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Senate Republican leader says still aiming for long-term government funding bill

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 14:34
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Republican in the U.S. Senate said on Tuesday he hoped to reach agreement "in the next few days" on a bill to fund the government through Sept. 30, saying it was too soon to talk about a short-term fix to avert a government shutdown at midnight on Friday.

Government Fuel-Economy Standards: A Big Mistake

LibertarianInstitute - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 14:34

My latest article for the American Institute for Economic Research is “Government Fuel-Economy Standards: A Big Mistake.”

The post Government Fuel-Economy Standards: A Big Mistake appeared first on The Libertarian Institute.

Government Fuel-Economy Standards: A Big Mistake was first posted on April 25, 2017 at 1:34 pm.

Qaeda-linked group claims Russia metro bombing, say reports

MiddleEasteye - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 14:18
Language Undefined

Fifteen people were killed and two dozen others wounded in the 3 April blast that ripped through an underground train in St Petersburg

Gold prices settle at lowest level in more than 2 weeks

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 13:46

Gold futures fell Tuesday, with prices settling at their lowest level in more than two weeks as gains in U.S. and European equities dulled investment demand for the precious metal. June gold fell $10.30, or 0.8%, to settle at $1,267.20 an ounce. That was the lowest finish since April 10, according to FactSet data.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Iran: Trump’s punching bag

MiddleEasteye - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 13:27

Desperate for a win after several embarrassing fails with fewer than 100 days in office, Trump aggressively targets Iran

Booed in Berlin for praising father, Ivanka Trump says fine-tuning role

Top Reuters News - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 13:21
BERLIN (Reuters) - Ivanka Trump was booed in Berlin on Tuesday when she described her father Donald as a "tremendous champion of supporting families" and said she was still fine-tuning her role as first daughter and informal White House adviser.

Tesla shares up more than 1%, just pennies away from record

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 13:17

Tesla Inc. shares vied for hitting fresh records on Tuesday. Shares traded as high as $313.17 earlier and were recently hovering around $312.20. Tesla hit a record close of $312.39 on April 10, when it also set an intraday record of $313.73. The company is scheduled to report first-quarter results next Wednesday.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Ultimate opportunism: The tacit Israeli-Islamic State alliance in Syria

MiddleEasteye - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:58

A former defense minister confirms Israeli collaboration with IS in Syria shows just how brutally cynical Israel’s motives and choices can be

Dow, S&P 500 regain grip above 50-day moving average

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:56

A two-day rally for the stock market has helped to propel U.S. equity benchmarks firmly above their 50-day moving average after closing below that level on April 12 for the first time since November. The S&P 500 index was more than 1.2% above its 50-day moving average of 2,360.20 in recent trade, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average was trading about 1.3% above its short-term average of 20,732.67, according to FactSet data. Both benchmarks edged above their short-term averages on Monday, Tuesday's rally has intensified that move. The Dow has gained 460 points, and the S&P 500 has surged about 40 points since Friday's close, as investors fear of global volatility eased following France's first-round election won by Emmanuel Macron, who's strong showing in a Sunday presidential vote helped to assuage fears that two anti-European Union candidates would make the final runoff. Early polls show Macron going into the second and final round of elections with a healthy lead over far-right candidate Marine Le Pen, who has threatened to pull France out of the EU. Better-than-expected earnings on Tuesday and President Donald Trump's promise to deliver the outline of a corporate tax-cut plan on Wednesday also has helped to fuel the recent sharp climb in global equities. Technical analysts tend to use moving averages to help determine an assets short-term or long-term trend. Meanwhile, the Nasdaq Composite Index touched a psychologically significant level, surpassing 6,000 for the first time ever.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

U.S. government shutdown threat recedes after Trump's wall concession

Top Reuters News - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:44
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The threat of a U.S. government shutdown this weekend appeared to recede on Tuesday after President Donald Trump backed away from a demand that Congress include funding for his planned border wall with Mexico in a spending bill.

U.S. government shutdown threat recedes after Trump's wall concession

Reuters US Politics - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:44
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The threat of a U.S. government shutdown this weekend appeared to recede on Tuesday after President Donald Trump backed away from a demand that Congress include funding for his planned border wall with Mexico in a spending bill.

Trudeau vows to defend Canada interests as U.S. targets lumber, Canadian dollar falls

Top Reuters News - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:43
OTTAWA (Reuters) - Prime Minister Justin Trudeau vowed to stand up for Canadian interests on Tuesday after the United States imposed new tariffs on softwood lumber and trade tensions between the two countries escalated, sending the Canadian dollar to a 14-month low.

Uber plans to launch flying cars by 2020

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:35

Uber Technologies Inc. plans to roll out flying cars with a pilot in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by 2020 and flights in Dubai at Expo2020, the company's chief product officer, Jeff Holden, said Tuesday. The goal is to cut in-transit time. In a live stream presentation from the Uber Elevate Summit, Holden said the company's models suggest flying cars could cost $1.32 per passenger mile, about the same rate as UberX, and later fall below the cost per mile of an owned vehicle. The flying-car option would eventually be available in the Uber app. Uber said it is working with aircraft manufacturers, including Aurora Flight Services and Pipistrel Aircraft, which are slated to build the flying cars using VTOL Technology, or technology for vertical take-off aircraft, and with real-estate companies in the two cities to build landing pads for the cars. Holden said he expects the number of cities with flying cars to grow rapidly. Uber has been piloting self-driving cars in cities across the U.S. but has run into regulatory difficulties, a hurdle it's also certain to face with flying vehicles. A startup backed by Alphabet Chief Executive Larry Page unveiled its flying car Monday, in a race with many other technology companies.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

The Risk of Brushing Aside Intelligence

ConsortiumNews - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:32
The mainstream U.S. media, which knows President Trump disdains facts, accepted his claims about the April 4 Syrian chemical incident without question and ignored doubts of intelligence analysts, a dilemma that Lawrence Davidson addresses. By Lawrence Davidson Government intelligence agencies,…

Giving Peace a Chance in Korea

ConsortiumNews - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:31
Vice President Mike Pence has declared that “all options are on the table” regarding North Korea and “the era of strategic patience is over.” But peaceful negotiations may be the only option that makes sense, reports Dennis J Bernstein. By…

Tupperware shares jump 12% after earnings beat and improved outlook

MarketWatch Market Pulse - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:30

Shares of food container maker Tupperware Brands Corp. surged more than 12% Tuesday, after the company reported stronger-than-expected earnings for the first quarter and raised its outlook for the rest of the year. The stock now stands at its highest level since Sept. 2014. Tupperware posted adjusted per-share earnings of $1.01, or 7 cents above the FactSet consensus. It had sales of $555 million, above the FactSet consensus of $532 million. Chief Executive Rick Goings said sales were driven by 9% growth in emerging markets, led by Brazil, China, Tupperware Mexico and Tupperware South Africa. That helped offset weakness in Indonesia, where sales fell 9%. Shares have gained 39% in 2017, while the S&P 500 has gained 6%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

Why Governments Always Exaggerate the Prostitution Threat

LibertarianInstitute - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:00

Although prostitution has been taboo for centuries, the current sex trafficking paranoia complicates the situation—both authorities and the public believe sex trafficking is far more common than it is.

To inflate the numbers, the American government includes people that know the sex workers personally, or who are just buyers as “pimps,” in the list. That being said, sex trafficking and human trafficking exists, but decriminalization—that is, to stop regulating sex work among willing adults—is the only tool to fight back.

Prohibition Doesn’t Work

Prohibition in one form or another has been used for a long time without good results. Even Amnesty International now concedes that by decriminalizing sex work, resources can be devoted to preventing and resolving actual cases of trafficking, not paranoia supported by people with a narrow political agenda.

The sex trafficking paranoia is like the new War on Drugs and there is even a bipartisan consensus in opposing sex work. Conservatives usually oppose legalized sex work on religious, moral, or societal grounds. Even liberals often oppose it by saying that sex work oppresses women, or assume that all prostitutes are really victims of sex trafficking—or worse, are somehow culpable criminals.

Thanks to this paranoia, a teenage sex worker who was the victim of trafficking herself was recently accused of human trafficking for getting in contact with another teenage girl while she was under influence of a violent pimp. This is a perfect example of victimizing the victims—exactly the opposite of what proponents of prohibition said would happen if their favored laws are enacted.

The only people who have always stood for sex worker rights are libertarians. This shouldn’t be a surprise. In other issues surrounding sexuality, for example, gay rights, they had an ally in progressives, at least in recent years. But on sex worker rights, the reality is very different.

Prominent figures in the Democratic Party like Senator Kamala Harris (CA.) want to ban sex work, making it difficult to see a clear path of common ground between liberals and libertarians on this issue.

While Trump is not a social conservative, he seems unlikely to pick a fight with the religious right over this. But since most libertarian-leaning politicians have a conservative base, they are having problems going forward to push public support.

In 2012, Senator Rand Paul questioned CBS News after they said that he and his father supported legalizing prostitution. However, then-Congressman Ron Paul claimed that while he is personally opposed to prostitution, he didn’t think it was the government’s role to forbid this practice.

Current Representatives such as like Justin Amash and Thomas Massie have also avoided the topic. But while libertarian politicians have been silent, many libertarians are making some noise.

Among the most prominent, one could mention Reason journalist Elizabeth Nolan Brown, and Libertarian Party activists like Norma Jean Almodovar and Starchild. Minarchist sex worker and sex worker rights activist Maggie McNeill and renegade historian Thaddeus Russell have also written about the topic.

Prostitution under the Nordic Model

While religious conservatives have always been opposed to prostitution, the left used to be more open to the idea. Notable radical leftist activist Angela Davis was staunchly in favor of an alliance between the feminist movement and the sex worker rights movement. Sadly, many liberal feminists today provide the intellectual backbone for continued prohibition instead.

Even liberal feminists who support the Nordic Model—that is, criminalizing buyers of sex, but not the sex workers themselves—are missing the full picture.

The Nordic Model implemented in some countries like Norway has been criticized by organizations including Amnesty International because it infringes on the rights of sex workers, especially immigrants, who are often deported if they are discovered working as a prostitute.

Worse still, the criminalization of buying sex has further marginalized sex workers. Proponents of the Nordic Model say that prostitution is always a violent and coercive experience. While this is true in cases where a person is forced to do sex work, that is not the case in the majority of instances where someone voluntarily chooses this occupation. Plus, pushing sex work onto the fringes of society only endangers individuals, and makes them unable to get help from authorities if it is needed.

Frankly, forbidding sex work is impossible and attempts to prohibit this occupation have largely proved unsuccessful. What has been successful is decriminalization, as evidenced by the New Zealand Model in which sex workers are recognized as part of the community. As a result, they can call the police when needed and publish ads without fear of arrest. Even the World Health Organization has praised decriminalization because the countries where it had been implemented have seen decreased HIV and other STI transmission rates among sex workers and their clients.

Liberal feminist activists often attack libertarian feminists who support the rights of women to choose what do with their bodies. For that matter, sex worker rights are not just about women’s rights–– there are also gay males and transgender individuals who are sex workers. It is time to declare that sex worker rights are human rights. If libertarians stand for freedom, then they should continue to be the biggest allies of sex workers in fighting against the intrusion of the state in the most private aspect of an individual—the control of their own sexuality.

This article was originally published on FEE.org. Read the original article.

The post Why Governments Always Exaggerate the Prostitution Threat appeared first on The Libertarian Institute.

Why Governments Always Exaggerate the Prostitution Threat was first posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:00 am.

Fourth Amendment Limits on Searching Your Data and Devices

LibertarianInstitute - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:00
The Bill of Rights at the Border

More than 325,000 people enter the United States via airports every day, with hundreds of thousands more crossing by land at the borders. Not only is that a lot of people, it’s also a lot of computers, smartphones, and tablets riding along in our pockets, bags, and trunks.  Unfortunately, the Fourth Amendment protections we enjoy inside the U.S. for our devices aren’t always as strong when we’re crossing borders—and the Department of Homeland Security takes advantage of it. On the other hand, the border is not a Constitution-free zone. What are the limits to how and how much customs and immigrations officials can access our data? To help answer those questions, we’re offering the second in our series of posts on the Constitution at the border, focusing this time on the Fourth Amendment. Click here for Part 1 on the First Amendment or for Part 3 on the Fifth Amendment.

The Default Privacy Rule

The Fourth Amendment forbids “unreasonable” searches and seizures by the government. In most circumstances, the Fourth Amendment requires that government agents obtain a warrant from a judge by presenting preliminary evidence establishing “probable cause” to believe that the thing to be searched or seized likely contains evidence of illegal activity before the officer is authorized to search.

The Border Search Exception

Unfortunately, the Supreme Court has sanctioned a “border search exception” to the probable cause warrant requirement on the theory that the government has an interest in protecting the “integrity of the border” by enforcing the immigration and customs laws. As a result, “routine” searches at the border do not require a warrant or any individualized suspicion that the thing to be searched contains evidence of illegal activity.

The Exception to the Exception: “Non-Routine” Searches

But the border search exception is not without limits. As noted, this exception only applies to “routine” searches, such as those of luggage or bags presented at the border.  “Non-routine” searches – such as searches that are “highly intrusive” and impact the “dignity and privacy interests” of individuals, or are carried out in a “particularly offensive manner” – must meet a higher standard: individualized “reasonable suspicion.” In a nutshell, that means border agents must have specific and articulable facts suggesting that a particular person may be involved in criminal activity. For example, the Supreme Court held that disassembling a gas tank is “routine” and so a warrantless and suspicionless search is permitted. However, border agents cannot detain a traveler until they have defecated to see if they are smuggling drugs in their digestive tract unless the agents have a “reasonable suspicion” that the traveler is a drug mule.

Border Searches of Digital Devices

How does this general framework apply to digital devices and data at the border? Border agents argue that the border search exception applies to digital searches.  We think they are wrong.  Given that digital devices like smartphones and laptops contain highly personal information and provide access to even more private information stored in the cloud, the border search exception should not apply. As Chief Justice Roberts recognized in a 2014 case, Riley v. California:

Modern cell phones are not just another technological convenience. With all they contain and all they may reveal, they hold for many Americans the privacies of life.

Snooping into such privacies is extraordinarily intrusive, not “routine.” Thus, when the government asserted the so-called “incident to arrest” exception to justify searching a cell phone without a warrant during or immediately after an arrest, the Supreme Court called foul. Why is the Riley decision important at the border? For one thing, the “incident to arrest” exception that the government tried to invoke is directly comparable to the border search exception, because both are considered “categorical” exemptions. Given that the intrusion is identical in both instances, the same privacy protections should apply. Moreover, with the ubiquity of cloud computing, a digital device serves as a portal to highly sensitive data, where the privacy interests are even more significant. Following Riley, we believe that any border search of a digital device or data in the cloud is unlawful unless border agents first obtain a warrant by showing, to a judge, in advance, that they have probable cause to believe the device (or cloud account) likely contains evidence of illegal activity. However, lower courts haven’t quite caught up with Riley.  For example, the Ninth Circuit held that border agents only need reasonable suspicion of illegal activity before they could conduct a non-routine forensic search of a traveler’s laptop, aided by sophisticated software. Even worse, the Ninth Circuit also held that a manual search of a digital device is “routine” and so a warrantless and suspicionless search is still “reasonable” under the Fourth Amendment. Some courts have been even less protective. Last year a court in the Eastern District of Michigan upheld a computer-aided border search of a traveler’s electronic devices that lasted several hours without reasonable suspicion. EFF is working hard to persuade courts (and border agents) to adopt the limits set forth in the Riley decision for border searches of cellphones and other digital devices. In the meantime, what should you do to protect your digital privacy? Much turns on your individual circumstances and personal risk assessment. The consequences for non-compliance with a command from a CBP agent to unlock a device will be different, for example, for a U.S. citizen versus a non-citizen. If you are a U.S. citizen, agents must let you enter the country eventually; they cannot detain you indefinitely. If you are a lawful permanent resident, agents might raise complicated questions about your continued status as a resident. If you are a foreign visitor, agents may deny you entry entirely. We recommend that everyone conduct their own threat model to determine what course of action to take at the border. Our in depth Border Search Whitepaper offers you a spectrum of tools and practices that you may choose to use to protect your personal data from government intrusion. For a more general outline of potential practices, see our pocket guides to Knowing Your Rights and Protecting Your Data at the Border.

Republished from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The post Fourth Amendment Limits on Searching Your Data and Devices appeared first on The Libertarian Institute.

Fourth Amendment Limits on Searching Your Data and Devices was first posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:00 am.

Candidate Trump: ‘I Love Wikileaks.’ President Trump: ‘Arrest Assange!’

LibertarianInstitute - Tue, 04/25/2017 - 12:00

“I love Wikileaks,” candidate Donald Trump said on October 10th on the campaign trail. He praised the organization for reporting on the darker side of the Hillary Clinton campaign. It was information likely leaked by a whistleblower from within the Clinton campaign to Wikileaks.

Back then he praised Wikileaks for promoting transparency, but candidate Trump looks less like President Trump every day. The candidate praised whistleblowers and Wikileaks often on the campaign trail. In fact, candidate Trump loved Wikileaks so much he mentioned the organization more than 140 times in the final month of the campaign alone! Now, as President, it seems Trump wants Wikileaks founder Julian Assange sent to prison.

Last week CNN reported, citing anonymous “intelligence community” sources, that the Trump Administration’s Justice Department was seeking the arrest of Assange and had found a way to charge the Wikileaks founder for publishing classified information without charging other media outlets such as the New York Times and Washington Post for publishing the same information.

It might have been tempting to write off the CNN report as “fake news,” as is much of their reporting, but for the fact President Trump said in an interview on Friday that issuing an arrest warrant for Julian Assange would be, “OK with me.”

Trump’s condemnation of Wikileaks came just a day after his CIA Director, Michael Pompeo, attacked Wikileaks as a “hostile intelligence service.” Pompeo accused Assange of being “a fraud — a coward hiding behind a screen.”

Pompeo’s word choice was no accident. By accusing Wikileaks of being a “hostile intelligence service” rather than a publisher of information on illegal and abusive government practices leaked by whistleblowers, he signaled that the organization has no First Amendment rights. Like many in Washington, he does not understand that the First Amendment is a limitation on government rather than a granting of rights to citizens. Pompeo was declaring war on Wikileaks.

But not that long ago Pompeo also cited Wikileaks as an important source of information. In July he drew attention to the Wikileaks release of information damaging to the Clinton campaign, writing, “Need further proof that the fix was in from President Obama on down?”

There is a word for this sudden about-face on Wikileaks and the transparency it provides us into the operations of the prominent and powerful: hypocrisy.

The Trump Administration’s declaration of war on whistleblowers and Wikileaks is one of the greatest disappointments in these first 100 days. Donald Trump rode into the White House with promises that he would “drain the swamp,” meaning that he would overturn the apple carts of Washington’s vested interests. By unleashing those same vested interests on those who hold them in check – the whistleblowers and those who publish their revelations – he has turned his back on those who elected him.

Julian Assange, along with the whistleblowers who reveal to us the evil that is being done in our name, are heroes. They deserve our respect and admiration, not a prison cell. If we allow this president to declare war on those who tell the truth, we have only ourselves to blame.

Republished with permission from the Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity.

The post Candidate Trump: ‘I Love Wikileaks.’ President Trump: ‘Arrest Assange!’ appeared first on The Libertarian Institute.

Candidate Trump: ‘I Love Wikileaks.’ President Trump: ‘Arrest Assange!’ was first posted on April 25, 2017 at 11:00 am.