Tag: Lee

Paul, Lee Only Senators to Vote Against U.S. Support of NATO

By Kenneth Casey | United States

At around 7:00 EST on Tuesday, the Senate voted on a motion that supports continuing U.S. support and funds to NATO by an overwhelming majority of 97-2, with the only two dissents being libertarian-leaning Republicans Rand Paul and Mike Lee. With all the buzz and craziness going on about Donald Trump’s recent nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, the vote of the two Senators flew under the radar.

This vote comes about 6 hours after President Trump criticized fellow participating countries in NATO for not paying their expected expenses to the treaty whilst relying on the U.S. for expected funding and defense.

Trump’s rhetoric on NATO goes back to when he was running for president. He was often criticizing our involvement in NATO and was one of the only Republican candidates calling for decreased spending within the treaty.

Rand Paul, who as mentioned prior was one of two Senators to vote against the motion, seemed to agree with President Trump on the issue of America’s involvement in NATO. He tweeted out the following:

Paul’s opposition to the expansion of NATO is unsurprising, as the libertarian senator has long expressed disapproval for our involvement in the treaty. Back in March of 2017, Rand objected to the adding membership of Montenegro to the treaty, which promptly led to Senator John McCain of Arizona accusing Rand of “working for Vladimir Putin”. The Senate ended up confirming support of Montenegro’s addition to NATO, with only two Senators objecting: Rand Paul and Mike Lee. Mike Lee commented on the addition of Montenegro to NATO:

“Of course, treaties and alliances with other countries can be beneficial, but the founders of this country understood their seriousness as well as going to war. That is why both of these powers-the power to make and ratify treaties and the power to declare and execute a war- are shared by the legislative and executive branches, and treaty ratification must be achieved by a supermajority in the Senate.”

-Senator Mike Lee of Utah

Unfortunately for libertarians who want the United States’ involvement in NATO to decrease, for both the purpose of cutting foreign aid and being involved in fewer entanglements overseas, Rand Paul and Mike Lee alone don’t have a ton of power in the Senate. 98 other Senators sharing opposing views which favor U.S. alliances and involvement abroad, so the only way for this to change is by electing more libertarian-leaning Senators.


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Liberty-Leaning Mike Lee Should Stay in the Senate

By Kenneth Casey | United States

Recently, with the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, there’s been a lot of buzz about who President Trump might nominate to replace the Republican-appointed Justice. The White House released a list of potential replacements for the seat that President Trump is deciding from.

On that list is Utah U.S. Senator Mike Lee. Although appointing legislators to judicial seats is often frowned upon, Lee is a rare exception. Before he decided to enter politics and run for office, he served as a Law Clerk to Judge Dee Benson on Utah’s District Court and future Supreme Court Justice Judge Samuel Alito. At the time, Alito was serving on the United States Court of Appeals. After that, Lee served as Assistant United States Attorney in Salt Lake City.

Lee has a very sharp legal mind and has shown it off many times in the United States Senate. Most recently, Lee spoke in favor of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would have protected Americans from detention without trial or charge. Lee, speaking in favor of the amendment on the Senate floor, said:

“The amendment simply says that if you are a U.S. citizen or a lawful permanent resident, you may not be indefinitely detained on U.S. soil without trial, without charge, without access to a jury or to counsel.”

-Mike Lee

Lee’s position on the issue was that enforcing indefinite detention on any U.S. citizen for any reason violates the 5th amendment. Thus, it is not tolerable in the United States.

Lee possesses a trait that is rare for any elected legislator. He has common knowledge of the Constitution, and realizes protecting it is a legislator’s first and most important duty. Hence, Lee would be an amazing addition to the Supreme Court. He would represent liberty on the bench for a long time.

However, is nominating Mike Lee to the Supreme Court really worth losing his voice in the Senate?

Unfortunately, the answer, at least at this time, the answer is no. Lee has consistently been the second-most liberty-leaning member of the Senate, alongside Rand Paul. His loss would leave Paul as the only liberty-leaning senator.

In the past, Lee has championed criminal justice reform. For example, he introduced a bill in the Senate titled Smart Sentencing Act that would reform the criminal justice system. It addressed prison overcrowding by lowering mandatory minimum sentences. Thus, he effectively wanted to limit the number of nonviolent drug offenders sent to prison.

When it comes to surveillance bills, Lee and Paul have been the only two consistent Republican Senators opposing more spying. In 2011, they were the only two Republicans to oppose extending all three provisions of the PATRIOT Act. When the FISA Authorization Act came to the Senate floor earlier this year, Lee was one of just seven Republicans to vote against it. Also, when John McCain put a bill on the Senate floor to expand the FBI’s surveillance powers, Lee was again one of seven Republicans to vote against it.

Moreover, Lee has consistently supported bills that cut spending and shrink our national debt. When Paul introduced a bill that would reduce discretionary spending by $43 billion, Lee was one of a mere five senators to vote for it. Most recently, two days ago, when the Senate voted on the Agricultural and Nutrition Act, a bill the CBO claimed would increase direct spending by $3.2 billion over the 2019-2023 period, Lee and Paul broke alone from their party to vote against it. According to the site SpendingTracker.org, a site that tracks how much money Congressmen vote to spend, Lee voted to spend the 2nd least amount of money in both the 114th and 115th Congresses, behind only Paul.

In addition, Lee has been a proponent of foreign policy realism in Senate. While many Senators praised President Trump’s decision in 2017 to launch missiles into Syria, Lee joined Paul in saying that it was unconstitutional for a president to engage in an act of war without Congressional approval. Lee also teamed up with Bernie Sanders to end U.S. intervention in Yemen earlier this year.

A liberty-leaning Senator like Mike Lee is very rare in today’s political climate. It would be a huge blow to lose him as a Senator.

Many may argue that Lee vacating his Utah seat in the senate is not a big deal. After all, he serves in the Republican stronghold state of Utah. They are right – Lee’s seat is very safe for Republicans. They would have no trouble voting in a new Republican in a special election for his replacement. However, it is quite unlikely we would see another liberty-leaning Republican in his place.

It is important for Donald Trump to nominate somebody like Mike Lee to the Supreme Court. Yet, it would be best if he did not nominate the man himself, as liberty-leaning senators are too critical to lose.


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The Great Coinbase “Disaster” Of 2017: Bitcoin Cash Murders The Blockchain

By Spencer Kellogg | USA

What the hell just happened? Alleged insider trading at Coinbase, Roger Ver blasted for having practical visions of the future of cryptocurrency and Charlie Lee attacked as a parasite for cashing in (rightfully) his stack of Litecoin. What a mess the past few days have been leaving some in the Bitcoin and cryptocurrency community feeling shell-shocked from a new presence of egoism and narcissism in the once generally positive community. Furthermore, hard questions are arising about Bitcoin’s dominance as ‘king of crypto’ leaving many consumers upset in its wake. Money is a bastard and the past 48 hours have been a shining example of how greed and playground groupthink have diluted the overarching philosophical goals of the space and split a massive userbase into argumentative factions while leading even the most sophisticated lemmings straight off the cliff.

Bitcoin has a problem. For all of the talk about it being the world’s new reserve currency, it doesn’t move very well. It requires an expensive fee and the time delay for receiving the coin has been virtually eradicated by other competing digital currencies in recent years. The strongest thing Bitcoin has going for it at the moment is its first mover advantage in the space and its dominating presence on every major exchange in the world. Bitcoin Cash is a ‘fork’ of Bitcoin meaning that Bitcoin Cash is of the same origin as Bitcoin but possesses functional and technological differences. Just like a forked path presents two new roads so too does a forked currency and the route that users choose to take determines the viability of the product. Bitcoin Cash promotes faster payments, lower fees and secure development from a centralized leadership. It also has Roger Ver, aka ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ (or Judas depending on your opinion), one of the great controversial figures in all of cryptocurrency. Ver sent the currency and overall markets into a feeding frenzy as he appeared on CNBC yesterday to discuss Bitcoin Cash as the currency entered into the connected crypto exchanges GDAX and Coinbase.

With Bitcoin Cash coming online at Coinbase (the major exchange in the USA) markets and consumers around the world flooded in to purchase the asset before its listing. Allegations of insider trading were rife leading to Coinbase halting the trading of the currency as they investigated their employee’s purchases leading up to the event. In the greater community, opinions were split with some users pointing at the “disaster” and using this event to call for greater regulation and even lawsuits for what they perceived to be cheating while others grinned and accepted the practice for what it is; a fully free, unregulated market that does not play by your grandfather’s Wall Street rules. All Bitcoin wallet addresses that held BTC during the August fork were given the exact same amount in Bitcoin Cash and in the month’s leading up to the New Year, there had been confusion regarding whether or not Coinbase would add Bitcoin Cash as a trading option with many believing that Coinbase would only provide withdrawal of the currency from its website. The decision regarding whether or not Coinbase would allow active trading of the commodity is important because it has a major effect on the wider adoption of the currency. As it stands now, the continued shenanigans from Coinbase is leading to a loss of faith from its consumers who suspect manipulation and lies on the part of the leadership. Until a better option is available many US-based crypto customers will have no choice but to use the major on-ramp platform for enter/exit trading.

In the world of Litecoin, founder Charlie Lee laid out his reasons for selling off his portfolio of Litecoin in a Reddit post that can be read here: Charlie Lee Sells His Litecoin. He pointed to his presence as a social and cultural figure in the cryptocurrency market overall and his interest in divesting from the coin that he has such an immense influence upon. This led to fingerpointing insinuating that Charlie Lee was using Litecoin simply to get rich or even that this had been done to take advantage of the Bitcoin Cash listing on Coinbase. Lee also made clear that the currency has seen a remarkable run up from four dollars in the springtime and that many investors should be careful in this new high-risk and unstable territory. In the past year, I have witnessed Charlie Lee act as an agent of good over and over again and I was surprised by the level of hostility aimed at Lee in the following days. The aggression towards one of the true white knights of the space speaks to the level of mistrust and resentment that some consumers are feeling in this grey area of ‘bubble’ uncertainty.

The Wild West of crypto is an enthralling business but the ailments of big money and uninformed speculators are beginning to rear their ugly head. I always thought the major hurdle of crypto’s mainstream adoption would be a belligerent Congress but after what I’ve witnessed this week I am beginning to believe it will be the low IQ newcomers who demand greater centralization and regulation to protect their interests. I suppose the trending backlash can be seen as a bullish sign because it signals that a mass userbase has collected with desires and opinions and a real stake in the game. The bickering, however, is difficult to listen to and reminds me most of the Sunday’s I spent as a child watching grown men smash into each other on the football field. We are still years away from true adoption of these services and much can be changed in the proceeding time. Do your own research, form your own opinions, strap in and get ready for the moon, just be careful which rocket you choose.


Image credits go to @Crypto_God