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Rationalism – New World Encyclopedia

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Jan 202016

Rationalism is a broad family of positions in epistemology. Perhaps the best general description of rationalism is the view that there are some distinctive aspects or faculties of the mind that (1) are distinct from passive aspects of the mind such as sense-perceptions and (2) someway or other constitute a special source (perhaps only a partial source) of knowledge. These distinctive aspects are typically associated or identified with human abilities to engage in mathematics and abstract reasoning, and the knowledge they provide is often seen as of a type that could not have come from other sources. Philosophers who resist rationalism are usually grouped under the heading of empiricists, who are often allied under the claim that all human knowledge comes from experience.

The debate around which the rationalism/empiricism distinction revolves is one of the oldest and most continuous in philosophy. Some of Plato’s most explicit arguments address the topic and it was arguably the central concern of many of the Modern thinkers. Indeed, Kant’s principal works were concerned with “pure” faculties of reason. Contemporary philosophers have advanced and refined the issue, though there are current thinkers who align themselves with either side of the tradition.

It is difficult to identify a major figure in the history to whom some rationalist doctrine has not been attributed at some point. One reason for this is that there is no question that humans possess some sort of reasoning ability that allows them to come to know some facts they otherwise wouldn’t (for instance, mathematical facts), and every philosopher has had to acknowledge this fact. Another reason is that the very business of philosophy is to achieve knowledge by using the rational faculties, in contrast to, for instance, mystical approaches to knowledge. Nevertheless, some philosophical figures stand out as attributing even greater significance to reasoning abilities. Three are discussed here: Plato, Descartes, and Kant.

The most famous metaphysical doctrine of the great Greek philosopher Plato is his doctrine of “Forms,” as espoused in The Republic and other dialogues. The Forms are described as being outside of the world as experience by the senses, but as somehow constituting the metaphysical basis of the world. Exactly how they fulfill this function is generally only gestured at through analogies, though the Timaeus describes the Forms as operating as blueprints for the craftsman of the universe.

The distinctiveness of Plato’s rationalism lies in another aspect of his theory of Forms. Though the common sense position is that the senses are one’s best means of getting in touch with reality, Plato held that human reasoning ability was the one thing that allowed people to approach the Forms, the most fundamental aspects of reality. It is worth pausing to reflect on how radical this idea is: On such a view, philosophical attempts to understand the nature of “good” or “just” are not mere analyses of concepts formed, but rather explorations of eternal things that are responsible for shaping the reality of the sensory world.

The French philosopher Ren Descartes, whose Meditations on First Philosophy defined the course of much philosophy from then up till the present day, stood near the beginning of the Western European Enlightenment. Impressed by the power of mathematics and the development of the new science, Descartes was confronted with two questions: How was it that people were coming to attain such deep knowledge of the workings of the universe, and how was it that they had spent so long not doing so?

Regarding the latter question, Descartes concluded that people had been mislead by putting too much faith in the testimony of their senses. In particular, he thought such a mistake was behind the then-dominant physics of Aristotle. Aristotle and the later Scholastics, in Descartes’ mind, had used their reasoning abilities well enough on the basis of what their senses told them. The problem was that they had chosen the wrong starting point for their inquiries.

By contrast, the advancements in the new science (some of which Descartes could claim for himself) were based in a very different starting point: The “pure light of reason.” In Descartes’ view, God had equipped humans with a faculty that was able to understand the fundamental essence of the two types of substance that made up the world: Intellectual substance (of which minds are instances) and physical substance (matter). Not only did God give people such a faculty, Descartes claimed, but he made them such that, when using the faculty, they are unable to question its deliverances. Not only that, but God left humanity the means to conclude that the faculty was a gift from a non-deceptive omnipotent creator.

In some respects, the German philosophy Immanuel Kant is the paradigm of an anti-rationalist philosopher. A major portion of his central work, the 1781 Critique of Pure Reason, is specifically devoted to attacking rationalist claims to have insight through reason alone into the nature of the soul, the spatiotemporal/causal structure of the universe, and the existence of God. Plato and Descartes are among his most obvious targets.

For instance, in his evaluation of rationalist claims concerning the nature of the soul (the chapter of the Critique entitled “The Paralogisms of Pure Reason”), Kant attempts to diagnose how a philosopher like Descartes could have been tempted into thinking that he could accomplish deep insight into his own nature by thought alone. One of Descartes’ conclusions was that his mind, unlike his body, was utterly simple and so lacked parts. Kant claimed that Descartes mistook a simple experience (the thought, “I think”) for an experience of simplicity. In other words, he saw Descartes as introspecting, being unable to find any divisions within himself, and thereby concluding that he lacked any such divisions and so was simple. But the reason he was unable to find divisions, in Kant’s view, was that by mere thought alone we are unable to find anything.

At the same time, however, Kant was an uncompromising advocate of some key rationalist intuitions. Confronted with the Scottish philosopher David Hume’s claim that the concept of “cause” was merely one of the constant conjunction of resembling entities, Kant insisted that all Hume really accomplished was in proving that the concept of causation could not possibly have its origin in human senses. What the senses cannot provide, Kant claimed, is any notion of necessity, yet a crucial part of our concept of causation is that it is the necessary connection of two entities or events. Kant’s conclusion was that this concept, and others like it, must be a precondition of sensory experience itself.

In his moral philosophy (most famously expounded in his Groundwork for the Metaphysics of Morals), Kant made an even more original claim on behalf of reason. The sensory world, in his view, was merely ideal, in that the spatiotemporal/sensory features of the objects people experience have their being only in humanity’s representations, and so are not features of the objects in themselves. But this means that most everyday concepts are simply inadequate for forming any notion whatsoever of what the world is like apart from our subjective features. By contrast, Kant claimed that there was no parallel reason for thinking that objects in themselves (which include our soul) do not conform to the most basic concepts of our higher faculties. So while those faculties are unable to provide any sort of direct, reliable access to the basic features of reality as envisioned by Plato and Descartes, they and they alone give one the means to at least contemplate what true reality might be like.

In the early part of the twentieth century, a philosophical movement known as Logical Positivism set the ground for a new debate over rationalism. The positivists (whose ranks included Otto Neurath and Rudolf Carnap) claimed that the only meaningful claims were those that could potentially be verified by some set of experiential observations. Their aim was to do away with intellectual traditions that they saw as simply vacuous, including theology and the majority of philosophy, in contrast with science.

As it turned out, the Positivists were unable to explain how all scientific claims were verifiable by experience, thus losing their key motivation (for instance, no set of experiences could verify that all stars are hot, since no set of experiential observations could itself confirm that one had observed all the stars). Nevertheless, their vision retained enough force that later philosophers felt hard-pressed to explain what, if anything, was epistemically distinctive about the non-sensory faculties. One recent defense of rationalism can be found in the work of contemporary philosophers such as Laurence Bonjour (the recent developments of the position are, in general, too subtle to be adequately addressed here). Yet the charge was also met by a number of thinkers working in areas as closely related to psychology as to philosophy.

A number of thinkers have argued for something like Kant’s view that people have concepts independently of experience. Indeed, the groundbreaking work of the linguist Noam Chomsky (which he occasionally tied to Descartes) is largely based on the assumption that there is a “universal grammar”that is, some basic set of linguistic categories and abilities that necessarily underlie all human languages. One task of linguistics, in Chomsky’s view, is to look at a diversity of languages in order to determine what the innate linguistic categories and capacities are.

A similar proposal concerning human beliefs about mentality itself has been advanced by Peter Carruthers. One intuitive view is that each of us comes to attribute mental states to other people only after a long developmental process where people learn to associate observable phenomena with their own mental states, and thereby with others. Yet, Carruthers argues, this view simply cannot account for the speed and complexity of humans’ understanding of others’ psychology at very early ages. The only explanation is that some understanding of mentality is “hard-wired” in the human brain.

All links retrieved June 25, 2015.

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Rationalism – New World Encyclopedia

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Dec 272015

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Organizzazione del Trattato dell’Atlantico del Nord …

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Dec 252015

Da Wikipedia, l’enciclopedia libera.

Coordinate: 505234.16N 42519.24E / 50.876156N 4.422011E50.876156; 4.422011

L’Organizzazione del Trattato dell’Atlantico del Nord (in inglese North Atlantic Treaty Organization, in sigla NATO,[3] in francese: Organisation du Trait de l’Atlantique du Nord, in sigla OTAN), un’organizzazione internazionale per la collaborazione nella difesa.

Il trattato istitutivo della NATO, il Patto Atlantico, fu firmato a Washington, D.C. il 4 aprile 1949 ed entr in vigore il 24 agosto dello stesso anno. Attualmente, fanno parte della NATO 28 stati del mondo.

Il Patto Atlantico traeva origine dalla percezione che il cosiddetto mondo occidentale (costituito da Stati Uniti d’America, Canada, Regno Unito, Francia, Norvegia, Italia ed altri Paesi dell’Europa occidentale), dopo la seconda guerra mondiale, stesse cominciando ad accusare tensioni nei confronti dell’altro paese vincitore della guerra, ossia l’Unione Sovietica, con i suoi Stati satellite.

Iniziava, infatti, a svilupparsi nelle opinioni pubbliche occidentali il timore che il regime sovietico potesse “non accontentarsi” della spartizione geografica generata, al termine della Guerra, da varie conferenze di pace e che, radicalizzando i contenuti ideologici della societ, volesse iniziare una mira espansionista per l’affermazione globale dell’ideologia comunista. Ci gener un movimento di opinione che – anche grazie alle varie attivit in tal senso organizzate dagli Stati Uniti d’America – inizi a svilupparsi in modo generalizzato nei Paesi occidentali e che identific una nuova assoluta necessit di garantire la sicurezza del mondo occidentale dalla minaccia comunista; la NATO, quindi, rispondeva all’esigenza di allearsi e di mettere a fattor comune i propri dispositivi di difesa, per reagire “come un sol uomo” ad un eventuale attacco.

Tale sentimento ebbe una significativa spinta dopo i fatti di Berlino del 1948. La citt tedesca, simbolo del nazismo e Capitale della Germania hitleriana, dopo Jalta venne a trovarsi nel territorio della Germania Est, ossia sotto influenza sovietica, e venne suddivisa in 4 zone, tre delle quali controllate dai Paesi occidentali e la quarta (la parte orientale della citt) dall’Unione Sovietica. Berlino Est divenne Capitale della Germania Est.

Dopo alcuni mesi durante i quali i sovietici avevano iniziato a manifestare disagio e dissenso sulla situazione territoriale e logistica “anomala” di Berlino (enclave occidentale in territorio orientale), che permetteva alle genti sottoposte al regime socialista di transitare facilmente all’Ovest trovandovi rifugio, il 24 giugno 1948 decisero di chiudere il corridoio terrestre attraverso il quale Berlino Ovest era connessa al mondo occidentale, impedendo, di fatto, il suo approvvigionamento logistico: il successivo ponte aereo, organizzato dal mondo occidentale per assicurare la sopravvivenza della popolazione di Berlino Ovest, entrato nella storia.

La vicenda dell'”assedio” a Berlino Ovest, fece naturalmente forte impressione alle popolazioni occidentali e, di fatto, rese matura la decisione di istituire un’Alleanza del mondo occidentale contro la minaccia sovietica.

Il concetto informatore di questa nuova “Alleanza” era quello della “difesa collettiva”, riportato nell’Art. 5, che recita:

Questa misura era concepita in modo tale che se l’Unione Sovietica avesse lanciato un attacco contro uno qualsiasi dei paesi membri, questo sarebbe stato trattato da ciascun paese membro come un attacco diretto, ed era rivolta soprattutto a una temuta invasione sovietica dell’Europa occidentale. Le trattative si svolsero tra i firmatari del trattato di Bruxelles (Regno Unito, Francia e Benelux), Stati Uniti, Canada, Norvegia, Danimarca, Islanda, Portogallo ed Italia. L’Unione Sovietica protest vivacemente, affermando la natura aggressiva nei suoi confronti del Patto. Da l a pochi anni essa avrebbe dato vita ad un’Alleanza militare contrapposta alla NATO: il Patto di Varsavia.

La creazione degli organi politici dell’Alleanza Atlantica impieg circa un anno di lavori, tra il maggio 1950 e lo stesso mese del 1951; nelle riunioni a Londra ed a Bruxelles i ministri degli Esteri si accordarono per la creazione di un Consiglio Permanente, dotato di potere esecutivo, affiancato da tre comitati, di difesa economica e finanziaria, di difesa e militare, inglobati poi nel Consiglio Permanente nella conferenza di Londra del maggio 1951.

