We spend a lot of time looking at the section of national income that goes to the top 1%. That’s interesting, but the fact that the 1% pays a much larger share of tax is a lot more significant. Washington, DC doesn’t want to attack “Too big to fail” banks because their taxes pay bureaucrats’ salaries…
For the second consecutive year, Edward Snowden appeared at South by South West in Austin, Texas, and once again, he was not able to attend in person. Snowden, again, appeared via internet stream, this time to a select group of people from the technology and policy world. The Verge reports, “Sunday Yokubaitis, president of online privacy company Golden Frog, described as a ‘call to arms’ for tech companies to foil spying with better privacy tools.” Adding that “Snowden said that as policy reform lagged, companies should adopt more secure technology that could block surveillance altogether or make it too difficult to pursue en masse. A big focus was end-to-end encryption, which would mean no one (including companies) could see the contents of communications except the sender and recipient.”
One topic not discussed was in regards to the former NSA contractor: the possibility of a fair trial. In early March, one of Snowden’s lawyers said, “[Edward] Snowden is ready to return to the [United] States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial.” Jesselyn Radack, who also works on Snowden’s legal team, says a trial under the Espionage Act—the World War I-era law that Snowden is alleged to have violated—“would not be considered fair.” Radack reportedly said, “Snowden would be amenable to coming back to the United States for the kind of plea bargain that Gen. [David] Petraeus received.”
Patreus plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified material and will serve no jail time for his actions. Unlike Snowden, who gave classified documents about mass surveillance to members of the media; Petraeus gave classified info to his biographer and girlfriend, Paula Broadwell. Patreus then lied to the FBI about having given Broadwell access to the documents.
By contrast, Edward Snowden never lied about his actions, and even explained why he did it. We don’t yet know if Edward Snowden will ever be allowed to return to the United States, or if he will ever appear in a court. However, he should not have to appear in court, because he should be granted a full pardon.
I know that will not happen as long as Barack Obama is in the White House, because it was Obama’s Administration that sought espionage charges in the first place. Nor do I expect a Republican Presidentt to issue such a pardon either. Even the supposed libertarian Rand Paul has said that Snowden should spend “a few years in prison.”
It is clear that neither major party will do what is right, and will only serve to protect their own interests. Is it any wonder that both parties now have an approval rating below 40%?
During the 2015 NH Liberty Forum, the NH Liberty Party held its third annual convention.
The NH Liberty Party is an avowed pro-secessionist party with a 5 plank platform that can not be changed “except by 100% of voting members at the annual convention.” Of course, secession is only 1 plank in the platform, with the party also taking a staunch libertarian position on Self-determination, Non-aggression, Crime, and Voluntary Interaction.
The reason for these libertarian planks, according to Ian Freeman, party co-founder and co-chair, is to exclude the bigots and xenophobes who may wish to seceded to then implement their bigotry.
Many people who advocate for secession will not use the word, seeing it as a third rail, of sorts. see more…
The Salvation Army launched a campaign today on the back of the blue/black and gold/white dress. My feeds asplode.
In response — and not to diminish the rights of women, but rather to elevate the rights of everyone — we present the Hammer of Truth edit:
Less words, more truth.
In late February, the Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division released a reports stating, “On December 31, 2014, Colorado concluded a full twelve months of lawful retail marijuana sales to adults over 21 years of age. The State experienced many firsts, such as the implementation of the first-in-the-world comprehensive regulatory model overseeing cultivation, products manufacturing, and sale of marijuana for non-medical retail use.” see more…
Many Republican lawmakers are digging in their heels in the fight to defund implementation of what they see as an executive overreach by President Obama. They’re so entrenched in their position that they’re acting as though they’ll allow the Department of Homeland Security budget to not be adopted. Which in reality wouldn’t have much impact on DHS activities, as approximately 200,000 of the 230,000 DHS employees are considered essential. The Chicago Tribune reports, “Most training, hiring, research and purchasing would be suspended. Border security, disaster relief and cybersecurity programs would continue uninterrupted.” In other words, nothing will really change, except that “essential” DHS employees will work without a paycheck until a budget is adopted. see more…
After nearly four years of delay, the FAA is poised to release regulations for the commercial use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS/drone). A document, that could be a draft of the proposed regulations, was spotted on a federal website on Friday by a drone user and downloaded before being removed from the website, according to the Wall Street Journalhost. Forbes reports, “The document is dated February 2015 and is captioned ‘Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Regulatory Evaluation, Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems’ authored by George Thurston of the Office of Aviation Policy and Plans, Economic Analysis Division. But, it’s possible this is a leaked early draft that has since been revised or is otherwise incomplete or inaccurate.” see more…
The prosecution of Barrett Brown, which seemed to go under the radar of the mainstream media, is one of the most important cases of my lifetime, and has taught us several important things.
There is no Freedom of the Press:
Barrett Brown is an investigative journalist and had been a contributor to Vanity Fair and The Guardian. He also founded Project PM, a project to crowdsource review of documents for investigative journalism.
EFF reports, “Brown’s legal trouble began in 2011, when hackers obtained a voluminous set of emails from government contractor HBGary and placed them on the Internet. He turned to crowdsourcing to review records and emails taken from another government contractor, Stratfor, after hackers broke into their servers later in 2011. Those records included millions of emails discussing opportunities for rendition and assassination, and detailing attempts to subvert journalists, political groups and even foreign leaders. They also included tens of thousands of credit card numbers and their verification codes.” see more…
The Drug War is complicated stuff, and Civil Asset Forfeiture (CAF) is one of the more convoluted bits of it.
CAF is a license for theft by government. All levels of government want to take advantage.
The federal government does a lot of it, and individual states do a lot of it.
Up until last Friday, the federal government made it even easier for local police forces to do it — encouraging them to make all sorts of unnecessary stops and seizures, even if their state laws were against CAF or limited its use.
So even if a state wanted to shut down CAF in their jurisdiction, the police could ignore their legislators and continue regardless. This program, known as “Equitable Sharing” was limited by Eric Holder last Friday. It doesn’t end CAF of course, but it does allow state reform to go forward, which is a big fricking deal, and it has made the worst abuses less likely.
I think cautious excitement about the progress made is the right response, as I make clear in my video on the topic: see more…
Eric Holder made headlines this week when he announced a new policy prohibiting state and local governments from using federal civil asset forfeiture laws for most cases.
The Washington Post reported, “Holder’s action represents the most sweeping check on police power to confiscate personal property since the seizures began three decades ago as part of the war on drugs.”
The DOJ’s Equitable Sharing program has allowed thousands of local and state police agencies to have seized nearly $3 billion in cash and property since 2008.
Using Equitable Sharing, a state or local police department or drug task force would seize property and then have that property adopted by a federal agency.
The agency making the seizure would then be allowed to keep up to 80 percent of the value of the items confiscated. see more…
We’ve finally entered the e-commerce club and are offering branded products through the HoT website. You can check it out from the menu above.
Right now, we one item for sale: our sticker/decal in nine amazing colors. Even better, it’s 30% off until the end of January.
Not many elected officials explain to their constituents the reasons they vote a certain way on a given bill. Even fewer are those who will explain their vote on every bill! Justin Amash seems to be doing just that, posting on his facebook profile an explanation for his votes.
Most recently, he explained his reasons for voting “present” on a bill to authorize construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline: “I voted present on H R 3, Northern Route Approval Act. The Keystone XL pipeline is a private project owned by TransCanada Corporation. This bill improperly exempts TransCanada Corporation—and no other company—from laws that require pipeline owners and operators to obtain certain government permits and approvals.
I support construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, and holding it up for over four years (with no end in sight) for political reasons is wrong. see more…
I recently read a pair of articles that on the surface are only tangentially connected. However after a little deep thought, I realized the authors are looking at the same problem from both a micro and macro level. The articles were “‘Buy Local’ is really bad economics” and “The economic case for open borders.” Again, after some thought I came up with the hypothesis: people who are xenophobic have a flawed understanding of economics. see more…
Everyone has a pet explanation for the mass shootings that keep happening. Some say video games, progressives say gun control. I think it’s all much simpler than that. We need to stop turning killers into celebrities…
Allow me to start by saying I have not only played video games since their home inspection via consoles, but I have professionally tested multiple titles for EA, Sony and Sega.
In the 1990’s the advancements of home PCs and CD burners brought us the ability to do what we have done with HBO, and Cinemax for decades with VCR’s. Youths figured out how to copy their games onto write-able CD’s. In doing so the long held right of returning an unwanted product was put under the micro scope.
To “protect” their investment capitalists in video game development and distribution had a brilliant idea — one electronics hardware/media manufacturers the world over would use to this day.
There have been major stories regarding cannabis over the last 15 months. On August 29, 2013, the Department of Justice announced, “Based on assurances that those states [that have legalized cannabis] will impose an appropriately strict regulatory system, the Department has informed the governors of both states that it is deferring its right to challenge their legalization laws at this time.” Further, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole sent a memo to all United States Attorneys explaining the DOJ’s stance. see more…