Thieves Steal A Record Amount In Washington

Well, that’s Washington State not DC where there are undoubtably also record amounts being stolen.
In Washington State thieves and thugs stole a record $270 million dollars of one crop in 2005. The sad thing is that they are not being brought to justice:

The 135,323 marijuana plants seized in 2005 were estimated to be worth $270 million — a record amount that places the crop among the state’s top 10 agricultural commodities, based on the most recent statistics available.
And like any agricultural product, marijuana is very much a commodity, Lt. Rich Wiley, who heads the Washington State Patrol narcotics program, said Wednesday.
“We’re struck by the amount of work they put into it,” Wiley said. “It’s very labor-intensive. They often run individual drip lines to each plant and are out there fertilizing them. It takes a tremendous amount of work.”
But the results are worth the effort, said Wiley, who coordinates pot busts with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and local law enforcement agencies. A single plant can produce as much as a pound of processed marijuana, worth about $2,000, he said.

If the current elected governments will not protect our right as free human beings to engage in voluntary exchange with other free human beings then it is time to put in place institutions that will.

NSA Hearing Scope Too Narrow?

Orin Kerr picks up on something that’s been nagging at me today as I listened to the judicial committee hearings. There is a lot more going on than the particular program that seemed to be the focus of today’s hearings:

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the AG’s testimony is his suggestion, made at various places, that there are other classified telecommunications surveillance programs beyond FISA and the NSA program.

If these focus at all on domestic surveillance without warrants then they need to be brought out into the light of day.

Oh yea, wasn’t gonzalez adept at saying nothing! But did anyone expect anything different?

End The War Now!

As Ron says:

While the war in Iraq may outrageous there is another war that is equally outrageous and is truly bi-partisan, the war on drugs.

And Anthony Gregory frames this abomination as we all should:

The drug war is misdirected. It is foolish. It is stupid, unworkable, disastrous, tragic and sad. But beyond all that it is evil.
The drug war is grounded in an evil premise: that people do not own their bodies, that they have no right to control what they do with their own lives and their own property, that it is appropriate to lock them in cages if they produce, distribute or consume chemicals in defiance of the state.
This is a monstrosity. As long as America has the drug war, it is not a free country. Politicians who support it and expand it, knowing the evils it entails, have no business lecturing us on morality.
The ideology of the war on drugs is the ideology of totalitarianism, of communism, of fascism and of slavery. In practice, it has made an utter mockery of the rule of law and the often-spouted idea that America is the freest country on earth.

Read the rest and then consider just how you will start standing up to the jackboots of the drug war. How you will help lead them to their Nuremberg and there is no excuse for any of the drug thugs be they presidents, senators, governors, mayors, narcs, prosecutors, swat teams, etc. They should all know better.

They are all guilty of crimes against humanity.

Taxing the Constitution

I wonder just why these folks think this will pass constitutional muster(reg):

The governor’s tax-reform commission is considering a new state business tax of around 1 percent on the gross income or gross receipts of all corporations and partnerships on their business in Texas, the panel’s chairman said Tuesday.

Pretty standard looking at first glance, but check out this next bit:

“If you’re out of state and you sell products in Texas but you manufacture those products in California, you’re going to pay higher taxes than if you had built a plant in Texas and hired people in Texas,” he said. “If all your buildings and employees are sitting up in Chicago, you’re going to pay more.”

As noted in Granholm v Held:

(a) This Court has long held that, in all but the narrowest circumstances, state laws violate the Commerce Clause if they mandate “differential treatment of in-state and out-of-state economic interests that benefits the former and burdens the latter.” Oregon Waste Systems, Inc. v. Department of Environmental Quality of Ore., 511 U.S. 93, 99.

If this goes through as is it looks like it will make a few lawyers happy with their future work.

It Could Be Worse

I’ve done my share of griping about king george and the erosion of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness driven by the bushies, congress, state legislatures, your nearest city council and, yes, your fellow voters.
It could be worse!
In the US, even though you don’t get to see the caskets coming home, you can still see these images.
As Clara points out: if you live in China you will see these pictures instead of these.

Via Jonathon Wilde.

Update (1/30): Via Brad DeLong is this post which finds that spelling can make a big difference at So, anyone care to speculate as to how long it will take the chinese masters to get this fixed?

Policy Soup

Steve at Begging to Differ rolls out a pretty important idea:

He’s right, but then, sometimes regulatory chaos is a good thing. State-level law is a primordial policy soup, subject to the Darwinian pressures of elections and lawsuits. Good ideas adapt and propagate. Bad ones wither and die. It’s messy. It’s chaotic. It’s perplexing and unwieldy, but it’s a glorious disaster. It’s democracy. And it works.

I’m not going to bite on the It’s democracy bit but it can work and is a good reason to subject most, if not all federal law, to some slash and burn activity.

For that matter the largest geopolitical level this chaos should operate at is probably a city or county level.

How Soon In The States?

Are these guys practicing for their return home?

American troops in Baghdad yesterday blasted their way into the home of an Iraqi journalist working for the Guardian and Channel 4, firing bullets into the bedroom where he was sleeping with his wife and children.

Ali Fadhil, who two months ago won the Foreign Press Association young journalist of the year award, was hooded and taken for questioning. He was released hours later.

Dr Fadhil is working with Guardian Films on an investigation for Channel 4’s Dispatches programme into claims that tens of millions of dollars worth of Iraqi funds held by the Americans and British have been misused or misappropriated.

Jeanne says:

If that isn’t an attempt to intimidate a journalist asking dangerous questions, I can’t imagine what it is. But American journalists ought to demand some answers.

Yes, definitely intimidation.  And,yes, American journalists ought to demand some answers but will they be intimidated? Will they, especially if based in Iraq, be willing to ask dangerous questions?

Lessons on the Constitution

Tony Blankley provides this lesson in today’s Washington Times:

I have appeared on several radio and television shows with prominent journalists who manifest a perfect ignorance of even the most basic principles of constitutional law — even as they pronounce with self-consciously weighty judgment the unconstitutionality of the president’s actions.
However, the most basic constitutional principle is that in war time, the constitutionality of government intrusion into peace time civil liberties must be proportional to the magnitude, likelihood and exigency of the threat or danger to be prevented.
Until one has measured the threat, one cannot rationally judge the constitutionality of the intrusion into civil liberties of the executive action. The president’s critics simply ignore — or are oblivious to — the threat.

I just reread the constitution, it does not take long, and find no such principle stated. There is no reference to the constitution applying differently in wartime than in peacetime so when Kevin Drum asks:

But does that make sense? Is anyone really comfortable with the idea that three decades from now the president of the United States will have had wartime executive powers for nearly a continuous century?
Somehow we need to come to grips with this. There’s “wartime” and then there’s “wartime,” and not all armed conflicts vest the president with emergency powers.

I answer that not only does it not make sense that the president should have 30 nears of wartime executive powers there is no reason, certainly none called out in the constitution, that the president should ever have any power to abrogate any part of the constitution.
Can congress enact a law that allows the president to abrogate the constitution? Well, they can do it but, again, there does not appear to be anything in the constitution that gives congress this authority so when they do so they are violating their oath to uphold the constitution and should, rightly, be tossed out of office.
Via To the People.
Update: James Joyner notes that:

…bold wartime leaders have been flouting the Constitution since at least Lincoln, with the full support of the public.

Well, this certainly does not make them worthy of respect no matter how arrogant bold they are and there is nothing about “the full support of the public” that legitimizes abrogation of the constitution without going through the steps to amend the constitution.

Will abramoff rollover?

There appears to be a good chance that abramoff will rollover on his former associates:

Jack Abramoff, the Republican lobbyist under criminal investigation, has been discussing with prosecutors a deal that would grant him a reduced sentence in exchange for testimony against former political and business associates, people with detailed knowledge of the case say.
Mr. Abramoff is believed to have extensive knowledge of what prosecutors suspect is a wider pattern of corruption among lawmakers and Congressional staff members. One participant in the case who insisted on anonymity because of the sensitivity of the negotiations described him as a “unique resource.”
Other people involved in the case or who have been officially briefed on it said the talks had reached a tense phase, with each side mindful of the date Jan. 9, when Mr. Abramoff is scheduled to stand trial in Miami in a separate prosecution.
What began as a limited inquiry into $82 million of Indian casino lobbying by Mr. Abramoff and his closest partner, Michael Scanlon, has broadened into a far-reaching corruption investigation of mainly Republican lawmakers and aides suspected of accepting favors in exchange for legislative work.

It would be a good thing if this snares some dems as well. Perhaps people will begin understanding the kind of culture that evolves when you create a mob wealth transfer machine the size of the us federal government and that the smaller wealth transfer operations at the city, county and state level are simply breeding grounds for the scumsects at the federal level.
Via Raw Story.

More Competence in government

Here is what USAID does:

USAID works in agriculture, democracy & governance, economic growth, the environment, education, health, global partnerships, and humanitarian assistance in more than 100 countries to provide a better future for all.

Here’s the qualifications of the new USAID director deputy assistant administrator:

More significant to the administration, perhaps, is the fact that Bonicelli is dean of academic affairs at tiny Patrick Henry College in rural Virginia. The fundamentalist institution’s motto is “For Christ and Liberty.” It requires that all of its 300 students sign a 10-part “statement of faith” declaring, among other things, that they believe “Jesus Christ, born of a virgin, is God come in the flesh;” that “Jesus Christ literally rose bodily from the dead”; and that hell is a place where “all who die outside of Christ shall be confined in conscious torment for eternity.”
Faculty members, too, must sign a pledge stating they share a generally literalist belief in the Bible. Revealingly, only biology and theology teachers are required to hold a literal view specifically of the Bible’s six-day creation story. Bonicelli has stated, “I think the most important thing is our academic excellence, [and the fact that we] combine it with a serious statement about our faith and values … I believe in six literal days, but I remain open to someone persuading me otherwise.”

This is certainly consistent with this view of bush and is a perfectly good reason to toss out both bushies and government as we know it. It is simply too risky to have so powerful an institution susceptible to occupancy by bushies or, for that matter, the other 535 534(click through).
Via Columbia Libertarians.
Update: Kip noted in a comment that bonicelli was not appointed director. I fixed that. Kip also points out that bonicelli has a more extensive resume than implied above. You can read more here but I’m still not impressed.