Today's Edition


| Commentary

Weekend Special Edition, 12/20/14

Yes, it's a weekend special edition -- five news stories, five commentaries -- for several reasons:

First, we have a holiday break coming next Thursday (and possibly Friday), so I figure it's a good idea to get some content out there on other off days to keep you stocked up.

Secondly, we may have some shorter than usual editions between now and the new year. That period is known for its "slow news days" and many of our commentary sources pretty much just shut down during the period as well.

And, of course, we're continuing to do our year-end fundraising. Trying not to be TOO intrusive with it, but remember: We only get paid if you pony up, so we have to ask now and then.

Earlier this month, reader Steven R Linnabary remarked on Facebook: "I haven't needed a daily newspaper in at least a decade since discovering RRND!"

That's the kind of thing I love to hear. After all, we ARE "the freedom movement's daily newspaper." That's what we do. Every non-holiday weekday, we put together a digest of the most important news stories and the most compelling political commentaries we can find for the edification of libertarian readers.

If we accomplish our goal, we save you time and money. And then we ask you to send us what you think our publication is worth in terms of those savings and that value.

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We'll be back with the regular daily edition on Monday -- and in case you don't see another personal note between now and the new year, HAPPY HOLIDAYS from all of us at RRND/FND!

Yours in liberty,
Tom Knapp
Rational Review News Digest / Freedom News Daily

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North Korea: Regime denies Sony hack, wants joint probe with US

Reuters Reuters

"North Korea said U.S. accusations that it was involved in a cyberattack on Sony Pictures were "groundless slander" and that it was wanted a joint investigation into the incident with the United States. An unnamed spokesman of the North's foreign ministry said there would be 'grave consequences' if Washington refused to agree to the joint probe and continued to accuse Pyongyang, the official KCNA news agency reported on Saturday." (12/20/14)

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Cuba: Parliament backs move to restore diplomatic ties with US

CBC [Canadian state media]

"The Cuban national assembly announced on Friday that it would back the agreement of President Raul Castro and U.S. President Barack Obama to restore diplomatic ties that Washington severed more than 50 years ago. 'In the name of the Cuban people, we fully back the speech to the president of the council of state and of ministers, Army General Raul Castro Ruz, this past Dec. 17,' read Yolanda Ferrer, the president of the National Assembly's International Relations Commission." (12/20/14)

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Turkey: Court issues arrest warrant for exiled Erdogan opponent

Charlotte Observer

"A Turkish criminal court issued an arrest warrant Friday for Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish religious scholar who lives in self-exile in Pennsylvania and has become public enemy number one of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s increasingly autocratic president. The charges paralleled Erdogan’s accusations against his former ally. The court said Gulen had “established an illegal criminal organization with a hierarchical structure that is separate from the state’s own structure” in order to 'seize influential posts that govern Turkey’s social, economic, military and administrative mechanisms.'" (12/19/14)

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MS: Google sues one of movie industry’s pet politicians

CNet News CNet News

"Google on Friday filed a lawsuit trying to block a probe by Mississippi Attorney General Jim Hood, accusing him of violating federal law in a campaign against the search giant. ... The lawsuit cites leaked emails from a high-profile hack against Sony Pictures, which were the source of The Verge's story. The emails suggest Hood worked with the Motion Picture Association of America, which has long been an adversary of Google over piracy issues, in carrying out his campaign against illicit drugs." (12/19/14)

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MO: Pol wants McCulloch investigated for rigging Brown/Wilson grand jury


"A state lawmaker from St. Louis is asking a legislative committee to investigate whether St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch 'manipulated' the grand jury in the Michael Brown case. ... Rep. Karla May, a St. Louis Democrat, sent a letter Thursday to committee chairman Sen. Kurt Schaefer, asking that the investigation expand to look at whether McCulloch committed prosecutorial misconduct." (12/19/14)

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Nigeria: Suspected Islamic extremists kidnap 185

Altoona Mirror

"Islamic extremists killed 35 people and kidnapped at least 185 in an attack near the town where nearly 300 schoolgirls were taken hostage in April, witnesses said Thursday. In Sunday night's attack on the village of Gumburi, most of the kidnapped were young women, children and members of a civilian defense group fighting Boko Haram, according to residents, a security official and a local government officer." (12/18/14)

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Iraq: US airstrikes allegedly kill three Islamic State leaders

FRANCE 24 [France]

"US-led airstrikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq have killed three of the group’s top leaders, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff told the Wall Street Journal on Thursday. In an interview with the newspaper, General Martin Dempsey said the senior leaders were killed in recent weeks as part of expanding effort with partner nations to combat the militants. 'These are high-value targets, senior leadership,' Dempsey told the Journal." (12/18/14)

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AL: Federal court upholds major parties’ election-rigging scheme

San Francisco Chronicle

"A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld Alabama's requirement that third-party political candidates must submit tens of thousands of voter signatures before they can get listed on a statewide ballot. The decision was a setback for Libertarian and other smaller political parties who have sought to increase their visibility to voters. The Atlanta-based 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, upholding a lower court decision, said the political parties and candidates who challenged Alabama's threshold failed to show how the requirement is overly burdensome." [editor's note: Great. If it's not "overly burdensome," then surely the Republicans and Democrats won't object to having it imposed on them as well, right? - TLK] (12/18/14)

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Idiot pols file frivolous suit over Colorado’s legal marijuana

Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times

"A pair of states on Thursday filed a lawsuit with the U.S. Supreme Court in an effort to strike down Colorado's laws that legalize recreational marijuana. Citing federal antidrug laws, particularly interstate drug trafficking, Nebraska and Oklahoma said in the lawsuit that Colorado's marijuana laws have 'created a dangerous gap in the federal drug-control system enacted by the United States Congress.'" (12/18/14)

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Security theater: Sony hack is pols’ latest excuse for attempted Internet power grab


"White House Economic Council Director Jeff Zients pointed fingers at Congress on Thursday for not acting fast enough on cybersecurity legislation, in the wake of news that North Korea was behind the Sony Entertainment cyberattack. ... The Sony hack attack has breathed new life into controversial legislation often called the 'zombie bill' by opponents because of its failure to launch. The proposed cybersecurity bill is intended to [pretend to] help companies and the government work together to thwart hackers through increased data sharing. Privacy advocates have opposed the legislation -- and it's [sic] House companion -- at every turn, since it was first introduced in 2012. They argue the bill's broad language could breach the public's privacy and civil liberties." (12/18/14)

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South Korea: Court orders dissolution of leftist party

ABC News ABC News

"South Korea's constitutional court on Friday ordered the dissolution of a small leftist political party hounded by claims of pro-North Korea views. Critics say the decision could worsen already deep political divisions in a country once ruled by military dictators, and trigger a fierce debate on authorities' limits in restricting freedom of expression." (12/18/14)

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Russia: Putin says won’t force exporters to sell currency

Athens Banner-Herald

"President Vladimir Putin says there are no plans to introduce obligations for exporters to sell their hard currency earnings to help stabilize the ruble. He said Thursday that the government should work with exporters to help stabilize the plummeting currency, but added that it shouldn't be done through formal orders." (12/18/14)

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Tsarnaev appears in court for first time since 2013

ABC News ABC News

"Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev returned to court Thursday for the first time since he was arraigned in July 2013, and he received a shout of encouragement from the mother-in-law of a man who was shot and killed while being questioned by law enforcement after the bombings. Security was tight at the federal courthouse in Boston for Tsarnaev's final pretrial conference. Tensions ran high, and one bombing victim had a testy exchange with protesters outside. During the brief court hearing, U.S. District Court George O'Toole Jr. made no rulings, saying he would rule in writing on pending motions, including the defense's latest push to move the trial out of Boston." (12/18/14)

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Ebola claims 11th Sierra Leone doctor; Guinea fire destroys critical supplies

Japan Times [Japan]

"One of Sierra Leone’s most senior physicians died Thursday from Ebola, the 11th doctor in the country to succumb to the disease, a health official said. In neighboring Guinea, a fire destroyed medicine crucial to fighting Ebola. The fire engulfed a warehouse at the Conakry airport and burned everything inside, said Dr. Moussa Konate, head of logistics for Guinea’s Ebola response. He could not immediately say how much had been lost." (12/19/14)

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MO: Prosecutors seek death penalty for alleged Jewish center killer

New York Daily News

"The neo-Nazi white supremacist who allegedly gunned down three people outside two Missouri Jewish centers could face the death penalty, prosecutors said Thursday. Johnson County District Attorney Steve Howe will seek the maximum punishment -- death -- against Frazier Glenn Miller. A judge Thursday ruled the 74-year-old suspect competent to stand trial." (12/18/14)

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Secret Service review urges “top-to-bottom” overhaul of agency

CBS News CBS News

"A report summary released Thursday by the Department of Homeland Security concluded that the Secret Service needs more money, more staff, more training, and an outsider at the helm, among other necessary changes, to adequately fulfill its core mission of protecting the president. The investigation that produced the report, conducted by a team of outside experts, was commissioned in the wake of a security breach at the White House on September 19, when a man jumped the fence and made it all the way into the executive mansion before he was apprehended by agents." [editor's note: I'm shocked -- shocked! -- that government bureaucrats think think they need more money - TLK] (12/18/14)

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CA: Drunken man wanders into wrong home; shot by homeowner


"There are million dollar views from parts of Benicia that attract people to this quiet bedroom community. 'My parents have lived here for 18 years,' said Mike Zaretsky. But at 4:30 a.m. Wednesday morning, Zaretsky's parents had a serious scare. 'They started pounding on the sliding glass door,' explained Zaretsky. 'My mom heard, immediately called 911.' Within a matter of seconds, someone they didn't know used a planter rack from the backyard to break through the sliding glass door. 'The guy got in. Again my dad yelled, 'You don't belong here! Get out! I have a weapon!' The guy came in, went into the family room, and that's when my dad fired a shot,' said Zaretsky. The intruder was later identified as 24-year old True Hatch." (12/18/14)

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NASA’s Orion spacecraft back in Florida after test flight

Houston Chronicle

"NASA's experimental Orion spacecraft left Florida by rocket and returned by truck. The capsule arrived back at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on Thursday. It rocketed into orbit Dec. 5, traveling 3,600 miles into space on an unmanned test flight that proved to be a great success. NASA plans to use future models to help get astronauts to Mars in coming decades." (12/18/14)

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OH: Police pepper spray crowd lined up for Air Jordans

Raw Story Raw Story

"Police used pepper spray on Wednesday to disperse an unruly crowd of about 300 people lined up at a mall in Toledo, Ohio for a chance to buy new Air Jordan sneakers. People began lining up in front of Franklin Park Mall around 3:30 a.m. for tickets passed out by employees of Finish Line, a national shoe chain. The ticket allowed them to buy the Nike Air Jordan Retro 11 Legend Blue, which goes on sale for $200 on Saturday. ... Police spokesman Sergeant Joe Heffernan said the pepper spray was used at about 5:45 a.m. after people pushed down barricades and several officers were knocked to the ground." (12/18/14)

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Report: China tests ICBM with multiple warheads

Fox News Fox News

"China carried out a long-range missile flight test on Saturday using multiple, independently targetable reentry vehicles, or MIRVs, according to U.S. defense officials. The flight test Saturday of a new DF-41 missile, China’s longest-range intercontinental ballistic missile, marks the first test of multiple warhead capabilities for China, officials told the Washington Free Beacon. China has been known to be developing multiple-warhead technology, which it obtained from the United States illegally in the 1990s." (12/18/14)

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UN wants North Korea in court for rights abuses

Reuters Reuters

"Member countries of the United Nations on Thursday urged the Security Council to consider referring North Korea to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for crimes against humanity as alleged in a U.N. inquiry report released earlier this year. There were 116 votes in favor of the resolution, with 20 against and 53 abstentions. The resolution, which was drafted by the European Union and Japan, was approved last month by the 193-member assembly's Third Committee, which deals with human rights." (12/18/14)

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ICANN email accounts, zone database breached in spearphishing attack

Ars Technica Ars Technica

"Unknown attackers used a spearphishing campaign to compromise sensitive systems operated by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), a coup that allowed them to take control of employee e-mail accounts and access personal information of people doing business with the group. ICANN, which oversees the Internet's address system, said in a release published Tuesday that the breach also gave attackers administrative access to all files stored in its centralized zone data system, as well as the names, postal addresses, e-mail addresses, fax and phone numbers, user names, and cryptographically hashed passwords of account holders who used the system." (12/17/14)

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Michigan to vote on sales tax for roads

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Michigan voters would be asked to approve a 1 percentage point hike in the 6 percent state sales tax as part of an estimated $1.6 billion road and school funding deal announced Thursday by Gov. Rick Snyder and legislative leaders. The Republican-led Legislature is expected to vote on the plan later in the day, the last of the two-year session. A statewide vote would occur in May if two-thirds of the House and Senate OK the proposed constitutional amendment. It would ask voters to raise the state sales tax to 7 percent, drop the sales tax on fuel and ensure that school aid fund revenue could go to K-12 districts or community colleges and not universities." (12/18/14)

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Colombia: FARC proposes indefinite cease-fire — with strings

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"An open-ended cease-fire announced by leftist FARC rebels is in doubt Thursday after the government rejected the guerrilla group’s conditions for the unilateral move. The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), which has engaged in peace talks with the government since November 2012, said Wednesday that the unprecedented cease-fire would begin Dec. 20 and continue without a predetermined end date. ... But the guerrilla group, which has been fighting the Colombian state for more than half a century, said the cease-fire would enter into effect once an international verification team was in place to monitor compliance." (12/18/14)

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| News

Slave to a myth

Don Boudreaux Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

"If slavery made cotton especially 'cheap' (meaning especially abundant) -- so cheap and abundant to have supplied the necessary spark for the greatest economic transformation in human history -- we can only wonder why this millennia-old institution failed to supply such a spark at any earlier time and only in Britain. Yet even greater wonder is caused by the data’s failure to show that the price of cotton was lower, and the supplies of cotton higher, with slavery than without it." (12/20/14)

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It’s about time

Timothy J. Taylor Authority!
by Timothy J Taylor

"At long last, we’re going to open a U.S. embassy in Havana and start loosening some of the draconian embargo restrictions that have crushed the Cuban people economically and frustrated most American citizens for more than half a century. We can all thank Pope Francis for his help, and we finally have something to thank President Obama for. After six years in office he got something right." (12/19/14)

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So, to summarize …

Thomas L. Knapp KN@PPSTER
by Thomas L. Knapp

"Earlier this year, Kim Jong-Un's regime declared that the impending release of a film, The Interview, constituted an act of war. And we all laughed. Well, most of us laughed. I know I did. Then, earlier this month, the studio releasing the film -- an American subsidiary of a Japanese company -- came under cyber attack by hackers unknown. Part of the fallout from that hack was disclosure that, well, the production and planned release of The Interview WAS pretty much an act of war. That is, the US government encouraged and facilitated its production for the clearly stated purpose of encouraging the assassination of Kim Jong Un and the overthrow of his regime. Oops." (12/19/14)

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A trek to Raymond, Washington

Living Freedom
by Claire Wolfe

"Raymond, in deepest rural Washington, has been a hard-luck timber town for the last 100 years. Repeated efforts to turn it into something -- a tourist destination, a bedroom community for a state prison (ugh!), anything but a dying berg rotting under the coastal NorthWet's drenching skies -- have failed. Now ... Raymond is becoming the cannabis capital of Washington. THE cannabis capital. The cannabis capital isn't Seattle. It's not Olympia. Not Spokane. Not Yakima. None of the notable cities. Not any of the pleasant ag areas on the fringes of Puget Sound nor the vast, famous ag areas east of the Cascades (think apples). But little, lost, inconvenient, unlucky, out-of-the way Raymond. THE cannabis capital." (12/20/14)

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Monopoly and aggression

Sheldon Richman Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman

"The conventional notion of monopoly has also been subjected to the reductio ad absurdum. In deciding who is a monopolist, where do we stop? Only one shop can occupy the northeast corner of Elm and Main in Anytown. A particular consumer could decide it’s too costly in time or effort to cross the street and buy at the rival shop on the northwest corner. Does that make the first shop a monopoly?" (12/19/14)

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Cuba isolationists just don’t get it

by US Senator Rand Paul (R-KY)

"The supporters of the embargo against Cuba speak with heated passion but fall strangely silent when asked how trade with Cuba is so different than trade with Russia or China or Vietnam. It is an inconsistent and incoherent position to support trade with other communist countries, but not communist Cuba. Even the supporters of the embargo agree that it has not worked." (12/19/14)

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Renegade liberals and “oppressed” elite feminists

Wendy Mcelroy The Daily Bell
by Wendy McElroy

"Politically-correct feminists are today's renegade liberals. They speak about oppression from elite universities, powerful bureaucracies and political office. At tax-paid conferences and from tax-paid offices, they champion the downtrodden, as long as the downtrodden do not disagree. To advance a PC vision of social justice, they attempt to silence women who dissent or who unwittingly spread mistaken doctrines. Women who question are slandered as 'rape apologists' or paid lackeys of the patriarchy; women who are 'mistaken' -- for example, they prefer the traditional family -- are called brainwashed, which is another word for weak-minded or stupid." (12/18/14)

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Why did they torture?

Justin Raimondo
by Justin Raimondo

"Why did they torture? The Cheneyites claim they wanted information on a follow-up attack to 9/11 they were sure was coming, but the logic of this falls apart under the most cursory examination. After all, the recipient of torture is certain to say whatever he (or she) thinks the torturers want to hear -- just to make the pain stop. Some within the CIA protested and no doubt brought up this very point -- one the policymakers at the top knew full well. They knew torture was ineffective in getting at the truth -- but it wasn't truth they were after." (12/19/14)

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The latest twist in the bizarre prosecution of Barrett Brown

The Intercept The Intercept
by Michelle Garcia

"Barrett Brown entered the federal courtroom shackled, with a slight swagger in his step and squinting into the light. He took his seat next to his defense team and quietly set about flipping through a stack of loose-leaf papers and then began writing. When asked by the judge if he knew why he was in court that day, Tuesday, Brown -- who has spent two years in federal custody -- leaned into the microphone and with a warbly Texas accent, said clearly and plainly, 'I am to be sentenced today.' And then he returned to his papers." (12/17/14)

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Want to help someone rebuild her business? Better lawyer up!

Iain Murray Competitive Enterprise Institute
by Iain Murray

"Neighbors and people across the nation were appalled when local shops in Ferguson, Missouri, burned down during the recent disturbances there. Thankfully, family, friends, and some kind-hearted strangers have pitched in to help local entrepreneurs rebuild their businesses. Unfortunately, some obscure, Great Depression-era federal and several state laws prohibit such acts of generosity, by making it illegal to help at a for-profit business." (12/17/14)

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France seeks liberalizations, but bans Uber

Alberto Mingardi EconLog
by Alberto Mingardi

"Mixed signals from France. The Financial Times, among others, has stressed the potential of the liberalisation plan pursued by the new Economy Minister Emmanuel Macron. The bill aims at lowering barriers to entry in liberal professions -- notaries, pharmacists, et cetera. ... Interestingly enough, however, France has also just announced that it will ban UberPop (which in the US goes by the name of UberX) starting in January of next year. This in spite of a court decision that allowed Uber to continue to operate in Paris." (12/17/14)

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A Cold War breakthrough

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

"More than 50 years after the U.S. government’s imposition of its brutal economic embargo against the Cuban people, yesterday’s announcement by President Obama calling for a lifting of the embargo represents a major breakthrough for libertarians and others who are committed to the principles of individual liberty, free markets, private property, liberty of contract, freedom of travel, and freedom of association. In fact, the shift in Obama’s position is a testament to the power of ideas on liberty and the importance of perseverance." (12/18/14)

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Global warming true believers the ones in “denial”

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

"I have a theory as to why Americans don’t worry all that much about global warming: High-profile purveyors of climate change don’t push for reductions in greenhouse gases so much as focus on berating people who do not agree with their opinions. They call themselves champions of 'the science' -- yet focus on ideology more than tangible results. Their language is downright evangelical. Recently, science guy Bill Nye joined other experts who objected to the media’s use of the term 'climate skeptic.' They released a statement that concluded, 'Please stop using the word 'skeptic' to describe deniers.' Deniers? Like Judas?" (12/18/14)

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Fewer victimless crimes, fewer Eric Garners

The Canal The Canal
by Ruben Pacheco

"The murder of Eric Garner demonstrates that economic freedom is inseparable from civil liberties. If we want laws that are applied equally and without prejudice, we need police reform and regulatory reform. The United States has immense overcriminalization, and illegal commerce is one of the many ways the state criminalizes peaceful people. Regulation, in practice, means brutalizing those who don’t obey." (12/18/14)

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Swiss give positive lesson in negative rate policy

Reuters Reuters
by Edward Hadas

"There are some unlikely ideas in both mathematics and finance. For example, the square root of negative numbers and negative interest rates both look impossible. To make sense of them, it is necessary to understand numbers and money in a new way. The Swiss National Bank has put the deeper monetary theory into practice, by cutting its overnight policy rate to -0.25 percent on Dec. 18. The central bank is trying to keep Switzerland neutral in the global currency wars. With other countries trying to push down the value of their currencies, traders are desperate for safety."" (12/18/14)

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A tale of two stories

Sarah Skwire Foundation for Economic Education
by Sarah Skwire

"Everyone knows Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol. The Victorian nostalgia! The adorable Tiny Tim! The festive Fezziwig party! The miserly villain who can only be redeemed by complete financial irresponsibility! It's just about the time of year when economists line up to give Dickens his annual kicking. ... But there's a much better response available. It's a story by one of the greatest writers in the English language, written at the height of his popularity, touching on many of the same topics. It's a novella called The Chimes." (12/18/14)

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Libertarian guide to the holidays

Students For Liberty Students For Liberty
by Juliana Perciavalle

"You've just ended a semester of fighting the good fight for liberty. Maybe your family thinks the Israel-Palestine conflict, the Federal Reserve, or police brutality are good topics for dinner conversation. Maybe they don't. Either way, the holidays are approaching, and now that the Black Friday internet hubbub is going to be replaced with the 'War on Christmas' drivel, you’d best be prepared to re-enter non-libertarian society. Here are some tips to make the holiday season a little more bearable ..." (12/17/14)

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Jeb Bush: Too conservative to win?

Our Future
by Bill Scher

"With former Florida Governor Jeb Bush 'actively exploring' a run for president, much of the initial analysis centers on the question if he is too moderate to win the Republican primary. The more important question is if Jeb is too conservative to win the general election. It’s true Jeb has taken positions that will complicate his primary campaign. ... He once dared to say he’d accept a budget that included $1 of tax increases for every $10 of spending cuts, a stance which doesn’t really qualify as 'moderate,' but more accurately could be described as 'mathematically literate conservative.' But if he survives the primary, he’ll have a whole new set of problems to worry about." (12/18/14)

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Hollywood unmasked

The Cagle Post
by Eric Allie

Cartoon. (12/17/14)

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Update: The woman-bashing beat goes on

Empire Burlesque
by Chris Floyd

"Following up from the previous post, we see the woman-bashing beat goes on. A Missouri pol has introduced a bill that would require women to get the written approval of a man in order to obtain an abortion; that is, the signature of the one what knocked her up. Rick Brattin, statesman from Kansas City, says the only exception to his man-mandating abortion restriction is in the case of 'legitimate rape.' But as Mother Jones reports, Brattin is quick to assure us that he doesn't mean 'legitimate rape' in the same way that his fellow Missouri statesman Todd Akin employed the term, during his disastrous run for the Senate." (12/18/14)

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Heartland Daily Podcast, 12/17/14

Heartland Institute Heartland Institute

"[T]he Sierra Club has turned into an environmental activist group that is less concerned with conservation efforts than they are with promoting their agenda. This fact is made readily apparent by the recent video 'Fracking 101' .... Heartland Institute Research Fellow Isaac Orr and Jessica Sena debunk the claims made by this video in a 30 minute podcast." [Flash video] (12/17/14)

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CNN pro-cop propaganda #AskACop hashtag backfires magnificently

Christopher Cantwell
by Christopher Cantwell

"The hashtag rose to be the number one Twitter trend in the United States, and is presently trending at number 3. However, it wasn’t thoughtful questions or supportive messages driving the trend. Rather, photos of police brutality, and anti police sentiment raged on throughout the night and into the next afternoon. Apparently CNN forgot about the #myNYPD debacle from last year ..." (12/17/14)

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Barack Obama, set free

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"... with today's announcement that we'll be undertaking a normalization of relations with Cuba (a mere 54 years after the embargo began) combined with other recent moves on immigration and climate change, Obama is looking pretty engaged. The approaching end of his term and the loss of both houses of Congress seem to have liberated him. While the Cuba deal was apparently in the works for many months, it wasn't something in the headlines like immigration. Who knows how many other surprises Obama may have in store." (12/17/14)

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Four thoughts on North Korea, Hollywood, free speech, and terrorist threats

by Jesse Walker

"1. It's a bad idea to stanch speech because you're afraid it will inspire terrorism. Note that this principle applies not just to Seth Rogen movies but to Senate reports on torture." (12/18/14)

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Another insider?

Paul Jacob Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

"Earlier this week, Jeb Bush, former governor of the State of Florida, announced on Facebook that he is 'exploring' a 2016 run for the Republican nomination for the presidency. I have mixed feelings, to say the least. There’s the whole dynastic problem. Another Bush? Or, is Jeb the cost of finding a candidate to beat Hillary ... who has her own dynastic baggage? But the big story, here, is to watch the insiders scramble to keep out the outsiders." (12/18/14)

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The Court and ObamaCare

Michael D. Tanner Cato Institute
by Michael D. Tanner

"Probably no later than next June, we can expect the Supreme Court to rule on whether the Obama administration can provide subsidies for Obamacarethrough federally run exchanges despite explicit language in the law that limits subsidies to 'an exchange established by a State.' There is no guarantee, of course, about how the Court will rule." (12/17/14)

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The American Revolution was not a party

Ryan McMaken Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Ryan McMaken

"From the perspective of those who defend the Tea Party and condemn the Ferguson rioters, it’s wise to stick to defending the Tea Party specifically, because the Sons of Liberty, a loosely knit group of protestors involved in the Tea Party, and often led by Samuel Adams, were notorious for mob violence, albeit violence that was more politically effective and better-focused than most. The Tea Party is perhaps remembered so fondly because it was among the least violent of the major protest actions perpetrated by the Sons of Liberty." (12/18/14)

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Film review: Brother, can you spare a euro?

