New at HuffPost

Monday, October 15th, 2012

I have a piece up at HuffPost looking at why criminal justice issues are rarely discussed during presidential campaigns.

(I sneaked some Robert Higgs into the article. Don’t tell!)

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24 Responses to “New at HuffPost”

  1. #1 |  Anthony | 

    Both links go to Independent.org

  2. #2 |  Nick42 | 

    It’s on the frontpage of HuffPost right now, but just in case, here’s the direct link:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/15/criminal-justice-civil-liberties-2012-campaign_n_1966791.html

  3. #3 |  Timmy Pea | 

    The Deutsche Bank honcho who claims LAPD officers beat the holy hell out of him back in May contacted police 2 days before the alleged beating and confessed he was addicted to bath salts.

  4. #4 |  Nick T. | 

    “There’s an important debate to be had about privatizing prisons, and whether it’s wise to have a government-created industry with a bottom line dependent on keeping as many people locked up for as long as possible”

    I completely agree with this, but we shouldn’t let this argument be confused for the idea that removing profit motive or “privitization” from the equation would be a silver bullet. There would still be a ton of money wasted, and there would still be interest groups pushing more crime (prison guard unions, contractors who build them and will always be profit companies) and still plenty of people living nice, cushy lives – though not 7-figure CEOs – based on other people’s oppression and misery.

    Just wanted to pick that nit in an otherwise fantastic article, because a lot of folks inclined to agree with its thesis may latch on to the spectre of the “evil corporation” as the true problem.

  5. #5 |  Steve Verdon | 

    I sneaked some Robert Higgs into the article. Don’t tell!

    Given the bias of HuffPo that will likely send some readers into paroxysms of anger.

  6. #6 |  tarran | 

    It’s fascinating how the drug war is all the fault of the evil republicans over there – it’s almost like FDR didn’t exist at all!

  7. #7 |  Radley Balko | 

    It’s fascinating how the drug war is all the fault of the evil republicans over there – it’s almost like FDR didn’t exist at all!

    The only thing you could possibly be referencing here is the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.

    While I do disagree with that law, it hardly represents a “war on drugs.” More like giving drugs a pretty serious Wet Willie.

  8. #8 |  Andrew S. | 

    You know, just once I’d like to see one of your articles where every single comment isn’t “It’s all the Republicans fault!” I know it’s HuffPo, but still.

  9. #9 |  Andrew S. | 

    That’s also why, for the record, I continue to be concerned about the eventuality of this blog becoming a part of HuffPo.

  10. #10 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    I’m very pleased that Radley’s articles are getting such a large audience– and it’s probably going to take a bipartisan effort to reform the justice system.

  11. #11 |  Becon | 

    @9 Andrew S.

    I have an account for commenting over at HuffPo. A large number of my comments citing Democrats’ misdeeds have disappeared if they garnered too much attention. (In fairness I point out Republican misdeeds as well. There’s plenty of blame to go around.)

    I’ll be very disappointed if this blog was brought under the HuffPo banner.

  12. #12 |  croaker | 

    @3 Are you sure he wasn’t SWATed?

    And I will say for the record I’m not exactly comfortable about this blog ending up under HuffPost control.

  13. #13 |  Other Sean | 

    It’s not just the specter of unpopular comments disappearing in the night, or the fact that HuffPo uses a dreadful engine which awards votes and status to people and not to individual comments (are we not understanding incentives again HP?).

    It’s the sheer number that spoils everything. There is no such thing as a discussion with 2,451 people. Even, you know, if they were slightly better than the truly horrible people who rise to the rank of deputy marshal of decency and good taste….or whatever they call those guys with the purple shaded boxes and the little decorative badges that look like histology slides.

  14. #14 |  tarran | 

    While I do disagree with that law, it hardly represents a “war on drugs.” More like giving drugs a pretty serious Wet Willie

    It’s never been a war and drugs. It’s always been a war on minorities. And the blacks that Anslinger pursued to protect the chastity of white women were hardly getting Wet Willies.

    Yes, the war really kicked into high gear with Nixon, and with the possible exception of Jimmy Carter, each president has increased the brutality over his predecessor. But the notion that Democratic politicians had nothing to do with the War on (Minorities that use Some) Drugs is fucking delusional.

  15. #15 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    I remember a pundit saying something like “When 100% of minorities vote Democrat no-matter-what, the Democrats aren’t going to really do anything for you.” So, we get a nice, undeclared war on minorities and Democrats aren’t even asked about this.

    It might be that the Obama fellating these past 4 years has me particularly pist, but I cast a much more cynical eye on Democrats on the issue of criminal justice. You adopt the platform, you adopt the responsibility. It might be worth a shout-out amid the constant screeching about “force people to buy this list of products”, “unions are awesome and need more money”, and “successful people are evil”.

    Not letting Republicans off the hook. But, criticizing Republicans for criminal INjustice seems a lot like complaining about bad food at Applebee’s. WTF did you expect?

    Also, it seems a moderator doesn’t exist who is capable of really drilling down on how the debt will be addressed. All manner of fuzzy bullshit is accepted with nods of approval.

  16. #16 |  Cyto | 

    Democrats were behind the push to increase the penalties for crack in the 1980s. ‘Cause, you know, Republicans were racist. And being against increased sentencing for crack is racist.

    Until it was racist to be for increased sentencing for crack.

    Here’s a nice article from the period that mentions that the reaction to increased drug use usually comes after the increased has already peaked and use is declining. Bonus points for coverage of noted drug warrior Jesse Jackson and the democrats in congress pushing for additional drug penalties.

    So no, nobody’s hands are clean in the drug war. It seems that everyone wants to control how other people live their lives. Even if they are compassionate, liberal Democrats.

  17. #17 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Not letting Republicans off the hook. But, criticizing Republicans for criminal INjustice seems a lot like complaining about bad food at Applebee’s. WTF did you expect?

    Just in case people question this, I blame the Republicans, too. I just don’t want to waste my time on them.

  18. #18 |  jesse | 

    When one considers the largest and most reliable voting bloc—senior citizens, mostly white—-it’s not hard to see why politicians don’t care about criminal justice except to talk about how we aren’t locking up enough people. In the eyes of old white people, us young folks are all suspect, especially those brown-skinned ones.

    Any politician talking about how the system is unfair, or too harsh, is going to scare all the geezers silly.

  19. #19 |  albatross | 

    Boyd:

    A verbal discussion, and especially a debate, is a terrible format for discussing details of your budget plans. You couldn’t intelligently plan your *household* budget in that format, let alone the budget of a huge, wealthy government. There’s probably almost nothing a moderator can do to fix that. There’s always some way to create a planned budget that looks good but is full of snake oil, and it’s always going to be hard to dig down far enough to get to the snake oil from a small number of moderator questions.

  20. #20 |  albatross | 

    Actually, I suspect TV crime shows and crime reporting is a big part of why we have the criminal justice system we have. These shows use a lot of scary imagery and brutality for dramatic effect, and almost always focus on the police as the good guys fighting the good fight, often despite silly or pointless rules, inept management, etc. (And I don’t doubt that there *are* plenty of pointless rules and inept management in police work–it would be a surprise if that were the one place in the world where it was absent.)

    I think it’s easy to absorb a worldview from those shows, without anyone ever saying anything explicit, that has dangerous criminals routinely getting off on technicalities and terrorizing honest people, while the police have their hands tied by pointless rules and legalisms.

    In a broader sense, I think the propaganda / opinion-shaping powers of TV dramas and sitcoms is at least an order of magnitude greater than that of TV news. It’s easy not to ever even notice that your opinion is being shaped, till you find yourself with a strong opinion about something that, on reflection, you realize you know absolutely nothing about except what you’ve seen/heard on TV.

  21. #21 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “These shows use a lot of scary imagery and brutality for dramatic effect, and almost always focus on the police as the good guys fighting the good fight, often despite silly or pointless rules, inept management, etc.”

    Great point.
    Not only does all this TV dreck misrepresent the current state of affairs,
    it contributes to it, financially and sociologically. File under “Prison Industrial/Media Complex.”

  22. #22 |  Nic108 | 

    I’ve long been horrified of the proliferation of police/prison porn on cable. It just conditioning to get the masses to accept the ever growing Fatherland Security State.

  23. #23 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @#19 albatross,

    Why do you think a budget discussion must be limited to the debates? It isn’t, cannot be, but that doesn’t mean no debate can take place and that no budget plan must be proposed.

    If your point is that debates are just theater, I’m in the choir.

  24. #24 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    and it’s always going to be hard to dig down far enough to get to the snake oil from a small number of moderator questions.

    No. Average libertarian and/or Austrian economist can do it easily. As can a few journalists.

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