January 6, 2019

*ARMED AND DANGEROUS – IRS Had 4,487 Guns; 5,062,006 Rounds of Ammunition: 

The Internal Revenue Service had in its weapons inventory 4,487 guns and 5,062,006 rounds of ammunition as of late 2017, according to a report published this month by the Government Accountability Office.

Included in this arsenal, according to the GAO, were 15 “fully automatic firearms” and 56,000 rounds of ammunition for those fully automatic firearms.

The same report– “Federal Law Enforcement: Purchases and Inventory Controls of Firearms, Ammunition, and Tactical Equipment“–says that the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services had 194 fully automatic firearms and 386,952 rounds of ammunition for those fully automatic firearms.

“The term ‘fully automatic’ used in this report,” says a footnote in the report, “encompasses a range of firearms classified as machine guns, including submachine guns, three round burst guns, and guns with a selector switch that can enable continuous fire.”

*From Now On, A NYC Newborn’s Gender Can Be ‘X’:

On Wednesday, for the first time in its history, New York City offered a third option for parents of newborn babies or anyone choosing not to identify as male or female: changing or setting the gender of a birth certificate to “X.”

That third option, bypassing male and female, became available courtesy of a law signed by New York Mayor Bill de Blasio in early October that went into effect on January 1. De Blasio stated that the law allowed citizens the freedom to “tell the government who they are and not the other way around… Imagine if you were told you were something that you did not consider yourself to be.” He addressed transgender New Yorkers, saying, “You be you. Live your truth. And know that New York City will have your back.”

De Blasio had said in June, “Pride Month is a time to celebrate how far we’ve come in the fight for equality, and re-affirm our commitment to protecting all New Yorkers from discrimination. This proposal will allow transgender and gender non-conforming New Yorkers to live with the dignity and respect they deserve, and make our City fairer.”

*Trump EO Freezing Federal Pay Saves Taxpayers from Extraordinary Pay Increases:

President Donald Trump issued an executive order effectively freezing federal pay for 2019 at current 2018 levels. Had the president not issued this executive order (and lacking congressional action on federal pay), federal workers would have received a 2.1 percent across-the-board pay increase, as well as a 25 percent increase in locality-based pay.

A 2.1 percent across-the-board increase would have cost roughly $5 billion in 2019 while the locality-based increase would have cost a reported $26 billion. That exceptional pay spike would have kicked in had the president not acted and had the default changes specified in the 1990 Federal Employees Pay Comparability Act kicked in instead. That act provides for annual federal pay increases based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index, which tracks civilian employment costs.

Despite the specified formulaic federal pay increases, federal pay has more recently been set by presidents through their authority to propose an alternative pay schedule.

*Report: Biggest Jailer of Journalists is Communist China:

The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) 2018 report on deadly attacks and abuses against journalists shows that the “biggest jailer of journalists,” as of December 2018, is Communist China, which is holding 60 reporters. In second place behind China is Egypt (38 reporters jailed), then Turkey (33 reporters jailed), Saudi Arabia (28) and then Iran (28). Worldwide, 348 journalists are being held in prisons, according to the RSF, 324 men and 24 women.

Among the 348 detained reporters, 179 are professional journalists, 150 are non-professional bloggers, online reporters, citizen journalists and 19 media workers, according to the RSF report.

*Survey: 81% of Weekly Churchgoers Say Religion ‘Can Answer Today’s Problems’:

A new survey shows that religion is important to 72% of Americans and that, among weekly churchgoers, 81% believe religion can answer “all or most of today’s problems.”In the poll, conducted Dec. 3-12, Gallup asked, “How important would you say religion is in your own life — very important, fairly important or not very important?”

For “all Americans,” 51% said religion is “very important” and 21% said “fairly important,” which equals a total of 72% on the importance scale. However, 27% of all Americans said religion was “not very” important in their lives. For “Christians,” the percentages were higher: 62% “very important and 25% “fairly important,” for a total of 87% important.  Only 13% of Christians said religion was “not very” important in their lives.

Gallup also asked, “Do you believe that religion can answer all or most of today’s problems, or that religion is largely old-fashioned and out of date?” For those attend church weekly, 81% of them said religion can answer today’s problems. In that same group, 11% said religion is old-fashioned and out of date.

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*EXAMINER–INVESTIGATES: Weight Loss:

•    During the 19th century, a diet called “Fletcherism” became popular. Introduced by American Horace Fletcher (“the Great Masticator”), the diet promoted chewing a mouthful of food at least 32 times or until it was turned into liquid. He argued his method of eating could help people avoid disease and lose weight.

•    Elvis Presley was famously a fan of the “Sleeping Beauty Diet,” or a diet where a person is sedated for days at time. The reasoning behind the diet was that a sleeping person wouldn’t eat.

•    Losing weight alters brain activity. For example, after following a weight loss program for 6 months, women scored better on memory tests. Research has also linked obesity to poor memory, especially in overweight pear-shaped women.

•    A fat cell lives for about 7 years. When a fat cell dies, a new one grows to replace it. The body keeps track of how many fat cells it has as well as the amount of fat in each cell. If fat cells are removed by liposuction, for example, the body compensates by growing new fat cells in other areas of the body.

•    Obesity has been linked to several types of cancer. Specifically, being overweight causes inflammation that causes cell changes in the body. However, just by losing 5% of your body weight can significantly lower dangerous levels of inflammation.

•    People with a disorganized work space are more likely to eat junk food. According to a University of Minnesota study, people in disorganized workspaces are more likely to choose unhealthy snacks.

•    After undergoing bariatric surgery, approximately 87% of patients said their taste buds had changed. Almost half of them said food didn’t taste as good, so they didn’t eat as much. Additionally, people had less of a preference for salty foods.

•    Losing weight can reduce arthritis symptoms.

•    A recent study found that eating dark chocolate in moderate amounts is associated with lower levels of abdominal fat. Scientists speculate that the antioxidants may help fight inflammation and improve metabolic functioning.

•    Scientists believe there are as many as 100 different types of “fat genes,” or genes that increase the likelihood of someone developing type 2 diabetes and becoming obese. However, scientists note that obesity-promoting genes can be offset by regular exercise and a healthy diet.

*EXAMINER–VIDEO LINK:

The concluding finale of the revealing TV interview show -“Without Notes” with acclaimed attorney Robert Shapiro. Episode 3: Brent Shapiro Foundation https://youtu.be/sA35lsoZB1U
*EXAMINER–R.I.P.:

Pegi Young, the singer-songwriter who was married to Neil Young for 36 years, died Tuesday after a yearlong battle with cancer. She was 66. “[She] passed away surrounded by her friends and family in her native California,” reads a short statement on her official Instagram account. “We request that the families’ privacy be respected at this time.”

Young was working as a waitress at a diner near Neil Young’s ranch when they met in the mid-Seventies. “Never saw a woman look finer,” Neil Young wrote in his 1992 classic song “Unknown Legend,” one of several songs about their love that also include “Harvest Moon” and “Such an Angel.” “I used to order just to watch her float across the floor.”

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*EXAMINER–COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman:
Up to now I have not favored removing President Trump from office. I felt strongly that it would be best for the country that he leave the way he came in, through the ballot box. But last week was a watershed moment for me, and I think for many Americans, including some Republicans.

It was the moment when you had to ask whether we really can survive two more years of Trump as president, whether this man and his demented behavior — which will get only worse as the Mueller investigation concludes — are going to destabilize our country, our markets, our key institutions and, by extension, the world. And therefore his removal from office now has to be on the table.

I believe that the only responsible choice for the Republican Party today is an intervention with the president that makes clear that if there is not a radical change in how he conducts himself — and I think that is unlikely — the party’s leadership will have no choice but to press for his resignation or join calls for his impeachment.

It has to start with Republicans, given both the numbers needed in the Senate and political reality. Removing this president has to be an act of national unity as much as possible — otherwise it will tear the country apart even more. I know that such an action is very difficult for today’s G.O.P., but the time is long past for it to rise to confront this crisis of American leadership.

*EXAMINER–A DIFFERENT VIEW:….

*EXAMINER–OVERHEARD:
Olivia Newton-John gave her niece Tottie Goldsmith permission to speak about her health in an attempt to shut down “sick rumors” she was dying. Goldsmith told the Seven Network she had been allowed to speak publicly about her famous aunt, who is battling cancer for the third time. It came after US and Australian gossip publications claimed unnamed sources told them her body was “shutting down” and had only “weeks” to live.  But Goldsmith, 56, ended the speculation by confirming the stories were untrue. “You can rest assured she is going nowhere and in really good health. A sick rumor,” she said.

January 2, 2019

*Hackers Threaten to Dump Insurance Files Related to 9/11 Attacks:

A hacker group known as Dark Overlord threatened on Monday to publicly release internal files regarding the 9/11 attacks unless their ransom demands are met. Overlord said it had breached a law firm handling cases related to the attacks and seemed to play up 9/11 conspiracy theories in its threat, saying in a tweet that the group will “be providing many answers about 9.11 conspiracies through our 18.000 secret documents.” “You’re welcome to… make a request to formally have your documents… withdrawn from any eventual public release of the materials. However, you’ll be paying us,” the group warned.

Overlord claims to have hacked several different insurers and legal firms involved in insuring the World Trade Center and the legal battle that commenced after the towers fell. A spokesperson for one of the insurance companies confirmed to Motherboard that the hackers had breached a law firm that advised the company, and had likely stolen files related to litigation surrounding 9/11. This public extortion is only the latest by the group; they have already targeted a production studio working for Netflix, as well as several medical centers and private businesses.

*California Sheriff Slams Sanctuary Cities, Illegal Immigration After Seven More Individuals Are Arrested In
Cop Slaying:

Seven additional men have been arrested in connection with the murder of Newman, California, Police officer Ronil Singh, for helping suspect Gustavo Perez Arriaga try to flee into Mexico, authorities say. ABC News reports that Arriaga was hoping to escape back to his home country of Mexico with the help of his girlfriend, family members, and co-workers, after he allegedly shot and killed Singh during a routine traffic stop in northern California on Wednesday. Arriaga was in the United States illegally.

“An illegal immigrant with known gang affiliations, the 32-year-old Arriaga tried to flee to Mexico after his alleged crime, authorities said Friday. Stanislaus County Sheriff Adam Christianson said that Arriaga crossed into Arizona from Mexico illegally a couple of years ago and it is believed that he had been working on farms in California’s Central Valley,” according to ABC News. Arriaga had at least two prior arrests on his record, both for driving under the influence. When Singh pulled Arriaga over early Wednesday morning, it was because he suspected Arriaga of drunken driving. After a brief confrontation which quickly developed into a firefight, Singh was killed. He leaves behind a wife and a five month old son.

Arriaga was eventually captured near Bakersfield, California, nearly 200 miles south of where the initial murder took place. “By late Friday night, a total of seven people had been arrested for either misleading authorities about Arriaga’s whereabouts or aiding him in evading authorities – including a woman described as Arriaga’s girlfriend and two of his brothers, according to police officials and ABC-owned station KFSN,” the outlet continued.

*Aretha Franklin’s Estate Owes $6M+ in Back Taxes, Says IRS:

The estate of Aretha Franklin owes the federal government more than $6.3 million in unpaid income tax, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The Queen of Soul died of pancreatic cancer in August and left behind no will for her estimated $80 million estate. The IRS “proof of claim” filings entered Dec. 12 and 19 say the amount owed is cumulative, beginning with an unpaid assessed balance of $1,305,403 in December 2012 and including $552,718 due by the end of this year.

The filing says “no part of this debt has been paid and it is now due and payable to the United State Treasury at the Office of the Internal Revenue Service” and adds, “this debt has priority and must be paid in full in advance of distribution to creditors to the extent provided by law.” The estate’s attorney,David Bennett, said: “This is not a liquidated claim, and it is disputed by the estate. The vast majority of Ms. Franklin’s personal 1040 tax obligations were paid prior to her death—something she wished to occur. The estate is diligently working to resolve any remaining issues.”

*Short Patients Are More Likely to Die in Intensive Care: Study:

If you end up in the intensive care unit of a hospital or clinic there’s a number of things that can affect your eventual outcome. How healthy you are, your age and the conditions that you’re suffering from are all obvious factors, but a new study suggests that your height might actually play a role in whether you’re able to pull through or not.

New research published in Intensive Care Medicine suggests that taller patients tend to survive at a higher rate than shorter individuals. The study reaches a rather bold conclusion in that short stature may actually be a risk factor if you end up in the ICU.

The cohort study looked at over 400,000 cases from the UK in total, with 233,308 men and 184,070 women who passed through a hospital intensive care unit.

*ICE in 2018: 71 Removals of Illegal Aliens From State Sponsors of Terror:

In Fiscal Year 2018, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency conducted 256,085 removals of illegal aliens who were in the United States, which included 726 removals of aliens with Communist Chinese citizenship and 71 removals of illegals who came from State Sponsors of TerrorIranSudan and Syria.

The ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations Report for FY 2018 (Oct. 1, 2017 – Sept. 30, 2018) explains that a “removal” is the deportation of “immigration violators who are illegally present in the country and have received a final order of removal. A removal is defined as the compulsory and confirmed movement of an inadmissible or deportable alien out of the United States based on such an order.”

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*EXAMINER–INVESTIGATES : Ku Klux Klan:

The Ku Klux Klan arose in the Southern United States after the end of the Civil War in 1865.

•    The Klan is not a single historical group, but a grassroots movement that has risen and then largely disappeared several times since the original Klan was disbanded in 1872.  Notable periods of Klan activity include the original Klan of the 1860s and the Klan revivals of the 1920s and 1950s.

•    According to a 2016 Anti-Defamation League report, membership in the KKK throughout the USA had dropped to approximately 3,000 members. The Southern Poverty Law Center places their estimate slightly higher, between 5,000 and 8,000.

•    The KKK defines its principle enemies as African Americans, Jews, and Catholics.

•    Daryl Davis, an African American blues musician, has spent the last 30 years befriending members of the KKK and questioning them about their beliefs. As of 2017, 200 of those Klansmen have given up their robes as a result of their friendship with Davis.

•    The name “Ku Klux Klan” is derived from Kuklos, the Greek word for circle. It was likely chosen simply because it sounds mysterious and frightening.

•    While it is commonplace to think of the Ku Klux Klan as a male organization, Klanswomen have played a prominent role in the group’s history, especially during the Klan revival of the 1920s.

•    The first KKK was formed in 1865 by a group of six friends from Pulaski, Tennessee. Initially they saw themselves as pranksters, but soon realized that they could use their antics to spread fear among the newly freed slaves and exercise their growing power to reassert white control.

•    After the devastation of the Civil War, many Southern men were drawn to the Klan, seeing it as a way to regain a sense of control over their lives and communities, and as a continued form of resistance to what they considered Northern aggression. Approximately 620,000 soldiers died in the American Civil War, and the resulting social upheavals are still being felt today (Civil War Trust)

•    Early KKK leaders referred to their organization as “The Invisible Empire,” and saw themselves as knights carrying out a crusade to maintain white leadership and safeguard the moral fabric of the South.

*EXAMINER–INVESTIGATES:

Second-born children are known for going the opposite direction from the firstborn in the family.

*EXAMINER–VIDEO LINK:

The concluding Episode #3 of the revealing TV interview show -“Without Notes” with acclaimed attorney Robert Shapiro –https://youtu.be/sA35lsoZB1U

*EXAMINER–MUSIC INSIDER:

Washington state officials passed a bill to rename a post office near Jimi Hendrix‘s hometown of Seattle to honor the guitar god. Both of Washington’s U.S. senators, Patty Murray andMaria Cantwell, supported Rep. Adam Smith’s bill to rechristen Renton Highlands Post Office as the James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix Post Office. The bill was signed into law last week after it passed unanimously.

*EXAMINER-SPOTLIGHT:

Dr. Paul Abell, Beverly Hills Healthcare Consultant, Draws Upon Personal Experiences in New Book

Dr. Paul Abell, an accomplished healthcare consultant and practitioner, has released a powerful book of wisdom onAmazon and Kindle. Entitled, “Joy is… 365 Keys to Longevity,” the book is a synthesis of profound teachings from religion, philosophy, psychology and spirituality regarding the pathway to creating joy in a person’s life, which modern research has shown to be the key to longevity. There are 365 succinct transformational concepts on which readers can contemplate or meditate each day.

“The book was born out of the love for my child,” explains Abell, “After a lifetime career in the field of alternative healthcare and longevity, I found myself facing a unique challenge when I chose to become a father at age 65.”

Abell explains that he needed to enhance the possibilities of living long enough to raise his child to manhood. His intense search for the ultimate keys to longevity revealed that “Joy” is the fundamental dynamic common to most centenarians. In sharing the profound principles which foster a joyous life, he simultaneously leaves a blue print for his son to live a spiritually ethical life in his new book. This timely collection of transformational principles has been described as the “Tao Te Ching of Longevity.”

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*EXAMINER–COMMENTARY by Michael Reagan:
Back in April of this year, after Starbucks announced that anyone with a pulse had every right to use the store bathroom, co–author Michael Shannon predicted, ” … brand commitment will erode quickly as the atmosphere in Starbucks goes from an upscale coffee bistro to a San Francisco public library. [CEO] Schultz’s stores will now function as the concession stand in a homeless encampment.” We don’t know how many homeless read this column, but the word is out.

New York Post columnist Steve Cuozzo writes, “Seven months after the coffee kingdom declared its toilets open to all — no purchase necessary! — visitors who hear nature’s call are finding it isn’t always easy to lighten their loads. Finding a usable Starbucks toilet in the Big Apple might actually have gotten harder since last spring’s announcement — and not just for non-customers.”

The Post conducted an impromptu survey and discovered inManhattan that, “A half-dozen toilets were locked or barricaded for no clear reason. Others were closed for prolonged “cleaning,” which an insider said was needed after extreme soiling caused by drug-using, incontinent vagrants.”

One wise Starbucks employee, who was smart enough to remain anonymous since common sense can get one fired, wryly observed, “Letting everybody in has resulted in nobody getting in.”

*EXAMINER–A DIFFERENT VIEW:….

*EXAMINER–OVERHEARD:   
Michael Cohen could be coming to a movie theater near you.Hollywood is chasing President Donald Trump’s former fixer Cohen as the lawyer readies to start his three-year prison sentence. Sources say that Cohen was spotted at a recent power breakfast meeting with “Pulp Fiction” and “Inglourious Basterds” producer Lawrence Bender.

December 30, 2018

*GOING ROGUE – Lonely Parrot Goes Shopping Online With Alexa While Owners Out:

Talk about a captive audience. Rocco, an apparently lonely and, uh, peckish African Grey parrot in Berkshire UK, has become so used to hearing his owners talk to Amazon’s Alexa, he started doing it himself when they were out of the house. So far, the feathered fowl has ordered watermelon, strawberries, raisins, ice cream and even broccoli. The bird has also commanded the home robot to tell him jokes and play love songs. Rocco’s owner Marion Wischnewski toldThe Times of London that she often comes home to Rocco dancing to romantic music, which she says is indicative of his “sweet personality.”

Because of a parental lock feature, none of the orders for food have so far gone through, but his owner always has to check that he hasn’t scheduled events or added to her online grocery lists. “Rocco and Alexa chat away to each other all day,” she said. “Then I have to check the shopping list and cancel all the items he’s ordered.”

*Iranian Officials Called ‘Hypocrites’
for Sending Their Families to Study and Work in ‘Great Satan’:

Denouncing the “hypocrisy of the regime” in Tehran, the State Department’s special representative for Iran says it is “working on” the issue of relatives of senior regime officials living and studying in the country which the mullahs deride as the “great Satan.”

In a video posted on the department’s Persian-language Twitter feed this week, Brian Hook read out one of more than 5,000 questions which he said had been submitted by Iranians.

“Why doesn’t the United States revoke the visas or deport the relatives of the regime officials who live in the United States?” a questioner asked.

“I have to admit, this is another example of the hypocrisy of the regime,” Hook replied. “While regime officials chant, ‘Death toAmerica,’ they send their families to the so-called ‘great Satan’ to live and study here – using the resources of the Iranian people.”

*Asbestos Opens New Legal Front in Battle Over Johnson’s Baby Powder:

The memos were concise and direct. An executive at Johnson & Johnson said the main ingredient in its best-selling baby powder could potentially be contaminated by asbestos, the dangerous mineral that can cause cancer. He recommended to senior staff in 1971 that the company “upgrade” its quality control of talc.

Two years later, another executive raised a red flag, saying the company should no longer assume that its talc mines were asbestos-free. The powder, he said, sometimes contained materials that “might be classified as asbestos fiber.”

The carcinogen, which often appears underground near talc, has been a concern inside the company for decades. In hundreds of pages of memos, executives worried about a potential government ban of talc, the safety of the product and a public backlash over Johnson’s Baby Powder, a brand built on a reputation for trustworthiness and health.

Executives proposed new testing procedures or replacing talc outright, while trying to discredit research suggesting that the powder could be contaminated with asbestos, according to corporate documents unearthed by litigation, government records obtained by The New York Times through theFreedom of Information Act, and interviews with scientists and lawyers.

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*EXAMINER–INVESTIGATES:

Famous people who worked at McDonald’s include Sharon StoneShania TwainJay LenoRachel McAdams, and Pink.

*EXAMINER–INVESTIGATES:

Avocados are toxic to horses; they can cause respiratory distress, heart failure, and death.

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Skye Curtin, 20, and Austin McCormick, 22, met in college. They spent their first two years together tending to Ms. Curtin’s parents and her siblings. They were married Dec. 1 in Hickory Flat, GA.

*EXAMINER-SPOTLIGHT:
Gail Thackray, Female Sex Biz Mogul, Plays Men at Their Own Game: Releases Book Detailing Her Life as a Playboy Model

Gail Thackray shocks the world with her sexy tell-all book, “Running with Wolves, a Woman’s Memoir of Sex, Scandal and Seduction.” The book gives an inside look into all aspects in her life: From her time as a Playboy model, to theHollywood Casting Couch, to a business mogul running a phone sex biz for the mob, to amassing the largest erotic library in the world valued at over $50 Million Dollars.

In the era of #metoo, Thackray emerges as a strong woman who manages to play the game in a man’s world and use it to her advantage. This is not about a woman as a victim, dishing out the dirt on powerful men in Hollywood and the Sex Industry, it’s actually a light-hearted, often hilarious look at the real inner workings of a male-dominated-industry and how a young girl is able to pull the strings.

“Sometimes real life is so absurd, it’s hilariously funny, and you just can’t make this stuff up,” explains Thackray.

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*EXAMINER–COMMENTARY by Thomas L. Friedman:
Ever since World War II, the liberal global order that has spread more freedom and prosperity around the world than at any other time in history has been held up by two pillars: the United States of America and the United Nations of Europe, now known as the European Union.

Both of these centers of free markets, free people and free ideas are being shaken today by rural and beyond-the-suburbs insurgencies of largely white working-poor and anxious middle classes, which have not generally benefited from the surges in globalization, immigration and technology that have lifted superstar cities like LondonParis and San Francisco and their multicultural populations.

Having just seen the shocking sight of Parisian stores boarded up right before Christmas to protect against rioting along theChamps-Élysées by some of France’s yellow-vested protesters; after being told in Rome a few days earlier that Italy, a founding member of the E.U., could conceivably shuck off both the E.U. and the euro one day under its new bizarre far-left/far-right governing coalition; after watching Britain become paralyzed over how to commit economic suicide by leaving the E.U.; and after watching President Trump actually cheer for the breakup of the E.U. rather than for its good health, it is obvious to me that we’re at a critical hinge of history.

*EXAMINER–COMMENTARY by David Brooks:
Are you optimistic or pessimistic about America’s future? I’m optimistic. I say that because there have been many moments in our history when old ideas and old arrangements stopped working and people chopped them up. Those transition moments were bumpy, and it was easy to lose hope, but then people figured it out. Never underestimate the power of human ingenuity.

The same process is happening today. Americans have lost faith in the big institutions of society. Many fly off to extremes, to the Donald Trump right or the Bernie Sanders left. Most of the rest of us feel adrift, gloomy and politically homeless.

But people figure it out. New ideas emerge. Old ideas are put together in new ways. Today, I offer you just one example — theNiskanen Center, which has become one of the most creative think tanks in America today.

*EXAMINER–A DIFFERENT VIEW:….