You are browsing the archive for 2013 February 04.

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Tombstone Tales: History’s Most Famous Epitaphs

February 4, 2013 in History

By Barbara Maranzani Former New York City mayor Edward I. Koch, who died last week at the age of 88, was buried today at Trinity Cemetery in northern Manhattan. In the years leading up to his death, Koch talked openly about his funeral plans, going so far as to give tours of his burial plot to journalists and [...] …read more
Source: HISTORY  

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Global Lukewarming: Another Good Intellectual Year (2012 Edition)

February 4, 2013 in Politics & Elections

By Paul C. "Chip" Knappenberger

Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger

“While we await global temperatures to start rising again, there
are signs that the overall rise won’t be as fast as we have once
been led to believe…. [A] future characterized by modest rather
than extreme climate change elevates the role of
adaptation relative to mitigation in most
discussions.”

As global temperatures in 2012 further cement a modest warming
rate in response to anthropogenic climate influences, the light
burns ever brighter for the “lukewarmers”—those intrepid
souls who accept that human activities are impacting the character
of the world’s climate, but hold the opinion that, when taken
together, these influences are-and will be-relatively modest.

While lukewarmers’ individual opinions of whether or how to do
“something” about anthropogenic climate change vary, a future
characterized by modest rather than extreme climate change elevates
the role of adaptation relative to mitigation in
most discussions.

A year ago, in this space, I highlighted some positive lukewarmer developments in
2011. These included findings that the observed temperature trends
over (and within) the past 3 decades are lower than climate model
projections and that the climate sensitivity—that is, how
much the average global temperature will rise under conditions of a
doubled atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide—has
likely been overestimated.

Here, I review some significant events from 2012. Many continue
these same themes. I am sure that there are others that did not
make my list. If your favorite is not here, please feel free to
include a brief description of it in the Comments section
below.

Temperatures in 2012

First, let’s have a look at the global average temperature for
2012. I am sure that most readers are already aware that in the
U.S. the annual average temperature was the highest ever recorded (since 1895). But the U.S. makes
up only about 2% of the globe and such small areas, especially
located in the Northern Hemisphere extratropics, are subject to
large regional variations.

Figure 1 shows the pattern of annual average
temperature anomalies across the globe in 2012. Notice that the
contiguous U.S. happens to be in the bulls-eye of higher than
average temperatures. If you spent 2012 in Alaska, you’d probably
be wondering what all the fuss was about, because there the state
experienced its 11th coldest year on record (since
1918).

Fig. 1. The pattern of annual average temperature anomalies for
2012 (figure from the National Climate Data Center, details
available here).

But, rather than regional temperature anomalies, what I want to
look at is the global temperature.

Figure 2 shows the global temperatures as
compiled for the earth’s surface as well as for the lower
atmosphere from 1979-2012. I show just a …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Tomatoes, Furniture, and Shrimp: Is Extortion the Main Purpose of the Antidumping Law?

February 4, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

An entrepreneurial politician is someone who, despite the
public’s demand for greater accountability and transparency,
persists in exploiting hidden channels to dole out pork and
subsidies to favored constituents. That many politicians aspire to
this status explains the enduring popularity of the U.S.
antidumping law in Washington.

Remove the
patriotic, noble-sounding rhetoric that cloaks the antidumping law
and what you see is an expensive racket that benefits the
few.”

Sold by its supporters through an unquestioning media to a
gullible public as a tool necessary to protect upstanding American
producers and their workers from the ravages of predatory
foreigners hell-bent on stealing the U.S. market, the antidumping
law escapes the scrutiny it deserves. By encouraging price fixing
and other forms of collusion among domestic suppliers and between
domestic and foreign suppliers, the antidumping law victimizes U.S.
consumers and downstream U.S. firms under the guise of promoting
“fair trade.” Moreover, certain unique features of the
U.S. antidumping regime — its retrospective assessment of
final duty liability under the direction of a biased and
discretion-wielding administering agency — gives domestic
protection-seeking industries license to extort.

Two antidumping matters recently in the news — Fresh
Tomatoes from Mexico
and Wooden Bedroom Furniture from
China
– make good cases in point. Fresh tomatoes from
Mexico
have been subject to antidumping restrictions since
1996. But those restrictions have taken the form of
“suspension agreements,” which essentially suspend the
antidumping investigation and the imposition of antidumping duties
in exchange for an agreement from the foreign exporters to sell
their products in the United States above a certain minimum
price.

A few months ago, I had
this
to say about the Mexican tomatoes case:

In an antidumping investigation, the Commerce Department
calculates a dumping “margin,” which is purported to be
the average difference between the foreign producer’s home
market prices and his U.S. prices of the same or similar
merchandise sold contemporaneously, allocated over the average
value of the producer’s U.S. sales, which yields an ad
valorem antidumping duty rate. That rate is then applied to the
value of imports, as they enter Customs, to calculate the amount of
duty “deposits” owed by the importer.

So, if a Mexican tomato producer’s rate has been
calculated to be 14.6% and the value of a container of tomatoes
from that producer is $100,000, then U.S. Customs will require the
U.S. importer of those tomatoes to post a deposit of $14,600. Why
is it called a deposit? Because the final duty
liability to the importer is still unknown at the time of
entry
. The 14.6% is an estimate of the current rate
of dumping based on sales comparisons from the previous year. …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Restoring the Founders’ Vision of Foreign Policy

February 4, 2013 in Economics, Foreign Policy, History, Philosophy, Politics & Elections

By C4L_Intern

By: David Heacock

As a participant in C4L’s intern program, I am privileged to be able to take part in the fight for liberty in Washington while also being able to attend some unique events. One thing I’m really looking forward to is hearing Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speak this week at the Heritage Foundation on “Restoring the Founders’ Vision of Foreign Policy.”

Last week, Paul spoke on the Senate floor in regards to foreign aid spending to Egypt. He stated: “I think it’s a grave mistake to send F-16’s and Abrams tanks to a country that, last year, detained American citizens on trumped-up political charges. To a country that, currently, is still detaining Egyptian citizens on trumped-up political charges. I think it’s a blunder of the first proportion to send sophisticated weapons to a country that allowed a mob to attack our embassy and to burn our flag. I find it objectionable to send weapons, F-16’s and tanks, to a country that allowed a mob, chanting ‘death to America,’ to threaten our American diplomats.”

In opposition to Paul’s statement, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) argued that denying these jets and tanks would be a disfavor toward U.S. weapons manufacturers and a broken obligation to the Egyptian government. I would challenge Senator McCain to read George Washington’s Farewell Address, giving special attention to these lines:

 “The great rule of conduct for us in regard to foreign nations is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible…

There can be no greater error than to expect or calculate upon real favors from nation to nation. It is an illusion, which experience must cure, which a just pride ought to discard.”

The Founding Fathers would, undoubtedly, be in opposition to the United States’ current approach to foreign relations – supplying other nations with over 50 billion dollars a year.  They also would object to treating the national defense budget as a “jobs” program.  It makes no more economic sense to throw taxpayer dollars at the military-industrial complex then it does to throw those dollars at Solyndra. It is in the best interest of both Americans, and people around the world, to cease foreign aid because it keeps corrupt governments in rule, and rarely leads to mutually beneficial relationships.

I’m looking forward to hearing how Senator Paul plans to transition U.S. foreign policy toward one more in line with that of the …read more
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY