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Imagine a Moratorium on Gun Control in 2012

by                   John Longenecker  

Imagine a five year moratorium on all enforcement of gun laws. What would happen?

Would the fears and apprehensions of gun control activists come true? Or, would we see a re-awakening of the electorate’s supervision of our public servants and a much greater excitement about self-rule?

 

I think the re-awakening would transpire. Heritage of sovereignty would come alive and the government/governed rapport would improve immensely. You see, Americans do not hate their government; we prefer our roads to be safe, our meat inspection to be reliable, and our votes to be righteous (and counted). What we also prefer is respect for the Sovereign.

What would happen if the United States enjoyed a moratorium on restrictions on equipment for rifles, a moratorium on the enforcement of types of guns, acoustic suppressors, length of a rifle, magazine capacity or where and when one can concealed carry? What would change?

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 19th 2012 at 3:11 pm in 2012 Election2nd amendmentCultureEconomyHistoryJustice/LegalPolitics |
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Senate Poll: Scott Brown Opens 9-Point Lead Over Elizabeth Warren

by                   Publius  

 

Republican US Senator Scott Brown now has a 9-point lead over Elizabeth Warren, his likely Democratic opponent in the November election, a new poll has found.

The Suffolk University/7News poll, which was released late Thursday night, asked 600 likely voters across Massachusetts which candidate they would support in a head-to-head matchup, if the election was held today. The poll has a margin of error of plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 19th 2012 at 12:51 pm in 2012 ElectionPoliticsState Politics |
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Rep. Allen West Delivers Epic Speech on GOP’s Proud History of Fighting For Black Equality

by                   Wynton Hall  

In a sweeping and stirring oration on the floor of the House of Representatives, Rep. Allen West (R-FL) proudly recounted the Republican Party’s long history of fighting for black freedom against the Democratic Party’s history of racism and oppression.

 

Rep. West’s speech offered a timeline of Republican Party victories on behalf of African Americans’ long battle for equality.   From the elections of the first black members of Congress (Sen. Hiram Revels (R-MS) and Rep. Joseph Rainey (R-SC)), to the adoption of the 13th Amendment, 14th Amendment, 15th Amendment, 1875 Civil Rights Act, 1957 Civil Rights Act, 1964 Civil Rights Act, and of course the Emancipation itself, Rep. West recounted how each victory was the result of the Republican Party’s commitment to freedom for all citizens, regardless of hue.

Rep. West’s oration marking Black History Month also placed his own election in the pantheon of Republican victories on behalf of African Americans:

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 19th 2012 at 11:43 am in CongressCultureNewsPoliticsTea Partyrace |
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Sundays with Sherrod: Unemployment Benefits Create Jobs

by                   Jason Hart  

Progressive loon Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has argued time and again that unemployment benefits are a great way to create jobs. As Big Government readers know, Pelosi isn’t  the only congressional Democrat to build a career coaxing the masses  into Washington’s crushing embrace.

Where there’s a Progressive  economic fallacy, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) is never far away.  Sherrod seems to think the U.S. economy performs best with bureaucrats  working all the levers. This is his 20th  year in Congress, so maybe we should forgive his ignorance of how a free  market works!

During the 2010 debate over extending the Bush tax cuts, Sherrod made one of his frequent MSNBC appearances to share his rendition of the broken window fallacy:

 

As an Ohioan, Chris Matthews fawning “you’re the best there is on this argument” is not what I hope for from my senator.

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Tags: , , , Posted Feb 19th 2012 at 10:01 am in 2012 ElectionEconomicsEconomyunemployment |
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Poll: Obama Trailing 3 GOP Challengers in Swing State Iowa

by                   Publius  

 

A new poll shows President Barack Obama trailing three of the four GOP presidential candidates in the key swing state of Iowa.

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney leads Obama by 46 percent support to 44 percent among likely Hawkeye state voters in the latest Iowa poll. The survey shows Rick Santorum, winner of the state’s 2012 caucuses, besting Obama 48 percent to 44 percent.  Texas Rep. Ron Paul has the biggest edge over the president leading him 49 percent to 42 percent.

Only former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) loses to Obama in a hypothetical head-to-head matchup. Obama receives 51 percent support to Gingrich’s 37 percent.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 19th 2012 at 8:25 am in 2012 ElectionPoliticsState Politics |
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Sen. Bill Nelson ‘Farms’ Six Cows to Dodge $43,000 in Taxes, All While Supporting Obama’s Spending Spree

by                   Wynton Hall  

Six cows are helping millionaire Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) dodge $43,000 in property taxes on his 55 acres of land on the Indian River, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

While no one begrudges any American from striving to pay as few dollars in taxes as are legally feasible, the fact that Sen. Nelson, an ardent supporter of President Barack Obama’s big government agenda, performs agricultural gymnastics to avoid helping fund Mr. Obama’s deficit-exploding programs is, well, hypocritical.  So says Sen. Nelson’s 2012 Senate Republican challenger, conservative rising star Rep. Connie Mack (R-FL).

 

In a statement, Rep. Connie Mack said:

With his astonishing hypocrisy on taxes, Senator Bill Nelson has  exemplified the term ‘limousine liberal’ — someone who says one thing  and does another.  Not only has Senator Nelson cried out that local and  county workers are being robbed by tax loopholes, we now know the  identity of that robber is none other than Bill Nelson himself.  Senator  Nelson’s six cows may have found him a legal way to avoid paying the  taxes that help pay the county workers he claims to defend, but it is  certainly the despicable and dishonorable way.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 19th 2012 at 7:02 am in 2012 ElectionCongressEarmarksNewsObamaPoliticsState GovernmentTea Partyagriculturetaxes |
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Elevated to Cardinal in Rome, Timothy Dolan Says We Must ‘Call America Back to What Has Made It Great’

by                   Dr. Susan Berry  

Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, was elevated to the College of Cardinals of the Roman Catholic Church at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome on Saturday. Cardinal Dolan, a 62 year-old Missouri native, was one of 22 new cardinals who will participate in the election of the successor to the current Pope, Benedict XVI.

 

On Friday, Cardinal Dolan, head of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), gave the keynote address at a day of reflection for the Pope and Catholic leaders. His address, focused on spreading the Christian faith in a secularized world, was echoed during the elevation ceremony on Saturday by Pope Benedict, who reminded the new cardinals that the red of their three-pointed hat and robes symbolizes the blood they must be prepared to shed for their beliefs.

As the leader of Catholic bishops in the United States, Cardinal Dolan has stood firmly against the Obama administration’s attempt to force Catholic institutions to provide free contraception, sterilization, and abortion-inducing drugs to their employees. The USCCB rejected what the White House termed an “accommodation,” to the ObamaCare mandate, which simply shifted the requirement to provide the free items and procedures to the insurance companies employed by the Church.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 19th 2012 at 5:24 am in CultureHealthcareNewsRegulation |
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Should ‘Political Intelligence’ Firms Be Required to Register as Lobbyists?

by                   Wynton Hall  

Both the House and Senate have now passed their respective versions of a bill known as the STOCK (Stop Trading On Congressional Knowledge) Act to ban members of Congress from using private information to enrich their investments.

 

As the two chambers now hammer out the distinctions between the two bills, one major difference has emerged: whether to require so-called “political intelligence” firms, who scour Congress and leverage high-level contacts with Hill staffers to gather tidbits of valuable nonpublic information that can be sold to investment firms or others, to register as lobbyists.  The Senate version of the bill contains such a provision; the House version does not.

Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA), the person responsible for adding the provision to the Senate version of the STOCK Act, says that requiring political intelligence operatives to register as lobbyists is simply a matter of common sense:

If you seek information from Congress in order to make money, the  American people have a right to know your name and who you’re selling  that information to.

There’s much at stake in whether or not the eventual STOCK Act will  require political intelligence operatives to register as lobbyists. Experts say that the 300 political intelligence firms worldwide comprise a $100 million industry.  Furthermore, many of the 2,000 individuals who make up the political intelligence industry are themselves former Hill staffers or members of Congress.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 19th 2012 at 4:08 am in CongressNewsObamaPoliticsThrow Them All Outcrony capitalism |
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Sunday Open Thread: Shame Edition

by                   Publius  

Today, in 1942, FDR signed an executive order authorizing the internment of Japanese-American citizens.

 

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Posted Feb 19th 2012 at 12:01 am in Open Threads |
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Obama Cuts Weather Satellites for Defense…But Not For Commerce

by                   Ben Shapiro  

One of the oddities of the new Obama budget is his bizarre insistence on defense cuts in areas that don’t deserve them.  How can we tell that such cuts are unjustified?  Here’s a great example: the Department of Defense weather satellite was deemed an “unnecessary and lower-priority” program; meanwhile, the Department of Commerce’s “geostationary weather satellite systems, as well as satellite-borne measurements of sea level and potentially damaging solar storms” saw increased funding.

 

This is the lie of the Obama Administration: that they’re interested in cutting when they’re really interested in growing government.  Remember back in January 2012, President Obama announced that he wanted to eliminate the Department of Commerce entirely, suggesting instead that it be replaced with a series of other bureaucratic entities designed to do the job more efficiently.  Now, however, he has proposed increasing the Department of Commerce funding by 5%, the largest departmental increase in the budget.

The insistence on cutting defense programs even while spending hundreds of million of dollars to fund the misnamed Arab Spring seems bizarre at the very least.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 7:01 pm in 2012 ElectionDefenseEconomicsFederal SpendingNewsObama |
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2012 Campaign: When Did Honesty Become Optional?

by                   Frank Salvato  

Throughout time politicians and their handlers have been prone to omitting unpleasant facts or manipulating them so as to mold issues to their advantage. This is the concept behind “spin”; a form of propagandizing that crafts an “alternative” interpretation of an issue, organization, person, event or campaign in order to sway the public’s opinion “for” or “against” said issue, organization, person, event or campaign. In fact, the “art of spin” has created an entirely separate category of political animal; the “spin doctor,” many of whom are regularly featured on the many mainstream media news outlets disguised as “political strategists.” But somewhere along the line, the art of employing wit, reason, personality and persuasive rhetoric in order to achieve a political ends gave way to the blatant lie, and never before has it been as evident as it is today.

 

This political malady is not exclusive to one side of the aisle or the other. Neither is it exclusive to the elected class. In fact, some of the most egregious abusers of truth and honesty come in the form of agendized media operatives. It is an across-the-board problem that comes with the intellectual infections that are the “inside-the-beltway mentality” and the special interest mentality, both of which are shared by the elected class, the media who cover them and the special interest groups who try to sway them both.

In the Republican Primary Elections we have seen a good example of spin, and viciously so. In one of the most negative political cycles in recent times, we have witnessed each of the nominees unleash barrage after barrage of negative attacks ads against whomever they deem the threat of the day. Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, although not as blatant about their approval of such tactics, are just as guilty of partaking in the art of spin; in stretching the truth to achieve an ideological goal, as Newt Gingrich or Mitt Romney. It can be argued that Mr. Romney is the biggest abuser, but I am sure that Romney supporters will spin that to their advantage.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 5:03 pm in 2012 ElectionObamaPoliticsTea Party |
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Federal Union Flips Out Over 0.8% Increase in Pension Contribution

by                   Mike Flynn  

 

To fully appreciate the herculean task required to get our fiscal house in order, consider this; the recently brokered deal to extend the payroll tax holiday is partially offset by raising by 0.8% the amount federal workers contribute to their pensions. The union reaction?

“Working class men and women who have dedicated their lives to serve their country should not be on the hook for solving a crisis they did not create,” American Federation of Government Employees National President John Gage said.

[...]

Continuing to attack federal employees’ pay and benefits doesn’t create new jobs and only adds to the pain and suffering many working class men and women are experiencing,” Gage said.

And, no, I didn’t get that decimal point wrong. It really is a 0.8% increase. So, if, say, a federal worker is currently contributing $100 towards their pension in any given period, they will now have to kick in an extra 80 cents. This is an “attack” on “working men and women”?

Amazingly, this near-rounding-error of an increase is expected to “save” $15 billion over the next year or so. That’s real money. Increasing federal workers’ pension contributions by a modest 10% could, it would seem, generate close to $200 billion in savings.

So, why aren’t we hearing more about these kind of budget savings?

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 3:01 pm in Big LaborFeatured StoryFederal SpendingPolitics |
43200093 Comments »http%3A%2F%2Fbiggovernment.com%2Fmikeflynn%2F2012%2F02%2F18%2Ffederal-union-flips-out-over-0-8-increase-in-pension-contribution%2FFederal+Union+Flips+Out+Over+0.8%25+Increase+in+Pension+Contribution2012-02-18+23%3A01%3A02Mike+Flynnhttp%3A%2F%2Fbiggovernment.com%2F%3Fp%3D432000

Why Aren’t the Democrats Keynesian on Taxes?

by                   Thomas Del Beccaro  

Here we go again.  Asking the question: Should we raise tax rates or lower rates to close the deficit?

