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Archive for April, 2016
U.S. Customs Cash Declarations: Just Another Routine Government Outrage

Anyone (individual or family) who enters the USA is required to fill out CBP Form 6059B, whereupon one must provide various personal information and answer several questions. One of the questions asks whether one is “carrying currency or monetary instruments over $10,000 U.S. or foreign equivalent.” A paragraph on the back of the form…
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“Eye in the Sky” Confronts Complicated Ethics of Drone Warfare

Many have argued that drones–remotely controlled vehicles that shoot missiles or engage in deadly fire against targets–are a particularly dangerous form of waging war because it distances us from the carnage it produces. How can the value of human life be protected if it’s reduced to a video game with “pilots” operating from isolated…
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Should People Be Allowed to Reveal What Their Government Is Doing to Them?

If the government does something to you, should they also have the power to require you not to tell anyone?  That’s the issue in a lawsuit Microsoft is bringing against the federal government. Microsoft claims that over the past 18 months it has had 2,576 orders from the federal government to turn over customer…
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Private Businesses Are Not “Public Accommodations”

On Tuesday, April 5, Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi signed a bill passed by the state’s legislature shielding certain business owners, public employees and non-profit organizations from lawsuits charging them with unlawful discrimination for refusing to serve same-sex customers. Styled the “Protecting Freedom of Conscience from Government Discrimination Act,” the new law drew sharp…
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Note to Brazil’s Embattled President: It’s Time to Go

A technical committee of the Chamber of Deputies has voted to recommend the impeachment of Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. If two-thirds of the lower house of Congress vote to impeach her, her fate will rest with the Senate, where a simple majority will certainly accept the case. During the process, Rousseff will be suspended…
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DOD vs. CIA: Syria Edition

File this under the category of “I told you so.” In 2014, I wrote a piece on the idea of arming “moderate” Syrian rebels. The threat posed by the Islamic State, known also as ISIL or Deash, led many in Congress and President Obama to call for hundreds of millions of dollars to assist…
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California’s High-Speed Rail Authority Wins Dishonor of the California Golden Fleece Award

The California High-Speed Rail Authority (CHSRA) has won the Independent Institute’s first California Golden Fleece Award for its lack of transparency and history of misleading the public about key details of the state’s “bullet-train” project, which no longer reflect what voters approved in 2008. The agency’s “bait-and-switch” strategy justifies a statewide vote on whether…
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Obamacare’s Unintended Consequences: People Buy Short-Term Policies

Obamacare has driven individual health insurance premiums up so high that people are forgoing comprehensive health coverage in favor of short-term policies, according to the Wall Street Journal: Robin Herman, the 34-year-old owner of a marketing firm in San Francisco, bought a short-term policy in December. The monthly cost of her short-term coverage, plus…
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Guard Your Liberty

By Christopher J. Coyne and Abigail R. Hall Blanco One of the greatest threats to freedom is indifference by those who possess it. In the aftermath of shootings, terror attacks, wars, and other unsettling geopolitical events, the political elite frequently confronts citizens with a supposed tradeoff between liberty and “safety”. Citizens are told that…
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Chicken and Egg in Consumer-Driven Health Care

An advocate of consumer-driven health care will often be challenged by this question: “So, when I am hit by a bus, or have a heart attack or stroke, or am suffering from dementia, you want me to go shopping around for medical care?” Obviously not. Nevertheless, this is a serious challenge and invites the…
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