You are browsing the archive for 2014 September 01.

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Libertarian Star Wars images

September 1, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster

For a while now I’ve been a big stickler on libertarian culture. Bridging the gap between libertarian ideas and mainstream culture is a key way to grow the liberty movement.
Doing so was my objective in making these hi-resolution libertarian e-posters featuring stunning Star Wars artwork and quotes from famous libertarians, including Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard, and Ron Paul.
Just so you know, I did not create these beautiful images. I also do not own or possess the rights to them. I simply found them on various Google image searches and put text on them.
Despite the libertarian opposition to intellectual property, we still don’t want to get sued, so… You may use these libertarian Star Wars e-posters strictly for non-commercial purposes (i.e. no currency exchanged).
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s share some ideas!
Share these images far and wide! Re-post! Re-blog!
May the Force [and God-given liberty] be with you.

Click the images to enlarge

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Star Wars is the property of Lucasfilm Ltd., The Walt Disney Corporation, and …read more

Source: ZACH FOSTER RANTS

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I'm Trying to Solve a Decades Old Mystery: How Many People Were Killed by China's Great Famine?

September 1, 2014 in Economics

By Mao Yushi

Mao Yushi

There’s a mystery in China that’s decades old: how many people died during the Great Famine?

It’s almost impossible to say. Some historians call it the worst man-made disaster in human history, killing one out of every eight people in some places. But much about the time period is actively suppressed in China. In fact, it’s euphemistically referred to as the “Three Years of Natural Disasters” there, and discussion remains taboo.

As an economist and a concerned citizen, I’ve been seeking out the truth. Not only are there important historical and economic lessons to be learned from this episode, the Chinese government’s continued censorship of the past helps perpetuate the closed, authoritarian political system there.

It’s also important to understand because the Great Famine was caused by avoidable human mistakes, not inescapable natural disasters.

The trouble began in 1949, when the Communist party took power. Soon after, Mao’s Great Leap Forward tried to modernize China’s agricultural system. But many farmers were unable to grow enough food for themselves after handing over a considerable portion to the government.

This led to mass starvation across the country’s countryside. At the time, I was in my early 30s and working at the Railway Research Institute. I remember that our basketball court had been transformed into a field to grow wheat.

Eventually, I was labeled a “rightist” and persecuted, along with thousands of others. We were removed from our posts and sent to the countryside for “re-education.” I was reduced to the lowest human form, constantly stalked by the nightmare that I could never shake: hunger.

There were 700 people in the small village where I stayed during this period. Roughly 80-90 died from hunger or related diseases before the famine ended in 1961.

Even to this day, most Chinese people aren’t aware of the real impacts of the Great Famine.”

Even to this day, most Chinese people aren’t aware of the real impacts of the Great Famine. Researchers debate the number of people killed, estimating it’s anywhere from 18 million to more than 42 million. The official Chinese government estimate hovers around 20 million.

I’ve been investigating the question. According to the Chinese government’s own statistical yearbook, the population of China was growing continuously until the end of 1958. If we follow this line of growth, the population should have been 711.18 million by 1962, instead of 658.59 million, a difference of about 52 million individuals.

We cannot, …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Restarting the Common Core Debate

September 1, 2014 in Economics

By Michael Petrilli, Neal McCluskey

Michael Petrilli and Neal McCluskey

Over the past couple of years, a raucous debate has emerged over the Common Core, content standards in English and mathematics adopted by states nationwide. The debate has been marked by acrimony rather than analysis, but there is hope that both sides want a reset. We — one Core advocate, one opponent — want to assist by laying out the facts on which we think everyone should agree.

What are some signs of detente? Core architect David Coleman recently decried characterizations of Core opponents “as crazies or people who don’t tell the truth,” while strategists at firebrand Glenn Beck’s “We Will Not Conform” event called for ditching invective like “ObamaCore” or “communist plot.”

Now, the facts.

First, there is no evidence that most Core opponents or advocates are ill-intentioned. There’s no compelling reason to believe, for instance, that Bill Gates is funding Core advocacy for any reason other than that he thinks it is beneficial, or that opponents are motivated by anything other than concern that the standards are inadequate, or amount to dangerous national standardization.

Next, the Core was not created by Washington, but groups that saw crummy state standards and tests and agreed on the need to improve their quality. In particular, these organizations wanted to ensure that “proficient” meant the same thing in Mississippi as Massachusetts, and sought to reduce the huge proportion of people arriving at college or workplaces without the skills to succeed. Responding to this, the National Governors Association and Council of Chief State School Officers started discussing whether common, higher standards could be forged in the basic subjects of reading and math. With support from the Gates Foundation, they launched the effort that eventually became the Core. All this occurred, importantly, before Barack Obama was elected president.

Facts must replace invective in discussing the best educational methods.”

However, federal involvement played an important role in the Core. Federal policy, beginning in 1994, pushed states to develop standards and tests in the first place, and No Child Left Behind, enacted in 2002, doubled down on these mandates, requiring states to disaggregate test results for numerous groups and sanction low-performing schools.

More directly, in 2010, the Obama administration held the first “Race to the Top” competition. To maximize their chances of winning part of $4 billion, states had to sign on to college- and career-ready standards adopted by “a majority of states,” a …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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The Yield Curve and Our Weakened Economy

September 1, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

6859

Mises Daily Monday by Frank Shostak:

It’s difficult to envisage a downward-sloping yield curve in an unhampered market economy since this would imply that investors are assigning a higher risk to short-term maturities than long-term maturities. But in today’s economy, an upward- or a downward-sloping yield curve reflects the Fed’s interest rate policies.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE