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legalize heroin.

Jun 7 '13

With PRISM Revelations, Tumblr’s Sale to Yahoo Turned Tragic

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Since Yahoo bought Tumblr a few weeks ago, much of Tumblr’s user base has been much less than thrilled. Although a good amount of the frustration has had to do with layout changes or distaste for being advertised at, a trip back through the tag archive turns up a lot of angry but nonspecific complaints that generally appear more paranoid than reasoned.

This morning though, when The Guardian and The Washington Post revealed that the NSA (i.e. the US military) has direct access to Yahoo’s servers, Tumblr users’ uncritical mistrust of the corporation that bought their community was suddenly justified (to get a sense of the PRISM program’s implications for Tumblr users, check out AllThingsD’s analysis of why Tumblr was such a good purchase for Yahoo, which now reads like the script to a KGB-themed nightmare). If the NSA program had been leaked two weeks earlier would the Tumblr sale have gone through?

When we started LegalizeHeroin in 2010 we chose to do so on Tumblr because of the freedom and ease with which a massively diverse, intelligent, and bold array of views were meeting en masse (the simple-to-use-interface was also a factor).

Our mission has basically been to catalog and understand the effects of prohibitionist drug laws; to do this we naturally communicate with people who are victim to (i.e. break) these laws. For this reason, the apparent ability of the US government to monitor (and share) the details of our digital interactions is an attack not just on our Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures, but more importantly our First Amendment right to free speech. As a voice that is in direct opposition to what is effectively a police and military policy of the US government, how can we possibly speak freely when the military has full access to our communications?

The rhetoric used to justify the war on terror is not very different at all from that used to inaugurate the war on drugs, and indeed these wars are conflated now more than ever. If the US government were to exercise anything close to the same fervor in pursuing the drug war as it does in hunting terrorists, the extraordinarily low bars that have been established as the standard for designating a terrorist threat would be cleared without a second thought

Consider, drug lords are a security hazard: cartels clearly threaten the stability of our neighbors and traffic dangerous drugs into our country. Is it really so inconceivable that data from Google or Yahoo might be used to hunt their leaders?
If we are serious about apprehending drugs lords don’t we have to monitor drug traffickers in general?
If we are serious about apprehending drug traffickers then don’t we have to monitor drug distributors?
If we are serious about apprehending distributors then don’t we have to monitor dealers?
If we are serious about apprehending dealers, don’t we have to monitor drugs users?
If we are serious about apprehending drugs users, don’t we have to monitor anyone who associates them?

It seems preposterous, but this is precisely the logic that the DOJ cited to justify the seizure of Verizon’s entire data bank. To date most American (as well as foreign) citizens have (presumably) avoided scrutiny due to the relative rarity of terrorists. If, however, there were to be only a very minor pivot in priority on the part of the NSA – or if other agencies, say, the DEA, were allowed access to the data - it is very easy to see how the entire population could be subject to far more invasive forms of surveillance.

The obvious solution for wary dissenters is to use networks that are not monitored, although it must be pointed out that preventing opposition voices from using near-universal networks such as Google is itself a clear attack on free speech.

Tumblr has, to date, been an outstanding channel for unique and unfettered dialogue. The unfortunate timing of its acquisition by Yahoo all but guarantees a chilling effect on the robustly democratic spirit of conversation the platform has fostered.

Jun 5 '13
Health groups have accused RJ Reynolds of targeting kids with a new Camel Crush ad campaign. Although RJR claims to have done its due diligence before launching the ads, the company’s track record is not exactly spotless, and the fact that kids seem to love Crushes doesn’t help.
Meanwhile, summer is the perfect time to grab a Straw-Ber-Rita.

Health groups have accused RJ Reynolds of targeting kids with a new Camel Crush ad campaign. Although RJR claims to have done its due diligence before launching the ads, the company’s track record is not exactly spotless, and the fact that kids seem to love Crushes doesn’t help.

Meanwhile, summer is the perfect time to grab a Straw-Ber-Rita.

Jun 3 '13

June Break/Scheduled Downtime

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Last year we took a break during June; as you may have noticed it’s the same deal this time around (except without a polite note ahead of time).

There will likely be sporadic updating/roundups in the coming weeks, but don’t hold us to it. Expect Regular programming to resume towards the end of June/early July.

Thanks for reading!

May 25 '13

Here Are Some Tumblrs Worth Following

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As you probably know, Tumblr was bought up by Yahoo this week (Legalize Heroin is a tumblr site if you hadn’t realized). A lot of folks have feelings about the acquisition, some positive, most not. We aren’t really qualified to offer a worthwhile opinion, but we do know that COOL SHIT happens here. So we’ll take the opportunity to shout out some of the excellent content being produced/shared by our fellow tumblrers:

Adam Isacson (of WOLA)
Biocanvas
Border Fact Check
Felix Salmon
Friendzone
Fuck Yeah Drug Policy
Grow Opium
Letters To My Country
Libertas Academia
Neuroscience
The Political Notebook
Project on Government Oversight

Robert Reich
Schools Not Prisons
Vandalog
Visualizing Economics

If you feel we’ve been neglectful, please yell at us.

May 23 '13
The New York Civil Liberties Union today released an analysis of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk “minority harassment program,” and it found about what you’d expect: rampant discrimination, a less-than-vigorous regard for such antiquated notions as constitutional protections and common decency, a whole lot of pot arrests, and very little of what the police were looking for. As the chart above demonstrates:

While stops have increased by 372,060 since 2003, officers only found 96 additional guns.

Keep fucking that chicken, boys.

The New York Civil Liberties Union today released an analysis of the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk “minority harassment program,” and it found about what you’d expect: rampant discrimination, a less-than-vigorous regard for such antiquated notions as constitutional protections and common decency, a whole lot of pot arrests, and very little of what the police were looking for. As the chart above demonstrates:

While stops have increased by 372,060 since 2003, officers only found 96 additional guns.

Keep fucking that chicken, boys.

May 20 '13
adam-wola:


Pretty remarkable to see this recommendation in an OAS report.


We posted on the OAS report over the weekend and mentioned it in the roundup, but the more emphasis the better. Although the stated aim of the OAS’ release last week was to “provide the start of a long-awaited discussion,” the report leaves little doubt that the conversation is well underway and that legalization is a part of it.

adam-wola:

Pretty remarkable to see this recommendation in an OAS report.

We posted on the OAS report over the weekend and mentioned it in the roundup, but the more emphasis the better. Although the stated aim of the OAS’ release last week was to “provide the start of a long-awaited discussion,” the report leaves little doubt that the conversation is well underway and that legalization is a part of it.

May 20 '13
A pair of men shot in the head and left hanging from a bridge in Mexico State.

A pair of men shot in the head and left hanging from a bridge in Mexico State.

May 19 '13

Drug War Roundup 18 May 2013

This week in the drug war:

Argentina found itself in a catch-22

…the OAS spat some serious truth

…a large round of clinical trials found that ketamine basically punches depression in the dick

..an incredibly promising set of studies suggest that hepatitis c may be all but bagged up

…”Karate Chop” enjoyed a tenth week on the Hot 100 chart

…some clever saint came up with an innovative/completely illegal way to make Papa John’s worth ordering…

…the king asshole mayor of Toronto was filmed smoking crack

The Guardian won pun of the week credits: “Cannabis: Colorado’s Budding Industry" (forgive them, it’s a good article)…

…Illinois got set to legalize medical marijuana…

…and finally, a modern-day Philadelphia Story cometh.

Opinion and Analysis and So On:
Austerity’s Drug of Choice
VICE

Dirty Medicine (An Epic Story of Long-Term Fraud)
CNN Money

Why French Kids Don’t Have ADHD
Psychology Today

May 18 '13

A pair of graphics from the Organization of American States’ freshly released Report on the Drug Problem in the Americas. The report is broken up into two separate reports: the Analytic Report, which addresses what is happening and why, and the Scenarios Report, which discusses possible outcomes.

As far as the drug war is concerned, the report as a whole is as comprehensive and bullshit-free a document as you are likely to find (especially coming from an organization as significant as the OAS).

May 18 '13
A social network diagram published in The New York Times yesterday illustrating how pharmaceutical companies are able to precisely target doctors in order to influence the prescribing habits of their peers.

A social network diagram published in The New York Times yesterday illustrating how pharmaceutical companies are able to precisely target doctors in order to influence the prescribing habits of their peers.