Commentary

A puzzling policy commitment from Scottish Labour

March 26, 2015
posted by

Tim Worstall Adam Smith Institute
by Tim Worstall  

"Perhaps we should spend too much time puzzling over whatever it is that Scottish Labour wishes to promise us all given that current indications are that there's not going to be a Scottish Labour soon enough. But their attitude towards food banks does deserve some puzzling over: 'His announcement came the day after he promised a £175 million anti-poverty fund that he said would be used to end food banks in Scotland.' Why would we want to end food banks [i]n Scotland? It's entirely true that use of food banks has soared in recent years. But it's also true that we've got to be very careful in determining whether this is a supply shock or a demand shock." (03/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qgbbb29  

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Refuting objections: But nullification isn’t in the Constitution!

March 26, 2015
posted by

TJ Martinell Tenth Amendment Center
by TJ Martinell  

"A common complaint among detractors of nullification is that, as they see it, 'James Madison was the author of the Constitution and since he didn't include nullification in the document, it can't be done.' This attitude holds that the feds get to do whatever they want, as long as it's not specifically prohibited by the Constitution, while the states have to receive their authority from the Constitution or the feds. This argument completely flips the entire structure of the Constitution on its head." (03/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o5mvn49  

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Demise of party loyalty: Is the two party system dissolving?

March 26, 2015
posted by

Voices of Liberty
by Elizabeth Nervegna  

"The storyline is becoming familiar. A young person enthusiastically volunteers for their local GOP. After years of service and some eye-opening experiences, they are now filled with utter disappointment, walking away from the only party they have ever known. Similarly disillusioned are the retired, loyal party supporters; the ones who have voted down the party line for decades, donated generously to further the cause of conservatism, many who have themselves run and served faithfully on the party's ticket. Why the sudden shift and desertion of party loyalty? What is the reason behind the flood of disenchantment spanning every class from age, to race, to socio-economic status? There can be only one answer: Americans -- especially liberty-loving Republicans -- are waking up to the sad realization that there are very few differences at the heart of each of our two major political parties." (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oua2s4k  

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Freedom Feens Radio, 03/26/15

March 26, 2015
posted by

Freedom Feens Freedom Feens Radio
by  

"Davi Barker and Dan Greene of the Greening Out Podcast ditch Michael Dean and FeenPhone in without a Comrex (first full show ever without MWD and without a Comrex !) Topics include: the similarities between soccer fans and zombies, tyranny in the UK, and Cat Army!" [Flash audio or MP3] (03/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ojeaqn2  

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“Gun control” compromise, part 2

March 26, 2015
posted by

Kent McManigal Kent's "Hooligan Libertarian" Blog
by Kent McManigal  

"The next time you hear someone calling for a ban on normal capacity magazines -- usually, but not always, suggesting to limit them to 10 rounds maximum -- ask if, in exchange for that violation of your liberty, they'd be willing to compromise. ... In exchange for a magazine limit would they then be willing to get rid of all 'laws' against carrying guns with the limited magazines, or revolvers with a capacity equal to or less than this arbitrary number of rounds?" (03/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qh4pmox  

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It’s not easy being Scientology

March 26, 2015
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by Sophie Gilbert  

"Scientology, the movement established by L. Ron Hubbard in the '50s, has long been known for its efforts to manipulate information about it in the public sphere. The group carefully crafts its image through widespread publicity campaigns (including a native advertisement published on this site in 2013) while suing and attacking those who portray it unfavorably. Over the past 25 years, the Church has filed lawsuits against high-profile publications such as Time and The Washington Post, as well as ex-employees who criticize the Church publicly. Hubbard himself encouraged aggressive legal action toward people who revealed secret information about the Church. According to a 1997 New York Times article, Hubbard once told his followers, 'The purpose of the suit is to harass and discourage rather than win ... If possible, of course, ruin [the opponent] utterly.' But the Church is losing control of its public image—in large part because the flow of information in the digital age is irrepressible." (03/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q7ww579  

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New Congressional Budget Office director Keith Hall and dynamic scoring

March 26, 2015
posted by

National Center for Policy Analysis National Center for Policy Analysis
by David G Tuerck  

