In response to recent media reports about the increase in Latin American children seeking entry into the United States, Libertarian Party Chair Nicholas Sarwark released this statement:
Should the U.S. government forbid foreign children from entering the United States? The Libertarian Party says no.
It would be unjust and inhumane for the U.S. government to prohibit these children from entering the United States.
A great irony is that U.S. government policies have caused the conditions that some of these Central American children are fleeing. The War on Drugs has created a huge black market in Latin America, causing increases in gang activity and violent crime. Some of the affected children naturally try to flee this violence. It is wrong to jeer at them, call them “illegals,” and tell them to get out.
Many of these children are hoping to reach friends and relatives in the United States. A freer, simpler legal immigration process might result in a safer journey with more adult supervision along the way. In any case, Libertarians support maximizing freedom knowing that risks, including risks to children, are always involved. In some cases, children may be better off migrating, even without adult supervision, than staying trapped in dangerous environments — just ask the Jewish children who escaped from Hitler, or Tutsi children who escaped genocide in Rwanda.
Libertarians do not support forcing people to pay for other children’s welfare, and there are obviously costs associated with helping children who arrive in the United States. However, there are many charitable organizations that have already mobilized to provide that help. A nation of 320 million people can provide sufficient charitable help to the number of children involved (around 50,000 over the last nine months). And if we’d just end the War on Drugs, the number of refugee children would be much lower.
Ultimately, the fact that many of these children are fleeing dangerous situations isn’t the issue. Even if they were coming to the United States for fun, we should still allow them to enter. All foreigners should be allowed entry into the United States unless the government can produce positive evidence that they pose a threat to security, health, or property.
Our bad immigration laws affect a lot more people than just these children. Many foreigners want to come work in the United States, which benefits them as well as Americans. However, our government makes it impossible for almost all of them to work here legally.
The Libertarian Party believes that the U.S. government should not prohibit Americans from hiring foreign workers. There are about 60 million legal foreign entries into the United States each year (mostly tourists). Those foreigners should be free to work in the United States as well. There’s no question of border security — it’s just a question of the government’s unjust and foolish protectionist labor laws.
(By comparison, there are only about 500,000 “illegal” entries into the United States each year. Most of those are foreigners who want to work in the United States, and who would be denied visas because of that intention.)
Some observers have noted that generous benefit and subsidy programs in the United States, including free education and health care, may be attracting lazy foreigners. The Libertarian Party supports the abolition of government benefits and subsidies, for both natives and foreigners. It’s worth pointing out that foreigners use these programs at a lower rate than natives, according to a recent report by the Cato Institute.
It’s a shame that many in the media are trying to make Americans feel fear and suspicion toward immigrants. It’s particularly disgusting that protesters would yell at children to make their political point. Immigration is good for foreigners and good for Americans, and we need to change our laws to make immigration much easier.
A Missouri bill which seeks to nullify virtually every federal gun control measure on the books, “whether past, present or future,” passed the Senate Thursday. SB613 would ban the state from enforcing virtually all federal gun control measures, and includes criminal charges for federal agents attempting to violate the right to keep and bear arms in Missouri.
The measure passed 23-10.
SB613 counts as what could be the strongest defense against federal encroachments on the right to keep an bear arms ever considered at the state level. It reads, in part:
All federal acts, laws, executive orders, administrative orders, court orders, rules, and regulations, whether past, present, or future, which infringe on the people’s right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the United States I and Section 23 of the Missouri Constitution shall be invalid in this state, shall not be recognized by this state, shall be specifically rejected by this state, and shall be considered null and void and of no effect in this state.
It can be safely argued that those four words, written by the French philosopherMichel Foucault in his discussion of the “panopticon,” were never more true than they were this year. Our visibility — defined as ubiquitous, networked digital connectedness — has at long last enabled an unprecedented surveillance state. In 2013, the negative consequences of our contemporary lifestyles were impossible to ignore.
But not just for the most obvious reason — the avalanche of revelations about the depth and scope of government spying delivered by Edward Snowden, which seized the world’s attention from June onward. The surveillance society is hardly limited to NSA spooks. We are now open books for everyone to read: Our friends and our enemies and our stalkers. Our providers of email and texting and social media and advertising and entertainment. Our employers, our doctors and our teachers. We have never been more visible, never been more willing or able to open up every moment of our existence to the outside world. And in doing so, we have handed the watchers fantastic power.
When you use something as seemingly innocuous as the flashlight app on your smartphone, it’s entirely possible that your location data is being gathered. The particular constellation of apps you use most often is exploited to build a profile for targeted advertising. Netflix makes note of every time you pause or fast-forward an episode of “Orange is the New Black.” Facebook is analyzing even the status updates that you delete before posting. Google Now knows when and where I am traveling, what packages are on the way to my house, and, of course, what I have been searching for recently. Your employer is gathering every conceivable data metric for evaluating your job performance.
The US constitution’s Bill of Rights is envied by much of the English-speaking world, even by people otherwise not enthralled by The American Way Of Life. Its fundamental liberties – freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, freedom from warrantless search – are a mighty bulwark against overweening state power, to be sure.
But what are these rights actually worth in the United States these days?
Ask Cecily McMillan, a 25-year-old student and activist who was arrested two years ago during an Occupy Wall Street demonstration in Manhattan. Seized by police, she was beaten black and blue on her ribs and arms until she went into a seizure. When she felt her right breast grabbed from behind, McMillan instinctively threw an elbow, catching a cop under the eye, and that is why she is being prosecuted for assaulting a police officer, a class D felony with a possible seven-year prison term. Her trial began this week.
McMillan is one of over 700 protestors arrested in the course of Occupy Wall Street’s mass mobilization, which began with hopes of radical change and ended in an orgy of police misconduct. According to a scrupulously detailed report (pdf) issued by the NYU School of Law and Fordham Law School, the NYPD routinely wielded excessive force with batons, pepper spray, scooters and horses to crush the nascent movement. And then there were the arrests, often arbitrary, gratuitous and illegal, with most charges later dismissed. McMillan’s is the last Occupy case to be tried, and how the court rules will provide a clear window into whether public assembly stays a basic right or becomes a criminal activity.
New York is not the only place where the first amendment’s right to assembly continues to get gouged by police and prosecutors. In Chicago, police infiltrators goaded three activists into making Molotov cocktails; the young men were then charged with terror crimes – charges of which they were acquitted by an Illinois jury last week. Now that North Carolina has erupted into enormous protests against its far-right state government, we can likely expect police there to seek creative ways, legal and otherwise, to stifle mass political participation.
Led Zeppelin will begin releasing its long-promised catalog reissues this year. Jimmy Page reported the news via his website last week, but the post was removed shortly after. Rolling Stone confirmed the news today with a representative for the band. He added that the reissues “would be released on the Swan Song/Atlantic label, as they were originally.
The first to come out will be the group’s initial three releases, Led Zeppelin, Led Zeppelin II and Led Zeppelin III. The post also announced the release of “some of my own material from the archives” that will arrive this year, but he made no reference as to whether this is Jimmy Page solo material or collaborations with other artists from over the decades.
Recordings Led Zeppelin made as they were composing their 1975 double-album Physical Graffiti will be available at auction next month, reports Kory Grow of Rolling Stone.
The Amherst, New Hampshire–based RR Auctions says that many of the songs on the tapes differ structurally from the ones that came out officially. The group re-recorded the guitar and vocal parts on many of the tapes’ songs, some of which lack vocals altogether, and, in some cases, it used only John Bonham’s drums tracks and completely redid the tracks.
The band recorded the songs at the Ronnie Lane’s Mobile Studio, which audio engineer Ron Nevison built in a 26-foot Airstream trailer. The tapes are part of the Ron Nevison collection, which is also auctioning rough mixes of Bad Company’s debut and four songs from Eric Clapton’s 1973 album Eric Clapton’s Rainbow Concert, as well as recordings by the Who, Ozzy Osbourne and Flo and Eddie.