Today's Edition


Ukraine: Ally of ex-president Yanukovych found dead

BBC News [UK state media]

"A Ukrainian opposition politician, Oleg Kalashnikov, has been found dead with gunshot wounds in Kiev -- the latest ally of the former government to have died in suspicious circumstances. Mr Kalashnikov had been involved in the 'anti-Maidan' protests in support of deposed President Viktor Yanukovych. It is not clear if he was murdered or committed suicide. Police say an investigation has been launched. At least eight Yanukovych allies have died suddenly in the last three months. Most of the deaths are said to have been suicides. However, officials say it was possible some were killed or forced to take their lives." (04/16/15)


Sony hack: Wikileaks publishes more than 30,000 documents

The Hollywood Reporter

"On Thursday, WikiLeaks published more than 30,000 documents and 170,000 emails from Sony Pictures, obtained from a hack that has been sourced to North Korea in anticipation of the studio's release of The Interview. The Julian Assange website noted in a press release that 'whilst some stories came out at the time, the original archives, which were not searchable, were removed before the public and journalists were able to do more than scratch the surface.' In a move that could trigger another round of embarrassing prying into Sony affairs, WikiLeaks has now published those documents in a searchable format." (04/16/15)


Yemen: Amid chaos, al Qaeda consolidates hold of province

Yahoo! News

"Al-Qaida's branch in Yemen consolidated control over much of the country's largest province on Thursday, capturing a major airport, an oil terminal and the area's main military base, and striking an alliance with local tribal leaders to administer the region. The gains highlight how al-Qaida has exploited the chaos in Yemen, where Shiite rebels are battling forces loyal to exiled President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi. A 3-week-old Saudi-led air campaign in support of Hadi has so far failed to halt the rebels' advance." [editor's note: Why do western media continue to refer to the Houthis as "rebels?" They deposed the former government some time ago. The "forces loyal to exiled president ... Hadi" are the "rebels" now - TLK] (04/16/15)


DC pols strike deal to “fast-track” Trans-Pacific Partnership

Seattle Times

"Top lawmakers struck a bipartisan agreement Thursday to allow President Barack Obama to negotiate trade deals subject to a yes-or-no vote from Congress without the possibility of changes. The 'fast track' legislation comes as Obama seeks a sweeping trade deal with 11 Pacific nations. The Trans-Pacific Partnership proposes a trade agreement involving the United States, Japan, Vietnam, Canada, Mexico and seven other Pacific rim nations." (04/16/15)


Appeals court to take up Obama’s immigration action

Seattle Post-Intelligencer

"Appellate judges on Friday were to consider whether to lift a temporary hold imposed by a federal judge in Texas on President Barack Obama's executive action seeking to shield millions of immigrants from deportation. A three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in a closely watched case that is holding up Obama's immigration action." (04/17/15)


NH: Candidates battle for the libertarian vote

Fox News

"The battle for the 2016 Republican nomination is on in New Hampshire, where presidential contenders Ted Cruz and Rand Paul have targeted the libertarian vote in hopes of winning the country’s first primary. Marco Rubio, the third GOP candidate to announce thus far, has yet to visit the state as an official presidential contender. In New Hampshire, libertarian voters represent 10 to 15 percent of the vote in a Republican primary, a percentage that could make or break a candidate’s shot at the nomination." (04/16/15)


NASA probe set to crash-land on Mercury & “just not emerge again”

Raw Story

"A NASA spacecraft that made surprising discoveries of ice and other materials on Mercury will make a crash landing into the planet around April 30, scientists said on Thursday. The Mercury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging, or Messenger, probe has been circling the innermost planet of the solar system for more than four years, the first close-up studies of Mercury since NASA’s Mariner 10 spacecraft made three flybys in the mid-1970s. Out of fuel and losing altitude, Messenger is expected to make a high-speed crash near the planet’s north pole at around 3:25 EDT on April 30, flight controllers told reporters during a webcast news conference." (04/16/15)


MN: Fairly quietly, House OKs silencers for guns

Minneapolis Star Tribune

"The Minnesota House overwhelmingly passed four gun rights bills Thursday, including a measure that would allow [sic] residents to own firearm silencers, also known as 'suppression devices.' ... Another bill would end the requirement that holders of a permit to carry a firearm notify authorities before bringing their gun to the Capitol. ... A third would clarify that Minnesotans can buy and sell long guns in other states. ... A final bill would prohibit authorities from seizing firearms in the case of a declared emergency such as a tornado. It's uncertain whether gun-related legislation will gain traction in the Senate; DFL Gov. Mark Dayton said he has no interest in changing the state’s existing gun laws." [editor's note: It's an abomination that the politicians ever got to a point of thinking that any of this stuff is, or should be, subject to their whims at all - TLK] (04/16/15)


CDC: E-cig use soared, cigarette use fell among US youth


"Electronic cigarette use among U.S. middle and high school students tripled in 2014 while cigarette use fell to record lows, according to provocative new data that is likely to intensify debate over whether e-cigarettes are a boon or bane to public health. Among high school students, e-cigarette use jumped to 13.4 percent in 2014 from 4.5 percent in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Cigarette use over the same period fell to 9.2 percent from 12.7 percent, the largest year-over-year decline in more than a decade. Overall, tobacco use among high school students grew to 24.6 percent from 22.9 percent. The data sparked alarm among tobacco control advocates who fear e-cigarettes will create a new generation of nicotine addicts who may eventually switch to conventional cigarettes." (04/16/15)


China: Regime jails journalist for seven years for “leaking state secrets”

The Daily Mail [UK]

"A Chinese court jailed a journalist accused of leaking an internal Communist Party document to a foreign website for seven years on Friday, her lawyer said, a ruling that reflects the sensitivity surrounding the party's inner workings. Gao Yu, 71, who was tried behind closed doors in Beijing last November, was convicted on a charge of providing state secrets to foreign contacts, her lawyer, Mo Shaoping, said. Rights activists have condemned Gao's detention and trial, saying it indicates a widening crackdown on dissent. The United States called on China to release Gao at the United Nations Human Rights Council session in Geneva last month." (04/17/15)


Sudan: Polls close after boycott produces low turnout

BBC News [UK state media]

"Voting in the Sudanese elections has ended, with only a third of the electorate casting their ballots, according to African Union observers. The head of the AU team overseeing the poll, Olusegun Obasanjo, said turnout stood at between 30-35%. He said some voters may have felt the result was a forgone conclusion and so abstained from casting a ballot. President Omar al-Bashir is expected to extend his 25 years in power, after opposition parties boycotted the poll." [editor's note: More proof that the power of "boycott" must be wielded with some discretion - SAT] (04/16/15)


NH: With candidate “cattle call,” GOP summit kicks off primary season

New Hampshire Public Radio [US state media]

"The state Republican Party kicks off its First in the Nation Leadership Summit in Nashua Friday. Virtually every Republican thought to be considering a presidential run is scheduled to speak at the two-day event." (04/16/15)


FL: Scott says he’ll sue Obama over hospital money

San Francisco Chronicle

"Florida Gov. Rick Scott said Thursday he is suing the Obama administration for withholding federal money for hospitals that serve the poor, saying they are doing so because the state won't expand Medicaid. The announcement is another twist in what has been a gritty yearlong battle with the feds over roughly $1 billion in funds for Florida hospitals. The fight has come to a head as the state Legislature works to finalize a state budget before May 1." (04/16/15)


Gay rights and religious liberty: Can Americans have both?

Christian Science Monitor

"The recent backlash against 'religious accommodation' laws in Indiana and Arkansas is evidence of an increasingly bitter confrontation that is dividing the country and threatens to diminish the scope of religious liberty in America. That is the conclusion of a number of scholars and experts who are urging the United States Supreme Court to consider this confrontation when it hears oral argument on April 28 in a potential landmark case involving same-sex marriage. On one side are gay couples seeking the full benefits of equal treatment and dignity in a society that has long forced them into second-class status, or substantially worse. On the other, religious conservatives, who say they are being coerced to support and/or participate in activities that offend their religious beliefs." (04/16/15)


UN chief set to nominate new special envoy to Yemen

Statesville Record & Landmark

"Yemen's ambassador to the U.N. says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday is expected to nominate the head of the U.N. Ebola mission as the new special envoy to Yemen. The ambassador told The Associated Press that Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed is the only candidate for the post after Jamal Benomar on Thursday announced his intention to step down." (04/16/15)


Man indicted in US for drug deal elected senator in Nigeria

Winona Daily News

"A man indicted in the United States for allegedly smuggling heroin, in a case that was the basis for the TV hit 'Orange Is The New Black,' has been elected a senator in Nigeria. Buruji Kashamu was little known before he returned home in 2003 from Britain, where he beat a U.S. extradition order, to become a major financier of President Goodluck Jonathan's party." (04/16/15)


Chile: Students protest corruption, demand education reform

ABC News

"Thousands of students marched through the streets of Chile's capital Thursday to protest recent corruption scandals and to complain about delays in a promised education overhaul. Police said about 20,000 people took part, while student organizers estimated the crowd at about 150,000. The gathering was largely peaceful, but violence broke out at the end when small bands of hooded protesters threw rocks and gasoline bombs at police." (04/16/15)


Iran nuclear talks to resume in Vienna on April 22-23

Epoch Times

"Major world powers and Iran will resume talks next week on Tehran's nuclear program, aiming to come up with a comprehensive deal by the end of June. The European Union said in a statement Thursday that senior negotiator Helga Schmid will meet with Iran's deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araghchi, on April 22 in the Austrian capital, Vienna. Technical experts from the five world nuclear powers plus Germany and Iran will also meet during the two days of talks." (04/16/15)


Report: Unpaid Tulsa deputy’s records were falsified

USA Today

"A reserve Tulsa deputy sheriff who says he fatally shot a suspect by accident had been certified for his post with falsified training records, the Tulsa World reported Thursday. The newspaper, citing multiple sources it did not name, said supervisors in the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office had been ordered to give unpaid Deputy Robert Bates credit for field training he never had and firearms certifications he never earned. Bates, 73, faces a manslaughter charge in the fatal shooting of Eric Harris during a physical struggle with other deputies April 2." (04/16/15)


Vatican unexpectedly ends takeover of US nun group

Houston Chronicle

"The Vatican on Thursday unexpectedly ended its controversial takeover of the main umbrella group of U.S. nuns, signaling a major shift in tone and treatment of U.S. sisters under the social justice-minded Pope Francis. The Vatican said it had accepted a final report on its overhaul of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and declared that the 'implementation of the mandate has been accomplished.' When the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith took over the LCWR in 2012, it accused the group of taking positions that undermined Catholic teaching on the priesthood and homosexuality while promoting 'certain radical feminist themes incompatible with the Catholic faith.'" (04/16/15)



Confronting the surveillance state

Cato Institute
by Patrick G Eddington

"This year began with both surveillance reformers and their opponents circling one date on their respective calendars: June 1, 2015. On this date, the Patriot Act's Sec. 215 'business records,' 'lone wolf' and 'roving wiretap' provisions will expire unless Congress agrees to extend them. If public opinion on the topic is any indication, mass surveillance supporters have a tough job on their hands." (04/18/15)


Why I fight for $15

Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"Back in the late 19th century, the American movement for an eight-hour day included people from a wide range of political ideologies. Some favored federal legislation to achieve their goal. But the movement also included numerous anarchist tendencies, including individualist anarchists affiliated with the New England Labor Reform League. The nationwide general strike for an eight-hour day was seen by some as a call for a government-mandated limit to the working day, but it was also a pressure campaign on employers. That's how I see the Fight for $15 campaign." (04/18/15)


Roundabout still better than lights

Clovis News Journal
by Kent McManigal

"I've noticed new pavement markings at the Clovis roundabout, the premier driving entertainment venue in our area and star of a Youtube video. These pavement markings have the same hieroglyphics as the signs you might notice on the roadside as you approach. I'm not sure the added expense of painting the pavement accomplished anything -- other than spending some of the annoying tax loot that clutters up government offices everywhere." (04/16/15)


Celebrate Lochner today

Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

"Today marks the 110th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Lochner v. New York, a case that continues to generate controversy. For example, just last week a writer named Ryan Cooper on a website called 'The Week' accused 2016 presidential candidate Rand Paul of being 'a supporter of the Lochner doctrine.'" (04/17/15)


Hillary: A disaster in the making

by Robert Fantina

"So why, one wonders, is there so much enthusiasm among Democrats for a woman who, by all accounts, is a hypocritical war-monger, who is more motivated to enhance her own bottom line than to serve the cause of human rights? What is it that draws adoring crowds to her? Perhaps people are seduced by the idea of another first: they elected the first African-American president, so why not follow it up with the first woman president? Maybe it is her resume, which is, indeed, impressive. But any job-seeker will highlight notable job titles on their resume, but once at the interview, may have difficulty pointing to any real accomplishments. The voters, as interviewers, should take a close look at what achievements, if any, Mrs. Clinton has to support those remarkable job titles. They will find little." (04/17/15)


Modern handgun ammo

Idaho Liberty
by Ted Dunlap

"News reports OFTEN have guys emptying magazines towards each other missing their intended targets in a big hurry. The guy who hits first wins ... or more accurately, Loses a lot less, because nobody actually wins a gunfight. Everyone is wounded to some degree. Caliber matters as does ammo. Modern construction like Hornady's Critical Defense has changed the caliber equation. 9mm is now where .40 was a few years ago. 38 Special and even .380 have become effective defensive ammo. I wouldn't have said that about them until recently, though .38 sufficed for a long, long time." (04/17/15)


Identity theft is taking a toll on tax refunds

National Center for Policy Analysis
by Jeff Lerner

"The first tax deadline has now passed, and many individuals still needing extra time will file extensions. But some who have electronically filed their returns are surprised to receive notice that a tax return for them has already been submitted -- by somebody who is not the taxpayer. This tax-related identity theft is a real and growing problem for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and for hundreds of thousands of taxpayers." (04/17/15)


QandO Podcast, 04/18/15


"This week, it's all abortion and racial epithets." [MP3] (04/18/15)


Population growth made simple-minded

Liberty Unbound
by Steve Murphy

"In a five-part LA Times series (Beyond Seven Billion), Kenneth Weiss cites the 'arc of instability' that spans Africa, the Middle East, and South Asia, with special note on the 'youth bulges [that] have emerged in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Sudan, Somalia and the Palestinian territories.' The hope is that free condoms and birth control pills, tossed into the grateful clutches of childbearing women, will reduce this growth by 2 billion, shrinking mid-century population to a meager 9 billion, 'the equivalent of adding another India and China to the world.' But the benign and altruistic image of the Progressive family planning scheme may become tarnished, in practice. It won't be global; it can't help but be intended for the childbearing women of the youth bulges. Nor is it likely to be voluntary." (04/18/15)


How to break the Internet

by Geoffrey A Manne and R Ben Sperry

"Net neutrality backers traffic in fear. Pushing a suite of suggested interventions, they warn of rapacious cable operators who seek to control online media and other content by 'picking winners and losers' on the Internet. They proclaim that regulation is the only way to stave off 'fast lanes' that would render your favorite website 'invisible' unless it's one of the corporate-favored. They declare that it will shelter startups, guarantee free expression, and preserve the great, egalitarian 'openness' of the Internet. No decent person, in other words, could be against net neutrality. In truth, this latest campaign to regulate the Internet is an apt illustration of F.A. Hayek's famous observation that 'the curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.'" (for publication 05/15)


The murderers of Kiev
by Justin Raimondo

"There seems to be a 'suicide' epidemic afflicting opponents of the current Ukrainian government -- eight opposition politicians and two journalists have mysteriously died since the beginning of the year. Here is the timeline of terror that has opponents of the regime fearing for their lives ..." (04/17/15)


Hubris unlimited: Tom Cotton versus reality

William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism
by Thomas L Knapp

"Freshman Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) wants the United States to pick a fight with Iran. Not an all-out brawl, he says; just an itty-bitty bout along the lines of 1998's Operation Desert Fox, in which US aircraft carried out four days of airstrikes on Iraq. Setting aside the fact that there's just no reason for such an exercise -- P5+1 negotiation theater aside, Iran doesn't seem to have an active nuclear weapons development program for airstrikes to target -- the whole concept of 'limited war' is bogus and dangerous." (04/16/15)


Want to record the cops? Know your rights

Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Nadia Kayyali

"Citizen videos of law enforcement encounters are more valuable than ever. And for those who are wondering -- it is legal to record the police. The police don't always seem aware of this. There have been incidents across the country of police telling people to stop filming, and sometimes seizing their camera or smartphone, or even arresting them, when they don't comply." (04/16/15)


Why is this politician taken seriously?

Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

"Suppose you're on the board of a successful corporation and the President and CEO of that corporation is about to retire. You, as a board member, must help select the outgoing president's replacement. A seemingly sane candidate comes in one day for an interview and he announces that he was once in the midst of sniper fire. That candidate then explains the hectic efforts that he and his companions took to avoid being mowed down, giving you the impression that his life was then in serious jeopardy before his fortunate escape from the attack. You're impressed by the man's adventure! You soon learn, however, that the candidate's tale is a lie. There's not a shred of relevant truth to it. You call the candidate and inform him that you have it on solid authority that no gunfire incident ever happened to him. There's a short pause. He then replies, confidently, 'Oh, yeah. I misspoke. Sorry about that!' Do you need any further information about this candidate to immediately and unconditionally strike him off of the list of possible successors to the outgoing president? Can this candidate possibly have any superior qualities that offset your certain knowledge that he is either a bald-faced liar or is bat-poop nuts?" (04/16/15)


Puerto Rico: Micro-independence revisited

The Canal
by Frank Worley-Lopez

"In a previous article I offered a plan for 'micro-independence' as a way of solving Puerto Rico's status stalemate. The proposal: take four to nine of the easternmost municipalities of Puerto Rico, including the Vieques and Culebra islands, and get all those who supported independence to move into these areas, establish a voting majority, and opt for independence. Due to the lack of response for this plan, and my other efforts to rally conservatives and libertarians to the cause of DIY independence, it may be time to offer a new, more symbolic alternative. Why not follow Janti's example and build a small artificial island off the coast of Puerto Rico and declare independence?" (04/15/15)


A calculatingly crafted contrived cardboard candidate

by Timothy J Taylor

"Hillary Clinton has been running for President of the United States since 2005; ten years now. During all that time she's calculatingly crafted an image of herself as a wholly contrived cardboard candidate. It's been all appearance and no substance with Hillary from her entire stint in the U.S. Senate, her failed presidential campaign in 2008, her four years as Secretary of State in the Obama administration, right up to the recent rollout of her declared candidacy for President in 2016." (04/17/15)


What the hell are we doing in Yemen?

Free Association
by Sheldon Richman

"The U.S. government has charged into another civil war in the Middle East. When you find yourself repeatedly asking, 'Will they ever learn?' the answer may be that the decision-makers have no incentive to do things differently. What looks like failure may be the intended outcome. Quagmires have their benefits -- to the ruling elite -- if American casualties are minimized." (04/16/15)


Clinton campaign: Less fresh air, more air-freshener ad

by Bill Schneider

"Hillary Clinton’s video launching her campaign for the Democratic nomination was a montage of the New America. That’s the coalition Barack Obama brought to power in 2008: African-Americans, Latinos, Asian-Americans, working women, gays and lesbians, single mothers, Jewish voters, young people, educated professionals and the 'unchurched'. It’s the coalition that elected Obama twice, with a majority of the vote each time. That’s something even Bill Clinton couldn’t achieve. Many in these groups didn’t bother to vote when Obama was not on the ballot in the 2010 and 2014 midterms. Will they show up for Hillary?" (04/16/15)


Free Talk Live, 04/16/15

Free Talk Live

"John Bush Kicks Off the Uncoinventional Bitcoin Bus Tour in New Hampshire :: The Bitcoin-Funded Debit Card is Real, from :: Paying Employees :: Border Crackdown? :: President :: More on the Bitcoin Bus Tour :: Bitcoin Mining Heating :: Lawyers :: Photographer Not Guilty of Stalking After Taking Photos Through Family's Windows :: What is Liberland? :: HOSTS - Ian, Mark, John Bush." [Flash audio or MP3] (04/16/15)


Next for totalitarianism: Federal control over all local police?

Tenth Amendment Center
by Mike Maharrey

"Consider this hypothetical scenario. Local grocery stores in several cities get caught cheating customers. Investigations reveal the markets sold tainted meat, peddled canned goods with expired sell-by dates and misrepresented weights on packaging. To solve the problem, the powers-that-be transfer ownership of every grocery store in the United States to Walmart. This scenario roughly parallels Al Sharpton's proposed solution to the rash of police shooting across the country." (04/16/15)


“Death tax” punishes success

USA Today
by Kevin Brady & Steve Scalise

"Like most Americans, we are aware that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. But what many family-owned businesses and farms don't realize is that when you die, the federal government swoops in and confiscates another 40% of the money that you and your family spent a lifetime building — and already paid taxes on. The 'death tax' is an immoral tax and an attack on the American dream. Too often, it forces families to sell the farm, ranch or business they've spent a generation or more building -- just to satisfy the IRS. These aren't, as opponents claim, the Paris Hiltons of the world. Those most hurt are the ranchers, farmers or entrepreneurs whose family assets are tied up in buildings, machines and property." (04/16/15)


Truth in politics now

The American Prospect
by David Greenberg

"'No one has ever doubted,' wrote Hannah Arendt, 'that truth and politics are on rather bad terms with each other, and no one, as far as I know, has ever counted truthfulness among the political virtues.' In her essay 'Truth and Politics,' Arendt probed a series of questions that are every bit as relevant today as they were when she raised them in 1967. How much honesty should we expect from politicians? Can we trust that clear-cut facts will be believed in an age of mass media and ubiquitous public relations? How should we understand the differences between closed and open societies?" (04/14/15)


Michel Chevalier’s case against the patent system

Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Louis Rouanet

"Michel Chevalier argues that patents cannot be justified if they are contrary to freedom, even if beneficial to technological change. For him 'From the moment we can make effective the patent only through inquisitorial expedients, violence, and subversion of liberty of labor, it is proof that we must renounce patents.' Chevalier rejects utilitarianism as a sufficient method to justify or refute the patent system. Chevalier's opposition to patents, however, is not just based on moral arguments but shows the disastrous effects of this system for both foreign trade and the economy in general." (04/17/15)


Five ways to reduce inequality by holding corporations responsible

In These Times
by Amy Domini & Sofia Faruqi

"Not so long ago, business leaders believed that corporations should serve not only shareholders, but also employees and the community. This mission narrowed in the 1990s to a single-minded focus on shareholder return. A white paper by James Montier explains how the simplified purpose has created vast income inequality. Average CEO compensation has soared to 300 times higher than worker pay, and companies have become quick to increase profit by downsizing." (04/15/15)


What public schools can learn from homeschool parents

Show-Me Institute
by Brittany Wagner

"Beverly was a mother who homeschooled her two boys. Lacking a college degree, she was afraid she would not be able to properly educate her children. One day, Beverly took her sons to the public library to pick out books that interested them. The boys gravitated toward cartoons. At home, they spent time creating their own drawings using homemade equipment. They caught the attention of a Disney cartoonist, who was amazed at what the boys were able to do on their own. Chris and Allan Miller are now professional graphic artists. If the Miller brothers had been educated in a traditional school, certainly they would have been taught by a teacher with a college degree or higher, but would their creative interests have been fostered?" (04/16/15)


Proposed premium hike would weaken Medicare

Our Future
by Diane Archer

"In late March, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill with bipartisan support that would again raise Medicare premiums for people with Medicare with higher incomes. The Senate has also passed the legislation, and President Obama has said he will sign it. Through this bill, H.R. 2, Congress does some good. It fixes the payment formula for doctors who treat Medicare patients, ensuring they are paid adequately. It also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program. But hiking Medicare premiums, even a small amount for wealthier individuals, as a way to cover these costs weakens Medicare for everyone and could pave the way for the privatization of Medicare." [editor's note: Read this one carefully; the hidden agenda has nothing to do with aiding elderly people with medical concerns - SAT] (04/15/15)


“The Ron Paul of the left”: Why Bernie Sanders is the cranky socialist 2016 needs

by Matthew Pulver

"Sanders is probably not the best spokesperson for democratic socialism: Someone young (Sanders is 73), someone not so Yankee, someone whose clothes aren't 'rumpled' -- there's probably someone, somewhere who'd be a better pitch man for a political ideology that just seven years ago was used as an effective epithet against the newly elected Obama. But what Sanders lacks in polish, and acquaintance with a comb for that matter, he more than makes up for in conviction. He's experienced in articulating populism, and he's more than happy to be a true antagonist to Hillary on a debate stage. He's like the Ron Paul of the left, unafraid -- even eager -- to ruffle feathers in the furtherance of his political beliefs." (04/16/15)


The federal government fails its constituents on marijuana

by Steve Chapman

"One model of political statesmanship is figuring out where you want the country to go and persuading the people to follow in that direction. Another is figuring out where the people are going and hustling to get in front of the parade. Then there is the third and most baffling model: watching the people stride resolutely in one direction and then giving them the bird as they go. The first two square with our democratic ideals. The third doesn't. Unfortunately, it's the one being followed for federal policy on marijuana." (04/16/15)


Vietnam in the battlefield of memory

The Nation
by Jon Wiener

"When the Pentagon announced its plans for the nation’s official commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, historians and old-time activists feared the worst. The Pentagon commemoration office, which Congress authorized at a cost of up to $65 million, put up a website in which the war was portrayed as one of 'valor' and 'honor" -- a picture unrecognizable to many Americans, including both veterans and antiwar activists. ... In response, Tom Hayden and a new group, the Vietnam Peace Commemoration Committee, launched a petition last September declaring that 'this official program should include viewpoints, speakers, and educational materials that represent a full and fair reflection of the issues which divided our country during the war.'" (04/16/15)


The Boston Marathon two years later — a policeman’s delight

Center for a Stateless Society
by Chad Nelson

"With the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing upon us, NPR is running a series called 'The Road Ahead.' In its daily segments, NPR examines how everyday lives have been affected by the horrific events two years ago. One unfortunate but seemingly inevitable part of that road entails law enforcement's stepped-up abuses of its citizens. As with all acts of terrorism, law enforcement has not let this crisis go to waste. The dreadful acts of two lone-wolf brothers at the 2013 Boston Marathon have provided the momentum needed for law enforcement to foist ever increasing violations of privacy upon its subjects. It is a pill that will be swallowed by Bostonians without much protest, at least initially, given the nature of the police state's justification." (04/16/15)


Is Ciudadanos a hope for Spain?

by Alberto Mingardi

"It appears that after the next election Spain will switch from a two party system to a four party system, as Vincenzo Scarpetta argues here. The fourth party (after the Christian Democrats, the Socialists, and the extreme left Podemos) is called Ciudadanos ('Citizens') and portrays itself as a 'centrist' party, aiming at (of course) the 'democratic regeneration' of Spain. Ciudadanos has its roots in Catalonia, but strongly opposed its attempts to secede from the Madrid government. When you read about Ciudadanos in the international press, they're often portrayed as the 'free market' twin brother of Podemos: a much better, more fiscally responsible alternative for Spanish voters that are fed up with the two major parties." (04/16/15)


Loco parentis

Liberty Unbound
by SH Chambers

Cartoon. (04/15/15)


Can the president kill Americans?
by Andrew P Napolitano

"Can the president kill you? The short answer is: Yes, but not legally. Yet, President Obama has established a secret process that involves officials from the Departments of Justice and Defense, the CIA, and the White House senior staff whereby candidates are proposed for execution, and the collective wisdom of the officials then recommends execution to the president, who then accepts or rejects the recommendation. If the recommendation is to kill and the president rejects the recommendation, the CIA is directed to arrest the person. If the president accepts the recommendation to kill, then death is ordered. This is not unlike the procedure used in the reign of the monstrous British King Henry VIII, except that the king himself delegated the final say to his chancellor so that he could publicly disavow participation in the government murders." (04/16/15)


The racist roots of the French FGM crusade

by Christine Louis-Dit-Sully

"[N]obody wants to ask the very obvious question: is it possible that the reason for the absence of prosecutions for FGM in the UK is because there is nobody to prosecute? One would think that a factual assessment of the prevalence of a problem would be necessary before one thinks about finding a solution. But not for FGM. ... With no actual evidence that 65,000 girls in the UK are at risk of FGM, campaigners turn to France, where a relatively successful anti-FGM campaign has been waged for several decades. Indeed, over the past 35 years, there have been 43 trials and 100 successful convictions. Yet there is a backstory here that is rarely told. The anti-FGM campaign in France, far from being unambiguously progressive, is intimately linked with state anti-immigration policies. As a result, the French anti-FGM campaign further isolates and criminalises one of the most vulnerable sections of French society: the non-EU immigrant population, especially black Africans." (04/16/15)


The incoherence of the mixed economy

Foundation for Economic Education
by Sandy Ikeda

"We tend to think of the unhampered competitive market and collectivist central planning as polar opposites. And they are indeed opposites in fundamental ways. There is, however, one crucial feature that the free market and collectivism have in common: logical coherence. But what does this mean for the mixed economy?" (04/16/15)


God and man at work (and not)

Unqualified Offerings
by Jim Henley

"My friend Gene Callahan and I disagree less on marriage equality than on the validity of the 'religious freedom' arguments currently being put about. Here I'm not interested in the whole dispute, but a piece of it: his prediction of how religious traditionalists will be forced to attend same-sex marriages, not eventually but soon. In a follow-up post he argues, correctly in my view, against the narrow, libertarian conception of 'force' as involving only violence, particularly by the government. For that reason, I want to take the implications of his prediction on its own terms. I'll start by saying that the next time an employer pressures me to attend a wedding will be the first time. During three decades of working life I've held every position from store clerk to corporate VP and it's never happened." (04/16/15)


Income tax withholding: Involuntary servitude and self incrimination

Reformed Libertarian
by Brian Jacobson

"The income tax system with its refund is really brilliant the way it makes people think they made money. However big your tax return is (aside from deductions) it only means you loaned money to the government at 0.00% interest by overpaying your taxes. Either way there is a good chance you spent a great deal of unwanted time filling out forms, finding tax services, searching for lost receipts and papers, and generally just staring confusedly at government forms. According to the IRS itself the average person who fills out a 1040 tax form (68% of us) spent 13-22 hours trying to comply with, file, and pay taxes." (04/15/15)


