Lindsey Graham (R-SC) warned that the Drone Strikes were going to be an issue and “[Obama]’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.” Well IMAGINE THAT. You’d almost think that big-L Libertarians were SOCIALLY LIBERAL.
“Every member of Congress needs to get on board,” Graham said. “It’s not fair to the president to let him, leave him out there alone quite frankly. He’s getting hit from libertarians and the left.
“I think the middle of America understands why you would want a drone program to go after a person like Anwar al-Awlaki,” Graham added.
“The process of being targeted I think is legal, quite frankly laborious and should reside in the commander in chief to determine who an enemy combatant is and what kind of force to use.”
“If this ever goes to court I guarantee you it will be a slam dunk support of what the administration is doing. I think one of the highlights of President Obama’s first time and the beginning of his second term is the way he’s been able to use drones against terrorists.”
So, basically, Obama’s in the unique position of being supported by the people who he never once promised anything to and pretty much hate him, and being opposed by every one that had even a small chance of supporting him (once Bob-freaking-Barr was the LP nominee, a LOT of the LP jumped to supporting Obama, as Paul was a non-issue before the LP convention, and there were many hurt feelings about the treatment of Paul by the GOP that year).
If this shouldn’t be a wake up call to Obama, I really don’t know what will be, get rid of the freaking drones already!
We, the members of the Libertarian Party, challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual.
That line, especially the bit about the “cult of the omnipotent state,” has been the subject of many internal battles within the party at conventions. There is a group within the party and the broader libertarian movement that believe that language prevents us from growing as a party. After all, the two legacy parties don’t have that kind of language and they win elections.
I come from the libertarian wing of the Libertarian Party. I’ve been a Libertarian since I was 10 or 11 years old and my father would take me to meetings of the Maricopa County Libertarian Party. I vote for Ernie Hancock when he runs for Chair because I’ve known him longer than anyone else in the party. I’ve never been anything other than a big-L Libertarian.
You can be sure of succeeding in your attacks if you only attack places which are undefended.You can ensure the safety of your defense if you only hold positions that cannot be attacked.
Lee Wrights once said, “We can make a difference by being different.” I believe that. The Libertarian Party is still much smaller than the two legacy parties. We cannot beat them by playing the game on their terms and by their rules.
This is not to say that our candidates should not be professional in appearance, nor that we can ignore the mechanics of running political campaigns. But it is to say that we can’t just be “Republicans who mean it,” or “Democrats who really believe in civil liberties.” If all we offer is a slightly better version of a legacy party, most voters won’t risk their vote for something slightly better when the legacy party candidate could, you know, win.
We can win by being the only party that supports actual freedom. Social freedom. Economic freedom. All of your freedoms. All of the time. Without exception.
These strikes are legal, they are ethical and they are wise.
According to a memo (PDF) obtained by NBC, the Obama Administration has decided that they can kill anyone overseas with a drone strike, including American citizens, with no trial, charge, or any due process protections at all. The Democrats don’t have a problem with this, since it’s a Democrat making this unilateral decision to kill people. Oddly, the Republicans don’t have a problem with it either, possibly because they want to have that power in 2016.
Libertarians are the only ones who have a problem with it. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution clearly states, “nor shall any person be…deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.” There is no more stark and frightening example of “the cult of the omnipotent state,” than the idea that it’s okay to murder people drone missiles as long as it’s the President doing it and he’s pretty sure you’re a bad guy.
I’m a Libertarian and I challenge the cult of the omnipotent state and defend the rights of the individual, and that most certainly includes the right to not be murdered by the government with no due process at all.
On Monday, January 28th, Bill Stevens gave a short three minute testimony to a special Connecticut Congress hearings called the “Bipartisan Task Force on Gun Violence Prevention and Children’s Safety”.
Here’s a transcript of his powerful testimony:
My name is Bill Stevens, I live in Newtown.
My fifth grade daughter was in “lock down” on December 14th, 2012. Unfortunately, her classmate’s little sister… was murdered in Sandy Hook that day when “lock down” and 911 weren’t enough to protect her from an evil person. Not protect her from an assault rifle or some type of inanimate object, but from an evil person.
Quite different, from the elaborate security you all enjoy here at the capitol. It was fun getting frisked on the way in. [Some laughter]
I’m not here to cite the crime statistics: lives saved with a gun, or the economic impact of the proposed asinine legislation (some of these gun control bills you have proposed). I will however read from the Connecticut state constitution. Section 15 reads very clearly… We all know what the Second Amendment says… But section 15 in the state constitution says very clearly: “Every citizen has a right to bear arms in defense of himself and the state.” [Applause]
There’s no registration, there’s no permitting, there’s no background check. It’s quite clear.
I’m frankly shocked by some of the testimonies today.
In case some here failed American history, there’s something called the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, and a process by which to amend it. The same goes for the state constitution. These rights are inalienable and endowed by our creator — not you politicians — to all citizens regardless of gender, race or creed. In order to limit the rights of citizens, there is something called “due process”. And, “legislation” is not “due process”.
You wanna take my rights away, let’s go to court.
And with regard to due process, the final report with all the facts on Sandy Hook will not likely be issued until this Summer. It was stated clearly in the newspapers. How can any legislation be passed in good faith or good conscience without all the facts?
Again, gun ownership is a constitutional right, but it’s not for everyone. That’s okay, and shouldn’t make gun owners suspects regardless of how many guns they have or how much ammunition they may have.
My guns are not dangerous. They are at home, locked up, collecting dust and cat hair. [Laughter]
But criminals and tyrants — tyrants, especially — BEWARE! “Lock down” is not an option at the Stevens residence. And 911 will be dialed after the security of my home has been established.
Why is that same security my daughter enjoys at home with her dad not available at school in Newtown? That is what you should be considering, not making her dad a criminal.
Charlton Heston made the phrase “from my cold dead hands” famous. And I will tell you this today: You will take my ability to protect my Victoria from my cold dead hands. [Applause]
Mr. Stevens then pounded his fist on the table, closed his laptop and strutted out of the hearing like a boss. And America applauded his audacity to stand up to tyrants and criminals.
UPDATE 2/7: We have been informed that Bill Stevens is not actually a Sandy Hook parent, in fact he has gone out of his way to disabuse several media outlets of this notion. From an update at the bottom of an article at Examiner.com:
Thank you for the nice article about my testimony in Hartford. Unlike the Liberal media who don’t let facts get in the way, I just wanted to let you know that my daughter does not attend Sandy Hook Elementary, but was in “lock down” nonetheless on December 14, 2012 at Reed Intermediate School (5th & 6th grade) about a mile away with her classmates, one of whom lost his little sister that day.
As you’ll note in his testimony, at no time does he claim to be a Sandy Hook parent, instead saying simply that he is from Newtown and had a daughter in a school that was in lockdown.
We have edited the title of the post to reflect this revelation and regret the error. We were just as snookered as everyone else by the wishful thinking of the YouTube video description.
Police and military are conducting scary drills that involve firing blanks in schools and downtown areas. ThinkProgress.com reports, “Students at a high school in Illinois experienced a uniquely terrifying school shooting drill on [January 30]. Instead of conducting a regular school lockdown, Cary-Grove High School administrators simulated gunfire by shooting off blanks in the hallways while students locked their classroom doors, pulled the curtains, and hid.” TV stations in Houston & Miami are reporting of military drills that involved military helicopters and gunfire.
In Miami, “a Black Hawk helicopter flew over the [downtown] area. According to Miami Police, it was part of a military drill, simulating an attack in an urban community. Miami was specifically chosen for the simulation.” WSVN-TV in Miami reported, “Police were unable to disclose specifics about what agencies were involved, but they said the drills were done at night for the public’s safety.” Miami Police Commander Delrish Moss said, “the reason they were done at night, and the reason they were done in the later hours is because we are trying to minimize disruption to traffic, minimize safety concerns.” He also said the drills will continue and cites security concerns as the reason for the secrecy.
The drill in Houston involved several agencies taking over an old high school building. KTRK-TV reported (full video), “There were armed men in fatigues, plenty of weapons and what many thought were real live rounds.” Frances Jerrals who lives near the area said, “When you see this, you think the worst. When you hear this, you think the worst. I felt like I was in a warzone.”
Parents of students from the Cary-Grove High School in suburban Chicago received a letter that read, “These drills help our students and staff to be prepared should a crisis occur, but it may cause some students to have an emotional reaction.” Protecting children was viewed as a reason for the drills in Houston as well. Glenn DeWitt from Houston said, “If it’s to protect our kids, I’m all for it.”
I’m reminded of the quote from Benjamin Franklin, “those who would give up essential liberty for a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
I certainly don’t like the idea of military and police conducting drills in populated areas and it disturbs me that more people aren’t outraged!
It’s not just politics that the mainstream media has a duopoly problem with. CBS has decreed that the only fizzy sugar drink ads it will be airing during the Super Bowl are Coke or Pepsi:
CBS banned SodaStream’s Super Bowl spot because, apparently, it was too much of a direct hit to two of its biggest sponsors, Coke and Pepsi.
Please pause and read that sentence again.
I am shocked that CBS would ban a spot for being too competitive. But I’m even more shocked that the advertising world isn’t up in arms about it.
The media’s job isn’t to judge.
SodaStream has a product that could be wildly disruptive to the soda industry, if successful. As in, the “automobile” to the soda industry’s “buggy whip.” If SodaStream takes off, Coke and Pepsi would have a lot to worry about, for sure. But isn’t that what progress is all about?
CBS is protecting its relationship with Coke and Pepsi. Those two brands spend big bucks on the Super Bowl and on the network, in general. I get it. But all CBS would have to do, if Coke and Pepsi put the pressure on, is say, “Hey, we’re just the unbiased middle man here. It’s not up to us what competitors of yours say about you.” There’s no need for the medium to have a say in the message. […]
No more ‘Davids’ allowed.
I also called veteran creative director, David Baldwin, of Baldwin&, to get his take with CBS’s move. He nailed it. “That’s a disturbing turn of events. No more Davids allowed I guess at CBS.”
And it’s so unnecessary. If CBS had simply played the “unbiased middleman” card in this case, there’s very little Coke and Pepsi could have done. They certainly would not have pulled their Super Bowl ads. Instead, Coke and Pepsi would have been forced to retrench and figure out a marketing way to solve this SodaStream problem and not a mafia way (I mean that metaphorically, of course).
Now, CBS has essentially opened the door for its biggest advertisers to forever complain about those “annoying little competitors” that are trying to steal share. “Take them off the air. Make them stop!” is what they will scream. “You did it for Coke and Pepsi.”
And it won’t only be CBS. All media will have to bear the burden of this biased, un-capitalistic, anti-progress, move. But, guess what? This isn’t the first time in recent months CBS has overplayed its hand.
Libertarians have long complained of their blackout in the media, yet we’ve seen a more and more blatant bias towards Democrats and Republicans in news coverage at outlets such as CBS. “We told you so” has become the standard refrain from libertarians when it comes to voting for the lesser of two evils presented as the only viable choices.
Thankfully, corporations like SodaStream won’t take the affront lying down, and I expect a major campaign is in the works similar to when UK broadcaster ClearCast also banned them:
Clearcast said in a statement that the ad “denigrated other soft drinks.” In response, SodaStream U.K.’s managing director Fiona Hope called the move “absurd” and said that Clearcast clearly gives priority to soft drink giants.
But it seems SodaStream will have the last laugh. Bloomberg reports that the company is enjoying considerable levels of success on the stock market this year. In the U.K., the video has been viewed more than a millon times online. Jim Chartier, an analyst from research firm Monness Crespi Hardt & Co., explains the obvious — that “SodaStream got a ton of free advertising and publicity because the ad was banned.”
