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DOJ Boss Promises The Return Of Everything That Didn't Work During The Last 40 Years Of Drug Warring

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions isn't much interested in the "justice" side of the Department of Justice. Instead, it appears he'd like to throw on his letterman's jacket and head back to his glory days as a hard-nosed, 1980s-vintage drug warrior. Things were better when Sessions was a federal prosecutor in Alabama, ringing up drug convictions at a rate four times the national average.

The word "reactionary" is thrown around a lot when describing Trump and his cabinet. But in Sessions' case, the term fits. Violent crimes rates have fallen steadily since the mid-1990s. Meanwhile, drug prices have dropped and purity has increased, despite four decades of harsh enforcement and trillions of dollars being thrown at the problem. Devil weed -- gateway drug and longtime conspirator in the violation of American women by filthy non-whites -- is now a socially and medically-accepted drug, legal in several states.

But there are violent crime increases in a few major cities. He's not sure what's to blame for this potential historical blip, but he has several theories. It might be soft-on-drugs Obama-era policies embraced by his predecessor's DOJ. It might be a lack of respect for law enforcement, which Sessions feels is a failure of the American public, rather than the failures of those who serve them. It might be rambunctious legislators scaling back asset forfeiture all over the country. Whatever it is, the current course needs to be reversed and the policies that failed for multiple decades be allowed to fail again.

Where else would Sessions espouse his "brave new old world" plan than standing over the desiccated corpse of a federally-funded program that did fuck all to curb drug use by teens and tweens: the 30th D.A.R.E. (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) Training Conference.

We were in the beginning of this fight, in 1983, when DARE was founded in Los Angeles. I believe that DARE was instrumental to our success by educating children on the dangers of drug use. I firmly believe that you have saved lives. And I want to say thank you for that. Whenever I ask adults around age 30 about prevention, they always mention the DARE program. Your efforts work. Lives and futures are saved.

Sessions can believe anything he wants about the DARE program, but the fact is it had almost zero impact on reducing drug use by children. Multiple studies of the program suggest zero impact is the best possible outcome. At worst, the program was viewed as ridiculous by students and actually introduced them to substances they weren't previously aware of. It often inspired curiosity. It rarely inspired lifelong abstinence.

But Sessions wants a bigger, better drug war -- one not constrained by logic, compassion, or mountains of evidence showing the war has been a catastrophic failure. Sessions hints we need more violence from our law enforcers because drug dealers are violent.

We know drug trafficking is an inherently violent business. If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t, and don’t, file a lawsuit in court. You collect it by the barrel of a gun. There is no doubt that violence tends to rise with increased drug dealing.

As Scott Greenfield pointed out, if drugs were legal, you could file a lawsuit to recover debts -- a process far less likely to result in dead bodies.

Stats are spun to fit the narrative:

Sentences for federal drug crimes dropped by 18 percent from 2009 to 2016. Violent crime—which had been decreasing for two decades—suddenly went up again. Two years after this policy change, the United States suffered the largest single-year increase in the overall violent crime rate since 1991.

And yet, the violent crime rate remains at historic lows. Sessions sees a spike as a trend even though the numbers don't agree with him. In another speech, he specifies which year he's referring to:

In 2015, we as a nation suffered the largest single-year increase in the violent crime rate since 1991, and the largest jump in the murder rate since 1968.

But even the FBI can't buttress the AG's dark narrative.

According to the report, there were an estimated 1,197,704 violent crimes committed around the nation. While that was an increase from 2014 figures, the 2015 violent crime total was 0.7 percent lower than the 2011 level and 16.5 percent below the 2006 level.

The Sessions Drug War Wagon plows on, focused on preaching to the converted and riling up the most ignorant legislators and voters. At event after event, Sessions does everything but hand out laced Kool Aid and visions of a heavily-policed afterlife. Facts are out; verbal y-axis distortions are in.

The preliminary data for the first half of 2016 showed further increases, with large cities seeing an average increase in murders of nearly 22 percent compared with the same period the year before.

This spike in violent crime is not happening in every neighborhood or city. But the trend is real and should concern us all. It must not continue.

A spike is a trend in the eyes of AG Sessions, whose narrative conflicts with the FBI's findings. This is a spike -- compared year-to-year -- but one that can't even bring crime levels back to where they were a decade ago, much less the sky-high rates of the 80s and 90s when Sessions was prosecuting the hell out of Alabama.

Hence the return of asset forfeiture, presumably with enough force to overcome legislative resistance. From the same speech to the National District Attorneys Association:

In addition, we hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture—especially for drug traffickers. With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures. No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime. Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners.

Sessions mentions criminals, but criminal charges have never been an integral part of the forfeiture process. The government likes taking stuff, but has less of an interest in proving the property owner is actually a criminal.

A new era of punitive justice is upon us. One that prefers prosecutions to prevention and harsh sentences to deterrents less likely to permanently ruin someone's life.

