June 14th, 2014

Baylen Linnekin on the FDA's Cheese Crackdown


CheeseEarlier this week, a nationwide firestorm erupted over an FDA decision to ban the use of wooden planks to age cheese. Cheesemakers, farmers, chefs, commentators, and consumers were furious. The decision to ban the centuries–old practice, first reported by the Cheese Underground blog, seemed to come out of the blue.

But then the agency reversed course, and the new rule vanished as quickly as it had appeared. The FDA issued an update that began with the sentence, "Recently, you may have heard some concerns..."

Unfortunately, the FDA still wants to ban the use of wooden crates in cheesemaking, argues Baylen Linnekin. The FDA is a powerful and power–mad agency that regulates 80 percent of the food supply (and growing). The food and beverages you eat and drink today are only legal because the agency hasn't yet figured out a way to ban them.

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Ralph Nader: "We're not second-class citizens because we're a Green Party candidate or a Libertarian


[Original Release Date - 11/06/2014 ]

"Everybody has an equal right to run for election. We're either all spoilers of one another, trying to get votes from one another or none of us are spoilers. We're not second-class citizens because we're a Green Party candidate or a Libertarian candidate....The brass of these two parties is they control the election machinery so they keep you off the ballot, harass you, file a lawsuit, delay you, exhaust you," Ralph Nader tells Reason TV.

Nader's latest book is Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.

To watch the full hour-long interview and read a transcript go here.

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Jacob Sullum on Pot, Poker, and GOP Prohibitionism


Republican Sen. Mike Lee is co-sponsoring a bill that would ban online gambling throughout the country, instead of letting each state decide whether to allow Internet-assisted poker. And poker isn't the only subject that turns Republicans into advocates of a meddling, overweening federal government—pot also brings out their inner centralizers. These contradictions illustrate one reason the GOP seems destined for permanent minority status, writes Jacob Sullum. Too many of its members are unprincipled killjoys who do not understand that federalism requires tolerance of diversity.

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What Can Soccer Tell Us About Immigration?


In March of 2008 Reason TV and Drew Carey took a look at immigration through the lens of Major League Soccer and David Beckham.

Original release date was March 31, 2008 and the original writeup is below.

As soccer superstar David Beckham kicks off the Los Angeles Galaxy's 2008 season, Drew Carey asks what this says about immigration in the U.S. in a new reason.tv video.

While workers from Mexico draw the ire and fiery rhetoric of anti-immigration forces, there was no outrage or concern when the English-speaking soccer hero brought his family and curling free kicks to America.

"I think we should welcome all peaceful people to our country," says Drew Carey. "They get to the pursue the 'American Dream' and we get to benefit from all the wonderful things that immigrants bring to our country-like good old fashioned soccer. Sounds like a pretty good deal to me."

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Jesse Walker on William Burroughs' Anti-Authoritarian Vision


After Naked Lunch was published in 1959, William Burroughs graduated from unknown writer to literary celebrity. Today he is widely regarded, along with Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac, as one of the three towering figures of the Beat movement. He was one of the most prominent figures in the emergence of the postwar counterculture, and his influence stretches well beyond the Beats to the bohemias of the '60s, the '70s, and beyond. In 2014, a century after his birth in St. Louis, his work remains a touchstone for alienated cynics of all kinds.

But Burroughs' worldview was miles from the peace-and-love socialism that our cultural clichés tell us to expect from a hippie hero, notes Jesse Walker. In 1949, according to Barry Miles' new biography Call Me Burroughs, he complained to Kerouac that "we are bogged down in this octopus of bureaucratic socialism." When he was a landlord in New Orleans he sent Ginsberg a rant against rent control, and when he found himself owning a farm in Texas he gave Ginsberg an earful about the evils of the minimum wage. 

As a bisexual, a drug user, and a writer whose work was regularly damned as "obscene," Burroughs was no conventional conservative, points out Walker. But he was no conventional radical either. 

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Ralph Nader on Obama, Hillary Clinton, and their "total support" of war and empire


"The total support of the military-industrial complex and empire by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton is staggering," Ralph Nader tells Reason TV.

Nader's latest book is Unstoppable: The Emerging Left-Right Alliance to Dismantle the Corporate State.

To watch the full hour-long interview and read a transcript go here.

The longtime consumer activist, recidivist presidential candidate, and several-time host of Saturday Night Live talks with Nick Gillespie about what he sees as a new libertarian-progressive attack on crony capitalism, whether GM cars were ever any damn good, and why the Democrats still wrongly insist that he cost Al Gore the 2000 presidential election. Oh yeah, and the article of his Reason published back in the early '70s!

Produced by Joshua Swain.

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Is California Too Big?


"Should Northern California Secede and Become the State of Jefferson?" Produced by Alex Manning and additional camera by Tracy Oppenheimer. About 5:30 minutes.

Original release date June 9, 2014 and original writeup is below.

Activists in Northern California, near the border with Oregon, are pushing to secede from the Golden State. They say they're fed up with taxes, regulation, and lack of representation. If they get their way, the country's 51st entrant would be called the State of Jefferson.

"The three major urban areas dictate politics for the entire state," says Mark Baird of the Jefferson Declaration Committee.  "Our children are leaving, our economy is crashing, we are taxed, every breath we take is regulated, and we feel that a free state will cure that."

To date, five county governments have signed on the plan and more may be joining up. 

"We can't afford to run a California style beauracracy, that is true," says Baird. "But as a small rural state, we don't want to. "

The idea of secession in California isn't new. During the Great Depression, folks started pushing a similar plan in the same part of the state but threw in the towel after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor in 1941.

Both California's state legislature and the U.S. Congress would have to approve the plan to make Jefferson more than a pipe dream. That's not going to happen any time soon, but Northern California's separatist movement is worth exploring as a way of pushing back against a distant and unresponsive government. 

Produced by Alex Manning. Additional camera Tracy Oppenheimer.

About 5:30 minutes.

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Remy: God Bless the USA (VA Scandal Edition)


"Remy: God Bless the USA (VA Scandal Edition)," Written and Performed by Remy. Video by Meredith Bragg. Backing vocals and all instruments by Ben Karlstrom. About 2:30 minutes.

Original release date was June 13, 2014 and original writeup is below.

Remy reworks the Lee Greenwood classic for today's Veterans Affairs administrators.

Written and Performed by Remy. Video by Meredith Bragg. Backing vocals and all instruments by Ben Karlstrom.

Approximately 2.30 minutes.

To see more Remy/Reason TV videos, go here.


Well they'll be there in an instant
with the stars and stripes unfurled
glady going to the most dangerous
places in the world

But today it seems our fighting folks
are in danger once again
You may have seen the headlines in the news
or watching CNN

When we heard the wait times on our list
were so long that patients died
We said "This is government-run healthcare"
"So we're gonna do what's right"

We're gonna grab a piece of paper
and we'll make a second list
We'll just say that wait times aren't that long
and that no deadlines were missed
and when people die we'll cross them off
and pretend they don't exist
cuz there ain't no doubt we can't be fired
God bless the government

It ain't just about the soldiers
you see we also sacrifice
There are days you'll find us working
until the crack of 4:45

But for all the soldiers out there
who sick and need some help
What can they do to get the government
to care about their health?

They could grab a piece of paper
and write down something like this
and abandon your whole unit
then they'll care when you get sick
and if people die when they look for you
we'll pretend they don't exist
cuz there ain't no doubt we can't be fired
God bless the government.

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Happy Father’s Day! Enjoy Some ‘War on Men’ Footage, and Fire up the Obama Scandals Countdown at 11


Did you miss yesterday's exciting "Obama Scandals Countdown" episode of The Independents, featuring Peter Suderman, Judge Napolitano, Ralph Peters, Mollie Hemingway, and more? Fear not! At 11 p.m. ET, 8 p.m. PT, and again four hours later in both time zones, Fox Business Network will be re-airing your favorite mess-ups of CiC #44.

And since we're almost to Father's Day, what better way to celebrate than watching a couple of Gavin McInnes-tastic segments from The Independents special show a week ago on the alleged "War on Men"!

Iraq: Pentagon Sends Aircraft Carrier to Persian Gulf


Iraq is chaos as the government battles with an Al Qaeda splinter group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has responded to the situation by ordering an aircraft carrier, the USS George H.W. Bush, to the Persian Gulf. It is supposed to arrive sometime tonight.

The Defense Department explains in a press release that "the order will provide President Barack Obama additional flexibility should military options be required to protect American lives, citizens and interests in Iraq."

Reuters notes that the carrier "will be accompanied by the guided-missile cruiser USS Philippine Sea and the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxtun."

President Barack Obama stated earlier this week, "We will not be sending U.S. troops back into combat in Iraq, but I have asked my national security team to prepare a range of other options that could help support Iraqi security forces, and I'll be reviewing those options in the days ahead."

"Iraq's military claimed Saturday it had regained key northern territories, including most of Salaheddin province, which includes Samarra, from ISIS, a claim that conflicted with reports from security officials in Baghdad and Samarra, who told CNN that 60 percent to 70 percent of the province remains in the hands of ISIS," reports CNN.

Reason's J.D. Tuccille explained a bit about ISIS yesterday:

Founded in 2004 and originally affiliated with al-Qaeda, ISIS fell out with its parent organization, which it may now be overshadowing. ISIS is said to be responsible for the deaths of thousands of Iraqi civilians. The group has since expanded into Syria, and flourished during that country's civil war. The organization's goal is to establish an Islamic state in the region—an accomplishment that it appears to be much closer to accomplishing than most people would have believed just weeks ago.

For more Reason coverage of Iraq, click here.