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Seth Martin

AT&T, Comcast & Verizon Pretend They Didn't Just Pay Congress To Sell You Out On Privacy

  
Techdirt.Techdirt. wrote the following post Tue, 04 Apr 2017 08:23:00 -0500

AT&T, Comcast & Verizon Pretend They Didn't Just Pay Congress To Sell You Out On Privacy

Large ISPs like AT&T, Verizon and Comcast spent a significant part of Friday trying to convince the press and public that they didn't just screw consumers over on privacy (if you've been napping: they did). With the vote on killing FCC broadband privacy protections barely in the books, ISP lobbyists and lawyers penned a number of editorials and blog posts breathlessly professing their tireless dedication to privacy, and insisting that worries about the rules' repeal are little more than "misinformation."

All of these posts, in lock step, tried to effectively make three key arguments: that the FTC will rush in to protect consumers in the wake of the FCC rules being repealed (not happening), ISPs don't really collect much data on you anyway (patently untrue), and that ISPs' lengthy, existing privacy policies and history of consumer respect mean consumers have nothing to worry about (feel free to pause here and laugh).

For more than a decade, large ISPs have used deep-packet inspection, search engine redirection and clickstream data collection to build detailed user profiles, and their longstanding refusal to candidly talk about many of these programs should make their actual dedication to user privacy abundantly clear. Yet over at Comcast, Deputy General Counsel & Chief Privacy Officer Gerard Lewis spent some time complaining that consumer privacy concerns are little more than "misleading talk" and "misinformation and inaccurate statements":

"There has been a lot of misleading talk about how the congressional action this week to overturn the regulatory overreach of the prior FCC will now permit us to sell sensitive customer data without customers’ knowledge or consent. This is just not true. In fact, we have committed not to share our customers’ sensitive information (such as banking, children’s, and health information), unless we first obtain their affirmative, opt-in consent."

So one, the "commitment" Comcast links to in this paragraph is little more than a cross-industry, toothless and voluntary self-regulatory regime that means just a fraction more than nothing at all. And while Comcast insists it doesn't sell its broadband customers' "individual web browsing history" (yet), they do still collect an ocean of other data for use in targeted ads, and there's really little stopping them from using your browsing history in this same way down the road -- it may not be "selling" your data, but it is using it to let advertisers target you. Comcast proceeds to say it's updating its privacy policy in the wake of the changes -- as if such an action (since these policies are drafted entirely to protect the ISP, not the consumer) means anything at all.

Like Comcast, Verizon's blog post on the subject amusingly acts as if the company's privacy policy actually protects you, not Verizon:

"Verizon is fully committed to the privacy of our customers. We value the trust our customers have in us so protecting the privacy of customer information is a core priority for us. Verizon’s privacy policy clearly lays out what we do and don’t do as well as the choices customers can make."

Feel better? That's the same company, we'll note, that was caught covertly modifying user data packets to track users around the internet regardless of any other data collected. That program was in place for two years before security researchers even noticed it existed. It took another six months of public shaming before the company even provided the option for consumers to opt out. Verizon's own recent history makes it clear its respect for consumer privacy is skin deep. And again, there's nothing really stopping Verizon from expanding this data collection and sales down the road, and burying it on page 117 of its privacy policy.

AT&T was a bit more verbose in a post over at the AT&T policy blog, where again it trots out this idea that existing FTC oversight is somehow good enough:

"The reality is that the FCC’s new broadband privacy rules had not yet even taken effect. And no one is saying there shouldn’t be any rules. Supporters of this action all agree that the rescinded FCC rules should be replaced by a return to the long-standing Federal Trade Commission approach. But in today’s overheated political dialogue, it is not surprising that some folks are ignoring the facts."

So again, the FTC doesn't really have much authority over broadband, and AT&T forgets to mention that its lawyers have found ways to wiggle around what little authority the agency does have via common carrier exemptions. And while AT&T insists that "no one is saying there shouldn't be any rules," its lobbyists are working tirelessly to accomplish precisely that by gutting both FTC and FCC oversight of the telecom sector. Not partially. Entirely. Title II, net neutrality, privacy -- AT&T wants it all gone. Its pretense to the contrary is laughable.

Like the other two providers, AT&T trots out this idea that the FCC's rules weren't fair because they didn't also apply to "edge" companies like Facebook or Google (which actually are more fully regulated by the FTC). That's a flimsy point also pushed by an AT&T and US Telecom Op/Ed over at Axios, where the lobbying group's CEO Jonathan Spalter tries to argue that consumers shouldn't worry about ISPs, because their data is also being hoovered up further down the supply chain:

"Your browser history is already being aggregated and sold to advertising networks—by virtually every site you visit on the internet. Consumers' browsing history is bought and sold across massive online advertising networks every day. This is the reason so many popular online destinations and services are "free." And, it's why the ads you see on your favorite sites—large and small—always seem so relevant to what you've recently been shopping for online. Of note, internet service providers are relative bit players in the $83 billion digital ad market, which made singling them out for heavier regulations so suspect."

Again, this quite intentionally ignores the fact that whereas you can choose to not use Facebook or Gmail, a lack of competition means you're stuck with your broadband provider. As such, arguing that "everybody else is busy collecting your data" isn't much of an argument, especially when "everybody else" is having their behaviors checked by competitive pressure to offer a better product. As well-respected security expert Bruce Schneier points out in a blog post, these companies desperately want you to ignore this one, central, undeniable truth:

"When markets work well, different companies compete on price and features, and society collectively rewards better products by purchasing them. This mechanism fails if there is no competition, or if rival companies choose not to compete on a particular feature. It fails when customers are unable to switch to competitors. And it fails when what companies do remains secret.

Unlike service providers like Google and Facebook, telecom companies are infrastructure that requires government involvement and regulation. The practical impossibility of consumers learning the extent of surveillance by their Internet service providers, combined with the difficulty of switching them, means that the decision about whether to be spied on should be with the consumer and not a telecom giant. That this new bill reverses that is both wrong and harmful."

This lack of competition didn't just magically happen. As in other sectors driven by legacy turf protectors, the same ISP lobbyists that just gutted the FCC's privacy rules have a long and proud history of dismantling competitive threats at every conceivable opportunity, then paying legislators to look the other way. That includes pushing for protectionist state laws preventing towns and cities from doing much of anything about it. It's not clear who these ISPs thought they were speaking to in these editorials, but it's certainly not to folks that have actually paid attention to their behavior over the last fifteen years.

The EFF, meanwhile, concisely calls these ISPs' sudden and breathless dedication to privacy nonsense:

"There is a lot to say about the nonsense they've produced here," said Ernesto Falcon, legislative counsel at EFF. "There is little reason to believe they will not start using personal data they've been legally barred from using and selling to bidders without our consent now. The law will soon be tilted in their favor to do it."

Gosh, who to believe? Actual experts on subjects like security or privacy, or one of the more dishonest and anti-competitive business sectors in American industry? All told, you can expect these ISPs to remain on their best behavior for a short while for appearances' sake (and because AT&T wants its Time Warner merger approved) -- but it's not going to be long before they rush to abuse the lack of oversight their campaign contributions just successfully created. Anybody believing otherwise simply hasn't been paying attention to the laundry list of idiotic ISP actions that drove the FCC to try and pass the now-dismantled rules in the first place.

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#Privacy #Net Neutrality #Communications #FCC #FTC #ATT #Comcast #Verizon #Lobbying #Corporatism #Politics @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+ @Gadget Gurus+
Laissez-Faire Capitalism

Trump Makes Government Leaks Great Again!

  
Ronald BaileyRonald Bailey wrote the following post Tue, 24 Jan 2017 18:10:00 -0600

Trump Makes Government Leaks Great Again!

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First, let's acknowledge the Obama administration was obsessive about controlling the flow of information from the executive branch. The "most transparent administration in history" simply wasn't. In 2015, 40 journalism and government accountability organizations under the auspices of the Society of Professional Journalists sent an open letter to President Obama complaining about the lack of transparency. The letter listed among other techniques used by the administration to keep the media tamed ...
... prohibiting staff from communicating with journalists unless they maneuver through public affairs offices or through political appointees; refusing to allow reporters to speak to staff at all, or delaying interviews past the point they would be useful; monitoring interviews; and speaking only on the condition that the official not be identified even when he or she has title of spokesperson. ...

The public has a right to be alarmed by these constraints–essentially forms of censorship–that have surged at all levels of government in the past few decades. Surveys of journalists and public information officers (PIOs) demonstrate that the restraints have become pervasive across the country; that some PIOs admit to blocking certain reporters when they don't like what is written; and that most Washington reporters say the public is not getting the information it needs because of constraints. An SPJ survey released in April confirmed that science writers frequently run into these barriers.

President Donald Trump is evidently taking a lesson out of the Obama administration's media squelching playbook, at least initially. Specifically, the Environmental Protection Agency has reportedly received memordanda from the White House ordering what has been described a "temporary media blackout." Every incoming administration needs time to get organized and, of course, seeks to control the flow of information from executive agencies so as to put its policies in the best light. In the short run, that's annoying to those who want to know how their government is performing at any given time, but is to be expected.

The Obama administration was, for the most part, able to keep unflattering leaks to a minimum largely because the bulk of the federal workforce was simpatico with its policies. This is unlikely to be the case with the Trump administration. If Trump tries to keep federal workers muzzled past a short transition period, I predict that he will succeed brilliantly in making government leaks great again! Maybe some minor portion of national security information needs to be kept secret, but it's hard to see why any information, data, studies, and reports that the EPA and other agencies produce should be kept from the public and press.


#Transparency #Security #Journalism @LibertyPod+
Laissez-Faire Capitalism

Cory Booker Joins Senate Republicans to Kill Measure to Import Cheaper Medicine From Canada

  
The InterceptThe Intercept wrote the following post Thu, 12 Jan 2017 16:15:04 -0600

Cory Booker Joins Senate Republicans to Kill Measure to Import Cheaper Medicine From Canada

Bernie Sanders introduced a very simple symbolic amendment Wednesday night, urging the federal government to allow Americans to purchase pharmaceutical drugs from Canada, where they are considerably cheaper. Such unrestricted drug importation is currently prohibited by law.

The policy has widespread support among Americans: one Kaiser poll taken in 2015 found that 72 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing for importation. President-elect Donald Trump also campaigned on a promise to allow for importation.

The Senate voted down the amendment 52-46, with two senators not voting. Unusually, the vote was not purely along party lines: 13 Republicans joined Sanders and a majority of Democrats in supporting the amendment, while 13 Democrats and a majority of Republicans opposed it.

One of those Democrats was New Jersey’s Cory Booker, who is considered a rising star in the party and a possible 2020 presidential contender.

In a statement to the media after the vote, Booker’s office said he supports the importation of prescription drugs but that “any plan to allow the importation of prescription medications should also include consumer protections that ensure foreign drugs meet American safety standards. I opposed an amendment put forward last night that didn’t meet this test.”

This argument is the same one offered by the pharmaceutical industry. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), which lobbies against importation, maintains that it opposes importation because “foreign governments will not ensure that prescription drugs entering the U.S. from abroad are safe and effective.”

The safety excuse has long been a refuge for policymakers who don’t want to assist Americans struggling with prescription drug costs. Bills to legalize importation passed in 2000 and 2007, but expired after the Clinton and Bush administrations refused to certify that it would be safe. The Obama administration also cited safety concerns when opposing an importation measure in the Affordable Care Act.

A second amendment Wednesday, authored by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, would have allowed importation pending a safety certification, just like the previous laws passed on the subject. It also failed. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., used that amendment to claim on Twitter that he voted “to lower drug prices through importation from Canada,” and Booker referred to the Wyden amendment in his statement as well. This is a well-worn tactic from opponents of importation to mislead their constituents, as they know such certification will never occur.

The safety excuse is mostly a chimera, as most of the drugs that would be imported from Canada were originally manufactured in the United States; they’re just cheaper there, because the Canadian government uses a review board and price negotiation to make drugs more affordable.

“My first response to that is show me the dead Canadians. Where are the dead Canadians?” former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, a Republican, once asked during his own push to allow for importation.

Democrats blocked importation from becoming part of the Affordable Care Act in 2009, with over 30 votes in opposition, because they feared it would have pushed the pharmaceutical industry to oppose the underlying legislation. They also voted in large numbers to oppose importation as part of an FDA bill in 2012.

Booker and some of his Democratic colleagues who opposed the Sanders amendment are longtime friends of the drug industry. As MapLight data shows, Booker has received more pharmaceutical manufacturing cash over the past six years than any other Democratic senator: $267,338. In addition, significant numbers of pharmaceutical and biotech firms reside in Booker’s home state of New Jersey. Other Democrats receiving six-figure donations from the industry, like Casey, Patty Murray, and Michael Bennet, opposed the amendment.

Top photo: Booker at a Senate Housing, Transportation, and Community Development Subcommittee meeting on July 30, 2014, in Washington, D.C.

The post Cory Booker Joins Senate Republicans to Kill Measure to Import Cheaper Medicine From Canada appeared first on The Intercept.


#Prohibition #Crony Capitalism #Corporatism #Healthcare #Health #Drugs #Importation #Politics @LibertyPod+
Gadget Gurus

San Francisco sues local drone maker, drone maker then shuts down

  
Ars TechnicaArs Technica wrote the following post Fri, 13 Jan 2017 16:20:12 -0600

San Francisco sues local drone maker, drone maker then shuts down

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Enlarge (credit: Lily Robotics)

A San Francisco-based drone startup that raised $34 million in pre-orders folded on Thursday, the same day the company, Lily Robotics, was sued by the local district attorney in county court. The city accuses Lily Robotics of engaging in false advertising and unlawful business practices.

The company's story is reminiscent of the now-defunct Torquing Group, a Wales-based firm that raised $3.4 million (the largest European Kickstarter project to date) to build a drone called the Zano that ended up not going anywhere, either.

In 2015, Lily Robotics released a slick YouTube promo video demonstrating its drone, calling it the world’s first “throw-and-shoot camera.” It received widespread, breathless coverage from various other media outlets, ranging from Wired to TechCrunch. Lily Robotics' founders were named on the “Forbes 30 under 30” list in 2015. And in addition to its pre-orders, the startup took in $15 million in venture capital, according to CrunchBase.

Read 4 remaining paragraphs | Comments


#Lily #Robotics #Advertising @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
Anarcho-Vegans

The Story of Your Enslavement

  
Laissez-Faire Capitalism

5 Blood-Boiling Cases Of Government Overreach

  
Zero HedgeZero Hedge wrote the following post Sun, 01 Jan 2017 11:02:39 -0600

5 Blood-Boiling Cases Of Government Overreach

Submitted by Kelly Wright via The Foundation for Economic Education,

Every year the number of regulations, dictates, rules, decrees, guidelines, statutes, laws, and bylaws in the United States grows by leaps and bounds. Just look at the growth in the number of final rules contained in the Federal Register:

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Government Overreach
Now it seems we can’t go a week without hearing a new story about someone being punished, with fines or even jail time, for activities that would be encouraged in a free society. I’ve taken the liberty (pun intended) of compiling some of the more egregious examples of this trend for your reading pleasure (or displeasure).

1. Single mom faces possible jail time for selling $12 worth of ceviche to an undercover police officer.

Mariza Ruelas had her day in court in early November. Her crime? She sold a $12 plate of ceviche, an authentic Mexican dish, to an undercover cop on Facebook.

I know what you’re thinking: Why are police setting up stings to catch people selling food to willing customers over Facebook? Don’t they have actual crimes to investigate — like ones with actual victims? I wish I knew the answers to those questions.

2. Federal prosecutors threaten Aaron Swartz with a life-crushing sentence for downloading academic articles.

On January 11th 2013, Aaron Swartz ended his own life, concluding one of the biggest miscarriages of justice in contemporary history.

In the months leading up to his suicide, Swartz had been embroiled in a legal battle with the federal government after prosecutors charged Swartz under the draconian Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. His crime? Downloading thousands of academic articles from the JSTOR database.

The CFAA is a particularly cruel piece of legislation, as it carries severe mandatory minimum sentencing requirements, resulting in Swartz facing up to 35 years in prison for a nonviolent crime.

Many legal observers at the time pointed out that had Swartz robbed a bank, aided al-Qaeda, or produced child pornography he would have faced a more lenient sentence.

Swartz’s story was detailed in great depth in the documentary The Internet’s Own BoyImage/photo. The documentary was released under the Creative Commons — a nonprofit initiative Aaron Swartz himself was an early architect of — so you can watch it for free on YouTube.



THE INTERNET'S OWN BOY | Official Trailer | FilmBuff
by FilmBuff Movies on YouTube

3. Government claims ownership of all water, jails Oregon man for 30 days for collecting rainwater on his own property.

Way back in 2012 the libertarian blogosphere was abuzz over an egregious case of local government tyranny out of Oregon. Gary Harrington was sentenced to spend 30 days in jail for the crime of collecting rainwater using three reservoirs (that’s newspeak for “ponds”) on his property.

Oregon law states that all water is a public resource, to be owned communally by the collective population of Oregon, and as such any attempts to obtain or store water must first begin with applying for the proper permits to do so. Yes, really.

One of the reservoirs on his property had been there for 37 years, Harrington said. To add insult to injury, Harrington’s applications for permits were initially approved by the state’s Water Resource Department, but were rescinded after a state court reversed their decision.

As a result of this 1920s-era law, Harrington was ordered to turn himself in to the county jail to serve his 30-day sentence.

4. Maryland church ordered to evict homeless people from its property or pay a $12,000 fine.

No good deed goes unpunished in the Land of the Free.No good deed goes unpunished in the Land of the FreeTM. In late 2016, Reverend Katie Grover was met with a $12,000 citation attached to the door of the Patapsco United Methodist Church in Dundalk, Maryland. The alleged crime was allowing several homeless people to sleep on the church’s property in violation of the county regulation prohibiting “non-permitted rooming and boarding.”

The church wasn’t even letting the homeless sleep indoors, rather they were just allowing a few homeless people to sleep on some of the benches located in the church’s yard.

5. San Antonio chef fined $2,000 for feeding homeless people.

In early 2015, the chef and founder of the not-for-profit food truck Chow Train, Joan Cheever, was cited by police officers for the outrageous crime of serving hot meals to the city’s homeless population.

The citation, which she received for transporting the food in a different vehicle than her licensed food truck, carries with it a fine totaling $2,000.

As is par for the course in these sorts of cases, there isn’t an observable wronged party. The only apparent “crime” here is the violation, unwitting or otherwise, of an arbitrary government dictate. In this case in particular, no one called the police requesting assistance. Cheever was doing what she had done for more than 10 years, except this time her charity stepped outside of the parameters set forth by an unelected bureaucrat at the city’s health department.

Parting Words
These cases brought to light a troubling trend unfolding in the US that couldn’t be summarized better than by the indispensable words of Ayn Rand, writing in Atlas Shrugged,
When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion — when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing — when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors — when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don’t protect you against them, but protect them against you — when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice — you may know that your society is doomed.

Hopefully the tendency to criminalize mundane activities or even charitable giving itself can be arrested before anyone else finds themselves on the business end of the growing regulatory state.

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#Government #Overreach #Big Government @LibertyPod+
Laissez-Faire Capitalism

Want to Stop Asset Forfeiture Abuse? Teach Americans That It Happens.

  last edited: Tue, 20 Dec 2016 17:13:15 -0600  
Scott ShackfordScott Shackford wrote the following post Tue, 20 Dec 2016 14:30:00 -0600

Want to Stop Asset Forfeiture Abuse? Teach Americans That It Happens.

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Americans really, really don't like it when police seize citizens' property and keep it for themselves, especially when the authorities have not proven guilt.

That's the latest data from a new poll from the Cato Institute (and YouGov) examining attitudes about police. Cato notes that a full 84 percent of Americans oppose civil asset forfeiture. Civil asset forfeiture is when police seize property and assets from people suspected of crimes and then keep it for themselves. Note the use of "suspected" not "convicted." Police do not have to convict suspects of crimes to use civil asset forfeiture. In many cases, they don't even have to charge them.

A bipartisan justice push has prompted reforms to regulations in several states (Ohio is the most recent). But despite the fact that Americans significantly oppose the practice, it continues in many places and is authorized and encouraged by the Department of Justice as well.

The latest opposition numbers match almost perfectly numbers from last spring taken from polls in Florida (84 percent) and Utah (83 percent).

There's more useful news for those who know and object to the practice. Even when permitting forfeiture, the majority of people who participated in the survey of 2,000 said they don't want local law enforcement agencies to have control over the assets they seize. Only 24 percent support local agencies keeping it for themselves. The rest either wanted the revenue to go into the state's general fund (48 percent) or in a state-controlled law enforcement fund (28 percent).

Those numbers matter because it indicates that Americans grasp the corrupt incentives that come from allowing police to keep what they seize. Forfeited money and property has been used by police departments to pad budgets, pay overtime, and when law enforcement agencies grow dependent on this money, it encourages the abuse we've seen all across the country.

That asset forfeiture continues at all given its unpopularity among Americans is evidence of how much power law enforcement and prosecutors have over state legislatures. The last couple years have seen some important reforms in New Mexico, Florida, California, Ohio, and elsewhere. But we've also seen efforts for reform get gutted by those who profit off the abusive system (as happened in October in Pennsylvania). Pushes for reforms will continue in the new year. Hopefully there will be some more wins. Teaching Americans what asset forfeiture actually is and how it works would definitely help.

Read more about the poll results at Cato here.


@LibertyPod+
Seth Martin

TPP: A Post-Mortem

  last edited: Tue, 15 Nov 2016 20:23:46 -0600  
I had serious doubts that anything good would come from the election of Donald Trump but here it is!

DeeplinksDeeplinks wrote the following post Tue, 15 Nov 2016 18:25:28 -0600

TPP: A Post-Mortem

The death of the Trans-Pacific Partnership that EFF called last week has since been confirmed by White House officials. This marks the end of a long-running campaign against the secretive agreement that EFF began back in 2012.

Make no mistake; although the proximate cause of the TPP's demise was the U.S. Presidential election result, the TPP faced long odds in Congress even if the election had gone the other way. This in turn was due to broad opposition to the agreement from many sectors of society across the political divide, including from members of the digital rights community. So as we survey the fallout from the TPP's demise, EFF and its supporters are entitled to feel proud of the part we played.

Implementation In Other TPP Countries
But as we mentioned when breaking news of the death of the TPP, this doesn't mean that the other TPP countries are out of danger yet. In fact only today New Zealand's Parliament passed the implementing legislation required to ratify the TPP, including legislation that would extend the copyright term in New Zealand from 50 to 70 years after the death of the author.

The most dispiriting thing about this is that New Zealand's lawmakers were not ignorant of the fact that they were doing this unilaterally and with no purpose. They knew it, and they did it anyway. This passage from the official transcript of the third reading speech from Labour party member Rino Tirikatene reflects our own frustration with the process:
We are wasting the House's time. I do not know where the National Government has been for the past 24 hours, but there has been an election in the United States, and there is a new President-Elect, Trump, and he has outlined that in his first 100 days, he is withdrawing the US from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement—a complete withdrawal. I do not know why we are here in some sort of deluded sense that by passing this legislation, the TPP is miraculously going to come into force, because it will not. It is dead—over.

The silver lining in this is that the amendments introduced by the implementation Bill will take effect only from the date that TPP enters into force for New Zealand. If that never happens, then the legislation will never take effect.

Japan, too, has moved closer to ratifying the TPP since we last wrote on the subject. Its ratification bill passed the lower house already, and will automatically take effect on December 9 if the upper house does not act on the bill sooner. Unlike in New Zealand, many of the changes made to Japanese law, including the copyright term extension, are not conditional on the TPP taking effect.

This places Japan at an even higher risk than New Zealand of suffering self-inflicted damage from the TPP that it will never offset through increased U.S. market access. Japan's Aozora Bunko (literally Blue Sky Library, a repository of public domain works) is one national institution that will be particularly hard hit.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared that his government's quixotic commitment to the implementation of the TPP would “show to the world our ability to produce an outcome”, and is even pushing other countries to hasten their own implementation efforts. It may be worth noting that Japan is also the only country that ever ratified the failed Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA).

The other country that is closest to ratifying and implementing the TPP, Malaysia, has today released a press statement [PDF] that acknowledges that the TPP has failed, yet does not categorically rule out the continuation of its own progress towards implementing the TPP's mandates through domestic legislation. Vietnam and Australia are in a similar position.

These countries, along with Brunei, Mexico, Singapore, Peru and Chile, ought to accept reality and provide their citizens with some certainty by formally shelving their implementation plans. If they see some symbolic value in continuing with their implementation, then at the very least they should do as New Zealand has done and make this conditional upon the existing TPP agreement coming into effect.

Implications for Other Trade Agreements
Instead of doing this, the remaining TPP countries now led by Mexico and Japan will be using this week's APEC meeting in Lima, Peru to discuss the idea of concluding a TPP agreement without the United States. Since U.S. involvement provided much of the value of the agreement, and the basis for many of the tradeoffs made by the other parties, it is difficult to make sense of this proposal without a significant renegotiation of the text.

In parallel, China is promoting the idea of expanding the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) into a broader Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific (FTAAP), covering all 21 members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group.

It is difficult to assess what this would mean for digital rights, but we can't see it being good. The RCEP in its present form does contain some provisions on copyright, which are for the most part not as bad as those in the TPP, but this may change before the agreement is done. Since the process of negotiation of RCEP is every bit as closed and opaque as the TPP, we may not find out about how users' rights are being traded away until it is too late.

As for future trade agreements that do include the United States, the next U.S. President Donald Trump has indicated his intention to place more emphasis on concluding bilateral rather than multilateral agreements, as well as on the enforcement of existing agreements. We are unsure of the implications of this for the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA), but they don't look good for its backers.

The problem with a renewed focus on bilateral negotiations is that a single country in negotiation with the United States is far more likely to accept unbalanced copyright demands than it would be if it had the support of ten other countries, as countries did under the TPP. For example, previous bilateral U.S. free trade agreements have required trading partners to extend copyright protection to temporary copies in computer memory; a poison pill for innovators that the TPP countries rightly rejected.

Thus there is much uncertainty in the future around digital trade agreements, and EFF doesn't yet claim to have all the answers. But we can be certain about at least two things: that the TPP will not come into force in its present form, and that in consequence there is no rational reason for any of the countries that negotiated it to change their laws to conform with the agreement.

If you come from Japan, it is especially important for you to get involved with local activists who have the best chance of turning the government back from its misguided mission to implement this doomed agreement. If you come from Australia, Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Singapore, Malaysia, Brunei, or Vietnam, then you can also make a difference by writing to your local newspaper about why TPP implementation is such a bad idea. Here are some links to get you started:Share this: Image/photo Image/photo Image/photo Image/photo Join EFF


#TPP #Trans-Pacific Partnership #Trade #Economics #Politics @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
 
This one is Huge.

NOT entering World War III is also huge.
Mike Macgirvin
  last edited: Tue, 15 Nov 2016 23:03:33 -0600  
A bit late for that.
Laissez-Faire Capitalism

ObamaTrade Is Dead: White House Abandons TPP As EU Halts Trade Talks After Trump Victory

  
Zero HedgeZero Hedge wrote the following post Fri, 11 Nov 2016 17:25:00 -0600

ObamaTrade Is Dead: White House Abandons TPP As EU Halts Trade Talks After Trump Victory

It appears the entire 'ObamaTrade' farce is collapsing under the weight of its secrecy and corporatocracy in the immediate aftermath of Trump's triumph. First this morning, Bloomberg reported that EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said EU-U.S. negotiations on a free-trade agreement are on hold, and now WSJ reports that the Obama administration on Friday gave up all hope of enacting its sweeping Pacific trade agreement, denting American prestige in the regions at a time when China is flexing its economic and military muscle.

