Category: Civil Liberties

Free Speech and Stochastic Terrorrism

Howard Dean has been saying some remarkably dumb things about free speech this week. I can’t embed his tweets (his Twitter staff blocked me for some very low-grade C-level snark) but it essentially amounts to there being no right to “hate speech”.

You can read Mataconis above and the link therein to Volokh who are experts in the legal history. They point out chapter and verse where Dean has it wrong.

The idea that so-called ‘hate speech,” a term which is incapable of being adequately defined objectively and seems to depend entirely on the subjective reactions of listeners, is not protected by the First Amendment goes against the entire history of the First Amendment itself as well as numerous landmark Court decisions that have put the definition of ‘freedom of speech’ to the test. One of the most famous of those, or course, was National Socialist Party Of America v. Village of Skokie, a 1972 case that involved an effort by a predominantly Jewish Chicago suburb’s efforts to block a group of Nazis from staging a march through the town. In that case, the Illinois Supreme Court, acting after a reversal of an injunction against the march issued by the United States Supreme Court, ruled that the use of a swastika in the march was precisely the kind of symbolic speech protected by the First Amendment and that the government could not enact a prior restraint against such speech just based on the fear that it could provoke a violent response from on-lookers. More recently, in Snyder v. Phelps, the Supreme Court set aside a civil judgment issued by a jury in Maryland against the Westboro Baptist Church in favor of the father of a fallen Marine whose funeral was protested by Westboro with its all-too-familiar signs and rhetoric. In its ruling, the Court held that the fact that Westboro’s rhetoric was highly offensive and hateful was not, in and of itself sufficient reason to exempt it from the protection of the First Amendment. In these and other cases, the Supreme Court has made clear that the mere fact that speech is offensive is not, in and of itself, sufficient justification for banning it or punishing those who might utter it in either criminal or civil Court.

Proponents of hate speech bans argue that such speech is, in fact, a form of violence. But this argument has gotten very far since most people, rightly, regard it as obscene to equate speech with violence. They have also tried to argue that hate speech constitutes “incitement”. But Volokh gets into this:

The same is true of the other narrow exceptions, such as for true threats of illegal conduct or incitement intended to and likely to produce imminent illegal conduct — i.e., illegal conduct in the next few hours or maybe days, as opposed to some illegal conduct some time in the future. But these are very narrow exceptions. Dean’s post came in response to a Steven Greenhouse tweet saying, “Free Speech Defenders Don’t Forget: Ann Coulter once said: My only regret w/ Timothy McVeigh is he did not go to the New York Times building”; but if Dean meant that such speech by Coulter is constitutionally unprotected, he’s wrong. Indeed, even if Coulter was speaking seriously (which I doubt), such speech isn’t unprotected incitement, because it isn’t intended to promote imminent illegal conduct. Compare, e.g., Rankin v. McPherson (1987), which upheld the right to say, after President Ronald Reagan was wounded in an assassination attempt, “If they go for him again, I hope they get him” — and that was in a case involving a government employee being fired for her speech; the First Amendment offers even stronger protection to ordinary citizens whose speech is more directly restricted by the government.

Returning to bigoted speech, which is what most people use “hate speech” to mean, threatening to kill someone because he’s black (or white), or intentionally inciting someone to a likely and immediate attack on someone because he’s Muslim (or Christian or Jewish), can be made a crime. But this isn’t because it’s “hate speech”; it’s because it’s illegal to make true threats and incite imminent crimes against anyone and for any reason, for instance because they are police officers or capitalists or just someone who is sleeping with the speaker’s ex-girlfriend.