I recently sent out my directive on charging and sentencing. It is sound law and policy. Assistant U.S. Attorneys will simply be expected to charge the most serious readily provable offense. If that would be unjust, prosecutors can seek a waiver approval from a designated supervisor without Washington.

In short, we have ended the policies that handcuffed our federal prosecutors.

There will apparently be enough handcuffs for everyone else.

This is a frustrating turn of events. The new DOJ will elevate law enforcement officers and prosecutors above the people they serve. Everything that didn't work for three decades straight will be making a comeback. And if that fails to turn things around, I'm guessing it will be blamed on the media, anti-police sentiment, or whatever convenient scapegoat happens to be on hand when the blowback begins.



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AT&T Tricked Its Customers Into Opposing Net Neutrality

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As most of you probably noticed, last week saw a massive, online protest against FCC boss Ajit Pai's plan to completely ignore consumer welfare and gut popular net neutrality protections. Giant ISPs like AT&T, Comcast and Verizon responded to the protest in the way they've always done: by comically insisting that the press somehow got it wrong, and these companies actually really love net neutrality -- despite a decade of documented anti-competitive behavior, and the fact they've spent millions upon millions of dollars trying to kill any meaningful neutrality protections.

AT&T took things a bit further by hysterically saying the company loved net neutrality so much, it too would be participating in the protest -- a PR ploy that was pretty soundly ridiculed by ourselves and others. But a deeper look at AT&T's "participation" in the protest found that AT&T used the opportunity to trick its customers into opposing real net neutrality protections -- and convinced many to root against their own self interests.

The Verge was the first to notice that AT&T spent the day sending e-mails and other notifications to customers professing the company's dedication to net neutrality. These missives even showed up on AT&T set top boxes, as several users noted on Twitter:

These notifications have several variations. But all of them directed AT&T customers to this AT&T website where they were informed that AT&T really loves net neutrality (pro tip: they don't), and were told to fill out a form letter AT&T said it would forward on to "the FCC and your officials." But the letter doesn't actually support net neutrality. What it supports is the gutting of the existing popular protections and replacement with a Congressional law:

"Simply put, it is time to stop this regulatory see-saw. Consumers need a set of basic online protection and competition rules put in place that will last longer than the next Presidential administration. Congress should pass a law to ensure consumers are always protected and all internet companies compete on a level playing field under a single set of rules."

So in an ideal world, having Congress craft a net neutrality law makes sense -- especially since it would end the game of partisan patty cake that occurs every time a new administration takes office, potentially ending fifteen years of net neutrality debate. The problem, as we've noted several times, is that we don't live in an ideal world. We live in a world where Congress is bogged down in immense partisan dysfunction, and companies like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast have immense control over both federal and state-level lawmakers.

Their control is so complete, they're often the ones writing awful, anti-competition, protectionist state and federal telecom law. There's a reason AT&T wants to gut the existing, popular rules and replace it with a new law: it knows it will be the one writing it. As such, you can be certain the law -- assuming it got passed at all (not at all likely) would be filled with so many loopholes as to be utterly useless. Despite this grotesque corruption and dysfunction being fairly apparent to anybody with eyes, many reporters have bought into this argument for a new law.

Fortunately a few reporters have been able to see through AT&T's bullshit on this front:

This is all cleverly worded bullshit from people who actually want to dismantle a responsive regulatory agency and cede responsibility back to Congress, which is much slower to act and, where the ISPs are concerned, can be easily bought. All of these ISPs continue to say they love net neutrality with fingers crossed behind their backs.

Make no mistake: AT&T doesn't care about healthy internet competition, level playing fields, or consumer welfare. Its goal is to gut all meaningful oversight of one of the least liked, and least competitive industries in America, and replace it with the policy equivalent of fluff and nonsense. And while there's still many folks that somehow believe that blindly deregulating companies like Comcast will magically result in good ISP behavior and telecom utopia, history has shown us time and time again that logic only tends to make the problem worse.

There's a far simpler way to settle the issue and protect consumers and startups, and that's to leave the existing net neutrality rules lone.



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My friends' pregnancy photo

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My friends' pregnancy photo submitted by /u/ayyy_MD to r/funny
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EPA seeks to scrap rule protecting drinking water for third of Americans

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submitted by /u/Reading-Raptor to r/news
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Maybe if I fall in love with my anxiety it will leave me too

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submitted by /u/Is-that-vodka to r/Showerthoughts
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My friend works at a movie theater and can take the cardboard cutouts. I have an irreconcilable fear of sharks. She decided to use her spare key privileges to terrify me beyond repair.

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My friend works at a movie theater and can take the cardboard cutouts. I have an irreconcilable fear of sharks. She decided to use her spare key privileges to terrify me beyond repair. submitted by /u/x-filesandchill to r/funny
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