Just days after Donald Trump won the election, all of Washington's major trade deals are dead or dying.

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First, NAFTA

As Joe Joseph reports, both Mexico and Canada have agreed to re-negotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) signed under President Clinton.
You have the Canadian Prime Minister and his Mexican counterpart that are now saying, “hey buddies… hey United States… we want to renegotiate NAFTA.”

…Maybe, just maybe, we might actually have a little bit of justice… he hasn’t even taken the oath of office yet.

Second, TTIP
Trump lashed out at market-opening initiatives such as the planned Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, or TTIP, during his successful campaign to succeed U.S. President Barack Obama. Trump, the Republican Party’s candidate, defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton in the Nov. 8 election.

“With the new president-elect, we don’t really know what will happen,” Malmstrom told reporters on Friday in Brussels. “There is strong reason to believe that there will be a pause in TTIP, that this might not be the biggest priority for the new administration.”

The EU and U.S. have spent three years working on an accord to expand the world’s biggest economic relationship by eliminating tariffs on goods, enlarging services markets, opening public procurement and bolstering regulatory cooperation. Obama and European leaders such as German Chancellor Angela Merkel had called TTIP a policy priority.

Both sides have held 15 rounds of talks since 2013. The last round took place in October in New York.

“Whether it makes sense to have new rounds -- well probably not,” Malmstrom said on Friday.

And Finally, TPP
Just days after Donald Trump surprise victory, U.S. officials said Republican congressional leaders had made clear that they wouldn’t consider the 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership in the remainder of Mr. Obama’s term. The White House had lobbied hard for months in the hope of moving forward on the pact if the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, had won.

The failure to pass what is by far the biggest trade agreement in more than a decade is a bitter defeat for Mr. Obama, whose belated but fervent support for freer trade divided his party and complicated the campaign of Mrs. Clinton.

The TPP’s collapse also dents American prestige in the region at a time when China is flexing its economic and military muscle.

The 2016 election season has shown that domestic concerns about globalization, the trade deficit and stagnant wages easily beat out the appetite for international engagement. The TPP became a symbol Washington pursuing policies that disproportionately favor wealthier Americans over ordinary workers. Mr. Trump blamed the TPP on special interests trying to “rape” the country.

As we detailed previously, Trump was right on Trade Agreements.

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#TPP #Politics #Trump #Trade #NAFTA #TTIP #Trans-Pacific Partnership @LibertyPod+
Seth Martin

Well, it looks like the future of the Internet excludes net neutrality.

  last edited: Thu, 06 Oct 2016 18:29:43 -0500  
Facebook is getting the US government on its side before trying to launch its limited internet services in the US.

Facebook is talking to the White House about giving you ‘free’ Internet. Here’s why that may be controversial.

Image/photo



The company has spent the past half-year in conversations with officials.

Facebook has been in talks for months with U.S. government officials and wireless carriers with an eye toward unveiling an American version of an app that has caused controversy abroad, according to multiple people familiar with the matter.

The social media giant is trying to determine how to roll out its program, known as Free Basics, in the United States without triggering the regulatory scrutiny that effectively killed a version of the app in India earlier this year.


#Facebook #Free Basics #FreeBasics #Internet #Corporatism #Crony Capitalism #Capitalism #Politics #Net Neutrality #NetNeutrality #Communications #Social Networking #Zero-Rating @LibertyPod+  @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+  @Gadget Guru+
Marshall Sutherland
  last edited: Thu, 06 Oct 2016 19:45:51 -0500  
The debt bubble will burst and crash on all their plans before they get that far. (See? I can be an optimist!)
 
ex-presidente Dilma Roussef combined the same business with Facebook here in Brazil, but it did not work because anyone would use that crap service

new from 10 apr 2015Dilma e Zuckerberg anunciam parceria para levar internet a brasileiros de baixa renda

Dilma e Zuckerberg planejam internet grátis

translateDilma and Zuckerberg announce partnership to bring Internet free to low-income Brazilians

The government of Brazil and Facebook announced a partnership this Friday (10) to implement the Internet.org, a project that offers free connection in the country; the announcement was made at the Summit of the Americas, held in Panama, after a meeting between President Dilma Rousseff and the executive director of the social network, Mark Zuckerberg;
 
I really wonder why everyone is into this #netneutrality thing. All the nerds rage against the government censoring, controlling, and sifting through the internet, but then they come and beg in the name of net neutrality for a big government agency to install a complete state control system for the internet.
 
i think this is better:


Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton. Epic Rap Battles of History.
by ERB on YouTube
Laissez-Faire Capitalism

Watch Gary Johnson Get ANGRY Over Foreign Policy And Exclusion From Debates (You Will Too)!

  
Anthony  L. FisherAnthony L. Fisher wrote the following post Wed, 28 Sep 2016 15:55:00 -0500

Watch Gary Johnson Get ANGRY Over Foreign Policy And Exclusion From Debates (You Will Too)!

Image/photoLibertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson has made being a nice, non-combative guy a central part of his campaign strategy.

But just minutes before Monday's debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Johnson lashed out at U.S. foreign policy failures, his exclusion by the Commission on Presidential Debates, and the media's fixation on his Aleppo gaffe rather than his larger point that the nation's interventions have "thousands of people dying" while failing to establish peace.

When asked by reporters at Twitter's New York headquarters how he would talk about foreign policy, the former two-term New Mexico governor raged:
I want to stop with these military interventions! In my heart, I don't want to send our men and servicewomen to lose their lives, and I don't want to them to be responsible for what are ultimately thousands of innocent people being killed in these countries.

So Hillary Clinton dots the i's and crosses the t's on all the names and everything associated with this, but as a result of that, we have the foreign policy that we have now, that I have to tell you I think is horrible. Horrible!

And that's how I would answer it tonight. I would be mad. I would be angry. i would be angry that people would people would be calling me out on the names, geographic locations, names of foreign leaders, when the underlying policy has thousands of people dying. And that is unacceptable.

Johnson and his running mate William Weld took questions from reporters at Twitter's Manhattan headquarters when Bloomberg reporter Arit John asked, "If you were in the debate, how would you handle some of these detailed policy questions?" The reporter also referenced Johnson's infamous "What is Aleppo?" gaffe.

Johnson flew off the handle again minutes later when asked whether he and Weld were "spoiler candidates." Johnson furrowed his brow and barked:
Why would you even say that?...We're giving people a chance to vote for something, as opposed to the lesser of two evils. That's what we are providing, first vote. You want to waste your vote with Clinton...or Trump, go right ahead and waste your vote. We're not spoilers, we are the first vote! So I guess we should drop out? Is that your editorial, should we drop out?"

Later on Monday night, during a Facebook Live interview, Reason's Matt Welch, who was hosting the Q&A, asked Johnson about the perception that he's "goofy."

Johnson replied:
If goofy means being fiscally conservative, small government, being a good steward of tax dollars, if goofy means standing up for civil liberties, you and I being able to make choices in our lives, iff goofy means standing up for military personnel that we're putting in harm's way, if goofy means saying...let's stop with the regime changes, if goofy is supporting free markets, more US jobs, I'm the goofiest guy in the whole planet!

In a Facebook Live interview filmed on Tuesday morning after the debate, Johnson explained that his outbursts stem from the fact that U.S. servicemen and women "have to pull those triggers" and kill innocent people in misbegoten conflicts.
That's not their fault, that's the fault of political leadership. And these are the people I'm debating? And these are the people I'm debating? And I'm speaking specifically about Hillary Clinton...Somehow that makes her more qualified? Yeah, that just pisses me off, Matt. Really pisses me off.

Watch the video, which was captured by Matt Welch, below.


#Gary Johnson #Libertarian #Politics
Reason Foundation

Almost Everything Paul Krugman Says in This Awful Column About Gary Johnson Is Wrong

  
Robby SoaveRobby Soave wrote the following post Mon, 19 Sep 2016 15:20:00 -0500

Almost Everything Paul Krugman Says in This Awful Column About Gary Johnson Is Wrong

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Fellow millennials, Paul Krugman isn't mad at us. He's just, well, a little disappointed—disappointed that so many are shirking their obligation to fall in line behind the Democratic Party candidate, thus imperiling the future of this great nation.

In his latest screed, Krugman—a one-dimensional partisan operative still somehow masquerading as the in-house economist for The New York Times' op-ed pages—excoriates young voters as not merely reckless, but actively dangerous, given their penchant for supporting third-party candidates Jill Stein and Gary Johnson. Especially Gary Johnson.

Taking note of Johnson's impressive poll numbers among millennials, Krugman rejects the idea that these voters could possibly like Johnson because they agree with his views, or consider him the most honest and forthright option. According to Krugman, Johnson's young supporters are probably clueless idiots who don't know that all libertarians want to return society to the age of robber-barons. And if their goal is register a protest vote again Clinton, they are acting immaturely by helping to elect Donald Trump.

"Your vote matters, and you should act accordingly — which means thinking seriously about what you want to see happen to America," writes Krugman.

In other words, millennials should think seriously about what Paul Krugman wants to see happen to America: the election of Hillary Clinton as its president.

Unsurprisingly, Krugman's column makes some unfair and likely incorrect logical leaps. He begins by asserting that Johnson and Stein's high favorability among young people hurts Clinton. But, as Bleeding Heart Libertarians blogger Jacob T. Levy explains, Johnson's overall base is pulling slightly more voters from the Trump camp than the Clinton camp. It's Stein who draws almost entirely from Clinton. Levy writes:
On current evidence, the Libertarian ticket is having a largely neutral but slightly pro-Clinton effect on the race as a whole, and this fact is being widely misreported because people are improperly lumping together the effects of Johnson and Stein, then attributing that effect to the Libertarians along in a classic fallacy of division.

It's simply not the case that Johnson's candidacy is, on the whole, hurting Clinton. The evidence suggests the opposite.

Krugman, to be fair, is talking specifically about young people. He just doesn't understand how they could possibly support the nominee of the Libertarian Party—the party that wants to "eliminate environmental regulation, abolish the income tax, do away with public schools, and dismantle Social Security and Medicare."

Of course, those are generic libertarian policy positions, not Johnson's positions. For example, Johnson doesn't want to "dismantle" Social Security and Medicare—he told CBS News explicitly that he wants to reform these programs, rather than eliminate them.

Krugman has mischaracterized Johnson's views on a host of issues. But the issues Krugman ignores are even more telling. The average millennial isn't just going to vote for the candidate offering the most robust welfare state. They care about things like reforming drug laws and staying out of pointless wars, too. And on these issues, even Krugman would likely have to admit that Johnson is clearly more palatable. That's why he omits these issues from his calculus on why millennials who support Johnson are making a huge mistake.

Lastly, Krugman demonstrates impressively un-economic thinking when he asserts—actual math be damned—that each voter must treat his or her vote as if it's the deciding one. In reality, an individual voter has effectively zero chance of influencing the outcome of a national election, so everybody might as well vote for the candidate they like best, if they vote at all. For an impressive number of millennials—who do not feel bound to obey the two-party duopoly that produces horribly flawed candidates year after year—that person is Johnson.

If Krugman were capable of looking beyond his extremely strong partisan biases, he might better understand the appeal of a non-Trump, non-Clinton candidate.


@Laissez-Faire Capitalism+ #Krugman #Gary Johnson #Politics #Libertarianism
Seth Martin

Gary Johnson Backs CO2 ‘Fee’ To Fight Global Warming

  last edited: Mon, 22 Aug 2016 12:58:51 -0500  
Calling a tax by a different name doesn't change the fact that it's a tax but in general, people are easy to fool. It's pretty clear that Gary Johnson is going after potential Clinton voters more that potential Trump voters.

The Libertarian RepublicThe Libertarian Republic wrote the following post Mon, 22 Aug 2016 09:49:32 -0500

Gary Johnson Backs CO2 ‘Fee’ To Fight Global Warming

by Michael Bastasch

Libertarian Party presidential nominee and former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson said he’s no skeptic of man-made global warming and endorsed a “fee” on carbon dioxide emissions.

It’s all part of his “free market” approach to global warming, Johnson told the Juneau Empire in an article published Sunday.

“I do believe that climate change is occurring,” Johnson said. “I do believe that it is man-caused” and “that there can be and is a free-market approach to climate change.”

Johnson’s “free market” approach to global warming, includes “a fee — not a tax, he said — placed on carbon” to make those who emit the greenhouse gas pay the supposed cost of their actions, according to the Juneau Empire.

“We as human beings want to see carbon emissions reduced significantly,” he said, adding the U.S. only emits “16 percent of the (global) load” CO2.

Johnson said: “I don’t want to do anything that harms jobs.”

It’s not exactly clear how a “fee” on CO2 would be different than a “tax,” but Johnson’s announcement was picked up by environmentalists

Johnson’s carbon “fee” was touted by the group RepublicEN, a group of conservatives who endorse a carbon tax. RepublicEN has joined with environmentalists to promote a carbon tax as the best way to tackle global warming.

But they’re basically alone on the right, as most conservative groups see a carbon tax as a fool’s errand, and the Republican Party explicitly rejected a carbon tax in its 2016 platform.

“We oppose any carbon-tax,” reads the 2016 platform. “It would increase energy prices across the board, hitting hardest at the families who are already struggling to pay their bill in the Democrats’ no-growth economy.”

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump told campaigners at the American Energy Alliance in March he opposed a carbon tax.

“The Obama administration committed an overreach that punishes rather than helps Americans,” Trump answered in AEA’s survey. “Under my administration, all EPA rules will be reviewed. Any regulation that imposes undue costs on business enterprises will be eliminated.”

Republicans have been increasingly concerned about attempts to get a carbon tax through Congress. GOP lawmakers often argue taxing CO2 would amount to an energy tax that would raise the price of everything, hurting the poor.

Rhode Island Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse introduced a carbon tax bill last year to raise $2 trillion over 10 years and reduce CO2 emissions 40 percent. Whitehouse has also called on the Department of Justice to prosecute those who disagree with him on global warming.

Johnson’s campaign did not respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s request for comment.

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Copyright 2016 Daily Caller News Foundation

The post Gary Johnson Backs CO2 ‘Fee’ To Fight Global Warming appeared first on The Libertarian Republic.


#Carbon #Emissions #Energy #Taxes #Taxation #Voting #Politics #Gary Johnson #CO2 #Global Warming #Climate Change #Environmentalism #Carbon-Tax @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
David
 last edited: Tue, 23 Aug 2016 09:24:53 -0500  from Diaspora
What about the revenue-neutral carbon "tax"? Collect a certain amount for each mole (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mole_(unit)) of carbon pulled out of the ground, and distribute it on a per capita basis to every legal resident of the country. Everyone, man woman and child, gets the same amount. Offsets the higher cost of everything for the average person.

That seems more in line with the libertarian movement.
Seth Martin
  last edited: Fri, 26 Aug 2016 10:28:12 -0500  
Libertarian Gary Johnson Comes Out Against Carbon Taxes, Mandatory Vaccines

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Libertarian Party candidate clarifies positions at New Hampshire rally.
Anarcho-Vegans

Whole Foods' John Mackey on Why He Became a Vegan, Supporting Gary Johnson, and Obama's Crushing Regulatory Burden

  last edited: Tue, 16 Aug 2016 21:01:09 -0500  
Alexis GarciaAlexis Garcia wrote the following post Tue, 16 Aug 2016 14:45:00 -0500

Whole Foods' John Mackey on Why He Became a Vegan, Supporting Gary Johnson, and Obama's Crushing Regulatory Burden: New at Reason



Whole Foods' John Mackey on Why He Became a Vegan & Supporting Gary Johnson
by ReasonTV on YouTube

"I actually think that a hundred years from now we'll look back on the factory-farm era with the same kind of ethical revulsion that we look back on slavery," says John Mackey, co-founder and co-CEO of Whole Foods Market and one of the producers of the new documentary At the Fork. "If I had my way when people finish watching that film, they'd be faced with an ethical dilemma which is: I'm not going to eat meat anymore or I'm only going to eat higher-animal-welfare meat."

Mackey's turn toward veganism began over a decade ago when activists protested an annual corporate meeting of Whole Foods. After studying the issue, Mackey gave up eating meat and has worked with Whole Foods' meat suppliers to develop practices that treat livestock animals humanely.

Nick Gillespie sat down with Mackey at this year's FreedomFest, the annual gathering of libertarians in Las Vegas, to discuss Mackey's veganism and his new 365 grocery chain, which aims to bring customers high-quality products at lower prices. He also discussed the 2016 election and why he thinks Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are crony capitalists, why he supports Gary Johnson for president, and how the growing regulatory burden on American business is stunting innovation and growth.

Click below to read more and view transcript.
            
View this article.


#Vegan #Capitalism #Veganism #Politics @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
Anarcho-Vegans

"Penn Jillette Is Against Clinton and Trump—and Dying While His Kids Are Young"

  
Nick GillespieNick Gillespie wrote the following post Sun, 07 Aug 2016 11:31:00 -0500

"Penn Jillette Is Against Clinton and Trump—and Dying While His Kids Are Young"

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Last week, Reason TV released an interview with Penn Jillette, who talked about the 2016 election, his admiration for Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, and how the hard-core libertarian magician lost over 100 pounds by following a plant-based diet.

I can't recommend Presto!: How I Made Over 100 Pounds Disappear and Other Magical Tales, Penn's just-published diet memoir, enough. As with all of his writing, it ranges far and wide from the putative topic in ways great and small and is immensely entertaining. And if you have any taste for extremes, especially when it comes to food, you will not be disappointed. Penn's chronicle of his nutritional regime and farewell to the "Standard American Diet" (or SAD) as directed by heterodox guru Ray Cronise is endlessly compelling, inspiring, and exhilirating.

As I write in a new column for The Daily Beast, Penn is a relentless seeker who is constantly inquiring about new things, new ideas, new ways of being in the world. In this sense, he's a lineal descendant of Jack Keroauc (just as Dylan and Reed are in their own ways), but with a life wish rather than a death wish:
Presto!...is a convincing brief for a nouveau-Beat sensibility of extremism in the pursuit of health and longevity, a 21st-century version of Jack Kerouac's hosanna to the "mad ones," the "ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars." The main difference is that Kerouac drank himself to death before reaching 50 while Penn, now 61 and a life-long teetotaler, is trying to live as long as he can both because as an atheist he believes there's nothing after this life, and because he has two kids whom he doesn't want to have "to deal with [him] dropping dead of fat when they're just teenagers."

After decades of chowing down on what he derides as the "Standard American Diet" or SAD—think huge, Cheesecake Factory-sized portions of everything fried, battered, sweetened, fried, and salted—Penn was not only obese but depressed, constantly winded, and on multiple blood-pressure drugs. His descriptions of his pig-out sessions—buttered steaks, movie theater popcorn covered in oil and Milk Duds, Cinnabons chased by sweet drinks, and hunks of cheese slathered with peanut butter—would give Dr. Oz vicarious diabetes. Penn's come-to-Jesus moment (if an atheist can be said to have such an epiphany) came when he had a stent put in his heart and his doctor told him he either needed to lose a ton of weight or get stomach-shrinking surgery within six months.

Having been given "official permission to go crazy" in pursuit of dieting, he soon found himself under the care of Cronise or "CrayRay" (short for "Crazy Ray"), who put Penn on a two-week regimen of only eating potatoes as a way to reset his cravings and taste buds. Slowly after that, Penn started adding back other vegetables and whole grains, small amounts of hot sauce, and eventually fruit after hitting his maintenance weight. His medical problems disappeared along with the flab but, ever the skeptic, he repeatedly cautions his readers about taking advice from a "fucking juggler whose only higher education was Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College." He is, he admits, only "a zealot wearing a broccoli suicide vest to Burger King."

Whole Beast col here.

Throughout Presto!, Penn reminds the reader not to take diet or life advice from a guy whose last brush with education was a stint at clown college (literally). Maybe, maybe not. But reading Presto! reminded me of what people said when they heard the debut LPs of the Velvet Underground, the Ramones, and the Sex Pistols: They made you want to start your own band. Presto! is like that. Whether you want to start eating like Penn (or John Mackey of Whole Foods) or not, this book will make you want to get busy being born in some new and interesting way.

Here's the Q&A we did:



Penn Jillette on Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, And Why He's All in on Gary Johnson
by ReasonTV on YouTube

For a full transcript of the interview, go here.


#Diet #Health #Politics @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
Laissez-Faire Capitalism

EU Bans Claim That Water Can Prevent Dehydration

  
WolfWolf wrote the following post Thu, 30 Jun 2016 21:33:52 -0500
LOL and some people still insist that #brexit was a bad move for Britain...

EU Bans Claim That Water Can Prevent Dehydration
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EU officials concluded that, following a three-year investigation, there was no evidence to prove the previously undisputed fact.

Producers of bottled water are now forbidden by law from making the claim and will face a two-year jail sentence if they defy the edict, which comes into force in the UK next month.

Last night, critics claimed the EU was at odds with both science and common sense. Conservative MEP Roger Helmer said: “This is stupidity writ large.

“The euro is burning, the EU is falling apart and yet here they are: highly-paid, highly-pensioned officials worrying about the obvious qualities of water and trying to deny us the right to say what is patently true.

“If ever there were an episode which demonstrates the folly of the great European project then this is it.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/8897662/EU-bans-claim-that-water-can-prevent-dehydration.html


#News #Politics #EU #Water #Bureaucracy #Dehydration
The Intercept (Unofficial)

Supreme Court Eliminates Political Corruption! (By Defining It Out of Existence)

  last edited: Thu, 30 Jun 2016 13:41:49 -0500  
The InterceptThe Intercept wrote the following post Wed, 29 Jun 2016 15:34:20 -0500

Supreme Court Eliminates Political Corruption! (By Defining It Out of Existence)

Three out of four Americans think government corruption is widespread. Donald Trump became the Republican nominee for president in part by claiming he couldn’t be bought. Bernie Sanders almost grabbed the Democratic nomination away from one of the most famous and powerful people on earth by decrying the influence of big money.

Yet by overturning the bribery conviction of Bob McDonnell, the former governor of Virginia, the Supreme Court this week just extended its incredible run of decisions driven by the concern that America has too many restrictions on money in politics.

Back in 2010, the majority held in Citizens United that corruption should be defined only as straightforward bribes. Do big donors to “independent” Super PACs get a receipt saying “Received: $5 Million in Return for Cutting Your Taxes”? No? Then according to the decision, the donation did “not lead to, or create the appearance of, quid pro quo corruption,” and that’s all that matters.

Now in the unanimous McDonnell decision, the Court held that a lower court’s interpretation of quid pro quo defined the quo too broadly, because for McDonnell to run interference for his generous donors with state officials didn’t actually qualify as an “official decision.”

In other words, the Court first decided in 2010 that only out-and-out bribes matter, and now it has decided that only a carefully defined subset of bribes qualify.

In the McDonnell case, it was proven that Jonnie Williams, the CEO of a dietary supplement company, gave McDonnell an engraved Rolex watch, took McDonnell’s wife Maureen on a $20,000 shopping spree at Louis Vuitton and Oscar de le Renta in New York, loaned the couple over $100,000, and much more. In return, McDonnell set up meetings for Williams with Virginia officials that Williams used to push for the state to fund studies on the effectiveness of his supplements, pestered his staff about it, let Williams throw a product launch lunch at the governor’s mansion, and allowed Williams to add himself and associates to the guest list for a reception for state healthcare leaders. Williams himself testified that the gifts he gave the McDonnells were “a business transaction.”

But so what, wrote Chief Justice John Roberts: “Conscientious public officials arrange meetings for constituents, contact other officials on their behalf and include them in events all the time.” If McDonnell’s conviction stood, “officials might wonder whether they could respond to even the most commonplace requests for assistance, and citizens with legitimate concerns might shrink from participating in democratic discourse” – since presumably all citizens buy their governor’s wife a full length white leather coat and pay for him to go see the Final Four.

The Citizens United decision confidently proclaimed that “ingratiation and access” by themselves “are not corruption … The appearance of influence or access, furthermore, will not cause the electorate to lose faith in our democracy.”

The McDonnell ruling demonstrates the lengths the Supreme Court will go to to prove itself wrong.

Top photo: Former Virginia Governor Robert McDonnell, followed by members of the media, leaves the U.S. Supreme Court April 27, 2016 in Washington, D.C.

Sign up for The Intercept Newsletter here.

The post Supreme Court Eliminates Political Corruption! (By Defining It Out of Existence) appeared first on The Intercept.


#Corruption @LibertyPod+ @Laissez-Faire Capitalism+
Laissez-Faire Capitalism

After Brexit, Ron Paul Asks "Can We Exit A Few Things Too?"

  last edited: Tue, 28 Jun 2016 12:59:56 -0500  
Submitted by Ron Paul via The Ron Paul Institute for Peace & Prosperity,

Last week’s UK vote to leave the EU may have come as a shock to many, but the sentiment that led British voters to reject rule from Brussels is nothing unique. In fact it is growing sentiment worldwide. Frustration with politics as usual, with political parties that really do not differ in philosophy, with an economy that serves the one percent at the expense of the rest of society is a growing phenomenon throughout Europe and in the United States as well. The Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump phenomena are but one example of a frustrated public sensing something is very wrong with society and looking for a way out.

What is happening in the UK, in Europe, and in the US, is nothing less than a breakdown of the entire system. The EU was meant to be a customs union where post-World War II Western Europe could rebuild itself through free trade and a reduction in bureaucracy. Through corruption and political ambition it became an unelected bully government in Brussels, where the well-connected were well compensated and insulated from the votes of mere citizens.

Whatever happens in the near future – and it is certainly not assured that the vote to “Brexit” will actually end in the UK’s departure from the EU – a line has been crossed that supporters of more personal liberty should celebrate. Rule from London is preferable to liberty-minded Britons than rule from Brussels. Just as Texans should prefer rule from Austin to rule from Washington. That doesn’t make either option perfect, just more likely to produce more freedom.

Is Brexit the first victory in a larger freedom movement? Can we get out of a system that creates money out of thin air to benefit the ruling class while impoverishing the middle class? Can we get out of a central bank that finances the wars that make us less safe? Can we exit Executive Orders? Can we exit the surveillance state? The PATRIOT Act? Can we exit NDAA and indefinite detention? Can we exit the US worldwide drone program, that kills innocents overseas and makes us ever-more hated?

Getting out of NATO would be a good first move. This Cold War relic survives only by stirring up conflict and then selling itself as the only option to confront the conflict it churned up. Wouldn’t it be better to not go looking for a fight in the first place? Do we really need still another NATO military exercise on the Russian border? It should be no surprise that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was fear-mongering on the eve of the Brexit vote, warning UK citizens that if they vote to leave they could face increased terrorism.

Likewise, the US would do well to exit the various phony “free trade” agreements that provide advantage to the well-connected elites while harming the rest of us.

The act of exit is liberating. We should make a longer list of those things we would like to get out of. I am only getting started.

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#Brexit #Liberty #Freedom @LibertyPod+ @Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity+