Federal ban of “LSD Ale” shows corporatist consequence of overregulation

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The hallucinagen LSD has been illegal in the United States since the 1960s, and apparently in the fatherland of free speech, that means you can’t even name things “LSD” either.

From the Pioneer Press by way of Reason comes the story of “LSD Ale”, or at least that’s what it used to be called.

Call it what you want, but Indeed Brewing Company can no longer market or label its seasonal spring honey beer as LSD Ale.

The feds made the brewery change the name of its Lavender Sunflower Date (that’s where the acronym came from) Honey Ale so that the acronym was no longer apparent.

The brewery did not face federal regulation until it started to cross state lines, and for a while, when Indeed was selling only in limited Wisconsin markets, they kept that particular beer in Minnesota. Regulators were concerned that the name implied there were drugs in the beer.

It’s unclear what federal agency mandated this sophomoric overaction, likely the FDA or ATF. Regardless, the insanity and hipocrisy is self-evident.

Why is the federal government concerned about products that might (but definitely don’t) make people think there are illegal drugs in them? If the products don’t have illegal drugs in them, what is the harm done by that (entirely mythical) suggestion?

SEA Change - Music publishers attempt to break the music industry

After record breaking year of royalty payments, ASCAP and BMI demand more… Just because!

Last year, ASCAP and BMI collected more than $2 BILLION, a record-setting amount of royalty payments for songwriters and composers. This is great news for anyone involved in the music industry and those of us who love many different types of music. It should cause us all to be happy knowing that those who write the words and music we love are receiving bigger pay checks as the overall amount of revenue within the music industry increases.

Or are they?

In the face of this unprecedented level of royalties, why are ASCAP and BMI pushing legislation designed to break the very system which has caused this surge in royalty payments?

The Songwriter’s Equity Act (SEA Act) is the creation of ASCAP and BMI with some help by their favored Members of Congress. But there are legitimate questions whether this legislation truly seeks an increase in royalties for composers and songwriters or whether it is simply to compensate for ASCAP and BMI’s own bloated and antiquated systems. Is the goal of this crony legislation to continue to support the bloated bureaucracy which the PROs have built on the backs of the artists they claim to represent?

Music is now accessed via a wider array devices then ever before. Songs are embedded in the background of video games accessed around the globe, playing in the background of every business patrons enter and streaming during practically every online ad. Many of the dedicated streaming music application have been forced into a commercially impractical contract similar to that of indentured servitude.

Trump Fears A Brokered Convention, With Good Reason

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“Somebody said, ‘Well, there’s a rule and another rule.’ I don’t care about rules, folks… We win, we get the delegates.” ~ Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump

That, in a nutshell, summarizes the Trump campaign’s approach to winning the 2016 Republican nomination for the presidency; defying and discarding conventional rules of politics, refusing to abide by the traditional rules of decorum which provide a patina of civility to an often bitter political process, choosing instead to resort to character assassination and open mockery of his opponents (accusing Ben Carson of being a child molester, branding Cruz “Lyin’ Ted”, labeling Rubio “Little Marco”, and mocking Carly Fiorina’s looks, just to name a few).

Trump, with virtually no traditional political organization to start, relied on sheer force of will and a larger-than-life personality to rise in the polls. Trump’s faux pas and unapologetic coarseness seemed only to increase his popularity. Trump has been the front-runner in the race almost from the day he announced.

His non-traditional strategy has worked well thus far, but in recently, like Achilles’ heel, Trump’s lack of grassroots political organization has proven a serious liability. Long before Trump announced his candidacy; indeed, long before he announced his own candidacy, Ted Cruz was working in the political ditches, recruiting grassroots activists and local elected officials at the county and district level to serve as campaign chairs, and eventually, as delegates during the Republican convention cycle. It has paid off well for him. The race has come down to the strength of Trump’s cult of personality, versus the breadth and depth of Cruz’s grassroots campaign organization.

Stossel’s Libertarian debate highlights the good…and bad of the third party option

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A stoner, an outlaw, and a teenager walk into a television studio. Not the start of a terrible joke, but the latest Libertarian Party debate, hosted by John Stossel on Fox Business, the first half of a two-hour forum. The second half airs next Friday, April 8.

Participating in the debate were former New Mexico governor and previous Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson, software entreprenuer John McAfee, and Libertarian Republic founder Austin Petersen. Each demonstrated plenty of knowledge about liberty issues, but also plenty of idiosyncracies that, while largely unnoticable among the Libertarian faithful, might hinder their appeal in a general election.

Helpfully, Stossel himself pointed out some of these issues and had the candidates address them.

Petersen is only 35 years old and inexperienced in the campaign and television world. He was very animated and forceful in his answers, but has a very freshman debate club tone that would need to be refined over the campaign.

Loss of Scalia Spares Unions Another Damaging Blow

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It is difficult to quantify the impact on the nation of the recent death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Adored by conservatives/originalists, and reviled by progressives and the “living Constitution” crowd, Scalia was not only arguably the greatest legal mind of his generation, but one of the most brilliant and articulate legal scholars in all of America history. Combining rapier wit with a towering intellect, he shaped the legal thinking of conservatives and liberals alike in the judiciary.

In recent years many of the most controversial rulings handed down by the Supreme Court have come in the form of 5-4 rulings, typically with Justice Anthony Kennedy being the swing vote. The loss of Scalia leaves the Court with eight justices, increasing the likelihood of 4-4 decisions that, rather than establish constitutional law precedent, leave issues unsettled and keep in place lower court rulings.

It’s time to start including another name in polls and campaign coverage

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Twice in the last week I’ve had to personally update candidate comparison articles or memes that left out perhaps the most important name on the ballot. It’s time the professional media did their job up front instead.

As we’ve discussed, a Trump-Clinton election will likely be a historic low in terms of turnout and enthusiasm. It also opens a unique opportunity for another party candidate to make inroads in the national political landscape. So why are people ignoring that there are other candidates available?

You may have seen this candidate issue flow chart on social media in the last couple weeks.

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I noticed that it was missing something, so I updated it.

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Similarly, Vox’s income tax calculator showing how each candidate’s plans will affect your wallet only has four results.

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LOL @ “mostly on the rich”.

Brussels Attacks Prove PC Police Will Not Defeat Islamic Terrorism

The sun had not yet begun to creep up over the horizon on Tuesday morning when my alarm clock went off, and I was awakened to the somber voice of a news reporter describing the scenes of carnage in Belgium after a series of Islamic terrorist attacks rocked the city of Brussels just a hours earlier as Belgians were on their way to work.

Initial reports indicate that passengers at the Brussels international airport heard gunfire around 8AM local time, followed almost immediately by an explosion at a passenger check-in desk. Moments later, as passengers panicked and fled the area, a second explosion hit inside the terminal. Within minutes rescue operations had begun. Just over an hour later, at 9:10AM local time, a third explosion hit a train at the Maelbeek Metro subway station, near the European Union headquarters. At least one of the explosions has been determined to be the result of a suicide bomber.

Trump, Sanders, and Political Humor

Originally published at International Liberty ~ Ed.

 

After yesterday’s ponderous and detailed discussion of tax compliance, it’s time for some levity.

So let’s have some fun with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

And we’ll start with the crazy Senator from Vermont. I’m surprised that I haven’t seen more Sanders-specific humor. I’m probably missing some examples, but a quick look through my archives reveals only the cartoon at the bottom of this post and the satirical poster included in this post.

A guy this crazy deserves more attention.

So here’s the Sanders version of the monopoly game, courtesy of Mark Perry, the must-read economist at the American Enterprise Institute.

The best part of the game is the description of how everyone decides the best option is to stop being productive and wait for handouts.

Puerto Rico Needs Free Market Prosperity, Not Soros-supported Bankruptcy

After years of excessive government spending, inefficient and corrupt state-run enterprises, and a tax and regulatory structure that stifles business development and economic growth, it is clear that precisely what Puerto Rico needs is a strong cocktail of free market economic and financial reforms. Congress will soon take up this debate, and on one side, the government of the Commonwealth, the Barack Obama Administration and many liberal or progressive Democrats in Congress support some form of bailout and bankruptcy for Puerto Rico, while many Republicans and conservative groups see reform as key to a prosperous future, and solving the current crisis, for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico.

Wealthy investor and far-left political activist George Soros has weighed on this issue as well, siding firmly with his support for bailout and bankruptcy for Puerto Rico. Mr. Soros tweeted, “In debt-ridden Puerto Rico, cuts to vital services are affecting many of the most vulnerable there.”

Dodd-Frank: A Wall Street-Supported Law Imposing Heavy Costs, Enabling Future Bailouts

Politicians specialize in bad policy, but they go overboard during election years.

It’s especially galling to hear Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton compete to see who can make the most inane comments about the financial sector.

This is why I felt compelled last month to explain why the recent financial crisis had nothing to do with the absence of “Glass-Steagall” regulations.

Today, I want to address Dodd-Frank, the legislation that was imposed immediately after the crisis by President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Congress.

I’m tempted to focus on the fact that the big boys on Wall Street, such as Goldman-Sachs, supported the law. It’s galling, after all, to hear politicians claim Dodd-Frank was anti-Wall Street legislation.

But there are more important points to consider, including the fact that the law doesn’t prevent or preclude bailouts.

Writing for today’s Wall Street Journal, Emily Kapur and John Taylor identify key problems with the Dodd-Frank bailout legislation.


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