news bits

Found a few interesting articles on The Raw Story today. The first two pertain to the drug issues. Portugal decriminalized drugs back in 2001 and since then drug use in Portugal has fallen below the rest of the EU. This is a perfect example of how decriminalization works. From my visit to the Netherlands I was told the same thing by locals. I wonder what the effect decriminalization has on violence and the money it saves, since those are most likely reduced as well.

Felipe Calderone, Mexico's president, blames U.S. authorities stating just as in Mexico, corruption is complicate to drug trafficking. The truth is that the billions of dollars in drug trade don't simply disappear. Authorities could easily interfere to stop all this laundering. This isn't to mention the CIA's involvement of cocaine trafficking under the Reagan administration. And I'm sure that's just one example. On this note, I'd like to recommend a good documentary on the War on Drugs called American Drug War: The Last White Hope.

Even though Obama is a change from the Obama administration I can't say I'm impressed with the way his administration has been handling things so far. Major case in point, Obama has moved to block challenges against Bush's illegal wiretapping program. Back when Obama voted for the current FISA act I thought it was a political move since he acted to change the legislation and when that failed it would have passed with or without his vote. Had he voted against it, he would have surely been criticized for being soft on terror. But he's currently following the same line as the Bush administration. A few years ago Frontline did a very good documentary on the NSA's wiretapping called Spying on the Home Front.

Going back to Europe, the EU issued a directive for ISPs to start storing details of e-mails and phone calls. Content of e-mails and calls are not recorded, but can be accessed with a warrant. Sweden has decided to ignore the directive (must be all those pirate) and German courts are contesting it.

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