Smiley's book is based on historical reality and at the time of both the beginning of this warm period and its end there were no significant amounts of man made carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere. Yet, climate change with profound consequences occurred and not for the first time in the earth’s history. These periodic shifts in global temperature could have had their origin in any number of phenomenon. Perhaps, small variations in our planet’s orbit, sunspot activity, or alterations in background cosmic radiation effecting cloud cover caused these changes. Moreover, one thing is certain, the climate did not turn back then because people switched from driving gas guzzling SUVs to ethanol powered or electric cars.
In order to believe in Global Warming, and Global Warming is not just about whether it is getting warmer it is about why it is getting warmer, you must believe that the factors which changed the climate in past centuries are not relevant today. This is contrary to the scientific method which requires you to prove your hypothesis by seeking the null. Those calling for action on human induced global warming have not fulfilled this responsibility. Before they start to take people’s jobs away from them, and make no mistake that is their ultimate objective, they need to prove that the present climate change is not caused by orbital variation, sunspots, or cosmic radiation. It is unscientific and immoral for them to be pursuing solutions, to something that more than likely is not causing the problem, irregardless of the consequences to others.
In a piece describing his ambivalence about the idea that climate change is a product of human activity, Sheldon Richman lists some “environmental nightmare scenarios” of dubious value such as overpopulation panic and predictions of resource exhaustion. He then argues, “But a series of bad predictions doesn't mean the latest environmental prediction is necessarily wrong. For one thing, atmospheric scientists who warn about climate change are not necessarily the same people who warned about overpopulation and resource depletion.” However, many of these same atmospheric scientists did tell us, not so long ago, that human released carbon dioxide would cause a new ice age.
This line of argument favoring cannabis prohibition ran into serious trouble when New York City Mayor Fiorella LaGuardia decided to form a committee of experts to study the effects of marijuana use. The body issued a report in 1944 which authoritatively disavowed the notion that cannabis use caused violent behavior or insanity. The government then began to argue that though marijuana use itself might not be so bad the real problem lay in the fact that the drug caused its users to crave more powerful and dangerous drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. Thus the “stepping stone” or “gateway” theory became the primary pillar of support for the illegality of marijuana. They made this case despite the fact that Harry Anslinger, long time head of the Bureau of Narcotics and the nation’s leading authority on drug use, specifically denied the validity of the theory in 1937 during testimony before Congress.
The “stepping stone” or “gateway” theory lost much of its power in the 1960s when a dramatic rise in the number of cannabis users failed to engender a similar rise in the users of the drugs it was supposed to lead to. However, supporters of continuing the ban on marijuana quickly came up with a new reason, amotivational syndrome. They asserted that marijuana crippled its consumers by causing them to become apathetic and uninterested in anything other than getting high. Pot smokers, like the Irish, Blacks, Italians, and Mexicans had been before them, were labeled as being lazy and worthless. Yet, when the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse released their first report Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding in 1972 they maintained that "The most notable statement that can be made about the vast majority of marihuana users - experimenters and intermittent users - is that they are essentially indistinguishable from their non-marihuana using peers by any fundamental criterion other than their marihuana use."
At the present time the principle arguments for marijuana prohibition consist of the residue of the previously discredited reasons as well as a frantic search for some kind of medical justification. This quest to prove cannabis harmful to health has reached a new level of absurdity with a study highlighted on the website World Science. Referring to researchers at Tel Aviv University studying marijuana the article reports that “In hefty doses, they argue, its active ingredient may protect the brain against various types of damage, whereas in tiny doses, harmful effects would come through.” Yosef Sarne and his colleagues reached their conclusion, published in the November 6th issue of the research journal Neuroscience Letters, the World Science piece states, by injecting ”mice with THC doses that they said were some 1,000 times lower than what humans would get from smoking a joint, taking into account body weight. The treatment significantly worsened the rodents’ performance on maze tests three weeks later, compared to untreated mice, they wrote.”
This study has three major problems that are often found in research claiming to prove that marijuana consumption is harmful to human beings. First they did not test the effects of marijuana instead they studied the effects of THC and the two are not the same thing. There are hundreds of little understood active ingredients in smoked cannabis and the Israeli scientists ignored this fact and therefore failed to take into account any influence these might have had on the outcome. Secondly, they tested rodents not people and again there is no real equivalency with this method. Lastly, consumption of marijuana that is the same as a thousandth of a normal joint simply is not going to happen in real life. Even one hit would be in the neighborhood of a tenth to a twentieth of a dose.
These researchers have told us absolutely nothing about cannabis use here and they revealed their bias in a previous work featured in Medical Hypotheses (2004) 63, 187-192 when they contended that ”Cannabinoids are the most widely used drugs of abuse” thereby equating use with abuse. Studies touting the negative effects of marijuana hardly ever are about real people using real marijuana in real situations and this one is no exception.
Hat Tip Ian Goddard
Cross Posted on the Trebach Report
The study tested two groups, infrequent cannabis users and regular users of cannabis matched for other factors such as age, gender, alcohol use, and other drug use. They were given both alcohol and placebo then tested on a standard computerized tracking system used to evaluate various drugs effect on driving ability. The participants were required to track a moving target while a variety of distractions appeared on the screen. Both groups performed much better on the placebo as opposed to alcohol.
Conventional wisdom holds that impairment would be increased in the regular users, “but alcohol caused a significant deterioration in performance among infrequent cannabis users relative to regular users.” The investigation concluded: “For psychomotor skills relevant to driving, chronic cannabis use (in the absence of acute administration) does not potentiate the effects of alcohol. In fact, the superior tracking accuracy of regular users relative to infrequent users after alcohol, and their lower scores for dizziness, suggest that chronic cannabis use may instead confer cross-tolerance to specific effects of alcohol on behaviour.”
Secondly, there is work done at Middlesex Polytechnic also looking at the cannabis drinking combination. Both marijuana smokers and nonsmokers were matched for alcohol use and then had their peripheral vision, an essential driving skill, tested. The authors discovered that the “cannabis users were less impaired in peripheral signal detection than non-users while intoxicated by cannabis and/or alcohol” and deduced that the “findings suggest the development of tolerance and cross-tolerance in regular cannabis users and/or the ability to compensate for intoxication effects.”
Cross posted on the Trebach Report
I am interested in learning more about Senator Hagel. What little I do know about him suggests he has potential. Now, you are saying that he is a social conservative, so the key question for me is does he know the difference between advocating legalization of drugs and advocating the use of drugs?
I believe that drug prohibition is by far and away the worst aspect of our present public policy. The evidence is overwhelming that the illegality of drugs has a plethora of both intended and unintended negative consequences with virtually nothing positive to balance them out. The policy simply does not do what it supposed to do, keep people from using certain kinds of drugs. In addition, the governmental goal of keeping individuals from using the proscribed substances is not nearly as worthy a cause as those who support and very often benefit by prohibition would have you think.
A government that respects the liberty and rights of its people and the prohibition of drugs are totally incompatible. So, if the Senator is not willing to keep an open mind on this issue and learn from people other than self-interested bureaucrats or hysterical parents groups then I can not support him.
A second corollary question concerns whether or not Senator Hagel is intelligent enough to recognize that raising the question of drug policy, making the irresistible case, both practical and moral, that is available to him, and achieving real change will not only make him President but also an American hero.
I went into the theater with extremely high anticipation having viewed television clips of Borat such this one and the fact that the film review site Rotten Tomatoes gave it an astronomical 96% favorable rating. Not only did the movie far exceed my expectations as to how humorous it would be, it had other virtues too. The music for various scenes was very well chosen enhancing the experience and the visuals were sometimes quite stunning, especially the parts in his home country. In addition, behind the laughter there is some perceptive social commentary going on. Sure, there is a character on screen spouting some of the most vile anti-Semitism ever heard but this same character also washes his face in the hotel room toilet.
Maybe you are a little depressed about the senseless deaths and maiming of our soldiers in Iraq, not to mention the public money pouring down that particular rat hole at such an alarming rate. Perhaps the fact that very few people seem to care that war on people who use certain kinds drugs continues to eat away at everything we hold of value as Americans has got you down. Certainly, the substitution of despicable and deceptive personal attack for reasoned discourse on the issues by so many candidates running in the upcoming election would discourage anyone. If you are having any such feelings going to see Borat could lighten your mood considerably, at least until you read the next morning’s paper.
Olbermann correctly points out that when you consider Kerry’s remarks in context it is very clear that the barb is aimed at the President and not the soldiers. Also, he goes well beyond this one incident in criticizing the mendacity of the current administration. I believe that George W. Bush is far and away the worst president of my lifetime. In his piece Keith Olbermann offers strong and comprehensive support for that opinion.
As Milloy describes it the two scientists “hypothesized that cosmic rays from space influence the Earth's climate by effecting cloud formation in the lower atmosphere. Their hypothesis was based on a strong correlation between levels of cosmic radiation and cloud cover -- that is, the greater the cosmic radiation, the greater the cloud cover. Clouds cool the Earth's climate by reflecting about 20 percent of incoming solar radiation back into space. The hypothesis was potentially significant because during the 20th century, the influx of cosmic rays was reduced by a doubling of the Sun's magnetic field, which shields the Earth from cosmic rays. According to the hypothesis, then, less cosmic radiation would mean less cloud formation and, ultimately, warmer temperatures -- precisely what was observed during the 20th century.”
The policy implications of Svensmark and Friis-Christensen’s research are tremendous, however, as Milloy observes so far the mainstream media seems to be profoundly uninterested.
During the broadcast Krane handled himself very well giving one of the best television performances by a drug reformer that I have ever seen. He managed to get the last word in deftly pointing out that his opponent had no medical or drug use expertise but rather was an MBA seeking only to make his business more profitable. Also, on the program Duchatschek contended that if it is properly introduced “kids should feel no more uncomfortable about taking a home drug test than parents feel when they go to take a drug test at a job or to get a job.”
For a kid who knows anything about drug testing this would, indeed, be a very high level of discomfort. Marilyn Vos Savant, reputed to be one of the world’s most intelligent persons,addressed the subject in her Parade Magazine column when Charles Feinstein a Ph.D. at Santa Clara University asked “A particularly interesting and important question today is that of testing for drugs. Suppose it is assumed that about 5% of the general population uses drugs. You employ a test that is 95% accurate, which we’ll say means that if individual is a user, the test will be positive 95% of the time, and if the individual is a nonuser, the test will be negative 95% of the time. A person is selected at random and given the test. It’s positive. What does such a result suggest? Would you conclude that the individual is highly likely to be a drug user?
She replied that “Given your conditions, once the person has tested positive, you may as well flip a coin to determine whether he or she is a drug user. The chances are only 50-50. (The assumptions, the makeup of the test group and the true accuracy of the tests themselves are additional considerations.) This is just the sort of common misunderstanding that should give great pause to those who will make the decisions about testing.”
And, as Ms Vos Savant suggests the 95% accuracy postulate may be overly generous. DRUG-TESTING-solutions.net quotes an April 1992 article which appeared in Personnel Journal as saying "Only 85 of the estimated 1,200 laboratories in the United States currently testing urine for drugs meet federal standards for accuracy, qualified lab personnel, and proper documentation and record-keeping procedures. Because private companies are not required to use certified drug testing labs, workers are being asked to put their job security in the hands of a drug test that has insufficient quality controls." Now add in the fact the overwhelming majority of parents will have no experience administering home drug tests and we can see that the potential for unjustly accused teens and their concurrent resentment, perhaps even hatred, of their parents is enormous. In addition, consider the plight of the teen that tries a particular drug and decides that he or she does not like it and will not use it again who, the next day, is greeted at the door by mom and dad with their newly purchased drug testing kit.
However, during the Fox News story the interviewer asked the SSDP spokesperson if the threat of teen drug use was not so severe that other considerations had to take a back seat. Krane replied that medical authorities like the American Academy of Pediatrics basing their judgment on studies such as one conducted by Children's Hospital Boston would answer no and were strongly against home drug testing.
In fact, drug testing is a stark admission that the negative pharmacological effects of drug use are highly exaggerated by those who benefit by keeping certain drugs illegal (see Jacob Sullum’s Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use). The reason urine or hair has to be tested is because generally you can’t tell who is or is not using by the way they act. People who lose their jobs or run afoul of the law because of drug use have committed status violations not behavioral ones. In his book Drug Warriors and Their Prey: From Police Power to Police State Richard Lawrence Miller correctly asserts that “If drug use typically caused employees to become unsatisfactory, drug testing would be unnecessary: an incompetent worker can be disciplined or fired regardless of drug use. The purpose of workplace drug testing is to target satisfactory employees for punishment. The purpose is to identify ordinary people who can be victimized. Urine tests fulfill the same function that the yellow star did for Jews in Nazi Germany, identifying them for ostracism because nothing about their appearance or behavior differed from that of other ordinary people.”Cross Posted on The Trebach Report
A good example of this can be seen in recent reporting about problems within the Federal Air Marshal Service. An article in the Christian Science Monitor points out that the organization’s goal is to cover a mere 3% of the 25,000 – 30,000 commercial flights taking place on a daily basis. The piece then cites several sources as contending “that goal is rarely reached because there aren't enough marshals.” The author, Alexandra Marks, also tells us that prior to 9/11 only 33 active marshals were at work.
The number of working marshals had greatly increased since then but the Washington Timeshas reported that lately the chances of any one flight being protected are rapidly diminishing. The story informs the reader that “the size of the federal air marshal force has been cut in half by on-the-job injuries that have sidelined nearly 2,100 marshals.” These health problems are related to the marshal’s intense flying schedule and include ruptured ear drums, sinus conditions, and deep vein thrombosis. The paper quotes a memo from the Charlotte, N.C., field office stating that it was “experiencing a large amount of missed missions due to federal air marshals calling in sick and medical groundings by physicians.” The communication also asserted that “these groundings all have a commonality of being directly related to our current flight schedules." At present air marshals average four flights a day for five consecutive days.
Clearly the solution to the health problems and miniscule number of covered flights is to hire considerably more air marshals. Now, if you ask someone in government why this is not being done they will invariably mention budget constraints. However, Harvard economist Jeffery Miron has produced a report showing how a change in policy could fill the skies with healthy professional protectors. In his analysis of the costs of marijuana prohibition he concludes that the federal government could annually save 2.4 billion dollars in enforcement costs and generate up to 6.2 billion dollars in tax revenue if it legalized marijuana. How many air marshals could the service hire with 8.6 billion?
Cross posted on the Trebach Report
However, recently, in the case of marijuana the rationale of protecting youth as an excuse for all kinds of wasteful and tyrannical behavior on the part of the state has received two devastating blows. A report released September seventh by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP)reveals that, “Nine years after the passage of the nation’s first state medical marijuana law, California’s Prop. 215, a considerable body of data shows that no state with a medical marijuana law has experienced an increase in youth marijuana use since their law’s enactment. All have reported overall decreases of more than the national average decrease — exceeding 50% in some age groups — strongly suggesting that enactment of state medical marijuana laws does not increase teen marijuana use.”
Meanwhile in January of 2004 Great Britain reclassified marijuana from a scheduled Class B drug to a Class C one. This means that generally people in possession of personal use amounts of marijuana are no longer arrested. And, suprise suprise, survey data published by the United Kingdom's Department of Health shows results the exact opposite of those prohibitionists argued would occur with regard to use by young persons. The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) looking at the latest data reports that, “The Department found that the number of young people who admitted having consumed cannabis in the past year fell from 13 percent to 11 percent in 2004 - the first reported dip in four years.”
I wonder, though, if Bob Barr realizes that the current impulse for more government control of the food supply is in fact a mere extension of the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs? The arguments for restricting food choices are philosophically exactly the same as those for restricting drug choices. It is worth mentioning that after the passage of the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act one of the first things the Bureau of Chemistry head, Harvey Wiley, did was to unilaterally prohibit coca as a food additive. The result, a myriad of harmless products were denied to the people that had enjoyed them.
In a column for yesterday's Washington Times titled "Stethoscope Socialism" Deroy Murdock provided some enlightening comparisons between bureaucrat controlled systems and the relatively free market structure we still have in America. He also pointed out that "Unlike America's imperfect but more market-driven health-care industry, nationalized systems usually divide patients and caregivers. In America, patients and doctors often make medical decisions and thus demand the best-available diagnostic tools, procedures and drugs. Affordability obviously plays its part, but the fact that most Americans either pay for themselves or carry various levels of insurance guarantees a market whose profits reward medical innovators. Under socialized medicine, public officials administer a single budget and usually ration care among a population whose sole choice is to take whatever therapies the state monopoly provides. Medicrats often distribute resources based on politics rather than science."
Now some argue that a government controlled system would be more fair. If you believe that then try the following thought experiment. After spending the politically agreed upon amount for world domination and graft here at home the government has only enough money left for one more operation. Both Hilary Clinton and Val who works the checkout line at the local supermarket desperately need this life saving procedure. Who do you think will get the treatment?
I submit that one of these other actions was Murkowski’s unwarranted attack on Alaska’s marijuana smokers. In 2004 the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that state constitution’s privacy provisions protected possession of up to four ounces of marijuana by private citizens for personal use. The governor made the recriminalization of marijuana one of his primary goals. Despite the facts that polling showed 56 percent of Alaskans supported the legality of the possession of small amounts of marijuana and that the state’s House of Representatives initially rejected anti-marijuana legislation Murkowski managed to steamroll a bill into law.
On June 2nd of this year he proudly signed the measure at the Woodland Park Boys and Girls Club touting its benefits for Alaska’s youth. Some viewed Murkowski’s pride of accomplishment as yet another sign of his arrogance. The Anchorage Daily News published a letter to the editor by Jolene Brown in which she asked “Why is this act such a sterling example of the governor's arrogance? Because by railroading that law through the Legislature and ultimately signing it, he showed contempt for the Legislature, the Alaska Supreme Court and most especially his constituency.” She also pointed out that in 1972 when the privacy amendment was added to the Alaska Constitution this action had the support of 86 percent of the voters.
In the beginning of July the governor’s crusade went for naught when Juneau Superior Court Judge Patricia Collins sided with the ACLU and struck down the new marijuana provisions. Michael Macleod-Ball, Executive Director of the ACLU of Alaska asserted that “Throughout this process – both before the Legislature and now in court – the battle has been to reject high pressure political tactics and preserve an individual’s right to keep the state out of one’s home in the absence of sufficient justification. Despite the state’s unfounded claims to the contrary, the best scientists in the country say that marijuana is no more dangerous today than in 1975. The state can’t create the justification for restricting a fundamental right out of whole cloth.”
While it is difficult to determine just how much of a role Murkowski’s anti-marijuana campaign played in his astonishingly poor showing at the polls, in light of his other voter alienating actions, it is clear, however, that it did not help. One can only hope that other politicians will take note.
Cross posted on The Trebach Report
The Washington Times ran a two thirds page advertisement, in their July 24th issue that contained, written in very small letters, on the bottom right the words “Office of National Drug Policy” because tax money paid for at least part of it. The ad gives out the website www.TheAntiDrug.com and its large type headline set off in a black box reads DRUGS, DEALERS, DANGER … JUST A CLICK AWAY. The next line says ARE YOU WATCHING YOUR TEENS ONLINE? Lastly, it ominously asks … WHO IS?
The communication is signed by the American Academy of Pediatrics, Cable in the Classroom, i-Safe, Inc., National Institute on Media and the Family, Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Partnership for a Drug–Free America, the Parent Teachers Association (PTA), and Web Wise Kids. It begins by warning that “The Internet unsupervised can be a world of temptation. Pushers peddling pills and make it yourself drug recipes. Dealers glorifying marijuana. Bogus ‘pharmacies’ filling orders without prescriptions. ‘Friends sending out text or instant messages about which parties have pot or alcohol.” Now back in the day I did not have any text or instant messaging because the internet had not been invented yet, however I do not recall any real difficulty finding those parties.
These organizations go on to contend that “With all the advantages they bring, these technologies, such as Web sites, blogs, spam and text messages, can all expose teens to threats like dangerous drugs and put them in contact with dealers or sexual predators.” Note the way they use dealers and sexual predators in the same sentence.
The message then moves to the necessity for parents to manage their teen’s internet use. The main body of the ad provides some, in my opinion, bad parenting advice on how to be as intrusive as possible into your teenage child’s life thereby straining what in most cases is an already delicate relationship. This guidance ends with the admonition to “Above all, don’t feel uncomfortable with these tactics. You can do it. You’re supposed to do it. Because you owe it to them.” The ONDCP puts this responsibility on parents because they themselves now lack the capability to control what American teens see or hear, although I am sure they are working on it.
In his essay The Political Economy of Fear Robert Higgs describes how government uses fear to get what it wants and he is never more on point than when talking about the war on people who use certain kinds drugs. The rhetoric and tactics of this ad are straight out of the 1920s and 1930s. Variations of the headline screaming danger and the innuendo that dealers and sexual stalkers inhabit the same space have been employed many times before.
Even the cast of characters is the same. An organization of doctors busily building what Thomas Szasz has labeled the therapeutic state, reform organizations highly exaggerating or in some cases creating the problem, self-interested government bureaucrats, and the PTA were all present from the beginning until now.
While the intention to frighten with this advertisement is obvious, let us not forget fear’s necessary handmaiden ignorance, something also promoted here. In the body of advice parents are told to “Be clear and consistent about what is off limits – including which Web sites, chat rooms, games or blogs – and how to handle information promoting drugs or sex. Discuss consequences for breaking these rules.” In his book The Great Drug War Arnold Trebach has a section in which tells how his advocacy of reform in the 1980s brought the oft repeated charge that he also advocated the use of drugs. Prohibitionists have always maintained that any criticism of their destructive policies was tantamount to promoting drug use.
Clearly, the ONDCP and friends are asking parents to keep their teenagers away from forums like The Trebach Report or Liberty and Power. They want the people most affected by their policies, because young people use drugs disproportionately to their numbers, to be ignorant of the consequences and record of failure associated with those laws.
Ironically, if the ONDCP has its way, teenaged eyes would also be denied the very website, www.washtimes.com, of the publication in which its ad appeared. In addition to the paid for parental advice The Washington Times also ran on the same day an editorial titled “Legalize drugs: Why draconian penalties are wrong” that also appeared online.
This excellent piece is by Terry Michael who runs a program to teach college journalism students about politics, and writes at www.terrymichael.net. In it he covers many aspects of the drug war including one powerfully discussed in Arnold Trebach’s new book Fatal Distraction: The War on Drugs in the Age of Islamic Terror. Michael echoes the book’s theme when he lists as a problem “Waste of treasury. When our resources should be directed at lawful attempts to keep dangerous politicized religious fanatics from entering our country, we spend tens of billions futilely trying to interdict chemicals, most of which, in moderation, are demonstrably no more harmful to the body than alcohol and tobacco.” This and Michaels other arguments are surely to be seen by the ONDCP as reasons for parents to put his internet presence, as well as this one, off limits. Therefore, if parents were to take the ad’s counsel seriously those most likely to fight and die in the war on terror are to be kept uninformed about the ways in which the war on people who use certain kinds of drugs makes, for no good reason, the other war more difficult and dangerous.
Someone much closer to the day-to-day reality of the restaurant business has written a letter to the editor of the Washington Examiner, which they printed in their 7/11 edition. “According to the recently released U.S. Surgeon General’s Report, ‘Evidence from peer-reviewed studies shows that smoke-free policies and regulations do not have an adverse economic impact on the hospitality industry.’ What I want to know is: When did Dr. Richard Carmona become an expert on the economic impact of smoking bans?
As executive director of the American Beverage Licensees —the nation’s largest trade association representing nearly 20,000 bars, restaurants, taverns and liquor stores — I have firsthand experience that tells me he’s wrong, peer-reviewed studies or not. Many of our members are small family businesses whose owners are hard-working, taxpaying Americans operating in a very competitive environment. We don’t claim to be scientists or epidemiologists, but we are experts on the business environment in the hospitality industry.
Across the country, alcohol beverage retailers have experienced revenue losses, job cuts and business closings due to smoking bans. Often these are businesses that have been passed down in the same family for generations. The science and the controversy all boil down to two simple questions: 1. Should adults be allowed to have a cigarette in an age-restricted venue? 2. Are adults capable of making a decision on whether or not they want to frequent a place where smoking is permitted? If Dr. Carmona or anyone else answers “No,” then secondhand smoke is the very least of America’s problems.
Harry Wiles Executive director, American Beverage Licensees”
Well, the anti-tobacco crowd will say that Mr. Wiles is a self interested liar but if these smoking bans are not in reality hurting business why would the laws be an issue for him and his clients. They are paying him to protect their interests and if the anti-smoking legislation has no bad impact then why even bring up the subject. I see no real motivation on the part of the restaurant business to falsify on this matter.
The other side, however, has a big incentive to fudge once again. They need to portray their activates as having no costs because if the public starts to think about the consequences, both monetary and otherwise, of the anti-smoking legislation it might notice that these baseless laws protect no one and harm our entire society, if only for their precedent.
Hat Tip to Dave Varney
I am now in the process of reading The New Dealers’ War: FDR and the War Within World War II by Thomas J. Fleming. This book is doing something I would have thought impossible, it is lowering my opinion of FDR even further.
While Craig Bolton may or may not be correct about there being only two overt incidents of opposition to the Nazis there certainly was a great deal of high level covert support for internal regime change including a very famous assassination attempt in East Prussia. According to Fleming Admiral Wilheim Canaris head of the German Military intelligence organization, the Abwehr, met secretly in Spain, during the summer of 1943, with the heads of American and British intelligence. They hammered out a peace plan which included a cease fire and the elimination of Hitler. Roosevelt rejected this offer refusing to negotiate with “these East German Junkers” and all other overtures from Germans yearning for the Nazis’ downfall.
In fact, when Roosevelt unexpectedly announced, against the opposition of Churchill and his own military commanders, that unconditional surrender was the only acceptable end to the war, he created a great obstacle for those Germans who wished Hitler gone and the carnage over. The policy proved to be a big unifier of the Hitler’s people. We can never know if some Allied encouragement and a different set of demands might have been enough for the success of Admiral Canaris and like minded Germans in their goal of ending the war sooner. However it is not unreasonable to say that FDR’s hatred and determination to punish may very well have cost tens of thousands of Americans their lives.
Well, the Supreme Court, with the help of its two new Bush appointees, has done it again and this time the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure has gone further by the board in the name of fighting drugs. The Orange County Register led off its editorial on the judgment this way; “In Hudson v. Michigan, handed down Thursday, the U.S. Supreme Court carved out yet another ‘drug war exception’ to the Fourth Amendment, which was written to protect Americans from unreasonable searches and seizures of their persons and homes.” In Hudson v Michigan the court allowed evidence obtained by the police in violation of the knock and announce rule to be used to convict someone of cocaine possession.
In his majority opinion, Justice Scalia demonstrated just how out of touch with reality that he is by saying, “we now have increasing evidence that police forces across the United States take the constitutional rights of citizens seriously. There have been ‘wide ranging reforms in the education, training, and supervision’ of police officers.”
Radley Balko of the Cato Institute (and Liberty and Power) has posted a scathing reply to Scalia where, after pointing out that a lot of the recent training referred to has been largely in paramilitary tactics, he writes, “Police aren't better trained at respecting civil liberties, they're better trained at finding ways to get around them. The ratcheting up of the drug war in the early 1980s has made police abuse of civil liberties routine.”
Such abuse by the police has become so rampant that an entire reform organization, Flex Your Rights, has come into being devoted solely to this issue. They know a great deal about the day to day practical respect that police show for individual rights and their man Scott Morgan in his reply to the Justice says, “Scalia’s fantasies aside, this ruling is actually a lot worse than many well-meaning observers might realize. Civil remedies against police in this context are virtually non-existent. By refusing to exclude evidence obtained in violation of the ‘knock and announce’ rule, the Court invites police to raid homes with increasingly indiscriminant ineptitude.” Lyle Denniston at SCOTUSblog also see some very troubling implications in the decision including the eventual demise of the “exclusionary rule” itself.
Now, I do not know if George Bush’s ultimate plan is to turn America into a totalitarian police state, though it certainly seems that way sometimes, but if that is his aim he has indeed installed two new Supreme Court Justices who seem more than willing to assist the project.
Cross Posted on The Trebach Report
Trebach's message to the Chinese about the American experience was really quite simple; "The drug prohibition laws in my country were enacted with the sincere hope and the promise that they would reduce crime and disease. The results have been just the opposite. The drug laws have produced more crime and more disease."
Over at The Trebach Report I have posted a short essay discussing the potential policy significance of this investigation.