Fight For The Future of Liberty

Why did the Vegas shooting disappear from the news?

House holds meaningless vote on whether it has authorized the current war in Yemen

The 366-30 vote declared the obvious, that the US has not authorized war in Yemen, yet US support for the side that is directly murdering hundreds of children, and indirectly murdering hundreds of thousands through starvation and disease, continues unabated.

The Intercept: Congress Votes to Say It Hasn’t Authorized War on Yemen, Yet War in Yemen Goes On

It should be constantly remembered that Saudi Arabia is presently causing the greatest outbreak of cholera in recorded history, as well as the starvation of millions.  This is happening now, in broad daylight, with too little outrage or even attention paid.  One year from now, there will be millions fewer Yemenis alive due to the Saudi blockade.  And the Saudis wouldn’t dare engage in such atrocities without the full force and faith of the US government.

CNN: Saudi blockade pushing Yemen toward “worst famine in decades”:

“It will not be like the famine that we saw in South Sudan earlier in the year, where tens of thousands of people were affected. It will not be like the famine which cost 250,000 people their lives in Somalia in 2011. It will be the largest famine the world has seen for many decades, with millions of victims.”
Riyadh announced it was temporarily closing all access into the country by ground, air and sea in response to the missile, but said it would take into consideration “the continuation of the entry and exit of humanitarian supplies and crews,” according to the state-run SPA news agency.
But Lowcock said Wednesday that not a single UN plane had been able to land in the country, and that he believed no other humanitarian agency had been able to access the country.
He did not say how fast famine might take hold in Yemen, but he explained the lack of food would lead to a whole range of medical complications.
“What kills people in famine is infections, or measles, or respiratory tract problems, or a cold. Because their bodies have consumed themselves, reduced totally the ability to fight off things which a healthy person can fight off.”
What terrorist organization of the past two decades has a kill rate in the millions?  Yet our own government is funding and arming a Middle Eastern country that will soon be responsible for just such an atrocity.  It’s worth remembering.

Want to judge a marijuana competition?

Small county forced to pay massive settlement after sheriff searched school’s entire student body

850 students will divide $3 million among themselves as part of a settlement in a federal civil rights lawsuit after sheriff’s office locked down school and subjected them to an invasive, four-hour search.

$3 million is more than twice the $1.4 million annual budget of the sheriff’s office, and a sizable chunk of the county’s $10 million budget.  The lesson: out-of-control police departments are a huge liability.


Bellum omnium contra omnes

The Surveillance State is in a Hobbesian state of nature, according to a fresh Bloomberg article.  But should it be feared more or less once it emerges from that state?

An NSA Breach and the New Hobbesian War on on Our Privacy

“Aside from puncturing the aura of the NSA as an all-seeing eye, the Times story also shows that today the greatest threat to our privacy is not an organization with a monopoly of surveillance power, but rather the disaggregation of surveillance power. It is not the citizen versus the state. Rather it is a Hobbesian state of nature, a war of all against all. Today, foreign governments and private hackers can use the same tools we all feared the U.S. government would use.”

This is a most interesting piece, ascribing to total surveillance the qualities of a virus, rather than a centralized, top-down government program.  With the theft of digital CIA spy tools, total surveillance is likened to a plague for which there is currently little in the way of a cure.  We are the surveillance state, and we are the surveilled. We are the architects of our own Panopticon.

The recent NYT story, Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the NSA to Its Core, the Bloomberg piece links to paints a damning portrait of the NSA: an agency powerful enough to create extremely potent cyber weapons, but not the means to keep them safe.  Once the theft occurs, the thieves then taunt the agency as it descends into culture of wide-eyed paranoia about who may be leaking.

Despite all this, I’m an optimist.  I believe a shield, a vaccine, can be developed and widely distributed just as easily as the surveillance virus has been.  But it pays, I think, to question the wisdom of a government agency creating powerful spy tools, without a care as to what Pandora’s Box they’re opening.

Colorado has more marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks or McDonald’s branches

Daily Links

Reason: Is Silicon Valley Building the Infrastructure for a Police State?

Lawmakers need to get control of the use of drones by the police

Slate: The Fragmented Surveillance State. Most important read of the day.  We often think of Big Brother surveillance as far off, deep within a high-tech NSA bunker, when it’s really down the street in your police department.

Mass internet surveillance as art

High Times: DEA says it won’t arrest CBD oil users. A voice of reason from the agency thinks their resources would be better used by targeting the opioid crisis rather than cracking down on people treating their illnesses with a harmless oil.

Time: The Real Risk of Buying Medical Marijuana Online. Study finds that only 30% of online cannabis products contain amount of CBD oil stated on label.

Study shows that over-the-counter pain medication just as effective as opioids in the ER


Marijuana is an “exit” drug, not a gateway

Contrary to the admonition of every wretched Drug Warrior that ever spoke at your school, marijuana is most certainly not a “gateway” to harder drugs.  The lack of availability of a safe high is what drives people to use harder drugs.  Marijuana, on the contrary, is an “exit” drug that can wean addicts off heroin, meth, crack, and other deadly substances.

At this LA rehab center, cannabis is an “exit” drug:

“Substituting cannabis for drugs like heroin, alcohol, and prescription opioids is a type of “harm reduction,” Schrank explains, a recovery paradigm that prioritizes reducing the negative consequences of drug use rather than stopping patients from using completely. High Sobriety is aimed at patients who haven’t responded to traditional rehab programs—and there are a lot of them. According to recent estimates, AA is only successful for 5% to 10% of people. Some experts even say it can even be detrimental for a number of reasons.”

Magic mushrooms can do “in 30 seconds what it takes antidepressants three to four weeks to do”

Consider the headlines.

Could psychedelic drugs be the ticket to improved mental health?

Psychedelic drugs saved my life.  So why aren’t they prescribed?: “A group of drugs long considered taboo is poised to transform the way we treat mental health. Recent research suggests that psychedelics – once regarded as a relic of the hippy-dippy 60s – could prove powerful tools not only to treat, but also potentially cure, many mental health problems regarded as chronic.

Psychedelics do something that our current go-to psychiatric drugs cannot: transform hardwired neural patterns to reroute the very architecture of the brain, sometimes in a single dose. Roland Griffiths, a professor in the Departments of Psychiatry and Neurosciences at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, has likened psychedelics’ ability to bring about neural rerouting as akin to a “surgical intervention”.

Take psilocybin, better known as magic mushrooms. A single dose of the drug can do “in 30 seconds what it takes antidepressants three to four weeks to do”, according to David Nutt, professor of neuropsychopharmacology at Imperial College London.”