This is reassuring (not)

A group of Saudi investors has bought a controlling interest in one of the firms with a contract to provide absentee ballot services for American military personnel stationed overseas. I have no objection in principle to contracting-out for the provision of certain public services, but if there was ever anything you’d like to have subject to public-sector accountability, it’s the handling (and counting) of the votes. Even if you’re prepared to allow some role for contractors in the ballot process, for certain you don’t want foreign-controlled companies — and in particular enemy-controlled companies — in a position to influence the outcome of our elections.

[If after 9-11 you still doubt that the Saudi ruling clique is the deadly enemy of the United States, don’t give up: you can probably be taught to perform simple, repetitive tasks in a sheltered workshop, and if that doesn’t work you could settle for a job on the Bush foreign policy team.]

[Previous post on election shenanigans here. Post on the money flow from the Saudi Embassy to al-Qaeda operatives linked to 9-11 here.]

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com