You are browsing the archive for 2013 June 20.

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Sen. Paul Applauds Passage of House Vote on Industrial Hemp

June 20, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Sen. Rand Paul today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing an amendment co-sponsored by Representatives Thomas Massie (R-KY), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), which would allow universities to grow and cultivate industrial hemp in states where it is already legal without fear of federal interference. Sen. Paul issued the following statement:

‘The House vote today shows there is continued momentum and support for the cultivation of industrial hemp in the U.S. and this legislation is another positive step in that direction. Kentucky, which recently passed legislation to setup a regulatory framework for industrial hemp, is just one example of the growing support for this agricultural commodity. We will not stop our efforts to make this a reality.’

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Introduces National ID Card Amendment

June 20, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today announced the introduction of the Protect Our Privacy Act as amendment to the Senate’s Immigration Reform Bill. This amendment would prohibit the issuance of a national identification card system. In the wake of the IRS scandal and NSA wiretapping revelations, Sen. Paul believes that his amendment is necessary to protect the privacy of all citizens.
‘A National ID card violates our right to privacy by helping to consolidate data and facilitate the government in the tracking of individuals. President Ronald Reagan opposed this idea, as did President Bill Clinton. They believed, as I do, that American citizens should not be forced to carry around a National Identification Card as a condition of citizenship, because the card offends any reasonable basic concept of freedom. While identifying and documenting immigrants is necessary for proper reform, implementing a mandatory identification registry for all citizens is not,’ Sen. Paul said.
The Protect Our Privacy Act does the following:

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Sen. Paul Issues Letter to FBI Director Seeking Answers on Domestic Drone Use

June 20, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today issued the following letter to Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller, regarding his concern over recent remarks by Director Mueller that indicate the FBI is using surveillance drones on American citizens. In the letter, Sen. Paul requests that Director Mueller address these concerns by answering a set of questions regarding the FBI’s use of surveillance drones without operational guidelines. Below is the text of that letter.

LETTER TEXT:
June 20, 2013

Robert S. Mueller
Director
Federal Bureau of Investigation
U.S. Department of Justice
935 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 2055-0001

Dear Director Mueller,

During your appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee on June 19, 2013, you confirmed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) uses drones for the surveillance of American citizens. You also confirmed that the FBI is currently utilizing these surveillance tactics in the absence of any operational guidelines. I am disturbed by the revelation that the FBI has unilaterally decided to begin using drone surveillance technology without a governance policy, and thus without the requisite assurances that the constitutional rights of Americans are being protected.

As such, I am requesting your prompt answers to the below questions.

1) How long has the FBI been using drones without stated privacy protections or operational guidelines?
2) Why is the FBI only now beginning to develop guidelines for the use of drone surveillance?
3) Is the FBI working in consultation with Congress in developing operational guidelines for drone surveillance?
4) What measures do you intend to adopt to protect Fourth Amendment and privacy rights?
5) Will the FBI make publicly available all rules, procedures and operational guidelines for drone use?
6) Given that they have already been used, what has the FBI done with information already collected by drones? What are the rules governing storage of information collected via drone?
7) In what circumstances would the FBI elect to use drone surveillance? Does this surveillance require a warrant?
8) How many drones does the FBI possess? Is the FBI seeking to expand its inventory of drones?
9) Are these drones armed? Do they have the capacity to be armed? If so, what guidelines will be put in …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Senators Tom Udall, Lee, Murphy, Paul Introduce Bill to Block Military Funds to Syria

June 20, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Today, U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.), Mike Lee (R-UT), Chris Murphy (D-CT), and Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced bipartisan legislation to prohibit the President from using any funds on activities that would escalate U.S. involvement in the Syrian civil war.

The bill would ban the Department of Defense, the CIA and all other intelligence agencies from funding any military, paramilitary or covert operations in Syria. The legislation would not affect humanitarian aid.

All four Senators have spoken out strongly in opposition to President Obama’s decision to arm rebel groups in Syria. Udall, Murphy and Paul, all members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, cast the lone votes in Committee against authorizing the President to arm and train rebels fighting the forces of President Bashar al-Assad in an ongoing civil war.

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.): ‘I am deeply disturbed by the current situation in Syria and atrocities committed by President Assad’s regime and other militant groups inside Syria. The ongoing humanitarian tragedy deserves the attention of the international community. But there are too many questions about how the President’s decision to arm the Syrian rebels will be handled, and unfortunately many of those answers are being kept secret. We don’t know where the money is coming from, who the arms are going to, and whether the arms are going to individuals who have the capabilities to maintain a chain of custody of those weapons. This would not be acceptable in any standard sale of weapons to another government and should definitely not be acceptable for sales to rebel groups we know little about. We need to place a check on the President’s unilateral decision to arm the rebels, while still preserving humanitarian aid and assistance to the Syrian people, and that is why I’m introducing this bill. Bottom line: We should not get involved in another civil war in the Middle East without a clear national security interest.’

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT): ‘The conflict in Syria has been going on for over two years, yet there are many questions surrounding the composition and goals of Syrian opposition groups and the interests of U.S. national security that need answers. Any military involvement in Syria, including the arming of Syrian rebels, needs to be authorized through Congress, where concerns can be publicly debated and the American people can have a …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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The European Central Bank Goes to Court

June 20, 2013 in Economics

By Dalibor Rohac

Dalibor Rohac

Last week, Germany’s Federal Constitutional Court concluded public hearings in Karlsruhe on the European Central Bank’s (ECB’s) program of bond purchases from shaky eurozone member nations. The court ranks among the most powerful national courts in the world, and historically it has not shied away from controversial decisions — like overturning the decriminalization of abortion in 1975, two years after Roe v. Wade. So a sweeping decision in this case would not be out of character.

It may seem odd that a German court would have jurisdiction over European monetary policy. In fact, the court can rule only on the legality of Germany’s participation in the ECB; but since Germany is easily the eurozone’s biggest cash cow, if it stops shoveling money to the ECB, the ECB will have to curtail its activities drastically.

Will Germany’s high court strike down the EU’s bailout program?”

At issue is a provision in Germany’s constitution, the Grundgesetz, that allows for the transfer of authority over monetary policy from Germany’s Bundesbank to the ECB only if the ECB is bound by the purpose of securing price stability. For understandable reasons, the Germans are historically skittish about inflation.

The hearings took place following a series of complaints that the ECB’s bond-buying program, known as Outright Monetary Transactions (OMT), goes beyond the bank’s narrow official mandate of maintaining price stability, and is therefore illegal under German constitutional law. The fact that OMT exceeds the mandate is not seriously in question: The program was launched in September 2012 by the ECB expressly to provide liquidity for eurozone members in fiscal distress, such as Greece, Portugal, and Italy. Yet the court may well rule nonetheless that it passes constitutional muster.

Legal issues aside, the case raises the question: What should the purpose of monetary policy in the eurozone be? Clearly, in the face of an economic downturn, there is a place for monetary stabilization. In the United States in the early 1930s, according to a classic work by Milton Friedman and Anna Schwartz, the Fed let the money supply collapse, leading to the Great Depression.

It would probably have been a mistake if the ECB had not tried to prevent a collapse in the money supply, which could easily have occurred during Europe’s continuing sovereign-debt crisis. In fact, one could argue that the ECB should have been much more aggressive in preventing the contraction in credit that has …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Sen. Paul Introduces ‘No New Pathway’ Amendment to Immigration Reform Bill

June 20, 2013 in Politics & Elections

On Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul introduced a fourth amendment to S.744, the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill, that would remove the new and exclusive visa category and pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. The ‘No New Pathway to Citizenship’ amendment expands existing work visa categories instead of creating a new Registered Provisional Immigrant status. This updated work visa will not give any individual a new pathway to citizenship; rather they will be treated as if they are in line in their home country. No preference will be given to those on a work visa over individuals who are in line and outside the borders of the United States.
In addition to ‘No New Pathway to Citizenship,’ Sen. Paul intends to offer the following amendments:
‘Secure the Vote’ Amendment
Sen. Paul’s ‘Secure the Vote’ amendment ensures that individuals on work visas or given status under the bill are not allowed to vote in federal elections until they become citizens. The amendment will provide new procedures to encourage states to check that individuals gaining status or a work visa are not registered to vote.
‘Secure the Treasury’ Taxpayer Protection Amendment
Sen. Paul’s ‘Secure the Treasury’ amendment will provide further protections for taxpayers against individuals in a new immigration status from becoming dependent on the welfare state. This amendment will prevent individuals in Registered Provisional Immigrant status from getting access to Obamacare and welfare.

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Privacy, Regulation, and the Internet

June 20, 2013 in Economics

The news that the NSA has been indiscriminately collecting the phone and Internet logs of Americans under sweeping Patriot Act orders has provoked outrage from civil libertarians. But there are also plenty of quieter voices wondering why law-abiding citizens should be concerned about bulk data collection if there’s even an off-chance it might help stop a terrorist attack. In a new video Cato scholar Jim Harper gives a quick primer on the meaning and importance of privacy in a digital world filled with government surveillance, tracking infrastructure, and laws and regulations that stop you from protecting your privacy.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Weighing the Gold Standard

June 20, 2013 in Economics

Two new studies from the Cato Institute examine the history of the gold standard, and highlight some barriers to the idea of reinstituting a gold standard. In the first paper, economist George Selgin reviews the history of the gold standard in the United States and explains how it eventually came to an end. And in the second, economist Lawrence H. White reviews the most important arguments against the gold standard that have been made by economists and economic journalists in recent years.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES