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The Greatest Understatement in the History of Economics

May 14, 2013 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

Responding to a question after his speech in Stockholm earlier today, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Charles Plosser admitted that the Fed’s policy of targeting a zero interest rate “is increasingly troubling to many people on the Fed.” Plosser went on to state, “We’re very conscious of the fact that keeping rates at zero for very long periods of time can distort decision making in various ways.” Ya think?

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Bush Used the IRS, FBI, CIA and Secret Service to Go After Opponents — Where Was the Fox and GOP Outrage?

May 14, 2013 in Blogs

By David Sirota, Salon

The recent IRS flap shows an obvious double standard in Washington's reactions to Bush era and Obama era misconduct.


 

As your kindergarten teacher probably told you, two wrongs do not make a right. But the discrepancy in reactions to wrongs does, indeed, show how Washington so often serves the interests of the political right.

That’s one of the big – if deliberately ignored – takeaways from the reaction to news that the Internal Revenue Service allegedly targeting conservative organizations for extra scrutiny in their larger review of political groups’ tax exempt status. In the last few days, the allegations have generated a wave of national headlines, a congressional investigation,federal legislation and ever-louder calls for impeachment.

Considering the gravity of the allegations against the Obama IRS from the Treasury Department’s inspector general, congressional scrutiny is certainly warranted. However, there’s just one problem: most of the lawmakers and pundits today decrying the use of public resources against a White House’s political opponents had little – if anything – to say about equally troubling revelations about the Bush administration’s deployment of public resources against its opponents. In fact, conservatives said so little back then that Fox News apparently doesn’t even know (or is pretending not to know) the Bush administration used the IRS in the same way the Obama adminstration allegedly did.

And here’s the even more incredible thing: the Bush cabal didn’t just use the IRS for its political hackery – it mounted a full-scale government-wide assault on its enemies, marshaling disparate agencies in its smear efforts.

Bush’s use of the IRS was but one part of that larger assault. As my Salon colleague Alex Seitz-Wald notes today in greater detail, in 2005, Bush’s IRS began what became an extensive two-year investigation into a Pasadena church after an orator dared to speak out against President Bush’s Iraq War. Not coincidentally, the Los Angeles Times reports that the church targeted just so happened to be “one of Southern California’s largest and most liberal congregations.” That IRS church audit came a year after it launched a near-identical attack on the NAACP after the civil rights organization criticized various Bush …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Real Scandal: Official Washington Goes Nuts Over IRS Doing Its Job

May 14, 2013 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

Voter intimidation groups say they were intimidated by the IRS.


There is a deepening IRS scandal about the government’s review of Tea Party groups that sought legal status as tax-exempt charities, but it’s not what House Republicans and some Democrats including the President are spewing into the microphones and TV cameras.

Let us consider what may be an more accurate assessment of what happened. The IRS was doing its job. Its staff was overwhelmed by the thousands of obvious political groups that sought the cover of being designated as charities in the 2010 and 2012 elections; so they could raise money and hide their donors names. Some IRS employees spent far too much time or were assigned to spend time on lowest-hanging fruit—political amateur groups from the Tea Party movement—and not enough on the bigtime players, such as Karl Rove, who was lawyered up. And the IRS still has not ruled on the tactics and likes of the Roves (Crossroads GPS), Koch brothers (Americans for Prosperity) and the pro-Obama groups (Organizing for America and Priorities USA) that put millions into thepresidential election via groups pretending to be charities.

“It is breathtaking that the IRS seems to be harassing mom and pop Tea Party organizations while ignoring what appears to be the blatant abuses of the 501(c)(4) tax status right under its noe by groups pumping tens of millions of dollars into partisan political advertising,” said Gerald Hebert, director of the Campaign Legal Center, a Washington campaign finance reform organization that urged the IRS to reject the ruse. “It must enforce the law rather than turning a blind eye to widespread abuses.”

Sadly, there’s no shortage of blind eyes in this made-for-DC scandal. The Republican-controlled House had been hearing complaints in 2011 from Tea Party groups that they were harassed by the IRS—because these tiny (and sometimes not so tiny) political clubs weren’t getting rubber-stamped as social welfare organizations. The New Yorker’s legal correspondent, Jeffrey Toobin, blogs about that apparent irony, saying, “It might be useful to ask: Did …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Burt Blumert

May 14, 2013 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

I just had a long conversation with a longtime member of the Mises Institute. We discussed the economy, gold investments, and the great Burt Blumert. I thought it would be worthwhile to post Burt’s Wikipedia entry here for both all the people who admired Burt and younger members and scholars who did not have the pleasure of knowing Burt. He was a great man and a vital figure in building the libertarian movement and the resurgence of the Austrian School.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Paul appears on Fox and Friends- 5/14/2013

May 14, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Appears on Fox's Hannity- 5/13/2013

May 14, 2013 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Did America's First Drug Czar Secretly Supply Dope to Sen. Joe McCarthy?

May 14, 2013 in Blogs

By Matt Harvey, The Fix

During the 1950s Red Scare, America's first drug czar fed the opiate addiction of America's most feared senator.


 

Joe McCarthy, the late senator from Wisconsin who built his reputation by whipping up the anti-Communist hysteria sweeping America at the beginning of the Cold War, has long been widely viewed as an object lesson in the abuse of power. His style of politics—demagoguery, paranoia and, worst of all, witch-hunts—has been named McCarthyism, and in recent years some politicians have emerged who would wear the label proudly. For people who have struggled with addiction, however, McCarthy—an alcoholic and opiate addict—offers a provocative question about the limits of our own anti-stigma views.

By the peak of his power in 1953, McCarthy's allegations of “Communist subversion” had wrecked havoc on virtually every level of government—from scores of federal employees whose careers were ruined by unfounded charges of “treason” to decorated war heroes to highly respected statesmen. McCarthy even characterized the entire Democratic Party as the “party of treason.”

Not surprisingly, there is a long tradition of right-wing pols and pundits who see McCarthy as a misunderstood hero. Sen. Ted Cruz, the newly elected Tea Party Republican from Texas, has already won widespread comparisons to McCarthy for his innuendo-laced pronouncements about Democratic members of Congress and presidential appointees such as Chuck Hagel as Defense Secretary. Cruz has welcomed the criticism as “a sign that perhaps we’re doing something right.” In fact, McCarthy seems to be almost a role model for Cruz, who in 2010 upbraided his alma mater, Harvard Law School, for harboring a dozencommunists on its faculty.

A larger-than-life figure of enduring influence, the story of Joe McCarthy would seem to offer little in the way of surprises. The fact that he suffered from severe alcoholism is well known. But the fact that by many accounts, he was also addicted to opiates remains almost as hidden as it was during his lifetime.

That Capitol Hill was rife with drinking and even drugging was an open secret in the 1950s, but the “private” lives of political figures remained largely unpublicized. This protected McCarthy’s favorable reputation with the American public from the stinging …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Sen. Paul Proposes Resolution Condemning IRS

May 14, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Sen. Rand Paul today proposed a resolution condemning the targeting of Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and calling for an investigation.
‘The IRS has been using taxing power as a political tool to bully these conservative groups and this type of intimidation is a major violation of our U.S. Constitution,’ Sen. Paul said. ‘This act of discrimination should not be tolerated and I demand a formal investigation seeking criminal charges against any individuals who authorized or were involved in targeting people of the United States based on their political views.’
‘The president has deemed this inexcusable, yet actions speak louder than words. It is time for President Obama and his Administration to act and it is our duty as Americans to hold them accountable,’ he continued.
A copy of the resolution can be found HERE. Below is an appearance by Sen. Paul on Fox News last night, discussing the resolution.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH SEN. PAUL DISCUSS HIS IRS RESOLUTION

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Stephen Colbert: Fox News Tries to Infect America With Its News Herpes

May 14, 2013 in Blogs

By AlterNet

But they are failing, thanks to Obama's so-called “scandal condom.”


On last night's Colbert Report, Stephen Colbert wondered, alongside Fox News, why the mainstream media wasn't making more of the so-called Benghazi scandal (as AlterNet noted yesterday, most Americans are not very concerned with Benghazi either, despite the best efforts of the right-wing noise machine). 

Colbert highlighted a particularly colorful metaphor from one Fox contributor, who called the mainstream media Obama's “scandal condom.” 
 
“The media is Obama's scandal condom,” Colbert concurred, “And no matter how rough Fox News slams this story to the hilt, they still have real trouble infecting America with their news herpes!”
 
Watch's the rest of the segment below, via Mediaite. 
 
 

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Student Shot by School Employee, As Conservatives Call for More Guns on Campus

May 14, 2013 in Blogs

By Alex Kane, AlterNet

Aurora, Colorado was the site of an accidental shooting on Monday.


Another accidental shooting occurred on Monday–this time in Aurora, the site of the movie theater shooting last July. An employee of Colorado’s Rangeview High School accidentally shot a student after school had been dismissed, the local news outlet 9 News reported.

The school employee and the student knew each other. The employee works a second job as an armed security officer, and was giving the student a ride home. While moving his gun to the glove box in his car, the firearm accidentally went off and shot the student, who suffered an injury to his leg but will survive, according to police.

The incident is a sharp reminder that, despite calls for more armed guards in schools, guns in and around educational institutions could easily lead to disaster.

The incident is also the latest accidental shooting to occur around the country. On Sunday, for instance, a four-year-old child accidentally shotan 11-year-old boy in Florida. And last Tuesday, a 24-year-old in Texas was “playing” with a gun and, as a result, accidentally shot a 14-year-old.

These recent incidents of accidental gun violence come weeks after Congress failed to pass any gun control measures. Also underscoring the need for gun measures was the Mother's Day shooting in New Orleans, which injured 19 people.

 

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Source: ALTERNET