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Friday, November 29, 2002
DON'T SAY ANYTHING BAD ABOUT THE PREZ
TV advert banned for 'offensive' cartoon of Bush
By Tom Leonard, Media Editor
A television advertisement has been banned for poking fun at George W Bush. Its creators have been told that they must get the American president's permission if they want to be irreverent about him.
When the producer of the ITV animated comedy 2DTV, asked regulators what would happen if they wanted to ridicule Osama bin Laden or Saddam Hussein, he was told he would have to obtain their "authorisation" too.
The 2DTV Bush advert was deemed to be 'offensive'
The seven-second cartoon sketch advertising a Christmas video of the award-winning series showed Mr Bush receiving the video as he sits in the Oval office.
Exclaiming, "My favourite - just pop it in the video player", he walks across the room but instead slots the video into a toaster and burns it to a crisp.
Despite its creators' claims that the dig at the president's intelligence was "relatively innocuous", it proved too much for the Broadcast Advertising Clearance Centre, which pre-vets television adverts on behalf of the broadcasting industry.
In a short written adjudication to Giles Pilbrow, 2DTV's producer, the BACC said the advert had contravened the advertising standards code of the Independent Television Commission under the section headed "protection of privacy and exploitation of the individual".
Without further elaboration, the ruling said simply: "The portrayal of George W. Bush in the commercial is offensive." Another commercial for the video, in which David Beckham is writing a Christmas list and asks his wife how to spell "DVD", was banned for the same reason, said Mr Pilbrow yesterday. "It's the most frustrating bureaucratic decision I've ever come across," he said.
"I asked some at the BACC if they would apply the code in the same way if we did a sketch about Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden. He said, 'Absolutely'. The code says you have to seek authorisation. We would write Mr Bush a letter but he's a busy man. As for bin Laden, he's a little hard to track down at the moment."
Mr Pilbrow said it was not the code, which was "there for the right reasons - to protect the common man", that was at fault but its interpretation.
He added: "To say you can't be offensive about bin Laden is so clearly absurd and totally wrong in the current climate. The ITC must be the only body in the western world which will defend him from being offended."
The ITC backed the BACC's decision. Quoting from the relevant section of the code, a spokesman said: "With limited exceptions, living people must not be portrayed, caricatured or referred to in adverts without their permission,"
A ban on bin Laden would also be appropriate because the code "does not make exceptions for individuals".
He stressed that the ITC's advertising code was stricter than its programmes code because adverts "come into your home unbidden and with no warning about their content".
"You might say it's innocuous but I'm sure George Bush might have a different opinion," he added.
Saturday, November 23, 2002
JUST SOME HUMOR
A rich white man in Georgia decided that he wanted
to throw a party and invited all of his buddies and neighbors. He also
invited Leroy, the only black guy in the neighborhood. He held the party
around the pool in the backyard of his mansion.
Everyone was having a good time drinking, dancing, eating shrimp, oysters
At the height of the party, the host said, "I have a 10 foot man-eating
gator in my pool and I'll give a million dollars to anyone who has the
balls to jump in."
The words were barely out of his mouth when there was a loud splash and
everyone turned around and saw Leroy in the pool!
Leroy was fighting the gator and kicking its ass!
Leroy was jabbing the gator in the eyes with his thumbs, throwing punches,
doing all kinds of shit like head-butts and choke holds, biting the gator
on the tail and flipping the gator through the air like some kind of Judo
The water was churning and splashing everywhere.
Both Leroy and the gator were screaming and raising hell. Finally Leroy
strangled the gator and let it float to the top like a K-mart goldfish.
Leroy then slowly climbed out of the pool.
Everybody was just staring at him in disbelief.
Finally the host says, "Well, Leroy, I reckon I owe you a million dollars."
"No, that's okay. I don't want it.", said Leroy.
The rich man said, "Man, I have to give you something. You won the bet.
How about half a million bucks then?"
"No thanks. I don't want it.", answered Leroy.
The host said, "Come on, I insist on giving you something. That was amazing.
How about a new Porsche and a Rolex and some stock options?"
Again Leroy said "No!"
Confused, the rich man asked, "Well, Leroy, then what do you want?"
Leroy said, "I want the name of the muthafucka who pushed me in the pool!"
A guy goes into a store and tells the clerk; "I'd like some Kielbasa, you
The clerk looks at him and says; "Are you Polish?"
The guy, clearly offended, says, "Well, yes I am. But let me ask you
something. If I had asked for Italian sausage would you ask me if I was
Italian? Or if I had asked for German bratwurst, would you ask me if I
was German? Or if I asked for a kosher hot dog would you ask me if I was
Jewish? How about if I had asked for a taco, would you ask if I was
Mexican? Would ya, huh? Would ya?"
The clerk says; "Well, no."
With deep self-righteous indignation, the guy proudly says; "Well, all
right then, why the hell did you have to ask me if I'm Polish just
because I asked for Polish sausage?"
The clerk replies, "Because this is Home Depot."
ALWAYS THOUGHT THAT FORBES' PEOPLE WERE SMOKERS
Walters' lies about marijuana exposed
by Daniel Forbes
Forbes delineates the deceptive and false claims by Drug Czar
John Walters, regarding increased THC levels in today's
marijuana, which Walters used in his cross-country crusades
against marijuana initiatives during the last election.
THIS IS REALLY GOOD NEWS--THE FEWER PEOPLE THAT VOTE--THE MORE SCARED THEY GET-BECAUSE THEY KNOW THEY ARE NOT APPROVED. ALSO THAT WE ARE NOT BUYING IT
4- Where have all the voters gone?
History News Network
by Thomas E. Patterson
"[T]he period from 1960 to 2000 marks the longest ebb in
turnout in US history. Turnout was nearly 65 percent of
the adult population in the 1960 presidential election
and stood at only 51 percent in 2000. In 2002, turnout
was 39 percent in the November election and a mere 18
percent in the congressional primaries." (11/18/02)
Somebody get me a lawyer
Frontiers of Freedom
by Jason Wright
"If Betty Bullock can cash a 28 billion dollar check for
smoking cigarettes for 40 years, then a chronic soda
drinker with stomach cramps ought to have something
coming his way. I want my piece of the judicial activism
pie. Somebody get me a lawyer." (10/22/02)
Thursday, November 21, 2002
THINGS HAVE GOTTEN REALLY CRAZY, HAVEN'T THEY? WHAT WILL STOP THEM??
Property taxes rising dramatically
Christian Science Monitor
Many local governments hiked their budgets dramatically
during the booming '90s. Rather than cut spending in a
slower economy, they're boosting property tax rates --
sometimes by double digits. (11/18/02)
NV considers billions in new taxes
Las Vegas Review-Journal
In Nevada, the Governor's Task Force on Tax Policy is under
fire as members unanimously urged legislators to levy
billions of dollars in new taxes. No spending cuts were
NYC set for huge property tax hike
New York Daily News
Unwilling to significantly cut government spending, New
York City's mayor and city council are expected to
approve a property tax hike of as much as 20% by
NYC threatened with retaliation on taxes
New York Times
NJ legislators are considering responses to NYC Mayor
Michael R. Bloomberg's proposed tax on commuters,
including retaliatory taxes on commuters to New Jersey.
(free registration required) (11/20/02)
Jurors hear of one man's tax protest
Former Carnegie Mellon University computer programmer Karl
Frank Kleinpaste told a federal jury, "I believe in what
I have done." Kleinpaste has opposed IRS abuses and
resisted the tax system. (11/20/02)
Tax hikes on tap in many NY counties
Counties across New York are considering tax hikes for next
year in order to fund ballooning expenditures. Officials
are unwilling to cut services -- and the state is
mandating more costs. (11/18/02)
FBI has unsavory history of surveillance
Operating with permission from a secretive court, for years
the FBI has broken into homes, copied private computer files,
installed hidden cameras, bugged bedrooms and tapped
I have not laughed so hard in quite a while...
CHECK IT OUT
Please, think of the kittens.
Monday, November 18, 2002
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
1. A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the
support of Paul. --George Bernard Shaw
2. A liberal is someone who feels a great debt to his fellow man, which
debt he proposes to pay off with your money. --G. Gordon Liddy
3. Democracy must be something more than two wolves and a sheep voting on
what to have for dinner. --James Bovard (1994)
4. Foreign aid might be defined as a transfer from poor people in rich
countries to rich people in poor countries. --Douglas Casey (1992)
5. Giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car
keys to teenage boys. --P.J. O'Rourke
6. Government is the great fiction, through which everybody endeavors to
live at the expense of everybody else. --Frederic Bastiat
7. Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short
phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it
stops moving, subsidize it. -- Ronald Reagan (1986)
8. I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.
9. If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it
costs when it's free. --P.J. O'Rourke
10. If you want government to intervene domestically, you're a liberal.
If you want government to intervene overseas, you're a conservative.
If you want government to intervene everywhere, you're a moderate.
If you don't want government to intervene anywhere, you're an extremist.
--Joseph Sobran (1995)
11. In general, the art of government consists in taking as much money as
possible from one party of the citizens to give to the other.
12. Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn't mean
politics won't take an interest in you. --Pericles (430 B.C.)
13. No man's life, liberty, or property are safe while the legislature is
in session. --Mark Twain (1866)
14. Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress.
But I repeat myself. --Mark Twain
15. Talk is cheap-except when Congress does it. --Author Unk.
16. The government is like a baby's alimentary canal, with a happy
appetite at one end and no responsibility at the other. --Ronald Reagan
17. The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of the
blessings. The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of
misery. --Winston Churchill
18. The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the
taxidermist leaves the skin. --Mark Twain
19. The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of folly is to
fill the world with fools. --Herbert Spencer (1891)
20. There is no distinctly native American criminal class save Congress.
21. There is only one basic human right, the right to do as you please.
And with it comes the only basic human duty, the duty to take the
consequences. --P.J. O'Rourke (1993)
22. We contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is
like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the
handle. --Winston Churchill
23. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. --Edward
24. When buying and selling are controlled by legislation, the first
things to be bought and sold are legislators. --P.J. O'Rourke (Jack Carey)
Thursday, November 14, 2002
THIS IS A FANTASTIC VICTORY FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND THOSE OF US (LIKE ME) WHO HAVE LARGE CREDIT CARD BALANCES AND WHO MAY HAVE TO GO BANKRUPT
The Associated Press
Nov 14 2002 6:30PM
WASHINGTON (AP) - Legislation intended to make it harder for people to erase their debts in bankruptcy court died in the House Thursday, scuttled by a dispute over how the law would apply to fines against abortion protesters.
Conservative Republicans turned against their House leaders, President Bush and their business and banking contributors in rejecting the legislation, which they feared would curtail abortion protesting. Many Democrats also opposed the bill on grounds that it would hurt poor working people.
It was the second time House leaders failed to bring up a House-Senate bankruptcy compromise favored by the Senate and the White House.
Senate Democrats had inserted language into the compromise that would ban abortion protesters from using bankruptcy to avoid paying court fines for blocking clinics if they knowingly violated the law. Republicans blocked the bill in July because of that provision, and did so again on Thursday.
Banking and credit card companies have been pushing the legislation for five years, but it has stalled each year in Congress. The House-Senate compromise reached this year represented the closest the measure has ever come to passage.
The House refused to consider the compromise by a vote of 243-172. Eighty-seven Republicans and 155 Democrats voted against the measure.
Without House approval before the end of the session, the compromise dies and lawmakers will have to start from scratch next year.
Under current law, Chapter 7 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code allows people to escape paying any of their credit-card and other debts. Filings under Chapter 13 force people to repay debts over time in accordance with a court-approved plan.
Right now, a bankruptcy judge or a private attorney appointed by the Justice Department usually decides whether someone qualifies for dissolution of debts or should be forced to repay under a reorganization plan.
The legislation that died Thursday would have applied a new standard in which, if a debtor had sufficient income to repay at least 25 percent of the debt over five years or earned at least the median income for his state, he or she would be forced into a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
Personal bankruptcy accounted for about 97 percent of the 1.5 million bankruptcy filings between March 2001 and March 2002.
Democratic foes of the bill said it would hurt working Americans who are teetering on the edge of poverty in the middle of a slumping economy. ``This is like pouring gasoline on a fire of economic uncertainty and layoffs,'' said Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich., ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.
Added Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.: ``It is supported and being pressed forward by a coalition of banks and credit card companies and other business interests who want to profit exorbitantly at the expense of families and small businesses at a time of crisis.''
House leaders, including retiring Majority Leader Dick Armey, R-Texas, insisted to their conservative allies that the bill would not affect abortion protests and unsuccessfully begged them to get behind the legislation and fight abortion battles later.
``Let's not fight this mock battle,'' Armey said.
The leaders showed a letter from former independent counsel Kenneth Starr that said his legal analysis indicated the bill would not affect lawful abortion protesting. But anti-abortion Republicans were not persuaded.
``We're condemning peaceful innocent people who have a conscience to protest just to try to save the life of an unborn to a life of financial ruin,'' said Rep. Joseph Pitts, R-Pa.
GOP aides said House leaders were warned before the vote that the anti-abortion Republicans would line up against the bill, but the leaders went ahead anyway.
``It was a vote of conscience,'' said Pitts afterward.
A COMPUTER PROGRAM WOULD DO BETTER THAN THE FED
The Fed is culpable
Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Hans F. Sennholz
"No one can contend that the Federal Reserve System has
brought economic stability or conquered the trade
cycle," writes Hans Sennholz. "On the contrary, its
critics are convinced that a politically conceived and
administered money monopoly, such as the Federal Reserve
System, is the worst of all money systems." (11/12/02)
AMEN TO THIS TOO
16- A consumption tax or an income tax?
Llewellyn H. Rockwell, Jr.
"Let's not reform taxes. Let's eliminate them, starting
with the income tax. That is not unrealistic. The income
tax this year will yield $1 trillion for the federal
government. Cutting that amount gives us a budget equal
to the federal budget of 1987. Was the government
intolerably small back then?" (11/13/02)
AMEN TO THIS, THE SENTENCING GUIDELINES ARE AN ABOMINATION
by Erik Luna
Luna explains why federal sentencing guidelines, which limit
the discretion of federal judges, undermine constitutional
principles and produce unjust results. (11/13/02)
I THINK THIS IS MY RESPONSE TO JAMES POST'S COMMENTS
James, "they" have been waiting a long time to enact these measures. They will not be temporary. The answer to terrorism is more Freedom not less.
By Nick Gillespie 11/12/2002
"War is often the enemy of freedom."
Nobel Prize winner Milton Friedman, an intellectual hero to both libertarians and conservatives, uttered those words at the recent meeting of the Mont Pelerin Society in London. Discussing potential threats to freedom at the dawn of the 21st century, Friedman registered his concerns that war poses a considerable threat to the project of advancing liberty for mankind.
As the Bush Administration continues pressing the war on terror at home and abroad, and as the Pentagon prepares for war with Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq, TCS has asked Nick Gillespie, the editor of Reason magazine, and Jonah Goldberg, the editor of National Review Online to debate the idea of war as the enemy of freedom. Gillespie's opening thoughts appear below, with Goldberg's first response appearing Wednesday.
Even as the U.S. is threatening Saddam Hussein with the mother of all sequels to the Gulf War, the invaluable and hopefully immortal Milton Friedman has had the temerity to insist that "War is often the enemy of freedom."
Well, good for him.
His message is all the more important precisely because the U.S. is hunting down apparent Al Qaeda terrorists around the globe, occupying post-Taliban Afghanistan to who knows what end, and mobilizing for a large-scale invasion in the Middle East.
Friedman's message also resonates because of the myriad figurative wars we've been fighting for decades on the home front. For the past several decades, we've been so quick to wage "war" on poverty, pollution, drugs, tobacco, pornography, obesity, ad nauseam that I like to hope that even the most bellicose reformers dream of signing a Kellogg-Briand Pact for social uplift schemes.
War - both literal and figurative - is indeed the enemy of the truly liberal society that Friedman has spent his life championing and that I would prefer to live in. War necessarily subordinates the individual's freedom to the state and replaces voluntary association with coercion. As such, it is inherently collectivist and illiberal. Even World War II - as "good" a war as can be imagined - helped concentrate power in fewer and fewer hands. As Friedman told C-SPAN's Booknotes on the 50th anniversary of F.A. Hayek's The Road to Serfdom, "The fact that in war you do have to have an enormous amount of government control greatly strengthened the idea that after the war what you needed was to have a rational, planned, organized, centralized society."
This isn't to say that war can't be justified. It is to say that even at its most justifiable, war is tragic and should only be waged whenever necessary and by the least objectionable and most limited means possible. (This latter point, incidentally, is why Friedman says his role in ending the draft remains his single greatest policy achievement.)
Which brings us to Iraq and the war on terrorism - two very different things, at least according to U.S. intelligence, which has not linked Bagdhad directly with the 9/11 attacks. It's likely we can continue to contain the despicable Hussein regime's threat to the U.S. with less than an all-out war.
I am convinced that we need to go after Al Qaeda. The question is, How do we do as much violence to the terrorists and as little harm to the Constitution and the American way of life?
The prosecutors of the war on terrorism have laid claim to special status that requires special cops, special courts, and special laws - or, more precisely, exemptions from standard laws. Congress has passed The USA Patriot Act, which gave the government new powers to surveil and prosecute. The upcoming Homeland Security bill will give the government even more. It's far from clear that such new powers are necessary or warranted. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation noted when the Patriot Act was introduced, "The government made no showing that the previous powers of law enforcement and intelligence agencies were insufficient... to allow them to investigate and prosecute acts of terrorism." Increasingly, it appears that 9/11 happened in spite of massive intelligence information and resources, not because of a lack of them.
It's also far from clear that the new powers will be used wisely. Indeed, the government's treatment of Jose Padilla, a citizen who has been classified as a "enemy combatant" and against whom no case has been made, and alleged hijacking conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, who may be turned over to a military tribunal for no apparent reason other than the Justice Department's failure to make headway in federal court, don't inspire a lot of confidence.
Such instances are easy to brush aside, especially if you're not likely to be mistaken for a terrorist. But it's important to remember that the war on terrorism is in its infancy. As my colleague Jacob Sullum has written, President Bush "did not declare war on Al Qaeda or the Taliban; he declared war on terrorism, which will be with us in one form or another for the foreseeable future."
I'm reminded of another Friedman quote: "Nothing is so permanent as a temporary government program."
I KNOW THIS IS TERRIBLE BUT I THOUGHT IT WAS FUNNY
A big earthquake with the strength of 9.1 on the Richter scale has hit
Mexico. 150,000 Mexicans have died and over a million are injured. The
country is totally ruined and the government doesn't know where to start
with providing help to rebuild.
The rest of the world is in shock. Canada is sending troopers to help the
Mexican army control the riots. The European community is sending food and
The United States is sending 150,000 replacement Mexicans.
IT'S ALL ABOUT MONEY ISN'T IT
An article in the Ann Arbor News reports that many municipalities are
adopting civil infraction bureaus and ordinances that decriminalize
misdemeanor infractions such as municipalities violations like illegal
sign posting or failure to mow the lawn.
(Ann Arbor News)
NICCOLO HAD IT RIGHT
In 1508, Niccolo Machiavelli wrote a treatise on political power and skullduggery called "The Prince." In that book, he used an analogy comparing political problems with a disease of the time: "In this matter the situation is the same as physicians report concerning hectic fever: in the beginning the disease is easy to cure but hard to recognize; with the passage of time, having gone unrecognized and unmedicated, it becomes easy to diagnose but hard to cure. So it is with a state: when ills are recognized in advance (and only the prudent can do this), they are quickly cured. But when, having gone unrecognized, they are allowed to increase until everyone may recognize them, then remedy is no longer possible."
You Are a Suspect
By WILLIAM SAFIRE
November 14, 2002
WASHINGTON � If the Homeland Security Act is not amended before passage,
here is what will happen to you:
Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you
buy and medical prescription you fill, every Web site you visit and e-mail
you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit
you make, every trip you book and every event you attend � all these
transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department
describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."
To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources,
add every piece of information that government has about you � passport
application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce
records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper
trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance � and you have the
supersnoop's dream: a "Total Information Awareness" about every U.S.
This is not some far-out Orwellian scenario. It is what will happen to your
personal freedom in the next few weeks if John Poindexter gets the
unprecedented power he seeks.
Remember Poindexter? Brilliant man, first in his class at the Naval Academy,
later earned a doctorate in physics, rose to national security adviser under
President Ronald Reagan. He had this brilliant idea of secretly selling
missiles to Iran to pay ransom for hostages, and with the illicit proceeds
to illegally support contras in Nicaragua.
A jury convicted Poindexter in 1990 on five felony counts of misleading
Congress and making false statements, but an appeals court overturned the
verdict because Congress had given him immunity for his testimony. He
famously asserted, "The buck stops here," arguing that the White House
staff, and not the president, was responsible for fateful decisions that
might prove embarrassing.
This ring-knocking master of deceit is back again with a plan even more
scandalous than Iran-contra. He heads the "Information Awareness Office" in
the otherwise excellent Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, which
spawned the Internet and stealth aircraft technology. Poindexter is now
realizing his 20-year dream: getting the "data-mining" power to snoop on
every public and private act of every American.
Even the hastily passed U.S.A. Patriot Act, which widened the scope of the
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and weakened 15 privacy laws, raised
requirements for the government to report secret eavesdropping to Congress
and the courts. But Poindexter's assault on individual privacy rides
roughshod over such oversight.
He is determined to break down the wall between commercial snooping and
secret government intrusion. The disgraced admiral dismisses such necessary
differentiation as bureaucratic "stovepiping." And he has been given a $200
million budget to create computer dossiers on 300 million Americans.
When George W. Bush was running for president, he stood foursquare in
defense of each person's medical, financial and communications privacy. But
Poindexter, whose contempt for the restraints of oversight drew the Reagan
administration into its most serious blunder, is still operating on the
presumption that on such a sweeping theft of privacy rights, the buck ends
with him and not with the president.
This time, however, he has been seizing power in the open. In the past week
John Markoff of The Times, followed by Robert O'Harrow of The Washington
Post, have revealed the extent of Poindexter's operation, but editorialists
have not grasped its undermining of the Freedom of Information Act.
Political awareness can overcome "Total Information Awareness," the combined
force of commercial and government snooping. In a similar overreach,
Attorney General Ashcroft tried his Terrorism Information and Prevention
System (TIPS), but public outrage at the use of gossips and postal workers
as snoops caused the House to shoot it down. The Senate should now do the
same to this other exploitation of fear.
The Latin motto over Poindexter"s new Pentagon office reads "Scientia Est
Potentia" � "knowledge is power." Exactly: the government's infinite
knowledge about you is its power over you. "We're just as concerned as the
next person with protecting privacy," this brilliant mind blandly assured
The Post. A jury found he spoke falsely before.
Tuesday, November 12, 2002
Tax officials and legislators from 31 states are meeting in
Chicago to vote on a proposal to "simplify" their tax laws and
enter into a pact to collect online sales taxes. (11/12/02)
Woman sentenced to wearing sign at airport
After refusing to be searched at the airport in July,
Adrienne Bundy will stand in Cleveland Hopkins
International Airport with a sign saying, "I am
appearing here because I refused to comply with airport
security." One official described the sentence as "a
friendly warning to other travelers." (11/10/02)
The goons in charge
Strike the Root
by Jack Rain
"A ragtag bunch of about a thousand protesters, having
danced the Chicago police force, in their full riot
gear, all around the city for a day and a half, have
clearly exhausted the entire force. They are all at home
sleeping. Wow! 'Power to the people,' I say. It won't
last, but for tonight, there is total freedom in
Chicago. The Goons are asleep." (11/11/02)
Fear trumps freedom
Liberty For All
by R. Lee Wrights
"Politicians have used fear for generations to win
legislative office. They learned early on how effective
throwing a good scare into people can be in gaining
political power. They have done it with everything from
drugs to weapons. All they have to do is convince people
that they are incapable of coping with life's problems
on their own, and boom, they are in office." (11/02)
WE MUST HAVE LAW AND ORDER
Medical marijuana and the feds
by Debra Saunders
If the federal government were right that medical marijuana has no
medicinal value, why have so many doctors risked their practices by
recommending its use for patients with cancer or AIDS?
Marcus Conant, the doctor who identified the first cases of Kaposi's
sarcoma among San Francisco AIDS patients, can answer that. Imagine you're
the doctor for a 40-year-old lady with breast cancer. They put her on
chemotherapy, and every time she takes her therapy, she throws up. She
can't sleep; she's up sick all night. She has trouble caring for her
children. Medical marijuana can alleviate her nausea and give her an appetite.
Conant wouldn't write her a prescription for medical marijuana. He can't.
But he would write a note for her file recommending marijuana. Since his
patients have access to their files, they can present a copy of said note
to a marijuana club authorized by California's Proposition 215. If they use
the note, well, that's their business.
Conant sued the federal government to prevent federal law enforcement from
investigating or punishing doctors who exercise their First Amendment right
to recommend medical marijuana. Last month, a Ninth Circuit Court of
Appeals panel ruled in his favor. The Feds had argued that recommending
marijuana was analogous to prescribing it, but the court agreed that this
advice entailed "dispensing of information."
That distinction goes to the heart of the matter ... the ability of doctors
to give their best advice to people who desperately need it.
Why not prescribe marinol, the legal pill form of marijuana? Conant said
that some patients don't respond well to it: It takes 45 minutes to work.
If they take too little, it doesn't work at all. If they take too much,
they fall asleep and don't eat.
My friend Julia, who is battling cancer, occasionally has used marijuana to
help her sleep, but not often. Too much pot makes her think about dying.
Still, Julia knows other cancer patients for whom cannabis is "the only
thing that stands between them and a complete inability to get down food."
Cancer patients can take as many as 12 medications a day. They juggle which
pills they can take with or without food, and with or without other drugs.
There's something to be said, Julia added, for a drug that you can smoke at
It's not clear if federal drug czar John P. Walters will appeal the decision.
My advice: Don't. Walters also should reconsider his opposition to medical
marijuana. Walters complains that advocates use sick people's pain as a
platform to legalize pot for everyone. Legalize medical marijuana, however,
and you take away that high ground.
It won't happen, said Daniel Abrahamson of the Drug Policy Alliance,
because, "The drug czar's office can't abide the thought of losing any
ground or having any legitimacy given to the issue of medical marijuana."
Walters' spokesman Tom Riley resents "this caricature; it's very
frustrating. "Oh, they're drug warriors. They don't care that people are
suffering and in pain."
Riley doesn't deny that marijuana can make patients feel better. A
cigarette, he said, can make an emphysema patient feel great. His bottom
line: The federal government doesn't make medical policy based on anecdotes.
But when the anecdotes are so plentiful, there's something missing in the
research. When nurses wear Prop. 215 pins, they surely know something that
the Feds don't.
Conant, 66, has no use for a system that won't let him alleviate misery. He
closes his eyes, leans back in his chair and mutters, "To deny sick people
relief because of abuses is not humane."
WHO SAID WE HAVE A POLICE STATE?
TRAFFIC CHECKS: Random stops begin today in Michigan
November 12, 2002
BY TAMARA AUDI
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Federal agents will begin randomly stopping traffic today, looking for
illegal immigrants, terrorists and drug or weapon smugglers.
Cars will be stopped at unannounced, rotating checkpoints within Michigan,
including metro Detroit. U.S. Border Patrol agents at the checkpoints will
ask passengers their citizenship and will have leeway to ask a host of
The effort is part of President George W. Bush's attempt to increase
security along the northern border, said Immigration and Naturalization
spokeswoman Karen Kraushaar.
According to an obscure but long-standing federal law, the government can
conduct searches and surveillance within 25 miles of any international border.
The practice of internal checkpoints is common in Texas and California,
states along the southwest border.
Michigan is among the first of the northern border states to be included in
Though agents will focus on finding undocumented immigrants, the
checkpoints on the southern border have helped net drugs and weapons,
patrol agents and officials said.
"Those checkpoints would yield quite a few arrests," said Robert Lindemann,
vice president of Michigan's border patrol union and a patrol agent in
Detroit. Lindemann used to work checkpoints near the southern border. "We
got drugs, we got aliens, we got convicts. The checkpoints on the southwest
border are critical."
In Michigan, federal officials hope the checkpoints will also help them
"The terrorism component cannot be ignored in addressing border security,"
Lindemann and other agents said it's too soon to tell how successful the
checkpoints will be. One feature that is bound to carry over from the
southern border is traffic, they said. Checkpoints cause back-ups.
Federal officials would not say Monday how many checkpoints there will be,
or how often Michigan drivers can expect to be stopped. More details on the
program are to be released at a news conference in Kimball Township today.
Meanwhile, civil liberty groups raised concerns.
"We believe it's going to be very hard for them to do this without
violating people's civil rights, or profiling people based on their
ethnicity or accent," said Kary Moss, executive director of the American
Civil Liberties Union in Michigan.
U.S. citizens are not required to carry proof of identification with them
while traveling in the country. Alien residents are required to carry some
Friday, November 08, 2002
MMMM, THAT IS A LOT OF VOTES FOR A SMALL STATE BUT IT IS TOO COLD TO LIVE THERE
Wyoming Libertarians Achieve Major Party Status
The Wyoming Libertarian Party today claims major party status,
according to Dave Dawson, Wyoming Libertarian Party Spokesman. LP
candidate Marie Brossman, in the race for Secretary of State, received
29,000 votes, or 17% of the total.
Brossman ran in one of three state wide races that affect a political
party's ballot status under Wyoming law. A "Minor political party" is
one whose candidate achieves between two and ten percent of the vote
in one of the three contests. A "Major political party" is one whose
candidate achieves ten percent or more.
Brossman lives in Lander with her husband, Dennis. She achieved
state wide notice when several newspapers editorialized that she should
have debated her sole opponent, incumbent Joe Meyer. The criticism
shows growing acceptance of Libertarians in Wyoming, Brossman
maintains. "It's much better than being shut out of the debates, as
Libertarians are in many states."
As a statutory major party, the Libertarian Party will now nominate
candidates via primary, rather than by convention. Voting in primary
elections is open to voters registered as members of the
party. Wyoming does not have an open primary.
"These are unofficial results," Dawson cautioned. Libertarians expect
the Secretary of State to certify the results before Monday, November
18, making them official. Dawson does not expect the official results
to be very different.
SOME REAL BAD ECONOMIC NEWS ACCORDING TO SOME BUT A WARNING ABOUT WHAT TO DO IF TRUE
By Thom Calandra, CBS.MarketWatch.com
Last Update: 10:15 AM ET Nov 7, 2002
NEW ORLEANS (CBS.MW)
Contrarians - the folks who refuse to believe the American economy can stage a lasting rebound this year or next -- are positively irreverent about the Federal Reserve's easing of U.S. interest rates.
"This cut means the credit quality of America is going to the birds," said Mark Wellesley-Wood, chief executive of South African gold miner Durban Roodepoort Deep (DROOY). "It will make junk borrowing a common practice for the American public."
Wellesley-Wood, attending a New Orleans investment conference for wealthy individuals, was commenting on the Fed's unanimous decision Wednesday to reduce its target rate on overnight loans among banks to 1.25 percent, the lowest borrowing rate since July 1961. In addition, the Federal Reserve policy makers reduced their rate on Fed loans to banks to 0.75 percent from 1.25 percent.
Many of the strategists attending the 29-year-old New Orleans conference cater to skeptical investors - the so-called perma-bear crowd that would just as soon own gold, silver or water rights before they buy a blue-chip stock.
An icon for America's Fed-bashers, Dow Theory Letters editor Richard Russell, laid it on thick. "The Fed will fight this bear (market) tooth and nail, so this will be a long, tortuous bear market," Russell told about 800 paying attendees at the conference.
At the age of 75, Russell counts himself among a handful of financial newsletter editors, including James Dines and Joseph Granville, who have been tracing markets on behalf of individual investors for more than 40 years. Russell is credited with calling the top of the bull market in stocks that ran from 1949 to 1966. About 7,000 people subscribe to Russell's newsletter.
At the New Orleans gathering, investors were hanging on Russell's every word.
"When you follow the market, you are following the money," Russell said. "You find out where the money is. It sounds easy. It's not."
Russell says the stock market is overpriced even by the lowest estimates for company profits. If America's largest companies, as measured by the Standard & Poor's 500 Index, were to earn just $18.48 a share in core profits next year, the stock market would still be terribly expensive, the newsletter editor said. (Core profits exclude income from pension funds, with the cost of stock options deducted as an expense.)
In long lasting bear markets, stocks have gotten far cheaper than they are now, Russell said. In 1946, stocks traded at about 6 times S&P 500 profits. In 1973, it cost 7 times a company's average per-share yearly profit to buy one of the S&P 500 (SPX)stocks. In 1981, it was 7.5 times earnings.
"Now it's 48 to 50 times earnings and 45 times dividends," Russell said. "How is this market going to get to under-valuation? No one knows. But it will. And we'll see a Dow (INDU) yield of 6, 7, 8 percent. It will be a very long trip down." The Dow Jones Industrial Average of 30 large companies currently yields less than 3 percent.
Russell said the losing stock market that began, by his estimates, in 1999, could last "anywhere from eight to 15 years ... maybe two decades." Most ordinary investors are best advised to keep their funds in cash, allowing it to compound slowly in ultra-safe money-market accounts or triple-A-rated municipal bonds, he said.
"This is going to be a very difficult period. It is going to be very deceptive," he said. "The ultimate concept to remember is that stocks won't be great buys until they are undervalued."
As for gold, Russell said his data showed a 20-month moving average of gold's price moving above a 40-month moving average in July, "signaling a major bull market" for the depressed metal. Technicians use moving averages to uncover what they hope will be lasting price trends for stocks, bonds, commodities and other investments.
Russell expects the price of gold, now at $320 an ounce, to equal or exceed the nominal level of the Dow average, now at 8,770, at some point. "Gold will cross at $3,000 an ounce, with the Dow at 3,000 or lower," said Russell
Russell invoked the names of stock market researchers and strategists he regards as the country's best, including Elliott Wave International's Robert Prechter, in presenting his view of a sharply lower stock market. Prechter, economist Stephen Roach and a handful of others see the possibility of a horrible financial depression in coming years.
"Unemployment will be a vicious problem," Russell said. "Before next year is out, we'll see another 20 percent drop in the dollar. China is at economic war with the West. I wouldn't be surprised if it backs (its currency) with gold."
As for specific recommendations, he pointed to Newmont Mining (NEM), the world's largest gold producer, as the "bellwether" investment in troubled fiscal times. Russell said the 18 gold mining stocks he follows demonstrated strong accumulation this week as measured by advancing prices on rising volume.
"There is going to be tremendous resistance to the idea of gold from the people who produce the junk paper. I'm talking about the Federal Reserve, of course," said Russell, to much applause. "The central banks want you to believe gold is junk and their paper is not. Gold has been in a bear market for 20 years. To many, it is only something you fill your teeth with."
What do the ordinary folks say about all this? "At some point," said Paul Collins, a Monmouth Beach, N.J., investor, "people are going to lose confidence in everything but gold."
Collins, attending the New Orleans show with his wife, said he owns shares of Tocqueville Gold Fund (TGLDX), a $150 million mutual fund whose value has risen 58 percent since the start of 2002.
"I don't know if gold's payday is going to be today, or three years from today," said Collins. "But I'm comfortable with it."
John Hathaway, New York-based manager of the Tocqueville Gold Fund, says gold's rising price in October and early November, in the face of rallying U.S. stocks, is a sign something has to give, and soon.
"In my opinion, gold is now beginning to discount at least a temporary end to the current bear market rally in stocks," Hathaway told me from New York.
In New Orleans, where attendance is double last year's showing, lots of folks welcome that scenario.
THIS WILL KEEP THE LP ALIVE--FUNNY ABOUT MA--TRADITIONS OF THE TEA PARTY--MA STARTED THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION
California U.S. House of Representatives Libertarian Party candidate
Maad Abu-Ghazaleh, a Palestinian-American running against incumbent Tom
Lantos and a Republican on a platform stressing foreign non-intervention
and civil liberties, got 7% of the vote - 9,506 total. This was a
greater percentage than other libertarians running against Democratic
and Republican candidates. (The bankruptcy of the Republicans is shown
by the fact that their candidate got 25% even though his campaign
consisted mostly of standing on street corners with signs and ridiculing
Lantos as "the Hungarian Jew.")
Maad's 7% was noted on the LP press release below. See Maad's web
With final results in in most U.S. House districts, other libertarians
doing almost as well against Democratic and Republicans were:
MA Ilana Freedman 6% 11,663
CO Biff Baker 6% 11,181
AZ Edwin Port 5% 8,471
WA Rob Chase 5% 7,443
UT Kitty Burton 5% 5,405
CA Kelley Ross 5%, 5,128
IL Maggie Kohls 5% 4,328
AZ Amy Gibbons 5% 2,539
A number of libertarian House candidates got 3 and 4%.
LP ADVISORY: Election results
Wed, 6 Nov 2002 17:19:04 -0500 (EST)
Libertarian Party Announcements
-----BEGIN PGP SIGNED MESSAGE-----
NEWS FROM THE LIBERTARIAN PARTY
2600 Virginia Avenue, NW, Suite 100
Washington DC 20037
World Wide Web: http://www.LP.org
For release: November 6, 2002
For additional information:
George Getz, Communications Director
Phone: (202) 333-0008 Ext. 222
Libertarians victorious in 21 local races,
but ballot initiatives fall short
WASHINGTON, DC -- Libertarians emerged from Election 2002 buoyed by a
flurry of local wins and record-setting candidate performances, but
disappointed by the defeat of three high-profile statewide initiatives.
On the positive side, almost two dozen Libertarians were elected to
local office, and Massachusetts LP candidate Michael Cloud set a new
vote-percentage record for a U.S. Senate race.
However, in not-so-good news, all three major Libertarian-led ballot
initiatives - in Massachusetts, Arkansas, and South Dakota - were
defeated, and several Libertarian candidates touted as possible winners
In local election victories:
* In Colorado, Bill Masters was re-elected as San Miguel County
sheriff, while Bob Dempsey was re-elected as San Miguel County coroner
in a partisan race.
* In California, at least eight candidates were elected in contested
races for local, non-partisan offices: Vern Dahl (Oceano Community
Services District); Eric Lund (Cordova Recreation and Park Board,
Sacramento County); Ron Gabbart (Ready Springs Union School District);
Melise Manfre (Orangevale Recreation and Park Board, Sacramento
County); Jim Gardner (San Gorgonio Memorial Health Care District);
Larry Torres (Los Alamos Community Services District); Francis
Trowbridge (Rubidoux Community Services District); and Jack Hickey
(Sequoia Healthcare District, San Mateo County).
In addition, incumbent Bonnie Flickinger was re-elected to the Moreno
Valley City Council (District 4), and Lois Engel was re-elected to the
Ophir Hill Fire District.
* Also in California, six Libertarians were elected to local, non-
partisan office -- but did not appear on the ballot because they were
running without opposition: Marshall Schwartz (Eden Township Hospital
District, Alameda County); Lance Rosmaier (Southwest Healthcare
District, Short Term, Kern County); Jerry A. Mercier (Independence
Ranch Community Services District, San Luis Obispo County); William J.
Alley (Shandon Joint Unified School District, San Luis Obispo County);
Carle Hylkema (Guadalupe-Coyote Resource Conservation District, Santa
Clara County); and Michael Wharton (Oxnard Harbor District, Ventura
* In North Carolina, Dave Gable came in first in a four-way race for
two positions as Soil and Water Conservation Supervisor (Mecklenburg
County). Gable won 36,895 votes (26.5%) in the non-partisan race.
"Here's to another elected Libertarian in North Carolina!" said Gable.
* In Vermont, Hardy Macia was elected as a Justice of the Peace in
Grand Isle. Macia, who finished sixth out of seven winners in a 12-way
race, won 417 votes.
* In Indiana, Ed Dilts won an unopposed race for a partisan seat on the
Needham Township Board (Johnson County).
In other significant races:
* In Nevada, James Dan lost by 65.2% to 34.8% to incumbent Democrat
Vonne Chowning in the race for State Assembly (District 28). Dan had
won 45% of the vote in a similar race in 2000.
"His opponent mailed a hit piece using our platform against James,"
said local activist Tim Hagan, explaining the disappointing results.
* In Wisconsin, Ed Thompson won 10.4% of the vote (183,352 votes) in an
eight-way race for governor. It was the second-best result for a
Libertarian candidate in a gubernatorial race against a Republican and
Democrat in LP history.
"We hoped we would do better," Thompson told the Wisconsin Radio
Network. "I think people just didn't have a chance to see me like the
other candidates and it made a big difference."
However, Thompson won his home town of Tomah (55.9%) and Monroe County
(45.4%) -- and hinted he might run again in the future.
"I want to express my thanks to the countless volunteers and
contributors who helped make this campaign the most successful third-
party campaign for Wisconsin governor in 60 years," said Thompson.
"This race is just the beginning."
* In Illinois, GOP legislator-turned-LP gubernatorial candidate Cal
Skinner won 2% (73,287 votes) -- well short of the 5% required to gain
the LP major party status in the state.
* In Massachusetts, Michael Cloud won 19% of the vote in a two-way race
against incumbent Democrat John Kerry. It was the best U.S. Senate
result for a Libertarian in party history, and the best by any third-
party candidate in a U.S. Senate race since 1932, according to Richard
Winger, publisher of Ballot Access News.
* In Massachusetts, Carla Howell won 1% of the vote in a five-way race
* In Missouri, Jeff Foli won 14.1% of the vote in a three-way race for
State Representative (District 7).
* In California, at least three statewide LP candidates appeared poised
to win at least 2% of the vote, the threshold required to maintain the
LP's major party status: Dale Ogden (Insurance Commissioner), Gail
Lightfoot (Secretary of State), and Marian Smithson (Treasurer).
* In Vermont, Hardy Macia won 22.5% in a four-way race for two seats in
the state legislature. Running on both the Libertarian and Republican
lines, Macia won 1,340 votes -- just 208 votes behind the second-place
* In Colorado, a number of Libertarian candidates earned double-digit
percentages, according to state LP Media Director Mike Seebeck.
John Berntson won 16% of the vote for State House (District 14), Steve
Gresh earned 15% for State House (District 20), and Rob Roberts won 14%
for El Paso County Commissioner (District 1).
And in a three-way race for State Senate (District 11), Jeff McQueen
won 9.6% -- three times the difference between the Republican and
"Local Libertarian candidates showed the major parties once again why
they are a force to be reckoned with, improving their vote totals for
the second year in a row," said Seebeck.
* In Florida, 23 LP candidates won over 20% in two-way races for the
State House, reported Florida LP activist Michael Gilson de Lemos.
Candidates breaking the 20% barrier included Barbara Bujak, 20.0%
(District 2); Grier Ellis, 20.3% (District 3); Scott Palmer Carter,
21.7% (District 12); Ty Price, 20.9% (District 17); Brooks H. Nelson,
22.0% (District 23); Lida C. Throckmorton, 23.4% (District 24); James
T. Coakley, 21.5% (District 33); Christopher Michael Wheeler, 24.3%
(District 34); Timothy Moriarty, 24.0% (District 37); John T. Conway,
23.0% (District 40); Louis A. Cashmer, 20.6% (District 41); Mark A.
Howard, 23.2% (District 56); Jason A. Downs, 22.3% (District 63);
Michael A. Krech, 25.1% (District 64); James C. Clifford, 25.8%
(District 65); Dirk Clary, 20.1% (District 72); Travis L. Larson, 24.3%
(District 79); Ronald B. Cadby, (21.5% District 80); John P. Roszman,
24.4% (District 81); Brian Kuszmar, 20.5% (District 91); Michael J.
Guidry, 26.2% (District 113); Thomas William Glaser, 26.3% (District
115); and Mark S. Eckert, 27.9% (District 119).
"The results are more remarkable in that they ran deliberately
extremely low-budget, meet-the-neighbors campaigns," said Gilson de
* In Iowa, gubernatorial candidate Clyde Cleveland won 24,512 votes
(2.4%), coming in third of four candidates.
* In North Carolina, Rachel Mills -- the creator of the nationally
publicized "N.C. Ladies of Liberty" calendar -- won 2,892 votes (19.3%)
in a two-way race for State House (District 31).
In notable U.S. House races around the USA:
* In California, Maad Abu-Ghazaleh (District 12) won 7%.
* In Massachusetts, Ilana Freedman (District 5) won 6%.
* In Colorado, Biff Baker (District 5) won 6%.
In initiative news:
* In Massachusetts, voters rejected, by a surprisingly narrow margin, a
sweeping proposal to eliminate the state's income tax.
The proposal, called Ballot Question 1 and sponsored by LP
gubernatorial candidate Carla Howell's Committee for Small Government,
lost by a 53% to 47% margin, shocking political pundits who predicted
it would lose by 20 percentage points or more.
"It goes to show that you can't trust polls," said Howell. "It also
demonstrates that the reporting of how big government must solve
everyone's problems is clearly not representative of what all the
The liberal Boston Globe suggested the close vote sent "a strong signal
to Beacon Hill about distaste for future tax increases as a way to
solve the budget crisis."
Had it passed, the initiative would have trimmed state government
revenues by 40%, and saved Bay State taxpayers about $9 billion
* In Arkansas, voters rejected a Libertarian-led initiative to abolish
the state's 5.125% sales tax on food and over-the-counter medicine.
With about 50% of the vote counted, the "Ax the Food Tax" initiative
was losing 62% to 38%.
Those numbers were in sharp contrast to pre-election polls, which
showed the proposal winning the support of up to 70% of voters.
"It's a testament to how strongly all the powers of government would
come against us [with a] massive scare campaign," said Karl Kimball,
chairman of the Committee to Ax the Food Tax.
Had it passed, the initiative would have saved state taxpayers about
$400 million a year.
* In South Dakota, a FIJA-style amendment that would have given
criminal defendants the right to argue the merits, validity, and
application of laws was heading for defeat.
With 39% of the precincts counted, Constitutional Amendment A was
losing 79% to 21%.
In other election news, a constitutional amendment to legalize
marijuana in Nevada, which was endorsed but not sponsored by state
Libertarians, was decisively defeated.
Question 9, which would have allowed adults to possess up to three
ounces of marijuana, was rejected by 61% of the state's voters. The
initiative would also have required the legislature to regulate,
cultivate, sell, and tax marijuana.
In Virginia, Libertarian-turned-independent Jacob Hornberger won 7% in
his race for U.S. Senate, losing to both incumbent Republican John
Warner (84%) and independent Nancy B. Spannaus (9%), who is affiliated
with convicted felon Lyndon LaRouche. [NOTE from Carol Moore.
Spannaus told everyone she was a DEMOCRAT not a Larouchie.]
In South Dakota, voters rejected, 63% to 37%, an initiative to legalize
industrial hemp. That proposal, Initiated Measure 1, was supported but
not sponsored by state Libertarians.
In Texas, Republican Ron Paul easily won re-election for U.S. House
(District 14) with 68.05% of the vote, defeating a Democratic
challenger. In 1988, Paul was the LP presidential candidate.
For continually updated results, visit: www.lp.org/campaigns/results/
The Libertarian Party http://www.lp.org/
2600 Virginia Ave. NW, Suite 100 voice: 202-333-0008
Washington DC 20037 fax: 202-333-0072
For subscription changes, please use the WWW form at:
NOT ALL BAD NEWS BUT A LONG WAY OFF FROM POSITIVE
As you have probably heard, MPP's Nevada initiative, Question 9, was
defeated last night, in an election dominated by a strong Republican/
conservative tide in Nevada and elsewhere. Still, almost 40% of Nevada
voters rejected marijuana prohibition, and there were positive
developments in marijuana-related elections elsewhere.
THE BAD NEWS
NEVADA: Question 9 was defeated 61-39, despite the heroic efforts of
our campaign team. The election was marked by a strong conservative
turnout reflected in all of the statewide votes. Some voters were
probably influenced by the blizzard of disinformation orchestrated by
White House "Drug Czar" John Walters, aimed at scaring voters. This
was a huge disappointment to all of us, but our campaign put the
effort to end marijuana prohibition on the national agenda in a way it
hasn't been in years. Not only were four in 10 Nevada voters ready to
end prohibition, but a TIME magazine poll prompted by our campaign
showed that 72% oppose jailing responsible marijuana users.
ARIZONA: Proposition 203 was defeated 57-43. This complicated measure
would have replaced criminal penalties for possession of small amounts
of marijuana with a civil fine, set up a state-run distribution system
to provide free medical marijuana to patients, and made a number of
other changes in the state's drug laws. Walters campaigned heavily
against this measure as well.
THE GOOD NEWS
MASSACHUSETTS: Nineteen local advisory measures urging marijuana
decriminalization all appear to have passed, most with overwhelming
margins. A local advisory measure supporting medical marijuana and
another endorsing hemp cultivation passed easily as well.
MARYLAND: Medical marijuana supporter Bob Ehrlich was elected governor
in a hotly-contested race. Ehrlich, a Republican member of Congress,
is one of 42 cosponsors of Rep. Barney Frank's States' Rights to
Medical Marijuana Act. His opponent, Democrat Kathleen Kennedy
Townsend, was approached during the campaign by medical marijuana
supporters but refused to take a stand. This bodes well for our effort
to get a medical marijuana bill passed in Maryland next year.
SAN FRANCISCO: In what may turn out to be the medical marijuana "shot
heard 'round the world," San Francisco voters passed Proposition S by
a nearly 2-to-1 margin. Placed on the ballot by four members of the
city Board of Supervisors after a wave of federal raids on medical
marijuana dispensaries, the measure asked voters if the city should
explore growing and distributing marijuana for seriously ill patients.
Now that voters have responded with a resounding "YES," it will be up
to the Board of Supervisors to implement that mandate. MPP plans to
work with our many friends in San Francisco to make sure the voters'
wishes are carried out.
In some ways it was a rough night, but we are immensely proud of the
hard work of our staff and volunteers -- and grateful for your
continuing support. We know we won't win every battle, but we will not
give up until marijuana prohibition is just a distant, sad memory.
Thursday, November 07, 2002
FOOD FOR THOUGHT--I STICK TO THE DEFLATION SCENARIO FOR NOW---BECAUSE BUSINESSES ARE NOT BORROWING--BUT EVENTUALLY INFLATION WILL SHOW
The World's Most Important Commodity
It's real... It's measurable... It's here. I'm talking about the new bull
market in commodities I predicted over 18 months ago when it was still in
its infancy... a bull market that has only just begun. In just under a year
the CRB Index of commodity prices has risen approximately 18%. Individual
commodities have done even better. Soybeans are up 39%, wheat is up 43%,
crude oil is up 54%, platinum is up 21% and cocoa has skyrocketed a
But you wouldn't know it from the mainstream press. Burned by the post-9/11
false bottom in stocks and the massive accounting frauds at Enron and
WorldCom, investors and the media are buying into the doom-and-gloomers'
deflationary arguments. With visions of past stock collapses dancing in
their heads, the public has stampeded into real estate and bonds, hoping to
ride out the storm.
Searching for Shelter in All the Wrong Places?
Like deer frozen in headlights, investors could be on the verge of making
another expensive blunder.
This isn't the 1930s or 1989 Japan. It is 2002 and America is at war. This
gives the government carte blanche to spend "whatever it takes." Whenever
you hear that, look out.
World War I led to hyperinflation in Germany. The "police actions" in Korea
and Vietnam ignited the inflationary '70s. I cannot think of one instance
in modern times where inflation did not follow war.
The huge and rising debt loads of the public and private sectors also make
inflation more likely.
Even without a real war, Bush has already signed into law the biggest
military spending increase since the Reagan administration -- a $355
billion package. And, of course, budget surpluses are a thing of the past.
According to Congressional Budget Office estimates, the budget deficit was
$157 billion in 2002, ending four consecutive years of surpluses, and
deficits are projected to continue until 2005 (possibly an optimistic
forecast). Do you think Bush is going to call for tax increases to pay for
all this? Not likely. The government will do what it does best: borrow and
In the private sector, household leverage hit a new postwar record in the
third quarter. Net worth and homeowners' equity continue to drop.
Nonfinancial corporate debt-to-asset ratios have reached a postwar high as
well. Alan Greenspan and the rest of the gang at the Fed won't come out and
say it, but there is a way to lighten America's debt burden while keeping
the effects hidden from the average observer. How? Inflate, of course!
Governments don't do very many things well. But they've always done a
"great" job of raising taxes and destroying currencies. Is there any reason
to doubt that our government won't weaken the U.S. dollar in order to
What About Deflation?
Is there any evidence for deflation, apart from some speculating by the
media? The latest CPI reading showed that prices are still rising at a
steady clip... and that's during a recession!
What happens when the economy recovers? You guessed it, prices will jump
even higher, and so will short-term interest rates. For those arguing that
deflation is imminent, they need to answer one question: What will stop the
Fed from printing more money to prevent this from happening, which at the
same time helps consumers and businesses in debt and the government finance
its deficits? The answer: nothing.
What commodity prices and the incredible growth in money supply are telling
us is that the Fed has already chosen inflation.
The Fed has been flooding the market with cash for more than two years.
The inflation pedal is pressed to the metal, and I expect it
to stay glued there well into 2003.
Dollar Decline Is Inflationary
The final piece of the puzzle for commodities is the U.S. dollar. It has
been falling for months, and it's going to fall some more. A falling
dollar, quite simply, means higher prices. The dollar lost 17.5% of its
value versus the euro earlier this year, while the CRB Index of commodity
prices gained 18%. Coincidence? I don't think so.
A strong dollar since the early 1990s meant the things that could be
purchased with those dollars were "cheap." Especially cheap were the goods
from regions with weak currencies, such as Asia and South America. This
caused domestic manufacturers to keep their prices low as well.
The dollars spent on these goods and services were then recycled back into
the U.S. economy by foreigners pouring money into the U.S. stock and bond
markets. These investors purchased billions of dollars worth of U.S. stocks
But the honeymoon is over... Foreigners have begun to pull capital out of
the United States. This trickle could soon turn into a flood, especially if
they lose confidence in President Bush's ability to manage the U.S.
economy. Low interest rates could also cause foreign bond investors (who
own 40% of all U.S. government bonds) to take their money home. Cheap
foreign imports won't be so cheap anymore, and U.S. manufacturers, no
longer forced to compete and desperate for profits, will raise prices. Once
foreigners start pulling out of the U.S. financial markets, the dollar is
doomed. And that's when the coming commodity bull market will really kick
into high gear.
Then the Fed will feel duty-bound to raise rates.
Your Most Important Commodity Play
The impact of these unexpected rate hikes forms the backbone of our
strategy. Commodity bull markets typically trigger and fuel higher interest
rates, making a higher rate strategy the ultimate "commodity" play. A bet
on higher interest rates is a clever way to cash in on the entire natural
resource sector with one investment.
In fact, a strong argument can be made that interest rates are the most
important commodity of all because they ultimately determine the cost of
money, which to a large extent determines the nominal price of everything
I am aware that my forecast for higher rates is in direct opposition to the
general consensus... But, then again, so was my call for a bull market in
commodities 18 months ago. You don't make big money by following the herd.
Just remember: If you follow the herd, you're sure to get slaughtered.
Wednesday, November 06, 2002
SORRY I COULDN'T RESIST--HOPE IT DOESN'T OFFEND
A guy walks in a bar and asks the bartender,
"Isn't that Bush and Powell sitting over there?"
The bartender says, "Yep, that's them."
So the guy walks over and says, "Wow, this is a real honour. What are you
guys doing in here?"
Bush says, "We're planning WW III."
And the guy says, "Really? What's going to happen?"
Bush says, "Well, we're going to kill 140 million Iraqis this time and one
blonde with big tits.
The guy exclaimed, "A blonde with big tits? Why kill a blonde with big tits?
Bush turns to Powell, punches him on the shoulder and says, "See, smart
ass?! I told you no one would worry about the 140 million Iraqis!
BIG GOVERNMENT WINS, LIBERTARIANS LOSE--AGAIN
In addition, the MJ initiatives lost and anything that even smelled like a libertarian move--such as treating drug "offenders" as a medical problem in Ohio. Too bad, libertarian ideas are ideas of the brain. It appears there are not too many thinking voters.
By STEVE YOUNG
A move to allow criminal defendants to argue the merits of laws they are accused of violating was rejected Tuesday by South Dakota voters.
With 769 of 844 precincts reporting, Amendment A was failing 77 to 23 percent.
The proposal would have changed the state�s constitution to allow criminal defendants to debate the merits, validity and applicability of laws they were charged with violating.
More specifically, it was interpreted as giving defendants the right to argue that certain laws should be ignored by the jury, or that there should be no punishment for breaking a bad law.
Beresford lawyer Robert Frieberg said voters obviously saw that it would have been a flawed change in the justice system.
�I think you saw among lawyers in particular, whether Democrats or Republicans, defense lawyers or prosecutors, they all thought this change was unwarranted,� Frieberg said. �They all saw it wouldn�t be helpful, but ... rather a problem for the justice system. And I think voters paid attention to that.�
Amendment A supporter Bob Newland of Hermosa had characterized it as a common-sense change that would have allowed jurors to serve as a check and balance on well-intentioned laws that created unwanted results. Among the examples he cited:
� An old man convicted of cruelty to animals for using his cane to defend himself from an attacking dog.
� Or a woman convicted under an open container law after picking up empty beer cans along a road.
Newland called Tuesday�s vote �disappointing.�
�It�s not surprising given the level of vehemence and campaigning done by the state bar and the South Dakota Trial Lawyers Association,� he said.
�Obviously, we weren�t able to get our message out.�
Opponents of the amendment insisted that passage of the amendment would foster injustice instead of justice � raising havoc in the justice system by resulting in different verdicts for people facing identical charges.
Before the election, the two major-party candidates for attorney general � Republican Larry Long and Democrat Ron Volesky � issued a joint statement saying they were against it.
Reach reporter Steve Young at email@example.com or 331-2306.
Tuesday, November 05, 2002
DON'T VOTE AND OTHER STUFF
I have advocated not voting for at least 20 years and believe it it the ONLY thing that frightens them.
The Indianapolis Star
The Indiana Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments
this week on the constitutionality of a Bloomington
ordinance that restricts how many unrelated people can
live under one roof. (11/05/02)
Mexico vows to start own drug war
Mexico's President Vicente Fox pledged to launch an all-out
prohibitionist effort in his country. He sas his
administration would go beyond nabbing drug lords and
take on drug consumption and production. (11/05/02)
Why I will not vote
The Libertarian Enterprise
by Patrick K Martin
"This Tuesday, November 5, a very important event will
occur in my life. For the first time since 1984, I will
not vote in an election. I have never failed to vote
before, not once ... " (11/04/02)
The League of Non-Voters
This site is the focal point for the idea that political
government doesn't work and, contrary to conventional
wisdom, democracy may be the worst form of it of all. We
offer essays and links to external resources, and invite
you to participate in our Black Ribbon Campaign against
Strike the Root
Archive of articles on non-voting.
Monday, November 04, 2002
$800 MILLION IS ALM0ST A BILLION :-)
Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Hans F. Sennholz
"According to a Heritage Foundation estimate, the federal
government will spend nearly $800 billion more in
2000-2003 than it did in the previous four-year period,
or some $5,000 more per household, now totaling some
$73,000. Just 21 percent of the boost is allocated to
national defense and one-fourth thereof to the war on
Saturday, November 02, 2002
THIS JUST FLABBERGASTED ME--FULL PAGE AD IN THE AARP MAGAZINE--CAN YOU BELIEVE IT????
what our government's using to get rid
of illegal drugs
$609 per second
Night Vision CCTV
$40 Billion per year
850,000 police officers
the U.S. Coast Guard
Congress has yet to enact an affordable prescription drug benefit in Medicare. Let them know how you feel. Find out where the candidates stand. And vote. THIS IS A DRUG WAR WE CAN WIN--AARP
Friday, November 01, 2002
I STILL LIKE THE FLAT TAX BUT MILTON FRIEDMAN FAVORS A "SELLING" TAX, WHICH IS NOT THE SAME AS A VAT
Inching Away From Income Tax
'Value-Added' Levy Would Turn System Upside Down
By Jonathan Weisman
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 31, 2002; Page A04
In the heart of the Treasury Department, their work deeply under wraps,
tax-policy experts are hatching policy options for what could be the Bush
economic team's first big idea: shifting the U.S. tax system away from
taxing income, toward taxing consumption.
But taking what has long been an academic ideal and translating it into
real-world tax policy would take a dramatic commitment of presidential
leadership, a long education and political campaign, and a bipartisan
convergence of political interests, tax-policy experts say. Few of them are
holding their breath.
"It's true that you can write down a simpler tax system on paper than the
one we have," said William G. Gale, a tax expert at the Brookings
Institution and a critic of consumption-tax proposals. "But it's not
necessarily true that you could get that tax system through the legislative
system, or ensure it would stay that way once you did."
Officially, a year-long tax policy project at Treasury will merely present
President Bush with tax-reform options, probably early next year. But
economists and tax lobbyists close to the effort believe that Treasury
Secretary Paul H. O'Neill is serious about elevating tax reform on
Washington's agenda. If Congress is not prepared to act yet, at least the
issue could underpin Bush's reelection campaign, they say.
Pamela F. Olson, the deputy Treasury secretary for tax policy, would only
hint at where the project is heading when she said: "It is inherently
difficult to measure income and becoming more so. There are just too many
ways to minimize it."
On the corporate side, she said, a tax system that was formed 40 years ago,
before the proliferation of international investment and multinational
corporations, is ill equipped to track income in today's global economy.
The Treasury is looking at long-term proposals to scrap the corporate
income tax and replace it with a value-added tax, which would work like a
national sales tax on consumer and corporate purchases.
But, Olson said, policymakers realize that tax reform cannot simply be
aimed at corporate taxation. Individuals must be included.
"You can't do one without the other," she said.
Taken to their logical conclusions, Olson's concerns indicate that the
administration wants profound changes in a government revenue system that
for a century has sought to measure the income of its citizens and
corporations -- from wages, sales, savings and investment -- and tax them
at prescribed rates.
"I think they're very serious," said Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), the
ranking Republican on the Senate Finance Committee.
Not everyone is convinced that the income tax system is growing untenable.
"There's no question that measuring income and taxing on the basis of
income is becoming increasingly more difficult," said Joel B. Slemrod, a
tax economist at the University of Michigan. "What's not clear is the
effort this administration is making to pursue income."
The alternatives to an income-based tax system have been fought over in
academic circles for years. Among Republicans, two camps emerged in the
1990s: those advocating a single flat tax rate on wages but no taxation on
investment and savings, and those advocating a national sales tax to
replace the tax on wages, investment and savings completely.
Both proposals would in effect shift the U.S. tax system toward one that
taxes its citizens on money they spend, since the fruits of savings --
interest, dividends from stocks and the gain in value of investments --
would not be taxed. The United States is the only developed Western nation
without a value-added tax. European nations have been able to lower income
tax rates -- but not abolish income taxes -- with a system of value-added
taxes that have steadily risen since World War II.
In theory, by radically simplifying the tax code and encouraging savings
and investment, either tax system would significantly boost economic
growth. Corporate resources now devoted to accounting and tax avoidance
could go to more useful pursuits. The cost of investment capital would
decline as increased savings expanded the pot of money available for lending.
That conclusion, though widely held by economists of all political stripes
, is debatable. Slemrod studied the economic growth effects of the 1986 tax
reform law, the last serious attempt to simply the tax system, and found
them to be marginal. In an economy so dependent on consumer spending, some
economists fear that a shift toward penalizing spending could have
horrendous consequences for short-run economic growth.
But the sanguine view was endorsed by key administration members, including
O'Neill, White House economic adviser Lawrence B. Lindsey and Council of
Economic Advisers Chairman R. Glenn Hubbard, long before they joined the
"Knowing what goes on in the minds of the leaders at Treasury and the CEA,
these people really understand the value of consumption taxes," said Kevin
A. Hassett, a conservative tax economist with close ties to the administration.
But both a flat tax and a national sales tax present profound policy and
political challenges. A flat tax rate of 21 percent would be necessary to
bring in the revenue now collected in income taxes, Gale said.
That would mean the tax rate for the most affluent taxpayers would fall
from 38.6 percent, while the rate for millions of middle-income taxpayers
would increase from 15 percent. If investment income were no longer taxed,
the truly rich -- who live largely on savings, investments and trust funds
-- could virtually avoid taxation, while the middle class would end up
paying more. The notion of a progressive tax system, in which the rich pay
a larger share of income than the poor, could be turned on its head.
For those in the 15 percent tax bracket, the effect probably would be a lot
worse than a jump to 21 percent. Politically, it would probably be
impossible to deny corporations tax deductions that they already can claim,
particularly on research and development and on equipment investment. To
grandfather those in, while collecting the same amount of revenue, the flat
tax rate would have to be 23 percent .
Homeowners would clamor to maintain their mortgage interest deductions.
Nonprofit organizations would insist on saving the deduction for charitable
contributions, and businesses would insist that losing their deduction for
health insurance costs would vastly increase the ranks of the uninsured.
Saving those deductions would push the flat tax rate to 27 percent.
Suddenly, the flat tax would not be so flat or so politically attractive.
Even that rate assumes Bush and congressional Republicans would sacrifice
their hard-won tax deductions for having children, adopting children and
supplying employer-sponsored child care.
"The problem is that the Republican attitude toward tax reform has
fundamentally changed since they took control," said Bruce R. Bartlett, a
conservative economist at the National Center for Policy Analysis. "They
are in the deduction game too."
Similar arguments of tax fairness and burdensome rates would also dog a
national sales tax. To produce enough revenue, the sales tax rate would
have to be at least 25 percent. Without a federal income tax, states would
probably have to drop their income taxes and add to their sales taxes,
pushing the rate beyond 30 percent, Slemrod said. That would create huge
incentives for retailers and consumers to push sales off the books and onto
a black market. Again, poor and middle-income workers, who spend virtually
all they earn, would be disproportionately saddled with the sales tax,
since they would not have the luxury to avoid it by shifting their income
into savings and investment.
Hassett suggested that the administration ultimately will embrace changes
that would move the country toward a consumption-based tax system without
actually declaring one. For instance, he said, Bush could propose allowing
businesses to claim a one-time tax deduction for investments, rather than
writing off the costs of investments over several years.
For individuals, Bush could propose unlimited, tax-deferred contributions
to individual retirement accounts or 401(k) plans. Under that plan,
individuals would be able to deduct from taxable income any wages,
interest, dividends or pensions they saved or invested for retirement.
"If they just did those two things," Hassett said, "it would be huge."
October 30, 2002
Is a Law Unjust? One State May Allow Juries to Decide
South Dakota measure backs 'nullification' --
and would unravel the legal system, some fear.
By Stephanie Simon , Times Staff Writer
VERMILLION, S.D. -- Bob Newland calls them his "horror
stories" and they are coming in by the dozen -- unconfirmed, one-sided,
A quadriplegic writes of his conviction on drug charges for smoking a
marijuana cigarette -- the only relief, he says, for his violent
tremors. A teenager writes of her conviction on assault charges for
standing up to local bullies. A mother writes of her son's two-year
prison sentence for violating a restraining order by putting a rose and
a teddy bear in his former girlfriend's car.
To Newland, a Libertarian activist, such stories prove
that America has become a police state -- prosecuting without
reason, punishing without mercy.
His radical proposal to restore balance: Let juries determine not just
guilt or innocence, but whether the laws of the land are fair, and
whether those laws should apply to any given defendant on any given day.
South Dakotans will vote Tuesday on a measure that would enshrine those
reforms in the state Constitution. The initiative could upend the
state's legal system -- and stir similar revolts around the nation.
Newland, a long-shot candidate for attorney general, is the prime force
behind the measure. But the concept, broadly known as "jury
nullification," has attracted an eclectic bunch of backers -- among
them, folks infuriated by tough drug laws, gun laws, tax laws,
motorcycle helmet laws, even traffic laws.
"The laws have to be applied in context. That's the issue. That's the
principle that lawyers have forgotten about," said Jorge Vicuna, 52, a
farm manager in Huron who believes he was wrongly convicted under animal
abuse statutes for trying to fend off a chained dog with a hockey stick.
The text of Amendment A sounds mild enough. If it passes, defendants in
criminal cases would have the right "to argue the merits, validity and
applicability of the law, including the sentencing laws."
In practice, that means a drunk driver would be allowed to tell a jury:
Yes, I drove while intoxicated. But state law setting a 0.08%
blood-alcohol content limit is unfair. The federal government forced
that standard down our lawmakers' throats. And in any case, it shouldn't
apply to me, because though I was legally drunk, I drove safely.
Antiabortion activists could argue that the laws against threatening
clinics are invalid because it's every citizen's moral duty to prevent
abortions. Pot smokers could press for acquittal on the grounds that
sentences for drug possession are too harsh. A batterer could claim that
domestic violence laws should not apply because the spouse was asking
In short, it would allow a defendant to argue that, although he broke
the law, he does not deserve to be prosecuted. "You should be allowed to
tell a jury: 'Yes, I committed these actions, but ... this is a stupid
law,' " Newland said.
Opponents -- including virtually all the state's legal establishment --
contend that Amendment A will make a mockery of due process, equal
protection and democracy itself.
It's dangerous, they argue, to allow 12 randomly selected citizens to
nullify laws that elected officials have enacted. They warn of
courtrooms turning into "popularity contests," where sympathetic
defendants get off because they convince jurors that the rules should
not apply to them.
They point out too that because prosecutors cannot appeal acquittals,
there is no mechanism for reviewing or overturning verdicts based on
sentiment rather than law.
"It will become a lawless society," said Mike Moore, a prosecutor in Huron.
"Anytime a law is not going to be applied across the board, that's
frightening," said Jeff Larson, a public defender in Sioux Falls.
The California Supreme Court made just such an argument last year in
rejecting the principle of jury nullification. The court unanimously
held that a juror who said he could not convict as a matter of
conscience -- he disagreed with the statutory rape law at issue in the
case -- should be removed from the panel. The U.S. Supreme Court also
has discouraged nullification, as have judges in state courts nationwide.
In South Dakota, it's hard to gauge voter support for Amendment A, as
there has been no statewide polling on the issue.
To get it on the ballot, proponents collected 34,000 signatures,
representing about 8% of the registered voters in this sparsely
populated state. They have been handing out balloons and brochures at
fairs, festivals and forums across South Dakota.
They also launched a contest for the "best courtroom horror story,"
promising more than $4,000 in prizes. Newland said he has received at
least 80 entries so far -- and while all the contestants support his
proposed reforms, not all will be able to vote for Amendment A. A number
sent in their stories from the state penitentiary.
Opponents, meanwhile, have been afraid to do much public campaigning.
Lawyers have debated the amendment at forums across the state --
including one here last week at the University of South Dakota law
school. They worry that advertising might backfire. Voters tend to be
suspicious of attorneys -- so they might reason that if the state bar
opposes Amendment A, it must be good.
"There's a tremendous amount of fear in the legal community," Larson said.
Amendment A represents a new tactic in the long history of jury
For the last 13 years, a group called the Fully Informed Jury Assn. has
been peddling the concept to politicians, lobbying for legislation in
Oklahoma, Arizona, Montana and elsewhere. That hasn't worked. So the
group's founder, Larry Dodge, decided to go directly to the voters.
Newland agreed to sponsor the fight in South Dakota, and they raised
$100,000 to get the issue on the ballot. If it works, both men are eager
to try the approach elsewhere.
"This is the key to getting control of the government back in the hands
of the citizens," said Dodge, a photographer.
Both sides in the campaign agree that juries do sometimes ignore the law
-- and will continue to do so with or without Amendment A.
A famous case of jury nullification took place nearly 270 years ago,
when publisher John Peter Zenger was accused of printing "seditious
libel" against the colonial governor of New York. His newspaper articles
were, in fact, seditious by the standards of the time -- but they were
accurate, and a jury acquitted Zenger, helping establish the principle
of a free press.
In the mid-19th century, Northern juries often refused to convict men
and women who harbored runaway slaves. Later, Southern juries sometimes
refused to convict those who lynched blacks or prevented them from voting.
More recent, former federal prosecutor Paul Butler noticed that jurors
in Washington, D.C. -- most of them black -- were refusing to convict
black defendants on minor drug charges, even when the evidence was
overwhelming. The experience pushed him to study nullification -- and he
now supports initiatives such as Amendment A.
"If 12 citizens are saying that a certain law is being unfairly applied,
then I trust that judgment," said Butler, now a law professor at George
Washington University. "This is why juries were established. We wanted
human beings to bring their judgment to these situations."
Andrew Liepold, a law professor at the University of Illinois,
disagrees. He has studied jury nullification too. His conclusion: Just
because jurors sometimes ignore the law does not mean they should be
encouraged to do so.
"Trials aren't designed to make policy judgments," he said.
Folks who don't like a law, he added, should work through the political
process to change it.
That's not good enough for Jason Koistinen, 23, a first-year law student
at the University of South Dakota. "It takes too long," he said,
declaring his intention to vote for Amendment A. "Also, a lot of the
legislators are old and conservative. They don't necessarily reflect the
views of the voters."
Both sides in the debate agree on one point: With or without Amendment
A, justice is at times arbitrary -- and at times, elusive. The question
is whether the measure will make the system work better or worse.
"People get wrongly convicted based on false identifications, on
dishonest testimony, on incomplete evidence," said Mike Butler, an
attorney in Sioux Falls. "This amendment does not do anything to correct
05/01/2002 - 05/31/2002 06/01/2002 - 06/30/2002 07/01/2002 - 07/31/2002 08/01/2002 - 08/31/2002 09/01/2002 - 09/30/2002 10/01/2002 - 10/31/2002 11/01/2002 - 11/30/2002 12/01/2002 - 12/31/2002 01/01/2003 - 01/31/2003 02/01/2003 - 02/28/2003 03/01/2003 - 03/31/2003 04/01/2003 - 04/30/2003 05/01/2003 - 05/31/2003 06/01/2003 - 06/30/2003 07/01/2003 - 07/31/2003 08/01/2003 - 08/31/2003 09/01/2003 - 09/30/2003 10/01/2003 - 10/31/2003 11/01/2003 - 11/30/2003 12/01/2003 - 12/31/2003 01/01/2004 - 01/31/2004 02/01/2004 - 02/29/2004 03/01/2004 - 03/31/2004 04/01/2004 - 04/30/2004 05/01/2004 - 05/31/2004 06/01/2004 - 06/30/2004 07/01/2004 - 07/31/2004 08/01/2004 - 08/31/2004 09/01/2004 - 09/30/2004 10/01/2004 - 10/31/2004 11/01/2004 - 11/30/2004 12/01/2004 - 12/31/2004 02/01/2005 - 02/28/2005 03/01/2005 - 03/31/2005 04/01/2005 - 04/30/2005 05/01/2005 - 05/31/2005 06/01/2005 - 06/30/2005 07/01/2005 - 07/31/2005 08/01/2005 - 08/31/2005 09/01/2005 - 09/30/2005 10/01/2005 - 10/31/2005 11/01/2005 - 11/30/2005 12/01/2005 - 12/31/2005 01/01/2006 - 01/31/2006 02/01/2006 - 02/28/2006 03/01/2006 - 03/31/2006 04/01/2006 - 04/30/2006 05/01/2006 - 05/31/2006 06/01/2006 - 06/30/2006 07/01/2006 - 07/31/2006 08/01/2006 - 08/31/2006 09/01/2006 - 09/30/2006 10/01/2006 - 10/31/2006 11/01/2006 - 11/30/2006
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