Students unsure whether anatomical models are appropriate at Johns Hopkins

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education
by Susan Kruth

"For three decades, the North Baltimore Pro-Life Study Group has set up a display of anatomical models of fetal development as part of Johns Hopkins University's (JHU's) annual Spring Fair. This year, however, JHU's Arts and Crafts Committee decided to disallow the display because it 'contains triggering and disturbing images and content.' Thankfully, after pushback from student Andrew Guernsey, president of the student group Voice for Life, the Committee reversed its decision. But as Guernsey points out in emails to the student government, speakers on campus may still be subject to policies that can be used to censor a broad range of speech -- despite JHU's written commitments to free expression." (04/15/15)


The killing initiative

by Binoy Kampmark

"The world of private defence contractors, the modern version of the fabled Condottiere without the flags and the city-state veneration, received a blow with the handing down of stiff sentences on four former Blackwater operatives. Last year, the four in question, part of Blackwater’s Support Team Raven 23, were convicted in the Washington, D.C. federal court for killing 17 Iraqis in Baghdad’s Nisour square in 2007. The sentences of Paul A. Slough, Dustin L. Heard, Nicholas A. Slatten, and Evans S. Liberty, damn a certain form of warfare, but they do not reverse it." (04/16/15)


GMO apples: Another frankenfood or a great innovation?

The Daily Bell
by Shannara Johnson

"In February 2015, the USDA approved Arctic[TM] apples created by Canada-based Okanagan Specialty Fruits (OSF) for sale in the US this year. What's so special about these apples is that they won't brown for days after they're sliced—ostensibly a great boon for consumers. And an even greater boon for the food service industry, which since its inception has apparently been gnashing its collective teeth at Mother Nature for having the audacity to insert a beauty stain like browning into an otherwise perfectly good piece of produce. GMO-wary consumers aren't buying it, though." (04/16/15)


Busy week in Congress on a number of tax bills

National Center for Policy Analysis
by Pamela Villareal

"Even the most ardent supporters of taxing the rich are starting to realize that the estate tax is more bother than its worth. For one thing, it doesn't really target the very wealthy as much as it does those who are less wealthy but have planned their estates in order to pay as little of it as possible. ... As for H.R. 622, making permanent the state and local sales tax deduction, it is a good policy on the surface since it would give state and local sales taxes the same permanent status as the state income tax deduction. However, neither state income tax nor state sales tax deductions are good fiscal policy." (04/15/15)


Iraq 2.0: The REAL reason hawks oppose the Iran deal

Cato Institute
by Justin Logan

"The reason we're having this peculiar debate instead of the one I've described above is that doves and hawks have trapped each other in the mass politics of the issue. There is a very good chance that blowing up the talks would buy the United States a non-refundable one-way ticket to another major war in the Middle East, something that no American politician with any sense wants to own. Similarly, hawks have a good line to use on doves. Any diplomatic agreement will leave opportunities for Iran -- a regime rightly seen as wily and creative in its diplomacy -- to cheat. Americans do not trust Iran, and do fear cheating." (04/16/15)


Why we should believe candidates’ foreign policy pledges

The American Conservative
by Daniel Larison

"When it comes to foreign policy pledges, it is usually a safe bet that a candidate will at least try to fulfill the most prominent ones that he makes as a candidate. Indeed, a candidate sometimes ends up boxing himself in by making very firm commitments during the campaign that are then used to pressure him to act accordingly once in office. Instead of Obama's lip service about renegotiating NAFTA, consider his repeated arguments as a candidate that the war in Afghanistan was the 'good' war that needed the resources that had been mistakenly diverted to Iraq. Obama's later decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan was entirely in keeping with his previous campaign rhetoric, and the rhetoric made that decision harder to avoid once Obama was president. I submit that Republican candidates' promises to scrap the nuclear deal are more like this than they are like Obama's half-hearted pandering to Midwestern workers on trade almost twenty years after NAFTA was approved." (04/16/15)


The economic means and the political means

The Libertarian Alliance
by Neil Lock

"What Oppenheimer is telling us is that using the economic means is very different from using the political means. For, think what happens when we buy shoddy goods or services in a free market. If we don't like what we get, we can look for, and at need switch to, another supplier next time. Better, even if we don't ourselves go so far as changing supplier, other people switching will give our supplier a strong incentive to clean up its act. But when the state provides shoddy tax funded services -- like justice or education -- then often it's impossible to switch. And even when the state doesn't actually prohibit competitors from providing a similar service, it's still hard to change to non-state suppliers." (04/16/15)


What the left wants from Hillary

The Atlantic
by Russell Berman

"If Clinton hopes to excite liberals, she'll have to embrace their priorities." (04/16/15)


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