Friday, August 2, 2013

snippets of news

-- Did anyone doubt that it would happen? A law in New Zealand puts prohibition in the shadows and legalizes some designer (read illegal) drugs. Other countries that are similarly losing the 'drug war' are keeping an eye on New Zealand. 
"The basic prohibitionist approach doesn't seem to be working," said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, the American group. "Either a drug is criminalized, and underground chemists produce a new compound, or it's not criminal because it's never been created before." The number of new psychoactive substances rose from 166 at the end of 2009 to 251 by mid-2012, and the Internet is helping fuel sales. ...
-- Japan's finance minister, Taro Aso, has been criticized for saying aloud what others might wish for but would never announce publicly -- a suggestion that Japan should adopt the Nazi model and change
the country's constitution by stealth ... behind closed doors, without public debate ... instituting change without letting anyone know. Aso later said he was sorry his remarks had been misinterpreted, but did not say he thought they were untrue. It's one thing to co-opt and retool the constitutional underpinnings of a country on the q.t. and quite another to admit that that's what you're doing. Just ask any Republican in the United States.

-- The U.S. plans to shut down consulates and embassies in the Middle East on Sunday due to an unspecified threat and an "abundance of caution." CBS reports that the closures (which may be repeated in future) will affect stations in Bahrain, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Libya, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan and Bangladesh. I sometimes wonder if those designated as "terrorists" wouldn't want to rethink their strategy: While it is true that explosive events that leave people dead or wounded are effective, wouldn't it be cheaper simply to issue overt or covert threats and let your enemies scurry around and spend billions trying to prevent it? Billions and billions of dollars on "homeland security" or "an abundance of caution" ... it sounds like a cheap date to me, bleeding your opponent instead of endangering or sacrificing your own constituency. [Has anyone else noticed the timing of the "threat" ... just about the time NSA's snooping has been sharply questioned and Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have aroused considerable support for the leaking of secret documents?]
-- Evolution does not favour selfish people, according to new research.
    This challenges a previous theory which suggested it was preferable to put yourself first.
Nice theory. Nice research.

1 comment:

  1. Dunno, evolution favors whatever manages to survive, and parasites and predators have done pretty well.