Category Archives: United States

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Drug War Intensifies, Opioid Deaths Increase

Last month, President Donald Trump appointed New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as the head of a task force aimed at curbing opioid use and abuse. On April 11, it was announced that Pennsylvania Rep. Tom Marino would likely step down from his current position to lead the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) as the “drug czar.” However, increased drug control is unlikely to prevent drug-related deaths. Before instituting harsher drug policies, Christie and Marino must acknowledge that drug regulation has already made the situation deadlier.

Throughout his political career, Christie vowed to further regulate various drugs ranging from marijuana to heroin. Despite his “get tough” attitude on narcotics, his state has seen opioid deaths climb by 214 percent since 2010.  Yet Christie continues to make battling overdoses his top, and seemingly only, priority in his final year in office. He recently signed a bill into law that bars doctors from issuing a script of longer than five days for first-time painkiller prescriptions. It also requires that any prescription of a pain killer for acute pain is the “lowest effective dose.”

Similarly, in his time in Congress, Marino has focused a lot on drug issues. He introduced drug regulation bills in the house, including the Transnational Drug Trafficking Act which aims to stop drug trafficking across borders, and a bill that increases collaboration between the Drug Enforcement Agency and prescription pill companies.

Continue reading at FEE

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#49: Rand Paul, Ron Wyden and Data Privacy at the Border

On today’s episode of the Young Voices Podcast, Stephen speaks with Advocate Dan King. Dan is a Niagara University alumnus, where he double majored in communications and social studies education. While at NU, Dan helped start his college libertarian chapter. He currently works as an editor and blogger for a small town newspaper in upstate New York. Dan is also the secretary for his local Libertarian Party chapter.

Dan wrote a piece for RealClearPolicy, outlining a bill in the U.S. Senate & House to protect individuals crossing the border from having their phone’s and devices invaded by government agents.

Find Young Voices on Facebook and Twitter and email Stephen about the show with thoughts, questions or ideas at [email protected]

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Young Voices Podcast #47: Drug Czars, ‘Hospital Slash Prisons’ and Other Bad Ideas

Lucy Steigerwald, Assistant Editor Young Voices, joins Stephen Kent on the Young Voices Podcast to discuss her recent publication in Playboy, concerning Jeff Sessions and the revival of the war on drugs. She takes politicians to task for years of failed policy when it comes to rehabilitation and punishment in the American justice system, and why it may just get even worse under the Trump administration. You can find Lucy of Twitter @LucyStag  and Young Voices @yvadv.
Check out Lucy’s piece in Playboy here and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes
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Regime Change In Syria Is Unlikely To Work

During the campaign, Donald Trump positioned himself as the non-interventionist candidate. His first few months in office have debunked this idea. Trump launched his first drone strike within days of his inauguration, and has intensified action on this front. In January, he also ordered a Special Forces raid in Yemen that killed civilians, as well as a Navy Seal.

Now, he has officially entered the Syrian Civil War following a missile strike launched in response to the recent chemical attack on civilians. Senator Marco Rubio and others are now calling for regime change, and Secretary of State Tillerson says plans are being formulated to remove Syrian President Bashar Al–Assad. If the Iraq War and the intervention in Libya taught us anything, it’s that forceful ousting of a sitting government will  fail, and therefore the US should resist doing so at all costs.

Anyone with a heart feels for the plight of Syrians trapped in what imaginatively is nothing less than hell. The images and videos emerging in the aftermath of the chemical attack are incredibly jarring. But the best policy is not for the US or other nations to further escalate the fighting.

Read more at The Daily Caller

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Protect Data Privacy at the Border

Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ron Wyden (D-OR) recently introduced a much-needed, bipartisan Senate bill to combat mobile device searches. Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO.) and Blake Farenthold (R-TX) also introduced this bill to the House. The “Protecting Data at the Border” Act is a vital step towards protecting the American people from one of the most egregious forms of government overreach.

The bipartisan, bicameral bill would shut down what Wyden calls a “legal Bermuda Triangle,” which allows the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to search people’s mobile devices at the United States border without a warrant. If passed, the bill would require law enforcement agencies to obtain a “warrant based on probable cause” before seizing the device of “a U.S. person.” It also prevents law enforcement from denying or delaying entry to the country if a person refuses to turn over PIN numbers, passwords, or social media account information.

Current device search policy applies to U.S. citizens and noncitizens alike and allows the federal government to search cell phones, tablets, and other mobile devices at border crossings without any suspicion of criminal wrongdoing. In 2009, after concerns were raised about the legality of the policy, the DHS conducted a civil liberties impact assessment, which came to the troubling conclusion that such searches are justified. The summary reads:

“We also conclude that imposing a requirement that officers have reasonable suspicion in order to conduct a border search of an electronic device would be operationally harmful without concomitant civil rights/civil liberties benefits.”

In other words: Fourth Amendment need not apply.

It is abundantly clear that this policy treads all over civil liberties. As the American Civil Liberties Union points out, federal authorities are granted “broader” power near border areas. But those powers do not allow them blatantly to violate Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures.

Continue reading at RealClearPolicy