The Statist Media

Tuesday, October 30th, 2012

A couple years ago, I wrote a column arguing that the legacy media isn’t liberal so much as statist. Case in point, yesterday’s lead editorial in USA Today, which denounces the various state ballot initiatives to legalize marijuana.

It isn’t a very convincing or well-argued editorial. (They aren’t necessarily the same.) This part in particular jumped out at me:

Marijuana is still illegal under federal law. Those who can grow or sell pot legally under state law can be, and have been, busted by the feds. Although the Obama administration ordered a hands-off policy in 2009 for medical marijuana operations in compliance with state laws, there’s no sign that federal drug enforcers would wink at full-blown legalization.

Emphasis mine. The bold passage is of course utter crap. It is factually, provably untrue.  The fact that the USA Today editorial board reiterates the lie tells us two things. First, they’re simply taking the Obama administration at its word, despite abundant evidence that not only has the administration not taken a “hands-off” approach, but it has been more aggressive at shutting down pot dispensaries than President Bush. (Up to four times worse.)

That means they’re either unaware of said abundant evidence, or they are aware of it and have chosen to ignore it. In either case, what does that say about how much credibility we ought to put into what the USA Today editorial board thinks about marijuana?

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55 Responses to “The Statist Media”

  1. #1 |  Larry L. Stuler | 

    The media has always been pro-statist, regardless of political persuasion. The biggest propaganda put forth by the media concerns the income tax and the Supreme Court decisions concerning the 16th Amendment. Several Supreme Court decisions were rendered: Brushaber v. Union Pacific R.R. Co., 240 U.S. 1 (1916), Stanton v. Baltic Mining, 240 US 103 (1916), Peck & Co. v. Lowe, 247 US 165 (1918), etc.
    The Supreme Court decisions above all inform everyone that no new power of taxation was granted to the federal government by the 16th Amendment. These decisions all inform everyone that the federal government always had the power to tax income from the beginning. Since no new power of taxation was granted to the federal government by the 16th Amendment and the federal government was held to always have had the power to tax income, then the revenue that’s being derived by the federal government from an income tax must come from one of the regulated commerce jurisdictions granted to the federal government by the Constitution – therefore, this revenue must come from foreign commerce, interstate commerce, or Indian commerce. After all, generating income is a commercial activity.
    The Supreme Court ruled exactly that in Eisner v. Macomber, 252 U.S. 189 (1920), where the Court stated the following: “The 16th Amendment must be construed in connection with the taxing clauses of the original Constitution and the effect attributed to them before the Amendment was adopted.”.
    The Declaration of Independence is the organic law of the land and it declares that “all men are created equal”. The Constitution acknowledges this by only granting the federal government jurisdiction over foreign commerce, interstate commerce, and trade with the Indians. The federal government is made up of other Americans and since “all men are created equal” it has no jurisdiction over intrastate commerce, which is, simply put, human action.
    Any court action concerning internal revenue is brought under the statute at title 28 USC , “Judiciary and Judicial Procedure”, Chapter 85, “District Courts; jurisdiction”, section 1340, “Internal revenue; customs duties” based upon revenue from the collection of duties on imports.
    Internal revenue is foreign commerce. How can that apply to an American? The Form SS-5 that one uses to apply for a S.S.# is actually a federal employment form. You became a “taxpayer” which is defined as a member of the Merchant Marine (title 26 CFR 2.1-1(a)(5)) who is involved in foreign commerce. Go to to read the entire Social Security Scam.

  2. #2 |  Nick T. | 

    Sorry for my harsh tone.
    I do think such talk is nonsense, and serves to rationalize or defend a broken system and unjust decisions by our leaders. People love to call non-duopolists and/or libertarians “purists” but that’s mainly because people have changed the meaning fo the word “pragmatic” in the political context to mean making decisions that aren’t unpopular.
    Politically popular and pragmatic are barely even related (it’s unpopular to cut military spending, but sustaining it at these levels is impractical and stupid). But even if they overlapped a great deal, we need to make arguments about the issues themselves and expect our leaders to actually lead and do what is right. We obviously expect them to consider polls, but we shouldn’t say it’s ok when they follow polls and then support immoral, destructive policies.
    More to the specific point, however, Obama was very clear about not prosecuting medicinal marijuana in his campaing and then he won like a million states, and medicinal marijuana polls at around 75% approval. There is no way to defend his behavior here even through the eyes of the most craven, finger-in-the-wind poll watcher.

  3. #3 |  MikeV | 

    I know Obama promised not to prosecute medical marijuana, but explaining what has actually happened leaves you wondering.

    Did he just let the people already in place at DEA and other agencies continue to do what they felt like doing, or did he actually tell them to prosecute medicinal marijuana despite his campaign promises?

    Did they ignore his directions by putting a bunch of rules in place that had the effect of carrying on as before? That might explain why you see them prosecuting medical marijuana dispensaries within 1000 feet of a school.

    Maybe a combination of bureaucratic undermining by the DEA and not really caring about the issue on the part of Obama is the closest to the truth.

  4. #4 |  Deoxy | 

    You know, the guys who pay 15% federal tax on their 30-millionth dollar, while a self-employed person like me pays over 30% federal tax on my First taxable dollar!

    A company has $100 in profit that they decide to pay out to shareholders. After taxes, the shareholder is left with $55.25.

    How? Well, first the company pays 35% of the money to the government. Then the individual pays 15% of what’s left (barring those evil tax shelters, of course).

    So, if a guy is paying 15% on his “30-millionth dollar”, his share of profits from companies he owned shares in was $54,298,642.53, and the government $24,298,642.53 of that, or just shy of 45%.

    If the media (and the rest of society) hadn’t let Bush get away with all he did, Obama would have been starting out at a much diminished place for his statist power grabs.

    That was “letting him get away with it”? Wow, you and I remember media behaviour for those 8 years very VERY differently.

    Compare and contrast: media treatment of Bush/Bush vs media treatment of Clinton/Obama.

    There is no comparison. The standards are night and day different.

    Now, you can certainly protest that the stuff that play GOTCHA on with Republicans is the wrong stuff, and that the more statist elements get less bad treatment for Republicans than the less statist (or especially the rare NON-statist) stuff, but that doesn’t change the basic facts:

    The media is pro-Democrat, anti-Republican. Republicans get less bad treatment when the act like Democrats. The Democrat party platform is statist. (To be fair, the Republican party platform is only “less statist”.)

    What’s the test of statist vs Democrat? When a Democrat does something non-statist (yes, it happens, just very rarely), the media (mostly) plays along. That makes it easy to see which priority is higher for them.

  5. #5 |  Militant Libertarian » The Statist Media | 

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