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

Volume XV, Issue #3,628
Thursday, January 19th, 2017
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In the News:

1) Romania: Protests erupt over government’s plan to pardon thousands
2) Russia: Regime extends Edward Snowden’s asylum to 2020
3) CIA unveils new rules it will break when collecting information on Americans
4) Judge: US must release Abu Ghraib photos
5) Syria: Russia, Turkish forces in joint airstrikes on Islamic State targets
6) Price suggests states will lead on ObamaCare replacement, access for “everybody”
7) Report: Some red states supported cannabis more than Trump
8) Canada: Shark Tank star launches Tory leadership bid
9) Bosnian Serb nationalist leader dismisses US sanctions
10) Ecuador: 18 politicians took bribes from Odebrecht
11) Amazon to begin accepting food stamps for USDA pilot program
12) FL: Corrupt pols ignore law, move to keep medical marijuana business in cronies’ hands
13) Rick Scott: Results, not ratings, will matter for Trump
14) Moth with wild hairdo named after Donald Trump
15) Italy struck by three strong quakes in an hour
16) After pressure from Bernie Sanders, Puerto Rican independence activist wins commutation
17) Deutsche Bank agrees to pay $7.2 billion in mix of government bribes and victim settlements
18) Brazil: Regime calls up army to quell prison violence
19) Israel: Cop, Bedouin killed in clashes over demolitions
20) US Secret Service to pay $24 million to black agents over decades-old race discrimination case

Everybody Has An Opinion:

21) Oppression: Symptoms and causes
22) Five years later, victory over SOPA means more than ever
23) On lemon “free trade”
24) Escaping Philly’s soda tax
25) One agency at a time
26) Progressives [sic] are the new Silent Majority
27) The great California bag surplus
28) In the age of Trump, resistance requires creativity
29) God or man? Whittaker Chambers’s “Witness” at 65
30) Can safety regulations make us less safe?
31) Say what you will about the Kochs, at least they believe in what they preach
32) Government’s war on Bitcoin bank illustrates need for currency innovation
33) The right way to cut wasteful defense spending
34) And now the left’s war on normal [sic] Americans truly begins
35) Paranormals, psychics, and politicians: The human need to believe in hucksters
36) Syrian immigrants have integrated well, refugees will too
37) Why this Price is wrong
38) Policing criticism of Islam: The new Star Chamber
39) The antidote to Marxist literary criticism
40) Betsy DeVos v the bitter status quo
41) About anonymous alcoholism: Notes on the cultocracy
42) Quiz: Policing facts and stats
43) Offensive trademarks are free speech
44) Central banks pray for electoral “shocks”
45) The “Russia hacked the election” narrative battle continues — are Republicans paying attention?
46) Trump and Israel
47) Abolish the Department of Education
48) The problem with taxing Netflix
49) Oil’s bad that ends bad
50) Drone proliferation ramps up

The Sound and the Fury:

51) The Libertarian Angle, 01/18/17
52) Cato Daily Podcast, 01/17/17
53) Freedom Feens Radio, 01/18/17
54) The Tom Woods Show, episode 827
55) Free Talk Live, 01/17/17

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

1) Romania: Protests erupt over government’s plan to pardon thousands
Source: Killeen Daily Herald

“Several thousand people marched through the Romanian capital on Wednesday night to protest the government’s plan to pardon thousands of prisoners — a surprise move to allegedly reduce overcrowding in prisons that would also benefit some notable government supporters. Premier Sorin Grindeanu wants to implement the measure through an emergency ordinance, which would not require the approval of parliament or the president.” (01/18/17)

http://kdhnews.com/news/ap/protests-erupt-over-romanian-govt-s-plan-to-pardon-thousands/article_02128588-5829-5f24-b733-a5f0b870715a.html****

—–

2) Russia: Regime extends Edward Snowden’s asylum to 2020
Source: CNN

“Edward Snowden’s leave to remain in Russia has been extended until 2020, Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has confirmed to CNN. Snowden, a former US National Security Agency contractor, sought asylum in Russia in June 2013 after leaking volumes of information on American intelligence and surveillance operations to the media.” (01/18/17)

http://www.cnn.com/2017/01/18/europe/russia-snowden-asylum-extension/

—–

3) CIA unveils new rules it will break when collecting information on Americans
Source: Reuters

“The Central Intelligence Agency on Wednesday unveiled revised rules for collecting, analyzing and storing information on American citizens, updating the rules for the information age and publishing them in full for the first time. The guidelines are designed ‘in a manner that protects the privacy and civil rights of the American people,’ CIA General Counsel Caroline Krass told a briefing at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia. The new rules were released amid continued public discomfort over the government’s surveillance powers, an issue that gained prominence following revelations in 2013 by former government contractor Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency (NSA) secretly collected the communications data of millions of ordinary Americans.” (01/18/17)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-intelligence-idUSKBN15236Z

—–

4) Judge: US must release Abu Ghraib photos
Source: Raw Story

“The U.S. Department of Defense must release a cache of photos showing how Army personnel treated detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison and other sites in Iraq and Afghanistan, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan said the release was proper because departing Defense Secretary Ash Carter failed to show why publishing the photos would endanger Americans deployed outside the United States. Hellerstein’s decision is a victory for the American Civil Liberties Union and other civil and veterans rights groups whose lawsuit seeking the photos under the federal Freedom of Information Act began in 2004. Photos depicting abuse at Abu Ghraib began to emerge in 2004, with some detainees claiming to have endured physical and sexual abuse, electric shocks and mock executions.” (01/18/17)

http://www.rawstory.com/2017/01/us-must-release-abu-ghraib-photos-judge-says

—–

5) Syria: Russia, Turkish forces in joint airstrikes on Islamic State targets
Source: Rochester Post Bulletin

“The Russian military says it has teamed up with Turkey to conduct joint airstrikes against an Islamic State group’s stronghold in northern Syria. Lt. Gen. Sergei Rudskoi of the military’s General Staff said nine Russian warplanes and eight Turkish jets have taken part in the strikes on the outskirts of al-Bab in the province of Aleppo.” (01/18/17)

http://www.postbulletin.com/news/world/russia-turkish-in-joint-airstrikes-on-is-in-northern-syria/article_1982c03e-3f52-562f-8387-08cb7232e289.html

—–

6) Price suggests states will lead on ObamaCare replacement, access for “everybody”
Source: Fox News

“Rep. Tom Price gave a glimpse Wednesday into how and when incoming President Donald Trump and fellow Republicans will replace ObamaCare, saying their goal is to ‘insure everybody’ and suggesting the new GOP plan will largely give states the responsibility of covering Americans. ‘Insurance for everybody has always been my stated goal,’ Price said during the start of his Senate confirmation hearings. He also argued that more insurance accessibility along with financial help for consumers are the keys to a better plan. The Georgia lawmaker and orthopedic surgeon made the remarks as Americans look for details on how Trump plans to replace the 2010 health care law, which insures roughly 20 million Americans.” [editor’s note: still focused on “coverage” not promoting wellness. Fail! – SAT] (01/18/17)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/01/18/price-suggests-states-will-lead-on-obamacare-replacement-wants-access-for-everybody.html

—–

7) Report: Some red states supported cannabis more than Trump
Source: Smell the Truth

“America’s red states may be responsible for Donald Trump’s presidential election, but some of those states think just as highly about legalizing marijuana as they do Trump, if not even more. Five states with marijuana-related initiatives on their November 2016 ballot showed similar support for both cannabis legalization as well as a Trump presidency, reports Marijuana Business Daily. Marijuana-related measures in Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota received almost as many or more votes than Trump earned in each respective area, with the exception of Arkansas, who favored Trump by nearly 100,000 more votes than their medical cannabis ballot initiative.” (01/17/17)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2017/01/17/some-red-states-supported-marijuana-more-than-donald-trump

—–

8) Canada: Shark Tank star launches Tory leadership bid
Source: BBC [UK state media]

“Canadian businessman and reality TV star Kevin O’Leary is running for the leadership of the federal Conservative party. He joins 13 other contenders in the crowded race. Mr O’Leary, who appears on the reality shows ‘Shark Tank’ in the US and ‘Dragon’s Den’ in Canada, has been seriously exploring a bid since December. He has drawn comparisons to Donald Trump for both his TV and business background and his boastful tendencies. Former Conservative prime minister Stephen Harper stepped down as party leader in November 2015 after losing the federal election to the Trudeau Liberals. Conservatives pick their new leader on 27 May.” (01/18/17)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-38659147

—–

9) Bosnian Serb nationalist leader dismisses US sanctions
Source: Omaha World-Herald

“Bosnian Serb nationalist leader Milorad Dodik has dismissed U.S. sanctions imposed on him for obstructing the peace accords that ended Bosnia’s war two decades ago, calling it a reversible act of revenge by the departing Obama administration. Dodik, who is the president of Republika Srpska, Serb-run part of Bosnia, said Wednesday he was confident his relationship with the U.S. will improve when President-elect Donald Trump takes office.” (01/18/17)

http://www.omaha.com/news/world/bosnian-serb-nationalist-leader-dismisses-us-sanctions/article_8c0dfdf5-0bd0-50cc-99ce-23abe654d4fc.html

—–

10) Ecuador: 18 politicians took bribes from Odebrecht
Source: PanAm Post

“An investigation published by the newspaper Expreso has revealed the alleged code names of eighteen Ecuadorian politicians who received bribes from the Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht. The report not only implicates 18 Ecuadorian politicians, but includes more than 500 alleged recipients of bribes from Brazil and Peru.” (01/18/17)

https://panampost.com/karina-martin/2017/01/18/18-ecuadorian-politicians-took-bribes-odebrecht/

—–

11) Amazon to begin accepting food stamps for USDA pilot program
Source: United Press International

“This summer, Amazon.com will begin accepting food stamps for online grocery orders to help the U.S. Department of Agriculture launch a pilot program aimed at making fresh food more available to low-income Americans in rural areas. The planned two-year USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) online program will feature Amazon as one of seven online grocers to test the project — specifically regarding web ordering and online payments.” (01/17/17)

http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2017/01/17/Amazon-to-begin-accepting-food-stamps-for-USDA-pilot-program/2051484684945/

—–

12) FL: Corrupt pols ignore law, move to keep medical marijuana business in cronies’ hands
Source: Lakeland Ledger

“Authors of Florida’s voter-approved constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana are blasting proposed rules to regulate the cannabis industry. The proposed rules, released Tuesday by state health officials, would essentially maintain current vendors’ stranglehold on the medical marijuana industry — poised to become one of the nation’s top money-makers — by applying current Florida laws and rules to the constitutional amendment approved in November. ‘The rule is basically ignoring the text of the constitutional amendment at almost every point of the way,’ Ben Pollara, campaign manager of the political committee backing the amendment, said in a telephone interview Tuesday.” (01/17/17)

http://www.theledger.com/news/20170117/new-fla-medical-marijuana-rules-draw-fire

—–

13) Rick Scott: Results, not ratings, will matter for Trump
Source: USA TODAY

“Florida Gov. Rick Scott isn’t worried about Donald Trump’s record low approval ratings. More than a year ago, Scott touted Trump in a USA TODAY op-ed that exasperated the Floridians then running against him for the Republican nomination, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio. The headline: ‘Donald Trump has America’s pulse.’ Now, on the eve of Trump’s inauguration as the nation’s 45th president, Scott dismissed concerns about the president-elect’s failure so far to attract support from Americans who didn’t vote for him, and he faulted congressional Democrats who have announced plans to boycott the swearing-in ceremony Friday, including several from Florida.” (01/18/17)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/01/18/rick-scott-results-not-ratings-matter-trump/96709608

—–

14) Moth with wild hairdo named after Donald Trump
Source: GeekWire

“Donald Trump isn’t even sworn in as president yet, but he already has a species named after him: a micro-moth with a bushy head of yellowish-white scales. Neopalpa donaldtrumpi is found in a habitat that, ironically, stretches across the U.S.-Mexico border — from California to Baja California. Biologists have long known that twirler moths inhabited the region, but until recently, they thought there was only one species in the genus.” (01/17/17)

http://www.geekwire.com/2017/moth-with-wild-hairdo-named-after-donald-trump/

—–

15) Italy struck by three strong quakes in an hour
Source: Chicago Tribune

“Series of three strong earthquakes hit central Italy in the space of an hour Wednesday, shaking the same region that suffered a series of deadly quakes last year and has been buried under more than three feet of snow in recent days. There were no immediate reports of casualties but tremors were felt as far away as Rome, where the subway was closed as a precaution and parents were asked to pick up their children from schools.” (01/18/17)

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-italy-earthquake-20170118-story.html

—–

16) After pressure from Bernie Sanders, Puerto Rican independence activist wins commutation
Source: Washington Post

“Oscar Lopez Rivera, a Puerto Rican independence activist convicted 35 years ago of a conspiracy against the U.S. government, will be freed from prison after President Obama commuted his sentence. Although lower-profile than the pardon of Chelsea Manning, the U.S. soldier convicted of giving classified information to WikiLeaks, the Rivera pardon has another distinction — it was personally campaigned for by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).” (01/17/17)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2017/01/17/after-pressure-from-bernie-sanders-puerto-rican-independence-activist-wins-pardon/

—–

17) Deutsche Bank agrees to pay $7.2 billion in mix of government bribes and victim settlements
Source: CNBC

“Deutsche Bank agreed on Tuesday to pay $7.2 billion for misleading investors in its sale of residential mortgage-backed securities, among the largest resolutions of its kind. The U.S. Justice Department said the settlement requires Germany’s biggest lender to pay a $3.1 billion civil penalty under the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act. It will also provide $4.1 billion in relief to underwater homeowners, distressed borrowers and affected communities.” (01/17/17)

http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/17/deutsche-bank-agrees-to-pay-72-billion-in-settlement-over-misconduct-in-mortgage-securities.html

—–

18) Brazil: Regime calls up army to quell prison violence
Source: Yahoo! News

“Brazil’s government Tuesday ordered the armed forces to help secure the country’s overcrowded jails as police fought to separate rival gangs of inmates in one prison following a massacre. Inmates climbed on the roof and set up barriers of furniture in a northeastern jail inhabited by warring rival drug gangs vowing to behead each other. Police fired rubber bullets to try to keep apart two rival factions, sending the inmates fleeing in panic and drawing screams from their relatives gathered outside the prison walls. A total of 26 prisoners were killed in a bloodbath at the weekend in the facility, the Alcacuz jail near the northeastern city of Natal.” (01/17/17)

https://www.yahoo.com/news/brazil-police-fire-rubber-bullets-inmates-144032366.html

—–

19) Israel: Cop, Bedouin killed in clashes over demolitions
Source: BBC News [UK state media]

“Two people have been killed in southern Israel during a confrontation between police and Bedouin villagers over the demolition of illegally built homes. Police said an officer was killed in a car-ramming attack in Umm al-Hiran, in the Negev desert, and that the Israeli Arab driver of the car was shot dead. They said the driver was active in the Israeli Islamic Movement. But locals said he was a teacher who had only wanted to talk to officials to try to stop the demolitions.” (01/18/17)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-38662190

—–

20) US Secret Service to pay $24 million to black agents over decades-old race discrimination case
Source: New York Daily News

“The Secret Service, the federal agency tasked with protecting the President, agreed on Tuesday to pay $24 million to more than 100 of its black agents who claim that their superiors fostered racism, according to court documents. The settlement puts to rest a contentious, nearly two-decade-old case that was brought by black agents who deemed their work environment blatantly discriminatory, with white agents getting routinely promoted over more qualified African-Americans.” (01/18/17)

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/secret-service-pay-24-million-race-discrimination-case-article-1.2949095

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

21) Oppression: Symptoms and causes
Source: Everything Voluntary
by Larken Rose

“[S]o many people object to the inevitable results of having a ruling class, but when faced with the idea of not having a political master at all, they get even more agitated and alarmed in the other direction. They start talking about how, yeah, we need ‘reform,’ and need to petition and vote differently, but if someone suggests that maybe we should get away from the abuser entirely, they suddenly go into terminal Stockholm Syndrome mode. ‘I know it’s been nasty and violent, but it can get better! Deep down I know it cares about me, and wants what’s best for me! It can change! And in a way it’s my fault. And I can’t possibly live without it!’ So let me be blunt to the point of being rude: if you zealously condemn the misdeeds of the powers that be, while continuing to argue that ‘government’ is legitimate and necessary, you are an enabler of tyranny.” (01/18/17)

http://everything-voluntary.com/oppression-symptoms-causes

—–

22) Five years later, victory over SOPA means more than ever
Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Rainey Reitman

“It would have happened slowly at first. A broken hyperlink here and there. A few Google searches with links leading to nowhere. In the beginning, global users of the web would have barely noticed pieces of the Internet going dark. Then there may have been a few investigative journalists piecing things together, and then more coverage as mainstream media picked it up. Adversaries of the open web would have grown bolder, attacking larger and larger websites. Services and companies that we enjoyed would have been shut down or drastically changed. Some sites would never have existed at all, but Internet users would never really know what they were missing. The increasingly rigid control of the Internet would have turned surfing the web into an experience more like surfing television stations — moving from one controlled, expensive online platform to the next — than the strange maze of eccentric, eclectic information flows that we have today. In a few generations, the wildness of the web would have been extinguished. Instead, we fought back.” (01/18/17)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/01/5-years-later-victory-over-sopa-means-more-ever

—–

23) On lemon “free trade”
Source: Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

“There’s a lot of disagreement in American politics — from Berniecrats, to the centrist neoliberal establishment, to right-libertarians, to nationalist reactionaries like Trump and his followers — on TPP and other trade agreements. But there’s one thing they all agree on: calling it ‘free trade.’ And they’re all wrong.” (01/18/17)

https://c4ss.org/content/47598

—–

24) Escaping Philly’s soda tax
Source: Independent Institute
by Abigail R Hall Blanco

“My students’ textbook tells them to think of elasticity as a synonym [f]or ‘escape.’ It’s a good mental framework. If someone faces an elastic demand and have a lot of substitutes, they can easily buy another item if a tax is imposed. So, can Philly soda drinkers escape the tax? Is the elasticity of demand for sugary drinks elastic or inelastic? One might think it would be difficult to escape the tax since it’s imposed on all sugary beverages. If you want a sweet drink, what are you to do? This makes sense — except for the fact that Philadelphia isn’t located on an desert island.” (01/18/17)

http://blog.independent.org/2017/01/18/escaping-phillys-soda-tax/

—–

25) One agency at a time
Source: The Price of Liberty
by Nathan Barton

“US Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner (X, XX) just introduced the ‘ATF Elimination Act as a bill in the latest Congress, according to BearingArms.com. His stated purpose is to reduce government spending and duplication, but it would obviously change American society in truly unimaginable ways. Just imagine, in one fell swoop, fired by the new order sweeping the nation and the world, the FedGov would eliminate all alcohol, every firearm, and every sort of tobacco. Not only would the FedGov save billions upon billions spent both to buy these things AND to fight to control or prevent the use of these things.” (01/18/17)

http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?p=10616

—–

26) Progressives [sic] are the new Silent Majority
Source: In These Times
by Theo Anderson

“Something remarkable has happened over the past few years: A new silent majority has emerged, decades after Richard Nixon made that phrase famous. Nixon meant the people whose values were, he said, dominant in American culture, but underrepresented in American politics. Calling them the silent majority was a way of channeling the white backlash against the civil rights movement. The new silent majority is defined by the broad consensus that has emerged in the United States around progressive policies. This consensus isn’t widely reported. In fact, it’s obscured by the oft-repeated idea that the nation is deeply polarized, as if Americans are torn between support for conservative and progressive policies. They aren’t. On the battlefield of ideology, conservatives have been routed.” [editor’s note: I would not label it “progressive” but he may have a point – SAT] (01/18/17)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19816/progressives-are-the-new-silent-majority

—–

27) The great California bag surplus
Source: EconLog
by Bryan Caplan

“I just got back from a long vacation in my home state of California. The bad news about California is that its people and government have unusually severe economic illiteracy. The good news is that their severe economic illiteracy provides enough illuminating examples to fill a textbook. This trip, my favorite case in point has been California’s law requiring stores to charge at least ten cents per bag. Economically speaking, what is this law? Most non-economists call it a ‘tax on bags,’ but it’s totally not.” (01/18/17)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2017/01/californias_gre.html

—–

28) In the age of Trump, resistance requires creativity
Source: The American Prospect
by Adele M Stan

“Since the shock of election night, and the ongoing tremors of scandal and shenanigans surrounding or promulgated by President-elect Donald J. Trump and his transition team, liberals and progressives in the institutional left have struggled with how to respond. So has most of America, which awards Trump the lowest approval numbers ever for an incoming president, yet is not yet appalled enough to kick up a fuss. As Trump made clear in his carnival show of a press conference, he intends to maintain power by continuing to break the norms of such institutions as the free press — and society at large. Institutions operate on the assumption of long-held norms. So does society. But artists, less so.” (01/18/17)

http://prospect.org/article/age-trump-resistance-requires-creativity

—–

29) God or man? Whittaker Chambers’s “Witness” at 65
Source: Acton Institute
by Bruce Edward Walker

“Consider: An avowed socialist candidate came close to clinching the presidential nomination in what was once considered the world’s greatest proponent of liberty; the same country is hobbled by an ever-encroaching, state-enforced regulatory apparatus; municipal bankruptcies and state budget crises proliferate, wrought in part by massively underfunded government-employee pension programs; and wealth and income redistribution have become commonplace mantras of such movements as Occupy Wall Street. The past decade was also marred by foreign adventurism, interminable warfare, and economic meltdowns threatening entire countries from Venezuela to Greece. While surprising to most of us, such developments were anticipated by Whittaker Chambers, a man who predicted 65 years ago, in his frightening and magisterial Witness, that the world would submit itself continuously and increasingly to inhibiting freedoms by state diktats.” (01/18/17)

http://acton.org/pub/commentary/2017/01/18/god-or-man-whittaker-chambers-witness-65-0

—–

30) Can safety regulations make us less safe?
Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Michael Munger

“Suppose you want to reduce deaths in automobile accidents. Should you make cars safer? Seems like a no-brainer, right? But consider: suppose instead of an airbag in your steering column, we put a six-inch dagger. If you hit something hard head-on, you get the dagger through your sternum. The mandatory use of helmets with full facemasks may have increased the risk of neck and brain injuries. That jerk tail-gating you on I-95 would give you more space if his BMW featured an ice pick instead of a soft, comfy airbag. In fact, economist Sam Peltzman has found that while real mandated safety features in cars reduce the chance that a person in a car will be hurt in an accident, drivers then behave more recklessly, and thus increase the chances of accidents occurring.” (01/18/17)

https://fee.org/articles/can-safety-regulations-make-us-less-safe/

—–

31) Say what you will about the Kochs, at least they believe in what they preach
Source: The New Republic
by Alex Shephard

“There is a leadership void on the left. And David Brock has wasted no time since the election trying to fill it. A staunch ally of Bill and Hillary Clinton since his dubious conversion to liberalism in the early 2000s, Brock has spent the past few years running a host of Clinton-affiliated super PACs and nonprofits, including the purported media watchdog Media Matters. As the New Republic reported late last year, the conventional wisdom inside and outside of these organizations was that Brock expected that he would be rewarded when Hillary Clinton was elected president.” (01/18/17)

https://newrepublic.com/article/139947/david-brock-will-never-successful-koch-brothers

—–

32) Government’s war on Bitcoin bank illustrates need for currency innovation
Source: Heartland Institute
by Jesse Hathaway

“The federal government’s war against a popular digital asset exchange company offers a lesson in why consumers and business owners should have more freedom to pay as they wish. For several months, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), the federal government agency responsible for collecting taxes, has used the legal system to hassle Coinbase, a popular ‘bitcoin exchange’ allowing consumers to swap digital currency for real currency and vice versa. The IRS is demanding the ‘bitcoin bank’ hand over sensitive private information about its customers.” (01/18/17)

http://blog.heartland.org/2017/01/governments-war-on-bitcoin-bank-illustrates-need-for-currency-innovation/

—–

33) The right way to cut wasteful defense spending
Source: Cato Institute
by Christopher A Preble

“President-elect Donald Trump has made cutting wasteful defense spending a top priority, specifically targeting federal defense contracts. He called defense industry leaders to the proverbial woodshed to protest costly projects, including threatening on Twitter to cancel Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and Boeing’s contract to build two new Air Force Ones. These tweets send a strong message, and both Boeing and Lockheed have said they intend to work with Trump to reduce program costs. But significantly reducing bloat in the defense budget will require much more than tweets.” (01/18/17)

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/right-way-cut-wasteful-defense-spending

—–

34) And now the left’s war on normal [sic] Americans truly begins
Source: Town Hall
by Kurt Schlichter

“President-elect Donald Trump replaces President Faily McWorsethancarter Friday, but we’re not going to be able to Netflix and chill in the fight for freedom. The left and its establishment allies are desperate to regain the power they see slipping away, and we need to understand that the only way to stop them is to beat them to a pulp and leave them whimpering in the fetal position, crying out for their genderfluid mommies. The left’s strategy is simple: deny normal Americans normalcy. After all, that’s what we really want, a return to normal. We haven’t experienced real normal since the Democrats denied the legitimacy of W’s election in 2000 — you know, during one of those timeframes when denying the legitimacy of the president was cool, a phenomenon that coincidentally only occurs whenever a Republican wins.” [editor’s note: If you can overlook the vicious & inflammatory rhetoric, the is some truth there – SAT] (01/18/17)

http://townhall.com/columnists/kurtschlichter/2017/01/19/and-now-the-lefts-war-on-normal-americans-truly-begins-n2273101

—–

35) Paranormals, psychics, and politicians: The human need to believe in hucksters
Source: Libertarian Institute
by Craig Cantoni

“Why are Clinton loyalists blaming Putin for Hillary losing the election? Why do Trump loyalists believe that Donald’s economic hokum will make America great again? Why do I believe in different nonsense without realizing it? What is it about humans from all walks of life and education levels that they fall for flimflam artists, hucksters, scoundrels, and claptrap? Why do they suspend rationality, reason, and logic? One can spend a lifetime looking for answers in philosophy, history, anthropology, sociology, and evolutionary psychology. Or one can spend an hour and 33 minutes watching the 2015 documentary, ‘An Honest Liar.'” (01/18/17)

https://www.libertarianinstitute.org/blog/paranormals-psychics-politicians-human-need-believe-hucksters/

—–

36) Syrian immigrants have integrated well, refugees will too
Source: Niskanen Center
by Jeremy L Neufeld

“Many Americans are concerned about how quickly, and how well, Syrian refugees integrate into American society. A new report published last month by the Center for American Progress and the Fiscal Policy Institute should allay those fears, as it is the latest piece of evidence confirming that immigrants from Syria assimilate well into the United States. Understanding how these Syrians have done in the United States is important, not only because it indicates how new Syrian refugees will integrate, but also because previous Syrian immigrants are some of the receiving communities of refugees, which will help ease their transition.” (01/18/17)

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/syrian-immigrants-integrate/

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37) Why this Price is wrong
Source: Our Future
by LeeAnn Hall

“For most people, prescription drugs are a lifeline. For Representative Tom Price, Donald Trump’s health secretary nominee, they’re a source of profits. Indeed, hundreds of thousands of dollars in drug and health corporation investments line the pockets of the Georgia Republican Trump picked to lead our nation’s health care policy. That’s an unacceptable conflict of interest. Life-saving drugs are priced out of reach for far too many Americans, with millions skipping needed medications because of drug corporation price-gouging. Take the case of insulin, which people with diabetes depend on for their survival. Drug corporations have raised the price of this medication by more than 200 percent over the past eight years. ‘It feels like they’re holding my kid ransom,’ the mother of a diabetic son told NBC News in November. While that mother was struggling to keep her son healthy, Price was legislating on health care in the House — and buying stock in insulin-maker Eli Lilly. That drug corporation ratcheted up the price of its insulin brand by 380 percent between 2004 and last November.” (01/18/17)

https://ourfuture.org/20170118/why-this-price-is-wrong

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38) Policing criticism of Islam: The new Star Chamber
Source: spiked
by Tom Slater

“The Islamophobia industry — the loose network of self-touting community representatives and Islamic groups — piles on anyone who dares criticise or ridicule Islam, or those who merely probe at issues affecting Muslim communities in a less-than-deferent manner. And from Stop Funding Hate to IPSO, it now has strong allies among nominally secular Brits and institutions, who have colluded in the specious conflation of Islam (an ideology) with Muslims (a group of people). We all pay the price for this. In this climate, crucial topics are swept under the carpet and free debate is further eroded.
The idea that the media are ridden with anti-Islam prejudice is ridiculous.” (01/18/17)

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/policing-criticism-of-islam-the-new-star-chamber/

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39) The antidote to Marxist literary criticism
Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Jason Jewell

“For decades, Marxist theory has occupied a preeminent place in the field of literary criticism. (I recall one of my conventionally liberal history professor’s stating around the year 2000 that ‘Marxism is dead everywhere except in English departments.’) The Marxist critic views works of literature, as well as those works’ forms and meanings, as products of particular social institutions that reflect a particular ideology. The Marxist critic evaluates these works according to how ‘progressive’ they are. Christians and others who reject the materialist assumptions undergirding Marxism need different ways to approach literature. In Literature and Liberty, Allen Mendenhall presents libertarianism as an alternative lens through which to view works of literature as a means of understanding them better.” (01/18/17)

https://mises.org/blog/antidote-marxist-literary-criticism

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40) Betsy DeVos v the bitter status quo
Source: USA Today
by Gloria Romero & Larry Sand

“Betsy DeVos will become our new secretary of Education. Nonetheless, the process has been one of the rockiest for a Trump nominee. Her detractors have been doing everything they can to smear the prominent reformer from Michigan. Teachers’ union leaders have been especially vitriolic in their opposition to the appointment. … Others who criticize her complain that she is a billionaire, never attended a public school and has no teaching experience. Even in the school choice movement, many are not yet ready to support her. The only nationally recognized parent group backing DeVos is the New York City Parents Union… Certainly, there is a disconnect that DeVos, if confirmed, will have to overcome. DeVos, in our opinion, should be confirmed — and should look to partner with real world parents, in leading the path for change.” (01/18/17)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/01/18/betsy-devos-education-school-choice-column/96685156

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41) About anonymous alcoholism: Notes on the cultocracy
Source: Strike The Root
by Kevin M Patten

“Lest I be accused of throwing every problematic drinker under the bus, let’s get the boringly obvious out of the way: There’s no doubt that the institution of Alcoholics Anonymous has helped a few people overcome their addiction. But I find it refreshing that after decades of monopolistic influence on the courts and rehabs, AA is finally facing the opprobrium that it very rightly deserves. Jack Trimpey, founder of Rational Recovery, and one of the original malcontents, described AA as (however unoriginally) a ‘Cultocracy.’ It is, that annoying word, systemic, and so Charles Manson and Jim Jones would have their competition cut out for them. AA could further be defined as an ‘Open Source Cult’: you can either be the vulnerable drone, the convenient torchbearer, or the high priest who bashes you over the head with ‘how many days’ he has, looking knightly for the young ladies and saintly for the hapless dregs. But this is mainly for those who are here voluntarily.” (01/18/17)

http://www.strike-the-root.com/about-anonymous-alcoholism-notes-on-cultocracy

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42) Quiz: Policing facts and stats
Source: Cop Block
by Trevor Maxwell

“Do you think you know just how much wrongfulness police perpetrate on the populace? The answers to these questions may surprise even the most ardent student of the police state.” (01/18/17)

http://www.copblock.org/170493/quiz-policing-facts-stats/

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43) Offensive trademarks are free speech
Source: Reason
by Jacob Sullum

“In 2004 the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office agreed to register Heeb as the name of a magazine covering Jewish culture. Four years later, the PTO refused to register Heeb as the name of a clothing line conceived by the magazine’s publishers, because the term is ‘a highly disparaging reference to the Jewish people.’ Such puzzling inconsistency is par for the course at the PTO, which since 1946 has been charged with blocking registration of trademarks that ‘may disparage … persons, living or dead, institutions, beliefs, or national symbols, or bring them into contempt, or disrepute.’ A case the Supreme Court will hear today could put an end to that vain, vague, and highly subjective enterprise, which sacrifices freedom of speech on the altar of political correctness.” (01/18/17)

http://reason.com/archives/2017/01/18/offensive-trademarks-are-free-speech

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44) Central banks pray for electoral “shocks”
Source: Cobden Center
by Gordon Kerr

“Mainstream media are worried about 2017 shocks. So they should be. If you had gambled a pound (or euro) this time last year on a triple accumulator; Leicester City to be English football champions, Brexit, and then Trump, you would have redeemed your betting slip for a million. Bookmakers are not offering odds anywhere like that on a ‘quad’ bet now popular; i) Geert Wilders (Netherlands, March 15th), presently polling at 20%, ii) Marine Le Pen, (France, April 23rd), 25%; iii) Frauke Petry and Jorg Meuthen (Germany, August 27th), 13.5%; iv) Beppe Grillo of 5 Star (Italy, date uncertain, perhaps October), 28%. Your authors, despite reduced odds, fancy a little flutter. For the ECB and Bank of England, already struggling with separate credibility problems discussed below, any such shocks might prove rather welcome.” (01/18/17)

http://www.cobdencentre.org/2017/01/central-banks-pray-for-electoral-shocks-forced-to-nationalise-monte-dei-paschi-italy-looks-in-trouble-but-cleverly-plays-its-sicilian-defence/

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45) The “Russia hacked the election” narrative battle continues — are Republicans paying attention?
Source: National Review
by Andrew McCarthy

“I contended in last weekend’s column that the Justice Department’s inspector-general investigation, focusing on statements by FBI director James Comey in the stretch-run of the presidential campaign, is part of a carefully orchestrated Democratic scheme to win the narrative battle over the 2016 election. The inquiry into whether Director Comey’s disclosures about the Clinton e-mails investigation violated DOJ standards is merely a pretext. The real objective is to bolster the claim that Donald Trump’s triumph was illegitimate, thus undermining his presidency. The same strategy informs the Democrats’ continued repetition of the theme that ‘Russia hacked the election.'” (01/18/17)

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/443945/democrats-jeff-sessions-recuse-himself-russia-investigation

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46) Trump and Israel
Source: The American Conservative
by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

“There is much to learn about what Donald Trump’s foreign policy is going to look like, with one of the most anticipated issues being his approach to Israel. After eight years of the Obama administration, the relationship between the U.S. and its Middle East partner has frayed considerably over significant and seemingly insurmountable differences, those concerning the nuclear deal with Iran and the expanding settlements in the West Bank being the most consequential, if not existential. Trump started off his campaign signaling he would be ‘neutral’ on the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, but he has shifted considerably in recent weeks toward the views of the staunchest Zionists.” (01/18/17)

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trump-and-israel/

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47) Abolish the Department of Education
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

“As Democrats object to Donald Trump’s appointment of conservative billionaire heiress Betsy DeVos to head up the U.S. Department of Education, Republicans, are once again, not surprisingly, abandoning the principles of their favorite mantra — ‘free enterprise, private property, and limited government.’ The Republicans now control both houses of Congress, right? They also now control the presidency, right? So, what’s the problem? Just introduce a bill in Congress to abolish the Department of Education, the position advocated by conservative icon Ronald Reagan, pass it, and have President Trump sign it into law. Voila! No more Department of Education.” (01/18/17)

http://www.fff.org/2017/01/18/abolish-department-education/

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48) The problem with taxing Netflix
Source: Mises Canada
by Danny Leroy

“According to Dean Beeby, a reporter with CBC news, the federal government in Canada is contemplating the implementation and enforcement of sales taxes on foreign digital vendors such as Netflix. I am not a Netflix subscriber, but many are. The company generated revenues of US$6.8 billion in 2015 satisfying more than 86 million customers of all over the world for a few dollars a month. In a briefing noted prepared for Canadian Heritage Minister Melanie Joly, the lack of sales-tax collection ‘not only represents a significant loss of potential tax revenue for government, but it can also place domestic digital suppliers at an unfair competitive disadvantage.'” (01/17/17)

https://www.mises.ca/the-problem-with-taxing-netflix/

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49) Oil’s bad that ends bad
Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“Sometimes socialism seems reasonable. Emphasis on ‘seems.’ Take natural resource socialism. Ores and oil are ‘just there in the ground’ and ‘belong to everybody.’ So it ‘just makes sense’ that ‘the people’ should ‘own’ the mining and drilling and refining industries, and run these operations to share the profits to help ‘everybody,’ not just a few. The Mexican government bought into this back in 1938, when it nationalized the U.S.- and Dutch-based oil companies. Today, the industry is under-capitalized, its equipment old and inefficient. Mexico itself is a mess. The government is corrupt and the people far poorer than would have been the case had they not bought into the nationalization mania. The cause of the problems should not be in dispute.” (01/18/17)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2017/01/18/oils-bad-that-ends-bad/

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50) Drone proliferation ramps up
Source: CounterPunch
by Charles Pierson

“Over 75 states possess unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly called drones. We know of fifteen states which possessed armed drones at the end of 2016. They are the US, UK, China, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Italy, Jordan, Myanmar, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, South Africa, and Turkey. As you read this, ISIS drones are dropping bombs on the Iraqi city of Mosul. … DIY drones are unlikely to change the course of the war in Iraq and Syria, although they may prolong it, adding to the war’s cost both in treasure and in human lives. Of greater concern, is the potential improvised IEDs have to be used in terrorist attacks against civilians in the US, Europe, and elsewhere. A drone can fly over a security barrier or police cordon which would stop a human suicide bomber.” (01/18/17)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/01/18/drone-proliferation-ramps-up/

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

51) The Libertarian Angle, 01/18/17
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation

“FFF president Jacob Hornberger and Richard Ebeling talk about Donald Trump’s statements on immigration.” [various formats] (01/18/17)

http://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/libertarian-angle-trumps-wall/

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52) Cato Daily Podcast, 01/17/17
Source: Cato Institute

“The 7,500 mile journey from China to London along the ‘new Silk Road’ signals a new era of trade between those countries. U.S. officials should take the hint. Christine Guluzian comments.” [various formats] (01/17/17)

https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/new-silk-road

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53) Freedom Feens Radio, 01/18/17
Source: Freedom Feens Radio

“MWD, Dianna and Chandler talk about Chelsea Manning, BipCoin paper wallet, Trump’s stinky love of stinky Putin and how Obama won’t be stinking up the place so much anymore, and so much more.” [various formats] (01/18/17)

https://www.freedomfeens.com/?p=13603

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54) The Tom Woods Show, episode 827
Source: The Tom Woods Show

“Libertarian comedian Andrew Heaton joins me to discuss topics ranging from licensing to taxation, as only a comedian can.” [various formats] (01/17/17)

http://tomwoods.com/ep-827-laughter-is-better-than-communism/

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55) Free Talk Live, 01/17/17
Source: Free Talk Live

“Chelsea Manning Sentence Commuted :: Institutionalization :: CA Bullet Train Update :: Why not pardon Snowden? :: Solitary Confinement :: Nasty Commenters :: Concentrated Activism :: Activist Communications :: Wyoming :: MLK and Obama.” [Flash audio or MP3] (01/17/17)

https://www.freetalklive.com/podcast/2017-01-17

*****
RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS DIGEST

Editors:
Thomas L. Knapp
R. Lee Wrights
Steve Trinward

Editor Emeritus:
Mary Lou Seymour
*****