"The appointment of Keith Hall as director of the Congressional Budget Office coincides with the adoption by Congress of a rule change that requires 'dynamic scoring' of proposed tax law changes. Hall is chief economist at the U.S. International Trade Commission, served as head of the President's Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush and was Commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics from 2008 to 2012. In April 2015, he will replace CBO Director Douglas Elmendorf, who has served since 2009. The appointment of Hall appears to signify an intention, going forward, for the CBO to adhere to the spirit, as well as the letter, of the new congressional mandate. He should not be distracted from this effort by politically-driven griping from economists who should know better than to question the congressional intent behind that mandate." (03/25/15)

http://www.ncpa.org/pub/ba809  

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Who’s afraid of clapping? Feminist students, that’s who

March 26, 2015
posted by

spiked spiked
by Sam Slater  

"As the National Union of Students' Women's conference opened yesterday, delegates were asked to replace applause with 'feminist jazz hands.' The request came from the Twitter feed of the Oxford University Student Union's Women's Campaign (@womcam) -- it claimed clapping was 'triggering anxiety.' This latest safe-space policy requested attendees refrain from applauding motions that included calls to 'end transphobia, biphobia, and Islamophobia on campus.' Before the day's proceedings came to an end, and delegates went off to a 'feminist disco,' the inevitable Twitterstorm had taken hold. In between fits of laughter, the internet shook its collective head at the sorry state of UK students. Last month, we couldn't listen to Marine le Pen; this month we can't listen to the sound of our own clapping." (03/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/q88ujcf  

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Extradition hypocrisy

March 26, 2015
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger  

"If the Italy's highest court rules against Knox, she almost certainly will not return voluntarily. Since there is an extradition treaty between the United States and Italy, Italian authorities will almost certainly seek her extradition. According to an article on Foxnews.com, 'U.S. State Department officials say they are monitoring the case.' If Italian officials comply with the requirements of the extradition process, and if Knox cannot show a valid legal reason for not being extradited, it is a virtual certainty that U.S. officials will forcibly return her to Italy, pursuant to the extradition agreement between the two nations. Not surprisingly, however, these same principles do not apply to officials in the U.S. national-security branch of the government." (03/26/15)

http://fff.org/2015/03/26/extradition-hypocrisy/  

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Europe’s real time-bomb

March 26, 2015
posted by

Acton Institute Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty
by Samuel Gregg  

"While Europe's governments and financial markets have been fixated in recent months by the ongoing fiscal and political disaster otherwise known as Greece, the challenges facing one of the EU's smallest members are, frankly, quite minor compared to what may well be Europe's biggest looming internal problem. The name of that challenge? In a word: France." (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/qxmuf4l  

1 Comment »

This sick capitalism [TM]

March 26, 2015
posted by

Scott Sumner EconLog
by Scott Sumner  

"The media tells us that the Obama administration is trying to get Asian countries to buy into a tighter set of intellectual property rights protections because ... well I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps because President Obama does not believe that Taylor Swift is rich enough. If every Asian teenager gave just 10 cents to Taylor, it would add up to ... quite a bit of money I'd imagine. More seriously, the usual argument is that IP is a way of encouraging new inventions. Yes, Prince had already invented 'Party Like its 1999.' And the Smashing Pumpkins have '1979.' But neither made the real conceptual breakthrough to: 'Party Like Its 1989.'" (03/25/15)

http://econlog.econlib.org/archives/2015/03/this_sick_capit.html  

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What’s the problem with trigger warnings?

March 26, 2015
posted by

Avens O'Brien The Libertarian Republic
by Avens O'Brien  

"The fact is, those who've experienced major trauma in their lives, may very well be triggered by sounds, sights, smells or mentions of things that are related to their triggers. However, it is possible these trigger warnings are not doing people the favor we think they are. There has been substantial scientific evidence that avoidance, rather than confrontation of these triggers, can cause severe damage to the necessary coping methods of the brain, further increasing the level of trauma. ... The ability to confront and move on from one's triggers, trauma and ultimately the involuntary reactions that interrupt their lives, is essential to preserving one's agency and allowing someone to live lives beyond an identity as a victim." (03/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ouygse5  

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The importance of concealed carry on campus

March 26, 2015
posted by

Students For Liberty Students For Liberty
by Nikki Burgess  

"Imagine you're on campus in an enclosed, public space, perhaps a movie theater or school library, when a stranger whips out a gun and threatens to shoot. What do you do? In this moment, you face very few options. You could dial 911, but the potential shooter might notice. If you have a gun, you may be able to bargain with or injure the attacker at an opportune moment -- if your campus allows concealed carry. Maybe you don't have a gun with you, but someone else in the same room does and is prepared to help. However, what if you're on a campus that has banned concealed carry? These campuses instead advise students to 'gather weapons' such as 'desks, keys, shoes, belts, (and) books' and then 'mentally prepare' an offensive attack." [editor's note: "Bargain with or injure?" No! If that's your mindset you shouldn't go armed -- you're more dangerous to yourself and innocent others than you are to an assailant. When "a stranger whips out a gun and threatens to shoot," aim center mass and do your best to kill him. Don't carry and don't draw unless you are prepared to do that - TLK] (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oc5tvqn  

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Brothers, you asked for it!

March 26, 2015
posted by

The Price of Liberty
by Bradley Harrington  

"Cheyenne's Unified Development Code, 282 pages of the most insanely expensive regulatory gobbledygook you've ever seen (hardly any of which actually deals with property-rights protection or violations), is more than enough to scare away all but the most hardy (and deep-pocketed) souls. Covering everything from aesthetic appeal to the types of permitted vegetation to fencing to setbacks to ramps to sidewalks to blah blah blah, the UDC is a guaranteed way to ensure that nobody will ever make the mistake of trying to do anything with those West Edge properties ever again. And then, naturally, after the expected blight has more than settled in, we are now being fed the foolish idea that we need more government to solve the problem." (03/25/15)

http://www.thepriceofliberty.org/?p=7076  

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ObamaCare: Not as bad as it could have been, but still awful

March 26, 2015
posted by

Michael D. Tanner Cato Institute
by Michael D Tanner  

"This may well reflect simple weariness with the issue. The law remains remarkably unpopular. The latest Real Clear Politics average of polls shows 52.5 percent opposed and 42 percent in favor. But much of the public appears to have settled for resigned grumpiness. After all, the worst news -- canceled policies, the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov -- is mostly in the past. Other expected problems have not come to pass just yet. On the other hand, supporters can point to little evidence of success beyond a modest increase in coverage and the fact that things haven't been as bad as they might have been." (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/odv3nrt  

2 Comments »

My license plates, my free speech

March 26, 2015
posted by

USA Today USA Today
by Ben Jones  

"A case before the Supreme Court has again brought the issue of the Confederate battle flag onto the public radar screen. At issue is whether a state-issued specialty license plate is an expression by the state government or by the individual who purchases it, and therefore protected by the First Amendment. Many legal experts believe the court will uphold the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling in favor of the Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans to allow a specialty license plate that honors the heritage of those tens of millions of Americans whose ancestors fought for the Southern cause 150 years ago." (03/24/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nw6fhur  

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Why the army is charging Bowe Bergdahl with desertion

March 26, 2015
posted by

The Atlantic The Atlantic
by David A Graham  

"The justice system is complicated, but the military-justice system is another matter entirely. The vagaries of Army courts may help to explain why a general decided to charge Bowe Bergdahl with desertion on Wednesday. That choice seems pretty confusing: After all, why would the U.S. trade five high-value Taliban prisoners for Bergdahl, only to turn around several months later and accuse him of a major crime? ... But General Mark Milley, who made the call, may have had a restricted set of choices. While Bergdahl was in Taliban captivity, his term of enlistment expired, even though he remained on military rosters and was classified as being on active duty. As Military Times explained in December, that means the Army really had only two choices: either grant Bergdahl an honorable discharge, or else begin the procedure to court-martial him." (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o4gar8t  

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The government’s fixation on spying and lying

March 26, 2015
posted by

Andrew P. Napolitano Antiwar.com
by Andrew P Napolitano  

"Think about it: The Israeli Mossad was spying on Kerry while the CIA was spying on the Mossad. Hillary Clinton thought she could destroy her emails just because she is Hillary Clinton, yet she forgot that the administration of which she was an integral part dispatched the NSA to spy on everyone, including her. And though it might not voluntarily release the emails she thought she destroyed, the NSA surely has them. The police have no hesitation about engaging in the same warrantless surveillance as the feds. And when Hayden revealed a cat-like smile on his face when challenged about the feds in our bedrooms, and the 10,000 folks in the audience did not reveal outrage, you know that government spying is so endemic today that it is almost the new normal." (03/26/15)

http://tinyurl.com/nk83s22  

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No, the college your kids go to won’t decide their destiny

March 26, 2015
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Rob Cox  

"New York Times columnist Frank Bruni, himself a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, thinks it’s time to take much of the anxiety out of the college admittance process. His new book, Where You Go Is Not Who You Will Be, gives some pretty good reasons to relax, at least a little. Right now, letters from colleges are flooding into kitchens across America, crashing hopes and buoying dreams, but Bruni points out that of the 10 biggest U.S. companies, only one is led by an Ivy League graduate. Even looking at past presidents, Bruni argues, what people see is deceiving. Did Yale prepare the Bushes for the White House, or was Yale merely a stop on the way to destiny? He points out that George H.W. Bush’s father, Prescott, had already served in the Senate." (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/oxow5mb  

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Mandatory voting: A bad idea

March 26, 2015
posted by

Sheldon Richman Free Association
by Sheldon Richman  

"Having a right means you may freely decide to take -- or not take -- an action without forcible interference by anyone else, including people in the government. Your right to the car you bought signifies that you are free to use it peacefully -- or not. It makes no sense to say that your right to your car obligates you to use it or face punishment. Anyone who talks that way simply does not understand what a right is. A right, then, differs from an enforceable duty. The story is the same with voting. If one has a right to vote, the idea of making the exercise of that right mandatory is absurd." (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pv6q6ss  

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Bad reporting about education harming schools & students

March 26, 2015
posted by

Jeff Bryant Our Future
by Jeff Bryant  

"Be afraid, be very afraid, any time you see a reporter in the business media turn his or her attention to education and public schools. What will likely follow is a string of truisms used to prop up a specious argument, steeped in biased notions that were themselves picked up from ill-informed conversations promoted by other clueless business news outlets. All of this chatter would be something best to ignore were it not for the fact that reporters and pundits from these outlets are often raised to prominence, labeled as “experts,” and lionized by political leaders and policy makers, while real authorities on education are overlooked or completely drowned out in the babble." (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/pwobhmj  

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America’s aristocracy of privilege and power

March 26, 2015
posted by

Foundation for Economic Education Foundation for Economic Education
by Daniel Bier  

"Bush, Kennedy, Romney, Clinton, and, yes, even Paul -- is it just a coincidence that the same names keep appearing on the ballots each election cycle? Are these families just innately talented legislators, naturally 'born to rule?' No, says economist Seth Stephens-Davidowitz. America's lame political dynasties are the result of a political system rife with nepotism." (03/25/15)

http://fee.org/blog/detail/americas-aristocracy-of-privilege-and-power  

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Heartland Daily Podcast, 03/25/15

March 26, 2015
posted by

Heartland Institute Heartland Institute
by  

"In today’s edition of The Heartland Daily Podcast, managing editor of Health Care News, Sean Parnell, talks with John R. Graham. Graham is a senior fellow in health care policy at the National Center for Policy Analysis. Graham and Parnell discuss the health care related impacts of the proposed GOP budget." [Flash video] (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/ong5aqe  

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Middle Eastern barriers to an agile marketplace

March 26, 2015
posted by

Ludwig von Mises Institute Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Salmaan A Khan  

"According to economic historian Timur Kuran, 'Around roughly the tenth century, the Middle East was an economically advanced region of the world, as measured by standard of living, technology, agricultural productivity, literacy or institutional creativity. Only China might have been more developed.' Today, however, the Middle East is a victim of historical legal impediments that increase time preference among consumers and investors, and which are fraught with failures to restructure Islamic legal code to fit for the numerous changes in the nature of commerce." (03/25/15)

http://mises.org/library/middle-eastern-barriers-agile-marketplace  

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Obamacare and its discontents

March 26, 2015
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by AW Gaffney  

"Promising new treatments and techonlogies abounded, but the rising cost of healthcare was squeezing the finances of families throughout the nation. A research group, the Committee on the Costs of Medical Care, was assembled to study, and perhaps change, healthcare financing and delivery in the United States. The year was 1927, but the Committee’s final report, released five years later, remains quite timely." (03/25/15)

http://tinyurl.com/o2pgrcc  

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