Category Archives: Law

Writing A Constitution

for Mars.

They seem to be a little confused about positive versus negative rights. You may have a right to leave, but you can’t demand that someone else pay for it. A “right to oxygen”? Not obvious how to handle that one. The solution to how to overthrow a tyrannical government is, of course, a Second Amendment.

[Wednesday-morning update]

Can a democracy exist on Mars?

…naive, wish­ful think­ing seems to under­pin all of the very hard ques­tions about what gov­er­nance and daily life on Mars might pos­si­bly look like. One rea­son could be the par­tic­i­pants: the orga­nizer of these events is an astro­bi­ol­o­gist, and they seem to have got­ten their insight into pol­i­tics from writ­ers like Stephen Bax­ter. This is not a dig against either men — astro­bi­ol­ogy is an incred­i­bly inter­est­ing sub­ject, and I love Baxter’s books — but they are not experts in gov­er­nance or nation-building (which is what a colony will be). There is, luck­ily, an entire field of aca­d­e­mic study devoted to these ques­tions: aca­d­e­mics who have spent decades under­stand­ing how and why regimes can be resisted, how to build new nations, and so on. They don’t seem to have been included in this discussion.

Instead it looks like most other efforts at imag­in­ing space colonies: well mean­ing but ulti­mately naive tech­nocrats imag­in­ing a west­ern tech­no­cratic soci­ety as the best struc­ture. And just like with Musk’s con­cept of a Mars colony, the seri­ous eco­nomic issues at play here, which are a big deal in design­ing any soci­ety, are ignored. They assume it will be a mostly-deregulated lib­er­tar­ian eco­nomic sys­tem, again despite the inescapable fact that any space colony will have to con­cern itself pri­mary with gen­er­at­ing enough air and water to keep every­one alive. It is utterly baffling.

As he notes, tech people aren’t necessarily the best people to design a functional society.

The Clinton FBI Probe

expands to public corruption:

This new investigative track is in addition to the focus on classified material found on Clinton’s personal server.

“The agents are investigating the possible intersection of Clinton Foundation donations, the dispensation of State Department contracts and whether regular processes were followed,” one source said.

One intelligence source told Fox News that FBI agents would be “screaming” if a prosecution is not pursued because “many previous public corruption cases have been made and successfully prosecuted with much less evidence than what is emerging in this investigation.”

Meh. Laws are for the little people.

[Update a while later]

Guy Benson has a roundup of everything she’s being investigated for.

Basically, it starts with the massive mishandling of confidential and classified information, which has resulted in multiple counts of obstruction of justice. And a large part of the reason for all of the obstruction of justice was to hide all of the collusion and corruption between the Clinton Foundation and foreign nations while she was Secretary of State. She planned all this from the very beginning, even before becoming SoS. She just figured she’d get away with it, because she got away with so many felonies in the 90s.

[Update a few more minutes later]

The email scandal goes nuclear:

…the June 8, 2011 Blumenthal report doesn’t read like CIA material at all, in other words human intelligence or HUMINT, but very much like signals intelligence or SIGINT. (For the differences see here). I know what SIGINT reports look like, because I used to write them for the National Security Agency, America’s biggest source of intelligence. SIGINT reports, which I’ve read thousands of, have a very distinct style and flavor to them and Blumenthal’s write-up matches it, right down to the “Source Comments,” which smack very much of NSA reporting and its “house rules.”

But is this an NSA assessment? If so, it would have to be classified at least Secret/Sensitive Compartmented Information, a handling caveat that applies to most SIGINT, and quite possibly Top Secret/SCI, the highest normal classification we have. In that case, it was about as far from Unclassified as it’s possible for an email to be.

No surprise, NSA is aflutter this weekend over this strange matter. One Agency official expressed to me “at least 90 percent confidence” that Mr. Blumenthal’s June 8 report was derived from NSA reports, and the Agency ought to be investigating the matter right now.

I suspect it is.

The Second Amendment

Even Barack Obama gets it better than the leftist activists:

In order to argue with a straight face that the right to keep and bear arms is inextricably linked with “service in an organized and sanctioned militia,” you would have to believe the following unbelievable things: 1) that the Founders’ intent in codifying the Second Amendment was to protect the right of individuals to join an organization over which the federal government has constitutionally granted plenary power; 2) that unlike every other provision in the Bill of Rights — and every other constitutional measure that is wrapped in the “right of the people” formulation — the Second Amendment denotes something other than an individual right that can be asserted against the state; and 3) that every major judicial figure of the era was mistaken as to its meaning — among them, Joseph Story, William Rawle, St. George Tucker, Timothy Farrar, and Tench Coxe, all of whom explained the Second Amendment perfectly clearly — whereas a few judges and politicians in the 20th century have been bang on in their comprehension.

I’m just glad that we got Heller before the court drifted too far from the Founders. But we are at the point at which any attempt to deprive us of our rights will result in insurrection. And fortunately, those defending their rights have the guns and knowledge to use them.

The War On (Some) Drugs

This is outrageous:

…of course, we can’t have the media looking into critical public safety initiatives like “Operation Constant Gardener.” If such scrutiny revealed that cops consider merely shopping at a garden supply store to be suspicious behavior, that drug testing field kits are more about circumventing the Fourth Amendment than accurate results or that a sheriff’s boast of having shut down a drug operation run by an “average family” in a “good neighborhood” was actually a terrifying raid in which SWAT cops held two kids at gunpoint because their mother enjoyed drinking tea … well, some people might begin to question the wisdom of the drug war.

I hope they win on appeal.


Thoughts from Bob Zimmerman on their increasing disconnect from reality on guns.

[Update a few minutes later]

Related: The Democrats’ compassion gap on terrorism.

They reserve their compassion for the enemy.

[Update a while later]

Here’s an example. Yes, the Obama administration nixed a probe into the California jihadis.

[Update a few minutes later]

And this: Whistleblower says Obama more concerned with rights of Islamists than with protecting the American people. That’s pretty obvious.

Perp-Walk Shots

Ken White has some questions for Reuters:

Who leaked the time and place of the arrest? Was it an FBI agent, a prosecutor, staff, a coordinating local cop? How high up in the government did the decision to leak the arrest go? Did the leak violate the law? Did it violate the defendant’s rights? What was the government’s purpose in leaking the time and place of the arrest? How does this instance fit into the pattern of which arrests get leaked and which don’t? Which nonviolent defendants without records get arrested, and which get summonsed in (or self-surrender through arrangement with their lawyers), and why? What impact does a front-page picture of a defendant in handcuffs have on the jury pool? Is that impact a feature, or a bug, of leaking it? Was the leak intended to inflict extra-judicial humiliation and punishment on the defendant? If the government lies about whether or not it leaked, would you still keep it secret?