Thursday, September 30, 2010

Victory: Internet Censorship Bill is Delayed, For Now

The Market, Not Government, Is The Worker’s Friend

In the Center for a Stateless Society’s latest study, “Labor Struggle: A Free Market Model,” C4SS Research Associate Kevin Carson examines the role of state labor regulation in halting the progress of unionism and explores the gains made for labor by direct action and worker solidarity in the face of combined state and corporate power.

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“The predominance of the conventional strike as we know it, as the primary weapon of labor struggle,” writes Carson, “is in fact a byproduct of the labor relations regime created under the Wagner Act. … In the system of labor relations extant before Wagner, strikes were only one part of the total range of available tactics. Unionism, and the methods it normally employed, was less about strikes or excluding non-union workers from the workplace than about what workers did inside the workplace to strengthen their bargaining power against the boss.”


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fight the Copyright Trolls

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EFF is trying to help by assisting people in finding lower cost or pro bono counsel, allowing people to fight back without the costs of defense bankrupting them. But in the meantime, these lawsuits are causing tremendous collateral damage — to the individuals targeted, to due process, and to the legal profession (which doesn’t need another example of unscrupulous lawyering). To be clear, no one is arguing that copyright owners don’t have a legal right to protect their works. But it’s quite another thing to game the legal system — and waste judicial resources, i.e., your tax dollars — to make a profit.


Banned Books Week: it's back

The L.A. Times looks at the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom top 10 most-challenged books of 2009

Public vs. Private Charity

Bonnie Kristian addresses a classic false premise.

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Q. Sometimes, when I have conversations with socialists (we call them “New Democrats” in Canada), I have no idea how to counter arguments like: But what do we do about the poor and marginalized? Cutting government spending only ensures that the poor and marginalized in society become more poor and marginalized. Then the elites can grab power and exploit the poor and marginalized. We need a balance, we need more government programs.

A. The “we must save the poor and marginalized one” is certainly a sympathetic one, I must admit.  However, it’s also based on a completely false premise:  that government helps the poor and marginalized.

In fact, I completed my honors thesis on this very subject of public vs. private charity, and I can tell you that the academic literature on the subject of private charity and comparable public programs is generally in agreement:  Private organizations are more efficient and/or effective in their work.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Artificial Crisis of Contention

David D'Amato points out the dangers of collusion while the MSM moans about "gridlock" and "partisan politics."

"Next time you hear a talking head lament the unwillingness of radicals to 'play ball,' consider what cooperation between agents of subjugation and theft really means."

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The truth, that Republicans and Democrats represent the same statist orthodoxy, is decidedly more mundane and doesn’t lend itself very readily to the kinds of linguistic overkill used by the mainstream news to present the nonissues of electoral politics. Rather than the hostility-mired war zone lambasted by authoritarians rhapsodizing over the virtues of political compromise, this country’s political process is a paragon of back room collusion, of the connivance between power elites.

And, for some reason, we’re meant to prefer this to the genuine, unaffected, ideological confrontation dreamt up by the mainstream, as if the established “debate” would suffer any idea that actually was fresh or in any way subversive. In the same way that America’s civic lore spuriously pits Big Business against Big Government where the two are actually quite friendly, there is systematic denial in this country about the basic nature of the two-party system. This clueless belief in meaningful inter-party antagonism occasions another, related error, that if opposing politicians could put aside their perceived bickering their collective sage wisdom would overbear any problem society might face, the state of course possessing the magic bullets that no nonviolent institution could.


T-Mobile Claims Right to Censor Text Messages

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

One Law for the Lion, One Law for the Lamb

Kevin Carson lays down the law.

More Jobs for Kids

Minimum wage laws are a subtle form of discrimination against youth and other disenfranchised workers.

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If lawmakers want to help kids find jobs, they would have more luck fixing the flaws in their current policies, not introducing new ones. The big culprit here: the minimum wage. Minimum wage laws kill jobs by making employing workers more expensive. Youth are especially vulnerable to this phenomenon because they, of all segments of the population, are most likely to work minimum wage jobs: the economics literature is quite clear on this point. Remove the minimum wage and you remove a substantial disincentive to hire young workers. New government interventions, like a make-work program for kids, would only be the latest in a long series of misguided, if well-intentioned, plans to help struggling workers.


Monday, September 20, 2010

How to Record the Cops

Radley Balko at provides the Hows and Whys plus the Dos and Do Nots of keeping cops honest.

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A guide to the technology for keeping government accountable

This summer the issue of recording on-duty police officers has
received a great deal of media attention. Camera-wielding citizens
were arrested in Maryland, Illinois, and Massachusetts under
interpretations of state wiretapping laws, while others were
arrested in New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon, Florida, and elsewhere
based on vaguer charges related to obstructing or interfering with
a police officer.

So far Massachusetts is the only state to explicitly uphold a
conviction for recording on-duty cops, and Illinois and
Massachusetts are the only states where it is clearly illegal. The
Illinois law has yet to be considered by the state's Supreme Court,
while the Massachusetts law has yet to be upheld by a federal
appeals court. Maryland Attorney General Douglas Gansler recently
issued an opinion concluding that arrests for recording cops are
based on a misreading of the state's wiretapping statute, but that
opinion isn't binding on local prosecutors.

In the remaining 47 states, the law is clearer: It is generally
legal to record the police, as long as you don't physically
interfere with them. You may be unfairly harassed, questioned, or
even arrested, but it's unlikely you will be charged, much less
convicted. (These are general observations and should not be
treated as legal advice.)

One reason this issue has heated up recently is that the
democratization of technology has made it easier than ever for just
about anyone to pull out a camera and quickly document an encounter
with police. So what's the best way to record cops? Here is a quick
rundown of the technology that's out there.


Friday, September 17, 2010

Developing Sofware for Activists

Entrepreneurs take note, it's a growth industry.

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Writing software to protect political activists against censorship and surveillance is a tricky business. If those activists are living under the kind of authoritarian regimes where a loss of privacy may lead to the loss of life or liberty, we need to tread especially cautiously.

This post isn't going to get into the debate about the social processes that gave Haystack the kind of attention and deployment that it received, before it had been properly reviewed and tested. Instead, we want to emphasize something else: it remains possible to write software that makes activists living under authoritarian regimes safer. But the developers, funders, and distributors of that software need to remember that it isn't easy, and need to go about it the right way.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Friday, September 10, 2010

No Place for Entrepreneurs in todays Economy

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Indeed, Obama believes fundamentally that the middle class owes its existence to the government, not to wealth-creating entrepreneurs or businesses. Without skipping a beat, the president fails to recognize (let alone acknowledge) the difference between a truly free market, where individuals decide how to invest their resources, and a government-directed one that sets collective priorities which require individuals to tow the line for specific policy objectives implicitly defined by the political class:   


Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Cisco@25, Cisco In 25 Video Contest

I'm betting on the "fire-hardened spear" to make a big comeback as the world degenerates into squabbling factions of religious zealots.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Remember Constitution Day Sept. 17th

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Over the past few years, college students have embraced Constitution Day as an opportunity to remind fellow students about their rights on campus. Liberty-minded student groups host creative and attention-grabbing Constitution Day events to kick off the new school year. You can catch 2010 FIRE intern Nico Perrino with his group's "guerrilla gorilla" here, or read about Florida Atlantic University's "food for freedom" exchange here.Read more at

Watching the Wheels Go Round and Round

Classically Liberal on the shift of power and the growing horde of "libertarians by default."

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The two extremes in modern politics are busy-body Democrats and busy-body Republicans. The Democrats are dominated by the Nanny Statists and the Republicans dominated by nasty Theocrats. Given those choices I too would like the Democrats more. The Democrats think I'm stupid and need them to care for me. That is pretty disgusting. But what really scares me is that Republicans think I'm sinful and need to be punished. While trying to stamp out stupidity is, well, stupid, trying to force people to be virtuous is downright dangerous.Read more at

Business Start-Ups Creating Jobs

Anthony Randazzo brings us the numbers on new business and job creation at the Reason Foundation "Out of Control Policy Blog."