Friday, August 16, 2013

Is the Silk Road the infrastructure of a Libertarian future?

Forbes has a fascinating interview with The Dread Pirate Roberts, the assumed name of the purported CEO of the Silk Road, a website for the anonymous sale of prohibited drugs and other contraband. Anonymity is the key, and the site relies upon the digital currency Bitcoin. The Dread Pirate Roberts argues that he is motivated by his libertarian philosophy to advance personal and economic freedom, and the opportunity to make what is probably millions of dollars.

The Pirate thinks he is going to change the world in favor of freedom. U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) is demanding that the government take down the Silk Road. As this anonymous commerce grows, it may become the alternative justification the NSA/DEA/CIA/FBI/IRS needs to justify to an angry public their massive invasions of privacy.

Take ten minutes and read this and think about the future, and the lessons of the past.

Kudos to Andy Greenberg of the Forbes staff.

Sphere: Related Content

I Owed Drug Czar Kerlikowske an Apology

My post in early August about the promotion of "drug czar" Gil Kerlikowske from ONDCP director to Customs Commissioner was both erroneous and impolite. Mr. Kerlikowske undertook a number of important public health measures that embraced "harm reduction" that I did not know about. Yet I unfairly criticized his tenure at ONDCP because of my ire at what I thought were uninformed comments about drug legalization and marijuana, and what I thought was posturing in describing federal drug policy as "balanced."  I spell this out at Huffington Post. I owed Mr. Kerlikowske and the readers of Huffington Post, and this blog, an apology. I mailed an apology to Mr. Kerlikowske to his office. I apologize to you for not checking the facts before I published.

Sphere: Related Content

Friday, August 02, 2013

Drug Czar Kerlikowske leaving ONDCP

Corrections below.
On August 2, President Obama nominated Gil Kerlikowske, the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, to be the Customs Commissioner.

Kerlikowske has been an unimaginative drug czar, often invisible. Having come from Seattle, Washington where he had been police chief, he was shrouded with hope that he would have enlightened views about harm reduction and marijuana use and enforcement. Those hopes were soon dashed. His office has accomplished little and his public statements have been uninspiring. He demonstrated no ability to influence the federal bureaucracy, and left ONDCP irrelevant in national drug policy efforts. ONDCP's role in forums of the United Nations, such as the Commission on Narcotic Drugs, has been to stifle adoption of harm reduction, a singularly backward approach. His departure is good news for drug policy but bad news for the Department of Homeland Security and people who care about Customs enforcement.

Once again, Obama has an opportunity to reshape drug policy. Perhaps he could nominate U.S. Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), a leader in drug policy and criminal justice policy reform in Congress; Peter Beilenson, M.D. (CEO of Evergreen Health Co-Op; former Howard County, MD health commissioner, and former health commissioner under Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke); or U.S. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) who also served for six years on the Colorado State Board of Education, including serving as Chairman. These men would bring a long missing sophisticated vision of drug policy to the White House.

At the Spring 2012 Meeting of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs, Resolution 55/7 endorsing the use of Naloxone as a technique to prevent opiate overdose deaths was adopted with amazing speed.  The U.S. appeared to have dropped its long-standing opposition to harm reduction measures and explicit overdose prevention strategies. The U.S. emissaries were representatives of Kerlikowske's ONDCP.

In November 2012,  by video, Kerlikowske addressed the conference of the Harm Reduction Coalition in Portland, OR, and asked to work together.

In the past year, there has been important evidence of constructive policy change in ONDCP. I apologize for misrepresenting Kerlikowske's record.

Sphere: Related Content