Behind The Woodshed Blogcaster – May 7, 2017.

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  • Leaked: The UK’s secret blueprint with telcos for mass spying on internet, phones – and backdoors

    Real-time full-blown snooping with breakable encryption.
    The UK government has secretly drawn up more details of its new bulk surveillance powers – awarding itself the ability to monitor Brits’ live communications, and insert encryption backdoors by the backdoor.

    In its draft technical capability notices paper [PDF], all communications companies – including phone networks and ISPs – will be obliged to provide real-time access to the full content of any named individual within one working day, as well as any “secondary data” relating to that person.

    That includes encrypted content – which means that UK organizations will not be allowed to introduce true end-to-end encryption of their users’ data but will be legally required to introduce a backdoor to their systems so the authorities can read any and all communications.

    In addition, comms providers will be required to make bulk surveillance possible by introducing systems that can provide real-time interception of 1 in 10,000 of its customers. Or in other words, the UK government will be able to simultaneously spy on 6,500 folks in Blighty at any given moment.

    According to the draft, telcos and other comms platforms must “provide and maintain the capability to disclose, where practicable, the content of communications or secondary data in an intelligible form and to remove electronic protection applied by or on behalf of the telecommunications operator to the communications or data.”

    The live surveillance of individuals will require authorization from secretaries of state, overseen by a judge appointed by the prime minister. And there are a few safeguards built into the system following strong opposition to earlier drafts of the Investigatory Powers Act.

     

  • UK Cops May Soon Be Able to Remotely Disable Phones Even if No Crime Has Been Committed

    UK police could acquire a new power. Last Friday, the Digital Economy Act became law, much of which focuses around restricting access to online pornography, and what sort of sexual acts can legally be included in porn.

    But with the legislation’s passing, law enforcement agencies may soon be able to remotely disable or restrict a mobile phone if it is suspected of being used for drug dealing or related to it, and in some cases regardless of whether a crime has actually been committed, according to legal commentators.

    “The ‘drug dealing telecoms restriction order’ contained within Section 80 of the Digital Economy Act 2017 is an entirely unprecedented and potentially draconian power allowing police to prevent the use of phones or other communications devices,” Myles Jackman, legal director for activist organisation Open Rights Group, told Motherboard in an email.

    As for how this would likely work in practice, a police officer ranked superintendent or higher, or the Director General or Deputy Director General at the National Crime Agency, would apply for a court order that would then be presented to a communications provider—a telco company—ordering it to restrict the specified device or phone number.

    Judging by recently published amendments, some of these orders could last indefinitely, and they seemingly could also be used against people who have not committed a crime, or who are not drug dealers themselves. Orders can apply if the user is “facilitating the commission by the user or another person of a drug dealing offense,” or “conduct of the user that is likely to facilitate the commission by the user or another person of a drug dealing offence (whether or not an offence is committed).”

     

  • UK’s New ‘Digital Economy’ Law Somehow Now Gives Police The Power To Remotely Kill Phone Service

    The UK’s long-gestating Digital Economy Act has finally gone into force. The law is mainly interested in porn and pirates — two issues most of the UK public is far less interested in having subjected to intrusive regulation.
    But just keeping an eye on who is or isn’t availing themselves of porn/torrents isn’t the only intrusive aspect of the Act. As Joseph Cox of Motherboard points out, an amendment to the law grants some pretty scary new powers to UK law enforcement, allowing them to kill citizens’ means of communication.
    [L]aw enforcement agencies can remotely disable or restrict a mobile phone if it is suspected of being used for drug dealing or related to it, and in some cases regardless of whether a crime has actually been committed, according to legal commentators.
    Law enforcement isn’t being given a kill switch. But it’s being given the next best thing. With a court order, police can approach service providers and have them restrict or cut off service. The only thing law enforcement will have to provide is a vague theory the targeted phones may be involved in criminal activity.
    Orders can apply if the user is “facilitating the commission by the user or another person of a drug dealing offense,” or “conduct of the user that is likely to facilitate the commission by the user or another person of a drug dealing offence (whether or not an offence is committed).”
    Nice touch there, with the “whether or not an offence is committed.” A person may not know someone they communicate with is involved in criminal activity, but they’re at risk of having their phone service interrupted (possibly indefinitely) nonetheless.
    The only way this part of the Act [PDF] could be considered “narrowed” or “tailored” is its limitation to alleged drug-related crimes. That narrowness is immediately removed once you realize how things like buying gardening supplies or driving around with too many air fresheners is considered evidence of drug trafficking.

 

Hijacked – Cautionary Tales

  • The hijacking flaw that lurked in Intel chips is worse than anyone thought

    A remote hijacking flaw that lurked in Intel chips for seven years was more severe than many people imagined, because it allowed hackers to remotely gain administrative control over huge fleets of computers without entering a password. This is according to technical analyses published Friday.  As Ars reported Monday, the authentication bypass vulnerability resides in a feature known as Active Management Technology. AMT, as it’s usually called, allows system administrators to perform a variety of powerful tasks over a remote connection. Among the capabilities: changing the code that boots up computers, accessing the computer’s mouse, keyboard, and monitor, loading and executing programs, and remotely powering on computers that are turned off. In short, AMT makes it possible to log into a computer and exercise the same control enjoyed by administrators with physical access.

    AMT, which is available with many vPro processors, was set up to require a password before it could be remotely accessed over a Web browser interface. But, remarkably, that authentication mechanism can be bypassed by entering any text string—or no text at all. According to a blog post published Friday by Tenable Network Security, the cryptographic hash that the interface’s digest access authentication requires to verify someone is authorized to log in can be anything at all, including no string at all.

    “Authentication still worked” even when the wrong hash was entered, Tenable Director of Reverse Engineering Carlos Perez wrote. “We had discovered a complete bypass of the authentication scheme.”

     

  • Stop Using Unroll.me, Right Now. It Sold Your Data to Uber.

    Tucked away in a rollicking New York Times profile of amoral Uber CEO Travis Kalanick is a tidbit about Unroll.me, a popular service that aims to rescue your email inbox from unwanted newsletters and promotional messages with an easy automated unsubscribe service. The problem is, it’s been selling you out to advertisers, and you should stop using it immediately.

    The Kalanick profile says that Uber previously used Unroll.me data to gauge the health of archrival Lyft:

    Uber devoted teams to so-called competitive intelligence, purchasing data from an analytics service called Slice Intelligence. Using an email digest service it owns named Unroll.me, Slice collected its customers’ emailed Lyft receipts from their inboxes and sold the anonymized data to Uber. Uber used the data as a proxy for the health of Lyft’s business. (Lyft, too, operates a competitive intelligence team.)

    Slice confirmed that it sells anonymized data (meaning that customers’ names are not attached) based on ride receipts from Uber and Lyft, but declined to disclose who buys the information.

    This is a capability it’s safe to wager virtually none of Unroll.me’s users are aware of, let alone comfortable with. Indeed, the company’s CEO and co-founder, Jojo Hedaya, immediately penned a pro forma apology blog for the ages, in which he says he and his staff “weren’t explicit enough” about terms that allow, as Unroll.me’s privacy policy puts it, the company to “collect, use, transfer, sell, and disclose … transactional or relationship messages.” Hedaya joins a historic chorus of Silicon Valley executives who say what they always do when they’ve been found out: “We Can Do Better,” as the title of the CEO’s blog post declares:

    I can’t stress enough the importance of your privacy. We never, ever release personal data about you. All data is completely anonymous and related to purchases only. To get a sense of what this data looks like and how it is used, check out the Slice Intelligence blog.

    This is by all evidence false: If your privacy were important to Jojo Hedaya, the contents of your email, even if anonymized, would not be for sale. Were he ever serious about keeping your inbox private, an apology blog wouldn’t have been needed to begin with. (Hedaya and his co-founder could not be reached for comment.)

  • Beware phishing emails posing as Google Docs invites (updated)

    If you received an out-of-the-blue email purporting to share a Google Docs file, you’re not alone — and whatever you do, don’t click the link inside. Many people online, including more than a few journalists, have been bombarded with phishing emails (currently from a mailinator.com account) that try to trick you into opening a fake Google Docs link. If you click through and grant a bogus “Google Docs” app access to your Google account, the perpetrators can get into your email. And of course, havoc follows after that — the app spams email to everyone you’ve ever messaged, and bypasses Google’s usual login alerts (including for two-factor authentication).

    There have also been reports of Google Drive struggling at the same time, although it’s not certain the two are related. Drive was up and running as we wrote this.

    It’s not certain who’s behind the phishing attempt, or just what the fake Google Docs app is doing. We’ve reached out to Google for more. However, the company already says it’s investigating the scam. The one thing that’s for certain is the sheer scale and effectiveness of the attack. Both the email and the web pages look very legitimate, so it’s all too easy for even seasoned internet users to fall prey to the attack. It could be a while before we know the full extent of the damage.

     

Internet Speech Is Not Free But Barter

  • You Think Google Search Is Free? Austria Seeks to Tax It Anyway

     

    • Social Democrats eye levy on ads, taxes on digital ‘barter’
    • Austria says 1 billion euros lost to corporate tax loopholes

    Austria is seeking ways to make digital services like Alphabet Inc.’s Google or Facebook Inc. pay taxes for transactions with the nation’s internet users, trying to plug gaps in a tax system still designed for brick-and-mortar business.

    The most ambitious part of the plan targets the business models of Twitter Inc., Google or Facebook: The tacit pact under which searching, liking, posting and tweeting remains free as long as users let the companies feed usage data into algorithms that help tailor advertising that can be aimed at the most likely buyers.

    That arrangement is a form of bartering, and a value-added tax could be imposed on such transactions just as the levies are extended in other parts of the economy, said Andreas Schieder, the parliamentary head of Austrian Chancellor Christian Kern’s Social Democrats, which govern in a coalition with the conservative People’s Party.

    “The business transaction that’s going on here is that users are paying with their personal data,” Schieder told journalists in Vienna. “The business model of those internet companies is based on massive revenues that are generated with the help of those data.”

    Amending Code

    Raising more taxes from digital businesses is part of a broader plan to amend the country’s corporate tax code. The package also includes closing loopholes that allow “aggressive tax planning” and corporate tax avoidance, which cost the Alpine country as much as 1.5 billion euros ($1.6 billion) a year, about a fifth of its annual corporate tax revenue, Schieder said.

    The Social Democrats’ plan has two other elements targeted at internet companies: It would extend the Austrian tax on advertising revenue to digital formats, and it would tax purely digital services that are acquired by Austrian customers from companies with no physical presence in the country.

    Schieder said the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has made proposals for calculating and implementing such taxes, especially in its Base Erosion and Profit Shifting project.

    “We need a new approach to make sure that taxes are paid where revenue and profit is made,” Schieder said. “The OECD has made practical suggestions how to define digital establishments for tax purposes.”

     

  • 234 Android Applications Are Currently Using Ultrasonic Beacons to Track Users

    A team of researchers from the Brunswick Technical University in Germany has discovered an alarming number of Android applications that employ ultrasonic tracking beacons to track users and their nearby environment.

    Their research paper focused on the technology of ultrasound cross-device tracking (uXDT) that became very popular in the last three years.

    uXDT is the practice of advertisers hiding ultrasounds in their ads. When the ad plays on a TV or radio, or some ad code runs on a mobile or computer, it emits ultrasounds that are picked up by the microphone of nearby laptops, desktops, tablets or smartphones.

    SDKs embedded in apps installed on those devices relay the beacon back to the online advertiser, who then knows that the user of TV “x” is also the owner of smartphone “Y” and links their two previous advertising profiles together, creating a broader picture of the user’s interests, device portfolio, home, and even family members.

     

  • Taser Will Use Police Body Camera Videos “to Anticipate Criminal Activity”

    When civil liberties advocates discuss the dangers of new policing technologies, they often point to sci-fi films like “RoboCop” and “Minority Report” as cautionary tales. In “RoboCop,” a massive corporation purchases Detroit’s entire police department. After one of its officers gets fatally shot on duty, the company sees an opportunity to save on labor costs by reanimating the officer’s body with sleek weapons, predictive analytics, facial recognition, and the ability to record and transmit live video.

    Although intended as a grim allegory of the pitfalls of relying on untested, proprietary algorithms to make lethal force decisions, “RoboCop” has long been taken by corporations as a roadmap. And no company has been better poised than Taser International, the world’s largest police body camera vendor, to turn the film’s ironic vision into an earnest reality.

    In 2010, Taser’s longtime vice president Steve Tuttle “proudly predicted” to GQ that once police can search a crowd for outstanding warrants using real-time face recognition, “every cop will be RoboCop.” Now Taser has announced that it will provide any police department in the nation with free body cameras, along with a year of free “data storage, training, and support.” The company’s goal is not just to corner the camera market, but to dramatically increase the video streaming into its servers.

    With an estimated one-third of departments using body cameras, police officers have been generating millions of hours of video footage. Taser stores terabytes of such video on Evidence.com, in private servers, operated by Microsoft, to which police agencies must continuously subscribe for a monthly fee. Data from these recordings is rarely analyzed for investigative purposes, though, and Taser — which recently rebranded itself as a technology company and renamed itself “Axon” — is hoping to change that.

    Taser has started to get into the business of making sense of its enormous archive of video footage by building an in-house “AI team.” In February, the company acquired a computer vision startup called Dextro and a computer vision team from Fossil Group Inc. Taser says the companies will allow agencies to automatically redact faces to protect privacy, extract important information, and detect emotions and objects — all without human intervention. This will free officers from the grunt work of manually writing reports and tagging videos, a Taser spokesperson wrote in an email. “Our prediction for the next few years is that the process of doing paperwork by hand will begin to disappear from the world of law enforcement, along with many other tedious manual tasks.” Analytics will also allow departments to observe historical patterns in behavior for officer training, the spokesperson added. “Police departments are now sitting on a vast trove of body-worn footage that gives them insight for the first time into which interactions with the public have been positive versus negative, and how individuals’ actions led to it.”

    But looking to the past is just the beginning: Taser is betting that its artificial intelligence tools might be useful not just to determine what happened, but to anticipate what might happen in the future.

    “We’ve got all of this law enforcement information with these videos, which is one of the richest treasure troves you could imagine for machine learning,” Taser CEO Rick Smith told PoliceOne in an interview about the company’s AI acquisitions. “Imagine having one person in your agency who would watch every single one of your videos — and remember everything they saw — and then be able to process that and give you the insight into what crimes you could solve, what problems you could deal with. Now, that’s obviously a little further out, but based on what we’re seeing in the artificial intelligence space, that could be within five to seven years.”

 

Transparent Tricks

  • A Trick That Hides Censored Websites Inside Cat Videos

    A pair of researchers behind a system for avoiding internet censorship wants to deliver banned websites inside of cat videos. Their system uses media from popular, innocuous websites the way a high schooler might use the dust jacket of a textbook to hide the fact that he’s reading a comic book in class. To the overseeing authority—in the classroom, the teacher; on the internet, a government censor—the content being consumed appears acceptable, even when it’s illicit.

    The researchers, who work at the University of Waterloo’s cryptography lab, named Slitheen after a race of aliens from Doctor Who who wear the skins of their human victims to blend in. The system uses a technique called decoy routing, which allows users to view blocked sites—like a social-networking site or a news site—while generating a browsing trail that looks exactly as if they were just browsing for shoes or watching silly videos on YouTube.

    Slitheen’s web browser starts the process by sending off a normal request for a harmless, “overt” site—but in it, it embeds a secret tag: an encrypted, second request for the user’s true target, a sensitive “covert” website. Website requests pass through relay stations built into the internet’s infrastructure on their way from a browser to a web server. If a relay station were to install Slitheen software, when the request passes through it, the station would detect the secret request and decode it using its secret key. (A non-Slitheen relay station that doesn’t have the right secret key wouldn’t even be able to tell that there is a secret request bundled inside of the traffic, let alone decrypt it.)

    Once the relay has decrypted the secret request, it begins the process of assembling the unique package that defines the Slitheen technique. It downloads the overt site, which will act as the camouflage for the sensitive data, and simultaneously downloads the target covert site—the payload that the user really wants to see.

    It then strips out all the images and videos from the overt site, and replaces them with the entire contents of the covert site. If the whole covert site is smaller than the video and image data from the overt site, the relay station will add junk data until the sizes are identical. If the covert site is bigger, it can be split across multiple overt requests to different safe websites.

    Finally, once the covert site has been hidden inside the overt site, the relay sends the whole bundle back to the user that requested it. When it arrives, the user’s Slitheen client sifts through the data, loading the overt site in the background, and displaying the covert site in a browser.

    Slitheen’s defining feature is that the complex traffic it generates is indistinguishable from a normal request. That is, two computers sitting next to one another, downloading data from Amazon.com’s homepage—one that does so normally and another with the contents of this Atlantic story instead of Amazon’s images and videos—would create identical traffic patterns. The more complex Slitheen request would take slightly longer to come back, but its defining characteristics, from packet size to timing, would be the same.

    To avoid being caught, it’s important to conform decoy traffic to normal traffic as closely as possible. Decoy routing was first proposed in 2011, but it was quickly discovered to be vulnerable to fingerprinting attacks, which involve analyzing patterns as encrypted data moves across the internet. Since the data is encrypted, censors can’t peer directly into the data stream to see what’s being downloaded. But if they know what traffic to a banned site looks like—how fast it downloads, and in what order different-sized chunks of data arrive—it can identify when that site’s being accessed just based on the data streams that pass through the networks it surveils. Last month, I wrote about a technique that uses fingerprinting to guess what YouTube video is being watched.

  • DNA Can Now be Extracted from Dirt! New Tech May Solve Many Mysteries of Human Origins

    An amazing technological innovation in the study of DNA has been called a ‘game changer’ in the research into ancient humans and hominids. It may solve many of the mysteries that exist in relation to the origins of humans and could completely rewrite our family tree.

    A new study published in the journal Science has revealed a technique that can extract human and hominid DNA from dirt – no bones needed!  This means that by simply taking half a teaspoon of soil from a cave and running it through the new analysis, scientists will know if species of ancient hominids lived in that cave and who or what they were.

    “This is pretty damn incredible,” said Rob Scott, an evolutionary anthropologist at Rutgers. Tom Higham, an Oxford professor who specializes in dating bones, called the discovery a “new era in Paleolithic archaeology.”

     

    Paul Kozowyk, a PhD student working under the supervision of Marie Soressi, collecting sediment for genetic analyses at the archaeological site of Les Cottés, France. Credit: Marie Soressi.

    Scientists have known for over a decade that DNA, which may have come from urine, feces, sweat, blood, semen or a decomposed body, can survive in ancient sediments, even for hundreds of thousands of years, but they had no way to analyze it.  Just a teaspoon of dirt can contain trillions of fragments of DNA from dozens of different species.

    However, research from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, discovered that they could cut through the clutter with a molecular ‘hook’ made from the mitochondrial DNA of modern humans. This means that essentially, they were able to pull out the fragments of DNA that specifically belonged to a human or hominid species.

Constitutional WHAT?

  • Victory! Supreme Court Rules States Cannot Steal Money From The Innocent

    Colorado, like most states, forces convicted criminals to pay court costs, fees, and restitution after they’ve been found guilty. But the question arises, “What happens when someone who’s been found guilty, has paid their dues, and then has their convictions overturned on appeal? Do they get their money back?” Not in many states, like Colorado. But all of that has changed after a landmark ruling from the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

    The state not stealing money from innocent people sounds like common sense, right? Well, unfortunately, in the land of the free, it was necessary for SCOTUS to step in and tell the greedy state that they do not have a right to steal people’s money.

    According to Forbes, “defendants, Shannon Nelson and Louis Madden, were convicted for sexual offenses and ordered to pay thousands of dollars in court costs, fees and restitution. Between her conviction and later acquittal, the state withheld $702 from Nelson’s inmate account, while Madden paid Colorado $1,977 after his conviction. When their convictions were overturned, Nelson and Madden demanded their money back.”

    Colorado refused, even after the plaintiffs won in a state-level appellate court. The state, instead, insisted that if they wanted their money back, they’d have to file a claim under the Exoneration Act, forcing the defendants to once again prove their innocence to retrieve their funds. The plaintiffs appealed all the way to the Supreme Court, who sided with the citizens in a 7-1 ruling, declaring Colorado’s law unconstitutional.

    Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the majority opinion for the court declaring “the Exoneration Act’s scheme does not comport with the Fourteenth Amendment’s guarantee of due process.”

     

    Ginsburg wrote that Nelson and Madden are “entitled to be presumed innocent” and “should not be saddled with any proof burden” to reclaim what is already theirs. In other words, they shouldn’t have to demonstrate they’re not criminals after the court has already made such a determination. According to Forbes:

    Ginsburg forcefully rejected Colorado’s argument that “[t]he presumption of innocence applies only at criminal trials,” and not to civil claims, as under the Exoneration Act:  “Colorado may not presume a person, adjudged guilty of no crime, nonetheless guilty enough for monetary exactions.”

    The decision, on its surface, may not seem like much but holds promise for putting an end to the much criticized practice of local law enforcement agencies around the country who engage in civil asset forfeiture.

Environmental Monster Released – AlgaeZilla

 

  • Field Test of GMO Algae Sparks Outrage

    Scientists from the University of California at San Diego and Sapphire Energy released results Thursday from the first open-pond trials of genetically engineered microalgae.

    The study, along with research and development of genetically modified (GMO) algae for biofuels, is occurring ahead of adequate regulatory oversight, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s process to establish and update regulations for genetically engineered algae to protect human health and the environment.

    “This study confirmed that genetically engineered microalgae grown in open ponds will escape and spread into the environment. Once this genie is out of the bottle, there is no way to put it back,” said Dana Perls, senior campaigner with Friends of the Earth.

    “Not only is it impossible to contain GE algae in open air production, but there are currently no adequate regulations which fully address its risks to our environment, from lab to final product. Without this essential oversight, there should be no environmental release or commercial uses of GE algae and other synthetic biology organisms.”

    Microalgae are essential ecosystem regulators. They provide more than half of the oxygen in our atmosphere and are the base of aquatic food chains. Microalgae reproduce rapidly and are capable of horizontal gene transfer, meaning that engineered traits can quickly spread, even to unrelated species. There is concern that engineered traits may not remain stable over time. All of these characteristics suggest introduced genes could spread rapidly out of control and change over time in unpredictable ways. In addition, microalgae have produced toxic algae blooms and GE microalgae may be more harmful and difficult to control.

    “We are told that GE microalgae will not likely survive in the wild, but there is absolutely no basis for that assumption. In fact, many of the traits that are desirable for fuel and chemical production and industrial cultivation are precisely the traits that would lend a competitive advantage in nature,” said Dr. Rachel Smolker, director of Biofuelwatch.

