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Trump’s shutdown is a public health disaster waiting to happen — and a libertarian dream come true: Paul Krugman

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In a column for the New York Times, Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman wrote that Donald Trump’s shut down of the government until he is given billions for his border wall has the potential to lead to a public health disaster — but libertarians likely are loving it.

Under a heading, “Trump’s Big Libertarian Experiment,” Krugman stated that shutting down the government agencies, as is happening under the budget impasse, has long been a dream of less-government libertarians — and many of them have found a home in the Republican Party.

“Donald Trump is, in effect, implementing at least part of the drastic reduction in government’s role his party has long claimed to favor,” Krugman wrote. “If the shutdown drags on for months — which seems quite possible — we’ll get a chance to see what America looks like without a number of public programs the right has long insisted we don’t need. Never mind the wall; think of what’s going on as a big, beautiful libertarian experiment.”

According to Krugman, the public may be unaware of the risks to their health, as government workers tasked with food and quality of life inspections have been furloughed, leaving companies free to take shortcuts.

“The shutdown has drastically curtailed work at the Food and Drug Administration, which among other things tries to prevent food contamination: Routine inspections of seafood, vegetables, fruits and other foods have stopped,” the economist wrote before wryly adding, “But there’s a long conservative tradition, going back to Milton Friedman, that condemns the F.D.A.’s existence as an unwarranted interference in the free market.”

As Krugman sees it, libertarians — who have never managed to field a viable party of their own — are actually Republicans at heart.

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“The truth is that libertarian ideology isn’t a real force within the G.O.P.; it’s more of a cover story for the party’s actual agenda,” he wrote. “In the case of the party establishment, that agenda is about redistributing income up the scale, and in particular helping important donor interests. Republican politicians may invoke the rhetoric of free markets to justify cutting taxes for the rich and benefits for the poor, or removing environmental regulations that hurt polluters’ profits, but they don’t really care about free markets per se.”

He continued, “In any case, while the gap between Republicans’ supposed ideology and their actual reaction to the shutdown is understandable, that doesn’t make it innocent.”

As for dyed-in-the-wool libertarians, Krugman warned that their economic philosophy can’t save them from bad food.

“And if you have libertarian leanings yourself, you should ask whether you’re happy with what’s happening with government partially out of the picture,” he wrote. “Knowing that the food you’re eating is now more likely than before to be contaminated, does that potential contamination smell to you like freedom?”

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Michael Flynn’s legal team is making bizarre moves — signaling he’s still hoping for a Trump pardon

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When disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn recently hired a new firebrand lawyer, Sidney Powell, it suggested he could be maneuvering to change his legal strategy.

And on Monday, new signs emerged that his legal team is looking to shake things up. Flynn had another status hearing on Monday before Judge Emmet Sullivan as he awaits sentencing for charges brought by former Special Counsel Robert Mueller.

In the hearing on Monday, Powell, who had been publicly critical of the Russia investigation before joining Flynn’s team, requested a security clearance to review documents in the case. This was a surprising move, because the government said that there was no classified information in the documents it had turned over to the defense.

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GOP aide — who was arrested for child pornography — jailed for 5 years

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Republican political consultant Carter Ballmann received a five-year prison sentence on Monday.

"A former state legislative aide will spend five years in prison for trying to elicit sex from someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl, but was actually an undercover detective," the Columbia Tribune reported. "U.S. District Judge Roseann Ketchmark on Friday sentenced 25-year-old Carter Clinton Ballmann to five years in the Federal Bureau of Prisons on a single count of attempted receipt of child pornography."

At the time of his arrest, Ballmann served as an aide to Rep. Mark Matthiesen, a Republican of Maryland Heights, Missouri.

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He’ll ‘rot in prison’: At least one House Dem has bigger plans for Trump than impeachment

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An increasing number of Democrats have come out in favor of beginning an impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump's actions in recent days. But Rep. Fre?derica Wilson of Florida bucked that trend on Monday by coming out specifically against impeachment, warning it would have negative consequences.

However, she made clear she wasn't opposed to impeachment because she's a fan of Trump or thinks his conduct isn't condemnable. In a tweet featuring an antagonizing and absurd meme, Wilson explained that she feared Trump would benefit from an impeachment push:

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