Today's Edition


| Commentary

Ireland braces for vote on ending marriage apartheid

USA Today USA Today

"A day before this staunchly Catholic country votes Friday on a national referendum on same-sex marriage, 'Yes' campaign signs are prevalent throughout this city. ... Polls have been projecting an easy win for the referendum that would allow same-sex marriage, though it has gotten closer in recent weeks. ... If Ireland votes to alter its constitution, it will be the first country to adopt same-sex marriage as a result of a public vote." (05/21/15)

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MD: Baltimore grand jury indicts six in Freddie Gray’s death

KFDX 3 News

"A grand jury in Baltimore has indicted six officers in the death of Freddie Gray, the city's top prosecutor said Thursday. In a hasty news conference, State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby reeled off the charges handed down by the grand jury against the officers, Garrett Miller, Alicia White, Edward Nero, Caesar Goodson Jr., Brian Rice and William Porter." (05/21/15)

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Report: NSA hijacked app stores to hack phones

The Hill The Hill

"The National Security Agency planned to infiltrate the Google and Samsung app stores to plant spying software on smartphones, according to new documents published from files leaked by Edward Snowden. The Intercept and CBC News jointly published the documents Thursday, which outline the snooping efforts designed by the U.S. and its 'Five Eyes' alliance -- Canada, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Australia. ... agents sussed out smartphone Internet traffic by browsing through its Web traffic database created under the XKeyscore program. They would then track down those phones' connections to an app marketplace. Once identified, agents could hijack that connection to the app store and use it as a delivery system to plant spyware on the device." (05/21/15)

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Yemen: Saudi invaders shell aid office, killing five refugees

Dawn [Pakistan]

"Saudi shells hit an international humanitarian aid office in northern Yemen on Thursday, killing five Ethiopian refugees and wounding ten, a local official said. Artillery fire and air strikes hit the town of Maydee along Yemen's border with Saudi Arabia in Hajja province, a stronghold of the Houthi militia that a Saudi-led Arab alliance has been bombing for eight weeks." (05/21/15)

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US Senate limits debate on “fast track” for Obama’s secret trade deal

Centre Daily Times

"The Senate voted Thursday morning to limit debate on a controversial bill that would grant fast-track trade authority to President Barack Obama, paving the way for final approval. After the bill passes, either later today or on Friday, it's expected to face a tougher vote in the House next month. ... The bill is aimed at making it easier for Obama to win passage of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a proposed 12-nation trade pact that's still being negotiated." (05/21/15)

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China, US assert rights after exchange over South China Sea

Seattle Post Intelligencer

"China said Thursday it is entitled to keep watch over airspace and seas surrounding artificial islands it created in the disputed waters of the South China Sea, following an exchange in which its navy warned off a U.S. surveillance plane. The United States said its aerial patrolling was in accordance with international law and 'no one in their right mind' would try to stop it." (05/21/15)

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CA: Cleanup effort under way after oil spill stains Santa Barbara beach

Raw Story Raw Story

"Cleanup teams labored on Thursday for a third day to remove patches of crude petroleum that stained a California beach and fouled offshore waters from a pipeline rupture that may rank as the biggest oil spill to hit the Santa Barbara coastline in more than four decades. Working around the clock, about 300 people on the beach were scooping up globs of oil from the sand and raking tar balls. Crews will also scrub soiled rocks and hose down contaminated areas, Coast Guard Captain Jennifer Williams said." (05/21/15)

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Russia: Censor warns Google, Twitter and Facebook

Reuters Reuters

"Russia's media watchdog has written to Google, Twitter and Facebook warning them against violating Russian Internet laws and a spokesman said on Thursday they risk being blocked if they do not comply with the rules. Roskomnadzor said it had sent letters this week to the three U.S.-based Internet firms asking them to comply with Internet laws which critics of President Vladimir Putin have decried as censorship. 'In our letters we regularly remind (companies) of the consequences of violating the legislation,' said Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky. He added that, because of the encryption technology used by the three firms, Russia had no way of blocking specific websites and so could only bring down particular content it deemed in violation of law by blocking access to their whole services." (05/21/15)

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Puerto Rico: House narrowly approves sales tax increase

Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Legislation that would increase Puerto Rico's sales tax from 7 percent to 11.5 percent squeaked by late Thursday with the minimum amount of votes needed in the U.S. territory's House of Representatives. The measure also would create a new 4 percent tax on professional services amid a push to generate more revenue during an economic crisis." (05/21/15)

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Judge: Gay couples across Alabama have right to marry

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"A federal judge has ruled that gays and lesbians have the right to marry in all Alabama counties, but placed her decision on hold until the U.S. Supreme Court issues a ruling on same-sex marriage. U.S District Judge Callie Granade said Thursday that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and enjoined probate judges from enforcing it. However, she stayed enforcement of her order citing the expected decision this summer. Granade in January ruled that Alabama's gay marriage ban was illegal. Gay couples married for three weeks until the state Supreme Court ordered probate judges to stop. The latest ruling came in a class-action lawsuit by gay couples across the state." (05/21/15)

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US presses Israel on talks for Middle East nuclear-free zone

Parkersburg News and Sentinel

"The United States has sent a top official to Israel amid an effort to revive talks on a Middle East zone free of nuclear weapons, a central issue of a landmark treaty review conference that some fear will end Friday without progress on global disarmament. The State Department confirmed that the assistant secretary of state for international security and nonproliferation was in Israel to discuss the issue." (05/22/15)

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Macedonia: “Bombs,” protests, terrorist threats?

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"The tiny Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia tends not to be a newsmaker. But the Vermont-sized country, tucked away in the southern Balkans, is currently the site of Europe's biggest political scandal, involving secret tapes of government wrongdoing, mass protests in the capital, and threats of ethnic-Albanian terrorists plotting to attack civilian and state targets. Here's what you need to know. Since February, the Macedonian opposition, led by Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM) leader Zoran Zaev, has been accusing the country’s prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, of orchestrating a wiretapping program to spy on more than 20,000 people across the country. And Mr. Zaev has offered proof in the form of 'the bombs,' the nickname of a series of leaked conversations allegedly recorded by the program that reveal government involvement in a variety of misdeeds." (05/21/15)

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Haiti: Son of former Honduras president arrested


"The son of former President Porfirio Lobo was arrested in Haiti in an apparent anti-drug operation carried out by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Haitian authorities, the ex-president and the Honduran government confirmed Thursday. Fabio Lobo Lobo, 43, was arrested Wednesday night in Haiti and taken to New York to appear before a judge, according to a statement from the Honduran government. Lobo was arrested by Haitian authorities with the support of the DEA." (05/21/15)

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FL: Man who shot intruder dead charged with gardening

Daytona Beach News-Journal

"A man who says he shot and killed an intruder last month in his marijuana grow house near Orange City is now charged with armed drug trafficking and manufacturing. Cesar Garcia Fernandez, 22, killed Emilio Ortiz Estenoz, 35, of Miami in an April home invasion at Fernandez's residence, according to Volusia County Sheriff’s spokesman Andrew Gant. ... Police found 69 marijuana plants at the home during the early April incident and 32 from a house on Lehigh Drive in Deltona as part of the investigation that in total weighed about 257 pounds." (05/20/15)

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States move to pre-approve what food stamps can buy

Fox News Fox News

"In the long-running campaign by Republican-led states to rein in food stamp abuses and curb the now-$74 billion program, lawmakers are trying a new approach: Restricting what foods can and can't be on a family's grocery list. The move is controversial, with critics accusing GOP lawmakers of playing food police to further burden people already struggling. But proponents say the idea is not to punish people -- but promote healthy lifestyles by curbing the junk food they're buying with the government's help. 'It’s not meant to shame anyone or be punitive,' Wisconsin state Rep. Robert Brooks said. Brooks is pushing a bill -- which last week cleared the state Assembly -- limiting what foods could be purchased under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program." (05/21/15)

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German spy chief says mistakes made in cooperation with NSA

Seattle Post Intelligencer

"Germany's foreign spy chief said Thursday that his agency made mistakes in its dealings with U.S. counterparts, but warned that probes intended to shed light on possible wrongdoing could threaten intelligence cooperation with allies. Gerhard Schindler told German lawmakers that the foreign intelligence agency BND, which he heads, failed for years to properly check lists of targets it receive from the U.S. National Security Agency." (05/21/15)

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Boy Scouts president: Lift ban on gay adults


"Robert Gates, the president of the Boy Scouts of America, called for the organization to end its ban on gay adults in remarks (PDF) at the organization's national business meeting Thursday. Citing 'the social, political and judicial changes taking place in our country' regarding laws and sexual orientation, Gates said that 'the status quo in our movement's membership standards cannot be sustained.'" (05/21/15)

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UK: Cameron sets immigration red line ahead of EU summit

Reuters Reuters

"Prime Minister David Cameron said on Thursday restricting European Union migrant access to Britain's welfare system was a red line in his negotiations with the bloc, ahead of an EU summit he wants to use to launch informal talks on the issue. Cameron, re-elected on May 7, has pledged to reshape Britain's ties with the European Union before holding an in-out EU membership referendum by the end of 2017. ... Official data released hours before he spoke showed net annual migration hit a near record high of 318,000 in 2014, despite his pledges to cut it to less than 100,000, much of it from the EU and fueled by Britain's strong economy." (05/21/15)

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Egypt: Islamic State vows attacks against regime judges after state employees kill six

Fox News Fox News

"The leader of an Islamic State affiliate in Egypt has vowed to kill judges and security forces in retaliation for the execution of six suspected militants earlier this week. Abu Osama el-Masri, the leader of the group calling itself the Sinai Province, made his threat in an audio message posted Thursday on social networking sites." (05/21/15)

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Libya: Gaddafi’s home town Sirte falls to Islamic State

Hindustan Times [India]

"Standing guard at his frontline post, Libyan soldier Mohammed Abu Shager can see where Islamic State militants are holed up with their heavy weaponry less than a kilometre away. The militants have effectively taken over former dictator Muammar Gaddafi's home city of Sirte as they exploit a civil war between two rival governments to expand in North Africa. ... Libya, which has descended into near anarchy since NATO warplanes helped rebels overthrow Gaddafi in a 2011 civil war, is now the third big stronghold for the Sunni Islamist group, also known as ISIS or ISIL, which declared a Caliphate to rule over all Muslims from territory it holds in Syria and Iraq." (05/21/15)

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China warns US surveillance plane


"The Chinese navy issued warnings eight times as a U.S. surveillance plane on Wednesday swooped over islands that Beijing is using to extend its zone of influence. The series of man-made islands and the massive Chinese military build-up on them have alarmed the Pentagon, which is carrying out the surveillance flights in order to make clear the U.S. does not recognize China's territorial claims." (05/21/15)

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Syria: Gathering momentum, Islamic State takes control of ancient Palmyra

Reuters Reuters

"Islamic State seized full control of both ancient and modern Palmyra in central Syria on Thursday, just days after it captured a provincial capital in neighboring Iraq, suggesting momentum is building for the ultra-hardline group." (05/21/25)

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After more than 10 hours, Rand Paul ends NSA “filibuster”

National Journal

"Sen. Rand Paul has just wrapped a ten-and-a-half hour long speech on the Senate floor in what his office called a filibuster against the National Security Agency's surveillance programs, as part of an apparent stand against efforts by some of his Republican colleagues to extend the Patriot Act's expiring spy powers. ... Paul took the podium at 1:18 p.m. and left the floor at 11:49 p.m. ... A handful of House members gathered behind Paul on the Senate floor late Wednesday to cheer him on. The gaggle included Republican Rep. Tom Massie and Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer, both of whom voted against the House-passed USA Freedom Act last week on grounds it does not do enough to curb NSA surveillance." (05/21/15)

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Yemen: Houthi leader says they back UN peace talks in Geneva

Fort Dodge Messenger

"The United Nations set the date for peace talks on Yemen for next week in Geneva, while the Saudi-led coalition on Wednesday bombed Shiite rebels [sic] in at least five of the country's northern provinces. In a positive sign, the leader of the rebels [sic] known as Houthis backed the talks In Switzerland, saying they were the 'only solution' for the conflict roiling his country." (05/20/15)

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DC: Man faces up to 9 1/2 years in prison for making pols, cops, military look like idiots


"The Florida man who flew a gyrocopter onto the grounds of the U.S. Capitol in April faces up to 9-1/2 years in prison after being indicted by a federal grand jury on Wednesday. Douglas Hughes, a 61-year-old mail carrier from Ruskin, Florida, was indicted on six charges, including violation of the registration requirements involving an aircraft and violation of national defense airspace, the U.S. Justice Department said. The April 15 flight by Hughes, who said he was trying to draw attention to the need for campaign finance reform, was maybe the most high-profile of several recent security [sic] lapses in the heart of the nation's capital." (05/20/15)

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| News

Rand Paul and the tripartisan case for optimism

Lucy Steigerwald
by Lucy Steigerwald

"It does appear that Paul was not as much of a pain as he could have been if he had comfy enough shoes or a clear enough throat. But there is nothing bad about his saying all this stuff about the Fourth Amendment, about racism, justice or lack thereof, and the fact that -- Rubio take note -- there is a false choice in trading liberty for security. Government spying is expensive, secret, intrusive, invasive, and does not protect us from harm anyway. It's comforting to see people from both sides team up to agree on that, if very little else." (05/21/15)

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Regulating rides: Markets are better than politics

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

"Taxi regulation is not, and never has been, about protecting customers. It is, and always has been, about protecting established businesses from competition. In Jacksonville's case, the purpose of the city's medallion system is to keep prices high for the benefit of Jacksonville Transportation Group (owners of Gator City Taxi, Yellow Cab and Express Shuttle) by limiting cab numbers, making entry into the market very expensive, and thus ensuring that JTG operates without significant competition. ... Instead of fighting this monopoly scheme, UberX and Lyft are -- in Jacksonville, anyway -- ignoring it." (05/21/15)

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The world isn’t better off because of the Iraq war

Daniel Larison The American Conservative
by Daniel Larison

"The hawkish argument that 'the world is better off' because of the Iraq war isn't just obviously false, but it's the sort of desperate ends-justify-the means claim that only ideologues and propagandists find compelling. If we take Iraq war dead-enders at their word that they think the world is better off, this just confirms that they have no understanding of the consequences of the war they supported." (05/21/15)

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Anti-democratic Republicans?

Paul Jacob Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

"The Republican Party of Ohio paid lawyers $300,000 to keep a competitor off the ballot. Typical two-party corruption. We can blame the party, yes -- but also blame the system." (05/21/15)

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Inside the happiness racket

In These Times In These Times
by Joanna Scutts

"'Are you happy?' It's a question that stops us in our tracks. Happy how? Other emotions leave us in no doubt: Anger, embarrassment, excitement and disappointment consume us. But happiness is elusive -- even in the Declaration of Independence we're granted not the thing itself, but the pursuit of it) and if we capture it, that's supposed to be the end of the story: happily ever after. We're also told, just as firmly, that it is not for sale. And yet, as evinced in William Davies's astute and far-reaching study of modern happiness, The Happiness Industry: How the Government and Big Business Sold Us Well-Being, this elusive state is now a major preoccupation of the powerful." (05/20/15)

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A tale of two cities (in Santa Cruz, California, USA)

Notes On Liberty
by Jacques Delacroix

"The decidedly left-wing municipal council of the City of Santa Cruz uses all kinds of artifices to contain and corral the homeless population. It wouldn't be surprising if the county did something similar. I don't know that it does. It sounds credible though. I will look into it. I am not saying there is no problem with the homeless concerning more than those who are homeless. I have spoken about it before. The methods used to deal with them just make me deeply uneasy from a constitutional standpoint. The latent hypocrisy also gets to me." (05/20/15)

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The uses and abuses of GDP

Reuters Reuters
by Edward Hadas

"Gross Domestic Product can be a good tool to help central bankers, corporate leaders and investors. But it should be kept in its proper place. The basic idea behind this measure is stupidly simple. Add up all purchases of goods and services that are not going to be resold in a national economy over a fixed period. That sum provides a straightforward and intuitive measure of the size of an economy. Changes in the sum are good indicators of where the economy is going. The simple, stupid idea is useless without some complicated intelligence. The U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis needs more than 400 pages to outline the necessary heroic assumptions and dubious approximations which go into the calculation." (05/20/15)

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In praise of the not-so-super hero

Sarah Skwire Foundation for Economic Education
by Sara Skwire

"My favorite superheroes are not the ones who arrive from distant planets or alternate dimensions, endowed with impressive strength, the ability to fly, magical artifacts, psychic powers, and so on. Heroes like that are a lot of fun to watch, of course. No one can argue against the lasting appeal of heroes like Superman. But they aren't my favorites." (05/21/15)

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True Islamophobia

Bleeding Heart Libertarians Bleeding Heart Libertarians
by Fernando Teson

"Virtually everyone abhors the crimes committed by radical Islamists. However, it is difficult these days to criticize Muslim practices that fall short of terrorist violence. These practices include, among others, mistreatment of women, intolerance towards non-believers, oppressive laws in Muslim countries, and the endorsement of censorship and apostasy. Those who have dared to do so (Bill Maher and Christopher Hitchens come to mind) have often been accused of Islamophobia. In many circles, a critical attitude toward mainstream Islam is branded as bigoted and intolerant." (05/21/15)

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The left matters — now, more than ever

Richard Eskow Our Future Blog
by Richard Eskow

"Some leading Democrats seem to have a love-hate relationship with the left. Sure, progressives seem to have more influence than ever in the party this year, at least rhetorically. But it doesn’t look like the friction will be going away any time soon. President Obama has been escalating his war of words with Sen. Elizabeth Warren [D-MA] and her allies, reigniting a burning resentment he last let slip in 2010. Hillary Clinton has adopted more progressive rhetoric, but her unwillingness to fight for specific policies has left activists frustrated. Clearly, the left matters. Why, then, is it so difficult for progressives to get a seat at the table?" (05/20/15)

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“Rape culture” and the implications for liberty on college campuses

Independent Institute
by Sam Staley

"'Rape culture' posits that our colleges and universities are dens for sexual predators that promote violence against women and, more importantly, is institutionally supported. Since the problem is cultural, rather than individual, the solution is institutional -- categorical policies that provide little room for context or individual circumstance. Also, because the problem is systemic, extraordinary means can be justified to bring it under control, including abrogating due process, tilting adjudication in favor of the accuser rather than the accused, and implementing draconian measures despite a lack of evidence to support the allegations. Emily Yoffe at does a nice job of laying out these dangers as does Christina Hoff Sommers of the American Enterprise Institute. But what if a rape culture doesn't exist?" (05/21/15)

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Continued CIA secrecy in the JFK assassination

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

"[T]here is now a deadline of October 2017 to release thousands of CIA documents that were ordered to be released by the JFK Records Act, which was enacted in 1992. Why weren't these particular records released in the 1990s, like many others were? Apparently the CIA claimed that the release of records dating back half-a-century would threaten 'national security.' And guess what. Even the October 2017 deadline is not set in stone because someone inserted some fine print in the original JFK Records Act that entitles the CIA (and other government agencies) to ask the president in 2017 for another extension -- on grounds of 'national security.'" (05/21/15)

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The agony of medical bills

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Olga Khazan

"It shouldn't take a Harvard expert in health policy to understand a doctor's bill. But sometimes, it does." (05/21/15)

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Is NSA’s dragnet surveillance program in its final hours?

The Nation The Nation
by Zoe Carpenter

"Congress is up against a tight deadline to extend or reform Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision that the government claims authorizes the National Security Agency’s phone data program, before it sunsets on June 1. Naturally, the legislature is in a state of disarray. The House has already passed the USA Freedom Act, which would put modest limits on the intelligence agency for the first time in decades. Now the Senate is under pressure to act before lawmakers leave for recess Thursday afternoon. If they do nothing, Section 215 will expire hours before they return to Washington, imperiling not only the phone records program but whatever other still-secret intelligence gathering activities the government conducts under the statute." (05/20/15)

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There’s no such thing as unbiased journalism, so stop pretending

Reason Reason
by David Harsanyi

"It's unrealistic to expect that even the most conscientious journalist can wholly divorce his or her professional work from his or her philosophical positions. And even if that person were to put forth the sincerest effort possible, biases are likely to manifest in the focus and tone of his or her work. And this doesn't even take into account editors and headline writers, often the worst culprits in one-sided political coverage. So though we have many fine political journalists, we have only a handful of truly unbiased ones in the country. ABC News' George Stephanopoulos is surely not one of them." (05/22/15)

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Railway socialism and safety

Ludwig von Mises Institute Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Louis Rouanet

"The recent Amtrak accident in Philadelphia should lead us to ask two questions: (1) why isn't there competition within the railway sector, and (2) what is the safety record of state-owned and run railway systems compared to private-run systems. It is often said that privatizing passenger trains would lead to more accidents because greedy capitalists would sacrifice safety requirements for profits. Yet, there is no evidence that supports this assertion. In fact, the two safest railway networks in Europe (i.e., the Swedish and British systems) are open to competition. Likewise, the development of railway socialism at the end of the nineteenth century lead not to fewer accidents, but more." (05/21/15)

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If Obama really wants to close Guantanamo …

Reuters Reuters
by Daphne Eviatar

"When President Barack Obama announced his intention to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center on his second day in office, he sounded serious. He was flanked by more than a dozen retired military leaders, who’d all urged him to close the facility because it had become a virtual recruitment tool for terrorists and a stain on the United States’ reputation for upholding human rights and the rule of law. Obama also had the support of national-security experts across the political spectrum when he signed his historic executive order. More than six years later, the U.S. facility in Cuba is still open. The primary reason is that ever since the president made it a priority to close Guantanamo, congressional Republicans made it a priority to keep it open. They’ve even stepped up their efforts while writing the annual defense authorization bill this year." (05/20/15)

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Philip Giraldi on The Scott Horton Show

Philip Giraldi The Scott Horton Show

"Former CIA officer Philip Giraldi discusses his thoughts on Seymour Hersh's journalism on the 2011 Bin Laden raid in Pakistan, and how the US is making the world less safe by sending the wrong message to Russia, China and Iran." [Flash audio or MP3] (05/19/15)

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A constitutional lesson for ignorant Colorado sheriffs

10th Amendment Center Tenth Amendment Center
by Mike Maharrey

"I'm sure you've heard the term 'constitutional sheriff' thrown around. The idea is that these elected law enforcement officers will stand between the people and an overreaching federal government. They will interpose and protect their constituents from constitutional overreach. It sounds good in theory, but the whole idea unravels pretty quickly whe these elected cops don't know a damn thing about the constitution they claim to defend." (05/21/15)

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NSA reform bill has gaping holes

USA Today USA Today
by Anthony D. Romero & Matt Kibbe

"Earlier this month, a federal appeals court took a close look at the National Security Agency's collection and data-mining of Americans' phone records and concluded that the program was unlawful. Rather than stop it, however, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit noted that Section 215 of the Patriot Act, the provision the NSA relies on for the program, would sunset on June 1. So the court decided to let Congress determine whether Section 215 should die, be revised, or extended without alteration." (05/20/15)

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Politics is murder in Mexico as two more candidates fall

The Canal The Canal
by Neal Carter

"As the people of Mexico prepare for upcoming elections on June 7, an upsurge in election-related violence and killings has gripped the nation. The latest round of violence took place during the evening of Thursday, May 14, when two candidates in different states were killed in cold blood while campaigning." (05/21/15)

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Iraq debate

The Cagle Post
by Mike Luckovich

Cartoon. (05/19/15)

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Politicians love ribbon-cutting

Cato Institute Cato Institute
by Randal O'Toole

"While we hear a lot about crumbling infrastructure, some of our infrastructure is actually in great shape. A close look reveals that the infrastructure that is in best condition is funded by user fees, while infrastructure that is crumbling is funded by tax dollars. This is because politicians prefer ribbons, not brooms." (05/21/15)

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Against the idea of a 100% inheritance tax

Tim Worstall Adam Smith Institute
by Tim Worstall

"There are arguments in favour of a 100% inheritance tax. For example, we could look to John Rawls and the argument from behind the veil of ignorance. If we didn't know where we would arrive in that lucky sperm club lottery wouldn't we prefer a society in which starting points were equal? So, tax inheritances at 100% and then distribute that wealth as a starting grant perhaps. However, the idea does seem to fail on two points." (05/21/15)

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The moral limits of psychology

Acton Institute Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
by Rev. Gregory Jensen

"Defenders of the free market insist that virtue is essential to a just and thriving economy. If morality is relevant to economics, it is equally so to allied fields of social science, all of which have as their object of investigation the human person. Indifference to the moral dimension distorts the study of human action in economics; so too does it deform the discipline that reaches behind that action to the human mind: psychology." (05/20/15)

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Unlock the school library

Bryan Caplan EconLog
by Bryan Caplan

"If you could change the K-12 curriculum in one small way, what would you change? My pick: Unlock the school library. By this I mean ... 1. Give kids the option of hanging out at the library during every break period. 2. Give kids the option of hanging out the library in lieu of electives. My elementary, junior high, and high schools all had marvelous libraries. But they were virtually always closed to the student body." (05/21/15)

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If buying a car were like negotiating a trade deal

Don Boudreaux Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

"I generally (and with my nose held tightly) support trade deals such as the TPP. I generally (and with my nose held tightly) support trade deals such as the TPP not because they make trade free. They never do. I generally support trade deals because, given political realities, they make trade freer." (05/20/15)

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Why won’t Iran make an arms deal with Obama?

J. Neil Schulman J Neil Schulman
by J Neil Schulman

"Yesterday the Iranian Ayatollahs made it clear there's no middle ground in negotiations between Iran and the United States-led coalition to reach a treaty denying Iran the ability to make an atomic bomb. Considering how impactful economic sanctions have been on Iran, this is on the face of it a curiously obstinate position for the Iranian rulers to take. In a lot of old Westerns there's an phrase attributed to chiefs regarding treaties the United States broke with Native tribes: 'White man speak with forked tongue.'" (05/21/15)

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Sowing the GM seeds of depopulation?

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Colin Todhunter

"There is a growing fear that eugenics is being used to get rid of sections of the world population that are 'surplus to requirements.' And it is a legitimate fear, not least because there is a sordid history of forced/covert sterilizations carried out on those deemed 'undesirable' or 'surplus to requirements,' which reflects the concerns of eugenicists who have operated at the highest levels of policy making. From early 20th century 'philanthropists' and the Nazis to the nascent genetics movement and rich elites, by one means or another ridding the planet of the great unwanted masses has always been fairly high on the 'to do' list ..." (05/21/15)

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Economics of recycling in Houston

National Center for Policy Analysis National Center for Policy Analysis
by Lloyd Bentsen IV

"Waste Management, a company started in Houston, Texas now serves more than 20 million customers around the United States and Canada, started its business with commodity prices at an all-time-high and made contracts with municipal governments based on a deal that required a commodity price floor of $65 a ton. However, when the revenue falls below $65 a ton, the city of Houston does not make any money and Waste Management takes a loss." (05/21/15)

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Free Talk Live, 05/20/15

Free Talk Live Free Talk Live

"Why Chris Cantwell Was Indefinitely Suspended :: Was suspending Cantwell the right choice? :: Impact of Words :: Councilman in NC Wants Only Christian Prayers in Government Building :: Cantwell's Apology :: Poem :: Feds Not Going to Stop Giving Military Equipment to Police :: Police Cameras and Mass Surveillance :: Black Lady Caller on Cantwell :: Mark's Ultimatum :: USA Freedom Act :: Pushing Liberty :: Rand Paul Filibustering ." [Flash audio or MP3] (05/20/15)

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Bigotry is a vice, not a crime

Independent Country
by James Leroy Wilson

"[D]iscrimination seems wrong to me, whether the reason is sex, sexual orientation, skin color, nationality, religion, or what have you. But on the other hand ... It seems to me that it's worse to fine or throw someone in prison just because they want to discriminate. That's because bigotry is a vice, but not a crime." (05/20/15)

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Medicaid and why we can’t have nice things

Show-Me Institute Show-Me Institute
by Michael Rathbone

"For this upcoming fiscal year (which begins on July 1), the state has appropriated close to $9.4 billion to Medicaid. This includes more than $1.86 billion in general revenue (state funds that include your income taxes and most of your sales taxes). This is an increase of close to $200 million ($110 million in general revenue) over this year. That sounds like a lot of money, and it is, especially considering that Medicaid continues to take up a larger portion of the state's budget." (05/20/15)

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A collaboration with history

Liberty Unbound Liberty Unbound
by Stephen Cox

"Alec Mouhibian and Garin Hovannisian are both familiar to readers of Liberty. Their most recent contribution, memories of Nathaniel Branden, appeared in these pages in February. On April 17, their film, 1915 -- co-written and co-directed by Alec and Garin -- opened in theaters throughout the country. It concerns a mysterious director who, on the 100th anniversary of the Armenian genocide, stages a play in Los Angeles to bring the ghosts of a forgotten tragedy back to life. Liberty interviewed Alec about this very independent film." (05/20/15)

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Freedom Feens Radio, 05/21/15

Freedom Feens Freedom Feens Radio

"Jim Babb, Bill Buppert, Michael W. Dean and Lousander Feen talk about both shootings at Waco, the ever-encroaching police state, and why the slaves are reluctant to resist." [Flash audio or MP3] (05/21/15)

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