Thursday, November 20, 2014

Senators kill bill aimed at ending NSA’s mass phone surveillance

Back in May, the US government began to process a bill aimed at reining in the NSA’s powers of surveillance — if Google, Apple and Microsoft are sending group letters, you know it’s an important bill. However, it’s been left on Capitol Hill, rejected by the Senate. It failed a procedural vote, after senior Republicans said it would affect efforts to defend the country from enemies. It fell short of the 60 votes needed, gathering 58 to 42 votes. It’s now unlikely to become law, as Republicans (who made up most of the opposition), will hold a majority in the Senate in the new year.

“If our aim is to degrade and destroy ISIL, as the president has said, then that’s going to require smart policies and firm determination. At a minimum, we shouldn’t be doing anything to make the situation worse,” said Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell. The bill was the first to follow the NSA leaks from Edward Snowden, detailing that US intelligence was collecting and storing records of millions of Americans’ telephone calls.

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Rand Paul: ‘Deceitful’ Obamacare ‘Henchmen’ Should Return Money Made

“The one thing we can do is that this Mr. Gruber… he was paid and now he’s admitted he was deceptive and deceitful, I’m going to ask for an investigation from the Investigator General and I’m going to ask that he return his pay,” Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said on the “Hannity” show last night. “Because how can you — how can we pay someone to be a consultant to government who’s frankly admitting they were dishonest? So I think he should be made to return his pay.”

Gruber referred to “lack of transparency” as key to passing Obamacare at several academic conferences in 2012. He also made explicit reference to the “stupidity of the American voter” as “critical to getting this thing passed.”

Buried in hour-long videos on Youtube, his remarks were only recently discovered, creating a firestorm.

In his interview with Hannity, Paul refers to “the public deception” of “the president and all of his henchmen and women” and “the deception of paid consultants.”

“The other thing we ought to investigate is there’s about ten different states where [Gruber] got between $200,000 and $400,000 for specific reports,” said Paul. “Who was sort of organizing this for him?”

“Is this some sort of thing that happened within government?” asked Paul. “Was he just able to market himself everywhere? Or was this all coming as sort of an organized way to enrich Obama consultants?”

Although Obama claims that Gruber was merely “some advisor” who “never worked on our staff,” Gruber is actually an MIT economist who helped create the Obamacare law. The Obama administration had paid Mr. Gruber $380,000 in 2009, cited him several times in hearings and White House blogs, and even dedicated a webpage to his expert analysis. Visitor logs show Gruber meeting repeatedly with senior officials at the White House including one meeting with President Obama.

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

Don’t be fooled: Net neutrality is all about cronyism

There are two articles out that go into greater detail as to why Campaign for Liberty is against so-called “Net Neutrality.” The first is an excellent article over at Rare that does a good job of explaining one problem with Net Neutrality: cronyism

For years, Internet giants like Facebook, Google, and Netflix have been pushing for network neutrality to avoid paying for the traffic their users hog from ISPs. As it currently stands, Netflix and YouTube account for half of all peak-hour download traffic in the United States, often leading to slow buffering speeds during prime hours. As a result, some ISPs have sought to provide better service to their customers by suggesting that the Netflix and YouTubes of the world pay slightly more for their users to stream videos faster — a pretty clear-cut win for customers if ever there was one.

Unfortunately, big businesses too often think about how the government can help their bottom line instead of what’s best for the little guy. As a result of a well-orchestrated media campaign, the FCC is on the cusp of reclassifying ISPs under Title II of the Communications Act to enact net neutrality so Big Internet doesn’t have to pay its share of traffic. Ultimately, the change would empower the government to regulate the business models of private ISPs, chaining the Internet to one-size-fits all solutions for millions of customers with different needs.

Internet giants love to scaremonger the public into believing that a world without net neutrality would lead to customers being charged different data plans for the amount of internet they use, much like cell phone companies currently do. The problem with this argument is that we already live in this world, and it is largely not the case. Most Internet subscribers pay a monthly fee that entitles them to as much data as they desire, and that will likely not change anytime soon.

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‘Conservative Hero’ Ben Carson To Beck: You Have No Right To Semi-Automatic Weapons In Large Cities

Appearing on Glenn Beck‘s radio show this past week, Dr. Benjamin Carson took a vastly different stance from most conservatives on the issue of gun control, claiming you shouldn’t be able to own semi-automatic weapons in large cities.

Carson became a newfound conservative hero last month when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast and laid out a series of criticisms of ObamaCare, political correctness, and tax policy right in front of the president himself. Many called the speech “inappropriate” given the apolitical nature of the event, but many conservatives lauded Carson for his “bold” and “sensible” suggestions for policy reform.

Asked by Beck for his thoughts on the Second Amendment, Carson gave the popular pro-gun argument: “There’s a reason for the Second Amendment; people do have the right to have weapons.”

But when asked whether people should be allowed to own “semi-automatic weapons,” the doctor replied: “It depends on where you live.”

“I think if you live in the midst of a lot of people, and I’m afraid that that semi-automatic weapon is going to fall into the hands of a crazy person, I would rather you not have it,” Carson elaborated.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Ron Paul: 2-party US political system in reality a monopoly

​Former Congressman Ron Paul told RT in the midst of Tuesday’s midterm elections that the “monopoly” system run by the leaders of the two main parties is all too evident as Americans go to the polls this Election Day.

“This whole idea that a good candidate that’s rating well in the polls can’t get in the debate, that’s where the corruption really is,” Paul, the 79-year-old former House of Representatives lawmaker for Texas, told RT during Tuesday’s special midterm elections coverage. “It’s a monopoly…and they don’t even allow a second option,” he said.

“If a third party person gets anywhere along, they are going to do everything they can to stop that from happening,” the retired congressman continued.

Paul, a longtime Republican, has been critical of the two-party dichotomy that dominates American politics for decades, and once ran as the Libertarian Party’s nominee for president of the United States. While third-party candidates continue to vie against the left and right establishment, however, Paul warned RT that even the two-party system as Americans know it is in danger.

“What do they do with our young people? They send them all around the world, getting involved in wars and telling them they have to have democratic elections,” he told RT. “But here at home, we don’t have true Democracy. We have a monopoly of ideas that is controlled by the leaders of two parties. And they call it two parties, but it’s really one philosophy.”

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