In These Times In These Times
by Michael Atkinson

"Even if you don’t think you’ve seen a film by Belgian brothers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne, you have, sort of. The astringent and breathless style they pioneered in their 1996 breakout film, La Promesse -- realist, handheld, raw, off-kilter, always in motion, ready to explode—has been coopted by indies from Bucharest to the Catskills. Even American TV shows (from The Wire on down) echo their work. The best of the copycats range from Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, from 2007, to Asghar Farhadi’s 2011 heartstopper, A Separation. It’s a style fitted perfectly to the Dardennes’ stories, which are always that of brutally simple dilemmas brought about by socioeconomic crisis." (12/18/14)

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Serial: The limits to reasonable doubt

spiked spiked
by David Bowden

"While the British media have been whipping themselves into a sanctimonious frenzy over the Cereal Killer cafe in Shoreditch, there is a free American Serial much more worthy of your attention. The podcast spin-off from the hit radio show This American Life has been slowly building an audience since it began airing just over two months ago -- over five million listeners are eagerly awaiting the final instalment tomorrow night (BBC Radio 4 started broadcasting the show last week). It is essential listening for anyone interested in the principles of justice, reasonable doubt and judgement." (12/17/14)

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ESEA: What should reauthorization look like?

Show-Me Institute Show-Me Institute
by Brittany Wagner

"The ESEA was created in 1965 as a part of Lyndon B. Johnson's 'War on Poverty.' The statute funds state primary and secondary education. Currently, Missouri school districts receive about 10 percent of revenue from the federal government. The ESEA has been reauthorized every five years, and each presidential administration has left its mark on the original act." (12/17/14)

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How naive is Elizabeth Warren?

Nick Gillespie The Daily Beast
by Nick Gillespie

"Unfortunately, Warren's populist outrage and calls to break up Citigroup and other mega-banks are ultimately misguided, naive, and contradictory. Like too many progressives, she’s against cronyism except when she's for it -- and she's supremely confident that if only she and her rag-tag band of reformers were calling the shots, government regulators would never, ever bend to the will of special interests. Good luck with that." (12/18/14)

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Bob McCarthy on The Scott Horton Show

The Scott Horton Show

"Bob McCarty, author of The Clapper Memo, discusses the strange developments in Salt Lake City attorney Jesse Trentadue's lawsuit against the FBI, based on their refusal of his FOIA requests for videotapes and documents relating to the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing." [Flash audio or MP3] (12/17/14)

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A nice example of scientific ignorance

David Friedman Ideas
by David Friedman

"Someone in an online discussion posted a link to what was claimed to be an experimental demonstration of global warming by a young student. It was presented by the Cleveland Museum of Natural History and the Clean Air Conservancy. ... The real problem is that the experiment does not demonstrate the greenhouse effect." (12/17/14)

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How can Rubio & Congress muck up the Cuba shift?

The Nation The Nation
by George Zornick

"President Barack Obama announced a new era in US relations with Cuba Wednesday morning in which diplomatic ties will be reopened, along with a US embassy in Havana, while business and travel restrictions are eased. These changes can be accomplished by executive order -- but the next president could reverse them, and only Congress can lift the embargo. The permanence and depth of Obama’s policy shift thus remains in doubt." (12/17/14)

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Lame duck: Goodbye and good riddance

Campaign For Liberty Campaign For Liberty
by Norm Singleton

"Last night, the Senate adjourned for the year, thus bringing to an end to the 'lame duck' session of Congress. The major piece of legislation passed in the lame duck was the 'Cromnibus' spending bill." (12/17/14)

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