Sunday, October 21

I Could Have Told Them This 5 Years Ago!!!

Report says the UN's global 'war on drugs' has been a failure!!!

Updated 6:01 PM ET, Sun October 21, 2018




































































I'm sure that a very many people can say they knew it just like I did. The "war on drugs" has done nothing but make those who manufacture and sell drugs be more ingenious in what they do. It didn't  make those reports on huge drug busts any more frequent; it made them come less frequently because the traffickers were getting better at what they did!

A Colombian police officer lays out packages of cocaine seized in the city of Cali


(CNN)The United Nations' drug strategy of the past 10 years has been a failure, according to a major report by the International Drug Policy Consortium (IDPC), which has called for a major rethinking of global policy on illegal narcotics.
The report claims that UN efforts to eliminate the illegal drug market by 2019 through a "war on drugs" approach has had scant effect on global supply while having negative effects on health, human rights, security and development.
According to the report, drug-related deaths have increased by 145% over the last decade, with more than 71,000 overdose deaths in the United States in 2017 alone. At least 3,940 people were executed for drug offenses around the world over the last 10 years, while drug crackdowns in the Philippines resulted in around 27,000 extrajudicial killings.
Packets of cocaine seized in the German port of Hamburg.

The IDPC, a network of 177 national and international NGOs concerned with drug policy and drug abuse, is urging the UN General Assembly Special Session on Drugs to consider a different approach to narcotics strategy for the next 10 years in the run-up to a March 2019 summit in Vienna, Austria.
"This report is another nail in the coffin for the war on drugs," said Ann Fordham, the Executive Director of IDPC, in a prepared statement. "The fact that governments and the UN do not see fit to properly evaluate the disastrous impact of the last ten years of drug policy is depressingly unsurprising."
The UN was not immediately available for comment on the report, which was made public Sunday.
"Governments will meet next March at the UN and will likely rubber-stamp more of the same for the next decade in drug policy. This would be a gross dereliction of duty and a recipe for more blood spilled in the name of drug control."
In 2017, Mexico, for example, recorded its most murderous year on record due to soaring levels of drug-related violence. As previously reported by CNN, the Mexican National Institute of Statistics and Geography revealed that there were 31,174 homicides over the course of the year -- an increase of 27% over 2016.
Mexico had more homicides in 2017 than previously reported, statistics institute says
In addition to fueling violence, the existing policy of criminalizing drug use has also resulted in mass incarceration, the report said. One in five prisoners are currently imprisoned for drug offenses, many on charges related to possession for personal use.
The report also said that 33 jurisdictions retain the death penalty for drug offenses in violation of international standards. However in March, US President Donald Trump proposed making drug trafficking a capital offense in response to the country's ongoing opioid crisis. 
Trump's death penalty plan for drug dealers a 'step backwards,' experts say
"What we learn from the IDPC shadow report is compelling. Since governments started collecting data on drugs in the 1990s, the cultivation, consumption and illegal trafficking of drugs have reached record levels," wrote Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of New Zealand and a member of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, in the report's foreword.
    "Moreover, current drug policies are a serious obstacle to other social and economic objectives and the 'war on drugs' has resulted in millions of people murdered, disappeared, or internally displaced."
    Last week Canada became the first country in the G7 group of industrialized nations to legalize the recreational use of marijuana.

    Saturday, October 13

    Are These People To Be Believed?

    My  response would be a resounding NO!! No matter who it is, anyone who hears something coming from the mouths of Trumpers should definitely take it with a huge 'grain of salt'! It's bound to be mistaken, have errors, or be a downright lie. This is a piece from August 14, but in my opinion, nothing has changed; when she does appear, what she says is wrong, stupid, or a lie.

