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Two years after its launch, Mexicans question President Calderón's drug war

Friday, December 12, 2008

Is it just me, or does anyone else think that this whole "war on drugs" thing is a bunch of bullshit? This is becoming a serious waste of the world resources. I'm wondering what the obsession is? Most likely it stems from some 15th century Judeo-Christian repressive belief system.

By Sara Miller Llana
The Christian Science Monitor

MEXICO CITY - Five thousand, three hundred, and seventy-six people have been killed in Mexico's drug war so far this year, double the number from last year and more than all the US troops killed in Iraq.

Is this what victory looks like?

That's the question Mexico is grappling with two years after President Felipe Calderón took office announcing a massive military effort to dismantle drug trafficking organizations.

Thursday marks two years since Mr. Calderón announced "Operation Michoacán," the first of a sustained series of high-profile deployments of soldiers across the country.

Since then, federal authorities have disarmed scores of police departments, boasted of bundles of cash and caches of weapons confiscated, and heralded arrests of some of the highest-profile traffickers as proof of success.

But the effort's first year, 2007, also turned out to be the nation's deadliest in modern history; and the death toll for 2008 has, as of Dec. 2, far exceeded that, spiking by 117 percent, according to Mexican Attorney General Eduardo Medina Mora. Authorities at the highest ranks have been arrested for colluding with traffickers, and a strategy that has been a political boon could turn into a liability for Calderón in next year's mid-term elections.

"The major gains are not what Calderon has gotten, but what he has avoided," says Jorge Chabat, an expert in drug trafficking in Mexico City. Police stations and small towns, for example, are no longer in the hands of drug traffickers, but he says that has come at a high price....(Click for remainder)

Reporter Sara Miller Llana talks about narcotics-related violence in Mexico, two years after a government program to stamp it out began.

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Obama's "Way-to-Go, Brownie!" Moment?

Huffington Post

Has Barack Obama forgotten, "Way-to-go, Brownie"? Michael Brown was that guy from the Arabian Horse Association appointed by George Bush to run the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Brownie, not knowing the south shore of Lake Pontchartrain from the south end of a horse, let New Orleans drown. Bush's response was to give his buddy Brownie a "way to go!" thumbs up.

We thought Obama would go a very different way. You'd think the studious Senator from Illinois would avoid repeating the Bush regime's horror show of unqualified appointments, of picking politicos over professionals.

But here we go again. Trial balloons lofted in the Washington Post suggest President-elect Obama is about to select Joel Klein as Secretary of Education. If not Klein, then draft-choice number two is Arne Duncan, Obama's backyard basketball buddy in Chicago.

Say it ain't so, President O.

Let's begin with Joel Klein. Klein is a top notch anti-trust lawyer. What he isn't is an educator.

Klein is as qualified to run the Department of Education as Dick Cheney is to dance in Swan Lake. While I've never seen Cheney in a tutu, I have seen Klein fumble about the stage as Chancellor of the New York City school system.

Klein, who lacks even six minutes experience in the field, was handed management of New York's schools by that political Jack-in-the-Box, Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The billionaire mayor is one of those businessmen-turned-politicians who think lawyers and speculators can make school districts operate like businesses....(Click for remainder).

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Republicans Bring Socialism to America - and not the good kind.

By Robert Scheer
TruthDig

Let the record show that it was George W. Bush, the rich Texas Republican, who brought socialism to America, so don’t blame it on that African-American Chicago Democrat community organizer who made it into the White House. The government takeover of the banking and automobile industries not only happened on President Bush’s watch, it was also the deregulatory mania of this president’s family, beginning with his father, which took this country into such starkly unfamiliar territory.

What a betrayal of free-market capitalism. And who would have thought that it would be the candidates backed by conservative pundits Bill O’Reilly and Rush Limbaugh who made it possible? You actually could trace the destruction of corporate capitalism to the much-ballyhooed “Reagan Revolution” of the movie actor who got his main training for the presidency as a huckster for General Electric, where he honed the message of “getting government off our backs.” The revolution of unfettered corporate capitalism led to an era of unfettered corporate greed, which sowed the seeds of its own destruction.

True, the Democrats deserve much blame. The Wall Street runaway wouldn’t have happened if President Bill Clinton hadn’t cheered it on. The Great Triangulator provided seamless continuity between the administrations of the two Bushes in systematically dismantling the proven regulatory system, introduced by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, that saved capitalism from itself during the Great Depression. The danger with the incoming Democratic president is that Barack Obama has turned to some of the Clinton alums, most prominently former Clinton Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers, to get us out of the mess that the Clinton administration worked mightily to create....(Click for remainder).

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