Regardless of whether or not SodaStream portrayed big soda companies unfairly in this ad, it can’t be denied that it has baited big outfits in the past. This past summer, SodaStream erected a caged display of used soft drink and water bottles in South Africa — including Coca-Cola products — to illustrate the wastefulness of bottled drinks. Similar SodaStream exhibits have popped up across the globe in the last two years, with stops in Times Square and Union Square in New York City.
Coca-Cola responded with a cease and desist letter — after which SodaStream announced plans to build a used bottle display not far from Coca-Cola headquarters in Atlanta, Georgia.
Score for the little(r) guy, I hope they are planning to stick it to CBS as well.
Update by Stephen VanDyke: This ban is actually a little stale (over a week old), but SodaStream has capitalized on this in the best way possible, splashing the ad (over 2.2M views as of this update) on the front page of their website.
And no, it’s not low quality stuff that makes Ronco look good.
How does a company get around copyright and trademark over-zealotry? By being bitter about intellectual property rights.
In Samsung’s commercial about making a SuperBowl commercial (so meta, you guys), Bob Odenkirk — best known as the lawyer Saul “better call Saul” Goodman from AMC’s Breaking Bad — asks comedians Seth Rogan and Paul Rudd to pitch ideas for some new product (flashed at us for only a mere three seconds).
The trio then spend the next minute hashing out how exactly to even make a commercial when they are muffled by legal precedent and unable to speak any of the trademarked names (they are constantly shushed by Odenkirk before they can finish them, but it’s clear what’s been unsaid). The Super Bowl becomes “the big game” and ultimately “el plato supremo”, while the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers are re-nicknamed the “black birds” and the “fifty minus one-ers”. At which point they all laugh and embrace “hashtags” because twitter hasn’t been smart enough to trademark that term yet.
Samsung doesn’t deserve a free pass on intellectual property abuse themselves. Ironically, and rather hypocritically, Samsung has previously partnered with the International Olympic Committee — one of the most notorious trademark enforcers around the world.
And consider the following: If anyone made a widely broadcasted commercial without clearance (“hey guys, go download the new Hammer of Truth’s message notification buddy app widget thingie, which works awesome on my Samsung Android” *holds up $40 flip phone from 2004 for camera*), Samsung’s legal department would certainly be sending out cease and desist letters. For a company that has spent millions of dollars on litigating against the little guy, for them to hire three multi-millionaire actors to play the roles of potential chilling effect victims is only convincing… because they hired convincing actors.
Regardless, for a commercial focused on the inanity of legal hurdles involved in making commercials, it’s a well deserved poke in the eye of copyright laws.
Unfortunately, I have no idea what they’re selling.
Earlier this week Darryl Perry wrote here at Hammer of Truth that the No Budget, No Pay Act (H.R. 325) was an unconstitutional measure, and a sure sign of Republican weakness to boot:
The 27th Amendment reads, in part, “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of the Representatives shall have intervened.”
Despite the fact that the compensation is not changing, the bill could still be unconstitutional as it alters the scheduled dates of pay, which would be “varying the compensation.” It is unlikely any of the Republicans will challenge the bill, and the Democrats reportedly see “the legislation as a white flag on the part of the GOP, something that allows Congress to skirt the debt limit issue and move on to other fiscal arguments.”
On Tuesday, Justin Amash — a second-term, libertarian-leaning, Republican Congressman from Michigan — posted his take on facebook:
I voted no on H R 325, No Budget, No Pay Act of 2013. The bill has two parts.
First, the bill suspends the debt ceiling through May 18, 2013. In other words, it allows the government to operate as though there is no debt ceiling. On May 19, the debt ceiling will automatically increase by the amount borrowed during the suspension. Because the government borrows about $4 billion per day, this bill will likely increase the debt ceiling by $400 billion or more, without any cuts or reforms to reduce future spending. see more…
Aaron Tobey of Virginia sued in federal court and won:
Aaron Tobey claimed in a civil rights lawsuit (.pdf) that in 2010 he was handcuffed and held for about 90 minutes by the Transportation Security Administration at the Richmond International Airport after he began removing his clothing to display on his chest a magic-marker protest of airport security measures.
“Amendment 4: The right of the people to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,” his chest and gut read.
In sending the case to trial, unless there’s a settlement, the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled 2-1 and reversed a lower court judge and invoked Benjamin Franklin in the process. According to the opinion by Judge Roger Gregory:
Here, Mr. Tobey engaged in a silent, peaceful protest using the text of our Constitution—he was well within the ambit of First Amendment protections. And while it is tempting to hold that First Amendment rights should acquiesce to national security in this instance, our Forefather Benjamin Franklin warned against such a temptation by opining that those ‘who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.’ We take heed of his warning and are therefore unwilling to relinquish our First Amendment protections—even in an airport.
Hopefully more young adults will take the torch and push back. They are our best hope to defeat a tyrannical government. The lawmakers, regulators and enforcers should be very wary of what is coming from the agitated young adults if they do not back off their brown shirt jackboot tactics against common citizens.
Tobey is a true American patriot and hero. He stood up for his rights, made a statement to the pat down thugs while doing so and was arrested for exercising his Constitutionally guaranteed rights.
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) had an interesting spee^Wquestion for Wayne LaPierre during the AWB hearings in Washington today.
Cruz pointed out that the AWB is about “scary-looking guns”, among other things. For those of us that don’t want to watch it, The Dallas Morning News did a pretty good text story about it.
Texas Sen. Ted Cruz displayed a flair for showmanship this afternoon at the Senate’s gun violence hearing as he sought to puncture the argument for a proposed ban on assault weapons.
“What it bans, I would suggest to you, are scary looking guns,” he said.
With a life size photo of a Remington 750, a popular hunting rifle used — as Cruz said, by millions of Americans – the senator argued that the proposed ban focuses on “cosmetic features” such as pistol grips that in no way change the lethality of a weapon.
He produced a plastic pistol grip and held it to the photo to demonstrate.
“If this were attached to this rifle, it would suddenly become a banned assault weapon,” he said, prefacing a question to witness Wayne LaPierre, NRA executive vice president, who concurred with his analysis.
“The problem with the whole bill,” LaPierre said, is that “it’s based on falsehoods from people who do not understand firearms.”
Bad economy be… thanked?
Ryan Lewis has a look. It’s the look that comes through the 99 cent apparel, the half-long/half-stubble haircut, and the cheap clothes. Lewis wears the inestimable look of getting the job done, building class out of thin air.
Lewis is happy to boast that look in this well done, and rather polished music video about a rather unpolished subject (being poor, having to shop at crummy thrift stores, something we doubt any presidential candidates are doing). Singer Wanz throws down his own fortunate rhymes about pink granddad suit thrifting finds, and well… some people just understand the formula for awesome.
The popularity of “Thrift Shop” has even spawned a parody video called Pot Shop (which is damned hilarious and has nearly 1.5 million views).
Now, Macklemore is riding a wave of popularity to become the first unsigned artist to top Billboard’s Hot 100 in nearly 20 years. He has a very special message for those that would grant him greatness and deny him his share through recording contract shenanigans:
Macklemore makes his strong feelings about big labels no secret on the album: In a song titled “Jimmy Iovine” — named for the chairman of Interscope-Geffen-A&M who helped make another white rapper, Eminem, famous — Macklemore takes down record contract politics with the unequivocal closing line, “I’d rather be a starving artist than succeed at getting f—-ed.” Geez, Mack, tell us how you really feel.
It’s always been a love/hate relationship between new talent and behemoth companies with a room full of marketing employees. But thanks to the Internet’s leveling of the playing field, the tables can turn very quickly in favor of the upstarts. A similar parallel has occured in politics as grassroots candidates are able to raise significant amounts of money in short periods and run successful online campaigns. The phenomenon of online social engagement that was unheard of decades ago is now practiced by the majority.
What does this mean for politics? It means the new gatekeepers are blogs. Period.
Politicians and business execs take note, the game has officially changed.
The American Petroleum Institute issued a press release warning motorists about a study of the E15 blend of ethanol and gasoline. Turns out, E15 causes expensive damage to engines:
The additional E15 testing, completed this month, has identified an elevated incidence of fuel pump failures, fuel system component swelling, and impairment of fuel measurement systems in some of the vehicles tested. E15 could cause erratic and misleading fuel gauge readings or cause faulty check engine light illuminations. It also could cause critical components to break and stop fuel flow to the engine. Failure of these components could result in breakdowns that leave consumers stranded on busy roads and highways. Fuel system component problems did not develop in the CRC tests when either E10 or E0 was used. It is difficult to precisely calculate how many vehicles E15 could harm. That depends on how widely it is used and other factors. But, given the kinds of vehicles tested, it is safe to say that millions could be impacted.
In 2010 and 2011, EPA gave the green light to use E15 – the 15 percent ethanol gasoline blend – in model-year-2001-and-later cars and some other vehicles. EPA’s action was irresponsible. EPA knew E15 vehicle testing was ongoing but decided not to wait for the results. Why did EPA move forward prematurely? Part of the answer may be the need to raise the permissible concentration level of ethanol so that greater volumes could be used, as required by the federal Renewable Fuel Standard. Most gasoline sold today is an E10 blend, but rising volume requirements under the law can’t be met much longer without going to higher blends. When Congress passed the law, it could not know it was creating this problem. Today we know. The answer is to repeal the RFS before it puts millions of vehicles and many motorists at risk.
The Coordinating Research Council’s initial tests — first released in May of 2012 — are once again coming to light after further testing proved that delicate components in newer cars were most at risk.
AAA, the recognizable and leading auto club in the U.S., also called for an outright suspension of E15 earlier this month, citing a lack of research:
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and gasoline retailers should suspend the sale of E15 gasoline until more is done to protect consumers from the potential for costly auto damage and voided warranties.
Research to date raises serious concerns that E15, a fuel blend consisting of 15 percent ethanol and 85 percent gasoline, could cause accelerated engine wear and failure, fuel system damage and other problems such as false “check engine” lights.
The potential damage could result in costly repairs for unsuspecting consumers. This is especially tough for most motorists given that only about 40 percent of Americans have enough in savings to afford a major auto repair.
In June, the EPA approved the use of E15, and a handful of gas stations in Nebraska, Iowa and Kansas have begun to sell this fuel. There is a strong likelihood that retailers will market E15 in additional states soon unless regulators take immediate action to protect consumers.
Nearly all of the gasoline sold in the United States today is E10, which contains up to ten percent ethanol, primarily produced from corn. The ethanol industry has lobbied hard to increase the amount of ethanol allowed in gasoline as a way to increase sales and help meet the Renewable Fuels Standard.
AAA’s concern with E15 is not about ethanol. In fact, AAA believes that ethanol-blended fuels have the potential to save Americans money and reduce the nation’s dependency on fossil fuels. The problem is that available research, including the EPA’s exhaust emissions tests, is not sufficient evidence that E15 is safe to use in most vehicles.
Ethanol producers, backed by politicians reaping ethanol lobbying money, fired back by claiming the study by the CRC was rigged. Senior Vice President of the American Coalition for Ethanol (ACE) Ron Lamberty, called out AAA as “hypocrites” and alarmists for “turning a blind eye and most likely allowing people to shorten the lives of their vehicles by using unapproved and untested oil-company produced sub-octane gasoline for decades, while loudly attacking thoroughly tested and approved E15 when only a few stations are offering it for sale, is quite unbecoming for an organization that claims it puts the best interests of the American motorist first.”
Last November in California, E15 was outright banned as an option for motorists because, “it would take several years to complete the vehicle testing and rule development necessary to introduce a new transportation fuel into California’s market.”
The results will no doubt speak for themselves when E15 becomes more widespread at gas stations in other states this year. I for one, will avoid it.