The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations, and it has pushed kids toward pills and other anti-social behavior.
The National Minimum Drinking Age Act, passed by Congress 30 years ago this July, is a gross violation of civil liberties and must be repealed. It is absurd and unjust that young Americans can vote, marry, enter contracts, and serve in the military at 18 but cannot buy an alcoholic drink in a bar or restaurant. The age 21 rule sets the United States apart from all advanced Western nations and lumps it with small or repressive countries like Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Indonesia, Qatar, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.
Congress was stampeded into this puritanical law by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), who with all good intentions were wrongly intruding into an area of personal choice exactly as did the hymn-singing 19th-century Temperance crusaders, typified by Carrie Nation smashing beer barrels with her hatchet. Temperance fanaticism eventually triumphed and gave us 14 years of Prohibition. That in turn spawned the crime syndicates for booze smuggling, laying the groundwork for today’s global drug trade. Thanks a lot, Carrie!
Now that marijuana regulations have been liberalized in Colorado, it’s time to strike down this dictatorial national law. Government is not our nanny. The decrease in drunk-driving deaths in recent decades is at least partly attributable to more uniform seat-belt use and a strengthening of DWI penalties. Today, furthermore, there are many other causes of traffic accidents, such as the careless use of cell phones or prescription drugs like Ambien – implicated in the recent trial and acquittal of Kerry Kennedy for driving while impaired. Read the rest of this entry »
Charles Krauthammer said the US Supreme Court’s 6-2 ruling on Tuesday that a lower court does not have the authority to set aside the law that bans the use of racial criteria in college admissions shows the court wants to preserve citizen’s rights to decide such things democratically.
“We leave the decision of affirmative action up to the people, which is exactly the way you want to do it in a diverse democracy with a troubled history.”
“The court said… ‘we’re not going to have nine rogues decide that this cannot be implemented.’ But what it implied was that it would allow people in a democracy to decide that,” he said.
For Breitbart-Texas, Bob Price reports: After Breitbart Texas reported on the U.S. Bureau of Land Management’s (BLM) intent to seize 90,000 acres belonging to Texas landholders along the Texas/Oklahoma line, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott questioned the BLM’s authority to take such action.
“I am about ready,” General Abbott told Breitbart Texas, “to go to the Red River and raise a ‘Come and Take It’ flag to tell the feds to stay out of Texas.”
Gen. Abbott sent a strongly-worded letter to BLM Director Neil Kornze, asking for answers to a series of questions related to the potential land grab.
“This is Texas land. It belongs to Texas and the private property owners here. If we have to, we will assert quick and effective legal action to put a stop to it.”
– Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott
“I am deeply concerned about the notion that the Bureau of Land Management believes the federal government has the authority to swoop in and take land that has been owned and cultivated by Texas landowners for generations,” General Abbott wrote. “The BLM’s newly asserted claims to land along the Red River threaten to upset long-settled private property rights and undermine fundamental principles—including the rule of law—that form the foundation of our democracy. Yet, the BLM has failed to disclose either its full intentions or the legal justification for its proposed actions. Decisions of this magnitude must not be made inside a bureaucratic black box.”
In an exclusive interview with Breitbart Texas, General Abbott said, “This is the latest line of attack by the Obama Administration where it seems like they have a complete disregard for the rule of law in this country …And now they’ve crossed the line quite literally by coming into the State of Texas and trying to claim Texas land as federal land. And, as the Attorney General of Texas I am not going to allow this.” Read the rest of this entry »
“But without checks, democratically approved legislation can oppress minority groups…”
– Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
WASHINGTON (AP) —Mark Sherman reports: The Supreme Court on Tuesday upheld Michigan’s ban on using race as a factor in college admissions despite one justice’s impassioned dissent that accused the court of wanting to wish away racial inequality.
The justices said in a 6-2 ruling that Michigan voters had the right to change their state constitution in 2006 to prohibit public colleges and universities from taking account of race in admissions decisions. The justices said that a lower federal court was wrong to set aside the change as discriminatory.
“This case is not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it.”
– Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy
The decision bolstered similar voter-approved initiatives banning affirmative action in education in California and Washington state. A few other states have adopted laws or issued executive orders to bar race-conscious admissions policies. Read the rest of this entry »
Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms fail to safeguard civil liberties
For Reason, Ronald Bailey writes: In January, President Barack Obama made a much-anticipated speech at the Department of Justice outlining proposed reforms of the domestic surveillance programs run by the National Security Agency (NSA). The secretive spy agency has taken a public battering ever since former NSA contractor Edward Snowden began blowing the whistle on its clandestine collection of basically every American’s telephone records.
“We will reform programs and procedures in place to provide greater transparency to our surveillance activities, and fortify the safeguards that protect the privacy of U.S. persons,” the president proclaimed. Unfortunately, Obama’s proposed changes to domestic surveillance programs are not nearly transparent enough, and fail to adequately protect the privacy of Americans.
In January, the federal government’s Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, an independent agency charged by Congress with advising the president on the privacy and civil liberties repercussions relating to fighting terrorism, concluded that the NSA’s domestic surveillance “implicates constitutional concerns under the First and Fourth Amendments, raises serious threats to privacy and civil liberties as a policy matter, and has shown only limited value.” How limited? “We have not identified a single instance involving a threat to the United States in which the telephone records program made a concrete difference in the outcome of a counterterrorism investigation.”
The oversight board recommended that the surveillance program be terminated. In his speech, the president said that he had consulted with the board. Yet he did not heed its advice.
Instead of ending the unconstitutional domestic telecommunications spying program, Obama offered what he insisted were “a series of concrete and substantial reforms.” These include a new executive order on signals intelligence-that is, data connected with private communications-instructing surveillance agencies that “privacy and civil liberties shall be integral considerations.”
The order further admonishes intelligence bureaucrats to make sure their spying actually provides some benefit greater than the embarrassment officials will surely suffer should they be disclosed. This is the “front page test,” or how officials would feel if what they are doing were reported on the front page of a newspaper. If discovery equals discomfort, then maybe they shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, Governor Jan Brewer (R) signed House Bill 2103 into law. Introduced by state Representative Kelly Townsend (R-16), HB 2103 would allow an individual of at least nineteen years of age to obtain a concealed weapon permit if the person is currently in military service or has been honorably discharged. This legislation is a good way to thank our military for their service and will benefit law-abiding gun owners in Arizona. HB 2103 passed in the state Senate by a 20 to 10 vote on Wednesday and in the House by a 39 to 18 vote on March 10.
Also yesterday, House Bill 2535 was reported in the Senate by the Committee of the Whole as “Do Pass.” Introduced by state Representative John Kavanagh (R-23), HB 2535 requires that certification by a chief law enforcement officer (CLEO), when a signoff is required for the transfer of a firearm or other item regulated by the National Firearms Act (NFA), be provided within sixty days as long as the applicant is not prohibited by law from receiving the firearm or other item. HB 2535 would prevent an arbitrary personal bias from determining Arizona firearm policy and ensure that qualified, law-abiding Arizonans would not be denied their ability to legally possess NFA items. The reforms in HB 2535 would benefit law-abiding Arizona Second Amendment supporters by ensuring that the process to obtain NFA items already legal in Arizona remains consistent, fact-based and objective. Additionally, HB 2535 would provide an individual who has been denied certification by a CLEO with a written explanation for the denial. HB 2535 now goes to the Senate floor where it will be considered as early as next week.
“…I think that’s what should be the rule, that it should be legislatures rather than judges who draw the line on what is permissible.”
For National Review Online, Tim Cavanaugh writes: Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens supports gutting the Second Amendment in order to remove any limit on government infringements on the right of self-defense.
In his new book Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution, Stevens — who generally favored maximum government power during his 35-year tenure on the high court — proposes, among other things, changing the language of the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution so that the amendment would read, “ . . . the right of the people to keep and bear arms [when serving in the militia] shall not be infringed.”
[Order Justice John Paul Stevens's book Six Amendments: How and Why We Should Change the Constitution from Amazon]
The Rule of the Lawless
For NRO, Kevin D. Williamson writes: Deserts always feel like my natural habitat, and I am very fond of them. That being said, I have, for my sins, spent a fair amount of time in Clark County, Nev., and it is not the loveliest stretch of desert in these United States, or even in the top twelve. Protecting the pristine beauty of the sun-baked and dust-caked outskirts of Las Vegas and its charismatic fauna from grazing cattle — which the Bureau of Land Management seems to regard as an Old Testament plague — seems to me to be something less than a critical national priority. At the same time, the federal government’s fundamental responsibility, which is defending the physical security of the country, is handled with remarkable nonchalance: Millions upon millions upon millions of people have crossed our borders illegally and continue to reside within them. Cliven Bundy’s cattle are treated as trespassers, and federal agents have been dispatched to rectify that trespass; at the same time, millions of illegal aliens present within our borders are treated as an inevitability that must be accommodated. In practice, our national borders are a joke, but the borders of that arid haven upon which ambles the merry Mojave desert tortoise are sacrosanct.
[Kevin Williamson's book "The End Is Near and It's Going to Be Awesome: How Going Broke Will Leave America Richer, Happier, and More Secure" is available at Amazon]
Strangely, many of the same people who insist that Mr. Bundy must be made an example of for the sake of the rule of law protest at the same time that it is not only impossible but positively undesirable for the federal government to deploy federal resources to rectify the federal crime of jumping the federal border. Read the rest of this entry »
For Breitbart.com, Charlie Spiering writes: On Tax Day, the Republican National Committee announced it is suing the IRS for stonewalling Freedom of Information Act request for documents about the tax agency’s politicized scrutiny of conservative and Tea Party groups.
The RNC filed the request on May 21, 2013, in an attempt to expose the documents and emails surrounding agency’s process in handling applications of non-profit organizations such as conservative and Tea Party groups.
“We’re filing this suit because the Obama administration has a responsibility to be transparent and accountable to the American people. The IRS has a legal obligation to answer our inquiry for these records.”
After the RNC filed the request, the IRS has requested several extensions, which has already delayed the release by 226 business days.
Defending the right to sell and trade arms
David B. Kopel writes: The First Amendment protects both book buyers and booksellers. Does the Second Amendment protect only people who buy guns, or does it also protect people who sell guns? Though this question has divided the federal courts, the answer is quite clear: operating a business that provides Second Amendment services is protected by the Second Amendment. District of Columbia v. Heller1 teaches that regulation of how firearms are commercially sold enjoys a presumption of constitutionality, which does not extend to prohibitions of firearms sales.
[Related: Find John Lott's essential book: More Guns, Less Crime: Understanding Crime and Gun Control Laws, Third Edition (Studies in Law and Economics) at Amazon]
In the lower federal courts, there is a developing split about whether firearms sellers have Second Amendment rights which the courts are bound to respect. Seventh Circuit courts view firearms sellers like booksellers — as holders of constitutional rights. While gun sellers are subject to much stricter regulation than are booksellers, they are both protected by the Bill of Rights. Conversely, in the courts of the Fourth Circuit, gun sellers have no Second Amendment rights.
Brown v. Board of Education was not exactly a popular decision among some state and local governments, and among some lower court judges. The same is true of Heller. One form of resistance to Heller has been to read the opinion in the narrowest possible way, excluding from Second Amendment protection many normal activities involving firearms. One such form of resistance is the claim that the Second Amendment does not apply to gun sales.
For Breitbart.com, William Bigelow reports: California State Senator Leland Yee, who has been charged with wire fraud and conspiring to import firearms, may be facing new charges from the federal government.
Although U.S. Attorney Susan Badger said that the government “is anxious to start discovery,” the government stated that there will be additional charges in a superseding indictment. Senior U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer gave the government until July to file the charges.
Without naming names, the government stated, “Of particular note, the government is continuing to pursue its investigation of RICO violations as well as additional substantive criminal violations.”
Monotony Motors: Why today’s cars all look alike
For The Weekly Standard, Patrick Cooke writes: Anyone who’s ever misplaced the family car in a parking lot at the mall must surely sense that we are not living in a golden era of automobile design. Gazing in panic out across that vast tar pit, every car seems to look like every other car. Late-model midsize sedans and compacts, especially, appear nearly identical. It’s no help that there are only a handful of basic paint colors to offer clues: white, black, silver, and gray. The quest appears to be at an end when you climb behind the wheel and realize that you are . . . in somebody else’s car.
When doors open this week at the New York International Auto Show, the grumbling will continue, as it has for the past few years, that there isn’t much new and different to see. The public once flocked to auto shows to marvel at groundbreaking designs created by giants in the field like Harley Earl at General Motors who “styled” magnificent sculptures in the early to mid 20th century. They bore names like Firebird and Golden Rocket. Today, mileage standards and safety regulations largely determine what most cars rolling off assembly lines look like. Auto styling may not yet be a dead art, but the artists have certainly been thwarted. As standardization by governments has taken hold—there are more than 200 safety and environmental regulations that go into building a car—the challenge for designers is no longer to create something uniquely beautiful, but to turn out a product that’s in compliance—and hope people buy the result.
Liz Fields reports: A Nevada cattle rancher appears to have won his week-long battle with the federal government over a controversial cattle roundup that had led to the arrest of several protesters.
“Based on information about conditions on the ground, and in consultation with law enforcement, we have made a decision to conclude the cattle gather because of our serious concern about the safety of employees and members of the public”
– BLM Director Neil Kornze
Cliven Bundy went head to head with the Bureau of Land Management over the removal of hundreds of his cattle from federal land, where the government said they were grazing illegally.
Bundy claims his herd of roughly 900 cattle have grazed on the land along the riverbed near Bunkerville, 80 miles northeast of Las Vegas, since 1870 and threatened a “range war” against the BLM on the Bundy Ranch website after one of his sons was arrested while protesting the removal of the cattle.
Unprecedented, Unwarranted, Ugly and Divisive Eric Holder Goes Cuckoo Bananas on Congress’ Unprecedented, Unwarranted, Ugly DivisivenessPosted: April 10, 2014
…with a finger raised, Holder told the crowd in New York that his tenure as attorney general has been “defined by significant strides … even in the face of unprecedented, unwarranted, ugly and divisive adversity.”
The day before, after Gohmert ran out of time to ask questions, Holder leaned into the microphone in front of him and wished Gohmert “good luck with your asparagus.” It was a not-so-subtle dig at Gohmert’s bizarre remark last year when he warned Holder not to “cast aspersions on my asparagus.”
“You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, OK?”
– Divisive, controversial U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder
Holder has had a tense relationship with several Republican lawmakers since the Republican-led House held him in contempt of Congress two years ago for failing to turn over certain documents tied to the Fast and Furious scandal involving botched firearms sting operations despite a congressional subpoena seeking those documents.
“I don’t need lectures from you about contempt.”
In asking Holder on Tuesday about the Justice Department’s refusal to turn over documents in an unrelated terrorism case, Gohmert again raised the issue of contempt, saying, “I realize that contempt is not a big deal to our attorney general, but it is important that we have proper oversight.”
“The American people have not been told the truth about what happened in Fast and Furious. We’ve been going through all of these hearings, having to hold people in contempt because they’ve made it impossible to get to the documents… ”
A visibly upset Holder, leaning back in his chair, shot back, “You don’t want to go there, buddy. You don’t want to go there, OK?”
“You should not assume that that is not a big deal to me,” Holder added, pointing a finger toward the congressman. “I think it was inappropriate. I think it was unjust. But never think that was not a big deal to me. Don’t ever think that.”
And Eric Holder is not exactly brilliant either.
Charles C. W. Cooke writes: Addressing the assembled congressmen in his inimitable style last Friday, Attorney General Holder told a House appropriations subcommittee that he wished to “explore” the opportunities that might arise were he to be given millions of dollars of taxpayers’ money and a copy of the movie Skyfall:
I think that one of the things that we learned when we were trying to get passed those common sense reforms last year, Vice President Biden and I had a meeting with a group of technology people and we talked about how guns can be made more safe.
By making them either through fingerprint identification, the gun talks to a bracelet or something that you might wear, how guns can be used only by the person who is lawfully in possession of the weapon.
It’s those kinds of things that I think we want to try to explore so that we can make sure that people have the ability to enjoy their Second Amendment rights, but at the same time decreasing the misuse of weapons that lead to the kinds of things that we see on a daily basis.
There is much that is remarkable about this rather ugly little disquisition, not least of which is Holder’s apparent inability to construct coherent, intelligible, and appropriate trains of thought. Eccentric syntax notwithstanding, the request is absolutely dripping with noblesse oblige, the clear implication being that the government remains prepared to indulge the exercise of basic liberties providing that it can find a way to ensure that the nation’s dilettantes don’t hurt themselves in the process. Read the rest of this entry »