Today's Edition


| Commentary

Canada: Ottawa shooting leaves soldier, gunman dead

CBC [Canadian state media]

"Prime Minister Stephen Harper said in an evening address that Canada would not be intimidated by Wednesday's 'brutal and violent attack' in Ottawa, in which an armed attacker shot and fatally wounded a Canadian Forces member at the National War Memorial before being shot dead in Parliament's Centre Block. The slain soldier is Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24, a reservist from Hamilton. Moments after Cirillo was shot at his post by the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, MPs and other witnesses reported 30 to 50 shots fired inside the main Parliament building. It was confirmed later the gunman was shot dead inside the building, felled by the House of Commons sergeant-at-arms and RCMP, according to MPs' accounts." (10/22/14)

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Mexico: Mayor linked to deadly attack on students

ABC News

"Officials said Wednesday that a drug gang implicated in the disappearance of 43 students in a southern city essentially ran the town, paying the mayor hundreds of thousands of dollars a month out of its profits from making opium paste to fuel the U.S. heroin market. The statements painted the fullest picture yet of the control that is exercised by gangs over a broad swath of Mexico's hot lands in Guerrero state." (10/22/14)

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Libya: Regime troops advance into Benghazi

Omaha World-Herald

"Libyan army troops on Wednesday pushed into Benghazi, the first time in two months that government forces had entered the eastern city, which has been under control of Islamist militias. The advance was a significant boost to the troops, though fighting was still raging in Benghazi and the army had a long battle ahead, said Meloud al-Zewi, spokesman for Libya's special forces." (01/22/14)

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Missile fired from Egypt wounds two Israeli troops

Atlantic City Press

"Attackers inside Egypt fired an anti-tank missile and automatic rifles at a military vehicle in Israel on Wednesday, wounding two soldiers in a rare cross-border incident, the military said. The attack occurred in southern Negev Desert and the soldiers were evacuated to a hospital in Israel, it added." (10/22/14)

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Syria: Rebel agitprop outfit says US airstrikes killed 521 fighters, only murdered 32 civilians in September


"Air strikes by U.S.-led forces have killed 521 Islamist fighters and 32 civilians during a month-long campaign in Syria, a monitoring group which tracks the violence said on Thursday. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the vast majority of the deaths, 464, were militants from Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot which has grabbed large areas of Syria and neighboring Iraq. The attacks also killed 57 members of the al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front, the Observatory said. Six of the civilians were children and five were women, it added." (10/23/14)

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OK: Judge lets abortion drug ban take effect

Raw Story Raw Story

"An Oklahoma judge said on Wednesday he will allow a law that bans abortion-inducing drugs to take effect as planned on Nov. 1, over the objections of abortion rights advocates who said the measure is poor public health policy that could put women at risk. Oklahoma District Court Judge Robert Stuart turned down a request by abortion rights groups to halt the measure from taking effect. Stuart also allowed a provision that would limit liability claims against physicians due to the law. According to the lawsuit filed on behalf of Reproductive Services in Tulsa and the Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Services this month, the measure would lead to increased use of surgically induced abortions for cases where drugs can be used." (10/22/14)

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Iraq: Kurdish lawmakers OK fighters for Syria

Naples Daily News

"Lawmakers in Iraq's largely autonomous Kurdish region Wednesday authorized peshmerga forces to go to neighboring Syria and help fellow Kurds combat Islamic State militants in the key border town of Kobani, providing much-needed boots on the ground. The unprecedented deployment will almost certainly depend on the support of Turkey, whose president criticized a U.S. airdrop of arms to Kurdish fighters after some of the weapons wound up in the hands of the extremists." (10/22/14)

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CO: Pols order serfs … er, homeowners … to rebuild “historic” backyard shed

