You are browsing the archive for 2014 June 19.

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BREAKING: NY to Become 23rd Medical Marijuana State

June 19, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Senate, Assembly and Governor Announce Deal

Thousands Will Still Benefit, Although Bill Excludes Smoked Marijuana

Albany – Today, the Assembly, Senate and Governor Cuomo announced a deal to move forward on a limited medical marijuana program, which makes New York the 23rd state to adopt such a program. The new law will provide relief to thousands of New Yorkers suffering from debilitating illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and multiple sclerosis, as well as children struggling with seizure disorders.

June 19, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Breaking News: Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) to Offer Groundbreaking Medical Marijuana Amendment on Senate Floor

June 19, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Similar Bipartisan Amendment Passed the U.S. House a Few Weeks Ago in Historic Victory

Amendment Seeks to Protect 32 States With Medical Marijuana Laws from Federal Interference

Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Cory Booker (D-NJ) will offer an amendment to a federal spending bill that would prohibit the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from undermining state marijuana laws. The House approved a similar bipartisan measure on May 29th. An amendment prohibiting the DEA from interfering with state hemp production for research purposes also passed the U.S. House. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved a similar hemp amendment in committee June 5th that was offered by Senators Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY).

June 19, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Oil, Gas, Inflation, and Cheap Money

June 19, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Today’s Mises Daily article covered the impact of government subsidies and infrastructure on the fracking boom. But there is another big player in the oil and gas boom that is routinely ignored by “energy independence” enthusiasts who claim the sky is the limit for fracking: cheap money from the central bank.

Energy companies are employing massive debt schemes to finance exploration and initiation of extraction plans. According to Bloomberg

Quicksilver acknowledges the company is over-leveraged, said David Erdman, a spokesman for Quicksilver. The company’s interest expense equaled almost 45 percent of revenue in the first quarter. “We have taken concrete measures to reduce debt,” he said.

Drillers are caught in a bind. They must keep borrowing to pay for exploration needed to offset the steep production declines typical of shale wells.

“Interest expenses are rising,” said Virendra Chauhan, an oil analyst with Energy Aspects in London. “The risk for shale producers is that because of the production decline rates, you constantly have elevated capital expenditures.”

Chauhan wrote a report last year titled “The Other Tale of Shale” that showed interest expenses are gobbling up a growing share of revenue at 35 companies he studied. Interest expense for the 61 companies examined by Bloomberg totalled almost $2 billion in the first quarter, 4.1 percent of revenue, up from 2.3 percent four years ago.

Yes, “interest rates are rising,” but they’re still extremely low in the big scheme of things, thanks to the unending new money flowing from central banks. Even with rising rates, however, fracking operations, in order to remain viable, will need to keep borrowing since, as it turns out,  fracking is extremely expensive. Bloomberg explains:

The path toward U.S. energy independence, made possible by a boom in shale oil, will be much harder than it seems.

Just a few of the roadblocks: Independent producers will spend $1.50 drilling this year for every dollar they get back. Shale output drops faster than production from conventional methods. It will take 2,500 new wells a year just to sustain output of 1 million barrels a day in North Dakota’s Bakken shale, according to the Paris-based International Energy Agency. Iraq could do the same with 60.

Consider Sanchez Energy Corp. The Houston-based company plans to spend as much as $600 million this year, almost double its estimated 2013 revenue, on the Eagle Ford shale formation in south Texas, which along with North Dakota is one of the hotbeds of a drilling frenzy that’s pushed U.S. crude output …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How Unions Coerce Workers to Withhold Production, Video Game Composing Edition

June 19, 2014 in Economics

By Christopher Westley

Grammy-nominated composer Austin Wintory , who composed the music for the acclaimed video games flOw and Journey, among many other accomplishments, discusses his fight with the American Federation of Musicians and why he refuses to live in fear.  (H/T Nikki Finke.)

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Government Roads, Subsidies, and the Costs of Fracking

June 19, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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Mises Daily Thursday by Sal Ahmed:

Thanks to hydraulic fracturing, also known as fracking, domestic oil and gas extraction is quickly growing. A result of a complex system of subsidies and other government favors, it is unclear, however, that fracking would be sustainable in a marketplace free of government assistance.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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‘Economic Science and the Austrian Method’ now in Italian

June 19, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

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Writes Luigi Pirri:

We are happy to inform you that the Italian translation of Economic Science and the Austrian Method is now available thanks to Libreria San Giorgio.

Here’s the link:  Scienza economica e metodo austriaco

[Also here.]

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Walter Block: Many Different Topics Are Discussed on FreedomizerRadio

June 19, 2014 in Economics

By Walter Block

Summary by Luis Rivera III:

Here Walter Block talks about how some private roads were managed before. Block mentions that carriages were charged for being on these roads based on the amount of horses that were pulling the carriage as well as the width of the wheels on these carriages. This was done in order to cover the expenses accumulated by the wear and tear caused by the different combinations of horse and carriages. Block goes into evictionism. He tells the audience what he thinks The US National Defense actually does, I’ll give you a clue it’s not defend. Block talks more about government roads and how so many people blamed what in reality are proximate causes rather than look at the government itself. Block: traffic jams and car accidents are increased due to government’s intrinsic inefficiency. He says they, the government are the ones that manage the roads, so why not lay fault on them!? Other topics discussed are private courts and a very interesting question “When should force be used in a libertarian world?” This last question deals with imprisonment as well. Check out this link below to listen to the full interview:

Note: Walter Block offers an alternative to Anarcho-Capitalist Dr. Robert Murphy’s ostracizing solution for jails. Listen in:

Walter Block on FreedomizerRadio

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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TODAY: With Clock Running Out, Patients and Caregivers Rally In Albany to Urge the Passage of Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Legislation – the Compassionate Care Act

June 19, 2014 in PERSONAL LIBERTY

By drosenfeld

Last Day of the Legislative Session Arrives as Negotiations Between Governor, Senate and Assembly Continue

Patients & Families to Deliver Thousands of Signatures to Albany Leadership, Demanding Action: “Don’t Make Us Wait Another Year for Relief — Bring the Bill to the Senate Floor Today!”

Albany – On what is scheduled to be the last day of New York’s legislative session, dozens of patients, caregivers, and healthcare providers will gather in Albany to deliver thousands of petition signatures urging Governor Cuomo and Senate leaders to pass the Compassionate Care Act.

June 19, 2014

Drug Policy Alliance

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Source: DRUG POLICY

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Time to Acknowledge Ex-Im's Victims

June 19, 2014 in Economics

By Daniel J. Ikenson

Daniel J. Ikenson

As politicians and big-business lobbyists portray it, there is no downside to reauthorizing the charter of the Export-Import Bank (Ex-Im) of the United States. The bank provides low-rate financing to foreign customers of U.S. companies, which facilitates the objective of increasing exports and creating jobs. Everybody wins, so what’s not to like?

Well, besides putting U.S. taxpayer resources at risk and fostering too cozy a relationship between government and certain businesses, Ex-Im victimizes untold numbers of companies and their workers by effectively taxing their operations, while subsidizing their foreign competitors. These obscured consequences of a government program that presents itself as a costless public good warrant closer examination.

The obscured consequences of a government program that presents itself as a costless public good warrant closer examination.”

When Ex-Im provides financing to a foreign commercial airline — say Air India — so that it can purchase aircraft from Boeing on terms more favorable than the market permits, Air India and Boeing can raise their glasses and toast the U.S. taxpayer for filling a gap that might otherwise prevent the transaction or make its terms less favorable to both companies. Air India and Boeing both benefit.

But what about Air India’s U.S. competitors? How does Ex-Im’s role in the transaction affect them? An honest assessment requires looking beyond the immediate effects to obtain a more complete picture of the benefits and costs of Ex-Im’s involvement. Such an assessment leads to the inescapable conclusion that the subsidized transaction between Boeing and Air India makes U.S. carriers worse off. When Air India can purchase critical capital equipment at more favorable financing rates than, say, Delta Airlines, then Air India is conferred the benefit of lower costs, which enables it to compete more rigorously with Delta for air travelers on particular routes. Meanwhile, if Boeing is busy building and making deliveries for an artificially inflated global market, the prices for its domestic customers will also be artificially inflated. Thus, Ex-Im takes from Delta and gives to Boeing, quite literally “picking winners and losers.”

Delta’s complaint about the effects of Boeing’s subsidized sales to Air India is a real example. There are others. Cliffs Natural Resources, a mining company that operates three iron-ore mines in Minnesota and one in Michigan, objects to Ex-Im’s $694 million financing of an Australian iron mine’s purchases of U.S.-made bulldozers and trucks from Caterpillar, locomotives from General Electric and …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The EU Should Extend Visa-Free Travel to Ukraine

June 19, 2014 in Economics

By Dalibor Rohac

Dalibor Rohac

Can the European Union help Ukrainians get their country back on track? Notwithstanding the threat the country faces from the east, the bulk of Ukraine’s problems are domestic: lack of economic growth and employment opportunities, rampant corruption, mismanagement of public funds and burdensome regulation.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s the prospect of EU membership served as an impetus for radical reforms across central and eastern Europe. A credible timeline for joining the Union would certainly improve the prospects for similar reforms in Ukraine. On the other hand, given the EU’s internal problems and the current state of disarray in Ukraine, European leaders are not keen to rush into accession talks.

Can the European Union help Ukrainians get their country back on track?”

Yet, if Europeans are serious about helping the Ukrainian transition, they have one easy policy option which could be exercised immediately and which would buy a lot of goodwill in Ukraine, while helping the EU’s struggling economies. That option is the introduction of visa-free travel to the Schengen area and the gradual opening of access to EU labour markets to Ukrainian citizens.

Ukrainians are currently the second most frequent recipients of Schengen visas, after Russians. In 2012, more than 1.3m C-category (short-stay) visas were issued to Ukrainians, and the refusal rate has been low. Since 2008, there has been a ‘visa dialogue’ between the EU and Ukraine to examine the conditions for visa-free travel to the Schengen zone but progress has been painfully slow.

The visas impose a burden on Ukrainians. Most importantly, they involve a trip to the nearest consulate of the Schengen country of destination, which may well be far away in Kyiv or Lviv. The fee itself, reduced to €35, does not seem like much, but one has to bear in mind that in some regions of Ukraine the average monthly wage is barely €150.

In the meantime, the EU has already introduced visa-free travel for citizens of Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Moldova. True, these countries are much smaller in size than Ukraine, but there is no indication of any adverse effects following visa liberalisation. And just as in the other cases, to prevent criminal activity, the visa-free travel of Ukrainians could be made conditional on the use of biometric passports.

Besides making life easier for ordinary Ukrainians, visa-free travel would be a tangible proof that the EU can do more than …read more

Source: OP-EDS