Have You Reset the Net?

Suppose your neighborhood experienced a dramatic increase in home break-ins. What might you and your neighbors do in response?

Some residents may join together in a neighborhood watch. Many residents will review their home security precautions. Some people will put new locks on their doors. Other neighbors will build or improve fences, close their curtains more often, install security lights or an alarm system, acquire a guard dog, or a keep a gun at the ready.

It has been a year since the publication of the first revelations on the United States government’s mass spying program based on documents obtained by whistleblower Edward Snowden. Yet, many people have not undertaken additional precautions in response.

A broad range of organizations launched on Thursday, under the title “Reset the Net,” a campaign to encourage people to take steps to protect private communication from government break-ins. Reset the Net describes its message in a promotional video:

The call is simple. Find some territory of the internet that you can protect from prying eyes. Seize it and hold it.

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

Ron Paul: ‘Get Rid Of the NSA’

RPI Chairman and Founder Ron Paul, speaking with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business this week, says that the recently revealed mass interception, storage, and analysis of images contained in private electronic communications is “another reason to get rid of the NSA.”

Paul says limited reform of the National Security Agency is insufficient. Instead, Paul explains that the correct course is abolishing the agency and terminating its destructive activities:

The bigger picture is they have no business doing it in the first place….

But, you can’t just say we’re going to monitor it, and let’s have search warrants to take pictures. We have to look at the principle, and the principle is the government has no right to do this, and the people shouldn’t put up with it.

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


Judge Napolitano: NSA Intercepting Private Photos ‘Blatantly Violates the Constitution’

Judge Andrew Napolitano condemns as a violation of privacy and the United States Constitution the recently revealed US National Security Agency practice of intercepting millions of images each day from communications including emails, text messages, and videoconferences. Napolitano, speaking on Monday with Melissa Francis on Fox Business, says the NSA’s actions blatantly violate the US Constitution and privacy rights.

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

US House Votes to Respect States’ Medical Marijuana and Hemp Legalization

An appropriations bill passed Friday in the United States House of Representatives and on its way to the US Senate contains provisions calling for the United States government to stop treading on states’ efforts to legalize medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

The majority of House members voted on Friday to respect states’ legalization of medical marijuana and hemp in two amendments to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act (HR 4660). First, the House approved by a vote of 237 to 170 an amendment introduced by Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) regarding industrial hemp. Immediately following the hemp amendment vote, the House approved by a vote of 219 to 189 a similar amendment concerning medical marijuana introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA).

Because of House amendment rules, the wording of the amendments could not state as clearly as could stand-alone legislation that the US government is prohibited in a state from enforcing US laws that prohibit or punish activities related to medical marijuana and hemp that are in compliance with the state’s law. Yet, the debate in the House on both amendments reflected the understanding that such a message is being conveyed in the amendments. The amendments may be read below.

Reps. Justin Amash (R-MI), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Paul Broun (R-GA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Barbara Lee (D-CA), Tom McClintock (R-CA), Jared Polis (D-CO), Steve Stockman (R-TX), Dina Titus (D-NV), and Don Young (R-AK) cosponsored the medical marijuana amendment.

Reps. Blumenauer, Thomas Massie (R-KY), and Polis cosponsored the hemp amendment.

While each of the amendments had bipartisan sponsorship, the votes of the full House membership revealed a large partisan division. Over 90% of voting Democrat members voted “yes” on each of the two amendments. Of the Republican members who voted on the amendments, by contrast, only 22% and 30%, respectively, voted “yes” on the medical marijuana and hemp amendments.

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

Sen. Ron Wyden: House-Passed USA FREEDOM Act is ‘Reform in Name Only’

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), speaking Wednesday in his home state of Oregon, declared that the “Status Quo Caucus” including “intelligence leadership, their friends in the House of Representatives, [and] their allies in academia” had successfully transformed the USA FREEDOM Act (HR 3361) into “reform in name only” by the time it was debated and approved on the United States House of Representatives floor.

This development regarding legislation supposedly intended to restrain the US government’s mass spying program comes as little surprise to Wyden, who explains that “[w]hat has happened is what I predicted would happen last fall.” Indeed, Wyden warned in October that:

…we know in the months ahead we will be up against a “business-as-usual brigade” – made up of influential members of the government’s intelligence leadership, their allies in thinktanks and academia, retired government officials, and sympathetic legislators. Their game plan? Try mightily to fog up the surveillance debate and convince the Congress and the public that the real problem here is not overly intrusive, constitutionally flawed domestic surveillance, but sensationalistic media reporting. Their end game is ensuring that any surveillance reforms are only skin-deep.

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

Lew Rockwell: Central Banks Make World Wars Possible

As people worry a new world war may rise out of Ukraine, RPI Advisory Board Member Lew Rockwell proposes Wednesday on the Tom Woods Show that the creation of central banks makes world wars possible. Rockwell’s comments regarding central banking are made in a wide-ranging interview that begins with a discussion of Rockwell’s book Against the State, which will be published in June.

Looking back to Rome, Rockwell notes that successive reductions in the silver content of coins helped fund government activities. Rockwell then explains that limits of this old method of money debasement were overcome in Britain in the 17th century with the creation of the Bank of England “specifically … to wage war.”

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

Can Kinky Friedman Bring Legal Marijuana and Hemp to Texas?

Kinky Friedman, who is competing in a runoff election Tuesday for the Democratic Party nomination for Texas Agriculture Commissioner, describes his race as “kind of a referendum on lifting this prohibition on hemp and on pot.” Can Friedman, who has gained notoriety among potential Texas voters as a singer/songwriter, mystery book writer, Texas Monthly columnist, and Texas governor candidate, bring legal marijuana and hemp to Texas?

While many people may view Texas as among the least likely states for a candidate promoting marijuana and hemp legalization to win statewide office, polling indicates a majority of Texans support marijuana legalization. Nevertheless, Texas politicians are reluctant to legalize, likely in part because they are concerned about a backlash from the minority of Texans who support the war on marijuana.

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

Walter Block’s Libertarian Journey: Booing Ayn Rand and Playing Risk with Murray Rothbard

In a new interview with Kyle Platt at Liberty.me, RPI Academic Board Member Walter Block — jovial as usual — tells the lively tale of his discovery of libertarian ideas as a young man.

It all started in the early 1960s when Block, then — in Block’s words — a “pinko liberal,” attended an Ayn Rand speech where he “booed and hissed” the architect of the Objectivism. Afterward, Block challenged Rand and her associate Nathaniel Branden to a debate on socialism versus capitalism. This led to a conversation with Branden that drew Block into the social circle of Rand, Branden, and other leading Objectivist thinkers.

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

Rep. Zoe Lofgren: USA FREEDOM Act Secretly ‘Altered in Worrisome Ways’

On Wednesday — the day before the United States House of Representatives voted to approve the USA FREEDOM Act (HR 3361) — Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) explained on the House floor that back room machinations changed the bill between the votes approving it in the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committees and the bill’s consideration on the House floor. These shenanigans outside the routine committee process, Lofgren explains, made meaningless some restraints on US government mass spying contained in the bill. Lofgren states:

After [the USA Freedom Act] was reported out unanimously by the House Judiciary Committee, certain key elements of this bill were changed. I think it’s ironic that a bill that was intended to increase transparency was secretly changed between the committee markup and floor consideration, and it was altered in worrisome ways.

Lofgren proceeds to explain that, under the bill, mass spying may be justifiable in multiple geographic areas including areas as large as an entire state or even the southern or eastern United States, meaning the bill does not stop the mass spying from continuing throughout the entire United States.

Lofgren also notes that all nine of her amendments were ruled out of order. In fact, no amendments at all were considered during the House floor debate.

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