IRS considering rules that would further gut First Amendment freedom

I urge readers of this blog who love free speech to head over to nonprofitfreedom.org, a project set up by the pro-First Amendment group Center for Competitive Politics to fight the IRS’s proposed guidelines for further restricting Americans’ ability to come together, form nonprofit advocacy groups, and raise and spend money for the purpose of political speech.

These rules are effectively the IRS’s way of saying “if you like your First Amendment, you can keep it” and seemingly randomly appeared right before Thanksgiving so as to not attract any attention. This is a transpartisan issue that affects all of us. In a free society, there MUST be institutions which we all put above short-term political gain. One of the most vital of those institutions is completely free, unregulated political speech.

You can have your voice heard by writing your own comment condemning the IRS, or send a pre-written comment provided for you if you aren’t sure about what to say. Commenters have the option of being anonymous and are not required to submit personal information when commenting on proposed regulations.

It’s your free speech. Fight for it!

16 things Barack Obama could do to win support of libertarian without pissing off his Democratic base

Since many of my Progressive friends like to argue that libertarians are just like conventional Republicans in that they oppose President Obama on absolutely everything, I thought it appropriate simply jot down, off the top of my head, 16 things the president could fight for that could win him fawning praise from intransient libertarians, without pissing off left-liberals.

  1. Advocate full repeal of the USA PATRIOT Act and restore the Fourth Amendment against the surveillance state
  2. Work toward legalizing all “illegal” immigrants and promote open travel between borders
  3. Repeal the Controlled Substances Act and legalize all drugs at the federal level
  4. End all foreign wars and engagements
  5. Normalize relations with Cuba
  6. Repeal the Indefinite Detention Clause of the National Defense Authorization Act
  7. Restore the freedom of the press and stop the prosecution of journalists
  8. Shut down (for realzies) Guantanamo Bay concentration camp
  9. Pardon all nonviolent offenders in prison
  10. Legalize adult prostitution
  11. Audit the Federal Reserve’s bailout of Wall Street banks
  12. End foreign aid to dictatorial regimes
  13. Deny any federal funds to all state and local governments that use eminent domain to enrich private interests
  14. Repeal legal immunity for telecomm companies that supply private user information to the government
  15. Deny federal assistance to state and local law enforcement that engage in civil asset forfeiture
  16. Pass legislation banning the arming of drones on domestic soil

Yes, private business owners have First Amendment religious liberty on their property

Over the past several days, Idaho State Representative Lynn Luker, a Republican, authored a bill that would protect religious business people who refuse to do business with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered individuals out of spiritual objections. The bill just today passed out of the House State Affairs Committee, 11-5.

While I would never want to do business with someone who would deny someone else service simply because of religion, the fact is is that Rep. Luker’s bill is correct that by simply owning and operating a private business one does not forfeit one’s First Amendment-protected rights of religious liberty, conscience and association, no matter if the institution’s main purpose is religious or secular.

Yes, obviously, customers who are pleasant and respectful *should* always be served as a matter of basic human decency, no matter their personal physical characteristics, but they have no inherent *right* to be that government is bound to enforce under threat of business license revocation–or worse.

However, much this debate I fear is more about one’s personal views toward the interested parties rather than the Objective principle of the thing. Those who are more inclined toward the LGBT community are against it; those who sympathize with conservative Christians support it.

There is no doubt in my mind that if situation were reversed and it was a gay business-owning coalition advocating a bill to retroactively shield them from legal retribution from not doing doing business with evangelical Christians, the situation would be flipped 180 degrees with both sides on the opposite ends that they are on now.

My position, however, along with everyone who consistently supports personal freedom no matter the person or group of persons at stake, would remain the exact same.