You are browsing the archive for 2014 January 08.

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NY Governor Andrew Cuomo's Medical Marijuana Plan in State of State Speech Falls Short

January 8, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Patients and Advocates Disappointed that Cuomo Doesn’t Call for Comprehensive Legislation to Effectively Help Patients Get Medicine

Drug Policy Alliance: Governor Needs to Push Senate to Get Bill to His Desk

NEW YORK: After making national headlines for his support of medical marijuana, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s State of the State only briefly mentioned his medical marijuana plan. Cuomo administration officials said that the program would involve distributing medical marijuana through 20 hospitals statewide, and the Department of Health would be charged with promulgating regulations.

January 8, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Horwitz: War on Poverty Keeps the Poor Down

January 8, 2014 in Economics

By Mark Thornton

Steve Horwitz chimes in on the discussions on poverty and inequality here. He notes that the competitive market is what reduced poverty in the US. It is the War on Poverty that actually prevents the poor from making economic progress. Then he offers three great suggestions for helping the poor out of poverty, including ending the War on Drugs.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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50 Years After the War on Poverty, Will the Middle Class Become the New Poor?

January 8, 2014 in Blogs

By Lynn Stuart Parramore, AlterNet

If destructive policies continue, more Americans will come to know poverty firsthand.


Fifty years ago today, LBJ threw down the gauntlet on poverty in his famous State of the Union address of 1964. Fired with passion and buoyed by bipartisan support, his anti-poverty team kicked off new health insurance programs for the old and the poor, increased Social Security, established food stamps and nutritional supplements for low-income pregnant women and infants, and started programs to give more young people a chance to succeed, like Head Start and Job Corps.

Americans have greatly benefited from big-picture economic changes like the minimum wage; investments in worker training and education; civil rights policies; social insurance; and programs like food stamps and Medicaid. As Georgetown University’s Peter Edelman pointed out in the New York Times, without these programs, research shows that poverty would be nearly double what it is today. According to economist Jared Bernstein, Social Security alone has reduced the official elderly poverty rate from 44 percent, which it would be without benefits, to 9 percent with them.

Some of our most prominent citizens have enjoyed protection from life’s vagaries through one or another of these measures. President Obama’s family once survived on food stamps. Congressman Paul Ryan was able to pay for school with Social Security survivor benefits when his dad died. A mere generation before, the workhouse or the orphanage might have been their fates.

Yet middle-class Americans are increasingly in danger of learning about poverty firsthand.

Middle-Class Tightrope

The gaps between the rich and poor are the widest they have been in a century, and the middle class is disappearing into the chasm. According to research by economist Emmanuel Saez, the share of income that goes to the top 1 percent has more than doubled since 1964. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, the top 1 percent has sucked up nearly all of the income gains in the first three years of the “recovery” — a stupifying 95 percent. The fluidity of American society used to be taken for granted, but now the U.S. lags behind Europe in …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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AlterNet Comics: Jen Sorensen on Legalized Cannabis

January 8, 2014 in Blogs

By Jen Sorensen, AlterNet

Your handy-dandy guide to all kinds of potheads.


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Source: ALTERNET

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SMOKING GUN: Emails Tie Top Christie Aide to New Jersey Lane Closing Scandal

January 8, 2014 in Blogs

By Jodie Gummow, AlterNet

'Time for some traffic problems,' staffer said in leaked email.


A series of documents has revealed that New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was closely involved in the controversial lane closings on the New Jersey side of George Washington Bridge in September, despite the governor denying involvement, NY Times reported.

Top aid, Bridget Anne Kelly sent emails to an executive at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey saying it was “time for some traffic problems in Fort Lee” to which the executive responded “Got it,” leading to an overwhelming traffic gridlock lasting four days, Wall Street Journal reported.

The email exchange, which was subpoenaed from the authority as part of a Democrat-led investigation into the incident, is the strongest sign that the traffic blockages were carried out at request of Christie’s administration and a far cry away from Christie’s original explanation that they were part of a traffic study.

Democrats claim the lane closures were done out of retribution against the Fort Lee’s Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, who had previously refused to endorse Christie for re-election as governor, WSJ reported.

While there is not yet evidence that Christie himself directly participated, it is clear that many of his senior members of administration were involved, calling into question his political and ethical motivations.

The scandal has thrown Christie under the spotlight and has the potential to rock his reputation, particularly as he has previously been viewed as a prime candidate in the Republican presidential run in 2016.

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Source: ALTERNET

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Mark Thornton AMA on Reddit at 4PM EST Today

January 8, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Mark Thornton will participate in an AMA (Ask-Me-Anything) session on Reddit today at 4PM Eastern time.

UPDATE: Here is the discussion archive. 

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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She Committed No Wrong—So Why Did Melissa Harris-Perry Apologize to Mitt Romney's Family?

January 8, 2014 in Blogs

By Chauncey DeVega, AlterNet

Only liberals and progressives feel compelled to take the high road, never conservatives.


The lie that is the myth of the “liberal media” is exposed again.

Martin Bashir was fired from his show on MSNBC for telling the truth about Sarah Palin's gross and disgusting ahistorical and offensive comparison of “Obamacare” to black chattel slavery.

MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry has suffered a week of heckling criticism from conservatives and the Right-wing noise machine because one of her guests made an observation about how seemingly out of place Mitt Romney's adopted black grandchild is in the sea of waspy Whiteness that is the Romney clan.

Moreover, the brief discussion of Romney's adopted grandchild was benign. No one pointed out the reasonable (and obvious) questions that could be asked about why a family of white Mormons, who are among their religion's “elect” and elite families, would adopt a person of color when black people are supposedly stained by the Curse of Ham and not allowed (until a recent “revelation”) access to white Mormon heaven? Nor did anyone highlight how the racial diversity in the one time Republican Party presidential nominee's family is seemingly at odds with the Tea Party GOP's white identity politics of racial resentment.

In the United States, politician's families are supposedly “off limits” for sniping and dart throwing by one's ideological foes. Of course, this is not true. Obama's family and children have suffered vicious racial taunts and insults from conservatives and their media apparatus. The Clinton family was also not considered as being on neutral ground and above the political fray.

Apparently, the above rules of decency only apply to conservatives. From the “War on Christmas”, to the myth of the “liberal media”, and a belief in “reverse racism” and other assorted fictions, the Right-wing has created an alternative reality where “good people” like them, i.e. white conservatives, are perennial victims in post civil rights era America. Such a crippling persistent state of unfairness and oppression extends upward from the rank-and-file low information Fox News viewer, to their heroes and darlings such as Sarah Palin and Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson, and even …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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WATCH: The Daily Show Blasts Cable Anchors Over Unwarranted Legal Pot Hysteria

January 8, 2014 in Blogs

By Jodie Gummow, AlterNet

Stewart: “I guess you could say, you’re a f*cking idiot”


On Tuesday night’s The Daily Show,host Jon Stewart weighed in on cable news freaking out over Colorado’s decision to legalize recreational pot. 

Stewart blasted Fox’ Billy O’Reilly and his “old timey Americana restoration hour,” for saying pot-smoking is “literally Russian roulette.”

“I think the only difference between a bong hit and pointing a loaded gun at your own skull is that the gun can kill you instantly, and must never be criminalized or restricted in any way ever,” Stewart remarked.

Stewart also took issue with “gramaplodeon” O’Reilly’s bizarre attempt to connect pot smoking to text messaging amongst teens relying on psychiatrist Keith Ablow to support the “texting-industrial complex.”

“I guess I could say, you’re a f*cking idiot,” Stewart responded.

In the second segment, Stewart drew attention to data showing that pot is far less harmful than alcohol, blasting Fox & Friends host Steve Doocy for hypocritically condemning pot but openly promoting drinking on air, at one point declaring, “I’m gonna get real drunk.”

“Your argument against marijuana, it would carry a lot more weight if these same individuals had a similar perspective on America’s alcohol usage,” Stewart remarked. “Rest assured, our children will never be exposed to this potentially overstated fantasy world that glorifies alcohol consumption…unless they watch TV,” mocked Stewart.

Watch the two part segment:

 

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Source: ALTERNET

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Looking at Entrepreneurship From a Theoretical Perspective

January 8, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

6631

Peter Klein is interviewed by Steve Mariotti in today’s Mises Daily: 

SM: Are there particular government policies that are hurting entrepreneurship?

PK: Our current monetary regime, with hyperactive central banks that create booms and busts, creates a terrible climate for entrepreneurs. Artificially low interest rates distort market incentives, leading to what Mises and Hayek called “malinvestment.” Taxes and regulations make it harder to start and to run companies, favor some companies at the expense of others, and hamper bargaining between firms, financiers, employees, and customers. Think of the uncertainty caused by the Affordable Care Act or the heavy reporting burdens imposed by Dodd-Frank. Mises once wrote that in an economy such as ours where the state plays a huge role in all aspects of business, entrepreneurship degenerates into “bribery and diplomacy.” Instead of focusing on creating value for customers, entrepreneurs spend their time lobbying for favors or to avoid penalties, trying to discern the government’s next move, anticipating or adapting to the newest regulations.

SM: Have you experienced any obstacles in your career related to these challenges?

PK: Business entrepreneurrship is the kind that drives the market economy but, in a sense, we are all entrepreneurs — life is uncertain, and we are always investing our time, energy, and reputation in search of one outcome or another. I’ve been entrepreneurial in that my perspective on entrepreneurship is not the “mainstream” one, in economics or management, and that my work blends insights from Oliver Williamson’s transaction cost economics, the “Austrian” School of Mises,F. A. HayekMurray Rothbard, and Israel Kirzner, and other scholars. It’s sometimes been a tough sell — despite the popular image of the university as an open, tolerant, and innovative place, academia is actually very conservative, and ideas that don’t fit within the dominant paradigm — as Thomas Kuhn famously explained — are often marginalized.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Time to Return Edward Snowden with Honor and a Pardon

January 8, 2014 in Economics

By Nat Hentoff

Nat Hentoff

I often disagree with The New York Times’ lead editorials — they’re too loftily liberal rather than libertarian, which is what I am. But much of the paper’s recent editorial that defended Edward Snowden got to the core of the historic public service the former National Security Agency contractor performed.

In return for all his efforts, President Barack Obama wants to charge Snowden with espionage and a long prison term, which has caused him to seek refuge abroad.

The Jan. 2 editorial began: “Seven months ago, the world began to learn the vast scope of the National Security Agency’s reach into the lives of hundreds of millions of people in the United States and around the globe, as it collects information about their phone calls, their email messages, their friends and contacts, how they spend their days and where they spend their nights” (“Edward Snowden, Whistle-Blower,” The New York Times, Jan. 2).

And crucial to judging Snowden are the NSA’s mass illegalities, which he exposed:

“The NSA broke federal privacy laws, or exceeded its authority, thousands of times per year, according to the agency’s own internal auditor.

“The agency broke into communications links of major data centers around the world” — including those of our allies against terrorism — “allowing it to spy on hundreds of millions of user accounts …

“The NSA systematically undermined the basic encryption systems of the Internet, making it impossible to know if sensitive banking or medical data (my italics) is truly private, damaging businesses that depended on this trust.

“His leaks revealed that James Clapper Jr., the director of national intelligence, lied to Congress when testifying in March that the NSA was not collecting data on millions of Americans. (There has been no discussion of punishment for that lie.)”

At this point, think of how our founders would have judged Edward Snowden. Imagine how James Madison, Thomas Jefferson and Samuel Adams would have reacted to what Snowden has revealed — and continues to reveal — as the NSA’s ever more massive felonies continue.

They would respond, I believe, with respect and companionship.

As for the NSA’s delight in inventing new ways to even further disintegrate our privacy in this digital age, Leonard Greene of the New York Post reported:

“Big Brother is getting bigger. The National Security Agency is hard at work on a computer that could break nearly every kind of encryption used to protect banking, medical, business and government records around …read more

Source: OP-EDS