Commentary

Supreme Court eliminates corruption! (by defining it out of existence)

June 30, 2016
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Jon Schwarz  

"Back in 2010, the majority held in Citizens United that corruption should be defined only as straightforward bribes. Do big donors to 'independent' Super PACs get a receipt saying 'Received: $5 Million in Return for Cutting Your Taxes?' No? Then according to the decision, the donation did 'not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption,' and that's all that matters. Now in the unanimous McDonnell decision, the Court held that a lower court's interpretation of quid pro quo defined the quo too broadly, because for McDonnell to run interference for his generous donors with state officials didn't actually qualify as an 'official decision.' In other words, the Court first decided in 2010 that only out-and-out bribes matter, and now it has decided that only a carefully defined subset of bribes qualify." (06/29/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/29/supreme-court-eliminates-political-corruption-by-defining-it-out-of-existence/  

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Hating Turkey for its freedom and values?

June 30, 2016
posted by

Jacob G Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger  

"Those who blame anti-American terrorism on radical Islam, the Koran, the quest for a worldwide caliphate, regular Muslims, or hatred for America's freedom and values are a bit stymied by the recent terrorist attack in Istanbul, Turkey. They just don't know what to say. Why? Because over 90 percent of Turkey is Muslim! Obviously that puts the Islam-Koran-Muslims-caliphate crowd into a bit of a quandary. They'd have to say that in their quest to establish a worldwide caliphate, the terrorists who struck in Istanbul decided to begin by attacking a country that is predominantly Muslim. But why do that? Why not attack, say, Switzerland, which is filled with Christians and has much more in common with American freedom and values than Turkey? Let's see now. Could there possibly be another motive for the Istanbul terrorist attack?" (06/30/16)

http://fff.org/2016/06/30/hating-turkey-freedom-values/  

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Free Talk Live, 06/29/16

June 30, 2016
posted by

Free Talk Live Free Talk Live
by  

"Security Guy Has Copy of World Check Confidential Database :: How to get on the list? :: Suspicious Activity :: Should the guy release the list? :: Disability in the Free Market :: Containing ISIS :: Postal Address Hassles :: Free the Data :: Lunar Landing :: Bombings At Istanbul Airport :: NHexit :: Secession :: ISIS Fearmongering." [Flash audio or MP3] (06/29/16)

https://soundcloud.com/freetalklive/free-talk-live-2016-06-29  

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The Jason Stapleton Program, 06/29/16

June 30, 2016
posted by

The Jason Stapleton Program
by  

"I'm tired of giving up ground. The progressive playbook is so predictable. They exploit every opportunity to restrict liberty and trample on our Constitution. No more. It's time to draw a line, dig in and refuse to fall back." [various formats] (06/29/16)

http://www.jasonstapleton.com/not-another-inch/  

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If the UK economy tanks, don’t blame Brexit

June 30, 2016
posted by

Frank Shostak Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Frank Shostak  

"Last Thursday, the people of Britain voted in a referendum to leave the European Union (EU). Most commentators view Britain's exit ('Brexit') from the European Union as bad news for economic growth in the UK and the eurozone. As a result, it is argued, the growth rate in the rest of the world will be also badly affected. It is more likely that, whether the pace of real economic growth over time will weaken or strengthen is going to be set by the pace of expansion in the pool of real wealth." (06/30/16)

https://mises.org/blog/if-uk-economy-tanks-don%E2%80%99t-blame-brexit  

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Channeling Karl Marx

June 30, 2016
posted by

Gene Callahan La Bocca della Verita
by Gene Callahan  

"The globalist elites have a problem they must continually solve: there are a lot more of us then there are of them, and they have to keep us from noticing that. A tried-and-true strategy for doing this is divide and conquer: if they can convince half of the poor and lower middle-class population that their real problem is the other half of the poor and lower middle-class population, and vice a versa, they are good to go. And thus we get the twin memes of 'white privilege' and 'welfare parasites.' The function they serve is to help convince poor black families in the South Bronx that their real problem is poor hillbilly families in Kentucky, and vice a versa. To the extent these two memes take hold, they block the possibility of a true populist revolt against the rule of the current elite." (06/29/16)

http://gene-callahan.blogspot.com/2016/06/channeling-karl-marx.html  

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Surveillance paranoia and my London bust

