#FreeRoss: A Grievous Miscarriage Of Justice

Imagine listening to a judge sentence you to two life sentences and forty years as she cites crimes for which you weren’t tried. Meanwhile, your mom looks on, listening to the judge steal you away from her. Your future is gone because your government needed to stop the movement of which you are a part, and they use crimes other people committed to do so.

This is how Ross Ulbricht’s case concluded when he was sentenced to prison after creating the Silk Road, which allowed people to exchange goods and services for Bitcoin. No violent or coercive services were allowed, such as murder, child porn, exchange of stolen property or other violent services. So, how did Ross end up sentenced to double life and forty years for his “crimes?”

Exchange of Drugs

Drugs were exchanged on the Silk Road by individuals seeking to buy and sell drugs. There were a lot of drugs sold on the Silk Road that were illicit drugs. However, it is possible to buy plants that only serve the purpose of producing poison on Amazon. Craigslist allows individuals to buy and sell services, and has in the past been used for people to buy and sell illegal goods and services.

The charges brought against Ross were not for him selling or buying drugs, but for facilitating the transaction through his platform. If that is the case, why would Amazon and Craigslist not be held accountable for allowing harmful products or violent services to be bought and sold on their platform?

The same line of logic does not apply in physical drug sales as well. If someone deals drugs out of their apartment, the apartment complex is not held accountable for that individual’s actions, rather the dealer receives an extra charge called “Maintaining a Common Nuisance,” for simply selling from a set location. This is a law put in place to supposedly protect the neighbors of dealers from the violence and other problems surrounding the exchange of illicit drugs. But this law places the responsibility on the dealer, rather than the owner of the building (in some cases the dealer) in order to blame the dealer for their actions. This should serve as a reference for any judge in making decisions of whom should be held accountable in Ross’ case: the actual dealers, or Ross the “building owner.”

Violations of Rights

“This case is the birth of law as applied to our digital future. Watch it as a spectator at your peril.”
– Scott H. Greenfield, criminal defense attorney

The first violation of rights occurred as the authorities searched endlessly and aimlessly through Ross’ computer. The application of the 4th amendment (illegal search and seizures) states that it is not enough to as to search a file cabinet, but must search for a certain file and only that file. The same logic should be applied to computers. It is a compromise on all cases of unreasonable search and seizures to allow the police to search for nothing specific and as they please through Ross’ hard drive. Any evidence that was not outlined in the warrant should not have been allowed to be shown to the jury, but it was.

The judge, Katherine Forrest, cited crimes of murder for higher that were supposedly transacted on the Silk Road as the reason for Ross’ sentence. However, there was no evidence of these crimes, and they were never even brought up as charges for that reason. The jury never deliberated on these accusations, thus being sentenced for them is unconstitutional and a violation of Ross’ rights.

Furthermore, his trial by jury was inhibited as defense cross examination was hampered by the judge and defense witnesses were kept off the stand. Also, two of the key investigators in Ross’ case were investigated for corruption in regards to this case, extorting and stealing over a million dollars in funds during the case. The withholding of evidence and hampering of defense obfuscated the case and destroyed any possibility of a fair trial.

Incongruity of Sentences

This picture was pulled from FreeRoss.org and is used to demonstrate the incongruity of sentencing that occurred in Ross’ case.

Sentences in Silk Road.png

As you can see, the sentences are completely arbitrary and inconsistent. The largest drug dealers received fairly normal drug sentences, while admins who helped Ross facilitate the operations of the Silk Road received less than two years of prison. Also, Benthall, organizer of Silk Road 2.0 was released, while his 2nd-in-command was sentenced to 8 years.


The sentencing was subjective due to judicial digression and the ideological leanings of the people  who were convicted. Just another drug dealer is far less threatening to the status quo as the creator of an anonymous, peer-to-peer platform for exchange.

Where is Ross now?

Ross is now in a maximum security prison in Colorado, a state that has since legalized the plant that he is supposedly sentenced to two life sentences due to his part in facilitating its sale. He is a web designer in a prison with gangsters, murderers and rapists. He was convicted of no violent crimes, but sent to live with the most violent people among us. The guards of the prison claim he doesn’t belong there, and it seems impossible to disagree with their assessment.

Instead of giving in, Ross has decided to continue learning and finding new ways to appeal his case. He corresponds with his mom through letters and visits, but is allowed no access to computers. People write him letters, and he does his best to respond as much as he can. But, he is in a position that he does not deserve, one that his actions throughout his life prove to be unjust.

Last Words

Ross’ case does not only show the injustice he was dealt, but threatens the rights of every individual. Courts operate off precedent, which means that Ross’ case can be referenced by future courts to allow authorities to not specify their searches on warrants to peruse digital assets, unproven allegations can be held against defendants during sentencing and malfeasance by authorities can be covered up by courts to protect their agenda.

If you don’t have empathy for Ross, then denounce this miscarriage of justice in self-preservation. Imagine going through this yourself or with your child. Take action to bring this massive injustice to light. Follow Ross’ case with the following channels:

Website: freeross.org

Twitter: @Free_Ross

Facebook: Free Ross Page

Pictures and quotes pulled from freeross.org.

Join the Conversation of Our Generation!!!

SUBSRIBE to The Conversation of Our Generation’s Podcast now on iTunes!!

Subscribe to our email list for our Recommended Reading, reviews on books and other content that can grow your store of knowledge. New products will be coming soon, exclusively for subscribers.

If would like to join me in the Conversation of Our Generation, follow me on Twitter @ConOfOurGen, Facebook Conversation of Our Generation Facebook Page and SteemIt @jamell

Also, you can find me on YouTube Conversation of Our Generation YouTube Channel.

I am just trying to join the Conversation of Our Generation. Let’s get the dialogue going with comments, shares, questions, just say something!


Net Neutrality Is Anti-Liberty, And Here’s Why

The debate about Net Neutrality has been revitalized as the new FCC chairman, Ajit Pai, has released a plan to eliminate the Net Neutrality regulations. Surrounding this decision are hysteric cries of unfair practices by the cable companies and the need to “protect the little guys.”

But, what does this mean for everyone involved? Is it really an attack on the internet? Is the Trump administration signing over control of the internet to Time Warner?

In short, no. The truth is Net Neutrality is far from simple. To understand why Net Neutrality was an affront to liberty, it is important to know what it is.

Net Neutrality: The Basics

Net Neutrality arose when Internet Service Providers (ISP’s) decided to charge large content providers more to create an express lane for them. This is due to the fact that ISP’s can only provide so much bandwidth at a given time. As more people began accessing the internet more often and utilizing streaming services, ISP’s had trouble keeping up with the demand for internet.

To solve this, ISP’s approached the large internet companies and offered them their own lane. What they would do is have a certain amount of bandwidth reserved for these giants, which would speed up the internet for both the behemoths and the little guys.

Picture It Like This

Picture the internet like a road. There are cars, trucks, vans and semis. The semis begin clogging up the road because there are so many and they are clunky and slow. Everyone experiences slower commutes, traffic jams and an overall worse experience as semis take over the road.

To fix this issue, the owner of the road creates a new two lane road exclusively for semis that runs parallel to the other road. To do this, he would charge the semis more to use the road, but it would make everyone’s commutes faster. By opening this lane, cars can move freely on the normal road without worrying about being held up by semis, and semis have their own lane.

That is what Net Neutrality was trying to stop. It made it illegal to charge internet content producers and distributors more based on how much internet they used. In other words, Comcast couldn’t ask Netflix to pay more, even though the streaming of Netflix was making loading all the other small websites people wanted to access harder.

How This Affects Liberty

Liberty and free markets require businesses to be able to charge their customers as they please. If it is not worth the price to the customer, no one will buy it, and businesses will be forced to lower prices. The market will decide the price based on competing interests.

If paying more for the express lane doesn’t make sense for a company, they won’t do it, but for large companies like Netflix and Google, it would most likely be necessary. The reason they fought this was to maintain their current profits by lobbying the government to put a price ceiling in place.

By not allowing companies to charge the price they see fit, the government prevented thedeadweight loss industry from reaching equilibrium which takes away benefits from businesses and consumers. Price ceilings create what is called in economics deadweight loss.

The picture to the left shows how this works. Normally the purple box and yellow triangle would be evenly split between consumers and producers. Instead, the yellow triangle is lost, and fewer people are able to access the good or service being traded.

When markets have artificial restrictions placed on them, they become inefficient. This either makes goods too expensive for most people or limits quantity, depending on where economic pressures lie. To restrict the free transactions between ISPs and content distributors does what the graph above shows, create loss and either limit supply or lower demand.

Either way, it creates losers and limits the freedom of people to make their own economic decisions.

Last Words

Net Neutrality would not give content distributors of any size an advantage over the other, nor would it give ISP’s an upper hand. It would just make end user experience better. Without getting too far back into the economics, freeing up markets allows for more gains for consumers and producers, which is how economies grow.

People are afraid of the internet not being “free” without Net Neutrality, but what they fail to see is that this restricts the liberty in this space and makes it more expensive in the long run. The only entity that can control or limit freedom online is the government, and inviting the government to regulate this space is a foolish idea. The FCC is right to pull away from Net Neutrality, and this is a good thing.

Join The Conversation of Our Generation!!

Subscribe to our email list for our Recommended Reading, reviews on books and other content that can grow your store of knowledge. New products will be coming soon, exclusively for subscribers.

If would like to join me in the Conversation of Our Generation, you can find me on YouTube Conversation of Our Generation YouTube Channel.

Also, follow me on Twitter @ConOfOurGen, Facebook Conversation of Our Generation Facebook Page and SteemIt @jamell

I am just trying to join the Conversation of Our Generation. Let’s get the dialogue going with comments, shares, questions, just say something!

Basics Of Cryptocurrency For The Technologically Challenged

Bitcoin just hit new highs in price. It has been used by hackers as ransom payment to release stolen data. Ethereum is one of the leading ways to raise capitol for digital startups. Blockchain technology is helping people remember to take their medicine, and rewarding them for doing so on schedule. Estonia is creating its own national cryptocurrency. Smart contracts allow total strangers to utilize the same market, without ever meeting and transact with total trust in the product and payment.

You’ve probably heard of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency or blockchain, but many of you may not know what it means, but it is important. As cryptocurrencies grow in popularity, it becomes necessary to understand them as we move into a new economy. By reading this, you will learn more about what cryptocurrencies are, in laymen’s terms, and the implications they will have on economics and politics.

What does all this mean?

Blockchain technology is basically a ledger of records and transactions that is constantly growing in “blocks” that is secured using cryptography. It is often decentralized, especially in the world of cryptocurrency. Each bit of information is grouped into a certain size “block,” maybe 1 MB or 1 GB, then is added to the chain. Hence, the name blockchain.

Cryptocurrencies are digital money that use this technology to verify transactions. Each user has a wallet that has unique and random means of identification. In other words, it doesn’t require a name, address and email to take part, although some platforms might ask for this. These currencies are independent of governments, and often impervious to regulation due to their decentralized nature.

Smart contracts are a means of verifying a transaction. Both the customer and seller put a stake into a transaction through a smart contract software. Once the task is completed and the customer is satisfied, the seller receives their stake in the transaction back and payment, and the customer receives their stake as well. Then, both receive some sort of token verifying they completed the transaction to attest to their citizenship in the software. Uber uses technology like this. The driver isn’t paid until the ride is completed and both parties rate each other for future reference. The difference is, smart contracts can be done anonymously.

Crypto is just a short-handed term for cryptocurrencies. It will be used in the article interchangibly, but it is not specific to one currency, rather it encompasses all digital currencies utilizing blockchain technology.



The economic implications will be enormous. With money as the basis of an economy, changing the monetary system will alter the way an economy functions. The uprooting of monetary systems is not new. America has gone from every bank creating its own currencies, to a gold and silver standard, to the gold standard, to the fiat system currently in place. The one thing it has not had in over 200 years is a decentralized form of money.

The decentralization and digitization of money is what will upend the current system. Like early America, the decentralized currencies will be competing for “customers” or “users” which will provide them value. The value of the money will rely on what benefits they offer those who use the money. The difference is that now there will be an ability to verify the money. When this money system was tried last, the major problem was bank notes being issued in Maine were hard to spend in Georgia because they could not be proved to be real, but blockchain and smart contracts eliminate that risk.

Crypto will also grow the grey market. Instead of paying cash or with PayPal to buy an old couch off of a buddy, people can use crypto and not worry about the implications of the transaction. This will make it hard to centralize the economy as it allows strangers to transact the same as through Ebay or Craigslist, but without record of the transaction. The decentralization will allow people to transact freely in the grey market, and not worry because they will blend into the large amounts of data on the web.


As of now, governments all around the world use monetary systems to implement their policies. By leveraging the power of central banks, governments have been able to control economic levers that allow them to maintain power. Cryptocurrencies will reduce this power.

As discussed in the economics portion, the grey market will grow. This means that taxes will be harder to collect, just like it already is for people in cash businesses or who receive cash tips. The inability to attach transactions to certain identities will make it hard for government to know when money is changing hands and quantify incomes, thus making it nearly impossible to tax income. This has already been a challenge as governments have been unable to tax income and “capital gains” made through rising valuations of cryptocurrencies that are held on personal wallets.

Crypto will make it tougher for governments to regulate as well. As of now, the regulations are enforced through a monopoly on force and a control of the economy. By disrupting the economy and politics, crypto will make it hard to say what can be regulated. For instance, raw milk is illegal to sell in many places throughout the U.S., but with cash it is able to be sold. Crypto can replace cash in this instance in a plethora of transactions that have legal, but not moral, consequences.

Last words

There is a new economic revolution beginning. This one is not unlike the Industrial Revolution. People will be displaced. Change will come. The world will look completely different. There will be growing pains and problems along the way, but the world on the other end of the tunnel is much better. This will not bring a utopia or anything like that, but it will change the way people live for the better.

In other words: cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are as big as the wheel, steam engine and printing press. It will change the way the world works, from macro to micro, yearly to daily, politically to economically until it is nearly unrecognizable. However, it will put power back into the people’s hands to make decisions for themselves, without a government bureaucrat standing over their shoulder, and give people opportunity to create new solutions and new institutions.

Want more??

Subscribe to our email list for our Recommended Reading, reviews on books and other content that can grow your store of knowledge. New products will be coming soon, exclusively for subscribers.

If would like to join me in the Conversation of Our Generation, you can find me on YouTube Conversation of Our Generation YouTube Channel.

Also, follow me on Twitter @ConOfOurGen, Facebook Conversation of Our Generation Facebook Page and SteemIt @jamell

I am just trying to join the Conversation of Our Generation. Let’s get the dialogue going with comments, shares, questions, just say something!

#MeToo And The Fallacy Of Hashtag Activism

In the age of social media and smart phones, people no longer live in the real world. Rather than savoring a meal, they post it on Instagram. Instead of setting aside time to catch up with old friends, they keep up on Facebook. In lieu of going to a party or out for a night on the town, they see what everyone is doing via Snap Stories.

These things are not bad in and of themselves, but they are indicative of an attitude to which people are highly susceptible: that what life is online is the same as the reality that exists everywhere but behind the screen of a smart phone.

#MeToo Movement

The movement behind #MeToo has increased awareness for sexual assault and allowed victims to speak out about their experiences, which is a great way to begin a conversation. However, the ability to have the discussion and find the root of the problems is avoided by many of the people talking about the hashtag. Rather than the conversation being about the problem, its root causes and how to solve it, the conversation focuses on the hashtag.

“Raising awareness” is not a solution to a problem. If one knows about a fire, but doesn’t call the fire department, the fire will continue to grow. This logic holds true with #MeToo. If people do not start taking actual action, the Harvey Weinsteins of the world will continue to commit these heinous acts.

The Root Causes

There is a problem in American society with people respecting each other in general. People too often seem incapable of seeing how their actions affect others and empathizing with the reaction they may have. Individuals in our society have been lumped into collective groups, and this has caused many people to stop giving people the respect they deserve for simply being a fellow human being.

Another issue facing America is a lack of standards. Entertainment is flooded with workplace romances and bad practices. Horrible Bosses and Office Christmas Party glamorize the exact culture that this #MeToo is trying to combat. The same people who are tweeting about the horrors of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the workplace are glamorizing it on screen. There needs to be a societal consensus on what is acceptable in the workplace.

An underlying societal issue here is society’s misunderstanding of equality. Men and women are both humans, and therefore have equal dignity. However, there is an idea that men must make themselves weaker and less imposing and women should start wearing the pants in this society. This creates men who are not gentlemen, and do not protect women or treat them differently than they would their male friends. It also creates women who are afraid of appearing weak and therefore do not seek help in a society that does have recourse for such actions.


The first thing America should do is to stop raising awareness and start taking action. Celebrities telling their tales about these horrible crimes should name the offenders so they can be stopped. Pull the offenders out of the shadows and into the light, and hope that the statute of limitations has not yet run out for them, but if it has, let them lose their ability to work due to the toxicity of their reputation at the very least.

Men should go back to chivalry. They should look out for the women in their workplace, at the bars or anywhere. Men should not make women uncomfortable or assault them. They should hold themselves to a high standard of conduct around women, and should hold each other accountable for their actions. Just don’t put your arm around a female coworker, make crude jokes in her presence or make inappropriate comments about her.

When women speak out, men must listen and empathize with their position. Sexual assault cases should be taken to the police and harassment cases to human resources or the appropriate department. As a society, the rule of law must be upheld and the proper channels should be used. Thus, the accused must be considered innocent until proven guilty and the victim must be heard, while still producing evidence and being convincing. It is a delicate balance, and it is common in most crimes from murder to theft to drunk driving. But because of the nature of this crime, it is a thin line to walk.

Join the Conversation of Our Generation!!!

Subscribe to our email list for our Recommended Reading, reviews on books and other content that can grow your store of knowledge. New products will be coming soon, exclusively for subscribers.

If would like to join me in the Conversation of Our Generation, follow me on Twitter @ConOfOurGen, Facebook Conversation of Our Generation Facebook Page and SteemIt @jamell

Also, you can find me on YouTube Conversation of Our Generation YouTube Channel.

I am just trying to join the Conversation of Our Generation. Let’s get the dialogue going with comments, shares, questions, just say something!


Powered by WordPress.com.

Up ↑