5 Quick Political Facts for Today (3/4/15)

Money, money, money, dru-ugs…and guns.  I forget how that song goes.

This drink intermission sponsored by corporate tax-dodging America!
  • GOP presidential hopeful Marco Rubio lays out his economic plan for the country and it’s all kinds of terrible.  Nothing overly surprising in the plan as it’s a giveaway to the wealthy and will hurt the poor and middle-class, like most GOP proposals.  Tax cuts for corporations, elimination of dividends and capital gains tax, and cuts to Medicare and Social Security to pay for it.  Please keep trumping that idea around so everyone is clear about what you want to do to us.  I’m sure that presidential run will go great, Senator Nochanceinhell!
  • In economic inequality news, David Geffen donates $100 million to Lincoln Center.  It’s great he wants to make such a donation to the arts but it’s hard to ignore the economic disparity when these donations are made at the same time the wages of the majority have stagnated for so many decades.  It must be nice to donate the equivalent of 6631 minimum wage earners’ combined yearly salaries in one shot.  The donation is great but it does help exemplify the huge difference between the have-everythings and the have-littles.
  • An appeals court has upheld a California city’s ban on gun magazines that hold more than 10 bullets.  A small victory for commonsense gun policy but the case will go through more appeals as gun nuts desperately beg for an increase in the size of their magazines.  Blah blah blah penis joke.  Bob Loblaw penis joke.  Blah blah blah penis joke.  Moving on.
  • Heroin death rates in the United States have quadrupled since 2000So odd it is happening.  It’s almost as if the market has been flooded with more heroin from the people who grow the most heroin in the world since the year 2000 for some reason.  I wonder how that happened?

The article is filled with good information until the end when this quote appears:

David G. Evans, of the Drug-Free America Foundation, blames the use of less-harmful drugs for the uptick in heroin use.

“I think heroin deaths are going up in part because the attitude has changed towards marijuana,” he said. “Kids now think marijuana is a medicine so it’s okay to use it. You get involved in a drug culture, you get high, you get addicted, one drug just seems like the other, and I think that’s a big part of it.”

Ah, the good ole Gateway Theory.  Hasn’t that myth been killed enough by academics to never bother quoting in a serious article on drug use?  It’s like finding a fossil fuel funded climate denying scientist to quote in a climate change article.  We’re better than that now, aren’t we?

  • Palestinian president Abbas calls Israel gangsters over the tax dollars they are holding from the Palestinian people.  If you read the article closely, it clearly maps out how this situation could easily (and will likely) devolve into more violence due to Israel’s horrendous action.  Israel will then “mow the lawn” again and kill more innocent Palestinians in the name of their security, despite the fact they will have caused the situation to begin in the first place.

Already many of the PA’s 140,000 civil servants have had their pay cut by around 40 percent

Gosh, why would 140k people be angry about their pay being cut nearly in half by an occupying government that just killed more than 2,000 of their people?  But remember everyone, it’s Israel that is being treated terribly by the Palestinians and not the other way around.  Just listen to their leader.  If Netanyahu wasn’t busy lying about the non-existent nuclear threat of Iran, he would be able to lie to you about the threat of Palestinians.

Report: Global war on drugs is failing – CNN.com

Report: Global war on drugs is failing – CNN.com.

And the award for political broken record of the week goes to…this article!

One tidbit of info that might be somewhat surprising from the piece:

Prices fell despite a general increase in seizures and a fall in production of some illegal substances, the study added.

Basic economics would say it is not normal for supply to fall along with the price but this is probably an indication of illegal drugs getting increased competition from prescription drugs.  Other factors probably play a role as well but one would have to assume prescription drugs are a major part of the reason for the abnormality.

But certainly the most important aspect to listen to comes from one of the researchers that produced the report:

“We should look to implement policies that place community health and safety at the forefront of our efforts, and consider drug use a public health rather than a criminal justice issue,” added Wood. (Emphasis added)

Hopefully, it is only a matter of time until this mentality takes over and a rational addressing of drugs (both legal and illegal) occurs in the United States.

Romney and Obama Silent on a Big Issue in Third Debate

An article in the CSM points out one of the more surprising realities of the third presidential debate: a complete failure on both candidates’ part to mention the drug war in Mexico and the 60,000+ casualties it has claimed in the past six years.  One quote from the article sums up the bizarre nature of this issue and is a reflection on the American media’s attention span:

Mexican academic Sergio Aguayo added, using a more commonly cited figure for Mexican deaths: “They talk about a humanitarian tragedy in Syria (30,000 deaths) and still don’t say anything about Mex (some 60,000). Will they?”

There are lots of elements deserving blame for the failure to address this issue by the candidates.  One is most certainly the media.  The old adage of “if it bleeds, it leads” will always apply but with one caveat.  If it bleeds slowly, it never leads and sometimes doesn’t get the attention it deserves.  There is no doubt the number of deaths in Syria are happening at a quicker pace than Mexico.  But not by much and not by enough to completely ignore the most devastating issue of the country on our southern border.

Debate #3
Debate #3

Another factor is the controversial nature of two domestic issues connected with the Mexican Drug War, the U.S.’s gun and drug policies.  The third debate was about foreign policy so no surprise these issues did not come up.  But both are directly connected with the violence in Mexico and having a debate about the drug war there must include a look about the causes at home.  Unless some reasonable changes are made to these policies, the violence and body count will continue to escalate because of our turning a blind eye as a nation to the Mexican population.

One last obvious aspect to blame would be the moderator of the debate not asking a specific question about the Mexican Drug War.  We could blame Mr. Schieffer but let’s not forget one reality about politicians.  They answer the questions they wanted asked of them and not always the actual question that was asked.  Which means the increasing violence and civilian casualty count in Mexico is so far out of the minds of both candidates that they can spend an hour and a half on foreign policy and not mention it once.

We are left to wonder what the body count in Mexico would have to be to get some attention in a presidential debate solely on foreign policy.