Enron Mail

Subject:THE LIGHTHOUSE: September 24, 2001
Date:Mon, 24 Sep 2001 18:47:16 -0700 (PDT)

"Enlightening Ideas for Public Policy..."
Vol. 3, Issue 38
September 24, 2001

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1. National Security Crisis Likely to Feed Government Growth
2. How the Feds Misrepresented Anti-Privacy Provisions of 1994 Law
3. "The Drug War on Trial" -- Independent Policy Forum Transcript Now Available



Military and economic crises have been the twin engines propelling
the growth of American government, as politicians have rushed through
new spending programs and regulations to show the public that they
were "doing something." When the crises passed, however, government
didn't revert to its pre-crisis size. Instead, the expansions created
new baselines for further government growth, according to Independent
Institute senior fellow Robert Higgs in his book CRISIS AND LEVIATHAN.

This "ratchet effect" is of special concern in the aftermath of the
Sept. 11th attacks, as Congress gave the executive branch broad
powers intended to fight terrorism and prop up a faltering economy,
according to Higgs in an interview with REASON Magazine.

"When the government takes large-scale, unprecedented actions of this
sort, unanticipated consequences always occur," says Higgs. "Then the
government has to expand even further to deal with those

"The ultimate result will be an enlargement of the Big Brother state.
We were moving that way already. This will accelerate it," Higgs

See "Glory Days for Government" (REASON ONLINE, 9/20/01), at

Also see "How War Amplified Federal Power in the 20th Century" by
Robert Higgs (THE FREEMAN, July 1999), at

For more about CRISIS AND LEVIATHAN: Critical Episodes in the Growth
of American Government, by Robert Higgs, see



Congress is now contemplating passage of the Mobilization Against
Terrorism Act, which would (among other things) expand government
wiretapping and eavesdropping powers.

Unknown to most Americans, however, is that Congress had already
given law enforcement authorities broad powers to expand electronic
surveillance in the 1994 Communications Assistance for Law
Enforcement Act (CALEA), according to political economist Charlotte
Twight in the fall 2001 issue of THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW.

Among other powers, the CALEA gave the Federal Bureau of
Investigation authority to track the physical location of cell phone
users and to obtain the content of private communications in a
variety of circumstances without a probable-cause warrant. Yet when
testifying to Congress about the proposed CALEA, the FBI's
then-director Louis Freeh repeatedly claimed that CALEA would confer
no new authority on law enforcement officials, provide no information
about the physical location of cellular phone calls, and not weaken
existing privacy protections.

The CALEA episode, argues Twight, demonstrates that Congress is no
match for crafty machinations of bureaucrats expert in masking their
true intentions by hamstringing Congress's ability to understand the
meaning of new legislation -- what Twight calls an example of the
manipulation of "political transaction costs," such as the cost of
understanding the details of legislation.

"The confluence of CALEA, federally mandated electronic databases of
personal information, Carnivore, Digital Storm, Echelon, and the like
have established a web of federal surveillance never before known in
the United States," writes Twight.

"One way or another, we will soon learn that the
resistance-inhibiting power of broad-based government surveillance is
potentially the most liberty-endangering form of political
transaction-cost manipulation confronting Americans -- and
freedom-loving people everywhere -- in the new millennium."

See "Conning Congress: Privacy and the 1994 Communications Assistance
for Law Enforcement Act" by Charlotte Twight (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW,
Fall 2001), at

Also see, "Watching You: Systematic Federal Surveillance of Ordinary
Americans" by Charlotte Twight (THE INDEPENDENT REVIEW, Fall 1999),
at http://www.independent.org/tii/lighthouse/LHLink3-38-5.html.


THE DRUG WAR ON TRIAL: Independent Policy Forum Transcript Now Available

Many public officials fear political reprisals if they speak out
against the "War on Drugs," but judges James Gray (Orange County,
Calif., Superior Court) and Vaughn Walker (U. S. District Court, San
Francisco, Calif.), not only testified against it at the recent
Independent Policy Forum, "The Drug War on Trial: Two Judges Speak
Out," they also explained why an increasing number of judges are
joining them.

Judge Gray began by explaining how his years as a criminal prosecutor
led him to write his recent book, WHY OUR DRUG LAWS HAVE FAILED AND
WHAT WE CAN DO ABOUT IT. Despite the vast sums poured into drug
interdiction and prosecution, Judge Gray explained, he observes that
drugs are no harder to obtain today than when he was prosecuting drug
cases. Further, drugs today are often more dangerous because
anti-smuggling efforts and anti-marijuana laws have led drug dealers
to supply drug users with more potent drugs.

Judge Walker explained that the growing number of judges opposing the
Drug War are diverse in their political orientation and career
experience. But, he said, the judges cannot be the sole advocates of
sensible drug-law reform -- citizens in every walk of life must
become better informed about the Drug War's tremendous economic,
social and health costs, and voice their objections in public.

Is serious reform possible on so emotional a topic? Yes, measured
optimism is warranted, according to the judges. Just as communism in
Eastern European collapsed quickly and unexpectedly, so may the War
on Drugs, as Americans learn of better approaches to dealing with
drug abuse, such as those practiced in Switzerland, Judge Gray

For a transcript, see

Also see "The American Drug War: Anatomy of a Futile and Costly
Police Action," by Bruce Benson and David Rasmussen, at

For more on the War on Drugs, see The Independent Institute's
archives at


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