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Updated: 2017-02-24T00:00:00-05:00

 



Nigel Farage Says 2016 Was Victory Over Globalists

2017-02-24T14:20:00-05:00

(image) Nigel Farage, the member of European Parliament and U.K.Independence Party co-founder who assisted Donald Trump in his presidential campaign, called 2016 "the beginning of a global political revolution" that was going to "roll out across the rest of the West" at his CPAC speech this afternoon.

Farage addressed Brexit, the British vote to leave the European Union, connecting it to President Trump's victory, saying the U.K. should "reach out and make our own deals with our real friends," which he described as countries that "speak English, have common law, and support us in crises."

He touched on President Obama's visit to United Kingdom before the Brexit vote, saying he would be "forever grateful" that Obama "interfered in the referendum" by telling "America's greatest friends and ally in the world" that "if we voted for our independence, we would go to the back of the line."

Farge dug into globalists, and said Brexit was a reaction to "unelected old men in Brussels," pointing to elections in Germany, France, the Netherlands, "even Italy," in 2017 as places where ideological fellow-travelers could win. While he admitted he didn't know yet whether this year's results would be "as dramatic as" 2016, he predicted they would "shift the center of gravity of the whole debate."

Farage called out Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel, facing re-election in September, describing her decision in 2015 to increase the number of refugees the country would accept, as "absolute madness and idiocy."

"We are not against any religion or ethnicity, we're not against anybody," Farage insisted at the end of his remarks. "We're for ourselves, we're for our country, we're for our communities, we're for making us safe and with less risk from global terror. And we're winning!"

While Farage was introduced as "Mr. Brexit" and Trump, too, said he would be called "Mr. Brexit" when during the presidential campaign he visited Scotland the day after the Brexit vote, both Brexit and the broader backlash against unelected globalist bureaucrats is bigger than Farage or Trump. The two have a narrow, nationalistic response to the growth of government at a global level but it is not the only one. Globalization, while it has been maligned by populists and glommed onto by globalists, remains the most potent force in opposition to both globalism and populism. Liberalization and the freeing of markets lifted billions out of poverty, not the globalists who insist they must micromanage those forces, and who regularly malign these indisputably beneficial forces as the cause of problems actually created by government meddling, and certainly not populists.

The Economist Intelligence Unit's latest Democracy Index, noted that while populism seemed to be ascendenant in the West, such forces have already peaked in Latin America, with the electorates of several Latin American countries suffering from populist fatigue and returning to more sensible right-of-center free market politics. It's important to disentangle Trump and Farage and populism from the broader backlash against globalism, and to disentangle the positive forces of globalization and the net benefits of the freedom of movement of people, goods, capital, and labor, from the bureaucrats who would seek to take credit for the fruits of those globalizing forces their own policies also threaten. In this way, freedom has the best chance to emerge victorious in the battle between populism and globalism, two bankrupt ideologies of control that have little to nothing to do with globalization and the miracle free markets have delivered in the last half-century and more.




Pentagon Considering 'Boots on the Ground' to Fight ISIS in Syria

2017-02-24T13:55:00-05:00

The Defense Department will not rule out putting additional U.S. troops on the ground in war-torn Syria when it presents President Trump with a range of options to fight ISIS next week. At Washington D.C.'s Brookings Institution yesterday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford said, "We've been given a task to go to the president with options to accelerate the defeat of ISIS specifically, but obviously other violent extremist groups as well," according to McClatchyDC. Dunford added, "We're going to go to him with a full range of options from which he can chose." As a candidate, Trump said he would "bomb the shit out of ISIS," but also criticized his opponent Hillary Clinton's predilection for military interventionism. To date, the president has maintained a confounding duality when it comes to the use of military force, one that remains muddled by his call for "safe zones" in Syria to help stanch the flow of refugees, but which will ultimately require a military presence on the ground to enforce. Moreover, such a presence could find itself in conflict not only with ISIS and other radical Islamist groups, but also Syrian and Russian military forces. About 500 U.S. special forces troops are already operating inside Syria (a holdover from the Obama administration and the representation of a broken promise by President Obama). Military action in the form of airstrikes against ISIS polled well among Americans last year (about 72 percent), but putting U.S. ground troops in Syria fared far worse—with only about 42 percent in favor. Secretary of Defense James Mattis was non-committal last week when asked if he would recommend ground troops in Syria to President Trump, but in 2014 he publicly took issue with Obama's ISIS strategy. Business Insider quotes Mattis as saying: Whichever strategy is chosen, we should be reticent in telling our adversaries in advance any timeline that governs us or which of our capabilities we will not employ. Specifically, if this threat to our nation is determined to be as significant as I believe it is, we may not wish to reassure our enemies in advance that they will not see American 'boots on the ground': if a brigade of our paratroopers or a battalion landing team of our Marines could strengthen our allies at a key juncture and create havoc/humiliation for our adversaries, then we should do what is necessary with our forces that exist for that very purpose. The U.S. military is not war weary, our military draws strength from confronting our enemies when clear policy objectives are set and we are fully resourced for the fight. Mattis has frequently been described as one of Trump's more "sane" cabinet members and, as a retired Marine general, is intimately familiar with the horrors of war. That said, he's an Iran hawk who thinks there are "an increasing number of areas where we're going to have to confront Russia." "Mad Dog" Mattis may very well be the right person to remind President Trump that soldiers are not toys and "safe zones" need to be made safe by the threat of deadly force. But if Trump is presented with a range of options that include a robust U.S. military presence in one of the world's worst war zones, don't bet against the "non-interventionist" president rejecting the use of what Hillary Clinton used to call "smart power." [...]



Best Political Speech by an Entertainment Celebrity: Who Will Win?

2017-02-24T13:45:00-05:00

Forget the Oscars, the Golden Globes, and the Emmys: the stars are all out for the Hollywood Awards. But who will take home the prize for Best Political Speech by an Entertainment Celebrity?

Written and produced by Austin Bragg. Performed by Andrew Heaton and Austin Bragg

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Trump Vs. Leaks May Be More Important Than Trump Vs. Press

