In this week's Liberty Update we highlight the potentially catastrophic threat of H.R. 3, the healthcare…
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Quote of the Day: WSJ on H.R. 3, Biden & Pelosi's Dangerous Healthcare Bill

In this week's Liberty Update we highlight the potentially catastrophic threat of H.R. 3, the healthcare and drug price control bill that Joe Biden and Nancy Pelosi are attempting to rush through Congress.  The Wall Street Journal helpfully offers further insight this morning on how H.R. 3 would threaten lifesaving U.S. pharmaceutical innovation and leadership, including on things like the Covid vaccines:

 

Companies that refuse the government’s price must pay a 95% excise tax on all revenue they generate from that drug in the U.S.  They’d also have to offer the government price to private insurers.  There’s no “negotiation” when a gun is pointed at your head.  A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that drug spending in the U.S…[more]

September 17, 2021 • 12:55 PM

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Rand Paul, John Stossel and Disgraceful Commentary in the Ferguson Aftermath Print
By Timothy H. Lee
Thursday, August 21 2014
When criminals and rioters increasingly employ everything from Molotov cocktails to automatic weapons and explosives, commentators probably shouldn't be so tender and unreasonable as to take offense at 'militarized' surplus equipment that allows police to enhance their safety while protecting a public peace that we tend to take for granted.

Judging from public opinion surveys, the American public demonstrates greater sagacity than many political leaders and members of the commentariat when it comes to the subject of police. 

Sadly, that includes some otherwise insightful conservatives and libertarians whose behavior in the aftermath of Ferguson, Missouri, riots leave much to be desired. 

First, the encouraging news regarding American public opinion.  In a new survey, Rasmussen reports that, "Fifty-seven percent (57%) say the tactics used by their local police are about right.  Fifty-one percent (51%) think America needs more cops."  Interestingly, while most media voices even from the right demanded prompt disclosure of the name of the Ferguson police officer involved in the Michael Brown shooting, the public tends to disagree: 

"The name of the shooter, Darren Wilson, was released to the media late last week, and 39% of all adults nationwide agree with that decision.  But slightly more (44%) don't think the Ferguson police officer's name should have been released.  Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided." 

In another recent survey, Gallup finds that the police remain among the three highest-rated American institutions among 17 tested, trailing only the U.S. military and small businesses, while ahead of the medical system and churches and organized religion. 

Sadly, public wisdom isn't consistently matched by political leaders and pundits on the right. 

Start with Rand Paul, who appears to have learned from Barack Obama that a primary job qualification for president is erecting and slaying mindless straw man arguments. 

While descending into unseemly racial non sequiturs in a commentary for Time, Paul writes, "If I had been told to get out of the street as a teenager, there would have been a distinct possibility that I might have smarted off.  But, I wouldn't have expected to be shot."  For him to suggest that Michael Brown was shot for "smarting off" or merely being "told to get out of the street" is disgraceful, unintelligent and unworthy of a United States Senator.  Particularly in the midst of rioting and a racially charged atmosphere. 

Of course, this is nothing new for Senator Paul.  In a recent National Review commentary, he engaged in rhetoric that can only be described as juvenile and shameful: 

"The knives are out for conservatives who dare question unlimited involvement in foreign wars.  Foreign policy, the interventionist critics claim, has no place for nuance or realism.  You are either for us or against us.  No middle ground is acceptable.  The Wilsonian ideologues must have democracy worldwide now and damn all obstacles to that utopia." 

 

With this sort of repeated behavior, Senator Paul is demonstrating as we approach 2016 that he is intellectually and behaviorally unfit to be president. 

Unfortunately, other libertarian and conservative figures who also ought to know better have exhibited similar fatuousness in the aftermath of the Ferguson tragedy. 

John Stossel, often a voice of insight and reason, offered similarly indefensible comments regarding Ferguson.  "It was government police and government-supplied military equipment that provoked the conflict," he wrote (emphasis in original).  No, Mr. Stossel.  Deadly rioters provoked the conflict.  Stossel then disgracefully even suggested that the officer "executed" Mr. Brown: 

"The police do not have the right to execute suspects, unless there is no other way of stopping them and they pose an immediate threat to the safety of others.  Michael Brown, assuming current interpretations of security footage are correct, robbed and bullied a store clerk right before he was killed by police.  That may well mean he was violent and dangerous, but even violent people should be brought to trial, not gunned down." 

At the very least, Stossel should have awaited further revelation of the actual evidence, which while still far from complete, continuously seems to bolster the officer's case and undermines the narrative that Mr. Brown was even remotely amenable to peaceful arrest. 

The usually intelligent Mark Steyn was no better in his latest commentary: 

"Let's assume for the sake of argument that everything the police say about this incident is correct.  In that case, whether or not the fatal shooting of Mr. Brown is a crime, it's certainly a mistake.  When an unarmed shoplifter in a t-shirt and shorts with a five-buck cigar box in one hand has to be shot dead, you're doing it wrong.  American police have grown too comfortable with the routine use of lethal force." 

In reality, if Steyn wants to "assume for the sake of argument that everything the police say about this incident is correct," then Mr. Brown wrestled with the officer, shattered the officer's eye socket through sheer force, then charged at the officer with a drawn firearm.  No, Mr. Steyn, that's not "certainly a mistake" on the officer's part.  Rather, it's justifiable use of deadly force under almost any reasonable legal scenario. 

Others such as former Congressman Bob Barr have unleashed similar torrents of inanity, Barr lambasting the Ferguson police in his latest piece but not so much as offering a negative word toward the actual rioters. 

Here's the reality.  Police put their lives on the line every single day of their professional lives.  Beat cops endure more abuse each day than most of us endure in a month, and more physical danger than most of us face in our entire working lives.  When criminals and rioters increasingly employ everything from Molotov cocktails to automatic weapons and explosives, commentators probably shouldn't be so tender and unreasonable as to take offense at "militarized" surplus equipment that allows police to enhance their safety while protecting a public peace that we tend to take for granted. 

On that note, National Review's Jim Geraghty highlighted a correspondence he received: 

"In the last decade or two, police have had to deal with heavily armed and armored adversaries.  'Demilitarizing' them would put them back at the same old disadvantage that was getting them killed before.  SWAT teams act like military forces when the situation calls for it.  Yes, some departments go overboard, but the vast majority don't.  The rest of the police force, outside of SWAT, still dresses the same old way, and carries the same arms and armor." 

Geraghty, Jonah Goldberg, Michael Medved, Bill O'Reilly and other have thankfully offered more rational viewpoints from the political right.  Hopefully, the public remains more aligned with their viewpoints than those of people like Paul, Stossel and Steyn. 

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—The Editors, Washington Examiner
— The Editors, Washington Examiner
 
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