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Romney bows out of 2016 presidential race

Breaking News The Hill

"2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney will not run for president in 2016. In a call with supporters early on Friday, the former Massachusetts governor said it's time to 'give other leaders in the party the opportunity to become our next nominee.' The Romney team sent an email out to supporters late on Thursday night informing them of a conference call, kicking off speculation that Romney was set to formally announce his candidacy. But a source on the call said Romney announced he will not be running." (01/30/15)

http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/231258-mitt-romney-is-out-for-2016

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Egypt: At least 20 dead in Sinai attacks

United Press International United Press International

"At least 20 people died and dozens of others were injured Thursday in multiple militant attacks across Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. ... The simultaneous attacks included car bombs and mortar rounds fired in the towns of al-Arish, Sheikh Zuwayed and Rafa. The North Sinai security directorate in al-Arish, a nearby army base, a hotel and other security checkpoints were targeted." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l29h9df

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US Senate approves Keystone XL land theft boondoggle; Obama veto looms

Politico

"The Senate voted Thursday to approve the Keystone XL pipeline on a 62-36 vote, setting up a clash with President Barack Obama, who has vowed to kill the bill with just his third veto in six years. The Keystone bill's three-week gallop included votes on more than 40 amendments, but the bill still lacks the support in both the Senate and the House to override a presidential veto. Still, the debate drew praise from Democrats and Republicans alike as a sign the Senate had left behind the gridlock that has stymied legislation for years, and it could now pick up its pace while giving the minority a chance to influence policymaking." [editor's note: The reason the "gridlock broke" on this is simple: Republicans wanted an early boost to their "we get things done" image, and Democrats wanted it over with so that to the extent that the veto is politically bad for them, there are two years for people to forget about it before the next election - TLK] (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k2b73lm

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US measles outbreak grows to 95 cases

CBS News CBS San Francisco

"The California Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that the measles outbreak that started in Southern California has grown to 95 cases in eight states and Mexico. The department said 79 of those cases are in California and 10 of those cases involve Bay Area residents. Fifty-two cases can be linked directly to measles exposure at Disneyland." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nfhyjrg

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Afghanistan: Three US occupation contractors, one Afghan killed in airport shooting

ABC News ABC News

"Three American contractors were killed in a shooting incident at the international airport in Kabul today that may have involved an Afghan security officer at the airport .... The three Defense Department contractors were Americans, a U.S. official said, noting that the shooter was wearing the uniform of an Afghan national policeman .... adding that it is also unclear if the Afghan listed as a fatality is someone other than the shooter who was shot dead by the security team at the airport." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/k6zntxm

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Donetsk People’s Republic: Ukrainian invaders ejected from another town

Statesville Record & Landmark

"Ukraine's military conceded Thursday that its forces had been overrun by [the Donetsk People's Republic's] forces in another town in their battle to hold onto a strategically valuable railway hub. A soldier wounded in combat for the town, Vuhlehirsk, said armored vehicles and tanks were used in the attack on [the invaders'] positions, forcing a hasty retreat." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pc8ccgy

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Citing lack of funds, UN agency suspends aid to help rebuild Gaza

Hawaii Telegraph

"The United Nations aid agency tasked to rebuild the war-devastated Gaza strip has suspended its program of reconstructing homes for thousands of Palestinians because it is not receiving support promised by international donors. The program was designed to provide cash assistance to thousands of Palestinians who needed to repair homes damaged or destroyed during Israeli bombardments last summer." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ky92vov

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NY: Venezuelan general surfaces after 11 months on the run

ABC

"A dissident Venezuelan general who has been in hiding for nearly a year emerged Thursday for a public appearance in New York. Retired Brig. Gen. Antonio Rivero has been on the run since President Nicolas Maduro ordered his arrest last spring, accusing him of training 'fascists' to foment unrest during street protests that rocked the socialist South American country." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/osk7ux9

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Nigeria: Angry youths stone leader’s convoy; police fire gas

Spartanburg Herald Journal

"Youths angry at the Nigerian government's failure to fight Islamic extremists threw stones Thursday at President Goodluck Jonathan's electioneering convoy in the eastern city of Yola, breaking windshields and windows on several vehicles. An Associated Press reporter was unable to see if anyone was hurt. Police used tear gas and whips to disperse the mob." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kzp66ay

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MT: Senate panel hears bill to reduce income taxes

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"A Colstrip lawmaker proposes taking $350 million from the state's rainy day fund to reduce income taxes. Republican Sen. Duane Ankney introduced the bill in the Senate Taxation Committee Thursday. He says the money held by the state for unforeseen expenses belongs to Montana citizens. Montana Budget and Policy Center co-director Heather O'Loughlin opposes the bill, saying it's unfair to low-income workers." [editor's note: "Unfair" because it lowers taxation on the wealthy more than on the low-income folks who don't pay taxes anyway (note that this bill is to actually CUT taxes, not just shuffle them to another pocket as in New Mexico) - SAT] (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lotq8km

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TX: Regime employees kill inmate

Houston Chronicle Houston Chronicle

"A Texas man convicted of killing a 38-year-old woman nearly two decades ago while he was on parole for a triple slaying years earlier was [killed] Thursday evening. Robert Ladd, 57, received a lethal injection after the U.S. Supreme Court rejected arguments he was mentally impaired and ineligible for [being killed by state employees]. The court also rejected an appeal in which Ladd's attorney challenged whether the pentobarbital Texas uses in [pre-planned state killings] is potent enough to not cause unconstitutional pain and suffering." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nfqsrla

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SD: Bill would allow teachers to question evolution and climate change

Raw Story Raw Story

"Lawmakers in South Dakota are pushing a bill that would allow teachers to address the supposed 'weaknesses' in the scientific theories of evolution and global warming. The bill, which is described as academic freedom legislation, would free up teachers from interference by state or local education officials, reported the Argus Leader. ... The legislation is based on suggestions by the Discovery Institute, which promotes intelligent design instead of evolution. The measure proposed in South Dakota does not advance intelligent design or creationism, but it would allow teachers to question accepted scientific theories." [editor's note: If this bill promoted constructive discussion on GMO foods, these same horror-stricken folks would be applauding - SAT] (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kdwk7qx

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NM: State senator proposes eliminating almost all taxes

Fox News Fox News

"Calling New Mexico’s tax system 'a mess,' a state senator proposes a plan to eliminate most levies in the Land of Enchantment. 'It’s difficult, it’s confusing, and it’s certainly not fair or simple,' State Sen. William Sharer, R-Farmington, said during a news conference Wednesday. Brandishing a copy of the state’s 1,089-page tax code, Sharer claimed New Mexico could eliminate almost every tax currently levied by reforming the way it collects the gross receipts tax. 'No personal income tax, no corporate income tax, no compensating tax, no vehicle excise tax, no insurance premium tax and about a hundred other taxes go away,' Sharer said." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n54xk3v

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UK: Russian military jets “disrupted aviation”

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Russian military planes flying near UK airspace caused 'disruption to civil aviation' on Wednesday, the Foreign Office has said. It said the two Russian planes did not enter UK airspace, but the manoeuvres were 'part of increasing pattern of out-of-area operations' by Russia. The planes were 'escorted' by RAF jets 'throughout the time they were in the UK area of interest,' officials added. Russia's ambassador has been summoned to 'account for the incident.'" [editor's note: Let's see ... if it happened here, six or so years ago, Cheney would have scrambled the bombers ... I have no clue how this administration would have overreacted! - SAT] (01/29/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-31049952

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China: Regime clamps down still harder on Internet access

New York Times

"China has long had some of the world’s most onerous Internet restrictions. But until now, the authorities had effectively tolerated the proliferation of V.P.N.’s as a lifeline for millions of people, from archaeologists to foreign investors, who rely heavily on less-fettered access to the Internet. But earlier this week, after a number of V.P.N. companies, including StrongVPN and Golden Frog, complained that the Chinese government had disrupted their services with unprecedented sophistication, a senior official for the first time acknowledged its hand in the attacks and implicitly promised more of the same." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ofs2tz2

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Obama budget to lift spending for military, domestic programs

Reuters Reuters

"President Barack Obama's budget will call for an increase in U.S. domestic and military spending that would end spending caps known as 'sequestration,' a White House official said, setting up a new source of conflict with Republicans in Congress. Obama intends to announce his plans during a meeting with congressional Democrats in Philadelphia on Thursday. The fiscal 2016 budget, which the White House intends to unveil on Monday, would fund a host of programs that Republicans are unlikely to support." [editor's note: And in other breaking news, man abuses dog, dog bites back - SAT] (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lyf4bt5

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Corporate welfare queens expect big 2015 “defense” checks from DC sugar daddies

Investor's Business Daily

"Northrop Grumman (NYSE:NOC) reported fourth-quarter results above analyst estimates Thursday and issued bullish guidance for 2015. The maker of the Global Hawk drone said that its Q4 EPS jumped 17% to $2.48. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters were expecting $2.25. Revenue fell 8% to $6.1 billion but still beat views for $5.99 billion. ... Raytheon (NYSE:RTN) also announced Q4 results Thursday. The maker of the Patriot missile defense system said that its Q4 EPS climbed 27.4% to $1.86, beating views by 6 cents. Revenue rose $4% to $6.14 billion, above views for $6.07 billion. ... Raytheon said it was confident that its bid to build a new long-range radar system for the Air Force would be accepted after the Air Force decided to take a second look at bids last week. In October, Raytheon beat Lockheed Martin (NYSE:LMT) and Northrop for the contract, valued at $72 million." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n396fhd

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Afghanistan: Suicide attack on funeral kills at least nine

Daily Mail [UK]

"At least nine people were killed Thursday when a suicide bomber detonated himself at a funeral for the victims of a roadside bomb attack in eastern Afghanistan, provincial officials said. 'A suicide attacker detonated himself when he was identified by the police,' said Khawani, the deputy security chief of eastern Laghman province where the attack took place, who goes by one name. ... Laghman governor spokesman Sarhadi Zwak placed the death toll at 16, with another 39 wounded. No one has claimed responsiblity for the attack but suicide bombings are a hallmark of the Taliban's war against foreign and Afghan security forces, now in its fourteenth year." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/jvp6dvp

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Egypt: Women rally to denounce regime’s murder of protester

ABC News ABC News

"Dozens of Egyptian women rallied Thursday to protest the killing of a female protester during a peaceful protest last week, accusing the police of shooting her and demanding her killers be brought to justice. The Thursday protest was the first public rally against the slaying of 32-year-old activist and mother Shaimaa el-Sabbagh. It followed a storm of criticism of police tactics and of the 2013 protest law that criminalized unauthorized protests, empowering police to deny permits or use force to disperse them. Since the ouster of Islamist President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 after mass protests against him, authorities have cracked down on critics. Thousands have been imprisoned on charges of violating the protest law, while hundreds have been killed in the violent dispersal of rallies." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/m9uaked

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MH370: Malaysia declares flight disappearance an accident

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"The Malaysian government has officially declared the disappearance of Malaysian Airline flight MH370 an accident and says there were no survivors. No trace of the Beijing-bound aircraft has been found since it disappeared on 8 March 2014. Officials say that the recovery operation is ongoing but that the 239 people onboard are now presumed dead. The plane's whereabouts are still unknown despite a massive international search in the southern Indian Ocean." (01/29/15)

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-31039460

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France: Police abduct, question eight-year-old who said he supports Paris terrorists

National Post [Canada]

"Police detained and questioned an eight-year-old boy from the south of France who claimed to support the men who attacked the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, drawing criticism Thursday that France’s measures to prevent people from defending terrorism have gone overboard. Dozens of people have been arrested and accused of defending terrorism since the attacks, with some already drawing years-long prison terms in special expedited court proceedings. But the child from the southern city of Nice appears to be the youngest by far." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/no4n4ua

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Lebanon: Israel, Hezbollah exchange attacks; two soldiers dead

USA Today

"Israel fired a counterattack into Lebanon on Wednesday and promised more after a Hezbollah rocket strike killed two Israeli soldiers in the sharpest escalation between the two foes since their war in 2006. ... Hezbollah, an Iran-backed militant group, said the attack was carried out by the 'heroic martyrs of Quneitra' in apparent retaliation for an Israeli airstrike on the Golan Heights that killed six Hezbollah fighters and an Iranian general Jan. 18. Israel said that strike targeted combatants plotting an attack on Israel." (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/lvqduo5

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In Senate hearings, Lynch proves she doesn’t understand that whole separation of powers thing

Fox 31 Denver

"Attorney General nominee Loretta Lynch promised a better relationship with Congress during her confirmation hearing on Wednesday, hoping to turn the page from her would-be predecessor, Eric Holder. ... 'I can tell you that not only do I not support the legalization of marijuana, it is not the position of the Department of Justice currently to support the legalization,' she said. 'Nor will it be the position, should I be confirmed as attorney general.' ... [US Senator Lindsey Graham, Taliban-SC] also asked Lynch whether she supports the death penalty, to which she responded: 'I believe that the death penalty is an effective penalty.'" [editor's note: The Department of Justice shouldn't HAVE a position on marijuana legalization or capital punishment. It's part of the executive branch, not part of the legislative branch - TLK] (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nw6qmw9