2017-02-24T13:40:00-05:00

When your boss calls you out in public for gossiping about company business: The FBI is totally unable to stop the national security "leakers" that have permeated our government for a long time. They can't even...... — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2017 find the leakers within the FBI itself. Classified information is being given to media that could have a devastating effect on U.S. FIND NOW — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 24, 2017 Those tweets from President Donald Trump this morning come on the heels of a CNN report that the FBI had refused a request from the Trump administration to publicly push back against previous news reports that associates of Trump's were in contact with Russian officials during the campaign. The White House rejects that characterization and says that FBI representatives came to them to say the news reports were wrong. What the administration asked, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said, is for the FBI to publically state the truth. It's all part of complicated, messy three-party conflict between the administration, leakers or whistleblowers (depending on how you feel about them) within the intelligence community, and the media reporting on all of it. After Trump tweeted out the complaint about leaks this morning, he shifted oddly into accusing the press of making up the sources he had just accused the FBI of being unable to control in his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference today. To wit: [T]hey have no sources, they just make 'em up when there are none. I saw one story recently where they said, "Nine people have confirmed." There're no nine people. I don't believe there was one or two people. Nine people. And I said, "Give me a break." Because I know the people, I know who they talk to. There were no nine people. But they say "nine people." And somebody reads it and they think, "Oh, nine people. They have nine sources." They make up sources. A little later he said: They shouldn't be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody's name. Let their name be put out there. Let their name be put out. Mind you, the Trump administration, like previous administrations, wants to use unnamed sources in the media when it serves its purposes. Indeed, in this very FBI story, the administration was asking for FBI officials to talk to the reporters "on background" to push back on the claims that there were communications with Russian officials. So even though Trump this morning was complaining about leakers, just hours later he's saying that the media is just making up sources. It's not necessarily contradictory—one could believe both of these things depending on the situation or story—but in this case these two complaints seem to be about the same controversy. The Washington Post report about now ex-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn being in contact with Russian officials claimed nine sources. And Flynn resigned over all of this. Obviously Trump is full of crap when he says he knows who the media is talking to or he wouldn't be complaining about the FBI's inability to stop leaking. If he knows who the press talks to, he can just go tell FBI Director James Comey, can't he? But that's not really the point. As several of us have pointed out at Reason, the Trump administration is probably going to be the leakiest in modern history in ways they're not able to control. This is good because it will help keep the administration from operating in secret. It also can potentially be a problem as overly powerful, overly connected, and largely unaccountable bureaucrats and intelligence operatives use the adversarial relationship between Trump and the press to try to influence leadership and decision-making without having to take responsibility. It's all very messy for the press and the public to navigate. Should we spend hours explaining the contents of a leaked executive order on LGBT issues before finding out whether the administration is seriously consider[...]



How CPAC Becomes TPAC: New at Reason

2017-02-24T13:30:00-05:00

(image) A year makes quite a difference. During the run-up to 2016's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), many activists on the right urged the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual event, to rescind its invitation to Donald Trump. Allowing Trump to speak "will do lasting and huge (yuge!) damage to the reputations of CPAC, ACU, individual ACU board members, the conservative movement, and indeed the GOP and America," warned Republican strategist Liz Mair, who worked with the anti-Trump political action committee Make America Awesome. The candidate ultimately cancelled his long planned speech, pointing to campaign events in Kansas and Florida as an excuse. There's a good chance he also wanted to avoid answering questions after his talk, not to mention the embarrassment of having hundreds of conservative activists stage a walkout.

Winning a presidential election certainly changes things. "By tomorrow this will be TPAC," Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway quipped yesterday. Trump was enthusiastically applauded at CPAC this morning .

View this article.




Trump, Propaganda, and Credulity

2017-02-24T13:30:00-05:00

A year makes quite a difference. During the run-up to 2016's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), many activists on the right urged the American Conservative Union, which organizes the annual event, to rescind its invitation to Donald Trump. Allowing Trump to speak "will do lasting and huge (yuge!) damage to the reputations of CPAC, ACU, individual ACU board members, the conservative movement, and indeed the GOP and America," warned Republican strategist Liz Mair, who worked with the anti-Trump political action committee Make America Awesome. The candidate ultimately cancelled his long-planned speech, pointing to campaign events in Kansas and Florida as an excuse. There's a good chance he also wanted to avoid answering questions after his talk, not to mention the embarrassment of having hundreds of conservative activists stage a walkout. Winning a presidential election certainly changes things. "By tomorrow this will be TPAC," Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway quipped yesterday. This morning Trump received a sustained standing ovation and chants of USA! USA! He told the CPAC crowd that "our victory was a win for conservative values." As the rest of his nationalist address made clear, Trump is no more conservative now than he was before the election. Nevertheless, his support among Republican voters stands high, and Republican politicians are falling in line behind him because rank-and-file party members trust him more than they trust GOP congressional leaders. Clearly some citizens support Trump because they believe his "alternative facts" about crime rates and free trade and hope that his hodge-podge of anti-liberty promises will somehow "make America great again." But how to explain the surge in support among once-skeptical CPAC participants and other conservative voters in favor of Trump? Perhaps because lots of conservatives are just acting as though they believe Trump's promises. That's the explanation suggested by the Cornell political scientist Andrew Little in "Propaganda and Credulity," a paper just published in Games and Economic Behavior. "Politicians lie, and coerce others to lie on their behalf," argued Little. "These lies take many forms, from rewriting the history taught in schools, to preventing the media from reporting on policy failures, to relatively innocuous spinning of the economy's performance in press conferences." Little rather sanguinely observes that most people accept that lying plays a "central role in politics." This poses a game-theory problem: If audiences know that they are being lied to, why do politicians bother doing it? Little's explanation: "Politicians lie because some people believe them." Little cites psychological experiments that show most people tend to believe what they are told even when they know the speaker has incentives to mislead them. In addition, empirical studies show that government propaganda actually works. "You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time," Abraham Lincoln purportedly said. Little has constructed a model that suggests that fooling some of the people can be enough to get most of the people acting like they are fooled. "While those who believe whatever the government tells them are tautologically responsive to propaganda," notes Little, "their presence has powerful effects on the behavior of those who are aware that they are being lied to, as well as those doing the lying." Less credulous folks look around to gauge how their fellow citizens are responding to the politicians' claims, and then must decide how they will act. If those fellow citizens seem to believe the propaganda, then the less credulous might well conclude that it's not worth sticking their necks out to yell that the emperor is naked. The upshot, Little says, is that "all can act as if they believe the government's lies even though most do not." One[...]



Herbert Hoover's Radio Malware Turns 90: New at Reason

2017-02-24T12:10:00-05:00

(image) This week marks the 90th anniversary of the Radio Act of 1927, the sweeping federal law championed by Herbert Hoover that first established how radio spectrum—the "economic oxygen" of the emerging information age—would still be governed nearly a century later. Under its edicts, markets would be preempted and no ownership of the "ether" would be permitted. Public administrators would dole out privileges to deploy wireless networks according to the "public interest."

Today, writes Thomas W. Hazlett, the Radio Act is gasping, choked by its contradictions. Over time, regulatory failure has thankfully given way to more open markets. The evolution of vibrant mobile data networks—nowhere prescribed or mandated in law—is an emphatic endorsement of the power of policy liberalization. Yet the ghost of Herbert Hoover still haunts progress, frequently placing needless obstacles in the path of competitive forces.

View this article.




Herbert Hoover's Radio Malware Turns 90

2017-02-24T12:10:00-05:00

On February 23, 1927, Babe Ruth had still to hit 60 home runs in a season. Yet President Calvin Coolidge would that day sign a bill that would establish how radio spectrum—the "economic oxygen" of the emerging information age—would still be governed 90 years later. Markets would be pre-empted, no ownership of the "ether" would be permitted. Public administrators would dole out privileges to deploy wireless networks according to the "public interest." Today, the Radio Act is gasping, choked by its contradictions. While the system continues to drip out dabs of bandwidth when far fatter dollops would spur great leaps forward, the members of the Federal Communications Commission are celebrating the close of a year-long auction of radio frequency rights, fetching $20 billion in winning bids. This is the sort of market-based process the Radio Act was designed to avoid. Over time, regulatory failure has thankfully given way to more open markets. The evolution of vibrant mobile data networks—nowhere prescribed or mandated in law—is an emphatic endorsement of the power of policy liberalization. Yet the ghost of Herbert Hoover, the driving force behind the Radio Act, still haunts progress, frequently placing needless obstacles in the path of competitive forces. Chaos Theory The fake news of 1927 was later summarized (and promulgated) by the Supreme Court. "Before 1927, the allocation of frequencies was left entirely to the private sector, and the result was chaos.... It quickly became apparent that broadcast frequencies constituted a scarce resource whose use could be regulated and rationalized only by the Government." In fact, a property system, with first-come rights enforced by the Department of Commerce under a 1912 statute, maintained order and allowed AM radio broadcasting to flourish from its introduction—by KDKA, a Westinghouse station—in 1920. Hoover, as Secretary of Commerce, 1921-1928, defined the rules using common law precedents. What troubled Hoover was that he had precious little discretion over who broadcast or what they said. For instance, when Los Angeles evangelist Rev. Aimee Semple McPherson (whose Foursquare Gospel Church owned a station reaching hundreds of thousands) strayed from her frequency slot, sanctions were swift. "Order your minions of Satan to… open my station at once," the minister telegrammed Hoover. "You cannot expect the almighty to abide by your wave length nonsense." Alas, He did. And so did Aimee, who returned to her spot on the dial. Anarchy did not reign. What troubled Hoover was that he had precious little discretion over who broadcast or what they said. Radio was scorching hot as a consumer product, with millions being sold and 1924 being declared "Radio Christmas" by Madison Avenue. It was universally seen as an explosive new social force, and its deep political importance—soon to play out in episodes as disparate as Franklin Roosevelt's "fireside chats" and Adolf Hitler's Third Reich mobilization—was instantly noted. Political Spectrum A coalition formed to seize the moment. Major commercial radio stations that had built-up impressive audiences and, by 1926, were forming networks such as NBC, saw a new "public interest" test for broadcasting to be money in the bank. Such barriers to entry could block upstarts and stifle extensions of the radio broadcasting band. At the same time, Hoover and other powerful policy makers, including the estimable Sen. Clarence C. Dill (D-Wash.), author of the 1927 Radio Act, sought to use licensing to gain leverage over broadcast content. In the asserted quest to control interference, regulators could impose an "equal time rule" and restrict various controversial views (by denying licenses when they were deemed to harm the "public interest"). Hoover spent years trying before finally succeeding in pushing through a Federal Radio Commission[...]



Remix Culture Meets the Scolds

2017-02-24T09:30:00-05:00

(image) These days the internet is littered with political remix videos, but they were still novel when Don Was made "Read My Lips" in 1992. So PBS aired the item—which dinged President George H.W. Bush for breaking his no-new-taxes pledge, among other complaints—and then invited a pair of eminences to discuss this strange new thing they'd just witnessed.

The video itself is only mildly interesting—it may be an early political remix, but it wasn't the first and it's far from the best. But the roundtable is pretty amazing to watch today. Bill Moyers opens, in his TV-for-people-who-say-they-hate-TV way, by asking what "happens to the political sensibilities of young people watching a political discourse like that." The publisher of The Hotline replies that the video "debases the process"; the dean of the Annenberg School for Communication calls it an "invitation to cynicism that I think is very unhealthy." And they both go on from there, condemning in advance the entire media landscape of 2017. I'm not sure 1992 has ever felt as distant as it does while I'm watching this:

src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/gvmrLuw4l0g" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="315" frameborder="0">

(For past editions of the Friday A/V Club, go here.)




Movie Review: Get Out: New at Reason

2017-02-24T09:15:00-05:00

(image) Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya, of Sicario) is a young black photographer on the rise; Rose Armitage (Allison Williams, of Girls) is his wealthy white girlfriend. Chris and Rose have been together for five months now, and Rose has decided it's time for Chris to meet her parents. Chris has reservations about this (has she told them he's black? no?), but he goes along. Now here they are at the family's luxe country estate, deep in the heart of white world—and not far from Hell, as soon becomes clear.

Get Out is a terrific first feature by writer-director Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele). It's a horror movie that's really creepy, but it's also a sharp comedy that's really, really funny; and the brilliant thing about it is that both the creeps and the laughs are solidly rooted in the director's raw and unblinking racial observations.

Peele is obviously a horror-movie buff. The opening scene here, with a black kid being stalked on a late-night suburban street, recalls the classic leafy menace of John Carpenter's Halloween; and parts of the rest of the film echo such earlier fright flicks as Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives. But Peele brings a spin to the terror tradition that's all his own, and his movie plays like an instant classic, writes Kurt Loder.

View this article.




Movie Review: Get Out

2017-02-24T09:15:00-05:00

Chris Washington (Daniel Kaluuya, of Sicario) is a young black photographer on the rise; Rose Armitage (Allison Williams, of Girls) is his wealthy white girlfriend. Chris and Rose have been together for five months now, and Rose has decided it's time for Chris to meet her parents. Chris has reservations about this (has she told them he's black? no?), but he goes along. Now here they are at the family's luxe country estate, deep in the heart of white world—and not far from Hell, as soon becomes clear. Get Out is a terrific first feature by writer-director Jordan Peele (of Key & Peele). It's a horror movie that's really creepy, but it's also a sharp comedy that's really, really funny; and the brilliant thing about it is that both the creeps and the laughs are solidly rooted in the director's raw and unblinking racial observations. Peele is obviously a horror-movie buff. The opening scene here, with a black kid being stalked on a late-night suburban street, recalls the classic leafy menace of John Carpenter's Halloween; and parts of the rest of the film echo such earlier fright flicks as Rosemary's Baby and The Stepford Wives. But Peele brings a spin to the terror tradition that's all his own, and his movie plays like an instant classic. Rose's parents—neurosurgeon Dean (Bradley Whitford) and psychiatrist Missy (Catherine Keener)—are citizens of the republic of limousine liberals. Meeting Chris, her dad throws his arms wide and says, "Hug me, mah man!" He has an amiable interest in "this thang"—Chris and Rose's relationship—and he says he would have voted for Obama three times if he could've. Missy, for her part, is distressed to see that Chris is a smoker, and she offers to cure him through hypnosis, her medical specialty. ("Uh oh," you might think. And you'd be right.) There are some oddities around the Armitage house. The family's two black retainers—a maid named Georgina (Betty Gabriel) and her caretaker husband Walter (Marcus Henderson)—are bafflingly weird (they act as if they're on a robot package tour from another planet). And Rose's jerk brother Jeremy (Caleb Landry Jones) seems fixated on Chris's genetic heritage, which he says would make him a "beast" in the world of martial arts. There's also a staircase door that's mysteriously locked—because of "black mold" in the basement, Chris is told. It's all a little strange ("We are the gods," Dean says, "trapped in cocoons"), and it quickly gets stranger. Chris and Rose's visit coincides with a big lawn-party gathering of family friends and neighbors—an avalanche of even more white people. Chris has an odd encounter with a blind art dealer (Stephen Root) and with another strange black person—a guy named Logan (Lakeith Stanfield), who seems somehow… familiar. Before long Chris notices that everyone seems to be sizing him up in some unsavory way, and we see that they're all falling silent every time he leaves a room. Disconcerted, Chris makes occasional phone check-ins with his pal Rod (hilarious LilRel Howery), a TSA employee back in the city, who suspects that Chris has wandered into some sort of sex-slave underworld. If only that were all it was. It would be wrong to say much more about what's actually happening here. The plot unfolds like the petals of a black rose. This isn't a gore movie, but as it progresses, Peele proves he can get his hands bloody with the best of them. He also manages to turn the simple scraping of a spoon in a teacup into a really unsettling sound effect. I'll say no more. Except that something is definitely going on down in that basement. [...]



Priebus Asked FBI to Dispute Russia Reports, Iraqi Air Force Bombs ISIS, Sessions Resurrects Private Prisons for Federal Inmates: A.M. Links

2017-02-24T09:00:00-05:00

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Pot-Shop Cop Reinstatement Gives Police Black Eye: New at Reason

2017-02-24T08:30:00-05:00

(image) Police union-backed rules protect bad cops, as the case of the Santa Ana Sky High dispensary raid illustrates.

Steven Greenhut writes:

If you're wondering why police officers sometimes lose the trust of the communities they serve, forget about the overheated rhetoric from Black Lives Matter and focus instead on an ongoing local matter.

Santa Ana, Calif., police raided the dispensary in 2015, accusing it of selling marijuana without a permit. The dispensary's lawyer released an edited video that made national news and later released the full, unedited version. As officers served the warrant, they ordered the people there onto the ground and appeared to make disparaging remarks about a Sky High volunteer, an amputee sitting in a wheelchair.

One officer allegedly said: "Did you punch that one-legged old Benita?" The other officer seems to have said: "I was about to kick her in her **** nub." Nice, huh? The video also shows an officer munching on snacks and apparently disabling the store's security cameras. Had there not been a hidden camera, it's unlikely this case would have gotten much attention.

Because of union-backed rules and legal decisions that protect the privacy of officers, the city wouldn't comment on "personnel matters" related to three officers at the raid. In July, the Orange County Register reported that three of the officers, Brandon Matthew Sontag, Nicole Lynn Quijas and Jorge Arroyo, were no longer on the force.

The Register later reported the three were fired and charged by the Orange County District Attorney's Office with petty theft and Sontag also was charged with vandalism. The three pleaded not guilty to the charges. That's a fair way to handle the matter. But the issue returned to the news this month after the city's personnel board reinstated Sontag. It is still considering reinstatement appeals by the other two.

View this article.




Most Republicans Oppose Federal Interference With Marijuana Legalization

2017-02-24T08:00:00-05:00

Yesterday afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the Justice Department under newly installed Attorney General Jeff Sessions will be more inclined to enforce the federal ban on marijuana in states that have legalized the drug for recreational use. A large majority of Americans, including most Republicans, think that's a bad idea, according to poll numbers released the same day as Spicer's comments. Answering a question from an Arkansas reporter wondering how the DOJ will respond to that state's new medical marijuana law, Spicer said "there's two distinct issues here: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana." He reiterated President Trump's support for laws that allow patients to use marijuana for symptom relief, which 28 states have enacted. Spicer also noted that Congress has repeatedly approved a spending rider that restrains the DOJ from taking action against medical marijuana suppliers in those states. But he said "there is a big difference between that and recreational marijuana," which eight states have legalized, and predicted there will be "greater enforcement" of the federal ban in those states under Sessions, saying "they are going to continue to enforce the laws on the books with respect to recreational marijuana." While Spicer emphasized the difference between medical and recreational marijuana, he overlooked a more important distinction: between opposing state laws that allow recreational use of marijuana and supporting federal intervention aimed at overriding them. That distinction is clear in the latest Quinnipiac University poll, which finds that 71 percent of Americans "oppose the government enforcing federal laws against marijuana in states that have already legalized medical or recreational marijuana." By comparison, 59 percent think marijuana "should be made legal in the United States." That means many Americans who oppose legalization nevertheless think states should be free to adopt that policy. A disproportionate number of those people are members of Trump's party: While only 35 percent of Republicans in the Quinnipiac poll supported marijuana legalization, 55 percent opposed federal interference with it. A CBS News poll conducted last April found even stronger Republican opposition to the sort of meddling Spicer predicted. Asked if "laws regarding whether the use of marijuana is legal" should be "determined by the federal government" or "left to each individual state government to decide," 70 percent of Republicans said the latter, compared to 55 percent of Democrats (who as usual were more likely to favor legalization). These results make sense to the extent that conservatives take seriously their avowed commitment to federalism, which Trump also claims to support. At the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference, Trump said he favored medical marijuana but had concerns about broader legalization, a decision he nevertheless said should be left to the states. "If they vote for it, they vote for it," he said. Trump confirmed that position at a 2015 rally in Nevada: "In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state by state." Sessions, a former Alabama senator, also pays lip service to federalism. After the death of William Rehnquist in 2005, Sessions gave a floor speech in which he praised the chief justice for recognizing the limits of federal power: He understood that the Federal Government, through the Commerce Clause, has broad power, but there are limits to the reach of the Commerce Clause. It does not cover every single matter the United States Senate may desire to legislate on, to the extent that the federal government controls even simple, discreet actions wit[...]



Stop Belittling the Holocaust With Your Stupid Nazi Analogies: New at Reason

2017-02-24T07:00:00-05:00

(image) Not everything is 1933 redux.

David Harsyani writes:

When the Associated Press dropped a breathless piece contending that the Trump administration was "considering" and "weighing" using 100,000 National Guard troops to help round up illegal immigrants, the media erupted into its usual hysterics. Soon, the White House denied it had ever considered the memo (and so far, there is no reason to believe it is lying). We soon learned the memo itself doesn't say anything about 100,000 National Guardsmen rounding up illegal immigrants. We can theorize about who leaked the story, but it looks to be the epitome of President Donald Trump's Yogi Berraisms about a real story being fake news.

As always, none of this stopped the shameful Hitler and Nazi analogies from immediately clogging up social media. Comparing everything to 1932 is now a big part of our national discourse, not only by angry partisans but also people who should know better than to habitually make these correlations.

View this article.




Friday Funnies: Oscars Acceptance Speech Writers

2017-02-24T07:00:00-05:00

(image)




Brickbat: Pink?

2017-02-24T04:00:00-05:00

(image) Timothy Jenkins, a freshman at Mississippi's Gulfport High School was suspended after he dyed his hair pink. The school dress code says a student's hair must be a natural-looking color.




Pot-Shop Cop Reinstatement Gives Police Black Eye

2017-02-24T00:01:00-05:00

If you're wondering why police officers sometimes lose the trust of the communities they serve, forget about the overheated rhetoric from Black Lives Matter and focus instead on an ongoing local matter. Santa Ana, Calif., police raided the dispensary in 2015, accusing it of selling marijuana without a permit. The dispensary's lawyer released an edited video that made national news and later released the full, unedited version. As officers served the warrant, they ordered the people there onto the ground and appeared to make disparaging remarks about a Sky High volunteer, an amputee sitting in a wheelchair. One officer allegedly said: "Did you punch that one-legged old Benita?" The other officer seems to have said: "I was about to kick her in her **** nub." Nice, huh? The video also shows an officer munching on snacks and apparently disabling the store's security cameras. Had there not been a hidden camera, it's unlikely this case would have gotten much attention. Because of union-backed rules and legal decisions that protect the privacy of officers, the city wouldn't comment on "personnel matters" related to three officers at the raid. In July, the Orange County Register reported that three of the officers, Brandon Matthew Sontag, Nicole Lynn Quijas and Jorge Arroyo, were no longer on the force. The Register later reported the three were fired and charged by the Orange County District Attorney's Office with petty theft and Sontag also was charged with vandalism. The three pleaded not guilty to the charges. That's a fair way to handle the matter. But the issue returned to the news this month after the city's personnel board reinstated Sontag. It is still considering reinstatement appeals by the other two. In an admirable act of courage, the Santa Ana City Council voted 4-3 to appeal the reinstatement to the Superior Court. But Mayor Miguel Pulido and council members Jose Solorio and Juan Villegas voted against appeal. All three had been elected with enormous support from the city's police union. The raid already has cost city taxpayers $100,000 as part of a settlement to a federal lawsuit filed by the dispensary's owners. The Voice of OC noted that the raid "was not the first time Sontag's conduct cost the city." The city paid $2.45 million in 2011 to settle a case brought by the family of a woman Sontag shot to death and $100,000 to a man who was, according to the Register, rammed by a police cruiser in a parking lot. Every profession attracts its share of characters, but this situation reinforces one of my theories about why policing problems often fester. A small number of officers can cause a lot of problems. Union political activism and protections make it inordinately difficult to discipline, fire and prosecute even those caught on camera doing atrocious things. That lack of justice breeds community frustration—and can have a corrosive effect within departments. Note that other officers at the pot-shop raid didn't appear, based on the video, to try to stop this behavior, which reinforces the point about corrosiveness. In an ideal world, other police officers should be the first line of defense if their fellows behave in such a manner. Solorio was quoted expressing concern that an appeals could end up costing the city too much money if it loses, and said the firings were "unfair" because of insufficient discipline for the raid's supervisor. But I've seen him in action in the state Capitol. In 2007, Solorio was chairman of the Assembly Public Safety Committee when legislation was introduced to make it easier for the public to learn about police off[...]



Stop Belittling the Holocaust With Your Stupid Nazi Analogies

2017-02-24T00:01:00-05:00

When the Associated Press dropped a breathless piece contending that the Trump administration was "considering" and "weighing" using 100,000 National Guard troops to help round up illegal immigrants, the media erupted into its usual hysterics. Soon, the White House denied it had ever considered the memo (and so far, there is no reason to believe it is lying). We soon learned the memo itself doesn't say anything about 100,000 National Guardsmen rounding up illegal immigrants. We can theorize about who leaked the story, but it looks to be the epitome of President Donald Trump's Yogi Berraisms about a real story being fake news. As always, none of this stopped the shameful Hitler and Nazi analogies from immediately clogging up social media. Comparing everything to 1932 is now a big part of our national discourse, Not only by angry partisans but also people who should know better than to habitually make these correlations. This isn't Mel Brooks' Springtime for Hitler. Whether you're a fan or a detractor of Trump, these gross equivalences belittle the memory of millions who died in unimaginably horrifying ways. Moreover, exaggeration and historical illiteracy undermines the very cause these people claim to care about, unless that cause is desensitizing people to the terror of the Holocaust. Jamil Smith, a senior national correspondent for MTV News, was just one of the high-profile journalists to use this intellectually lazy analogy. "First, they came for the undocumented," he tweeted. (In his next tweet about the memo draft, he contends, "Whether or not it's true doesn't matter," which is emblematic of much punditry today.) He is, of course, referring to Martin Niemöller's famous poem, which reads: "First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out / Because I was not a Socialist. / Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out / Because I was not a Trade Unionist. / Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out / Because I was not a Jew. / Then they came for me / and there was no one left to speak for me." People love to use this poem as a cudgel against anyone who fails to match their own hyperbole on political issues, appropriating the suffering of others for their causes. Implied, of course, is that those who do not share their outrage are ignoring an event that is in some ways akin to the Holocaust. It's a convenient formulation because, after all, you'd be hard-pressed to disprove events that haven't yet transpired. And if, for some reason, Trump's term doesn't actually turn into a Hitlerian nightmare of the left's imagination, then they'll tell you it was because they took Niemöller's warning to heart and stopped the impending evil. So it's a win-win. First of all, even if the authorities—even the National Guard (which I think would be an incredibly horrible idea)—were to start deporting illegal immigrants, not one of those unfortunate people would ever be sent to anything resembling the ovens of Treblinka and Auschwitz. Not their children. Not anyone else in this country. Most often, in fact, deported illegal immigrants, who have broken the law, are going back to their home in Mexico, where they can often apply for legal entry into the United States. Every year, more than a million people become American citizens. So we are hardly in the early staging plans of "total measures." In fact, we function under immigration laws that were written by representatives of the electorate, and the constitutionality of those laws is weighed by a judicial system. If your argument is that all deporta[...]



Off Duty Cop Shoots At Kids; Kids Get Arrested, Off Duty Cop Does Not

2017-02-23T23:37:00-05:00

The police are different from you and me: when they physically assault a 13-year-old and kidnap them and refuse to let go because they thought they heard a verbal threat, and then draw and fire a gun while surrounded by a bunch of kids, it is the bunch of kids who are questioned, some arrested, while nothing happens to the man who did the assaulting, kidnapping, and firing of the gun (so far, at least). See this video of most of the incident, which happened Tuesday in Anaheim. More description and commentary below. src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/2TJQ38Rf_AU" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0"> We see the off-duty officer reportedly with the Los Angeles police department, unnamed in any news account I've seen [UPDATE: He has now been publicly identified since original posting as Kevin Ferguson], assaulting and beginning to drag around 13-year-old Christian Dorscht. From their dialogue, what seems to have led up to this scene is the officer insisting that Dorscht threatened to shoot him. (Exactly what defensive end-game the officer saw in grabbing hold of and refusing to let go the kid is unclear.) Dorscht insists he merely threatened to "sue" the off-duty cop, and was verbally engaging him to begin with because he alleges the off-duty officer had yelled at a young girl on his lawn, calling her a "cunt." [UPDATE: Here's more video, which I had seen and which fed into my understanding of the incident, starting before the one above does, showing that the off-duty officer's capturing of Dorscht began before the action of this video, though who said what to who is still from prior to this videoed account.] Starting at around 2:05 in the version of the video embedded above, after minutes of the off-duty officer grappling with and dragging Dorscht around, one of the other kids watching the scene tries to tackle the off-duty officer. A few seconds after that the officer pulls out his gun and fires it. Amazingly, no one is hurt. There are a lot of kids milling about the whole situation. Even after firing his gun, the officer continues to physically detain Dorscht, though the video is now understandably being shot from farther away, what with the gun being fired by the maniac. Around five minutes in to the video more police arrive, and all the kids in the area are forced to sit down, see around 5:45 in the video. When the police begin interacting with Dorscht, it is the 13-year-old who appears to be forced to the ground by police, see starting around 7:45 in the video. The man doing the assaulting, kidnapping, and firing of a gun is never seen to be manhandled or detained at all, merely carrying on a conversation with a uniformed officer after a very perfunctory pat around 6:45 in the video. As OC Weekly reports: Anaheim police finally arrived to detain Christian and his friends. He was booked at Orange County Juvenile Hall for criminal threats and battery. Police arrested a 15-year-old for assault and battery before releasing him to his parents.... As for the off-duty cop? Anaheim's finest declined to arrest him. The LAPD is conducting an internal affairs investigation into his conduct. APD's Homicide Unit is looking into the circumstances surrounding the single gunshot. According to later reporting from local CBS-TV 8, the unnamed LAPD officer is on administrative leave now. That report also says that Anaheim cops found no evidence that the guy who had assaulted and kidnapped a 13-year-old and shot a gun near a crowd of kids had done anything worth an arrest, alt[...]



"Your Papers Please" Becomes Harsh Reality for Passengers on Domestic San Francisco to New York Flight

2017-02-23T20:25:00-05:00

Customs and Border Protection (CPB) agents who claim they were looking for an unnamed person they thought might be aboard a flight who has been "ordered removed by an immigration judge" insisted upon seeing identity documents of every passenger on a fully domestic Delta flight (Flight 1583) from San Francisco to New York's JFK Airport on deplaning yesterday.

(image)

Rolling Stone has a report, after some of the victimized citizen passengers tweeted about their bizarre and un-American situation.

Although a CPB spokesman insisted to Rolling Stone that this sort of thing is "nothing new," they were unable to offer any actual statutory authority for these border agents to harass citizens on a purely domestic flight.

What they offered Stone was 19 C.F.R. 162.6, containing the statement that "All persons, baggage and merchandise arriving in the Customs territory of the United States from places outside thereof are liable to inspection by a CBP officer." and "CBP has the authority to collect passenger name record information on all travelers entering or leaving the United States."

That does not, of course, apply in any way to this unjust and seemingly illegal harassment of American citizens leaving a plane that started in and landed in the United States.

Officious agents blocking the free movement of a free people with requests for "your papers" were understood in the old, somewhat real America as the depth of tyranny. Just another day now in the war against people who crossed a border illegally though. Never forget: a war on undocumented immigrants by necessity is a war on all of our freedoms of association and movement.




Fake News: Finally Somebody Is Doing Something About It!

2017-02-23T18:00:00-05:00

(image) The world is awash in disinformation being peddling by the "opposition" - uh, journalists. Surely it is past time for a steady hand to dispassionately evaluate "stories" appearing on websites, in newspapers and broadcasts. Fortunately, under the gloriously firm leadership of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Russian Foreign Ministry has bravely stepped forward to shoulder this onerous task. Foreign Ministry disinformation specialists (after all, they should know fake news when they see it) will daily comb the internet for stories that fail to provide the appropriate "alternate facts." Such stories will be identified on the Foreign Ministry's Fake News website with a bright red "Fake News" label. The label is helpfully in English. Readers no longer have to figure out what's real for themselves anymore: The Russian government will do it for them!

According to Engadget, so far the the vigilant watchdogs at the Foreign Ministry have ...

...only attacked outlets in the US and the UK like the New York Times, Bloomberg, the Telegraph, NBC News and the Santa Monica Observer. As the ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova explained to the government's own state-run RIA Novosti news agency, the site is intended to prevent the sharing of articles it believes are inaccurate.

"Here we will make an example of such propaganda dumped by various media outlets, providing links to their sources, and so on," Zakharova said. The site does not, however, explain why Russia's foreign ministry believes the articles are incorrect, it only provides the cryptic message "This material contains data, not corresponding to the truth" and a link to the original article.

In its report on the new Russian information initiative, The New York Times noted: "Seemingly borrowing a practice from President Trump, Russia appears to be labeling as fake any articles it dislikes." Surely that story is just ripe for a big red stamp!




Funding for Public Broadcasting Is Just 0.01 Percent of the Federal Budget. It Should Still Be Eliminated.

2017-02-23T17:43:00-05:00

About 70 percent of federal funding for public broadcasting goes to subsidize the operations of about 1400 local radio and television stations that primarily just rebroadcast national programs to their surrounding communities. The money isn't primarily going to programming, which is why slogans like "Save Big Bird!" miss the point. If the Trump administration were to eliminate federal funding for public broadcasting, shows like Frontline, Nature, All Things Considered, and Fresh Air would survive. (As would America's favorite 8-foot yellow canary, who recently migrated to HBO anyway.) These 1400 stations—a vast, taxpayer-supported distribution network—are becoming increasingly unnecessary now that viewers like you can access NPR and PBS programming through the internet. As I argued in a recent video, federal funding is actually making it harder for PBS, NPR, and their affiliated content producers to fully embrace the Netflix-like approach to distribution that would best serve their audiences. Those who truly love Big Bird (and don't want to see PBS further cannibalized by media organizations with more robust revenue models) should favor eliminating federal funding. A common argument in favor of the status quo is that the $445 million devoted to public broadcasting amounts to just 0.01 percent of a $4 trillion federal budget. But just because something's comparatively cheap doesn't mean it's worth buying year after year. Writing for the Nieman Journalism Lab, Nicholas Quah makes an even weaker case for maintaining government support for public broadcasting. "Epstein may well be right that pulling federal funding might lead to more efficient and innovative outcomes," Quah writes in reference to my video. The problem is that "evolution necessarily yields losers:" [The argument] never really fully reckons with and takes responsibility of the human cost of the resulting layoffs, the organizational complexity attached to structural transitions, and the simple fact that evolution necessarily yields losers — which is fine if we're talking about markets distributing doorknobs, but totally sucks for markets distributing public goods like civic-oriented news, emergency signals, and supplemental forms of public education. Look, I'm as critical about the public broadcasting system's predisposition for inertia and its many, many, many problems as the next guy, but I'd much rather see a transition to the future that takes place under conditions of strength and volition, not one under unnecessary duress and survival. First of all, the local stations wouldn't disappear all at once without federal funding. Revenue and cost-savings through the recent FCC spectrum sale could keep even poorer rural stations up and running for years. And yet this "transition to the future," as Quah puts it, would eventually cause most to shut down, leading to some "duress." Quah should familiarize himself with one of capitalism's foundational theories, Joseph Schumpeter's concept of "creative destruction," which holds that the market process that brings an ever rising standard of living inevitably leaves some people worse off. The takeaway from Quah's piece: The case for maintaining federal funding for public broadcasting is to save—not Big Bird—but the jobs of the people who work in the industry. Watch "Why Government Funding Hurts PBS and NPR:" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/TYPEn5ehrsQ" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height[...]



Ted Cruz: Republicans Have to Support Asset Forfeiture Reform

2017-02-23T16:55:00-05:00

(image) Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) spoke to CPAC attendees after his speech. Asked by Reason about whether he would back criminal justice reform this Congressional session, Cruz explained that Democrats "lost" him on reform with their "focus" on violent criminal offenders. Cruz said he was on board for reforms for non-violent offenders, but that in his career he had seen too many violent offenders to back such more comprehensive reform.

Asked specifically about asset forfeiture reform, Cruz stressed that it was a "property rights issue" and so Republicans ought to support it. President Trump briefly brought asset forfeiture reform to the forefront of the news cycle two weeks ago at a "listening session" with law enforcement officials from the border area, when he off-handedly offered to destroy the career of a Texas state senator whose asset forfeiture reform efforts a Texas sheriff complained about. One senator who he may have meant, Republican Konni Burton, a leading advocate of asset forfeiture reform in the state senate, said she wouldn't let Trump's comments discourage her.

In recent years, Republicans have taken the lead on asset forfeiture reform, helping to pressure the Justice Department to reel back some of its participation with local agencies on forfeiture.

Despite Trump creating the opening for asset forfeiture to enter the public discourse just as the Senate considered asset forfeiture advocate Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Democrats and pro-reform Republicans like Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul did not draw attention to Sessions' opposition to asset forfeiture reform and the disconnect between that and not only popular opinion but also trends within the Republican party.

Check out Reason TV on asset forfeiture reform below:

src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Z7TxYFxDf8E" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0">




White House Expects ‘Greater Enforcement’ Against States That Legalized Recreational Marijuana

2017-02-23T16:35:00-05:00

(image) White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday that he expects to see "greater enforcement" of federal drug laws under President Trump's Justice Department in states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

During a White House press briefing, Spicer was asked what the Trump administration's policy would be on states that have legalized marijuana, placing them in conflict with federal law, where marijuana remains a Schedule I drug. Under President Obama, the Justice Department issued a memo in 2013 instructing U.S. Attorneys to take a mostly hands-off approach to recreational and medical marijuana in states that had legalized it.

"Well I think that's a question for the Department of Justice," Spicer replied. "I do believe you'll see greater enforcement of it. Because again there's a big difference between the medical use ... that's very different than the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into."

Spicer referenced opioid abuse and addiction while talking about the administration's opposition to recreational marijuana.

"There's two distinct issues here: medical marijuana and recreational marijuana," Spicer also said. "Medical marijuana, I've said before the president understands the pain and suffering many people go through who are facing terminal diseases, and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can give to them. That's something that Congress in 2011 put in an appropriations bill, saying the Department of Justice wouldn't be funded to go after those folks. There's a big difference between that and recreational marijuana, and I think when you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people. There is still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana."

Marijuana legalization advocates condemned the the comments, which appear to backtrack from Trump's statements on the campaign trail that marijuana legalization was a state issue.

"If the administration is looking for ways to become less popular, cracking down on voter-approved marijuana laws would be a great way to do it," Tom Angell, the chairman of Marijuana Majority, said in a statement. "On the campaign trail, President Trump clearly and repeatedly pledged that he would leave decisions on cannabis policy to the states. With a clear and growing majority of the country now supporting legalization, reneging on his promises would be a political disaster and huge distraction from the rest of the president's agenda."

The Justice Department declined to comment.




CPAC Opens and Boots Spencer, Trump Vs. Mexico (Some More), DOJ May Target States That Legalized Pot: P.M. Links

2017-02-23T16:30:00-05:00

  • (image) The Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) has begun! Scroll down to read coverage from Reason writers in attendance. Alt-right leader Richard Spencer was ejected from attending CPAC. The executive director of CPAC called Spencer and his nationalist movement a "left-wing fascist group."
  • At a press conference today, White House spokesman Sean Spicer said the Department of Justice may engage in enforcement of the federal ban against marijuana in states that have legalized recreational use.
  • If the feud between President Donald Trump and the leadership of Mexico prompts Mexican officials to consider legalizing drugs south of the border, what exactly should we make of that outcome?
  • Department of Homeland Security head John Kelley told Mexican officials Thursday there would not be any "mass deportations" under Trump.
  • The Trump administration may have rescinded the letters from President Barack Obama's administration calling for public schools to accommodate transgender students in bathrooms and other facilities, but the transgender teen behind a case to be heard by the Supreme Court in March is going to continue pressing on.
  • Somebody in Indiana is holding a winning $435 million Powerball lottery ticket.
  • After nearly five years, the City of San Bernardino, California, may finally navigate its way out of bankruptcy.

Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and don't forget to sign up for Reason's daily updates for more content.




Police, Criminal Justice, and the Millennial Vote

2017-02-23T16:00:00-05:00

src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/X-mVsDDJSx8" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0">

"We often focus a lot of attention on these big racial gaps and confidence towards the police: how well they do their jobs, are they accountable, do they use too much force. What the polling data suggests is that people are far more unified when it comes to what the police should be doing." says Cato Director of Polling Emily Ekins, author of Policing in America: Understanding Public Attitudes Toward the Police.

"For instance, we asked people what they thought the top priorities of the police should be, and across racial groups and partisan groups it was the same. It was fighting violent crime, protecting you from being a victim of violent crime, and fighting property crime like robbery. The drug war was very low on that list."

Reason TV's Nick Gillespie sat down with Ekins at the International Students for Liberty Conference to discuss public opinion toward the police, criminal justice reform, and the millennial vote.

Produced by Joshua Swain. Cameras by Mark McDaniel and Todd Krainin.

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Trump's Deportation Memos Will Give the Joe Arpaios of America Free Rein to Terrorize Immigrants

