Archive for November, 2010

Arrest warrant for Julian Assange

Posted by on Nov 30 2010 | INTERPOL

(David Kopel)

Several days ago, Sweden issued an arrest warrant against Julian Assange for rape. Today, that warrant went global, thanks to the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol).

While some in the media have reported that Interpol itself issued an arrest warrant, that claim is not precisely accurate. Interpol, which is based in Lyon, France, has no law enforcement powers, and thus cannot issue warrants. Rather, Interpol’s purpose is to share information among different national police agencies, subject to whatever restrictions the originating agency wishes to impose. (For example, the United States does not allow Iran, Cuba, Sudan, or Syria to access fingerprints which it has provided to Interpol.) Interpol also provides expert forensic or investigative services, such  as bomb scene analysis, when requested by police agencies.

Regarding Assange, Interpol today issued a  “Red Notice.” According to the Red Notice, the warrant was issued by the International Public Prosecution Office in Gothenburg, Sweden.

As I detail in the monograph I am writing on Interpol, when a nation (here, Sweden) requests Interpol to issue a Red Notice,  the nation affirms that there is, in that nation, a valid arrest warrant or court order for that person, and that the nation will seek extradition of the person if he is apprehended. Before Interpol publishes the Red Notice, Interpol staff review the application to ensure that there really is a validly-issued arrest warrant or court order, and that publication of the Red Notice would not drag Interpol into political, military, religious, or racial issues, which are forbidden by Article 3 of Interpol’s Constitution.

Countries make their own decisions about how to treat a Red Notice. Some countries treat a Red Notice as an actionable request for an arrest; the United States does not.  In 2008, Interpol published 3,126 Red Notices.

Interpol cautions that any person who is the subject of a Red Notice should be considered innocent until proven guilty. Persons having information about Assange’s whereabouts are requested to contact their local or national police, or Interpol.

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Citizens’ Budget Links

Posted by on Nov 30 2010 | Citizens' Budget, Economics, Economy, Government Largess, PPC

The report provides an overview of the structure, timing and size of the State budget. We speak to how the problems originated and how things have gone wrong in recent years. The Citizens’ Budget includes legislative, constitutional, and policy recommendations to close the looming state budget gap – without raising taxes – and move Colorado towards sustainable government for good.

Please share this important project with fellow concerned Colorado citizens. We must tackle this problem sooner than later. To achieve sustainable government in our lifetime, we need your help. Trust us, your children and your children’s children will thank you.

Important Links:

The 170 page full-color web version of the Citizens’ Budget document can be downloaded in PDF form. You can click and read individual chapters from the table of contents on page 2.

Additionally, the full document can be downloaded and printed in this full black and white printer-friendly version.

Full-color six page Executive Summary: Road map for Sustainable Government

Citizens’ Budget individual chapters, broken down by topic:

Introduction and Overview: The State’s Budget

State Budget Process

Priority-Based Budgeting

Policy Changes to Make a Difference:

Topics Needing Further Study

Other Operational Savings

Authors Section

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What the Original Constitution Said and Meant

Posted by on Nov 29 2010 | Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC, U.S. Constitution

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Tell a Teacher About Their Refund

Posted by on Nov 24 2010 | education, PPC

Thousands of Colorado teachers are eligible for refunds as much as $63 each if they act before a December 15 deadline. Members of the Colorado Education Association (CEA) who don’t want any of their automatically-collected dues funds spent on political action may request a $39 Every Member Option refund from CEA and, in some cases, an additional refund from the local union. Information on how to obtain a refund can be found on the website. For those of us who don’t like to read, a brief YouTube will guide you to the information:

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The Original Constitution: a Discussion

Posted by on Nov 24 2010 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law, Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC, U.S. Constitution

Dust off your copy of the U.S. Constitution for this week’s Devil’s Advocate as I am joined by the Independence Institute’s Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence Rob Natelson for a discussion of his new book, “The Original Constitution: What It Really Said and Meant.” That’s Friday, November 26 at 8:30 PM on Colorado Public Television 12. Re-broadcast the following Monday at 1:30 PM.

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The Citizens’ Budget is Here!

Posted by on Nov 23 2010 | Citizens' Budget, Economics, Economy, Government Largess, PPC

Before I go into my spiel of how hugely important this project is, let me give you some important links. First, here is the direct link to the full Citizens’ Budget file. Secondly, here is the Fiscal Policy Center webpage that you can give to others interested in our project. It will be updated later with PDF’s of each individual section and an executive summary. Now onto why this project is so important for Colorado…

Nearly every Colorado citizen has been affected by the downturn in the economy and its current slow recovery. Governments at all levels also have had to adjust. Just as the private sector is unlikely to see a big rebound in wages and salaries, or businesses find their coffers suddenly full of robust profits, our public servants face similar troubles ahead. Fiscal circumstances will be made worse in the coming years as the federal government expects to curtail its level of subsidies to the states. Colorado’s budgeters won’t be able to find any more accounting gimmicks. Programs cannot continue to expand. Is the only answer to raid family savings accounts and businesses’ incomes with new taxes and fees? If so, what will that do to the desirability of living and working in Colorado? Will we be able to provide an improved standard of living for Colorado’s residents? What do we do to keep appropriate government services at an adequate level?

