Monday, 1 July 2013

Restore the Fourth protests on July 4 at McPherson Square

A variety of civil liberties groups from all political parties will be represented


Libertarian Party


Libertarians speaking at Restore the Fourth protests on July 4

Restore the FourthProtesters in cities across America will gather on July 4, 2013, to demand that the U.S. government adhere to its constitutionally dictated limits demanded by the Fourth Amendment.

The rallies are being organized by Restore the Fourth, a grassroots, nonpartisan, nonviolent movement spurred by revelations made by whistle blower Edward Snowden of the government's widespread practice of spying on Americans without a warrant.

The July 4 demonstrations seek to demand an end to the unconstitutional surveillance methods employed by the U.S. government.

Libertarian National Committee Executive Director Carla Howell will speak at 12:30 P.M. at the Washington, D.C., rally being held at McPherson Square from 12:00 noon until 2:00 P.M. Libertarian candidate for Virginia House of Delegates District 53, Anthony Tellez, will speak at 1:15 P.M.

Here's a list of other cities in the process of organizing rallies:

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Exclusive Greenwald interview. On the only actual news channel

At 7:20 am on Fox and Friends Tuesday Eric Boling interviews Glenn Greenwald. Bolling had earlier had an exclusive with Lon Snowden. So far Andrew Napolitano, Tucker Carlson, Eric Bolling, Steve Doocey, and maybe Bob Beckel seem to be the only people standing up for the 4th Amendment and against the NSA on TV.  Are there others?

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Israeli Professor at a southern California college calls Muslim student a “f*cking cockroach” after student threatens to “hunt him down”

BareNakedIslam posted: "A Claremont McKenna College professor from Israel who called a Palestinian student a "f**king cockroach" at a controversial Students for Justice in Palestine demonstration has apologized, but he continues to be harassed and vilified by some. Pat Dollard  "


Israeli Professor at a southern California college calls Muslim student a "f*cking cockroach" after student threatens to "hunt him down"

by BareNakedIslam

A Claremont McKenna College professor from Israel who called a Palestinian student a "f**king cockroach" at a controversial Students for Justice in Palestine demonstration has apologized, but he continues to be harassed and vilified by some. Pat Dollard  The March 4, 2013 incident was thoroughly investigated by administrators at the Southern California college, who stated […]

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BareNakedIslam | July 1, 2013 at 5:54 pm | Categories: Islam and the Jews | URL:

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Democrat pubic defender: Zimmerman acted in self-defense

Dr. Eowyn posted: "Jay Gaskill is a licensed attorney who was the Public Defender of Alameda County in the San Francisco Bay Area. Gaskill is also a registered Democrat who, despite his party ID, is my friend. LOL It is therefore significant that, based on the trial t"
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New post on Fellowship of the Minds

Democrat pubic defender: Zimmerman acted in self-defense

by Dr. Eowyn

Jay Gaskill is a licensed attorney who was the Public Defender of Alameda County in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Gaskill is also a registered Democrat who, despite his party ID, is my friend. LOL

It is therefore significant that, based on the trial testimonies thus far, Gaskill believes that George Zimmerman was acting in justified self-defense when he struggled with and then shot Trayvon Martin. Gaskill also believes that, given the facts, the prosecution should never filed and pursued a murder charge against Zimmerman. That the prosecution did do that suggests they're acting from PC pressure, in a case that Obama, as the President of the United States, had unseemly and irresponsibly politicized with his incendiary remark: "If I had a son, he'd look like Trayvon."

FOTM is grateful for Mr. Gaskill's permission to republish his essay from his Out*lawyer's Blog.


ht_george_zimmerman_head_dm_120419_wmainZimmerman's head wounds from his "encounter" with Martin.

Martin versus Zimmerman or Politically Correct Prosecution vs. Justice

Legal commentary & OPINION

By Jay B. Gaskill, Attorney at Law

June 28, 2013

Trayvon Martin died in a struggle, not - as one breathless media-bot proclaimed just before trial – from being "gunned down."

The evidence now unambiguously shows that, at the time of the fatal shot, Mr. Zimmerman was down; and Mr. Martin was on top of him, administering a first class beating.

The following is a reasonably accurate summary of the general law as it applies to self-defense cases -

"The circumstances under which he acted must have been such as to produce in the mind of a reasonable prudent person, similarly situated, the reasonable belief that the other person was then about to kill him or to do him serious bodily harm. In addition, the Defendant must have actually believed that he was in imminent danger of death or serious bodily harm and that deadly force must be used to repel it. If evidence of self-defense is present, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the Defendant did not act in self-defense."

On the face of it – and from the prosecution's case so far – it appears that Mr. Zimmerman has a strong self-defense case right out of the box.  Few prosecutors I know would – except in extremis and under relentless political pressure –file and pursue a murder charge in a case like Mr. Zimmerman's.

