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Enrique Peña Nieto took over the presidency of Mexico on December 1, 2012, after succeeding Felipe Calderón. The path of his presidency will be a difficult one, Peña Nieto won with just 38% of the vote and his party (PRI) will not control either house of Congress. This will make it difficult to address the many issues facing Mexico today: energy policy, education, tax reform, political corruption, and others.

Perhaps chief among those issues, Peña Nieto inherits a drug war that has cost 60,000 lives since 2006.  Among others, he campaigned on the issue of stepping away from the military nature of that war against Mexico's infamous cartels and instead focusing on a reduction in murder and crime. Part of the new plan is to stress economic improvement and job creation. Perhaps most telling, though, is the fact that Peña Nieto chose to focus more heavily on economic issues.

                     Drug Money and weapons seized by the Mexican Police and the DEA

drug money and weapons seized by the Mexican Police and the DEA

Enrique Peña Nieto
"Where am I heading? Toward a country with greater public security. So Mexicans can live more peacefully."
...

"It's clear that we must put special emphasis on prevention, because we can't only keep employing more sophisticated weapons, better equipment, more police, a higher presence of the armed forces in the country as the only form of combating organised crime."

While Peña Nieto's rhetoric is promising, there is much work to be done and many question how he will achieve these goals. The cartels are strong and the violence is rampant. Security analyst Alejandro Hope told AP that he sees "a lot of continuity" between the approaches of Peña Nieto and Calderón.

The dangers of reporting Ciudad JuarezAs I said, the problem is large. In the first few months of Peña Nieto's presidency, Mexico is still under the grip of violence and crime in many areas. There have been a series of crimes that include the kidnap and murder of a 17-member band near Monterrey and the gang rape of 6 Spanish tourists in Acapulco.

One Big Hurdle

The first problem that Peña Nieto's administration will face is his party's reputation. The PRI controlled Mexico throughout most of the 20th Century. As with any nation that is ruled by one party, graft and corruption became widespread and fostered a sense of apathy among its citizenry. Before Vicente Fox's 2000 election, "40% of Mexicans believed their country was a democracy. Immediately after the election, 63% described Mexico as a democracy."

Mario Vargas Llosa referred to Mexico under the PRI as "the perfect dictatorship". Many Mexicans worry that Peña Nieto's victory will mark a return to the abusive 71 year reign of the PRI. Critics point to scandals involving current and former PRI governors, among them the discovery of suitcases of money and allegations of ties to drug cartels.

“I for one am nervous about their return,” said Guadalupe Davila of Ciudad Juárez, whose son was one of the more than 60,000 victims of drug violence under Calderón’s term. “But it will be up to us, society, to show the PRI that we have changed as a people, that we demand government accountability, that things cannot go back to where they were and fall back into neglect. That’s why we lost what we lost.”
Peña Nieto's victory may be just the result of a citizenry weary of violence and hoping for an improved economy. A recent poll by GCE indicated that 72% of Mexicans believed the nation was either stuck or moving backward while 27% felt that the nation was progressing. Only time will tell if Peña Nieto's claims of a "new PRI" will hold or if the PAN can field a successful candidate in the next presidential election.

President Obama's Visit to Mexico

Reunión con el Presidente Barack Obama.

May 3, 2012

While both presidents focused on economic issues and immigration in their remarks after the meeting, President Barack Obama did have this to say,

“We understand that the root cause of much of the violence here — and so much suffering for many Mexicans — is the demand for illegal drugs, including in the United States”

 “We recognize that most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States.”

Details of the New Plan Drip Out Slowly

One aspect of the new approach is certain, there will be less of the sort of outright military attacks in conjunction with the US government that were favored by Calderón. Instead of drones and surveillance, Peña Nieto will look to France for help in forming an elite police force that will act as a sort of gendarmerie. Indeed, the biggest part of the new program seems to be the consolidation of all the anti-drug efforts into one place. That place is the Interior Ministry, known as Gobernación, previously favored by the PRI in the 20th Century.

Barack Obama & Felipe Calderon give press conference in Mexico City
President Obama with former President Felipe Calderón
This is a dramatic change from the individual relationships that US officials enjoyed by with different Mexican security players such as the army, the federal police, the navy or the attorney general's office. That arrangement allowed the US to choose which information it gave to which part of the Mexican apparatus it trusted most.

The Guardian

Or Is the New Plan to Just Stop Commenting


"There is less information all the time," says Ricardo González of the freedom of expression group Article 19. "It is alarming."

April 9, 2013

While one factor in the decline of coverage is certainly fatigue, and fear of the cartels is another, there is also some evidence that there is simply less publicity about the drug war coming from the government itself. Calderón and his government widely publicized arrests and operational successes through speeches, videotapes, and advertisements. Today, those efforts no longer seem to exist.

A study from the Observatory of the Processes of Public Communication of the Violence "concluded that coverage of the violence in capital-based print and on TV during during the first three months of the Peña Nieto administration ... was about half of what it had been in the same period a year before." For example, the words "organized crime" and "cartel" are rarely seen on free-to-view TV in the early months of the Peña Nieto administration.

Meanwhile

via Drug Policy Alliance and Business Insider:

  • Amount spent annually in the U.S. on the war on drugs: More than $51,000,000,000
  • Number of people arrested for a marijuana law violation in 2011: 757,969
  • Number of those charged with marijuana law violations who were arrested for possession only: 663,032 (87 percent)
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that syringe access programs lower HIV incidence among people who inject drugs by: 80 percent
  • One-third of all AIDS cases in the U.S. have been caused by syringe sharing: 354,000 people
  • U.S. federal government support for syringe access programs: $0.00, thanks to a federal ban reinstated by Congress in 2011 that prohibits any federal assistance for them
  • 3,000 police officers and soldiers have died since 2006, which is equal to the number of coalition soldiers who have died in Afghanistan since 2001
  • An additional 5,000 people have disappeared since 2006
  • The United Nations estimates that the U.S. narcotics market is worth about $60 billion annually
  • The Justice Department estimates that Colombian and Mexican cartels take in $18 billion to $39 billion from drug sales in the United States each year
  • The Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center estimates that cartels operated in 1,286 U.S. cities in 2009 and 2010, which is more than five times the number reported in 2008
  • In a 2010 speech, Mexico’s secretary of public security said that the cartels combined spend more than $1 billion each year just to bribe the municipal police
                     

END THIS WAR NOW

Originally posted to Salted and Cured on Sat May 04, 2013 at 12:09 PM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Massive Manipulation in Mexico (5+ / 0-)

    Composite polling had Pena Nieto ahead of the center-left candidate, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, by 20% points.

    Final results had Nieto beating AMLO by 7% points.

    EPN is the leader of Mexico because the Mexican Oligarchy wants the status quo.

    Do I blame the US for Mexico's drug problems?

    Of course not.

    Just research how many former PRI governors have been investigated by the US Justice Department for partnering with NarcoTraffickers.

    In fact, a good friend of Pena Nieto, Jorge Hank of Baja California, can't even enter the US because of his ties to NarcoTraffickers.

    Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

    by PatriciaVa on Sat May 04, 2013 at 12:40:07 PM PDT

    •  Raul Salinas, brother of former president Carlos (5+ / 0-)

      Salinas is said to have openly made a deal with the Sinaloa cartel promising no interference as long as the cartel supported Salinas for president. He was later found to have hundreds of millions of dollars stashed in Switzerland while never having had a salary which would support saving such funds.

      Governors of many Mexican states have either been imprisoned or killed, going back years before Calderon started open warfare across the country.

      Presidential candidates from other parties have been assassinated so the PRI could stay in power.  EPN is a pretty new face on an old corrupt organization.  He's helpfully stupid, like "W" was, which helps clear the way for the real power brokers to wring money from the nation.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:18:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I do, however, disagree with this part: (9+ / 0-)
      Do I blame the US for Mexico's drug problems?

      Of course not.

      Those governors and presidents and numerous top officials are involved because the sums of money are too vast to ignore.  If the demand for drugs in the USA weren't so enormous, the flow through Mexico wouldn't be what it is and the profits wouldn't be there.

      Huge quantities of drugs - tons of cocaine for example - are not arriving in the USA just to sit on street corners in piles with carnival barkers trying to convince people to try them.

      The demand is an enormous suction north, with Americans ready and willing to buy all that is made available.

      The War on Drugs is a vast failure 40 years on. Drugs are as cheap as ever and as widely available as ever before.  Any high school kid can tell you who's selling pot.

      The whole adventure would be comical if not for the fact that the federal government has put priorities into the WOD rather than programs which could really help people -- like treatment clinics -- and the fact that so many deaths both in the USA and Mexico have come about because of this foolhardy policy choice.

      Both Mexico and the USA are now filled with militarized police and the security state has already been installed.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:24:27 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mexican govt officials make far more than their... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gravlax, YucatanMan

        ..US counterparts.

        For example, the Chief Justice of the Mexican Supreme Court makes 650K per year, compared to Chief Justice Roberts' 220K per year.  Mexican Senators (120 of them, compared to 100 in US) and Representatives (500 of them, compared to 435 in US) also earn far more than their US counterparts.

        You say,

        Those governors and presidents and numerous top officials are involved because the sums of money are too vast to ignore
        I ask, how many US Senators or Reps have been ensnared by the drug trade?

        Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

        by PatriciaVa on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:51:09 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Are you sure those salaries are translated (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gravlax, PatriciaVa

          from MX Pesos into US Dollars?  

          For example, the President of Mexico receives roughly $200,000 US dollars per year.

          I cannot find the others just now, but am sure that those figures seem too high to me. I could be mistaken, but I've never seen such high sums (as official pay) in years of reading Mexican newspapers.

          Fox famously became the first Mexican president to disclose his total income (not just salary) and it was still only $400,000 per year.  Fox led a transparency campaign which was fairly successful. (I'm sure you know, Patricia, I'm only mentioning it for other readers who may not).

          Fox's salary in 2002 was around $160,000 US dollars per year.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:12:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Silva Meza makes 6.1M pesos a year (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            gravlax, YucatanMan

            6.1M at 12 pesos to dollar is..

            US 508K per year.

            Not as high as I thought, but 2x what Chief Roberts makes.

            And John Roberts presides over a country of 312M, while Silva Meza over 112M.

            http://www.unionjalisco.mx/...

            Juan Silva Meza, presidente de la Suprema Corte de Justicia de la Nación.

            Sueldo mensual bruto: 356 mil 242 pesos.

            Aguinaldo: 494 mil pesos.

            Ayuda de anteojos: 3 mil 100 pesos.

            Estímulo del día de la madre: mil pesos.

            Remuneración bruta anual: 6 millones 118 mil pesos.

            My numbers regarding Mexican Senators and Reps may have been off, however, and I apologize.

            Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project. www.hamiltonproject.org

            by PatriciaVa on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:45:14 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •   I don't think you're far off from what I've (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              gravlax, PatriciaVa

              found.  I suppose the concept with the enormous salary of the Chief Justice is to insure immunity from corruption, but I assume governors have both more opportunity and motivation for corruption, since so many of them have been involved in rather ugly situations.  

              Unless he was released without my noticing, the former governor of Quintana Roo (known to most Americans as the state where Cancun is located) is imprisoned for his involvement with drug cartels.

              "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

              by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:51:26 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  Patricia is correct: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gravlax, ozsea1, rlochow

          President of Mexico is paid ~ $250,000 per year.

          Chief Justice of the Supreme Court ~ $500,000 per year.

          Congressional Senator ~  $165,000 per year. (Federal Senator)
          Congressional Representative ~ $ 130,00 per year.  (Deputy)

          Other cabinet secretaries make more than the Congress and close to what the President is paid, including the head of the elections commission (IFE) and INEGI (sort of the national statistics keeping organization - similar to the Census and US National Geographic Survey in one).

          Found at "Ministers Paid More than President"

          Calderon had proposed a bill (which I paid not much attention to but thought had passed) which said no one could make more than the president. But that must not have gotten anywhere, since these salaries still seem to be in effect from what I can find online just now.

          If there are other links, I'm happy to see them.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:48:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly correct. (4+ / 0-)

        Without billions from affluent U.S. suburban teens, rural meth users and urban cocaine & heroin 'customers', without the massive 'premium' added due to the illegal nature of the product, Mexico's drug gangs would wither into irrelevance.

        So we're funding both sides in the 'war on drugs'.

        Mission Accomplished!

  •  Excellent diary, thank you. (8+ / 0-)

    For several years, I followed this story as best I could -- in horror. The 70,000 dead and 25,000 missing is almost incomprehensible. I'm glad the president at least recognizes and admits the U.S. is a significant part of the problem, though I don't know if it really makes a difference. To let that many people be slaughtered is disgusting.

    I'm with you: End this war now!

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Sat May 04, 2013 at 12:40:20 PM PDT

  •  The Drug War didn't erupt (9+ / 0-)

    until after Fox's election. The PRI had a deal with the narcos that kept the violence down while allowing the trade to continue. There were, of course, payoffs involved and it was corrupt as hell, but the arrangement was, arguably, better than what's happening now. It may be that Peña-Nieto will seek a similar accommodation, perhaps with the Sinaloa cartel. Let's face it, demand will be supplied, and as long as that demand exists maybe it's better that the narcos and the government aren't fighting each other over the business.

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:31:15 PM PDT

    •  That was an undercurrent of (6+ / 0-)

      some of the stuff I read while preparing this. None of it was specific enough to enter in the diary and I didn't find anything quotable. But, yes, I think that there will be a return to the old PRI "arrangement".

      Thanks for adding this.

      "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

      by gravlax on Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:39:42 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  More specifically, the mass violence didn't begin (10+ / 0-)

      until afterCalderon's election. That election was highly suspect and there were many anomalies. The officially released vote count gave Calderon a 0.58% lead.  Calderon also had the 'assistance' of Bush acolytes in operating his campaign.

      Because there were literally hundreds of thousands in the streets day after day questioning the results of the election, Calderon felt the need to demonstrate firm control as president.

      So, he put on a military style jacket -- much like Bush's codpiece - a false front -- and went on television to announce that federal forces were taking on drug cartels in Michoacán, a policy which he quickly spread around the nation.

      Although repeatedly claiming that the tide was turning, that the drug war was about to be won, etc, (see Thomas Friedman on Iraq for similar stream of lies), the war continues unabated.  Sixty thousand? Seventy? Some estimates are over 100,000 killed.   Entire villages along the border have been decimated, by both cartels and the federal police and military.

      Most of the killings are not investigated. Some of the time, the names of the dead aren't even uncovered.

      The  accommodation you mention perhaps was in effect for many years, but was perhaps first formalized by Raul Salinas, brother of Mexico's President  Carlos Salinas de Gortari.

      Enrique Peña Nieto is a buffoon. He couldn't find his way out of a wet paper bag on his own. He is in power because the PRI wanted a return to power and the "dinosaurs" (old-time PRI oligarchs) knew they needed a fresh young face for the return effort.

      As noted, barely over 1/3 of the nation supported him for president. (Shouldn't all elections in every locale require 50% via runoffs, etc?) But he's in power.  The dinosaurs are happy.

      Mexico's economy is resurging and never suffered as much as that of the United States during the Great Recession.  Perhaps the dinosaurs see more looting that can be done via neo-liberalism ala the USA and thus are open to "reforms" in Mexico's institutions and economy.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:05:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  thank you for the perspective, (5+ / 0-)

        I assume from your username that you would know a hell of a lot more about this than me.

        "when the going gets weird, the weird turn pro"

        by gravlax on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:09:51 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  On the contrary, I searched for a nit to pick (5+ / 0-)

          with your diary and found it to be quite well done.

          I appreciated seeing the topic raised.  BTW, I'm "American" (expats often hate to use that term while because all  inhabitants of the two continents are also "Americans" and it appears presumptuous to believe everyone knows we mean "just us"), but have extensive experience in Mexico, primarily Yucatan. Decades, I hate to admit, thinking of the years going by too quickly!

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:33:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Ooops! Sorry, I read right over this part: (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gravlax, Leap Year, Shockwave
          Enrique Peña Nieto took over the presidency of Mexico on December 1, 2012, after defeating Felipe Calderón.
          EPN succeeded Calderon.  He defeated the candidate from Calderon's PAN party, Josefina Vázquez Mota, Representative, and my perennial favorite, AMLO - Andrés Manuel López Obrador, of the PRD party.

          Presidents are elected for one six-year term in Mexico.

          Enrique Peña Nieto received 38.15%
          Andrés Manuel López Obrador received 31.64% and
          Josefina Vázquez Mota received 25.40% of the vote

          That's a pretty stunning rejection of Calderon's "war" from the population of Mexico.  His party's candidate was only supported by 1 in 4 voters, about the level of Bush's lowest popularity.

          If Mexico had run-off elections to insure someone received 50+%, I have my doubts that EPN would have won. The PRI party has a lot they've never answered for, not the least of which was the open slaughter of protesting students in 1968. An event similar to China's Tiananmen Square in 1989.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:01:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for the links, (6+ / 0-)

        I'll add them to my file. The new President has already talked about privatizing PEMEX and they've got a neo-liberal style war going against their school teachers, so yeah, there's that.

        The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

        by Azazello on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:15:45 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The parallels are a little scary because they are (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Azazello, gravlax, ozsea1, Leap Year

          so clear. EPN (and mostly, his backers) appear to be ready to leap right into the neoliberal agenda.  

          Mexico's economy has been relatively healthy in the face of the global recession, but, personally, I attribute that to their many social-democracy-style institutions.  

          If neoliberal "solutions" are adopted, I fear the lessening income inequality will reverse course and begin to increase as in the USA.

          "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

          by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:30:26 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Jesus.... (9+ / 0-)

    that first pic.....

    I didn't know those were hundreds the first time I saw it. That'd be, what, $100 million? More? Jesus.

    I fear that the only thing that could possibly stem the unending flow of cheddar into their coffers is legalization.

    Start with marijuana. Like fucking 50 years ago.

    Thanks for this diary

    "Every book is like a door"

    by Hammerhand on Sat May 04, 2013 at 01:50:27 PM PDT

    •  Wachovia reportedly laundered $378.4 billion (10+ / 0-)

      dollars of drug cartel money,

      a sum equivalent to one-third of Mexico's gross national product
      yet was given a slap on the wrist by the US government:
      "Wachovia's blatant disregard for our banking laws gave international cocaine cartels a virtual carte blanche to finance their operations," said Jeffrey Sloman, the federal prosecutor. Yet the total fine was less than 2% of the bank's $12.3bn profit for 2009. On 24 March 2010, Wells Fargo stock traded at $30.86 – up 1% on the week of the court settlement.

      And that was just one bank.  Others have been doing the same thing, but they weren't seriously prosecuted either.

      The "War on Drugs" is a flat-out class war.   As are all wars, aren't they?  Do the vastly wealthy ever suffer due to war?

      * Poor and smoke a bit? Into the slammer with you!  

      * Drive a Benz in a $1200 suit and white shirt while laundering a billion dollars? Well, that will be a small pittance of a fine against your company while you, Sir, are never personally inconvenienced.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat May 04, 2013 at 03:14:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  A new strategy in the drug war! It is as good as (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax, Valar Morghulis, Orinoco

    won!
    Cautious and conservative Obama says: ""We also recognize that most of the guns used to commit violence here in Mexico come from the United States," Obama said, to applause. "As I've said in the United States, I will continue to do everything in my power to pass common sense reforms that keep guns out of the hands of criminals and dangerous people ... It's the right thing to do."

    What a joke - like the US is gonna cost the big US arms manufacturers billions of dollars. We'll have to start another war if we cut of the arms flow to Mexico. Of course, China, Russia, France, arms routed through Africa, Afghanistan etc can pick up the slack in one millisecond, but I suppose "sensible" gun reform is the answer. Background checks no doubt is the answer.

    There is only one answer - legalization.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sat May 04, 2013 at 04:19:32 PM PDT

  •  A small request (8+ / 0-)
    “We understand that the root cause of much of the violence here — and so much suffering for many Mexicans — is the demand for illegal drugs, including in the United States”
    Can someone please tell the President that raiding medical marijuana dispensaries reduces supply which in turn results in price increases that drive up demand for Mexican weed?

    The guns and violence are a byproduct. They're not smuggling guns just for the hell of it. They're grabbing that cash that keeps getting sweeter every time a shopkeeper who has never owned a gun or hurt anyone in his life gets hauled off by an FBI SWAT team carrying H&K MP5s.

  •  Prohibition v. 2.0, and it works just as well. (5+ / 0-)

    In the 1920s it powered the rise of the Mafia in the U.S.; now it's Mexico's drug lords, with 60,000 dead and counting.

    The lesson is clear to U.S. political leaders:
    Stay the course! Full speed ahead! Keep jailing drug users!

    ....Wait, what?

    •  Funny ennit? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      gravlax, PaloAltoPixie, 6412093

      And not funny haha either. One would think we'd have learned something since the 1920's. Nope, not on this.

      "Every book is like a door"

      by Hammerhand on Sun May 05, 2013 at 08:33:32 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  A big part of it IMHO is the relentless brain-dead (4+ / 0-)

        ...breathless reporting about "crime" (defined, always, as petty break-ins, drug dealing and robberies, never as trillions looted by the Banksters) in the mainstream corporate media. On all of our local TeeVee stations, there is weather, there is professional & college sports, and everything else is all-crime-all-the-time. Nonstop coverage of every freakin' drug arrest and assault beef. Preferably with video of a dark-skinned miscreant being rousted by the police.

        Not a fucking word about the lack of job opportunities, the obscene expansion of prisons matched by a mirror-image reduction in funding for public colleges, or the every day social corrosion caused by white collar banking crimes.

        •  They can't ignore those things forever, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gravlax

          or so I tell myself.  

        •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

          I did a diary about that about a while back. I hate that shit

          "Every book is like a door"

          by Hammerhand on Sun May 05, 2013 at 03:25:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Absolutely. It's a pro-Republican default, the.. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Hammerhand

            law 'n order fetish. Nixon completely understood this at the most cynical level, and exploited it shamelessly for political gain.

            Our corporate media's obsessive crime reporting continues to convey the absolutely false impression of danger and high crime rates, when in fact in the U.S. we are at or near historic lows for most violent crimes. The fear-mongering drives America's crazy gun fetish (and thereby makes us all a lot less safe, but that's another rant), and it drives our obscene binge of incarceration for trivial offenses, even as we eviscerate spending on public colleges.

            There's always money for prisons, but not for education. That's just shameful.

  •  Regarding drug policy: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    gravlax

    Recently, Alec Baldwin recorded an interview with former New York City Commissioner of Correction and Probation Martin Horne on his weblog "Heres The Thing".  

    Horne is a veteran of the corrections system who started out as a parole officer and worked his way up to the top of the system.  He certainly knows what goes on in matters of crime and punishment in our society.

    Baldwin, in his interview, asked Horne what he thought should be done about illegal drugs.  Horne replied, "legalize all of them."  After he picked his jaw up off the floor, Baldwin asked, well, what about Heroin and things like that?  Horne replied, "sell them through the liquor stores, tax the shit out of them and apply the money to prevention and treatment."

    I am sure that there are other law enforcement professionals who agree with Horne and would speak out like him, if they could do so without putting their jobs at risk.  And there is no question that essentially ending the war on drugs, as Martin Horne proposes, would dry up the black market for drugs, which would tremendously benefit both the U.S. and Mexico.  

  •  Several commentors feel that PRI (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Azazello, KenBee

    has sought an arrangement with the Cartels.  There also is some evidence that the US government is seeking an accomodation of its own, by laying off the Sinaloa Cartel, in return for the Sinaloa Cartel providing the US Drug police with a wealth of information on their competitors.  

    However the strongest evidence favoring this assertion is the self-serving testimony of a Sinaloa Cartel big shot currently in trial in Chicago.  

    I was ready to diary on how we didn't learn a darned thing from Prohibition, and are speeding towards a similar disaster with drugs.  But the current dairy covered the drug war tragedy in excellent detail.

    Here how I intended to write about this:

    PUBLIC ENEMY NUMBER ONE
    A few weeks ago, the civic leaders in Chicago decided to give special attention to a Latin business man. He runs the largest business there  by far, employing over 200,000 just in Chicago.

     For comparison, the US government is the second largest Chicago employer, with only 50,000.

    And how did the Chicago civic leaders honor this rich and successful businessman?  They declared him Public Enemy Number One.

    Meet Joaquin Guzman, also known as “El Chapo.”  El Chapo reportedly runs the mammoth Sinaloa Cartel, a Mexican-based narcotics trafficking organization that reaps countless billions from smuggling and selling pot, cocaine, and other illegal drugs in Chicago and thousands of other cities across the United States.

    The Chicago Crime Commission, which named El Chapo
    Public Enemy Number #1, had not designated any hoodlum as “#1” for almost 90 years.  The infamous Al Capone was the only prior Public Enemy #1.

    The local and federal police and officials consider El Chapo to be Capone's equal. “Not since Capone has any criminal deserved this title more,” said Crime Commission President JR Davis.

    Drug Enforcement Agency head Jack Riley, who runs the federal drug police operations in Chicago, calls Guzman, “…the new Al Capone of Chicago.”

    Those are strong words, so strong that one wonders if these officials even know what Al Capone did.  And since law enforcement declares El Chapo a Public Enemy and then failed to capture him, they’ve added to his power and aura.  

    Al Capone committed rape and murder, and set up a multi-state bootlegging criminal operation, in the days of prohibition.  His criminal organization,  “The Outfit,”  outlived him.

    Capone’s Outfit raked in billions, murdered newspaper reporters, judges, police, and politicians, corrupted international unions, and fixed local, state and national elections for mayor, Senator, Congress members, and even President, for the better part of 50 years.

    If El Chapo is truly as powerful Capone, US democracy itself is in for a rough ride.  

    Orly, it isn't evidence just because you downloaded it from the internet.

    by 6412093 on Sun May 05, 2013 at 02:03:06 PM PDT

    •  Forbe's magazine doesn't count guys like Guzman, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      KenBee

      in their 400, but he's right up there, you'd better believe it, maybe even in the top 10.

      The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

      by Azazello on Sun May 05, 2013 at 07:56:05 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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