Wednesday, January 20, 2016

POLITICS: El Chapo's Re-Capture Won't Change the “WAR ON DRUGS” Anywhere

How come the media is treating Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s latest re-capture as some sort of relevant victory in the international “war on drugs?”

According to the January 25th edition of TIME Magazine, once international media made a spectacle of his latest re-capture, Guzman spoke out on his own terms, apparently with actor Sean Penn in Rolling Stone Magazine. According to Ioan Grillo’s article in TIME, “The message delivered by the world’s most wanted drug runner … was as cutting as it was undeniably true … ‘People who dedicate their lives to this activity do not depend on me,’ he said of the industry that satiates the illicit appetites of the American public. ‘The day I don’t exist, it’s not going to decrease in any way.’”

TIME follows this recounting of Guzman’s words with a reminder for the readers of the broad scale of the disciplines within the drug trafficking trade, describing is as a “federation of tens of thousands of criminals – farmers who grow opium poppies, marijuana leaves, and coca leaves; chemists who cook heroin, cocaine, and meth; smugglers who get it all over the border; corrupt police officers who look the other way; and accountants who wash the money.”

And I am sure there is so much more than that… right down to the guy on the street corner who deals to the crack head that you always see there when you drive by.

Now let’s talk geography. Per TIME, “Today the network stretches … along thousands of miles of border, across the U.S.” (right to that aforementioned street corner), … “ and as far afield as Colombia, the Philippines, and Australia.”

If that isn’t a global trade network of grand proportion, I don’t know what is.

And as Grillo so poignantly and accurately asserts in TIME, “Even in handcuffs, [El Chapo] remains the most potent symbol of the drug war’s failure.”

Don’t believe it? “Data from the Customers and Border Patrol shows no drop in the amounts of narcotics that agents on the southwest border have seized over the past decade.” That means that no matter what has happened between drug cartels in-and-amongst themselves south of the border, or what has happened between Mexican authorities and those responsible for drug trafficking, or whatever has happened between the aforementioned farmers, chemists, traffickers, and wheelers & dealers, it’s not slowing down the flow of goods that are attempted to be smuggled into the States.

It’s not my intention to be pessimistic about efforts to decrease illegal drug trafficking. That’s NOT to be confused with the fact that I'm in favor of re-examining WHAT WE DO and HOW WE HANDLE drug-related crime. And certainly I am by all means in favor the re-capture and detention of an individual who gave the go-ahead for what resulted in a trail of bodies over many years. Drug trafficking is a bloody industry when it exists illegally and via the seedy underbelly of society. I’m FOR law and order … I’m not necessarily FOR the “war on drugs” as it is currently being executed. I’m not saying El Chapo isn’t a criminal, or a “bad guy.” “Yay” for the “good guys” for the fact that he has been once again apprehended.

I am merely prompted to wonder why we’re being led to believe by the media that this is some RELEVANT victory in the “War on Drugs?” when it is so clearly not a victory for anyone other than THOSE WHO DICATE THE HEADLINES and the POP MEDIA SENSATIONALISTS who ogle over them.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

POLITICS: Trump Might Win More Millennial Support Than You Might Think

I ran a google search: “Do millennials like Donald Trump?”

Among the results I found the following article, which doesn’t really directly answer my question, but DOES paint a picture of how millennials have, as stated, “matured since 2008 … and are no longer the young, idealistic generation … have clawed their way through the poor economy throughout the last eight years, doing everything they can to survive high unemployment, massive student loan debt, Obamacare, and soaring costs of living.”

“According to Harvard’s latest IOP polling data, … most of the top 10 issues for millennials revolve around the economy. The most important issues, in order, are jobs, national debt, unemployment, taxes, government spending, and financial stability.”
The article alleges that “most millennials do not think that big corporation profits are too high or corporate taxes are too low. Again, this points to an evolving generation who is beginning to realize that the success of American corporations means more jobs and higher paying jobs. And that when the government intervenes with costly regulations and over taxation these jobs and profits are driven overseas and leaves them unemployed.”
I can’t vouch for whether or not this is true. I don’t have the data and I don’t know the statistics. Can I reasonably find doubt in these claims? I suppose I can see room for inaccuracy; then again, can I consider that it’s a good possibility they end up being true if we took a poll? Probably depends on where they get their news.
I AM, however, willing to theorize the following about young, inquisitive minds.
-that many millennials, such as myself, are at least CURIOUS about whether Bernie Sanders’ claims that a disproportionate amount of wealth concentrated in a top single-digit percent of the wealthiest Americans is really something abnormal and something to fight – and not only whether or not it’s something that we should fight, but whether or not that it’s the root of our problems…?
-many people in their late 20’s, early 30’s, such as myself, looking at the breadth of information (both accurate, inaccurate, and everything in-between) and may be saying to themselves, “you know, there IS something to be said for a guy who took a million bucks and eventually turned it into ten BILLION bucks… this guy must know something about how business works, being as he’s got business partners across the globe … right?
-the article suggests the following: “Donald Trump represents the American Dream, a dream that is only attained through hard work and a free market economy. A whopping 64 percent of millennials say hard work is the key to success and 40 percent of millennials say that poor life choices and lack of work ethic is what causes poverty, this is the exact opposite view held by most Democrats running for office.”

So the article primarily sheds light on the notion that the GOP’s traditionally fiscally-conservative approach to economics might not be as much of a roadblock for millennial support as we might have expected from millenials back in 2004 or 2008.

The bigger roadblock, I propose and suspect, to mass millennial support of a GOP candidate (Trump or otherwise) is the GOP track record of being socially-conservative. And that’s why you won’t see mass millennial support of Ted Cruz.

A GOP candidate who manages to (pardon the pun) trump the others within his/her party in millennial support will be a candidate who has either shifted his/her views over time when it comes to social issues (it says to the voter that they have the ability and track record of being convinced in a different direction, so they’re somewhat pliable when it comes to social issues, which looks better to a millennial who might otherwise vote Democrat based on socially-progressive beliefs concurrent with their own); or, they are fairly centristic (as is the case with Fiorina and her approach to respect for varying social beliefs); or, they just don’t say much about their platform because they’d rather focus LESS on their PERSONAL BELIEFS or attempt to dicate society’s beliefs on social issues, but would rather focus on ECONOMIC ISSUES that influence US ALL regardless of color, creed, religion, & belief on social justice, inequality, equality, etc).

Mr. Trump has gone back and forth over the years on things like gay marriage and views regarding abortion, and readily admits that his opinions have changed over time (so he’s somewhat fluid in the department of social matters); and, too, he doesn’t say NEARLY as much about his positions and/or personal beliefs regarding social issues, but rather, focuses upon matters of nationwide business, global business, THE ECONOMY. He talks what he knows. And he MUST know SOMETHING since he’s managed to amass the kind of wealth that he has.

So I think there’s a good chance that Mr. Trump might gain (or already have) a lot more millennial support than we would otherwise presume a GOP candidate might amass during his run on the Oval Office. Don’t be surprised if this proves to be true between now and November 2016.