Republican Party To Tighten Up its Primary Process

In a move that grassroots activists from the Ron Paul world were
warning me about since the Tampa convention in 2012 when the Party
decided that states would have to
allocate delegates based on popular vote and give winning
candidates veto power over specific delegates
, the Republican
Party is trying to tighten up its primary process in ways intended
(in some respects at least) to make sure no one can muck up the
official narrative.


As CNN reports
:

A handful of Republican Party officials is quietly advancing a
new batch of rules aimed at streamlining a chaotic presidential
nominating process that many party insiders viewed as damaging to
the their campaign for the White House in 2012….

In a series of closed-door meetings since August,
handpicked members of the Republican National Committee have been
meeting with party Chairman Reince Priebus in Washington to hash
out details of a sweeping plan to condense the nominating calendar,
severely punish primary and caucus states that upend the
agreed-upon voting order and potentially move the party’s national
convention to earlier in the summer….

It has been an insider’s gambit, designed to limit the chance
for the non-anointed “front runner” to stand out:

The 17-member special rules subcommittee tasked with
reforming the nominating process, appointed with little fanfare at
the RNC’s summer meeting in Boston….

Priebus and other top party figures have made no secret of their
desire to scale back the number of debates, which offered
little-known candidates such as Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain a
chance to shine but forced Mitt Romney, the eventual nominee, to
publicly stake out a number of conservative positions that came
back to haunt him in the general election.

One proposal being weighed by the RNC members would
involve sanctioning a small handful of debates while penalizing
candidates who participate in any nonsanctioned GOP debate by
stripping them of one-third of their delegates to the national
convention.

The official line is that all factions of the party are
represented in this committee. Some of the other proposed changes
do promise to at least slow down complete victory for
front-runners:

— Any state holding a primary or caucus during the first
two weeks of March must award its delegates proportionally, rather
than winner-take-all.

The measure is designed to prevent a candidate from catching
fire in the early states and then riding a burst of momentum to
winner-take-all victories in expensive, delegate-rich states such
as Florida or Texas. The early March window would give underfunded,
insurgent candidates a chance to prove their mettle.

“It will allow a grassroots candidate to stay in the race and
try to raise money and score some wins,” said Smack. “If they can’t
score wins by that time, they probably need to pack it in and try
again four years later.”

— States holding a contest after March 15 can decide to award
their delegates however they see fit.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/republican-party-to-tighten-up-its-prima
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Poll: 57 Percent of Americans Say the Obama Administration Is Not the Most Transparent Ever

“This is the most transparent
administration in history,” President Obama has said. The
new Reason-Rupe poll
, however, finds 57 percent of Americans
disagree with the president’s statement. Only 37 percent of
Americans think the Obama administration is the most transparent in
history.

Eighty-one percent of Republicans, 61 percent of independents,
and 34 percent of Democrats say the Obama administration is not the
most transparent administration in history.

As income rises, Americans become more skeptical of President
Obama’s transparency assertion. About half of Americans making less
than $50,000 a year disagree with the president’s promise compared
to 68% of Americans making more than $90,000 a year disagree.

A majority (54 percent) of Hispanics disagree that the current
administration is the most transparent while 41 percent agree.
Nearly two-thirds of white Americans disagree while more than
two-thirds of African-Americans agree that Obama’s administration
is most transparent.

A plurality of young Americans 18-24 agree with President Obama
on his administration’s transparency, but 60 percent of older
millennials (35-34) disagree.  Roughly 6 in 10 Americans over
35 also disagree the Obama administration is the most transparent
in history.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed
1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a
margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates
International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns
may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results,
detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign
up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe
poll here.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/poll-57-percent-of-americans-say-the-ob2
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Inspector General to Review Healthcare.gov Rollout, Regulators Approve “Volcker Rule,” 200,000 Sign Up for Chance to Make One-Way Trip to Mars: P.M. Links

  • no redThree
    years after the passage of the Dodd-Frank financial regulation
    bill, regulators have
    approved
    the so-called “Volcker Rule,” which will limit banks
    from certain kinds of investments and relationships with private
    equity firms and hedge funds.
  • Kathleen Sebelius
    announced
    an inspector general will review the botched
    Obamacare website rollout, and promised to keep trying to improve
    the site.
  • The NSA’s collection of Internet data could
    cost
    up to $35 billion in lost business for Silicon Valley,
    according to a new think-tank study. Google’s
    opened
    its first two data centers in Asia; basing one in
    Singapore and the other in Taiwan.
  • Former Phoenix police officer Richard Chrisman
    entered
    a guilty plea for manslaughter for shooting and killing
    Danny Rodriguez during a domestic violence call in 2010, avoiding a
    retrial on the charges. He faces up to fourteen years in prison. In
    the deal with prosecutors, a charge of animal cruelty Chrisman
    faced, for killing Rodriguez’s pitbull, will be dropped. The former
    cop also faces up to fifteen years for an assault charge he was
    convicted of related to the incident.
  • A man who says his confession was tortured out of him by the
    Chicago Police Department had his conviction overturned yesterday,
    and was
    released
    from prison after thirty years behind bars.
  • Japan’s new defense plan
    calls
    for an amphibious marine unit and the deployment of
    surveillance drones.
  • More than 200,000 people have signed
    up
    for four slots in a possible one-way mission to Mars planned
    for 2025 by Mars One. 

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from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/inspector-general-to-review-healthcare
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J.D. Tuccille on How Government Officials Doom Gun Registration Laws

Winchester 94In November
2013, Robert Farago of the Truth About Guns blog began publishing
letters received by gun owners in New York City demanding the
surrender of rifles and shotguns that hold more than five rounds.
While New York state recently passed the controversial SAFE Act
imposing registration and restrictions on “assault weapons” and
“high-capacity” magazines, the city law has been on the books for
years, though apparently only intermittently enforced. Amidst the
post-Newtown debate over gun control, though, Big Apple officials’
new dedication to poring over registration records and weeding out
forbidden weapons couldn’t help but fuel fears of confiscation—and
thereby spur defiance of already faltering registration schemes in
New York, Connecticut, and elsewhere. The problem for gun control
advocates, writes J.D. Tuccille, is that they keep promising that
no way will registration lead to confiscation of firearms, even as
it does just that.

View this article.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/jd-tuccille-on-how-government-officials
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Lawsuit Charges NYC Cops With Stomping a Parakeet (and Beating Humans) During a Warrantless Raid

Stories about
cops gratuitously killing dogs are
sadly common, but this is the first
parakeet stomping
I can recall. According to a federal lawsuit,
it all started during a 2012 Labor Day weekend barbecue at the
Staten Island home of Evelyn Lugo, a 57-year-old mother of 10.
Police officers stopped Lugo’s son Edwin Avellanet as he was taking
out some trash and asked him about an orange cone that someone had
used to save a parking space in front of the house. The cops
demanded identification, and Avellanet replied that he did not
have to provide any, since he had done nothing wrong. One of the
officers grabbed Avellanet’s arm, but he broke free and ran back
into his mother’s house. The suit says police then forcibly entered
the house without a warrant, breaking windows and at least one door
in the process.

During the raid, the cage containing Lugo’s cherished blue and
green parakeet, Tito, was knocked onto the floor, and the bird
escaped. Lugo’s daughter Anna Febles
told
the New York Daily News that she then
exclaimed, “The bird!” She said one of the officers replied, “Fuck
the bird!” and deliberately crushed it beneath his foot.

According to the lawsuit, the cops also attacked several humans,
repeatedly walloping Lugo’s son George and a family
friend, Luis Ortega, on the head with batons. The
justification? The NYPD isn’t talking, but I’m going to guess
something like “resisting arrest.” Arrest for what is not clear.
Criminal charges against Ortega, George Lugo, and his sister Alba
Cuevas were dismissed, and no charges were ever filed against
Avellanet, whose insistence on his civil liberties apparently
provoked the home invasion.

There is also no word on exactly what the parakeet did to
deserve his fate, but presumably the officer who killed it felt
threatened. 
“Ever since then I have been sick and
depressed,” Evelyn Lugo told the Daily News. “I was hurt
on the inside, in my heart.”

[Thanks to Richard Cowan for the tip.]

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/lawsuit-charges-nyc-cops-with-stomping-a
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Norway Digitizing All Norwegian Books, Regardless of Copyright Status

Norway is taking on a daunting
and liberalizing task: It is creating a digital collection of all
the nation’s books, newspapers, television broadcasts, and every
other piece of media they can get their hands on. Significantly,
even copyrighted materials will become more accessible.

The National
Library of Norway,
located in Oslo and operating under the
Ministry of Culture, hopes to create a digital “memory bank by
providing a multimedia knowledge centre focusing on archiving and
distribution,” and provide easy access to “many different types of
content ranging from the Middle Ages through to the present day.”
The organization’s website adds that “the digital objects are
enriched with metadata and sustainable identifiers which will
increase the opportunities for archiving, use and reuse over the
next millennium.”

The library has already digitized an estimated 235,000
books, 240,000 pages of handwritten manuscripts, 4,000 posters,
740,000 hours of radio, 310,000 hours of television, 7,000 films,
7,000 records, and 8,000 audiotapes. Still, officials anticipate it
will take 20-30 years to become current on the task.

