The Daily Wrap

Criminal Justice and Policing Reform
Jacob Sullum. “Miami Cops Kept Businessman’s Cash Long After They Knew It Was Legitimate.” Reason.

This article highlights the case of a businessman, Luis Felipe Ospina Garrido, buying cellphones in Miami to sell in Columbia. This operation involved travelling with large amounts of cash, and Garrido had 100,000 euros seized by Miami customs agents in 2012 under suspicion that it was related to the drug trade. After the prosecutor declined to file charges and it became obvious the money was legitimate, the Miami-Dade Police Department decided to keep the funds anyway under asset forfeiture laws. It took Garrido nine months to contest the seizure and get his money back “during which time his business went under and he was forced to lay off his employees.” Florida’s forfeiture laws have received a D+ in a report from the Institute for Justice, leading to a push for legislation that would require a conviction before the police could keep seized property. This would prevent people who are merely under suspicion of committing a crime from having their property taken unjustly, as happened to Garrido.

Cronyism and Corporate Welfare
Lance Turner. “Southworth Products to Expand Manila Plant, Add 35 Jobs.” Arkansas Business.

Turner reports on the expansion of Southwork Products Corporation in Arkansas, which makes ergonomic material handling equipment and is headquartered in Maine. After shifting some production to Arkansas back in 1979, Southwork now conducts all of its manufacturing at its Arkansas facility and will be spending $935,000 to add two new assembly lines and 35 jobs. Despite the company’s success and ability to expand without assistance, Turner notes that Southwork’s efforts have qualified it for a series of economic incentives including “an income tax credit based on payroll of new jobs; sales tax refunds on building materials, taxable machinery and equipment associated with the expansion; and a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant for expansion of the existing manufacturing facility, which is owned by the City of Manila.” Additionally, the Mississippi County Economic Development Area is “putting another $350,000 Community Development Block Grant toward the facility’s expansion.” Instead of skewing the playing field in favor of a particular company, governments should end corporate welfare and provide equal opportunity for all businesses.

U.S. Foreign and Defense Policy
Patrick Buchanan. “Saudi Recklessness Exposes Our Own.” The American Conservative.

This article highlights how U.S. interests are being compromised by key Middle Eastern allies. Buchanan argues that Saudi Arabia deliberately provoked Iran in the hope of creating a rift between Iran and the U.S. and ultimately undermining the nuclear deal. Similarly, the Saudi intervention in Yemen, for which the Saudis conscripted American support, drove back the Houthis who were fighting Al Qaeda, thus allowing terrorists to establish themselves in the south of the country. Buchanan also notes how Turkey, another U.S. ally, nearly provoked a military conflict with Russia by shooting down a Russian jet. As a NATO member, the U.S. could have easily been drawn into that war once it started. Although they possess a powerful military, Turkey has not sealed the Syrian border which would keep ISIS contained, though he argues its army has the capabilities. Instead, they have chosen to target the Kurds, one of the few forces successfully battling against ISIS. Buchanan notes that all these allies serve their own interests first and foremost. As a result, he argues, it is important to examine whether U.S. interests are best served by continuing to maintain security commitments to these nations.

Technology and Innovation
Glyn Moody. “Dutch Government: Encryption Good, Backdoors Bad.”Ars Technica.

On January 4th, the Dutch government released a statement detailing its official policy position regarding encryption. As the title indicates, the Dutch government does not intend to restrict encryption and does not favor mandatory backdoors from private companies. Moody highlights the clear articulation by the Dutch government of the competing considerations in favor of and against secure encryption. The policy statement emphasizes such economic and security benefits as “confidentiality and integrity of information” and defense against espionage and cybercrime.  Moreover, the statement notes the importance of privacy and integrity of information to “fundamental rights and freedoms.” On the other hand, the Dutch government acknowledges the countervailing consideration that these same benefits can serve to help criminals avoid detection and undermine national security. Nonetheless, the Dutch government comes down against mandatory backdoors, highlighting how there is currently no way to construct backdoors without compromising the security of the encrypted information more generally.  Importantly, Moody notes that the Dutch government maintains that it could change its policy in the future, but for now it is proceeding forward with its public support of secure encryption. The competing issues surrounding the use of secure encryption versus the ability of government access to sensitive information are each significant. Nonetheless, the Dutch Government has taken a measured approach to ensure the economic and security benefits that flow from encryption continue to do so.

Editorial Board. “Of Slavery and Swastikas.” The Economist.
This piece examines the recent events and protests at the University of Missouri. A number of incidents on or near campus sparked protests including a hunger-strike by one student and a boycott by the university’s football team who deemed the incidents as evidence of institutional racism. Following these protests, the president of the university was replaced along with a majority of the school’s administrators. The protests also created a backlash as some state legislators attempted to advance legislation that could strip scholarships from protesting athletes and counter-protestors accused the protestors of being intolerant of free speech. Chuck Henson, the university’s interim vice-president for inclusion, diversity and equity stated, “…the First Amendment does not give people a free pass to go round saying hateful things” – a point of view the author(s) of this article appear to sympathize with. While college administrators may desire that their campuses are civil and that students are harmonious with one another, it is troubling that a campus administrator would hold such restrictive views on free speech.

Michael Barone. “No, Economist, the First Amendment does give people ‘a free pass to go round saying hateful things.’ Washington Examiner.

Michael Barone sharply criticizes the Economist piece above, noting that in fact “the First Amendment does give people a free pass to go round saying things that other people may consider hateful.” In response to the Economist article favorably highlighting the viewpoint that speech considered hateful is not protected by the First Amendment, Barone calls into question the author(s)’ understanding of the First Amendment altogether: “The Economist’s writers and editors are mostly citizens of the United Kingdom, which doesn’t have a First Amendment, but as members of the press — and employees of a publication which has more readers in the United States than in Britain — they ought to be aware of American First Amendment law.” Innocuous, non-controversial speech rarely faces calls for censorship, meaning that it is precisely speech that some view as controversial, uncomfortable, and sometimes hateful that needs protection. The students engaged in protest are as equally covered by the First Amendment as their detractors; it is this equal protection that ensures an open debate and the opportunity for intellectual growth.
Contributors: Austen Bannan, Enea Gjoza, Eric Alston, Rick Barton
Editor: Alison Acosta Fraser and Austen Bannan

About BruceMajors

freelance writer at Daily Caller, The Hill, reason, Breitbart
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