Bill Weinberg's blog

Deported to Honduras for a joint?

Posted on February 23rd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , .

border wallThat's what almost happened to Josue Romero, a 19-year-old art student in San Antonio who had received a work permit under Barack Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program—which is now threatened by Trump. Picked up on a minor pot bust Feb. 21, Romero was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), held for two days—and told by ICE agents that he would be deported to Honduras. Instead, he was released, without explanation. "I can't describe how I feel. I just want to break down and cry," Romero told the San Antonio Express-News after his release.  "I was kind of devastated. Because I’ve never known a life outside of San Antonio."

Trump sanctions Venezuela veep as 'kingpin'

Posted on February 14th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

VenezuelaThe Trump administration has seriously turned up the heat on Venezuela, slapping sanctions on the country's vice president as a drug "kingpin." The Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on Feb. 13 officially named Tareck Zaidan El Aissami as a "Specially Designated Narcotics Trafficker" under terms of the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act (Kingpin Act) of 1999. The order charges that El Aissami received pay-offs from a trafficking network linked to Mexico's Zetas narco-gang. Under the order, US nationals and corporations are barred from doing business with El Aissami, and all his assets within the country are frozen.

Trump pledges to escalate drug war

Posted on February 9th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchIn a speech to police chiefs and sheriffs at the Washington DC meeting of the Major Cities Chiefs Association Feb. 9, Donald Trump dealt a harsh blow to any activists who may have been hoping for a tolerant stance on drugs from the United States' new president. As the conservative RedState.com blog happily headlines: "Trump Promises to Ramp Up the War on Drugs." With an almost touching innocence, it writes: "Citing his border wall as a solution along with confidence" in his Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, "Trump apparently believes he will succeed where everyone else has failed."

Philippines: Duterte to mobilize the army in drug war

Posted on February 6th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

South East AsiaThere was recently a sign that the Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte was going to rein in his murderous police in the face of mounting international criticism of their harsh anti-drug crackdown. It took the police killing of a foreign business executive, but Duterte finally pledged that he would disband and reorganize the National Police narco units. But human rights observers may have rejoined too soon. On Jan. 31—just one day after his announcement of the police overhaul—Duterte made a speech to army generals, telling them that while the police were off the drug war beat the armed forces would have to step in to replace them. Rather than taking a step back from the brink, it looks like the Philippines could be following the grim examples of Mexico and Colombia of turning the drug war into a real war, run by the military.

Trump threatens to invade Mexico: reports

Posted on February 2nd, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

MexicoAmid rapidly deteriorating relations between the US and Mexico, reports are emerging that President Donald Trump openly threatened military intervention in a phone call with his counterpart Enrique Peña Nieto. According to a partial transcript of the conversation obtained by the Associated Press, Trump told Peña Nieto: "You have a bunch of bad hombres down there. You aren't doing enough to stop them. I think your military is scared. Our military isn't, so I just might send them down to take care of it." ("Bad hombres" is a term Trump also used in his final debate during the presidential campaign to refer to Mexican narco-gangs.)

Philippines: Duterte blinks in deadly drug war?

Posted on February 1st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , .

South East AsiaThe Philippines' ultra-hardline President Rodrigo Duterte may have finally gone too far. It is all too telling that after his anti-drug crackdown has claimed perhaps 7,000 lives since he took power last June, it is the death of a prominent foreign businessman that has finally prompted him to—perhaps—rein in his murderous police. All those suspected low-level drug users and dealers who were killed? Their lives don't matter, apparently. But after rogue National Police officers abducted and put to death a South Korean shipping company executive, Duterte has finally pledged to disband the controversial anti-drug units.

Trump risking war with Mexico for useless wall?

Posted on January 27th, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , .

MexicoThe planned meeting in Washington between President Trump and his Mexican counterpart, Enrique Peña Nieto, was called off after Trump signed his Jan. 25 executive order decreeing construction of a wall on the border—accompanied with more bluster about how Mexico will pay for it. Since the cancelation, Trump and Peña Nieto have engaged in an unseemly Twitter war, each taking responsibility for calling off the meeting. Things got worse when the White House raised the option of making Mexico pay for the wall with a 20% tariff on all goods coming in from our southern neighbor. The threat portends a trade war with the United States' third biggest trading partner.

On-the-scene report from inauguration smoke-in

Posted on January 21st, 2017 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

cannabisLighting up joints right on the National Mall in the middle of Donald Trump's inauguration speech struck me as the perfect way to usher in the new era. As High Times reported, the Inauguration Day smoke-in did indeed get away with it. But the real testament to cannabis' power to bring people together actually came a few hours earlier, when the DC Cannabis Coalition gathered in Dupont Circle, about a mile from the mall, for their mass joint give-away.

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