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Author Topic: Mexico's drug war: California's Prop 19, legalizing marijuana, could end it.  (Read 8867 times)
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« on: 2010-September-09 11:24:52 AM »

Mexico's drug war: California's Prop 19, on legalizing marijuana, could end it.
http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=464.msg854#msg854

https://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/09/03/AR2010090302205.html

California's Prop 19, on legalizing marijuana, could end Mexico's drug war

By Héctor Aguilar Camín and Jorge G. Castañeda

Sunday, September 5, 2010

MEXICO CITY -- On Nov. 2, Californians will vote on Proposition 19, deciding whether to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana. If the initiative passes, it won't just be momentous for California; it may, at long last, offer Mexico the promise of an exit from our costly war on drugs.

The costs of that war have long since reached intolerable levels: more than 28,000 of our fellow citizens dead since late 2006; expenditures well above $10 billion; terrible damage to Mexico's image abroad; human rights violations by government security forces; and ever more crime. In a recent poll by the Mexico City daily Reforma, 67 percent of Mexicans said these costs are unacceptable, while 59 percent said the drug cartels are winning the war.

We have believed for some time that Mexico should legalize marijuana and perhaps other drugs. But until now, most discussion of this possibility has foundered because our country's drug problem and the U.S. drug problem are so inextricably linked: What our country produces, Americans consume. As a result, the debate over legalization has inevitably gotten hung up over whether Mexico should wait until the United States is willing and able to do the same.

Proposition 19 changes this calculation. For Mexico, California is almost the whole enchilada: Our overall trade with the largest state of the union is huge, an immense number of Californians are of Mexican origin, and an enormous proportion of American visitors to Mexico come from California. Passage of Prop 19 would therefore flip the terms of the debate about drug policy: If California legalizes marijuana, will it be viable for our country to continue hunting down drug lords in Tijuana? Will Wild West-style shootouts to stop Mexican cannabis from crossing the border make any sense when, just over that border, the local 7-Eleven sells pot?

The prospect of California legalizing marijuana coincides with an increasingly animated debate about legalization in Mexico. This summer, our magazine, Nexos, asked the six leading presidential candidates whether, if California legalizes marijuana, Mexico should follow suit. Four of them said it should, albeit with qualifications. And last month, at a public forum presided over by President Felipe Calderón, one of us asked whether the time had come for such discussion to be taken seriously. Calderón's reply was startlingly open-minded and encouraging: "It's a fundamental debate," he said. ". . . You have to analyze carefully the pros and cons and the key arguments on both sides." The remarks attracted so much attention that, later in the day, Calderón backtracked, insisting that he was vehemently opposed to any form of legalization. Still, his comments helped stimulate the national conversation.

A growing number of distinguished Mexicans from all walks of life have recently come out in favor of some form of drug legalization. Former presidents Ernesto Zedillo and Vicente Fox, novelists Carlos Fuentes and Angeles Mastretta, Nobel Prize-winning chemist Mario Molina, and movie star Gael García Bernal have all expressed support for this idea, and polls show that ordinary Mexicans are increasingly willing to contemplate the notion.

Indeed, as we have crisscrossed Mexico over the past six months on a book tour, visiting more than two dozen state capitals, holding town hall meetings with students, businesspeople, school teachers, local politicians and journalists, we have witnessed a striking shift in views on the matter. This is no longer your mother's Mexico -- conservative, Catholic, introverted. Whenever we asked whether drugs should be legalized, the response was almost always overwhelmingly in favor of decriminalizing at least marijuana.

The debate here is not framed in terms of personal drug use but rather whether legalization would do anything to abate Mexico's nightmarish violence and crime. There are reasons to think that it would: The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy has said that up to 60 percent of Mexican drug cartels' profits come from marijuana. While some say the real figure is lower, pot is without question a crucial part of their business. Legalization would make a significant chunk of that business vanish. As their immense profits shrank, the drug kingpins would be deprived of the almost unlimited money they now use to fund recruitment, arms purchases and bribes.

In addition, legalizing marijuana would free up both human and financial resources for Mexico to push back against the scourges that are often, if not always correctly, attributed to drug traffickers and that constitute Mexicans' real bane: kidnapping, extortion, vehicle theft, home assaults, highway robbery and gunfights between gangs that leave far too many innocent bystanders dead and wounded. Before Mexico's current war on drugs started, in late 2006, the country's crime rate was low and dropping. Freed from the demands of the war on drugs, Mexico could return its energies to again reducing violent crime.

Today, almost anyone caught carrying any drug in Mexico is subject to arrest, prosecution and jail. Would changing that increase consumption in Mexico? Perhaps for a while. Then again, given the extremely low levels of drug use in our country, the threat of drug abuse seems a less-than-pressing problem: According to a national survey in 2008, only 6 percent of Mexicans have ever tried a drug, compared with 47 percent of Americans, as shown by a different survey that year.

Still, real questions remain. Should our country legalize all drugs, or just marijuana? Can we legalize by ourselves, or does such a move make sense only if conducted hand in hand with the United States? Theoretically, the arguments in favor of marijuana legalization apply to virtually all drugs. We believe that the benefits would also apply to powder cocaine (not produced in Mexico, but shipped through our country en route from Latin America to the United States), heroin (produced in Mexico from poppies grown in the mountains of Sinaloa, Chihuahua and Durango) and methamphetamines (made locally with pseudoephedrine imported from China).

This is the real world, though, so we must think in terms of incremental change. It strikes us as easier and wiser to proceed step by step toward broad legalization, starting with marijuana, moving on to heroin (a minor trade in Mexico, and a manageable one stateside) and dealing only later, when Washington and others are ready, with cocaine and synthetic drugs.

For now we'll take California's ballot measure. If our neighbors to the north pass Proposition 19, our government will have two new options: to proceed unilaterally with legalization -- with California but without Washington -- or to hold off, while exploiting California's move to more actively lobby the U.S. government for wider changes in drug policy. Either way, the initiative's passage will enhance Calderón's moral authority in pressing President Obama.

Our president will be able to say to yours: "We have paid an enormous price for a war that a majority of the citizens of your most populous and trend-setting state reject. Why don't we work together, producer and consumer nations alike, to draw a road map leading us away from the equivalent of Prohibition, before we all regret our short-sightedness?"

Héctor Aguilar Camín is a historian, a novelist and the publisher and editor of the Mexican magazine Nexos. Jorge G. Castañeda was Mexico's foreign minister from 2000 to 2003 and teaches at New York University.
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« Reply #1 on: 2010-September-18 09:39:50 AM »

http://www.truth-out.org/weary-drug-war-mexico-debates-legalization63093

Weary of Drug War, Mexico Debates Legalization

Wednesday 08 September 2010

by: Tim Johnson  |  McClatchy Newspapers

Mexico City - A debate about legalizing marijuana and possibly other drugs — once a taboo suggestion — is percolating in Mexico, a nation exhausted by runaway violence and a deadly drug war.

The debate is only likely to grow more animated if Californians approve an initiative on Nov. 2 to legalize marijuana for recreational use in their state.

Mexicans are keeping a close eye on the vote, seeing it as a bellwether.

"If they vote 'yes' to approve the full legalization of marijuana, I think it will have a radical impact in Mexico," said Jorge Hernandez Tinajero, a political scientist at the National Autonomous University.

Discussion about legalization flew onto the agenda last month, the outcome of President Felipe Calderon's pressing need to win more public support for waging war against criminal organizations profiting hugely from drug trafficking.

As he held a series of open forums with politicians and civic leaders about faltering security, Calderon suddenly found himself amid a groundswell of suggestions that legalization — which he described as "absurd" — should be considered.

Among those throwing their weight behind legalization was former President Vicente Fox, a member of Calderon's own conservative National Action Party.

"We should consider legalizing the production, distribution and sale of drugs," Fox wrote on his blog during the series of forums. "Legalizing in this sense does not mean that drugs are good or don't hurt those who consume. Rather, we have to see it as a strategy to strike and break the economic structure that allows the mafias to generate huge profits in their business."

Calderon immediately said Mexico couldn't act on its own to legalize.

"If drugs are not legalized in the world, or if drugs are not legalized at least in the United States, this is simply absurd, because the price of drugs is not determined in Mexico. The price of drugs is determined by consumers in Los Angeles, or in New York, or in Chicago or Texas," he said.

Such public debate would have been largely unthinkable a few years ago. Since Calderon came to office in late 2006, however, a national gloom has descended on Mexico from unending cartel violence and a death toll topping 28,000. The grim mood has provided fertile ground for public figures who think that legalization would undercut the power of the drug cartels.

Among them are business tycoons such as billionaire Ricardo Salinas Pliego, who controls broadcaster TV Azteca, and retailer Grupo Elektra.

With his own pro-legalization statement, Fox aligned with another former president, Ernesto Zedillo, who suggested last year that prohibition isn't working.

Still, several analysts said debate about legalization — coming most strongly from the political left — was an attempt to needle Calderon as much as an exploration of whether legalization is feasible.

Edgardo Buscaglia, an expert on Mexico's criminal syndicates, said Mexico's government is too weak to legalize and regulate narcotics and marijuana.

"You need to have regulatory capacity in place," he said. "Mexico does not even have the capacity to regulate its pharmaceutical products."

Without a better framework, any move to take away penalties for narcotics would "amount to a subsidy to drug organizations," he said, as prices and demand remain buoyant for illegal narcotics in the U.S. and other countries.

Legislators in August 2009 quietly decriminalized the possession of less than 5 grams of marijuana, the equivalent of about four joints. Tiny amounts of cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, LSD, and methamphetamine also are no longer subject to criminal penalties.

Further measures have been blocked, however, such as one before two committees of the Chamber of Deputies to permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes, as 14 U.S. states allow. Others have been put before the Senate, the legislative assembly of Mexico City and before a local congress in the state of Mexico.

Hernandez Tinajero said he thinks that Mexican society may not be ready for such moves, but that the California initiative on marijuana would impel debate further.

"Whatever the result may be, it will have a positive impact on Mexico," he said, and give way to a "a far more serious discussion."

Experts said they can't fully weigh arguments about the impact that legalization of marijuana in California might have on this country of 111 million, or whether steps toward legalization here would weaken drug syndicates.

That's because so little is known publicly about the revenue streams of cartels, the extent of production of marijuana, crystal meth and heroin, and the range of revenue from other criminal enterprises.

Counternarcotics officials say several Mexican cartels, particularly the Familia Michoacana, are deeply involved in marijuana production and sales in California.

Alex Kreit, an expert on drug law at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, said the fallout from Proposition 19, whichever way voters lean, might not be immediate.

Opinion polls show a near toss-up over whether voters will approve or reject it.

If the initiative passes, it would have an impact only in localities that take steps to permit the cultivation, distribution and sale of marijuana, he said.

"If this passes, it doesn't mean that all of a sudden that people who are growing marijuana in large amounts are going to be doing so legally," he said.

If the initiative loses by a large margin, Kreit said, it could "be the death knell" for legalization. If it goes the other way, it could "start to create a feeling of inevitability" in the U.S. and Mexico toward the legalization of marijuana.

"I almost view it as similar to the gay marriage issue. People's views are changing very quickly," Kreit said.

Hernandez Tinajero said any shift in U.S. public opinion would ripple south.

"The basic equation is this: If the United States is changing, why can't we change as well?" he asked.

All republished content that appears on Truthout has been obtained by permission or license.
« Last Edit: 2011-January-12 06:58:03 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #2 on: 2010-September-24 01:00:47 PM »

More than 28,000 people have died because of Mexican drug prohibition and this guy creates "plans" because 37 journalists were among the victims!
A typical feel-good, piss-on-the-forest-fire "solution" from a typical grinning politician!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20100923/wl_afp/mexicocrimedrugsunrestmedia_20100923012206

Mexico's Calderon unveils plan to protect journalists

– Wed Sep 22, 9:21 pm ET

MEXICO CITY (AFP) – President Felipe Calderon unveiled a plan to try to protect journalists in Mexico, where at least 37 have been slain nationwide since 2007 as the country's drug war has raged.

The government bill calls for steps such as an early warning system, legal reforms and creating a council that works on pinpointing causes of violence against journalists, according to a government statement.

It was released on Wednesday, after the president met with members of the Inter-American Press Association and the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Calderon acknowledged that Mexico is among the world's deadliest nations for journalists doing their work, said CPJ chief Joel Simon.

Some 28,000 people are believed to have died in drug gang-related attacks since then.

The spike in violence has caused many newspapers to censor coverage of the brutal drug war, sometimes omitting the names of cartels or ignoring certain attacks.

The United States voiced concern for the safety of Mexican journalists in the country's bloody drug war on Tuesday after a reporter said he was granted asylum by US authorities.

Jorge Luis Aguirre, who runs the Internet newssite LaPolaka.com, has lived in exile for the past two years in El Paso, Texas, which lies just across the border from the violence-torn Mexican city of Ciudad Juarez.

He said Monday that US authorities had granted him asylum -- a first for Mexican journalists in recent years -- in what he hailed as a "precedent that will help save lives among the growing number of defenseless journalists."
« Last Edit: 2011-January-12 06:57:41 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #3 on: 2010-October-02 04:54:15 PM »

http://blog.mpp.org/tax-and-regulate/schwarzenegger-signs-decriminalization-bill/10012010/

Schwarzenegger Signs Decriminalization Bill

by Mike Meno
October 1, 2010

Yesterday, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill that downgrades the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction.

This new law means that the more than 60,000 people who are arrested in California every year for small-time marijuana possession will no longer be arrested, given criminal records, or have to appear in court. Instead, they will receive a $100 fine similar to a parking citation. SB 1449 will also save California untold millions in reduced court costs.

And as Paul Armentano at NORML points out, this change will still have a positive impact on California’s marijuana laws even if Prop 19, the measure to make marijuana legal for all adults, passes:

    Proposition 19 leaves misdemeanor possession penalties in place for public use and smoking in the presence of children; under SB 1449, these offenses would be simple infractions.

Selected comments:
Rebecca { 10.01.10 at 9:58 am }

    Now what about releasing all of those guilty of possessing less than an ounce–reduce the number of people currently in jail. If this goes from here on out, awesome. If they retroactively enforce it, EVEN BETTER.

21 Mark { 10.01.10 at 5:06 pm }

    MSN homepage is not showing this story AT ALL!!!!!!!!! There was a blurb earlier in the day, which is where I found out about this, but it just goes to show that this war is far from over if MSN is afraid to air the story.

« Last Edit: 2011-January-12 06:57:15 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: 2010-October-15 08:03:54 PM »

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101016/ap_on_re_us/us_marijuana_legalization_justice

Feds oppose Calif. Prop 19 to legalize marijuana

By MARCUS WOHLSEN, Associated Press Writer Marcus Wohlsen, Associated Press Writer – 1 hr 35 mins ago

SAN FRANCISCO – Attorney General Eric Holder is warning that the federal government will not look the other way, as it has with medical marijuana, if voters next month make California the first state to legalize pot.

Marijuana is illegal under federal law, which drug agents will "vigorously enforce" against anyone carrying, growing or selling it, Holder said.

The comments in a letter to ex-federal drug enforcement chiefs were the attorney general's most direct statement yet against Proposition 19 and set up another showdown with California over marijuana if the measure passes.

With Prop 19 leading in the polls, the letter also raised questions about the extent to which federal drug agents would go into communities across the state to catch small-time users and dealers, or whether they even had the resources to do it.

Medical marijuana users and experts were skeptical, saying there was little the federal government could do to slow the march to legalization.

"This will be the new industry," said Chris Nelson, 24, who smokes pot to ease recurring back pain and was lined up outside a San Francisco dispensary. "It's taxable new income. So many tourists will flock here like they go to Napa. This will become the new Amsterdam."

If the ballot measure passes, the state would regulate recreational pot use. Adults could possess up to one ounce of the drug and grow small gardens on private property. Local governments would decide whether to allow and tax sales.

The Justice Department remains committed to enforcing the Controlled Substances Act in all states, Holder said.

"We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law," he wrote.

The letter was dated Wednesday and was obtained by The Associated Press.

Holder also said legalizing recreational marijuana would be a "significant impediment" to the government's joint efforts with state and local law enforcement to target drug traffickers, who often distribute pot alongside cocaine and other drugs.

The attorney general said the ballot measure's passage would "significantly undermine" efforts to keep California cites and towns safe. [The biggest threat comes from out-of-control government that refuses to recognize changes in the law such as Prop 19!]

Officials in Los Angeles County, where authorities have aggressively moved to tamp down on an explosion of medical marijuana dispensaries, vowed that they would still assist the federal government in drug investigations. [Even if doing so is AGAINST California LAW???!!!]

County Sheriff Lee Baca and District Attorney Steve Cooley said at a news conference that the law would be unenforceable because it is trumped by federal laws that prohibit marijuana cultivation and possession. [Hello! Read the Constitution that you swore to uphold!! Especially read the 10th Amendment!]

"We will continue as we are today regardless of whether it passes or doesn't pass," Baca said.  [The utter ARROGANCE of this “public servant”!! He puts HIMSELF ABOVE THE LAW and he should be arrested for so declaring!] His deputies don't and won't go after users in their homes, but public use of the drug will be targeted, he said.

Both gubernatorial candidates — Democrat Jerry Brown and Republican Meg Whitman — oppose Prop 19 and declined comment Friday.

The ex-Drug Enforcement Administration chiefs sent a letter to Holder in August calling on the Obama administration to sue California if Prop 19 passes. They said legalizing pot presented the same threat to federal authority as Arizona's recent immigration law.

In that case, Justice Department lawyers filed a lawsuit to block the enforcement of the law, saying that it infringed on federal powers to regulate immigration and therefore violated the U.S. Constitution. [MORE ARROGANCE! Immigration control is UN-constitutional and the Feds have NO AUTHORITY to “regulate” immigration.]  The case is now before a federal appeals court.

Experts say the two situations are not the same.

If Arizona wants to crack down on illegal immigration more strictly than the federal government, the U.S. can act to prevent police in the state from enforcing the law, said Robert Mikos, a Vanderbilt University law professor who studies the conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws.

If California prevents police from enforcing the stricter federal ban on marijuana, the Supreme Court has ruled that the federal government cannot order local law enforcement to act, he said.

It "is a very tough-sounding statement that the attorney general has issued, but it's more bark than bite," Mikos said.

"The same factors that limited the federal government's influence over medical marijuana would probably have an even bigger influence over its impact on recreational marijuana," Mikos said, citing not enough agents to focus on small-time violators.

Federal drug agents have long concentrated on big-time drug traffickers and left street-level dealers and users to local and state law enforcement. As police departments began enforcing California's medical marijuana law, the DEA only sporadically jumped in to bust medical users and sellers that local law enforcement was no longer targeting.

Allen Hopper, a drug law reform expert at the American Civil Liberties Union in Northern California, predicted that federal agents would selectively crack down on marijuana growers and merchants instead of going after every Californian who uses pot.

"They don't have the resources to flood the state with DEA agents to be drug cops," he said.

Nearly all arrests for marijuana crimes are made at the state level. Of more than 847,000 marijuana-related arrests nationwide in 2008, for example, just over 6,300 suspects were booked by federal law enforcement, or fewer than 1 percent.

Consequently, the fight over legalization may end up the same way medical marijuana did, experts said.

When Californians approved their first-in-the-nation medical marijuana law in 1996, Clinton administration officials vowed a harsh crackdown. But nearly 15 years later, California's billion-dollar medical marijuana industry is thriving.

During the Bush administration, retail pot dispensaries across the state faced regular raids from federal anti-drug agents. Their owners were sometimes sentenced to decades in prison for drug trafficking.

Yet the medical marijuana industry still grew, and it has expanded even more since Holder said last year that federal law enforcement would defer to state laws on using it for medicinal purposes.

Besides California, 13 other states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana in recent years.

At the San Francisco Medical Cannabis Club, where you can buy marijuana-filled carrot cake and lollipops, manager James Kyne said the federal government would just be continuing "an endless cycle" with little positive effect.

Holder "is opening a bigger can of worms," Kyne said. "I really think the AG and the federal government could put our tax dollars to better use."

___

Associated Press writers Pete Yost in Washington, Terry Collins and Lisa Leff in San Francisco, Samantha Young in Sacramento and Robert Jablon in Monterey Park, Calif., contributed to this report.
« Last Edit: 2011-January-12 06:56:53 PM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #5 on: 2010-November-08 01:17:58 PM »

http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-marijuana-prop19-20101108,0,1511919.story

Pot legalization advocates are undeterred by the defeat of Prop. 19
Supporters see this year's campaign as a trial run that, if retooled, could win passage in 2012. Polls show Californians open to making the drug legal.
By John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times

November 7, 2010|7:56 p.m.

Despite Proposition 19's loss at the polls last week, marijuana legalization advocates in California are already working on their comeback plan for 2012 and are almost giddy about their prospects.

They see the election as a trial run that could lead to a campaign with a better message, a tighter measure and more money. Both the winning and losing sides say California's voters rejected this specific initiative, but remain open to legalizing the easily obtainable drug.

The proponents have a huge head start compared to where they were two years ago. At that time, regulating and taxing marijuana was the dream of a handful of Oakland activists. Now, the campaign has a broader base of supporters, including labor and civil rights leaders. Big-money donors have shown a keen interest. And the state's electorate and media have seriously debated the issue.

In addition, the presidential election is expected to draw far more young voters to the polls. If they had shown up Tuesday, supporters note, Proposition 19 might have come close to passing. Even so, they also point out with bemusement, legalization outpolled Meg Whitman and Carly Fiorina.

"The question about legalizing marijuana is no longer when, it's no longer whether, it's how," said Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, a national advocacy group that will play a pivotal role in any 2012 ballot measures in California or other states. "There's a really strong body of people who will be ready to pull the lever in the future."

California voters rejected Proposition 19, 54% to 46%. But a post-election survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner found they favor legalization 49% to 41%, with 10% uncertain. And 52% said that marijuana laws, like alcohol prohibition, do more harm than good.

The consultants who ran the opposition campaign found that voters who were undecided were susceptible to arguments for legalizing marijuana. They also reacted negatively to "reefer madness" arguments that pot was inherently dangerous or a gateway drug. "Our best opportunity to beat it was on the merits of 19 itself," said Wayne Johnson, the strategist for the No on 19 campaign.

A key issue for legalization supporters in 2012 will be to find the money to run statewide television advertising. "The Yes campaign always has the burden of proof. We have to make the case that things should change," said Doug Linney, the strategist for the Yes on 19 campaign.

The campaign hoped to spend between $7 million and $15 million but brought in about $4 million. More than $1.5 million came from Richard Lee, the main proponent, who owns a medical marijuana dispensary, nursery and trade school in Oakland. A few wealthy businessmen and young Silicon Valley entrepreneurs wrote sizable checks. "I think we found a lot of friends along the way that we will want to include from the get-go this time," Linney said.

On Saturday, Nadelmann told a conference on marijuana policy in Denver that the big donors who supported past measures would step up if the polls looked favorable. "They want to be in this to win," he said.

He noted that George Soros, the hedge-fund multibillionaire, donated $1 million to help Proposition 19 to clearly indicate his support for legalizing marijuana and that Peter B. Lewis, a retired insurance company executive, has decided to focus his philanthropy on marijuana reform.

Lewis, who donated more than $218,000 to pass Proposition 19, paid for Greenberg Quinlan Rosner to poll California voters. "Ballot measures are an option in 2012, but I can't speak to specific strategy at this time," Lewis said in a statement.

The next campaign in California will also start with a base of support.

The measure was backed as a job-creation plan by the state leadership of the Service Employees International Union and the United Food and Commercial Workers, but the unions were focused intensely on the races for statewide office. The state National Assn. for the Advancement of Colored People and the Latino Voters League embraced Proposition 19 as a way to end a drug war in which African Americans and Latinos are arrested at much higher rates than whites, though the California exit poll showed both groups voted against the measure.

The campaign had also counted on young voters. Voters under 25 supported Proposition 19 by a 2-to-1 margin, but they did not turn out in big numbers. The measure would have allowed adults 21 and older to grow and possess marijuana. "As a motivator, it was always a big question," Linney said. "I always thought myself it was a little overrated."

But Anna Greenberg with Greenberg Quinlan Rosner said that if young voters turn out in 2012 in numbers typical for presidential elections, legalization "is poised to win."

Legalization advocates are also rethinking the measure. A provision designed to protect people who smoke marijuana from discrimination was assailed by opponents who said it would prevent employers from firing stoned nurses or bus drivers. Nadelmann said Saturday it might have to be sacrificed.

The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll found that voters, by 50% to 44%, think employers should be able to fire workers who test positive for marijuana even if they smoked it in their off hours.

The strongest message for Proposition 19, Linney said, was that it would control marijuana better than prohibition. But it allowed cities and counties to set the rules for marijuana sales and taxes, and opponents seized on that uncertainty to predict a chaotic patchwork of regulations.

Linney expects a vigorous debate among supporters over whether to keep a local approach. "That will be the central issue in drafting the next one," he said.

The Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll found the issue splits voters, with 44% trusting city and county governments more to control marijuana, and 38% trusting the state more.

Johnson, the opposition strategist, said undecided voters seemed most intrigued by the promise that the measure would raise billions of dollars in tax revenue. But he said they became disillusioned when they learned there was no way to estimate how much would be raised.

"When that went away," he said, "they went away."

john.hoeffel@latimes.com

Copyright © 2010, Los Angeles Times
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« Reply #6 on: 2010-November-08 01:25:17 PM »

Meanwhile, prohibition caused continued violence-as-usual in Mexico...

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2010/11/07/killed-weekend-mexican-border-city/?test=latestnews

20 Killed Over Weekend in Mexican Border City

Published November 07, 2010 | Associated Press

CIUDAD JUAREZ, Mexico -- At least 20 people were killed in drug-gang violence over the weekend in this northern Mexican border city, including seven found dead outside one house.

The seven men were believed to have been at a family party when they were gunned down Saturday night, said Arturo Sandoval, a spokesman for the attorney general's office in Chihuahua state, where Ciudad Juarez is located. Five were found dead in a car, and the other two were shot at the entrance of the home.

There have been several such massacres in Ciudad Juarez, a city held hostage by a nearly three-year turf battle between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.

Few residents now venture out to bars and restaurants. And like those attacked on Saturday, others have discovered that they aren't even safe in their own homes: Last month, gunmen stormed two neighboring houses and massacred more than a dozen young people attending a party for a 15-year-old boy.

Eleven other people were killed Saturday in the city, including two whose bodies were found dismembered, Sandoval said. On Sunday, two city police officers, a man and a woman, were shot to death inside their patrol car.

Ciudad Juarez, across the border from El Paso, Texas, has become one of the world's deadliest cities in the time that the two cartels have been fighting. More than 6,500 people have been killed since the start of 2008.

But the violence doesn't stop there. In the southern city of Oaxaca, police found a human head in a gift-wrapped box left Saturday night on the side of a cliff popular for its view of the picturesque colonial center.

Reporters at the scene saw a threatening message left with the head signed, "the last letter Z," an apparent reference to the Zetas drug gang.

The gruesome find came a week after two young men who had been involved in violent university protests and other conflicts were gunned down in the middle of the day in a public plaza.

An e-mail purportedly from the Zetas claimed responsibility for those slayings and said that the two were killed for falsely representing themselves as members of the gang.

Oaxaca state Attorney General Maria de la Luz Candelaria Chinas said the e-mail is suspected to be fake, although she said authorities had not ruled out the possibility that the Zetas sent it.

Mexican government officials describe the Zetas -- former hit men for the Gulf cartel who became independent this year -- as a sort of franchise with units across the country. But officials say some of those cells are copycats using the Zetas name to intimidate extortion and kidnap victims.

The Zetas have grown in power over the past decade, and experts warn their clout could grow following the death Friday night of one the gang's major enemies, Gulf cartel leader Antonio Ezequiel Cardenas Guillen. The kingpin, known as "Tony Tormenta" or "Tony the Storm," was killed in a shootout with marines.

Although there have been some beheadings in recent years, cartel-style violence is rare in Oaxaca, the capital of the southern state by the same name, especially compared to northern Mexico or the central Pacific coast.
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« Reply #7 on: 2010-November-14 12:10:55 PM »

California has jailed a large number of people who undoubtedly would have voted FOR marijuana legalization, probably enough proponents/victims are in jail to have made the difference. How convenient it is to have your political enemies in jail and denied their "right" to vote.

But surprisingly, ARIZONA approved a medical marijuana bill, by a narrow margin. "...register for identification cards with the state health department." Too bad that government still gets their hooks into people. The "close" voting makes me wonder why government (remember they count the votes) "allowed" it to pass. Maybe to collect names for future use?

http://www.azcentral.com/news/election/azelections/articles/2010/11/13/20101113arizona-medical-marijauna-approved.html

Arizona voters have approved medical marijuana measure

by Michelle Ye Hee Lee - Nov. 13, 2010 06:43 PM
The Arizona Republic
185 comments

Arizona voters have approved Proposition 203, which legalizes marijuana for medical use.

The secretary of state's unofficial results indicate that the "yes" vote on the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has won by a narrow margin of 4,341 votes, or 50.13 percent of more than 1.67 million votes counted.

This after Maricopa County officials finished counting about 11,000 outstanding ballots Saturday.

The "yes" and "no" votes remained neck and neck for more than a week since Election Night, with the "yes" vote trailing by at least 3,000 each day. But the "yes" vote picked up traction after elections officials started counting provisional ballots, and by Friday, it was leading by 4,421 for the first time.

Arizona will be the 15th state to legalize medical marijuana.

The general-election canvass will be held Nov. 29. The Arizona Department of Health Services has 120 days from that day to finalize all rules for implementation. The department is expected to begin reviewing dispensary and patient applications by April 2011.

Andrew Myers, campaign manager for the pro-Prop. 203 Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, said he believes there are more Arizonans who support medical marijuana than what the votes show. He said voter skepticism was rooted in concerns that Arizona's medical-marijuana program would be similar to ones in California and Colorado.

But Myers said Prop. 203 was written to create a strict and regulated medical-marijuana program.

"It's up to us now to prove them wrong and assuage those concerns," Myers said.

The state health department and local planning and zoning officials have said they would implement as many rules as possible to ensure the program is tightly regulated, and for the benefit of patients with debilitating diseases.

But Carolyn Short, chairwoman of the anti-Prop. 203 campaign Keep AZ Drug Free, said Friday that voters will find they voted for a "concept," and anybody who wants marijuana will get it. Short said Saturday that she is disappointed to see Prop. 203 pass.

Chris Ross, administrator and owner of Arizona's Medical Marijuana Community, an online forum where users can share information on doctors, dispensaries and marijuana strains, said there still will be a stigma around patients using marijuana for a while. He created the website so that patients can discreetly access information and find which doctors are sympathetic to the use of marijuana as a medicine, he said.

Ross, whose sister has stage four breast cancer, said he is "ecstatic" Prop. 203 pulled through.

"It was disappointing (at first), but when the tide turned on Friday, I was just in shock," Ross said. "The people who oppose it see the worst-case scenario, but I see the best-case scenario. People like my sister - they're going to get the help they need."

Supporters of the measure attribute the vote surge to provisional ballots, which voters cast when there is a question about the voter's eligibility. Provisional voters tend to be younger people whose addresses do not match the voter roll because they move around often, Myers said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoking marijuana for medical uses.

Licensed physicians could recommend medical marijuana to patients with debilitating medical conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS, hepatitis C and Alzheimer's disease. Patients would register for identification cards with the state health department. They could also receive up to 2 1/2 ounces of marijuana every two weeks from dispensaries or cultivate up to 12 plants if they live 25 miles or more from a dispensary.

The law allows for no more than 124 dispensaries operated by non-profits to start, proportionate to the number of pharmacies in the state.

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« Reply #8 on: 2011-January-12 06:26:17 PM »

UPDATE 2011-01-12  

REMEMBER: EACH AND EVERY ONE OF THESE DEATHS WAS CAUSED BY NEW GOVERNMENT PROHIBITION "LAWS" DECLARING "SOME" DRUGS TO BE "ILLEGAL"!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110113/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/lt_drug_war_mexico

Mexican official: 34,612 drug-war deaths in 4 yrs

By MARK STEVENSON, Associated Press – 2011-Jan-12

MEXICO CITY – A total of 34,612 people have died in drug-related killings in Mexico in the four years since Mexican President Felipe Calderon declared an offensive against drug cartels, officials said Wednesday.

The killings reached their highest level in 2010, jumping by almost 60 percent to 15,273 deaths from 9,616 the previous year.

The rate of killings grew in the first half of 2010, but then stabilized and began to decline in the last quarter of the year, federal security spokesman Alejandro Poire said.

Calderon said Wednesday that 2010 "has been a year of extreme violence."

"We are aware that we are going through a very difficult time on security issues," he said at a meeting with anti-crime groups during which the government presented a new data system to track drug-related crimes.

Anti-crime groups have long demanded access to information like that contained in the new database, to better measure whether public security efforts are effective. Such information may also help diminish the doubt that surrounds drug-related killings, many of which go unresolved or get scant investigation in Mexico.

Poire's office said the four-year figure included 30,913 execution-style killings, 3,153 deaths in shootouts between gangs, and 546 deaths involving attacks on authorities.

The president launched an offensive against Mexico's powerful drug cartels soon after taking office on Dec. 1, 2006.

Calderon said many of the killings in 2010 were generated by the turf war between the Zetas drug gang and their former allies in the Gulf cartel. He and other officials noted that about half the killings took place in three northern states: Chihuahua, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas. Mexico has 31 states plus the capital, Mexico City.

Poire said drug-related killings peaked in the third quarter of 2010 and declined by almost 11 percent in the fourth quarter.

Calderon noted that decline during his talk. "I do not rule out that it could go back up, but ... I think it is important," he said.

Calderon said Mexico's 31 state governments must do more to deal with corruption in local police forces and to fight organized crime, and said the federal government was doing its part. [AMEN to that!! Everything except REPEAL!!...dlw] He said army troops have been recruited to serve as state police officers in northern Nuevo Leon state, where killings have spiked this year.

Calderon's interior secretary, Francisco Blake Mora, presented the new prototype of a national identity card — Mexico's first — to be distributed to youths under 18 in some states. Most Mexicans currently use their voter ID cards as identification, but the new cards will have better security measures, including digitalized fingerprints and iris images, to prevent criminals from using false IDs.

Also Wednesday, the Defense Department said soldiers had caught Rigoberto Andrade Renteria, an alleged operations leader for the La Familia cartel, in the northern border city of Tijuana over the weekend. He was found with almost 60 pounds (27 kilograms) of methamphetamines, it said.

The government had offered a reward of 5 million pesos ($415,000) for information leading to his arrest. The La Familia cartel is based in the western state of Michoacan, but apparently has ties with traffickers in northern border states.
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« Reply #9 on: 2011-March-05 09:43:12 PM »

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/81434.html

ATF Partly To Blame for Mexico Violence
Posted by Manuel Lora on March 3, 2011 08:43 PM

According to one of its own, the ATF has a policy of allowing guns to go into Mexican drug cartels. This gun “issue” would become a non-issue if only the US (and Mexico as well) were to end the war on substances and on people.

The ATF allowing guns to go to Mexico reminds us of when cops buy/sell drugs and offer to sell sexual services, all in the name of law and order, all to get a few more people arrested. Really, nothing new here. Business as usual.

The news story says that the ATF is “partly” to blame. I’d say that the draconian policy is fully to blame.
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« Reply #10 on: 2011-April-11 01:10:13 AM »

http://dennisleewilson.com/simplemachinesforum/index.php?topic=464.msg1036#msg1036

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/85190.html

‘Love Thy Neighbor, Hate Thy State’
Posted by Lew Rockwell on April 9, 2011 08:47 PM

Writes Hogeye Bill, whose motto is “Love thy neighbor; hate thy State”:

    A news story [copied below] you may be interested in if you haven’t seen it already. It starts: “Yesterday, multitudes took to the streets in more than 40 Mexican cities — and in protests by Mexicans and their friends at consulates and embassies in Europe, North America, and South America — to demand an end to the violence wrought by the US-imposed “war on drugs.”

    What? You haven’t heard about this? Or if you have heard something about it, did you know that it is the biggest news story in the Mexican media, on the front page of virtually every daily newspaper in the country?

    A sea change has occurred in Mexican public opinion. The people have turned definitively against the use of the Mexican Army to combat against drug traffickers. The cry from every city square yesterday was for the Army to return to its barracks and go back to doing the job it was formed to do; protect Mexico from foreign invasion and provide human aid relief in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.”

http://narcosphere.narconews.com/thefield/4372/and-what-history-looks-mexico
And This Is What History Looks Like in Mexico
Posted by Al Giordano - April 7, 2011 at 11:38 am

By Al Giordano



Yesterday, multitudes took to the streets in more than 40 Mexican cities - and in protests by Mexicans and their friends at consulates and embassies in Europe, North America and South America - to demand an end to the violence wrought by the US-imposed "war on drugs."

What? You haven't heard about this? Or if you have heard something about it, did you know that it is the biggest news story in the Mexican media, on the front page of virtually every daily newspaper in the country?

A sea change has occurred in Mexican public opinion. The people have turned definitively against the use of the Mexican Army to combat against drug traffickers. The cry from every city square yesterday was for the Army to return to its barracks and go back to doing the job it was formed to do; protect Mexico from foreign invasion and provide human aid relief in case of natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes. Since President Felipe Calderón unleashed the Armed Forces, four years ago, to combat drug trafficking organizations, the violence between it and the competing narco organizations has led to a daily body count, widespread human rights abuses against civilians, and more than 40,000 deaths, so many of them of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire and used by all sides in the armed conflict that still has no winners, that never will have any winner.

A fast moving series of events that began on March 28 have converged to usher Mexico into its very own "Arab spring." And it began just outside "the City of Eternal Spring," Cuernavaca, in the state of Morelos, about an hour south of Mexico City. Narco News has been covering these events for the past week (sadly, we are so far the only English-language media to do so at each step of the story, even as it has huge consequences for United States drug policy not only in Mexico but throughout the world and at home). On that date, in the town of Temixco, seven young men were assassinated. These were kids with jobs, who went to school, model kids, not criminals. And one of those kids, Juan Francisco Silvia, was the son of a nationally respected journalist and poet, Javier Sicilia, of Cuernavaca.

In a week, the soft spoken, increasingly beloved, intellectual has become the national vessel through which millions of voices now demand: End the war on drugs.

We translated Javier's Open Letter to Mexico's Politicians and Criminals this week, and penned what is our third editorial in eleven years to provide you with context and background to understand the magnitude of what he has unearthed. Yesterday we translated his statements calling for the legalization of drugs to restore peace and dignity to Mexico, and then we headed out to report the marches that this increasingly and deservedly beloved man called for to happen only days ago. We had reporters with Sicilia in his city of Cuernavaca, in Mexico City, and correspondents in numerous other Mexican and international locations, and over the course of the day I will be adding photos and more information about what happened to this page as updates.

Truth is that so much has happened in a day that processing it all tends to overwhelm. Last night, returning from the marches, ten reporters, photographers and video makers (all students or professors at the School of Authentic Journalism) met to compare notes. Everyone was so shaken - I mean that in the best possible way - by what we had seen and heard, and wanted to talk about it, to understand what exactly is happening here on the other side of the US border.

I was part of the team covering the demonstration in the capital, at which about 20,000 people came for the first ever demonstration against the war on drugs (there have been annual marijuana legalization marches in Mexico City for some time, but this was the first time a mass of people had convened to collapse the entire policy of the drug war, and the attendees were far more diverse). Here are some observations: A good half of the crowd looked like they had never attended a demonstration before. Couples, young and old, with homemade signs, many of which were versions of a popular piece of artwork that Mexican political cartoonists have caused to "go viral" on the Internet. Practicing the Debordian art of détournment, people added their own messages to it. Here is one example:

In Spanish, the plus sign ("+") translates as "mas," or "more." So to say "one plus one," you say "uno mas uno" (or "one, more one"). The original image - "No + (the red ink blot)" is immediately understood in Mexico as "No more blood." Everyday people added their own specific demands to this design, on placards, tee shirts, stickers, Xeroxed and photoshopped copies on letter paper. They called for no more deaths, injustice, impunity, corruption, police, and Calderón, among the related things they want no more of. The rage personalized on Calderón was particularly interesting, since many of these people were of the "middle class" demographic that constitute his electoral base. It's certain that a good number of people who came to this march had voted for Calderón in 2006 for president, but here they were, yesterday, chanting, "Out Calderón!" and "Urgent! Urgent! He Must Resign, the President!"

Many mothers and grandmothers carried signs they had made asking questions like, "If the children killed were named Calderón would you still want this war?" They marched next to businessmen in suits, Christian religious groups, punks with spiked hair, entire families with baby carriages, a few people walking their dogs, bicyclists, lesbians, gays, young office professionals with stylish printed placards, each of them unique, and small groups of three, four, five friends who told our reporters that they were not part of any organization or collective, but they had read about the march in the media or on Facebook and decided together to come out for it. I have reported on marches throughout Mexico for fourteen years and this was the first time I had seen so many of these kinds of people at a protest; regular people, who had they been walking without their signs on any given day on any corner wouldn't necessarily draw one's attention due to their sheer and pleasant normalcy.

That was about half of the march's attendees.

The other half were sectors of society that had obviously marched for causes before. I recognized many from the Zapatista Other Campaign and anti-electoral fraud protests of 2006. The electrical workers union brought a contingent of hundreds, the teacher's union, groups of professors or students from the universities in the city, indigenous campesinos, alternative media makers numbered over 100 among the ones I recognized, and there were about as many reporters and cameras from official news organizations. There were people peddling newspapers from every leftist "tendency" that exists: the marxist-leninists, the trotskyists, the anarchists, the maoists, even the stalinists. There were people, pushed by NGOs, who had marched "for more security" in the past and had interpreted that as "more police and prisons." But here they were answering don Javier's call to march against the war on drugs! The People's Front for Defense of the Land came from Atenco - I hugged Nacho del Valle, who was freed from prison almost a year ago - who had arrived with his neighbors at this march against violence with their machetes high in the air. In other lands it might seem paradoxical the sight of machete swords at what others called a "march for peace" but it caused absolutely no concern or fright among other attendees. In Mexico, it is well understood that people's self defense is a less violent alternative to corrupt police forces. And so they fit right in.

See, what has happened here is politically significant: those who have long had and voiced their grievances with "the evil government" of Calderón have intelligently latched on to the anti-war-on-drugs cause as their own, too, because they smartly percieve it as a "wedge issue" that encompasses the whole of national discontent and which could very possibly result in the toppling of an authoritarian president, "elected" only via well documented electoral fraud, with absolutely not a shred of moral authority among his own people. In just one week, humble and dignified Javier Sicilia has collected the free-floating moral authority that nobody else could credibly assume in this Failed State named Mexico and supplanted the napoleanic Calderón as the moral leader of a nation. A big reason that has happened is because, due to his columns over so many years, everybody knows that Sicilia dislikes political parties, has zero interest in running for political office, and serves as a kind of "anti-caudillo" figure at contrast with the strong swashbuckling machismo of so many previous political and revolutionary leaders that the public has grown uneasy with. This is not to say that "the Sicilian" who now puts order to "the mafias" is any kind of pushover at all. When he speaks of the need for criminals to return to their "codes of honor" and leave civilians alone, a guy named Giordano understands exactly what a guy named Sicilia is talking about: this is a man with guts and cunning, too, and one who knows his enemy, and his enemy's history.

Which brings us to what was actually an even more significant march yesterday, led by Sicilia in his city of Cuernavaca. The photo up above, the front page of El Diario de Morelos, tells 50,000 words, all of them voiced by someone who came to the protest there. Greg Berger, who teaches cinema at the state university in Cuernavaca, and the Narco News Team were there, too, and are currently banging out a viral video for NNTV on what happened - and what is still happening - there.

In a country where the Armed Forces inspire fear among everyday citizens (so much so that it is routine for a bar or restaurant to have a sign indicating that it will not serve people in uniform), more so in the past four years than ever before, it is not every day that 50,000 people - the largest march in the history of Cuernavaca, even of the entire state of Morelos - go to the gates of a military base and demand that the soldiers stay quarantined there. But that is exactly what happened. On a normal day, you can pass by that base and there are multiple gunmen in uniform stationed at watchposts, watching you and everybody else pass by. The military had the good sense to pull those troops back yesterday and there were few to be seen at all, according to our reporters. Then Javier Sicilia climbed atop a microbus and addressed the Armed Forces directly, with a nonviolent army at his back. There, he told them, "You have always been the custodians of peace for our nation. That's why we never want to see you again outside of your barracks." That just isn't ever said. Oh, wait. It just was, and for the multitude assembled, it was the reestablishment of the proper social order: that in a democracy, an army, if there is one, must be at service of the people. Four years of Calderón having reversed that order - he converted the people into mere pieces on the Army's chess board, objects to be pushed around, stopped, searched, invaded, molested and assassinated - has brought the public to its absolute limit.

Cuernavaca is now the unlikely epicenter of something of revolutionary potential: the reestablishment of the proper order of things in which a people rule its own country. It has been a bloody battlefield for four years (before that it was a tranquil flowered city with a strong pull on tourists who now no longer come there due to Calderón's War) but now it is a new kind of battlefield: a struggle to reconquer the terrain of daily life for every citizen, every family, block by block for every neighborhood. And nobody knows where this is going to go but I have an idea, and I will pose it with a question:

What happens when a neighborhood declares itself a military-free zone, and erects its own nonviolent checkpoints and barricades on traffic that enters it, with the goal of either keeping uniformed authorities out, or making them agree to the people's established rules before they enter? Very soon, Calderón, as commander of the Armed Forces, may have to answer this question. Does he repeat his arrogant history and engage the people themselves as enemy combatants, this time under the attention of the national media? And if he does, what will that spark in the next neighborhood over, in the city, in the state, in the entire country?

It is often said that the war on drugs has no clear enemy nor objectives. Javier Sicilia and the people of Cuernavaca - as well as the tens of thousands from throughout Mexico who marched in solidarity and for the same demands with them - have just called the bluff of the drug war. They have said, We know who the enemy is. It is us! And now we accept that fact and will deal with it accordingly, our way.

Kind reader, I would like you to think about that. It is important that you understand what is underway in Mexico, and especially in Cairovaca... oh, excuse me, I meant to say... Cuernavaca.

And in a little while I'll come back to this page and begin posting photos and reflections of yesterday's marches. But what you have just read, that is what makes this history.

And now for the updates...

5:13 p.m. The homemade sign in this placard at yesterday's march in Mexico City translates as: "Some fathers are poets. All children are poems."

Poets, writers (many journalists consider themselves one or the other or both), songwriters, screenwriters, really, artists of any sort, tend to identify with Javier Sicilia's tragic loss of a son. The Mexican painter Francisco Toledo led yesterday's march in Oaxaca city, and today the actor Edward James Olmos showed up in Cuernavaca to add his voice to the struggle. I ran into a poet friend of mine yesterday who has always told me he didn't like demonstrations or political organizations, but there he was. He looked almost embarrassed to have done so but at the same time he could not turn away. We can safely expect that the entire artistic and creative class of Mexico is in this fight, in one way or another, already. And that will help greatly in its creativity beyond the "same old, same old" slogans, images, icons and tactics that have slowed down other worthy but in the end not very creative struggles...

More to come...

5:37 p.m. Oh my, it seems this report has "gone viral" on the Internet and its social networks. If you would like to see more of this kind of reporting - we call it authentic journalism - then check out another essay we posted today from one of the talents we are training this year, Namees Arnous, of Cairo: An Authentic Journalist Speaks from a Free Egypt: "Let Me Tell You a Story about Media and Revolution."

Namees, along with other Egyptians and 80 journalists from 40 countries, will be with us soon in Mexico at the School of Authentic Journalism at a ten-day course that charges no tuition. We are already learning plenty from our colleagues who toppled Mubarak and finding many applications for their tactics and strategies on this side of the lake! Feel free to help that along; this project does all that it does mostly on small contributions from readers like you. Listen to Namees and do what she says!

Anyway, now back to our regularly scheduled programing...

Friday, 11:35 a.m. A group of university students in Cuernavaca had already been studying the use of viral video in the Egyptian revolution when recent events hit their own city. In a collaboration with our creative friends, Los Detonadores, they started a Facebook page, Todos Somos Juan Francisco Sicilia ("We Are All Juan Francisco Sicilia") in memory and tribute to the poet's son, of their city and generation, whose assassination began this fast-moving chain of events. It is modeled after a Facebook page in Egypt that they studied in sequence, from the page's first day of publication, named We Are All Kahled Said, through its growth to its present 100,000+ strong. The Egyptian page served as a clearing house for "viral video conversations" in which people would borrow from each others' videos (adding new music or ideas) to make new ones. And it helped create a collective vision of what resistance and revolution in Egypt might look like, long in advance of the January 25 protests. (And there happens to be real interesting news out of Cairo today, with a new mobilization on Tahrir Square to "purify" the government from the remnants of the regime, under the title of "Warning Friday: Revolution Still Alive.")

They and their friends have now collaborated on two viral videos from Cuernavaca. This first one is from the demonstrations on Wednesday in Cuernavaca and Mexico City, and includes don Javier's message to the Armed Forces to go back to their barracks:

The second one highlights the protests in solidarity with Cuernavaca around the world:

NNTV's video report on these events is in fast and furious production as I type (some of the same youngsters who did such fast and good work on these videos are also busy assisting in our Cuernavaca newsroom with that). Stay tuned!

 
« Last Edit: 2011-April-11 01:19:01 AM by DennisLeeWilson » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: 2011-May-16 01:01:51 PM »

MORE LAWS needed to prop up the original drug war "laws".
The never-ending cycle of "law" making foretold by Ayn Rand in 1957.

http://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/no-mexican-trucks-us-highways-lawmakers
No Mexican Trucks on U.S. Highways, Lawmakers Tell DOT
Monday, May 16, 2011
By Edwin Mora

(CNSNews.com) – In a recent letter to U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, a bipartisan group of 44 lawmakers urged the Obama administration not to reinstate a cross-border program involving Mexican trucks.

The lawmakers cited cost, safety and security concerns as reasons for not reviving the U.S. Department of Transportation’s proposed program.

Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) and Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) are leading the bi-partisan effort, which includes 13 Republicans and 31 Democrats.

“We have concerns that this proposed program could impact the safety and may create a security breach along our southern border,” the lawmakers wrote in a May 4 letter.

“With the recent rise in and the changing tactics of the Mexican drug cartels, we are also concerned that moving forward with this cross-border trucking program at this time is not in the best interests for security along our border,” added the letter. “The El Paso Intelligence Center reports that commercial vehicles are widely-used by Mexican drug trafficking organizations.’

The program would allow certified Mexican long-haul trucks to deliver goods inside the United States. Mexican trucks entering the U.S. would be required to abide by all U.S. safety and security regulations.

Currently, truckers on both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border are permitted to travel only within a 20- to 25-mile radius of a trade port.

“The current system of Mexican carriers operating within a defined commercial zone is working well for both safety and border security,” concluded the letter. “We strongly oppose the Administration’s cross-border trucking proposal.”

The program originally was established under the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement, but amid safety, security, and environmental concerns, the U.S. suspended the pilot program. In 2009, Congress killed it.  

As a result, the Mexican government slapped tariffs on $2.4 billion of U.S. goods, and those tariffs are still in place today.

“While we understand the need to work to remove the unfair tariffs that Mexico has imposed on U.S. agricultural products as a result, doing so should not come at the expense of the safety of our highways,” the lawmakers said in their letter.

The lawmakers object to taxpayer funds (from the federal Highway Trust Fund) being used to pay for on-board electronic monitors that the Mexican trucks would be required to carry. American truckers, on the other hand, would have to purchase the same equipment themselves. That’s adding insult to injury, Rep. Hunter said in a statement.

“Simply put, the cross-border trucking program is a straight handout to Mexico at the expense of American jobs, taxpayer dollars and security,” Hunter said.  He noted that the proposed program will give Mexican truckers “unrestricted access to U.S. roadways, leaving their American counterparts at a serious disadvantage,” which is one reason why labor unions also object to the program.

Rep. Daniel Lipinski (D-Ill.) said inspection failures and security lapses at the border “could result in the entry of unsafe vehicles and drivers that pose a threat to the safety of the public.” He said he is also concerned about Mexican providing drug traffickers with another potential avenue to exploit at a time when crime and violence in Mexico are on the rise.

In March 2011, President Obama and Mexican President Felipe Calderon agreed to re-start the program.  

As part of the agreement, Mexico will lift the current agricultural tariffs in two phases. Half will be eliminated when the two countries sign the agreement, and the other half when the first Mexican truck is allowed to travel freely on U.S. roadways.

Several trade unions such as Teamsters and AFL-CIO have criticized the Obama administration’s intentions to revive the cross-border trucking program, saying that opening the U.S. roads to Mexican truckers could kill U.S. jobs.

However, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Foreign Trade Council, an association of 250 U.S. corporations involved in international trade, support the Mexican trucking deal.

A September 2009 report by the Chamber of Commerce estimated if the U.S. did not implement  the NAFTA trucking provisions, "the impact on U.S. employment ... coupled with Mexican retaliation equals 25,600 jobs.”  The report also estimated that the suspension of the program has caused “U.S. exports to decline by $2.6 billion.”

Mexico is the second largest U.S export market.
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« Reply #12 on: 2011-May-16 01:06:36 PM »

[2011-05-05] Drug war murders spread to AZ--Marine murdered by SWAT at home in Tucson.
  • Jose Guerena, a former Marine who served two combat tours abroad, was denied medical attention for one hour and 14 minutes before dying from SWAT inflicted wounds.
  • "I never imagined I would lose him like that, he was badly injured but I never thought he could be killed by police after he served his country," lamented Vanessa Guerena.
  • WHERE IS THE OUTRAGE?
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« Reply #13 on: 2011-May-17 11:20:25 PM »

http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2011/05/mexico-calderon-thousands

Mexico’s silent March for Peace falls on deaf ears

Posted by Tom Kavanagh - 13 May 2011 14:25

Calderón stands firm as thousands take to the streets to demand an end to drug gang violence.


"No more bloodshed" is the message as tens of thousands descend on Mexico City's Zócalo, imploring the government to change tack in the ongoing "war on drug trafficking" (Getty Images)

Tens of thousands of demonstrators converged on Zócalo in Mexico City on Sunday, demanding an end to the wave of violence in which up to 40,000 people have been murdered in the past four and a half years.

Marching on the iconic square, protesters called for an immediate halt to the Calderón government's policy of fighting fire with fire as the country's ongoing "war on drug trafficking" shows no signs of relenting.

One of the event's principal organisers was the poet Javier Sicilia, whose son was murdered in brutal circumstances along with five companions, some exhibiting signs of torture, in March.

Thousands had marched the 50 miles from Cuernavaca, the site of Juan Francisco Sicilia's killing, to the centre of Mexico's gargantuan capital in complete silence, the procession gaining numbers along the way.

Since coming to power in an election marred by evidence of widespread electoral fraud in 2006, President Felipe Calderón has deployed about 50,000 troops to take on the armed cartels, which make their money by trafficking narcotics towards and into the United States.

As rival gangs compete for trade routes and regional supremacy, innocent people are invariably caught in the crossfire.

Killing fields

The fallout has been catastrophic. Since Calderón's disputed election, tens of thousands of Mexicans have paid with their lives as the conflict has spun out of control, turning the Mexican side of the border shared with the United States into one of the most dangerous regions on the planet.

Ciudad Juárez, population 1.3 million, sits a short distance over the frontier from El Paso, Texas, and has witnessed more than 600 murders since January – many of them women, and 50 claiming the lives of children under the age of 13. Three thousand people were murdered in the municipality in 2010.

Stories that would remain etched in the public consciousness for years in Britain disappear from the headlines in days in Mexico as news of fresh atrocities consigns them to the history books. In April, several mass graves, containing more than a hundred bodies in total, were found in the northern state of Tamaulipas.

Last August the corpses of 72 mostly central American migrants en route to the United States who had turned down offers to work for the potent Los Zetas cartel had been found in the same state.

Such incidents have become routine. The effect of the prolonged instability on business and tourism has been disastrous.

No more war

The government, turning a blind eye to the vociferous protestations of those who arrived in the capital on Sunday after several days' marching, insists it has played no role whatsoever in escalating the insecurity that today plagues much of the country.

"The military, the navy and the federal police do not generate violence," retorted an official government communiqué. "The federal government shares with its citizens the aspiration of making Mexico a safe country with opportunities for development for all."

For at least one former president, however, the war on drugs will never be won. Felipe Calderón's immediate predecessor, Vicente Fox, caused consternation last year when he pointed to the elephant in the room: the profit margins available to cartels because of the illegal status of marijuana and other illicit substances.

"What I am proposing is legalisation, so that the people running the trade are businessmen instead of criminals . . . They would pay taxes and this would generate jobs," said Fox, who, like Calderón, is a staunch conservative from the National Action Party.

The former president pointed out that, by every statistical measure, the war against the drug gangs has been an abject failure. "After four years of the war on trafficking in Mexico, the cartels are exporting more drugs, killing more people and getting richer than ever . . .

"Prohibition of alcohol in the United States failed. It just provoked violence and criminality until it was abandoned," Fox said.

President Calderón said he was against the proposal, but expressed a desire to see a national debate on the matter. He said that until the US alters its policy towards illegal substances, Mexico is in no position to do so: "This country would become a paradise for all the world's criminals."
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« Reply #14 on: 2011-May-17 11:33:10 PM »

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/may/08/mexico-failed-war-drugs-call-for-end

Mexico's failed war against the drug gangs

Mexicans are calling for an end to the battle against organised crime that has cost 40,000 lives

    Comments (144)

    luis
        Luis Hernández Navarro
        guardian.co.uk, Sunday 8 May 2011 23.00 BST


police Acapulco, Mexico
Police officers secure the area where a body has been dumped on the street in Acapulco, Mexico. A fierce turf war continues between rival drug gangs. Photograph: Alexandre Meneghini/AP

On Sunday thousands of Mexicans marched in the capital, Mexico City, to demand an end to the "war on drug trafficking" launched by President Felipe Calderón. They view it is an absurd war that has cost 40,000 lives. Similar protests were held across the country.

The massive mobilisation was called by the poet Javier Sicilia. In March, his son was brutally murdered along with five others in Cuernavaca. Apart from being a great writer who has received a number of literary prizes, Sicilia is a Christian with a commitment to popular causes and a follower of Ivan Illich, the controversial Austrian thinker who lived in Mexico for many years. Sicilia has no links to political parties, and has gathered around him a great many people who are unhappy with the government and with its failed war against organised crime.

Calderón took office as president in December 2006, after a controversial election beset by allegations of fraud. Seeking a legitimacy that the polls did not give him, he took the military out of the barracks and into politics.

The outcome has been disastrous. Tens of thousands of people have been murdered. Many of them were unarmed, and had not picked a fight. They were not killed as part of the all-out war between rival drug cartels or during clashes between the military and/or the police and organised crime gangs. Their deaths were crimes committed in a country where vast areas are under a non-declared state of siege, patrolled day and night by thousands of police and military.

Human rights have never been respected in Mexico – but since the war on drug trafficking began, rights violations have dramatically increased. Scores of civilians have been shot dead in their cars at military checkpoints. In many parts of the country there are severe restrictions on press freedom.

The March for Peace With Justice and Dignity that culminated in the capital made demands on the authorities and on the criminal gangs to put an end to the violence. The protesters think that organised crime has infiltrated the government and that there is now a "co‑opted state" – a "rotten state". The war on drug trafficking "is not supported" by the people, according to the Catholic bishop Raúl Vera. The protests are supported by the Catholic church. "We Mexicans must shout a categorical 'stop!'," said the Mexican Episcopate Council.

Calderón's government has reacted negatively to the protests. The public security minister, Genaro García Luna, said it was "unthinkable" that the fight against the cartels might be wrong. Calderón boasted that he had "the law, reason and force" on his side.

Sicilia's initiative converges with other movements: the Walks Against Death in Ciudad Juárez – protests staged by parents of the children who died in a fire at the ABC nursery, which was caused by the authorities' negligence; the No More Blood campaign, promoted by several cartoonists; the actions by the followers of Benjamín LeBaron – a charismatic figure of the Mormon community who was kidnapped and killed in Chihuahua; and the works undertaken by the priest Alejandro Solalinde in favour of undocumented migrants.

A sorrowful Sicilia summed up in one phrase the feeling of many Mexicans: "Estamos hasta la madre!" (We are all fed up). To express this sense of weariness, the sound of the marches was the furious silence of the participants. "He who keeps silent is ungovernable," Ivan Illich said. Therein rests the force of the demonstration.
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