Today's Edition


Greece: Tsipras to form anti-bailout government after big victory


"Greek leftwing leader Alexis Tsipras struck a deal with a right-wing party to form a government to confront international lenders and reverse years of painful austerity following a crushing election victory by his Syriza party. The success of the anti-bailout party reignites fears of a new financial troubles in the country that set off the regional crisis in 2009. It is also the first time a member of the 19-nation euro zone will be led by a party rejecting German-backed austerity, emboldening anti-austerity movements elsewhere." [editor's note: The definition of "austerity" used in mainstream political talk these last few years seems to be "not spending more money than you have," as if solvency was a bad thing; and of course its opponents don't at all mind forcing REAL "austerity" on tax PAYERS. Their sympathies are with the tax SPENDERS - TLK] (01/26/15)


Yemen: US drone terrorists kill three

New York Times

"Tribal leaders and security officials in Yemen say the U.S. has carried out its first drone strike in the country since its president resigned. They say the strike Monday on a vehicle in an area called Hareib, located between the provinces of Marib and Shabwa, killed three suspected al-Qaida militants." (01/26/15)


Egypt: Police murder at least three while suppressing uprising anniversary protests

Houston Chronicle

"Egypt tightened security in Cairo and other cities Sunday as police moved to break up scattered protests marking the anniversary of the 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak, killing three protesters, injuring at least 21 and arresting dozens. ... The protests and the stepped-up security came as activists mourned the death of a female protester shot Saturday in downtown Cairo while taking part in a gathering commemorating the nearly 900 protesters killed in the 2011 revolt." (01/25/15)


Philippines: Hunt for terror suspect leaves 27 police dead after rebel clash

Sydney Morning Herald [Australia]

"At least 30 people were killed in heavy fighting between police and Muslim rebels in the Philippines on Sunday, military and local officials said, threatening a year-old peace agreement and shattering a ceasefire that held for three years. ... Under the deal, brokered by Malaysia, the Moro rebels were to surrender their weapons and disband after the government had set up a new autonomous government in the south and granted the Muslim minority wider economic and political power. But Sunday's clashes, which lasted nearly 12 hours near Mamasapano town, Maguindanao, are likely to be a major setback in the implementation of the deal as Philippine Congress deliberates a new law on Muslim autonomy." (01/26/15)


Ukraine: Poroshenko says phone calls prove rebels attacked city, killed 30

Beloit Daily News

"Ukraine's president said Sunday that intercepted radio and telephone conversations prove that Russia-backed separatists were responsible for firing the rockets that pounded the southeastern city of Mariupol and killed at least 30 people. The attack on Mariupol, a strategically situated port city that had been relatively quiet for months, alarmed the West and looked likely further to aggravate relations with Russia." (01/25/15)


WHO adopts reforms to repair reputation after bungling Ebola

Watertown Public Opinion

"The World Health Organization has proposed reforms that could overhaul its structure after botching the response to the biggest-ever Ebola outbreak, a sluggish performance that experts say cost thousands of lives. On Sunday, several dozen of WHO's member countries approved a resolution aimed at strengthening the U.N. health agency's ability to respond to emergencies, though many of the details have yet to be worked out and it's unclear what concrete changes will result." (01/25/15)


New York braces for blizzard

New York Times

"Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that the storm approaching on Monday was likely to be one of the biggest to ever strike New York City, and he urged people to stay indoors to avoid powerful winds, low visibility and “treacherous” road conditions. The National Weather Service, which issued a blizzard warning for the greater New York City area, forecast gusts of wind up to 50 miles per hour and snow accumulation of 'at least one to two feet.' But Mr. de Blasio said the storm could bring up to three feet of snow, beginning with flurries late Monday morning, and that the heaviest snowfall would probably come Monday night into Tuesday morning." (01/25/15)


Zambia: Lungu sworn in as new president

Roanoke Times World

"Edgar Lungu was sworn in as Zambia's new president Sunday. 'I am humbled eternally and debted to you all, my fellow citizens,' said Lungu at the inauguration ceremony. 'The bottom line is that we want the country to go foward and to banish poverty in our midst.'" (01/25/15)


New Horizons NASA probe begins photography of Pluto

Chicago Chronicle

"A NASA probe called New Horizons is to start photographing the icy world of Pluto from 200-million km away, after travelling 5-billion km over the course of nine years to get near the dwarf planet. The historic mission to Pluto is being billed as the last great encounter in planetary exploration of our Solar System and will be the first opportunity of its kind for scientists to study the furthest planet in the Solar System up close." (01/26/15)


OH: No 1040 for 94-year-old vet; IRS says he’s dead

Fox News

"There is a 94-year-old World War II vet in Ohio who just wants to pay his taxes but can't because the IRS says he’s dead. Siegfried Meinstein has been unable to convince the IRS he is alive, living in an assisted living facility near Columbus, Ohio. The IRS has told the nonagenarian it can’t process his tax return because their records indicate he is deceased. 'It isn’t really a problem in my daily life,' Meinstein told the Columbus Dispatch Friday. 'Everybody accepts my money.' The issue with IRS has also prompted some good natured ribbing from his son." [editor's note: And this is a problem because ...? - SAT] (01/25/15)


All eyes on Fed, Greece after ECB fires bazooka


"After the surprises from central banks which rocked markets at the start of the year, the U.S. Federal Reserve will be watched as closely as ever this week to see that it doesn't stray from its own policy path. The atmosphere will already be tense as the fallout from Sunday's snap election in Greece settles and concern has grown in some quarters that central banks, which played such a big part in guiding economies through the financial crisis, are becoming less predictable." (01/25/15)


ND: Low oil prices chill a once-hot town

Christian Science Monitor

"An empty strip of gravel (lined with streetlights and unused utility hookups) runs next to the highway, south of the once-booming oil town of Crosby, ND. A few years ago, city officials anticipated oil field companies and other businesses would fill up the 230-acre strip. The city spent $1.7 million on the land, with another $9 million coming from state oil impact grants. There was talk of 300 housing units popping up in the fields behind the commercial street. The former mayor said the 1,300-person town was preparing to potentially double or triple in size. But there is only one building along the road today." (01/25/15)


Obama announces nuclear breakthrough on landmark India trip


"In a glow of bonhomie, U.S. President Barack Obama and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled a deal aimed at unlocking billions of dollars in nuclear trade, a step that both sides hope will help establish an enduring strategic partnership. The two countries reached an understanding on two issues that, despite a groundbreaking 2006 agreement, had stopped U.S. companies from setting up reactors in India and became one of the major irritants in bilateral ties." (01/25/15)


MIT scientist: Global warming believers “like a hysterical cult”

The Daily Mail [UK]

"Climate change alarmists have been likened to a fanatical 'cult' by an MIT professor of meteorology. Dr Richard Lindzen told a Massachusetts-based radio station that people who believe in global warming are becoming more hysterical in their arguments. 'As with any cult, once the mythology of the cult begins falling apart, instead of saying, oh, we were wrong, they get more and more fanatical,' he said." (01/23/15)


SC: Homeowner tells officers that he fatally shot an intruder

WYFF 4 News

"On Saturday, at about 11:54 p.m., officers with the Simpsonville Police Department responded to 911 calls from 106 Stonegate Road in reference to a possible gunshot wound victim. ... Deputy Coroner Jeff Fowler has identified the deceased man as 51-year-old John Michael Ferrell, also of Simpsonville. The homeowner told police that he shot the subject after he attacked him and broke into his residence." (01/25/15)


Study: People on psychedelics more emotionally healthy, less suicidal


"For centuries, shamans and healers have been using psychedelics in sacramental rituals in the belief that the substances have healing qualities and can lead to meaningful spiritual experiences. It turns out contemporary science may back these ancient claims. A new study conducted by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health found that participants who took controlled doses of 'classic' psychedelics (magic mushrooms, DMT, mescaline and LSD) had significantly reduced incidences of suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and psychological distress in the long term. The study, published recently in the Journal of Pharmacology, analyzed data from an annual survey conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health that measures substance abuse in relation to mental illness." [editor's note: Anyone who's done them could tell you that - SAT] (01/23/15)


Winklevoss twins, in latest attention-whore scheme, seek to destroy Bitcoin

San Francisco Chronicle

"Bitcoin, the virtual currency that was once the talk of the financial world, has been taking a beating over the past year with the price tumbling. Now two of the biggest boosters of the virtual currency, Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, are trying to firm up support by creating the first regulated bitcoin exchange for American customers -- what they are calling the Nasdaq of bitcoin." [editor's note: You may remember the Winklevoss twins; they're the ones who managed to parlay a frivolous lawsuit against Facebook into fame and a $65 million payoff - TLK] (01/24/15)


Nigeria: Boko Haram attacks key city of Maiduguri

BBC News [UK state media]

"Fighters from the Islamist militant group Boko Haram have launched an attack on the key city of Maiduguri in north-eastern Nigeria. Fierce fighting was reported on the outskirts. The military is carrying out air strikes, and a curfew is in place. Maiduguri is home to tens of thousands of people who have fled Boko Haram attacks and was visited on Saturday by President Goodluck Jonathan." (01/25/15)


Security theater: Planes diverted, searched over tweets

Atlanta Journal-Constitution

"Passengers on two Atlanta-bound airliners got a scare Saturday when 'credible' bomb threats sent via social media prompted the military to scramble fighter jets to escort the planes to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, but searches by a police bomb squad and the FBI turned up nothing threatening. ... FBI spokesman Stephen Emmett told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that NORAD scrambled military fighter jets to escort the two planes to Atlanta after the threats were made. The FBI confirmed that the threats were made via Twitter." (01/24/15)


Jury tampering slows Boston Marathon, Colorado theater cases

ABC News

"The process of finding 'death qualified' jurors has slowed down jury selection in [the] federal case against [Dzhokhar] Tsarnaev, who is charged with setting off two bombs that killed three people and injured more than 260 during the 2013 marathon. It is expected to do the same in the state trial of James Holmes, the man accused of killing 12 people and injuring 70 others in a suburban Denver movie theater in 2012. The process is designed to weed out jurors who have strong feelings for or against the death penalty." (01/25/15)



Free Thoughts Podcast, 01/26/15

"Mark Calabria joins us for a discussion on federal housing policy and homeownership in America. What political forces helped create our modern housing policy?" [Flash audio or MP3] (01/26/15)


What are libertarians out to accomplish?

Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman

"Branden’s observation about the use of words that nonlibertarians don't understand is important. Among ourselves, 'statist' is the severest term of condemnation. But who else gets that? We need to pay more attention to what we say. For example, when we talk about decentralizing power, which of course is a good thing, we must not forget that many people reasonably associate local authority with slavery, Jim Crow, and lynching with impunity, and central authority with the abolition of those evils. That doesn't mean we should abandon the idea, only that we should think carefully about how we explain it. Let's make sure people hear what we say. If our goal is to persuade others of the value of freedom, it's a mistake to assume that any confusion is the listener's problem. It's our problem." (01/23/15)


Are you good enough for freedom?

The Libertarian Enterprise
by L Neil Smith

"I saw a bumper sticker being advertised the other day, meant for the time when Barack Obama finally leaves office, that simply said "The End Of An Error". Although I fully appreciate and heartily sympathize with the sentiment, I fundamentally disagree with it. One only needs a glance at the platter of evil, stupid, and insane choices that the Republican Party plans to offer the American public in the next general election, to realize that they are the political equivalent of Michelle Obama's school lunches, boring. insipid, and unsavory. In my despair, a thought struck me that I have resisted all of my life. I do not believe in elites." (01/25/15)


The rampant oppression of children

Christine Smith's Blog
by Christine Smith

"Few children escape the horrors of this so called civilized society with its false premises and demands inflicted upon children from the start ... and without a loving (freedom based) family, where does a child turn but to one of either two paths: 1. Rebellion or 2. Acceptance. Most, choose number two and thus the pathetic sorry excuses of families we see, pathetic excuses of men and women, pathetic excuses of human beings ... as for those who rebel -- we find a combination of asocial and antisocial behaviors -- which in the end suffer the rebel but also (and sometimes quite significantly) those who either directly or indirectly harmed said child. The anger and rage may be displaced toward those seemingly not a part of his life, but nonetheless, I view all who condone this sick society as responsible." (01/25/15)


No free lunch, no free college

Students For Liberty
by Cory Massimino

"While the government has attempted to make college more affordable, the actual policies have done the exact opposite. The endless trough of financial aid artificially increases the demand for college without increasing the supply. Did the notion that more demand without more supply leads to higher prices ever occur to Obama? Or did he just sleep through his economics classes? His plan to provide even more subsidies to the already over subsidized college industry is like ... well it’s like the government stubbornly throwing money at a sector of the economy and expecting it to help consumers. There is no other comparison because it is the stupidest, most widespread economic policy that plagued America for 150 years." (01/23/15)


The KN@PP Stir Podcast, 01/25/15

The KN@PP Stir Podcast

"In this episode: Fifteen minutes of discussion of 'The Brad Spangler Affair' by a guy who's had maybe eight hours of sleep in the last 60 hours. You won't enjoy this podcast, so feel free to not listen to it. Trigger warning: Non-graphic discussion of child molestation." [Flash audio or MP3] (01/25/15)


Democrats: Listen To Senator Whitehouse on education

Our Future
by Jeff Bryant

"A curious thing happened this week on Capital Hill: A politician said something about education that made sense. The 'something' didn’t come from President Obama. In the president’s annual State of the Union address, 'K-12 policy largely took a back seat,' Education Week’s Alyson Klein observed. Indeed, the issue was barely in the car. ... The sensible message came out in a Senate committee hearing the next day. The hearing was conducted by the Committee on Health, Labor, Education and Pensions, and the subject at hand was 'Fixing No Child Left Behind: Testing and Accountability.'" (01/23/15)


Games road pirates play

Pro Libertate
by William Norman Grigg

"David Conner, a 43-year-old resident of Redding, California, will spend at least three years in a government cage in Idaho because a State Trooper in Oregon spied an open can of Monster energy drink in Conner's rental car. The presence of that foul but perfectly legal concoction, Trooper Ryan Mills insisted, is an 'indicator' of criminal activity. The trooper also considered it suspicious that Conner was making a long trip in a rented car during the middle of the week. Owing to his 'experience and training,' Mills insisted during his January 22nd testimony in Conner's trial, he simply knew that Conner 'wasn't just driving to grandma's house.'" (02/26/15)


“Former libertarian” rages against Libertarian Party “terrorists”

Dallas Libertarian Examiner
by Garry Reed

"Just what gave Hamilton such a stark raving hate-on for the LP? In his own words: 'I fell victim to the persuasive tactics used in order to get me away from the Republican Party to become a member, and eventually a Congressional candidate, of the Libertarian Party.' If he misunderstood libertarianism that's on him; if he was purposely defrauded about libertarianism he has every right to strike back at the people he thinks defrauded him. But he actually gives his own game away when he reports this: 'I have gone back to the Republican Party.'" (01/24/15)


Slandering Ron Paul
by Justin Raimondo

"In the midst of his polemic against Ron Paul and the concept of 'blowback' as the progenitor of Islamist terrorism, Kevin D. Williamson, writing in National Review Online, avers I'm 'an intelligent man' -- but after reading his jeremiad, I'm not sure I can return the compliment." (01/26/15)


Libertarian Question Time, 01/25/15

Libertarian Alliance

"The following is the first episode of the Libertarian Alliance’s new online debate series. This pilot episode lasts approximately 30 minutes." [Flash audio] (01/25/15)


“Capital punishment” is murder. Here’s why

Kent's "Hooligan Libertarian" Blog
by Kent McManigal

"The reason a State death penalty is murder seems to be lost on some people. Killing someone who is currently attacking or violating private property is not murder. It is self defense. If self defense fails and the victim is murdered, it is still OK -- or wonderful, even -- if the attacker is killed at the time and place of the attack by a bystander since the assumption that everyone around is still in mortal danger would be reasonable. If no one happened to be there to kill the attacker at the scene, killing him is then off the table, ethically. Killing that same person later -- when they are no longer an imminent threat -- is a revenge murder." (01/24/15)


Day out of days

J Neil Schulman @ Rational Review
by J Neil Schulman

"The old phrase 'feels like someone’s walking on my grave' came to mind in the past 48 hours when I read news about the writer/director of an indie film in production, Gray State, being found dead in his home, along with his wife and five-year-old daughter, in what local Minnesota police are calling 'suspicious circumstances.' The physical circumstances in which David Crowley and his family were found dead, apparently undiscovered for weeks, suggests David Crowley of Apple Valley, MN, murdered his wife and daughter then took his own life." (01/23/15)


Ukraine ceasefire: A farce, with Putin the author

by Lucian Kim

"On Sunday morning I took part in a panel discussion on relations between Russia and the European Union. As the rest of Berlin was still getting out of bed, more than a hundred people turned up for the event, mostly elderly Germans who will never forget the trauma and shame of World War II. One after another, members of the audience stood up, calling for a return to 'the politics of peace,' to compromise, and to dialogue. Nobody in Europe wants war, I replied, surprised that such words even needed pronouncing." (01/23/15)


Will the last capitalist please turn off the lights when you leave

Zero Gov
by Bill Buppert

"What is a private business? It is a method of trading products and services for wealth to generate profits to enrich the owners and workers in the enterprise and additionally seed the investment, growth and expansion of the business. What is the business of government and politicians? To earn wealth and establish punitive control over individual transactions with no merit whatsoever; in other words, to employ the monopoly powers of violence to enrich the few at the expense of the many." (01/23/15)


An Iran deal is nothing to fear

by Steve Chapman

"Pondering the looming specter of a nuclear-armed Iran, some Americans are deeply worried that we won't reach a deal to block that possibility. Some people have a different fear: that we will." (01/25/15)


My disquiet at obligation to others without liberty

Libertarian Alliance
by Neil Lock

"David is bothered by a view of liberty that some profess, which he describes as 'tossing aside all obligations to one another.' I share his disquiet. And so, I suspect, would almost anyone who identifies as liberal or libertarian. Indeed, it is amply clear to me that every human being has certain obligations or duties to others. And that to meet those is the sine qua non of civilized behaviour. What I don’t find so easy, however, is to grasp what David thinks those specific obligations should be." (01/25/15)


A Republican Sister Souljah fantasy

The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"This weekend, no fewer than eight potential Republican presidential candidates, along with some party media stars like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Donald Trump, will head to Des Moines for the Iowa Freedom Summit, an event organized by anti-immigrant nincompoop and member of the U.S. House of Representatives Steve King. In my Plum Line Post today, I wondered what might happen if one of those candidates decided to do something unexpected: What if one of those eight candidates got up at this event and said, 'Representative King, I appreciate you inviting me here, but I’m going to have to be honest and tell you that you and people who think like you do are killing this party that we all love.'" (01/23/15)


Foreigner Day

by Bryan Caplan

"Robin Hanson proposed a Capital Day to complement Labor Day. In that spirit, I suggest a Foreigner Day to complement the world's ubiquitous National Days and Independence Days." (01/24/15)


The path from defiance to compliance

Daily Anarchist
by Stephen White

"Think of the beliefs you have which you hold most dear. How much will it cost for you to change those beliefs? Will you change them for a title? Will you change them for prestige? Will you change them for riches? We would like you to be compliant and obedient, so tell us what it will take for you to change those beliefs?" (01/24/15)


Saudi Arabia: New leader, same medieval state

Cato Institute
by Emma Ashford

"The death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah, though not unexpected, caused a spike in oil prices, and a frenzied interest in the succession process and the future rulers of Saudi Arabia, owing much to the state’s outsized role in global markets and Middle Eastern affairs. The succession was in fact painless. But the process highlights the archaic nature of the Saudi regime, and should prompt us to think more closely about why the United States still regards Saudi Arabia as one of its closest allies, despite the nation’s objectionable domestic politics and its foreign meddling." (01/23/15)


Pelosi’s Syrian trip vs. Boehner’s Bibi invite

San Francisco Chronicle
by Debra J. Saunders

"'I don’t believe I’m poking anyone in the eye,' House Speaker John Boehner asserted Wednesday. That was after his speakership told the media that he had invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak before a joint session of Congress about 'the grave threats radical Islam and Iran pose to our security and way of life.' Of course it was a poke in the eye. Boehner admitted he did not consult with the White House before inviting Bibi. ... House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said the invitation was 'out of order.' ... The irony here is that Pelosi was in a similar position in 2007 when she met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad." (01/23/15)


Are falling prices a bad thing?

Independent Institute
by Randall Holcombe

"Popular opinion seems to be that falling prices -- or even stable prices -- are bad for the economy, but I've never seen any good arguments about why." (01/22/15)


Jim Lobe on The Scott Horton Show

The Scott Horton Show

"Jim Lobe, chief of the Washington bureau of IPS News, discusses Republican House Speaker John Boehner's protocol-breaching invitation for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address a joint session of Congress -- conveniently timed to bolster Netanyahu's reelection chances and sabotage an Iranian nuclear deal." [Flash audio or MP3] (01/23/15)


A child’s first exposure to protestors

Liberty Blitzkrieg
by The Dissident Dad

"My wife and I had been looking for something to do, and ultimately decided to take a tour of the Capitol building, have a picnic on the grass, and stroll around downtown Austin. Little did we know a planned protest was scheduled, which filled up the State Capitol building with fellow anarchists and libertarians, as well as plenty of communists, socialists, and black power enthusiasts. My kids asked what was going on. There was yelling, a higher than normal police presence (although nothing like we've seen in other cities), and people running around with large signs. My instinctive reaction was a mix between annoyance and anger." (01/22/15)


Obama seeks more double taxation and job-killing taxes in State of the Union address

Competitive Enterprise Institute
by Hans Bader

"In his State of the Union Address, President Obama called for tax increases on the wealthy, such as by increasing the top tax rate on capital gains and dividends, and by imposing what is effectively double taxation on inheritances (by imposing both estate taxes and capital gains taxes on the very same asset). Obama also wants to tax the not-so-wealthy, such as taxing many college savings plans. Double taxation would also increase due to the tax increases on dividends proposed by Obama, since companies pay income taxes on their earnings before paying them out to investors as dividends." (01/22/15)


Big tax bills for the poor, tiny ones for the rich

In These Times
by David Sirota

"American politics are [sic] dominated by those with money. As such, America’s tax debate is dominated by voices that insist the rich are unduly persecuted by high taxes and that low-income folks are living the high life. Indeed, a new survey by the Pew Research Center recently found that the most financially secure Americans believe 'poor people today have it easy.' The rich are certainly entitled to their own opinions -- but, as the old saying goes, nobody is entitled to their own facts. With that in mind, here’s a set of tax facts worth considering: Middle-and low-income Americans are facing far higher state and local tax rates than the wealthy." (01/23/15)


Cheap gas

The Cagle Post
by John Darkow

Cartoon. (01/23/15)


The private equity boom, easy money, and crony capitalism

Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Brendan Brown

"Amongst the big winners from the Obama Fed’s Great Monetary Experiment has been the private equity industry. Indeed this went through a near-death experience in the Great Panic (2008) before its savior -- Fed quantitative easing -- propelled it forward into new riches. There is no surprise therefore that its barons who join the political stage (think of the last Republican presidential candidate) have no interest in monetary reform. And the same attitude is common amongst leading politicians who hope private equity will provide them high-paid jobs when they quit Washington." (01/24/15)


It’s the absence of markets that causes poverty

Adam Smith Institute
by Tim Worstall

"What’s being looked at is that horrible, $1 a day, poverty that far too many of our fellow humans are stuck in. The big question being, well, are they stuck there because of the way that markets operate? Perhaps 'the market' means they can’t get enough fertiliser for example. Or is it that markets simply do not exist and thus they cannot reap the benefits of the division and specialisation of labour and the subsequent trade in the increased production? The answer appears to be the absence of markets rather than any failure in them. Which leads to an interesting thought about what should be the right way to aid them." (01/24/15)


Obama not waging war on stay-at-home mothers

The Nation Blog
by Bryce Covert

"It’s a war. It’s playing favorites. It’s harmful and divisive. Conservatives have heard President Obama’s proposal to increase the Child Tax Credit and give working parents an extra bonus and have decided he thinks, in Tim Carney’s words, 'Moms who stay at home with their children are less valuable than moms who work for pay.' Some might say that this tax credit is piddling. Under Obama’s plan, parents would get an extra $3,000 a year to cover childcare, a service that costs more than three times that. But conservatives are miffed that families with one earner and one stay-at-home caretaker get penalized because they can’t get that credit. What they don’t mention, however, is that families modeled after the 1950s vision of one working parent and one staying at home get plenty of tax preferences." (01/24/15)


Boris: The only Brit allowed to point a gun at the Islamic State

by Brendan O'Neill

"If you’re a Brit and you’re planning on taking up guns against the Islamic State, make sure you have blonde hair, a suit and tie, and that your gun-pointing at IS forces is an ironic photo op -- everyone will lap it up. Don’t, whatever you do, be a Kurdish teenager from north London who takes aim at IS actually to try to kill some of them, and in the process to protect Kurdish life and liberty, for then you risk being treated as a criminal. That’s the lesson from the past week." (01/23/15)


“The NRA is facing disaster.”

The Price of Liberty
by MamaLiberty

"As most readers here already know, I am no longer a member of the NRA, even though I continue as an NRA Certified instructor. The idea that they would even entertain the nomination of a sworn enemy to the board is reason to think that the NRA has finally outlived any possible use to the rational gun owning public. But I hope I’m wrong." (01/24/15)


Heartland Daily Podcast, 01/23/15

Heartland Institute

"Lpic_giant_051414_SM_The-Right-to-Try 2indsay Boyd, policy director at the Beacon Center of Tennessee, discusses ‘Right to Try’ legislation that has been introduced in Tennessee and elsewhere, and already passed in five states. Under ‘Right to Try,’ patients with a terminal illness are able, with their doctor, obtain medicines that have passed the FDA’s phase one clinical trials for safety but haven’t yet passed phases two and three, which test the efficacy of new drugs." [Flash video] (01/23/15)


Britons: You have 72 hours to stop the Snooper’s Charter

Electronic Frontier Foundation
by Danny O'Brien

"Directly after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, we cautioned the public and politicians to be 'wary of any attempt to rush through new surveillance and law enforcement powers.' With depressing predictability, we've already seen that happen across the continent. Nowhere, however, has the attempt to bypass democratic debate been more blatant than in the United Kingdom, where a handful of unelected peers has taken the language of an old and discredited Internet surveillance proposal, and attempted to slam it, at outrageously short notice, into the wording of a near-complete counter-terrorism bill. The result is that, unless you take action to warn Britain's House of Lords in time for the debate on Monday, there is a good chance that Britain will pass the infamous Snooper's Charter into law with barely any oversight." (01/23/15)


Self-interest and social order in classical liberalism: Bernard Mandeville v. Francis Hutcheson
by George H Smith

"Those many classical liberals who upheld the natural sociability of man did not deny that self-interested considerations played a role in the early history of societies; but they also maintained that humans have a natural propensity -- or instinct, as it was sometimes called -- to interact with other humans, and that the benefits accruing from this interaction were not foreseen or designed by the participants. Explicit calculations of personal utility occurred only after societies had been formed, for only then were people able to experience the benefits of social life and subsequently strive to maintain the conditions, such as justice, that made those benefits possible." (01/23/15)


St. Louis ridesharing update: MTC still dragging its feet

Show-Me Institute
by Joseph Miller

"Ridesharing has had a bumpy ride in the Saint Louis area. The Metropolitan Taxicab Commission (MTC) strictly regulates the number of cabs, the prices they can charge, and even minutiae like the color scheme of taxis. It is a regulatory system marked by parochial, top-down control. So when Lyft began operating in the metropolitan area without the permission of the MTC last year, the official response was hostile. Police ticketed Lyft drivers, and the company was forced to cease its Saint Louis operations. The bright spot for residents hoping to use ridesharing was Uber's entry into the Saint Louis market. By negotiating with regional power brokers, such as Mayor Slay and the MTC, Uber was able to secure regulatory changes that would allow it to operate its expensive black car service, which launched last October. Unfortunately, the relaxation in regulation was only very slight, and the MTC still firmly regulates taxi operations in the Saint Louis area." (01/22/15)


Saudi Arabia’s tyrant king misremembered as man of peace

The Intercept
by Murtaza Hussain

"In a statement last night Senator John McCain eulogized Abdullah as 'a vocal advocate for peace, speaking out against violence in the Middle East.' John Kerry described the late monarch as 'a brave partner in fighting violent extremism' and 'a proponent of peace.' Not to be outdone, Vice President Joe Biden released a statement mourning Abdullah and announced that he would be personally leading a presidential delegation to offer condolences on his passing. It’s not often that the unelected leader of a country which publicly flogs dissidents and beheads people for sorcery wins such glowing praise from American officials. Even more perplexing, perhaps, have been the fawning obituaries in the mainstream press which have faithfully echoed this characterization of Abdullah as a benign and well-intentioned man of peace." (01/23/15)


Cliches of Progressivism #41 — “Rockefeller’s Standard Oil proved that we needed anti-trust laws”

Foundation for Economic Education
by Lawrence W Reed

"Among the great misconceptions about a free economy is the widely-held belief that 'laissez faire' embodies a natural tendency toward monopoly concentration. Under unfettered capitalism, so goes the familiar refrain, large firms would systematically devour smaller ones, corner markets, and stamp out competition until every inhabitant of the land fell victim to their power. Supposedly, John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Company of the late 1800s gave substance to this perspective." (01/23/15)


My future in prison

by Kathy Kelly

"In December, 2014, Judge Matt Whitworth sentenced me to three months in federal prison after Georgia Walker and I had attempted to deliver a loaf of bread and a letter to the commander of Whiteman Air Force base, asking him to stop his troops from piloting lethal drone flights over Afghanistan from within the base. Judge Whitworth allowed me over a month to surrender myself to prison; but whether you are a soldier or a civilian, a target or an unlucky bystander, you can’t surrender to a drone." (01/23/15)


Indefinite detention: A hallmark of tyranny

Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

"As in Egypt, the U.S. national-security state stayed silent about what those tyrants in Iran, Guatemala, and Chile were doing. And why not? Not only were they flooding those tyrannical regimes with U.S. foreign aid, the U.S. military and the CIA were actually helping train the tyrants’ military and police forces in the art of indefinite incarceration, torture, and assassination, including at military training centers like the School of the Americas. Look at the U.S. national-security state’s prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Yes, they also engage in indefinite incarceration and torture because, like their Egyptian counterparts, they believe in indefinite incarceration and torture. Al-Qazzaz should count himself lucky. His 588 days in jail without charges pale compared to 13 years of no charges or trial for the U.S. national-security state’s prisoners at Gitmo." (01/23/15)


The Great Iran Debate
by Justin Raimondo

"[N]ot since the war of 1812, when the New England Federalists sided with Great Britain against their own government, has a fifth column wielded such power in this country. As President Obama seeks to avoid war with Iran -- what would amount to World War III in terms of its military and economic consequences -- the fifth columnists in our midst, ensconced in some of the highest councils of government, are actively undermining his efforts to avoid catastrophe. Unlike subversives of the past, however, who hid their treason in pumpkin patches and took cover in the darkest corners of the State, these proclaim their allegiance to a foreign government quite openly." (01/23/15)


America’s growth industry: Probation and parole

The Daily Bell
by Wendy McElroy

"The true and staggering rate of incarceration in America is masked by the unconventional cages that are rarely factored into the head count. Many people are caged in an unconventional manner for trivial and nonviolent offenses such as driving without a license or for shoplifting inexpensive items like food. Their number is swelling for one basic reason: They increase revenue. Increasingly, the revenue does not come from tax dollars but from the offenders themselves who are forced to pay for the privilege of being caged." (01/22/15)


Visions of progress: Henry George vs. Jane Jacobs

Foundation for Economic Education
by Sandy Ikeda

"For those who might not know, Henry George is the late-19th-century American intellectual best known for his proposal of a 'single tax' from which he believed the government could finance all its projects. He advocated eliminating all taxes except that on the rent of the unimproved portion of land. He viewed that rent as unjust and solely the result of general economic progress unrelated to the actions of landowners. Jane Jacobs, writing about one hundred years later, is an American intellectual best known for her harsh and incisive criticism of the heavy-handed urban planning of her day." (01/22/15)


The troops are destroying our country

Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

"The mindset that is common to U.S. troops serving overseas is that they are all doing it for America, for us, for our rights and freedoms, for our safety and security. They'll all tell you that they are doing it because they love their country. There's one big problem with that mindset, however. The truth is that the troops, through what they're doing over there, are indirectly destroying our country, our rights and freedoms, our safety and security, and our economic well-being." (01/22/15)


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