Marijuana Legalization It’s the Only Smart Move

With the FBI reporting 829,627 arrests for marijuana in the calendar year 2006 and local government’s spending $10.7 billion a year policing, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning our citizens it might be time to review America’s priorities.

Citizens in the U.S. are using 31,000,000 (31 Million) pounds of marijuana a year which supports a $113 billion dollar a year industry with no end in sight what are we thinking. There is also the loss of $31 Billion dollars per year in lost tax revenue add that to the cost of enforcement the figure goes to almost $42 Billion dollars a year.

There is also the recent phenomenon of nationwide law enforcement agencies not investigating more serious crimes, one to cut their overall crime statistics and two it means they qualify for more government funding for the war on drugs. This is used in concert with drug forfeiture laws which with or without a conviction deprive countless Innocent U.S. citizens of their property, it’s just a win win for law enforcement agencies across the USA and they are cashing in on it.

However this equates to a substandard enforcement of our laws as criminals who commit serious crimes are quite often overlooked. It’s easier to take down a street level marijuana dealer, take their house, car and possessions and sell them at an auction at a profit then to investigate more serious crimes.

 

If legalization were properly implemented tax revenues would increase. Law enforcement could direct their priorities to fighting real crime and their wasted time could be recaptured. The control of the drug trade by powerful Mexican drug cartels could be greatly extinguished and our government could control the importation and added tax revenue that legalized marijuana would bring to our country.

Just as the U.S. enforces pedophile laws and other offenses against children legislation could be written that would in Fact deter citizens from selling marijuana to those not able to legally have it.

By taking control of the marijuana trade with regulation, import quotas and sales mechanisms our country and its citizens would be better served. This would also in essence put almost $42 billion dollars a year into our nations bank account or $420 billion or almost half a Trillion dollars in a decade.

 

Prison overcrowding with its associated costs is a problem that states across the nation are grappling with every year. California may have to release 20% of its prison inmates to comply with judicial rulings which address the overcrowding issue.  In 2009 the FBI reported 858,408 prosecutions for marijuana or 97.5 arrests per hour. In 1992 the figure was 33 per hour and in 1965 it was 2 per hour but that was before forfeiture laws became such a cash cow.

80% of the property confiscated using this law is from persons never charged with a crime no wonder police departments have changed their priorities. Rather than investigate serious crimes why not go on a shopping spree on the street where you don’t have to pay for anything and even if the property owner gets a lawyer their chance is nil of getting back their property. Even reports of serious crimes are not even being written or never entered into official records to keep crime statistics artificially low, while citizens are being arrested at alarming rates for a spoonful of marijuana, some departments even have marijuana arrest quotas.

When will American citizens see the light and legalize tax and introduce legislation to decriminalize this drug. Yes $7 billion dollars have been generated since 1985 using forfeiture laws but that does not offset all the associated annual costs we are incurring now.

By legalizing marijuana our DEA agents and local law enforcement agencies could redirect their resources to investigating more serious crimes including our Prescription Drug Abuse epidemic. This epidemic is entirely centered in the U.S. as they are legal drugs that are being diverted for illegal sale and destroying lives in the aftermath including many children and teenagers.

I for one would rather have my tax dollars not wasted enforcing marijuana laws and imprisoning those who use it. In my lifetime I have seen that alcohol is a much more destructive drug with devastating consequences attached to its use.

Reading publications across this country there are numerous stories every day on death, assaults and robberies along with other crimes tied to alcohol abuse. In my over than fifty years living in this country I just cannot remember a marijuana user committing these or any other types of crimes because of its use.

Already across the country local governmental agencies are decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana as a cost cutting measures as well as then allowing the local police department to concentrate on more serious crimes. In California along with 15 other states marijuana use is being allowed for certain medical conditions where this use is being taxed and law enforcement time is not being wasted on these marijuana users.

Especially in our current economic state the USA could put our tax dollars to better use. Not spending over $10 billion dollars a year on prosecuting these people would make good economic sense. Realizing $31 billion dollars in tax revenue per year while at the same time taking control over the importation of this drug from Mexican drug cartels, this would also be an excellent road to travel for our country.

Let’s consider readjusting our priorities by legalizing marijuana along with controlling importation and realizing an economic benefit from the tax revenue it would produce. Incorporated into the legalization I cannot imagine anyone who could argue against harsh laws with accompanying imprisonment of anyone who would attempt to sell marijuana to those not of legal age.

Our youth can be protected by strict comprehensive laws while our law enforcement agencies could go back to investigating and prosecuting serious crimes. The national deficit which is at an all time high thanks to the Bush administration could breathe a little easier. American citizens who were really never big time criminals could be released from incarceration which would reduce prison overcrowding. Then those existing prisons could house serious criminals and our courts would also get relief not having to take the time to prosecute those who use marijuana.

Allowing police to investigate serious crime, not imprisoning non-criminals, reducing the federal deficit and giving overall economic relief to all the states in this country, now that is a smart policy move that Americans could get behind.

Sounds like legalizing marijuana is the smartest move the United States could take and all of us would better served both economically, legally and we could also protect our children.

Occupy Wall Street (OWS) American Patriots Of Our Time!

The nascent U.S. movement collectively known as OWS does not have a written constitution or a codified plethora of documents laying out in detail any specific agenda. So they are scoffed upon by the political elites and corporations across America.

The United States Congress has written and promulgated tens of thousands of documents, chock full of executive summaries, reams of studies and a specific set of rules, procedures and decorum laid out in a dizzying fashion. Most bought and paid for by Lobbying firms and their never-ending supply of cash fed by large corporations with their corporate backers. Even current & former members of congress are not well versed in all of these and other facets of congressional life and it’s implications. On to many occasions for it to be some type of anomaly congressional members have stated they do not even read the bills they pass in the U.S. House & Senate.

What Occupy Wall Street does have is a great number of ordinary U.S. citizens all under the umbrella of being sick and tired of our current system. They rail against banks & investment houses who almost brought our country to it’s collapse along with the top 1% who assisted in almost destroying this country. To me this appears to be a comprehensive cohesive structure even if reams of paper are not present speaking volumes yet saying nothing, like in corporate or government settings.Their words still resonate and this movement grows everyday.

Little if any accountability was exerted or accepted during the U.S. current recession and even though these institutions behind our near collapse have mission statements, comprehensive studies, etc. All of these are written on paper that is as worthless as all the rules and studies. For these bastions of a free market society believe they are accountable to no one other than the shareholders of the corporations and quite often even the shareholders are left under-the-bus, lifeless and no longer needed. Or the shareholder who is now financially destroyed can no longer buy a ticket to have a hand worth playing.

The citizens of this country have quietly raged at the excesses of corporate America, wall-street, banks and our current Worthless Do-Nothing Congress. However these have been fleeting moments then it’s on to watching the so-called leader in news propaganda machine. There under the cloak of being fair and honest the populace is indoctrinated, reeducated and shown the errors of their ways. On these programs that hours, so-called journalist makes fun and sport of these people who are in essence fighting for America before what little is left is swallowed whole by the elitist 1%ers.

Yet under duress by the thugs who represent law enforcement as they are beaten, pepper sprayed, hit with rubber bullets, unjustly incarcerated and then released without charge. These American Patriots stand for those to fearful or lazy to stand up for themselves or their rights as Americans.

Our founding fathers fought against tyranny and oppression and are now hundreds of years later are regarded as Heroes as they were in their day and age.

When our country was attacked from within and there were those who wished to tear our country apart all for their love of money coupled with their oppression of those they felt were inferior and deserved to be abused and tortured. Our countrymen fought and died for this country to make it a better place for All Americans. The man who lead us in this battle for our souls was then assassinated by John Wilkes Booth.

Again Abraham Lincoln and his complementaries along with George Washington was regarded then as now as Patriots. They offered the best America had to offer, they fought for All Americans and what was Right, Honorable and Just.

The British at the time of the Colonial War looked down upon George Washington as an inferior 1%er that could be crushed out of hand. How wrong they were just as many people of this country looked down upon Abraham Lincoln. How did this many of simple means reunite this country and help enormously in the early stages of our national history, he only did what he thought was Right and Just.

Well these are just a few of the many Patriots who were underestimated by the elitists of the various times. Yet they flourished as did our country and today these nascent patriots known simply as Occupy Wall Street or OWS are being called upon to be the Patriots of this age.

They are unlikely heroes as were those before them yet their profound importance again cannot be diminished or simply be pushed aside. Even though our current 24hr news cycles may move on to other subject matter the voices of OWS and the 99% of whom they represent, will not just go away.

So while they fight this war for the American soul and what is right and just in this country they should Never be underestimated.

They are American Patriots who are being oppressed and attempts to marginalize their movement will ultimately fail.

Is our United Stated Congress fighting for the 99% of it’s citizens, NO.

Are the Patriots of OWS being oppressed, abused mistreated while they present themselves in peaceful protests to attempt to correctly realign America’s moral compass, YES.

May God or the heavens, Buddha and other forms of spirituality give them strength. Let us all the 99% think of them daily and keep them in our thoughts and prayers. Let us all hope that America the nation can again find it’s moral compass. Or better yet become involved in your area or even travel to the areas across this nation where the movement is strongest, for we all are one people with common goals.

Maybe again we can become the land of the free and the brave a melting pot of peoples where everyone has the same opportunities to live happy and prosperous lives without tyranny or oppression by the few against the many.

For the sake of our country, or children and our souls we must find a place of common ground of fairness in life and liberty in our lifetimes. Now we are the 300 million+ being led by the 1% elitists who are not concerned or the least bit interested in anyone’s future but there own.

OWS is simply fighting for the rights of all Americans, they are the Patriots of our time!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Texas the Death Penalty Machine!

The Electric Chair

Soon another Texas death-row inmate will be put to death, Hank Skinner is one week from death. Despite Extremely Significant evidence that has Never been tested during his trial or sentencing in 1995. This coupled with the fact that Skinner’s legal team has been trying to have this DNA evidence tested for over a decade and they will pay All of the Costs for said testing.

The evidence in question that has never been tested includes a rape kit taken from the mother-Twila Busby-who was murdered on December 31, 1993 in Pampa, Texas along with her two adult sons, Randy Busby and Elwin Caler. Other items never tested, Blood from the murder weapon, scrapings from Twila’s fingernails, blood from a jacket found in the home. As well as hairs, found clutched in Twila’s hand that likely came from her killer.

Even though the inmate’s legal team have been trying to just get the evidence, pay for the testing at No-Cost to Texas. The Texas 31st District Attorney’s office has Refused their request for over ten years.

The attorneys for Mr. Skinner are only trying to test evidence that the state of Texas should have tested themselves, however they did not.

Also Toxicology experts have stated that upon the night of the murder Mr. Skinner had to high a concentration of drugs in his system to have been able to commit the murders for which he will soon be Executed.

Northwestern University Medill Innocence Project students (They are ANGELS on Earth) became involved with his case in 1999. Skinner’s former neighbor and ex-girlfriend told the students that the police had coerced her into giving false statements. She further stated that she no longer would stand by her previous statements.

There was further evidence as well during this period, before her death Mrs. Twila Busby’s said she was being stalked by an uncle. Mrs. Busby had also confided to friends before her death that the uncle had raped her all of this around the period before her life was taken.

Furthermore it had been established that the Uncle had met and talked with Mrs. Busby at a party the night of her death. There were also reports that neighbors had witnessed him cleaning and repairing his trucks in the days following the murders. The Uncle had also been seen wearing a wind-breaker that was similar to one found at the crime scene. Unfortunately the uncle died in an accident in 1997, he was never questioned by the state, why?

While one witness recanting of testimony could be quite possibly be dismissed and disregarded the cumulative evidence could not be by a justice system interested in truth and justice.

There was also a popular national television show, during an appearance during which a Medill Professor asked for and the current (at that time) District Attorney agreed to test the hairs found clutched in Twila’s hand the deceased mother. However when the evidence was preliminarily tested and the results were showing that the hairs probably did not belong to Mr. Skinner the testing was stopped nor was any of the other evidence which had the possibility of seeing the light of day yet the testing would Never be performed.

The additional witness testimony was Never reviewed numerous pieces of evidence were never tested. The thought process is that the District Attorney only zeroed in on Mr. Skinner gathered the evidence they thought they needed and won their conviction.

While the laws of Texas do have the right for the defendant to request DNA testing that might prove their innocence. The state has maintained that Mr. Skinner could have asked for the testing during his trial and because he did not during his trial they have fought for 10 years to deny him testing that might prove his innocence or his guilt.

There is also another problem Mr. Skinner in Fact had Requested the testing at his trial. However his court appointed representative decided against this even though his client the defendant had requested the testing.

The Court Appointed defense attorney was a former prosecutor who had lost his job after being caught stealing money during a drug seizure case. The trial judge was reported to be a friend of the former disgraced prosecutor and assigned the case to him. He also stipulated that the now Court Appointed defense lawyer be paid around the same amount the attorney owed the state of Texas for his previous prosecutorial misconduct.

The Supreme Court of the USA granted a stay last year as to whether federal civil rights laws would allow Mr. Skinner to contest Texas’s interpretation of their own state law. In March of last year the Supreme Court did rule in Mr. Skinner’s favor, however the testing was not ordered. Rather the Supreme Court only ruled that Mr. Skinner had the right to press for testing via the misinterpretation

However the legislature for the state of Texas negated any action as they passed a revision to the existing DNA law in regards to testing. The Senate and House of the Texas legislature passed the revision with few if any dissenting votes. The new revision allows for a defendant to request testing even if their court appointed attorney requested it or not. Mr. Skinner was even referenced during the legislative process it finally looked as though Hank Skinner was going to get his day in court.

Now Mr. Skinner having been imprisoned since 1995 would either have his guilt proven beyond a reasonable doubt or he would be exonerated and released. At the very least all of the appropriate evidence Expected to be tested during a capital murder trial would finally see the light of day. Lady Liberty would hold the scales of Justice and Hank Skinner would finally receive a fair and impartial finding of guilt or innocence.

The revised law was enacted on September 1, 2011 and Mr. Skinner’s Attorneys promptly filed for testing. However the State Attorney instead of granting the testing instead asked for an execution date and it was approved. Instead of the testing that had been requested for over ten years and the fact that the state of Texas would not have to pay for it, Mr. Skinner was scheduled for execution November 9th, 2011.

Now with little time to spare Mr. Skinner’s fate rests with the Texas state court which has his petition under review. There is also a federal court involved which is still holding Mr. Skinner’s testing claim open in the event the state court rules against him or takes no action at all. Yet with a state and federal court involved Mr. Skinner could still face Death come November 9th 2011.

Should Mr. Skinner be executed his guilt or innocence would never be proven as the State Attorney would more than likely destroy the DNA evidence upon his execution.

Even as dire a situation as this is there are still other outcomes that could occur. The Texas Governor Rick Perry could issue a 30 day stay to allow for testing or the trial judge could delay the execution. Also the Federal or State court could issue a stay.

However the judicial system moves at a snail’s pace and Mr. Skinner could still be executed by lethal injection on November 9th, 2011.

Since the reintroduction of the death penalty in 1976 Texas has executed more inmates than any other state. It’s worth noting that the states of Florida and California both have higher death row inmate populations. However no other state in the union can touch the execution record of the great state of Texas.

Just looking at the rate of Complete Exoneration of death row inmates in Illinois thanks to the efforts of the Professors and Students at the Northwestern University School of Law is a cause for concern.

On June 29th 1972 the Supreme Court voided all state death penalty laws, saying they were racially discriminatory and haphazard, yet the death penalty was reinstated in 1976.

Currently as of March 2011 the following states no longer have the death penalty; Alaska, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota, Rhode Island, Vermont, West Virginia, Wisconsin as well as The District of Columbia and the U.S. territory of Puerto Rico.

Cases all across the USA have been dismissed, inmates exonerated and released after extended periods of time with many receiving significant payment from various states.

The reasons for exoneration are numerous and profoundly disturbing not only for the innocent defendants wrongly jailed. It is horrid experience for the wrongly jailed as well as the families of the deceased who are given a false sense of closure.

Prosecutorial misconduct, Law enforcement witness intimidation, misstatements (or outright lies), Forensic labs working with the prosecution to match the courts case versus objective testing. Tampering with or withholding evidence, failure to test pertinent evidence, obstruction and collusion.

Since 1992 Fifteen inmates have been released thanks to DNA testing which is only available to a fraction of death row inmates. The Death Penalty Information Center list 8 inmates executed but possibly innocent. Another figure says that 39 inmates have been executed wrongfully in the USA.

In these United States of America, Ray Krone has the distinction of being the 100th former death row inmate sentenced to death however later exonerated (note later statistical data). Then there is Kirk Bloodsworth who was the first to be released from death row thanks to the use of DNA testing. There are currently over 3000 inmates on death row being housed.

During 1994 80% of the U.S population favored the death penalty as of 2011 a Gallup poll showed this had declined to 61% with 35% opposing it. However when the options of Life Imprisonment without possibility of parole versus the death penalty the figures change considerably with 49% favoring death and 46% favoring life this from a 2010 Gallup poll.

So one question should be do we as a nation prefer to execute even 1 Innocent U.S. Citizen so that we can have a death penalty. The USA already imprisons more of its citizens then any other industrialized nation. 1 in 100 of our population are currently in prison and the ratio only gets worse, however current economic conditions are changing the models for some states such as California. Approximately 2 Million U.S. citizens are now housed in some form be it Federal, State, County, City etc. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics as of 2009 over 7.2 million people were on probation, in jail or prison, or on parole at year-end — 3.1% of all U.S. adult residents or 1 in every 32 adults.

How many times have we gotten it wrong for other crimes, how many of these human beings have been found guilty and are currently in jail.

Unfortunately jails will always be needed for crimes against children, elderly or women are particularly disturbing. As for the death penalty there are to many chances for justice to wrongly judge if only 1 inmate who is innocent is executed it’s too much.

What was done to Twila Busby and her son’s Randy Busby and Elwin Caler was despicable. Nothing can bring these souls back nor the scores of others who have been murdered in our country.

Hopefully Hank Skinner for better or worse will at least be given the opportunity to Finally have the evidence in his case tested before he is executed.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

US Government asking Google to remove content Google say’s, NO

The United States of America now has the distinction of coming in 3rd Worldwide in regards to requests made with Google to remove content.

Many law enforcement agencies are now asking Google to remove Youtube content which they believe is defamatory? Law enforcement is asking for videos depicting possible Police Brutality to be removed.

However quite often Google (the world wide standard search engine) is refusing many of these requests.

Google is putting out a Transparency Report with this being one of the issues covered. During the first half of 2011 there were 757 requests, 80% were related to defamation in the re-quester’s mind as this is how they were classified by the search engine giant.

The company did comply with 63% out of all those submitted by the government entities. However in many cases they did not so a big pat on the back to them for standing up for free-speech.

Also during this period the US government requested information on 5,950 users which they complied with 93% of these which came from government agencies/entities.

So this is a possibly cautionary tale on how our government in the USA is conducting itself and attempting to throttle free speech.

Kudos to Google for taking a stand and watching out for America’s right to know!

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

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