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New Spanish Translations from Mises Hispano

October 9, 2015 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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New Spanish Translations from Mises Hispano

October 9, 2015

Remember, if you prefer to read articles in Spanish, the good people at Mises Hispano continue to translate many Mises Daily articles within days after the initial English publication. There are many new additions this week including Azihari and Rouanet's article “No más tratados de “libre comercio”: Es la hora del verdadero libre comercio” and “El futuro está descentralizado” by Patrick Byrne.

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Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Will Jerry Brown Sign Bill Automatically Registering 7 Million Californians to Vote?

October 9, 2015 in Blogs

By Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

New voting laws could change the outcome, and GOPers like Chris Christie don't want you to vote.


Every presidential election, voters are told their future is threatened—to get people to vote. In 2016, there may be some truth to that cliché, as the next president will likely appoint new U.S. Supreme Court justices who will linger for decades.

But below that imperative to vote hangs an ugly truth. The electronic machines that most Americans will be using in 2016 are old and increasingly unreliable. That means it is necessary for winners to not just get 50 percent plus one vote, but win by much bigger margins so as the Election Night dust settles, there won’t be weeks of bitter recount fights.

This reality is known by political insiders. It’s the main factor behind the right’s push for every imaginable flavor of voter suppression—stricter voter ID laws, limiting early voting, and so on. And on the left, it’s a factor behind the push to reverse those draconian laws and make voting easier—starting with the registration process.

The latest twist in the voter registration story is some states are setting up systems to automatically register voters when people get a driver’s license. Oregon was first, and now Californians are waiting to see if Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown will sign a bill establishing that system. He has until Sunday to sign the bill. (New Jersey's legislature passed a similar measure, but Republican Gov. Chris Christie has pledged to veto it.) 

“There are nearly 7 million eligible Californians who are not registered to vote,” Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, wrote this week in an e-mail urging Californians to lobby Brown. “Automatically signing up voters could make a huge dent in that problem.”

He explained there are two major differences with this approach from the status quo.

“Here’s how it works: first, eligible citizens are registered to vote when they are at a DMV office, unless they decide they do not want to be signed up. That is a subtle, but impactful change. The current method keeps eligible …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Bishop: Ben Carson Upsets Washington Post for Questioning Fiat Money

October 9, 2015 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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Bishop: Ben Carson Upsets Washington Post for Questioning Fiat Money

October 9, 2015

Tho Bishop writes:

Neurosurgeon-turned-Presidential candidate Ben Carson has been under attack this week by our PC-enforcers in the media. While most of the media scorn has been directed at Carson’s defense of gun ownership following last week’s shooting in Oregon – Matt O’Brien of the Washington Post slapped at Carson for flirting with the gold standard.

In an article on Friday criticizing Jeb Bush for not condemning the gold standard harshly enough (Bush only offered a timid “I don't think so” when asked whether the US should make such a move), O’Brien highlighted some surprisingly sound comments Dr. Carson made earlier this week during an interview with NPR. While discussing the nation’s current debt, Carson said:

“[T]he only reason that we can sustain that kind of debt is because of our artificial ability to print money, to create what we think is wealth, but it is not wealth, because it's based upon our faith and credit. You know, we decoupled it from the domestic gold standard in 1933, and from the international gold standard in 1971, and since that time, it's not based on anything. Why would we be continuing to do that?”

Because of views like this, O’Brien dismisses Carson as not being a “candidate of serious policy.”

Unfortunately for O’Brien, he spends the rest of his column demonstrating that his own views on the gold standard, which he refers to as “the world’s worst idea today”, should not be taken seriously.

Along with offering the typical flawed-Friedmanite narrative of how the Federal Reserve’s dedication to preserving the gold standard, O’Brien is concerned about the impact a gold standard has on interest rates.

Without a hint of irony, O’Brien suggests that interest rates guided by the market simply lack the wisdom of our current PhD Standard:

“The question, then, is when gold actually does “want” to go up. And the answer is not when the economy would want it to. That's because the price of gold doesn't go up when the economy is overheating, and down when it's cooling off. If it did, then the gold standard would …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Editorial: Fall Fundraising a Success. Thanks So Much For Your Support. But Still Rough Times Ahead.

October 9, 2015 in Blogs

By Don Hazen, AlterNet

Your support helped to reduce our deficit. But we are not out of the woods yet.


I want to weigh in and give special thanks to the 2,225 readers who came to our rescue when we needed help.  We haven't had financial problems for 10 years. But this year turned out to be a little different. I'll explain more in a second.

We met our anonymous donor match and we went over our goal. Your support helped to reduce our deficit.  But we are not  out of the woods yet. The deficit  – roughly $200k or about 11 % of our budget  – is quite a bit more than one Fall fund raiser can fix.  So  we will likely need to make another appeal in a couple of months, as we approach the end of the year.   But, we are breathing a little easier now for sure.

To be transparent, I want to explain what happened to make things more financially urgent. It  is a problem for many in progressive media.  

The dominance of the mobile device

We are one of the many progressive web sites that takes advertising –including Mother Jones, The Nation, Salon, Daily Kos and more. That revenue is half of our budget. This means less money we have to raise from you and from foundations — which often have narrow agendas.

Generally speaking, when you have a large audience (ours is roughly 6 million a month), it makes sense to earn money from ads to pay staff, produce great articles and give you what you need. Most every media in America is ad-supported.

Recently, there has been a major shift of readers who now get their news on mobile devices. This has significantly reduced revenue because mobile advertising doesn’t pay nearly as much as advertising that runs on desktop computers. Additionally, some readers are using ad blockers — which hurts us — and all ad supported media  – even more.

As the New York Times explained, “…media companies and many other sites are supported by online ads. So if you get rid of the promotions (by using an ad blocker), you …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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There's No Correlation Between Gun Ownership, Mass Shootings, and Murder Rates

October 9, 2015 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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There’s No Correlation Between Gun Ownership, Mass Shootings, and Murder Rates

While I was fact checking today's Mises Daily article, I checked some correlation coefficients of my so I didn't have to rely on Volokh's numbers as my only source.

I approached the data a little differently than Volokh did and instead of using a subjective ranking by an organization like the Brady organization, I just looked at the rate of gun ownership in the state. After all, the argument is often that more guns and more gun owners leads to more violence.

So, I looked at the correlation between the gun ownership rate (a percentage on the x axis) and the murder rate (n per 100,000 on the y axis) in each state. The visual result is this:

As you can see, there is no correlation. In fact, if you run the numbers, the correlations coefficient is 0.1, which suggests a negligible correlation, or none at all. The murder data is 2012 data from the Justice Department. The gun ownership rate data is from a 2015 report called “Gun ownership and social gun culture.”

Just for good measure, I also went in and looked for a correlation between mass shootings and gun ownership rates. Here, I took the total number of mass shooting victims in all states so far in 2015. This is updated constantly by Mass Shooting Tracker, and includes the most recent Oregon mass shooting. Mass shootings here include a shooting involving 4 or more people, and do not necessarily mean school shooting. They can mean someone went nuts and shot his wife, her lover, and two bystanders at a birthday party when the shooter personally knew all the victims. There are not just cases of random public shootings. If we only included those, the total numbers would be microscopically small. Even with all mass shooting data together, it's obvious that your odds of being involved in one in any given year are vanishingly small, and less than 1 per 100,000 in 48 states. I've included all victims, not just fatalities …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Ben Bernanke and the Art of Central Banking

October 9, 2015 in Economics

By George Selgin

George Selgin

Like any experienced Fed chairman, Ben Bernanke knows how to choose his words carefully. So the triumphalist headline, “How the Fed Saved the Economy,” assigned to his Oct. 4 Wall Street Journal column, probably wasn’t his doing. Still the question remains: did the Fed really save us? Bernanke suggests that it did. But the evidence he musters leaves plenty of room for doubt.

At 5.1 percent, Bernanke observes, the unemployment rate is “close to normal.” One needn’t delve into the statistic to doubt that a return to “close to normal” unemployment after six long years is much of an achievement. But delving in makes the achievement more doubtful still.

As Bernanke himself admits, “other indicators,” including the labor force participation rate, suggest “that there is some distance left to go.” That’s putting things mildly: in fact, two-thirds of the decline in unemployment since 2009 is due, not to the unemployed finding jobs, but to their giving up. Bernanke presumably doesn’t want us to thank the Fed for that.

The inflation rate, Bernanke informs us, is just 1.5 percent—somewhat below the Fed’s 2 percent target, and nowhere near the hyperinflation some histrionic Fed critics warned against. But histrionics notwithstanding, the statistic is, once again, more proof of the Fed’s failure than of its success: as everyone who has followed the Fed’s efforts knows, inflation is low, not because the Fed has taken pains to keep it there, but despite the Fed’s attempts, through several massive rounds of quantitative easing, to raise it.

If the orthodox rules are sound—as Bernanke has repeatedly assured us—then the Fed’s early response to the crisis under Bernanke’s leadership wasn’t.”

The Fed’s failure to achieve its inflation target casts doubt on the last bit of evidence Bernanke supplies as proof of the Fed’s success: the fact that the U.S. output is now almost 9 percent above its pre-crisis peak, whereas output in Europe, where the ECB resisted quantitative easing until recently, is still below its pre-crisis level. But conflating the United States higher output with the Fed’s resort to quantitative easing is one thing; establishing a causal link is quite another. In fact, empirical studies so far suggest that the output gains attributable to QE have been modest, if not negligible. Nor is this any surprise: instead of lending them, banks added almost all of the new dollars to their excess reserve holdings. That’s why inflation is so obstinately low. …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Clueless Fashion Photographer Reenacts Syrian Refugee Crisis in Shoot

October 9, 2015 in Blogs

By Adam Johnson, AlterNet

Just stop, please.


Hungarian high fashion photographer Norbert Baksa is either the world's most clueless boob or the world's most brilliant troll. A recent spread of his, “Der Migrant,” has caused a storm of outrage over its use of the devastating refugee crisis to sell high-end fashion. One of the pictures has a headscarfed woman near a barbwire fence posing for a selfie, others show “Islamic” looking women confronting riot police.

 

Mr. Baska went to his web page to defend himself from criticism and, given the earnest tone, it appears he may actually just be the world's most obtuse man – rather than someone just seeking publicity. According toThe Telegraph:

In a note posted on his website, he wrote: “I do not understand how people can take a clear stand (pro or con) while we are flooded with contradictory information through the media, so no one has extensive knowledge of the situation as a whole.

“This is exactly what we wanted to picture: you see a suffering woman, who is also beautiful and despite her situation, has some high quality pieces of outfit and a smartphone.”

The outrage online was swift and fierce. “Some dude has actually done a fashion photoshoot on the theme of migrants,” wrote one commentator according to The Telegraph, calling it “art gone berserk”. Another said: “This is not a parody, just sick”.

According to Amnesty International, there are currently over 4 million refugees who have escaped conflict in Libya, Syria, Iraq and other countries with thousands who have died trying to make the journey to Europe.

h/t The Telegraph

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Source: ALTERNET

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Krugman: Our Silly Media Allow Politicians to Get Away With Most Absurd Lies

October 9, 2015 in Blogs

By Janet Allon, AlterNet

Kevin McCarthy inadvertently told the truth about Benghazi; this is rare.


Why won't the media acknowledge and report the truth rather than made-up issues is the burning question on Paul Krugman's mind in his column Friday. He was spurred by Representative Kevin McCarthy, no longer in the running for Speaker of the House, who guilelessly boasted that Benghazi was all about hurting Hillary Clinton politically, which most sentient beings knew.

The media needs to stop giving politicians milking and pretending to care about issues a free pass, Krugman scolds. Amen! 

Consider the example of an issue that might seem completely different, one that dominated much of our political discourse just a few years ago: federal debt.

Many prominent politicians made warnings about the dangers posed by U.S. debt, especially debt owned by China, a central part of their political image. Paul Ryan, when he was chairman of the House Budget Committee, portrayed himself as a heroic crusader against deficits. Mitt Romney madedenunciations of borrowing from China a centerpiece of his campaign for president. And by and large, commentators treated this posturing as if it were serious. But it wasn’t.

I don’t mean that it was bad economics, although it was. Remember all the dire warnings about what would happen if China stopped buying our debt, or worse yet, started selling it? Remember how interest rates would soar and America would find itself in crisis?

Well, don’t tell anyone, but the much feared event has happened: China isno longer buying our debt, and is in fact selling tens of billions of dollars in U.S. debt every month as it tries to support its troubled currency. And what has happened is what serious economic analysis always told us would happen: nothing. It was always a false alarm.

Not just a false alarm, he reiterated, a fake alarm.

The same is true for every pol pretending to care about deficits and proposing massive tax cuts for the rich. It's way past time to call 'bullshit' on that.

Once the fiscal “scare tactics” failed to resonate with the electorate, the issue mysteriously vaporized. Republicans had to find …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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WATCH: Maddow Brutally Mocks GOP's Speaker of the House Screw-Up

October 9, 2015 in Blogs

By AlterNet Staff, AlterNet

What just happened?


Kevin McCarthy's surprise dropout for the Speaker of the House position has left the Republican Party's leadership reeling and Rachel Maddow positively giddy. 

“It appears no one can get the votes to get that job,” Maddow said about the increasingly toxic Speakership role. “[McCarthy] is not viable, but no one else is.” This leaves the GOP in a bit of a crisis, she explained, that will likely end up with John Boehner staying on as Speaker — a job he's made clear he no longer wants. 

“I had this terrible nightmare last night,” Boehner allegedly told a friend, according to Maddow. “That I was trying to get out and I couldn’t get out. And a hand came reaching, pulling me.”

After McCarthy's “shocking” drop out this nightmare scenario, that Boehner would be “pulled back” in and remain Speaker, appears increasingly likely. Paul Ryan apparently doesn't want the job, for many of the same reasons. According to CNN much of it comes down to an ideological split between the more conservative side and the establishment:

Moreover, he had grown angry at a group of rabble-rousing conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus. He methodically courted and promised to work with them. He spoke to the conservative caucus Tuesday night and, by all accounts, he gave an effective presentation.

But the bloc still threatened to undermine his candidacy when it came for a vote on the House floor, people close to him said. He sensed he wouldn't be able to win them over unless he gave into a growing list of demands.

It's unclear who could step in and bridge this divide. Rachel Maddow breaks down the crisis below:

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Source: ALTERNET

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Cop Beats Charges for Raping Woman at Gunpoint Because He Said She Asked For It

October 9, 2015 in Blogs

By Matt Agorist, The Free Thought Project

The officer never had to take the stand.


Boynton Beach, FL — A Boynton Beach police officer was just found not guilty after he offered a stranded 20-year-old girl a ride home and was accused of bringing her to an empty field and brutally raping her at gunpoint.

Officer Stephen Maiorino, 35, was charged with armed sexual battery, armed kidnapping and unlawful compensation or reward for official behavior last year after police discovered his disgusting actions on the night of October 15.

The victim, a 20-year-old woman, was left stranded downtown after a friend she was riding with was arrested on DUI charges. According to the police report, Maiorino offered the young woman a ride to the station so she could wait for someone to pick her up.

At this point, a waking nightmare began for the young woman in Maiorino’s car. Maiorino did drive her to the police station, but when she tried to get out of the car, he grabbed her and told her that if she didn’t perform oral sex on him, he would arrest her, according to the police report.

Obviously fearful of this psycho cop, she agreed, and the officer drove off 20 blocks north of the department, which is located near the intersection of Seacrest and Boynton Beach boulevards, to an abandoned field.

Maiorino then held the young woman at gunpoint and forced her to strip naked. He then forced her to the hood of his car and raped her, according to the report. She said she was facedown, held in place on the hood with his right hand. During the assault, she told police, she looked back at her attacker and saw the gun in his left hand.

Investigators found the condom Maiorino used to allegedly rape the woman in the field the next day.

According to the report, when Maiorino was finished raping the woman, he told her that if she told anyone, he would kill her and her family.

On Tuesday, the cries of the alleged victim, his 21-year-old accuser, filled the courtroom as the words “not guilty” were read out loud.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, she wailed, “No! No!” before her …read more

Source: ALTERNET