Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Arkansas LP's ballot access petition accepted

Libertarian Party of Arkansas meets petition requirements for 2016 election | Business, Political, and Cultural News in Fort Smith and Northwest Arkansas:

June 23, 2015 - "There will be another party on the 2016 general election ballot, according to information from the Secretary of State’s office Tuesday.

"The Libertarian Party of Arkansas met the signature requirement for a new party in the state, Secretary of State spokesman Chris Powell said.

"The party – which advocates limited government on economic and social issues – turned in their petitions June 2 to Secretary of State Mark Martin to be a part of the 2016 campaign.

"Powell said the party turned in 15,619 signatures, with 11,918 valid. The number – which must be signed by registered voters in Arkansas – was more than the 10,000 required to become a new political party.

"Before the Secretary of State can provide a certificate officially recognizing the Libertarian Party of Arkansas as a new political party, they must submit an affidavit, signed by the officers of the party, under oath, that complies with the provisions of Arkansas Code Annotated § 7-3-108(b)....

"During the 2014 elections, the party fielded candidates for every statewide federal and state office. Most of the candidates received between 2 and 6% of the vote. One ... received nearly 20% of the vote against incumbent Rep. Steve Womack, R-Rogers, in the Third District."

Read more: http://www.thecitywire.com/node/37939
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Monday, June 29, 2015

First-ever LP of Canada candidates in Cape Breton

Libertarians choose Cape Breton candidates for upcoming federal election - Local - Cape Breton Post:

June 3, 2015 - "The Libertarian Party of Canada has chosen two candidates to run in Cape Breton in the upcoming federal election.

"Wayne Hiscock, who grew up in Balls Creek in the Cape Breton Regional Municipality, is the Libertarian candidate for Cape Breton-Canso.

"He’s currently a geomatics technologist in the oilsands region in northern Alberta.

"Michael Baldasaro will be running in the riding of Sydney-Victoria.

"Baldasaro has run for political office at all three levels in Hamilton, Ont., and area ridings since 1984.

"It’s the first time the Libertarian party has decided to run federal candidates in Cape Breton.

"Libertarian ideals include upholding liberty as its principle objective."

Read more: http://www.capebretonpost.com/News/Local/2015-06-03/article-4169536/Libertarians-choose-Cape-Breton-candidates-for-upcoming-federal-election/1
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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Medical marijuana comes to Minnesota this week

As medical marijuana rolls out this week, sickest scramble for access - StarTribune.com - Jennifer Brooks:

June 28, 2015 - "The first registered medical marijuana patient in Minnesota toddled across sunlit grass and into his mother’s arms.

"Three-year-old Wyatt sputtered happily as Jessica Hauser swung him up, up into the air to settle on her hip.

"Then Wyatt’s eyelids fluttered and his head thumped against her shoulder as he sagged in her arms. Another seizure. One of hundreds that rip through his developing brain daily, endangering his life, unchecked by all the epilepsy treatments the family has tried.

"Wyatt suffered seven seizures in the time it took his parents to explain why they’ve already booked an appointment to buy cannabis oil for their son this Wednesday, the first day it will be legal.

"'No seizures. Doesn’t that sound good?' Jessica crooned to her youngest.

"Minnesota joins 23 other states bucking the federal laws that still classify cannabis as a dangerous, addictive substance with no possible medical worth. But launching an entire industry from scratch — in a year — hasn’t been simple.

"Doctors have balked at helping patients sign up for the program; two-thirds of physicians in a June survey by the Minnesota Medical Association said they planned to opt out. Patients, who can’t sign up for medical cannabis until their primary doctor, nurse or other health care provider certifies that they have a qualifying condition, have searched frantically for second opinions....

"As of Friday, the number of patients approved to buy medical marijuana stood at 65, out of 139 who have been certified and have begun the registration process.

"Meanwhile, 203 health care providers have registered with the state and are ready to certify. It’s a start, said Michelle Larson, director of the Office of Medical Cannabis. For months, her office has been repeating the mantra: This is not a race, this is a rollout.

"But her staff feels for the frantic patients who call in to their office, searching for a doctor willing to help them sign up."

Read more: http://www.startribune.com/for-the-sickest-minnesotans-medical-marijuana-will-be-legal-on-wednesday/310345271/
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Saturday, June 27, 2015

Constitutional right to gay marriage, SCOTUS rules

Supreme Court Rules Same-Sex Marriage Is A Constitutional Right - Forbes - Daniel Fisher:

June 26, 2015 - "Same-sex marriage is a fundamental constitutional right guaranteed under the 14th Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled today, in a 5-4 decision that reflected Justice Anthony Kennedy’s individualistic, libertarian views and drew angry dissents from the rest of the court’s conservatives.

"Saying 'marriage is a keystone of our social order' and 'inherent in the concept of individual autonomy,' Kennedy’s opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges makes gay marriage the law of the land in every state. In so doing, the court went past even the arguments advanced by Solicitor General Donald Verrilli and some gay-rights advocates who urged the more modest approach of merely striking down bans on gay marriage under the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution.

"In a 34-page opinion that was matched in length by dissents by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, Kennedy acknowledged that same-sex marriage is a relatively new concept, but said basic Constitutional notions of freedom mean 'same-sex couples may exercise the right to marry'....

"Kennedy’s decision, which was joined by Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, is surprising in its sweep, said William Eskridge, a constitutional law expert with Yale Law School who wrote a brief supporting same-sex marriage for the libertarian Cato Institute. The decision hews to Kennedy’s reasoning in Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 decision striking down anti-sodomy laws as an unconstitutional intrusion into the private choices of individuals.

"'It is libertarian,' Eskridge told me. 'It’s like Lawrence. It’s the freedom for Americans to make choices regarding their relationships, their childrearing decisions, and to have those choices respected by the states the same as everybody else’s'...

"The decision raises some potentially uncomfortable questions, however, including whether religious institutions will be able to maintain their contrary views toward same-sex marriage, and whether states will also be forced to recognize polygamous marriages. After all, Roberts, wrote, the leap from two-person marriage to polygamy, in historical and cultural terms, is much smaller than the leap to same-sex marriage.

'"Although the majority randomly inserts the adjective "two" in various places, it offers no reason at all why the two-person element of the core definition of marriage may be preserved while the man-woman element may not,' Roberts wrote.

"Kennedy voiced strong support for the First Amendment protection of religious beliefs and said no one is trying to denigrate them....

"Kennedy relied on a string of cases that struck down limits on marriage as violating the 14th Amendment and the Equal Protection Clause, most importantly, Loving v. Virginia. the 1967 decision striking down laws banning interracial marriages....

"While voters and the legislators they elect have the right to dictate policy, Kennedy wrote, that doesn’t mean they can enact laws that infringe on personal liberty, or that members of an oppressed minority must wait for protection of the laws. 'The dynamic of our constitutional system is that individuals need not await legislative action before asserting a fundamental right,' he wrote."

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danielfisher/2015/06/26/supreme-court-rules-same-sex-marriage-is-a-constitutional-right/
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Paris cabbies strike & riot to protest Uber

French anti-Uber protests turn violent as cabbies burn cars - Yahoo News UK - Agence France Presse::

June 25, 2015 - "Protests in France against ride-booking app Uber turned violent on Thursday as taxi drivers burned cars and blocked access to airports and train stations.

"Some 2,800 cabbies took part in the strike, with more than 30 blockades nationwide, including the access points to Paris's Charles De Gaulle and Orly airports, police sources said.

"Taxi drivers in France are furious over an Uber service called UberPOP, which puts customers in touch with private drivers at prices lower than those of traditional taxis....

"One private chauffeur, who said he did not work for Uber 'or any other app' was dragged from his van by angry cabbies when he reached a blockade in the west of Paris. They slashed his tyres, smashed a window and then set it on fire.

"'Why did you come to work, you know we're on strike today,' shouted one cabbie, while AFP journalists saw another car on fire further down the road....

"Police eventually fired tear gas and broke up the protest on the western stretch of motorway, clearing burning tyres from the road that rings the capital, but there were later attempts to stall traffic....

"Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called for calm and said he had told prosecutors to bring a prohibition order against the UberPOP service....

"Cabbies in France, like their colleagues in several other countries, have held several protests against the app -- some of which have turned violent, with Uber clients and drivers reporting being assaulted.

"On at least two occasions in Strasbourg in the east of France last week, taxi drivers posed as customers in order to lure Uber drivers to isolated spots where they were assaulted by cab drivers and their vehicles damaged.s"

Read more: https://uk.news.yahoo.com/french-anti-uber-protests-turn-112758946.html#3AW0Ql7
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Thursday, June 25, 2015

Muslims for Liberty reconcile Islam, libertarianism

Combating Islamophobia At PorcFest: How Muslims For Liberty Is Changing Libertarianism - Kit O'Connell, MintPress News:

June 23, 2015 -  "Thousands of Libertarians will share a Ramadan meal of halal Indian food in the forests of New Hampshire this week at PorcFest. And they’re helping to spread interfaith understanding and end Islamophobia in the process.

"PorcFest, short for Porcupine Freedom Festival, is an annual, week-long gathering of Libertarians and their allies at a campground, with an expected attendance of over 1,500.... For the third year, one of the groups at PorcFest will be Muslims For Liberty, an international nonprofit devoted to furthering libertarian values and interfaith understanding within the movement.... They’ve doubled their efforts this year and, with all of PorcFest 2015 taking place during the Ramadan month of daytime fasting, they’ll be serving hundreds of nighttime meals to festival attendees.

"MintPress News spoke with Muslims For Liberty’s founder, Will Coley, last week.... Coley formerly co-hosted Tea Party Patriots Live, the first U.S. radio broadcast devoted to the movement....  Coley’s activism led to what Loonwatch, a site that tracks Islamophobic rhetoric and right-wing conspiracy theories, described as a 2011 “civil war” over Tennessee’s proposed 'Sharia Ban,' with Republican operatives embarrassed when the local tea party, educated by Coley’s lobbying and classes, came out in opposition....

"Coley compared the ethics of voluntaryism to the Compact of Medina, the ruling constitution created by the Prophet Muhammad to govern Medina and its surrounding Muslim empire during the first years of the faith, during the medieval era. 'A lot of things that are advocated by voluntaryism are perfectly in line, if not exactly the same as, the ideas which were advocated and practiced in Medina. Competing courts with decentralized leadership where under the Compact of Medina the Christians ruled among the Christians, judged among the Christians, the Muslims among the Muslims, the Pagans among the Pagans,' Coley said.

"Each group was allowed to keep their own customs, he explained, such as Christians being allowed to drink alcohol even though Muslims were forbidden. 'That’s voluntaryism in action. The voluntaryist doesn’t have a problem with communism, or constitutionalism, or republicanism, he just doesn’t want to have to fund them at the point of a gun,' Coley said....

"Coley offered gay and lesbian marriage as an example: 'Muslims shouldn’t have an opinion,' he said. 'It’s not our way, it’s not our community. The culture here, by and large, based on polling, is completely accepting of it. So it’s none of our business, so long as there’s not a point where they try to force Muslims to perform gay marriages at their mosques.'

"Coley added that in years of research, he’s been unable to find any instance where Muhammad punished followers for not paying taxes."

Read more: http://www.mintpressnews.com/combating-islamophobia-at-porcfest-how-muslims-for-liberty-is-changing-libertarianism/206819/

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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Jack Hunter: 'I was wrong about Confederate flag'

The ‘Southern Avenger’ Repents: I Was Wrong About the Confederate Flag - The Daily Beast - Jack Hunter:

June 23, 2015 - "As a Charleston, South Carolina-based conservative radio personality known as the “Southern Avenger,” I spent a decade defending the Confederate flag that is yet again the center of so much controversy.

"I said the flag was about states’ rights. I said it stood for self-determination. I said it honored heritage.

"I argued the Confederate flag wasn’t about race. I believed it. Millions of well-meaning Southerners believe it too.

"I was wrong. That flag is always about race. Whatever political or historical points the flag’s defenders make, there will never be a time—and never has been a time—in which millions of Americans have looked at that symbol and not seen hatred...."

"I thought a big part of being conservative meant picking a “side” and attacking the other. I thought not caring what others thought or felt was part of it. Some of my Confederate flag debates certainly reflected that mentality.

"This is something ideologues do and is by no means exclusive to the right, as evidenced by the way some liberals cartoonishly portray conservatives, Christians, and, yes, Southerners.

"Ideologues ridicule and dehumanize people at the expense of their personhood. Ideologues believe some groups must be attacked, and although the groups are comprised of flesh-and-blood human beings, it’s better not to think of them as people too much — it could get you off message.

"It’s crude collectivist thinking. It’s an intentional lack of sympathy. It’s dehumanization. It’s at the heart of everything that’s wrong with our politics and culture....

"My attraction to libertarianism a number of years ago began a journey of rejecting groupthink and placing primacy on the individual. Once you start down the path of putting individual human beings above whatever group they belong to, it puts politics — and everything else — in a new light. Putting people before an agenda or broad prejudices puts us all in a much better place."

Read more: http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2015/06/22/the-southern-avenger-repents-i-was-wrong-about-the-confederate-flag.html
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Washington LP kicked out of Pride parade

‘Banned From Pride For Being a Gay Libertarian’: Right to Marry Clashes With Right to Carry at Gay Pride Event | TheBlaze.com - Kaitlyn Schallhorn:

June 23, 2015 - "The right to marry clashed with the right to carry over the weekend in Olympia, Washington, when members of the state’s Libertarian Party were barred from a gay pride event because of their support for the Second Amendment.

"Last weekend marked the 25th anniversary of the Capital City Pride festival in the Evergreen State, and the Libertarian Party of Washington planned to attend the festival and man a booth — just like in the years past. However, when an attendee called the event’s organizers to ask if open carry would be allowed throughout the festival, the libertarians suddenly found themselves barred from the festivities.

"James Holcomb, a Libertarian Party of Washington member, said in an interview with TheBlaze that the friction between the organizers and the libertarians began when he inquired if open carry would be permitted during the festival.... It wasn’t, and that was that — or so Holcomb thought.

"In a voicemail to Holcomb, Capital City Pride chairwoman Anna Schlecht accused the libertarians of attempting to 'play games' with her.

"'Your booth and your participation is hereby banned from Capital City Pride,' Schlecht said in the voicemail obtained by TheBlaze.

"'By the power vested in me, as the chair, you are banned and you will never have a booth as long as I’m involved in Capital City Pride,' she said. 'Don’t bother calling back. I’m very frustrated. I know y’all have a political agenda'....

"Other than the voicemail Holcomb received the day before the festival, allegedly no other members of the LPWA — including those who registered for the booth — were informed that the entire party was no longer welcome at the inclusive event. It wasn’t until a LPWA booth organizer, Edwin Pole, showed up at 8 a.m. on Saturday that he was told he could no longer attend....

"Pole told TheBlaze that both he and Holcomb showed up to the event unarmed, and that while the LPWA had discussed whether or not they wanted to promote gun rights in the booth this year, they ultimately decided against it long before the confrontation with Schlecht. Pole said LPWA members had been asked to show up to the festival unarmed.

"Pole said he personally paid the $100 for the booth himself and did not take a check Schlecht allegedly attempted to shove into his notebook Saturday morning. He said that while the check was to reimburse for the cost of the booth, it was 'not sufficient' as it did not compensate LPWA for the additional money, time and resources the organization had used in an attempt to get ready for the festival....

"Aside from the check, Schlecht provided the LPWA members with a handwritten note that explained Capital City Pride’s decision to take away their booth.

"'You and your associates are completely free to exercise your 1st Amendment rights to free speech in & around our fair grounds,' the note signed by Schlecht said.... 'And be advised that your supreme insensitivity to the recent church shooting in Charleston will be duly noted by festival participants'....

"Neither Schlecht nor Capital City Pride responded to multiple requests for comment from TheBlaze."

Read more: http://www.theblaze.com/stories/2015/06/23/banned-from-pride-for-being-a-gay-libertarian-right-to-marry-clashes-with-right-to-carry-at-gay-pride-event/
'via Blog this'

Monday, June 22, 2015

Conviction in wife's death overturned 45 years later

John Salmon's manslaughter conviction overturned - Toronto - CBC News: "John Salmon's manslaughter conviction overturned"

June 22, 2015 "A man who fought for 45 years to clear his name of a manslaughter conviction was exonerated by an Ontario court today after experts said his common-law wife's death was linked to her having suffered a stroke.

"On Monday morning, the Ontario Court of Appeal overturned John Frederick Salmon's conviction in the 1970 death of Maxine Ditchfield....

"Salmon, 75, served three years in prison. At the time, a pathologist testified Ditchfield died from brain swelling caused by a severe beating. The 30-year-old woman's body had dozens of bruises, many on her head, when she was taken from the Woodstock, Ont., home she shared with Salmon on Sept. 21, 1970. She died the next day in hospital.

"A jury found Salmon had beaten her in a drunken rage.

"But now, four forensic pathologists say her brain swelling was caused by a fall and a stroke after a night of drinking. The bruises are now believed to have been caused by repeated falls following the stroke.

"'So many of these cases of wrongful conviction result from bad pathology at the outset — where a natural cause of death is turned into a homicide,' said lawyer James Lockyer, who, together with Marie Henein, represented Salmon in court.

"Lockyer blamed the conviction on poor work by the original pathologist, who has since died, and what he described as a 'think dirty' presumption of guilt among officials of that era.

"'The science was there for him to draw the correct conclusions and he didn't. He got it wrong,' Lockyer said.

"The Crown also called for an acquittal....

"Salmon has always maintained his innocence.... [He} told reporters he did not keep track of the money he spent on his case over the years, but estimates it was about $100,000.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/john-salmon-s-manslaughter-conviction-overturned-1.3122365
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Sunday, June 21, 2015

Gag order lifted, Reason shares subpoena story

How Government Stifled Reason's Free Speech - Nick Gillespie & Matt Walch, Reason Hit & Run Blog:

June 19, 2015 - "For the past two weeks, Reason, a magazine dedicated to 'Free Minds and Free Markets,' has been barred by an order from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York from speaking publicly about a grand jury subpoena that court sent to Reason.com.... Yesterday, after preparing an extensive legal brief, Reason asked the US Attorney's Office to join with it in asking that the gag order - now moot and clearly an unconstitutional prior restraint - be lifted. This morning, the US Attorney's Office asked the Court to vacate the order, which it did. We are free to tell the story for the first time.

"On May 31, Nick Gillespie published a post at Reason.com's Hit & Run blog discussing Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht's 'haunting sentencing letter' to District Court Judge Katherine Forrest, and the judge's harsh response. Gillespie noted that Forrest 'more than threw the book' at Ulbricht by giving him a life sentence, which was a punishment "beyond even what prosecutors...asked for.'

"In the comments section of the post, six readers published reactions that drew the investigative ire of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District of New York. In a federal grand jury subpoena dated June 2, the U.S. District Court commanded Reason.com to turn over 'any and all identifying information' we had about the individuals posting those comments'.... The original subpoena ... came with a letter ... requesting that we refrain from informing any other parties about the subpoena ... though it also said that we were under 'no obligation' to keep the subpoena confidential....

"So we decided, against the government's request but well within our legal rights, to ... notify and share the full subpoena with the six targeted commenters so that they would have a chance to assert their First Amendment rights to anonymity and defend themselves legally against the order.... Reason Publisher Mike Alissi sent the subpoena to the six email addresses associated with the user accounts for the comments identified in the subpoena....

"Since receipt of the gag order on June 4, and until this moment, Reason has not spoken with any outside parties about the subpoena or the gag order. We originally intended to publish the subpoena as part of a Reason.com story about it after the reply deadline; unfortunately, the gag order put those plans on ice.... So as of this point in the saga, Reason had been subpoenaed, we had been vaguely — and falsely — accused by a United States Attorney's office of actions verging on obstruction of justice and contempt of court, and we were now told that we were being investigated further....

"None of the six commenters informed us that they would be filing motions to oppose the U.S. Attorney's subpoena. Therefore we complied with the subpoena on the deadline of June 9....

"Providing the subpoena to the commenters before the gag order was issued is what presumably enabled it to become public. That has had the effect of bringing to light what these compulsory grabs for information look like, launching a wide number of conversations about a grand jury process in which the government can target individuals, platforms, and publications for data about users....

"Regardless of the legal details, the growing government demand for user data and our own experience with court-enforced silence on a self-evidently ridiculous investigation raise important questions about free speech and the abuse of power.... In fact, three of the six commenters subject to this very subpoena voluntarily displayed public links to personal blogs at Blogger as part of their comments, one of which further links to a Google+ page. Raising the question: How can the government view these so-called 'threats' as so nefarious when people posted them in such a non-anonymous fashion?... To live in a world where every stray, overheated Internet comment — however trollish and stupid it may be — can be interpreted as an actionable threat to be investigated by a federal grand jury is to live in a world where the government is telling the public and media to just shut up already."

Saturday, June 20, 2015

A libertarian case for patent reform

How to Fix Patents: Economic liberty requires patent reform - Derek Satya Khanna, Lincoln Labs:

"Patent policy is increasingly failing in its constitutionally enumerated purpose of 'promoting
the progress of the sciences and useful arts' as a result of patent trolling and an epidemic of
granting low-quality patents. For conservatives and libertarians, this should be striking, as the
Copyright/Patent Clause is the only clause in the Constitution that provides a specific purpose for
granting the government that power.If this clause means anything, it certainly doesn’t
mean to 'reduce the progress of the sciences and useful arts,' which is the unfortunate result of
how today’s patent policies are affecting several important sectors of the economy. Patent trolling,
created and exacerbated by modern patent policy including low-quality patents, is increasingly
stifling competition, stopping legitimate innovations created independently, and raising barriers to entry
for new market entrants.

"Restoring constitutional principles for patents by implementing free market oriented policies
will jumpstart the U.S. economy and is well past due. The solution to patent trolling is not merely
addressing trolling behavior, but also fixing the underlying problem of low-quality patents.