There is one twist on this concept of incitement that I wanted to get into, however. One idea that has gained some credence on the Left in recent years is that even if “hate speech” doesn’t directly incite immediate violence, it can constitute stochastic terrorism. The idea of stochastic terrorism is that Right Wing politicians (and only Right Wing politicians) don’t actually incite violence directly but use charged rhetoric hoping that, in a nation of three hundred million people, this will motivate someone to engage in violence. It is most often applied to abortion foes, with critics claiming their cries of “murder” are deliberately designed to make people run out an shoot abortion clinicians (because, apparently, no one could honestly believe in their heart that abortion is murder). But we’ve seen it in other contexts as well: the Murrah Bombing being blamed on talk radio; the Giffords shooting being blamed on Sarah Palin; a census worker’s suicide being falsely attributed as homicide and blamed on census opponents. Hell, there were people who blamed the Kennedy assassination on his right-wing critics.

This theory of stochastic terrorism is, to put it mildly, manure. It is a theory designed but with one purpose: to tar the speech of people the theorists disagree with and, hopefully, silence them. And it is very easily proven.

Many years ago, talk show host Neal Boortz had a quiz on his website asking readers to figure out if passages about the environment were from Algore’s Earth in the Balance or the Unabomber’s manifesto. It was actually kind of difficult. They used the same language, the same extreme rhetoric, the same dire claims that the Earth was doomed. Yet no one would accuse Algore of “stochastic terrorism” because of the Unabomber (or any other eco-terrorist).

For the last two years, a large fraction of the Left has been calling Trump a fascist and comparing him to Hitler. If someone were to try, God forbid, to assassinate Trump, would they all be guilty of stochastic terrorism?

“Ah”, you might say, “But the difference is that this Left Wing rhetoric is right. The Earth is in danger. Trump is a fascist.”. Well, Islamic terrorism is a danger. Millions of potential human lives have been extinguished by abortion. Why is the danger you fear real and the danger others fear fake?

It is antithetical to the very concept of this nation for people to be afraid to using strong language when they fear that something very wrong is being done. I may not agree with them. And I will frequently think they are being needlessly hysterical. But if you think abortion is murder, you should be able to say so. If you think Trump is a fascist, you should be able to say so. Yes, there is always a risk that someone will take your words to heart and do something awful. But we can not let our political dialogue be set by a fear of maniacs. We can not allow a “gunman’s veto” on free speech. This is why the Courts have taken a precise view of what constitutes incitement. And it’s why they should continue to do so.

It’s strange for me to say this because I think that extreme rhetoric is a problem in American politics and that people do not need to back off and listen to each other. Debates about healthcare, taxes, terrorism, war and spending would be a lot better if they weren’t conducted in apocalyptic terms. But good manners, a sense of perspective and respectful dialogue can not be enforced with moral threats. And good dialogue does not begin with restrictions on free speech.

A Little Consistency Would Be Nice

The California State Attorney General has now brought charges against the two activists who secretly recorded Planned Parenthood and edited the videos in a deceptive fashion. 14 counts of recording someone without consent and 1 of conspiracy. Now they did break the law — California is a two-party state.

But here’s my question: when are charges going to be brought against animal rights activists who secretly record damning footage (and, in the case of PETA at least, sometimes deceptively edited it)? Were charges ever brought against the people who secretly recorded Mitch McConnell discussing campaign strategy? Kentucky’s not a two-party state but it’s not a no-party state. Nor is Florida, where someone secretly recorded Mitt Romney’s “47%” comment (and if your memory is long enough, someone spied on Newt Gingrich’s phone calls). When are we going to see police raids of their homes and multiple felony charges brought against them? The answer, of course, is never.

Jacob Sullum, hardly a Right Wing Culture Warrior, ask the same question. He notes that public conversations (which these were) and investigations (which the activists claim this was) are generally exempted from California’s wire-tapping laws.

Would California’s attorney general have pursued felony charges against pro-choice activists who used hidden cameras to record meetings with the operators of “crisis pregnancy centers” that steer women away from abortion? If not, Becerra’s concern about “the right to privacy” is nothing more than a pious-sounding cover for a political vendetta.

The problem here is that the Left does not see pro-Life activism as legitimate activism. It’s why they propose and support things like buffer zones and bans on signs showing fetal remains — restrictions on speech that would decry as fascism if they were applied to, say, striking factory workers. I’m pro-choice. But I will defend to the last full measure the right of pro-lifers to express their views.

Keving Drum:

I continue to have zero sympathy for these two. They edited their videos deceptively and basically lied about everything they did. Nevertheless, I don’t like the idea of prosecuting them. This was a legitimate investigation, and no level of government should be in the business of chilling it. The First Amendment doesn’t say anything one way or the other about how honest one’s speech has to be.

This also strikes me as political grandstanding. I imagine that if this were a couple of liberal activists secretly recording meetings with anti-immigration groups, Attorney General Xavier Becerra wouldn’t so eager to go after them.

This was started by former AG, now Senator, Kamala Harris, who had a history of bringing high profile bullshit prosecutions while ignoring things like cops passing around an underage prostitute like she’s a job perk. In the wake of the Planned Parenthood videos, she proposed extra laws to protect … Planned Parenthood. She was a very political AG and her successor seems equally political.

I hate defending these guys. I agree with Drum that the videos were deceptive. But the more I think about it and the more I read about it, the more this prosecution crosses me as garbage. This is not about deceptively-edited videos or violations of privacy. This is about political grandstanding by two Attorneys General. This is about protecting a liberal interest from any kind of scrutiny. It’s about, as Clark at Popehat once brilliantly said, walking around the field of the Culture War battle and shooting the survivors of the losing side.

What’s obviously missing in this story: again?

Well, a few weeks ago it was some Hillary Clinton voters expressing their anger at the election of Trump to the office of the POTUS, by torturing a mentally challenged white teenager and live streaming it on Facebook. The horrific attack caused furor because it came at a time that the DNC operatives with bylines were desperate to create the illusion that America was under attack from the racists, misogynists, and other assorted evil people that the left want you to believe is the only reason Trump could beat crooked Hillary. They danced around what happened for a while, and we then spent days after with people actually telling us why 4 black teenagers brutally abusing a handicapped white kid while screaming “Fuck White People” and “Fuck Trump” didn’t amount to a hate crime or racism. The story disappeared from the news soon after that, obviously because it wasn’t the narrative these douchebags wanted to tell.

It looks like we have more of the same. Facebook was again used to stream the live rape of a Swedish woman bu three men for whom we never get a description. Trained like I am to pick up on these queues after decades of our DNC operatives with bylines doing the same when reporting on criminal or bad behaviors by the left, it became immediately obvious that the lack of details about the perps could only mean that there was another concerted effort to hide misbehavior by a group the left knows is trouble but would like to prevent us from knowing so. My first guess was that the lack of detail probably comes from pressure from the authorities not to divulge details that would embarrass the leadership cast or fear of retribution from the authorities. After all, in Europe, saying things that are not permitted, even when they are true, can and has landed people not just in trouble with the authorities, but behind bars. I did some digging, and in the comment section of this article dealing with the issue, it looks like someone has confirmed my suspicions. I expect them to end up paying for revealing information that the elites in Brussels have told the powers that be is taboo. All because the truth reflects horribly on them and what they are doing to the annoying and ungrateful serfs they are caring so hard for.

Keep it up you people. The more of this we see the more people will realize that the credentialed elite class should no longer be allowed near the leavers of power. Anyone willing to put their citizens in definite harm’s way in the name of an ideological vision and ideal, deserves the boot. I hope the Swedes go all Viking on the people doing this to their country.

