David Kirkpatrick

December 4, 2010

Electronic cigarettes are bad for you?

Don’t smoke ’em myself and have no plans to ever start, but these alternatives to actually burning tobacco have the anti-tobacco forces up in arms. Just check out the “results” of this University of California, Riverside, study that declares them possibly dangerous. Of course this non-study will get lots of ink about how bad electronic cigarettes are, even though the actual results say nothing of the sort.

Typical move from anti-tobacco forces. Long on overwrought hype and short on non-statistically skewed clinical results. It really is amazing how many citizens in the “land of the free” want to have control over what their fellow citizens consume, who they marry and where they worship (for those with that inclination.)

From the link:

Talbot, a professor of cell biology and neuroscience, was joined in the study by Anna Trtchounian, the first author of the research paper. Together, they examined the design, accuracy and clarity of labeling, nicotine content, leakiness, defective parts, disposal, errors in filling orders, instruction manual quality and advertizing for the following brands of e-cigarettes: NJOY, Liberty Stix, Crown Seven (Hydro), Smoking Everywhere (Gold and Platinum) and VapCigs.

Their main observations are that:

  • Batteries, atomizers, cartridges, cartridge wrappers, packs and instruction manuals lack important information regarding e-cigarette content, use and essential warnings;
  • E-cigarette cartridges leak, which could expose nicotine, an addictive and dangerous chemical, to children, adults, pets and the environment;
  • Currently, there are no methods for proper disposal of e-cigarettes products and accessories, including cartridges, which could result in contamination from discarded cartridges entering water sources and soil, and adversely impacting the environment; and
  • The manufacture, quality control, sales, and advertisement of e-cigarettes are unregulated.

“More research on e-cigarettes is crucially needed to protect the health of e-cigarette users and even those who do not use e-cigarettes,” said Kamlesh Asotra, a research administrator at UC TRDRP. “Contrary to the claims of the manufacturers and marketers of e-cigarettes being ‘safe,’ in fact, virtually nothing is known about the toxicity of the vapors generated by these e-cigarettes. Until we know any thing about the potential health risks of the toxins generated upon heating the nicotine-containing content of the e-cigarette cartridges, the ‘safety’ claims of the manufactureres are dubious at best.

Okay, doesn’t sound too convincing there. And I encourage more research because if electronic cigarettes pose specific health risks, consumers of the product should know about them to make informed decisions on what they are putting into their bodies.

Now here’s the title from the linked PhysOrg piece, “Electronic cigarettes are unsafe and pose health risks, new study finds.” Does that match the studies results to your mind. Certainly not mine. Note the first observation — the products lack package labeling. Stop the presses!

Who funded this bit of research, “The study was funded by a grant to Talbot from the University of California Tobacco-Related Disease Research Program (TRDRP).”

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September 8, 2010

Department of Homeland Security sued for illegal search and seizure

This is a long overdue lawsuit. Unbeknownst to many United States citizens, if you leave the country with an electronic device — like a smartphone, cell phone, camera, or more likely, a laptop — your electronics can be seized, searched and contents archived by the Department of Homeland Security with no due process other than a field officer deciding you might be a threat to the nation.

I’ve blogged about this very topic a couple of times — first back in June 2008 and again in September 2009 — and my sense of outrage at the privacy and civil liberties violation hasn’t abated. Sure we need to protect the nation and monitor who comes and goes into and out of the country, but with the due process that represents the best of America. In the post-9/11 world, policies like this are slowly turning the United States into a police state that would be unrecognizable to the Founding Fathers.

From the first link:

Civil liberties groups sued the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday, alleging that the government should not be able to search, copy or keep the data on electronic devices carried by people crossing the border without a reasonable suspicion of wrongdoing.

The American Civil Liberties Union, the New York Civil Liberties Union and the National Association of Criminal Defense Layers (NACDL) announced on Tuesday that they filed a lawsuit against the policy, arguing that Americans “do not surrender their privacy and free speech rights when they travel abroad.”

DHS policy says that electronic devices such as laptops, cameras and cell phones can be searched as a matter of course, and that the border agents can copy the contents of the devices in order to continue searching them once the traveler has been allowed to enter the U.S. — even if the traveler is not suspected of any wrongdoing. Information obtained by the ACLU indicated that over 6,600 travelers — nearly half of whom are U.S. citizens — had their electronic devices searched at the border between Oct. 1, 2008 and June 2, 2010.

Update 9/10/10 — In the meantime, here’s a CIO.com article on getting your data across the border while avoiding the invasive scrutiny of the DHS.

August 26, 2010

Out of control taxation, New York State-style

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 8:17 pm

There really isn’t anything to add to this Wall Street Journal story other than WTF?

From the link:

State tax officials, under orders from cash-strapped Albany to ramp up their audit and compliance efforts, have begun to enforce one of the more obscure distinctions within the state’s sales tax law.

In New York, the sale of whole bagels isn’t subject to sales tax. But the tax does apply to “sliced or prepared bagels (with cream cheese or other toppings),” according to the state Department of Taxation and Finance. And if the bagel is eaten in the store, even if it’s never been touched by a knife, it’s also taxed.

August 7, 2010

An argument against online privacy regulation

I ran a muli-part post covering some of the more chilling aspects of online privacy last weekend, largely quoting the excellent Wall Street Journal series on the subject. This weekend here’s the best, and really most difficult, solution to the issue. I’m never for un- or even quasi- necessary regulation, so keeping the government out of online privacy oversight should remain the goal of anyone interested in the future of online freedom.

The key point from the second link (emphasis mine):

If a central authority such as Congress or the FTC were to decide for consumers how to deal with cookies, it would generalize wrongly about many, if not most, individuals’ interests, giving them the wrong mix of privacy and interactivity. If the FTC ruled that third-party cookies required consumers to opt in, for example, most would not, and the wealth of “free” content and services most people take for granted would quietly fade from view. And it would leave consumers unprotected from threats beyond their jurisdiction (as in Web tracking by sites outside the United States). Education is the hard way, and it is the only way, to get consumers’ privacy interests balanced with their other interests.

Bush tax cuts find foe in Greenspan

Filed under: Business, Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 10:26 am

Alan Greenspan’s post-Fed chair economic line has been quite different from how he wielded power for almost twenty years. His latest seeming apostasy is to call for repealing the Bush 43 tax cuts. I’ll have to admit I agree with the sphinx here. I’m certainly fiscally conservative, but I’m not fiscally stupid, and I’m certainly not one of those fiscal hardliners (hardheaders?) who would prefer to see the United States go completely bankrupt than to implement a serious monetary policy that matches the facts on the ground.

From the link:

It was not enough, it seems, for Alan Greenspan, the former Federal Reserve chairman and a self-described lifelong Republican libertarian, to call for stringent government regulation of giant banks, as he did a few months ago.

Now Mr. Greenspan is wading into the most fierce economic policy debate in Washington — what to do with the tax cuts adopted, in large part because of his implicit backing, under President George W. Bush — with a position not only contrary to Republican orthodoxy, but decidedly to the left of President Obama.

Rather than keeping tax rates steady for all but the wealthiest Americans, as the White House wants, Mr. Greenspan is calling for the complete repeal of the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, brushing aside the arguments of Republicans and even a few Democrats that doing so could threaten the already shaky economic recovery.

“I’m in favor of tax cuts, but not with borrowed money,” Mr. Greenspan, 84, said Friday in a telephone interview. “Our choices right now are not between good and better; they’re between bad and worse. The problem we now face is the most extraordinary financial crisis that I have ever seen or read about.”

July 16, 2010

Jonah Goldberg and cogent arguments …

… are mutually exclusive.

This is a very interesting take at Reason on where libertarianism is heading. It features three essays:

  • (Reason) Contributing Editor Brink Lindsey is vice president for research at the Cato Institute. He writes from the libertarian perspective stating libertarians need a clean break from the conservative political movement.
  • Jonah Goldberg is editor-at-large of National Review Online and a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. Goldberg argues libertarianism should retain and seek out ties to the conservative movement.
  • Matt Kibbe is president of FreedomWorks. He makes the argument the Tea Party movement is a libertarian movement.

It’s a long read for online content, but certainly worth the time if you are interested in libertarianism and are curious how to reconcile today’s political climate in the United States with a fiscally conservative/socially liberal stance.

The extended title refers to Goldberg’s essay. He’s certainly no intellectual heavyweight (or even light middleweight for that matter) and almost exclusively falls back on talking points from up on high and straw men in both his short- and long-form writing. This contribution to Reason did not disappoint on that measure.

To keep this short I’ll just point out one particularly egregious example.

Here’s Goldberg from graf six:

For starters, why should libertarianism be so hostile to culturally conservative values? Isn’t libertarianism about freedom, including the freedom to live conservatively if that’s what people choose?

Er, Jonah, libertarianism is not hostile to conservative values in the least and certainly all people should have the freedom to live conservatively, or not, if they choose. The problem comes when conservative values become the law of the land through bad policy. When this happens all people don’t have the opportunity to live as they choose. Only conservatives are permitted that right.

So it pays to remember, and to be intellectually honest, in recognizing there is a huge difference in being hostile to conservative values and hostile to conservative laws. Libertarians tend to dislike the heavy hand of the state in all spheres of influence. The free market for sure, but just as much in the free mind and body.

July 8, 2010

From the department of “no duh”

The only thing the title of this release left out is it would also reduce both crime and the caseload of the California court system.

The release:

Legalizing marijuana in California would lower the price of the drug and increase use, study finds

Legalizing the production and distribution of marijuana in California could cut the price of the drug by as much as 80 percent and increase consumption, according to a new study by the nonprofit RAND Corporation that examines many issues raised by proposals to legalize marijuana in the state.

While the state Board of Equalization has estimated taxing legal marijuana could raise more than $1 billion in revenue, the RAND study cautions that any potential revenue could be dramatically higher or lower based on a number of factors, including the level of taxation, the amount of tax evasion and the response by the federal government.

Past research provides solid evidence that marijuana consumption goes up when prices go down, but the magnitude of the consumption increase cannot be predicted because prices will fall to levels below those ever studied, researchers say. Consumption also might rise because of non-price effects such as advertising or a reduction in stigma, researchers say.

In addition to uncertainty about the taxes levied and evaded, researchers do not know how users will respond to such a large drop in price. Even under a scenario with high taxes ($50 per ounce) and a moderate rate of tax evasion (25 percent), researchers cannot rule out consumption increases of 50 percent to 100 percent, and possibly even larger. If prevalence increased by 100 percent, marijuana use in California would be close to the prevalence levels recorded in the late 1970s.

The analysis, prepared by the RAND Drug Policy Research Center, was conducted in an effort to objectively outline the key issues that voters and legislators should consider as California weighs marijuana legalization.

“There is considerable uncertainty about the impact that legalizing marijuana in California will have on consumption and public budgets,” said Beau Kilmer, the study’s lead author and a policy researcher at RAND. “No government has legalized the production and distribution of marijuana for general use, so there is little evidence on which to base any predictions about how this might work in California,”

The analysis also suggests that the annual cost of enforcing current marijuana laws is smaller than suggested by others. The RAND study estimates that the cost of enforcing the current laws probably totals less than $300 million.

“It is critical that legislators and the public understand what is known and unknown as the state weighs this unprecedented step,” said Rosalie Liccardo Pacula, a study co-author and co-director with Kilmer of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center.

Two proposals are pending that would legalize the production and sale of marijuana in California. Assembly Bill 2254 authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) would legalize marijuana for those aged 21 and older and task the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control with regulating its possession, sale and cultivation. The bill would create a $50 per ounce excise tax and these funds would be used to fund drug education, awareness, and rehabilitation programs under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Alcohol and Drug Programs.

In November, California voters will consider a ballot measure titled the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 that would make it legal for those aged 21 and older to cultivate marijuana on a 5-foot-by-5-foot plot, and possess, process, share or transport up to one ounce of marijuana. In addition, the initiative would authorize cities or counties to allow, regulate and tax the commercial cultivation and sales of marijuana. Such activities would remain illegal in jurisdictions that do not opt in.

In only two countries have there been changes in the criminal status of supplying marijuana. The Netherlands allows for sale of small amounts of marijuana (5 grams) in licensed coffee shops and in Australia four jurisdictions have reduced the penalties for cultivation of a small number of marijuana plants to confiscation and a fine. Neither has legalized larger-scale commercial cultivation of the sort California is considering.

In 1975, California was one of the first states to reduce the maximum penalty for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana from incarceration to a misdemeanor with a $100 fine. In 1996, California became the first state to allow marijuana to be grown and consumed for medical purposes.

RAND researchers say one effect of legalizing marijuana would be to dramatically drop the price as growers move from clandestine operations to legal production. Based on an analysis of known production costs and surveys of the current price of marijuana, researchers suggest the untaxed retail price of high-quality marijuana could drop to as low as $38 per ounce compared to about $375 per ounce today.

RAND researchers caution there are many factors that make it difficult to accurately estimate revenue that might be generated by any tax on legal marijuana. The higher the tax, the greater the incentives would be for a gray market in marijuana to develop, researchers say.

“A fixed excise tax per ounce may give producers and users an incentive to shift to smaller quantities of higher-potency forms of marijuana,” said study co-author Jonathan P. Caulkins, the H. Guyford Stever Professor of Operations Research at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College and Qatar campus. Such a shift is another factor that could lower revenues collected from marijuana taxes.

In addition, since the November ballot initiative leaves it to local governments to set tax rates, the size of any levy could vary broadly. A jurisdiction with a low tax rate might attract marijuana buyers from elsewhere in the state or even other states, further complicating efforts to predict government revenues from the sale of legal marijuana, according to researchers.

The RAND report also investigates some of the costs to the state and society in general, such as drug treatment and other health expenses, that may change if marijuana is legalized in California.

It’s unclear whether legalizing marijuana may increase or decrease drug treatment costs, according to the study. More than half of the 32,000 admissions for treatment of marijuana abuse in California during in 2009 resulted from criminal justice referrals, which could drop if legalization is approved. However, an increase in marijuana use could cause a spike in those who voluntarily seek treatment for marijuana abuse, researchers say.

###

The report, “Altered State? Assessing How Marijuana Legalization in California Could Influence Marijuana Consumption and Public Budgets,” can be found at www.rand.org. Funding for this study was provided by RAND’s Investment in People and Ideas program, which combines philanthropic contributions from individuals, foundations, and private-sector firms with earnings from RAND’s endowment and operations to support research on issues that reach beyond the scope of traditional client sponsorship.

Other authors of the study are Robert J. MacCoun of the University of California, Berkeley, and Peter H. Reuter of the University of Maryland.

The RAND Drug Policy Research Center is a joint project of RAND Health and the RAND Safety and Justice program within RAND Infrastructure, Safety, and Environment. The goal of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center is to provide a firm, empirical foundation upon which sound drug policies can be built.

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit research organization providing objective analysis and effective solutions that address the challenges facing the public and private sectors around the world. To sign up for RAND e-mail alerts: http://www.rand.org/publications/email.html

July 5, 2010

Karl Rove, fiscal hypocrite

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:27 pm

Of course that should surprise absolutely no one who paid any fiscal attention from 2001 to January 2009.

Daniel Mitchell blogging at Cato@Liberty rips Rove a new one for essentially doing what he always does — pretending the unfathomable fiscal recklessness of the Bush 43 years never happened.

From the link:

Rove has zero credibility on these issues. In the excerpt below, Rove attacks Obama for earmarks, but this corrupt form of pork-barrel spending skyrocketed during the Bush years. Rove rips Obama for government-run healthcare, but Rove helped push through Congress a reckless new entitlement for prescription drugs. He attacks Obama for misusing TARP, but the Bush administration created that no-strings-attached bailout program.

May 28, 2010

The right v. the ACLU

Conor Friedersdorf has a great post at True/Slant on one example of how the right (wrongly) vilifies the ACLU. That’s one thing I’ve always found very, very strange. The ACLU and the Cato Institute walk in virtual lockstep on practically every civil liberties issue. Since civil liberties are the sole focus of the ACLU and Cato is a decidedly right-leaning (actually libertarian) think tank, it seems a bit strange to try and label the ACLU as so anti-right wing. Personally I’m a pretty big fan of both organizations (you can find evidence of that in my blogroll).

From the link:

It’s almost as if the conservative media complex is systematically misleading its audience about the nature of the ACLU, so much so that right-of-center commentators across the Internet spontaneously mocked the organization for failing to intervene on the right side of this case, despite it being precisely the kind of case where the ACLU reliably does exactly what the critics themselves would want.

Perhaps the confusion comes from listening to talk radio hosts and reading blogs that cast all of American politics as a grand struggle between the left and the right, liberals and conservatives, tyranny and liberty. The rank and file, rightly judging that the ACLU operates on the left, automatically concludes that they are the enemy in any case worth caring about.

Awhile back, Jonah Goldberg doubted whether or not there were actually compelling examples of epistemic closure on the right. Well, there you go: an information loop so faulty in explaining the ACLU to its audience that even a blog called Stop the ACLU doesn’t understand what’s going on.

(Hat tip: the Daily Dish)

April 19, 2010

Anti-tobacco forces remain overwrought

Those opposing tobacco use would be very happy to see the plant somehow disappear from the planet. Failing that a global ban on smoking would suffice, I’m sure. And then there’s that pesky nicotine that addicted smokers and ex smokers crave. Hmm, what to do about that? Let’s attack the efforts that offer nicotine to people in a form other than tobacco products to save the children.

I don’t smoke cigarettes and never have, but I do smoke the occasional cigar and I have a pretty healthy collection of pipe tobacco aging gracefully so I do have something of a dog in the fight, but my libertarian side really gets worked up at all the nanny-statism and “we know what’s good for you” going on out there. With this November’s vote coming up wouldn’t it be an odd turn of events that it might be easier to smoke marijuana than smoke a bowl of G.L. Pease’s “Haddo’s Delight” in California?

Not to discount the possibility of kids being hurt by these products — that’s why the adults around those kids should act like adults and keep them out of reach — take a look at the amount of consumption required to start causing problems. If a kid can get into a product like this to that extent I’m going to bet nicotine poisoning is the least of that kid’s unconscious worries.

From the first link:

Tobacco company’s new, dissolvable nicotine products could lead to accidental poisoning

Candy-like appearance and flavorings may increase appeal to infants and youth

Boston, MA – A tobacco company’s new, dissolvable nicotine pellet–which is being sold as a tobacco product, but which in some cases resembles popular candies–could lead to accidental nicotine poisoning in children, according to a new study from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), the Northern Ohio Poison Control Center, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The researchers also say the candy-like products could appeal to young people and lead to nicotine addiction as well.

The study appears in an advance online edition of the journal Pediatrics on April 19, 2010 and will appear in a later print issue.

In 2009, the R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company launched a dissolvable nicotine product called Camel Orbs, which according to the company’s promotional literature contains 1 mg nicotine per pellet and is flavored with cinnamon or mint. The company also introduced Camel Strips (to contain 0.6 mg nicotine per strip) and Sticks (to contain 3.1 mg nicotine per strip).

It appears that the product is intended as a temporary form of nicotine for smokers in settings where smoking is banned. However, the potential public health effect could be disastrous, particularly for infants and adolescents, said Professor Gregory Connolly, lead author of the study and director of the Tobacco Control Research Program at HSPH.

Ingestion of tobacco products by infants and children is a major reason for calls to poison control centers nationwide. In 2007, 6,724 tobacco-related poisoning cases were reported among children five years of age and under. Small children can experience nausea and vomiting from as little as 1 mg of nicotine.

“This product is called a ‘tobacco’ product, but in the eyes of a 4-year-old, the pellets look more like candy than a regular cigarette. Nicotine is a highly addictive drug and to make it look like a piece of candy is recklessly playing with the health of children,” said Connolly.

The researchers computed, based on median body weight, how much nicotine ingestion would lead to symptoms of poisoning in children: A one-year-old infant could suffer mild to moderate symptoms of nicotine poisoning by ingesting 8 to 14 Orbs, 14 Strips or 3 Sticks; ingesting 10 to 17 Orbs, 17 Strips or 3 to 4 Sticks could result in severe toxicity or death. A four-year-old child could have moderate symptoms by ingesting 13 to 21 Orbs, 14 Strips or 4 Sticks and could suffer severe toxicity or death by consuming 16 to 27 Orbs, 27 Strips or 5 Sticks. The researchers report that a poison control center in Portland, Oregon, a test market for Orbs, reported a case in which a three-year old ingested an Orbs pellet.

R.J. Reynolds claims that Orbs packaging is “child resistant,” but the researchers say adults could unknowingly leave the pellets out in the open where children could easily access them. The researchers also say that the candy-like appearance and flavoring and ease-of-use of the product could appeal to children.

###

“Unintentional Childhood Poisonings Through Ingestion of Conventional and Novel Tobacco Products,” Gregory N. Connolly, Patricia Richter, Alfred Aleguas Jr., Terry F. Pechacek, Stephen B. Stanfill, Hillel R. Alpert, Pediatrics, online April 19, 2010.

Harvard School of Public Health (http://www.hsph.harvard.edu ) is dedicated to advancing the public’s health through learning, discovery, and communication. More than 400 faculty members are engaged in teaching and training the 1,000-plus student body in a broad spectrum of disciplines crucial to the health and well being of individuals and populations around the world. Programs and projects range from the molecular biology of AIDS vaccines to the epidemiology of cancer; from risk analysis to violence prevention; from maternal and children’s health to quality of care measurement; from health care management to international health and human rights. For more information on the school visit:http://www.hsph.harvard.edu

April 6, 2010

When David Frum …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:41 am

… isn’t “conservative” enough for the GOP, the term has lost all meaning.

I guest-blogged at FrumForum (then New Majority) at the launch of the site and quickly figured out as a fiercely independent little “l” libertarian, I had essentially nothing to offer the conversation the GOP was getting into. Now it seems the same is happening to Frum himself. The American political term “conservative” has been stretched beyond belief to the point it either doesn’t mean what most people on the right think it does, or more likely it just doesn’t have any true meaning to speak of anymore.

The politics of Karl Rove are not conservative. The presidency of Bush 43 was not conservative in almost every aspect, and the ramblings of Sarah Palin are absolutely not conservative. And these self-described “conservatives” on the right are further and further marginalizing themselves and the party. The GOP should see some gains this electoral cycle, and in a way that might be the worst possible thing for the long-term viability of the Republican brand. A tiny ray of political hope might keep the party from the dramatic re-imagining that needs to happen sooner, rather than later.

February 22, 2010

Greenwald on the Tea Party movement and GOP

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 7:07 pm

Glenn Greenwald certainly sees a lot more libertarian-minded purity in the Tea Party movement than I do. As a little “L” libertarian watching the movement from afar I see a lot of doctrinaire GOP ideals in Tea Party rhetoric and a whole lot of christianist nannyism to boot.

He does make a very salient point about the disconnect between what the Tea Partiers are purportedly for and what the Republican Party stands for.

From the link:

But that GOP limited government rhetoric is simply never matched by that Party’s conduct, especially when they wield power.  The very idea that a political party dominated by neocons, warmongers, surveillance fetishists, and privacy-hating social conservatives will be a party of “limited government” is absurd on its face.  There literally is no myth more transparent than the Republican Party’s claim to believe in restrained government power.  For that reason, it’s only a matter of time before the fundamental incompatibility of the “tea party movement” and the political party cynically exploiting it is exposed.

February 6, 2010

I’ll bet the GOP media machine …

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 2:02 pm

… wished it’d never tried to co opt the Tea Party movement. And I also bet most Tea Partiers wish Joseph Farah didn’t consider himself an ally of the movement.

Reminds me of an old libertarian joke I blogged about a couple of years ago:

There’s really no libertarian blueprint. That much is clear if you take even a sidelong glance at the big-L Libertarian Party. It’s full of all manner of cranks, malcontents, isolationists, druggies, tax dodgers and then a whole lot of otherwise average people who just want the government to stay out of their way.

I don’t participate in any party activities for a variety of reasons, most importantly I don’t think the Libertarian Party is honestly serious enough to achieve any real policy goals.

Here is a paraphrase of a common joke among party participants — I’ve read this somewhere, but can’t recall where. Maybe on Wendy McElroy’s blog.

(This block quote is just the joke, not a quote from anyone’s blog)

First time Libertarian Party meeting participant, “Oh my god, look at that table of Nazis!”

Old vet, “Yep, there’s always at least one.”

First-timer, “What? Nazis?”

Vet, “Nope, someone who bitches about ‘em.”

The Tea Party …

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:53 am

on a national level has jumped the proverbial shark. (And yes, using “jump the shark” is meant to be that snarky.)

On the other hand, I’m looking forward to an honest-to-goodness libertarian movement.

And to give my first linked post due, the charade in Nashville is not the entirety of the Tea Party movement, but it is the current brand. And that will be a stink that’s pretty hard to wash off.

February 5, 2010

Is the Tea Party movement heading toward third party status?

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 6:06 pm

Cato’s John Samples thinks so. To me the Tea Party movement feels much more nativist/conservative than it does libertarian. For some reason, for years now people seem to love to call themselves libertarian. Several years ago a friend of mine who is a pretty doctrinaire liberal — he once said at a gathering he felt he didn’t pay enough taxes (!!?!!) — considered himself a libertarian. So I think there’s a lot of confusion out there on just what makes one a libertarian. Particularly when separating Republicans from libertarians.

From everything I’ve read, the Tea Partiers talk a pretty good fiscal conservative line, but a great number also talk a very strong social conservative line as well. If that doesn’t define your basic small-tent GOPer, nothing does. And setting the Tea Party rhetoric aside there is quite the disconnect between what the movement purports to believe in, and what it seems to actually support.

The easiest example is government spending on health care: Tea Partiers are vehemently against health care reform, or what has been framed as “Obamacare,” but at the same time want Medicare — quite the “socialist” medical care program by Tea Party definition — left alone. Either you are against government involvement with health care or not. The existing hypocrisy sounds more like Baby Boomer-aged Tea Partiers who are just fine with government subsidized health care as long as they are the recipients of all that government largess.

Needless to say, Samples sees a purity in the Tea Party movement that just isn’t there.

Here’s Samples’ take from the link way up there in the first graf:

It is not Republican; it is not even conservative. It has no interest in debating the merits of No Child Left Behind, abstinence-only sex education or George W. Bush’s rationale for going to Iraq. Replacing a “spend and borrow” Democrat with a “spend and borrow” Republican is not the goal of the Tea Party movement.

This movement is simply saying: “We are fine without you, Washington. Now for the love of God, go attend a reception somewhere, and stop making health care and entrepreneurship more expensive than they already are.”

Machiavelli once said a republic stays healthy by returning to its first principles from time to time. The Tea Party movement is trying to get our nation back to its first principles to prevent our decline. For their trouble, they have been denounced by many in the media and the Obama administration.

But they will continue to fight. They still believe in the promise of America. That faith may spread as Election Day approaches in the second and perhaps final year of what is supposed to be the Age of Obama.

What began as angry town meetings and grew into a political movement may end as a third political party in 2012. Maybe then Washington will finally listen.

January 24, 2010

Libertarians in the electorate

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 1:40 pm

Interesting study from the Cato Institute ( by David Boaz and David Kirby) to find out just how many libertarian voters are out there in the wild pulling levers on election days.

Looking at the loosest possible definition — fiscal conservative/social liberal but won’t self-identify as libertarian — the number is a huge 59 percent. Add the self-definition to the equation and that drops to 44 percent.

The Cato’s stringent definition of libertarian — “correct” answers on three political values questions — still found 14 percent of voters are libertarian. A fairly healthy figure. For the record I consider myself in the second group of the second graf. Didn’t take the Kirby-Boaz survey to see if I fit a higher level of purity. I typically self describe as a “little l” libertarian.

And the ostensibly libertarian Tea Party movement? From everything I’ve read the movement has a lot of libertarian rhetoric, coupled with a lot of anarchic actions. Honest libertarianism isn’t against government. It’s just against needlessly intrusive, large and bad government.

From the first link:

In our new study, David Kirby and I round up various estimates on the number of libertarian-leaning voters. Our own calculation, 14 percent, is actually the lowest estimate.

We use three questions on political values from the generally acknowledged gold standard of public opinion data, the surveys of the American National Election Studies, and find that 14 percent of respondents gave libertarian answers to all three questions. But other researchers have used somewhat looser criteria and found larger numbers of libertarians:

The chart:

We summed all that up in this handy but not necessarily helpful graph

January 22, 2010

Friday video — lessons on Brown’s victory from Cato

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 5:15 pm

Here’s a quick (a little over three minutes) recap on what Scott Brown’s victory in Massachusetts means in terms of the current political climate.

From the inbox, an introduction for the clip:

Our video team just produced a short video about the Brown campaign that discusses the real meaning of Tuesday’s election. Cato scholars John Samples and David Boaz contend that Tuesday’s election sent a message to Democrats that they have clearly overreached, but Republicans need to be careful and realize that they’re still not very popular either.

January 20, 2010

Teeth gnashing and hand wringing over health care reform

(Update — bold emphasis added because it seems it takes a sledgehammer to make a fiscal point right now.)

I’m sure there’s a lot of both going on behind the Democratic Party scenes. There’s a lot of both going on publicly along with plenty of finger pointing, blaming and dissembling among the left blogosphere. The simple fact is health care reform in its current Congressional form has not, and almost certainly will not, pass because of Democratic ham-fisted policy making. But the GOP is behaving shamefully and shamelessly as an opposition party with no alternative ideas and zero compromise on a very necessary evil.

Yes, health care reform is a very necessary evil. Honest libertarians can be excused from the argument, but fiscal conservatives are lying to themselves or everyone else when they deny health care reform must occur at some point in the near future. Health care as a percentage of income is becoming unmanageable and health insurance costs are killing businesses both large and small.

Without reform health care in the United States will continue to bankrupt people at higher and higher levels of income, and cause untold suffering and early death for the uninsured. And at a point in time looming very soon it will simply bankrupt the entire nation. I’m no fan of too much government influence anywhere, but after looking over the arguments (and sorting through the hyperventilated crap from both the left and the right) I am convinced reform at the federal level is now a necessary evil. Any fiscal conservative who looks at the numbers honestly will come to the same conclusion.

Some funny (interesting, not hah hah) facts about the situation on the ground now that Brown has taken over Ted Kennedy’s Senate seat: the oft pointed out irony that Kennedy’s old seat will end his signature legislation; the fact the Massachusetts electorate already has a state run plan along the lines of federal health care reform so scuttling the current reform efforts causes them no significant pain; that the new GOP senator voted for the Massachusetts plan, but has declared opposition to essentially the same plan on the federal level; the heaviest opposition to health care reform is found amongst voters who either are already in, or soon will be, the massive federal subsidy of Medicare or Medicaid and basically fear their benefits being harmed in some way. Talk about wanting to selfishly eat your children. No health care reform equals a potentially very bleak future for everyone middle aged on down.

December 31, 2009

Predictions for 2010 from Cato’s David Boaz

Filed under: Business, Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 3:17 pm

Do go read the entire (reasonably short) post, but here’s Boaz’s very sensible conclusion:

All of which is to explain why you’re not going to find any predictions for 2010 in this post.

October 23, 2009

Cato v. Heritage

On the topic of the Patriot Act two right leaning think tanks pair off. This she says/he says is a nice, succinct illustration of one key difference between the right-wing hawkishness/pro-military industrial complex and libertarian schools of thought.

In a nutshell, the Heritage Foundation is all for the Patriot Act and its civil liberties trampling totality. The Cato Institute is for protecting the hard-won freedoms of American citizens while continuing to work at keeping the U.S. safe from terrorism.

The point further boils down to: do you trust handing the government total control over your civil liberties and right to privacy, or not. Personally I’m 100 percent behind the Cato approach, and honestly the Heritage position strikes me as profoundly un-American. The founding fathers would certainly not recognize the Heritage stance as having anything to do with their noble ideals.

October 9, 2009

DownsizingGovernment.org

A new venture from the Cato Institute.

From the Cato Weekly Dispatch:

Cato Launches DownsizingGovernment.org The Cato Institute announced the launch of DownsizingGovernment.org, a new website aimed at providing policymakers, media and the public with comprehensive data on federal spending. The site spotlights the ongoing, extensive waste of taxpayer dollars by executive agencies. “Some people have lofty visions about how government spending can help society,” says Cato scholar Chris Edwards. “But the essays on this website put aside such bedtime stories about how government programs are supposed to work, and instead focus on how they actually work in the real world.”

The site breaks down federal spending department-by-department, serving as an authoritative reference for identifying ways to cut the size and scope of federal spending.

Click here to visit DownsizingGovernment.org.

September 4, 2009

Homeland Security, borders and electronics

I’m no fan of the bureaucratic mess that is the Department of Homeland Security. I”ve always maintained we had a great security apparatus in place before 9/11, it was simply misused. The DHS? More politicized and certainly no better, and almost more certainly much worse, than the pre-9/11 FBI, CIA, NSA, et.al.

This particular outrage has bothered me for a long time. I don’t think I’ve blogged about it before and it is a massive privacy violation that every American should know about.

From the second link:

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security made it clear that border crossing officials could continue to search any device that can store electronic media without any suspicion of wrongdoing.

Although the revised policy ensures searches will be completed in a “timely manner” (up to 30 days) and that travelers will stay informed about the search’s progress, travelers crossing the border might want to consider a few things.

Officials can still seize any device (including MP3 players or flash drives) and look at any file on it (including Internet browsing history) without giving any reason.

Click here to find out more!

The Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE) believes agents take laptops, make an image of the hard drive and then return the laptop to its owner in the mail. Any copied files could be stored “indefinitely.” (Imagine what the Border Patrol’s iTunes Library will look like after “indefinitely” storing DRM-free music from several dozen searches.) The ACLU is also taking a dim view of the DHS policy, and is challenging it in court.

August 29, 2009

The Bill of Rights, guns and political events

I’m a huge fan of our founding fathers and the greatest gift they handed down to all United States citizens — the Bill of Rights. Coming from autocracy they laid down in explicit detail the best way to counter such, and totally nailed the order of business. The first amendment protects speech (opinion, etc.) and the second the right to bear arms.

I’m a huge fan of both of those amendments, and in that order. I think open carry (or concealed for that matter) shouldn’t be an issue, but I understand someone having an problem with open carry at political events that become somewhat heated. Particularly open carry at events involving secret service agents who put their lives on the line every day. And especially after the previous occupant of the White House had people arrested for wearing t-shirts, much less packing heat.

All in all, I’d say this Daily Dish reader puts it best:

It is an implicit threat that, if health care comes to this country, him and his friends may have to get violent.  Or put another way, he’s hoping that by exercising his second amendment rights, he can scare people out of using their first amendment rights.  Even if this is legal, can’t we all agree that this is somewhat dickish?

August 22, 2009

Mexico decriminalizes drugs …

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:52 am

… in personal use quantities. The first recent drug policy action taken in the Western Hemisphere that actually makes sense. Hopefully this a start of a changing dynamic that leads to an end of the absolutely disastrous “war on drugs” on both sides of the U.S./Mexico border.

And begins to put an end to murderous black marketeers working in both nations.

From the link:

Mexico decriminalized small amounts of marijuana, cocaine and heroin on Friday—a move that prosecutors say makes sense even in the midst of the government’s grueling battle against drug traffickers.Prosecutors said the new law sets clear limits that keep Mexico’s corruption-prone police from extorting casual users and offers addicts free treatment to keep growing domestic drug use in check.

“This is not legalization, this is regulating the issue and giving citizens greater legal certainty,” said Bernardo Espino del Castillo of the attorney general’s office.

The new law sets out maximum “personal use” amounts for drugs, also including LSD and methamphetamine. People detained with those quantities no longer face criminal prosecution.

July 27, 2009

Cato’s Tim Lynch on criminal law

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:53 pm

If you are interested in civil liberties and how criminal law is executed and enforced in the United States, take a few minutes to read Tim Lynch’s testimony before the House’s subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security. Lynch is the director of the Cato Institute’s Project on Criminal Justice.

Lynch’s testimony was titled, “Over-Criminalization of Conduct/Over-Federalization of Criminal Law.”

From the link:

Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse

The sheer volume of modern law makes it impossible for an ordinary American household to stay informed. And yet, prosecutors vigorously defend the old legal maxim that “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”4 That maxim may have been appropriate for a society that simply criminalized inherently evil conduct, such as murder, rape, and theft, but it is wholly inappropriate in a labyrinthine regulatory regime that criminalizes activities that are morally neutral. As Professor Henry M. Hart opined, “In no respect is contemporary law subject to greater reproach than for its obtuseness to this fact.”5

To illustrate the rank injustice that can and does occur, take the case of Carlton Wilson, who was prosecuted because he possessed a firearm. Wilson’s purchase of the firearm was perfectly legal, but, years later, he didn’t know that he had to give it up after a judge issued a restraining order during his divorce proceedings. When Wilson protested that the judge never informed him of that obligation and that the restraining order itself said nothing about firearms, prosecutors shrugged, “ignorance of the law is no excuse.”6Although the courts upheld Wilson’s conviction, Judge Richard Posner filed a dissent: “We want people to familiarize themselves with the laws bearing on their activities. But a reasonable opportunity doesn’t mean being able to go to the local law library and read Title 18. It would be preposterous to suppose that someone from Wilson’s milieu is able to take advantage of such an opportunity.”7Judge Posner noted that Wilson would serve more than three years in a federal penitentiary for an omission that he “could not have suspected was a crime or even a civil wrong.”8

It is simply outrageous for the government to impose a legal duty on every citizen to “know” all of the mind-boggling rules and regulations that have been promulgated over the years. Policymakers can and should discard the “ignorance-is-no-excuse” maxim by enacting a law that would require prosecutors to prove that regulatory violations are “willful” or, in the alternative, that would permit a good-faith belief in the legality of one’s conduct to be pleaded and proved as a defense. The former rule is already in place for our complicated tax laws—but it should also shield unwary Americans from all of the laws and regulations as well.9

June 26, 2009

Cato on Iran’s green wave and Obama’s response

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:02 pm

The libertarian Cato Institute voices approval of Obama’s measured handling of the green wave revolution going on in Iran right now. The United States hand in this process must be very delicate. The despotic leadership in Iran would like nothing more than to blame “the great satan” America for the popular uprising (indeed they are attempting to do so daily along with trying to pin blame on the British as well).

The green wave is about the Iranian people becoming tired of the cheap and false lip service given to democracy by ruling mullahs. The stolen election ripped that falsehood away and exposed the existing Islamacist leadership as little more than cheap frightened thugs.

From today’s weekly dispatch:

Obama’s Cool Response to Iranian Politics Appropriate  
  As the voices of protest to the Iranian election grow louder, many have called upon President Obama to use bolder rhetoric when speaking about the elections in Iran. Last week, Charles Krauthammer and Paul Wolfowitz opined in The Washington Postthat Obama’s reaction has not been nearly enough. Cato foreign policy expert Christopher Preble disagrees, saying that Obama’s calculated reaction is appropriate:

The louder the neocons become in their braying for a free and fair counting of the election results, the less likely it is to occur. In their more candid moments, a few are willing to admit that they would prefer Ahmadinejad to Mousavi.

…It is possible to view President Obama as a more credible messenger, given that he opposed the Iraq war from the outset and has shown a willingness to reach out to the Iranian people. Perhaps a full-throated, morally self-righteous, public address in support of Mousavi’s supporters might have tipped the scales in the right direction.

It seems more likely, however, that Obama’s patient, measured public response to recent events is well suited to the circumstances. As the president said earlier this week, Americans are right to feel sympathy for the Iranian protesters, and we should all be free to voice our sentiments openly. But it is incumbent upon policymakers to pursue strategies that don’t backfire, or whose unintended consequences don’t dwarf the gains that we are trying to achieve. In many cases, the quiet, private back channel works well. And if we discover that there is no credible back channel to Iran available, similar to those employed in 1986 and 1991, then we’ll all know whom to blame.

Cato scholar Justin Logan says that the U.S. government should stay silent on Iran:

President Obama should keep quiet on the subject of Iran’s elections. At least two pernicious tendencies are on display in the Beltway discussion on the topic. First is the common Washington impulse to “do something!” without laying out clear objectives and tactics. What, after all, is President Obama or his administration supposed to do to “support protesters” in Iran in the first place? What would be the ultimate goal of such support? Most importantly, what is the mechanism by which the support is supposed to produce the desired outcome? That we are debating how America should intervene in Iran’s domestic politics indicates the sheer grandiosity of American foreign policy thought.

April 9, 2009

Tim Egan v. 2nd Amendment

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 4:26 am

This is one insipid op-ed piece at the New York Times. Raw emotional appeal, no argument and a whole lot of nanny state dreamin’.

From the (very weak) link:

We hear about these sketches of carnage between market updates and basketball scores — and shrug. We’re the frogs slow-boiling in the pot, taking it all in incrementally until we can’t feel a thing. We shrug because that’s the deal, right? That’s the pact we made, the price of Amendment number two to the Constitution, right after freedom of speech.

April 8, 2009

Cato University 2009

Filed under: Media, Politics — Tags: , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 12:45 am

Getting the word out about the Cato Institute’s Cato University 2009. Should be an interesting event for anyone who can attend.

Here’s some details from the link:

Cato University, the Cato Institute’s premier educational event of the year, is right around the corner!

On June 26-31 in Rancho Bernardo, California, Cato University will bring together outstanding faculty and participants from across the country to discuss how the state has expanded during times of crises; the threats to liberty, privacy, and independence, as the rush for government-imposed solutions (and, hence, power) increases in pace; and, what can be done to restrain – or reverse – its growth.

This year’s topic: Economic Crisis, War, and the Rise of the State.

And even more details from the link in the blockquote:

THE PROGRAM – Economic Crisis, War, and the Rise of the State

Between economic chaos and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the powerful drive to solve problems through government intervention is creating a dangerous new status quo.  During a crisis – and now with the multiple challenges of global economic calamity roaring alongside two wars and international terrorism – government grows exponentially.  Massive overreaching by government was one of chief causes of these crises, so we are witnessing a disease posing as the cure.  And while government may recede after the immediate crisis recedes, it rarely returns to its original size – thus the cautionary adage there is nothing more permanent than a temporary solution, and nothing closer to immortality than a government program.

But – a crisis also presents opportunities to change the status quo, to reduce the size of government.  Cato University 2009 offers a one-of-a-kind opportunity to explore the past, present, and future of freedom: how the state has expanded during times of crises; the threats to liberty, privacy, and independence, as the rush for government-imposed solutions (and, hence, power) increases in pace; and, what can be done to restrain – or reverse – its growth.  This year, Cato University has again assembled a distinguished group of scholars and teachers:

  • Professor Robert Higgs, Editor of The Independent Review: A Journal of Political Economy and the author of numerous acclaimed books, including Crisis and Leviathan:  Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government.
  • Professor Robert McDonald, department of history, the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  He has published articles in a wide range of academic journals of history, and has a national reputation as a scholar of Thomas Jefferson and the American Founding period.
  • Dan Mitchell, senior fellow at the Cato Institute and a top national expert on tax reform and supply-side tax policy. His latest book is Global Tax Revolution:  The Rise of Tax Competition and the Battle to Defend It.
  • Professor Marcus Cole, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, and a National Fellow at the Hoover Institution on War, Revolution and Peace. His scholarly and research interests range from classical liberal political theory to natural law and the history of commercial law.
  • Dr. Veronique de Rugy, senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center. A former policy analyst at the Cato Institute, she is coauthor of Action ou Taxation, published in Switzerland, and serves on the board of directors of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity.
  • David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute; author of The Politics of Freedom:  Taking on the Left, the Right, and Threats to our Liberties; Libertarianism: A Primer; and editor of The Libertarians Reader and the Cato Handbook for Policymakers.
  • Dr. Tom G. Palmer, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, director of Cato University,  and author of the forthcoming book  Realizing Freedom: Libertarian Theory, History and Practice.
  • Prof. Tibor Machan, adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute and professor at the Argyros School of Business and Economics at Chapman University He is a research fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Pacific Research Foundation. He is widely published and is the author of numerous books and articles on natural rights, political philosophy, business ethics, and libertarianism.
  • Randal O’Toole, senior fellow at the Cato Institute, focusing on urban growth, public land, and transportation issues. His latest book is The Best-Laid Plans: How Government Planning Harms the Quality of Your Life, Your Pocketbook, and Your Future.

<!–The program’s daily schedule – including the complete faculty list (and bios), session topics, and special evening presentations – will be posted soon. This we guarantee: your intellectual passions and commitment to freedom and liberty will be energized and enhanced by the totally new perspectives and sessions we will be providing at Cato University 2009 – Economic Crisis, War, and the Rise of the State.

–><!–THE FACULTY

  • Professor Marcus Cole of Stanford University Law School
  • Professor Glen Whitman of California State University, Northridge
  • Professor David Beito of the University of Alabama
  • Dr. Tom G. Palmer, senior fellow of the Cato Institute and director of Cato University
  • Professor Robert McDonald of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point
  • Brian Doherty, senior editor at Reason magazine and author of Radicals for Capitalism: A Freewheeling History of the Modern American Libertarian Movement
  • Dr. Ronald Krieger, Economist and Wall Street Veteran
  • David Boaz, executive vice president of the Cato Institute and author of Libertarianism: A Primer.

–><!–

–>

March 20, 2009

Cato on Obama and medical marijuana

Filed under: Politics — Tags: , , , , , , , — David Kirkpatrick @ 9:02 pm

Drug policy news from the Cato Institute’s weekly dispatch. It’s a small step, but anything that serves to normalize the U.S. drug policy is worth mentioning.

Even though the GOP has historically been for state’s rights, the Federalist impulse tends to disappear when those pesky states pass laws against Republican Party doctrine. Party of less government and personal freedom? Not any longer. In this case it took a Democratic administration to implement Federalist ideals.

And the GOP wonders why the walk in the wilderness is full of nothing more than blind trails and stepping in its own poop.

From the inbox:

Obama to Stop Raids on State Marijuana Distributors  
 

Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week that the president would end federal raids on medical marijuana dispensaries that were common under the Bush administration.

It’s about time, says Tim Lynch, director of Cato’s Project on Criminal Justice:

The Bush administration’s scorched-earth approach to the enforcement of federal marijuana laws was a grotesque misallocation of law enforcement resources. The U.S. government has a limited number of law enforcement personnel, and when a unit is assigned to conduct surveillance on a California hospice, that unit is necessarily neglecting leads in other cases that possibly involve more violent criminal elements.

The Cato Institute hosted a forum Tuesday in which panelists debated the politics and science of medical marijuana. In a Cato daily podcast, Dr. Donald Abrams explains the promise of marijuana as medicine.

March 14, 2009

Dump E-Verify

Something the ACLU and the libertarian Cato Instutute can agree on.

(In reality the two groups are in agreement in more areas than not, but both sides tend to distrust the other. I’ve often joked I’m for the ACLU and the NRA. And for the right of any and all opposition groups to exist as well.)

From the link:

Over the weekend, there was a USA Today article giving prime coverage to those who advocated for an E-Verify requirement as part of the economic stimulus package signed into law a couple weeks ago. E-Verify, the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) employment verification program, would require all employers to verify the work eligibility of new hires through error-ridden government databases. The article was particularly troubling because it incorrectly cited the systemic problems associated with using the E-Verify. Very late in the article, it says:

The business groups and immigrant advocacy groups argue that the E-Verify database is riddled with errors that could result in millions of workers being wrongly identified as not authorized for work. They say requiring its use before hiring would impose a cost burden on employers and open them to lawsuits.

We found this really misleading, because the business and immigrant advocacy groups like the ACLU are not alone in arguing E-Verify will result in delays due to the errors in Americans’ files. You know who else agrees with us? The federal government.

If you’d like to see the Cato Institutes take on this bit of government overreach, hit this link.

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