White House Pushes ‘Drug Policy Reform,’ a.k.a. Prohibition

Today the Obama administration hosted the
first-ever White House Conference on Drug Policy Reform. But don’t
be confused: Although “drug policy reform” usually means moving
away from the use of violence to stop people from consuming
arbitrarily proscribed psychoactive substances, that is not what
President Obama has in mind.

“Drug policy reform should be rooted in neuroscience, not
political science,” says Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, in the
email message announcing the conference. “It should be a public
health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. That’s what a
21st-century approach to drug policy looks like.”  

In truth, this 21st-century approach to drug policy looks a lot
like the 20th-century approach to drug policy. Kerlikowske, who is
still upset that he does not get credit for ending
the war on drugs
when he took office in 2009, thinks
enlightenment in this area means forcing
drug users into “treatment” by threatening them with jail rather
than sending them directly to jail. He needs the heavy hand of the
state not only to impose treatment on recalcitrant drug users but
to imprison people who supply them with the drugs they want. That
is why Kerlikowske says drug policy is “not just a
criminal justice issue”—because he cannot imagine a drug policy
that does not entail locking people in cages for actions that
violate no one’s rights, whether those actions involve using
politically disfavored intoxicants or helping people do so.

Patrick Kennedy, co-founder of the anti-pot group Project SAM, likewise tries to
distract attention from the half a million Americans imprisoned for
drug offenses. “For too long drug policy has been caught in between
the false dichotomy of legalization versus incarceration,” Kennedy
says in a press release about the White House conference, where he
co-chaired a panel. The alternative to legalization is continued
prohibition, which requires incarceration. Prohibitionists like
Kennedy and Kerlikowske should have the courage to defend stripping
people of their liberty for doing nothing more than supplying a
product to eager buyers. Instead they pretend this is not
happening.

As for Kerlikowske’s claim that he seeks to depoliticize drug
policy, that is impossible as long as the government tries to
dictate what people put into their bodies. How can such an endeavor
be anything but political? The Obama administration, for example,
is committed to
defending
the position that marijuana, which the Drug
Enforcement Administration’s chief administrative law judge once
called
“the safest therapeutically active substance known to man,” has a
high potential for abuse, lacks medical value, and cannot be used
safely even under a doctor’s supervision. This is Kerlikowske’s
idea of sound science.

Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy
Project,
argues
that Kerlikowske’s avowed respect for neuroscience is
also belied by his continued support for a policy that encourages
people to use a more dangerous intoxicant instead of marijuana.
“Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it poses far
less harm to the brain than alcohol,” says Tvert, co-author of
Marijuana
Is Safer
. “The ONDCP has long championed laws that steer
adults toward using alcohol and away from making the safer choice
to use marijuana. If the drug czar is truly committed to
prioritizing neuroscience over political science, he should support
efforts to make marijuana a legal alternative to alcohol for
adults.”

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/white-house-pushes-drug-policy-reform-ak
via IFTTT

White House Pushes 'Drug Policy Reform,' a.k.a. Prohibition

Today the Obama administration hosted the
first-ever White House Conference on Drug Policy Reform. But don’t
be confused: Although “drug policy reform” usually means moving
away from the use of violence to stop people from consuming
arbitrarily proscribed psychoactive substances, that is not what
President Obama has in mind.

“Drug policy reform should be rooted in neuroscience, not
political science,” says Obama’s drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, in the
email message announcing the conference. “It should be a public
health issue, not just a criminal justice issue. That’s what a
21st-century approach to drug policy looks like.”  

In truth, this 21st-century approach to drug policy looks a lot
like the 20th-century approach to drug policy. Kerlikowske, who is
still upset that he does not get credit for ending
the war on drugs
when he took office in 2009, thinks
enlightenment in this area means forcing
drug users into “treatment” by threatening them with jail rather
than sending them directly to jail. He needs the heavy hand of the
state not only to impose treatment on recalcitrant drug users but
to imprison people who supply them with the drugs they want. That
is why Kerlikowske says drug policy is “not just a
criminal justice issue”—because he cannot imagine a drug policy
that does not entail locking people in cages for actions that
violate no one’s rights, whether those actions involve using
politically disfavored intoxicants or helping people do so.

