Attorneys general seek to intimidate those who voice dissent (from ‘official’ opinion) on the issue of climate change, Target Competitive Enterprise Institute

The Inquisition by Joaquin Pinto

CEI is an excellent organization. I know many of the people there and am familiar with the organization’s work on a variety of subjects. They are champions of free thinking and enemies of crony capitalism. They often break with standard political opinion and as such there are some who don’t like the organization. Some who would like CEI to shut up.

There are those would like to criminalize questioning the status quo.

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CIA leaker: Clinton ‘given a pass’ for emails

It seemed like a few years ago more people wondered aloud whether the United States was becoming a banana republic.

Now however, though we are not Honduras, it is fair to say that in many respects we have indeed become a banana republic. The rule of law has eroded every year in this country for what seems like forever. The crony economy has become pervasive, indeed at this point it is ubiquitous. The middle class is shrinking.  We aren’t creating small businesses at the pace we used to.

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The long, slow death of the rule of law in America

The rule of law (and not man or woman) is vital to a free society. If might makes right there is little room to do business, to invest, to build wealth, to be secure in one’s person, to be an actualized human being. If contracts can be dismissed and government officials and their cronies (in government and the nominal “private sector”) can do as they please because of their connections, we have a problem. And that is what we have now,

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AT&T Helped U.S. Spy on Internet on a Vast Scale

(From The New York Times)

The National Security Agency’s ability to spy on vast quantities of Internet traffic passing through the United States has relied on its extraordinary, decades-long partnership with a single company: the telecom giant AT&T.

While it has been long known that American telecommunications companies worked closely with the spy agency, newly disclosed N.S.A. documents show that the relationship with AT&T has been considered unique and especially productive. One document described it as “highly collaborative,” while another lauded the company’s “extreme willingness to help.”

Crony capitalism comes in many forms.

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Appeals Court to Obama: Sorry, no executive amnesty

We decided that wasn’t what we wanted.

Pretty much everyone I think saw Obama’s “executive amnesty” move as at best a power grab and at worst, well, something much worse. But it looks like Obama’s plans are dead on this front. He can still appeal to the Supreme Court but that body has been quite critical of this administration as Obama and Co.have sought to expand executive power in recent years.

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Honduran gangs choke small businesses with ‘war tax’

It is often said that the state is not that much different from a mafia. This is true and it’s not true. But to the extent it is true can be seen in the horrible business climate in Tegucigalpa Honduras.

Want to do business? Pay a crippling tax. Don’t pay the tax? Meet Mr. Bullet.

In the USA thankfully entrepreneurs are rarely shot by the government. But they are shaken down for taxes. And they can go to jail for not paying taxes.

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Protest: The property rights of indigenous peoples in Brazil

I have made the case that one of the reasons the Amazon, African, and Indonesian rain forests are relentlessly plowed under is due to the absence of the rule of law and the general lack of respect for property rights in these countries. The rain forest is in many respects a “commons” which people exploit  as all “commons” are exploited. No one owns the forest, so it’s a free-for-all.

We have argued also that the property rights of indigenous peoples should be respected and that the state is the greatest violator of the sovereignty of many of these groups.

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Walter Williams: Free Markets Are Key To Global Prosperity

This op-ed from Walter Williams comes the same week that the World Bank has proclaimed publicly that it “will end extreme poverty by 2030.” If the institution wants to end such human desperation it would be wise to encourage the rule of law and free markets (and free prices).

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The Border Patrol Continues to Act as if a Federal Judge Hadn’t Just Blocked Obama’s Amnesty

The issue here is not really one of immigration for us. As we’ve stated before we are open to immigration generally. People have a right to move. But if America becomes a place where the rule of law is not respected, if America becomes a place where the president and the executive branch just do what they want in spite of the judiciary, then we have a problem.

In this instance it appears that the administration is really pushing the legal envelope.

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Obama asked if a future president could just issue an executive order absolving citizens of tax burdens: “Absolutely not!” (Video)

I have no love for George Stephanopoulos but his stock went up about tenfold in my book with the below question.

George makes a great point. If the president doesn’t have to faithfully execute the law on immigration (He does, the Constitution expressly says that he does.) why should a future president have to execute the law faithfully in all sorts of other areas including taxes? Boy, Obamacare would fall apart pretty much overnight.

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The Capitalist Cure for Terrorism

Mohamed Bouazizi, who’s immolation sparked the Arab Spring. He was a small businessman who had just been shut down by bureaucrats.

Hernando de Soto is one of my favorite economists. (Though as with almost anyone I disagree with him on some important points.) A champion of capitalism and everyday people he is my kind of guy.

His argument basically goes like this:

Poor people are shut out of economies. Cronyism and red tape make building businesses almost impossible.

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(Video) Cop says, “Obama has decimated the Constitution so I don’t give a damn. If he doesn’t follow the Constitution, we don’t have to.”

When finds common cause with animal rights activists you know that there is something very strange happening in the country.

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USA Today: Democrat hopes immigration crisis isn’t ‘Obama’s Katrina moment’

Hardball circa 2006.

I don’t begrudge someone who gambles it all for a chance at a better life. I understand it and have respect for it on a deep level. If I was Guatemalan and 20 years old there is a good chance I’d be showing up at the US border. I am also no particular fan of the state. I am however a fan of Latin America generally and I speak Spanish. But given that we do believe in the rule of law.

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Gallup Poll: Americans feel less free, feel the government is more corrupt than 7 years ago

This is a trend which began in earnest under Mr. Bush and which then began to snowball under Mr. Obama. And most people don’t even know anything about the NDAA (which Obama signed which allows him to jail US citizens without trial, attorney, or even notification of abduction). They just feel it. They know that the NSA lurks online, somewhere and everywhere. They stand with hands up in the radiation machines at the airport. They witness the increased police checkpoints.

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