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5 Signs of Madness in the Media This Week—Tom Friedman Compares Gaza Disaster to Broadway Edition

July 25, 2014 in Blogs

By Nina Burleigh, AlterNet

Disturbing coverage, with a hat tip to NYT's skewed Israel coverage.


The mainstream and right-wing media continues to be a bubbling pot of overblown hysteria and wild propaganda against the public interest. Here were some of the more disturbing episodes from this week, from the War on Clintons to The New York Times unbending PR-blitz for Israel. 

CLINTON-HATE 4EVER

War, war, war, planes shot from skies, gore in the Middle East, nothing deters our faithful scribes from serving up reheated delicacies off the putrefying banquet that is Clintoniana.  Is it too much to hope that if we get the salacious stuff out of the way now, we wont have to put up with four – or god forbid,  eight – years of it under a President HRC? Delving deep into the “Who Cares” Files, Lloyd Grove over at the Daily Beastly scans the L section of the index in Daniel Halper’s ”Clinton, Inc.” book . Turns out Monica blew off an opportunity to do a commercial wearing a blue gap dress on which she spills International Delight Coffee Creamer, with the comment, “Oh no , not again.” Grove plucked seamy lines from that squirm-inducing, Barbara Walters pitch letter to Monica, and shared it in all its “simpering sycophancy and self-celebration, garnished by veiled threat.”  From Grove’s long gloss: “It is no crime to sell your story,” Walters wrote to Lewinsky in November 1998, “but I don’t have to tell you what public opinion will then be: You will be viewed as an opportunist. ‘We have known it all along,’ the critics will say. ‘This is the kind of person Monica Lewinsky is.’…But beyond the payment, I fully believe that no one else could possibly do the kind of interview that I could do. It isn’t only my own reputation for fairness and integrity. It is also that you and I have a trust and respect for each other that will permeate the screen.”       

Mining the same rich vein, scribes at the New York Daily News trolled advance pages of a memoir by journalist Lucinda Franks to find a 1999 interview in which Hillary …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Reversing the Decline in Small Business Lending

July 25, 2014 in Economics

By Mark A. Calabria

Mark A. Calabria

Of course small business lending is risky. The annual failure rate for firms with fewer than five employees averages around 20 percent — 1 in 5. That’s true even during a boom.

And younger firms, which are more likely to be minority owned, fail at even higher rates.

While small business lending often declines during a recession, recent regulatory changes may well result in a permanent decline in bank lending to small business. The impact will be felt across all small businesses, but the effect is likely to be greatest for minority-owned small businesses, as statistically these owners often have less personal wealth and weaker credit histories.

Of course, banks are only one conduit for small business and minority lending. Peer-to-peer, crowd-funding and direct capital market financing are poised to play a greater role and potentially offset part of the decline in bank finance.

The future of small business lending may well see its largest growth occur outside the traditional banking sector.”

A useful proxy for bank lending to small business is the volume of loans made sized under $1 million. This flow peaked at about $16 billion in the second quarter of 2006, declining to about $10 billion in third quarter of 2009, around the trough of the current economic cycle. After a long, slow and bumpy climb, small business bank lending had recovered almost all its decline by the first quarter of 2014.

This recovery, however, masks the fact that as a percent of total bank lending, small business lending continues to decline. Estimates from the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland show small business lending falling from more than 50 percent of non-farm, nonresidential bank lending in 1995 to less than 30 percent today. This trend has been a steady one, showing little sign of reverse. And these numbers are not adjusted for inflation, which shows small business lending has a long way to go before regaining its previous real peak.

The future of small business lending will have a disproportionate impact on minorities. Although white owners continue to own the majority of small businesses, growth in business ownership has been considerably larger among minority owners. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that during the economic expansion from 2002 to 2007, the number of businesses owned by minorities increased 45 percent, led by African-American owners, who experienced a 60 percent increase in businesses owned. White-owned firms increased only about 13 percent during this period. While minority-owned …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Mises Weekends: Soviet Defector Yuri Maltsev on the Loss of Freedom in America

July 25, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Jeff Deist and Yuri Maltsev discuss not only his defection from the former USSR, but also his defection from the Marxist economic mindset, the crime of reading Hayek, why so many westerners still have a naïve, uninformed, and romantic view of socialism, how the Ruble was nothing more than a fiat rationing coupon, and why people with contempt for consumerism never visited a Soviet grocery store.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Now in Italian: ‘How Consumers Rule In a Free Economy’

July 25, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Chris Westley’s article explaining how Carl Menger put consumers front and center in determining value has been translated into Italian: “I consumatori sono i re in un’economia di libero mercato.”

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Video: “Hayek and Keynes: Head to Head” with Roger Garrison

July 25, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Archived from the live broadcast, this Mises University lecture was presented at the Mises Institute in Auburn, Alabama, on 23 July 2014.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Live Stream, Friday at Mises U: Morning Lectures

July 25, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

Friday July 25 (Central Daylight Time)
9:00 - 10:00 a.m.—Common Objections to Capitalism | Terrell
10:15 - 11:15 a.m.—Hayek and Friedman: Head to Head | Garrison
11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.—Gold Standards: True and False | Salerno

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Should We Build a McDonald’s on the Rim of the Grand Canyon?

July 25, 2014 in Economics

By Mises Updates

canyon2

Mises Daily Friday by Ryan McMaken

The Navajos want to develop the southern rim of the Grand Canyon, but environmentalists are unhappy. There’s little private property involved, so don’t blame the capitalists, and it’s worth remembering that much of the tourist economy in the West is a subsidized invention of the federal government.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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China's Big Course Correction in the South China Sea?

July 25, 2014 in Economics

By Ted Galen Carpenter

Ted Galen Carpenter

After many months of taking increasingly bold actions at the expense of its neighbors in East Asia, there are recent indications that Beijing may be adopting more conciliatory policies. China has unexpectedly removed a controversial oil-drilling rig that it had deployed in waters near Vietnam. In late June, Chinese president Xi Jinping conducted a high-profile summit meeting with South Korean president Park Geun-hye, seeking to improve relations with that country following last year’s tensions over Beijing’s proclamation of a new air-defense identification zone (ADIZ) in the East China Sea. Even the tone of China’s boilerplate warnings to the United States to stay out of the territorial disputes in the South China Sea has become somewhat more muted. Instead of shrill accusations of U.S. meddling, Chinese officials now urge Washington to be “fair” in its assessment of the issues at stake.

It is possible that the emergence of a more conciliatory stance may only be a temporary, purely tactical shift. But there is also a more encouraging alternative explanation. Beijing may finally have realized that it overreached in pressing its claims in the region, and that its behavior was provoking its neighbors to become more receptive to a U.S.-orchestrated containment policy directed against China. Given its own multitude of geostrategic headaches elsewhere in the world, Washington should at least explore whether a serious rapprochement with China can be pursued.

Washington should at least explore whether a serious rapprochement with China can be pursued.”

There is certainly enough evidence of rising anger among East Asian countries regarding China’s conduct over the past three or four years, and only the most obtuse Chinese officials could be unaware of the warning signs. The most obvious, and from Beijing’s standpoint, the most worrisome, development has been Japan’s growing assertiveness on security issues. Tokyo’s “reinterpretation” of Article 9 of the Japanese constitution to allow the country’s participation in collective-defense measures is a watershed event, but there have been other, more subtle changes. In June, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe stated that his government would support Vietnam and other nations that have territorial disputes with China. A few months earlier, Japan had joined with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to explore efforts to better secure navigation rights—a clear slap at China’s expansive territorial claims in the South China Sea.

Japan’s new approach clearly envisions a growing array of security partnerships.<a target=_blank href="http://www.news.com.au/national/australia-to-sign-new-submarines-deal-with-japan-as-prime-minister-shinzo-abe-visits-tony-abbott-in-canberra/story-fncynjr2-1226980720135%20" …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Reining in ObamaCare–and the President

July 25, 2014 in Economics

By Michael F. Cannon, Jonathan H. Adler

Michael F. Cannon and Jonathan H. Adler

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit—a tribunal second only to the Supreme Court—ruled on Tuesday that the Obama administration broke the law. The panel found that President Obama spent billions of taxpayer dollars he had no authority to spend, and subjected millions of employers and individuals to taxes he had no authority to impose.

The ruling came in Halbig v. Burwell, one of four lawsuits aimed at stopping those unlawful taxes and expenditures. It is a decision likely to have far-reaching repercussions for the health-care law.

Because the ruling forces the Obama administration to implement the Affordable Care Act as written, consumers in 36 states would face the full cost of its overpriced health insurance. According to one brief filed in the case, overall premiums in those states would be double what they are under the administration’s rewrite, and typical enrollees would see their out-of-pocket payments jump sevenfold. The resulting backlash against how ObamaCare actually works could finally convince even Democrats to reopen the statute.

Halbig v. Burwell is about determining whether the president, like an autocrat, can levy taxes on his own.”

At its heart, though, Halbig is not just about ObamaCare. It is about determining whether the president, like an autocrat, can levy taxes on his own authority.

The president’s defenders often concede that he is doing the opposite of what federal law says. Yet he claims that he is merely implementing the law as Congress intended.

Such claims should be met with more than the usual skepticism when made by a president who openly advocates unilateral action—“I’ve got a pen, and I’ve got a phone”—when the legislative process doesn’t produce the result he wants, and when they are made by a president whose expansive view of his powers the Supreme Court has unanimously rejected 13 times. Unfortunately, the abuse of power exposed in Halbig may trump them all.

Here’s where the president broke bad. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act directs states to establish “exchanges” to regulate the sale of health insurance. If a state declines to do so, as 36 states have, the health-care law directs the federal government to “establish and operate such Exchange within the State.” But here’s the rub: Certain taxpayers can receive subsidized coverage, the law says, if they enroll “through an Exchange established by the State.” The law nowhere authorizes subsidies through exchanges …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Fed Proposal to End Bailouts Falls Short

July 25, 2014 in Economics

By Mark A. Calabria, Marcus Stanley

Mark A. Calabria and Marcus Stanley

At the heart of public anger with Wall Street is the sense that accountability is lacking. The largest banks seem to live in a ‘heads I win, tails you lose’ world in which they keep their gains but receive a bailout to prevent their failure.

It is impossible to read the proposal and see how it limits Federal Reserve discretion.”

The most publicized bailout of the financial crisis was the TARP bill that provided capital injections to a wide range of banks. But most of the assistance to financial firms was provided through a less publicized set of emergency lending programs authorized by Section 13(3) of the Federal Reserve Act. This emergency lending authority supported the Fed’s rescue of AIG, a massive set of guarantees for Citibank, which would have failed without them, and an alphabet soup of lending ‘facilities’ that supported a small set of Wall Street dealers with almost unlimited cheap credit for a period of years.

When Congress examined this issue during the Dodd-Frank Act, they placed new limits on emergency lending that are contained in Section 1101 of the legislation. These limits are clearly intended to limit 13-3 lending to programs that are truly broad based (as opposed to bailing out a small set of insider Wall Street institutions), and to exclude the use of the program for ‘bailouts’ of institutions that are actually insolvent.  While Americans for Financial Reform and the Cato Institute disagree on many questions about Dodd-Frank, we do agree these new limitations are important steps forward in improving the accountability of both Wall Street and the Federal Reserve.

We also agree that the Federal Reserve’s implementation of these new limits on emergency lending is totally unsatisfactory and inadequate. Despite a requirement to issue rules detailing the new limits ‘as soon as possible,’ the proposal was released just days before Christmas in 2013, over three years after the passage of Dodd-Frank. The board and staff must have been in a hurry to leave for the holidays, as the notice largely repeats language from the statute and fails to address the law’s intent to limit Federal Reserve discretion. It is impossible to read the proposal and see how it limits Federal Reserve discretion. With the exception of a few actions aimed at single institutions, it appears that the actions taken in 2008, which so angered the public would …read more

Source: OP-EDS