The White House is flooded with scandals this week. Attempts to politicize the IRS against the Tea Party backfired, as did efforts by the administration to spy on Associated Press reporters. On the national security front, shocking new allegations have emerged regarding the tragedy in Benghazi in which four Americans lost their lives.
According to a report by Roger L Simon at PJ Media, a pair of US ex-diplomats indicated that another group of whistleblowers are preparing to come forward with shocking allegations that Clinton, in an effort to back the revolution against Gaddafi, provided stinger missiles to Al Qaeda affiliated groups in Libya, who then used those weapons in the attack in Benghazi.
This weekend marked the first major US Bitcoin Summit at the San Jose Convention Center in California. There’s a full schedule of panels, presenters, and speakers discussing the future of the world’s most popular peer-to-peer digital currency. I’m attending with Bitcoin Not Bombs supporting representatives from Fr33 Aid, Anti War and the Free State Project who are hosting a panel discussion on the advantages of Bitcoin to non-profit organizations.
There’s a lot of buzz around the conference about who was the first Bitcoin project to do what. So, I’d like to announce that Bitcoin Not Bombs is the world’s first official Bitcoin firsts adjudicating committee. Think of it as a kind of a Satoshi Book of World Records.
We also recently saw the State’s first so-called attack on Bitcoin.
Iraq War veteran Adam Kokesh is no stranger to protest. Ever since he returned from serving his country, he has continued his service to the Constitution by exercising his First (and other) Amendment rights at every possible occasion, in some cases engaging in civil disobedience to expose unjust laws.
Though he recently made news by announcing an open carry march on Washington DC to raise awareness to Second Amendment rights, US News is now reporting that Adam Kokesh was arrested over the weekend at Philadelphia’s “Smoke Down Prohibition” rally, an event at which some participants violated marijuana laws by publicly smoking. Allegedly, reports are coming in that Kokesh may have been arrested on charges of “assaulting a federal officer,” which could put him at risk of facing 20 years in prison. Watch the video of his arrest below, which, you will note, contains no acts of resistance nor any assaults on any federal officers.
Americans are rightly frustrated with the IRS. Lawmakers have crafted the most obscure, complex, difficult-to-understand tax code possible, and citizens often find themselves facing steep tax debts after misunderstanding the filing process. Meanwhile, the IRS itself has been consumed by scandal this week, as reporters recently uncovered that the agency has been applying tax policies differently to organizations based on their political views.
Just as the public’s frustration hit its peak, Mashable is reporting that Philadelphia Eagles offensive lineman Evan Mathis posted a picture of himself urinating on an IRS branch office via his personal Instagram account. In related anti-tax and pop culture news, Reason Magazine is now covering a rumor that we scooped in this blog a few weeks back: WWE wrestler Kane, also known as the libertarian activist Glenn Jacobs, is so upset about Tennessee Republican Senator Lamar Alexander’s quest to create an internet sales tax that Jacobs is considering challenging Alexander in the GOP primary.
When the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 first passed, civil libertarians like Ron Paul warned that future administrations might use those unconstitutional powers to spy on and thus intimidate members of Congress. When the executive branch has the power to sift through legislators’ text messages and emails, the presidential administration also has the ability to use information found therein to intimidate and manipulate the legislature. This is a problem that directly conflicts with an American political principle known as the separation of powers.
Associated Press reporters first felt the sting of lost liberty when their phones were recently spied on by the Department of Justice. Many members of the media are feeling enraged and violated after learning that their private communications were read by the very officials they’re entrusted to hold to account. However, it doesn’t just stop there. HotAir is reporting on shocking new allegations by California Congressman Devin Nunes that the Department of Justice also tapped the phones of elected officials in the House of Representatives. Let’s discuss checks-and-balances and the separation of powers after the jump.
The crony food mega-corporation Monsanto is reviled by organic food activists across the United States. Many believe that their GMO crops are unsafe, and, due to the wealthy company’s investments into the campaign funds of politicians, politically-appointed regulators tend to give Monsanto a little more regulatory “benefit of the doubt” than they give to the local family farm.
Furthermore, Russia Today is reporting that WikiLeaks caught the State Department using taxpayer funds to send connected GMO lobbyists to other countries to lobby on behalf of their private international business interests. In related news about a case called Bowman v Monsanto, the Supreme Court ruled against a local farmer for using Monsanto-designed seeds, which he received in a basket of different grains from a third party, without paying “seed royalties,” despite the fact that he signed no agreement to pay additional fees to Monsanto. Does the US government work for the people or has it become a de facto contractor for Monsanto and other GMO food corporations?
Do you remember Erica Goldson? She gave a hard hitting valedictorian speech in 2010 to her graduating class at Coxsackie-Athens High School, New York. The speech drew wild applause from students, and scorn from teachers and staff. It earned her considerable publicity, including an interview on Free Talk Live, and a personal call from John Taylor Gatto, the author who inspired her speech.
This week a similar sentiment comes from Jeff Bliss at Duncanville High School, Texas. Jeff Bliss decided he’d had enough with his teacher’s lack-luster attitude and gave her a very frank piece of his mind. Another student caught the Bliss Rant on video with a cell phone and it has gone viral, garnering him similar attention from news media.
This has been a rough week for the Obama administration. After new revelations emerged regarding the Benghazi disaster, additional scandals burst forth in a sudden cluster. First off, the IRS just admitted to discriminating against conservative and Tea Party oriented groups when considering organizations for tax exempt status. The FBI is now investigating this as a possible crime.
Additionally, the Department of Justice was caught sifting through Associated Press reporters’ personal phone records, allegedly while trying to determine which administration official leaked info about a “foiled Yemeni terror plot.” AP reporters are understandably furious, as the administration seems to have crossed the line from showing favoritism to certain media outlets that provide favorable coverage all the way to full-blown intimidation of journalists over their reporting. Given all this plus the Obama team’s rough handling of whistle-blowers, one wonders what happened to the promise of the “most transparent administration in history”?
Detroit was once one of America’s most prosperous cities. Formerly the home of the US auto industry, Motor City lost its bread-and-butter businesses to out-of-control labor unions and the unsustainable legacy costs that come with forced collective bargaining. As factories closed their doors in recent years, workers have flooded out of the city, causing its population to collapse.
Tens of thousands of properties remain vacant, with no one caring for them for years. City budgets have been slashed, causing police to encourage the community to look elsewhere for protection services, due to shortages in manpower and equipment. Detroit is truly exemplary of the failures of big government. However, the Associated Press is reporting that Detroit’s citizens are not ready to give up, as volunteers are taking over city services, equipping first responders with new vehicles, and cleaning up blighted communities on their own. Yet again, we discover another example of free people volunteering to solve problems when government fails.
I came across this video about the Kreuzberg district of Berlin, Germany where Bitcoin is not just an internet currency, but it’s become a thriving part the local economy.
Nadim Chebli owns a record shop and recalls the first time he sold a Tom Wait’s album for Bitcoin. Florentina Martens owns a Parisian-style cafe that takes Bitcoin in the same neighborhood. Both report that there’s no typical Bitcoin user, and that their Bitcoin customers are just regular folks. At least a dozen other merchants in the area take the digital peer-to-peer currency.
What got me is that the in the video Kreuzberg boasts being the highest density of businesses accepting the currency in the world.