The sun is finally starting to rise a bit earlier, though almost imperceptibly; but still, we’ve turned the corner and the days are now, to my delight, growing longer on either end.
President Obama yesterday offered the tiniest inkling that he may be prepared to ease, if not end, the long-running and totally failed “war on drugs.” In an on-line forum, former deputy sheriff and Law Enforcement Against Prohibition spokesman MacKenzie Allen asked the Prez whether it’s time to discuss legalizing and regulating drugs. Obama responded that it is "an entirely legitimate topic for debate," and while he is not in favor of legalization, he sees drug abuse as a public health issue. He went on to say that a shifting of resources is required, away from the traditional approach of incarcerating nonviolent drug offenders.
But he still hasn’t put his money where his mouth is. The Obama administration continues to favor prisons and prosecution over treatment and prevention in the same two-to-one funding budget ratio of the Bush era.
Meanwhile, as Democracy Now! reported yesterday:
In Bolivia, thousands of people marched to the U.S. embassy in the capital city La Paz Wednesday in protest of the Obama administration’s opposition to the Andean practice of chewing coca leaves. The United Nations is currently reviewing a Bolivian proposal to remove a clause of a 1961 U.N. convention that declared the coca leaf an illegal narcotic alongside a number of hard drugs including cocaine and heroin. The United States has said it will file a formal objection to removing the coca leaf ban. Bolivia’s Deputy Minister of Coca, German Loza, called the movement to legalize the coca leaf "a social revolution."
German Loza: "This march is a social revolution, an action in defense of the coca leaf and its chewing, which has never had harmful effects on people’s health. That is why we can’t continue to be subjected to the powers of the international community that ignores the nature of the coca leaf."
It’s yet another example of the way America meddles in the affairs of its neighbors to the south, often with violent results. As Aljezeera reports, Chile is finally launching its own investigation into the death of President Salvador Allende, who was found shot in the head during a bloody U.S.-backed coup that brought dictator Augusto Pinochet to power on Sept.11, 1973. His death had been ruled a suicide.
Henry Kissinger, US secretary of state under then president Richard Nixon, made quite clear what US intentions were after Allende's election.
"The issues are much too important for the Chilean voters to be left to decide for themselves ..." Kissinger said at the time.
Which leads me to an article in the local paper about the mayor signing the bill that ends county furloughs. It seems that cutting county workers saved the county about $2.3 million — an amount that will soon be burned up on pay for Bernard’s top heavy administration, which includes a number of new and questionable management positions.
I heard that he was recently accompanied to a Council meeting by a man who identified himself as his protocol officer, and whose duties include making sure the mayor gets to his appointments on time. And maybe that he's wearing the right lei?
Doesn’t Bernard have a secretary? Or a smart phone? What about Beth?
It would be really nice if the Administration came clean about who has been hired by the mayor’s office, how much we’re paying them and exactly what they’re doing to justify their generous salaries.
It would also be nice if KIUC revealed to us, the owners of the cooperative, just how much it plans to pay Green Energy for the power generated by burning albezia and other wood. According to an article in The Garden Island:
David Bissell, KIUC acting president and chief executive officer, said the co-op needs to maintain discretion in pricing and therefore would not reveal the price KIUC will pay Green Energy per kilowatt-hour (kwh) under the PPA [Power Purchase Agreement].
Meanwhile, Green Energy is also trying to get federal grant money for the project and has gotten a sweet deal to lease state land, which is actually the so-called “ceded lands,” for its project. Are they getting tax breaks, too?
Which leads me to wonder, how much is this biomass energy project really costing us? Especially if the project never does fly, and the incredibly invasive albezia they’re growing continues to spread and destroys the watershed.