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The FBI's Attacks on MLK, Jr. Are Helpful Reminders for Today

January 15, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

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By: Ryan McMaken

Writing for the Wall Street Journal in 2005, federal judge and former U.S. deputy attorney general Laurence Silberman recalled how he was “shocked” to discover the extent the FBI abused its power to spy on Americans.

Speaking of the first time he reviewed the files of J. Edgar Hoover, Silberman writes how Hoover tasked “his agents with reporting privately to him on any bits of dirt on figures such as Martin Luther King or their families — information Hoover sometimes used as blackmail to ensure his and the bureau's power.”

Silberman was writing of having first learned of these abuses of power back in the 1970s. Using a well-worn Hollywood cliché, one might say those days were a “more innocent time.” Nowadays it is widely known that the FBI was the personal playground of J. Edgar Hoover who employed the agency to punish his political enemies and gain compliance from others.

In spite of its claims, though, the FBI has never moved terribly far from its days as Hoover's praetorian guard. Tellingly, the FBI still refuses to remove Hoover's name from its headquarters in Washington, and the agency's habit of routinely violating the privacy of American citizens is now institutionalized, rather than the product of any single man's crusade.

Both James Bovard and Timothy Weiner have documented in many ways the FBI legacy of using its power to destroy political threats to its power, and to do so in extra-legal ways whenever deemed “necessary.”

Today, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, offers an opportunity to focus on some of the methods employed by the FBI. As The Daily Caller reports today:

In addition to tapping King’s phones and bugging his hotel rooms, the FBI used darker methods to attack the civil rights leader.

[The FBI] sent to King’s home a “suicide package” in 1964 that contained audio recordings of King’s extramarital trysts and an unsigned letter telling him “there is only one way out for you.” The letter, which was published in un-redacted form by The New York Times in 2014, threatened to make the recordings public unless King offed himself within 34 days.

“King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days,” the letter stated. “There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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The FBI's Attacks on MLK, Jr. Are a Helpful Reminder for Today

January 15, 2018 in Economics

By Ryan McMaken

king.PNG

By: Ryan McMaken

Writing for the Wall Street Journal in 2005, federal judge and former U.S. deputy attorney general Laurence Silberman recalled how he was “shocked” to discover the extent the FBI abused its power to spy on Americans.

Speaking of the first time he reviewed the files of J. Edgar Hoover, Silberman writes how Hoover tasked “his agents with reporting privately to him on any bits of dirt on figures such as Martin Luther King or their families — information Hoover sometimes used as blackmail to ensure his and the bureau's power.”

Silberman was writing of having first learned of these abuses of power back in the 1970s. Using a well-worn Hollywood cliché, one might say those days were a “more innocent time.” Nowadays it is widely known that the FBI was the personal playground of J. Edgar Hoover who employed the agency to punish his political enemies and gain compliance from others.

In spite of its claims, though, the FBI has never moved terribly far from its days as Hoover's praetorian guard. Tellingly, the FBI still refuses to remove Hoover's name from its headquarters in Washington, and the agency's habit of routinely violating the privacy of American citizens is now institutionalized, rather than the product of any single man's crusade.

Both James Bovard and Timothy Weiner have documented in many ways the FBI legacy of using its power to destroy political threats to its power, and to do so in extra-legal ways whenever deemed “necessary.”

Today, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, offers an opportunity to focus on some of the methods employed by the FBI. As The Daily Caller reports today:

In addition to tapping King’s phones and bugging his hotel rooms, the FBI used darker methods to attack the civil rights leader.

[The FBI] sent to King’s home a “suicide package” in 1964 that contained audio recordings of King’s extramarital trysts and an unsigned letter telling him “there is only one way out for you.” The letter, which was published in un-redacted form by The New York Times in 2014, threatened to make the recordings public unless King offed himself within 34 days.

“King, there is only one thing left for you to do. You know what it is. You have just 34 days,” the letter stated. “There is but one way out for you. You better take it before your filthy, abnormal, fraudulent self …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Let's Teach Communism

January 15, 2018 in Economics

By Frank Chodorov

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By: Frank Chodorov

[A selection from One Is a Crowd by Frank Chodorov]:

This is a defense of our universities. As they open their doors for another year of business they teach under a widespread suspicion of teaching communism. The suspicion is unsupported by fact; it is pure witchcraft. There is reason to believe that some in the faculties advocate communism, but none teaches it. The distinction is important. To illustrate the point, in the field of religion there are many who are intellectually incapable of comprehending Christianity, and therefore of teaching it, but who are quite adept at advocating (preaching) it. So with communism; it is a pattern of ideas following from basic assumptions, and unless one has made a critical examination of these assumptions one is incapable of evaluating the superimposed ideas. Our colleges are debarred from examining the basic assumptions of communism because, as I will attempt to show, these basic assumptions are part and parcel of what is called capitalism, the going order, and it would hardly do to bring this fact to light.

If it is the business of universities to expose students to ideas, they are not doing the job properly if they neglect to include in their curricula a course in communism, simply because as a system of thought, a philosophy, communism is in the ascendancy these days. A graduate ought to be thoroughly at home with the ideas he has to live with, he ought to understand the basic postulates of his ideological environment. It might be difficult to dig up professors able to brush aside the seductive phrases of communism so as to get to its roots, seeing how the subject is beclouded with war hysteria, and expedience might tell against the introduction of such a course of study. This is regrettable. For, lacking the opportunity to investigate communism, the students will come away from their education with the popular notion that it is indigenous to an “enemy” nation or an “inferior” people. To illustrate the kind of course I have in mind—this is not an application for a job; perish the thought!—I present herewith a few samples of communist theory that are equally the marrow of current “true Americanism.” At random, we will begin with a conception of wages.

It is an axiom of communism that wages are a fraction of production given to the workers by those who own the …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Congress Plotting to Cut a Hole in the 4th Amendment, Again

January 15, 2018 in Economics

By Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

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By: Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Hidden beneath the controversy stirred up last week by the publication of a book called “Fire and Fury,” a highly critical insider’s view of the Trump White House that the president has not only denounced on national television but also tried to prevent from being published and distributed, are the efforts of the Trump administration and congressional leadership to bypass the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.

Here is the back story.

After the excesses of the Watergate era, during which the Nixon administration used the FBI and the CIA unlawfully to spy without warrants on the president’s real and imagined domestic political opponents, Congress passed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. FISA prohibited all domestic surveillance except that which is pursuant to warrants signed by federal judges.

The Fourth Amendment — which guarantees privacy in our persons, houses, papers and effects — permits the government to invade that privacy only when a judge has signed a warrant that authorizes surveillance, a search or a seizure. And judges may only issue warrants when they have found probable cause to believe that the government surveillance or invasion of the target’s privacy will produce evidence of criminal behavior. The Fourth Amendment further requires that the judicial warrant describe specifically the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized.

All these requirements are in the amendment so as to prevent any court from issuing general warrants. Before the Constitution, general warrants were issued by British courts that met in secret in London. They were not issued based on probable cause of crime but issued based on the government’s wish to invade the privacy of all Americans living in the Colonies to find the more rebellious among them. This was the king and Parliament’s version of protecting national security.

General warrants did not describe the place to be searched or the person or thing to be seized. They authorized the bearer — usually a British soldier physically located in the Colonies — to search where he wished and seize whatever he found.

FISA did not interfere with the standard understanding or use of the Fourth Amendment by the government and the courts. But it did add another way for the government to invade privacy when its wish is to surveil people for national security purposes — a return to general warrants — as opposed to solely gathering evidence of crimes.

The FISA-created procedure, …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE

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Bernie Sanders Calls for International Progressive Movement in Searing Op-Ed

January 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Jacob Sugarman, AlterNet

The Vermont senator implores the planet to “wrench power back from the billionaires.”


Monday, January 15th marks the 34th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday, and true to the civil right icon's socialist philosophy, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has a issued a call for a new international movement to eliminate income inequality. In a searing op-ed for the Guardian, the Vermont senator implores readers across the globe to “wrench power back from the billionaires,” lamenting that “the six richest people on Earth now own more wealth than the bottom half of the world’s population.”

“Not only that, but at a time of massive wealth and income inequality, people all over the world are losing their faith in democracy—government by the people, for the people and of the people,” he adds. “They increasingly recognize that the global economy has been rigged to reward those at the top at the expense of everyone else, and they are angry.”

Without ever mentioning Donald Trump's name, Sanders excoriates the president and other aspiring authoritarians for exploiting people's feelings of resentment and helplessness, “fanning the flames of ethnic and racial hatred.” As he sees it, the only antidote is a truly global progressivism.

“A new and international progressive movement must commit itself to tackling structural inequality both between and within nations,” he continues. “Such a movement must overcome 'the cult of money' and 'survival of the fittest' mentalities that the pope warned against.” In addition, Sanders writes, “it must support national and international policies aimed at raising standards of living for poor and working-class people—from full employment and a living wage to universal higher education, healthcare and fair trade agreements. In addition, we must rein in corporate power and prevent the environmental destruction of our planet as a result of climate change.”

Sanders offers at least one concrete proposal. The Tax Justice Network estimates that the planet's wealthiest individuals and corporations have stashed between $21 and $32 trillion in offshore tax havens, and that by eliminating this abuse, we could end world hunger and generate hundreds of millions of jobs, among countless other possibilities. …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Charles Blow: 'Trump Is a Racist; We Can Put That Baby to Bed'

January 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Ilana Novick, AlterNet

So what are we going to do about it?


Donald Trump was always a racist. Mountains of court documents and media evidence have proven it, yet Americans are still taking the time to debate not only whether Trump is racist, but whether racism exists at all. To do so, as Charles Blow writes in his Monday column, “is useless, particularly when you are surrounded by evidence of its existence.”

As Blow notes, “The history of America is one in which white people used racism and white supremacy to develop a racial caste system that advantaged them and disadvantaged others.” Knowing this, “It is not a stretch to say that Trump is racist. It’s not a stretch to say that he is a white supremacist. It’s not a stretch to say that Trump is a bigot.”

These are facts, backed up by years of action, of declining to rent to black families or falsely accusing five black men of rape, of kicking off a presidential campaign with an announcement that Mexicans are rapists. 

What's particularly troubling, however, is that whenever anyone, a reporter, a lawmaker, even a voter, dares to call our president out for his hatred, “his response is never to ameliorate his rhetoric, but to double down on it.” Blow continues: “I know of no point during his entire life where he has apologized for, repented of, or sought absolution for any of his racist actions or comments. Instead, he either denies, deflects or amps up the attack. Trump is a racist. We can put that baby to bed.”

Even having this debate, Blow believes, “[renders] a simple concept impossibly complex, making the very meaning of 'racism' frustratingly murky.” After all, racism doesn't have to wear a white hood or burn a cross in order for it to be harmful. In order for Americans to make any progress, “We have to face this thing, stare it down and fight it back.The simple acknowledgment that Trump is a racist is the easy part. The harder, more substantive part is this: What are we going to do about it?” 

Blow thinks we …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Frédéric Bastiat and the Hubble Telescope

January 15, 2018 in Economics

By Patrick Barron

HST-SM4.jpeg.jpg

By: Patrick Barron

A few days ago my wife and I watched a fascinating program on PBS. The long running Nova series featured the history and accomplishments of the Hubble Space Telescope. The program was titled Invisible Universe Revealed. This episode was composed of three parts.

The first third of the program explained how the astronomers secured funding for the space telescope and successfully built and launched it. Senator William Proxmire, Democrat from Wisconsin, had the space telescope in his sights. From 1975 to 1988 the senator awarded his monthly Golden Fleece Award for egregiously wasteful spending. According to Nova, funding for Hubble was secured when Nancy Roman, Chief Astronomer-to-be, pointed out, apparently to the satisfaction of Congress, that for the cost of a night at the movies, every American would enjoy fifteen years of astronomical revelations. Hubble was launched by the Space Shuttle on April 24, 1990 and deployed a day later. That's when the real problems began.

The second part of the program was devoted to the thrilling repair conducted by astronauts on the orbiting telescope. Construction faults in the giant reflecting mirror made the telescope unusable. Incredibly these faults were not discovered until the telescope was in earth orbit. Nevertheless, the telescope was fixed, and this is the best part of the program. From diagnosing the problem, agreeing upon a feasible fix, to astronauts practicing the repair in a giant water tank (20 months of training!), and finally conducting the repair in space, the viewer is astonished at the knowledge, dedication, and skill of everyone associated with this NASA program.

RELATED: “Government Spending on 'Innovation': The True Cost Is Higher Than You Think” by Peter Klein

The third part of the program attempts to sell the results of the Hubble program to the viewers. In my opinion, this is the weakest part of the program. The astronomers do their best to get the viewer excited about the things that they themselves feel are important, explaining difficult concepts in lay terms and showing beautiful pictures taken by Hubble. But for this viewer, it just didn't work. And here is where my economist side started thinking about Frédéric​ Bastiat's timeless essay “That Which Is Seen and That Which is Not Seen.”

The astronomers seem truly excited that now they can answer two questions that (they claim) have perplexed mankind from time immemorial; i.e., how old is the …read more

Source: MISES INSTITUTE