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Updated: 2017-08-23T00:00:00-04:00

 



What Gives Censors Any Right to Censor?: New at Reason

2017-08-23T12:00:00-04:00

(image) There is no right to revoke free speech rights.

A. Barton Hinkle writes:

The racist goons in Charlottesville have inspired a fresh debate over whether the government should allow speech by racists, goons, and assorted other troglodytes.

For some, the answer is clearly no. "The ACLU Needs to Rethink Free Speech," argues a fellow with the UCLA School of Law. "Censor White Supremacy," advocates a writer in The Week. "Speech in America is Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control," bemoans campaign-finance scourge Richard Hasen in the Los Angeles Times.

Here in Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has temporarily banned demonstrations at the Lee monument in Richmond. City leaders in Portsmouth are debating whether to adopt a similar ban, at least with regard to hate groups. On the other side of the country, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants a permit revoked for an alt-right rally. Transit authorities in New York and Washington have been trying to limit controversial (and even noncontroversial) advertising. And so on.

Those demanding censorship sometimes try to put a fig leaf on the demand. "This executive order has nothing to do with infringing upon First Amendment rights," McAuliffe claimed, even though that was its whole point. In The Week, Matthew Walther contends that defending "abstract rights" of even the worst people is not "to defend speech but to demean it, to diminish it to the level of undifferentiated random noise." Sure, that's probably it.

View this article.




What Gives Censors Any Right to Censor?

2017-08-23T12:00:00-04:00

The racist goons in Charlottesville have inspired a fresh debate over whether the government should allow speech by racists, goons, and assorted other troglodytes. For some, the answer is clearly no. "The ACLU Needs to Rethink Free Speech," argues a fellow with the UCLA School of Law. "Censor White Supremacy," advocates a writer in The Week. "Speech in America is Fast, Cheap, and Out of Control," bemoans campaign-finance scourge Richard Hasen in the Los Angeles Times. Here in Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) has temporarily banned demonstrations at the Lee monument in Richmond. City leaders in Portsmouth are debating whether to adopt a similar ban, at least with regard to hate groups. On the other side of the country, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) wants a permit revoked for an alt-right rally. Transit authorities in New York and Washington have been trying to limit controversial (and even noncontroversial) advertising. And so on. Those demanding censorship sometimes try to put a fig leaf on the demand. "This executive order has nothing to do with infringing upon First Amendment rights," McAuliffe claimed, even though that was its whole point. In The Week, Matthew Walther contends that defending "abstract rights" of even the worst people is not "to defend speech but to demean it, to diminish it to the level of undifferentiated random noise." Sure, that's probably it. Defenders of free speech have offered some familiar but still trenchant rebuttals: Who decides what is acceptable? Do liberals really want to give a Republican Congress and, for Pete's sake, Donald Trump the authority to decide which speech to punish? Where do you draw the line? In Europe, courts have fined and imprisoned people not just for classic hate speech, but also for "glorifying terrorism" with a puppet show, saying mean things on Facebook, and posting "cruel humor" on Twitter, among a great deal else. What about blowback? As Washington Post ombudsman Margaret Sullivan suggested in a recent column: "Imagine a civil rights march that is shut down because officials fear a violent response from racists." She quotes Justin Silverman, of the New England First Amendment Coalition, who points out that until relatively recently "rallies for equality and civil rights were considered offensive and unpopular." These are all good arguments, but they suffer from a common flaw: They are conditional. They allow for the possibility that censorship might be acceptable if we could ensure that the right people imposed it, that they would draw the lines in the right place, and that good ideas would never be censored. In the real world, those conditions cannot be met all the time, which makes the arguments powerful. But there are two other points that need drawing out as well. The first is that the right to speech is not merely instrumental. In The Week, Walther argues that "freedom of speech is not a first-order good; it exists only to facilitate the flourishing of... society." Ergo, speech that doesn't facilitate somebody's conception of flourishing can be censored. (You hear the same arguments in the campaign-finance context: Speech by powerful interests can be curtailed in the name of a "level playing field.") This is just drastically wrong. It treats people as mere means to somebody else's end, as Kant would say—not as ends in themselves. The blood-soaked history of the 20th century should have discredited that collectivist vision of society for all time, but apparently it still holds appeal in some quarters. The other point that needs drawing out has less to do with the people who are speaking than the people who stand in judgment of the speakers. The current debate has focused on whether certain vile ideas have any value, and whether the people who espouse them deserve to be able to voice them. This looks at the question from the wrong end. The more important question is: What right does anybody have to shut them up? That is the real threshold issue. By way of analogy: Smith might not care for country mu[...]



The Government’s War on Cocktails [Podcast]

2017-08-23T11:42:00-04:00

"What we lost with Prohibition wasn't just a couple of drinks," says Reason's Peter Suderman, "we lost an art and a culinary tradition that is really this kind of great, uniquely American thing."

In our latest podcast, Suderman joins Nick Gillespie to talk about his feature story in the latest issue of our print magazine, "Government Almost Killed the Cocktail." They discuss why cocktails started out as morning eye-openers, Prohibition-era drinking loopholes, methods for disguising the flavor of low-quality bathtub gin, and how the ghost of Prohibition still affects drinking culture today.

Subscribe to Reason for early online access to articles and archives dating back to 1968. For just $19.95 a year, you'll get 11 print issues and digital access!

Audio produced by Ian Keyser.

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The First Amendment Protects Social-Media Speculation About Bear Killers

2017-08-23T11:13:00-04:00

(image) "Words must do more than offend, cause indignation, or anger the addressee to lose the protection of the First Amendment," a municipal judge reminded us this week in a case involving social media, bow hunting, and a bear called "Pretty Mama."

On trial was Susan Kehoe, an animal rights activist in New Jersey who faced a harassment charge and a possible 30 days in jail.

Under New Jersey law, someone commits criminal harasssment by engaging in a "course of alarming conduct or of repeatedly committed acts with purpose to alarm or seriously annoy such other person."

Last October, Kehoe called out two men as the potential culprits in the death of Pretty Mama, based on a video someone had recorded of the bear being dragged from the woods. In a public Facebook post, Kehoe wrote that she "believed" Michael Bush and Nickey Pisco were the killers and linked to their Facebook profiles.

Bush and Pisco reported Kehoe to the Vernon Township Police for harassment, but the police declined to press charges. The men then filed a citizen's complaint, saying they had received death threats as a result of Kehoe's post and Bush had suffered a loss to his business.

Bush initially alleged that Kehoe had posted his home address, but this was later revealed as false. Kehoe had simply linked to his Facebook page, where Bush himself had publicly posted his address.

Still, prosecutor Lisa Thompson argued to the court that Kehoe's speech went beyond permittable free-speech parameters. "There is a not a First Amendment right to incite your followers to cause annoyance and alarm and death threats," she told the court in July.

Bush testified in court that he received threats through direct messages, public Facebook posts, and comments on his business' Facebook page. But none of the threats came from Kehoe directly, nor had she urged people to threaten Bush and Pisco.

On Monday, Mount Olive Municipal Court Judge Brian J. Levine found Kehoe not guilty, citing a 2016 case in which a state appellate court overturned a harassment conviction.

In that case, a former Union County corrections officer was convicted on two counts of harassment "based upon his creation of two 'flyers' that contained the wedding photo of a fellow Union County corrections officer (the Sergeant), which was altered to include vulgar handwritten comments in speech bubbles." But the appellate court reversed the conviction, holding that "the commentary defendant added to the Sergeant's wedding photograph was constitutionally protected speech."

Kehoe's attorney, Daniel Perez, said the judge's ruling in her case "shows that the First Amendment matters."




Kat Timpf on Being a Fox Libertarian, Enduring Rape Fantasies from Trump Supporters, and Getting Water-Bombed by Brooklyn Haters

2017-08-23T09:57:00-04:00

Kat Timpf's pinned tweet, dating from Jan. 28, 2015, is: "When I die, instead of a eulogy, I want someone to read things Internet commenters have written about me bc they always have the right idea." On Aug. 15, 2017, Timpf's eulogy-to-be got a hell of a lot longer, after she reacted negatively on Fox News to President Donald Trump's widely panned press conference about Charlottesville. The resulting tsunami of spelling-challenged #MAGA outrage, inaccurate accusations of leftism, and gross rape/murder fantasies (a fraction of which I was exposed to) made headlines. To which, in signature fashion, the self-described libertarian and co-host of FNC's The Specialists wrote a piece for National Review (where she's a contributor), under the headline, "I'm the Target of Hatred, and I'll Still Defend It as Free Speech." The 28-year-old Timpf, who is also a regular on Fox's The Greg Gutfeld Show, joined me last Friday when I was guest-hosting Sirius XM Insight's Stand UP! with Pete Dominick. The following is an edited and shortened transcript of our discussion about the Charlottesville controversy, a recent incident in which she was ambushed by a water-hurling protester at a campaign event for Ben Kissel, and what it's like making libertarian arguments on Fox during the Trump presidency. Matt Welch: What the hell happened this week, Kat? Timpf: […] I've been really disheartened by the stupidity that's out there. I'd seen that it was out there, but I didn't know that it was this bad. Because of what I said, [now] I love Stalin, I'm an idiot. I've had actual Nazis come after me and talk about how my family should've been ethnically cleansed because we're Polish Catholic. But you know, of course Nazism isn't real! We're still looking for any of the "fine people" at this rally. We haven't seen any examples of the fine people that were supposedly at this literal Nazi rally. It's just really disgusting that the president said they're fine people, and these people actually just believe whatever he says. The billing was: featuring headliner Richard Spencer, and "end Jewish influence in America." This isn't up for debate whether this was a white supremacist rally or not. I think there are no good people at a white supremacist rally, and apparently that's just a real controversial take. […] MW: What does it feel like in the building? Because obviously other people on Fox—I'm not going to criticize them—but not every host in the Fox battleship necessarily has agreed with you there. Kat, for those who aren't familiar with her, self-identifies as a small-l libertarian. Is it all right to say that? Timpf: Yes. MW: I used to work in the building, too, and I identify myself similarly. It's always fun because one day you're advocating legalizing heroin and people think that you're a crazy person, which Kat literally has done on her program. Then the next day, liberals want to throw water in your face, which we'll talk about in a second, because you want to eliminate about seven or eight different federal government departments. So you're used to being a little bit of an odd duck in the building, but is there any way to characterize the overall feeling in what has just been a bizarre year for a lot of other reasons at Fox? […] Timpf: Right, it's to the point where if you even have the slightest issue with anything that Trump has said, you're going to get attacked really, really bad. My favorite tweets are the, "I used to like and then you said this," "I used to like you then you suggested that president Trump was not the savior of all of us." It's absolutely ridiculous. You can't have any opinion other than he is my savior and I bow down to him every day….I've blocked or muted almost half of Twitter at this point, but I'll still get emails, just really brutal emails. When I was watching that press conference, I was at my desk at the time and I started screaming....I actually, admittedly, couldn't control myself, b[...]



Stossel: Private School Success Around the World [New at Reason]

2017-08-23T09:30:00-04:00

src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/V6N9tvZ8yjA" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0">

Star athletes earn far more than bench warmers—why can't schools adopt the same approach to remunerating talent? In most U.S. public schools, compensation is determined by one factor: years served in the classroom.

In South Korea, the best instructors are treated like star athletes. Some earn millions.

The late Andrew Coulson, a former senior fellow at the Cato Institute, partnered with the Free to Choose Network to create the film School, Inc., which examines some of these free market successes abroad.

But School, Inc. is three hours! So John Stossel made a two-part short-attention-span version. In part two, Coulson looks at private school innovation abroad. And he travels to India, where poor citizens pay to send their kids to private schools to keep them out of the dreadful public system.

Coulson passed away in 2016 following a 15-month battle with brain cancer. For more on his contribution to the field, read his classic 1999 book, Market Education: The Unknown History.

Stossel on Reason

Watch above or click here for full text, links, and downloadable versions.

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Stossel: Private School Success Around the World

2017-08-23T09:23:00-04:00

Star athletes earn far more than bench warmers—why can't schools adopt the same approach to remunerating talent? In most U.S. public schools, compensation is determined by one factor: years served in the classroom.

In South Korea, the best instructors are treated like star athletes. Some earn millions.

The late Andrew Coulson, a former senior fellow at the Cato Institute, partnered with the Free to Choose Network to create the film School, Inc., which examines some of these free market successes abroad.

But School, Inc. is three hours! So John Stossel made a two-part short-attention-span version. In part two, Coulson looks at private school innovation abroad. And he travels to India, where poor citizens pay to send their kids to private schools to keep them out of the dreadful public system.

Coulson passed away in 2016 following a 15-month battle with brain cancer. For more on his contribution to the field, read his classic 1999 book, Market Education: The Unknown History.

Produced by Maxim Lott. Edited by Joshua Swain.

Stossel on Reason

Subscribe to our YouTube channel.

Like us on Facebook.

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Subscribe to our podcast at iTunes.




Men From Malheur Standoff Acquitted, DOJ Drops Anti-Trump IP Request, Attack of the Kremlin Bots: A.M. Links

2017-08-23T09:05:00-04:00

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Forfeiture Loot Corrupts Justice: New at Reason

2017-08-23T08:01:00-04:00

(image) In Ohio during the 1920s, people caught with "intoxicating liquors" could be tried by rural mayors, who were paid for each conviction and authorized to impose fines that were split between the village and the state. Four decades later, mayor's courts in Ohio were handling traffic cases, which did not reward the mayors directly but generated substantial income for their villages.

According to the U.S. Supreme Court, both of these arrangements violated the right to due process, since the judges had a financial incentive to find people guilty. Jacob Sullum argues that civil asset forfeiture creates a similar problem, encouraging police and prosecutors to take property from innocent owners and turn a deaf ear to their objections.

That is what happened to Rhonda Cox, whose pickup truck was seized in 2013 by Pinal County, Arizona, sheriff's deputies when they arrested her son for installing stolen parts in it. Cox argues that the forfeiture violated her right to due process, and last week a federal judge refused to dismiss her lawsuit, recognizing the constitutional concerns raised by a system that lets law enforcement agencies make money by confiscating assets they say are linked to crime.

View this article




Trump Doubles Down on His Fake Immigration Plans in Phoenix

2017-08-23T07:00:00-04:00

President Donald Trump is a rabble-rouser and so, unsurprisingly, he roused the "rabble" in his campaign-style rally in Phoenix tonight. He all but pardoned Sheriff Arpaio—a "bad hombre" if ever there was one who was convicted not for "doing his job" as Trump claimed in his speech— but contempt of court for continuing to racially profile Hispanics in search of illegals after he was ordered by a judge to cease-and-desist. And that, btw, was among the nicer things that Arpaio did during his decades-long reign as Maricopa County sheriff before he was roundly defeated last year. The vile conditions in his jails, his violations of inmate rights, and his illegal anti-immigration sweeps have already cost the county millions and millions in legal fees and settlements. Trump can issue fake and belated condemnations of neo-Nazis all he wants, but as former Reason writer Radley Balko noted in his comprehensive summary of Arpaio's vile shenanigans, a pardon for Arpaio would be a "reassuring wink to racists" who love that man for the simple reason that he hates brown people. In addition, Trump doubled down on his pledge to build a Big Beautiful Wall on the southern border (where 10 times more people died between 1997 and 2007 than during the entire existence of the Berlin Wall). And he credited his former Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly for cutting "people coming inside"— meaning illegally crossing the border—by "70 to 80 percent." Both those things are red meat for his base, of course. But one could ask what would be the point of building the wall which would cost American taxpayers upwards of $20 billion (given that even Trump is no longer claiming that Mexico will pay for it), when border crossings have dropped "70 to 80 percent" without it? Talk about a good deal for America! Be that as it may, how plausible is it that Trump's harsh border enforcement since he assumed office is actually responsible for the alleged drop? More plausible than if he'd claimed to have caused the solar eclipse yesterday. But not by a lot. For starters, illegal border crossings started to nosedive a full nine years before Trump assumed office after they rose at the turn of this century for two reasons: One, in the early 2000s millions of young Mexican men entered the job market when their economy was rather anemic. By contrast, thanks to America's IT revolution, the American economy was roaring and jobs in construction, hospitality, and of course agriculture were booming. The push factors in Mexico and the pull factors in America prompted many Mexicans to make a schlep north without visas because America discontinued its 1965 barcero guest worker program. But in 2008 the Great Recession descended upon this great land, as the housing bubble burst. At the same time, the Mexican economy picked up, partly because of NAFTA that Trump actually hinted tonight he would scrap. And the two things in tandem caused illegal border crossings to plummet. There is no perfect measure for border crossings. But Cato Institute's David Bier points out that after 2009, the flow of illegals essentially flatlined. In 2016, each border agent nabbed fewer than 17 people over the course of the entire year. That's one apprehension every two and a half weeks of work – all of which is far less the 400 per agent per year from 1977 to 1986 or over 100 per agent per year in 2003 etc. (Check out some nifty graphs in the above link.) In other words, Bier notes, the "crisis" of illegal border crossings has been over for a decade. Now, it is true that the apprehension numbers are down a bit since Trump assumed office – but not because Kelly kicked illegal ass as Trump claims. Usually, illegals come to America in the spring months when construction, agriculture and tourism pick up. But when Trump got the[...]



Brickbat: Nobody's Talking

2017-08-23T04:00:00-04:00

(image) Ryerson University in Toronto, Canada, canceled a panel discussion on "The Stifling of Free Speech on University Campuses" following protests. Officials said they did not think they could protect public safety if the discussion took place.




Al Gore's Hype

2017-08-23T00:15:00-04:00

I was surprised to discover that Al Gore's new movie begins with words from me! While icebergs melt dramatically, Gore plays a clip of me saying, "An Inconvenient Truth won him an Oscar, yet much of the movie is nonsense. 'Sea levels may rise 20 feet'—absurd." He used this comment from one of my TV shows. The "20 feet" claim is absurd—one of many hyped claims in his movie. His second film, An Inconvenient Sequel, shows lower Manhattan underwater while Gore intones: "This is global warming!" My goodness! Stossel doubts Al Gore's claim, but pictures don't lie: The 9/11 Memorial is underwater! Gore is right! Stossel is an ignorant fool! But wait. The pictures were from Superstorm Sandy. Water is pushed ashore during storms, especially "super" storms. But average sea levels haven't risen much. Over the past decade, they have risen about 1 inch. But this is not because we burn fossil fuels. Sea levels were rising long before we burned anything. They've been rising about an inch per decade for a thousand years. In his new movie, Gore visits Miami Beach. No storm, but streets are flooded! Proof of catastrophe! But in a new e-book responding to Gore's film, climate scientist Roy Spencer points out that flooding in "Miami Beach occurs during high tides called 'king tides,' due to the alignment of the Earth, sun and moon. For decades they have been getting worse in low-lying areas of Miami Beach where buildings were being built on reclaimed swampland." It's typical Al Gore scaremongering: Pick a place that floods every year and portray it as evidence of calamity. Spencer, a former NASA scientist who co-developed the first ways of monitoring global temperatures with satellites, is no climate change "denier." Neither am I. Climate changes. Man probably plays a part. But today's warming is almost certainly not a "crisis." It's less of a threat than real crises like malaria, terrorism, America's coming bankruptcy, etc. Even if increasing carbon dioxide warming the atmosphere were a serious threat, nothing Al Gore and his followers now advocate would make a difference. "What I am opposed to is misleading people with false climate science claims and alarming them into diverting vast sums of the public's wealth into expensive energy schemes," writes Spencer. Gore does exactly that. He portrays just about every dramatic weather event as proof that humans have changed weather. Watching his films, you'd think that big storms and odd weather never occurred before and that glaciers never melted. In his first movie, Gore predicted that tornadoes and hurricanes would get worse. They haven't. Tornado activity is down What about those dramatic pictures of collapsing ice shelves? "As long as snow continues to fall on Antarctica," writes Spencer, "glaciers and ice shelves will continue to slowly flow downhill to the sea and dramatically break off into the ocean. That is what happens naturally, just as rivers flow naturally to the ocean. It has nothing to do with human activities." Gore said summer sea ice in the Arctic would disappear as early as 2014. Nothing like that is close to happening. Gore's movie hypes solar power and electric cars but doesn't mention that taxpayers are forced to subsidize them. Despite the subsidies, electric cars still make up less than 1 percent of the market. If electric cars do become more popular, Spencer asks, "Where will all of the extra electricity come from? The Brits are already rebelling against existing wind farms." I bet most Gore fans have no idea that most American electricity comes from natural gas (33 percent), coal (30 percent) and nuclear reactors (20 percent). Gore probably doesn't know that. I'd like to ask him, but he won't talk to me. He won't debate anyone. Critics liked An Inconvenient [...]



Forfeiture Loot Corrupts Justice

2017-08-23T00:01:00-04:00

In Ohio during the 1920s, people caught with "intoxicating liquors" could be tried by rural mayors, who were paid for each conviction and authorized to impose fines that were split between the village and the state. Four decades later, mayor's courts in Ohio were handling traffic cases, which did not reward the mayors directly but generated substantial income for their villages. According to the U.S. Supreme Court, both of these arrangements violated the right to due process, since the judges had a financial incentive to find people guilty. Civil asset forfeiture creates a similar problem, encouraging police and prosecutors to take property from innocent owners and turn a deaf ear to their objections. That is what happened to Rhonda Cox, whose pickup truck was seized in 2013 by Pinal County, Arizona, sheriff's deputies when they arrested her son for installing stolen parts in it. Cox argues that the forfeiture violated her right to due process, and last week a federal judge refused to dismiss her lawsuit, recognizing the constitutional concerns raised by a system that lets law enforcement agencies make money by confiscating assets they say are linked to crime. In Arizona, U.S. District Judge Diane Humetewa noted, the law enforcement agencies that initiate and complete a forfeiture get to keep all of the proceeds. Some agencies, such as the Arizona Department of Public Safety's bomb squad, SWAT team, and hazardous materials unit, are funded entirely by forfeitures, while others rely on them to pay for vehicles, equipment, overtime, retirement fund contributions, and image-building donations to local civic groups. According to Cox's complaint, Lando Voyles, who as Pinal County attorney approved the confiscation of her truck, even used forfeiture loot to pay for his home security system. This financial interest tends to make cops and prosecutors less than sympathetic to the rights of innocent property owners like Cox, who did not know her son had borrowed her truck, let alone that he was doing anything illegal with it. The deputies who took the truck said there was no way she'd ever get it back, and Voyles' office rejected her "petition for mitigation" out of hand, claiming (incorrectly) that she was not entitled to relief because she had purchased the truck for family use. Deputy Pinal County Attorney Craig Cameron also claimed, inconsistently, inaccurately, and irrelevantly, that Cox was a "straw buyer" for her son. "Rhonda was caught in a Kafkaesque predicament where, bizarrely, she bore the burden of proving that she was entitled to get the Truck back," her complaint notes. "The State did not have to prove that Rhonda did anything wrong—let alone criminal—in order to keep the Truck." Cox could not afford to take her challenge further, especially since the cost of a lawyer could easily have exceeded the $6,000 she paid for the truck. Under state law at the time, she also would have been on the hook for the government's legal expenses if she lost. The American Civil Liberties Union, which is representing Cox, notes that forfeitures in Pinal County frequently involve property worth less than $1,000, making legal challenges prohibitively expensive. That effectively means the agencies that stand to profit from a forfeiture are the first and final arbiters of whether it's justified. Even prosecutors understand the potential for corruption in this situation. A training presentation from the Arizona Prosecuting Attorneys Advisory Council, which Judge Humetewa quotes in her ruling, warns that "when your bosses can't find any money in their budget they get depressed," and "when they get depressed they tell you to start doing forfeiture cases." Playing off those jokey Direct TV ads about the h[...]



Remember that Time Trump Said "Get Out of Afghanistan"? Neither Does He.

2017-08-22T19:45:00-04:00

As Matt Welch and Ed Krayewski have noted, President Donald Trump's plans for a United States military presence in Afghanistan aren't just secretive and undefined. They represent a total reversal of earlier statements condemning America's longest war for its utter lack of effectiveness and unconscionable loss of life and gigantic waste of money. To date, over 2,400 U.S. military have died in the war in Afghanistan and estimates of the cost run between $840 billion and $2 trillion. "Let's get with it," Citizen Trump said in 2012 at a video blog he used to promote The Apprentice. "Get out of Afghanistan. We've wasted billions and billions of dollars and, more important, thousands and thousands of lives—not to mention all of these young men and women who come home and they really have problems." src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1-nCdYunkig" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0"> Whether you agree with Antiwar.com's Eric Garris (who dug up the video above) that "the War Party got to him" once he became president or believe that he was never really a non-interventionist, the switch in positions is stunning. Here's a 2013 tweet: Do not allow our very stupid leaders to sign a deal that keeps us in Afghanistan through 2024-with all costs by U.S.A. MAKE AMERICA GREAT! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 21, 2013 In October 2015, he declared that occupying Afghanistan was a "terrible mistake" but he took it all back last night, saying My original instinct was to pull out, and historically I like following my instincts. But all my life, I have heard that decisions are much different when you sit behind the desk in the Oval Office. In other words, when you are president of the United States....the consequences of a rapid exit are both predictable and unacceptable. 9/11, the worst terrorist attack in our history, was planned and directed from Afghanistan because that country was ruled by a government that gave comfort and shelter to terrorists. A hasty withdrawal would create a vacuum that terrorists, including ISIS and al Qaeda, would instantly fill, just as happened before September 11. And as we know, in 2011, America hastily and mistakenly withdrew from Iraq. While Trump explicitly ruled out "nation building," it's unclear what sort of strategy follows from his adamant refusal to beat a "rapid exit" or "hasty withdrawal." Indeed, he seems to be laying the groundwork for a permanent presence. As troubling as that is his characterization of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, which was negotiated by George W. Bush and implemented by the Obama administration only after attempts to extend our military presence were rebuffed by the Iraqi government we helped install. The collapse of Iraq after the U.S. exit is a sure sign that the war effort there was a fool's errand, not an argument for our staying there longer. The president did not lay out any clear markers or guideposts that might conceivable trigger the removal of American troops from Afghanistan. Rather, he stressed an ongoing need for the U.S. military to "stop the resurgence of safe havens" for terrorists everywhere in the world and the need to keep terrorists from obtaining nuclear weapons. Both of those goals suggest not just a permanent presence in Afghanistan but elsewhere throughout the world. Trump also dished up a familiar mix of self-pity, humblebragging, and good, old-fashioned bullshit to explain (sort of) his strategy in Afghanistan: I was given a bad and very complex hand, but I fully knew what I was getting into. Big and intricate problems. But one way or another, these problems will be solved. I am a problem solver. And in the end, we will win. We mus[...]



Word Used By 'Pimp' in Improv Sketch Gets Him Banned From Community College: New at Reason

2017-08-22T18:30:00-04:00

(image) An Illinois community college student sues for readmission and monetary damages after an affair over an "unacceptable word."

Liz Wolfe writes:

Having been barred from Moraine Valley Community College for using an "unacceptable word" while playing the role of a pimp in an improvisational sketch class, Joshua Zale is suing his school, claiming his free speech and due process rights were violated.

Remarkably, given the way he alleges he was treated, Zale, of Oak Lawn, Illinois, is asking a judge to clear the way for him to register again for classes at Moraine Valley, outside of Chicago. And for monetary damages.

No one, including Zale in the lawsuit he filed on his own behalf in Cook County Circuit Court, has disclosed what the unacceptable word was. But Zale uttered it when asked by his instructor, Craig Rosen, to assume the role of a pimp asking for money from another student, playing the role of a sex worker.

Rosen harshly reprimanded Zale, who on April 20 met privately with Rosen to ask why he had been chastised for using a word in keeping with the role Rosen asked him to play, according to the suit. Zale then met with Rosen and Lisa Kelsay, an assistant dean, who later accused Zale of violating Title IX and school conduct policies for mistreating Kelsay "as a woman."

View this article.




