Every year the Ludwig von Mises Institute in Auburn, AL hosts a conference for scholars of the Austrian tradition to come together and share essays and ideas. This year’s conference was loaded with big names and reputable authors among the Libertarian and generally liberty-minded.
Barack Obama got a little touchy over a question from The New York Times during a recent interview:
President Obama was so concerned that he may have mishandled a question from New York Times reporters about whether he was a socialist, that he called the paper to clarify his position. The president initially answered the question aboard Air Force One saying, “Let’s take a look at the budget, the answer would be no.”
The president explained he wanted a return to the tax rates of the 1990s by giving a tax-cut to 95 percent of workers. But the president may have felt that was too dismissive, and called the Times from the Oval Office explaining: “It was hard for me to believe that you were entirely serious about that socialist question… it wasn’t under me that we started buying a bunch of shares of banks. it wasn’t on my watch.”
Throughout the country, every large town over 100,000 people seems to have a common element: a local branch of National Public Radio. In all, the partially publicly funded organization has 797 public radio stations that it syndicates to.
Public broadcasting has a place in Western society. Canada, the United Kingdom and Australia all boast creative and new publicly backed media enterprises. In the United Kingdom, the BBC provides all sorts of great programming, from adaptations of Jane Austen novels to modern day radio drama. Unlike its counterparts, however, it’s questionable whether NPR is providing much groundbreaking or innovative.
This past weekend, I took my wife to see the film Valkyrie. Featuring Tom Cruise, Valkyrie is already ranked among the top five films of the season. Valkyrie details the plot of July 20, 1944 devised by German officers to assassinate Adolph Hitler. Cruise played the mastermind of the plot Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg.
I make no claim to have a depth of understanding of Hitler’s National Socialism and the details of the War effort. However, I was raised by a father who was a World War II veteran who was present on D-Day and both uncles served in the European theater during that great War.
Though news of this sort cannot be considered unusual any longer, I still find it insufferable and mildly shocking. The likelihood of a British citizen having their personal home computer hacked by government authorities, secretly and without a warrant, has increased. Even more infuriating, this intrusion may be at the behest of a foreign nation, thanks to a recent plan adopted by the EU.
Since the hacking may proceed if an officer believes there is sufficient reason to believe it would help prevent or detect a serious crime, the obvious question is, who decides what is considered “sufficient reason” and what is to prevent abuse of these over-reaching powers? If there is truly sufficient evidence, why wouldn’t a judge simply grant a warrant? This would at least grant some oversight.
Every month, Cato puts out a new issue of Cato Unbound, an online journal that looks at various topics. This week, the topic is fusionism, something that has received quite a bit of attention here at United Liberty.
The format of Cato Unbound is quite simple. One writer contributes a lead essay, and then three other writers write response essays. Then, it descends into a furball as we all starting writing shorter response posts to each other. The discussion is not just there, however; blog posts elsewhere will be linked, and everyone—yes, including YOU!—is encouraged to join in the discussion.
Our lead essay this month is written by Jacque Otto, a friend of mine and a writer at Values and Capitalism, a project of the American Enterprise Institute. She writes:
Freedom is nonpartisan. At least, that’s the message I got this morning from my Twitter timeline when these two stories appeared. The first is out of Alaska, where the local ACLU chapter is defending an…anti-abortion group?:
The ACLU of Alaska is urging Alaska Governor Sean Parnell to provide more information about some creative censorship by state workers earlier this month during a street protest in Juneau. The street protest was staged by a group called the Center for Bioethical Reform, a fringe anti-abortion group that displays explicit pictures of aborted fetuses in public places to get their message across.
That’s what they were doing early in April on the sidewalk across the street from Alaska state Capitol building. The protest wasn’t exactly a rally. The CBR group included between four and six people, as counted by the Press from videos and photos of the incident. The group was around the Capitol about four days total, and on Tuesday, April 2, some state workers grew tired of the banner featuring a giant photo of an aborted fetus.
Some state employees parked delivery vans on the street, in between the protest banner and the capitol building. Rather than move their banner, the CBR protesters held their ground and began making video of the rather awkward attempt at censoring the graphic images. It’s “attempted censorship” because the CBR protesters could have simply walked to another part of the sidewalk. Alternatively, they could have recruited more than a half-dozen people to help them display graphic images of bloody fetuses in public places.
Usually, when people bleat about spending money on other countries, it’s about humanitarian aid. But we spend far more money on other nations than just humanitarian aid; we also spend billions and billions of dollars subsidizing other nations’ military defense.
So when you file your tax return today to your overlords at the IRS, just remember, you’re paying not only for our military, but for the military of NATO, of South Korea, of Japan, and many other countries, and letting them freeload off of you. Every time a liberal points to European socialism and says we should be more like that, just know a lot of that socialism comes because they don’t have to spend on their military—we do it for them.
Here’s the infographic and the blog post from the Cato Institute to prove it:
Last week, a scary new report came out from the Associated Press on the drug cartels presence in the continental United States:
Mexican drug cartels whose operatives once rarely ventured beyond the U.S. border are dispatching some of their most trusted agents to live and work deep inside the United States — an emboldened presence that experts believe is meant to tighten their grip on the world’s most lucrative narcotics market and maximize profits.
If left unchecked, authorities say, the cartels’ move into the American interior could render the syndicates harder than ever to dislodge and pave the way for them to expand into other criminal enterprises such as prostitution, kidnapping-and-extortion rackets and money laundering.
Cartel activity in the U.S. is certainly not new. Starting in the 1990s, the ruthless syndicates became the nation’s No. 1 supplier of illegal drugs, using unaffiliated middlemen to smuggle cocaine, marijuana and heroin beyond the border or even to grow pot here.
But a wide-ranging Associated Press review of federal court cases and government drug-enforcement data, plus interviews with many top law enforcement officials, indicate the groups have begun deploying agents from their inner circles to the U.S. Cartel operatives are suspected of running drug-distribution networks in at least nine non-border states, often in middle-class suburbs in the Midwest, South and Northeast.
“It’s probably the most serious threat the United States has faced from organized crime,” said Jack Riley, head of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Chicago office.
On Monday the Colorado Senate passed five of the seven proposed gun bills and its expected that Gov. John Hickenlooper will sign them. Sen. Greg Brophy (R-Wray) said in reference to HB 1224, the bill that would limit magazines to 15 rounds: “I will willfully and purposefully and civilly disobey this law.” I think it is safe to say that Sen. Brophy is not alone even though the penalties for breaking some of these laws include jail time and possibly losing any legal right to ever own a firearm again.
What to do now? Its over, right?
Well, obviously the people of Colorado can vote the tyrants out next time around. There’s also the ballot initiative process; there’s already a petition movement in place to undo HB 1224 by putting it to a vote in the next election if enough signatures can be collected in time (which I don’t think will be a problem). Beyond traditional legal remedies, so far 136 companies that sell and/or manufacture firearms, components, ammunition, or accessories have pledged that they will not sell their products to the police or any government entity that will enforce gun laws which, in their judgement, violates 2nd Amendment rights of the people.
All these efforts should be joined, applauded, and encouraged. Next time you want to buy a gun or accessory, you should buy from a company that is on the list and admonish those who haven’t made the pledge to close the “police loophole” to do so (and also, write a short letter of encouragement to those which have already taken this brave step).