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

Volume XV, Issue #3,704
Thursday, May 4th, 2017
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In the News:

1) Comey: Classified Clinton emails “somehow” forwarded to Anthony Weiner
2) Sweden: Assange lawyer asks court to drop arrest warrant
3) Code Pink activists convicted of dressing up, laughing at politicians
4) Fed keeps rates on hold
5) Congress blocks feds from interfering with state marijuana laws
6) Google says Uber created a fake company to steal its secrets
7) Google Docs users hit with sophisticated phishing attack
8) SCOTUS weighs whether lying to get citizenship can justify revoking it
9) Study finds link between being easily grossed out, shunning immigrants
10) Facebook hires 3,000 to review content
11) TX: Police department fires cop who murdered teenager
12) Putin pushes Syria “deconfliction zone” proposals in talks with Erdogan
13) Puerto Rico: Board files bankruptcy-like case to cut regime’s debt
14) Since Snowden spilled his secrets, US surveillance targets have surged
15) Kenya: 62 charged after party primaries marred by violence, fraud
16) Human Rights Watch slams Hamas for holding two Israelis in Gaza
17) Afghanistan: NATO convoy targeted in Kabul suicide bombing, at least eight dead
18) Report: Flaws in Tor browser may allow user identification
19) Huge Antarctic ice shelf crack now has second branch
20) North Korea: Regime confirms US professor abducted

Everybody Has An Opinion:

21) Pre-bribing a president
22) Should laughter be a federal crime?
23) Big Brother is still watching you: Don’t fall for the NSA’s latest ploy
24) A wall of separation
25) The fuzzy borders of “benign nationalism”
26) With this budget deal, the swamp wins
27) Obscure law greases the deregulation skids
28) The legal and economic case against the Paris climate treaty
29) Barack Obama, buck raker
30) The national security state’s tradition of embracing dictators
31) Another reason to thank Snowden: Increased federal surveillance transparency
32) Taxes death and dominion
33) Jackson, Mississippi’s radical mayoral candidate
34) Who stands in the way of populists? The French case.
35) Why we must keep fighting for a free press
36) What critiques of “smug liberals” miss
37) How the religious right led to Trump
38) Are we in retreat or in decline?
39) Why do North Koreans hate us? One reason — they remember the Korean War.
40) Who is destroying Syria?
41) Is Trump authoritarian or incompetent? Yes
42) The Supreme Court does not want to hear this nonsense challenge to a ban on conversion therapy
43) Why do people become communists, and why do they stick with it?
44) The Promise packs a warning
45) The gospel of radicalism
46) Protests alone won’t fix Venezuela, but this approach could
47) Is North Korea a diversion for a US-Jordan invasion of Syria?
48) I am cancer
49) California: Let’s end unchecked police surveillance
50) Greece on collision course with creditors

The Sound and the Fury:

51) Foreign Policy Focus, episode 35
52) Cato Daily Podcast, 05/03/17
53) Trump: “Very, very good chance” of Mideast peace
54) Electric Libertyland, episode 18
55) The Libertarian Angle, 05/03/17
56) Free Talk Live, 05/02/17
57) The Tom Woods Show, episode 900
58) The Jason Stapleton Program, episode 592

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

1) Comey: Classified Clinton emails “somehow” forwarded to Anthony Weiner
Source: CNN

“FBI Director James Comey revealed Wednesday that Hillary Clinton emails containing classified information were ‘somehow’ being forwarded to former congressman Anthony Weiner by his wife and top Clinton aide, Huma Abedin. Comey provided new details to Congress about how Clinton’s emails ended up on Weiner’s computer as the FBI director strongly defended his decision to alert Congress just days before the 2016 election about his agency’s investigation into emails potentially related to Clinton’s personal server.” [editor’s note: Comey continues to go with a special, “for Very Important People only,” re-definition of “criminal intent” that mere mundane Americans don’t get legal benefit of when accused of crimes – TLK (05/03/17)

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/03/politics/james-comey-hearing-huma-abedin-forwarding-classified-information/

—–

2) Sweden: Assange lawyer asks court to drop arrest warrant
Source: Al Jazeera [Qatar]

“Public statements by US officials saying the United States wanted the arrest of Julian Assange are grounds for Sweden to repeal the WikiLeaks founder’s arrest warrant, his lawyer said on Wednesday. … Lawyer Per Samuelsson said the US had now openly said it wants to arrest Assange. ‘Given that the US is obviously hunting him now, he has to make use of his political asylum and it is Sweden’s duty to make sure that Sweden is no longer a reason for the fact he has to stay in the embassy,’ Samuelsson said. … Samuelsson said Sweden’s Supreme Court had previously rejected a similar request for the detention order to be torn up on the grounds that there was little chance that Assange would be handed over to the US. ‘With the Supreme Court’s own reasoning, his detention should now be rescinded because we can now prove that the US is hunting Julian Assange,’ he said.” (05/03/17)

http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/05/assange-lawyer-asks-sweden-court-drop-arrest-warrant-170503113347357.html

—–

3) Code Pink activists convicted of dressing up, laughing at politicians
Source: The Hill

“A jury convicted three Code Pink activists on Wednesday for disrupting Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s confirmation hearing earlier this year, including one who apparently laughed during the hearing. Desiree Fairooz, who dressed up as a pink version of Lady Liberty, was found guilty on charges of parading or demonstrating on Capitol grounds and disorderly conduct, The New York Times reported. Two other Code Pink activists, Tighe Barry and Lenny Bianchi, were reportedly acquitted on a count of disorderly conduct but were convicted on two separate charges of parading or demonstrating during the hearing. Both men dressed up as Ku Klux Klan members, wearing white hooded robes, and stood up before the hearing started in early January. All three activists could face up to a year in prison, the Times reported.” [editor’s note: “Parading or demonstrating on Capital grounds” seems to be EXACTLY what the First Amendment’s peaceable assembly/petition clause was intended to protect – TLK] (05/03/17)

http://thehill.com/business-a-lobbying/331790-code-pink-activist-found-guilty-for-disrupting-sessions-confirmation

—–

4) Fed keeps rates on hold
Source: Bloomberg

“Federal Reserve officials remained on track to gradually tighten monetary policy after leaving interest rates unchanged and signaling they were not alarmed by recent U.S. economic weakness. ‘The committee views the slowing in growth during the first quarter as likely to be transitory’ the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement Wednesday following a two-day meeting in Washington. ‘Near-term risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.’ U.S. central bankers were unusually explicit in their statement, indicating that a disappointing first quarter, in which the economy grew at an annualized rate of 0.7 percent, would not knock the committee off its plan to raise rates two more times this year after a hike in March.” (05/03/17)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-03/fed-refrains-from-rate-hike-while-maintaining-sunny-outlook

—–

5) Congress blocks feds from interfering with state marijuana laws
Source: Smell the Truth

“A bipartisan group of House Democrats and Republicans recently hashed out a $1 trillion budget for government spending, but none of which will be used to crack down on legal pot. A new government funding bill will block the Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute law-abiding medical marijuana companies operating in legal states, reports the Orange County Register.” (05/02/17)

http://blog.sfgate.com/smellthetruth/2017/05/02/congress-blocks-feds-from-interfering-with-state-marijuana-laws

—–

6) Google says Uber created a fake company to steal its secrets
Source: Engadget

“Uber is having a bad year, for sure. In February, Google’s parent company Alphabet sued Uber, claiming that it stole proprietary self-driving car technology from Google’s Waymo project. The plaintiff’s lawyers also claim that the original LLC, Ottomotto, was created as a diversionary tactic and that Uber and Otto executives planned to acquire the company all along. In a court hearing today, Waymo lawyers referenced stock awards, timelines and emails to support their claims. The current details revolve around Anthony Levandowski, the former Waymo executive who founded Otto and is now working at Google. … Waymo’s lawyers noted an Uber stock agreement that gave Levandowski more than $250 million worth of vesting stock the day after the executive left Google.” (05/03/17)

https://www.engadget.com/2017/05/03/google-says-uber-created-fake-company/

—–

7) Google Docs users hit with sophisticated phishing attack
Source: The Verge

“If someone invites you to edit a file in Google Docs today, don’t open it — it may be spam from a phishing scheme that’s been spreading quickly this afternoon. As detailed on Reddit, the attack sends targets an emailed invitation from someone they may know, takes them to a real Google sign-in screen, then asks them to ‘continue to Google Docs.’ But this grants permissions to a (malicious) third-party web app that’s simply been named ‘Google Docs,’ which gives phishers access to your email and address book.” (05/03/17)

https://www.theverge.com/2017/5/3/15534768/google-docs-phishing-attack-share-this-document-with-you-spam

—–

8) SCOTUS weighs whether lying to get citizenship can justify revoking it
Source: Fox News

“Can a long-ago lie cost an immigrant her U.S. citizenship? That is what the Supreme Court is considering in the case of an ethnic Serbian woman from Bosnia who lied during her refugee and later citizenship application process about why she was seeking to make the U.S. her permanent home. Divna Maslenjak and her husband, Ratko Maslenjak obtained refugee status in 1999 and moved to Akron, Ohio a year later. They said they feared persecution back in Bosnia because the husband had refused to serve in the Bosnian Serb military. But that was untrue. Ratko Maslenjak had in fact served as commander of a unit of the military that had been linked to war crimes that killed thousands of Bosnian Muslims and resulted in the exodus from the city of Srebrenica of about 30,000 women, children and senior citizens. Both were convicted of immigration document fraud, deported last year and stripped of their U.S. citizenship.” (05/03/17)

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/05/02/supreme-court-weighs-whether-lying-to-get-citizenship-can-justify-revoking-it.html

—–

9) Study finds link between being easily grossed out, shunning immigrants
Source: Christian Science Monitor

“If you have trouble understanding people you disagree with about immigration, perhaps you can blame it on a weak stomach. In a study that adds to a growing body of research about the influence that unconscious emotions exert on political thought, researchers at Aarhus University in Denmark found a link between heightened sensitivity to disgust and an aversion to interacting with immigrants. The study highlights the challenges faced by political opponents in using facts and reason to find a common ground on social issues. The scientists show how a primeval fear of infection, forged long ago in humanity’s evolutionary past, can give rise to a modern-day aversion to interacting with immigrants. This is by no means true for everybody, but that fear can make it more difficult, but by no means impossible, for some people to willingly interact with immigrants.” (05/03/17)

http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2017/0503/Study-finds-link-between-being-easily-grossed-out-shunning-immigrants

—–

10) Facebook hires 3,000 to review content
Source: BBC [UK state media]

“Facebook is hiring 3,000 people for its ‘community operations team,’ to help stop hate speech, child abuse and self-harm being broadcast on the website. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said it had been ‘heartbreaking’ to see people ‘hurting themselves and others’ in videos streamed live on Facebook. He added he would make reporting problematic videos easier. The move follows cases of murder and suicide being broadcast live on the social network.” (05/03/17)

http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-39793175

—–

11) TX: Police department fires cop who murdered teenager
Source: Buzzfeed News

“A suburban Dallas police department fired the officer who shot and killed a black teenager as he was leaving a house party on Saturday night, officials announced Tuesday. Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old freshman at Mesquite High School, died after Balch Springs Police Officer Roy Oliver fired multiple rounds with his rifle into the car he was riding in. The car was filled with five teenagers, including Jordan’s two brothers, who were trying to leave an end-of-the-year party that had become unruly after cops arrived.” (05/03/17)

https://www.buzzfeed.com/briannasacks/texas-police-officer-fired

—–

12) Putin pushes Syria “deconfliction zone” proposals in talks with Erdogan
Source: Washington Post

