Wednesday, May 30, 2007

spraying the poppy crop

* Kleiman:
"But the front page of the weekend Financial Times had one story about how the Bush crew had decided to pick a fight with the Merkel government in Germany over global warming, and another about how they'd decided to over-rule the Karzai government (and the Europeans, including the Germans, as well) and insist on spraying the poppy crop that accounts for a third of the GDP of Afghanistan. (Note that much more heroin made from Afghan opium goes to Europe than comes here.)

Don't worry, says one of the diplomats on the scene; we're not harassing the peasants, only the rich opium growers. Brilliant! While the fight between Karzai and the Taliban hangs in the balance, let's annoy both our remaining allies and a bunch of influential Afghanis, in the service of a drug-control policy (crop eradication) of thoroughly proven ineffectiveness.

It simply isn't the case that the size of the world's heroin problem is limited by the size of the poppy crop; opium makes up such a small proportion of the price of heroin that heroin refiners will always be able to find someone to sell them as much opium as they need to make all the heroin the customers want to consume. To make matters worse, opium is easily stored, so inventories in growers' and refiners' stocks can easily tide the market over any temporary production shortfall. (That's on top of the fact that an increasing proportion of the U.S. opiate-abuse problem involves synthetics such as oxycodone and fentanyl rather than heroin.)"

* Scott had a great interview with Dahr Jamail.

* Amy featured Norm Solomon's "War Made Easy: How Presidents & Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" which is kinda interesting. One thing mentioned is all the techno-porn at the start of the war... We haven't heard ANY of that for years.

* emptywheel at CIF:
"And finally, this sentencing, now scheduled for June 5, takes place against the background of the Bush administration's purge of at least nine US attorneys, in at least one case at the behest of Republicans who complained that the US attorney didn't file charges against a Democrat before an election. We have every reason to suspect that Bush's supporters have inappropriately intervened in the administration of justice. Without seeing those letters, how can we be sure the same isn't happening here?

So long as Jeffress knows the names of Libby's supporters, but we don't, we have no way of ensuring that Libby's supporters have no ulterior motive in supporting Libby.

Jeffress' invocation of bloggers is a cheap attempt to dismiss precisely what bloggers bring: an appropriate scrutiny of the motivations and actions of those who lied us into war and outed Valerie Plame. In this case, it is Jeffress' mockery that is dangerous, not mine."

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