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Max Keiser Report ECONOMY COLLAPSE in 2014 NSA manipulates bank accounts
Max Keiser Report – ECONOMY COLLAPSE in 2014 – NSA manipulates bank accounts videos watch Please click here to subscribe to my channel thanks From Wall Stree. Is The Government Using NSA To…

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Max Keiser Report ECONOMY COLLAPSE in 2014 NSA manipulates bank accounts – Video

Free Speech

[[A person speaking to the reader.]] Person: Public Service Announcehment: The *right to free speech* means the government can’t arrest you for what you say. [[Close-up on person's face.]] Person: It doesn’t mean that anyone else has to listen to your bullshit, – or host you while you share it. [[Back to full figure.]] Person: The 1st Amendment doesn’t shield you from criticism or consequences. [[Close-up.]] Person: If you’re yelled at, boycotted, have your show canceled, or get banned from an internet community, your free speech rights aren’t being violated. [[Person, holding palm upward.]] Person: It’s just that the people listening think you’re an asshole, [[A door that is ajar.]] Person: And they’re showing you the door. {{Title text: I can’t remember where I heard this, but someone once said that defending a position by citing free speech is sort of the ultimate concession; you’re saying that the most compelling thing you can say for your position is that it’s not literally illegal to express.}}

Warning: this comic occasionally contains strong language (which may be unsuitable for children), unusual humor (which may be unsuitable for adults), and advanced mathematics (which may be unsuitable for liberal-arts majors).

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License.

This means you’re free to copy and share these comics (but not to sell them). More details.

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XKCD 1357 – Free Speech – xkcd: Like I’m Five

People who cannot win arguments soon discover that a good tactic is to avoid debate by bullying potential opponents into silence. From imposing campus speech codes to protesting commencement speakers to passing laws that make it harder for others to speak out, this tactic has been deployed with great effectiveness in recent years.

Now, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, with the backing of Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, is taking it to its ultimate end point. He is pushing an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would amend the First Amendment to allow the government to curtail citizens’ speech.

The amendment, proposed by Sen. Mark Udall and co-sponsored by Shaheen, is almost five times as long as the First Amendment, which it would cripple.

It would give both Congress and the states the “power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents” and “the amount of contributions to candidates” and “the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates” under the broad justification that such restrictions are to “advance the fundamental principle of political equality for all, and to protect the integrity of the legislative and electoral processes.”

Orwell could not have written it better himself. In the name of protecting the people, the government would assume for itself the power to control the people’s political participation.

The First Amendment states that “Congress shall make no law… abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press….” Udall’s amendment states: “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press.” Notice the exclusion of the words “freedom of speech.” That was not by accident.

Shaheen has signed on to a constitutional amendment designed to give government the power to regulate political speech by regulating the amount of money that can be raised and spent on it. If you think Congress would judiciously use this power only in public-spirited and high-minded ways, and only against the super-wealthy, you have not paid much attention to Congress.

The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education has documented 145 instances since 1987 of college commencement speakers who have been uninvited or protested or who have withdrawn their names from consideration under pressure, The Washington Post reported this week. Nearly 100 of those came in the last five years.

Last week the state Legislature passed a bill (SB 120) that would dramatically expand state power to regulate the activity of people who organize to participate in political campaigns. The impulse to silence other Americans is increasing.

This amendment is the ultimate realization of that impulse. It is the desired end result of everyone who would rather force an opponent to shut up than engage in an open debate.

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'Shutup,' they explained Crippling the First Amendment

The consequences of eliminating Fourth Amendment protections for all international communication with foreigners

Reuters

The U.S. government concedes that it needs a warrant to eavesdrop on phone calls between Americans, or to read the body of their emails to one another. Everyone agrees that these communications are protected by the Fourth Amendment. But the government also argues that Fourth Amendment protections don’t apply when an American calls or writes to a foreigner in another country.

Let’s say, for example, that the head of the NAACP writes an email to a veteran of the South African civil-rights struggle asking for advice about an anti-racism campaign; or that Hillary Clinton fields a call from a friend in Australia whose daughter was raped; or that Jeb Bush uses Skype to discuss with David Cameron whether he should seek the 2016 presidential nomination for the Republican Party. Under the Obama administration’s logic, these Americans have no reasonable expectation of privacy with regard to these conversations, and it is lawful and legitimate for the NSA to eavesdrop on, record, and store everything that is said.

The arguments Team Obama uses to justify these conclusions are sweeping and worrisome, as the ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer capturesin his analysis of the relevant legal briefs:

… the government contends that Americans who make phone calls or send emails to people abroad have a diminished expectation of privacy because the people with whom they are communicatingnon-Americans abroad, that isare not protected by the Constitution. The government also argues that Americans’ privacy rights are further diminished in this context because the NSA has a “paramount” interest in examining information that crosses international borders.

… the government even argues that Americans can’t reasonably expect that their international communications will be private from the NSA when the intelligence services of so many other countries … might be monitoring those communications, too. The government’s argument is not simply that the NSA has broad authority to monitor Americans’ international communications. The US government is arguing that the NSA’s authority is unlimited in this respect. If the government is right, nothing in the Constitution bars the NSA from monitoring a phone call between a journalist in New York City and his source in London. For that matter, nothing bars the NSA from monitoring every call and email between Americans in the United States and their non-American friends, relatives, and colleagues overseas.

All I’d add is that the Obama administration’s encroachments on the Fourth Amendment disparately affect naturalized citizens of the United States, almost all of whom still have friends or family members living in their countries of origin. When I call my parents, email my sister, or text my best friend, my private communications are theoretically protected by the Bill of Rights. In contrast, immigrants contacting loved ones often do so with the expectation that every word they say or write can be legally recorded and stored forever on a server somewhere.

Xenophobia is one factor driving this double-standard. It does real harm to immigrants whose speech is chilled, as is clear to anyone who has made an effort to speak with them.

Yet there has been little backlash against the Obama administration for affording zero constitutional protections to Americans engaged in speech with foreigners, and little sympathy for the innocent Americans, many of them immigrants, who are hurt by the approach Obama and many in Congress endorse.

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NSA Spying Has a Disproportionate Effect on Immigrants



YouTube Censorship: Illuminati Researches Being Shutdown Systematically
My youtube account has been terminated TWICE after growing in views, and subscribers! I expose the illuminati, and new world order agenda as well as demonic forces at work in our government….

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YouTube Censorship: Illuminati Researches Being Shutdown Systematically – Video

Tuesday, May 13 15:59:54

Dr John O’Dea, President of Engineers Ireland, today called on the Government and Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) to prioritise investment in the area of regenerative medicine manufacturing technology to create jobs.

The calls come ahead of the Engineers Ireland annual conference in Sligo this week.

Ireland is one of five recognised centres of medtech excellence globally, an industry which is entering a new era of regenerative medicine.

Following the recent Irish Medicines Board approval of the cell manufacturing facility at NUI Galway, Ireland also boasts one of only six regenerative medicine institutes in Europe, which is approved to manufacture stem cell therapies for human use. This resource provides the foundation for strong engineering and manufacturing employment opportunities in this emerging area.

Speaking about the future of the biomedical industry in Ireland, John O’Dea, President of Engineers Ireland, said that we need to skill up now to embrace the opportunities, and leverage the worldwide recognition we enjoy for high-quality medical device and pharmaceutical manufacturing, The medical device industry is vital to Ireland’s economic growth and future. It is a heavily manufacturing-focused industry which currently employs in the region of 25,000 people and is close to export levels of E8 billion.

However we cannot become complacent as employment in the industry has remained stable over the past few years. A recent study by Johnson and Johnson suggests that the regenerative medicine market will exceed $10 billion by 2020, and Ireland has an opportunity to lead the progress in this field. Therefore we must ensure strategic focus is awarded to ensuring the right skills and facilities exist in order to be at the forefront of this game-changing advancement in medicine and medical technology.

The Engineers Ireland annual conference, entitled Collaborating to Engineer a Better Society’, will also address issues such as the challenge of doing business in Ireland, delivering Ireland’s resources and aligning engineering education with the skills needed by industry.

Leading international innovators in the field of medical technology, Prof Alain Cribier and engineer Mark Gelfand, will be addressing the gathering of engineers on new techniques in medicine and translating physiological mechanisms into therapeutic solutions.

The one and a half day event will also feature contributions from: Martin Curley, Vice President, Intel Corporation; Jerry Grant, Head of Asset Management, Irish Water; Dr James Browne, President, NUI Galway, George Mullan, CEO, SIS Pitches, Tommy Fanning, Senior Vice President and Manager, Engineering, Industrial and Clean Technologies Division, IDA Ireland; Emma McKendrick, CEO, PUNCH Consulting Engineers, Dr John Killeen, chairman, Marine Institute; Sean Casey, managing director, Bord Gis Networks The conference will be opened by the President of Engineers Ireland, Dr John O’Dea, CEO and founder of Crospon, one of Ireland’s leading indigenous medical-device companies.

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Biomedical sector is big jobs prospect

Lois Lerner, former director of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division at the Internal Revenue Service, exercises her Fifth Amendment Right against self incrimination during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill on March 5. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

Embattled former IRS official Lois Lerner can breathe a small sigh of relief: as of now, the House has no plans to arrest her in an effort to compel her to testify about the agency’s undue scrutiny of certain tax-exempt groups.

The House voted to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress last week for her repeated refusal to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. The charge against her stems from an opening statement she made in a hearing last year declaring her innocence before invoking her Fifth Amendment right. Republicans say that by delivering her opening statement, she waived her rights against self-incrimination.

Despite the contempt charge, Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, says it’s up to Attorney General Eric Holder – not the House – to take the next steps.

“The contempt charge has gone to the attorney general and its up to the attorney general, Eric Holder, to prosecute this and to assign someone to prosecute the case. Now will he do it? We don’t know. But the ball is in his court,” Boehner said over the weekend in an interview on Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures.”

Boehner said a provision allowing the House to make its own arrest has “never been used and I’m not sure it’s an appropriate way to go about this. It’s up to Eric holder to do his job.”

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel clarified that the speaker was referring to the modern era, because the House did at one time enforce its own contempt findings.

The Supreme Court has twice upheld the House’s authority to arrest and even imprison people through a process called “inherent contempt.” A 2014 report by the Congressional Research Service (CRS) found several instances in which Congress would dispatch the Sergeant-at-Arms to arrest the person being held in contempt. They would stand trial before the House, be given counsel, found guilty, and then penalized with arrest or a fine.

“Inherent contempt has the distinction of not requiring the cooperation or assistance of either the executive or judicial branches. The House or Senate can, on its own, conduct summary proceedings and cite the offender for contempt,” the report found.

But the practice hasn’t been used since 1935, in part because imprisonment for refusing to comply with a subpoena cannot extend past the current session of Congress, and also because the process has been described as “unseemly,” cumbersome, time-consuming and ineffective in the modern era.

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No plans to arrest Lois Lerner, John Boehner says

REXBURG A man who was instrumental in overturning a Second Amendment-based law is coming to Rexburg.

Dick Heller, who was the central figure in the District of Columbia v. Heller case, will be making an appearance at a rally this coming Saturday.

The Second Amendment Idaho Tour will make a stop at 3 p.m. at the Rexburg Tabernacle.

The event is free and open to the public.

The state is sovereign, not the federal government, said Heller in a telephone interview on Monday from his Washington home.

Heller believes every citizen has the right to bear arms and wants as little government intrusion as possible.

The Second Amendment is an incorporated right, said Heller, that takes the power out of the hands of the state to implement gun control.

Heller also believes that gun rights preceded the democracy, which he said means no government should have any control over gun regulations.

Asked if he is advocating no regulations, Heller said, As close to none as you can get as far as the government is concerned.

Heller said responsible gun owners have rigid rules in place, with basic concepts like not pointing a gun at another person.

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Guns to be focus of rally

The Supreme Court unwisely declined to review Drake v. Jerejian, last week, a case that challenged New Jerseys discretionary system of concealed-carry permitting.

By denying review, the Court failed to resolve a nationwide split about the meaning of the Second Amendment.

Eventually, the Court will have to face the issue and decide if it was serious when it held that the Second Amendment protects an individuals right to keep and bear arms.

Both Heller and McDonald made it clear that the government cannot ban or effectively ban guns, but lower courts are still struggling to define what restrictions are allowed under those rulings.

In 2008, in the landmark case of D.C. v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that the Second Amendment protects the individual right to keep and bear arms.

Eventually, the Court will have decide if it was serious when it held that the Second Amendment protects an individuals right to keep and bear arms.