    Sarah Sanders’s bizarrely incorrect argument about how Trump is helping black Americans

    President Trump’s rejoinder for accusations that he’s racially insensitive — or racist — is to point to how much he has done for the black community. He’ll point to the unemployment rate, for example, noting that joblessness among African Americans hit record lows during his presidency. (The rate has since bounced back up slightly.) The implication seems to be that his policies have been specifically targeted toward helping black and Hispanic Americans.
    On Tuesday, during one of her infrequent appearances in front of the White House press corps, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to put a finer point on Trump’s economic achievements for nonwhite Americans.
    “This is a president who is fighting for all Americans, who is putting policies in place that help all Americans — particularly African Americans,” she said. “Just look at the economy alone. This president, since he took office, in the year and a half that he’s been here, has created 700,000 new jobs for African Americans. That’s 700,000 African Americans that are working now that weren’t working when this president took place.”
    She continued: “When President Obama left after eight years in office — eight years in office — he had only created 195,000 jobs for African Americans. President Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years. Not only did he do that for African Americans, but for Hispanics — 1.7 million more Hispanics are working now.”
    Over the past several years, the employment rate has increased consistently, month over month. It’s a trend that didn’t begin in January 2017 with the inauguration of Donald Trump but shortly after the end of the recession during Barack Obama’s first term.
    The data make clear that there has been a steady upward trend since early 2010 — among whites, blacks and Hispanics.
    On Tuesday, during one of her infrequent appearances in front of the White House press corps, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to put a finer point on Trump’s economic achievements for nonwhite Americans.
    “This is a president who is fighting for all Americans, who is putting policies in place that help all Americans — particularly African Americans,” she said. “Just look at the economy alone. This president, since he took office, in the year and a half that he’s been here, has created 700,000 new jobs for African Americans. That’s 700,000 African Americans that are working now that weren’t working when this president took place.”
    She continued: “When President Obama left after eight years in office — eight years in office — he had only created 195,000 jobs for African Americans. President Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years. Not only did he do that for African Americans, but for Hispanics — 1.7 million more Hispanics are working now.”
    Over the past several years, the employment rate has increased consistently, month over month. It’s a trend that didn’t begin in January 2017 with the inauguration of Donald Trump but shortly after the end of the recession during Barack Obama’s first term.
    The data make clear that there has been a steady upward trend since early 2010 — among whites, blacks and Hispanics.
    What’s more, the increase in each group has been consistent; the slope of each line in the large graphs above has been largely consistent. So one wonders: How could it be the case that Trump has created three times as many jobs for black Americans? One thought might be that Sanders is counting Obama’s entire tenure, and black employment is now only slightly above where it was when jobs hit their low during that period. But black employment had rebounded to pre-recession levels by mid-2013.
    So what’s going on? The explanation is simple: Sanders is wrong. By a lot.
    We looked at three periods to try to give Sanders the benefit of the doubt: Entire administrations (January 2009 to January 2017 for Obama and January 2017 to July 2018 for Trump), the last 19 months of each administration (meaning all of Trump’s and the final 19 months of Obama’s) and the first 19 months of each.
    In terms of entire administrations, there was a much larger expansion of the number of black jobs under Obama than Trump — four times as many. Among Hispanic Americans, the expansion was even bigger. Among whites, the job growth under Obama was more modest, relative to that under Trump, in part because the drop in the number of jobs held by white Americans during the recession was so sharp. (See the chart at right, which we’ll get to in a second.) As a percentage, the increase in white employment under Obama was twice what Trump has seen. That’s over eight years, though, not less than two.
    Over the last 19 months of Obama’s administration, more jobs were created for black and Hispanic Americans than the same period under Trump. During those last 19 months, whites experienced lower job growth than they have under Trump. During the first 19 months of each administration, there’s no contest, because of the recession.
    Sanders was right that about 700,000 jobs have been added in the black community and that 1.7 million more Hispanic Americans are working than when Trump came to office. Both numbers are low, in fact.
    Compared with Obama’s eight years, though, Trump has — understandably! — underperformed.
    Update: Shortly after the press briefing concluded, the Council of Economic Advisers admitted that they’d provided incorrect information to Sanders. Later, Sanders herself rescinded the numbers in a tweet.
    If you want to see the graphs and charts which spell out all the actual numbers,just click this link.

    Saturday, October 6

    Finally! We See One Get Held To the Same Standard as a Citizen!

