You are browsing the archive for 2014 April 10.

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Why US Fracking Companies Are Licking Their Lips over Ukraine

April 10, 2014 in Blogs

By Naomi Klein, The Guardian

From climate change to Crimea, the natural gas industry is supreme at exploiting crisis for private gain – the shock doctrine.


The way to beat Vladimir Putin is to flood the European market with fracked-in-the-USA natural gas, or so the industry would have us believe. As part of escalating anti-Russian hysteria, two bills have been introduced into the US Congress – one in the House of Representatives (H.R. 6), one in the Senate (S. 2083) – that attempt to fast-track liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports, all in the name of helping Europe to wean itself from Putin's fossil fuels, and enhancing US national security.

According to Cory Gardner, the Republican congressman who introduced the House bill, “opposing this legislation is like hanging up on a 911 call from our friends and allies”. And that might be true – as long as your friends and allies work at Chevron and Shell, and the emergency is the need to keep profits up amid dwindling supplies of conventional oil and gas.

For this ploy to work, it's important not to look too closely at details. Like the fact that much of the gas probably won't make it to Europe – because what the bills allow is for gas to be sold on the world market to any country belonging to the World Trade Organisation.

Or the fact that for years the industry has been selling the message that Americans must accept the risks to their land, water and air that come with hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in order to help their country achieve “energy independence”. And now, suddenly and slyly, the goal has been switched to “energy security”, which apparently means selling a temporary glut of fracked gas on the world market, thereby creating energy dependencies abroad.

And most of all, it's important not to notice that building the infrastructure necessary to export gas on this scale would take many years in permitting and construction – a single LNG terminal can carry a $7bn price tag, must be fed by a massive, interlocking web of pipelines and compressor stations, and requires …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Tomorrow: An Inflation Seminar for High School and College Students

April 10, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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Online and at The Mises Institute:
Inflation: Causes, Consequences, and Cure. A seminar for High School and College Students

Register  here. 

One of the easiest ways for the state to take our money is to inflate away the value of the money we already hold. When governments and central banks work together to create more paper money, the state’s friends and allies benefit while everyone else who holds the now-devalued currency suffers.

In this new seminar for college and high school students from the Mises Institute, our scholars will help students understand the state’s motivation to inflate the currency while examining the many effects of this backdoor method of taxation.

From hyperinflation, to disruption of entrepreneurial planning, to income inequality and to wealth destruction, students will leave this seminar with a detailed and timely knowledge of the way that inflation is being used worldwide to enrich governments and impoverish private citizens.

Attendance is open to homeschool, public, or private high school students and their chaperones or teachers, and college students. Through the generosity of one of our donors this seminar is free to everyone. To attend the live sessions, at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, fill out the registration form at the bottom of this page. In addition, all of the sessions will be broadcast live andcan be viewed either from the homepage of Mises.org or through the Mises Academy on the day of the event.  Special thanks to an anonymous donor for making this event possible.

9:30 a.m.  Registration begins, Bookstore open
9:50 a.m.  Welcome, Jeff Deist
10:00 a.m. Mark Thornton ”What is Money?”
10:20 a.m. Daniel Sanchez ”Inflation as a Stealth Tax”
10:40 a.m. Break, Bookstore open
10:50 a.m. Peter Klein ”How Inflation Hurts Businesses and Entrepreneurs”
11:10 a.m. Joseph Salerno ”Hyperinflation”
11:30 a.m. Speaker panel with Q&A
noon          Adjourn, Bookstore open

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Yuri Maltsev: How I Defected to the United States

April 10, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

From The Tom Woods Show:

[Mises Institute Senior Fellow] Yuri Maltsev, an adviser to Mikhail Gorbachev’s government, tells the story of his defection to the U.S., and relates stories from his life in the Soviet Union.

While at Moscow State University, he received special permission to read forbidden, anti-communist books. He was told to take his permission letter, get in the elevator, and press the button that had no number on it. This took him to a floor with two armed librarians, who had him sign still more forms, swearing never to reveal the contents of the books he was about to read.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Rothbardian Implications of ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’

April 10, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Captain_America_The_Winter_Soldier

By Dan Sanchez

Note: This review contains spoilers.

When the credits started rolling for Captain America: Winter Soldier, I managed to initiate a round of applause. It was slow in building, but eventually it picked up. This was surprising and reassuring, given that the audience doing the clapping was in Alabama, thought to be one of America’s many centers of jingoism, and since, unlike many other “action figure” movies, like the “oo-rah” Transformers and G.I. Joe franchises, the movie’s over-arching message was radically anti-jingoistic, and can even be interpreted as radically libertarian. [Spoilers ahead.]

Captain America (played by Chris Evans) works for SHIELD (Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement, and Logistics Division), an international agency run by a shady “World Security Council.” The big twist in the movie is the revelation that SHIELD, virtually since its World War II inception, has been deeply infiltrated by HYDRA, a terrorist network bent on world conquest and named after a mythical many-headed snake-like monster. HYDRA has been using SHIELD (as well as its operative “the Winter Soldier,” played by Sebastian Stan) to surreptitiously foment world chaos for 60 years, with the purpose of whipping up so much fear that the public will seek security in HYDRA’s slithering totalitarian embrace.

This SHIELD/HYDRA conjunction is a splendid analogue for the State itself. The illusion is that the State, like SHIELD, is a “shield”: an essential protector of life, liberty, and property against criminals, foreign and domestic. The reality is that the State, like the HYDRA-infested SHIELD, is a monstrous institution, shot through with the most dastardly criminals of them all, and hellbent on ensnaring in its coils as many people as possible, and as tightly as it can get away with.

The State, like the HYDRA-inflested SHIELD, either produces or induces most of the violence in the world; and then it turns around and uses that very turmoil to play on people’s fears, so as to justify its expansion (like the proliferating heads of the mythical Hydra) and its even tighter constriction of society, allegedly so it can “keep us safe.”

The closest specific analogue, in this regard, is the Federal state centered in Washington. Like SHIELD, it arose in and after World War II as the “world’s policeman.” Like SHIELD, it posed as heroes protecting world peace from villains, starting with Nazi Germany (in the films, HYDRA originated as a rogue Nazi cell) and Imperial Japan.

But, also like SHIELD, Washington and its allies were themselves infected with …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Sen. Rand Paul Appears on Fox's Hannity – April 9, 2014

April 10, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Today: Lew Rockwell on the Ben Swann Radio Show

April 10, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Lew Rockwell writes:

I’ll be on Ben’s radio show from 11:00am-noon central time today.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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For More Jobs and Stability, Set the Economy Free

April 10, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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John Cochran writes in today’s Mises Daily:

Unfortunately Yellen’s strong compassion for the plight of the unemployed comes tied to a faulty understanding of the cause of unemployment. With Yellen’s ascendency to the Chair of the Fed, the Wall Street Journal notes the “Tobin Keynesians are back in charge at the Federal Reserve.” The last time this group’s Phillips Curve-based ideas dominated Fed policy, the Fed engineered the stagflation of the 1970s. Exhibiting a lack of historical understanding, sympathetic cheerleaders such as Justin Wolfers see Yellen’s commitment to the dual mandate as a plus.

Yellen’s appointment should be viewed as an investment in the Fed’s dual mandate, which emphasizes the central bank’s role in taming both unemployment and inflation. The unemployed should rejoice that they have a powerful advocate willing to battle the hard-money types willing to consign them to the economic scrap heap.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The Fourth Amendment Shell Game

April 10, 2014 in Economics

By Julian Sanchez

Julian Sanchez

The National Security Agency’s controversial call-records dragnet has never been much use at finding terrorists, as two separate government panels have concluded, but technological change has been gradually rendering it completely irrelevant. Now, under the guise of putting an end to that program—which sweeps in the phone logs of millions of innocent Americans for later analysis—President Obama has proposed a new authority that could force private corporations to act as government spies, circumventing constitutional privacy safeguards in the process.

The current version of the NSA program is based on a Patriot Act authority that lets the government obtain records already kept by phone companies for their own business purposes. But as Reuters reported last week, the president’s proposal could require carriers to create new records in response to the government’s secret demands. To understand why this would set such a dangerous precedent, it’s necessary to understand the legal theory behind the NSA program as it now exists.

One of Obama’s NSA reforms just makes the problem worse.”

If the government wants to seize your cellphone in order to learn whom you’ve been calling, the Fourth Amendment requires a judicial warrant, based on evidence that provides “probable cause” to believe you’re up to no good. But thanks to a 1979 Supreme Court ruling, Smith v. Maryland, it doesn’t need to meet that high standard if it collects the same information from the phone company. When you place a call, the court reasoned in Smith, you “knowingly expose” the number you’re dialing to the phone company—and any customer who ever looked at a phone bill should be well aware that carriers keep records of those numbers, along with the times and durations of calls. In the process, the Smith decision argued, you waive your “reasonable expectation of privacy”—and therefore your Fourth Amendment rights. That “third party doctrine,” as legal scholars have dubbed it, is why the NSA doesn’t need to worry about formalities like “probable cause” or “particularized suspicion” when it vacuums up phone records in bulk.

Things have changed since the ’70s, however, and increasingly phone companies aren’t bothering to bill customers by individual calls—which means they may not need to keep all the detailed information NSA wants for billing purposes, at least not in a form that separates it from information NSA is barred from collecting, like location data. Instead, they’re moving to flat-rate billing that more closely resembles the model most Internet providers use, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Is Estonia Worth a War?

April 10, 2014 in Economics

By Justin Logan

Justin Logan

No one near the levers of power in Washington suggested that Ukraine’s territorial integrity was worth risking a war with Russia. That stark reality offers an opportunity to evaluate U.S. alliances. Which European countries should the United States be willing to go to war with Russia over?

It’s an important question, given that Washington has a formal treaty commitment to a number of countries that are less strategically important than Ukraine. Since no one in Washington favored fighting for Ukrainian sovereignty, would they really threaten it over, say, Estonia, just because the latter is a NATO member? Does the existence of an alliance commitment create an interest worth going to war over?

Which European countries should the United States be willing to go to war with Russia over?”

Over the second half of the twentieth century, the United States steadily accumulated allies. During the Cold War, we gathered allies in the name of containing the Soviet Union. After the Cold War, Washington parlayed its winnings, expanding its sphere of influence. In Europe, two rounds of NATO expansion brought the anti-Russian alliance up to the Russian border, accompanied by promises that NATO was no longer about Russia. Globally, more than a quarter of the world’s countries are now allies of the United States.

The early Cold War rationale was strong. Leaving Germany vulnerable to the Soviet Union risked allowing Moscow to dominate Europe. But that’s not going to happen today, with or without NATO. If Russia annexed all of Ukraine and seamlessly integrated it into the Russian Federation without a hitch—something that’s not going to happen—the Russian economy would be about 14 percent larger, equivalent roughly to that of Italy and Turkey combined.

Given that Russia could not threaten Western Europe, or even most of Central Europe, it’s hard to argue that the United States has a similar interest in threatening wars to defend most of its modern-day NATO protectorates. War with Russia would be devastating for the United States, for the country on whose territory such a war would be fought, and for Russia. Allowing a state to be pulled into the Russian sphere of influence would be less costly to U.S. taxpayers and servicemembers—and likely even to citizens of the targeted state itself—than fighting over it.

It’s thus tempting to judge that NATO expansion was one giant bluff, but it’s probably more accurate to say that Washington …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Was Financial Crisis Panic over Institution Runs Justified?

April 10, 2014 in Economics

Throughout history there has been a consistent fear of bank runs, particularly regarding large institutions during times of crisis. The financial crisis of 2007–09 was no exception. The interventions of the authorities in response to these runs, however, raise a number of questions. In a new paper, Vern McKinley considers the facts surrounding each of the runs, and assesses what the various runs induced the authorities to do. “Serious analysis of the risks facing the financial sector was sorely lacking,” concludes McKinley, “and outright misstatement of the facts was evident.”

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES