Undercovered News for 9-18-2018

Undercovered News

Today’s news and opinion for libertarians. Click for more:

Government Can Spy on Journalists in the U.S. Using Invasive Foreign Intelligence Process  theintercept.com/2018/09/17/journalists-fisa-court-spying/

“The US Government can monitor journalists under a foreign intelligence law that allows invasive spying and operates outside the traditional court system, according to newly released documents. Targeting members of the press under the law, known as the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, requires approval from the Justice Department’s highest-ranking officials, the documents show.”

California’s bad idea: gender quotas for corporate boards
www.jeffjacoby.com/21620/california-bad-idea-gender-quotas-for-corporate

The Ideal U.S.-U.K. Free Trade Agreement: A Free Trader’s Perspective
www.cato.org/publications/white-paper/ideal-us-uk-free-trade-agreement-free-traders-perspective

Tax Reform Forces States to Compete with Each Other
www.cato.org/publications/commentary/tax-reform-forces-states-compete-each-other

Senate Passes Spending Bill Without Funds for Border Wall
politicalwire.com/2018/09/18/senate-passes-spending-bill-without-funds-for-border-wall/

“Like a toadstool… I lay there, annoyed that I was getting fucked by a guy with Yeti pubes and a dick like the mushroom character in Mario Kart… It may have been the least impressive sex I’d ever had, but clearly, he didn’t share that opinion.”
— Stormy Daniels, quoted by The Guardian, describing her affair with Donald Trump in her new tell-all book, Full Disclosure.

Obscure Pentagon Fund Nets $2B, Sets Pork Senses Tingling
www.rollcall.com/news/politics/obscure-pentagon-fund-nets-2-billion

“The Pentagon will soon have received about $2.3 billion in the last nine years — money the military never requested — for a special fund intended to help replace earmarks after Congress banned them, our analysis shows. Buried deep inside the $674.4 billion Defense spending measure for fiscal 2019 that the Senate is expected to vote on this week is a chart with one line showing a $250 million appropriation for the Defense Rapid Innovation Fund, the latest installment of sizable funding for a largely unknown program that quietly disburses scores of contracts every year.”

Trade war escalates as China announces tariffs on US imports
apnews.com/bd5ec451a12b4a04bdcd3015b3790b22

EU crackdown misses Big Tech targets
www.axios.com/eu-crackdown-misses-big-tech-targets-1537221007-f0c6b5a8-6f84-4dd4-be97-d62bf216ffad.html

“The laws — governing everything from from privacy to copyright to content filtering — stem from concerns about the behavior of big platforms, like YouTube and Facebook. But big companies have more resources to comply with complicated regulations than small firms.”

The Axios 8: How to tell the strength of the blue wave
www.axios.com/axios-8-blue-wave-midterms-fed3fbdf-bae3-417f-9ceb-cbbb350832ad.html

The 10 most important Senate elections, briefly explained
www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/9/3/17800588/2018-midterm-elections-senate

8 more states have launched investigations into clerical abuse since the Pennsylvania report
www.vox.com/2018/9/17/17847466/state-investigations-clerical-abuse-missouri-new-york-jersey-wyoming-illinois-catholic-sex

Cruz Holds Nine Point Lead In Texas

Cruz Holds Nine Point Lead In Texas

Senate will hear testimony from Kavanaugh and his accuser
www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/kavanaugh-says-he-s-willing-talk-judiciary-committee-response-assault-n910206

“Earlier in the day, President Donald Trump said that he was willing to accept that it might take longer to get a vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination”

White House Moves Forward With Tariffs on $200 Billion Worth of Chinese Imports
worldview.stratfor.com/situation-report/us-white-house-moves-forward-tariffs-200-billion-worth-chinese-imports

Graham Wants to Know Who Paid for Accuser’s Polygraph
thehill.com/homenews/senate/407203-graham-who-paid-for-kavanaugh-accusers-polygraph-test

“Here’s what I want your audience to know: If Ms. Ford really did not want to come forward, never intended to come forward, never planned to come forward, why did she pay for a polygraph in August and why did she hire a lawyer in August if she never intended to do what she is doing? And who paid for it?”

China Still Has Plenty Of Ammunition To Fight Back In Trump’s Trade War
thefederalist.com/2018/09/18/china-still-has-plenty-of-ammunition-to-fight-back-in-trumps-trade-war

“While pushing back on U.S. demands, China continues expanding to new markets. President Xi’s “One Belt and One Road” initiative to build infrastructure projects from Europe to Africa has already provided a big market and consistent demand for Chinese exports, especially those running into overcapacity issues, such as steel and cement. Many countries along the initiative routes are resource-rich. They will provide a steady supply of raw material and energy to support China’s long-term economic growth.”

A former sex-crimes prosecutor analyzed Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh. Here’s her take.
www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/18/former-sex-crimes-prosecutor-analyzed-fords-allegations-against-kavanaugh-heres-her-take/

Offensive in Syria’s Idlib Canceled After Russia, Turkey Reach Deal

Offensive in Syria’s Idlib Canceled After Russia, Turkey Reach Deal

“A widely expected military offensive against rebel-held Idlib Province in northern Syria has been canceled, according to the Russian Defense Ministry. This follows a deal reached between Russia and Turkey to establish a new buffer zone in the area.
The deal will see a 15-25 km wide buffer zone established between government and rebel territory, inside Idlib Province. The rebels are to leave this area, which will be jointly patrolled by Turkey and Russia, and are to withdraw all heavy weapons from the area.”

Declassification of Carter Page Warrants May Be Politically Motivated, but More Transparency Is Still Good
reason.com/blog/2018/09/17/white-house-orders-declassification-of-m

Reading the FISA Redactions
www.nationalreview.com/2018/09/carter-page-fisa-redactions-uncovering/

Google China Prototype Links Searches to Phone Numbers
theintercept.com/2018/09/14/google-china-prototype-links-searches-to-phone-numbers/

“Google built A prototype of a censored search engine for China that links users’ searches to their personal phone numbers, thus making it easier for the Chinese government to monitor people’s queries, The Intercept can reveal. The search engine, codenamed Dragonfly, was designed for Android devices, and would remove content deemed sensitive by China’s ruling Communist Party regime, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest.”

AP: Assange Tried to Get Russian Visa in 2010, WikiLeaks Documents Show
www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-09-17/new-leak-shows-julian-assange-sought-russian-visa-in-2010

Thanks to rationalreview.com for their work.

Sunspot observatory to reopen, with little explanation for closure
www.abqjournal.com/1221558/observatory-to-reopen-little-explanation-for-closure.html

“The closure is ending, but the mystery remains. Following its abrupt evacuation Sept. 6, the Sunspot Solar Observatory near Alamogordo is set to ‘transition back to regular operations’ today, officials announced Sunday afternoon. A spokeswoman for the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy said in a statement that the decision to ‘temporarily vacate’ and cease ‘science activities’ was made in response to ‘a security issue’ and ‘an on-going law enforcement investigation of criminal activity that occurred at Sacramento Peak.’ … Asked about the case last week, FBI spokesman Frank Fisher said there were ‘no extraterrestrials’ involved, and he referred questions to AURA.”

Cat knocks out power to much of New Orleans
www.usatoday.com/story/money/nation-now/2018/09/17/entergy-new-orleans-power-outage-cat-substation/1336436002/

“Thousands of Entergy New Orleans customers lost power for more than an hour after a cat got into a substation Monday. The outages began around 8:30 a.m. Monday morning, according to the Entergy New Orleans. Power was restored around noon, the company tweeted. A statement from the company said a cat got into a substation and caused a flash when it touched the equipment. The animal did not survive. ‘It is unusual for a cat to get into a substation and around protective devices. When this happens, the animals unfortunately do not survive the high-voltage contact,’ the company said in a tweet. Entergy New Orleans said the company installs protective devices to keep animals out of the equipment to protect the animals and prevent power outages.”

Libertarians Are Terrible At Persuasion in the Social Justice Language of Power and Privilege, and We Should Be Better At It. There is Definitely Common Ground to Be Explored

Libertarians Are Terrible At Persuasion in the Social Justice Language of Power and Privilege, and We Should Be Better At It. There is Definitely Common Ground to Be Explored

“I am a life-in-the-real-world (LIRW) libertarian who is most comfortable arguing on the freedom-coercion axis and based on economic efficiency. LIRW libertarian means that I don’t answer every policy question with a knee-jerk anarcho-capitalist get-the-government-out-of-the-way policy prescription. I accept that government coercion is not going away and I can accept some state coercion in support of certain policy goals. However, in doing so I assign something I call the Cost of Coercion to policy proposals in balancing out the costs and benefits and the coercion cost I assign will be high. As such, then, I tend to discuss policy in terms of meeting goals with maximum economic efficiency and minimum levels of coercion. In this article I want to talk about my (and other libertarians’) attempts to engage (or failures to engage) Progressives on their preferred Oppressor-Oppressed axis. While I think everyone benefits from learning to engage with folks who speak different political languages, doing so is particularly important for libertarians in the United States because we are the odd man out in the current two-party system.”

In Bernie Sanders vs. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, only workers lose
www.cato.org/publications/commentary/bernie-sanders-vs-amazons-jeff-bezos-only-workers-lose
“Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders'[s] fight against corporate America over low worker pay has progressed in the Stop Bad Employers by Zeroing Out Subsidies Act (aka the Stop BEZOS Act), targeted at Amazon and Walmart. Bernie claims taxpayers subsidize these corporations because many employees receive government welfare through food stamps, school meals, rental assistance or federal contributions to Medicaid. To stop this, his bill would tax companies with 500 employees or more dollar-for-dollar for the value of benefits received by workers. This is an extraordinarily dangerous policy based upon major economic misunderstandings. In fact, it is difficult to think of a worse way of helping lower income workers.”

Below the surface of ICE: The corporations profiting from immigrant detention
inthesetimes.com/features/ice-abolish-immigration-child-detention-private-prison-profiting.html

“About 60 members of ICE Out of LA faced off with a handful of Trump supporters outside Los Angeles Police Department headquarters July 23. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) abolitionist group was there to confront County Sheriff Jim McDonnell, accused of transferring immigrants into federal custody. The Trump fans were there to troll. ‘We tell McDonnell to stop siding with people who promote hate in our community,’ one young Latino protester shouted through a bullhorn. ‘He can abolish ICE here.’ It was everything you’d expect from a political demonstration focused squarely, if optimistically, on changing the mind of a single policymaker. Two days later, 2,400 miles away, activists with Make the Road New York and other groups tried a different approach. They blocked Park Avenue underneath the Upper East Side roof-level penthouse of JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, rather than outside a government building. Their speakers blared the now-infamous cries of detained migrant children for their parents.”

The silence of the deficit hawks

The Silence of the Deficit Hawks

“The U.S. government did something in August 2018 that it has never done before. It spent $433 billion in taxpayer and borrowed dollars in a single month! For the U.S. government’s 2018 fiscal year to date, which will end on September 30th, the cumulative amount of spending it has done is well ahead of where it was at this point in 2017, while the amount of money it has collected in taxes is, perhaps surprisingly, slightly ahead of where it was at this time last year. You might think this dubious fiscal achievement would attract howls of disapproval on Capitol Hill, but you would be wrong. According to reporting by Damian Paletta and Erica Werner of the Washington Post, there is bipartisan approval for spending even more money, with the only disagreements being over what.”

Mutual self-impoverishment is foolish

Mutual Self-Impoverishment is Foolish

“I do indeed believe that the United States government has no business ‘retaliating’ against foreign protectionism with U.S. protectionism. My first objection is based on ethics. It is unethical for Uncle Sam, in an effort to drum up additional sales for some Americans, to obstruct other Americans’ freedom to spend their incomes as they choose and in ways that everyone agrees to be otherwise acceptable. … My second objection is grounded in economics. Contrary to your (and Pres. Trump’s) assumption, foreign-government protectionism weakens rather than strengthens foreign economies that practice it. Why should we ‘retaliate’ by weakening our own economy?”

“Socialism” is a political fashion statement
www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/nation-now/2018/09/17/socialism-political-fashion-statement-dangerous-column/1329811002

“The term ‘socialism’ has lost its sting in American politics, particularly among the young. However, few Americans who claim to be socialists are truly such, if the term is to retain its value in describing a particular form of political economy. It’s become more of a political fashion statement. A way of saying: ‘Hey, look at me. I’m a rebel with a cause.’ This sanitizing of the term hinders the ability to make useful distinctions in discussing matters of political economy. And it obscures important historical lessons that are forgotten at great peril. American conservatives believe that markets are the most productive and fair way of allocating resources, and the only way compatible with individual liberty. They are skeptical of proposals to regulate markets, believing that they have self-correcting mechanisms that will serve consumers, investors and workers better than government oversight.”

Inside Israel’s new Iran strategy
www.reuters.com/article/us-behravesh-israel-commentary/commentary-inside-israels-new-iran-strategy-idUSKCN1LX1OF

“In a rare admission, Israel has broken its ‘no-comment’ policy on air strikes to confirm that it has carried out over 200 attacks against Iranian targets in Syria over the last two years. In addition to those attacks, a new report claims that Israel has secretly armed and funded at least 12 Syrian rebel groups in southern Syria since 2013. Israel reportedly stopped its transfer of weapons and money in July, after the Bashar al-Assad regime regained control of the Syrian side of the Golan Heights. The major purpose of Israel’s ‘Operation Good Neighbor,’ which reportedly included humanitarian aid to Syrian rebels, was to prevent Iran-affiliated forces from entrenching their position near Israeli borders. More important, however, is the fact that Israel has intensified and broadened its air campaign inside Syria in recent months to target Iranian positions. Together, these operations indicate a significant shift of Israel’s defense posture, from a limited tolerance of Iranian military presence in Syria and beyond, to zero tolerance — with far-reaching implications for regional peace and stability.”

The war for the president’s mind

The War for the President’s Mind

“The Woodward book is supposed to be a blow against the Trump administration for supposedly depicting an administration in ‘chaos,’ but it actually manages to show the foreign policy aspect of Trump’s White House in its best light, albeit unintentionally. Woodward, being the swamp-creature that he is, uncritically cites administration officials who denounce Trump’s Singapore peace initiative with North Korea as prima facie evidence that the man is unhinged. This is the conventional wisdom inside the Washington Beltway: out in the real world, however, Trump’s view is evidence of his sanity. While the political class is worried that declaring the Korean war over and done with will pull the plug on the US military occupation of South Korea — a possibility Woodward conjures as a kind of Armageddon — normal Americans are hoping to see the troops come home after nearly 70 years!”

All of Our Fears About Trump Are Coming True
prospect.org/article/all-our-fears-about-trump-are-coming-true

“Every once in a while, amid the relentless assault on one’s psychological well being that is the Donald Trump presidency, it’s tempting to say that as bad as things may be, we haven’t had an outright catastrophe yet. The nuclear missiles remain in their silos, martial law has not been declared, and the citizenry does not yet lie trembling in their caves as they hide from roving bands of cannibals. So it could certainly be worse. True as that may be, when you step back to take stock, you soon realize that things are very, very bad. In fact, this presidency is living up to all of our fears. To see how, let’s look at what happened just in the last week, a week that was only slightly more eventful than the typical one since Trump became president.”

Private Creditors Can Put You in Jail

Private Creditors Can Put You in Jail

“In 1833, the imprisonment of debtors was removed from federal law, leaving the practice to states. In 1983, the Supreme Court affirmed that incarcerating indigent debtors was unconstitutional, pursuant to the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, which prohibits judges from revoking probation for a failure to pay a fine without first ascertaining a person’s ability to pay. Yet, according to a new report, ‘A Pound of Flesh: The Criminalization of Private Debt,’ published by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), indebted Americans are still imprisoned at the instigation of private creditors through a perverse contortion of the legal process.”

The adults in the White House trying to save the US from Trump are just as dangerous as he is

The Adults in the White House Trying to Save the US From Trump Are Just as Dangerous as He Is

“Trump is at war with the institutions of the US government. This is unsurprising: US presidents have invariably been frustrated by the sense that they reign but do not rule. A convincing explanation for the fall of Richard Nixon is that different branches of the bureaucracy used Watergate to frustrate his grab for power and get rid of him. They may yet succeed in Trump’s case. Many Americans want to witness a sequel to Watergate with Trump in the starring role. But this is almost impossible to do without control of Congress and the ganging-up of bureaucrats against an elected president will not be palatable to a lot of voters.”

Updates from the home office.

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