June 30, 2016
posted by

James Bovard JimBovard.com
by Jim Bovard  

I arrived at London's Heathrow Airport, coming in from Hamburg, Germany and saw an immigration line that was surprisingly short. ... The clerk who was working glanced listlessly at the American passport I passed over to her. 'Is this your first visit to the UK?' 'No, I visited England in 1977.' 'Are you here for business or pleasure?' 'Business.' 'What is your occupation?' she asked. 'Journalist,' I replied. I had carefully printed that out in the immigration form under the category 'Occupation.' But since this woman worked for the government, maybe she didn't read so good. Or maybe she was trying to catch me disavowing what I wrote 10 minutes earlier. 'What will you be doing in the U.K.?' 'I am going to be interviewed by a television network.' She showed a flicker of response. 'Which one?' she asked, as her monotone waned. 'Al Jazeera,' I replied. Boom." (06/29/16)

http://jimbovard.com/blog/2016/06/29/surveillance-paranoia-london-bust/  

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“We the prisoners”: The demise of the Fourth Amendment

June 30, 2016
posted by

John W. Whitehead Future of Freedom Foundation
by John W Whitehead  

In a carceral state -- a.k.a. a prison state or a police state -- there is no Fourth Amendment to protect you from the overreaches, abuses, searches and probing eyes of government overlords. In a carceral state, there is no difference between the treatment meted out to a law-abiding citizen and a convicted felon: both are equally suspect and treated as criminals, without any of the special rights and privileges reserved for the governing elite. In a carceral state, there are only two kinds of people: the prisoners and the prison guards. With every new law enacted by federal and state legislatures, every new ruling handed down by government courts, and every new military weapon, invasive tactic and egregious protocol employed by government agents, 'we the people' -- the prisoners of the American police state -- are being pushed that much further into a corner, our backs against the prison wall." (06/29/16)

http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/prisoners-demise-fourth-amendment/  

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Yes, a GOP delegate revolt is possible

June 30, 2016
posted by

Thomas L Knapp -- photo by Avens O'Brien William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
by Thomas L Knapp  

"Donald Trump, the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, is heading toward July's national party convention with a majority of delegates (as 'bound' by state primaries and caucuses) in hand. But ever since it became clear that he would garner that majority, both he and the GOP leadership have spent a good deal of time trying to snuff out talk of a floor revolt by those delegates against his nomination and in favor of some other candidate's. 'The Republican National Committee put out a statement 'you can't do it, it's not legal, you can't do it, you're not allowed to do it,'' says Trump. Is Trump right? Is it 'illegal' for the delegates to do what they want instead of what Trump and the RNC claim the rules demand? In a word, no." (06/29/16)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/6495  

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Cigarettes hazardous, but some lawmakers worse

June 30, 2016
posted by

Town Hall
by Jeff Jacoby  

"In Hawaii and California, the minimum age for buying cigarettes was raised recently to 21. Now Massachusetts lawmakers, addicted to the rush that comes from limiting other people's choices, are keen to jump on the bandwagon. A bill banning the sale of tobacco products to anyone younger than 21 (and, for good measure, making it a crime to sell cigarettes in drugstores) passed the state Senate by an overwhelming vote last month. The bill is now before a House committee; it could reach the full House for a vote in a matter of days. Soon after the Fourth of July, adults in Massachusetts who smoke or who do business with smokers can expect to have less freedom than they have right now. Happy Independence Day. ... Today, smoking is at an all-time low in the United States, down to just 14.9 percent in a Centers for Disease Control survey released in November. Among teens, smoking is rarer still." (06/29/16)

http://townhall.com/columnists/jeffjacoby/2016/06/29/cigarettes-are-hazardous-but-some-lawmakers-are-worse-n2185422  

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The Supreme Court is moving left, here’s why

June 30, 2016
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by William Yeomans  

"The U.S. Supreme Court’s strange 2015 term ended this week in a flurry of dysfunction on difficult issues (the inability to rule on President Barack Obama’s immigration orders), interspersed with predictable decisions (the unanimous stay-out-of-jail pass for the unethical but no longer felonious former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell). Most intriguingly, though, the term marked the emergence of a leftward-leaning Justice Anthony Kennedy. Kennedy, soon to be 80 years old, has sat at the center of the nine-member conservative court since the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O’Connor in 2005. He still retains his status as the deciding vote -- but on this new, more liberal, if diminished court. We may also be witnessing a phenomenon that conservatives have railed against for years: the gradual liberalization of justices as they age. In recent years, Justices Harry Blackmun, John Paul Stevens and David Souter, all Republican appointees, moved consistently left with advancing age." (06/28/16)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-supreme-court-commentary-idUSKCN0ZE2LR  

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Equal means color blind — not

June 30, 2016
posted by

Timothy J. Taylor Authority!
by Timothy J Taylor  

"[E]very SCOTUS justice should, by the mandate of his or her sworn oath to uphold the Constitution, vote to strike down any state law which does not protect all persons in the jurisdiction equally, right? Wrong, say Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, and Anthony Kennedy, in a 4 to 3 decision upholding a Texas affirmative action policy which blatantly takes the race of student applicants for admission to the University of Texas into account, and thereby denies equal protection of the law to whites." (06/29/16)

http://authoritycon.blogspot.com/2016/06/equal-means-color-blind-not.html  

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Gary Johnson, the choice for the morally conflicted

June 30, 2016
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Matthew Tully  

"America is peppered with conflicted Republicans -- loyal members of the Grand Old Party who simply cannot tolerate the notion of voting for Donald Trump, but who also find the idea of casting a ballot for Hillary Clinton unimaginable, if not sacrilegious. It’s a quandary for many of you. If you’re among those in this political black hole, I feel for you. And, so, today I am here to help. I’ll do that by introducing my troubled Republican friends to Gary Johnson, the Libertarian Party nominee for president. He’s a former two-term Republican governor of New Mexico and, thanks to this year’s political discontent, he notched a head-turning 10% in a recent national poll." [editor's note: We libertarians have an interesting dilemma, whether to object to the limited aspects of Johnson's libertarian parts, or to offer the general public an option far beyond what they think they have - SAT] (06/29/16)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/nation-now/2016/06/29/gary-johnson-libertarian-republican-party-candidate-column/86504536  

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Venezuela should abolish its worthless currency

June 30, 2016
posted by

Steve H. Hanke Foundation for Economic Education
by Steve H Hanke  

"With the arrival of President Hugo Chavez in 1999, Venezuela embraced Chavismo, a form of Andean socialism. In 2013, Chavez met the Grim Reaper and Nicolas Maduro assumed Chavez's mantle. Chavismo has not been confined to Venezuela, however. A form of it has been adopted by Rafael Correa -- a leftist economist who became president of a dollarized Ecuador in 2007. Even though the broad outlines of their economic models are the same, the performance of Venezuela and Ecuador are in stark contrast with one another." (06/29/16)

https://fee.org/articles/venezuela-should-abolish-its-worthless-currency/  

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Economics not great at Orthodox council

June 30, 2016
posted by

Acton Institute Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
by Dylan Pahman  

"We Orthodox who are especially nerdy followed the remnants of what was planned as a 'Great and Holy,' 'Pan-Orthodox' council of the Orthodox Churches, which concluded Sunday in Crete. The sad reality, however, is that for various reasons Antioch, Russia, Bulgaria, and Georgia decided not to attend. Antioch, especially, had unique and legitimate grievances. So 'Pan-Orthodox' is a bit of a misnomer at this point, and 'Great and Holy' was probably overly aspirational to begin with. But despite its questionable importance and authority, the council marched on." (06/29/16)

http://www.acton.org/pub/commentary/2016/06/29/economics-not-great-orthodox-council  

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The first post-middle-class election

June 30, 2016
posted by

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Harold Meyerson  

"Two years ago, a pollster for Democratic candidates told me he’d begun advising his clients to cease emphasizing 'the middle class' when speaking of those Americans whose interests they were defending. Many Americans who once thought of themselves as middle-class, he argued, no longer did. Last year, a Pew Research Center survey confirmed those Americans’ assessment. The share of income going to middle-class Americans declined from 62 percent in 1970 to 43 percent in 2014, while the share going to upper-income households rose from 29 percent to 49 percent. The erosion of middle-class America has been afoot for 40 years, but it was the financial crisis of 2008 and the tepid recovery that followed it that have shaken American politics to its foundations." [editor's note: This long, rather didactic history lesson lacks perspective beyond the War Party's two wings (no mention of either LP or GP, or their possible effect), but is otherwise readable - SAT] (06/29/16)

http://prospect.org/article/first-post-middle-class-election-0  

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The hot land

June 30, 2016
posted by

The Intercept The Intercept
by Ryan Devereaux  

"When Enrique Pena Nieto assumed office as president of Mexico in 2012, he did not want to talk about the drug war. He had staked his candidacy on promises of reform; on the possibility of a Mexico freed from depictions in the international press of a nation defined by violence. That was an attractive idea. After all, the loss of life under Pena Nieto's predecessor, Felipe Calderon, who sent the military into the streets to do battle with organized crime, had been historic, with even the most conservative estimates of the dead and disappeared soaring well into the six-figure range. Pena Nieto avoided references to a sweeping, militarized campaign against drug cartels -- the defining feature of Calderon’s tenure -- instead favoring more generalized references to public security. Unfortunately, avoiding the subject didn't make it go away. Within two years, Mexican security forces at all levels would be implicated in a series of grisly crimes." (06/29/16)

https://theintercept.com/2016/06/29/after-uprising-in-mexico-return-of-narco-warlords/  

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Is the ACLU’s lawsuit against bad anti-hacking law ingenious or terrifying?

June 29, 2016
posted by

Scott Shackford Reason
by Scott Shackford  

"The vague language of the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) has made it prone to abuse by federal prosecutors. This law's alleged purpose is to fight cybercrimes and hackers. But the law is far more expansive, making it a federal crime to violate a web site's 'terms of service' as a user or to access a computer or network in an 'unauthorized' fashion. Yes, the law is used to fight hackers trying to get into people's bank accounts to steal their money. But it has also been used to put journalist Matthew Keys in prison for giving a password to a member of Anonymous, who then vandalized the website for the Los Angeles Times by changing a single headline." (06/29/16)

http://reason.com/blog/2016/06/29/is-the-aclus-lawsuit-against-bad-anti-ha  

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An alternative to the madness of proving police injustice

June 29, 2016
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Vann R Newkirk II  

"When Baltimore police officer Caesar Goodson Jr., was acquitted Thursday of all charges related to the death of Freddie Gray, the one emotion absent from the courtroom, social media, and the crowds of protesters in the city was surprise. The cases of all six officers alleged to be involved in Gray's April 2015 death have been tossed about in a sea of strange legal wrangling and reshuffling, but without much real suspense. The trial of Officer Edward Nero ended in a judge's acquittal, and that of Officer William Porter in a hung jury. All six officers charged in the case remain on administrative, drawing full salaries, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. But it's likely that these officers will share the fate of most officers accused of killing black people in the line of duty: a return to police work." (06/29/16)

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2016/06/restorative-justice-police-violence/489221/  

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Elizabeth Warren, Hillary’s most rational choice for VP

June 29, 2016
posted by

The New Republic The New Republic
by Brian Beutler  

"Nearly all reports from the Hillary Clinton brain trust suggest Senator Tim Kaine is the runaway favorite to be the Democrats’ vice presidential nominee in 2016. There are soft spots in this consensus. For instance, the Clinton campaign is apparently not 100 percent convinced that Donald Trump will walk away from next month’s convention in Cleveland as the Republican nominee. Clinton’s allies think there’s a small but real chance she’ll be running against a candidate who isn’t fatally flawed himself (or mortally wounded for having deposed Trump). If that did happen, a more electric candidate might rocket to the top of her short list." [editor's note: Some say this would destroy the last vestige of credibility for Warren for a 2020 run; I frankly don't give a crap either way - SAT] (06/29/16)

https://newrepublic.com/article/134726/elizabeth-warren-hillary-clintons-rational-choice-vp  

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The 2,000-year, ongoing fight for democracy

June 29, 2016
posted by

spiked spiked
by Tom Slater  

"The vote to leave the European Union was the biggest democratic mandate in British political history. Those 17.5 million Leave votes represented a decisive, democratic choice that, in terms of individual voters, outstripped that made in any past referendum or General Election. And the result has sparked horror. ... We have been told voters were misled, played and duped. That, in effect, voters are so stupid, so plagued by prejudice, that consulting them on this profound political question was a mistake. Democracy itself has been called into question in a bald, unashamed way. But we shouldn't be surprised. Those who support the EU, a body designed to protect politics from the people, can hardly be relied upon to defend popular sovereignty. What's more, the response was also entirely in keeping with a disdain for democracy that has existed for millennia. Democracy has always been fragile." (06/29/16)

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-2000-year-ongoing-fight-for-democracy/  

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Brexit: What now?

June 29, 2016
posted by

Michael D. Tanner Cato Institute
by Michael D Tanner  

"The short-term shock and turmoil of Brexit will eventually pass. Markets will stabilize as investors realize that the scare campaign by the anti-Brexit establishment was vastly overblown. The Britain of today is largely the same as the Britain of a week ago. The big question, though, remains unanswered: Will Britain seize on this opportunity to fundamentally remake its economic policies in a way that will increase economic growth? Or will it simply substitute British bureaucracy, taxes, and regulations for European ones?" (06/29/16)

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/brexit-what-now  

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The glories of central planning

June 29, 2016
posted by

A Geek With Guns
by Christopher Burg  

"Socialists often criticize the market for allowing people to starve. They often say it's unfair that somebody with surplus food is allowed to keep it while others starve to death. They also lambast the idea of property rights because the concept allows a person with a surplus of food to defend it against a starving thief. These are valid criticisms, mind you. But they also ignore an important fact. Markets and private property rights may allow some people to starve but you really need a centrally planned economy if you want to starve everybody ..." (06/29/16)

https://blog.christopherburg.com/2016/06/29/the-glories-of-central-planning/  

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Banning the box is not nearly enough

June 29, 2016
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Lewis M Steel  

"At last, the United States is taking steps to reduce its enormous prison population. With 2.5 million people behind bars, we are the world’s largest jailer. Sentencing reform to reduce mandatory minimums for nonviolent crimes starts to address this problem. But for those who have been incarcerated, punishment doesn’t end with prison: 70 million Americans are burdened with some form of criminal record that jeopardizes their ability to find a job and re-enter society. When employers learn applicants have prison records, rejection is often swift. Because African Americans and Latinos suffer a disproportionately high percentage of arrests and convictions, their rejection rates are even higher." (06/29/16)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19188/banning-the-box-is-not-nearly-enough  

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Hillary Clinton’s easy choices

June 29, 2016
posted by

David Gordon Ludwig von Mises Institute
by David Gordon  

"Few books have as misleading a title as Hard Choices. For Hillary Clinton, as this tedious memoir of her years as Secretary of State makes evident, there are no hard choices. The Solutions to all political and economic problems are easy. We must always rely on the directing hand of government, guided by the superior wisdom of our moral and intellectual betters, Hillary Clinton foremost among them." (06/29/16)

https://mises.org/library/hillary-clintons-easy-choices  

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