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Sen. Paul Introduces Bill to Protect Americans Against Unwarranted Drone Surveillance

May 22, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Sen. Rand Paul today introduced the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2013. This bill would protect an individual’s right to privacy against unwarranted governmental intrusion through the use of unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly known as drones. While the use of drone aircraft and technology continues to expand in all areas of the government, the Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act will ensure the protection of every American citizen’s right to personal privacy.
‘The use of drone surveillance may work on the battlefields overseas, but it isn’t well-suited for unrestrained use on the streets in the United States. Congress must be vigilant in providing oversight to the use of this technology and protection for rights of the American people. I will continue the fight to protect and uphold our Fourth Amendment,’ Sen. Paul said.
The Preserving Freedom from Unwarranted Surveillance Act of 2013 also:

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Amartya Sen Wrong in His Claim That Delay in Food Bill Killing a Thousand Every Week

May 22, 2013 in Economics

By Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar

Amartya Sen, as befits a Nobel laureate, has often produced careful calculations to throw light on dark situations, such as the number of deaths caused by Mao’s Great Leap Forward in China. So, it was astonishing to hear him say on a recent TV programme that the delay in passing the Food Security Bill was causing 1,000 deaths per week (equal to 52,000 per year).

This was not based on any known methodology — he simply plucked the figure out of the air and threw it at the audience. This startled a fellow participant, Arvind Panagariya, who let fly in a subsequent interview. “I often say in jest that serious economists are handicapped in policy debates in India because their opponents feel entitled not only to their arguments but their own facts as well! And here I was facing the same from Sen!

“Deaths often have multiple causes. In the case of children, a partial list includes premature births, low birth weight, infections, congenital diseases, accidents, poor water quality, poor medical assistance and poor diet. I am mystified how Sen can attribute a precise number of child deaths to the absence of a policy that has not been in place for a single day, a policy that is subject to so many lapses and leakages along the implementation chain, whose impact critically depends on how the beneficiaries adjust their consumption in response to it, and which can, after all, potentially impact only calorie intake and not other causes of death.”

Sen had said a few days earlier that delays in the Food Security Bill’s passage could cause deaths, but this seemed not to attract public attention. “To capture people’s attention, you have to have a number,” Sen declared.

And so, he duly produced a number — 1,000 deaths a week — simply to catch people’s attention. Thus has a Nobel laureate become a pamphleteer, inventing figures like any populist politician.

Scathing Comment

He certainly caught the media’s attention, but not in the manner he expected. Rather, he attracted much scathing comment. For instance, a news portal said, “It is becoming increasingly difficult to retain respect for Nobel laureate Amartya Sen. He seems to surface in the media every time the UPA government is about to legislate its pet follies, providing intellectual succour to mindless spending and corruption.”

As for calculating the impact of the Bill, a columnist in a business newspaper has made an attempt. He says implementing the Bill …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Mises U on Forbes.com

May 22, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

The Mises Institute and Mises Univeristy are mentioned and pictured in this column asking Will Think Tanks Become The Universities of The Future?

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Los Angeles Citizens Vote to Regulate Medical Marijuana

May 22, 2013 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

State oversight would help clarify new regulations

LOS ANGELES, CA – Yesterday, the citizens of Los Angeles voted to regulate medical marijuana by voting to pass Proposition D, one of three medical marijuana regulation measures on the ballot. The Proposition received 62.57% of the vote. Proposition D caps the number of collectives at those who opened prior to 2007, about 130, raises the gross receipts tax from $50 to $60 per $1000 of gross receipts, and establishes the distances they must keep from schools, parks, one another and residential neighborhoods.

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Our Indispensable Government

May 22, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Remember Lake Wobegon, Garrison Keillor’s fictional Minnesota town where “all the children are above average?” Well, too many members of Congress inhabit a Lake Wobegon government, where every government program is also above average — not just successful, but essential.

Here is just one example: Among the many outrages that congressional Democrats have assigned to the sequester is that it could reduce the available slots in the Head Start program by as many as 70,000 children.

The folks who brought you Benghazi, the IRS, and APgate are the ones we can’t do without.”

This was repeatedly hammered home last month when the Democratic leadership complained that Congress was giving additional flexibility to the FAA to avoid furloughs and flight delays, but didn’t restore Head Start funding.

“We ought not to be mitigating the sequester’s effect on just one segment,” said Representative Steny Hoyer, the No. 2 Democrat in the House, “when children… will be left unhealed.”

Yet a 2010 study and a 2012 follow-up analysis by the Department of Health and Human Services found that with a few exceptions, there were no lasting benefits to children participating in Head Start. In fact, “At the end of 3rd grade, there was suggestive evidence of an unfavorable impact — the parents of the Head Start group children reported a significantly lower child grade promotion rate than the parents of the non-Head Start group children.”

Head Start may not work, but since 1965, the federal government has spent nearly $200 billion of the taxpayers’ money on it. That’s more than we spent to put a man on the moon (adjusted for inflation). And President Obama has now called for making Head Start–style preschool universal.

And Head Start is hardly a unique example of government failure.

The federal government operates 126 separate anti-poverty programs. Since 1965, when we started the War on Poverty, we’ve spent over $15 trillion on these programs, yet we’ve hardly dented the poverty rate. We spend more every year on education, yet test scores and dropout rates fail to improve. Programs such as Social Security and Medicare are careening towards bankruptcy and threatening to take the country along with them. It is increasingly hard to find a single government program that efficiently and cost-effectively accomplishes its goal better than would private-sector alternatives.

Need more recent examples?

Assume for a moment that everyone in the Obama administration is telling the truth about Benghazi, the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Restrain the Abusive Administative State

May 22, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Few Americans dread anything more than receiving a letter from the IRS. But imagine a full field audit, with intrusive questions about your activities and spending habits. From suspicious agents convinced that you’ve violated the law. That’s essentially what political activists on the Right have been enjoying recently, courtesy the Obama administration.

Who knew what when is the question du jour, but political abuse by the IRS is not new. As investigative journalist Jim Bovard has detailed, Franklin Delano Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy did not let their public-spirited rhetoric interfere with their use of public institutions for partisan benefit. Richard Nixon more recently directed the agency to target his enemies. As White House Counsel John Dean explained, the objective was to “use the available federal machinery to screw our political enemies.”

President Barack Obama undoubtedly remembers the latter example — as well as Nixon’s fate — and is not so stupid to similarly set himself up for criminal charges. The scandal likely will claim a few mid-level scalps and divert the administration’s attention from some of its more harmful initiatives. But the crisis will be wasted, to paraphrase Rahm Emanuel, if it is not used to advance the cause of liberty. 

Far more than partisan politics is at stake in the latest scandal. The real issue is the expansive, expensive bureaucratic state and its inherent threat to any system of limited government, rule of law, and individual liberty. Obama adviser David Axelrod blamed big government for the controversy, but in order to absolve the president of responsibility: “Part of being president is that there’s so much beneath you that you can’t know because the government is so vast.”

That’s true, but it also was true ten and 50 and probably 100 years ago. More relevant is the fact that the broader the government’s authority, the greater its need for revenue, the wider its enforcement power, the more expansive the bureaucracy’s discretion, the increasingly important the battle for political control, and the more bitter the partisan fight, the more likely government officials will abuse their positions, violate rules, laws, and Constitution, and sacrifice people’s liberties.

The blame falls squarely on Congress, not the IRS. Legislators have tasked the tax agency with pulling $2.52 trillion out of Americans’ wallets. With Uncle Sam a prodigious and very public wastrel, there aren’t many people stepping forward to voluntarily turn more of their incomes over to …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Taking a Bite out of Apple

May 22, 2013 in Economics

A Senate Subcommittee chaired by Senator Carl Levin heard from three panels of witnesses Tuesday on Apple Inc.’s corporate tax payments. Democratic senators and some news stories are making it sound like some vast tax cheating has been going on, but that’s not what the hearing actually revealed – no one at the hearing said the company is doing anything illegal. Cato scholar Chris Edwards reveals the true problem: “The U.S. rate is the highest general corporate tax rate in the world. …Given the U.S. tax disadvantage, it’s not surprising that Apple and every other U.S. multinational have strong incentives to move their real investments and paper profits abroad.”

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Why Obama Is Silent on Killed Babies

May 22, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

After reading ghastly headlines about recently convicted Philadelphia abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, such as “Gosnell Jury Hears About Baby Surviving Abortion in Toilet” (Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com, May 9), there was this sudden message: “White House: No Comment on Gosnell ‘Beheading’ Babies in Abortions” (Steven Ertelt, LifeNews.com, April 15).

Why was Barack Obama silent about this “house of horrors”? Maybe because, as I’ve previously reported, he didn’t want it known that as a state senator in Illinois, he had persistently opposed a bill, the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, which would have provided medical care for babies who survive botched abortions.

He had voted “No” on the bill in March 2001 and “Present” later that same month. Explaining Obama’s vote, WorldNetDaily reports, “in the Illinois senate, voting ‘Present’ is the equivalent of voting ‘No,’ because a bill must have a majority counting only ‘Yes’ votes to pass” (“Gosnell Conviction a Setback for Obama,” May 13).

Jill Stanek, an Illinois nurse and pro-life advocate whom I had previously interviewed, testified in 2003 before the Illinois Senate Health and Human Services Committee on the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. She told of a colleague who “accidentally threw a live aborted baby in the garbage who had been left on the counter of the Soiled Utility Room wrapped in a disposable towel.

“When the associate realized what she had done, she started going through the trash to find the baby, and the baby fell out of the towel and on to the floor.”

As president, Obama has steadfastly supported late-term abortions. But he doesn’t need to worry about the public being reminded of his rejection of the Born-Alive Infant Protection Act. That’s because of the unyielding media attention that’s been concentrated on his Justice Department’s invasions of the Associated Press’ First Amendment freedoms, as well as the Internal Revenue Service’s questioning of citizens’ political groups, focusing, for example, on those with “patriot” and “tea party” in their names. The IRS was also curious to know if any of these groups had publicly opposed specific policies, like Obamacare.

Of what country does Obama think he’s president?

As for Dr. Kermit Gosnell, his case is done. In the May 15 Wall Street Journal, Peter Loftus reports that he has been sentenced “to spend the rest of his life in prison for the murders of babies who were born alive at his Philadelphia abortion clinic, avoiding a potential death penalty in a deal with city …read more

Source: OP-EDS