Judge Andrew Napolitano: Congress Can Cut the NSA Budget

Judge Andrew Napolitano, an RPI Advisory Board member, explains on Fox News last week that the US Congress can restrain the National Security Agency’s mass spying by cutting the NSA’s budget. “The recourse is to persuade Congress to clip the NSA’s wings by taking some of its budget away from it—and that almost happened a few months ago, and it may happen after the first of the year,” says Napolitano.

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Free Speech Repressing Bureaucrat Threatens Alex Jones and Hundreds at Dallas Gathering

Wednesday night in front of the headquarters of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas I witnessed bureaucratic tyranny in action. There a mild-mannered and soft-spoken representative of the Dallas police threatened talk show host Alex Jones and over 200 people with $500 fines if they held signs too close to the road and handed out leaflets. Watch her in action in the first two videos here.

Irrespective of whether anyone is fined, the threat of fines alone — especially multi-hundred dollar fines — is enough to prevent many people from speaking freely. People may also fear that arrest and jail time may come along with fines.

From around 7:30pm to 9:00pm Wednesday night, over 200 people gathered at the sidewalk by the Federal Reserve building to receive from Jones leaflets and signs related to today’s 50 year anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and the city government’s restrictions on free speech for the time period around the assassination’s anniversary. While there, many of those gathered participated in a rally spanning issues from ending the Federal Reserve, to questioning the “lone nut” view of the Kennedy assassination, to criticizing free speech restrictions.

The time and location seemed well chosen to avoid causing trouble for pedestrians and drivers. I did not notice a single person walking through the area who was not there for the event. With wide sidewalks and a crowd that seemed happy to move out of the way, it seemed like any pedestrians would have had no trouble passing through.

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

Rep. Walter Jones: Congress Should Decide if US Military Stays in Afghanistan

Rep. Walter Jones, speaking on the US House of Representatives floor yesterday morning, called on Congress to exercise its constitutional power over US military policy in Afghanistan. In particular, Jones insisted that Congress debate and vote on the matter instead of acquiescing to keeping the US military in Afghanistan for ten more years under a bilateral security agreement being negotiated by US President Barack Obama and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai.

Near the conclusion of his four minutes speech Jones states:

To the American soldier, I’m sorry to say, but, if we don’t do our job in congress, you will be [in Afghanistan] until 2024.

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

Nullify the NSA

Local and state governments can restrict the US National Security Agency’s mass spying by cutting off electricity and water supplies to NSA facilities, banning state universities from participating in NSA research and development programs, and ending information sharing between local police and the NSA. These are some of the tactics Tenth Amendment Center Executive Director Michael Boldin proposes in an interview on the Scott Horton Show last week.

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Ron Paul: The US is in the Middle of an Intellectual Revolution

RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul, in an interview Thursday with John Stossel on Fox Business, explains that the United States is in the middle of an intellectual revolution powered by the “message of liberty.” Paul points to grassroots opposition preventing a US government attack on Syria as a manifestation of the revolution.

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

Cisco blames NSA Spying for Reduced Sales

Cisco Systems executives, whose company’s stock price fell Thursday in percentage terms the most since February of 2011, are pointing to US National Security Agency spying as a cause of the reduced sales of its products including networking equipment.

Cisco Systems Chief Executive Officer John Chambers suggested in the company’s earnings conference call with analysts on Wednesday that concerns about NSA spying contributed to Cisco’s decreased sales in China. Invezz expands on the spying’s impact on Cisco sales with comments from Cisco’s chief financial officer and figures for reduced product orders in Russia and Brazil:

Chief financial officer Frank Calderone said that the projected revenue decline was partially due to the recent revelations about internet surveillance by the US National Security Agency, which prompted “a level of uncertainty or concern” among customers internationally. In the last quarter new orders dropped 12 percent in the developing world, with Brazil down 25 percent and Russia off 30 percent.

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

FBI v. The First Amendment: The US Government’s Investigation of Antiwar.com

Federal Bureau of Investigation documents released last week reveal the FBI investigated Antiwar.com, a website regularly publishing content critical of US foreign policy, for at least six years based on the content and audience of the antiwar.com website, as well as an asinine mistake by the FBI.

According to Julia Harumi Mass of the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California, which is representing Antiwar.com in a lawsuit against the FBI, the FBI produced in response to a document request in the lawsuit documents confirming “that the FBI targeted and spied on Antiwar.com [and the website’s founding editors Eric] Garris and [Justin] Raimondo based on their First Amendment protected activity and kept records about that activity in violation of federal law.” Mass elaborates on the anti-press freedom justifications for the investigation:

One of the factors that prompted the FBI to investigate the editors of the online magazine was that Justin Raimondo writes under this pseudonym. The content of a writer’s published opinions and whether they write under a pseduonym [sic] should never be used to characterize someone as a potential threat to national security, or justify an FBI investigation. The First Amendment protects anonymous speech too. News articles and the comments of the public should not be included in FBI intelligence files unless they’re necessary to a real criminal investigation.

The second flawed factor that prompted the FBI investivgation [sic] is that “many individuals worldwide…including individuals who are currently under investigation” view the website. Presumably people around the world, “including individuals who are currently under [FBI] investigation” view all kinds of websites and news sources. Being part of a successful media outlet should not make a journalist suspicious and should not be the basis for government surveillance.

In addition, Mass points to a mistake as a third factor prompting the investigation:

The third flawed and incorrect factor was the FBI’s mistaken conclusion that Eric Garris had threatened to hack the FBI website. In fact, Garris reported to the FBI that he was the recipient of a hacking threat to Antiwar.com. After reporting this threat, he was instructed to forward the email to the FBI, which he did. The FBI later concluded that Garris had threatened to hack the FBI website and placed him under suspicion.

It is an odd mistake for the FBI to interpret Garris’s reporting of a hacking threat against the Antiwar.com website as a threat by Garris against the FBI’s website. The flub up could have been rectified and an illegitimate investigation potentially prevented by just double-checking Garris’s communication with the FBI. Instead, the asinine mistake remained uncorrected, allowing the investigation to proceed with a justification not rooted in concern about First Amendment-protected expression.

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

Whistle-blower Cop Describes Stop-and-Frisk, Corruption at NYPD

New York City Police Department policeman Adhyl Polanco describes in a Democracy Now report and interview the corrupting and rights abusing quota system for stop-and-frisk, summons, and arrests in the largest local police department in the United States. Among other revelations, Polanco estimates that, but for the improper encouragement of stop-and-frisk by the city government, police department, and police union, about 600,000 of the around 700,000 police initiated stop-and-frisk incidents last year would not have occurred. Polanco adds that some police will arrest “whoever’s at the corner” near the end of a work shift to meet the quota plus receive overtime pay.

Polanco proceeds to explain that police are forced to understate actual, reported crimes to ensure the city’s crime statistics improve. Proponents of stop-and-frisk can then point to the manipulated crime statistics to support the claim that the stop-and-frisk policy is reducing crime.

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

Widespread Hostility Toward TSA is Justified

Journalist extraordinaire James Bovard explains in a Washington Times editorial Tuesday why, even though many in the media do not want to admit it, there is widespread and justified hostility toward the Transportation Security Administration. Bovard writes:

In the wake of last Friday’s shootings at Los Angeles International Airport, some politicians and media commentators are feigning shock at the widespread hostility toward the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). There was no justification for the shooting suspect, Paul Ciancia, to gun down three TSA agents on the job, killing one. Ciancia’s brutal rampage, though, should not obscure the fact that the TSA has perennially pushed many Americans to the breaking point.

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

City Voters Legalize Liquor Stores and Marijuana

Eighty years after the Twenty-First Amendment to the United States Constitution ended the US government’s prohibition on alcohol, Jeff Mosier reports in the Dallas Morning News that in elections Tuesday residents of the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex cities of Arlington and Lewisville voted to legalize liquor stores in their cities. Mosier explains that the election results in these cities with respective populations of around 365,000 and 100,000 are part of a trend over the last decade of Texans voting to ease local legal restrictions related to alcohol:

From 2004 to 2013, Texans voted in 665 elections seeking to ease alcohol restrictions, according to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission. Nearly 80 percent passed.

Only two jurisdictions voted during that same time to restrict alcohol sales.

Also in elections Tuesday, Reason writer Ed Krayewski relates that voters in cities in Maine and Michigan, where recreational marijuana use has not been legalized statewide, voted for recreational marijuana legalization.

Since Californians voted to legalize medical marijuana in 1996, referenda and bills passed by legislative bodies have liberalized many local and state government marijuana laws. Laws concerning marijuana in the US have thus increasingly resembled the patchwork quilt of differing, though not outright prohibitionary, state and local laws concerning alcohol.

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