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Adam Dick

Ninth Circuit Bars Federal Medical Marijuana Prosecutions; Full Protection Requires Congress Action


People living in some western portions of America with liberalized medical marijuana laws have some extra protection from the United States government prosecuting them for violations of US marijuana laws thanks to a decision issued Tuesday by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals. However, only congressional action can promptly ensure such protection is provided to people countrywide.

The appeals court’s United States v. McIntosh ruling decides ten consolidated appeals and petitions for writs of mandamus pursued by appellants who have been indicted for violating the US Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The appellants argue that a prohibition on funding US prosecutions related to medical marijuana should require the dismissal of their indictments and the stopping of their prosecutions. Looking at appropriations legislation for the Department of Justice (DOJ) enacted in 2014 and 2015, the court concludes that a provision of the enacted appropriations bills, which the court refers to a section 542 based on the provision’s location in the 2015 appropriations, “prohibits DOJ from spending funds from relevant appropriations acts for the prosecution of individuals who engage in conduct permitted by the State Medical Marijuana Laws and who fully complied with such laws.”

The result for the appellants, the court explains in its decision, is that, if the DOJ decides to continue with prosecution, the appellants “are entitled to evidentiary hearings to determine whether their conduct was completely authorized by state law.” If the conduct was authorized, then the prosecution must end. The court further clarifies that the matter to be decided in such a hearing is if the actions of the appellants “strictly comply with all relevant conditions imposed by state law on the use, distribution, possession, and cultivation of medical marijuana.”
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Can Hillary Clinton Be Pro-War and a Progressive?


Despite Hillary Clinton obtaining the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination last week, many people, including many Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) delegates who publicly dissented throughout the Democratic National Convention and even walked off the convention floor in protest, dispute the claim that Clinton is a progressive. Reasons people offer for opposing the applicability of the progressive label to Clinton are many — from Clinton’s support for international managed trade deals to her close relationship with big financial institutions to her support for “law and order” policies that trample on individual rights.

Yet, maybe the greatest ire of people who define themselves as progressives or on the left toward Clinton arises in reaction to Clinton’s pro-war beliefs and actions. Former Greece Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis well described the objection earlier this year. Varoufakis, in a short video at Business Insider, concludes that Clinton “ruled herself out of progressive politics” when she backed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the war that followed, as well as when, as US Secretary of State, she participated in the US government’s war on Libya and even “celebrated” the mutilation and killing of Libyan government leader Muammar Gaddafi.
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Nazis Have Rights Too


Suffolk County, New York police arrested Edward Perkowski on Thursday after the police allegedly found in a raid of his home items including tens of thousands of dollars in cash, several guns and knives, ammunition, a bit of marijuana and illegal mushrooms, and some bomb-making instructions. Oh yeah, the town of Brookhaven condemned Perkowski’s house to boot. This appears to be yet another example of a government cracking down on people for nonviolent actions. In this case we have a convergence of the wars on cash, guns, and drugs, as well as government’s intolerance of free speech.

Here is another important aspect of this story: Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini is stirring up fear that Perkowski and his brother Sean, who was also arrested, are dangerous because they are Nazis. The brothers might even have been planning a mass killing like we saw in Orlando, Florida last week, Sini suggests.

The evidence for the brothers’ supposed Nazism is apparently that a Nazi flag, framed photo of Adolph Hitler, and other materials related to Nazi ideas were found in the house. Of course, the presence of such items in a house does not establish that any of the house’s occupants subscribe to any particular ideology.
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The Terrorist iPhone Snow Job


It all started so “harmless.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted to access the information of a person being investigated for mass murder so, the FBI said, it could try to prevent more terrorist attacks.

A couple months later this has morphed into a situation where the FBI is offering to help police departments across America access secured information of any electronic device connected to criminal investigations and where members of the United States Senate are moving forward with legislation to force technology companies to give the government access to secured, including via encryption, electronic devices information.

First, the FBI’s bumbled handling of an iPhone connected to a mass killing in San Bernardino provided an opening for the FBI to seek a precedent-setting court order to require Apple to assist the government in overcoming the phone’s security. Rather convenient, one might say, for a government agency determined to search and seize with the minimum possible constraint. Then, when Apple resisted the court’s order that was obtained ex parte (without Apple being afforded an opportunity to present its opposing arguments), the FBI dropped the case, claiming it found people who helped it bypass the iPhone’s security. This is after the FBI had told the magistrate judge that the FBI needed Apple’s help to accomplish the task.
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Ron Paul Rewind: All US Supreme Court Justices are Good and Bad

With the death last week of United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, there is much discussion of whether Scalia was good or bad on the court and whether President Barack Obama and the next president will nominate good or bad people for the court. If you value the protection of liberty, however, it is clear that none of the current or recent justices are on your side and that Obama and the next president are unlikely to appoint anyone who is either.
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Not-So-Convincing Anti-Second Amendment Arguments


Ken Womble has written convincingly regarding legal matters, including the desirability of prosecuting cops who lie about other cops’ killings. However, Womble, in a Monday Mimesis Law article, provides several not-so-convincing arguments for repealing the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution while keeping in place other constitutional provisions Womble lists — “freedom of speech, assembly, due process, voting, etc.”

Womble provides three arguments in support of his conclusion. First, he says that the right to keep and bear arms is distinguishable from other rights mentioned in the Constitution because, “[i]n our nation’s almost 240 years of existence, the 2nd Amendment is the only time our leaders have granted a constitutional right to possess tools.”

When you think about it, this is not much of a distinction. The freedom of speech that Womble seeks to distinguish from the right to bear arms would be of much less value without the ability to use microphones, telephones, video cameras, audio recording equipment, radio and TV, the internet, means of transportation, and many other tools. Indeed, listed rather redundantly in the First Amendment is the freedom of the press along with the freedom of speech.
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Ron Paul Says Entering Presidential Race as Libertarian Party Candidate ‘Not in the Cards’

In a new Fox Business interview, host Kennedy asks Ron Paul the question many people have considered the last couple days: With Paul’s son Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) having dropped out of the presidential race this week, how about the senior Paul jump into the 2016 presidential contest by seeking the Libertarian Party nomination? Paul responds that such a run is “not in the cards.”
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Ron Paul: Congress is AWOL on US Wars

Interviewed Thursday on the Alex Jones Show, Ron Paul lamented that, despite the Founders having “worked so hard to allow [war] powers to be put into the hands of the body that is supposed to be closest to the people,” the Congress today “is absent, AWOL,” because Congress members “don’t want the responsibility.” “They don’t want to assume any responsibility, so they would rather give up their prerogative,” concludes Paul.
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Here Come the Free Staters!


It looks like thousands — maybe tens of thousands — of libertarians will be moving to New Hampshire in the next few years. Via a vote in 2003, the Free State Project selected New Hampshire from among several low-population states as the state to target for a migration of people who share an interest in reducing government violations of liberty. Now, over 19,500 people have agreed to a Free State Project pledge saying that, once 20,000 people have made the pledge, the pledgers intend to move to New Hampshire within five years and “exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property.” The project is over 97 percent of the way toward 20,000 pledgers, with that threshold expected to be reached soon.

Motivating the Free State Project is the reasoning that a few thousand devoted advocates for liberty can have an outsized influence in a relatively small state. This appears to already be the case with “early movers” who have relocated to New Hampshire before the pledge’s 20,000 threshold has been reached. As the Concord Monitor reported earlier this month, 18 early movers in the New Hampshire House of Representatives means “Free State movers, who represent 0.15 percent of the total population, comprise nearly 5 percent of the House.”
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Hillary to Bernie: Stop Sounding Like Ron Paul on Iran!


Many people watching the Democratic presidential debate on Sunday likely considered United States Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) advocacy that the US “move as aggressively as we can to normalize relations with Iran" as a welcome call for replacing decades of US hostility and sanctions toward Iran with peace and trade that would benefit people in both countries. Many viewers may also have noticed that Sanders’ stated opinion shares much in common with former Republican and Libertarian presidential candidate Ron Paul’s long-expressed aspiration that US antagonism toward Iran be replaced with peaceful and prosperous relations.

Paul again expressed his aspiration regarding US-Iran relations in his latest weekly editorial that concludes with the following:

Let’s hope that this new opening with Iran will allow many other productive Americans to grow wealthy through trade and business ties. Let’s hope many new productive jobs will be created on both sides. Peace is prosperous!

The Hillary Clinton presidential campaign, however, would have none of Sanders’ normalization talk. Two days after the debate, the former senator from New York and US secretary of state’s campaign released a statement from ten high-level US foreign policy crafters taking Sanders to task for, among other things, desiring a quick warming in relations between the US and Iran.
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