Jacob Sullum

Mooting the Messenger. President Obama called Citizens United v. FEC, the January decision in which the Supreme Court lifted restrictions on political speech by corporations, "a green light to a new stampede of special interest money in our politics." Later, he pre-emptively blamed the ruling for letting "shadowy groups with harmless-sounding names" trick people into voting against Democrats. Obama thereby ignored the ways in which his big-government policies, including stimulus spending, bank and automaker bailouts, and expanded federal control of health care, simultaneously invited special-interest lobbying and alienated voters.

Government-Guaranteed Drug Dangers. This year, drug warriors repeatedly warned the public about hidden hazards in psychoactive substances sold by unscrupulous traffickers, including a veterinary medicine used to cut cocaine and the obscure chemicals that supply the high in quasi-legal alternatives to pot and speed. They never acknowledged their own role in creating such hazards by enforcing drug bans that make quality unreliable and drive people to potentially dangerous substitutes.

Scope or Grope The Transportation Security Administration invited travelers to blame Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Nigerian accused of trying to blow up an airplane by igniting explosive powder sewn into his underwear, for the ritual humiliation of routine full-body scans backed up by newly aggressive pat-downs. But the new scanners probably would not have discovered Abdulmutallab's underwear bomb because they are bad at detecting thinly packed, shape-hugging explosives. The specious excuse suggests TSA officials are determined to cover their butts while making us show ours.

Jacob Sullum

Jacob Sullum is a senior editor at Reason magazine and a contributing columnist on Townhall.com.
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