Today's Edition


| Commentary

UK: Supreme Court hears landmark challenge to Brexit plans

Beaumont Enterprise

"Britain's Supreme Court began hearing a landmark case Monday that will decide who has the power to trigger the U.K.'s exit from the European Union -- the government or Parliament. The legal battle has major constitutional implications for the balance of power between the legislature and the executive, and has inflamed Britain's already raw wound over how and whether to leave the EU. ... Neuberger and 10 other justices at the country's top court must decide whether Prime Minister Theresa May's government can invoke Article 50 of the EU's key treaty, the trigger for two years of divorce talks, without the approval of lawmakers." (12/05/16)

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Trump picks Carson to head HUD

Los Angeles Times Los Angeles Times

"President-elect Donald Trump has chosen Ben Carson, a rival in the GOP presidential primary who became a top supporter, to run the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Trump chose Carson despite the pediatric neurosurgeon's protestations that he lacked the experience to run a federal agency. The announcement Monday that Carson has been picked for the post came after weeks of negotiations during which Carson said publicly he had little interest in serving in Trump's Cabinet, but then expressed more openness to the idea as Trump publicly courted him." (12/05/16)

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European Commission berates tech companies for insufficiently enthusiastic censorship

CNet News CNet News

"Facebook, Twitter, Google and Microsoft are not acting quickly enough to tackle hate speech, according to the European Commission, which has told the companies to buck up their ideas. If the Silicon Valley companies do not speed up their response to tackling illegal hate speech on their platforms, they will be be brought to book under European law, the Commission said Sunday. Back in May the companies all voluntarily [sic] signed up to a code of conduct, in which they promised to remove hate speech within 24 hours .... Signing the code was an alternative to the EU drawing up laws on the matter. But now the EU Commissioner for Justice Vera Jourova has said that the Commission may be forced [sic] to enact laws after all, as only 40 percent of posts are being removed within the timeframe." (12/05/16)

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UN appeals for record $22.2 billion humanitarian funding in 2017

United Press International United Press International

"The United Nations on Monday appealed for $22.2 billion in funding to cover humanitarian relief projects to aid 93 million people and 33 countries in 2017. 'The world is facing a state of humanitarian crisis not seen since the Second World War: more than 128 million people are affected by conflict, displacement, natural disasters and profound vulnerability,' the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, said in a statement released along with its annual report. OCHA said the $22.2 billion in funding that will 'deliver urgent relief, protection and support' to the 'most vulnerable and marginalized people' is the highest consolidated humanitarian appeal ever." (12/05/16)

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North Dakota: US Army Corps of Engineers puts the kibosh on Dakota Access oil pipeline

Beloit Daily News

"U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said Sunday that it won't grant an easement for the Dakota Access oil pipeline in southern North Dakota, handing a victory to the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and its supporters, who argued the project would threaten a water source and cultural sites. North Dakota's leaders criticized the decision, with Gov. Jack Dalrymple calling it a 'serious mistake' that 'prolongs the dangerous situation' of having several hundred protesters who are camped out on federal land during cold, wintry weather." (12/04/16)

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Italy: Renzi resigns as PM following referendum defeat

Toronto Star [Canada]

"Italian Premier Matteo Renzi announced he will resign Monday after suffering a stinging loss in a reforms referendum, triggering immediate calls from a populist party and other opposition forces for elections to be held soon. 'The ‘No's' have won in an extraordinary clear-cut way,' Renzi told reporters in Rome about an hour after polls had closed in Sunday's balloting. ... The self-assured Renzi late last year pledged to offer his resignation if the referendum on overhauling a good part of the 1948 Constitution went down to defeat. That was months before Britain's David Cameron had made his ill-fated bet on the referendum on whether the U.K. should stay in the European Union." (12/04/16)

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Gambia: Jammeh steps down, conceding defeat after election loss

Oklahoma City Sun

"After being in power for 22 years, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh was handed a shock defeat in the presidential election from Adama Barrow. Jammeh accepted his defeat and announced his decision to step down after he obtained 212,099 votes against Barrow’s 263,515 votes. After conceding defeat, he said, 'Gambians have decided that I should take the backseat. You have voted for someone to lead our country. This is our country, and I wish you all the best.'" (12/04/16)

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Palestine: Abbas’s control bolstered by Fatah election results


"Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas kept a strong grip on his Fatah movement in an election in which his loyalists remained dominant in its top decision-making body, final results showed on Sunday. The outcome of the voting, held on Saturday during the first congress of Abbas's Fatah party for seven years, signaled no change in a policy of pursuing a two-state solution with Israel, Palestinian political analysts said. ... Official results of the Fatah Central Committee (FCC) election showed that least 16 of the 18 seats up for election went to Abbas loyalists. As Fatah leader -- Abbas was re-elected to the post at the first day of the session on Tuesday -- he can choose another three delegates on the 21-member panel." (12/04/16)

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New Zealand: Key announces surprise resignation as PM

Reuters Reuters

"New Zealand Prime Minister John Key, who won praise for his economic stewardship after the global financial crisis, unexpectedly announced his resignation on Monday, saying it was time to leave politics after more than eight years in power. Key said he had no immediate future plans, but told reporters he would stay in parliament long enough for his center-right National Party to avoid a by-election for his seat. ... Key, a multi-millionaire former foreign exchange dealer who worked at firms including Merrill Lynch, won office for the National Party in 2008, ending the nine-year rule of Labour’s Helen Clark." (12/05/16)

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DC: Gunman detained at pizzeria featured in anti-Clinton pedophilia theory

New York Magazine

"Just before 3 p.m. on Sunday, a gunman carrying an assault rifle was detained by police after entering a popular Washington, D.C. pizza restaurant, Comet Ping Pong, which had recently been at the center of a [possibly] fake-news, [definitely] anti-Clinton conspiracy theory spread during this year's election. After entering the restaurant, the still unidentified gunman did not attack anyone or make any demands, but there are reports that he fired into the floor before being apprehended. ... Comet Ping Pong is an often bustling casual eatery whose ping pong tables had made it popular with families. It was little known outside the capital, however, until [possibly] fake news stories started doing the rounds on conservative websites claiming that Comet was a front for a child-sex ring that was run by Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief." (12/04/16)

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Trump: No need for full wall between Mexico and US due to “mountains” and “vicious rivers”

The Independent [UK]

"Donald Trump has said parts of the wall he pledged to build along the border between Mexico and the US will not be needed due to 'mountains' and 'vicious rivers' in some areas. 'Now, there are certain places you don’t need a wall, because you have, you know, you have mountains, you have other things. You have large and rather vicious rivers,' the President-elect said in an interview with Fox News in Cincinnati, Ohio during his so-called 'Thank You' tour. Mr Trump failed to specify where these natural obstacles are located, but insisted this was not a u-turn on the pledge, which became a key part of his White House campaign." (12/03/16)

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ND: Sheriff threatens to deprive DAPL protesters of food and shelter

Counter Current News

"Amid the increasingly tense standoff between Dakota Access Pipeline protesters and militarized police in North Dakota, law enforcement has taken another swipe at the opposition. Protesters on the ground have enjoyed widespread support from individuals around the world, and as those resisting the pipeline brace for a freezing winter, they have moved to set up tents and other forms of shelter -- efforts authorities claim are illegal due to zoning restrictions." (12/04/16)

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Duterte: Trump says Philippines tackling drug problem “the right way”


"President-elect Donald Trump told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that he is going about his controversial fight against drugs 'the right way,' Duterte said. Duterte says he was greatly pleased with the 'rapport' he had with the newly elected U.S. president. Duterte made the comments to reporters in Davao City on Saturday after a brief phone call last night with President-elect Donald Trump." (12/03/16)

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Chile: Regime to revamp immigration law as influx statistics reach new heights

PanAm Post PanAm Post

"Immigration in Chile has increased so much that officials are now discussing legislation to get it under control. Presidential Spokeswoman Paula Narvaez said it is among a list of projects that are now being prioritized in Chile's legislature, and will, according to the Chilean newspaper La Tercera, be sent to Congress this presidential term. Pre-candidates in Chile’s various conservative parties have criticized the current government's relaxed attitude about increasingly alarming immigration statistics." (12/02/16)

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Walmart agrees to $7.5 million settlement in same-sex benefits lawsuit

USA Today USA Today

"Walmart is poised to pay millions of dollars to thousands of former and current employees after it agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming the company denied health insurance to same-sex spouses. The retail giant, which denies the claims, OK'd the $7.5 million settlement, which would resolve a 2015 class action lawsuit brought by a former employee. The settlement, which awaits court approval, was filed Friday in U.S. District Court in Massachusetts. The proposed settlement says the $7.5 million would cover claims of those employees who weren't able to obtain coverage for their same-sex spouse from 2011 to 2013. The company said the settlement includes 'no more than a few thousand current and former Walmart associates.'" (12/03/16)

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UN apologizes for Haiti’s cholera epidemic, but without noting it brought the disease

Fox News Fox News

"United Nations Secretary Ban Ki-moon has ended (sort of) six years of UN stonewalling over Haiti’s mammoth cholera epidemic with a weak apology that the world organization 'simply did not do enough' about the epidemic, without mentioning that UN peacekeepers brought the deadly disease to the hemisphere’s poorest country in the first place. Ban’s statement Thursday to the UN General Assembly declared that 'we are profoundly sorry for our role,' without going into the specifics of what that role actually was. It was nonetheless touted by other UN officials as 'an important day for the UN,' that also is supposed to mark the start of a new approach to the cholera catastrophe that would include 'material assistance and support for those Haitians most directly affected by cholera' -- as soon as U.N. member states come up with the money for it." (12/02/16)

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Trump targets another company, draws Sanders’s criticism

Reuters Reuters

"President-elect Donald Trump drew a rebuke from former Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders on Saturday, after turning his attention to another Indiana company planning a move to Mexico. 'Rexnord of Indiana is moving to Mexico and rather viciously firing all of its 300 workers. This is happening all over our country. No more!' Trump said in a Friday night Twitter post. Rexnord Corp (RXN.N), an industrial supplier based in Milwaukee, announced plans in October to move a bearing plant, and its 300 jobs, from Indianapolis to Mexico, employees told the Indianapolis Star at the time. Company representatives on Saturday did not respond to a request for comment on Trump's tweet. The Republican, who takes office on Jan. 20, warned on Thursday of consequences for companies that move jobs out of the United States but did not specify what they would be." [editor's note: Again, company smart to grab the deal and cut its taxes; Trump wrong to promote crony-corporate welfare - SAT] (12/03/16)

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Austria: Presidential election re-run “too close to call”

BBC News BBC News [UK state media]

"Austrians are voting in a re-run of a presidential election which pits the leader of the far-right Freedom Party Norbert Hofer against former Green Party head Alexander Van der Bellen. The vote last May was narrowly won by Mr Van der Bellen, but the result was overturned by Austria's highest court because of irregularities in the count. If Mr Hofer wins, he will become the EU's first far-right head of state. Opinion polls held in November suggest the vote is too close to call. Although the role is largely ceremonial, the vote is being watched as a barometer of how well populist candidates will do in upcoming elections. France, the Netherlands and Germany all face elections next year in which anti-mainstream and anti-immigration parties are gaining ground." (12/03/16)

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France pledges $30 million for wartime heritage protection

San Francisco Chronicle San Francisco Chronicle

"France committed $30 million toward protecting cultural heritage sites during wartime on Saturday, a first step in the creation of an international fund aimed at preventing destruction like that carried out by Islamic State militants. French President Francois Hollande announced the contribution during a conference jointly organized by France and the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi. Backers of the Safeguarding Endangered Cultural Heritage conference hope to attract an initial $100 million for the fund. In coordination with UNESCO, it aims to prevent or stop destruction of historical sites, fight trafficking of stolen artifacts and pay for the restoration of sites damaged by war. They also seek to create a network of sites around the world where artifacts endangered by fighting or terrorism could be temporarily stored for safekeeping." (12/03/16)

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Fundraiser update, 12/02/16

Dear readers,

Our year-end fundraiser has an ambitious goal of $5,000 by December 31. So far we've raised $863.

What's missing from our fndaising? UR!

We've been the freedom movement's daily newspaper since 1991 under various names. In three weeks we will have published for 14 years as Rational Review News Digest. If you find our work valuable, please return some of that value. Our editors don't eat a lot, but we do have to eat. Help out at:

Have a great weekend!

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

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| News

Open letter to “Dilbert’s” Scott Adams

Don Boudreaux Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

"Mr. Adams: Commenting on Pres.-elect Trump's threats to punitively tax American consumers who purchase imports from U.S. companies that offshore some or all of their production, Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) Tweeted 'American consumers are taxed even if no companies move. Tariff increases production costs & limits competition. This is basic economics.' In response to Rep. Amash, you disagree, Tweeting 'No, the whole point is that no company would move with that risk hanging over them. So no tax is triggered.' Rep. Amash is right and you are wrong." (12/05/16)

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Dana Rohrabacher for Secretary of State?

Justin Raimondo
by Justin Raimondo

"From a noninterventionist perspective, Rohrabacher is the best choice of those reportedly in the running, with this caveat: 'realism' is not the same as non-interventionism. It depends on the context. In the present context -- escalating tensions with Russia, deepening US involvement in Iraq and Syria, and the hegemonic pretensions of our political class -- they are our allies. However, they are what I would call 'Asialationists,' i.e. they, like Mearsheimer, see China as a rising threat, and their proposed 'pivot' to Asia -- which was announced but never really implemented by the Obama administration -- spells possible trouble ahead." (12/05/16)

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Free Talk Live, 12/04/16

Free Talk Live Free Talk Live

"India Mandates National Anthem :: Free Ross-a-Thon :: Rerouting Pipeline :: Flag Burning :: Military :: Killer Cops :: Alcohol-Detecting Patch :: Economics in One Lesson :: Government Loans :: Poor Risks and Usury." [Flash audio or MP3] (12/04/16)

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Economic ideas: David Hume on self-coordinating and correcting market processes

Richard M. Ebeling Future of Freedom Foundation
by Richard M Ebeling

"David Hume emphasized that commerce and trade were among the most important avenues to offer opportunities to raise people's standards of living, and to bring refinement and cultural betterment to a growing portion of a nation’s population. Commerce also served as an important leveler of the material inequality of a society based on political privilege and government-bestowed monopoly. Through trade, a wider variety and quality of goods became available to a growing number of the people in any society, fostering the development of a 'middle class.'" (12/05/16)

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Biofuels: US misses goal (again), and EU destroys forests

H Sterling Burnett Heartland Institute
by H Sterling Burnett

"In testimony before the Senate Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management on December 1, federal government officials admitted, once again, what free market critics like myself have long argued concerning the mandatory biofuels program -- it can't meet the goals set established in the law, and the more the government tries to force the issue, the worse it is for consumers." (12/04/16)

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Free Ross-A-Thon

Free Ross Ulbricht

Recorded video from the live-stream event to raise money for American political prisoner Ross Ulbricht's appeal of his life sentence for (allegedly) operating a web site. Numerous speakers. Watch, listen, donate! [Flash video] (12/04/16)

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The radical’s obligation

L. Neil Smith The Libertarian Enterprise
by L Neil Smith

"I had a 'discussion' earlier this week, online, with an individual attempting to excuse the many and grievous shortcomings of Libertarian Party Presidential candidates over the years. I had remarked that it was a damned shame that the LP has always been unable -- or unwilling -- to nominate a candidate who is actually a libertarian. ... We can't get any votes, they whimper, if we scare voters away. And of course the whole object of having a political party in the first place is to win elections and put our own people in command -- and our own hogs at the public trough. Actually, the Libertarian Party was founded by individualists -- I was there at the time; I personally knew most of them and counted them among my friends -- whose objective, simply, was to advance the cause of liberty. This did not necessarily involve getting anybody elected; it simply required vigorous and truthful campaigns that would put constant and consistent pressure on the other parties and map a way out of the morass of over-government." (12/04/16)


“Qualified immunity”: What cops and slave overseers have in common

William Norman Grigg Pro Libertate
by William Norman Grigg

"Michael Slager, the former North Charleston, South Carolina police officer killed an unarmed man and then attempted to frame the victim, will not be convicted of murder. Nor is he likely to be convicted of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Slager's jury deadlocked because a single member of the panel insisted that he could not 'in good conscience' vote to convict Slager of criminal homicide. This is not because the facts of the case are in dispute. Slager was captured on video fatally shooting unarmed, 50-year-old Walter Scott in the back as he fled a traffic stop, and then placing a Taser next to his fatally traumatized body. The critical issue for that juror, apparently, was whether Slager's state of mind as he committed these acts transmuted them from criminal homicide and obstruction of justice into an exercise of state-conferred authority protected by 'qualified immunity.'" (12/04/16)

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What does it mean to be “mainstream?”

Gary M. Galles Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Gary Galles

"Antonin Scalia's death reignited a long-running battle over the Supreme Court. Trump's victory escalated it. Now unexpectedly on defense, Democrats are demanding any Trump nominee be what they consider 'mainstream.' Incoming Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer has long led the mainstream mendacity. In 2007, he said any Bush nominee 'must prove ... they are in the mainstream rather than we have to prove that they are not.' Subsequent Democratic nominees, however, were simply defined as mainstream. Now he has switched course again, preemptively asserting any Trump nominee who fails to get Schumer's imprimatur as mainstream could even merit consideration." (12/02/16)

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Libertarians and everyone else blamed for Hillary’s loss

Garry Reed HubPages
by Garry Reed

"Here it is December and political Lefties still can't seem to purge themselves of the upset Trump victory over their Anointed Angel of Liberalism (or Prophet of Progressivism depending on who one listens to), that being Hillary Rodham Clinton. The angst-riddled Millennial Crybaby classes were so distraught that the object of their Girl Crush lost the 2016 Presidential election to the lowly likes of Donald Trump that they took to the streets in angry mobs in cities across the country waving signs of 'Not My President' and 'We Shall Overcomb' along with 'no swastika' drawings." (12/02/16)

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The Romney gambit

The American Prospect The American Prospect
by Gabrielle Gurley

"There are denizens of Planet Media who have worked themselves into a state of high dudgeon over the prospect of Mitt Romney serving as secretary of state in the Trump administration. In these tellings, Romney is either a sellout, a hypocrite, or a suck-up. (Or a flip flopper or a shapeshifter, to use terms in vogue during his two failed presidential bids.) The underlying sentiment seems to be: Why would Romney want to work for a man he repeatedly denigrated during a toxic election, who was more than happy to match him insult for insult, and who may be setting him up for a major fall? But being shocked, shocked that Romney wants to set aside his reservations about Trump to serve in his administration ignores the arc of Romney’s career. There is nothing surprising about the former Massachusetts governor’s decision to pursue the State Department post." (12/02/16)

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Obama’s legacy:

A Trevor Thrall Cato Institute
by A Trevor Thrall

"In the waning days of his second term, a president's thoughts turn to his legacy. His focus the last few weeks and months often tells us a great deal about how he wants to be remembered by the American people. It is, therefore, surprising and disappointing to see that President Obama is busy institutionalizing the targeted killing apparatus constructed piece by piece after the 9/11 attacks. Obama's last-minute efforts to ensure that the costly and counterproductive war on terror continues will certainly help cement his legacy -- as the president who authorized hundreds of secret drone strikes that killed thousands of people, many of them civilians. But they also serve as a terrible reminder of just how far off course American national security policy has gotten." (12/02/16)

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spiked podcast, 12/03/16

spiked spiked

"In this week's spiked podcast, Bruno Waterfield discusses the legal challenges to Brexit, Naomi Firsht talks about the upcoming French elections, and Tom Slater explains why spiked is still defending democracy." [Flash audio or MP3] (12/03/16)

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What the change to Rule 41 means for you

Darryl W Perry Free Press Publications
by Darryl W Perry

"Despite a last-minute effort to halt the change, federal investigators received expansive powers on December 1. Reuters reports .... 'The government will have 'unprecedented authority to hack into Americans' personal phones, computers and other devices.'' Fortune reports, 'The expanded search power ... is intended to make it easier for the FBI to carry out complex computer investigations.' Prior to the modification, federal judges were only allowed to issue warrants that covered that judicial district, meaning a judge in the Northern District of California could not issue a warrant for the FBI to search the computer of someone outside of that 14 county district." [text, Flash audio or MP3] (12/04/16)

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True or false, Trump’s tweets beat the media at its own game

Reuters Reuters
by Peter Van Buren

"President-elect Donald Trump discovered the Holy Grail of media relations: the ability with a 140-character tweet to ignore the Fourth Estate. This is brass-knuckled political power that at a minimum pushes the press another circulation drop closer to irrelevancy. The latest example is directed against a journalist who reported Trump’s tweet that he lost the popular vote because of extensive fraud. CNN’s Jeff Zeleny called Trump a 'sore winner,' adding the president-elect had 'zero evidence' to back up his fraud claim. Trump responded with a series of tweets and retweets condemning Zeleny, all echoing around the web for days. ... This is no joke, except maybe on the journalists whose credibility is already a laughing matter." (12/03/16)

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The Jason Stapleton Program, 12/01/16

The Jason Stapleton Program The Jason Stapleton Program

"Rent control is another creation of those government 'wizards of smart' whose plans always seem to end up hurting the very people they are designed to help. More on that in today episode. Also, SHOCKING NEWS! Republicans plan to delay the Obamacare repeal for up to 3 years. I know, you're floored, right? It turns out the Republicans are going to use this policial gem as leverage for as long as they can. If you were under any false notion that government is looking out for you this episode will cure you of your delusions." [various formats] (12/01/16)

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The Cuban embargo destroy Americans’ freedom

Jacob G Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger

"Amidst increasing speculation that President-elect Trump is going to reverse the Obama administration's attempts to normalize relations with Cuba, this would be a good time for Americans to start pushing back against any further destruction of their rights and liberties at the hands of their own government. A good place to start pushing back is by standing firm in favor of a lifting of the decades-long failed, deadly, and destructive U.S. economic embargo against Cuba." (12/02/16)

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No, Trump’s deal with Carrier is not a win for liberty

Students For Liberty Students For Liberty
by Omar Benmegdoul

"Free enterprise generates wealth through firms competing with each other for customers' dollars. Those who serve them best make a profit, and losses induce the others to reallocate their resources to other ventures. When currying favour with politicians is a more effective means of staying afloat than is efficient production of what people demand, firms will use their ingenuity and resources to lobby for preferential treatment, instead of serving customers. Their efforts are allocated to redistributing wealth instead of creating it through gains from trade, entrepreneurship, and innovation. The end result is consumers receive the poor service which we generally associate with firms sheltered from competition." (12/04/16)

1 Comment »

Crony baloney

Timothy J. Taylor Authority!
by Timothy J Taylor

"Ever since Donald Trump declared his intention to run for president 18 months ago he's been promising to do all he can to dissuade American corporations from moving their manufacturing operations and jobs to Mexico and other countries to the detriment of the American economy. He put American companies on notice then that they would not be free to relocate their companies outside of the U.S. 'without consequences.' In all that time, few if any have complained that his plans would amount to crony capitalism until now with that perennial babbling idiot, Sarah Palin, suddenly wagging an accusing finger at Trump after he started to make good on his promises two months before taking office. As usual, Palin doesn't know what she's talking about." (12/04/16)

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Crony Carrier

Paul Jacob Common Sense
by Paul Jacob

"Sure, I've complained about the over-the-top anti-Trump bias of much of the mainstream media (which may actually have improved Trump's public standing). But, today, I enthusiastically celebrate that supercilious slant. Why? Because it means much of the media amazingly finds itself on the right side, panning the recent deal to save 1,000 jobs at the Carrier Corporation. Saving jobs is good per se. We want jobs to stay here in America. But, at what price?" (12/02/16)

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There is no deficit of erroneous thinking about trade

Don Boudreaux Cafe Hayek
by Don Boudreaux

"Edward Conard writes that 'Trade deficits occur when countries such as Germany lend the U.S. economy the proceeds from the sale of goods to Americans, rather than using them to buy goods made by American workers. To prevent trade deficits from reducing the wages and employment of lower-skilled workers ... Americans must borrow and spend these savings. But today, savings sit unused despite near-zero interest rates, putting downward pressure on wages as they accumulate' ('A Trade Policy That Wouldn't Leave Low-Wage Workers Behind,' December 5th). Mr. Conard errs. Contrary to his claim -- and to popular myth -- trade deficits (more accurately, current-account deficits) are not exclusively, or even chiefly, debt. Trade deficits occur when countries (actually, foreign people) do any form of investing in the U.S. economy." (12/02/16)

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The LAVA Spurt, episode 24

The LAVA Flow Podcast The LAVA Flow Podcast

"Since 2008, elephants have been slaughtered in record numbers, even after the ivory trade was made largely illegal in 1989. Can this trend be reversed? Thank you for joining me on the twenty-fourth episode of The LAVA Spurt, The Regulate Elephants Like Cows Edition." [various formats] (12/03/16)

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Introduction to public choice

Randall Holcombe Independent Institute
by Randall Holcombe

"Public choice uses economic methods to analyze political decision-making. Too often, both 'policy experts' and the general public perceive problems and conclude that the government should do something about them, without evaluating whether government intervention could actually make things better. Public choice examines how the political process actually works rather than relying on a hope that if things aren’t ideal, somehow government can improve them." (12/02/16)

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Thank you, Donald Trump

Sheldon Richman The Libertarian Institute
by Sheldon Richman

"We advocates of liberty owe Donald Trump a great debt of gratitude. Thanks to Trump it is clearer than ever that most people who call themselves conservatives, and not just those who have lined up with Trump, are no cousins of ours. (There are honorable exceptions, but alas far too few.) Freedom is not on their list of priorities. Neither (of course) is free enterprise. Nor civil liberties. And I need not mention war, peace, and empire. (Trump is no dove or anti-imperialist.) What apparently matters most is National Greatness, that is, rank nationalism -- even among many conservatives who don’t like Trump and who opposed his candidacy." (12/01/16)

1 Comment »

The Carrier deal

USA Today USA Today
by staff

"You’ve got to hand it to Donald Trump. He said he’d save American manufacturing jobs at a Carrier factory in Indiana, and he has delivered on that campaign promise even before he takes office. The air conditioner maker now says that it will retain 1,000 jobs that had been slated to move to Mexico. That's terrific pre-Christmas news for workers at the Carrier plant, and the president-elect traveled to Indianapolis on Thursday to announce the deal and warn that other companies would not leave U.S. shores 'without consequences.' Amid the powerful symbolism and celebratory atmosphere, however, it's important to put the deal in context." [editor's note: Bottom line is, Carrier was smart to grab the deal and cut its taxes; Trump was wrong to offer it, since it was blatant crony-corporate welfare - SAT] (12/03/16)

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Property means preservation

Mises Canada
by Doug French

"To the minds of most environmentalists, the ham-hand of government is needed to protect wildlife. Private property be damned -- the government must step in, otherwise every species on the planet will be hunted into oblivion, or human development will gobble up all remaining wildlife habitat, leading to the complete extinction of all species. However, on the African plain it's just the opposite. From the van leaving Hoedspruit airport to the Thornybush Game Preserve, we saw nothing but mile after mile of African savannah, enclosed in electrified fencing (and at one point an ape bounding across the road). Although government-owned Kruger National Park is nearby, the area is dominated by private game reserves, with ecotourism being the primary driver of the local economy. If not for these private game reserves, a number of species would be extinct." (12/02/16)

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The KN@PP Stir Podcast, episode 107


"In this episode: Thanks For Asking! (Walter Block, David Bowie, Taoism, COINTELPRO, newspapers, flag-burning and Weld 2020); Split rant (the Dakota Access Pipeline/Free Ross Ulbricht -- please hit, check out the Free-Ross-A-Thon, and match my $10 donation!)." [Flash audio or MP3] (12/04/16)

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Fascism: Same boss as the old boss

Zero Gov Zero Gov
by Bill Buppert

"America is a curious hybrid of fascist and socialists institutions living side by side. A socialist institution would be wholly owned subsidiary or direct functionality of the government much like the Socialist Security Administration and its fictitious lockbox, the Veterans Administration which may be Exhibit A in proving that even the richest country and most populous state agency can be a cavalcade of calamities that would make a Soviet bureaucrat blush in embarrassment. The massive government indoctrination system and its criminally egregious yellow submarine fleet is another example. It's a fine line between fascism and socialism but the Founding Lawyers inadvertently crafted a system that actually makes slaves modestly more productive in that they assume the system is more effectively paying them when in the end the crafty tax regime is pinching their resources at nearly 100%." (12/03/16)

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Johnny Rocket Launch Pad Special #5

Johnny Rocket Launch Pad Johnny Rocket Launch Pad

"This week we feature Johnny Rocket's interview from the Alex MercedCast. Alex Merced asks Johnny about the Libertarian Party, what he thinks of Fidel Castro's death, and the future of the Launch Pad! Also in this special we dig out our interview with businessman, and investor, Peter Schiff! It's a special episode packed with a punch of property rights, permissions, and principles!" [various formats] (12/03/16)

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Do not take payment in politeness

Wendy Mcelroy
by Wendy McElroy

"[I] often do things, like writing or editing, for people whom I respect and toward whom I feel an emotional connection. Arguably, I am not being paid in 'the wind of words' but by the satisfaction I feel in helping a friend. I entirely agree when it comes to providing work for free to people with whom I have no special emotional connection. I have learned to draw a very hard line with libertarians who expect writers to produce articles for the good of the movement or because the writers should believe in the idea enough to starve themselves to death. By the same logic a libertarian doctor should treat libertarian patients for free but no one ever suggests such parallels." (12/03/16)

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