What good is Life without Love, Liberty & Laughter?
For more than a decade, researchers in Spain have been studying compounds in marijuana as treatments for cancer.
Cristina Sánchez, PhD, is a molecular biologist at Complutense University in Madrid, Spain. Over the past twelve years, Dr. Sánchez and her team have conducted extensive research on the anti-tumor effects of cannabinoids.
Her lab is not the only one to investigate the unique potential of these cannabis-derived compounds. In fact, researchers in many parts of the world, including the U.S., have demonstrated the ability of cannabinoids to combat tumors in various models.
In response to recent media reports about the increase in Latin American children seeking entry into the United States, Libertarian Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark released this statement:
Should the U.S. government forbid foreign children from entering the United States? The Libertarian Party says no.
It would be unjust and inhumane for the U.S. government to prohibit these children from entering the United States.
A great irony is that U.S. government policies have caused the conditions that some of these Central American children are fleeing. The War on Drugs has created a huge black market in Latin America, causing increases in gang activity and violent crime. Some of the affected children naturally try to flee this violence. It is wrong to jeer at them, call them “illegals,” and tell them to get out.
Many of these children are hoping to reach friends and relatives in the United States. A freer, simpler legal immigration process might result in a safer journey with more adult supervision along the way. In any case, Libertarians support maximizing freedom knowing that risks, including risks to children, are always involved. In some cases, children may be better off migrating, even without adult supervision, than staying trapped in dangerous environments — just ask the Jewish children who escaped from Hitler, or Tutsi children who escaped genocide in Rwanda.
Libertarians do not support forcing people to pay for other children’s welfare, and there are obviously costs associated with helping children who arrive in the United States. However, there are many charitable organizations that have already mobilized to provide that help. A nation of 320 million people can provide sufficient charitable help to the number of children involved (around 50,000 over the last nine months). And if we’d just end the War on Drugs, the number of refugee children would be much lower.
Ultimately, the fact that many of these children are fleeing dangerous situations isn’t the issue. Even if they were coming to the United States for fun, we should still allow them to enter. All foreigners should be allowed entry into the United States unless the government can produce positive evidence that they pose a threat to security, health, or property.
Our bad immigration laws affect a lot more people than just these children. Many foreigners want to come work in the United States, which benefits them as well as Americans. However, our government makes it impossible for almost all of them to work here legally.
The Libertarian Party believes that the U.S. government should not prohibit Americans from hiring foreign workers. There are about 60 million legal foreign entries into the United States each year (mostly tourists). Those foreigners should be free to work in the United States as well. There’s no question of border security — it’s just a question of the government’s unjust and foolish protectionist labor laws.
(By comparison, there are only about 500,000 “illegal” entries into the United States each year. Most of those are foreigners who want to work in the United States, and who would be denied visas because of that intention.)
Some observers have noted that generous benefit and subsidy programs in the United States, including free education and health care, may be attracting lazy foreigners. The Libertarian Party supports the abolition of government benefits and subsidies, for both natives and foreigners. It’s worth pointing out that foreigners use these programs at a lower rate than natives, according to a recent report by the Cato Institute.
It’s a shame that many in the media are trying to make Americans feel fear and suspicion toward immigrants. It’s particularly disgusting that protesters would yell at children to make their political point. Immigration is good for foreigners and good for Americans, and we need to change our laws to make immigration much easier.
The media is not waiting until after the November general election to blame Libertarian Party candidates for Republican Party candidates’ upcoming losses. Indeed, Libertarian candidates are already being blamed for the Republicans’ potential failure to gain a majority in of the United States Senate. The Washington Post on Sunday published an article suggesting that Libertarian candidates could “spoil” Republicans’ chances of winning United States Senate races in eleven or more states, as well as some governor races.
Following an Associated Press article last month that erroneously suggested Libertarian governor candidate Ed Thompson caused the Republican incumbent Wisconsin governor to lose to the Democrat challenger in 2002, the Washington Post article points to Republican losses in the Virginia 2013 governor race and the 2006 and 2012 Montana US Senate races to support the assertion that Libertarian candidates are spoilers for Republicans.
What proof does the Washington Post article offer to advance this empirical argument? The Libertarian candidate received more votes than the number of votes by which the Democrat beat the Republican in each of those three races. That’s it — an underwhelming “argument” to say the least. The article seems to trust that readers believe the baseless, though widely repeated, characterization of libertarianism as a subset of conservatism.
Of course, not every person who voted for the Libertarian candidates in the Virginia and Montana races would have voted for the Republican in the respective races had there been no Libertarian option. The Washington Post does not give reason to suppose that even a majority of the Libertarian candidate supporters would have done so. Some of these voters would have voted for the Republican and others for the Democrat. A significant number may have chosen not to vote at all on election day or to vote on other matters on the ballot but not in the particular race.
Even an individual who votes for a Libertarian candidate and views the Republican in the race as the second-best option may not be counted on as a voter for the Republican if the favored candidate were not in the race. For some people, a candidate being marginally better is not good enough. If there is no candidate that meets a certain threshold, then no candidate will earn the vote.
Other voters who like a Libertarian or other “third party” candidate the most may nonetheless vote for the Republican or Democrat candidate who the voters determine is “good enough.” In these cases, voters choose to forego making a statement about who the best candidate is in order to try to play a part in deciding which candidate will win the immediate race or to send a message to the “major parties” regarding what kind of candidate can earn their votes.
Another group of voters will always or almost always choose a Republican or Democrat, viewing making any other choice as a “wasted vote.”
On the other end of the spectrum, other people will only show up at an election if there is a rare candidate who inspires them and then only vote for that candidate, leaving other races with blank or write-in votes.
The fundamental issue is that third party candidates, be they Libertarians, Greens, or whatever, are not stealing votes from Republican or Democrat candidates. The votes were never the property of one party or candidate to begin with. Votes, like cash, may be spent however a person subjectively determines is best. Excepting instances of illegal election tampering, success in elections depends on marketing a product people are willing to choose over other available choices.
Additionally, politicians should take heed of the apparent movement of public opinion in the US toward supporting a non-interventionist foreign policy and fearing big government. Indeed, last year public opposition helped prevent a US government attack on Syria and helped encourage the US House to nearly pass an amendment to significantly undercut the NSA’s mass spying. This happened despite the Obama Administration and bipartisan congressional leadership lining up on the opposing side in both instances.
Maybe, if some “third party” campaigns do better in the November elections than in past years, it will be because some voters see these campaigns as resonating with this movement in public opinion. If that is the case, “major party” candidates could better spend their time learning from their competitors’ success than blaming them.
It can be safely argued that those four words, written by the French philosopherMichel Foucault in his discussion of the “panopticon,” were never more true than they were this year. Our visibility — defined as ubiquitous, networked digital connectedness — has at long last enabled an unprecedented surveillance state. In 2013, the negative consequences of our contemporary lifestyles were impossible to ignore.
But not just for the most obvious reason — the avalanche of revelations about the depth and scope of government spying delivered by Edward Snowden, which seized the world’s attention from June onward. The surveillance society is hardly limited to NSA spooks. We are now open books for everyone to read: Our friends and our enemies and our stalkers. Our providers of email and texting and social media and advertising and entertainment. Our employers, our doctors and our teachers. We have never been more visible, never been more willing or able to open up every moment of our existence to the outside world. And in doing so, we have handed the watchers fantastic power.
When you use something as seemingly innocuous as the flashlight app on your smartphone, it’s entirely possible that your location data is being gathered. The particular constellation of apps you use most often is exploited to build a profile for targeted advertising. Netflix makes note of every time you pause or fast-forward an episode of “Orange is the New Black.” Facebook is analyzing even the status updates that you delete before posting. Google Now knows when and where I am traveling, what packages are on the way to my house, and, of course, what I have been searching for recently. Your employer is gathering every conceivable data metric for evaluating your job performance.
A Missouri bill which seeks to nullify virtually every federal gun control measure on the books, “whether past, present or future,” passed the Senate Thursday. SB613 would ban the state from enforcing virtually all federal gun control measures, and includes criminal charges for federal agents attempting to violate the right to keep and bear arms in Missouri.
The measure passed 23-10.
SB613 counts as what could be the strongest defense against federal encroachments on the right to keep an bear arms ever considered at the state level. It reads, in part:
All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States I and Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.
On the early summer morning of July 28, 2012, Megan Rice, Greg Boertje-Obed and Michael Walli, the Oak Ridge Three, hiked down a wooded ridge to the Y-12 Nuclear Weapons Facility in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. At the complex the hikers cut their way through three fences using bolt cutters, stealthily moved past guard dogs and then made their way past a sign noting that trespassers could be met with deadly force.
Inside the compound they made their way to a facility charged with processing much of the nation’s weapons grade uranium (enough to manufacture 10,000 nuclear bombs) and then splashed human blood on the building. The three spent over two hours within the compound, painting biblical slogans of peace around the facility. No one had any clue; it would be hours until the Oak Ridge Three were in custody.
Rice, an 84-year-old nun, and fellow peace activists Boertje-Obed and Walli have all been sentenced to prison for their actions. This case has garnered a lot of attention. The United States congress has held special hearings over the protest because it raised a number of questions about how the United States government manages nuclear weapons and high-grade materials. Furthermore, the activists illuminated how poorly private security corporations protect high-grade sites such as nuclear power plants.
The protest has also given rise to a strong showing of solidarity among fellow peace activists, the no nukes movement and other sympathetic supporters. The three have received thousands of letters of support from around the world – including the Union of Concerned Scientists.
On February 18th, Rice was sentenced to 35 months behind bars. Her comrades, Greg Boertje-Obed and Walli both received a sentence of 62 months.
Knoxville, Tennessee criminal defense attorney Chris Irwin represented the activist Michael Walli in the courtroom. Chris is a well-known criminal defense lawyer in the city – he is also a well-known, respected vocal political activist, community organizer and anarchist. When not in the courtroom, Chris can usually be found in the Appalachian coalfields – advocating the region move beyond coal. He has been taking the Tennessee Valley Authority and coal companies to task throughout the region for decades.
The US constitution’s Bill of Rights is envied by much of the English-speaking world, even by people otherwise not enthralled by The American Way Of Life. Its fundamental liberties – freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom from warrantless search – are a mighty bulwark against overweening state power, to be sure.
But what are these rights actually worth in the United States these days?
Ask Cecily McMillan, a 25-year-old student and activist who was arrested two years ago during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Manhattan. Seized by police, she was beaten black and blue on her ribs and arms until she went into a seizure. When she felt her right breast grabbed from behind, McMillan instinctively threw an elbow, catching a cop under the eye, and that is why she is being prosecuted for assaulting a police officer, a class D felony with a possible seven-year prison term. Her trial began this week.
McMillan is one of over 700 protestors arrested in the course of Occupy Wall Street’s mass mobilization, which began with hopes of radical change and ended in an orgy of police misconduct. According to a scrupulously detailed report (pdf) issued by the NYU School of Law and Fordham Law School, the NYPD routinely wielded excessive force with batons, pepper spray, scooters and horses to crush the nascent movement. And then there were the arrests, often arbitrary, gratuitous and illegal, with most charges later dismissed. McMillan’s is the last Occupy case to be tried, and how the court rules will provide a clear window into whether public assembly stays a basic right or becomes a criminal activity.
New York is not the only place where the first amendment’s right to assembly continues to get gouged by police and prosecutors. In Chicago, police infiltrators goaded three activists into making Molotov cocktails; the young men were then charged with terror crimes – charges of which they were acquitted by an Illinois jury last week. Now that North Carolina has erupted into enormous protests against its far-right state government, we can likely expect police there to seek creative ways, legal and otherwise, to stifle mass political participation.
The recording industry seems at a loss when it comes to internet-era business. So it’s no surprise that recent history’s best idea for sales of physical product came from retailers: Record Store Day. In the last few years, more labels and bands are creating exclusive content for the shoppers’ holiday, and the whole enterprise is gaining steam. Sure, the day’s yield amounts to a drop in the bucket, but it helps make it possible for there to be a bucket.
One such exclusive release — and one of the coolest of many neat ideas — is UK doom trio Gonga’s pairing with the formidable singer of Portishead, Beth Gibbons, for a cover of Black Sabbath’s “Black Sabbath” (from their debut, Black Sabbath). For this if nothing else, we can celebrate Record Store Day in earnest: Set against her native monochrome trip hop, Gibbons is free to go overwrought, but atop Gonga’s crush of glacial sludge, she evokes a witch frozen to the waist in black ice and weak. Crank the shit up!
This article is the first installment in the symposium “What’s Wrong With Drugs?” Contributions to this symposium represent the opinions of each author. Stayed tuned for contributions from Matthew Feeney, Gavin McInnes, and Anthony Esolen. Read the symposium introduction below.
Don’t miss Brian Miller’s response to Doug Bandow in his Student Voices column.
Drug use is bad. Arresting people for using drugs is worse. With the states of Colorado and Washington leading the way, the federal government should drop criminal penalties against those who produce, sell, and consume drugs.
Prohibition always was a dubious policy for a people who called their country the land of the free. Early restrictions on tobacco and alcohol use failed. The so-called Drug War has been no better. Unfortunately, the latter campaign has always been a violent, often deadly, assault on the American people.
There’s no obvious moral reason to demonize the use of mind-altering substances which are widely employed around the globe. Obviously, drugs can be abused, but so can most anything else. That some people will misuse something is no argument for prohibition. Even the Bible only inveighs against alcohol intoxication, not use. In his short book, The War on Drugs is a War on Freedom, Christian writer Laurence Vance makes a powerful case against the Drug War.
A lot of people are up in arms over the announcement that Liz Cheney, daughter of war criminal Dick Cheney, will run against fellow Republican Mike Enzi for his Senate seat in Wyoming. Republicans are upset because it’s uncouth for a Republican to challenge an incumbent Republican in a primary. Democrats are revolted because, well, she’s a Cheney.
At Salon, Alex Pareene calls Liz Cheney an “aspiring warlord,” which is a wonderfully evocative description for a real neocon of neocons, and political celebrity because of her father who was the driving force behind the expanded executive powers and reckless foreign policy of the Bush years.
Conservatives are puzzled about Cheney’s decision to run because Enzi has reportedly been a reliable, toe-the-party line Republican. The decision to run is doubly strange because Cheney is a longtime resident of Virginia, and seems to have moved to Wyoming recently just for the sake of the impending campaign. Enzi said her decision was unexpected, adding, “I thought we were friends.”