Overdevelopment, Overpopulation, Overshoot
Container City: Shipping containers, indispensable tool of the globalized consumer economy, reflect the skyline in Singapore, one of the world’s busiest ports.
It’s time for an important lesson in proper, civilized behavior. Drug war soldier Gallant launders vast sums of money for the Mexican drug cartels. Drug war soldier Goofus expresses skepticism at the size and scope of this expensive and deadly boondoggle. Goofus gets canned. Gallant is the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Sorry, what’s our DEA doing this time?
Today, in operations supervised by the Justice Department and orchestrated to get around sovereignty restrictions, the United States is running numerous undercover laundering investigations against Mexico’s most powerful cartels. One D.E.A. official said it was not unusual for American agents to pick up two or three loads of Mexican drug money each week. A second official said that as Mexican cartels extended their operations from Latin America to Africa, Europe and the Middle East, the reach of the operations had grown as well. When asked how much money had been laundered as a part of the operations, the official would only say, “A lot.”
“If you’re going to get into the business of laundering money,” the official added, “then you have to be able to launder money.”
Yes, but how do the feds decide which cartels to launder money for? Should the government really be picking “winners and losers” when it comes to Mexican drug cartels?
An expensive boondoggle like the ongoing war on drugs has its own nutty logic that may not make much sense to outsiders. Outsiders, for example, might think that laundering “a lot” of money for cartels in order to eventually follow that money to someone in a position of authority is a huge waste of time and resources that only makes the deadly gangs even stronger. But the agencies waging the war don’t seem to have a lot of tolerance for opinions along those lines.
When Border Patrol agent Bryan Gonzalez told a colleague that legalizing marijuana would probably lessen violence in Mexico, his colleague reported Gonzalez to their bosses, and Gonzalez was fired.
Those remarks, along with others expressing sympathy for illegal immigrants from Mexico, were passed along to the Border Patrol headquarters in Washington. After an investigation, a termination letter arrived that said Mr. Gonzalez held “personal views that were contrary to core characteristics of Border Patrol Agents, which are patriotism, dedication and esprit de corps.”
Gonzalez is now with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, and the ACLU has filed a suit on his behalf.
But LEAP’s membership drives are slightly handicapped by the fact that law enforcement agencies see any sort of skepticism regarding the efficacy and morality of the drug war as dangerous and, apparently, unpatriotic. “We all know the drug war is a bad joke,” an unidentified police officer told the Times. “But we also know that you’ll never get promoted if you’re seen as soft on drugs”
Its this institutional unwillingness to question the mission that leads to the DEA “combating” drug cartels by laundering their money and selling them weapons. Drug war logic means rural
Oregon Washington needs a million dollars in federal grants going to a a “task force” that busts small-time dealers and raids houses of medicinal marijuana users with paramilitary weaponry and tactics. Does that seems extreme and wasteful? What are you, some kind of unpatriotic hippie?
Alex Pareene writes about politics for Salon and is the author of "The Rude Guide to Mitt." Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @pareeneMore Alex Pareene.
Man Covering His Mouth: A shepherd by the Yellow River cannot stand the smell, Inner Mongolia, China
Angry Crowd: People jostle for food relief distribution following the 2010 earthquake in Haiti
“Black Friday” Shoppers: Aggressive bargain hunters push through the front doors of the Boise Towne Square mall as they are opened at 1 a.m. Friday, Nov. 24, 2007, Boise, Idaho, USA
Suburban Sprawl: aerial view of landscape outside Miami, Florida, shows 13 golf courses amongst track homes on the edge of the Everglades.
Toxic Landscape: Aerial view of the tar sands region, where mining operations and tailings ponds are so vast they can be seen from outer space; Alberta, Canada
Ice Waterfall: In both the Arctic and Antarctic regions, ice is retreating. Melting water on icecap, North East Land, Svalbard, Norway
Satellite Dishes: The rooftops of Aleppo, Syria, one of the world’s oldest cities, are covered with satellite dishes, linking residents to a globalized consumer culture.
Child Brides: Tahani, 8, is seen with her husband Majed, 27, and her former classmate Ghada, 8, and her husband in Hajjah, Yemen, July 26, 2010.
Megalopolis: Shanghai, China, a sprawling megacity of 24 Million
Big Hole: The Mir Mine in Russia is the world’s largest diamond mine.
Clear-cut: Industrial forestry degrading public lands, Willamette National Forest, Oregon
Computer Dump: Massive quantities of waste from obsolete computers and other electronics are typically shipped to the developing world for sorting and/or disposal. Photo from Accra, Ghana.
Oil Spill Fire: Aerial view of an oil fire following the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil disaster, Gulf of Mexico
Airplane Contrails: Globalized transportation networks, especially commercial aviation, are a major contributor of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Photo of contrails in the west London sky over the River Thames, London, England.
Fire: More frequent and more intense wildfires (such as this one in Colorado, USA) are another consequence of a warming planet.