Twitter, free speech and warrant canaries

warrant canaryOn October 7, Twitter, which is called by some the champion of free speech among social networks, filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and the FBI. Reuters reports, “In the lawsuit… Twitter said that current rules prevent it from even stating that it has not received any national security requests for user information.”

A blog post from Twitter stated, “It’s our belief that we are entitled under the First Amendment to respond to our users’ concerns and to the statements of U.S. government officials by providing information about the scope of U.S. government surveillance – including what types of legal process have not been received. We should be free to do this in a meaningful way, rather than in broad, inexact ranges.”

The “broad, inexact ranges” mention by Twitter is a reference to an “agreement between Internet companies like Google and Microsoft with the government about court orders they receive related to surveillance,” according to Reuters. For example, a tech company that received 456 FISA orders and/or national security letters, would be able to say it received between zero and 999 orders. see more…

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Mid-term elections trends

battle for controlWith about one month left before the mid-term elections, a lot of people are just now beginning to pay attention to the candidates, and the prognosticators are finalizing their predictions for which party will gain or retain control of which House of Congress. I’m not necessarily going to make predictions about which faction of the ruling coalition will control which House, though I will point out some polling trends. see more…

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The Incompetence of Obama’s Security

White-House-Intruder
Here’s some common sense on opinions floating around on the gate jumper at the White House and the armed “felon” Obama was in the elevator with.

On the S.S.’s (Secret Services) old chief and replacement. Obama gets what he deserves for treating service men like crap. Some of those guards are former military, so guess what happens when you send their friends to combat… a disease… which has nothing to do with the military activity of the US? They let people who want to hurt you, get to you.

Shocker, I know! see more…

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Advanced Placement US history curriculum raises questions

ap263359470828_4In late September, hundreds of high school students in Denver walked out of their Advanced Placement US History class in protest over what is being called “conservative censorship” of the curriculum. The student walk-out followed a teacher sick-out the previous week. On September 22, some of the protesting students drove to the Jefferson County School Administration Building to deliver a letter to Superintendent Dan McMinimee stating, “I want honesty in my classroom. Teachers want honesty in the classroom.” see more…

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Stop Paying Attention to Iraq and Ukraine!

You can’t open your laptop nowadays without hearing about Iraq or Ukraine. These countries are having a terrible time. There isn’t really much we can do about them though. We should be more focused on problems that Washington, DC hasn’t quite managed to turn into a photogenic disaster yet…

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5 Facts You Must Accept to Write About Foreign Policy in 2014

We need to set some ground rules. People write a lot of historically ignorant and ridiculous stuff, but Robert Kagan’s article in the Wall Street Journal a few weeks back was a new low. With this video we attempt to set out five facts you need to acknowledge to avoid getting laughed out of town while writing about Foreign Policy.

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Secessionist movements should declare independence from politics

world_map_of_separatist_movementsOn September 18, more than 3.6 million Scots cast a ballot answering the question: “Should Scotland be an independent country?” In the weeks leading up to the vote, the leaders of the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties vowed to cede some powers from the UK government to the Scottish Parliament if a majority of Scottish voters rejected independence. The Telegraph reports the leaders of the 3 main parties “argued it would provide ‘certainty’ for Scottish voters that further devolution would follow a No vote and contrasted this with the doubts over a separate Scotland’s finances, currency and public spending.” The legislation for devolution has yet to be written, however the plan is to give “the Scottish Parliament more control over income tax and housing benefit.” see more…

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To Be A Nation Once Again: My support for Scottish Independence

by Cody Quirk

It will be this Thursday coming up in the proud (and perhaps soon-to-be country) of Scotland, that a simple plebiscite two sentences long and containing a mere ‘Yes’ and ‘No’ box for these two choices -that might have the incredible and deeply immense possibility of rocking Europe, America, and even the whole world to the point of upsetting long-standing hierarchies and status-quos that have been in place and governed regions, institutions, alliances, and even general free enterprise for so long that they have chronically transpired into corrupt, decayed inhibitors and suppressors of individual liberty and even national freedom. see more…

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Yahoo, PRISM and short-term memories

pew terrorism pollIn early September, it was revealed that Yahoo had been threatened with a fine of $250,000 per day for failing to hand over information to the federal government. Details of the threat became public after 1,500 pages worth of documents were unsealed in the case, stemming from a 2007 order from the FISA Court. Wired reports, “Yahoo applied to appeal the [FISA] decision and requested a stay in the data collection pending the appeal. But the FISA Court refused the stay, and beginning in March 2008, Yahoo was forced to comply with the request for data in the meantime ‘under threat of civil contempt.’
Five months later, in August 2008, the FISA Court of Review found that the data request, undertaken for national security reasons, qualified for an exception to the warrant requirement under the Fourth Amendment and upheld the original court’s order to comply.” see more…

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Support real school choice

School-choiceNow that school is back in session, the question of school choice has once again been raised. On the surface, it seems like an obvious question: should parents be allowed to choose which school their children attends? On the surface, it seems like the answer is obvious: YES!

A recent study by Troy University seems to confirm this. see more…

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How Federalism Saved Us From Wall Street

Wall Street’s dominance of our economy is frightening. Too big to fail banks are tremendously powerful, but it could be worse. In the UK, the banks are the only industry they have left. What saved us from that result? A lot of the economics and the players are very similar. The answer is our federal system that divides powers between the state governments and Washington, DC…

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Market Basket was not a worker’s revolution

market basket rallyIt began as an epic family feud with seemingly everyone in New England taking sides. CNN reports, “The dispute began in June when the company’s board replaced [Arthur T.] Demoulas, who was beloved for his leadership but had long feuded with his cousin, Arthur S. Demoulas, over control of the family-owned company. Arthur S. and his family controlled 50.5% of the shares of the company.” see more…

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Police shouldn’t have what can’t be purchased on open market

thanksbutnotanksA senior White House official has said that President Obama will review the programs that allow local police to obtain militarized weapons and equipment. The Washington Post reports, “The review probably will include the Defense Department’s Excess Property program, which is designed to give away tents, generators, pickup trucks and all-terrain vehicles, as well as military aircraft, grenade launchers and heavily armed tactical vehicles. That program has distributed $4.3 billion worth of equipment since 1997.” see more…

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Hands up! Are the people just powerless pawns?

Now throw your hands in the air ... And wave 'em like you just don't care ... And if you like fish and grits and all that pimp shit ... Then everybody say O-Yea-yer!

Let’s be abundantly clear, Michael Brown appears to be a poor example of a good citizen.

I find a statement from Independent Journal Review so indicative of the sickness of adherence to corrupt authority it must be expanded on.

A video capture of the moment after the shooting captures a conversation.

One man clearly says the cops shot at Brown first. There was no gun in Brown’s hand, and then when he “rushed” them they shot him dead. see more…

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It’s 1984 in Ferguson

teargas journalistsOver the past week, eyes around the world have been on Fergson, Missouri. There have been protests and candle light vigils every night since August 9. Some of the protests have turned violent with police firing teargas and rubber bullets at both protesters and reporters, and looting by some of the protesters. The protests and vigils were sparked after police killed an unarmed teenager shortly after noon on Saturday, August 9 as the teen was walking away from the police with his hands in the air pleading, “Don’t shoot, I’m not armed.” see more…

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Traffic fatalities decline when cannabis use rises?

CoTrafficDeathsAt the beginning if the year, cannabis was re-legalized in Colorado. Those opposed to the move predicted dire results for the Rocky Mountain State, including increased usage and a rise in stoned drivers causing an increase in traffic fatalities.

Those opposed to the re-legalization cite examples of more people testing positive for cannabis in their system, which doesn’t prove the person was actually high at the moment of testing, only that the person had consumed cannabis within the past couple of weeks. Radley Balko writes, “one dubious example, in which the Colorado Highway Patrol and some local and national media perpetuated a story that a driver was high on pot when he slammed into a couple of police cars parked on an interstate exit ramp. While the driver did have some pot in his system, his blood-alcohol level was off the charts and was far more likely the cause of the accident.”

However, the media reports of this accident didn’t mention alcohol as being involved. Could it be that the media reports, which included briefings by the police, were being written in a way to further an agenda? Could it be that because alcohol has been legal longer, and is more accepted, that the media decided to gloss over a drunk-driving accident to perpetuate the myth of the danger of stoned-drivers? see more…

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Election reforms have failed

darryl donkephant3I’ve spent considerable time studying ballot access laws and election results, I’ve even written a book on the topic. One thing that is obvious is that election rules are rigged to support the parties in power. This is so obvious, that according to a recent poll by Rasmussen, 68% of voters think election rules are rigged to favor incumbents and are unfair to voters. see more…

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Who is the Worst President Ever?

People like to argue over who the worst president ever was. Some say Bush, Some say Obama. This neglects some basic facts about where we are today, and how we got here. To find the roots you have to go 100 years back… to Woodrow Wilson…

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What time is it?

IMAGE CREDITS: Lee van Wallene, Stephen VanDyke, Adventure Time © Cartoon Network / LARGER: 1243 x 648, WALLPAPER: 1920 x 1200

Legal murmurs and threats against President Obama grew louder and then quickly fell silent over the weekend after Republicans fell into the incumbency fundraising trap known as impeachment.

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Practicing political punditry, 20 years later

Many people don’t know that my very first article ever written was on politics. Today marks the twenty year anniversary since my first mass monologue was published and discussed (or derided, at least at the high school I attended). To be sure, it’s full of embarrassment and bad grammar, and has more twists than M. Night Shyamalan running a churro stand.

Without further ado, here’s the full article reproduced in digital form: see more…

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Don’t regulate non-taxis as taxis

uberlyftI’ve been following the news about Uber and Lyft for some time. For those unfamiliar, Uber and Lyft are taxi-like services that allow people to schedule rides using an app on their smartphone. Unlike traditional taxis, riders are able to leave reviews on drivers, and drivers are able to leave reviews for passengers. This acts as a sort of reputation system, which helps drivers know if a passenger is to be avoided, and vice versa. Customers of Uber and Lyft also know the price of the ride upfront, something that is incredibly rare with a traditional taxi. And, probably the most important feature of Uber & Lyft that make these services distinct from traditional taxi services is the decentralized nature of the business, there is no central office through which rides are dispatched, it is all handled through the smartphone app. see more…

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Sarwark says thanks to Libertarian defectors

I’ll admit it, stuff gets done a lot faster working with the pool of 1.2 million Coloradoans who vote Republican versus the paltry 26 thousand registered Libertarians.

But hey, I’ll say “you’re welcome” to this:

When I left the LP after 2012, Sarwark chided me in the most Hammer of Truth way, asking what it was like to be a “corpse fucker” (because the GOP was dead, haw). see more…

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Where do they get those wonderful toys?

And you may ask yourself, “Where did ISIS get nuclear uranium in Iraq?”

Well according to reports, “The material, believed to be low-grade, unenriched uranium mixed with other elements was taken from a science lab at Mosul University by ISIS, the terrorist group that took over Iraq’s second-largest city last month and has vowed to attack Baghdad.”

But it’s important we all get our history right on this, as chemical weapons thought to have, and semi-known to have gone to Syria… appear to have been used or readapted in recent events. And these events in the past have been down played or denied flat out. see more…

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