Later, in 2010s McDonald v. Chicago, the Court held that the Second Amendment protects citizens from not just federal prohibitions, as Heller said, but also from state and municipal prohibitions.

Since that time, the Court has not heard another Second Amendment case. Both Hellerand McDonald made it clear that the government cannot ban or effectively ban guns, but lower courts are still struggling to define what restrictions are allowed under those rulings. The Supreme Court needs to clear up the uncertainty.

Gun controllers in cities and states across the country are taking advantage of that uncertainty to test the limits of gun control. After McDonald struck down Chicagos de factogun ban, the city created a restrictive permit system requiring one hour of range training. But the city also banned gun ranges. The Seventh Circuit struck down the ban on ranges.

More recently, a judge struck down Chicagos ban on virtually all sales and transfers within the city because the Second Amendment right must also include the right toacquirea firearm.

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Guns and Supreme Court: Is Second Amendment a Privilege, Not a Right?

The Providence (R.I.) Journal, May 8, 2014

Reasonable people can disagree vehemently on the meaning of the First Amendment, as demonstrated by the 5-to-4 margin of Monday’s Supreme Court ruling on prayer. The court ruled that the First Amendment permits even a Christian prayer at the start of a government board meeting, as long as there is no attempt to proselytize or pressure citizens to go along.

That seems a reasonable interpretation of what the First Amendment actually says. The amendment does not permit the federal government to prohibit the free exercise of religion by Americans, nor does it permit the government to establish a religion.

Does a voluntary prayer before a meeting — something with a long tradition in America — establish a state religion and force others to practice that religion? Only by the most extreme interpretation. In the real world, people are perfectly free to ignore the prayer, leave the room or petition their elected representatives to alter or drop the prayer. They may safely join any religious group they wish, or decline to believe altogether.

The First Amendment, in short, is a bulwark of liberty, protecting the right of people to express religious ideas even in public settings. But this guarantee of freedom does not preclude citizens from showing respect for diverse beliefs. Those who seek God’s blessings at the start of government meetings may do so in a non-sectarian manner, striving not to exclude or offend any believers. Or they may eschew any prayer at all. Those approaches would be our strong preference to a sectarian prayer, which can hurt people’s feelings and sow divisions.

In her dissent, Justice Elena Kagan cited George Washington’s famous 1790 letter to Newport’s Touro Synagogue, in which he embraced America’s support for religious liberty. Quoting the Bible’s Old Testament, Washington wrote: “every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid.” He added: “For happily the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.”

It seems clear, though, that neither Washington nor the other Founders regarded public prayers as giving sanction to bigotry and assistance to persecution. Indeed, in his role as president, Washington issued a proclamation calling for a national day of prayer and fasting in service to “that great and glorious Being who is the beneficent author of all the good that was, that is, or that will be.” He stated: “it is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” He did not believe that eradicating any public mention of God was the American way.

While America is markedly more diverse and secular than it was in Washington’s day, we should strive to emulate his support for religious liberty, and to give no sanction to bigotry. Surely, as free people of good will, we can do that without eradicating the freedom to express religious ideas and without banishing prayer from public life.

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Their opinion: Disagreeing on the First Amendment

YANGON (Reuters) – Two years after Myanmar scrapped censorship in one of its boldest reforms, its journalists are again living in fear of jail and are convinced a state-sponsored crackdown is under way to limit press freedom.

Eight members of the media have been arrested since December and two jailed in what critics say is government backsliding on some of the wide-ranging reforms that led the West to lift sanctions after decades of military rule.

“The hardliners in the government think (media freedom) has now gone too far,” says Thiha Saw, chief editor of the English-language Myanma Freedom.

Reporting on sensitive issues such as graft, land grabs and religious and ethnic tensions may have provoked the reaction, journalists say.

The arrests evoke memories of the country’s oppressive past, with detention of members of the media a hallmark of the previous military government, said London-based Amnesty International in a recent statement.

Toe Zaw Latt, bureau chief for the Democratic Voice of Burma (DVB), has felt the brunt of the crackdown.

One of his video journalists was jailed last month, with hard labour, while an Australian intern working with DVB without credentials was deported on Thursday after he took part in a protest calling for his colleague’s release.

“It’s a deliberate and consolidated effort by the government to restrict the media,” Toe Zaw Latt said.

DVB video journalist Zaw Pe was working on a story about Japanese-funded scholarships for Burmese students, but found himself behind bars for the second time having been imprisoned by the junta that ruled brutally for 49 years.

Journalist Ma Khine was sentenced to three months in prison in December for defamation, trespassing and abusive language while interviewing a lawyer about judicial corruption.

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Jail, lawsuits cast shadow over Myanmar media freedom

(05-10) 10:08 PDT SAN JOSE — A federal magistrate in San Jose has rejected a bid by prosecutors to search an unidentified target’s Google e-mail account, criticizing the “seize first, search second” request as overbroad and unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.

U.S. Magistrate Paul Grewal could have simply denied the request in a stark order without preamble or explanation.

Instead, Grewal waxed poetic, beginning his seven-page ruling Friday by painting a portrait of how each day he “joins the teeming masses of the Bay Area on Highway 101 or 280,” marked by “lengthy queues” at exits in Mountain View, Sunnyvale and Cupertino. “The Technorati are, in short, everywhere” in Silicon Valley, from the “humble downtown San Jose taqueria” to the “overpriced Palo Alto cafe,” he said.

Grewal said he was hammering home a point, that “too few understand, or even suspect, the essential role played by many of these workers and their employers in facilitating most government access to private citizens’ data.”

The magistrate said he had reviewed an application by the government to search the Gmail account of a person suspected of stealing government funds.

The judge noted that “no defendant yet exists, as no case has yet been filed. There are no hearings, no witnesses, no briefs and no debate. Instead, a magistrate judge is left to predict what would or would not be reasonable in executing the warrant without any hard, ripe facts. This is hardly a recipe for success.”

Although Grewal said he did find probable cause to believe that the Gmail account in question in fact contained evidence of theft, “what of all the data associated with the account which supplies no such evidence whatsoever?”

Grewal blasted the request as overreaching under the Fourth Amendment, which bans unreasonable searches. He said federal officials failed to provide any date restriction, other than to say the alleged crimes began in 2010.

“Nor has the government made any kind of commitment to return or destroy evidence that is not relevant to its investigation,” Grewal wrote.

“This unrestricted right to retain and use every bit Google coughs up undermines the entire effort the application otherwise makes to limit the obvious impact under the plain view doctrine of providing such unfettered government access,” he wrote.

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Magistrate waxes poetic while rejecting Gmail search request



Walk For Liberty Day 216 – Does the Government Care About Its Reputation?
I recently moved to New Hampshire for the Free State Project. I was on Darryl's radio show to discuss the trip including buying a car with bitcoin. The full . If you support what we're doing…

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Walk For Liberty Day 216 – Does the Government Care About Its Reputation? – Video

May 102014

The bottle is now labeled libertarianism. But its content is nothing new; it is what in the nineteenth century, and up to the time of Franklin Roosevelt, was called liberalism the advocacy of limited government and a free economy. (If you think of it, you will see that there is a redundancy in this formula, for a government of limited powers would have little chance of interfering with the economy.) The liberals were robbed of their time-honored name by the unprincipled socialists and near socialists, whose avidity for prestige words knows no bounds. So, forced to look for another and distinctive label for their philosophy, they came up with libertarianism good enough but somewhat difficult for the tongue.

They might have done better by adopting the older and more meaningful name of individualism, but they bypassed it because it too had been more than sullied by its opponents …

The mudslinging started long ago, but the more recent and best-known orgy occurred in the early part of the century when the heaven-by-way-of-government muckrakers attached to individualism a value-impregnated adjective rugged. The word itself has no moral content; when applied to a mountain it is purely descriptive, when applied to an athlete it carries a favorable connotation. But, in the literary usage of the muckrakers, it designated what in plain language would be called skulduggery. It has no more to do with a philosophy than has any form of indecent behavior. Thus, the rugged individualist was the fellow who threatened to foreclose the mortgage on the old homestead if the fair damsel refused his hand in marriage; or he was the speculator who made use of the stock market to rob widows and orphans; or he was the fat and florid buccaneer who lavished diamonds on his ladylove. He was, in short, a fellow whose conscience presented no obstacle to his inclination to grab a dollar, and who recognized no code of ethics that might curb his appetites. If there is any difference between an ordinary thief and a rugged individualist, it is in the fact that the latter almost always keeps within the letter of the law, even if he has to rewrite the law to do so …

Rugged individualism was a propaganda phrase of the first order. It was most useful in bringing the soak-the-rich urgency to a boiling point.

The phrase gained currency at the time when the leveling mania was fighting its way into the American tradition, before the government, making full use of the new power it had acquired under the income tax law, took hold of the individual by the scruff of the neck and made a mass-man out of him. It is an odd fact that the socialist is quite in agreement with the rugged individualist in advocating the use of political force to achieve ones good; the difference between them is only in determining the incidence, or the recipient, of government-given good. It is doubtful whether the robber barons (a synonym for rugged individualists) ever used the government, before the income tax, with anything like the vigor and success of the socialists. At any rate, the stigma of ruggedness has stuck, so that the collectivist intellectuals, who ought to know better, are unaware of the difference between thievery and individualism.

Original Smear Words

The besmirching of individualism, however, had a good start before the modern era. The original defamers were not socialists but solid proponents of status, the upholders of special privilege, the mercantilists of the nineteenth century. Their opposition stemmed in part from the fact that individualism leaned heavily on the burgeoning doctrine of the free market, of laissez-faire economics, and as such presented a challenge to their preferred position. So they dug into the age-old bag of semantics and came up with two smear words: selfish and materialistic. Just like the later socialists, they had no compunction about twisting the truth to suit their argument.

Laissez-faire that is to say, an economy free of political interventions and subventions holds that the instinct of self-interest is the motive power of productive effort. Nothing is produced except by human labor, and labor is something the human being is most parsimonious about; if he could satisfy his desires without effort, he would gladly dispense with it. That is why he invents labor-saving devices. But he is so constituted that every gratification gives rise to new desire, which he proceeds to satisfy by investing the labor he saved. He is insatiable. The log cabin that was palace enough in the wilderness seems quite inadequate as soon as the pioneer accumulates a surplus of necessaries, and then he begins to dream of curtains and pictures, inside plumbing, a school or a church, to say nothing of baseball or Beethoven. Self-interest overcomes his aversion to labor in his constant drive to improve his circumstances and widen his horizon …

It is in the free market that self-interest finds its finest expression; that is a cardinal point in individualism. If the market is regularly raided, by robbers or the government, and the safety of property is impaired, the individual loses interest in production, and the abundance of things men live by shrinks. Hence, it is for the good of society that self-interest in the economic sphere be allowed to operate without hindrance.

But self-interest is not selfishness. Self-interest will impel the manufacturer to improve upon his output so as to attract trade, while selfishness will prompt him to seek the special privileges and state favor that in the end destroy the very system of economic freedom on which he depends. The worker who tries to improve his lot by rendering better service could hardly be called selfish; the description rather fits the worker who demands that he be paid for not working. The subsidy seeker is selfish, and so is every citizen who uses the law to enrich himself at the expense of other citizens.

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What Individualism Is Not



NSA data collection alternatives rife with drawbacks
Following public outcry, President Obama announced that the government should no longer store massive amounts of Americans' phone records. An independent rev. Following public outcry, President…

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NSA data collection alternatives rife with drawbacks – Video

WASHINGTON, May 7 (UPI) — A bipartisan bill to prohibit the bulk collection of phone records by the NSA was put on the fast-track to passage in the House, despite lingering skepticism from Democrats and civil liberties advocates who say the bill didn’t go far enough to protect privacy.

An amendment to the USA Freedom Act, which was unanimously voted out of the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday, appeared to pave the way to avoid a clash between it and a similar bill from the House Intelligence Committee. The amendment allows the government to collect phone data on U.S. citizens in cases where “reasonable, articulable suspicion” of wrongdoing can be proved, which would in turn allow the government to collect metadata on individuals who are two “hops,” or degrees of separation, from the suspect.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., a key defender of the NSA’s surveillance and a co-author of the competing bill, called the change a “huge improvement” and hinted he would sink his own legislation in favor of the USA Freedom Act if passed.

Judiciary Committee leadership on both sides of the aisle touted the bipartisan effort to craft legislation that could make it through both houses and to the president’s desk for signature, incorporating some of the recommendations made by the president’s panel in December. Additional effort was made to please both those who supported the NSA surveillance, if perhaps not the method of collection revealed through leaks of classified information by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last year, and those who decried it as a gross violation of privacy and civil liberties.

“Today’s bill unequivocally ends bulk collection,” said bill sponsor (and USA Patriot Act author) Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis. “Let me repeat, there is no bulk collection.”

The congressman’s comments were likely directed at critics of the amendment who interpreted the language of the amendment would reopen the very loophole originally exploited by the NSA to conduct so-called “back-door” searches of American citizens’ data.

“It ends up basically outsourcing mass surveillance strategy,” explained Thomas Drake, a former NSA executive who faced espionage charges in 2010 for exposing waste and privacy violations at the agency, in an interview Tuesday.

Drake said he had supported the USA Freedom Act, changed his mind with the introduction of the manager’s amendment.

“It’s totally compromised,” he said. “That’s faux reform, that’s kabuki dance reform. That’s shadow reform.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., perhaps trying to give Sensenbrenner an opportunity to reverse course, offered an amendment to the amendment that suggested omitting the content collection language was a “clerical error.” She later withdrew her suggestion after Committee Chair Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., said he “wasn’t aware” of a such a mistake.

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Weakened NSA bill passes out of House committee



FCC and NSA Will Destroy What Is Left Of The Free Market
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FCC and NSA Will Destroy What Is Left Of The Free Market – Video



Is The Government Using NSA To Change Amount In Bank Accounts?
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Is The Government Using NSA To Change Amount In Bank Accounts? – Video

May 082014

Getty Images

Construction trailers sit in front of the new National Security Agency (NSA) data center June 10, 2013 in Bluffdale, Utah.

Privacy groups said they were delighted with the support for the bill. “This is a historic turn of events in our government’s approach to counterterrorism policies,” Laura Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Washington Legislation Office, said in a statement.

The legislation still faces several hurdles before becoming law, including winning the approval of a majority in the full House, as well as backing in the U.S. Senate. It is similar to NSA reforms proposed by President Barack Obama.

The House Intelligence Committee will debate and vote on its somewhat less restrictive version of the package on Thursday, which could set up a standoff on the House floor.

Read MoreEdward Snowden speaks via Skype at SXSW

Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, applauded the House committee’s action, although he said he wished it had gone further, such as including a strong special advocate in the secret court that oversees NSA surveillance programs.

Signaling that the fight over the surveillance programs is not over, Leahy said in a statement that he would push for those reforms when his committee considers the legislation, known as the USA Freedom Act, this summer.

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NSA data collection overhaul advances

Lois Lerner, former director of the Tax Exempt and Government Entities Division at the Internal Revenue Service, exercises her Fifth Amendment Right against self incrimination during a hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill on March 5. BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

WASHINGTON – The Republican-led House voted Wednesday to hold former Internal Revenue Service official Lois Lerner in contempt of Congress for refusing to answer questions related to the agency’s undue scrutiny of certain tax-exempt groups.

The vote to hold Lerner in contempt of Congress was 231-187, with all Republicans voting in favor and all but a few Democrats voting against.

It’s now up to a local U.S. attorney to consider criminal charges against Lerner. The Justice Department, however, has ignored past contempt charges against executive branch officials, including contempt charges against Attorney General Eric Holder.

While the vote may have no practical impact, it does up the ante in the political bout between Democrats and Republicans over the IRS scandal.

Republicans maintain they are determined to get to the bottom of the scandal and find out why IRS officials, starting in 2010, unfairly targeted groups for their political activity.

“All we’re doing as Article One is saying an employee of Article Two, the executive branch, didn’t properly assert her rights,” House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-Calif., explained to his congressional colleagues Tuesday night in a meeting of the House Rules Committee. “We want Article Three, the federal court, to decide whether or not… we should be entitled to answers to some of our questions. … Nothing could be less partisan than, in fact, to let the federal court decide.”

In addition to holding Lerner in contempt, the House also voted 250-168 to approve a resolution calling on Holder to appoint a special counsel to investigate the IRS targeting.

Democrats have dismissed the GOP’s aggressive pursuit of this issue as a partisan witch-hunt. They’ve noted that multiple investigations into the IRS have already been launched, including an ongoing Justice Department investigation. Democrats have also stressed that the IRS inappropriately targeted both conservative and liberal groups, while pointing to evidence showing the misconduct wasn’t politically motivated.

On top of all that, Democrats assert there is no basis for the contempt charge.

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House votes to hold former IRS official in contempt



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