Posts tagged ‘Jacob Sullum’

You've Come A Long Way Baby (Drone Strike Edition)

Obama Secretary of State John Kerry, in his famous Winter Solider remarks to Congress about the Vietnam War:

... it seems the Government of this country is more concerned with the legality of where men sleep than it is with the legality of where they drop bombs.

Obama Spokeman Jay Carney, today:

these [drone] strikes are legal, they are ethical, and they are wise

Remember, Jay Carney is talking about the President's claimed right to bomb US citizens, as well as anyone else he thinks (but can't necessarily prove in a court) might kind of sort of have something to do with a terrorist group.  And civilian casualties, so much a part of Kerry's concerns back in the 1970's?  They are just asking for it.

Anyway, I have not had a chance to digest the Administration's white paper on targeted killing (I can't even believe I am writing that phrase -- our Constitution specifically banned bills of attainder but now the executive claims the ability to kill at whim).  Jacob Sullum has some thoughts at the link.  I will write more if and when I have a chance to read it, but I am sure I will find it horrifying.

 

But They Are Politicians

Jacob Sullum writes about the gnashing of teeth among Arizona politicians that suddenly must rely on voluntary contributions rather than campaign funds taken by force from taxpayers who may not even support them.  I liked this quote from Goldwater:

"If they behaved reasonably," they would have a contingency plan," Dranias said. "After 19 months of rulings from the district court saying this is unconstitutional, no serious candidate would not be prepared for this contingency."

Added Bolick, "People who gambled that public subsidies would be available to them now are reaping the folly of such a gamble."

But if they were reasonable people who considered long-term consequences and took responsibility for their own actions, would they even be politicians.  Is it any surprise that a class of human beings who, in response to looming bankruptcy in Medicare, pass a trillion dollars of new health care spending commitments closed their eyes to what would likely happen when this campaign finance law reached the Supreme Court?

By the way, I met Clint's Bolick's wife Shawna who is running for the Republican nomination in District 11 for the state House.  I am not registered and refuse to register with a party so I can't vote, but if you are looking for someone to support she seemed pretty sharp.

Good News for Free Speech

Until today, we had the right to free speech, and the right to assembly, but not the right to free speech when we were assembled.  The Supreme Court has thankfully corrected that absurdity.  Quick roundup:  Jonathon Adler, John Stossel, Katherine Mangu-WardJD Tuccille, Jacob Sullum

But its for the Kids

What is adult prohibition of marijuana achieving, if teenage use rates of marijuana are nearly as high as those for cigarettes, where we don't have adult prohibition.  Prohibitionists argue that adult marijuana must be banned because its legal availability to adults would make it easier for teens to obtain, but a direct comparison of marijuana and tobacco smoking demonstrates little utility from this approach:

The cigarette use figure represents a sharp drop from
the 2005 survey, when it was 23 percent. Marijuana use, at 20.2 percent
in 2005, showed a much smaller decline....

Another report
released this week, the Fiscal Year 2007 Annual Synar Report on tobacco
sales to youth, showed the 10th straight annual decline in the rate of
illegal tobacco sales to minors. In 1997, 40.1 percent of retailers
violated laws against tobacco sales to minors. In 2007 the rate had
dropped to just 10.5 percent, the lowest ever.

"Efforts to curb
cigarette sales to teens have been wildly successful, and it's past
time we applied those lessons to marijuana," said Aaron Houston,
director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project in
Washington, D.C. "Tobacco retailers can be fined or put out of business
if they sell to kids, but prohibition guarantees that we have zero
control over marijuana dealers. Foolish policies have guaranteed that
the marijuana industry is completely unregulated."

Jacob Sullum provides additional analysis in the rest of the post.

Taking Preventative Action to Ensure No One Is Kindof Sortof Maybe Offended

If you have not seen it, the Indiana University-Purdue University in Indianapolis (IUPUI) reaction to a university employee reading a history book almost defies parody.  As far as I can tell, someone got offended or maybe was concerned someone might be offended because the Klan was in the title (notwithstanding the fact that the book is apparently decidedly anti-Klan).  This makes the whole "niggardly" controversy seem well-targeted in comparison.

However, I think Jacob Sullum misses the mark when he says:

To clarify, then, Sampson was not in trouble because of the book he
chose to read. He was in trouble because of what he might have been thinking while reading the book.

In fact, this is still not correct.  In fact, Sampson was in trouble because of what other people might think when they see him reading a book that has "KKK" somewhere in the title.  Pathetic.  Another lunatic step in trying to establish a "right not to be offended" at universities.

Is This Right?

I am really reluctant to post stuff like this without some independent vetting, because so many groups out there will distort reality into pretzels.  That being said, anyone know if this is accurate?  Or maybe point us all to a better source and/or debunking in the comments?

    "Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history, critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.

    "The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.

    "On January 9, the Senate passed Amendment 7 to S. 1, to create criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone 'knowingly and willingly fails to file or report.'

Mark Tapscott covered this issue here, but I am still not sure I have an accurate read on all this.

Update:  See comments.  As I feared, the above may distort the issue.  Brandon Berg thinks the law kicks in when you communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters and get them to contact Congress.  It is not at all clear why I should have to register to perform such an activity, but this is narrower than implied in the press release above.

Update #2:  I am becomming increasingly convinced that Lieberman and McCain are the same guy.  Even down to their desire to protect incumbent politicians from political speech.

Update #3:  Jacob Sullum is also skeptical that the law is really as broad as advertised above.