You are browsing the archive for 2013 February 07.

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Sen. Rand Paul on CNBC's Closing Bell w/ Maria Bartiromo discussing 'Audit the Fed' – 2/7/13

February 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Source: RAND PAUL  

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Sen. Paul on Fox News' America's News Room with Bill Hemmer and Martha MacCallum- 2/7/2013

February 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

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Source: RAND PAUL  

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Puppy Bowl Scores a Win For Animal Planet

February 7, 2013 in SCIENCE

By kdelmonico

As a casual football fan (at best), and a New York Giants one at that, I have to say I was already predisposed to choosing the Puppy Bowl over the Super Bowl on Sunday. After all, adorable puppies prancing about rank over almost anything in my book. When I finally did decide to check in on the “action” of the football game, there was nothing going on but a blackout at the Superdome! I happily switched back to the adorable-ness of Geico Stadium and vowed never to forsake Puppy Bowl again.

As it turns out, I was not alone. Not only was Sunday’s Puppy Bowl IX Animal Planet’s most watched iteration of the annual furry tradition, reaching a record number of 12.4 million gross viewers, fans also tuned in in droves during the power outage at the Superdome. Fans were voting with their devices, too, with a 40% increase in Tweets and web traffic generating 1.6 million video streams. Can’t argue with cute!

…read more
Source: SCIENCE AND DISCOVERY

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Afghanistan's Challenges Show the Limits of U.S. Military Power

February 7, 2013 in Foreign Policy

By Malou Innocent

Malou Innocent

Foreign policy elites on both sides of the aisle continually
advocate America’s leadership role for the sake of spreading
democracy. In doing so, they inflate their foresight and ignore the
uncomfortable fact that despite the best efforts, America’s
military and civilian establishments have faced enormous difficulty
repairing fragile states emerging from civil conflict. Bipartisan
conventional wisdom has created a system that fails to appreciate
the limits of America’s power, as demonstrated in Afghanistan.

Most policy planners are inherently ambitious. Demanding that
they restrain those ambitions overlooks why they reached their
positions of power in the first place. But the subject of war and
peace requires honest assessments of the likelihood that foreign
policy planners can achieve what they promise. Such sober
reflection is noticeably absent in foreign policy debates,
especially when they link America’s interests and the spread of
democracy.

President Barack Obama has claimed that “we
protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others.”
President George W. Bush declared in his 2002
National Military Strategy of the United States that “we will
actively work to bring the hope of democracy, development, free
markets, and free trade to every corner of the world.”
Neoconservative scholar Michael Ledeen went even further, saying after the disastrous invasion of Iraq that “the
best democracy program ever invented is the U.S. Army.” But in the
one region where America’s beneficence of peace would seem to
matter most, Afghanistan, foreign-policy planers have lost either
their ability or their willingness to spread it.

Elites in
Washington should question their assumptions about militarism’s
ostensibly linear connection to democracy and
stability.”

The coalition, to its credit, has to some extent diminished the areas under insurgent influence
and the ability of insurgents to attack the population. But
progress remains uneven. According to the Pentagon, while enemy-initiated attacks from April
through September 2012 have decreased over the corresponding period
from the previous year in the capital, the attacks in relatively
quiet Regional Command North and Regional Command West increased by
28 percent and 44 percent respectively. Meanwhile, insider attacks
have “steadily risen since 2008” and “increased sharply in 2012,”
while Afghan Security Forces of undetermined fortitude may undo
whatever security gains have been made. Those dismal findings
should encourage elites in Washington to question their assumptions
about militarism’s ostensibly linear connection to democracy and
stability.

As a December 2012 Pentagon report to Congress stated bluntly, “The Taliban-led insurgency remains
adaptive and determined… The insurgency also retains a
significant regenerative capacity.” After decades of ruling though
fear and intimidation, as well as swift and brutal justice, …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Sequestration Is Still Better than the Alternatives

February 7, 2013 in Economics

By Christopher A. Preble

Christopher A. Preble

Late last year, then-Republican Study Committee Chairman

Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said of the impending sequester
, “The
only thing that’s worse than cutting national defense is not having
any scheduled cuts at all.”

It turns out, there is something worse: no cuts, or only modest
ones, far less than was called for under sequestration, and
additional taxes to cover the difference. That is what we are
likely to see if President Obama gets his way. In a last-minute bid
to avert the spending cuts mandated under the 2011 Budget Control
Act, the president on Tuesday offered a package of short-term
spending cuts and tax reforms in lieu of automatic cuts. Then, on
Wednesday, the White House continued its full-court
stop-the-sequester press by meeting with a group of defense
contractor CEOs.

But while many Republicans seem anxious to accept such a deal,
the GOP should stand fast. U.S. taxpayers already spend too much on
the military, in part because we expect our military to do too
much. We could achieve substantial savings, at least as much as is
foreseen under sequestration, if we revisit the military’s
missions, and adapt our capabilities to meet new threats.

Spending is not
the best measure of military effectiveness, and conservatives,
especially, should know this.”

First, some context. The United States spends far more for
everything lumped under the rubric “national security” than any
other country — both in real terms, and on a per capita basis
— and total spending remains high by historical standards.
Spending on defense and international security assistance actually

increased

from 2011 to 2012
by about $11 billion, from $718 to $729
billion. (The Mercatus Center’s
Veronique de Rugy calculates
that a more accurate total,
including the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Homeland
Security, approaches nearly $930 billion.) According to
the CBO’s latest estimates
, the Pentagon’s base budget under
sequestration will average about $542 billion per year from 2014 to
2021, and that doesn’t include war costs. That is more than we
spent during most years of the Cold War, even after adjusting for
inflation.

Spending is not the best measure of military effectiveness, and
conservatives, especially, should know this. Some still do. A

letter signed by eight different organizations
, including
Americans for Tax Reform, the National Taxpayers Union, and
Taxpayers for Common Sense, calls for “eliminating outdated, Cold
War-era weapons, cutting programs the military doesn’t even want,
reforming military health care programs, and closing unneeded
bases.” Such reforms, the letter concludes, “will not only save
taxpayers billions, they will also make our nation stronger by
helping safeguard …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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If My Team Does It, It Is OK!

February 7, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Monty Pelerin The contradictions and hypocrisy of the Left seem unlimited. DirectorBlue pokes fun at them over a very serious issue: Innovative White House Re-branding Efforts Yield Wide Acceptance of Assassination Drones by Progressive Left bydirectorblue The White House has successfully rebranded the drones flying over theaters of war andthe United States itself. The …read more
Source: Monte_Pelerin  

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Audit the Fed will dispel misconceptions about central banking

February 7, 2013 in Economics

By C4L_Intern

By John Watts

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) is continuing the fight against the United States’ inherently corrupt, obstinate cartel banking-system by re-introducing the Federal Reserve Transparency Act (S. 209).

Supporting the Federal Reserve Transparency Act is vitally important to the economic well-being of every American citizen. After all, the Fed’s policy of constant increase in the monetary supply has led to a drastic depreciation of the American dollar –which has lost over 90 percent of its value since the Fed was created in 1913. The relentless debasement of the dollar has been a slow (100 year-long) process. This gradual decline in the purchasing power of the dollar is especially pernicious in that Americans have slowly become de-sensitized to it.

The Federal Reserve operates in near total secrecy. Often we are told that the Fed must operate in a shroud of secrecy to ensure that it maintains a high degree of political independence.

This argument is specious. It pre-supposes that the Fed currently operates as a sort of apolitical organization of disinterested experts making decisions regarding monetary policy for the benefit of all. In reality, the Federal Reserve is a banking cartel that has a monopoly grant of authority to control monetary policy from the US Congress.

The key points are that it is the very essence of a cartel, and it has a prerogative established by law – it is a political organization by its very nature. The Fed’s recent history of bailing out massively overleveraged investment banks and surreptitiously facilitating the expansion of federal government intervention in every minute aspect of Americans’ lives proves this point.

Supposedly, the Federal Reserve is necessary to “stabilize” prices and “maximize” employment – this is its official, statutory mandate directed by Congress. Most people also believe that the Fed is everybody’s lender of last resort, in other words, during times of economic recession, the Fed will be there to print money and save everybody from collapse. The truth is the Federal Reserve is primarily there to bail out its member-client banks and dump gargantuan piles of debt off on taxpayers.

In what is perhaps a supreme twist of irony, the Federal Reserve, in its role as coordinator of fractional reserve banking, is the very root cause of the vicious boom-bust cycle. By maintaining an endless policy of artificially low interest rates, the Fed misguides entrepreneurial decision-makers into investing in longer-term, drawn out projects not all of which will be possible …read more
Source: CAMPAIGN FOR LIBERTY  

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Eric Cantor Hawks Medical Industrial Policy

February 7, 2013 in Economics, Politics & Elections

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

Few government programs seem as sacrosanct as funding for
medical research. Despite continuing U.S. budget constraints, both
Democrats and Republicans regularly pledge to increase funding for
the National Institutes of Health and other government medical
research.

This week, Eric Cantor, the second-ranking House Republican,
called for continued government funding for such research.

“There is an appropriate and necessary role for the federal
government to ensure funding for basic medical research,” Cantor
declared, suggesting that federal funds used for social-science
research should be shifted to medical programs instead.

There is no doubt that funding medical research is popular.
Polls show that a strong majority of U.S. voters
support such programs. Yet there is no reason that government
medical research shouldn’t receive the same critical scrutiny as
any other program.

There is no reason
that government medical research shouldn’t receive the same
critical scrutiny as any other program.”

First, are the benefits of such programs worth the cost? Terence
Kealey, vice chancellor of the University of Buckingham and author
of The Economic Laws of Scientific Research, says that a
review of historical evidence shows little correlation between the
amount of money governments spend on scientific research and the
returns from such investment. Kealey’s research involved the full
range of scientific research, including medical research.

Research Value

At the same time, empirical studies suggest that the rate of return on publicly financed research is much lower
than that of research financed by the private sector. While the
private sector may be more focused on applied research, and the
government is more effective at basic research, the distinction
between those categories is rapidly disappearing.

Second, we should ask whether government funding of medical
research is really necessary. There is no proof that the private
sector is incapable of financing medical research, either for
profit or as charity. While private companies undoubtedly have an
incentive to fund research that they believe will ultimately prove
profitable, even “orphan” drugs — one of the least profitable
lines of research as they are designed for a small number of people
with rare disorders — have found funding through the Bill and Melinda Gates
Foundation and other charities.

Currently 60 percent to 70 percent of medical research is
privately paid for, but research from the Organization for Economic
Cooperation and Development
suggests that government- funded
research can displace or crowd out private financing that might
otherwise occur. That is, if private companies believe governments
will pay for research, they may simply withdraw their own money.
Thus, government funding in this area doesn’t result in more
research, …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Leave It to the Private Sector

February 7, 2013 in Economics

By Neal McCluskey

Neal McCluskey

This article is part of
Promoting Social Mobility
, a forum on using early intervention
to reduce inequality.

James Heckman is right: our ability to succeed is not determined
solely by our genes, and some early childhood programs have had
lasting, positive effects. But those effects aren’t necessarily
big, and how to take them to scale is a huge unanswered
question.

Studies certainly show that more than just genetics affects
children’s success. Research by David Armor, for instance, reveals
that factors such as infant nutrition, cognitive stimulation, and
the number of children in a family significantly affect a child’s
IQ. Even Bell Curve coauthor Charles Murray admits that
“maybe we can move children from far below average intellectually
to somewhat less below average.” His concern is that “nobody claims
that any project anywhere has proved anything more than that.”

Which brings us to the central question: What can be done to
optimize the outlook for children who “by accident of birth” do not
have sufficient access to crucial resources?

A small number of
studies report positive results for early intervention programs;
most do not.”

Heckman relies primarily on two efforts—the Perry
Preschool and Abecedarian programs—to illustrate that early
childhood interventions can have lasting, positive effects. But are
the effects meaningful in an absolute sense, rather than just in
comparison to control groups, and can they be replicated on a large
scale?

The long-term Perry results are decent, but not great. As
Heckman reports, at 40 years of age, 29 percent of the Perry
treatment group earned at least $2,000 monthly in 2004 dollars.
That still-small percentage beat the control group, but $2,000
monthly—$24,000 a year—fell well short of 2004’s nearly
$34,000 per-capita income. Similarly, 29 percent of those treated
had never been on welfare as an adult, but that means 71 percent
had.

Then there’s Perry’s minute size and appreciable cost: Only 58
people were treated, getting 2.5 hours of preschool each weekday
and a 90-minute weekly home visit by a teacher. The estimated cost
per student in 2012 dollars was $12,506.

Abecedarian involved 111 subjects, 57 of whom were treated. The
services started at infancy, addressed dietary and hygiene needs,
and provided year-round, full-day preschool.

Abecedarian’s effects as subjects hit 30 years of age were
recently assessed, and outstripped Perry’s. For instance, 23
percent of the treatment group graduated from a four-year college,
below the national rate of 32 percent for 25-29-year-olds, but not
bad. A calculation of household income put the treatment-group
average at middle-class, but that was based on self-reported data
and included welfare benefits. On the flip side, 27 percent had
been convicted of a crime, well above …read more
Source: OP-EDS  

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Obama's Drone War

February 7, 2013 in Foreign Policy

A memo describing the president’s legal justifications for drone attacks against U.S. citizens was recently obtained and published by NBC. Cato legal expert Trevor Burrus looked over the memo, and calls it “a disturbing assertion of discretionary executive power that should concern and frighten all Americans.” Benjamin Friedman argues that the real danger is not the standard the president uses to decide whom to kill, but rather the complete absence of any checks and balances.

…read more
Source: CATO HEADLINES