Liberty Activist News Digest

News


| Commentary | Action Items |

Judicial Watch: DOJ attorneys suggest “lost” Lerner emails still exist

Fox News

"In a stunning revelation, the president of the conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch told Fox News that Justice Department attorneys have intimated that Lois Lerner's 'lost' emails likely exist in back-up computers. Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said the news came during a Friday phone call with Department of Justice attorneys representing the IRS in Judicial Watch's FOIA lawsuit against the IRS. Fitton said DOJ attorneys told him the federal government backs up all computer records to ensure the continuity of government in event of a catastrophe. They told him that retrieving the emails from Lerner, a former IRS official, would be 'too onerous' -- a legal burden that can exempt an agency from complying with FOIA requests." (08/25/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q4yvtkr

No Comments »

US officials rule: Monkey selfies cannot be copyrighted

Raw Story

"Bad news for the British photographer who allowed a curious monkey to take a selfie using his equipment -- or, indeed, any of us looking to allow wild animals to borrow our smartphones or cameras to take self-portraits -- US officials have issued new rules declaring that the images cannot be copyrighted. In a recent update to its regulations, the US Copyright Office has ruled that it 'will not register works produced by nature, animals, or plants,' and that it 'cannot register a work purportedly created by divine or supernatural beings.' It even goes on to list a series of examples, the first of which specifically states that 'a photograph taken by a monkey' could not be copyrighted by the agency." (08/23/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p5vff4b

No Comments »

India: Police rearrest hunger-striking activist, citing suicide risk

The Globe and Mail [Canada]

"Indian human rights activist Irom Sharmila, on hunger strike for the past 14 years in protest against alleged army atrocities, was arrested again on Friday two days after being released from hospital detention. 'Sharmila has been rearrested. It is clear that she is attempting suicide and we cannot allow her to do so,' said M.C. Singh, a police official in Imphal .... Sharmila, 42, went on hunger strike in 2000 in protest against a law originating in the British colonial era that gives security forces wide powers to search, enter property and shoot on sight. During her detention, she was force-fed by doctors through a tube going into her nose to keep her alive." (08/22/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mvje4d3

No Comments »

Snowden: US cyber warfare program could hurt innocent countries

Reuters

"A developing U.S. cyber security program would not only hunt down and halt potential computer attacks but also strike back without staff oversight, according to former U.S. National Security Agency contractor, Edward Snowden. In an interview with WIRED magazine made public Wednesday, Snowden said the program (MonsterMind) could hurt countries caught in the middle as hackers could disguise the origin of their attacks by routing them through computers in other nations." (08/13/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mwhdrvs

No Comments »

MD: Curfew kicks in for kids in Baltimore

Reuters

"After 20 years, the kids of Baltimore can no longer stay out until midnight. A new curfew law is in effect that is among the strictest in the nation. ... Children under 14 must be home by 9 p.m., 14 through 16 indoors by 10 p.m. on weekdays and 11 p.m. on weekends and during summer. Kids found after those hours will be taken to recreation centers until parents or guardians can pick them up." (08/09/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p5ry5ml

No Comments »

Facebook privacy suit attracts 25,000 users

BBC News [UK state media]

"A data privacy campaigner has signed up 25,000 people to a class action lawsuit being taken against Facebook. Max Schrems alleges that the way the social network monitors its members' activity on and off the site puts it in breach of EU laws. As part of the claim, he also alleges that the company co-operated with Prism, a US surveillance scheme. Facebook has previously denied knowing about Prism before it was mentioned in leaked US government documents." (08/06/14)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-28677667

No Comments »

DC: Residents to vote on marijuana legalization

Christian Science Monitor

"Washington, D.C., voters will get the chance to weigh in on marijuana legalization at the polls this November. The D.C. Board of Elections unanimously voted Wednesday to include legalization of recreational marijuana on November ballots. If passed, the initiative would allow individuals over 21 years old to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and would permit cultivation of up to six plants at home. The ballot question does not address the sale of marijuana; the city council is considering a separate bill that would tax and regulate marijuana." (08/06/14)

http://tinyurl.com/orn2t7q

No Comments »

Spain: Barcelona’s booming cannabis clubs create “Holland of the South”

Raw Story

"Catalonia’s public health agency has proposed strict new measures to regulate cannabis clubs in the region, amid claims that Barcelona is on its way to rivalling Amsterdam as a smoker’s haven. Amsterdam has tightened restrictions on cannabis sales just as the number of clubs in Spain has proliferated from some 40 in 2010 to more than 700 today, say smokers’ groups. The Catalan capital is home to more than half of these clubs. From swanky clubs that span three floors to others with a small room and a few plastic chairs, the clubs take advantage of a provision in Spain’s drug laws that allow marijuana to be grown and consumed for private use." (08/04/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oof4twa

No Comments »

Study: US law enforcement sees sovereign citizen movement as “top terrorist threat”

Raw Story

"In a new study conducted by researchers tasked with studying of the root causes and consequences of terrorism in the U.S. and abroad, the sovereign citizen movement was perceived to be the gravest terrorist threat, rivaling Islamist extremists and militia/patriot groups. According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START), sovereign citizens were the top concern of law enforcement, even as a belief that some domestic groups including the KKK, Christian Identity, and neo-Nazis represent less of an actual terrorist threat when compared to a previous study." [editor's note: This is fortunately NOT the POV of all LEOs - SAT] (08/03/14)

http://tinyurl.com/n6tr9jp

No Comments »

TX: First grader banished to floor for weeks, punished for her artwork

Fox News

"A first-grader was reportedly forced to sit on the floor of her Texas classroom for several weeks as punishment for drawing on a desk. The girl, a student at Westwood Elementary in Houston, was scolded by her teacher after drawing a picture on her desk, according to KHOU.com. The girl's identity has not been made public at her family's request. The child's mother told the website that she received an email from her daughter's teacher about the incident, but was unaware that she'd been forced to sit on the floor." (07/31/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pfdmsjg

1 Comment »

CA: Sex website seizure spurs San Francisco bid to decriminalize prostitution

Reuters

"The head of San Francisco’s Erotic Service Providers Union has been a sex worker for 24 years -- and 'I hope to be doing it for another 24,' says Maxine Doogan. But she dreams of a future when she won’t be treated like a criminal and could earn a little respect in the city that launched the fight for sex worker rights 41 years ago. Calls by Bay Area sex workers for decriminalizing consensual prostitution have been spurred anew following the FBI seizure of a West Coast sex services website that prosecutors say hooked up clients with prostitutes and which sex workers saw as a vital forum to screen dangerous clients." (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l2wvoyr

No Comments »

WA: State pols weigh “In God We Trust” plaque

Fox News

"Should 'In God We Trust' adorn the chambers of Washington state’s Pierce County Council? That’s the apparently controversial question facing councilmembers on Tuesday, a day after a council committee decided to bring the proposal to a vote of the full seven-member council, the Tacoma News Tribune reports. Councilman Jim McCune, the Republican sponsor of the measure, said the national motto is inspiring and patriotic -- and he’s unclear why the proposal has created such controversy." (07/29/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mwcbhxc

No Comments »

Russia: Pussy Riot takes Kremlin to European court

Raw Story

"Two members of the feminist group Pussy Riot are suing the Russian government in the European court of human rights (ECHR) over their imprisonment for a 2012 'punk prayer' protest at a Moscow cathedral. Maria Alyokhina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, who were given an amnesty in December after serving 21 months in prison and pre-trial confinement, are demanding €120,000 each in compensation, plus €10,000 in court fees. They argue that the investigation and prosecution violated their rights and amounted to torture." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/oyhvpua

No Comments »

CD: Handgun ban ruled unconstitutional, again

Christian Science Monitor

"Washington D.C. residents can now legally carry handguns in the streets of the District, according to a federal judge. In his ruling, Judge Frederick Scullin Jr. wrote that the current D.C. ban on carrying handguns outside the home was unconstitutional. Second Amendment advocates now have another legal victory. And both Washington D.C. and Chicago have lost another round in their decades-old legal battles to ban guns from their cities." (07/27/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nekybmf

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »


Commentary


| News | Action Items |

The most wanted man in the world

Wired
by Scott Dadich

"The message arrives on my 'clean machine,' a MacBook Air loaded only with a sophisticated encryption package. 'Change in plans,' my contact says. 'Be in the lobby of the Hotel ______ by 1 pm. Bring a book and wait for ES to find you.' ES is Edward Snowden, the most wanted man in the world. For almost nine months, I have been trying to set up an interview with him --traveling to Berlin, Rio de Janeiro twice, and New York multiple times to talk with the handful of his confidants who can arrange a meeting. Among other things, I want to answer a burning question: What drove Snowden to leak hundreds of thousands of top-secret documents, revelations that have laid bare the vast scope of the government's domestic surveillance programs?" (08/14)

http://www.wired.com/2014/08/edward-snowden/

No Comments »

The end of reefer madness?

The Nation
by Katrina vanden Heuvel

"Dropping 'a bomb on our country’s disastrous war on marijuana with unprecedented force,' The New York Times launched last month High Time: An Editorial Series on Marijuana Legalization, a seven-parter that puts the paper squarely—I believe—on the right side of history on this issue. (Happily, with the exception of its title, 'High Time' is refreshingly free of bad puns and Cheetos jokes.) Citing 'vast social costs,' 'racist results' and 'overwhelming evidence that addiction and dependence are relatively minor problems,' the Times editorial board advocated a repeal of the nation’s cannabis prohibition. Last November, of course, The Nation went all-in on marijuana-law reform with our 'Dope and Change' issue ..." (08/04/14)

http://www.thenation.com/blog/180874/end-reefer-madness

No Comments »

A new phase in the marijuana legalization debate

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"On Sunday, the New York Times editorialized for the first time in favor of a repeal of the federal ban on marijuana, and did so in dramatic fashion, with a statement on the front page of the Sunday Review section and two more pieces going into greater detail. It wasn't particularly surprising, given the generally liberal bent of the Times editorial page and the fact that support for legalization has moved firmly into the mainstream. But it's still important, because the Times remains the most influential news outlet in the country, and they have an unrivaled ability to set the agenda for the rest of the media. There is a shift going on in this debate, and it isn't just that mainstream politicians and newspapers can now support legalization." (07/28/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m22xm6k

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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/

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

“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

No Comments »

Nine stages of activism

Cagle Post
by Andy Singer

Cartoon. (06/21/14)

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »

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

No Comments »


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/

No Comments »

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/

No Comments »

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/

No Comments »

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

No Comments »


Our Sponsors




Making a living off your Drupal site?

Drupal Managed Hosting

Fed up with Maintenance and Hosting companies?