In Defense of Rand Paul

Monday, May 31, 2010

For those students who may not keep themselves informed about Senate primary races in other states, please excuse the brevity of the following summary: Dr. Rand Paul, son of Congressman Ron Paul, recently mopped the floor with his primary opponent, neoconservative and Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson.

Having personally volunteered on behalf of Dr. Paul’s campaign, I couldn’t help but be concerned when I noticed that weasel-turned-CNN commentator Paul Begala could hardly contain his excitement over Paul’s primary win.

I knew they had something, and, as it turns out, Begala is now using Dr. Paul’s name to help him fundraise.

The very next day, it just so happened that a video interview was leaked, which showed Rand Paul criticizing the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That same night, in what can only be considered a public relations gaffe, Dr. Paul appeared on The Rachel Maddow Show to defend himself. What happened is what everyone in his campaign should have expected—she spent the entire interview trying to get Dr. Paul to admit he thought segregated restaurants were perfectly acceptable. The issue itself was settled when Rand Paul was an infant, and has nothing to do with his campaign. This was all a ploy—a fairly smart one, I must admit—to link a self-described “tea party” candidate to a racial issue. After all, as we all know, Tea Parties are actually clandestine Klan meetings.

Of course, the absurd implication of all of this is that Rand Paul is a racist, or somehow endorses racism. The fact of the matter is, Dr. Paul is one in a line of civil libertarians who have been responsible for much of the progress in equal rights through U.S. history. Many of the American abolitionists, such as Lysander Spooner and Henry David Thoreau, by today’s standards, would be considered radical libertarians, though to label them as such would be anachronistic. It was this same sense of civil libertarianism that inspired the civil rights marches and boycotts of the mid-20th century.

It was actually the practice of the free market, in the form of bus boycotts, which helped overturn segregationist laws in the South. Yes, instead of heroic laws being passed to quell the malevolence of the free market, it was effective civil disobedience that overturned immoral laws. In fact, that is mainly what the Civil Rights Act of 1964 did—overturn racist and segregationist laws. Even if this law were overturned today—which it never would be—I do not think anyone will argue with the assertion that businesses that discriminate for racial or other currently illegal reasons would be scarce, if they existed at all.

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25 Questions To Ask Anyone Who Is Delusional Enough To Believe That This Economic Recovery Is Real

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

If you listen to the mainstream media long enough, you just might be tempted to believe that the United States has emerged from the recession and is now in the middle of a full-fledged economic recovery. In fact, according to Obama administration officials, the great American economic machine has roared back to life, stronger and more vibrant than ever before. But is that really the case? Of course not. You would have to be delusional to believe that. What did happen was that all of the stimulus packages and government spending and new debt that Obama and the U.S. Congress pumped into the economy bought us a little bit of time. But they have also made our long-term economic problems far worse. The reality is that the U.S. cannot keep supporting an economy on an ocean of red ink forever. At some point the charade is going to come crashing down.


And GDP is not a really good measure of the economic health of a nation. For example, if you would have looked at the growth of GDP in the Weimar republic in the early 1930s, you may have been tempted to think that the German economy was really thriving. German citizens were spending increasingly massive amounts of money. But of course that money was becoming increasingly worthless at the same time as hyperinflation spiralled out of control.

Well, today the purchasing power of our dollar is rapidly eroding as the price of food and other necessities continues to increase. So just because Americans are spending a little bit more money than before really doesn't mean much of anything. As you will see below, there are a whole bunch of other signs that the U.S. economy is in very, very serious trouble.

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Nanny State goes global

Monday, May 24, 2010

6:00 am May 24, 2010, by Bob Barr

“Nanny State” laws are popping up with increasing frequency as big-government advocates continue to be elected to offices from the city council to the White House. What many Americans may not realize is the extent to which such invasive and pervasive government actions are spreading around the world, creating a “Nanny World.”

As usual, California, with its many ultra-liberal communities, is leading the way here in America. Santa Clara County recently voted to outlaw the sale of McDonald’s “Happy Meal” toys and a host of other novelties (including coupons from which a patron might download a song) provided by restaurants as a bonus for customers who purchase certain drinks or food items. As bizarre as is this most recent ban, if some of that county’s residents have their way, it will be followed by many more. One resident of Sacramento, for example, reportedly voiced support for the recently-passed measure because even McDonald’s “190-calorie salad dressing and mass-produced beef scare her”; New York’s Mayor Bloomberg would be proud of her.

The Global War Against Calories has reached all the way to the Congress and the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama now regularly employs her bully pulpit to rail against obesity. Of course, criticizing obesity is not itself inappropriate; far too many Americans of all ages are too fat. However, when folks in Washington – including recently the chairman of the Federal Trade Commission — start issuing thinly-veiled warnings to food companies that they may be subpoenaed and forced to explain why their packaging is too enticing, or why they do not list nutrition information more prominently, we’ve moved beyond simple, personal encouragement to Big Brother-ism.

A bi-partisan reauthorization of the “Child Nutrition Act” now working its way through the Congress, would dramatically increase the reach of the federal government to dictate with great specificity what types of meals, snacks, and beverages could be sold in, or distributed by, every public school in the country. You can bet a Twinkie or a Baby Ruth will not remain among the sanctioned foods.

While nothing that happens at the University of California at Berkeley would surprise any observer of big government, the latest move by its administration might cause at least a double take. The university is asking incoming students to give the school a sample of their DNA when they register. This measure will enable the huge state-run school to amass a database of the most personal information imaginable about its students and eventual alumni. In typical Berkeley-speak, in a local television interview a genetics professor said he hopes this program “will excite students to be more hands-on with their college experience.”

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Milton Friedman - Socialism is Force

Sunday, May 23, 2010

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Southern Avenger: Rand Paul Revolution

Thursday, May 20, 2010

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Rand Paul Crushes Trey Grayson

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

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C4L News: Financial Reform

Saturday, May 15, 2010

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MADD Gets Madder

Thursday, May 13, 2010

By Eric Peters on 5.12.10 @ 6:07AM

I don't support drunk driving -- just to get that out of the way.

But the idea that you're "drunk" at the current .08 BAC threshold is a bit much.

Push them a bit and proponents will say you're impaired at .08 in terms of a medically observable decline in reaction times -- and that's true, as far as it goes. But this slight reduction in reaction times has not been shown to correlate with a higher accident rate.

Proponents merely assert that it does, with no facts (such as a greater number of car wrecks) to back it up.

On the other hand, we know that a .10 BAC, which used to be the legal threshold defining drunk driving in most states, does correlate with a higher accident rate. There is actual evidence (more car crashes) to support this. Therefore, it seems reasonable to target people with BAC levels at .10 or higher because they pose an objective, real threat to other motorists (and pedestrians).

That's what the system used to do. The BAC threshold defining "drunk driving" used to be .10 -- because that was the level at which is was known drivers tended to have more accidents.

Not anymore. The lawful maximum BAC nationwide is now .08 and threatens to get knocked down even lower. In many states, you can be arrested for DUI with a BAC level of .06. "Zero tolerance" -- that is, no alcohol whatsoever, is openly discussed.

Which is just silly. Do we really believe people ought to be arrested because they got behind the wheel of a car after having had a sip of wine?

So, how did we get from reasonable DWI laws to here -- objectively unreasonable DWI laws that target social drinkers with even very moderate amounts of alcohol in their systems with a vengefulness that borders on the pathological?

All it took was one "mom."

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Rep. Alan Grayson: You Own the Red Roof Inn, Thanks to the Fed

Friday, May 7, 2010

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Past: Mayor's home invaded and dogs murdered by SWAT

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Video of SWAT Raid on Missouri Family

Thursday, May 6, 2010

In February, I wrote the following about a drug raid in Missouri:

SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven rounds at family's pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on.

They found a "small amount" of marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment.

So smoking pot = "child endangerment." Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone's safety.

Just so we're clear.

Now there's video, which you can watch below. It's horrifying, but I'd urge you to watch it, and to send it to the drug warriors in your life. This is the blunt-end result of all the war imagery and militaristic rhetoric politicians have been spewing for the last 30 years—cops dressed like soldiers, barreling through the front door middle of the night, slaughtering the family pets, filling the house with bullets in the presence of children, then having the audacity to charge the parents with endangering their own kid. There are 100-150 of these raids every day in America, the vast, vast majority like this one, to serve a warrant for a consensual crime.

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The NYPD Tapes: Inside Bed-Stuy's 81st Precinct

Two years ago, a police officer in a Brooklyn precinct became gravely concerned about how the public was being served. To document his concerns, he began carrying around a digital sound recorder, secretly recording his colleagues and superiors.
He recorded precinct roll calls. He recorded his precinct commander and other supervisors. He recorded street encounters. He recorded small talk and stationhouse banter. In all, he surreptitiously collected hundreds of hours of cops talking about their jobs.

Made without the knowledge or approval of the NYPD, the tapes—made between June 1, 2008, and October 31, 2009, in the 81st Precinct in Bedford-Stuyvesant and obtained exclusively by the Voice—provide an unprecedented portrait of what it's like to work as a cop in this city.

They reveal that precinct bosses threaten street cops if they don't make their quotas of arrests and stop-and-frisks, but also tell them not to take certain robbery reports in order to manipulate crime statistics. The tapes also refer to command officers calling crime victims directly to intimidate them about their complaints.

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Ahmadinejad gives exclusive interview to RT

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

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Dems spark alarm with call for national 'B.E.L.I.E.V.E' ID Card

Monday, May 3, 2010

A plan by Senate Democratic leaders to reform the nation’s immigration laws ran into strong opposition from civil liberties defenders before lawmakers even unveiled it Thursday.

Democratic leaders have proposed requiring every worker in the nation to carry a national identification card with biometric information, such as a fingerprint, within the next six years, according to a draft of the measure.

The proposal is one of the biggest differences between the newest immigration reform proposal and legislation crafted by late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

The national ID program would be titled the Believe System, an acronym for Biometric Enrollment, Locally stored Information and Electronic Verification of Employment.

It would require all workers across the nation to carry a card with a digital encryption key that would have to match work authorization databases.

“The cardholder’s identity will be verified by matching the biometric identifier stored within the microprocessing chip on the card to the identifier provided by the cardholder that shall be read by the scanner used by the employer,” states the Democratic legislative proposal.

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Banks closed in Puerto Rico, Mich., Mo., Wash.

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Regulators on Friday shut down three banks in Puerto Rico, two in Missouri, and one each in Michigan and Washington, bringing the number of U.S. bank failures this year to 64.

The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. took over the banks: Westernbank Puerto Rico, based in Mayaguez, with about $11.9 billion in assets; R-G Premier Bank of Puerto Rico, based in Hato Rey, with around $5.9 billion in assets; and San Juan-based Eurobank, with $2.5 billion in assets.

The FDIC also seized CF Bancorp, based in Port Huron, Mich., with about $1.6 billion in assets; Champion Bank, of Creve Coeur, Mo., with $187.3 million in assets; BC National Banks, of Butler, Mo., with $67.2 million in assets; and Frontier Bank, based in Everett, Wash., with $3.5 billion in assets.

Banco Popular de Puerto Rico agreed to acquire Westernbank's deposits and about $9.4 billion of its assets. The FDIC will keep the remainder for eventual sale. Scotiabank de Puerto Rico agreed to buy all the assets and deposits of R-G Premier Bank. And Oriental Bank and Trust is acquiring all the assets and deposits of Eurobank. The three healthier acquiring banks are based in San Juan, the Puerto Rican capital.

The three failed banks together held more than one-fifth of the total bank assets on the U.S. Caribbean territory. They had struggled to stay afloat during Puerto Rico's grinding, four-year recession.

It was Puerto Rico's largest bank consolidation in more than two decades as well as one of the FDIC's biggest resolutions of failed banks in the financial crisis that struck in fall 2008.

In addition, the FDIC and Banco Popular agreed to share losses on $8.8 billion of Westernbank's loans and other assets. The agency and Scotiabank agreed to share losses on $5.4 billion of R-G Premier Bank's assets, while the FDIC and Oriental Bank and Trust are to share losses on $1.6 billion of Eurobank's assets.

The failure of Westernbank is expected to cost the deposit insurance fund $3.3 billion; the failure of R-G Premier Bank is expected to cost $1.2 billion; that of Eurobank, $743.9 million.

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