We’re From The Gov, We’re Here To Health You

  • House Republicans to Vote on Health Care on Thursday

    House Republican leaders plan to hold a vote on their health care bill Thursday, sending the strongest signal yet that enough support has been corralled to pass it.
    Asked whether they had the votes needed to pass the bill, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said Wednesday night, “Yes, we do.”
    “I feel great about the count,” McCarthy added.   Republicans have been working to piece together a GOP-only coalition of 216 votes ever since their attempt to repeal and replace much of the Affordable Care Act failed nearly two months ago. The House Rules Committee approved three major amendments Wednesday night, moving them along in time for a vote Thursday.
    Rep. Tom MacArthur, R-New Jersey, the author of one of the amendments, told NBC News: “It’s not a perfect bill — nobody says it is — but directionaly it’s going in the right place.”   And states that obtain waivers could charge those with pre-existing conditions much more. States would have to be able to show a mechanism for people to get coverage, such as high-risk pools. The Republican bill would provide $125 billion to help pay for the pools’ high costs.

 

Mobile Phone Health Alert

  • Children whose mothers used their mobile phones more than four times a day during pregnancy are more likely to be hyperactive, study reveals

    Children whose mothers frequently spoke on their mobile phones while pregnant are more likely to be hyperactive.

    Youngsters aged five to seven are 28 per cent more likely to suffer if their mothers spoke on a mobile four times, or for over an hour, a day while expecting.

    Children whose mothers never used a mobile phone while pregnant have the lowest risk of behavioural or emotional problems.

    This may be due to the radio waves, known as electromagnetic radiation, given off by mobile phones, which has uncertain health implications.

    Scientists from across the world analysed over 83,884 mother-children pairs based in Denmark, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain and Korea from 1996 to 2011.

 

Just Don’t Fund It

  • Congress Agrees to Give Jeff Sessions $0 to Wage War on Medical Marijuana

    The war on drugs is such an abysmal failure that even the lawmakers who have funded it for decades are drawing a line in the sand. Multiple bills in Congress have cropped up in recent months aiming to protect medical marijuana and reschedule cannabis, if not legalize it altogether.

    The most recent development comes in the form of Congress’ recently unveiled budget, which allots exactly zero dollars to the Department of Justice to wage medical marijuana crackdowns across the country.

    The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment “allows states to carry on with crafting their own medical marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention,” the Huffington Post reported.

    The full text of the amendment to the budget bill reads as follows:

    “None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

    The bill is expected to pass this week and will fund the government through September. Congress is also moving to provide protections for hemp.

    Dana Rohrabacher, a conservative lawmaker from California, has previously introduced similar legislation to prevent federal encroachment on state marijuana laws. Earlier this year, Anti-Media reported on his introduction of a bill that consisted of only one line:

    Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the provisions of this subchapter related to marihuana shall not apply to any person acting in compliance with State laws relating to the production, possession, distribution, dispensation, administration, or delivery of marihuana.

    A mounting number of lawmakers, including Reps. Tulsi Gabbard and Tom Garrett, have moved to protect cannabis in states with policies that conflict with federal prohibition, and the country at large. The recent push is, in large part, a result of Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ anti-cannabis rhetoric. Though he reportedly privately assured senators he would not crack down on states where it is legal, he also recently warned that while states can pass their own laws, “…it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.

 

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Silent Weapons for Quiet Wars

  • The people know that they have created this farce and financed it with their own taxes (consent), but they would rather knuckle under than be the hypocrite. Factor VI – Cattle Those who will not use their brains are no better off than those who have no brains, and so this mindless school of jelly-fish, father, mother, son, and daughter, become useful beasts of burden or trainers of the same.
  • Mr. Rothschild’s Energy Discovery
    What Mr. Rothschild [2] had discovered was the basic principle of power, influence, and control over people as applied to economics. That principle is “when you assume the appearance of power, people soon give it to you.”

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