally do not think that all drugs should be legalized, but I do say legalize weed and prostitution. Both of those are nothing more than a front for the war on the poor. Most of those incarcerated on petty weed and prostitution charges are poor and usually people of color.

“In 1990, half of California’s marijuana possession arrestees were African-American, Latino, Asian, or other nonwhite and 35% were under age 20. In 2010, 64% were nonwhite and 52% were under age 20. Marijuana possession arrests of teenagers of color rose from 3,100 in 1990 to 16,400 in 2010 – an arrest surge 300% greater than population growth in that group.” (http://cjcj.org/files/Misdemeanor_marijuana_arrests.pdf)

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Progressive analysis of Paul Ryan as Romney’s VP choice

When I woke up and logged onto my computer yesterday morning, the first thing I saw on my Google News homepage was that Mitt Romney had selected Paul Ryan as his Vice Presidential candidate. I then logged onto Facebook where pretty much everyone was talking about it. A lot of people I saw were suggesting this as a bad move on Romney’s part. Some even referred to it as Ryan as a “succession nomination,” meaning that this pick was the final nail in the Romney presidential campaign.

My initial reaction was the same. Paul Ryan is such far-Right candidate who is disliked by so many that this couldn’t be a good idea. After a while, though, I started seeing it differently. While it is true that Paul Ryan is extremely Conservative that could be exactly what Romney is looking for.

Previously, I would have said that Romney didn’t have a chance in hell in getting elected. He was basically the 2012 GOP version of 2004 John Kerry. He wasn’t very likable, no one could identify with him, and he was going up against a still somewhat-popular incumbent (Bush’s approval rating in November 2003 was still in the low 60s http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/politics/bush/legacy/timeline/). Romney’s biggest appeal was to the “anyone but Obama” crowd, in much the same way Kerry was the “anyone but Bush” candidate.

By selecting Paul Ryan as his Vice President he is appealing to the far-Right Republicans who were previously going to have to hold their noses while voting for him. Paul Ryan also brings in the Tea Party Republican voters. I believe some people who were going to instead vote for Ron Paul or Gary Johnson as the true Conservative candidate may now change their vote and rally behind a Romney-Ryan ticket.

Paul Ryan is young (he’s 42. Younger than Kennedy when he took office), handsome, and very charismatic. I mean, just looking at him I want to trust him. Then, of course, I remember his horrendous policies and stances on the issues and I snap right out of it. Still, my point is made. Paul Ryan could easily be the breath of fresh air that the Romney campaign needs.

The only potential downfall with Paul Ryan is his politics. His political ideology definitely veers to the extreme Right. Anyone reading this should already know that. And that brings the problem of him potentially alienating moderate Republicans and moderate Independent voters. Before they may have voted for Romney because of his moderate stances (although he has attempted to flip-flop to more Conservative views running for president). Paul Ryan’s politics may scare them away. And if Barack Obama is smart this is what his campaign will use to attack Romney.

Where Romney’s campaign has been very stale and lackluster lately, I think this is going to be a rejuvination for him (moreso than McCain’s pick of Palin in 2008). Where Palin was a novelty choice, Paul Ryan is the real deal for Conservatives and Republicans. And while I think Romney was dead in the water come November, now I firmly believe he has a fighting chance. He has truly changed the game with this pick. I hate to say it but I have to give credit to Romney for this choice. Politically, it was a smart choice for him.

I have a feeling the next few months in the world of politics and on the campaign trail is going to be extremely interesting.  Stay tuned and don’t forget to make sure you are registered to vote!

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Jill Stein, Green Party 2012

I’ve made my decision. I’m voting for Jill Stein in November, not Barack Obama. I’m well aware that more than likely Obama is going to win. I’m voting for the candidate whose views I have the most in common with, same reason I backed Obama back in 2008. Since his election, Barack Obama has compromised or downright turned his back on some of his initial stances/policies. Also, Barack Obama, as with many politicians, has been unflinchingly supportive of Israel and their actions and notoriously silent in regards to their actions. In 2008 I had to ignore his stance on that issue.

Before I used to believe that voting “third party” was throwing away a vote. I completely disagree now. I want to vote for the candidate I agree, not the candidate that I think is going to win. I don’t want my vote to just be part of the “in crowd.” I want to stand up for my ideals and my views.

I believe my vote does count and I am going to make my vote count. My vote will count by staying true to my views and voting my conscience. I refuse to just go along with the bi-partisan parade marching to the tune of “Anyone but Obama” or “Vote Obama. At least he’s not Mitt Romney.”

Here is a good list of Jill Stein’s stances on the issues: http://www.ontheissues.org/Jill_Stein.htm

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Politicizing a tragedy

Time and time again whenever a tragedy occurs, people from the Left and the Right jump up to politicize it. The most recent example of this is the Colorado theater shooting. Shortly after it happened everyone was jumping on it trying to use it to their advantage.

Almost automatically, in typical fashion, Liberals and Democrats brought up gun control. Now, I personally don’t have a problem with gun regulations (and I am a gun owner and Progressive myself). I do not think that people need access to automatic weapons or extended clips. But it seems for the most part that when a tragedy occurs they automatically use it to push that agenda. Then after a few months the talk dies down and you don’t hear anything about it again (until the next tragedy). This is where the Liberals and Democrats shoot themselves in the foot (pun intended). If you want people to take your position on something seriously, you have to promote it all year round, every year. Not just after a tragedy. If not, you look like nothing but an opportunist who is using a tragedy to further your agenda.

The same thing happened after the shooting of Representative Gabrielle Giffords in Arizona. Automatically people started spouting the gun regulations talking point. After a few months? Crickets. And it’s been crickets up until James Holmes walked into a movie theater in full tactical gear and an AR-15 and killing 12 people and injuring countless others.

Now there are those on the Left who do talk about gun regulations all the time, so this doesn’t apply to them. Unfortunately, though, their cries are deafened by the political opportunists and then ignored by the media once the fiasco dies down.

Another way a tragedy is politicized is by political affiliation. After Giffords was shot, the Left jumped all over a Democratic Congresswoman being shot and automatically labeled Loughner a Right-wing terrorist and Tea Party member. The same thing happened after the Colorado theater tragedy. A few Lefties jumped on labelling him a Right-winger. Then some information came out claiming that he was affiliated with the Occupy Wall Street movement. When that happened, those on the Left started the rally cry, albeit quite hypocritically, myself included, of it being irrelevant. Even if he was OWS, that does not mean that OWS was involved (as some on the Right were claiming). And there are countless examples of this same thing happening in recent years. Look up what happened following the actions of people like Joe Stack, John Bedell, Seung-Hui Cho, etc.

To me, this is opportunism at its worst. When a tragedy happens, politicians and talking heads and internet bloggers and YouTubists and wanna be journalists and filmmakers jump on it and try to put some political spin on it to gain some sort of advantage, especially in an election year. I mean look at it. Some people, especially from Conspiracy Theory circles, are claiming that the Colorado theater shooting was a set up and James Holmes is a patsy (or an MK ultra victim) and that this was orchestrated in order to pass legislation to get our guns taken away from us. It’s the continued fallacy of “Obama’s gunna tekk away err guuuuunz!”

When a tragedy happens like this, the Right tries to completely ignore the actual victims of the crime and try to make gun owners and gun rights the victim. And the Left helps them by, again, taking on gun control directly afterward, I mean even before the blood dries. And the Left politically use the victims to further their gun control agenda. It’s utterly repulsive to me all the way across the board.

Until the day comes when we can stop politicizing a tragedy then I figuratively weep for America and the political process. So this is my advice: Stop politicizing tragedies! Let the families bury their dead without turning the death of their loved ones into a political three-ring circus.

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Heads or tails? They win, you lose.

 

People need to get used to it. The Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin. Now, I don’t mean this in the “They are all run by the Illuminati who handpicks every world leader” conspiracy theorist type of way (although I am considering this position and weighing the facts, evidence, and/or lack thereof, as well as the conjecture to such a theory). But ultimately both parties are beholden to special interests and corporate money. Big Corps will hedge their bets by donating to as many candidates from both sides of the aisle as possible, so that no matter what they have people whose pocket they are in no matter how the chips may fall.

So all of you “Get corporate money out of politics” people out there, just remember: Barack Obama takes corporate donations also. That’s a fact. And that’s why people spout the “Obama is not different than Romney”/ “Democrats are no different than Republicans” argument. Not to mention that in addition to the corporate money issue, they also tend to land on the same side of many very important social and fiscal issues as well.

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