It's the annual New Year, New Laws 2017 episode! Are new 2017 laws around the country a net positive or negative for liberty? Also, Whats in the News with stories on legislated porn-blockers, suing porn websites, Stingrays, NSA Watchdog fired, Alexa, school fight felonies, and NH Constitutional carry. Also a new segment called New Hampshire, It's Like This Too, and a Muh Roads segment on who will really build the roads.

WHAT’S RUSTLING MY JIMMIES 

[1:32]

In 2016, my first episode after the new year was to discuss many of the new laws that came about at the turn of the new year. I liked doing that episode, so I think I'll make it a tradition and do it this year, and every year going forward. So, let's jump right in and see what good and bad laws took effect in 2017, both the good, and the bad.

WHAT'S IN THE NEWS 

[6:40]

In do it for the children news, South Carolina representative Bill Chumley filed a bill that would install a porn-blocker on any internet-capable device, and users would have to pay $20 to remove the filter if they want to see naughty things.

In more porn news, Utah Senator Todd Weiler said he will soon introduce new legislation that will allow Utah residents who imagine themselves addicted to porn to sue websites where they watch it.

In surveillance state news, the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department have spent collectively more than $95 million on secret cellphone tracking technology and own more than 400 cell-site simulators that can be used to zero in covertly on the locations of cellphones, according to a congressional report.

In sweet justice news, the top NSA Watchdog who insisted Edward Snowden should have come to him with his grievances has received a termination notice for retaliating against a whistleblower.

In hard negotiations news, Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, said they will build the new Air Force One for less than $4 billion. This comes immediately after a meeting with President-elect Trump.

In Alexa is listening news, the police in Bentonville, Arkansas have asked Amazon to give them access to any voice recordings that its Echo digital assistant may have made at the time that an alleged murder was committed.

In government indoctrination center news, kids in Missouri could now go to jail for getting into fights at school.

In Free State Project news, a New Hampshire Senate panel has backed eliminating the permit requirement to carry a concealed weapon, which would effectively bring about Constitutional carry in the state.

 NEW HAMPSHIRE – IT'S LIKE THIS TOO 

[19:03]

This is a new segment for the show. I realized I talk about New Hampshire enough on this show that it would be pertinent to put that kind of information in a new segment called New Hampshire – It's Like This Too. As you, my loyal listeners, are aware, I moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project in October of 2015 and have loved every minute of being here. This segment will be my periodic way of talking about my love of the state and the activism and other news that goes on here.

One of the coolest New Hampshirites that is not a part of the Free State Project is Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and many medical devices including the AutoSyringe and an all-terrain wheelchair known as the iBOT. He is one fascinating guy and you can watch a documentary about him on Netflix called SlingShot.

Recently, Kamen is working on a project to regenerate human tissue and organs right here in the Manchester Millyard in New Hampshire. The new company, called The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (or ARMI),  will receive $214 million from industry, university, nonprofit, and other sources devoted to the effort. Unfortunately, he will also be receiving about $80 million in federal funding as well, to find ways to restore form, function, and appearance to wounded soldiers and it will reduce the waiting time for organ transplant patients.

MUH ROADS 

[22:29]

This segment is all about how to take products and services normally provided by the government and put them completely in the private sector. Since one of the most prolific arguments made by statists is “without government, who will build the roads,” I do tend to talk about roads in this segment a lot. This episode is no different.

The blog, Libertarian Money, wrote a fantastic article about this very topic that I wanted to share with you. The article is called, “The Definitive Guide To Who Will Build The Roads.” You can get a link to the full article in the show notes to this episode at thelavaflow.com/53, but I will take a few minutes here and break it down for you. This article is a couple of years old, but it crossed my desk recently and it was too good not to share.

He starts the article by saying the obvious. Who will build the roads? Road builders. The question actually should be, “who will pay the road builders?” This is the question he tries to answer in the article.

 

Read Full Transcript

TEASER INTRO

Are new 2017 laws around the country a net positive or negative for liberty? Also, Whats in the News with stories on legislated porn-blockers, suing porn websites, Stingrays, NSA Watchdog fired, Alexa, school fight felonies, and NH Constitutional carry. Also a new segment called New Hampshire, It's Like This Too, and a Muh Roads segment on who will really build the roads.

INTRO

“Welcome to The LAVA Flow, channeling the flow of information to the Libertarian, Anarcho-capitalist, Voluntaryist, and Agorist community. Find us at thelavaflow.com. Here’s your host, Rodger Paxton.”

Thank you for joining me this week, coming to you from the state that was the home of the largest private game reserve in North America near Croydon Mountain, this is the show that will bring you the people, places, and events that everyone in the liberty revolution needs to know. You can catch me on Twitter @TheLAVAFlowPod.

This is episode fifty-three, The New Year, New Laws 2017 Edition, and its Tuesday, January 17, 2017 , when at least 1152 people were killed by police in 2016 and there have already been XXXX killed this year. What's Rustling My Jimmies this week? You're about to find out! Let’s Do It To It!

WHAT’S RUSTLING MY JIMMIES

In 2016, my first episode after the new year was to discuss many of the new laws that came about at the turn of the new year. I liked doing that episode, so I think I'll make it a tradition and do it this year, and every year going forward. So, let's jump right in and see what good and bad laws took effect in 2017. First, the bad.

Forced morality by taxation was big for 2017. Philadelphia, San Francisco, Oakland, and Boulder, Colorado all enacted anywhere from one to two cents per ounce tax on artificially sweetened drinks. Seven state raised their gas taxes in 2017, and, as we discussed, Portland, Oregon passed their tax that targets excessing CEO pay. As an aside, if I'm a CEO in Portland, my first act of 2017 would be to announce that my business is getting the fuck out of Portland. And, Georgia passed a 5 percent higher tax on fireworks in the state.

The state of Vermont, along with the cities of Santa Monica, CA and Spokane, WA passed laws that require employers to give paid sick time to employees. Arizona voters did the same, but that law doesn't take effect until July.

Gun owners in California will face new restrictions after Gov. Jerry Brown signed a law banning the purchase of semiautomatic rifles with so-called “evil features.” The “evil features” include pistol grips, flash hiders, and bullet buttons that make it easier to remove and replace ammunition magazines. The Los Angeles Times reported an increase in gun purchases in the lead-up to the Jan. 1 implementation, imagine that.

Voters in 20 states all showed their utter ignorance of economics and voted to raise their minimum wage ranging from Missouri where it goes up by a nickel to Arizona, where it jumps nearly two dollars an hour. Four of the six states in New England are increasing their minimum wage. New Hampshire is still the lowest, firmly at the federal rate of $7.25 per hour. Maine is now in second with their increase to $9 with Massachessuets now taking the top spot at $11 per hour, raising from $10 per hour.

Illinois passed a law requiring cosmetologists to undergo forced training to recognize signs of domestic and sexual abuse on their customers. Because that's exactly what cosmetologists should be doing. Give me a fucking break.

Ohio and New Hampshire has outlawed bestiality or engaging in sex with animals. No word on how that will be enforced. Ohio will also no longer contract with individuals, companies or countries participating in boycotts against Israel.

California passed perhaps the wackiest bill of the year which will require dairy farmers to take extra steps to capture the methane gas from their cattle, or, in layman's terms, their farts and burps. I shit you not. This is after 53 California dairy farmers went bankrupt, moved out of state, or just closed down in 2017.

And now, the good. And, as usual, the list of good laws is far fewer than the list of bad laws.

The legalization of marijuana spread further this year. Recreational sales will soon become legal in Nevada. California, Maine and Massachusetts. Voters in the last election approved legalizing the drug for medical purposes in North Dakota, Montana, Florida and Arkansas.

Tennessee, meanwhile, is now allowing some younger adults to get a handgun-carry permit, bringing the minimum age down to 18 from 21. Missouri is the latest state to enact a “constitutional carry” law allowing adults starting at age 19 to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat, vetoed the law, but the veto was overridden.

A new Ohio law soon to take effect gives employees the right to store a firearm in a locked vehicle—or a locked glove compartment—parked on company property. And in Pennsylvania, hunters will be allowed to shoot animals with semiautomatic rifles.

Illinois is allowing people to catch catfish by stabbing the creatures with pitchforks, spear guns or arrows, a method apparently popular in rural areas of the state. I find it funny that the state is "allowing" a practice that has been happening for a very long time and is damn near impossible to restrict.

New Jersey actually lowered their state income tax from 7 percent to 6.875 percent and will drop it again in 2018 to 6.625% which will result in about $100 million in money the state won't have to infringe on your liberty.

So, all in all, another bad year for liberty in most of the country. Nothing new here, and I don't see it changing much next year either.

WHAT'S IN THE NEWS

In do it for the children news, South Carolina representative Bill Chumley filed a bill that would install a porn-blocker on any internet-capable device, and users would have to pay $20 to remove the filter if they want to see naughty things. A better idea, I think, would be to install a bill-blocker on South Carolina legislators that would require a $20,000 fee to allow them to write any bill.

If devices are sold in South Carolina without a porn blocker, the retailers or manufacturers will have to pay a $20 fine to the state. Given the technological problems with trying to install any kind of realistic porn blocker on a computer (reinstalling Windows really isn’t that hard!), a cynic would say that South Carolina is just trying to impose a $20 tax on the sale of electronic devices.

Aside from the many logistical and technical challenges with trying to get all manufacturers to install device-level internet filtering, and the fact that South Carolina is in a free-trade zone with 49 non-porn-blocking states, there’s also Constitutional implications. Device-level blocking that requires a fee to unlock is the virtual definition of a First Amendment violation, something that Chumley has failed to address so far.

In more porn news, Utah Senator Todd Weiler said he will soon introduce new legislation that will allow Utah residents who imagine themselves addicted to porn to sue websites where they watch it.

Weiler said, "I'm trying to kind of track the same path that was taken against tobacco 70 years ago. I'm looking at where we can push the envelope as a state of Utah. To pretend that this is not having any impact on our youth, on children's' minds as they're developing, as their attitudes towards sex and the opposite sex are being formed, I think is foolish."

Weiler is the same Utah Senator who sponsored last year's resolution declaring pornography a "public health hazard." This guy really has a hard on for pornography.

Weiler fancies his solution a libertarian one. "It's not government coming in and saying what you can and can't watch," he said. "It's just basically a message to the pornography industry that if someone in Utah can prove damages from the product, that they may be held liable financially."

Fuck this guy in the neck, record it, and sell it as porn!

In surveillance state news, the Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department have spent collectively more than $95 million on secret cellphone tracking technology and own more than 400 cell-site simulators that can be used to zero in covertly on the locations of cellphones, according to a congressional report.

With 194 cell-site simulators, the FBI has the most of any of the agencies identified as owning the devices, which often are referred to by brand names including Stingray or Hailstorm.

The U.S. Marshals Service has 70; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has 59; U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Drug Enforcement Administration each has 33; U.S. Secret Service has 32; the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has 13; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigations division has two; and the Treasury inspector general has one.

Cell-site simulators mimic cell towers to trick cellphones to connect to them, enabling investigators to obtain identifying information about the phones and their locations. Law enforcement officers often deploy the suitcase-sized devices by hauling them in vehicles as they drive through neighborhoods looking for suspects’ phones, scooping up data on cellphones of passers-by in the process.

The report does not indicate how many local law enforcement agencies have cell-site simulators, but it states that the Homeland Security Department identified more than $1.8 million in grant money it provided to state and local law enforcement to purchase such technology.

Fortunately, since 2015 federal regulations have required federal agencies to obtain a warrant to use these devices against you. This is not the case for local departments.

