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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 27,094
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The guy illustrating the stretch does it like a traditional American exercise, but it's just a variation on a yoga stretch and, instead of going back and forth, I've held the stretch, focused on breathing, and then changed sides.
Posted by RainDog | Thu Dec 5, 2013, 09:24 PM (8 replies)
The article says such a leak is rare for UN docs.
Major international divisions over the global "war on drugs" have been revealed in a leaked draft of a UN document setting out the organisation's long-term strategy for combating illicit narcotics.
The draft, written in September and seen by the Observer, shows there are serious and entrenched divisions over the longstanding US-led policy promoting prohibition as an exclusive solution to the problem.
...The divisions highlighted in the draft are potentially important. The document will form the basis of a joint "high-level" statement on drugs to be published in the spring, setting out the UN's thinking. This will then pave the way for a general assembly review, an event that occurs every 10 years, and, in 2016, will confirm the UN's position for the next decade. "The idea that there is a global consensus on drugs policy is fake," said Damon Barrett, deputy director of the charity Harm Reduction International. "The differences have been there for a long time, but you rarely get to see them. It all gets whittled down to the lowest common denominator, when all you see is agreement. But it's interesting to see now what they are arguing about."
...Experts said the level of disagreement showed fault lines were opening up in the globally agreed position on drug control. "Heavy reliance on law enforcement for controlling drugs is yielding a poor return on investment and leading to all kinds of terrible human rights abuses," said Kasia Malinowska-Sempruch, director of the Open Society Global Drug Policy Program. "The withdrawal from the most repressive parts of the drug war has begun – locally, nationally and globally."
I can't link to more paragraphs that talk about different nations' concerns (economic, evidence-based positions, etc.) but South American and EU nations seem to be the most vocal about differences of opinion with previous UN positions. Some of the objections to previous UN statements deal with Portugal's experiment with legalization and treatment rather than criminalization and imprisonment to address the problems of addiction (and non-addiction).
Bolivia already received an exemption from UN standards in January regarding coca leaves.
A major international row with wide-ranging implications for global drugs policy has erupted over the right of Bolivia's indigenous Indian tribes to chew coca leaves, the principal ingredient in cocaine.
...Bolivia obtained a special exemption from the 1961 single convention on narcotic drugs, the framework that governs international drugs policy, allowing its indigenous people to chew the leaves.
Bolivia had argued that the convention was in opposition to its new constitution, adopted in 2009, which obliges it to "protect native and ancestral coca as cultural patrimony" and maintains that coca "in its natural state … is not a narcotic".
South American Indians have chewed coca leaves for centuries. The leaves reputedly provide energy and are said to have medicinal qualities. Supporters of Bolivia's position praised it for standing up for the rights of indigenous people. "The Bolivian move is inspirational and ground-breaking," said Danny Kushlick, head of external affairs at the Transform Drug Policy Foundation, which promotes drug liberalisation. "It shows that any country that has had enough of the war on drugs can change the terms of its engagement with the UN conventions."
Uruguay has already legalized cannabis - http://www.democraticunderground.com/11701253 but the branch of the UN that deals with illegal drug consumption and production has already spoken against the same in two U.S. states.
Implementing the decisions of popular votes held in the United States in Colorado and Washington to allow for the recreational use of cannabis would be a violation of international laws, the United Nations body tasked with monitoring the production and consumption of narcotics worldwide said today.
More on Yans' statement here - http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2012/nov/16/un_drug_agency_concerned_by_marijuana_votes
This UN statement disagreement follows a similar one at the OAS conference in May, 2013, where Latin American nations called for changes in drugs laws while the U.S. disagreed. The OAS statement was groundbreaking in its approach to drug policy among a group of nations.
Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of the Drug Policy Alliance, stated:
“Never before has a multilateral organization engaged in such an inclusive and intellectually legitimate analysis of drug policy options. Indeed, it would have been inconceivable just two years ago that the OAS – or any multilateral organization – would publish a document that considers legalization, decriminalization and other alternatives to prohibitionist policies on an equal footing with status quo policies. Political pressures by the US and other governments would have made that impossible.
