Runaway bull dies after making dash for freedom – Fox News

The raging bull that ran wild through the streets of Queens after escaping a slaughterhouse Tuesday has died, cops said.

The bull was shot with at least five tranquilizer darts by police before it likely died of stress, police and witnesses said.

The animal will be transported to a crematorium, where it will be disposed of, according to police.

The bull bolted through a housing project before it was cornered in a neighbors back yard, police sources said.

Police shot the raging bull with a tranquilizer to calm him and also injected the animal with a syringe of xylazine, a drug used for sedation, which knocked the bull out for at least an hour, sources said.


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Runaway bull dies after making dash for freedom – Fox News

Cassidy-Collins Patient Freedom Act Looks Better As Other Reform Efforts Falter – Forbes

Cassidy-Collins Patient Freedom Act Looks Better As Other Reform Efforts Falter
In a different political climate, the "Patient Freedom Act" introduced last month by Republican Senators Bill Cassidy and Susan Collins would be getting close scrutiny and perhaps some significant support. It is — and I apologize for language that

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Cassidy-Collins Patient Freedom Act Looks Better As Other Reform Efforts Falter – Forbes

Vice President Pence Appears to Support EU Freedom of Movement – Breitbart News


In the joint press conference with Tusk, Vice President Pence stated in part:


Saturday, as President Tusk said, I was pleased to address the Munich Security Council to speak about the importance of the strategic alliance [inaudible] entered the bond so many years ago in the North American Treaty Organization. But the president did ask me to come here, to Brussels, to the home of the European Union, and deliver an additional message, so today it is my privilege on behalf of President Trump to express the strong commitment of the United States to continued cooperation and partnership with the European Union. Whatever our differences, our two continents share the same marriage, the same values, and above all, the same purpose to promote peace and prosperity through freedom, democracy, and the rule of law. And to those objectives, we will remain committed. This has been European Unions goal since before its formal founding in 1993. What began as a modest Western European trade agreement in 1951, freedom of movement, has grown into a commitment to the four freedoms the freedom of movement, goods, capital, services and people, the common currency, and common approach to foreign and security policy.

Pence continued speaking of the history of the European Union (EU). He moved to speak of U.S. and EU economies and reaffirm our commitment to a free, fair and flourishing economies that undergird our success and a cooperation in achieving that. Maintaining and strengthening our economic vitality will require hard but necessary choices.

Pence also reaffirmed the U.S. commitment to fighting terrorism, mentioned the Islamic terror bombings on Brussels that killed more than 30 people, then called on the European community to intensify efforts to fight radical Islamic terrorism alongside the United States. This will require greater coordination and intelligence-sharing among EU member states and between the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, he said.

Speaking of Russian aggression, Pence said, In addition to confronting terrorism together, clearly, we must stand strong in defense of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the nations in Europe.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported that in the week leading up to the vice presidents meetings in Brussels and affirmation of U.S. commitment to the EU, in a conversation with a German diplomat, White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon described the EU as a flawed construct. He cited three confidential sources that had been briefed on the meeting.

The sources stated that Bannon conveyed favor for bilateral relations with Europe. One White House official claimed to Reuters a more brief version of the interaction between Bannon and German ambassador to Washington Peter Wittig than the three other sources. The three sources reportedly described Bannons message to the diplomat as favoring strong nationalist movements. One of the three described the White House position on the EU as not seeing an unraveling of the EU as having grave consequences.

The vice president spoke at the Munich Security Conference in the days before his visit to Brussels as part of his first trip abroad since taking office. Last week, the conference chairman, French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault, called on Pence to affirm during his visit that the U.S. supports the EU and was not aiming to break up the organization, according to Reuters.

Pence made the trip to the security conference on behalf of President Trump. A senior White House policy adviser previewed the trip last week, promising an overarching message of reassurance. In his speech to conference participants, he brought this promise from President Trump: We will stand with Europe today and every day; we are bound together by the same noble ideals freedom, democracy, justice, and the rule of law.

At Mondays joint press conference, Pence stated, The United States commitment to the European Union is steadfast and enduring. President Tusk, President Trump, and I look forward to working together with you and the European Union to deepen our political and economic partnership.

During his presidential campaign, now-President Donald Trump made clear that he supported the United Kingdoms Brexit vote to leave the European Union. The day after the June 23 Brexit vote, then-candidate Trump compared the vote to the upcoming presidential election in the U.S. and attributed the U.K. vote to leave the EU, and prospectively the U.S. presidential vote, in large part to peoples desire to control borders and block illegal immigration.

USA Today quoted Trump as stating, All over the world [people are] angry. They are angry at the borders. They are angry over people coming into the country and taking over.

In late January, European Parliament chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt, who vehemently opposes Brexit, said, We have a third front undermining the European Union, and it is Donald Trump, who has joined [the far-Right parties] from across the Atlantic. He has talked fairly favorably of other countries wanting to break away from the EU and that he hoped for disintegration from European Union, according to the Telegraph.

In the Monday press conference, President Tusk emphasized a particular portion of his meeting with Vice President Pence, saying, I asked the vice president directly if he shared my opinions on three key matters: the international order, security, and the attitude of the new American administration towards the European Union. Tusk continued, In reply to these three matters, I heard today from Vice President Pence three times yes. After such a positive declaration, both Europeans and Americans must simply practice what they preach.

Request for comment from the vice president on whether the State Department had a role in statements made at Mondays joint Pence-Tusk press conference returned no comment by the time of this report.

Follow Michelle Moons on Twitter @MichelleDiana.

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Vice President Pence Appears to Support EU Freedom of Movement – Breitbart News

Freedom Investing And Emerging Markets In 2016 – Forbes

Freedom Investing And Emerging Markets In 2016
Studies have shown that countries with more economic freedom significantly outperform those with less freedom not only in per capita gross domestic product (GDP), but also in per capita incomes, health care, education, protection of the environment

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Freedom Investing And Emerging Markets In 2016 – Forbes

At African American Museum, Donald Trump Vows to Defend ‘Promise of Freedom’ – Breitbart News


Today and every day of my presidency, I pledge to do everything I can to continue that promise of freedom for African Americans and for every American, Trump said to reporters during the tour on Tuesday. So important. Nothing more important.


Trump praised the African American heroes of history, including specifically naming Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Booker T Washington and Rosa Parks.

Im deeply proud that we now have a museum that honours the millions of African American men and women who built our national heritage, especially when it comes to faith, culture and the unbreakable American spirit, he said.

Trump toured the museum with Dr. Ben Carson and his family, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott, and Alveda King Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.s niece.

Dr. Carsons work as a surgeon is featured in the museum, as part of an exhibit. Trump previewed his administrations plans once Carson is confirmed as Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Were going to do great things in our African American communities together, Trump said. I look forward to watching that. Hell do things that nobody ever thought of.

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At African American Museum, Donald Trump Vows to Defend ‘Promise of Freedom’ – Breitbart News

How Congress can promote freedom of speech on college campuses – Power Line (blog)

Weve discussed Stanley Kurtzs effort, in conjunction with the Goldwater Institute, to promote free speech on college campuses through the enactment of state legislation mandating it. Now, Stanley has a proposal that, if enacted, would do even more for campus free speech.

Stanley wants federal legislation to make the protection of First Amendment rights a prerequisite of federal financial assistance to Americas colleges and universities. He presents his proposal and his reasons here, on NROs Corner. His proposal builds on the work of the National Association of Scholars.

In my view, the presumption should be against the federal government using its financial leverage to tell colleges and universities what to do. Certainly, bureaucrats should be (but arent) loath to indulge in this practice.

On the other hand, federal taxpayers cannot be expected to fund institutions that deny people their basic constitutional rights. The right of free speech is probably our most fundamental constitutional right and, until recently, the free exchange of ideas was considered an essential element of the college experience.

Unfortunately, in the past several decades the academy has ceased to be a reliable defender of the First Amendment. We now face a free speech crisis on many, if not most, college campuses.

Accordingly, the case for congressional action is strong.

Actually, Stanley points out that the Higher Education Act (HEA), enacted in 1965 and last reauthorized in 2008, already affirms the importance of protecting student speech and association rights. Title I, Section 112 of HEA provides that no studentshould, on the basis of participation in protected speechbe subjected toofficial sanction, with protected speech defined as speech protected under the First and 14th amendments to the Constitution.

However, Title I, Section 112 of HEA express only the sense of Congress. Stanley wants to give it teeth by adding enforcement mechanisms.

The HEA is due to be reauthorized this year. This presents Congress with a great opportunity to restore the First Amendment on college campuses.

Stanley concludes:

The American taxpayer is under no obligation to subsidize speech codes, speaker disinvitations, or shout-downs. Its past time that Congress took steps to ensure that taxpayer dollars no long underwrite campus assaults on freedom of speech.

Indeed, it is.

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How Congress can promote freedom of speech on college campuses – Power Line (blog)

Religious Freedom for Me but Not for Thee? – National Review

A conflict is brewing at the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) over how the countrys largest protestant denomination will approach religious freedom. The SBCs International Mission Board (IMB) and Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) are both facing criticism for signing onto an amicus brief that supported the rights of a Muslim group in New Jersey to build a place of worship. But more lurks underneath the surface.

IMB president David Platt dealt with the controversy over the brief by apologizing for the distraction last week. And yet the brief was entirely consistent with the SBCs position on religious liberty. On this issue, ERLC president Russell Moore does not have any flexibility: Unlike the IMB, the ERLCs main focus is the political principle of religious freedom. To Moore, that principle is absolutely non-negotiable, as he made clear at their 2016 convention:

Nevertheless, some Southern Baptists question whether their efforts should support religious freedom as a universal, sacred right. Pastor Dean Haun resigned his position with the IMB over the amicus brief, and he told the Baptist and Reflector, I want no part in supporting a false religion, even if it is in the name of religious freedom.

This is a mistake. The IMBs amicus brief was politically sound, and received support from a diverse group including the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty and the National Association of Evangelicals. Moreover, the court ruled in the Muslim groups favor, which is good news for liberty per se, and for those of other faiths. If religious freedom for me but not for thee becomes the SBCs standard, then the ERLC would morph into the lowest kind of political operation: one that lobbies for special treatment.

This tendency toward tribalism is nothing new. Indeed, it has dogged Moore and his outfit since Moore made a stand against Donald Trump. It seems clear that the ERLC would not be facing this kind of pressure over its standard practices if Moore had quietly acquiesced to Trumps rise. Instead, he wrote at National Review and elsewhere about Trumps shortcomings on matters of social conservatism.

Using the mosque case as a pretext that Moore is not committed to advancing the gospel, some local pastors are looking to pull funding as retribution against Moore. Prestonwood Baptist Church, a huge congregation in Plano, Texas, just announced that it will join Hauns church in doing that. (The SBC supports the autonomy of local churches on such matters of funding.)

Again, this is a mistake. Freedom to assemble has been, in most places and times, the exclusive right of preferred religious groups. Americas enshrinement of religious freedom is as exceptional as it is valuable. Unfortunately, many on the left snidely put religious liberty into scare quotes, arguing that its time to put florists out of business in order to assert the states absolute right to legislate progressive morality. These strident opponents of robust religious freedom would receive a political victory if Southern Baptists descended into infighting about whether the First Amendment applies to Muslims or if Russell Moore were sacked for not supporting Donald Trump.

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Religious Freedom for Me but Not for Thee? – National Review

Alliance Defending Freedomsource of many anti-LGBTQ lawsuits and billsfinally labeled a hate group – Daily Kos

ADF’s David Cortman speaks to reporters outside the US Supreme Court on March 25, 2014, after oral arguments challenging the Affordable Care Act’s mandate for birth control coverage.

When the GOP-led House Judiciary Committee held a hearing last week on the “The State of Religious Liberty in America,” they brought in a representative of the notoriously anti-LGBTQ legal group Alliance Defending Freedom to testify. The group, armed with some $45 million to fund litigation, has helped inspire a wave of transphobic bathroom bills that have been introduced across the country in recent years. In fact, the group not only testified on behalf of a South Dakota bathroom bill targeting transgender students (and later vetoed by the GOP governor), it offered to provide pro bono legal service to defend the measure if it was enacted.

Finally, the ADF received the appropriate moniker this year of being labeleda hate group courtesy of the Southern Poverty Law Center. Media Matters has since assembled thetop 10 “need to know” items aboutADF,the nationslargest anti-LGBTQ hate group. Here’s a sampling from Rachel Percelay:

1. SPLC Labeled ADF A Hate Group Because Of Its Extreme, Demonizing Lies About LGBT People. SPLC added ADF to its list of anti-LGBTQ hate groups because ADFs leaders and affiliated lawyers have regularly demonized LGBT people, falsely linking them to pedophilia, calling them evil and a threat to children and society, and blaming them for the persecution of devout Christians. As SPLC has repeatedly clarified, it does not list organizations as anti-LGBTQ hate groups on the basis of opposition to same-sex marriage or the belief that the Bible describes homosexual activity as sinful. [Southern Poverty Law Center, 2/15/17, 2/15/17] […]

4. ADF Has Expanded Its Anti-Choice, Anti-LGBTQ Extemism Internationally. While ADF has largely run out of options for promoting the criminalization of homosexuality in America, the group has taken its anti-sodomy agenda overseas. ADF has actively worked to promote and defend anti-sodomy laws that criminalize gay sex in Jamaica, Belize and India. In 2010, the United Nations granted special consultant status to ADF, allowing the group to help shape international human rights policy and treaties. More recently, the group has become involved in the Organization of American States, where ADFs mission has been battling abortion and radical sexual agendas. [Southern Poverty Law Center, 2/15/17; Media Matters, 11/19/14]

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Alliance Defending Freedomsource of many anti-LGBTQ lawsuits and billsfinally labeled a hate group – Daily Kos

Georgia Senate introduces new religious freedom bill – 11alive.com

Doug Richards, WXIA 5:25 PM. EST February 21, 2017

Aerial images of the Georgia State Capitol. January 2017

ATLANTA — Georgia senators have introduced a new religious freedom bill.

SB 233 cites the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act passed by Congress in 1993 “and shall in like manner apply to this state or any political subdivision thereof.” The bill mirrors a controversial bill introduced in 2015 by Sen. Josh McKoon (R-Columbus), “just an even tighter mirroring by simply citing to the federal language,” McKoon said in a text message.

McKoon is one of more than a dozen Republicans co-sponsoring the bill.

House Speaker David Ralston has expressed a desire to allow Congress to handle religious freedom issues now that Republicans control the Congress and White House.

Over the last two years, religious freedom has roiled the Capitol. Last year, Gov. Nathan Deal vetoed a religious freedom bill after Georgia business leaders raised concerns about losing jobs and business. Gay rights activists have contended that religious freedom bills would encourage discrimination against the LGBT community.

( 2017 WXIA)


GA 2016 sponsor: Let feds handle ‘religious freedom’ legislation in ’17

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Georgia Senate introduces new religious freedom bill – 11alive.com

Taxing Religious Freedom – Daily Caller


Is a threat to eliminate the tax exemption of churches that endorse candidates or political parties posed by a 1954 law called the Johnson Amendment a constitutional infringement on the rights of church leaders to freely express themselves from the pulpit?

At ColoradoPolitics.com, Deb Walker, executive director of Citizens Project writes, Government may not subsidize political endorsements through tax exemption, and that The Johnson Amendment ensures that citizens of all faith traditions (or no faith tradition) are not inadvertently financially supporting church-based politicking. There are two failures in reasoning here.

First, the reasons for exempting churches from taxation are distinguishable from those that apply to other types of charitable organizations. Whereas the law may exempt secular charities because it deems that the charitable purposes provide public benefits that outweigh the need to tax such activities, the principle of not taxing churches originates in the constitutional, philosophical and political foundations of our nation.

The Supreme Court examined this principle in Everson v. Board of Education, a 1947 case affirming the authority of a state to provide funding for school busses to transport children to Catholic schools in New Jersey writing, The centuries immediately before and contemporaneous with the colonization of America had been filled with turmoil, civil strife and persecutions, generated in large part by established sects determined to maintain their absolute political and religious supremacy. These practices of the old world began to thrive in the soil of the new AmericaCatholics found themselves hounded and proscribed because of their faithmen and women of varied faithswere persecuted. And all of these dissenters were compelled to pay tithes and taxes to support government-sponsored churches.

The people [of Virginia], as elsewhere, reached the conviction that individual religious liberty could be achieved best under a government which was stripped of all power to tax[in order to] interfere with the beliefs of any religious individual or group.

The establishment of religion clause of the First Amendment means at least thisno tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion.

This sounds as if the Court would hold that New Jersey has no authority to provide taxpayer-funded school busses for Catholic schoolchildren, but thats not case. What the Court pointed out in affirming that policy is that the amendment commands that New Jerseycannot exclude individual Catholics, Lutherans, Mohammedans, Baptists, Jews, Methodists, Nonbelievers, Presbyterians, or the members of any other faith, because of their faith, or lack of it, from receiving the benefits of public welfare legislation. (Emphasis in original)

The second error is that a tax exemption is not a subsidy. An exemption from a tax is not giving the person or group exempted something they dont already have. Neither a taxpayer not affiliated with a religious organization nor the government has something taken from them that goes to a church merely because the church doesnt pay a tax. Therefore, a tax exemption does not mean that the public is financially supporting church-based politicking, nor does it mean that the government is entangled in underwriting partisan political activity.

Where the Johnson Amendment and Walker go wrong is in failing to understand that when it comes to religion the taxing power of Congress has a constitutional hurdle it must overcome that doesnt apply to conventional non-religious charitable organizations.

The historic truths cited by the Supreme Court stand for the proposition that the government cannot tax religious institutions in ways that inhibit the free exercise of religion just as much as it does the proposition that it cannot tax anyone for the purposes of advancing religion.

Thus, when it comes to religious institutions its questionable whether or not the 501(c)(3) rules apply at all because it is the First Amendment itself that arguably prohibits the taxation of churches because religion-suppressing taxation has always been as formidable an enemy of religious freedom throughout history as religion-supporting taxation has, as the Supreme Court points out and as the Founders went to great pains to avoid.

Religiously motivated speech is a constitutionally protected aspect of religious liberty that cannot be suppressed by the threat of anti-religious, anti-free-speech government taxation. This includes the freedom of both ministers and others to preach in favor of or against any political party or candidate or any other matter that they believe would either threaten or support their rights to religious freedom.

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Taxing Religious Freedom – Daily Caller

F-35: The sound of freedom – or aggravation? – KTVB.com

Kim Fields, KTVB 10:31 PM. MST February 20, 2017

The F-35 is described as the future of America’s tactical aviation. (Photo: Adam Worthington/KTVB)

Boise — The F-35 is described as the future of America’s tactical aviation. Its loudness is the sound of freedom for many in America. For others, the noise is nothing short of aggravation.

The Idaho Air National Guard at Boise’s Gowen Field is now on the short list to become home to the next F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Squadron. Those on the inside say Boise’s chances are strong, given our world-class ranges and available air space.

However, others in the community say not in our backyard. KTVB has covered the F-35 informational meetings at the Boise Airport, where some in the community voice concern the F-35s would be too noisy.

Now, KTVB is reporting a different perspective. We thought, what better way to learn more about the impact of the F-35s than from someone who’s already living with the noise? News anchor Kim Fields traveled to Hill Air Force Base in northern Utah, home to the F-35, to visit with a couple who four years ago were saying, “not in my backyard.”

“I used to sit out on the patio,” said Gary Slate. “It just grinds on you. It just, I don’t know. It just gets to you after awhile.”

Slate has lived more than 40 years in a Layton, Utah, neighborhood located two miles from the end of the runway at Hill Air Force Base. He says the F-35s are the noisest when they take off; landings are relatively quiet. During KTVB’s hour-long visit at the Slate home, we could hear seven F-35s fly over the home.

“Once they changed the flight path, you can’t have your windows open or anything,” said Slate.

Slate’s home is directly underneath the flight path of Hill Air Force Base.

“It’s only the people under the flight path that are really going to be bothered,” said Slate. “It’s the sounds of freedom to everybody else, but under the flight path, it’s a different story.”

Slate says the noise isn’t that bad when it’s just two or three F-35s taking off. When it’s more than two or three, Slate says the noise is terrible. He says often as many as 25 F-35s take off three times a day from Hill Air Force Base.

In September 2015, Utah’s Hill Air Force Base received the first of 72 F-35s. Slate says there are more supporters in his community by far, than critics.

Slate recalls some in the community telling him, “One of these times it’s going to be the Chinese planes over your house bombing you.”

Colonel Tim Donnellan, commander of the 124th Fighter Wing at Gowen Field, which currently flies the A-10, doesn’t dispute the F-35 is loud.

“Yes, the F-35 is a noisy aircraft, however most jets are,” said Donnellan. “If you sit out here and listen to the airliners, they’re noisy. So if you live right underneath any airport, it’s going to be noisy.”

However, Donnellan says it won’t be loud as often for Gowen Field because Gowen Field wouldn’t have as many F-35s flying as Utah. Donnellan says that’s the biggest misconception about the F35s – the number that would be based in Boise. He says it would be the same amount as the current number of A-10s at Gowen – 18 to 24.

The 18 to 24 F-35s would be a one-to-one replacement of the A-10 using the same fighter pilots and crew.

Donnellan also expects the F-35 would fly only two times a day at Gowen, compared to Utah’s three, sometimes four times a day. And the launch windows at Gowen would be much shorter, 10 minutes, compared to Utah’s two hours.

“We roughly fly six to eight airplanes in the morning and the launch window is about 10 minutes,” said Donnellan. “And then in the afternoon we do the same thing. So twice a day for about 20 minutes total is about what we do now and we expect that to be the same thing with the F-35.”

Donnellan stresses it would not be 20 minutes of continous noise.

“It’s each aircraft that takes off,” said Donnellan. “So if we were to launch six in the morning, it would be six departures. And that’s it. And that’s all that happens in the morning. And in the afternoon, if we fly six, we’ll fly another six.”

Donnellan says very rarely would the F-35 fly over Treasure Valley cities. Most flying would be done in the Mountain Home Range Complex. He says the F-35 would take off from Gowen Field and head straight to the desert east of Boise.

But what about the F35 flight path? Remember, living under the flight path in Utah is Gary Slate’s biggest complaint.Donnellan says they’re still researching the best options for Gowen, but he says it would be roughly similar to the A-10’s current flight path.

“There are only so many options you have to leave an aiport,” said Donnellan.”But there are things we can do that we don’t do now.”

For example, Donnellan says Gowen would be being very specific about how the F-35 would take off, turning at certain distances or using certain runways.

“So those are the things we’re looking into and exploring,” said Donnellan. “And I will guarantee you that we are going to have more of a strict way of departing and returning with an F-35 if were selected.”

Donnellan says the strict measures would help mitgate the noise, something Gary and Leslie Slate say would help tremendously if Utah would consider doing with its F-35s.

The Slates were asked: “Have you just learned to live with it?” “You have to,” said Leslie Slate.

The F-35 is expected to bring 2,000 jobs to Utah over the next decade. Local, expected job numbers aren’t available yet. The Idaho Air National Guard’s current economic impact on the local community is $155 million dollars annually with the A-10.

Slate says he agrees the noise is worth it when it comes to the economic impact. And he says he understands what the F-35 means in terms of America’s military strength. If anyone can understand, it’s Slate. He worked at Hill Air Force Base for 35 years on their aircraft as a sheet metal mechanic.

The military is expected to narrow down the five finalists to four bases this spring. A final decision is expected in 2019.

If Gowen Field is not selected to base the F-35s, the Idaho Air National Guard would continue flying the A-10 until they are divested.

( 2017 KTVB)

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F-35: The sound of freedom – or aggravation? – KTVB.com

America’s declining economic freedom – Washington Times


Its official title is 2017 Index of Economic Freedom. But you could also call it President Obamas Report Card.

At least when it comes to the United States. The index contains scores and ranks for almost every country, after all. And the news for the rest of the world, on balance, is good. Economic freedom is up again. Many countries have taken steps to ensure greater liberty for their citizens to make, spend and invest their money as they see fit. But not the United States.

Economic freedom isnt the same as political freedom (though the two often go hand in hand). Im not talking about free speech; Im talking about how free are we to earn without being overtaxed and overregulated. How hard it is to start a business and keep it running. How much our government spends. How easily we can trade with other countries.

Our economic liberty has a profound effect on our daily lives. It influences how much money we make, what kind of work we do, how high prices and unemployment are even what kind of appliances we can buy.

So where does the United States fall on this years index? Our global ranking is No. 17, with a score of 75.1 (on a 0-100 scale, with 100 being the freest).

On the list of 180 countries graded in the 2017 index, thats not bad. But thats 10 slots below where we finished in 2008. Indeed, the United States was once a regular top-10 finisher when the index was first published in 1995. Now weve been eclipsed by the United Arab Emirates, a newcomer to the global top 10.

Were not even the freest economy in the Americas. Canada and Chile beat us out this year again.

Before looking at why, lets consider how the index editors determine the scores. Each country is evaluated in four broad areas:

Rule of law. Are property rights protected through an effective and honest judicial system? How widespread is corruption bribery, extortion, graft, etc.?

Limited government. Are taxes high or low? Is government spending kept under control, or is it growing unchecked?

Regulatory efficiency. Are businesses able to operate without burdensome and redundant regulations? Are individuals able to work where and how much they want? Is inflation in check? Are prices stable?

Open markets: Can goods be traded freely? Are there tariffs, quota or other restrictions? Can individuals invest their money where and how they see fit? Is there an open banking environment that encourages competition?

Lets look at how the U.S. fares on these measures:

Rule of law: Our judiciary functions independently and predictably, but the protection of property rights has been uneven. The Pew Research Center reported in late 2015 that only 19 percent of the public trusts the government all or most of the time.

Government size: Heres where we really lag freer economies. Our top individual income tax rate is 39.6 percent. The top corporate tax rate is among the worlds highest: 35 percent. Government spending at all levels amounts to about 38.3 percent of gross domestic product (roughly $30,000 per household). Spending keeps rising, and government keep growing.

Regulatory efficiency: The number of federal regulations has increased substantially, raising total annual compliance costs to more than $100 billion in just seven years. (Thanks, President Obama.) Ballooning deficits are fueled by federal welfare programs, farm subsidies, green energy programs, corporate welfare and other special-interest spending.

Open markets: The average applied tariff rate is 1.4 percent. Over one-third of all land is owned by government. The overall financial sector remains competitive, but the banking sector is hampered by such federal interference as the Dodd-Frank legislation.

The U.S. economy is remarkably resilient, but it needs help. Fortunately, the Trump administration has promised a sharp break with the regulatory, tax and trade policies of recent years.

Regaining our place among the top 10 economies wont be easy, but it can be done. And the sooner, the better. Your move, President Trump.

Ed Feulner is founder of the Heritage Foundation (heritage.org).

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America’s declining economic freedom – Washington Times

Freedom Caucus maniac Jim Jordan forced to have town meeting when constituents show up – Daily Kos

The question is a smart onerepealing Obamacare and killing the Medicaid expansion, turning it into a block grantwould be devastating to rural hospitals that rely on that funding. Jordan not only refuses to answer that question, he says that “defunding Planned Parenthood would free up money for them,” as Weigel paraphrases.

No. Just no. Defunding Planned Parenthood means taking away their Medicaid reimbursements (that’s where a big chunk of federal funding for Planned Parenthood comes from). Which means taking Medicaid away from the people who use Planned Parenthood. But basically, it’s cutting Medicaid! The people who use it to go to Planned Parenthood also use it for treatment at hospitals and they’re not going to have it go there, either.

Weigel pressed Jordan on this, and he “acknowledged that more stuff would have to be cut to cover the funding.” More stuff wouldn’t have to be cut if Medicaid funding was maintained and if all the states expanded it! That’s how this stuff works! Which Jordan either completely doesn’t know (which wouldn’t be too much of a surprise) or is completely willing to lie about (which also wouldn’t be much of a surprise).

But at least he was willing to talk to voters and lie directly to their faces. That’s more than can be said of most of his counterparts.

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Freedom Caucus maniac Jim Jordan forced to have town meeting when constituents show up – Daily Kos

We’re doomed by the identity trap, damned when we try to escape – The Guardian

Diane Abbott wrote a powerful article in these pages last week about the hatred she receives. Whatever one thinks of her politics, the veteran Labour MP has for decades been a fireball of public service. But her star has always been followed by a comet tail of toxic vapour. This personal abuse is at times snide and implied, at other times explicit, vicious and unprintable. But it is a constant in her political life, following her round, undermining her, consistently framing her in terms of her gender and her race.

Abbotts article came just days after she received an exceptional and sustained amount of personal abuse over the article 50 vote, culminating in a leaked text sent by Brexit secretary David Davis, in which he made derogatory comments on her appearance. Her article was necessary and timely, but something about her speaking out made my heart sink. It felt like defeat; the ultimate feeding of the trolls. It is important to look beyond the headlines and understand the significance of what happened.

The fact is that her tormentors had hounded this most resilient of characters to a point where she finally cracked and, breaking a longstanding habit in a 30-year career of not commenting on personal insults, she laid it all out. She was forced to sound an alert, warning that something must be done before we get to the point in our democracy where women and minority candidates, already low in number, are bullied out of the political arena altogether.

Since then, she has been forced to go further, revealing this weekend that she does not walk or drive around her constituency as freely as she used to because, in the wake of Jo Coxs murder, the death threats she receives cant be shrugged off any more. It was a piece in which she used the word I for the first time in respect of her identity it wasnt about her profession or her political views. It is this forced coming out by Abbott as a black woman in public life that was disheartening.

Contrary to the view so widely held on the right, of this country being in the grip of a constantly aggrieved professional-victim class, few people actually like to talk about their experience of receiving abuse. It is uncomfortable and excruciating and diminishing, and above all a distraction when one just wants to get on with ones business.

It is also, as many who are on the receiving end of such onslaughts (including myself) can testify, boring and predictable to have to keep running the gauntlet between attack and defence. There is another, silencing fear, as the bile swirls and rises around you: that you come across as attention-seeking or fragile. Above all, you want to show that the blows have not landed.

But when somebody occupies a public position, not speaking out becomes an abdication. It is a decision that is never taken lightly because it plays into the hands of the racists and misogynists whose ultimate motivating animus is to disabuse you of the notion that you can ever be anything but a woman who does not know her place or a member of an inferior race.

Come on now, you might say, lets not get carried away and blow it all out of proportion. And besides, Abbott is hardly a flawless political figure who doesnt deserve criticism. OK, she gets compared to a monkey and is the butt of her male colleagues jokes about being too unattractive to hug, but what about sending her child to private school?

It is a closed loop, a circular firing squad. You either accept the abuse with grace or invite more abuse and derision

This is the line of argument that enables the masking of abuse behind legitimate criticism of an individual or their views. As if calling for a tree strong enough to carry her weight so she can be hanged, as was said, is a logical follow-on from any of her failings or political hypocrisies.

And then there are the accusations of playing the race card or the gender card both denying that the abuse is real, and blaming the victim for using their minority status as a shield of deflection. It is a closed loop, a circular firing squad. You either accept the abuse with grace, turn the other cheek, or invite more abuse and derision for speaking out against it. The logical conclusion is that the only winning move is not to play.

It is ultimately this potential chilling effect that forces people to break their silence. Abbott said she had never complained until now. And she will have known of the potential cost to her stature, not to mention the possibility that her perceived vulnerability might encourage trolls further.

But ultimately, she said, she went into politics to create space for women and other groups who have historically been treated unfairly. It is only by creating this space that the abuse will subside, and that an individual like Diane Abbott will no longer be an offending novelty who is seen to only represent her own narrow racial or gender interests, rather than the people who elected her.

She and others like her are obliged to confront one of the most persistent political myths: that identity politics is a divisive phenomenon that actively seeks to separate minorities or women from the mainstream, conferring on them dispensation to act with impunity because any criticism is automatically bigotry. It is a notion that fails to recognise what is obvious, which is that identity is dictated from above. Abbotts defining character as a black woman is imposed and kept alive by others, not by her. She has spent decades integrating into the mainstream.

Women or minorities arent droning on about discrimination and abuse because theyre snowflakes demanding special treatment. They do so because they keep being limited, circumscribed, told that they cannot have roles in public life that extend beyond their identity. But then they are condemned when they respond in terms of what is being attacked. But what else can one do? Hannah Arendt said: If one is attacked as a Jew, one must defend oneself as a Jew.

Playing identity politics, as critics describe it, seems less an offensive ploy than a defensive posture, akin to raising your arms to cover your face when it is repeatedly being punched.

