Posted by: quiscus | April 26, 2012

April 26, 2012

1. “History and politics are never a ‘High Court’ matter

It is a sad sign when a leading war reporter can declare that big issues are not for ‘media debate’ and threaten critics with libel writs.

No question of politics or history should ever be ruled out of public debate and declared to be a matter for the High Court. No important issue should ever be hidden from examination behind a barrier of law or conformism. It should not be left to judges to decide what is true and who is permitted to say what. As John Stuart Mill insisted, our best chance of arriving at the truth is always to have everything out in the open.

The main reason we defended that libel case against LM, despite knowing we had little chance of winning under the law, was to make a stand for freedom of expression, and the right to publish the truth as we understood it at the time. Much has changed in the years between, but defending free speech and freedom of the press has become even more important – not only against the libel laws, but against the ‘I-believe-in-a-free-press-but…’ Leveson juggernaut, and illiberal liberals who now seem to believe that political and historical debate can be ‘a matter for the High Court’.”

2. “Obama Justice and medical marijuana

Aside from the fact that Obama’s claim about the law is outright false — as Jon Walker conclusively documents, the law vests the Executive Branch with precisely the discretion he falsely claims he does not have to decide how drugs are classified — it’s just extraordinary that Obama is affirming the “principle” that he can’t have the DOJ “turn the othe way” in the face of lawbreaking. As an emailer just put it to me: “Interesting how this principle holds for prosecuting [medical] marijuana producers in the war on drugs, but not for prosecuting US officials in the war on terror. Or telecommunications companies for illegal spying. Or Wall Street banks for mortgage fraud.”

That’s about as vivid an expression of the President’s agenda, and his sense of justice, and the state of the Rule of Law in America, as one can imagine. The same person who directed the DOJ to shield torturers and illegal government eavesdroppers from criminal investigation, and who voted to retroactively immunize the nation’s largest telecom giants when they got caught enabling criminal spying on Americans, and whose DOJ has failed to indict a single Wall Street executive in connection with the 2008 financial crisis or mortgage fraud scandal, suddenly discovers the imperatives of The Rule of Law when it comes to those, in accordance with state law, providing medical marijuana to sick people with a prescription.”


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