Mike Huckabee "Leading" in Early 2014 Early 2016 GOP Polling, Ought to Be Familiar: Everything Old is New Again

who's who?The eruption of Chris Christie’s very Jersey
scandal (traffic, bullying, cronyism) earlier this year as a
national news story may have had more to do with his perceived 2016
aspirations than its wider newsworthiness.
New early 2016 polling
from CNN suggests the scandal’s taken
away the very early “lead” in the Republican presidential
nominating contest even earlier CNN polling found, to the benefit
of Hillary Clinton, the very early Democrat frontrunner, who’s
hoping to leave her national scandals in the past, and who earlier
polling found polling within the margin of error in a hypothetical
matchup with Christie.

The CNN poll found Mike Huckabee (a “new name” it called him)
rising a point above the rest of the GOP field, at 14 percent.
(Rand Paul had 13, followed by Christie and Jeb Bush at 10) The
murmurs about the former Arkansas governor mulling a 2016 run may
be new, but Huckabee, who ran for president in 2008, was considered
by some Republican operatives as a presumptive frontrunner in 2012,
and has hosted an eponymous weekend show on Fox News for more than
five years, is hardly a new name. Less than a year out from the
first GOP primaries, Gallup
started tracking candidates
’ name recognition and “positive
intensity” to get a clearer sense of what it actually meant when
more familiar names appeared at the top of “trial heat”
results.

We’re still twice as far from a 2016 election as Gallup was when
it started doing that, but there is some limited polling from them
on the name recognition of some of the names thrown around as the
primordial 2016 GOP pool. In June of last year, a Gallup poll
(pdf)
found 20 percent of respondents had never heard of Chris Christie,
and 26 percent had never heard of Rand Paul. Mike Huckbaee’s Name
ID, and Jeb Bush’s for that matter, weren’t measured. But consider
that Paul Ryan, who got 9 percent in CNN’s poll, was “never heard
of” by only 19 percent of Gallup responded. Marco Rubio, tied at 9
with Ryan, had 29 percent never hear of him in the Gallup polling.
Presumably, Huckabee, a cable news figure and former Republican
contender, and Jeb Bush, the brother of a former president and the
son of another one, would have far higher name recognition. Without
that information, it’s hard to tell what the number means, except
that Republicans aren’t sure who they want running for president
yet. The more important decision might be in what ideological
direction the party should go, something that’s being litigated in
Congress and on the state level, not just in the 2014 elections,
but in the debates about the party’s agenda that are already
preceding them, as Peter Suderman noted when he declared Obama, not
in this round of polling questions, was over.

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Meet the U.S. Allies – Saudi Arabia Passes Draconian, Medieval Laws to Crush Dissent

One of the most significant geopolitical events of 2013 was the failed push for war in Syria by the Obama Administration. It didn’t merely fail as a result of a war weary public (although that played a key role), it also failed due to the fact our clownish “leaders” were attempting to offer military support to rebels with a large al-Qaeda element. So the pathetic “sell” by the U.S. establishment was to push the nation into a conflict allied with the very terrorist group against which we are fighting the “war on terror,” and have given up so many of our civil liberties to wage. Ridiculous, yet they tried anyway. That is how stupid they think the public is.

What that failed attempt at war mongering demonstrated to anyone paying attention is that our foreign policy is a complete joke and total sham. We publicly claim to support “democracy” and “freedom” around the world, yet in reality support some of the most oppressive regimes out there.

No relationship highlights this hypocrisy as clearly as our extremely close alliance with the Saudi regime, one of the last “absolute monarchies” on the planet. Not only that, but increasing evidence points to its direct involvement in the 9/11 attacks. But it gets worse. A lot worse. The regime has just passed a series of Medieval laws to crack down on all dissent. In a nutshell: Dissent = Terrorism.

From the New York Times:

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia put into effect a sweeping new counterterrorism law Sunday that human rights activists say allows the kingdom to prosecute as a terrorist anyone who demands reform, exposes corruption or otherwise engages in dissent.

The law states that any act that “undermines” the state or society, including calls for regime change in Saudi Arabia, can be tried as an act of terrorism. It also grants security services broad powers to raid homes and track phone calls and Internet activity.

Saudi Arabia is one of the world’s last absolute monarchies. All decisions are centered in the hands of 89-year-old King Abdullah. There is no parliament. There is little written law, and judges — implementing the country’s strict Wahhabi interpretation of Islam — have broad leeway to impose verdicts and sentences.

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Matthew Feeney Discusses Heroin on HuffPost Live at 1:30pm ET

At 1:30pm ET I will be on
HuffPost Live discussing heroin with Maia Szalavitz of
Time, who has written an article titled
“Philip Seymour Hoffman Didn’t Have to Die,”
and Jeff Deeney,
who
supports
injections sites for heroin users.

Watch live
here
.

Reason senior editor Jacob Sullum has recently written
on whether heroin use is “soaring”
and on how prohibition makes heroin
more dangerous

For more from Reason.com on heroin click here.

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Gene Healy Says We Need Political Labels

Major partiesLaunched in 2010 to “move
America from the old politics of point-scoring toward a new
politics of problem-solving,” No Labels is back, with a “three-year
campaign to create a national strategic agenda” and a new book,
No Labels: A Shared Vision for a Stronger America. “The
grownups show up,” gushes one Amazon reviewer. But if these are the
“grownups,” why do they come wearing happy-face buttons and
spouting get-along bromides that might have been drawn from a
middle-school “No Putdowns” campaign? Does Congress really need its
own anti-bullying movement? It’s easy to make fun of No Labels,
writes Gene Healy, but it’s also important, because their empty
pieties offer no real alternative to business as usual.

View this article.

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Will Russian Police Attempt to Arrest a Rainbow, Should One Appear at the Sochi Games?

The Winter Olympics kick off at the end of the week in Sochi,
and it’s still not entirely clear how Russian authorities are going
to respond to any objections to the country’s increasingly vicious
targeting of its non-heterosexual citizenry.

Human Rights Watch has released a “worst of” video highlighting
some of the anti-gay violence happening in Russia. Watch below:

Left out of the New York Times
report
is that one of the main alleged perpetrators of ant-gay
violence, Maksim “Machete” Martsinkevich, has been
charged
with “extremism” for his videos, fled to Cuba, and was
extradited back to Moscow to face a trial. So apparently there’s
some sort of a limit to the amount of thuggery the state will turn
its back on, though it’s not quite clear what the lines are (going
viral, maybe?).

Actually, nothing about Russia’s anti-gay anti-“propaganda” law
is particularly clear. ESPN points to the confusion about how the
law might affect foreign visitors to the
Olympics
:

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., the chairman of the European
(including Russia) Affairs Subcommittee of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, has studied the situation and told ESPN.com,
“The Russians have said they will not use these laws to crack down
during the Olympics, but I would not counsel my gay and lesbian
friends to go to the Olympics. We don’t know what the Russians will
do.”

Murphy also notes that Putin and the Russians have “blurred the
lines that define what behavior will be viewed as criminal. We
cannot determine with any certainty what conduct they will deem
criminal.”

The Russian anti-LGBT culture is particularly alarming to
athletes and activists because Russia’s laws and policies equate
homosexuality with pedophilia, a position that comes as a complete
surprise to Americans and others whose cultures and laws have moved
toward increasing acceptance of gays and lesbians, their lifestyles
and their rights to marriage and other benefits.

For Murphy and the DRL, it is the Russians’ claim of a
connection between homosexuality and pedophilia that is both wrong
and potentially dangerous.

“Putin is being totally and completely irresponsible when he
connects homosexuality and pedophilia. He shows this when he tells
gay people to stay away from children,” Murphy said.

A Russian journalist has been accused violating the law by
creating a social media group called “Children-404” to help LGBT
teens share their stories and find support. From
RIA Novosti
:

The case against Lena Klimova was opened at the request of
Vitaly Milonov, an ultraconservative regional lawmaker who has
spearheaded anti-gay legislation in Russia.

Milonov confirmed to RIA Novosti that he requested a check into
the Children-404 pro-LGBT group on the Russian social networking
site Vkontakte.

The group publishes personal statements by Russian gay teens on
their struggle for acceptance and against homophobia in the
country’s conservative provinces.

The group, created by Klimova, inveigles teens into questioning
their sexuality, Milonov said.

“Without such groups, no kids like that would exist,” said
Milonov, who has also campaigned against MTV, modern opera,
abortion and the teaching of evolution in schools.

In the meantime, GLBT supporters have
targeted
Coca-Cola and McDonald’s for protests due to their
financial support of the Olympics via sponsorships.

Whether the Olympics is going to be a big gay disaster for the
Russians is up in the air at the moment. Though it’s possible the
Olympics could be a
disaster
even without the gay issues.

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Edward Snowden Interview At LiveLeak: On Clapper Lying to Congress and the Possibility of Clemency

Snowden ObamaGerman TV interviewed NSA whistleblower
Edward Snowden and the video of the 30 minute interview is now
available at
LiveLeak
. Not surprisingly, a good bit of the interview focused
on NSA spying alliances, activities and capabilities in Europe.

The German reporter did, however, ask if Snowden was worried
about threats to his life. Given the
BuzzFeed report
in which anonymous government functionaries
asserted that they would be happy to kill him, Snowden sensibly
replied yes, but that he still slept well at night.

Below are some selected quotations from the interview. For
example, the interviewer asked Snowden if there was a specific
“breaking point” at which he decided to go public with his
revelations?

Snowden: The breaking point is seeing the Director of National
Intelligence, James Clapper,
directly lie under oath to Congress
– there is no saving an
intelligence community that believes that it can lie to the public
and to legislators who need to be able to trust it and regulate its
actions. Seeing that really meant for me there was no going back.
Beyond that, it was the creeping realization that no one else was
going to do this. The public had a right to know about these
programs. The public had a right to know that which the government
is doing in its name.

The interviewer mentioned that the
New York Times had urged clemency
for Snowden and that
President Obama had ruled that out. The interviewer then cited the
president as noting that Snowden had been charged with three
felonies and then declared: “If you, Edward Snowden, believe in
what you did, you should come back to America and appear before the
court with your lawyer and make your case.”

In the interview, Snowden replied:

It’s interesting because he mentions three felonies. What he
doesn’t say is that the crimes that he’s charged me with are crimes
that don’t allow me to make my case; they don’t allow me to defend
myself in an open court to the public and convince a jury that what
I did was to their benefit. The Espionage Act … was never intended
to prosecute journalistic sources, people who are informing the
newspapers about information that is in the public interest. It was
intended for people who are selling documents in secret to foreign
governments, who are bombing bridges, who are sabotaging
communications, not for people who are serving the public good. So
it’s, I would say illustrative, that the president would choose to
say that someone should face the music when he knows that the music
is a show trial.

For more background, see my blogpost, “Should
Snowden Have Run Away?
” and my articles, “Thank
You Edward Snowden
,” and “President
Obama: Pardon Edward Snowden
.”

H/T David Ford.

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Mandatory “Vehicle to Vehicle” Communications Coming to U.S. Cars

The vision of ‘talking’ cars that avoid crashes is well on the way to becoming a reality. And we’re not just talking about cars talking to cars, but about cars talking to bikes, trucks talking to motorcycles, and even buses talking to pedestrians. This promises to significantly reduce the number of deaths and injuries on our nation’s roads while unleashing a new wave of innovation from advanced traffic management systems and smart mobility apps to real-time traffic, transit and parking information.

– Scott Belcher, President and CEO of the Intelligent Transportation Society of America

Worried about “pre-crime?” What about “pre-crash?”

The geniuses at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTS) are so concerned about your “safety,” they have decided to take it into their own hands and make it mandatory that your car wirelessly communicate with other vehicles on the road. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx went so far as to say the technology could save “thousands of lives and even prevent accidents in the first place.” The concept of “pre-crash” has been born.

As in so many other aspects of life, there is a top down push to remove all control from the individual to the collective (recall the MSNBC host who proclaimed children don’t belong to their parents), typically justified within the content of the “war on terror,” and always justified with “it’s for your own good.” Apparently, we aren’t capable of making our own choices in anything any more, including something as simple as driving a car.

This push to exert control within individual vehicles is nothing new and appears to be a global phenomenon.  For instance, just last week I posted an article titled: The EU May Mandate a “Remote Stopping Device” in All Cars for Police Use.

Now we learn from The Detroit News that:

Washington— The U.S. Transportation Department said Monday it plans to propose requiring all new cars and trucks to eventually communicate with one another, which could one day help reduce up to 80 percent of crash deaths.

But under the tentative timetable laid out, automakers aren’t likely to be required to install the in-vehicle communication devices until around 2020 — and even then, the devices will be phased in.

Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will begin working on a proposal to require vehicle-to-vehicle communication in future cars and trucks. He said he hopes to propose the regulation by the time the Obama administration leaves office in January 2017. NHTSA gives automakers at least 18 months of lead time before mandating new technology.

Foxx said at a news conference the technology could save “thousands of lives and even prevent accidents in the first place.”

Acting NHTSA chief David Friedman said the technology is a “game changer” and “nothing short of revolutionary.”

Um, sorry but if this is such a “gamer changer” and “revolutionary” why not just put it out there and see if the market adopts it. If it is as wonderful as Mr. Friedman claims, why does it need to be mandatory. No one made Bitcoin mandatory, yet it is being adopted because it genuinely is revolutionary. This guy’s statement is completely idiotic.

But major challenges need to be addressed: including ensuring that the devices would be secure — to prevent hackers couldn’t take control of the signals.

Hahaha, ok good luck with that. Just ask Target for some tips.

NHTSA also expects to decide soon whether to require future cars to have active collision avoidance systems — like automatic braking that halts a vehicle about to strike a stopped vehicle in front of it. Those systems are currently on many luxury cars.

Yeah, what could go wrong…

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How Prohibition Makes Heroin More Dangerous

Because someone
famous
died
in Manhattan from an apparent heroin overdose on Sunday,
The New York Times has a
front-page story
today about “a city that is awash in cheap
heroin.” How cheap? The Times says a bag of heroin,
which
typically contains
about 100 milligrams, “can sell for as
little as $6 on the street.” Yet it also reports that the Drug
Enforcement Administration’s New York office last year “seized 144
kilograms of heroin…valued at roughly $43 million.” Do the math
($43 million divided by 144,000 grams), and that comes out to about
$300 per gram, or $30 for a 100-milligram bag—six times the retail
price mentioned higher in the same story. So how did the DEA come
up with that $43 million estimate? Apparently by assuming that all
of the heroin it seized would have ended up in New England, where a
“$6 bag in the city could fetch as much as $30 or $40.”

In addition to illustrating the
creative calculations
behind drug warriors’ “street value”
estimates, the story shows how prohibition magnifies drug haazrds
by creating a black market where quality and purity are
unpredictable:

Recently, 22 people died in and around Pittsburgh after
overdosing from a batch of heroin mixed with fentanyl, a powerful
opiate usually found in patches given to cancer patients. Heroin
containing fentanyl, which gives a more intense but potentially
more dangerous high, has begun to appear in New York City, said
Kati Cornell, a spokeswoman for Bridget G. Brennan, the special
narcotics prosecutor for the city. An undercover officer bought
fentanyl-laced heroin on Jan. 14 from a dealer in the Bronx, she
said. The dealer did not warn of the mixture, which is not apparent
to the user; subsequent testing revealed it. (The patches
themselves had turned up in drug seizures in the city before, she
said.)

Ultimately, users have no way to be sure what they’re buying.
“There’s no F.D.A. approval; it’s made however they decide to make
it that day,” Ms. Brennan said.

According to the
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
,
fentanyl is “roughly 50-80 times more potent than morphine,” so
it’s the sort of ingredient you’d want to know about before
snorting or injecting that white powder you just bought. This kind
of thing—passing one drug off as another, delivering something much
more (or less) potent than the customer expects—almost never
happens in a legal market. When was the last time you bought a
bottle of 80-proof whiskey that turned out to be 160 proof? The
main reason liquor buyers do not have to worry about such a
switcheroo is not that distillers are regulated, or even that their
customers, unlike consumers in a black market, have legal recourse
in case of fraud. The main reason is that legitimate businesses
need to worry about their reputations if they want to keep
customers coming back. It is hard to build and maintain a
reputation in a black market, where brands do not mean much:

The same shipment of heroin may be packaged under several
different labels, she said. “At the big mills, we’ll seize 20
stamps. It’s all the same.”…

The Police Department on Monday said detectives were working to
track down the origin of the substances Mr. Hoffman used, though a
police official conceded it could be difficult to determine. “Just
because it’s a name brand doesn’t mean that anyone has an exclusive
on that name,” the official said. “Ace of Spades; I would venture
to say that someone else has used that name.”

The takeaway: After a century of attempts
to stamp out the heroin trade, the drug is cheap, plentiful, and
much more dangerous than it would otherwise be.

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Federal Court Nullifies Kentucky Law Permitting Firms to “Veto” Licensing Applications of New Competitors

In a
ruling
issued on Monday, the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Kentucky struck down a state law requiring
would-be entrepreneurs in the moving company business to receive
permission to compete from their established rivals.

At issue in Bruner v. Zawacki was a Kentucky statute
forcing anyone interested in entering the moving business to first
convince state officials “that the existing transportation service
is inadequate.” How? By surviving a government hearing where
existing moving companies were invited to “file a protest to the
granting, in whole or in part, of the application.” In the words of
yesterday’s ruling by Judge Danny Reeves, the Kentucky agency
charged with issuing those licenses “has never issued a Certificate
to a new applicant when a protest from a competing mover was
made.”

That monopolistic state of affairs prompted Raleigh Bruner,
owner of the unlicensed Wildcat Moving company in Lexington, to
file suit. Represented in federal court by the Pacific Legal
Foundation, a national public interest law firm, Bruner argued that
the Kentucky law violated his right to earn a living under the
Fourteenth Amendment.

The U.S. district court agreed. The “notice, protest, and
hearing procedures” amount to “an act of simple economic
protectionism,” Judge Reeves declared, and therefore “offend and
violate the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States
Constitution.” Henceforth, the judge ruled, “prospective moving
companies…will not be subject to a ‘veto’ from their competition
before they may lawfully act as a moving company.”

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Mayor Visits Home on Christmas Eve, Orders Family to Remove Lights (Nanny of the Month 1-14)

“Mayor Visits Home on Christmas Eve, Orders Family to Remove Lights
(Nanny of the Month 1-14)” is the latest video from ReasonTV.
Watch above or click on the link below for video, full text,
supporting links, downloadable versions, and more Reason TV
clips.

View this article.

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