Reason Roundup

Marijuana Movement Gets New Anti-Hero in Oklahoma Health Agency Hoaxer Out to Stop Ban on Smokeable Weed: Reason Roundup

Plus: How blockchain is being used by students to circumvent government censorship

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Ezell mugshot

The head lawyer at Oklahoma State Department of Health has been charged with two felonies and one misdemeanor for faking threatening emails to herself and then lying about it.

In early July, Julia Ezell began receiving emailed threats purporting to be from medical marijuana advocates. The first one included her home address, a description of her car, and the message: "We will watch you." More messages came, accusing her of "greed" and "evil"; "We will stop YOU… Any way it takes to … protect what is ours," they wrote. Another email: "We would hate to hurt a pretty lady. You will hear us. We are just beginning."

Turns out Ezell had nothing to fear! "A forensic examination of Ezell's mobile phone revealed she sent several menacing emails to her own government email address and then reported them to authorities," CBS News reports.

"These charges do not reflect who she is as a person," Ezell's lawyer said. "[N]or do they reflect the type of advocate she has been for the people of the state of Oklahoma. These allegations will be answered, and additional relevant information will be provided by us at the appropriate time."

The sad twist here is that until the hoax emails, Ezell seemed to be on the smart side of things.

Oklahoma voters just approved medical marijuana in June, with 57 percent voting in favor of State Question 788. The board of the Oklahoma State Health Department, where Ezell was general counsel, was then tasked with approving medical marijuana rules, which she helped draft.

But Ezell's version excluded provisions to ban all smokeable marijuana sales and make every dispensary employ a pharmacist—policies the department adopted anyway—and "she had cautioned the board that those changes were beyond the board's legal authority," says CBS. "The rule changes infuriated medical marijuana supporters and led to two lawsuits against the board."

The Oklahoma health department has generally been a mess in recent years, CBS Notes:

Ezell was hired by the agency in November by then-Interim Commissioner Preston Doerflinger after it had been rocked with allegations of financial mismanagement that led to layoffs and the resignations of some of its top officials.

Doerflinger resigned a few months later following accusations of domestic violence. A later audit revealed the agency's financial operations were so badly bungled that nearly 200 employees lost their jobs unnecessarily.

Ezell stepped down from her job with the agency last Friday, with a letter that read: "Effectively immediately I resign my position as General Counsel of the Oklahoma State Department of Health. I am so sorry."

But there's hope for medical marijuana rules in Oklahoma yet. "On Monday, Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter said that his office would review the legal challenges to the agency's" emergency rules, reports Oklahoma News 4.

Just two days later, the attorney general's office announced that it was advising the State Board of Health to convene a special meeting to amend the rules it passed regulating medical marijuana.

Hunter said the rules are "inconsistent with the plain language of State Question 788" and said the board "acted outside of its authority when it voted to implement them."

Hunter said in a letter that the board should not be able to prohibit the sale of smokable marijuana, or require dispensaries to hire pharmacists.

This puts him at odds with the state's health commissioner, Tom Bates. "To allow smokable forms would be a step back as protectors of public health in Oklahoma," Bates said.

FREE MINDS

"Blockchain is helping to circumvent censorship in China," says Slate. "Given the constant claims that blockchain is the solution to everything from poverty to corruption, it's understandable if you're skeptical," New America fellow Spandana Singh writes. "But this is an example of a situation in which it genuinely has potential."

In one case, a banned letter about sexual assault at China's Peking University was able to get around censors by someone "embedding [the] letter into the tamper-proof Ethereum blockchain." The letter was penned by Peking University student Yue Xin.

Blockchain is an open-source, public, distributed computing technology, which is the basis of the well-known cryptocurrency bitcoin. Ethereum is a public blockchain that hosts the cryptocurrency Ether. The anonymous activists sent themselves zero Ether on the platform and embedded the text of Yue's open letter in the transaction's metadata. Transactions on blockchain are irreversible, so the information cannot be altered.

Furthermore, transactions generate distributed copies of themselves within the network, which ensured that Yue's letter would be permanently documented in the public domain and accessible to any user who looked the transaction up.

Communication isn't a prime "use case" of blockchain just yet, Singh points out. But recently "students from universities across the country similarly embedded messages in their transaction descriptions, therefore enabling for unrestricted and free conversation on the issue to take place."

QUICK HITS

NEXT: The Department of Education's Obama-Era Initiative on Racial Disparities in School Discipline: Wrong for Students and Teachers, Wrong on the Law (Part 2)

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  1. The California Supreme Court says that voters can’t decide via ballot measure to divide California into three separate states.

    They’ll have to let the earthquakes do it.

    1. Hello.

      “These charges do not reflect who she is as a person,” Ezell’s lawyer said. “[N]or do they reflect the type of advocate she has been for the people of the state of Oklahoma.”

      Lol. Okay. Sure. Whatever.

      1. I didn’t get it either. What a whack job.

      2. One would imagine the reflection is quite true.

      3. “These charges do not reflect who she is as a person,” Ezell’s lawyer said. “[N]or do they reflect the type of advocate she has been for the people of the state of Oklahoma.”

        “She’s usually a much worse cunt”, the lawyer added.

      4. Is it possible someone obtained her phone and sent the falsified emails from it?

        1. Good one.

  2. New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance is investigating the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

    To find out just how much it gave to the Clinton Foundation back in the day.

    1. Because the Clinton’s lost more servers?

  3. The American Civil Liberties Union is suing D.C. police over the stop and frisk of a 39-year-old man that allegedly involved “probing his genitalia.”

    The Constitution isn’t a cockblock pact!

  4. Spain is considering making affirmative consent the national law.

    But everyone has to sign off on it, first.

    1. Yeah, ironically, that’s not how it works.

    2. Double jeopardy too, apparently.

  5. The Brady Bunch house is up for sale.

    But Mike designed that house with his bare hands!

    1. Marsha, Marsha, Marsha!

      1. Would, would, would!

        Oh and it’s Marcia

        1. Like Garcia? Then why is it pronounced Marsh-uh smart guy?

          1. I only knew the spelling because I looked her up to see what she looks like today.

            1. Still would

        2. I prefer the phonetic verzun.

  6. Spain may criminalize sex that occurs without affirmative consent.

    So I’ve heard.

    1. You sound depressed about that. I guess that trip to Madrid is off

      1. Just another reason Catalonia should break off from Spain.

    2. Give ENB a break. Criminalized sex just stokes her fires…it needed to be posted twice.

      1. Double …. jeopardy?

        1. What is …. coitus?

    3. If this passes, seems to me Spain will be pretty much depopulated within a generation. Problem solved. Anyone born after passage will be prima facie evidence of a crime, as nothing will limp a dick faster than asking “can I do this” each step of the way.

  7. Communication isn’t a prime “use case” of blockchain just yet, Singh points out.

    If claims are true, that would be money laundering.

    1. “An air strike is maybe something a little different, to project U.S. military power, and Libertarians do believe in a very strong defense, so rattling the saber from time to time is not a bad thing.”

      Oh, lord

      1. “Libertarian-leaning Commentator Max Boot Comes Out in Support of LP Nominee Bill Weld”

        – two years from now

        1. He might even change his name to Jack Boot.

      2. I have read that in sailing ship days, ship Marines landing somewhere did not count as an invasion in the way an army landing would. Too few, no long term staying power, etc. It almost seems reasonable to consider a solitary airstrike in similar terms. But ship Marines job was to rescue people or protect property, not to blow things up … generally. Probably some were punitive expeditions. Did they count as a declaration of war too?

        At any rate, Weld is just another statist with a power projection boner.

      3. Ugh. Eff Weld.

    2. Matt Welch loves him some Bill Weld.

      A non-Libertarian loves a non-Libertarian. Big surprise!

      1. That’s not fair to Welch

        1. Agreed. There’s a big difference between reporting and advocacy. Welch understands that Weld has a substantial enough political presence that it’s worthy to report on him.

          1. Then report on him as the Lefty that Bill Weld is.

  8. “Ezell seemed to be on the smart side of things.”

    This is the sort of thing not smart people say.

  9. ENB, love ya, but that headline is really confusing.

  10. What the frick did they do to the interior of that mid-century, contemporary Brady Bunch house?

    Awful.

    1. $1.885 mil doesn’t buy what it used to.

      1. $61,000 doesn’t buy as much house as it used to either. 8% ROI over the 45 years?

    2. Why would anyone buy any property in Commifornia is beyond me.

      1. Dedicated masochism?

      2. Because the laws they have basically mandate a scarcity related increase in value.

    3. That pink bedroom is ghastly.

  11. “And this is the living room where Greg was banging Mrs. Brady…”

    1. “…and this is the rec room where Mr. Brady banged Greg.”

      1. ‘And this is the secret dark room where Alice kept the pictures….of Greg and Mrs. Brady doing it in the kitchen…”

    2. ‘s brother”

  12. “These charges do not reflect who she is as a person,” Ezell’s lawyer said.

    Somebody too stupid to use a burner phone and a temporary e-mail account to send fake e-mails?

  13. “These charges do not reflect who she is as a person,” Ezell’s lawyer said.

    But do they reflect who medical marijuana advocates are as people??? Maybe a Rathergate situation where the facts are false but the narrative is true!!!

  14. Trump and Pence should be removed from office and we should either have a new election, or Hillary Clinton should take over. That’s how we beat Putin. There is no other way. #ImpeachTrump

    I agree with this. Although military action against Russia should always be on the table, first we must get our own house in order. The 2016 election is now known to be totally illegitimate, and rigged against Hillary Clinton ? and she still won by 3 million votes!

    #StillWithHer

    1. Lol he thinks we should care about beating Putin.

      1. Shouldn’t we? At some point between 2012 and 2016 he became the most formidable villain on the world stage. He personally ordered an attack on the very foundation of our democracy. The hacked 2016 election must be understood in the context of other major acts of aggression against the US, like 9 / 11 and Pearl Harbor.

          1. Good read, though sheeples’ eyes will glaze over. How can Captain America be a bad guy?

            1. True. Captain America is as much of a hero as Harry Potter or some other fictional character that a lot of “grown ups” seem to relate to because this is 1938 Germany or something.

              We live in the dumbest of times

          2. Clearly you know a great deal about hacking, but I’m curious why you didn’t post any of the follow-up stuff on that story. Like how Congress investigated the incident, and how the Obama administration publicly deliberated how to respond without prompting the Chinese to escalate, and how the Chinese eventually arrested the hackers said to be responsible (supposedly to ease tensions with the US).

            This place is rabid for Obama hate… all that stuff would go over beautifully.

            1. Yup, that’s what this is “Obama hate”. Your smart. Also, we should trust the Chinese investigated this incident, but we can’t trust Russia, because they’re different in the fact that China has money.

              1. Trust whomever you want. At the very least arrests have been made in both China and the US over the OPM hack.

            2. http://www.twitter.com/GarethPorter/s…..7957718016

              Oh my God- the guy who wrote “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare” is a Trumpist or something! How dare you attack our brave intelligence community. How dare you, sir!

              1. You SF’d the link.

                Does it explain why this is relevant to the Chinese hack of the OPM?

            3. Say there was a foreign country that bribed a US intelligence officer with jewelry, a monthly salary, and cash for hotels and meals. Say that officer provided the foreign country with intelligence info, the NSA’s ten-volume manual on signals intelligence, and thousands of names of people who cooperated with US intelligence agencies.

              While this spy for a foreign government is in jail, US congressional representatives ask for clemency for him, and the foreign nation tries to broker a multi-country spy exchange to get him out, before granting citizenship to the spy and asking for his release.

              Sound fantastic? Well, guess what, it actually happened. The spy’s name was Jonathan Pollard, and he was spying for Israel.

              If the Russians tried anything like that, the entire mass media complex would be demanding nukes on Moscow.

              1. Israel is not a US friend. The USS Liberty was proof of that. Add in Pollard and numerous other subversive activites that Israel conducts against the USA.

                Israel finally exposed itself as a apartide non-democracy this week too. They have acted like Israel is a Democrarcy but its a Jewish state and only jews can vote.

                America should never treat Israel as anything more than a mutual ally to keep peace in the World. Israel needs peace to survive too.

        1. “Shouldn’t we?”

          Nah.

    2. It’s riggings all the way down.

    3. Reading that Twitter feed is like an endless list of OBL’s, but actually not of the parody variety.

      *SHUDDERS*

    4. #StillWithHim
      #InternsToo
      #IncestIsBest

  15. New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance is investigating the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

    What they found will surprise you!

    1. The foundation HASN’T filed bankruptcy in the last seven years?

      1. Unlike the risky world of casinos where it’s very difficult to turn a profit, foundations are very profitable, as Hillary Clinton could tell you

        1. I’d rather not talk to her.

          1. You can email her. It’s safer.

    2. That the Clinton Foundation does not have the donations it once had for some reason?

      1. How was Chelsea suppose to buy her wedding dress?

        1. It was a fundraising event, after all.

    3. What they found will surprise you!

      Love letters to Vlad?

      1. “My beautiful little bear. You are perhaps the best lover of all time, beside myself. Many people have said this. On cold nights I think of your warm embrace and it makes me SAD.”

  16. New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance is investigating the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

    Looks like NY Dept of Taxation and Finance needs a little investigating itself.

  17. The California Supreme Court says that voters can’t decide via ballot measure to divide California into three separate states.

    If the residents of California dont get to decide what happens to their state, who does?

    1. Hitler?

    2. Stalin….er….I mean the CA Democratic Party?

    3. Brett Kavanaugh. That’s what all the screaming is about.

    4. Kaiju?

    5. Nostradamus?

  18. A forensic examination of Ezell’s mobile phone revealed she sent several menacing emails to her own government email address and then reported them to authorities

    Sheesh, what was Ezell smoking?

  19. “It would have dismantled the world’s fifth biggest economy without solving a single challenge facing Californians today.”

    The goal isn’t to solve problems. To goal is to make problems solvable.

    1. Well said.

    2. “It would have dismantled the world’s fifth biggest economy without solving a single challenge facing Californians today.”

      Dismantled? Really? How alarming. Makes me want to shit my pants.

      1. Exactly. The Lefties that run Commifornia think that states cannot be changed.

        The Constitution fully allows states to break apart and form new states as long as Congress approves.

        Article IV, Section 3: New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union; but no new states shall be formed or erected within the jurisdiction of any other state; nor any state be formed by the junction of two or more states, or parts of states, without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.

        1. So to get this straight, you are absolutely agreeing with the California Supreme Court that voters can’t decide via ballot measure to divide California into three separate states.

          Good to know.

          1. Voters cannot decide that anyway. Even if they voted to do it, the new states would still have to be accepted into the union by Congress. And I can’t see that ever happening. First, why would any Senator of either party vote to expand the Senate and reduce his own influence? Second, the political fallout of creating two new states would almost certainly benefit one party or the other. So, I can’t see the losing party ever agreeing to it.

            I think it makes a lot of sense to divide California and a few other states. Thanks to Baker v. Carr, the rural areas of states like California are basically subjects of the urban areas. They get no say in their state government. Splitting some of these states up would create smaller states where the rural areas would get more of a say. That said, it is never going to happen.

            1. Voters cannot decide that anyway.

              You know that, I know that, the California Supreme Court knows that, LC1789 knows that. I think it’s been sufficiently covered.

          2. If californians decide to break up their state into other states, then congress gets to decide too.

        2. “New states may be admitted by the Congress into this union… without the consent of the legislatures of the states concerned as well as of the Congress.”

          Isn’t that the answer to the legal question of whether citizens can choose through ballot initiative? It seems consistent with the ruling. At best, the ballot initiative would be non-binding.

    3. Don’t worry about blank. Let me worry about blank!

      1. Blank! BLANK! You’re not focusing on the big picture!

  20. faking threatening emails to herself and then lying about it

    So it’s the blonde white girl version of “We don’t tip n—-rs/turrurists” written on a restaurant receipt.

    1. Which I always thought was funny because nigger* are the worst tippers.

  21. The court now will consider a challenge from the Planning and Conservation League, an environmental group that argued splitting up California would drastically change its government structure beyond what can be accomplished through a simple ballot initiative.

    Emphasis added. Unlike say, changes to districting, taxation, or marriage.

    1. It’s all about what happens when you try to subdivide all those massive hierarchical state agencies.
      You ‘need’ to replicate the DMV and DHS (or whatever they call it there) and all the rest of the alphabet soup. You need to cleave existing organizational structures and staff across 3 agencies.
      Then you have all the accounting. You think highways are hard? Contemplate the vast interlocking (and ‘interlocking’) software licenses. Databases. The lottery. The state tax offices. All our data is now whose?

      Much of the lower middle tier was either all but paralyzed by the local and up (by 3 to*maybe* 4) layers. The rest were all but orgasming at the opportunities for empire building, consulting gigs, rapid rise to seniority, etc.
      Everybody from there on up sees too much risk coupled with too much hard work. They’re the ones that can and will stop this, prevent it from being allowed to be attempted.

  22. Is Spain planning to arrest everyone in Ibiza? Or will there be some sort of waiver when you arrive?

  23. New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance is investigating the Donald J. Trump Foundation.

    Finally, a Foundation worth investigating.

    1. Isaac Asimov paperback sales hardest hit.

    2. /sarc.

      How Hillary keeps escaping is beyond me.

  24. http://www.twitter.com/GarethPorter/s…..7957718016

    Oh my God- the guy who wrote “Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare” is a Trumpist or something! How dare you attack our brave intelligence community. How dare you, sir!

    1. Our political and media class really are insane. They actually seem to have expected Trump to stand up and try and humiliate Putin and call him out during a joint press conference over all this nonsense. Putin is only in power and alive because despite inflicting endless misery on the Russian people, he remains popular because the Russian people see him as restoring them to great power status. Sure, call him out on the world stage and get into a pissing contest with him such that he feels he must respond or lose face with his own people. That will work out well.

      Trump spent a week meeting with Western Europe basically giving them a call to arms to contain Russian aggression and start defending themselves. To then on top of that go and call out Putin personally in a joint press conference would have been insane. The problem facing the West with Russia is to be able to contain Russia without humiliating Putin such that he feels he must take calculated risks to keep face. The way to do that is to arm and defend those around Russia while feeding Putin’s ego such that he can still sell himself to the Russian people as the restorer of Russian pride. But our media and political classes have lost their minds and can’t see the difference between words an actions.

      1. Endless misery?
        Methinks you may want to revisit the 90s, before Putin took office.

        Anyway, the best for both parties (US and Russia) is a trade agreement and alliance. But that would piss off our ruling class’ masters, EU and China

        1. Maybe not endless misery, but he hasn’t really helped them much. The economy still sucks and life for most Russians sucks.

          I don’t know that the best thing would be an alliance. They are a great power and their interests are at odds with ours. There is no getting around that. But, there is no reason why we cannot peacefully coexist without Russia overrunning the nations around it.

          Long term, China is the much greater threat to peace and stability than Russia. The fact that our ruling class seems obsessed with the Russian threat at the expense of China is a product of their insanity and a good number of them being on the Chinese payroll.

          1. I’m curious: how are their interests at odds with ours?

            I’ll concede on energy, though we’re at odds with Saudi Arabia there too.
            Their alliance with Iran? Tenuous, at best, and largely held as a buffer against the West. They’d ditch Iran in a heartbeat if we give them a good reason to. As it is now, we push them together.

            1. The biggest thing is Eastern Europe. Russia wants its old empire back. They would happily run over Georgia and the Baltics or maybe even Finland if they thought they could get away with it. Our challenge is to make sure they are contained and deterred from doing that while also working with them where we can.

              The other big point of contention is Iran. Russia wants Iran to be able to cause problems in the Middle East because it drives up oil prices. Historically Russia and Iran are enemies. And I do not believe Iran going nuclear is in Russia’s interests. But Russia doesn’t see it that way. And that is a problem.

              1. “Russia wants its old empire back. They would happily run over Georgia and the Baltics or maybe even Finland if they thought they could get away with it.”

                No they don’t. All Russia wants is a buffer, and it’s all they’ve really ever wanted. And when we put missiles in Romania and orchestrate a coup in Ukraine, it’s hard to argue against their desired buffer

                1. Mother Russia has a fundamental tenant: All former Russian territory always belongs to mother Russia. Its why the russians always push to get back the same territory over and over again after they lose it for stupid reason. The last stupid reason was communism and non-soviet russians wanted independence.

                  Putin is an old KGB tyrant and he is bad at economics, so he runs with being a strongman.

                  Russias a paper tiger but should never be underestimated.

            2. Russia was taken over by communism in 1917, but is now nearly free of the looters. These nuclear-armed States are currently being engulfed by a communist takeover of the Democratic and Green parties, and have yet to shed the 16th Amendment. You can’t expect Russians to view these things with equanimity, can you?

  25. I just got a sinister email: “How dare you try to ask people for free money, we’ll send the Klan to your house and people will be too scared to send you money, especially $100 bills.”

    1. That’s horrible. I’m sending you my thoughts and prayers.

  26. “nearly 200 employees lost their jobs unnecessarily”
    Wow government corruption has a silver lining.

  27. Is China already starting to cry ‘uncle’ in the trade war?

    If their ambassador Cui Tiankai is publicly bitching and moaning this much, that’s awesome because it can only mean that we’re winning.

    The stupid morons in this country might think you’re our friend because you make so much of our cheap garbage these days, but those of us with a brain know better, pal!

    1. China needs access to our markets a lot more than we need access to theirs. It is really that simple.

  28. How long before China outlaws cryptocurrency and restricts blockchain usage?

  29. Muskogee, Oklahoma, Yew Ess Say!

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