Government -- US

'Assassination' of Public Health Systems Driving Ebola Crisis, Experts Warn

Neoliberal economic policies that defund health infrastructure responsible for current crisis in West Africa and across the globe, say analysts

Illinois Could Raise $125 million In New Tax Revenue by Ending Prohibition, Legalizing Cannabis

Current Illinois revenue policy is to send this income to the drug cartels as profits. Ask your state representative or senator why he or she still supports such policy and when they plan to do something about it by ending prohibition.

By Thomas H. Clarke |  The Daily Chronic
 

A new study conducted by nerdwallet.com estimates that the United States could earn over $3 billion annually in tax revenue from legalizing marijuana and imposing a modest excise tax on sales.

The study, which breaks down potential tax revenue based on each state’s current sales tax rates, combined with an additional 15% excise tax on marijuana, forecasts a potential $3,098,866,907 annually.

Citing Failed War on Drugs, World Leaders Call for Widespread Decriminalization

Global commission condemns "harsh measures grounded in repressive ideologies"

by Deidre Fulton, Commondreams staff writer
http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/09/09/citing-failed-war-drugs-worl...

In the face of a failed War on Drugs, a global commission composed mostly of former world leaders recommended on Tuesday that governments decriminalize and regulate the use of currently illicit drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics.

Crime, Bias and Statistics

by Charles M. Blow

Discussions of the relationship between blacks and the criminal justice system in this country too often grind to a halt as people slink down into their silos and arm themselves with their best rhetorical weapons — racial bias on one side and statistics in which minorities, particularly blacks, are overrepresented as criminals on the other.

What I find too often overlooked in this war of words is the intersection between the two positions, meaning the degree to which bias informs the statistics and vice versa.

The troubling association — in fact, overassociation — of blacks with criminality directly affects the way we think about both crime and blacks as a whole.

A damning report released by the Sentencing Project last week (http://www.sentencingproject.org/doc/publications/rd_Race_and_Punishment...) lays bare the bias and the interconnecting systemic structures that reinforce it and disproportionately affect African-Americans.

Non-Union Market Basket Workers Bring a Complicated Victory for Labor

by Kate Aronoff

This Labor Day, there’s an unlikely workers’ victory to celebrate. Late last week, employees of Market Basket, a New England grocery store chain, ended a successful two-month strike and consumer boycott not for a contract or higher wage, but to reinstate their beloved fired CEO Arthur T. Demoulas. Workers at the chain are non-unionized, and the entire two-month campaign took place without union support. They even rejected offers of representation from the Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers — a point that makes this a complicated victory for those concerned about the future of organized labor.

Medical Marijuana States See Less Opiate Pain Killer Overdose Deaths

Overdose deaths from opioids decreased by an average of 20 percent one year after the law’s implementation, 25 percent by two years, and up to 33 percent by years five and six.

by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

The enactment of medicinal marijuana laws is associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates, according to data published online Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Internal Medicine.

A team of investigators from the University of Pennsylvania, the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore conducted a time-series analysis of medical cannabis laws and state-level death certificate data in the United States from 1999 to 2010 — a period during which 13 states instituted laws allowing for cannabis therapy.

Undercover in White America: Why Black Rage is Conscious, Justified, and Long Overdue

by Colin Jenkins

Students at Howard University pose for this photo with their 'Hands Up' as they acknowledged the police violence that took hold of Ferguson, Mo. in recent weeks. (Photo: flickr / cc / Debra Sweet)

Two Countries, Two Vastly Different Phone Bills

“Over the next decade,” Mr. Meinrath said, “U.S. consumers may overpay by over a quarter of a trillion dollars for worse levels of service than customers in other countries receive.”

by Anna Bernasek

If your monthly cellphone bill seems high, that may be because American cellphone service is among the most costly in the world. A comparison of two similar plans, one in the United States and one in Britain, reveals a marked difference.

Both plans include a new iPhone 5S with 16 gigabytes of memory. Both require a two-year commitment and allow unlimited voice minutes and unlimited texting. The plan offered by the British provider, Three UK, offers unlimited data and requires no upfront payment. With Britain’s 20 percent tax included, the plan costs 41 pounds a month, or $67.97 at current exchange rates.

'They Just Killed Him': New Video Betrays Police Depiction of Fatal Shooting

Amid ongoing demonstrations in city of Ferguson, Mo. and national outrage over police violence against black community members, new evidence in Tuesday's shooting of man by St. Louis police

by John Queally, Commondreams staff writer

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2014/08/21/they-just-killed-him-new-video-betrays-police-depiction-fatal-shooting
 

To Terrify and Occupy

How the excessive militarization of the police is turning cops into counterinsurgents

by Matthew Harwood
 

Jason Westcott was afraid.

One night last fall, he discovered via Facebook that a friend of a friend was planning with some co-conspirators to break in to his home. They were intent on stealing Wescott's handgun and a couple of TV sets. According to the Facebook message, the suspect was planning on “burning” Westcott, who promptly called the Tampa Bay police and reported the plot.

According to the Tampa Bay Times, the investigating officers responding to Westcott’s call had a simple message for him: “If anyone breaks into this house, grab your gun and shoot to kill.”

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