Voters in California may be asked to vote on a proposal to split the state into six Californias.
The plan, called “Six Californias” by Tom Draper, the venture capitalist behind the idea, must first obtain signatures from over 800,000 registered voters before it will be placed on the ballot.
Opponents argue that the proposal would give some of the new states an unfair advantage in regards to tax revenue, claiming “the ‘Six Californias’ campaign is nothing more than a scheme for making sure that the taxes of wealthy individuals like Draper gets ‘redistributed’ inside their own affluent neighborhoods.” see more…
Over the past several years, it has become a something of a tradition for the Congress and President to claim that the federal government will not be able to pay its bills unless the debt ceiling is raised. In fact, the debt ceiling has been increased, or suspended, a total of seventy-nine times since 1940.
However, the United States government, which has had a national debt since it was created (with the exception of 1835) did not always have a debt ceiling, which should actually be called a money pit.
Prior to 1917, any debt accrued by the federal government would need to be specifically approved by the Congress. The initial debt ceiling, passed in the Second Liberty Bond Act, was set at $9.5 billion in Treasury bonds and $4 billion in one-year certificates. This removed some of the Congressional oversight from the Secretary of the Treasury.
Until 1939, when Congress created an overall aggregate limit on the national debt, increases in the national debt were simply amendments to the Second Liberty Bond Act.
The national debt now stands at approximately $17 trillion, with the debt ceiling being completely eliminated until March 2015.
So, why is the federal government so far in debt? see more…
Free Press Publications is pleased to announce that Darryl W. Perry began producing FPPRadioNews on Monday February 3, 2014. FPPRadioNews is a daily 5 minute radio newscast, being produced seven days per week, and is currently heard on several online radio networks and low power radio stations across the country. The broadcast quality newscast is available for download via RSS at http://news.FPPRadio.com
About FPP.cc: Free Press Publications is an independent alternative media and publishig company, founded in June 2009, with the mission of “ensuring a FREE PRESS for the FREEDOM MOVEMENT” and is committed to spreading the message of peace, freedom, love and liberty.
About FPPRadio: Since August 2011, Darryl has produced the FPP Freedom Minute, a weekly 5 minute news and commentary podcast; and since December 2012, has produced Peace, Love, Liberty Radio, a 2-hour weekly radio show originating on the Liberty Radio Network, in which Darryl and a guest share news, views and opinions while promoting the ideas of peaceful interaction.
On Friday February 7th, President Obama signed a farm bill that has an estimated cost of $954.6 billion.
The President and other supporters claim the bill will reduce the deficit by $23 billion over the next ten years, though the National Taxpayers Union points out, “it is highly unlikely that taxpayers will reap any so-called ‘savings’ from the almost $1 trillion spending bill.” see more…
On Jan. 4, 2010, The New York Times ran an opinion piece by TSA agent Jason Edward Harrington titled, “To Stop a Terrorist: No Lack of Ideas.”
This caused Harrington’s supervisor, the federal security director at Chicago O’Hare, to have a meeting with him; a meeting that Harrington explained was usually followed by termination.
The supervisor told him, “The problem we have here is that you identified yourself as a TSA employee.”
Harrington explained his reaction and the ensuing conversation:
“[I knew] self-identifying as a government employee in a public forum may be grounds for termination.”
“I was shocked. I had been sure the letter would fall under the aegis of public concern, but it looked as though my boss wanted to terminate me.”
I scrambled for something to say. “I thought the First Amendment applied here.”
She leaned back in her chair, hands up, palms outfaced. Now she was on the defensive.
“I’m not trying to tread upon your First Amendment rights,” she said. “All I’m saying is: Couldn’t you have run those First Amendment rights past the legal department first?”
Harrington wasn’t fired, and continued working for the TSA for 3 more years. see more…
A recent opinion poll from Quinnipiac University shows that Americans are split when asked which Party they want to control the US Congress after the mid-term election.
Though respondents prefer the Democratic Party by a percentage that is less than the margin of error.
Respondents also prefer Hillary Clinton as the Democratic Party Presidential nominee by a wide margin, while there is no clear favorite for the Republican Party Presidential nominee.
Clinton is also favored, by margins between 8 and 15%, to win the general election against the top four Republican hopefuls.
In the midst of the questions about Presidential hopefuls and which Party is doing a better job in Congress was a question that asked “How much of the time do you think you can trust the government in Washington to do what is right; almost all of the time, most of the time, only some of the time, or hardly ever?” see more…
President Obama recently gave a speech about possible reforms at the NSA. Obama began his speech by invoking the name Paul Revere.
He stated that Revere and the Sons of Liberty “would patrol the streets, reporting back any signs that the British were preparing raids against America’s early Patriots.”
While, this did happen, there is one major difference between the Sons of Liberty and the NSA. Alexandra Petri of the Washington Post points out, “Paul Revere’s surveillance was conducted by private citizens against the soldiers and partisans of an occupying government they felt was infringing on their rights and liberties.”
Which is the complete opposite of what the NSA is doing to individuals around the globe. see more…
Last Summer, Rand Paul announced intentions to file a class action lawsuit against the NSA for their spying program. On January 4, 2014, former Attorney General of Virginia, Ken Cuccinelli announced on facebook that he would be joining Rand Paul in the lawsuit, “Join Rand Paul and I in asserting our right to privacy.” The irony is that anyone who signs the online petition is added to a mailing list for Rand Paul’s 2016 re-election campaign.
Then on January 5, Rand Paul told George Stephanopoulos, “I don’t think Edward Snowden deserves the death penalty or life in prison, I think that’s inappropriate.” Paul added that Snowden leaked secrets “and things that could endanger lives” and suggested that Snowden “would come home for some penalty of a few years in prison which would be probably not unlike what James Clapper probably deserves for lying to Congress.” Paul further suggested that Snowden and Clapper should serve time in a prison cell together.
I can not begin to fathom the cognitive dissonance that allows someone to initiate a lawsuit against the NSA for violating the privacy of millions of Americans, while simultaneously stating that the person responsible for bringing that information to light is a criminal who should be punished. It is a further act of mental gymnastics to claim that any of the information made public by Edward Snowden could have endangered lives. The US government admitted that nothing leaked by Private Manning endangered any lives, and that was information that exposed American war crimes in Iraq & Afghanistan. If nothing revealed by Private Manning endangered any lives, how could it be construed that Edward Snowden endangered lives?
The New York Times and UK Guardian both published editorials calling for clemency for Snowden, with The New York Times writing, “Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”
Exposing criminal wrongdoing by a government must never be a crime. Neither Private Manning, nor Edward Snowden, nor any other person who exposes government misdeeds should face any jail time. Private Manning should be given a full pardon, and Edward Snowden should have all of the charges against him dismissed. If anyone belongs in a jail cell, it is the people who have violated the rights of millions of people around the world, not the people who brought their crimes to light.
On January 2, Ed Krayewski from Reason wrote, “[New Year's Day] marked the beginning of a legal market in recreational marijuana in Colorado, the first time government-licensed shops have ever sold marijuana anywhere in the world.”
There is, however, one major inaccuracy with that statement. Aside from the fact that cannabis has been available for years in medical dispensaries, it was not always against the law to purchase, possess or consume cannabis. In fact, in the United States, there were no federal laws regarding cannabis until the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, which “required that certain special drugs, including… cannabis, be accurately labeled with contents.” The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, “made possession or transfer of cannabis illegal throughout the United States under federal law, excluding medical and industrial uses, in which an inexpensive excise tax was required.” see more…
On Christmas Eve, NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden delivered a Christmas message for British TV station Channel 4, saying, “George Orwell warned us of the danger of this kind of information. The types of collection in the book… are nothing compared to what we have available today. We have sensors in our pockets that track us everywhere we go.
A child born today will grow up with no conception of privacy at all. They’ll never know what it means to have a private moment to themselves — an unrecorded, unanalyzed thought. And that’s a problem, because privacy matters.”
Snowden added, “Privacy is what allows us to determine who we are and who we want to be.” Without moments of privacy, people can’t create, soul search, or even sit down to cry without fear of being interrupted or judged, not just by their own peers, but by government agents as well. see more…
In November, with little media coverage, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid led the charge in changing the Senate rules relating to filibusters. The Washington Post reported, “Democrats used a rare parliamentary move to change the rules so that federal judicial nominees and executive-office appointments can advance to confirmation votes by a simple majority of senators, rather than the 60-vote supermajority that has been the standard,” noting, “the rule change does not apply to Supreme Court nominations or to legislation.” see more…
It is no secret that the federal government spends millions of dollars on research.
Sometimes those funds go to questionable studies, such as the study by Joseph Staton, of Harvard’s Museum of Comparative Zoology, to determine why “most cooked, exotic meats taste like… the domestic chicken?”
According to Smithsonian Magazine, Staton wanted to sample dinosaur, and requested a T. rex bone from Chicago’s Field museum, but wasn’t able to acquire the bone because of “red tape.”
Other studies have looked at the mating habits of exotic animals, and one set of researchers even found that the land within the State of Kansas is “flatter than an average pancake.” see more…
Every couple of years there is public debate about increasing the minimum wage.
Most recently, there were strikes outside of McDonald’s with people calling for a $15 minimum wage.
The claim is that an increased minimum wage will lift people out of poverty. However, the truth is that a minimum wage of $15 per hour would increase the poverty line.
Further, most people know very little about the history of minimum wage laws. see more…
The French Parliament has begun debate on a bill to institute penalties for individuals who seek to purchase sexual services. Under current French law prostitution is legal, however soliciting and procuring are illegal, including working in or operating a brothel.
Maud Olivier – one of the Members of Parliament (MP) who introduced the legislation – wrote in a report to parliament.
“There would be no prostitution without clients – that goes without saying. But we also know there will always be clients for prostitution. Our ambition should be to try to reduce the number.” see more…
HONOLULU, HAWAII — If one wishes to help the homeless, smashing what few possessions they do have is among the worst ways to do so.
Such action is sure to ruin one’s reputation, especially if the person in question is a State Legislator.
The possibility of a ruined reputation didn’t stop Tom Brower, a Hawai’i State Senator, from taking a sledghammer to shopping carts that were allegedly being used by some homeless people near Waikiki.
Brower told KITV-4, “I chose a sledgehammer only because the carts need to be destroyed to get them off the street,” adding, “I got tired of telling people, ‘I’m trying to pass laws.’ I wanted to do something practical, that will really clean up the streets.” see more…
The supposed leaders of the United States have claimed to seek “energy independence” for the past 40 years, yet the nation is no closer to energy independence now that it was in the 1970′s.
In recent years many supporters of energy independence, and corporate welfare, have championed ethanol as the product that will lower energy costs and finally give the nation energy independence. see more…
On January 2, David W. Eckert was stopped by police in Deming, NM for running a stop sign.
What happened next is extremely difficult to comprehend.
Deming Police Officer Robert Chavez had Eckert exit his vehicle, and patted him down. A lawsuit filed by Eckert says this was “without reasonable suspicion.” According to court documents, the officers who stopped Eckert thought he was “clenching his buttocks.”
They brought in a dog to sniff for drugs, and the dog “alerted” to the driver’s seat. see more…
There is an age-old, unanswerable question that asks: “if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it make a noise?” Now, there is a new question: “can your privacy be violated if you don’t know it happens?” That is a paraphrase of a statement turned question uttered by Rep. Mike Rogers during a House Intelligence Committee hearing concerning NSA surveillance in late October.
Let’s rewind for a minute to March 12, 2013. On that date the US Supreme Court issued a 5-4 ruling in the case of Clapper v. Amnesty International USA that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing. Justice Samuel Alito wrote in his opinion, the plaintiffs’ argument that they have the standing to challenge the program was based on a “highly speculative fear.” He also wrote they “have no actual knowledge of the Government’s … targeting practices,” and “can only speculate as to how the Attorney General and the Director of National Intelligence will exercise their discretion in determining which communications to target.” see more…
On October 26, 2001 George W. Bush signed into law the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001, also called the Patriot Act. The legislation (H.R. 3162) was introduced by Republican Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner on Oct. 23, passed the House the next day, and passed the Senate on Oct. 25. There is no way any member of Congress could have read and understood the 132 page bill in the amount of time they were given from introduction to passage, but I digress. see more…
On Wednesday October 16, the US Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of Kaley v. United States. This case will undoubtedly be a landmark decision on the legality of civil asset forfeiture, a “government seizure of property and cash, even when the owner isn’t charged [with] a crime.” see more…
Can you own an idea? This may seem to be a simple question, however the question requires a complex answer. And unlike most issues, not all people who fall into the libertarian quadrant of the Nolan Chart agree on the answer.
While many people believe “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery” some libertarians believe that an idea belongs to the creator even after the idea is shared and that imitation is theft. Recently, a three-year old dispute between Davi Barker and L. Neil Smith was reignited when Smith sent an email to one of Barker’s employers. see more…
We often hear the phrase “the punishment should fit the crime,” and I’m quite certain that many people believe that to be a cornerstone of common law. It is certainly the primary concept of retributive justice, and is contrasted by the legal theory of utilitarianism; “the doctrine that actions are right if they are useful or for the benefit of a majority.” While I’m no expert on the concept of utilitarianism, I would suspect that the theory has been used more often than not by the supporters of the drug war.
On September 4, 2013, 27 year-old Corey Ladd was sentenced “to 20 years hard labor at the [Louisiana] Department of Corrections.” Ladd’s dastardly offense that landed him in the clink for 2 decades was possession of 15 grams of cannabis.
Bill Quigley of AlterNet.com reports, “In Louisiana, a person can get up to six months in jail for first marijuana conviction, up to five years in prison for the second conviction and up to twenty years in prison for the third. In fact, the Louisiana Supreme Court recently overturned a sentence of five years as too lenient for a fourth possession of marijuana and ordered the person sentenced to at least 13 years.”
The punishment of 20 years in prison for possessing 15 grams of plant substance is in no way proportionate to the supposed offense, and I can’t even fathom how such a punishment is seen as benefiting the whole of society. The tax-payers of Louisiana are ultimately worse off, as they are being forced to pay for the incarceration of Corey Ladd for the next 20 years. Those same tax-payers are also being forced to pay for the incarceration of nearly 14,000 other people in Louisiana for drug offenses.
Karen O’Keefe, Director of State Policies at the Marijuana Policy Project, said “A sentence of 20 years in prison for possessing a substance that is safer that alcohol is out of step with Louisiana voters, national trends, and basic fairness and justice. Limited prison space and prosecutors’ time should be spent on violent and serious crime, not on prosecuting and incarcerating people who use a substance that nearly half of all adults have used.”
Whether a punishment of 20 years in prison for possessing 15 grams of cannabis is considered retributive justice or utilitarianism should not matter. No one should be incarcerated for an offense with no identifiable victim. Further, those individuals who do create a victim should make their victims whole, and incarceration should only be a last resort if the perpetrator refuses to give the needed reparations.
With the federal government once again nearing the debt ceiling limit, the AFP reports, “The White House offered more than $300 million in aid and support to bankrupt Detroit.”
A statement released by the White House said, “The Obama administration is dedicated to ensuring that the federal government remains an active partner in bringing jobs back into the City, and turning the people of Detroit’s vision of the future into a reality.”
Obama claims the money being given to Detroit is not a bailout, and is committing to $150 Million for the Effective, Coordinated Demolition of Blighted Properties, Neighborhood Revitalization and Redevelopment in Detroit; $30 Million to Improve Public Safety, Reduce Crime, and Decrease Emergency Response Time; and $140 Million in Federal Funds for Improving Transportation Systems for City and Regional Residents.
Interestingly this announcement by the White House came less than a week after former-Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said “there’s no more cuts to make… The cupboard is bare.”
One would imagine the $300 million being given to Detroit would be a place to begin cutting federal spending. Instead of attempting to be fiscally responsible with the money stolen from taxpayers, the Congress and White House are claiming they can’t cut the budget, despite the fact that the budget continues to increase, and despite the fact that the federal government continues to go deeper into debt. If anyone in the Congress were serious about cutting the budget, they would immediately offer legislation to withdraw troops from the nearly 1,000 bases around the world, and end foreign aid. After all, the foreign policy of the United States government costs taxpayers nearly $1 trillion per year. This sum includes the nearly $1.5 trillion spent on the wars in Iraq & Afghanistan since 2001. The federal government could also stop “giving” militarized vehicles to city and state governments at a cost of almost $300,000 each. There are many other areas where the federal government could cut spending, however it seems the majority of Congress agrees with Nancy Pelosi’s statement that “there’s no more cuts to make… The cupboard is bare.”