Thursday, March 1, 2012

Bernanke Can’t Blame His Sins on Milton Friedman: Amity Shlaes

Ben and Milton are together. Ben is asking Milton a question: “Shall there be action, Master, or depression?” Ben is like Obi-Wan Kenobi to Milton’s Yoda. At first, Milton doesn’t answer. Finally, Milton speaks. “Depression let it be. Deflation it must be.”
This dialogue between Ben S. Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, and Milton Friedman, the great economics professor, never happened. It’s a fantasy. But you can bet a gold dollar that some version of the question, with or without the “Star Wars” motif, rolls over and over again at night in the minds of those who obsess about the economy.

About Amity Shlaes

Amity Shlaes is a senior fellow in economic history at the Council on Foreign Relations and the author of the best-sellers "The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression" and "The Greedy Hand: Why Taxes Drive Americans Crazy."
More about Amity Shlaes
Perhaps the Fed chairman is abusing his old connection to the monetary master, Friedman, as a cover for a policy that Friedman might not endorse. That policy is doing anything Bernanke feels like -- dumping money in the economy, or simply scaremongering -- with the defense that doing so is honoring Friedman’s desire to avoid that deflation, that recession or that Depression.

Andrew Breitbart, 1969 - 2012

Romney Takes the GOP Lead

Rick Santorum's candidacy will realistically be at an end if he loses Ohio next week.

Tuesday's primaries bent the GOP presidential contest solidly in Mitt Romney's direction. Trailing Rick Santorum by 10 points in the Inside Michigan Politics/MRG poll two weeks ago, Mr. Romney battled back to win his birthplace by three percentage points. He beat Mr. Santorum by 20 points in Arizona, sweeping all the state's 29 delegates.
Michigan was Mr. Santorum's best shot at delivering a fatal blow to Mr. Romney. He logged as many campaign stops as Mr. Romney, and he benefited from a social-conservative majority in the western part of the state. His super PAC spent more than it had in any other contest. Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich left both states largely to him—Mr. Paul focusing on the upcoming caucus states (Washington, Alaska, Idaho, North Dakota), and Mr. Gingrich trying to stop his slide in Georgia (his home state) where polls show Mr. Santorum gaining.

Sheriff Arpaio: Obama birth certificate a ‘forgery’

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio said Thursday he suspects the birth certificate President Obama released last year is a “computer-generated forgery” — and also raised questions about the authenticity of the president’s Selective Service card.
“Based on all of the evidence presented and investigated, I cannot in good faith report to you that these documents are authentic,” Sheriff Arpaio said. “My investigators believe that the long-form birth certificate was manufactured electronically and that it did not originate in paper format as claimed by the White House.”

HURT: Big picture looks good for GOP

With all the creepy preaching from Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney’s disastrous attempts at relating to earthlings who don’t own a couple of Cadillacs or hobnob with owners of NASCAR teams, it is understandable Republicans might be a wee bit depressed these days.
But, if you step wa-a-a-a-a-ay back and look at the much larger picture, Republicans just might have some reason to be optimistic once this whole agonizing primary is over.
Remember, in the months leading up to Ronald Reagan’s landslide annihilation of Jimmy Carter, the polls almost exclusively showed the Gipper in a dogfight too close to call with one of the most disastrous presidents of all time. Looking back now, it is impossible to imagine that anyone thought Mr. Carter had the slightest chance to win considering what a horrible steward he was to the economy, foreign relations and domestic policies.

Liberal in Bed, Conservative in the Head: Sophie B. Hawkins, Breitbart, ...

Farewell to a Friend: Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

Andrew Breitbart, Matt Welch, Steve Smith (yes, that one), and Nancy Rommelmann, at the after-party for Cathy Seipp's roast.It was always funny to many of his friends that Andrew Breitbart, after he became famous, was probably most famous for being a 100 percent polarizing political lightning rod. The reason that was funny was two-fold: He didn't actually have strong philosophical/policy beliefs - at all - and he was always perfectly comfortable and perfectly welcome in ideologically and culturally diverse settings. Like my L.A. backyard (pictured), dozens of times.

Andrew RIP

I walked out of the studio at Fox only to have a producer greet me at the door and tell me the wires were reporting Andrew had died. I walked around, dazed for a few minutes. A booker asked me if I could hang around for reaction. I said yes, foolishly. I went on. Bill Hemmer asked me some questions. I don’t really remember what I said. But I know I started to break down. 

Barack Obama: The Anti Economic Growth President

Jim Powell, Contributor
I cover economic and political history.
2/29/2012 @ 1:14PM |11,109 views

Barack Obama: The Anti Economic Growth President 

For several hundred years, a consensus developed in Western nations that economic growth – human progress – is a good thing. But now economic growth is under attack.
Economic growth has meant more jobs, higher incomes, more wealth and all the good things that become possible — a more comfortable life, better nutrition, better health care, more education, a cleaner environment, a secure retirement, a higher life expectancy and confidence that our children will be living even better.

What If the Constitution No Longer Applied?

What if the whole purpose of the Constitution was to limit the government? What if Congress’ enumerated powers in the Constitution no longer limited Congress, but were actually used as justification to extend Congress’ authority over every realm of human life? What if the president, meant to be an equal to Congress, has become a democratically elected, term-limited monarch? What if the president assumed everything he did was legal, just because he’s the president? What if he could interrupt your regularly scheduled radio and TV programming for a special message from him? What if he could declare war on his own? What if he could read your emails and texts without a search warrant? What if he could kill you without warning?

What if Freedom Were Temporary?

What if our rights didn’t come from God or from our humanity, but from the government? What if the government really thinks we’re not unique individuals with immortal souls, but just public property? What if we were only entitled to our natural rights if it pleased the government? What if our rights could be stripped away whenever the government considers us to be its enemy?
What if this could all be accomplished with the consent of the people? What if the people’s own representatives subverted the Constitution? What if the people were so afraid that they accepted the subversion? What if the government demonizes an external enemy and uses fear of that enemy to suppress our freedoms? What if people are afraid to protest?

Spies in New Brunswick, by Andrew P. Napolitano,

On June 2, 2009, a janitor in an office building in New Brunswick, N.J., noticed what he thought was terrorist-related literature and sophisticated surveillance equipment in an office he had been assigned to clean. He told his boss, who called the local police, who notified the FBI. Later in the day, the FBI and the New Brunswick police broke into the office and discovered five men busily operating the equipment. Four of the men were police officers from the New York City Police Department (NYPD), and the fifth was a CIA agent.

Obama is out-Bushing Bush, and no one minds

Nathalie Rothschild

Obama is out-Bushing Bush, and no one minds

That Obama has received so little flak over police spying on Muslims suggests Democrats can get away with far more than Republicans.

It has emerged that the White House has funded the New York Police Department’s surveillance of entire Muslim neighbourhoods with money earmarked for fighting drug crime. The revelations were detailed in reports by the Associated Press this week. In response, senior law enforcement officials and politicians have been either unapologetic or silent. Most tellingly, the Obama administration, which has championed Muslim outreach and has said law enforcement should not put entire communities under suspicion, said on Monday that it has no opinion on the matter.

Inflation: Not as low as you think. By Kathy Kristof

 (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
Forget the modest 3.1 percent rise in the Consumer Price Index, the government's widely used measure of inflation. Everyday prices are up some 8 percent over the past year, according to the American Institute for Economic Research.

U.S. journalist allegedly buried in Syria

Sunday Times journalist Marie Colvin photographed in Tahrir square in Cairo. (AP Photo/Ivor Prickett Sunday Times)
The Arab Spring
(AP) BEIRUT - American journalist Marie Colvin, who was killed in the central Syrian city of Homs last week, has been buried in a cemetery in the embattled neighborhood where she died, an activist video posted online Thursday claimed.

Afghan gunmen kill 2 U.S. troops

(CBS/AP) KABUL, Afghanistan - Two U.S. troops were shot dead in southern Afghanistan when three assailants, two of whom were believed to be Afghan soldiers, turned their weapons against American troops on Thursday.

Syrian Rebels Withdrawing From Homs

Rebel Officials Say Move a 'Tactical Retreat'

by Jason Ditz,

Less than 24 hours after the Free Syrian Army (FSA) was claiming to be holding the Syrian military back from a “massacre” in the Baba Amro neighborhood of Homs, leaders of the group are now saying that they are withdrawing from the city entirely.
Though rebels say this is only a “tactical retreat” it seems a significant gain for the Assad regime, as parts of Homs have been contested for months and it has been the site of some of the fiercest battles in the still relatively young civil war.
If calm returns to Homs it could also be a major diplomatic victory for the regime, as the close proximity of anti-Assad protesters and battles has led the rebels to claim enormous civilian death tolls and sparked international outcry.
Where this leaves the rebels is unclear, though they still enjoy considerable international support and have promised to escalate attacks across the nation, saying they will strike everywhere from Daraa (along the southern border with Jordan) to Idlib (near Turkey in the far north).

Energy Protectionism Is Not Good Policy. by Ivan Eland,

U.S. policymakers and pundits continue to treat energy as a “strategic” commodity, which is just a way of justifying inefficient government meddling in the industry sector. Before the 1973 Middle East oil crisis, the federal government tried to keep oil prices high to subsidize the oil industry. Ever since the Arabs wrested control of their oil resources from the U.S.-dominated international oil cartel and formed an imitative cartel of their own, the U.S. government has decried high oil prices and spent hundreds of billions of dollars of taxpayer money to “protect” Saudi Arabia and other Middle East producers in exchange for their efforts to restrain oil prices.

Corruption and the Citizen, American-Style

I have long nurtured this thoroughly depressing conviction that the United States, far from being a shining city on the hill, has become one of the most corrupt of nations. Why does America have more lawyers than the rest of the world combined? It is because the corruption has been institutionalized at every level of political life and is protected by laws and procedures created precisely to enable elites to maintain dominance over the rest of us. I appreciate that my viewpoint may be regarded as somewhat simplistic as I am neither a judge nor a lawyer, and I do concede that many of those in the legal profession are both honest and dedicated to the Constitution. Still, the bad taste of the past 11 years continues to remind me that there is something seriously wrong with how our political system and rule of law operate.

Syria crisis: UN demands Valerie Amos let into country

An activist in the Syrian city of Homs has said the Free Syrian Army has left the embattled district of Baba Amr
The UN Security Council is demanding immediate access to Syria for its humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos.
Russia and China, who vetoed two previous Security Council resolutions on Syria, are also backing the call for Baroness Amos to be allowed in.

France election: Sarkozy hides in bar amid protest

Nicolas Sarkozy is escorted by plain-clothes police out of Bayonne Nicolas Sarkozy had to be escorted out of Bayonne by plain-clothes police
Hundreds of angry protesters have booed French President Nicolas Sarkozy, forcing him to take shelter in a bar as he campaigned in the Basque country ahead of April's presidential election.
Some in the crowd then threw eggs at the bar guarded by riot police in the south-western town of Bayonne.
Mr Sarkozy described the protesters - Basque nationalists and supporters of his rival Socialist candidate Francois Hollande - as "hooligans".

DEATH FROM ABOVE!!! apache gunship

Collateral Murder - Wikileaks - Iraq

US: Mad About High Gas Prices? Then Chu On This –

Gasoline: As pump prices hit $4 a gallon, Energy Secretary Steven Chu admits the administration has no interest in bringing them down. Is it any wonder Democrats are growing increasingly agitated with this White House?
At a hearing this week, Rep. Alan Nunnelee, R-Miss., specifically asked Chu if “the overall goal” of the administration is to “get our price down.” Chu’s answer was no.

US: Why Does Rick Santorum Have “Serious Problems” With the Gold Standard? – by Ralph Benko

On a recent episode of the Glenn Beck Show, Beck had an exchange, summarized here, with presidential candidate Rick Santorum: “I think you’ve got to put the Fed back in the business of just managing the money supply for the purposes of holding inflation in check,” Santorum said. “If the Fed’s only mission was dollar stabilization, then they wouldn‘t be doing what they’re doing right now.”

US: The problem with Santorum – by Ann Coulter

Even when I agree with Rick Santorum, listening to him argue the point almost makes me change my mind.
I also wonder why he’s running for president, rather than governor, when the issues closest to his heart are family-oriented matters about which the federal government can, and should, do very little.

World: Amnesty: Executions in Iran Spiked Last Year – by Ari Bildner

Iran publically executed around four times as many people in 2011 as in 2010, a new Amnesty International report published Tuesday said.
“Casting a shadow over all those who fall foul of Iran’s unjust justice system is the mounting toll of people sentenced to death and executed,” the report said.

US: Growing risk posed by Iran-Venezuela axis – by Sen. Richard Lugar

The growing and deepening alliance between the mullahs of Iran and the America-bashing leader of Venezuela, Hugo Chávez, poses a serious threat to U.S. national interests, but the Obama administration has been behind the curve in appraising these risks and forging effective policies to counter them.

US: Proposal for Che Guevara Monument in Ireland Should Be Rejected, Says Ros-Lehtinen – US House Committee on Foreign Affairs

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, released the following statement today urging the City Council of Galway, Ireland to reject a proposal to erect a monument in honor of Che Guevara:

El Salvador Quits the Market Model – by Mary Anastasia O’Grady

The country’s debt has been repeatedly downgraded as President Mauricio Funes has increased government spending.
The same Brazilian advertising hotshot who worked his magic to get a left-winger elected president of El Salvador in 2009 is running the presidential campaign of national socialist Ollanta Humala in Peru. If João Santana’s expertise translates into a Humala victory, Peruvians had better hope that the similarities end there.
Mr. Santana’s successful Salvadoran client, Mauricio Funes of the FMLN party, has been a disaster for the once-thriving Salvadoran economy. One example: The United Nations’ Economic Commission on Latin America and the Caribbean reported earlier this month that while “the region’s FDI inflows were 40% higher than in 2009,” El Salvador didn’t benefit. “In Central America, foreign investment flows to all countries grew, except in the case of El Salvador.” It experienced a 79% decline.

Andrew Breitbart dead at 43 of natural causes at UCLA hospital

Conservative writer and website publisher Andrew Breitbart died of natural causes at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center about midnight, sources told The Times.
The exact cause of death was unclear, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing.

Andrew Breitbart collapsed while walking near Westwood home

Breitbart at computer
This post has been corrected. See details below.
Conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart collapsed while walking near his Westwood home, his father-in-law said.
Sources told The Times that Breitbart was rushed to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center about midnight, where he was pronounced dead of natural causes. No further details were available.
His father-in-law, actor Orson Bean, told the Associated Press that a neighbor saw Breitbart fall and called paramedics. Bean also said Breitbart had suffered from heart problems in the past.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

COHA Aide-mémoire: Falklands Fever Not Likely to Turn into War

COHA Aide-mémoire: Falklands Fever Not Likely to Turn into War

Source: The Week
In a speech on February 7 highlighting steadily escalating Anglo-Argentine tensions, the explosive issue of the Falkland Islands was the focus.  Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced that her government was prepared to denounce London’s “latest re-militarization of the South Atlantic” before the UN’s General Assembly, the Security Council, and the Committee on Decolonization.

Julian Assange Walks Out of CNN Interview

The Real Legacy of Margaret Thatcher, Britain's Iron Lady

The Role of Economic Freedom

Red Tape Rising: A 2011 Mid-Year Report

By and

Abstract: Following a record year of rulemaking, the Obama Administration is continuing to unleash more costly red tape. In the first six months of the 2011 fiscal year, 15 major regulations were issued, with annual costs exceeding $5.8 billion and one-time implementation costs approaching $6.5 billion. No major rulemaking actions were taken to reduce regulatory burdens during this period. Overall, the Obama Administration imposed 75 new major regulations from January 2009 to mid-FY 2011, with annual costs of $38 billion. There were only six major deregulatory actions during that time, with reported savings of just $1.5 billion. This flood of red tape will undoubtedly persist, as hundreds of new regulations stemming from the vast Dodd–Frank financial regulation law, Obamacare, and the EPA’s global warming crusade advance through the regulatory pipeline—all of which further weakens an anemic economy and job creation, while undermining Americans’ fundamental freedoms. Action by Congress as well as the President to stem this regulatory surge is essential.

Women Speak Out: Obamacare Tramples Religious Liberty

Religious liberty has become an early casualty in Obamacare’s collision course with liberty. Obamacare’s anti-conscience mandate forces employers to provide health insurance coverage of abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization -– regardless of religious or moral objections to such services.
The mandate’s coercion of employers is a serious affront to religious liberty and a warning sign of the problems inherent in a centralized health care system. Conflicts between individual liberty and the dictates of government bureaucrats on deeply personal health care decisions will only increase as implementation of what Obamacare deems to be an “essential benefits” package continues.
Join us as an expert panel discusses the specific religious liberty violations of the Obamacare anti-conscience mandate and the health care law’s profound threat to personal freedom.

Warning to a Superpower: The Threat of Debt to American Global Leadership

The scale of federal government debt in America is not only a major economic problem, but also a strategic one. Having jumped radically in recent years, federal debt is projected to continue to soar, driving up interest expense, adding more pressure to raise taxes, and crowding out national security spending, scaling back U.S. power on the world stage to help make ends meet.

The Devil We Don't Know: The Dark Side of Revolutions in the Middle East

Human rights activist Nonie Darwish assesses the potential for freedom to succeed following the recent revolutions in the Middle East. The powerful wave of uprisings has fueled both hope and trepidation in the region and around the world as the ultimate fate – and fallout – of the Arab Spring continue to hang in the balance. Darwish examines the ramifications of the game-changing recent revolts and the factors that will obstruct or support freedom and democracy in the Muslim world. Born and raised as a Muslim in Egypt and now living in the United States, she brings an informed perspective to this assessment of the potential outcome of the revolutions in the Middle East and what the future holds for the people and the politics of the region.
A former journalist for the Middle East News Agency, Nonie Darwish has written extensively on the Middle East, Islam, and women's rights. She is also the author of Cruel and Unusual Punishment: The Terrifying Implications of Islamic Law and Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror.

Can the Government Keep Us Safe?

By Andrew Napolitano

What a week we have all just endured! While the Democrats were re-writing the federal takeover of healthcare behind closed doors, the public face of the federal government was fixated on denying and then explaining all the gaps in its intelligence gathering. The Obama administration has been finger-pointing over who in the government let a murderous thug on a plane in Amsterdam that he tried to explode over Detroit. First, the government said that the system worked. Then the President said it didn't. Then he announced that the intelligence communities and security people would start to talk to each other so the bad guys could be kept out. Weren't they supposed to be doing this all along?

Let's Admit Enacting Medicare Was a Mistake

By Jacob Hornberger

The ongoing fiasco in healthcare shows why it was so wrong to have enacted Medicare in the first place.
For one thing, Medicare reflects perfectly the mindset of dependency that the welfare state has inculcated in the American people, who have been born and raised under a culture of welfare-statism. All too many Americans are absolutely convinced that they could not survive without Medicare. The thought of repealing, not reforming, Medicare is so terrifying to them that they cannot even rationally discuss the subject. In their minds, if Medicare were repealed, elderly parents and grandparents would soon be dying in the streets of untreated infections and illnesses.

Time to Get Out of Afghanistan

By Doug Bandow

After September 11 the U.S. intervened in Afghanistan to kill Osama bin Laden, dismantle al-Qaeda, and punish the Taliban. Washington finally has succeeded at all three tasks. It is time for American forces to come home.

For many people Afghanistan started out as the good war. Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda turned Taliban-ruled Afghanistan into a sanctuary as they plotted the death of thousands of Americans. The Central Asian state -- in contrast to Iraq -- was an appropriate target for military retaliation.

National Intelligence and National Defense

By Robert David Steele Vivas

Right up front, here is the value proposition: a revolution in national security affairs can immediately deliver three things:
1. Permit the rapid (four years) reduction of the secret intelligence community budget from $80 billion to under $20 billion and permit the rapid (four years) reduction of the active and reserve military budget from over $1 trillion a year (which is how much the US Government borrows every year “in our name") to under $250 billion a year, with a strict focus on defense against real modern threats instead of fabricated or exaggerated threats;
2. Provide the public intelligence (decision-support) necessary to document, evaluate, and recommend the reduction of the federal government by at least one-half over four years; and
3. Provide the real-world, real-time comprehensive intelligence (decision-support) necessary to restore the legitimacy and importance of the USA as an enabler of a foreign policy of freedom (peace, commerce, and honest friendship) and restore the legitimacy and importance of the federal government as an enabler of domestic tranquility and prosperity, using public intelligence in the public interest.

Tax Credits and Subsidies

By Laurence M. Vance

Do tax credits -- as well as tax deductions, tax loopholes, tax shelters, and tax exemptions -- constitute subsidies? Many Republicans and conservatives think so.
Senate Republicans are divided over a proposal to eliminate the Volumetric Ethanol Excise Tax Credit. An amendment to that end (S.Admt.436) by Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) to the Economic Development Revitalization Act of 2011 (S.782), a bill to amend and reauthorize the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1965, was recently defeated with 34 out of 47 Republicans supporting the amendment.
The amendment follows a previous attempt by Coburn to do the same thing with a stand-alone bill, S.520, currently languishing in the Committee on Finance.

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