A Geek With Guns

Chronicling the depravities of the State.

Archive for the ‘The War on Unpatentable Drugs’ tag

The States has Decided to Keep Its Political Prisoner

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Anybody who paid attention to the trial of Ross Ulbricht knows that he was railroaded. The judge ruled his defense inadmissible. Then when several officers involved with hunting down Ulbricht were found to have been corrupt, thus bringing the validity of any claims they made during the trial into question, but new trial was called. Ulbricht’s lawyer has continued to push for a new trial despite these setbacks. Unfortunately, it looks like the State will keep its political prisoner:

The federal judge overseeing the trial of Ross Ulbricht, the man convicted of creating the underground Silk Road drug website, has denied the Ulbricht legal team’s attempt to extend the normal three-year window for “post-conviction relief.” In essence, the move stifles Ulbricht’s new attorney’s extraordinary effort to re-open the case with new exculpatory evidence, on the off-chance that it exists.

Don’t forget that all of this was done because of a fucking website. Ulbricht was never charged with manufacturing, selling, or distributing any illegal substances. The only thing he was guilty of was running a website. But the State needed to make an example out of somebody and Ulbricht was the person it could get.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 20th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Take That, Chronic Pain Sufferers!

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Opioids are fantastic painkillers but have the unfortunately side effect of also being highly addictive. This has may opioids an attractive crisis of the moment. Since politicians never let a crisis go to waste, a lot of them have been wasting a lot of our time decrying opioids and explaining their plan to do something. Some politicians want to restrict opioids even harder (because doing the same thing that hasn’t been working even harder is a recipe for success). Other politicians, such as Mark Dayton, realize that crises can be lucrative:

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KMSP) – Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton is proposing a “penny-a-pill” paid for by drug companies to fund an opioid stewardship program for addiction prevention, treatment and recovery efforts in Minnesota. The governor estimates the program would raise $20 million each year.

It should be noted that paid by drug companies is a euphemism for paid by consumers since all expenses incurred by producers are reflected in the prices consumers pay. However, telling the public that chronic pain sufferers will be footing the bill probably won’t be as well received as telling them that multibillion dollar corporations will be footing the bill.

Dayton’s proposal isn’t surprising in the least. The government loves to punish people who are following the current law. Who buys opioids from the legal drug manufacturers who will be paying this proposed tax? People who have received prescriptions from licensed medical professionals. Who buys opioids from black market actors who won’t have to pay Day’s proposed tax? Everybody else. So the moral of the story is that following the law is foolish because you’ll likely get fucked over at some point in the future.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 15th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Jeff Sessions Is a Saturday Morning Cartoon Villain

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What should you do if you suffer from chronic pain? According to Jess Sessions, you should just toughen the fuck up:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions this week said that the solution for many people who suffer from chronic pain should be to “take aspirin and tough it out.”

Jeff Sessions reminds me of a villain from an old Saturday morning cartoon. If you remember such shows, the villains are often pure evil. Since they have no redeeming characteristics, the concept of moral grey area can be safely avoided by the show runners.

Jeff Sessions has no redeeming characteristics. He seems to be evil just for the sake of being evil. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wipes his ass with a puppy after taking a dump just because doing so would be evil. On the upside, since he reflects a Saturday morning cartoon villain, there’s a good chance that his evil schemes will be continuously thwarted by a group of mutated turtles with martial arts skills or giant robots that can transform into trucks.

Written by Christopher Burg

February 13th, 2018 at 10:00 am

Drugs are Bad, M’kay

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What would happen to you if law enforcers discovered that you were distributing a lot of opioids in your area? The most likely outcome would involve a SWAT team storming into your home at oh dark thirty, shooting your dog, and holding your family at gunpoint until they become bored with tossing your joint and decide to kidnap you so they can go home. You would receive this treatment because of a combination of two factors. First, the government had decided that there is an opioid epidemic that it needs to fight. Second, you’re not a sanctioned opioid dealer.

But things are different for sanctioned opioid dealers:

Drug companies hosed tiny towns in West Virginia with a deluge of addictive and deadly opioid pills over the last decade, according to an ongoing investigation by the House Energy and Commerce Committee.

For instance, drug companies collectively poured 20.8 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills into the small city of Williamson, West Virginia, between 2006 and 2016, according to a set of letters the committee released Tuesday. Williamson’s population was just 3,191 in 2010, according to US Census data.

When you’ve received a government sanction to deal drugs you don’t end up looking down the barrel of a SWAT team gun in the middle of the night. Instead some letters of inquiry are sent to you and various oversight boards. You might be dragged in front of Congress to testify on C-SPAN so the country can see that their politicians are doing something. After being grilled by two or three members of Congress you will be allowed to return home and that’s where your hardship will likely end.

Situations like this really illustrate that the war on drugs isn’t about safety, it’s about the government ensuring it and its cronies get a cut. After all, if the government was actually concerned about the opioid epidemic that it claims to be fighting, opioids wouldn’t be legally available at all or, at the very least, situations like this would result in immediate arrests.

Written by Christopher Burg

January 31st, 2018 at 10:30 am

Collectivizing Individual Action

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The War on Some Drugs is justified by collectivizing individual action. According to its proponents, drug usage is a societal problem. They try to justify this claim by using other forms of collectivism. For example, proponents of the drug war will claim that drug usage costs “us” fantastic amounts of money in healthcare-related expenses. However, they can only make that claim because the government has collectivized a significant portion of the healthcare market. If the healthcare market were a free market, drug users would be left footing the expenses for their habit.

The drug war’s current hot topic is illegal opioid usage. In an attempt to make illegal opioid usage look like a societal problem, proponents of the drug war are now claiming that opioid usage has lowered the average life expectancy in the United States:

The problem is so bad, in fact, that the epidemic is dragging down the entire country’s life expectancy—by 2.5 months. That’s according to a new analysis by CDC researchers who published Tuesday in JAMA.

The problem with this statistic is that it’s completely meaningless.

Drug usage isn’t a communicable disease like plague or the flu. A drug user can’t transmit the effects of the drugs they’re using to you. Like them, you have to make a conscious decision to use drugs. If my neighbor down the street decides to use heroine, my life expectancy isn’t impacts in any way whatsoever. But if enough people actually realized that, the government would have a difficult time drumming up popular support for its very profitable war.

Reefer Madness

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Anybody who has watched Reefer Madness knows that marijuana can send people into psychotic rages. Take Officer Yanez, for example. One sniff of the devil’s weed made him go from a calm cop who was issuing a citation for a broken taillight to a hardened killer:

The officer who fatally shot Philando Castile during a traffic stop last year told investigators that the smell of “burnt marijuana” in Castile’s car made him believe his life was in danger.

Of course cannabis doesn’t send people into psychotic rages. It actually has quite the opposite effect. If Castile was being influenced by cannabis he was probably more compliant and relaxed than normal. Likewise, had Yanez toked up before hitting the road it’s possible that Castile would still be alive today.

Written by Christopher Burg

June 22nd, 2017 at 10:00 am

The Evils of the Drug War

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The war on unapproved drugs may be one of the most evil acts being carried out here in the United States. It took an entirely voluntary activity, introducing chemicals into one’s own body, and turn it into an excuse for unprecedented levels of expropriation and criminal activity by agents of the State.

Using the drug war as justification, police have stolen cars, cash, and other property as well as sexually assaulted a practically uncountable number of victims. Their victims include the elderly, disabled, and even children:

But now, a lawsuit filed on behalf of several students and seeking class-action status for all of them makes some far more disturbing allegations:

a) Deputies ordered students to stand facing the wall with their hands and legs spread wide apart;

b) Deputies touched and manipulated students’ breasts and genitals;

c) Deputies inserted fingers inside girls’ bras, and pulled up girls’ bras, touching and partially exposing their bare breasts;

d) Deputies touched girls’ underwear by placing hands inside the waistbands of their pants or reaching up their dresses;

e) Deputies touched girls’ vaginal areas through their underwear;

f) Deputies cupped or groped boys’ genitals and touched their buttocks through their pants.

[…]

According to the lawsuit, the deputies had a list of 13 suspected students. Three of them were in school that day. For that, they searched 900 students. (And, let’s just point out again, found nothing. In a school of 900.)

If several adults went into a school and sexually assaulted 900 children most people wouldn’t even wait for a trial, they would grab the pitchforks and torches. But when the adults are wearing badges the behavior is suddenly seen as excusable in many people’s eyes. Oftentimes when officers commit such heinous crimes they receive no punishment, which encourages more wicked people to seek a job in law enforcement.

I’m hoping this lawsuit results in the involved officers being jailed. Even if the accusations of sexual assault are unfounded (which, considering the actions performed by officers in the pursuit of unapproved drugs, seems unlikely) the officers violated the privacy of 887 students (they only had a list of 13 suspected students) by searching them without any reason whatsoever.

Employers Having A Difficult Time Finding Employees Who Can Pass A Drug Test

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The war on drugs has permeated our entire society. Police have been militarized and given almost limitless power, entire industries have developed around detecting illicit drugs, and employers have become snoops that test employees for illicit drug use. The last one really baffles me.

Outside of being coerced at the point of the State’s gun, why would an employer waste their time and the time of their employees testing them for drug use? If an employee is performing their job satisfactorily an employer shouldn’t care what that employee puts into their body. If an employee isn’t performing their job satisfactorily then the employer will likely terminate them regardless of the reason. But employers have allowed themselves to become snoops for the State and is do doing have handicapped themselves:

SAVANNAH, Ga. — A few years back, the heavy-equipment manufacturer JCB held a job fair in the glass foyer of its sprawling headquarters near here, but when a throng of prospective employees learned the next step would be drug testing, an alarming thing happened: About half of them left.

That story still circulates within the business community of this historic port city. But the problem has gotten worse.

All over the country, employers say they see a disturbing downside of tighter labor markets as they try to rebuild from the worst recession since the Depression: They are struggling to find workers who can pass a pre-employment drug test.

That hurdle partly stems from the growing ubiquity of drug testing, at corporations with big human resources departments, in industries like trucking where testing is mandated by federal law for safety reasons, and increasingly at smaller companies.

I’ve heard a lot of people who work in human resource departments at software development firms joke about how their companies would lose all of their employees if they actually started doing drug testing. It’s good evidence that users of illicit drugs aren’t incapable of performing reliably. This is especially true when many drugs that are declared illegal aren’t actually that harmful. Cannabis, for example, is an example of a drug that’s still illegal in many states but doesn’t actually cause a great deal of harm. In fact it can improve an individual’s performance at work by helping them coax with anxiety or stress.

The lesson from this story is that you should not volunteer to enforce the State’s policies. Even though the State has declared a massive list of chemicals illegal that doesn’t mean you, as an employer, should volunteer to test your employees. You gain no advantage from it (when’s the last time you heard of the State giving a sizable reward to an employer for drug testing their employees) and actually put yourself at a severe disadvantage by limiting your pool of potential employees.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 27th, 2016 at 10:30 am

The War On Drugs Breeds More Dangerous Drugs

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Imodium may be the new over-the-counter scary drug but it appears that W-18 is the new illicit scary drug (which is in desperate name of a marketing department to give it a better name):

For the second time in a year, police in Alberta have uncovered a drug called W-18, a synthetic opioid that’s 100 times more powerful than fentanyl — and 10,000 more powerful than morphine.

Police in Edmonton announced Wednesday they seized four kilograms of the substance in powder form during a raid carried out in December during a fentanyl investigation. The powder was then sent to Health Canada, which confirmed on Tuesday that it was W-18.

Staff Sergeant Dave Knibbs told a press conference that this amount of powder could have produced hundreds of millions of W-18 pills.

A stronger substance that people can voluntarily put into their bodies? The horror!

In all seriousness though, W-18 is likely a more dangerous drug than fentanyl but it is also a byproduct of the war on drugs. The iron law of prohibition states that the potency of a prohibited substance increases along with the enforcement of the prohibition:

Super potent pot is not a market failure. It is simply the result of government prohibition. In fact, it is one of the best examples of the iron law of prohibition. When government enacts and enforces a prohibition it eliminates the free market which is then replaced by a black market. This typically changes everything about “the market.” It changes how the product is produced, how it is distributed and sold to consumers. It changes how the product is packaged and in particular, the product itself. The iron law of prohibition looks specifically at how prohibition makes drugs like alcohol and marijuana more potent. The key to the phenomenon is that law enforcement makes it more risky to make, sell, or consume the product. This encourages suppliers to concentrate the product to make it smaller and thus more potent. In this manner you get “more bang for the buck.”

During alcohol prohibition (1920-1933), alcohol consumption went from a beer, wine, and whiskey market to one of rotgut whiskey with little wine or beer available. The rotgut whiskey could be more than twice as potent of the normal whiskey that was produced both before and after prohibition. The product is then diluted at the point of consumption. During the 1920s all sorts of cocktails were invented to dilute the whiskey and to cover up for bad smells and tastes.

Therefore, the current high potency of marijuana is not a market phenomenon, nor is it a market failure. It is primarily driven by government’s prohibition and the odd incentives that this produces on the sellers’ side of the market. Under these conditions consumers may prefer higher potency marijuana, ceteris paribus, but it is not primarily a consumer driven phenomenon.

W-18 is the byproduct of stronger enforcement of opioid prohibitions. Since law enforcers are concentrating their efforts on opioids such as heroine and fentanyl the producers are responding by making a more concealable version (as the product is more potent less is needed for the desired effect) that is easier to transport under the watchful eye of the badged men with guns.

This is just another example of how the war on drugs has actually made the drug market more dangerous. In addition to adding the risk of men with guns kicking down the doors of drug users at oh dark thirty and shooting their family pets, the war on drugs has also made the substances themselves more dangerous by creating an environment that motivates producers to increase the potency. So long as the war on opioids continues we will see more potent forms. In a few years W-18 will likely become a footnote in history; just another less potent version of a new opioid. This trend will continue until the war on drugs is ended and producers are no longer encouraged to make ever increasingly potent substances.

Written by Christopher Burg

May 18th, 2016 at 10:30 am

Mark Dayton Sending Mixed Messages

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For those of you living outside of the thawing tundra of Minnesota one of our current political battles is cannabis legalization. This battle hasn’t been going well for proponents because higher ups in the state, namely Mark Dayton, are basing their decision on that of the law enforcement lobby. The law enforcement lobby, predictably, opposes cannabis legalization because property stolen from suspected violators of the prohibition is a major income source for police departments.

Not satisfied with being a coward hiding behind a major lobby Dayton decided to open is mouth again. This time he acknowledged that cannabis may be beneficial for people suffering certain ailments, mentioned the fact that cannabis can be purchased in almost any city, and then reminded people that his will still order law enforcement agents to aggress against individuals buying cannabis for medical reasons:

ST. PAUL — Minnesotans who want marijuana to ease pain and deal with other medical conditions already can get it, Gov. Mark Dayton said Thursday.
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However, he quickly added, buying pot on the street is illegal, and he does not endorse it. In a conference call with reporters, he said that possessing a small amount of the drug could bring a fine about the same cost as a traffic ticket.

“I am not advocating anybody do whatever it is that they do,” Dayton said. “I am just trying to point out reality.”

Dayton added: “The fact is that you can go out in any city in Minnesota, I am told, and purchase marijuana.”

In other words those of you suffering from chronic pain, glaucoma, epilepsy, or other ailments that can be improved with cannabis can buy it but doing so will put you at risk of the only thing known to kill cannabis users: police aggression. While possession of small amounts of cannabis only officially results in a fine the fact of the matter is it also results in interaction with police officers, which is often very harmful to one’s physical well-being.

It’s funny watching Mark Dayton try to appease both advocates of cannabis legalization and law enforcement agents that profit greatly from cannabis prohibition. Either side could cost him the next election and that seems to be making him rather nervous (and that would be a good thing if he wouldn’t simply be replaced by a different psychopath).

Written by Christopher Burg

March 14th, 2014 at 10:30 am