Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

Hillary Clinton’s Obtuse Pot Policy Exposes the Dubious Right-Left Dichotomy of Every Issue

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The Daily Beast has a bit this week about Hillary Clinton’s upcoming donor clash over marijuana policy. Her position as recently as last year is that marijuana is a gateway drug and would be legalized, even medicinally, at great risk to society.

“I think the feds should be attuned to the way marijuana is still used as a gateway drug and how the drug cartels from Latin America use marijuana to get footholds in states,” she told KPCC radio last July.

This is at odds with big donors she’s meeting in California soon, as well as the general public, which supports legalizing it completely. That, of course, means that Hillary’s position on the issue will almost certainly “evolve” before 2016 gets too much closer. But if she doesn’t, she could end up to the “right” of her Republican challenger here.

That raises the question of whether marijuana prohibition is even a cause of the right or the left to begin with. Currently it’s assumed to be a liberal issue, and polls support that by showing huge majorities of Democrats favoring legalization but much smaller numbers of Republicans.

If Criminal Justice Reform Can Do This, It’s Hugely Important for 2016 and Beyond

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You may have seen the #justicereform hashtag pop up in your timeline this week. Well, it wasn’t random. There was a summit to discuss the issue in Washington DC, and it brought together two organizations that would normally cause a rip in the space-time continuum.

Co-sponsored by the conservative FreedomWorks and liberal Center for American Progress, the Coalition for Public Safety summit brought in activists, bloggers, and radio hosts from the right and left to learn more about this issue that has united these disparate forces. Anything that can do this deserves to be taken seriously as a unifying principle by our policy-makers.

Jason Pye, formerly of this site, and now of FreedomWorks, told me some great things about the event.

There was a lot of positive feedback from bloggers about Molly Gill of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, who spoke at FreedomWorks’ morning session. She gave us some heartbreaking stories of families that have been torn apart by federal mandatory minimum sentences, a costly big government policy that has led to the incarceration of thousands of low-level, nonviolent offenders.

This is another reason why justice reform should be a huge issue on every level of government, not just for the presidential election. Pye says there’s already big things happening at the national level.

Election 2016: The Final Battle between Boomers and Gen X

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The Republican primary election of 2016 is shaping up to be epic struggle between two polar opposite factions: Baby Boomers and Generation X. Boomers are huddled in their well-established, entitled stronghold, thinking it’s still their time, but Xers are laying siege to the walls and splintering the gates with a troll-driven flaming battering ram. There is very little overlap, and the choice has never been more stark, as a comparative timeline of a cross-section of the candidates demonstrates.

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The Boomer candidates were all born between 1951 (Ben Carson) and 1959 (Rick Santorum). None of them have held office since 2007. They’ve never campaigned against an Obama electorate. The Iraq War was still in climax when they left office, and some never even held office at all (Carson, Fiorina). In fact, the last time some of them won reelection, in 2002, we hadn’t even started the Iraq War yet.

They haven’t had to vote for or implement a public budget since the stimulus, Obamacare, or sequestration. They will all have been out of direct contact with current policy considerations for exactly a decade when the next president takes office in 2017.

The one major exception to this grouping is Rick Perry, who would actually be the oldest Republican candidate if/when he declares, but was in office until just this January. But given his performance in the last presidential contest, opinions on considering him seriously this time vary.

Hero Senator with Bladder of Steel to (Literally) Stand Up to Global Perpetual War Machine

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The last time Rand Paul stood on his feet for 13 hours, he created a phenomenon. His filibuster before the nomination of a CIA director to get answers from the White House about drone policy basically launched his presidential campaign. It catapulted him into the national spotlight, united a civil libertarian coalition of Republican and Democrat senators, and spawned the #StandWithRand hashtag that has become his campaign slogan two years later.

Now the senator has vowed to do the same thing, but for real this time. Two years ago, Paul wasn’t trying to block the Brennan nomination with his filibuster, only to delay it to force a clarification from the Obama administration on how they decide who receives oversight-free execution via flying death robot. He got it.

This time, he’s definitely trying to affect policy.

“I’m going to lead the charge in the next couple of weeks as the Patriot Act comes forward,” [Paul] said in a one-on-one interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader. “We will be filibustering. We will be trying to stop it. We are not going to let them run over us. And we are going to demand amendments and we are going to make sure the American people know that some of us at least are opposed to unlawful searches.”

11th Circuit: The Location of Your Cell Phone Isn’t Private

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You know how Google, Apple, and Microsoft store your phone’s location history to help with searches and app interactivity? Well, a federal appeals court just ruled that none of that information is actually yours and you have no expectation of privacy from it, so courts don’t need a warrant to get it.

“Cell tower location records do not contain private communications of the subscriber,” the court said in its ruling. “This type of non-content evidence, lawfully created by a third-party telephone company . . . does not belong to Davis, even if it concerns him. . . . Davis has no subjective or objective reasonable expectation of privacy in [the phone company’s] business records showing the cell tower locations that wirelessly connected his calls at or near the time of six of the seven robberies.”

This is an obscene and invidious ruling that has enormous implications for yes, your actual privacy. If the cell tower location data that shows where your phone is can from now on be acquired without a warrant, then your physical location is always within reach of government agents.

Nevermind that your phone has layers and layers of privacy settings that keep your GPS and other location data off the grid. Triangulating cell tower data can be just as useful and is now more accessible to the government than it is to you.

As an example of the lengths Google’s Android Lollipop system goes to allow you to protect your location data, the following are screenshots from my phone.

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The Supreme Court Will Overturn Gay Marriage Bans, But Not Because They Discriminate Against Gays

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After the oral arguments finally took place this week, almost everyone expects the Supreme Court to overturn state bans on same-sex marriage at the end of their session in June. But there may be a surprising reason why they do so that has nothing to do with discrimination against gays and lesbians.

The majority of the oral arguments dealt with the 14th Amendment “equal protection” argument that same-sex couples deserve the same access to the civil (not religious) institution of marriage that “traditional” opposite-sex couples do. It’s a compelling argument that declares the dignity of committed gay and lesbian couples is no less than straight couples. But it’s not what might clinch the majority vote on the court.

Roberts: “I’m not sure it’s necessary to get into sexual orientation to resolve this case. I mean, if Sue loves Joe and Tom loves Joe, Sue can marry him and Tom can’t. And the difference is based upon their different sex. Why isn’t that a straightforward question of sexual discrimination?”

Christie and Rubio Join the Fair-Weather Federalists on Weed

marijuana prohibition

 

Meant to have this edited and published yesterday for 4/20. Mea culpa, stoners. ~ Ed.

As marijuana is gradually legalized across the country, the issue of how to handle it at the federal level becomes trickier by the year, and as we enter election season, potentially disastrous. Chris Christie and Marco Rubio are now finding that out.

Though only one has officially announced for the White House run, both have come out against relaxing federal restrictions on marijuana use that would allow states to continue their legalization efforts. Technically, while it remains a federally controlled substances states are only legalizing weed at the whim of the president (and attorney general). If the chief executive wanted to authorize the DEA to arrest everyone who is legally using marijuana in Colorado and Washington, he would be well within his rights to do so. So there’s a big asterisk hanging over any state and local legalization efforts. And Christie and Rubio would turn that asterisk into a hammer.

While Rubio said he disagrees that states can affect federal policy on the issue, Christie went so far as to say he would “crack down” on the ones trying to do so. Both risk alienating even Republican primary voters, who overwhelmingly think states should be free to legalize marijuana as they wish. The days of “tough on crime” prohibition as a mandatory platform for elective office are long gone.

How the media is #ReadyForHillary, in two tweets

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We all knew the media that served as praetorian guard for Obama, including constructing narratives for his 2012 reelection, would be in the tank for Hillary Clinton. I don’t think we expected them to dive in head first into the empty pool the day of her announcement.

On the evening after the hilariously flawed launch, Mark Halperin, who was already responsible for the only Sarah Palin portrayal worse than Tina Fey’s, was shocked, SHOCKED that anyone might think he and his comrades might be Team Hill.

LOL! Ok, Mark… I mean, what would give anyone the idea that major media establishments were colluding with the Democrat Machine. It’s not like they’re hosting cocktail parties together or anything…

Because We’re Not Afraid of Debate: RFRA Madness —Marriage Support May Suffer, But That’s a Good Thing

RFRA desormeaux

 

This was originally posted at Cynicus Prime.

One of the most startling memes I’ve seen in the wake of the Indiana RFRA debate is the swift retreat by many conservatives from their previously stated support for same-sex marriage equality. Many analysts expect this kind of pushback when an issue becomes as heated as this one has. The pendulum swings back and forth, they say, and perhaps RFRA was the top of the equal rights swing and now the descent begins. Maybe, maybe not. But the pushback we’ve seen here is incredibly instructive, and ultimately worth the price for an honest public debate.

I couldn’t scroll my Twitter timeline at any point on Wednesday without someone saying they were now rethinking or abandoning their support for gay marriage after Indiana. They had reluctantly agreed that marriage would be ok, but to have their businesses hired to (not at all) participate in them? Fascism! Totalitarianism!

At first blush, this sounds like an unfortunate setback for the LGBT equal rights movement. Polls may soon show a softening of national support for marriage equality. Well, I say it’s about time. The emergent consensus was a fairy tale. It was too good to be true.

The Ferguson Report Should be the Catalyst for National Criminal Justice Reform, and Conservatives Should Lead

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After briefly flirting with using the DOJ report on the Michael Brown shooting and Ferguson police department to continue tone deaf whining about the #HandsUpDontShoot protest slogan, conservatives are finally coming to realize the real importance of the report. It should be the catalyst for nationwide criminal justice reform, and they should lead that effort.

This week, leading conservative publications RedState, National Review, and Commentary all have long posts explaining in depth the horrific actions of the Ferguson PD and why conservatives should be leading the charge for reform, not making excuses.

For example, the police department, allegedly a public safety organization, was primarily used to pad the city budget:

Matthew DesOrmeaux

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married, father of two, atheist, libertarian, introvert.

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