In sweet justice news, the top NSA Watchdog who insisted Edward Snowden should have come to him with his grievances has received a termination notice for retaliating against a whistleblower.

Until just a few months ago, George Ellard occupied a position of trust as top watchdog of the National Security Agency, America’s principal collector of signals intelligence. Ellard was not only NSA’s Inspector General, but an outspoken critic of Edward Snowden. Snowden claimed, among other things, that his concerns about NSA’s domestic eavesdropping were ignored by the agency, and that he feared retaliation. Ellard publicly argued in 2014 that Snowden could have safely reported the allegations of NSA’s domestic surveillance directly to him.

Now it's been revealed that a high-level Intelligence Community panel found that Ellard himself had previously retaliated against an NSA whistleblower. Informed of that finding, NSA’s Director, Admiral Michael Rogers, promptly issued Ellard a notice of proposed termination, although Ellard apparently remains an agency employee while on administrative leave, pending a possible response to his appeal. So he's on an extended tax-payer funded vacation.

It seems that every few weeks there is new evidence justifying the actions that Edward Snowden took to notify us about the surveillance that was happening. This is just further justification.

In hard negotiations news, Dennis Muilenburg, CEO of Boeing, said they will build the new Air Force One for less than $4 billion. This comes immediately after a meeting with President-elect Trump. Muilenburg praised Trump for his "business head" and said the two had a very productive meeting where they discussed how the country could build two new Air Force One planes for less than the $4 billion, which Trump criticized on Twitter this month.

"We're going to get it done for less than that," Muilenburg said. "I was able to give the president-elect my personal commitment on behalf of the Boeing Company. This is a business that's important to us. We work on Air Force One because it's important to our country and we're going to make sure that he gets the best capability and that it's done affordably."

Trump's tweet that prompted this said, "Boeing is building a brand new 747 Air Force One for future presidents, but costs are out of control, more than $4 billion. Cancel order!"

In Alexa is listening news, the police in Bentonville, Arkansas have asked Amazon to give them access to any voice recordings that its Echo digital assistant may have made at the time that an alleged murder was committed. According to court documents James Andrew Bates is charged with killing Victor Collins on November 22, 2015 after Collins was found dead in Bates' hot tub.

Amazon records all requests with the idea that Alexa will learn better over time how to respond to specific customers' queries and orders. However, Echo does not record every word that people say in their homes. In other words, always listening is not the same as always recording. So in this specific case, unless someone asked Alexa how to clean up blood stains or the best techniques for garroting a person, the voice recordings from this device are unlikely to be of much help to the police.

Amazon is resisting the Bentonville police request. In a statement to Engadget the company said: "Amazon will not release customer information without a valid and binding legal demand properly served on us. Amazon objects to overbroad or otherwise inappropriate demands as a matter of course."

Good for Amazon. This would open a can of worms that we do not want to be opened. Fortunately, you are able to delete recordings from your Alexa device using the Alexa app. But what a pain in the ass.

In Muh Roads news, the only plow truck driver for most of Parsonsfield, Maine, quit after a storm dumped 25 inches of snow on the town on Dec. 30, so the residents of the tiny hamlet knew what they had to do. They grabbed shovels and got to work. The roads were close to fully cleared by the residents by that afternoon.

Select Board member Tiffany Brendt said, "People got together in our town and went out, plowed, salted, sanded, pushed back the banks, and went back out after the ice storm to make sure everything was good. They just did it."

Without the government, roads will still exist, and they will still be plowed. The government doesn't plow my driveway, but it still gets plowed. Imagine that.

In government indoctrination center news, kids in Missouri could now go to jail for getting into fights at school. Prior to this law, if a student got into a fight and hurt another person, they'd be charged with a misdemeanor and then released to their parents. However, with the new law that went into effect on January 1, that student will now head to a juvenile detention center and be charged with a Class E felony. That means they could spend up to four years in jail.

Four fucking years in jail. For a juvenile. For fighting. This is absolutely insane.

One Missouri school district website says, "Student(s) who are caught fighting in school, bus or on school grounds may now be charged with a felony (no matter the age or grade level), if this assault is witnessed by one of the School Resource Officers/police officers (SRO) or if the SRO/local law enforcement officials have to intervene."

In Free State Project news, a New Hampshire Senate panel has backed eliminating the permit requirement to carry a concealed weapon, which would effectively bring about Constitutional carry in the state. New Hampshire already allows for open carry without a permit.

Supporters of a bill that would make it easier to legally carry a concealed weapon in New Hampshire are hoping the third time is the charm. The past two attempts passed with Republican majorities in the House and Senate, but were vetoed by then-Gov. Maggie Hassan, a Democrat.

"This legislation simply serves to restore the intent of the U.S. Constitution by eliminating the licensing requirement to carry a concealed firearm by individuals legally able to do so," said Senate Majority Leader Jeb Bradley, R-Wolfeboro, sponsor of the legislation. "This issue is about protecting our citizens' lives, liberties and loved ones and that is why we need to restore law-abiding citizens' rights to carry a firearm."

At this point, it appears to be a near certainty that this bill will pass and be signed by the new governor, Chris Sununu.

And in some personal news, I finally got into our new home in New Hampshire. I want to take a minute and thank you all for your patience during my hiatus from the podcast while we moved. It was an absolute nightmare of a move with so many problems on all ends, but it's all done now, finally! And, we now have a detached rental house on our property that we have put new kitchens and bathrooms in, so if you have been looking for a launchpad for your move to New Hampshire for the Free State Project, let me know, and I can hook you up. It has one bedroom, one and a half bathrooms, an attached garage which is so helpful in New Hampshire winters, and plenty of storage for all your things. We will do short and long term rentals. Shoot me an email at feedback@thelavaflow.com and I'll get all the information to you!

NEW HAMPSHIRE - IT'S LIKE THIS TOO

This is a new segment for the show. I realized I talk about New Hampshire enough on this show that it would be pertinent to put that kind of information in a new segment called New Hampshire - It's Like This Too. As you, my loyal listeners, are aware, I moved to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project in October of 2015 and have loved every minute of being here. This segment will be my periodic way of talking about my love of the state and the activism and other news that goes on here.

One of the coolest New Hampshirites that is not a part of the Free State Project is Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway and many medical devices including the AutoSyringe and an all-terrain wheelchair known as the iBOT. He is one fascinating guy and you can watch a documentary about him on Netflix called SlingShot.

Recently, Kamen is working on a project to regenerate human tissue and organs right here in the Manchester Millyard in New Hampshire. The new company, called The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (or ARMI), will receive $214 million from industry, university, nonprofit, and other sources devoted to the effort. Unfortunately, he will also be receiving about $80 million in federal funding as well, to find ways to restore form, function, and appearance to wounded soldiers and it will reduce the waiting time for organ transplant patients.

“We need to essentially make the printing press for the world of regenerative medicine,” said Kamen. “We are going to so vastly accelerate the access to advanced technology that this will be the biggest single change in medicine in the lifetime of the people here," he also said.

And I don't doubt that. The ability to regenerate tissue and organs will be huge for the medical industry and the life-span of humans. Think of the implications of this. Lung cancer? No big deal. Rip it out and replace it with one that was generated. Massive burns? Replace the skin with regenerated skin.

Of course, the government has an interest in this since they send our young men and women to be targets in wars that we have no business being involved in, and so the government wants to try nad put them back together again. I have a better idea for the government, quit sending our young men and women to war. See, I fixed it!

MUH ROADS

This segment is all about how to take products and services normally provided by the government and put them completely in the private sector. Since one of the most prolific arguments made by statists is "without government, who will build the roads," I do tend to talk about roads in this segment a lot. This episode is no different.

