Judge Andrew Napolitano Explains the FISA Court Scam

Judge Andrew Napolitano, an RPI Advisory Board member, explains the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court scam in his latest masterful column. Napolitano reviews the evidence and concludes that the FISA court, which is routinely referenced to legitimate the US government mass spying program, “is unconstitutional at best and not even a court at worst.”

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Exposing the Prison Profiteers

As would be expected in the nation with the highest incarceration rate in the world, the US prison-industrial complex is large and powerful. Yet, the companies that gain from the explosion in jail and prison populations over the last few decades largely remain hidden in the shadows. This week, the American Civil Liberties Union, along with The Nation and Beyond Bars, began rolling out a series of short videos titled Prison Profiteers that promises to expose the workings of the prison-industrial complex.

The first video in the series—the only video released so far—addresses phone system monopolies that charge inmates’ families and friends exorbitant rates to communicate with their incarcerated loved ones. It is heartbreaking to watch nine year old Kenny Davis explain in the video that the high cost of a phone call prevents him from talking even once a week with his father, who it would take a four hour drive to visit in person.

Watch the video here.

While the video conveys the problem well, the political action suggested—the Federal Communication Commission imposing price caps on state and local jail and prison inmates’ in-state calls— is problematic. While expanding the FCC power will help address the immediate problem, it takes the liberty-precarious step of strengthening the US government’s bureaucracy.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Guatemala President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina Praises Marijuana Legalization

Guatemala President Otto Fernando Pérez Molina in his speech Thursday before the United Nations General Assembly praised the marijuana legalization bill progressing through the Uruguay national government as well as marijuana legalization adopted via popular votes in the US states of Colorado and Washington.

The portion of Pérez Molina’s speech addressing to the international war on drugs follows:

Since the start of my Government, we have clearly affirmed that the war against drugs has not borne the desired results, and that we cannot continue doing the same, waiting for different results.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Is TSA Frisking and Scanning Coming to the Local Mall?

Will American families soon spend Saturday mornings waiting in line for US Transportation Security Administration friskings and scannings outside the local shopping center? We can hope not. But, Miranda Green reports in the Daily Beast that the US Department of Homeland Security is “urging shopping malls in the United States to increase security in the aftermath of the carnage wrought by al Qaeda’s Somalia affiliate over the weekend in Nairobi.”

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff Condemns US Mass Spying before UN General Assembly

Brazil President Dilma Rousseff started the 68th session of the United Nations General Assembly with fireworks Tuesday, using her first speaking position among national government leaders to condemn US government spying on the people of her nation and of many other nations. Rousseff explained in the English written version of her speech:

We face, Mr. President, a situation of grave violation of human rights and of civil liberties; of invasion and capture of confidential information concerning corporate activities, and especially of disrespect to national sovereignty.

We expressed to the Government of the United States our disapproval, and demanded explanations, apologies and guarantees that such procedures will never be repeated.

Friendly governments and societies that seek to consolidate a truly strategic partnership, as in our case, cannot allow recurring illegal actions to take place as if they were normal. They are unacceptable.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

Ron Paul Speech is LPAC Highlight

The Ron Paul Institute capped off the Liberty Political Action Conference (LPAC) with a reception Saturday evening attended by many conference participants who had earlier visited the RPI outreach booth. The highlight of the conference was RPI Founder and CEO Ron Paul’s speech. Watch the speech here. Immediately preceding Dr. Paul’s speech, RPI Executive Director Daniel McAdams and RPI contributor Adam Dick participated in a panel discussion reflecting on Paul’s time in the US House of Representatives. McAdams and Dick worked twelve and ten years respectively in Dr. Paul’s House office.

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Did Sen. Reid Let Slip Secret Plan to Use Navy Yard Killings as Excuse for New Medical Privacy Violations?

There is reason for concern that the US Congress and the National Rifle Association may soon  work together to use the Washington, DC Navy Yard killings earlier this week as an excuse to expand a US government database of all Americans’ private medical information.

The day after the Navy Yard killings, US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was talking about bringing expanded gun transfer background checks to a vote in the Senate. Bloomberg reports:

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, said he’ll schedule another vote to expand firearms background checks “as quickly as we can” when enough members support the bill. Reid said at the moment, the Senate lacks enough votes to pass the legislation.

The Bloomberg article then proceeds to discount the possibility of such legislation advancing, saying gun control legislation failed to pass in the Senate earlier this year and quoting one gun control writer who absolutely rejects the possibility:

“The chance of any movement on this issue now is zero,” said Robert Spitzer, author of four books on the history of gun control. “That wind blew itself out politically.”

But, an alternative, secret plan appears to be in the works. Roll Call reports:

The Nevada Democrat [Reid] said he might be willing to move a mental-illness gun bill without a background check expansion, but that comment was quickly walked back by an aide who sent around guidance that Reid does not, in fact, intend to pass a mental-illness gun bill without expanded background checks.

Reid’s public comments seem to have gotten ahead of the public relations plan for a mental health database focused bill.

Reid will likely find it a much easier path pursuing gun control legislation focused on mental health instead of a broad gun control expansion such as was considered during the abandoned floor debate on the Safe Communities, Safe Schools Act (S.649) in April.

A starting point may be the NICS Reporting Improvements Act (S.480), which was introduced in March by four Republican and Democrat senators — Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Mark Begich (D-Alaska), Jeff Flake (R-Arizona), and Mark Pryor (D-Arkansas). As these four senators make clear in their press release announcing the introduction of the legislation, the legislation is intended to prevent more people from being able to posses guns by expanding the mental health database used in the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

US Attack on Syria Would Be Cash Cow for Military Contractors

US military contractors are ready to rake in hundred of millions of dollars from missile sales alone if the US launches a “limited” attack on Syria. Ray Downs describes the details in Vice:

Even as diplomats work on a last-ditch effort to get Syria to hand over its chemical weapons to international authorities, the US gearing up to do what it does best: bomb a distant country. At this moment, six American warships are sitting in the Mediterranean, loaded with hundreds of missiles waiting to attack Syria should they get the order. If the complex, involved effort to get Bashar al-Assad to give up his chemical weapons fails and Barack Obama gives the go-ahead for a “limited” strike against his regime, those ships will let fly with hundreds of missiles—and that means the Pentagon will have to replace those weapons by purchasing them from defense contractors like Raytheon, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman. How much is that going to cost?

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

US Customs and Border Protection Rolls Out Unconstitutional Searches Far from Borders

US Customs and Border Protection appears to be engaged in the dragnet detaining of general aviation pilots and searching of private airplanes around the country. Expect this program to quickly expand if immigration legislation that increases border-industrial complex funding and manpower becomes law.

As exposed this week in the Toledo Blade, at least 42 members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association have informed the association that CBP has searched their private airplanes without reasonable suspicion the airplanes were involved in any criminal activity, much less the probable cause and warrant required by the Fourth Amendment of the US Constitution. CBP’s new activities also seem to be unrelated to the agency’s customs and border protection responsibilities given that AOPA notes many of the planes searched never flew near a US border.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

NH City Council Approves Acquiring Tank Despite Public Opposition

The Concord, New Hampshire city council voted tonight to acquire a Lenco BearCat G3 tank. The acquisition passed by a vote of 11 to 4 despite  hundreds of people coming to the city council meeting last month in opposition. Public pressure had also caused the Concord police chief to back off his ludicrous claim that he needed the tank to fend off a terrorism threat posed by the Free State Project and Occupy New Hampshire.

Continue reading at the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.