Category Archives: Health Mullahs

Mexico Decriminalizes Marijuana. Good.

Mexico to Decriminalize Pot, Cocaine, and Heroin,” by Noel Randewich, Reuters, 29 April 2006, http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/newsArticle.aspx?type=topNews&storyID=2006-04-29T010531Z_01_N281836_RTRUKOC_0_UK-MEXICO-DRUGS.xml.

President Fox, of the Mexican United States, isn’t only repealing almost criminal laws that destroy families

Possessing marijuana, cocaine and even heroin will no longer be a crime in Mexico if they are in small amounts for personal use under new reforms passed by Congress that quickly drew U.S. criticism.

The measure given final passage 53-26 by senators in a late night session on Thursday is aimed at letting police focus on their battle against major drug dealers, and President Vicente Fox is expected to sign it into law.

mexico_md
The Mexican United States: Lands of Freedom

He’s also mimicking Chief Justice John Roberts.


Like John Roberts, who correctly saw no reason why “international law” should decide a nation’s drug policies, Mexico’s policies are likewise being enacted without kowtowing to foreign powers.

The legislation came as a shock to Washington, which counts on Mexico’s support in its war against drug smuggling gangs who move massive quantities of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines through Mexico to U.S. consumers.

“I would say any law that decriminalizes dangerous drugs is not very helpful,” said Judith Bryan, spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City. “Drugs are dangerous. We don’t think it is the appropriate way to go.”

She said U.S. officials were still studying the reforms, under which police will not penalize people for possessing up to 5 grams of marijuana, 5 grams of opium, 25 milligrams of heroin or 500 milligrams of cocaine.

Fox has been seen as a loyal ally of the United States in the war on drugs, but the reforms could create new tensions.

A delegation from the U.S. House of Representatives visited Mexico last week and met with senior officials to discuss drug control issues, but was told nothing of the planned legislative changes, said Michelle Gress, a House subcommittee counsel who was part of the visiting team. “We were not informed,” she said.

Unfortunatley, it is on drug policies where our federal government acts most profoundly against its Constitution. Our Constitution guarantees individual rights and states rights, but the federal government runs over both in order to enforce “the one right way” over our fifty United States.

This isn’t just anti-federalist. It’s against our long term interests, too, by making territorially expansion more difficult and hampering the Continental adoption of the English language.

Instead, our central government is wrapped up in Health Mullahism, going the wrong way on free market medications.

Mexico City gets freedom. Does Washingon?

John Roberts and the Supreme Court Disparage "International Law." Good.

Gonzales, Attorney General, et al. v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal et al.: On Writ of Certiorari to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit,” by John Roberts et al, Supreme Court of the United States, 21 February 2006, http://www.supremecourtus.gov/opinions/05pdf/04-1084.pdf.

While not quite as succinct as Justice Antonin Scalia’s criticism of international law, Chief Justice has officially put “” in its place

john_roberts_international_law
John Roberts: Lord of International Law


The case, which struck down a federal drug law, was well decided. That is good. The government gave an incompetent and lackluster defense. That is typical. But what’s wonderful is this paragraph

The fact that hoasca is covered by the [U. N. Commentary on the Convention on Psycho­tropic Substances], however, does not automatically mean that the Government has demonstrated a compelling interest in applying the Controlled Substances Act, which implements the Convention, to the UDV’s sacramental use of the tea. At the present stage, it suffices to observe that the Government did not even submit evidence addressing the international consequences of granting an exemption for the UDV. The Government simply submitted two affidavits by State Department officials attesting to the general importance of honoring international obligations and of maintaining the leadership position of the United States in the international war on drugs. See Declaration of Gary T. Sheridan (Jan. 24, 2001), App. G to App. to Pet. for Cert. 261a; Declaration of Robert E. Dalton (Jan. 24, 2001), App. H, id., at 265a. We do not doubt the validity of these interests, any more than we doubt the general interest in promoting public health and safety by enforcing the Controlled Substances Act, but under [the ] invocation of such general interests, standing alone, is not enough.

In other words, the Court has affirmed two principles

  • First, treaties have to meet a “compelling interest” before they trump certain domestic laws, such as the
  • and Second, international law is only valid in the context of “international consequences,” not as laws unto themselves

Those who support America’s submission to “international law” often cite the second paragraph of Article VI of the US Constitution

This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof; and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the Constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.

The Constitution lists three sources of the “supreme law of the land”

  • the Constitution itself
  • the laws of the United States
  • all treaties made

However, in the same sentence, the Constitution instructs all judges to be bound by that, notwithstanding

  • “anything in the Constitution,” or
  • “the laws of any State”

In other words, the Constitution identifies three sources of Supreme Law (the Constitution, Laws, and Treaties), and then identifies the Constitution and the Laws as the most important of these. The Supreme Court may listen to government pleas that it has an interest in some treaty, or that some treaty beneficial consequence to the United States.

Treaties are the least democratic source of “law,” because they are enacted by the joint action of the President (who is indirectly elected through the Electoral College) and the Senate (which represents the States, and thus has equal representation for states regardless of the population). Under our democratic system of government, treaties are rightfully deprived of much power and influence.

As the historian Mark Safranski wrote:

Most of what passes for ” International Law ” are simply arguable moral claims advanced by interested parties. The most solidly ” legal ” core of international law is considered binding because nations-states have agreed almost universally to restrict themselves with certain provisions out of self-interest. Enforcement comes only in the cases of the most egregious violations when the moral outrage of the world can be coupled with the selfish interests of the great powers to intervene. That is about the best we can expect from such a system and if ardent advocates of International Law Theory get their way, we won’t even have that much.

International law is best taken with a healthy dose of common sense.

The recognizes this.

Good.

Let’s Tax and Spend for Better Health Care

U.S. weighs taxing health care benefits: Unusual coalition from both the left and the right looks at ending exemption for job-sponsored plans,” by Kevin Hall, Knight-Ridder, 17 July 2005, http://timesunion.com/AspStories/story.asp?storyID=379969&category=NATIONAL&BCCode=HOME&newsdate=7/17/2005.

Tax-free corporate health insurance, which super-empowers big business, is a relic of price controls from the Second World War

 

Today’s system of employer-provided health care dates to World War II, when the federal government imposed wage caps to help the wartime economy. Unable to offer higher wages to attract scarce workers, companies competed for them by offering health insurance.

 

The war ended, but job-based insurance stuck. By the mid-1950s the Internal Revenue Service code favored it. Companies were allowed to deduct the costs of employee health care plans from their taxable income. For employees, those often-generous benefits were separate from taxable wages.

This pork warps the free market

 

Some right-leaning advocates think the tax exclusion for job-sponsored health benefits should end because it distorts the free market. The Heritage Foundation, a conservative policy-research center, says the exclusion leaves consumers in the dark about the real costs of health care, leading them to make uninformed decisions that ripple through the health care economy, driving up costs.

 

And doesn’t help those who need it the most

 

The tax break is regressive because people at the lower-income brackets get less benefit. It does just the opposite of what it should,” said David Kendall, a senior health policy analyst at the Progressive Policy Institute in Washington, a research center for the centrist Democratic Leadership Council. “It promotes coverage for people who can already afford it.”

Census Bureau data show that 82 percent of Americans who earned more than $75,000 last year had job-sponsored health plans excluded from taxation, but only 23 percent of Americans who made less than $25,000 did.

 

But if we ended this regressive, distorting loophole, we could afford to give health credits to all Americans

 

Advocates on left and right agree on this: Ending the tax exclusion should be accompanied by a new national tax-credit system for health care.

 

It’s easy to do

 

Tax credits would exempt health plans from taxation up to a set dollar limit. Employers would put price tags on the benefits they provide to employees — many already do this to remind workers why wages aren’t rising — and anything above the government-set limit would be treated as taxable income. This would allow the taxation of so-called Cadillac health plans, the generous ones that cover everything from fancy eyeglasses to hair transplants.

 

“The mechanics of doing it don’t have to be revolutionary,” said Mark Pauly, an expert on health care costs at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “The main problem now is that the exclusion makes expensive insurance look cheap.”

This is a first step to solving our biggest domestic problem. Let’s do it.

South Dakota v. Cuong Nguyen

Teen gets 7 years for selling drugs,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 8 July 2005, http://argusleader.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20050708/NEWS/507080314/1001.

 

More on South Dakota’s love of freedom.

A Sioux Falls teenager accused of selling drugs to other students is going to prison.

 

A Minnehaha County judge Thursday sentenced Cuong Nguyen, 18, of 237 N. Cliff Ave. to seven years, with an additional eight years suspended.

 

Nguyen was a senior at Washington High School when he was arrested this spring. Police said he was a major drug supplier for local youths.

 

Nguyen pleaded guilty May 5 to possession of a controlled substance and possession of more than 1 pound of marijuana with intent to distribute.

 

Police said that he, another adult and two juveniles were caught with marijuana, hallucinogenic mushrooms and Ecstasy.  Aaron McGowan of the Minnehaha County state’s attorney’s office said he was pleased with the sentence.

 

It’s tough to send an 18-year-old to the penitentiary [link — tdaxp], but it was appropriate in a case like this when you have such large quantities of drugs and distribution going on in this community,” he said.

 

Your people should’ve stayed in Vietnam, Cuong.  Your radical belief in buying and selling is foreign to this neck of the woods.  In South Dakota, the government knows what is best for you.

 

Liberty can be misused, so South Dakota ruins lives and bans it.

 

No word on this from the South Dakota right or left blogs yet.

Conservatives for Medical Marijuana

Medical Marijuana This AM,” by Rich Brookhiser, The Corner, 15 June 2005, http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_06_12_corner-archive.asp#066200.

From the conservative Catholic “hippies” at National Review

Anyone who wants to support the Hinchey- Rohrabacher bill allowing states to permit medical use of marijuana should call his congressman (see below).

Chemotherapy, which I had in 1992, wasn’t all bad. I looked very cool bald; it gave a nice grey perm when my hair came back (why couldn’t it bring more hair back? can’t they cut it with menoxydil?); and it did stop my unpleasant visitor.

But the nausea was not cool, and only the illegal drug worked once the legal ones had failed

John Walters says there is no medical evidence for marijuana’s effects. He is a liar or an ignoramus, probably both.

Schiavo Case Leads Conservatives to Support Euthanasia

Re: Schiavo,” by John Derbyshire, The Corner, 15 June 2005, http://corner.nationalreview.com/05_06_12_corner-archive.asp#066258.

More Derb

At the Atlanta bash last month, an audience member asked the panel whether the Schiavo case had caused any of us to change our minds about the underlying issues.

I piped up & said yes, the case had changed my mind in one respect. It had made me realise, a thing I never realised before, that I do favor euthanasia.

Ramesh asked me at some point why, if I were willing to see Mrs Schiavo have her feeding withdrawn so that she dehydrated to death over several days, I wasn’t willing to just have her given a lethal injection. I couldn’t think of any satisfactory answer to this, and haven’t been able to since; so in all honesty, I am bound to say I favor the lethal injection, in at least some cases.

Good point.

This is why federalism is important. So when one state legalizes something, an uninformed majority doesn’t snuff it out.

More Persecution of Marijuana

Marijuana Becomes Focus of Drug War: Less Emphasis on Heroin and Cocaine,” by Dan Eggen, Washington Post, 4 May 2005, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/05/03/AR2005050301638.html (from Democratic Underground).

At least they aren’t investigating real crimes of hunting terrorism or anything

The focus of the drug war in the United States has shifted significantly over the past decade from hard drugs to marijuana, which now accounts for nearly half of all drug arrests nationwide, according to an analysis of federal crime statistics released yesterday.

The study of FBI data by a Washington-based think tank, the Sentencing Project, found that the proportion of heroin and cocaine cases plummeted from 55 percent of all drug arrests in 1992 to less than 30 percent 10 years later. During the same period, marijuana arrests rose from 28 percent of the total to 45 percent.

It seems to be that the only legal justification for the federal government criminalizing some drugs would be the Amendment XIII

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.

A good argument might be made that a severly physically addictive drug is a de facto form of indentured servitude. But as this is a relatively loose definition, and the framers of this amendment had no problem with tobacco, the standard has to be very high

But marijuana? A non-addictive drug? One that doesn’t “cause” violence like alcohol or addict users like nicotine? Why?

The answer is obvious: police puritans. There are movements actually opposed to physical pleasure. And not just opposed, but willing to use police powers to enforce their physically dreary society.

The Global War on Terror, the fight against infanticide, and civil society are all being sacrificed to make physical pleasure a crime.

Fortunately, our new Attorney General may be retooling the fight

The new statistics come amid signs of a renewed debate in political circles over the efficacy of U.S. drug policies, which have received less attention recently amid historically low crime rates and a focus on terrorism since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, for example, has formed a national committee to oversee prosecution of violent drug gangs and has vowed to focus more resources on the fight against methamphetamine manufacturers and other drug traffickers.

But it is not enough. Marijuana, and many other drugs, should be legalized. The current system is absurd.

Global War on Terrorism or Global War on Drugs

US arrests Afghan ‘heroin baron’,’ by Jeremy Cooke, BBC News, 25 April 2005, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4483469.stm (from Democratic Underground).

What’s more important? Not having Islamist murderers kill pilots, hijack planes, and crash them into buildings? Or “saving” you for your own stupid decisions?

The government’s chosen for you

An Afghan man regarded by the US as one of the world’s most wanted heroin traffickers has been arrested, American officials have announced.

Federal prosecutors say the arrest of Bashir Noorzai on US territory will be a severe blow to the Afghan drug trade.

A US federal indictment alleges Mr Noorzai has been at the centre of a multi-million dollar heroin operation.

He is expected to appear in a federal court charged with conspiring to import heroin worth $50m (£26m).

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Afghan Businessman Arrested by American Authorities

So instead of legalizing the drug-cash exchange, and allowing people to treat their bodies as they will, we make criminals out of Americans, Afghans, and everyone in between.

With policies like this, we risk shoving rich drug barons into the hands of our enemies.

But they also believe that the arrest may have wider implications, claiming that Mr Noorzai had close links with the Taleban and had used drug money to supply Islamic militants with arms and explosives.

Too late.

How many American soldiers will die to keep American drug users from Afghan drug suppliers? Because they sure are now.

For What Crime

The Overthrowing,” recited by Muhammad ibn Abd Allah, The Recitation, circa AD 620, http://www.universalunity.net/quran4/081.qmt.html.

US accused of trying to block abortion pills,” by Sarah Boseley, The Guardian, 21 April 2005, http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1464644,00.html (from Democratic Underground).

Infanticide — baby killing — is not new, and it is not going away easily.

When the sun is overthrown
And when the stars fall
And when the hills are moved
And when the camels big with young are abandoned
And when the wild beasts are hearded together
And when the seas rise
And when souls are reuinted
And when the girl-child that was buried alive is asked
for what she was slain

And when the pages are laid open
And when the sky is torn away
And when hell is lighted
And when the Garden is brought night
Every soul will know what it hath made ready
Oh, but I call to witness the planets
The stars which rise and set
And the close of night
And the breath of morning
That this is in truth the word of an honored messenger
Mighty, established in the presense of the Lord of the Throne
To be obeyed, and trusworthy.

Babies, both born and unborn, are being killed regularly in the world. We need to figh this. Anti-infanticide laws are one part of the fix. Another part is birth control, both before and after conception.

This makes America’s latest neo-Puritanism even more enraging.

The US government is trying to block the World Health Organisation from endorsing two abortion pills which could save the lives of some of the 68,000 women who die from unsafe practices in poor countries every year.

The WHO wants to put the pills on its essential medicines list, which constitutes official advice to all governments on the basic drugs their doctors should have available.

Last month, an expert committee met to consider a number of new drugs for inclusion on the list. They approved for the first time two pills, to be used in combination for the termination of early pregnancy, called mifepristone and misoprostol. In poor countries where abortion is legal, doctors currently have no alternative to surgery.

To Protect and Destroy Horizontal Controls

Dancers cited for exposing breasts,” Daytona Beech News-Journal, 27 March 2005, http://www.news-journalonline.com/NewsJournalOnline/News/WestVolusia/03WVolWEST02032705.htm(from White Cheech (nsfw) through Technorati).

Blagojevich Requires Pharmacies To Fill Birth Control Orders Quickly,” Associted Press, 1 April 2005, http://abclocal.go.com/wls/news/040105_ap_ns_birthcontrol_orders.html (from Tiger Hawk).

Two related stories.

Nine female dancers were charged with exposing their breasts at Softtails Saloon.

The dancers, ranging from 24 to 38 years old, were issued notices to appear in court and then released after being cited Thursday night, Volusia County Sheriff’s spokesman Gary Davidson said.

Volusia County law requires women to partly cover themselves and not reveal certain areas of their bodies while dancing at businesses that serve alcohol.

Business manager Lynn Fraser, 20, was charged with allowing the violations to occur. Softtails is on U.S. 92 just east of DeLand.

Davidson said the Sheriff’s Office received complaints about the dancers flashing. Plain-clothed deputies with the Sheriff’s Office Crime Suppression Team visited the business Thursday. After deputies witnessed the violations, the 10 women were issued citations

and

Gov. Rod Blagojevich filed an emergency rule Friday requiring pharmacies that sell contraceptives to fill prescriptions for birth control quickly, following recent incidents in which a Chicago pharmacist refused to fill orders for contraceptives because of moral opposition.

“Our regulation says that if a woman goes to a pharmacy with a prescription for birth control, the pharmacy or the pharmacist is not allowed to discriminate or to choose who he sells it to or who he doesn’t sell it to,” Blagojevich said. “The pharmacy will be expected to accept that prescription and fill it … No delays. No hassles. No lectures.”

The anti-stripper law probably was probably written by moralists, while the birth control decree was issued by a Democrat. On one level they have different purposes. The Softails case is a case of government interference because of a perceived lack of virtue (horizontal control). Blogojevich’s order is goernment action because of too much horizontal control. But they both illustrate a major problem with American laws.

But they share a common theme: public policy overriding private morality. They replace horizontal controls with vertical ones, or weaken civil society and strengthen government diktat . This is a tragedy, this is dangerous. Focusing on state control channels citizens higher instincts away from voluntary organizations and toward influencing government. True virtue is abandoned in favor of using state force. Internalized civility is replaced with institutionalized thuggery.

Tiger Hawk, who I agree with, spotted a vertical control I miseed. I’ll close with his words

TigerHawk belongs to the “more the merrier” school of birth control, so I do not subscribe to the thinking of these moralist pharmacists. However, some of them believe that certain types of birth control, including particularly pills in a “morning after” dose, act to abort a conceived egg, and that by selling these pills they are participating in an abortion. Or maybe they just oppose contraception. In either case, I think their position is asinine.

The good news, though, is that small-town women have it within their own power to solve this problem: Keep a big old stock of birth control pills handy. If you don’t have ’em, have friends who have ’em. If you accidently have unprotected sex, take several the next morning and several more before you go to bed the next night. Read this, and read the label on the pill so you can calculate the dose. And since I don’t give medical advice, which is smart because I’m a lawyer, consult your doctor.

The Times missed a great opportunity to protect the right of a pharmacist to his conscience and flank the activists who are trying to drive birth control out of the economy. Had I been writing this morning’s editorial I would have argued that the morning after pill — “Plan B” — be sold over the counter. If it were sold in every 7-Eleven as it should be, we would not have to write rules ordering pharmacists to choose between their God and their livelihood