If the prosecution can salvage anything from this disaster it might be a manslaughter case based on the doctrine of "imperfect self-defense", on the notion – so far unproven – that Mr. Zimmerman provoked the struggle and then acted with unnecessary and unreasonable force when he began to lose the fight. 

This probably won't work.  No evidence has surfaced that Zimmerman initiated the use of force and the legal test of his response to being pummeled is what a reasonable person would do if similarly situated. 

Were it my defense case, I would argue – and this can be done very persuasively – that Mr. Zimmerman faced a deadly threat because he was carrying a firearm against a crazed opponent who could not be counted on to use restraint if he (Martin) got control of it during the struggle. 

When violently attacked, there is no duty to flee or to turn the other cheek.

I know it is premature to comment, but as the facts have so far unfolded, it would appear to be a grave miscarriage of justice if Mr. Zimmerman were convicted of murder (absent some compelling new evidence, so far not even hinted at).  A manslaughter conviction would be more of a misfire, than a miscarriage, a repellant sop to those fevered souls who had hoped to turn this tragedy into some kind of racial cause-celeb.

I am deeply sorry the Mr. Martin died and that Mr. Zimmerman must go through this nightmare parody of a political trial.

Or so it seems from my remote viewing platform.  


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The Flat Earth Society, Climate Change, and Total Dictatorship

The Flat Earth Society, Climate Change, and Total Dictatorship
By Mary Theroux  •  Monday July 1, 2013

The climate crisis is real, it's here, and it's time for absolute power for Obama!

President Obama is set to expand his rule via Executive Order, last week outlining a series of climate proposals he plans to push through via executive action rather than working through Congress. His rationale for this further step to rule by dictat rather than the Constitution is that Congress is mired in gridlock.

Further, the issue of climate change is just too important to bother with that whole pesky balance of powers theory in that dusty old piece of parchment:

The question is not whether we need to act. The overwhelming judgment of science, of chemistry and physics and millions of measurements, has put all that to rest.

Ah, yes, "overwhelming judgment" a/k/a "consensus," that scientifically-based test of Truth.

I guess President Obama missed this from Atmospheric physicist, MIT Professor of Meteorology and former IPCC lead author Richard S. Lindzen:

The influence of mankind on climate is trivially true and numerically insignificant.

Or the March 2012 study, showing that a mere 32.6% of 11,994 academic, peer-reviewed articles over the past 10 years endorse the theory of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), with 66.4% stating no position on AGW, 0.7 per cent rejecting AGW and in 0.3 per cent of papers, the authors said the cause of global warming was uncertain.

Yet in a clever twist of the statistics, the study was used to "prove" a 97% "consensus" on AGW. Here's how it was done:

Taking out the 66.4% of studies that stated "no position" on AGW, the pro-AGW activists summed the 32.6% of the papers endorsing AGW, the 0.7% rejecting, and the 0.3% uncertain to narrow the set down to 4,000 papers. Of those 4,000 papers, 97% said that recent warming is mostly man made:

We found over 4,000 studies written by 10,000 scientists that stated a position on this, and 97 per cent said that recent warming is mostly man made. [emphasis added]

Never mind the almost 8,000 studies that stated no position.

Lies, damn lies, and statistics, indeed.

In further support of his great climate change-driven power-grab, President Obama explained:

We don't have time for a meeting of the flat-earth society.

He might want to reconsider: As it turns out, the President of the Flat Earth Society endorses the theory of man-made climate change:

the Flat Earth Society is a real group, and its president says he believes climate change is real. He also doesn't like being used as an example of backward thinking on the issue.

For further critique of the substance of President Obama's climate change claims, including refutation by the Apollo veterans who formed The Right Climate Stuff research team (TRCS), see here .

Text of Snowden Statement Released by Wikileaks

"In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised -- and it should be." -- Edward Snowden

July 1, 2013
Text of Snowden Statement Released by Wikileaks

Here is the statement posted by WikiLeaks attributed to Edward Snowden that was released July 1. Mr. Snowden, who faces charges of espionage for revealing details of alleged electronic eavesdropping by U.S. intelligence agencies world-wide, is believed to be in the Moscow airport's international transit zone. He is seeking asylum in Russia.

One week ago I left Hong Kong after it became clear that my freedom and safety were under threat for revealing the truth. My continued liberty has been owed to the efforts of friends new and old, family, and others who I have never met and probably never will. I trusted them with my life and they returned that trust with a faith in me for which I will always be thankful.

On Thursday, President Obama declared before the world that he would not permit any diplomatic "wheeling and dealing" over my case. Yet now it is being reported that after promising not to do so, the President ordered his Vice President to pressure the leaders of nations from which I have requested protection to deny my asylum petitions.

This kind of deception from a world leader is not justice, and neither is the extralegal penalty of exile. These are the old, bad tools of political aggression. Their purpose is to frighten, not me, but those who would come after me.

