War is Peace - Freedom is Slavery - Ignorance is Strength

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Journalistic Priviledge

Journalism is not a profession or a trade. It is a cheap catch-all for fuckoffs and misfits— a false doorway to the backside of life, a filthy piss-ridden little hole nailed off by the building inspector, but just deep enough for a wino to curl up from the sidewalk and masturbate like a chimp in a zoo-cage.
The recent refusal of the Supreme Court to hear the Miller/Cooper appeal has once again forced the debate over whether or not journalists deserve special constitutional privilege into center stage, and unsurprisingly, journalists are eager to shine the spotlight on this question.

Surprising to some may be that I wholeheartedly support citing these journalists with contempt, and I truly believe that journalists should enjoy no special privilege or immunity whatsoever from being compelled to reveal sources in grand jury testimony, or in trials where no reasonable Fifth Amendment right can be claimed.

At the core of my opinion is my belief that secrecy always serves deceit. Whether in government, business, or personal affairs, the desire for secrecy almost always arises from a desire to gain advantage over someone else by controlling the information available to them, and thus causing them to make decisions and take actions that they would not take if they were aware of the information being withheld from them.

Journalists - and governments, and everyone else, for that matter - justify this deceit by claiming that it serves the greater good (or lesser evil).

Ironically, just as this case was being decided, the identity of "deep throat," the ultimate example of an anonymous source whose revelations benefited the public at large, was finally revealed. What came as a shock, and really shouldn't have, was that his motivations were purely selfish, and that his contact with the press was motivated not by an altruistic sense duty to his nation, but a thirst for revenge against the individuals and organization that he felt had slighted him.

At the end of the day, I believe that there are more than enough good people, who are willing to stand up and tell the truth regardless of the consequences, to keep journalists supplied with all the information they need to keep the public well informed. On the other hand, providing a guarantee of secrecy to those who divulge closely held information only encourages cowards to exploit their privileged positions for personal gain.

While there may be a few isolated cases where personal deceits do result in greater public goods that does not change the basic fact that wrong is wrong, and in sum, foul deeds inevitably result in pain and harm.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

News Review

Meth tactic gets a replay

Their goals: Slash local meth production, and ease growing pressure on resources in the fields of law enforcement, treatment and prevention.
And it worked: The amount of meth on the streets went down.
This year, right? Try 1987.

Continuing its long series of ignorant and misinformed pieces on Portland's "meth epidemic" the Portland Tribune brings us yet another avalanche of crap.

While normally I would start by nitpicking at a story's sophomoric writing and unsupportable sensationalist claims, I will cut to the chase here, and get right to the heart of why trying to suppress small time domestic meth manufacturing is a policy train wreck, which has and will continue to increase the harm that meth abuse causes to our society and its citizens.

The primary thrust of this article is that previous efforts to obstruct meth amphetamine manufacture by controlling/banning necessary precursors were effective in limiting meth production, and that the same actions, if repeated, will be successful again.

This is false.

To understand this, all one has to do is observe the evolution of the meth supply chain over the past couple decades. Historically meth has been a product that was produced domestically, mostly on the west cost, by small time cooks. Today major drug cartels rooted in Mexico produce the majority of the product, and the result is that overall production has increased dramatically.

How did this happen? Well, let's just say that capitalism is a bitch.

In a market place, if demand is fixed, and supply shrinks, the price of a product rises. So, if the government eliminates cheap and easy ways of producing drugs, and as a result, supply shrinks, then prices sky rocket. Given the unique nature of the product, higher prices do very little to deter consumption, so even relatively small reductions in supply can lead to dramatic spikes in prices.

The other primary effect of government efforts to prevent the production of drugs is that the capital investment required to produce them increases.

Now, combine sky rocketing prices, and the inability of small time producers to invest the capital necessary to adapt to the new production environment, and the result is a golden opportunity for well organized and well funded criminal organizations to move in and capture market share.

What happens when those organizations do move into the market?

With their superior organizational structures, larger capital investments, and subsequent economies of scale, they begin to produce more product faster and more efficiently than those who they replaced. Which is exactly where we are now.

To understand the proposals currently being floated to curb meth production, we have to take a quick second to discuss how meth is manufactured.

Currently there are two main ways that meth can be produced. The first - used by small time cooks - is a reaction of pseudo-ephedrine, red phosphorous, and iodine, which is relatively safe and easy, but only produces small (2-10g) batches. The second method - used by large professional producers - is a reaction with pseudo-ephedrine and anhydrous-ammonia, which is extremely dangerous and requires a laboratory environment to be done safely, but produces up to a pound (don't quote me on that) at a time.

The reason that the second method is so tough is that anhydrous-ammonia (a gas) is some nasty ass shit. A bit of annie in your face will instantly blind you, and if you happen to inhale, your lungs will be so badly burned that you'll either die, or sincerely wish that you had.

What makes it difficult for the government to legislate against meth manufacture is that all of the precursors have vital legitimate purposes, and are commonly available in consumer products. PE is used in cold medicine, red phosphorous is what the strike pads on match books are made of, and iodine can be reduced from OTC iodine tincture used to treat cuts. Anhydrous-ammonia is an essential component of fertilizer, and the occasional truck bomb.

Because PE is the substance that is actually turned into meth (the other chemicals are used to fuel the reaction), and because the pharmaceutical industry has finally created suitable replacements for it to put into OTC cold medicine, it is now the primary focus of legislative attempts to disrupt the meth supply chain.

Control/illegalization of pseudo-ephedrine is what the Tribune and many others are currently advocating as a remedy to our "meth crisis."

Why wouldn't this work, and what are the ways that it could make the deleterious affects of meth on our state even worse?

It is true that restricting and/or preventing access to PE would make it impossible for many small local cooks to produce meth, but the inevitable result of this (see: capitalism is a bitch) is that the street price of meth would dramatically increase, and due to the addictive nature of meth, the increased price would do very little to abate demand.

Meanwhile, while domestic cooks would be effectively shutdown, cartel manufacturers, rooted in Mexico, would barely miss a beat, and enjoy record profits and increased market dominance in the meantime.

Here's why.

Pseudo-ephedrine converts 1:1 to meth amphetamine. In other words, a gram of PE equals a gram of meth. At current market prices, meth is more expensive gram-for-gram than cocaine. What follows is that if a major cartel, which both produces meth and imports cocaine, faces a shortage of PE, they will simply import PE from Mexico, where it can be bought without any restrictions at all.

What would be the end result of a clampdown on pseudo-ephedrine in Oregon, or the U.S. in general?

A reasonable supposition would be that this will only lead to increased dominance of the meth trade by organized drug cartels, who will enjoy increased profits, which they will invest in more advanced production facilities and more comprehensive distribution networks, leading to even high levels of consumption and availability than ever before.

Monday, June 27, 2005

Great Moments in Strict Constructionism

U.S. Constitution, Article. IV.
Section 2, Clause 3

No Person held to Service or Labour in one State, under the Laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in Consequence of any Law or Regulation therein, be discharged from such Service or Labour, but shall be delivered up on Claim of the Party to whom such Service or Labour may be due.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

On a Lighter Note

Yeah, looking over my recent posts, they definitely seem to toe to a pretty grim line in their general tone.

That shit is very un-dude.

So, lest anyone be falsely impressed with the notion that I am no longer digging the spirit of silly/stupid fun, I give you yet another candidate for my attendance violation hall-of-fame.

This story starts Friday night, which is my scheduled poker night.

Traditionally, my poker games involve heavy drinking, hard drugs, and savage losses. This Friday though, I managed to swing the prior pair without falling victim to the latter - a rare feat indeed.

After 4 hours of gaming I was up $28 dollars, down six pints, and ankle deep in a gram, chased with the occasional pill bump. And that just brings us up to 11:00pm.

After the game, I was in a sprightly mood to say the least. For the last four weeks I have been locked into a vicious loosing streak that has left me mourning $180 dollars, gone and lost from my barren pockets. Aside from the rebound factor, this small victory was even sweeter given my present financial situation, which is dire indeed, so much so that my first thought of the fresh bills in my pocket was "now I'll be wiping my ass with toilet paper again" = 'nough said.

Fast forwarding now, past 5 blurry incomprehensible hours, we come - 3 pills later - to 4:00am Saturday morning, when it suddenly strikes me that it might be a "good idea" to do a few quick lines as a night cap.

One of the dangerous curveballs that coke can throw you, is that when you get really fucked up, and take it over the top, your shnozz can get so clogged up, that instead of absorbing the product, it just packs up, and then is slowly absorbed into your membranes as your sinuses gradually clear out.

Well, this is the cruel fate that befell me Saturday morning, and all that I could think as I tossed and turned at eight in the morning was "son of a bitch!"

Given that I had to be at work by 1:30pm, my alarm was set for 11:30, which ironically, was about the time that I finally fell asleep.

I finally started awake about 10 minutes after the start of my shift, and promptly called in to let my management know that i would be a little late. (an hour an fourty-five minutes to be exact.)

When I got to work, I slid into my desk and took two calls before taking my first scheduled break, on which I gulped down several cups of coffee, and then returned to my desk where I took about 40 calls from pissed off customers calling in about a nationwide outage that was preventing them from receiving any incoming calls.

I have to say, it is a credit to my deft customer skills, or possibly my heartless and callous lack of empathy, that I didn't issue a single credit for the loss of service in the entire day.

Or maybe it was just because I was too fucking lazy to write the memos.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Cocaine: it's a helluva drug

Seriously, anybody who hasn't seen it yet really needs to get Chapelle's Show Season 2 and watch episode 4, "Charlie Murphy's True Hollywood Stories," which has got to be the funniest shit ever - no qualifications necessary.

And now, let's launch into a series of non-sequitur stories...

I was sitting at a table in the break-room at work about a week ago, talking to my friend T, and this annoying but tolerable 18 year old girl that he is vaguely associated with. She pulls a script bottle from her purse and pops a pill, which naturally peaks my interest, and so I ask her what it is. She tells me it's penicillin, so naturally I ask her if she's got "VD." Responding in a pointedly chilly tone, this girl tells me that she has strep throat, and I let the subject drop.

A few days later we're all sitting around again, and somehow (I wonder) the subject of crack comes up, and this girl asks what "crack" is. Being a naturally generous person I took it upon myself to provide this naive youngster with at least a basic education in the fundamentals of rock cocaine.

And it goes a little something like this...

In chemistry an "acid" is something that gives up hydrogen atoms, and a "base" is something that takes hydrogen atoms. Cocaine HCl (the shit you put up your nose) is a "salt" - the product of a base and an acid. Free-base (i.e. crack), is the "free" base (cocaine without the Cl atom) form of cocaine HCl. The reason that you need to reduce Cocaine HCl to free-base before smoking it is that ionic bonds (like the one between the cocaine molecule and the Cl atom) are strong enough that the heat required to break them is greater than the melting point of the cocaine molecule, so if you try to smoke Cocaine HCl, the cocaine molecule will break down before the whole thing vaporizes, and all your left with is a lung full of acrid - and likely carcenogenic - smoke. Thank god for Arm & Hammer.

After reciting this spiel in front of a wall of glazed eyes, I paused, and this girl asked me, "so have you ever smoked crack?"

My friend T started laughing immediately, and I wasn't far behind.

"Yeah, a couple of times," I replied, "but I wouldn't recommend it."

"Why would you do that?" she asked me.

Shit - I don't know - "why not?"

A few days later, I was talking to my friend T, and he was complaining about how sick he was. At the time, he though he had caught strep throat, probably in the process of exchanging bodily fluids with our mutual co-worker. To say the least, I was unsympathetic. In fact, I was laughing my ass off.

"Fucking ironic, isn't it," I said, "you hook up with this nice respectable girl, and get dog sick, and I'm involved with all manner of degenerate whores, and I'm healthy as a horse."

"That's what you get," I continued, "for fucking with a girl that's got penicillin in her medicine cabinet - that just isn't a good idea."

That and Valtrex.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Fuck Tha Police

Anniversary Edition

Fuck Tha Police - NWA (10.6 MB)

How to Insulate Yourself from Informants - with total impunity from law enforcement

How to Ship a Half Ounce of Confectioner's Sugar Through Customs - without having it mistaken for cocaine/heroin/pure-e

IMCryptd - High security encrypted IM for computers and mobile phones

-It's not a war unless somebody is fighting back.

Catching Up

Having been super fucking busy of late, I haven't had a lot of time to post here, but since the One Year Anniversary of this little rag is drawing near, I feel somewhat obligated to crank some shit out, if only to keep up appearances.

First and foremost on my item/action list is a link to the Puto of the Millennium, courtesy of Nebur's World. The only thing I have to add is, Ann Coulter is A MAN BABY! Seriously, check the adam's apple and the jaw-line on that bitch. 100% tranny!

Now, for a quick detour into retrospective mode, let's talk about how SpeedBalling came to be, and where it's going.

About 18 months ago I was holed up in a crack motel in Phoenix, working for yet another customer service call center, strung out on meth and coke, and generally hating life.

Interestingly enough, when the call center I worked for instituted an "employee of the month" program I won the first month, and would have won the second month if I hadn't split to come back to Oregon. So much for "drug testing" weeding out undesirable employees.

Anyway, I was down in PHX and my friend Mr. A got obsessed with the idea of "blogging." Initially, I was quite skeptical about starting a blog, because I classified it as "geek bullshit," but after months of badgering, I finally agreed to do it.

By the time that we started our blogs, I was back in Oregon - still strung out - but at least on my home turf, and no longer plagued by the impositions of the Pheonix lifestyle.

[In general I oppose violence and the use of weaponry, but during my time in Pheonix I slowly escelated from travelling naked to carrying pepper spray, then a stun gun, and then a knife. I was cruising pawn shops for a piece by the time I finally left.]

So, back in Portland I started this blog and entitled in "SpeedBalling."

Technically speaking "speedballing" is the act of shooting coke and heroin in the same dose, which is something I have never done - in fact I have never done heroin at all. I chose "speedballing" because I felt it had a certain kind of edge to it - a definite air of mystique - and also because there is this guy in New Zealand who sells instructional videos about a fishing technique that he has dubbed "speedballing," and that shit cracks me the fuck up.

Over the course of a year I have posted little snippets and excerpts from my life, most of them highlighting the exciting/unique/other-than-legal events that I have participated in. For better or worse, this is a tiny cross section of my life - most of the time I just slog my way through a shitty/meaningless 9-5 like everyone else.

The funny thing is that other people actually find my life interesting. Every month several hundred unique visitors pop up in my logs, and a few hundred people have taken the "official" speedballing quiz, and as of now they have rated it at an average of 4.2/5.

Looking forward, I can't guarantee what the future might hold, but unexpected incidents aside, I plan to celebrate my one year anniversary with the posting of two tutorials - both in the same vein as my "Computer Security Essentials" - entitled "How to insulate yourself from informants - with total impunity from Law Enforcement," and "how to ship a half-ounce of confectioner's sugar through customs - without it being mistaken for cocaine/heroin/pure-e."

Keep your ear to the ground, and Fuck the Police.

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