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Adam Dick

Countering Technology Companies’ Crackdown on Alternative Voices

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There was bound to be a major pushback. Widespread use of the internet has helped make all sorts of information much cheaper to create and easier to access. That has been a boon for people seeking to communicate and receive information that would not have been readily available in the days when radio, TV, and newspapers were the overwhelming means of mass distribution of information about current events. At the same time, the internet-facilitated alternative voices boom threatens the interests of people who benefit from limiting the availability of information and commentary about current events to within a much narrower range.
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Rep. John Duncan on Becoming an Antiwar Republican

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Rep. John J. Duncan, Jr. (R-TN), who will retire in January after 30 years in the United States House of Representatives, is the subject of a new biographical feature article at the Knoxville News Sentinel. Included with the article is video of an interview with Duncan in which he describes how he developed “into sort of an antiwar Republican” in the process of examining US military actions in Iraq and experiencing pressure from successive presidential administrations to support that intervention and its escalation.

After having voted in the House to authorize the Gulf War in 1991, Duncan explains that watching the ensuing US invasion of Iraq led him to realize that the war had been promoted based on false information. In particular, Duncan mentions being told before the vote about “all these elite troops” in Iraq under the control of Iraq President Saddam Hussein, who was made to “sound like another Hitler.” “And then,” says Duncan, “I saw those same ‘elite troops’ surrendering to CNN camera crews and empty tanks, and I decided then that the threat had been greatly exaggerated.”

Moving forward five or six years, Duncan relates that his questioning of the propriety of US military action in Iraq increased during the years of US bombing that took place between the Gulf War and later Iraq War due to reading reports, including one detailing that “one of our bombs had gone astray and killed I think it was seven little boys who were playing soccer in a field in Iraq, and it described this horrible anguish of this father whose little boy had had his head blown off.”
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Tucker Carlson’s Marijuana Malarkey

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In August, Tucker Carlson declared at his Fox News show that it would be an act of war on the United States for the Mexico government to cease engaging in a war on heroin. Carlson even supported his wacky conclusion by pointing to drug overdose deaths in America, despite those deaths in fact being multiplied because of the US war on drugs. On Wednesday, Carlson was back at his show spouting drug war nonsense — this time expressing his dread of marijuana legalization that kicked in this week countrywide in Canada potentially spreading throughout America.

The nonsense starts in the first words Carlson states in his introduction of guest Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project. Carlson begins: “Well Canada has become just the second country in the history of the world to fully legalize the sale of marijuana as well as the recreational consumption.” The inclusion of the phrase “in the history of the world” gives the impression that prohibition has been the norm throughout world history, from thousands of years BC until Uruguay legalized marijuana sales in 2017. Carlson would need look no further than his own country of America to see the ridiculousness of this suggestion. From the founding of the Unites States government in the 1700s through the early 1900s, the national government did not prohibit the sale or use of marijuana. In fact, it did not prohibit the sale or use of other now-illegal drugs such as cocaine either.

Next up, Carlson dwells on the danger that marijuana “makes people less likely to act” and “more passive.” Of course, that is not true across-the-board as marijuana use can help people see things in a new way, leading to innovations in how they act in the future. Think of it as a form of brainstorming aid. It can also serve as rejuvenating relaxation and distraction, as can taking a break from work and chores to listen to music or play a sport. Nevertheless, assuming that Carlson’s assessment is correct, it would just as well be an argument for making illegal many other activities, such as watching a TV sitcom, taking a walk, or playing a card game.
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Ron Paul Rewind: The Constitution and Its Rejection by the US Government

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The United States Constitution was ratified 230 years ago this week as the foundational law of the US government, when on June 21, 1788 New Hampshire became the ninth state to ratify the document. In the year 2000, then-United States House of Representatives Member Ron Paul (R-TX) delivered a speech on the House floor titled “A Republic, If You Can Keep It” in which he discussed in detail his thoughts on the Constitution, the individual rights he viewed the document as seeking to protect, and the great extent to which the US government had expanded beyond and rejected constitutional limits.
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The Texas Republican Party Now Supports Rolling Back Marijuana Prohibition. What’s Next?

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Over the weekend, delegates at the Texas Republican Party’s statewide convention voted by wide margins in favor of several roll-backs of marijuana prohibition. With over 80 percent support, the delegates approved three state party platform planks calling, respectively, for decriminalizing possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, moving marijuana from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2 of the United States government’s Controlled Substances Act, and urging the Texas legislature to “pass legislation allowing cultivation, manufacture, and sale of industrial hemp and hemp products.” A fourth plank, calling for some expansion of the state’s rather limited low-THC cannabis oil medical program, received over 90 percent support.

So what is up next for the state’s marijuana laws? Will the state government adopt the delegates’ proposals? Might legal marijuana even be coming soon to the Lone Star State?

This action by the Texas Republican Party state convention delegates is an indication of how far the movement toward ending the war on marijuana has come in America. Republican politicians, in contrast with the younger segments of Republican voters, tend to oppose rolling back marijuana prohibition. And Texas, where no Democrat has been elected to any of 29 statewide elective offices since 1994, has been reluctant to join the trend of states enacting recreational or medical marijuana legalization.
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A Retirement Community for Drug-sniffing Dogs

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Legalizing marijuana in Illinois would likely cause some drug-sniffing dogs in the state to be killed. That is the claim asserted by Chad Larner, the training director of the K-9 Training Academy in Macon County, Illinois in an in-depth Pantagraph article this week by Ryan Voyles. In Voyles’ article, counterarguments are presented that there will be alternatives to euthanizing such dogs, including involving the dogs continuing to live with their handlers or going through new training. But, assuming such options do not work out for some of the dogs, here is another option that is much better than keeping marijuana legal so some dogs can be saved — send the drug-sniffing dogs to a retirement community for dogs.

Sending drug-sniffing dogs to a retirement community will carry expenses. But, so does the war on marijuana. War on marijuana expenses include the costs of paying police and using police resources — including drug-sniffing dogs — to track down and arrest people for alleged marijuana law violations. Once individuals are arrested, the costs continue to mount with jailing and prosecution expenses. When arrested individuals are found guilty, the costs continue for incarceration or alternative punishments imposed.

The costs are not just on the government’s side. Arrested individuals rack up costs including payments to lawyers, missed work, and even loss of their jobs and homes in the process of asserting their innocence or trying to work out a plea deal. They also suffer with the psychological and physical hardships that come along with being arrested and detained, as well as having the threat of future punishment hanging over them, or the actuality of imposed punishment. Their friends and families tend to suffer as well.
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Privacy Denied: Students May Bring Only Clear Backpacks to School

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KERA radio in Dallas, Texas aired a news report this week relating that the Ennis school district in North Texas, starting in the fall semester, will allow students at district schools from prekindergarten through high school to bring only “clear, PVC backpacks to school.” The school district also is implementing right away mandatory backpack searches on middle and high school students. Plus, police dogs will be on campuses more often.

Making a typical excuse for the new anti-privacy school district policies, Ennis Police Chief John Erisman said in a report on the Dallas NBC television station that “anything that’s gonna keep our kids safe, our students safe — if we have to deal with a mild inconvenience in order for our kids to be safer, I am all for that.”

In announcing the clear backpack requirement, the school district is following in the footsteps of Broward County school district in Florida that, Dakin Andone reported earlier this month at CNN, imposed on students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a clear backpacks mandate in the name of enhanced security after a mass murder occurred earlier this year at the school.

These privacy-invading actions are just the beginning. Both school districts are adopting further requirements including that students wear IDs on campuses. Also, KERA reports that the Ennis school district will install security gates at its schools, while the CNN story relates that metal detectors and metal detector wands may be used at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. Each morning students can be welcomed to school by being herded through a security checkpoint. Hopefully, there will be a lower level of harassment at the schools than is imposed by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) at airports and elsewhere.
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Ron Paul and Jacob Hornberger to Speak at Foreign Policy Conference in Charleston, South Carolina

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Ron Paul and Jocob G. Hornberger — two of the premier voices for peace in America — will speak at a foreign policy conference next month hosted jointly by Paul and Hornberger’s respective educational organizations — the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity (RPI) and the Future of Freedom Foundation (FFF). The Sunday, April 29 conference titled “Non-intervention: America’s Original Foreign Policy” will take place from 1:00pm to 5:00pm in Charleston, South Carolina.
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Showdown: Jeff Sessions’ Marijuana Memo vs Legalization Momentum and Public Support

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On Thursday, United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum in the Department of Justice (DOJ) that many people are concerned will lead to a crackdown by the US government on people acting in compliance with state laws under which, in varying ways, the growth, distribution, sale, possession, and use of marijuana is legal. While the issuing of the memorandum is an important development, there are several reasons to expect that the public support for, and the momentum in favor of, marijuana legalization will overpower any potential US government effort to counter states’ legalization.
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