For decades the United States of America have been one of the strongest defenders of the human right to seek asylum. Sadly, this right, laid out and voted for by the U.S. in Article 14 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is now being rejected by the current government of my country. The Obama administration has now adopted the strategy of using citizenship as a weapon. Although I am convicted of nothing, it has unilaterally revoked my passport, leaving me a stateless person. Without any judicial order, the administration now seeks to stop me exercising a basic right. A right that belongs to everybody. The right to seek asylum.

In the end the Obama administration is not afraid of whistleblowers like me, Bradley Manning or Thomas Drake. We are stateless, imprisoned, or powerless. No, the Obama administration is afraid of you. It is afraid of an informed, angry public demanding the constitutional government it was promised -- and it should be.

I am unbowed in my convictions and impressed at the efforts taken by so many.

Edward Joseph Snowden

If You Like the Surveillance State, You’ll Love E-Verify

If You Like the Surveillance State, You'll Love E-Verify
by Ron Paul

From massive NSA spying, to IRS targeting of the administration's political opponents, to collection and sharing of our health care information as part of Obamacare, it seems every day we learn of another assault on our privacy. Sadly, this week the Senate took another significant, if little-noticed, step toward creating an authoritarian surveillance state. Buried in the immigration bill is a national identification system called mandatory E-Verify.

The Senate did not spend much time discussing E-Verify, and what little discussion took place was mostly bipartisan praise for its effectiveness as a tool for preventing illegal immigrants from obtaining employment. It is a tragedy that mandatory E-Verify is not receiving more attention, as it will impact nearly every American's privacy and liberty.

The mandatory E-Verify system requires Americans to carry a "tamper-proof" social security card. Before they can legally begin a job, American citizens will have to show the card to their prospective employer, who will then have to verify their identity and eligibility to hold a job in the US by running the information through the newly-created federal E-Verify database. The database will contain photographs taken from passport files and state driver's licenses. The law gives federal bureaucrats broad discretion in adding other "biometric" identifiers to the database. It also gives the bureaucracy broad authority to determine what features the "tamper proof" card should contain.

Regardless of one's views on immigration, the idea that we should have to ask permission from the federal government before taking a job ought to be offensive to all Americans. Under this system, many Americans will be denied the opportunity for work. The E-Verify database will falsely identify thousands as "ineligible," forcing many to lose job opportunities while challenging government computer inaccuracies. E-Verify will also impose additional compliance costs on American businesses, at a time when they are struggling with Obamacare implementation and other regulations.

According to David Bier of Competitive Enterprise Institute, there is nothing stopping the use of E-Verify for purposes unrelated to work verification, and these expanded uses could be authorized by agency rule-making or executive order. So it is not inconceivable that, should this bill pass, the day may come when you are not be able to board an airplane or exercise your second amendment rights without being run through the E-Verify database. It is not outside the realm of possibility that the personal health care information that will soon be collected by the IRS and shared with other federal agencies as part of Obamacare will also be linked to the E-Verify system.

Those who dismiss these concerns as paranoid should consider that the same charges were leveled at those who warned that the PATRIOT Act could lead to the government collecting our phone records and spying on our Internet usage. Just as the PATRIOT Act was only supposed to be used against terrorists but is now used to bypass constitutional protections in matters having noting to do with terrorism or national security, the national ID/mandatory E-Verify database will not only be used to prevent illegal immigrants from gaining employment. Instead, it will eventually be used as another tool to monitor and control the American people.

The recent revelations of the extent of National Security Agency (NSA) spying on Americans, plus recent stories of IRS targeting Tea Party and similar groups for special scrutiny, demonstrates the dangers of trusting government with this type of power. Creation of a federal database with photos and possibly other "biometric" information about American citizens is a great leap forward for the surveillance state. All Americans who still care about limited government and individual liberty should strongly oppose E-Verify.

'The Extremists Are Coming; The Extremists Are Coming!'

'The Extremists Are Coming; The Extremists Are Coming!'
by Butler Shaffer

"Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice! And . . .  moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!" -- Barry Goldwater, in speech written by Karl Hess

A recent discussion on the Fox Business channel, amongst John Stossel, Stuart Varney, and Judge Andrew Napolitano, has raised, once again, the empty charge directed at libertarians: "you are being an extremist!" Such words are always offered in lieu of a substantive analysis of the position advocated. That both Albert Einstein and Jeffery Dahmer could be labeled as "extremists," by virtue of how far their thinking deviated from some norm, provides us no basis upon which to evaluate their thinking or conduct. Intelligent minds would ask: by what criteria do you judge these men; what are the implications of what each is doing or saying? That so many scientists who contributed to the development of our understanding of the world had to endure such criticism, should cause us to insist upon a standard of evaluation that rises above the simplistic thinking presently in place.

These three men were debating the wide-ranging NSA surveillance practices recently revealed by Edward Snowden -- whose actions have led statists to label him an "extremist," among other charges. When Judge Napolitano insisted that the government should be required to adhere to Fourth Amendment standards and procedures, Varney -- the moderator of the program -- began accusing the good judge of "extremism."

But how does one define "extremism"? Is there a standard by which we can make intelligent distinctions, or is the word only intended as a polite form of name-calling? Words are but abstractions and require interpretation, no matter how certain we feel that our subjective sense allows us to overcome the difficulties that often attend defining them. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's famous admission to the difficulty of defining "pornography" nonetheless led him to conclude "I know it when I see it." Does Mr. Varney's charge of the good judge being an "extremist" amount to anything more than his stating a preference for his preferences?

Explanations for the inability of people to employ a reasoned analysis in their thinking are to be found in institutions of learning. One criticism directed at the government schools is that they do not do an adequate job teaching students how to pass the tests such systems use to evaluate themselves. In this sense, schools -- including universities and graduate schools -- are more in the business of certifying their students to the next level at which they are to perform than helping them learn to become independent thinkers capable of engaging in principled, factually-supported analysis. In performing this certification role, schools engage in the circular process of certifying themselves. "See, 83% of our students passed the test that we taught them how to pass!" In law schools, this helps to explain the preoccupation with bar exam results.

When a school system's emphasis shifts from helping students learn how to think, to teaching them what to think, the dumbing down process is well under way. The principal failure of the education system is not reflected in the fact that most students cannot identify the kinds of information easily found in a Google search, but that they cannot analyze the meaning of such empirical data. An honor student may correctly answer that the Hundred Years War was a series of 14th and 15th conflicts between England and France; that same student may give you a blank response to such follow-up questions as what were the causes or the consequences of this war?

Persons who were educated in the rote methods of the institution-serving schools, tend to be very weak in the skills of intellectual analysis. Being unable to intelligently evaluate a particular proposition, they may resort to public opinion polls, or the pronouncements of a recognized authority for direction. They may also fall back on the "extremism" charge when confronted with a point of view they are otherwise unable to analyze.

The contrast between these two approaches is evident from Judge Napolitano's discussion with Stuart Varney. The judge's criticism of the NSA's ubiquitous, unconsented surveillance of everyone was grounded in principles from which he reasoned. He quoted the Fourth Amendment, which has a narrowly-focused exception to the general rule that people should be "secure . . . against unreasonable searches and seizures," an exception that requires the government to go to court and seek a warrant against specific persons, at specific locations, identifying the specific items to be seized.

In making this argument, the judge is being accused of engaging in what is rarely taught in modern schools: the art of implicit thinking. It is not just that the state is engaged in actions wrong in themselves, but that the acceptance of such behavior can lead to even more serious consequences. If Uncle Willie drinks a quart of Scotch every day, cirrhosis of the liver is implicit in his habit. Does this mean that he will develop this disease? The study of chaos tells us "no," that outcomes associated with complex systems are unpredictable. It does mean, however, that his addiction will greatly increase the likelihood of his developing cirrhosis. As such, on the first day that Willie consumes his quart of Scotch, he should understand that the destruction of his liver is implicit in what he is doing, and not just assume that each additional day stands on its own, unaffected by what has preceded it.

If, on one occasion, a police officer brutalizes a harmless individual, does that mean that a police-state has arisen? No, but intelligent minds should recognize that such totalitarian consequences are implicit in such an act, and should respond accordingly. I am reminded of that powerful scene at the end of the movie, Judgment at Nuremberg. Judge Haywood (played by Spencer Tracy) has been called to the jail cell of the Nazi judge (played by Burt Lancaster) who has just been given a life sentence for his crimes. The convicted judge tells Judge Haywood: "Those people, those millions of people. . . I never knew it would come to that." Judge Haywood replies: "it 'came to that' the first time you sentenced a man to death you knew to be innocent." This is a poignant example of "implicit thinking." If you doubt that one atrocity, indulged in and sanctioned today, does not have implications for the future, ask the ghosts of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau, Treblinka -- and the hundreds of other Nazi concentration camps -- whether critics of such systems were being "extremists" for warning of the likely consequences! A more dramatic expression is to be found in Judge Haywood's explanation of the court's ruling at the end of the movie. His words may help us to understand the implications of the present behavior of the American state.

Implicit thinking requires a standard by which to judge the propriety of one's actions. Judge Napolitano used language from the Constitution as such a standard, but other principles could be employed as well (e.g., the inviolability of the person or property of individuals). Having a norm by which to measure one's response to state action is a necessary means for engaging in an intelligent, reasoned analysis. Without such a principle, one is left with frenzied ranting, name-calling, or empty rhetoric such as accusing another of "extremism."

How does one learn this art of implicit thinking? It is evident that such skills will never be a part of the curriculum of government schools. Their job is to condition young minds in the establishment mindset, a purpose wholly inconsistent with the development of critical thinking. There is nothing so annoying to the state's conditioning academies as children who keep asking questions. The word "why?" -- and the independent thinking that underlies it -- is a constant challenge to a system that has no standards that would appeal to curious minds. The child who persists in questioning what is being taught may soon be labeled "hyperactive" or having an "attention deficit disorder" and be subjected to therapies or drugs to overcome his or her resistance. The words of the late Steve Jobs come to mind, in discussing his response to elementary school: "I encountered authority of a different kind than I had ever encountered before, and I did not like it. And they really almost got me. They came close to really beating any curiosity out of me."

How does one help children develop the skills of implicit thinking, and avoid the indoctrination that trains one to become a servo-mechanism of the corporate-state? In his 1976 book, The Uses of Enchantment, psychologist Bruno Bettelheim discussed the importance of fairy tales in helping children deal with the kinds of fears that are so much a part of growing up. In the course of reading and finding meaning in such stories, children would experience the kind of emotional development necessary to the well-lived life.

I believe that such stories -- and the processes of questioning that accompany their reading -- can help children learn to think implicitly. Fairy tales are often presented in terms of black-and-white contrasts: the consistently "good" guy up against the "villain" who is beyond the possibilities of rehabilitation. The purpose of making such sharp comparisons is not to make children aware of how people necessarily behave in the world, but to provide standards with which to evaluate human conduct. Are all children as sweet and innocent as Hansel and Gretel, or as loving and considerate as Little Red Riding Hood? Are step-mothers all mean? Hardly. These stories are not offered as psychological or sociological studies, but as clearly defined criteria by which to make judgments.

One of my favorite children's stories is The Little Red Hen, but I detest those modern corruptions of the tale in which the Red Hen gives in to all the free-riders and allows them to share in the product of her labors. There is an important lesson for children to learn from Ms. Red Hen, which goes far beyond the modern simple-minded standard of "niceness" that seems to limit the judging of human conduct. The story informs children of what, in a welfare-dominated world has long been forgotten: not only are there consequences to our actions, but precursors for the attainment of what we enjoy. The bread that the Red Hen produced -- and the moochers now want to enjoy -- came about only through her willingness to incur all of the costs necessary to create the bread. This is the meaning of Milton Friedman's now classic observation: "there's no such thing as a free lunch." Someone had to incur the costs of providing it.

Implicit thinking has no relevance absent a clear standard by which to evaluate our thinking and behavior. In order to live as intelligent adults, children must learn to explore the importance and meaning of principles that transcend the immediate circumstances they confront. In the turbulence of a world that is redefining itself into fundamentally new social systems and practices, our thinking -- and judgments -- must undergo major transformations. If we are to survive -- and I believe that we will -- we must walk away from such school playground rhetoric as "if you're not with us, you're against us," or "America: love it or leave it," or "you're being an extremist." As Einstein observed: "We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them."

The Economics Behind the U.S. Government's Unwinnable War on Drugs

"The U.S. government's policy of drug prohibition, like alcohol prohibition before it, is a failure -- and not one that can be corrected by a mere tweaking of current policy. The economic analysis of fighting a supply-side drug war predicts that the war will enhance drug suppliers' revenues, enabling them to continuously ratchet up their efforts to supply drugs in response to greater enforcement. The result is a drug war that escalates in cost and violence."

The Economics Behind the U.S. Government's Unwinnable War on Drugs
Benjamin Powell*
[Benjamin Powell, Ph.D., is the Director of the Free Market Institute at Texas Tech University and a Visiting Professor in the Rawls College of Business. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Independent Institute.]

The late Nobel Laureate James Buchanan was known to say, "Economics puts limits on people's utopias." Unfortunately, the advocates of the U.S. government's war on drugs have failed to appreciate the economics underlying the drug war that makes their utopian vision impossible to achieve through drug prohibition.

Although the Obama administration has softened the rhetoric of prior administrations by talking about treatment rather than an "enforcement-centric 'war on drugs' approach," 1 enforcement budgets remain large and penalties for distribution severe. As for legalization, the administration claims that "drug legalization also runs counter to a public health and safety approach to drug policy. The more Americans use drugs, the higher the health, safety, productivity, and criminal justice costs we all have to bear." 2

Regarding violence, in a recent speech in Mexico, President Obama stated, "Much of the root cause of violence that's been happening here in Mexico... is the demand for illegal drugs in the United States." 3 However, Mr. Obama failed to specify whether the cause of the violence is drugs per se or the fact that drugs are illegal.

Economics is a science of means and ends. Thus, the question for economics is whether the means­drug prohibition­is effective in promoting the ends of greater health, safety, and productivity, as well as lower violence and criminal justice costs.

The Economics of a Supply-Side War

Both the possession and distribution of illegal narcotics are criminally punishable. However, the penalties for distribution, whether street-level dealing or international smuggling, have always been much harsher than the punishments for possession. Possession -- at least for marijuana -- is becoming decriminalized in some states. Meanwhile, enforcement devoted to interdiction of imports and the breaking up of dealer networks continues. In short, while there are demand-side penalties, the U.S. government's war on drugs is primarily a supply-side war.

At its core, a supply-side drug war acts essentially like a tax placed on drug suppliers. 4 It increases their cost of bringing drugs to market and, thus, decreases their willingness to supply drugs. The result, as in virtually any other market, will be higher prices and a smaller quantity supplied. The key question for whether a supply-side drug war can be won is whether the main effect is an increase in price or a decrease in quantity. If the drug war is to be effective, its main effect must be to decrease quantity rather than to increase price.

The amount of illegal drugs that people use is not very sensitive to price. Many addicts likely continue to consume close to the same quantity even in the face of large price increases. The demand for illegal drugs is what economists call "price inelastic." 5 Figure 1 illustrates the effect of a supply-side drug war on an inelastic demand.
Figure 1. Effect of a supply-side drug war on an inelastic demand

Figure 1. Effect of a supply-side drug war on an inelastic dema  
The war on drugs shifts the supply of drugs from Supply (No Drug War) to Supply (Drug War) because of the increased difficulty of getting the drugs into the United States and then distributed to users. As a result, the benefit, in the eyes of the drug prohibitionists, is the decrease in consumption from Q1 to Q2.

The main effect of a supply-side drug war is a large increase in the price of drugs. Revenues of drug dealers equal the price of the drugs times the quantity sold. Because the drug war increases price more than it decreases quantity, the remaining drug dealers have more revenue as a result of the drug war. In the above figure, the drug war costs suppliers the revenue in the blue box, but suppliers gain the revenue in the larger red box. They can use this increased revenue to buy better technology to smuggle drugs into the United States, to buy more and better weapons to fight law enforcement, or to corrupt more judges and police officers.

Because the demand for drugs is not price-sensitive, each "victory" in the war on drugs enhances drug dealers' revenue, making future decreases in supply all the harder to achieve. It is no accident that the number of annual drug-related deaths in Mexico almost quintupled from 2,300 in 2007 to 11,000 in 2010. This increase was a result of the Mexican government's stepped-up enforcement efforts. 6 The drug suppliers used their enhanced revenue to fight back more violently.

If this were the end of the story, some people might say, "Even if a supply-side war is impossible to completely win, at least it is a step in the right direction. After all, it does decrease the quantity of drugs used." Unfortunately, this decrease in drug use comes with great costs that undermine the very goals of the war.

Costs of Drug Prohibition

Drug prohibitionists want drugs to be illegal in order to minimize the damage drug use does both to users and to the society around them. Unfortunately, prohibition, while decreasing consumption, greatly increases the harm done to the remaining users and to society.

When drugs are illegal, they become more potent. In order to minimize the risk of detection per amount of narcotic supplied, suppliers make drugs as small and light as possible. This means higher potency. Economist Mark Thornton has found that increased federal expenditures on interdiction explain 93 percent of the increase in marijuana's potency. 7

Drug prohibition also shrinks the price differential between more-potent and less-potent drugs since the fixed cost of evading law enforcement is similar regardless of potency. As a result, prohibition also encourages users to demand the more-potent drugs because the relative price difference between more- and less-potent drugs is lower. 8

These same effects were observed during alcohol prohibition. The relative price of hard liquor to beer decreased, leading to increased consumption of higher potency drinks like moonshine and gin. 9

Illegality also makes product quality more variable. When drugs are sold on the black market, there can be no name brand attached to them. Thus, when a dealer sells a bad dose, he does not damage the reputation of a supply chain nearly as much as when, say, Tylenol sells a bad dose. 10 Moreover, consumers cannot sue drug suppliers for producing dangerous products. In a legal market, drug suppliers would be pressured to supply quality products and would face economic and legal consequences if they did not.

The net effect of prohibition on drug users is, at best, to decrease consumption while making the consumption of the remaining drug users much more dangerous because their purchases are more potent and less predictable. This is borne out in the data on deaths from drug overdoses. From 1971 -- two years before the creation of the federal government's Drug Enforcement Administration and Nixon's declaration of the war on drugs -- to 2007, the rate of death from a drug overdose per 100,000 total deaths increased by a factor of ten. 11

Prohibition also creates more problems for non-users. Because it increases the cost for addicts to support their habit, many resort to stealing in order to get their needed high. In a study of the U.S. drug war on Latin America, economist David R. Henderson estimated that if the same mark-ups applied to cocaine as to coffee, which would be roughly accurate with cocaine legalization, then cocaine's price in the United States would fall by about 97%. 12 If cocaine and other narcotics lost the price premium caused by the drug war, few, if any, addicts would need to resort to crime to afford their habit.

On the supply side of the market, the drug business is violent precisely because it is illegal. Illegal businesses can't settle disputes in court, so they do so through violence. If drugs were legalized, drug suppliers could settle disputes by turning to courts and arbitrators. One reason that large dealer networks and organized crime outcompete smaller dealers is that they can partially provide their own internal dispute resolution.

When alcohol was prohibited in the early twentieth century, violent criminal gangs catered to the nation's thirst for alcohol. When Prohibition ended, normal businesses returned to the market and violence subsided.

Economist Jeffery Miron found that both alcohol prohibition and drug prohibition enforcement efforts have increased the homicide rate in the United States. He estimates that the homicide rate is 25-75 percent higher due to prohibition. 13 In short, the violence associated with drugs, both by users to support their habit and by gangs supplying the drugs, is a product of prohibition rather than a rationale for prohibition.

These costs, taken together with the above supply and demand analysis, indicate that the very concerns that animate drug prohibitionists -- the harm to users and the violence in society -- should cause them to oppose drug prohibition.
External Costs of the Drug War

In addition to the costs that fall within a means-ends calculation for prohibitionists, there are other costs of the drug war that many people care about, most notably the loss of liberty.

The drug war must be financed by tax dollars. Taxes restrict individual liberty by taking away peoples' freedom to spend their money on goods and services. Currently the government spends $51 billion annually on the war on drugs. 14 This does not count potential tax revenue that could be raised if drugs were legalized (because that revenue represents a transfer, not a net cost or benefit).

More than half a million people are incarcerated in the United States as a result of drug convictions. 15 Any cost-benefit analysis of the drug war must count their lost liberty as a cost. Furthermore, not only does the rest of society pay for their incarceration through taxes, but we also lose out on whatever goods and services they might produce for us were they not in prison.

Other lost liberties arise from the nature of drug transactions. Normal crimes, such as theft, have a victim who has an incentive to report the crime. But normal detection and enforcement methods will not work in the drug war. Why? Because regardless of what the rest of society thinks about drug use, neither drug users nor drug dealers consider themselves victims. To enforce drug prohibition, police must assume powers and pursue practices that are unnecessary for enforcing laws against other crimes. These tactics include searches of people and property suspected of holding drugs, wiretapping and other surveillance, and violent raids of suspects' homes.

Sometimes these tactics have tragic results. Police mistakes often result in "no-knock" raids of the wrong homes. Since 1985, innocent people's homes have been mistakenly raided around 200 times and, in approximately 50 instances, police killed innocent civilians. 16

Moreover, police routinely confiscate personal property if it is suspected of being involved in the drug trade. The police are not even required to file charges in order to confiscate property, and police departments supplement their budgets with these confiscations. In the 20 years ending in 2009, the authorities seized approximately $11 billion in private assets in this manner, and the seizure rate has been growing at nearly 20 percent per year. 17

This is not an exhaustive list of the costs. These and others are important costs to consider when evaluating the war on drugs.


The U.S. government's policy of drug prohibition, like alcohol prohibition before it, is a failure -- and not one that can be corrected by a mere tweaking of current policy. The economic analysis of fighting a supply-side drug war predicts that the war will enhance drug suppliers' revenues, enabling them to continuously ratchet up their efforts to supply drugs in response to greater enforcement. The result is a drug war that escalates in cost and violence.

Furthermore, the secondary consequences of prohibition are perverse. The drug war causes drugs to be more potent and their quality less predictable than if drugs were legal, leaving the remaining users at greater risk and, in the face of higher prices, more likely to commit crimes to support their habit.

In short, the means­drug prohibition -- is incompatible with the ends of improving health and decreasing violence. There are two paths forward: a demand-side drug war or legalization.

A demand-side drug war that places draconian penalties on usage or possession does not necessarily fail a means-ends test. If the goal is simply to end drug usage, implementing a swift death penalty for anyone convicted of possession or use would do the trick. Of course, it would not improve those people's health. Most people, including myself, would consider such a policy even more unjust than the current drug policy.

The alternative, legalization, is a better path forward. It passes a means-ends test while better respecting individual liberty. Consumption may increase but the drugs that are consumed would be safer; and violence would decrease. To the extent that decreasing drug consumption is desirable, moral suasion and education would be more effective -- without the nasty side effects -- than the current policy of prohibition.


1. Kay Steiger, "Obama administration signals change from prison to treatment in drug war,"The Raw Story, April 25, 2013.
2. "A Drug Policy for the 21st Century"
3. Marijuana: Barack Obama says no to legalizing drugs -- but what's that mean for Colorado?
4. See Miron, Jeffrey and Jeffrey Zwiebel, "The Economic Case Against Drug Prohibition."Journal of Economic Perspectives. Fall 1995.Vol 9, No. 4: 175-192.
5. Tyler Cowen and Alex Tabarrok suggest an elasticity in the range of 0.5 based on the existing literature. Modern Principles: Microeconomics (2009), Worth Publishers. Chap 4.
6. "Time to end our unwinnable drug war".
7. Thornton, Mark (1991) The Economics of Prohibition. The University of Utah Press: Salt Lake City. p. 107.
8. Armen A. Alchian and William R. Allen were the first economists to point out this effect, although they did it in a different context. They noted that the cost of shipping oranges from California to New York was the same whether the oranges were high-quality or low-quality. This fixed transport cost, added to the price, narrowed the relative price difference between "good" and "bad" oranges. Therefore the ratio of the price of good oranges in New York to the price of bad oranges in New York is lower than the same price ratio in California. That, they explained, is why the good oranges tend to shipped out to more-distant places. We can apply their insight to illegal drugs, where the fixed cost is the risk. See Armen A. Alchian and Willam R. Allen, University Economics, 3rded., Belmont, California: Wadsworth, 1972, p. 70-71.
9. Thornton, Mark (1991) The Economics of Prohibition. The University of Utah Press: Salt Lake City. p. 105.
10. Benjamin Klein writes, "Even in cases where the problem is not strictly the company's 'fault,' such as the 1982 Tylenol tampering cases that led to seven poisoning deaths, the $2 billion (or more than 20 percent) decline in stock-market value borne by the producer, Johnson and Johnson, was almost ten times as great as the company's direct recall and litigation costs. See Benjamin Klein, "Brand Names," in David R. Henderson, ed., The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics, 2nd ed., 2008.
11. Boettke, Peter, Christopher Coyne, and Abigail Hall (2013) "Keep Off the Grass: The Economics of Prohibition and U.S. Drug Policy." Oregon Law Review Vol. 91: 1079.
12. Henderson, David R. (1997) "The U.S. Drug War on Latin America," Unpublished Manuscript.
13. Miron, Jeffery (1999) "Violence and the U.S. Prohibition of Drugs and Alcohol."NBER Working Paper No. 6950. PDF file.
14. Drug War Statistics
15. Derived from Boettke et al. p. 1071 and Drug War Statistics.
16. Botched Paramilitary Police Raids.
17. Boettke et al: 1069.

The State of the Union

The State of the Union
Posted by Butler Shaffer on July 1, 2013 08:58 AM

On CNN this morning, former president George W. Bush is informing the boobeoisie that Edward Snowden's revelations have "damaged the country." To inform people of the truth of what the state does is "damaging," but the telling of lies for the purpose of conducting endless wars against endless enemies is what, "patriotic?" Just ask any of the nitwits who fly flags from their houses, and you'll get the answer!

Watching the Hannah Arendt movie last night reminded me of one of the quotes that so represents her thinking: "The trouble with [Adolf] Eichmann was precisely that so many were like him, and that the many were neither perverted nor sadistic, that they were, and still are, terribly and terrifyingly normal. From the viewpoint of our legal institutions and of our moral standards of judgment, this normality was much more terrifying than all the atrocities put together."

In watching George W's babbling this morning, I was reminded of H.L. Mencken's observation: "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron."

Put Arendt's and Mencken's insights together, and you have the basis for an understanding of the plight of America!

Why the Multicultural Marxists in the Media Want To Destroy Paula Deen

Why the Multicultural Marxists in the Media Want To Destroy Paula Deen
Posted by Thomas DiLorenzo on July 1, 2013 09:04 AM

Celebrity chef Paula Deen has lost tens of millions of dollars for having admitted in a deposition to uttering the "N-word" some thirty years ago at a black thief who was holding a gun to her head in her restaurant at the time.  She is also accused in a lawsuit of discriminating against black employees, although hundreds of her black employees still go to work every day, and hordes of black customers showed up at her restaurant to support her last week according to boob tube images.  No one knows if the lawsuit is a Jesse Jackson-style shakedown or a legitimate discrimination lawsuit.

In fine Duke Lacrosse Team fashion the media immediately condemned Paula Deen as a Public Enemy in the harshest of terms, forcing several large corporations to cancel their contracts with her.  An accusation of racism by one single person is enough for them.

The reason for this, which we've all seen many times before, is that the multicultural Marxists who dominate the universities, the media, and much of the government, are paternalistic racists who believe that black people can never, ever, make it on their own without special help from them.  But here' s the catch:  all of the government programs that have been enacted to supposedly help "the poor and minorities" have been calamitous failures.  The welfare state has all but destroyed the black family in the inner cities and destroyed the work ethic for millions of Americans of all races.  The government school monopoly has destroyed the opportunities of more black children than if it had been run all these years by the KKK, as Walter E. Williams has said.  The war on drugs has imprisoned millions of young black men for non-violent crimes, and has also been the main source of black-on-black murder via drug gang shootouts.  "Urban renewal" has destroyed minority neighborhoods everywhere and replaced them with public housing hellholes.  After destroying their families and their educational opportunity, the state then entices thousands of young black men and women to join the military where many thousands of them die or get maimed for life in the state's aggressive wars.

The multicultural Marxists can never admit any of this because they have championed all of these interventions over the past decades. That is why they must constantly claim that ALL of the problems of the black community are caused by one thing and one thing only, such as bad language by 66-year-old ladies from Georgia like Paula Deen.  If racism is the sole cause of all the problems facing the black population, then even more social engineering is the "obvious" solution according to the multicultural Marxists.

By the way, here's what Paula Deen should have said to Matt Lauer:  "Have you ever in your life used the N-word, Matt?  How about the C-word or B-word in reference to women?  If he answered "no" she should have laughed her arse off while the cameras were still rolling.