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Stewart, Colbert Save the Day: Bill O’Reilly and Fox News’ ISIS Insanity Makes Them More Essential than Ever

October 2, 2014 in Blogs

By Sophia A. McClennen, Salon.com

Stephen Colbert delivers critique CBS was either too afraid, or ill-informed, to use to shut down the Fox blowhard.


As the nation continues airstrikes on ISIS in Syria and Iraq, the U.S. public is bracing for yet another military conflict in the Middle East.  And in order to make sense of this new crisis viewers are finding that “fake news” often offers better analysis than the so-called “real news.” While Fox News’s Eric Bolling called the first female UAE pilot that bombed the Islamic State “boobs on the ground” and coverage on all major news channels mistakenly described ISIS as an imminent threat to the United States, fake news offered the U.S. public a refreshing dose of reality.

Of course, the idea that the fake news is doing it better than the real news should come as no surprise. In recent years we have learned that viewers more and more often perceive “fake” news as “real” news.  Viewers trust Jon Stewart more than Brian Williams.  And Fox News viewers consistently rank near the bottom of polls on informed viewers, while viewers of shows like “The Colbert Report” know more about contemporary political issues than those consuming mainstream news media.

So why is the “fake” news so good? First of all, in an era when most cable news is overtaken by hype, punditry, and sensationalism, satire news offers viewers a much-needed chance to gain some critical perspective.  When the mainstream media droned on that Obama needed to be more aggressive, Stephen Colbert responded by wishing we could have Frank Underwood as president.  The gimmick immediately revealed the ridiculous nature of most TV news coverage that uses up airtime bashing the president and avoiding the real issues.  Hence satire news often reminds us that the actual topics covered by mainstream news are not helping to inform us.

Secondly, satire news exposes the hypocrisy of political rhetoric on TV news.  For example, on the very same news day that Eric Bolling made the outrageous “boobs on the ground” statement, a major portion or TV news time was spent deconstructing Obama’s “latte” salute with Bolling himself calling the salute …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Billionaire Who Stole a California Beach, and the Surfers Who Are Winning it Back

October 2, 2014 in Blogs

By Eric Johnson, Hilltromper

The mogul who's been battling to keep the public off a beach near Half Moon Bay is not just some libertarian jerk.


Reprinted with permission from Hilltromper where it originally appeared

Earlier this week, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill instructing the State Lands Commission to negotiate with billionaire and cleantech champion Vinod Khosla about buying a public right-of-way across his property to allow public access to embattled Martins Beach. If a deal can't be struck by Jan. 1, 2016, the commission may use its power of eminent domain to force a sale.

It doesn't sound like Khosla's much interested in negotiating. His company responded in a statement this afternoon that Khosla will “continue to fight for his property rights,” and that “pandering politicians want rights the state did not want to pay for.”

Khosla, who has been battling for years to keep the public off this beach near Half Moon Bay, is not just some libertarian jerk. That must be said for two reasons: 1) he is unafraid of being thought a jerk, and has been making a lot of enemies around here lately; and 2) he is the nation's leading investor in green technology, and is funding companies doing some of the most important work on the planet.

The facts of the Martins Beach story are well-known: Three years after buying a piece of oceanfront property, Khosla closed a gate to the road locals had used to access the beach for generations, occasionally sending armed guards to the property to deter beach-goers. Last year theSurfrider Foundation sued Khosla for failing to get a permit from the Coastal Commission for barring access, and last week a judge ruled in Surfrider's favor.

In typically blunt fashion, Khosla frames the situation as a simple property rights matter: “If they wanted you to make your backyard a park, would that hurt you?” Of course in this case, the “park” was already there when Khosla arrived and decided to turn it into his backyard.

Regarding the long-held and widely revered principle that California beaches are public property—a rule enshrined in the public trust doctrine in the state …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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The Road to Poverty Is Paved with Small Inflations

October 2, 2014 in Economics

By Carmen Elena Dorobăț

The value of Venezuela’s currency plummeted to record lows on the black market last week, with 100 ‘strong’ bolivars exchanging for $1 (ten times lower than the official rate), and annual price inflation reaching 63%. Chavez’s successor Nicolas Maduro, continuing to denounce the “capitalist economic war” on his socialist regime, now blames airlines for trying to collect ticket revenues the government isn’t able to pay. Meanwhile, the Venezuelan economy is showing symptoms of a rapidly forming crack-up boom: shortage of basic amenities, power outages, depletion of dollar reserves by 30%, and looming debt default. As people scramble to exchange paper money for anything and everything that can still be found on store shelves, “over there”—say their Columbian neighbors just across the border—“there’s no food.”

The ‘final and total catastrophe of the currency system’—as Mises called the terminus point of any sustained inflation—was in fact brewing in Venezuela long before Maduro’s regime, and the country experienced even higher price inflation in late 1990s. But because people held the belief that prices might fall at some point in the future, and continued to increase or maintain their cash balances, the earlier stages of the inflationary process were drawn out over many years. However, two Caracas entrepreneurs have warned that it is now too late for the government to salvage anything: “people clearly haven’t had confidence in [the bolivar] for decades; and even less now… It doesn’t look like the market has much confidence in the government’s ability to get things under control”.

While Maduro’s regime is leading its people to poverty in a quick, conspicuous manner, other governments are more willing to wait and conceal their intentions. Moderate price inflation has been simmering for decades in Western economies, where central banks make it their official mission to keep prices increasing at an annual rate of 2%—which means doubling them over the course of 30 years. Beneath this goal of ‘price stability’, central banks’ balance sheets quadrupled by 2012 and brought about a global financial crisis. However, this produced no rampant commodity price inflation, and no flight into real goods is likely to happen in the foreseeable future.

But does that really mean that we’re a world away from Venezuelan-like problems? As Mises pointed out, not necessarily:

If you talk about a catastrophe of the money, you need not always have in mind a total breakdown …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Peter Klein in Madrid

October 2, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Peter Klein was recently in Spain at a conference of the Strategic Management Society and gave a guest lecture in Jesús Huerta de Soto’s class. Tyler Xiong Yue, a Master’s degree student studying under Huerta de Soto, and a translator of many Mises Institute lectures, sent along some photos:

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Klein and Yue in Madrid.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Ron Paul on Secession and War

October 2, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

Ron Paul talks with Alan Colmes about secession in Iraq, Ukraine, and the US, plus the latest developments in the war in Syria and Iraq.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Scotland and the Hoppean Blueprint for Secession

October 2, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Mises Daily Thursday by Andrei Kreptul

In its secession effort, Scotland should have employed the methods recommended by Hans-Hermann Hoppe. That is, it should have been done in a decentralized and piecemeal fashion. However, such efforts would have required the Scots to abandon their welfare state.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Against the State: An Interview with Lew Rockwell

October 2, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute talks with Lew Rockwell about his new book, the state, war, police, and education.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Mr. Taxachusetts Earns an 'F'

October 2, 2014 in Economics

By Nicole Kaeding

Nicole Kaeding

Gov. Deval Patrick’s tax-and-spend approach to governance is dragging down Massachusetts’ economic recovery and scaring off new and dynamic businesses to other parts of the country.

The Great Recession ended in 2009, but its effects are still being felt within state budgets. To close the gap between higher spending and lower-than-expected government revenues, governors took varying approaches. Some, like North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, cut spending and cut taxes to breathe new life into their economies. Patrick, on the other hand, hampered Massachusetts’ competitiveness by raising taxes and expanding the government even faster.

The Cato Institute’s 12th biennial edition of its “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors” assigns grades of “A” to “F” to the governors based on their efforts to restrain government. Patrick received an “F” in this report card, down from a “C” in 2012.

What sparked the large drop in Patrick’s rating? His desire to dramatically increase taxes on Massachusetts families and businesses.

Deval Patrick’s policies have been moving Massachusetts in the wrong direction.”

From the time he took office in 2007, Patrick has shown a penchant for higher levels of revenue, but in 2012, he hiked taxes considerably. Every year, he has called for more and more in tax revenue. In 2012 he proposed sales taxes on candy and soda, and higher taxes on cigarettes, and corporations.

In 2013 he signed into law numerous tax increases. He raised taxes on corporations and utilities. The cigarette tax was increased by $1 per pack. He increased the gasoline tax by 3 cents per gallon (henceforth to be indexed to inflation unless voters repeal that provision in November). He also expanded the sales tax to include software purchases, intensifying the tax burden unnecessarily on businesses in the commonwealth. Fortunately, this tax increase was repealed by the Legislature this year.

Also in 2013, he proposed an income tax increase, which would have raised the rate from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent causing individuals and families to cough up more of their hard-earned dollars to government. The plan would have reduced the sales tax, which is a positive step, but overall would have increased the tax burden by $1.9 billion overall.

Massachusetts already had one of the highest state-local tax burdens in the country. Patrick’s plan would have pushed the envelope even further.

Luckily for Massachusetts taxpayers, the income tax hike did not pass. But that didn’t stop Patrick from proposing higher taxes again. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Governors Make Fiscal Progress

October 2, 2014 in Economics

By Chris Edwards, Nicole Kaeding

Chris Edwards and Nicole Kaeding

America’s high business taxes are discouraging investment and prompting companies to move their headquarters abroad. Most policymakers say they favor cutting the corporate-tax rate to help fix the problem, but reforms are stuck in Washington gridlock.

Thank goodness for the states. Many governors are championing fiscal reforms, and business tax cuts are one area of progress. We document these reforms in Cato’s new “fiscal report card,” which assigns grades of “A” to “F” to the governors based on their efforts to restrain government since 2012.

This year we awarded “A” grades to four governors:

  •  Pat McCrory of North Carolina signed a bill replacing individual-income-tax rates of 6.0, 7.0, and 7.75 percent with a single rate of 5.75 percent. He also cut the corporate-tax rate from 6.9 to 5.0 percent and repealed the estate tax.
  • Sam Brownback of Kansas approved a plan in 2012 replacing three individual-income-tax rates with two and cutting the top rate from 6.45 to 4.9 percent. The reform also increased the standard deduction and reduced taxes on small businesses. Brownback cut income-tax rates further in 2013.
  • Paul LePage of Maine signed major income-tax cuts in 2011, and he is pushing for further tax reforms. State spending has been roughly flat in recent years, and LePage has trimmed spending on welfare, health care, and other programs.
  • Mike Pence of Indiana has been frugal on spending and a champion tax cutter. He signed bills to cut individual-income-tax rates 5 percent (the current rate of 3.4 percent will fall to 3.23 percent in 2017) and repeal the inheritance tax. He also approved a corporate-income-tax rate cut and a major reduction in property taxes on businesses.

All of this year’s “A” governors were Republicans. Over the years, the data-driven Cato report cards have shown that Republican governors are more fiscally conservative, on average, than Democrats. This year is no exception, which is illustrated by the fact that all eight governors earning an “F” were Democrats.

Nonetheless, there are some Democratic centrists making reforms, including Andrew Cuomo of New York and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, who both earned a “B.” Cuomo cut corporate-income-tax rates, simplified the corporate tax base, increased the estate-tax exemption, and cut property taxes on manufacturers. Chafee cut the corporate-tax rate by two percentage points, repealed the franchise tax, and reduced the estate tax.

Washington is gridlocked, but many states are cutting taxes.”

But Republicans were behind nearly all …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors 2014

October 2, 2014 in Economics

In the new “Fiscal Policy Report Card on America’s Governors,” Cato scholars Nicole Kaeding and Chris Edwards examine the tax and spending decisions made by U.S. governors since 2012. Governors who have cut taxes and spending the most receive the highest grades, while those who have increased taxes and spending the most receive the lowest grades. Only four governors were awarded an “A” in this latest report card — Pat McCrory of North Carolina, Sam Brownback of Kansas, Paul LePage of Maine, and Mike Pence of Indiana.

…read more

Source: CATO HEADLINES