Morning Links

Monday, September 20th, 2010

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57 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  qwints | 

    If only we all had the integrity of Alyssa Peterson, she might be alive today.

  2. #2 |  SJE | 

    Personally, I wondered about Alyssa Peterson’s suicide. Sure, suicides happen, but women very rarely use violent methods, like guns. Add the conservative Christian prohibition against suicide, and a woman who was in trouble for opposing torture, working in an environment where there were plenty of people engaged in torture and other nasty activities and you gotta ask: are you SURE its suicide? Like the guys in Gitmo who were extensively monitored but nevertheless hanged themselves with their hands tied behind their back?

  3. #3 |  Irving Washington | 

    Re.: Telling jurors about the sentence. Interesting idea, but it’s wholly inconsistent with your bifurcated trials argument. Jurors are prone to let preconceptions about the nature of crimes color their liability determinations. You tell them that the poor pot smoker might get rung up for 5 years if they find him guilty, yeah, they might let him go. You tell them that a child molester might not get more than 10 years because the State could only find evidence to support a certain indictment, they’re going to convict his ass and then tell the local paper that they we need to bring back hanging.

    What you’re really arguing for when you say that jurors need more information is jury nullification. Nullification is an indication that the legislature has screwed up, not the justice system. Better to fix the penal code than to let 12 random people write a new one.

  4. #4 |  paranoiastrksdp | 

    Rick Jones is retaliating against the people of Michigan for voting to re-legalize MMJ. Given all the potheads in the Wolverine state I don’t see it boding well for his re-election.

  5. #5 |  wunder | 

    Have you seen this charming bit of propaganda and egomaniacal dreck?

  6. #6 |  mcmillan | 

    According to the article the Minnesota drug test doesn’t require a blood draw, it uses saliva to get a quick result before having additional tests. I don’t know anything about the kit, but if it works as described I could see it actually being less invasive. If it comes back negative there wouldn’t be a need for the blood draw which right now could occur just because the cop thinks a person seems high.

    Which probably means cops will still ask for blood draws even without this giving a positive result and use it as an excuse for false positives to be used as evidence when the blood test comes back negative.

  7. #7 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Better to fix the penal code than to let 12 random people write a new one.

    Wouldn’t the penal code need to be fixed by the legislature? That means there’s not a chance in hell of reforming it effectively. But it is a nice thought.

  8. #8 |  Mattocracy | 

    You can go to any Tea Party and find three different types of people.

    1. Principled people who take spending, civil liverties, and limited government seriously.

    2. Neo-Cons who talk a good game about the things above so long as the defense budget isn’t touched, we aren’t talking about equal rights for gays, and think that the police state is needed to stop the muslims from getting us.

    3. People passing out pamphlets about the President’s birth certificate.

    The Tea Party supporters only see the first group and pretend the other two groups don’t exist. When you mention them, then you are automatically labeled a socialist/obamaphile/part of the liberal agenda, ect.

    The Tea Party critics only focus on the last two.

    And for some reason, the principled people don’t tell the latter groups to shut the fuck up because they are making the rest of them look bad. It’s a frustrating thing to watch.

  9. #9 |  bob42 | 

    I’m not usually into violence of any kind, but I’d like to take a full size copy of the constitution, roll it up, and spank Rep. Jones with it.

    Here in Texas, lots of folks have favorite sayings. One of mine:

    There’s just plain dumb.
    There’s dumber than a fence post dumb.
    And then, there’s Drug Warrior Dumb.

  10. #10 |  ClubMedSux | 

    Wouldn’t the penal code need to be fixed by the legislature? That means there’s not a chance in hell of reforming it effectively. But it is a nice thought.

    Radley has posted several times about the jury selection process and how folks with independent thought are systematically weeded out. As such, what’s really less realistic: pushing for some sort of legislative reform of our penal code, or counting on somebody who not only knows what jury nullification is, but is actually willing to invoke it, to make it on to a jury and protect one’s rights?

  11. #11 |  DarkEFang | 

    The principled people don’t tell the latter groups to shut up because those latter groups are much louder. In the Louisville area, where I live, if you attend any of the tea party type get-togethers and say anything remotely negative about the birthers, the Christian dominionists or the racists, you get physically escorted from the premises.

  12. #12 |  Elliot | 

    Walker makes some good points about “tea partiers”, starting with the fact that it’s a very decentralized group with a wide range of participants. Sarah Palin and other not-so-libertarian Republican types have co-opted the label by attaching it to their political positions.

    But at the same time, people like Bill Maher have jumped at the opportunity to associate the label (which he contorts with the sexual slur “tea baggers”) with the more obnoxious or ridiculous elements, pretending that millions of people who are not racist and not pushing the more irrational types of religious idea as being just as bad as those who are.

    I don’t encourage anyone to vote (I don’t agree that morality ought to be subject to a popularity contest). But if you must, I would caution any individualist against labeling yourself as a “tea party” supporter. Labels allow opportunists to falsely claim to represent you and opponents to falsely attach you to unsavory people.

    Basically, it isn’t necessary to pick a “side” on the “tea party”. Simply pointing out that there’s a wide variety of people and ideas, some good, some bad, should be enough.

  13. #13 |  BillC | 

    Re: Tea Party.

    While some of them do express libertarian ideals, the vast majority are just republican morons who think whatever Rush and Beck said.

  14. #14 |  V-Man | 

    The local newspaper, Journal de Montreal, had a two-day series of articles on Sheriff Joe Arpaio this weekend. They compared prisons in Quebec and in Arpaio’s county, including costs and procedures.

    I got the impression the authors looked on the US version with some approval. We spend $4.50 to feed those bums daily, they manage to do it with 35 cents, how come?

  15. #15 |  Andrew S. | 

    OT: I was shopping online this weekend for a Halloween costume for my daughter and came upon this monstrosity:

    Get them indoctrinated young, I guess…

  16. #16 |  Stephen | 

    I think that anybody that uses “tea baggers” to describe the tea party isn’t worth listening to. If you can’t fight them on principles and ideas and have to resort to juvenile name calling, then your ideas and principles must not have much power.

  17. #17 |  Mannie | 

    Gee, give a bunch of cops the right to sitck you with needles on the side of the road. What could go wrong?

  18. #18 |  Ben | 

    mcmillan – The problem with that, though is that the saliva test doesn’t have any way of measuring whether you are intoxicated with drugs. It just measures whether there are any drugs in your system. Which, for marijuana, can be a few weeks. So in what way is that going to help anything (other than arrest statistics)?

  19. #19 |  Collin | 

    “I think that anybody that uses “tea baggers” to describe the tea party isn’t worth listening to.”

    Its worth noting that in the beginning the Tea Party referred to themselves as Teabaggers until apparently someone pointed out what it meant. Call it juvenile name calling if you will, but when people stand up and announce that they’re proud to be teabaggers, you can’t blame people for laughing.

  20. #20 |  Charlie O | 

    For all you defenders of the tea party types, I can only point out to you the face of the tea party in their supported candidates. Sharron Angle, Christine O’Donnell, Joe Miller. If you think these folks are libertarian or anything close to “mainstream” you are not paying attention. Not sure about Miller, but Angle and O’Donnell are religious nutjobs who want believe in “freedom” as long its not in your bedroom or reproductive rights.

  21. #21 |  mcmillan | 

    Ben – thanks for the additional info, like I said I didn’t really know how that test works, mainly wanted to correct the original post that said cops were going to be doing roadside blood draws.

    But you’re right that its main effect will be to increase arrest stats by getting more some positive hits and if it comes back negative I don’t see cops just deciding to let people go.

  22. #22 |  Mike T | 

    Would be even better if we were required to tell jurors of potential sentences before the deliberate on a verdict.

    That should include the costs to society like opportunity cost in any case where a person’s livelihood is destroyed. For example, if they go from a $100k job to minimum wage because no professional firm will hire them, that should be lumped in there too.

  23. #23 |  J sub D | 

    The state of Missouri now informs judges of the cost of a potential prison term before they issue a sentence. It’s an interesting idea. Would be even better if we were required to tell jurors of potential sentences before the deliberate on a verdict.

    Yes. You’d get a whole lot more jury nullification that way.

  24. #24 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Under the proposal, suspected drugged drivers would have to submit to a preliminary saliva drug test that can detect six kinds of drugs, including marijuana, methamphetamines, and cocaine. If the preliminary test, which produces results in minutes, came back positive, additional testing would occur.”

    Just six drugs? What a joke This kit would never reveal my propensity
    to drive around naked whacked out on ayahuasca, psilocybin, DMT and
    dilaudid while I simultaneously text message, intercept police scanners, and sniff cheerleaders’ panties.
    I mean, Free Country, right?

  25. #25 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Cop body slams 80 year old WWII Vet…so you won’t see this one on Fox.,0,4219619.story

    Police Bingo: cops back each other up, eye-witness accounts different from cops, excessive force by LEO almost kills someone, etc…etc…etc…

  26. #26 |  Windy | 

    Re: the Tea Party
    CharlieO, in my area the TEA Party only pushes information, not candidates. Only the TEA parties that have been infiltrated, and are now controlled, by neo-cons do this sort of thing, I agree that O’Donnell and Angle are very poor “liberty candidates”.

    Totally agree that jurors absolutely should be informed of ALL the possible results of a conviction.

    I don’t care what a law might say, no cop is EVER going to be allowed to draw MY blood, I would insist on only a much experienced medical lab technician and I would sue any department that refused that demand and any cop who drew my blood, himself, against my will.

    Is anyone surprised that any LEO associated with Arpaio would be corrupt?

    I have been ashamed of our military since the Viet Nam war, and that shame has only grown over the years with the use of military in the war on drug(user)s and especially since the attack on Iraq.

  27. #27 |  BillC | 

    re: Cop body slams 80 year old WWII Vet

    “Lamont, 26, joined OPD in December 2008 and has been investigated three times by the department’s internal affairs division.”

    How unsurprising.

  28. #28 |  Arthur | 

    #24 U slay me!

    The Drug War Surge. Is it working? I’m afraid it is. The almost entirely manufactured “problem” of drugged driving has been absorbed by Americans as surely as the message that High Fructose Corn Syrup is bad for you. What better way to propagate the message than to start producing more arrests for the offense…all we need is a test that turns blue when contacted by cocaine, chocolate, or pocket lint…ok, got it. Let’s get out there and start making our roads safer…our jobs depend on it.

    I can’t wait to hear of the first case where a citizen deprived of their liberties and pursuits by these fake drug tests successfully sues a manufacturer as well as the LE agency that employed it.

  29. #29 |  Elliot | 

    @Arthur (#28), good points, except HFCS is actually bad for you. So is sugar and other foods with high glycemic index, but the Big Corn lobby has made it cheaper to put the slightly worse junk in packaged food, along with all sorts of unhealthy industrial chemicals.

    But no disagreement about the drug test.

  30. #30 |  Jon Gray | 

    So, scrolling through the comments I noticed that there are a lot of high negative ratings for posts speaking negatively about the Tea Party. Did something happen and I missed when this board became the type of libertarian that supports the Tea Party?

  31. #31 |  Arthur | 

    HFCS is a simple sugar in concentrated form, neither inherently bad or good for you. IF you drink 8 cans of soda a day, bad for you. If added to baked goods and eaten in moderation, can be quite good for you. Our bodies run on sugar. Sugar is food. Let’s remember that blanket statements like yours (or more accurately, public acceptance thereof) are what allow government control over our sugar delivery systems in the first place. Would there be a “Big Corn” lobby if Congress had no power to influence the choices of carbohydrates available to you?

  32. #32 |  John Jenkins | 

    I wonder if that kid was playing Donkey Kong?

  33. #33 |  Michael | 

    Most of us original tea party-ers knew the neocons were taking over, months ago. What we hope is that more people like Ron Paul Libertarians will be coming up from the ranks to get elected, that represent positive views on civil liberties, less intrusive government, less spending, especially the spending on useless wasteful wars!

