People

Ten Years Ago Portugal Legalized All Drugs -- What Happened Next?

portugal map
© thinkstockphotos
Drug related deaths fell by 50%

The government in Portugal has no plans to back down. Although the Netherlands is the European country most associated with liberal drug laws, it has already been ten years since Portugal became the first European nation to take the brave step of decriminalizing possession of all drugs within its borders - from marijuana to heroin, and everything in between. This controversial move went into effect in June of 2001, in response to the country's spiraling HIV/AIDS statistics. While many critics in the poor and largely conservative country attacked the sea change in drug policy, fearing it would lead to drug tourism while simultaneously worsening the country's already shockingly high rate of hard drug use, a report published in 2009 by the Cato Institute tells a different story. Glenn Greenwald, the attorney and author who conducted the research, told Time: "Judging by every metric, drug decriminalization in Portugal has been a resounding success. It has enabled the Portuguese government to manage and control the drug problem far better than virtually every other Western country."

Back in 2001, Portugal had the highest rate of HIV among injecting drug users in the European Union - an incredible 2,000 new cases a year, in a country with a population of just 10 million. Despite the predictable controversy the move stirred up at home and abroad, the Portuguese government felt there was no other way they could effectively quell this ballooning problem. While here in the U.S. calls for full drug decriminalization are still dismissed as something of a fringe concern, the Portuguese decided to do it, and have been quietly getting on with it now for a decade. Surprisingly, most credible reports appear to show that decriminalization has been a staggering success.

The DEA sees it a bit differently. Portugal, they say, was a disaster, with heroin and HIV rates out of control. "Portugal's addict population and the problems that go along with addiction continue to increase," the DEA maintains. "In an effort to reduce the number of addicts in the prison system, the Portuguese government has an enacted some radical policies in the last few years with the eventual decriminalization of all illicit drugs in July of 2001."
Magnify

Fundamentalism Kills

mourners attack Norway
© AP / Frank Augstein
People embrace and mourn at the massive flower field laid in memory of victims of Friday’s twin attacks in Norway.
The gravest threat we face from terrorism, as the killings in Norway by Anders Behring Breivik underscore, comes not from the Islamic world but the radical Christian right and the secular fundamentalists who propagate the bigoted, hateful caricatures of observant Muslims and those defined as our internal enemies. The caricature and fear are spread as diligently by the Christian right as they are by atheists such as Sam Harris and Christopher Hitchens. Our religious and secular fundamentalists all peddle the same racist filth and intolerance that infected Breivik. This filth has poisoned and degraded our civil discourse. The looming economic and environmental collapse will provide sparks and tinder to transform this coarse language of fundamentalist hatred into, I fear, the murderous rampages experienced by Norway. I worry more about the Anders Breiviks than the Mohammed Attas.

The battle under way in America is not between religion and science. It is not between those who embrace the rational and those who believe in biblical myth. It is not between Western civilization and Islam. The blustering televangelists and the New Atheists, the television pundits and our vaunted Middle East specialists and experts, are all part of our vast, simplistic culture of mindless entertainment. They are in show business. They cannot afford complexity. Religion and science, facts and lies, truth and fiction, are the least of their concerns. They trade insults and clichés like cartoon characters. They don masks. One wears the mask of religion. One wears the mask of science. One wears the mask of journalism. One wears the mask of the terrorism expert. They jab back and forth in predictable sound bites. It is a sterile and useless debate between bizarre subsets of American culture. Some use the scientific theory of evolution to explain the behavior and rules for complex social and political systems, and others insist that the six-day creation story in Genesis is a factual account. The danger we face is not in the quarrel between religion advocates and evolution advocates, but in the widespread mental habit of fundamentalism itself.

Comment: Mr. Hedge's analysis of the problem of fundamentalism (regardless of its particular form) is correct. However, he is evidently unaware of the role that psychopaths play in these situation. Once an ideology, no matter how benign and well-intentioned its beginnings, has been twisted from within by these parasites on society, there can only be one outcome: its use as a means of domination.

The seminal book, Political Ponerology, outlines the means and methods by which this is accomplished.

Heart

I Do Not Want Mercy, I Want You To Join Me

Tim DeChristopher
© Portrait by Robert Shetterly
"… those who write the rules are those who profit from the status quo. If we want to change that status quo, we might have to work outside of those rules because the legal pathways available to us have been structured precisely to make sure we don’t make any substantial change."
Tim DeChristopher, who was sentenced Tuesday to two years in federal prison and a $10,000 fine for disrupting a Bureau of Land Management auction in 2008, had an opportunity to address the court and the judge immediately before his sentence was announced. This is his statement:

Thank you for the opportunity to speak before the court. When I first met Mr. Manross, the sentencing officer who prepared the presentence report, he explained that it was essentially his job to "get to know me." He said he had to get to know who I really was and why I did what I did in order to decide what kind of sentence was appropriate. I was struck by the fact that he was the first person in this courthouse to call me by my first name, or even really look me in the eye. I appreciate this opportunity to speak openly to you for the first time. I'm not here asking for your mercy, but I am here asking that you know me.

Mr. Huber has leveled a lot of character attacks at me, many of which are contrary to Mr. Manross's report. While reading Mr Huber's critiques of my character and my integrity, as well as his assumptions about my motivations, I was reminded that Mr Huber and I have never had a conversation. Over the two and half years of this prosecution, he has never asked my any of the questions that he makes assumptions about in the government's report. Apparently, Mr. Huber has never considered it his job to get to know me, and yet he is quite willing to disregard the opinions of the one person who does see that as his job.
Cow

Enjoy Saturated Fats, They're Good for You!


This article is taken from a talk I gave at the 29th Annual Meeting of the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness in Albuquerque last week, on the controversial subject of saturated fats. Some of the slides that I used for this talk are put in here.

The medical establishment and government health authorities say that consumption of saturated animal fats is bad for us and causes heart disease. According to the lipid hypothesis - the label used for the diet-cholesterol theory of heart disease - saturated fats raise serum cholesterol levels, and high blood cholesterol causes obstructive plaques to form in arteries, called atherosclerosis. This pathologic process causes coronary heart disease and the need for coronary artery bypass surgery, which is what I do.

Types and Structure of Fats

Animals and tropical plants contain saturated fats while plants outside the tropics have mostly unsaturated fats. Saturated animal fats are in milk, meat, eggs, butter, and cheese. And tropical coconut and palm oil contain a lot of saturated fat.

The food industry makes trans fats. They do this by shooting hydrogen atoms into polyunsaturated vegetable oils. This straightens out the fatty acid molecules and packs them closer together, giving vegetable oil so treated a solid texture like lard. Trans fats are used to make margarine, with yellow bleach added so it looks like butter. They are also used prolong the shelf life of bakery products, snack chips, imitation cheese, and other processed foods.
Arrow Down

The return of a zero-sum world

Reagan/Clinton
© Reuters/Mal Langston/John Kuntz
Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton
In his short story "The Facts in the Case of M. Valdemar" (1845), originally published as a hoax, Edgar Allan Poe described a dying man who was hypnotized precisely at the moment of his death. The hypnosis preserved him for some time, until the hypnotist broke the spell. As a result, "his whole frame at once -- within the space of a single minute, or even less, shrunk -- crumbled -- absolutely rotted away beneath my hands. Upon the bed, before that whole company, there lay a nearly liquid mass of loathsome -- of detestable putrescence."

At the moment, the American body politic resembles the body of M. Valdemar. To be more precise, both American conservatism and American progressivism in their familiar forms are dead, but decay has not caught up with them yet, because both are in a state of suspended animation.

The world changed radically when the global economy crashed in 2008, but the news has not yet reached Washington. The Republicans are giving long-discredited Reaganomics another good old college try, while Barack Obama, having surrounded himself by veterans of Bill Clinton's economic team, is practicing, or malpracticing, 1990s style neoliberalism, or "Rubinomics," named after Democratic Party fundraiser and Clinton Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin.

Reaganomics and Rubinomics were both toxic political byproducts of the generation-long asset inflation of the late 20th century in the United States. As long as the bubble lasted, their exploding wealth permitted Wall Street "bundlers" or fundraisers to capture both national parties by dominating campaign finance. Financialized conservatism differed from financialized progressivism, but the two schools of thought were both based on cheerful happy-talk scenarios in which there were no deep conflicts of interests between the rich and the rest in America.
USA

As the American Empire Spreads Abroad, it Becomes a Police State at Home

police state
© benfrank.net
As America's empire spreads abroad, it becomes ever more the police state at home. The methods used for the suppression of foreigners by military force and violence are eventually mirrored in the "homeland."

In an article last September 25th titled "It Is Official: the US Is A Police State," author Paul Craig Roberts, Assistant Treasury Secretary during the Reagan years, wrote, "'Violent extremism' is one of those undefined police state terms that will mean whatever the government wants it to mean. In this morning's FBI foray into the homes of American citizens of conscience it means antiwar activists, whose activities are equated with 'the material support of terrorism'..."

The FBI raids at home are reminiscent of U.S. military raids overseas. In Iraq, for instance, labor union offices were raided and rifled and labor leaders imprisoned by the Occupation forces. Their "crime" was to oppose sweetheart contract deals with private oil firms.

The vast U.S. prison system, which houses 2.4 million Americans, may be compared with the Gulag the U.S. has built abroad. America today is the World's Jailer. As Allan Uthman reported on AlterNet, in 2006 the Bush regime began building "detention centers" to warehouse inmates for unspecified "new programs" when the Army Corps of Engineers gave Halliburton subsidiary Kellogg Brown & Root nearly $400 million. What we do abroad, we do at home.
Star of David

After Oslo: Time to Crack Down On Mossad Terrorism

Israel's most secret and tried-and-true weapon is the "false flag" terrorist attack.

State-sponsored terrorism is defined by Encyclopedia Britannica as the "systematic use of violence to create a general climate of fear in a population and thereby to bring about a particular political objective [and] is employed by governments -- or more often by factions within governments -- against that government's citizens, against factions within the government, or against foreign governments or groups."

On July 22, a bomb, said to be an Oklahoma City-type explosive device, crafted with fertilizer and diesel fuel, blew up in downtown Oslo, Norway, in the heart of the government district. Shortly thereafter, a man dressed in a Norwegian police uniform opened fire on a Labor Party youth camp on the island of Utoya in Tyri fjord. Access to the island was by boat only. Over 100 people were killed in the twin terror attacks.

Almost immediately, the world's corporate media began pushing the story that those who were responsible for the blast and mass shooting were associated with "Al Qaeda" and other radical Islamist groups. CNN's Washington, DC chief anchor Wolf Blitzer, a former spokesman for the powerful American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) lobby and a correspondent for the Jerusalem Post, began his late afternoon program by pointing to "Al Qaeda" and radical Islamists as the chief culprits for the terrorist attacks in Norway.
Alarm Clock

Norway Terror Attacks a False Flag


Anders Behring Breivik - mind programmed patsy?
More Than One Shooter on Island; Oslo Police Drilled Bomb Blasts; Was It NATO's Revenge for Norway's Decision to Stop Bombing Libya?

Washington DC, July 24, 2011 - The tragic terror attacks in Norway display a number of the telltale signs of a false flag provocation. It is reported that, although the world media are attempting to focus on Anders Behring Breivik as a lone assassin in the tradition of Lee Harvey Oswald, many eyewitnesses agree that a second shooter was active in the massacre at the Utøya summer youth camp outside of Oslo. It has also come to light that a special police unit had conducted drills or exercises near the opera house in downtown Oslo which involved the detonation of bombs during 2010 - exactly what caused the bloodshed a few hundred meters away this Friday. Further research reveals that United States intelligence agencies had been conducting a large-scale program of recruiting retired Norwegian police officers with the alleged purpose of conducting surveillance inside the country. This program, known as SIMAS Surveillance Detection Units, provided a perfect vehicle for the penetration and subversion of the Norwegian police by NATO.

A motive for the attack is also present: as part of its attempt to mount an independent foreign policy, including the imminent diplomatic recognition of a Palestinian state as part of a general rapprochement with the Arab world, Norway was leading the smaller NATO states in dropping out of the imperialist aggressor coalition currently bombing Libya. Norway was scheduled to stop all bombing and other sorties against the Gaddafi forces as out of August 1 at the latest.
Bell

Madness: 39 Things That Are Driving Ordinary Americans Absolutely Crazy

Crazy American
© adamshane.com
Have you noticed that almost everyone seems really angry these days? Frustration with the government and with most of the other major institutions in our society seems to grow by the day. According to a brand new ABC News/Washington Post poll, 80 percent of Americans say that they are either dissatisfied or angry with the government. Americans are deeply divided about what the solutions to our problems are, but what almost everyone can agree on is that our problems are getting worse. Watching all of the madness that is going on in Washington D.C. and in our state capitals is almost enough to drive anyone absolutely crazy. Our nation is drowning in an ocean of debt, jobs are being shipped overseas at an alarming rate, thousands of stores are closing, poverty is exploding, greed has become a national pastime and corruption is seemingly everywhere. The American people are incredibly frustrated because the vast majority of our "leaders" appear to be too incompetent or too corrupt to deal with our problems.

If you visit just about any website on the Internet that deals with politics or the economy and spend some time reading the comments that people leave you will quickly see how angry people are becoming. A lot of times people have no other outlets for the intense frustration that they are feeling and so they just let it all come out online. Yes, Americans have always complained about the government, but the madness that we are seeing today is really unprecedented in modern U.S. history. Something has fundamentally changed.

The U.S. government and most of our other major societal institutions are rapidly losing the faith of the American people. But society cannot function without trust.

So what is going to happen once all of the trust is gone?

The following are 39 things that are driving ordinary Americans absolutely crazy right now....
Heart

Gaza: The Blockade Runners

Pro-Palestinian activism to break the illegal siege

Global Research Editor's Note

The following article by Julie Lévesque is Part I of a review of the lone humanitarian ship to Gaza, The Spirit of Rachel Corrie which reached Palestinian territorial waters before being brutally intercepted by The Israeli Navy.

The mission was organized by the Perdana Global Peace Foundation (PGPF) based in Kuala Lumpur.

For several years now Global Research has been actively collaborating with the PGPF in a broad initiative to criminalize war. It is in this context of continued collaboration that Global Research's Julie Lévesque participated in this important endeavor.

Contrary to the Freedom Flotilla, which was the object of active media debate and discussion, the planning of the Spirit of Rachel Corrie mission was not made public.

The Israeli authorities were taken totally by surprise. The Spirit of Rachel Corrie was within less than one kilometer of the Gazan coastline. The Israeli navy acted in a totally improvised fashion, firing at the crew and the passengers until the Spirit of Rachel Corrie retreated into Egyptian territorial waters.

In an act of tremendous courage and determination, the Spirit of Rachel Corrie, led by PDGF's Matthias Chang, challenged the legitimacy of the Israeli government. It managed "to put a hole" in the blockade of Gaza as well as deliver by land, its humanitarian cargo.

Part I of this report focuses on two courageous Irish activists, Derek and Jenny Graham, who played a central role in leading both last year's Rachel Corrie and this year's Spirit of Rachel Corrie.

Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research, July 18, 2011
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