On Raich, Republicrats Agree: Federalism Rocks

Well, it’s been long enough since the verdict was passed down from the Supremes to see how the left and right are taking this case, and it looks like some big players on both sides are keeping mum for the most part.

Well, except a few like Matthew Yglesias, the “moderate liberal” who agrees with the verdict on anti-federalist grounds, as pointed out by The Antagonist:

Well, no, he’s wrong in that he thinks this is a bad thing, but he’s right that the important issue here was the federalism one, not the medical marijuana one. Sympathetic as one might be to the defendants in this case, a victory for their side could have led to very bad consequences down the road. Advocates of marijuana law reform are welcome to press their point of view in congress [sic].

I’ll let Radley Balko’s analysis of this statement stand:

And there it is. The prominent writer for the “moderately liberal” American Prospect would rather let sick people suffer and die and side with giving ever more power to the Bush administration than give an inch toward letting states of localities govern themselves. Because, apparently, should his side ever get power again, Yglesias wants to be sure he can impose his policies on the rest of us. And siding with sick people now might hamper his ability to slap high taxes, heavy regulations, and liberal utopia on red staters later.

As Thomas noted in his dissent, if government agents can raid a woman’s house and arrest her for six marijuana plants she was growing for her own use, there is simply no limit to what else it can do. Enumerated powers are meaningless. And that’s exactly what people like Yglesias want. Eradication of enumerated powers, federalism, and the Ninth and Tenth Amendments. Complete authoritarian federal control over everything. States may as well not exist.

And there you have what is essentially the problem with both the left and the right. They both nakedly want to consolidate power into the federal government, and fuck state’s rights and the voters who put their own initiatives on the ballot.

As libertarians, we couldn’t have been handed a more perfect verdict and case in which to point at and say: “See? We told you these fuckers had the same agenda.”

As a side item, I was happy to see the Libertarian Party issued this press release:

Libertarian Party Executive Director Joe Seehusen stated, “This ruling is not only a blow to the elderly, sick and terminally ill, but also represents the further decline of states’ rights.” Mr. Seehusen continued, “It is important that the American public does not minimize this issue by believing that it only affects ‘pot smokers’ as it is a much deeper debate involving the intrusion of the federal government upon the states, the power of the prescription drug lobby, and the growing limits on individual freedom.“ [emphasis added]

I promptly sent an email back with a couple general suggestions to get the LP to gear up and go to the mat with this issue, and for them to send out another email asking for donations to defend the state’s rights issue and getting activists involved. Shane Cory, who I believe is the replacement Communications Director for George Getz, emailed me back with a phone number and express interest. As a political operative as well as an opinion-monger, I’d love to be able to catapult the LP front and center with and issue like this that is a huge beach ball hovering over our home plate.

UPDATE: I’m compiling the libertarian talking points for the Ashcroft (Gonzales) vs Raich verdict. If you have any to contribute (one liners that could be used in commercials or in interviews) please post them in the comments.

UPDATE 2: Libby points out the silver lining that libertarians can be glad about in this decision:

States are still free to legislate on their own and to refuse to prosecute sick people. The decision doesn’t compel the feds to persecute the sick, it simply failed to prevent them from doing so. They no doubt will continue on their campaign against society’s most vulnerable citizens, but they will have to face a growing public discontent with the policy and that’s the silver lining in this. It brings the debate into the public arena in a way we haven’t been able to do with ordinary legislation.

UPDATE 3 (APOLOGIES TO TRUE CONSERVATIVES): It looks like it’s more liberals than conservatives who are backing the Commerce Clause, as pointed out by Hit & Run. To all the Republicans who are sticking to their conservative, small-government, guns: Kudos to you. Thanks to Tom Hanna for setting things straight in the comments. I’m not convinced that Republicans in Congress share the views of the pundits right now, though time will tell if they propose legislation to fix this judicial faux pas.

» Raich v. Ashcroft [TPMCafe]
» Raich and the Left [The Antagonist]
» Why the Government will Win in Raich [federalism.typepad.com]
» Libertarian Party Condemns the Supreme Court Decision Against the use of Medical Marijuana [LP.org]
» More Raich Reaction [Last One Speaks]

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The White Ho

declared extinct over five years ago, now seen flourishing on the West lawn [via]

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Apple to go x86

this is huge, now you’ll be able to install OS X on your DIY beige-box PC [discussion here]

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“I Used To Be a Neocon”

“What pulled me in to the neocon cult however was a combination of American nationalism and group mentality.” [via]

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The Libertarian Argument for Recreational Drugs

I’ve been mulling over a few posts on other libertarian blogs about marijuana decriminalization and I want to throw out what I think is a good argument for allowing people to use recreational drugs as they choose and focus on addiction prevention instead of prohibition enforcement:

One of the largest recreational drugs in America is Viagra. No one can say with a straight face that taking a drug that prolongs erections isn’t anything other than a pleasure drug. Users intentionally have sex and the resulting orgasm dramatically increases dopamine levels in the brain, not unlike the effects of using prohibited drugs like marijuana. Viagra is also characteristically “addictive” in the same sense as marijuana — psychologically.

Does anyone know if there are any other kinds of prescription drugs that would fit the description of recreational drugs, based on the previous observation?

UPDATE: In related news, the SCOTUS handed down a judgement today ruling 6-to-3 against state rights to legalize medical marijuana. O’Connor, one of those dissenting, said the federal government was overreaching to endorse “making it a federal crime to grow small amounts of marijuana in one’s own home for one’s own medicinal use.” In an era of increasing centralism (which used to be a liberal/Democrat ideal that has been hijacked by conservatives/Republicans in recent years), this decision shouldn’t be much of a shock, but what is surprising is how apple-pie the ones who brought the case seem to be.

UPDATE 2: The plaintiffs are going to defy the ruling anyways.

“I’m going to have to be prepared to be arrested,” said Diane Monson, who smokes marijuana several times a day to relieve back pain.

10-to-1 odds says this guy has his home raided and is carted off within the month. I think the drug war may start heating up and getting lots of press coverage if that happens. The LNC needs to start paying attention here, a well-timed (and toned) press release would do wonders for libertarian visibility.

UPDATE 3: Even Reagan Republicans are having a hard time swallowing the failed War on Drugs. Economist Milton Friedman has come out swinging in favor of marijuana reform:

At 92, Friedman is revered as one of the great champions of free-market capitalism during the years of U.S. rivalry with Communism. He is also passionate about the need to legalize marijuana, among other drugs, for both financial and moral reasons.

“There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana,” the economist says, “$7.7 billion is a lot of money, but that is one of the lesser evils. Our failure to successfully enforce these laws is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Colombia. I haven’t even included the harm to young people. It’s absolutely disgraceful to think of picking up a 22-year-old for smoking pot. More disgraceful is the denial of marijuana for medical purposes.”

He and 500 other economists from around the U.S. today will publicly endorse a Harvard University economist’s report on the costs of marijuana prohibition. The report cites that instead of spending $7.7 billion in combined state and federal spending a year, taxation would yield up to $6.2 billion a year.

UPDATE 4: Coyote Blog points out an interesting duplicity in that the ruling was made on the basis that homegrown weed cut into the profits of illegal intrastate traffickers:

lawyers for the U.S. Justice Department argued to the Supreme Court that homegrown marijuana represented interstate commerce, because the garden patch weed would affect “overall production” of the weed, much of it imported across American borders by well-financed, often violent drug gangs

His response:

By the way, think about that for a minute. They are arguing that home-grown weed would “affect” the inter-state commerce of “violent drug gangs”. How would it affect it? It would reduce their commerce! So the feds are claiming purview over home-grown pot because it would, what? Unfairly reduce the inter-state trade of violent drug gangs?


Recruiters’ Big Problem: Parents

“Because of the situation we’re in now, I would not want my son to serve. [...] It’s the policy that I’m against, not the military.”

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An Island Called Liberty

a libertarian children’s book for indoctrinating your little ones into liberty-land [via]

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Al Qaida Training Camps Now in Pakistan

Bush September 20th 2001 Congress speechFrom ABC News — (subtitle) New Training Camps Seen in Pakistan:

And footage shows al Qaeda seems to have set up new training camps inside Pakistan, similar to the ones that were dismantled in Afghanistan. The tapes show a new generation of militants, some no older than 10 or 12, carrying automatic weapons.

Rewind to the September 20th, 2001 address by Bush to Congress and the American people:

And tonight, the United States of America makes the following demands on the Taliban: Deliver to United States authorities all the leaders of al Qaeda who hide in your land. Release all foreign nationals, including American citizens, you have unjustly imprisoned. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers in your country. Close immediately and permanently every terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, and hand over every terrorist, and every person in their support structure, to appropriate authorities. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps, so we can make sure they are no longer operating.

I await a similar address to Pakistan, but the cynic in me knows this is going to get shoved under the rug and out of sight hard and fast by the administration.

Because hey, at least the vaporware WMDs in Iraq won’t be falling into their hands anytime soon, word.

» Al Qaeda Clashes Caught on Tape [ABC News]
» George W. Bush’s Address to Congress and the American People [transcript]

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Reminder: Subscribe to the HoT Line Feed

This is to remind everyone who is an RSS-only subscriber that this isn’t the only Hammer of Truth feed anymore. Along with the redesign came the HoT Line, which is condensed links and content that otherwise wouldn’t make it to the site before, but is still chock full of interesting links.

Thanks to the awesomeness of FeedBurner, you can subscribe easily with your favorite RSS reader by just following this link.

In related feed news, the number of subscribers for the main feed is now steadily over 100 on a daily basis, which is quite the growth from a year ago, as you can see in this nifty graph (the canyons are where I broke feeds during upgrades, woops).

RSS circulation 1-year
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G-Dubs Raps about the D.R.A.F.T.

well put-together flash music video (weird voice); I have doubts a draft would fly very far with this generation [via]

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Penn Jillette had a Baby Girl

technically his wife had it, but he named her Moxie CrimeFighter Jillette; it’s supposed to be funny, I think

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Free Talk Live: HoT Auto-notification

Because I’d like to help Free Talk Live take off and to show my support (and because I could only vote once for their podcast ballot thingie), I have added a little script to the front page sidebar that displays an image link to FTL along with the current show time only during times when they are on the air.

I think it’s pretty cute and if anyone wants the PHP code, just ask.

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Sensenbrenner’s Privacy Problem

the creator of the REAL ID Act doesn’t even have a working privacy policy link on his own website

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$100/gal in Iraq… Buh!?

This is just ludicrous:

With the U.S. Army spending $100 a gallon to buy gasoline and lug it to Iraq and Afghanistan for Humvees, the brass wants to cut its fuel costs. One possible solution: the Army National Automotive Center’s push to boost the market for hybrid engine technology.

Ok, let me be the first to inform the Pentagon that if they can’t seem to find a way to fill the Humvees for less than $100/gal while driving smack dab in the center of the oil-rich Middle East… perhaps the problem isn’t fuel economy and the solution isn’t hybrid engines.

I don’t know, just a theory here.

» Hybrid Vehicles In Camouflage [BusinessWeek]


Oxytocin Hormone: Triggers “Trust” in Brain

This has been circulating in my inbox for a couple days — Hormone Spray Is Found To Bolster Trust in Others:

Ernst Fehr, director of the Institute for Empirical Research in Economics at the University of Zurich and one of the scientists who conducted the experiment, said the peak effect of oxytocin was seen after about 50 minutes and it wore off after two hours.

“Some may worry about the prospect that political operators will generously spray the crowd with oxytocin at rallies of their candidates,” said neurologist Antonio R. Damasio of the University of Iowa, who has long studied the neurobiology of human emotions and who wrote a commentary accompanying the study.

At the same time, he added in an interview, politicians and marketers were probably already triggering the natural release of oxytocin in the brains of audiences through their campaigns. “I am more alarmed about the manipulations of marketing than the possibility of oxytocin sprays,” he said.

Huh, so it turns out Big Brother is actually a cologne, whoddathunk?

But seriously, how long do you think it will take before car dealerships install oxytoxin spritzers at the showroom door and auto industry profits shoot through the roof?

» Hormone Spray Is Found To Bolster Trust in Others [WaPo]

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Newsweek vs Pentagon: Circling the Bowl

GitmoOk, I was willing to give the Pentagon the benefit of the doubt after Newsweek so quickly flushed it’s Qur’an mistreatment allegations. Now, I’m not so sure after reading this bizzare account from the Pentagon of what really happened:

A U.S. military investigation into the mishandling of the Muslim holy book at the Guantanamo Bay prison for suspected terrorists has determined that detainees — not U.S. soldiers — attempted to flush the Quran down the toilet there.

However, the report did find four confirmed incidents in which U.S. personnel at the base mishandled the Quran, including guards kicking a detainee’s Quran; a guard’s urine “splashed” a detainee and his holy book after coming through an air vent; and guards got in a water balloon fight that resulted in two detainees’ Qurans getting wet.

In a fifth confirmed incident, it could not be determined whether a guard or a detainee wrote a two-word obscenity in a detainee’s Quran.

Ok, just a quick guess on the obscenity in the last incident: F*&k Allah. Totally unsubstantiated guess.

So let’s get this straight: a guard was taking a leak, and he was a bit of a slob who couldn’t aim, and he pissed in an air vent (in the ceiling or in the floor, ponder that), and amazingly the detainee’s Quran was right under that vent. Something makes me wonder what kind of HVAC and plumbing work our tax money is paying for.

And as for the water balloon fight that resulted in not one but two detainees’ Qurans getting wet… well, let’s just say when the guards testified they were engaging in watersports with detainees Qurans, someone was taking liberty with the definition.

But hey, Newsweek can suck a fat one, because the guards clearly did everything short of actually flushing the Quran, so stick that in your pipe and smoke it, America haters.

» The Qur’an Question [Newsweek]
» Detainees, not soldiers, flushed Quran [CNN] [via cryptogon]


U.S. Has Long History of Waging Wrong Wars

Iraq WMDFreeman, libertarian critter found this unlikely news story at FOXNEWS.com — U.S. Has Long History of Waging Wrong Wars:

In addition, the U.S. invasion of nuke-free Iraq and its restraint with nuke-armed North Korea send a signal that other nations should secretly accelerate efforts to acquire nuclear weapons since they deter U.S. intervention. U.S. actions encourage the nuclear proliferation it is intended to prevent.

Every so often, FOXNEWS has a moment of libertarian zen, in another article, they also hilite the possible proliferation that has taken place of dual-use materials while Iraq has been under U.S. control:

U.N. inspectors have been blocked from returning to Iraq since the U.S.-led war in 2003 so they have been using satellite photos to see what happened to the sites that were subject to U.N. monitoring because their equipment had both civilian and military uses.

[... Acting chief weapons inspector Demetrius Perricos] said imagery analysts have identified 109 sites that have been emptied of equipment to varying degrees, up from 90 reported in March.

So, the war we were sold as neccessary in order to stop weapons of mass destruction (related program activities) from being given to terrorists has now resulted in the same equipment being carted off to God knows where now that the U.S. government has gained control of Iraq. Fucking genius.

Which all begs the question: When did FOXNEWS join the liberal media in hating that we invaded Iraq in order to promote freedom and democracy?


Libertarian Radio Plug: Free Talk Live

Free Talk LiveI’m now a proud listener of the unabashedly libertarian-slanted Free Talk Live (via CoolParty.us):

Free Talk Live is talk radio unlike any other. In an industry where shows are either pro-republican or pro-democrat, Free Talk Live is unabashedly pro-FREEDOM.
Another hallmark of typical talk radio is heavy call screening. Certain hosts are afraid of certain issues. Free Talk Live is not. We call the show Free Talk Live because listeners are Free to call in and Talk about anything from the political to the personal. We’re also Live 6 days per week.
Don’t like the topic? Don’t tune out. Call and change it.
Got something you just have to get off your chest? Call.
Want to argue with a caller who’s on the air? Call and let us know.

Color me impressed. You can tune in online or via their affiliate stations (8 FM, 5 AM) or subscribe to their podcast (though don’t bother calling the phone number, durrr).

Apparently they also need help kicking their rank up in the Podcast Alley popularity ranking (they were #1 for May and want to do it again), so go ahead and give them a nudge by voting for them (hey, the more popular the show is, the more exposure it gets, and that means more exposure for libertarians in general).

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Your 15 Minutes of Being a Hitler

great roundup of Nazi comparisons; such a shame Godwin’s law isn’t very pervasive anymore [via]

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Oceanic Air: Out of Business

I almost fell for this until I saw “© 2005 Touchstone Television” at the bottom of the site and did some Googling

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And We’re Back…

I hope you all had ample time to take a potty break and visit our lurvly advertisers during the past week, because Hammer of Truth is back in form later this evening (once I get properly drunk and read through the Drudge Report for political stuff that makes me bang on keyboard and form incoherent ranting sentences and perhaps full paragraphs).

In the meantime, drop a line to our friend(s?) over at The Decadent West and ask them why they haven’t posted anything new in ages. I mean, shit… Hammer of Truth may not have a leg to stand on when it comes to regular updating, but our style is nothing like the sweet crack-rock DW was handing out.

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Lifecycle of Bloggers

I’ll never get this blog past level 3, though I have done the hiatus thing a few times

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Hammer of Truth is NOT Neolibertarian

I wanted to throw this out there quickly before I head out.

I will absolutely not be joining the Neolibertarian Network clique for two reasons: 1) foremost, I can see through the haze and see it’s a grand scheme to boost QandO’s pagerank/pageviews to generate revenue (nothing I’m adverse to, but not when you hijack libertarianism under a false ideology); 2) the “ideological framework” to adhere to is a joke.

For me to even apply, I’d have to adhere to these 3 principles (and I won’t):

  • Pragmatic domestic libertarian; Hawk on defense
  • Hobbesian libertarian
  • Big-Tent libertarian

Let’s dissect these:

Pragmatic domestic libertarian; Hawk on defense

This is two in one… so I’m only addressing the first part. I’m in total agreement on domestic libertarianism when it means less government and greater liberty. The classic term is socially liberal, fiscally conservative. I can only hope they mean the same thing. However, this is clearly cancelled out by the Hobbesian crud below.

Hawk on defense
(in which they quote Dale Franks: “If the 1930s and 1940s taught us anything it should be that it is no longer possible for us to confine ourselves to our shores secure in immunity from attack. [As] tragic as it may be, sometimes foreigners are going to need to be killed, and I’d rather kill them over in Kaplokistan, than do so by sniping at them from the rubble of San Diego.”)

What an utter load of malarky. I still don’t get this warped mindset that says we should invade country X after country Y has attacked us simply because they looked at us wrong. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a huge proponent of hunting down Al Qaida in Afghanistan, Pakistan or wherever they are and sticking some terrorist heads on pikes, but don’t hornswaggle me with collusion theory between the socialist dictator Saddam Hussein and islamonihilist Osama bin Laden when there’s no facts to back it up. I’m not buying it.

Hobbesian libertarian
Which is defined: “the philosophical system of Thomas Hobbes; especially : the Hobbesian theory that people have a fundamental right to self-preservation and to pursue selfish aims but will relinquish these rights to an absolute monarch in the interest of common safety and happiness”

Ok, let me just say: WTF?! Even the most right-wing christian conservative would blink at this bit of nuttery.

Big-Tent libertarian
QandO explained: If this isn’t a terribly specific description of Neolibertarianism, see one of the short descriptions listed above: Big-Tent libertarianism. As with any political movement, there is a broad cross-section of opinions. Neolibertarianism merely attempts to make libertarianism politically relevant, without the exclusionary barriers of the ideological Libertarians.

I’m all for big tent libertarianism, but not when it’s clear that it’s neo-conservative hawks beckoning us to join in their revival and… Hallelujah! Pass the donation tray my brothas and sistas. AMEN!

And to add injury to insult, QandO is publishing a newsletter called The New Libertarian. Personally, I hope Tim West drops the dime on them with whoever forced him to drop that as his blog name for copyright reasons.

I suggest libertarians with any sense steer clear of this neocon network in libertarian’s clothing. Hell, even Instapoopie isn’t that stupid.


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