Commentary

Evaluating controversial claims

December 24, 2013
posted by

David Friedman Ideas
by David Friedman  

"Someone makes a scientific claim, typically as an argument for some policy. Examples would be current claims with regard to global warming, claims fifty years ago about the consequences of population growth, claims early in the Obama administration about the need for large deficits to bring down unemployment. There are at least four different ways in which an interested observer can decide whether or not to believe the claim." (12/23/13)

http://tinyurl.com/owqj7eq  

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Back in the USSA

December 24, 2013
posted by

Zero Gov Zero Gov
by Bill Buppert  

"I have returned from a year-long sojourn in the storied and legendary foothills of the Hindu Kush in Afghanistan making good specie from the latest money laundering operation for the Western military industrial complex. Afghanistan is the most recent victim of a long American tradition of meddling, maiming and killing women and children and providing proof of concept to iatrogenic effect at a galactic level. I will be spending the holidays with all six of my children at home at the same time so this will be a particularly joyous Christmas for us." (12/23/13)

http://zerogov.com/?p=3147  

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I tried, and failed, to sign up for Obamacare

December 24, 2013
posted by

Reason Reason
by Ira Stoll  

"I live in Massachusetts, a state that had, under Governor Mitt Romney, pioneered the 'individual mandate' and 'universal coverage' that are at the center of Obamacare. You’d think they’d have a functioning Web site for health insurance. And they did, a year or so ago when I window-shopped for health insurance. Since then, however, to become compliant with Obamacare, the state scrapped the old RomneyCare web site and replaced it with a non-functioning Obamacare site. By 'non-functioning,' I mean, 'non-functioning.' As in, it really doesn’t work." (12/23/13)

http://tinyurl.com/k8aztm9  

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Barack Obama and the meaning of socialism

December 24, 2013
posted by

Heartland Institute Heartland Institute
by Richard Ebeling  

"Nothing that Obama has advocated or had legislated by Congress or commanded through executive order should have come as a surprise. He was very straightforward about his conception of 'change' long before he was even thought of as a contender for the White House." (12/23/13)

http://tinyurl.com/ljgvgjq  

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The Age of Bronze

December 24, 2013
posted by

Rad Geek People's Daily
by Rad Geek  

"As we approach the New Year, we naturally think of ends, and of beginnings; what has changed, and what we have lost. So hey, libertarians, let’s all get together and feel sorry about the golden age of Limited Government and Individual Liberty we have lost. Remember the ancient liberties that we all enjoyed only 60 years ago, back in the 1950s." (12/23/13)

http://radgeek.com/gt/2013/12/23/age-bronze/  

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What good would it do to reform the NSA?

December 24, 2013
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G. Hornberger  

"Let’s assume that a stringent set of reforms is imposed on the NSA and that the NSA ends up violating them in order to protect 'national security.' For one thing, no one is likely to find out about it. Consider how many years the NSA conducted its massive secret surveillance schemes on the American people. If it hadn’t been for Edward Snowden, we still wouldn’t know about such schemes. And even if people do find out about the law-breaking, what difference will it make? Everyone, including every NSA employee, knows that no one is going to go to jail over the matter." (12/23/13)

http://fff.org/2013/12/23/what-good-would-it-do-to-reform-the-nsa/  

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Christmas music the traditional way

December 24, 2013
posted by

LewRockwell.Com
by Karen de Coster  

"When the 2013 Christmas season rolled in on a depraved note, I knew all of civilization was doomed. My sullen outlook was founded on the fact that one of the very first holiday songs I heard this year from our long-time bastion of Christmas music on Detroit’s government airwaves, WNIC, was a version of 'Baby It's Cold Outside' by Rod Stewart and Dolly Parton. Friends don’t let friends listen to this version of that song." (12/24/13)

http://tinyurl.com/mvvartu  

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A libertarian Mungerfesto, part 3: If the exchange setting is NOT euvoluntary, what then?

December 24, 2013
posted by

Bleeding Heart Libertarians
by Michael Munger  

"What does voluntary mean? Is it sufficient that consent not be extorted at gunpoint? Many believe that an absence of coercion by direct human agency does not suffice. People also must not be coerced by the absence of alternatives. A choice can’t be voluntary if it is not a choice." (12/23/13)

http://tinyurl.com/lo4pr78  

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Why do we value things?

December 24, 2013
posted by

Everything Voluntary
by Skyler J. Collins  

"My wife grew up relatively poor in Mexico City. She shared a bed with her three sisters and never went to even a fast food restaurant, like McDonald's. Though her standard of living was much lower then than it is now, she grew up quite happy and placed a high value on what little she had. On our drive home from an evening out recently, my wife told me that she wanted to see our children value the things that they have. In answer to her question, we talked about the following." (12/23/13)

http://tinyurl.com/l6ls26w  

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Bailouts leave a legacy of cronyism

December 23, 2013
posted by

Cato Institute Cato Institute
by Mark A. Calabria  

"This month’s sale by the Treasury of its remaining shares in General Motors should offer us all an opportunity to say 'never again.' Pay no attention to the the Obama and Bush administration cheerleaders. The federal rescue of GM, along with the TARP in general, serves as an example of everything wrong with Washington." (12/23/13)

http://tinyurl.com/q3m6hnj  

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Peace on Earth

December 23, 2013
posted by

C4SS Center for a Stateless Society
by Grant Mincy  

"Peace on Earth and goodwill toward all -- in a world of conflict, tis the season of peace." (12/23/13)

http://c4ss.org/content/23128  

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Why Pentagon is failing to clean up its accounts

December 23, 2013
posted by

Reuters
by Scot J. Paltrow  

"The U.S. Air Force had great expectations for the Expeditionary Combat Support System when it launched the project in 2005. This accountants’ silver bullet, the Air Force predicted a year later, 'will fundamentally revolutionize the way the Air Force provides logistics support.' ... Seven years and $1.03 billion taxpayer dollars later, the Air Force announced in November 2012 that it was killing the project. ECSS had yielded 'negligible' value and was 'no longer a viable option,' the Air Force said." (12/23/13)

http://www.reuters.com/investigates/pentagon/#article/part3  

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Get ready for adversity now

December 23, 2013
posted by

Freeman's Perspective
by Paul Rosenberg  

"All in all, things are going fairly well for us at the moment. The decade of government worship is falling behind us, the Internet remains, the NSA has been exposed as a criminal hacker collective, and Bitcoin has burst onto the scene. Sure, there are the usual petty squabbles and distractions, but the younger crowd is learning to ignore them and to keep moving forward. But adversity is coming." (12/23/13)

http://www.freemansperspective.com/adversity/  

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Bigot Dynasty

December 23, 2013
posted by

Timothy J. Taylor Authority!
by Timothy J Taylor  

"Evangelical Christians like Sarah Palin and other committed Duck Dynasty fans -- (why is it no surprise to me that Sarah Palin would be a Duck Dynasty fan?) -- are outraged at what they deem as A&E's 'intolerance.' Naturally, they think that religious bigots like Phil Robertson should be tolerated no matter what they say publicly and that any objection to their outrageous religious bigotry is 'intolerance.'" (12/23/13)

http://authoritycon.blogspot.com/2013/12/bigot-dynasty.html  

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Can mayors save the world?

December 23, 2013
posted by

In These Times
by Catherine Tumber  

"A strange new condition has seized the political imagination across our broken land. Let us call it 'mayoralphilia,' a newfound faith in the office’s redemptive powers that would have made 'Big Bill' Thompson, who treated the city of Chicago as his personal fiefdom, break out in belly laughs. It can be detected in a rash of recent books, including Bruce Katz and Jennifer Bradley’s The Metropolitan Revolution. And it has kindled unlikely mayoral ambitions." [editor's note: I almost want to quote Eugene McCarthy here, from when he held forth on "presidents vs. mayors" - SAT] (12/23/13)

http://tinyurl.com/lz2s8at  

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The criminal ATF

December 23, 2013
posted by

Downsize DC Downsize DC
by James Wilson and Jim Babka  

"If it is wrong for citizens to initiate criminal conspiracies, then it is doubly wrong for 'public servants' to do so. Agents of The State are supposed to 'serve and protect,' not 'entrap and sting.'" (12/23/13)

http://www.downsizedc.org/blog/the-criminal-atf  

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Antitrust busybodies

December 23, 2013
posted by

Independent Institute Independent Institute
by William F. Shughart II  

"The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission are busier than ever before in history as antitrust law enforcement agencies, and that’s bad news for American businesses. The Justice Department’s recent decision to allow the merger of American Airlines and US Airways, conditional on the selling of a comparative handful of the two carriers’ takeoff and landing slots at Washington Reagan National and New York’s LaGuardia airports, is a poster child of the Obama administration’s competition policy stance during the president’s first term in the White House." (12/23/13)

http://www.independent.org/newsroom/article.asp?id=4829  

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Will GOP embrace “Duck Dynasty conservatism?”

