You are browsing the archive for 2014 July 08.

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New Remastered Digital Edition of ‘Liberalism’

July 8, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

unnamed

The Mises Institute professionally contracted to have this eBook remastered and the result is spectacular. A pleasure to read on any device, with prices up to 70% less than the hardcover edition!

This is Mises’s classic statement in defense of a free society, one of the last statements of the old liberal school and a text from which we can continue to learn. It has been the conscience of a global movement for liberty for 80 years. This edition, from the Mises Institute, features a foreword by Thomas Woods.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Unaccompanied Minors and Unintended Consequences

July 8, 2014 in Economics

By Alex Nowrasteh

Alex Nowrasteh

Government policies have unintended consequences that can play out far into the future. There is perhaps no better example of this than the complex legal changes that have impacted the current surge of unaccompanied immigrant children (UAC) coming across the border. American policies crafted in the 1990s likely unintentionally had a role in incentivizing some of the migration and the smugglers that carry many of the migrants.

Two unrelated border policies have hobbled the government’s response to the surge in UAC. The first policy was about how the government should humanely treat apprehended UAC. Children used to be treated in the same way as adults were. That practice was challenged by a 15-year-old Salvadorian girl named Jenny Lisette Flores in a 1985 lawsuit that was finally settled in 1997.

Two unrelated border policies have hobbled the government’s response to the surge in unaccompanied immigrant children.”

Under the Flores settlement, as it became known, UAC were exempted from “expedited removal” — a newly created process in 1996 that allowed for removal of non-asylum seekers without a court hearing. Instead, it required the government to “ensure the prompt release of children” and place them “in the least restrictive setting appropriate” pending a court hearing. Parents, legal guardians and adult relatives of the UAC were the preferred appropriate settings designated by the government.

In 2002 and again in 2008, this legal framework was codified and clarified with very little resistance in Congress. At that time, few unaccompanied children were crossing illegally despite these relatively lenient policies. In 2008, Congress actually liberalized the Flores agreement considerably by making releases much less discretionary and moving temporary detention to Health and Human Services prior to the children being settled with their families or in foster care.

When it came up for a vote, 183 Republicans voted for the 2008 law. In fact, even Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the tough chairman of the House Judiciary Committee who just held a hearing entitled “An Administration-Made Crisis: The Border Surge of Unaccompanied Alien Minors,” voted for the current policy regime.

The 2008 bill was crafted by both the Republican and Democratic Judiciary Committee staff and was so uncontroversial that the final version passed by unanimous consent in the Senate and a voice vote in the House. It was then signed into law by a Republican president.

The second border policy unintentionally subsidized human smugglers who bring the UAC into …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Cut Federal Highway Spending

July 8, 2014 in Economics

By Chris Edwards

Chris Edwards

Congress faces gridlock on many issues until after the November elections, but a transportation bill is still high on the agenda, because the federal Highway Trust Fund (HTF) will soon run out of money after years of elevated spending. Congress will probably put a bandage on the HTF to get it through this year, but eventually it will have to choose between tax increases and spending cuts.

HTF spending on highways and urban transit adds up to $53 billion a year, while the HTF rakes in $39 billion in revenues, mainly from the federal gasoline tax. That leaves a gap of $14 billion. President Obama wants to fill the gap with corporate tax revenues, but that bad idea is dead on arrival in Congress.

Private firms can build and run roads, bridges, and transit better than government.”

Senator Bob Corker (R., Tenn.) has a different idea. His bill, co-sponsored by Senator Chris Murphy (D., Conn.), would hike the federal gas tax by 12 cents per gallon. In his press release on the bill, Corker calls himself a conservative and claims that higher federal taxes “would create thousands of new jobs.”

But Corker’s position is the opposite of conservative. If Tennessee needs more money for roads, it can raise its own gas tax any time it wants. Wouldn’t Tennesseans prefer that their gas taxes stay within the state for local roads, rather than flowing to wasteful Washington to fund subways and bicycle paths elsewhere?

The real conservative solution for the HTF is to cut spending by $14 billion a year to match revenues. The reduction in federal aid would encourage states to pursue privatization and other innovative solutions for their highways and transit.

Corker claims that his federal tax-and-spend solution would “boost economic growth.” But that is not true if federal spending is inefficient and low-return — which it is. Transportation expert Cliff Winston of Brookings recently noted that federal “transportation policy is so inefficient that infrastructure spending fails to generate the large promised benefits.”

Here are some of the reasons why:

  • Investment is misallocated. Federal aid is not based on market demands. The HTF creates winner and loser states in terms of taxes paid and spending received, and many loser states — such as Texas — have growing populations and a higher need for investment. At the same time, the HTF unfairly redistributes money from lower- to higher-income states.
  • Aid spending is mismanaged. For …read more

    Source: OP-EDS

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Raging Energy Wars: Global Conflict Fueled by Oil and Natural Gas

July 8, 2014 in Blogs

By Michael Klare, TomDispatch.com

Wherever you look, the world is aflame with new or intensifying conflicts.


To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up to receive the latest updates from TomDispatch.com Given this background, it is not surprising that a key objective of the “association agreement” between the EU and Ukraine that was repudiated by Yanukovych (and has now been signed by the new Ukrainian government) calls for the extension of EU energy rules to Ukraine’s energy system — essentially eliminating the cozy deals between Ukrainian elites and Gazprom.  By entering into the agreement, EU officials claim, Ukraine will begin “a process of approximating its energy legislation to the EU norms and standards, thus facilitating internal market reforms.”

Russian leaders have many reasons to despise the association agreement.  For one thing, it will move Ukraine, a country on its border, into a closer political and economic embrace with the West.  Of special concern, however, are the provisions about energy, given Russia’s economic reliance on gas sales to Europe — not to mention the threat they pose to the personal fortunes of well-connected Russian elites.  In late 2013 Yanukovych came under immense pressure from Vladimir Putin to turn his back on the EU and agree instead to an economic union with Russia and Belarus, an arrangement that would have protected the privileged status of elites in both countries.  However, by moving in this direction, Yanukovych put a bright spotlight on the crony politics that had long plagued Ukraine’s energy system, thereby triggering protests in Kiev’s Independence Square (the Maidan) — that led to his downfall.

Once the protests began, a cascade of events led to the current standoff, with the Crimea in Russian hands, large parts of the east under the control of pro-Russian separatists, and the rump western areas moving ever closer to the EU.  In this ongoing struggle, identity politics has come to play a prominent role, with leaders on all sides appealing to national and ethnic loyalties.  Energy, nevertheless, remains a major factor in the equation.  Gazprom has repeatedly raised the price it charges Ukraine for its …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Women Like Sex. Stop Making 'Health' Excuses for Why We Use Birth Control

July 8, 2014 in Blogs

By Jessica Valenti, The Guardian

When 99% of the female population uses contraception, it's sad that we can't just come out and say that we use it for sex. And that we like the sex – a lot


Women like to have sex. Some women who like to have sex don't want to get pregnant, so they use birth control. I understand that these are not particularly revelatory statements, but for some incredibly irritating reason, the punditocracy is still dwelling on the fairly mundane facts that sex happens and contraception is often a part of it. 

Conservatives won't admit their deep-seated fear of non-reproductive sex, so Washington media's machine is propping it up for them. But if this is our mid-summer debate, well, let's at least try to find a reason for the stupidity, shall we?

When Sandra Fluke gave her now infamous testimony before the US House of Representatives about insurance coverage for contraception, the bulk of her opening statement focused on a friend who needed to take birth control to treat polycystic ovarian syndrome. In the wake of last week's supreme court decision on Hobby Lobby, Elle magazine ran a piece on “10 Medical Reasons Why a Woman Might Be Prescribed Birth Control”. And then the National Journal published a widely shared article declaring that what “everyone is missing” in the ongoing Hobby Lobby debate is all the women who need to take birth control for medical reasons. “Even if these women never have sex once in their lives, they need to be on birth control,” wrote reporter Lucia Graves. She continued:

These women depend on the pill to regulate their hormones and do everything from ease pain to reduce the risk of cancer. These medical benefits have nothing to do with sex or the prevention of pregnancy.

I agree with Graves that the link between contraception and women's health should not be ignored – and it's important that the national conversation, post-Hobby Lobby, is looking beyond the court's shameful ruling …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Sen. Paul Stands with Israel

July 8, 2014 in Politics & Elections

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Source: RAND PAUL

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Sen. Paul Stands with Israel

July 8, 2014 in Politics & Elections

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Sen. Rand Paul today took to the Senate floor to ask for unanimous consent to pass the Stand with Israel Act. The legislation, S.2265, was introduced on April 29, 2014 and Sen. Paul asked consent of the Senate to pass the legislation on May 1, 2014. The purpose of this bill is to cut off the flow of U.S. taxpayer dollars to the Palestinian Authority if it is allied with Hamas-the same Hamas that murdered two Israeli teenagers and one dual U.S.- Israeli teenager last week. Below is the transcript and video of Sen. Paul’s floor speech.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH SEN. PAUL’S FLOOR SPEECH

TRANSCRIPT:

Sen. Paul: I don’t believe that foreign aid should go to countries that persecute Christians. I also don’t believe that foreign aid should go to countries that host terrorists within their government. I’ve had this belief for some time, but I’ve met with a great deal of resistance in the Senate.

Last week in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, I introduced an amendment that said that any country that persecutes Christians by law — Pakistan has a Christian woman, Asia Bibi. She’s on death row for the crime some blasphemy. Others say she never said a word. She’s really in prison for being a Christian. She’s been there for five years. I say Pakistan shouldn’t get taxpayer money and that no taxpayer money should go to countries that are persecuting Christians.

In the Sudan, another country that receives money from the American taxpayer, Miriam abrihim. She married a man who was a Christian. She tried to escape recently and she was re-detained. The only thing that’s consistent about foreign aid is that it continues to flow, regardless of restrictions, regardless of window dressing to say, oh, if a country does this, we’ll take it back. It never happens.

Your foreign aid, your hard-earned American tax dollars continue to flow to these countries no matter what their behavior is. So two weeks ago, I came to the floor and I said, you know what in Israel, Hamas is now joining with the Palestinian Authority. Hamas is a terrorist group that does not recognize Israel and attacks Israel on a routine basis. Now that they will be part of a unity government, they will be receiving foreign aid from America. And so I said, for goodness sakes, …read more

Source: RAND PAUL