Friday, December 30, 2016

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Cato wishes you a Merry Festivus!

Happy Holidays from your friends at Cato Today! We are so thrilled to be able to share updates, research and analysis from Cato scholars with you every day, and we look forward to another wonderful year in 2017.

Cato Today will return in the New Year. In the meantime, catch up on the latest from Cato's scholars via the links below:


The Problem with United States’ Unshakeable Backing of the Philippines
by Christine Guluzian on The Hill (Online)

Despite the Philippines president, Rodrigo Duterte, throwing a series of lambasts and insults Washington’s way, the United States has continuously reassured the Philippines of its solid commitment to the U.S.-Philippines alliance.
Why Kuwait’s Elections Matter
by Doug Bandow on National Interest (Online)

It doesn’t take a lot of votes to get elected to Kuwait’s National Assembly. In the smaller districts a couple thousand ballots will do. But the legislature really matters. Only Bahrain has a similar elected body, but that Gulf state has destroyed any pretense of democracy with the ruthless repression, backed by neighboring Saudi Arabia, of the Shia majority by the Sunni monarchy.


NEW! Cato Daily Podcast:

Nelson v. Colorado (07:30)

When a court throws out a case against you after you’ve paid restitution, shouldn’t you get your money back? David G. Postcomments on the case of Nelson v. Colorado.


Do Colleges Have an Edifice Complex, an Amenities Arms Race, or Both?
by Neal McCluskey

Think of college, and your mind may well conjure images of ivy creeping up the walls of stately, gray, Gothic stone buildings in which the deepest of learning occurs. 
Let States Prosecute Assaults, Regardless of Their Motivations
by Ilya Shapiro

In January 2015, Randy Metcalf was involved in a bar-fight in Dubuque, Iowa, where he seriously hurt a man. Was he prosecuted for assault under state law? No.
new index from the Cato Institute examines state and local data on 230+ policy variables to determine which states provide the highest levels of personal, economic and regulatory freedom.

Visit Freedom in the 50 States to view the full list of rankings, customize the data and access state-specific recommendations for reform. 


Benjamin H. Friedman
Research Fellow in Defense and Homeland Security Studies

Benjamin H. Friedman writes about U.S. defense politics, focusing on strategy, budgeting, and war. Ben is a graduate of Dartmouth College, a PhD candidate in political science at the MIT, and an adjunct lecturer at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs.


Men without Work: America’s Invisible Crisis
January 10th, 12:00PM - 1:00PM, Book Forum

A New Agenda for the 115th Congress
January 12th, 12:00PM - 1:00PM, Capitol Hill Briefing

Debating the Trump Doctrine
January 17th, 12:00PM - 1:30PM, Policy Forum

The Welfare of Nations
January 26th, 12:00PM - 1:30PM, Book Forum

View additional upcoming events...

Many events at the Cato Institute are also streamed live online. Please check the schedule for availability. All events shown are in EST.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Charge Hillary Now: Petition to Sen. Sessions (President-elect Trump's Attorney General Nominee)

Charge Hillary Now: Petition to Sen. Sessions (President-elect Trump's Attorney General Nominee): Either we are a nation of laws or we a 'banana republic' lead by criminals. After the Watergate scandal, the mainstream media told us repeatedly that “No person is

Christmas Movies

This was published yesterday at Breitbart.

The original Star Trek series, starring William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, promised that in the future there would be progress.

While later Star Trek franchises featured apocalypse, from the Borg, the Dominion, etc. and while Star Wars gave us a malevolent Empire with a Death Star, in the original 60s, John F. Kennedy era Star Trek, there was no war (back on earth anyway), no poverty, no famine, no disease.

There also seemed to be little private Enterprise in Gene Roddenberry's space.  The Federation of Planets is a European Union on steroids, and Captain Kirk's U.S.S. Enterprise, despite its name, is a socialist project in a socialist economy.

It's hard to see how we get there from President-elect Trump promising deregulation and proudly appointing billionaires - not academics, lobbyists, or community organizers - to his cabinet.

Apparently the collective subconscious of Hollywood saw Mr. Trump coming.

In the new Christmas release Passengers, Jennifer Lawrence (writer "Aurora Lane" - really?) and Chris Pratt ("Jim Preston") play starship voyagers who may become star crossed lovers, in a world where government is never mentioned.  The two are on a corporate-owned ship, the Avalon, with 5,000 passengers in suspended animation, leaving a gentrified earth, where real estate is so expensive, people like mechanic Jim Preston are leaving for the new Nashvilles and Austins on other planets, where the rents are low and the demand for people who can do Mike Rowe's dirty jobs is high.  The planets are being developed kind of like townhouse condominium communities by the same corporations that build the starships.

Though the earth they are leaving doesn't seem to have war, famine or pestilence, it does have more financial inequality than Star Trek did.  Preston, who awakes years too early due to a malfunction in the ship's systems can't order expensive Starbucks style coffee drinks from the ship's Siri like automat because he is not a "gold class passenger," and must settle for regular coffee and oatmeal.  When Aurora is awakened she can buy him all the fruit, bacon, and pumpkin spice lattes he wants, because she has the first class (and round trip) ticket.  [Passengers is actually somewhat of a pro-capitalist syfy remake of Lina Wertmuller's 1974 leftist Swept Away, where an upper class woman and a blue collar stud find passion while stranded on a deserted island.]

It's a very good but not great movie, perfect holiday fare, part love story, part adventure, with beautiful visuals, including starscapes, Lawrence swimming in a giant gravity free bubble of water, and Pratt providing some beefcake in a shower scene.  The audience is invited to contemplate some choices involving selfishness, love, forgiveness, and life boat ethics, and this future seems free of cant, social justice jargon, and political correctness.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

What Really Happened in the Campaign

What Really Happened in the Campaign: How Steve Bannon won the election with one brilliant idea There have been so many stories looking back and offering some interpretation of why Trump won. My favorite review of the issues that...

Friday, December 16, 2016

AEI Fellowships

The new year is still a few weeks away, but we are already recruiting students for our 2017 Values & Capitalism Summer Honors Program. During two weeks in June 2017, we are offering four week-long, fully-funded courses on topics of faith, economics, public policy, and constitutional law. This year's instructors include AEI's Michael Strain and Michael McShane, as well as John Inazu of Washington University School of Law and Stephen Smith of Hope College. See below for more details.

If you know of any undergraduate students who may be interested in the program, would you consider forwarding them this email? Thanks in advance for spreading the word.

Best wishes,

Tyler Castle
Manager, Values & Capitalism
The Values & Capitalism Summer Honors Program is a series of fully-funded, intensive, one-week seminars in Washington, DC for Christian college students. The program gives students an unparalleled chance to immerse themselves in a particular area of study with leading scholars and policy practitioners, in selective cohorts of 20–25 students. The honors program will also offer opportunities for students to sharpen professional skills through career coaching, site visits, and networking events.

To learn more and apply,
TERM I: JUNE 5–9, 2017 
Track A
International Economic Development:
Why Institutions Matter

Instructor: Stephen Smith, Hope College
Track B
The Morality of Democratic Capitalism:
Principles & Practices

Instructor: Michael Strain, AEI 
Participants will receive a travel voucher, lodging, meals during class days, and a $250 stipend.

Application deadline:
March 15, 2017
Questions? Email:
TERM II: JUNE 19–23, 2017
Track A
ConĂ¯¬ dent Pluralism: Surviving and Thriving Through Deep Differences
Instructor: John Inazu, Washington University School of Law 
Track B
K-12 Education: The Foundation of American Democracy, Society, and Economy
Instructor: Michael McShane, AEI & Show-Me Institute 

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Libertarians on Rick Perry

LP congratulates Perry for opportunity to abolish Department of Energy

A modest congratulation

The Libertarian Party extends a hearty congratulations to Gov. Rick Perry for his announced nomination by President-elect Donald Trump to head the Department of Energy.

“Gov. Perry has a rare opportunity to head one of the agencies he pledged to abolish,” said Nicholas Sarwark, Chair of the Libertarian Party. “Even though most Republican politicians have proven incapable – or insincere – when it comes to abolishing anything in government, I’m confident he really means it this time.”
During Perry’s 2012 run for the Republican nomination for president, he pledged to abolish the Departments of Energy, Commerce, and Education.

“No doubt he will be at least as successful as President Ronald Reagan and his Department of Education appointee, Bill Bennett, who promised to abolish that agency in 1980,” said Sarwark.
The Department of Education grew under Bennett’s leadership and has continued to grow, both in authority and dollars spent, ever since.

“Of course if the governor finds, like most Republican politicians, that he’s really not interested in shrinking government, or that the DOE is a gold mine for crony capitalist friends, he can always appease some of his supporters by simply transferring the functions currently run by the DOE – which include climate research and regulation of nuclear energy - to other departments within the federal government,” said Sarwark. “Not a single federal employee needs to be left unemployed. They can get a pink slip on Friday and report to a ‘new’ job down the street the following Monday doing the exact same work.”

Perry, who was governor of Texas from 2000 to 2015, is known for his cozy relationship with the oil and gas industry. Texas energy industry executives made substantial donations to his campaigns for governor as well as his 2012 and 2016 presidential campaigns.

“And if that proves to be inconvenient,” Sarwark continued,” there’s always the rename option. He can simply ‘repeal’ the ‘Department of Energy’ and ‘replace’ it with the ‘Department of Alternative and Traditional Energy Oversight’ -- and continue operations without a hitch.”

"Why drain the swamp in Washington D.C. when you can simply declare it endangered wetlands?"

The Blood of Aleppo is on Obama’s Hands

The Blood of Aleppo is on Obama’s Hands: The Blood of Aleppo is on Obama’s Hands, Obama’s CIA has been aiding the Islamic terrorist groups ISIS and al-Qaeda for the purpose of overthrowing the Syrian regime

The Unseen — and Exorbitant — Costs of a Prison Phone Call

The Unseen — and Exorbitant — Costs of a Prison Phone Call: As incarceration rates continue to grow around the United States, the enormous costs of some prison services are increasingly being paid by those who...

