Surveillance Transparency Report Documents Wide FBI Reach

The U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) has released its Annual Statistical Transparency Report disclosing the use of national security surveillance laws for the year 2021—and to no one’s surprise it documents the wide-ranging overreach of intelligence agencies and the continued misuse of surveillance authorities to spy on millions of Americans. Specifically, the report chronicles how Section 702, an amendment to the Foriegn Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA), that authorizes the U.S. government to engage in mass surveillance of foreign targets’ communications, is still being abused by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to spy on Americans without a warrant.

Economic Liberalization Stammers in Latin America

Liberalization is taking a back seat. Almost everywhere you look in Latin America, the left is running the show—or on the verge of doing so if Gustavo Petro wins the soon-to-be presidential elections in Colombia and Lula da Silva (yes, the corrupt former president who presided over a vast empire of graft and spent time in jail) is elected again in October in Brazil. 

A Proposed Amendment to California’s Constitution to Resolve the Housing Affordability Crisis

Despite much hand-wringing by California politicians and bills in the state legislature with lofty goals and rhetoric, home prices in California continue to set new records. Apartment rental prices also continue to soar in Southern California, the Central Valley, and Northern California.

Coastal Commission Ramps Up State Water Deficit

As expected, on May 12, the California Coastal Commission voted unanimously to reject the Poseidon Water desalination plant in Orange County. As the California Globe noted, the plant was “decades in the works during a time when California needs more freshwater to combat a drought in the state.” 

You Are a Soul
Dedicated to the Vital Spirit of David Theroux

The ontology of the human being is elusive. But let’s say: You are a soul and you own your person. 

What Makes You My Enemy?
Lessons from History

Increasingly, it seems, people are quick to escalate what might be viewed as differences into animosities. This has manifested itself in a number of different ways in recent years.

Protecting Unalienable Rights

A leaked Supreme Court draft opinion denying the constitutional legitimacy of the Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade opinion has piqued interest concerning “unalienable” individual rights: (i) whether such rights logically exist; (ii) if so, then how are they to be reified; and (iii) which branch and level of government is constitutionally authorized and best equipped to defend them. 

Biden’s Deficit Shrinking Claim Fails Fact Check

After his first year in office, President Biden doesn’t have much to brag about. That’s especially true when it comes to the economy. So much so that he’s reached into his bag of political tricks and pulled out an old one. He’s trying to make himself look better by fudging facts.

Conflicts of Interest at the National Institutes of Health
Acting Director Lawrence Tabak is Part of the Problem

On May 11, acting National Institutes of Health (NIH) director Lawrence Tabak conceded that $350 million in undisclosed royalty payments to Dr. Anthony Fauci, his deputy Clifford Lane, former NIH director Francis Collins, and hundreds of NIH employees presented “an appearance of a conflict of interest.” Tabak, deputy ethics counselor of NIH since 2010 and in 2009 acting principal deputy director, seemed unaware of developments at his own agency. 

My Thank You to David Theroux

I was deeply saddened to hear that David Theroux recently passed away. Being a huge fan of the Independent Institute since college and someone who benefited from David’s encouragement and support for years, the loss is especially difficult.

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