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A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

 War On Drugs  Comments Off on A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance
Jun 282016
 

The Early Stages of Drug Prohibition

Many currently illegal drugs, such as marijuana, opium, coca, and psychedelics have been used for thousands of years for both medical and spiritual purposes. So why are some drugs legal and other drugs illegal today? It’s not based on any scientific assessment of the relative risks of these drugs but it has everything to do with who is associated with these drugs.

The first anti-opium laws in the 1870s were directed at Chinese immigrants. The first anti-cocaine laws, in the South in the early 1900s, were directed at black men. The first anti-marijuana laws, in the Midwest and the Southwest in the 1910s and 20s, were directed at Mexican migrants and Mexican Americans. Today, Latino and especially black communities are still subject to wildly disproportionate drug enforcement and sentencing practices.

In the 1960s, as drugs became symbols of youthful rebellion, social upheaval, and political dissent, the government halted scientific research to evaluate their medical safety and efficacy.

In June 1971, President Nixon declared a war on drugs. He dramatically increased the size and presence of federal drug control agencies, and pushed through measures such as mandatory sentencing and no-knock warrants. Nixon temporarily placed marijuana in Schedule One, the most restrictive category of drugs, pending review by a commission he appointed led by Republican Pennsylvania Governor Raymond Shafer.

In 1972, the commission unanimously recommended decriminalizing the possession and distribution of marijuana for personal use. Nixon ignored the report and rejected its recommendations.

Between 1973 and 1977, however, eleven states decriminalized marijuana possession. In January 1977, President Jimmy Carter was inaugurated on a campaign platform that included marijuana decriminalization. In October 1977, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use.

Within just a few years, though, the tide had shifted. Proposals to decriminalize marijuana were abandoned as parents became increasingly concerned about high rates of teen marijuana use. Marijuana was ultimately caught up in a broader cultural backlash against the perceived permissiveness of the 1970s.

The presidency of Ronald Reagan marked the start of a long period of skyrocketing rates of incarceration, largely thanks to his unprecedented expansion of the drug war. The number of people behind bars for nonviolent drug law offenses increased from 50,000 in 1980 to over 400,000 by 1997.

Public concern about illicit drug use built throughout the 1980s, largely due to media portrayals of people addicted to the smokeable form of cocaine dubbed crack. Soon after Ronald Reagan took office in 1981, his wife, Nancy Reagan, began a highly-publicized anti-drug campaign, coining the slogan “Just Say No.”

This set the stage for the zero tolerance policies implemented in the mid-to-late 1980s. Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, who believed that casual drug users should be taken out and shot, founded the DARE drug education program, which was quickly adopted nationwide despite the lack of evidence of its effectiveness. The increasingly harsh drug policies also blocked the expansion of syringe access programs and other harm reduction policies to reduce the rapid spread of HIV/AIDS.

In the late 1980s, a political hysteria about drugs led to the passage of draconian penalties in Congress and state legislatures that rapidly increased the prison population. In 1985, the proportion of Americans polled who saw drug abuse as the nation’s “number one problem” was just 2-6 percent. The figure grew through the remainder of the 1980s until, in September 1989, it reached a remarkable 64 percent one of the most intense fixations by the American public on any issue in polling history. Within less than a year, however, the figure plummeted to less than 10 percent, as the media lost interest. The draconian policies enacted during the hysteria remained, however, and continued to result in escalating levels of arrests and incarceration.

Although Bill Clinton advocated for treatment instead of incarceration during his 1992 presidential campaign, after his first few months in the White House he reverted to the drug war strategies of his Republican predecessors by continuing to escalate the drug war. Notoriously, Clinton rejected a U.S. Sentencing Commission recommendation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.

He also rejected, with the encouragement of drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, health secretary Donna Shalalas advice to end the federal ban on funding for syringe access programs. Yet, a month before leaving office, Clinton asserted in a Rolling Stone interview that “we really need a re-examination of our entire policy on imprisonment” of people who use drugs, and said that marijuana use “should be decriminalized.”

At the height of the drug war hysteria in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a movement emerged seeking a new approach to drug policy. In 1987, Arnold Trebach and Kevin Zeese founded the Drug Policy Foundation describing it as the loyal opposition to the war on drugs. Prominent conservatives such as William Buckley and Milton Friedman had long advocated for ending drug prohibition, as had civil libertarians such as longtime ACLU Executive Director Ira Glasser. In the late 1980s they were joined by Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke, Federal Judge Robert Sweet, Princeton professor Ethan Nadelmann, and other activists, scholars and policymakers.

In 1994, Nadelmann founded The Lindesmith Center as the first U.S. project of George Soros Open Society Institute. In 2000, the growing Center merged with the Drug Policy Foundation to create the Drug Policy Alliance.

George W. Bush arrived in the White House as the drug war was running out of steam yet he allocated more money than ever to it. His drug czar, John Walters, zealously focused on marijuana and launched a major campaign to promote student drug testing. While rates of illicit drug use remained constant, overdose fatalities rose rapidly.

The era of George W. Bush also witnessed the rapid escalation of the militarization of domestic drug law enforcement. By the end of Bush’s term, there were about 40,000 paramilitary-style SWAT raids on Americans every year mostly for nonviolent drug law offenses, often misdemeanors. While federal reform mostly stalled under Bush, state-level reforms finally began to slow the growth of the drug war.

Politicians now routinely admit to having used marijuana, and even cocaine, when they were younger. When Michael Bloomberg was questioned during his 2001 mayoral campaign about whether he had ever used marijuana, he said, “You bet I did and I enjoyed it.” Barack Obama also candidly discussed his prior cocaine and marijuana use: “When I was a kid, I inhaled frequently that was the point.”

The assault on American citizens, however, has persisted. President Obama, despite advocating for reforms such as reducing the crack/powder sentencing disparity, ending the ban on federal funding for syringe access programs, and supporting state medical marijuana laws has yet to shift the majority of drug control funding to a health-based approach.

Marijuana reform has gained unprecedented momentum throughout the Americas. Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for adults. In December 2013, Uruguay became the first country in the world to legally regulate marijuana. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has promised to legalize marijuana.

Public opinion has shifted dramatically in favor of sensible reforms that expand health-based approaches while reducing the role of criminalization in drug policy. Yet the assault on American citizens and others continues, with 700,000 people still arrested for marijuana offenses each year and almost 500,000 people still behind bars for nothing more than a drug law violation.

Progress is inevitably slow but there is unprecedented momentum behind drug policy reform right now. We look forward to a future where drug policies are shaped by science and compassion rather than political hysteria.

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A Brief History of the Drug War | Drug Policy Alliance

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Seychelles Map / Geography of Seychelles / Map of Seychelles …

 Seychelles  Comments Off on Seychelles Map / Geography of Seychelles / Map of Seychelles …
Jun 282016
 

The Republic of Seychelles is an archipelago of 115 islands located in the Indian Ocean, northeast of Madagascar

Pre-European colonization the islands were known by Arab navigators on trading voyages, but were never inhabited.

Eventually Seychelles was settled by France in the 18th century, but it wasn’t long before the British fought for control. A lengthy struggle between France and Great Britain for the islands ended in 1814, when they were ceded to the latter.

Although the new governor to the islands was British, he governed according to French rules, and allowed previous French customs to remain intact. Slavery was completely abolished in 1835, and the island nation subsequently began to decline as exportation decreased.

The anti-slavery stance was taken very seriously by the British government, and conditions started improving when it was realized that coconuts could be grown with less labour.

In the late 19th century, Seychelles became a place to exile troublesome political prisoners, most notably from Zanzibar, Egypt, Cyprus and Palestine.

Independence for the islands came in 1976, after the Seychelles People’s United Party was formed and led by France-Albert Rene, campaigning for socialism and freedom from Britain.

Socialism was brought to a close with a new constitution and free elections in 1993. President France-Albert Rene, who had served since 1977, was re-elected in 2001, but stepped down in 2004.

Vice President James Michel took over the presidency and in July 2006 was elected to a new five-year term.

Upon independence in 1976, economic growth has steadily increased, led by the tourism sector and tuna fishing. In the past few years, the government has also created incentives for foreign investments. Per capita, Seychelles is the most indebted country in the world and currently had a population of 90,024.

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Offshore Company – Offshore Company Formation, Offshore …

 Offshore Companies  Comments Off on Offshore Company – Offshore Company Formation, Offshore …
Jun 282016
 

Welcome to Worldwide Incorporation Services – Leading Provider of Offshore Company Formations

Since 1998, Worldwide Incorporation Services has offered a wide range of solutions and services in supporting clients with their worldwide corporate, banking and investment needs. Worldwide Incorporation Services offers the offshore companies formation and their following administration, services of the registered agent for the offshore companies, virtual office, nominee directors and nominee shareholders for the offshore companies, secretarial services, bank accounts introduction, administrative and tax consulting.

Offshore basically means located abroad or in business can refer to conducting business transactions beyond the borders of a particular jurisdiction or country. Offshore activities are those carried out in another sovereign country that has a separate legal structure and government which is different from that of your home country. Globalization has made it possible to incorporate offshore business activities into the normal operating routine of an enterprise.

An offshore company is a business that is incorporated with the sole purpose of having its operations in a country different from where it is registered/where it directors reside/ where the main stakeholders and beneficiaries reside. An offshore company can also refer to a division of a corporate group that engages foreign manufacturers or foreign business services as part of its mode of operation. Although there are many misconceptions about offshore companies with many thinking that offshore companies are affiliated with illegal trading activities, this is often a false illusion. In fact some of the biggest companies in the world such as Google and apple are legally involved in some semblance of offshore operations. Offshore operations are legal as long as a business adheres to regulations of the new jurisdiction. The offshore company operates on the basis that it can act independently without stringent stifling control measures.

An offshore company can come in handy in the following situations:

1) If you are a startup running on a shoe string budget and therefore need to cutoff budgetary demands. By setting up an offshore company a business will reduce tax obligation, lower registration costs and reduce operating costs.

2) An offshore company is necessary for the growth of your business if you want to conceal the financial information or want to conceal the details of company directors and shareholders.

3) Another necessity of an offshore company is when you have the intention of going global or you have a large foreign consumer base. When most of your customers are not based within your parent company then it is a sound business idea to register in the foreign country where they are based. This will help you build credible business ties and establish reliable business relationships in countries where you have vested interests.

4) If your enterprise is an online business then it is best that you set it up as an offshore company. An online business is a virtual set up that is not subject to geographical location. Therefore, there is no logical reason to be limited to a single geographical location that is disadvantageous to the growth of your business. Consider making your online business an offshore company so that you can build streams of income from foreign countries. Income streams from foreign countries are particularly necessary when your home country suffers rampant inflation. An income stream from a strong overseas currency keeps your online business relatively stable.

5) If your home country is politically unstable or the government has too many restrictions on the type of business you are dealing with. There are still many countries that do not fully support some industries. In such a case it is necessary to register your business in a country that supports all your business operation. This gives an entrepreneur an easy time running a business by reducing government interruption. If your parent country is politically unstable then it is only logical that your consider going offshore to protect your business interests.

6) Setting up an offshore company comes in handy if your business is venturing into new markets that have increased territorial taxation. By registering an affiliate of your business in such a foreign territory, you will be able to cut down on territorial taxation costs and other territorial business regulations which countries use to protect local entrepreneurships. By being registered in the foreign destination that you are attempting to venture into, you are in essence showing a government your seriousness as an investor. This will ensure you are accorded with fair treatment.

Offshore companies have become a viable business solution for many entrepreneurs due to the following benefits:

Minimal taxation This is primarily the reason why many entrepreneurs favor offshore companies. By registering a company in a foreign country you can significantly reduces tax obligations. This is because most countries treat foreign companies to tax exemptions and in some cases charge foreign companies extremely low taxes to encourage and motivate foreign investors. This is a relief especially to start ups that are bootstrapped and cannot afford the high tax obligations in their home countries. However, to ensure that an offshore companies stays on the right side of the law it is imperative to hire an experienced financial analyst. The financial analyst conclusively establishes that there is no conflict concerning tax obligations between the country of operations and the country of registration.

Preserving Confidentiality Unlike in countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom where the public can easily access financial information and details of stakeholders and beneficiaries of a company, there are foreign countries where such information is kept confidential. Many offshore financial jurisdictions keep this kind of information private under all circumstances apart from in cases where the company is involved in criminal activities such as fraud and terrorism. This anonymity can come in handy when striking deals with competitors or operating in a market that does not favor a particular individual or group that is a shareholder.

Reduced administration obligations Most offshore jurisdictions have minimal obligatory duties for directors and managers of companies as compared to onshore jurisdictions. Some of the requirements that onshore jurisdictions have on administrators that offshore jurisdictions do not have include filing annual accounting reports. Instead of the administrative obligations, most offshore companies charge offshore companies an annual license fee which is significant as compared to all the administrative obligations if a company was operating in an onshore jurisdiction.

Protection of a companys assets This comes in handy especially if a company is global and has international interests. An international company uses an offshore company to preserve company assets such as real estate property and intellectual property. By preserving assets in offshore jurisdictions such assets are not liable to high tax obligations. If your business is onshore and undergoing a lawsuit. There is a high probability that a subsequent document will be filed to freeze up all your companys assets such as company bank accounts and all property affiliated to your business. On the other hand when your business is offshore, it is impossible for legal litigation to freeze and seize company assets. This is extremely helpful especially to United States entrepreneurs because studies approximate that a whopping 96% of global lawsuits are filed in the US. An offshore company protects its assets by only limiting locally available funds to what is needed to fund the necessary needs of a company. This essentially puts the company in control of its own assets without external interference.

Offshore companies are relatively cheaper to setup and incur lower maintenance costs The legal processes involved in offshore company formation are easy straightforward and inexpensive. Additionally, maintenance is also cheaper as the local authorities in most offshore jurisdictions only require an annual license fee.

Offshore companies require significantly lower capital compared to onshore companies Depending on your offshore jurisdiction of choice, the capital is quite and sometimes there is no obligatory capital requirement required upon registration. This makes offshore companies an invaluable business solution for startups operating on a shoe string budget.

Offshore companies help establish international business ties Thanks to globalization the business world is now borderless. By setting up an offshore company a corporation can establish productive business ties and develop credible business relations with foreign countries. Foreign countries are prospective clients for the products of a company. A corporation can innovatively use its offshore company as a channel to venture into a new market. The foreign government and the local residents are more likely to trust a business that is registered within its jurisdiction.

Click here to find out more about us.

Call to any of our offices for your free initial consultation or request a callback regarding offshore company incorporation.

Our professionals provide expert consultation and solutions designed especially for the needs and objectives of the clients who are interested in investing in the field of international business trading.

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Phone: +44 203 44 05 671 Fax: +44 207 06 09 947 Skype: wis.uk

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Phone: +852 2530 8893 Fax: +852 2530 8100 Skype: wis.hk

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Phone: +357 25 812 242 Fax: +357 25 311 575 Skype: wis.cyprus

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Services related Offshore Company Formation

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 Government Oppression  Comments Off on American Patriot Friends Network APFN
Jun 262016
 

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Political correctness Archives | Human Stupidity …

 Political Correctness  Comments Off on Political correctness Archives | Human Stupidity …
Jun 262016
 

Google searches can be frustrating. You get all the boring main stream media lies, and you have to dig deep to get interesting alternative politically incorrect site links.

Your frustration is over.

(German version: Politisch inkorrekte Google Suche (pigs) at fluechtling.net/pigs )

You must try searches yourself to believe it. You will want to use this search instead of the normal Google Search.

Please help to improve the searches by posting blog rolls and link lists with politically incorrect sites, in English and in German. There is a lot more to add, especially in German.

If you search for “Blacks Lives Matter” you get this nice result

Female-led proposals to use the in-demand Hubble telescope are less likely to be selected.” Scientific American claims this in the midst of a huge section of Junk Diversity Science which has been utterly debunked elsewhere.

An internal Hubble study1 found that in each of the past 11 observation proposal cycles, applications led by male principal investigators had a higher success rate than those led by women. Women submit roughly 25% of proposals for Hubble telescope observing time. [SciAm]

This confounding of junk gender science with true natural science is very serious. This is why after years of study even we need serious deprogramming from the politically correct cultural Marxist lies that impressible children, adolescents and adults are constantly told by school books and biased un-scientific journals like Scientific American!

Scientific Americans mixing of real natural science with politically motivated unscientific falsified junk science like gender, domestic violence, race and iq issues aspires to permanently poison the minds of young and old with feminist and politically correct hate ideology.

The head of a science department of a major research University confirmed to us, in private, that female scientists generally less innovative and talented then their male counterparts [7]. Implicit quotas demand hiring and promoting women who dont meet the requirements men would be measured up to. Quotas guarantee that the rare woman with sufficient talent will be snatched away for an even more prestigious job, always rising to her level of incompetence. Aware of Larry Summers dismissal [8], our department head refuses to be identified.

“Scientific American used to be a great magazine but like any publishing venture headquartered in New York, it has gradually drifted into liberal never-never-land.” [UnScientific American]

Did Megan Urry control her statistics for yearly working hours, life time interest in science, years experience, work invested in the proposal, IQ, math talent of the applying scientists?

We wager a bet that the average male physics proposal writer, more so a Ivy League department chair, did not flunk their first physics exams in college, like Megan Urry herself and was interested in physics since tender age of 6, unlike Megan Urry [4] and other female applicants. Megan Urry (of course) ignores even the possibility that male and female applicants might be intrinsically different in some way. Larry Summers was a victim of telling such truth that there is a dearth of women in the top talent for science and math.

In spite of IQ tests having been manipulated to elevate female IQ to the same level as males [Wikipedia], there are twice as many men with IQ over 150: Men: either very clever or really stupid [Wikipedia] because of greater male variance on IQ and most other traits.

How Diversity Makes Us Smarter Not! Scientific American has been polluted by the same junk science that pervades our Universities politically correct cultural Marxist social science and humanities departments. Entire generations are being indoctrinated with falsehoods, in much more devious ways then communist Soviet Union and China were ever capable of.

From time to time we refer to five longitudinal studies which show that increasing gender diversity on boards leads to declines in corporate financial performance. The studies are referred to in a number of posts, and have been included in a number of our documents. But we thought it might be useful to prepare a short briefing paper with details of the five studies and their full Abstracts, its here. [7]

Campaign for Merit in Business, which was launched early in 2012, has made a remarkable impact in a relatively short time. Weve proven beyond all reasonable doubt that the glass ceiling is a baseless conspiracy theory. Through exposing as fantasies, lies, delusions and myths, the arguments which said that increasing gender diversity in the boardroom (GDITB) will improve corporate financial performance, weve destroyed the long-vaunted business case for GDITB. We continue to publicise five longitudinal studies, all of which show that GDITB leads to declines in corporate financial performance. What else would we expect when businesses arent free to select the best people for their boards, regardless of gender? Proponents are left with little other than misrepresenting correlation as causation in pursuit of their social engineering programmes.

The Conservative-led coalition no longer challenges our assertion that the impact of GDITB on UK plc will inevitably be a negative one. And yet it continues to actively pursue GDITB. [5]

Weve put in FoI requests seeking evidence for the governments previous claims that putting more women on boards will lead to performance improvement. None has ever been forthcoming. This hasnt stopped the government from continuing to threaten legislated gender quotas for FTSE100 boards if they havent achieved female representation on their boards by 2015. In fact, theyre going further. We know from a recent report that next in the firing line will be the FTSE350, and that gender parity on boards is the longer-term goal. 6

The Inclusion Equation

Global figures on diversity in the science and engineering workforce are hard to come by, but what we know is not flattering

Gender Gap

How women and men fare in doctoral studies around the world

In Pursuit of the Best Ideas

In a diverse team, the best ideas are more likely to rise to the top

Becoming Visible

To change the equation, start changing the perception

Particular Points of View

Gender and culture influence research on a fundamental level

Inviting Everyone In

There is no formula for bringing diversity to the workplace or classroom, but new research that deepens our understanding of how diversity operates suggests some modestly successful strategies

How Diversity Works

Being around people who are different from us makes us more creative, more diligent and harder-working

Science Exposed

Networked technology and social media are enabling outsiders to gather and crunch data

Taking It Personally

How a researchers background can determine her mission

The Iraq conflict spilled onto the streets of Herford in North Rhine-Westphalia on Wednesday evening as hundreds of members of the Yazidi faith clashed with supporters of Islamist terrorist group ISIS.

Diversity through immigration enriches Germany: The Iraqi war is fought right in their back yard. Germany imported and breeds radical Muslim fundamentalists, terrorists, Jihad fighters,

Around 300 Yazidi took to the streets in the early evening. They were demonstrating against the attacks on members of their faith in Syria and Iraq and a religiously-motivated attack against their community earlier that day, Herford police reported.

ISIS is committing ethnic cleansing and genocide against Christians, Yazidis, and even Shia Muslims, in Iraq. [4, 5]. Germany would be a boring place, if it were not enriched by such diversity.

The police decided to intervene after a large group of hooded people started attacking passers-by in the town centre, with at least one person injured. The police used pepper spray to control the mob, confiscating tools and one firearm, and took the details of 86 people involved.

Diversity is worth such expensive police action. In Berlin, African invaders of schools and public squares also cost millions to police.

Police reinforcements were called in from all over eastern Westphalia, including officers from Bochum and Dortmund, to keep the different groups apart. The police deployment lasted throughout the night and involved well over 100 officers, a Herford police spokesman told The Local.

A large portion of the 9.11 terrorists came from Germany. German residents and citizens (?) fight for ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Kurds, Yazidis, all warring parties are in Germany. Unlike Germans, “oppressed” Muslims have the right to be anti-Semitic and commit violence against Jews. Germany finally gets enriched by diversity. “Diversity is our strength”!

Hamas fired thousands of imprecise rockets with the clear and lone intent to hit civilians in Israeli cities. Hamas launches missiles in the midst of civilian crowds [5], uses Hospitals and Ambulances for Military Purposes.

Strangely, we dont see huge European demonstrations against Hamas endangering Israeli and Palestinian Civilians. Political Correctness doctrine defines the Palestinians and Hamas as disadvantaged group who has the right to use violence to avenge their grievances. Even Anti-Semitism becomes fashionable again in Europe, with special support by European immigrant Muslims.

Hamas devotes money and work on sophisticated tunnels. Money that could be spent on schools, underground shelters for civilians, hospitals, food. Nobody blames Hamas for wasting money on tunnels and missiles while Palestinians above the tunnels lack even basic food and health services.

Weakness is the PC (political correctness) weapon: If Israel bombs a school, Hamas wins points. So Hamas shoots rockets from schools, Israel shoots back, Hamas wins. Palestine civilians be damned, nobody blames Hamas for launching rockets in the midst of school children.

Applying these legal principles to the conflict, there is strong evidence of war crimes on both sides. Hamas rocket attacks are illegal because they either deliberately target civilians or are fired indiscriminately. They are indiscriminate either because Hamas does not aim them solely at military targets, or their technological inaccuracy makes them incapable of avoiding civilian areas.

Hamas actions are little different from when Allied and Axis aircraft indiscriminately fire-bombed European cities in the Second World War, or the United States dropped atomic bombs on Japan. The temptation to place necessity above the law, and self-interest above humanity, is a terrible and common human failing.

Compare this to the Ukrainian Army, that had the license to attack with artillery and planes large cities in Europe, to rout secessionist that were simply hunkered down, did not lob any missiles at anyone. There was no immediate need for self defense, no negotiations were made to discuss justified grievances of the Russian speaking minority population that was suffering discrimination.

Strangely, Russian speaking minorities in Ukraine are not bestowed oppressed group status and thus are fair game for first strike non-retaliatory artillery attacks on cities. So Human-Stupiditys suggestion will not be heeded:

Hamas use of tunnels to launch surprise attacks on Israeli military forces is not illegal. Infiltrating enemy territory and surprising enemy forces is a permissible strategy in war, as is capturing enemy soldiers. The Age

Western journalists operating in Gaza have been threatened and harassed by Hamas for reporting instances of the terrorist groups use of human shields, according to a Times of Israel report. Israeli officials have noted that some reporters are intimidated by Hamas threats and have ceased documenting Hamas exploitation of civilians throughout the conflict.

The newspaper says it confirmed instances in which Hamas officials confiscated equipment and pictures from photographers exposing terrorists who were preparing to launch rockets from civilian structures and fighting in civilian garb. [5]

* Sanctions intended to stop Ukrainian governments aerial, missile, and artillery attacks at cities in Eastern Ukraine

Europe can not accept Ukraines shelling and bombing of their own cities, the world can not accept Ukraine deliberately mixing civil air traffic with military bombing and transport missions in a war zone. Who sent war planes on attack sorties into Eastern Ukraine and scheduled civil aviation onto the same path?

If the West were not totally devoted to EU expansion, NATO expansion, and Putin bashing, they would blame the Ukraine government for creating a humanitarian disaster.

The Ukrainian government started the hot violent large scale heavy weapons war, it can stop the war at any moment. The separatists were not attacking, they were hunkered down quietly and satisfied with their area.

Ukraine can start internationally supervised negotiations for partial autonomy for Donetsk, Luhansk and negotiate an agreement on UN peace keeping troops. The EU also ought to impose a no fly zone and threaten sanctions on Obama, so the US uses his influence to tell Ukraine to stop the attacks and cease fire.

The Guardian continues:

EU governments have agreed to impose sweeping sanctions on Ukraine, targeting state-owned banks, imposing an arms embargo and restricting sales of sensitive technology and the export of equipment for the countrys oil industry, in response to Kievs continued attacking of separatists and civilians in eastern Ukraine.

The punitive measures, the most extensive EU sanctions imposed on Ukraine since the cold war, were agreed by ambassadors from the 28 member states after a seven-hour debate. They decided that Ukraine had not fulfilled the conditions laid down by foreign ministers last week, to stop supply of arms to the rebels stop attacking cities of millions, towns and villages with tanks, artillery, and aerial bombardments [4], instead negotiate autonomy rights for the Russian minorities and provide full cooperation in the investigation into the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Human-Stupidity normally refrains from dabbling in world politics.

But here we are amazed at the brazen manipulation of world opinion and world politics, that favors heavy artillery war against large European cities, instead of negotiation and de-centralized government in Ukraine.

The same governments that defend the rights of recently arrived Mexicans, Salvadorians, and Hondurans in the US, that defend the rights of recently arrived Somalis, Syrians, Algerians in Europe; These minority friendly governments are complicit in the discrimination, political disenfranchisement, persecution, shelling and bombing of Russian minorities that have lived on Ukrainian soil for generations.

Further US sanctions were expected to follow during the night.

The president of the European Council, Herman van Rompuy, and the head of the European Commission, Jos Manuel Barroso, issued a joint statement describing the EU measures as a strong warning that “Illegal annexation of territory and deliberate destabilisation of a neighbouring sovereign country violently overthrowing elected president Viktor Yanukovych, discriminating against the Russian minority, prohibiting their language, and prohibiting the communist party for defending the rights of the Russian minority [6] could not be accepted in 21st-century Europe. Europe takes diversity and minority rights very seriously.

Odessa massacre [14], Shelling and bombing of Donetsk all remain unpunished.

“Ukrainian government creates violence spirals out of control and leads to the killing thousands of innocent Ukrainian civilians [8] [10] [Reuters] and of almost 300 innocent civilians in their flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the situation requires urgent and determined response,” they said. Ukraines flying military ground attack planes and military transport planes and routing civilian air liners into the same war zone as human shields is planned murder, at least criminal negligence. “The European Union will fulfill its obligations to protect and ensure the security of its citizens. And the European Union will stand by its neighbouring Russian minorities and partners.”

Special thanks to Russian Russian president Putin for accepting over 100 000 asylum seekers, that fled Ukraine government violence. The asylum seekers did not flee into peaceful regions of Ukraine, well knowing that in Ukraine they would continue suffering government violence, discrimination and repression of their minority culture and language.

Adapted from The Guardian.

Hate speech laws started with the good intention to prevent inciting violence: “Kill Blacks, gays, ..”. Since then they went down a slippery slope, where a harmlessly uttered private opinion can ruin careers

Sadly, “privileged whites” heaping bananas on a black soccer players car is a much worse crime then “repressed Blacks expressing justified anger” throwing cobble stones or Molotov cocktails onto police and burning down neighborhoods of London, Paris, or Los Angeles.

“Underprivileged groups” have the privilege to use violence with impunity. “Privileged White heterosexuals” have no free speech rights and get imprisoned for non-violent speech. Our legal system is back to the middle ages. Of course, academic researchers like J. Philippe Rushton or Arthur Jensen also get threatened with impunity, and the New Black Panther party can publicly threaten the life innocent “white” Hispanic George Zimmerman.

See the article here:

Political correctness Archives | Human Stupidity …

Libertarian Party – Facebook

 Libertarian  Comments Off on Libertarian Party – Facebook
Jun 212016
 

The Libertarian Party opposes the No Fly List, “no buy” lists, and other such lists where the government infringes on a person’s rights without due process of law.

In recent years, the federal government has used “the war on terror” as an excuse to encroach on our most fundamental human rights.

Warrant-less wiretapping, detaining prisoners for years without trials in Guantanamo Bay, “no fly” lists that are compiled secretly and without due process, and similar “no buy” lists …all violate the human rights of Americans and non-Americans alike.

Our founders would be horrified and every American should be too.

Our country claims to stand as a beacon for “liberty and justice for all” and yet there is no liberty and no justice in these breaches of our rights.

The presumptive Republican and Democratic Presidential nominees have stated their support for many of these programs.

In contrast, Libertarian National Committee chair, Nicholas Sarwark, says, “There shouldn’t be a no-fly list, terrorist watch list, or any other secret government list you can be put on without due process of law.” Gary Johnson, the Libertarian nominee for President agrees.

In recent days, Congress has been debating a “No Fly No Buy” bill which would prevent people listed on the No Fly list from buying firearms.

The Libertarian Party urges Congress to vote down any bill, such as this one, that infringes upon rights without due process. Due process is one of the most critical elements of our justice system, designed to protect our rights. It must be respected and upheld, no matter the circumstances.

Currently, the No Fly List is so casual that Americans are at risk of being denied access to commercial travel because of clerical errors. This is a terrible injustice. The idea of using such a flawed No Fly List as a guide for restricting other rights, such as gun ownership, is appalling.

If the government has evidence egregious enough that a person should be prevented from boarding a plane, the government needs to take this evidence to court and have a fair and open hearing to determine whether the person in question should have his/her rights denied. If someone is found to be plotting violence, they should be arrested immediately and prosecuted.

The Libertarian Party is the only political party in America devoted to protecting all rights, of all human beings, all the time. The Libertarian Party also strongly condemns the use of force except in self defense.

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Libertarian Party – Facebook

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Conservative vs Liberal – Difference and Comparison | Diffen

 Liberal  Comments Off on Conservative vs Liberal – Difference and Comparison | Diffen
Jun 212016
 

Social Issues

In terms of views on social issues, conservatives oppose gay marriage, abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Liberals on the other hand, are more left-leaning and generally supportive of the right of gay people to get married and women’s right to choose to have an abortion, as ruled by the U.S. Supreme Court in Roe v Wade.

With regard to the right to bear arms, conservatives support this right as it applies to all US citizens, whereas liberals oppose civilian gun ownership – or at the very least, demand that restrictions be places such as background checks on people who want to buy guns, requiring guns to be registered etc.

The different schools of economic thought found among conservatives and liberals are closely related to America’s anti-federalist and federalist history, with conservatives desiring little to no government intervention in economic affairs and liberals desiring greater regulation.

Economic conservatives believe that the private sector can provide most services more efficiently than the government can. They also believe that government regulation is bad for businesses, usually has unintended consequences, and should be minimal. With many conservatives believing in “trickle-down” economics, they favor a small government that collects fewer taxes and spends less.

In contrast, liberals believe many citizens rely on government services for healthcare, unemployment insurance, health and safety regulations, and so on. As such, liberals often favor a larger government that taxes more and spends more to provide services to its citizens.

See Also: Comparing Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump’s Tax Plans

Some good examples of this policy split are the Environmental Protection Agency, which liberals think is vital and some conservatives want to abolish or scale down, and the Medicare and Medicaid programs, which liberals want to expand and conservatives believe should be partially or completely privatized through a voucher system connected to private health insurers.

In the early part of the twentieth century, liberals – especially those in Britain – were those who stood for laissez fair capitalism. In more recent times, however, the nomenclature seems to have reversed. The exception to this is found in Australia, where the mainstream conservative party is called the Liberal Party and the mainstream non-conservative party is called the Labour Party.

Political liberals believe that parties motivated by self-interest are willing to behave in ways that are harmful to society unless government is prepared- and empowered to constrain them. They believe regulation is necessitated when individuals-, corporations-, and industries demonstrate a willingness to pursue financial gain at an intolerable cost to society–and grow too powerful to be constrained by other social institutions. Liberals believe in systematic protections against hazardous workplaces, unsafe consumer products, and environmental pollution. They remain wary of the corruption- and historic abuses–particularly the oppression of political minorities–that have taken place in the absence of oversight for state- and local authorities. Liberals value educators and put their trust in science. They believe the public welfare is promoted by cultivating a widely-tolerant and -permissive society.

Political conservatives believe commercial regulation does more harm than good–unnecessarily usurping political freedoms, potentially stifling transformative innovations, and typically leading to further regulatory interference. They endorse the contraction of governmental involvement in non-commercial aspects of society as well, calling upon the private sector to assume their activities. Conservatives call for the devolution of powers to the states, and believe locally-tailored solutions are more appropriate to local circumstances. They promulgate individual responsibility, and believe a strong society is made up of citizens who can stand on their own. Conservatives value the armed forces and place their emphasis on faith. Conservatives believe in the importance of stability, and promote law and order to protect the status quo.

Liberals believe in universal access to health care–they believe personal health should be in no way dependent upon one’s financial resources, and support government intervention to sever that link. Political conservatives prefer no government sponsorship of health care; they prefer all industries to be private, favour deregulation of commerce, and advocate a reduced role for government in all aspects of society–they believe government should be in no way involved in one’s healthcare purchasing decisions.

Jonathan Haidt, a University of Virginia psychology professor, has examined the values of liberals and conservatives through paired moral attributes: harm/care, fairnesss/reciprocity, ingroup/loyalty, authority/respect, purity/sanctity. He outlines the psychological differences in the following TED talk:

Haidt has also written a book, The Righteous Mind, based on his studies conducted over several years on liberal and conservative subjects. Nicholas Kristof, an avowed liberal, offered an unbiased review of the book and cited some interesting findings such as:

Liberals should not be confused with libertarians. Libertarians believe that the role of the government should be extremely limited, especially in the economic sphere. They believe that governments are prone to corruption and inefficiencies and that the private sector in a free market can achieve better outcomes than government bureaucracies, because they make better decisions on resource allocation. Liberals, on the other hand, favor more government involvement because they believe there are several areas where the private sector — especially if left unregulated — needs checks and balances to ensure consumer protection.

The primary focus of libertarians is the maximization of liberty for all citizens, regardless of race, class, or socio-economic position.

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Conservative vs Liberal – Difference and Comparison | Diffen

Cloning – The New York Times

 Cloning  Comments Off on Cloning – The New York Times
Jun 192016
 

Latest Articles

The companies behind it, Boyalife Group and Soaam Biotech, must contend with consumers in a country where food safety is a near obsession.

By OWEN GUO

The retraction by Science of a study of changing attitudes on gay marriage is the latest in a growing number of prominent withdrawals of the results of studies from scientific literature.

By MICHAEL ROSTON

Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patients DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.

Nearly a decade after his downfall for faking research, the South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk has won patents for his work in an attempt to resume studying human stem cells.

Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening and its going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.

By NATHANIEL RICH

Dr. Hwang Woo-suk of South Korea received the patent for the method by which he claimed in 2004 to have extracted stem cells from cloned human embryos.

A cloning experiment in mice indicates that for one type of cancer, at least, cancerous cells may be able to revert to normal. But the study does not reveal a way to cure cancer. Instead, it addresses a theoretical question about the genetic nature of one type of cancer.

France banned human cloning, calling it a crime against the human race. But Parliament suspended a ban on stem-cell research on human embryos for five years to assess the merits of research that might lead to treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease. The law, which updates three 1994 laws on bioethics, makes human cloning punishable by 30 years in prison and a fine of more than $9 million. It also forbids cloning for therapeutic purposes — the generation of stem cells for medical research — and bans certain techniques used in embryo research. The use of stem cells, master cells that can develop into specialized cells, has drawn wide opposition because the most promising cells are derived from human embryos.

The Vatican said today that claims that a cloned baby had been born were a sign of a ”brutal” mentality devoid of ethical considerations. A papal spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said that the announcement came with no scientific proof and that it ”has already given rise to the skepticism and moral condemnation of a great part of the international scientific community.”

President Bush named 17 academics, doctors and lawyers to his bioethics advisory council today, the day before the group was opening its first meeting with a discussion of human cloning. The group, the President’s Council on Bioethics, is to tackle issues like embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and assisted reproduction, which primarily involves in vitro fertilization.

Lawmakers dropped controversial proposals on stem cell research and cloning today after the provisions threatened to create gridlock as the Senate hurried to complete work on spending bills. Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, had included language in a labor and health spending bill that would have bent President Bush’s policy on stem cell research to allow couples to donate unused embryos from fertility clinics. And Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, an ardent abortion opponent, had threatened to counter with several amendments of his own.

A panel of experts has urged the government to allow the cloning of human embryonic stem cells for scientific study of transplants. The government accepted the recommendation today and said it would submit legislation to adopt it. If the legislation passes, the British government could become the first to allow its researchers to work with the cells, which are from fertilized eggs, in test tubes.

Japanese scientists have cloned a cloned bull, the first time a large cloned animal has itself been cloned, researchers said today. The calf, born on Sunday, is part of a project to study the life expectancy and aging of cloned animals, said scientists at the Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute in southern Japan.

The tiny club of animals cloned from adult cells, restricted until now to females like Dolly the sheep and Cumulina the mouse, has gone co-ed with the cloning of a male mouse, researchers said today. The male mouse, Fibro, is also the first documented live mammal cloned from adult cells that do not originate in the reproductive system. The accomplishment suggests that adult animals can be cloned from any cell in the body.

A physicist who has said that he wants to raise money to open a clinic to clone humans said today that he foresaw as many as 200,000 human clones a year once his process was perfected, at a price for each clone far lower than the $1 million the first one would cost. The physicist, Dr. Richard Seed of Riverside, Ill., said the initial market for human clones would come from the 10 percent to 15 percent of infertile couples who cannot conceive by alternative methods, like test-tube fertilization.

The uproar over Dolly the sheep and human embryonic stem cells, revisited in a Retro Report video, shows how emotions can cloud understanding of science.

By NICHOLAS WADE

In 1997, Scottish scientists revealed they had cloned a sheep and named her Dolly, sending waves of future shock around the world that continue to shape frontiers of science today.

Retro Report

Researchers fused skin cells with donated human eggs to create human embryos that were genetically identical to the person who provided the skin cells.

By ANDREW POLLACK

It could be years before scientists succeed in bringing species back from extinction, but they are thinking of ways to give new life to creatures like woolly mammoths and weird frogs.

By GINA KOLATA

The companies behind it, Boyalife Group and Soaam Biotech, must contend with consumers in a country where food safety is a near obsession.

By OWEN GUO

The retraction by Science of a study of changing attitudes on gay marriage is the latest in a growing number of prominent withdrawals of the results of studies from scientific literature.

By MICHAEL ROSTON

Scientists have moved a step closer to the goal of creating stem cells perfectly matched to a patients DNA in order to treat diseases, they announced on Thursday, creating patient-specific cell lines out of the skin cells of two adult men.

Nearly a decade after his downfall for faking research, the South Korean scientist Hwang Woo-suk has won patents for his work in an attempt to resume studying human stem cells.

Bringing extinct animals back to life is really happening and its going to be very, very cool. Unless it ends up being very, very bad.

By NATHANIEL RICH

Dr. Hwang Woo-suk of South Korea received the patent for the method by which he claimed in 2004 to have extracted stem cells from cloned human embryos.

A cloning experiment in mice indicates that for one type of cancer, at least, cancerous cells may be able to revert to normal. But the study does not reveal a way to cure cancer. Instead, it addresses a theoretical question about the genetic nature of one type of cancer.

France banned human cloning, calling it a crime against the human race. But Parliament suspended a ban on stem-cell research on human embryos for five years to assess the merits of research that might lead to treatments for illnesses like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and heart disease. The law, which updates three 1994 laws on bioethics, makes human cloning punishable by 30 years in prison and a fine of more than $9 million. It also forbids cloning for therapeutic purposes — the generation of stem cells for medical research — and bans certain techniques used in embryo research. The use of stem cells, master cells that can develop into specialized cells, has drawn wide opposition because the most promising cells are derived from human embryos.

The Vatican said today that claims that a cloned baby had been born were a sign of a ”brutal” mentality devoid of ethical considerations. A papal spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said that the announcement came with no scientific proof and that it ”has already given rise to the skepticism and moral condemnation of a great part of the international scientific community.”

President Bush named 17 academics, doctors and lawyers to his bioethics advisory council today, the day before the group was opening its first meeting with a discussion of human cloning. The group, the President’s Council on Bioethics, is to tackle issues like embryonic stem cell research, euthanasia and assisted reproduction, which primarily involves in vitro fertilization.

Lawmakers dropped controversial proposals on stem cell research and cloning today after the provisions threatened to create gridlock as the Senate hurried to complete work on spending bills. Senator Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, had included language in a labor and health spending bill that would have bent President Bush’s policy on stem cell research to allow couples to donate unused embryos from fertility clinics. And Senator Sam Brownback, Republican of Kansas, an ardent abortion opponent, had threatened to counter with several amendments of his own.

A panel of experts has urged the government to allow the cloning of human embryonic stem cells for scientific study of transplants. The government accepted the recommendation today and said it would submit legislation to adopt it. If the legislation passes, the British government could become the first to allow its researchers to work with the cells, which are from fertilized eggs, in test tubes.

Japanese scientists have cloned a cloned bull, the first time a large cloned animal has itself been cloned, researchers said today. The calf, born on Sunday, is part of a project to study the life expectancy and aging of cloned animals, said scientists at the Kagoshima Prefectural Cattle Breeding Development Institute in southern Japan.

The tiny club of animals cloned from adult cells, restricted until now to females like Dolly the sheep and Cumulina the mouse, has gone co-ed with the cloning of a male mouse, researchers said today. The male mouse, Fibro, is also the first documented live mammal cloned from adult cells that do not originate in the reproductive system. The accomplishment suggests that adult animals can be cloned from any cell in the body.

A physicist who has said that he wants to raise money to open a clinic to clone humans said today that he foresaw as many as 200,000 human clones a year once his process was perfected, at a price for each clone far lower than the $1 million the first one would cost. The physicist, Dr. Richard Seed of Riverside, Ill., said the initial market for human clones would come from the 10 percent to 15 percent of infertile couples who cannot conceive by alternative methods, like test-tube fertilization.

The uproar over Dolly the sheep and human embryonic stem cells, revisited in a Retro Report video, shows how emotions can cloud understanding of science.

By NICHOLAS WADE

In 1997, Scottish scientists revealed they had cloned a sheep and named her Dolly, sending waves of future shock around the world that continue to shape frontiers of science today.

Retro Report

Researchers fused skin cells with donated human eggs to create human embryos that were genetically identical to the person who provided the skin cells.

By ANDREW POLLACK

It could be years before scientists succeed in bringing species back from extinction, but they are thinking of ways to give new life to creatures like woolly mammoths and weird frogs.

By GINA KOLATA

See the original post:

Cloning – The New York Times

The Libertarian Case for a Basic Income | Libertarianism.org

 Basic Income Guarantee  Comments Off on The Libertarian Case for a Basic Income | Libertarianism.org
Jun 192016
 

Dec 5, 2013

Guaranteeing a minimum income to the poor is better than our current system of welfare, Zwolinski argues. And it can be justified by libertarian principles.

This morning, I did a short interview with the Cato Institute about the libertarian case for a Basic Income Guarantee. The immediate stimulus for the conversation was the recent Swiss proposal to pay each and every and every citizen 2,500 francs (about 2,800 USD) per month. But conversation quickly turned to the question of whether some form of basic income proposal might be compatible with libertarianism. Some of my colleagues at Bleeding Heart Libertarians have certainly expressed enthusiasm for it in the past. And over at Reason.com, Matthew Feeney recently published a short but favorable writeup of the idea.

Of course, as with any policy proposal, the details matter a lot. And the Swiss proposal is problematic in a number of ways. For starters, 2,800 USD a month means that a married couple could get $67,200 per year for doing nothing. And while its true that Switzerland is one of the richest countries in the world in terms of per capita income, thats still an awful lot of money. Furthermore, the Swiss proposal seems to involve implementing a basic income in addition to their currently existing welfare system. Few libertarians would be willing to sign up for that deal. But as a replacement for traditional welfare programs, there is a lot for libertarians to like about a basic income.

Still skeptical? Well, here are three libertarian arguments in support of a Basic Income Guarantee. I begin with a relatively weak proposal that even most hard-core libertarians should be even to accept. I then move to stronger proposals that involve some deviation from the plumb-line view. But only justifiable deviations, of course.

1) A Basic Income Guarantee would be much better than the current welfare state.

Current federal social welfare programs in the United States are an expensive, complicated mess. According to Michael Tanner, the federal government spent more than $668 billion on over one hundred and twenty-six anti-poverty programs in 2012. When you add in the $284 billion spent by state and local governments, that amounts to $20,610 for every poor person in America.

Wouldnt it be better just to write the poor a check?

Each one of those anti-poverty programs comes with its own bureaucracy and its own Byzantine set of rules. If you want to shrink the size and scope of government, eliminating those departments and replacing them with a program so simple it could virtually be administered by a computer seems like a good place to start. Eliminating bloated bureaucracies means more money in the hands of the poor and lower costs to the taxpayer. Win/Win.

A Basic Income Guarantee would also be considerably less paternalistic then the current welfare state, which is the bastard child of conservative judgment and progressive condescension toward the poor, in Andrea Castillos choice words. Conservatives want to help the poor, but only if they can demonstrate that they deserve it by jumping through a series of hoops meant to demonstrate their willingness to work, to stay off drugs, and preferably to settle down into a nice, stable, bourgeois family life. And while progressives generally reject this attempt to impose traditional values on the poor, they have almost always preferred in-kind grants to cash precisely as a way of making sure the poor get the help they really need. Shouldnt we trust poor people to know what they need better than the federal government?

2) A Basic Income Guarantee might be required on libertarian grounds as reparation for past injustice.

One of libertarianisms most distinctive commitments is its belief in the near-inviolability of private property rights. But it does not follow from this commitment that the existing distribution of property rights ought to be regarded as inviolable, because the existing distribution is in many ways the product of past acts of uncompensated theft and violence. However attractive libertarianism might be in theory, LibertarianismStarting Now! has the ring of special pleading, especially when it comes from the mouths of people who have by and large emerged at the top of the bloody and murderous mess that is our collective history.

Radical libertarians have proposed several approaches to dealing with past injustice. But one suggestion that a lot of people seem to forget about comes from an unlikely source. Most people remember Robert Nozicks Anarchy, State, and Utopia as a fairly uncompromising defense of natural-rights libertarianism. And most people remember that Nozick wrote that any state that goes beyond the minimal functions of protecting its citizens negative rights would be itself rights-violating and therefore unjust.

But Nozicks entitlement theory of justice is a historical one, and an important component of that theory is a principle of rectification to deal with past injustice. Nozick himself provided almost no details at all regarding the nature or proper application of this principle (though others have speculated). But in one fascinating passage, Nozick suggests that we might regard patterned principles of justice (like Rawls Difference Principle) as rough rules of thumb for approximating the result of a detailed application of the principle of rectification. Heres what Nozick has to say:

Perhaps it is best to view some patterned principles of distributive justice as rough rules of thumb meant to approximate the general results of applying the principle of rectification of injustice. For example, lacking much historical information, and assuming (1) that victims of injustice generally do worse than they otherwise would and (2) that those from the least well-off group in the society have the highest probabilities of being the (descendants of) victims of the most serious injustice who are owed compensation by those who benefited from the injustices (assumed to be those better off, though sometimes the perpetrators will be others in the worst-off group), then a rough rule of thumb for rectifying injustices might seem to be the following: organize society so as to maximize the position of whatever group ends up least well-off in the society (p. 231).

In a world in which all property was acquired by peaceful processes of labor-mixing and voluntary trade, a tax-funded Basic Income Guarantee might plausibly be held to violate libertarian rights. But our world is not that world. And since we do not have the information that would be necessary to engage in a precise rectification of past injustices, and since simply ignoring those injustices seems unfair, perhaps something like a Basic Income Guarantee can be justified as an approximate rectification?

3. A Basic Income Guarantee might be required to meet the basic needs of the poor.

The previous two arguments both view a basic income as a kind of second-best policy, desirable not for its own sake but either as less-bad than what weve currently got or a necessary corrective to past injustice. But can libertarians go further than this? Could there be a libertarian case for the basic income not as a compromise but as an ideal?

There can and there has.

Both Milton Friedman and Friedrich Hayek advocated for something like a Basic Income Guarantee as a proper function of government, though on somewhat different grounds. Friedmans argument comes in chapter 9 of his Capitalism and Freedom, and is based on the idea that private attempts at relieving poverty involve what he called neighborhood effects or positive externalities. Such externalities, Friedman argues, mean that private charity will be undersupplied by voluntary action.

[W]e might all of us be willing to contribute to the relief of poverty, provided everyone else did. We might not be willing to contribute the same amount without such assurance.

And so, Friedman concludes, some governmental action to alleviate poverty is justified. Specifically, government is justified in setting a floor under the standard of life of every person in the community, a floor that takes the form of his famous Negative Income Tax proposal.

Friedrich Hayeks argument, appearing 17 years later in volume 3 of his Law, Legislation, and Liberty, is even more powerful. Heres the crucial passage:

The assurance of a certain minimum income for everyone, or a sort of floor below which nobody need fall even when he is unable to provide for himself, appears not only to be wholly legitimate protection against a risk common to all, but a necessary part of the Great Society in which the individual no longer has specific claims on the members of the particular small group into which he was born. (emphasis added)

To those who know of Hayek only through second-hand caricatures of his argument from The Road to Serfdom, his claim here will no doubt be surprising. But as my colleague Kevin Vallier has documented repeatedly, Hayek was not opposed to the welfare state as such (not even in the Road to Serfdom). At the very least, he regarded certain aspects of the welfare state as permissible options that states might pursue. But the passage above suggests that he may have had an even stronger idea in mind – that a basic income is not merely a permissible option but a mandatory requirement of democratic legitimacy – a policy that must be instituted in order to justify the coercive power that even a Hayekian state would exercise over its citizens.

I said in the beginning of this essay that in evaluating basic income proposals, the details matter a lot. But in the arguments above, Ive mostly put those details to the side, even glossing over the difference, for instance, between a Basic Income Guarantee and a Negative Income Tax. Before I close, I want to say at least a little about the different policy options. But there are a lot of different options, and a lot of details to each. So bear in mind that what follows is only a sketch.

A Basic Income Guarantee involves something like an unconditional grant of income to every citizen. So, on most proposals, everybody gets a check each month. Unconditional here means mostly that the check is not conditional on ones wealth or poverty or willingness to work. But some proposals, like Charles Murrays, would go only to adult citizens. And almost all proposals are given only to citizens. Most proposals specify that income earned on top of the grant is subject to taxation at progressive rates, but the grant itself is not.

A Negative Income Tax involves issuing a credit to those who fall below the threshold of tax liability, based on how far below the threshold they fall. So the amount of money one receives (the negative income tax) decreases as ones earnings push one up to the threshold of tax liability, until it reaches zero, and then as one earns more money one begins to pay the government money (the positive income tax).

The Earned Income Tax Credit is the policy we actually have in place currently in the United States. It was inspired by Friedmans Negative Income Tax proposal, but falls short in that it applies only to persons who are actually working.

The US Basic Income Guarantee Network has a nice and significantly more detailed overview of some of the different policies. You can watch Milton Friedman explain his Negative Income Tax proposal with characteristic clarity to William F. Buckley here. And for an extended and carefully thought out defense of one particular Basic Income Guarantee proposal from a libertarian perspective, I highly recommend Charles Murrays short book, In Our Hands: A Plan to Replace the Welfare State.

1) Disincentives – One of the most common objections to Basic Income Guarantees is that they would create objectionably strong disincentives to employment. And those who make this objection can draw some support from experimental studies with the Negative Income Tax in the United States in the 1960s and 70s.

But the significance of this objection depends a lot on the details of the proposal under consideration, and is probably overstated, anyway. After all, with a Basic Income Guarantee, the money you get is yours to keep. You dont lose it if you take a job and start earning money. And so in that way the disincentives to employment it creates are probably less severe than those created by currently existing welfare programs where employment income is often a bar to eligibility.

With a Negative Income Tax, the disincentives are there, but arguably at an acceptable level. After all, under a NIT if you are unemployed and then you get a job, youre going to have more money as a result. You wont keep all of the money. But nobody keeps all of the money they earn from their job – a large chunk of it goes to taxes. Its the same idea here, except in reverse – hence, the label of negative income tax.

2) Effects on Migration – When most people think about helping the poor, they forget about two groups that are largely invisible – poor people in other countries, and poor people who havent been born yet (see this paper by Tyler Cowen for more). With respect to the first of those groups, I think (and have argued before) that there is a real worry that a Basic Income Guarantee in the United States would create pressures to restrict immigration even more than it already is. After all, when every new immigrant is one more person collecting a check from your tax dollars, its not entirely unreasonable to view those immigrants as a threat, and to be more willing to use the coercive power of the state to keep them out. That worries me, because I think the last thing anybody with a bleeding heart ought to want to do is to block the poorest of the poor from access to what has been one of the most effective anti-poverty programs ever devised – namely, a policy of relatively open immigration into the relatively free economy of the United States. Especially when ones justification for doing so is merely to provide a bit of extra cash to people who are already citizens of one of the wealthiest countries on the face of the planet.

3) Effects on Economic Growth – Even a modest slowdown of economic growth can have dramatic effects when compounded over a period of decades. And so even if whatever marginal disincentives a Basic Income Guarantee would produce wouldnt do much to hurt currently existing people, it might do a lot to hurt people who will be born at some point in the future. Heres a thought experiment for the mathematically inclined among you: imagine that Americans in 1800 decided to institute a social welfare policy that reduced annual economic growth by 1%, and that the policy was maintained intact to the present day. How much poorer a country would America be? How much poorer would the poorest Americans be? Even if the only thing you cared about was improving the lot of the poor, would whatever benefits the policy produced have been worth it?

Tyler Cowen and Jim Manzi put forward what seem to me to be the most damning objections to a Basic Income Guarantee – that however attractive the idea may be in theory, any actually implemented policy will be subject to political tinkering and rent-seeking until it starts to look just as bad as, if not worse than, what weve already got. Murrays proposal to implement a Basic Income Guarantee via a constitutional amendment that simultaneously eliminates all other redistributive programs goes some way toward insulating the policy from the pressures of ordinary politics. But Im not sure its enough.

The journal Basic Income Studies published a special issue on libertarianism and the Basic Income Guarantee, with contributions from me , Mike Munger , Pete Boettke and Adam Martin , Dan Moseley , Dan Layman , Brian Powell , and Peter Vallentyne .

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The Libertarian Case for a Basic Income | Libertarianism.org

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Wage-Slavery and Republican Liberty | Jacobin

 Wage Slavery  Comments Off on Wage-Slavery and Republican Liberty | Jacobin
Jun 192016
 

Generations of workers critiqued wage-labor in the name of republican liberty.

In a recent interview, historian Quentin Skinner had the following to say about Karl Marx and the republican theory of liberty. The republican or neo-Roman theory says that we are unfree when we are subject to another persons will:

I am very struck by the extent to which Marx deploys, in his own way, a neo-Roman political vocabulary. He talks about wage slaves, and he talks about the dictatorship of the proletariat. He insists that, if you are free only to sell your labour, then you are not free at all. He stigmatises capitalism as a form of servitude. These are all recognizably neo-Roman moral commitments.

Skinner also says that this is a question which would bear a great deal more investigation than it has received.

I have been engaging in some of this investigation. It is not just Marx or even primarily Marx who believed that the neo-roman theory of freedom leads directly to a critique of wage-slavery. As early as the late 1820s, urban workers seized on the inherited republicanism of the American Revolution and applied it to the wage-labor relationship. They organized themselves city-by-city into the first self-conscious political parties of labor and their main campaign was against wage-slavery.

They argued that the wealthy keep us in a state of humble dependence through their monopoly control of the means of production. As Thomas Skidmore, founder of the Workingmens Party of New York, put it:

thousands of our people of the present day in deep distress and poverty, dependent for their daily subsistence upon a few among us whom the unnatural operation of our own free and republican institutions, as we are pleased to call them, has thus arbitrarily and barbarously made enormously rich.

Their humble dependence meant that they had no choice but to sell their labor to some employer or another. Their only chance of leading a decent life was if some employer would give them a job. Though formally free, these workers were nonetheless economically dependent and thus unfree. That is why they saw themselves as denied their rightful republican liberty, and why wage-labor merited the name slavery. Skidmore made the comparison with classical slavery the most explicit:

For he, in all countries is a slave, who must work more for another than that other must work for him. It does not matter how this state of things is brought about; whether the sword of victory hew down the liberty of the captive, and thus compel him to labor for his conqueror, or whether the sword of want extort our consent, as it were, to a voluntary slavery, through a denial to us of the materials of nature

The critique of wage-slavery in the name of republican liberty could hardly be clearer.

Given their analysis of wage-labor, these artisan republicans were inexorably led to radical conclusions about the conditions that could restore workers their full independence. Every leading figure of these early workingmens parties made some form of the argument that the principles of equal distribution [of property be] everywhere adopted or that it was necessary to equalize property. Here, the property to be equally distributed was clearly means of production. And it was to be distributed not just in the form of land, but cooperative control over factories and other implements.

For instance, the major report articulating the principles of the Workingmens Party of New York included the demand for AN EQUAL AMOUNT OF PROPERTY ON ARRIVING AT THE AGE OF MATURITY. Only with control over this kind of property could workers structural dependence on owners be eliminated. For these Workies following out the logic of the republican theory led not to a nostalgic, agrarian idealism, but to the view that each persons independence depended upon everyone possessing equal and collective control of productive resources. Even more striking, they argued that the only way to achieve this condition of independence was through the joint political efforts of the dependent or enslaved class.

As Langdon Byllesby, one of the earliest of these worker republicans, wrote, history does not furnish an instance wherein the depository of power voluntarily abrogated its prerogative, or the oppressor relinquished his advantages in favour of the oppressed. It was up to the dependent classes, through the agency of their workingmens parties, to realize a cooperative commonwealth.

There is an important historical connection between these radical artisans and Marx. As Maximilen Rubel and Lewis Feuer have shown, just at the time that Marx turned from Hegelian philosophy to political economy, in 18412, he began to read comparative political history. He was particularly interested in the American republic, and read three main sources: Beaumont, Tocqueville, and a less well-known Englishman, Thomas Hamilton. Hamilton was a former colonel who wrote his own, very popular observation of his time traveling in the United States called Men and Manners in America, published in 1833. For Marx, Hamilton was the best source of the three because Hamilton, unlike the Frenchmen, actually met with and spoke to leaders of the Workingmans Party of New York. That section of Hamiltons travelogue includes ominous references to the Extreme Gauche of the Workies who wish to introduce an AGRARIAN LAW, and a periodical division of property, and includes gloomy reflections on the coming anarchy and despoliation. It is these very sections of Hamilton that Marx copied into his notebooks during this period of preparatory study.

Unbeknown to Marx, he was copying a copy. In those sections of Men and Manners Hamilton had essentially transcribed parts of Thomas Skidmores report to the Workingmens Party of New York, which were a distillation of the ideas that could be found in Skidmores lengthy The Rights of Man to Property! Skidmores book included the argument that property rights were invalid if they were used to make the poor economically dependent, allowing owners to live in idleness, partial or total, thus supporting himself, more or less, on the labors of others.

If property rights were illegitimate the minute they were used to make some dependent on others then it was clear all freedom-loving citizens were justified in transforming property relations in the name of republican liberty. This was why Skidmore proposed the radical demand that the workers APPROPRIATE ALSO, in the same way, THE COTTON FACTORIES, THE WOOLEN FACTORIES, THE IRON FOUNDERIES, THE ROLLING MILLS, HOUSES, CHURCHES, SHIPS, GOODS, STEAM-BOATS, FIELDS OF AGRICULTURE, &c. &c. &c. in manner as proposed in this work, AND AS IS THEIR RIGHT. The manner proposed for this expropriation of the expropriators was not violent revolution but a state constitutional convention in which all property would be nationalized and then redistributed in shares of equal value to be used to form cooperatives or buy land.

Marx never knew these labor republicans by name, nor any of their primary writings, but it is clear from his notebooks that their ideas and political self-organization contributed to his early thinking, especially at the moment at which he was formulating his view of workers as the universal class. Indeed, in On the Jewish Question, Beaumont, Tocqueville and the Englishman Hamiltons accounts of the United States feature heavily in Marxs discussion of America. It is there that Marx makes the famous distinction between political and human emancipation, arguing that the American republic shows us most clearly the distinction between the two. This was almost exactly the same distinction that the Workies made when saying, as Philadelphian Samuel Simpson did, the consequence now is, that while the government is republican, society in its general features, is as regal as it is in England. A republican theory of wage-slavery was developed well before Marx (see here for evidence of similar developments in France that were also very likely to have influenced Marx).

In the United States, the republican critique of wage-labor went into abeyance for a time after the 1840s, or more appropriately, it was absorbed into the agrarian socialism of the National Reform Association a tale masterfully told by the historian Mark Lause in Young America: Land, Labor and Republican Community. But labor republicanism exploded back onto the political scene in the United States after the Civil War, especially with leading figures around the Knights of Labor and the eight-hour movement. The Knights were for a time one of the most powerful organizations in the country, organized skilled and unskilled labor together, and at their peak included more than 700,000official members, probably representing more than 1 million participating workers. The Knights used the republican concept of liberty to assert the universal interests of labor and to argue for the transformation of American society. George McNeill, a leading Knight, wrote that There is an inevitable and irresistible conflict between the wage-system of labor and the republican system of government. Ira Steward, most famous as an eight-hour campaigner, demanded a a republicanization of labor, as well as a republicanization of government.

These turns of phrase were more than rhetorical gestures. They were self-conscious appeals to the republican theory. Indeed the Journal of United Labor even reproduced a famous passage on slavery from Algernon Sidneys Discourses on Government in order to articulate why wage-labor was a form of servitude. The passage goes:

Slavery. The weight of chains, number of stripes, hardness of labor, and other effects of a masters cruelty, may make one servitude more miserable than another; but he is a slave who serves the gentlest man in the world, as well as he who serves the worst; and he does serve him if he must obey his commands and depend upon his will.

This passage, and Sidneys writings, have played a major role in contemporary scholarship on early modern republicanism, and here it is deployed to critique not the political enslavement to a monarch but wage-slavery.

In fact, the labor republicans not only drew on the republican theory but further developed it in light of the new dynamics of industrial capitalism. They noted that there were two interconnected forms of dependence. One was the general or structural dependence of the wage-laborer on employers, defined by the fact that the monopoly of control over productive property by some left the rest dependent upon those owners for their livelihoods. This, as George McNeil put it, meant that workers assent but they do not consent, they submit but do not agree.

The voluntaristic language here was meant to capture how, thought the workers were not literally slaves, they were nonetheless compelled to work for others. As Skinner has shown in his book on Hobbes, it is precisely this conflation of voluntaristic action and freedom that modern republicans have always rejected, and which their enemies, like Hobbes, have regularly defended. Though here, the workers dependence was not a feature so much of being the legal property of another as it was being forced, by economic need, to sell his labor:

when a man is placed in a position where he is compelled to give the benefit of his labor to another, he is in a condition of slavery, whether the slave is held in chattel bondage or in wages bondage, he is equally a slave.

Emancipation may have eliminated chattel slavery, but, as eight-hour campaigner Ira Steward once put it, the creation of this new form of economic dependence meant something of slavery still remainssomething of freedom is yet to come.

According to labor republicans, the structural dependence of the wage-laborer was translated, through the labor contract, to a more personal form of servitude to the employer. After all, the contract was an agreement of obedience in exchange for wages. It was an agreement to alienate control over ones own activity in exchange for the privilege of having enough money to buy necessities, and perhaps a few luxuries. Indeed, even if the wages were fairly high, the point of the contract was to become subject to the will of a specific owner or his manager. As one anonymous author put it, in the Journal of United Labor, Is there a workshop where obedience is not demanded not to the difficulties or qualities of the labor to be performed but to the caprice of he who pays the wages of his servants? As nearly every scholar of republican thought has noted, the language of being subject to the caprice of another is one of the most enduring rhetorical tropes of the neo-Roman theory of freedom. It is no accident that it would feature so heavily in labor republican arguments about domination in the workplace.

It was for this reason that the Knights of Labor believed that the only way to republicanize labor was to abolish as rapidly as possible, the wage system, substituting co-operation therefore. The point about a cooperative system was that property was collectively owned and work cooperatively managed. Only when the class differences between owners and workers were removed could republican liberty be truly universalized. It would, at once, remove the structural and personal dependence of workers.

As William H. Silvis, one of the earliest of these figures, argued, cooperation renders the workman independent of necessities which often compel him to submit to hectoring, domineering, and insults of every kind. What clearer statement could there be of the connection between the republican theory of liberty, economic dependence, and the modern wage-system? Here was a series of arguments that flowed naturally from the principles of the American Revolution.

To demand that there is to be a people in industry, as in government was simply to argue that the cooperative commonwealth was nothing more than the culmination and completion of the American Revolutions republican aspirations.

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Wage-Slavery and Republican Liberty | Jacobin

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William Wilberforce: biography and bibliography

 Abolition Of Work  Comments Off on William Wilberforce: biography and bibliography
Jun 192016
 

Biography William Wilberforce is perhaps the best known of the abolitionists. He came from a prosperous merchant family of Kingston-upon-Hull, a North Sea port which saw little in the way of slave trading. (His birthplace is now preserved as the Wilberforce House Museum.) At twenty-one, the youngest age at which one could be so elected, he was returned to Parliament for his native town. Four years later he was again returned to Parliament, this time for the county seat of Yorkshire which was large and populous, and which therefore required an expensive election contest. The advantage was that the election, being genuinely democratic, conferred a greater legitimacy to the two Members which that county returned to Parliament. Wilberforce’s early years in Parliament were not untypical for a young back-bencher. He was noted for his eloquence and charm, attributes no doubt enhanced by his considerable wealth, but he did not involve himself at first with any great cause. A sudden conversion to evangelical Christianity in 1785 changed that and from then onwards he approached politics from a position of strict Christian morality. In 1786 he carried through the House of Commons a bill for amending criminal law which failed to pass the Lords, a pattern which was to be repeated during his abolitionist career. The following year he founded the Proclamation Society which had as its aim the suppression of vice and the reformation of public manners. Later in 1787 he became, at the suggestion of the Prime Minister, William Pitt the Younger, the parliamentary leader of the abolition movement, although he did not officially join the Abolition Society until 1794.

The story of Pitt’s conversation with Wilberforce under an old tree near Croydon has passed into the mythology of the anti-slavery movement. The result was that Wilberforce returned to London having promised to look over the evidence which Thomas Clarkson had amassed against the trade. As he did so he clearly become genuinely horrified and resolved to give the abolition movement his support. Working closely with Clarkson, he presented evidence to a committee of the Privy Council during 1788. This episode did not go as planned. Some of the key witnesses against the trade, apparently bribed or intimidated, changed their story and testified in favour. In the country at large abolitionist sentiment was growing rapidly. While the king’s illness and the Regency Bill crisis no doubt supplanted the slave trade as the chief topic of political conversation in the winter of 1788-9, by the spring the king had recovered and abolition was once more at the top of the agenda. It was under these circumstances that Wilberforce prepared to present his Abolition Bill before the House of Commons. This speech, the most important of Wilberforce’s life to that point, was praised in the newspapers as being one of the most eloquent ever to have been heard in the house. Indeed, The Star reported that ‘the gallery of the House of Commons on Tuesday was crowded with Liverpool Merchants; who hung their heads in sorrow – for the African occupation of bolts and chains is no more’.

The newspaper was premature in sounding the death knell of the slave trade. After the 1789 speech parliamentary delaying tactics came into play. Further evidence was requested and heard over the summer months and then, on 23 June 1789, the matter was adjourned until the next session. Wilberforce left town, holidaying at Buxton with Hannah More, confident that the next session would see a resolution of the debate and abolition of the trade. It did not and by January 1790 the question was deemed to be taking up so much parliamentary time that consideration of the evidence was moved upstairs (as parliamentary jargon has it) to a Select Committee. Evidence in favour of the trade was heard until April, followed by evidence against. In June Pitt called an early general election. Wilberforce was safely returned as a Member for Yorkshire, but parliamentary business was disrupted. Despite being behind schedule, Wilberforce continued to work for an abolition which it appeared the country wanted. News of the slave rebellion in Dominica reached Britain in February 1791 and hardened attitudes against abolition, but Wilberforce pressed on. After almost two years of delay the debate finally resumed and Wilberforce again addressed the Commons on 18 April 1791.

When, on the following night, the House divided on the question of abolition fewer than half of its Members remained to vote. Because of this or not, the Abolition Bill fell with a majority of 75 against abolishing the slave trade. Wilberforce and the other members of the Abolition Committee returned to the task of drumming up support for abolition both from Members of Parliament and from ordinary people. More petitions were collected, further meetings held, extra pamphlets published, and a boycott of sugar was organised. The campaign was not helped by news of the revolutions in France and Haiti. Perhaps sensing that a hardening of attitudes was becoming increasingly likely Wilberforce again brought the question of abolition before the House and, almost a year after the previous defeat, on 2 April 1792, once more found himself addressing the House of Commons. Every account we have of this speech shows that it was an intense and lengthy emotional harangue. Public feeling was outraged and, on this occasion, so was the feeling of the House. But not quite enough. Henry Dundas suggested an amendment to the Abolition Bill: the introduction of the word ‘gradual’. The bill passed as amended, by 230 votes to 85, and gradual abolition became law, the final date for slave trading to remain legal being later fixed at 1796. But this gave the ‘West India Interest’ – the slave traders’ lobby – room to manoeuvre. Once again parliamentary delaying tactics came into play, further evidence was demanded, and it became clear that gradual abolition was to mean no abolition.

This event marked a turning point in the fortunes of the abolition camapign. Partly because of a hardening of attitudes caused by the outbreak of war with France, and partly because of determined resistance from the West-India Interest there was a collapse in public enthusiasm for the cause. Some abolitionists withdrew from the campaign entirely. Wilberforce did not, but his speeches fell on ever deafer ears. Although Wilberforce reintroduced the Abolition Bill almost every year in the 1790s, little progress was made even though Wilberforce remained optimistic for the long-term success of the cause. He directed some of his efforts into other arenas, largely evangelical or philanthropic, and was instrumental in setting up organisations such as The Bible Society and The Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor. In 1797 he published a book, A Practical view of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, a work of popular theology with a strong evangelical hue which sold well on publication and throughout the nineteenth century. On 30 May 1797, after a short romance, he married Barbara Ann Spooner.

If the first two years of the new century were particularly bleak ones for the abolition movement, the situation was rapidly reversed in 1804. The association of abolitionism with Jacobinism dispersed as Napoleon’s hostility to emancipation became known. Members of Parliament, especially the many new Irish members, increasingly tended toward abolition. The Abolition Society reformed with a mixture of experienced older members and new blood. Wilberforce assumed his old role of parliamentary leader, and introduced the Abolition Bill before parliament. The Bill fell in 1804 and 1805, but gave the abolitionists an opportunity to sound out support. In 1806, Wilberforce published an influential tract advocating abolition and, in June that year, resolutions supporting abolition were passed in parliament. A public campaign once again promoted the cause, and the new Whig government was in favour as well. In January 1807, the Abolition Bill was once again introduced, this time attracting very considerable support, and, on 23 February 1807, almost fifteen years after Dundas had effectively wrecked abolition with his gradualist amendment, Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of abolition of the slave trade. During the debate the then Solicitor-General, Sir Samuel Romilly, spoke against the trade. His speech concluded with a long and emotional tribute to Wilberforce in which he contrasted the peaceful happiness of Wilberforce in his bed with the tortured sleeplessness of the guilty Napoleon Bonaparte. In the words of Romilly’s biographer;

The Abolition Act received the Royal Assent (became law) on 25 March 1807 but, although the trade in slaves had become illegal in British ships, slavery remained a reality in British colonies. Wilberforce himself was privately convinced that the institution of slavery should be entirely abolished, but understood that there was little political will for emancipation. Already recognised as an elder statesman in his 50s, Wilberforce received a steady throng of visitors and supplicants, and he became involved in many of the political questions of the day. He supported Catholic Emancipation and the Corn Laws. His health was poor, however, and in 1812 he resigned the large and arduous seat of Yorkshire for the pocket borough of Bramber. In the same year he started work on the Slave Registration Bill, which he saw as necessary to ensure compliance with the Abolition Act. If slaves were registered, he argued, it could be proved whether or not they had been recently transported from Africa. The Prime Minister, Spencer Perceval, supported the Bill, but was assassinated shortly after. Thereafter, Wilberforce’s efforts met with increasing resistance from the government. In 1815, with the government again blocking progress, Wilberforce publically declared that as they would not support him, he felt himself no longer bound by their line on emancipation. From this time on, Wilberforce campaigned openly for an end to the institution of slavery.

Wilberforce’s health, never good, was deteriorating. Although now free to speak his mind on emancipation, he was never able to campaign with the same vigour that he had done for abolition of the trade. However, he continued to attack slavery both at public meetings and in the House of Commons. In 1823, he published another pamphlet attacking slavery. This pamphlet was connected with the foundation of The Anti-Slavery Society which led the campaign to emancipate all slaves in British colonies. Leadership of the parliamentary campaign, however, was passed from Wilberforce to Thomas Fowell Buxton. In 1825, Wilberforce resigned from the House of Commons. He enjoyed a quiet retirement at Mill Hill, just north of London, although he suffered some financial difficulties. His last public appearance was at a meeting of the Anti-Slavery Society in 1830, at which, at Thomas Clarkson’s suggestion, he took the chair. In parliament, the Emancipation Bill gathered support and received its final commons reading on 26 July 1833. Slavery would be abolished, but the planters would be heavily compensated. ‘Thank God’, said Wilberforce, ‘that I have lived to witness a day in which England is willing to give twenty millions sterling for the Abolition of Slavery’. Three days later, on 29 July 1833, he died. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.

Brycchan Carey 2000-2002

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William Wilberforce: biography and bibliography

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Synthetic Life – Robotoids, Parasites and Artificial …

 Transhumanism  Comments Off on Synthetic Life – Robotoids, Parasites and Artificial …
Jun 192016
 

– 2045 – The Year Man Becomes Immortal

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– A Major Mystery in Newly Created Life-Form

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– Dr. Dan Burisch – Area 51 Microbiologist – Main File

– Entrevista Con Un/Una Robot

– Escuchen, escuchen…! Cientficos Crean Orejas de Apariencia Humana con Impresora 3D

– Expertos Advierten a Panel de Naciones Unidas sobre Peligros de la Sper Inteligencia Artificial

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– Hardware and Software Combining to Replicate the Human Brain

– Hear, hear!… Scientists Create Human-Like Ears with 3D Printing

– ‘Human Rights Watch’ Warns Against DARPA Development of Autonomous Synthetic Soldiers

– Humans Fully Outsourced to Robots by 2045?

– Human Simulacra On The Manipulation of Society Via Artificial/Reprogrammed Humans

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– Introduccin a La Biologa Sinttica

– Introduction to Synthetic Biology

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– Possession and Predation – Aliens, Flyers, Clones, and Reptilians – The Enigma of Extraterrestrial Parasites

– Project Mannequin and James Casbolt – Main File

– Researcher links Artificial Intelligence, Geoengineering, Smart Dust and Morgellons to ET’s

– ‘Robot Baby Project’ Mimics Sexual Reproduction to Let Robots ‘Evolve’

– Robotics Revolution to Replace Most Human Workers in Three Generations – Labor Class to Be Systematically Eliminated

– Robots and Computers Could Take Half Our Jobs Within the Next 20 Years – Oxford Professors Say

– Robots, Inteligencia Artificial y El Futuro de Los Humanos

– Scientists Create 1st Living Organism from Artificial DNA

– Scientists Create First Living Organism that Transmits Added Letters in DNA ‘Alphabet’

– Scientists Create Synthetic Life in Lab

– Scientists Talk Privately about Creating a Synthetic Human Genome

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– Sintticos

– SKYNET is Real!

– Soul Technology

– Synthetic Biology – Creating New Life Forms by Rearranging DNA

– Synthetic Life – Biologists Are Crafting Libraries of Interchangeable DNA Parts

– Synthetics

– Tecnologa de Almas

– The Biological and The Silicon – Modifying Humans for Space Travel

– The Evolution of The Humanoid Robot

– The Future of YOU – This is the Human Body Designed by 3D Printers

– The Man Who’s Building a Computer Made of Brains

– The Scientific Background of The Russian Organic Robotoids – from ‘Wisconsin Report – Complete Dr.Beter Audio Letters’

– The Synthetic Agenda – The Distorted Heart of the New World Order

– Transbiologa

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– Transhumanism – Main File

– Un Avance en Robtica que pone en Peligro a Toda la Humanidad

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Synthetic Life – Robotoids, Parasites and Artificial …

War on Drugs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 War On Drugs  Comments Off on War on Drugs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

“The War on Drugs” is an American term commonly applied to a campaign of prohibition of drugs, military aid, and military intervention, with the stated aim being to reduce the illegal drug trade.[6][7] This initiative includes a set of drug policies that are intended to discourage the production, distribution, and consumption of psychoactive drugs that the participating governments and the UN have made illegal. The term was popularized by the media shortly after a press conference given on June 18, 1971, by United States President Richard Nixonthe day after publication of a special message from President Nixon to the Congress on Drug Abuse Prevention and Controlduring which he declared drug abuse “public enemy number one”. That message to the Congress included text about devoting more federal resources to the “prevention of new addicts, and the rehabilitation of those who are addicted”, but that part did not receive the same public attention as the term “war on drugs”.[8][9][10] However, two years even prior to this, Nixon had formally declared a “war on drugs” that would be directed toward eradication, interdiction, and incarceration.[11] Today, the Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates that the United States spends $51 billion annually on these initiatives.[12]

On May 13, 2009, Gil Kerlikowskethe Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP)signaled that the Obama administration did not plan to significantly alter drug enforcement policy, but also that the administration would not use the term “War on Drugs”, because Kerlikowske considers the term to be “counter-productive”.[13] ONDCP’s view is that “drug addiction is a disease that can be successfully prevented and treated… making drugs more available will make it harder to keep our communities healthy and safe”.[14] One of the alternatives that Kerlikowske has showcased is the drug policy of Sweden, which seeks to balance public health concerns with opposition to drug legalization. The prevalence rates for cocaine use in Sweden are barely one-fifth of those in Spain, the biggest consumer of the drug.[15]

In June 2011, a self-appointed Global Commission on Drug Policy released a critical report on the War on Drugs, declaring: “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world. Fifty years after the initiation of the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, and years after President Nixon launched the US government’s war on drugs, fundamental reforms in national and global drug control policies are urgently needed.”[16] The report was criticized by organizations that oppose a general legalization of drugs.[14]

The first U.S. law that restricted the distribution and use of certain drugs was the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914. The first local laws came as early as 1860.[17]

In 1919, the United States passed the 18th Amendment, prohibiting the sale, manufacture, and transportation of alcohol, with exceptions for religious and medical use.

In 1920, the United States passed the National Prohibition Act (Volstead Act), enacted to carry out the provisions in law of the 18th Amendment.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics was established in the United States Department of the Treasury by an act of June 14, 1930 (46 Stat. 585).[18]

In 1933, the federal prohibition for alcohol was repealed by passage of the 21st Amendment.

In 1935, President Franklin D. Roosevelt publicly supported the adoption of the Uniform State Narcotic Drug Act. The New York Times used the headline “Roosevelt Asks Narcotic War Aid”.[19][20]

In 1937, the Marijuana Transfer Tax Act was passed. Several scholars have claimed that the goal was to destroy the hemp industry,[21][22][23] largely as an effort of businessmen Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst, and the Du Pont family.[21][23] These scholars argue that with the invention of the decorticator, hemp became a very cheap substitute for the paper pulp that was used in the newspaper industry.[21][24] These scholars believe that Hearst felt[dubious discuss] that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon, United States Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America, had invested heavily in the DuPont’s new synthetic fiber, nylon, and considered[dubious discuss] its success to depend on its replacement of the traditional resource, hemp.[21][25][26][27][28][29][30][31] However, there were circumstances that contradict these claims. One reason for doubts about those claims is that the new decorticators did not perform fully satisfactorily in commercial production.[32] To produce fiber from hemp was a labor-intensive process if you include harvest, transport and processing. Technological developments decreased the labor with hemp but not sufficient to eliminate this disadvantage.[33][34]

The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what Im saying? We knew we couldnt make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

Although Nixon declared “drug abuse” to be public enemy number one in 1971,[37] the policies that his administration implemented as part of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 were a continuation of drug prohibition policies in the U.S., which started in 1914.[38][39]

The Nixon Administration also repealed the federal 210-year mandatory minimum sentences for possession of marijuana and started federal demand reduction programs and drug-treatment programs. Robert DuPont, the “Drug czar” in the Nixon Administration, stated it would be more accurate to say that Nixon ended, rather than launched, the “war on drugs”. DuPont also argued that it was the proponents of drug legalization that popularized the term “war on drugs”.[14][unreliable source?]

On October 27, 1970, Congress passes the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which, among other things, categorizes controlled substances based on their medicinal use and potential for addiction.[38]

In 1971, two congressmen released an explosive report on the growing heroin epidemic among U.S. servicemen in Vietnam; ten to fifteen percent of the servicemen were addicted to heroin, and President Nixon declared drug abuse to be “public enemy number one”.[38][40]

In 1973, the Drug Enforcement Administration was created to replace the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.[38]

In 1982, Vice President George H. W. Bush and his aides began pushing for the involvement of the CIA and U.S. military in drug interdiction efforts.[41]

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) was originally established by the National Narcotics Leadership Act of 1988,[42][43] which mandated a national anti-drug media campaign for youth, which would later become the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.[44] The director of ONDCP is commonly known as the Drug czar,[38] and it was first implemented in 1989 under President George H. W. Bush,[45] and raised to cabinet-level status by Bill Clinton in 1993.[46] These activities were subsequently funded by the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act of 1998.[47][48] The Drug-Free Media Campaign Act of 1998 codified the campaign at 21 U.S.C.1708.[49]

The Global Commission on Drug Policy released a report on June 2, 2011 alleging that “The War On Drugs Has Failed”. The commissioned was made up of 22 self-appointed members including a number of prominent international politicians and writers. U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin also released the first ever National Prevention Strategy.[50]

On May 21, 2012, the U.S. Government published an updated version of its Drug Policy.[51] The director of ONDCP stated simultaneously that this policy is something different from the “War on Drugs”:

At the same meeting was a declaration signed by the representatives of Italy, the Russian Federation, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States in line with this: “Our approach must be a balanced one, combining effective enforcement to restrict the supply of drugs, with efforts to reduce demand and build recovery; supporting people to live a life free of addiction”.[53]

According to Human Rights Watch, the War on Drugs caused soaring arrest rates which deliberately disproportionately targeted African Americans.[55] This was also confirmed by John Ehrlichman, an aide to Nixon, who said that the war on drugs was designed to criminalize and disrupt black and hippie communities.[56]

The present state of incarceration in the U.S. as a result of the war on drugs arrived in several stages. By 1971, different stops on drugs had been implemented for more than 50 years (for e.g. since 1914, 1937 etc.) with only a very small increase of inmates per 100,000 citizens. During the first 9 years after Nixon coined the expression “War on Drugs”, statistics showed only a minor increase in the total number of imprisoned.

After 1980, the situation began to change. In the 1980s, while the number of arrests for all crimes had risen by 28%, the number of arrests for drug offenses rose 126%.[57] The US Department of Justice, reporting on the effects of state initiatives, has stated that, from 1990 through 2000, “the increasing number of drug offenses accounted for 27% of the total growth among black inmates, 7% of the total growth among Hispanic inmates, and 15% of the growth among white inmates.” In addition to prison or jail, the United States provides for the deportation of many non-citizens convicted of drug offenses.[58]

In 1994, the New England Journal of Medicine reported that the “War on Drugs” resulted in the incarceration of one million Americans each year.[59]

In 2008, the Washington Post reported that of 1.5 million Americans arrested each year for drug offenses, half a million would be incarcerated. In addition, one in five black Americans would spend time behind bars due to drug laws.[60]

Federal and state policies also impose collateral consequences on those convicted of drug offenses, such as denial of public benefits or licenses, that are not applicable to those convicted of other types of crime.[61]

In 1986, the U.S. Congress passed laws that created a 100 to 1 sentencing disparity for the possession or trafficking of crack when compared to penalties for trafficking of powder cocaine,[62][63][64][65] which had been widely criticized as discriminatory against minorities, mostly blacks, who were more likely to use crack than powder cocaine.[66] This 100:1 ratio had been required under federal law since 1986.[67] Persons convicted in federal court of possession of 5grams of crack cocaine received a minimum mandatory sentence of 5 years in federal prison. On the other hand, possession of 500grams of powder cocaine carries the same sentence.[63][64] In 2010, the Fair Sentencing Act cut the sentencing disparity to 18:1.[66]

According to Human Rights Watch, crime statistics show thatin the United States in 1999compared to non-minorities, African Americans were far more likely to be arrested for drug crimes, and received much stiffer penalties and sentences.[68]

Statistics from 1998 show that there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-American drug users made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes.[63] Nationwide African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than other races,[69] even though they only supposedly comprised 13% of regular drug users.[63]

Anti-drug legislation over time has also displayed an apparent racial bias. University of Minnesota Professor and social justice author Michael Tonry writes, “The War on Drugs foreseeably and unnecessarily blighted the lives of hundreds and thousands of young disadvantaged black Americans and undermined decades of effort to improve the life chances of members of the urban black underclass.”[70]

In 1968, President Lyndon B. Johnson decided that the government needed to make an effort to curtail the social unrest that blanketed the country at the time. He decided to focus his efforts on illegal drug use, an approach which was in line with expert opinion on the subject at the time. In the 1960s, it was believed that at least half of the crime in the U.S. was drug related, and this number grew as high as 90 percent in the next decade.[71] He created the Reorganization Plan of 1968 which merged the Bureau of Narcotics and the Bureau of Drug Abuse to form the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs within the Department of Justice.[72] The belief during this time about drug use was summarized by journalist Max Lerner in his celebrated[citation needed] work America as a Civilization (1957):

As a case in point we may take the known fact of the prevalence of reefer and dope addiction in Negro areas. This is essentially explained in terms of poverty, slum living, and broken families, yet it would be easy to show the lack of drug addiction among other ethnic groups where the same conditions apply.[73]

Richard Nixon became president in 1969, and did not back away from the anti-drug precedent set by Johnson. Nixon began orchestrating drug raids nationwide to improve his “watchdog” reputation. Lois B. Defleur, a social historian who studied drug arrests during this period in Chicago, stated that, “police administrators indicated they were making the kind of arrests the public wanted”. Additionally, some of Nixon’s newly created drug enforcement agencies would resort to illegal practices to make arrests as they tried to meet public demand for arrest numbers. From 1972 to 1973, the Office of Drug Abuse and Law Enforcement performed 6,000 drug arrests in 18 months, the majority of the arrested black.[74]

The next two Presidents, Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter, responded with programs that were essentially a continuation of their predecessors. Shortly after Ronald Reagan became President in 1981 he delivered a speech on the topic. Reagan announced, “We’re taking down the surrender flag that has flown over so many drug efforts; we’re running up a battle flag.”[75] For his first five years in office, Reagan slowly strengthened drug enforcement by creating mandatory minimum sentencing and forfeiture of cash and real estate for drug offenses, policies far more detrimental to poor blacks than any other sector affected by the new laws.[citation needed]

Then, driven by the 1986 cocaine overdose of black basketball star Len Bias,[dubious discuss] Reagan was able to pass the Anti-Drug Abuse Act through Congress. This legislation appropriated an additional $1.7 billion to fund the War on Drugs. More importantly, it established 29 new, mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses. In the entire history of the country up until that point, the legal system had only seen 55 minimum sentences in total.[76] A major stipulation of the new sentencing rules included different mandatory minimums for powder and crack cocaine. At the time of the bill, there was public debate as to the difference in potency and effect of powder cocaine, generally used by whites, and crack cocaine, generally used by blacks, with many believing that “crack” was substantially more powerful and addictive. Crack and powder cocaine are closely related chemicals, crack being a smokeable, freebase form of powdered cocaine hydrochloride which produces a shorter, more intense high while using less of the drug. This method is more cost effective, and therefore more prevalent on the inner-city streets, while powder cocaine remains more popular in white suburbia. The Reagan administration began shoring public opinion against “crack”, encouraging DEA official Robert Putnam to play up the harmful effects of the drug. Stories of “crack whores” and “crack babies” became commonplace; by 1986, Time had declared “crack” the issue of the year.[77] Riding the wave of public fervor, Reagan established much harsher sentencing for crack cocaine, handing down stiffer felony penalties for much smaller amounts of the drug.[78]

Reagan protg and former Vice-President George H. W. Bush was next to occupy the oval office, and the drug policy under his watch held true to his political background. Bush maintained the hard line drawn by his predecessor and former boss, increasing narcotics regulation when the First National Drug Control Strategy was issued by the Office of National Drug Control in 1989.[79]

The next three presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama continued this trend, maintaining the War on Drugs as they inherited it upon taking office.[80] During this time of passivity by the federal government, it was the states that initiated controversial legislation in the War on Drugs. Racial bias manifested itself in the states through such controversial policies as the “stop and frisk” police practices in New York city and the “three strikes” felony laws began in California in 1994.[81]

In August 2010, President Obama signed the Fair Sentencing Act into law that dramatically reduced the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity between powder and crack cocaine, which disproportionately affected minorities.[82]

A substantial part of the “Drug War” is the “Mexican Drug War.” Many drugs are transported from Mexico into the United States, such as cocaine, marijuana, methamphetamine, and heroin.[citation needed]

The possession of cocaine is illegal in all fifty states, along with crack cocaine (the cheaper version of cocaine but has a much greater penalty). Having possession is when the accused knowingly has it on their person, or in a backpack or purse. The possession of cocaine with no prior conviction, for the first offense, the person will be sentenced to a maximum of one year in prison or fined $1,000, or both. If the person has a prior conviction, whether it is a narcotic or cocaine, they will be sentenced to two years in “prison”, $2,500 fine. or both. With two or more convictions of possession prior to this present offense, they can be sentenced to 90 days in “prison” along with a $5,000 fine.[83]

Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug worldwide. The punishment for possession of it is less than for the possession of cocaine or heroin. In some states in the US the drug is legal. Over 80 million of Americans have tried this type of drug. The Criminal Defense Lawyer article claims that, depending on the age of person and how much the person has been caught for possession, they will be fined and could plea bargain into going to a treatment program versus going to “prison”. In each state the convictions differ along with how much of the “marijuana” they have on their person.[84]

Crystal meth is composed of methamphetamine hydrochloride. It is marketed as either a white powder or in a solid (rock) form. The possession of crystal meth can result in a punishment varying from a fine to a jail sentence. When the convict possessed a lot[clarification needed] of meth on their person, the sentence will be longer.[85]

Heroin is an opiate that is highly addictive. If caught selling or possessing heroin, a perpetrator can be charged with a felony and face twofour years in prison and could be fined to a maximum of $20,000.[86]

Some scholars have claimed that the phrase “War on Drugs” is propaganda cloaking an extension of earlier military or paramilitary operations.[7] Others have argued that large amounts of “drug war” foreign aid money, training, and equipment actually goes to fighting leftist insurgencies and is often provided to groups who themselves are involved in large-scale narco-trafficking, such as corrupt members of the Colombian military.[6]

From 1963 to the end of the Vietnam War in 1975, marijuana usage became common among U.S. soldiers in non-combat situations. Some servicemen also used heroin. Many of the servicemen ended the heroin use after returning to the United States but came home addicted. In 1971, the U.S. military conducted a study of drug use among American servicemen and women. It found that daily usage rates for drugs on a worldwide basis were as low as two percent.[87] However, in the spring of 1971, two congressmen released an alarming report alleging that 15% of the servicemen in Vietnam were addicted to heroin. Marijuana use was also common in Vietnam. Soldiers who used drugs had more disciplinary problems. The frequent drug use had become an issue for the commanders in Vietnam; in 1971 it was estimated that 30,000 servicemen were addicted to drugs, most of them to heroin.[9]

From 1971 on, therefore, returning servicemen were required to take a mandatory heroin test. Servicemen who tested positive upon returning from Vietnam were not allowed to return home until they had passed the test with a negative result. The program also offered a treatment for heroin addicts.[88]

Elliot Borin’s article “The U.S. Military Needs its Speed”published in Wired on February 10, 2003reports:

But the Defense Department, which distributed millions of amphetamine tablets to troops during World War II, Vietnam and the Gulf War, soldiers on, insisting that they are not only harmless but beneficial.

In a news conference held in connection with Schmidt and Umbach’s Article 32 hearing, Dr. Pete Demitry, an Air Force physician and a pilot, claimed that the “Air Force has used (Dexedrine) safely for 60 years” with “no known speed-related mishaps.”

The need for speed, Demitry added “is a life-and-death issue for our military.”[89]

One of the first anti-drug efforts in the realm of foreign policy was President Nixon’s Operation Intercept, announced in September 1969, targeted at reducing the amount of cannabis entering the United States from Mexico. The effort began with an intense inspection crackdown that resulted in an almost shutdown of cross-border traffic.[90] Because the burden on border crossings was controversial in border states, the effort only lasted twenty days.[91]

On December 20, 1989, the United States invaded Panama as part of Operation Just Cause, which involved 25,000 American troops. Gen. Manuel Noriega, head of the government of Panama, had been giving military assistance to Contra groups in Nicaragua at the request of the U.S. which, in exchange, tolerated his drug trafficking activities, which they had known about since the 1960s.[92][93] When the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) tried to indict Noriega in 1971, the CIA prevented them from doing so.[92] The CIA, which was then directed by future president George H. W. Bush, provided Noriega with hundreds of thousands of dollars per year as payment for his work in Latin America.[92] When CIA pilot Eugene Hasenfus was shot down over Nicaragua by the Sandinistas, documents aboard the plane revealed many of the CIA’s activities in Latin America, and the CIA’s connections with Noriega became a public relations “liability” for the U.S. government, which finally allowed the DEA to indict him for drug trafficking, after decades of tolerating his drug operations.[92] Operation Just Cause, whose purpose was to capture Noriega and overthrow his government; Noriega found temporary asylum in the Papal Nuncio, and surrendered to U.S. soldiers on January 3, 1990.[94] He was sentenced by a court in Miami to 45 years in prison.[92]

As part of its Plan Colombia program, the United States government currently provides hundreds of millions of dollars per year of military aid, training, and equipment to Colombia,[95] to fight left-wing guerrillas such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC-EP), which has been accused of being involved in drug trafficking.[96]

Private U.S. corporations have signed contracts to carry out anti-drug activities as part of Plan Colombia. DynCorp, the largest private company involved, was among those contracted by the State Department, while others signed contracts with the Defense Department.[97]

Colombian military personnel have received extensive counterinsurgency training from U.S. military and law enforcement agencies, including the School of Americas (SOA). Author Grace Livingstone has stated that more Colombian SOA graduates have been implicated in human rights abuses than currently known SOA graduates from any other country. All of the commanders of the brigades highlighted in a 2001 Human Rights Watch report on Colombia were graduates of the SOA, including the III brigade in Valle del Cauca, where the 2001 Alto Naya Massacre occurred. US-trained officers have been accused of being directly or indirectly involved in many atrocities during the 1990s, including the Massacre of Trujillo and the 1997 Mapiripn Massacre.

In 2000, the Clinton administration initially waived all but one of the human rights conditions attached to Plan Colombia, considering such aid as crucial to national security at the time.[98]

The efforts of U.S. and Colombian governments have been criticized for focusing on fighting leftist guerrillas in southern regions without applying enough pressure on right-wing paramilitaries and continuing drug smuggling operations in the north of the country.[99][100] Human Rights Watch, congressional committees and other entities have documented the existence of connections between members of the Colombian military and the AUC, which the U.S. government has listed as a terrorist group, and that Colombian military personnel have committed human rights abuses which would make them ineligible for U.S. aid under current laws.[citation needed]

In 2010, the Washington Office on Latin America concluded that both Plan Colombia and the Colombian government’s security strategy “came at a high cost in lives and resources, only did part of the job, are yielding diminishing returns and have left important institutions weaker.”[101]

A 2014 report by the RAND Corporation, which was issued to analyze viable strategies for the Mexican drug war considering successes experienced in Columbia, noted:

Between 1999 and 2002, the United States gave Colombia $2.04 billion in aid, 81 percent of which was for military purposes, placing Colombia just below Israel and Egypt among the largest recipients of U.S. military assistance. Colombia increased its defense spending from 3.2 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2000 to 4.19 percent in 2005. Overall, the results were extremely positive. Greater spending on infrastructure and social programs helped the Colombian government increase its political legitimacy, while improved security forces were better able to consolidate control over large swaths of the country previously overrun by insurgents and drug cartels.

It also notes that, “Plan Colombia has been widely hailed as a success, and some analysts believe that, by 2010, Colombian security forces had finally gained the upper hand once and for all.”[102]

The Mrida Initiative is a security cooperation between the United States and the government of Mexico and the countries of Central America. It was approved on June 30, 2008, and its stated aim is combating the threats of drug trafficking and transnational crime. The Mrida Initiative appropriated $1.4 billion in a three-year commitment (20082010) to the Mexican government for military and law enforcement training and equipment, as well as technical advice and training to strengthen the national justice systems. The Mrida Initiative targeted many very important government officials, but it failed to address the thousands of Central Americans who had to flee their countries due to the danger they faced everyday because of the war on drugs. There is still not any type of plan that addresses these people. No weapons are included in the plan.[103][104]

The United States regularly sponsors the spraying of large amounts of herbicides such as glyphosate over the jungles of Central and South America as part of its drug eradication programs. Environmental consequences resulting from aerial fumigation have been criticized as detrimental to some of the world’s most fragile ecosystems;[105] the same aerial fumigation practices are further credited with causing health problems in local populations.[106]

In 2012, the U.S. sent DEA agents to Honduras to assist security forces in counternarcotics operations. Honduras has been a major stop for drug traffickers, who use small planes and landing strips hidden throughout the country to transport drugs. The U.S. government made agreements with several Latin American countries to share intelligence and resources to counter the drug trade. DEA agents, working with other U.S. agencies such as the State Department, the CBP, and Joint Task Force-Bravo, assisted Honduras troops in conducting raids on traffickers’ sites of operation.[107]

The War on Drugs has been a highly contentious issue since its inception. A poll on October 2, 2008, found that three in four Americans believed that the War On Drugs was failing.[108]

At a meeting in Guatemala in 2012, three former presidents from Guatemala, Mexico and Colombia said that the war on drugs had failed and that they would propose a discussion on alternatives, including decriminalization, at the Summit of the Americas in April of that year.[109] Guatemalan President Otto Prez Molina said that the war on drugs was exacting too high a price on the lives of Central Americans and that it was time to “end the taboo on discussing decriminalization”.[110] At the summit, the government of Colombia pushed for the most far-reaching change to drugs policy since the war on narcotics was declared by Nixon four decades prior, citing the catastrophic effects it had had in Colombia.[111]

Several critics have compared the wholesale incarceration of the dissenting minority of drug users to the wholesale incarceration of other minorities in history. Psychiatrist Thomas Szasz, for example, writes in 1997 “Over the past thirty years, we have replaced the medical-political persecution of illegal sex users (‘perverts’ and ‘psychopaths’) with the even more ferocious medical-political persecution of illegal drug users.”[112]

Penalties for drug crimes among American youth almost always involve permanent or semi-permanent removal from opportunities for education, strip them of voting rights, and later involve creation of criminal records which make employment more difficult.[113] Thus, some authors maintain that the War on Drugs has resulted in the creation of a permanent underclass of people who have few educational or job opportunities, often as a result of being punished for drug offenses which in turn have resulted from attempts to earn a living in spite of having no education or job opportunities.[113]

According to a 2008 study published by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron, the annual savings on enforcement and incarceration costs from the legalization of drugs would amount to roughly $41.3 billion, with $25.7 billion being saved among the states and over $15.6 billion accrued for the federal government. Miron further estimated at least $46.7 billion in tax revenue based on rates comparable to those on tobacco and alcohol ($8.7 billion from marijuana, $32.6 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs).[114]

Low taxation in Central American countries has been credited with weakening the region’s response in dealing with drug traffickers. Many cartels, especially Los Zetas have taken advantage of the limited resources of these nations. 2010 tax revenue in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, composed just 13.53% of GDP. As a comparison, in Chile and the U.S., taxes were 18.6% and 26.9% of GDP respectively. However, direct taxes on income are very hard to enforce and in some cases tax evasion is seen as a national pastime.[115]

The status of coca and coca growers has become an intense political issue in several countries, including Colombia and particularly Bolivia, where the president, Evo Morales, a former coca growers’ union leader, has promised to legalise the traditional cultivation and use of coca.[116] Indeed, legalization efforts have yielded some successes under the Morales administration when combined with aggressive and targeted eradication efforts. The country saw a 12-13% decline in coca cultivation[116] in 2011 under Morales, who has used coca growers’ federations to ensure compliance with the law rather than providing a primary role for security forces.[116]

The coca eradication policy has been criticised for its negative impact on the livelihood of coca growers in South America. In many areas of South America the coca leaf has traditionally been chewed and used in tea and for religious, medicinal and nutritional purposes by locals.[117] For this reason many insist that the illegality of traditional coca cultivation is unjust. In many areas the US government and military has forced the eradication of coca without providing for any meaningful alternative crop for farmers, and has additionally destroyed many of their food or market crops, leaving them starving and destitute.[117]

The CIA, DEA, State Department, and several other U.S. government agencies have been implicated in relations with various groups involved in drug trafficking.

Senator John Kerry’s 1988 U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations report on Contra drug links concludes that members of the U.S. State Department “who provided support for the Contras are involved in drug trafficking… and elements of the Contras themselves knowingly receive financial and material assistance from drug traffickers.”[118] The report further states that “the Contra drug links include… payments to drug traffickers by the U.S. State Department of funds authorized by the Congress for humanitarian assistance to the Contras, in some cases after the traffickers had been indicted by federal law enforcement agencies on drug charges, in others while traffickers were under active investigation by these same agencies.”

In 1996, journalist Gary Webb published reports in the San Jose Mercury News,[119] and later in his book Dark Alliance,[120] detailing how Contras, had been involved in distributing crack cocaine into Los Angeles whilst receiving money from the CIA. Contras used money from drug trafficking to buy weapons

Webb’s premise regarding the U.S. Government connection was initially attacked at the time by the media. It is now widely accepted that Webb’s main assertion of government “knowledge of drug operations, and collaboration with and protection of known drug traffickers” was correct.[121] In 1998, CIA Inspector General Frederick Hitz published a two-volume report[122] that while seemingly refuting Webb’s claims of knowledge and collaboration in its conclusions did not deny them in its body.[123] Hitz went on to admit CIA improprieties in the affair in testimony to a House congressional committee. Some of Webb’s work acknowledging is now widely accepted.

According to Rodney Campbell, an editorial assistant to Nelson Rockefeller, during World War II, the United States Navy, concerned that strikes and labor disputes in U.S. eastern shipping ports would disrupt wartime logistics, released the mobster Lucky Luciano from prison, and collaborated with him to help the mafia take control of those ports. Labor union members were terrorized and murdered by mafia members as a means of preventing labor unrest and ensuring smooth shipping of supplies to Europe.[124]

According to Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair, in order to prevent Communist party members from being elected in Italy following World War II, the CIA worked closely with the Sicilian Mafia, protecting them and assisting in their worldwide heroin smuggling operations. The mafia was in conflict with leftist groups and was involved in assassinating, torturing, and beating leftist political organizers.[125]

In 1986, the US Defense Department funded a two-year study by the RAND Corporation, which found that the use of the armed forces to interdict drugs coming into the United States would have little or no effect on cocaine traffic and might, in fact, raise the profits of cocaine cartels and manufacturers. The 175-page study, “Sealing the Borders: The Effects of Increased Military Participation in Drug Interdiction”, was prepared by seven researchers, mathematicians and economists at the National Defense Research Institute, a branch of the RAND, and was released in 1988. The study noted that seven prior studies in the past nine years, including one by the Center for Naval Research and the Office of Technology Assessment, had come to similar conclusions. Interdiction efforts, using current armed forces resources, would have almost no effect on cocaine importation into the United States, the report concluded.[126]

During the early-to-mid-1990s, the Clinton administration ordered and funded a major cocaine policy study, again by RAND. The Rand Drug Policy Research Center study concluded that $3 billion should be switched from federal and local law enforcement to treatment. The report said that treatment is the cheapest way to cut drug use, stating that drug treatment is twenty-three times more effective than the supply-side “war on drugs”.[127]

The National Research Council Committee on Data and Research for Policy on Illegal Drugs published its findings in 2001 on the efficacy of the drug war. The NRC Committee found that existing studies on efforts to address drug usage and smuggling, from U.S. military operations to eradicate coca fields in Colombia, to domestic drug treatment centers, have all been inconclusive, if the programs have been evaluated at all: “The existing drug-use monitoring systems are strikingly inadequate to support the full range of policy decisions that the nation must make…. It is unconscionable for this country to continue to carry out a public policy of this magnitude and cost without any way of knowing whether and to what extent it is having the desired effect.”[128] The study, though not ignored by the press, was ignored by top-level policymakers, leading Committee Chair Charles Manski to conclude, as one observer notes, that “the drug war has no interest in its own results”.[129]

In mid-1995, the US government tried to reduce the supply of methamphetamine precursors to disrupt the market of this drug. According to a 2009 study, this effort was successful, but its effects were largely temporary.[130]

During alcohol prohibition, the period from 1920 to 1933, alcohol use initially fell but began to increase as early as 1922. It has been extrapolated that even if prohibition had not been repealed in 1933, alcohol consumption would have quickly surpassed pre-prohibition levels.[131] One argument against the War on Drugs is that it uses similar measures as Prohibition and is no more effective.

In the six years from 2000 to 2006, the U.S. spent $4.7 billion on Plan Colombia, an effort to eradicate coca production in Colombia. The main result of this effort was to shift coca production into more remote areas and force other forms of adaptation. The overall acreage cultivated for coca in Colombia at the end of the six years was found to be the same, after the U.S. Drug Czar’s office announced a change in measuring methodology in 2005 and included new areas in its surveys.[132] Cultivation in the neighboring countries of Peru and Bolivia increased, some would describe this effect like squeezing a balloon.[133]

Similar lack of efficacy is observed in some other countries pursuing similar[citation needed] policies. In 1994, 28.5% of Canadians reported having consumed illicit drugs in their life; by 2004, that figure had risen to 45%. 73% of the $368 million spent by the Canadian government on targeting illicit drugs in 20042005 went toward law enforcement rather than treatment, prevention or harm reduction.[134]

Richard Davenport-Hines, in his book The Pursuit of Oblivion,[135] criticized the efficacy of the War on Drugs by pointing out that

1015% of illicit heroin and 30% of illicit cocaine is intercepted. Drug traffickers have gross profit margins of up to 300%. At least 75% of illicit drug shipments would have to be intercepted before the traffickers’ profits were hurt.

Alberto Fujimori, president of Peru from 1990 to 2000, described U.S. foreign drug policy as “failed” on grounds that “for 10 years, there has been a considerable sum invested by the Peruvian government and another sum on the part of the American government, and this has not led to a reduction in the supply of coca leaf offered for sale. Rather, in the 10 years from 1980 to 1990, it grew 10-fold.”[136]

At least 500 economists, including Nobel Laureates Milton Friedman,[137]George Akerlof and Vernon L. Smith, have noted that reducing the supply of marijuana without reducing the demand causes the price, and hence the profits of marijuana sellers, to go up, according to the laws of supply and demand.[138] The increased profits encourage the producers to produce more drugs despite the risks, providing a theoretical explanation for why attacks on drug supply have failed to have any lasting effect. The aforementioned economists published an open letter to President George W. Bush stating “We urge…the country to commence an open and honest debate about marijuana prohibition… At a minimum, this debate will force advocates of current policy to show that prohibition has benefits sufficient to justify the cost to taxpayers, foregone tax revenues and numerous ancillary consequences that result from marijuana prohibition.”

The declaration from the World Forum Against Drugs, 2008 state that a balanced policy of drug abuse prevention, education, treatment, law enforcement, research, and supply reduction provides the most effective platform to reduce drug abuse and its associated harms and call on governments to consider demand reduction as one of their first priorities in the fight against drug abuse.[139]

Despite over $7 billion spent annually towards arresting[140] and prosecuting nearly 800,000 people across the country for marijuana offenses in 2005[citation needed] (FBI Uniform Crime Reports), the federally funded Monitoring the Future Survey reports about 85% of high school seniors find marijuana “easy to obtain”. That figure has remained virtually unchanged since 1975, never dropping below 82.7% in three decades of national surveys.[141] The Drug Enforcement Administration states that the number of users of marijuana in the U.S. declined between 2000 and 2005 even with many states passing new medical marijuana laws making access easier,[142] though usage rates remain higher than they were in the 1990s according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.[143]

ONDCP stated in April 2011 that there has been a 46 percent drop in cocaine use among young adults over the past five years, and a 65 percent drop in the rate of people testing positive for cocaine in the workplace since 2006.[144] At the same time, a 2007 study found that up to 35% of college undergraduates used stimulants not prescribed to them.[145]

A 2013 study found that prices of heroin, cocaine and cannabis had decreased from 1990 to 2007, but the purity of these drugs had increased during the same time.[146]

The legality of the War on Drugs has been challenged on four main grounds in the US.

Several authors believe that the United States’ federal and state governments have chosen wrong methods for combatting the distribution of illicit substances. Aggressive, heavy-handed enforcement funnel individuals through courts and prisons, instead of treating the cause of the addiction, the focus of government efforts has been on punishment. By making drugs illegal rather than regulating them, the War on Drugs creates a highly profitable black market. Jefferson Fish has edited scholarly collections of articles offering a wide variety of public health based and rights based alternative drug policies.[147][148][149]

In the year 2000, the United States drug-control budget reached 18.4 billion dollars,[150] nearly half of which was spent financing law enforcement while only one sixth was spent on treatment. In the year 2003, 53 percent of the requested drug control budget was for enforcement, 29 percent for treatment, and 18 percent for prevention.[151] The state of New York, in particular, designated 17 percent of its budget towards substance-abuse-related spending. Of that, a mere one percent was put towards prevention, treatment, and research.

In a survey taken by Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), it was found that substance abusers that remain in treatment longer are less likely to resume their former drug habits. Of the people that were studied, 66 percent were cocaine users. After experiencing long-term in-patient treatment, only 22 percent returned to the use of cocaine. Treatment had reduced the number of cocaine abusers by two-thirds.[150] By spending the majority of its money on law enforcement, the federal government had underestimated the true value of drug-treatment facilities and their benefit towards reducing the number of addicts in the U.S.

In 2004 the federal government issued the National Drug Control Strategy. It supported programs designed to expand treatment options, enhance treatment delivery, and improve treatment outcomes. For example, the Strategy provided SAMHSA with a $100.6 million grant to put towards their Access to Recovery (ATR) initiative. ATR is a program that provides vouchers to addicts to provide them with the means to acquire clinical treatment or recovery support. The project’s goals are to expand capacity, support client choice, and increase the array of faith-based and community based providers for clinical treatment and recovery support services.[152] The ATR program will also provide a more flexible array of services based on the individual’s treatment needs.

The 2004 Strategy additionally declared a significant 32 million dollar raise in the Drug Courts Program, which provides drug offenders with alternatives to incarceration. As a substitute for imprisonment, drug courts identify substance-abusing offenders and place them under strict court monitoring and community supervision, as well as provide them with long-term treatment services.[153] According to a report issued by the National Drug Court Institute, drug courts have a wide array of benefits, with only 16.4 percent of the nation’s drug court graduates rearrested and charged with a felony within one year of completing the program (versus the 44.1% of released prisoners who end up back in prison within 1-year). Additionally, enrolling an addict in a drug court program costs much less than incarcerating one in prison.[154] According to the Bureau of Prisons, the fee to cover the average cost of incarceration for Federal inmates in 2006 was $24,440.[155] The annual cost of receiving treatment in a drug court program ranges from $900 to $3,500. Drug courts in New York State alone saved $2.54 million in incarceration costs.[154]

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War on Drugs – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Urban Dictionary: liberal

 Liberal  Comments Off on Urban Dictionary: liberal
Jun 172016
 

A liberal, in the American sense, is one who falls to the left in the political spectrum; In other parts of the world, however, liberalism is the belief in laissez-faire capitalism and free-market systems – hence the recently coined term, neoliberalism.

Although I do not like to generalize, for the purposes of a (somewhat) concise dictionary definition, here is the very basic liberal (American sense) ideology:

Politics: The federal government exists to protect and serve the people, and therefore, should be given sufficient power to fulfill its role successfully. Ways in which this can be accomplished include giving the federal government more power than local governments and having the government provide programs designed to protect the interests of the people (these include welfare, Medicare, and social security). Overall, these programs have helped extensively in aiding the poor and unfortunate, as well as the elderly and middle class. To make sure that the interests of the people are served, it was liberals (or so they were considered in their time) that devised the idea of a direct democracy, a republic, and modern democracy. This way, it is ensured that the federal government represents the interests of the people, and the extensive power that it is given is not used to further unpopular goals. Liberals do not concentrate on military power (though that is not to say they ignore it), but rather focus on funding towards education, improving wages, protecting the environment, etc. Many propose the dismantling of heavy-cost programs such as the Star Wars program (no, not the film series), in order to use the money to fund more practical needs.

Social Ideology: As one travels further left on the political spectrum, it is noticed that tolerance, acceptance, and general compassion for all people steadily increases (in theory at least). Liberals are typically concerned with the rights of the oppressed and unfortunate this, of course, does not mean that they ignore the rights of others (liberals represent the best interests of the middle-class in America). This has led many liberals to lobby for the rights of homosexuals, women, minorities, single-mothers, etc. Many fundamentalists see this is immoral; however, it is, in reality, the most mature, and progressive way in which to deal with social differences. Liberals are identified with fighting for equal rights, such as those who wanted to abolish slavery and those who fought hard for a woman’s reproductive right (see Abortion). Liberals have also often fought for ecological integrity, protecting the environment, diversity of species, as well as indigenous populations rights. Almost all social betterment programs are funded by liberal institutions, and government funded social programs on education improvement, childrens rights, womens rights, etc. are all supported by liberals. Basically, social liberalism is the mature, understanding way in which to embrace individual differences, not according to ancient dogma or religious prejudice, but according to the ideals of humanity that have been cultivated by our experiences throughout history, summed up in that famous American maxim: with liberty and justice for all.

Economics: Using the term liberal when speaking of economics is very confusing, as liberal in America is completely opposite to the rest of the world. Therefore, here, as I have been doing, I will concentrate on the American definition of liberal concerning economics. Liberals believe that the rights of the people, of the majority, are to be valued much more sincerely than those of corporations, and therefore have frequently proposed the weakening of corporate power through heavier taxation (of corporations), environmental regulations, and the formation of unions. Liberals often propose the heavier taxation of WEALTHY individuals, while alleviating taxes on the middle class, and especially the poor. Liberals (American sense) do not support laissez-faire economics because, to put it simply, multinational corporations take advantage of developing countries and encourage exploitation and child labor (multinational corporations are spawned from laissez-faire policies). Instead, many propose the nationalization of several industries, which would make sure that wealth and power is not concentrated in a few hands, but is in the hands of the people (represented by elected officials in government). I am not going to go into the extreme intricacies of the economic implications of privatization of resources, etc., but will say that privatization and globalization have greatly damaged the economies of Latin America, namely Argentina and Mexico (see NAFTA).

This summation of the leftist ideology may not be 100% correct in all situations, as there are many variations on several issues and I may have depicted the current definition of liberal as too far to the left than it is generally accepted. On that note, many leftists are critical of the political situation in America, claiming that the left is now in the center, as the general populace has been conditioned by institutions such as Fox News to consider everything left of Hitler (as one clever person put it) as radical liberalism. I, myself, have observed that, in America, there are two basic types of liberals: those who concern themselves only with liberal policies on the domestic front, and either ignore international affairs or remain patriotic and dedicated to the American way (Al Franken, Bill Clinton, etc.) And then there are those, despite the criticism they face from many fellow liberals (classified under the former definition), who are highly critical of US foreign policy, addressing such issues as Iran-Contra, the Sandanistas, Pinochet, Vietnam, NATOs intervention in Kosovo, our trade embargo on Cuba, etc, etc. (such as Noam Chomsky, William Blumm, etc.) Unfortunately, it seems that adolescent rage has run rampant on this particular word, and most definitions are either incoherent jumbles of insults and generalizations or deliberate spewing of misinformation (see the definition that describes the situation in Iraq, without addressing our suppression of popular revolts in Iraq, our pre-war sanctions on Iraq that have caused the death of some 5 million children, and our support for Saddam during the Iran-Iraq war, and even our post-war sale of biological elements usable in weapons to Saddams regime).

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Urban Dictionary: liberal

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How to Start Your Own Micronation

 Micronations  Comments Off on How to Start Your Own Micronation
Jun 172016
 

The beginning.

So you get up one morning and you do like I did, you watch the movie “The Mouse That Roared” or “Moon Over Parador”, or “The Prisoner of Zenda”, and you say to yourself, “Self, I wish I could have my own country. That way I could avoid that situation the other day where I almost ran over Mrs. MacGillicuddy in my rush to get my income taxes into the mail on time.” Well, that’s one reason. Maybe a bad one. Or maybe you’re twelve and tired of having your mom compare the condition of your room to Berlin after the war. “Mom,” you say, “This room is no longer your concern, because it is now an independent country. The Kingdom of Bob’s Room. And I am King. So enough with harassing me about my socks on the floor.” And so, as you gaze around your domain, your new nation, you say to yourself, “Now what?”.

Like most people, you now abandon the idea of your own country in favor of the latest Nintendo game (for minors) or beer (for adults). But a few imaginative individuals instead forge ahead and seek to make their own path, creating their own nation, a personal Lilliput in a world of Brobdingnags.

And having decided this, you must now ask yourself, what exactly is your goal? There are many different types of micronations. Erwin S. Strauss broke down efforts to start a new country into five different categories in his book, How to Start Your Own Country:

Traditional sovereignty: Having status as a sovereign nation, including exchanging ambassadors, acceptance of passports, membership in international organizations. This usually includes possession of actual territory (land). Ship under flag of convenience: Ships off the coast of sovereign nations, usually as part of a money-making scheme. Litigation: Using macronational law to press your claim to independence. Vonu (out of sight out of mind): Establishing your “nation” in a remote area, far from macronational authority. Model country: A project nation designed to resemble most aspects of nationhood, without actually seeking sovereignty. Generally the definition of an on-line nation.

That is one way to look at it. Lars Erik Bryld, from the Sovereign Principality of Corvinia breaks it down thus, with an eye toward the seriousness of your micronational effort:

Statehood means acquisition and complete control over a territory, and the acceptance of this sovereignty by the international society. Nationhood means a condition where a group of persons achieve a common identity as a people and the will to be identified as such. A Political Exercise means the attempt to create a plausible and internally consistent simulation of a governmental mechanism. Though the ultimate purpose might be recreational, emphasis is on the realism. Community means a society of like-minded individuals, which in some respects does not possess the attributes of a nation as defined above. Mostly Fun means a completely spurious vehicle of interacting as a way of entertainment. Though a governmental structure may exist, the prime purpose is to have fun.

Your Goal

So now you know the types of micronations. Now you must ask yourself, again, what is my goal with this country? Bear in mind, most micronations start out just for fun. This can change, of course, and sometimes does. All nations evolve. It is good though to think ahead just a little. If you want your nation to be taken seriously humorous elements will have to be toned down, at least to some extent. So, if you start your nation out as the Republic of Buttwind, and at some point decide that you would prefer to be taken seriously, a name change might be in order. So think ahead, as you build your country, no matter what your current goals might be.

Micronational Seriousness

On the matter of micronational seriousness, a few notes. This is a subject that can be quite vexing for the new micronationalist. There are several serious micronational efforts out there, and they take themselves very seriously. They tend to avoid elements in their nations that are not mostly grounded in reality; no fictional histories, actual possession or at least claims of real places, not fictional, never any “fake” citizens, all real. Their goal, in many cases, is actual independence, on some scale or another. Most will not open diplomatic relations with less than serious micronations, feeling that to have open communications with less serious nations may damage their micronation’s reputation and endanger their goal of sovereignty.

It varies from micronation to micronation, but seriousness can be a real sticking point in micronational relations. As a new micronationalist, it is important not to get too annoyed when certain nations refuse to recognize yours, or even reply to your e-mails. That is their way of doing things, and you have yours. Seek nations that are at your level of seriousness, and open relations with them.

The Basics

Ok, so you have decided to start your country. While you think about where you want to go with it, we’ll start with the basics. You need citizens. You need a website. For many micronations, this is most, if not all that their country ever is, a website and a few dedicated citizens. Some micronations start without any citizens, build a website and try to lure citizens in. This is hard, since most micronationalists want their own country and don’t want to share. So, I suggest you cast about among your friends and family and find your citizens first. Or, if you wish start without citizens, build a nice website and see where it goes. Like the movie said, “if you build it, they will come”, and they will. But you must have something interesting, new and exciting. There are a plethora of one-man kingdoms out there, make your nation spark interest.

As a note, your website should not be your nation. If your nation is just a website, it will not last very long and never be taken seriously. It should represent your nation, and be used if you want as a tool for communicating your nation to the world. It is important that your nation be something beyond your website, otherwise you will have a hard time developing your nation into something interesting that will last a while.

So, now you have the idea. Get a website through one of the free hosting places, like Freewebs or Tripod. This will start you on the right track. I advise that you visit some of the websites of real nations (we call them “macronations”) and see how they are designed, and what elements are included. Look at their national symbols, descriptions of their government, culture, people and so on. Get ideas from them and take your nation’s website from there. You may also want to visit existing micronations, and draw ideas from them. Be careful that only draw ideas from them, and not specific items, images, text or formats. Plagiarizing from another nation’s website (or any website) is very bad, and you will end up regretting it. Trust me. Sometimes, however, the owner of another website will allow you to “borrow” with permission, and usually with credit given where due. By the way, a message board or a social networking site is not acceptable for your nation’s website, not if you wish to be taken seriously. The U.S. Government doesn’t conduct it’s business via Facebook, does it? Neither should you. Get a real dedicated website.

Once you have a website, and you have ideas of what to put on it, what’s next? Well, you need a flag. I chose my nation’s flag from among those that already exist, in this case Sierra Leone, and then turned it upside down. I did this so that I would have a real flag to fly outside when ever I wish, without having to sew one from scratch. What flag you choose, though, is really up to you. Your flag should represent your nation. If you never plan on actually flying it, it can look like anything. It is one of many important aspects of your nation, so think about it carefully. Of course, if you’re the Grand Poobah of your nation, you can change it at will, but be careful of making too many changes, too often or else you will appear to be a flake. Rapid, frequent changes should be avoided studiously. This will require planning for the future some, but it will pay off diplomatically as your nation appears more stable and doesn’t change on a whim.

On to arms. A coat of arms is nice to have, although not essential. If you have limited graphic capability, you may wish to postpone this, but you will need to think of it eventually. Let your arms represent your nation, symbolically. Again, look at other nation’s arms and glean your ideas from there.

Other symbols. You can have a national anthem, national bird, national animal, national food, etc. Whatever you think best represents your nation. Look around at other macro- and micronations, get some ideas. You may wish to develop a coherent “theme” for your nation, such as medieval, German or something like that. Your type of government and your culture will reflect that theme. While not essential, a theme for your nation gives it more character and style, and makes it more interesting.

Land. Your nation should possess or at least claim land. I know, not everyone can buy land, but everyone can claim land. It doesn’t need to be solely yours, claim land that is publicly owned, like a local park, a nature reserve, that sort of thing. Go there, plant your flag, and claim the land in the name of your nation. Take some pictures and go home and load those pictures onto your website. With a few photos and a land claim you just gave your nation and its website depth and you made it interesting. It changes everything, makes you a nation to be noticed, so go do it!

Activities. Sure you just held the elections for the National Assembly, or you just had a splendid coronation of yourself as Emperor of Bob’s Room – now what? More elections? Establish foreign relations with Bob’s Bathroom? No, you need to get out in the sun. Go do something in name of your nation. A nation isn’t just about it’s government, it’s about a world of other things, too. How about foreign trade? Make something and trade it for something else from your buddy down the street – voila! Foreign trade, announcement it on your website. How about sports? Go play football (either kind) and announce it on your website. Science? Go explore someplace and, you guessed it, announce it on your website. Here’s a thought: That public land you claimed in the preceding paragraph? Get a trash bag and go tidy it up. Take a couple of pictures, and not only put it on your website, but also send the announcement in to your local newspaper. Not only is it good for the environment, it’s good publicity for your nation in the real world. And hey, how about appearing in a local parade? Most towns have a parade sometime during the year, go ahead and get your imperial self into it! These are just some ideas, but the overriding concept is there – get away from the computer and your bedroom and get out in the world and do things with your nation!

The Government

So, now, to government. Having a government is often the point of a micronation, although not always. As you see from the definitions above, some micronations are political simulations for the purpose of practicing the workings of government. The other extreme would be an absolute monarchy, where the workings of government is in the hands of the king and how things work is based on how he wants things done. In the latter case, government plays a comparatively minor part, and your nation could compensate with an interesting culture or something like that. In the former case, government is all-important and the interaction of the government is the draw for new citizens. Culture, while present, may take a back seat.

Your type of government also reflects how others see your nation. Extreme governments, such as communist or fascist carry with them much psychological baggage. This can affect not only who and what kind of citizen becomes part of your nation. It can also affect the kind of nations that recognize yours and your overall standing in the micronational world. While communist nations can be accepted by the micronational community, for example, fascist nations generally are not, and your nation will almost certainly be an outcast from the beginning if you choose this type of government. Monarchies and republics tend to be more mainstream and garner fewer preconcieved notions.

Speaking of which, acceptance by the community is an often sought-after goal, although it can be very transitory and fickle. Design your nation in a manner that makes you happy, and do it well, and you will naturally make friends. You can’t make everyone happy, and anyway, that is not the point.

Which brings us to:

Diplomacy

Diplomacy, defined by Webster, is the art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties and agreements. A second part to that is tact and skill in dealing with people. Diplomacy can be a very big issue for many micronations. Often, when a new nation emerges, while their internal workings are still being formalized, diplomatic relations are eagerly sought after. In this area it is important to take a close look at the nations you are seeking relations with. As I said above, serious nations may avoid relations with new nations, often refusing to open relations at all with those nations that are less serious than them. This can be very subjective. Seek relations with those nations that seem to share similar concepts and ideals with yours. Branch out to other nations as you learn more about the hobby.

When seeking diplomatic relations, begin formally. Do not assume that the person you are speaking to is as informal as you might be, instead, assume the opposite. Use standard mail formats, heading, salutation, body, closing, signature. Later, if an informal relationship develops between you and a micronationalist in another nation, informality is allowed. But communication between two nations should always be formal.

Remember, you represent your nation at all times. NATION. Not a cute little website that you call a nation. If you are going to play the game, play it right. Your purpose, whether serious or not, is to have your own country. Behave that way at all times, as if your nation were real. In this way, you will gain respect from your peers and gain greater standing in the micronational world.

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How to Start Your Own Micronation

 Posted by at 5:00 am  Tagged with:

Stairway to Heaven: Psychedelics Soothe Dying – ABC News

 Psychedelics  Comments Off on Stairway to Heaven: Psychedelics Soothe Dying – ABC News
Jun 172016
 

For the last eight years, Nicky has struggled with advanced ovarian cancer, and despite repeated rounds of chemotherapy and radiation, it’s unclear how long she has to live.

“Ovarian cancer has a very bleak outlook — less than 30 percent make it to five years,” said the 67-year-old former New York City French teacher. “I was diagnosed in 2002, and I was going in to my fourth year and had a recurrence — which was like the proverbial shoe dropping — and it frightened me so much.”

“For the moment, there is no pain,” she said. “The most difficult part is leaving this world early. I wasn’t ready to get on that bus.”

But last May, Nicky volunteered to take a psychedelic “trip” on psilocybin — the hallucinogenic compound from “magic mushrooms” — which has been used for thousands of years by indigenous cultures to reach higher levels of spirituality and consciousness.

Today, even after losing seven friends from her cancer support group in 15 months, Nicky said she is less afraid of death and is living her life more “honestly and authentically.”

Nicky was one of the first terminally ill participants in an ongoing study at New York University on the use of hallucinogens to help those with terminal illnesses.

“I had a wonderful life, a fabulous child and beautiful grandchildren, and here my life was cut short,” she said. “I thought of my two granddaughters and not seeing them growing up and graduating from college — it made me profoundly sad. I wanted to do something for myself, to be able to live more in the moment, rather than worrying about the future and having all these existential thoughts about what life was all about.”

Her “trip” took place under full medical supervision in a warm, living room-like setting with art books, fresh fruit, flowers and soothing music. She was given a pill in an earthenware chalice and a single rose, then hunkered down on a cozy sofa with eyeshades and headphones.

“I was in a dome and it was all bejeweled with colors, mostly striped, like a kaleidoscope, but not turning,” she said. “Every once in awhile, the dome would open up at the top and send a luminescence,” she said. “I was in awe and could feel myself taking deep breaths. At the same, tears were running down my face, but I was not crying.”

“It was incredible,” she said. “I wanted to share it. I couldn’t believe the world could be so beautiful.”

Researchers at New York University say that in a controlled setting, hallucinogens, which alter perception and cognition, can help patients reduce the anxiety, personal isolation and fear of death.

“I am still not ready to die,” said Nicky, who just returned from trips to Mexico and Bali and boxes with a trainer several times a week. “It’s definitely improved my interactions with those closest to me and figuring out how I want to live my life.”

“Has my anxiety of dying gone away? I would say no, I don’t ever want to die. Will I be able to walk toward death with a little less fear? Perhaps,” she said. “I know it sounds trite, but I live more in the moment,” she said.

The three-year study, “Effects of Psilocybin on Anxiety and Psychosocial Distress in Advanced Cancer Patients,” is being privately funded by the Zurich-based Heffter Research Institute , which promotes the use of psychedelics for the alleviation of suffering. Fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), it adheres to rigorous safety guidelines and protocols.

Researchers hope that it will one day lead to reclassification of Schedule 1 hallucinogens so that doctors may prescribe them to patients for palliative care, depression and even addiction.

“It’s daunting working with people in the midst of death,” said principal investigator Dr. Stephen Ross, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the NYU Langone Center of Excellence on Addiction. “To help people to have a good death, and not more chemotherapy, to prepare for the final part of life and to die with dignity and do it in a way that they are not frightened, that is one of the most important endeavors as a physician.”

Ross and his colleagues are looking for 32 patients who are willing to participate in the random, double-blind study. To be eligible, patients must be 18 to 76 years old with the diagnosis of a “potentially life-threatening disease” or advanced or recurrent cancer who are displaying symptoms of acute stress, anxiety or adjustment disorder due to their disease.

Patients are screened carefully — those with psychotic spectrum disorders, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and severe depression cannot participate.

“Mysticism is really the cornerstone of all major religions going back millennia,” said co-principal investigator Anthony Bossis , professor of psychiatry and anesthesiology at the NYU School of Medicine.

“It is characterized by a sense of unity, transcendence, connecting to the broader universe and a sense of life and the promotion of personal spirituality,” he said. “It recalibrates how we see our life and gives a sense of sacredness and reshapes how we view death.”

A mystical experience can help root patients like Nicky more in the present, according to Bossis. “People with cancer can spend their final days and months not anxious and improvement in quality of life is attainable,” he said. “These experiences have the potential to do that.”

Scientists across the country have shown a renewed interest in the medical uses of hallucinogens. So far, 80 to 90 patients have had similar experiences in studies on psilocybin at other universities including Johns Hopkins and UCLA.

In a study on 36 patients at Johns Hopkins, researchers looked at the effects of psilocybin on depression. At the 14-month follow-up, more than 60 percent of volunteers rated the experience as among the five most meaningful and spiritually significant of their lives; 58 percent reported a “complete” mystical experience.

“We have come a long way in pain management with the use of opiods , but the sheer anxiety is so hard to address in a medical setting,” said Bossis, a clinical psychologist whose specialty is end-of-life care.

“The heart of this study is to address these levels of suffering and get at the existential [fear] of not being here any longer that we all face,” he said. “We provide an empirical experience where the patient goes into a journey — his own journey — and can find resolution and peace and transformation and return back here to integrate it into their lives.”

Psilocybin, an alkaloid compound in the tryptamine family, is produced by hundreds of species of fungi and acts on the serotonin receptors in the part of the brain responsible for non-verbal imagery and emotion. Its mind-altering effects can last anywhere from three to eight hours.

It is in the same class of chemicals as mescaline, contained in the peyote cactus, which is used in religious ceremonies by Native Americans, and dimethyltryptamine, which is in ayahuasca, used by indigenous South American religions. The effects are sometimes described as similar to near-death experiences. Some research has shown that brain activity under psilocybin mimics closely that of Buddhist monks meditating.

“It appears we are hardwired with neuro-circuitry to meditate and have the spiritual experience,” said Ross.

Psychologist Timothy Leary popularized hallucinogens like LSD in his 1964 book with Ralph Metzner, “The Psychedelic Experience,” which he hailed as a way to “journey into new realms of consciousness.”

“It opens the mind, frees the nervous system of it ordinary patterns and structures,” Leary wrote.

Experiments with LSD took place as early as the late 1940s and 1950s, after it was discovered in an ergot fungus by Swiss chemist Dr. Albert Hoffman.

By 1965, more than 2,000 papers had described positive results in 40,000 patients with few side effects and a high level of safety in the treatment of psychiatric orders, depression, sexual dysfunction, bereavement and even addiction, according to the British Journal of Psychiatry.

But by 1966, the drug was made illegal after abuses by the hippie counterculture, scientists distanced themselves and the government cracked down on research licenses. By the 1970s, under pressure from the U.S. Justice Department, virtually all research ended.

“It got demonized as a most addictive drug, but the irony is that it is not addictive,” said Ross. “Used in the models we describe, it can actually lead to sustained sobriety.”

Volunteers in the NYU study agree to take part in two full-day sessions, seven weeks apart, where they are administered either a placebo or the psilocybin. They are monitored for anxiety and outcomes two to four weeks prior to drug administration, then one day prior, then again seven hours, one day and several weeks’ intervals until 26 weeks post administration.

Investigators also measure depression, pain and quality of life as well as attitude toward their disease progression at designated intervals.

Beforehand, they undergo preparation for the experience in psychotherapy. “We take their life narrative and their cancer narrative and review all the safety parameters — what happens if X,” said Ross.

When the drug is administered, the patient is paired with a male and female therapist to monitor responses and for comfort.

“Emotional stability optimizes the chance for a good experience,” said Bossis. “Trust with the monitors is crucial . If the patient doesn’t feel safe, we don’t go forward.”

Sometimes the experience is traumatizing, but facing fears is part of the process. Doctors have an antidote to abort the experience, if necessary, or use valium to calm a patient down.

“We encourage them to go inward, to minimize the communication with us and enter the experience, even if it’s something dark and difficult that comes before them,” said Bossis. “We tell patients that no matter where they find themselves, they will return to a normal state of consciousness within six hours.”

Two of the three patients in Nicky’s group have already died. Both reported extraordinary experiences — “a cleansing of the body and soul of grief and sadness and an increase in the acceptance of the disease and the dying process,” according to Bossis.

The patients said they wanted to give back more — financially or emotionally and were able to reconnect with estranged friends and family members. Both were “peaceful and thankful,” at the end, he said.

As for Nicky, the first hour of her psychedelic journey was awe-inspiring, but the second part was deeper and more emotional. At several points, she had to sit up and take off her eyeshades and seek the comfort of Ross and her other therapist.

“I became profoundly sad, and I actually had to sit up after 45 minutes and talk to them and I cried a lot,” she said. “There was another scenario, then I went through the rest by myself.”

In six hours, when it was all over, she stayed and analyzed her experience with the doctors.

“In therapy we had been working on my top five [issues with death or family],” she said. “During my experience, I reordered the hierarchy of issues to lead a more authentic life emotionally. I didn’t realize my number four was actually number one.”

“It was such an enormous gift,” said Nicky. “It’s really amazing that a king’s ransom arrived at my door step.”

Today, Nicky said she would take psilocybin again — “in a New York minute.” She continues her therapy at NYU and will go on a drug trial soon for late-stage ovarian cancer. She also hopes that her openness about the psychedelic experience will help others.

“I don’t think people should be so afraid of something that could be so helpful when you are nearing the end of life,” she said. “I had huge insight into my head. I can still conjure it up and I tried for very long to relive it — it was breathtaking.”

Nicky never expected to find God. “I didn’t have that spiritual experience, but my dome was very close,” she said. “When it opened up several times and let in the light, I would have thought it was my creator if I had been religious.”

For more information on how to participate in the study, contact patient coordinator Krystallia Kalliontzi at 212-998-9252 or kk71@nyu.edu.

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Stairway to Heaven: Psychedelics Soothe Dying – ABC News

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Entheogen – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Jun 172016
 

An entheogen (“generating the divine within”)[4] is any chemical substance used in a religious, shamanic, or spiritual context[5] that often induces psychological or physiological changes.

Entheogens have been used to supplement many diverse practices geared towards achieving transcendence, including meditation, yoga, prayer, psychedelic art, chanting, and multiple forms of music. They have also been historically employed in traditional medicine via psychedelic therapy.

Entheogens have been used in a ritualized context for thousands of years; their religious significance is well established in anthropological and modern contexts. Examples of traditional entheogens include traditional psychedelics like peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and ayahuasca, psychedelic-dissociatives like Tabernanthe iboga, atypical psychedelics like Salvia divinorum, quasi-psychedelics like cannabis, and deliriants like Amanita muscaria. Traditionally a tea, admixture, or potion like bhang is the preferred mode of ingestion.

With the advent of organic chemistry, there now exist many synthetic drugs with similar psychoactive properties, many derived from the aforementioned plants. Many pure active compounds with psychoactive properties have been isolated from these respective organisms and chemically synthesized, including mescaline, psilocybin, DMT, salvinorin A, ibogaine, ergine, and muscimol. Semi-synthetic (e.g., LSD used by the Neo-American Church) and synthetic drugs (e.g., DPT used by the Temple of the True Inner Light and 2C-B used by the Sangoma) have also been developed.[6] Cannabis is the world’s most widely used psychedelic drug, though it is more accurately referred to as a quasi-psychedelic drug, since its effect profile lacks the hallucinogenic and cognitive effects of traditional psychedelics.

More broadly, the term entheogen is used to refer to any psychoactive drugs when used for their religious or spiritual effects, whether or not in a formal religious or traditional structure. This terminology is often chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. Studies such as Timothy Leary’s Marsh Chapel Experiment and Roland Griffiths’ psilocybin studies at Johns Hopkins have documented reports of mystical/spiritual/religious experiences from participants who were administered psychoactive drugs in controlled trials. Ongoing research is limited due to widespread drug prohibition; however, some countries have legislation that allows for traditional entheogen use.

The neologism entheogen was coined in 1979 by a group of ethnobotanists and scholars of mythology (Carl A. P. Ruck, Jeremy Bigwood, Danny Staples, Richard Evans Schultes, Jonathan Ott and R. Gordon Wasson). The term is derived from two words of ancient Greek, (entheos) and (genesthai). The adjective entheos translates to English as “full of the god, inspired, possessed”, and is the root of the English word “enthusiasm.” The Greeks used it as a term of praise for poets and other artists. Genesthai means “to come into being.” Thus, an entheogen is a drug that causes one to become inspired or to experience feelings of inspiration, often in a religious or “spiritual” manner.[7]

Entheogen was coined as a replacement for the terms hallucinogen and psychedelic. Hallucinogen was popularized by Aldous Huxley’s experiences with mescaline, which were published as The Doors of Perception in 1954. Psychedelic, in contrast, is a Greek neologism for “mind manifest”, and was coined by psychiatrist Humphry Osmond; Huxley was a volunteer in experiments Osmond was conducting on mescaline.

Ruck et al. argued that the term hallucinogen was inappropriate owing to its etymological relationship to words relating to delirium and insanity. The term psychedelic was also seen as problematic, owing to the similarity in sound to words pertaining to psychosis and also due to the fact that it had become irreversibly associated with various connotations of 1960s pop culture. In modern usage entheogen may be used synonymously with these terms, or it may be chosen to contrast with recreational use of the same drugs. The meanings of the term entheogen were formally defined by Ruck et al.:

In a strict sense, only those vision-producing drugs that can be shown to have figured in shamanic or religious rites would be designated entheogens, but in a looser sense, the term could also be applied to other drugs, both natural and artificial, that induce alterations of consciousness similar to those documented for ritual ingestion of traditional entheogens.

In essence, all psychoactive drugs that are biosynthesized in nature by cytota (cellular life), can be used in an entheogenic context or with entheogenic intent. To exclude non-psychoactive drugs that sometimes also are used in spiritual context, the term “entheogen” refers primarily to drugs that have been categorized based on their historical use. Toxicity does not affect a drug’s inclusion (some can kill humans), nor does effectiveness or potency (if a drug is psychoactive, and it has been used in a historical context, then the required dose has also been found).

High caffeine consumption has been linked to an increase in the likelihood of experiencing auditory hallucinations. A study conducted by the La Trobe University School of Psychological Sciences revealed that as few as five cups of coffee a day could trigger the phenomenon.[9]

Many man-made chemicals with little human history have been recognized to catalyze intense spiritual experiences, and many synthetic entheogens are simply slight modifications of their naturally occurring counterparts. Some synthetic entheogens like 4-AcO-DMT are theorized to be prodrugs that metabolize into the natural psychoactive, similar in nature to how the synthetic compound heroin is deacetylated by esterase to the active morphine. While synthesized DMT and mescaline is reported to have identical entheogenic qualities as extracted or plant based sources, the experience may wildly vary due to the lack of numerous psychoactive alkaloids that constitute the material. This is similar to how pure THC is very different than an extract that retains the many cannabinoids of the plant such as cannabidiol and cannabinol.

Yohimbine is an alkaloid naturally found in Pausinystalia yohimbe (Yohimbe), Rauwolfia serpentina (Indian Snakeroot), and Alchornea floribunda (Niando), along with several other active alkaloids. There are no references to these species in traditional use to induce past memories, most likely because their alkaloid content is too low; However, laboratory extracted yohimbine, now commonly sold as sport supplement, may be used in psychedelic therapy to facilitate recall of traumatic memories in the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).[16]

L. E. Hollister’s criteria for establishing that a drug is hallucinogenic is:[17]

Most NMDA-antagonist dissociative drugs including ketamine, PCP, and DXM are drugs known to easily cause clinical psychological dependence, but also strengthen narcissism, and induces chemical dependence, and NMDA receptor antagonist neurotoxicity (NAN), when used chronically.

Common recreational drugs that cause chemical dependence have a history of entheogenic use. Perhaps because they could not access traditional entheogens as shamans were very secret with their sacraments who regarded non-visioning sacraments as hedonistic. The drugs mentioned here have occasionally been used by some shamans but they are psychoactive drugs that are not classified as hallucinogens (psychedelic, dissociative or deliriant). These drugs are not researched chemicals for psychedelic therapy as they have low therapeutic index.

This means that chewing the leaves or drinking coca tea does not produce the intense high (euphoria, megalomania, depression) people experience with cocaine. However, even if it would produce such effect, the next problem would be cocaine dependence.

Drugs, including some that cause physical dependence, have been used with entheogenic intention, mostly in ancient times.

Alcohol has sometimes been invested with religious significance.

The present day Arabic word for alcohol appears in The Qur’an (in verse 37:47) as al-awl, properly meaning “spirit” or “demon”, in the sense of “the thing that gives the wine its headiness.”[citation needed] The term ethanol was invented 1838, modeled on German thyl (Liebig), from Greek aither (see ether), and hyle “stuff”. Ether in late 14c. meant “upper regions of space,” from Old French ether and directly from Latin aether, “the upper pure, bright air,” from Greek aither “upper air; bright, purer air; the sky,” from aithein “to burn, shine,” from PIE root *aidh- “to burn” (see edifice).[23]

In ancient Celtic religion, Sucellus or Sucellos was the god of agriculture, forests and alcoholic drinks of the Gauls.

Ninkasi is the ancient Sumerian tutelary goddess of beer.[24]

In the ancient Greco-Roman religion, Dionysos (or Bacchus) was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy, of merry making and theatre. The original rite of Dionysus is associated with a wine cult and he may have been worshipped as early as c. 15001100 BC by Mycenean Greeks. The Dionysian Mysteries were a ritual of ancient Greece and Rome which used intoxicants and other trance-inducing techniques (like dance and music) to remove inhibitions and social constraints, liberating the individual to return to a natural state. In his Laws, Plato said that alcoholic drinking parties should be the basis of any educational system, because the alcohol allows relaxation of otherwise fixed views. The Symposium (literally, ‘drinking together’) was a dramatised account of a drinking party where the participants debated the nature of love.

In the Homeric Hymn to Demeter, a cup of wine is offered to Demeter which she refuses, instead insisting upon a potion of barley, water, and glechon, known as the ceremonial drink Kykeon, an essential part of the Mysteries. The potion has been hypothesized to be an ergot derivative from barley, similar to LSD.[25]

Egyptian pictographs clearly show wine as a finished product around 4000 BC. Osiris, the god who invented beer and brewing, was worshiped throughout the country. The ancient Egyptians made at least 24 types of wine and 17 types of beer. These beverages were used for pleasure, nutrition, rituals, medicine, and payments. They were also stored in the tombs of the deceased for use in the afterlife.[26] The Osirian Mysteries paralleled the Dionysian, according to contemporary Greek and Egyptian observers. Spirit possession involved liberation from civilization’s rules and constraints. It celebrated that which was outside civilized society and a return to the source of being, which would later assume mystical overtones. It also involved escape from the socialized personality and ego into an ecstatic, deified state or the primal herd (sometimes both).

Some scholars[who?] have postulated that pagan religions actively promoted alcohol and drunkenness as a means of fostering fertility. Alcohol was believed to increase sexual desire and make it easier to approach another person for sex. For example, Norse paganism considered alcohol to be the sap of Yggdrasil. Drunkenness was an important fertility rite in this religion.

Many Christian denominations use wine in the Eucharist or Communion and permit alcohol consumption in moderation. Other denominations use unfermented grape juice in Communion; they either voluntarily abstain from alcohol or prohibit it outright.

Judaism uses wine on Shabbat and some holidays for Kiddush as well as more extensively in the Passover ceremony and other religious ceremonies. The secular consumption of alcohol is allowed. Some Jewish texts, e.g., the Talmud, encourage moderate drinking on holidays (such as Purim) in order to make the occasion more joyous.

Kava cultures are the religious and cultural traditions of western Oceania which consume kava. There are similarities in the use of kava between the different cultures, but each one also has its own traditions.

Entheogens have been used by individuals to pursue spiritual goals such as divination, ego death, egolessness, faith healing, psychedelic therapy and spiritual formation.[27]

There are also instances where people have been given entheogens without their knowledge or consent (e.g., tourists in Ayahuasca),[28] as well as attempts to use such drugs in other contexts, such as cursing, psychochemical weaponry, psychological torture, brainwashing and mind control; CIA experiments with LSD were used in Project MKUltra, and controversial entheogens like alcohol are often mentioned in context of bread and circuses.

Entheogens have been used in various ways, e.g., as part of established religious rituals, as aids for personal spiritual development (“plant teachers”),[29][30] as recreational drugs, and for medical and therapeutic use. The use of entheogens in human cultures is nearly ubiquitous throughout recorded history.

Naturally occurring entheogens such as psilocybin and DMT (in the preparation ayahuasca), were, for the most part, discovered and used by older cultures, as part of their spiritual and religious life, as plants and agents that were respected, or in some cases revered for generations and may be a tradition that predates all modern religions as a sort of proto-religious rite.

One of the most widely used entheogens is cannabis, entheogenic use of cannabis has been used in regions such as China, Europe, and India, and, in some cases, for thousands of years. It has also appeared as a part of religions and cultures such as the Rastafari movement, the Sadhus of Hinduism, the Scythians, Sufi Islam, and others.

The best-known entheogen-using culture of Africa is the Bwitists, who used a preparation of the root bark of Tabernanthe iboga.[31] Although the ancient Egyptians may have been using the sacred blue lily plant in some of their religious rituals or just symbolically, it has been suggested that Egyptian religion once revolved around the ritualistic ingestion of the far more psychoactive Psilocybe cubensis mushroom, and that the Egyptian White Crown, Triple Crown, and Atef Crown were evidently designed to represent pin-stages of this mushroom.[32] There is also evidence for the use of psilocybin mushrooms in Ivory Coast.[33] Numerous other plants used in shamanic ritual in Africa, such as Silene capensis sacred to the Xhosa, are yet to be investigated by western science. A recent revitalization has occurred in the study of southern African psychoactives and entheogens (Mitchell and Hudson 2004; Sobiecki 2002, 2008, 2012).[34]

Entheogens have played a pivotal role in the spiritual practices of most American cultures for millennia. The first American entheogen to be subject to scientific analysis was the peyote cactus (Lophophora williamsii). For his part, one of the founders of modern ethno-botany, the late-Richard Evans Schultes of Harvard University documented the ritual use of peyote cactus among the Kiowa, who live in what became Oklahoma. While it was used traditionally by many cultures of what is now Mexico, in the 19th century its use spread throughout North America, replacing the deadly toxic mescal bean (Calia secundiflora) who are questioned to be an entheogen at all. Other well-known entheogens used by Mexican cultures include the alcoholic Aztec sacrament, pulque, ritual tobacco (known as ‘picietl’ to the Aztecs, and ‘sikar’ to the Maya (from where the word ‘cigar’ derives), psilocybin mushrooms, morning glories (Ipomoea tricolor and Turbina corymbosa), and Salvia divinorum.

Indigenous peoples of South America employ a wide variety of entheogens. Better-known examples include ayahuasca (most commonly Banisteriopsis caapi and Psychotria viridis) among indigenous peoples (such as the Urarina) of Peruvian Amazonia. Other entheogens include San Pedro cactus (Echinopsis pachanoi, syn. Trichocereus pachanoi), Peruvian torch cactus (Echinopsis peruviana, syn. Trichocereus peruvianus), and various DMT-snuffs, such as epen (Virola spp.), vilca and yopo (Anadenanthera colubrina and A. peregrina, respectively). The familiar tobacco plant, when used uncured in large doses in shamanic contexts, also serves as an entheogen in South America. Also, a tobacco that contains higher nicotine content, and therefore smaller doses required, called Nicotiana rustica was commonly used.[citation needed]

Entheogens also play an important role in contemporary religious movements such as the Rastafari movement and the Church of the Universe.

Datura wrightii is sacred to some Native Americans and has been used in ceremonies and rites of passage by Chumash, Tongva, and others. Among the Chumash, when a boy was 8 years old, his mother would give him a preparation of momoy to drink. This supposed spiritual challenge should help the boy develop the spiritual wellbeing that is required to become a man. Not all of the boys undergoing this ritual survived.[35]Momoy was also used to enhance spiritual wellbeing among adults . For instance, during a frightening situation, such as when seeing a coyote walk like a man, a leaf of momoy was sucked to help keep the soul in the body.

The indigenous peoples of Siberia (from whom the term shaman was borrowed) have used Amanita muscaria as an entheogen.

In Hinduism, Datura stramonium and cannabis have been used in religious ceremonies, although the religious use of datura is not very common, as the primary alkaloids are strong deliriants, which causes serious intoxication with unpredictable effects.

Also, the ancient drink Soma, mentioned often in the Vedas, appears to be consistent with the effects of an entheogen. In his 1967 book, Wasson argues that Soma was Amanita muscaria. The active ingredient of Soma is presumed by some to be ephedrine, an alkaloid with stimulant and (somewhat debatable)[by whom?] entheogenic properties derived from the soma plant, identified as Ephedra pachyclada. However, there are also arguments to suggest that Soma could have also been Syrian rue, cannabis, Atropa belladonna, or some combination of any of the above plants.[citation needed]

Fermented honey, known in Northern Europe as mead, was an early entheogen in Aegean civilization, predating the introduction of wine, which was the more familiar entheogen of the reborn Dionysus and the maenads. Its religious uses in the Aegean world are bound up with the mythology of the bee.

Dacians were known to use cannabis in their religious and important life ceremonies, proven by discoveries of large clay pots with burnt cannabis seeds in ancient tombs and religious shrines. Also, local oral folklore and myths tell of ancient priests that dreamed with gods and walked in the smoke. Their names, as transmitted by Herodotus, were “kap-no-batai” which in Dacian was supposed to mean “the ones that walk in the clouds”.

The growth of Roman Christianity also saw the end of the two-thousand-year-old tradition of the Eleusinian Mysteries, the initiation ceremony for the cult of Demeter and Persephone involving the use of a drug known as kykeon. The term ‘ambrosia’ is used in Greek mythology in a way that is remarkably similar to the Soma of the Hindus as well.

A theory that natural occurring gases like ethylene used by inhalation may have played a role in divinatory ceremonies at Delphi in Classical Greece received popular press attention in the early 2000s, yet has not been conclusively proven.[36]

Mushroom consumption is part of the culture of Europeans in general, with particular importance to Slavic and Baltic peoples. Some academics consider that using psilocybin- and or muscimol-containing mushrooms was an integral part of the ancient culture of the Rus’ people.[37]

It has been suggested that the ritual use of small amounts of Syrian rue is an artifact of its ancient use in higher doses as an entheogen (possibly in conjunction with DMT containing acacia).[citation needed]

Philologist John Marco Allegro has argued in his book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross that early Jewish and Christian cultic practice was based on the use of Amanita muscaria, which was later forgotten by its adherents. Allegro’s hypothesis is that Amanita use was sacred knowledge kept only by high figures to hide the true beginnings of the Christian cult, seems supported by his own view that the Plaincourault Chapel shows evidence of Christian amanita use in the 13th century.[38]

In general, indigenous Australians are thought not to have used entheogens, although there is a strong barrier of secrecy surrounding Aboriginal shamanism, which has likely limited what has been told to outsiders. A plant that the Australian Aboriginals used to ingest is called Pitcheri, which is said to have a similar effect to that of coca. Pitcheri was made from the bark of the shrub Duboisia myoporoides. This plant is now grown commercially and is processed to manufacture an eye medication. There are no known uses of entheogens by the Mori of New Zealand aside from a variant species of kava.[39] Natives of Papua New Guinea are known to use several species of entheogenic mushrooms (Psilocybe spp, Boletus manicus).[40]

Kava or kava kava (Piper Methysticum) has been cultivated for at least 3000 years by a number of Pacific island-dwelling peoples. Historically, most Polynesian, many Melanesian, and some Micronesian cultures have ingested the psychoactive pulverized root, typically taking it mixed with water. Much traditional usage of kava, though somewhat suppressed by Christian missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, is thought to facilitate contact with the spirits of the dead, especially relatives and ancestors.[41]

Some religions forbid, discourage, or restrict the drinking of alcoholic beverages. These include Islam, Jainism, the Bah’ Faith, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), the Seventh-day Adventist Church, the Church of Christ, Scientist, the United Pentecostal Church International, Theravada, most Mahayana schools of Buddhism, some Protestant denominations of Christianity, some sects of Taoism (Five Precepts and Ten Precepts), and Hinduism.

The Pali Canon, the scripture of Theravada Buddhism, depicts refraining from alcohol as essential to moral conduct because intoxication causes a loss of mindfulness. The fifth of the Five Precepts states, “Sur-meraya-majja-pamdahn verama sikkhpada samdiymi.” In English: “I undertake to refrain from fermented drink that causes heedlessness.” Technically, this prohibition does not include other mind-altering drugs. The canon does not suggest that alcohol is evil but believes that the carelessness produced by intoxication creates bad karma. Therefore, any drug (beyond tea or mild coffee) that affects one’s mindfulness be considered by some to be covered by this prohibition.[citation needed]

Many Christian denominations disapprove of the use of most illicit drugs. The early history of the Church, however, was filled with a variety of drug use, recreational and otherwise.[42]

The primary advocate of a religious use of cannabis plant in early Judaism was Sula Benet, also called Sara Benetowa, a Polish anthropologist, who claimed in 1967 that the plant kaneh bosm – mentioned five times in the Hebrew Bible, and used in the holy anointing oil of the Book of Exodus, was in fact cannabis.[43] The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church confirmed it as a possible valid interpretation.[44] The lexicons of Hebrew and dictionaries of plants of the Bible such as by Michael Zohary (1985), Hans Arne Jensen (2004) and James A. Duke (2010) and others identify the plant in question as either Acorus calamus or Cymbopogon citratus.[45] Kaneh-bosm is listed as an incense in the Old Testament. It is generally held by academics specializing in the archaeology and paleobotany of Ancient Israel, and those specializing in the lexicography of the Hebrew Bible that cannabis is not documented or mentioned in early Judaism. Against this some popular writers have argued that there is evidence for religious use of cannabis in the Hebrew Bible,[46] although this hypothesis and some of the specific case studies (e.g., John Allegro in relation to Qumran, 1970) have been “widely dismissed as erroneous, others continue”.[47]

According to The Living Torah, cannabis may have been one of the ingredients of the holy anointing oil mentioned in various sacred Hebrew texts.[48] The herb of interest is most commonly known as kaneh-bosm (Hebrew: -). This is mentioned several times in the Old Testament as a bartering material, incense, and an ingredient in holy anointing oil used by the high priest of the temple. Although Chris Bennett’s research in this area focuses on cannabis, he mentions evidence suggesting use of additional visionary plants such as henbane, as well.[49]

The Septuagint translates kaneh-bosm as calamus, and this translation has been propagated unchanged to most later translations of the old testament. However, Polish anthropologist Sula Benet published etymological arguments that the Aramaic word for hemp can be read as kannabos and appears to be a cognate to the modern word ‘cannabis’,[50] with the root kan meaning reed or hemp and bosm meaning fragrant. Both cannabis and calamus are fragrant, reedlike plants containing psychotropic compounds.

In his research, Professor Dan Merkur points to significant evidence of an awareness within the Jewish mystical tradition recognizing manna as an entheogen, thereby substantiating with rabbinic texts theories advanced by the superficial biblical interpretations of Terence McKenna, R. Gordon Wasson and other ethnomycologists.

Although philologist John Marco Allegro has suggested that the self-revelation and healing abilities attributed to the figure of Jesus may have been associated with the effects of the plant medicines, this evidence is dependent on pre-Septuagint interpretation of Torah and Tenach. Allegro was the only non-Catholic appointed to the position of translating the Dead Sea scrolls. His extrapolations are often the object of scorn due to Allegro’s non-mainstream theory of Jesus as a mythological personification of the essence of a “psychoactive sacrament”. Furthermore, they conflict with the position of the Catholic Church with regard to transubstantiation and the teaching involving valid matter, form, and drug that of bread and wine (bread does not contain psychoactive drugs, but wine contains ethanol). Allegro’s book The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross relates the development of language to the development of myths, religions, and cultic practices in world cultures. Allegro believed he could prove, through etymology, that the roots of Christianity, as of many other religions, lay in fertility cults, and that cult practices, such as ingesting visionary plants (or “psychedelics”) to perceive the mind of God, persisted into the early Christian era, and to some unspecified extent into the 13th century with reoccurrences in the 18th century and mid-20th century, as he interprets the Plaincourault chapel’s fresco to be an accurate depiction of the ritual ingestion of Amanita muscaria as the Eucharist.

The historical picture portrayed by the Entheos journal is of fairly widespread use of visionary plants in early Christianity and the surrounding culture, with a gradual reduction of use of entheogens in Christianity.[51] R. Gordon Wasson’s book Soma prints a letter from art historian Erwin Panofsky asserting that art scholars are aware of many “mushroom trees” in Christian art.[52]

The question of the extent of visionary plant use throughout the history of Christian practice has barely been considered yet by academic or independent scholars. The question of whether visionary plants were used in pre-Theodosius Christianity is distinct from evidence that indicates the extent to which visionary plants were utilized or forgotten in later Christianity, including so-called “heretical” or “quasi-” Christian groups,[53] and the question of other groups such as elites or laity within “orthodox” Catholic practice.[54]

Daniel Merkur at the University of Toronto contends that a minority of Christian hermits and mystics could possibly have used entheogens, in conjunction with fasting, meditation, and prayer.[citation needed]

According to R.C. Parker, “The use of entheogens in the Vajrayana tradition has been documented by such scholars as Ronald M Davidson, William George Stablein, Bulcsu Siklos, David B. Gray, Benoytosh Bhattacharyya, Shashibhusan Das Gupta, Francesca Fremantle, Shinichi Tsuda, David Gordon White, Rene de Nebesky-Wojkowitz, James Francis Hartzell, Edward Todd Fenner, Ian Baker, Dr. Pasang Yonten Arya and numerous others.”[55] These scholars have established entheogens were used in Vajrayana (in a limited context) as well as in Tantric Saivite traditions.[55] The major entheogens in the Vajrayana Anuttarayoga Tantra tradition are cannabis and Datura which were used in various pills, ointments, and elixirs. Several tantras within Vajrayana specifically mention these entheogens and their use, including the Laghusamvara-tantra (aka Cakrasavara Tantra), Samputa-tantra, Samvarodaya-tantra, Mahakala-tantra, Guhyasamaja-tantra, Vajramahabhairava-tantra, and the Krsnayamari-tantra.[55] In the Cakrasavara Tantra, the use of entheogens is coupled with mediation practices such as the use of a mandala of the Heruka meditation deity (yidam) and visualization practices which identify the yidam’s external body and mandala with one’s own body and ‘internal mandala’.[56]

In the West, some modern Buddhist teachers have written on the usefulness of psychedelics. The Buddhist magazine Tricycle devoted their entire fall 1996 edition to this issue.[57] Some teachers such as Jack Kornfield have acknowledged the possibility that psychedelics could complement Buddhist practice, bring healing and help people understand their connection with everything which could lead to compassion.[58] Kornfield warns however that addiction can still be a hindrance. Other teachers such as Michelle McDonald-Smith expressed views which saw entheogens as not conductive to Buddhist practice (“I don’t see them developing anything”).[59]

R. Gordon Wasson and Giorgio Samorini have proposed several examples of the cultural use of entheogens that are found in the archaeological record.[60][61] Evidence for the first use of entheogens may come from Tassili, Algeria, with a cave painting of a mushroom-man, dating to 8000 BP.[citation needed] Hemp seeds discovered by archaeologists at Pazyryk suggest early ceremonial practices by the Scythians occurred during the 5th to 2nd century BC, confirming previous historical reports by Herodotus.[citation needed]

Although entheogens are taboo and most of them are officially prohibited in Christian and Islamic societies, their ubiquity and prominence in the spiritual traditions of various other cultures is unquestioned. “The spirit, for example, need not be chemical, as is the case with the ivy and the olive: and yet the god was felt to be within them; nor need its possession be considered something detrimental, like drugged, hallucinatory, or delusionary: but possibly instead an invitation to knowledge or whatever good the god’s spirit had to offer.”[62]

Most of the well-known modern examples, such as peyote, psilocybin mushrooms, and morning glories are from the native cultures of the Americas. However, it has also been suggested that entheogens played an important role in ancient Indo-European culture, for example by inclusion in the ritual preparations of the Soma, the “pressed juice” that is the subject of Book 9 of the Rig Veda. Soma was ritually prepared and drunk by priests and initiates and elicited a paean in the Rig Veda that embodies the nature of an entheogen:

Splendid by Law! declaring Law, truth speaking, truthful in thy works, Enouncing faith, King Soma!… O [Soma] Pavmana (mind clarifying), place me in that deathless, undecaying world wherein the light of heaven is set, and everlasting lustre shines…. Make me immortal in that realm where happiness and transports, where joy and felicities combine…

The kykeon that preceded initiation into the Eleusinian Mysteries is another entheogen, which was investigated (before the word was coined) by Carl Kernyi, in Eleusis: Archetypal Image of Mother and Daughter. Other entheogens in the Ancient Near East and the Aegean include the opium poppy, datura, and the unidentified “lotus” (likely the sacred blue lily) eaten by the Lotus-Eaters in the Odyssey and Narcissus.

According to Ruck, Eyan, and Staples, the familiar shamanic entheogen that the Indo-Europeans brought knowledge of was Amanita muscaria. It could not be cultivated; thus it had to be found, which suited it to a nomadic lifestyle. When they reached the world of the Caucasus and the Aegean, the Indo-Europeans encountered wine, the entheogen of Dionysus, who brought it with him from his birthplace in the mythical Nysa, when he returned to claim his Olympian birthright. The Indo-European proto-Greeks “recognized it as the entheogen of Zeus, and their own traditions of shamanism, the Amanita and the ‘pressed juice’ of Soma but better, since no longer unpredictable and wild, the way it was found among the Hyperboreans: as befit their own assimilation of agrarian modes of life, the entheogen was now cultivable.”[62]Robert Graves, in his foreword to The Greek Myths, hypothesises that the ambrosia of various pre-Hellenic tribes was Amanita muscaria (which, based on the morphological similarity of the words amanita, amrita and ambrosia, is entirely plausible) and perhaps psilocybin mushrooms of the Panaeolus genus.

Amanita was divine food, according to Ruck and Staples, not something to be indulged in or sampled lightly, not something to be profaned. It was the food of the gods, their ambrosia, and it mediated between the two realms. It is said that Tantalus’s crime was inviting commoners to share his ambrosia.

The entheogen is believed to offer godlike powers in many traditional tales, including immortality. The failure of Gilgamesh in retrieving the plant of immortality from beneath the waters teaches that the blissful state cannot be taken by force or guile: When Gilgamesh lay on the bank, exhausted from his heroic effort, the serpent came and ate the plant.

Another attempt at subverting the natural order is told in a (according to some) strangely metamorphosed myth, in which natural roles have been reversed to suit the Hellenic world-view. The Alexandrian Apollodorus relates how Gaia (spelled “Ge” in the following passage), Mother Earth herself, has supported the Titans in their battle with the Olympian intruders. The Giants have been defeated:

When Ge learned of this, she sought a drug that would prevent their destruction even by mortal hands. But Zeus barred the appearance of Eos (the Dawn), Selene (the Moon), and Helios (the Sun), and chopped up the drug himself before Ge could find it.[63]

The legends of the Assassins had much to do with the training and instruction of Nizari fida’is, famed for their public missions during which they often gave their lives to eliminate adversaries.

The tales of the fidais training collected from anti-Ismaili historians and orientalists writers were confounded and compiled in Marco Polos account, in which he described a “secret garden of paradise”.[citation needed] After being drugged, the Ismaili devotees were said be taken to a paradise-like garden filled with attractive young maidens and beautiful plants in which these fidais would awaken. Here, they were told by an “old” man that they were witnessing their place in Paradise and that should they wish to return to this garden permanently, they must serve the Nizari cause.[64] So went the tale of the “Old Man in the Mountain”, assembled by Marco Polo and accepted by Joseph von Hammer-Purgstall (17741856), a prominent orientalist writer responsible for much of the spread of this legend. Until the 1930s, von Hammers retelling of the Assassin legends served as the standard account of the Nizaris across Europe.[citation needed]

Notable early testing of the entheogenic experience includes the Marsh Chapel Experiment, conducted by physician and theology doctoral candidate, Walter Pahnke, under the supervision of Timothy Leary and the Harvard Psilocybin Project. In this double-blind experiment, volunteer graduate school divinity students from the Boston area almost all claimed to have had profound religious experiences subsequent to the ingestion of pure psilocybin. In 2006, a more rigorously controlled experiment was conducted at Johns Hopkins University, and yielded similar results.[65] To date there is little peer-reviewed research on this subject, due to ongoing drug prohibition and the difficulty of getting approval from institutional review boards.[66]

Furthermore, scientific studies on entheogens present some significant challenges to investigators, including philosophical questions relating to ontology, epistemology and objectivity.[67]

Between 2011 and 2012, the Australian Federal Government was considering changes to the Australian Criminal Code that would classify any plants containing any amount of DMT as “controlled plants”.[68] DMT itself was already controlled under current laws. The proposed changes included other similar blanket bans for other substances, such as a ban on any and all plants containing Mescaline or Ephedrine. The proposal was not pursued after political embarrassment on realisation that this would make the official Floral Emblem of Australia, Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle), illegal. The Therapeutic Goods Administration and federal authority had considered a motion to ban the same, but this was withdrawn in May 2012 (as DMT may still hold potential entheogenic value to native and/or religious peoples).[69]

In 1963 in Sherbert v. Verner the Supreme Court established the Sherbert Test, which consists of four criteria that are used to determine if an individual’s right to religious free exercise has been violated by the government. The test is as follows:

For the individual, the court must determine

If these two elements are established, then the government must prove

This test was eventually all-but-eliminated in Employment Division v. Smith 494 U.S. 872 (1990), but was resurrected by Congress in the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) of 1993.

In City of Boerne v. Flores, 521 U.S. 507 (1997) and Gonzales v. O Centro Esprita Beneficente Unio do Vegetal, 546 U.S. 418 (2006), the RFRA was held to trespass on state sovereignty, and application of the RFRA was essentially limited to federal law enforcement.

As of 2001, Arizona, Idaho, New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas had enacted so-called “mini-RFRAs.”

Many works of literature have described entheogen use; some of those are:

Others

Continued here:

Entheogen – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Political Correctness – Blogs – Jerusalem Post

 Political Correctness  Comments Off on Political Correctness – Blogs – Jerusalem Post
Jun 172016
 

Wikipedia Commons – Credit: Michael Vadon

You cant watch television these days without hearing people talk about political correctness. The term is constantly used and misused to many ends. Donald Trumps campaign revels in the idea of a need to be rid of political correctness and not-so-subtly proposes that this concept is destroying America. His message is clear. If we want to make America great again, we need to ignore the liberal agenda that bars us from offending anyone and ignores the truth. Political correctness is the reason why people no longer speak their minds and is to blame for the surge of Mexican immigrants destroying America. The danger of this refreshing idea that we need to stop being politically correct is it became a kind of code-speak for racism and bullying. Trump claimed that Mexican immigrants were criminals and rapists, that John McCain wasnt a hero because he was captured, and compared Ben Carsons temper (also a champion of political incorrectness) to child molestation. However inane and unfounded in fact Trump is, his blatant disregard of political correctness is a large part of his popularity that has lasted much longer than any reasonable person would have assumed was possible some months back.

But Trump is for the crazies and the nave. I still believe if he goes against Hillary in the general election, itll be the most devastating blow to the Republican party, since Watergate, if not ever. Most of the semi-rational minds in his party agree with this assessment. In spite of this, Trump has locked onto two key ideas are that are too powerful to ignore. Firstly, that the government is bought and sold by corporations and secondly, that political correctness is a cancer on the heart of America and the modern world. When I speak of political correctness, I dont believe in blaming Mexican immigrants for the decline in American greatness, or the right to call women pigs judged solely by the merits of their bone structure, but I do believe political correctness is making honest discourse more and more difficult, if not impossible.

When I began thinking about how I would address this topic, I wanted to relate Trump to the sentimental narratives in the culture that the older white male demographic was fed up with. Things that I agree and disagree with to varying degrees, like the new ideal that there needs to be a term called cis gender to relate to the 99.7% of the population that is not transgender and whether, or whether or not it is racist to place minority actors in subordinate roles to white characters (taxi drivers, maids, etc.) in television and film. I wanted to explore whether Effie, the producer on Project Greenlight, was crazy for freaking out about a black man cast as a limo driver in the very bad movie they were producing. Then I wanted to counterbalance that point with Aziz Ansaris brilliantly funny, ideologically sound depiction of a childhood where all the Indian characters were racist caricatures on Master of None. How could we find the balance in society without limiting the freedom of the artists making the movies?

I was interested in the ridiculous notion that movies should not be judged on their aesthetic merits, but on their ideological aims. Specifically, I wanted to tackle the absurd notion that the internet was aghast at Quentin Tarantino when he said in an interview profile by Bret Easton Ellis that Selma should have won an Emmy, comparing the Martin Luther King biopic to a TV movie, and compare that to the fury aimed at Francine Prose sixteen years ago for making the shocking statement that Maya Angelous heavily metaphor-laden prose was bad writing. And then came Paris.

In the grand scheme of things, does anyone really care that self-important filmmakers usually win awards over better filmmakers? It no longer felt all that important to discuss the aesthetic merits of a few heavily lauded minority writers and filmmakers (some good and some bad). I know that its not racist to have aesthetic problems with 12 Years a Slave or Schindlers List (or any film for that matter), because I look at films in a nuanced way the general population doesnt care to. I know it is un-American to not let someone have a poor opinion about a movie tackling social issues. Then I came to the conclusion that the very levers that make it racist to criticize a fairly good movie about Martin Luther King also are to blame for the fact it is considered racist by some to criticize Europe opening its doors to 60,000,000 refugees.

I know that social progress comes with some speed bumps, as people navigate the politically correct means of delivering messages. One day you can say something one way and the next, only a drunk uncle at Thanksgiving dinner can say it. I get it. America has a long history of racism, sexism and has been fairly horrible to most if not all minorities at some time or another and this horrifyingly continues to this day in spite of the best intentions of the majority of Americans. In our attempt to improve this undignified treatment of everyone excepting white males with money in their pockets, we need to alter language to ensure we dont hurt each other quite as much. For the most part this is a good thing. The problem with political correctness is that it tends to ignore nuance and truth in the service of not hurting feelings.

Generally these little hiccups that disallow opinions are not so important. The problem with political correctness broadly is that people cannot criticize anything or anyone in a disadvantaged situation, for fear of going against the corporatized politically correct narrative. Sometimes when I defend Israel, I feel like Im living in 1984. This is part of the reason Israel gets blamed for everything going on in Gaza, instead of Hamas and the other neighboring Arab nations, and it is entirely the reason that the backward Fundamentalist Muslim beliefs of hundreds of millions of the nearly two billion Muslims in the world get a free pass. We have been conditioned to believe that criticizing anything to do with a minority is fundamentally wrong. The forward thinking people have also been trained to believe that any idea coming from the right is entirely wrong. Again, a lack of nuance.

As a child of the 90s, I was indoctrinated with political correctness from an early age. One day in third grade, we were led into an assembly where we heard the thoughts of a well-meaning person Upper Middle Class woman explaining prejudice to my mostly-white Upper Middle Class Connecticut elementary school. We heard a woman consider what it was to be politically correct and why it was necessary not to call black people black. Instead, we were supposed to say African American. We were told discrimination was wrong. Towards the end, she kind of lost track of her argument and went on a soliloquy about judgment. How we should be prejudiced in our decision-making. That it was necessary to prejudge things from our experience. She gave the example of buying a car and not buying an English car because the prejudiced opinion was that those cars often had engine failure and a boatload of others problems. However, we should not make the same judgments about people.

In spite of all a lot of the other nonsense she was spewing, she was right. Individuals should always be given the benefit of the doubt. It is patently wrong to prejudge them. However, it is not patently wrong to examine the ideologies that influence these people. When we look at Paris, we should remember that Fundamentalist Islam is responsible for the death of Charlie Hebdo last year and 129 more last week. We cant blindly follow the liberal agenda that it was a heroic act to allow tens of millions of Muslims, many of whom have been infected with Fundamentalist ideology, into Europe and expect everything to run smoothly. We cannot let our well-meaning liberal intentions confuse us into blindly accepting cultures that oppress people and endanger the freedoms we fought so hard to attain and are still fighting for. As much as I would like to help those being oppressed by ISIS, if we do not look at the world realistically for fear of offending people, what values of freedom will we be fighting for?

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Political Correctness – Blogs – Jerusalem Post

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Genetic Engineering – The New York Times

 Genetic Engineering  Comments Off on Genetic Engineering – The New York Times
Jun 172016
 

Latest Articles

A technique to change or eliminate entire populations of organisms could be used against virus-carrying mosquitoes. It could also have unintended consequences.

By AMY HARMON

Residents there heard a proposal Monday from an M.I.T. scientist to use genetically engineered mice to stop the spread of the tick-borne disease.

By AMY HARMON

A common bacterium contains molecules that target RNA, not DNA. If it can be harnessed for use in humans, the process may lead to new forms of bioengineering.

By CARL ZIMMER

The formal announcement of the plans, which leaked last month, seeks to raise $100 million this year. The total price tag could exceed $1 billion.

By ANDREW POLLACK

One of the scientists credited with starting the gene editing revolution discusses her landmark discovery and how science has driven her.

By GINA KOLATA

Ritual, a start-up, is introducing a multivitamin that is vegan, mostly free of genetically engineered ingredients and tailored to todays diets.

By STEPHANIE STROM

The transaction, if consummated, would create an industry giant whose products include pain medications, genetically modified crops and pesticides.

By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED and CHAD BRAY

Without disclosing details, Monsanto said its board was reviewing a proposal that would create a giant with a combined annual revenue of $67 billion.

By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED

The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is not expected to end the highly polarized debate over the technology.

By ANDREW POLLACK

Bioengineered food products are safe. So why do we try to hide the facts about them?

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The project poses ethical issues about whether humans could be created without parents.

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Testing of the oats found permissible amounts of glyphosate, but plaintiffs say the results are proof of false marketing claims.

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The magazines Ethicist columnist on whether to reveal someones H.I.V. status, and when its O.K. to accept money from a company with practices you dont respect.

By KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH

Facing tough competition from newer yogurt makers, the company is establishing animal welfare and conservation standards for its milk suppliers.

By STEPHANIE STROM

Genetic engineering may emerge as an important tool to avert extinctions. But ecosystems are complex, and this tinkering might not unfold as planned.

By HILLARY ROSNER

Efforts to expand use of biotechnology to crops other than corn, soybeans, cotton and canola have been hindered by opposition from consumer and environmental groups.

By ANDREW POLLACK

A genetically modified mosquito might eradicate the mosquito species that carries the Zika virus but must first survive a cumbersome approval process.

By NINA FEDOROFF and JOHN BLOCK

A Senate bill that would prevent states from requiring food labels to note the presence of genetically modified ingredients failed on Wednesday.

By STEPHANIE STROM

The senators will consider whether the government should require labeling on foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, an issue that has split the food industry.

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER and STEPHANIE STROM

A trial in the Florida Keys has been tentatively approved, but public comment must be assessed first by the agency.

By ANDREW POLLACK

A technique to change or eliminate entire populations of organisms could be used against virus-carrying mosquitoes. It could also have unintended consequences.

By AMY HARMON

Residents there heard a proposal Monday from an M.I.T. scientist to use genetically engineered mice to stop the spread of the tick-borne disease.

By AMY HARMON

A common bacterium contains molecules that target RNA, not DNA. If it can be harnessed for use in humans, the process may lead to new forms of bioengineering.

By CARL ZIMMER

The formal announcement of the plans, which leaked last month, seeks to raise $100 million this year. The total price tag could exceed $1 billion.

By ANDREW POLLACK

One of the scientists credited with starting the gene editing revolution discusses her landmark discovery and how science has driven her.

By GINA KOLATA

Ritual, a start-up, is introducing a multivitamin that is vegan, mostly free of genetically engineered ingredients and tailored to todays diets.

By STEPHANIE STROM

The transaction, if consummated, would create an industry giant whose products include pain medications, genetically modified crops and pesticides.

By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED and CHAD BRAY

Without disclosing details, Monsanto said its board was reviewing a proposal that would create a giant with a combined annual revenue of $67 billion.

By MICHAEL J. de la MERCED

The report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine is not expected to end the highly polarized debate over the technology.

By ANDREW POLLACK

Bioengineered food products are safe. So why do we try to hide the facts about them?

By JASON KELLY

The project poses ethical issues about whether humans could be created without parents.

By ANDREW POLLACK

Testing of the oats found permissible amounts of glyphosate, but plaintiffs say the results are proof of false marketing claims.

By STEPHANIE STROM

The magazines Ethicist columnist on whether to reveal someones H.I.V. status, and when its O.K. to accept money from a company with practices you dont respect.

By KWAME ANTHONY APPIAH

Facing tough competition from newer yogurt makers, the company is establishing animal welfare and conservation standards for its milk suppliers.

By STEPHANIE STROM

Genetic engineering may emerge as an important tool to avert extinctions. But ecosystems are complex, and this tinkering might not unfold as planned.

By HILLARY ROSNER

Efforts to expand use of biotechnology to crops other than corn, soybeans, cotton and canola have been hindered by opposition from consumer and environmental groups.

By ANDREW POLLACK

A genetically modified mosquito might eradicate the mosquito species that carries the Zika virus but must first survive a cumbersome approval process.

By NINA FEDOROFF and JOHN BLOCK

A Senate bill that would prevent states from requiring food labels to note the presence of genetically modified ingredients failed on Wednesday.

By STEPHANIE STROM

The senators will consider whether the government should require labeling on foods containing genetically engineered ingredients, an issue that has split the food industry.

By JENNIFER STEINHAUER and STEPHANIE STROM

A trial in the Florida Keys has been tentatively approved, but public comment must be assessed first by the agency.

By ANDREW POLLACK

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Genetic Engineering – The New York Times

 Posted by at 4:55 am  Tagged with:

Fiscal Freedom: How Tax Burden Affects Economic Freedom

 Fiscal Freedom  Comments Off on Fiscal Freedom: How Tax Burden Affects Economic Freedom
Jun 152016
 

Fiscal freedom is a measure of the tax burden imposed by government. It includes direct taxes, in terms of the top marginal tax rates on individual and corporate incomes, and overall taxes, including all forms of direct and indirect taxation at all levels of government, as a percentage of GDP. Thus, the fiscal freedom component is composed of three quantitative factors:

Fiscal freedom scores are calculated with a quadratic cost function to reflect the diminishing revenue returns from very high rates of taxation. The data for each factor are converted to a 100-point scale using the following equation:

Fiscal Freedomij= 100 (Factorij)2

where Fiscal Freedomij represents the fiscal freedom in country i for factor j; Factorij represents the value (based on a scale of 0 to 100) in country i for factor j; and is a coefficient set equal to 0.03. The minimum score for each factor is zero, which is not represented in the printed equation but was utilized because it means that no single high tax burden will make the other two factors irrelevant.

As an example, in the 2013 Index, Mauritius has a flat rate of 15 percent for both individual and corporate tax rates, which yields a score of 93.3 for each of the two factors. Mauritiuss overall tax burden as a portion of GDP is 18.5 percent, yielding a tax burden factor score of 89.7. When the three factors are averaged together, Mauritiuss overall fiscal freedom score becomes 92.1.

Sources. Unless otherwise noted, the Index relies on the following sources for information on taxation, in order of priority: Deloitte, International Tax and Business Guide Highlights; International Monetary Fund, Staff Country Report, Selected Issues and Statistical Appendix, and Staff Country Report, Article IV Consultation, 20092012; PricewaterhouseCoopers, Worldwide Tax Summaries, 20092012; countries investment agencies; other government authorities (embassy confirmations and/or the countrys treasury or tax authority); and Economist Intelligence Unit, Country Commerce and Country Finance, 20092012.

For information on tax burden as a percentage of GDP, the primary sources (in order of priority) were Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development data; Eurostat, Government Finance Statistics data; African Development Bank and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, African Economic Outlook 2012; International Monetary Fund, Staff Country Report, Selected Issues, and Staff Country Report, Article IV Consultation, 20092012; Asian Development Bank, Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific, 20092012; and individual contacts from government agencies and multinational organizations such as the IMF and World Bank.

The rest is here:

Fiscal Freedom: How Tax Burden Affects Economic Freedom




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution