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Archive for May 20th, 2011

Sometimes it is a pain in the neck to be allied with conservatives. Just like liberals, conservatives sometimes are guilty of imposing their preferences on society, regardless of clear and unambiguous language in the Constitution.

The most recent example is a case originating in Kentucky. Every Supreme Court Justice, with the exception of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, voted to ignore the 4th Amendment and allow unlawful entry into the dwelling of a private citizen. Michael Walsh of National Review explains in the New York Post.

A series of recent court rulings, including one this week from the US Supreme Court, appear to erode one of our bedrock defenses against the arbitrary, abusive power of the state. At risk: the Fourth Amendment guarantee to all American citizens of the right to be “secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” On Monday, in Kentucky v. King, the high court upheld the conviction of a man arrested after cops — who were tailing a suspected drug dealer into an apartment building — smelled marijuana smoke and banged on his door. When they heard noises coming from the apartment “consistent with the destruction of evidence,” they broke in and found drugs. But they had the wrong guy. The drug courier was in another apartment. Hollis King may have been breaking the law, but he was minding his own business, on his own premises, and only became a suspect after the police had made their mistake. But Justice Sam Alito, writing for the 8-1 majority, said, in effect, So what? …What planet is Alito living on? The whole point of the Bill of Rights is to restrict authority. The Founders, who suffered under the British system of “general warrants” and “writs of assistance” — i.e., fishing expeditions — wished to ensure that no American home could be searched without probable cause and a duly issued warrant specifying exactly what police are looking for. The case has been remanded to Kentucky, to sort out whether the circumstances were truly “exigent.” But Alito’s interpretation is an open invitation to abuse — as Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg emphatically warned in her dissent: “The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases. In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down — never mind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant. I dissent from the court’s reduction of the Fourth Amendment’s force.”

The final point I’ll make is that this is yet another sign that the War on Drugs is a disaster. It results in bigger government and less freedom. You can be completely anti-drug (like me), but still realize that it’s not the job of government to dictate the decisions of other people.

Or, if you want to control other people, do it within the confines of the Constitution. Is that too much to ask?

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Yesterday, I took aim at a truly pathetic human being who lives as an “adult baby.” But what got me upset was not his lifestyle, but rather the fact that he was mooching off the taxpayers thanks to the dumb bureaucrats at the Social Security Administration, who granted him “disability’ status, which means he gets to live the rest of his life at the expense of taxpayers.

Is it possible, though, for an entire nation to live as an adult baby? I don’t know the answer, but some people in Portugal want to give it a try. Here is an excerpt from the EU Observer, featuring some jaw-dropping assertions by a Portuguese union boss.

Speaking at a rally in the western German town of Meschede on Tuesday evening, Merkel suggested southern Europeans are not working enough, while Germans are expected to bail them out. “It is also about not being able to retire earlier in countries such as Greece, Spain, Portugal than in Germany, instead everyone should try a little bit to make the same efforts – that is important,” she said. …”Yes Germany will help but Germany will only help when the others try. And that must be clear,” she said. Her comments sparked outrage on the German political scene, with the Social Democratic opposition calling her “populist” for giving a “coarse representation of Greek realities,” while the European Greens labelled her remarks “absurd.” In Portugal, trade unionist were also angered by the suggestion that southern Europeans are having a nice time on the beach while the Germans are working hard for their bailouts. “This is the purest colonialism,” Portuguese trade union chief Manuel Carvalho da Silva said, as quoted by DPA. He blasted Merkel for showing “no solidarity” and supporting a system where “the rich continue to live at the expense of the poorest countries in a disastrous system of exploitation.”

Let’s parse Mr. da Silva’s remarks. He starts by accusing Merkel of colonialism, but he never explains why refusing to write more blank checks means the German Chancellor is a colonialist.

Mr. da Silva then says Merkel is failing to show “solidarity.” But this assumes that German taxpayers have a moral obligation to support fiscally reckless politicians and interest groups in Portugal and other nations.

Last but not least, Mr. da Silva claims Merkel is promoting a system that allows the rich to exploit the poor. This accusation actually is true, but not in the way Mr. da Silva means. This post, using a chart put together by the New York Times, shows that the bailouts are mostly for the purpose of bailing out the big European banks that foolishly bought bonds from irresponsible governments. In other words, poor German taxpayers are subsidizing rich (and foolish) German bankers.

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