Con la nascita del Patto di Varsavia inizi la “Guerra fredda”, cos definita in quanto, in realt, mai combattuta sul campo, ma per la quale i due blocchi prepararono i loro dispositivi militari in modo cos meticoloso e credibile che fu sviluppato il concetto di “pace armata” (attuato anche con armi nucleari potenzialmente distruttive per l’umanit intera). Dopo la caduta del muro di Berlino, che simboleggi la fine del socialismo reale e soprattutto dell’URSS, la NATO ha radicalmente cambiato la sua visione strategica, avviando un processo di radicale trasformazione. Dopo i fatti dell’11 settembre 2001 avvenuto un nuovo cambiamento nelle strategie dell’Alleanza, che adesso, a processo di trasformazione ormai compiuta, si configura come l’organizzazione mondiale principale per la lotta effettiva al terrorismo internazionale.

Il disposto dell’art. 5 del Trattato, mai attuato durante la Guerra fredda, venne invocato per la prima volta nella storia il 12 settembre 2001 dagli Stati Uniti, in risposta all’attacco terroristico del giorno precedente a New York.

Motivo: Questa sezione esprime, in alcuni passaggi, alcuni giudizi.

Dalla caduta del muro di Berlino in poi, la NATO ha progressivamente perso la propria caratteristica di “Alleanza Difensiva” per orientarsi sempre pi come un ambito di collaborazione militare tra Paesi aderenti. Dopo gli eventi dell’11 settembre 2001, gli Stati Uniti hanno richiesto l’intervento dell’Alleanza sulla base dell’Art. 5 del trattato. In linea generale, la NATO oggi rappresenta l’organizzazione militare pi utilizzata per l’imposizione del pieno rispetto della Carta dell’ONU e delle norme e convenzioni di Diritto umanitario e di Diritto bellico, delle risoluzioni del Consiglio di sicurezza dell’ONU relative a situazioni di crisi di importanza globale.

I principi generali che regolano le attivit dell’Alleanza sono mutati nel tempo, adattandosi ai continui cambiamenti del panorama geopolitico internazionale, ed attualmente possono essere riassunti nei seguenti punti:

L’art. 10 del Trattato del Nord Atlantico descrive come gli stati possano entrare nella NATO:[6]

Questo articolo pone due limiti generali agli stati per l’accesso:

Il secondo criterio significa che ciascun stato membro ha diritto di veto, ovvero pu decidere di porre delle condizioni per l’ingresso di un paese. In pratica la NATO ha formulato un insieme di criteri-base che devono essere soddisfatti per aspirare all’accesso, ma in alcuni casi ci possono essere dei criteri aggiuntivi. I casi pi importanti sono:

Non invece mai stato un criterio riconosciuto quello secondo cui la NATO non si sarebbe estesa ad Est se l’URSS avesse consentito la riunificazione della Germania: questa rivendicazione russa[7] del contenuto di un colloquio tra Gorbacev e James Baker, infatti, non mai stata accettata dalla diplomazia USA[8], che anzi negli anni Novanta sfid l’irritazione russa propiziando l’ingresso della Polonia, dell’Ungheria e della Repubblica Ceca nell’Alleanza.

Come procedura per i paesi che vogliono aderire (pre-adesione) esiste un meccanismo chiamato Piano d’azione per l’adesione o Membership Action Plan (MAP) che fu introdotto nel vertice di Washington del 23-25 aprile 1999. La partecipazione al MAP prevede per un paese la presentazione di un rapporto annuale sui progressi fatti nel raggiungere i criteri stabiliti: la NATO provvede poi a rispondere a ciascun paese con suggerimenti tecnici e valuta singolarmente la situazione dei progressi.

Questi paesi sono all’interno del MAP:

previsto che entrino nel MAP i seguenti paesi:

L’altro meccanismo di pre-adesione il Dialogo intensificato o Intensified Dialogue che visto come passo precedente prima di essere invitati al MAP.

I paesi attualmente in questa fase sono:

Un doppio schema tecnico-diplomatico di accordi stato creato per aiutare la cooperazione tra i membri NATO e altri “paesi partner”.

Il Partenariato Euro-Atlantico, o Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC), fu creato il 27 maggio 1997 al vertice di Parigi ed un forum di regolare consultazione, coordinamento e dialogo tra la NATO e i partner esterni. la diretta conseguenza del partenariato per la pace. I 23 paesi partner sono:

Ex Repubbliche sovietiche:

Paesi neutrali con economia di mercato durante la guerra fredda:

Paesi neutrali con economia socialista durante la guerra fredda:

Paesi “in attesa”:

Il Partenariato per la pace o Partnership for Peace (PfP) fu creato nel 1994 ed basato su relazioni individuali e bilaterali tra la NATO e il paese partner: ciascuno stato pu decidere l’intensit della collaborazione. stato il primo tentativo di dialogo della NATO con paesi esterni, ma ora considerato il “braccio operativo” del partenariato Euro-Atlantico. costituito in maniera principale, da membri operativi della NATO, ad esempio, membri START1991, e collaborano in tema di giustizia, per garantire i principali diritti internazionali, come i patti Bilaterali tra stati nel mondo, svolgono in tema politico-sociale la cooperazione al sostentamento umanitario. La sua azione operativa permette in diversi ambiti, quali sociale, politico, economico, giuridico, medico, ingegneristico, scientifico, artistico, la tutela e la conservazione di diritti umani nel mondo, promuovendo la cultura pacifica nei popoli.

Come gi detto, la NATO rappresenta non soltanto una mera iniziativa di cooperazione militare, ma si configura come fondamentale strumento di collaborazione politica tra i Paesi membri, soprattutto nell’ambito dei processi decisionali afferenti materie di politica estera.

Per questo motivo, la NATO ha una duplice struttura: politica e militare. In linea con quanto accade normalmente nell’ambito dei Sistemi istituzionali democratici dei Paesi membri, anche in questo caso la parte militare ha una posizione subordinata rispetto a quella politica, che, nelle sue diverse articolazioni, espressione diretta della volont dei popoli dei Paesi membri.

