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Time to end ‘war on drugs,’ starting with marijuana
Aug 3rd, 2014 by Warren Swil

NYT’s bold call

for legal pot doesn’t

go far enough

TV producer David Simon is a prominent crusader for an end to the war on drugs.

In a bold and prominent series of editorials, The New York Times has this week been calling for federal legalization of marijuana.
It is a courageous position and has sparked a national discussion about a topic bubbling up from the states.
But, alas, it doesn’t go far enough.
The 40-year war on drugs is the most corrupt federal policy ever, and it has a corrupting influence on almost everyone it touches.
The conversation should not start and end with pot. It should encompass the more fundamental proposition that substance abuse in general is not a matter for the criminal justice system at all.
Instead, it is a public health issue. Civilized countries have long moved in this direction. The US needs to evolve from incarcerating substance abusers to treating them. Not only would this be more humane, it also would save money and lives.


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REALPOLITIK: Jetliner attack unlikely to spark World War III

RUSSIA’S PUTIN HAS GLOBAL ECONOMY OVER A BARREL – FOR NOW
The muted reaction to the downing of a passenger jet by those in a position to do something about it reflects the new realities of an interconnected, mutually-dependent global economy.
The chief villain in western eyes, the Russian Federation has become a strategically significant player in the global economy.
If this acts to restrain the hotheads who would immediately bomb Moscow in retaliation, the entire world can breathe a sigh of relief.


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CULTURE SHOCK: Would US elect two women to run the country?

CLINTON-WARREN TICKET WOULD COVER ALL THE BASES
It is not too early to speculate that a Hillary Clinton-Elizabeth Warren presidential ticket in 2016 would cover all the Democratic bases.
Inviting Warren onto the ticket would cover many political gaps in Clinton’s support.
It would energize the base and give the progressive wing of the party a reason to get out and vote.
And it could have a salutary effect on a Hillary Clinton presidency.


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Villain of Iraq invasion makes astounding comeback

CHALABI SEEN AS POSSIBLE CONTENDER FOR PRIME MINISTER SLOT
One of the most villainous players in the disastrous 2003 US invasion of Iraq has made an astounding comeback.
The resurrection of Ahmad Chalabi was, ironically, capped with a front-page story and photo in The New York Times today.
It reminds us of one the main reasons Iraq finds itself in such an impossible quandary today and the role US media played in getting it there.


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Outrageous: Cheney dares to critique Iraq policy

A REMINDER THAT HE WAS MOST WRONG ABOUT MOST THINGS
The utterly outrageous op-ed by the one most wrong about most things to do with Iraq at the most enormous cost in blood and treasure dares to call President Obama “blithely unaware.”
Dick Cheney is wrong again.
Chutzpah is not nearly strong enough to describe Cheney’s latest foray into the debacle he foisted on the world. He should shut up, already, for all time.


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Frightful implosion of Ottoman Empire remnants accelerates

VANISHING MIDDLE EAST ‘NATION STATES’ POSE THREAT OF CONFLAGRATION
The world spotlight has again turned to the slow-motion implosion of what was once the Ottoman Empire.
The ‘border’ between Iraq and Syria has been effectively erased, and the region is poised on the edge of conflagration. One hundred years of nation-states are coming apart, with dangerous global implications.
The world is powerless to intervene in what has become an epochal earthquake.
There are no easy answers, and those who pose them should be regarded as fools who would plunge us all over the abyss.


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HARD CHOICES: Clinton inevitability in 2016 a media myth

POTENTIAL CHALLENGER SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN COULD UPSET DYNASTY
With all the hype about Hillary Clinton’s new book, it may seem her victory in 2016 is increasingly inevitable.
But, political memories are short. Everyone seems to have forgotten that Clinton also seemed “inevitable” in 2008 – until an upstart from Illinois proved otherwise.
If there is a remote chance that anyone can challenge the emerging Clinton lock on the 2016 presidential race, it is embodied in Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Let’s all hope she is up to the challenge.


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A year into Snowden leaks, tech giants fight back

INTERNET FIRMS MAY CHANGE TERMS OF SURVEILLANCE DEBATE
Exactly one year after the revelations from Edward Snowden began, a coalition of nine of the biggest names in tech has rejoined the battle against government surveillance.
If their open letter to the US Senate reframes at least part of the debate as a business issue, it may yet gain some serious traction.
The political classes – especially the GOP (aka the party of big business) – might find the cover they need to do more than mere window dressing.
It is time for big business to really ratchet up the pressure.


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‘Big brother’ is watching: dark side of big data exposed

FEDERAL WATCHDOG URGES CURBS ON DATA BROKERS
In a new report, the Federal Trade Commission lays out in frightening detail how much data is being collected about all of us and the uses to which it is being and could be put.
The FTC unanimously calls for legislation to give consumers the right to learn about the existence and activities of data brokers and give them access to their data.
The recommendations should be enacted into law by Congress without delay.


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Peace With Honor? On Afghanistan, it looks like neither

OBAMA MISSES CHANCE TO BE BRAVE, WISE ON TIMETABLE
President Obama missed an opportunity to demonstrate both courage and wisdom on Afghanistan with his announcement on Tuesday.
The US has done everything it could to bring peace and stability to a region that has known little of either for a millennium.
It is a great pity the president did not announce the complete withdrawal of all US forces effective immediately. There is nothing to be gained by prolonging the agony.


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