Monday, February 22, 2016

Of Course Apple is Right !

I tentatively suggested to my friend, "I think Apple is right."  She replied, "Of course Apple is right!" She went on, "I'm thinking of getting my own iPhone."

I'm saddened to see so many blogs drowning in FBI shills making endless nerdy arguments of why the FBI's orders (OK, Court orders) must be respected by Apple.  So, when said Court orders Apple to trisect an angle, we'll have a new day.

On tech matters like this, MondayNote is a reliable source.

This is really quite simple.  The FBI has been making it known for more than a year that they don't like security systems without backdoors, and in particular the security system on the iPhone.  Now they have a celebrated case (though, actually, even in this case, a poor need) for such a backdoor.  And they wasted no time in demanding it.  (If only they had been as good about using the information that was right in front of them, until they messed it up--deliberately???)

But the needs of society for actual security (that is, systems without abuse-prone backdoors) is far greater than the socially valid needs for our police forces to break such security whenever they want to.

Get it?  Society is about much more than policing.

Tech savvy criminals seeking real security can easily obtain it--in open source software.  Others of us have hoped our tech companies would make it available to ordinary people for purchase.  And finally it is.  While we can keep it.  Which may not be long now, if the FBI gets its way.

And that we should Trust Them???  Not for a second!  We trust them When We Can Watch Them, which should be Always.  People have rights to privacy.  Governments...don't!  And they shouldn't be reading other people mail!  (We started down a long ugly road when we decided the reverse.)

Government, and Police, are to serve The People and not the other way around.

That means, there must be things the Police cannot do.  That's not a bug, that's a feature!

Will this make us Less Safe?  Probably not, the #1 thing making for a socially effective police force is #1: valuing peace as the people do.  And not: figuring out how to control anything and everything.  There is a word for the latter.  Pure Evil.

Almost always, when police miss the mark, as say on 9-11, why a few hijackers armed with box cutters overwhelmed a trillion dollar investment in national airspace security...  It's never for lack of technical means.  It's for lack of sharing the public enthusiasm for peace, rather than the reverse.

Bush and Cheney were too interested in how to start a war with Iraq than to bother with making sure they could prevent an instigation.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How was LSD made illegal? How did it become well known?

According to a report published in 1972 by the editors of Consumer Reports, LSD was a little known drug known by a small number of researchers, until states piled on more and more penalties for possession.  The more hysteria over allged incidents and draconian penalties imposed, the more popular it became.  As the legal manufacturer, Sandoz, pulled out of the market because of all the negative publicity, the more domestic manufacturers filled the gap and more so, further boosting the popularity and availability because LSD is not hard to make.  By and large, most negative incidents either weren't especially bad our could be explained in other ways.  Ken Kesey and his Merry Pranksters aren't even mentioned.  Though I was in the young generation that lusted after LSD, I didn't learn about Kesey until I was living in San Francisco in 1997 and saw the unveiling of the restored bus used by the Merry Pranksters.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

How to Regulate the now illegal Drugs

A group in UK has studied the issues for a long time and has a comprehensive set of ideas as to how all currently illegal drugs should be regulated (instead of the crime and harm producing strict prohibition and drug war) for minimal harm and maximal benefits.

They have sensible ideas for each and every drug which depend on the nature of the drugs themselves as currently known.

For psychedelics, the basic regulatory model is a membership based club model, which includes a specialist pharmacist model--a licensed drug administrator, licensed premises, and licensed users, each having clear minimum responsibilities and requirements such as training.  This sounds to me exactly how it should be done.

Even as a believer in personal liberation as well as an anti-prohibitionist, I would agree that LSD and similar drugs do require tighter regulation than Marijuana.  LSD in asocial or even less than ideal social situations can stimulate bad feelings of the kind which could lead to bad actions.  Bad trips are very possible without good planning!  LSD really only makes sense as a social icebreaker in a planned positive social scenario.  My first and far best encounter was in a short tour and concert in the desert, a great trip.  As that, it can be peerless, far superior to alcohol or marijuana or tobacco in bringing fellow users together with their warped perceptions.  Marijuana on the other hand is a relatively mild and safe general relaxant, useful both when alone and as an icebreaker, but is far weaker and only generates a weak feeling of "intersubjectivity."  But unlike Marijuana, I never got anything good out of LSD in personal solitary use.  It hightened the sense of isolation, alienation and paranoia.

I think Kesey and his thinking about intersubjectivity was correct, and that's what I mean that LSD can break the ice and bring people together as if reading from the same page.  That's a useful periodic thing, say on solstices or holidays.  We should have occasional parties like that with our tribe, I still believe.  Even as it only happened once in my life I can see the possibilities.  And it's something we greatly need in our more and more individually alienated society.  (It seems very much our masters want an isolated and alienated society--each person alone with their computer.)

The War on Drugs further isolates and alienates people.  We can't share our habits in public spaces, such as bars, parks, and coffee shops, and it gets difficult even in private spaces.  The potential for intersubjectivity is lost.

Hunter Thompson vs Tom Wolfe

Who are these guys?  Were they enemies, writing screeds on opposite sides?  Apparently there was a quite a bit of that, though they were at least partly on the same page too.

This short essay published by The Guardian begins to sort it out (though I'm not sure I trust even The Guardian anymore).

Weingarten paints Wolfe as the more conservative guy, who dipped into Kesey's life for a bit, and while seeing the charm was also horrified by some of the fallout.

Thompson was more the guy to jump all the way in, and define the new as the new normal.  He is specifically described as very liberal too.  That sounds promising, though I still have my doubts.

Looks to me as though I'm just going to have to get the signature books of each man and decide for myself, and decide as well which other books to look at.