Wandering Eye: Heather Mizeur supporters express their dismay, the troubling rise in "sneak and peek" warrants, and more

Looks like progressive Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather Mizeur's advice to her supporters—to not write her in on the general-election ballot after her strong but insufficient showing in June's primary—was pretty much taken to heart, since only 4,259 write-in votes were cast, not enough to impact Democrat Anthony Brown's nearly 5-percent deficit against victorious Republican Larry Hogan. Though a slim fraction of the total, it's still more than twice the number of write-in votes cast in the last two gubernatorial races. Nearly half of this year's gubernatorial write-in votes were cast in Baltimore City (1,062) and Baltimore County (939), with another 479 in Montgomery County and 348 in Anne Arundel County. The "Write-in Heather Mizeur 2014" Facebook page has some pointed commentary this morning, like "Stop overlooking your progressive base, Dems," and "The democrats fucking deserve it." (Van Smith)

 

What if the whole structure of philanthropy is corrosive to democracy? Gara Lamarche thinks it is and, as a 20-year veteran of Human Rights Watch and a 15-year adjunct of George Soros' Open Society Institute, he is in a unique position to opine. In his Oct. 30 piece in The Atlantic, he says the tax break for charitable giving might better be spent (it is a cost to the country) on stuff the government buys. Exhibit A for the craven nature of rich foundations is the uproar they made when the Obama Administration proposed cutting the charitable tax break to help fund his health care bill. "What that situation made plain to me was not just that philanthropy is quite capable of acting like agribusiness, oil, banks, or any other special-interest pleader when it thinks its interests are jeopardized," Lamarche writes. "It helped me to see that however many well-intentioned and high-minded impulses animate philanthropy, the favorable tax treatment that supports it is a form of privatization." This should be an obvious point, and it's familiar to fans of Robert Reich, but it has not much been uttered in the past 50 or 70 years. At least not in polite company. Locally, Adam Jackson and Dayvon Love of Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle never miss a chance to call out the "nonprofit industrial complex." They covered this ground—or anyway the explicitly racial aspects of it—a year or so ago here. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

 

So-called "sneak and peek" warrants, pitched in the Patriot Act as an essential tool for catching terrorists, are used thousands of times each year in routine drug investigations. This is according to a report from the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which we learned about from Radley Balko, the smart, libertarian anti-drug-war guy, who has a hard-hitting column in the WaPo. "The provision allows investigators to conduct searches without informing the target of the search," Balko writes. "Civil libertarian critics warned that . . . The Patriot Act provision was far too broad and would almost certainly become a common tactic in cases that have nothing to do with national security." There's plenty of outrage on display here, but the whole thing boils down to these three numbers: From 2001-2003 law enforcement recorded a total of 47 "sneak and peek" warrants. In 2013 there were 11,129. Number of 2013 sneak-and-peeks undertaken as part of a terrorism investigation: 51. (Edward Ericson Jr.)

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