The blog, Libertarian Money, wrote a fantastic article about this very topic that I wanted to share with you. The article is called, "The Definitive Guide To Who Will Build The Roads." You can get a link to the full article in the show notes to this episode at thelavaflow.com/53, but I will take a few minutes here and break it down for you. This article is a couple of years old, but it crossed my desk recently and it was too good not to share.

He starts the article by saying the obvious. Who will build the roads? Road builders. The question actually should be, "who will pay the road builders?" This is the question he tries to answer in the article.

He makes the case that, "asking, who will build the roads without government, is like asking, who will pick the cotton when we free the slaves." And he's right. People freaked out before the abolition of slavery because without slaves to pick the cotton, it wouldn't get picked. Of course, now looking back on it, we see that, at least for a while, the people who picked cotton after slavery were the same people who picked it before, they just got paid. That is until technology caught up and machines pick it now.

The author uses this to make the case that it really doesn't matter who will build the roads. The fact is that government is a non-voluntary, immoral interaction. As he said, "If the requirement to have roads is extorting 300 million people then I personally would rather everyone walk. Fortunately, people don’t have to walk. There are plenty of incentives in the free market for people to build roads."

He further makes the case that, without government, would we even need roads? He says, "If the government didn’t build the roads for cars, would people still be driving cars. They could be driving off road vehicles that don’t need roads to be build. If no one ever built the roads then car companies might have developed the technology to hover above the ground instead of needing roads. Naturally, this is all silly speculation but there is one untouchable point. We cannot predict whether we would need roads if government didn’t build them."

At this point, the article shifts to discussing possibilities about who would build roads if government didn't. He starts with car companies. Of course, car companies would want a place for their product to be used, so it's possible they would build the roads. He also makes the case that private road companies would build roads and charge a fee to use them, no different than an amusement park company builds amusement parks and charges a fee for people to use them. Landowners may also pay to build the roads. Land is pretty much useless if you can't get to it. Your business won't stay in business long if there is no road to allow customers access.

And, finally, the author discusses two important things in his conclusions. First, all of the solutions to this problem have very little or no complexity. Anyone can figure out simple solutions to these problems. There could be limitless possibilities of solutions to these simple problems. His last point is simply this. "Who will build the roads? No one knows." And, you know what? He's right. No one could have predicted the iPhoen 15 years ago, and no one can predict what our road system and cars would look like in the future without government interference. And this is a good thing. As the author concludes:

"No one knows how much different the world would be if government didn’t build the roads. Anyone that claims otherwise is lying. The points you need to consider are probably not logistics. The points you need to consider more are the ethical implications. Do you support extortion, kidnapping, theft, and every other non-voluntary transaction used to build the roads*? That’s the real question."

OUTRO

Thank you for listening to the show this week. As always, I need to thank my favorite home renovator, Jessica, for her help with this show. For the show notes to this episode, where I put links and other information that has been on this show, go to thelavaflow.com/53.

I don't have any new iTunes reviews this week. It would be a huge help to me if you would review the show! Please go to thelavaflow.com/itunes to leave me a rating and a review! Thanks.

I have four, yes FOUR! new donors since my last episode! Paul is supporting The LAVA Flow at $1 per episode using Patreon. Thanks, Paul! My friend Vince, who is on a European tour right now also pledged $1 per episode. Thanks, Vince, and hurry back to the Shire! Ross also pledged $1 per episode. Thanks, Ross! And David is supporting the show at $10 per episode using Patreon. Wow! Thanks so much, David! And, thanks to all of my donors. This now puts me at $180 per episode or 72% of the way towards my next level where I will be bringing you a full 30-minute episode of The LAVA Flow every week!
And, if you, like Paul, Vince, Ross, and David, want more of the LAVA Flow, exercise your free-market muscles by going to http://thelavaflow.com/support and giving a per-episode donation of as little as a buck an episode using Federal Reserve Notes through Patreon or Bitcoin through Coinbase. I want to be able to bring you more content soon, so make sure to add your donation today to help make that happen!

Until next time... keep striking the root.

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