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Obama: Marijuana Is Less Dangerous Than Alcohol, But…

January 19, 2014 in Blogs

By Phillip Smith, Drug War Chronicle

Legalizing marijuana could open the door to talk about legalizing other drugs, he cautioned.

In an interview with The New Yorker released Sunday, President Barack Obama said he didn't think marijuana was more dangerous than alcohol and that the legalization experiments going on in Colorado and Washington were “important.” But he also said marijuana use wasn't something he could encourage and he worried that pot legalization could lead to a slippery slope where the decriminalization or legalization of other, more dangerous, drugs might be considered.

The comments came as interviewer David Remnick prodded Obama on the issue of marijuana policy in the midst of a whopping 15,000-word profile of the president. Remnick described Obama's position on pot an area of shifting public opinion where “he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue.”

“As has been well documented,” Obama said in response to a Remnick question, “I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”

But is it less dangerous, Remnick asked?

It is “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer,” Obama conceded. “It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.”

Perhaps marijuana smoking is a bad habit, but racially biased marijuana law enforcement is bad policy, Obama said.

“Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties. We should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.”

And thus, the administration's hands-off policy toward marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington:

“It's important for it to go forward because …read more


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Who Is Jane Bussman–and Can She Save Africa

January 19, 2014 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

Jane Bussman is a British comedienne who moved to Los Angeles in the late 1990s.  She wrote for a number of TV shows, including South Park, for a while.  She then drifted into celebrity journalism interviewing  the likes of Anna Nicole Smith, Britney Spears, and Aston Kutcher.   She eventually chucked it all and sought to cleanse her soul by traveling to Africa to “find a country that had a really bad problem with genocide and just help out.”  And this is where her story stops short of dreary cliche and gets really interesting.  She found out that almost everything that she had heard about the war in Uganda was a lie fabricated by Western governments and their lapdog  establishment media.  She also discovered that Western aid was not helping Africa but was destabilizing it by prolonging wars and propping up corrupt governments.

Bussman who has made her home  in Nairobi, Kenya for the past several years, then launched a single-handed campaign to save Africa from what she calls the “poverty industry.”  As Bussman describes her campaign in a video interview:

I wanted to put forth the dangerous idea that Africa is not depressing and should not be stamped out even by celebrities [like "socially conscious" rock stars Bono and Bob Geldof].  And what is depressing is the poverty industry and I think that the poverty industry should be stamped out right now by everyone.

Bussman excoriates the United Nations and its role in the poverty industry:

Next time you’re on a plane and you get woken up from your sleep for a really depressing, upsetting film about UNICEF [the United Nations Children's Fund] just bear in mind: UNICEF are nowhere near you on the plane. UNICEF are in the business class section of the plane. With their children, who also have seats in business class. That’s what [the UNICEF program] Change for Good pays for. . . . Interns fly business class with the United Nations.  They spend $58 million a year on business travel alone . . . . It’s an industry, it’s about money

Bussman  is very passionate about stamping out both the poverty industry and foreign aid to Africa.  So much so that in the past year and a half she has been performing a one-woman show in the Sydney Opera House in Australia and the Soho Theatre in London.  The title of the show is Bono and Geldof …read more


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Tens of thousands of Canadians flee Canada

January 19, 2014 in Economics

By David Howden

Canada is amongst the top countries in the world when it comes to safety and security. So what could be so bad that it enticed tens of thousands of Canucks to flee the country in 2013?

How about socialized healthcare?

With public health services provided across the country, and private alternatives illegal in many of them, Canadians are not allowed to maintain their health by paying money. Of course the bills still need to be paid – after all, public healthcare is not a synonym for “free” healthcare. Some services and operations cost more than what the government remunerates doctors and hospitals for them, leading to shortages and waiting lines.

To deal with these shortages and long lines, nearly 42,000 Canadians opted to pay for their own operations by fleeing the country to seek services elsewhere. Waiting times for patients who had consulted with specialists increased to 9.6 weeks in 2013, up from 9.3 weeks the previous year. As the Fraser Institute recently reported , sick Canadians have fled the country to avoid “the consequences of waiting for care such as worsening of their condition, poorer outcomes following treatment, disability or death. And some may have done so simply to avoid delay and to make a quicker return to their life.”

No one would tolerate such wait times for something as simple as, say, buying clothes, so why do tens of millions of Canadians stand for it with something as important as healthcare?

(Originally posted at the Ludwig von Mises Institute of Canada.)

…read more