Patrick Kennedy, co-founder of the anti-pot group Project SAM, likewise tries to
distract attention from the half a million Americans imprisoned for
drug offenses. “For too long drug policy has been caught in between
the false dichotomy of legalization versus incarceration,” Kennedy
says in a press release about the White House conference, where he
co-chaired a panel. The alternative to legalization is continued
prohibition, which requires incarceration. Prohibitionists like
Kennedy and Kerlikowske should have the courage to defend stripping
people of their liberty for doing nothing more than supplying a
product to eager buyers. Instead they pretend this is not
happening.

As for Kerlikowske’s claim that he seeks to depoliticize drug
policy, that is impossible as long as the government tries to
dictate what people put into their bodies. How can such an endeavor
be anything but political? The Obama administration, for example,
is committed to
defending
the position that marijuana, which the Drug
Enforcement Administration’s chief administrative law judge once
called
“the safest therapeutically active substance known to man,” has a
high potential for abuse, lacks medical value, and cannot be used
safely even under a doctor’s supervision. This is Kerlikowske’s
idea of sound science.

Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy
Project,
argues
that Kerlikowske’s avowed respect for neuroscience is
also belied by his continued support for a policy that encourages
people to use a more dangerous intoxicant instead of marijuana.
“Every objective study on marijuana has concluded that it poses far
less harm to the brain than alcohol,” says Tvert, co-author of
Marijuana
Is Safer
. “The ONDCP has long championed laws that steer
adults toward using alcohol and away from making the safer choice
to use marijuana. If the drug czar is truly committed to
prioritizing neuroscience over political science, he should support
efforts to make marijuana a legal alternative to alcohol for
adults.”

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/white-house-pushes-drug-policy-reform-ak
via IFTTT

Volcker Rule Details Revealed: Compensation For Prop Trading Will Be Barred… Just Not Prop Trading Itself

The WSJ has revealed the latest developments of tomorrow’s “fluid” Volcker Rule vote on prop trading:

  • Volcker Rule Will Bar Compensation Arrangements That Reward Proprietary Trading, Rule Text Says
  • Rule Will Exempt Foreign Sovereign Debt From Proprietary Trading Ban, According To Rule Text Reviewed By Wall Street Journal
  • Volcker Rule Will Apply To Foreign Banks With Operation In U.S.
  • Market Making Language Will Require Banks Provide “Demonstrable” Analysis Of Historical Customer Demand
  • Volcker Rule Requires Banks Detail Specific Risk Hedges Designed To Mitigate
  • Rule Requires Ongoing Review Of Hedges To Ensure Compliance
  • Volcker Rule Will Restrict Banks From Sponsoring Or Making Investments In Most Hedge, Private Equity and Venture Capital Funds
  • Rule Considers “Covered Fund” Any Fund That Would Be Investment Company If Not For Investment Company Act Exemptions

In other words, prop trading itself will not be explicitly barred, just associated compensation (and banks can still buy as much Italian and Spanish bonds for their accounts as they want). Which means banks can engage in as much prop trading as they wish (which courtesy of $2.4 trillion in excess deposits aka excess reserves is a lot) and bang as much VIX closes as they desire, they just need to have trader bonus “arranagements” to be tied to something else. Like make-believe flow trading which can be manipulated to show anything and everything.

Wall Street 1 – Non-FDIC backstopped fair markets 0. Again.


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/PChiZ8zjVT4/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Treasury “Out” Of GM For $10.5 Billion Loss (Claims 768% ROI)

The spin does not get any better than this… As they reported they would,

  • *LEW SAYS U.S. SOLD ALL REMAINING SHARES OF GENERAL MOTORS RECOUPING $39 BLN OF ORIGINAL GM INVESTMENT

That is a $10.5 Billion loss! But, The Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan nonprofit organization that analyzes auto industry issues, those funds saved or avoided the loss of $105.3 billion in transfer payments and the loss of personal and social insurance tax collections — or 768% of the net investment.”

 

Via LA Times,

 

Additionally, the center said the bailouts and financial restructurings saved about 2.6 million jobs in the U.S. economy in 2009 and $284.4 billion in personal income over 2009 and 2010.

 

In the report, “The Effect on the U.S. Economy of the Successful Restructuring of General Motors,” researchers Sean McAlinden and Debra Maranger Menk wrote that the value of the bailouts can’t be considered just by what the taxpayers will lose in the sale of GM’s stock.

 

If you only count the things that make you look good and don’t count the things that make you look bad, any investment will look good and any investment will be profitable,” said Dan Mitchell, senior fellow at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute.

 

He said the analysis doesn’t place a value on the adjustments that the auto industry would have been forced to make in the absence of a bailout.

 

“Those adjustments, more meaningful concessions in labor costs and work rules, would have put the auto industry on a sounder footing,” he said.
 

We can't wait to hear how much Bill Ackman made or saved on his Herbalife investment…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/uCXvvCFfmNE/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Treasury "Out" Of GM For $10.5 Billion Loss (Claims 768% ROI)

The spin does not get any better than this… As they reported they would,

  • *LEW SAYS U.S. SOLD ALL REMAINING SHARES OF GENERAL MOTORS RECOUPING $39 BLN OF ORIGINAL GM INVESTMENT

That is a $10.5 Billion loss! But, The Center for Automotive Research, a Michigan nonprofit organization that analyzes auto industry issues, those funds saved or avoided the loss of $105.3 billion in transfer payments and the loss of personal and social insurance tax collections — or 768% of the net investment.”

 

Via LA Times,

 

Additionally, the center said the bailouts and financial restructurings saved about 2.6 million jobs in the U.S. economy in 2009 and $284.4 billion in personal income over 2009 and 2010.

 

In the report, “The Effect on the U.S. Economy of the Successful Restructuring of General Motors,” researchers Sean McAlinden and Debra Maranger Menk wrote that the value of the bailouts can’t be considered just by what the taxpayers will lose in the sale of GM’s stock.

 

If you only count the things that make you look good and don’t count the things that make you look bad, any investment will look good and any investment will be profitable,” said Dan Mitchell, senior fellow at the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute.

 

He said the analysis doesn’t place a value on the adjustments that the auto industry would have been forced to make in the absence of a bailout.

 

“Those adjustments, more meaningful concessions in labor costs and work rules, would have put the auto industry on a sounder footing,” he said.
 

We can't wait to hear how much Bill Ackman made or saved on his Herbalife investment…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/uCXvvCFfmNE/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Healthcare.gov Incorrectly Signs People Up for Medicaid, Snowden Addresses the European Parliament, Bob Filner Sentenced to Home Confinement: P.M. Links

Get Reason.com and Reason 24/7 content widgets for your
websites.

Follow Reason and Reason 24/7 on
Twitter, and like us on Facebook.
  You
can also get the top stories mailed to
you—
sign
up here.
 
Have a news tip? Send it to us!

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/healthcaregov-incorrectly-signs-people-u
via IFTTT

PMs Surge As Stocks Slumber On Dow’s Lowest Range In 16 Months

Following Friday's exuberance, US equity markets traded in an extraordinarily narrow range today (Dow's 41 points is lowest in 16 months) as S&P futures had the lowest non-holiday volume day of the year – despite plethora of Fed talking heads. Treasuries were no less un-vibrant with a 2bp range ending with the short-end very modestly higher in yield and long-end -1bps. The USD closed lower with its only sizable move driven by Bullard's dovish comments on inflation credibility; most notably US equities ignored JPY crosses efforts to ignite momentum. VIX closed down modestly (and back to inverted). The big movers on the day were in commodity-land. WTI dipped but Brent was slammed as the spread dropped notably to 6-week lows. Gold (and even more so Silver) were the big winners (relatively speaking) ending the day +1 and +2.2% respectively.

