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

Volume XV, Issue #3,647
Wednesday, February 15th, 2017
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In the News:

1) US Senators from both parties pledge to continue Mel Brooks-style remake of McCarthy era
2) Brazil: Idiot judge publicly announces he doesn’t know the difference between partnership and employment
3) Malaysia: Kim’s half-brother allegedly assassinated
4) Mexico: Senator champions bill to stop US corn shipments
5) Secret Service director Clancy stepping down
6) Indonesia: Polls open in heated vote for Indonesian governor
7) Gambia: Under new president, regime cancels withdrawal from International Criminal Court
8) Purge outdated voter rolls? NYC tried it, with bad results
9) Rolls-Royce reports record loss of billions
10) White House posts wrong versions of Trump’s orders on its website
11) Israel: Netanyahu threatens to polygraph cabinet ministers over leaks
12) Taxpayer-funded study asked if people could smell “asparagus pee”
13) Venezuela leads all countries in asylum applications to United States
14) NC: Supreme Court blocks law stripping governor of election oversight powers
15) Pakistan: Bomb disposal commander killed in Quetta blast
16) India: Future chief of Tamil Nadu state sentenced to four years
17) Humana, Aetna, abandon $37 billion merger
18) Playboy magazine brings back naked models one year after nudity ban
19) Chaffetz, fellow pols to DC residents: You thought you owned your lives? Think again. We own you!
20) PewDiePie, YouTube’s most popular star, dropped by Disney over anti-semitic jokes

Everybody Has An Opinion:

21) Turning journalism into a crime
22) The absurd consequences of a “right to privacy”
23) Meet the new “specially protected class”
24) When the hotel industry places a hit on Airbnb, politicians happily take the contract
25) What the Flynn debacle tells us about the Trump presidency
26) The New York Times missed Trump’s biggest lie
27) Oh dear! Theocracy is just around the corner
28) Will Puzder be the first to fall?
29) Soda taxes: Regressive and unnecessary
30) Heed the protests
31) 2016 election and post-imperial America
32) The real reason Republicans want to pull the plug on Obamacare
33) Of protests and politicians
34) Report: The myth of the government-dependent immigrant
35) Baltasar Gracian’s aphorism #11: Cultivate those who can teach you.
36) The goal of socialists is socialism — not prosperity
37) Tim Kaine’s appalling smear of vouchers
38) Steve Bannon believes winter is coming
39) A political opening for universal health care?
40) The new battle for Afghanistan
41) In a time of executive orders, upholding truth is a revolutionary act
42) The failures of mainstream feminism
43) Gini and monetary policy
44) We fear the BMA has the wrong end of the stick here
45) Krokodil is a product of the drug war
46) How humans now use the blockchain to declare love and marriage
47) Huntington’s prescient warning
48) What if food distribution worked like public education?
49) The abyss gazes back
50) California secession? How it could happen in practice

The Sound and the Fury:

51) The LAVA Flow Podcast, episode 55
52) Foreign Policy Focus, episode 1
53) Freedom Feens Radio, 02/14/17
54) Free Talk Live, 02/13/17
55) Cato Daily Podcast, 02/13/17

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

1) US Senators from both parties pledge to continue Mel Brooks-style remake of McCarthy era
Source: Washington Post

“Top Republican and Democratic senators pledged Tuesday to deepen their [security theater over alleged, so far with little if any evidence,] Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election in the wake of Michael Flynn’s resignation as President Trump’s national security adviser, opening a new and potentially uncomfortable chapter in the uneasy relationship between Trump and Capitol Hill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said such an [theatrical production] is ‘highly likely,’ and the top two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), stood side by side Tuesday to announce that the committee’s ongoing [dog and pony show] must include an examination of any contacts between Trump campaign officials and the Russian government.” (02/14/17)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/top-senate-republican-blunt-says-congress-should-probe-flynn-situation/2017/02/14/8abbcad4-f2d5-11e6-a9b0-ecee7ce475fc_story.html

—–

2) Brazil: Idiot judge publicly announces he doesn’t know the difference between partnership and employment
Source: Reuters

“A Brazilian judge ruled that a driver using the Uber ride-hailing app is an employee of the San Francisco-based company and is entitled to workers’ benefits, adding to the global debate over labor rights for drivers on the platform. Uber said on Tuesday it would appeal the decision by Judge Marcio Toledo Goncalves, who issued the ruling late Monday in a labor court in Minas Gerais state. Goncalves ordered Uber to pay one driver around 30,000 reais ($10,000) in compensation for overtime, night shifts, holidays and expenses such as gasoline, water and candy for passengers. The consequences for Uber, if the ruling is upheld, could be far greater if more drivers follow suit and if state and federal regulators and tax agencies start treating it, as the judge suggested, as a transportation company rather than a tech firm.” (02/14/17)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-uber-tech-brazil-labor-idUSKBN15T2OC

—–

3) Malaysia: Kim’s half-brother allegedly assassinated
Source: Yahoo! News

“The half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un has been assassinated in Malaysia, South Korean media reported Tuesday, with one TV station saying he was attacked at the main airport with poisoned needles. Officials in Seoul could not be reached for comment on the reported death of Kim Jong-Nam. Malaysian police said an unidentified Korean had been taken sick at Kuala Lumpur International Airport and since died. If confirmed, Kim’s case would be the highest-profile death under the Kim Jong-Un regime since the execution of the leader’s uncle Jang Song-Thaek in December 2013.” (02/14/17)

https://www.yahoo.com/news/half-brother-n-korean-leader-kim-assassinated-malaysia-115551197.html

—–

4) Mexico: Senator champions bill to stop US corn shipments
Source: KTIC AM 840 News