    A historic murder conviction of a Chicago cop — and a city's sigh of relief

    Demonstrators and Chicagoans react Oct. 5, 2018, after Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke is found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery for the shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald in 2014.
     (Chicago Tribune)

    With an entire city watching, convicted murderer Jason Van Dyke was taken into sheriff’s custody Friday and escorted from the courtroom.
    And Chicago exhaled.
    Businesses closed early and commuters scurried out of downtown, but the feared riots never materialized. Protests, too, remained peaceful.
    And inside the courthouse, the special prosecutor who won Van Dyke’s conviction predicted Chicago would heal from the wounds inflicted by the video-recorded shooting death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald.
    Because this case was never about one cop.
    Police scandals in Chicago have come and gone. But since the court-ordered release of a police dashboard camera video showing Van Dyke shooting McDonald as he walked down a Southwest Side street holding a knife, the city has faced a political and social reckoning unlike any in recent decades.
    Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy was fired. Voters ousted Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez. Mayor Rahm Emanuel opted not to run for re-election.
    Three other Chicago police officers have been charged with conspiring to cover up what really happened on Pulaski Road on the night of Oct. 20, 2014, and are slated to go to trial late next month. In addition to that criminal case, the entire Police Department now faces federal oversight following a U.S. Department of Justice investigation into the shooting.
    The video galvanized the city’s activist community, many of whom vowed to maintain their momentum following Van Dyke’s conviction.
    “The buck stops here,” said activist William Calloway, who was instrumental in the video’s release. “The buck stops in Chicago.”
    A Cook County jury convicted Van Dyke of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery with a firearm in connection with McDonald’s death. The verdict marked the first time in more than 50 years that a Chicago police officer has been convicted of murder for an on-duty incident.
    In reaching their historic decision, jurors relied heavily on the dashcam video that showed Van Dyke, who is white, firing 16 shots at McDonald, a black teen who appeared to be walking away from officers. Though race was not explicitly mentioned during the testimony, some witnesses made subtle references to skin color.
    Special prosecutor Joseph McMahon stunned many in his opening statement when he accused Van Dyke of shooting McDonald because he was a “black boy” who had the audacity to ignore the police.
    McMahon, the state’s attorney in suburban Kane County who was appointed because of Cook County prosecutors’ conflicts of interest, told reporters after the verdict that he believed it would have been wrong to ignore the long and fractured history between minority communities and the Chicago Police Department.
    “None of us looked at this case and did not understand that there is an element of race in this conversation,” he said. “That issue has permeated the relationship between law enforcement and many communities. I think it was important to talk about what was honest here. That’s why I said it.”
    Still, McMahon insisted the McDonald shooting and the conversations it started could ultimately help the city heal.
    “The verdict marks an opportunity for this city to come together,” he said.
    Laquan McDonald, 17, who was fatally shot in October 2014 by Chicago police Officer Jason Van Dyke. (Family photo)
    Healing, however, may take some time. Representatives of both the state and local police unions condemned the verdict — with the president of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police even saying that jurors had been “duped.”
    “This is a day I never thought I’d see in America, where 12 ordinary citizens were duped into saving the asses of self-serving politicians at the expense of a dedicated public servant,” President Chris Southwood said in a statement. “What cop would still want to be proactive fighting crime after this disgusting charade, and are law-abiding citizens ready to pay the price?”
    But many jurors told reporters that the responsibility felt like a privilege. They described their deliberations as respectful and harmonious
    “Every morning I got on the bus and on the train, and I saw hundreds and hundreds of my fellow Chicagoans, and I thought, how did I get on this jury?” one male said. “There are all these people, and I’m doing this work and nobody knows it. It felt really amazing.”
    Most jurors agreed to speak with reporters in the courtroom after the hearing, but did not consent to releasing their names. They spoke seated in the jury box with Judge Vincent Gaughan looking on from the bench.
    The foreperson, a white woman, said she knew before she was selected for jury service that the case had drawn national and local attention. She had to discipline herself to consider only the evidence at hand rather than her knowledge of the outside circumstances — for example, why certain officers were testifying under immunity from prosecution.
    But what really brought home her sense of “profound duty,” she said, was seeing the faces in the courtroom every day.
    “I know I wasn’t sleeping for three weeks. I was thinking of it constantly because of its impact,” she said. “Every day we walked in and looked at two families. We saw Jason Van Dyke’s family, and we saw Laquan McDonald’s family. And I couldn’t walk in here without thinking about that every day.”
    The case largely boiled down to the dashcam video that depicted the shooting as it unfolded as well as Van Dyke’s testimony in which he tried to defend his actions.
    The video, played dozens of times for jurors over the monthlong trial, showed Van Dyke and his partner pulling up to the scene as McDonald walked south in the middle of Pulaski Road, holding a 3-inch folding knife. As their car got to about 20 feet from McDonald, Van Dyke opened the passenger door for a brief moment before his partner, Joseph Walsh, pulled up farther down the street. Both jumped out with their guns drawn.
    Six seconds after Van Dyke exited the car, he took a step toward McDonald — closing the distance to about 12 feet as the teen continued to walk at an angle away from him — and opened fire. McDonald spun and fell to the pavement, his body making only small movements as more bullets appeared to strike him.
    Van Dyke continued firing for at least 12 seconds while McDonald lay prone in the street, emptying all 16 rounds into his body, prosecutors said.
    Van Dyke told the jury that he was forced to make a split-second decision to shoot McDonald because the teen posed a threat and ignored commands to drop the knife.
    Jurors found Van Dyke’s testimony rehearsed and unconvincing. Some even questioned whether his tears on the stand were genuine.
    "His memory and the facts in evidence didn't line up," said one juror, a white man.
    Hours after the conviction, the Chicago Police Board released a statement reminding the public that Van Dyke and four fellow officers still face possible firings.
    While Van Dyke’s trial focused on his actions alone, a trial slated for next month could have a much broader sweep — putting the alleged police “code of silence” itself on trial.
    Three of Van Dyke’s fellow officers will face trial on charges that they conspired to cover up the circumstances surrounding the shooting.
    Walsh, former Detective David March and Officer Thomas Gaffney all “submitted virtually identical false information” that exaggerated the threat posed by McDonald, according to a recently unsealed court filing from the special prosecutors handling their case. All three are charged with obstruction of justice, official misconduct and conspiracy.
    And they “failed to conduct a thorough and accurate investigation” in an attempt to cover up what really happened the night McDonald was shot, the filing said.
    The case goes deeper than false police reports, prosecutors allege. Officials also provided incorrect information to the Cook County medical examiner’s office, the Illinois State Police and in emails to one another. On the night of the shooting, detectives allegedly watched the dashcam video with Van Dyke at the area headquarters, even though Van Dyke had yet to be interviewed by investigators for the Independent Police Review Authority, the city agency that then investigated police shootings.
    One unnamed sergeant sent an email to a lieutenant saying Van Dyke “did exactly what he was trained to do. We should be applauding him, not second guessing him,” according to the filing.

