You are browsing the archive for 2013 July 03.

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Potency of Marijuana

July 3, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

Here is my interview with Reason TV on the rising potency of marijuana.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Supreme Court's Libertarian Moment?

July 3, 2013 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

The casual observer of the Supreme Court must have been quite confused last week. First, the Court punted on an affirmative action case, making it harder to use race in college admissions decisions without prohibiting the practice altogether. It then won plaudits from conservatives by striking down key parts of the Voting Rights Act — but disappointed many of them the very next day by gutting the Defense of Marriage Act.

What is going on? Is the Court liberal or conservative?

None of the above. The theme of last week’s cases was captured by President Obama’s reaction to the same-sex marriage rulings: “We are all equal under the law.” If we’re all equal, then we shouldn’t be judged by skin color or sexual orientation, and the machinery of democracy shouldn’t be gummed up by outdated racial classifications.

To understand this brave new Court, you have to know that it doesn’t rule in a vacuum but rather on the laws and government actions that come before it.”

In other words, the Supreme Court is increasingly embracing the Constitution’s structural and rights-based protections for individual freedom and self-governance. Not in every case, not always with one voice, and not without fits and starts, but as a whole the justices are moving in a libertarian direction.

It’s therefore no coincidence that the Cato Institute is the only organization to have filed briefs supporting the winning side in each of the three big cases (or that we went 15-3 on the year). Even beyond racial preferences and gay rights, this Court is coming to be defined by what Justice Kennedy has called “equal liberty.”

Part of that is Justice Kennedy himself, the swing vote ever since Justice O’Connor retired in 2006. Anthony Kennedy was appointed by a Republican president, of course, but his jurisprudence is about as libertarian as we’ve had on the Court since before the New Deal. How else do you reconcile his votes in hot-button cases ranging from presidential wartime powers to social issues to campaign finance?

Kennedy often frustrates legal scholars, but it’s not fair to say that he lacks a coherent legal theory. He’s a strong federalist who believes in the inherent dignity of the individual — and that constitutional structures protect that personal liberty. Hence his emotional reading of both the joint dissent in the Obamacare case last year and the majority opinion in the DOMA case now.

But …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

City of Berkeley Fights Federal Action to Seize Property of City's Largest Medical Marijuana Dispensary

July 3, 2013 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

City Files Claim Asserting that Federal Action Harms Berkeley’s Ability to Control and Regulate Medical Marijuana

Federal Action to Close Berkeley Patients Group will Hurt City’s Tax Revenue and Weaken Medical Marijuana Regulation, City Asserts in in Federal Court Proceeding

BERKELEY, CA – The City of Berkeley filed a claim Wednesday in the action brought by the federal government in May to seize the property used by Berkeley Patients Group at 2366 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, California. Berkeley Patients Group has been providing medical marijuana to patients within the City since 1999. It is in full compliance with the City of Berkeley’s medical marijuana ordinance, regulations, and zoning laws.

July 3, 2013

Drug Policy Alliance

read more

…read more

Source: DRUG POLICY

Avatar of admin

by admin

Beyond Orwell: What Are the Bounds of Obama's Spying?

July 3, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

No citizen is immune to the ceaseless dragnet surveillance by Barack Obama’s administration.

Among the revelations of the president’s boundless surveillance, which also includes reporters’ phone records, is this report on how We The People thereby lose access to breaking news affecting our lives:

“Associated Press president Gary Pruitt … slammed the Department of Justice for acting as ‘judge, jury and executioner’ in the seizure of the news organization’s phone records and he said some of the wire service’s longtime sources have clammed up in fear” (“AP boss: Sources won’t talk anymore,” Mackenzie Weinger, Politico, June 19).

Pruitt, whose speech at the National Press Club was covered by Politico’s Weinger, said “the chilling effect is not just at AP, it’s happening at other news organizations as well. Journalists from other news organizations have personally told me it has intimidated sources from speaking to them.

“Now, the government may love this. I suspect they do. But beware the government that loves secrecy too much.”

Meanwhile, more attention is being paid here to increasing anger among our European allies to the scope and depth of Obama’s spying as revealed by Edward Snowden to Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian.

For example, Agence France-Presse recently reported: “The EU has warned President Barack Obama’s administration of ‘grave adverse consequences’ to the rights of European citizens from a huge U.S. Internet surveillance programme, officials said” (“EU warns U.S. of ‘grave consequences’ from intel scandal,” June 12).

The EU’s justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, had written to Attorney General Eric Holder, Agence France-Presse reported, requesting “ ‘swift and concrete’ answers about the spy scheme.”

Basing her concerns on Snowden’s exposures in The Guardian, she sharply challenged Holder (almost certainly to no avail), writing:

“Programmes such as PRISM and the laws on the basis of which such programmes are authorised could have grave adverse consequences for the fundamental rights of EU citizens.”

Furthermore, Agence France-Presse reported, Reding asked Holder “whether EU citizens … targeted by the U.S. programmes … would be able to find out whether their data has been accessed, and whether they would be treated similarly to U.S. nationals in such cases.”

And dig this: In view of Holder’s chronic non-transparency to such questions, Agence France-Presse reported that “the EU official also warned that the European Parliament ‘is likely to assess the overall transatlantic relationship also in the light of your responses.’”

But Obama characterizes these incidents of spying as just “modest encroachments on privacy.”

We Americans know how scarily …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Obamacare Dominoes Begin to Fall

July 3, 2013 in Economics

The IRS has announced it will postpone the start date of Obamacare’s “employer mandate” from 2014 to 2015 – a move that Cato scholar Michael F. Cannon says will mean delaying the rest of the law. Adds Michael D. Tanner, “In postponing the employer mandate until after the 2014 mid-term elections, the Obama administration has tacitly admitted what critics of the law have long contended: that Obamacare is unworkable and would be a significant burden for American business and the economy at large.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

Avatar of admin

by admin

Obamacare Dominoes Begin to Fall

July 3, 2013 in Economics

The IRS has announced it will postpone the start date of Obamacare’s “employer mandate” from 2014 to 2015 – a move that Cato scholar Michael F. Cannon says will mean delaying the rest of the law. Adds Michael D. Tanner, “In postponing the employer mandate until after the 2014 mid-term elections, the Obama administration has tacitly admitted what critics of the law have long contended: that Obamacare is unworkable and would be a significant burden for American business and the economy at large.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

Avatar of admin

by admin

Obesity Is Not a Disease

July 3, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Recently the American Medical Association declared that it will consider obesity a disease. At first glance, it’s a minor story, hardly worth mentioning, but in reality the AMA’s move is a symptom of a disease that is seriously troubling our society: the abdication of personal responsibility and an invitation to government meddling.

No one denies that this country faces a massive (no pun intended) obesity problem. The United States has one of the highest obesity rates in the world, with more than a third of all Americans believed to be obese and another third considered overweight. Obesity leads to a host of both long- and short-term health problems and costs Americans more than $190 billion annually in higher medical costs, and possibly as much as $450 billion in indirect costs, such as lost productivity.

But while obesity is a real problem, the AMA’s move is actually a way for its members to receive more federal dollars, by getting obesity treatments covered under government health plans. A bipartisan group of congressmen has already seized on the AMA declaration as they push for Medicare coverage of diet drugs. Observers also expect an effort to expand Medicare reimbursement for bariatric surgery, a.k.a. stomach stapling. And there will almost certainly be pressure to mandate coverage for these things by private insurance carriers, under both state laws and the Affordable Care Act.

Medicare and some private insurers already cover bariatric surgery for people who have a body-mass index (BMI) of 35 or higher, making them morbidly obese, and who also have an obesity-related disease. Now there will be pressure to cover the procedure for those with much lower BMIs and those without related medical issues.

After the AMA decision, John Morton, treasurer of the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery, was almost giddy, calling the AMA decision a “tipping point” and adding that “now coverage policy must catch up to that consensus.” Since a typical bariatric surgery costs as much as $40,000, that could be interpreted as a warning for all of us to get out our wallets. In the end, we will be paying more, through either taxes or higher premiums.

At the same time, the AMA decision shifts responsibility for weight loss from the individual to society at large, while expanded Medicare and insurance coverage socialize the cost of treating obesity, thereby inviting all manner of government mischief. After all, if being fat is not …read more

Source: OP-EDS