Saturday, 29 October 2011


Lamar Smith leads another assault on liberty

It’s Lamar Smith, again!  Dept.
Radley Balko:
The House Judiciary Committee passed a bill yesterday [October 6] that would make it a federal crime for U.S. residents to discuss or plan activities on foreign soil that, if carried out in the U.S., would violate the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) — even if the planned activities are legal in the countries where they’re carried out.  The new law, sponsored by Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas)allows prosecutors to bring conspiracy charges against anyone who discusses, plans or advises someone else to engage in any activity that violates the CSA...
"Cornellian,” commenting at Volokh:
...This statute would make it a criminal offense to have this conversation in the United States:
Friend 1:  Hey, let’s go to Amsterdam and smoke weed where it’s legal!
Friend 2:  Great idea! I’m in! (agreement)
Friend 1:  Lemme check airfare on Expedia. (overt act)
"LaSuthenboy,” commenting at PJ Tattler:
This is exactly the kind of crap that gives the left fodder for going after the right, exactly the kind of behavior that drives people away from conservatism; minding other people’s business...  This busybody BS from Republicans feeds the growth of the busybody left.

It is perfectly rational and sane to make illegal the plotting of illegal activities over the border.  But, to specifically include activities legal over the border is just another grab for power for the government.  Right or Left, the ultimate goal is to eventually have laws governing everything you do or think, down to the hours you sleep and your breaths per minute.

Lamar Smith and every representative that was party to this needs to be held by the scruff of the neck and chased around in circles with a hickory stick until he can’t sit down for a week while having the first amendment read to them over and over….with a bullhorn.
We’ve noticed Lamar Smith before.  He’s the guy who wanted to apply civil forfeiture to copyright enforcement (so the RIAA could confiscate your computer).  And who thought it would be a good idea to require anyone operating a WIFI access point maintain two years worth of user records in the name of "aiding police investigations.”

So we know what Smith is about, and it’s not about individual liberty.  It’s probably too much to ask the Republicans to read Smith out of the party; what’s less understandable is whythehell supposedly freedom-loving Texans keep re-electing him.

Naming names:

H.R.313, the "Drug Trafficking Safe Harbor Elimination Act of 2011.”
Sponsor:  Lamar Smith [R-TX]
Co-Sponsor:  Adam B. Schiff [D-CA]

Unlike most legislation, the effect of this two-page bill would seem easily understandable by anybody (except possibly its sponsor[1]): It adds this paragraph to Section 406 of the (existing) Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 846):
Whoever, within the United States, conspires with one or more persons, or aids or abets one or more persons, regardless of where such other persons are located, to engage in conduct at any place outside the United States that would constitute a violation of this title if committed within the United States, shall be subject to the same penalties that would apply to such conduct if it were to occur within the United States.
Simple, direct, obvious... right?  No exception for legal conduct, and no excuses for voting for it, either.

Vote:  October 6, 2011: Order to report as amended, passed 20-7
Republicans voting yes:
Sandy Adams [FL]
Mark Amodei [NV]
Steve Chabot [OH]
J. Randy Forbes [VA]
Trent Franks [AZ]
Elton Gallegly [CA]
Bob Goodlatte [VA]
Trey Gowdy [SC]
Tim Griffin [AR]
Darrel Issa [CA]
Steve King [IA]
Tom Marino [PA]
Ben Quayle [AZ]
Dennis Ross [FL]
James Sensenbrenner [WI]
Lamar Smith [TX]

Republicans not voting:
Jason Chaffetz [UT]
Howard Coble [NC]
Louie Gohmert [TX]
Jim Jordan [OH]
Daniel Lungren [CA]
Mike Pence [IN]
Ted Poe [TX]

No Republicans voted "No”.

In fact, there’s even less than no excuse:  Before the order to report was voted, Robert C. Scott [D-VA] offered an amendment that would have fixed the problem:
Page 2, line 16, after "that" insert "is a criminal offense in the place where the conduct occurrs and".
The committee REJECTED Scott’s amendment, 11-3.

So Mr. Scott tried again, this time eliminating prosecution for de minimis offenses:
...insert "punishable by a term of inprisonment greater than 20 years" after "violation of this title"
That one was voted down 11-12

So: Every Republican who voted for this bill had been made aware that there was a problem, and chose to ignore it.  Lamar and his Gang of 15 (Republicans, plus 4 Democrats) have a bunch of explaining to do.


[1] Related (added 111030 20:15):
Techdirt:  Smith Was Against Massive Regulatory Compliance The Day Before He’s For It
Kinda makes you wonder if he even understands the legislation he’s introducing.

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Thursday, 27 October 2011


“It’s like stream of consciousness lightly sprinkled with punctuation.”

S.Weasel mocks Meghan, so you don’t have to...

Quick, get John McCain a chair!

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Wednesday, 26 October 2011


What do they have in common?

Today’s quiz:

...A former Congressman who apparently thinks it's actionable to criticize an elected official and that he has some sort of right to draw a paycheck from the federal government. ...An incompetent federal judge who seems unfamiliar with the protections established well over 200 years ago for political speech in this country or the idea of judicial conflicts of interest.

What do Driehaus and Black have in common?


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Tuesday, 25 October 2011


More mush, this time from the candidates

From Mitt Romney, the expected:

"I don’t know on which issue I’m not conservative,” he told Sean Hannity in a radio interview...  "I think my record is as conservative as you’ll find..”

Romney did identify one way in which he differs from some of his GOP rivals: "I may not be as incendiary or outlandish in rhetoric.”
To which Smitty replies
Shag your rhetoric, mister: it’s your results that have people wondering...
And from Rick Perry, the disappointing:
My Tax and Spending Reform Plan
ObamaCare, Dodd-Frank, and Section 404 of Sarbanes-Oxley must be quickly repealed…
Why only "section 404,” Mr. Candidate?  What’s so special about the rest of SarBox that it deserves to survive?
and, if necessary, replaced…
No.  Right there, you accept defeat.

NONE of these laws were ever "necessary.”  By allowing that possibility, you imply that as President you’d be just fine with the usual beltway-driven tinkering and no-results cleverness instead of achieving what we need now: the outright obliteration of the federal programs and regulations that are eating our economy alive.

"MReed53:”  Romney: The Bill of Particulars
As for what "I don’t know on which issue I’m not conservative,” let me count the ways...

Romney and Smitty links via (and my remarks cross-posted at) Daily Pundit.

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Friday, 21 October 2011

In Passing

Because shooting the messenger *always* works...

The Wall Street Journal:

The European Commission is leaning toward proposing a ban on the issuing of sovereign-credit ratings for countries in bailout talks...

Should the Commission, the executive arm of the European Union, come to view these sovereign ratings as inappropriate, "we could ban it or suspend the rating for the necessary time frame,” [European internal market commissioner Michel Barnier] said...

Mr. Barnier had indicated previously that he liked [the] idea- originally proposed by International Monetary Fund chief Christine Lagarde when she was France’s finance minister...
I’d say that if you’ve been waiting on a signal to pull your money out of Europe, now you’ve got one.

Elsewhere (added 111026 15:40):

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Monday, 17 October 2011

Dear Diary...

Oooh... New Pratchett

Erm, excuse me, back later...

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In Passing

Justice Steven David keeps on giving


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Sunday, 16 October 2011

The Press

Sins of omission, cont’d.


Sipsey Street Irregulars:
The realization of the Gunwalker Plot continues to slowly broaden and deepen in the popular culture, and to the Obama administration it must seem like Chinese water torture as they wince in anticipation of each new revelation.  The one constant that they can cling to, however -- the one solace in an ever darkening gloom -- is the partisan faithfulness of the major network evening news shows, and newspapers such as the New York Times and Pravda on the Potomac, the Washington Post.

As evidence, ladies and gentlemen of the jury of history, I present the undisputed fact that on the evening news shows of NBC, ABC and CBS this week not one -- NOT ONE -- mentioned the unprecedented subpoena by a Congressional committee of information regarding the entire top echelon of the Justice Department in the Gunwalker Scandal.
A working republic requires an informed citizenry.  Which, in today’s world, requires a press that doesn’t shill for one side or the other.  Which we don’t have...

Ed Driscoll:
Say, it’s a good thing the media has Occupy Wall Street to focus on right now to deflect attention not just from this story, but from all of the other high-speed Obamacontinental train wrecks crashing into each other right now, isn’t it?
Investor’s Business Daily:
Over the weekend, Senate Democrats passed a dubious milestone — going 900 days without fulfilling their legal obligation to pass a budget.  Worse is the fact that this gross dereliction of duty has gone largely unnoticed.
Prediction: More news we won’t get:
It won’t make the front pages and the 11 o’clock newshours, but sometime next year Iraq will become an appendage of the Iranian mullahs.
Mark Philip Alger:
...As reporters and print shop folk join the rest of us on the unemployment line, they can wonder about the wisdom of lying to the consumers of [their] product.

For those who Tuned In Late:

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Thursday, 13 October 2011


October Indy Blog•Meet announced...

(Image and arrangements, HT: Roberta)

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Wednesday, 12 October 2011


Silm pickings

Roberta contemplates the dog’s breakfast that is the upcoming Indianapolis mayoral race:

...You can vote for a new mayor of any ideological hue you like, too -- as long as you like stupid.

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