Much has changed, however, in the past few years. In 2009, former presidents Fernando Henrique Cardoso (Brazil), César Gaviria (Colombia) and Ernesto Zedillo (Mexico) joined with other members of the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy in saying the time had come to “break the taboo” on exploring alternatives to the failed war on drugs. In 2011, those presidents joined with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, former U.S. Secretary of State George Shultz, former Federal Reserve Board chairman Paul Volcker, former Swiss President Ruth Dreifuss and other members of the Global Commission on Drug Policy in calling for fundamental reforms to national and global drug policies. Former presidents Jimmy Carter, Ricardo Lagos (Chile), Vicente Fox (Mexico) and Aleksander Kwasniewski (Poland) were among those who seconded their recommendations.
Beginning in late 2011, current presidents began to join the calls of their predecessors. These included President Santos in Colombia, Otto Perez Molina in Guatemala, José Mujica in Uruguay and then-President Felipe Calderón of Mexico. Simultaneously, the victorious marijuana legalization ballot initiatives in Washington State and Colorado transformed a previously hypothetical debate into real political reform. Other states will almost certainly follow their lead in coming years.
Posted by RainDog | Sun Dec 1, 2013, 02:12 AM (20 replies)
Posted by RainDog | Wed Nov 13, 2013, 12:56 PM (9 replies)
...originally posted on Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting's website.
In a year that has featured increased coverage of rising economic inequality—helped along by President Barack Obama’s call to rebuild the economy from the “middle out,” and New York mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio’s campaign focus on a “tale of two cities”—one of the biggest flurries of attention came in late July, when four professors from Harvard and Berkeley released a study (NBER, 7/13) of economic mobility in the United States. Their finding: People hoping to lift themselves from the bottom of the income scale into the middle class or above face much longer odds in certain parts of the country, particularly the Deep South.
...The mobility study was indeed important news—though it was the rare story that mentioned that if the ability to rise in economic class is your main criterion, the American dream is far more alive in Denmark and the United Kingdom that anywhere in the United States (Guardian, 1/17/12). But in focusing solely on whether some poor Americans can swap places with those in the middle or upper classes—and pinning the blame for those who can’t on poor education or single moms, things that the Harvard/Berkeley study, which focused solely on the role of regressive state tax systems in decreasing income mobility, didn’t address—media coverage skirted the larger issue: the growing distance between top and bottom earners.
...Indeed, “social mobility” has become the preferred term for politicians of all stripes when discussing problems of economic class. For conservatives, lack of mobility conflicts with the premise that anyone can be rewarded for their effort, as when Rep. Paul Ryan noted: “Upward mobility is the central promise of life in America. But right now, America’s engines of upward mobility aren’t working the way they should.”
...the bottom 98 percent—that’s everyone making under $350,000 per year—whose wages, according to Saez’s figures, fell by 1.8 percent in real terms during that time, and more than 10 percent over the previous decade. (The top 10 percent saw their incomes rise 17 percent from 2002–2012, and the top 1 percent by 35 percent.) Those numbers, though, didn’t make the Times report.
...more at the link. a good read.
Posted by RainDog | Sun Nov 10, 2013, 03:23 AM (6 replies)
Know your American history...or the more things change...
Posted by RainDog | Tue Nov 5, 2013, 07:47 AM (6 replies)
Word salad worthy of Sarah Palin...
In the video embedded below, Joseph Farah — founder of the “Birther” conspiracy website WorldNetDaily — interviewed African-American conservative Star Parker, who warned that President Barack Obama’s government is going to turn America into an openly gay nation of emotionless, disconnected zombies like “in Europe,” who exalt “vileness.”
Parker, author of the books Pimps, whores and welfare brats and Uncle Sam’s Plantation, is the founder of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education (CURE), a Christian ministry. She told Farah that dark times are coming under Obama administration.
Parker said that “if young people start to distrust each other, we’re going to see more division. We’re going to see ourselves get separated and segregated again, not just when it comes to our ethnicity, but when it comes to our religion.”
...She concluded, “So while you have ill activity now in the public square, you have those decent people and quiet communities becoming much more, you know, refined, and more closed. And that’s not healthy for us as a society because when you go start walking out in the public square and nobody talks to each other, that’s what they do in Europe. They’re just a bunch of zombies and we don’t want that as Americans.”
Posted by RainDog | Sat Oct 26, 2013, 12:23 AM (2 replies)
It looks like Sanjay Gupta's report on the medical benefits of cannabis for one particular devastating form of epilepsy has helped to fast track a study at the FDA - or at least make their refusal unconscionable.
Oct. 24th -
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved (http://www.beyondthc.com/comes-now-epidiolex-fda-approves-ind-studies-of-cbd/) two clinical trials to assess the efficacy of cannabidiol (http://blog.norml.org/2008/10/09/is-there-anything-cbd-cant-do-then-why-is-it-illegal/) (CBD), a nonpsychoactive plant cannabinoid, in the treatment of intractable pediatric epilepsy. The two approved trials will take place at New York Medical School and at the University of California at San Francisco, according to an online report in the journal O'Shaughnessy's. (http://www.beyondthc.com/about/) The cannabidiol formulations in the trials will be provided by British biotechnology firm GW Pharmaceuticals, (http://www.gwpharm.com/) which produces organic cannabinoid extract medicines, including Sativex.( http://www.gwpharm.com/Sativex.aspx)
Cannabidiol has been documented to possess a variety (http://projectcbd.org/) of therapeutic properties in preclinical models, including anti-epileptic activity. (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22696383) Clinical trials have shown the oral administration of CBD to be "safe and well tolerated" (http://blog.norml.org/2012/09/05/study-non-psychotropic-cannabinoid-proven-to-be-safe-in-humans/) in healthy subjects.
In recent months, several national broadcasts have highlighted (http://edition.cnn.com/2013/08/07/health/charlotte-child-medical-marijuana/) the use of CBD-rich oils to treat seizures associated with a pediatric form of intractable epilepsy known as Dravet Syndrome.
Posted by RainDog | Fri Oct 25, 2013, 08:00 PM (0 replies)
Studies continue to indicate anti-cancer properties for cannabinoids. Again, this is not about smoking cannabis, but about moving cannabis from a Schedule I designation so that more studies on the potential medical uses for cannabinoids can proceed without interference from drug warriors who have a stake in protecting turf, not scientific and medical inquiry.
A scientist in the United Kingdom has found that compounds derived from marijuana can kill cancerous cells found in people with leukemia, a form of cancer that is expected to cause an estimated 24,000 deaths in the United States this year.
"Cannabinoids have a complex action; it hits a number of important processes that cancers need to survive," study author Dr. Wai Liu, an oncologist at the University of London's St. George medical school, told The Huffington Post. "For that reason, it has really good potential over other drugs that only have one function. I am impressed by its activity profile, and feel it has a great future, especially if used with standard chemotherapies."
During the study, Liu and his team grew leukemia cells in a lab and cultured them with increasing doses of the six pure cannabinoids, both individually and in combination with each other. His study says the six cannabinoids were CBD (Cannabidiol), CBDA (Cannabidiolic acid), CBG (Cannbigerol), CBGA (Cannabigerolic acid), CBGV (Cannabigevarin) and CBGVA (Cannabigevaric acid). Liu and his team then assessed the viability of the leukemia cells and determined whether or not the cannabinoids destroyed the cells or stopped them from growing.
..."Cancer is an umbrella term for a range of diseases that fundamentally differ in their cellular makeup, which occur as a result of disturbances to growth controls," Liu said. "Chemotherapy works by disrupting these dysfunctional growth signals. Therefore, any cancers that have these profiles should respond to the chemotherapy. It just so happens that a number of cannabinoids can target these very same mechanisms that make cancer what it is, and so any cancer that exhibits these faults should respond well to cannabinoids. The flip side is, of course, that other cancers may not have these same genetic faults and so cannabinoids may not work as well."
Posted by RainDog | Fri Oct 25, 2013, 07:57 PM (43 replies)
The new data from the Swiss banking giant Credit Suisse put the world’s total personal wealth, as of this past June, at $241 trillion, an all-time record. The world’s richest 1 percent currently hold 46 percent of global assets. The poorest half of global adults hold less than 1 percent.
About 1.2 billion people in the world today live on less than $1.25 a day, a state of affairs that researchers define as “extreme poverty.” Only 26 percent of these extremely poor have access to clean water, only 49 percent access to electricity.
“If we had a magic wand and could perfectly target every extremely poor individual,” World Bank researchers note, the world would need “approximately $169 billion per year” to end extreme poverty.
A graduated wealth tax that averaged 0.5 percent on all personal wealth over $1 million would raise about $500 billion annually, nearly triple the $169 billion needed to lift every soul on the planet out of extreme poverty.
This article reminded me of the head of the IMF who recently proposed (SHOCK) that multinationals should be taxed.
Yes, the head of one of the most influential economic agencies in the world said every nation should tax the rich.
Tax the rich and better target the multinationals: The IMF has set off shockwaves this week in Washington by suggesting countries fight budget deficits by raising taxes.
Tucked inside a report on public debt, the new tack was mostly eclipsed by worries about the US budget crisis, but did not escape the notice of experts and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).
Guardian of financial orthodoxy, the International Monetary Fund, which is holding its annual meetings with the World Bank this week in the US capital, typically calls for nations in difficulty to slash public spending to reduce their deficits.
But in its Fiscal Monitor report, subtitled "Taxing Times", the Fund advanced the idea of taxing the highest-income people and their assets to reinforce the legitimacy of spending cuts and fight against growing income inequalities.
I would say this was a eulogy for Reaganomics.
Tax discussions without revenue from wealth comes from zombies.
Posted by RainDog | Wed Oct 23, 2013, 07:55 PM (7 replies)
A few excerpts to savor via CNN:
“According to the poll, just more than four in 10 say they favor the law, with 56% opposed to it. But of those opposed, 38% say they are against the law because they think it’s too liberal and 12% say it’s not liberal enough. That means that 53% either support Obamacare, or say it’s not liberal enough.
“We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win,” Boehner said at the end of the shutdown. And while he received a standing ovation at a closed gathering of House Republicans as the crisis came to a close, he may not see anything to applaud in the new poll.
“John Boehner fares just as badly as the GOP,” CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said. “Sixty-three percent of all Americans think that Boehner should be replaced as Speaker of the House, a view shared by roughly half of all Republicans.”
The survey indicates that the approval rating for Congress remains near an all-time low. Only 12% of those questioned say they approve of the job Congress is doing, just two points higher than the historic low in CNN polling. And 86% give federal lawmakers a thumbs-down, also near the all-time high.
This aligns with the reality that Americans are more liberal than politicians realize. The Republicans really overshot their assumptions - or they just simply lied, like when Cruz said he polls showed support for his action.
When we compare what legislators believe their constituents want to their constituents’ actual views, we discover that politicians hold remarkably inaccurate perceptions. Pick an American state legislator at random, and chances are that he or she will have massive misperceptions about district views on big-ticket issues, typically missing the mark by 15 percentage points.
What is more, the mistakes legislators make tend to fall in one direction, giving U.S. politics a rightward tilt compared to what most voters say they want. As the following figures show, legislators usually believe their constituents are more conservative than they actually are. Our attitude measurements are most accurate on the questions about same sex marriage and universal health insurance – and in both instances the legislators’ guesses about their constituents’ views were 15-20 percent more conservative, on average, than the true public support for same-sex marriage or universal health care present in their districts.
Our study also found that politicians don’t learn in the normal course of events. After November 2012, we posed the same questions again to some candidates. Even after conducting campaigns and seeing the results, politicians did not arrive at more accurate perceptions of constituent views—not even those who had spent more time talking to voters. Much remains to be learned about why U.S. legislators think constituents are more conservative than they truly are, but researchers have found that politically active citizens tend to be wealthier and more conservative than others. Politicians who want to represent all the people in their districts need to keep this in mind.
Posted by RainDog | Mon Oct 21, 2013, 07:45 AM (1 replies)