Category Archives: Civil Liberties

California, Nestle and Decentralization, by Antonius Aquinas

California is driving out businesses and productive people with its onerous taxes and regulation, but California’s liberals assume everything will turn out okay, because things are always golden in the Golden State. Until they don’t. From Antonius Aquinas on a guest post at theburningplatform.com:

Nestle USA has announced that it will move its headquarters from Glendale, California, to Rosslyn, Virginia, taking with it about 1200 jobs. The once Golden State has lost some 1600 businesses since 2008 and a net outflow of a million of mostly middle-class people from the state from 2004 to 2013 due to its onerous tax rates, the oppressive regulatory burden, and the genuine kookiness which pervades among its ruling elites.* A clueless Glendale official is apparently unconcerned about the financial repercussions of Nestle’s departure saying that it was “no big deal” and saw it as an “opportunity,” whatever that means!

The stampede of businesses out of what was once the most productive and attractive region in all of North America demonstrates again that prosperity and individual freedom are best served in a political environment of decentralization.

That the individual states of America have retained some sovereignty despite the highly centralized “federal” system of government of which they are a part has enabled individuals and entrepreneurs living in jurisdictions that have become too tyrannical to “escape” to political environments which are less oppressive. This, among other reasons (mainly air conditioning), led to the rise of the Sun Belt as people sought to escape the high taxes and regulations of the Northeast to less burdensome (and warmer!) southern destinations.

This can also be seen on a worldwide scale. The US, for a long time, had been a haven of laissez-faire economic philosophy, which, not surprisingly, became a magnet for those seeking opportunity and a higher standard of living. No longer is this the case as increasing numbers of companies and individuals are seeking to avoid American confiscatory tax and regulatory burdens and move “offshore” or expatriate to more favorable economic climates.

To continue reading: California, Nestle and Decentralization

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Lincoln and His Legacy, by Joseph Sobran

The Golden Pinnacle plowed fairly untilled literary soil with a less than flattering take on Abraham Lincoln. His historical record belies his contemporary deification, especially for libertarians. From Joseph Sobran at lewrockwell.com:

[Classic, February 19, 2008] — At this point it is probably futile to try to reverse the deification of Abraham Lincoln. Next year, if I know my countrymen, the bicentennial of his birth will be marked by stupendously cloying anniversary observances, all of them affirming, if not his literal divinity, at least something mighty close to it.

No doubt we will hear from the high priests and priestesses of the Lincoln cult: Doris Kearns Goodwin, Garry Wills, Harry V. Jaffa, and all the rest of the tireless hagiographers of academia, who regularly rate Honest Abe one of our two greatest presidents, right up there with Stalin’s buddy Franklin D. Roosevelt, father of the nuclear age and defiler of the U.S. Constitution. Such, we are told, is the Verdict of History.

But if Lincoln was so great, we must ask why nobody seems to have realized it while he was still alive. The abolitionists considered him unprincipled, Southerners hated him, and most Northerners opposed his war on the South. Only when the war ended and he was shot did people begin to transform him into a hero and martyr of the Union cause. But that cause was badly flawed.

The Declaration of Independence, which Lincoln always quoted selectively, says that the American colonies of Great Britain had become “free and independent states” — separate states, mind you, not the monolithic “new nation” he proclaimed at Gettysburg. The U.S. Constitution refers constantly to the states, but never to a “nation”; and this is a fact we should ponder.

To continue reading: Lincoln and His Legacy

The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost, by Andrew P. Napolitano

Information is power, and by allowing the intelligence agencies to acquire so much information, in a misbegotten quest for security, we have allowed them to become powerful enough to challenge the duly elected president. From Andrew P. Napolitano at lewrockwell.com:

Last week, The Wall Street Journal revealed that members of the intelligence community — part of the deep state, the unseen government within the government that does not change with elections — now have acquired so much data on everyone in America that they can selectively reveal it to reward their friends and harm their foes. Their principal foe today is the president of the United States.

Liberty is rarely lost overnight. The wall of tyranny often begins with benign building blocks of safety — each one lying on top of a predecessor — eventually collectively constituting an impediment to the exercise of free choices by free people, often not even recognized until it is too late.

Here is the back story.

In the pre-Revolutionary era, British courts in London secretly issued general warrants to British government agents in America. The warrants were not based on any probable cause of crime or individual articulable suspicion; they did not name the person or thing to be seized or identify the place to be searched. They authorized agents to search where they wished and seize what they found.

The use of general warrants was so offensive to our Colonial ancestors that it whipped up more serious opposition to British rule and support for the revolutionaries than the “no taxation without representation” argument did. And when it came time for Americans to write the Constitution, they prohibited general warrants in the Fourth Amendment, the whole purpose of which was to guarantee the right to be left alone by forcing the government to focus on bad guys and prohibit it from engaging in fishing expeditions. But the fishing expeditions would come.

To continue reading: The Chickens Have Come Home to Roost

He Said That? 2/22/17

From Edward Livingston (1764–1836), American jurist and statesman, represented both New York, and later Louisiana in Congress and he served as the U.S. Secretary of State from 1831 to 1833, speech in Congress opposing the Alien and Seditions bills of 1798:

If we are to violate the Constitution, will the people submit to our unauthorized acts? Sir, they ought not to submit; they would deserve the chains that these measures are forging for them. The country will swarm with informers, spies, delators and all the odious reptile tribe that breed in the sunshine of a despotic power … [T]he hours of the most unsuspected confidence, the intimacies of friendship, or the recesses of domestic retirement afford no security. The companion whom you most trust, the friend in whom you must confide, the domestic who waits in your chamber, all are tempted to betray your imprudent or unguarded follie; to misrepresent your words; to convey them, distorted by calumny, to the secret tribunal where jealousy presides — where fear officiates as accuser and suspicion is the only evidence that is heard … Do not let us be told, Sir, that we excite a fervour against foreign aggression only to establish a tyranny at home; that […] we are absurd enough to call ourselves ‘free and enlightened’ while we advocate principles that would have disgraced the age of Gothic barbarity and establish a code compared to which the ordeal is wise and the trial by battle is merciful and just.”

Jay Sekulow: Obama Should Be “Held Accountable” For The “Soft Coup” Against Trump, by Tyler Durden

Just before he left office, Barack Obama made it very difficult to track down leakers within the intelligence agencies. It’s surely just a coincidence that the intelligence agencies have been copiously leaking since Trump took office. From Tyler Durden at zerohedge.com:

In light of the recent flurry of leaks by the so-called “deep state”, which includes such agencies as the NSA and FBI and which last week lead to the resignation of Mike Flynn after a phone recording of his phone conversation with the Russian ambassador was leaked to the WaPo and other anti-Trump publications, an article published on January 12 by the NYT has generated renewed interest. One month ago, the NYT reported that “In its final days, the Obama administration expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.”

The new rules significantly relax longstanding limits on what the N.S.A. may do with the information gathered by its most powerful surveillance operations, which are largely unregulated by American wiretapping laws. These include collecting satellite transmissions, phone calls and emails that cross network switches abroad, and messages between people abroad that cross domestic network switches. The change means that far more officials will be searching through raw data. Essentially, the government is reducing the risk that the N.S.A. will fail to recognize that a piece of information would be valuable to another agency, but increasing the risk that officials will see private information about innocent people.

While previously the N.S.A. filtered information before sharing intercepted communications with another agency, like the C.I.A. or the intelligence branches of the F.B.I. and the Drug Enforcement Administration, and furthermore N.S.A.’s analysts passed on only information they deemed pertinent, screening out the identities of innocent people and irrelevant personal information, following passage of Obama’s 11th hour rule, “other intelligence agencies will be able to search directly through raw repositories of communications intercepted by the N.S.A. and then apply such rules for “minimizing” privacy intrusions.”

To continue reading: Jay Sekulow: Obama Should Be “Held Accountable” For The “Soft Coup” Against Trump

Who Rules the United States? by Matthew Continetti

Who runs the government—unelected bureaucrats or the people we elect? From Matthew Cotinetti at freebeacon.com:

Donald Trump was elected president last November by winning 306 electoral votes. He pledged to “drain the swamp” in Washington, D.C., to overturn the system of politics that had left the nation’s capital and major financial and tech centers flourishing but large swaths of the country mired in stagnation and decay. “What truly matters,” he said in his Inaugural Address, “is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.”

Is it? By any historical and constitutional standard, “the people” elected Donald Trump and endorsed his program of nation-state populist reform. Yet over the last few weeks America has been in the throes of an unprecedented revolt. Not of the people against the government—that happened last year—but of the government against the people. What this says about the state of American democracy, and what it portends for the future, is incredibly disturbing.

There is, of course, the case of Michael Flynn. He made a lot of enemies inside the government during his career, suffice it to say. And when he exposed himself as vulnerable those enemies pounced. But consider the means: anonymous and possibly illegal leaks of private conversations. Yes, the conversation in question was with a foreign national. And no one doubts we spy on ambassadors. But we aren’t supposed to spy on Americans without probable cause. And we most certainly are not supposed to disclose the results of our spying in the pages of the Washington Post because it suits a partisan or personal agenda.

Here was a case of current and former national security officials using their position, their sources, and their methods to crush a political enemy. And no one but supporters of the president seems to be disturbed. Why? Because we are meant to believe that the mysterious, elusive, nefarious, and to date unproven connection between Donald Trump and the Kremlin is more important than the norms of intelligence and the decisions of the voters.

To continue reading: Who Rules the United States?

The Road to Hell Was Paved with College Safe Spaces, by Michael Krieger

If snowflakes don’t want to hear people they don’t agree with, they should buy some earplugs. Instead, they DEMAND that such people be banned from their campus. From Michael Krieger at libertyblitzkrieg.com:

That isn’t what this resistance is now doing. What they’re doing instead is trying to take maybe the only faction worse than Donald Trump, which is the deep state, like the CIA with its history of atrocities, and say they ought to almost engage in like a soft coup where they take the elected President and prevent him from enacting his policy. And I think it is extremely dangerous to do that.

– From Glenn Greenwald’s recent interview with Democracy Now

Earlier today, I posted the following tweet:

Still waiting for “the resistance” to arrive.
So far it looks like an alliance between Romper Room and Allen Dulles.

— Michael Krieger (@LibertyBlitz) February 16, 2017

This observation was merely my latest twist on a theme I’ve been hammering home ever since Trump won the election. Namely, given there are so many obvious things to be concerned about when it comes to Trump (his love affair with Goldman Sachs, support of civil asset forfeiture and a statist mentality overall), why are we being manipulated into focusing all our outrage on a largely invented conspiracy theory that he is some sort of Putin stooge?

The reason is both extremely simple and extraordinarily clever. The main reason Russia is such an obsession within the fake “resistance,” is because it’s a way to demonize Trump while defending the police state apparatus. In other words, it prevents well-meaning people from taking Trump to task on issues that really matter. This way, they can simply distract with Russia noise and continue to loot and pillage society at large. It’s genius really. You create a fake yet salacious narrative and rally the gullible public around it in order to distract from real domestic problems. This way you can be “anti-Trump,” while at the same time being pro-Wall Street fraud, corporatism, war, unconstitutional spying, and the national security state. This is your “resistance” as it stands today.

To continue reading: The Road to Hell Was Paved with College Safe Spaces