“A Mexican senator at a rally on Sunday proposed that Mexico stop buying U.S. corn in retaliation for some of President Donald Trump’s stances on our southern neighbors. Mexico is the top market for U.S. corn exports with Mexican buyers importing nearly 28% of all U.S. corn sent to foreign markets in the 2015-16 marketing year. CNN reported Sunday during a rally that Sen. Armando Rios Piter, ‘who leads a congressional committee on foreign affairs, says he will introduce a bill this week where Mexico will buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States.’ … DTN Senior Analyst Darin Newsom noted any effort to shut down U.S. corn exports to Mexico would have a ripple effect across the ag economy. ‘We have an oversupply situation,’ Newsom said. ‘We can’t have any threats to demand. Corn’s the No. 1 agricultural market that we have. It’s not just the grain market. It’s all of the agricultural economy is tied back to corn.'” (02/14/17)

http://kticradio.com/agricultural/mexican-senator-champions-bill-to-stop-u-s-corn-shipments/

—–

5) Secret Service director Clancy stepping down
Source: Reuters

“U.S. Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy plans to step down next month, the agency said on Tuesday, two years after he took charge of the agency following high-profile security lapses by the service responsible for protecting the president. ‘Congratulations Dir Clancy on your retirement! The men & women of the @SecretService are grateful for your 29 years of service & leadership,’ the Secret Service said on Twitter. Clancy will leave on March 4, an agency spokesman said. Clancy’s departure means that President Donald Trump will be able to select his own security chief. The Secret Service has almost 7,000 employees and is charged with protecting the president and his family as well as combating counterfeiting.” (02/14/17)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-secretservice-idUSKBN15T2J0

—–

6) Indonesia: Polls open in heated vote for Indonesian governor
Source: ABC News

“Voting was underway in the election for governor of the Indonesian capital after a months-long campaign in which the monumental problems facing Jakarta took a backseat to religious intolerance and racial bigotry. More than 13,000 polling places opened to accommodate the 7.1 million people eligible to vote. The election is one of dozens taking place Wednesday across Muslim-majority Indonesia. Incumbent Gov. Basuki ‘Ahok’ Tjahaja Purnama, a minority Christian and ethnic Chinese, is vying against Agus Harimurti Yudhoyono, who is the son of a former president, and Anies Rasyid Baswedan, a moderate now courting the votes of conservative and hard-line Muslims. Religion and race, rather than the slew of problems that face a car-clogged and sinking Jakarta, have dominated the campaign.” (02/14/17)

http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/polls-open-divisive-vote-indonesia-capital-governor-45497838

—–

7) Gambia: Under new president, regime cancels withdrawal from International Criminal Court
Source: National Public Radio [US state media]

“As Gambia’s new president Adama Barrow settles into his new role, he is also taking steps to resuscitate international ties cut off by his predecessor Yahya Jammeh, including membership to the International Criminal Court and the Commonwealth of Nations. The tiny West African nation has now formally informed the United Nations that it is reversing its request to withdraw from the International Criminal Court, made by Jammeh last October. The new government issued a statement announcing its reversal on state television, Reuters reported.” (02/14/17)

http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/02/14/515219467/under-new-leader-gambia-cancels-withdrawal-from-international-criminal-court

—–

8) Purge outdated voter rolls? NYC tried it, with bad results
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

“Whether or not you believe that voting fraud is a problem in the U.S., one thing is certain: Tidying up outdated voter rolls is sometimes easier said than done. Just ask election officials in the nation’s largest city. After an independent review found that New York City’s voting lists contained people who were dead or in prison, elections officials began an aggressive purge in 2014 and 2015 that eliminated more than 200,000 supposedly invalid registrations. The result? A record number of complaints during the 2016 presidential primary from legal voters who turned up to cast a ballot, but found that they were no longer registered. ‘Democracy itself is under attack,’ New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a Democrat, declared last week after announcing plans to join a federal lawsuit over the way the purge was handled.” (02/14/17)

http://www.sfgate.com/news/politics/article/Purge-outdated-voter-rolls-NYC-tried-it-with-10930414.php

—–

9) Rolls-Royce reports record loss of billions
Source: BBC [UK state media]

“A bribery settlement and the fall in the pound have pushed engineering giant Rolls-Royce to a record loss. The jet engine maker reported a loss before tax of £4.6 billion for 2016. However, once one-off costs have been stripped out, the company’s underlying profit was better than many experts had predicted. Rolls-Royce agreed to pay £671m to settle corruption cases with UK and US authorities and it has written off £4.4bn from currency related contracts. Like many international businesses, Rolls-Royce usually ‘hedges’ its bets to protect itself from fluctuating currency markets. Most international aerospace contracts are priced in dollars, but, as a UK company, much of Rolls-Royce’s costs are in pounds.” (02/14/17)

http://www.bbc.com/news/business-38966165

—–

10) White House posts wrong versions of Trump’s orders on its website
Source: USA Today

“The White House has posted inaccurate texts of President Trump’s own executive orders on the White House website, raising further questions about how thorough the Trump administration has been in drafting some of his most controversial actions. A USA TODAY review of presidential documents found at least five cases where the version posted on the White House website doesn’t match the official version sent to the Federal Register. The differences include minor grammatical changes, missing words and paragraph renumbering — but also two cases where the original text referred to inaccurate or non-existent provisions of law. By law, the Federal Register version is the legally controlling language. But it can often take several days for the order to be published, meaning that the public must often rely on what the White House puts out — and that’s sometimes inaccurate.” (02/14/17)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/14/white-house-posts-wrong-versions-trumps-orders-its-website/97845888

—–

11) Israel: Netanyahu threatens to polygraph cabinet ministers over leaks
Source: Raw Story

“The team of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened on Tuesday to submit cabinet ministers to polygraph tests after several leaks from the most recent security cabinet meeting about U.S. President Donald Trump. Netanyahu has flown to Washington to meet with Trump on Wednesday in their first meeting since the billionaire was inaugurated on January 20. Netanyahu’s chief of staff, Yoav Horowitz, told reporters on the Israeli leader’s trip that he will ‘consider using polygraphs’ to determine who is leaking security cabinet information to the country’s press. ‘It’s impossible to work like this,’ he said. The security cabinet meeting is one of the most private in Israel.” (02/14/17)

http://www.rawstory.com/2017/02/netanyahu-threatens-to-polygraph-cabinet-ministers-over-leaks

—–

12) Taxpayer-funded study asked if people could smell “asparagus pee”
Source: Fox News

“A taxpayer-funded study set out to find out if people can smell their own ‘asparagus pee.’ Researchers at Harvard on two active studies that received over $3 million last year surveyed nearly 7,000 people to determine if their urine smelled funny after eating the vegetable. The results were published in the BMJ scientific journal, which uses its final edition each year to publish articles that are ‘quirky, amusing, and creative — but all scientifically sound.’ The results concluded a ‘large proportion of individuals of European-American descent cannot smell ‘asparagus pee’ — the unpleasant odor present in urine after people eat asparagus,’ according to the T.H. Chan School of Public Health.” [editor’s note: Anyone want to argue for the value of stuff like this to our “national interest?” — SAT] (02/14/17)

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2017/02/14/taxpayer-funded-study-asked-if-people-could-smell-asparagus-pee.html

—–

13) Venezuela leads all countries in asylum applications to United States
Source: PanAm Post

“For the first time, Venezuelans lead the pack in asylum applications to the United States. US Citizenship and Immigration Service data reveals that 18,155 Venezuelans filed asylum applications in 2016, which is 150 percent more than in 2015 and six times more than in 2014. Venezuelans started to increase its asylum applications — ultimately overtaking second-place China — starting in 2014, when protests attempted to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro for several months.” (02/14/17)

https://panampost.com/elena-toledo/2017/02/14/venezuela-leads-all-countries-in-asylum-applications-to-united-states/

—–

14) NC: Supreme Court blocks law stripping governor of election oversight powers
Source: Winston-Salem Journal

“The state Supreme Court intervened Monday concerning the constitutionality of a law that would transfer some election oversight powers from the governor’s office to the legislature. The court reinserted a temporary injunction of Senate Bill 4, which addresses the function of the State Board of Elections and the appointment composition of the state board and county elections boards. The justices did not explain the reasoning behind their order.” (02/14/17)

http://www.journalnow.com/news/local/n-c-supreme-court-blocks-law-stripping-governor-of-election/article_6f0decb2-e0f6-5aed-adc5-3888bb00208f.html

—–

15) Pakistan: Bomb disposal commander killed in Quetta blast
Source: US News & World Report

“A top Pakistani bomb squad officer has been killed along with another policeman while trying to defuse a bomb in the southwestern city of Quetta, police said on Tuesday. The commander of the city’s bomb disposal unit and a colleague were killed late on Monday, hours after another blast killed at least 13 people and wounded more than 80 in the eastern city of Lahore. The blasts were claimed by different militant factions and did not appear to be related.” (02/14/17)

http://www.usnews.com/news/world/articles/2017-02-14/pakistani-bomb-disposal-commander-killed-in-blast-in-quetta-city

—–

16) India: Future chief of Tamil Nadu state sentenced to four years
Source: Deutsche Welle [Germany]

“India’s Supreme Court sentenced the incoming leader of Tamil Nadu state to a four-year prison sentence on Tuesday. VK Sasikala was found guilty of corruption in a case that dates back to the 1990s. The verdict will prevent her from taking up her post, and bans her from seeking elected office for another decade. Prosecutors successfully argued that Sasikala and her mentor, former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa Jayaram, had possessed ‘disproportionate assets’ that could not possibly have been obtained with their public salaries. The pair owned bungalows, luxury cars, tea estates, gold and silver, and thousands of saris.” (02/14/17)

http://www.dw.com/en/future-chief-of-indias-tamil-nadu-state-jailed-for-four-years/a-37540556

—–

17) Humana, Aetna, abandon $37 billion merger
Source: USA Today

“Health insurer Aetna abandoned its proposed $37 billion merger Tuesday of insurer Humana after the company decided to not appeal a federal judge’s ruling against the acquisition on antitrust grounds. The health insurance companies came to a mutual agreement to terminate the merger, according a statement from Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark T. Berolini. Aetna owes Humana a $1 billion payment as a result of the deal’s collapse in what’s known as a breakup fee. The deal was scuttled after U.S. District Court Judge John Bates ruled in January that the deal was ‘likely to substantially lessen competition’ in certain markets for Medicare Advantage plans and Affordable Care Act options.” (02/14/17)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2017/02/14/humana-aetna-abandon-merger/97886428/

—–

18) Playboy magazine brings back naked models one year after nudity ban
Source: Evening Standard [UK]

“Playboy magazine is bringing naked models back to its pages just over a year after promising to ban nudity for good. The iconic lifestyle magazine announced the end of naked models in 2015 in a bid to broaden its readership and attract more advertisers. But the publication revealed its March 2017 issue on Monday, featuring topless model Elizabeth Elam and the headline ‘Naked is normal.'” (02/14/17)

http://www.standard.co.uk/news/world/playboy-magazine-brings-back-naked-models-one-year-after-nudity-ban-a3465996.html

—–

19) Chaffetz, fellow pols to DC residents: You thought you owned your lives? Think again. We own you!
Source: Reuters

“The U.S. House of Representatives’ Oversight Committee voted on Monday to strike down a Washington, D.C. law that would allow physician-assisted suicide there. City leaders passed legislation in December that allows terminally ill patients to end their lives with a doctor’s help, but the U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to overturn laws in the 68-square-mile (177-square-km) district. ‘I worry that assisted suicide will create a marketplace for death,’ said Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican who heads the Oversight Committee. ‘I think it’s fundamentally wrong.'” [editor’s note: Well, Congressman Chaffetz, there’s an easy fix for that. If you think assisted suicide is fundamentally wrong, don’t ask anyone to help you kill yourself. Problem solved. Now get your nose out of everyone ELSE’s business! – TLK] (02/13/17)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-washingtondc-euthanasia-idUSKBN15T09B

—–

20) PewDiePie, YouTube’s most popular star, dropped by Disney over anti-semitic jokes
Source: Washington Post

“In the YouTube clip, a pair of South Asian men wearing costume loincloths held up a banner that read, ‘DEATH TO ALL JEWS.’ They danced and laughed, while in a separate screen the YouTuber named Felix Kjellberg (also known by his stage name PewDiePie) covered his mouth with his hands. ‘I don’t feel too proud of this, I’m not going to lie,’ Kjellberg said in the Jan. 11 video, which had been viewed more than 6 million times before its removal. … He denied that he was trying to make ‘any serious political commentary,’ he wrote. ‘I was trying to show how crazy the modern world is, specifically some of the services available online. I picked something that seemed absurd to me — That people on Fiverr would say anything for 5 dollars.'” (02/14/17)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2017/02/14/pewdiepie-youtubes-most-popular-star-dropped-by-disney-over-anti-semitic-jokes/

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

21) Turning journalism into a crime
Source: spiked
by Naomi Firsht

“Journalists and whistleblowers in Britain could be treated as spies and imprisoned for years under proposals for a new Espionage Act. The Register revealed on Friday that the UK Law Commission’s latest recommendations to the government include treating journalists and leakers as foreign agents, in an attempt to ban future reporting of large data leaks, like the Edward Snowden revelations. … These new proposals would result in a further chilling effect on press freedom, scaring investigative journalists out of doing their jobs properly.” (02/14/17)

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/turning-journalism-into-a-crime/

—–

22) The absurd consequences of a “right to privacy”
Source: Garrison Center
by Thomas L Knapp

“Under [Brendan] O’Neill’s standard of personal behavior, you cannot allow something that you learn about me to affect your opinion of me or your behavior toward me in any way if I did not intend for you to be aware of it. If I’m a Christian clergyman and a parishioner catches me praying in the Islamic manner, or engaged in sexual congress with a woman not my wife, when he barges into the parsonage uninvited, well, he should just keep his mouth shut about it — and even if he doesn’t the congregation certainly shouldn’t discharge me or ask their denomination to defrock me. After all, that would be a violation of my privacy! That’s absurd.” (02/14/17)

http://thegarrisoncenter.org/archives/9440

—–

23) Meet the new “specially protected class”
Source: Pro Libertate
by William Norman Grigg

“Adams Lin literally fainted as he read a court order authorizing federal marshals to confiscate his property. The officers seized his car, his designer clothes, a flat-screen television, golf clubs, computer, and even his treasured Samurai sword. Unlike countless other Americans who have been pillaged by federal law enforcement officials, Lin was not a victim of the officially sanctioned plunder called civil asset forfeiture. His property was confiscated after Lin’s boss failed to make a $200,000 payment toward the $22.4 million civil damage award granted to a man who was left paralyzed through Lin’s occupational misconduct. Lin’s boss is Palm Beach County, Florida Sheriff Ric Bradshaw, and he has adamantly refused to make payments to Dontrell Stephens, who was shot by Lin after the panicking deputy mistook the 19-year-old’s cell phone for a gun. … Owing to his service as an asset of the state’s punitive apparatus, Lin was able to get his confiscated property back. His victim, of course, remains paralyzed.” (02/13/17)

http://freedominourtime.blogspot.com/2017/02/meet-new-specially-protected-class.html

—–

24) When the hotel industry places a hit on Airbnb, politicians happily take the contract
Source: Reason
by JD Tuccille

“New York officials are on the job, protecting the world from the likes of Hank Freid and Tatiana Cames by slapping the two with a combined total of $17,000 in fines. What threat to life, liberty, and property did this dastardly duo pose? They were renting rooms to willing customers, the bastards. Fried and Cames were slapped for violating laws prohibiting apartment owners from renting rooms for less than 30 days if they’re not living on the premises … ‘The law signed today will provide vital protections for New York tenants and help prevent the continued proliferation of illegal, unregulated hotels, and we will defend it,’ New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (D) trumpeted last October. Maybe I’m the suspicious type, but I think those ‘vital protections’ Schneiderman refers to are against competition to the established old-school hotel industry.” (02/14/17)

http://reason.com/archives/2017/02/14/when-the-hotel-industry-places-a-hit-on

—–

25) What the Flynn debacle tells us about the Trump presidency
Source: Reuters
by Peter Apps

It wasn’t long ago that Michael Flynn, who resigned as U.S. National Security Adviser Monday night, was seen as giving struggling presidential candidate Donald Trump some much-needed legitimacy. Gone after 24 days in his role, Flynn is the victim of his own mistakes: not least being less-than-truthful to senior administration officials, including the vice president, about what he said to the Russian ambassador shortly before inauguration. It’s still early days for the forty-fifth president. But more than any other story so far, Flynn’s saga tells us some important things. Those in Washington and beyond, particularly in Moscow, should take notice. For Trump, Russia is now toxic. If there was ever a secret conspiracy between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump (or simply those around him) to shape events in Washington, it has already run off the rails.” (02/14/17)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-flynn-trump-commentary-idUSKBN15T2FK

—–

26) The New York Times missed Trump’s biggest lie
Source: In These Times
by Jim Naureckas

“‘You can’t just say the president is lying,’ New York Times reporter Elisabeth Bumiller told an audience of Northwestern journalism students in 2004. ‘You can say Mr. Bush’s statement was not factually accurate. You can’t say the president is lying — that’s a judgment call.’ The paper has come a long way in 12 years. On January 24, the Times published a front-page story under the headline, ‘Meeting With Top Lawmakers, Trump Repeats an Election Lie’ — referring to the false claim that he lost the popular vote due to millions of illegal votes. The Times followed up with ‘Press Secretary Affirms that Trump Believes Lie of Millions of Illegal Voters’ and ‘Trump Won’t Back Down From His Voting Fraud Lie. Here Are the Facts.'” (02/13/17)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/19882/trumps-big-lie-the-new-york-times-missed

—–

27) Oh dear! Theocracy is just around the corner
Source: The Price of Liberty
by Nathan Barton

“Restating a campaign promise, the new Massa recently announced –– at a PRAYER BREAKFAST, of all things — that he intends to ‘destroy’ the Johnson Amendment. … It is particularly galling to see some ‘libertarians’ panic about this. … Even though (I’m told) most libertarians utterly despise and reject religion, it is a basic tenet of libertarianism that people have a right (whether God-given or not) to speak what they will. Without being punished for it. And secondly, another fundamental concept of libertarianism (as I was taught) is that being exempt from taxes is NOT a special privilege but instead a step in the right direction towards getting rid of the legalized theft of money from people and their voluntary associations. The Johnson Amendment violates both of these principles.” (02/14/17)

https://thepriceofliberty.org/2017/02/14/oh-dear-theocracy-is-just-around-the-corner/

—–

28) Will Puzder be the first to fall?
Source: The American Prospect
by Justin Miller

“On December 8, news broke that Trump would nominate Andy Puzder, the CEO of the company that owns the Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s burger chains, to lead the Department of Labor. Since then, revelations about his controversial track record of comments and actions have painted a picture of a man whose every breath runs counter to the labor department’s mission: ‘To foster, promote, and develop the welfare of the wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights.’ Puzder’s Senate confirmation hearing has been delayed four times — allowing his opponents to build up a long dossier and prompting rumors that he was getting cold feet. He has denied those rumors, and after finally filing his financial paperwork with the Office of Government Ethics, his hearing is scheduled for this Thursday.” [editor’s note: Once again, someone not allied with the established bureaucracy, who might look critically at how it operates, is considered a pariah – SAT] (02/14/17)

http://prospect.org/article/will-puzder-be-first-fall

—–

29) Soda taxes: Regressive and unnecessary
Source: National Center for Policy Analysis
by Thomas A Hemphill

“A soda tax internalizes the negative externalities of market activities — in this case the ‘public’ health costs of obesity and other diseases — by assessing at least a portion of these costs to consumers or soft drink manufacturers. Soda taxes are also flat taxes, thus regressive in nature, negatively impacting lower-income consumers.” (02/14/17)

http://www.ncpa.org/sub/dpd/index.php?Article_ID=26706

—–

30) Heed the protests
Source: National Review
by Rich Lowry

“It’s beginning to look a lot like August 2009 in reverse. In that summer of the Tea Party, conservative activists packed the town-hall meetings of Democratic congressmen and peppered them with hostile questions. It was an early sign of the abiding opposition that Obamacare would encounter, and the prelude to Democratic defeats in 2010, 2014, and 2016. Now, progressive activists are tearing a page from that playbook. The scenes are highly reminiscent of 2009, with Republican officeholders struggling to control unruly forums and leaving their town-hall meetings early or not holding them in the first place. The partisan temptation in this circumstance is always to dismiss the passion of the other side, which is what Democrats did to their detriment in 2009 and Republicans are doing now.” (02/14/17)

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/444863/town-hall-protests-democrats-echo-2009-tea-party-protests

—–

31) 2016 election and post-imperial America
Source: Antiwar.com
by Peter Crowley

“The power that the U.S. once exercised with such ease throughout the world, as though it were a natural right, is now highly in question. Rising powers will increasingly take advantage of American global decline, as they have done in the post-Iraq War period. While we can try to fight back against inevitable post-imperial decline, it will likely only make us fall faster and harder. If the US tries to militarily assert itself against rising powers, the latter nations may scent a dying hegemonic beast and ally against America — so it could be a losing game on our end. Instead, we should be cautious and judicious in asserting power and try to transform our remaining international power into more morally-guided action.” (02/14/17)

http://original.antiwar.com/peter_crowley/2017/02/13/2016-election-and-post-imperial-america/

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32) The real reason Republicans want to pull the plug on Obamacare
Source: Our Future
by Robert Reich

“Don’t be fooled by Trump’s and Republican promises to ‘repeal and replace’ Obamacare. They could repeal it, but they can’t and won’t replace it. They’ve tried for years to come up with a replacement that keeps at least as many people covered. Their ‘replacement’ never appears. So why do Republicans want to repeal Obamacare and leave millions without insurance? Because it would mean a huge tax windfall for the wealthy. Repealing Obamacare will put an average of $33,000 of tax cuts in the hands of the richest 1 percent this year alone, and a whopping $197,000 of tax cuts into the hands of the top 0.1 percent. The 400 highest-income taxpayers (with incomes averaging more than $300 million each) will each receive an average annual tax cut of about $7 million.” [editor’s note: As usual, Mr. Reich tells us only PART of the story – SAT] (02/13/17)

https://ourfuture.org/20170213/the-real-reason-republicans-want-to-pull-the-plug-on-obamacare

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33) Of protests and politicians
Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“Last Friday, I applauded massive protests that erupted in Romania — over a since-rescinded governmental decree to decriminalize graft up to $47,000. On Sunday at Townhall, I wondered why there weren’t similar demonstrations against the corruption afflicting Prince George’s County, Maryland. The county, bordering the nation’s capital, lavishes its nine council members with a take-home car or a $10,315 annual vehicle subsidy. The car allowance comes with free gas. These emoluments might have gone unnoticed had the politicians proven able to drive better than they govern. In the last five years, they racked-up 16 car accidents and 107 traffic violations.” (02/14/17)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2017/02/14/of-protests-politicians/

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34) Report: The myth of the government-dependent immigrant
Source: Niskanen Center
by Samuel Hammond and Robert Orr

“The notion that immigrants come to the United States to access public programs has become something of a popular myth. The Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PRWORA), better known as welfare reform, introduced a five year ban on lawful immigrants using public benefits with very few exceptions, like refugees and asylees. This helps ensure new immigrants are net fiscal contributors to the U.S. Treasury — a fact which empirical studies consistently confirm. Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for public benefits. Yet some myths are harder to correct than others.” [summary — full report available as PDF download] (02/14/17)

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/report-myth-government-dependent-immigrant/

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35) Baltasar Gracian’s aphorism #11: Cultivate those who can teach you.
Source: WendyMcElroy.com
by Wendy McElroy

“People who can teach you are valuable and deserve to receive value in return. Besides which, it is nothing but beneficial to learn how to speak from and with knowledge. You will maintain the friends who do the same; you will become practiced in that skill; and, I’ve heard that the person who teaches something learns it twice.” (02/14/17)

http://www.wendymcelroy.com/news.php?extend.7728

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36) The goal of socialists is socialism — not prosperity
Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by William L Anderson

“As I observe (and participate in) a few discussions on Facebook and elsewhere about socialism, I have come to a few conclusions about the nature of the arguments and the reasons why socialists remain socialists even as we see the utter failure of socialist economies throughout history. Maybe the meme that appears once in a while — ‘“If socialists understood economics, they wouldn’t be socialists’ — might be true, but I doubt it. As I see it, the purpose of establishing socialism is to further promote socialism, not improve the lot of a society and certainly not to promote prosperity.” (02/14/17)

https://mises.org/blog/goal-socialists-socialism-%E2%80%94-not-prosperity

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37) Tim Kaine’s appalling smear of vouchers
Source: USA Today
by Christian Schneider

“If Sen. Tim Kaine harbors any sour grapes over his failed vice presidential campaign last year, those grapes have now become poisonous. Last week, the Virginia Democrat attempted to smear school choice programs by tying them to the unconscionable segregation of his home state in the 1950s and 1960s. In fighting the nomination of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Kaine waved the bloody flag of segregation, likening school choice to the ‘states’ rights’ movements of a half a century ago. DeVos is a staunch supporter of allowing parents to send their children to private schools using government-funded vouchers. ‘I come from a state that understands what a states’ rights argument is because my state made states’ rights arguments when the Supreme Court said we should have equality for all students,’ Kaine said. ‘The leaders in my state said, “No, that should be up to the states.” And so we set up a whole realm of private schools that got taxpayer dollars so kids could flee integrated schools and avoid the law of the land.’ Perhaps Kaine inhaled too many jet fumes on his campaign trips around the country last year, but his attempt to equate school choice with segregation is appalling.” (02/13/17)

http://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/02/13/tim-kaine-appalling-smear-of-vouchers-choice-devos-christian-schneider/97828416

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38) Steve Bannon believes winter is coming
Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Dan Sanchez

“‘History is seasonal and winter is coming.’ No, that’s not a Game of Thrones quote. It’s the last line of a 2010 documentary called Generation Zero, written and directed by Steven K. Bannon. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Bannon is President Donald Trump’s senior counselor and chief ideologist. So great is his sway over the ‘leader of the free world’ that Time Magazine recently dubbed him ‘the second most powerful man in the world.’ … Given this power, understanding Bannon’s belief that ‘winter is coming’ to America becomes urgent. His lurid documentary was entirely premised on a theory of history formulated by William Strauss and Neil Howe, authors of The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy.” (02/14/17)

https://fee.org/articles/steve-bannon-believes-winter-is-coming/

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39) A political opening for universal health care?
Source: The Atlantic
by Vann R Newkirk II

“The Senate confirmed Tom Price as secretary of health and human services at 2 a.m. on Friday. After a contentious confirmation process, the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress had finally installed one of the leading generals in its war on Obamacare in the department that oversees its programs. Price is a titan in the GOP camp that wants to repeal the health law, and is perhaps one of the few Republican lawmakers with both the vision and the experience needed to begin the daunting task. But the battlefield under Price’s feet has shifted substantially in the past few weeks. Republicans have splintered, the timeline for repeal has dragged on and on, alternative plans have propagated in the fertile soil of disunion, and some have lost their resolve. And in the turmoil over the fate of Obamacare, the idea of universal health care has emerged as a third way among voters in both parties.” (02/14/17)

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/02/universal-health-care-polls-obamacare-repeal/516504/

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40) The new battle for Afghanistan
Source: The American Conservative
by Kelley Beaucar Vlahos

“Despite questions about the ongoing war in Afghanistan, President Trump has so far chosen silence over substance. But perhaps it doesn’t matter, as an illuminating exchange that took place before the Senate Armed Services Committee last week all but guaranteed what his policy will be. Trump’s approach to Afghanistan will no doubt involve more American troops, more aggressive activity on the ground, and a less definite schedule for the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO forces. In other words, don’t expect a big shakeup of the status quo.” (02/14/17)

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-new-battle-for-afghanistan/

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41) In a time of executive orders, upholding truth is a revolutionary act
Source: CounterPunch
by Nozomi Hayase

“The first month of Trump in office unleashed chaos and turmoil in the nation, creating what some called a constitutional crisis. With a series of executive orders threatening women’s reproductive rights, immigrants and sacred water guarded by the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, public outrage galvanized in protests across the country. This new resistance against Trump’s repressive nationalist agenda is very encouraging. Yet, in order for this spark to become a truly transformative force, we need to take a hard look at how we got here.” (02/14/17)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/02/14/in-a-time-of-executive-orders-upholding-truth-is-a-revolutionary-act/

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42) The failures of mainstream feminism
Source: The New Republic
by Jessa Crispin

“On paper, at least, 2016 looked to be a banner year for feminism. As the GOP primary field succumbed to Donald Trump’s insurgency, Hillary Clinton’s march to the White House seemed all but inevitable. Discussions about rape on college campuses, workplace harassment, pay disparity, and other feminist issues finally broke through to the mainstream. A-list celebrities began embracing the word feminism–a significant shift after decades when feminists were little more than pop-culture punch lines, derided for their humorlessness, earnestness, and ideological single-mindedness. Seemingly overnight, feminism had become fashionable. Pop stars used the word to sell records, guys used it to get laid, models used it to push product, writers used it to advance their brand. Like all fashions, it passed. And like all fashions, it turned out to be a frivolous, cosmetic change, completely divorced from the actual lived experience of most women.” (02/13/17)

https://newrepublic.com/article/140248/failures-mainstream-feminism-misogyny-doom-hillary-clinton

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43) Gini and monetary policy
Source: Cobden Centre
by Alasdair MacLeod

“Central banks must be increasingly aware that critics of monetary policy are getting some traction in their arguments, that not only have monetary policies failed in their objectives, but they are creating counterproductive economic distortions as well. Chief among these is the transfer of wealth that comes with monetary debasement. Central bankers have always glossed over this issue, which if made to stick would undermine monetary policy to the extent that central banks would then have no role in the management of our affairs. Instead, they would be reduced to policing money to make sure it is always sound. At the least, they would have to become Schachts, instead of Havensteins.” (02/14/17)

http://www.cobdencentre.org/2017/02/gini-and-monetary-policy/

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44) We fear the BMA has the wrong end of the stick here
Source: Adam Smith Institute
by Tim Worstall

“The BMA, the British Medical Association, tells us that the NHS, that National Health Service, needs another £9.5 billion stat. That is, the trade union for Britain’s doctors says that the employer of near all Britain’s doctors should have lots more money. … It’s the unnecessary competition and expensive fragmentation that betrays the error here. For as Adam Smith pointed out those 241 years ago, long enough for people to grasp the point, we become richer through the division and specialisation of labour. Yes, that damn pin factory. This does indeed apply in medicine — the literature is chock full of research showing that hospitals which do a lot of one type of operation have very much better results than those which occasionally dabble.” (02/14/17)

https://www.adamsmith.org/blog/we-fear-the-bma-has-the-wrong-end-of-the-stick-here

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45) Krokodil is a product of the drug war
Source: The Anarchist Shemal
by Aria DiMezzo

“For those unfamiliar with the drug, krokodil is a street drug that reached epidemic levels in Russia. Made from simple codeine, which was purchasable over-the-counter, mixed with a bunch of solvents and stuff–like the red phosphorous on match heads and other junk — it became popular for being very cheap to manufacture and very easy to find. Many people who became addicted to heroin came to find that krokodil, which is called ‘the flesh-eating drug’ by people desperate for a headline, was one-tenth the price and a lot easier to find. Reportedly, the high is also better. The only problem? Well, it’s called ‘the flesh-eating drug’ for a reason. … It causes necrosis, and one’s flesh, muscle, and fat literally begin rotting away. Doctors can tell a krokodil user by the smell alone, because they smell like rotting flesh. It’s seriously, seriously bad stuff. And, if heroin was legal, none of it would ever have happened.” (02/14/17)

https://anarchistshemale.com/2017/02/14/krokodil-is-a-product-of-the-drug-war/

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46) How humans now use the blockchain to declare love and marriage
Source: Bitcoin.com
by Justin Connell

“‘For better or worse, til’ death do us part, because the blockchain is forever,’ says David Mondrus about the marriage upon which he embarked with his wife, Joyce, whom he met in the Philippines. Joyce and David Mondrus were married in 2014 … on the blockchain. The blockchain represents a decentralized and public ledger constantly tracking all bitcoin transactions. It’s distributed all around the world on thousands of computers. The blockchain keeps track of transactions, but it is also possible to include metadata into the record of a transaction. Attendees of Joyce and David’s wedding were shown a QR code linking to the transaction wherein the data associated with the marriage was recorded. They got the idea after having to deal with the bureaucratic gridlock that comes with a binational marriage.” (02/14/17)

https://news.bitcoin.com/cross-border-love-on-the-blockchain/

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47) Huntington’s prescient warning
Source: Cato Unbound
by Alina Polyakova

“Ashford paints Flynn and Bannon as having this cliched Huntingtonian vision of the world: Western liberalism versus radical Islamism. However, a closer look at Bannon’s few public statements gives reason for doubt. The most extensive and often cited public statement was a 2014 conference speech at the Vatican, which Ashford also refers to. In that speech and interview, Bannon outlined his view of future conflict and the lines of alliances. He says that world is at the ‘very beginning stages of a very brutal and bloody conflict,’ but the nature of the conflict he describes is not between the West and Islam — it is far bigger than that. Rather, the key wedge according to Bannon is the division between traditionalists and the modern secularist West. When asked if the greatest threat to Judeo-Christian civilization is secularism or the Muslim world, Bannon’s answer is secularism — a tenet of the liberal international order many so-called Huntingtonians would view as a defining characteristic of the West.” (02/13/17)

https://www.cato-unbound.org/2017/02/13/alina-polyakova/huntingtons-prescient-warning

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48) What if food distribution worked like public education?
Source: Libertarian Institute
by Eric Schuler

“One of the most important things to consider when buying a house is the quality of the grocery district. As the name implies, the grocery district determines which public grocery store you and your family get to use. District maps are drawn by the government to ensure each grocery store has an appropriate number of patrons based on its capacity. Most residents are assigned to the public grocery store that is closest to their home. Groceries are paid for primarily by local taxes. If residents go to their local public grocery store, they get their weekly groceries without any additional out-of-pocket cost. However, they cannot get groceries from a public grocery store that’s outside of their district. In theory, all of the public grocery stores are supposed to provide equal access to high-quality food.” (02/14/17)

https://www.libertarianinstitute.org/2017/02/food-distribution-worked-like-public-education/

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49) The abyss gazes back
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Matthew Harwood

“It took only a few hours after two Islamic State suicide bombings ripped apart the departure hall of Brussels Airport and subway cars in central Brussels for Sen. Ted Cruz to offer a ‘do something’ solution to the threat of home-grown terrorism lurking in America’s midst. Taking to Facebook, the Republican presidential candidate said enough was enough: ‘We need to empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized.’ The ‘constitutional conservative,’ however, wasn’t done. ‘The days of the United States voluntarily surrendering to the enemy to show how progressive and enlightened we can be are at an end. Our country is at stake.’ Flipping through the opening pages of Peter Bergen’s United States of Jihad: Investigating America’s Homegrown Terrorists, you come across Friedrich Nietzsche’s oft-quoted warning, in all caps: ‘WHOEVER FIGHTS MONSTERS SHOULD SEE TO IT THAT IN THE PROCESS HE DOES NOT BECOME A MONSTER. AND IF YOU GAZE LONG ENOUGH INTO AN ABYSS, THE ABYSS WILL GAZE BACK INTO YOU.'” (02/14/17)

http://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/abyss-gazes-back/

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50) California secession? How it could happen in practice
Source: Tenth Amendment Center
by James R Rogers

“Rumblings of secession talk in California, as in Texas a few years back, raises the question of how, if ever, a state might secede from the Union without war. The legal issue surrounding secession in the Civil War era concerned whether states might unilaterally secede from the Union under the Constitution. The answer, underscored by force of arms and the U.S. Supreme Court, was a definitive ‘no.’ That states may not unilaterally secede from the Union, however, does not mean there is no route by which a state might secede peacefully, and even legally.” (02/13/17)

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2017/02/13/california-secession/

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

51) The LAVA Flow Podcast, episode 55
Source: The LAVA Flow Podcast

“The government ignores another dam problem and the taxpayer is on the hook. Wouldn’t the free market be a better solution? What’s in the News with stories on LP court victory, nullification in Montana, ending government indoctrination centers, secession, security theater, whistleblowers Manning and Snowden, and running over protestors. And, a segment on a bunch of really cool stuff happening in New Hampshire.” [various formats] (02/14/17)

http://thelavaflow.com/government-ignores-another-dam-problem-tlf055/

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52) Foreign Policy Focus, episode 1
Source: Foreign Policy Focus

“The first episode of Foreign Policy Focus is out! I start the show with giving some background on myself and the importance of understanding US interventionism. I then talk about some news in Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, and Somalia.” [Flash audio or MP3] (02/13/17)

http://foreignpolicyfocus.libsyn.com/foreign-policy-focus-1

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53) Freedom Feens Radio, 02/14/17
Source: Freedom Feens Radio

“Jim, Derrick and MWD explain how being a decent human being is far better than being a jerk with a mathematically devotion to the NAP as a theoretical pure axiom.” [various formats] (02/14/17)

https://www.freedomfeens.com/?p=13823

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54) Free Talk Live, 02/13/17
Source: Free Talk Live

“Oroville Dam Evacuations Continue :: CA Bureaucrats Were Warned of Spillway Failure Over A Decade Ago :: Ridley Report Recognized :: CA Begging Feds for FEMA Money :: Drunk Drivers to be Banned from Alcohol in NM? :: Porcfest vs SomaliaFest :: NH State House Activism :: Drug Tax Stamp :: Drunk Driving Fatality By Daytimes :: Talk Host who Said N Word :: HOSTS — Ian, Darryl, Melanie.” [Flash audio or MP3] (02/13/17)

https://www.freetalklive.com/podcast/2017-02-13

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55) Cato Daily Podcast, 02/13/17
Source: Cato Institute

“How do so-called ‘bottleneckers’ restrict competition and harm the public? Dick Carpenter of the Institute for Justice discusses his new book, Bottleneckers.” [various formats] (02/13/17)

https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/bottleneckers-gaming-government-power-private-profit

*****
RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS DIGEST

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

Editor Emeritus:
Mary Lou Seymour
*****