The whole affair exemplifies the precariousness of how to deal with what is now an epidemic. Silence is not an option. Even those not personally distressed have a duty towards others those younger, more vulnerable or just made of different stuff to clear the way for them to claim their rightful positions in public life. But there is also a risk that by doing so, any progress minorities or women have made to break out of their pen is undermined. It is a quiet stranglehold. Diane Abbott is trying to break free of it, but at what price?


We’re doomed by the identity trap, damned when we try to escape – The Guardian

March for Freedom reenactment to start at state Capitol – WLNS

LANSING, Mich. (AP) The 1963 civil rights march led in Detroit by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. will be re-enacted at the Michigan state Capitol in Lansing as part of Black History Month.

Secretary of State Ruth Johnson will join other elected leaders and community officials Tuesday morning on the west side of the Capitol building.

The March for Freedom reenactment will proceed to the Richard H. Austin building where a program highlighting Michigans role in the civil rights movement will be presented.

King visited Detroit on June 23, 1963, to lead tens of thousands of people in a freedom walk along Woodward Avenue and also previewed his I Have a Dream speech.

We welcome thoughts and comments from our viewers. We ask that everyone keep their remarks civil and respectful. Postings that contain profanity, racist, or potentially libelous remarks will be deleted. We will delete any commercial postings, as well.

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March for Freedom reenactment to start at state Capitol – WLNS

Remembering America’s Heritage of Freedom – Cato Institute (blog)

Two years ago on Presidents Day (which is legally Washingtons Birthday) I talked about my book The Libertarian Mind at the National Constitution Center (video). As part of that appearance I wrote about Americas libertarian heritage in the Philadelphia Inquirer:

Where better than Philadelphia on Presidents Day to talk about liberty and reviving the American tradition of freedom and limited government.

Thomas Jefferson said that when he wrote the Declaration of Independence in June of 1776, he had no book or pamphlet at hand but simply set down an expression of the American mind. With its foundation on the equal and inalienable rights of all people, including life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, the Declaration also reflects the libertarian mind.

Indeed, the principles of the Declaration are so closely associated with libertarianism that the Chinese edition of my previous book,Libertarianism: A Primer, features a cover photograph of the famous room in Independence Hall, complete with Windsor chairs and green tablecloths.

Libertarianism is the philosophy of freedom. It has, in different form throughout history, inspired people who fought for freedom, dignity, and individual rights the early advocates of religious tolerance, the opponents of absolute monarchy, the American revolutionaries, the abolitionists, antiwar advocates and anti-imperialists, opponents of National Socialism and communism.

I believe that the simple, timeless principles of the American Revolution individual liberty, limited government, and free markets are even more powerful and more important in the world of instant communication, global markets, and unprecedented access to information, a world that Jefferson or Madison could not have imagined. Libertarianism is the essential framework for a future of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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Remembering America’s Heritage of Freedom – Cato Institute (blog)

‘Freedom Highway’ by Rhiannon Giddens Review: Lives, Sounds and Purpose in the Details – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

'Freedom Highway' by Rhiannon Giddens Review: Lives, Sounds and Purpose in the Details
Wall Street Journal (subscription)
Singer, songwriter and instrumentalist Rhiannon Giddens has never been one to be easily categorizedor to sit still. Her first wide recognition, at the turn of this decade, came as a co-founder of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, a celebrated outfit
Rhiannon Giddens: Freedom Highway review timely and arrestingThe Guardian

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‘Freedom Highway’ by Rhiannon Giddens Review: Lives, Sounds and Purpose in the Details – Wall Street Journal (subscription)

My govt managed freedom fighters in Kashmir: Pervez Musharraf – Economic Times

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former dictator General Pervez Musharraf has said his administration ‘managed freedom fighters’ in Kashmir but later realised a political process was needed to negotiate the issue with India, a media report today said.

Musharraf, who served as Pakistan’s president from 2001 to 2008 after he threw out the elected government in a coup in 1999, said his government was able to force India to discuss issues that New Delhi was unwilling to negotiate.

“In my tenure as a military chief and president of the country, we were succeeding. We were able to bring India to the negotiating table and to sort out issues that India was not ready to discuss,” he told Dunya News in an interview.

He said his government was managing freedom fighters in Kashmir, and later they realised that a political process was required to negotiate further with India, the report said.

Musharraf left Pakistan for Dubai in March last year, after his name was removed from the Exit Control List.

The 73-year-old said Afghanistan’s intelligence agency, the National Directorate of Security, was playing into India’s hands and was being used as a tool to facilitate terror groups in Pakistan.

He claimed operation ‘Zarb-e-Azb’ – during which the Pakistan Army claimed it killed thousands of militants – had no shortcomings as it was specifically for North Waziristan.

“This operation cleaned up all the camps and launching pads of terrorist, who were supported by the Indian spy agency with the collaboration of NDS, to destabilise the tribal areas.”

Musharraf said a holistic approach and planning was crucial at the moment to curb terrorism in the country. His possible reference was to a series of deadly terrorist attack in Pakistan this year, particularly the suicide bombing at a famed Sufi shrine in Sindh in which at least 88 people died.

Pakistan has blamed Afghanistan for allowing sanctuaries to terrorist groups targeting Pakistan on their soil.

The former military chief questioned the steps being taken by Pakistan to eliminate the “sleeper cells” active in the country, including the previously peaceful Punjab province.

“What steps are being taken to eliminate these sleeper cells? Punjab has become the stronghold of militancy,” he said, refuting a question that terrorist attacks and terror outfits like the Lashkar-e-Jhangvi existed during his tenure.

“This all started after I stepped down, we had carved out an effective strategy vis-a-vis Kashmir, we were near resolving Kashmir issue with India on a four-point agenda, our policies were successful; America and China were aligning with us.”

On Mumbai attack mastermind Hafiz Saeed’s “house arrest”, Musharraf said the Jamaat-ud-Dawa chief is not a terrorist. He claimed India is after Saeed because his supporters go voluntarily to Kashmir to fight the Indian Army.

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My govt managed freedom fighters in Kashmir: Pervez Musharraf – Economic Times

Instructor Cori Wong speaks on freedom and fighting oppression – Rocky Mountain Collegian

Colorado State University ethnic studies instructor, special assistant to CSU president Tony Frank and director of the Women and Gender CollaborativeCori Wongspoke about the philosophy of freedom and the urgency of fighting oppression on Feb. 16.

Wong, who holds a Ph.D. in Womens Studies and Philosophy, spoke as part of Colorado State Universitys Ethics Colloquium. Using her knowledge of existentialist and feminist philosophy along with ideas from the feminist theoristSimone de BeauvoirWong addressed the everyday ethics involved with individual freedom, privilege and the fight against oppression in any form.

Wong told the audience that everyone at CSU is involved with the fight against oppression, regardless of job title or major. She stressed that when it comes to oppression and violence not actively opposing it is supporting it, even if only through ignorance, negligence, complacency or apathy.

Our choices have political consequences, whether or not we intend for those consequences, Wong said. In other words, no one gets off the hook, ever.

One is either working to advance opportunities for others or not, Wong said. She said that while most people do not work to shut down others opportunities, people are likely to hoard opportunities from others who are less privileged.

While the privileged do not need a revolution to have their opportunities, they have a moral obligation, as does everyone, to join the fight against oppression, Wong explained. Wong also said she believes it is important to realize our interconnectedness because the freedom to act can allow for, impinge upon or deny the freedom of others. It allows for oppression to both exist and to be dismantled.

It is other men who open the future to me, it is they who, setting up the world of tomorrow, define my future, Wong read from Beauvoirs book, The Ethics of Ambiguity. But if, instead of allowing me to participate in this constructive movement they keep me below the level which they have conquered and on the basis of which new conquests will be achieved, then they are cutting me off from the future, they are changing me into a thing.

Wong described oppression as a metaphorical bird cage, an idea used by the feminist theoristMarilyn Frye.

(Oppressed peoples) lives are confined and shaped by forces and barriers which are not accidental or occasional and hence avoidable, Wong said. They are systematically related to each other it is the experience of being caged in: all avenues in every direction are blocked or booby trapped.

The solution, Wong explained, is to resist against the oppressors and their allies.

In the face of oppression, resistance is required, Wong said. Complicity is in this case tyranny.

In return oppressors will respond to resistance by saying they are being oppressed, Wong said. She explained through Beauvoirs writings that people must only respect freedom when it is intended for freedom, but it must be denied when its only purpose is to deny the freedom of others for the sake of advancing an individual. The recognition of others freedom is not oppression, Wong said.

Wong continued reading Beauvoir, who wrote that while educating oppressors to denounce their ways seems to be the only moral route they will not do so and will instead continue them and deny oppression. Therefore Beauvoir concluded that by calling for freedom over oppressors rejection of facts, ethics demands their suppression.

In doing so Wong explained that objectification and violence is inevitable.

Since (oppressors) subjectivity, by definition, escapes our control it will be possible to act only on their objective presence; others will here have to be treated like things, with violence,’ Wong read from Beauvoir.

Wong concluded with a quote from Beauvoir emphasizing that there is hope.

The fact remains that we are absolutely free today if we choose to will our existence in its finiteness, a finiteness which is open on the infinite,’ Wong read from Beauvoirs book. And in fact, any man who has known real loves, real revolts, real desires and real will knows quite well that he has no need of any outside guarantee to be sure of his goals; (certainty) comes from his own drive.’

Collegian reporter MQ Borocz can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @MQBorocz22.

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Instructor Cori Wong speaks on freedom and fighting oppression – Rocky Mountain Collegian

Support the freedom of the press – Herald & Review (blog)

One of the strategies used by autocratic leaning political groups is to discredit the free press. Convince people that they and only they know the truth and anything to the contrary are lies and distortions.

Thank goodness we have a newspaper that believes in freedom of the press and especially freedom of speech: the Herald and Review. Editorials and letters to the editor show a healthy mix of ideas, from conservative to liberal and everything in-between.

Today we have a president who makes statements like “The only quote that matters is a quote from me.” as published in an article by Margaret Talbot in the Sept. 28, 2016 addition of the “lying” New Yorker Magazine. He wants us to believe the national media is out to get him when they simply publish things he says. Now just recently he tweeted that all negative polls about him are fake news. His surrogates aren’t any better. Steve Bannon recently told the press to “shut up and listen.” All this in an effort to engender doubt and mistrust in our free press to make us believe he and only he speaks the “truth.”

Controlling the press is the first step to controlling the country. In recent months, we have been exposed to “fake news,” alternative facts, personal attacks on reporters, demonization of mainstream media and efforts to discredit entire electronic news outlets and their reporters. These are essentially attacks on the First Amendment of our Constitution and they must not be allowed to stand. Facts are facts and are backed up by evidence and critical analysis from verifiable sources.

It is our duty as Americans to learn the true facts by critically reading or listening to more than one source of news, be it newspaper, television, radio, public and commercial and yes even the internet. Our freedom depends on it.

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Support the freedom of the press – Herald & Review (blog)