Word Used By 'Pimp' in Improv Sketch Gets Him Banned From Community College

2017-08-22T18:05:00-04:00

Having been barred from Moraine Valley Community College for using an "unacceptable word" while playing the role of a pimp in an improvisational sketch class, Joshua Zale is suing his school, claiming his free speech and due process rights were violated. Remarkably, given the way he alleges he was treated, Zale, of Oak Lawn, Illinois, is asking a judge to clear the way for him to register again for classes at Moraine Valley, outside of Chicago. And for monetary damages. No one, including Zale in the lawsuit he filed on his own behalf in Cook County Circuit Court, has disclosed what the unacceptable word was. But Zale uttered it when asked by his instructor, Craig Rosen, to assume the role of a pimp asking for money from another student, playing the role of a sex worker. Rosen harshly reprimanded Zale, who on April 20 met privately with Rosen to ask why he had been chastised for using a word in keeping with the role Rosen asked him to play, according to the suit. Zale then met with Rosen and Lisa Kelsay, an assistant dean, who later accused Zale of violating Title IX and school conduct policies for mistreating Kelsay "as a woman." School administrators demanded Zale write a "what I learned from this incident" essay, including reflection on the college's core values, as punishment, or they would put a hold on his student account and prevent him from registering for classes. Not only did Zale refuse to write the infantilizing essay, but he refused to attend a subsequent disciplinary hearing, contending the school refused to allow him to confront his accusers. Administrators responded by blocking his registration, claiming he violated the student conduct code on "physical/verbal abuse or harassment." Neither the professor nor the administrators mentioned in the lawsuit would comment on the case, and a spokesperson said the college does not comment on pending litigation. Perhaps the lawsuit will force the Moraine Valley administration to ask what it has learned from the incident. If instructors assign pimp-sex worker improv roleplays, should they be surprised if the bounds of what is normally socially acceptable in a classroom are stretched? The response to "unacceptable" speech shouldn't be to stifle it, but to engage with it and discern what is unacceptable to say in an improv setting. This was an improv scene where Zale was supposed to be thinking on his feet for the sake of humor and theatrics. After all, what would be rewarded in that sort of performance if not realism? Zale is rightly claiming the school violated his procedural due process rights. His punishment was "arbitrary and capricious," the charges levied against him were "wholly conclusory, containing no factual statements whatsoever," and he was not informed of these charges with adequate notice. To make matters worse, the proposed hearing had no real semblance of impartiality, because it would have been conducted by one of the administrators who initially charged Zale with misconduct. No wonder Zale chose to opt out. This case shows just how far administrators are willing to go to suppress student speech. If improv-humor-gone-awry results in arbitrary punishments, what will administrators try to squelch next? And what good is an education if you can't creatively challenge the world around you––and with it, the bounds of socially acceptable language? [...]



U.S Sanctions Chinese, Russian Companies Doing Business with N. Korea, Missouri Man Has Execution Stayed, and George Clooney Donates to Fight Hate: P.M. Links

2017-08-22T16:30:00-04:00

  • (image) The U.S. has sanctioned a dozen Russian and Chinese companies it accuses of aiding North Korea's nuclear program.
  • Missouri governor Eric Greitens issued a stay of execution for Marcellus Williams, a man convicted of killing a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter in her home. New DNA evidence has cast doubt on Williams conviction, leading to calls for his execution to be halted.
  • Black lawmakers launch a 'root out racism' campaign, which is reportedly designed to hold the Trump administration accountable for his controversial actions and rhetoric on race.
  • George Clooney donates a million dollars to combat hate groups.
  • The Oregon coast's short-lived eclipse bubble pops.



Contrary To Nationalist Myths, Protectionism Has Been an Economic Disaster: New at Reason

2017-08-22T15:15:00-04:00

(image) A new Cato analysis tracks the failure of economic protectionism through American trade policy history.

Scott Lincicome writes:

American economic nationalism has risen in recent years, both fueling and fueled by President Donald Trump's election.

With it has risen the view, perpetuated by Trump and many others, that protectionism has been an effective policy throughout the nation's history—that past U.S. government restrictions on foreign competition were manifestly successful in achieving their stated policy objectives: decreased imports, increased jobs, industrial revival, opened foreign markets, and, more broadly, American economic prosperity. These purported historical "successes" have been used to justify a new round of nationalist economic proposals.

This revisionist history ignores a vast repository of academic analyses of and contemporaneous reporting on the periods and policies in question, showing the many failures of American trade protectionism. It relies on well-worn protectionist myths and the mere correlation of economic improvement with protectionist experimentation.

View this article.




Contrary To Nationalist Myths, Protectionism Is an Economic Disaster

2017-08-22T15:15:00-04:00

American economic nationalism has risen in recent years, both fueling and fueled by President Donald Trump's election. With it has risen the view, perpetuated by Trump and many others, that protectionism has been an effective policy throughout the nation's history—that past U.S. government restrictions on foreign competition were manifestly successful in achieving their stated policy objectives: decreased imports, increased jobs, industrial revival, opened foreign markets, and, more broadly, American economic prosperity. These purported historical "successes" have been used to justify a new round of nationalist economic proposals. This revisionist history ignores a vast repository of academic analyses of and contemporaneous reporting on the periods and policies in question, showing the many failures of American trade protectionism. It relies on well-worn protectionist myths and the mere correlation of economic improvement with protectionist experimentation. Contrary to what appears in the news and on the campaign trail, the scholarship paints a much different picture. American protectionism—even in the periods most often cited by Trump and others as "successes"—has not only imposed immense economic costs on consumers and the broader economy, but typically failed to achieve its primary policy aims and fostered political dysfunction along the way. Mention of this scholarship is absent from the current political debate about the consequences and the future direction of U.S. trade policy. It seems not a day goes by without reading or hearing some unwitting politician, journalist or even "academic" recount past episodes of American protectionist "success"—almost always without any evidence to support such claims and despite the quiet, authoritative corrections of actual trade policy experts. My new policy analysis for the Cato Institute seeks to remedy this problem; it establishes that contrary to the fashionable rhetoric, American protectionism has repeatedly failed as an economic strategy. Examining anti-trade measures over three different periods of American trade policy history delineated by milestones in the evolution of the U.S. and multilateral trading system, I find that protectionism not only imposed large and expected costs on U.S. consumers—dwarfing any possible gains to protected industries and workers—but also (and more unexpectedly) failed to achieve even their most basic objectives. Multiple studies of U.S. import restrictions between 1950 and 1990 found that each measure analyzed imposed on average $620,000 per year (2017 dollars) in additional costs on U.S. consumers for each job supposedly saved or created in the protected industry at issue. During the same period, other studies found that in only one instance—the bicycle industry—did protectionism appear to resuscitate and help an industry flourish after import protection disappeared. The reason: the US industries didn't actually reinvest their windfall profits in cost-saving technologies that would improve their long-term competitiveness—even when those companies had the capital available to make such investments. Import quotas and "voluntary export restrictions," meanwhile, were found to disproportionately help, not hurt, protected American companies' foreign competitors. Similar studies of subsequent periods found even higher costs and the same lack of tangible benefits, particularly when U.S. exporters faced foreign retaliation. None of these studies even tried to calculate the intangible costs of protectionism, such as decreased competition[...]



Trump’s Arizona Rally Is an Advertisement for the GOP’s Pathologies

2017-08-22T14:30:00-04:00

Donald Trump's anxiety-inducing rally in Phoenix tonight is being previewed as a possible inflection point between the president's nationalist/populist base and a more sober-minded GOP establishment, personified locally by the Trump-antagonizing Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake. Nationally ambitious Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, for example, is giving the event a wide berth, reportedly in part due to the Trump-floated trial balloon that he may use the occasion to pardon convicted former longtime Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a power-abusing opponent of civil liberties who is popular on the anti-immigration right. Ducey's allergy to appearing on stage with Trump and Arpaio (the latter of whom may or may not show tonight) is certainly a late-breaking development—he was right there with the sheriff this time last year delivering an enthusiastic speech at one of Trump's most high-profile rallies. The governor, who by reputation has a finger-in-the-wind sense of political opportunism, was all too happy to pocket Arpaio's endorsement back in 2015 ("few, if any, lawmen have deployed more innovative ways of fighting illegal immigration and other crime than Sheriff Joe"), and as recently as eight months ago was singing the firebrand's praises at his retirement party: "This is a guy that's a legend and has a personality that's bigger than life. He will be remembered for a lot of things. Pink underwear, tent city, but I hope most of all they remember he committed himself to public service." Rank GOP opportunism vis-à-vis Sheriff Joe and the gleefully punitive immigration restrictionism he represents is neither parochial nor new. As Arizona Republic columnist E.J. Montini has pointed out, "For more than 20 years ambitious Republicans have been genuflecting before Arpaio, seeking his blessing." Mitt Romney, who these days is seen as a kind of moral bulwark against his party's drift toward vulgar nationalism, named Arpaio as the honorary chair of his Arizona campaign way back in February 2007. "The first time I met the governor at a private meeting, first thing he said was 'How's the pink underwear doing?'" the sheriff told FoxNews.com back then, adding: "I'm sure the governor believes in my philosophy....He sure would not be asking for my endorsement if he didn't believe in what I'm doing." Romney has done more than just about any modern politician not named Donald Trump or Jeff Sessions to mainstream the Republican Party's immigration authoritarianism. (Never forget: Romney's "mean-spirited" and "crazy" approach toward illegal immigration was deemed a key reason for his loss in November 2012 by none other than Donald J. Trump.) But even GOP politicians who have refused to kiss Arpaio's ring have also, during times of stress, tacked politically (if unconvincingly) toward Arpaioian policies, most notably John "complete the danged fence" McCain. As with the mainstream media, one suspects that some #NeverTrumpism is due to the president having the gall to actually mean what Republicans have long promised to their base. Much of tonight's drama is centered around vulnerable incumbent Jeff Flake, who Trump has repeatedly targeted for criticism while signaling support for his primary opponent, Kelli Ward (who will be in attendance). I greatly prefer Flake to Trump for reasons we talked about on yesterday's Reason podcast and that I wrote about at greater length last year, and Ward sounds pretty Arizona-crazy to me. And yet this anti-Ward attack ad released this week by a SuperPAC associated with Sen. Majority Leade[...]



Indianapolis Cops Violated the Constitution by Holding Cars for Six Months Without Filing Forfeiture Paperwork

2017-08-22T14:16:00-04:00

A federal judge in Indiana issued a sharp rebuke to civil forfeiture abuse on Monday, ruling that the Indianapolis Metro Police Department may no longer hold vehicles for up to six months before deciding whether to file official forfeiture paperwork. Using asset forfeiture, police departments and federal law enforcement are often able to seize property—including cars, homes, cash, jewelry, and other valuables—if they say the property was used in a crime or was purchased with drug money. Though cops claim that forfeiture helps them target drug cartels and other big-time criminals, it is often used to seize small amounts of cash and often targets poor communities where people are less likely to have the resources to regain their assets through the legal system. While police across the country can seize property without first getting a conviction, Indiana law lets cops go even further. They are allowed to seize vehicles and hold them for up to six months without even having to file forfeiture paperwork, leaving individuals who had their vehicles seized with no legal recourse whatsoever for long periods of time. The case decided Monday was a class action lawsuit challenging those seizures, which plaintiffs said violated their right to due process, according to The Indianapolis Star. "The Court concludes that the statutory provisions allowing for the seizure and retention of vehicles without providing an opportunity for an individual to challenge the pre-forfeiture deprivation are unconstitutional," U.S. District Chief Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson ruled. According to Justice Department data cited by the Star, Indiana State Police seized more than $2.2 million in personal property in 2014. The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) seized roughly $48,022 in personal property that same year. Monday's ruling only applies to vehicles seized by the IMPD, but further reforms to Indiana's civil asset forfeiture laws are working their way through the state legislature. In March, the state Senate passed a bill to require a criminal conviction before police could seize property through forfeiture. The bill would also require "clear and convincing evidence" that the property in question was used in a crime or purchased with the proceeds of a crime, effectively raising the legal standard that cops would have to meet when filing forfeiture actions. Those reforms, if passed into law, would put Indiana near the forefront of asset forfeiture reform. Ten bills dealing with forfeiture were introduced during the 2017 session, but only one passed both chambers this year. That one calls for an interim study committee to examine Indiana's civil forfeiture laws and recommend changes. A separate lawsuit challenging Indiana's forfeiture laws was filed in February by the Institute for Justice, a libertarian law firm. In that suit, the plaintiffs say law enforcement groups must stop using forfeiture funds in their own budgets, citing the fact that the Indiana state constitution says "all forfeitures" must be committed to the state's school fund. Police and prosecutors say they use forfeited funds only to cover expenses, but the suit contends that local prosecutors have cut deals with cops to keep the proceeds of forfeiture actions. [...]



A Cannabis Industry PR Exec Explains Why the Future of Pot is Old People and Office Workers

2017-08-22T14:00:00-04:00

Recreational marijuana is almost normal. In the five years since Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational use, Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts, and the District of Columbia have followed suit. Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart have a successful cooking show, and a majority of adults in the U.S. have tried the drug at least once. The cannabis industry has a trade association, just like homebuilders and optometrists. In the coming years, we'll see various cannabis goods move through the product life cycle—rising, maturing, and declining the way session IPAs and cupcakes have. And we'll also see established companies bet big on pot. Companies like Denver's COHN, which recently became the biggest major marketing firm to create a pot-specific advertising division. Think Sterling Cooper, but for weed. I wanted to know more about the future of business development in the cannabis world, so I spoke to Taylor West, the former deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) and Cohn's first big hire for their new firm, which is called COHNNABIS. I've edited our conversation for length and clarity. Reason: You've worked in communications for a long time. You were at National Journal. You've worked on political campaigns. And most recently, you were at the National Cannabis Industry Association. Tell me what made the work you did at NCIA different from the work being done by advocacy groups like the Marijuana Policy Project. Taylor West: You have seen, over the last few years, a really significant increase in the influence of cannabis businesses when it comes to the policy world. That is naturally the result of the industry growing and becoming more established, but also of a very conscious effort by groups like NCIA to create relationships with lawmakers so that they have a realistic understanding of what the industry looks like and aren't just basing their opinions on stereotype and cliche. Reason: So the first step was getting the laws changed, the second step was organizing beneficiaries of the new laws. Now you're at a company that promises to help cannabis businesses be competitive. What does that entail? West: We are rapidly moving from a world in which cannabis was such a new and interesting product that it essentially sold itself, to a world—in more mature markets at least—where there is a tremendous amount of competition. This is the case in Colorado. California, which will be coming online soon, is a massive market and the competition there will also be very fierce. So what you're now seeing are companies that need to figure out how they distinguish themselves. It's not enough to just have cannabis for sale, or a cannabis product for sale. The product needs to be of really good quality, and you need to be able to explain to people why it's better than someone else's. That's one thing we're seeing. Another thing is that this is still an extremely complicated industry to be apart of. You have the banking issue and the 280E taxation issue that are massive difficulties other industries don't have to deal with. There are still people who think the cannabis industry is a license to print money, and that's just not the case. Not with the amount of investment that needs to go in, and not with the complicated hurdles you have to clear. Reason: I haven't been to Denver in two years, but last time I was there, I remember the marketing being stoner-culture specific. Has the marke[...]



The Busiest Little Cop in the Bronx

2017-08-22T13:25:00-04:00

(image) Nearly two dozen Bronx residents, mostly teen boys and their mothers, have filed or are planning to file lawsuits against one police detective for false arrest and intimidation. The cop is also accused of offering better treatment in exchange for sex with one kid's mom.

And those are just the lawsuits being represented by one attorney, John Scola. The officer, Det. David Terrell, has been sued at least seven other times, according to the New York Daily News, which reports that two of those suits are still pending, three were dismissed, and two ended in settlements totaling $70,000.

Terrell was put on desk duty (or "modified assignment") last November following an off-duty domestic violence incident, the Daily News reports. Shortly after that, tape emerged of Terrell playing dice in the neighborhood while a suspect sat in his squad car unattended. One of the eyewitnesses to the game said Terrell first frisked the group, then offered a game of dice to determine whether he'd take them in or not.

The 42nd precinct, where Terrell is stationed, has also racked up a lot of police misconduct complaints as a group. An even 100 complaints were filed against officers based at the precinct in 2016. In 2015 the precinct collected 106 complaints.

This is the kind of employee that in any sort of functional organization would have been dismissed long ago. But government agencies don't have to react to poor customer service or pay the price of customers taking their business elsewhere. There will always be taxpayers to extort. Meanwhile, government unions have negotiated expansive employment privileges and protections, while state governments have codified many of these privileges into law enforcement officers' "bills of rights."

The situation creates an environment that thwarts accountability and transparency, where problem cops become bigger problems and help breed a culture of abuse.

"They're all corrupt, but there's nothing I can do because the system is so powerful," says Tamel Dixon, who was arrested in school as a 16-year-old and whose mother was among the first to sue Terrell, alleging that he body-slammed her after she pleaded for him and other cops to stop assaulting her son. She was arrested for resisting arrest and obstructing government administration.

It took six months for prosecutors to drop the charges. None of the cops have been dismissed.




Antifa and Fascism Are the Same Side: New at Reason

2017-08-22T11:31:00-04:00

(image) Advocates of liberal society are a side in themselves, and the left-wing and right-wing thugs battling in the streets are nothing more than rival siblings from an illiberal family.

J.D. Tuccille writes:

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry and violence, on many sides, President Trump commented August 12 after bloody and lethal violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. "On many sides."

He got a public tongue-lashing for his words. That's because Trump has lost the moral authority to lay into thugs of all types. But the rest of us can do better.

The problem many Americans had with Trump's weasel words was that Heather Heyer was dead, and many other people injured, in Charlottesville, allegedly at the hands of James Alex Fields, Jr., a neo-Nazi who drove his car into a crowd in an act of political terrorism. And Fields was in Charlottesville to attend a rally featuring a dollar-store version of a Leni Riefenstahl torch-lit parade, chants of "Jews will not replace us," and racist speakers like Richard Spencer, who openly support Trump. A little specificity in placing blame would seem to be in order, but was prominent by its absence in Trump's comments.

"One has to take sides," Shuja Haider wrote at Jacobin, echoing other voices on the left. "There is a side that asserts our common humanity and fights fascism, racism, and hate. It was represented in Charlottesville by the leftist groups who took to the streets to confront the far right. The other side is the one that took innocent lives on those same streets."

Take a side? You bet. But Haider and company are trying to force a false choice.

View this article.




Move Over, Millennial 'Narcissists'—There's a New Generation for the Olds to Get Wrong

2017-08-22T10:50:00-04:00

The trope that millennials ushered in a "narcissism epidemic" can be pinned squarely on one crackpot generational consultant, Jean M. Twenge, whose cherry-picked data and superficial analysis have somehow made it into just about every major media outlet over the past decade. Now Twenge is turning her techno-panic-fueled farce to the post-millennial cohort, Gen Z, in an Atlantic magazine cover story asking, "Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?" Short answer: no, and nothing in Twenge's shoddy research reasonably leads to this conclusion. For a longer answer, check out my recent Buzzfeed article. As I point out there, "almost all of the problems with Twenge's millennial bullshit are on display in her somber analysis of Gen Z," defined as folks currently between the ages of five and 23 years old. Perhaps aware that she needed a new shtick to stay at the top of the generational-guru game, Twenge is now claiming that, around 2012, data started showing that "many of the distinctive characteristics of the Millennial generation began to disappear" (she does not say what data shows this). And Gen Z isn't just psychologically far-removed from millennials, she says—they spend their time in far different ways, too. All of this she blames on smartphones—and it's a superficially appealing idea. Elementary school kids now have their own iPhones. My best friend's 3-year-old can take a selfie. It's quite possible that growing up with smartphones and social media may produce distinct psychological and social effects. But it's way too early to call them yet. And Twenge's data doesn't back up her attempt to do so. Instead, she makes grave proclamations based purely on anecdotes, correlations—such as smartphone ownership rising alongside higher rates of teen depression—and selectively wielded data. For instance, she brings up a study suggesting more unhappiness among eighth graders who are heavy social media users, but doesn't mention that the same study found no effect for 12th graders. Twenge "reviews only those studies that support her idea and ignores studies that suggest that screen use is NOT associated with outcomes like depression and loneliness," objected psychologist Sarah Rose Cavanagh in Psychology Today. And "nowhere is Twenge's bias more obvious...than in some research that she actually does review but then casts aside as seemingly irrelevant to her thesis—namely, the vast counter-evidence to the 'destroyed generation' thesis contained in her headline." So far, the counterevidence shows that the youth of Gen Z—like millennials—have lower rates of suicide, unprotected sex, teen pregnancy, illicit drug use, cigarette smoking, car accidents, and alcohol consumption than their Gen X and Boomer predecessors. As Cavanagh comments: "This is what a destroyed generation looks like?" Read the whole thing here. For some still-relevant millennial myth-busting, see: Millennial Socialist Moment Mostly Media Hype White Working-Class Millennials Are Less Christian, More Republican Than Their Elders Millennial Libertarians Are Diverse 5 Myths About Millennials Generational Generalizations Gone Wrong [...]



Anti-Interventionists in Congress Respond to Trump's Afghanistan Strategy

2017-08-22T10:35:00-04:00

The small band of Republican anti-interventionists in Congress isn't enthusiastic about Donald Trump's new plan for Afghanistan. "There's nothing hasty about ending America's longest war," Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) tweeted last night. "@POTUS bowed to military-industrial establishment; doubled down on perpetual war." Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), who has warned about the role of the war on drugs in the war in Afghanistan, also expressed disappointment about Trump's decision to continue the conflict. "I had hoped the Afghanistan war would end soon, but now it's inevitable that babies born during the war will be deploying to the war in 2019," Massie tweeted. Democratic skeptics of military intervention also opposed Trump's latest move in the 16-year-old war. "I opposed President Obama's troop buildup in Afghanistan, and I oppose President Trump's," Rep. Jared Polis (D-Col.) tweeted. "Ongoing boondoggle costs American blood and money." Rep. James McGovern (D-Mass.) also questioned the wisdom of extending the war. "Endless war in Afghanistan to support a corrupt govt is not in America's national interest," McGovern tweeted. "It's time for us to finally end this war." In a local radio interview this morning, McGovern insisted Congress had a "constitutional duty to debate these wars." To that end, Reps. Walter Jones (R–N.C.) and John Garamendi (D-Calif.) have introduced a resolution requiring a new authorization for the use of military force (AUMF) for continuing military operations in Afghanistan. "This critically important decision in Afghanistan should compel Congress to exercise its constitutional responsibility," Garamendi tweeted last night. "Congress must fully debate our goals and set clear guidelines for our actions in Afghanistan." In the Senate, Rand Paul (R-Ky.) struck a critical note as well. "The mission in Afghanistan has lost its purpose and I think it is a terrible idea to send any more troops into that war," he said in a statement prior to the president's address. Paul also wants to repeal the 2001 AUMF against the perpetrators of the September 11 attacks and their "associated forces." When the House passed the NDAA in July, Republican leaders stripped out an amendment that would have revoked the post-9/11 AUMF; the amendment had been sponsored by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), the only member of Congress to vote against the original AUMF. Back then, Lee warned that the White House could use the legislation to wage endless war without the appropriate authorization of Congress. She was right, and only Congress can correct its mistake. The pro-war Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told Fox News last night he expected broad bipartisan support for Trump's Afghanistan strategy. He said he didn't think a vote was necessary on Trump's strategy but that he'd be "happy" to cast one. [...]



Trump's Abdication in Charlottesville Has Mobilized Individual Americans Against Bigotry: New at Reason

2017-08-22T10:20:00-04:00

For at least the last century, the big danger has been morally overambitious presidents too impatient about the pace of this country's moral progress. (image) But with Trump the big danger is a president who would wipe out the moral progress that the country has made over the last two and a half centuries by his failure to condemn racism and bigotry in unequivocal terms.

Fortunately, however, notes Reason Foundation Senior Analyst Shikha Dalmia, outraged Americans are not looking to this president to be their conscience-in-chief. They are calling him out on his silly equivalence between neo-Nazis and their opponents in Charlotteville. But beyond that, their spontaneous, individual actions in fighting bigotry are setting the nation's moral compass, rendering Trump increasingly irrelevant.

This will strengthen morality in this country by decentralizing it, she notes.

View this article.




Americans Can Fight Bigotry Without Trump's Help

2017-08-22T10:20:00-04:00

One big danger with modern-day presidents has been that they are too eager to improve the nation's moral health. They either hector the country to atone for its past sins (Barack Obama). Or they aggressively push it to the promised land of moral perfection (Teddy Roosevelt who declared that he would do "battle for the Lord" to improve mankind during his term). But President Trump's antics since the neo-Nazi rally in Charlottesville confirm that with him we face the opposite danger: He will destroy the moral progress this country has made over the last 250 years. Fortunately, ordinary Americans are waking up to that reality and rather than looking to the alleged conscience-in-chief to beat back the rising tide of racism and bigotry, they are taking matters in their own hands. This may well prove to be a healthy development that will strengthen national morality by decentralizing it. America's founders were suspicious of presidents playing moral hero; James Madison even maintained that a president should have "no particle of spiritual jurisdiction." But not in their wildest dreams could they have imagined that the country would one day be led by a moral moron who not only lacks moral common sense but also any feeling for this country's moral history. The two fixed lodestars in America's moral map were set by its great struggles against slavery and Nazism. One can question the means that the nation deployed against these two evils but not that they were worth fighting. After all, they represent an affront to every sacred principle this country stands for—equality, liberty, and justice. America sacrificed over 750,000 soldiers (not counting the Confederate casualties), more than all its other conflicts combined, in the service of these two causes. And yet Trump dumped cold water on them when he blithely elevated neo-Nazis to the same status as those protesting them, not once, but twice. Moreover, he implied that there was no big moral divide between Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, on the one hand, and Robert E. Lee, on the other — never mind that Jefferson and Washington despised slavery whereas Lee, the confederate general, fought to preserve this cruel institution nearly a century later. Nor was Trump simply making a slippery slope argument when he warned that tearing down Lee's statue would inevitably visit the same fate on America's slave-owning founders. Indeed, after his original comments, he went even further, and lamented on Twitter the removal of "our beautiful statutes and monuments." In other words, he is no longer even claiming—as some Southerners have the decency to do—that Lee's statues are warts that need to be preserved to remind us of our ugly history. No, they need to be maintained because they are "beautiful." In light of this, more and more Americans are giving up on waiting for this president to change his tune. He is irredeemable. So they are spontaneously springing into action in ways big and small to counter the damage he is doing. Many of the CEOs on Trump's White House business advisory panel and the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative council quit in disgust after his unhinged press conference last week, forcing him to disband the groups. His arts panel followed suit shortly after. And Republicans, most of whom have not exactly distinguished themselves[...]



Stossel: Government-Run Schools Crush Innovation [New at Reason]

2017-08-22T09:35:00-04:00

src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VObBmEBSTXU" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0">

America's public schools fail our kids, and bureaucrats suffocate even the best teachers.

The late Andrew Coulson, a leading advocate of free-market education and a former senior fellow at the Cato Institute, partnered with the Free to Choose Network to create the recent PBS film School, Inc., which examines the problems with America's government-run schools and how to fix them.

But School, Inc. is three hours! So John Stossel made a two-part short-attention-span version. Part one of our abbreviated treatment explores why government-run schools are incapable of innovating, and retells the story of superstar teacher Jamie Escalante (made famous by the 1988 film Stand and Deliver), who was forced out by jealous colleagues.

In part two, which will run tomorrow, Coulson travels the world in search of ideas to fix America's public schools.

Coulson passed away in 2016 following a 15-month battle with brain cancer. For more on his contribution to the field, read his classic 1999 book, Market Education: The Unknown History.

Stossel on Reason

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View this article.




Stossel: Government-Run Schools Crush Innovation

2017-08-22T09:30:00-04:00

America's public schools fail our kids, and bureaucrats suffocate even the best teachers.

The late Andrew Coulson, a leading advocate of free-market education and a former senior fellow at the Cato Institute, partnered with the Free to Choose Network to create the recent PBS film School, Inc., which examines the problems with America's government-run schools and how to fix them.

But School, Inc. is three hours! So John Stossel made a two-part short-attention-span version. Part one of our abbreviated treatment explores why government-run schools are incapable of innovating, and retells the story of superstar teacher Jamie Escalante (made famous by the 1988 film Stand and Deliver), who was forced out by jealous colleagues.

In part two, which will run tomorrow, Coulson travels the world in search of ideas to fix America's public schools.

Coulson passed away in 2016 following a 15-month battle with brain cancer. For more on his contribution to the field, read his classic 1999 book, Market Education: The Unknown History.

Produced by Maxim Lott. Edited by Joshua Swain.

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