L’Alleanza governata dai suoi 28 Stati membri, ognuno dei quali ha una delegazione presso la sede centrale della NATO a Bruxelles. Il pi anziano membro di ciascuna delegazione chiamato “Rappresentante permanente”. L’organizzazione politica della NATO basata sulla regola del consenso unanime e comprende:

L’organizzazione militare della NATO articolata in vari comandi con sedi nei diversi paesi membri. Al vertice costituita da:

formato dai rappresentati militari dei Paesi membri ed ha il compito di decidere le linee strategiche di politica militare della NATO. Provvede inoltre alla guida dei comandanti strategici, i cui rappresentanti partecipano alle sedute del Comitato, ed responsabile per la conduzione degli affari militari dell’Alleanza. Il rappresentante militare l’altra figura rilevante della delegazione permanente dei Paesi membri presso la NATO ed un ufficiale con il grado di generale di corpo d’armata o corrispondente che proviene dalle forze armate di ciascun paese membro.

Dal Military Committee dipendono:

I membri della NATO sono attualmente 28. Di questi, 22 sono anche membri dell’Unione europea, mentre 24 di questi sono membri a vario titolo (membri effettivi, membri associati, paesi osservatori, partner associati) dell’Unione dell’Europa Occidentale (UEO) che con il Trattato di Lisbona passata sotto il controllo UE. Per questo negli ultimi anni il peso dell’UE andato sempre pi in crescendo nelle decisioni NATO. Di seguito l’elenco dei 28 membri:

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Essay: John Rawls and Robert Nozick: liberalism vs …

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Aug 152015

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These days , in the occasional university philosophy classroom, the differences between Robert Nozicks Anarchy, State, and Utopia (libertarianism) and John Rawls A Theory of Justice (social liberalism) are still discussed vigorously. In order to demonstrate a broad spectrum of possible political philosophies it is necessary to define the outer boundaries, these two treatises stand like sentries at opposite gatesof the polis

John Rawls, A Theory of Justice. Rawls presents an account of justice in the form of two principles: (1) liberty principle= peoples equal basic liberties such as freedom of speech, freedom of conscience (religion), and the right to vote should be maximized, and (2) difference principle= inequalities in social and economic goods are acceptable only if they promote the welfare of the least advantaged members of society. Rawls writes in the social contract tradition. He seeks to define equilibrium points that, when accumulated, form a civil system characterized by what he calls justice as fairness. To get there he deploys an argument whereby people in an original position (state of nature), make decisions (legislate laws) behind a veil of ignorance (of their place in the society rich or poor) using a reasoning technique he calls reflective equilibrium. It goes something like: behind the veil of ignorance, with no knowledge of their own places in civil society, Rawls posits that reasonable people will default to social and economic positions that maximize the prospects for the worst off feed and house the poor in case you happen to become one. Its much like the prisoners dilemma in game theory. By his own words Rawls = left-liberalism.

Robert Nozick, Anarchy, State, and Utopia, libertarian response to Rawls which argues that only a minimal state devoted to the enforcement of contracts and protecting people against crimes like assault, robbery, fraud can be morally justified. Nozick suggests that the fundamental question of political philosophy is not how government should be organized but whether there should be any state at all, he is close to John Locke in that government is legitimate only to the degree that it promotes greater security for life, liberty, and property than would exist in a chaotic, pre-political state of nature. Nozick concludes, however, that the need for security justifies only a minimal, or night-watchman, state, since it cannot be demonstrated that citizens will attain any more security through extensive governmental intervention. (Nozick p.25-27)

the state may not use its coercive apparatus for the purpose of getting some citizens to aid others, or in order to prohibit activities to people for their own good or protection. (Nozick Preface p.ix)



Some Practical Questions for Rawls:

Some Practical Questions for Nozick:

Read The Liberal Imagination of Frederick Douglass for an excellent discussion on the state of liberalism in America today.


Anarchy, State, and Utopia. Robert Nozick. Basic Books. 1974

A Theory of Justice. John Rawls. Harvard University Press. 1971

Disclaimer: This is a forum for me to capture in digital type my understanding of various philosophies and philosophers. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the interpretations.

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Wikipedia vs NSA – PREVENTING THE TRUTH – Video

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Mar 132015

For a very long time now I have posted videos telling you about Wikipedia. They are now suing NSA for violations of the first and fourth amedments. We now officially know that the NSA and other…

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Wikipedia vs NSA – PREVENTING THE TRUTH – Video

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NSA sued over surveillance by Wikimedia & more

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Mar 132015

Chris Davies

The NSA may be used to lurking in the shadows and quietly reading our emails, but the ACLU and Wikimedia Foundation aren’t willing to let them stay that way, filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the government agency’s actions. The suit, filed today in the US District Court for the District of Maryland, takes issue with NSA “upstream” surveillance which, it’s argued, needlessly and intrusively gathers huge quantities of text-based messages sent and received by innocent people. That, the ACLU insists, is an infringement of both First and Fourth Amendment rights, among other things.

The core of the controversy is the National Security Agency’s use of the 2008 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act (FAA) to justify its activities. That Act, the agency argues, gives it the legal permission to tap into the “backbone” of the internet in the name of gathering communications with “non-U.S. persons.”

By collaborating with infrastructure operators like AT&T and Verizon, to get a direct tap into the bulk messaging feed, the NSA can run thousands of keyword searches to hunt for anything vaguely suspicious.

However, the ACLU points out, no court approves each search, or each target, and “the limitations that do exist are weak and riddled with exceptions.” There are also suspicions that the NSA is keeping and indexing communications far longer than they’re meant to.

Along with the ACLU and the Wikimedia Foundation, the lawsuit includes The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, PEN American Center, Global Fund for Women, The Nation Magazine, The Rutherford Institute, and The Washington Office on Latin America.

“These plaintiffs sensitive communications have been copied, searched, and likely retained by the NSA,” the ACLU said in a statement on the lawsuit. “Upstream surveillance hinders the plaintiffs ability to ensure the basic confidentiality of their communications with crucial contacts abroad among them journalists, colleagues, clients, victims of human rights abuses, and the tens of millions of people who read and edit Wikipedia pages.”

It’s not the first time the ACLU has attempted to tackle how broadly the NSA interprets the FAA. In fact, the group filed a suit back in 2008 shortly after it was made law, only to be rejected by the Supreme Court in 2013 for not having sufficient proof that spying had, in fact, taken place.

Since then, of course, whistleblower Edward Snowden has revealed huge quantities of information on the upstream surveillance being undertaken by his former employers.

NSA sued over surveillance by Wikimedia & more

Why Wikimedia Is Suing To Shield Users From NSA Surveillance – Video

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Mar 122015

Why Wikimedia Is Suing To Shield Users From NSA Surveillance
Volunteers produce most Wikipedia entries, and the lawsuit alleges the NSA's potential surveillance will deter those contributors. Follow Jamal Andress:…

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Why Wikimedia Is Suing To Shield Users From NSA Surveillance – Video

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NSA sued by Wikipedia parent group over mass surveillance

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Mar 122015

Wikipedia’s parent group, Wikimedia Foundation, is suing the US National Security Agency (NSA) for what it dubs the “suspicionless seizure and searching of internet traffic by the agency on US soil”.

The legal action has been filed by Wikimedia and eight other groups against the NSA and the Department of Justice (DoJ), in a federal court in Maryland, where the spy agency is based.

Jimmy Wales, founder of Wikipedia, said that Wikimedia is filing the suit on behalf of Wikipedia’s readers and editors everywhere.

“Surveillance erodes the original promise of the internet: an open space for collaboration and experimentation, and a place free from fear,” he said.

In its official complaint, Wikimedia said that the NSA conducts its “upstream” surveillance by tapping directly into the internet backbone inside the US.

It described this backbone as “the network of high-capacity cables, switches, and routers that today carry vast numbers of Americans’ communications with each other and with the rest of the world”.

By intercepting traffic, the NSA is seizing Americans’ communications en masse while they are in transit, said Wikimedia, and this surveillance “exceeds the scope of the authority that congress provided in the FISA Amendments Act (FAA) of 2008 and violates the First and Fourth Amendments”.

In a blog post, the foundation’s legal counsel said that the FAA authorises the collection of these communications if they fall into the broad category of “foreign intelligence information”, which includes any data that could be construed as relating to national security or foreign affairs.

“The programme casts a vast net, and as a result, captures communications that are not connected to any target’, or may be entirely domestic. This includes communications by our users and staff,” the organisation added.

Lila Tretikov, executive director of the Wikimedia Foundation, said that “by tapping the backbone of the internet, the NSA is straining the backbone of democracy”.

NSA sued by Wikipedia parent group over mass surveillance

Wikipedia is suing the NSA over online spying

 NSA  Comments Off on Wikipedia is suing the NSA over online spying
Mar 112015

The nonprofit behind Wikipedia, the Wikimedia Foundation, is suing the National Security Agency and the Department of Justice over a government surveillance program. The suit challenges a program that collects databy tapping into the infrastructure, or backbone, the Web is built on.

“We are asking the court to order an end to the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of Internet traffic,” Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales wrote in a New York Times opinion piece about the suit.

The Justice Department spokesperson said the agency isreviewing the complaint. TheNSA did not immediately respond a request for comment about the suit.

The suit allegesthat the government has been tappinginto cables that are part of the Internet’s infrastructure, a practice often called “Upstream” collection, which violates the First and Fourth Amendments, according to a blog post from Wikimedia.

Such programs have been targeted in other lawsuits,including the long-running Jewel v. NSA case, which was originallybased on documents from aAT&T technician in San Francisco.Some cases about government surveillance have either been thrown out or stalled after failing to prove they were specifically targetedby thegovernment surveillance programs.

But that may be less of an issue for Wikimedia, which has based its case largely on informationdisclosed byNSA contractor Edward Snowden. Some Snowden documentsappearedto showthat the government is tapping into cables that connect the United States to the rest of the online world. One government slide disclosed by Snowdensuggested that Wikipedia and its userswere targeted as part of government surveillance programs, the lawsuit alleges.

However, there may be other legal hurdles. Last month, Jewel v. NSA hit a significant roadblock when a federal judge sided with the government’s state secret defense — ruling that the plaintiffscould not win their challenge over NSA tapping of the Internet backbone without disclosing information that would harm national security.

The type and amount of data collected as part of these programs are unclear. But the data could reveal details about people’s browsing history, scaring somefrom using the Internet freely, privacy advocates have argued.

By tapping the backbone of the internet, the NSA is straining the backbone of democracy, Wikimedia Foundation executive director Lila Tretikov said in a blog post about the suit. Wikipedia is founded on the freedoms of expression, inquiry, and information. By violating our users privacy, the NSA is threatening the intellectual freedom that is central to peoples ability to create and understand knowledge.

The American Civil Liberties Union is representing plaintiffs inWikimedia v. NSA, a group that includesHuman Rights Watch, Amnesty International USA, Global Fund for Women, and The Nation Magazine among others.

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Wikipedia is suing the NSA over online spying

Wikipedia Just Joined the List of Pissed-Off Organizations Suing the NSA

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Mar 112015

Wikipedia’s parent organization just joined the fight against dragnet government surveillance.

The ACLU filed a lawsuit today against the National Security Administration for its spying tactics. The lawsuit challenges the NSA’s surveillance program as a violation of Fourth Amendment privacy rights, an infringement on First Amendment rights, and an overstepping of the authority given to the NSA under Congress’ FISA Amendments Act.

“The reason we’re filing this lawsuit is that we feel we’ve been harmed directly by the NSA,” Wikimedia General Counsel Geoff Brigham told me, noting that the NSA explicitly targeted Wikipedia in a top secret document revealed by Edward Snowden. Plaintiffs stretch across political boundaries and include both conservative and liberal organizations.

This is far from the only recent lawsuit against the NSA. In February, a judge announced that he can’t rule in Jewel vs. NSA, a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation against the NSA’s spying tactics. The EFF has also filed a suit regarding government spying in July 2013 (First Unitarian vs. NSA) and helped the ACLU on the legal team for Smith vs. Obama, which also argued that bulk government data collection violates a citizen’s Fourth Amendment rights.

So far, none of these cases have worked out. Smith v. Obama was dismissed. And the ACLU cited Clapper vs. Amnesty as a precedent to this case. While that lawsuit wound up dismissed by the Supreme Court after it determined that plaintiffs couldn’t prove they were getting spied on, there’s still a lot of optimism this time around.

