Commentary

All I want for Christmas is a (real) government shutdown

December 16, 2014
posted by

US Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) Campaign For Liberty
by Ron Paul  

"Those who voted for the omnibus to avoid a shutdown fail to grasp that the consequences of blindly expanding government are far worse than the consequences of a temporary government shutdown. A short or even long-term government shutdown is a small price to pay to avoid an economic calamity caused by Congress’ failure to reduce spending and debt. The political class’ shutdown phobia is particularly puzzling because a shutdown only closes 20 percent of the federal government. As the American people learned during the government shutdown of 2013, the country can survive with 20 percent less government." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ke2f5qk  

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All men are brothers, but all too often they do not act accordingly

December 16, 2014
posted by

Robert Higgs Independent Institute
by Robert Higgs  

"In 'The Communist Manifesto,' Marx and Engels tell us that '[t]he history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.' In a sense, I agree, although I define the struggling classes differently than they did. In any event, it seems clear enough from what we know about the past ten thousand years or so of human history that people everywhere have been marvelously creative in finding ways to define certain people as members of a class or other group that can and should be treated with contempt, denied equal justice, and exploited without mercy." (12/14/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ogjqkk9  

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They said “no” to torture

December 16, 2014
posted by

The Nation The Nation
by Jon Wiener  

"Hidden in the Senate torture report are stories of some heroes: people inside the CIA who from the beginning said torture was wrong, who tried to stop it, who refused to participate. There were also some outside the CIA, in the military and the FBI, who risked careers and reputations by resisting -- and who sometimes paid a heavy price. They should be thanked and honored. But President Obama hasn’t mentioned them. Instead, he praised the CIA officials who presided over the torture regime as 'patriots.'" (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ps248hz  

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It rather depends on what you think the police are for

December 16, 2014
posted by

Tim Worstall Adam Smith Institute
by Tim Worstall  

[Re: "A gadget that alerts speeding drivers when emergency vehicles are nearby was last night facing calls by police and motoring organisations to be banned"] If you think that the purpose of the police, of having a criminal justice system at all, is to punish the bad guys then you will be on the side of the police here. But if you are, like us and Sir Robert, of the belief that the having of those police, that justice system, is to reduce the number of bad things that happen then you will be entirely happy with this device." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/mvvuped  

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Make Bill of Rights Day America’s anti-politician day

December 16, 2014
posted by

James Bovard JimBovard.com
by Jim Bovard  

"Today is the 223rd anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights -- the first ten amendments to the Constitution. Bill of Rights Day should be the preeminent Anti-Politician Day on the American calendar. Instead, it has become simply another pretext for rulers to delude the ruled." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/npuzadf  

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Judicial deference to the torturers

December 16, 2014
posted by

Bumper Hornberger Future of Freedom Foundation
by Jacob G Hornberger  

"In case anyone is wondering whether any of the CIA’s torture victims will be able to recover damages from CIA torturers, the answer is an unequivocal no. The federal judiciary decided a long time ago that it would not permit lawsuits brought by victims of the CIA or, for that matter, the U.S. military." (12/15/14)

http://fff.org/2014/12/15/judicial-deference-torturers/  

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America’s ten greediest, 2014 edition

December 16, 2014
posted by

Sam Pizzigati Our Future
by Sam Pizzigati  

"How has the United States become so unequal? We need to look for answers, first and foremost, in our society’s underlying economic and political realities, at the policies and practices that let wealth concentrate (at the top) so intensely. But we also ought to look at people, the real-life flesh-and-blood characters who make decisions that privilege the few over the many. These greedy souls love the shadows. Let’s shine some light -- on this year’s greediest of them all. May the greed we spotlight here help inspire the rest of us to do as much as we can, in 2015, to make our world a much more equal place." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pwxwkoy  

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Are people stupid, evil, or both?

December 16, 2014
posted by

Christopher Cantwell ChristopherCantwell.com
by Christopher Cantwell  

"I don’t think people are inherently evil. I don’t subscribe to the religious ideas of original sin or anything like that. There is nonetheless a lot of bad being done in the world, and if you want to stop that from happening it’s worth figuring out if people have a general tendency to behave badly, or if there is some other cause. Stupid, on the other hand, I do think is something a lot of us are born with." (12/15/14)

http://christophercantwell.com/2014/12/15/people-stupid-evil/  

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Government vs. the state, redux

December 16, 2014
posted by

Skyler J Collins Everything Voluntary
by Skyler J Collins  

"I wrote 'Government vs. the State' a year ago, and since then have used it many times in conversation to explain my views. Though it's been helpful, I've realized it's missing some important clarifications and elaborations. I'm here to rectify that. I'll first quote myself, and then make my amendments." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ovdp53y  

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The media’s three false assumptions about American torture

December 16, 2014
posted by

In These Times In These Times
by Rebecca Gordon  

"So now we can finally consider the partial release of the long-awaited report from the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence about the gruesome CIA interrogation methods used during the Bush administration’s 'Global War on Terror.' But here’s one important thing to keep in mind: this report addresses only the past practices of a single agency. Its narrow focus encourages us to believe that, whatever the CIA may have once done, that whole sorry torture chapter is now behind us. In other words, the moment we get to read it, it’s already time to turn the page." (12/15/14)

http://inthesetimes.com/article/17453/american_torture  

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Torture, “Meet The Press” and Cheney’s quest for revenge

December 16, 2014
posted by

Dan Froomkin The Intercept
by Dan Froomkin  

"Dick Cheney gave no ground in his 'Meet the Press' interview on Sunday, but he did something arguably even better: He bared his twisted soul. Parrying questions from Chuck Todd with what he must have figured were winning talking points about the 9/11 terror attacks, Cheney unwittingly demonstrated how profoundly he has renounced fundamental American concepts of morality and justice." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/l7vwp7b  

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Does market democracy sanction class domination?

December 16, 2014
posted by

Bleeding Heart Libertarians Bleeding Heart Libertarians
by John Tomasi  

"In a symposium on FMF hosted by Critical Review, a new objection has been arisen against market democracy, the objection that market democracy sanctions class domination. This objection is raised explicitly by Annie Stilz, but I think it underlies several other critiques as well (most notably those of Joseph Carens, Samuel Arnold, and Alex Gourevitch). I shall present the objection about class domination by way of an example." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/pa3ly37  

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James Grant explains “The Forgotten Depression”

December 16, 2014
posted by

Ludwig von Mises Institute Ludwig von Mises Institute
by Joseph Calandro Jr.  

"To better understand the current economic environment, financial analyst, historian, journalist, and value investor James Grant, who is informed by both Austrian economics and the value investing theory of the late Benjamin Graham, analyzes the Depression of 1920–1921 in his latest work, The Forgotten Depression: 1921: The Crash That Cured Itself." (12/15/14)

http://mises.org/library/james-grant-explains-forgotten-depression  

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The invasion of Panama

December 16, 2014
posted by

CounterPunch CounterPunch
by Matt Peppe  

"Twenty five years ago, before dawn on December 20, 1989, U.S. forces descended on Panama City and unleashed one of the most violent, destructive terror attacks of the century. U.S. soldiers killed more people than were killed on 9/11. They systematically burned apartment buildings and shot people indiscriminately in the streets. Dead bodies were piled on top of each other; many were burned before identification. The aggression was condemned internationally, but the message was clear: the United States military was free to do whatever it wanted, whenever it wanted, and they would not be bound by ethics or laws." (12/15/14)

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/12/15/the-invasion-of-panama/  

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James Madison: How to stop the federal government

December 15, 2014
posted by

10th Amendment Center Tenth Amendment Center
by Michael Boldin  

"Madison said that when the federal government passes an unconstitutional measure there are powerful methods to oppose it -- amongst the people and in the states. He also pointed out that those methods were available even for warrantable, that is constitutional, measures. Madison told us of four things that should be done to resist federal powers, whether merely unpopular, or unconstitutional." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nrbp8ua  

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Progressives lost budget fight; why are they so happy?

December 15, 2014
posted by

Paul Waldman The American Prospect
by Paul Waldman  

"Over the weekend, the 'Cromnibus' budget was passed by a coalition that included the GOP leadership and the Obama White House. Neither conservative Republicans nor liberal Democrats were happy with what was in it. So why is it that the conservatives are feeling bitter and betrayed, while the liberals seem positively elated, despite the fact that they both lost? We don't need to work too hard to understand the conservatives' reaction. ... But what explains the liberal reaction?" (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/ozbo898  

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Aeschylation

December 15, 2014
posted by

Paul Jacob Common Sense
by Paul Jacob  

"'In war,' the Greek dramatist Aeschylus told us, 'truth is the first casualty.' This came to mind when Secretary of State John Kerry testified in the Senate last week." (12/15/14)

http://thisiscommonsense.com/2014/12/15/aeschylation/  

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Venezuela’s brain drain and the specter of barriers to exit

December 15, 2014
posted by

The Canal The Canal
by Elisa Vasquez  

"Is free or subsidized education a tool for progress, or a burden on young people? In Venezuela, the government has begun a scheme of bureaucratic persecution against those who use public education, and it appears that soon they’ll dictate where the next generation of Venezuelan professionals can use their training." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/nk6v4c6  

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CIA torture report

December 15, 2014
posted by

The Cagle Post
by Schot  

Cartoon. (12/15/14)

http://www.cagle.com/2014/12/cia-torture-report-7/  

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Saudi Arabia playing chicken with its oil

December 15, 2014
posted by

Reuters Reuters
by Mohamad Bazzi  

"In August 1973, Egyptian President Anwar Sadat paid a secret visit to the Saudi capital, Riyadh, to meet with King Faisal. Sadat was preparing for war with Israel, and he needed Saudi Arabia to use its most powerful weapon: oil. Until then, King Faisal had been reluctant for the Arab members of OPEC to use the 'oil weapon.' But as the October 1973 Arab-Israeli war unfolded, the Arab oil producers raised prices, cut production and imposed an embargo on oil exports to punish the United States for its support of Israel. Without Saudi Arabia, the oil embargo would not have gotten very far. Today, Saudi Arabia is once again using its 'oil weapon,' but instead of driving up prices and cutting supply, it’s doing the reverse." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o94zvlr  

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Stop the outrageous spending

December 15, 2014
posted by

Heartland Institute Heartland Institue
by Jesse Hathaway  

"At some point between Thanksgiving and December 1, the federal government made history, as the value of outstanding U.S. Treasury securities exceeded $18 trillion -- that’s an 18 with 12 trailing zeroes. At some point, such numbers begin to lose their meaning because the amounts exceed most people’s ability to comprehend. The abstraction of such numbers, in turn, makes it difficult to understand just how gigantic a problem the national debt is. However, using tangible objects to represent the magnitude of the debt can help solve that problem." (12/14/14)

http://blog.heartland.org/2014/12/stop-the-outrageous-spending/  

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The long road back from torture

December 15, 2014
posted by

Mary Theroux Independent Institute
by Mary Theroux  

"If it’s true that the first step towards recovery is admitting you have a problem, then last week’s release of the report detailing the CIA’s torturing of prisoners can at least hopefully provide the impetus for Americans to disavow such methods and begin to rein in the out-of-control security state that has grown especially since 9/11." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/p7pnhzj  

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How NYC’s biggest real estate project in a generation is being financed by selling green cards to the Chinese

December 15, 2014
posted by

Liberty Blitzkrieg Liberty Blitzkrieg
by Michael Krieger  

"Back in 2006, at least Americans were capable of blowing a housing bubble on their own. Now they need to sell green cards to the Chinese so they can do the honors. At least NYC will get what it really needs. A Four Seasons hotel built by Larry Silverstein. Simple pathetic." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/md74uec  

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Neale’s Weekly Gun Rant, 12/14/14

December 15, 2014
posted by

The Libertarian Enterprise The Libertarian Enterprise
by Neale Osborn  

"I'd like to deal with a topic that some people just refuse to comprehend. Human rights. For some reason, 'Human Rights Activists' constantly support disarming people. They NEVER think about the poor, the downtrodden, the victims. They constantly demand someone 'do something' whenever a story about poor villagers being massacred, or poor blacks dying in Chicago from a gunshot, or Chinese peasants being killed by their government. Yet they ignore the most important part -- the victims are ALWAYS unarmed by law." (12/14/14)

http://www.ncc-1776.org/tle2014/tle801-20141214-05.html  

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Ralph Cudworth v Thomas Hobbes on witchcraft

December 15, 2014
posted by

Sean Gabb Libertarian Alliance
by Dr Sean Gabb  

"Thanks to Google Books, I have just read The True Intellectual System of the Universe (1678) by Ralph Cudworth (1617-88). This is an immense book. The 1837 edition that I read is well over a thousand pages of closely-packed text, and much of the argument is carried on by quotations in Greek and Latin, which I can read, and in Hebrew, which I cannot. Its main purpose is to attack the revived atomic materialism of the Greeks. Cudworth believed, probably rightly, that this tended to atheism. Though he is hardly ever named, the most important target is Thomas Hobbes, by whose influence atomic materialism was introduced into English scientific and moral philosophy." (12/15/14)

http://tinyurl.com/o8mtxg3  

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