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Everything posted by ashw_justin

  1. Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

    I have two reservations regarding a free market in all drugs. I think it is difficult to predict what would happen if the extremely gratifying and addictive drugs were as legal and as freely available as alcohol and tobacco. But I speculate that usage would increase significantly in that case, particularly among young people, and that it could be some time before society would develop the narcotic responsibility that such a freedom would require. What happens in the meantime? The second reservation is specifically in regard to the marketing of drugs, which would naturally occur in any free market. Particularly, high-powered manipulative and misleading marketing toward the same people (children included) who are the now very ill product of the highly lucrative "value-added" food and beverage industry. If a booming business can be built around keeping a 20 oz coke in your hand for "refreshment" and a bacon double quarter pounder with cheese in your face for "good eats", then I loathe to see what they can do with crack. (Kids' "cereal" being bad enough already.) As for smoking, it is alive and well, perhaps even thriving. Having voiced my concerns, I ultimately agree with the loftier ideal that personal liberties should be maximized within pre-existing social framework, and that it should not be the government's right to try to protect people from themselves. On a long time horizon society will cope with drugs in one way or another. That is the easy part. The more important question is what we should do to get there and how, and these practical matters are never so simple. There are also geopolitical issues, such as the US government's apparent need to manipulate and oppress the source countries for many of these drugs. Also certain international problems could be ameliorated by a reduced demand for imports, and one way to do that would be to allow enough (well-regulated) domestic production to supply our own demand. So yes, there are clear benefits, both philosophical and practical to legalization, but they have to outweigh the drawbacks, even temporary ones, and it has to be done in a responsible and controlled/regulated manner. So please if you will take this opportunity to educate me as to the some of the better thought out proposals, as I'm sure that they must exist.
  2. Politics in a nutshell.

    Right, except in the USA where the definition of the center in political nomenclature means capturing the interests of two institutionalized, anti-competitive national parties (controlled by a very small shareholder class), while silencing "political extremes" which happen to represent the broad but marginalized interests of the supposed electorate. Don't play the game, just watch two sides play the game for you, on TV. That is the best way to be a team player. Then everybody wins.
  3. Drug Decriminalization in Portugal

    That's great. No jail for drug users. Now, how to take market away from violent criminals without letting the Big Money sell HeroWin and Coca-Cola -1,000 to your kids.
  4. palin's daughter not getting married

    Now that there is no longer a political need to dominate the Teen Breeder vote for McPalin, perhaps They have decided that Agent Levi's 'talents' could be better applied elsewhere...

    I heard the new Iranian theocracy tried something like this back in '80. But one can not rule out the possibility that Reagan staged the disaster himself in order to plunge the country into a fascist fearocracy. In any case, the monument still stands as proof that no natural disaster is too random to be the work of terrorists.
  6. Your Privacy at Risk:

    Figured they would probably withhold the records for privileged government individuals from this... but nope, there's GW alright Looks out of date though... figures
  7. dumbass bureaucrat at the dump

    Does that big biker dude still work the booth? He always struck me as the kind of guy who would be nice enough to let you recycle everything for free including your bicycle. I have had good luck with the online dump. They will pick up just about anything remotely reusable right from your front lawn.
  8. California or Mexico?

    So anyways, what percentage of California's budget deficit is related to downward readjustments of property taxes? (Assuming that they are actually doing this faithfully)
  9. California or Mexico?

    I think we have this argument before and I think that your philosophical arguments are convincing, particularly with reference to constitutional promises and personal freedom. But it's entirely another issue I think to suggest that a government should rescue its finances by promoting (from a relative perspective) revenue-generating markets that more or less promise to harm its constituency, at least in the short term. I don't think that's the way it should happen, and I don't think that's the way it happened in the case of abortion. Assuming that we are in agreement re: personal freedom, there is the broader question of how to implement the ideal of personal freedom as it pertains to drugs in a humane fashion. It is easier to accept abortion purely as a societal phenomenon given that it appears to be stable and predictable, and the effects on society are far from catastrophic, if even negative. We don't know how a drug liberalized society would behave, and while it is a very romantic concept that many of us agree with in theory, I think that high a level of caution is warranted in regard to trying to make it happen. In any case, the slow legalization that appears to be occurring, as agonizingly slow as it may be, might be the most prudent way to go about it. In the meantime maybe California will figure out how to manage its finances... without performance enhancing drugs. bada bum ching
  10. California or Mexico?

    Judging by the nature of your trap-questions I feel like maybe I am not coming across the way I want to... How do we ensure a smooth transition to a drug-liberal society? Or should I take it that your view is that everything will be fine, as long as the government makes no laws bearing on any aspect of drug production, marketing, or use? Should we avoid trying to anticipate how society would react to deregulation? Whatever happens, happens, so be it? Do you think that existing abuses of consumption of substances, legal, semilegal, and illegal, do not suggest a dangerous susceptibility to a possible addiction epidemic, should highly addictive drugs become profoundly more available through economic liberation? How do you make sure? Maybe just start with LA? Would you be willing to wager the fate of a city on your beliefs? Would there be any kind of plan?
  11. California or Mexico?

    I should also point out the apparent conflict of interest existing between a government that is put in place to serve the greater (aggregate) good of society, and any action it takes that would directly harm that society--for the government's own gain no less. Obviously that is an oversimplification, but still. Also what about the possible situation in which a government might keep itself in power precisely by promoting costly addiction? Would it be just to essentially enslave a population by taking advantage of their biological weaknesses? another ps.: yes, themes of this post may in some ways conflict with the preceding post. I beg your pardon as these are merely scenarios...
  12. California or Mexico?

    I can imagine a society in which all drug production, sale, and use is completely unregulated by government. But I can't imagine it in the current one, where so many people seem to lack enough control over their behavior to avoid conscious, self-induced disease through consumption (cigarettes, alcohol, food...). I think it is predictable that a certain large (if not majority) fraction of the population would self-destruct upon exposure to an economically unrestricted recreational drug market. Philosophical considerations aside, this could be a social and humanitarian disaster from which recovery could be long and difficult. You would be essentially asking a population to select out certain social and/or biological suicide traits, that by many observations appear to be highly pervasive, and not to mention highly susceptible to amplification by the efficiencies of modern industry and economics. This is not an experiment to be taken lightly--the consequences of trying to induce such a transformation on philosophical terms rather than on practical ones could be extremely devastating, on a very wide scale. So arguing whether something is a personal liberty or not is too easy. How do you deregulate the drug market in a way that avoids the anticipated negative impacts? For many of the more powerful drugs, the social experiment seems to already fail on the small (illegal) scale. Also keep in mind that there aren't even any commercials for blow and china white on TV yet. ps. marijuana doesn't count--all copouts relating to the chron shall be disregarded
  13. Mars Movies

    Total Recall But I haven't watched that many Mars movies
  14. Another Fun Index Video

    Nice rock pr0n, I could almost reach out to the beautiful granite and feel the sexy grains under my fingertips.
  15. The Jewish problem

    rocket attacks on civilian targets... are stupid and immoral aerial bombing campaign of largely harmless urban areas... is even stupider and immoral...er On the other hand virtually bottomless, completely lopsided material, financial, and political support for the whiter of the two murderous sects... well that my friends is just a little part of what we're calling Freedom, Democracy, and the American Way these days. Heillelujah.
  16. Deja vu...all over agian

    Haha yessa massa, we gonna work harder than evah sah, can't afford anything no more seeing as they keep printing all that extra moneh! Sho don't wanna be lef behind, fire gotta keep on burnin, bigga and bigga now...
  17. Time for Seattle Cyclists to Pay up?

    I see nothing wrong with asking the primary users of new infrastructure to contribute directly to its funding. Unfortunately, this piece doesn't make any attempt to trace the funding for motorized and non-motorized transportation projects, so it falls short of really proving that bicyclists are getting something for nothing, or that "everyone else" is paying for nothing in return. In fact in the latter case it is easy to argue that there would actually be an incentive for the single-occupancy vehicle commuter to fund bicycle, bus, and rail projects. For every additional person who uses one of the above instead of driving, the SOV driver receives a benefit--their commute is shorter, parking is easier, etc. So if the city is taxing the SOV driver to pay for non-SOV driver transportation, this fee could be seen as a value assigned to that benefit. Then the question is not whether or not the city should fund alternative transportation, but how much the average SOV driver is willing to pay for "everyone else" to ride the bike/bus/train. On another note, the case for bicycle licensing by analogy to that for drivers is weakened by the smaller relative harm to the public posed by improper bicycle use vs. improper automobile use. Cars are heaver, move faster, are loaded with explosive and toxic chemicals, etc etc--are simply far more dangerous and burdensome on the public than bicycles are. Quantitatively, the material and social costs of bicycle misuse are far less severe. But this is not to say that there could not exist some fair implementation of taxation, licensing, and insurance for non-motorized transport. Whether or not it is necessary, or whether the requisite bureaucracy would be justified is a more realistic question. One small consolation might be that this could further confirm the legitimacy/entitlement of non-motorized travel on city streets. Screaming about 'lawless freeloading bikers crowding my roads' would become even more senseless.
  18. goats

