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Sen. Rand Paul on America's Newsroom w/ Megyn Kelly to discuss the Brennan Filibuster – 3/7/13

March 7, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Explore the Worlds of Vikings and The Bible

March 7, 2013 in History

By historystaff The History.com team has been pretty busy the last few weeks getting ready for the premieres of two brand-new series. We thought we’d give you a peak at what we’ve been up to. We hope you enjoy all this new content as much as we do! Vikings (Sundays at 10/9c) In our first scripted drama, [...] …read more
Source: HISTORY

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Sen. Paul Reaches Victory Through Filibuster

March 7, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Today, following a historic 13-hour filibuster on the Senate floor that ended early this morning, Sen. Rand Paul received correspondence from the White House regarding the legality and constitutionality of the U.S. government using lethal force, including drone strikes, on Americans and in U.S. territory. Sen. Paul’s repeated correspondence to President Obama’s nominee to be CIA director, John Brennan, was finally answered today, in part, with the following response from Attorney General Eric Holder: ”Does the President have the authority to use a weaponized drone to kill an American not engaged in combat on American soil?’ The answer to that question is no.’
‘This is a major victory for American civil liberties and ensures the protection of our basic Constitutional rights. We have Separation of Powers to protect our rights. That’s what government was organized to do and that’s what the Constitution was put in place to do,’ Sen. Paul said. ‘I would like to congratulate my fellow colleagues in both the House and Senate and thank them for joining me in protecting the rights of due process.’

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Fighting Keynes with Keynes

March 7, 2013 in Economics

By Daniel J. Sanchez

Video director and economics educator John Papola (of Keynes/Hayek rap fame) has a new article called “Consuming Our Way to Prosperity is Macro Folly” up at the PBS Newshour web site. In the article, he once again criticizes Keynesian economics. However, to support that critique, he enlists “market monetarist” Scott Sumner and monetary equilibrium theory. He writes:

“To paraphrase monetary economist Scott Sumner, there are only two ideas students of macroeconomics should be taught: Say’s Law of markets and monetary equilibrium theory. The rest of Keynesianism with its focus on real spending, government deficits and encouragement of unproductive consumption can and should be discarded.”

Elsewhere, Papola has indicated the extent to which he has become converted to the position of the market monetarists like Sumner, who advocate targeting Nominal Gross Domestic Product (NGDP):

Given, I’m not a monetary economist so my views MUST be taken with skepticism… now…

I think that NGDP-targeting makes the most sense as a central bank policy with the goal of monetary neutrality. I think this is the right goal. I think that it is consistent with Hayek’s view of money and it’s function as a “loose joint” in the economic system. It seems like the most effective way of equilibrating the supply of money with the demand for money. Here are my caveats with Market Monetarism.

1. Central banks injecting money in particular places will have injection effects with relative price changes that are not the product of consumer/producer decisions. This is bad for the sustainability of the structure of production that emerges. But a futures-market based system as Sumner and Lars favor seems aimed at addressing this concern. So, NGDP-targeting is a second-best in a world of central banking.

2. I don’t think targeting NGDP growth should be the ideal. NGDP shouldn’t grow at all. The target should be stable, zero-growth NGDP. So, if the demand for money increases, increase the supply to meet it… not to exceed it. Let productivity drive the nominal price level DOWN. Productivity-norm deflation is good. It would reduce excessive risk-taking and prevent the accumulation of loose credit conditions that manifest in malinvestment and bubbles.

Papola has stressed that while he is critical of “underconsumptionist” explanations of recessions, he is not critical of all “demand-side” explanations. While defending his awesome Christmas econ video, “Deck the Halls with Macro Follies”, Papola wrote:

I was very VERY explicit about what was a fallacy: that consumer spending can grow the …read more
Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Paul appears on CNN's Newsroom with Dana Bash- 3/7/2013

March 7, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Dennis Rodman's Awesome Friend

March 7, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Gone is Dear Leader and sophisticated fashionista Kim Jong-il, with his platform shoes, bouffant hair, and over-size sun glasses. However, son and Great Successor Kim Jong-un, though possessing more mundane sartorial tastes, is proving to be worthy of his official title. For Kim fils is fast becoming an international sensation, along with his wife, Ri Sol-ju, and U.S. basketball legend Dennis Rodman.

Kim, informally known among North Korea watchers as the Cute Leader, has broken the mold of his two totalitarian predecessors, attending prep school in Switzerland, following American basketball, enjoying Disney characters, and showcasing his attractive young wife with designer purse. All of this has given rise to speculation that Kim is a closet liberal — after all, how could he sample life in the West without falling in love with liberty?

Now the communist monarch is hanging out with Dennis Rodman — known as much for his off-court antics as his professional play. The two seemed to have a good time, with Rodman lauding the “epic feast” organized by his “friend,” who was an “awesome guy.” Rodman also called Kim’s father and grandfather, whose victims could fill the heavens, “great leaders.” But that only makes sense since Kim Il-sung, the founder of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, was officially known as Great Leader.

Alas, a European education doesn’t guarantee democratic tendencies. China’s Chou En-lai studied in Paris, as did the genocidal Pol Pot, who turned Cambodia’s landscape red with blood. Syrian Bashar al-Assad is killing his people even though he is a London-trained ophthalmologist. KGB chief Yuri Andropov, who in 1982 took over as General Secretary of the Soviet Communist Party, didn’t attend a Western university but was acclaimed a likely reformer because he was a jazz aficionado and collector of abstract art. Never mind all of those years busily imprisoning Soviet dissidents.

Kim Jong-un thinks he has game, but he’s slow, overweight, and can’t jump.”

Maybe the trappings of the West aren’t enough. But Kim Jong-un apparently has become a father, preempting Britain’s Prince William. Surely that will make Kim a liberal free-thinker dedicated to social justice and all that is good and wonderful in the universe.

The South Korean media is reporting that Ri gave birth last month. There was no public announcement, however, suggesting that the baby was a girl. Alas, Kim, despite his winning smile and fondness for basketball, appears to be a male …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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Round One Goes to the Budget Hawks

March 7, 2013 in Economics

By Christopher A. Preble

Christopher A. Preble

“The budget hawks have defeated the defense hawks.” So read one analyst’s verdict last Friday on the news that, despite months of dire warnings from the Obama administration and the Pentagon’s allies on Capitol Hill, automatic budget cuts to the U.S. Defense Department would go into effect after all. Bill Kristol, the influential editor of the Weekly Standard, was despondent, writing, “the Republican party has, at first reluctantly, then enthusiastically, joined the president on the road to irresponsibility.” But have fiscal scolds really vanquished their neoconservative rivals within the GOP?

Let’s roll the tape back to October 2011, when House Armed Services Committee chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon had a simple message for the “supercommittee” tasked with reducing the nation’s massive deficit: “not a penny more” from the Pentagon. It was an evocative line in the sand because it contributed to the impression that base Pentagon outlays had already been cut (they hadn’t) and that any cuts would imperil U.S. national security (they wouldn’t).

But the battle lines were drawn long before the passage of the Budget Control Act (BCA), the legislation that enacted what’s become known in Washington as “sequestration.” In October 2010, the heads of two conservative think tanks, the Heritage Foundation and the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), joined forces with Kristol’s Foreign Policy Initiative to create the Defending Defense project. With a joint op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, Kristol, Heritage’s Ed Feulner and AEI’s Arthur Brooks hoped to fend off Pentagon spending cuts by declaiming that such cuts would threaten global prosperity, open the floodgates for tyrants and miscreants, and undermine the fragile gains which, they claimed, had been achieved in Iraq and Afghanistan. As for the concern that excessive spending on America’s wars was adding to the fiscal burdens on current and future generations, the three inveighed, somewhat lamely, that “defense spending has increased at a much lower rate than domestic spending in recent years and is not the cause of soaring deficits.” 

A coalition of conservative and libertarian organizations fired back in a joint letter to House and Senate leaders after the GOP’s sweeping victories in the mid-term elections. “Leadership on spending requires commitment that aims to permanently change the bias toward profligacy, not simply stem the tide in the short-term,” the letter stated. “True fiscal stewards cannot eschew real spending reform by protecting pet projects in the federal budget. Any such Department of Defense …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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Our Royal Supreme Court Chains Fourth Amendment

March 7, 2013 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

In the 47th paper of “The Federalist,” James Madison grimly warned: “The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny.”

Increasingly, the majority of Chief Justice John Roberts’ Supreme Court has chosen to ignore this fundamental constitutional separation of powers. In its Feb. 26 Clapper v. Amnesty International decision, the court, with a 5-4 ruling, rejected “a lawsuit challenging the federal law that permits broad, secret surveillance and interception of international communications (phones and emails) of communications involving Americans.

“The suit, brought by lawyers, journalists and human rights activists, charged that the 2008 amendments to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act violate their rights to privacy and free speech” (“Unbridled Secrecy,” The New York Times, Feb. 26).

This dragnet government surveillance encompasses non-Americans abroad suspected of involvement with terrorism in their communications with Americans, including here.

Meanwhile, the plaintiffs, through their specific occupations, have regular contact with these foreigners who may be on the government’s anti-terrorism surveillance lists.

Thereby, Americans in contact with FISA targets have no rights under the Fourth Amendment, which requires that government searches be reasonable, based on probable cause and requiring warrants from federal courts. Under the FISA amendments, all of these individual privacy protections are absent.

Writing for the court, Justice Samuel Alito ruled that the plaintiffs have no standing to sue because they “have no actual knowledge of the Government’s … targeting practices. Instead, (plaintiffs) merely speculate and make assumptions about whether their communications with their foreign contacts will be acquired.”

As Glenn Greenwald reasonably writes in The Guardian: “In the course of their work, (the plaintiffs) have cause to communicate regularly with people whom the U.S. government suspects are involved in terrorism. When combined with the U.S. government’s technological abilities to spy on virtually every communication anywhere in the world, along with the government’s proven propensity to eavesdrop on everyone it deems has anything to do with a terrorist group, it is a virtual certainty that the communications of these plaintiffs will be targeted” (“Supreme Court shields warrantless eavesdropping law from constitutional challenge,” Glenn Greenwald, The Guardian, Feb. 26).

So, as David G. Savage writes in the Los Angeles Times, the Supreme Court is acting as if King George III were still our commander in chief:

“The 5-4 decision is the latest of many …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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With Hugo Chavez Dead, Will Chavismo Also Die?

March 7, 2013 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

Cancer is a terrible way to die, even for someone as unattractive as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Still, one wonders at those who rushed to offer their condolences. Such as the profoundly naïve Jimmy Carter—who decades ago expressed his surprise at being lied to by his Soviet counterpart, Leonid Brezhnev—lauding Chavez’s “commitment to improving the lives of millions of his fellow countrymen.”

Venezuela is better off with Chavez gone. However, the country will prosper only if Chavismo disappears as well. Which requires the opposition to offer a vision of opportunity and prosperity for Venezuela’s dispossessed.

Chavez was elected in 1998, a populist who challenged the country’s profoundly corrupt political establishment. In Venezuela the class structure essentially was determined by access to state privilege. If your friends were in power, you could get rich. Ideology wasn’t important.

Thus, the electoral surge for Chavez, though unfortunate, was not surprising. People desperate for change voted for change.

And he brought it. But not a positive variety. Roger Noriega of the American Enterprise Institute assessed “Chavez’s destructive legacy: deep political polarization, authoritarian manipulation, hateful rhetoric, disastrous economic policies, and the devastation of Venezuela’s petroleum industry.”

What Venezuelans most need is a government which empowers them, not political elites claiming to speak for them.”

Chavez failed even on his own terms. Venezuelans remain profoundly poor and dependent on the state. Poverty has fallen because of lavish social spending, but the country’s oil revenue provides only a temporary palliative. In fact, the Chavez government has mismanaged even this asset, and has done nothing to encourage Venezuelans to become independent wealth producers.

Rather, an otherwise productive people suffer from an economy which doesn’t work. Food shortages emerged earlier this year which the government, naturally, blamed on private hoarding. Chavez was dedicated to the sort of socialist state which has failed all over the world. Indeed, Venezuela ranked 144 in last year’s Economic Freedom of the World index, after war-torn Congo, bankrupt Zimbabwe, and long-isolated Burma.

Indeed, Chavez wasted his people’s money on political objectives, such as subsidizing the failed communist experiment in Cuba. After a half century of revolution, the island state remains an economic wreck, locked in a time warp in which vintage 1950s American automobiles ply streets filled with weathered buildings unfamiliar with basic maintenance.

Chavez gained some other allies on the continent, such as Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa. However, in other countries, such as Mexico and Peru, Chavez’s …read more
Source: OP-EDS

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UNOFFICIAL TRANSCRIPT: Hour 7 – Sen. Rand Paul Filibuster of Brennan Nomination

March 7, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Today, Sen. Rand Paul took to the Senate floor to participate in an active filibuster of President Obama’s nominee for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, John Brennan. Sen. Paul’s remarks began at 11:47 a.m. ET, and as of this release, he is still participating in the filibuster. Below is video and an unofficial transcript of his remarks between approximately 5:47 p.m.-6:47 p.m. The following links will direct you to hours 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH HOUR 7 OF SEN. PAUL’S FILIBUSTER

TRANSCRIPT:

I think that’s a good way of putting it, because when you think about it, obviously they’re killing some bad people. This is war. There’s been some short-term good. The question is, does the short-term good outweigh the long term cost, not only just in dollars but the long-term cost of whether or not we’re encouraging a next generation of terrorists?
This is a quote from Bruce Riedel, a former CIA Analyst. He says, ‘The problems with the drones is it’s like your lawn mower. You got to mow the lawn all the time, the minute you stop mowing, the grass is going to grow back. Maybe there is an infinite number of terrorists. Maybe the drone strikes aren’t the ultimate answer. There is a billion Muslims in the world, maybe there needs to be some component of this that isn’t just the killing fields. I’m not saying that many of these people aren’t allied against us and would attack and they don’t deserve to die. I’m just not sure that it is the ultimate earns the ultimate way. I’m also concerned that many of the people who are the strongest proponents of this are also the ones that want to bring the war to America and say that America is part of this perpetual battlefield.
The United States now operates multiple drone programs, including acknowledged U.S. Military patrols over conflicted zones in Afghanistan and Libya and classified CIA surveillance flights over Iran. Strikes against al Quaed are carried out under secret lethal programs involving the CIA and the JSOC. The matrix was developed by the NCTC to augment those organizations separate with overlapping kill lists. The result is a single continually evolving database in which biographies, locations, known associates, and affiliated organizations are all cataloged. So are strategies for taking targets down. Including extradition requests capture operations and drone …read more
Source: RAND PAUL