Monthly Archives: June 2016

A Brighter Vision of Freedom

I have gotten a lot of vitriol from a lot of LGBT people in this election season, for expressing my lack of support for Hillary Clinton, that somehow, I am a “traitor” and an enemy of the LGBT movement. However, I think I, have given this much thought. I have been a libertarian over 20 years (and my personal experiences have shaped this, I am no fan of government overreach into personal lives) although not always part of the Libertarian Party. So let’s see what that means, and why, as an LGBT person, I’ve chosen to support the Johnson/Weld ticket.

lib·er·tar·i·an
libərˈterēən/

noun
1.an adherent of libertarianism.
“libertarian philosophy”
2.PHILOSOPHY
a person who believes in the doctrine of free will.

When I was younger, free will was taken from me. I was in a places that can only be described as “Brainwashing Kids for Profit” – but it was also supported by very high ranking government officials, including former President and DCI, George H. W. Bush, and former President Reagan, as well as his wife, Nancy.

In this place, I was starved, beaten, humiliated, deprived of sleep, and raped. All in the name of curing me from 1) A non-existent drug problem (I had tried and done cannabis, as well as nitrous oxide, but nothing else), and 2) the fact that I had expressed cross-gender feelings throughout my childhood.

In this place were also others with either mental illness, eating disorders, and learning disabilities – though their “diagnosis” sounded like nothing official. Eating Disorder was the same – Drug Problem was the same, but if you were LGBT – you had a “sexual compulsion”, if you had mental illness or a learning disability, you were a “Behavior Problem”.

In this time, I spent absolutely no time alone, we were not allowed to read, watch TV, know anything that was going on outside, we were cut off from friends and family (and only family that had been brainwashed by them in “parent raps” and “sibling raps” were allowed to see us, and we were not allowed to talk to them unsupervised. We weren’t even allowed to talk to each other, except if it was to tell some story about our “pasts” – where we gave it the spin that everything that happened to us, even childhood sexual abuse was our fault, we had to “take responsibility” (is it any wonder that victim blaming gets my hackles up so much?).

As a result, I knew what it was like to live under totalitarianism. We were all encouraged to rip each other apart in “raps” and humiliate each other, and for the most part, the inmates ran the asylum, as long as you were sufficiently brainwashed to be placed in a position of “responsibility”.

After I got out, I had a MUCH better appreciation of individual liberty. I also have an extreme issue with being critical of nearly everything. I am a made skeptic.

Flash Forward – 22 years – 2016 Election

I have spent a lot of time in my life fighting for individual freedom. I fought against institutions like the one I was in (that are still in some form or other still existent, including places run by WWASP (Robert Lichfield, a known Republican fundraiser owns WWASP) and Aspen Education (which is owned in part by Bain Capital, which in turn is owned in a large part by Mitt Romney). I have been an LGBT rights activist and presenter, I have worked in Sexual Freedom communities, and my latest activism is in Drug Policy. I have a background uniquely suited for these fights because of my experiences.

While while I have been a card carrying ” Libertarian Party member, though not active for about 5 years,  I believe strongly in the Johnson/Weld ticket, while yes, I feel they have no chance in Hades of winning, I think that their platform is important for the social change this country needs.

Here’s why.

1. Johnson and Weld are pragmatists – they understand not everyone is ready to hear a “pure” libertarian message, and while I personally believe in legalizing all drugs and instituting harm reduction programs, and they do as well, for the most part, in a recent Town Hall on CNN, Governor Johnson really only said that he was in favor of immediate legalization of Cannabis. He knows that selling the country on full legalization at this point would be a non-starter.

  1. Governor Bill Weld was not only an ally, but a supporter and institutor of major change in Massachusetts during his governorship of LGBT people, vocally espousing equal rights for all, instituting a council on LGBT matters, and even supporting LGBT youth. To this day, his is the only program that I have seen completely change a state in it’s views in LGBT rights, and MA still is one of the best states to live in regarding being LGBT. In fact, both Governors, Johnson and Weld have done more for LGBT equality that Hillary Clinton has ever done. When she was still claiming to be against gay marriage, Bill Weld especially was for it.

    3. Johnson’s policy on illegal immigration is much more positive. He was the governor of a border state. He feels that people SHOULD be allowed to come here, work, support our economy, and have visas. He does not believe people should be here illegally, and wants to offer work visa amnesty to current illegal immigrants. He says it should make it easier to deport those breaking the law, but also allow for good hardworking people to work towards citizenship and pride in the United States.

    4. They are both anti-war. We’ve lost too much and we can’t handle the damage we’ve done to our own soldiers (and under Johnson/Weld, I could see a better handling of our crisis with Veterans, and more support for treatments such as MAPS MDMA PTSD treatment protocols)


    5. Economically, He wants to do away with Crony Capitalism, our system in which corporations are the biggest influence in government, where they give money and lobby in order to gain special tax incentives and breaks, and policies that only benefit corporations.

6. Johnson is running on a positive platform, where he – despite his obvious distaste for Trump, refuses to say anything overly bad about him other than criticizing his stance on immigration in very strong terms. He isn’t running a negative campaign, and is putting for solutions to nearly every issue this country is facing today front and center, and doing it in a way that makes me proud to be a libertarian.

And it’s that vision that I am voting for in a current two-party system that is so broken that we have to choose between a Charlatan and a Corporate Crony.

People may say “but that’s throwing away your vote” – but it’s not, and it’s not even a “protest vote”, it’s a vote for what I believe in, it’s a vote for optimism, and it’s a vote to break the two party system. The reason, you see, is that if the Libertarian Party gets enough votes this election, they have automatic ballot access in all 50 states, and debate access (which we are fighting hard for this election cycle, to get more exposure, so that Governor Johnson can stand at a podium with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump and say “This is our positive vision, it’s pragmatic, and well thought out, and sane”, and hopefully convince the American People that we are better than this.

And it’s that vision for the future that I am voting for, because Americans need Pragmatic Hope, not the same thing that we’ve been facing for the last 16 years, which is vitriol, xenophobia, corporate cronyism, racism, violence towards LGBT people, and the highest incarceration rate in the world.

That’s not a “Land of the Free”, but Johnson and Weld’s vision is, and us Americans need hope in that vision.

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New Strategies for New Psychoactive Substances Policy Day in NYC

This post is really just a repost of an informal brain dump after the conference today that I posted on Facebook, so it’s a lot more informal than other blog posts… I want to get information out there fast, and I will write more of an analysis article over the weekend. I am excited and exhausted by today.

I’m both encouraged and a little discouraged at the monumental amount of work that we, as sensible people, who want sensible drug policy, have to do here in the US to really fix the damage a system that has existed since the 1880’s and just gotten more complicated and mixed up in racism, economic class disparity, and pretty much every “ism” and “phobia” the US has had since even before slavery ended… is going to take – there are some really really intelligent multi-disciplinary teams working on this… from all walks of life, and across almost all political spectrums. Its encouraging to see that, and if anyone that solve it, it is those people.

The sheer magnitude of it is really hard to even comprehend though, I thought the troubled teen industry and private thought reform places were bad enough and pervasive, that’s only a small part of this, and it’s really sometimes too much for my brain to actually fit around.

A large amount of people were familiar with – specifically Straight Inc. and the spinoffs, which was heartening. I felt years ago that we were voices in the Wilderness, and very few would hear our voice. I am seeing our voice, especially with the help of Maia Szalavitz actually having been magnified. The very problem of who the government has turned to as experts in these fields are mostly quacks who won’t even entertain any loosening on Prohibition because it benefits them to keep it going is a known piece of the puzzle.

The magnitude of the “NSP” (mostly research chemicals of all types) problem is a lot bigger than I thought… I’ve seen small pieces of it and was horrified, but our response to it now is heartening, the understanding that data collection, working with law enforcement, decriminalizing possession and use, getting users on board with anonymous data collection. Working with the community to make things better, we are seeing this in Wales. and I was really impressed by the WEDINOS program … if anything that would get me to leave the Computer arena, it would be getting a chance to work on something like that… I think it’s exactly the type of thing I envision what would happen if Law Enforcement, DanceSafe and EcstasyData and being able to collect data on substances found in a given area, keep up on trends, educating users… it’s like amazing. I can’t say enough about that, it’s like everything I could want to see in a harm reduction program that is research based.

I met some really awesome people coming from really awesome places from sociologists to pharma people to activists to historians to journalists… it was really incredible to see. I need to do more of this… I got burned out, and I need to really control my burn, but it’s something I’m really passionate about and its not retraumatizing ALL the time …. (sometimes…. when Maia described Straight Inc and spinoffs, I almost cried… that was tough to hear, because sometimes I look at it as if it was just part of what I went through to get here, and then realized I would be and am outraged it is still happening – nobody deserves that….

I think that might be everything, I did have some questions written down sort of as thought provoking things that came up, and I was good, I didn;t monopolize, and everything I said I thought were things that added to a big picture, and people said it made them genuinely think.

But some were answered in the course of the discussion, and some may have gone unanswered, this is largely from the harm reduction portion, because I am fascinated with the idea of reducing harm to add freedom.

A harm reduction specialist working in the South Bronx, when talking about the K-2 usage reported wildly different effects across batches… I had this question:

Are the possible reasons why we have seen so much varied response to these drugs, the fact that both synthetic cathinones and synthetic opioids have also been found adulterating synthetic cannabinoids?

More General:
Cannabis vs. Synthetic cannabinoids, cost – why? is it the legality or ease of testing of cannabis use that drives K2/Synthetic Cannabinoid use?

and one point I brought up is that a lot of the resistance to ending the drug war doesn’t just come from policy-makers who have outlived their usefulness (if they were ever useful at all… looking at DuPont here… who still has his hand in the cookie jar) but also from the fact there are large parts of our country, our state even driven by the corrections industry, the law enforcement incentive to seize property, the people that their jobs would be severely effected by an end to the results of the drug war. Abstinence only type rehab centers have a lot riding on it, and many are policy-maker types – so called “experts” – this leads to a really bad environment for fixing anything – something has to give.

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