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LISTEN NOWFood Fights, Lyin' Liz, and Omar's Outrageous Plan | Pardon The Disruption Ep. #07Listen Here
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FCC’s Net Neutrality: Fixing a Nonexistent Problem

Last Thursday the Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 to regulate broadband internet as a public utility. This decision to regulate the internet was made mostly through secret meetings without public comment and less than a decade after the FCC declined to regulate the internet because there was no necessity. Even worse, because the 300-plus page new rule has not been made public yet, we still do not know exactly what is in the rule. Since the Federal Trade Commission already has the authority to protect consumers from anticompetitive business practices, the FCC’s new rules are another example of government trying to fix a problem that is nonexistent. The new rules may in fact harm consumers both by limiting competition, and by preventing the FTC from filing charges against internet providers once they are determined to be common carriers.

03/03/2015
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CPAC Panel on Asset Forfeiture

The practice of asset forfeiture has been a hot topic in Washington D.C. lately, whether it has been Attorney General Eric Holder announcing the federal government will no longer take part in the equitable sharing program or the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations calling into question the entire practice of civil asset forfeiture. Because of the importance and timeliness of the issue, CPAC had a panel consisting of Pat Nolan, Derek Cohen and Darpana Sheth to discuss what is wrong with asset forfeiture and what we the people can do to fix it.

03/02/2015
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First Amendment Rights: License Required

Should one need to obtain a license to speak on public sidewalks about the history and architecture of an area? Or does the First Amendment protect our free speech rights from prior restraints, such as licensing requirements? According to a short opinion in Kagan v. City of New Orleans, which lacked any in depth legal reasoning, the Fifth Circuit ruled a license can be required to give guided tours of New Orleans for pay.

02/20/2015
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House Hearing on Civil Forfeiture

Imagine this, you are moving from Michigan to California to start a new life and your dad gave you $2,500 to help you start out on your feet. While driving through Nevada you get pulled over by a deputy sheriff and he asks you how much money you have on you. You think to yourself, “that’s a strange question, but I’ve done nothing wrong and have nothing to hide,” so you tell the officer you have $2,500 from your dad. The officer then tells you he suspects your trip from Michigan to California is to acquire drugs with the $2,500 and so he seizes the cash, without arresting you, and tells you to go on your way. Welcome to the story of Matt Lee, welcome to civil asset forfeiture.

02/17/2015
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Authorized to Steal

If you own a house or car, they are your property. If you produce cabinetry or quilts, they are your property. If you produce raisins, they are your property and cannot be taken by the government without just compensation, right? Not according to a decision by the Ninth Circuit.

02/11/2015
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Civil Asset Forfeiture: When Due Process and Property Rights Don’t Count

On February 6 the Federalist Society held as Civil Asset Forfeiture Update on Capitol Hill with the American Civil Liberties Union and the Institute for Justice as cosponsors. The event was held to bring more awareness to the issue which has been in the news lately with Eric Holder’s limiting order (which will leave around 86% federal civil seizure unaffected), recent legislative efforts and late night television skits. The event featured a diverse panel consisting of: Darpana Sheth (IJ), Kanya Bennett (ACLU), David Smith (Smith & Zimmerman PLLC) and Bill Piper (Drug Policy Alliance).

02/09/2015
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Obamacare: Time to Change the Batter

If you try to bake a cake, but after looking at a recipe you notice you made multiple mistakes in the batter, the best idea is usually to start over from scratch. If you used three eggs when the recipe called for two, a tablespoon of salt when the recipe called for a teaspoon and a chocolate mix but you find out a guest is allergic to chocolate, it is best to start over. Rather than try to pull an egg out of the batter, pick out the excess salt and sift the chocolate mix out, you should throw out the batter and make a batter that will actually work for the cake. This principle also applies to laws passed by Congress.

02/03/2015
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The Fourth Amendment is NOT a Useless Piece of Paper

This title was adopted from a line by Justice Sotomayor during the recent Supreme Court oral arguments in Rodriguez v. United States. Over time there has been an encroachment on our Fourth Amendment right against unreasonable searches, as Justice Sotomayor also said, “. . . we can’t keep bending the Fourth Amendment to the resources of law enforcement.” It is time for the courts to push back and protect our constitutional rights. Fortunately, two recent cases, one at the Supreme Court and another at the circuit level, have given great opportunities to do just this.

02/02/2015
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“Free” Federal Money is Never Free

While the federal government often entices states to promote its agenda by promising “free” federal money for the states that adopt their programs, this money is never free, and always comes with strings attached. When the federal government offers “free” money for a program it is really just hoping to get the states hooked on the program before the giveaways disappear, much like a drug dealer who offers you the first hit for free.

01/28/2015
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Williams-Yulee v. The Florida Bar: Free Speech is Worth Full Protection

While we may not agree with all speech we come across, it is important for liberty-minded individuals to defend all constitutionally protected speech. If we do not protect speech that we may not agree with, or that is of limited importance to us, there will be fewer people willing to defend speech that we care deeply about. Also, once the Supreme Court rules some speech can be restricted and still withstand constitutional scrutiny, it becomes easier for the Court to rule other speech can be restricted as well.

01/26/2015

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