Thursday recommended reading: Bill of Rights Anniversary Day readings

Indiana police department quits after being asked to commit illegal acts (CounterCurrentNews)

Why can't Obama admit ISIS commits genocide against Christians? (Investor's Business Daily)

Ayn Rand is proof that Russians have been meddling in American elections since 1925 (Stalon)

Liberals in media terrified because Trump cabinet picks are so good (TheLid)

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Is the CIA too biased to run the re-education camp?

Published yesterday at Breitbart.

"I can see Russia from my mouse!"
Thus the epitaph for Senator Hillary Clinton's political career (unless she follows Anthony Weiner, as some rumor she will, in running for Mayor of New York), and indeed for the Clinton dynasty is basically a line stolen from Tina Fey's mockery of Governor Sarah Palin.
With The View's Joy Behar telling her  audience of housekeepers and the unemployed that Donald Trump plans to put the hammer and sickle on the American flag, it is perhaps best to quote Karl Marx: "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce."
Hillary's tenure as Secretary of State produced many tragedies; her last campaign for president ends in farce.
Hillary has competed and been rejected twice now; more if you include the race for Bill's affections.
Team Hillary's latest plot is to have the Electoral College rounded up and forced to have Democratic Party approved re-education.
It seems they have been unduly influenced by the very same Russian government that in 2012 President Obama pronounced irrelevant when he mocked Mitt Romney: "The 1980's called; they want their foreign policy back."
For a while the Democrats were sitting back and waiting for the recounts instigated and fund raised by Green Party Presidential candidate Jill Stein to save them.  Word is still out on whether Dr. Stein will now be buying an even bigger vacation home than Senator Bernie Sanders.  But the Democrats now have proof that Dr. Jill is also a Russian agent and her recount Russian funded - after all, it actually produced bigger margins for Donald Trump!
Clinton campaign chair John Podesta, a lobbyist who profits from steering legislation (his ex wife even represents a for profit university that the federal government did not crack down on, while it did bankrupt I.T.T., a major competitor), wants the Electoral College "briefed" with the correct information about how Russia stole the election from Hillary, according to unnamed persons within the CIA.
One problem for the Clinton narrative is that a Wikileaks associate who is a former British Ambassador, Craig Murray, has now come forward and said the information that Wikileaks published about how the DNC rigged its primaries, etc, was leaked not hacked, and the leaker was not Russian.
Another problem is that the FBI and other intelligence agencies do not agree with the CIA conclusions.
A third problem, observed by independent journalists on the left, like the always informative Michael Tracey, is that the information leaked about Hillary and the Democrats was all true, even if the mainstream media did their best to hide it from the public.
This led to me to reflect on my own experiences, as a long term D.C. resident, with CIA agents and affiliates.
I live in Washington, D.C., where for many years I was a very active realtor. (I worked in both a boutique firm where I was for years the top sales agent, and also in the largest ReMax franchise where one year I won the annual award for the most sales by a sole practitioner.)
Some of my clients, including my repeat clients, were employed at the CIA.
All of my CIA clients were liberal Democrats. I liked them. (My particular CIA clients were all also either women or gay). It’s Washington, D.C., which voted over 90% for Hillary, and 4% for Donald Trump, so it’s not surprising that my CIA clients were also liberal Democrats.
One of my CIA clients bought a house from me in Foxhall Village, a neighborhood just west of Georgetown University, where I lived for a time. The night Kerry was not elected I fell asleep on an enclosed sun porch in a chair in front of the television, thinking John Kerry had been elected.
I awoke to banging on my back door. My CIA client and neighbor was beating on my door, distraught. She had a bottle of white wine. New votes were in, Bush was winning, and she needed to watch the coverage with someone and have a drink she was so upset.  (My liberal clients routinely assumed I was a liberal before I started writing about politics because I am gay.)  (Years later the same client was very proud she went to the White House and did the daily briefing on the middle east one day for President Obama.)
So I thought I’d look at the OpenSecrets site and see to which candidates CIA agents donate.

Of course, most CIA employees do not tell you that’s what they are. They usually say they work for the government. If you dig, sometimes that say they work for the Foreign Broadcast Information Service or some other agency connected to foreign affairs.
But there are people who have donated over $200 to a candidate and listed their employer as the CIA or the Central Intelligence Agency.
If you look them up by employer on for the 2016 election cycle, what you find are donations by CIA employees or people who say they are retired from the CIA.
There is one donation to Ted Cruz.
There are a couple to Donald Trump.
There are almost a dozen to Marco Rubio.
There are a couple not to Gary Johnson but to the Libertarian National Committee.
And there are dozens both to Hillary Clinton and also to the Democratic National Committee.
Are these the people John Podesta wants to have run the re-education camps for the Electoral College?

Falling asleep in front of the TV