The Arena

New Laws Take Effect
Posted September 02, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

A number of new laws in Texas became effective September 1st. Check out this ABC 13 Eyewitness News article for more details.

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Maryland: Where The First Amendment Does Not Apply
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

In what The Atlantic aptly describes as a “Soviet Style Punishment” Maryland school teacher and novelist, Patrick McLaw was arrested, his home and school searched by police, was suspended from his job, and has been forced to undergo an “emergency medical evaluation” because of a novel he wrote. Again, to be clear, this happened in Maryland, USA. Government officials did not like the content of the teacher’s novel – which is by definition a fictional story – and consequently totally turned his life upside down using the brute force of the state. He is currently at an undisclosed location and unable to travel, whatever that means. The press, by and large, seem rather unconcerned about whether Mr. McLaw is in fact under arrest or whether the First Amendment still applies in Maryland. 

One wonders if the state’s central committee has already moved to strip Mr. McLaw of his party membership and booked him on the next train to the Gulag. One also hopes law enforcement officials in Texas would have better sense than this… 

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Another Epic Big Government Fail
Posted August 21, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

The bureaucrats at the FDA, in all their glory, have created this:

A court in Alabama has ruled that Pfizer Inc. can be sued over harmful side effects caused by generic versions of its drugs.

My first thought while reading the article was that this is outrageous judicial overreach in a state that has historically been somewhat known for being friendly to plaintiffs. It is, I thought, just allowing plaintiffs to go in search of the deepest pockets in the hopes of getting the largest possible recovery.

Then I read further. And it turns out that generic manufacturers are not allowed to put warning labels on drugs unless those warnings are also in the warning label for the original brand-name drug. That’s when I realized that this was a classic case of outrageous regulatory incompetence. Oblivious bureaucrats at the Food and Drug Administration created a ridiculous situation in which Pfizer can be sued for a product it didn’t make.

Then I read further. And it turns out that the FDA has proposed a new rule that would allow generic-drug manufacturers to add labeling to their products independently. And ...

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Staffing Up
Posted August 20, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

In November TPPA will start staffing up for the 84th Legislative Session. Check out our job post here and if you’re interested, submit your resume, cover letter, and two writing samples. The positions are full time temporary running from November 2014 through May 2015. If you’re liberty-minded and have an interest in helping legislators make quality liberty-oriented voting decisions, won’t you consider joining us for this next session?

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Restoring Our 5th Amendment Civil Rights
Posted July 28, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Civil Asset Forfeiture is an egregious violation of our property rights as protected by the 5th Amendment. The government is not supposed to seize property without due process of law, and yet it is common practice in every state for governments – state and local – to do just that. Some states have enacted reforms to cut back on the practice, but unless there is an outright ban on asset forfeiture without due process, no reform is even close to sufficient.

Texas, even after having enacted some reforms, is still notoriously bad on the issue. Some local governments in Texas run what can only be described as highway piracy programs in order to seize property which they can then use to fund their city budgets.

That’s why we are pleased to hear, via The Corner at National Review Online, that Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, has introduced S. 2644 The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act. According to Sen. Paul, the legislation “would change federal law and protect the rights of property owners by requiring that the government prove its case with clear and convincing evidence ...

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Our Lawless Federal Government
Posted May 07, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

Senator Ted Cruz has released a disturbing new report chronicling 76 specific instances of President Obama’s blatant disregard for the law. These violations of the law are terrible in their own right, but the precedent this behavior sets for future administrations is certain to have an incalculably bad impact on the future of our country.

It is troubling that the president thinks it is acceptable to ignore the law whenever he finds the law inconvenient. It is equally troubling that there has been no meaningful public outcry from nonpartisan sources. In decades gone by the national media would have been all over this, investigating, asking hard questions, and demanding accountability. In decades gone by a sitting senator would not have had to release his own compendium of presidential lawlessness because the competitive natured, curiosity driven, investigative journalists of the country would have been clamoring to be the next Woodward & Bernstein. The fact that they are not is very telling and deeply disturbing. The once fiercely independent watchdog national press corps has morphed into a monolithic, ideologically driven, lapdog media whose chief purpose seems to be to serve as an outlet for White House ...

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IRS Uses Secret Warrants To Steal Innocent Citizens Bank Accounts
Posted May 01, 2014 by Nathanael Ferguson

In a scathing expose in the Washington Post, George Will examines the IRS’s use of secret warrants and civil asset forfeiture to steal the bank accounts of innocent American citizens.

In 2010 and 2012, IRS agents visited the store and examined Terry’s and Sandy’s conduct. In 2012, the IRS notified them that it identified “no violations” of banking laws. But on Jan. 22, 2013, Terry and Sandy discovered that the IRS had obtained a secret warrant and emptied the store’s bank account. Sandy says that if the IRS had acted “the day before, there would have been only about $2,000 in the account.” Should we trust that today’s IRS was just lucky in its timing?

The IRS used “civil forfeiture,” the power to seize property suspected of being produced by, or involved with, crime. The IRS could have dispelled its suspicions of Terry and Sandy, if it actually had any, by simply asking them about the reasons — prudence, and the insurance limit — for their banking practices. It had, however, a reason not to ask obvious questions before proceeding.

The civil forfeiture law — ...

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Shooting The Messenger
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

Wallace Hall is a University of Texas Regent who took his job seriously and in doing so exposed institutional corruption that left egg on the faces of some powerful elected officials. Now Hall is being prosecuted and persecuted for having done his job. It’s an embarrassment to our state and our higher education system that Mr. Hall continues to be railroaded simply for shining the light of transparency in a place that desperately needed it. This story hasn’t been given enough attention, and certainly not enough attention sympathetic to Mr. Hall. Thankfully, Kevin D. Williamson is giving this some national attention today in National Review Online. Check out the full story here.

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Drowning In Debt at Frisco ISD
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

Texas Public Policy Foundation’s Jess Fields makes an appearance in the Dallas Morning News to break down why Frisco ISD’s $775 Million Bond Is A Bad Idea For Taxpayers

The Dallas Morning News recently ran a story about how Frisco ISD’s $775 million bond proposal is facing significant opposition and skepticism from the community. This shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone who has noticed Texans’ weariness of ever-increasing debt and taxes.

Do tell!

Frisco ISD has borrowed nearly $1.4 billion on the backs of taxpayers. And that doesn’t include interest, which is estimated at over $1.2 billion. Combine the principal and interest amounts owed, and the district’s total outstanding debt burden is nearly $2.6 billion, or about $55,988 per student enrolled.

That’s a school district, folks. A school district! $56k in debt per student. That is mind boggling. To put it in perspective the national debt which everyone is so rightly concerned about works out to $54,855.72 per capita as of this writing. Yep, you read that right, Frisco students are saddled with more debt by their school district than ...

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Only 2.45 Million ObamaCare Enrollees Paid By Deadline
Posted by Nathanael Ferguson

New figures out from insurance companies blow the lid off of the Obama administration’s claim of 8 million Obamacare enrollees. You’re not enrolled if you don’t pay, and as it turns out only 2.45 million have paid. That’s a far cry from the administration’s outlandish claims. Makes a person wonder, of the folks who actually did pay how many only signed up because they got booted from the insurance they liked and wanted to keep but couldn’t because of Obamacare? Check out the link for further details from National Review’s esteemed Jim Geraghty.

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