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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Facelift: An $18 Million Government Website

This would be hilarious were it not so utterly pathetic. When it comes to government spending, there are absolute no restraints.
With the government running a $1.2 trillion deficit this fiscal year, $18 million is chump change. Taxpayers are the chumps. There are more stories like this than any news service can track...There is a federal website called It tracks the money that Obama’s stimulus spent: over $750 billion. The Administration redesigned this site. It will cost money to run it. How much money? $18 million. Now, that’s a stimulus!..I went to It ranks sites in terms of traffic. I typed in I learned that the site is ranked in the top 151,400 worldwide. It is ranked 65,500 in the USA. For comparison, Google is ranked #1. This site,, is ranked 83,200 worldwide and 15,500 in the USA. It has been online for about five months. It uses’s software, which is free. It uses a few plug-ins, which are free. This site and a dozen more like it are managed by one employee. He was an unpaid intern two months ago.
Read the rest here
The Tea Party Economist 

FDA Deletes 1 Million Signatures for GMO Labeling Campaign

There's been a big push in the US to get the FDA to label GMO foods; consumers may feel that they have a right to know precisely what they are eating but the government and Congress say NO, we don't have that right. In a display of utter arrogance, the FDA just erased from it's website a million signatures and comments on this issue.
While the Food and Drug Administration has seemingly reached the limit for unbelievable behavior, the agency’s decisions continue to astound and appall consumers and health activists alike. In the agency’s latest decision, undoubtedly amazing thousands of individuals yet again, the FDA virtually erased 1 million signatures and comments on the ‘Just Label It’ campaign calling for the labeling of genetically modified foods.
Read the rest here

Illinois Traffic Stop Of Star Trek Fans Raises Concerns About Drug Searches, Police Dogs, Bad Cops

Very disturbing story and video on how the cops abuse and harass citizens for no reason. Police State USA is definitely a reality that strikes with alarmingly frequency.
Last December, filmmaker Terrance Huff and his friend Jon Seaton were returning to Ohio after attending a "Star Trek" convention in St. Louis. As they passed through a small town in Illinois, a police officer, Michael Reichert, pulled Huff's red PT Cruiser over to the side of the road, allegedly for an unsafe lane change. Over the next hour, Reichert interrogated the two men, employing a variety of police tactics civil rights attorneys say were aimed at tricking them into giving up their Fourth Amendment rights. Reichert conducted a sweep of Huff's car with a K-9 dog, then searched Huff's car by hand. Ultimately, he sent Huff and Seaton on their way with a warning. Earlier this month, Huff posted to YouTube audio and video footage of the stop taken from Reichert's dashboard camera. No shots were fired in the incident. No one was beaten, arrested or even handcuffed. Reichert found no measurable amount of contraband in Huff's car. But Huff's 17-and-a-half minute video raises important questions about law enforcement and the criminal justice system, including the Fourth and Fifth Amendments, the drug war, profiling and why it's so difficult to take problematic cops out of the police force.
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The Huffington Post 

Conservation Refugees

As Agenda 21 gets globally implemented and as more and more land is decreed off limits to human activities (living, farming etc.), it's created a flood of conservation refugees, folks who became homeless and landless when they were evicted in the name of environmentalism.
Between 1900 and 1950 about 600 wilderness parks were created worldwide. 400 were added in the 1950s. Today there are 110,000 such parks. 12% of Earth’s land is now conservationist controlled. This is an area larger than Africa. This is an area equal to half of humanity’s farmland... The global tally of conservation refugees is somewhere between 5 and 20 million. Dowie estimates 10 million. One scholar estimates 14 million conservation refugees in Africa alone. The topic of conservation refugees has been assiduously neglected...
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Foods that Contain the Highest Amount of Pesticides

Ever wonder what fruits and vegetables are most likely to be doused in Dow Chemical and other undisclosed chemical pesticides, herbicides and fertilizer?
Much of the produce that is sold today in supermarkets is supplied from farmers who practice conventional farming methods. In other words, the produce has been grown using chemical fertilizers as well as pesticides and herbicides. Many scientific studies suggest that the effects of synthetic pesticides can be detrimental to our health; one study suggests that the consumption of pesticides may lead to ADHD in children; in some other cases, exposure can lead to many forms of cancers, infertility problems and birth defects.
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NDGOP’s National Delegate Selection Sparks Controversy At Convention

Ron Paul really got stiffed at the North Dakota GOP Convention that selected the delegates to the national convention. The results of the ND Caucus (straw poll) were as follows: Santorum 39.7%, Ron Paul 28.1%, Romney 23.7% and Gingrich 8.5%. So how did the delegates end up being divided at the ND State Convention? Romney got 60% of the delegates.  Ron Paul only got a few.
...on caucus night, Rick Santorum cleaned the state up by a significant margin with Ron Paul taking second and Mitt Romney taking third. But it didn’t seem that anyone remembered that when picking the state’s delegates, because I’m told that despite finishing third in statewide voting, Mitt Romney was allotted 60% of the delegates. Rick Santorum got the second most delegates, and Ron Paul was given just a couple. Not surprisingly, Santorum and Paul supporters aren’t happy..
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CIA Secret Prison: Polish Leaders Break Silence About Black Site

The U.S. may be certifiably insane but why do foreign nations continue to cooperate with the CIA and military? In many ways American couldn't possibly have grown into the menacing monster that we have become without the support and approval of other nations. The folks in foreign nations must rise up against their governments and demand that they and toss the U.S. military and CIA out of their nations.
For years, the notion that Poland could allow the CIA to operate a secret prison in a remote lake region was treated as a crackpot idea by the country's politicians, journalists and the public. A heated political debate this week reveals how dramatically the narrative has changed. In a string of revelations and political statements, Polish leaders have come closer than ever to acknowledging that the United States ran a secret interrogation facility for terror suspects in 2002 and 2003 in the Eastern European country. Some officials recall the fear that prevailed after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, and defend the tough stance that former U.S. President George W. Bush took against terrorists. But the debate is sometimes tinged with a hint of disappointment with Washington, as if Poland's young democracy had been led astray – ethically and legally – by the superpower that it counts as a key ally, and then left alone to deal with the fallout. Prime Minister Donald Tusk said Thursday that Poland has become the "political victim" of leaks from U.S. officials that brought to light aspects of the secret rendition program.
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The Huffington Post 

Martial Law in North America. Are you ready?

