SCOTUS ruling on marriage equality raises new question

Many people are celebrating the ruling from the US Supreme Court which makes same-sex marriage legal across the country. Some people, like Ted Cruz, say the ruling marks “one of the darkest hours of our nation.”

There are many sound bites from supporters and opponents of the issue. However the ruling itself recognizes marriage as a fundamental right. The majority opinion states, “The challenged laws burden the liberty of same-sex couples, and they abridge central precepts of equality. The marriage laws at issue are in essence unequal: Same-sex couples are denied benefits afforded opposite-sex couples and are barred from exercising a fundamental right.” Adding, “The right to marry is a fundamental right inherent in the liberty of the person, and under the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment couples of the same-sex may not be deprived of that right and that liberty. Same-sex couples may exercise the fundamental right to marry.”

Fundamental rights are not something that should be regulated or licensed. But what exactly are fundamental rights? It could be argued that the right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness are the fundamental rights, and they are the ones specified in the Declaration of Independence. I would expound to say that anything that is does not cause a real victim is a fundamental right. I say real victim to differentiate between the imagined victim of “society” as the victim if x is allowed to happen unhindered.

Supporters of freedom believe that no person or group has more rights than any other person or group. Meaning that if I have a fundamental right to do a certain thing, everyone else has that same right. There is, however a difference between someone being able to exercise a right – which governments often prevent – and the person actually having the right. In this case, the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples can exercise their fundamental right to get married. Jesse Kline of the National Post wrote, “the central question… is whether the state should be dictating the domestic arrangements of consenting adults.” I say: “NO!” If two consenting adults can get married, then any number of consenting adults should be allowed to do so, as long as the relationship remains consensual. If a man and woman wish to get married, and either partner wishes to bring another person into the relationship, they should legally be allowed to do so, as long as the relationship remains consensual.

The Supreme Court ruling which allows same-sex couples to legally marry may be a small step forward in equal protection under the law for a small group, though it is two steps back in removing government interference in people’s lives and relationships. One can only hope that at some point, governments begin removing licensing and regulations over personal matters.

Source: FPP

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SCOTUS rules on free speech

The US Supreme Court recently issued two seemingly conflicting rulings on free speech. Scotusblog reports the Supreme Court “gave state governments sweeping new control over the messages that can be put on auto and truck license plates but restricted governments at all levels from using differing rules to control the messages put on billboards and other outdoor signs.
As a combined result of two new rulings, government both gained added power to speak for itself but faced the loss of some of its power to control what others may say in public displays. And the meaning of the First Amendment, in general, became somewhat more confusing.”

The ruling involving signs involved a church in Gilbert, AZ. The church did not have a physical building, and relied on signs to notify people where they would meet. The city had an ordinance regulating the size and duration of signs depending on the message. Signs expressing a philosophical message were only required to be under 20 square feet. Whereas a sign informing people of an event were prohibited from being over 6 square feet, and could not be place more than 12 hours before the event or remain for more than 2 hours after the event.

Richard Winger of Ballot Access News reports, “The key sentence in the decision is ‘Thus, a speech regulation targeted at specific subject matter is content based even if it does not discriminate among viewpoints within that subject matter.’”

In a seemingly conflicting ruling, the high court “cut back motorists’ right to choose the messages they wanted to convey on their state-issued plates,” however Scotusblog added, “The First Amendment was not the decisive factor in the license plate controversy. The Court, dividing five to four, ruled that the messages on those plates are ‘government speech,’ and, as such, the First Amendment imposes no direct curb on the content of that message.”

It is unclear if the restriction of license plate content will extend to the text of vanity plates, or if it will only allow states to prohibit the issuance of specialty plates. It also leads to the question of how expansive Reed (the sign case) should be applied. Justices Breyer, Kagan & Ginsburg said in their concurrent opinion that the ruling, written by Justice Thomas, was so sweeping that very few public sign laws were likely to survive that analysis. Should Reed be applied to all sign ordinances? Will Reed help political parties that can show they’re being discriminated against?

Winger adds, “The [Reed] decision may also help the Libertarian and Green Parties to win their pending lawsuit against Arizona voter registration forms, which make it more difficult for voters to register into those parties (even though they are ballot-qualified) than into the Republican and Democratic Parties. The decision may also be useful for lawsuits filed against ballot formats that make it more difficult for voters to vote for independent candidates than for Republican and Democratic nominees.”

Only time will tell if Winger is correct in his assessment, though it’s possible a court will claim that political affiliations and ballots are “government speech” that can be more strictly regulated than other forms of speech.

Source: FPP

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Announcing the coming publication of A Rebel’s Journey, and fundraiser

CONTACT: Darryl W. Perry, Owner/Managing Editor
Phone: 202-709-4377                   NEWS RELEASE
Email: editor@fpp.cc                   FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Web: FPP.cc

Announcing the coming publication of, and fundraiser for, A Rebel’s Journey
Free Press Publications is pleased to announce the upcoming publication of A Rebel’s Journey, which details Presidential candidate Darryl W. Perry’s the path to the ideas of liberty. Perry says his path to the ideas of liberty began as a search for traditional values.

Perry, who has written and published several book, is opting for a less traditional publication of A Rebel’s Journey. He is holding a fundraiser to to offset the profits that he would have earned through a more traditional publication of the book, and will then make the book available as cheaply as possible. He said, “The funds raised will allow me to get the book into the hands of more people, and promote the book to a wider audience.”

Perry said, “Donors can get the e-book and the audio book for free, as well as bonus audio content (including interviews with Jeffrey Tucker, Lynn Ulbricht, Ben Stone and more) OR a signed copy of the paperback book and more!”

Additionally, if the goal is surpassed then donors can get additional perks. The fundraiser is running through August 7, and the book will be published this fall after donors receive their perks.

The fundraiser can be found at http://igg.me/at/a-rebels-journey
A video explaining the fundraiser is available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMsXhhK9W6s
Bitcoin donations are being accepted at http://ArebelsJourney.com

###Free Press Publications is an independent alternative media and publishig company, founded in June 2009, with the mission of “ensuring a FREE PRESS for the FREEDOM MOVEMENT” and is committed to spreading the message of peace, freedom, love and liberty.
FPP also gives new authors an avenue for publishing freedom oriented material.

Source: FPP

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Facebook, Reason.com and free speech on the internet

If you thought you still had free speech on the internet, you might be in for a surprise. A couple of weeks ago the US Supreme Court issued an opinion reversing a lower court’s conviction of a man, Anthony Elonis, who posted violent messages on Facebook. Forbes reports, the majority opinion written by Chief Justice John Roberts, raised the level of criminality required for conviction of online threatening, “ruling that prosecutors must offer some proof that a defendant made a ‘true threat’ with the intent to hurt a specific individual.” In other words when it comes to online threats, intent matters! Bloomber adds, “The justices didn’t decide whether Elonis’s First Amendment rights were violated, instead interpreting the federal threat statute in a way that averted potential constitutional problems.”

Apparently no one told Judge Katherine Forrest or US Attorney Preet Bahara. Bahara sent a subpoena to Reason.com demanding information about users who posted comments that were perceived as threatening, but may lack the intent required by the US Supreme Court to justify a conviction. The messages read:
“Its judges like these that should be taken out back and shot.”
“It’s judges like these that will be taken out back and shot.”
“Why waste ammunition? Wood chippers get the message across clearly. Especially if you feed them in feet first.”
“Why do it out back? Shoot them out front, on the steps of the courthouse.”
“I hope there is a special place in hell reserved for that horrible woman.”
“There is.”
“I’d prefer a hellish place on Earth be reserved for her as well.”
“F*** that. I don’t want to pay [sic] for that c***’s food, housing, and medical. Send her through the wood chipper.”

Judge Forrest, you may recall, is the federal judge who sentenced Ross Ulbricht to life in prison; Preet Bahara is the man who prosecuted Ulbricht in the Silk Road case. That case seems to have set the bad precedent that some expected: that a website operator can be held liable for the actions of their users, at the discretion of the prosecuting attorney of course.

Ken White wrote on PopeHat.com, “The ‘threats’ do not specify who is going to use violence, or when. They do not offer a plan, other than juvenile mouth-breathing about ‘wood chippers’ and revolutionary firing squads. They do not contain any indication that any of the mouthy commenters has the ability to carry out a threat. Nobody in the thread reacts to them as if they are serious. They are not directed to the judge by email or on a forum she is known to frequent.
Therefore, even the one that is closest to a threat… lacks any of the factors that have led other courts to find that ill-wishes can be threats.”

If someone is making a credible threat it shouldn’t matter whether the threat comes in written or spoken word. However comments that are off-hand remarks from keyboard warriors should not lead to the prosecution of the person trying to act tough from the comfort of his home, nor should the operator of the website be called to court to hand over information they may not even possess.

Source: FPP

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TSA failures expose security theater

At the beginning of the month, Homeland Security Director Jeh Johnson announced that acting-TSA chief Melvin Carraway would be reassigned after a report was released showing that the TSA failed 95% of their own tests to detect mock explosives and weapons. These results are dismal but not unexpected, at least to those who have paid attention to previous reports of TSA failures. CNN reports, “ The TSA has been failing these sorts of tests since its inception: failures in 2003, a 91% failure rate at Newark Liberty International in 2006, a 75% failure rate at Los Angeles International in 2007, more failures in 2008. And those are just the public test results.” However, the TSA had attempted to excuse those previous results as not being accurate, because they were tests in a single airport, or “not realistic simulations of terrorist behavior.”

There’s no excuses this time, right? The test was conducted in dozens of airports, and Reuters reports agents “did not detect banned weapons in 67 of 70 tests.” Reason reports, “TSA officials have complained in the past that undercover security testers—known as the Red Team—have an unfair advantage. The testers know the agency’s policies and procedures, and can design tests specifically to evade them… This wasn’t some brilliantly designed plot based on secret inside knowledge of how the TSA’s system works: The Red Team tester taped a fake bomb to his body and then walked through the bomb scanner, which went off.” The fake bomb which set off an alarm was not detected by the agent conducting a patdown.

After the results went public, Johnson said, “The numbers in these reports never look good out of context but they are a critical element in the continual evolution of our aviation security. We take these findings very seriously in our continued effort to test, measure and enhance our capabilities and techniques as threats evolve.”

I’m trying to imagine a context, outside of begging for more money to improve, in which a failure rate of 95% looks good. I’m also trying to comprehend why Melvin Carraway and the TSA agents who actually failed the tests are still employed. Lastly, I’m trying to figure out why some people don’t see that the TSA is not actual security, but just security theater. That term actually comes from security expert Bruce Schneier, who coined the phrase “for security measures that look good, but don’t actually do anything.”

Absent the TSA and other federal regulations each airline would be responsible for its own safety and security. Some airlines might choose to have more lax security, while others may choose more stringent security. In the end, it would be up to the passengers to decide the level of security they’re comfortable with, and the market would determine which airlines succeed and which ones fail.

Source: FPP

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A pardon for Ross Ulbricht

In 2013 Ross Ulbricht was arrested for allegedly operating the black market website Silk Road. In early 2015 he was found convicted in what was essentially a kangaroo trial, where his attorney was prevented from presenting evidence of government corruption in the case, because of an ongoing investigation. Two of the federal agents investigating the case have since been arrested for fraud and money laundering.

Ulbricht’s lead defense attorney Joshua Dratel wrote in a court filing, “In contrast to the government’s portrayal of the Silk Road web site as a more dangerous version of a traditional drug marketplace, in fact the Silk Road web site was in many respects the most responsible such marketplace in history, and consciously and deliberately included recognized harm reduction measures, including access to physician counseling. In addition, transactions on the Silk Road web site were significantly safer than traditional illegal drug purchases, and included quality control and accountability features that made purchasers substantially safer than they were when purchasing drugs in a conventional manner.”

Meghan Ralston, a former harm reduction manager for the Drug Policy Alliance says Silk Road was “a peaceable alternative to the often deadly violence so commonly associated with the global drug war, and street drug transactions, in particular.”

Despite the improprieties in the investigation and the trial, and despite the fact that Ross Ulbricht actually made the black market safer, he will be in prison for a minimum of 20 years. The Ulbricht family has said they plan to appeal the conviction, however they shouldn’t need to do so. Ross Ulbricht should be pardoned, as should all non-violent drug offenders!

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Announcing the Darryl W. Perry 2016 Presidential Campaign Platform

The Darryl W. Perry for President campaign is pleased to announce its 2016 Presidential Campaign Platform. This is the first time since the two campaigns of Harry Browne (1996 & 2000) that a Libertarian candidate has had a Presidential Campaign Platform separate from the platform of the Libertarian Party.
The goal of the Darryl W. Perry for President campaign is to run the most libertarian presidential campaign in history, to promote the ideas of liberty as boldly and as often as possible, and to give as many people the chance to vote for an actual libertarian in November 2016!

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Setting the record straight: Rand Paul, libertarianism & Bitcoin

Several recent headlines declares “Rand Paul is the first presidential candidate to accept Bitcoin”, however those headlines are inaccurate. It could be an accurate statement that he is the first Republican Presidential candidate to accept Bitcoin. It’s even possible that he’s the first Presidential candidate from either of the two major parties to accept Bitcoin. However, Rand Paul is not the first Presidential candidate to accept Bitcoin. That distinction belongs to yours truly, Libertarian Presidential candidate Darryl W. Perry, who in 2013 became the first Presidential candidate to accept crypto-currencies. In fact, I am only accepting donations in alternative currencies (crypto- currencies & precious metals), and I have even vowed not to file any paperwork with the FEC because I do not believe the Federal Election Commission has legitimate authority to regulate the fundraising of candidates or donations of those giving to candidates or their campaigns. Continue reading

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The Darryl W. Perry for President campaign now accepts nearly 2 dozen crypto-currencies!

The Darryl W. Perry for President campaign is now accepting DOZENS of the world’s most popular altcoins, thanks to ShapeShift.io. Whether you have LTC, DOGE, NXT, NMC, Potcoin, or nearly 20 other altcoins, we can probably accept it, and ShapeShift.io will convert those altcoins to Bitcoin! There is a Shapeshift donate button on the donate page.

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A pardon for Edward Snowden

For the second consecutive year, Edward Snowden appeared at South by South West in Austin, Texas, and once again, he was not able to attend in person. Snowden, again, appeared via internet stream, this time to a select group of people from the technology and policy world. The Verge reports, “Sunday Yokubaitis, president of online privacy company Golden Frog, described as a ‘call to arms’ for tech companies to foil spying with better privacy tools.” Adding that “Snowden said that as policy reform lagged, companies should adopt more secure technology that could block surveillance altogether or make it too difficult to pursue en masse. A big focus was end-to-end encryption, which would mean no one (including companies) could see the contents of communications except the sender and recipient.”

One topic not discussed was in regards to the former NSA contractor: the possibility of a fair trial. In early March, one of Snowden’s lawyers said, “[Edward] Snowden is ready to return to the [United] States, but on the condition that he is given a guarantee of a legal and impartial trial.” Jesselyn Radack, who also works on Snowden’s legal team, says a trial under the Espionage Act—the World War I-era law that Snowden is alleged to have violated—“would not be considered fair.” Radack reportedly said, “Snowden would be amenable to coming back to the United States for the kind of plea bargain that Gen. [David] Petraeus received.”

Patreus plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge of mishandling classified material and will serve no jail time for his actions. Unlike Snowden, who gave classified documents about mass surveillance to members of the media; Petraeus gave classified info to his biographer and girlfriend, Paula Broadwell. Patreus then lied to the FBI about having given Broadwell access to the documents.

By contrast, Edward Snowden never lied about his actions, and even explained why he did it. We don’t yet know if Edward Snowden will ever be allowed to return to the United States, or if he will ever appear in a court. However, he should not have to appear in court, because he should be granted a full pardon.

I know that will not happen as long as Barack Obama is in the White House, because it was Obama’s Administration that sought espionage charges in the first place. Nor do I expect a Republican Presidentt to issue such a pardon either. Even the supposed libertarian Rand Paul has said that Snowden should spend “a few years in prison.”

It is clear that neither major party will do what is right, and will only serve to protect their own interests. Is it any wonder that both parties now have an approval rating below 40%?

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