Politics, Moderate

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Politics

The IRS Serves Its 'Customers' by Terrifying Them: A $2.1 Million Penalty for Failing to File a Form on Time Reveals the Agency's True Nature

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

As tax season begins, the IRS is making a show of using its newly expanded budget to improve the agency's "customer service," mainly by trying to answer the questions of perplexed taxpayers more than 13% of the time. Its biggest challenge will be persuading Americans that they qualify as customers of the IRS in any meaningful sense.

The IRS, ...Read more

The Hazards of Holding YouTube Liable for Promoting Terrorism: A Supreme Court Case Illustrates the Potential Costs of Making It Easier to Sue Social Media Platforms Over User-Generated Content

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Every day, people around the world post about 720,000 hours of new content on YouTube -- 500 hours of video every minute. That enormous volume of material poses challenges for the platform, which aspires to enforce rules against certain kinds of content, and for its users, who cannot hope to navigate the site without help from YouTube's ...Read more

The 3rd Circuit Considers Whether Nonviolent Crimes Justify the Loss of Second Amendment Rights! Because of a Misdemeanor Welfare Fraud Conviction, Bryan Range Is No Longer Allowed to Own Guns!

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Back in 1995, Bryan Range pleaded guilty to fraudulently obtaining $2,458 in food stamps by misrepresenting his income. He returned the money, paid a $100 fine and $288 in court costs and served three years of probation.

Although Range did not realize it, that Pennsylvania misdemeanor conviction also came with a lifelong penalty: He lost his ...Read more

Democrats May Regret Compromising Taxpayer Privacy to Get Trump: The Release of the Former President's Tax Returns Sets a Dangerous Precedent

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

It took more than three years for House Democrats to obtain Donald Trump's federal income tax returns, which they released to the public last Friday. That effort also required setting a dangerous precedent that threatens the privacy of Democrats as well as Republicans.

Every president since Jimmy Carter has voluntarily released his tax returns....Read more

Why Take Responsibility When You Can Blame Somebody Else? The Year's Highlights in Buck Passing Feature Petulant Politicians, Brazen Bureaucrats, Careless Cops, Loony Lawyers and Junky Journalists

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) this month blamed Republicans for preventing Congress from enacting legislation that would make it easier for state-licensed marijuana businesses to access financial services. Yet Schumer himself has played a leading role in blocking the SAFE Banking Act, which passed the House last year with support...Read more

Congress Misses Another Chance to Correct Blatantly Unjust Crack Penalties: The Legal Distinction Between the Smoked and Snorted Forms of Cocaine Never Made Sense

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

As a senator in 1986, President Joe Biden wrote the bill that established an irrational sentencing disparity between the smoked and snorted forms of cocaine, which he later called "a big mistake" that "trapped an entire generation." This week Congress squandered yet another opportunity to correct Biden's big mistake, which mandated especially ...Read more

Elon Musk Should Take a Clear Stand Against Censorship by Proxy: The Most Disturbing Aspect of the 'Twitter Files' Is the Platform's Cozy Relationship With Federal Officials Demanding Suppression of Speech They Consider Dangerous

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

From the outside, Twitter's content moderation decisions look haphazard at best. From the inside, they look worse, especially because government officials play an unseemly and arguably unconstitutional role in shaping those decisions.

The internal communications that Elon Musk, Twitter's new owner, has been gradually revealing to a select few ...Read more

Colorado's Anti-Discrimination Law Forces Artists to Echo the State's Message: A Website Designer Asks SCOTUS to Let Her Eschew Work That Contradicts Her Opposition to Gay Marriage

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Lorie Smith is a conservative Christian and a website designer who thinks she should be able to engage in her chosen occupation without compromising her moral beliefs. But that is illegal in Colorado, where Smith is forbidden to create websites for heterosexual weddings unless she is also willing to create websites for gay weddings.

The ...Read more

California's COVID-19 'Misinformation' Law Chills Constitutionally Protected Speech: The State Is Threatening to Punish Doctors Whose Advice Deviates From the 'Scientific Consensus'

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

The New Civil Liberties Alliance, which Columbia University legal scholar Philip Hamburger founded in 2017, cheekily describes itself as "a civil libertarian alternative to the ACLU that actually cares about the rights in the Constitution." It therefore may seem surprising that two California chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union have ...Read more

California's Vaping Flavor Ban Could Be Lethal: By Making E-Cigarettes Less Appealing, It Will Discourage Smokers From Switching to a Much Less Hazardous Nicotine Habit

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

The campaign for Proposition 31, a ballot initiative that Californians approved by a wide margin last week, urged voters to "protect kids from candy-flavored tobacco." That slogan packed an impressive amount of dishonesty into five words.

The initiative's main target was nicotine vaping products, which do not contain tobacco and were already ...Read more

A Judge Accepts the Biden Administration's Dubious Argument for Banning Gun Possession by Marijuana Users: Even People Who Use Cannabis for Medical Purposes Risk Severe Penalties for Daring to Exercise Their Second Amendment Rights

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

President Joe Biden, who recently issued a mass pardon for low-level marijuana offenders, says cannabis consumption should not be treated as a crime. His administration nevertheless defends the federal ban on gun possession by marijuana users, arguing that Second Amendment rights are limited to "law-abiding citizens."

Last week, a federal judge...Read more

New Research Highlights the Limits of Abortion Bans: Out-of-State and Self-Managed Abortions Pose Daunting Challenges for Anti-Abortion Legislators

Politics, Moderate / Jacob Sullum /

Since the Supreme Court repudiated a constitutional right to abortion in June, 22 states have enacted or begun to enforce new limits on the procedure, including 13 strict bans. New research suggests that the consequences so far have been less dramatic than abortion-rights activists may have feared and anti-abortion activists may have hoped, ...Read more

 

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