December 23, 2013
posted by

Our Future
by Terrance Heath  

"Republicans have portrayed their defense of [Phil] Robertson as a defense of the First Amendment. But that argument shouldn’t hold water with anyone who has an elementary civics education. ... No branch of government was involved in his suspension. ... It seems that to conservatives, 'freedom of speech' means speech without consequences. They want to be able to speak without negative reactions ... without criticism or scrutiny, from the media or others ... and have their opinions go unchallenged." [editor's note: An excellent analysis, as the Dixie Chicks could also tell you! - SAT] (12/23/13)

http://tinyurl.com/ms7d3lm  

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The pope dabbles in economics

December 23, 2013
posted by

Sheldon Richman Future of Freedom Foundation
by Sheldon Richman  

"Pope Francis wrote in his recent apostolic exhortation, 'Just as the commandment 'Thou shalt not kill' sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say 'thou shalt not' to an economy of exclusion and inequality.' He’s right -- but not in the way he intends. Before I elaborate, let’s look at what else Francis said." (12/20/13)

http://tinyurl.com/nxhvjsu  

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Should fans be concerned by Bitcoin’s fall in value?

December 23, 2013
posted by

Adam Smith Institute Adam Smith Institute
by Charlotte Bowyer  

"Some take Bitcoin's crash as proof that that it is an unstable and unsustainable folly -- nothing more than a risky virtual commodity bet. Certainly, Bitcoin's volatility is an established fact, with its last big crash in April wiping out 80% of Bitcoin's value over 6 days. Nevertheless, BTC has always recovered and increased in value. Indeed, since the 18th Bitcoin's price has been creeping up yet again. Calling bubbles is a funny thing, because both falls in price and continued rises offer 'proof' of the hypothesis. It is perhaps more accurate to say that Bitcoin is undergoing a long period of 'price discovery.'" (12/20/13)

http://tinyurl.com/l38z28o  

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Nicotine Nazism: It’s not about health, it’s about money and control

December 23, 2013
posted by

Thomas L. Knapp Libertarian Alliance
by Thomas L. Knapp  

"The late, great HL Mencken defined puritanism as 'the haunting fear that someone, somewhere is having a good time.' I haven't visited Michael Bloomberg's New York City in more than a decade, but if I landed at LaGuardia tomorrow, I'd half expect to be greeted by officials right out of Tompkins Harrison Matteson's painting 'Trial of George Jacobs of Salem for Witchcraft.' When they're not banning tobacco they're banning trans-fats. When they're not banning trans-fats they're banning large soft drinks. And when their soft drink ban gets quashed, their next target is electronic cigarettes. 'For the public health!' is the new 'I saw Sarah Good with the Devil! I saw Good Osburn with the devil! I saw Bridget Bishop with the Devil!'" (12/20/13)

http://tinyurl.com/m7macpz  

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Wishing you joy in simple things

December 23, 2013
posted by

Kent McManigal Clovis News Journal
by Kent McManigal  

"I wish I were rich enough to give everyone around me something tangible that would adequately demonstrate their worth. Since that’s not possible, I’ll tell you what my wish for each of you would be. My wish is for you to find joy in the simple things you’ll end up spending most of your time doing anyway, and still enjoy the surprises that come along to turn your world on its head." (12/19/13)

http://www.cnjonline.com/2013/12/19/wishing-you-joy-in-simple-things/  

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The babble about “gun violence”

December 23, 2013
posted by

Liberty Unbound Liberty Unbound
by Stephen Cox  

"In fact, the murder rate in the United States (4.7 per 100,000 population) is very far beneath the world murder rate (6.9), beneath the murder rate of a number of countries in Europe, beneath the murder rate of dear old Pakistan (7.8), and beneath the murder rate of scores of other countries and 'countries' -- virtually none of which, so far as I know, are habitually or even occasionally criticized for their violent dispositions. But as usual, America loses the game of cultural comparison, the function of which is never to make any society look bad except ours." (12/21/13)

http://libertyunbound.com/node/1175  

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Why Edward Snowden is definition of whistleblower

December 23, 2013
posted by

In These Times
by David Sirota  

"For months, a debate over Edward Snowden’s status has raged. In the back and forth, one question about this icon who disclosed NSA abuses has dominated: Is he or is he not a whistleblower with all the attendant protections that should come with such a designation? As of this week's federal court ruling saying the NSA's data collection programs are probably unconstitutional, that debate is finally over. After all, if the most basic definition of a government whistleblower is one who uncovers illegal or unconstitutional acts, then the ruling proves Snowden is the dictionary definition of a whistleblower." (12/20/13)

http://tinyurl.com/mcl7w5h  

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Look what’s under my Christmas tree!

December 23, 2013
posted by

Justin Raimondo Antiwar.com
by Justin Raimondo  

"As the world celebrates Christmas, one has to wonder what we have to be thankful for: after all, war rages around the world. The liberty our forefathers died for has dissipated like mist in the heat of our perpetual 'war on terrorism.' Our political leaders are little more than criminals, who lie, cheat, steal -- and kill -- as readily as they breathe. Thankful? Give me a break! However, when you think about it for a moment, we do indeed have much to be grateful for this year, and I have to say that most of the glad tidings -- to get in the holiday spirit here! -- come to us by way of one person: Edward Snowden." (12/23/13)

http://tinyurl.com/n9cnyyf  

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