Boulder Daily Camera

"The shed behind 437 Highland Ave. was built in the 1920s and may have been used to store coal and later to keep chickens. Neighbors said it was smelly and dangerous .... Last year, as part of a project to redo their backyard, Andy and Genevieve Horning took down the shed and built a basketball court in its place. It's a decision that a remorseful Andy Horning told the Boulder City Council he wished he could take back. The council voted unanimously late Tuesday to force him to do just that. The Hornings will have to remove the basketball court and construct a replica of the historic shed, with the same dimensions, of the same materials and in the same spot in the backyard." [hat tip -- Jon Ford] (10/22/14)

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SCOTUS: Ginsburg revises dissent on Texas voter suppression law

Fox News Fox News

"The U.S. Supreme Court made a rare correction on Wednesday to a dissent written by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Texas' controversial new voter-identification law. ... Aside from 'small stylistic changes,' Wednesday’s correction erases one sentence from Ginsberg’s official dissent that refers to photo identification cards issued by the U.S. Department of Veterans' Affairs not being an acceptable form of ID in Texas -- when they actually are." (10/23/14)

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MO: “Leaks” promulgated to prepare ground for a walk in Michael Brown killing

Gulf News [UAE]

"With a grand jury decision looming on whether a white police officer should face charges in the killing of an unarmed black 18-year-old in Ferguson, Mo., the investigation has sprang a few leaks. New details from the inquiry into Michael Brown’s August 9 death -- all provided by unidentified sources and which seem to support Officer Darren Wilson’s story of what happened that day -- have emerged in St. Louis and national news outlets in recent days." [editor's note: I'm going to rationally speculate here that the leaks originate with the office of prosecutor Bob McCulloch, who expects he'll be able to talk the grand jury out of indicting Wilson and wants to get people used to the idea before announcing it - TLK] (10/23/14)

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Brazil: Presidential candidates battle for their hometown

Reuters Reuters

"The two candidates in Brazil's presidential election runoff on Sunday grew up just seven blocks apart, attending the same elite tennis club, watching movies at the same theater and strolling through the same leafy plazas during the 1960s. They cheered for rival soccer teams, though, and eventually went down very different political paths. Dilma Rousseff joined a Marxist group that opposed that era's military dictatorship, while Aecio Neves embraced the more conservative ethos of his grandfather, a legend in Brazilian politics. Today, President Rousseff and Senator Neves are fighting for votes in their hometown of Belo Horizonte -- a critical battleground in a race that has gone down to the wire." [editor's note: Like they say, all politics is local - SAT] (10/22/14)

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Puerto Rico: Power company officials face charges

ABC News

"Puerto Rico's justice department has filed fraud and other charges against officials at the troubled state-owned power company in the U.S. territory. Among those charged is Jose Perez Canabal, former vice president of the board of the Electric Energy Authority, along with attorney Francisco Santos Rivera. Also charged is accountant Roberto Torres, who does not work for the company." (10/22/14)

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Apple-1 computer sold at auction for $905,000

Fox News Fox News

"One of the first Apple-1 computers has been sold at auction for $905,000, making it the most expensive Apple computer ever. ... One of the first 50 Apple computers to be made, the pristine Apple-1 was constructed in 1976 by the company’s co-founder Steve Wozniak." (10/22/14)

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VA: Camel maker Reynolds snuffs out workplace smoking

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"Camel cigarette maker Reynolds American Inc. is snuffing out smoking in its offices and buildings. The nation's second-biggest tobacco company informed employees Wednesday that beginning next year, the use of traditional cigarettes, cigars or pipes will no longer be permitted at employee desks or offices, conference rooms, hallways and elevators. Lighting up already is prohibited on factory floors and in cafeterias and fitness centers. The no-smoking policy will go into effect once Reynolds builds indoor smoking areas for those still wanting to light up indoors, spokesman David Howard said." (10/22/14)

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NY: New mayor, same old story; still marijuana arrest capital

Christian Science Monitor Christian Science Monitor

"New York City has long been called the 'marijuana arrest capital of the world.' Under the administration of Mayor Bill de Blasio, the nation’s largest city has maintained that reputation, continuing its aggressive campaign against those found possessing even the most trace amounts of the drug. In fact, Mayor de Blasio and New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton have even outdone the previous administration, surpassing the marijuana possession arrest totals nearly every month this year compared with last, according to a study by the Drug Policy Alliance released Monday." (10/22/14)

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South Korea takes down “Christmas tree” border tower

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"South Korea has taken down a tower at its border with North Korea, which has in the past been decorated as a Christmas tree by Christian groups. The 60 foot tower has previously been covered in colourful lights at Christmas and topped with a cross. The North, which is officially atheist, saw this as religious and political propaganda and threatened to shell it. Its removal comes a week after senior military officials from the two Koreas met for the first time in seven years." (10/22/14)

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UK: Man found guilty after faking two-year coma to avoid court

ABC News

"A British man pleaded guilty this week to stealing 40,000 pounds from an elderly neighbor and pretending to be in a coma for two years to avoid charges, authorities said. Alan Knight pleaded guilty after being charged with multiple counts of theft and making a false representation for gain .... Knight was arrested in 2012 for the alleged theft, a South Wales Police spokesman said. ... Knight delayed going to court by claiming to be a quadriplegic who had periodic seizures that left him in a comatose-state, police said. Since authorities were unable to get Knight in court, his trial was delayed until this week, police said. However, an investigation revealed that Knight had been faking his symptoms, police said." (10/22/14)

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Jerusalem: Terrorist murders baby at train station

Houston Chronicle

"A[n Arab] motorist with a history of anti-Israel violence slammed his car into a crowded train station in Jerusalem on Wednesday, killing a three-month-old baby girl and wounding eight people in what police called a terror attack. The girl and her parents, who were injured in the attack, were U.S. citizens, according to Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat. The violence came after months of tensions between [Palestinian] Jews and Palestinian[ Arab]s in east Jerusalem -- the section of the city the Palestinian[ Arab]s demand as their future capital." (10/22/14)

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FL: South Miami commissioners propose to split state


"Miami-area lawmakers are proposing adding a 51st star to the American flag.
City of South Miami commissioners have approved a resolution that calls for splitting Florida in half. The resolution outlines a new state, made up of 24 counties in the southern part of the peninsula." [editor's note: The resolution seems to be about rising sea levels, but I'm not sure how drawing new state borders is supposed to change that; maybe they're planning to make the southern half of the state a monarchy, with Canute on the throne or something - TLK] (10/22/14)

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Jury convicts ex-Blackwater guards in Iraq murders; appeals expected

Los Angeles Times

"A federal jury Wednesday convicted four former Blackwater security guards who had been charged with killing 14 Iraqis in Baghdad seven years ago in a shooting that became a symbol of U.S. treatment of Iraqi civilians. After nearly 30 days of deliberation, the jury in found Nicholas Slatten guilty of first-degree murder, while three other guards -- Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard -- were found guilty of voluntary manslaughter. ... Prosecutors said the shootings, in which 37 people were killed or injured, were unprovoked, the result of trigger-happy civilian security guards nervous about intelligence reports that a white Kia carrying a car bomb was circulating in the city looking for a target." (10/22/14)

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Ebola theater: US imposes travel restrictions

Guardian [UK]

"The Obama administration has announced America’s first Ebola-related travel restrictions, forcing passengers originating from affected countries in west Africa to fly via US airports with screening procedures in place. The limited move comes after days of mounting political pressure to introduce outright travel bans on such passengers entering the US, but will instead make sure all recent travellers to Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea are subject to basic tests for fever and face questioning on possible exposure to the disease." (10/21/14)

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UN: Attacks on Iraq’s Yazidis may constitute attempted genocide

Deutsche Welle [Germany]

"The campaign against the Yazidis by the 'Islamic State' (IS) could constitute attempted genocide, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Ivan Simonovic said on Tuesday. 'The evidence strongly indicates an attempt to commit genocide,' Simonovic said after meetings with some 30 people -- officials and displaced people in Irbil, Baghdad and Dohuk -- during the week-long visit. Hundreds of Yazidis are believed to have been killed when IS swept across northern and western Iraq in August. Many fled to Kurdish-held parts of northern Iraq, while some 7,000 are believed to have stayed behind and converted to the harsh interpretation of Islam promoted by IS." (10/22/14)

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Mexico: Rights agency says army executed 15 of 22

ABC News

"Soldiers executed at least 12 and probably 15 people at a warehouse in southern Mexico last summer, the government Human Rights Commission said Tuesday in a sweeping indictment of attempts by the military and civilian prosecutors to cover up the crimes. The commission's report exposed the constantly changing government versions of the killings and the brutality with which they were carried out, and could spell the end of prosecutors' efforts to first deny the killings, and then blame them on three rogue soldiers." (10/21/14)

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Pakistan: Afghan shell kills Bajaur tribesman

The Nation [Pakistan]

"A tribesman was killed and two others injured when mortar shells fired from Kunar province of Afghanistan hit a border village of Pakistan’s Nawagi tehsil in Bajaur Agency on Tuesday morning. Officials of the political administration confirmed the incident that two mortar shells fired by unidentified militants from across the border landed in remote area of Babara Charmang, 43 kilometers north west of Khar, the headquarters of Bajaur Agency." (10/22/14)

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WHO: Ebola serum for Africa within weeks

BBC News [UK state media]

"Serum made from the blood of recovered Ebola patients could be available within weeks in Liberia, one of the countries worst hit by the virus, says the World Health Organization. Speaking in Geneva, Dr Marie Paule Kieny said work was also advancing quickly to get drugs and a vaccine ready for January 2015. The Ebola outbreak has already killed more than 4,500 people. Most of the deaths have been in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone." (10/21/14)

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| News

Bipartisan corporate welfare

Michael D. Tanner Cato Institute
by Michael D. Tanner

"The conventional wisdom says that corporate welfare is the exclusive province of Republicans, always eager to do the bidding of their corporate donors. And, indeed, there are far too many examples of Republicans confusing 'free markets' with 'good for business.' Still, there are more than enough examples to show that corporate welfare is a bipartisan sin." (10/22/14)

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How Paul Krugman learned to stop worrying and love income inequality

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Joel Schlosberg and Thomas L. Knapp

"Amazon's existence lowers book prices for readers in multifarious ways, from selection competition to electronic editions to its online marketplace for used copies. Yet Amazon has simultaneously diminished the cost for anyone to publish and sell books and earn money. By offering an alternative to the genuine near-monopoly of capital-intensive big publishers, Amazon distributes those lower prices and that new revenue more evenly among readers and authors. Hachette and Krugman know they can’t turn back the clock that produced Amazon’s burgeoning marketplaces, preferring to benefit from them, but are convinced Amazon owes them a walled garden, sparing them price competition with the rabble. They want Amazon to preserve their income inequality at the expense of its customers." (10/22/14)

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Review: Hoppe’s “Immigration and Libertarianism”

Ben Stone Bad Quaker Dot Com

"Ben Stone reviews the article 'Immigration And Libertarianism' by Hans-Hermann Hoppe." [Flash audio or MP3] (10/21/14)

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Obama still does a good imitation of Bush

Sheldon Richman Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman

"We really should be used to this by now. After almost six years in office, President Obama is far more like George W. Bush in national-security matters than he led the American people to believe." (10/22/14)

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Hollow justice and courts of order in an age of government-sanctioned tyranny

John W. Whitehead
by John W. Whitehead

"Justice in America makes less sense with each passing day. A Michigan couple that has been raising chickens in their backyard as a source of healthy food for their family could get up to 90 days in jail for violating a local ban on backyard hens. A Kentucky prison guard who was charged with 25 counts of sexual abuse against female inmates, trafficking controlled substances, and 50 counts of official misconduct walks away with no jail time and seven years’ probation. A 53-year-old Virginia man is facing 20 years in jail for kidnapping, despite the fact that key evidence shows him to be innocent and his accuser a liar, yet the courts claim they’re unable to do anything about it. Meanwhile, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s recent refusal to hear the case of Jones v. U.S.,judges can now punish individuals for crimes of which they may never have been convicted or even charged." (10/23/14)

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Saunders’s one-stop election shop

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

"Jerry Brown's going to win his second bid for re-election -- and that's OK. Given the state's blueness, Dao Gov is probably the best governor the state can get. Still, it's not a bad idea to send Brown a message that voters don't want him to turn too far to the left by voting for Republican Neel Kashkari. Below I include a column on the one debate between Brown and Kashkari, and a column about Brown's sense of loyalty, such as it is." [editor's note: Some of this is just conservative GOPism, but Ms. Saunders deserves a hearing for the bulk of her pro-liberty work (and there are no libertarians in the mix now anyway, thanks to the "top two" law!) - SAT] (10/22/14)

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Robul Hoque: Sentenced for a thought crime

Rossa Minogue spiked
by Rossa Minogue

"Until this week, Amazon's decision to put racism warnings on old episodes of Tom and Jerry looked like it would be the frontrunner for the most absurd cartoon-related overreaction of the year. Not anymore. That position has been stolen by the UK courts' decision to give a nine-month suspended prison sentence to Robul Hoque, a 39-year-old man from Middlesbrough, for possession of Japanese-style manga images and anime cartoons." (10/22/14)

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Obama learning LBJ lesson: Guns or butter, not both

Reuters Reuters
by Robert Dallek

"President Barack Obama has lost his hold on a majority of Americans, according to recent polls. Though more than two years remain in his term, the popular appeal that propelled him to win the 2008 and 2012 elections may be beyond recovery. It is sadly reminiscent of what President Lyndon B. Johnson experienced in the mid-1960s after winning the 1964 presidential election by one of the largest landslides in U.S. history. This is not to suggest that history is repeating itself. There are too many differences between Johnson and Obama (both the men and their presidencies) to argue that. Yet, as Mark Twain said, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme." [editor's note: Despite the fawning over both tyrants, and the atrocities they perpetrated, this is a fairly good analysis of their similarities - SAT] (10/22/14)

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Why liberals love (and trust) NPR

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman

"The Pew Research Center has one of its ginormous studies out today, this one about polarization and media use, and as usual it's full of interesting stuff. I want to make a point about news in general and NPR in particular, and then after that, for those who care about these things, I have a methodological point to make about how we measure ideology. One of the distinct things about the Pew results is that conservatives love, love, love Fox News, while no single news outlet has the same kind of near-universal use among liberals. ... But the really interesting difference emerges when they ask which sources people trust" [editor's note: I wake up to NPR, catch up on it while driving, and avoid ALL TV news (except Stewart & Colbert, for chuckles) - SAT] (10/22/14)

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Let’s get back to robbing Peter: The welfare state and demographic decline

Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
by Dylan Pahman

"Convincing NGOs that their Malthusian policies are doing more harm than good may be difficult enough. Convincing the young, educated, and heavily in debt in developed countries that they need to have more children to pay for benefits that we may not be able to afford when they need them is harder still. It has become increasingly more difficult to convince them even to get married. In light of this, some would blame Millennials, and perhaps that is not always unmerited. But such sentiment could just as easily be seen as blaming the victims. Devalued educations, high debt, and high underemployment make up the inheritance they have received. A bit of pessimism about their future prospects is understandable." (10/22/14)

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Local surrealist Cory Gardner

The Cagle Post
by Michael Keefe

Cartoon. (10/21/14)

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LGBT libertarianism: Queer and free

Students For Liberty Students For Liberty
by Will Smith

"I’m an outspoken libertarian. I’m also bisexual. To my surprise I have, on multiple occasions, stood and watched people's faces contort in befuddlement as they try to reconcile these two aspects of my life. Many of my friends and colleagues in the LGBT community have stared at me, completely floored, as they ask me how I can possibly defend a party that hates gays. How can I work with people that want to take away my rights? This disconnect stems from a basic misunderstanding about libertarianism." (10/21/14)

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Land of the free — 1 in 3 Americans are on file with the FBI in the US police state

Liberty Blitzkrieg Liberty Blitzkrieg
by Michael Krieger

"The sickening transformation of these United States into an authoritarian police state with an incarceration rate that would make Joseph Stalin blush, has been a key theme of my writing since well before the launch of Liberty Blitzkrieg. One of the posts that shocked and disturbed readers most, was published a little over a year ago titled: American Police Make an Arrest Every 2 Seconds in 2012. In the event you never read it, I suggest taking a look before tackling the rest of this piece." (10/21/14)

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My tiny cosmopolitan apartment

Foundation for Economic Education Foundation for Economic Education
by Joseph S. Diedrich

"I live in a studio apartment, so my kitchen is my living room is my bedroom. The other day, I was staring out my sole window when something startled me. (And it wasn't the subwoofer two floors up.) It was my coffee. While sipping from my mug, I glanced at the bag of beans. It read, 'Origin: Ethiopia.' Next, I read the text on the bottom of my laptop: 'Designed by Apple in California. Assembled in China.' I looked down at my necktie: 'Bruno Piatelli. Roma.' This little exercise became a game. From what other far-off places did my stuff come?" (10/22/14)

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Does democracy let “the poor” dominate?

Dave Johnson Our Future
by Dave Johnson

"Hong Kong’s leader/chief executive Leung Chun-ying slammed pro-democracy protesters, saying that democracy would allow the poor too much of a voice. Leung said that a Chinese-style government appointed from the top allows for more business-friendly policies. I suspect Leung’s comments echo the view of elites worldwide. This week The New York Times reported on Leung’s comments, writing, 'Mr. Leung’s blunt remarks reflect a widely held view among the Hong Kong elite that the general public cannot be trusted to govern the city well.'” [editor's note: When "demoncrazy" (my term) is allowed to run unchecked (with no zone of sovereignty around peaceful individuals), it's a curse, not a blessing. However, in this case, Leung is full of the usual crap - SAT] (10/22/14)

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Strange value of gold in a world that demands it

Anthony Wile The Daily Bell
by Anthony Wile

"A recent CNBC article tells us that 'gold is sending wacky signals.' ... Why? Because of a strange, emergent 'correlation' that gold is now exhibiting with the recently rising dollar and bonds." (10/22/14)

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Council’s new bill to boost smoking

Jeff Stier Heartland Institute
by Jeff Stier

"New York City was the first major city to ban vaping, the use of e-cigarettes, wherever cigarette smoking is banned. Cities around the country have followed suit. As a result, smokers who are trying to quit are forced to take their e-cigarettes outside together with the smokers. Now the council may go further and ban the sale of flavored e-cigarettes. Councilman Costa Constantinides' bill, introduced this month, would be a blow to smokers who want a less harmful alternative that actually tastes good." (10/22/14)

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Did the Bush tax rebates actually work?

Scott Sumner EconLog
by Scott Sumner

"I'm very dubious of all this. When the payroll tax cut was rescinded at the beginning of 2013, Keynesians predicted that growth would slow -- especially since lots of other austerity measures were imposed at the same time. In fact, economic growth (2012:Q4 to 2013:Q4) nearly doubled over the previous 12 months. That was due to monetary offset. The Bush tax cuts were also ineffective, for two reasons." (10/22/14)

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Can student credit unions solve college affordability problem?

The Nation The Nation
by Helene Barthelemy

"In the past two years, Columbia University students have attempted to remedy the vexing problem of college affordability with an old but largely untried idea: a student credit union. Credit unions form 'the cooperatively owned alternative to traditional banks' in which profits go to providing better rates and lower fees for the credit union’s clients. Recipients of capital become shareholders in the institution and participate in its decisions." [editor's note: It could be one answer; it's sure made my life easier! - SAT] (10/22/14)

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Obama appointee supports individual rights

Randall Holcombe Independent Institute
by Randall Holcombe

"I've been critical of the Obama administration in the past, so it’s nice to find something positive to say. This article says that President Obama's new acting head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, Vanita Gupta, 'supports decriminalizing cocaine, heroin, LSD, methamphetamine, ecstasy and all dangerous drugs, including marijuana.' It's nice to see that someone in government supports individuals' rights to make their own choices, rather than having the government tell them how they have to live their lives." (10/21/14)

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The Libertarian Enterprise The Libertarian Enterprise
by Tyrone Johnson

"What are rights? Where do they come from? There are a few schools of thought about this idea. One view, and the one to which I subscribe, says that rights are intrinsic to human beings by their very nature. In this view, phrases like 'unalienable rights' refer to the fact that human rights are part of humanity. Someone can prevent your exercise of your rights through some unjust procedure, but the rights remain your rights. Another school of thought about rights is the view that rights come from God." (10/19/14)

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The neo-scramble for Africa

In These Times In These Times
by Salim Muwakkil

"In the new race for Africa, the United States staked its position in early August, when President Obama convened four dozen African heads of state for the first-ever U.S.-African Leaders Summit. The three-day gathering was the most direct expression of the United States’ growing concern with China’s deepening influence on the continent. According to the Brookings Institution, China overtook the United States as Africa’s largest trading partner in 2009 and has been widening the margin ever since. China’s not acting out of altruism, of course. It has developed an insatiable appetite for Africa’s mineral and petroleum resources." (10/22/14)

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World War I in our minds: A historical view

Ludwig von Mises Institute Ludwig von Mises Institute
by T. Hunt Tooley

"The fiftieth anniversary of the First World War in 1964 felt nothing like the current centennial observances. It is worth asking what has changed." (10/22/14)

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Chile: Resist Europe’s police-state response to terrorism

The Canal The Canal
by Laurie Blair

"In the United Kingdom as in Spain, the wave of anti-terror activity began with governing socialist parties, arguably under more pressure than conservatives to prove their tough-talk credentials. Likewise, the socialist government of Michelle Bachelet is now feeling the heat. For a time, it seemed as though the president would resist: she appealed for calm in the wake of the attacks, and qualified the attacks as 'isolated.' But the interior minister’s return from Spain has seen those in power largely meet in the middle with their conservative counterparts. They are offering greater surveillance, expanded use of prosecution-immune undercover police, pretrial detention, and a wider definition of terrorism." (10/21/14)

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Epistemology by democratic fiat? A reply to Gonazales-Ricoy

Bleeding Heart Libertarians Bleeding Heart Libertarians
by Jason Brennan

"Some beliefs are justified; some are not. If a scientist forms a belief on the basis of careful reasoning and the examination of overwhelming evidence for that belief, she is justified in that belief. If a person forms a belief on this basis of wishful thinking, she is unjustified. Epistemologists try to formulate theories that explain and systematize what makes some beliefs justified and what makes other beliefs unjustified. As of now, there is no one epistemological theory that all experts accept. However, this is not because there is great controversy over which particular beliefs are justified or not." (10/22/14)

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Krugman and Amazon and antitrust

Don Boudreaux Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

"Amazon’s capacity to create or to amplify buzz for a book did not descend upon it by happenstance, like rain falling from the sky upon a pedestrian unprepared with an umbrella or raincoat. The very buzz that Amazon generates for books is a product of Amazon’s own entrepreneurial efforts -- its creativity, its risk-taking, its investments, its skill at staying on top of the modern retailing world, its success at building enormous trust with consumers over the past couple of decades. Krugman, while conceding Amazon’s entrepreneurial greatness, nevertheless treats the capacity to create that buzz as something that somehow belongs, not to Amazon, but to the public -- or to any book publisher who believes that it is being mistreated by Amazon." (10/22/14)

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The Groundhog Day ban

Paul Jacob Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

"Sometimes the only way to make your point is to keep repeating yourself. So it is when explaining why the law requires educational institutions that receive federal funding, like Ward Melville High School, to allow clubs such as the one formed by 17-year-old student John Raney in 2013. Students United in Faith meets to discuss faith and to plan charitable endeavors. Last year, Ward Melville officials sought to ban the club because of its religious character, but retreated after getting a letter from the Liberty Institute (dedicated to 'restoring religious liberty in America'). Near the beginning of this academic year, the school again moved to ban the club. Again, Liberty Institute intervened, threatening a lawsuit. Again, the school backed off." (10/22/14)

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The Rare Report, 10/22/14

The Rare Report The Rare Report

"In this episode of The Rare Report ... Should churches be for to perform same sex marriages? Can libertarians do a better job of spreading their message? Third parties never win -- does there need to be a Libertarian Party?" [Flash audio or MP3] (10/22/14)

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The Ebola response: American stupidity at its finest

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Charles R. Larson

"Ebola is the ideal focal point for anger against the president, because few Americans know anything about the history of the disease and most know even less about the African continent, with its varied and enormously different 54 countries. They’re not interested. They’re more interested in computer games, TV, and other forms of entertainment, because that is all they really want: to be entertained. Well, ignoring Africa has brought Ebola to our shores, though I doubt that this will be the wake-up call epidemiologists hope for. Once it is contained months from now, Americans will forget all about the pandemic until the next one ravages the world. In the meantime, what we’re observing is American stupidity at its finest." (10/22/14)

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Blackwater founder remains free and rich while his former employees go down on murder charges

The Intercept The Intercept
by Jeremy Scahill

"A federal jury in Washington, D.C., returned guilty verdicts against four Blackwater operatives charged with killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians and wounding scores of others in Baghdad in 2007. ... Just as with the systematic torture at Abu Ghraib, it is only the low level foot-soldiers of Blackwater that are being held accountable. [Blackwater founder Erik] Prince and other top Blackwater executives continue to reap profits from the mercenary and private intelligence industries." (10/22/14)

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How the local police state is caused by the federal government

TJ Martinell Tenth Amendment Center
by TJ Martinell

"With the sight of cops in Ferguson, Missouri and Boston resembling totalitarian warriors out of a stereotypical dystopian novel, many Americans have become alarmed at the apparent transition of law enforcement to a role as an occupation force. They also wonder where the police got the money to pay for it." (10/21/14)

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Greens licking their lips over carbon tax revenues

Robert P. Murphy Institute for Energy Research
by Robert P. Murphy

"If the mainstream economists who think a carbon tax will be set 'optimally' are naive, the handful of conservatives who favor it for supply-side reasons are truly delusional. As Eberhard and other progressives make perfectly clear, they have no intention of engaging in a 'tax swap' deal. If they did, there would be no issue about the stream of revenue; the offset in other taxes would simply be adjusted." (10/22/14)

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You can legally busk in NYC’s subways, but a cop might arrest you anyway

Reason Reason
by Zenon Evans

"Can you legally busk in New York City's subways? Yes. Do you need a permit? No. Will these facts stop a police officer from arresting you for busking without a permit? Take a guess." (10/22/14)

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Public servants

Liberty Unbound Liberty Unbound
by Stephen Cox

"I've been listening to talk about 'public service' all my life, but hearing Obama called a public servant made the concept seem even stranger than it had before. Who, besides government employees, especially politicians, is associated with 'service?' Who 'serves' other people? Well, for instance, people in restaurants; they serve the public. They're even called 'servers.' So what, if anything, do a politician and a waiter or a waitress -- a public servant and a servant of the public -- have in common? That's the question I asked myself, and one question led to others." (10/21/14)

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Libertarianism’s untroubling aristocracy of self-control
by Pamela J. Stubbart

"All prospective political orders, by their existence and maintenance, would create advantages for some people (as compared to the baseline of no state having been formed at all, or the baseline of some pre-existing state). Indeed, that is a main point of having a state at all: systematically conferring benefits (construed broadly) that are justly due to citizens. It is a mistake to think that any state is or could be 'neutral,' in the sense of benefiting everyone literally equally. Rather, we use a normatively-loaded conception of 'fairness' to evaluate whether any possible set of benefits and burdens to citizens is distributed equitably. That being said, consider the claim that a libertarian system (i.e. one created by a government significantly smaller and/or less active in most citizens’s individual, properly private lives) would generate a 'self-control aristocracy.'" (10/21/14)

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