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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

In all the analysis and discussion of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report, we are missing a key question. Rather, we can easily think about a key question incorrectly. The question is simple: why did we torture prisoners? The answer is equally simple: to obtain information that would keep our country safe. That launches us into discussions about whether these so-called enhanced interrogation techniques yielded information that actually helped our national security apparatus.

That line of reasoning misses the point for two reasons. First, torture is a crime no matter what reason you give for engaging in it. International and domestic laws about torture do not include a self-defense provision. Torturers are criminals, period. More significantly, given the way bureaucracies work, people who authorize or order torture are criminals.

These criminals currently serve in our government. They are rewarded, honored, and promoted for their service. Others have retired from government…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

The arguments I’m hearing about the Ferguson case are just fantastical. Michael Brown was a big man. He robbed a convenience store. The evidence about what happened on August 9 is contradictory. What distractions!

You don’t gun down an unarmed person in the middle of the street shortly after telling the person to walk on the sidewalk. You just don’t.

Yes, once the case enters the legal system, it’s relevant that the law protects police officers when they use lethal force. Rules of evidence come into play. Definitions of manslaughter do as well. Michael Brown’s death does not have to get tangled in our complicated legal system, however. To argue this case on legal grounds does not address the legitimate grievance that lies at the bottom of this resistance movement: police officers mistreat black people, black men in particular.

Stay focused on what counts here. Everyone wants to argue whether the…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

I have Reagan set up as a key word in my Google news feed. If a news item appears on the web with that proper name in it, Google News shows it to me. That means I see football scores for Ronald Reagan High School’s latest game, and items about highways, airports, and mountains named after the fortieth president. Republican candidates like to mention him, but the man himself is not in the news so often.

The past week has been an exception. On October 27, 1964, just about a week before the presidential election contest between Barry Goldwater and Lyndon Johnson, Reagan delivered a televised address to explain why voters should support Goldwater. Sometimes known simply as The Speech – he delivered variants of it many times – he called the version he delivered on October 27, A Time for Choosing. That title captured the choice he laid out before the country.

Reagan…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

The media’s main theme for Ferguson has been racial, but we all know it is more than that. This conflict arrays citizen against state authorities State authorities cannot just shoot you down in the middle of the street because they feel like it, no matter what color the police officer, no matter what color the victim. Remember, leaving Michael Brown’s body in the street for hours was not an accident. The city would have removed a dead stray dog faster than they removed Michael Brown.

Meghan O’Donnell, 29, from St. Louis, prays at the spot where Michael Brown was killed.

Without a doubt, the state has made itself an enemy of the state. Here is what I mean: state authorities, including militarized police, think that because they have all the power of the state behind them, they can do what they like, including shoot people at will. Unarmed citizens comprise…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

Policemen shoot dogs and people with equal abandon. They don’t shoot horses because horses are docile, and they don’t shoot cats because cats are harder to hit. When a SWAT team attacks a house with weapons drawn, with no care for anyone’s safety but their own, what do they think is going to happen?

The surprise home invasion has unsurprising results: a pet dog dead on the floor, a baby terribly injured from a stun grenade tossed blindly into a room, an elderly man shot in his bed. What is a common mission for these home invasions? To serve a warrant ginned up for a drug search!

No one wants to say the dread word. Tyranny. No one wants to believe that state intimidation has become normal. What was once unimaginable is now justified as necessary. The right to be secure in our homes did not slip away gradually; it shattered…

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Originally posted on The Jeffersonian:

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today I authorized two operations in Iraq — targeted airstrikes to protect our American personnel, [and humanitarian aid].

Let’s parse the latest from the White House. What are targeted air strikes? I guess those are different from untargeted air strikes, like the ones we conducted for years in Afghanistan, where we mistakenly murdered people at weddings and funerals. We insisted those were targeted air strikes, too, only we missed. You wonder why the president feels he needs to tell us the air strikes he orders actually have targets. I guess he doesn’t want listeners to think we drop bombs and launch missiles indiscriminately. That would recall our missions to incinerate Japanese cities, which Curtis LeMay would say worked just fine.

The second part of the president’s announcement is interesting, too. He says that the purpose of targeted air strikes is to protect American personnel. No government…

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High Taxes Chase More Companies from Our Shores

Mega drugstore chain, Walgreen’s, is considering a merger with European competitor, Alliance Boots.   As part of the deal, Walgreen’s would move its corporate headquarters to Switzerland and in the process lower its effective corporate tax rate from 31 percent to 20 percent.

Walgreen’s is just one of many American firms that are contemplating using the tax reducing strategy called inversion – merging with foreign competitors in countries with lower tax burdens and then reincorporating in those countries while maintaining business interests in the United States.

Naturally, the economically illiterate are having a hissy fit. They are concerned about the revenue lost by government when firms relocate abroad. Walgreen’s actions are being called everything from “unfair” to “unpatriotic”. Senator Dick Durbin, from Walgreen’s home state of Illinois, told The Chicago Tribune, that he is “troubled by American corporations that are willing to give up on this country and move their headquarters for a tax break. It really speaks to your commitment.”

What’s amazing is that Senator Durbin and other statists do not understand how the market works. Business exists to turn a profit, not to fill the treasuries of government. And businesses make a profit by providing a better good or service at a lower price than its competitors. This in turn, benefits consumers, especially lower income ones. Thus, it should surprise no one that Walgreen’s and other companies would consider moving abroad to lower costs. After all, since the latter part of the last century, America has become accustomed to its businesses offshoring jobs to other countries.

But, try telling Durbin and his ilk that it’s their beloved government’s fault that U.S. companies and the jobs they provide have gone overseas. Back in October, this commenter predicted medical device companies would jump ship due to Obamacare’s new excise tax making their products more expensive to produce. Sure enough, last month medical device giant Medtronic announced a proposed $42.9 billion offer to buy Irish company Covidien and make lower tax haven Ireland its corporate home.

At the end of the day, the ability of business to move offshore is the check against government raising taxes forever higher. Otherwise, consumers of government services will continue to demand more and more and taxes on business will be raised higher and higher. As Chief Justice John Marshall believed, “the power to tax involves the power to destroy”.

If America is going to retain its business and reacquire businesses that have already left, we need to compete with the rest of the world. Americans need to understand that there are consequences to the profligate spending of government and the over regulation and taxation of business. The sooner Senator Durbin and his ilk understand this, the better.

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