Democrats being pulled both to Left and to Center

Source: The American Prospect
by Paul Starr

“Are the Democrats, as so many people believe, moving left, or are they gravitating to the center? Actually, the results of this year’s primary and general elections show there is movement in both directions, setting the party up for future conflicts. Let’s look at the congressional results. Perry Bacon, Jr. at FiveThirtyEight makes the case that the Democrats are moving left by comparing their House membership in 2010, the last time they controlled the chamber, to their incoming membership. Eight years ago, the Progressive Caucus had 80 members, while the Blue Dog Coalition, the most conservative Democrats, had 54. But in 2019, according to Bacon, the Progressive Caucus will rise to 96, while the Blue Dogs will number only 24. By that measure, the House Democrats have moved sharply to the left. The picture looks different, however, if we compare the Progressive Caucus with the centrist New Democrat Coalition in the House and focus specifically on the new members who won districts previously held by Republicans. Democrats flipped 42 seats while losing two, for a net pickup of 40 (with one further addition possible in North Carolina).” (12/13/18)

Ron Paul Liberty Report, 12/13/18

Source: Ron Paul Liberty Report

“Among many Christians there is a notion that support for free markets is somehow selfish and anti-Christian. What is the morality of opposing an ever-encroaching state and ever-increasing taxes? Acton Institute President Fr. Robert Sirico joins today’s Liberty Report to explain.” [Flash video] (12/13/18)

What is economic growth (and what is it not)?

Source: Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Per Bylund

“There is severe confusion about the meaning of economic growth. Many seem to mistakenly think that it has to do with GDP or producing stuff. It does not. Economic growth means that an economy’s ability to satisfy people’s wants, whatever they are — that is, to produce wellbeing — increases.” (12/13/18)

How a decade of drug war turned Mexico into a burial ground

Source: The Intercept
by Alejandra Guillén, Mago Torres, & Marcela Turati

“Bloodshed in Mexico became more widespread and more brutal after December 2006, when then-President Felipe Calderon declared war on drug cartels. His successor, Enrique Pena Nieto, continued the same strategy of militarization, which has done little to curb drug production or trafficking but has led to an explosion of murders, disappearances, human rights violations by the army and police, and other forms of violence. In Mexico, 37,485 people were reported missing between December 2006 and last October, according to official records. It is unknown how many of them may have vanished into mass graves.” (12/13/18)

Appeals court narrows Trump birth control ruling

Source: Reuters

“A U.S. appeals court on Thursday narrowed an order that had blocked President Donald Trump’s administration from enforcing new rules that undermine an Obamacare requirement for employers to provide insurance that covers women’s birth control. Last year two federal judges, one in Philadelphia and one in Oakland, California, had blocked the government from enforcing rules allowing businesses or nonprofits to obtain exemptions from the contraception policy on moral or religious grounds. The Justice Department appealed both rulings. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said on Thursday the injunction issued in California should not apply nationwide, but only within the five states that sued over the policy. California’s attorney general filed the case, along with AGs in Delaware, Virginia, Maryland and New York. Despite the 9th Circuit ruling, a nationwide injunction issued by the Philadelphia judge is still in effect while that case is under appeal at the 3rd Circuit, a spokesman for Pennsylvania’s attorney general said on Thursday.” (12/13/18)

Sanders addresses 2020 speculation: “Not an easy decision”

Source: NBC News

“Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said on Thursday that ‘if’ he decides to run for president again in 2020, he knows the issues he’ll campaign on. Addressing speculation that he could enter the wide-open Democratic field, Sanders, 77, told NBC News’ Andrea Mitchell that he would ‘make that decision when I think it’s appropriate. … If, and that is an if, I do decide to run, we’re going to be taking on the pharmaceutical industry and the insurance industry, and Wall Street. And all of the powerful special interests who now control much of what goes on in Congress,’ he said.” (12/13/18)

Brexit: Just hold another referendum

Source: The New Republic
by Alexis Papazoglou

“Rousseau did not believe that representative democracy was democratic. ‘The people of England regards itself as free; but it is grossly mistaken; it is free only during the election of members of Parliament. As soon as they are elected, slavery overtakes it, and it is nothing,’ the French theorist wrote in his 1762 treatise, ‘Social Contract.’ According to Rousseau, the will of the people cannot be truly expressed when mediated by representatives—it has to be voiced directly. In 2016, the United Kingdom voted in a referendum to leave the European Union—but did not vote on the terms of the exit, nor on its relationship with the EU once it left. After much negotiation, the Conservative-led British government under Prime Minister Theresa May has finally reached a deal regarding these particulars—a deal few are enthusiastic about. Anti-Brexit groups, the Scottish National Party, the Labour Party, and even some Conservative members of Parliament have now raised the possibility of a second referendum: a ‘people’s vote’ on the deal’s terms, with the UK staying in the EU if they are rejected.” (12/13/18)

Inside sources: State Dept refuses to trace whether Israel using US military aid illegally

Source: In These Times
by Alex Kane

“The video shows a familiar West Bank scene. As a Palestinian flag in Nabi Saleh flutters in the wind on a spring day in 2017, two Palestinians with slingshots launch stones at Israeli soldiers. About a dozen others stand to the side, behind the ruins of a demolished house, calmly observing. Then, a young man wearing a white T-shirt and jeans, alone, is seen heading up a slight slope toward the house. The camera jerks for a second, and the youth disappears from the frame. A single shot rings out. The observers duck. The young man, back in the frame, is running toward the others, holding his stomach. Then he falls. The screams for an ambulance begin. The young man’s name was Sabaa Obeid, a 22-year-old from Salfit, a town about 13 miles north. He, too, had been throwing stones. Shot by one of the Israeli soldiers, he was declared dead later that day. Witnesses to the confrontation say the armed soldiers were never in life threatening danger from the stones, which were flung from hundreds of feet away.” (12/13/18)

It shouldn’t be a debate. Cyntoia Brown deserves clemency

Source: USA Today
by David Plazas

“Cyntoia Brown deserves her freedom. Not because celebrities, including Rihanna and Kim Kardashian, are behind her cause. Not because protesters shout down Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam at public events. Brown deserves a second chance at life because the circumstances of her imprisonment are cruel. Moreover, what she has done with her life in prison (becoming educated and reformed) is impressive. She has undergone a transformation and merits a shot to fulfill her promise as a citizen in society. When she shot and killed 43-year-old Johnny Allen, she was 16 years old. She claimed she had been forced into prostitution by her boyfriend and murdered Allen because she thought he was going to harm her.” (12/13/18)

On China trade, Trump should copy Reagan: “Trust but verify”

Source: Investors Business Daily
by staff

“A week and half after President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping met to smooth over trade disputes, China announced it will buy more foreign goods, including U.S. soybeans. At the same time, it vowed to completely retool its ‘Made In China 2025’ program, intended to make China the world’s most powerful economy. Nice gestures, but whether China follows through is a big question. Reuters reports that Chinese state-owned firms snapped up more than half a million tons of U.S. soybeans on Wednesday to show they mean business. But the Made In China 2025 reversal, if sincere, is even more significant. It would mark a major shift in China’s guiding economic philosophy, a strange melding of top-down communist political control with free-market tenets.” (12/13/18)