 

The President and many a Democrat think raising tax rates is the way to go.  They stand behind their belief that government funding can drive the economy and cite John Maynard Keynes as their patron saint.  They want to raise taxes to pay for economic “stimulation.”

But what if Keynes agreed with Republican on lower taxes?

President Obama has used Big Government to its fullest extent to turn the economy around.  Economic and job recovery was promised if we passed the “Stimulus” bill, Obamacare and support such policies as funding Solyndra.  Despite a lack luster economy and record long 8+% unemployment, the President and his supporters continue to tout a government led economy in their modern version of Keynsian economics.

But is that really what Keynes believed?  In a word: No.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 1:32 pm in EconomicsEconomyFederal Spendingtaxes |
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Native Americans Get the Last Laugh on Government Regulation

by                   Lawrence Meyers  

In a ruling that I’ve followed closely because of my interest in the short-term cash advance industry, a Colorado court has sided with Native American tribes allowing them immunity to subpoenas issued by the state Attorney General.  This is, of course, the absolute correct decision.  Native American tribes are sovereign nations.  Just as I support their right to build casinos and govern their own affairs, I also support their right to operate short-term cash advance businesses over the internet – regardless of who they choose to partner with.  I also support the right of any individual to choose their own source of short-term credit, whether it be at a storefront in a state or over the internet.

Oh, wait, I buried the lead.  It’s back there in the phrase, “govern their own affairs”.

 

I wish, for once, that courts would let the American people govern their own affairs.  Heck, I wish the federal, state, and local governments would let people govern their own affairs.  Unfortunately, here in Los Angeles – and California – and the United States – that is becoming more the exception than the rule.  I’m too darn lazy to list them all.  But a few come to mind.  Stupid regulations by the EPAAnd from the Obama administration. From state school lunch inspectors.  Did you know the City Council of Los Angeles passed an ordinance protecting bicyclists from harassment and threats by motorists?  Except it’s redundant, because bicyclists were already protected under the state’s assault and battery statutues.

In what may be a grand karmic joke, after enduring decades of genocide, I wonder if Native American tribes are finally getting the deserved last laugh. While the rest of us suffer under King Obama I’s regime of regulatory fiat, and the vast unwanted intrusion by government into every aspect of our lives, the tribes remain completely immune to this insanity.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 12:09 pm in EconomicsHistoryObama |
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Connecticut School District Substitutes ‘Health and Wellness’ Programs for Arts and Music Curriculum

by                   Dr. Susan Berry  

We have all heard the story, this week, of the young child in North Carolina whose lunch, made at home by her mother, was deemed “unacceptable” by the nutrition officer at her school. Unfortunately, this incident, a direct result of Michelle Obama’s success in passing the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act at the end of the last Congress, is only one of many. The slow creep of government intervention into our refrigerators and our lives moves ahead.

 

On Tuesday of this week, the school board in Bristol, Connecticut voted, 5-4, to cut back on music classes in every middle school in the district, despite the outrage of parents and students. Beginning next year, middle school students will lose 15 music classes, but others will be added in their place. And, what might those new classes be?

The Bristol school board has decided that middle school students will now be required to take Health and Wellness classes, and they will now have to choose between art, band, or chorus. Of course, many children do not want to make that choice, especially the creative kids who are drawn to the arts in general.

“Music is my team. I don’t do sports. Music is where I feel I fit in,” said 12 year-old Dylan Cushing, a saxophone player.

But, Phil Streifer, the Superintendent of the Bristol school system, apparently one of those educators who knows what’s best for children, said, “Students’ experience will change. I don’t think they will suffer.” Streifer said there is much to gain with the new requirements. “Particularly for bullying, nutrition, and alcohol abuse,” he added.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 10:01 am in EducationLocal GovernmentRegulation |
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Teachers’ Unions to Rahm Emanuel: Hey, How About a 30% Pay Raise

by                   Charles C. Johnson  

Only in education could you demand a higher pay for churning out an inferior product, but that’s just what the Chicago teachers unions want for doing the jobs they were paid to do, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel might be doing some good yet in pushing for some school reforms that improve educational quality and by training his attention on the unions that imperil those reforms. Emanuel appeared in a film by Big Government’s own, Kyle Olson, and narrated by Juan Williams, and has this to say, according to The New York Times:

“Do I think the union leadership has been a problem in resisting? Absolutely,” Mr. Emanuel told Mr. Williams in the video interview, which was conducted in October. He also said: “I think the system was never designed to benefit the kids.” And he lauds teachers at the Noble Street charter network’s schools as being “on a mission” and “not just doing a job.”

The implication of Emanuel’s comments are that Chicago’s public school teachers have been doing a poor job, an observation borne out by the data: Nearly 40% of Chicago public school students drop out. Perhaps the reason so many students drop out, Emanuel reasons, is that so little is demanded of them and they have ample time to get into trouble. After all, as these graphs make clear, they are so rarely in class.

pChicago, bottom of the pack

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Tags: , , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 8:41 am in EconomicsEducationPoliticsState Politics |
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#OccupyAlbany Announces Second Event Supporting Convicted Cop Killer

by                   Rusty Weiss  

For the second time in two weeks, the Occupy Albany movement has announced an event in which they will voice support and heap praise upon a man serving time for murder.  The group somehow manages to completely gloss over their crimes by referring to the men as ‘political prisoners’.  They clearly see some sort of parallel between themselves, their perceived struggle against government, and the political platforms of such men.
Frightening indeed.
If a priest murders somebody, they are a murderer, not a religious prisoner.  If a doctor murders somebody, they are a murderer, not a medicinal prisoner.  And now, Jalil Muntaqim was not convicted for his political beliefs, he was convicted of murder.
Only zealots in the Occupy movement can turn such a heinous individual into some sort of freedom-fighting icon.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 7:25 am in Occupy Wall Street |
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Santorum: All Praise Income Inequality

by                   Charles C. Johnson  

Rick Santorum gave a very good speech on Thursday in Detroit making the case for his brand of economic conservatism. The full speech is here, but the segment that is getting all the play is this one about income inequality.

 

“I’m not about equality of result when it comes to income inequality. There is income inequality in America. There always has been and, hopefully, and I do say that, there always will be.”

It’s a common refrain from Rick Santorum. He made the case to Wolf Blitzer in late December:

 

But predictably it has at least one New York Times columnist, Charles Blow, hyperventilating in his column today.

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Tags: , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 6:10 am in 2012 ElectionEconomicsEducationMedia CriticismPolitics |
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Anonymous Takes Out the FTC in Protest Over ACTA, Google Privacy

by                   Liberty Chick  

The hacker collective Anonymous has struck government websites again, this time the U.S. Federal Trade Commission and the National  Consumer Protection Week websites.  According to the Associated Press, “both sites were replaced with a violent German-language video satirizing the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, or ACTA.” A pastebin page to which some of the Anonymous associated Twitter accounts are linking outlines the message that was distributed by the hackers, as well as a link to the violent video mentioned in the AP article.

 

The hackings were in response both to Google’s recent changes to its terms of service and, more prominently, to the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA), which  22 of the European Union’s 27 member states signed last month in Tokyo. Pressure from Anonymous and anti-ACTA activists caused Poland to suspend the bill last week, where members of its Parliament donned Guy Fawkes masks in protest. Poland and Slovenia are now distancing themselves from the treaty.

ACTA is an international treaty aimed at curtailing copyright infringement, counterfeit and pirated goods, and other forms of intellectual property theft across multiple member states.  Statements from Anonymous   The agreement is meant to provide a framework for member countries, which have differences in legal systems and practices, to work together cooperatively “to address the problem of infringement of intellectual property rights, including infringement taking place in the digital environment, in particular with respect to copyright or related rights, in a manner that balances the rights and interests of the relevant right holders, service providers, and users.”  In light of controversy over the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act, ACTA has generated a good deal of discussion and debate in the same political and activism circles.  Some fear it’s too much government intrusion for a solution that they believe may not ultimately address the problem adequately anyway.  Others have argued that while such legislation may be flawed, the need to protect against international stealing online does exist.

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Tags: , , , , Posted Feb 18th 2012 at 4:23 am in Featured StoryJustice/LegalNewsTechnologyTradeUncategorized |
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Federal Union Flips Out Over 0.8% Increase in Pension Contribution

by       Mike Flynn

To fully appreciate the herculean task required to get our fiscal house in order, consider this; the recently brokered deal to extend the payroll tax holiday is partially offset by raising by 0.8% the amount federal workers contribute to their pensions. The union reaction? “Working class men and…

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