    The use of “tea baggers ” is offensive, to me, anyway. I think the the reason the people, who found no offense to the slur, were those that tended to have a more chaste lifestyle and have no experience with the term. I did not know what it meant until it came out in one of the reports I saw (Rachael Maddow, I think)! I find it very offensive when the “liberals”, of the yahoo comment pages, keep using the term. Why not just call us perverted dirt bags, instead?! I hope for the day when people will stop with the personal attacks and really discuss the issues.

    I think, if the neocons don’t keep going the way they are, there is a good possibility that the GOP will find itself in a losing position, again, in 2012. And, although I believe following Christian morals, for the government, is not a bad thing, I feel establishing a government, overly influenced by my religious faith, is just another theocracy. That sounds like Iran, to me! I thought the Constitution was, also, designed to prevent that!

    There are many religious groups, out there, that want to force our views on everyone else. I see that as a problem. Especially when those groups are the same ones that brought to fruition the alcohol Prohibition of the last century. I don’t want those type of people, running the country, either. What applies to me in my religion does not necessarily apply to, the, so many, different, people of this country!

  34. #34 |  SJE | 

    I agree that the tea party MOVEMENT should be separated from the CANDIDATES. Unfortunately, so much of the libertarian ideals of the movement are getting drowned by the regular social conservatives ascendent during Bush and nominating such candidates under the tea party banner (e.g. O’Donnell, Palin etc). Thus, you get the rest of the world seeing tea party as social conservatives, and ultimately damaging both the tea party name AND libertarianism.

    I cringe when I hear O’Donnell, with her ultra conservative social views, and a personal record that is hardly that of fiscal prudence, being described as representative of libertarians merely because she supports lower taxes.

  35. #35 |  Arthur | 

    #34 Word!

    I would add that O’Donnell is talking about supporting lower taxes at a time when the long-term fiscal situation is such that higher taxes in one form or another is nearly certain. She’s not exactly going out on limb, no?

  36. #36 |  Marty | 

    I hope the details of alyssa peterson’s death are equal to the speculation. what a horrible tragedy.

  37. #37 |  SJE | 

    #35: increased taxes or a decline in spending.

    Unfortunately, the neocons are for large military and security budgets, wars on drugs, etc. The social conservatives only seem to oppose government when it is controlled by liberals. Then, there are a lot of the heart land rural voters who hate taxes but still support subsidies for farming, crop insurance, bio-ethanol, etc etc.

    As both parties have not been particularly convincing in explaining the necessity of hard choices, it looks like higher taxes.

  38. #38 |  InMD | 

    At #35

    The problem with the tax policy perspective of the Tea Party people is that it isn’t grounded in reality. While I support low taxes, the narcissistic tone the subject can take in libertarian circles (and even much more so in GOP or Tea Party circles) has always struck me as rather absurd, if for no other reason than my distaste for coating political ideas in the language of victimization. Taxes should be low but not because taxation is theft (it isn’t). Taxation should be low because we should have a lean government with low funding requirements.

    The Tea Party needs to learn that the way to lower taxes is by shrinking government. You cannot, however, shrink government by lowering taxes. It only contributes to the fiscal madness we’ve been living with for a decade with ever increasing government spending and ever shrinking sources of government revenue. There is nothing libertarian about insolvency.

  39. #39 |  Elliot | 

    @Arthur (#31) Nothing I say justifies government interference in our personal choices. That’s your straw man. If you want to eat nothing but Twinkies, every day, all day, then that’s your choice. But I do object to the use of any taxpayer money to pay for your bad choices.

    Our ancestors got their sugars from wild vegetables and fruits, which had lower sugar content than current agriculture (species have been bred to be sweeter, to meet consumer demand). As far as our metabolism goes, as dictated by our genetics, HFCS is not real food, in the manner of fresh, whole food (particular varieties of meat, vegetables, fruit, and nuts). Homo sapiens sapiens evolved without HFCS (without corn for 99% of the time, and without the high-sugar-content corn of today for 99.9% of the time) and without granulated sugar. Sure, adding a little probably isn’t a big deal. But every time you eat a meal which spikes your blood sugar, your body reacts with insulin, which damages your cells. We’re not bloody hummingbirds, you know.

  40. #40 |  Elliot | 

    BadExampleMan (#26): “The Tea Party is classic Republican astroturf marketing….

    That’s inaccurate. Look up Rick Santelli.

    Some Republican opportunists have co-opted the movement, to be sure, and it currently bears little resemblance to what it was in 2009. But at the outset, there were plenty of individualists who were inspired to make a principled stand against the atrocities of the Obama/Pelosi/Reid machine.

  41. #41 |  Elliot | 

    InMD (#38): “Taxes should be low but not because taxation is theft (it isn’t).”

    Taking something from someone without their consent is theft. Always.

  42. #42 |  Elliot | 

    That should be, taking the property of another person without their consent is theft. And, just in case you want to throw out the counter-example of taking property to cover a debt or damages, I’ll just point out that you can’t incur a debt without making the choice to borrow money, nor should you be held liable for damages unless your choice resulted in harm to another.

    Just being born within lines on a map is not a choice and doesn’t amount to any sort of consent to be part of someone else’s plans for imposing social order through the use of main force.

  43. #43 |  Elliot | 

    But you’re right about shrinking government being the most important thing.

  44. #44 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “The boy got his system back when a trainer lured the gorilla with an apple and was able to snatch the device out of the gorilla’s hands. It then grabbed a princess and jumped up a tower of ladders and construction beams before throwing down barrels of oil.”

    Some jokes just write themselves, awesome!

  45. #45 |  supercat | 

    //Telling jurors about the sentence. Interesting idea, but it’s wholly inconsistent with your bifurcated trials argument.//

    If the Sixth Amendment implies that a defendant has the right to demand that any and all factual matters in his case be determined by a jury, and if the Eighth-Amendment reasonableness of a particular punishment for a particular criminal act may be affected by facts beyond whether a statutory violation occurred, the Sixth and Eighth Amendments together logically require that a defendant be allowed to have a jury informed of the sentence related to a particular crime. If a jury would deem that the sentence would be cruel and unusual as applied to the particular criminal act before them, the sentence cannot be legitimately imposed.

    Indeed, I suspect the reason that defendants are often not allowed to inform juries of sentencing is precisely because prosecutors know that the juries would find that such sentences would be cruel and unusual as applied to the criminal acts at issue, and would thus quite legitimately refuse to impose them.

    Incidentally, even the question of whether a particular crime was committed may depend upon the applicable sentence. Many statutes do not specify what level of criminal intent the prosecutor must show, but that level may be inferred somewhat by the penalty. For example, which of the following people should be convicted for a crime “Obstructing an emergency vehicle”:

    – Joe fails to put gas in his car, and it runs out of gas in such a fashion that it takes a fire truck an extra 60 seconds to get past him.

    – Bob deliberately obstructs a fire truck for the purpose of increasing the damage that will result from a fire.

    If the punishment associated with the offense is a $20 fine, both people should be convicted. If the punishment is a 20-year prison term, Joe should be acquitted. Without knowing the punishment, it’s not possible to judge whether sufficient criminal intent exists to justify conviction.

  46. #46 |  InMD | 

    At #41 and 42

    Consent to tax is given through the democratic process. As we are all aware that is a highly imperfect process but that’s how it works and within the bounds of a constitutional order it is so far the best humanity has come up with. Taxes suck and we should work to create a system where the burden is as low and as rational as possible. However the theft nonsense is infantile. It’s exactly that self-indulgent “I’m a victim” mentality that has caused the process to produce simultaneous expansion of government and lowering of taxes. It isn’t sustainable and refusing to ever raise taxes benefits no one but the Chinese and our other creditors from whom we will ultimately borrow the money anyway. Until Americans can stop acting like children and have a grown up discussion about tax and tax policy this will continue and your view, Elliot, is just as responsible for it as those who insist and profit off of the public sector behemoth.

  47. #47 |  shecky | 

    I simply haven’t been impressed with Walker’s assessment of the tea party, which seems pretty close with the rest of Reason. To give the tea party a pat on the back because “it has opened a space for libertarian ideas” is pretty thin gruel. One, because the tea party hasn’t made any significant libertarian political endorsements, and two, everyone, regardless of political party, is libertarian in one way or another. When critics say, “Palin, O’ Donnell, Beck, Angle” etc, defenders fall back on “well, they aren’t really tea party” or “they’re only part of the tea party”. Yet, they’re the ones who count politically. Tea Partiers own positions and proclamations routinely emphasize their ignorance, authoritarianism, religious fanaticism, conspiratorial thinking, and even racism.

    Walker and the Reason gang can gloss over all that nonsense if they wish, because there are fragments of libertarianism to be found among the ignorant, authoritarian, religious fanatics, conspiracy theorists, and racists. But they do so not only at their own risk, but also that of libertarian ideals, too.

  48. #48 |  Elliot | 

    InMD (#46) “Consent to tax is given through the democratic process.”

    What about those of us who decide not to take part in this democratic process, on the principle that moral questions should never be decided by a popularity contest? I don’t vote and I don’t give my consent.

    If I don’t have the moral authority to go into your house and take money from your wallet to pay for things which I decide are more important than your current budget, I certainly don’t have the right to give any proxy such authority. So, no matter how many tens of millions of people participate in the sham of “granting authority”, since they all have zero authority to dispense with your life, the product of zero times that big number is still zero. No authority.

    See Spooner, Garrison, Thoreau, et al..

  49. #49 |  Elliot | 

    InMD (#46): “It’s exactly that self-indulgent “I’m a victim” mentality that has caused the process to produce simultaneous expansion of government and lowering of taxes.”

    How do you figure that people who point out the fact that taxes are theft are responsible for how the thieves overspend their loot?

    Taxpayers are, in fact, victims. That’s not self-indulgent. If anything, presuming that you have the right to decide how to spend your neighbors’ money is the very pinnacle of self-indulgent greed. You seem to suggest that people are sipping champagne and eating caviar, griping about paying a few more dollars in taxes. Instead, many people are living ordinary lives and drowning in taxes and would just like to have more control over what they produce, instead of being railroaded into funding more and more government. It’s disgusting for anyone to look at people who simply want to spend their own money as being unjustifiably “self-indulgent”.

  50. #50 |  SJE | 

    Shecky +1. If forced to choose between many of the tea party candidates and moderate democrats, this libertarian would chose the democrats. The dems are too comfortable with big government, but at least they are trying to govern well, instead of increasing the amount of $$$ going to stupid wars on middle eastern dictators, psychoactive herbs and pleasuring oneself. Just this morning the GOP is fillibustering debate on a measure that would authorize repeal of DADT after the President and SecDEF demonstrate no harm to the military. It seems eminently reasonable and, if the Pres acts too fast and does not stick to the agreed upon timetable, he bears the political consequences. Insted, the GOP is focusing on the “TEH GAYS.” Silly me: I thought the GOP was about less government intrusion into your lives.

    And, for those who think that having gays “hurts military readiness” I direct you to militaries of Israel, Britain and Australia, who find that those with an interest in ass can still be bad-ass.

  51. #51 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “However the theft nonsense is infantile. It’s exactly that self-indulgent “I’m a victim” mentality that has caused the process to produce simultaneous expansion of government and lowering of taxes.”

    Holy unfounded assertion Batman! How on Earth did you get here from there? Please enlighten us!

    Truth = infantilism

    Wow. Just wow.

  52. #52 |  takoyaki | 

    Re: The Tea parties

    I don’t have a clue what the tea parties stand for because all I hear are ambiguous statments like “cut spending”, “taking back our country” and “getting back to American values”. Okay, I like the cut spending part but what spending? Social Security? Don’t hear them advocating that and doubt it anyway since many supporters seem drawing on it. Medicare? Doubt it for the same reasons as social security. Defense? Wouldn’t hold my breath on that from the amount of jingoism I hear from them. So that eliminates the three biggest programs by expenditure and leaves little else to balance the budget without tax increases. I’d like to see specific budget proposals or I have to assume they are just spouting rhetoric. Doesn’t inspire much confidence that they are any different than the two big parties. And, I see a lot of ignorance about just how much current govt spending touches their lives. Just one example, the state I live in has two big population centers and the rest is basically rural or empty. Most of the rural clinics only operate in these locations because of govt subsidies and reimbursements. I know this because I have seen their cost reports and heard their complaints. If it was left to the free market, these clinics wouldn’t exist and most of the inhabitants of these areas would have to travel to the two metro areas, and we’re talking 4 or 5 hours in some cases, to get any meaningful healthcare. Yet, from much of what I see and hear, the Tea Party supporters in these rural areas want govt out of their healthcare. Okay, I’m fine with that but they seem to have no clue about how dependent their local clinics are on govt dollars. Now, am I really supposed to believe that if they somehow got their wish and it was seriously proposed to end govt subsidies to these clinics, which would undoubtedly lead to their shutdown or shrinking of services, that they wouldn’t be out lobbying to keep the govt money flowing??? I see them as govt spending on programs they agree with good, other govt spending bad. No different than the Reps/Dems. I can’t really elaborate on the latter two ambiguous statements because “taking back our country” seems to have some connection with Obama/liberals=socialism/Marxism and “getting back to American values” pines for some idealized, utopian American past and seems to be code for “illegal brown people, gays, Muslims, liberals and anybody else who isn’t like me isn’t a true American and are trying to take over the country”. I speak only for myself and the undercurrents I feel when I hear their rhetoric. And please, I’m not calling them all bigots or racists. Defining what is a “true American” doesn’t automatically make you a racist, but calling others who don’t share your views “un-American” does make one an arrogant, close-minded prick in my book. But again, I speak only for myself. I’m sure there are principled fiscal conservatives and social libertarians that belong to the various Tea Parties, but, by the candidates I’m seeing being supported by the Tea Parties and the rhetoric these candidates push, I don’t see any evidence of their impact.

  53. #53 |  Monica | 

    RE: The Michigan story — law enforcement has been going to any and all lengths to undo the will of the people regarding the MM law, because the law itself is one of the few instances where it is SPECIFICALLY WRITTEN to keep the government off the backs of patients. The law passed overwhelmingly in all counties – imagine that, the most diverse group of people from liberals to conservatives voted to keep the government off the backs of sick people who use MM. People are really pissed.

  54. #54 |  Steve Finlay | 

    You and Jesse Walker WANT a movement that understands and advocates libertarian principles to exist. So do I.

    But do not let your desire become so strong that you see a knight in shining armour where there is none. The Tea Party movement must be assessed on what it DOES, not what a few intelligent people within the movement say. And the only thing that it does is nominate insane authoritarians such as O’Donnell and Palin, and scream and yell in rallies led by profiteering madmen such as Glenn Beck.

  55. #55 |  Elliot | 

    @Steve Finlay (#54), if you’re going to criticize people for not being libertarian, you might want to refrain from using the ignorant “profiteering” pejorative. That’s the sort of thing I expect from collectivists and others who don’t understand the principles of the free market, like supply and demand.

    Glenn Beck’s emphasis on faith is a total non-starter for me. It’s a huge distraction from the real problems of Big Government, which he could focus on. Also, I don’t get how you see him as a “madman.” He’s more of a milquetoast type, who will say a lot of prayers, encourage people to line up at the ballot box, and then wonder why the problems they see never get solved. He’s not pushing for any sort of civil unrest. Any self-respecting “madman” would be at least breaking windows or something.

  56. #56 |  Steve Finlay | 

    Good point – Beck isn’t mad; he appears to know exactly what he is doing. And while he is profiteering in that he is being paid for activities that are objectively destructive and damaging, the people who are foolish enough to pay him are more to blame than he is. It IS hard to walk away from easy money.

  57. #57 |  Elliot | 

    @Steve Finlay (#56). Do you have a specific definition for “profiteering” which means something other than: “Making money doing things with which I disagree”? Perhaps you should review some history of the use of the word, including the legal prosecution of people who react to supply and demand signals during a crisis, and thus have done nothing morally wrong. Might I suggest something without the connotation of illegality, like “snake oil salesman”?

    Also, can you describe these “activities that are objectively destructive and damaging”? I know a little about his activities, but I can’t imagine what could fit that description. What is being destroyed or damaged? Again, these words have specific meaning, beyond “doing things with which I disagree.”