You are browsing the archive for 2013 July 08.

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DPA, Veterans and Legislators to Launch "Freedom to Choose" Campaign to Improve Veterans' Access to Medical Marijuana for PTSD and Other Wounds of War

July 8, 2013 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

New Mexico Patients and Veterans Fighting Employment Discrimination and Stigma from Medical Professionals that Create Barriers to Medical Marijuana

July 9: US Rep. Lujan Grisham, New Mexico State Rep. Antonio Maestas, Veterans, Patients and the Drug Policy Alliance to Speak at Press Teleconference

The Drug Policy Alliance, veterans’ groups, elected officials and others are introducing a campaign to protect New Mexico’s military veterans’ legal access to medical marijuana. The Campaign is asking New Mexico to stand with veterans and their families to ask our state lawmakers, employers, and medical professionals to support efforts to ensure that when veterans come home they will have access to the medicine that works for them.

July 8, 2013

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Hungary's Gyula Horn

July 8, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Today’s collegians weren’t even born when the Berlin Wall existed. Those of us who are a bit older remember when East Germany shot down citizens seeking to escape communism’s not-so-loving embrace. The year 1989 seems long ago, but it remains a glorious triumph for human liberty. The Wall fell, after which the Soviet empire in Eastern Europe disappeared.

One of the men who hastened the end of communism was Hungarian Gyula Horn. He was born in a nation that went through fascism, alliance with the Nazis, and “liberation” by the Soviets, before ending up as one of Moscow’s most obedient satellites. He graduated from college in 1954 and fought on the wrong side of the Hungarian Revolution, joining a militia that hunted down revolutionaries. He then made his career in Janos Kadar’s Hungarian Socialist Workers’ Party, which took power atop Soviet tanks.

In the succeeding years of “Goulash Communism” Hungary did better than most of its communist neighbors. Kadar mixed economic liberalization with political repression, allowing the Hungarian people to decorate their prison cells with finer furniture and more attractive drapes.

In this system Horn prospered, seemingly an obedient apparatchik. By 1989 he was foreign minister in the last communist government in Hungary. However, Hungary was changing and he changed with it.

As the 1980s dawned Hungary’s economy was suffering. More important, Mikhail Gorbachev’s rise in the Soviet Union shook the foundation of East European communism. By 1988 events had superseded Kadar, who was deposed by an increasingly restless communist party.

In June 1989 Imre Nagy, the great Hungarian patriot who led the bloody battle for freedom against Moscow in 1956, was reburied on the 31st anniversary of his execution by Kadar. Nagy’s body had been dumped in an unmarked grave, but this time received a hero’s memorial. Reform communist Imre Pozsgay had earlier challenged party orthodoxy, calling the revolution a “popular revolt.” 

The event split Hungary’s communist party, with four top officials, including Prime Minister Miklos Nemeth, attending. Viktor Orban, today’s prime minister, then with the Federation of Young Democrats, also went. The spectacle of communist leaders attacking their predecessors as well as the Soviet Union was televised nationwide. 

Soon plans were made for multi-party elections. The communist party dissolved. And the Red Army stayed in its barracks, in contrast to 1956.

Particularly significant was Budapest’s decision to tear down the Iron Curtain. Until then East Europeans were largely free to travel on holiday within the Soviet bloc. They …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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With Edward Snowden, The Ecuadorian Pot Calls the American Kettle Black

July 8, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

For a time this major port, and largest city in the small South American country of Ecuador, was thought the likely destination of Edward Snowden. However, Ecuador, whose London embassy hosts asylum-seeker Julian Assange of WikiLeaks fame, appears to have cooled on the now infamous American leaker.

Long seen as a Chavez-style left-wing firebrand, President Rafael Correa originally praised Snowden for his exposure of National Security Agency spying and Ecuadorian diplomats provided Snowden with travel papers from Hong Kong. However, President Correa quickly back-tracked.

When questioned later, he emphasized that “we also believe in human rights and due process,” but he indicated that an asylum request would be considered only after Snowden reached Ecuadorian territory or an embassy, and after consultation with Washington. Moreover, Correa complained that the issuance of travel documents had not been authorized. He added: “I am very respectful of other countries and their laws and I believe that someone who breaks the law must assume his responsibilities.”

Why did Correa flip-flop? He cited a “friendly and very cordial” phone call from Vice President Joseph Biden—not something normally viewed as of great value by foreign nations—in which the latter “communicated a very courteous request from the United States that we reject the request.” Correa may have been more worried about Ecuadorian access to the U.S. market, the destination of more than half of his people’s exports.

Only days before his government unilaterally repudiated Ecuadorian commercial preferences under the Andean Trade Promotion and Drug Eradication Act. Quito explained its action was necessary to avoid giving the U.S. leverage over Ecuador, after Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ) threatened to block congressional renewal of the pact if the Correa government granted Snowden asylum. However, the law had appeared moribund even before the controversy. Ecuadorian exports also are eligible for lower tariffs under the Generalized System of Preferences. This issue is very much alive, and the Obama administration’s decision is expected soon.

Ecuadorian President Correa has turned sanctimony into an art form.”

Now Snowden seems unlikely to end up in Ecuador. That will allow bilateral relations to get back to normal. Of course, the new normal may be tense. Quito is not likely to soon forget congressional threats to retaliate. Two years ago Ecuador expelled the U.S. ambassador after WikiLeaks detailed her criticism of police corruption.

In turn, American officials will remember that Correa was a strong ally of Venezuela’s late President Hugo Chavez. Indeed, when Correa celebrated his …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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'Monitor,' Judge Wrongly Argue Your Money Is the Government's Money

July 8, 2013 in Economics

By Jason Bedrick

Jason Bedrick

At what point does the money in your private bank account become the government’s money?

In an unprecedented decision last month, a Strafford County judge ruled that parents participating in New Hampshire’s nascent scholarship tax credit program could not choose to send their children to religious schools. The program grants tax credits to corporations worth 85 percent of their eligible donations to nonprofit scholarship organizations that fund low- and middle-income students attending the schools of their choice.

At what point does the money in your private bank account become the government’s money?”

Judge John Lewis ruled that scholarship recipients could still attend secular private schools, out-of-district public schools, and home schools.

However, he forbade the use of scholarships at religious schools as a violation the state Constitution’s historically anti-Catholic “Blaine Amendment” provision, which states that “no money raised by taxation shall ever be granted or applied for use of the schools of institutions of any religious sect or denomination.”

The judge’s decision contradicts the understanding of every high court to address this question thus far. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court held that when “taxpayers choose to contribute to (scholarship organizations),  they spend their own money, not money the state has  collected from … other taxpayers.”

At what point does the money in your private bank account become the government’s money?

In an unprecedented decision last month, a Strafford County judge ruled that parents participating in New Hampshire’s nascent scholarship tax credit program could not choose to send their children to religious schools. The program grants tax credits to corporations worth 85 percent of their eligible donations to nonprofit scholarship organizations that fund low- and middle-income students attending the schools of their choice.

Judge John Lewis ruled that scholarship recipients could still attend secular private schools, out-of-district public schools, and home schools.

However, he forbade the use of scholarships at religious schools as a violation the state Constitution’s historically anti-Catholic “Blaine Amendment” provision, which states that “no money raised by taxation shall ever be granted or applied for use of the schools of institutions of any religious sect or denomination.”

The judge’s decision contradicts the understanding of every high court to address this question thus far. In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court held that when “taxpayers choose to contribute to (scholarship organizations),  they spend their own money, not money the state has  collected from … other taxpayers.”

Jason Bedrick, a former New Hampshire state representative, is a policy analyst at the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Rethinking International Investment Rules

July 8, 2013 in Economics

Private investment is the great driver of economic growth. Despite this positive economic impact, however, there are sometimes objections to investment when it comes from foreign sources. In a new paper, Cato scholar Simon Lester argues that such objections are misguided, and proposes reforms to investment rules that would lead to a more liberal and open foreign investment policy.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES