Liberty Activist News Digest

News


| Commentary | Action Items |

YouTube star Michelle Phan sued over copyright

BBC News [UK state media]

"A leading YouTube entrepreneur is facing legal action for alleged copyright infringement in her videos. Ultra Records, which has musicians Kaskade, deadmau5 and Calvin Harris on its books, is suing Michelle Phan. The label and its publishing arm claim she has used about 50 of their songs without permission in her YouTube videos and on her own website. But one of the artists whose work she is alleged to have used has said he supports Ms Phan." (07/22/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28418449

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Obama executive order bars federal discrimination against LGBT people

Raw Story

"President Barack Obama signed an executive order on Monday barring federal contractors from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The order did not include new exemptions for religious organizations, a move that was welcomed by gay rights activists. For a long time the White House has resisted issuing such an executive order, preferring instead to push for legislation in Congress that would ban discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in workplaces nationwide. But that legislation stalled in Congress, and advocates pressed Obama to take action to bar such discrimination among federal contractors, who make up about a fifth of the U.S. work force." [editor's note: At last? Something decreed by fiat that's actually within his proper power-range? - SAT] (07/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n2fvw3w

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Sweden: Court upholds Assange arrest warrant

Wikileaks Ars Technica

"A Swedish judge has upheld the arrest warrant issued for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. ... The Australian remains wanted in Sweden for questioning relating to alleged sex offenses dating back to 2010—however, Assange has not yet been formally charged with a crime. ... Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he was granted asylum in 2012. ... He refuses to go to Sweden over fears that he will be extradited to the United States to face further potential charges relating to WikiLeaks’ publication of classified material." ()7/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q7kboku

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Court: TX can’t prohibit “offensive” Confederate flag license plates

Raw Story

"The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday ruled that Texas could not prohibit a group that celebrates the Confederacy from having their own specialty license plates. The federal appeals panel ruled 2-1 that the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles Board engaged in 'viewpoint discrimination' and violated the First Amendment by rejecting the Sons of Confederate Veterans application for license plates featuring the Confederate battle flag. The board [had] rejected the proposed plate by an 8-0 vote in 2011, saying that members of the public found the Confederate imagery to be offensive. ... But the federal appeals court said the board could not discriminate against particular viewpoints because the public deemed them to be offensive." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k9fmaeg

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CA: Billionaire in push to split into six states

Fox News

"A billionaire tech investor says he has enough backing to put on the ballot a plan to split California into six states. Timothy Draper, a venture capitalist founder of a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm that has invested in such tech companies as Twitter, HotMail, Skype and Tesla, told Reuters he has the 808,000 signatures needed on a petition to force the measure onto a public referendum in November 2016. Under the far-fetched plan, one state would be called 'Silicon Valley' and would include the tech mecca, as well as San Francisco." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qgng9qm

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TX: Pulitzer-winning reporter detained at border

San Francisco Chronicle

"Jose Antonio Vargas, the former Bay Area journalist who has become a prominent advocate for unauthorized immigrants, was detained at McAllen-Miller International Airport on Tuesday while trying to leave Texas for Los Angeles, according to friends and colleagues. Filipino-born Vargas is living in the United States without legal permission and famously outed himself in 2011. The disclosure by the Pulitzer-prize winning reporter appeared in a Time magazine cover story and made him one of the most high-profile immigrants advocating for legal status in the country." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/odlv4qj

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FCC extends comment DL on net neutrality

Reuters

"The U.S. Federal Communications Commission on Tuesday pushed back to July 18 the first deadline to submit comments on the agency's proposed new Internet traffic rules after a surge in traffic overwhelmed its online filing system. Companies, consumer advocates, lawmakers and citizens had sent nearly 680,000 comments on the FCC's proposed so-called net neutrality rules -- which guide how Internet service providers (ISPs) manage web traffic on their networks -- as the deadline for first comments approached on Tuesday." (07/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n9dugxf

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WA: First legal pot purchaser gets fired for it

Raw Story

"The first person to legally purchase marijuana in the state of Washington was fired from his job as a security worker after he was spotted on television making the purchase. At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Mike Boyer was the first person in the door of the Spokane Green Leaf marijuana dispensary. He was captured on video by KXLY yelling, 'Go Washington!' as he legally purchased four grams of Sour Kush. The network then followed him home and filmed him smoking his legally purchased marijuana." [editor's note: Actually, the guy signed a paper a while back, stating that a positive drug-test of any kind would result in his firing; they really need to revisit this issue - SAT] (07/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qyqepmw

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Malaysia court ruling: Non-Muslims can’t say “Allah”

Fox News

"Malaysia's top court on Monday upheld a lower court ruling that non-Muslims cannot use the word 'Allah' to refer to God, adding to a contentious debate that has reinforced complaints that religious minorities are treated unfairly in the Muslim-majority country. But the implications of the 4-3 ruling by the Federal Court were immersed in confusion after the government issued a tersely-worded statement saying that the ruling only applied to the newspaper in the case, The Herald, a Catholic Malay-language weekly, and that Malaysian Christians can still use the word Allah in church services." (06/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/po23fpk

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Sweden: Assange to file fresh challenge in effort to escape UK political imprisonment

Wikileaks The Guardian [UK]

"Lawyers for Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder who on Thursday marks his second anniversary holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London, are preparing to file a challenge to his detention order in Sweden in a move that could impact the state of legal limbo in which he is trapped. Jennifer Robinson, Assange's UK-based lawyer, told reporters that the legal challenge, which is due to be lodged with Swedish courts next Tuesday, was based on 'new information gathered in Sweden.' She declined to give any further details until the filing had been made." (06/18/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n6jcls5

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Semper Uber sub Uber: Taxi & rail strikes hit European cities

BBC News [UK state media]

"Transport in major European cities has been disrupted by strikes affecting taxis and rail services. Taxi drivers blocked roads in Paris, Madrid, London, Milan, Berlin and other cities in protest against the rise of services booked using smartphone apps. They say there has been a lack of regulation concerning rival mobile service Uber. Travelers in France were also hit by a rail strike that stopped two-thirds of trains in some areas." [editor's note: Please forgive the title; it's part of an inside joke about Latin translation - SAT] (06/11/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-27792942

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WA: Trade group sues to block Seattle minimum wage hike

Raw Story

"A trade group sued the city of Seattle on Wednesday, seeking to block a sharp hike in the minimum wage to $15 an hour over the next seven years on the grounds that it unfairly favors small businesses over larger employers and franchises. The lawsuit was filed in federal court in Seattle by the Washington, D.C.-based International Franchise Association on behalf of five franchisees, claiming violations of the commerce, equal protection and supremacy clauses of the U.S. Constitution. 'The city’s minimum wage statute arbitrarily and illegally discriminates against franchisees and significantly increases their labor costs in ways that will harm their businesses, employees, consumers and Seattle’s economy,' IFA president Steve Caldeira said in a statement." (06/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/odw6dqx

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CA: The end of teacher tenure?

San Francisco Chronicle

"A Los Angeles Superior Court judge threw out California's teacher tenure laws Tuesday, calling them unconstitutional and declaring in a landmark ruling that public school students and their teachers are cheated by the state's system of hiring and firing instructors. Judge Rolf Treu said the evidence he heard in Vergara vs. California supported the plaintiffs' contention that firing bad teachers can take 'two to almost 10 years and cost $50,000 to $450,000 or more.' Treu called that noteworthy because the number of 'grossly ineffective teachers' employed in California ranges from '2,750 to 8,250,' or 1 to 3 percent of all teachers." (06/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o32wjq8

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IL: Gov. signs “cupcake bill;” preteen bakers rejoice

Christian Science Monitor

"Home bakers in Illinois can breathe a sigh of relief: The government is no longer tugging at their apron strings. Gov. Pat Quinn (D) is signing into law Tuesday the so-called 'cupcake bill' that will allow home kitchen operators to bake free freely without the intervention of local governments or health departments as long as the home operations pull in less than $1,000 per month or there is not a complaint or health-safety issue. The cupcakes became hot potatoes for state lawmakers after it was revealed the Madison County Health Department shut down Hey Cupcake! the banner for pre-teen proprietor Chloe Stirling of Troy, IL, who was baking to help out local fundraisers through sales to family and friends. ... in January she was shut down for selling baked goods without a license or a state-certified kitchen." (06/10/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pxmo2ds

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Cuba: Eight National Ballet dancers defect to the US

Raw Story

"A group of eight dancers with Cuba's prestigious National Ballet defected to the United States after an event in Puerto Rico, the father of one of the dancers said Monday. 'We know there are eight dancers who decided to leave the company and not return to Cuba,' Jorge Luis Sanchez, father of one of the performers, told local media in Puerto Rico. 'Of those, some went on to Miami and others are in Puerto Rico, waiting to travel on,' he said. Puerto Rico is a mostly Spanish-speaking US Caribbean commonwealth. Since it is legally part of the United States, some dancers traveled on to Miami easily by air." (06/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kugahot

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ID: Marriages on hold, judge wonders why

San Francisco Chronicle

"Same-sex couples in Idaho can’t get married because of what the U.S. Supreme Court said in a Utah case more than four months ago -- that a federal court ruling overturning a state marriage law should be put on hold when the state appeals. That doesn’t make sense to at least one judge on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, who says he can’t see how allowing gays and lesbians to wed during the appeal process would harm the state." (05/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ps2b2l9

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FBI “could hire hackers on cannabis” to fight cybercrime

BBC News [UK state media]

"The FBI has reportedly said it is 'grappling with the question' of whether to hire cybersecurity experts who use cannabis. The US agency's current policy prohibits anyone working for it who has used cannabis in the past three years. However, its director James Comey has acknowledged that this is complicating its efforts to recruit hacking experts, according to the Wall Street Journal. It said he made the announcement at a conference in New York." [editor's note: This was just too funny not to post; which master do they genuflect to now? - SAT] (05/21/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-27499595

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“Stairway to Heaven”: Can anyone own a chord progression?

Christian Science Monitor

"For more than four decades, Led Zeppelin’s 'Stairway to Heaven' has ushered young guitarists into the realm of rock 'n' roll and served as the soundtrack to countless road trips, proms, and first kisses. More than 40 years after its release, the band is facing renewed allegations it stole the iconic intro to the song from the band Spirit. Spirit’s founding bassist Mark Andes and the estate of late Spirit guitarist Randy California are planning to file a copyright infringement lawsuit and seek an injunction that would prevent Zeppelin from re-releasing the album containing the song, which the band has plans to do this summer, Bloomberg Businessweek reports." [editor's note: Yet they waited until now to claim it? - SAT] (05/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kvxc5n7

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NM: Local officials blast Obama move to set aside 500,000 acres

Fox News

"Local officials in New Mexico warn a move by the Obama administration to designate nearly a half-million acres as a national monument could open up a crime corridor making it easier for illegal immigrants to cross the border and for drug cartels to operate undetected. President Obama made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, setting aside 498,815 acres of land as the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks National Monument. Unlike national parks which must be approved by Congress, the president has the power to designate national monuments." (05/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/paz3r96

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CO: Neighbors sue Oprah over lack of access to trails

Fox News

"A man who lives near Oprah Winfrey's new property above Telluride is suing her for allegedly blocking access to hiking trails open to neighbors for decades. Retired physicist Charles D. Goodman claims Winfrey's Yellow Brick Road company, the property's former owners and the town of Mountain Village made a secret deal to close access to the trails that cut across the land purchased for $10.9 million in March. The Denver Post reported Thursday that the former owners, Hoyt and Carol Barnett, asked for a correction to property records shortly before selling the land. Goodman claims that erased easements allowing residents of nearby homes to use the trails." (05/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/njjlax6

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PA: Federal judge strikes down marriage apartheid law

Raw Story

"A federal judge on Tuesday struck down Pennsylvania’s ban on same-sex marriage, the latest in a series of court decisions across the nation determining gay couples’ rights to wed. The ruling makes Pennsylvania the 19th U.S. state to allow gay marriage in a trend that has gained momentum since the Supreme Court ruled last June that legally married same-sex couples are eligible for federal benefits." (05/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p27t93n

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Tommy Lee Jones condemns American imperialism in new film

Raw Story

"Actor-director Tommy Lee Jones said that his new film, The Homesman, set during the mid-19th century western expansion of the United States, was about 'American imperialism' across the continent. Speaking to journalists at the Cannes film festival after the world premiere screening, he said: 'I won’t try to hide the fact that a consideration of American imperialism on the west side of the Mississippi river is the film’s underlying theme.' He added: '[The film] is a consideration of the history of western expansion; a way of looking at what the schoolchildren of America learn when the subject of manifest destiny comes up.'" (05/18/14)

https://tinyurl.com/ol3b4zh

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MS: Same-sex couples gain support of businesses

San Francisco Chronicle

"A 600-word provision signed into law by Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant last month will soon prevent the state from 'substantially burden[ing]' people's religious freedom unless there's a 'compelling justification.' The brief legislation mentions the 'framers of the Constitution' and decades-old court cases while remaining, at least on the surface, rather vague as to its purpose. ... But the new law, which takes effect in July, has ignited a political firestorm over the belief that its broad wording allows businesses to turn away gay and lesbian customers. In response, some Mississippi business owners have started an opposition campaign under the slogan, 'If You're Buying, We're Selling.'" [editor's note: Some smart businesspeople in Mississippi! - SAT] (05/17/14)

https://tinyurl.com/l5wu7w3

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Pentagon OKs Manning transfer for gender treatment