Some may perceive this to just be a misplaced "Tinfoil Tuesday" piece of paranoia but in case you haven't noticed, we are increasingly, (and almost covertly) becoming a police-state in the U.S. If you disagree, please be my guest to continue watching American Idol and being content with willful ignorance. Wes and I discussed on last night's episode, the influence of libertarian art and how we're steadily entering an Orwellian world of totalitarianism; but I don't believe we even foresaw how quickly this is occurring. Thoughtcriminals beware, a dystopia may be coming to a town near you.

On Monday, April 2, the leaders of the United States, Mexico, and Canada will meet at what is billed as the North American Leaders Summit. Here is the agenda, as posted on the website of the White House.

'On April 2, 2012, President Obama will host Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada and President Felipe Calderon of Mexico for the North American Leaders' Summit (NALS) in Washington, DC. This meeting will build on wide-ranging and ongoing cooperation among the United States, Canada, and Mexico with a particular focus on economic growth and competitiveness, citizen security, energy, and climate change. The leaders will also discuss North America's role in the Americas in anticipation of the Summit of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia later in April, as well as other global economic, political, and security issues.

Note: This summit is preliminary to a hemispheric summit to be held later in April. Note these words: citizen security, energy, and climate change. Allow me to translate: police state, rationing, and regulation.'

Read the rest here.

Drew Martin,
Blogger, THL

Afghan al-Qaeda 'plotting' another 9/11?

Fear is the mothers milk of government because keeping folks in a state of perpetual fear is strategy that works and compels folks to sacrifice their liberty. When folks start to recognize that they've been duped, government will just launch another false flag attack to reignite the fear that causes folks to go begging to the government "protect me, I'll submit to whatever you want".
The UK Telegraph is reporting that "Al-Qaeda fighters have returned to Afghanistan and will use the country as a base to launch September 11-style attacks on Western cities." This gem has been launched – like a lead balloon – by the American ambassador to Kabul, Ryan Crocker. The Afghan war is simply not going well for the US and NATO and the rhetoric seems increasingly self-serving. The idea, apparently, at the State Department is that support for the war can be increased by reminding Americans they're at risk. But after a decade of war and a trillion dollars in military expenditures, weariness has set in. This is a dominant social theme of sorts, in my view, a fear-based promotion. The power elite that apparently wants to run the world has long regarded Afghanistan as an important piece of the puzzle. The idea is to frighten the American public into regarding the war, even after all this time, as absolutely necessary to the "safety" of the US regime and its citizens at home and abroad. In reality, the elites seek to pacify "the navel of the world" – people and places that have rarely come under the full control of outside forces or alien invaders. But if one wants global government, every part of the planet must be pacified. Afghanistan is at the top of the list. It has been for a century. Yes, Western elites have been at war with the Pashtuns that straddle Afghanistan and Pakistan for well over 100 years now – though Afghanistan is still not pacified. In part this is because of an alliance between the Pashtuns and the Punjabis who run Pakistan.
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The Daily Bell 

Electric rates will soar now that Obama's EPA has crushed coal-fired power plants

Is the U.S. government attempting to blast America back to the Stone Age?
With the country focused on this week’s high drama at the Supreme Court, President Obama’s EPA quietly released long-delayed regulations to apply global warming rules never authorized by Congress to new coal-fired power plants. That Obama’s EPA would release a rule to destroy coal-fired electricity while the president gives stump speeches about an “all of the above” energy policy is an insult to the American people. This rule will effectively block any new coal-fired power plants from being built in America, and a second round of related rules – expected after the election, of course – will shut down existing coal-fired power plants. The result will be steeply higher electricity prices, lost jobs, and lower standards of living. Remarkably, this is all done in the name of global warming, but even EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson admits it will have no discernible impact on global temperatures. Obama’s EPA is crippling the U.S. economy not to accomplish anything, but just to enjoy a nice, warm, green feeling of self-satisfaction.
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Fox News 

Geithner Wants to Get Rid of Physical Currency (Better Tracking)

The emerging underground economy is a survival ticket that enables folks to operate independent of the government and avoid its plundering noose. The government understands this and seeks to abolish all currency and make every possible transaction traceable.
Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, wants to get rid of paper money. He says it’s part of a cost-cutting measure. Nonsense. It’s part of the government’s attempt to track our purchases. Its a plan to get rid of the underground economy, where people buy what they want, sell what they want, and leave no digital trail. The government cannot control the cash markets. It wants to tax them. But paper money resists taxation.
Read the rest here
The Tea Party Economist 

Climate-change scepticism must be 'treated', says enviro-sociologist

WOW! Reject globaloney and stand accused of being mentally ill - in fact, so mentally ill that such a sickness is the equivalent of promoting racism and slavery.
Scepticism regarding the need for immediate and massive action against carbon emissions is a sickness of societies and individuals which needs to be "treated", according to an Oregon-based professor of "sociology and environmental studies". Professor Kari Norgaard compares the struggle against climate scepticism to that against racism and slavery in the US South.
Read the rest here
The Register 

GOP feud: Santorum and Paul supporters team up to scuttle Romney

As the irrelevant primary beauty contests continue, the real battle for delegates begins. Everybody will be cutting deals to weaken their opponents. Keeping front runner Romney from getting closer to 1144 is the goal.
Mitt Romney won the straw poll at Washington’s precinct caucuses March 3, but the fight over who will claim the state’s 43 delegates to the Republican national convention is ongoing. The latest twist: Rick Santorum’s campaign is teaming up with Ron Paul supporters in an effort to deny Romney delegates, apparently at the direction of Santorum himself. The strategy has alarmed some top GOP officials who fear it will crack party unity and lead to a nasty scene at the state convention in a couple months. It has also angered some grassroots Santorum supporters. In an email to Santorum supporters Thursday, state volunteer coordinator Graden Neal laid out the plan: “Last night, the Washington State Rick Santorum leadership had a conference call with a special guest, the Senator himself. We were surprised and honored that Rick Santorum himself came on our call to help give us direction. And the Senator didn’t mince words. In order for us to win the nomination in Tampa in August, we must deny Romney delegates to that convention. If the frontrunner, Romney receives 1,144 delegates before the national convention, it is all over for our campaign. That is the reason why the Senator himself directed us to coalition with the Ron Paul delegates to deny Romney any state delegates.”
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Rand Paul Names Corporate Welfare Names from the Senate Floor

Rand Paul fighting corporate welfare!
“So I would say we have to ask some questions. Should we be dispensing loans based on political favoritism? Should it matter if you’re a big contributor to the President? Should that matter getting a loan? Now I think that ought to be illegal, if it’s not immoral, it ought to be—it is immoral, it ought to be illegal.” – Rand Paul
Read the rest here 

Friday, March 30, 2012

The Economics of the War on Terror

Since 9/11 the cost of the War on Terror has been estimated at $4 trillion by one blogger analyst.
The cost of the global war on terror since the attacks of 9/11? Almost $4 trillion. That’s almost half of what the U.S. has added in debt since 2001...The chronic exaggeration of U.S. national security threats also extends to the security of individual Americans. Since 9/11, a total of 238 American citizens have died from terrorist attacks, or an average of 29 per year. To put that in some perspective, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, the average American is as likely to be crushed to death by televisions or furniture as they are to be killed by a terrorist. A recent study from Duke University found that, since 9/11, eleven Muslim Americans were involved in active terrorist plots in the United States, which killed thirty-three Americans. Over that same time period, there have been nearly 150,000 murders and over 300,000 suicides....o should we declare war on people being crushed to death by televisions and furniture? Most tellingly, from 1980 to 2005 only 6% of all terrorist events in the U.S. was Islamist in nature.
Read the rest here

Italian pharmacists threaten Viagra strike

Hilarious. Europe is swimming with powerful public sector unions. In Italy the government is attempting a privatization reform in the healthcare industry by allowing the licensing of 5,000 new private sector pharmacies. But the public sector pharmacists are screaming, they don't want competition so they are going to withhold Viagra in a nation where the drug is very popular.
Hospital pharmacists are threatening to cut Italians off from their Viagra unless the government amends its plans to reform professions that have high entry barriers...One group protested Thursday outside Parliament under the banner "No Viagra, No Party."...Hospital pharmacists, part of Italy's public health care system, say Premier Mario Monti's economic liberalization plan is unfair because it gives private pharmacists preference for new licenses. The reform calls for opening 5,000 new pharmacies.
Read the rest here
CBC News 

Vaccines And Autism: The Secret That You Are Not Supposed To Know

The government routinely interferes with our right to control our own bodies. The forced vaccination of babies/children has resulted in a dramatic rise in autism and in some state it's the law that children cannot attend school without proof of various vaccinations.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children in the United States with autism has risen by 78 percent over the past decade. It is now estimated that 1 out of every 88 children in the United States has some form of autism disorder. Our schools are absolutely packed with "special needs" children and millions of parents are desperately trying to figure out why so many kids are having such severe developmental problems. Strangely, most autistic children start out perfectly normal. Most of them develop just fine for the first year or two and then something dramatic happens. So what could that possibly be? Well, there is a secret that you are not supposed to know. That secret is that vaccines are one of the primary causes of autism. As the number of vaccines being administered to our children has risen, so has the percentage of our children with autism. Today, in some areas of the United States more than 30 vaccines are being given to young children before the age of 3.
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The American Dream 

New York police officers defy order to cut marijuana arrests

New York City is suffering from a string of embarrassments including NYPD's "Stop and Frisk" policy that is resulting in drug charges against folks who were searched without a warrant or probable cause and arrested for possession of extremely limited quantities of illegal drugs. A lawsuit has been filed accusing NYPD of discrimination against black and brown people who suffer the brunt of "Stop and Frisk" searches. NYPD is even hauling its victims back to the precinct for humiliating and degrading strip searches.
Survey shows nearly half of people charged with marijuana posession were not displaying the drug when they were stopped. Police officers in New York are “manufacturing” criminal offenses by forcing people with small amounts of marijuana to reveal their drugs, according to a survey by public defenders. Nearly half of New Yorkers picked up for small amounts of marijuana possession in recent months were not displaying the drug before they were stopped, the study shows, despite an order by New York police chief Ray Kelly that officers should not charge people in such circumstances. The revelations will fuel criticisms of the NYPD’s controversial “stop and frisk” policy, which opponents say is criminalising a generation of young people from ethnic minorities and leading to tensions between police and the public...In all, about 50,000 people were arrested in 2011 for marijuana possession; some 30,000 of these came after police stops....Darnell, who lives in the South Bronx who and requested his last name not be used, was stopped by the NYPD as he was crossing 170th and Valentine streets last October. He said two officers patted him down but stopped short of searching him in public. Instead, they took Darnell back to the precinct and asked him to remove his pants and underwear. “They went through everything, and finally found about $20 of marijuana in my hat,” Darnell said. “They didn’t give me no reason for stopping me in the first place.” Darnell was held for 12 hours...
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The Raw Story 

Will Rick Santorum Win 20 States?