 

The Dow saw its smallest intraday range in 16 months…

 

Silver jumped over 2% on the day and gold lifted over $1240…

 

The crude complex was busy with WTI trading down but Brent hammered – narrowing the spread to $11.70

no matter how hard they tried – EURJPY coul dnot bring stocks higher this afternoon…

 

as FX markets were dominated by German macro data and the Bullard comments this afternoon…

 

And again – for clarity from the NFP print… some context

 

Charts: Bloomberg


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/nicuwRGB5lM/story01.htm Tyler Durden

PMs Surge As Stocks Slumber On Dow's Lowest Range In 16 Months

Following Friday's exuberance, US equity markets traded in an extraordinarily narrow range today (Dow's 41 points is lowest in 16 months) as S&P futures had the lowest non-holiday volume day of the year – despite plethora of Fed talking heads. Treasuries were no less un-vibrant with a 2bp range ending with the short-end very modestly higher in yield and long-end -1bps. The USD closed lower with its only sizable move driven by Bullard's dovish comments on inflation credibility; most notably US equities ignored JPY crosses efforts to ignite momentum. VIX closed down modestly (and back to inverted). The big movers on the day were in commodity-land. WTI dipped but Brent was slammed as the spread dropped notably to 6-week lows. Gold (and even more so Silver) were the big winners (relatively speaking) ending the day +1 and +2.2% respectively.

 

The Dow saw its smallest intraday range in 16 months…

 

Silver jumped over 2% on the day and gold lifted over $1240…

 

The crude complex was busy with WTI trading down but Brent hammered – narrowing the spread to $11.70

no matter how hard they tried – EURJPY coul dnot bring stocks higher this afternoon…

 

as FX markets were dominated by German macro data and the Bullard comments this afternoon…

 

And again – for clarity from the NFP print… some context

 

Charts: Bloomberg


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/nicuwRGB5lM/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Ohio Bill Sparks Debate About Religious Freedom

A piece of legislation in Ohio
is causing some controversy as it aims to affect the practice of
religion. The bill’s proponents say it will reinforce the First
Amendment’s protection of religious freedom, whereas its detractors
are concerned that it will blur the line between church and
state.

State Representatives Tim Derickson (R-Oxford) and Bill Patmon
(D-Cleveland) introduced the
Ohio Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA)
last Wednesday.
The bill would require that the state demonstrate “compelling
government interest” to create any laws, policies, or regulations
that place burdens on the exercise of religion.

Patmon
announced
at a press conference that “this legislation will
help reassert the foundation upon which this country was founded
and has grown and prospered on—freedom of religion and the practice
of it.”

However, various groups are arguing about the legality of the
bill, and whether it would protect religion or push it on others.
At odds on the issues are the American Civil Liberties Union’s
communications coordinator, Nick Worner, and the Alliance Defending
Freedom’s legal counsel, Joseph LaRue. The Columbus
Dispatch

reports
:

“The Constitution is the supreme law of the land. Whatever a
piece of state legislation does, it’s not going to trump the U.S.
Constitution,” Worner said. “Individual religious freedom is
extremely important, but it’s never been a free pass to impose your
religious beliefs on other people.”

LaRue, who helped draft the Ohio bill, agrees with the ACLU that
the U.S. Constitution is the law of the land, but adds, “That’s
only part of the story.”

“The U.S. Constitution is a baseline,” he said. “States can go
above and beyond what the U.S. Constitution provides.”

[…]

“What we’ve seen in states without RFRA is an increasing and
creeping reduction in religious freedom,” LaRue said. “They are
taking away rights of individuals to live their lives in public
consistent with their faith.”

Another Dispatch article
quotes
Patrick Elliott of the Freedom From Religion Foundation.
He warns that “the wording is so broad that all aspects of state
enforcement, state statutes, and local ordinances would be
impacted.”

On the other hand, Patmon’s and Derickson’s bill finds
precedence in the federal
RFRA
, which passed twenty years ago, and 17 similar state-based
pieces of legislation, none of which have resulted in the cataclysm
against which Elliot warns.

How exactly the bill will play out if passed is unknown.
Responding to a recent incident in which the ACLU persuaded an Ohio
public school to remove religious artwork, LaRue and Patmon – who
are on the same side of the debate over the Ohio Religious Freedom
Restoration Act – expressed contradictory opinions in the
Dispatch about how the legislation would affect such
situations.

With 45
cosponsors
, nearly half of the state’s representatives have
expressed support for the bill. The vast majority of cosponsors are
Republicans.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/09/ohio-bill-sparks-debate-about-religious
via IFTTT