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Maine, ranked choice voting, democracy, constitutionality, law,

Wag that Tail, Dog

Last November, Maine voters passed a ballot measure, Question 5, to begin electing their federal representatives to Congress, and their governor and state legislators, using Ranked Choice Voting. This selection mechanism allows voters to rank their choices, thereby removing the “spoiler effect” that often pushes citizens to support the lesser






Gov. Butch Otter, Idaho, veto, asset forfeiture, term limits,

Ida-Heave-Ho

“Is there any chance the vetoes can be overridden?” asked a reader in response to yesterday’s commentary on Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s veto of two pieces of common-sense legislation. It’s a good question, because the bill reforming civil asset forfeiture and the bill easing regulations that block employment in cosmetology






Gov. Butch Otter, Idaho, asset forfeiture, licensing, veto

A Bad Haircut

Eric Boehm over at Reason excoriated Idaho Gov. Butch Otter for giving libertarians “the double bird salute.” Boehm wondered if the governor, in vetoing two bills earlier this month, had been merely “trying to make libertarians mad.” That’s not exactly fair. The two blocked bills, one reforming unjust civil asset






Rep. Markwayne Mullin, Oklahoma, salary, congressional, pay, representation, representative

A+ in Arrogance

The folks in Congress represent ‘We, the People’ . . . well, theoretically, at least. They’re supposed to work for us. We are their bosses. We pay their salary. But not U.S. Rep. Markwayne Mullin, the third-term Republican from the rural Second District of Oklahoma. At two recent town hall






New York, Cuomo, college, tuition, Bernie Sanders,

Escape from New York

“New York City is a walled maximum security prison,” exclaimed posters for Escape from New York (1981, R). “Breaking out is impossible.” Now, as part of new legislation giving “free college” to New Yorkers, politicians take the same high concept from the film and extend it to the entire state.






asset forfeiture, banks, banking, IRS,TIGTA, Bank Secrecy Act

What’s Being Forfeited

What do you call those who prey upon the innocent, illegally snatching their money? Thieves? Muggers? The Mob? Government. Last month, the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration (TIGTA) issued a report on the Internal Revenue Service’s use of civil asset forfeiture against Americans accused — well, not accused .






Congress, war, powers, branches, checks and balances, Syria, Trump, accountability

Authority and Accountability

Roll, Founding Fathers, roll over. The situation with Congress is grave. You designed three branches of government, each to check the others’ power. The first branch, and the most essential, is Congress. It not only controls the purse strings, but also the power to declare war. But today’s Congress cannot






Washington, D.C., daycare, day-care, licensing, regulations, bureaucracy, laws, rules, accreditation

D.C.’s Diaper-Dandy Regulation

Where is child care most expensive? In America, it is in our shining, shimmering national swamp. Yes, in Washington, D.C., infant care averages nearly $1,900 a month, more than $22,000 a year. So naturally, if you’re a politician, you see that as too . . . low? It has been






CalExit, Brexit, UKip, Nigel Farage, Euro, California, Arron Banks, secession

From Brexit to Calexit

When last we touched upon the strangely over-the-top Californian reaction to the Trump presidency, the secession movement, I took the occasion to bring up the rather less radical separatists in the north. “Already 21 of the 23 northernmost counties,” I wrote, “have made declarations to form the State of Jefferson.”






Civil Asset Forfeiture, crime, drugs, marijuana, stealing, theft, police abuse

Good and Bad News

On the issue of “civil asset forfeiture” — police seizing property from folks merely on suspicion, without a criminal conviction — there is good news. In Idaho, House Bill 202a just passed both legislative chambers overwhelmingly. “Among other changes, HB 202a would no longer allow civil forfeiture of the vehicle






Steve Bannon, Trump, Freedom Caucus, big government, Ryancare, Trumpcare, Obamacare

Legislating in the Real World

Rolling back Big Government is not easy, especially when you are not that into it. Robert Draper, profiling Steve Bannon in the New York Times, gives us a view into the mind of Trump’s right-hand man, who appears to think GOP insiders are obsessed with principles. “[I]t’s all this theoretical






Trumpcare, Ryancare, healthcare, Obamacare, Freedom Caucus, socialism

TrumpCare Trumped

It took awhile for the Obama Administration to accept the term “ObamaCare.” Nancy Pelosi was the initial driver of the massive scheme to permanently alter American medicine and insurance, and “PelosiCare” would have been a fit moniker for the wildly mis-named “Affordable Care Act.” But the administration put the whole






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