2017-02-23T15:00:00-05:00

The Department of Homeland Security's so-called deportation memos this week implementing President Trump's executive orders to eject unauthorized aliens in the country didn't, after all, enlist the National Guard to conduct mass deportations or even require the creation of a special federal deportation force, as many had feared. They actually do something far more insidious and hideous: They empower thousands of potential Joe Arpaios around the country to terrorize Latino communities. Arapio, readers will recall, is the former Arizona sheriff whose harsh tactics to hunt down, detain and eject undocumented Latinos—including forcing a detained Latino woman to deliver a baby in shackles -- earned him nation-wide notoriety. But Trump touted his endorsement as a badge of honor repeatedly during the campaign. Arpaio went down to an ignominious defeat, losing his seat by double digits in the last election. But the DHS memos now hand him a huge victory—and a blow to a decent, humane and rational immigration policy. Study after study has shown that immigrants, including the undocumented variety, are far less crime prone than the native born. Between 1990 and 2013, the foreign-born share of the U.S. population rose from 7.9 percent to 13.1 percent and the number of unauthorized tripled from 3.5 million to 11.2 million. What happened to crime in this country? Violent crime went down by nearly 50 percent. And property crime fell by 41 percent. In immigrant gateway cities such as El Paso, San Antonio, Austin, San Diego, crime has diminished as the unauthorized population has risen. Indeed, the 2010 American Community Survey found that the incarceration rate of the native-born 1980, 1990 and 2000 was two to five times higher than that of immigrants overall. And what about compared to less-educated aliens, many of whom are undocumented? In 2010, 18-39 year-old native-borns had an incarceration rate of 10.7 percent – three times more than foreign-born Mexicans, and five times more than Salvadaron and Guatemalan, many of whom are undocumented. And the undocumented incarceration rates are so low despite the fact that between 2000 and 2010, thanks to the post 9-11 hysteria, more immigrants were thrown into jail for ever more minor immigration-related, a 2015 American Immigration Council study by Walter Ewing and others points out. (For example, illegal reentry was reclassified as a criminal – as opposed to a civil – offense worthy of imprisonment before deportation.) Given this backdrop, in a remotely rational world, law enforcement resources would be refocused away from immigrants to those who pose an actual threat. But not in Trump's America where a head is in even greater short supply than a heart. The DHS memos state that the agency will prioritize the removal of "dangerous" undocumented criminal aliens. But there are not too many of those left given that Obama already expelled 2.5 million illegals, starting with the hardened criminals and then moving up to ever more minor transgressors in order to use up all the deportation dollars that Congress had thrown his way. (In fact, not only had Congress authorized dollars exclusively for the deportation of 450,000 aliens annually but also mandated that 34,000 detention beds be filled every day. Every. Single. Day.) So in order to meet Trump's am[...]



When Did WW3 Start? Let's Talk About Sanctuary Cities and the Radical Left Instead

2017-02-23T14:35:00-05:00

"When did World War 3 start?" asked an afternoon CPAC panel featuring Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke. He was relevant because the panel was the first of two on WW3. Today's was on "the threat at home" and tomorrow will be "the threat abroad." The panel didn't turn out that way. "How many people feel scared?" panel moderator Ginni Thomas of the Daily Caller asked the audience at the beginning of the panel. "Can I get an amen?" Security, she noted, was a primary reason many people vote. Clarke spoke first because, according to Thomas, he had the most Twitter followers, which was how Thomas determined the order. Clarke focused mostly on sanctuary cities and border security, saying the time had come to begin to "aggressively enforce the rule of law in America." "Sanctuary cities are havens for criminals," Clarke insisted, ignoring the history of sanctuary cities as a policy supported by law enforcement to secure the cooperation of illegal immigrants in criminal investigations. Clarke never got around to explaining how illegal immigration connected to WW3. He did not bring up, for example, overblown claims popular in the right-wing echo chamber about terrorist fighters crossing in from Mexico. Instead, Clarke suggested prosecuting one mayor for the sanctuary city policy, saying that would have a chilling effect on other sanctuary city officials. The second panelist, New Zealand author Trevor Loudon, led with the WW3 hook. "WW3 started about 1400 years ago, and it got a big boost during the Bolshevik revolution," Lauden suggested, because of Islamists and communists. He went on to praise the U.S. for defending freedom in the South Pacific during World War 2. The U.S. "keeps all of the world stable and all of the world free," Loudon insisted, repeating tired talking points about Barack Obama's foreign policy aiding U.S. enemies and hurting U.S. allies, a strange point to hold on to during the nascent Trump administration, given President Trump's willingness to talk tough to traditional U.S. allies like Australia or NATO. Loudon pivoted to the "radical left" plan to undermine America, tying anti-Trump protests to that effort. He called on attendees to support Trump through social media if they "cared about America," saying the medium made it possible to combat all kinds of radicals. Former CIA employee Claire Lopez, of the Center for Security Policy, spoke third, talking about "civilization jihad." "We are not fighting terrorism," Lopez insisted, "we are fighting the forces of Islamic jihad and sharia." She insisted the U.S. was fighting for individual liberty, equality for all, human dignity, and the consent of the governed, saying those concepts were "anathema and even blasphemy" for Islamists. Fears over sharia law, however, are anathema to some of the ideals Lopez herself said the U.S. fought for. It went downhill from there. Lopez claimed, without providing any specifics, that the government and national security apparatus, and even local law enforcement, were "deeply penetrated" by the Muslim Brotherhood, a common right-wing bugaboo. The last speaker was acting Federal Trade Commissioner Maureen Olhausen. How did she fit into the theme of World War 3? She came to speak about intellectual property and warn about the effort to "devalue" intellectual proper[...]



CPAC Offers Utterly Uninspiring Vision for Millennials

2017-02-23T14:18:00-05:00

The one millennial-focused panel on the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) main-stage Thursday was titled "FREE stuff vs FREE-dom: Millennials' Love Affair with Bernie Sanders?" It got worse from there. While the panelists—only one of whom was a millennial—had a lot to say against socialism of the Venezuelan or Sanders sort, they failed to so much as mention the socialist tendencies rising in their own ranks. The Donald Trump administration, Trump voters, and the "alt right" have all expressed support for socialism-lite policies, from trade restrictions to mandated maternal leave. Why the new "conservatism" looks so much like the old socialism might have made for an interesting conversation, but instead we heard the same tired tirades about Obamacare and socialized medicine, ignorant kids lionizing Che Guevara, the Marxism found in academia, and how Democrats are "normalizing socialism." When asked why young people might express nominal support for socialism, only Florida state Rep. Ron DeSantis offered any structural critique, citing the economic mess millennials inherited as one not-ridiculous reason they might be wary of capitalism. For the other panelists—Ana Quintana of the Heritage Institute, Greg Dolin of the American Conservative Union Foundation, and Mercedes Schlapp of The Washington Times—it was simply a sign that millennials "have absolutely no concept of reality," as Quintana put it. Asked what might bring Bernie-loving millennials around to Republicans or capitalism, the panelists continued to bash Democratic policies such as the Affordable Care Act and the socialist policies that wrecked Venezuela. But they still failed to offer any positive visions of their own. It served as a stark reminder why the Republican Party does so dismally with young folks—in polls, just around 20 percent of millennials tend to identify as Republican—and why provocateurs such as Milo Yiannopolous and others of his ilk are able to command such a share of young, right-of-center attention. For all the things establishment conservatives think millennials should be against, they have a hard time articulating what young people should be for, how that relates to the Republican Party, and how conservatism and capitalism can help young people accomplish the things that they think big government is needed for. Meanwhile, at CPAC's millennial session, the panelists pondered instead how to make millennials more patriotic. They concluded that it might help them to visit Washington monuments and the Arlington Cemetery. When policy ideas and politics fail, there are always dead soldiers, I guess. For more on millennials, socialism, and capitalism, see: Millennials Hate Capitalism Almost As Much as They Hate Socialism Rise of the Hipster Capitalist Generation Safe Space Is Having Less Sex: Thanks A Lot, Capitalism. (Seriously, Thanks.) src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Xmce6YTu2ms" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" width="560" height="340" frameborder="0"> [...]