“I expect the district court will rule in our favor and that the NSA will accept that ruling,” Bingham told me.

First Unitarian is still pending, and also boasts a long and weird list of organizations united together primarily by their reluctance to be okay with sweeping government surveillance. Just to give you a glimpse at the scope of furious groups, here’s a list of all the companies and organizations currently participating in pending suits related to the NSA’s surveillance program:

I have a feeling this list will just keep growing if the pending cases aren’t heard soon. So far, Obama’s weak stabs at NSA reform haven’t exactly soothed reasonable concerns that government surveillance is an uncontrolled privacy piss-storm.

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Wikipedia Just Joined the List of Pissed-Off Organizations Suing the NSA

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Bitcoin – Wikipedia

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Feb 142015

Da Wikipedia, l’enciclopedia libera.

Bitcoin (simbolo: ; codice: BTC o XBT) una moneta elettronica creata nel 2009 da un anonimo conosciuto con lo pseudonimo di Satoshi Nakamoto, implementando un’idea dello stesso autore presentata su Internet a fine 2008. Convenzionalmente, il termine Bitcoin maiuscolo si riferisce alla tecnologia ed alla rete mentre il minuscolo bitcoin si riferisce alla valuta in s.[2]

A differenza della maggior parte delle valute tradizionali, Bitcoin non fa uso di un ente centrale: esso utilizza un database distribuito tra i nodi della rete che tengono traccia delle transazioni, e sfrutta la crittografia per gestire gli aspetti funzionali come la generazione di nuova moneta e l’attribuzione di propriet dei bitcoin.

La rete Bitcoin consente il possesso ed il trasferimento anonimo delle monete; i dati necessari ad utilizzare i propri bitcoin possono essere salvati su uno o pi personal computer sotto forma di “portafoglio” digitale, o mantenuti presso terze parti che svolgono funzioni simili ad una banca. In ogni caso, i bitcoin possono essere trasferiti attraverso Internet verso chiunque disponga di un “indirizzo bitcoin”. La struttura peer-to-peer della rete Bitcoin e la mancanza di un ente centrale rende impossibile per qualunque autorit, governativa o meno, di bloccare la rete, sequestrare bitcoin ai legittimi possessori o di svalutarla creando nuova moneta.

Bitcoin una delle prime implementazioni di un concetto definito criptovaluta qui, descritto per la prima volta nel 1998 da Wei Dai su una mailing list[3].

Il controvalore totale dell’economia Bitcoin, calcolato a dicembre 2012 era di circa 140 milioni di dollari statunitensi[4], in aprile 2013 1,4 miliardi di dollari statunitensi[5], nel novembre 2013, con un cambio 1 bitcoin = 540 USD, il controvalore sale ancora a pi di 6 miliardi di dollari statunitensi[6].

L’economia basata sui bitcoin ancora molto piccola, se paragonata ad economie stabilite da lungo tempo, ed il software ancora in uno stato di beta release, tuttavia sono gi commercializzati in bitcoin merci e servizi reali quali, ad esempio, automobili usate o contratti di sviluppo software. I bitcoin vengono accettati sia per servizi online sia per beni tangibili[7].

Sono moltissimi ormai gli enti, le organizzazioni e le associazioni che accettano donazioni in bitcoin; tra i tanti si possono citare la Electronic Frontier Foundation[8], The Pirate Bay[9], Free Software Foundation[10] e anche Wikimedia Foundation[11].

possibile inoltre acquistare da altri grandi siti come Amazon o eBay attraverso alcuni intermediari. Dal novembre 2013 l’Universit di Nicosia, a Cipro, accetta il bitcoin come mezzo di pagamento della tasse universitarie.[12]. Alcuni commercianti, utilizzando appositi siti di cambio, permettono di cambiare bitcoin in diverse valute, ivi compresi dollari statunitensi, euro, rubli russi e yen giapponesi[13].

Chiunque pu controllare la catena dei blocchi (detta Blockchain) ed osservare le transazioni in tempo reale. Diversi servizi sono gi disponibili per facilitare queste operazioni.[14][15]

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Sedona ~ Raven’s Cosmic Portal

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Feb 112015

Sedona Portal Retreat Safe ~ Affordable ~ Comfortable ~ Healing ~ Ideal Location ~ Fun ~ Capture ORBs on film for you! ~ Beautiful Views! Local Private Trail head ~ Observation deck ~ Psychic Aboard ~ Tour Guide ~ FREE Tea & Coffee & Toast ~ Flower & Fresh Fruit~ Scotties & Kitties & Tortoise too! A one of a kind experience!

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Cosmic Tours Sacred Vortex ~ Film Orbs~ Spiritual Breakthroughs!Breath work ~ Intuitive Life Coach ~ PRIVATE Day & Night Tours ~ Feel the energy of the land as you collect the gifts of the Vortexes ~ DNA Activation. Merkabah ~ Wildlife ~ Ravens Haven!

Experience OrbsInter~Dimensional Angels ~ Mysterious Life Forms ~ Spiritual Guardians ~ Tours with photos of you and ORBs ~ Day or Night!

Sonic Gateway Experience ~ Sedonas Heaven on Earth Foundation ~ non-profit ~ DIVINE PERFORMANCE HEALING ART THROUGH SONICS ~ LIGHT ~ COLOR ~ TOUCH ~ & MOVEMENT ~ Interactive Leading Edge Revival ***

Pet Whisperer Pet Psychic ~ Pet Counseling / behavior or symptoms ~ ~ Rainbow Bridge ~ Phone, email or in-person readings ~ Classes w Pets ~ Whisperer hands-on Healing massage and energy work with pets ~ Long distance healing and communication ~

Raven’s Cosmic Blog!

Sedonas Red Rockin’ GranniesDancing up a storm for over 20 yrs ~ Sedonas Red Rockin Grannies range from 55 yrs and up to 92 years old!

Raven’s Facebook Page See new photos ~ Videos ~ and interact with Raven ~

Raven’s Bio & Professional Affiliations Check my links to other dimensions including IMDB & Wikipedia & BIO et al ~

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Sedona ~ Raven’s Cosmic Portal

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Satire and Sanity: Where Do You Draw the Line? (News Analysis)

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Jan 152015

“We have the right to make dumb jokes.”

— Tina Fey

I’m a free speech advocate. I’ve been arrested and I have served jail time for exercising my First Amendment rights. As a reporter, magazine editor and political cartoonist, I’ve received complaints (and a few rare death threats) for my work. So it goes without saying that I share the global outrage over the brutal murders of the cartoonists and staff at the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. It chills the blood to imagine any American cartoonist being placed in the crosshairs of a Kalashnikov. No matter your race, religion, history or lifestyle, murder is a heinous crimefar worse than even the most wounding insult.

But after dwelling on the causes and effects of this tragedy, I find that I have some qualms about the argument that there should be no limits to the exercise of free speech.

My concerns begin with a question: “At what point does satire become bullying?” At what point does satire morph from a deftly wielded surgical tool into a blunt instrument of personal or cultural assault? As we have seen, a pen can draw a cartoon but a weaponized cartoon can draw blood. Does the cause of “free speech” bind us to defend slanders, lies and defamation?

Many advocates of free speech make a point of defending uncensored and fearless public expressionbut only so long as the speech does not veer into venomous and hateful rhetoric. When “free speech” devolves into racist or misogynistic invective, it can prove as devastating to public peace as yelling “Fire!” in the legendary “crowded auditorium.” Such mean-spirited expressions are classified as “hate speech” and are characterized by content that “offends, threatens, or insults groups, based on race, color, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, disability, or other traits.”

Unclothed Emperors Versus the Naked Masses

Satire, as a form of mockery, reads entirely differently depending on where and how it is directed. Ridicule directed against the powerfulwhether the target be a wealthy member of the elite or a multinational corporationis most easily recognized as the proper use of the satiric tool. However, ridicule directed against the powerless, the disenfranchised, or the disabled can be seen as inappropriate and coldhearted bullying.

Even hate speech can be nuanced by the interplay of social realities. It’s one thing for the oppressed to call for the elimination of the ruling classes; it’s another matter for the rulers to call for the elimination of masses. Regicide and genocide are both crimes but there is a vast difference in scale.

Satire, as defined by Wikipedia, is “a genre of literature, and sometimes graphic and performing arts, in which vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, corporations, government or society itself, into improvement.”

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Satire and Sanity: Where Do You Draw the Line? (News Analysis)

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FTP Episode 003 | Cryptocurrency Talk, Casheer and Wikipedia – Video

 Cryptocurrency  Comments Off on FTP Episode 003 | Cryptocurrency Talk, Casheer and Wikipedia – Video
Jan 042015

FTP Episode 003 | Cryptocurrency Talk, Casheer and Wikipedia
Join us for Episode 3 of the Fun Time Podcast with Ross Marius. SUBSCRIBE NOW :) In this episode we discuss crypto currencies, the crypto payment system Ca…

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FTP Episode 003 | Cryptocurrency Talk, Casheer and Wikipedia – Video

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Bitcoin Zebra – Faucet

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Dec 212014

2014-12-20 Weekly payment run completed – over 276 million satoshi (2.76 BTC) paid out! Full details here

SPECIAL PROMOTION: Receive a huge 50% bonus on all your earnings by switching to immediate Xapo wallet payments!!! Click here for full details

You have a chance of winning each of the following amounts (average is currently 344 satoshi)…

100 200 300 400 1000

Bitcoin Zebra is a completely FREE bitcoin faucet paying out up to 1000 satoshi every hour. Each time you visit this page and feed the zebra you will receive a faucet payout amount randomly selected from the available amounts shown in green above.

As well as the faucet we also have some information about other ways you can earn bitcoins. Head on over to the earn more page for details of other free bitcoin faucets, bitcoin gambling and casino sites and bitcoin mining opportunities. And we also run a very generous referral program which pays commission of at least 50% on EVERY faucet payout made to new accounts that you send over to us!

If you need any more information then please scroll down to see a list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Bitcoin is a peer-to-peer payment system introduced as open source software in 2009. The digital currency created and used in the system is alternatively referred to as a virtual currency, electronic money, or a cryptocurrency because cryptography is used to control its creation and transfer. Conventionally, the capitalized word “Bitcoin” refers to the technology and network, whereas lowercase “bitcoin” refers to the digital currency. Read more about Bitcoin on Wikipedia

Bitcoin Zebra is a bitcoin faucet. A bitcoin faucet is a web site that dispenses small amounts of bitcoins (or satoshi) for simply entering your bitcoin wallet address and solving a captcha (to prove that you are human). This faucet like most others is funded by donations and advertisements (so please turn off your ad-blocking software!). Donations: 1DXhNVViVYu4xPGUu4pYH2cTr72UPMqKAt

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Bitcoin Zebra – Faucet

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Bitcoin Exchange Rate Predicts 1 BITCOIN = $700,000 BitCoin Video – Video

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Dec 132014

Bitcoin Exchange Rate Predicts 1 BITCOIN = $700,000 BitCoin Video
WHAT… An experts opinion of where we are headed. The likes of Gold hitting $5K an oz. in the near Future… Silver $500 WHAT IF… Take a closer look Wikipedia…

By: MetComTowers

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Bitcoin Exchange Rate Predicts 1 BITCOIN = $700,000 BitCoin Video – Video

 Posted by at 6:47 am  Tagged with:

Campaign Spending Freedom Is Great For Speech and The Advertising-Media Sector

 Freedom  Comments Off on Campaign Spending Freedom Is Great For Speech and The Advertising-Media Sector
Oct 162014

Many voices on the left complained vociferously each time in the past few years that the Supreme Court rolled back unconstitutional campaign finance restrictions. Yet the loosening of the rules on campaign donations and campaign spending are showing positive signs in both the political arena and in an economic one: the advertising sector.

In terms of politics, it should be self-evident that more speech is better than less. The first amendment really only had two points as the Founding Fathers saw it: protect the press so they could expose any government wrongdoing and ensure freedom of speech for political arguments. Nude dancing was not on their minds.

Read the history of the revolutionary period and the early presidential campaigns and you will realize that the campaigns were wild, often dirty, free-wheeling affairs. Todays negative campaigners have nothing on their forefathers of two centuries ago.

New Orleans house with a collection of signs for all the mayoral candidates, with the comment More candidates than voters? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yet, beginning with a perhaps natural reaction to Watergate, a few incumbent politicians who wanted to protect their own reelections by making it harder for non-incumbents to raise money pushed through a series of restrictions on campaign financing, effectively reducing freedom of speech. We should all be glad that we are moving back in the direction of freedom of political speech. And no one has more to be glad about than the political operatives who design and buy advertising time and the corporations who sell the media slots to them.

According to Ashley Parker in The New York Times, spending on political advertising for the 2014 elections is up 70 percent over the last midterm elections in 2010. That will add up to about $2 billion in advertising buys just on House and Senate races with gubernatorial and local races added to that. Media consultants and campaign advisors who help design their candidates media strategy and place the advertising buys commonly earn high salaries and commissions equal to as much as 7 percent of the advertising spending.

That means that media consultants could stand to make $50 million off the increased spending just in the Congressional races. Freedom of speech appears to be excellent for media consultants. The Supreme Courts ruling in Citizens United might have been one of the best stimulus actions of the entire Obama presidency.

For media companies that are selling the advertising space, the increased political advertising is a bit of a mixed bag. Political candidates must be offered time or space for their ads at the lowest rates the outlet has charged to any other advertisers for equivalent spots. That means that more political ads could mean lower revenues for the media companies.

However, there is good news for the media companies as well. In this election cycle, an increased share of the political ads is being bought by outside groups. Outside groups do not benefit from the same preferential pricing, so media companies can charge them higher rates. Thus, the Supreme Court rulings like Citizens United that have made it easier for such groups to operate is a boon to those selling space for political ads.

Political speech is a good thing. When all sides and parties are free to express their opinions and make their case in favor of their causes and candidates, we get better, more informed elections and hopefully better election results.

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Campaign Spending Freedom Is Great For Speech and The Advertising-Media Sector

Schooling The Nation's Governors

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Oct 162014

Te Cato Cato Institute has long issued areport card on the nations governors. The grades are based on what Cato thinks constitutes good fiscal policy. Governors who work for policy like that get As, and those who dont get Fs. Back when my libertarianism was still in the closet, I wrote critically of the Cato report card. I now regret my harsh critiques of the project because I believe Cato does the nation a great service by analyzing, assessing, and rating state executives.

That doesnt mean everyone does or should agree with Catos assessment of each governor. The report card serves as a marker representing the institutes views, and those views challenge liberal and traditional conservative thinking on fiscal issues. Reading the report card and other works by the institute may change some minds. But more importantly, it broadens the debate over the role of fiscal policy in particular and government more generally. So if you pray at the altar of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities or of Citizens for Tax Justice, I hope you wont reflexively dismiss the Cato report card. Rather, I hope youll seriously consider the arguments in it. I also encourage libertarians and conservatives to follow the work of theCBPP,Citizens for Tax Justice, andGood Jobs Firstclosely. Just because their political philosophy is different than yours doesnt make their fiscal arguments wrong.

Entrance to the Cato Institute in Washington, DC. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now that I have everyone holding hands, lets look at this years report card.There were only four A students, which tells you that Cato is a tough grader. IndianasMike Pence(R), MainesPaul LePage(R), KansassSam Brownback(R), and North CarolinasPat McCrory(R) were rated the only excellent governors when it comes to fiscal policy.

I realize that picking those four will jeopardize the possibility of any liberals taking the report card seriously. All four significantly cut taxes and have fought for less government spending, so its not surprising that Chris Edwards and Nicole Kaeding of Cato put them at the front of the class.

I like most of those choices. I think LePage (who removed 70,000 low-income citizens from the tax rolls), McCrory (who led significant reform), and Pence (who should get an A for fighting to eliminate the personal property tax on business equipment) deserved their grades. However, I disagree with the Brownback grade. While I generally like the idea of income and business tax cuts, I think Brownback deserves a D for supporting a policy that exempts from taxation income from passthrough entities. Thats bad tax policy whether youre conservative, liberal, or libertarian. By the way, LePage and Brownback are seeking reelection this year, and right now the polls suggest they wont be coming back to the governors mansion.

Eight governors failed: MinnesotasMark Dayton(DFL), OregonsJohn Kitzhaber(D), DelawaresJack Markell(D), WashingtonsJay Inslee(D), IllinoissPat Quinn(D), MassachusettssDeval Patrick(D), ColoradosJohn Hickenlooper(D), and CaliforniasJerry Brown(D). That sounds harsh to most Americans. We dont fail. Kids get straight As, go to Ivy League schools, and eventually work in a profession their parents can brag about. The failing governors are what we used to call tax-and-spend liberals. None have met a tax (or a spending policy) they didnt embrace. So I generally agree with Cato on its assessment of the worst kids in the class. Of those up for reelection, only Quinn is in any danger of not retaining his position.

The one governor who should have gotten an F but inexplicably received a B isAndrew Cuomo. The Democrat from New York pushed the worst tax policy idea of all time: tax-free zones. Im disappointed Cato didnt call him on it.

This post is an excerpt of an article that first appeared inState Tax Notes.

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Free Speech | Electronic Frontier Foundation

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Sep 022014

Social networking websites allow groups to grow from a dozen friends, to a hundred hobbyists, to a huge organization that transcends national borders. Meanwhile, a new generation of citizen journalists have taken to (micro)blogging and video live-streaming to expose the world to stories that would otherwise go unheard. Websites like Wikipedia and the Internet Archive contribute to a new open-source model of sharing and preserving information.

In countless ways the Internet is radically enhancing our access to information and empowering us to share ideas and connect with the entire world. Speech thrives online freed of limitations inherent in traditional print or broadcast media that are created by corporate gatekeepers.

Preserving the Internet’s open architecture is critical to sustaining free speech. But this technological capacity means little without sufficient legal protections. If laws can censor us to limit our access to certain information, or restrict use of communication tools, then the Internet’s incredible potential will go unrealized.

Governmental organizations have time and again tried to do just that. Censorship laws often aim at speech that would also be restricted offline, but they can also erect new barriers to free expression on the Internet in order to privilege established stakeholders. When old laws are not properly adapted to this medium, it’s all too easy for governments and companies to undermine your rights.

EFF defends the Internet as a platform for free speech, and believes that when you go online, your rights should come with you. Learn more below and consider supporting our efforts.

Follow this link:
Free Speech | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution | Transhumanism