“Russian President Vladimir Putin expanded a diplomatic blitz over the war Syria on Wednesday, meeting with Turkey’s president as the Kremlin pushes a proposal to create ‘deconfliction zones’ in Syria with apparent U.S. support. The talks with Turkish Prime Minister Reçep Tayyip Erdogan reflect possible growing cooperation between nations once deeply at odds over Syria’s conflict — with Turkey backing rebel factions and Russia providing key military support to Syria’s government.” (05/03/17)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/putin-pushes-syrian-safe-zone-proposals-in-talks-with-turkish-leader/2017/05/03/b75d003a-2ffc-11e7-a335-fa0ae1940305_story.html

—–

13) Puerto Rico: Board files bankruptcy-like case to cut regime’s debt
Source: Bloomberg

“Puerto Rico’s federal oversight board filed with U.S. court to use bankruptcy-like proceedings to slash the island’s [sic] $70 billion debt after failing to strike an agreement with bondholders, pushing the territory toward the biggest restructuring ever by a U.S. state or local government. The process called Title III, created by a U.S. law enacted last year to help Puerto Rico emerge from its debt crisis, allows the government to use the courts to cut debt amassed by more than a dozen agencies, sometimes with conflicting claims on the island’s [sic] cash. The move, announced by the governor and then followed by a filing in U.S. court in San Juan, came after he and his predecessor both failed to persuade the island’s major creditors to accept less than they’re owed and the government faced an onslaught of new lawsuits stemming from a series of defaults.” [editor’s note: “The island” didn’t borrow any money. Some politicians did. Neither “the island” nor the non-politicians who live there are responsible for that – TLK] (05/03/17)

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-05-03/puerto-rico-governor-wants-board-to-file-bankruptcy-like-case

—–

14) Since Snowden spilled his secrets, US surveillance targets have surged
Source: McClatchy DC Bureau

“In the four years since National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the lid off U.S. surveillance overseas, the number of targets the U.S. is monitoring around the globe has steadily increased. Last year, U.S. intelligence agencies intercepted communications on 106,469 targets, according to an annual report released Tuesday by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That’s up from 89,138 targets in 2013, the year Snowden fled his intelligence post in Hawaii and began spilling secrets on the extent of surveillance activities.” (05/02/17)

http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/nation-world/national/national-security/article148159499.html

—–

15) Kenya: 62 charged after party primaries marred by violence, fraud
Source: Reuters

“Kenya has charged 62 people with offences linked to party primaries for national elections in August, including bribing voters and inciting violence, the prosecutor’s office said on Wednesday. The Aug. 8 presidential ballot between incumbent Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga will run alongside elections for members of parliament and local officials. Devolution of some powers to county level under Kenyatta’s presidency, and the associated access to lucrative local budgets and high official salaries, has sparked intense interest in the local contests.” (05/03/17)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-kenya-politics-idUSKBN17Z1S6

—–

16) Human Rights Watch slams Hamas for holding two Israelis in Gaza
Source: Beloit Daily News

“Human Rights Watch on Wednesday called on Gaza’s Hamas rulers to release two Israeli citizens with a history of mental illness believed to have been detained by the militants, saying their extended detention and isolation was ‘cruel and indefensible.’ In a detailed report based on interviews with the men’s families and with Israeli and Palestinian officials, the New York-based group said Avera Mangistu and Hisham al-Sayed likely wandered into Gaza on foot and had no connection to hostilities between Israel and Gaza. Hamas has indirectly acknowledged holding them but will not provide confirmation until Israel releases dozens of its jailed members.” (05/03/17)

http://www.beloitdailynews.com/article/20170503/AP/305039991

—–

17) Afghanistan: NATO convoy targeted in Kabul suicide bombing, at least eight dead
Source: Fox News

“At least eight civilians were killed early Wednesday in a suicide attack against a military convoy, which was near the U.S. embassy and NATO compound in Kabul, Afghanistan. U.S. Navy Capt. William K. Salvin, spokesman for the U.S. Forces-Afghanistan, said a coalition convoy was targeted by an improvised explosive device at about 8 a.m. local time. Three U.S. Army soldiers sustained non-life threatening wounds, and at least 22 civilians suffered injuries.” (05/03/17)

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2017/05/03/nato-convoy-targeted-in-kabul-suicide-bombing-at-least-11-dead.html

—–

18) Report: Flaws in Tor browser may allow user identification
Source: BleepingComputer

“Dr. Neal Krawetz, a computer forensics expert, revealed on Monday several problems with the amount of details the Tor Browser discloses about users, which may allow a determined actor to identify users employing the Tor Browser to surf the Internet. While this might seem unimportant, users choose to use the Tor Browser to obtain a level of privacy while navigating the Internet, and they expect the Tor Browser to provide a certain level of anonymity.” (05/03/17)

https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/software/three-parameters-allow-detection-of-tor-browser/

—–

19) Huge Antarctic ice shelf crack now has second branch
Source: USA Today

“A huge crack in an Antarctic ice shelf now has a new second branch, scientists announced Tuesday. Once the crack completely shears off, it will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, one that’s larger than the state of Rhode Island. The main crack in the Larsen C ice shelf is now 110 miles long. The iceberg is most likely to break free within the next few months because of the overwhelming weight the 110 miles of already separated ice is placing on the 12 miles that remains connected to the shelf, said Adrian Luckman of Project MIDAS, a British Antarctic research project that’s keeping watch on the ever-growing crack. That small 12 miles of ice is all that’s keeping the nearly 2,000-square-mile piece from floating away, he said.” (05/02/17)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/sciencefair/2017/05/02/new-crack-forms-antarctic-ice-shelf/101195464/

—–

20) North Korea: Regime confirms US professor abducted
Source: CBS News

“North Korea has confirmed the detention of an American citizen for alleged acts of hostility aimed at overthrowing the country. The Korean Central News Agency says officials ‘intercepted’ Kim Sang-Duk at Pyongyang International Airport on April 22. Wednesday’s KCNA dispatch says authorities were detaining Kim and are conducting a detailed investigation into his alleged crime. It says Kim was invited to Pyongyang University of Science and Technology to teach accounting as a professor.” (05/03/17)

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/north-korea-us-professor-detained-kim-sang-duk-alleged-hostile-acts/

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

21) Pre-bribing a president
Source: Scott Adams Blog
by Scott Adams

“It is illegal to bribe a president. But it is totally legal to pre-bribe one. Here’s how a pre-bribe works. When a president leaves office, you offer the ex-president an enormous speaking fee. Let’s say $400,000. The ex-president does the speech and banks the money. The ex-president has no power at that point, so the speaking fee can’t be seen as a bribe because there is no quid pro quo. But what about the president that is in office while this happens? Do you think the current president notices when the the prior president gets a $400,000 payday for an hour of work? It would be hard to miss. So let’s say the company that hired the ex-president asks for a meeting with the current president. Do you think the company gets that meeting?” (05/03/17)

http://blog.dilbert.com/post/160266438656/pre-bribing-a-president

—–

22) Should laughter be a federal crime?
Source: JimBovard.com
by James Bovard

“Desiree Fairooz, a librarian in Arlington, Va., and a Code Pink activist, guffawed when Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.) asserted that Sessions’s record for ‘treating all Americans equally under the law is clear and well-documented.’ She was speedily arrested by a U.S. Capitol police officer. Justice Department lawyers reportedly charged Fairooz with ‘disorderly and disruptive conduct’ intended to ‘impede, disrupt, and disturb the orderly conduct’ of congressional proceedings. … This isn’t the first time federal cops have attempted to enforce the difference between licit and illicit laughter, though, and unfortunately, it might not be the last. Laughing got me tossed out of the press box at the Supreme Court in March 1995.” (05/03/17)

http://jimbovard.com/blog/2017/05/03/washington-post-should-laughter-be-a-federal-crime/

—–

23) Big Brother is still watching you: Don’t fall for the NSA’s latest ploy
Source: Tenth Amendment Center
by John Whitehead

“Supposedly the National Security Administration is going to stop collecting certain internet communications that merely mention a foreign intelligence target. Privacy advocates are hailing it as a major victory for Americans whose communications have been caught in the NSA’s dragnet. If this is a victory, it’s a hollow victory. Here’s why.” (05/03/17)

http://tenthamendmentcenter.com/2017/05/03/big-brother-is-still-watching-you-dont-fall-for-the-nsas-latest-ploy/

—–

24) A wall of separation
Source: Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

“Whatever you think of Thomas Jefferson’s letter to the Danbury Baptists, wherein he celebrated the First Amendment for ‘building a wall of separation between Church & State,’ let’s agree that it would have been nice had he penned another letter — to the Waterbury Methodists or someone — urging a wall of separation between Sports and State.” (05/03/17)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2017/05/03/a-wall-of-separation/

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25) The fuzzy borders of “benign nationalism”
Source: Niskanen Center
by Christopher Freiman

“Ramesh Ponnuru and Rich Lowry of the National Review recently defended a version of what they call ‘benign nationalism,’ that is, a nationalism that ‘includes solidarity with one’s countrymen, whose welfare comes before, albeit not to the complete exclusion of, that of foreigners. When this nationalism finds political expression, it supports a federal government that is jealous of its sovereignty, forthright and unapologetic about advancing its people’s interests, and mindful of the need for national cohesion.’ Even a ‘benign’ nationalism invites a question: what, exactly, justifies partiality to one’s compatriots? After all, when you get down to it, here’s what distinguishes the United States from other nations: border lines. And this is a distinction with a difference. For instance, an American earns more than twice as much as a comparable worker in Mexico simply because of the ‘place premium.’ But location relative to a line is hardly a good enough reason to justify this inequity.” (05/03/17)

https://niskanencenter.org/blog/fuzzy-borders-benign-nationalism/

—–

26) With this budget deal, the swamp wins
Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

“You can tell whether a spending agreement is good or bad based on who is smiling: the swamp dwellers, or those who want to drain the swamp. This budget made the swamp dwellers very happy. Shortly after announcing a $1.1 trillion (with a ‘t’)spending deal to fund the federal government’s domestic and military programs for the next five months, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it a ‘very good deal for the American people.’ House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi said it ‘reflects Democrats’ values to protect health care, environment and education. ‘Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that ‘we now have an agreement that both sides should support,’ praising the negotiations as ‘bipartisan and bicameral every step of the way.’ The New York Times gushed that the bill ‘could serve as a template for putting together the next round of spending bills.’ When you hear talk like that, grab on to your wallet, because it means big-spending business-as-usual reigns in Washington, which is precisely what voters sent Republicans and Donald Trump to Washington to end.” (05/02/17)

http://www.investors.com/politics/editorials/with-this-budget-deal-the-swamp-wins

—–

27) Obscure law greases the deregulation skids
Source: American Institute for Economic Research
by Sheldon Richman

“Since taking office in January, President Trump has cancelled 13 regulations issued by Obama administration agencies thanks to a hitherto rarely used law Congress passed over 20 years ago. Congress and the president could potentially cancel thousands of other rules the same way. The Congressional Review Act gives Congress and the president a streamlined process for eliminating regulations decreed by executive agencies. Agency power to, in effect, legislate and in some cases enforce, interpret, judge, and punish has concerned those who favor strict separation of government powers.” (05/03/17)

https://www.aier.org/research/obscure-law-greases-deregulation-skids

—–

28) The legal and economic case against the Paris climate treaty
Source: Competitive Enterprise Institute
by Christopher C Horner and Marlo Lewis, Jr.

“President Trump should keep his two-part campaign promise to cancel U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement and stop all payments to United Nations global warming programs. The Paris Agreement is a costly and ineffectual solution to the alleged climate crisis. It is also plainly a treaty, despite President Obama’s attempt to implement it without the Senate’s advice and consent. Failure to withdraw from the agreement would entrench a constitutionally damaging precedent, set President Trump’s domestic and foreign policies in conflict, and ensure decades of diplomatic blowback. For those and other reasons, the Paris Agreement imperils both America’s economic future and capacity for self-government.” [summary — full paper available as PDF download] (05/03/17)

https://cei.org/content/legal-and-economic-case-against-paris-climate-treaty

—–

29) Barack Obama, buck raker
Source: USA Today
by staff

“Former president Barack Obama’s decision to accept $400,000 for an upcoming Wall Street speech certainly has been noticed by partisans on the left and right. Liberal Sen. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, said she was ‘troubled,’ while Fox Business used it to call Obama ‘Wall Street’s newest fat cat.’ But should the rest of America care? In ordinary times, Obama’s decision to cash in wouldn’t be that comment-worthy. He has led a life of public service paying well below what he could have made in corporate law or as a business executive. Now, with bills to pay and girls to put through college, he wants to play a little financial catch-up. Most presidents since Gerald Ford have opted to make a quick buck in ways that aren’t available to mere mortals. But these are not normal times.” (05/03/17)

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/05/02/barack-obama-buck-raker-editorials-debates/101178224

—–

30) The national security state’s tradition of embracing dictators
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

“The New York Times editorial board is outraged and indignant that President Trump has invited Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte to the United States to meet with Trump. In an editorial entitled ‘Donald Trump Embraces Another Despot,’ the Times points to Duterte’s dictatorial practices, including his alleged state-sponsored murders of drug-law violators. The editorial also points to the ‘friendly reception’ that Trump extended to President Abdel Fattah el Sisi, the brutal military dictator of Egypt, and to Trump’s praise for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who recently convinced Turkey’s parliament to expand his dictatorial powers. Why is the Times so indignant and outraged over these actions? Because, the paper says, Trump’s actions go against America’s long time role as ‘a beacon of democracy and a global advocate of human rights and the rule of law.’ Is that funny or what?” (05/03/17)

https://www.fff.org/2017/05/03/americas-tradition-embracing-dictators/

—–

31) Another reason to thank Snowden: Increased federal surveillance transparency
Source: Reason
by Scott Shackford

“The National Security Agency (NSA) collected more than 150 million records about the phone calls of Americans in 2016. Believe it or not, this is almost grounds for celebration. That’s because this massive number actually represents a scaling back in the amount of our communications data the NSA has access to. The passage of the USA Freedom Act in 2015 reduced the ability of the NSA to collect phone metadata records on their own, a direct result of Edward Snowden’s whistleblowing.” (05/03/17)

http://reason.com/blog/2017/05/03/another-reason-to-thank-snowden-increase

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32) Taxes death and dominion
Source: The Price of Liberty
by Nathan Barton

“This year, Americans will have stolen from them over $3.5 trillion in federal taxes and another $1.6 trillion in state and local taxes. That’s $5.1 trillion total — more than we spend on food, clothing and shelter combined. A staggering 31% of our income. (So calculates the Tax Foundation.) On average (a VERY important point), that is 113 days into the year, counting holidays. In practical terms, assuming we all worked the ‘standard’ 2000 hours per year, that means that 620 hours of our 2000 working hours (not counting vacation time), or nearly 1/3 of our ‘productive time’ goes to support government. (And not very well — since government must borrow additional trillions to ‘stay afloat.’ Or so the politicians say.) It is as if we were all one-third slaves.” (05/03/17)

https://thepriceofliberty.org/2017/05/03/taxes-death-and-dominion/

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33) Jackson, Mississippi’s radical mayoral candidate
Source: In These Times
by Kate Aronoff

“The city of Jackson, in the heart of staunchly Republican Mississippi, might seem an unlikely place for a municipal revolution. Yet Jackson’s radicalism has been forged in the crucible of massive disinvestment, both by private industry and by a conservative state legislature. Led by the Black nationalist organization Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, organizers in Jackson have backed experiments in everything from worker-owned businesses to participatory, neighborhood-by-neighborhood democracy. A leader of this movement, Jackson Councilman Chokwe Lumumba, helped start people’s assemblies in the city, inviting residents to hash out the kinds of changes they want to see. He was elected mayor in 2013, only to pass away months later. In an effort to carry on his father’s legacy, Chokwe Antar Lumumba, 33, ran to succeed his father and lost. Now, with his second run, he hopes to continue the work his father began.” (05/02/17)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/20100/jackson-mississippi-radical-mayoral-candidate-chokwe-lumumba

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34) Who stands in the way of populists? The French case.
Source: EconLog
by Alberto Mingardi

“A Marine Le Pen victory is seen by many as little short of a calamity: Le Pen openly questions French membership in the Eurozone (though recently she softened her tone) and proposes a blend of new protectionism that would wreck the EU ship altogether. On the top of that, Madame Le Pen leads a xenophobic party, whose roots are in Vichy France. The French right, which still worships the memory of General De Gaulle, has typically a strong anti-fascist bent. But this time at least one gaullist, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, has openly endorsed Le Pen. Dupont-Ainan comes with a valuable 4.70% of the votes which he scored in the first round. The other candidate, Emmanuel Macron, is at the same time the new face of politics and the favourite son of the establishment.” (05/03/17)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2017/05/who_stands_in_t.html

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35) Why we must keep fighting for a free press
Source: spiked
by Jacob Furedi

“Today’s mourners of press freedom usually point to far-flung countries where censorship reveals itself in a life-threatening form. In 2016, 48 journalists were killed in Syria. Turkish journalists are also bearing the brunt of press censorship. Since the attempted coup against Erdogan last July, 231 journalists have been arrested. But while press freedom in the UK certainly isn’t as bad as it is in the nations at the bottom of RSF’s table — Turkmenistan, Eritrea and North Korea — World Press Freedom Day should also give Britons pause for thought. For in Britain in recent years, esteem for the ideal of press freedom has been replaced by contempt for it.” (05/03/17)

http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/why-we-must-keep-fighting-for-a-free-press/

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36) What critiques of “smug liberals” miss
Source: The Atlantic
by Conor Friedersdorf

“Yes, there is a smug style in liberalism. Yes, it is wrongheaded and politically counterproductive. But this is not just a liberal trait, or even mostly a liberal trait. This trait is everywhere in U.S. politics and culture. And it is ubiquitous in conservatism. … smug vitriol and contempt for political and ideological opponents is not a new development that just started manifesting on a post-Christian right, after George W. Bush and Mitt Romney gave way to Donald J. Trump. Smug vitriol is in fact an old standby that has been part of movement conservatism’s core for decades.” (05/03/17)

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/05/what-the-smug-liberals-critique-leaves-out/525189/

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37) How the religious right led to Trump
Source: The American Prospect
by Sarah Posner

“Donald Trump’s conquest of the White House, buoyed by the overwhelming support of white evangelicals, has, for the moment at least, quelled the semi-regular pronouncements of the death of the religious right. As the numbers of non-white and non-religious Americans have increased, the demographic weight of white evangelicals has fallen. But rather than withering away, the religious right in its 2017 version seems poised to capitalize on unexpected access to power — a miracle, if you will. They are ecstatic over Trump’s Supreme Court pick, Neil Gorsuch, and what they see as his steadfast protection of religious liberty and opposition to abortion. They also see trusted longtime allies in Vice President Mike Pence and at the helms of the Departments of Justice and Health and Human Services; a co-religionist, climate-change denier as the head of the Environmental Protection Agency; and an opponent of public schools, long the movement’s ‘secular humanist’ bogeyman, as secretary of education.” (05/03/17)

http://prospect.org/article/how-religious-right-led-trump

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38) Are we in retreat or in decline?
Source: Students For Liberty
by David Borovsky

“Not a long time has passed from the latest economic crisis, and some economists are trying to scare us, saying that another one (even worse) is behind the corner. People split when it comes to what caused it (a usual fight between Austrians and Keynesians). Europe is facing a huge migration crisis due to destabilized Middle East, populists are on the rise — one of them became a U.S. president — the European Union is probably in its worst shape to date, horrific terrorist attacks were committed by Islamists, tensions with authoritarian regimes like Putin’s Russia are high, and oh — I almost forgot — machines are stealing our jobs! All of these negative events are being used by so-called ‘declinists,’ to try and prove that western civilization is in decline, and that the ‘golden age’ of peace and prosperity reached its final stop. But, it’d be appropriate to disclose differences in basic terms — retreat and decline are not equal.” (05/02/17)

https://www.studentsforliberty.org/2017/05/02/are-we-in-retreat-or-in-decline/

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39) Why do North Koreans hate us? One reason — they remember the Korean War.
Source: The Intercept
by Mehdi Hasan

“For the record, it was the North Koreans, and not the Americans or their South Korean allies, who started the war in June 1950, when they crossed the 38th Parallel and invaded the south. Nevertheless, ‘What hardly any Americans know or remember,’ University of Chicago historian Bruce Cumings writes in his book ‘The Korean War: A History,’ ‘is that we carpet-bombed the north for three years with next to no concern for civilian casualties.’ How many Americans, for example, are aware of the fact that U.S. planes dropped on the Korean peninsula more bombs — 635,000 tons — and napalm — 32,557 tons — than during the entire Pacific campaign against the Japanese during World War II? How many Americans know that ‘over a period of three years or so,’ to quote Air Force General Curtis LeMay, head of the Strategic Air Command during the Korean War, ‘we killed off … 20 percent of the population?’ Twenty. Percent. For a point of comparison, the Nazis exterminated 20 percent of Poland’s pre-World War II population.” (05/03/17)

https://theintercept.com/2017/05/03/why-do-north-koreans-hate-us-one-reason-they-remember-the-korean-war/

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40) Who is destroying Syria?
Source: The American Conservative
by Philip Giraldi

“The United Nations Charter, to which all member states are signatories and which prevails over all other treaties and agreements, states that the organization is obligated to ‘determine the existence of any threat to the peace, breach of the peace, or act of aggression’ and to take military and nonmilitary action to ‘restore international peace and security.’ The justices at the Nuremberg trials in 1946 concluded that ‘to initiate a war of aggression … is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.’ The U.S. Constitution’s Article I states that only Congress has the authority to declare war … So how is it that on April 6 the United States attacked a fellow member state in the United Nations that has an internationally recognized sovereign government? That member state posed no imminent threat, had not attacked the United States, and was not at war with Washington.” (05/03/17)

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/who-is-destroying-syria/

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41) Is Trump authoritarian or incompetent? Yes
Source: The New Republic
by Jeet Heer

“When Donald Tump ran for president, and in the weeks after winning the election, his critics justifiably worried about his autocratic tendencies. This man, after all, had egged on his followers to assault protesters, called for his political opponent to be jailed, attacked the independence of the judiciary, and repeatedly expressed an unwholesome admiration for tyrants like Saddam Hussein and Vladimir Putin. As president, Trump has continued to show worrisome anti-democratic instincts, as in his continued lambasting of the judiciary and calls for changes in libel laws to curtain freedom of the press. On Tuesday night, Trump tweeted criticism of his FBI director, James Comey, an especially unwise move given that Comey is investigating possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government last year. By bashing a government official who is supposed to be independent, Trump confirmed fears that he’s an authoritarian at heart. Yet, can this account of Trump as a would-be strongman be reconciled with the fact that the president is also showing himself to be inept at using the awesome powers of the presidency?” (05/03/17)

https://newrepublic.com/article/142468/trump-authoritarian-incompetent-yes

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42) The Supreme Court does not want to hear this nonsense challenge to a ban on conversion therapy
Source: Mother Jones
by Ashley Dejean

“The Supreme Court declined to take up a challenge to California’s conversion therapy ban this week, effectively upholding the law that prohibits licensed counselors such as social workers and therapists from offering therapy aimed at changing a minor’s sexual orientation or gender identity, a practice that’s been widely discredited as ineffective and harmful. … The lead plaintiff fighting the law was Donald Welch, an evangelical minister and licensed therapist who’s in charge of counseling at the Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego. This is the second time the Supreme Court has rejected a challenge to California’s ban on conversion therapy from Welch, who first argued it violated free-speech protections. In the most recent case, Welch joined with other plaintiffs to claim the ban violates their right to freely practice their religion.” (05/03/17)

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/05/scotus-shot-down-challenge-conversion-therapy-ban

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43) Why do people become communists, and why do they stick with it?
Source: Foundation for Economic Education
by Jeffrey A Tucker

“For as long as I can remember, I’ve puzzled about why people become communists. I have no doubt about why someone would stop being one. After all, we have a century of evidence of the murder, famine, and general destruction caused by the idea. Ignoring all this takes a special kind of willful blindness to reality. Even the theory of communism itself is a complete mess. … But how communism would work in practice is not something they want to talk about. They just imagined that some magical Hegelian shift would take place in the course of history that would work it all out. So if there is no rational case for communism as such, why do people go for this stuff?” (05/03/17)

https://fee.org/articles/why-do-people-become-communists-and-why-do-they-stick-with-it/

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44) The Promise packs a warning
Source: Independent Institute
by K Lloyd Billingsley

“The Promise, directed by Terry George (Hotel Rwanda), takes place during World War I, when the Ottoman Turks set out to exterminate the Armenians, the first attempt at genocide of the past century. The film, which purports to be educational, does a decent job showing Turkish mobs attacking Armenians and looting their homes and businesses. On the other hand, The Promise fails to show why the Turkish oppressors met with such little resistance. As Peter Balakian noted in The Burning Tigris: The Armenian Genocide and America’s Response, a good companion volume for the film, the Ottomans took great care to disarm the despised Armenians. That left them essentially helpless against a determined and highly mechanized oppressor.” (05/03/17)

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=9063

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45) The gospel of radicalism
Source: Freeman’s Perspective
by Paul Rosenberg

“Just a few hundred years ago it was a standard medical practice to bleed sick people, to make cuts in various parts of their bodies and to drain blood from them. Most people submitted to this useless and frequently harmful treatment without question. Would you have been one of them? What do you think of the bleeders? Does it seem to you that they were from a primitive and ignorant age? Well, guess how your descendants are going to think about our generation in a few hundred years! Unless you can break from the clamor of popular opinions, you are doomed to that fate. All of the social, sexual, and political norms that people now hold dear will someday be gone and will look as archaic as praying to the gods of wind and rain.” (05/03/17)

https://www.freemansperspective.com/the-gospel-of-radicalism/

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46) Protests alone won’t fix Venezuela, but this approach could
Source: Reuters
by Jennifer McCoy

“On May 1 opponents of the Venezuelan government once again filled the streets of Caracas, following a month of demonstrations against President Nicolas Maduro in which 29 people were killed and hundreds detained. In a new gambit to delay elections and defuse the protests, Maduro on Monday proposed a 500-person assembly chosen by groups of workers, students and others to rewrite the country’s constitution. The opposition denounced this move as unconstitutional, and called Venezuelans to the streets to protest. But protests alone won’t lead to peace for this divided and suffering country. Other countries need to pressure moderates from the government and the opposition to negotiate a solution to the crisis that has left millions of Venezuelans with too little food and medicine, and a power struggle between the legislature and the Supreme Court.” (05/03/17)

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-venezuela-protests-commentary-idUSKBN17Y1YB

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47) Is North Korea a diversion for a US-Jordan invasion of Syria?
Source: CounterPunch
by Mike Whitney

“The United States is not going to launch a preemptive attack on North Korea. The risks far outweigh the rewards and, besides, the US has no intention of getting bogged down in a conflict that doesn’t advance its geopolitical objectives. The saber-rattling is just an attempt to divert attention from the Syria-Jordan border where the US and Jordan are massing troops and equipment for an invasion of Syria. That’s what’s really going on. The Korean fiasco is a smokescreen.” (05/03/17)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/03/is-north-korea-a-diversion-for-a-us-jordan-invasion-of-syria/

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48) I am cancer
Source: National Review
by Kevin D Williamson

“Bad things just happen, and, today, I am the bad thing that is just happening to one of these luckless and unhappy children of God. I am eviction, I am CPS, I am the check that didn’t come. I am diabetic amputation. I am cancer. I am, as it happens, evicting my mother’s fourth husband’s fifth wife from a modest house (much more modest than the condition I left it in) in which she resided rent-free for a decade or so. I inherited the house from my mother when she died, and her husband inherited a ‘life estate’ in it, meaning a legal right to reside there so long as he kept current on the taxes and such. He remarried (these are marrying people) and lived there with his new wife until his life estate ended the way life estates end, and I came around to take possession of the house and sell the damned thing. They’d had years and years to prepare for this moment, and, of course, they hadn’t. ‘Why are you doing this to us?’ the woman’s daughter demanded.” (05/03/17)

http://www.nationalreview.com/article/447292/underclass-character-eviction-court-native-born-americans-entrepreneurial-immigrants

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49) California: Let’s end unchecked police surveillance
Source: Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Dave Maas

“All surveillance is political. Nowhere is this more evident than on the local level when law enforcement acquires new surveillance technology. Too often, the political process advantages police over the public interest. In California, a new bill — S.B. 21 — offers the rare opportunity to shift the balance in favor of privacy. … This legislation would require that police departments, before acquiring or using new spying technology, obtain approval in advance to do so from an elected board during a public hearing. When police obtain such approval, they must also get approval of a use policy that includes privacy safeguards. The bill would require a biennial transparency report on surveillance technology …. The bill would also allow individuals to sue an agency if they’ve been harmed by a violation of the legislation.” (05/02/17)

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2017/04/california-lets-end-unchecked-police-surveillance

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50) Greece on collision course with creditors
Source: Heartland Institute
by Edmund Contoski

“Greece is in the familiar position of needing more money. It must come up with about 7 billion euros ($7.5 billion) in July 2017 for debt payments on loans from three previous bailouts. If it defaults on these payments, it will be out of the European Union. Since the three previous bailouts have failed to provide Greece with a sustainable economy, there is great reluctance by the previous creditors to provide a fourth bailout. These creditors include the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and various European countries.” (05/02/17)

http://blog.heartland.org/2017/05/greece-on-collision-course-with-creditors/

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

51) Foreign Policy Focus, episode 35
Source: Foreign Policy Focus

“On FPF #35 I discuss the story of the US running low on bombs. I examine the morality of dropping so many bombs. I also look at the practical outcomes of US air wars. I update stories on Mosul, Syria, Russia, Yemen, and Afghanistan.” [various formats] (05/03/15)

http://foreignpolicyfocus.libsyn.com/fpf-35-too-many-bombs

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52) Cato Daily Podcast, 05/03/17
Source: Cato Institute

“The proportion of working-age men who aren’t working has been in steady decline for decades? Why? Nicholas Eberstadt is author of Men without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis. He spoke at the Cato Institute in January.” [various formats] (05/03/17)

https://www.cato.org/multimedia/cato-daily-podcast/men-without-work-americas-invisible-crisis

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53) Trump: “Very, very good chance” of Mideast peace
Source: USA Today

“During a joint statement with Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas at the White House Wednesday, Donald Trump said he’ll “do whatever is necessary” to reach a Mideast peace agreement.” [Flash video] (05/03/17)

https://www.usatoday.com/videos/news/nation/2017/05/03/trump:-‘very,-very-good-chance’-mideast-peace/101248334

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54) Electric Libertyland, episode 18
Source: Lions of Liberty

“On this week’s Electric Libertyland, host Brian McWilliams welcomes in Paul Meekin of The Libertarian Republic to talk about the most libertarian movies ever made, the White House Correspondents Dinner, Obama’s $400K speech to Wall St., and the lack of personal responsibility in America today. Brian also takes time at the top of the show to touch on Trump’s lumber tariff, his executive order on religious freedom, and the coming clash with the progressives’ Equality Act to protect LGBTQ citizens against discrimination.” [various formats] (05/03/17)

http://lionsofliberty.com/2017/05/03/ell18/

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55) The Libertarian Angle, 05/03/17
Source: Future of Freedom Foundation

“FFF president Jacob Hornberger and Richard Ebeling discuss the morality of taxation.” [various formats] (05/03/17)

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/libertarian-angle-freedom-income-tax/

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56) Free Talk Live, 05/02/17
Source: Free Talk Live

“Supreme Court Overturns Crazy Colorado Forfeiture Law :: Eagles Suing Hotel California :: Sex Robots and Dolls :: Free Will and Determinism :: Were men more attracted to fat women in the past? :: Offensive Youtuber Has Kids Taken :: Virtual Relationships :: Dr. Psycho :: Rubens Paintings :: HOSTS — Ian, Mark, Johnson.” [Flash audio or MP3] (05/02/17)

https://www.freetalklive.com/podcast/2017-05-02

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57) The Tom Woods Show, episode 900
Source: The Tom Woods Show

“Gonz Trevino grew up in Mexico, and has created half a dozen successful businesses before age 30. (He also works with Jason Stapleton, the libertarian podcaster.) He says politics hasn’t played a major role in his life. Just creating half a dozen successful businesses. Perfect for episode 900.” [various formats] (05/02/17)

http://tomwoods.com/ep-900-politics-isnt-all-there-is-so-cheer-up/

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58) The Jason Stapleton Program, episode 592
Source: The Jason Stapleton Program

“Don’t worry this isn’t as complicated as it sounds. But you will be able to impress your friends with some info on the market nobody else will be discussing. We’re also going to cover the GOP’s trillion dollar spending bill that funds the government until September. The Republicans are doing everything they can to paint this turd as anything but a total failure, but it looks like they fear a shutdown more than fighting for the ideals they ran on.” [various formats] (05/02/17)

https://jasonstapleton.com/592-vix-vxx-and-other-financial-stuff-that-matters/

*****
RATIONAL REVIEW NEWS DIGEST

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

Editor Emeritus:
Mary Lou Seymour
*****