    Friday, October 5

    Another View on Medically-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Treatment

    I found this article when I was perusing the Net, just going from link-to-link, reading anything of interest as I went along. I'd stopped to read a blog post about writing, and ended up on this article about MAT, or medically-assisted treatment for opioid addiction. Tell me what you think please down in the comments, what you think of the opioid crisis, what you think of MAT, and/or what you think about opioids in general. I'm listening!

    This is actually from Quora, I'm posting the question which was asked and a response to it.

    Beth Macy
    Beth Macy, Bestselling author (Dopesick, Factory Man, Truevine)

    Tuesday, October 2

    Here We Go Again With #he'snotmypresident Getting HIs All Straight and White America




    With everything going on in this country I would think that the government would have much more important things to do than pick on LGBTQ couples like this. They've already been granted the rights, why not let them keep them?

           State Department changes visa rules for same-sex partners of foreign diplomats


    A State Department official said a policy change affecting same-sex partners of foreign diplomats was made to “ensure and promote equal treatment” for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples. (Carlo Allegri/Reuters)






    Lawmakers and gay rights advocates are criticizing a new State Department policy that denies family visas to the same-sex domestic partners of diplomats posted in the United States and gives those already in the country three months to marry or lose their visas.

    The change reverses a policy put in place in 2009 under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that defined family to include domestic partners of diplomats posted at embassies or the United Nations. That allowed them to attain visas and accompany their diplomat partners as household members, a status that was not extended to unmarried heterosexual couples.
    A State Department official said the change, which took effect Monday, was made to “ensure and promote equal treatment” for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples.
    “The change in policy ensures consistent treatment between opposite-sex partners and same-sex partners by requiring that same-sex partners, like opposite-sex partners, must marry to qualify for derivative diplomatic visas,” the official said.
    In 2014, the State Department rolled back partner benefits and protections for same-sex couples after an unmarried heterosexual couple filed an equal employment opportunity complaint, asking to be recognized as domestic partners.
    The State Department gave affected couples until Dec. 31 to marry, either in the United States or in a third country where same-sex marriage is illegal, and present a valid marriage certificate. Those who do not will have to seek a change of visa status or leave the country to seek a new visa abroad.
    Only 12 percent of the countries in the world recognize same-sex marriage. Former secretary of state John F. Kerry ordered ambassadors to pressure their host countries where it is illegal to allow U.S. diplomats to bring their same-sex spouses with them openly, and report progress to him annually.
    The Trump administration policy is an example of evolving practices since the Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that same-sex marriage is a constitutional right. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said he opposes same-sex marriage, but he has promised to treat all employees with respect.
    The State Department has become more welcoming of gay employees, a far cry from the days when gay diplomats were denied security clearances because they were believed to be susceptible to blackmail. The group GLIFAA represents LGBT staff, many U.S. embassies around the world fly rainbow flags during gay pride month and senior officials speak at the annual gay pride event held in an auditorium and beamed by closed circuit around the building.
    A senior administration official, speaking on the condition of anonymity under administration rules, said 105 families currently in the United States are affected by the changed policy, 55 of whom are connected with international organizations.
    But critics said there was no reason for the change and that having spousal visas in the passports of same-sex domestic partners could expose them to prosecution and punishment in countries where homosexuality is illegal.
    Rep. Eliot L. Engel (D-N.Y.), who is on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, called the policy change “cruel, utterly unnecessary” and warned it could open U.S. diplomats to retaliation.
    “Denying visas to same-sex partners of foreign diplomats and U.N. officials is a discriminatory reversal of a policy that recognized that not all same-sex couples around the world have the freedom to marry and unfairly targets LGBT families,” said Rep. Mark Takano (D-Calif.), a gay congressman who spoke at the State Department’s annual gay pride event in June. He urged the administration to reconsider a “dangerous and bigoted policy.”
    Foreign missions were alerted to the change, which was first reported in August by the Washington Blade, in a diplomatic note sent in July.
    “Same-sex spouses of U.S. diplomats now enjoy the same rights and benefits as opposite-sex spouses,” the note said.
    The new policy grants some limited exceptions for diplomats representing countries where same-sex marriage is illegal. The domestic partner still could get a visa as a family member so long as that country recognizes same-sex spouses of U.S. diplomats posted there. But officials posted to international organizations, such as the United Nations, do not represent a foreign government, and there are no exceptions to the policy.
    Domestic partners currently get “derivative” visas stamped in their passports, with the principal in the household identified by name. But the exact relation to the principal is not spelled out, and nothing on the visa stamp will change as a result of the new policy.
    Hyung Hak “Alfonso” Nam, president of U.N. Globe, which represents LGBT staff at the United Nations, said he fears the policy’s impact on the partners of diplomats from countries where same-sex marriage is taboo. He warned that some could be vulnerable to prosecution, and that it will create hurdles for couples considering a posting at U.N. headquarters in New York.
    “Either they will have to get married or find some means to come separately and get married here at City Hall,” he said. “The ones really impacted are those who will have difficulties going to a country that performs same-sex marriages.”
    David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human Rights Campaign, said diplomats are in an elite class and unlikely to face persecution. He characterized it as “mean-spirited.”
    “Those diplomats should be able to bring their partners and families with them,” he said. “There’s no logic or moral benefit to keeping them out. It just seems to be a way to pick on them.”