“With another record year of opioid overdose deaths, Wisconsin eyes fixes” (Wisconsin State Journal headline, 5/9/2018) So, Wisconsin still needs a “fix” after all these years?
Does the State Journal (and other papers) simply re-write press releases put out by the Governor’s office or does a reporter actually have an opportunity to ask challenging questions so a news article provides some facts which might be useful for a reader to put the Governor’s words in perspective?
Governor Walker is, ironically, quite proud of his “Fight” on this government induced “health emergency.” His office has published lists of numerous bills he has signed, executive orders issued, and cites millions of dollars spent. There is a campaign television ad focusing on how he has fought opioids coming to a station near you.
Keep in mind that, last year there was only a 7% increase in fatal opioid overdoses over 2016 in Wisconsin. Emergency room visits for suspected opioid overdoses increased by only 109%, the greatest rise among sixteen states closely tracked by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Wisconsin is #1!) Undeterred, the Walker Administration prescribes more of the same; more laws, more bans, more record keeping, more prisoners, and more spending.
Unfortunately, simply banning or restricting opioid prescriptions has had some unintended negative outcomes, namely increased use of heroin or other drugs with uncertified purity and potency. The Journal of Internal Medicine published two studies that conclude that medical marijuana (or medical cannabis) laws have the potential to reduce opioid prescriptions.
“Reducing the supply of legal prescriptions for opioids is pushing people into black market heroin/fentanyl abuse,” pointed out Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, a Phoenix surgeon and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “The number one cause of drug deaths is drug prohibition. We need to change our focus to harm reduction. We need to change from a war on drugs to a war on drug deaths.”
Even though legislation was introduced in 2017 to permit Wisconsin doctors to prescribe safe, non-addicting medical cannabis, the bills never got out of committees. Wisconsin is almost surrounded by states where patients can get safe medical cannabis. “Wisconsin is open for business;” the pharmaceutical business.
Things in our state capitol are not always what they seem to be. April has been no exception.
A bill described by opponents as an assault on free speech, democracy, and on our constitutionally protected rights passed the Legislature, barring the state from contracting with companies that participate in an economic boycott of a repressive, apartheid government, Israel. Opponents argued at a public hearing that the bill was dangerous and anti-democratic. [Note: Norwegian MP Bjørnar Moxnes has nominated the international protest movement for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions for the Nobel Peace Prize!]
On the Easter weekend, following passage of the Wisconsin bill, a thousand unarmed Palestinian protesters were shot, injured, or killed by Israeli soldiers in Gaza. Where was the outrage?
There was no outrage. On the following Monday, Governor Walker signed legislation making it illegal for Wisconsin companies to participate in an economic boycott of what South Africa calls, “the only state in the world that can be called an apartheid state”
Further doubling down on the anti-democratic theme of the law, it also prohibits state agencies and local governments from establishing their own policies on boycotting Israel.
“As governor, I will restore local control to counties and municipalities.”
Gov. Scott Walker on the campaign trail.
In contrast to his campaign rhetoric, time and again, Governor Walker has signed legislation into law which has either restricted the authority of local elected officials or imposed burdensome mandates on local governments.
The right to organize boycotts, to marshal economic pressure to effect political change, is protected under the First Amendment,” explains the National Lawyers Guild.
The American Civil Liberties Union has argued that a similar Arizona law violates the First and Fourteenth amendments to the U.S. Constitution by forcing contractors “to disavow their participation in political boycotts.” Wisconsin taxpayers must now be prepared to pay to defend restrictions on civil rights in Wisconsin!
Human Rights Watch reports that fifty years after Israel illegally occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, “it controls those areas through repression, institutionalized discrimination, and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights.”Read more
WAUSAU 4/8/2018 ~ Last week Governor Walker said he is willing to send OUR Wisconsin National Guard to the Mexican border. That is not what they signed up for. They are willing to be activated in cases of a state or national emergency, not political stunts.
Activating members of the Guard has many undesirable and disruptive consequences; on individuals, families, communities, and businesses, not to mention local Guard units themselves. Libertarians are concerned for the men and women members of the Wisconsin Guard being snatched away from classes, jobs or families to serve on the U.S. southern border.
Ed Thompson, former Libertarian candidate for governor once said, “The governor of Wisconsin has a responsibility to watch out for our citizens and the Guard members for which he is responsible.” In the interests of Wisconsin’s ‘homeland security’, Wisconsin Guard members belong in Wisconsin.
The use of the Armed Forces for law enforcement inside the United States would be legal only if authorized by Act of Congress or the President determines that the use of the Armed Forces is required to fulfill the President's obligations under the Constitution to respond promptly in time of war, insurrection, or other serious emergency."
If the President needs troops on America’s southern border, we remind him that there are thousands of Americans who remain stationed all over the planet as a result of past conflicts dating all the way back to the Spanish-American War. Bring them home.
Jim Maas, Chair
Marathon County Libertarians
I'm really tired of hearing about the Second Amendment! To be clear, that is because Wisconsin has a better constitutional amendment to protect our rights.
• Some critics of the Second Amendment bring up the unfortunate wording about a well organized militia. I don't want to be sidetracked to a debate about a militia. Wisconsin's amendment is short, clear and to the point. It is hard to misinterpret.
• Some critics note that the Second Amendment was written centuries ago and weapons were different then. Wisconsin's amendment was written in the 1990s. And, unlike the US Constitution, was approved, twice in statewide referenda!
Gun rights activists worked hard to pass our gun rights amendment then. Why don't they refer to it now?
Well, okay, Article I, Section 25 doesn't exactly roll off the tongue, does it? I still like the content.
"The people have the right to keep and bear arms for security, defense, hunting, recreation or any other lawful purpose."
If you agree, share.
On Oct. 26, President Donald Trump declared opioid abuse a public health emergency and promised to redirect federal resources to
the problem. In his speech announcing yet another war on drugs, Trump told a story about his brother Fred’s addiction to a completely legal substance: alcohol. We all know how disastrous alcohol prohibition was in the early 20th century, so could a
new government battle against opioids be any more successful?
“Of course not,” said Libertarian National Committee Chair Nicholas Sarwark. “Drug wars have been failing for over 100 years. The role of government is to deal with people who hurt other people, steal from them, or violate agreements. That’s it. Futile attempts to prevent people from harming themselves with drugs don’t fall under that umbrella.”
According to drug abuse historian David Courtwright of the University of North Florida, there were an estimated 300,000 opioid addicts at the peak of addiction in the 19th century, representing an addiction rate of 0.48 percent of the population.
“This is a stunningly low percentage for a time when there were essentially no drug laws,” Sarwark said. “Morphine, opium, marijuana, cocaine, laudanum, and other currently illegal drugs were freely available, with or without prescription and in many unregulated patent medicines. Today, according to the rehabilitation specialists at Addictions.com, there are 12 million illegal users of opioids. That’s 3.9 percent of today’s population — an eightfold increase.”
Statistics released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a small but stable correlation between opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths from any opioid, legal or illegal, between 2006 and 2010 — roughly one death per 13,000 prescriptions. In 2010, federal pressure caused a decrease in legal opioid prescriptions. The correlation between opioid prescriptions and overdose deaths turned sharply negative. Fewer legal prescriptions led to more overdose deaths.
“Reducing the supply of legal prescriptions for opioids is pushing people into black market heroin/fentanyl abuse,” pointed out Dr. Jeffrey A. Singer, a Phoenix surgeon and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute. “The no. 1 cause of drug deaths is drug prohibition. We need to change our focus to harm reduction. We need to change from a war on drugs to a war on drug deaths.”Read more
Libertarian candidate for governor says he offers a break from two-party bickering
by Lisa Speckhard, The Cap Times
There are a lot of declared Democratic contenders for governor of Wisconsin in 2018, but Republican Gov. Scott Walker thinks they’re all pretty much the same. "For me, it really doesn't matter who comes out of that primary; it’ll be more of the same," he said right before announcing his run for re-election.
Phil Anderson, the chair of the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin and another gubernatorial candidate, agrees. But he thinks voters will get "more of the same" whether they vote for a Democrat or Walker.
“People know what the two-party system is. They resign themselves to it, but they know that it’s corrupt. They know that no matter who’s the governor, a Democrat or Republican, spending goes up and up and up and up,” he said. “More intrusion into our lives increases all the time. And they’re really, really tired of it.”
Anderson appeared on the Sunday political talk show “Capital City Sunday,” to talk about his bid for governor. As a libertarian, he advocated for small government, small spending and a big emphasis on local control. “We want to give the state of Wisconsin back to the people of Wisconsin,” he said.
It is all over the newspapers, magazines, and television; we have an Opioid Crisis!
According to Healthy Wisconsin, “Over the last ten years, opioid related hospital visits and deaths in Wisconsin have doubled, especially among young adults. Prescription opioids are the most common culprit, but using heroin—a strong, cheap and easily available alternative to prescription drugs—is also on the rise. In fact, three out of four heroin users started by abusing prescription painkillers.” (Not marijuana.)
Unfortunately, then this state agency, as well as our President, promote more government “solutions.” The real cause of this “crisis” goes back to many government policies which must be dismantled.
Why do we have an Opioid Crisis?
- Big Pharma (large pharmaceutical companies which have a powerful, negative influence.) has influenced doctors and government agencies to accept increased doses of prescription drugs. When addicted and their prescriptions run out, some patients then switch to black market drugs (more pills or heroin). Big Pharma also influences legislators to prohibit cannabis (marijuana) as a safe, natural, non-addictive alternative to the chemicals they sell. Recent bills in the Wisconsin Legislature to permit more adults to use licensed cannabis have been blocked.
- Drug Prohibition. Until the Harrison Act was passed in 1914, heroin and cocaine were both perfectly legal and easily obtainable over the counter. There was no opioid crisis because there was no war on drugs. With drug prohibition, the black market took over and the availability of the drug one wanted from a clean store in a specific strength in a safe, legal transaction disappeared. Thanks a lot, Washington. Why does this failed program continue? Follow the money.
Provisions tucked into a Republican bill relaxing Wisconsin's concealed carry would allow felons to possess antique firearms. Right now, felons in Wisconsin can't own firearms for the rest of their lives.
Wisconsin's constitution (Article I, Section 25) clearly states that “The people” have the right to bear arms for “any lawful purpose.” Do ex-felons stop being people for the rest of their lives?
Many people believe that most felons are violent. That simply is not true. With mandatory sentencing guidelines, most drug possession charges are felonies. So are check fraud charges, tax offenses, and other frauds. As a result, Wisconsin has a huge group of former felons today who were guilty of victimless crimes and the majority are entirely non-violent.
My favorite example of an ex-felon is Martha Stewart. In Wisconsin's system of perpetual punishment, she would be prohibited from lawfully exercising her constitutional right to bear arms because of a dispute with federal law enforcement. Who seriously considers her a danger to the community? Libertarians want former lawbreakers who have paid for their crimes to fully become productive and participating parts of our society once again.Read more
“A 23-year-old Rothschild man was sentenced Monday in Marathon County Circuit Court to nine years in prison for providing heroin to a man who later died of an overdose in Weston.” Wausau Daily Herald, 9/13/2017
So, a Rothschild dealer sold something to a guy who wanted to buy it in Weston and later died. “Reckless homicide by the delivery of drugs.” What a crock.
A heroin epidemic has been expanding enormously for the last several years. While politicians offer failed solutions, the real solution is to legalize drugs.
There are two causes for this drug problem:
- The War on Drugs which creates profit incentives in the black market for the distribution of the most dangerous drugs.
- The pharmaceutical-medical-FDA complex, or Big Pharma, which profits from treating pain with dangerous pharmaceutical drugs.
In a free market, heroin would come in an unadulterated pharmaceutical grade form of various identified doses. It would have warning labels and instructions. Someone might have to consult a medical doctor or pharmacist before purchasing heroin, or might have to go to a clinic. The producers, distributors, and retailers would have some liability for negligence. Before it was made illegal in 1914 one of the most popular heroin products was Bayer’s Heroin.
North Korean Leader Kim Jong-un has launched another missile, probably the country’s longest-range missile to date. The missile was launched in open defiance of President Donald Trump’s threats of fire and fury if further test launches and nuclear bomb development continue in North Korea.
“Clearly, Trump’s bellicose threats had the opposite of the intended effect,” said Nicholas Sarwark, chair of the Libertarian National Committee. “This kind of verbal grandstanding is one way wars get started. A nuclear war with North Korea is a war no one would really win. And the casualties, particularly in South Korea, would probably be in the millions. For all their faults, and they were legion, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama had the common sense to avoid this kind of escalation.”
Sarwark continued, “Kim is the worst kind of evil communist dictator. We know from most of our post WWII experience, however, that intervention by the United States in foreign countries to fix their governance problems usually backfires. The most obvious examples are Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Korea itself. The people in those countries are mostly worse off now than when we became militarily involved.”Read more