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Some notes on the Mexican Drug Cartels

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2011 at 21:05
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

To blame the substance is to absolve the individual, CV. Hence the argument pro "social intervention" is specious since as illustrated by the grand delusion known as Prohibition, proscription resolves nothing other than introduce "adventure" into the premise. Nevertheless, your raising this point promises fertile ground for further discussion specially with respect to the contradictory with respect to jurisprudence.
 
Freedom of choice is an element here, but to believe that all that happens in life is the result of conscious, rational decision making is to make one of the most common errors in the field of human behavior. Much of what we are comes from a complex web of past experience, social conditioning, and physcial makeup. Denying the subconscious means denying a large part of who we are.  And when it comes to aspects of life that one may consider manditory for physical  or psychological existence, and may be under threat, then objectivity can be demoted yet again. As I said, we have likely had evidence of this right here on this forum.
 
Prohibition is another kettle of fish altogether. Fighting a "war on drugs" that ignores underlying causes doesn't work, and can be, as we have seen, a huge drain on resources. On the other hand, the libertarian view of let them do whatever doesn't work either. Whether it is uncomfortable to admit it or not, many are swayed by social trends, peer pressure, and mainstream culture. It can be surprising what many will do to conform, even if it is personally destructive. In the 1960s, smoking was socially acceptable in Canada, although there were already significant studies out that indicated it was a health disaster. At that time, about 50% of the population smoked. Over the past couple of decades, government has attempted to make smoking undesirable and unacceptable socially by limiting were it can take place, and emphasizing the health risks, and strictly curtailing advertising. Currently, about 15% smoke. The human mind is impressionable.
 
Portugal seems to have one of the best approaches to drug abuse today. Drugs are still illegal, but the criminality aspect of use has been downplayed as much as possible. Those caught with small amounts of drugs will be required to seek counselling and medical advice. Jail is reserved for only the big operators, and they are undercut because those with the most severe addiction can obtain maintainence doses of drugs if required from the state. Not perfect, but it is a middle road.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2011 at 21:06
Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Dr. G,

It is easy for us who don't have addiction tendency to say that it is a matter of personal responsibility. Since we don't have to deal with the temptation of doing it, it is easy to be virtuous.

But, if addition is triggered by your physical makeup, saying so would be feeling morally superior because you didn't get a flu and others did.


Hugo we must take into consideration the broad picture. Drug addiction is a disease and a handicap for the user and those associated with the user.  A vicious cycle of addiction and enabling does nobody no good except for...those who make a living off of it. Dealers, and professional helpers (counselors, judicial system).

The doc has it right when he speaks of personal responsibility. Without it and without empowering the individual, the abuser cannot learn, grow and improve. We are in a society where we go so easy on problems that today 'everyone' is a victim. Always someone else is to blame.

Yes, drugs affect the brain chemistry. Yes, people are born with hereditary predispositions for abuse. However, those same people (as long as they are functioning adults) have a brain. A machine built for cognitive reasoning and problem solving capabilities. Unfortunately that machine doesn't work in optimum condition when the owner feeds it drugs.

Drugs are everywhere. They can even be in our food and water unbeknownst to most. Food itself has psychotropic properties though not on the level found in amphetamines for example. We should not absolve the user just because, the poor guy can't do anything about it. That is the wrong approach. Responsibility never goes out of style. The key is to detoxify the abuser and get them to see that they too can become responsible again. Consciously aware that they have choices to make with consequences to pay. Cause and effect will outlast all of us. No use in trying to hide that fact.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2011 at 21:19
Seko your post reminds me iresistably of what many people said - and still do - about homosexuality.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2011 at 21:21
and what is that?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2011 at 23:23
I know I may be deviating a slight bit by engaging in the harmful aspects of drug addiction while CV has a good angle on how governments can somewhat successfully deal with that problem vis a vis - Portugal. We can get to that once I get this post out of the way.

First of all we need to determine if drug abuse is harmful to the person and/or family. If you don't know that answer than it best be for some of you to listen and learn. How to treat individuals and families suffering from addiction is varied. One of the most popular methods is by adhering to 12 step programs (AA, CA, NA, GA, etc).). These programs do have a strong affinity to a higher power. I'm not interested in stressing that part as much as the next obvious part - Active accountability. Step Four highlights this the most. That is to make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves (faults, fears, etc). Step eight is the action taken to make amends to those we harmed.

As you can see these steps are not passive devices to accept, inhibit or marginalize the abuser in any way. They are practiced in order to take measures towards gaining control back into his or her life.

Personal responsibility is the key to becoming clean and sober. Addicts have a hard time with that. Like us, addicts will blame, deny and do whatever it takes to rationalize their habitual usage. Here are some links that highlight such tactics (just change the number before .html for more pages)-
http://www.stablerecovery.com/2010/12/tactics-used-to-avoid-accountability-1.html

Remember the road to recovery is not denial or ignorance. Instead the abuser needs to take accountability seriously. They will not progress when they engage in defense mechanisms in order to rationalize their usage and behavior that enables addiction.

Lastly, I've been treating substance abusers for 3 decades now. Not one of them came into treatment because their life was under control. Nope! They came in because they either lost their job. Lost or are in the process of losing a spouse. Have been incarcerated. Revoked drivers license. Killed someone by accident due to being under the influence and so on.

Drug and alcohol abuse is nothing to take lightly. Nobody is to blame but the user even though the user has all the excuses in the world. If you make excuses for them then they will not have an incentive to work it out on their own or with support groups, professionals, and deep soul searching. If you do we have a word for that too and it's called enabling. There are support groups for that too, Al-Anon.



Edited by Seko - 22 Jun 2011 at 23:39
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2011 at 23:32
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:


Originally posted by hugoestr hugoestr wrote:

Pinguin,

It is all cool for you to say how they should keep the violence going because you are not experiencing it. It is not your friends or your relatives who are in danger of being killed as the results of another country's drug policy.

And for the last 5 years, there has been others taking the place of the eliminated leader. And they seem more violent and sadistic than the previous ones. 
What Mexico needs is a paramilitar group that exterminate these dogs without pitty. Like the famous Los Pepes that killed Pablo Escobar.


Maybe this wasn't mentioned, but it is time: La Familia, the gang recently destroyed, was that paramilitary gang meant to exterminate drug traffickers. And there were also Los Zetas, which were part of the special ops in Mexico whose mission was to fight drug traffickers as well.

This is the problem: once you engage in a life of violence, which is the big deterrent to participate, it makes little sense not to start selling drugs. You are risking your life and those of your family; the honest ones get killed or framed. Or you just need money. In the case of La Familia the excuse probably was to use drug money to fight drug traffickers. The Colombian "leftist" guerrillero group does the same.

So, no, that isn't a good solution either.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2011 at 23:50

You see, Seko, I used to agree on your take even relatively recent, because I do acknowledge all of these problems that you are describing. And maybe in drug recovery you do have to stress the personal responsibility angle, and if it works, I am all for it.

But there is an interesting physical component involved, which these people don't have a real control over themselves when it comes to their addiction. We don't know how the mechanism gets triggered, or how to turn it off.

Also, the way we talk about addicts has encouraged several types of policies. In the U.S., if you are "responsible" for something bad happening to you, most voters are more likely to deny you services, and more likely to put you in jail (which I guess is a way to give you services).

After 80s years of using the current narrative and using the policies, I don't see addicts better off, but I do see society as a whole a lot worse off in Mexico and in the U.S.


Added note:

Yes, replace addict with "homosexual" and your post could apply to them as well. My stand is softened on addicts in part because moral condemnation on them is close to that of addicts. The other area is learning about children with autism and their different ways of interacting with the world. Most of it physically bound as well.

As for the relative who was a homosexual, he was also an alcoholic. I think he tried an AA group twice. Yet he had a family, children, and a long career in government. The family life was horrible, but he was functional enough to hold a job, so in his mind he wasn't an addict.


Edited by hugoestr - 22 Jun 2011 at 23:57
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2011 at 23:58
Hey, Seko, since you actually have a lot more knowledge about this, could you fork this discussion in a new thread, giving us a summary about addiction recovery? I got leave now.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22 Jun 2011 at 23:59
As you may guess I am all for services. I have seen services work to the benefit of the abuser and their families. I have also seen the abuser destroy him/herself and their family in the process of needing a fix. Nothing hurts a parent more than seeing a loved one wither.

As for the physical component there are treatments for that too. don't give up hope. A professional substance abuse therapist in conjunction with a psychiatrist can prescribe appropriate treatments for withdrawal symptoms and preventative agents to keep urges down. Eventually the goal is to get the user off of their drug of choice. That is called detox. During and after they can become involved in varied medications. Zyban, Chantix, Antabuse, Methadon programs are some of the tools in the treatment center's arsenal.

Just another note, sometimes there is a big difference between sole responsibility and etiology. I am in no way ignoring the part that society, families, peer pressure and genetic inclination has to play in the abusers behavior. In addition to individual treatment it is often beneficial for the client to learn about influences and necessary lifestyle changes sometimes with the presence of family members during treatment. Focusing on the larger dynamics is often a good process to undertake towards the road to recovery.


Edited by Seko - 23 Jun 2011 at 00:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2011 at 00:01
Actually I'm done talking about this Hugo. We can go back to the topic of origin now.Thanks for your patience. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2011 at 04:56
I didn't mean my request as being annoyed, Seko. It is the opposite: people actually do want to talk about this topic, so it deserves its own thread.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2011 at 11:30
Originally posted by gcle2003 gcle2003 wrote:

Seko your post reminds me iresistably of what many people said - and still do - about homosexuality.
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

and what is that?
  
Pretty much everything you listed: that it is a matter of personal responsibility, that it is a disease that can be treated, it's a  handicap for the individual and those associated with him/her, you shouldn't absolve the person because the 'poor guy' can't do anything about it, the key is to detoxify the person.
 
Those are all things that people have said, and many people keep saying, about homosexuals. I probably should add in the currently rather hypersensitive atmosphere around here that I'm not suggesting you have anything agaînst homosexuals, but merely that there is a certain symmetry in the views, in that they start from the assumption that something is wrong and has to be cured (or prevented).
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Jun 2011 at 14:55
As an observation on Grahams critique with respect to symmetry we should keep in mind that in the appeal to individual responsibility you also have to consider the parameters of individual liberty. Recall that with respect to homosexuality it was early 20th century scientism (upon the advent of psychiatry and later psychology) that introduced the vocabulary of deviance and addiction with respect to personal individual conduct within the ambit of consensual sexual activity. Of course we could hatch a "which came first" digression of "chicken or egg" proportions here [keep in mind that contemporary scientism still speaks of "sex addiction"].  Thus it is to expected that the language and the rationalizations will overlap. Therein the principal reason why my perspective revolved around criminality and jurisprudence and the doctrine of Does No Harm.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Mixcoatl Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2011 at 15:18
Originally posted by pinguin pinguin wrote:



A good news. La Familia's cartel boss was captured.http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20110621/ts_afp/mexicocrimedrugscartel_20110621221253

The illustrated answer to that:

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2011 at 16:30
The translation.

Panel 1: Oh my..!
Panel 2: Crash!
Panel 3: Ook, Ook!
Panel 4: Sign, "Metal Sheets 'Animal'"
Panel 6: Ooook!
Panel 7: Done! The problem is gone.
Panel 8: Crash! Oink!
Panel 9: Bam, Bam, Bam.
Panel 10: Another weird dream! What does it mean? Sign, "Milenio(a Mexican newspaper) "The Monkey", lider of "La Familia" Falls. Is this the end of that criminal organization?"


Edited by hugoestr - 24 Jun 2011 at 16:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2011 at 20:42
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

As an observation on Grahams critique with respect to symmetry we should keep in mind that in the appeal to individual responsibility you also have to consider the parameters of individual liberty. Recall that with respect to homosexuality it was early 20th century scientism (upon the advent of psychiatry and later psychology) that introduced the vocabulary of deviance and addiction with respect to personal individual conduct within the ambit of consensual sexual activity. Of course we could hatch a "which came first" digression of "chicken or egg" proportions here [keep in mind that contemporary scientism still speaks of "sex addiction"].  Thus it is to expected that the language and the rationalizations will overlap. Therein the principal reason why my perspective revolved around criminality and jurisprudence and the doctrine of Does No Harm.
 
It is typical for those with a right-wing viewpoint to imagine us all as islands independent from each other, coming together after riding the range and roping a few steers, Marlboro Man fashion, only for purposes like shopping at Wal Mart, or attending church.
 
Drug abuse does considerable harm in society, and many of the factors that drive it inextricably tied in with larger social issues. Often the "choices" made by individuals are warped considerably by psychological, interpersonal, and social issues. It is human nature to want to see what one wants to see, and to try and shape reality into a form that facilitates such desires. If, for example, one has a deep seated need to believe there is a higher power acting as CEO for the universe, then it is possible that they may see things  like intelligent design as having validity, or perhaps see secret and significant messages in ancient writings or mythological tales that reinforce one's (perhaps subconscious), yet still strong need. Given powerful enough need, what is vague and unlikely can become carved in stone.
 
So too with those that, for whatever reason, desperately desire the effects of drugs. Fanciful tales can take on reasonable proportions. This stuff is not really destroying my brain, or other organs, we all die from somthing, I can quit at any time, etc, etc. Group intervention can be one of the most useful things here. Self-help groups can challenge belief by insisting that thought processes be brought out into the light of day. The application of science is also beneficial in allowing the process of addiction to be examined.
 
Taking the black and white attitude that drug use (or any other activity for that matter), is simply a matter of personal choice, and those lessor mortals that fail to shape up should be thrown in prison, is not the most enlightened way forward. This is essentially the US policy, and look what that has attained so far.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2011 at 21:16
CV have you read carefully what I have written or have you chosen to warp my assertions with respect to individual responsiblity as some sort of libertarian screed drawn from one-too-many episodes of Gunsmoke? Drug use as a function of systemic belief is malarkey and for the life-of-me I do not know where you've gathered the information for your last assertion. certainly they derive from nothing either Graham or myself have written. Besides, that declaration does show a glaring unfamiliarity with the functions of the lower U. S. Judiciary (local jurisdictions), where incarceration is the recourse solely after repeated offenses. During the 1980s and 90s, minor drug offenses of possession usually resulted in probationary periods conjoined with group-intervention treatments. What defeated that effort was drug use conjoined to other criminal activity. Nevertheless, the contentions have certainly proved profitable for the legal profession...
 
 
...other than that are you not arguing the old "could not help yourself" line aka "the devil made me do it".
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Jun 2011 at 22:43
Re-reading this thread I still have hard time figuring out where some of you stand on the issue of drugs. Let's do this. Under any of your next posts here state your position and let's carry this part of our conversation over to the Addictions thread - Discussing addiction. I wouldn't want to pigeon hole anybody due to ambiguity on my part just as you all wouldn't want to compartmentalize each other. Nothing more bothersome in a conversation than someone assuming they know where you are coming from and acting all high and mighty about it (hint hint -CV).

- For clarity sake my position is that taking drugs is a choice (addictive personalities included). Notice how I am not making judgments on society or laws which is part and partial to this particular thread.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 02:13
Sure, Seko.

I am in favor of legalization of drugs. Instead of that, we could have heavily taxed and regulated market. People should be able to grow up Marijuana, just as people can home brew.

Harder drugs should be more heavily regulated, depending on how dangerous they are or how toxic their production is.

And addicts should have access to treatment.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 02:44
Hugo:  Regarding your history, I wonder what your source is for the Guadalajara cartel being the first, and then spinning off its operations. As for the death of a cardinal (note spelling, and it was Posadas) being the trigger to the heat being turned on the Guadalajara Cartel, I think that view may be a bit superficial. The people who killed Cardinal Posadas were in the employ of "El Guero" Palma, and they were not gunning for the Cardinal, but mistook his chauffeured vehicle for one in which one of the Arrellano-Felix brothers who was supposed to be arriving in Guadalajara airport that same time. Palma had incurred the wrath of the Tijuana Cartel by seeking to operate independently of them by securing his own source of cocaine from a Venezuelan source who was specifically sent to make him the offer by the Arrellano-Felix. Anyway, I digress, but the latter murdered El Guero's wife and two children, which prompted the war of revenge in which Cardinal Posadas-Ocampo was an innocent casualty, having the bad luck to be in the wrong vehicle at the wrong airport at the wrong time.

Anyway, my impression of the Mexican drug trade is that it grew exponentially as a result of its success, and thereby split off many organizations, and absorbed other independent organizations who all generally cooperated. What made Mexico so difficult to deal with is that the Mexican drug runners were not really Cartels. Drugs brought into the country by one organization would get turned over to another, and then to another, until it reached the border and entered the U.S. through the grace of a "gate-keeper" organization, i.e. what we mistakenly term cartels. The key to their operations was that ownership of a shipment could change hands multiple times in the course of its journey across Mexico, and yet everyone got paid their cut.

What really started the drug violence, in addition to the competition between the Tijuana and Juarez 'cartels' was the 1995 delivery of 21.5 tons of cocaine to a remote salt pan by a Boeing 707, whose cargo was later seized by the Mexican Judicial Police, who sought to keep and sell the cocaine themselves. That shipment, plus the "Guero Palma" and Tijuana-Juarez wars is what really set Mexico on the road to where it is today.

Just some food for thought.    

Edited by lirelou - 25 Jun 2011 at 02:46
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 06:34
Come on lirelou, the violence is a result of success!? Monterry, a city that used to be safer than many much smaller American cities, was cut off from the rest of the world, the police dissapeared from the streets and drug cartels established check points stopping people and killing whom ever they wanted. Although this did happen only once in early 2010 it was a simple proof on how powerful those cartels are.
 
If anything the war is failing, here is a map that shows how cartels managed to infilterate places that they had no influence in before the war:
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 12:26
Hi,

My source for the Guadalajara cartel was Wikipedia . And yes, there was some violence before, but nothing compared to what is going on now. You can see in one of the graphs included by Al Jassas how the death toll grew a lot higher in the Calderon administration.

The case of the cardinal is very murky. There are many conflicting narratives on the issue. The version that you gave is more or less the official story.

As for the "confusion" in the killing of the cardinal, I frankly doubt that. I was in Guadalajara at the time, and the cardinal was executed from a close distance. The first reports said that he was killed in a cross-fire. The coroner denied that soon after he received the body, he was executed from a short distance. Furthermore, the man was an elderly, fat, priestly type, practically the opposite of what most drug traffickers look like, or to be specific, what El Chapo Guzman, the alleged target for assassination looked and looks like.

The local diocese also refused to believe this narrative, pressuring the government to do a better investigation. This pressure lasted for years. The case was reopened during the Fox administration, and   On the wikipedia article on his death, it says that the current cardinal of Guadalajara thinks that it was politically motivated and that it was the Salinas administration that ordered the execution.

That is strange as well since Posadas was conservative and pro-government. How pro-government was he? He was so pro-government that when several blocks in Guadalajara blew up, he kept denouncing those who were seeking justice as people concerned with revenge, which was not okay in his book.

According to Carlos Salinas de Gortari, the president of Mexico when the assassination took place, he was killed by the Masons.

It doesn't really matter. The issue was that several drug traffickers were killed/captured during this period as a result of this event.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 13:22
Originally posted by Seko Seko wrote:

Re-reading this thread I still have hard time figuring out where some of you stand on the issue of drugs. Let's do this. Under any of your next posts here state your position and let's carry this part of our conversation over to the Addictions thread - Discussing addiction. I wouldn't want to pigeon hole anybody due to ambiguity on my part just as you all wouldn't want to compartmentalize each other. Nothing more bothersome in a conversation than someone assuming they know where you are coming from and acting all high and mighty about it (hint hint -CV).

- For clarity sake my position is that taking drugs is a choice (addictive personalities included). Notice how I am not making judgments on society or laws which is part and partial to this particular thread.
Of course taking drugs is a choice. But you have to question - what is it a choice between? Generally speaking drug addicts are not choosing between a nice normal middle-class comfortably off life and addiction. Sometimes it is but mostly it's a choice between unbearable situations, psychologically and physically, and relief from those situations.
 
As I mentioned before the classic example of the problem is the rate of addiction in the US army in Vietnam and the high rate of recovery when the troops involved returned. Not, incidentally, that I think the US army is any more affected by the problem than others.
 
But the fact that it represents a choice doesn't affect what needs to be done to eliminate the main problem caused by drug addiction, which is the crime and violence it leads to, and the profits it returns to those who exploit it. Ipso facto, that I choose to become addicted to a substance (which would put me in with the majority of the population) that does not necessarily harm anyone except me, or possibly one or two others, depending on the addiction. There is therefore, again ipso facto, no reason to criminalise it.
 
However there is every reason to remove the profits from exploiting addiction, and the simple answer to that is not just to legalise, but to nationalise the (addictive) drug industry.  That would require continual criminalisation of dealing in drugs (but not of taking them), but more importantly by making high quality product easily available, remove any reason for anyone to pay high prices for the supply.
 
A further question then is what do you do about addicts who want to be free of the addiction? In particular those that, US-style, have no health insurance to cover it. As drgonzaga pointed out at one time, that brings into question the essence of the welfare state and the idea of universal health care. That however is no different conceptually from the treatment of other lifestyle related illnesses. I go back to my earlier point though that behavioural modification without altering the reward/punishment structure of he individual's environment rarely works.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote drgonzaga Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 13:36
If anything the war is succeeding, here is a map that shows how the government has managed to infiltrate places and regions where they had no immediate influence prior to the war:
 
Sorry, Al Jassas, I have no intention of ridiculing your post but what is missing from this equation is historical Mexico and its feudal political organization masquerading behind a mask of modernity. I am being quite sanguine here and simply acknowledging that institutionally, government has failed in its social responsibilities repeatedly for the last century and that the contemporary turmoil would be taking place regardless since the principal objective throughout Mexican history has been a struggle for control over its contemporary venue for exploitative wealth. To be poetic, despite all the reverence toward the iconic Cuahtemoc, the Mexican heart carries an image of Cortez!
 
Now the above observation should certainly spark debate and it was meant to because, frankly, the present dissolution of government in Mexico has little to do with drugs per se.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Al Jassas Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 16:24

Hello doc

Are you saying that the current cartels are nothing but the reincarnation of the old fuedal system that ruled Mexico in the 19th century and represented by guys like Pancho Villa?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hugoestr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 17:00
No, Al Jassas, he is going further back. The regions where the cartels control correspond, roughly, to the provinces of New Spain. This is an interesting insight, and maybe The Doctor will want to expand on it.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lirelou Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 17:56
Hugo, my source for the gang that killed Posadas was a large (8 inches or more) stack of police interrogation reports that had to be translated over a long weekend for forwarding to the then Attorney General Janet Reno. Posadas was targeted because he was sitting in a specific make and color of chauffeured car. The triggermen were a gang of former car thieves who more or less stumbled into the drug hit business when one of them failed to come up with the money to pay a debt he owed to a Guadalajara dealer. Over the next two years or so, they percolated up into El Guero Palma's employ due to their reputation for being brazen enough to go after anyone. It's been over ten years, but what I took away from all those first person accounts was this:

They were all from an extended Sinaloa family. They viewed themselves as honest men and good Catholics. They had specific values of right and wrong. As good Mexicans, they were quite willing to kill to uphold the family honor, as well as to avenge past injuries, though carrying this belief out was held in check until they had killed their first target. Once that social restraint was breached, one of them remembered a judicial police officer who had reamed a broomstick up his a** while doing time for some auto-theft related crime. The officer had signaled him out due to a dislike of petty criminals from Sinaloa. That hit, carried out in broad daylight at the officer's home, brought them to the attention of Guadalajara's criminal elite. As they did more hits, and more family members were brought in to their gang, they tended to use drugs to get high before a hit, and to celebrate after. One once occasion, they were stopped by an honest traffic cop just after taking out another (crooked) judicial policeman. They tried to argue their way out of the ticket, and then to bribe the officer, but when he insisted on writing up a ticket they gunned him down. Several referred back to that incident with remorse, stating that it was their bad luck to find one of Mexico's honest cops. They also kicked to death one of their own when they discovered that he had raped an 11 year old cousin back in Sinaloa. In this incident, the use of steel toed boots was in lieu of a bullet, because the crime was a base one, and not 'honorable' enough to deserve a bullet.  They were also the point element in a shootout that took place on Reforma Avenue, in sight of the U.S. Embassy, when Palma was seeking to avenge himself upon the Venezuelans. 

Anyway, all this and much more is now available on the internet. Amazing how far we have come since 1995, and drugs are still a big business. For the record, no one is ever sure how the great majority of drugs enter the U.S.. It is always a reasoned judgment and toss-up between the Caribbean and Mexico (and the opinion of two competing government agencies). Suffice it to say that drugs enter the country from everywhere, and all we can hope to do is target the major routes, which allow the druggies ample opportunity to demonstrate their flexibility. Unlike military operations, which require a specific reserve of men and materials which must be mobilized and employed within publicly debated budgetary constraints and time periods, narcotics trafficking is a self-generating enterprise. Take out one kingpin, and someone else within their organization, or an allied or subsidiary one, will take their place. Furthermore, as one organization gets taken down, its survivors are quite capable of reviving their activities within a successor organization. Even worse, narcotics organizations have proven quite flexible in changing not only their modus operandi, but their environmental values. At one time, the only way out of the drug business was death. But within some Colombian cartels, that changed. A few productive years in the drug business as a middle man could net you a form of retirement, if you proved capable of identifying and training your own successor.

In short, as long as the market exists, and 'war on drugs' remains an empty rhetorical phrase, and the market will remain the real victor. That leaves the U.S. with only two choices: Either prosecute a real war on drugs, which means killing off a couple of ten thousand of our own citizens without the niceties of the judicial system, and absorbing the 'collateral damage' inherent in such a campaign, i.e., civilian aircraft mistakenly shot down, civilian vessels sunk by mistake, or declare the so-called 'war on drugs' a massive failure, and begin seriously looking at society where narcotics use within the home of established drug centers is legalized, with the attendant penal punishments for those users who violate those laws, or whose actions injure others than themselves.

Personally, I am not opposed to killing off a few ten, or even hundreds of thousands, of my fellow citizens, if such were: first, absolutely necessary for the national defense; and second, guaranteed to produce the required results. Presently, I am not convinced that it meets either of those criteria. So, that takes us back to fashioning political and judicial remedies, which to date, we have proven incapable of.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Captain Vancouver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 18:32
Originally posted by drgonzaga drgonzaga wrote:

CV have you read carefully what I have written or have you chosen to warp my assertions with respect to individual responsiblity as some sort of libertarian screed drawn from one-too-many episodes of Gunsmoke? Drug use as a function of systemic belief is malarkey and for the life-of-me I do not know where you've gathered the information for your last assertion. certainly they derive from nothing either Graham or myself have written. Besides, that declaration does show a glaring unfamiliarity with the functions of the lower U. S. Judiciary (local jurisdictions), where incarceration is the recourse solely after repeated offenses. During the 1980s and 90s, minor drug offenses of possession usually resulted in probationary periods conjoined with group-intervention treatments. What defeated that effort was drug use conjoined to other criminal activity. Nevertheless, the contentions have certainly proved profitable for the legal profession...
 
 
...other than that are you not arguing the old "could not help yourself" line aka "the devil made me do it".
 
If you were a ship Dr G, I think you would be a submarine. Although possessing considerable potential, a subs main assets are subterfuge and obscurity.
 
If by "systemic" you mean the influence of cultural values, social trends, and peer pressures on this topic, then to say it doesn't count is to ignore considerable evidence from psychology and social psychology that says that it does. Smoking was at one time socially acceptable, and masses smoked, to their considerable detriment. Now it is not, and the numbers are rolling back to the margins of society. Alcohol was also more socially integrated in the past, causing proportionally more problems (such as impaired driving for example) than today.
 
You claim that I am exaggerating your statements about individual responsibility, but then end with a simplistic statement that again ignores human psychology. I am beginning to think your previously expressed distain for science is really quite formidable. I' m reminded of the eighteenth century method of assessing sanity by asking questions like "do you know the difference between right and wrong?". A quick method of reaching a conclusion perhaps, but without much redeeming value.
 
Of course people make choices, and need to take responsibility for them. But it is a massive oversimplification to discount why they make choices, and just assume that they are doing things pretty much the way we are. There are many in life that benefit from counselling because they do not know why they are making decisions that seem to lead to unhappiness, but with some exploration can find out. The devil is not a motivating force, but absolute conscious free choice cannot always be assumed either.
 
I'm not familiar with what every juristiction in the US has done has done historically regarding drug offenses. But the US has an extremely high incarceration rate, much higher than even authoritarian countries. And one can find themselves with double digit sentences for drug offenses that would be considered a minor indiscretion in other liberal democracies. My point is that the "just say no" concept is just not enough, and the US is failing in its war on drugs. Criminalization implicitly suggests a belief in choice, where treatment allows for the acceptance of other contributing factors- psychological and physiological.
 
One must take all aspects of the problem into considertion to be of effect. The question of freedom of choice is one that many would prefer a yes or no answer to, but it is not enough to place it in those terms.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote gcle2003 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 20:21
Originally posted by Captain Vancouver Captain Vancouver wrote:

 
If you were a ship Dr G, I think you would be a submarine. Although possessing considerable potential, a subs main assets are subterfuge and obscurity.
 
If by "systemic" you mean the influence of cultural values, social trends, and peer pressures on this topic, then to say it doesn't count is to ignore considerable evidence from psychology and social psychology that says that it does. Smoking was at one time socially acceptable, and masses smoked, to their considerable detriment. Now it is not, and the numbers are rolling back to the margins of society. Alcohol was also more socially integrated in the past, causing proportionally more problems (such as impaired driving for example) than today.
But smoking was never made illegal, and the attempz zo criminalise drikinking alcohol was a ghastly failure (that probably helps even now account for the organised crime problms of the US.)
And I don't agree with you that alcohol was more socially acceptable in the past than now. Driving after (and while) drinking was what there was more of in the past.
 
Many years ago in the seventies I was aske to give some lectures on 'Shakespeare's England' to a Boston high school audience, and toook general questions from the children afterward. At the time there was a considerable debate going on in Massachusetts about raising the legal drinking age to 21 from 18. I was asked fopr an English viewpoint. I said I would raise the driving age to 21 and keep the drinking age at 18. Everybody was horrified at the idea.
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Of course people make choices, and need to take responsibility for them. But it is a massive oversimplification to discount why they make choices, and just assume that they are doing things pretty much the way we are. There are many in life that benefit from counselling because they do not know why they are making decisions that seem to lead to unhappiness, but with some exploration can find out. The devil is not a motivating force, but absolute conscious free choice cannot always be assumed either.
(I agree with you that environmental influences are powerful: indeed I'd argue they are dominant.)
Counselling may help some, but approaches of the AA and religious kind are more effective more often. You do not change behaviour by rational argument (though you may change the rationalisation of the behaviour).
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I'm not familiar with what every juristiction in the US has done has done historically regarding drug offenses. But the US has an extremely high incarceration rate, much higher than even authoritarian countries. And one can find themselves with double digit sentences for drug offenses that would be considered a minor indiscretion in other liberal democracies. My point is that the "just say no" concept is just not enough, and the US is failing in its war on drugs. Criminalization implicitly suggests a belief in choice, where treatment allows for the acceptance of other contributing factors- psychological and physiological.
I think what you are missing in what I and drgonzaga have been saying is that I (and I suspect drgonzaga) is that you can believe behavious is chosen and not believe it shoudl be criminalised.
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One must take all aspects of the problem into considertion to be of effect. The question of freedom of choice is one that many would prefer a yes or no answer to, but it is not enough to place it in those terms.
Essentially the question of choice is irrelevant to the question of criminalisation. If behaviour is to be criminalised it shouldn't matter whether it is freely chosen behaviour or not.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seko- Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Jun 2011 at 22:44
For those of us who remember lenient drug laws in the US here's a somber reminder. Used to be a time when a car of friends would drive across the border to Canada carting a trunk load of Labatts and Molsons back (hey we were youngsters - higher alcohol content). The main concern we had was...'should be declare the beer or not?'. Used to be a time when an open intox meant - "Hello boys, anyone drinking? Yes, officer! 'Ok then let me see you empty those cans right now." That was it.

Was this lenient attitude and lax law helpful in lowering traffic fatalities? You can imagine the answer and you would be correct. I think what happened over the years is that we have become litigation happy. Plus, when an officer lets too many drunks slide by his ass is grass. When an eventual law suit hits his desk for negligence of duty those days are not longer with us. Kinda miss it though - the care free America part of this story.
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