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The 2014 Friedman Prize: Nomination Process Begins

September 12, 2013 in Economics

The Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, named in honor of perhaps the greatest champion of liberty in the 20th century, is presented every other year to an individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom. Nominations are now being accepted for the 2014 prize – which will be presented on May 21, 2014 at the Award’s biennial dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in New York City.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Pastor Who Claimed He Raped Teenage Boys to Keep Them "Sexually Pure" Will Not Serve Jail Time

September 12, 2013 in Blogs

By Rod Bastanmehr, AlterNet

Iowa's “rape the gay away” pastor gets his sentence reduced and visitation rights with his children.


Iowa pastor and youth counselor Brent Girouex, who claimed with a straight face that he was trying to “cure” teenage boys of their “homosexual urges” by having sex with them, has had his sentence reduced from 17 years in prison to sex offender treatment and probation. 

Since Girouex confessed to having sex with four underage boys, eight additional young men have come forward saying they were sexually violated by the 31-year-old pastor. Girouex, who is not longer a pastor at the Victory Fellowship Church, believed that he could rape away the gay by “praying while he had sexual contact” with the boys, all in an effort to keep them “sexually pure” for God.

According to reports, he told police that “when they would ejaculate, they would be getting rid of the evil thoughts in their mind.” 

Girouex, a married father of four, has had a fair share of backlash since he publicly made his disturbing practices known. One of his most ardent opponents is his wife Erin, who has spoken out against both him and the reduced sentence he received after the initial 17 years he was to serve in prison. 

“I don't want [my children] anywhere near him,” Erin Girouex said to KCII local news. She stated that she has plans for divorce, but that her husband's wanting to see their kids has complicated matters. Currently, he has a court-ordered, twice-per-month visitation schedule, where he must be supervised by his own mother. 

While the claim of raping in order to make the victim sexually pure is novel, rapists having their sentences reduced to virtually nothing is not. Girouex's drastic sentence reduction follows closely behind the heels of the actions of a Montana judge, who sentenced a convicted rapist to serve just  30 days in jail, and made comments about how his 14-year-old victim was an active participant in the sexual relationship. The victim, a girl in this case, subsequently committed suicide, and the judge apologized for his remarks, but left the light sentence in place.  

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Source: ALTERNET

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Hospital Security Guard Beats the Hell Out of Kidney Patient, Who Just Tried to Leave After 9-Hour Wait, Victim and Daughter Claim

September 12, 2013 in Blogs

By Christine Stuart, Courthouse News

Quite possibly the worst doctor's visit ever.


STAMFORD, Conn. (CN) – After waiting 9 hours for a doctor who failed to show, a kidney transplant patient claims, a Yale-New Haven Hospital security guard beat the hell out of him when he tried to leave.

     Antonio Aniello and his daughter Roseanna Gjuraj, who was with him, sued Yale-New Haven Hospital and security guard Edward Viglione, in Superior Court.

     Aniello was 53 when he received a kidney transplant in November 2010. Not quite a year later, on Sept. 11, 2011, his doctor told him to go to Yale-New Haven Hospital's emergency room because he was dizzy, weak and fatigued, he says in the lawsuit.

     His 28-year-old daughter went with him.

     Testing and monitoring were inconclusive and “after nearly nine (9) hours in the ER, waiting to be seen by a kidney specialist, a representative of YNHH advised Aniello that he had been discharged,” according to the complaint.

     ”Aniello and Gjuraj, frustrated by the long wait, lack of resolution regarding Aniello's symptoms, and the fact that despite being in the ER for nine (9) hours the appropriate kidney specialist had not arrived to examine Aniello and determine why he was experiencing dizziness, weakness and fatigue, began gathering themselves and their things to leave, all in the presence of the YNHH representatives / agents / employees.”

     While “ambulating down the hallway,” Aniello says, defendant Viglione “suddenly and without provocation came running around the corner in full force and towards Aniello.”

     Aniello told Viglione: “There is no trouble; I want to go home,” but Viglione “grabbed Aniello by the collar with great force,” according to the complaint.

     His daughter hollered at Viglione “to let go of her father, who remained in a fragile condition,” as did Aniello himself.

     However: “Despite the pleas of Aniello, Gjuraj, and a YNHH representative, employee and/or agent, Viglione did not release Aniello and in fact began to push Aniello backwards. Viglione thereafter threw Aniello to the ground with great force causing Aniello's left side and head to strike the ground with great force, thereafter, Viglione threw himself onto …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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America's Two Economies: Wal-Mart and Wall Street

September 12, 2013 in Economics

By Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr.

Gerald P. O'Driscoll Jr.

Successive economic reports on consumer behavior have sown confusion among analysts. For instance, a recent newspaper headline read: “Wal-Mart Deepens Gloom as Retailers Feel Left Behind.”

