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

Volume XVI, Issue #3,880
Thursday, January 4th, 2018
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In the News:

1) Manafort sues DoJ, Mueller over Russia probe authority
2) Report: Trump’s lawyers threaten to sue Bannon over book quotes
3) Oregonians freaking out over law allowing some to pump their own gas
4) Trump shuts down voter fraud theatrics, citing “endless legal battles”
5) WA: Olympia regime sues Motel 6 for ratting potential abductees out to rival gang
6) NYC: Regime uses vehicle attacks as excuse to drum up some street security theater
7) Chaffetz: “Deep state” is blocking Clinton query
8) Dershowitz: Mueller probe is “worst possible way” to look into Russian interference
9) White House, congressional leaders open talks on spending
10) Major flaw in millions of Intel chips revealed
11) Gloria Allred says she “needs money to take down Trump”
12) Uber driver charged in heist of 23,000 iPhones walks free
13) Fed officials expect economic boost from tax cuts
14) PA: Regime orders land theft accomplices to stop work on pipeline
15) Israel: Regime tells migrants who fled genocide to leave or face arrest
16) Pentagon identifies Afghanistan occupation troop killed in likely Islamic State firefight
17) Is Blowhard Bannon getting his Mad Hatter mojo back after Moore debacle?
18) ICE gang’s acting shot-caller wants to abduct mayors of “sanctuary cities”
19) Trump regime nixes MoneyGram sale to China’s Ant Financial
20) Establishment-approved “cryptocurrency” Ripple hits record high, up 120% in one week

Everybody Has An Opinion:

21) The most irresponsible tweet in history
22) Iranian unrest
23) It’s a shame politics not harmless
24) What is the cost of “raising the age?”
25) A note on so-called “export-led growth”
26) Despite divisions, Congress will have to work across party lines
27) Lindsay Lohan, Grand Theft Auto V, the First Amendment, and the right of publicity
28) Sabotaging peace in Korea
29) A hostile foreign power and the end of the republic
30) How gift cards fit into the economics of money
31) Technologies of freedom
32) Trump the anti-Obama in standing up to Iran
33) Value is subjective
34) Law and liberty: Hobbesians vs Rechtsstaaters
35) America is not in retreat, it’s a rogue superpower
36) Why it’s impossible to keep judge nominations non-political
37) Electrification — the road to higher energy prices
38) The best way to respond to Iran protests
39) The Fourth Amendment, the exclusionary rule, and illegal government searches
40) Shadow armies: The unseen, but real US war in Africa
41) Is President Trump’s nuclear-button Tweet “a sign of insanity?”
42) How to prevent democracy
43) The Republicans’ fake investigations
44) A digital ID for all?
45) From mansions to prisons: Bitcoin and real estate doesn’t mix so well
46) Let kids eat cake
47) Quantum Vibe, 01/03/18
48) Let’s end the Israeli tie that binds
49) The national security state and JFK, part 3
50) The WannaCry cyberattack: What the evidence says and why the Trump administration blames North Korea

The Sound and the Fury:

51) Political Research Digest, episode 7
52) Freedom Feens Radio, 01/03/18
53) Electric Libertyland, episode 53
54) Foreign Policy Focus, episode 137
55) Fresh Air, 01/03/18
56) Intercepted Podcast, 01/03/18
57) Free Talk Live, 01/02/18
58) Cato Daily Podcast, 01/02/18
59) Editor’s Break, episode 44
60) Reason Podcast, 01/02/18

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

1) Manafort sues DoJ, Mueller over Russia probe authority
Source: CNN

“Paul Manafort, the former Trump campaign chairman indicted on money laundering and other charges, filed a lawsuit challenging the broad authority of special counsel Robert Mueller and alleging the Justice Department violated the law in appointing Mueller. The suit brought Wednesday in US District Court in Washington where Manafort and another former Trump campaign aide are charged, challenges Mueller’s decision to charge Manafort with alleged crimes that they say have nothing to do with the 2016 campaign, but rather relate to lucrative lobbying work Manafort and his deputy did for a former Russia-friendly government in Ukraine. That work ended in 2014, the suit says. Manafort and his deputy Rick Gates deny the allegations in the charges. … The Manafort lawsuit alleges Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and Mueller have unlawfully exceeded the authorities allowed under the law governing special counsel appointments.” (01/03/18)

http://www.cnn.com/2018/01/03/politics/manafort-lawsuit-robert-mueller-authority/index.html

—–

2) Report: Trump’s lawyers threaten to sue Bannon over book quotes
Source: ABC News

“Lawyers on behalf of President Donald Trump sent a letter Wednesday night to former White House Chief Strategist Stephen Bannon demanding he refrain from making disparaging comments against the president and his family. The letter comes after excerpts from a forthcoming book by journalist Michael Wolff were made public Wednesday, causing a stir. Trump attorney Charles J. Harder of the firm Harder Mirell & Abrams LLP, said in a statement, ‘This law firm represents President Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President, Inc. On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients. Legal action is imminent.’” [editor’s note: I wonder if Harder has forcefully advised Trump of the legal dictum “discovery’s a bitch?” – TLK] (01/03/18)

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/trump-attorney-sends-bannon-cease-desist-letter-disparaging/story?id=52128555

—–

3) Oregonians freaking out over law allowing some to pump their own gas
Source: USA Today

“Jan. 1 was a monumental day in the state of Oregon, and not just because it rang in a new year. A brand new state law went into effect that day, and it’s a big one. It’s a first for the Beaver State. And it’s sending shock waves across all 98,000-plus square miles and all 4 million residents as we speak. For the first time (in counties with fewer than 40,000 people) Oregonians are allowed to pump their own gas. Reread that last sentence. Take a moment to process it. Oregon didn’t pump its own gas. And it still won’t in its major counties. The only other state that doesn’t allow you to pump your own gas is New Jersey. What’s so complicated about pumping gas?” (01/03/18)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/01/03/oregonians-freaking-out-over-law-requires-some-them-pump-their-own-gas/1000215001

—–

4) Trump shuts down voter fraud theatrics, citing “endless legal battles”
Source: NBC News

“President Donald Trump abruptly shut down his signature voter fraud commission on Wednesday and instead kicked the issue to the Department of Homeland Security. Trump formed the commission last May to examine the U.S. electoral system [and pretend to find] evidence of large-scale voter fraud. He has claimed, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election.” (01/03/18)

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/elections/trump-shuts-down-voter-fraud-commission-citing-endless-legal-battles-n834491

—–

5) WA: Olympia regime sues Motel 6 for ratting potential abductees out to rival gang
Source: US News & World Report

“Motel 6 was sued on Wednesday by Washington state’s attorney general, who accused the discount hotel chain of illegally providing guest lists to U.S. immigration authorities, knowing of their interest in people with ‘Latino-sounding’ names. Attorney General Bob Ferguson said six Motel 6 locations in Washington provided names, birth dates, license plates and other personal information belonging to at least 9,151 guests to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents from June 2015 to May 2017. Ferguson said Motel 6 knew ICE used guest lists to target people based on their national origin, and that the disclosures led to detentions of at least six people.” (01/03/18)

https://www.usnews.com/news/us/articles/2018-01-03/washington-state-sues-motel-6-for-sharing-guest-data-with-immigration-agents

—–

6) NYC: Regime uses vehicle attacks as excuse to drum up some street security theater
Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“The mayor of New York City has announced plans to install 1,500 steel street barriers to prevent vehicle attacks. Bill de Blasio said the protective barriers were part of a $50m (£37m) investment in security infrastructure. The move comes after two vehicle attacks in 2017 that killed nine people in total. The new permanent barriers will replace temporary concrete blocks that were put in place after the incidents. ‘I want to tell you these are the most cowardly kind of attacks, when someone with a vehicle ploughs into a group of innocent pedestrians. It’s disgusting,’ Mr Blasio said at a press conference in Times Square, near where one of the vehicle attacks took place.” (01/03/18)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42553057

—–

7) Chaffetz: “Deep state” is blocking Clinton query
Source: Raw Story

“The ‘deep state’ is trying to stop congressional Republicans from moving ahead on their investigation into Hillary Clinton’s emails, a former Republican Congressman said on Wednesday. Former Utah Representative Jason Chaffetz said that the shadowy ‘deep state,’ a term used by some Republicans and right wing media primarily to reference career public servants they believe oppose President Donald Trump, continues to block efforts to understand what happened during the FBI’s investigation of Clinton’s private email server. ‘It is the deep state,’ Chaffetz said on Fox & Friends. ‘I was a little skeptical about what that means but I’m telling you, having lived through it, it is very real.’ Chaffetz was talking about an ongoing dispute between Republicans and the Justice Department over records tied to the agency’s investigation of Clinton’s emails during the 2016 campaign.” (01/03/18)

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/01/former-gop-rep-says-deep-state-blocking-clinton-query

—–

8) Dershowitz: Mueller probe is “worst possible way” to look into Russian interference
Source: Fox News

“Alan Dershowitz said the closed-door investigation headed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is the ‘worst possible way’ to examine [alleged] Russian interference in the presidential election. Dershowitz, a Harvard Law professor emeritus and lifelong Democrat, said on ‘The Story’ Thursday that politics is playing too much of a role on both sides when it comes to the allegations of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russians and accusations of bias within the FBI. He stressed to guest host Trish Regan that since Day 1, he wanted a nonpartisan body of ‘distinguished Americans’ (similar to the 9/11 Commission) to conduct a transparent investigation.” [editor’s note: “[S]imilar to the 9/11 Commission?” So another whitewash as usual? – SAT] (01/03/18)

http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/12/29/dershowitz-mueller-probe-worst-possible-way-look-russian-interference

—–

9) White House, congressional leaders open talks on spending
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Top White House officials and congressional leaders from both parties touched gloves Wednesday in the Capitol to try to make progress on a stack of unfinished Washington business, starting with a hoped-for bipartisan budget deal. The session in the office of House Speaker Paul Ryan came with little more than two weeks before the next threatened government shutdown. Topping the agenda was an effort to spare both the Pentagon and domestic Cabinet agencies from spending cuts. The meeting lasted more than an hour and participants declined comment as they exited or slipped past reporters.” [editor’s note: So no change, and war machine continues to thrive – SAT] (01/03/18)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/White-House-congressional-leaders-open-talks-on-12471392.php

—–

10) Major flaw in millions of Intel chips revealed
Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“A serious flaw in the design of Intel’s chips will require Microsoft, Linux and Apple to update operating systems for computers around the world. It is believed to affect chips in millions of computers from the last decade. The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) said it was aware of the issue and that patches were being produced. In response, Intel said the issue was not limited to its processors and that it was working on a fix. ‘Based on analysis to date, many types of computing devices – with many different vendors’ processors and operating systems — are susceptible to these exploits,’ it said in a statement. It said it was working to ‘develop an industry-wide approach to resolve this issue promptly and constructively.’” [editor’s note: There seems to be some dispute over whether or not AMD and ARM chips are also vulnerable – TLK] (01/03/18)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-42553818

—–

11) Gloria Allred says she “needs money to take down Trump”
Source: Raw Story

“After facing scrutiny for soliciting donations to help bring a sexual misconduct case against President Donald Trump, an attorney representing multiple Trump accusers said there’s a very simple reason she chose to do so. ‘We’ve never sued the president of the United States previously,’ feminist lawyer Gloria Allred, who’s working on a case involving former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos, told The Washington Post. ‘I’ve been doing sexual harassment cases for 42 years, and we have never sought funding for any of those cases,’ she continued. ‘In the thousands of victims, we have never sought funding, public or private.’ Allred said she has so far raised $30,000 of the hundreds of thousands of dollars she said she needs to bring Trump to court to face allegations leveled by Zervos, who said the president defamed her after she went public last year with the claim that he’d sexually assaulted her in 2007.” (01/03/18)

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/01/gloria-allred-says-she-needs-money-to-take-down-trump

—–

12) Uber driver charged in heist of 23,000 iPhones walks free
Source: Fox News

“An Uber driver who was charged with taking part in a bold cargo-truck heist of 23,000 Apple iPhones worth $7 million was acquitted by a Miami federal jury last week. Eloy Garcia, who arrived from Cuba in recent years, was found not guilty of conspiring to receive the stolen iPhones and possessing hundreds that he was accused of trying to sell to a confidential FBI informant during the summer of 2016. Seven other Miami-Dade men pleaded guilty to carrying out the heist of the iPhones that had been shipped to Latin America from China via the Miami International Airport. However, Garcia, 43, had opted to go to trial. ‘He was absolutely and totally clueless’ about the criminal activity, Garcia’s defense attorney Douglas Williams told the Miami Herald on Wednesday.” (01/03/18)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2018/01/03/uber-driver-charged-in-heist-23000-iphones-walks-free.html

—–

13) Fed officials expect economic boost from tax cuts
Source: US News & World Report

“Federal Reserve policymakers largely agreed last month that the U.S. tax overhaul would likely benefit the economy, but they were split on whether the resulting growth would warrant a faster pace of rate hikes this year. Minutes of the Fed’s Dec. 12-13 meeting released Wednesday show that officials believed the tax cuts would drive consumer spending and increased business investment, though they expressed uncertainty over the magnitude of the boost. The minutes indicate disagreement among Fed officials over how many times the Fed should raise its benchmark interest rate in 2018.” (01/03/18)

https://www.usnews.com/news/business/articles/2018-01-03/fed-officials-hopeful-for-economic-boost-from-tax-cuts

—–

14) PA: Regime orders land theft accomplices to stop work on pipeline
Source: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

“The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has ordered Sunoco Logistics LP to stop work on the 306-mile, $2.5 billion Mariner East II pipeline. Sunoco violated its permits, using unauthorized drilling methods that leaked nontoxic drilling fluid into trout streams and water wells across the state, according to the DEP.” [editor’s note: Sunoco Pipeline L.P. got itself declared a “public utility” so that it could steal land for its project via the state’s “eminent domain” racket – TLK] (01/03/18)

http://triblive.com/local/westmoreland/13140017-74/state-halts-mariner-east-ii-pipline-construction-over-enviromental-violations

—–

15) Israel: Regime tells migrants who fled genocide to leave or face arrest
Source: USA Today

“The Israeli government intends to tell tens of thousands of African migrants and refugees to leave the country or face arrest. Thirty-eight thousand mainly Eritreans and Sudanese who entered Israel illegally will be given a plane ticket and $3,500 until the end of March to leave, AFP reported Wednesday. … Rwanda and Uganda have agreed to accept those who cannot return to conflict-ridden or repressed areas in Sudan and Eritrea if they agree to the plan, according to activists. … Israel’s treatment of African refugees has come under attack from local human rights groups, who say a country founded by Jewish refugees persecuted during World War II should be more understanding of the asylum seekers’ plight. … The asylum seekers, most escaping genocide in Sudan or repression in Eritrea, first arrived to Israel in 2006 after crossing Egypt’s Sinai Desert.” (01/03/18)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/01/03/israeli-government-tells-africans-leave/999048001/

—–

16) Pentagon identifies Afghanistan occupation troop killed in likely Islamic State firefight
Source: CBS News

“The U.S. military has identified an American soldier killed fighting likely ISIS militants on New Year’s Day in eastern Afghanistan. In a statement released Wednesday, the Pentagon said Sgt. 1st Class Mihail Golin, 34, of Fort Lee, New Jersey, was killed, ‘after being engaged by enemy small arms fire while on a dismounted patrol.’ Golin was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), based at Fort Carson, Colorado, the statement said. … The United States formally concluded its combat mission in Afghanistan at the end of 2014 but still carries out operations against the Taliban and the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) affiliate, known as ISIS Khorasan.” [editor’s note: In other words, “formally concluded” means “lied about concluding” – TLK] (01/03/18)

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/us-soldier-mihail-golin-killed-afghanistan-isis-nangarhar-achin-district/

—–

17) Is Blowhard Bannon getting his Mad Hatter mojo back after Moore debacle?
Source: The Guardian [UK]

“Donald Trump’s former chief strategist Steve Bannon has described the Trump Tower meeting between the president’s son and a group of Russians during the 2016 election campaign as ‘treasonous’ and ‘unpatriotic,’ according to an explosive new book seen by the Guardian. Bannon, speaking to author Michael Wolff, warned that the investigation into alleged collusion with the Kremlin will focus on money laundering and predicted: ‘They’re going to crack Don Junior like an egg on national TV.’” [editor’s note: The guy seems even more hilariously unhinged than his former boss. Gotta go get some popcorn – TLK] (01/03/18)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/03/donald-trump-russia-steve-bannon-michael-wolff

—–

18) ICE gang’s acting shot-caller wants to abduct mayors of “sanctuary cities”
Source: Dallas Morning News

“The head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement wants the Justice Department to prosecute mayors and other political leaders in so-called ‘sanctuary cities’ that limit cooperation with federal immigration authorities. ‘We need to hold these politicians accountable for their actions,’ Thomas Homan told Fox News. ‘This isn’t the America I grew up in. We got to take these sanctuary cities on. We got to take them to court. And we got to start charging some of these politicians with crimes.’ … Homan has served as acting chief of ICE for nearly a year, replacing former Dallas-based U.S. attorney Sarah Saldana, an Obama appointee who resigned shortly after Trump’s inauguration.” [editor’s note: Apparently the America he grew up in was East Germany – TLK] (01/03/18)

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/politics/2018/01/03/trumps-ice-chief-wants-arrest-mayors-sanctuary-cities

—–

19) Trump regime nixes MoneyGram sale to China’s Ant Financial
Source: Reuters

“A U.S. government panel rejected Ant Financial’s acquisition of U.S. money transfer company MoneyGram International Inc over national security concerns, the companies said on Tuesday, the most high-profile Chinese deal to be torpedoed under the administration of U.S. President Donald Trump. The $1.2 billion (885 million pounds) deal’s collapse represents a blow for Jack Ma, the executive chairman of Chinese internet conglomerate Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, who owns Ant Financial together with Alibaba executives. He was looking to expand Ant Financial’s footprint amid fierce domestic competition from Chinese rival Tencent Holdings Ltd’s WeChat payment platform.” (01/03/18)

https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-moneygram-intl-m-a-ant-financial/u-s-blocks-moneygram-sale-to-chinas-ant-financial-idUKKBN1ER1W3

—–

20) Establishment-approved “cryptocurrency” Ripple hits record high, up 120% in one week
Source: CNBC

“Ripple, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency [sic] by value, hit a record high on Wednesday as its strong rally continues. The digital coin reached $2.51, according to data from CryptoCompare, which tracks the price of various cryptocurrencies based on different exchanges. This passed the previous all-time high of $2.44 on December 30. Ripple’s strong rally has seen its price increase by over 124 percent in one week, while it has surged over 39,600 percent in one year. … Ripple markets itself as a cross-border payments solution for large financial institutions based on blockchain technology.” [editor’s note: While Ripple uses blockchain consensus ledger tech, it is also under centralized control and built for use by “regulated financial institutions.” I would not call the XRP token a bona fide cryptocurrency. Rather, it’s a mutant attempt to destroy all the best aspects of cryptocurrency in favor of the state-regulated commerce schemes cryptocurrency was intended to destroy – TLK (01/03/18)

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/01/03/ripple-xrp-price-hits-record-high-up-nearly-120-percent-in-a-week.html

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

21) The most irresponsible tweet in history
Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

“For most of us, the consequences of an ill-considered tweet are relatively small. The benefits of the communicative mode arguably outweighs its costs. The philosophy, ‘We believe that everyone should have the power to create and share ideas and information instantly, without barriers,’ seems eminently defensible. But heads of state should not share ‘instantly.’ The weightiness of their pronouncements should be a barrier that causes them to pause before every pronouncement, for their words can carry immediate consequences, and can conceivably affect billions. Some leaders have triggered genocides and pogroms with their words. The wrong words about nuclear war could literally end human civilization.” (01/03/18)

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/ban-all-world-leaders-from-twitter/549548/

—–

22) Iranian unrest
Source: Independent Institute
by Randall Holcombe

“News coverage of the demonstrations notes Iranian leaders blaming the demonstrations on foreign interference by Iran’s enemies, including Saudi Arabia, Israel, and of course the United States. While I have no doubt that political leaders in those (and other) countries would be happy to promote demonstrations against the Iranian government, I also have no doubt, from talking to Iranian citizens over the past several years, that the main source of unrest comes from Iranian citizens, not foreign governments. The Iranians I talked with did not like the oppressive social policies in Iran, nor the heavy hand the Iranian government was playing in the economy. They were concerned about government monitoring of their activities, and potential penalties that might be imposed on them for stepping out of line in any way.” (01/03/18)

http://blog.independent.org/2018/01/03/iranian-unrest/

—–

23) It’s a shame politics not harmless
Source: Eastern New Mexico News
by Kent McManigal

“After almost a year of President Trump, half the country is in an absolute uproar over the ruination of America being caused by the man. Exactly like the other half of the country gnashed its teeth for eight straight years over the way President Obama was destroying the country. I wish both halves weren’t so close to being right. I also wish politics could be kept in a virtual world, like fantasy football or Pokemon Go.” (01/03/18)

http://www.easternnewmexiconews.com/story/2018/01/03/voices/its-a-shame-politics-not-harmless/155548.html

—–

24) What is the cost of “raising the age?”
Source: Show-Me Institute
by Emily Stahly

“On December 1, legislation was prefiled that would raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18 years old rather than 17 in Missouri. Currently, our state is only one of five where 17-year-olds are automatically prosecuted as adults no matter the crime. This new legislation would place them in the juvenile justice system unless — due to their history or the nature of the crime — they are certified as an adult by a judge. … One concern about this policy is the cost. Based on the fiscal note for similar legislation introduced during the last legislative session, placing more teens in the juvenile system would cost an additional $6.715 million per year. Dr. David Mitchell, an economics professor from Missouri State University, used an alternative cost calculation in a paper he presented at a recent Raise the Age panel discussion. He argues that even though the per-person/per-year cost is higher in the juvenile system than in the adult prisons, 17-year-olds sent to adult prison spend more time behind bars, on average, than they would if they were in juvenile detention centers.” [editor’s note: There should be no “try a minor ‘as an adult’” option. If they’re minors when they try to buy beer, they’re minors when they stick up the liquor store – TLK] (01/03/18)

https://showmeinstitute.org/blog/local-government/what-cost-%E2%80%98raising-age%E2%80%99

—–

25) A note on so-called “export-led growth”
Source: Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

“A fruitful discussion this morning with my Mercatus Center colleague Dan Griswold prompts me to observe that ‘export-led growth’ makes no more or less sense than does, say, ‘yellow-things-led growth’ or ‘rectangular-things-led growth’ or ‘things-that-grow-in-the-ground-led growth’ or ‘things-the-French-language-names-of-which-start-with-the-letter-‘T’-led growth.’ Economic growth occurs only when, and only as, there are increases in the amounts and qualities of goods and services available for ordinary people to consume.” (01/03/18)

http://cafehayek.com/2018/01/note-called-export-led-growth.html

—–

26) Despite divisions, Congress will have to work across party lines
Source: Christian Science Monitor
by Francine Kiefer

“After a year of operating on a strict party-line basis, lawmakers returning to Washington this week will face a new demand: bipartisanship. Nothing on Congress’s long to-do list (from funding the government to avoiding a default on the national debt to finding a legal solution for immigrant ‘Dreamers’) can be accomplished without winning votes from across the aisle. But after such a bruising and divisive year, that may be easier said than done. With midterm elections coming up, the Democratic base is intent on opposing President Trump and Democratic leaders may be reluctant to give him any wins. For their part, Republicans already have a big accomplishment to tout (a $1.5 trillion tax cut) and may decide that, politically, they don’t need to go for a serious bipartisan effort on something big like infrastructure.” (01/03/18)

https://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Politics/2018/0103/Despite-divisions-Congress-will-have-to-work-across-party-lines

—–

27) Lindsay Lohan, Grand Theft Auto V, the First Amendment, and the right of publicity
Source: The Volokh Conspiracy
by Eugene Volokh

“The popular Grand Theft Auto V computer game has two characters allegedly based on Lindsay Lohan and on Karen Gravano (Mob Wives). Lohan and Gravano sued the game company (Take Two Interactive Software), claiming that this violated what is generally called their ‘right of publicity’ (but ‘right of privacy’ in New York). That right is often labeled the exclusive right to control the use of one’s name, likeness, and other attributes of identity for commercial purposes — but that shorthand can’t be entirely accurate, since that would ban a wide range of First-Amendment-protected speech, such as unauthorized biographies and even newspaper articles about people (since movie, books, and newspapers are generally commercial ventures).” (01/03/18)

http://reason.com/volokh/2018/01/03/lindsay-lohan-grand-theft-auto-v-the-fir

—–

28) Sabotaging peace in Korea
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

“It just might be that the two Koreas are figuring out a way to avoid war, much to the anger and chagrin of President Trump and the U.S. national-security establishment, who are obviously increasingly viewing war as inevitable and even in the best interests of the United States. Why, even the U.S. mainstream press, which oftentimes seems to operate as an ex officio spokesman for the U.S. government, appears irritated over North Korea’s initiation of talks with South Korea. The press describes North Korea’s overtures not as an attempt to avoid war but instead as a cynical attempt to ‘drive a wedge’ between the United States and South Korea.” (01/03/18)

https://www.fff.org/2018/01/03/sabotaging-peace-korea/

—–

29) A hostile foreign power and the end of the republic
Source: The American Prospect
by Adele M Stan

“When the history of America’s final days as a republic is written, it may be fairly said that a hostile foreign power helped elect an authoritarian president with no agenda other than plunder, that the majority of America’s white people took the plunderer’s racist, misogynist bait — and that the Congress of the United States helped him loot the public commons and cover up his likely crimes. And that’s just the CliffsNotes version. As the president sets about destroying the nation’s public institutions, Congress is launching investigations of the president’s investigators: the FBI, career Justice Department employees, and the special counsel appointed to investigate the president’s ties to Russian government agents during the 2016 presidential election. The Republican Congress, it seems, would rather investigate the president’s electoral opponent, who is not in power, and not wrecking such institutions as the Environmental Protection Agency, or the Departments of State or Interior.” [editor’s note: The gloom and doom handwringing here is becoming amusing; meanwhile, the actual thumb of government regulation gets lighter – SAT] [editor’s note: It’s getting lighter in rhetoric and in imaginations. In reality, not necessarily so much – TLK] (01/03/18)

http://prospect.org/article/hostile-foreign-power-and-end-republic

—–

30) How gift cards fit into the economics of money
Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Nicholas Anthony

“It what point did the gift card become so much more valuable than cash during the holiday season? It seems akin to the early marketing of diamonds. However, gift cards are far from forever. Unlike cash, gift cards expire. And any remaining balance is returned to the producer. Therein lies a great skill of the marketer. The revenue generated is not calculated by simply multiplying quantity and price, as economic students are accustomed. Instead, there is an additional expected return due to positive balances on expired cards. … How do we keep cycling through dollar bills, but not gift cards? Gift cards hold relevant currency just the same as a debit card, don’t they? Again, we face the cleverness of the marketer. Gift cards may hold currency, but there has been an alteration: the money is no longer fungible.” (01/03/18)

https://fee.org/articles/how-gift-cards-fit-in-the-economics-of-money/

—–

31) Technologies of freedom
Source: Cato Unbound
by Will Rinehart

“As I discussed earlier, democracy is an essentially contested concept. Like art, religion, science, and social justice, talk about democracy ‘inevitably involve[s] endless disputes about [the concept’s] proper uses on the part of their users.’ For the internet, talk about democracy has often taken on a revolutionary zeal, and even today, technologies are judged by those emancipatory visions formed at the early stages of internet technology.” (01/03/18)

https://www.cato-unbound.org/2018/01/03/will-rinehart/technologies-freedom

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32) Trump the anti-Obama in standing up to Iran
Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

“Average Iranians have once again taken to the streets to protest the brutal, incompetent dictatorship of the fundamentalist mullahs that rule the country. We can only hope these demonstrations turn out better than they did in 2009. The so-called ‘Green Movement,’ (aka ‘Persian Spring’) brought people into the streets of Tehran, Qom and other major Iranian cities in the summer of 2009, protesting at first the regime’s fraudulent election and corrupt management of the economy, which had brought inflation, unemployment and shortages to a country that should be one of the world’s wealthiest. The U.S. government and the liberal media were mute as Iran brutally crushed the Green Revolution. Unfortunately, the Iranian demonstrators who poured into the streets mistakenly thought the U.S. and its new slick-talking leader would stand up for them. But even as at least 30 people were murdered by the government and untold hundreds of others were imprisoned and tortured, President Obama and his former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shut their mouths and sat on their hands.” (01/03/18)

https://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/trump-is-the-anti-obama-when-it-comes-to-standing-up-to-terrorist-supporting-iran

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33) Value is subjective
Source: A Geek With Guns
by Christopher Burg

“A lot of libertarians falsely believe that there is such as thing as intrinsic, or natural, value. People who believe gold has intrinsic value will spout off the industrial uses that gold has. But all value is subjective. What may be worth a great deal to one person may be entirely worthless to another. For example, lithium may be very valuable to a company that builds batteries. Lithium may also be valuable to people who sell resources to battery manufacturers. Lithium will likely be seen as worthless to a hunter-gatherer tribe in the Amazon which neither knows about batteries or selling resources to manufacturers.” (01/03/18)

https://blog.christopherburg.com/2018/01/03/value-is-subjective/

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34) Law and liberty: Hobbesians vs Rechtsstaaters
Source: Notes On Liberty
by Federico Sosa Valle

“Individual freedoms are tethered to law, but in what sense? We could call Hobbesian the insight into law and liberty which states that norms are addressed by the sovereign power to the individuals. The Sovereign is the only one who prescribes the law, being the individuals subject to the legal obligation. Even the limitations to the power of the government in the face of fundamental rights — such as the Due Process — are not expressed in terms of limits to the sovereign power but of commands to the public servants …. Historical evidence suggests, however, that in the relation among power, law and liberty is the other way round. The development of common law in England and the phenomenon of the reception of the Roman law in Continental Europe show that law is not necessarily created ex nihilo by the State.” (01/03/18)

https://notesonliberty.com/2018/01/03/law-and-liberty-hobbesians-vs-rechtsstaaters/

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35) America is not in retreat, it’s a rogue superpower
Source: The New Republic
by Jeet Heer

“In the wake of President Donald Trump’s apocalyptic rhetoric last year about a potential nuclear war, North and South Korea are making surprising gestures of goodwill, trying to open up lines of direct communication to sidestep the belligerence of the American leader. In his New Year’s message, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un expressed hope for a ‘peaceful resolution with our southern borders’ and suggested that his country was open to South Korea’s offer to participate in the Olympics. In response, by South Korean President Moon Jae-in ordered his government agencies ‘to quickly come up with follow-up measures for the speedy restoration of South–North Korean dialogue and realize the North Korean delegation’s participation in the Pyeongchang Olympics.’ The New York Times wrote on Monday that Kim, ‘perhaps sensing the simmering tension between President Trump and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea,’ employed this ‘canny new strategy … in the hope of driving a wedge into its seven-decade alliance with the United States.’ The response from Nikki Haley, Trump’s ambassador to the United Nations, suggested Kim’s strategy was working.” [editor’s note: Is this guy or Scott Adams on point? Your call – SAT] (01/03/18)

https://newrepublic.com/article/146459/america-not-retreat-its-rogue-superpower

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36) Why it’s impossible to keep judge nominations non-political
Source: Cato Institute
by Ilya Shapiro

“It’s a shame that quality nominees are confirmed only on party-line votes, but we’ve gotten here not because either party acted unconstitutionally but rather because we’re at the culmination of a long trend whereby divergent interpretive theories map onto ideologically sorted parties. Judicial nominations are properly an election issue, so it’s heartening that voters are paying attention. Federal judges are a big deal: deciding many more cases than the Supreme Court and nominated for life, thus carrying certain legal-policy views long beyond the term of the president who appointed them. It’s understandable that, given these stakes, senators try to advance or block as many judges as possible.” (01/03/18)

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/why-its-impossible-keep-judge-nominations-non-political

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37) Electrification — the road to higher energy prices
Source: Heartland Institute
by Steve Goreham

“‘Electrification’ is the new buzz word touted by climate fighters and environmental groups. Where electrification once meant providing electricity to people, today it often means elimination of traditional fuels. But the only tangible result of green electrification policies will be higher energy prices.” (01/03/18)

http://blog.heartland.org/2018/01/electrification-the-road-to-higher-energy-prices/

—–

38) The best way to respond to Iran protests
Source: Reuters
by Amir Handjani

“Iran’s deadly wave of protests has taken the government and security forces by surprise. What started off in the holy city of Mashhad as demonstrations over unpaid wages and inflation quickly spread throughout the country, widening to include grievances about government mismanagement, corruption and Tehran’s involvement in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. Unlike the mainly urban demonstrations that followed the contested 2009 election, these protests have spread to Ahvaz, Kermanshah, Rasht and Qazvin — all rural and relatively poorer cities. The national groundswell means that the government must take these demonstrations seriously. Here are five points for policymakers to consider.” (01/02/18)

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-handjani-iran-commentary/commentary-the-best-way-to-respond-to-iran-protests-idUSKBN1ER1FK

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39) The Fourth Amendment, the exclusionary rule, and illegal government searches
Source: Reason
by Damon Root

“In the landmark 1914 case of Weeks v. United States, the Supreme Court announced the far-reaching legal doctrine that has come to be known as the exclusionary rule, which generally bars the use in court of such illegally obtained evidence. Weeks arose after federal officials kicked down the door of a criminal suspect, scoured his home without a search warrant, and discovered a number of incriminating documents, which were later used against him at his federal trial. The Supreme Court said such evidence must be tossed out. … Today the exclusionary rule stands as a centerpiece of Fourth Amendment law and as a treasured doctrine among civil libertarians. Yet the rule has its critics.” (01/03/18)

http://reason.com/blog/2018/01/03/the-fourth-amendment-the-exclusionary-ru

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40) Shadow armies: The unseen, but real US war in Africa
Source: Antiwar.com
by Ramzy Baroud

“There is a real — but largely concealed — war which is taking place throughout the African continent. It involves the United States, an invigorated Russia and a rising China. The outcome of the war is likely to define the future of the continent and its global outlook. It is easy to pin the blame on US President Donald Trump, his erratic agenda and impulsive statements. But the truth is, the current US military expansion in Africa is just another step in the wrong direction. It is part of a strategy that had been implemented a decade ago, during the administration of President George W. Bush, and actively pursued by President Barack Obama.”: (01/03/18)

http://original.antiwar.com/ramzy-baroud/2018/01/02/shadow-armies-unseen-real-us-war-africa/

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41) Is President Trump’s nuclear-button Tweet “a sign of insanity?”
Source: Scott Adams’s Blog
by Scott Adams

“On CNN yesterday, Jake Tapper described President Trump’s recent behavior (including the President’s tweet about having a bigger nuclear ‘button’ than North Korea) as abnormal and unstable. In other words, crazy. Is it? One folksy definition of ‘crazy’ is that it involves trying over and over again a solution that has never worked while hoping it works next time. President Trump is doing something closer to the opposite of that. He’s doing something new, both strategically and verbally. To be fair, new things can be crazy too. But usually only if they don’t work. When a new and unexpected thing works out well, we call it genius. And that begs the question: Is President Trump’s approach to North Korea working? We’re seeing economic sanctions on North Korea that have the support of the UN Security Council. That part is working, and it took diplomatic skill to make it happen. But we also see satellite images of tankers smuggling oil into North Korea. The sanctions looked as if they were not effective until South Korea detained two tankers involved in smuggling oil to North Korea.” (01/03/18)

http://blog.dilbert.com/2018/01/03/president-trumps-nuclear-button-tweet-sign-insanity

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42) How to prevent democracy
Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“Quick — what is the very first thing government should do this year? Maine’s Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has urgent legislation. And just so you don’t get the wrong idea, ‘It’s really not a shadow effort to restrict the people’s right to petition their government,’ he insists. ‘That is not our intent.’ Got that? Citing voter and election official complaints — without documenting any specific person or incident — the secretary seeks to ‘virtually ban’ signature gathering at the polls on Election Day.” (01/03/18)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2018/01/03/how-to-prevent-democracy/

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43) The Republicans’ fake investigations
Source: New York Times
by Glenn R Simpson & Peter Fritsch

“A generation ago, Republicans sought to protect President Richard Nixon by urging the Senate Watergate committee to look at supposed wrongdoing by Democrats in previous elections. The committee chairman, Sam Ervin, a Democrat, said that would be ‘as foolish as the man who went bear hunting and stopped to chase rabbits.’ Today, amid a growing criminal inquiry into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, congressional Republicans are again chasing rabbits. We know because we’re their favorite quarry.” (01/02/18)

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/02/opinion/republicans-investigation-fusion-gps.html

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44) A digital ID for all?
Source: EconLog
by Alberto Mingardi

“Does a national ID strike you as an encroachment on individual liberty? Would it be just another nuisance? What if this nuisance is compensated with substantial benefits …” (01/03/18)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2018/01/a_digital_id_fo.html

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45) From mansions to prisons: Bitcoin and real estate doesn’t mix so well
Source: Bitcoin.com
by Jamie Redman

“There’s been a lot of hype surrounding purchasing real-estate with cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. However, even though bitcoin has spiked considerably in value using the asset for purchasing properties and homes is not so easy.” (01/03/18)

https://news.bitcoin.com/from-mansions-to-prisons-bitcoin-and-real-estate-doesnt-mix-so-well/

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46) Let kids eat cake
Source: spiked
by Rob Lyons

“Public Health England (PHE) has started the new year as it ended last year — lecturing us about how to live our lives. 2017 ended with yet another anti-smoking campaign and 2018 begins with more nagging of parents to stop their wee ‘uns getting fat. PHE’s latest Change4Life campaign starts with the claim that children get half of their sugar intake from snacks and fizzy drinks. All that sugar, says PHE, rots children’s teeth and builds up fat in their bodies. Instead, we are told, it would be better to keep children to just two 100-calorie snacks per day. … If little Oliver or Olivia is showing signs of piling on the pounds, it might make sense for parents to leave the cupboards free of fattening temptations. But for the vast majority of children, snacks and fizzy drinks are enjoyable and harmless. More freedom to play to burn off a few excess calories, and a bit more opportunity to take formal exercise at school, would be far more useful than cliches about crisps and chocolate.” (01/03/18)

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/let-the-kids-eat-cake/

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47) Quantum Vibe, 01/03/18
Source: Big Head Press
by Scott Bieser & Lea Jean Badelles

Cartoon. (01/03/18)

http://www.quantumvibe.com/strip?page=1740

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48) Let’s end the Israeli tie that binds
Source: OpEdNews
by Philip Giraldi

“In my view, looking beyond Russia and North Korea, America’s principal foreign policy problems continue to be centered on the Middle East and all originate in the deliberate instability generated by Israel, currently joined in an unholy alliance by its former enemy Saudi Arabia. The Tel Aviv (excuse me, Jerusalem) to Riyadh axis is current working hard to bring a new war to the Middle East as part of their plan to have the United States military destroy Iran as a major regional power. One might reasonably observe that the United States has no vital interest in what either Israel or Saudi Arabia does, but it does have some minor interests in the region …. The problem with Israel is that it and its powerful billion-dollar domestic lobby have their hooks so deeply embedded in the American political system as well as in the national media that the Jewish state is virtually bullet-proof.” (01/02/18)

https://www.opednews.com/articles/Let-s-End-the-Israeli-Tie-by-Philip-Giraldi-Apartheid_Israel_Israeli-Fascism_Israeli-Iran-Conflict-180102-66.html

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49) The national security state and JFK, part 3
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

“Soon after he became president, the CIA presented Kennedy with a plan for a violent regime-change operation in Cuba, one that entailed an invasion by CIA-trained Cuban exiles. Following the CIA’s successful regime-change operations in Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954, the CIA assured Kennedy, who opposed overt U.S. involvement in the invasion, that the operation could succeed without overt U.S. support, including U.S. air support. It was a lie. In fact, given the widespread popularity among the Cuban people of Cuba’s new leader, Fidel Castro, the CIA knew that the success of the invasion would require U.S. air support. … The CIA-sponsored invasion took place at the Bay of Pigs three months after Kennedy became president. When it became clear that the operation was in danger of failing, the CIA asked the president for air support, fully expecting that he would say yes. But Kennedy stuck by his guns and refused to provide it.” (01/03/18)

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/national-security-state-jfk-part-3/

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50) The WannaCry cyberattack: What the evidence says and why the Trump administration blames North Korea
Source: CounterPunch
by Gregory Elich

“The centerpiece of the claim of North Korean culpability is the similarity in code between the Contopee malware, which opens backdoor access to an infected computer, and code in an early variant of WannaCry. Contopee has been linked to the Lazarus group, a cybercrime organization that some believe launched the Sony hack, based on the software tools used in that attack. Since North Korea is widely considered to be behind the cyberattack on Sony, at first glance that would appear to seal the argument. It is a logical argument, but is it founded on valid premises? Little is known about Lazarus, aside from the operations that are attributed to it. The link between Lazarus and North Korea is a hypothesis based on limited evidence. It may or may not be true, but the apparent linkage is far weaker than mainstream media’s conviction would have one believe.” (01/03/18)

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/03/the-wannacry-cyberattack-what-the-evidence-says-and-why-the-trump-administration-blames-north-korea/

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

51) Political Research Digest, episode 7
Source: Niskanen Center

“The filibuster effectively means 60 votes are usually required to take action in the Senate. But Senate majorities can make or change rules to get around it. In 2017, Republicans went ‘nuclear’ on Supreme Court nominations and used reconciliation rules to pass tax cuts (but chose not to limit the scope of the Byrd Rule). New books by Molly Reynolds and James Wallner explain when Senate majority parties use procedures to get around the filibuster. Reynolds finds parties follow their electoral and policy preferences, but Wallner finds that minority party threatened retaliation can deter change. Matt Grossmann talks to both about the future prospects for the filibuster and the ways around it.” [Flash audio] (01/03/18)

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/episode-7-rules-around-senate-filibuster/

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52) Freedom Feens Radio, 01/03/18
Source: Freedom Feens Radio

“Nick Hazelton and Jeremy Heisenberg yak about canine sleeping habits, Cell 411, cohousing communities, the advantages of learning outside of a structured setting, social isolation, and forming better bonds.” [various formats] (01/03/18)

https://www.freedomfeens.com/?p=15474

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53) Electric Libertyland, episode 53
Source: Lions of Liberty

“On this week’s Electric Libertyland, host Brian McWilliams fights through one of the worst colds of his life to bring listeners libertarian updates on the Iranian protests and potential assassinations forthcoming, Trump & Rand Paul’s agreement on Pakistan, California rolling out legalized pot sales and Venezuela’s 40% raise in the minimum wage.” [various formats] (01/03/18)

http://lionsofliberty.com/2018/01/03/electric-libertyland-ep-53-brian-clings-life-talking-things-iran/

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54) Foreign Policy Focus, episode 137
Source: Foreign Policy Focus

“On FPF #137, I discuss the protests in Iran. I give the timeline for what has happened as protests have evolved. I detail the Iranian response by suppressing the protesters and internet. I explain how a portion of the protests are violent and target police. I analyze on the US media coverage and lack of unbiased reporting. I look that the US response. I also update the Rohingya crisis, North Korea, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Trump’s tweets.” [various formats] (01/03/18)

http://foreignpolicyfocus.libsyn.com/fpf-137-iranian-protests

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55) Fresh Air, 01/03/18
Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

“‘New Yorker’ staff writer Evan Osnos talks about how China learned to use President Trump to its advantage. He says that as the president withdraws the U.S. from commitments around the globe, strategists in Beijing see an opening. Osnos also explains why China’s president thinks flattery is the way to win over Trump.” [Flash audio] (01/03/18)

https://www.npr.org/podcasts/381444908/fresh-air

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56) Intercepted Podcast, 01/03/18
Source: The Intercept

Interview with James Risen. [various formats] (01/03/18)

https://theintercept.com/2018/01/03/all-the-news-unfit-to-print-james-risen-on-his-battles-with-bush-obama-and-the-new-york-times/

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57) Free Talk Live, 01/02/18
Source: Free Talk Live

“Muslims Forgive Mosque Vandal, Pay Fines :: Qisaas and the Libertarian Sharia Courts :: Listener’s Bitcoin Success Story :: Forgiveness and Repentance :: Forgiveness and Trust :: Owned by Stuff? :: Modern Friendships :: Peace Pilgrim :: Edgington Post — Gael Duval :: HOSTS — Ian, Johnson, Will.” [Flash audio or MP3] (01/02/18)

https://www.freetalklive.com/podcast/2018-01-02

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58) Cato Daily Podcast, 01/02/18
Source: Cato Institute

“Tax reform is done. But without any Democratic support, bipartisan spending cuts may be a bridge too far. Chris Edwards says there are many spending cuts that could get bipartisan support.” [various formats] (01/02/18)

https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/prime-spending-cuts-congress-should-put-chopping-block

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59) Editor’s Break, episode 44
Source: Everything Voluntary

“Editor’s Break 044 has Skyler giving his commentary on the following topics: New Year’s 2018 and making resolutions to improve your life all year long, the unrelenting presence and growth of government, ie. Leviathan, holding parents responsible for the actions of their children and the existence of free will, how important it is to stop sending your kids to government schools, and more.” [various formats] (01/02/18)

http://everything-voluntary.com/new-years-leviathan-free-will-schooling-33m-editors-break-044

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60) Reason Podcast, 01/02/18
Source: Reason

“Today’s Reason Podcast, which features myself [Matt Welch], Nick Gillespie, Katherine Mangu-Ward, and Peter Suderman, begins with a discussion about the dramatic protests in Iran: their significance, the context, the vast amount that we don’t know, the bad Twitter takes, the America-centric focus, and what Washington should do specifically about what few existing policies directly affect the situation in Tehran and throughout the Islamic Republic. We also argue about legal (but heavily regulated) weed in California and elsewhere; President Donald Trump’s recent comments on North Korea, Pakistan, and DACA; and whether cheesy ’80s movies about nuclear holocaust (think The Day After and Testament) are worth rewatching.” [various formats] (01/02/18)

http://reason.com/blog/2018/01/02/talk-show-1-2

*****
RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS DIGEST

Editors:
Thomas L. Knapp
Steve Trinward

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