Anybody in the world can read and download works that are not
covered by copyright. To some extent, works still protected by
copyright will also be accessible. Although Business
Insider
and
The Verge
report that any copyrighted will be
accessible if one is using a Norwegian IP address, that does not
seem to be exactly accurate. Rather,
specifically 20th century copyrighted works will require
the appropriate address.

What about documents from the 21st century? “The
entire digital collection shall be available for research and
documentation on the National Library of Norway’s premises,”
according to the official library website.

The role of copyright laws, their implementation, and their

abuses
are contestable subjects. Norway’s program does not
provide a perfect solution or route there. The fact that “the
Norwegian Legal Deposit Act requires that all published content, in
all media, be deposited with the National Library of Norway” may
rightfully irk those who would rather not be coerced by their
government.

Still, The Atlantic‘s Alexis C. Madrigal
humorously
suggests
that this archive ensures Norway’s culture a certain
longevity over America’s in case of an apocalyptic event.

Tech writer Glyn Moody offers a more serious approval of
Norway’s move and gives his opinion on the problems of many current
copyright laws. He
writes
for Techdirt:

Excessive copyright… not only prevents today’s artists from
building on the work of their recent forebears — something that
occurred routinely until intellectual monopolies were introduced in
recent centuries — but it even jeopardizes the preservation and
transmission of entire cultures because of publishers’ refusal to
allow copyright to move with the times by permitting large-scale
digitization and distribution of the kind envisaged in Norway.

Reason‘s own
Nick Gillespie
,
Jesse Walker
, and others have
covered the cumbersome issue of copyrights as well.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/norway-digitizing-all-norwegian-books-re
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73 Percent of Americans Say Congress Does Not Understand Health Care or the Impact of Health Care Laws

Nearly three out of four
Americans say members of Congress do not understand the health care
system or the impact of health care laws they pass. Just a quarter
say Congress understands the health care system well and the
consequences of the health care laws they pass.

About half of respondents, 48 percent, say the typical lawmaker
understands these issues “not well at all,” and 25 percent say the
typical member of Congress understands the issues “not too well.”
Twenty-one percent believe the average member of Congress
understands the health care system and the impact of the health
care laws they pass “somewhat well” and just 4 percent think the
average legislator understands these issues “very well.”

Only 32 percent of Democrats say that the typical member of
Congress understands the health care system and an even lower
number of Republicans — 16 percent — agree. Instead, majorities of
Republicans (55 percent) and independents (52 percent) go so far as
to say Congress doesn’t understand the health care system “at all,”
as well as 40 percent of Democrats.

Compared to other groups, young Americans have considerably
higher confidence in Congress’ knowledge and abilities, with 40
percent who say Congress understands the health care system well
and 58 percent who say it doesn’t. However, there is a divide
between younger and older millennials. For instance, while 41
percent of 25-34 year olds says Congresspersons understands these
issues “not well at all” compared to 23 percent of college-aged
millennials.

As Americans get older they become less likely to expect
Congress to understand health care and the laws it passes. Roughly
58 percent of Americans over 45 have little confidence in Congress’
knowledge, compared to 42 percent among those aged 25-44, and a
quarter among those aged 18-24.

White Americans over 35 are considerably more likely than young
white Americans, or minorities to have little confidence in
Congress. For instance, 59 percent of older Caucasians don’t expect
Congress people to understand the health care system “at all”
compared to about a third of younger Caucasians and minorities.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed
1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a
margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates
International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns
may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results,
detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign
up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe
poll here.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/73-percent-of-americans-say-congress-doe
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One More Day to Solicit Obama's Support for Electronic Privacy

The National Security Agency’s
collection of metadata such as telephone records and cellphone
location information has sparked considerable outrage since it was
revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last spring. But
it is aguably less troubling than the privacy threat highlighted by
We
the People
 petition
that has one more day to collect
the signatures it needs to trigger a White House response: the
vulnerability of communication content that has resulted from a
combination of evolving technology and the Supreme Court’s
misguided “third party doctrine.”

According to that doctrine, which the Court developed in the
1970s, information voluntarily disclosed to third parties such as
banks, accountants, and telephone companies is not protected by the
Fourth Amendment. It therefore receives only as much protection as
legislators decide to give it. Congress responded to this challenge
back in 1986 by passing the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
(ECPA), which aimed to make sure that messages delivered by
newfangled means received the same protection as messages delivered
by mail or telephone wire. But in the 27 years since then, ECPA has
become
woefully out of date
, to the point that law enforcement
agencies can plausibly claim they do not need a warrant to read
your email or peruse other files held on remote servers, even
though the same information would be protected if it were stored on
your computer at home. Given the ubiquity of remote storage for all
sorts of sensitive information, that is a pretty scary loophole,
which is why legislation
aimed at fixing this problem has attracted bipartisan support in
Congress.

But although the Justice Department has
retreated
from its longstanding position that the government
may read email at will as long as it has been opened or stored
longer than six months, the Obama administration so far has not
explicitly endorsed ECPA reform. That is where the We the
People 
petition comes in. It currently has nearly 75,000
signatures, about 25,000 shy of the threshold for a response from
the president. “We think that, if he’s forced to take a stance,
he’ll throw his weight behind reform,”
says
TechFreedom President Berin Szoka. Attorney General Eric
Holder has
said
a warrant requirement for email “is something that I think
the [Justice] Department will support.” Tomorrow is the
deadline for collecting 100,000 signatures. 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/one-more-day-to-solicit-obamas-support-f
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One More Day to Solicit Obama’s Support for Electronic Privacy

The National Security Agency’s
collection of metadata such as telephone records and cellphone
location information has sparked considerable outrage since it was
revealed by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden last spring. But
it is aguably less troubling than the privacy threat highlighted by
We
the People
 petition
that has one more day to collect
the signatures it needs to trigger a White House response: the
vulnerability of communication content that has resulted from a
combination of evolving technology and the Supreme Court’s
misguided “third party doctrine.”

According to that doctrine, which the Court developed in the
1970s, information voluntarily disclosed to third parties such as
banks, accountants, and telephone companies is not protected by the
Fourth Amendment. It therefore receives only as much protection as
legislators decide to give it. Congress responded to this challenge
back in 1986 by passing the Electronic Communications Privacy Act
(ECPA), which aimed to make sure that messages delivered by
newfangled means received the same protection as messages delivered
by mail or telephone wire. But in the 27 years since then, ECPA has
become
woefully out of date
, to the point that law enforcement
agencies can plausibly claim they do not need a warrant to read
your email or peruse other files held on remote servers, even
though the same information would be protected if it were stored on
your computer at home. Given the ubiquity of remote storage for all
sorts of sensitive information, that is a pretty scary loophole,
which is why legislation
aimed at fixing this problem has attracted bipartisan support in
Congress.

But although the Justice Department has
retreated
from its longstanding position that the government
may read email at will as long as it has been opened or stored
longer than six months, the Obama administration so far has not
explicitly endorsed ECPA reform. That is where the We the
People 
petition comes in. It currently has nearly 75,000
signatures, about 25,000 shy of the threshold for a response from
the president. “We think that, if he’s forced to take a stance,
he’ll throw his weight behind reform,”
says
TechFreedom President Berin Szoka. Attorney General Eric
Holder has
said
a warrant requirement for email “is something that I think
the [Justice] Department will support.” Tomorrow is the
deadline for collecting 100,000 signatures. 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/one-more-day-to-solicit-obamas-support-f
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47 Percent of Americans Say Health Care Law Has Decreased Their Confidence In Government's Ability to Solve Problems

The latest
Reason-Rupe poll
 finds that the troubled implementation of
the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has caused 47 percent of Americans to
lose confidence in government’s ability to solve
problems. 

Eleven percent of Americans say the health care rollout has
increased their confidence in government’s ability to solve
problems, while 41 percent say the law’s implementation hasn’t made
much of a difference either way.

In fact, even a quarter of those with favorable opinions of the
health care law say the roll-out decreased their confidence in
government.

Twenty-seven percent of Democrats, 73 percent of Republicans and
49 percent of independents say the health care law’s roll-out has
decreased their confidence in government’s ability to solve
problems.

Those with incomes higher than $75,000 a year were more likely
(56 percent) to say implementation of the ACA has decreased their
confidence in government while 34 percent said it made no
difference. Conversely, those with incomes lower than $75,000 a
year were about equally likely to say the ACA roll-out decreased
their confidence in government (44 percent) or that it made no
difference (43 percent).

Young Americans under 35 were least shaken by the ACA
implementation. While 51 percent of those over 35 say they’ve lost
trust in government’s efficacy, 37 percent of young Americans
agree. Instead a plurality (47 percent) of Americans under 35 say
the law’s roll-out has not impacted their view of government.

Among those reporting a favorable view of the federal health
care law, only one in five, 21 percent, say the law’s
implementation has increased their confidence in the government’s
ability to solve problems while 55 percent say it hasn’t made much
of a difference.

Nationwide telephone poll conducted Dec 4-8 2013 interviewed
1011 adults on both mobile (506) and landline (505) phones, with a
margin of error +/- 3.7%. Princeton Survey Research Associates
International executed the nationwide Reason-Rupe survey. Columns
may not add up to 100% due to rounding. Full poll results,
detailed tables, and methodology found here. Sign
up for notifications of new releases of the Reason-Rupe
poll here.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/11/47-percent-of-americans-say-health-care
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