You are browsing the archive for 2017 December 30.

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Three Years After Police Killed Her Father, Civil Rights Activist Erica Garner Dies at 27

December 30, 2017 in Blogs

By Al Jazeera

Her father's death at the hands of police spurred mass protests.


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Source: ALTERNET

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Three Years After Police Killed Her Father, Civil Rights Activist Erica Garner Has Died at 27

December 30, 2017 in Blogs

By Al Jazeera

Her father Eric Garner's death at the hands of US officers spurred mass protests.


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Source: ALTERNET

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Charges Are Being Considered Against an Owner Whose Dog Was Found 'Frozen Solid'

December 30, 2017 in Blogs

By Zuri Davis, Rare

Dogs feel the cold just like we do, and they yearn to be indoors where it is warm.


 

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In Africa, Ending a Despot Doesn't End Despotism

December 30, 2017 in Economics

By Ilana Mercer

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By: Ilana Mercer

In the tradition of dimming debate, the chattering class has reduced systemic corruption in South Africa and the near collapse in Zimbabwe, respectively, to the shenanigans of two men: Jacob Zuma and Robert Mugabe.

Zuma, the President of South Africa, currently faces possible impeachment for corruption, while Robert Mugabe has now been forcibly “retired” after 30 years as President.

Surely by now, though, it should be common knowledge that in Africa, if you replace a despot, but not despotism, you only oust a tyrant, and not tyranny.

How Kleptocracy Works

Emblematic of this is a thematically confused article in The Economist, offering a description of the dynamics set in motion by the Zuma dynasty's capture of the state.

At first, the magazine explains the concept of “state capture” as “private actors [having] subverted the state to steal public money.”

Later, the concept is more candidly refined: “The nub of the state capture argument is that Mr. Zuma and his friends are putting state-owned enterprises and other governmental institutions in the hands of people who are allowing them to loot public funds.”

Indeed. Corruption invariably flows from state to society.

And, “state capture” is quite common across Africa, even if “unfamiliar elsewhere in the world,” which is all the “context” The Economist is willing to provide.

“To avoid a dire, two-decade dynasty of dysfunction, South Africa’s ruling African National Congress should ditch the Zumas,” the magazine concludes.

That's it? If only.

The Corruption of South Africa,” courtesy of The Economist, hurtles between being an excellent exposé, yet providing nothing more than reportorial reductionism.

Continental context, if you will, is essential if one is to shed light on the “Dark Continent.”

To wit, the seductive narrative about the ANC's new boss — and the man put forward as Zuma’s replacement — Cyril Ramaphosa, gets this much right: There is nothing new about the meaningless game of musical chairs enacted throughout Africa like clockwork. The Big Man is overthrown or demoted; another Alpha Male jockeys his way into his predecessor’s position and asserts his primacy over the people and their property.

Elections across Africa have traditionally followed a familiar pattern: Radical black nationalist movements like the ANC take power everywhere, then elections cease. “One man, one vote, one time,” to quote the book, “Into the Cannibal’s Pot: Lessons for America From Post-Apartheid South Africa.” Or, if elections do repeatedly take place, as they do in South Africa, …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Neighbors to Mike Pence’s Christmas Vacation Home in Aspen Greeted Him with a Big ‘Make America Gay Again’ Banner

December 30, 2017 in Blogs

By Bob Brigham, Raw Story

Neighbors hung the bright rainbow banner for Pence to see.


Vice President Mike Pence’s Christmas vacation in Aspen was protested by the neighbors next to the private home in which he was staying.

A rainbow flag with the words “Make America Gay Again” was posted at the end of the driveway to both houses, the Aspen Times reports.

The banner was hung by the daughters of the homeowners — and one of their girlfriends.

“You couldn’t miss it,” Pitkin County Sheriff’s Deputy Michael Buglione explained.

Deputy Buglione explained the homeowners brought chili and corn muffins to the deputies and Secret Service agents who were posted.

“They’ve been really nice to us,” Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo.

 

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The Myth of Insufficient Demand

December 30, 2017 in Economics

By Frank Shostak

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By: Frank Shostak

Following the ideas of Keynes and Friedman, most mainstream economists associate economic growth with increases in the demand for goods and services.

Both Keynes and Friedman felt that The Great Depression of the 1930’s was due to an insufficiency of aggregate demand and thus the way to fix the problem is to boost aggregate demand.

For Keynes, this was achieved by having the federal government borrow more money and spend it when the private sector would not. Friedman advocated that the Federal Reserve pump more money to revive demand.

There is never such a thing as insufficient demand as such, however. An individual’s demand is constrained by his ability to produce goods. The more goods that an individual can produce the more goods he can demand, and thus acquire.

Note that the production of one individual enables him to pay for the production of the other individual. (The more goods an individual produces the more of other goods he can secure for himself. An individual’s demand therefore is constrained by his production of goods).

Note again demand cannot stand by itself and be independent – it is limited by production. Hence, what drives the economy is not demand as such but the production of goods and services.

In this sense, producers and not consumers are the engine of economic growth. Obviously, if he wants to succeed then a producer must produce goods and services in line with what other producers require.

According to James Mill,

When goods are carried to market what is wanted is somebody to buy. But to buy, one must have the wherewithal to pay. It is obviously therefore the collective means of payment which exist in the whole nation constitute the entire market of the nation. But wherein consist the collective means of payment of the whole nation? Do they not consist in its annual produce, in the annual revenue of the general mass of inhabitants? But if a nation's power of purchasing is exactly measured by its annual produce, as it undoubtedly is; the more you increase the annual produce, the more by that very act you extend the national market, the power of purchasing and the actual purchases of the nation…. Thus it appears that the demand of a nation is always equal to the produce of a nation. This indeed must be so; for what is the demand of a nation? The demand of a nation …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Will Uterus Transplants Change the Way We Perceive Gender?

December 30, 2017 in Blogs

By Chris Sosa, AlterNet

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The medical viability of uterine transplantation is challenging long-held notions about our bodies.


This year, the United States passed a medical milestone: the first baby in the nation born through a transplanted uterus. Reports on the specific number of successful births via transplanted uterus vary, but all place the count at fewer than 30 births.

However, the number is expected to rise exponentially in the immediate future.

“We’re hoping that in a decade or so, this will become mainstream,” Dr. Zaraq Khan, a Mayo Clinic reproductive endocrinologist and infertility surgeon, told HuffPost.

The procedure is currently limited to a specific set of patients who fit narrow medical criteria for eligibility.

“As of right now, when uterus transplantation is still in its infancy, it will be limited to patients with absolute uterine factor infertility,” Khan said. This excludes women who, for example, are able to conceive but routinely miscarry.

While bioethical questions remain, some wonder if the technology may one day allow men to eventually carry and birth children.

Dr. Richard Paulson, the outgoing president of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, believes such procedures are already within the scope of immediate possibility for transgendered women.

“You could do it tomorrow. There would be additional challenges, but I don't see any obvious problem that would preclude it,” Paulson told the Telegraph. “I personally suspect there are going to be trans women who are going to want to have a uterus and will likely get the transplant.”

But Arthur Caplan, a professor of bioethics and head of the Division of Medical Ethics at New York University's School of Medicine, told LiveScience that performing such a procedure now would violate ethical standards.

“Surgically, could you put [a uterus] in a man tomorrow? Yeah, …read more

Source: ALTERNET