Individual Liberties

Bill Gates Sides with FBI Against Apple and It Is No Surprise

Bill Gates

If anyone was really surprised at the fact that Bill Gates broke ranks with Silicon Valley on the Apple v. FBI issue, they obviously have not been paying attention. As TechCrunch reported, he is blithely claiming that the FBI is just being absolutely truthful, and that there is no way that they have a desire or intention of using whatever mechanism Apple might come up with to fulfill their request ever again.

No, that doesn’t change the fact that Tim Cook was telling the truth about his products. There would be no way to make a backdoor into an iPhone or anything else a “one-time use” fix. Gates knows this, and is lying if he claims otherwise.

Of course, if this had anything to do with Microsoft at all, it’s safe to assume that Gates would be singing a totally different tune. No, it doesn’t matter how much he clarifies his statement on Apple. The bottom line remains the bottom line, and his comments need to be seen as a back-handed attempt to level the playing field when it comes to security in tech.

If You Want Real “Social Justice,” Support Free Markets and Small Government

Originally posted at Mitchell’s blog International Liberty.

 

Since almost everybody wants a society that is just, that presumably means we all favor “social justice.”

But in the American political system, the phrase has been adopted by those who favor bigger government and more intervention. Sort of the way “solidarity” and “social” are code words for statism in Europe.

Leftists think that this phrase gives them the moral high ground, but shouldn’t we judge “social justice” by outcomes rather than intentions?

Is statism really compassionate if it actually winds up lining the pockets of wealthy insiders?

Is statism really compassionate when it gives people an excuse to be stingy, as we see in Europe?

Is statism really compassionate when it means less long-run growth and lower living standards for ordinary people?

The answers to those questions probably depend on one’s definition of a just society.

Hillary Clinton’s Obtuse Pot Policy Exposes the Dubious Right-Left Dichotomy of Every Issue

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The Daily Beast has a bit this week about Hillary Clinton’s upcoming donor clash over marijuana policy. Her position as recently as last year is that marijuana is a gateway drug and would be legalized, even medicinally, at great risk to society.

“I think the feds should be attuned to the way marijuana is still used as a gateway drug and how the drug cartels from Latin America use marijuana to get footholds in states,” she told KPCC radio last July.

This is at odds with big donors she’s meeting in California soon, as well as the general public, which supports legalizing it completely. That, of course, means that Hillary’s position on the issue will almost certainly “evolve” before 2016 gets too much closer. But if she doesn’t, she could end up to the “right” of her Republican challenger here.

That raises the question of whether marijuana prohibition is even a cause of the right or the left to begin with. Currently it’s assumed to be a liberal issue, and polls support that by showing huge majorities of Democrats favoring legalization but much smaller numbers of Republicans.

If Criminal Justice Reform Can Do This, It’s Hugely Important for 2016 and Beyond

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You may have seen the #justicereform hashtag pop up in your timeline this week. Well, it wasn’t random. There was a summit to discuss the issue in Washington DC, and it brought together two organizations that would normally cause a rip in the space-time continuum.

Co-sponsored by the conservative FreedomWorks and liberal Center for American Progress, the Coalition for Public Safety summit brought in activists, bloggers, and radio hosts from the right and left to learn more about this issue that has united these disparate forces. Anything that can do this deserves to be taken seriously as a unifying principle by our policy-makers.

Jason Pye, formerly of this site, and now of FreedomWorks, told me some great things about the event.

There was a lot of positive feedback from bloggers about Molly Gill of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, who spoke at FreedomWorks’ morning session. She gave us some heartbreaking stories of families that have been torn apart by federal mandatory minimum sentences, a costly big government policy that has led to the incarceration of thousands of low-level, nonviolent offenders.

This is another reason why justice reform should be a huge issue on every level of government, not just for the presidential election. Pye says there’s already big things happening at the national level.

Legalize Marijuana, Don’t Socialize It

The campaign to end the War on Drugs has gained momentum in recent years with state ballot initiatives legalizing recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington, and a similar referendum coming to Washington, DC on this year’s general election ballot. Along with the push to reform sentencing laws, even retroactively, for nonviolent drug offenses, it appears that huge strides are being made in allowing free citizens the right to enjoy relatively harmless substances as they choose. But as with any government effort, the reality is far from the idealized campaign promise.

In Washington state, which decriminalized small amounts of marijuana possession and consumption on the 2012 ballot, state-sanctioned retail sales just began in July. However, as this is still deep blue Washington we’re talking about, there is far from a free market for the stuff. The state has a strict licensing program that only allows certain retailers to sell marijuana legally, from only certain licensed producers, resulting in only one place to buy in all of Seattle on opening day. This isn’t exactly Starbucks for weed.

With 24’s return, does Jack Bauer have the same appeal to a different America?

Jack Bauer

Tonight marks the return of the smash TV hit 24, its first new production since the series finale in 2010. A lot has changed in the last four years, and while Fox looks to have another ratings success on its hands with this more limited run series, Live Another Day, is the world still a safe place for Jack Bauer’s brand of no holds barred counter-terrorism?

Fatefully, the first season of 24 began production in March 2001. Fox premiered it in November 2001, less than two months after the 9/11 attacks, when other media companies were still censoring their output to not offend America’s new sensitivity to all things related to commercial air travel, skyscrapers, patriotism, and terrorism.

Over the next eight seasons, television audiences were fearlessly treated to assassination attempts, nuclear attacks, internal coups, electrocuted nipples, and an unending stream of yelled demands and immunity agreements. And we loved every minute of it.

The Rise of Digital On Demand Media

online...

This morning I was a mentor. This afternoon, a boss. Later, after lunch, an employee which, in turn, allowed for me to provide for my family. Let’s not forget this evening when I opened my books and was a student.

If this were my life a decade ago I would quite easily forget, or neglect, my right to know what was going on around me in my community, my state, my nation, and my world. The CBS Evening News with Dan Rather, The NBC Nightly News with Tom Brokaw, or CNN’s Lou Dobbs Tonight and Anderson Cooper 360º would have just past me by without notice.

Today, with the revolution of online media and digital forms of journalism it allows for any multi-tasking individual with ADD, such as myself, to stay current with events happening around the world, or just down the street. The depth that I want to consume myself in the information depends solely on how much time I have in between appointments. I tell Anderson Cooper when he can and cannot speak.

Getting information about current events through internet sources has given me the opportunity to stay informed on the go. Corporate news networks on television dictate when you can listen and they have the same tone and message with slightly different undertones and agendas to appeal to a certain demographic, but still manage to deliver the same generic stories.

The Perpetual Battle for Natural Rights

With all the scandals today – namely, at the IRS, AP, and NSA – many believe our government’s actions are violating our natural rights: mostly, our freedoms of speech, press, due process, and privacy. These “natural rights” are fundamental basic human rights, not based on man-made positive law. Many of these rights were codified by our founders in the Bill of Rights… but not without tumult.

There are those today - even within the liberty movement - willing to compromise on many issues that would infringe on the natural rights of others, in both domestic and foreign policy. I think they are wrong. In this brief history of how our Bill of Rights came about, I encourage you to look for parallels between today’s struggles and our country’s founding.

A Constitution Without Rights

John Locke, regarded as the Father of Classical Liberalism, grounded the premise for his 1690 Second Treatise of Government on the idea of natural rights. This idea, while revolutionary at the time, provided a template for subsequent political theory. Merging Locke’s idea with the British Bill of Rights of 1689, George Mason, a member of the Virginia delegation, penned the Virginia Declaration of Rights in May of 1776 - preceding both the Virginia State Constitution and the Declaration of Independence. In its Article 1, he penned these words:

Too Good to Check: Ben & Jerry’s Ben Cohen Now Buying Issue Support with Free Ice Cream

Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen is waging a new campaign to reform the campaign finance system, and to “get money out of politics.” But Cohen is no stranger to injecting a lot of his own money into politics, and his latest gambit makes him a hypocrite of the highest degree, as the Ben & Jerry’s company and its parent company Unilever bear the financial costs of his advocacy.

Ben & Jerry's truck

You might say Cohen is delivering the bullshit by the truckload these days. Politico Influence reports:

BEN & JERRY’S DEFENDS FREE ICE CREAM TO FIGHT CORPORATE INFLUENCE: Last week, POLITICO reported that Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Ben Cohen is fighting the Citizens United decision by stamping dollar bills with anti-money-in-politics messages. Anyone who presents a stamped dollar bill gets a free ice cream. PI asked Ben & Jerry’s ‘Grand Poobah’ of communications Sean Greenwood who was paying for the effort - noting that it would be a bit ironic for a for-profit corporation to fight influence-peddling by giving away free ice cream.

NAACP Chief: GOP Needs To Become Party of Civil Rights

Ben Jealous

A couple of weeks ago, Senator Rand Paul did a courageous and unusual thing by visiting Howard University in DC. Howard is what is known as a “historically black university,” founded in the wake of the Civil War to provide opportunities for higher education to African-Americans. It’s not exactly home turf for Republicans, but that’s precisely why Paul went, in order to bridge a massive gap that is hurting the GOP.

Response to his visit was mixed, but yesterday, NAACP president Benjamin Todd Jealous wrote a generally supportive op-ed on CNN. Although noting that Paul missed his target in most areas, there is one area that has promise:

Paul struck out when he tried to equate today’s Republican Party with the party of Abraham Lincoln, while ignoring much of the 150 years in between. (He even acknowledged his mistakes shortly after). But his willingness to step up to the plate can provide a lesson for a GOP struggling to get on top.

Republicans will not win black votes by paying lip service to party history while attacking social programs and voting rights. But they can make inroads by showing a commitment to civil rights, something Paul managed to do briefly in his remarks.


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