Commentary

Constitutional rights: Vote yes or no

April 24, 2014
posted by

Timothy J. Taylor Authority!
by Timothy J Taylor  

"The Court did the unimaginable just this week in the case of Schutte v. Bamn, upholding the State of Michigan’s popular vote to ban affirmative action style racial preferences for admission to state universities. Essentially the Court held that a state has the authority to put federal constitutional rights, in that case the 14th Amendment, to a popular vote. Now don’t get me wrong. I’m quite certain that all affirmative action racial preferences schemes are unconstitutional violations of the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments anyway and should therefore be banned everywhere. What the Supreme Court should have done long ago is simply declare all affirmative action schemes unconstitutional. But they didn’t do what they should have done. They’re a group of nine cowards. They made the situation worse by deciding that some constitutional rights are subject to politics." (04/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mpvs9d2  

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Crazy immigration

April 24, 2014
posted by

Bryan Caplan EconLog
by Bryan Caplan  

"Under open borders, over six billion people would be free to move to the United States. The population could increase by more than a factor of twenty. And under real open borders, there's no mandatory waiting period. If everyone wants to move the day the borders open, they're free to do so. This seems like a crazy policy. Imagine the chaos of six billion people migrating in unison! Yet strangely, analogous policies are already on the books, and the system works so well few complain about it. Consider: Under current U.S. law, over three hundred million people are free to move to my home town of Oakton, Virginia." (04/23/14)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/04/crazy_immigrati.html  

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A legal way to kill?

April 24, 2014
posted by

Andrew P. Napolitano LewRockwell.com
by Andrew P. Napolitano  

"Now, we have a president whose principal law enforcement and intelligence officers have boasted that the president relies on a legal way to kill people without the time, trouble and cost of due process. The president himself, as well as the attorney general, boasted of this, as did the director of national intelligence and the director of the CIA. Yet, when asked by reporters for The New York Times for this legal rationale, Holder declined to provide it. He argued that the legal rationale for the presidential use of extra-judicial killings was a state secret .... How can a legal rationale possibly be a state secret? The facts upon which it is based could be secret, but the laws are public, the judicial opinions interpreting those laws are public, and there are no secret non-public parts of the Constitution." (04/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kz5fe2o  

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What Fourth Amendment? Police raids go beyond the war on drugs

April 24, 2014
posted by

Lucy Steigerwald Antiwar.com
by Lucy Steigerwald  

"On April 15, seven police officers in Peoria, Illinois raided the home of Jon Daniel and his roommates. They took various electronics, and kept several residents of the house cuffed for hours. The reason for this raid? Any good student of the current state of American policing might have guesses -- was it drug trafficking? Immigration issues? Terrorism? No. Nothing as disturbingly expected as all that. This particular raid was over a parody Twitter account made by Jon Daniel that mocked Peoria Mayor Jim Ardis, portraying him as a Rob Ford-esque party animal and user of recreational substances. Though Daniel eventually marked the account as fake, and then Twitter suspended the damn thing anyway, that wasn’t enough for Ardis, who filed a complaint with the police department." (04/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k4gwcdy  

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Obama plays with fire in Ukraine

April 24, 2014
posted by

Sheldon Richman Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman  

"How many American parents would proudly send their sons and daughters off to kill or be killed in Slovyansk or Donetsk? How many young men and women aspire to be the first American to fall in Kramatorsk? Those towns are in eastern Ukraine. President Obama says the 'military option' -- war, that is -- is not on the table in his effort to oppose Russia in the Ukraine crisis, but can we trust him? As pressure mounts on him from America’s war hawks, what will he do when sanctions fail to persuade Russian President Vladimir Putin to acquiesce? Will the military option then find its way onto that infamous table?" (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n2qvmbf  

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Facebook, Amazon, our government and your privacy

April 24, 2014
posted by

John Stossel Fox News Forum
by John Stossel  

"As I explain on my show this week, I follow the advice of 'experts.' I buy anti-virus software (today a virus is more likely to steal your credit card and bank info than harm your computer). I sometimes change passwords. But someone still might steal my data. I'm told I should be upset about this. But I'm not. Already, I voluntarily give up privacy. Amazon has my credit card info. Facebook, Google, Reason.org, Cato.org etc., know my preferences. I resent that websites demand I click 'agree' to say that I've read their complex terms and conditions. (I click 'agree,' but no one reads them.) By comparison, the National Security Agency's data mining seems relatively benign." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lz42sqv  

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Village of the damned

April 24, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Lawrence Reichard  

"Walking along the stone and dirt road that follows the Tabasara River to the construction site of Panama’s controversial Barro Blanco hydroelectric dam is a bit like stepping into a Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel, one titled Chronicle of a Battle Foretold. The road is blocked by huge felled trees and seemingly endless piles of rocks and boulders. You know the battle’s coming, but you don’t know when, or how violent it will be. The roadblocks were put in place by indigenous Ngäbe-Bugle activists who say that the private Panamanian company that’s building the Barro Blanco dam, Generadora del Istmo S.A. (Genisa), built the road so Panamanian police can cross the rough terrain and evict potentially hundreds of Ngäbe-Bugle protesters." (04/23/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/16533/village_of_the_dammed  

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Fedgoons in Wyoming

April 24, 2014
posted by

The Price of Liberty
by MamaLiberty  

"Surveillance might not work out quite as intended here in the rural West. The other day I went to town and saw a big, black SUV at the only signal light in town. It had quite a few stubby radio antennas and smoky glass windows (illegal for the rest of us), so I wasn't surprised to see two young men in it with hard looking faces. The thing is, gentlemen -- you stood out like a sore thumb." (04/23/14)

http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?p=4363  

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A teachers’ union speaks power to truth

April 24, 2014
posted by

Wendy Mcelroy Foundation for Economic Education
by Wendy McElroy  

"It has been almost a century since the labor movement had any claim to being an underdog or the voice of workers' rights. The New Deal turned unions into state-sponsored organizations with such legal privileges as state certification (that is, a monopoly within specific industries) and the 'right' to collective bargaining. Interestingly, the new unions were championed by leaders of industry such as Gerard Swope, then-president of General Electric. Big business may not have liked the 'new union,' but it was vastly preferable to wildcat strikes, slowdowns and other disruptive tactics pursued by their grassroots counterparts." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mxwolal  

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Border Patrol to Arivaca, Arizona: “You have no rights here”

April 24, 2014
posted by

The Canal
by Alexandra Woodfin  

"In a world of open borders, we wouldn’t need customs agents, visas, or border 'security.' For most people, these things are simply an extra nuisance when traveling, but for others, they are a very real threat and a huge imposition in their lives. With very little oversight and the all-powerful trump card of 'hunting terrorists,' Customs and Border Protection (CBP) cross the line into private affairs more often than they’d probably like to admit." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lnx243d  

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The Bundy ranch standoff: The bad and the ugly

April 24, 2014
posted by

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson  

"The Bundy ranch saga has been the subject of heated good guy/bad guy framing by both mainstream liberals and mainstream conservatives, who differ only on which roles to assign to Bundy and the feds, respectively. But I can’t really see any good guys in this." (04/22/14)

http://c4ss.org/content/26617  

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As middle class falls behind, we need a progressive populist response

April 24, 2014
posted by

Our Future
by Isaiah J. Poole  

"There is new evidence of the high price working-class people are paying because of the stranglehold conservatives have on our economy that should embolden Democratic candidates to offer bolder, progressive populist prescriptions for addressing income inequality and remaking our economy." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbtq263  

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Brain re-wiring

April 24, 2014
posted by

Kent McManigal Kent's "Hooligan Libertarian" Blog
by Kent McManigal  

"Let's suppose you have a friend who has volunteered for an experiment*. His brain will be wired to a device, and when activated, this device will make him feel happy (at least temporarily) and powerful. It may even eventually make him wealthy. It also has a 95% chance -- or greater -- of changing his personality and making him a bad person. His previous ethical or moral reluctance to steal and aggress will be short-circuited. And he's asking you to be the one to push the button to start the device. Would you do it?" (04/23/14)

http://blog.kentforliberty.com/2014/04/brain-re-wiring.html  

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Christian environmentalism and the temptation of faux asceticism

April 24, 2014
posted by

Acton Institute Acton Institute
by Andrew P. Morriss and Fr. Michael Butler  

"Viewed in proper balance, asceticism is a positive, life-affirming attitude and set of practices that seeks human freedom by overcoming the passions -- the sinful and disordered habits and attitudes that poison our relationships, primarily with God but also with ourselves, our neighbor, and the world. These passions are the 'seven deadly sins' of classical spirituality that enslave the heart, cloud the reason, poison relationships, and in general lead to the disintegration and corruption of the soul, and by extension, to the misery of the world caused by corrupted people acting in corrupted ways. Much could be said about asceticism and the passions, but for our purposes, we might say that to be ascetic is to learn to live rightly on the earth with God, our neighbor, and creation." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kowaw2a  

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Government didn’t build that

April 24, 2014
posted by

Don Boudreaux Pittsburgh Tribune-Review
by Don Boudreaux  

"A student recently asked what I thought of President Obama telling rich people 'you didn't build that.' I don't think much of it. It's true that Mr. Obama was talking not about private businesses and factories but about the infrastructure, such as roads and bridges, that increases the profitability of private businesses and factories. It's also true that the typical entrepreneur doesn't build and operate the infrastructure he relies upon to get his goods to market, to educate his workers, to maintain law and order, etc. ... But these truths don't support the conclusion that Obama and other progressives draw from them. That false conclusion is that successful business people don't deserve all of their profits. Fact is, a great deal of infrastructure is built privately." (04/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lqrrhwc  

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A constitutional case for gay marriage

April 24, 2014
posted by

Reason Reason
by A. Barton Hinkle  

"The Equal Protection Clause demands equal treatment for same-sex couples." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nx79e58  

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Obama’s war on US energy

April 23, 2014
posted by

Heartland Institute Heartland Institute
by Alan Caruba  

"A nation without adequate energy production is a nation in decline and that has been the President’s agenda since the day he took office in 2009." [editor's note: Ah, another Obama failure! Since he took office, the US has become the world's leading energy producer and a net energy exporter, so I guess his war isn't working out. And once again, I have to wonder why the "libertarians" at Heartland are so up in arms in favor of stealing land from people who don't want to sell so that a pipeline can be built on it? - TLK] (04/23/14)

http://blog.heartland.org/2014/04/obamas-war-on-u-s-energy/  

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Killing the maximum wage myth

April 23, 2014
posted by

Ludwig von Mises Institute Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Julian Adorney  

"As Bill Maher indicates, the issue of a maximum wage is one that simply will not go away. The comedian and liberal pundit recently expressed support for a maximum wage of $300,000, arguing that wages for the bottom 90 percent of Americans stagnated while worker productivity rose. Greedy executives, in Maher’s scenario, are robbing the worker and seizing more than their fair share. There are several problems with this claim." (04/23/14)

http://mises.org/daily/6731/Killing-the-MaximumWage-Myth  

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April 19 in Yemen: Another day, another drone killing

April 23, 2014
posted by

Come Home America Come Home America
by Joe Scarry  

"The press announced a flurry of drone killings in Yemen over the April 19/20 weekend -- that is, while the rest of us were observing Easter -- and just as with U.S. drone killings in Pakistan and Somalia, the U.S. modus operandi was on full display. ... Numerous unnamed U.S. officials are alluded to in press coverage, but all official U.S. sources (the CIA, the Pentagon) decline comment. Reports are full of red herrings -- references to Al Qaeda leaders in Yemen (who were not the targets of these particular attacks, however); mention of past attacks against the U.S. Embassy in Yemen (which the U.S. does not connect with the events of the weekend, however); Barack Obama’s May, 2013, speech on national security (but what relevance could that have to the past weekend’s anonymous strikes?); etc." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n86z7jh  

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Flaws in the Senate GOP’s ObamaCare replacement

April 23, 2014
posted by

Independent Institute Independent Institute
by John R. Graham  

"Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah, Richard Burr of North Carolina, and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma have introduced a health-care reform plan -- the Patient CARE Act -- that some have hailed as the definitive 'Republican alternative' to Obamacare. Unfortunately, their proposal has several flaws that limit its appeal." (04/23/14)

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=4966  

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Small firms, giant leaps and the elephant in the room

April 23, 2014
posted by

Adam Smith Institute Adam Smith Institute
by Phillip Salter  

"IPPR has recently released a detailed and thought-provoking report. In Small Firms, Giant Leaps, Spencer Thompson considers the contribution small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have made to Britain’s economic recovery since the financial crisis and the role they could play over the coming years -- specifically in getting more people back into work. Small Firms, Giant Leaps suggests some sensible reforms that this Government should take seriously, but it falls short of dealing with the real problem; a problem so much discussed and so obvious that its mere mention is liable to induce a collective yawn: too much complex regulation." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k2h4ovx  

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Justice Sotomayor’s powerful defense of equality

April 23, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Scott Lemieux  

"The core of the Court's 'political-process' precedents, Sotomayor observes, is that minorities have access to the state's democratic procedures. The Constitution 'does not guarantee minority groups victory in the political process,' but it does 'guarantee them meaningful and equal access to that process. It guarantees that the majority may not win by stacking the political process against minority groups permanently, forcing the minority alone to surmount unique obstacles in pursuit of its goals -- here, educational diversity that cannot reasonably be accomplished through race-neutral measures.' Reallocating power in the way Michigan does here therefore raises serious equal-protection concerns." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k94afgo  

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Quick observations on inflation in the 1970s

April 23, 2014
posted by

Robert P. Murphy Free Advice
by Robert P. Murphy  

"As the chart shows, yes indeed there was a sharp jump in the rate of money growth after Nixon cut the link to gold. More generally, there were two long periods where the rate of money growth in the 1970s was head-and-shoulders higher than it had been in the 1960s. The only time money growth crashed in the 1970s appears to be an effort to get price inflation (the blue line) to come back down. This accords with commonsense stories about the printing press and the business cycle: The authorities can print money and goose the economy, but as price inflation gets out of control they have to slam the brakes and cause a bad recession to get it back under control." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kpesdl9  

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Civil liberties hodgepodge

April 23, 2014
posted by

Campaign For Liberty Campaign for Liberty
by Tim Shoemaker  

"While we're discussing the courts -- it's worth noting comments made by Justice Scalia last week, where he defended TSA groping and NSA snooping as not 'unreasonable' given the 'threat' the government is trying to protect us from. As if we needed anymore reason after the ObamaCare ruling to distrust that the Supreme Court would help Americans defend their rights, this shows the danger of simply relying on the courts, rather than the legislature, to preserve and uphold our constitutional rights." (04/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l2rdh4e  

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What about the US annexation of Mexico?

April 23, 2014
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G. Hornberger  

"Railing against Russia’s annexation of Crimea and vowing that the United States would never recognize Russia’s 'illegal occupation,' Vice President Biden angrily exclaimed yesterday that 'no nation has the right to simply grab land from another.' Oh? What about the U.S. government’s annexation of the northern half of Mexico or, to be more precise, the land grab that encompassed California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, Texas, and parts of Wyoming and Colorado? Now that’s one great big land grab, especially compared to the much smaller land grab involving Crimea." (04/23/14)

http://fff.org/2014/04/23/what-about-the-u-s-annexation-of-mexico/  

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