Kevin Boyd

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The Assualt On Tolerance By The Tolerant

Brendan Eich

I strongly believe in a diverse, tolerant, and liberal society. I believe in not just tolerance when it comes to different races, religions, genders, and sexual orientations; I believe more strongly in the tolerance of ideas, especially those I strongly disagree with.

Unfortunately, the tolerant, liberal society I love and value so much is under attack, often by many of the same people who view themselves as “tolerant.” The latest case in point is the firing of Brendan Eich, the CEO of Mozilla.

Eich’s crime in the eyes of the tolerance police is the fact that he made a $1,000 contribution in support of California’s Proposition 8 in 2008. Proposition 8 sought to deny state recognition of same-sex marriage in the State of California. It passed, but was overturned by the US Supreme Court in 2013.

Now I disagree with Eich on Proposition 8 and I agree with the Supreme Court’s decision to overturn it. I support same-sex marriage, however, I have nothing but contempt for those who went after Eich’s job.

One of the most important things about a liberal, diverse, and tolerant society is the fact that people who have differing ideas, even those ideas that a majority of us would disagree with, could work and live together in peace. Such a diverse society and tolerant values allow us to be able engage in civil political discussions about anything without the threat to someone’s livelihood or the threat of a boycott designed to put a company out of business.

Conservatives miss the point on weed and CVS

Yesterday, the drug store chain CVS announced that it would no longer sell tobacco products. The move drew sharp reactions and generated controversy, for and against. President Obama took time away from his busy schedule of campaigning, golfing, and vacationing to praise the decision.

As predictable as the sun rising out of the east every morning, some conservatives took the opportunity to attack President Obama and proceeded to look like fools in the process.

One of the conservatives (the term is used loosely in this case) who chimed in on this pressing controversy was Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL). “Many of the same people applauding #CVS for not selling tobacco are ok with making it easier to buy and smoke pot,” he tweeted, adding the hashtag, “#makesnosense.”

For starters, it appears Rubio is not familiar with the difference between the private sector making a business decision and government policy. CVS can choose whether or not to sell tobacco products. If customers have a problem with this decision they can shop at another retailer.

If someone wants to buy and consume marijuana, however, they may go to prison under current laws. I understand this is a difficult concept for Rubio to grasp, but it is entirely consistent to applaud a private company’s decision to no longer sell tobacco and to oppose throwing people in jail for smoking a joint.

The Liberty Movement Should Be About Individual Liberty, Not Privilege Checking

Thoughts on Liberty has certainly been making a splash in the libertarian blogosphere over the past year. Their mission of providing a voice for libertarian women is certainly a worthy one. However, the site has become famous (or infamous) for its social commentary in libertarian circles. An example of this is a piece on privilege that was written on Monday by ToL’s editor in chief, Gina Luttrell.

In her piece, Luttrell argues that libertarians should make the “dismantling of privilege” a priority because it inhibits individuals from being considered on the basis of their individuality and achieving their goals. For the sake of argument, we’ll use this piece describing privilege by Luttrell as the definition. While I would agree that “privilege” certainly exists, I’m not sure that combatting it should a priority of the liberty movement. The end game of libertarianism is not individualism for the sake of individualism. The end game of libertarianism is individual freedom from government coercion. Libertarianism is solely a political philosophy and many if not most questions of “privilege” are cultural questions for which libertarianism does not have any answers, by design.

Obama on Weed: Hope and Same

President Obama gave an interview to The New Yorker, you know the same interview where he said racism was probably to blame for his falling approval numbers. He was asked about marijuana legalization in Colorado and Washington and he answered:

he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”

That appears to indicate the Obama Administration is supportive of allowing states to set their own policies on marijuana legalization. Although the Obama Administration has began to walk back those comments we should assume the Obama Administration is willing to consider a sane, rational approach to marijuana.

In 2010, nearly 790,000 Americans were arrested on marijuana related offenses and African-Americans and other minorities were disproportionately targeted. While marijuana is a dangerous drug and I would not encourage anyone to use it under any circumstances, the effects appear to be no more dangerous than alcohol or tobacco, both of which are legal.

The Kelly Thomas verdict is an outrage

Kelly Thomas' pleas

Most police officers are not murderers. Most police officers are not corrupt brutes on a power trip. Most police officers do their jobs professionally and serve their communities. Not all policemen are thugs who brutalize and murder unarmed people. However Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli are murderers and thugs.

On Monday, both men were acquitted for the murder of Kelly Thomas, a homeless man suffering from schizophrenia. On July 5, 2011; police in Fullerton, CA responded to a call about a man vandalizing cars. Police found a shirtless Kelly Thomas and questioned him. As a video shows the incident grew out of hand, it eventually grew violent.

The heroic Manuel Ramos, who was trying to handle the situation in a calm and professional manner asked Thomas, “Now see my fists? They are getting ready to f**k you up.” Our brave heroes also climbed on top of Thomas’s back and held him down while he was tased not once, not twice, but five times. Apparently in the city of Fullerton, saying you’re sorry and begging for your life is considered resisting arrest. Finally, our brave men in blue beat Thomas nearly to death and Thomas finally succumbed to his injuries five days later.

Kelly Thomas

Biggest Stories of 2013: Obama’s Gun Control Push Falls Short

Throughout New Year’s Eve, we’ll be going through the 10 biggest political stories of 2013 as selected by United Liberty’s contributors. Don’t forget to chime in on the biggest stories of the year on our Facebook page.

guns

After the tragic shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary in December 2012, the left began its predictable charge for gun control. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California) wrote a new assualt weapons ban. Many pundits were claiming that some sort of new gun control bill was likely out of the new Congress. In addition, the newly reelected President Barack Obama vowed to make gun control a focus of his second term.

However, Second Amendment advocates mobilized their supporters into a grassroots campaign to pressure their Senators to reject new gun control measures. Hunters, gun owners, other shooting enthusiasts, and liberty lovers flooded their Senators with phone calls, letters, and e-mails urging the Senate to defeat any new gun control measures.

As a result, gun control supporters began to move away from measures like the Assault Weapons Ban and towards “compromise” bills like the Toomey-Manchin bill that expanded background checks. In April, the Senate defeated all the proposed gun control bills. Later that same day, President Obama gave an angry and whiny press conference lamenting the defeat of gun control.

Conservatism Is Very Much Alive

AJ Delgado had a piece in Mediaite last weekend asking whether conservatism was dead or not. She cites three major policy “defeats” as she sees them for conservatism this month.

1) Immigration reform is all but a foregone conclusion.

2) The gay marriage debate is essentially over.

3) The plan to defund ObamaCare — conservatives’ last stand after the Supreme Court failed to throw out the Act — is over

I think Miss Delgado misses a lot in construing all of these as catastrophic defeats for conservatives. A look at each issue on its own shows that it is not as catastrophic as it first appears.

Firstly, I wouldn’t put my money on comprehensive immigration reform becoming law. After Rand Paul outlined his position on the issue last week, he has been very careful to walk back certain aspects of it. Plus, the GOP House has shown exactly no interest in this issue. Finally, this is an issue that divides Democrats as well. Blue collar unions, African Americans, and many environmentalists want to kill immigration reform as well for their own reasons.

As for gay marriage, this is probably her strongest argument. Yes the gay marriage is over. It will become the law of the land in every state in the country within 20 years, if that. What conservatives need to is rebrand on this issue. What conservatives need to fight for on this issue is to make sure adequate religious liberty and conscience protections are in place for churches, businesses, adoption agencies and others opposed to gay marriage.

Police Want To See Your Text Messages

Fourth Amendment

Law enforcement agencies want to require cellular providers under the force of Federal law to keep a record of all text messages in case they ever need them:

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to capture and store Americans’ confidential text messages, according to a proposal that will be presented to a congressional panel today. The law enforcement proposal would require wireless providers torecord and storecustomers’ SMS messages — a controversial idea akin to requiring them to surreptitiously record audio of their customers’ phone calls — in case police decide to obtain them at some point in the future.

So the cops want a record of every single text message sent. What ever happened to privacy and being secure in our communications? How can people communicate if they know that a permanent record of the communication is being kept by a third party? This is an attack on the right to privacy:

“Billions of texts are sent every day, and some surely contain key evidence about criminal activity,”Richard Littlehale from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation will tell Congress, according to a copy (PDF) of his prepared remarks. “In some cases, this means that critical evidence is lost. Text messaging often plays a big role in investigations related to domestic violence, stalking, menacing, drug trafficking, and weapons trafficking.”

Yes, but most Americans are not criminals. There is no compelling need for the state to require a permanent record of all text messages sent.

The Iraq War, 10 Years Later and How I Was Wrong

Iraq War

Today is the 10 year anniversary of the beginning of the Iraq War. It is a good time reflect on what, if anything, was gained. It is also a time for those of us to learn about what, if anything, can we learn from the mistakes of the war.

I supported the Iraq War when it began. I looked at the evidence leading up to the war and I came to the conclusion, as most Americans did, that the regime of Saddam Hussein was in possession of weapons of mass destruction and that the status quo that was in place after the end of the Gulf War was simply unsustainable. Also, I was also intrigued by the possibility of bringing democracy to the Middle East to combat the appeal and vision of radical Islam. Furthermore, I do believe the Bush Administration sincerely believed that Iraq possessed WMDs. I do not think this was an attempt to steal Iraqi oil or other conspiracy theorist nonsense.

However, I was wrong. I’m enough of a man to look at the evidence that has emerged in 10 years and more importantly the results of the war and acknowledge that I was wrong to support the Iraq War. I do not believe the war has served the interests of the United States. I also believe that the high losses, in both blood and treasure do not justify the results achieved.

Obama Wants a Look at Your Bank Account

The Obama regime is drawing up final plans to create a massive database and give access to it to government agencies. What will be in this new database?:

The Obama administration is drawing up plans to give all U.S. spy agencies full access to a massive database that contains financial data on American citizens and others who bank in the country, according to a Treasury Department document seen by Reuters.

The proposed plan represents a major step by U.S. intelligence agencies to spot and track down terrorist networks and crime syndicates by bringing together financial databanks, criminal records and military intelligence. The plan, which legal experts say is permissible under U.S. law, is nonetheless likely to trigger intense criticism from privacy advocates.

I guess due process and asking a judge for a warrant to get this information is apparently a thing of the past in this new “changed” America. With the continuing reckless disregard of the Constitution and traditional American liberties by the Obama regime, at this point the University of Chicago should offer full refunds to anyone who ever took a Constitutional law class taught by Barack Obama. But I digress.

The database is compiled by banks and other financial institutions who report “suspicious financial activity” to the Treasury Department:

Financial institutions that operate in the United States are required by law to file reports of “suspicious customer activity,” such as large money transfers or unusually structured bank accounts, to Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).The Federal Bureau of Investigation already has full access to the database.

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