You are browsing the archive for 2013 September.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Walter Block: Tenets of Libertarianism & more!

September 30, 2013 in Economics

By Walter Block

Here I reveal the two most important tenets of Libertarian thought, I also show how to see things through the prism of Libertarianism. Is government campatible with Libertarianism? Is it necessarily a violator of Libertarian principles and finally is The United States like a club? I explain this and more here!

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Government Shutdown No Big Deal

September 30, 2013 in Economics

Parts of the federal government officially shut down on Tuesday after Democrats and Republicans failed to reach a compromise on a spending bill. But really, calling a temporary inability to fund certain government functions a “shutdown” is a serious exaggeration. Argues Cato scholar Tad DeHaven, “Mandatory spending on entitlement programs is relatively unaffected. Moreover, exceptions are made for activities and personnel that are considered “essential” to protecting life and property. …In short, a government shutdown isn’t really a shutdown and it isn’t the big deal that politicians, pundits, and the media tend to make of it.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

Avatar of admin

by admin

Government Shutdown No Big Deal

September 30, 2013 in Economics

The possibility for a government shutdown should policymakers fail to reach an agreement on spending is the topic du jour in Washington. But really, calling a temporary inability to fund certain government functions a “shutdown” is a serious exaggeration. Argues Cato scholar Tad DeHaven, “Mandatory spending on entitlement programs is relatively unaffected. Moreover, exceptions are made for activities and personnel that are considered “essential” to protecting life and property. …In short, a government shutdown isn’t really a shutdown and it isn’t the big deal that politicians, pundits, and the media tend to make of it.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES

Avatar of admin

by admin

Sen. Paul Appears on CBS Face the Nation- September 29, 2013

September 30, 2013 in Politics & Elections

…read more

Source: RAND PAUL

Avatar of admin

by admin

Obamacare Launch Will be Ugly

September 30, 2013 in Economics

By Michael D. Tanner

Michael D. Tanner

ObamaCare officially opens for business Tuesday. Unfortunately, it’s already falling short of promise.

The plan:
Tomorrow, Americans are supposed to be able to start purchasing insurance through “exchanges” — government-managed state marketplaces for health insurance.

Individuals lacking access to “affordable” insurance are eligible to buy through the exchange. Those with incomes up to about 400 percent of the poverty level ($94,200 for a family of four) could be eligible for subsidies. At least 7 million Americans are expected to buy insurance through the exchange by Jan. 1.

Millions of Americans are about to find out exactly what Obamacare means for them. They’re not likely to be pleased.”

‘Success’:
The key words on enrollment are “at least.” Given how fast companies are dropping insurance for their workers and pushing them into the exchanges — Home Depot, for one, just announced it’s dropping coverage for 30,000 part-time workers — millions more Americans are likely to be left with no choice for insurance except the exchange.

Higher prices:
Premiums will vary widely depending on where you live. In a few places like New York City, which have long suffered from dysfunctional insurance markets, some people may pay a bit less than before, especially those getting subsidies. But elsewhere — upstate, for example — many will pay considerably more.

Yes, the federal Health and Human Services Department recently said ObamaCare premiums are “lower than expected,” but that “expected” means Congressional Budget Offices projections — which were that insurance costs would rise.

Comparing the data from that HHS release with current premiums, one study found that a young person would face an average increase of roughly 76 percent, while a 40-year-old would see an average increase of 80 percent.

In another study, National Journal — not generally known as part of the vast right-wing conspiracy — found that, even after accounting for subsidies, most Americans will pay more in premiums for ObamaCare plans than they do for their employee plans today.

And out-of-pocket costs — deductibles, copayments, co-insurance — are all likely to be higher for exchange-based plans. A study by Avalere Health found that ObamaCare’s “affordable” bronze plans had an average deductible of $5,150, more than four times higher than the average deductible in employer-sponsored coverage this year.

By one estimate, all the added costs for the average family of four over the next eight years add up to an extra $7,450 due to ObamaCare.

Fewer choices:<br …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Shut Down the US Combatant Commands

September 30, 2013 in Economics

By Benjamin H. Friedman, Harvey M. Sapolsky

Benjamin H. Friedman and Harvey M. Sapolsky

Defense News recently reported on a Pentagon plan to consolidate its six regional commands into four. The proposal would dissolve Africa Command and split it between European and Central Commands, and combine Southern Command and Northern Command. The action would shed thousands of civilian and military positions and help the Defense Department comply with the budget caps squeezing its topline. But consolidation isn’t enough. The Pentagon should close all of the commands.

Other Pentagon offices can accomplish the commands’ few important functions. The commands have become less accountable alternatives to embassies, predictable sources of threat inflation and insatiable consumers of military resources.

The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act, an effort to limit the military services’ independence, gave the regional commands control over deployed US forces. They plan and manage relations with foreign militaries, humanitarian assistance and war. Pacific Command deals with most of Asia. Central Command handles the Middle East and parts of South Asia, including Afghanistan and Pakistan. European Command is largely an offshoot of NATO’s headquarters. Africa, long split by Central and European Commands, got its own command in 2008 — though it still shares European Command’s headquarters. Northern Command was created in 2002 to manage the military’s homeland defense efforts, and Southern Command handles South America.

There are also functional commands dealing with strategic nuclear weapons, transportation and special operations forces, which we would keep.

There is plenty of room to trim. The regional commands collectively employ more than 15,000 military personnel, civilians and contractors. They are also flag officer magnets. Pacific Command alone has five four-star jobs, plus a full-up platoon of three-, two- and one-star generals and admirals. Each service also maintains subordinate commands to deal with the combatant commands — an additional bureaucratic layer.

The proposed consolidations are especially sensible. Northern Command is still searching for a mission. The National Guard, the Department of Homeland Security, the intelligence community and state authorities already compete to combat a few terrorists. Southern Command, meanwhile, deals largely with homeland security-related problems such as drugs and illegal immigration. And, with odds of a major war in Europe now minuscule, that region’s command has time to plan actions in Africa.

Still, trimming is not enough. There are several reasons to shutter the regional commands.

First, they are redundant. When there is actual fighting to do, we create new commands under three- or four-star officers to manage combat in theater. Nominally, these headquarters …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

'No Place to Hide' from NSA, Then or Now

September 30, 2013 in Economics

By Gene Healy

Gene Healy

Bad news for pandaphiles: The National Zoo’s “PandaCam” will go dark during a government shutdown.

However, the federal government’s power to keep an eye on the American people will continue to grow — it’s an “essential service,” apparently.

Sunday brought yet another revelation from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden. Since 2010, the New York Times reports, the NSA has been exploiting its vast databases to create “sophisticated graphs of some Americans’ social connections that can identify their associates, their locations at certain times, their traveling companions and other personal information.”

The federal government’s power to keep an eye on the American people continues to grow.”

On Friday, the Hill published a document from the NSA inspector general providing details on several occasions in which analysts spied on current or former paramours.

The NSA’s informal nickname for this is “LOVEINT.” In one case, for example, “on the subject’s first day of access to the SIGINT system, he queried six email addresses belonging to a former girlfriend, a U.S. person.” He got a demotion and two months’ reduced pay.

In 2008, a former Navy intercept operator stationed at a NSA facility described how his colleagues used to pass around highlights of soldiers’ phone calls home from Iraq.

The word would go out that “there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny.”

LOVEINT abuses are comparatively small-time, but they hint at the dangers endemic to our burgeoning Surveillance State: Information is power; the modern NSA’s capabilities are indescribably powerful and power corrupts.

Just last week, a government declassification panel released new information about the Cold War-era NSA spying on Americans.

Under “Project Minaret,” watchlisted Americans had their international phone calls and telegrams monitored by the NSA, and “even the most unlikely names would become targets perhaps because they were prominent, influential, and had expressed what the president considered subversive thoughts.”

The newly declassified intel reveals that among the targets were Martin Luther King Jr., boxer Muhammad Ali, New York Times D.C. bureau chief Tom Wicker, Washington Post humorist Art Buchwald and former Senate Majority Leader Howard Baker, R-Tenn.

Baker’s presence on the watch list is a mystery, but the first four were vocal critics of the Vietnam War.

Much of what we know about Minaret comes from reports compiled by the 1975-76 Senate Select Committee on intelligence abuses, popularly known as the “Church Committee” after committee chairman Sen. Frank Church, D-Idaho. It turns out …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Libertarians and Culture… A Bit Lacking?

September 30, 2013 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster

Leftism dominates Hollywood while libertarians beg for scraps
Many of my readers have wondered why the Rants have been so quiet lately. They’re used to getting 2-3 rants a week from me, not to mention the shameless spamming all over Facebook and Twitter.

Luckily, I have two rants ready to be published this week, so my readers need not fear. Still, that doesn’t exactly explain why the recent lack of content on my blog.
The truth is that over the past few months I’ve been writing my butt off… just not so many rants. I’ve been writing not just articles, but books! I already announced on a radio interview that I’ll soon be releasing a compilation book (hey, I can’t let Jeffrey Tucker or Ann Coulter have all the fun).
This book is over 300 pages long and includes my best rants, as well as other editorials I’ve written for other venues. The title is Don’t Piss Me Off!: Libertarian Republican Rants and Raves.
The best part about it is that I’m releasing the e-book free of charge. That’s right, it’ll cost readers zero dollars and zero cents to download it! Consider it a special thank you to all my brothers and sisters in liberty who have encouraged me along the way.
But that’s not the main reason for my absence! You see, I’ve noticed something that I feel can no longer be ignored by the growing libertarian community.
When it comes to economics and politics, we’re so far above and beyond the leftists—Marx, Keynes and Krugman are buried by the Austrian economists and libertarian philosophers. Try as they might, no leftist (or neocon) statist has ever been able to refute us.
However, when it comes to culture, the left kicks our ass six ways to Sunday! Leftist ideas dominate the movie industry, the music industry, and literature. This is why Michael Moore gets standing ovations at the Academy Awards and George Clooney hosts $40,000-per-plate fundraisers in Hollywood for President …read more

Source: ZACH FOSTER RANTS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Mises Daily Thursday: ‘The Walking Dead’ and a Refuge from the Modern State

September 28, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

zombie

Paul Cantor’s series on the economics of the Zombie apocalypse continues with his analysis of the hit show The Walking Dead:

The Walking Dead suggests that government and other modern institutions connected to it do not offer solutions to catastrophic problems but in fact only exacerbate them. It offers a number of horrifying scenes in hospitals, revealing the savage battles that took place between zombies and military forces (unlike the C.D.C.’s zombie comic book, The Walking Dead does not balk at showing the government using force against its citizens). Supposedly the sites where the zombie infection might be cured or at least contained, hospitals turned out to be a means of spreading the plague among concentrated populations. As articulated in the television series and even more clearly in the earlier comic book version, the main government strategy for dealing with the plague was to concentrate people in major cities such as Atlanta, where, it was hoped, they could be protected more easily by civilian and military authorities. Many of the characters were lured into Atlanta by the promise of safety in numbers, only to find to their dismay that it was the zombies whose numbers prevailed in urban conflict. Government central planning came up with the centralization of the population as the solution to the problem—concentrate people and fix them within a supposedly defensible perimeter. But in The Walking Dead this standard operating procedure of governments backfires and only makes it easier for the ever-increasing horde of zombies to prey upon the remaining humans.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

Yuri Maltsev Explains the Tea Party

September 27, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Layout 1

Co-authored with Roman Skaskiw, Senior Fellow Yuri Maltsev’s new book The Tea Party Explained: From Crisis to Crusade is, according to the publisher:

aimed at the intrigued and curious reader who wants to find out more about this unique phenomenon. The book gives a well-documented account of the Tea Party, its origins, its evolution, the bitter squabbles over its direction, its amazing successes in 2010, and its electoral rebuff in 2012. Maltsev and Skaskiw analyze the demographics of the Tea Party, the many organizations which have tried to represent, appropriate, or infiltrate the movement, and the ideological divisions in its ranks.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE