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Sen. Paul Issues Letter to Acting VA Secretary Seeking Answers on Kentucky Veterans' Health Care

May 30, 2014 in Politics & Elections

Sen. Rand Paul today issued the following letter to the Acting Secretary of the Department of Veteran Affairs Sloan Gibson inquiring about the quality of care for veterans in Kentucky. In the letter, Sen. Paul asks Acting Sec. Gibson to provide the results of any reviews of facilities providing care to Kentucky veterans, as well as any information regarding the timeliness, quality of care, and potential abuses of the electronic wait list system.
‘We know that the problems at the Department of Veteran Affairs are deeper than any one resignation or firing can fix,’ said Sen. Paul. ‘This is a systemic failure and Kentuckians deserve to know the full extent of the abuses.’
The text of the letter can be found below:

LETTER TEXT

May 30, 2014

The Honorable Sloan Gibson
Acting Secretary
Department of Veterans Affairs
810 Vermont Avenue NW
Washington, D.C. 20420

Dear Acting Secretary Gibson:

I am writing to you today regarding the quality of care for veterans in Kentucky. As you know, an internal review of Department performance has found some misconduct in nearly two-thirds of VA facilities, and thousands of veterans across the country have been impacted by long wait-times that were covered up by the Veterans’ Hospital Administration officials.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is blessed to have more than 390,000 veterans residing within its borders. I want to make sure the same problems that occurred in Arizona, are not also affecting the veterans of my state. Our veterans have served this nation unselfishly and have sacrificed a great deal in doing so. We have an obligation to provide both effective and timely care to those who have served us.
At this point all reviews of problems in the VHA indicate that the mismanagement and neglect at the Phoenix VA Health System are not an isolated incident, but rather a systemic problem at VA facilities across the nation. I have heard complaints from many veterans in Kentucky that they have also been facing lengthy delays in obtaining appointments, have not been able to access healthcare in a timely manner, and have expressed grave concerns over the quality of medical care provided while attempting to receive care from the various facilities that provide services to the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
I am requesting that you provide my office with the results of any reviews of facilities providing care to Kentucky veterans, as well as information regarding the timeliness, quality of care and potential abuses of the …read more

Source: RAND PAUL

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What Americans Get That the Foreign Policy Elite Doesn't

May 30, 2014 in Economics

By John Mueller

John Mueller

Over the last dozen years, American foreign policy has, in its most dynamic aspects, been an abject, and highly destructive, failure. But our self-perpetuating foreign policy establishment seems substantially incapable of fully appreciating the extent of the disaster.

Two misguided wars of aggression and occupation have been waged by the United States in the Middle East in which trillions of dollars have been squandered and well over a hundred thousand people have been killed, including more than twice as many Americans as perished on 9/11.

There has also been a third war — the spillover war in Pakistan — which the United States has avidly promoted. Even though Pakistan receives $2-3 billion in U.S. aid a year, large majorities of Pakistanis (74 percent in the most recent tally) have come to view the United States as an enemy. As negative achievements go, that foreign policy development is a strong gold medal contender.

Going after Osama bin Laden’s tiny band of squirrely fanatics scarcely required the waging of three lengthy wars, two of them of enervating occupation.

The closest to success was the intervention in Libya. And Americans have now been advised to leave that country because it has become too dangerous for its liberators.

But, much of the foreign policy establishment seems to be unmoved by debacle. Thus, foreign policy columnist David Ignatius voices dismay in the Washington Post that only 46 percent of Americans currently consider it “very desirable” for the United States to “exert strong leadership in world affairs.” He also seems concerned that a majority now regard the American ventures in Iraq and Afghanistan to have “mostly failed.”

Over the last dozen years, American foreign policy has, in its most dynamic aspects, been an abject, and highly destructive, failure.”

And in a long article in the current New Republic, Robert Kagan bemoans the fact that Americans have “grown weary of exercising power.” Still, he acknowledges that their worries that intervention in Syria could lead to a military confrontation are “not entirely wrong” and graciously suggesting that that they “can be forgiven” for feeling “tempted” to stop “carrying the world on their shoulders.”

In his speech at West Point on Wednesday, President Barack Obama is perhaps a bit more subdued, but he still manages to tout “American exceptionalism” and use the phrase “American leadership” eight times while recycling the fatuous (and embarrassing) proclamation that the United States is “the …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Gerald Celente Talks Political Atheism with Jeff Deist

May 30, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

MisesWeekends_v2_Deist_1400

On this week’s edition of Mises Weekends. (Mp3, 25 minutes.) Click here for the YouTube version. Also available at iTunes. 

Gerald Celente is is a trend forecaster, publisher of the Trends Journal, business consultant, and author who makes predictions about the global financial markets and other events of historical importance. Celente has described himself as a “political atheist” and “citizen of the world”. He has appeared as a guest on media outlets such as The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Today Show, Good Morning America, CBS Morning News, The Glenn Beck Show, NBC Nightly News, The Alex Jones Show, Coast to Coast AM and Russia Today.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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President's EPA Gamble Will Have No Effect on Climate Change

May 30, 2014 in Economics

On Monday, the Environmental Protection Agency is going to announce new rules for existing coal-fired power plants, most likely a 20 percent reduction in allowable carbon dioxide emissions. But according to Cato scholar Patrick J. Michaels, these regulations will have absolutely no impact on climate change, and will likely cause political problems for the President this November.

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Source: CATO HEADLINES

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Lew Rockwell’s New Book Is Up on Amazon

May 30, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Lew Rockwell writes:

The Kindle version of my new book, Against the State: An Anarcho-Capitalist Manifesto, is up on Amazon, and it’s only $3.99. Its sales ranking is 39,466, not terrible given the lack of promotion until now, but I’d be grateful for your help in lowering that number! For advocates and enemies of freedom, this topic is of increasing interest and importance. (Coming soon: the paperback.)

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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On The 128th Anniversary of Randolph Bourne’s Birth

May 30, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

BarrantiRandolphBourne

Randolph Bourne, the antiwar intellectual who contended that “war is the health of the state” was born today, May 30, in 1886.

Bourne’s monograph The State, published posthumously, is available here at Mises.org. Bourne authored several other insightful pieces as well, are are collected in the 1964 collection War and the Intellectuals

Wendy McElroy examines Bourne’s legacy here, and Jeff Riggenbach provides additional details :

Randolph Bourne was an American intellectual journalist who flourished for a few years in the second decade of the 20th century — in the Teens, the decade that ran from 1910 to 1920. Bourne wrote mostly for magazines during this period. His byline was particularly familiar to readers of The New Republic — until his radically antiwar views on the eve of the US government’s intervention in World War I got him fired.

He moved over to The Seven Arts, a newly launched magazine with a smaller circulation than The New Republic and one less well suited to Bourne’s particular talents and interests, since its primary focus was the arts, rather than social and political issues. He was able to publish only six antiwar articles in The Seven Arts before its doors were closed by an owner fearful of the Wilson administration and its Sedition Act of 1918, which made it a crime to criticize the Constitution, the government, the military, or the flag.

Only a few months after The Seven Arts ceased publication, Randolph Bourne died, a victim of the flu epidemic that killed more than 25 million people in 1918 and 1919, nearly a million of them in the United States. That was 1 percent of the population 90 years ago. One percent of the present US population would be more than 3 million Americans. Imagine what it would be like to live through a flu epidemic that killed more than 3 million people in the space of little more than a year. That’s what it was like for Americans living 90 years ago, at the end of World War I.

Most of the people that flu virus killed have long been forgotten — except, of course, by members of their own families. But Randolph Bourne has not been forgotten, not completely. People are still reading his work. They’re still talking about his ideas and about his memorable phrases. The most famous of these has gradually become so widely quoted in our culture that millions of people have heard it, even heard it repeatedly, …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The High Cost of Minimum Wages

May 30, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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Ben Wiegold writes in today’s Mises Daily:

In this vein, it is prudent to think of minimum wage statutes in the same manner that one thinks of price controls generally: if a given price is forced below the market rate, shortages will occur; if a price is forced above the market rate, unsold surpluses will accumulate. The nuisance of unemployment, then, is to be simply explained as a surplus of labor services, the natural result of minimum wage laws which force wage rates above the market price.

Insofar as concern is expressed for low-income workers — the ones whom minimum wage laws are intended to benefit — it seems rather arbitrary and unwarranted to not be concerned also about those that will lose their jobs.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Montgomery County, Maryland to Put More Cops in Schools

May 30, 2014 in Economics

By Walter Olson

Walter Olson

Montgomery County, Md., the nation’s seventh-wealthiest, is not known for violent schools. Quite the contrary: in a system of more than 150,000 students in 200 schools, there were exactly 40 instances of student fighting last year that rose to the level of “serious incidents,” of which police were called in to 30.

But introducing police officers into schools will often do more harm than good.”

So what has it just decided to do? Put more police in its schools. According to Donna St. George in Tuesday’s Washington Post, “Police will be posted in all 25 Montgomery County high schools next fall as county leaders bolstered the schools’ security force in a final budget approved last week.”

This will cost money, of course, but the county PTA was in favor of it. Nor are they alone: across the river in Virginia, equally affluent Fairfax and Loudoun counties put police officers in middle schools and high schools.

Conspicuously absent from the report is any sign that children currently face some sort of peril for lack of police presence. What are cops to do at peaceful schools where weeks or even months go by between incidents for which a police response might be necessary?

“Officers might hear of a possible fight or a party, and intercede, help a family in a crisis, work a football game or speak in a law class,” one school board member told St. George.

It’s not clear why a fight and a party would be considered comparable phenomena, but I even more struck by this argument from PTA officer Susan Burkinshaw:

“What small town of 3,000 people doesn’t have an officer in it?” Burkinshaw asked. “To not have an officer on premises to help manage what is like a small city is ludicrous.”

Leaving aside the assumption that a police officer is needed to “manage” a school (isn’t the principal supposed to do that?) ordinary schools simply don’t face the kinds of demands on skilled police services that a town of 3,000 normally does, in the form of highway accidents and traffic work, irate drunks at bar-closing time, domestic incidents and so forth. As it happens, countless towns with populations well above 3,000 are served by cooperating nearby jurisdictions or county sheriff’s departments a quick phone call away.

The Post does briefly acknowledge that, expense aside, some critics believe introducing police officers into schools will often do more harm than good.

Nationally, civil …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Inequality and Envy

May 30, 2014 in Economics

By Peter G. Klein

473px-Hazlitt-photo

Henry Hazlitt

Inequality seems to be the prime concern of Right Thinking People everywhere. But almost no one is drawing out the connections between inequality and envy. As Henry Hazlitt wrote in 1972, “[t]here can be little doubt that many egalitarians are motivated at least partly by envy, while still others are motivated, not so much by any envy of their own, as by the fear of it in others, and the wish to appease or satisfy it.” Indeed, contemporary discussions of income and wealth distribution, progressive taxation, the “long-run return to capital,” and the like would greatly benefit from careful study of great works like Helmut Schoeck’s Envy and Bertrand de Jouvenel’s Ethics of Redistribution. Murray Rothbard’s “Freedom, Inequality, Primitivism and the Division of Labor” should be required reading as well.

An important point coming out of this literature is that envy is generally strongest when inequalities are small, rather than large. Huge inequalities of wealth, income, or consumption are considered irrelevant; smaller inequalities are seen as remediable through state action. As noted yesterday by Peter Schiff, consumption inequality is probably far lower today, in Western countries, than in most societies in human history. The average Roman didn’t think often about Crassus, but the average American — part of the global 5% — thinks a lot about the wealthier Americans across town.

As Hazlitt noted, de Tocqueville saw modest inequality as the driving force behind the French Revolution. “The most popular theory of the French Revolution is that it came about because the economic condition of the masses was becoming worse and worse, while the king and the aristocracy remained completely blind to it. But de Tocqueville, one of the most penetrating social observers and historians of his or any other time, put forward an exactly opposite explanation.” Hazlitt quotes the French historian Emile Faguet:

Here is the theory invented by Tocqueville. . . . The lighter a yoke, the more it seems insupportable; what exasperates is not the crushing burden but the impediment; what inspires to revolt is not oppression but humiliation. The French of 1789 were incensed against the nobles because they were almost the equals of the nobles; it is the slight difference that can be appreciated, and what can be appreciated that counts. The eighteenth-century middle class was rich, in a position to fill almost any employment, almost …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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In Series of Historic Votes U.S. House Prohibits DEA from Undermining State Medical Marijuana and Hemp Laws

May 30, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

First Time Ever Congress Approves Major Marijuana Law Reform

Bipartisan Rebuke of U.S. Drug War, DEA Overreach and Mismanagement by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart

Teleconference Today at Noon ET with Members of Congress, Medical Marijuana Patients and Advocates

In a series of historic votes, the U.S. House voted to prohibit the DEA from undermining state marijuana laws. The House approved a bipartisan measure prohibiting the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state medical marijuana laws; the amendment passed with 219 yes votes. An amendment prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp production laws passed with 237 yes votes. An amendment prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp research programs passed with 246 yes votes.

May 30, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY