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Malaysian Airlines Opts for (Complete) State Ownership

August 9, 2014 in Economics

By Matt McCaffrey

Beleaguered Malaysian Airlines is opting for a government buyout in the wake of recent disasters. The company is already 69% state-owned, but a new deal will allow the Malaysian government to acquire the remaining shares, completing the nationalization. The airline has been in a downward financial spiral for years, plagued with union difficulties and loss-making state-management decisions, and the blows suffered in the last five months have only compounded its troubles.

Malaysia’s state investment company claims the goal of the buyout is to “revive our national airline to be profitable as a commercial entity and to serve its function as a critical national development entity.” The reality is that Malaysian Airlines is unable to compete in the airline industry—which is already a poster child for corporate welfare across the world—and is surrendering any of its remaining burden of market entrepreneurship.

Bluntly, the buyout looks like textbook rent-seeking and political entrepreneurship. At about eight cents per share, the buying price for the minority stake in the company is 29% higher that its average share price over the last three months, and higher than the share price prior to the disappearance of Flight 370 in March. The inflated value will act as a subsidy to the shareholders, who will make out far better than they would in a market that genuinely reflected the airlines’ inability to allocate resources effectively.

Of course, the transfer of the remaining ownership to government will not save the struggling firm, and if anything we should expect its fortunes to decline even further. More state ownership will only complete Malaysian Airlines’ insulation from anything resembling genuine markets, and eliminate any entrepreneurial drive toward satisfying consumers.

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Barack Obama Is Fourth President to Put Americans at Risk in Iraq: U.S. Should Stay out and Leave the Fight to Others

August 9, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

President Barack Obama has become the fourth straight president to order military action in Iraq. His airstrikes destroyed American military equipment captured from the U.S.-supplied Iraqi army, which a decade ago American forces defeated and disarmed.

The last president who didn’t bomb Iraq, Ronald Reagan, acted as a de facto ally of Baghdad in the latter’s aggressive war against Iran, which later encouraged Saddam Hussein to invade Kuwait. That in turn led to the first Gulf War, years of sanctions and periodic bombing, the 2003 invasion, and now the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Unless President Obama pulls back quickly, his administration risks becoming absorbed in another interminable, unnecessary war in Mesopotamia with unpredictable but almost certainly negative consequences.

ISIL’s rise is both a geopolitical failure and humanitarian disaster. However, so far the organization threatens the security of other nations, not America. Nor does the president have legal authority, necessary from Congress under the Constitution, to go to war again in Iraq.

The temptation to act is strong. After all, Christians and other religious minorities already suffered catastrophe as a result of U.S. policy. There were a million or more Christians in Iraq prior to the U.S. invasion. After Washington’s intervention blew the country apart and triggered sectarian conflict, more than half of them were driven abroad—many fled to Syria, where they ended up in grave danger again.

Only about 400,000 were thought to remain in Iraq before ISIL’s rise, with half or more in the north. What was once a refuge now threatens to become a death trap. Many if not a majority of them have been forced to flee or face persecution or worse at ISIL’s hands. So too the Yasidis, viewed as apostates by Islamic extremists. Tens of thousands fled the city of Sinjar after the Kurdish defenders were ousted. Many are trapped in mountainous terrain in dire circumstances.

America should offer sanctuary to those escaping ISIL’s depredations. The disappearance of Christians, who predate Muslims, from the Middle East is a historic, cultural, and personal tragedy accelerated by Washington’s counterproductive war-making. The administration could airlift refugees out as well as drop in supplies. But a relief operation should not become an excuse for turning America into a belligerent.

For years U.S. bombing appears to have created more enemies of America than it has killed.”

In his Thursday address President Obama defended limited airstrikes “to protect American personnel” involved …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Five Libertarian Ideas #21 – War in Gaza, War in Ukraine, Personal responsibility

August 9, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster

Israeli soldiers shield a child during a rocket attack

Arguing over Gaza
Since Jews and Muslims, liberals and conservatives are BACK into hysterical arguing over whether Israel or Palestine has the moral high ground in Gaza, I would like to formally protest the U.S. government’s illegal conquest and occupation of my two ethnic motherlands, northern Mexico and the Confederate States of America. ‪#‎lol‬ -7/12

Alcoholism and personal responsibility
Dealing with alcoholic family members brings me in touch with my inner Ayn Rand. No, I don’t want to help you. Your poor choices do not amount to my emergency. You had every opportunity under the sun to get your act together. Stop blaming other people for your problems. Others may enable your parasitic behavior but I refuse to participate. -7/13

PTSD from gang violence in LA
Every day this summer I’ve worked with teenage boys who have PTSD from gang violence in LA. They have thousand yard stares and can recount in graphic detail their friends and neighbors being shot, and them being attacked for refusing to join a gang.

Every day these boys make the decision to risk their lives going to school and to Scout meetings, and they’re working towards becoming Eagle Scouts and making plans to afford college.

<span style="background-color: black;color: yellow;font-family: Roboto, 'Droid …read more