Friday, February 3, 2012

Keynesian Economics vs. Austrian Economics

Dr. Ron Paul discusses Austrian vs. Keynesian economics on Morning Joe 0...

Milton Friedman - The Great Depression Myth

Milton Friedman: Why soaking the rich won't work.

Milton Friedman Versus A Socialist

America’s Last Chance

One Against the Empire
by PAUL CRAIG ROBERTS
 
America has one last chance, and it is a very slim one. Americans can elect Ron Paul President, or they can descend into tyranny.
Why is Ron Paul America’s last chance?
Because he is the only candidate who is not owned lock, stock, and barrel by the military-security complex, Wall Street, and the Israel Lobby.
All of the others, including President Obama, are owned by exactly the same interest groups.  There are no differences between them.  Every candidate except Ron Paul stands for war and a police state, and all have demonstrated their complete and total subservience to Israel. The fact that there is no difference between them is made perfectly clear by the absence of substantive issues in the campaigns of the Republican candidates.

An Airline That Makes Money. Really.

The Alaska Airlines CEO talks about surviving the industry's last horrible decade, and how to make money when everyone else is losing it.

Seattle
Airline business: Mere oxymoron or investor death wish? Cumulatively, America's airlines have lost $34 billion since 1947. In the last decade, five legacy carriers landed in Chapter 11 bankruptcy—US Airways twice. "How do you become a millionaire?" mused Warren Buffett, who had an unhappy dalliance with US Airways. "Make a billion dollars and then buy an airline."

Romney's Pyrrhic Victory

By Al Giordano

While tea leaves point to a likely Florida primary victory for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney tonight, the former Massachusetts governor will emerge only marginally ahead in the delegate count with 46 of the 50 states yet to cast a vote.

New Lead Surfaces in Cold “House of Death” Drug-War Case



Man on the Run From the “Cartel” Claims He Is a Witness to a Murder That Threatens the State
A new voice from the past has emerged in the House of Death mass-murder case — in which a US government informant is accused of assisting with up to a dozen murders, the bodies of the victims later found buried, covered in lime, in the backyard of a house in Juarez, Mexico.
This individual is himself a victim of the House of Death and claims to have survived its deadly grip by fractions of an inch after a bullet ripped through his head. And he has now stepped forward, out of the shadows, to tell his story.
In recent weeks, Narco News conducted a series of interviews with this individual, who asked that his name not be used because he asserts that he is still being pursued by “the cartel.”
In addition, this individual, whom we will call Juanito, has reason to fear the “Migra” in the United States will once again deport him, despite his long history of saying the pledge of allegiance in US classrooms.
Juanito was born in Mexico, he concedes, and is now living somewhere in the United States, without proper papers. However, Juanito also says he came to this country with his family at the age of six and grew up here, until he was deported more than a decade ago after a run-in with the law.
Finding himself stranded in Mexico after his forced exit from the United States, and with no family or way to make a living in Mexico, Juanito says he saw no other option but to continue to walk the path of an outlaw in the business of drug trafficking, not as a major player, but as a worker — moving cars to locations where they were needed, loading and unloading the cargo of the trade and assisting with all the other manual labor that goes with keeping a sales and distribution business in motion.

US Aims to Crush Iranian Oil Sector, While Avoiding Harm to Oil Markets?

John Glaser
The Obama administration wants to sanction Iranian oil without negatively effecting global oil markets. No, seriously:
The White House said on Thursday the Iran sanctions proposed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama should be enforced in a way that does not hurt the United States’ allies or disrupt oil markets.
“We want to make sure that the implementation of those sanctions is handled in a way that does not inadvertently do any harm to our allies or to the oil markets,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters.
But a recent Energy Brief from the Council on Foreign Relations concludes that is wishful thinking. The U.S.’s efforts “to sanction Iran’s crude oil exports,” says the CFR report, “has already pushed Iran to threaten ”to disrupt the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil chokepoint, through which nearly seventeen million barrels per day (mb/d), or about 35 percent of seaborne traded oil, moves.”

Israel Ramps Up Push for Attack on Iran

Officials claim Iran has missiles that could strike US

by John Glaser, February 02, 2012
Israeli officials have apparently been engaged in an aggressive public relations offensive to broaden support for a military attack on Iran, with particular emphasis on American audiences.
Israel’s strategy conference this week in Herzliya, a Tel Aviv suburb, has featured highly publicized speeches by many Israeli officials. Specifically, they have claimed that Iran currently possesses long range missiles that could reach the United States and enough the material to build four nuclear weapons.
For months, Israeli officials have been feeling out the Obama administration’s appetite for a war with Iran. Reports have revealed that U.S. officials have tried to assure Israel that a military strike is in principle on the table, while simultaneously urging them not to attack unilaterally.

Blocking the Paths Out of Poverty

By John Stossel
Have you noticed how often government takes sides against the little guy?
Street vending has been a path out of poverty for Americans. And like other such paths (say, driving a taxi), this one is increasingly difficult to navigate. Why? Because entrenched interests don't like competition. So they lobby their powerful friends to erect high hurdles to upstarts. It's an old story.
Now, growing local governments are crushing street vendors.
The city of Atlanta, for example, has turned all street vending over to a monopoly contractor. In feudalist fashion, all existing vendors were told they must work for the monopoly or not vend at all.
"Vendors who used to paying $250 a year for their vending site must now hand over $500 to $1,600 every month for the privilege of working for the monopoly," wrote Bob Ewing in The Freeman. Ewing works for the Institute for Justice, the libertarian public-interest law firm that defends victims of anticompetitive regulation.

Anonymous Claims It Intercepted FBI Conference Call

Anonymous Claims It Intercepted FBI Conference Call (VIDEO)

Anonymous Fbi Call

LONDON — Trading jokes and swapping leads, investigators from the FBI and Scotland Yard spent the conference call strategizing about how to bring down the hacking collective known as Anonymous, responsible for a string of embarrassing attacks across the Internet.

The Case for Romney A president who owes you is better than one who owns you.


Years ago, a friend told me a story from her days living in South America. The movie Wayne’s World had come out, and she went to see it. She spoke English, but it was interesting to read the Spanish subtitles.
For instance, early in the film, Wayne says: “Shyeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt!”
The Spanish subtitles read: “Yes, when judgment day comes.”
Needless to say, something was lost in translation.
This, in a nutshell, is Mitt Romney’s biggest problem. A late immigrant to conservatism, Romney doesn’t speak the language naturally. He shares traits with both Al Gore, whose stiffness bordered on the animatronic, and George H. W. Bush, whose contempt for the song-and-dance of elections was transparent. Gore tried to compensate for his inadequacies by shouting, like an ugly American who thinks a foreigner will understand him if he only talks louder. Bush fell back on recitations of patriotic slogans and the generosity of providence that delivered Michael Dukakis as an opponent.

Exit Newt

He's part and parcel of the 1960s generation's larger failures.
WASHINGTON -- Ah, yes, Newt Gingrich did in the last days of the Florida primary precisely what I predicted he would do. He hurled wild charges at Mitt Romney that suggested Newt was losing his grip. He charged Romney with lying and falling into the hands of George Soros and Goldman Sachs, and he did this while seeking the Republican presidential nomination!

Civil Disobedience in Obama's Second Term

The religious should march on this unjust presidency.
Some of Barack Obama's useful idiots on the Catholic center/left say that his decree forcing religious organizations to pay for contraceptives amounts to a betrayal. No, it is not. Candidate Obama had telegraphed his plans to discriminate against the religious. Were Cardinal Mahony and company too busy burbling over "hope and change" to pay attention? You made Obama's bed; now lie in it.

The Last Republican?

Friedrich Nietzsche was right about Mitt Romney.
The earth has become small, and on it hops the Last Man, who makes everything small. His species is ineradicable as the flea; the Last Man lives longest.
-- Nietzsche

So it seems it will be Mitt. And good thing he won't be offering his main rival the second spot on the ticket. "Mitt & Newt" sounds like the name of a comedy act or a network sitcom. Not right for something epic or tragic. Which is to say… not right for the times. Not even close.

Jobs Picture: Lackluster Is the New Excellent Under Obama

Posted by Timothy Lee 
 
Today’s Department of Labor report that unemployment declined slightly from 8.5% to 8.3% in January will surely be celebrated and trumpeted by the Obama Administration.  Which only serves to illustrate the terrible quality of his economic performance in office.
First of all, today’s announcement means that unemployment has now exceeded 8% for 36 consecutive months, three entire years.  That’s an all-time record since recordkeeping began.  Second, that new record is not somehow a reflection of the fact that the most recent recession was “the worst since the Great Depression,” as Obama and his apologists constantly claim.  Unemployment actually reached a higher peak in the early 1980s recession, but quickly plummeted from 10.8% to 6.7% following implementation of Reagan’s tax cuts.  In contrast, unemployment has increased under Obama from 7.8% to over 10% and three straight years over 8%.  Moreover, inflation and interest rates were far higher in the early 1980s recession, and monetary policy was much tighter, meaning that conditions were less hospitable for economic improvement.  Third, for all of the deficit spending the Obama Administration heaped upon American taxpayers, it promised that unemployment under its agenda would be down to around 6% by now.
Instead, we’re barely treading water and mediocre news is characterized as wonderful.  This is the Age of Obama.

His Abominations Accelerate

Obama's the man leading the Occupy the Oval Office movement.
The Republican presidential campaign thus far has been so bizarre and, frankly, depressing, that some of us have failed to adequately cover worrisome developments on a number of other important fronts. By ineptness and, worse, by deliberate design, Barack Obama daily makes this nation weaker abroad, less free (and more authoritarian) at home, economically more feeble, and in the civic realm more bitterly divided than ever. Meanwhile, ominous developments crowd the world stage. In short, we're in a big heap of trouble.
The recent litany of Obama's odiousness begins with his growing, unambiguous war against traditional Christianity. He has now left no room for any pretense otherwise to be believed. Right on the heels of a unanimous Supreme Court, including his own two appointees, smacking down his administration's attempt to kill the "ministerial exemption" for employment practices of faith-based institutions, an unchastened Obama has decided that even faith-based organizations must provide insurance that covers contraception -- even including abortifacients.

Bolivia: Rough justice – The Economist

Bolivia: Rough justice – The Economist

The Justice System in Bolivia: The wrong way to reform the courts.
In the streets of El Alto, Bolivia’s poorest and fastest-growing city, scarecrow dummies hang grotesquely from lampposts with ropes around their necks as a macabre warning to potential thieves and criminals. The threat is not idle. Residents have little faith in the police or the courts. Instead, they often take justice into their own hands: the lynching and killing of alleged offenders is not infrequent in El Alto, nor elsewhere in Bolivia.

Latin America: Cocaine: The New Front Lines – by John Lyons

Colombia’s success in curbing the drug trade has created more opportunities for countries hostile to the United States. What happens when coca farmers and their allies are in charge?

Opinion: Why 2012 is a critical year for the US and Venezuela, the narco-state on our doorstep – by Roger F. Noriega



Venezuela’s dictator Hugo Ch├ívez was informed five years ago that his close ally Gen. Henry Rangel Silva – the man whom he recently named Defense Minister – is involved in cocaine smuggling.

US: Gospels Contradict Obama’s Idea Of A Socialist Jesus

Church And State: President Obama has taken a very powerful name in vain in defense of his class warfare economic policies. In fact, Obama encourages a sin Jesus Christ repeatedly admonished: envy.

US: Obama’s Green Energy Investments Continue to Fail – Investors.com

Industrial Policy: In recent days we learned sales of the Volt and Leaf cratered, President Obama’s failed green jobs program is under investigation, and another “clean energy” company’s in trouble. Green is the new red.
Each week, it seems, brings fresh evidence that the Obama administration’s obsession with so-called clean energy is an increasingly costly failure.