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Greece, eurozone creditors gear up for clash over bailout

Fort Dodge Messenger

"Greece's new radical left government has shot the first salvo in what is expected to be a tough clash with fellow eurozone countries over budget cuts that Athens says are choking the life out of its economy. The government of Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said Wednesday it would ignore key budget commitments and reforms previous administrations had promised in exchange for rescue loans from fellow eurozone countries." (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qg2kuh7

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North Korea may be restarting nuke plant: US institute

Connecticut Post

"North Korea may be attempting to restart its main nuclear bomb fuel reactor after a five-month shutdown, a U.S. research institute said Thursday. If true, the finding, which is based on recent commercial satellite imagery, will be an added worry for the United States and the North's neighbors at a time of increasing animosity over recent U.S. sanctions against the North and Pyongyang's fury about a U.N. push to punish its alleged human rights abuses." (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oqtydpw

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Commentary


| News

On Greece

Alberto Mingardi EconLog
by Alberto Mingardi

"The world is pondering the odds of Mr Tsipras and Syriza succeeding. To win an election on a rather populist platform might be easy, but governing and entering into highly complex negotiations with European authorities is a different matter. I think Syriza's game may be easier than some expect, because it is much closer to the emerging consensus than it appears to many observers. Critics of 'austerity' (whatever that means) have achieved a substantially hegemonic position in the European debate -- not surprisingly, given the fact the European intelligentsia typically has a soft spot for higher spending." (01/29/15)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2015/01/three_greek_pie.html

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Bibi Netanyahu and the myth of the “special relationship”

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo

"The 'special relationship' has always been based on a myth, the impossible premise that no daylight can exist between American and Israeli interests. This is impossible because, after all, the US and the Jewish state are separate (and quite different) countries, with specific -- and often conflicting -- interests. During the cold war, when Israel was arrayed with the West against the Soviet Union (although not always reliably), this elementary fact of international relations was more easily evaded. Today, however, as the Middle East is increasingly the focal point of US foreign policy, and Israel's internal political landscape takes on the coloration of unmitigated extremism, the policy of unconditional support has become untenable. What's telling is that it's the Israelis who are the first to recognize it, while US officials are still caught up in the old mythology." (01/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/n2qf3f2

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Theism and philosophical left-libertarianism

kevinvallier Bleeding Heart Libertarians
by Kevin Vallier

"The argument Trent [Dougherty] suggested (and I hope I'm reporting it correctly) is that God owns everything He creates and has given us permission to use the natural resources in the world around us. And since God loves all equally, and has special concern for the least-advantaged, God would guarantee everyone an equal share of natural resources (not all resources). This way, He shows no partiality and ensures that the poor are entitled to enough resources that, if respected, would ensure that most would not fall into poverty. The conclusion, Trent suggested, was knowable a priori based on God's nature and the existence of the world. Now, admittedly this was an informal conversation, so I don't want to hold Trent to what he claimed, but I think his suggestion is interesting. I also think it's wrong, but I want to explain both why it is interesting and why it is wrong." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pp5cxjx

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In praise of working people

Wendy Mcelroy The Daily Bell
by Wendy McElroy

"A prominent difference between the 19th-century libertarian movement and the contemporary one lies in their attitudes toward working people. These are people who are not primarily interested in reading economic or political theory, but who focus their energies instead on making a decent living or raising a healthy family. These are intelligent people who understand the impact of laws and government on their lives, but who concentrate on controlling the more personal factors involved in their well being. The 19th-century movement considered working people to be the best and firmest foundation on which to build a free society." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l94nuyu

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When in Riyadh, don’t do as the royals do

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

"First lady Michelle Obama made an important statement when she showed up in Saudi Arabia with her husband Tuesday to mourn the death of King Abdullah and meet successor King Salman. While the first lady dressed in a fashion respectful of Saudi custom -- in black pants and a long, loose jacket that fully covered her arms and legs -- she did not don a head scarf. Saudi women do not have that choice. Thus the first lady made a fashion statement that sent a politely assertive message to the all-male Saudi delegation. I approve." [editor's note: Hooray! When I saw the headline, I was praying she didn't go the Faux Snooze route - SAT] (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nuw8zy6

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Dr. Ablow confesses on national TV: His cell phone owns him

Timothy J. Taylor Authority!
by Timothy J Taylor

"Apparently, when Dr Ablow, the so-called scientist, encounters some individuals doing stupid things with their technological devices, he deludes himself into thinking that 'we' all are prone to do the exactly the same thing with 'our' technological devices, therefore technology is making 'us' all neurotic slaves to our modern gadgets which have come to own 'us,' including himself. Yes, he probably thinks that robots will take over the world and make 'us' all slaves to modern technology. This, I think, is concrete proof of the fact that normal people shouldn’t listen to the ravings of today’s TV psychiatrists, or for that matter, any other dubious TV talking head puppet." (01/30/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q7f55az

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Obama should have visited the Taj Mahal and skipped Saudi Arabia

Ivan Eland Independent Institute
by Ivan Eland

"In a symbol of the broader sidelining of his 'pivot to Asia' to attend once again to the recurrent quagmire that is the Middle East, President Barack Obama decided to cut out his visit to the Taj Mahal and leave India early to fly to Saudi Arabia -- to pay his respects to the family of recently deceased King Abdullah and meet with new King Salman. Since the time of Franklin D. Roosevelt, Saudi Arabia has enjoyed the protection of the United States in exchange for providing the world with cheap oil. And the wider Middle East has enjoyed excessive U.S. strategic and military interest for the same reason." (01/29/15)

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=5289

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Taking apart the corporate case for the “fast track”

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman appeared before Congress Tuesday to make the corporate argument for 'fast track' trade promotion authority. The USTR and President Obama are pushing fast-track pre-approval for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other big 'trade' agreements they are working on. The Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable and other corporate groups and lobbyists are also pushing hard for Congress to pass fast track." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nnyhql7

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House of cards: A DC real estate column

The Intercept The Intercept
by Ken Silverstein

"In October of 2014, former Democratic Senator Majority Leader Tom Daschle and his wife sold their seven-bedroom, seven-bathroom house on Foxhall Road for $3.25 million. It was not an unusually large haul for a member of Washington's political elite, but it was a big step up from his financial circumstances in 2003. Daschle's financial disclosure form -- filed a year before he lost a race to John Thune, marking the first time in more than half a century that a Senate party leader failed to win reelection -- showed his net worth to be between $400,000 and $1.2 million. It was a pitiful amount by congressional standards and led CNN to disparage him as a senator of 'modest means.' After leaving office, however, Daschle immediately began making millions by advising corporations." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oj2vbjc

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Will the Supreme Court reinforce or diminish your property rights?

Jim Babka Downsize DC
by Jim Babka

"The Supreme Court will soon review the 9th Circuit ruling in City of Los Angeles v. Patel. We need your support to file an amicus brief in support of the 9th Circuit decision. That decision further strengthened the property rights basis of the Fourth Amendment. But it is going to be reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/px8mjvd

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Honoring tyrants

Paul Jacob Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

"A Saudi blogger has just received the first 50 of 1000 lashes for 'insulting Islam.' He's got 950 lashes and ten years of prison to go. That's the sentence the Saudis imposed on Raif Badawi last May for criticizing clerics. ... For controversial reasons, our own government thinks it's important to maintain a strong alliance with Saudi Arabia's. Even if that dubious proposition were correct, to cooperate on specific questions of foreign policy and to especially sanction the shapers of such a regime are two very different things. Yet with flabbergasting obtuseness, the U.S. military has just announced its sponsorship of an essay competition 'in honor of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz' (who was alive in May). (Yes, seriously.)" (01/29/15)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2015/01/29/honoring-tyrants/

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The barriers to black-brown unity

Salim Muwakkil In These Times
by Salim Muwakkil

"Of the many challenges Cook County Commissioner Jesus 'Chuy' Garcia faces in his bid to unseat Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel this February, the most formidable for the lone Latino in the race is attracting the support of the city’s black electorate. This would seem an unlikely obstacle in a predominately minority city like Chicago, where the political benefits of an African-American and Latino coalition are a no-brainer." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ocssk5y

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Miss Universe: Where are the clever women?

The Canal The Canal
by Daniela Vargas

"The vote for women, women's participation in politics, the struggle for gender equality, pay inequality between men and women, gender-related violence ... let's forget all this for a night. A night in which a group of women from all corners of the earth are valued not by what they think, by their work, their achievements in science, the arts, sports, or business, but for their physical beauty. I'm talking, of course, about the Miss Universe contest." (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/okboxlz

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Markets vs. mandate: the American energy dilemma

Adam Smith Institute Adam Smith Institute
by Vincente Lopez Ibor Mayor

"New York State’s fracking ban has evoked strong polarising sentiment. Local anti-fracking supporters welcomed the ban as a necessary intervention against corporations pursuing profits at the expense of local safety. The fracking industry on the other hand, saw it as a political move; an example of political interference in the markets at the expense of jobs, energy security and the principles of enterprise and free markets that America stands for. This dynamic is symptomatic of a bigger tension between markets and mandate within the US energy industry; one that that lies at the heart of hotly contested issues like the Keystone pipeline and the proposed TTIP EU-US free trade agreement." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nfejtsm

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Communion and consumerism

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

"Contrary to what Sentamu asserts, the moral problem of consumerism is rooted not in the free market as such but in the abuse of our freedom in the economic order. Consumerism reflects an abandonment of wealth creation as the goal of our economic life in favor of mere consumption. This shift to consumption is reflected not only in personal decisions but also in the Keynesian economic model that has come to dominate not only in Britain, but also Europe and the United States." (01/28/15)

http://www.acton.org/pub/commentary/2015/01/28/communion-consumerism

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What the sharing economy takes

The Nation The Nation
by Doug Henwood

"Sharing is a good thing, we learned in kindergarten, but that wisdom was soon called into question by the grown-up world of getting and spending. Now, New Age capitalism has spun out a wonderful invention: the 'sharing economy,' which holds out the promise of using technology to connect disparate individuals in mutually profitable enterprise, or at least in warm feelings. The most prominent examples of the sharing economy are a taxi-hailing service called Uber and a real-estate-subletting service called Airbnb. As with most enterprises emerging from Silicon Valley, they come with a very ambitious vocabulary." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nh5bz66

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Loose Fed, scared bank directors

Mises Canada
by Doug French

"The Fed's balance sheet now foots to nearly $4.5 trillion, a great leap from early July 2008, when its total assets were less than $900 billion. Interest rates have been held just above zero since then as well, all in an attempt to jumpstart the economy. But while monetary policy has been beyond promiscuous, bank regulation has been, and continues to be, in Jim Grant's word, 'asphyxiating.' Dick Bove, who analyzes banks for Rafferty Capital Markets and seems terminally bullish on the industry, says banks have been essentially nationalized in the U.S." (01/28/15)

http://mises.ca/posts/blog/loose-fed-scared-bank-directors/

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Nightmare libertarian project turns country into the murder capital of the world

Salon
by Mike Lasusa

"Since the 2009 coup against President Jose Manuel Zelaya and subsequent election of Porfirio 'Pepe Lobo' Sosa and his favored successor Juan Orlando Hernandez, Honduras has embarked on a devastating neoliberal economic program that has contributed to its status as one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the region. The privatization of Honduran society has been accompanied by a militarization of public security efforts in the country, both of which have been fueled by a network of U.S.-supported policies and programs. Despite the country's crackdown on crime, violence in Honduras has skyrocketed in recent years. Honduras now has the world’s second-highest national murder rate and is home to two of the world’s five most violent cities." [editor's note: Yes, I know, there's nothing "libertarian" about it at all. Love the headline, though. Bit it needs exclamation marks. Lots of exclamation marks. And a picture of a half-boy, half-bat creature holding an AK-47 instead of an Ayn Rand portrait. Next page -- horoscopes and celebrity rumors! - TLK] (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/klvwu3d

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GOP and the stupid good economy

The Cagle Post
by Daryl Cagle

Cartoon. (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ogq3wc5

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Ukraine: Poland on the brink of WWII?

Reuters Reuters
by John Lloyd

"Russia is winning the battle for Ukraine. Pro-Russian separatists captured the airport at Donetsk, a bright new terminal now reduced to rubble, last week. Alexander Zakharchenko, head of the self-declared People’s Republic of Donetsk, has made it clear that he will attack Ukrainian lines once more. He will rely, as he has done before, on reinforcements from the Russian army and special forces." [editor's note: I think the wrong country is being portrayed as Poland here; not that the Russian regime is innocent and pure, but a lot of the Ukrainian propaganda seems to be of the "Polish soldiers crossed into Germany and attacked a radio station" variety - TLK] (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q9md862

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The smart way to stop illegal immigration

Alex Nowrasteh Cato Institute
by Alex Nowrasteh

"The new Congress has come ready with some fresh ideas for immigration reform. Freshman Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said in a recent interview, 'We have to start with a secure border, we have to start with a guest worker program.' Gardner is right to link border security with a guest worker visa program. The former cannot be achieved without the latter. Gardner's comments are an under appreciated bit of common sense in an immigration debate stubbornly stuck between the polar opposite demands for nearly unlimited border security from the populist Right and unconditional amnesty from the progressive Left. Neither position will stop illegal immigration." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pyb5va3

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Big Sugar leaves a bitter aftertaste

Reason Reason
by Greg Beato

"[S]ugar producers are getting a sweet deal, while consumers are getting screwed. Alas, it's not just the nation's 3,913 sugar beet farms and 666 sugarcane farms that crave the sugar program's artificially sweetened revenues. The program also persists because it offers a steady source of money to elected officials." (for publication 02/15)

http://reason.com/archives/2015/01/06/big-sugar-leaves-a-bitter-afte

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Occupied by Wall Street — the latest TARP taxpayer screw-job is revealed

Liberty Blitzkrieg Liberty Blitzkrieg
by Michael Krieger

"One story that I've told several times on this site has to do with the day TARP passed. How I got into work extremely early and starting irately yelling about how TARP represented the end of America as we knew it. There weren't many people on the trading floor at the time, but my boss was there and he told me to take a 'walk around the block.' I politely declined, but continued to seethe at my desk. It's almost shocking to see the horrific transformation that has occurred in the subsequent six years. It's so bad, that many people now take things that would've been considered unconscionable just a few years ago as part of the 'new normal.' There will be a horrible price to pay for this perspective. The latest scam unveiled by the Wall Street Journal is just the latest example of how and why all the income during the oligarch recovery has gone to, well, oligarchs." (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/kc2pqwh

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TPP: Exporting financial instability

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Kevin P. Gallagher

"The late Dr. Martin Luther King is praised for saying 'injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.' Along the same lines, if we learned anything from the global financial crisis it is that financial instability anywhere is a threat to financial stability everywhere. The Obama administration appears not to have learned that lesson. The trade treaty agenda announced at the State of the Union address is an injustice that will rob our trading partners of the ability to prevent and mitigate a financial crisis. That could not only spell instability for our trading partners, but for the U.S. economy as well." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/peunjta

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Heartland Daily Podcast, 01/28/15

Heartland Institute Heartland Institute
by

"On January 6, Heartland Institute Research Fellow Jesse Hathaway joined Genesis Communications Network’s Charles Butler to talk about how taxpayers lost billions of dollars on the U.S. Treasury Department’s bailout of banks and automobile manufacturing companies several years ago." [Flash video] (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mybt4a9

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The libertarian principle of secession

Lew Rockwell LewRockwell.com
by Llewellyn H Rockwell, Jr.

"The libertarian principle of secession is not exactly embraced with enthusiasm by the people and institutions I call 'regime libertarians.' Although these people tend to be located in and around the Beltway, regime libertarianism transcends geographical location, which is why I coined this special term to describe it. The regime libertarian believes in the market economy, more or less. But talk about the Federal Reserve or Austrian business cycle theory and he gets fidgety. His magazine or institute would rather invite Janet Yellen for an exclusive cocktail event than Ron Paul for a lecture. The regime libertarian loves the idea of reform -- whether it's the Fed, the tax code, government schools, whatever. He flees from the idea of abolition." (01/29/15)

http://www.lewrockwell.com/2015/01/lew-rockwell/break-up-the-us/

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Must we seek the divine?

Skyler J Collins Everything Voluntary
by Skyler J Collins

"The last time I wrote about my religious beliefs, I said that I was starting over, 'rebuilding' my foundation. I intended to get to the bottom of whether or not God exists, and journey forward from there. Two interesting forks occurred along the way. I thought I'd take a moment to share them." (01/29/15)

http://www.everything-voluntary.com/2015/01/must-we-seek-divine.html

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What Leo Strauss set in motion: From invading Cuba to efforts to bomb Iran

Come Home America Come Home America
by Alan Gilbert

"Strauss died 40 years ago; the details of contemporary Imperial Quixotisms should not be attributed to him (it is always possible for a great power realist, even an authoritarian one like Strauss, to oppose dogmatic, unworldly, disgraceful and foolish enterprises; I do not say murderous here because murderousness is not something Mr. Strauss opposed). Still, the parallel is striking." (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/l8jvk6d

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Human basics: Liberty in action

The Price of Liberty
by Nathan Barton

"As I've asked before, where is there any authority for government (especially for the FedGov, not the states) to regulate either marriage or divorce? As government has increasingly rejected ANY 'religious basis' for laws and regulations (even though there are still many laws based on religious grounds), the 'need' to define marriage (and divorce) has been growing, and of course, who ever met or heard of a government that was not willing to expand its authority in ANY way? So if marriage can be redefined (as divorce was, for all intents and purposes), then is there anything that cannot be redefined by government? For example, can the powers that be redefine health care?" (01/29/15)

http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?p=6879

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Bartolome de las Casas: All mankind is one

Wendy Mcelroy Future of Freedom Foundation
by Wendy McElroy

"The 16th-century Spanish historian and Dominican Bartolome de las Casas (1484–1566) fought against the violent colonization of and enslavement in the New World. He spoke against imperialism and for universal human rights. 'All mankind is one,' he insisted; every individual possessed an identical, natural right to liberty." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o8qkpfx

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Tar sands crude permits keep rolling

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Ben Beachy

"Yesterday was a difficult day for U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) Michael Froman. He had to go before Congress and explain how the administration's plan to expand a trade model that has offshored U.S. manufacturing jobs and exacerbated middle class wage stagnation fits with President Obama's stated 'middle class economics' agenda. Inconveniently for Mr. Froman, it does not. That did not stop Froman from trying to paint the last two decades of Fast-Tracked, pro-offshoring trade deals -- and the administration's plan for more of the same -- as a gift to the middle class. The facts he cited to support this depiction actually sounded great. They just didn't have the added advantage of being true." (01/29/15)

http://tinyurl.com/mg5tfvw

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Material girl

Sarah Skwire Foundation for Economic Education
by Sarah Skwire

"The fastest way to drive economists crazy (after asking them what to do with your retirement savings) is to suggest that homo economicus is, or should be, anything other than a fiction. Max U is a useful construct for equations, but he would make a rotten neighbor. As the main character of a novel, however, he -- or rather she -- makes for some seriously entertaining reading. Anita Loos's 1925 runaway bestseller Gentlemen Prefer Blondes is the story of Lorelei Lee, and it's possibly the single greatest literary depiction of a homo economicus." (01/29/15)

http://fee.org/freeman/detail/material-girl

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Border surveillance follies

Cato Institute Cato Institute
by Patrick G Eddington

"For more than a decade, the Department of Homeland Security has employed some of the same kinds of drones used by our military. The ostensible purpose of having unarmed Predator drones was to give U.S. Customs and Border Protection additional aerial surveillance capabilities along the Southern border. Homeland Security officials argued the drones were cost-effective and needed. As a cost-savings measure, the Obama administration proposed major cuts to the DHS drone program in 2010, but House Appropriations Committee leaders, who supported the program and felt the expansion should continue, shot that proposal down. They should’ve thought through that decision far more carefully." (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/p6g8492

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The petulant entitlement syndrome of journalists

Glenn Greenwald The Intercept
by Glenn Greenwald

"When political blogs first emerged as a force in the early post-9/11 era, one of their primary targets was celebrity journalists. A whole slew of famous, multi-millionaire, prize-decorated TV hosts and newspaper reporters and columnists -- Tom Friedman, Tim Russert, Maureen Dowd, John Burns, Chris Matthews -- were frequently the subject of vocal and vituperative criticisms, read by tens of thousands of people. It is hard to overstate what a major (and desperately needed) change this was for how journalists like them functioned. Prior to the advent of blogs, establishment journalists were largely immunized even from hearing criticisms. ... What made the indignity so much worse was that the attacks came from people these journalists regard as nobodies: just average people, non-journalists, sometimes even anonymous ones. What right did they have even to form an opinion, let alone express one?" (01/28/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qepaldp

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Mind your own business, Bobby Jindal

Kevin Carson Center for a Stateless Society
by Kevin Carson

"The 'melting pot'is just another example of the ethnic essentialism and state-constituted monolithic national identity that has spread throughout most of the world since Napoleonic times. The model of international law Europe adopted with the Treaty of Westphalia in 1648 assumed as a norm that every individual must be the subject of a single, unitary, sovereign nation-state. Coupled with the rise of nationalism during the Napoleonic Wars, this norm was extended to include the requirement that every nation-state, ideally, have a single official ethnic identity." (01/28/15)

http://c4ss.org/content/35317

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