You are browsing the archive for 2013 May 15.

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Bring on the Helicopter Money–and Gut the Fed

May 15, 2013 in Economics

By Joseph Salerno

You would not think that there would be any worthwhile ideas in an article entitled “Bring on the ‘Helicopter’ Money.” Written by hedge-fund manager Daniel Arbess in today’s Wall Street Journal, the article contains a very good idea buried among many bad ones.

Arbess argues that quantitative easing is failing because there is a lack of demand for credit, so that Fed policy is “pushing on a string,” as it were. In addition, Arbess contends, fiscal policy is acting as a “headwind” to the economic recovery because of higher payroll taxes and rising health care costs.

To combat such “monetary impotence” and “fiscal paralysis,” Arbess recommends a “helicopter drop of money” directly into the economy. In technical terms this is today called “overt monetary finance,” which means that the Fed would bypass the banking system and credit markets in creating money and send the new money directly to the Treasury where Congress would decide on how to use it. Since it is illegal for the Fed to purchase debt directly from the Treasury, this procedure would be considered “a direct equity investment” in the Treasury. Sure this policy poses the obvious risks of inflation in the hands of an undisciplined Congress, but Arbess believes that these risks are “manageable” and that this mechanism offers “an optimum combination of fiscal and monetary stimulus without increasing private or public debt.” Thus, Arbess’s main concern seems to be to expand government spending without further bloating Federal deficits and the national debt.

Of course these are all very bad ideas and are based on the crude and destructive Keynesian notion that money and spending–more paper tickets or their electronic substitutes changing hands–will lead to the creation of more real goods and jobs. But the Fed has created $2.3 trillion (M2) since 2008. What makes Mr. Arbess think that creating dollars through a different channel will alter the result? Furthermore, what is retarding the economic recovery is not the Federal budget deficit or the size of the national debt per se. It is rather the amount of resources that the Federal government is prying from the hands of productive entrepreneurs, investors and laborers, and siphoning out of the private economy into wasteful subsidies to domestic special interests, the financing of unnecessary wars, the feeding of an insatiable and gigantic military machine, and the payment of the salaries …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Senate Democrats Block Sen. Paul’s Resolution Condemning IRS

May 15, 2013 in Politics & Elections

Today, Senate Democrats placed a hold on Sen. Rand Paul’s recent resolution that condemns the targeting of Tea Party groups by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and calls for an investigation into this practice.
‘This resolution is not about Republican vs. Democrat or conservative vs. liberal. It is about arrogant and unrestrained government vs. the rule of law. The First Amendment cannot and should not be renegotiated depending on which party holds power,’ Sen. Paul said. ‘Each senator took an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, yet Senate Democrats chose to block my resolution and thus refused to condemn the IRS for trampling on our First Amendment rights. I am incredibly disappointed in Washington’s party politics and I am determined to hold the IRS accountable for these unjust acts.’
A copy of the blocked resolution can be found HERE.

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Source: RAND PAUL

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How I Got Back at the Strangers Who Mock Me for Being Fat

May 15, 2013 in Blogs

By Haley Morris-Cafiero, Salon

For years, strangers have made fun of me for being fat. But I got my power back — by turning the camera on them.


 

I was traveling with students in Barcelona in the summer of 2011, walking through La Rambla, when I noticed two guys making fun of me. I could see them in the reflection of a mirrored building, making gestures with their hands to suggest how much bigger I was than the thin girl standing next to me, her small waist accentuated by her crop top and cut-off shorts. They painted her figure in the air like an hourglass. Then they painted my shape like the convex curves of a ball. The guys were saying something, too, but there was only one word I could make out: Gorda. Fat woman.

I’ve been hearing comments like this for much all my life. Maybe someone else would have yelled at them, or shrunk inside. But I don’t get upset when this happens.

I pulled out my camera, and set up a shoot.

For about a year, I’d been taking pictures of strangers’ reactions to me in public for a series I called “Wait Watchers.” I was interested in capturing something I already knew firsthand: If the large women in historical art pieces were walking around today, they would be scorned and ridiculed.

So I found a crowded crosswalk farther down La Rambla, used my rangefinder camera to set the exposure and focus of where I would stand, and handed the camera to my assistant. I bought a cup of gelato and began eating it. I’ve learned I get more successful reactions if I am “doing” something.

In my peripheral vision, I saw a teen girl waiting for the signal to cross the street. As I stood there, eating my ice cream, I heard a repetitive “SLAP, SLAP, SLAP” of a hand on skin. I signaled to my assistant to shoot. It was only when I returned home to Memphis and got the film developed that I realized the sound was the girl hitting her belly as she watched me eat. She did this over …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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A Keynesian Monetary Politburo Member Speaks

May 15, 2013 in Economics

By Thomas DiLorenzo

The president of the Minneapolis Fed, one Narayana Kocherlakota, decided to devote the entire 2012 Annual Report to not one but two interviews with . . . . . . . . himself.   The interviews are a celebration of economic stupidity.  A few excerpts:

“Quantitative easing has the impact of pushing down on longer-tern interest rates.  And that should be directly stimulative to the economy because by pushing down on market interest rates, people are led to think, ‘Hmm, maybe I shouldn’t be buying those assets that are paying such a low yield.  I should spend money instead.’”    No need to save, invest, or work and produce; just spend, spend, spend, like a nation of spoiled rich kids.

“We’d like to push it [interest rates] down further and can’t.  That should be a signal to the fiscal authority to be more interventionist in the economy” with a “future consumption tax” to “encourage current spending.”

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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State Decides Hermaphrodite Baby's Gender with Irreversible Sex-Assignment Surgery

May 15, 2013 in Blogs

By Dan McCrue, Courthouse News

Adoptive parents sue, calling surgery unnecessary and potentially damaging.


CHARLESTON, S.C. (CN) – South Carolina's Department of Social Services ordered doctors to do irreversible, medically unnecessary sex-assignment surgery on a year-old child in state custody, her adoptive parents claim in court.

     Pamela and John Mark Crawford sued three doctors and four Social Services workers on behalf of their child, M.C., in Federal Court. M.C. is 8 years old.

     ”This lawsuit challenges the decision by government officials and doctors to perform an irreversible, painful, and medically unnecessary sex assignment surgery on a sixteen-month-old child in state custody. Defendants performed this surgery for the purpose of 'assigning' the child the female gender despite their own conclusion that he 'was a true hermaphrodite but that there was no compelling reason that she should either be male or female,'” the complaint states.

     M.C. was taken into state custody because his mother was deemed unfit and his father had abandoned him, according to the complaint. The Crawfords say the parental rights of the child's biological parents were terminated.

     ”At birth, M.C. was identified as a male based on his external genitalia. Shortly after birth, however, M.C.'s doctors discovered that M.C. had 'ambiguous genitals' and both male and female internal reproductive structures. As his medical records repeatedly indicated, M.C.'s doctors determined that he could be raised as either a boy or a girl,” the complaint states.

     ”Despite not knowing whether M.C. would ultimately grow up to be a man or a woman, and whether he would elect to have any genital surgery, Defendants, who include doctors at a state hospital and SCDSS officials, decided to remove M.C.'s healthy genital tissue and radically restructure his reproductive organs in order to make his body appear to be female.”

     The Crawfords claim the doctors acted rashly upon Social Services' decision, going ahead with the surgery though there was no medically compelling reason to do so. The defendant doctors, Ian Aaronson, James Amrhein and Yawappiagyei-Dankah, cut off M.C.'s phallus to reduce it to the size of a clitoris, removed one testicle, excised all testicular tissue from the second gonad, and constructed labia, the …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Chris Hedges: Monitoring of AP Phones a "Terrifying" Step in State Assault on Press Freedom

May 15, 2013 in Blogs

By Amy Goodman, Chris Hedges, Democracy Now!

The Pulitzer-prize winning columnist calls the revelations “one more assault in a long series of assault against freedom of information and freedom of the press.”


The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges joined Democracy Now! to discuss what could mark the most significant government intrusion on freedom of the press in decades. The Justice Department has acknowledged seizing the work, home and cellphone records used by almost 100 reporters and editors at the Associated Press. The phones targeted included the general AP office numbers in New York City, Washington, D.C., and Hartford, Connecticut, and the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. The action likely came as part of a probe into the leaks behind an AP story on the U.S. intelligence operation that stopped a Yemen-based al-Qaeda bombing plot on a U.S.-bound airplane. Hedges, a senior fellow at The Nation Institute and former New York Times reporter, calls the monitoring “one more assault in a long series of assault against freedom of information and freedom of the press.” Highlighting the Obama administration’s targeting of government whistleblowers, Hedges adds: “Talk to any investigative journalist who must investigate the government, and they will tell you that there is a deep freeze. People are terrified of speaking, because they’re terrified of going to jail.”

NERMEEN SHAIKH: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder [headed to Capitol Hill on Wed, facing questions] over Justice Department’s decision to secretly seize the work, home and cellphone records used by almost a hundred reporters and editors at the Associated Press. On Tuesday, Holder defended the move as a necessary step in a criminal probe of leaks of classified information.

The phones targeted by the subpoena included the general AP office numbers in New York City; Washington, D.C.; and Hartford, Connecticut; and for the main number for the AP in the House of Representatives press gallery. The records were from April and May of 2012. Among those whose records were obtained were Matt Apuzzo, Adam Goldman, three other reporters and an editor, all of whom worked on a story about an operation conducted by the CIA and allied …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Sen. Paul Introduces Legislation to Prevent ‘Milk Cliff’

May 15, 2013 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Paul today introduced a bill to permanently suspend the application of agricultural price support authority to certain commodities, such as milk. In the absence of a Farm Bill, Sen. Paul’s legislation would prevent the federal milk program from reverting back to the Agricultural Act of 1949 statute, also known as the ‘milk cliff.’
‘In the upcoming weeks, the Senate will be pressured to yet again pass a Farm Bill in an effort to avoid another ‘cliff’. With my legislation, we can avoid passing bills contingent upon ‘cliffs’ and scare tactics,’ Sen. Paul said. ‘Instead of rushing to pass laws in order to avert public panic, we can focus on making bills better.’
Click HERE to read the bill in its entirety.
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Source: RAND PAUL

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WATCH: Stewart Ridicules Obama for Apparent Cluelessness on Administration's Latest Scandals

May 15, 2013 in Blogs

By Alyssa Figueroa, AlterNet

Obama on when he learned about IRS targeting conservative groups: “I think it was on Friday.”


Amidst the government scandals revealed this week, the DoJ's spying on AP, the IRS possibly targeting Tea Party groups, President Obama seemed curiously out of touch. On last night'sDaily Show, Jon Stewart pointed out that Obama “was fortunate yesterday that when he appeared before the press, he was shielded by … a question of one — total — from the entire American press corp.” 

Stewart then showed a clip of the reporter asking Obama several questions in one, including, “When did you first learn that the IRS was targeting conservative political groups?” to which the President responded, “I first learned about it from the same news reports I think most people learned this. I think it was on Friday.”

Stewart goes on to illustrate that this isn’t the first time Obama seemed uninformed of quite important matters before learning them from news reports…

Watch here:

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Armed Gun-Rights Leader Compares Himself to Gandhi

May 15, 2013 in Blogs

By Rebecca Leber, Think Progress

Mahatma would be turning over in his grave.


On July 4, Adam Kokesh hopes to lead 1,000 protesters armed with guns into Washington, D.C. to advocate for open carry. In Kokesh’s eyes, a crowd armed with guns compares to the nonviolent civil disobedience practiced by Mahatma Gandhi.

Kokesh answered the Washington Postthrough a series of text messages:

Suppose the D.C. police, as they have promised, block the marchers from crossing into Washington? How should they respond?

“With Satyagraha,” Kokesh, 31, texted The Washington Post. That is a term used by Mahatma Gandhi to describe his strategy of nonviolent resistance to British rule in India. [...]

Did his response of “satyagraha” mean violence is unacceptable?

“Only if absolutely necessary in defense of life or limb,” he wrote.

<a target=_blank href="http://feeds.feedblitz.com/~/t/0/0/alternet/~books.google.com/books?id=RZDIUlha-UMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Satyagraha&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ftKSUcLfCpC30QG23YHgCg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Satyagraha&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=RZDIUlha-UMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Satyagraha&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ftKSUcLfCpC30QG23YHgCg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=Satyagraha&f=false

http://books.google.com/books?id=RZDIUlha-UMC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Satyagraha&hl=en&sa=X&ei=ftKSUcLfCpC30QG23YHgCg&ved=0CDsQ6AEwAg#v=snippet&q=excludes%20the%20use&f=false”>Satyagraha, in Gandhi’s words, is “a way of life based on love and compassion.” Gandhi explained that “[i]n the application of Satyagraha I have discovered in the earliest stages that pursuit of truth did not admit of violence being inflicted on one’s opponent but that he must be weaned from error by patience and sympathy.”

Compare Satyagraha to Kokesh’s event description on Facebook. Although Kokesh claims his march will “peacefully turn back” if confronted with “physical resistance,” he ominously warns the march will be violent if “the government chooses to make it violent.” He also proclaims that “[w]e will march with rifles loaded & slung across our backs to put the government on notice that we will not be intimidated & cower in submission to tyranny.”

Because open carry is illegal in D.C., the police chief has already warned that “passing into the District of Columbia with firearms is a violation of the law and we’ll have to treat it as such.” Even open carry groups like Gun Owners of America are wary of the march, which is now at over 4,000 Facebook RSVPs.

Kokesh is not alone in trying to link guns to civil rights movements. The argument has at times been taken up by the National Rifle Association and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

 

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Is This the Libertarian Moment?

May 15, 2013 in Economics

President Obama recently warned Ohio State graduates that “you’ve grown up hearing voices that incessantly warn of government as nothing more than some separate, sinister entity that’s at the root of all our problems … that tyranny is always lurking just around the corner. You should reject these voices.” Not so fast. With the recent IRS scandal and reports of the Justice Department peeking at AP phone records, Cato VP David Boaz points out that these abuses of federal power should fuel a healthy skepticism of government, and perhaps even a broader shift towards libertarianism.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES