Open Thread

bullet image TalkLeft has one of those way-to-common stories demonstrating painfully that the harm of prohibition is far greater than any harm from drugs: OK Woman Gets 10 Years for Selling $31 of Marijuana. It’s the kind of story that makes you angry — at the snitch, at the prosecutors, at the system, and mostly at the law.

bullet image Peter Moskos saw this:

A police “accreditation manager” (whatever that means) is revising his “social networking policy” so that potential applicants, as part of their background investigation, must sign an affidavit listing any social networking sites (Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, LinkedIn) they belong to and give their passwords to these sites so the department can snoop.

Is this becoming standard? Do we approve? I’m pretty sure I don’t approve.

I don’t either. I understand the need for police departments to investigate the background of applicants to make sure they haven’t been involved in criminal enterprises, but this smacks of screening for “unacceptable” viewpoints (such as “liking” LEAP, for example). And given the power the police seem to have (through lobbying and various questionable techniques) to influence legislation, even the appearance of the attempt to create a “standardized” political viewpoint in law enforcement is a pretty scary thing.

bullet image According to the U.S. State Department, the drug warriors are expected to seize 103% of all cocaine produced in the world this year.

Narcoleaks, a new website produced by Italian journalists and the drug trafficking researcher Sandro Donati, keeps track of cocaine seizure reports and compares them to official estimates of worldwide production. The most recent projection based on Donati’s calculations indicates that seizures, which totaled 47.1 metric tons from January 1 through yesterday, will hit 664 to 714 metric tons by the end of the year. According to the U.S. State Department’s production estimate, that means governments will succeed in confiscating all of Earth’s cocaine, plus another 19 metric tons or so (based on the middle of the projected range), possibly produced on Mars.

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