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NSA Hydra

Safety, Savings and Symbolism

How can the U. S. save $2.5 billion a year, reduce the federal workforce by 4,000 hires, and engage in a symbolic act of undoubted patriotism, all at the same time? Get rid of the Department of Homeland Security. Matt A. Mayer, a former DHS employee who claims to have

Rand Paul vs. the Surveillance State

Rand to the Rescue

Nothing gets done in Washington? Tell that to Kentucky Senator and presidential hopeful Rand Paul. Last night, he single-handily “repealed” Section 215 of the Patriot Act, ending the federal government’s mass collection of our phone records. At least, for the next few days. On the floor of the Senate, Paul

Edward Snowden

Court Vindicates Snowden

Sometimes if you postpone something long enough, someone else will do the job. Last week, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled the National Security Agency’s metadata collection program unlawful, I immediately saw it as a vindication of Edward Snowden and his “illegal” leaks. It will

Lois Lerner

Latest Learned About Lois Lerner

Is it time to spell out the IRS as the Internal Revenue Scandal? The IRS has so many scandals under its belt. But the biggest, from a broad, threat-to-the-republic point of view, surely remains the agency’s targeting of Tea Party and conservative organizations seeking 501c(3) and 501c(4) nonprofit status. Agents

Arkansas Fools

Lagniappes à la Legislators

Finally, a legislator with the guts to strike directly at the root of the problem: the People. Well, not all the people. Just the ones who speak out, who show a lack respect for their elected betters. In recent years, the Arkansas Legislature has heroically tried to control the chaotic

ARticle5

The Article V Path

Can Americans term-limit Congress? Twenty-three states had passed term limits on their congressional delegations by 1995 — many while simultaneously term-limiting state lawmakers. Voters in most other states lack statewide initiative rights. But if the term limits passed by the 23 had been left alone, the pressure would have been

Freedom of Information

What a Day for an Insult

Much of politics is timing. When you release information is key. One favorite “statesman” trick is to bury unflattering information by “releasing” it on a Friday, right before the weekend. This gives politicians a respite. Surely world events will have spewed up some worse (that is, more interesting!) story over

Jerry Gibbs

Pierce Petition Power

Pierce County, Washington, Executive Pat McCarthy charges that “a majority of the County Council bowed to political pressure, even though this could set a terrible precedent that the most basic administrative actions of government can be derailed by the simple act of signing a piece of paper.” Yeah, right. At

Arkansas Tricksters

Stop Phony Crony Pay Grab

Are people in Arkansas as stupid as their legislators think? Last November, legislators tricked enough voters to narrowly pass Issue 3. I’ve addressed before the measure’s dishonest ballot language, mis-identifying a doubling of allowed terms as the “setting of term limits.” And about a much-ballyhooed gift ban that has proven

How Earnest Is The IRS?

Sometimes those who wield power over us seem less than honest about whether they’re following their own professed rules, including rules mandated by law. The latest example comes to us courtesy of the watchdog group Cause of Action, which filed a Freedom of Information request for correspondence between the IRS

The Dark Guardian of Opacity

Sen. Harry Reid has his reasons that reason does not know. Well, Nick Gillespie of ReasonTV (and .com) doesn’t know them. But he has his suspicions. While the House has passed the Federal Reserve Financial Transparency Act, aiming to audit the Fed, Senate Majority Leader Reid balks at bringing the

Candid Cameras for Cops

Should policemen be required to wear cameras? Some already do. The rationale for the proposal is this: when police wear cameras that — with a few carefully defined exceptions — must be on whenever officers are on the job, they do their jobs better. With respect to the furor in

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