Tag Archives | Government

Twitter’s Latest Transparency Report

Every 6 months, Twitter releases a statement that outlines government requests for information on its users. They’ve released their latest report, though it has been heavily redacted.

In October, Twitter sued the US government “to allow it to release more information (the case is still pending), and today, the government allowed Twitter to publish a heavily redacted version of a letter the company drafted to inform its users about surveillance requests.”

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The 3 deadliest drugs in America are all totally legal

via Vox Media.

via Vox.

German Lopez via Vox:

As the US debates drug policy reforms and marijuana legalization, there’s one aspect of the war on drugs that remains perplexingly contradictory: some of the most dangerous drugs in the US are legal.

Don’t believe it? The available data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows tobacco, alcohol, and opioid-based prescription painkillers were responsible for more direct deaths than any other drug in 2011. This chart compares those drug deaths with the best available data for cocaine, heroin, and marijuana deaths [show above].

Now, this chart isn’t a perfect comparison across the board. One driver of tobacco and alcohol deaths is that both substances are legal and easily available. Other substances would likely be far deadlier if they were as available as tobacco and alcohol. (Heroin-linked deaths in particular have been trending up since 2010, topping 8,200 in 2013 and making heroin deadlier overall than cocaine.) And federal data excludes some deaths, particularly less direct illicit drug deaths, which is why the chart focuses on direct health complications for all drugs.

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On Leaving the United States

Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0)

Sam Howzit (CC BY 2.0)

Sami Al-Arian writes at CounterPunch:

After 40 years, my time in the U.S. has come to an end. Like many immigrants of my generation, I came to the U.S. in 1975 to seek a higher education and greater opportunities. I also wanted to live in a free society where freedom of speech, association and religion are not only tolerated but guaranteed and protected under the law. That’s why I decided to stay and raise my family here, after earning my doctorate in 1986. Simply put, to me, freedom of speech and thought represented the cornerstone of a dignified life.

Today, freedom of expression has become a defining feature in the struggle to realize our humanity and liberty. The forces of intolerance, hegemony, and exclusionary politics tend to favor the stifling of free speech and the suppression of dissent. But nothing is more dangerous than when such suppression is perpetrated and sanctioned by government.

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The Moon Cannot Be Stolen: The FAA is regulating business on the moon

Via Reuters:

(Reuters) – The United States government has taken a new, though preliminary, step to encourage commercial development of the moon.

According to documents obtained by Reuters, U.S. companies can stake claims to lunar territory through an existing licensing process for space launches.

The Federal Aviation Administration, in a previously undisclosed late-December letter to Bigelow Aerospace, said the agency intends to “leverage the FAA’s existing launch licensing authority to encourage private sector investments in space systems by ensuring that commercial activities can be conducted on a non-interference basis.”

In other words, experts said, Bigelow could set up one of its proposed inflatable habitats on the moon, and expect to have exclusive rights to that territory – as well as related areas that might be tapped for mining, exploration and other activities.

However, the FAA letter noted a concern flagged by the U.S.

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A ‘Lively’ Day at Monsanto Headquarters

Via Alexis Baden-Mayer at Organic Consumers Association

On January 30, the Organic Consumers Association (OCA) joined Moms Across America (MAA), SumofUs, Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom, Harrington Investments and GMO Free Midwest in a protest and confrontation at Monsanto’s annual shareholder meeting.

The meeting was held at Monsanto corporate headquarters outside St. Louis, Mo., in a town called Creve Coeur—which in French means Broken Heart.

It’s a fitting name for the location of a company that has caused so much heartache with its toxic chemicals.

OCA’s mission on January 30 was to let Monsanto know, in no uncertain terms, that its so-called science—bought and paid for with dirty corporate money—is no match for the research being conducted by honest, independent scientists. And that research is clear: Monsanto is making us sick.

OCA launched our “Monsanto Makes Us Sick” with speeches by medical doctors Jeff Ritterman and Norm Shealy who summed up the scientific case against Monsanto’s flagship product, Roundup herbicide.

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President Obama Just Renewed the Drug War

Cannabis Culture (CC BY 2.0)

Cannabis Culture (CC BY 2.0)

Via Mike Adams at High Times

The Obama Administration has officially renewed the War on Drugs. The Fiscal Year 2016 budget plan released earlier this week, shows, despite the illusion of the puppet show in the nation’s capital working to reform failed drug policies, the master is hell bent on spending more money than ever to protect America against the wrath of controlled substances.

Although the President, at times, displays a progressive attitude in regards to making changes to the drug laws in the United States, this sentiment was not represented on Monday when he requested $27.6 billion to combat the domestic drug war – nearly $2 billion more than was allotted in 2014.

The White House calls the strategy behind this madness a “21st century approach to drug policy that outlines innovative policies and programs and recognizes that substance use disorders are not just a criminal justice issue, but also a major public health concern,” and suggests it is “an evidence-based plan for real drug policy reform, spanning the spectrum of prevention, early intervention, treatment, recovery support, criminal justice reform, effective law enforcement, and international cooperation.”

However, the scam is revealed in the numbers.

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The 6 Grand Illusions That Keep Us Enslaved

Via Sigmund Fraud at Waking Times:

“In prison, illusions can offer comfort.” — Nelson Mandela.

For a magician to fool his audience his deceit must go unseen, and to this end he crafts an illusion to avert attention from reality. While the audience is entranced, the deceptive act is committed, and for the fool, reality then becomes inexplicably built upon on a lie. That is, until the fool wakes up and recognizes the truth in the fact that he has been duped.

Maintaining the suspension of disbelief in the illusion, however, is often more comforting than acknowledging the magician’s secrets.

We live in a world of illusion. So many of the concerns that occupy the mind and the tasks that fill the calendar arise from planted impulses to become someone or something that we are not. This is no accident. As we are indoctrinated into this authoritarian-corporate-consumer culture that now dominates the human race, we are trained that certain aspects of our society are untouchable truths, and that particular ways of being and behaving are preferred.

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Illinois Governor Awards Medical Marijuana Licenses

Ian Sane (CC BY 2.0)

Ian Sane (CC BY 2.0)

February 2, 2015 by Carla K. Johnson via The Cannabist:

CHICAGO — Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner awarded licenses Monday to dozens of medical marijuana businesses across the state after conducting an internal review that found flaws in the never-completed license award process under former Gov. Pat Quinn.

Letters to 18 winning cultivation centers and 52 retail shops were sent out Monday afternoon, Rauner spokesman Lance Trover told The Associated Press. In eight districts, Rauner delayed the licenses for further review, leaving those jurisdictions awaiting word on which companies will be able to join what could be a $36 million industry in 2016.

“I believe the right companies were rewarded,” said Tim McGraw, CEO of ACE Revolution Cannabis, which won licenses to build marijuana-growing facilities in the Illinois cities of Delavan and Barry. “We’re excited to get to work to bring safe medicine to the patients of Illinois.”

Letters sent to the cultivation center winners from the Department of Agriculture inform them of a number of conditions.

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Johann Hari: Everything We Know About the Drug War & Addiction is Wrong

via Democracy Now:

As President Obama seeks $27.6 billion for federal drug control programs in his new budget, we talk to British journalist Johann Hari about the century-old failed drug war and how much of what we know about addiction is wrong. Over the past four years Hari has traveled to the United States, Mexico, Canada, Uruguay and Portugal to research his new book, “Chasing the Scream: The First and Last Days of the War of Drugs.” His findings may surprise you — from the U.S. government’s persecution of Billie Holiday, to Vancouver’s success in addressing its heroin epidemic, to Portugal’s experiment with full decriminalization of all drugs.

TRANSCRIPT

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: One part of President Obama’s new budget that has received little attention is the war on drugs. The White House is seeking $27.6 billion for federal drug control programs, nearly $1 billion more than last year.

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