Rick Santorum aka Frothy aka Sanitorium the Sanctimonious continues to make a spash even if it isn't likely that he can win the GOP nomination. If anything, his success show the considerable power of the so-called theocon-neocon faction within the GOP. Santorum is cleaning up with religious conservatives, has won the South and parts of the Mid-west and he's got more victories ahead. Of course, this doesn't bode well for the liberty activists within the party as Santorum's professed preference for immense government powers, statism and aggressive foreign interventionism directly conflict with the Constitution and limited federal powers.
If he remains in the race, Santorum will end up with the third or fourth most states ever won by a failed presidential candidate.Santorum has already won 11 state contests (counting the Missouri primary), and is poised to win many more should he stay in the race over the next 2+ months. In fact, Santorum's primary and caucus victory tally may end up shy of only two or three other candidates in history who failed to win their party's nomination.,,,If Santorum remains in the race through June, he is in a strong position to receive the most votes in the following eight states: Pennsylvania (April 22), North Carolina and West Virginia (May 8), Nebraska (May 15), Arkansas and Kentucky (May 22), Texas (May 29), and South Dakota (June 5). That would bring Santorum's tally to 19 states...
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Smart Politics 

The Limitless Potential of the E-Cat: An Interview with Andrea Rossi

Is there really such a thing as emerging technology for a viable and cost effective alternative energy source to replace fossil fuels?
Resource depletion, climate change and rising oil prices have led to large investments in renewable energy and new fossil fuel extraction techniques. However despite the positive headlines on solar, wind, and shale, all of these sectors are beset with problems that add to our uncertain energy future. We appear to be decades away from finding a renewable source that will help us avoid the impending energy crisis. Yet amongst this bleak outlook a relatively unknown Italian inventor could be about to spark an energy revolution? Andrea Rossi appears to have produced the first working “cold” fusion device, or low energy nuclear reaction (LENR), with his Energy Catalyser (E-Cat) machine; a technology previously declared impossible by the scientific community. The E-Cat machine could provide almost limitless, clean, cheap energy and could prove to be one of the greatest inventions of all time. Rossi could become one of the most revolutionary scientists since Darwin.
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What's going on with shale natural gas? Derived from a controversial process known as fracking, it's 4 time more expensive to produce.
Well this boom didn’t take long to go boom. The politicians and mega-corp CEOs like Aubrey McClendon promised riches and hundreds of thousands of jobs for the poor people in rural Pennsylvania. We didn’t need to tax them or put any safety regulations on their fracking. Natural gas is selling for $2.17 per MMBtu this morning. It costs approximately $8 per MMBtu to extract shale gas through fracking. Hmm. What do you think is going to happen? How about bankruptcies, writeoffs, massive losses, no new jobs, no new riches, and contaminated pools of fracking solution left behind for the fine people of rural PA...The “Penn State Report” as it came to be known, established the gas industry’s compact with the state. It created a shell within which the industry would not be taxed heavily and not taxed at all on the gas it extracted. In return, the state was promised taxes, jobs, and economic development from the “multiplier effect” of the drilling activity and from the expected investment by leaseholder’s bonuses and royalties. Except for state leases on forest land, no income would come directly from gas production. Essentially, the state was persuaded to give up a finite commonwealth asset, worth hundreds of billions of dollars, in return for unsubstantiated promises of jobs and taxes from drilling service industries. Only a small portion of the promised “multiplier” benefits have materialized.
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The Burning Platform 

Why The Mega Millions Jackpot Is Nothing But Another Tax On America's Poor

Interesting viewpoint - lotteries are nothing more than a tax on the poor. At least the 'lotto tax' is a  voluntary tax.
Now that the Mega Millions Jackpot has just hit a record $640 million, people, mostly those in the lower and middle classes, are coming out in droves and buying lottery tickets with hopes of striking it rich. After all, with $640 million one can even afford a few shares of Apple stock. Naturally, we wish the lucky winner all the (non-diluted) best. There is, however, a small problem here when one steps back from the Sino Forest trees. As ConvergEx' Nicholas Colas explains, "Lotteries essentially target and encourage lower-income individuals into a cycle that directly prevents them from improving their financial status and leverages their desire to escape poverty. Yes, that’s a bit harsh, and yes, people have the right to make their own decisions. Even bad ones...Lower-income demographics spend a much greater portion of their annual earnings on lottery tickets than do wealthier ones. Since lotteries are state-run, that effectively means that the less affluent pay more in taxes (albeit by choice) than broadly appreciated. And even winning the lottery doesn’t guarantee financial success. More than 5% of lottery winners declare bankruptcy within 5 years of taking home the jackpot.

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Zero Hedge 

Twitter Trouble

At least Spike Lee felt bad about his hothead Zimmerman tweet that threatened the safety of an elderly couple and he has agreed to a financial settlement.
An elderly couple has reached a settlement with Spike Lee after the pair said they had to leave their Florida home after the director help spread a Twitter posting listing their address as that of the man who shot an unarmed teen. ... “He was really kind,” Elaine McClain said. “And when he called us, you could just tell he really felt bad about it. And it was just a slip, and I just know that he really, really has been concerned.” Sounds like that ended reasonably well. All I have to say about it is that Twitter is a dangerous thing. It’s so easy to fire off things in the heat of the moment that you will later come to regret in a big way. Blogging is risky for the same reason (this I know!), but boy, Twitter is toxic for hotheads...
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The American Conservative 

Obama: Global oil supply OK to move on sanctions on Iran; pressure on US allies to respond

Sanctions are evil and only hurt the people living in the sanctioned nation by depriving them of necessary goods, medicines and the essentials of life. Sanctions kill. But the worst of Obama's policy is his commitment to sanction other nations who refuse to sanction Iran. The US doesn't care if global oil prices soar; heck, Obama's transportation czar said he wanted folks out of their cars and forced into public transportation. In any event, sanctioning our allies as well as the enemy du jure constitutes aggression on steroids and the ultimate in bullying.
President Barack Obama said Friday he was plowing ahead with potential sanctions against countries that keep buying oil from Iran, including allies of the United States.. administration officials said that Obama is ready to slap sanctions on U.S. partners and that his action on Friday was another signal.
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The Washington Post 

Noninterventionism: Cornerstone of a Free Society

The relationship between war and liberty may never be put more succinctly than Randolph Bourne's timeless quote, "War is the health of the state." For anyone concerned with the preservation of individual liberty, the state must always be viewed as a mortal enemy. As Mises put it, "government is the negation of liberty." What too many fail to understand however, particularly on the right is that war is not merely an aberration of government, it is the culmination of its very ethos: violent aggression. As it is the health of the state, it is likewise the eventual death of a free society. Should we choose to ignore this, we do so at our own peril.

A free society is impossible under an empire. Even the most just war you can imagine is a disaster for liberty and prosperity, as Ludwig von Mises pointed out. An unjust war amounts to murder, mayhem, and mass destruction. And a perpetual state of war guarantees that liberty will never be achieved. James Madison said it very well:

'Of all the enemies to public liberty war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded, because it comprises and develops the germ of every other. War is the parent of armies; from these proceed debts and taxes; and armies, and debts, and taxes are the known instruments for bringing the many under the domination of the few. In war, too, the discretionary power of the Executive is extended; its influence in dealing out offices, honors, and emoluments is multiplied; and all the means of seducing the minds, are added to those of subduing the force, of the people. [There is also an] inequality of fortunes, and the opportunities of fraud, growing out of a state of war, and ... degeneracy of manners and of morals.... No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.'

Read the rest here.

Drew Martin,
Blogger, THL

Why Obamacare will End Health Insurance as We Know It

Obamacare is two things 1. it's a whopper of a new tax and 2. it's a backdoor single payer system designed to force everyone into government healthcare by abolishing private health care.
President Barack Obama’s signature health-care legislation, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), was sold to the public with the explicit promise that “if you like your health plan, you can keep your health plan.” ...These promises were not made lightly. Their chief function was to defuse the public opposition that had sunk the previous attempt at comprehensive health reform during the Clinton administration...Despite the president’s promise that “you can keep your own insurance,” key PPACA provisions are calculated to undermine the long-term viability of the private insurance market, by making existing coverage unaffordable or unavailable at any price. Indeed, while individuals may technically be allowed to keep their plans, that protection exists in name only.
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Manhattan Institute for Policy Research 

Geithner Wants to Throw Still More Taxpayer Dollars Down the Fannie & Freddie Toilet

What's really happening here is a bailout of bondholders. If folks don't pay their mortgages, they default, the bondholders can't get paid and might sue for fraud. Many if not most of mortgage backed securities sold were loaded with junk loans (walking defaults) despite having AAA ratings that elevate a security to nearly risk-free.
Not satisfied with wasting close to $200 billion of taxpayer dollars bailing out holders of Fannie and Freddie Bonds (notably PIMCO and China), Geithner is back at it with another proposal sure to cost US taxpayers plenty if adopted. The proposal this time is for taxpayers to pick up 63% of the cost of mortgage principal reductions.
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Mish's Global Economic Trend Analysis 

John McCain Is Furious That He Can't Lock Up Americans Under The NDAA

NDAA is a civil liberties night and while Obama issued a directive saying that it wouldn't apply to Americans, that hardly negates the draconian aspects of the law which can be enforced so long as it exists.
Late last year Senate Armed Services Chairman senior member John McCain (R.-Ariz.) and Carl Levin (D-Mich) crafted a National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) addendum that outraged Americans and put the president on the spot. The bill, in part, called for allowing the indefinite detention of Americans with no due process whatsoever. After Obama capitulated and signed the bill into law January 1, we identified the additions everyone was freaking out about: Section 1021 of the NDAA allows the U.S. military to indefinitely detain, without due process, any person engaged in "hostilities against the United States or its coalition partners ... without trial until the end of hostilities." Section 1022 expressly states that the military will imprison anyone who is a member of al-Qaeda or "an associated force" that acts like al-Qaeda; and anyone who planned or carried out an attack, or attempted attack, against the U.S. Section 1022 continues that detaining American citizens is not required. "UNITED STATES CITIZENS — The requirement to detain a person in military custody under this section does not extend to citizens of the United States." The bottom line being that the government could have imprisoned anyone suspected of, or even associated with, terrorism. But on February 28, Obama issued a Presidential Directive announcing section 1022 would not apply to Americans. This power was apparently much anticipated by Senator McCain because he's now doing everything in his power to get the legislation enforced, including tying up defense appointments made by the president.
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Business Insider 

Another $17 trillion surprise found in Obamacare

Surprise, surprise! All that 'free' healthcare won't be so free after all. In fact, it will be very expensive and come with a whopper of a tax increase.  Oddly, the Republicans are finally reading a bill that they supported and attempted to pass in the 1990's.
Senate Republican staffers continue to look though the 2010 health care reform law to see what’s in it, and their latest discovery is a massive $17 trillion funding gap. “The more we learn about the bill, the more we learn it is even more unaffordable than was suspected,” said Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Republican’s budget chief in the Senate. “The bill has to be removed from the books because we don’t have the money,” he said. The hidden shortfall between new spending and new taxes was revealed just after Supreme Court justices grilled the law’s supporters about its compliance with the Constitution’s limits on government activity. If the court doesn’t strike down the law, it will force taxpayers find another $17 trillion to pay for the increased spending. The $17 trillion in extra promises was revealed by an analysis of the law’s long-term requirements. The additional obligations, when combined with existing Medicare and Medicaid funding shortfalls, leaves taxpayers on the hook for an extra $82 trillion in health care obligations over the next 75 years.
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The Daily Caller 

Biden: "We Want To Create A Global Minimum Tax"

Biden calls for a global minimum tax. Governments oppose tax competition because it greatly benefits low tax nations who aren't spending themselves into bankruptcy. Biden's logic is deeply flawed. Yes, capital is parking its butt in low tax nations but that's because the US has embarked on a policy to chase capital offshore. Congress has literally legislated low tax treatment for corporations who earn their profits offshore while taxing profits earned on US soil at higher rates. This has not only been going on for decades, it has resulted in decimating domestic manufacturing. Capital flows according to the laws of financial gravity and will always seek the most capital friendly abodes.
"For years, American manufacturers have faced one of the highest tax rates in the world. We want to reduce that by over 20%. We want to drop the rate, particularly, for high-tech manufacturers like you, Mr. President, even further than the 20%," Vice President Joe Biden said at a manufacturing plant in Davenport, Iowa this week. "We want to create (what's called) a global minimum tax, because American taxpayers shouldn't be providing a larger subsidy for investing abroad than investing at home," Biden said at a campaign event.
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Real Clear Politics 


Are the Dems attempting to fire up more violence in the streets? The Congress Critter who wore a hoodie on the floor of the House of Representatives and was praised by Pelosi for his courage appears to have inspired violence in his own district.
Former Black Panther Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) made quite a fuss when he donned a "hoodie" during a speech in the U.S. House of Representatives until he was escorted out. At the time, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) "applauded his courage" for doing so. Meanwhile, back home in Rush's district, two men wearing hooded sweatshirts, or "hoodies," were the shooters in an incident that left one dead and five injured. In fact, during a span of six-hours Thursday night, 13 people were shot, leaving two dead in Chicago. It would seem it takes more courage to simply walk down the street in Rush's district than it does to wear a hooded sweatshirt in the House of Representatives by way of a stunt in a bizarre tribute to a young man shot and killed in Florida during a shooting incident still under investigation. 13 shot, 2 dead in Chicago in six hours Thursday night The worst shooting occurred around 6 p.m. Thursday when two men in hooded sweatshirts opened fire inside a convenience store in the 1400 block of West 79th Street in the Gresham neighborhood, police said.
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The US Government War on Cash (And the Bankster Profits Behind It)

A War on Cash?
Under cover of its multiplicity of fabricated wars on drugs, terror, tax evasion, and organized crime, the US government has long been waging a hidden war on cash. One symptom of the war is that the largest denomination of US currency is the $100 note, whose ever-eroding purchasing power is far below the purchasing power of the €500 note. US currency used to be issued in denominations running up to $10,000 (including also $500; $1,000; $5,000 notes). There was even a $100,000 note issued for transactions among Federal Reserve banks. The United States stopped printing large denomination notes in 1945 and officially discontinued their issuance in 1969, when the Fed began removing them from circulation. Since then the largest currency note available to the general public has a face value of $100. But since 1969, the inflationary monetary policy of the Fed has caused the US dollar to depreciate by over 80 percent, so that a $100 note in 2010 possessed a purchasing power of only $16.83 in 1969 dollars. That is less purchasing power than a $20 bill in 1969. Despite this enormous depreciation, the Federal Reserve has steadfastly refused to issue notes of larger denomination. This has made large cash transactions extremely inconvenient and has forced the American public to make much greater use than is optimal of electronic-payment methods. Of course, this is precisely the intent of the US government. The purpose of its ongoing breach of long-established laws regarding financial privacy is to make it easier to monitor the economic affairs and abrogate the financial privacy of its citizens, ostensibly to secure their safety from Colombian drug lords, Al Qaeda operatives, and tax cheats and other nefarious white-collar criminals. Now the war on cash has begun to spread to other countries.
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Economic Policy Journal 

Young and Restless, After voting for “hope” and “change” in 2008, many young people are disillusioned with President Obama.

The Man of Hope and Change failed to deliver. Obama is no different than Bush - just another wholly owned subsidiary of the military industrial complex, banksters and corporatist special interests.
When you look back at Barack Obama’s 7-point victory over John McCain in 2008, think of a four-legged stool. Obama needed each leg to support his candidacy. One leg was independent voters (29 percent of the vote); they chose Obama over McCain by 8 percentage points, 52 percent to 44 percent. The second leg was young voters, ages 18-29 (18 percent of vote); they broke for Obama by 34 percentage points, 66 percent to 32 percent. The third leg was Latinos (9 percent); they favored Obama by 36 points, 67 percent to 31 percent. And, finally, African-Americans (18 percent) backed Obama by 91 percentage points, 95 percent to 4 percent....Let’s focus for now on just one leg of the stool, the young voters. Visit any college campus today, and you are likely to sense a lack of passion and energy for Obama. It’s far from clear that he can reproduce the unusually strong turnout among younger voters that he sparked in 2008 or match the 66 percent performance level he achieved then. The data back up the doubts.
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National Journal 

Republicans retreat on gay marriage

While the Republican base demands a constitutional amendment defining marriage as a union between one man and one woman, the probability of passing such legislation is about zero. The probability that such an amendment would be ratified by 75% of the states is even more remote. It's just not going to happen, not now and not ever. Government at all levels just needs to get out of the marriage business and marriage should be nothing more than a private contract between consenting adults because natural rights include freedom of association and the right to contract.
Just a few years ago, House Republicans were trying to etch their opposition of gay marriage into the Constitution. Now? They’re almost silent. It’s been one of the swiftest shifts in ideology and strategy for Republicans, as they’ve come nearly full circle on same-sex politics. What was once a front-and-center issue for rank-and-file Republicans — the subject of many hotly worded House and Senate floor speeches — is virtually a dead issue, as Republicans in Congress don’t care to have gay marriage litigated in the Capitol. Even more than that, Republican leadership has evolved, too. It has quietly worked behind the scenes to kill amendments that reaffirm opposition to same-sex unions, several sources told POLITICO.
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"The Intersection of Art and Liberty" / Interview with Pasha Roberts -Today on the Wes Messamore Radio Show (Streaming Live Mar 30)

In this seventh full episode of the back-from-the-dead Wes Messamore show, Wes Messamore and Drew Martin interview Pasha Roberts, a libertarian with a degree from MIT in financial engineering and a passion for animation. In addition to discussing the intersection of art and liberty, Wes and Drew will be interviewing Pasha about his upcoming 3D animated thriller romance movie: Silver Circle.

Show runs from 5 - 7pm Central today (Friday, March 30), streaming live to your computer! Visit this page to tune in or to catch the archived podcast afterward if you miss the live show. We will be taking your calls! Call in number is: (646) 716-4214.

If you missed Wednesday's incredible and inspiring interview with Judy Morris, you can listen to the archived podcast of it here!

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Justices meet Friday to vote on health care case

The Divine Nine will meet today to start the decision making process that will decide the fate of Obamacare.
While the rest of us have to wait until June, the justices of the Supreme Court will know the likely outcome of the historic health care case by the time they go home this weekend. After months of anticipation, thousands of pages of briefs and more than six hours of arguments, the justices will vote on the fate of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul in under an hour Friday morning. They will meet in a wood-paneled conference room on the court's main floor. No one else will be present. In the weeks after this meeting, individual votes can change. Even who wins can change, as the justices read each other's draft opinions and dissents. But Friday's vote, which each justice probably will record and many will keep for posterity, will be followed soon after by the assignment of a single justice to write a majority opinion, or in a case this complex, perhaps two or more justices to tackle different issues. That's where the hard work begins, with the clock ticking toward the end of the court's work in early summer.
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My Way News 

We’re No. 1: In highest corporate taxes

To reboot the economy American needs to abolish the corporate tax. Besides, there is no such thing as a corporate tax and a corporate tax is just an indirect consumer tax that drives up the cost of goods and services.
Come Sunday, America finally has something to crow about in its economic war with China and Japan: It will have the highest jobs-killing corporate tax rate in the industrialized world. No, it’s not an April Fool’s joke. When Japan officially slashes its rate to 36.8 percent Sunday, America’s will be tops at 39.2 percent. President Obama has proposed a rate of 28 percent, but Republicans charge that it comes with $350 billion in new, off-setting taxes. The GOP is pushing for a cut to 25 percent, but the election year is getting in the way of any deal. The Business Roundtable has been pushing for a clean cut in corporate tax rates, claiming it would spur job growth and industrial reinvestment. They even cite a recent move by England to cut their tax rates from 28 percent to 22 percent, which officials called “an advertisement for investment and jobs in Britain.”
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Holy...! Did Rick Santorum Almost Call Obama The N Word? Watch the Video

Watch the video below and comment in the threads to say whether you think Santorum almost said the N word and then quickly caught himself. Honestly, I think it's just a really, really funny coincidence as he stumbled over his words:

Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
Articles | Author's Page

Peter Schiff: The REAL Crash is Coming Around 2013

You would think Americans would have learned to heed Peter Schiff's advice at this point. After his staggering and controversial, (but accurate) predictions regarding the housing bubble, why would anyone ignore what this guy has to say? The opinion molders in D.C. may still balk at his warnings, but I think the increasing police-state and government intervention in the marketplace makes it clear the establishment is well aware of what is coming.

Peter Schiff, the divisive investor and commentator that predicted the subprime/real-estate bubble, is forecasting a U.S. dollar and bond crisis over the next couple of years. Schiff blames intervened bond markets, where rates are artificially and excessively low, and expects the coming crisis to blow the 2008-9 financial crisis out of the water.

There is little doubt that the Federal Reserve, with Chairman Ben Bernanke at the helm, is holding markets by the hand. Bernanke, himself a divisive figure, has done all he can to push interest rates lower, using quantitative easing and Operation Twist once nominal rates had hit the zero-range. While many believe ultra-loose monetary policy is dangerous, Schiff thinks it will lead to a catastrophic correction.

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Drew Martin,
Blogger, THL

Marco Rubio for VP?

By: Carl Wicklander

“This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Thus spoke President Obama to outgoing Russian president Dimitri Medvedev near a hot mic.

Predictably, all the usual suspects have struck a feigned, outraged pose when they overheard that a politician planned to do something political.

The last Republican presidential candidate compared Putin’s Russia to the Soviet Union of Lenin and Stalin. The probable Republican presidential nominee regarded Russia as America’s #1 geopolitical foe. And Newt Gingrich classified Obama himself as “destructive of American interests.”

But the hot mic incident was the unlikely spring board for a highly coveted endorsement. Yet it also tells us a lot about the endorser.

Freshman Florida senator Marco Rubio has played his cards close to the vest throughout the primary process. When it came time for Florida’s primary on January 31, there had been three contests and three different winners. Rubio’s endorsement would have meant something. But now that it appears the only way to deprive Romney of the nomination is through a floor fight Rubio has come to Romney’s side, and as fellow Tea Partier Mike Lee put it with his own recent endorsement of Romney, it was time “to start getting behind our eventual nominee.”

Rubio has been the fashionable choice for VP for some time. And as someone who has already been a national figure for over two years, it seems like he’s been prepared and preparing for this.

In 2009 National Review placed the former Florida speaker of the House on its cover with the caption “Yes He Can” and Rubio gave a lengthy interview to NRO the sum of which suggested that the would-be insurgent candidate was not likely to question party orthodoxy. And even before Rubio officially won his primary he was the keynote speaker at the 2010 CPAC. Was it a little odd that someone who had only been a state legislator was granted such a prominent speaking role unless the GOP saw him as a potential national figure? Does that not sound a little, although not exactly like the way another state legislator was introduced to the country in say, 2004?

Rubio has the potential to be in 2012 what Sarah Palin was in 2008 when Republicans were likewise destined to be stuck with a nominee they didn’t really want: an energizing figure whose red meat rhetoric is designed to make the base forget why the presidential nominee is so uninspiringly awful.

I’ve suggested for awhile that Rubio was the likely VP nominee because he fulfills most of the criteria Republicans are looking for. He talks conservative, has establishment support, hails from a swing state, never saw a potential intervention he didn’t like, and he is Hispanic.

None of this is to suggest that Rubio is the right person for VP. Republicans always overestimate the appeal their showcased minorities bring. And when Republicans promote minorities as they did with Sarah Palin for VP or Michael Steele as RNC Chairman, it’s so transparently obvious what they are doing that it backfires.

But Rubio’s use of Obama’s hot mic incident as the opening to throw his weight behind the front-runner tells us what he considers important in his endorsement. Telling the Daily Caller, Rubio said:

“It’s been weighing on my mind all week.”

“I’ve never thought about this as a political calculation. I’m just sitting back here and watching a president that just got back from overseas — where he told the Russian president to work with him and give him space so he can be more flexible if he gets re-elected.

“We have to win this election in November. We have to! If we don’t win this election in November — and we get four more years of Barack Obama — I don’t know what that means … But I know it ain’t good.”

And if there was any doubt whether he’s the man to tell conservatives that Romney is one of them:

"I have zero doubt in my mind of two things. No. 1 that Mitt Romney will govern as a conservative, and No. 2, that he will be head and shoulders better than the guy who is in the White House right now.'' [emphasis mine—CW]

In his short time in the senate, Rubio hasn’t made much of a mark except in trying to position himself as a successor to the McCain-Liebermann-Graham bipartisan axis of uberinterventionists. Not only did Rubio loudly support the Libyan intervention but he banged the drum to ultimately intervene in Syria, an intervention thwarted in the UN with Russia’s veto. Perhaps most startling was late last year when Rubio called for a unanimous voice vote, without debate, on a non-binding resolution to accept Russia’s neighbor Georgia into NATO.

The plan failed, thanks in small part to Rand Paul, but it highlights what Rubio considers his job in the senate: spokesman for every proposed intervention.

It should come as no surprise though. A close examination of the neophyte’s 2010 CPAC speech shows that Rubio dedicated much of it to aping standard-fare intervention rhetoric. There was nothing particular deep to it nor was there any indication he had thought about it beyond neocon boilerplate.

For a party that refuses to come to terms with the Bush years, Marco Rubio is just the high they are looking for to avoid reality.

Carl Wicklander,
Regular Columnist, THL
Articles Author's Page Website

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Obama Holds Large Lead Over Romney

The GOP is going to get so crushed in the general election if anybody but Ron Paul is the nominee. I'm so looking forward to it!
A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds President Obama with a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney, 54% to 43%. Said pollster Keating Holland: "President Obama currently wins majority support among groups that have been problematic for him in the past, including men, older voters, and suburbanites. He has a solid lead among independents as well." Obama's approval rating has also inched over the 50% mark for the first time since last May...
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Political Wire 

Adelson Isn't Writing More Checks for Gingrich

Gingrich, who remains a legend in his own mind, is at the end of his campaign rope. His casino benefactor who gave him $15 million has cut him off. Still, Gingrich vows to remain in the race.
Sheldon Adelson, who with his wife has given more than $15 million to Newt Gingrich's Super PAC, said he believes Gingrich is "at the end of his line" regarding the race for the Republican presidential nomination, Jewish Journal reports. Adelson also predicted it's unlikely Gingrich will become a vice presidential candidate.
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Political Wire 

The cabbie who is driving for liberty

How government, corporatism, perpetual patronage and rent seeking deprives folks of their right to earn a living. It's also a war on entrepreneurship which destroys competition and drives up the cost of everything. This amazing but not so shocking story might have a happy ending but the victim must win a court case recognizing his constitutional right to economic liberty.
Ali Bokhari, now 39, emigrated from Pakistan in 2000 and eventually settled here as a taxi driver. He soon experienced a quintessentially American itch, a nagging sense that “I cannot grow.” But he had an idea: “I can build a better business model for something Nashville has been missing.” He built it and now knows that no good deed goes unpunished by today’s political model — collusion between entrenched businesses and compliant government. Bokhari bought a black Lincoln sedan and began offering cut-rate rides — an average of $25 — to and from the airport, around downtown and in neighborhoods not well served by taxis. After one year he had 12 cars. Now he has 20, and 15 independent contractors with their own cars, and a Web site, and lots of customers. He also has some enemies, including the established taxi and sedan companies and a city government that is, as interventionist governments generally are, devoted to regulations that protect the strong by preserving the status quo. With the quiet support of the taxi companies, which have not raised rates since Bokhari and some similar entrepreneurs went into business, the limo companies got regulators to require a $45 minimum charge for any ride. Not content with that gross injury, government added crippling insults: It limited the age of cars and number of miles on them — regardless of the cars’ condition — and forbade dispatches via cellphones, which is how start-up limo companies operate. Represented by the Austin office of the Institute for Justice, the nation’s only libertarian public interest law firm, Bokhari is seeking judicial recognition of his constitutional right to economic liberty.
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The Washington Post 

First wheat, now healthcare by James Bovard

Yes, healthcare and wheat are definitely legally related, at least in the context of the Supreme Court's long history of uphold Fedzilla powers and creating precedents.
A Supreme Court ruling on New Deal farm policies has relevance today. The Obama administration is relying heavily on a 1942 Supreme Court case to sway today's justices as they consider the constitutionality of compelling Americans to buy health insurance. The 1942 ruling, in Wickard vs. Filburn, declared that "it is hardly lack of due process for the government to regulate that which it subsidizes." The case spurred a vast increase in political-bureaucratic control over American life, even though the court's ruling rested on mind-boggling economic illiteracy. Starting in 1938, the Department of Agriculture dictated to the nation's 1.5 million wheat farmers exactly how many acres of the grain they could grow. Other programs to curtail wheat output had begun in 1933. Roscoe Filburn, an Indiana farmer who slightly exceeded his quota, claimed that the government had no right to prohibit him from growing wheat on his own land to feed to his own livestock. The Roosevelt administration, in a brief to the Supreme Court, claimed that it must have a free hand to "suppress ... a public evil."
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Los Angeles Times 

Ledger Nano S - The secure hardware wallet