Why Obama Will Win Arizona in a Walk

Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield’s remarks on the state of Mexico’s organized crime groups is the kicking off point for a thoughtful analysis by Alejandro Hope.

He argues that while Brownfield’s upbeat appraisal will be met with deep scepticism by most Mexicans, there are a number of indicators that counter the many completely despairing pronouncements about the country’s future.

It’s well worth a careful read.

And yes, this post has nothing to do with Obama, Arizona or the election. It’s just that no one seems to be paying any attention to any substantive public policy posts at the moment, so I engaged in deceptive packaging for which I will no doubt be sued soon in a federal court near you.

Calling b.s. on UN drug numbers

Alejandro Hope shreds the latest drug numbers invented by the UN.

Alejandro Hope, until recently in charge of organized-crime analysis at CISEN (the Mexican intelligence service) shreds the latest nonsense numbers from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

Part of the problem with drug policymaking at every level is its almost complete detachment from reality. In particular, statistics about drug volumes and revenues are more or less invented at random, then passed around like bad pennies.

I have this flagged under “Lying in Politics,” but “lying” isn’t really the mot juste. This is more what Harry Frankfort calls “bullsh*tting”: the statements are false, but not really intended to deceive. Stating them, and citing them, are ritual gestures: socially meaningful, but essentially content-free. (And debunking them is one of the central themes Jon Caulkins, Angela Hawken, and I pursue in Drugs and Drug Policy, whose subtitle should really be, not “what everyone needs to know,” but “what everyone needs to stop believing.”

Translation below the fold.

Footnote More from Alejandro at his new blog (mentioned earlier by Keith). It’s called “Plata o plomo” (“Silver or lead”), the proverbial choice offered to law enforcement officials by Latin American drug traffickers: take our money or face our bullets.

Continue reading “Calling b.s. on UN drug numbers”