Commentary

No, Snowden’s leaks didn’t help the terrorists

September 17, 2014
posted by

The Intercept
by Murtaza Hussain  

"Did Edward Snowden’s revelations on NSA surveillance compromise the ability of intelligence agencies to monitor terrorist groups? Contrary to lurid claims made by U.S. officials, a new independent analysis of the subject says no. ... These findings are notable both for empirical rigor through which they ascertained, as well as their contradiction of apparently baseless statements made by high-ranking U.S. officials regarding the impact of the leaks on U.S. national security. This is particularly important as it pertains to the ongoing public debate over the alleged threat of ISIS." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/q3gpuj3  

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The charade of independence for UKIP and Scotland

September 17, 2014
posted by

Jeff Deist Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Jeff Deist  

Interview with Andy Duncan. Duncan: "The Secessionists, unfortunately, will probably lose and the reason for that is because Scotland is being bought and paid for, I think as Robert Burns who said, we’re born and sold for English gold and a quarter of the adults in Scotland work for the British government, so they take a salary from the British government. There’s maybe a million pensioners are all receiving British government pensions and there’s all sorts of even private companies, a lot of their contracts are to the British government." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/qxpdc77  

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Our sentimental humanitarian age

September 17, 2014
posted by

Acton Institute Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
by Samuel Gregg  

"I always thought it would be difficult to imagine a period in which the West would be more adrift than the 1970s. Being a child at the time, I was spared consciousness of most of that miserable decade. Thus far, however, the second decade of the 2000s seems likely to give the 10 years that spawned Watergate, stagflation, the Carter presidency, the Oil Crisis, Idi Amin, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, Jim Jones, Pol Pot, the Red Brigades, and the Iranian Revolution (to name just a few of the star attractions) a serious run for its money as a byword for Western decline." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l8ljyh3  

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This is the only way to save libraries

September 17, 2014
posted by

Thoughts On Liberty
by Gina O'Neill-Santiago  

"As a bibliophile and proponent of a literacy-rich culture, I do think that community libraries are a valuable resource. But I do not think we should be holding rallies and beg for more public funding. Rather, if we want to give these bastions of literacy a fighting chance, privatization is our best option; there is still a demand for community libraries and the best way to sustain them and maximize the services that they render is to take them out of the public sector -- altogether or simply outsource some core functions." (09/17/14)

http://thoughtsonliberty.com/this-is-the-only-way-to-save-libraries  

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Individualist feminism: A lost tradition

September 17, 2014
posted by

Students For Liberty Students For Liberty
by Britney Little  

"I used to be a bra-burning feminist myself, but as I read more about various libertarian philosophies and discovered my own individuality, I came to a brutal realization that I, as an American citizen, do not need feminism in its mainstream, modern-day form. I need equality. I want to go back to the fight for legal equality, not a fight strictly against men." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/k97uoq6  

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The second Cold War is here

September 17, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Alexander Reid Ross  

"In October 2013, David Patraeus came out with an amazingly imaginative work called 'How We Won in Iraq.' Detailing the ways that US counterinsurgency rebuilt Iraq out of the rubble of a failed State, in pursuit of truth, unity, and the democratic way. Somewhat prophetically, Patraeus looks to the transfer of power with an ominous analysis of long-term strategy in Iraq. With the rise of ISIS, one thing is for certain; the US absolutely did not win in Iraq -- at least not in the manner that Patraeus claims to have won." (09/17/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/17/the-second-cold-war-is-here/  

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By the numbers: Did more people die from the swine flu vaccine than from swine flu?

September 17, 2014
posted by

The Skeptical Libertarian The Skeptical Libertarian
by Daniel Bier  

"It’s flu season again, which means that soon a crop of viral myths and memes about the flu vaccine will spread over the internet. Besides the usual BS about vaccines and autism, one specific claim that I’ve heard probably a couple dozen times in the last five years is that the H1N1 swine flu vaccines actually 'killed more people than than the swine flu itself!' At least, so says quack doctor Joseph Mercola and other anti-vaccine activists. But is it true?" (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/knazt2k  

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This Constitution Day, try something new: Nullify the feds!

September 17, 2014
posted by

10th Amendment Center Tenth Amendment Center
by Michael Boldin  

"There is no better way to celebrate 'Constitution Day' than by learning how to enforce the document it claims to celebrate." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mh5bsx7  

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Is the foreign-policy elite clueless?

September 17, 2014
posted by

Sheldon Richman Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman  

"Americans may believe the government -- especially the foreign-policy side -- is at least minimally competent, but when one surveys decisions from the last few decades, one has to wonder." (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m9nx2ld  

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Top-rated economies of the world are not by coincidence

September 17, 2014
posted by

Competitive Enterprise Institute Competitive Enterprise Institute
by Lawson Bader  

"In 1987 I walked along the Kowloon Peninsula Hotel’s harbor promenade. Since then, the city has reclaimed from the water nearly three city blocks in its desire to grow. Now, the Peninsula, while still a grand property, has only an urban promenade out its front door. On most economic freedom indexes, Hong Kong is king -- among the top-rated economies in the world for the past 20 years. And it’s no wonder. Creative destruction, not whimsical history, is its modus operandi." (09/15/14)

http://cei.org/content/top-rated-economies-world-are-not-coincidence  

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The McKeon Amendment — a Lend-Lease Act for terrorists

September 17, 2014
posted by

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo  

"It speaks volumes about the 'rebel' movement in Syria that imposing a condition that none of the 'vetted' fighters have links to terrorist groups would be 'asking for something that makes this mission impossible.' This is precisely why arming and supporting the Syrian rebels has been a bad idea from the very beginning: as the President told Tom Friedman recently, the idea that there are 'moderate' rebels is 'a fantasy.' But then again Republicans like McKeon are fantasists, pure and simple. What does it say about our President, however, who is pushing what he consciously knows to be a fantasy?" (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l3jkso7  

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Bombing Syria: Still crazier than hell

September 17, 2014
posted by

James Bovard jimBovard.com
by Jim Bovard  

"I am appalled to see the Obama administration charging blindly and dragging America into another war in Syria. ISIS looks like a bunch of prize bastards but that is pretty much par for that part of the world. I have seen no evidence that selective U.S. bombing will beget a new Garden of Eden in that neck of the woods. I am puzzled that so few people seem outraged that many -- if not most -- of the Obama administration’s prior assertions on Syria have been proven either false or half-witted. Can’t Obama come up with something aside from pointless killing to boost his approval ratings?" (09/16/14)

http://jimbovard.com/blog/2014/09/16/bombing-syria-still-crazier-hell/  

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Gestapo Nation USA

September 17, 2014
posted by

Timothy J. Taylor Authority!
by Timothy J. Taylor  

"President Obama admitted it so it’s no longer a secret. As I wrote last month, the USA is guilty of the indefensible practice of torture. He admitted that it was 'wrong' but then he defended it on the grounds that the CIA goons were faced with such a 'tough job' after 9/11. I guess that’s exactly what George W. Bush thought when he personally authorized it. Of course, the Nazi Gestapo goons were faced with a tough job too during WWII, so I suppose the President thinks that their routine torture practices were justified as well." (09/16/14)

http://authoritycon.blogspot.com/2014/09/gestapo-nation-usa.html  

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Could independent Scotland become a haven for the free market?

September 17, 2014
posted by

Foundation for Economic Education Foundation for Economic Education
by Robert Ramsey  

"By leaving the United Kingdom, Scotland has a chance to become one of the wealthiest countries in the world. These last few weeks have shown the Yes vote sitting at around 50 percent -- an astonishing number considering that Scottish independence has for years merely been a pipe dream. The future appears to be bright, but only if things don’t go as promised." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/kqz9dem  

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An unbearable and choking hell: The loss of our freedoms in the wake of 9/11

September 17, 2014
posted by

John W. Whitehead LewRockwell.com
by John W. Whitehead  

"The choices before us are simple: We can live in the past, dwelling on what freedoms we used to enjoy and shrugging helplessly at the destruction of our liberties. We can immerse ourselves in the present, allowing ourselves to be utterly distracted by the glut of entertainment news and ever-changing headlines so that we fail to pay attention to or do anything about the government’s ongoing power-grabs. We can hang our hopes on the future, believing against all odds that someone or something will save us from inevitable ruin. Or we can start right away by instituting changes at the local level, holding our government officials accountable to the rule of law, and resurrecting the Constitution, recognizing that if we follow our current trajectory, the picture of the future will be closer to what George Orwell likened to 'a boot stamping on a human face -- forever.'" (09/17/14)

http://tinyurl.com/luvmxzw  

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In Scotland, “aye” means no to England

September 17, 2014
posted by

Debra J. Saunders San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders  

"'Should Scotland be an independent country?' reads the referendum on which Scotland will vote Thursday. Voters have two choices: yes or no. Queen Elizabeth II went so far as to tell Scots on Sunday, 'I hope people will think very carefully about the future.' The queen was savvy to urge Scots to look ahead, not behind." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ovob7be  

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Perpetual fear under empire

September 17, 2014
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G. Hornberger  

"Lots of Americans are extremely upset about ISIS. They’re not sleeping well, and they’re pacing the floors. They are convinced that ISIS is coming to get them, drag them from their homes, cart them away to some Arabian desert, and behead them. There is something important to keep in mind about all this: This is the way of life under an empire, especially one whose foreign policy is based on hundreds of military bases in foreign countries, meddling in the political and economic affairs of other countries, support of and partnerships with foreign dictatorships, foreign aid, invasions, wars of aggression, occupations, kidnappings, torture, and other such things." (09/16/14)

http://fff.org/2014/09/16/perpetual-fear-under-empire/  

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Rail workers rebel against single-person crews

September 17, 2014
posted by

In These Times
by Kari Lydersen  

"Railroad workers scored a victory last week in a years-long battle over the introduction of single-person crews on freight trains, a move that railroad workers say is a recipe for disaster. On September 10, a unit of the International Association of Sheet Metal, Air and Rail Transportation Workers (SMART) union announced that members had voted down a proposed contract which would have allowed the railroad company BNSF to run more than half its trains with just one worker on board. BNSF and other railroad companies assert that automation and modern controls on tracks mean freight trains can be safely and efficiently operated by only one engineer, a change that would essentially eliminate the position of the conductor." [editor's note: Just curious, but what does the "conductor" do on a freight train? No tickets to collect, no stops to announce ... - SAT] [additional editor's note: You might be surprised, Steve -- look it up! - TLK] (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ncpxznl  

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Once again, tight money is the Achilles heel of the right

September 17, 2014
posted by

Scott Sumner EconLog
by Scott Sumner  

"This is beginning to sound like a broken record. A reformist right-wing government does lots of good things, trimming the size of the public sector. It promises monetary stability but delivers instability -- a contractionary monetary shock. This time it was in Sweden, where the coalition government narrowly lost an election to the left-of-center parties, mostly due to the decision of the Riksbank to ignore the advice of the only qualified person serving on their board -- Lars Svensson." (09/16/14)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2014/09/once_again_tigh.html  

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Uber’s lobbying strategy fails again: California declares new carpooling service illegal

September 17, 2014
posted by

The Skeptical Libertarian The Skeptical Libertarian
by Daniel Bier  

"Over the past few months, Uber, Lyft, and Sidecar have rolled out another innovative a ridesharing service, this time to allow carpooling between people who commute along similar routes and want to split the cost. Great, right? The problem is that California regulators have just declared this new service to be illegal." (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o8oha7x  

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Free Thoughts Podcast, 09/15/14

September 17, 2014
posted by

Libertarianism.org Libertarianism.org
by  

"Michael Huemer joins us this week for a discussion on political authority, political obligation, and political legitimacy." [Flash audio or MP3] (09/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ox54n8q  

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Republicans (sort of) support Obama on ISIL

September 17, 2014
posted by

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"For months, when you asked Republicans what they wanted to do about ISIL, they would be quick to assure everyone that they didn't want to deploy large numbers of ground troops. Trainers, intelligence folks, coordinators, sure -- but they're very clear that they aren't advocating a re-invasion of Iraq. Whether their reticence about ground troops has its roots in the politics of renewing a desperately unpopular war, or it's because they genuinely believe it would be a bad idea, they were unambiguous on that point. What they did advocate was arming and training Syrian rebels." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/noxhso6  

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Appropriate response

September 17, 2014
posted by

The Libertarian Enterprise The Libertarian Enterprise
by AX Perez  

"The problem is that there are so called 'patriotic Americans"' who would love for there to be a terrorist attack in the US to justify even more intrusive NSA monitoring, and paramilitary check points, and extending the 'constitution free zone' three hundred miles inland instead of just two hundred miles and fortifying the Border with Mexico, and more gun control laws (see here). If no attack occurs, getting people hysterical with fear of a possible attack could do the trick." (09/14/14)

http://ncc-1776.org/tle2014/tle788-20140914-03.html  

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Ex-Im Bank fight shows how we can sunset more useless agencies

September 17, 2014
posted by

Competitive Enterprise Institute Competitive Enterprise Institute
by Ryan Young  

"As far as flash-point issues go, the Export-Import Bank is about as unlikely as it gets. Few people have even heard of Ex-Im, a federal agency that offers loans and loan guarantees to U.S. exporters and their foreign customers. In its 80-year history, only rarely has its periodic reauthorization become contentious. But lo and behold, this year's Ex-Im reauthorization turned out to be one of this year's fiercest political battles. The question is: Why?" (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/m78c4jz  

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Without government, who will claim to protect your safety and fail miserably (GM edition)?

September 17, 2014
posted by

Scott Shackford Reason
by Scott Shackford  

"GM has recalled millions of cars over an ignition problem that could cut electricity to the steering and air bag while the car is in operation. The problem has been attributed as the cause of death for at least 19 people. And the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) should have known about it by 2007, according to a new House committee report." (09/16/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mngkn4e  

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