Bill Weinberg's blog

Trump appoints drug war general to lead Homeland Security

Posted on December 8th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchPresident-elect Donald Trump is reported to have named the former chief of the Pentagon's Southern Command, Gen. John Kelly, as his choice for secretary of Homeland Security. As SouthCom chief, Kelly oversaw counter-narcotics operations throughout Central and South America and the Caribbean from late 2012 until his retirement in January 2016. He was a notorious hardliner, which resulted in policy clashes with President Obama, the Washington Post tells us. As Homeland Security chief, he will oversee the 20,000-strong Border Patrol, with responsibility for drug interceptions along the 2,000-mile frontier with Mexico. 

Philippines: Duterte says Trump approves bloody drug war

Posted on December 5th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte on Dec. 3 said that US president-elect Donald Trump has endorsed his bloody anti-drug crackdown—which has claimed an estimated 3,000 lives since he took office in June. A statement release by Duterte's office, the president said: "He understood the way we are handling it and I said that there's nothing wrong in protecting a country." He called the conversation "very encouraging, in the sense that I supposed that what he really wanted to say was that we would be the last to interfere in the affairs of your own country... He wishes me well...in my campaign, and said that...we are doing it as a sovereign nation, the right way." The statement added that Trump was "quite sensitive...to our worry about drugs."

Philippines: Duterte threatens to kill human rights activists

Posted on December 2nd, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaAlready accused of carrying out 3,000 extrajudicial executions in his anti-drug crackdown since taking office in June, the Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte has now threatened to kill human rights activists who have the temerity to complain about it. In a speech at Manila's Malacañang Palace on Nov. 28, Duterte said those who accuse him of ordering the summary execution of drug users and low-level dealers should be blamed if the country's drug problem worsened—and suffer the same fate. Here's the quote, translated from Filipino: “The human rights [activists] said I ordered the killings. I told them 'OK. Let's stop. We'll let them [drug users] multiply so that when it's harvest time, more people will die. I will include you because you are the reason why their numbers swell."

Bolivia, Ecuador sign pact for legal coca trade

Posted on December 1st, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , .

coca leafIn open defiance of the international ban, Bolivia has just announced that it is preparing to export coca-leaf products—initially mates (herbal teas) and liqueurs—to its Andean ally Ecuador. Didi Mercado, head of the Industrialization Unit at Bolivia's Vice-Ministry of Coca, told the Bolivian Information Agency Nov. 28 that exports are to begin under a trade deal signed a week earlier in La Paz. Mercado said that with Bolivia producing an annual 600 tons of legal coca leaf, it can easily meet the internal demand of both countries. And demand is expected to grow, with exports of coca-derived soft drinks, syrups and cereals foreseen.

Trump AG pick sparks fear of a cannabis crackdown

Posted on November 21st, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchPresident-elect Donald Trump's transition team announced Nov. 18 that Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions has been named to the post of attorney general. The Republican former US attorney was the first senator to throw his support behind Trump's presidential bid, and he later worked with the candidate to craft his policies on immigration and counter-terrorism. Sessions must face a confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, where his past inflammatory remarks concerning race and his support for mass deportation of undocumented immigrants may stir opposition. Still, he should be confirmed, as Republicans will likely have a 52-48 advantage over Democrats in the committee.

Rudy 'Stop-and-Frisk' Giuliani named for cabinet post

Posted on November 15th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchFormer New York City mayor and current full-time Trump-booster Rudolph Giuliani is top contender to be secretary of state in the new administration, Trump campaign officials told the New York Times Nov. 15. The account notes that Giulianii invokes his moment of glory in the aftermath of 9-11, and his former work as a federal prosecutor, as giving him credibility to represent the United States on the world stage. During his own abortive presidential run in 2008, he boasted at a Republican primary debate in New Hampshire: "I am the only one here who actually has had to face an Islamic terrorist attack. With regard to foreign policy, I've negotiated with governments when I was in the Justice Department. I worked on a task force on terrorism in the 1970s."

Martin Lee speaks on CBD in New York City

medical marijuanaA little New York-California cross-fertilization of herbal consciousness took place as Martin Lee, the author of Smoke Signals: A Social History of Marijuana, spoke in Manhattan's East Village the night of Nov. 10 on "The Future of CBD and Medicinal Cannabis." Lee discussed his current work with California-based Project CBD, dedicated to promoting and publicizing research into the medical uses of cannabidiol, and Emerald Pharms, his CBD-oriented dispensary in Hopland, southern Medocino County. The event was hosted by The Alchemist's Kitchen, a New Age-flavored herbal apothecary—or "botanical dispensary"—on East 1st Street. Under New York state's medical marijuana law, the Kitchen recently launched a Bowery Cannabis Club, which specializes in CBD products.

The cannabis question in Trump's America

BlackLivesMatterThe results of the Nov. 8 elections really indicate the schizophrenic nature of American political culture at this moment. Amid the fear and loathing over the election of the fascistic Donald Trump as president, big gains were registered for cannabis freedom. Voters in California approved Proposition 64, legalizing  up to an ounce for those 21 and older, and allowing individuals to grow up to six plants. The measure also permits retail sales and imposes a 15% tax. Similar measures passed in Massachusetts, Maine and Nevada, bringing the percentage of Americans living in states where cannabis is legal for adults up from five to 20 percent. Only Arizona's Proposition 205 was rejected by the voters.

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