  19. Rahm Emanuel accepts Chief of Staff Job

    And thus one of the most blatantly imperialistic moves by a world power in recent history becomes the "only humane solution to protect the Iraqi people and the rest of the free world from being ravaged by islamofascist terrorism." After all, considering all of this sacrifice, it would unconscionable to just cut and run, letting one of the greatest prizes in the Middle East fall into the hands of the terrorists, wouldn't it? (Other, less civilized terrorists, I mean--all the moral dilemmas are solved by applying a little doublethink.) I wonder for how long Iraqis will think back to Saddam, with all his reputed savagery, and reminisce about the good old days (that is, the days before we sanctioned and bombed them into the stone age, and then lit a beacon to which the bloodthirsty jihadists flocked like moths to a light bulb). I wonder if any of them will live long enough to experience anything better. Fuck, what have we done.
  20. For The Lefties...

    Right, who are the rulers. The only kind of change that benefits the people comes from the people. Can the people change the pentagon, banks, fed, etc? Sounds hard, better keep working at it. I seem to remember some self-declared Americans wrote some stuff about this back in the 18th century. Government for the people by the people or something like that.
  21. For The Lefties...

    Kind of hard to put it more simply than that. The campaign is over, time to put the unearned swooning hero worship behind us and expect a return on our political investment. We have all of his claims, promises, and professed views on record. Obviously we need to give him a chance, but what happens if Obama fails to deliver? Will we be smart enough to keep asking for the same things in future elections, or will there be some confused flop back over to The Other Side Which Shall Not Be Named simply because they are the loudest competitors? History seems to suggest the latter.
  22. Blackwater Question

    I thought the discussion was a fairly narrow one about employment prospects in private military contracting. Seems fair enough to try to have an actual discussion about it with people who might have more to draw upon besides nothing more than their imaginations. On the broader issue I still wish we had been more willing or able to deal with international terrorism as a crime among small numbers of nationless radicals. From the beginning I have thought that the Bush et al. reasons for occupying Iraq were dangerous and blatantly misleading propaganda. I'm not willing to concede that there are no advantages to having invaded Iraq, but the advantages don't seem to be the ones that Bush wanted us to believe, and the jury is still out on whether or not this will be good for the Iraqi people in the long run. On the contrary it seems pretty grim for them so far. Above all there is the issue of whether or not it was our right to take the fate of the Iraqi people completely into our own hands (I think it most certainly wasn't), although one could argue that we already did that a long time ago. Some private contractors may be interested in instigating further violence for the right price. But it is not hard to accept that there may be just as many who can claim a more defensible position of being involved in helping to pick up the pieces of a humanitarian and political disaster for which "we" are responsible.
  23. Blackwater Question

    I suppose on multiple levels, including probably the one we are talking about now, it is still better to have employed western soldiers of fortune instead of say mujahideen to fight significant parts of the government's war. I have to say, it is really hard to post in this thread without letting my moral views about Iraq bleed into the discussion.
  24. Blackwater Question

    Thanks, I guess the root of my question is this idea of thousands of highly efficient security(+) professionals treading water, or seeking greener pastures. I mean these don't strike me as the kind of guys that are going to go sell girl scout cookies if/when the current conflict(s) settle down. I suppose I'll just have to trust that they'll all know how to keep themselves out of trouble. If anything, I would worry about the guys on the ground being underpaid, considering the risks and commitments involved. Private industries in general aren't exactly designed to shower their profits onto the worker bees, and as the contract money dries up, I would guess it would get even harder to earn a wage that befits the work.
  25. Right on target!

    Is that supposed to be funny? What a whacked out creature she is. No wonder the people at the mercy of her babble are lost and confused these days.