You are browsing the archive for 2015 August 14.

Avatar of admin

by admin

Logic and the Rudeness Rebuttal

August 14, 2015 in Economics

By Gary Galles

Blog

Logic and the Rudeness Rebuttal

August 14, 2015

One of the trickiest needles for libertarians to thread in public policy discussions is what I call the rudeness rebuttal. And today’s explosion in microaggression accusations just makes it trickier.

The rudeness

Read more

…read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

Avatar of admin

by admin

The Internet Is Swarming With 'Snake People'

August 14, 2015 in Blogs

By April M. Short, AlterNet

Popular browser extension pokes fun at the Internet's millennial-haters.


I am one of the snake people. That is to say, I’m a millennial.

And if you are one of the thousands of people who downloaded a browser extension that replaces any online use of the term “millennials” with the term “snake people,” this article will be especially confusing to read.

The popular browser extension is simply called “Millennials to Snake People,” and it's pretty entertaining. In case you’ve been living under a rock (the way snake people are prone do, not just because rent is higher than ever in this country but also for obvious reasons), “millennials” is the name for people born in the 80s and 90s. And, as the Wall Street Journal  quite neatly summed it up:

“An extension is a small software program that modifies an Internet browser such as Google’s Chrome or Mozilla’s Firefox.”

Usually, people download browser extensions for practical purposes, like blocking ads, spellchecking and other purely functional uses. But not this glorious wordplay. The extension also includes related terms.

“‘Great recession’ becomes ‘time of shedding and cold rocks,’ and ‘Occupy Wall Street’ turns into ‘Great Ape-Snake War.’”

Thirty-three-year-old web designer and snake person Eric Bailey, created the extension for fun, and out of exacerbation over one too many crazily-titled headlines generalizing about millennials, he told WSJ.

“A lot of these articles speak of [millennials] in terms of this weird, dehumanized, alien phenomenon.”

Indeed, we snake people have had a bad rap, primarily from more conservative members of the generation formerly ostricized by their parents for being “hippies” (aka out of touch wealthy people with wrinkles) who have reproached us as entitled, spoiled, lazy cat-video-crazed complainers. In reality our vocal unhappiness about the current state of things is a direct reaction to the broken economic system we inherited–like the fact that we’re more educated than any other generation, buried in deeper debt, insane rent prices (yes, it’s worth mentioning twice) and joblessness. Former AlterNet editor and snake person Alyssa Figueroa sums things up pretty nicely here.

Bailey’s joke wasn’t …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

China's Devaluation Has Nothing to Do with Free Market Forces

August 14, 2015 in Economics

By James A. Dorn

James A. Dorn

China’s decision to abruptly devalue its currency against the dollar is being sold as a move toward a more market-determined exchange rate, but it is sure to infuriate those in Congress who have long argued that China is a currency manipulator.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping visits Washington next month, he will face a more hostile Congress, even if the International Monetary Fund supports the new currency arrangement whereby market forces have a greater role in setting the daily central parity for the yuan-dollar exchange rate.

It is wishful thinking, however, to believe that China’s exchange rate regime will be left to the free market. The People’s Bank of China kowtows to China’s State Council, and the consensus is that maintaining “stability” trumps market liberalization. There is little doubt that stabilization measures (i.e., intervention) will limit movements in the exchange rate to what Beijing thinks will be desirable, not what market participants think.

The real issue in determining the pace of reform is the delicate balance between state and market in China’s “market socialist” system. True markets require institutions that protect and cultivate freedom. People have to be free to choose, which means they have to have effective rights to buy and sell, both domestically and internationally, and they have to have enforceable contracts, an independent judiciary, a transparent and just legal system and a free market in ideas. China is seriously lacking on all fronts.

To strengthen its currency, China needs widespread liberalization.”

In a competitive exchange-rate system, millions of traders — not a central authority — will take account of all relevant information and there will be constant, small adjustments in free-market rates. Futures markets will exist to smooth rates over time and hedge bets. One-way speculation will not occur, as it does under pegged but adjustable rates.

The surprise drop in the yuan-dollar exchange rate by 1.9 percent on the first day of the new scheme for setting the central parity is reminiscent of price “reform” in the Soviet Union under central planning. Prices would be frozen for long periods, without regard to world prices, and then suddenly increased. Without the guiding hand of markets, and without free trade, there was no way to know the right prices — that is, those that would clear the market.

China has allowed more flexibility in the yuan’s movement around the official parity since July 2005, but within strict …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Jeb Just Can’t Help Himself: The Myth of His Electability Continues to Fade

August 14, 2015 in Blogs

By Joan Walsh, Salon

Calling Saddam's ouster a 'pretty good deal' and name-checking Paul Wolfowitz, Jeb keeps rivals' hope alive.


I’m running out of ways to describe the awfulness of Jeb Bush’s presidential campaign. If or when he fails, his jocular Thursday comment about the Iraq war — “Taking down Saddam Hussein turned out to be a pretty good deal” – will be in every highlight reel.

Not only is Jeb! now fully embracing his brother’s disastrous, bloody war of choice. He’s talking about it in a glib salesman way, reminding us that the war was in fact “a pretty good deal” for his cronies: for Halliburton spinoff KBR, the entire defense industry, and a metastasizing web of private security contractors including disgraced giant Blackwater. The families of the dead and wounded in Iraq might disagree.

Things got worse in his speech Friday, where he volunteered that “Paul Wolfowitz is giving some advice.” Wolfowitz, the scowling face of the smug neocons.

I’ve asked this before: Does Bush even want to win?

Donald Trump claimed Bush had his “47 percent moment” – the comment that doomed Mitt Romney — when he suggested we’re spending too much on women’s health. But his dumb remark about toppling Saddam being “a pretty good deal” could rival that. Then again, there are so many contenders for the inconvenient, inadvertent truth-telling moment that could doom Bush: suggesting underpaid American workers “need to work more hours;” that “the federal government shouldn’t be doing this” when asked about the minimum wage; arguing that we should be “phasing out” Medicare.

Of course he walked all of those remarks back. Let’s see if he tries to do the same with this one.

All of these campaign flubs are occurring against the backdrop of the strangest presidential primary of our lifetimes, in which Donald Trump has taken the lead nationally, as well as in Iowa and New Hampshire, with 16 lackluster rivals trying to catch up. For a while Bush strategists were pretending the Trump candidacy benefited Bush, by depriving his rivals of the attention they need to gain traction, and predicting Bush would consolidate support …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Cornel West & Chris Hedges: How the Black Elite Betrayed the Civil Rights Tradition (VIDEO)

August 14, 2015 in Blogs

By Adam Johnson, AlterNet

Dr. West argues that the black prophetic tradition has been replaced by capitalism and individualism.


In the first episode of Chris Hedges's new teleSUR show Days of Revolt, the Pulitzer-Prize winner sat down with long-time friend – and recently arrested—Cornel West to discuss the current state of black America in the age of Ferguson. West's primary critique remains what he refers to as the “black elite class” who he says have betrayed the black poor. 

“What took the place of collective fightback was individual outward upward mobility” West insisted, “so (instead of) what was once in place—much stronger moral conviction—we see ruthless ambition.” 

West has spoken up for years about what he considers to be other black intellectuals inability to discuss class and empire. A conversation that's become more heated of late as many in the Black Lives Matter movement have critiqued Sanders for only talking about class while some progressives have critiqued neoliberal “identity politics” for dismissing class altogether. West, for his part, insists on highlighting both.

“So you hit the issues of homophobia while you hit the issues of male supremacy. But in the end, if you're not hitting monopoly capitalism,” Dr. West said, “if you're not hitting the imperial policies that flow therefrom, you're still not going to be at the root of what we need to come to terms with.”

Watch the interview below:

 

 

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Megyn Kelly Abruptly Announces Unplanned Two-Week Vacation, Effective Immediately

August 14, 2015 in Blogs

By Scott Eric Kaufman, Salon

Not that compassionate people should begrudge her more time to recuperate, but the timing is curious.


The week following her aggressive questioning last Thursday of Republican front-runner Donald Trump has not been an easy one for Fox News’ Megyn Kelly. 

From being called a “bimbo” to death threats to never being able to unthink this grotesquerie, there’s no debating that Kelly could use a more substantial vacation that than the three-day trip to the beach she earlier claimed to have embarked upon after the debate.

And why shouldn’t she take a longer break? Two more weeks devoted to recuperating from the Donald’s relentless Trumping isn’t something compassionate people should be beyond begrudging.

However, the timing of her unplanned absence is a touch curious, coming mere days after Roger Ailes had to personally step to ratchet down hostilities between the battling parties — especially given the rumors that he told Trump that not accepting the detente would mean “go[ing] to war” with the network.

For Kelly to abandon her show so soon after scoring what was, by most accounts, a decisive victory against the real estate magnate is a curious decision on the host’s part — if, indeed, it is her decision, as it was also revealed earlier in the week that Ailes offered Trump time on “The Kelly File,” even though Kelly was adamant that she would not be apologizing for what she considered to be “good journalism.”

Watch the entire video below via Fox News.

Watch the latest video at video.foxnews.com

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Obama's Illegal War on ISIS

August 14, 2015 in Economics

By Gene Healy

Gene Healy

Last Saturday marked the one-year anniversary of the start of America’s campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). But after some 5,000 airstrikes — with some 3,500 U.S. soldiers on the ground — Congress has yet to hold an up-or-down vote on authorization for our latest Middle East war.

A year of illegal warmaking represents a new low in the erosion of constitutional checks and balances: an occasion for the country to reflect on the dangerous drift toward the normalization of presidential warmaking. Yet that milestone garnered far less public attention than the clown-car wreck of the first GOP primary debate last week.

Historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. observed that the growth of the Imperial Presidency has been ”as much a matter of congressional abdication as of presidential usurpation.” Over the past year, there’s been more than enough of both pathologies to go around.

To review: on August 7, 2014, President Obama announced that he’d “authorized” the first wave of airstrikes against ISIS in Iraq; in September, he expanded the war to Syria. It was six months before he got around to sending Congress a draft Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) — along with a cover note insisting that “existing statutes provide me with the authority I need” to wage war anyway.

Since then, Congress “has refused to meaningfully debate or vote,” on authorization for war, Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA) lamented at the Cato Institute on Thursday. In a June, Kaine noted the “excruciating detail”  devoted to military minutia: ”We will vote on vehicle rust, and we will vote on barracks mold. But we don’t want to vote on whether the Nation should be at war.” Then again, his colleague Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) shrugged, “Burning up legislative time, burning up capital, burning up goodwill on something that you know is purely an intellectual exercise when there are so many pressing matters? Maybe that’s not so prudent.”

Sadly, Corker may be on to something. A new authorization might not be “prudent” — not because Congress might “burn up legislative time” doing its job — but because any resolution that could pass at this point might only end up expanding the president’s war powers even further. After all, prominent GOP lawmakers reacted to Obama’s draft authorization by complaining that the president hasn’t been imperial enough.

It’s even less likely that the current …read more

Source: OP-EDS

Avatar of admin

by admin

Facebook User Pretends to Be Target Help Desk and Trolls Incensed Conservatives

August 14, 2015 in Blogs

By Walter Einenkel, Daily Kos

They were complaining to the company for no longer separating boys' and girls' toy sections.


A few days ago Target announced that their stores would no longer separate boys' and girls' toy sections. Predictably, people who use the word “political correctness” started throwing that word around like it was politically correct to do so. Someone on Facebook decided to change their name to Ask ForHelp and put a Target bullseye logo and start responding to people attacking Target for this change in policy.

 

 

Zing!

 

Bam!

 

Hehe. These next two are personal favorites.

 

You can see some more shots of this masked avenger taking the wind out of Facebook windbag's sails below the fold.

 

 

 

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

Silicon Valley’s Skyrocketing Housing Costs Shut Teachers Out

August 14, 2015 in Blogs

By Lillian Mongeau, The Hechinger Report

School quality could suffer, some residents say.


SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Skyrocketing housing prices in Silicon Valley, the red-hot center of tech entrepreneurship and one of the most highly educated enclaves in the world, are making it hard for teachers to call the area home.

“Housing is one of the biggest reasons we lose teachers from one year to the next,” said Dave Villafana, president of the teachers’ union in Cupertino, Apple’s hometown. “They can’t afford a house and rent is prohibitive as well.”

Villafana, who has taught in Cupertino for 28 years, said that for the last 15 years district teachers have increasingly had to live elsewhere — often a 45- to 65-minute commute away on the area’s clogged freeways — in order to afford rent. Owning a home, he said, is “not even a thought.”

“The reality in Silicon Valley now — for working class or middle class working professionals — is that a single family home is just not a reality for them and it probably won’t be,” said Chris Isaacson, president of the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors.

In Cupertino, the median price of a single-family home was $1.8 million in May 2015, according to data pulled by the Silicon Valley Association of Realtors from the MLS database, the most up-to-date source of information on home prices. In nearby Mountain View, where the Googlers work, the median price was again $1.8 million. [See map for detailed information on other Santa Clara County communities.]

And these are not giant suburban homes people are buying. The average square footage of homes sold in these towns last month hovered around 2,000 square feet, meaning that the price per square foot is more than $900, a cost that rivals pricey New York City.

For many residents of the Valley, for which Santa Clara County is the closest geographical proxy, owning a house remains a possibility, despite the gargantuan price tags, because salaries here have risen too. The county ranked in the top 20 for median household income in 2012, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. And the bureau’s 2009–2013 five-year estimates put …read more

Source: ALTERNET

Avatar of admin

by admin

WATCH: 'Hillary's the Principal, Bernie's the Cool Teacher': Wilmore Panel Breaks Down Clinton vs. Sanders

August 14, 2015 in Blogs

By Adam Johnson, AlterNet

“Sanders rallies are like Grateful Dead concerts — hipsters and old hippies exchanging drugs.”


Larry Wilmore turned his attention to the increasingly tight race between Sanders and Clinton on Thursday night and tried to break down with his panel why Clinton's campaign was having such a hard time gaining steam.

“It really is amazing that Sanders… is beating Hillary in New Hampshire right now,” the Nightly Show host said in reference to a recent poll showing Sanders leading Clinton 44%-37%. “He's drawing crowds of 28,000 and Hillary has like 5,000 to 6,000.”

So what's going on? 

Actor Michael Rapaport wasn't worried, insisting Bill's “soft blue eyes” would charm voters at the eleventh hour. Guest Ophira Eisenberg of NPR's Ask Me Another thought it was Sanders “artisanal” hipster appeal but Nightly Show contributor Mike Yard had the most compelling theory.

“Hillary comes off as the principle. She cares about you, but you're nervous around her,” he posited. “And Bernie is the cool-ass teacher. You see him in the hall and you're like 'What up Mr. Sanders!” 

The consensus: Hillary has an “authenticity” problem but is still the one to beat.

Watch the clip below:

 

Related Stories

…read more

Source: ALTERNET