It’s not just the Bentonville giant that’s feeling pain; both Macy’s (M) and Kohl’s (KSS) reported disappointing results as well. Weakness in retail sales is across the board, hitting even cosmetics and beauty products.

Meanwhile, another recent headline read: “U.S. Car Plants to Shift to Top Gear.” While car sales are not back to their 2005 peaks, plants are operating with record capacity utilization. Additionally, the housing market is improving.

Permanent economic improvements can be sustained only by permanent improvements in economic fundamentals.”

In what kind of world do cars sell and cosmetics don’t?

It turns out that it is in a world that Milton Friedman explained to us almost 60 years ago in a work titled “A Theory of the Consumption Function.” In writing it, he grappled with the deficiencies of then-standard macroeconomics.

Textbooks treated consumption as mechanistically linked to current, measured income. As soon as one thinks seriously about it, it is an absurd proposition. Wage earners do not spend their entire paycheck on the day it is received — certainly not if they have a family. Consumption is spread out over the period between paychecks. Workers, whose income fluctuates in a known or expected way with the season, adjust their spending over the entire year. Windfalls, like inheritances, are not, on average, spent the day after their receipt.

Permanent Vs. Temporary

Friedman reasoned to a new theory of consumption, which was based on a distinction between “permanent” income and “transitory” or temporary income. Consumers behave differently depending on whether an inflow of money is viewed as signaling a new, higher permanent income or merely a transitory event. An increase in a consumer’s expected permanent income funds an increase in permanent consumption. An increase in income not viewed as permanent is largely saved.

His analysis has profound implications for current policy efforts at fiscal and monetary stimulus. To anticipate the conclusion, if Friedman was right, all efforts at using temporary measures to effect permanent change are bound to fail.

Why Autos Are In Demand

Temporary fluctuations in income are absorbed by a buffer stock of savings. Shortfalls are met by a drawdown of savings, and windfalls can add to liquid assets. Importantly for the current situation, Friedman considered another form of consumer saving from …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Domestic Abuse? Fatal Shooting? Take George Zimmerman's Guns Away, Already

September 12, 2013 in Blogs

By Katie McDonough, Salon

Why are people like Zimmerman so protected?


Exactly what happened on Monday between George Zimmerman and his estranged wife, Shellie, in Lake Mary, Fla., is still in doubt — but seeing the words “Zimmerman,” “gun” and “altercation” strung together once again has turned Zimmerman into a lightning rod for questions regarding gun violence and domestic abuse in the United States.

Based on the initial report, Shellie called the police that day claiming Zimmerman, brandishing his firearm, was threatening her, daring her to “step closer” to him. “I don’t know what he’s capable of. I’m really, really scared,” she told the emergency dispatcher. He violently destroyed her iPad, she said, allegedly cutting through the device with his pocketknife. He also apparently came to blows with her father, and allegedly exhibited the complete lack of self-control and dangerously poor judgment for which the public has come to know him.

But because Shellie changed her story only hours later — saying she never saw a firearm, and that she wouldn’t press charges — there was no domestic violence report filed. Absent that, the police didn’t pursue a warrant to search Zimmerman’s vehicle for the gun he may or may not have used to threaten Shellie.

Whether or not Zimmerman had a gun on him that day, one thing remains clear: The gun he used to kill Trayvon Martin was lawfully returned to him following his acquittal. And he is, according to recent reports, looking to buy more.

Which invites the question: What does a person have to do in this country to get a gun taken away? Or lose the right to a concealed carry permit? And, more specifically, what does a man with a noted history of both domestic violence complaints and a willingness to use deadly force, who is currently in the news for what may still turn out to be another such incident, have to do?

Turns out: quite a terrifying lot. Because, put mildly, the laws in Florida and elsewhere regulating gun ownership among domestic abusers and men suspected of domestic violence are, shall we say, permissive.

 

“In our country, and in most …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Political Sins, More than Guns, Drove Colorado Recall

September 12, 2013 in Economics

By David B. Kopel

David B. Kopel

The Colorado vote to recall two Democratic state senators is a major win for the Second Amendment and for responsible law-making. Although guns were the reason for the recall campaign, Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs and Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo lost primarily because they misused their powers, not for any stand on principle. Their misjudgments may mean the end of the state’s new gun control laws.

As of today, those laws are still on the books. The Senate used to be split 20-15 with a Democratic majority. The majority is now reduced to 18-17. More important, because the Senate’s two pro-Second Amendment Democrats voted against it, the magazine ban passed by only a single vote. After the recall, the Colorado Senate has a pro-Second Amendment majority — enough to repeal the ban on magazines holding more than 15 rounds.

