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

Volume XV, Issue #3,646
Tuesday, February 14th, 2017
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In the News:

1) Flynn resigns as America’s new Red Scare proves its staying power
2) CA: Evacuees stranded with no end in sight to Lake Oroville crisis
3) US Senate confirms Trump’s picks for Treasury, VA
4) Romania: Protests after Parliament OKs anti-graft referendum
5) TSA workers allegedly helped Puerto Rico-based ring smuggle $100 million worth of cocaine
6) US regime sanctions Venezuelan vice president on drug trafficking
7) Maduro kicks CNN out of Venezuela for report on school food shortages
8) House tax panel will not seek Trump tax returns
9) Study: Banned chemicals persist in deep ocean
10) Men’s Wearhouse founder credits his success to smoking cannabis
11) Company announces pause for drug after price criticism
12) Mexico: Thousands take to the streets in protest of Trump’s border wall
13) Pakistan: Islamabad High Court bars Valentine’s Day celebration in public spaces
14) India: Regime tests high-altitude interceptor missile
15) Trump regime withdraws stay request vs. pervy state pols’ desire for educrats to feel up school kids
16) Germany: AfD seeks to expel state leader over Holocaust remarks
17) Kenya: Regime jails doctors’ union representatives as impasse over strike deepens
18) Gaza: Military hardliner Sinwar elected Hamas chief
19) Pakistan: Bomb blast kills 14 at protest
20) Bergdahl lawyers likely to cite Trump in his defense

Everybody Has An Opinion:

21) Tariffs, pickpockets, and the nationalist snake in the moral grass
22) The StingRay is exactly why the 4th Amendment was written
23) Will Congress stop forcing pro-life Americans to subsidize abortion?
24) Help the poor move
25) Immigration chaos and the troops
26) Indivisible: The left group shaking up Congress from the grassroots
27) How democracies lose in cyber war
28) Trump’s team of weaklings
29) Protectionism is not inflationary
30) Capitalism for Dummies (and Socialists)
31) North Korea gives Donald Trump a nuclear crisis from hell
32) David Davis and the rise of the Thought Police
33) Be grateful that he’s not subtle about it
34) 48 questions the FBI uses to determine if someone is a likely terrorist
35) How Trump is empowering the Saudi destruction of Yemen
36) Steve Mnuchin no Joe Kennedy, and unfit for new gig
37) Protecting consumers from swindlers: How “fake facts” make millions for class-action lawyers
38) The roots of truth and the roots of knowledge
39) Tinkering can’t save health law
40) What will Trump do about the central bank cartel?
41) On: The perversion of police into radical politicized talking heads
42) Toward tax freedom and justice
43) Trump’s fearmongering is a tawdry presidential tradition
44) Could Bitcoin affect emerging market monetary policy?
45) Economic roundtable: Predictions for 2017
46) Baltasar Gracian’s aphorism #139: Recognise unlucky days.
47) The skinny on Trumponomics
48) Iran on notice
49) Economic ideas: Karl Marx, the man behind the communist revolution
50) How the travel ban helps terrorists

The Sound and the Fury:

51) Lions of Liberty Podcast, episode 282
52) The Bob Zadek Show, 02/12/17
53) Freedom Feens Radio, 02/13/17
54) Free Talk Live, 02/12/17
55) James Bovard on The Scott Horton Show

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

1) Flynn resigns as America’s new Red Scare proves its staying power
Source: Roll Call

“Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s mercurial national security adviser, submitted his resignation late Monday amidst growing controversy over his communications with Russia’s ambassador to the United States. Flynn wrote in his resignation letter that he provided ‘incomplete information’ about conversations with Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. Critics are questioning whether top Trump Administration officials were misled, lied to — or perhaps complicit. And beyond the disruption caused by the resignation of a senior official so early in a new administration, the circumstances surrounding Flynn’s departure will almost certainly increase scrutiny of others in Trump’s inner circle who allegedly have ties to Russia.

http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/embattled

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2) CA: Evacuees stranded with no end in sight to Lake Oroville crisis
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“The crisis at Lake Oroville may grind on for weeks or longer — leaving the nearly 200,000 people ordered to evacuate on Sunday in limbo as crews work to flush water out of the reservoir and shore up a badly eroded emergency spillway, officials said Monday. State water officials have been purging nearly 100,000 cubic feet of water per second out of the reservoir’s damaged but functioning primary spillway, an effort that brought the level down below the lip of the emergency spillway Sunday night, averting catastrophe. … More rain is forecast to soak Lake Oroville and the surrounding mountains beginning Wednesday night, increasing the urgency of the work being done at the reservoir.” (02/13/17)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Evacuees-stranded-with-no-end-in-sight-to-Lake-10929579.php

—–

3) US Senate confirms Trump’s picks for Treasury, VA
Source: Fox News

“The Senate confirmed former Goldman Sachs financier Steven Mnuchin as President Donald Trump’s Treasury secretary Monday, despite objections by Democrats who charged that Mnuchin had made much of his fortune by foreclosing on struggling homeowners during the financial crisis. Mnuchin was confirmed 53-47, with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin joining all 52 Republicans to vote in the affirmative. Moments later, physician David Shulkin was unanimously confirmed as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. Mnuchin and Shulkin bring the total of confirmed members of Trump’s Cabinet to eight, joining the secretaries of State, Defense, Homeland Security, Health and Human Services, Transportation and Attorney General.” (02/13/17)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/13/senate-confirms-trumps-picks-for-treasury-va-secretaries.html

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4) Romania: Protests after Parliament OKs anti-graft referendum
Source: Lompoc Record

“Romania’s Parliament agreed Monday to hold a referendum on public support for fighting official corruption, a move that failed to appease anti-government protesters who demonstrated in the capital and other Romanian cities. All 310 lawmakers present voted in favor of the referendum proposed by President Klaus Iohannis, a strong supporter of the country’s anti-graft drive.” (02/13/17)

http://lompocrecord.com/news/world/romania-protests-after-parliament-oks-anti-graft-referendum/article_9db24ddb-1381-5d3c-b0aa-899489dd683d.html

—–

5) TSA workers allegedly helped Puerto Rico-based ring smuggle $100 million worth of cocaine
Source: Fox News

“Prosecutors in Puerto Rico have smashed a ring of current and former U.S. Transportation Security Administration workers that allegedly smuggled 20 tons of cocaine worth as much as $100 million into the U.S. over more than a decade. A dozen members of the alleged ring, including TSA workers and airport employees, were indicted Feb. 8 in the District of Puerto Rico on charges of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine, U.S. Attorney for the District of Puerto Rico Rosa Emilia Rodríguez-Vélez announced. Authorities said the federal employees used their positions as TSA baggage screeners to wave massive amounts of coke through security. The charges point to an insider threat, a congressional source told Fox News, saying the suspects could have smuggled explosives instead of drugs.” (02/13/17)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/02/13/tsa-workers-helped-puerto-rico-based-ring-smuggle-100m-cocaine-prosecutors-say.html

—–

6) US regime sanctions Venezuelan vice president on drug trafficking
Source: USA Today

“The Trump administration imposed sanctions Monday against Venezuelan Vice President Tareck El Aissami, accusing him of playing a significant role in international drug trafficking. The Treasury Department has been investigating El Aissami for years over his alleged relations with Venezuela’s largest convicted drug trafficker and a Middle Eastern militant group, resulting in the decision to designate him a narcotics trafficker under the federal ‘Kingpin Act.’ The department said he orchestrated drug shipments from a Venezuelan air base and multiple seaports, some weighing more than 2,200 pounds per shipment.” (02/13/17)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/02/13/venezuela-vice-president-sanctions-donald-trump/97872432

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7) Maduro kicks CNN out of Venezuela for report on school food shortages
Source: PanAm Post

“President Nicolás Maduro has expelled CNN after accusing the international news outlet of ‘manipulating’ information about Venezuela. Maduro said Sunday he wants CNN ‘outside’ Venezuela after he claimed the news channel manipulated information about a student’s complaint regarding the lack of food at school.” (02/13/17)

https://panampost.com/sabrina-martin/2017/02/13/maduro-kicks-cnn-out-of-venezuela-for-report-on-school-food-shortages/

—–

8) House tax panel will not seek Trump tax returns
Source: Reuters

“A congressional tax oversight committee will not seek U.S. President Donald Trump’s tax returns despite calls from Democrats for a review to determine possible business ties to foreign countries including Russia, the panel’s Republican chairman said on Monday. Defying decades of precedent, Trump has refused to release his tax documents, which Democrats say could show whether his business empire poses any conflicts of interest as he moves forward on issues ranging from tax reform to foreign relations. ‘If Congress begins to use its powers to rummage around in the tax returns of the president, what prevents Congress from doing the same to average Americans?’ House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady told reporters. ‘Privacy and civil liberties are still important rights in this country, and (the) Ways and Means Committee is not going to start to weaken them.'” (02/13/17)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-tax-returns-idUSKBN15S2GZ

—–

9) Study: Banned chemicals persist in deep ocean
Source: BBC [UK state media]

“Chemicals banned in the 1970s have been found in the deepest reaches of the Pacific Ocean, a new study shows. Scientists were surprised by the relatively high concentrations of pollutants like PCBs and PBDEs in deep sea ecosystems. Used widely during much of the 20th Century, these chemicals were later found to be toxic and to build up in the environment. The results are published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution. The team led by Dr Alan Jamieson at the University of Newcastle sampled levels of pollutants in the fatty tissue of amphipods (a type of crustacean) from deep below the Pacific Ocean surface.” (02/13/17)

http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38957549

—–

10) Men’s Wearhouse founder credits his success to smoking cannabis
Source: Smell the Truth

“It’s been several years now since George Zimmer left as the face of Men’s Wearhouse, but one thing that hasn’t changed is his passion for cannabis. Zimmer is now focusing on advocating marijuana law reform, four years after the company he founded fired him as company spokesman, reports Business Insider. ‘It was just one of those little things that I did over my life that pissed people off,’ Zimmer told Business Insider on joining the cannabis legalization movement. Zimmer’s trademark gravelly voice now speaks to cannabis-related business conferences throughout California and Nevada, two states that have fully legalized recreational pot use. He is scheduled as the keynote speaker at this week’s Cannabis Collaborative Conference in Oregon.” (02/13/17)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2017/02/13/mens-wearhouse-founder-credits-his-success-to-smoking-marijuana

—–

11) Company announces pause for drug after price criticism
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Marathon Pharmaceuticals announced Monday that it will temporarily halt the rollout of a drug to treat genetic muscle deterioration just hours after two members of Congress expressed outrage that the company planned to charge $89,000 a year for a drug that’s widely available abroad for about $1,000 a year. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., urged the company earlier in the day to lower the drug’s price. They warned that they would be investigating how Marathon Pharmaceuticals set its pricing and contended that the company was abusing a program that grants seven years of market exclusivity to encourage research into new treatments for rare diseases. The program, they said, was not established to reward companies for drugs that have been available for decades. ‘Exorbitantly pricing potentially life-saving medications that should be widely available for a fraction of the price hinders patient access and drives up costs for the entire healthcare sector,’ the lawmakers wrote.” (02/13/17)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/Lawmakers-question-pricing-of-drug-for-genetic-10929045.php

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12) Mexico: Thousands take to the streets in protest of Trump’s border wall
Source: PanAm Post

“More than 20,000 people in Mexico City participated in marches this weekend in protest of Trump’s border wall. Using slogans such as ‘No to the wall’ and ‘Stop the deportations,’ the crowd gathered at the city’s Independence Angel to reject the Republican’s immigration policies.” (02/13/17)

https://panampost.com/elena-toledo/2017/02/13/more-than-20-thousand-mexicans-took-the-streets-to-protest-against-trumps-wall/

—–

13) Pakistan: Islamabad High Court bars Valentine’s Day celebration in public spaces
Source: Dawn [Pakistan]

“The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Monday prohibited the celebration of Valentine’s Day in public spaces and government offices across the country ‘with immediate effect.’ A day before Valentine’s Day, the Federal Ministry of Information, Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) and the Islamabad High Commission were told by Justice Shaukat Aziz, who was hearing the case, to submit their replies regarding the immediate execution of the court’s orders. Print and electronic media have also been warned to ‘stop all Valentine’s Day promotions immediately,’ while Pemra has been ordered to monitor all mediums and send out notifications banning any related promotions. The orders were given on a petition submitted by citizen Abdul Waheed, who maintained that promotions on mainstream and social media for Valentine’s Day are ‘against Islamic teachings and should be banned immediately.'” [editor’s note: Poor Abdul must not have got any chocolates or kisses last year – TLK] (02/13/17)

https://www.dawn.com/news/1314539/islamabad-high-court-bars-valentines-day-celebration-in-public-spaces

—–

14) India: Regime tests high-altitude interceptor missile
Source: Knoxville Times

“Pacing ahead towards an operational two-tier ballistic missile defence (BMD) system, India tested a high-altitude interceptor missile to destroy an incoming ballistic missile over the Bay of Bengal. The Prithvi defence vehicle (PDV), or the exo-atmospheric interceptor missile reportedly directly hit the target missile at an altitude of 97 km. The test, which began at 7.45 am, with the two-stage target missile, mimicked an enemy ballistic missile, being launched from a ship.” (02/13/17)

http://www.knoxvilletimes.com/index.php/sid/251664871

—–

15) Trump regime withdraws stay request vs. pervy state pols’ desire for educrats to feel up school kids
Source: ABC News

“President Donald Trump’s administration is stepping back from a request made by the Obama administration in an ongoing lawsuit over bathroom rights for transgender students in public schools. In a filing Friday with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the federal government asked to withdraw a motion filed last year that asked a judge to scale back a temporary injunction blocking Obama administration guidance on the issue. … Texas and 12 other states filed the lawsuit last year challenging the former president’s guidance, which directed public schools to allow transgender students to use bathrooms and locker rooms consistent with their gender identity.” (02/11/17)

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/us-withdraws-stay-request-transgender-bathroom-case-45448127

—–

16) Germany: AfD seeks to expel state leader over Holocaust remarks
Source: Deutsche Welle [Germany]

“After weeks of waffling over controversial remarks Thuringia state party leader Bjorn Hocke made about Holocaust remembrance, the national leadership of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party reportedly decided on Monday to expel him from their ranks. … Hocke called the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin a ‘monument of shame.’ He then added: ‘These stupid politics of coming to grips with the past cripple us — we need nothing other than a 180-degree reversal on the politics of remembrance.’ … following a telephone conference between party leaders Monday morning, the AfD has decided to remove Hocke from their ranks permanently. A spokesman said that the party had conducted a ‘legal appraisal and political assessment’ of Hocke’s speech and decided he should not be allowed to represent the party any longer. Now it is up to an arbitration committee of the AfD in Thuringia to rule on the leaders’ request.” (02/13/17)

http://www.dw.com/en/germanys-right-wing-afd-seeks-to-expel-state-leader-over-holocaust-remarks/a-37525199

—–

17) Kenya: Regime jails doctors’ union representatives as impasse over strike deepens
Source: Washington Post

“A Kenyan court Monday imprisoned seven top officials from the doctors’ union after they refused to call off strike that has paralyzed the nation’s health system for the past two months. With more than 5,000 doctors striking, the already dilapidated public health system has all but collapsed and private hospitals have been inundated. … The doctors have halted all talks with the government pending the release of their officials.” (02/13/17)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/kenya-jails-doctors-union-representatives-as-impasse-over-medical-strike-deepens/2017/02/13/9f1b0af8-f1d6-11e6-8d72-263470bf0401_story.html

—–

18) Gaza: Military hardliner Sinwar elected Hamas chief
Source: Yahoo! News

“Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas elected a hardline member of its armed wing as its new Gaza head Monday, Hamas officials said. ‘Yahya Sinwar was elected to head the Hamas political office in the Gaza Strip,’ the officials said. He will succeed Ismail Haniya, who is seen by many observers as the most likely successor to Hamas’s current exiled leader Khaled Meshaal.” (02/13/17)

https://www.yahoo.com/news/hamas-military-hardliner-sinwar-elected-groups-gaza-chief-114634782.html

—–

19) Pakistan: Bomb blast kills 14 at protest
Source: CNN

“A bomb exploded during a protest in Lahore, Pakistan, on Monday, killing at least 14 people and injuring 59 more, according to government spokesman Malik Ahmad Khan. Two groups claimed joint responsibility for what officials said was a suicide attack. Jamat-ul-Ahrar, a splinter group of Pakistan’s Tehreek-i Taliban (TTP) — also known as the Pakistani Taliban — claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement emailed to CNN. In addition, the chief of North Waziristan Agency’s Intiqam Waziristan, or the ‘Avengers of Waziristan,’ told CNN in a phone call that they were responsible.” (02/13/17)

http://www.cnn.com/2017/02/13/world/lahore-blast-dead/

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20) Bergdahl lawyers likely to cite Trump in his defense
Source: CBS News

“Lawyers for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will try Monday to convince a judge that he cannot get a fair trial on charges of desertion and misbehavior before the enemy because of highly charged statements made by President Trump. … Bergdahl is scheduled for trial in April and could face a life sentence if convicted of misbehavior before the enemy. He is accused of endangering the lives of soldiers who searched for him after he walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009. Defense attorneys argue Mr. Trump violated Bergdahl’s due process rights by repeatedly calling him a ‘traitor’ and making other harsh statements about the soldier. The defense motion, filed shortly after Mr. Trump was sworn in as president, cites more than 40 instances of Mr. Trump’s criticism at public appearances and media interviews through August 2016.” (02/13/17)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/bowe-bergdahl-lawyers-likely-to-cite-trump-in-his-defense/

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

21) Tariffs, pickpockets, and the nationalist snake in the moral grass
Source: Independent Institute
by Robert Higgs

“Protectionism, as it is misleadingly known, has always been an insider’s game, a political gambit aimed at enriching those to whom the government is especially beholden or seeks to seduce at the expense of other people. Incumbent producers who produce products on which tariffs are imposed succeed in repelling competition by force of the government’s customs officers, which is to say that they succeed in increasing their profits by force, not by offering consumers a better deal. Peaceful people who avoid the tariff by importing goods surreptitously are not only stigmatized as smugglers, but subjected to criminal sanctions as if they had committed real crimes such as rape or assault and battery. In this way the government not only discourages free trade, but misleads citizens in general into thinking of free trade as a criminal enterprise. What could better serve the interest of an organization — the state itself — that cannot exist except by extortion and robbery?” (02/13/17)

http://blog.independent.org/2017/02/13/tariffs-pickpockets-and-the-nationalist-snake-in-the-moral-grass/

—–

22) The StingRay is exactly why the 4th Amendment was written
Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Olivia Donaldson

“The Fourth Amendment of the Constitution states that, ‘the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.’ The StingRay clearly violates these standards. The drafters of the Constitution recognized that restricting the government from violating privacy is essential for a free society. That’s why the Fourth Amendment exists. The StingRay is creating a dangerous precedent that tells the government that it’s okay for them to violate our rights.” (02/13/17)

https://fee.org/articles/the-stingray-is-exactly-why-the-4th-amendment-was-written/

—–

23) Will Congress stop forcing pro-life Americans to subsidize abortion?
Source: Campaign For Liberty
by Ron Paul

“Throughout my medical and political careers, I have opposed abortion. I believe abortion is the killing of an innocent human life and, thus, violates the non-aggression principle that is the basis of libertarianism. Unfortunately many libertarians, including some of my close allies, support legalized abortion. These pro-abortion libertarians make a serious philosophical error that undermines the libertarian cause. If the least accountable branch of government can unilaterally deny protection of the right to life to an entire class of persons, then none of our rights are safe.” [editor’s note: I used Paul’s opinion on abortion as such for the pull quote because that’s how he opens and because the more detailed point on subsidies was difficult to briefly excerpt without hacking the piece up – TLK] (02/13/17)

http://www.campaignforliberty.org/will-congress-stop-forcing-pro-life-americans-subsidize-abortion

—–

24) Help the poor move
Source: National Review
by Kevin D Williamson

“No conservative social critic ever blinked an eye or coughed up his cognac when the best advice from the right to the discontented and ambitious poor was to get out of the ghetto or the barrio, get an education, get a job, and start a new life and a new family in some more prosperous corner of the county or country. But the dead and dying and white towns of Appalachia and the Rust Belt are another story. ‘Why should they have to go elsewhere?’ our freshly created populists demand. The answer is, Because the lives they desire are not to be had where they are; their communities, along with their families in many cases, are terribly sick, and the hard truth is that they’d be better off putting some distance between themselves and them.” (02/13/17)

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444841/help-poor-relocate-find-better-jobs-opportunity

—–

25) Immigration chaos and the troops
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

“Amidst all the furor over President Trump’s immigration edicts, there is one important thing that every American should keep in mind: There is a much easier and simpler solution to the threat of anti-American terrorism, which is the excuse that Trump is using for his immigration edicts: Just bring the troops home from the Middle East and Afghanistan and stop shooting, bombing, and firing missiles at anyone in those parts of the world, including ISIS, al-Qaeda, and everyone else. Just come home and leave everyone over there alone.” (02/13/17)

http://www.fff.org/2017/02/13/immigration-chaos-troops/

—–

26) Indivisible: The left group shaking up Congress from the grassroots
Source: In These Times
by Kate Aronoff

“Can progressives have their own Tea Party? Many have floated the idea over the last several years, hoping to recreate the electoral success of that movement. But an upstart new organization called Indivisible is pulling another lesson from insurgent Republicans: how to obstruct a president’s agenda and change the debate in Congress from the grassroots up–starting with a 24-page Google Doc. In the days after the election, former congressional staffer Sarah Dohl ‘saw an uptick in people joining [anti-Trump] Facebook groups,’ [and] ‘a lot of well-meaning people giving pretty bad advice.’ Some suggested signing massive online petitions; others urged progressives to call the offices of high-ranking members of Congress, rather than their own representatives. Dohl’s experience told her these tactics were unlikely to work.” (02/13/17)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19871/indivisible-trump-resistance-left-tea-party

—–

27) How democracies lose in cyber war
Source: The Atlantic
by Moises Naim

“‘War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.’ This 19th-century quip, often attributed to the satirist Ambrose Bierce, deserves a 21st-century update: ‘Attacks against the U.S. are God’s way of teaching Americans how weaker enemies are stronger than they seem.’ … If Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda taught a new generation of Americans about kinetic asymmetric war, WikiLeaks and the Kremlin have taught them about cyber asymmetric war. While the first relies on physical violence to kill people, destroy buildings, and disable critical infrastructure, the second uses the internet and other cyber tools, which can cause not only physical damage but also weaken the institutions that are critical for the functioning of a democratic government.” [editor’s note: Interesting thesis, although Naim hurts himself with the gratuitous Russia-baiting. If Wikileaks and the US really are at war — and I think there’s a good argument for that — we should all do our bit to ensure that Wikileaks wins – TLK] (02/13/17)

https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/02/democracy-cyber-war/516351/

—–

28) Trump’s team of weaklings
Source: The New Republic
by Brian Beutler

“On December 29, 2016, the day President Barack Obama imposed sanctions on Russia for meddling in the U.S. election, retired General Michael Flynn, who would become President Donald Trump’s national security adviser, spoke by telephone multiple times with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak. When that news broke a week before Trump’s inauguration, basically every senior official in the incoming administration, including Vice President–elect Mike Pence, told the public that Flynn had not discussed sanctions at all. Knowingly or not, they were all propagating a lie. It should not be assumed that Pence in particular didn’t know the truth of the matter when he claimed Flynn and Kislyak exchanged Christmas pleasantries. Pence had access to all the country’s secrets and at the very least we should assume he could have gotten to the bottom of the matter if he’d really wanted to. But now that the cat’s totally out of the bag, Team Pence is letting reporters know, through anonymous leaks, that the vice president is very mad Flynn hung him out to dry.” (02/13/17)

https://newrepublic.com/article/140587/trumps-team-weaklings

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29) Protectionism is not inflationary
Source: EconLog
by Scott Sumner

“Protectionism is clearly a bad policy. But it’s not bad for the reasons that many people assume. If you put barriers on the import of a specific good, it tends to raise the relative price of that good. But an across the board import tax does not raise the overall cost of living. Recall that the Fed determines the rate of inflation, which is likely to be about 2% regardless of whether policy is protectionist or not.” (02/13/17)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2017/02/protectionism_i.html

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30) Capitalism for Dummies (and Socialists)
Source: Everything Voluntary
by Parrish Miller

“The whole notion of capitalism is that those with capital are incentivized to invest it in order to obtain a profit. If profits are outlawed or significantly reduced through confiscatory taxation, the incentive to invest is reduced or eliminated. If profit is forbidden, I have no incentive to invest rather than consume. Why would I delay gratification and take on risk to plant a field or build a factory if I don’t stand to make a profit by doing so? These principles apply even in a very simple economy.” (02/13/17)

http://everything-voluntary.com/capitalism-dummies-socialists

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31) North Korea gives Donald Trump a nuclear crisis from hell
Source: Reuters
by Peter Apps

“George W. Bush invaded Iraq to remove its (ultimately nonexistent) weapons of mass destruction. Barack Obama used cyber weaponry and sanctions to deter Iran from building its own atomic bomb. Now Donald Trump faces North Korea, but stopping its nuclear and missile program may prove impossible, creating what may be his first and perhaps defining international crisis. Trump has been left to confront North Korea’s nuclear activities because his predecessors failed to manage them. The regime in Pyongyang, meanwhile, continues to build ever more dangerous (and hard-to-destroy or intercept) weapons systems. North Korea has been a thorn in the side of the United States since the days of Harry S. Truman. The Korean War came dangerously close to sparking a nuclear confrontation, with the White House preventing U.S. commander Douglas MacArthur from using atomic weapons to stop the Chinese and North Korean armies. Under Pyongyang’s current leader Kim Jong-un, it is reaching what may be its most dangerous point since then.” (02/13/17)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-north-korea-trump-commentary-idUSKBN15S1RZ

—–

32) David Davis and the rise of the Thought Police
Source: spiked
by Brendan O’Neill

“It is tempting at this point to say Davis’s text messages were crude. But that would be wrong, because the fact is they’re none of our business. He did not say these things for public consumption. It was an off-hand, matey remark of the kind all of us make via text or email or WhatsApp or whatever. That Davis’s texts were leaked doesn’t make it okay to haul him over the coals for them, to insist that he retract and repent, because this still amounts to shaming someone for a private conversation. The correct response to the texts would be to say: ‘This is not my concern. People can think and say whatever they like in private.'” [editor’s note: Illogic like O’Neill’s is the end result of asserting a “right to privacy.” If the public comes to know X about you, they’re entitled to their opinion about X and to act on that opinion, even if whoever revealed X violated your rights in the process of doing so – TLK] (02/13/17)

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/david-davis-and-the-rise-of-the-thought-police/

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33) Be grateful that he’s not subtle about it
Source: The American Prospect
by Gershom Gorenberg

“Strange as it may sound, I’m jealous of progressive Americans as they contend with the Trump dystopia. At least the assault on your democracy (and on your most basic sense of what country you live in) is coming all at once. For an Israeli, this is a reason for envy. The gradual offensive against our own democracy has made resistance far more difficult. Nonetheless, you may be able to learn something from our experience — not so much from our successes, but from our mistakes. I know that three months after election night you still can’t wrap your mind around it. The rest of the world (or at least my corner of it) watches America the way someone watches a car racing over a cliff: horrified and riveted. I can’t escape by switching from English to Hebrew news. Trump, spelled from right to left, is all over the Israeli media. On Sundays, the top public radio station always finds an excuse for playing the audio of the previous night’s SNL send-off of the Trump clique. The message is: This is really happening to America.” (02/13/17)

http://prospect.org/article/be-grateful-hes-not-subtle-about-it

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34) 48 questions the FBI uses to determine if someone is a likely terrorist
Source: The Intercept
by Cora Currier and Murtaza Hussein

“For the past year and a half, the FBI has been using a secret scoring system to judge the likelihood that someone will carry out a violent attack. The survey, called ‘Indicators of Mobilization to Violence,’ assigns points based on factors like religious observance, travel history, financial transactions, and physical appearance. A copy of the survey in a classified FBI document was obtained by The Intercept. The survey itself consists of 48 questions that agents are supposed to answer about terror suspects as part of an investigation. The document also includes a set of frequently asked questions about the scoring system aimed at agents working counterterrorism investigations.” (02/13/17)

https://theintercept.com/2017/02/13/48-questions-the-fbi-uses-to-determine-if-someone-is-a-likely-terrorist/

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35) How Trump is empowering the Saudi destruction of Yemen
Source: Cato Institute
by John Glaser

“In his last months in office, President Obama took steps to reduce U.S. involvement following international criticism of Saudi Arabia’s indiscriminate bombing practices. The Saudis and their coalition partners have steadily racked up a high civilian death toll that was beginning to tarnish the reputation of their Western patrons. Trump, however, appears eager to cozy back up to America’s reckless Gulf clients.” (02/13/17)

https://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/how-trump-empowering-saudi-destruction-yemen

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36) Steve Mnuchin no Joe Kennedy, and unfit for new gig
Source: Our Future
by Richard Eskow

“There are plenty of signs that Steve Mnuchin is not a good guy, even by the lax standards of today’s banking industry. OneWest, a bank he established with partners and ran from 2009 to 2015, mounted a record of ruthless foreclosures (in one case over a 27-cent error). A memo from top prosecutors in California’s state attorney general’s office saw evidence of its ‘widespread misconduct’ and repeated violations of law, according to The Intercept. Mnuchin misled the Senate (accidentally, he says) on his banking history, his personal finances and his role in running a Cayman Islands tax-haven account. Nevertheless, Senate Republicans will almost certainly succeed at their goal of confirming Mnuchin as the next Treasury Secretary as soon as possible.” (02/13/17)

https://ourfuture.org/20170213/steve-mnuchin-is-no-joe-kennedy-and-unfit-for-his-new-gig

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37) Protecting consumers from swindlers: How “fake facts” make millions for class-action lawyers
Source: Competitive Enterprise Institute
by Ted Frank

“The too-common scam goes like this. Trial lawyers bring a class action against a business, alleging unfair charges or false advertising and seeking to recover a few dollars each for thousands or millions of its customers. It’s okay if the case is weak, because the defendant still finds it cheaper to settle the lawsuit for a small percentage of the total losses alleged than to fight on. Duracell, for example, is willing to settle a suit over battery advertising for $6 million. But the trial lawyers won’t get rich if most of that money actually goes to consumers. Solution: the parties structure a settlement to make class members jump through hoops to get $6 refunds, like publishing a notice in the back of a newspaper about the need to mail in a claim form instead of obtaining customer addresses from retailer databases and mailing them checks. This ensures that over 99 percent of the class gets nothing, Duracell pays out only $344,000 to consumers, and the lawyers nab $5.7 million for themselves.” (02/13/17)

https://cei.org/content/protecting-consumers-swindlers-how-%E2%80%98fake-facts%E2%80%99-make-millions-class-action-lawyers

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38) The roots of truth and the roots of knowledge
Source: Notes On Liberty
by Rick Weber

“John Oliver raises a Hayekian point on the roots of knowledge: ‘Just because they believed you and you believed them, doesn’t make it true! This isn’t like Peter Pan where believing in fairies will keep Tinker Bell alive. This isn’t a magic thing Peter, she has Lou Gehrig’s Disease.’ He’s rightly picking on Donald Trump, who has a) been a particularly bad epistemologist, and b) should be held to a higher standard because he’s the president. But the truth is that we’re all in the same boat: we believe what we hear from what we believe are reputable sources (because we heard those sources were reputable from sources we believed to be reputable). Most of our knowledge we take on faith from other people.” (02/13/17)

https://notesonliberty.com/2017/02/13/the-roots-of-truth-and-the-roots-of-knowledge/

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39) Tinkering can’t save health law
Source: USA Today
by Tim Phillips

“Many argue we should keep the Affordable Care Act intact because it has provided health insurance for more people. But to what end? Insurance under the ACA is too expensive for most to afford. Average premiums on the law’s marketplace have soared by double digits since its implementation — including an average 25% hike in 2017. Research from health care economist Stephen Parente shows there is no end in sight for substantial increases going forward. And while the law does provide subsidies, they won’t be able to keep up with these premiums. Deductibles are even worse. Deductibles on mid-level silver plans average $3,572 for individuals in 2017 and $7,474 for families. This at a time when 46% of Americans say they cannot afford a $400 emergency expense.” (02/13/17)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/02/13/affordable-care-act-congress-editorials-debates/97869616

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40) What will Trump do about the central bank cartel?
Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Thorsten Polleit

“If the Trump administration really wishes to live up to its campaign promise ‘Make America great again,’ there is no way of getting around addressing Fed policy. A first step in that direction is the idea to subject the US central bank to public scrutiny (‘Audit the Fed’), bringing to public attention the scope of the Fed’s interventions into the world’s banking system.” (02/13/17)

https://mises.org/blog/what-will-trump-do-about-central-bank-cartel

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41) On: The perversion of police into radical politicized talking heads
Source: Cop Block
by Isiah Holmes

“It’s becoming difficult to ignore a brazenly open politicization of American policing. This phenomenon excludes the various protests, militarized responses to those protests, and debate choking media both online and on-air. It’s entirely different, and generally not practiced by a majority of police agencies. ‘We back the badge,’ thin blue line, and Blue Lives Matter are charged with polarization, no doubt. They’re inherently different, however, from open endorsements of political parties, and the taunting of an abandoned public.” (02/13/17)

http://www.copblock.org/171349/on-the-perversion-of-police-into-radical-politicized-talking-heads/

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42) Toward tax freedom and justice
Source: Cobden Centre
by Vishal Wilde

“Although considerable resources are expended upon attempting to influence Government spending, advocacy of greater tax choice (taxpayers having greater discretion regarding how their taxes will be spent) is relatively low despite it being a more efficient, effective and direct means to influence Government spending. I have sought to theoretically fortify arguments for tax choice.” [editor’s note: How about the choice to not pay? – TLK] (02/13/17)

http://www.cobdencentre.org/2017/02/toward-tax-freedom-and-justice/

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43) Trump’s fearmongering is a tawdry presidential tradition
Source: CounterPunch
by James Bovard

“President Donald Trump is being reviled for wildly exaggerating the peril of Muslim refugees. Some commentators fret that his rhetoric signals a new fascist era descending on America. A recent Washington Post news analysis derided Trump’s fearmongering: ‘Playing upon the nation’s anxieties about what might happen also stands as a stark contrast to how presidents have lifted the country out of actual crisis in the past.’ But presidential fearmongering has a long and sordid history.” (02/13/17)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/13/90434/

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44) Could Bitcoin affect emerging market monetary policy?
Source: Bitcoin.com
by Justin Connell

“Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Vice President, Dr. David Andolfatto, is optimistic about Bitcoin, as an alternative currency could impose limitations on the ability of governments to raise revenue through money creation. … ‘What people do in high inflationary and hyperinflationary circumstances is seek alternative or competing currencies,’ Dr. Andolfatto tells Bitcoin.com. ‘This could be the U.S. dollar, gold and things like that. Governments and central banks often then impose currency restrictions, maybe by implementing laws keeping people from opening USD denominated bank accounts.’ It’s not so easy, however, for a money printing central bank to stymie capital inflows into digital currency.” (02/13/17)

https://news.bitcoin.com/could-bitcoin-affect-emerging-market-monetary-policy/

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45) Economic roundtable: Predictions for 2017
Source: Heartland Institute
by Christopher Casey

“This roundtable discussion of independent investment minds is moderated by Heartland Institute Policy Advisor Christopher Casey. Casey interviews Rick Rule, President and CEO of Sprott US Holdings, Inc; Brett Rentmeester, President of WindRock Wealth Management; Axel Merk, President and CIO og Merk Investments; and Bud Conrad, author of the book ‘Profiting from the World’s Economic Crisis.'” (02/12/17)

http://blog.heartland.org/2017/02/economic-roundtable-predictions-for-2017/

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46) Baltasar Gracian’s aphorism #139: Recognise unlucky days.
Source: WendyMcElroy.com
by Wendy McElroy

“There are times when it doesn’t matter how hard you study, you seem to learn nothing. It doesn’t matter how diligently you work on an article, the material doesn’t fall together. Yesterday was such a day for me.” (02/13/17)

http://www.wendymcelroy.com/news.php?extend.7724

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47) The skinny on Trumponomics
Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“President Donald Trump does not trust economists. So he is demoting the Council of Economic Advisors, booting out of the Cabinet the Council’s chairperson. If this were only because economists as economists cannot do what he has been able to do — make a big success in business and trade –– we could give him something like a pass. … But all this may be irrelevant. Trump’s problem seems to be that he cannot find enough reputable economists to jump on board his protectionist bandwagon.” (02/13/17)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2017/02/13/the-skinny-on-trumponomics/

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48) Iran on notice
Source: The American Conservative
by Michael Horton

“Even though there is little of evidence of sustained and direct Iranian support for the Houthis, it looks as if there are some members of the Trump administration who want to use the idea that there is an alliance as a springboard for war with Iran. A preoccupation with Iran comes at the cost of other, more pressing considerations. The U.S.-supported, Saudi-led war has devastated most of Yemen and made what was already the region’s poorest country far poorer. Notwithstanding the humanitarian cost, this has turned much of southern Yemen into a safe haven for al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). It should be noted that the Houthis are the mortal enemies of AQAP.” (02/13/17)

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/iran-on-notice/

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49) Economic ideas: Karl Marx, the man behind the communist revolution
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Richard M Ebeling

“When Karl Marx died in March 1883, only about a dozen people attended his funeral at a cemetery in London, England, including family members. Yet, for more than a century after his death — and even until today — there have been few thinkers whose ideas have been as influential on various aspects of modern world history. Indeed, as some have said, no other faith or belief-system has had such a worldwide impact as Marxism, since the birth of Christianity and the rise of Islam. Marx’s critique of capitalism and capitalist society has shaped much of the social thinking in Western countries that led to the welfare state and extensive government intervention into economic affairs.” (02/13/17)

http://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/economic-ideas-karl-marx-man-behind-communist-revolution/

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50) How the travel ban helps terrorists
Source: Reason
by Steve Chapman

“If you’re afraid that terrorists from a particular country will come to kill your citizens, it makes sense to ban anyone from that place. So brace yourselves, Americans. Any day now, the Syrian government may impose a complete and total shutdown on travelers from the United States. Donald Trump thinks there is a pipeline of violent extremists from Syria and other predominantly Muslim countries. He’s right, but he’s wrong about the direction of the flow. Islamic State recruits aren’t coming from Syria to the United States. They are going from the United States to Syria.” (02/13/17)

http://reason.com/archives/2017/02/13/how-the-travel-ban-helps-terrorists

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

51) Lions of Liberty Podcast, episode 282
Source: Lions of Liberty

“In today’s episode of Lions of Liberty, Marc welcomes in professor of psychology, clinical psychologist, and highly requested guest by fans of the show, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson! Dr. Peterson has made headlines recently over his refusal to use prescribed gender pronouns in his classroom at the University of Toronto, finding himself in direct conflict with ‘Social Justice Warriors’ and, quite possibly, Canadian law.” [various formats] (02/13/17)

http://lionsofliberty.com/2017/02/13/282/

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52) The Bob Zadek Show, 02/12/17
Source: The Bob Zadek Show

“When we last heard from Joe Quirk — author and ‘Seavangelist’ for The Seasteading Institute — his visions of humanity’s oceanic future may have seemed remote to the some listeners. That, however, was in 2015. After a dizzying election year, during which all grounds for predicting the future were cast into doubt, the seasteading concept of floating free cities sounds entirely reasonable, and at least as likely as California’s nascent secession scheme. Joe joins the show this Sunday after a successful diplomatic trip to French Polynesia, which led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in San Francisco last month between the Institute and the French Polynesian government.” [Flash audio or MP3] (02/12/17)

http://www.bobzadek.com/past-shows/2017/2/8/floating-island-project-french-polynesia

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53) Freedom Feens Radio, 02/13/17
Source: Freedom Feens Radio

“Lisa DeLasho, Jeremy Heisenkitten, and Michael W Dean talk about baby monitors, purring kitties, Linux snobs, and some departing/arriving Feens before extensively discussing the recent case of a Libertarian Party figure losing her job due to a self-righteous jerk doxxing and narking her out, thus acting like the cops, and a liberal, at the same time. In the second hour, Lisa, Jeremy, and Michael continue discussing the doxxing incident, MWD’s experiences with doxxing, eating sacred cows for breakfast, Saul Alinsky’s internet 2.0 playbook, and having a website not even ranked by Alexa.” [various formats] (02/13/17)

https://www.freedomfeens.com/?p=13813

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54) Free Talk Live, 02/12/17
Source: Free Talk Live

“Immigrant Know Your Rights Outreach from ACLU :: Origins of Mother Fucker :: Alex Jones Different Personalities? :: Talk Radio Cult of Personality :: Woman Forced to Deliver Baby in Jail :: Running a More Compassionate Jail :: Sue ‘Em :: Bureaucrats Lobbying for More Government :: Small Government and Grand Juries :: Police on the Radio :: Oroville CA Evacuation Due to Imminent Dam Spillway Failure :: HOSTS — Ian, Darryl, Jonny Ray.” [Flash audio or MP3] (02/12/17)

https://www.freetalklive.com/podcast/2017-02-12

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55) James Bovard on The Scott Horton Show
Source: Libertarian Institute

“James Bovard, the author of many books including Attention Deficit Democracy, discusses the 70+ fusion centers funded by the Department of Homeland Security, that specialize in wasting money, publishing worthless reports on non-existent terrorism threats, and violating the privacy of Americans. Jim also discusses the media’s hand-wringing about Trump’s fearmongering, even though the practice has a long history among US presidents looking to menace the public with ‘an endless series of hobgoblins.'” [various formats] (02/10/17)

https://www.libertarianinstitute.org/2017/02/21017-james-bovard-governments-overreach-gathering-intel-americans-long-history-presidential-fearmongering/

*****
RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS DIGEST

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

Editor Emeritus:
Mary Lou Seymour
*****