The Mapmakers Petition

The Mapmakers Petition

This could have also been labelled as from the files of “anti-trust is not about consumers.”  Apparently, a mapmaker in France has successfully sued and won damages from Google for unfair competition, ie from providing Google Maps for free.
Just as in the Microsoft anti-trust case and just about every anti-trust case in history, companies who brought the suit are really trying to stop an up-start competitor from trashing their business model, but they have to couch this true concern in mumbled words about the consumer.  Specifically, they raise that ever-popular boogeyman of jacking up prices once the  monopoly is secured.  The next time this happens, of course, will be the first time.  Its a myth.  For example, in Google’s case, left unsaid is how they would jack up their prices when at least two other companies (Bing, Mapquest) also provide mapping services online for free.

The Media and Cancer Risks

The old saying goes, “where there is smoke, there’s fire.”  I think we all are at least subconciously suceptible to thinking this way vis a vis the cancer risks in the media.  We hear so much about these risks that, even if the claims seem absurd, we worry if there isn’t something there.  After all, if the media is concerned, surely the balance of evidence must be at least close – there is probably a small risk or increase in mortality.
Not so.  Take cell phones.  We have heard for decades concern about cancer risk from cell phones.  But they are not even close to dangerous, missing danger levels by something like 5 and a half orders of magnitude.
Cell phones do not cause cancer. They do not even theoretically cause cancer. Why? Because they simply do not produce the type of electromagnetic radiation that is capable of causing cancer. Michael Shermer explains, using basic physics:
…known carcinogens such as x-rays, gamma rays and UV rays have energies greater than 480 kilojoules per mole (kJ/mole), which is enough to break chemical bonds… A cell phone generates radiation of less than 0.001 kJ/mole. That is 480,000 times weaker than UV rays…
If the radiation from cell phones cannot break chemical bonds, then it is not possible for cell phones to cause cancer, no matter what the World Health Organization thinks. And just to put the “possible carcinogen” terminology into perspective, the WHO also considers coffee to be a possible carcinogen. Additionally, it appears that politics and ideology may have trumped science in the WHO’s controversial decision.

The Ultimate End of Social-Democratic Labor Policy

When a country
  • Increases the minimum wage, and therefore the minimum skill / productivity needed for a job
  • Adds substantially to the costs of labor through required taxes, insurance premiums, pensions, etc
  • Makes employees virtually un-fireable, thus forcing companies to think twice about hiring young, unproven employees they may be saddled with, good or bad, for decades
  • Puts labor policy in the hands of people who already have jobs (ie unions)
  • Shift wealth via social security and medical programs from the young to the old
It gets this


The bitterly ironic part is that when these folks hit the streets in mass protests, it will likely be for more of the same that put them there in the first place.

Want to argue that such policies are hurting workers rather than helping?  Good luck, at least in Italy
Pietro Ichino, a professor of labor law at the University of Milan and a senator in the Italian legislature, is known as the author of several “neoliberal” books and studies recommending that the Italian government relax its extraordinarily stringent regulation of employers’ hiring and firing decisions. As Bloomberg Business Week reports, that means that Prof. Ichino must fear for his life: “For the past 10 years, the academic and parliamentarian has lived under armed escort, traveling exclusively by armored car, and almost never without the company of two plainclothes policemen. The protection is provided by the Italian government, which has reason to believe that people want to murder Ichino for his views.”
Memo to US:  Don’t get cocky, you are going down the same path

 Update:  Interesting and sort of related from Megan McArdle
An apparent paradox that frequently puzzles journalists is that Europeans work fewer hours than workers in the United States, while in some countries, hourly productivity appears to be the same, or even higher, than that of American workers. This is not actually a paradox at all.  Much of the decline in European hours worked per-capita came in the form of unemployment.  Rigid labor laws which make it hard to fire (and thus, risky to hire) shut less productive workers out of the market, particularly the young, and those who had been displaced due to disruptive industry change.  So does anything that raises the cost of labor, like, er, loads of mandatory vacation and leave.  When you exclude your least productive workers from the labor force, your measured hourly productivity will be higher, particularly if you use metrics like GDP per hours worked.

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