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USA Freedom Act fails as senators reject bill to scrap NSA bulk collection

A measure to end the bulk telephone data collection and replace it with a more targeted program is narrowly blocked by the US Senate. Bill fails for the second time after vote in the small hours of Saturday morning, but Rand Paul thwarts Republican leaders’ attempts to extend Patriot Act

by Ben Jacobs and Sabrina Siddiqui in Washington and Spencer Ackerman in New York
The Guardian | May 23, 2015

Republican whip John Cornyn, a strident supporter of extending the Patriot Act, divided the Senate into three groups on Friday.

As he put it, there are those who want a “straight extension, those who like USA Freedom and those who like nothing”.

Those who want a straight extension of the Patriot Act are in a distinct minority and supporters of the USA Freedom Act still cannot muster the necessary super majority to advance the bill. The result means those who are more than happy to simply let Section 215 expire on May 31 are in the driver’s seat.

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PATRIOT Act on life support after Rand Paul stymies renewal efforts

PATRIOT Act on life support after Rand Paul stymies renewal efforts
Liberals, libertarians block short-term reauthorizations, leaving a tiny window of opportunity next week for a deal.

By Seung Min Kim and Burgess Everett
5/22/15 10:50 | Updated 5/23/15 3:32 AM EDT

The Senate plunged into chaos Saturday as Republicans found themselves tangled over the PATRIOT Act, Rand Paul repeatedly stymied his leaders, and senators left town with critical national security programs about to lapse.

In a rare early morning Saturday vote, the Senate blocked a popular House bill that would rein in controversial government surveillance programs. The vote was 57-42, and it needed 60 votes to advance. Immediately after that vote, the Senate also rejected a straight 60-day extension of the Bush-era national security law on a 45-54 vote — leaving the Senate with no immediate options to ensure the programs don’t expire before the end of the month.

Paul, the libertarian firebrand and GOP presidential hopeful, pushed the Senate into the wee hours of Saturday to protest the bulk collection of phone records, as weary and recess-hungry senators trudged through a packed to-do list — finishing trade legislation but getting stuck on the PATRIOT Act issues.

“It’s not about making a point, it’s about trying to prevent the bulk collection of data,” Paul told reporters after the Senate floor drama. When asked whether his objections were a fundraising tactic, Paul responded: “I think people don’t question my sincerity.”

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Official Scrabble book adds lotsa ridic new words

It is the book Scrabble players turn to when disputes arise over whether particular words are allowed, whether enjoying a sociable – or not so sociable – evening with friends or taking part in the world championships.

Now a new version of Collins Official Scrabble Words has been published, adding 6,500 new words to the popular board game’s approved list – which already runs to 250,000 – including modern slang, technological terms and “onomatopoeic interjections”.

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The History of Bitcoin Until Now

by Adrianne Jeffries | May 22, 2015

It’s hard to believe that Bitcoin, the digital currency that approximates cash on the internet, turned six years old in January.

I started learning about Bitcoin in the summer of 2011. I first read about it in an article on Gawker about the druggie e-bazaar Silk Road, which required payment in Bitcoin because of its semi-anonymity. “Bitcoins have been called a ‘crypto-currency,’ the online equivalent of a brown paper bag of cash,” Gawker wrote.

It’s funny to go back now and read these early stories, as the media tried to wrap its head around just what Bitcoin was. “The name ‘Bitcoin’ is derived from the pioneering file-sharing technology Bittorrent,” Gawker wrote, which I’m not sure is true (BitTorrent isn’t mentioned in the white paper that launched Bitcoin).

“Bitcoins are snippets of code that use encryption to prevent counterfeiting and double-spending,” is what I wrote a little later for the New York Observer—a mangling because Bitcoin is actually a ledger system, and there is no “snippet of code” to correspond to a single coin.

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Historic: Senate Votes to Reform Medical Marijuana, Adds Veterans Amendment

Yesterday, for the very first time in the history of the United States, the Senate voted on medical marijuana reform. What spurred this gaggle of politicos into action on a long-avoided subject? One could presume that it’s a combination of culture shift, overwhelming evidence in support of the medical benefits of marijuana, and the plight of America’s veterans. And it’s about damn time.

From the Drug Policy Alliance:

The Senate Appropriations Committee passed a bipartisan amendment today, 18 to 12, allowing Veterans Administration (VA) doctors to recommend medical marijuana to their patients in states where medical marijuana is legal. The vote is the first time the U.S. Senate has ever moved marijuana law reform legislation forward.

“Veterans in medical marijuana states should be treated the same as any other resident, and should be able to discuss marijuana with their doctor and use it if it’s medically necessary,” said Michael Collins, policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. “They have served this country valiantly, so the least we can do is allow them to have full and open discussions with their doctors.”

The Veterans Equal Access Amendment was sponsored by Republican Senator Steve Daines of Montana and Democratic Senator Jeff Merkley of Oregon. It was added in committee to a must-pass military construction and veterans affairs spending bill. The bill is certain to pass on the Senate floor.

Forum: 
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Declare Your Independence with Ernest Hancock 05-21-15 -- James Corbett, Erik Voorhees

James Corbett (Independent news editor, writer, producer - The Corbett Report) talks about his video documentary The Century of Enslavement: The History of the Federal Reserve. Erik Voorhees comes on the show to talk about ShapeShift.

Listen Here

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Ben Carson: The Good, The Bad, and The Liberty

We here at Lions of Liberty are profiling each presidential candidate and examining the good and bad traits of their political careers. Each article will wrap-up by answering if their candidacy will have a net positive or negative impact on the liberty movement. Check out previous profiles here.

Background

Ben Carson burst onto the political scene with a controversial speech critiquing some of President Obama’s health care and tax policies at the National Prayer Breakfast in February 2013. Since then he has used the momentum from that day to launch a political career as a conservative favorite, which has included many appearance on the cable news circuit and of course the obligatory time served as a Fox News contributor.

On May 4th he took his political aspirations to the next level by announcing his candidacy to secure the Republican nomination for President. Most people only know Ben Carson as a political pundit and are not well acquainted with the man he was before challenging President Obama that winter morning more than two years ago.

According to his official campaign website, Ben Carson grew up in a single-parent household in Detroit. His mother, who only has a third grade education, encouraged him to reach beyond his surrounding and build his knowledge base through reading. Carson developed a love for reading and learning that would fuel his intellectual growth. He went on to graduate high school and attend Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in psychology. After working as an X-ray technician, a bank teller, a school bus driver, a supervisor for highway cleanup crews, and a crane operator, he was accepted into The University of Michigan School of Medicine. After graduating medical school Dr. Carson married his Yale sweetheart and moved to Baltimore, where he performed his residency at the John Hopkins University Medical Center.

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Brain Study: C4n U R34d 7h15?

I've seen this with the letters out of order, but this is the first time I've seen it with numbers. I was forwarded this in an email yesterday.

Good example of a Brain Study: Supposedly, If you can read this OUT LOUD you have a strong mind.

7H15 M3554G3
53RV35 7O PR0V3
H0W 0UR M1ND5 C4N
D0 4M4Z1NG 7H1NG5!
1MPR3551V3 7H1NG5!
1N 7H3 B3G1NN1NG
17 WA5 H4RD BU7
N0W, 0N 7H15 LIN3
Y0UR M1ND 1S
R34D1NG 17
4U70M471C4LLY
W17H 0U7 3V3N
7H1NK1NG 4B0U7 17,
B3 PROUD! 0NLY
C3R741N P30PL3 C4N
R3AD 7H15.
PL3453 F0RW4RD 1F
U C4N R34D 7H15.

Can you raed this? Olny 55 people out of 100 can.

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TPP vs. NSA: Mind my privacy vs. What's your worry?

Here are some Orwellian memes for citizens and rulers about privacy that have proven useful for the DC campaign trail.

"Fellow citizens, privacy is not an issue in regards to the NSA, so please remember: 'If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to worry about'."

"Fellow citizens, privacy is essential in regards to the TPP, so please remember 'we have nothing to hide and need our privacy-- mind your own damn business'."

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Hillary Clinton’s Lucrative Life of Crime

Syndicated columnist and author Ted Rall is the political cartoonist at The Los Angeles Times. © 2015 Ted Rall

By Ted Rall | MAY 19, 2015

Bill and Hillary Clinton “earned” — can a mortal earn such stratospheric sums? — “at least $30 million over the last 16 months, mainly from giving paid speeches to corporations, banks and other organizations,” The New York Times reports. “They have now earned more than $125 million on the [lecture] circuit since leaving the White House in 2001.”

This is an important issue. But the big story has little to with what actually matters.

Coverage of the Clintons’ spectacularly lucrative speaking career has focused on how it affects Hillary’s 2016 presidential campaign — specifically the political damage caused by the public’s growing perception that Hillary is out of touch with the common man and woman. It is a promising line of inquiry for her detractors (myself included).

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