*****
RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS DIGEST
The Freedom Movement’s Daily Newspaper

Volume XVI, Issue #3,878
Tuesday, January 2nd, 2018
447 email subscribers

http://rationalreview.com

Please forward this email to your friends so
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*****

In the News:

0) A note from the publisher …
1) Iran: State TV reports nine more killed amid protests; death toll at least 20
2) CA: Customers line up for broad legal pot sales
3) Trump regime abandons bid to bar transgender military recruits
4) Israel: Likud calls for annexation of parts of West Bank
5) Kim: “Button for nuclear weapons is on my table”
6) Chocolate is on track to go extinct in 40 years
7) Celebrity rabbi labels singer Lorde a “bigot” for canceling Israel concert
8) Telegram shuts down “violence-inciting” channel at Iran regime’s request, angering Snowden
9) Afghanistan: Explosives-rigged rickshaw blast kills 17 at funeral
10) That game on your phone may be tracking what you’re watching on TV
11) CO: Pence’s neighbors troll him with “Make America Gay Again” banner
12) Ukraine: Hostages freed after police storm post office
13) UT: Teacher fired over nudity in art class materials
14) Egypt: Morsi sentenced to three years for insulting the judiciary
15) NBA website removes mention of Palestine occupation after Israeli pol whines about it

Everybody Has An Opinion:

16) The right to know might get you sued
17) As we’ve been saying, competition really does lower prices
18) Do they care?
19) Authorities they are not
20) The Satoshi Revolution, chapter 3, part 6
21) Quantum Vibe, 01/01/17
22) Wilderness of mirrors
23) A bad attack on libertarian economics
24) Why my father shuns social media
25) The forgotten origins of constitutional reform on campus
26) Yemen: Donald Trump’s genocide
27) 2017: The year the Iraq war truly ended
28) Federal regulation of electric power and the commerce clause
29) 2017: The year of altcoins, forks, and five digit Bitcoin prices
30) Much ado about very little
31) The decline [sic] of debate on college campuses
32) Maintaining victim fluidity
33) The new hysteria on Kremlin trolls
34) Here’s what Washington should do about Yemen
35) High speed broadband is not a human right
36) The economic benefits of ending the fraud of fractional reserve banking
37) The best of times — the worst of times
38) The best way to rule for Carpenter (or, how to expand Fourth Amendment protections without making a mess)
39) One year of immigration under Trump
40) A tale of two sectors
41) The right will destroy Israel
42) Iraq-raping neocons suddenly posing as woke progressives to gain support
43) Repressing the message and method: Zimbabwean efforts to enact digital control
44) 2017 review: Yemen
45) A brief case for prison abolition

The Sound and the Fury:

46) Free Talk Live, 01/01/18
47) Freedom Feens Radio, 01/01/18
48) Lions of Liberty, episode 328
49) The Anarchist Experience, episode 145
50) A new year brings new laws
51) Problems with the private production of defense, part 1: Financing
52) Editor’s Break, episode 43
53) PanAm Podcast, 12/30/17
54) Reason Podcast, 12/29/17
55) Foreign Policy Focus, episode 136

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***** In the News *****

0) A note from the publisher …

Dear readers,

We’re baaack! It’s a new year and we’re into Volume XVI (at Rational Review News Digest, as of December 23rd — at Freedom News Daily, it would be something like Volume XXIII if FND had ever been styled that way) and chugging toward our 4,000th issue (again, at RRND, many more for FND).

I intended to do a “final year-end fundraiser update” this morning, but I’ve got a couple of questions out to supporters that I need answers to before posting the final numbers. Suffice it to say that we didn’t make the final $5,000 goal, but several of y’all did come through to get us a lot closer in the closing hours of 2017. Since I can’t post the numbers yet anyway, I’m going to make an executive call here and say that any donations arriving before tomorrow morning’s edition will be added to the year-end fundraiser total. No, it’s not some kind of “extend the fundraiser” trick. But since I’m waiting for answers and will end up having to do the math either way, might as well throw that URL out one more time, right?

http://rationalreview.com/support-rrnd

Sorry to drag this out. Presumably I’ll be able to give you the final report tomorrow, after which our fundraising will go back to one little pitch a month or so (aimed at increasing our subscription and subscribing contributor base!) until 2018 starts winding down.

Anyway, Happy New Year and let’s get on with 2018 together!

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Publisher
Rational Review News Digest / Freedom News Daily

—–

1) Iran: State TV reports nine more killed amid protests; death toll at least 20
Source: Chicago Tribune

“Clashes overnight between protesters and security forces in Iran killed nine people, state television reported Tuesday, including some rioters who tried to storm a police station to steal weapons. The demonstrations, the largest to strike Iran since its disputed 2009 presidential election, have seen six days of unrest across the country and a death toll of at least 20. The protests began Thursday in Mashhad over Iran’s weak economy and a jump in food prices and have expanded to several cities, with some protesters chanting against the government and the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Hundreds of people have been arrested.” (01/02/17)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-iran-protests-20180101-story.html

—–

2) CA: Customers line up for broad legal pot sales
Source: McClatchy DC Bureau

“Customers hoping to be among the first in California to purchase marijuana legally lined up early Monday, as the arrival of the new year brought with it broad legalization of cannabis, two decades after the state was the first to allow pot for medical use. Just after midnight, some raised joints instead of champagne glasses. … The nation’s most populous state joins a growing list of other states, and the nation’s capital, where so-called recreational marijuana is permitted even though the federal government continues to classify pot as a controlled substance, like heroin and LSD. Pot is now legal in California for adults 21 and older, and individuals can grow up to six plants and possess as much as an ounce of the drug. But finding a retail outlet to buy non-medical pot in California won’t be easy, at least initially. Only about 90 businesses received state licenses to open on New Year’s Day.” (01/01/18)

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/national-politics/article192434144.html

—–

3) Trump regime abandons bid to bar transgender military recruits
Source: Newsweek

“The Trump administration has abandoned its bid to prevent openly transgender people from serving in the U.S. military, the Pentagon announced late Friday night. In July, the Trump administration attempted to delay an Obama-era Department of Defense ruling allowing openly transgender Americans to enlist in the military from January 1. … the policy has met with several federal court challenges — with two federal appeals courts upholding rulings that the Trump administration could not enforce the ban. In a statement to Reuters, the Department of Justice said it would not fight the January 1 deadline and was not challenging the court rulings, but that the Trump administration may consider other means of blocking transgender people enlisting.” (12/30/17)

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-administration-abandons-bid-bar-transgender-recruits-us-military-766242

—–

4) Israel: Likud calls for annexation of parts of West Bank
Source: Al Jazeera [Qatar]

“Israel’s governing Likud party has approved a draft resolution urging its leaders to formally annex parts of the occupied West Bank, a move that is expected to further anger Palestinians. Members of the Likud Central Committee voted on Sunday in favour of imposing Israeli sovereignty over illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank. The resolution is non-binding for cabinet ministers but it does carry political force within the party of Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister. Netanyahu himself did not attend the central commitee’s meeting.” (12/31/17)

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/12/likud-calls-annexation-parts-west-bank-171231215302354.html

—–

5) Kim: “Button for nuclear weapons is on my table”
Source: CBS News

“North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said Monday the United States should be aware that his country’s nuclear forces are now a reality, not a threat. But he also struck a conciliatory tone in his New Year’s address, wishing success for the Winter Olympics set to begin in the South in February and suggesting the North may send a delegation to participate. Kim, wearing a Western-style gray suit and tie, said in his customary annual address his country had achieved the historic feat of ‘completing’ its nuclear forces and added he has a nuclear button on his desk. … The New Year’s address is an annual event in the North and is watched closely for indications of the direction and priorities Kim may adopt in the year ahead.” (01/01/18)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/kim-jong-un-north-korea-completed-nuclear-forces/

—–

6) Chocolate is on track to go extinct in 40 years
Source: Independent [UK]

“Cacao plants occupy a precarious position on the globe. They can only grow within a narrow strip of rainforested land roughly 20 degrees north and south of the equator, where temperature, rain, and humidity all stay relatively constant throughout the year. Over half of the world’s chocolate now comes from just two countries in West Africa — Cote d’Ivoire and Ghana. But those areas won’t be suitable for chocolate in the next few decades. By 2050, rising temperatures will push today’s chocolate-growing regions more than 1,000 feet uphill into mountainous terrain — much of which is currently preserved for wildlife, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. ” (01/01/18)

https://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/chocolate-is-on-track-to-go-extinct-in-40-years-a8136561.html

—–

7) Celebrity rabbi labels singer Lorde a “bigot” for canceling Israel concert
Source: The Guardian [UK]

“A full-page advert has been placed in the Washington Post calling Lorde a bigot, a week after the New Zealand-born singer cancelled a concert in Israel. The ad, in the 31 December edition of the newspaper, was placed by outspoken rabbi Shmuley Boteach’s This World: The Values Network and criticises the 21-year-old for joining ‘a global antisemitic boycott of Israel’ while still performing in Russia. … Last month the Grammy award winner cancelled a concert scheduled in Tel Aviv for June after criticism from activists in the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement. The decision also came after an open letter written by two New Zealanders argued the concert would show support for Israel’s occupation of Palestine.” (01/01/18)

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jan/01/lorde-called-a-bigot-over-israel-stance-in-full-page-washington-post-ad

—–

8) Telegram shuts down “violence-inciting” channel at Iran regime’s request, angering Snowden
Source: RT [Russian state media]

“Messaging service Telegram has shut down a public channel that’s been used to organize the anti-government protests in Iran after a government minister said it featured instructions on making Molotov cocktails and taking up arms. … The exchange and subsequent block of the channel came as Iran continues to be gripped by protests against rapidly-rising food prices, corruption and the political leadership, which began Thursday. Whistleblower Edward Snowden took the decision as an opportunity to criticize Telegram. … The ‘core’ problem, he believes, is the centralized nature of the app, which is entirely controlled by its developers, who insist that they will never reveal their user data, or comply with illegal requests by governments. … ‘Telegram should have been working to make channels decentralized — meaning outside their control — for years,’ wrote Snowden, who also insisted that users must be given more technologies that allow them to evade government control, such as anonymizer Tor.” (12/31/17)

https://www.rt.com/news/414658-telegram-iran-block-snowden/

—–

9) Afghanistan: Explosives-rigged rickshaw blast kills 17 at funeral
Source: Japan Times [Japan]

“A bombing targeted the funeral of a local official in eastern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing at least 17 people, officials said. Noor Ahmad Habibi, deputy spokesman for the governor of Nangarhar province, said a rickshaw rigged with explosives went off among people gathered in the provincial capital, Jalalabad, to mourn a former district chief. He said around 13 other people were wounded. Habibi said initial reports were that a suicide bomber was behind the attack, but that authorities now believe it was a remotely detonated explosion.” (12/31/17)

https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/01/01/world/explosives-rigged-rickshaw-blast-kills-17-funeral-afghan-official/

—–

10) That game on your phone may be tracking what you’re watching on TV
Source: New York Times

“At first glance, the gaming apps — with names like ‘Pool 3D,’ ‘Beer Pong: Trickshot’ and ‘Real Bowling Strike 10 Pin’ — seem innocuous. One called ‘Honey Quest’ features Jumbo, an animated bear. Yet these apps, once downloaded onto a smartphone, have the ability to keep tabs on the viewing habits of their users — some of whom may be children — even when the games aren’t being played. … The apps use software from Alphonso, a start-up that collects TV-viewing data for advertisers. Using a smartphone’s microphone, Alphonso’s software can detail what people watch by identifying audio signals in TV ads and shows, sometimes even matching that information with the places people visit and the movies they see. The information can then be used to target ads more precisely and to try to analyze things like which ads prompted a person to go to a car dealership.” (12/28/17)

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/28/business/media/alphonso-app-tracking.html

—–

11) CO: Pence’s neighbors troll him with “Make America Gay Again” banner
Source: Washington Post

“Vice President Pence arrived in Aspen, Colo., this week for a holiday vacation — but not without encountering a silent protest from his neighbors in the liberal ski resort town. ‘Make America Gay Again,’ reads a rainbow banner posted on the stone pillar at the end of the driveway of the home where Pence and his wife, Karen, are staying. A dispatcher with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office referred The Washington Post to the White House press office Saturday, but Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Buglione told the Aspen Times that Pence’s next-door neighbors posted the banner shortly after the vice president and his family arrived on Tuesday. … In December, residents in the affluent Washington neighborhood of Chevy Chase hoisted rainbow flags outside their homes following news that Pence, then newly elected, would live there temporarily before moving to the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory.” (12/30/17)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/politics/wp/2017/12/30/mike-pences-colorado-neighbors-troll-him-with-a-make-america-gay-again-banner/

—–

12) Ukraine: Hostages freed after police storm post office
Source: Jerusalem Post [Israel]

“Ukrainian police on Saturday freed the remaining hostages being held in a post office by a man believed to be strapped with explosives, and arrested the hostage taker after an hours-long standoff in the city of Kharkiv. … In earlier statements, police said the man had entered the post office wearing a mask and taken 11 people hostage with the intention of robbing the place.” (12/30/17)

http://www.jpost.com/Breaking-News/Ukraine-hostages-freed-after-police-storm-post-office-521430

—–

13) UT: Teacher fired over nudity in art class materials
Source: Logan Herald Journal

“Lincoln Elementary School art teacher Mateo Rueda had no idea what was in store for his career when he wrapped up a lesson Dec. 4 by telling students to look through some art postcards in the classroom library for examples of color usage in notable paintings. The cards, which were part of an educational package called ‘The Art Box’ produced by Phaidon publishing, were placed in the library before Rueda began working at the Hyrum school. He knew the set portrayed a wide variety of classic artworks, but he has since said he was not aware that three or four of the 100 pieces featured in the box showed nudity. Before the week was out, Rueda would find himself at the center of a controversy at the school, would be contacted by police after someone filed a classroom pornography complaint against him, and would eventually be out of a job.” [editor’s note: Because the lessons we want kids to get out of art class are that the human body is ugly and that nudity is evil. Derp. – TLK] (12/28/17)

https://news.hjnews.com/logan%E2%80%94hj/teacher-parents-weigh-in-on-nude-artwork-incident/article%E2%80%94cbcb8316-9f6e-56b7-93c1-14807cc595a9.html

—–

14) Egypt: Morsi sentenced to three years for insulting the judiciary
Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Egypt’s former president has been sentenced to three years in prison for insulting the judiciary. Mohammed Morsi already holds other jail terms including a life sentence. He is awaiting a retrial on a separate charge of conspiring to commit terrorist acts, for which he was previously sentenced to death. The death sentence was lifted on appeal. Mr Morsi was overthrown by the military in 2013 and has been detained since. He is currently in a high-security prison. He has also been fined a million Egyptian pounds (£42,000; $56,000) relating to a speech given in 2013.” (12/30/17)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-42522534

—–

15) NBA website removes mention of Palestine occupation after Israeli pol whines about it
Source: The Guardian [UK]

“Israel’s far-right sports and culture minister has taken credit for the US National Basketball Association’s decision to remove the description ‘occupied’ from its depiction of Palestine on its website, despite the fact that the phrase describes the internationally recognised legal status of the Palestinian territories. The NBA’s site originally listed ‘occupied Palestine territories’ and at time of writing had deleted the word ‘occupied’ at the instance of two Israeli ministers, one of whom suggested they were in fact part of Israel.” (12/29/17)

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/29/israel-sports-minister-forces-nba-website-to-remove-palestine-occupied-jerusalem-trump

***** Everybody Has An Opinion *****

16) The right to know might get you sued
Source: Reason
by CJ Ciaramella

“Oregon resident Kim Sordyl had a hunch. The outspoken education activist thought Portland Public Schools might be using lengthy and expensive paid leaves to avoid firing problem employees. So she filed a public records request, looking for data to back up her suspicion. Instead of forking over the info — even after the county district attorney declared it part of the public record — the district sued Sordyl, along with a reporter who’d requested similar information, asking a judge to review the case in April. Being named in a lawsuit for filing a public records request was ‘just more of the same’ from a school system that ‘goes to great lengths to protect themselves and administrators at the expense of students, staff, and taxpayers,’ Sordyl says. But transparency advocates argue cases like hers are part of a disturbing trend in recent years of local governments filing suits against citizens to keep their doings secret.” (01/18)

http://reason.com/archives/2018/01/01/the-right-to-know-might-get-yo

—–

17) As we’ve been saying, competition really does lower prices
Source: Adam Smith Institute
by Tim Worstall

“It’s one of those cod surveys designed to get the name of the sponsoring firm into the papers but still, consider the point being made. Retail things cost more out in the countryside than they do in the cities. We know very well that rents are higher in the cities, also that turnover of any one shop is likely to be lower out in the boonies. But as we say, this story should really be read the other way around, not that the country is more expensive, but that the cities are cheaper. The cause being of course that the cities have many more retail outlets. All competing with each other for our custom. The end result being that prices fall as price is one of those ways — most certainly not the only one — in which people compete for that custom. That is, we’ve here proof perfect that competition reduces prices to consumers.” (12/31/17)

https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/as-weve-been-saying-competition-really-does-lower-prices

—–

18) Do they care?
Source: The Zelman Partisans
by Carl Bussjaeger

“A comment was left on the post Commenting Now Open: Application of the Definition of Machinegun to ‘Bump Fire’ Stocks and Other Similar Devices. ‘Carl … do you actually think any rational explanation of anything will influence the bureaucrats? Do you think that any of them CARE in the least? If they were the least influenced by reality, none of this would be happening.’ That could almost be a template for things I’ve been told over the years. Strike out ‘bureaucrats’ and insert ‘HOA,’ ‘mayor,’ ‘councilman,’ ‘congresscreep,’ ‘senator,’ ‘reporter,’ or ‘pollster.’ It’s always pointless trying to reach these folks because they don’t care what us peons think. I disagree. I think there’s some value to outreach.” (01/01/18)

http://zelmanpartisans.com/?p=4729

—–

19) Authorities they are not
Source: Everything Voluntary
by Robert Higgs

“Political discourse is an open-access activity. Anyone can have a say. Among those whose opinions and allegations receive the most notice are celebrities — especially entertainers, actors, TV news figure and pundits, athletes, and people who are famous only for being famous — and politicians. The prominent attention that these persons’ statements garner is unfortunate, to say the least. As a rule, the celebrities know scarcely anything about the world beyond their immediate involvements. Their pronouncements about economics, science, the environment, climate change, war and peace, and other great issues are worthless, or worse. They simply don’t know what they are talking about, and they almost never understand the difference between positive and normative statements. Politicians also make a practice of huffing and puffing about all sorts of matters of which they know nothing.” (12/30/17)

http://everything-voluntary.com/authorities-they-are-not

—–

20) The Satoshi Revolution, chapter 3, part 6
Source: Bitcoin.com
by Wendy McElroy

“The utter brilliance of Satoshi Nakamoto’s insight into the ‘trusted third party’ problem is not obvious. Nor is its importance to freedom. It is not merely an economic insight or a clever sidestepping of government; it is a key to human progress that is as pivotal as the concept of property rights, freedom of speech, and freedom of religion. First, it is necessary to seemingly disagree with Satoshi in order to arrive at a point of total agreement.” (12/30/17)

https://news.bitcoin.com/the-satoshi-revolution-chapter-3-exchanges-exchanging-liberty-for-convenience-part-6/

—–

21) Quantum Vibe, 01/01/17
Source: Big Head Press
by Scott Bieser & Lea Jean Badelles

Cartoon. (01/01/18)

http://www.quantumvibe.com/strip?page=1739

—–

22) Wilderness of mirrors
Source: The Intercept
by Jefferson Morley

“Last June, I received a phone call from a Los Angeles area code. Half expecting a robocall, I tapped the green icon. ‘I’ve heard you are interested in a man named Cleve Cram,’ the caller said in a British accent. ‘Is that so?’ Was I ever. I had just sent in final changes to the manuscript of ‘The Ghost,’ my biography of [James Jesus] Angleton. I thought of Cleve Cram the way a fisherman thinks of the Big One that got away. … The CIA had quietly re-possessed Cram’s papers in 2014. … All that had been publicly available vanished into the CIA’s archives. … The caller said his name was William Tyrer. He had read my article. He told me he had visited the Georgetown library a few years earlier, while developing a screenplay about a mole in Britain’s MI-5. He had gone through the Cram papers, photographed several hundred pages of material, and become fascinated by the man.” (01/01/17)

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/01/the-complex-legacy-of-cia-counterintelligence-chief-james-angleton/

—–

23) A bad attack on libertarian economics
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by George Leef

“There is a nasty genre of writing: books and articles that seek to build the case for socialism and interventionist government policies by smearing those of us who oppose them. That approach appeals greatly to Progressives who think that they are virtuous and their enemies must therefore be driven by base motives. Such a book is Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality, by University of Connecticut law professor James Kwak. He is extremely bothered by the fact that free-market arguments often succeed in derailing the kinds of socialistic policies he believes we need to combat inequality. And they succeed with what Kwak deems ‘simplistic’ concepts.” (12/29/17)

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/bad-attack-libertarian-economics/

—–

24) Why my father shuns social media
Source: Cagle.com
by Tom Purcell

“My father is behind the curve on social media, but I think he is onto something. You see, my father was born in 1933. He was a paperboy in the days when paperboys stood on city corners and shouted ‘Extra!’ In his home, the newspaper still is king. He has two delivered daily. He reads every inch of both. He does the crossword puzzles in both, too — with a pencil. (Note to people under 30: A pencil is a small, yellow stick that leaves a mark when its tip is pressed against paper.) My father knows that people can do crossword puzzles on their computers and smartphones, but the idea is nutty to him. Only an idiot would bring electronic equipment into the bathroom.” (01/01/17)

https://www.cagle.com/tom-purcell/2018/01/why-my-father-shuns-social-media

—–

25) The forgotten origins of constitutional reform on campus
Source: The American Prospect
by Randall Kennedy

“Recent conflicts on campus have featured as antagonists proponents of racial justice versus proponents of civil liberties. Many in both camps identify as liberals. A dose of recollection might help dissipate this avoidable and politically destructive strife. We should recall that in order to more militantly battle Jim Crow segregation, black high school and college student activists in the Deep South brought the federal Constitution to campus. They initiated the lawsuits that prompted judges to recognize that students at public schools are entitled to federal constitutional rights to due process and free speech. In the history of anti-racism, their demands were not atypical. Ardent champions of racial justice have typically been ardent champions of civil liberties. The Second Reconstruction of the 1960s, for example, prompted not only the emergence of law aimed at undoing racial hierarchy; it also prompted the growth of expansive constitutional doctrines on free expression.” (12/28/17)

http://prospect.org/article/forgotten-origins-constitution-on-campus

—–

26) Yemen: Donald Trump’s genocide
Source: exile in happy valley
by comrade hermit

“By and large, all American presidents are war criminals. It comes with the job like Air Force One and JFK’s secret sex dungeon (you didn’t h[ear] that one from me). In fact, most presidents are repeat offenders, committing scores of atrocities across a global scale over the span of four to eight years, and many get passed down from administration to administration like a blood-drenched hand-me-downs. But every president has their signature sin. That one act of barbarism that defines an administration’s specific modus operandi. The one act of international evil that they’re going to burn in hell for. … Donald Trump didn’t create the deepening bloodbath in Yemen. That honor goes to Nobel Peace Laureate and amateur wind-surfer Barack Obama, who gave our good buddies in Saudi Arabia the go ahead to invade their impoverished southern neighbors when a rag-tag militia of largely secular minded Shiites called the Houthis had the nerve to overthrow America’s latest Yemeni quisling despot …. but it was Trump who would make this bloodbath his own and push it from war to all out genocide.” (01/01/18)

http://exileinhappyvalley.blogspot.com/2018/01/yemen-donald-trumps-genocide.html

—–

27) 2017: The year the Iraq war truly ended
Source: The American Conservative
by Peter Van Buren

“The year 2017 saw America’s serial wars in Iraq ending with a whimper, not a bang. And in the oddest of ironies, it may be that Donald Trump, the fifth president to preside over U.S. military operations in Iraq, has more or less ended it, whether he had much to do with or not. With Baghdad declaring victory over ISIS (with U.S. military and Iranian assistance), U.S. officials say the number of troops remaining there could end up being far lower than the 5,500 there today. The lowest since the invasion in 2003. Ironically, however, after a quarter-century of American conflict in Iraq, the U.S. seems to have less influence there than it ever did before. How did this happen?” (12/30/17)

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/this-year-the-iraq-wars-truly-came-to-an-end-iran-kurds-isis-is/

—–

28) Federal regulation of electric power and the commerce clause
Source: Tenth Amendment Center
by Paul Ballonoff

“Since the Constitutional Convention specifically and clearly avoided any congressional powers to regulate rates or certificates of commerce, how could Congress regulate electricity in interstate commerce, without using authorities on rates or licenses? One of the issues facing the Constitutional Convention was that certain states were favoring industries within their borders against competitors outside their borders. Thus, the interstate commerce section of the U.S. Constitution was included to prevent states from favoring certain industries over others. In simple summary, the interstate powers of Congress are primarily to prevent states from creating monopolies or relative monopolies in commerce.” (12/28/17)

http://blog.tenthamendmentcenter.com/2017/12/federal-regulation-of-electric-power-and-the-commerce-clause/

—–

29) 2017: The year of altcoins, forks, and five digit Bitcoin prices
Source: Bitcoin.com
by Jamie Redman

“On December 30th, 2016 the price of [wrecked] bitcoin (BTC) was $960 USD, and since then the price had risen 1,941 percent 350 days later to an all-time high of $19,600 across global exchanges. Now the price rests at roughly $13-14K but a lot more has changed this year besides the significant price rises of bitcoin and many other cryptocurrencies.” (12/31/17)

https://news.bitcoin.com/2017-the-year-of-altcoins-forks-and-five-digit-bitcoin-prices/

—–

30) Much ado about very little
Source: EconLog
by Scott Sumner

“It’s been interesting to read the commentary of the left and the right regarding President Trump’s first year. While they disagree on whether Trump has improved the country, they do seem to agree that his economic policy changes have been very consequential. I believe they are both wrong.” (12/28/17)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2017/12/much_ado_about.html

—–

31) The decline [sic] of debate on college campuses
Source: The New Republic
by Aaron R Hanlon

Back in September, students at the University of California at Berkeley organized a ‘Free Speech Week,’ to be headlined by ex-Breitbart goad Milo Yiannopoulos. The school administration supported the event, for valid reasons: Chancellor Carol Christ declared her wish to ‘;permit speakers … without discrimination in regard to point of view.’ But eventually the speakers Yiannopoulos promised (like Steve Bannon, the former Trump strategist and Breitbart CEO, and writer Ann Coulter)dropped out of the event or claimed they never agreed to appear in the first place. Meanwhile, Yiannopoulos and his student hosts failed to file the required paperwork to confirm speakers and book campus venues. In the end, the vaunted ‘Free Speech Week’ amounted to a 20-minute Yiannopoulos photo op before a meager crowd of about 100 people, and it cost Berkeley around $800,000. In retrospect, one of the most important insights we can take away from ‘Free Speech Week’ (and the spate of campus speaker controversies in 2017) is about the power of pretense.” [editor’s note: Decline? More like destruction – SAT] (12/28/17)

https://newrepublic.com/article/146427/decline-debate-college-campuses

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32) Maintaining victim fluidity
Source: Everything Voluntary
by Skyler J Collins