In the state’s House of Representatives, there may already be a majority for repeal. The magazine ban passed the House in February by only three votes, and by March widespread buyer’s remorse had spread among Democrats who voted in favor of the ban. That’s a reason the bill’s managers couldn’t let the bill go back to the House for amendments, even after it became clear that the bill had major drafting defects.

The Colorado vote to recall two Democratic state senators is a major win for the Second Amendment and for responsible law-making.”

The bill only passed the House in the first place because Vice President Joe Biden called undecided state Democratic representatives and essentially ordered them to vote for it. After this week’s recall, White House promises of electoral protection for legislators who vote against guns no longer have credibility.

Governor Weakened

There’s no expectation that Governor John Hickenlooper would sign a bill repealing the law. But he might not be governor for a lot longer. His approval ratings are underwater with 48 percent of voters saying he shouldn’t be re-elected in 2014. One big reason for Hickenlooper’s lackluster polling numbers is his stance on guns; Coloradoans disapprove of his handling of the issue by 17 points.

Hickenlooper made the situation worse in August by blocking the execution of Nathan Dunlap, who killed four people during a 1993 robbery of a Chuck E. Cheese restaurant.

For some Coloradoans, it was galling to see Hickenlooper thwart justice for a heinous gun criminal while cracking down on law-abiding gun owners. The governor retains strong support among …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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New eBook: Chi-Yuen Wu’s ‘An Outline of International Price Theories’

September 12, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

EBOKSS196

New from the Mises Store: Chi-Yuen Wu’s An Outline of International Price Theories

Greatness often comes from the most unlikely corners. Chi-Yuen Wu began this treatise while a student at LSE during the Great Depression, then returning to an anxious China, on the verge of war, and in the throes of economic instability, finished it from the remoteness of Western China after being displaced from his home.

Wu looked at the history of economic thought as a way to explain what was happening and why. Lionel Robbins, in the Preface, says “Few, can read his penetrating commentaries without feeling that he has added substantially to knowledge, both in his elucidations and in his presentation of the general perspective of development.”

Murray Rothbard considered Outlines of International Price Theories to be a seminal contribution to the theory of price and international trade.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Mises Daily Thursday: Who Are the Real Anarchists?

September 12, 2013 in Economics

By Mises Updates

keepcalm

In today’s Mises Daily, Ryan McMaken looks at the conflict between two types of anarchism:

If some anarchists believe that the free market cannot exist without the state, and others believe that the state is the great enemy of free markets, then what is anarchism?

If all anarchists truly are united by opposition to a coercive state, then perhaps the question is irrelevant. For as libertarian anarchists know, a stateless society is likely to naturally produce widespread, complex, and successful markets. The anti-capitalist anarchists will simply be proven wrong, although they might perhaps be thanked for their service in opposing the state.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Secret Deal Allows NSA to Share Americans' Data With Israel

September 12, 2013 in Blogs

By Glenn Greenwald, Laura Poitras, Ewen MacAskill, The Guardian

The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.


The National Security Agency routinely shares raw intelligence data with Israel without first sifting it to remove information about US citizens, a top-secret document provided to the Guardian by whistleblower Edward Snowden reveals.

Details of the intelligence-sharing agreement are laid out in a memorandum of understanding between the NSA and its Israeli counterpart that shows the US government handed over intercepted communications likely to contain phone calls and emails of American citizens. The agreement places no legally binding limits on the use of the data by the Israelis.

The disclosure that the NSA agreed to provide raw intelligence data to a foreign country contrasts with assurances from the Obama administration that there are rigorous safeguards to protect the privacyof US citizens caught in the dragnet. The intelligence community calls this process “minimization”, but the memorandum makes clear that the information shared with the Israelis would be in its pre-minimized state.

The deal was reached in principle in March 2009, according to the undated memorandum, which lays out the ground rules for the intelligence sharing.

The five-page memorandum, termed an agreement between the US and Israeli intelligence agencies “pertaining to the protection of US persons”, repeatedly stresses the constitutional rights of Americans to privacy and the need for Israeli intelligence staff to respect these rights.

But this is undermined by the disclosure that Israel is allowed to receive “raw Sigint” – signal intelligence. The memorandum says: “Raw Sigint includes, but is not limited to, unevaluated and unminimized transcripts, gists, facsimiles, telex, voice and Digital Network Intelligence metadata and content.”

According to the agreement, the intelligence being shared would not be filtered in advance by NSA analysts to remove US communications. “NSA routinely sends ISNU [the Israeli Sigint National Unit] minimized and unminimized raw collection”, it says.

Although the memorandum is explicit in saying the material had to be handled in accordance with US law, and that the Israelis agreed not to deliberately target Americans identified in the data, these …read more

Source: ALTERNET