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The Philadelphia Super Bowl Riots Expose a Racist Double Standard

February 5, 2018 in Blogs

By Liz Posner, AlterNet

Why do white guys get a free pass for looting and mayhem?

Everyone was bracing for pandemonium in Philadelphia on Sunday night after the Eagles won their first-ever Super Bowl. The fans are notoriously passionate, after all, and some preventative measures were taken to limit the chaos (police officers even covered lamp posts with Crisco to fan-proof the Philly faithful). But just because the riots, which resulted in three arrests, several injuries and episodes of vandalism and looting, were expected, nothing excuses the clear racial bias in the response of city officials.

As Newsweek explains, “Revelers reportedly ripped down light posts, caused entire structures to collapse and damaged vehicles and store buildings as they celebrated the Eagles' 41-33 victory. But officials appeared slow to condemn the destruction caused by rioters, offering seemingly gentle requests for everyone to ‘go home.’”

This response contrasts sharply with the way cities like Baltimore handled recent protests like the ones following the death of Freddie Gray in 2015. Riots following major sports events are generally reported with humor and exasperation, while those triggered by police shootings are used as an excuse to pathologize the Black Lives Matter movement and the black community.

Philadelphia-based journalist Ernest Owens pinpointed the hypocrisy of the mainstream media on Twitter:

Racial justice activists tend to agree with his analysis. Black Lives Matter New York president Hawk Newsome told Newsweek, “Somehow, it seems there's a line drawn in the sand where destruction of property because of a sports victory is okay and acceptable in America. However, if you have people who are fighting for their most basic human right, the right to live, they will be condemned.”

“You can riot if you're white and your team wins, but if you're black and being killed, you …read more


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A Lawsuit to Make Rulemakers Follow the Rules

February 5, 2018 in Economics

By Ilya Shapiro

Ilya Shapiro

Last week, the indispensable Pacific Legal Foundation
added the Food and Drug Administration
to the long list of
alphabet-soup federal agencies it has taken on in court. In
three separate
filed in three districts, PLF is challenging the
,” a 2016 regulation issued under the Obama FDA that
made vaping devices subject to the Tobacco Control Act. (Full
disclosure: the lawsuits are spearheaded by former Cato legal
associate Tommy Berry and former Cato legal intern Jonathan

The Deeming Rule, to begin with, is terrible policy. It takes an
industry that is
saving lives
by helping people to quit smoking and imposes
heavy-handed regulations designed for the much different cigarette
industry. Vape shops are typically mom-and-pop operations, not
billion-dollar corporations, and submitting every new e-juice
creation for costly and time-consuming FDA approval just
isn’t feasible.

But the problem spotted by PLF is much more fundamental, and the
precedent the organization could set with this case goes beyond
vaping and to the heart of separation of powers. It turns out that
the FDA has for many years been delegating its rulemaking authority
to its “associate commissioner for policy,” a career
civil-service position two rungs below FDA Commissioner in the
depth chart
. For eight years, the Associate Commissioner for
Policy has been a woman by the name of Leslie Kux. It was Kux, not
then-Secretary Sylvia Burwell or then-Commissioner Robert Califf,
who signed and issued the Deeming Rule.

Why is this a problem? Because the Constitution draws a
distinction between “Officers of the United States” and
mere employees of the federal government. Only officers can
exercise “significant
” under federal law. But in exchange for that
greater power, officers must go through a constitutionally
prescribed procedure, typically nomination by the president and
confirmation by the Senate (with a few exceptions applicable only
to inferior officers). This ensures that anyone appointed to a
policymaking role &nmdash; one whose duties go beyond the
ministerial and advisory &nmdash; will first have their character
and judgment vetted by the politically accountable Senate (who
shares in the blame when an appointment goes wrong).

The power to issue a final rule is indisputably a
“significant authority” reserved only to officers. The
Supreme Court made this clear in 1976 in the foundational
campaign-finance case Buckley v.
, when it struck down the original version of the
Federal Election Commission because most of its members were
installed in ways that did not comport with the Appointments
Clause. The court stated explicitly that the rulemaking power held
by the FEC was a “significant authority.” That’s
why today all FEC commissioners are Senate-confirmed …read more

Source: OP-EDS

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Wieser and the Austrians

February 5, 2018 in Economics

By Peter G. Klein


By: Peter G. Klein

Over at ThinkMarkets, Stefan Kolev provides an excellent summary of Friedrich von Wieser’s career and contributions to Austrian economics. Wieser and his brother-in-law Eugen von Böhm-Bawerk formed the second generation of the Austrian school, helping develop Carl Menger’s ideas into the rich, varied, and flourishing tradition we know today. As Kolev points out, Wieser was not only an important (if idiosyncratic) theorist but also an effective organizer and champion for the Austrian school in Vienna and in the larger profession.

Unfortunately, Kolev grossly misinterprets the “dehomogenization” debate of the last twenty years as an attack on Wieser or an attempt to marginalize Wieser’s contributions. On the contrary, the dehomogenization literature — launched by Joe Salerno’s reevaluation of Mises’s and Hayek’s contributions to the socialist calculation debate (here and here) and featuring contributions from Rothbard, Kirzner, Yeager, and many others, including myself — is an exercise in exactly what Kolev endorses, the careful analysis of the history of economic thought. 

Following the Austrian revival of the 1960s and 1970s it became common, both inside and outside the Austrian school, to refer casually to “the Austrian view” on X, Y, or Z. But, it is obvious from reading the Austrian literature from Menger onwards that the Austrian school, while shared commitments to methodological individualism and subjectivism, is remarkably diverse. The second, third, and fourth generations in particular developed their ideas in different directions and there is no unique “Austrian” view on core issues or valuation, production, and exchange. 

Indeed, Salerno’s papers on economic calculation were a specific response to the notion of a ”Mises-Hayek argument” against socialism. Salerno showed, thorough careful exegesis and interpretation, that Mises and Hayek offered distinct, yet complementary, critiques of socialist economic planning and organization. It does both Mises and Hayek a disservice to lump their contributions together and, even worse, to imply that by tracing out their similarities and differences one is, in Kolev’s words, building “models of intellectual dynasties or of litmus-test purity checks as to ‘who is an Austrian.’” Of course, Wieser is an Austrian — I have never heard anyone claim otherwise! — but his version of Austrian economics is unique. Indeed, no two “Austrians” have identical views on any fundamental issues of theory, method, or application. Three cheers for that, the hallmark of a flourishing intellectual tradition!

In my own work on entrepreneurship I have developed what I take to be a thoroughly “Austrian” understanding of the entrepreneurial …read more