“Government has a fundamental interest in maintaining what I call ‘victim fluidity.’ What the hell is that? I guess in a nutshell, victim fluidity is a form of dynamic ambiguity on what constitutes victimhood. Clear enough? Let’s back up. I want to start by defining victimhood as clear, or as black and white, as possible.” (12/29/17)

http://everything-voluntary.com/maintaining-victim-fluidity

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33) The new hysteria on Kremlin trolls
Source: CounterPunch
by Virginia Tilley

“On Christmas day, CounterPunch readers who opened the Washington Post were confronted by a startling lede in the top article. Under the alarmist headline, ‘Kremlin Trolls Burned across the Internet as Washington Debated Options,’ the piece reported that one ‘Alice Donovan’ had contacted CounterPunch back in February 2016 and later posted articles on its website. She had claimed to be a freelance journalist, but her first email to CounterPunch, sent at 3:26 a.m. (which, the Post reminded us darkly, was ‘the middle of the day in Moscow’), was shared to buttress the central claim drawn from FBI sources: ‘Donovan’ was actually a covert Russian agent. … Most sobering about ‘Kremlin Trolls’ was that the most basic information, obligatory for all responsible journalism, was conspicuously missing.” (12/29/17)

https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/12/29/the-new-hysteria-on-kremlin-trolls/

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34) Here’s what Washington should do about Yemen
Source: Reuters
by Daniel R DePetris

“The United States, Western Europe, the Gulf Arab states, and the U.N. Security Council have long been concerned about Tehran’s arms smuggling and its violations of U.N. resolutions. U.N. sanctions monitors have documented several shipments of small arms, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and ammunition destined for the Houthis that likely originated in Iran. The fact that Houthi militants are increasing the range of their missile launches and are beginning to target Riyadh lends credence to Washington’s suspicions of Iranian technology being exploited against Saudi Arabia. The Trump administration, however, would be deluding itself if it believes Iran is the sole cause of Yemen’s troubles. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that millions of Yemenis are the primary victims of a cruel and unforgiving contest for power and influence between far more powerful nations. And regrettably, the United States is a big part of the problem.” (12/28/17)

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-depetris-yemen-commentary/commentary-heres-what-washington-should-do-about-yemen-idUSKBN1EM1JN

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35) High speed broadband is not a human right
Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Roger Koopman

“The Universal Service Fund was first created by Congress in 1934, and greatly expanded under the Telecommunications Act of 1996. It is funded by a dedicated federal tax on consumer phone bills (which, ironically, make the very services Congress wishes to expand less affordable, especially to lower-income Americans.) The program is premised on the belief that an ever-expanding set of telecommunications services are the ‘right’ of all citizens, and should thus be made ‘universal’ by the generosity of Washington’s redistributionist political class. … The time has come to re-think wealth transfer schemes like the USF, that eliminate price signals, supplant the free market, and create the net effect of increased government dependency and a culture of entitlement. As with any other good or service in a free economy, consumer demand for rural high-speed broadband should be based on the willingness of consumers to pay for the full cost of that service — not based on political pandering that subsidizes one man at another’s expense.” (12/31/17)

https://fee.org/articles/high-speed-broadband-is-not-a-human-right/

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36) The economic benefits of ending the fraud of fractional reserve banking
Source: Mises Canada
by Patrick Barron

“Fractional reserve banking (FRB) is fraudulent. It should be prosecuted as a crime rather than accepted as normal practice under current banking laws. Any society that respects property rights and the rule of law would not allow it. For those unfamiliar with the term fractional reserve banking or not quite confident of its complete meaning, let’s cover some basics.” (12/31/17)

https://www.mises.ca/the-economic-benefits-of-ending-the-fraud-of-fractional-reserve-banking/

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37) The best of times — the worst of times
Source: The Price of Liberty
by MamaLiberty

“It is easy to lose sight of the good when evil surrounds us. It is even difficult to rejoice for a warm summer day if you are dying of cancer, living in serious pain, or so many other things common in ordinary life. Yet, remembering the good times, the blessings, the joys are a large part of what makes life worth living for most of us, I’d wager. So, rather than our usual rants against all of the ‘worst’ things going on all over the world, it might be good to look at the best instead. Unfortunately, that list is smaller and poorer than it might be without all the evil of non-voluntary government and individuals who dedicate their lives to controlling others, but let’s see what I can come up with.” (12/31/17)

https://thepriceofliberty.org/2017/12/31/the-best-of-times-the-worst-of-times/

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38) The best way to rule for Carpenter (or, how to expand Fourth Amendment protections without making a mess)
Source: The Volokh Conspiracy
by Orin Kerr

“Last month, the Supreme Court held argument in Carpenter v. United States, the pending case on whether the Fourth Amendment protects cell-site records. There seemed to be at least five votes sympathetic to ruling for Carpenter. At the same time, there was very little agreement about how to get there. What line should the Court draw, and based on what rationale? No clear answers emerged. In this post, I want to identify what I think is the best way to rule for Carpenter. To be clear, I don’t think this approach is the best way to rule. My amicus brief explains why I think cell phone users have no Fourth Amendment rights in their historial cell-site records. But if the Court wants to go the other way, there are better and worse ways to do that.” (12/30/17)

http://reason.com/volokh/2017/12/30/the-best-way-to-rule-for-carpenter-or-ho

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39) One year of immigration under Trump
Source: The Intercept
by Maryam Saleh

“Donald Trump made his formal entry into politics with the racism and xenophobia that would become a hallmark of his lightning-rod candidacy and, ultimately, his first year in the Oval Office. ‘When Mexico sends its people, they’re not sending their best,’ he said in his presidential announcement speech. ‘They’re bringing drugs. They’re bringing crime. They’re rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.’ ‘It’s coming from more than Mexico,’ Trump continued. ‘It’s coming from all over South and Latin America, and it’s coming probably — probably — from the Middle East.’ Fast forward 2 1/2 years. Trump is wrapping up his first calendar year as president, and he’s failed to make policy progress on many of his campaign promises. But when it comes to immigration, the president has proven to be much more than just a big talker.” (12/31/17)

https://theintercept.com/2017/12/31/one-year-of-immigration-under-trump/

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40) A tale of two sectors
Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,’ begins Charles Dickens'[s] popular 1859 novel, A Tale of Two Cities. The British master was not prophesying our times. He was describing the period of the French Revolution. But the judgment feels awfully familiar.” (12/29/17)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2017/12/29/a-tale-of-two-sectors/

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41) The right will destroy Israel
Source: Antiwar.com
by Uri Avnery

“The simple fact is that the Right has no picture of the future, no program, not even a dream. Only vague sentiments. That may be its strength. Sentiments are a strong force in the life of nations. What the Right would really like is the endless continuation of the present situation: the military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and the indirect occupation of the Gaza Strip, enforced by blockade. Cold logic says that this is an unnatural situation that cannot go on forever. Sooner or later it has to be institutionalized. How? There are two possibilities, and only two: an apartheid state or a binational state. That is so obvious, that even the most fanatical right-winger cannot deny it. No one even tries to. There is a vague hope that the Arabs in Palestine will somehow pack up and just go away. That will not happen. The unique circumstances of 1948 will not and cannot repeat themselves.” (12/30/17)

http://original.antiwar.com/avnery/2017/12/29/right-will-destroy-israel/

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42) Iraq-raping neocons suddenly posing as woke progressives to gain support
Source: Caitlin Johnstone
by Caitlin Johnstone

“The invasion of Iraq was unforgivable. It remains unforgivable. It will always be unforgivable. Its architects should be tried in The Hague and imprisoned, and nobody who helped inflict that unfathomable evil upon our world should ever be employed anywhere they could do any more damage or mislead anyone else. All behaviors of the mainstream media, US intelligence agencies and US defense agencies should be viewed through the lens of those unforgivable lies and murders forevermore, and nobody should ever take them at their word about anything ever again. Instead what has actually happened is that nothing whatsoever has changed since the invasion, Americans still take it on faith that Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad and Kim Jong Un are world-threatening enemies in sore need of ousting, and bloodthirsty psychopaths like Max Boot who have been consistently wrong about everything are still hailed as experts worth listening to. Oh yeah, and now they’re being adored as progressive heroes.” (12/28/!7)

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2017/12/28/iraq-raping-neocons-are-suddenly-posing-as-woke-progressives-to-gain-support

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43) Repressing the message and method: Zimbabwean efforts to enact digital control
Source: Niskanen Center
by Brandon Valeriano

“The fall of Robert Mugabe in late November is likely to usher in a new era of free digital expression in Zimbabwe. In the wake of his ascent, the now-fallen president initiated an era of repression, as evidenced by Freedom House’s 2017 ranking of Zimbabwean political freedom at 32 out of 100. Most of the international community expressed concern about the deteriorating, and at times brutal, human rights conditions. Mugabe’s authoritarian grip also extended to the digital space through a series of unconventional measures aimed at eliminating the ability of opponents to use direct messaging applications to criticize the regime. The constriction on direct communication methods reflects the unique tendency for digital repression in African states to focus on mobile phones, given that many depend on such devices for digital access.” (12/29/17)

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/repressing-message-method-zimbabwean-efforts-enact-digital-control/

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44) 2017 review: Yemen
Source: Libertarian Institute
by Kyle Anzalone

“On the night of Trump’s inauguration, he approved a raid on al-Qaeda in a village in central Yemen. Two Americans were killed in the raid: Chief Petty Officer Ryan Williams and 8-year-old Nawar Anwar al-Awlaki. Nawar was hit in the neck with a bullet and died in her grandmother’s arms. … Another early move for Trump was to reinstate precision-guided munition sales to Saudi Arabia. Late in Obama’s Presidency, Obama blocked a sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia as a punishment for Saudi massacring over 150 people at a Yemeni funeral. Other than those small changes Trump’s policy on Yemen has been the same as Obama’s: provide the Saudi’s with the military support and diplomatic cover needed to enforce Saudi’s will over the people of Yemen or to kill them all.” (12/29/17)

https://www.libertarianinstitute.org/blog/2017-review-yemen/

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45) A brief case for prison abolition
Source: In These Times
by Dayton Martindale

“Whatever politicians might say, abolitionists argue that the current prison-industrial complex isn’t designed to solve crime (after all, three-quarters of people released from prison are rearrested within five years), but rather to warehouse the poor, drug-addicted and mentally ill. And there’s a racial element as well: Black Americans are around five times more likely than whites to find themselves behind bars, often for minor offenses, while many who pose a bigger threat to society get Oscars, golden parachutes and seats in Congress. It’s true that not all prisons are as sadistic as Uncle Sam’s: In Norway, for example, the incarcerated wear street clothes, pick berries, cook meals and have relative freedom to move about the grounds. But many prison abolitionists believe that depriving humans of liberty is fundamentally cruel. Social scientists such as Gresham M. Sykes (not to mention many incarcerated people themselves) have long documented how the loss of one’s place in society, physical safety and autonomy can cause severe long-term psychological problems.” (12/27/17)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/20764/a-brief-case-for-prison-abolition-racism-classism

***** The Sound and the Fury *****

46) Free Talk Live, 01/01/18
Source: Free Talk Live

“California Legalizes Cannabis for Recreational Use :: Animals and Cannabis :: Cannabis and Depression :: Gun Laws Increasing in California :: Ron Paul on Liberty in 2018 :: Competition and Morality :: Opposing Social Security vs Supporting Charity :: Libertarian Women :: HOSTS — Ian, Melanie, Bob.” [Flash audio or MP3] (01/01/18)

https://www.freetalklive.com/podcast/2018-01-01

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47) Freedom Feens Radio, 01/01/18
Source: Freedom Feens Radio

“John Vibes and Jeremy Hesienberg ring in the New Year with talk of killer building materials, attack squirrels, a ‘caller’ sneaking onto the show, not-so-bright animals, poisonous kids’ makeup, and what to look forward to in 2018.” [various formats] (01/01/18)

https://www.freedomfeens.com/?p=15462

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48) Lions of Liberty, episode 328
Source: Lions of Liberty

“In today’s episode, the Lions of Liberty celebrate the New Year the only way they know how — by drinking copious amounts of adult beverages and talking liberty! Marc is joined by Felony Friday host John Odermatt and ‘The Godfather’ of Lions of Liberty, Howie Snowdon, for a Liberty New Year’s for the ages! What are the most unheralded liberty news stories of 2017? Who is more influential: the Libertarian Party or the Lions of Liberty? Shoud libertarians always favor tax cuts, even if they add to the national debt? These questions are answered while many more are posed, in this New Year’s edition of ‘Libertarians in Living Rooms Drinking Liquor!’” [various formats] (01/01/18)

http://lionsofliberty.com/2018/01/01/lions-liberty-new-years-party/

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49) The Anarchist Experience, episode 145
Source: The Anarchist Experience

“M hijacks the show to discuss her Parking violations in Legal Land, Rich gives another good reason for worker unity, and they both get into these Headlines: — New London, Connecticut, Prosecutes Local Artist for Bamboo It Deems a Blight — Rule of Law: Order Versus Justice — 2017 Was Safest Year for Cops in Nearly 50 Years — But Citizens Killed by Cops are at Epidemic Levels.” [Flash audio] (12/31/17)

https://theanarchistexperience.wordpress.com/2017/12/31/the-anarchist-experience-145/

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50) A new year brings new laws
Source: Free Press Publications
by Darryl W Perry

“Every January 1 a deluge of new laws take effect across the country, more than 200 of these new laws were added to the books in Illinois alone. … While some of these new laws will expand upon freedoms, or remove some criminal penalties; there are still more laws, statues, ordinances & regulations on the books than there were 365 days ago.” [text, Flash audio or MP3] (12/31/17)

http://fpp.cc/a-new-year-brings-new-laws/

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51) Problems with the private production of defense, part 1: Financing
Source: Attack The System

“Todd Lewis joined by Logos to discuss the problems of financing … private defense.” [Flash video] (12/31/17)

https://attackthesystem.com/2017/12/31/problems-with-the-private-production-of-defense-part-1-financing/

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52) Editor’s Break, episode 43
Source: Everything Voluntary

“Editor’s Break 043 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: social coercion and voluntaryism, rights in the negative sense and as a social convention, how markets, and not governments, increase peace and tolerance in society, using force when persuasion fails, the negative aspects of the so-called “thin blue line”, what Utopia is and why the free society is not Utopian, the foolishness in treating celebrities as authorities on politics and economics, and more.” [various formats] (12/30/17)

http://everything-voluntary.com/social-coercion-rights-thin-blue-line-utopia-34m-editors-break-043

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53) PanAm Podcast, 12/30/17
Source: PanAm Post

“With the erosion of democracy in Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro is now widely considered to be a regional pariah. He counts on the support of three hardcore Marxist allies: Bolivia, Cuba, and Nicaragua. In practical terms, this support does little to help prop up his regime, which is staggering under the weight of hyperinflation. Of far more value is his close relationship with Russia and China, who appear to be extending Maduro a lifeline.” [Flash video] (12/30/17)

https://panampost.com/david-unsworth/2017/12/30/venezuela-maduro-russia-china/

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54) Reason Podcast, 12/29/17
Source: Reason

“Born in Pakistan and educated in America, Rafia Zakaria is the author of Veil, a new book which explores the history and shifting meanings of female coverings in Islamic countries and Western secular society. In a wide-ranging conversation, she talks with Reason’s Nick Gillespie about the theological underpinnings of veils, their use as a means of controlling female sexuality, and how they have become markers of socio-economic status and virtue signaling.” [various formats] (12/29/17)

http://reason.com/blog/2017/12/29/rafia-zakaria-veils-feminism-podcast

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55) Foreign Policy Focus, episode 136
Source: Foreign Policy Focus

“Will Porter joins Foreign Policy Focus to analyze foreign policy in 2017. We review all the big stories from Russia, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Afghanistan, Africa, and North Korea. Will and I break down Trump’s first year as Commander in chief and biggest blunders. We discuss the media’s lack of critical coverage of Trump’s foreign policy. Then, we give some big stories to watch in 2018.” [various formats] (12/29/17)

http://foreignpolicyfocus.libsyn.com/podcast/fpf-136-trump-and-2017-with-will-porter

*****
RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS DIGEST

Editors:
Thomas L. Knapp
Steve Trinward

Editors Emeritus:
Mary Lou Seymour
R. Lee Wrights
*****