Marine Corps Times

"In an unprecedented move, the Pentagon is trying to transfer [political prisoner] Pvt. Chelsea Manning to a civilian prison so she can get treatment for her gender disorder, defense officials said. Manning, formerly named Bradley, was convicted of sending classified documents to anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. The soldier has asked for hormone therapy and to be able to live as a woman. The request was the first ever made by a transgender military inmate and set up a dilemma for the Defense Department: How to treat a soldier for a diagnosed disorder without violating long-standing military policy." (05/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pnc429n

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Greenwald: “I don’t trust the UK not to arrest me”

Raw Story

"The dogs can smell Glenn Greenwald long before they see him. As we drive up the hill to his house, a cacophony of barking greets us. The chorus is so overwhelming it makes me think of the National Security Agency (NSA) chiefs who Greenwald has tormented over the past year.'They don’t bite,' Greenwald says as we are engulfed by the pack of strays that he and his partner, David Miranda, have rescued. After a beat, he adds: '...as long as you don’t show any fear.' I’m not certain he’s joking, which is awkward, given that there are 12 of them, ranging from an 80-pound Burmese mountain dog to a rat-sized miniature pinscher." (05/12/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lmlo89p

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Commentary


| News | Action Items |

Jose Antonio Vargas: Reporter without a visa at the border

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"The star of a CNN film, Documented, journalist Jose Antonio Vargas went to Texas to bring attention to the 57,000 unaccompanied minors who have crossed the border illegally since October. On Tuesday, authorities detained Vargas at McAllen-Miller International Airport because his Philippine passport lacks a U.S. visa. Within hours, Immigration and Customs Enforcement released him. Upon release, Vargas issued a statement in which he noted that he had come to the border to shine a light on the children and the fear they must endure in the course of simple acts, like boarding a plane. The problem here is: Vargas is living proof that U.S. immigration enforcement is toothless." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lbpmtuw

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Stop the CISPA zombie

Jim Babka Downsize DC
by Jim Babka

"The Zombie is back. YOU helped defeat a fake cybersecurity bill last year. It was called CISPA. It's undead. Now it's called CISA. I sent a letter demanding Congress to defeat it using DownsizeDC.org's Hands Off the Internet campaign. Please do the same. You may borrow from or copy this letter..." (07/16/14)

https://secure.downsizedc.org/blog/stop-the-cispa-zombie

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Time to revive the peace movement

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Matt Reichel

"It has been 10 years of dormancy for the peace movement: a full decade since the thriving demonstrations of the early Bush years gave way to liberal demands that the focus shift to defeating the president at the ballot box. This fixation remained through the two ensuing presidential elections, which have demonstrated, beyond a reasonable doubt, the futility of this approach to altering American foreign policy." (07/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/omyyn3x

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Waiting for dark

Wired
by Andy Greenberg

"Amir Taaki and Cody Wilson are cruising north through Texas on Interstate 35 in the 4:30 am predawn darkness. One of the headlights on the aging BMW Wilson’s driving is burned out, and he’s wearing sunglasses. 'They’re prescription,' he says drily. It’s May Day, every anarchist’s favorite holiday, and the two 26-year-olds have marked the occasion by releasing a piece of software that represents their best attempt so far to undermine every government in the world. A call from a lawyer friend has reminded them that creative US prosecutors might hit them with conspiracy or other charges. So they’ve decided to skip town." (07/11/14)

http://www.wired.com/2014/07/inside-dark-wallet/

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What the Supreme Court doesn’t see

In These Times
by Lauren Rankin

"This Saturday was like most Saturdays for me. While others were heading for a run, for brunch, or even were still asleep, I was on a sidewalk, wearing a neon-yellow vest, waiting for patients at an abortion clinic. I took a piece of bright orange chalk and carefully marked the eight-foot radius around the building’s entrances. My clinic has a buffer zone. On Thursday, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down Massachusetts’ 35-foot buffer zone. In a blow to patients in Massachusetts and perhaps nationwide, the Court ruled that the state’s 35-foot buffer zone at abortion clinics violates the First Amendment rights of anti-choice protesters. ... If only the Supreme Court could see what I see every weekend." (07/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m4skp69

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“Complete control”: Notorious surveillance contractor tech uncovered

Reason
by Zenon Evans

"Hacking Team, a company which has been described as an 'enemy of the Internet,' provides law enforcement and intelligence agencies with legal 'offensive technology' to infiltrate and remotely control people's phones and other digital devices. The extent of this company's capabilities remain murky, but two groups of Internet security experts say they have just exposed some of their surveillance firepower and the fact that Hacking Team has more servers spitting out malware based in the U.S. than any other country." (06/26/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kr6y7ba

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Nine stages of activism

Cagle Post
by Andy Singer

Cartoon. (06/21/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/06/nine-stages-of-activism/

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The “progressive” (aka, liberal) antiwar movement: RIP?

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by John V. Walsh

"Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) will not do the job of challenging Hillary. From Norman Solomon to Medea Benjamin they are notorious by now for putting Party over principle. Other progressives operating outside the Dem Party, and few in number, are well defended, claiming that elections are for naught. But history argues against this." (06/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/jw57pec

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Blocking social media: The new model for controlling “public unrest”

Heartland Institute Heartland Institute
by John Engle

"Governments almost always like to expand their powers over speech, particularly when that speech is damaging to the governments’ credibility. The freedom of speech is a critical right in all free societies precisely because it is the ultimate means ordinary citizens have to challenge the powers that be, to express dissent, and to organize with like-minded people dissatisfied with the way government is running. The internet has been the most powerful and valuable tool in the expansion of individuals’ power over their governments. The state quakes at the raw people-power that services like Twitter provides." (06/11/14)

http://tinyurl.com/phsr6ud

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Bowe Bergdahl & the honorable history of war deserters

The Nation
by Richard Kreitner

"'Myths abound about deserters....' So begins an essay in the April 16, 1973, issue of The Nation. Those who propagate such myths, the essay argued, 'rely on World War II clichés and stereotypes of the bad guy slinking away from his buddies under fire.' Amid a debate about whether to offer amnesty to those who had dodged the Vietnam draft and, more controversially, to those who abandoned the military once in its ranks, the Nixon administration and its allies launched what the Nation article called 'a carefully orchestrated media campaign' to disparage the patriotism and integrity (and, not always implicitly, the manhood) of the latter." (06/05/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ngzu45z

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The worst idea since Prohibition

Fox News Forum
by Jenny Beth Martin

"When then-Illinois State Senator Barack Obama sat down for a 2001 interview with WBEZ radio in Chicago, he spoke of the Constitution as 'a charter of negative liberties; says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you,' as if protecting Americans from their government was somehow problematic. Today, we’re seeing the Democratic Party President Obama leads take action to amend the Constitution so that the government can do something to you: restrict free speech. Senate Democrats are seeking to re-write the First Amendment to the Constitution to restrict speech in politics via Senate Joint Resolution 19 (S.J. Res. 19)." (06/03/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mphfwu5

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Since when does free speech require students to stay quiet?

The Nation
by Sam Warren

"Since former University of California, Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau declined to receive an honorary degree from my very own Haverford College, commentators have decried the intolerance of the protesters who criticized his invitation to commencement. Student speech obstructed Birgeneau’s right to free speech, they say -- as if its legitimate exercise requires the conferral of an honorary degree and a perch on a podium. Haverford President Daniel Weiss echoed such sentiments, if more diplomatically, in a May 20 editorial for The Philadelphia Inquirer: 'When an individual is invited to speak at an institution that holds freedom of expression as a core value, and then for whatever reason does not attend, the cause of free speech has inevitably suffered.' That 'for whatever reason' bothers me." (06/02/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o73tppy

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The FCC’s Net Neutrality proposal explained

The Nation
by Leticia Miranda

"On May 15, the Federal Communications Commission voted to move forward with their proposed rules for net neutrality, the principle that all Internet traffic should be treated equally. The proposal, which will now be open for public comment for four months, would dramatically change the Internet. The new rules would allow Internet service providers (ISPs) like Verizon or AT&T to charge websites like Facebook and Twitter for faster service. This has a whole range of consequences for you, the avid Internet user. We’ve put together this explainer to help you understand what the proposal means and how you can tell the FCC what you think about the proposed rules." (05/21/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oupbrlo

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Trigger-happy trigger warnings

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"Academia is hell. In the latest higher education fad, students now want 'trigger warnings,' according to the New York Times. It appears that some students are so fragile that they want university staff to protect them from big bad ideas. Students around the country say they want 'explicit alerts that the material they are about to read or see in a classroom might upset them or, as some students assert, cause symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder in victims of rape or in war veterans.' An Oberlin College draft -- now 'under revision' -- for trigger warnings suggested faculty 'be aware of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, cissexism, ableism and other issues of privilege and oppression.'" (05/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qdezvtv

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Occupy activist Cecily McMillan sentenced

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Dave Lindorff

"Occupy activist Cecily McMillan, convicted on May 5 of second-degree felony assault of a New York cop whom she and witnesses claimed had grabbed her breast from behind, bruising it, stood her ground before her sentence was rendered, refusing the judge’s insistence that she should 'take responsibility for her conduct.' Risking the possibility that Judge Ronald Zwiebel might sentence her to the maximum seven years for the charge she was convicted of, McMillan would only apologize for what she termed 'the accident' of involuntarily throwing back her elbow when grabbed by behind from someone she could not even see." (05/20/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nnd7ohn

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How tolerant should we be of intolerance?

The Nation
by Cathy Gere

"Earlier this year, the Arizona State Legislature passed a bill that would have allowed business owners, as long as they were asserting their religious beliefs, to deny service to lesbian and gay customers. Under pressure from the Chamber of Commerce, the state’s Republican governor, Jan Brewer, vetoed the legislation, but it was a close call. As far as its supporters were concerned, the bill was a victory for the civil rights of people of faith; for its opponents, it was just as clearly an assault on the rights of non-heterosexual minorities. This impasse highlights one of the most ticklish questions of liberal philosophy: How tolerant should tolerance be of intolerance?" [editor's note: At last, an intelligent look at the issue, worth a read for both the "thick" and the "thin" among us? - SAT] (05/19/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kwvhde3

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Today’s college motto: Shut up already

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"First the censorious left went after Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-born critic of Islam's treatment of women, after Brandeis University had invited her to receive an honorary degree. Bowing to political correctness, Brandeis rescinded the invitation. ... On Tuesday, former UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau became the latest public figure to wave the white flag. Haverford College had invited him to speak at commencement and receive an honorary degree. A group of students and professors protested on the grounds that Birgeneau had allowed UC police to use 'force' to break up a disruptive Occupy demonstration in 2011. ... Who needs censorship when protest alone can silence speakers who in any way deviate from the left's radical agenda?" (05/15/14)

https://tinyurl.com/lgdjtam

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America’s runaway surveillance state

The Nation
by Edward Snowden & Laura Poitras

"On April 30, in a ceremony at the National Press Club in Washington, the Nation Institute and the Fertel Foundation awarded their annual Ridenhour Prize for Truth-Telling to NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and filmmaker Laura Poitras. The bestselling author and journalist James Bamford, one of the world’s foremost authorities on the US intelligence community, presented the award to Snowden and Poitras, who were present by live video link. Here are excerpts from their remarks." (05/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k74ohpy

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Supreme Court: Tear down this wall!

The American Prospect
by Scott Lemieux

"The town of Greece, New York has been kicking off its town board meetings with an invocation by a religious leader since 1999. These prayers have generally been sectarian Christian ones. Two residents of the town sued, arguing that this practice constituted a state endorsement of religion inconsistent with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled that sectarian prayers are constitutional. The decision is an affront to religious equality, but it reflects the poisoned fruit of a bad precedent." (05/07/14)

http://prospect.org/article/supreme-court-tear-down-wall

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Freed prisoner of the drug war

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"'That situation didn't define who I was,' Clarence Aaron, 45, told a group gathered for a weekend celebration at the Mobile [AL] high school he attended more than two decades ago. When at age 24 he found himself in federal prison in 1993 -- after he was convicted and sentenced to life without parole for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense -- he felt what he called the 'stigma.' But the former LeFlore High varsity football star refused to give in to the bitterness of receiving a life sentence while career drug dealers received decades' less time. He had a plan: Follow the rules. Work hard. Even in maximum security, 'be the best person I can be.'" (05/02/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ocslvgu

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Will the Fourth Amendment go mobile?

The American Prospect
by Scott Lemieux

"On Tuesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in two cases whose outcomes will have major ramifications for Fourth Amendment and privacy rights. Both cases, Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie, involve convictions based, in part, on evidence uncovered from a mobile phone searched without a warrant after the suspect was arrested. ... Warrantless searches are, in general, presumptively not 'reasonable' and are therefore forbidden by the Fourth Amendment, which protects against unreasonable searches and seizures. There are, however, allowable deviations from this general rule." (04/30/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qcjxwzn

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Donald Sterling, Cliven Bundy & the truth about racism

Fox News Forum
by Rabbi Brad Hirschfield

"When you picture a racist, what images spring to mind? ... I would quickly picture someone in the kind of Nazi or KKK uniforms favored by F. Glenn Miller, who is accused in the murder of 3 people on the campuses of the Kansas City Jewish community. And without equating their words to his murderous deeds, I now add the image of these two men, Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling. I want to repeat, no moral equivalence can be drawn between murder and ugly words, but there are lessons to be learned about racial hate, and maybe even learned better, when they come from less obvious offenders." (04/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/lanzckq

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Is journalist Barrett Brown a political prisoner?

Reason Reason
by Zach Weissmueller

"Barrett Brown is a journalist and online activist who sometimes spoke on behalf of the 'hacktivist' collective known as Anonymous. He ran into trouble with the federal government in 2012 after posting a link to leaked material obtained from a hack of private intelligence agenices Stratfor and HBGary. Although Brown did not perpetrate the hack, the FBI raided his home and seized several of his laptops and and hard drives without charging him. What really incensed Brown, however, was when the government threatened his mother with an obstruction of justice charge for allegedly hiding one of Brown's laptops from FBI agents. Brown began posting a series of videos to YouTube, which are still publicly available. Because of these videos and some of Brown's online writings, the FBI raided Brown again and arrested and charged him with threatening federal agents in addition to several hacking charges related to posting the link. All told, Brown faced up to 105 years in prison." (04/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m8qqk4o

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Can’t we share the love?

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"If ever there was a city built on the bedrock belief that the government should stay out of the bedroom, it is San Francisco -- unless you own the bedroom. Then you are not free to do whatever you want with the bedroom, because people who are not owners control what you can do with your own property. Ergo, if you want to rent out a spare bedroom in your flat, or, Goddess forbid, a stand-alone unit to tourists via Airbnb, VRBO.com or a similar platform, you might run into the long arm of the law."

http://tinyurl.com/kz7u797

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Pardon me, Mr. President?

The American Prospect
by Abby Rapoport

"This week, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the start of a new initiative on clemency, encouraging thousands of inmates to send in petitions to have their sentences commuted. ... In his more than five years in office, Obama has been the stingiest president in history when it comes to granting pardons; the new program could make him one of the most generous. But the biggest news for criminal-justice reformers has been the administration’s appointment of a new pardon attorney to oversee the program: Deborah Leff, who spent her years at DOJ working on the Access to Justice Initiative, an agency meant to help low-income defendants get a fair hearing in court." (04/25/14)

http://prospect.org/article/pardon-me-mr-president

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Obama right to grant drug offenders clemency

Fox News Forum
by Dr. Keith Ablow

"Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week that the Obama administration will welcome applications for clemency from non-violent drug offenders -- users or, perhaps, distributors -- who have served at least 10 years in jail and who were convicted under laws that have since changed. ... In my opinion, this Obama clemency initiative is very wise and should be just the beginning of re-examining the horrors visited upon many thousands of defendants and their families when rigid, draconian sentences were handed out to them like candy -- often without much, if any, regard for mitigating circumstances like drug dependency or severe psychiatric symptoms." [editor's note: Well, he's at least got it half-right, though his method would be "treatment" for their "transgressions" - SAT] (04/24/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ltlxeve

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Liberty movement rising

Alt-Market
by Brandon Smyth

"The label of 'fringe' is a common one used by statists, bureaucrats and paid shills in order to marginalize those who would stand against government corruption. The primary assertion being sold is that the 'majority' joyously supports the establishment; and the majority, of course, is always right." (04/17/14)

http://www.alt-market.com/articles/2097-liberty-movement-rising

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Civil disobedience: King versus Huemer

Bryan Caplan EconLog
by Bryan Caplan

"Martin Luther King's 'Letter from a Birmingham Jail' defends an odd position: You may morally break an unjust law IF you make no effort to evade the legal punishment for the unjust law you break. The obvious question: If the law is unjust, doesn't consenting to punishment simply compound the injustice?" (04/15/14)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/04/civil_disobedie_1.html

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Women and guns, women and freedom

Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership
by Claire Wolfe

"But I fear that a lot of the new women who are buying guns, taking training, and enjoying the skills and thrills of shooting sports haven't (yet) grasped the bigger implications of their choices. That is, they still have a ways to go before they understand that guns don't merely protect people; they potentially protect freedom. Without greater understanding of history, of the principles of liberty, and of the Bill of Rights, many of these women may go no farther than they already have." (04/06/14)

http://jpfo.org/articles-assd04/women-and-guns-women-and-freedom.htm

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Hounding of Eich: New cover for dark money defenders

The New Republic
by Alec MacGillis

"As if there weren’t enough reasons for liberals to have misgivings about the hounding of a Silicon Valley executive over his $1,000 check to an anti-same sex marriage campaign, there’s also this: the episode is giving cover to those fighting to keep secret the vast sums of dark money flowing into American politics. When the Supreme Court’s 5-4 ruling in McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission last week eliminated overall limits on how much wealthy donors could contribute to candidates, parties and political action committees in a given campaign cycle, supporters of the decision rationalized that it would be better for democratic accountability because these contributions would be public." (04/08/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oloaq5e

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Get thee behind me, Satan … but first, write a check

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"After the U.S. Supreme Court issued a 5-4 decision Wednesday that threw out a cap on the total amount wealthy donors can give to federal candidates in an election season, Democrats and self-proclaimed do-gooders cried foul at the prospect of more big money tainting Washington politics. ... Stop, please. The Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org estimates that GOP biggie Sheldon Adelson and his wife bulldozed $93 million into conservative super PACS in 2012. Does anyone inside the Beltway really believe that special interests have been holding back and now that they can give $5,200 to more than nine candidates, the big money is really going to roll out?" (04/04/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m9stw7t

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Review — Kairos: A Proposal to Restore Federalism to the United States

Living Freedom
by Claire Wolfe

"Laird Minor, a good guy and a member of the Living Freedom Commentariat, has just published a new book. It’s called Kairos: A Proposal to Restore Federalism to the United States.Okay, I hear the keyboards of the anarchists and cynics charging up now. I suspect I’m even hearing the sound of a few claws being sharpened out there. I suspect Laird’s expecting that." (04/06/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ngz44bg

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The Internet is tolerant. Don’t agree? Keep out

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"Mozilla's new CEO, Brendan Eich, gave $1,000 to Proposition 8, the 2008 ballot measure passed by a majority of California voters to limit marriage to one man and one woman. The U.S. Supreme Court voided the measure, but the hate campaign against its supporters lives on. There's a Twitter campaign to force Eich to step down." [editor's note: Umm, update ... he did; her points are still valid, though -- and I did NOT stop using their browser, which is still superior to pretty much anything else out there - SAT] (04/03/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ll27v9y

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McCutcheon: Should the rich speak louder?

Reuters
by Jeffrey Rosen

"On Wednesday, the Supreme Court handed down its most important decision on campaign finance reform since Citizens United. The decision, McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, seemed to divide along familiar ideological lines, with Chief Justice John Roberts writing the majority opinion for five conservatives, and Justice Stephen Breyer writing the dissent for the four liberals. What really divided the court, however, wasn’t partisan politics pitting Republicans against Democrats but two conflicting views of the First Amendment." [editor's note: As usual, an ill-fated attempt at controlling oligarchy behavior, rather than limiting the effects of its power - SAT] (04/03/14)

http://tinyurl.com/laf3cuy

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Liberty: Rooted in rights

Strike the Root
by Jim Davies

"Everyone wants to be free, to make his own decisions without interference. That's a no-brainer; if there are any exceptions beyond those unhappily born without the ability to manage for themselves, they are very few. I never met anyone who said 'Rule me, please!'" (03/31/14)

http://www.strike-the-root.com/liberty-rooted-in-rights

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Action Items


| News | Commentary |

August 4: Rally against unconstitutional surveillance

1984 Day

"This Sunday – 8/4 – Rally Against Unconstitutional Surveillance
Join thousands of participants in 1984 Day rallies around the country."

http://1984day.com/

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Occupy Wall Street: Strike The Root! Video Contest

Cop Block

"Can you make a video that communicates the ideas of complete liberty to those at the Occupy Wall Street protests? $400 (as of Sat. Oct 1st). Deadline: 11:55PM EST on Sunday, Oct. 16th" [Sponsors: Strike the Root, Cop Block, Freedom's Phoenix, Liberty on Tour] (10/05/11)

http://www.copblock.org/occupy-wall-street-strike-the-root/

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Lemonade Freedom Day Aug. 20

Lemonade Freedom Day

"Please join us on August 20, 2011 and set up your own lemonade stand. We need to send a message to everyone who is listening. They can not shut down the kids lemonade stands. If you do not have kids or do not want to set up your own lemonade stand, please support a local kid's lemonade stand. Selling lemonade is not a crime!" (07/26/11)

http://www.lemonadefreedom.com/

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Rethinking a bug-out

Living Freedom

"Like most of you, I’ve always had a bug-out bag — a grab-and-go kit — around the house. But I realized as I worked yesterday that I never took those kits completely seriously. Thing is, I didn’t believe I’d need to bug out. Until now, I’ve mostly lived in the sort of places other people would bug out to." (03/21/11)

http://tinyurl.com/49qmqh4

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