In The News

A few stories I’m following right now:

  • I’ve been critical of some of Trump’s cabinet choices. But my first impression of Mattis, the proposed Secretary of Defense, is positive. He opposes torture, supports a two-state solution for Israel, recognizes that the Iran deal is flawed but that tearing it up would be a mistake. His approach to Iraq was a big reason the surge worked and his musings show an active and sharp mind. He has been willing to praise or criticize politicians from both sides. Moreover, Trump said that one thing that impressed him was that Mattis opposes torture, which Trump ostensibly favors, and made a good argument against it. One of the big concerns with a President is that he will surround himself with Yes Men. Mattis is definitely not a Yes Man. He’s a good choice. But the thought process behind the pick is also encouraging.
  • Of course, he’s still thinking about Bolton for State, so it’s not all roses.
  • Trump sent out a tweet the other day saying that flag burning should be banned and come with a loss of citizenship. You can pretty much guess my response to this: I’m with Scalia.
  • Of course, Hillary Clinton her own damned self once co-sponsored an anti-flag burning bill. No matter what Trump does, let’s not lose sight of what the alternative was like.
  • Neither Obama nor Biden will attend Castro’s funeral. Good.
  • Trump’s deal to keep Carrier from shipping jobs to Mexico (actually, Pence’s deal) does not impress me. It’s a $7 million tax break specifically for Carrier to keep 1000 jobs in Indiana. It’s crony capitalism and an example of what we shouldn’t be doing. We have an entire economy run on backdoor tax breaks, regulatory holidays, subsidies and special dispensations. What we need to do is make America a better place for all businesses through comprehensive and universal regulatory and tax reform.
  • However, I suspect the Carrier deal is a preview of Trump’s Presidency. He’ll make a huge fuss about little things he does like saving a thousand jobs, to give the impression that he’s doing good (which, to be fair, all Presidents do). The real good will have to come from Congress, who have the power to unshackle our economy.

Crime Sheet

2 rather important murder trials are now under way, both involve race, and with both, the outcomes are fairly certain. Dylan Roof gunning down 9 church goers, and Michael Slager, a Charleston police officer who shot a fleeing man in the back 8 times, both shooters are white and all victims are black.

The easy one first. Dylan seems like a troubled youth with a bucket load of mental problems, but the judge not only found him competent to stand trial but allowed Dylan to represent himself during the trial. What bothers me is that Dylan offered to plead guilty to murder and accept life without the possibility of parole in exchange for taking the death penalty off the table. A reasonable offer and one that the prosecution should have embraced. But here’s the rub, with white shooter/black victims, the racial component must take center stage, so countless millions (the cost from trial, through appeals, up to the actual injection, if it ever happens)will be wasted for what will be little more than a show trial. Getting back to my disgust for the very concept of hate crimes, where one person’s hide is more valuable and must exact a higher price than anothers, a sentence consistent with justice must now jump over another hurdle, artificially placed based on nothing more than the color of skin. If roles were reversed any prosecutor worth dick would take the life deal in a second, then go out for pizza.

Now on to Slager. There is both dash cam footage and private party cell phone video of the actual shooting. First off, why do rookie cops (5 years on the job, he should have known better) feel compelled to give foot chase on something as low level as a fix ticket infraction? We aren’t talking about a mass murder fleeing the scene who will most likely continue his killing ways, or even a bank robber fleeing with a sack full money, Slager knew who this guy was, he had his ID, knew he was unarmed, knew he had done nothing except drive with a busted taillight, knew he would pose no danger to any passerby’s, yet, he still felt it necessary to give chase on foot, lamebrain. A better course of action, impound the car (while inventorying the contents for any illegal contraband), then send him his ticket in the mail and go get them donuts while they are hot.

As far as the charge, yes, Slager needs to do prison time. There is no excuse, none, zilch, nada for shooting anybody in the back. Slager testified that he was afraid of Scott, how so? Scott was running away from him, had nothing in his hands, no history of violence against cops, no justification whatsoever existed for the application of lethal force. There probably was a scuffle (another reason you don’t foot pursue unless you absolutely have to) but the scuffle was over, Slager was in no danger and what we see is Scott retreating. I’m OK with manslaughter as long as he gets a serious sentence. Oh, and 8 shots? no marksmanship badge for you.

Perspective

As usual, if you followed the media narrative this morning when the sad story broke out about another stupid attack at Ohio State, their speculation went one way, and obviously the wrong way. Before enough facts where out, and as this always plays out with the narrative crowd, the idiots writing articles and commenting at the usual lefty dives such as the HuffPro insane asylum called it all wrong. For this crowd, i had to be Trump supporting, gun toting assholes that are stealing America from the good-thinkers, like them, that obviously did it! More gun laws are going to be needed, and since anyone that is a Trump supporter has to be motivated by hate, racism, homophobia, and whatever other cool term the prog kids throw around to identify those ungood-thinkers, it had – it just had to be – one of them behind this sad affair.

Of course, us ungood-thinkers immediately knew that odds where we were dealing with another follower of the religion of peace, guns had not been involved – Obama was not ridding this to sell his sensible gun banning policies immediately, which was a dead giveaway there obviously was no gun play – as the initial reports mentioned a car and knifes, things followers of the religion of peace have been advocating should be used by their Jihadi recruits in the not so distant past. We also suspected that interest in this story would die out as soon as the facts came out, due to lack of interest in reporting on something that contradicted the narrative the left so desperately needs (don’t worry I am sure some DNC paid paid operative will commit some crime sooner than later that they all will try to blame on others as has been going on for the past year or more).

At least justice was dealt out and the bad guys where captured or killed. But with the narrative not flowing, I suspect this story will go away. Unless the left decides to ask for sensible car and knife laws. How much do we ant to bet that when someone points out the perp was taken down by someone with a gun, their response will be we need more gun control (read disarming law abiding citizens).

It won’t go away

And while the DNC operatives with bylines are trying their best to ignore the reality, we are forced to use foreign sources to again point out that Hillary got away with a huge number of crimes because Obama would have gone down with her. From the article:

It appears US President Barack Obama lied to the US public when he said that he found out about Democratic Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s email scandal on the news, with new leaked emails from Clinton’s campaign manager John Podesta seemingly contradicting Obama’s version of events.

Included the 18th batch of the Podesta Emails, released by WikiLeaks, is a March 7, 2015 email sent by Clinton spokesperson Josh Schwerin to communications director Jennifer Palmieri, press secretary Nick Merrill and others, referring to comments Obama made about the Clinton email scandal.

No, it doesn’t appear to be the case that Obama lied: Obama lied. His presidency, after promising transparency never seen before, has been about one where they have foisted lie after the lie on the American people. If you were still wondering why Hillary was running for the office of POTUS instead of making license plates in an orange jumpsuit, then you now have the obvious answer: Obama made sure she walked because he would have gone down with her.

Crooks the lot of them. They have destroyed our economy, wrecked healthcare, pissed away trillions buying votes with one government scam after the other, abused the office, destabilized the world and made it a far more dangerous place – the usual suspects will of course love you to buy their lies that was done by someone else I will not mention despite the fact that our Nobel Peace Prize winner now has 5 concurrent wars going onwrecked the relationship with America’s allies while kissing up to its enemies, with little or no success to change their hatred and hostility towards us or their abuses of that trust, ground our military into the dirt, and emboldened some of the most frightening and dangerous actors on the planet to challenge stability. The man has been a complete failure. And he was aided in doing all this crap by Clinton, whom now wants to double down on the same policies and go even further than Obama. But our election remains about people with little credibility saying Trump saying bad things to women!

Go figure…

So it looks like the WH was behind making sure Hillary was NOT charged for breaking the law

While the left and the media remain focused on the fact that Trump acts like an alpha male, all while ignoring that Bill Clinton is a serial rapist, and his wife, not just an enabler, but the one that has gone out of her way to destroy anyone that tried to point that out, revelations abound that proveHillary should have been charged, but was not, because the WH made that happen. From the article:

“It is well known that the FBI agents on the ground, the human beings who did the investigative work, had built an extremely strong case against Hillary Clinton and were furious when the case did not move forward,” said Napolitano. “They believe the decision not to prosecute came from The White House.”

The claim also is backed up by a report in the New York Post this week, which quotes a number of veteran FBI agents saying FBI Director James Comey “has permanently damaged the bureau’s reputation for uncompromising investigations with his cowardly whitewash of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s mishandling of classified information using an unauthorized private email server.”

“The FBI has politicized itself, and its reputation will suffer for a long time. I hold Director Comey responsible,” Dennis V. Hughes, the first chief of the FBI’s computer investigations unit, told the Post. Retired FBI agent Michael M. Biasello added to the report, saying, “Comey has singlehandedly ruined the reputation of the organization.”

Especially angering the team, which painstakingly pieced together deleted emails and interviewed witnesses to prove that sensitive information was left unprotected, was the fact that Comey based his decision on a conclusion that a recommendation to charge would not be followed by DOJ prosecutors, even though the bureau’s role was merely to advise, Fox News was told.

“Basically, James Comey hijacked the DOJ’s role by saying ‘no reasonable prosecutor would bring this case,’” the Fox News source said. “The FBI does not decide who to prosecute and when, that is the sole province of a prosecutor — that never happens.

“I know zero prosecutors in the DOJ’s National Security Division who would not have taken the case to a grand jury,” the source added. “One was never even convened.”

Napolitano agreed, saying the FBI investigation was hampered from the beginning, because there was no grand jury, and no search warrants or subpoenas issued.

Those of us that have seen the pattern established during the last 8 years, where some of the most egregious and illegal things were done by practically every federal agency across the board, only to have the WH pretend they were surprised by what was going on and claiming to be out of the loop, only to later discover evidence to the contrary that was from then on ignored, knew that the orders to let Hillary walk came from the WH.

I suspected from the start that Hillary and her people would never have dared to try and delete the emails outright like they did, if they, even a second, believed this would come back against them. And the only way this level of disdain for the law and the system of justice could continue for years, was if the WH was calling the shots behind the scenes. The media has avoided this story for a reason, opting instead to make excuses for Clinton and carry her water when she blames a vast right wing group for her law breaking and creating all sorts of distractions (like this current crusade against Trump’s demeanor towards women).

But we know now that she did what she did deliberately. She also did it with backing from the WH. And that was because she had Obama by the balls. That idiot went out and pretended he had no idea that she had that server when the story came out, only to now be caught communicating with her through a pseudonym email (a clear sign that even he knew this was some serious law breaking that Hillary was doing). Will this change anything? not a chance. The left will keep producing people that will say Donald is a cad and objectifies women, because we all know that unless you have the (D) next to your name, you can be held liable even for just thinking bad thoughts. If you have that (D) however, you have carte blanch. These same shrews will not only make excuses for you but help defend you from those that might think this crap is about something other than the left using it for political gain. In the mean time voters – the ones that actually might have a problem with someone that after these things likely now thinks she is above the law and is likely to do much worse, and not the ones that don’t care, because she is a member of their team – are getting shafted because they don’t hear what kind of evil criminal Hillary is.

I for one have experience with the WH sicking its agencies on those they view as their enemies. I suspect this will become far more common and be far reaching under another Clinton administration. I have no faith in our system of justice anymore, and I am not alone there. The marxists used to object to the system because the powerful could get away with everything. It obviously looks like the real objection was that people other than them might get away with shit. They sure don’t feel the law applies to them. Real champions of the people these porgs, ain’t they?

America loses yet again..

Dark times are a coming..

Today, on September 11, 2016, 15 years after the worst attack on US soil, while my thoughts are with those that lost their lives and those that loved their loved ones, both on that day and in the struggle after, I want to actually deal with something I see coming that bears ill for all of us: the PC movement’s attack on freedom in general, and internet freedom in particular. Now I am sure most good people will say that there should be nothing wrong with being polite and respectful to others, especially when hiding behind the anonymity provided by the internet, and that anyone unable to do so or resisting that effort must be bad or have ill intent, but whenever I hear the PC movement run their mouths about the ills of a free internet (or opposition of the PC movement in general) all I hear or see is exactly this: those in power will silence the opposition and their political enemies.

The world is heading towards dark times as Western values are being abandoned by the most corrupt and least capable political class ever (both oh, do they think they are awesome shit). The political elite calls the masses stupid or evil because they will not let the globalists do what they want. Especially since what the globalists are doing is horrible for the common people. Oh sure, they tell us that they are doing this to help the less well off and fight injustice, but these people give absolute proof to the saying that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Don’t take my words for this. Look at what the world looks like after 8 years of the people that tell us anyone that doesn’t share their social and ideological values and ideas of social justice being provided by them, actually is today. In short, things are worse, and it is by design. More instability, the rich got more powerful and richer – and it is no coincidence ,that the biggest promoters of social justice also are the ones that have profited the most from the misery it has caused – and the rest of us are robbed of more of our freedoms and wealth.

Unlike the old fascists and communists that actually killed of their =political enemies, the new crop of collectivists now content themselves with destroying the lives and well being of those that dare stand up against the disservice they are doing us all. I leave you with one of the most telling quotes I have ever read:

“Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

This is known as “bad luck.”

― Robert A. Heinlein

Government, Fast and Slow

Here is what government does when it comes to holding itself accountable:

The Environmental Protection Agency never submitted a report due to Congress in 2014 that might have shed light on the environmental problems with mandating the use of ethanol in gasoline.

When the EPA’s Inspector General pointed out this week that the study was nearly two years overdue, the EPA said they’ll get around to finishing it—by 2024.

Congress created the ethanol mandate in 2005, requiring the blending of corn-based biofuels into gasoline and diesel. A 2007 law expanding the scope of the mandate required the EPA to submit reports to Congress every three years detailing the consequences of that policy on air and water quality. After completing one such report in 2011, the EPA says it ran out of money and didn’t have enough time to keep doing them.

There isn’t a lot of doubt that the ethanol mandate is bad policy. It doesn’t cut greenhouse gas emissions at all. It encourages mono-cropping and putting food into cars instead of starving people’s bellies, driving up the price of cereal crops. It increases smog. It damages the ozone layer. A strange coalition of radical greens, conservatives and libertarians have come to the realization that this is a disastrous policy.

But it’s popular with farmers and popular with ethanol makers and popular with both of our Presidential, ugh, candidates. So the EPA is going to sit on one of the most important environmental analyses they are doing.

By contrast, when it comes to restricting our freedom, the government can move with amazing haste:

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency has filed a notice of intent (PDF) to place the southeast Asian plant called kratom to the most restrictive classification of the Controlled Substances Act. The plant, Mitragyna speciosa, and its two primary constituents, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, will be temporarily placed onto Schedule I on September 30, according to a filing by the DEA at 8:45 am Eastern time today. The full announcement is scheduled to be published in the Federal Register tomorrow, August 31.

Various forms of kratom and teas made from the plant’s leaves are sold in cafes and on the internet. Their primary effect is to provide a short-lived peaceful and calm feeling that is described as pleasant. Consistent with this effect being opioid-like, anecdotal reports indicate that some users have used kratom to successfully recover from physical and psychological dependence on prescription opioids and heroin. Comments on my last report on kratom have also indicated the successful use of teas made from the plant in managing chronic pain without the side effects and addictive potential of prescription opioids like oxycodone, hydrocodone and morphine.

Makes people feel good? Competes with multi-billion dollar drug revenue streams? BATTLE STATIONS!

The justification for banning this is that poison control centers reported about 600 cases of abuse of the drug … over five years. 600 overdoses is probably a good week with alcohol. The risk is so minimal that the North Carolina legislature recently rejected efforts to outlaw it. Making it Schedule I will not only make kratom illegal but hinder any research into it.

These two stories really illustrate how our government works. They move instantly to destroy our freedom based one a rumor. But they can’t be bothered to check their own behavior despite overwhelming scientific evidence.