You are browsing the archive for 2014 October 14.

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Five Libertarian Ideas #27 – Austrian Economics for New Libertarians

October 14, 2014 in Blogs

By Political Zach Foster


A SWAT team blew a hole in my 2-year-old's chest — and just got off scot-free. But here's why it gets even worse.


My son will be 2 years old next week. He’s recovering from a total of eight surgeries, one of which was to reattach his nose to his face.

For those who don’t know, it’s been over five months since the night a SWAT team broke into the house in which we were staying. It was the middle of the night, and even though our minivan with car seats inside was parked in the driveway and our children’s toys were in the yard, the SWAT officers claimed they had no way of knowing there were kids inside. We were staying with relatives and my whole family was sleeping in one room. My husband and I, our three daughters and our baby (nicknamed “Baby Bou Bou”) in his crib.

Dressed like soldiers, they broke down the door. The SWAT officers tossed a flashbang grenade into the room. It landed in Baby Bou Bou’s crib, blowing a hole in his face and chest that took months to heal and covering his entire body with scars.

On Monday, we were devastated and heartbroken by the grand jury’s decision to not charge any of the officers involved in injuring our son. I relive that night every time I hold my son, see my daughters afraid and watch my husband in pain. Bou Bou will be 2 years old next week, and my gift to him will be my continued commitment to demand justice for what was done to him. We will not give up, we will not remain silent – we will continue to fight.

Bou Bou’s birthday is October 14. We are very happy we can celebrate with him — after the raid, we weren’t sure if he would make it. But our joy and relief he is alive can’t take away any of the psychological damage done by that raid. We’ve been trying to find a new normal ever since. But it’s been hard.

First Bou Bou was in intensive care and we spent …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Pentagon Says Global Warming Presents Immediate Security Threat

October 14, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

250px-The_Pentagon_January_2008

With dollar signs in their eyes, Pentagon officials have jumped on the global warming bandwagon and   ”released a report Monday asserting decisively that climate change poses an immediate threat to national security, with increased risks from terrorism, infectious disease, global poverty and food shortages.” What’s the answer to these many woes? Why, to give the military-industrial complex lots and lots and lots of money.

Why is ISIS gaining ground? Because global warming. The climate experts at the DOD say so.

Not that the Defense Department was ever at risk of seeing any real cuts. What backers of the Pentagon call “draconian cuts” are never more than tiny trims to the rate of increase in Pentagon spending, and of course, the Pentagon is awash on money today, just as it has always been every single day since 1945.

Conservatives and other pro-military groups will likely take issue with this latest bid for more cash from the Pentagon, not because they think the Pentagon is already overfunded but because they’re against the acceptance of global warming/climate change as a real phenomenon. This will be mentioned in the right wing press, but largely overlooked, because for them, the Pentagon is to always be treated with deference and credulity whenever it demands more money.

Not that it will make much difference either way. This global warming report is just a way for the Pentagon to pile on its already huge lobbying effort to keep the money flowing, and there’s no shortage of right wing politicians and pundits calling for an even bigger river of cash flowing to the government in the name of “defense.” This latest report simply offers an opportunity to get a few center-left politicians on board who might have been reluctant to sign yet another balnk check for the Pentagon. It also offers a few talking points to the administration in its climate change efforts.

The generals, all of whom are political appointees and lifelong bureaucrats who haven’t held real jobs in decades, will be more than happy to come up with exciting new plans for dealing with global warming, and all the manpower and trillions of dollars that will require over the next 30 or 40 years. It would unpatriotic to do anything less. National security is at stake.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Rothbard on Self-Defense and War

October 14, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

back of a security guard

Mises Daily Tuesday by David Gordon:

Contrary to the claims of many advocates for expanding the already-huge war apparatus of the United States, Libertarians in general — and Murray Rothbard in particular — are not pacifists, but reject the killing of innocents and other unjustified forms of military aggression.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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How Much Is Obama’s War on ISIS Going to Cost?

October 14, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Mises Daily Tuesday by Daniel McAdams:

How much is Obama’s war on ISIS Going to Cost you? You don’t want to know.

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Christopher Columbus, The New World, and Private Property

October 14, 2014 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

1280px-Emanuel_Gottlieb_Leutze_-_Columbus_Before_the_Queen

With the exception of a few ethnic Italian activists, no American appears to actually celebrate Columbus Day anymore (assuming it was ever “celebrated” in any meaningful sense). And unless you work for a bank or a government agency, you may not even notice it’s a “holiday” at all. Indeed, it’s quite possible that Columbus Day would be all but ignored, if it were not for a perennially enraged group of activists who take the Columbus’ many acts of thievery and murder in the New World and use them to indict people born nearly 500 years after Columbus drew his last breath.

Even in his own day, Columbus was accused of inexcusable brutality, and even his friends had to admit he suffered from extreme vanity, ambition, and a lust to rule over other people. A politician par excellence, he continually lobbied for more and more political power, riches, and favors from the Spanish crown. His record was not impressive, and King Ferdinand refused to grant him the governorship of the West Indies which Columbus so longed for.

His own contemporaries noted with contempt that Columbus presided over the mass murder of the natives, and contrary to the current narrative among anti-Columbus crusaders today, it was hardly European gospel that the natives be treated as unpersons without property rights. Indeed, the natives were regarded by many as having the same rights as all human beings. Being non-European certainly did not bring with it sub-human status, and a papal envoy sent to Peking in the 14th century was  not sent to inform the Chinese that they were to surrender all their property.

In fact, this pro-property position was established clearly, at least among the Catholic countries, by 1537 when Pope Paul III issued the papal bull “Sublimus Dei” which stated that the American natives are rational beings while concluding:

…the said Indians and all other people who may later be discovered by Christians, are by no means to be deprived of their liberty or the possession of their property, even though they be outside the faith of Jesus Christ; and that they may and should, freely and legitimately, enjoy their liberty and the possession of their property; nor should they be in any way enslaved; should the contrary happen, it shall be null and have no effect.

Of course, people listened to the Pope back then about as much as they do now, so much …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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In Big Government, Breaking Up Is Always Hard to Do

October 14, 2014 in Economics

By David Boaz

David Boaz

Hewlett-Packard, the nation’s ninth-largest manufacturing company, is splitting itself into two companies. Executives say the company’s units are just too different to be managed in the same way.

Think about that. Hewlett-Packard is a very big company, with annual sales of about $115 billion. It’s nowhere near as big as the U.S. government, though, which will spend almost $4 trillion this year. It’s not even as big as the state governments of New York and California, which spent $132 billion and $215 billion, respectively, in 2011.

Those governments are engaged in far more disparate lines of work, and yet their executives never seem to downsize, spin off noncore businesses, close down non-performing units, or split into smaller, more manageable entities. Do corporate executives know something that political officials don’t?

Bureaucrats know how to add programs, but not to subtract them.”

Hewlett-Packard isn’t alone. Two weeks ago, eBay announced it would spin off its PayPal division.

Lots of large companies have decided to split up because they have become too large and diverse to be managed efficiently. ITT and AT&T both did that in 1995. Viacom and CBS split in 2006, as did Time-Warner and AOL in 2008 and Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. in 2012.

However, this never seems to happen in government, which just keeps on growing and adding new programs.

One reason that government grows too big is what Milton and Rose Friedman called “the tyranny of the status quo.” That is, when a new government program is proposed, it’s often the subject of heated debate. (At least if we’re talking about big programs, such as farm subsidies or Medicare. Plenty of smaller programs get slipped into the budget with little or no debate, and some of them get pretty big after a few years. “Emergency” measures, such as the Patriot Act of 2001 and the 2009 stimulus bill, may pass with little real deliberation.) Once it has passed, debate over the program virtually ceases.

After that, Congress just considers every year how much to increase its budget. There’s no longer any debate about whether the program should exist. Reforms like zero-based budgeting and sunset laws are supposed to counter this problem, but they haven’t had much effect.

When the federal government moved to shut down the Civil Aeronautics Board in 1979, it found that there were no guidelines for terminating a government agency. It just never happens. President Clinton’s “reinventing government” project said, “The federal government seems unable to abandon the obsolete. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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U.S. Now Reaping the Iraqi Whirlwind: Washington Should Back out of Iraq's New Civil War

October 14, 2014 in Economics

By Doug Bandow

Doug Bandow

George W. Bush’s foolish invasion of Iraq sowed the wind. Now Iraq, its neighbors, and America are reaping the whirlwind. Some Iraqi officials are calling for the return of U.S. combat troops. Washington should respond with a clear and unequivocal no.

American conservatives traditionally rejected domestic social engineering. Despite its best efforts, government cannot easily remake society and reform humanity—at least for the better. Attempts to do so usually end up going spectacularly wrong, proving to be both destructive and expensive.

But the neoconservative takeover of the Republican Party’s foreign policy pushed the GOP into social engineering on a global scale. Just loose the military, argued the conservative Generalissimos, and all would be well. Peace and democracy would triumph, evil would disappear, the lion would lie down with the lamb, and former opponents would hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

Alas, it didn’t work out that way in Iraq. The dictator, Saddam Hussein, was quickly dispatched, but nothing else went according to plan. At the cost of several thousand dead the U.S. opened a geopolitical Pandora’s Box, unleashing a sectarian-guerrilla conflict which claimed hundreds of thousands of Iraqi lives and destroyed minority religious communities. Bush’s legacy was a corrupt, authoritarian, and sectarian state, friendly with Iran and Syria, Washington’s prime adversaries in the Middle East.

U.S. missteps continue, with policy seemingly set on permanent repeat.”

Even worse was the emergence of the Islamic State, ripping Iraq apart, seizing large chunks of Syria, threatening Kurdistan, committing murder and mayhem, and threatening to destabilize Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Few imagined that the unintended consequences of Bush’s grand crusade could be so bad.

Most Americans came to recognize that the Iraq invasion had been a debacle, a dramatic demonstration of hubris and incompetence. The disaster’s architects, however, doubled down. Nothing had been their fault, the neocons insisted. If only President Bush had used more troops. Invaded additional countries. Engaged in more killing. Conducted a longer occupation. Then all would have been well.

Indeed, Iraq hawks claimed, the fault for Iraq’s collapse was entirely President Obama’s since he followed the Bush withdrawal schedule. After all, given the disastrous experience of the Bush foreign policy, what responsible U.S. official would conform to the Bush timetable? President Obama should have known the result would be failure. Thus, he should have told the war-weary American people that the U.S. could never leave Iraq, even if the Iraqi people also rejected …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Mike Pence's Approach to Taxes Earns an 'A'

October 14, 2014 in Economics

By Nicole Kaeding

Nicole Kaeding

Indiana and Illinois are rivals in more than just Big Ten basketball. The two states compete over residents, businesses and investment capital. The policies pushed by the two governors matter, and directly influence this competition. Almost two years into the Mike Pence administration, Indiana seems to be winning the friendly fight.

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 nation’s governors based on their efforts to restrain government and cut spending. This year’s edition rates Pence with an “A” and Illinois Governor Pat Quinn with an “F.”

Since taking office Pence has cut taxes and spending and further consolidated the state government. In 2013, Pence achieved personal income cuts that are saving Hoosier families hundreds of dollars annually; the tax rate fell by 5 percent, from 3.4 to 3.23 percent. He accelerated cuts to the state’s corporate income tax, thus allowing businesses to invest more in their companies and employees, a win-win for job and salary growth. Pence also repealed the state’s inheritance tax that burdens the families of small-business owners and Indiana farmers in their time of loss. Pence continued this tax-reform tradition in 2014, signing a phase out of property taxes on business equipment and signaling more tax reform will be on his agenda in 2015.

Indiana and Illinois are rivals in more than just Big Ten basketball.”

Across the border, Gov. Pat Quinn’s reelection campaign focuses on a $3 billion annual tax hike on Illinois families. Quinn came to office in 2009 promising a “period of reform and recovery.” To jump start the reforms, he asked Illinois families to send more money to Springfield by hiking the income tax rate by 67 percent, from 3 to 5 percent, and also raising the corporate income tax rate. Quinn argued that “temporary” higher taxes would allow the state to restore fiscal order. Now, instead of letting the rates fall again closer to the rates paid by Indiana neighbors–Quinn wants to renege on his promises and keep the rates elevated.

Quinn’s liberal approach to spending also contrasts with Pence’s restraint. Indiana’s governor restrained general fund spending growth to 1.9 percent in 2014, which contrasts with the 3.7 percent increase in Illinois.

Ultimately state fiscal decisions do affect the economy. Indiana’s economy grew at twice the rate of Illinois’ in 2013, and faster than the national average. …read more

Source: OP-EDS