Hillary Clinton Reminds a Hurting Latin America That She Is Opposed to Drug Legalization – Hit & Run : Reason.comNovember 30, 2012
At a forum hosted by Foreign Policy magazine, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reminded the leaders of Latin America, whose countries have been savaged by drug-war violence, that the Obama administration, and Clinton in particular, are opposed to legalizing drugs as a means of making those countries less reminiscent of failed states:
“I respect those in the region who believe strongly that [U.S. legalization] would end the problem,” Clinton said Thursday at a Washington D.C. forum hosted by Foreign Policy magazine. “I am not convinced of that, speaking personally.”
Some Central American leaders have urged the United States to consider other approaches to domestic drug usage — citing ruthless drug cartels that murder thousands of their citizens. Several Central American countries are considering limited legalization of drugs within their borders.
“I think when you’ve got ruthless vicious people who have made money one way and it’s somehow blocked, they’ll figure out another way,” she said. “They’ll do kidnapping they’ll do extortion.”
Speaking about the two states that recently legalized marijuana, Clinton repeated the Obama administration position that they haven’t formulated a response yet.
“This is an ongoing debate,” she said. “We are formulating our own response to the votes of two of our states as you know — what that means for the federal system, the federal laws and law enforcement.”
“I think you can, with a comprehensive strategy succeed in certainly pushing back the tide of violence and corruption that drug trafficking brings,” she said.
Clinton’s statement about ballot initiatives in Colorado and Washington represents the largest number of words a named official of this administration has uttered regarding the single biggest change in drug policy this century. Good on Clinton for acknowleding that it happened.
It’s also fascinating to me how Clinton has shifted on this topic. Here’s what she said during a Mexico City trip in 2009:
“Our insatiable demand for illegal drugs fuels the drug trade. Our inability to prevent weapons from being illegally smuggled across the border to arm these criminals causes the deaths of police officers, soldiers and civilians.”
Maerker: In Mexico, there are those who propose not keeping going with this battle and legalize drug trafficking and consumption. What is your opinion?
Clinton: I don’t think that will work. I mean, I hear the same debate. I hear it in my country. It is not likely to work. There is just too much money in it, and I don’t think that—you can legalize small amounts for possession, but those who are making so much money selling, they have to be stopped.
And November 2012: “I am not convinced of that, speaking personally.”
Since when do personal convictions matter in deciding policies that directly affect billions of people?
back in the day it was the lady warriors who campaigned against the evils of alcohol. Today we have soccer Moms and pantsuit brigades who think of vice in the same manner.
THE busy interstate highway that zips through Richmond, Virginia, and up to the crowded cities of the north-east has long been a conduit for handguns bought wholesale in Virginia and sold to drug-dealers in New York. Now I-95 is siphoning northwards another form of contraband: black-market cigarettes.
Because Virginia’s tobacco tax is the second-lowest in America, gangsters buy cigarettes there in bulk and sell them at enormous profit in New York and other high-tax states. At a minimum, they pocket a big chunk of the difference between what Virginia adds in tax—30 cents a packet—and the higher rates imposed elsewhere. New York’s tax, at $4.35 a packet, is the highest in the country.
The federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives estimates that sales of illegal cigarettes cost government—local, state and federal—nearly $10 billion a year. For the smugglers, profits are better than those from cocaine, heroin, marijuana and guns, according to a report in September by the Virginia State Crime Commission. Moreover, the penalty for doing it—a maximum of five years in jail, under federal law—is considerably lighter than for selling drugs. If the smugglers were trafficking in heroin, they would face life in prison.
The growth of the cigarette-resale racket, known to police as “smurfing”, appears tied to a growing government appetite for cash. Since 2007 at least 27 states have raised their cigarette taxes, often to erase deficits or to cover sharp increases in health-care costs. This spurs the smugglers on. In New Jersey, where a packet of cigarettes carries a tax of $2.70, about 40% of all cigarettes are smuggled in from other states, according to the New Jersey Treasury Department. Maryland, Virginia’s neighbour to the north, reported a fourfold increase in seizures of illegal cigarettes between 2010 and 2012, though one official described the haul as the tip of the iceberg.
Virginia, a big tobacco state since colonial times, has recently declared it illegal to buy and possess, with intent to sell elsewhere, more than 5,000 cigarettes. That may sound a lot, but they are easy to miss. Smugglers can niftily get 600 cartons (that is, ten packs of 20 cigarettes) into a car, and 12,000 into a large van. When gun-running was at its peak, I-95 was known as the “iron highway”. Now it is the new Tobacco Road.
You can PROVE Anything About Boys Without Fathers…
In the pre-1970 era, when surveys showed women with higher levels of happiness, most men held jobs that enabled their wives to be fulltime homemakers. “The Paradox of Declining Female Happiness” is a peer-reviewed reseach publication by Drs. Betsey Stevenson and Justin Wolfers, forthcoming American Economic Journal: Economic Policy http://bpp.wharton.upenn.edu/betseys/papers/Paradox%20of%20declining%20female%20happiness.pdfEach year since 1972, the United States General Social Survey has asked men and women: “How happy are you, on a scale of 1 to 3, with 3 being very happy, and 1 being not too happy?” This survey includes a representative sample of men and women of all ages, education levels, income levels, and marital status–1,500 per year for a total of almost 50,000 individuals thus far–and so it gives us a most reliable picture of what’s happened to men’s and women’s happiness over the last few decades. As you can imagine, a survey this massive generates a multitude of findings, (see the full report by Wharton Professors Betsy Stevenson and Justin Wolfers) but here are the two most important discoveries. First, since 1972, women’s overall level of happiness has dropped, both relative to where they were forty years ago, and relative to men. You find this drop in happiness in women regardless of whether they have kids, how many kids they have, how much money they make, how healthy they are, what job they hold, whether they are married, single or divorced, how old they are, or what race they are. (The one and only exception: African-American women are now slightly happier than they were back in 1972, although they remain less happy than African American men.)
The NAACP recently adopted a resolution calling for the abolition of the War on Drugs, emphasizing the harm that it inflicts on minority communities. This is a sea change for the nation’s most prominent black civil rights organization.
The NAACP resolution is far from the first indication that the War on Drugs inflicts great harm on poor minorities. Scholars and commentators of widely divergent ideologies have long recognized this point. More information about it here and here. The NAACP resolution is a milestone because of the organization’s prestige. The NAACP now joins a growing list of prominent groups that have called for an end to the War on Drugs in recent months, including the Global Commission on Drug Policy and a high-profile British government commission.
Complete abolition of the War on Drugs is not yet politically feasible. But the increasing recognition that the war causes more harm than good does create some political space to move towards that goal in an incremental way. Sadly, the Obama Administration refuses to take even the most modest and politically popular steps towards legalization. In fairness, most Republicans have been as bad or worse on the issue. Change we can believe in may well be coming in this field. But it may take a few more years of generational replacement for it to happen. via volokh.com
Many black leaders are quite Conservative in their values. This is not a “LEFT” wing organization. This is actually a watershed moment for the movement.