The Independence Institute brought together a strong team of people who have the insights and the experience to suggest different ways of doing business. My thanks to the many writers and volunteers who made this report possible. They have provided citizens with many ideas and offered elected leaders solutions to difficult policy questions. Let me be clear. There is no easy answer to Colorado’s budget challenge. It will take political courage. People who care very deeply about the public storm ahead are willing to do the right thing, but must protect their defense of spending limits from retribution by powerful interests; therefore, they are understandably reluctant to be publicly associated with this ground-breaking and wide-reaching work. Allow the content alone be the full measure of the credibility of the report. The ideas contained herein are worthy of discussion and stand as their own defense.

The General Assembly over the course of the next several years must make difficult decisions and will dramatically shape our state’s economy. Its debates will echo the important question about the nature of government that is being carried out in Washington, D.C. Will we as a People expect only those public goods that allow for a vibrant, growing private sector, or will we demand an ever-larger, more intrusive government on which we depend for our every need and decision?

Let us engage the debate.

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Biased Founding Era Scholarship

Posted by on Nov 23 2010 | Constitutional History, Constitutional Law,, Law schools, PPC, The Founders, U.S. Constitution

If you’ve ever tried to find high quality research that supports an “originalist” perspective of our U.S. Constitution and founding, you already know how difficult it can be. It seems that the majority of the scholarship – especially at the university level – is critical and sometimes outright hostile to an original understanding of our founding documents. The question is why? Professor Rob Natelson, our resident constitutional scholar, explains why in this new podcast. And believe me, if anyone knows the difficulties in doing unbiased constitutional scholarship, it’s Rob Natelson. The man has published more high quality founding era research than most people could ever read in their lifetime. To begin your journey into Rob’s world, visit his blog at In particular, check out this post on his personal struggle working within the university system and trying to uncover never before seen insights into our founding era.

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Our Constitution Does Not Permit ObamaCare

Posted by on Nov 19 2010 | Commerce Clause, Health Care, PPC, Tenth Amendment, The Founders, U.S. Constitution

Remember when I told you a few days back that “extraordinary claims demand extraordinary evidence?” Our resident constitutional law scholar and senior fellow Professor Rob Natelson agrees with me. As Rob puts it in this insightful article featured in both the Colorado Springs Gazette and the Denver Daily News, the Constitution’s commerce power does not permit ObamaCare. (Nor does anything else in the constitution for that matter). Rob’s article is really worth a read. Even if you think you know everything about our constitution, this article will enlighten you. It’s unfortunate the ObamaCare apologists will close their eyes and plug their ears to all of Rob’s evidence. It’s better when you don’t know these stubborn facts right?

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Dude, Where’s My DougCo School Voucher?

Posted by on Nov 19 2010 | education, Idiot Box (TV Show), PPC

So what’s the big deal about the proposed school voucher plan in Douglas County? Tune in to Devil’s Advocate to find out as I am joined by Douglas County School District Board of Education President John Carson and Independence Institute Education Policy Analyst Ben DeGrow for a discussion of how a voucher system would work, and the kind of education choices it would open up or Douglas County parents and their children. That’s TONIGHT, November 19th at 8:30 PM on Colorado Public Television 12. Re-broadcast the following Monday at 1:30 PM.

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Anything is Possible When You Imagine It

Posted by on Nov 16 2010 | Environment, PPC, Taxes

Ritter’s phantom carbon tax is all the rage these days. If you haven’t heard about it yet, you must be sitting at the socially awkward table in the school cafeteria. Let me fill you in. Governor Ritter’s hallucinations are frequently referred to as the “New Energy Economy,” and it has all bells and whistles of a four-star fantasy land. Unicorns, costless government programs, cars that run on fairy dust, hot lady genies granting unlimited amounts of wishes, winning Bronco football with an ageless John Elway at the helm, and federally mandated carbon taxes via “cap and trade.” Oh yes, this is the fantasy world of lame duck governors.

With the help of the lapdog PUC, this carbon tax goes from fantasy land to the real world via Xcel’s rising energy costs. Over the last three years, we’ve been paying an inflated price for energy based on the assumption that cap and trade would pass. So far, no cap and tax legislation has passed. And as it stands now, with sweeping GOP victories this past election and a GOP majority in the House, a cap and trade induced carbon tax looks doomed for quite awhile. Yet in Ritter’s greenest delusions, carbon taxes are here and thriving – with pride parades down main street to boot.

You might be wondering, why no naughty nurses or kick ass machine guns in this fantasy (or better yet, naughty nurses WITH kick ass machine guns). Well, that’s because by imagining that we have a carbon tax and allowing Xcel to charge higher rates because of it, “green” energy suddenly becomes more affordable relative to coal – an obviously evil energy. In other words, without this imagined tax, energy derived from fossil fuels are much much cheaper than alternative, renewable energy. But with the right amount of imagination, it doesn’t have to be!

It’s high time we rid ourselves of this baseless energy tax. Even Vincent Carroll at the Denver Post agrees in his op-ed, “Retire the stealth tax on carbon.” Amy Oliver and William Yeatman of our emerging Energy Policy Center have written tons on this issue, and should be applauded for making the public aware of this thief in the night. Keep checking back on the Energy Policy webpage for the latest on energy policies that affect your wallet.

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