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Old 12-17-2010, 09:34 AM   #16
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I find that to be painfully idealistic, with a whole other can of worms to be opened. So we "legalize drugs"--which ones? "All" of them? Where does one then draw the line between one the government is banning because it is "recreational" and one that is downright dangerous? Certainly, the vast majority of these illicit drugs are being banned due to their danger. If we only legalize the "non-dangerous" ones, I imagine that they'll be the not-as-hard ones, and there will certainly still be demand for them. If we legalize "all" of them, who is going to manage the health/social costs of a set percentage of the population with health problems? We can say that we'll tax them to death, but then that leaves open the black market all over again, as a lot of drug addicts don't exactly have a lot of money as it is.

More or less, if it isn't drugs, it's going to be something else as long as it is far more advantageous to operate in the black market. And the Mexican economy has some major structural issues that makes it far more complicated to fix than just drug legalization.
Yes, Mexico has many problems--very deep, structural problems, more than will be solved than by fixing the drug issue. But, if I'm not mistaken the Southern U.S. Border Violence is mainly due to the drug trade.

Obviously, if drugs were legalized (and I am of the ALL drugs decriminalized, if not legalized belief), it would not help to tax them back into the "black market economy" area. I believe we have found a decent balance with alcohol as far as safety, availability and taxation goes. Legalizing drugs is not an instant fix; it creates a new set of problems and concerns. But, I like our chances against availability to minors, driving under the influence, addiction, and the money issues versus what we are dealing with now. The money spent on drug enforcement would be much better spent on treatment for addiction and more education. A case for universal healthcare in the U.S. can be made in the process.

We in North America are responsible for our neighbors, and helping with Mexico's drug problem is something the U.S. can directly affect. We can be a part of fixing Mexico's economy and inequalities, but I am more optimistic about the former versus the latter due to our own economic inequality problems here in the U.S.
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Old 12-18-2010, 08:07 PM   #17
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Christian Science Monitor (editorial), Dec. 17
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With nearly 12,500 people reported killed in drug-related violence in Mexico this year, the Obama administration is belatedly taking a small step to curb the flow of guns from US dealers to the drug cartels. In May, Mexican President Felipe Calderón visited Washington and urged the Congress and president to dam up the river of guns--more than 60,000 in four years--coursing south. Mr. Calderón wants Congress to reinstate the prohibition on assault weapons, a 10-year ban that expired in 2004. But the National Rifle Association (NRA) has targeted so many lawmakers, they quake before the gun lobby.

Mr. Obama has been forced to attack this problem through regulation--although his campaign platform included reinstating the ban. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is proposing that about 8500 federally licensed gun dealers along the border report bulk sales of so-called assault weapons--semiautomatic rifles such as AK-47s, which are popular with the cartels.
The “emergency” measure, as the ATF calls it, is to help the agency track suspected gunrunning patterns of military-style weapons. The ATF already collects bulk-sale information on handguns.

It’s a small step, considering its temporary nature and the fact that the guns will already be out the door by the time the understaffed ATF can analyze the data. But it’s also an important tool, helping the agency get a bigger picture of where the likely sources for gunrunners are--and setting up the first big test between this administration and the gun lobby. The NRA has already forewarned its members that the administration might try to go around Congress. Among other things, the lobby argues that these weapons don’t need to be tracked because criminals use mostly handguns. Besides, it says, Mexico gets lots of semiautomatic rifles from other countries.

But these battlefield-type rifles are being used more and more by the cartels (after all, they’re in a war with one another and the Mexican Army). And buying in the US is cheap and easy (remember that gun shows require no buyer background checks). Just because multiple channels for guns exist, does not argue for leaving all of them open. Indeed, if you close a big one, it may well be easier to zero in on the others.

Given their stunning political losses in 1994 and 2000 over gun issues, Democrats are gun-shy about opposing the NRA. And given Republican gains in the next Congress, it is highly unlikely that an assault-weapons ban could make a comeback. But something more than the temporary ATF step is needed. Consider the supposedly intractable dispute over extending the Bush era tax cuts. Compromise was found. Might that not also be possible for an issue relating to the Mexican cartels, whom the State Department describes as “the gravest organized crime threat to the United States”?

The word “ban” could perhaps be open to a new interpretation at the federal level. Some states, for instance, limit the number of assault weapons a person can buy over a period of time. That doesn’t bar gun enthusiasts, but it would shut down bulk sales. And might not gun shows also finally be brought into the criminal background-check system, to close down that loophole--which gunrunners lope through?
The vast majority of Americans support background checks on the sale of all guns, even those at gun shows.

The gun lobby has been emboldened by recent Supreme Court rulings that interpreted the Second Amendment as an individual right to own a gun. But the court also left the door open to regulation. It’s time for Washington to walk through it.
I've wanted to see tighter regulation of straw purchases and gun-show sales for a long time...it could make a great difference all by itself in our gun homicide levels (and in this case, Mexico's too). Part of the problem is that the NRA doesn't just represent the interests of gun owners, it also represents gun manufacturers and gun retailers. I don't know what the attitudes of law enforcement and government officials in the Southwest towards such reform might be.
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So you legalize drugs. It still doesn't change the fact that the Mexican economy is largely dominated by corporate oligarchs and a corrupt political elite.

As long as you have an underemployed and underpaid population, drugs are really only the least of one's concerns.
Is this your analysis of the problem in the US also? At present our main solution would appear to be maintaining the world's highest incarceration rate.
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Old 12-19-2010, 02:02 AM   #18
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Is this your analysis of the problem in the US also? At present our main solution would appear to be maintaining the world's highest incarceration rate.
I know it's long been in vogue to think all the ills of the world start and stop in the U.S.; but, really, the marketplace between the two nations largely diverge in terms of reasonably strong competition in the U.S. versus a legacy of overly dominant state-owned enterprises and corporate monopolies in Mexico. And so what does Mexico do in response? Why, lobby to keep the remittances from Mexicans living in the U.S. to keep the money flowing, of course while the oligarchs continue with business as usual.

If we think that drug legalization or gun control will somehow magically solve Mexico's problems, I think we've got another thing coming. Gangs largely reflect the fact that it's quite difficult for many Mexicans to make an honest living anymore. So organized crime and illegal emigration it is.
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Old 12-19-2010, 03:46 AM   #19
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But who said 'magically solve'? I thought we were talking crisis measures for a crisis situation, in this case 12,500 Mexicans dying in drug-related violence every year. It almost sounds like you're saying that until Mexico's government fully implements the reforms the IMF's been pressuring them to make for years, well, meanwhile the poor still have to make ends meet, so might as well let them eat bullets. Mexico's not in a position to achieve the extent of 'success'(?) we have through pouring that many billions into policing and prisons; if anything, the core membership of some of these cartels consists of defectors from the Mexican special forces, which have double-digit desertion rates and are neither as well-paid nor as well-equipped as the cartels, except perhaps when they're taking bribes for collaborating with them. While absolutely needed, I don't see how economic reforms alone are going to overcome violent interests this entrenched; you're still going to have an underclass, and the accumulated incentives are too good to pass up.
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Old 12-19-2010, 09:57 AM   #20
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A good economy or a bad economy in the U.S. doesn't seem to affect our drug violence much. I know that might be a little different for Mexico, but still.

I advocate decriminalization/legalization of drugs because I think we have pushed fighting drug war to its absolute end (automatic weapons, search boats and planes, defoliant and crop destruction in the growing countries, racketeering charges--what haven't we tried?), but it hasn't helped.

I think if anyone wants to argue economics, it's necessary to look at the economics of illicit drugs. There is demand, and relative scarcity and other barriers drive up the price making it profitable to take the risks to sell drugs. It's unlikely that demand will change significantly with legalization, so removing the barriers to drug access should lower the price and take away some (not all) of the profit motive.

I have no doubt this will not solve Mexico's and the U.S.' problems surrounding drugs, but the course we are on hasn't solved it either.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:20 AM   #21
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But who said 'magically solve'? I thought we were talking crisis measures for a crisis situation, in this case 12,500 Mexicans dying in drug-related violence every year. It almost sounds like you're saying that until Mexico's government fully implements the reforms the IMF's been pressuring them to make for years, well, meanwhile the poor still have to make ends meet, so might as well let them eat bullets. Mexico's not in a position to achieve the extent of 'success'(?) we have through pouring that many billions into policing and prisons; if anything, the core membership of some of these cartels consists of defectors from the Mexican special forces, which have double-digit desertion rates and are neither as well-paid nor as well-equipped as the cartels, except perhaps when they're taking bribes for collaborating with them. While absolutely needed, I don't see how economic reforms alone are going to overcome violent interests this entrenched; you're still going to have an underclass, and the accumulated incentives are too good to pass up.
It seems like the advocated solution is largely that, in the case of a breakdown of law and order, well...let's just legitimize the breakdown, so that there's less "law" to aspire to in the first place.

Obviously, the violence is due to the federal government cracking down on the gangs after decades of letting them run rampant. And Americans do very much have their share of the blame as purchasers in the drug trade. I just do not think that "legitimizing" the problem here is the way to go. As you've said, the accumulated incentives really are too great to pass up, and it certainly goes beyond drugs. All it will do is set the stage for an even further destsbilized govenment and bloodier conflict when the gangs inevitably regroup and rearm.
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Old 12-19-2010, 10:58 PM   #22
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It seems like the advocated solution is largely that, in the case of a breakdown of law and order, well...let's just legitimize the breakdown, so that there's less "law" to aspire to in the first place.

Obviously, the violence is due to the federal government cracking down on the gangs after decades of letting them run rampant.
Well, yes and no, at least from my current understanding of the history and economics of the War on Drugs. Crackdown squeezes supply, thus driving up profit margins and creating incentives for increasingly sophisticated trafficking--engineers to design narco-subs for moving cocaine from Colombia to Mexico, and elaborate tunnels beneath the US-Mexico border; night vision goggles and grenade launchers to aid military-trained cartel 'security forces' in fighting the border patrols and each other; the gradual transformation of drug smuggling from an each-man-for-himself business to cartel monopolies; etc. And the cartels' turf wars amongst themselves had become increasingly violent and destructive well beyond the criminal underworld before Calderón ratcheted up the law enforcement, or rather military, pressure. (Have we mentioned yet that Mexico has a weak and ineffective judiciary and a pervasively corrupt police force, in addition to the oligarchs?)

I guess you could call consumption of drugs a "breakdown" in itself, but it seems to me the problems associated with that (mental and physical addiction, crimes committed under the influence or to support one's habit--all also present with alcohol) are to a significant degree distinguishable from the problems associated with the black market. As I said earlier, any support in principle I'm extending to decriminalization comes through gritted teeth--the distastefulness (if that's the word) of the government getting into regulating production, distribution or sale of these substances is obvious, and hardly the kind of positive moral ideal I'd generally prefer to work towards. Not to mention the logistical obstacles, starting with the fact that existing UN conventions on drug trafficking potentially straitjacket such efforts. Oh, and the political unpalatibility. But the spiraling violence fanned by clampdowns--and, in the US, the continued grotesquely high incarceration rate in tandem with that--make me squirm just as much, I think.
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All it will do is set the stage for an even further destsbilized govenment and bloodier conflict when the gangs inevitably regroup and rearm.
That's not what happened with repeal of Prohibition (as in alcohol) in the US. Or do you not see that as a viable analogy?





I feel kind of like we're talking in an echo chamber here, I seem to remember this being a considerably livelier topic last time it came up...
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Old 12-20-2010, 07:39 AM   #23
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I feel kind of like we're talking in an echo chamber here, I seem to remember this being a considerably livelier topic last time it came up...
Were there as many bodies turning up every day in Mexico last time?


The violence needs to end some how. I'd love to hear more ideas.
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Old 12-22-2010, 02:36 AM   #24
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i think a tougher approach to immigration/customs law combined with a repeal of the "war on drugs" would help a great bit.

for example, it would still be illegal to smuggle across the border, but the shit would be controlled stateside to reduce the demand.
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Old 12-22-2010, 08:04 AM   #25
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i think a tougher approach to immigration/customs law combined with a repeal of the "war on drugs" would help a great bit.

for example, it would still be illegal to smuggle across the border, but the shit would be controlled stateside to reduce the demand.
That's true. We still wouldn't want people or loose nukes smuggled across.
If drugs were legalized, the border wouldn't change all that much aside from some big-ass semi loads of weed being brought over, and the occasional meth load.
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Old 04-08-2011, 04:03 AM   #26
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Christian Science Monitor, April 7
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Nearly 60 bodies were discovered by authorities this week about 80 miles from Brownsville, Texas–-not far from where 72 US-bound migrants were found dead in a massacre last August. Authorities have arrested eight people in connection with the killings and officials say the suspects are members of the Zetas, one of Mexico’s most violent drug gangs. This week's discovery comes in the wake of criticism from the United Nations of Mexican President Felipe Calderón's military approach to the country's battle with organized crime. It was also made public the same day Mexicans gathered in marches across the country demanding solutions to rising insecurity, highlighting the concerns of an increasingly weary public.

...[President Calderón's] strategy came under fire in a recent UN report, which apart from recommending that the military be removed from the fight also pointed to human rights abuses, including 11,333 migrants kidnapped in a six-month period between April and September of last year, according to Mexico’s National Commission on Human Rights (CNDH). CNDH also issued a statement on April 2 stating that since 2006 the organization has registered 5397 missing persons.

...The discovery of the mass graves was made as thousands gathered in 20 Mexican cities, summoned by prominent poet Javier Sicilia after his son and six others were found murdered in the city of Cuernavaca. At the march in Mexico City, most expressed exasperation of Calderón's strategy, perhaps taking a cue from Mr. Sicilia, who wrote an open letter to the government and to drug gangs lamenting “this badly planned, badly carried out, and badly led war" and suggesting a cease-fire be arranged with drug cartels. “You cannot stop the violence with more violence,” says Mario Hernandez, an administrator in the federal government’s Agriculture Ministry who was at the march yesterday.
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Old 04-08-2011, 05:50 AM   #27
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We handle alcohol regulation fairly well (and the massive tax revenue it brings in).
I think we can handle drugs, too.
And funnily enough, guess which producers a large amount of money going towards opposing Prop 19 was coming from?
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Old 04-08-2011, 08:29 AM   #28
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BBC News - Mexico queries US gun smuggling operation

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Mexico has asked the US for detailed information on a law enforcement operation that allegedly allowed guns to be smuggled across the border.

The request follows media reports that US federal agents allowed hundreds of guns to be smuggled into Mexico in the hope of tracking the weapons to drug cartel leaders.

Some of the guns were reportedly later used in crimes including murder.

US Attorney General Eric Holder has already ordered an inquiry.

The Mexican request comes days after US President Barack Obama and his Mexican counterpart Felipe Calderon agreed to step up cooperation against guns and drugs trafficking.
'Shared responsibility'

The tracking operation, codenamed Fast and Furious, was conducted by the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), according to CBS and the Los Angeles Times.

The ATF reportedly allowed 1,765 guns to be smuggled into Mexico over a 15 month period, including assault weapons and high-powered sniper rifles.

Of those guns, 797 were recovered on both sides of the border.

Many are thought to have been used in crimes, including two that were recovered at the scene of the killing of a US border protection agent in Arizona.


The ATF allowed the operation to continue despite objections from some agents involved, the LA Times reported.

The BBC's Andrew North in Washington says the operation was kept secret from the Mexican government.

In a statement, the Mexican foreign ministry said it would follow US Justice Department and ATF investigations into the operation with "special interest".

"The aim of the governments of Mexico and the US is to stop the trafficking of arms on the basis of shared responsibility, and both sides are working to strengthen bilateral cooperation on this issue," it said.

Mexico has long pressed the US authorities to do more to stop weapons smuggling across the border.

Nearly 35,000 people have died in drug-related violence in Mexico since December 2006, and many of the killings have been carried out with guns smuggled in from the US.
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Old 04-08-2011, 07:54 PM   #29
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One reason I have voted Libertarian since the early 1990s.

All of this violence and death is so sad.
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Old 04-09-2011, 04:10 PM   #30
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One reason I have voted Libertarian since the early 1990s.

All of this violence and death is so sad.
How would libertarians stop the violence?
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