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Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich Ask President Obama to Free Chelsea Manning

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Ron Paul and Dennis Kucinich sent a letter this week to President Barack Obama requesting that Obama “grant the application for clemency submitted by Chelsea Manning and commute her sentence to time served.” The result of Obama taking this action would be the whistleblower’s prompt release from prison.

Noting that Manning “has already spent more time in prison than anyone previously convicted for providing information to the media,” the two former US House Members who have both run for president in their respective parties’ primaries, declare their belief that Manning “received a sentence that was excessively punitive and intended to send a chilling message to future potential whistleblowers acting in the public interest.”
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Washington Post Peddles Tarring of Ron Paul Institute as Russian Propaganda

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The Washington Post has a history of misrepresenting Ron Paul’s views. Last year the supposed newspaper of record ran a feature article by David A. Fahrenthold in which Fahrenthold grossly mischaracterized Paul as an advocate for calamity, oppression, and poverty — the opposite of the goals Paul routinely expresses and, indeed, expressed clearly in a speech at the event upon which Fahrenthold’s article purported to report. Such fraudulent attacks on the prominent advocate for liberty and a noninterventionist foreign policy fall in line with the newspaper’s agenda. As Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob G. Hornberger put it in a February editorial, the Post’s agenda is guided by “the interventionist mindset that undergirds the mainstream media.”

On Thursday, the Post published a new article by Craig Timberg complaining of a “flood” of so-called fake news supported by “a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy,” To advance this conclusion, Timberg points to PropOrNot, an organization of anonymous individuals formed this year, as having identified “more than 200 websites as routine peddlers of Russian propaganda during the election season.” Look on the PropOrNot list. There is the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity’s (RPI) website RonPaulInstitute.org listed among websites termed “Russian propaganda outlets.”
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Ron Paul to Trump: Don't Listen to Neocons!

Ron Paul, known for his promotion of the United States following a noninterventionist foreign policy, presented Thursday his take on the prospects of Donald Trump’s foreign policy as president. Paul set out his analysis in an extensive interview with host Peter Lavelle at RT.

Paul started off the interview saying that he is keeping his “fingers crossed” regarding Trump’s potential foreign policy actions. Paul says he views favorably Trump’s comments in the presidential election about “being less confrontational with Russia” and criticizing some of the US wars in the Middle East. Paul, though, notes that Trump has presented “vague” foreign policy positions overall. Paul also comments that a good indication of how Trump will act on foreign policy issues will be provided by looking at who Trump appoints to positions in the executive branch and from whom Trump receives advice.
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Bill Weld is Hillary Clinton’s Libertarian Party Surrogate

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It is common in presidential campaigns for surrogates to speak at events or take part in media interviews where they vouch for a presidential candidate. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton has many such surrogates, including her former presidential primary opponent Bernie Sanders, her husband and former United States President Bill Clinton, and First Lady Michelle Obama. Hillary Clinton’s campaign, as is typical of presidential campaigns, also uses Clinton’s vice presidential running mate Tim Kaine as a surrogate. What is unusual is that Bill Weld, the vice presidential nominee of the Libertarian Party, has also joined the ranks of Clinton surrogates.

Weld, interviewed Tuesday at MSNBC by Rachel Maddow, said that he was on her show “to vouch for Hillary Clinton.” And vouch for Clinton he did throughout the interview.

Asked by Maddow if people should vote for the Libertarian presidential ticket in states where there appears to be a close race between Clinton and Republican nominee Donald Trump, Weld answered that Weld fears “for the country” if Trump is elected, that Trump is “stirring up envy and resentment and even hatred,” and that Trump threatens US foreign policy and the nation’s “position in the world at large.” Weld did not say “vote for Clinton,” but it is easy for viewers of the interview to fill in those blanks.
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Ninth Circuit Bars Federal Medical Marijuana Prosecutions; Full Protection Requires Congress Action

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People living in some western portions of America with liberalized medical marijuana laws have some extra protection from the United States government prosecuting them for violations of US marijuana laws thanks to a decision issued Tuesday by the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals. However, only congressional action can promptly ensure such protection is provided to people countrywide.

The appeals court’s United States v. McIntosh ruling decides ten consolidated appeals and petitions for writs of mandamus pursued by appellants who have been indicted for violating the US Controlled Substances Act (CSA). The appellants argue that a prohibition on funding US prosecutions related to medical marijuana should require the dismissal of their indictments and the stopping of their prosecutions. Looking at appropriations legislation for the Department of Justice (DOJ) enacted in 2014 and 2015, the court concludes that a provision of the enacted appropriations bills, which the court refers to a section 542 based on the provision’s location in the 2015 appropriations, “prohibits DOJ from spending funds from relevant appropriations acts for the prosecution of individuals who engage in conduct permitted by the State Medical Marijuana Laws and who fully complied with such laws.”

The result for the appellants, the court explains in its decision, is that, if the DOJ decides to continue with prosecution, the appellants “are entitled to evidentiary hearings to determine whether their conduct was completely authorized by state law.” If the conduct was authorized, then the prosecution must end. The court further clarifies that the matter to be decided in such a hearing is if the actions of the appellants “strictly comply with all relevant conditions imposed by state law on the use, distribution, possession, and cultivation of medical marijuana.”
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Can Hillary Clinton Be Pro-War and a Progressive?

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Despite Hillary Clinton obtaining the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination last week, many people, including many Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) delegates who publicly dissented throughout the Democratic National Convention and even walked off the convention floor in protest, dispute the claim that Clinton is a progressive. Reasons people offer for opposing the applicability of the progressive label to Clinton are many — from Clinton’s support for international managed trade deals to her close relationship with big financial institutions to her support for “law and order” policies that trample on individual rights.

Yet, maybe the greatest ire of people who define themselves as progressives or on the left toward Clinton arises in reaction to Clinton’s pro-war beliefs and actions. Former Greece Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis well described the objection earlier this year. Varoufakis, in a short video at Business Insider, concludes that Clinton “ruled herself out of progressive politics” when she backed the 2003 invasion of Iraq and the war that followed, as well as when, as US Secretary of State, she participated in the US government’s war on Libya and even “celebrated” the mutilation and killing of Libyan government leader Muammar Gaddafi.
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Nazis Have Rights Too

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Suffolk County, New York police arrested Edward Perkowski on Thursday after the police allegedly found in a raid of his home items including tens of thousands of dollars in cash, several guns and knives, ammunition, a bit of marijuana and illegal mushrooms, and some bomb-making instructions. Oh yeah, the town of Brookhaven condemned Perkowski’s house to boot. This appears to be yet another example of a government cracking down on people for nonviolent actions. In this case we have a convergence of the wars on cash, guns, and drugs, as well as government’s intolerance of free speech.

Here is another important aspect of this story: Suffolk County Police Commissioner Tim Sini is stirring up fear that Perkowski and his brother Sean, who was also arrested, are dangerous because they are Nazis. The brothers might even have been planning a mass killing like we saw in Orlando, Florida last week, Sini suggests.

The evidence for the brothers’ supposed Nazism is apparently that a Nazi flag, framed photo of Adolph Hitler, and other materials related to Nazi ideas were found in the house. Of course, the presence of such items in a house does not establish that any of the house’s occupants subscribe to any particular ideology.
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The Terrorist iPhone Snow Job

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It all started so “harmless.” The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) wanted to access the information of a person being investigated for mass murder so, the FBI said, it could try to prevent more terrorist attacks.

A couple months later this has morphed into a situation where the FBI is offering to help police departments across America access secured information of any electronic device connected to criminal investigations and where members of the United States Senate are moving forward with legislation to force technology companies to give the government access to secured, including via encryption, electronic devices information.

First, the FBI’s bumbled handling of an iPhone connected to a mass killing in San Bernardino provided an opening for the FBI to seek a precedent-setting court order to require Apple to assist the government in overcoming the phone’s security. Rather convenient, one might say, for a government agency determined to search and seize with the minimum possible constraint. Then, when Apple resisted the court’s order that was obtained ex parte (without Apple being afforded an opportunity to present its opposing arguments), the FBI dropped the case, claiming it found people who helped it bypass the iPhone’s security. This is after the FBI had told the magistrate judge that the FBI needed Apple’s help to accomplish the task.
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Ron Paul Rewind: All US Supreme Court Justices are Good and Bad

With the death last week of United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, there is much discussion of whether Scalia was good or bad on the court and whether President Barack Obama and the next president will nominate good or bad people for the court. If you value the protection of liberty, however, it is clear that none of the current or recent justices are on your side and that Obama and the next president are unlikely to appoint anyone who is either.
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Not-So-Convincing Anti-Second Amendment Arguments

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Ken Womble has written convincingly regarding legal matters, including the desirability of prosecuting cops who lie about other cops’ killings. However, Womble, in a Monday Mimesis Law article, provides several not-so-convincing arguments for repealing the Second Amendment of the United States Constitution while keeping in place other constitutional provisions Womble lists — “freedom of speech, assembly, due process, voting, etc.”

Womble provides three arguments in support of his conclusion. First, he says that the right to keep and bear arms is distinguishable from other rights mentioned in the Constitution because, “[i]n our nation’s almost 240 years of existence, the 2nd Amendment is the only time our leaders have granted a constitutional right to possess tools.”

When you think about it, this is not much of a distinction. The freedom of speech that Womble seeks to distinguish from the right to bear arms would be of much less value without the ability to use microphones, telephones, video cameras, audio recording equipment, radio and TV, the internet, means of transportation, and many other tools. Indeed, listed rather redundantly in the First Amendment is the freedom of the press along with the freedom of speech.
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