Marijuana Prohibition Kills Children

by Will

Liberty Minute July 22 2014

Anna Conte of Albany, New York died at the age of nine, a casualty of the bureaucratized cruelty and misguided sanctimony of drug prohibition.

Desperate to get relief for their daughter, Anna’s mother and father had traveled across the country to Colorado, exploring the possibility of moving there in order to have access to cannabis oil.

A few weeks ago, the New York State Legislature enacted a measure allowing the use of medical marijuana to treat afflictions such as the severe form of epilepsy from which Anna suffered. For reasons of institutional inertia, however, that measure won’t take effect until late next year.

At the time the bill was enacted, Anna was in the audience at the state capitol, and she was reportedly the first to leap to her feet to applaud. This was a selfless gesture of gratitude on behalf of other children who may benefit once the new law goes into effect. Both Anna and her mother Wendy knew that by the time the youngster was given unimpeded access to cannabis oil it would be far too late.

Because of marijuana prohibition, Wendy Conte could do little more than watch her daughter slowly die in avoidable agony.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

"This Ends Today": So the Police Murdered Him

by Will

Liberty Minute July 21 2014

Eric Garner was killed by the police on the streets of Staten Island, New York for no defensible reason. The 48-year-old father of six and grandfather to two had just broken up a fight when plainclothes officers appeared and started to harass him.

Garner, who was six foot three and more than 350 pounds, was a gentle and genial man, but he was weary of being the focus of unwarranted attention by the police. He had court dates later this year for charges of marijuana possession and selling untaxed cigarettes – but on the day that he was killed Garner had done nothing whatsoever to justify being interrogated by the police, let alone arrested.

The first fatal mistake Garner made was to act as a peacemaker, thereby underscoring the uselessness of the nearby police – who were on hand not to protect people and property, but to rather to pester people engaged in unauthorized commerce. Garner’s second mistake was to complain to an officer about the harassment he was receiving, and to declare: “This ends today.”

Within minutes, five police officers attacked him, one of them slipping behind him to apply an illegal chokehold. Garner died of cardiac arrest after being strangled and beaten in full public view.

This is a country where atrocities of this kind occur daily.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

Drug Commissar gets his "Rush" from Imprisoning Others Who Seek One

by Will

Liberty Minute July 18 2014

What a rush!” exulted Idaho resident Monte Stiles after completing his first tandem skydive on July 10. That description was not metaphorical: The chemical reactions involved in skydiving and similar high-risk activities have a consciousness-altering effect – and addictive properties — far stronger than narcotics use. In fact, this is a selling point for those who promote, and profit from, this high-risk behavior.

“Fear is an incredibly strong emotion,” explains Dr. Michael Davis, a neuroscientist at Emory University. “If something scares us, the body immediately releases endorphins, dopamine and norepinephrine. Endorphins mitigate pain, dopamine and norepinephrine are performance enhancers…. [The] general scientific thinking is that the more fearful a certain sport makes you, the greater the release of these chemicals. The greater the release of these chemicals, the greater the addiction-like symptoms.”

Psychology Today points out that “cocaine—long considered the most addictive substance on earth—does nothing more than flood the brain with dopamine. Norepinephrine, on the other hand, mimics the second most addictive drug on earth: speed. Nor are our neurochemicals one to one matches for these illicit drugs. In fact, they’re significantly more powerful. The most common endorphin produces by the body is 100 times more powerful (thus more addictive) than morphine. Which is to say, the particular neurochemicals produced by action sports are far more potent than any drug single drug around and—since one cannot cocktail massive amounts of speed, cocaine, and heroin without ending up dead—adrenaline sports are really the only way to get this kind of taste.” (Emphasis added.)

Monte Stiles is a mature adult. Like every other human being, he is – or at least should be – recognized as the owner of his life, and free to seek out the services of those who are willing to provide him with the consciousness-altering “rush” he can only get through such risky behavior. Servicing that appetite is an expensive proposition, but this isn’t an obstacle to Stiles: The former federal prosecutor, who spent roughly a quarter-century imprisoning people who pursued a “rush” through the less potent means of narcotics consumption, enjoys a lavish pension and steady income as a full-time anti-drug agitator.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Britain's Cultural Totalitarianism

by Will

Liberty Minute July 17 2014

Great Britain, once renowned as the Mother of Parliaments and the homeland of the Anglo-Saxon tradition of liberty under law, is now a fully realized post-Christian society ruled by undisguised cultural totalitarians.

The British Film Institute, which disburses tens of millions of dollars each year for movie productions, has announced a scheme of mandatory “diversity” called “Three Ticks.” To qualify for government funding, film productions must meet bureaucratic expectations for at least two of the three criteria – on-screen diversity, off-screen diversity, and “creating opportunities and social mobility.” In practice, reports the Telegraph of London, this means quotas “for ethnic minority, gay and female characters on screen” and also regarding the composition of the production crew behind the camera.

Ed Vaizey, the British Government’s culture minister – yes, there is such a position – has said that he wants to see all television, film, and performing arts companies subject to the same requirements.

It should be remembered that “Airstrip One,” the setting for the dismal totalitarian society depicted by George Orwell, had once been known as Great Britain. Nor should we fail to appreciate the fact that the United States tends to lag only a year or two behind the Mother County when such dreadful innovations occur.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free.

Again, Thou Shalt Speak No Ill of the Dear Leader

by Will

Liberty Minute July 16 2014

Within the US Department of Justice is an entity called the Community Relations Service, or CRS, that supposedly works to pacify potential conflicts growing out of racial tensions. Under the reign of Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, however, the CRS has behaved like an arsonist, rather than a firefighter. Witness the agency’s role in organizing racially inflammatory protests in Sanford, Florida in response to the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman.

The CRS has now dispatched a team to investigate an Independence Day parade float in Norfolk, Nebraska that offended local Democrats. The float displayed a zombie-like figure in front of an outhouse that was labeled “Obama Presidential Library.”

Although critics described the float as a racial slur, its creator, a US military veteran, said that the figure was intended to represent him, as well as fellow veterans who have been criminally neglected by the Veterans Administration.

Last year, the Justice Department contemplated hate crimes charges against a Rodeo Clown in Missouri who performed while wearing an Obama mask. The performer was fired and his professional association was required to undergo “sensitivity training.”

Only a totalitarian system punishes subjects for speaking ill of their rulers.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

The Middle East Could Benefit from American "Neglect"

by Will

Liberty Minute July 15 2014

Unlike his father, Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul is not a consistent non-interventionist. For example, Senator Paul supports some forms of foreign aid, which his father appropriately condemned as unconstitutional. Rand Paul has likewise voted in favor of sanctions against Iran, which are tantamount to acts of war.

However, Senator Paul has not embraced Party orthodoxy regarding foreign policy, which dictates unqualified support for US military intervention everywhere. This earned the disapproval of Texas Governor Rick Perry, who accuses Paul of promoting isolationism, and Senator John McCain, who describes Paul as embracing a “Fortress America” mentality.

Speaking on CNN, McCain insisted that turmoil in the Middle East reflects an "absence of American leadership." This summons memories of a statement by 18th century British parliamentarian Isaac Barre about the American Revolution. Responding to condemnation of the "ungrateful" colonies who had been "nourished" by the Mother Country, Col. Barre pointed out that the Americans had thrived on imperial "neglect," and that it wasn’t until Parliament began to "care" for them that everything went awry.

Washington’s “leadership” in the Middle East has cost hundreds of thousands of lives and trillions of dollars. It’s reasonable to believe that the long-suffering inhabitants of that region have been sufficiently blessed by American "leadership" and are praying for neglect.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Perverting Justice in the Service of Cruelty

by Will

Liberty Minute July 14 2014

In a criminal trial, witnesses – including defendants -- are put under oath to tell the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Iowa District Judge Henry Latham violated that principle in the recently concluded show trial of 48-year old Benton MacKenzie, who was convicted of marijuana possession.

Police seized 71 marijuana plants from MacKenzie, who grew them to produce cannabis oil for use in treating angiosarcoma, an aggressive and terminal form of cancer that has left him wracked with pain and riddled with garish skin tumors, some of which are the size of grapefruit.

Prior to the trial, Judge Latham ruled that MacKenzie “may not comment on his condition … and may not testify to the medical use of marijuana.”

Under Iowa statutes, cannabis oil can legally be used to treat Dravet Syndrome, a rare form of epilepsy. If MacKenzie had been allowed to tell the full truth in court, it’s possible that the jury would have exercised its plenary authority to nullify the application of the law and acquit the defendant. Thus Judge Latham not only abused his discretion by suppressing the whole truth, he also undermined the authority of the jury. All of this constitutes grounds for impeachment – and ostracism – of a judge who clearly had no interest in justice.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Prohibitionist Pharisees Prolong a Child's Suffering

by Will

Liberty Minute July 11 2014

Fifty-two years ago, acting in defiance of federal efforts to de-segregate Alabama schools, Governor George Wallace proclaimed his devotion to “segregation now [and] segregation forever.” So committed to the cause was Governor Wallace that he stood in the doorway of the University of Alabama in an attempt to prevent the enrollment of black students.

Wallace later repudiated his racial views and came to regret what he concluded was an intransigent commitment to a wrong-headed principle. Someday, perhaps, Idaho legislators will have similar misgivings about their devotion to marijuana prohibition. By that time, however, Alexis Carey may be dead.

Alexis is nine years old. She suffers from a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome that doesn’t respond to conventional treatment. A cannabis-based medication shows promise, but is considered illegal in Idaho.

Alexis’s parents have lobbied state legislators to rescind the ban on medical use of marijuana. Many of them had voted a year earlier in support of a resolution declaring that the state would never decriminalize marijuana, and urging more active federal enforcement of anti-marijuana statutes.

Basking in a sense of sanctimonious self-approval, these authoritarian Pharisees sing the refrain “Prohibition Forever!” while an innocent child suffers needlessly and without hope.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

"Accountability" Only Goes One Way in Police State Amerika

by Will

Liberty Minute July 10 2014

The Clark County, Nevada Sheriff’s Office, the FBI, and the BLM all insist that rancher Cliven Bundy should be “held accountable” for the part he played in an armed standoff over cattle seizures last April.

Like many other ranchers in the state, Bundy has been involved in a long legal struggle with the BLM over grazing rights and land regulations. For two decades, the BLM – acting without court orders – has deployed paramilitary units to confiscate cattle from ranchers in the state. Bundy is the last rancher in his part of Clark County, and the first to put up active resistance to the BLM’s cattle confiscations.

Although Sheriff Gillespie acknowledges that the BLM escalated the conflict needlessly by assaulting some of Bundy’s supporters and tasering his son Ammon, he insists that Bundy alone should bear the legal responsibility for an armed stand-off that nearly led to bloodshed. For its part the BLM – which was found by a federal judge to be involved in a “criminal conspiracy” against the rights of Nevada ranchers – insists that they did nothing wrong.

It’s worth remembering that Sheriff Gillespie has sheltered police officers under his authority who have killed or otherwise abused innocent people. From his perspective, “accountability” is for citizens, not for the armed functionaries who presume to rule them.

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

Is It a Crime to Insult the Police?

by Will

Liberty Minute July 9 2014

Two years ago, police in the village of Arena, Wisconsin conducted a manhunt for two black males who were later accused of burglary. Comments posted to the department’s Facebook page complained about some of the tactics used by police to track down the suspects. Thomas Smith’s contribution to the discussion, such as it was, was replete with misspellings, foul language, and racial slurs, but appeared to criticize the police for being abusive and racist.

Whether that characterization was warranted, Smith had an unqualified right to express his opinions. He neither threatened violence nor insinuated approval for violent acts. Yet he was arrested and charged with “disorderly conduct and unlawful use of a computerized communication system.” A jury quickly convicted him of that supposed offense.

A Wisconsin Court of Appeals Judge overturned that conviction on July 3, ruling that nothing in Smith’s admittedly uncouth statement constituted “fighting words” or a “true threat” that would supposedly justify an exception to First Amendment protections.

Police agencies across the country have been militarized and indoctrinated into the belief that the public is their enemy. Surely such bold and valiant heroes don’t require protection against nasty Facebook comments.

 

Let us take back the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free. 

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