"In this report, we present a number of suggestions for practical reform to patent policy consistent
with the original public meaning of the Patent Clause, which will foster more innovation,
entrepreneurship, and economic growth. Patents are one of the primary ways the federal government
regulates innovation and technology throughout the economy, and today it more closely resembles
cronyism rather than sensible policy.

"When government and big business team up, they often rig the game to keep out the competition,
and the case is no different with modern patent regulation. Recently, several conservative organizations — many of whom receive funding from industries with vested interests—have tried to preempt any form of patent reform by arguing how patent reform would violate their 'property rights.'

"Nothing could be further from the truth: janitors do not have 'property' in how to clean a building; Apple does not have 'property' in rounded rectangles and 'slide to unlock'; Amazon does not have 'property' in one-click checkout; Priceline does not have 'property' in the concept of reverse auctions; Microsoft does not have 'property' in squiggly lines when you mistype a word; Smuckers doesn’t have 'property' in peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, anymore than a known patent troll has a 'property' in the entire practice of podcasting; certainly no one ought to have 'property' in the concept of the hyperlink; and we should probably all agree that no one ought to have 'property”' in the idea of exercising a cat by using a laser pointer.

"Unforunately, they have — or in some cases had, and in these cases should never have had — monopolies through patents granted by a government regulator, the United States Patent Office."

Read more: http://lincolnlabs.com/pdfs/lincoln-labs-patent-reform.pdf
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Friday, June 19, 2015

Anonymous hacks Canadian gov't in C-51 protest (video)

Government of Canada websites under attack, hacker group Anonymous claims responsibility | National Post - Jason Fekete & Ian MacLeod, Postmedia News:

"June 17, 2015 - "Hacker group Anonymous claimed responsibility Wednesday for what Treasury Board President Tony Clement says was a cyber attack on the Government of Canada’s computer servers. Some federal emails and several department websites crashed early Wednesday afternoon.

"Federal cabinet ministers were being briefed about the matter, with sites for Justice, Public Works and Government Services, the main Canada.ca page, Shared Services Canada (the government’s super-IT department) and even the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) among some of those that were down....

"Government email access for some department and ministerial staff was also down, with political staffers handing out their personal email addresses to media.

A number of sites have since come back online as federal officials look to identify the source of the attack.

"Internet hacker group Anonymous posted a YouTube video and statement Wednesday claiming responsibility for the attack. The video said it’s in response to the government’s anti-terrorism Bill C-51, which was recently passed in Parliament."

Read more: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/government-of-canada-websites-under-attack-environment-canada-foreign-affairs-down
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Thursday, June 18, 2015

Rand Paul outlines flat tax proposal

Election 2016: Rand Paul - "Blow up the tax code and start over" - CBS News - Jake Miller:

June 18, 2015 - "Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul unveiled his version of a flat tax on Thursday, proposing to "blow up the tax code and start over "in a Wall Street Journal editorial.

"'The tax code has grown so corrupt, complicated, intrusive and antigrowth that I've concluded the system isn't fixable,' Paul, a freshman senator from Kentucky, wrote.

"In its place, he called for "an over $2 trillion tax cut that would repeal the entire IRS tax code...and replace it with a low, broad-based tax of 14.5 [percent] on individuals and businesses.'

"Under Paul's plan, all forms of income would be taxed at that level, including wages, dividends, capital gains, and interest.... The plan, dubbed 'The Fair and Flat Tax,' would also eliminate nearly every special interest loophole,' Paul explained, along with the payroll tax and federal taxes like the gift tax and the estate tax.

"A flat tax has long enjoyed support among some elements of GOP. Businessman Steve Forbes based his presidential campaigns on the idea in 1996 and 2000, and Republican candidates have periodically resurrected it since then....  In this cycle, several GOP candidates have advanced some form of a flat tax. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, called in March for 'a simple flat tax that lets every American fill out his or her taxes on a postcard.'

"'The flat tax is good policy,' Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow with the conservative CATO Institute, told CBS News in April. 'It would boost U.S. competitiveness, encourage more saving and investment, reduce compliance costs, and collect revenue is a much less destructive fashion.'

"Left-leaning experts, though, say many flat tax proposals would destroy the progressive nature of the current tax code....  'It is a misguided idea because the progressivity in our existing tax code is a critically important component, and it's something we wouldn't want to lose,' Jared Bernstein, a senior fellow at the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities and the former chief economist for Vice President Biden, told CBS News in April."

Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rand-paul-blow-up-the-tax-code-and-start-over/
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

NYC seizes 500 cars in Uber crackdown

496 Uber cars seized by New York City authorities - Business Insider - Graham Rapier:

June 17, 2015 - "Facing increasing pressure from the taxi industry, authorities in New York have begun to crack down on Uber — issuing tickets and seizing cars of Uber drivers who participate in illegal pickups in the city.

"Between April 29 and June 15, the New York Post reports that NYC authorities seized 496 cars from Uber drivers taking illegal street hails, mostly at the three airports in the region....

"Uber spokesman Matt Wing said that 'street hails are not permitted on the Uber platform — period. This is a small group of bad actors and the violations add up to less than one hundredth of one percent of our rides over the same time period'....

"The seizures of Uber cars were part of a larger operation that confiscated a total of 938 for-hire vehicles operating illegally, according to Taxi and Limousine Commission spokesman Allan Fromberg....

"Uber will soon face a major test in New York. Mayor Bill de Blasio will appear in court on June 22 to face allegations from four of the city’s largest taxi financiers that the city should not have permitted any passenger pick-ups through an app. They allege that an 'e-hail' is synonymous with a traditional street hail, the exclusive domain of yellow cabs."

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/496-uber-cars-seized-by-new-york-city-authorities-2015-6
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Magna Carta and the rise of religious liberty

The Magna Carta & the rise of religious liberty - Stephen Douglas Wilson, Baptist Press:

June 15, 2015 - "Eight hundred years ago on June 15, 1215, a group of English nobles at Runnymede forced a reluctant King John to endorse a document of grievances against royal authority.

"Written by Stephen, the archbishop of Canterbury, the Magna Carta was designed to be a compromise between rebellious nobles and the king. The work contained allusions to protecting religious liberty that, remarkably, would be embraced by England, the United States and much of the West today in subsequent centuries....

"For instance, Article One stated, 'First that we have granted to God, and by this present charter have confirmed for us and our heirs in perpetuity, that the English Church shall be free, and shall have its rights undiminished, and its liberties unimpaired'....

"Among other provisions in the document, Article 22 restricted fines on the private property owned by church clerks to only the value of the particular property without reference to the total value of an ecclesiastical holding in the kingdom....

"Article 27 empowered the church to supervise the liquidation of the property of free men who left no will. This provision probably preserved a practice already in place, but with this provision, the framers formally ensured that that the church, rather than the state, be involved in these personal but important post-mortem decisions.

"Article 62 issued pardons for all (including individual clergymen) involved in the dispute between the crown and clergymen who had joined the rebellion against the king. This continued a pattern within the document of also protecting the rights of clergymen apart from the protections on the church itself -- an important aspect of religious liberty.....

"Other articles that seemingly expanded the privileges of the nobles apparently referenced the clergy as well. Some of these guarantees included provisions for trials in local courts, protections against unlawful seizures of goods or persons, and respect for property rights. The framers of the document noted that all these customs and liberties applied to "all men of our kingdom, whether clergy or laymen.

"For the next few hundred years, various English political figures invoked the Magna Carta in defense of both political and religious liberty rights. Furthermore, the British and American political bodies, building on the lofty but hazy principles of the Magna Carta, eventually added more substantial protections to religious liberty. The British Act of Toleration of 1689 recognized the rights of all Protestants, including Baptists, to practice their faith without interference. In 1791 and 1829, the British Parliament legalized the status of Catholics by the Roman Catholic Relief Acts.

"In the United States, the Constitution of 1787 and the Bill of Rights of 1791 gave specific protections to religious liberty that included the abolition of religious tests for public office and specific guarantees for citizens to practice their faith. Other Western nations, as well as many non-Western nations, offered similar protections in the years after the 1790s."

Read more: http://www.bpnews.net/44932
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Monday, June 15, 2015

Inaugural Florida Freedom Festival in Bradenton

Freedom Festival brings libertarian leaders to Bradenton - Sarasota News | Mysuncoast.com and ABC 7: Community - Robert Sutton:

June 13, 2015 - "Here on the Suncoast the libertarian party was out in full force for the inaugural Florida Freedom Festival on Saturday.

"The festival, held along Bradenton's Riverwalk, is all about informing the public on knowing their constitutional rights and promoting freedom and liberty.

"Along with lots of food and live music, the festival featured several public speakers including libertarian Adrian Wyllie, who ran for Florida governor in last year's election.

"'It's important that we understand our constitutional rights and that we properly execute them in a peaceful and civil way,' said Wyllie. 'We uphold our Constitution and make sure our children enjoy the same rights that we currently have.'"

'via Blog this'

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Reason subpoena shows where real threat lies

Reason Magazine Subpoena Stomps on Free Speech - Bloomberg View - Virgina Postrel:

June 9, 2015 - "Los Angeles legal blogger Ken White has obtained a grand jury subpoena issued to Reason.com, the online home of the libertarian magazine I edited throughout the 1990s. The subpoena seeks information about commenters who posted in response to an article by the site’s editor Nick Gillespie about the letter that Silk Road founder Ross Ulbricht wrote to Judge Katherine B. Forrest before she sentenced him to life in prison without parole.... In it, Ulbricht expressed the libertarian ideals he said animated his creation of Silk Road -- the same ideals that Reason upholds. The portion Gillespie reproduced reads:
I created Silk Road because I thought the idea for the website itself had value, and that bringing Silk Road into being was the right thing to do. I believed at the time that people should have the right to buy and sell whatever they wanted so long as they weren’t hurting anyone else.[...] Silk Road was supposed to be about giving people the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit.[...]
"Judge Forrest handed down a sentence even more draconian than prosecutors had sought and made a point of condemning Ulbricht’s political views.... Whatever you think of Ulbricht or Silk Road, you can see why libertarians might be upset. A federal judge has just made the belief that it’s good for people to have 'the freedom to make their own choices, to pursue their own happiness, however they individually saw fit' part of her justification for the most punitive sentence short of the death penalty....

"Reason commenters, who often sound like drunk teenage boys trying to one-up each other, ... were furious and, in their fury, some of them got nasty. 'Its judges like these that should be taken out back and shot,' wrote Agammamon. 'Why waste ammunition? Wood chippers get the message across clearly. Especially if you feed them in feet first,' responded croaker. 'I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman,' commented Rhywun. 'I'd prefer a hellish place on Earth be reserved for her as well,' chimed in ProductPlacement. (Reason has since removed the offending comments.)

"No one in their right mind would take this hyperbolic venting seriously as threatening Judge Forrest.... Venting anger about injustice is not a crime. Neither is being obnoxious on the Internet. The chances of one of these commenters being convicted of threatening the judge are essentially nil. Conviction isn’t the point. Crying 'threats' just makes a handy pretext for harassing Reason and its commenters....

"The real threats aren’t coming from the likes of Agammamon and croaker. They’re coming from civil servants in suits. Subpoenaing Reason’s website records, wasting its staff’s time and forcing it to pay legal fees in hopes of imposing even larger legal costs (or even a plea bargain or two) on the average Joes who dared to voice their dissident views in angry tones sends an intimidating message: It’s dangerous not just to create something like Silk Road. It’s dangerous to defend it, and even more dangerous to attack those who would punish its creator."

Read more: http://www.bloombergview.com/articles/2015-06-09/reason-magazine-subpoena-stomps-on-free-speech
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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Silk Road and Socrates

Ross is Our Socrates - Jeffrey Tucker - Liberty.me:

May 30, 2015 - "There is not an informed lover of liberty and progress who was not shaken by the life sentence handed down to Ross Ulbricht, visionary web developer and now martyr. The judge’s words were chilling in the extreme.

"'The stated purpose [of the Silk Road] was to be beyond the law. In the world you created over time, democracy didn’t exist. You were captain of the ship, the Dread Pirate Roberts,' said Judge Katherine Forrest.... 'Silk Road’s birth and presence asserted that its … creator was better than the laws of this country. This is deeply troubling, terribly misguided, and very dangerous.'

"Why so dangerous? Most people on the Silk Road bought pot, before it became legal in many big cities. Others got medications that are legal in Canada and Mexico but not yet approved by the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], that decrepit bureaucracy controlled by big pharma. Others bought IDs to get around preposterous drinking laws that are tighter than any nation outside Saudi Arabia. For so many people, the service Ross created as a source for personal liberation from a deeply oppressive regime. Testimonials to this effect have been appearing all over the Internet.

"But, no, said the judge, what Ross made possible was 'terribly destructive to our social fabric.' Therefore, he must stand as an example to others. The state rules. Never doubt it. Never question it. The law of the land reigns supreme. If you think otherwise, you are the enemy to be destroyed.

"We think we are enlightened. No we are not. We read about the trial of Socrates. Every school kid does. What were they thinking, killing such a great mind? And why? For corrupting the youth with dangerous ideas, and daring to question the state religion. Those ancients were so despotic, so disregarding of essential human rights....

"But here we are, with a peaceful, brilliant, fascinating young man condemned to die in prison for being ahead of his time. We never learn. Or rather: the state never learns. In some ways, this institution is the same in all times and all places. It is not the light. It is the darkness, the unteachable, the inflexible, the ignorant, the past....

"There is no longer a hot war on philosophers, Christians, usurers, witches, abolitionists, homosexuals, liquor manufacturers, and race mixers. The war on pot, still raging when Ross opened his marketplace, is pretty well spent just a few years later. But we still have a war on underage drinkers, hackers, prostitutes, medicine distributors, narcotics manufacturers, and so on....

"Ross Ulbricht did not follow a conventional route to martyrdom, but in his role as the chosen target of a regime that wants to maintain control, he follows in a long line. He is our Socrates, our Oscar Wilde, our Rosa Parks. Think of the bigger picture. Think of the long term. Despite every appearance, the state does not rule. Progress has only been possible by rending its 'social fabric' asunder, again and again in every age.

"In our times, the paradigm is shifting. We have tools that leap beyond borders and beyond the physical realm itself, technology that fundamentally challenges the structure and character of how we are ruled or if we are ruled at all. This defines our times. Freedom will be ours. Let us never forget our rebels, our heroes, the men and women of courage and vision who made it possible."

Read more: https://tucker.liberty.me/ross-is-our-socrates/
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Friday, June 12, 2015

Supreme Court legalizes edible medical marijuana products in Canada

Medical marijuana legal in all forms, Supreme Court rules - Politics - CBC News:

June 11, 2015 - "Medical marijuana patients will now be able to consume marijuana — and not just smoke it — as well as use other extracts and derivatives, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled today.

"The unanimous ruling against the federal government expands the definition of medical marijuana beyond the 'dried' form.

"The country's highest court found the current restriction to dried marijuana violates the right to liberty and security 'in a manner that is arbitrary and hence is not in accord with the principles of fundamental justice.'   Restricting medical access to marijuana to a dried form has now been declared 'null and void' — Sections 4 and 5 of the Controlled Drug and Substances Act, which prohibits possession and trafficking of non-dried forms of cannabis, will no longer be in effect....

"The decision upholds earlier rulings by lower courts in British Columbia that said they went against a person's right to consume medical marijuana in the form they choose.

"Many users felt smoking it was even potentially harmful. However, methods such as brewing marijuana leaves in tea or baking cannabis into brownies left patients vulnerable to being charged with possession and trafficking under the law.

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/medical-marijuana-legal-in-all-forms-supreme-court-rules-1.3109148
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Thursday, June 11, 2015

15,000 sign Arkansas LP ballot access petition

Libertarian Party Aims For Ballot Recognition, Greens To Forgo 2016 State Races | KUAR - Jacob Kauffman:

June 2, 2015 - "The Libertarian Party of Arkansas stopped by the state Capitol Tuesday to deliver 15,000-plus signatures to be recognized an official party, allowing its candidates to be placed on the 2016 ballot. State party chairman Michael Pakko said this year Libertarians began the petition process early to mitigate what third-party supporters often characterize as an unfair initial requirement for recognition.

"'These are petitions requesting that we become a new political party in Arkansas, once again, for the third time,' said Pakko.

"The $34,000 petition effort finished two weeks in advance of a 90 day deadline, with 5,000 signatures above the required 10,000, to help ensure a sufficient number will be verified as valid.

"'It’s a huge chunk of our effort. We’re already behind the game by the time we get on the ballot. Of course it requires fundraising and volunteer hours to accomplish this task and that really does take a lot of the resources that could otherwise go toward candidates and campaigns,' said Pakko.

"That’s an effort the state’s other minor party, the Green Party, won’t be able to match this year. The Green Party of Arkansas has succeeded in ballot recognition drives for 10 years but state coordinator Mark Jenkins said in 2016 it won’t be able to field any state-level candidates."

Read more: http://ualrpublicradio.org/post/libertarian-party-aims-ballot-recognition-greens-forgo-2016-state-races
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Libertarian runs for mayor of Bogotá, Colombia (interview)

Bogotá's First Ever Libertarian for Mayor Takes On the Kleptocrats - Sabrina Martin, Pan-Am Post:

June 10, 2015 - "Daniel Raisbeck is a young libertarian with a clear conception of the meaning of independence, change, and freedom. After three years directing the Historical Archive of Our Lady of the Rosary University, he’s now set his sights on becoming mayor of Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city, with a population set to reach 7.9 million inhabitants in 2015.

"When running for Colombia’s House of Representatives as a conservative candidate in 2014, Raisbeck found that it was impossible to reform the traditional parties. This time, he’s campaigning on a libertarian ticket.

"In an interview with the PanAm Post, the would-be mayor of Colombia’s capital talked about his proposals to shake up the leaden and wasteful municipal system. Once Raisbeck secures the mandatory 50,000 signatures in support, he says he’ll bring all Bogotanos a unique and different vision in the hands of the Libertarian Party.

"What does Daniel Raisbeck offer Bogotanos, in comparison with the other candidates?

"The first thing to say is that in Colombia, the political class is composed of traditional politicians, who despite their good intentions only understand politics from the state’s point of view. So whatever the party, they always think that more taxes are necessarily a good thing, that public spending is good, or that the state can solve every problem. The majority of people know that the state is very inefficient, it doesn’t work in the majority of cases.

"We want to bring the world of functioning digital technology to the District of Bogotá.

"We have a movement which doesn’t come from politics nor from the state. It comes from the general public, from academia and from the private sector, and we think that working people manage money better.

"We believe that money is better in its owners’ pockets than in the hands of centralized bureaucrats that only misspend it.

"We believe there ought to be fewer taxes in Colombia and less bureaucracy. This is the general philosophy of the libertarian movement."

Read more: http://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2015/06/10/bogotas-first-ever-libertarian-for-mayor-takes-on-the-kleptocrats/
'via Blog this'

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

DOJ subpoenas Reason for commenters' IDs

Feds Subpoena Libertarian Media Site Over Comments Threatening Silk Road Judge - Forbes - Kate Vinton:

June 9, 2015 - "The Department of Justice issued a grand jury subpoena to Reason.com last week, asking the libertarian media site for the identities of six readers who had posted comments threatening Silk Road Judge Katherine Forrest.

"Blogger Ken White obtained the subpoena and published it in a post on popehat.com on Monday. The subpoena asked Reason.com to provide the government with account information, email addresses, telephone numbers, IP addresses, billing information and associated devices for six Reason.com readers. These readers had issued threatening statements against Forrest, a U.S. District Court Judge for the Southern District of New York who presided over the trial of Silk Road creator Ross Ulbricht. The threats appeared in response to a post describing how Forrest had sentenced Ulbricht to life in prison for running the online drug marketplace on May 29, 2015.

"In the subpoena, the government cited a violation to U.S. Code Title 18 Section 875, which prohibits 'transmitting any communication in interstate or foreign commerce containing a threat to injure the person of another.' This law has been applied to cyberbullying, stalking and threats transmitted over the Internet. In his post, White argues that the comments are not 'true threats' outside of First Amendment protection because they don’t present an actual plan to commit violence. As such, a subpoena is not warranted and would be of the grand jury’s 'nearly unchecked' power.

The six comments listed in the subpoena build on each other, with escalating threats of violence against Forrest. A reader with the username 'Agammamon' wrote, 'Its judges like these that should be taken out back and shot.' A couple hours later, reader 'Alan' responded, 'It’s judges like these that will be taken out back and shot.' The six comments no longer appear on on the Reason.com post, although other comments by the same readers remain."

Read more: http://www.forbes.com/sites/katevinton/2015/06/09/feds-subpoena-libertarian-media-site-over-comments-threatening-silk-road-judge/

'via Blog this'

Monday, June 8, 2015

Ohio LP rejects marijuana legalization initiative

Libertarians, Green Party oppose ResponsibleOhio's marijuana legalization plan | cleveland.com:

May 29, 2015 - "ResponsibleOhio's plan to legalize marijuana through a limited number of commercial growers is being criticized by two staunch supporters of marijuana legalization -- the Green Party of Ohio and Libertarian Party of Ohio.

"The two groups join grassroots pro-pot groups in opposing ResponsibleOhio's proposed constitutional amendment, which would legalize marijuana for medical and personal use but limit commercial growing to 10 predetermined sites promised to wealthy campaign backers. ResponsibleOhio plans to put its constitutional amendment before Ohio voters in November.

"'There is nothing "responsible" about ResponsibleOhio, Libertarian Party of Ohio Political Director Tricia Sprankle said in a statement. 'This isn't a proposal to restore rights to Ohioans. It's a crony scheme to line the pockets of a few wealthy investors.'

"The libertarians have supported legalization for more than 30 years but cannot support 'the crony-capitalist nature' of the ResponsibleOhio plan, Sprankle said....

At least three other groups have proposed marijuana legalization plans that do not specify commercial grow sites:
  • Ohio Rights Group would legalize marijuana for medical use and allow industrial hemp farming. 
  • Ohioans to End Prohibition would allow the market to determine growth and sales of marijuana according to a newly created Division of Marijuana Control. 
  • Responsible Ohioans for Cannabis would free prisoners and expunge records in addition to allowing Ohio adults to grow up to 99 plants for personal use. 
"The Green Party is urging its members to support those three proposals. The Libertarian Party is reviewing the other amendments....

"Only the Ohio Rights Group, ResponsibleOhio and Better for Ohio are currently collecting the final batch of signatures to appear on the November ballot."

Read more: http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2015/05/libertarians_green_party_oppos.html
'via Blog this'

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Suddenly "it's cool to use the term libertarian". But what does it mean?

Al Westerfield: True libertarians want everyone free of coercion - Knoxville News Sentinel:

June 6, 2015 - "A staunchly Democratic friend is pushing a candidate as a civil libertarian. Another, a tea party sympathizer, hopes to promote a fiscal libertarian. All of a sudden, it's cool to use the term libertarian.

"But let's be blunt.... In reality, civil libertarians have no problem confiscating money from those who earn it. Fiscal libertarians will try to enforce their morals on everyone else. A true libertarian is extreme on both fiscal and civil matters....

"On the civil side, we believe all personal decisions should be free from government interference. We're for gay marriage, pro choice and against drug, gun and gambling laws. On the fiscal side, we're for free markets and against the income tax, the Federal Reserve and wealth transfers. As one wit said, there's something in the libertarian philosophy for everyone to hate. But when you think about it, it's very simple: we are anti-aggression.

"Does this mean we want to do away with government? No. The vast majority of libertarians accept the need for a body that is the sole possessor of force. We have delegated this force for the protection from enemies without (a standing army) and within (police) while establishing a court system to adjudicate disputes. The purpose of government is to prevent force or fraud and to remedy those affected to the greatest extent possible. Anything else infringes on the unalienable rights of life, liberty and property.

"Does this mean we are uncaring of the needs of the less fortunate? No. We believe that free enterprise and private charity work best to raise the fortunes of all. Certainly the War on Poverty has failed miserably — the poor are no better off now than 60 years ago. Combined with regulations that hinder economic growth by favoring established businesses, the government is directly responsible for the widening gap of incomes.

"Does this mean libertarians are 'rugged individualists'? Certainly not. Libertarians believe that everyone benefits from free association and trade. When two parties agree on a purchase it is for the benefit of both. But when government artificially raises or lowers the price, only one side benefits....

"Libertarians are what liberals once were. We're fighting for the rights of everyone to be free of coercion, whether it be economic or personal. It is a reflection on the right and left that such liberty is so reviled."

Read more: http://www.knoxnews.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/al-westerfield-true-libertarians-want-everyone-free-of-coercion_21976612
'via Blog this'

Saturday, June 6, 2015

A way to curb U.S. spending and debt

Slow Federal Spending and Stop Debt with the Niskanen Amendment | Cato @ Liberty - Doug Bandow:

March 9, 2015 - "While the Obama administration lectures Europe about the latter’s fiscal policies, Washington continues to run deficits. The problem is bipartisan. When George W. Bush took office, the national debt was $5.8 trillion. When Barack Obama took over, it was $11.9 trillion. Now it is $18.2 trillion.

"These numbers will look like the 'good ole’ days' when the entitlement tsunami hits in coming years. Economist Laurence Kotlikoff figures total unfunded liabilities today run about $200 trillion.

"It long has been obvious that the American political system is biased toward spending. Public choice economics explains how government agencies have interests and why spending lobbies so often prevail over the public.

"Congress demonstrates a 'culture of spending' in which members tend to back higher expenditures the longer they serve. Washington richly rewards legislators for 'growing' in office and joining the bipartisan Big Government coalition.

"Some analysts still hope that electing the 'right people' will fix the system. But without creating some institutional barriers to political plunder the system will continue to produce the same overall results, despite slight differences in exactly how much is spent on whom and when.

"The late William Niskanen proposed a measure that was simple and impossible to game. Niskanen, acting Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Ronald Reagan, left that position to become Chairman of the Cato Institute.

"Two decades ago Niskanen proposed a simple 125-word amendment requiring a three-fifths vote to increase the debt limit or raise taxes and federal compensation to states and localities for any mandates. These provisions would be suspended in the event of a declaration of war.

"'Nothing has changed in the interim to render Niskanen’s proposal obsolete or impractical,' noted Lawrence Hunter of the Social Security Institute in a new study for the Carleson Center for Welfare Reform.

"The measure would put taxing and borrowing on a level playing field, eliminating the current bias for piling up debt. Moreover, the three-fifths requirement would make it easier for legislators to reconsider outlays than to collect more money to waste. This would create a useful corrective for the pervasive pro-spending bias built into the system today.

"However, it has become evident that the Senate filibuster, with a three-fifths rule, has proved to be only a limited impediment to the growth of government. Thus, the required super-majority should be two-thirds. Wrote Hunter, experience makes clear that the three-fifths requirement is 'not sufficiently stringent to overcome the enormous bias in the legislative process.'

"Moreover, Hunter noted that Congress has subverted the debt limit by effectively setting a floating number 'suspended' to accommodate whatever amount Congress ends up spending. Thus, he proposed that the Niskanen Amendment be updated to explicitly restrict any suspension to no more than 30 days per Congress, and require the same super-majority vote to suspend the limit.

"Finally, Hunter proposed prioritizing spending in the event that borrowing hits the debt ceiling. Hunter would set repayment of the national debt, both principal and interest, as the top priority to eliminate any possibility of default. Then Washington would repay Social Security recipients to prevent big spenders from threatening retirees’ livelihoods....

"It would be a good time to push the Niskanen Amendment. Equally important, any debt increase should include language prioritizing payments with existing funds. Let President Barack Obama threaten to veto a debt measure because it includes language requiring him to pay the most important claims first.

"While it would be hard to reject a debt limit increase for spending already approved, congressional Republicans should begin preparing for the next debt fight. As I point out in American Spectator online: 'The only hope for reducing the growth in federal debt is to create institutional barriers to its growth. Otherwise the red ink likely will rise until Uncle Sam is both insolvent and bankrupt.'"

This work by Cato Institute is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. http://www.cato.org/blog/slow-federal-spending-stop-debt-niskanen-amendment
'via Blog this'

Friday, June 5, 2015

'Hollywood's biggest libertarian' says arm schools

Vince Vaughn, Hollywood’s Biggest Libertarian, Wants More Guns in Schools - The Daily Beast - Asawin Suebsaeng:

June 1, 2015 - "True Detective and Dodgeball star Vince Vaughn thinks American schools need more guns.

"'[Mass shootings have] only happened in places that don’t allow guns,' the 45-year-old actor told the British edition of GQ magazine for its July cover story. 'In all of our schools it is illegal to have guns on campus, so again and again these guys go and shoot up these fucking schools because they know there are no guns there…You think the politicians that run my country and your country don’t have guns in the schools their kids go to? They do. And we should be allowed the same rights. Banning guns is like banning forks in an attempt to stop making people fat. Taking away guns, taking away drugs, the booze, it won’t rid the world of criminality.'

"The actor’s comments put him at odds with much of Hollywood on the gun debate... But Vaughn’s remarks aren’t surprising to anyone even remotely familiar with his politics: He’s Hollywood’s most visible — and vocal — libertarian. (In the same GQ interview, he calls Edward Snowden a 'hero' and says the war on drugs is 'absolutely fucking ridiculous.')

"Vaughn supported Ron Paul’s 2008 and 2012 presidential bids, and pops up at libertarian events now and then....

"In an interview with Playboy that ran in February, the actor hit such favorite libertarian topics as gun rights, big government, the Patriot Act, corporatism, marriage equality, and war.

"'The Patriot Act? Let’s get rid of it,' he told the magazine. 'Undeclared wars, doing away with personal liberties—let’s understand how that has worked out historically to see that it has led to some horrible things. Once our personal liberties are gone, when an American citizen can be pulled out of his house and detained for six months without a trial, where is our country? Once those rights are gone, how do you get them back? Once the government is allowed to listen to you, how do you get that privacy back?'"

Read more: http://gdspoliticalanimal.blogspot.ca/2015/02/actor-vince-vaughn-talks-libertarianism.html
'via Blog this'

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Cops bust NH man for crack(er crumbs)

Cops Thought This Guys Cracker Crumbs Were Crack... Now They're Going To Pay - Austin Peterson, Libertarian Republic:

June 4, 2015 - "John Cokos will receive $35,000 from police after they arrested him, mistaking his cracker crumbs for cocaine.

"Cokos was stopped by police for suspicious activity when they saw him recording them with his camera. Officers demanded he stop recording, and when he refused he was forced against a guard rail and searched.

"Authorities performing a search found some wax paper on Cokos, and when they opened it they saw cracker crumbs, which they mistook for crack cocaine....

"Cokos was then arrested for possession of drugs and taken to the police station for booking whereupon his arrival, police managed to determine that the material in his possession was a sleeve of crackers. Cokos was then charged with obstructing the administration of the law.

"After a trial, Cokos was found not guilty and offered a settlement of $35k. Part of that settlement involves the police not admitting to any wrongdoing."

Courtesy http://thelibertarianrepublic.com/cops-thought-this-guys-cracker-crumbs-were-crack-now-theyre-going-to-pay/
'via Blog this'

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

USA FREEDOM Act: Meet the new law, same as the old law

USA FREEDOM Act: Small step for post-Snowden reform, giant leap for Congress - Dan Froomkin, The Intercept:

June 2, 2015 - "Exactly two years after journalists Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras traveled to Hong Kong to meet an NSA [National Security Agency] whistleblower named Edward Snowden, Congress has finally brought itself to reform one surveillance program out of the multitude he revealed — a program so blatantly out of line that its end was a foregone conclusion as soon as it was exposed.

"The USA Freedom Act passed the House in an overwhelming, bipartisan vote three weeks ago. After hardliner Republicans lost a prolonged game of legislative chicken, the Senate gave its approval Tuesday afternoon as well, by a 67 to 32 margin. The bill officially ends 14 years of unprecedented bulk collection of domestic phone records by the NSA, replacing it with a program that requires the government to make specific requests to the phone companies....

"At the same time, the Freedom Act explicitly reauthorizes — or, rather, reinstates, since they technically expired at midnight May 31 — other programs involving the collection of business records that the Bush and Obama administrations claimed were authorized by Section 215 of the Patriot Act. In fact, even the bulk collection of phone records, which was abruptly wound down last week in anticipation of a possible expiration, may wind up again, because the Freedom Act allows it to continue for a six-month transition period.

"And while the Freedom Act contains a few other modest reform provisions‚ such as more disclosure and a public advocate for the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, it does absolutely nothing to restrain the vast majority of the intrusive surveillance revealed by Snowden.

"It leaves untouched formerly secret programs the NSA says are authorized under section 702 of the FISA Amendments Act, and that while ostensibly targeted at foreigners nonetheless collect vast amounts of American communications. It won’t in any way limit the agency’s mass surveillance of non-American communications."

Read more: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2015/06/02/one-small-step-toward-post-snowden-surveillance-reform-one-giant-step-congress/

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

First Canadian university bookstore takes Bitcoin

Digital currency on campus: buy Bitcoin and books at SFU - SFU News, Simon Fraser University - Justin Wong:

May 26, 2015 - "Simon Fraser University (SFU) is the first Canadian post-secondary institution to accept Bitcoin for the purchase of textbooks, and to install automated Bitcoin vending machines (AVMs) campus-wide.

"The bookstores at each of the three campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey have already installed the AVMS and [are] accept[ing] the virtual currency for retail transactions beginning May 26.

"'It is our mission to challenge and engage students and provide them with learning opportunities not only inside the classroom but also outside,' says Mark McLaughlin, executive director of ancillary services.

"'SFU has one of North America’s most prominent Bitcoin student clubs and they have asked us to help introduce Bitcoin to the SFU community. As a university focused on innovation, we want to provide our students the opportunity to try digital currencies like Bitcoin through AVMs and within the bookstore and other retail locations on campus'....

"All of this is about more than just using Bitcoin to buy textbooks or support academia. McLaughlin says it will foster a dialogue about the future of currency and disruptive technologies. Vancouver is developing into the Canadian hub for digital finance and SFU wants to play an enabling role in its development, he says.

"'What we’re trying to do is get students to talk about innovation and try Bitcoin,' says McLaughlin. 'The only way to have an opinion about digital currencies is to learn about it, and we are providing a first-hand experience.'"

Read more: http://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/stories/2015/digital-currency-on-campus-buy-bitcoin-and-books-at-sfu.html
'via Blog this'

Monday, June 1, 2015

Controversial PATRIOT Act sections expire, for now

A Gap in Surveillance, but Ways Around It - NYTimes.com - Charlie Savage:

May 31, 2015 - "For the first time since the aftermath of the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, Americans are again free to place phone calls ... without having logs of those contacts vacuumed up in bulk by the National Security Agency. And ... government agents ... will have to subpoena phone companies for associated calling records and wait for the response to see if anyone in the United States has been in contact with that number. The N.S.A. can no longer simply query its database for the information.

"This unusual situation may last only a few days, until Congress can reach an accommodation over three counterterrorism laws that expired at 12:01 a.m. Monday....

"One of the expired laws permitted wiretap orders of 'lone wolf' terrorism suspects who are not part of a foreign group, a provision that has apparently never been used. A second permitted 'roving' wiretap orders that follow suspects who change phones, a provision that apparently has been used only rarely.

"The third permitted court orders requiring businesses to turn over records that are relevant to a national security investigation, the provision known as Section 215 of the Patriot Act. In addition to the bulk phone records program, the F.B.I. used Section 215 about 160 times last year to obtain particular business records, like suspects’ Internet activity logs.

"All three of the expired laws contained a so-called grandfather clause that permits their authority to continue indefinitely for any investigation that had begun before June 1.... A senior intelligence official recently told The New York Times that the administration was open to invoking the grandfather clause to get the records if a need arose during any lapse.

"In theory, the Obama administration could also invoke the grandfather clause to ask the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to reauthorize the bulk phone records program as well. However, the administration has vowed not to do that.... A federal appeals court recently rejected the theory that Section 215 could be used to authorize the bulk calling logs program...

"But the apparent loss of the program for now does not mean the government has no way to analyze calling records linked to a new suspect. The F.B.I. can still issue subpoenas called national-security letters to phone companies to obtain the records....

"The Bush administration started the program in October 2001, and persuaded the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to start blessing it as legal under Section 215 in 2006. Since it came to light in 2013, via leaks by the former intelligence contractor Edward J. Snowden, two independent panels studied classified files and concluded that it had not been abused, but also that it had provided scant concrete benefits."

Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/06/01/us/a-gap-in-surveillance-but-ways-around-it.html?_r=0
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