Lunch Links

Monday, January 3rd, 2011
  • Nice summary of what we’ve learned from the Wikileaks cables.
  • John McWhorter talks frankly about race and ending the drug war. It’s a refreshingly frank and honest piece of writing. And somewhat surprising for the middling The New Republic.
  • Woman wins $250,000 settlement after police investigators falsely implicate her in four 1989 murders. The case against her fell apart after a state police boasted about planting her fingerprints during a job interview with the FBI.
  • Will Wilkinson responds to Arnold Kling’s charge that libertarians don’t take national defense seriously.
  • Scott Greenfield names the best criminal law posts of 2010. Here’s the winner. This post from the L.A. Times on the DOJ’s hostility to pardons is very good, too.
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28 Responses to “Lunch Links”

  1. #1 |  Henry Bowman | 

    For those interested, McWhorter was interviewed by Caleb Brown of the Cato Institute regarding this topic about a month ago. He makes a persuasive case.

    10-min podcast:

    http://ne.edgecastcdn.net/000873/dailypodcast/johnmcwhorter_racerelationsandthewarondrugs_20101203.mp3

  2. #2 |  Dave | 

    I don’t consider making the government the only source of drugs as a decent solution.
    Mr. Ainsworth:
    “We need to take effective measures to rob the dealers of their markets and the only way that we can do that is by supplying addicts through the medical profession, through prescription. We cannot afford to be shy about being prepared to do that.”
    Repeal of all drug laws would be better than making everyone get a “prescription”.
    How about freedom and privacy?

  3. #3 |  RomanCandle | 

    “Middling” is a great (and accurate) way to describe The New Republic, and one which I suspect would hurt their feelings the most.

  4. #4 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Dave nails it.

    If USG tries to supply addicts thru prescriptions, my drug kingdom will only thrive. Seeing as how the USG can’t get shit right, my value prop will be better quality, faster delivery, more privacy, and less paperwork. And of course, hours of operation more friendly to my clients since I’m sure the USG will maintain their strict M-F 9-5. In a nutshell, everything the USG tries to do will fail regarding “drugs” because they will not ever try “freedom and privacy”.

    RE: Wilkinson: I’m not sure Arnold Kling understands the meaining of libertarianism, national defense, or foreign policy.

  5. #5 |  UCrawford | 

    Regarding the woman with the $250,000 settlement, the courts noted that the woman did forge signatures of the murder victims to use their credit cards (her son, killed by police, was the prime suspect) and that this was not part of the evidence in question. The settlement was over the police fabricating fingerprint to make the conviction stick, which the courts took issue with in their verdict. Just thought it bore mentioning that just because the cops fabricated evidence in the case to better the chances of conviction, doesn’t mean she was uninvolved in the crime.

    That said, how stupid did that state investigator have to be to brag about fabricating evidence and violating the law while interviewing for a job with the CIA? Classic loser wannabe behavior of a guy who’s watched too many spy movies…the CIA doesn’t actually look to hire people it can’t trust to follow their rules.

  6. #6 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “Massive, lengthy, non-defensive military occupations ensure an over-extended military unready for actual national protection.”

    I always wondered about this. While soldiers are overseas farting around in caves in Kandahar, or tearing up poppy fields, or handing out candy to befriend kids in Sadr City…
    what if there’s a real invasion somewhere?
    I guess there’s always the Boy Scouts.

  7. #7 |  BamBam | 

    The brazenness of police has been growing for decades, and this is only another example of this attitude in action. They will tell you exactly how they are going to lie/maim/murder/cover-up because they know they will get away with it and there is NOTHING you can do about it.

    The problem is the system. Destroy the system and try something new.

  8. #8 |  Taktix® | 

    @Yizmo Gizmo

    “what if there’s a real invasion somewhere?”

    Then we’ll have a perfect excuse for a draft.

  9. #9 |  Highway | 

    Replacing a broken system of prohibition with a broken system of prescriptions won’t ‘rob the dealers of their market’. What doctor is going to write a script for cocaine? Maybe the prescription system in the UK is different from the US, but that seems just stupid. How can an ethical doctor prescribe recreational drugs that have known bad effects?

    This is an even stupider idea than ‘medical marijuana’.

  10. #10 |  Mattocracy | 

    Except that marijuana is medicinal and it’s “bad” effects are minimal.

  11. #11 |  Mattocracy | 

    The sad thing is that with all that wikileaks has exposed, I still see no accountability coming from it.

    I remember reading this comment from Ben Stein about the resignation of Richard Nixon:

    “Oh, now I remember. He lied. He was a politician who lied. How remarkable. He lied to protect his subordinates who were covering up a ridiculous burglary that no one to this date has any clue about its purpose.”

    I rarely agree with Stein, but compared to the awful shit that so many other presidents have been a part of, known about, allowed to happen, and overlooked, I couldn’t imagine a Presidnet being forced to resign over a similar watergate scandal in this day and age. If wikileaks had done this is Nixon’s day, a whole host of people would be in prison. Now it’s just a business as usual.

  12. #12 |  Dave Krueger | 

    From the John McWhorter article quoting England’s former top drug official Bob Ainsworth:

    “We need to take effective measures to rob the dealers of their markets and the only way that we can do that is by supplying addicts through the medical profession, through prescription.”

    We must take the trade away from organised criminals and hand it to the control of doctors and pharmacists.”

    I would love to see legalization of drugs, but I am terrified that they will find a way of legalizing it that is actually worse than what we have now with prohibition. To me, making recreational drug use a responsibility of the medical industry would be among the worst approaches to legalization I could imagine.

    The idea that people should be able to make their own decisions about what to put into their bodies is just not fathomable to most people which is almost a guaranty that legalization will ultimately turn out to be something vastly different from what we envision when we discuss it here.

  13. #13 |  EH | 

    What doctor is going to write a script for cocaine?

    The one who writes one for Elavil.

  14. #14 |  croaker | 

    @13 Actually, Cocaine is used as an anesthetic in nasal surgery and post-surgery pain relief. That is why it is a Schedule II drug.

  15. #15 |  mangaaa | 

    where’s the fonzerelli of freedom’s comment on #2?

  16. #16 |  the innominate one | 

    Lying about the Watergate break-in might have been the proximate cause of Nixon’s resignation, but it certainly wasn’t the only impeachable offense he committed.

    Ben Stein was a speechwriter for Nixon, he’s not exactly a uninterested observer.

  17. #17 |  Big A | 

    Comments on the legalization article website (not here, of course) are discouraging as usual. Everyone loves to argue about which parts of society will be better or worse off by ending the War on Drugs. Who cares? We can argue all day about the benefits and consequences of forcing everyone to chop off their left hand. The point is, what gives them the right to decide what an adult gets to do with his or her own body?

    Speaking of which, I wonder how many pro-choice people who believe in “a woman’s right to choose” are for drug legalization. After all, that would be the consistent view.

  18. #18 |  BSK | 

    Big A-

    From what I understand, the black community is largely opposed to drug legalization, despite the potential for profound benefits, as argued by Mr. McWhorter. The rationale is that many members of the black community have seen firsthand the toll that drugs can take on a person’s life and on the community.

    I’m not saying it’s right or wrong or that it should matter in the proceedings, but it might explain some of the responses your seeing.

    FWIW, I felt the same way about DADT. Every time I heard people saying we had to wait and see what the Pentagon Report said, I told them to F off. I don’t care if letting gays in would destroy the military… nothing justifies that type of discrimination.

    If something is right or wrong, it shouldn’t matter what the fall out is. Do what is right; stop doing what’s wrong.

  19. #19 |  albatross | 

    Mattocracy #11:

    Yeah, isn’t it funny how whenever some serious wrongdoing comes out from a Wikileaks cable (say, our providing child prostitutes to some Afghans we wanted to keep sweet on us, or US officials lying about the death toll numbers the Army had for overtly political reasons, or our State Dept. people applying all kinds of pressure to derail the investigations into the kidnapping, imprisonment, and torture network we ran during the Bush administration), there’s suddenly another big loud argument about whether Wikileaks is a terrorist organization, whether Assange should be shot or hanged, etc., and all the oxygen is sucked out of the room?

  20. #20 |  CRNewsom | 

    @18 BSK: When I talk drug legalization (and I usually only mention marijuana to keep the discussion somewhat rational) somebody always makes this (or a similar) comment:

    “My cousin was a real pothead and it ruined his life.”

    My retort to that argument is always the same: “And it being illegal totally stopped him from doing it?”

    That usually shuts them up pretty good, not that that was my intent. The intent is for them to see that abusers don’t care if it’s legal or not.

  21. #21 |  Matt | 

    And it seems a little nicer to say that someone’s a loser because they smoke pot, implying they wouldn’t be a loser if they didn’t smoke. Unfortunately causation probably works the other way around.

  22. #22 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    To me, making recreational drug use a responsibility of the medical industry would be among the worst approaches to legalization I could imagine.

    This is the only way to make rec-drug-use unfun. I swear, government could make porn boring and ineffective.

  23. #23 |  nemo | 

    I don’t bother with the philosophical arguments regarding lost freedoms and rights, anymore. Goes so far over most ‘citizens’ heads, they can’t see the contrails. Their eyes glaze over; the product of several decades of successful propagandizing (Hypnotic robot voice: “Save-thuh-children, Save-thuh-children”)

    Don’t bother with what’s near and dear to civil libertarians. Most of your prospective audience is too far gone into the maw of authoritarianism. You’ll be lucky if all you’ll hear is “You just wanna smoke pot!”.

    Nope, don’t bother talking about lost rights and liberties, and the dangers inherent in the paramilitarization of police. You won’t get far.

    Talk money.

    Talk about how much money is wasted when we have millions of people out of work who need the hundreds of thousands dollars blown literally every minute that’s spent on this farce. Watch the eyes light up then.

  24. #24 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Nemo, that doesn’t work on the 60% of the population that work for the state or Fed or for those who going to their mailbox is their job. Throw in the raving socialists (yes, real socialists do exist), patriotic slaves, and fools who think change is just around the corner and you have a firm base.

    The Machine has the numbers it needs.

    The ones still capable of math are the tiny minority.

  25. #25 |  nemo | 

    Mr. D, for the immediate DC Metro area, that’s true. But drive about 100 miles outside of the center of DC in any direction, where fewer people are on the Gub’mint payroll, and the methodology mentioned usually works.

    A long time ago I read that “A society has the ethics it can afford.”. Replace the word ‘ethics’ with the word ‘prejudices’ and you have the DrugWar pegged perfectly. We just cannot afford the prejudice-driven DrugWar any longer. Not in these times. Not with nearly 15% or more out of work and needful of the money that’s being wasted on this DrugWar. Talk to them about that waste, and see what they have to say.

  26. #26 |  celticdragonchick | 

    Regarding the woman with the $250,000 settlement, the courts noted that the woman did forge signatures of the murder victims to use their credit cards (her son, killed by police, was the prime suspect) and that this was not part of the evidence in question. The settlement was over the police fabricating fingerprint to make the conviction stick, which the courts took issue with in their verdict. Just thought it bore mentioning that just because the cops fabricated evidence in the case to better the chances of conviction, doesn’t mean she was uninvolved in the crime.

    The fact she used stolen credit cards from the vicitims looks real, real bad. I would not have been in favor of a cash payment to her had I been on a jury looking at the civil case. The cops who planted evidence went to jail where they belong, and she already got her money from the cards of the dead victims, unfortunately. She sure as hell didn’t deserve any more.

  27. #27 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #5 UCrawford

    That said, how stupid did that state investigator have to be to brag about fabricating evidence and violating the law while interviewing for a job with the CIA? Classic loser wannabe behavior of a guy who’s watched too many spy movies…the CIA doesn’t actually look to hire people it can’t trust to follow their rules.

    The story says CIA while the time line on the right says FBI. I wonder which one it was.

  28. #28 |  random guy | 

    I don’t see a prescription system being any better than the current system. The drug warriors will just neuter the legislation with bureaucratic bullshit.

    Like the hemp vouchers in the 30′s, oh sure you can grow hemp if you buy this special voucher from the Department of Agriculture. Whats that, the government refuses to sell them to anyone resulting in a de facto ban? Huh, fancy that.

    Or the immigration crap, all those illegals didn’t follow proper procedures they broke the law! Despite the fact that our economy apparently has enough demand for 30 million illegal immigrants but the government only offer 10,000 visa’s a year for unskilled laborers who have to go through years worth of government red tape just to get into the country. Its not like they are trying to create a group of second class citizen laborers that have none of the legal protections of other Americans, nope not at all.

    If a prescription drug policy is adopted, expect it to be the typical obstructionist crap the government always pulls on hot button issues. They put on the pretense of cooperation, just jump through the hoops and everything will be alright. Of course anyone that actually goes through the process will tell you that the hoops might as well be strung over the grand canyon.

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