On the Syrian ceasefire

0_1333165713554_newsNear the end of February, after five years of civil war, a ceasefire quietly took affect in Syria. However the ceasefire is not meant to stop all fighting in the war-torn country, as the truce will not apply to the battle against The Islamic State (commonly called ISIS) and the al-Nusra Front. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports, “135 [people], including 32 civilians, were killed in 7 days of military operations in the truce areas.” see more…

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Delegates, superdelegates, and the illusion of choice

freeChoice2After the First in the Nation New Hampshire Primary in early February, many people learned the term superdelegates, even though it’s not a new term or idea. The Democratic Party’s superdelegate rules have been in place since 1984. Superdelegates, unlike the pledged delegates, are not bound by the results of the various primaries and caucuses, and are free to support the Democratic Party Presidential candidate of their choice. CBS News reports, “A superdelegate falls into one of three categories: a major elected official, including senators and members of the House of Representatives; a notable member of the party, such as a current or former president or vice president; and some members of the Democratic National Committee (DNC).” see more…

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Snowden, Ulbricht and the myth of a fair trial

12734092_10208984413271784_2823709359653599643_nIt was the first official event hosted by the Free State Project after the February 3 announcement that the group had reached it’s goal of 20,000 signers on the statement of intent to move to New Hampshire to “exert the fullest practical effort toward the creation of a society in which the maximum role of government is the protection of individuals’ rights to life, liberty, and property.” Liberty Forum 2016 was part celebration of all that has been accomplished over the past 15 years by the nearly 2,000 early movers, i.e. people who made the move to New Hampshire for the Free State Project prior to the move being triggered, and part conference on how to move forward. see more…

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On the Supreme Court vacancy

SCOTUS pix 2011Over the past couple of decades, every new appointment to the US Supreme Court has been more contentious and politically motivated than the last. Since the first appointment to the Supreme Court, 68 justices were approved on voice votes, Abe Fortas being the most recent in 1965 during the term of President Lyndon Johnson. It was three years after Fortas was appointed to the Supreme Court that Chief Justice Earl Warren attempted to work out a back room deal with Johnson to appoint Fortas as his successor prior to the 1968 Presidential election. The plan ultimately failed, and Warren officially retired on June 23, 1969. Prior to that attempt, the last Presidential election year vacancy to be filled was in 1940 when the Senate approved Frank Murphy on a voice vote. see more…

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College: worth it, or worthless?

college-730x430Young people have heard for many years that a college degree will help them earn more money than someone with only a high school diploma. Certainly, there is data that supports this claim. Discovery News reported in December, “In a recent Pew Research Center survey of about 2,000 people, young adults with bachelor’s degrees earned a median income of $45,500 in 2012. For people in the same age group (between 25 and 32) with two-year degrees or some college experience, median income dropped to $30,000. Those who maxed out at high-school graduation earned $28,000.” see more…

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Cruz, Sanders and Trump: The rise of dangerous populism

MAKE AMERICA HATE AGAIN!It’s no secret that Ted Cruz, Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump are all riding high poll numbers on a wave of disaffection with the establishment and elitism. Being historian nerds, Hammer of Truth thought we’d present the case from several citable sources:

The Hannah Arendt Center posted this apt analysis:

Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal writes that the Trump phenomenon is manifesting a chasm between elites and the masses that threatens to transform the world of American politics.

She reports anecdotal evidence of a non-partisan mass of voters from all over the political and economic spectrum gravitating toward Trump. And the overriding theme she encounters is a disdain for political, economic, and mainstream elites.

“On the subject of elites, I spoke to Scott Miller, co-founder of the Sawyer Miller political-consulting firm, who is now a corporate consultant. He worked on the Ross Perot campaign in 1992 and knows something about outside challenges. He views the key political fact of our time as this: ‘Over 80% of the American people, across the board, believe an elite group of political incumbents, plus big business, big media, big banks, big unions and big special interests–the whole Washington political class–have rigged the system for the wealthy and connected.’ It is ‘a remarkable moment,’ he said. More than half of the American people believe ‘something has changed, our democracy is not like it used to be, people feel they no longer have a voice.’ Mr. Miller added: ‘People who work for a living are thinking this thing is broken, and that economic inequality is the result of the elite rigging the system for themselves. We’re seeing something big.'”

The mobilization of the masses outside and beyond traditional class boundaries is, of course, the kindling for all mass movements. see more…

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In support of sex workers rights

sexworkerrally_600At the August 2015 International Council Meeting of Amnesty International, “[d]elegates from around the world authorized the International Board to develop and adopt a policy on the issue [of sex workers rights].” Amnesty International reported, “The resolution recommends that Amnesty International develop a policy that supports the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work. The policy will also call on states to ensure that sex workers enjoy full and equal legal protection from exploitation, trafficking and violence.” see more…

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Asset forfeiture is legalized theft

policing for profitOver the past several years, awareness of the issue of civil asset forfeiture has garnered the attention of media and legislators around the country. Eric Holder last year made modifications to the policies involving “[f]ederal adoption of property seized by state or local law enforcement under state law.” Holder said that his order does not apply to seizures by state and local authorities working together with or on behalf of a federal agency, nor does it “limit the ability of state and local agencies to pursue the forfeiture of assets pursuant to their respective state laws.” see more…

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In support of ending sanctions

For the first time in years, nuclear-related sanctions against Iran placed by the American government have been lifted. Reuters reports on January 16 “the International Atomic Energy Agency confirms Iran had taken steps to restrict its nuclear activities required under the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] JCPOA.” The JCPOA is the official name of the P5+1 deal that was approved in July 2015. see more…

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Against legislating morality

free-the-nippleThere is a question that often comes up in a variety of ways, and boils down to: “Should any government legislate or attempt to legislate morality?” Most people would answer in the affirmative. However that’s where the disagreements and the question of “who’s version of morality is to be used?” begin. see more…

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Looking ahead to 2016 elections

futurama-politicsA new year is upon us, which means a few things. First and foremost, it’s a Presidential election year which means the focus for most of the year will be on who will replace Barack Obama in the White House, and what issues will be a top priority. To a lesser degree, there will be discussions about which party will control which house of Congress. And to an even lesser degree, on the national level at least, there will be some focus on state legislative issues and state ballot measures. see more…

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Top 5 stories of 2015: a year in review

2015-YIR-coverAs 2015 comes to a close, it’s time to look back at some of the biggest stories of the year.

#5 Asset forfeiture halted!?
At the beginning of the year, Eric Holder made headlines when he announced a new policy prohibiting state and local governments from using federal civil asset forfeiture laws for most cases. 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…

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Omnibus spending bill violates your privacy

web15-blog-cisa-1160x768Many headlines recently proclaimed that Congress averted another government shutdown. Fewer headlines proclaimed that the $1.1 trillion omnibus spending bill included several “useless provisions” and provisions that are not directly related to spending. see more…

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The state of Bill of Rights

billofrights-redacted-2013I recall being told as a child that the Bill of Rights was added to the US Constitution to ensure that people retained certain rights. The Bill of Rights Institute writes, the Bill of Rights were written “by James Madison in response to calls from several states for greater constitutional protection for individual liberties,” adding, “Federalists argued that the Constitution did not need a bill of rights, because the people and the states kept any powers not given to the federal government. Anti-Federalists held that a bill of rights was necessary to safeguard individual liberty.” see more…

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IRS can now restrict your right to travel

back-tax-passport-780x439The US Congress often passes legislation dealing with multiple topics. One of the most well-known examples of the Congress passing legislation within legislation is REAL ID. Jim Babka of the DownsizeDC Foundation writes, “The REAL ID Act did something Americans have always rejected. It created a national identification system. This idea had so little support it couldn’t even be brought to a vote in the Senate. But Congressional leaders got it passed anyway. They attached it to a bill Senators were afraid to oppose — the “Emergency, Supplemental Appropriations Act for Defense, the Global War on Terror, and Tsunami Relief.” (May, 2005)
Senators were scared to defeat a bill that funded the troops, so the REAL ID Act became the law of the land.” see more…

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