You are browsing the archive for 2014 July 22.

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Senators Paul and Cardin Unite for Discussion of How Best to Restore Voting Rights for Millions of Americans

July 22, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Washington, DC – U.S. Senators Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) today hosted a briefing on solutions to end the disenfranchisement of individuals with past criminal convictions. The Senators were joined by an expert panel of witnesses who spoke of the national and local importance of restoring voting rights to millions of Americans who are currently out of prison but not fully able to claim a stake in their community due to a weak patch work of state laws. ‘Our criminal justice system is broken. I recently introduced the Civil Rights Voting Restoration Act, a bill that would restore Federal voting rights for non-violent criminals. Additionally, I am working on legislation to reform federal drug laws to reduce the incarceration rate for non-violent offenders. I look forward to continuing to work with Senator Ben Cardin on this issue and towards finding a solution to restore voting rights in this country,’ Senator Paul said. ‘Senator Paul and I don’t agree on many issues, but we are united in our belief that America cannot justify disenfranchising such a large portion of our population. When prisoners are released, part of reintegrating them back into the community is allowing them the fundamental right to vote,’ said Senator Cardin. ‘The patchwork of standards for voting in Federal elections leads to an unfair disparity and unequal participation that disproportionately impacts racial and ethnic minorities. My bill would allow the roughly 4 million Americans who have served their time the opportunity to be welcomed back into our democracy as a voting citizen.’ ‘Today’s briefing made clear that federal legislation is needed to restore voting rights for all returning citizens. By continuing to deny citizens the right to vote based on a past criminal conviction, the government is endorsing a system that expects our citizens to contribute to the community, but denies them participation on our democracy. The ACLU applauds Senators Cardin and Paul for their critical work on voter restoration reforms and for engaging in this important bipartisan dialogue,’ said Deborah J. Vagins, ACLU Senior Legislative Counsel. ‘Voting is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue, it is an American issue,’ said Nicole Austin-Hillery, director and counsel of the Washington, D.C., office of the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law. ‘Restoring voting rights to people with past criminal convictions will expand our democracy, increase public safety, and streamline our nation’s …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Statement from Sens. Paul, McConnell and Rep. Whitfield on Paducah Site

July 22, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. -Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul and Congressman Ed Whitfield today released the following statement regarding the Department of Energy announcing its award for cleanup at the Paducah site – otherwise known as the indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract.’Last year we fought hard to secure funding for the deactivation of the gaseous diffusion plant and environmental cleanup at the Paducah site and since then have pushed DOE to expedite this contract so vital cleanup work may begin. We are pleased that DOE has responded by awarding the IDIQ contract for deactivation of the gaseous diffusion plant, which we hope will create job opportunities in the community. While the IDIQ award is a positive development, there is more work to be done to ensure full cleanup at the site is completed in a safe and timely manner. For this reason, today, we are sending a letter to Secretary Moniz urging that DOE begin IDIQ work now and commit to long-term cleanup efforts as well.’Recent action taken by the Kentucky Congressional Delegation on behalf of Paducah:

McConnell, Paul and Whitfield Urge DOE to Release Cleanup Funding for Paducah
Whitfield Presses Energy Secretary on Paducah Cleanup Efforts (video)
McConnell Advocates on Behalf of Paducah to DOE Secretary (video)
McConnell, Paul and Whitfield Urge DOE to move quickly implementing the contract

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Why Putin's Proxy War an Abject Failure

July 22, 2014 in Economics

By Christopher A. Preble

Christopher A. Preble

Vladimir Putin is having a bad week.

Someone among the pro-Russian groups in Eastern Ukraine that he has been supporting is likely responsible for the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 with 298 innocent civilians onboard. The grim details that have emerged since Thursday have merely added to his shame.

Putin’s response, so far, has been to 1) ostentatiously mourn the tragic loss of life, 2) deflect attention, and 3) obfuscate.

It isn’t working. As the evidence mounts that Putin’s proxy war has resulted in an atrocity of epic proportions, so too does Putin’s foray into Ukrainian politics appear to be a blunder of epic proportions. As Alec MacGillis observes, the shine truly has come off Putin’s supposed strategic genius. Commentators who hailed maskirovka (masked warfare) as the wave of the future may wish to reconsider.

But satisfying though it may be to take pleasure in Putin’s disgrace, we should also ponder a deeper truth: proxy wars often end badly. Though, admittedly, few turn out as badly as this one, one wonders why supposedly sensible leaders ever entertain the idea of entrusting their foreign policy objectives to unreliable and unaccountable rebels and ne’er-do-wells.

Consider, for example, the proxy war that many in the U.S. foreign policy community were anxious to start against Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Hawks on both the political left and the political right urged President Obama to arm the Syrian opposition in its bid to overthrow Assad.

If a particular foreign policy goal isn’t worth risking open warfare with another nation-state, then it probably isn’t worth risking a war started surreptitiously, and waged poorly, by proxies.”

Thankfully, the idea never really got off the ground. The American people, anxious to avoid being drawn into yet another civil war in the Middle East, were lukewarm on the idea. Plus, the Obama administration had trouble identifying moderate Syrians who could be trusted with American arms and money. (Not so John McCain, who even had his picture taken with some supposed Syrian moderates.)

But screening would-be proxies isn’t the only problem. As Erica Borghard pointed out in a paper for the Cato Institute last year: “The unique characteristics of alliances between states and armed nonstate groups, in particular their informal nature and secrecy about the existence of the alliance or its specific provisions, create conditions for states to become locked into unpalatable obligations.”

It can be difficult for a state to moderate its commitment …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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"Walt Disney" to Premiere Fall 2015

July 22, 2014 in History

July 22, 2014 2:41 p.m.

At the semi-annual Television Critics Association conference today, PBS and AMERICANEXPERIENCE announced that “Walt Disney,” a new four-hour, two-night film that explores the life and legacy of one of America’s most enduring and influential storytellers, will premiere in fall 2015.

Directed and produced by Sarah Colt (“Henry Ford,” “RFK”) and written by Mark Zwonitzer (“JFK,” “Triangle Fire”), the film features rare archival footage from the Disney vaults, scenes from some of his greatest films, and includes interviews with animators and artists who worked on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Imagineers who helped design Disneyland.

“For many Americans — and for me — the twinkle and swish of the Sunday night Disney logo was pure magic. It was an invitation to a special event,” said Beth Hoppe, Chief Programming Officer and General Manager, General Audience Programming for PBS. “For my kids, introducing them to animated Disney movies from Beauty and the Beast to The Lion King brought us great joy and taught them life lessons. Now viewers of all ages can learn about the life and legacy of the man behind the magic and his continuing impact on our lives and culture.”

“Walt Disney is an entrepreneurial and cultural icon,” said AMERICAN EXPERIENCE executive producer Mark Samels. “No single figure shaped American culture in the 20th century more than he.”

In 1966, the year Walt Disney died, 240 million people saw a Disney movie, 100 million tuned in weekly to a Disney television program, 80 million bought Disney merchandise, and close to seven million visited Disneyland. Nearly fifty years later, his reach remains enormous. Few creative figures before or since have held such a long-lasting place in American life and popular culture.

Disney’s movies grew out of his own life experiences. He told stories of outsiders struggling for acceptance and belonging while questioning the conventions of class and authority. As Disney rose to prominence and gained financial security, his work was increasingly celebratory of the American way of life that made his unlikely success possible.

A polarizing figure — though true believers vastly outnumber his critics — Disney’s achievements are indisputable. He created one of the most beloved cartoon characters in history, Mickey Mouse; conceived the first ever feature-length animated film, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs; pioneered the integration of media and marketing with thousands of branded products; invented the anthropomorphic wildlife documentary; and conceived Disneyland, the world’s first theme …read more

Source: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE

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Prohibition Not Appetite is the Problem

July 22, 2014 in Economics

By John P. Cochran

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Don Boudreaux  at Café Hayek highlighted yesterday’s Wall Street Journal article by Mary Anastasia O’Grady where she asks “What Really Drove the Children North”? Her answer, “Our appetite for drugs caused the violence that made life unbearable in much of Central America.” O’Grady, through Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly who now heads the U.S. military’s Southern Command, identifies the root the problem as “our appetite for drugs”. Both fail to see that the violence is the result, not of the demand for drugs, but or drug prohibition─the war on drugs.

Thus while O’Grady concludes:

Gen. Kelly writes that the children are “a leading indicator of the negative second- and third-order impacts on our national interests.” Whether the problem can be solved by working harder to bottle up supply, as the general suggests, or requires rethinking prohibition, this crisis was born of American self-indulgence. Solving it starts with taking responsibility for the demand for drugs that fuels criminality.

While it is a step in the right direction for the mainstream press to at least mention the possibility of ‘rethinking prohibition’, actually ending the war on drugs, not thinking about it is the only long term solution. Thus for better analysis developed prior to O’Grady which provides a strong case for an actual solution, readers should refer all who are concerned with this ‘crisis’ to Mark Thornton’s excellent and to the point Mises Daily, “How the Drug War Drives Child Migrants to the US Border.” Thronton’s  no holds barred conclusion:

When you try to make sense of parents sending their children on such a dangerous undertaking, just remember it is just another despicable result of the war on drugs with few solutions.

The Economist recommends the repeal of the war on drugs and the legalization of drugs globally as the solution. Its second best solution is for the United States to finance an effort to rebuild the institutions (i.e., police, courts, prisons, etc.) and infrastructure (i.e., military, transportation, and education systems) in the countries of Central America:

Such schemes will not, however, solve the fundamental problem: that as long as drugs that people want to consume are prohibited, and therefore provided by criminals, driving the trade out of one bloodstained area will only push it into some other godforsaken place. But unless and until drugs are legalised, that is the best Central America can hope to do.

In other words, ending the war on drugs is …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Live Stream: Day 2 — Afternoon Lectures at Mises University

July 22, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

All Times Central Time:
1:30 – 2:30 p.m.—Monopoly, Competition, and Antitrust | DiLorenzo
2:45 – 3:45 p.m.—The Place of Finance and Financial Markets in a Free Society | Hülsmann
4:00 – 5:00 p.m.—The Economics of Fractional Reserve Banking | Herbener

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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WCPO Cincinnati Op-Ed: Let's Give Non-Violent Offenders A Second Chance

July 22, 2014 in Politics & Elections

The biggest impediment to voting and employment in our country is a criminal record. Many young people could escape this trap if criminal justice were reformed, if records were expunged after time served and if nonviolent crimes did not become a permanent blot preventing employment.
The current system has placed a premium on punishment for nonviolent crimes and placed a lower priority on helping ex-offenders re-integrate into society. The impact of a criminal record on an individual’s life is vast; everything from the right to vote to finding a job can be affected.
So I have joined with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) in proposing bipartisan solutions that will fix America’s broken criminal justice system, save taxpayer dollars, boost our economy and help to address the deeply damaging racial and socio-economic disparities that have multiplied in our system over recent decades.
This legislation, known as the REDEEM (Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment) Act, will give Americans convicted of nonviolent crimes a second chance at the American dream.
Last week, the REDEEM Act was also introduced in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support from Reps. Chaka Fattah (D-Penn.) and Frank Wolf (R-Va.).
Legislators from both sides of the aisle realize that youthful mistakes should not turn into a lifetime of crime. This legislation will help adults who commit nonviolent crimes become more self-reliant and less likely to commit future crimes by expunging their records, making them more competitive within the job market.Nonviolent ex-offenders find that employers don’t want to hire them once they are released from prison. Some can’t find work and inevitably fall back into bad habits just to get by. This leads to a cycle of poverty, drugs and imprisonment that is destroying our communities.
Minorities make up three-fourths of the prison population incarcerated for nonviolent crimes. African-Americans are nearly four times more likely than whites to be arrested for nonviolent drug crimes — like simple possession — even though whites and blacks use drugs at about the same rate.
Our nation’s current drug policy has a disproportionate and illegitimate impact on communities of color. As a result, African-Americans are far more likely to have the stain of a nonviolent drug felony. The legislation would have a major impact on removing that stain and allow these individuals to be hired and re-integrated back into the workforce.Our current system is broken and has trapped tens of thousands of young men and women in a cycle …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Rand Paul Joins Greta Van Susteren 'On the Record'- July 21, 2014

July 22, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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A Brief History of Progressivism

July 22, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

6819 (1)

Mises Daily Tuesday by Andrew Syrios

From prohibition to eugenics to nativism and to Marxism, “progressives” throughout history have repeatedly shown a great fondness for endless social engineering and state control of pretty much anything and everything.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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D.C. Circuit Overturns Obamacare Subsidies

July 22, 2014 in Economics

The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday ruled that the Internal Revenue Service regulation authorizing tax credits in federal exchanges was invalid. The case, Halbig v. Burwell, was spurred by an article by Jonathan H. Adler and Cato scholar Michael F. Cannon that appeared in the Spring 2013 Issue of Health Matrix: Journal of Law-Medicine. Says Cannon on ruling, “The purpose of Halbig was to end the massive economic and political disruption caused by the president’s decision to ignore the clear statutory language he is sworn to uphold.”

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Source: CATO HEADLINES