"Presumably, Markhasev did not learn to hate black people in his native country, the Ukraine, where the black population was near zero," wrote Mrs. Cosby, asserting that "racism and prejudice are omnipresent and eternalized in America's institutions." Among her examples: we are taught to respect slave-owners such as George Washington and Benjamin Franklin; the dictionary defines "black" as "hostile" or "unpleasant" (which is true in most languages and surely has to do with fear of the dark, not skin color); and the absurd claim that when the Voting Rights Act expires in 2007, Congress will decide "whether African-Americans will be allowed to vote."
What do people want in your state? The answers may surprise youIf you have ever used Google, you are probably familiar with the ‘autocomplete’ options the search engine provides. Sometimes the feature is useful and sometimes it’s not, but the results can be downright hilarious. Mashable put Google’s autocomplete to the test to find out what people around the country want.
In “What Your State Wants, According to Google Autocomplete,” Mashable’s Max Knoblauch conducted his own experiment and created a map of what each state wants (according to Autocomplete). The resulting map “reads like a list of New Year’s resolutions made by Civil War veterans.” From secession to aircraft carriers to independence, the results are pretty interesting.
Check out the map below:
“That is really fascinating,” Glenn said. “Who would have thought that states wanted to succeed 15 years ago? You never thought that. We were never going down the secession road.”
So why would so many states be interested in leaving the union?
“Now, why would we want to secede? What makes a state say, ‘I don’t want to be a part of this union anymore’? Jamming down in Washington. People feeling like they don’t understand, they’re not like me, and they are going to force me to live the way they want,” Glenn explained. “I think there is another thing going on: Get out. They are going to drag the entire union down. We’ve got to get and away from them or this is a suicide mission. I think that’s happening.”
US: Why So Many Poor Can’t Improve Their Lot: We Need To Look At Unequal Distribution Of Economic Freedom – by Alejandro Chafuen
US: Why So Many Poor Can’t Improve Their Lot: We Need To Look At Unequal Distribution Of Economic Freedom – by Alejandro ChafuenWhile the church and Christian moralists have always spoken about the rich and the poor, and condemned those who put wealth, or anything else, above eternal life, it was only in the 20th century when church authorities began to make frequent empirical statements about the number of rich and poor. Pope Francis is the latest example. He writes in the latest apostolic exhortation that “While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few.”
US: Crooked labs, agencies and prosecutors – by Paul DriessenEPA Nifongs and Beales prosecute US hydrocarbons, jobs, living standards and health.
Former Durham, NC district attorney Mike Nifong was disbarred for withholding evidence from the defense and lying to the court in the trumped-up Duke lacrosse team rape case. Ex-Boston crime lab technician Annie Dookhan was prosecuted for faking test results and contaminating drug samples, to get accused dealers convicted. In both cases, charges against their victims were dismissed or are under review.
So how should we handle federal officials who’ve become unethical researchers and prosecutors – determined to get convictions, basing their cases on esoteric circumstantial evidence, allowing tainted and fraudulent evidence, hiding exculpatory information, rewriting the law, and denying defense counsel the right to cross-examine adverse witnesses or present their case?
US: Are Today’s Progressives Actually Totalitarians? – by Ralph BenkoPossibly the most powerful, and dangerous, euphemism in politics today is “progressive.”
This writer has many cherished progressive friends. He considers them beautiful… but, often, misguided. Yet perhaps they are more “guided” than he has supposed.
Perhaps progressives, many of them, are precision guided. A pattern is emerging. That pattern is to assert government control over, well, everything. Government control … in the name of social and economic justice, of course.
There’s another word for this: totalitarian.
Friday, January 17, 2014
I am always delighted to receive a guest post from David J. Theroux, who is Founder, President and CEO of The Independent Institute. His essays are often comprehensive, always thoughtful, and always worth reading. I divided the present essay into two installments, to publish the first today and the second on Thursday.
Duck Dynasty and the Secular TheocracyBy David J. Theroux
With A&E Network facing an avalanche of public protest and in just over one week of its decision to place family-patriarch Phil Robertson on “indefinite hiatus” from its megahit reality series Duck Dynasty, the network caved.
When the PC outrage industry went into high gear with an angry Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) demanding Robertson’s head regarding his comments on homosexuality in an article by Drew Magery in the January 2014 issue of GQ (the magazine commonly viewed as having branded the concept of “metrosexual”), A&E executives promptly suspended Robertson from the enormously popular, cable-TV program, and support for his suspension echoed throughout the conventional media with cries of his being “homophobic” and “antigay.”
In the article, when asked about his religious faith, Robertson noted that his own youthful debauchery was self-destructive and put his marriage on the rocks, and that these were reversed only by his conversion to Christianity. He added that he now considers sexual relations other than those between a man and woman in wedlock to be sinful. In so doing, Robertson did not support bans on homosexual advocacy or relations but instead paraphrased Corinthians: “Don’t be deceived. Neither the adulterers, the idolaters, the male prostitutes, the homosexual offenders, the greedy, the drunkards, the slanderers, the swindlers — they won’t inherit the kingdom of God. Don’t deceive yourself. It’s not right.”
In subsequent comments, he included himself as a “sexual sinner”:
Thursday, January 16, 2014
By Spencer Ackerman
Anthony Sharp, a 50-year-old veteran of tech startups, grew up with a love for ships. On February 7, he’ll turn that boyhood affection into what might be the first private navy since the 19th century. Sharp’s newest company, Typhon, will offer a fleet of armed ex-Royal Marines and sailors to escort commercial ships through pirate-infested waters. In essence, Typhon wants to be the Blackwater of the sea, minus the stuff about accidentally killing civilians.
The group, which goes by the name Individualidades Tendiendo a lo Salvaje (ITS), posted its manifesto to anarchist blog Liberacion Total last month. The manifesto takes credit for a failed bombing attempt that month against a researcher at the Biotechnology Institute at the National Autonomous University of Mexico. And the group promises more.
While money can buy a lot, it can’t (normally!) buy you independence from the law. Get caught in criminal activity and even these billionaires have to face consequences. The criminals on our list have bank accounts that indicate success, but unscrupulous characters and reputations that represent the opposite. These wealthy and powerful individuals failed to realize the value of self-control and discipline after they reached the pinnacle of their career; having joined the ranks of the world’s richest people, these criminals became embroiled in illicit schemes that would lead to their downfall.
So, let’s take a look at these former billionaires and millionaires who once basked wealth, and whose personal histories took a nasty turn after their unlawful acts and poor decisions caught up with them.
10. Jordan Belfort – Lost $100 million
To create one of those 3-D holographic images, you record how countless beams of light bounce off an object and then you store these little bits of information across a vast database. While still in high school, back in 1960s Britain, Hinton was fascinated by the idea that the brain stores memories in much the same way. Rather than keeping them in a single location, it spreads them across its enormous network of neurons.
This may seem like a small revelation, but it was a key moment for Hinton — “I got very excited about that idea,” he remembers. “That was the first time I got really into how the brain might work” — and it would have enormous consequences. Inspired by that high school conversation, Hinton went on to explore neural networks at Cambridge and the University of Edinburgh in Scotland, and by the early ’80s, he helped launch a wildly ambitious crusade to mimic the brain using computer hardware and software, to create a purer form of artificial intelligence we now call “deep learning.”
By Jason Paur
The RQ-180 is a new design aimed at intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR, a.k.a. spying) and incorporates stealth technology, in addition to an efficient new design that’s tailored to flights over countries where the red carpet isn’t being rolled out for current U.S. spy drones.
What CNN, the Ultimate Disposable Network, Shows Us About Promotions
Wile Variety commented just yesterday on "CNN Eyes Primetime Shake-Up." The article points out that change is necessary, though it would occur gradually. But it will occur. In fact, an end-of-year memo from CNN president Jeff Zucker reemphasized what CNN would become: "The goal for the next six months, is that we need more shows and less newscasts." This is truly a historic surrendering of media real estate. CNN was supposed to dominate the world with a globalist view of what was important to know, but in the era of the Internet Reformation, this vision has been decisively rejected by viewers. And thus, to survive, CNN's management has decided to shift from news to flat-out entertainment.
By Staff Report
Secret Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) ... WikiLeaks released the secret draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Environment Chapter and the corresponding Chairs' Report. The TPP transnational legal regime would cover 12 countries initially and encompass 40 per cent of global GDP and one-third of world trade. The Environment Chapter has long been sought by journalists and environmental groups. The released text dates from the Chief Negotiators' summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013. The Environment Chapter covers what the Parties propose to be their positions on: environmental issues, including climate change, biodiversity and fishing stocks; and trade and investment in 'environmental' goods and services. It also outlines how to resolve enviromental disputes arising out of the treaty's subsequent implementation. – WikiLeaks Dominant Social Theme: This is incredible news. A shocker. Free-Market Analysis:
Chamber of Commerce, Crossroads Leaders Raking in Millions While Waging War on Tea Party
Two of the more prominent leaders in the Washington establishment's war on the Tea Party made seven- and eight-figure salaries during the 2012 election cycle.According to recent IRS 990 filings, Steven Law, the president of Karl Rove's American Crossroads network, made $1.1 million during the 2012 election cycle. According to Roll Call, "that includes $602,935 from Crossroads GPS in 2011 and $637,562 in 2012." Crossroads groups spent nearly $350 million during the election cycle with no wins to show in 2012 and got a 1.3 percent total return on their investment during the election cycle, according to the Sunlight Foundation.
Thomas Donohue, the president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce who has vowed to push for amnesty and Common Core, made $10.4 million during the 2012 election cycle. He made $5.5 million in 2012, according to Roll Call.
The Chamber of Commerce will spend $50 million to try to crush the Tea Party while Karl Rove's Crossroads groups and its affiliates are also reloading and redoubling their efforts to crush grassroots conservatives hostile to policies favored by establishment Republicans like amnesty and government spending on crony capitalism projects.
House Dems Trash ObamaCare in Campaign Ad
House Majority PAC, a Democrat super-PAC supporting Congressional Democrats, is running a new ad in support of vulnerable incumbent Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D-AZ). The ad trashes the rollout out of ObamaCare's health exchanges.The ad claims that Rep. Kirkpatrick "blew the whistle" on the "disastrous" health care website. It quotes her calling the rollout "stunning ineptitude." The quote is from November 15th, a month-and-a-half after ObamaCare's exchanges were launched. Not certain that really qualifies as a whistleblower.
The ad also says Kirkpatrick "worked to fix" the problems.
When talking to reporters in Washington, national Democrats say that they will run on ObamaCare and it will help them in November. When actually campaigning, however, they sing a different tune it seems.
Devastating Benghazi Timeline Reveals Obama MIA
The government watchdog group that revealed that President Barack Obama failed to attend over half of his daily intelligence briefings (known officially as the Presidential Daily Brief, or PDB) released a devastating Benghazi timeline Wednesday.It reveals Obama’s schedule in the week leading up to the terrorist attacks that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Release of the Government Accountability Institute (GAI) Benghazi timeline comes as a new Senate report published Wednesday concluded that “the attacks were preventable.”
As the GAI timeline reveals, Obama failed to attend his daily intelligence briefing for the five consecutive days leading up to the September 11, 2012 attack of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
The Benghazi timeline catalogues Obama’s continuous campaigning even as terrorist forces vowed Libyan attacks and State Department officials were warned of security threats.
The day following the deadly attacks, Obama departed for a Las Vegas campaign rally.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Jason Howerton Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh on Tuesday reacted to President Barack Obama’s threat to use more executive orders to “move the ball forward.” “This is just absurd,” Limbaugh said after playing audio of Obama’s comments. “He’s basically bragging about the fact that he can do executive orders to make things ‘fair.’” Limbaugh mocked the president, saying that his “entire economic policy has undermined the old saw about work hard and you can make it.”
In the final section of Human Action, Ludwig von Mises stressed the importance of all citizens to acquaint themselves with the findings of economic science. Unlike physics or engineering — where the scientists could safely continue with their advancements, whether or not the average person understood how they worked — economic policies as enacted by governments will ultimately rest with public opinion. No matter how decisively the great classical economists destroyed the case for mercantilism centuries ago, we still suffer from tariffs because most people want to “save jobs” by keeping out “cheap foreign imports.”
In his The General Theory of Employment Interest and Money, John M. Keynes criticized, without citing or mentioning him explicitly, Hayek’s (Austrian) primary policy recommendation: the best way to avoid a bust is prevention. Hayek knew that avoiding the credit-created boom prevents the associated malinvestments and over-consumption while boom-bust cycles will be avoided through prevention or significant reductions in credit creation. Keynes, however, thought differently:
When fixing things, I often find myself thinking about economics. All work involves economic considerations, but there are unique aspects of repairing machines that deeply touch the core principles of economics which are inescapable for the troubleshooter.
We employ machines to fulfill our worldly wants, which are without end. Satisfying our infinite desires with our limited means has been called the “fundamental economic problem.” Thomas C. Taylor writes:
Marc Abela talks with us about the state of Austrian economics and the freedom philosophy in Japan. Abela, a Canadian by birth, has lived in Japan for almost 20 years and has organized the Mises Meeting in recent years, at which Japanese scholars in the Austrian tradition gather to discuss their scholarship. He also organized the recent birthday celebration for Toshio Murata, who introduced Austrian economics to Japan. Abela was one of the founders of the Tokyo Tea Party and continues to be involved with Japanese for Tax Reform and other free-market groups in Japan.
Mises Institute: What is the state of free-market thinking in Japan?
Marc Abela: Professor Hiroyuki Okon, an Austrian School economist here in Japan, once described Japan as a “desert of liberty” and I am forced to admit that is what Japan is today.
Congress’s decline from the Founders’ vision as “first among equals” in government to an echo chamber of the unitary executive, has been a slow but steady process. In the process we have seen a steady stream of unconstitutional wars and civil liberties abuses at home. Nowhere is this decline more evident than in the stark contrast between the Congressional response to intelligence agencies’ abuses during the post-Watergate era and its response to the far more serious NSA abuses uncovered in recent years.
In 1975, Senator Frank Church (D-ID) convened an historic select committee to investigate the US intelligence services for possible criminality in the wake of Watergate. Thanks in part to reporting by Seymour Hersh and others, abuses by the CIA, NSA, and FBI had come to light, including the monitoring of US peace activists.
I have a publication program at Loyola University in which I co author articles with students. This material starts out as term papers for my courses and ends up in refereed journals. I agree with the theses of all these papers, otherwise I couldn’t co author this material with them. I am proud of all of my student co authors, but, in a bout of shameless self-promotion, I am most pleased with myself when I help a student publish a term paper in a scholarly periodical which takes a position very much at variance with my own views. Naturally, I can’t co author an attack on my position, but I can improve its wording, add footnotes and supply encouragement. I am very delighted with these students since they had the courage to engage in a frontal attack on their teacher, that is, me. This might sound perverse to some, but I enjoy helping all of my students, even those who are highly critical of libertarianism as I understand this philosophy. Maybe, even, especially so. However, often, I publish rejoinders to these student essays. Aiding and abetting students of all persuasions is one thing, but promoting the truth is even more important to me.
Such a formulation gives history way too much credit. Sure, the past is constantly generating its own sequels and spinoffs, but the progression is less often from Napoleon Bonaparte to Napoleon III or even from Danton to Caussidière (as Marx would have it).
No, it’s more like going from M*A*S*H to After-MASH or Josie and the Pussycats to Josie and the Pussycats in Outer Space. The original instance is rarely worthy of the label tragedy not because it isn’t disturbing, disastrous, and utterly devoid of laughs, but because it is so idiotic, bathetic, and morally demeaned to begin with.
What better way than a privatization to make the point Mr. Christie needs to make to his various constituencies at the moment—that he’s both humble and a bold reformer? Humble, because he realizes the competitive private sector can do a better job of running a bridge or a tunnel or an airport or an office building than a government monopoly can. And a bold reformer, because he’s willing and able to do what no governor has been able to do since the Port Authority was created in 1921 by governors Edward Edwards of New Jersey and Nathan Miller of New York (not exactly household names)—shut it down.
I won’t try to recap the whole case here, but I do want to answer a question that will occur to many advocates of liberty: How can someone who supports property rights in physical objects deny property rights in intellectual products, such as the useful application of scientific principles or patterns of words, musical tones, or colors? Suffice it here to quote from “Patent Nonsense”:
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
BY TIM JOHNSON
MANAGUA, NICARAGUA — Nearly everywhere that Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega goes, first lady Rosario Murillo hovers at his side, bedecked in strands of necklaces, each finger bearing a ring or two, sometimes sporting multiple bangles and watches on her wrists.
Murillo, a poet who seems lifted from the flower child era, is the colorful public face of her husband’s administration. She presides over Cabinet meetings and makes most of the government’s public pronouncements.
BY JUAN NAGEL
Mónica Spear seemed to have it all. A former Miss Venezuela, she was beautiful and talented, and her career as a soap-opera actress was on the rise. A few years ago, she left Venezuela looking for broader horizons, and fleeing the crime wave sweeping the nation. She returned home for the holidays and spent the first days of 2014 crisscrossing the country with her British husband and five-year-old daughter, all while faithfully uploading pictures of her trip on Twitter.
On Monday, Jan. 6, Spear’s car broke down on the highway near the central city of Puerto Cabello. As they waited to be towed, they were approached by thugs. The details are sketchy, but in the end, she and her husband were gunned down, senselessly murdered. Their daughter was wounded, but survived.
BY JAIME DAREMBLUM
The idea of building a $40 billion canal in Nicaragua, Central America’s poorest nation, seems highly improbable. Yet Chinese businessman Wang Jing insists he is serious about constructing such a waterway, and Nicaraguan lawmakers have given his Hong Kong–based company, HKND Group, a green light to proceed. Meanwhile, the ruling Sandinista Party is depicting the canal project as a symbol of national pride (“Opposing it is unpatriotic,” said one congressman) and promising that it will greatly reduce Nicaraguan poverty (“Today is a day of hope for the poor of this country,” declared another legislator). President Daniel Ortega has offered his robust support, vowing that the project “will help us conquer our final independence.” On June 14, Ortega officially signed a 50-year concession that will allow HKND Group to build and operate the canal.
Venezuela’s Economy Will Continue To Suffer In 2014: Analysts Predict Further Recession And Devaluation Of The Bolivar
BY PATRICIA REY MALLEN
If there were an award for the messiest year in Latin America, Venezuela would win it by a landslide. Currency problems, drastic shortages and political wars marked a 2013 that began with the death of Comandante Hugo Chávez in early March. Since then, successor and current President Nicolás Maduro has been trying to carry on his legacy at any cost — and many fear that is bringing the country close to collapse.
BY MARY O’GRADY
On a visit to Buenos Aires in November I noted a sense of foreboding hanging over the city. With the economy in a stall, consumer prices rising and capital fleeing the country, porteños from every walk of life seemed to be bracing for a storm—and resigned to the hardship it would bring to this harbor city.
The city infrastructure looked defeated too: The wide boulevards and grand 19th-century buildings are now tired and grungy and the streets smelly. Angry graffiti and tattered posters deface walls, adding to the general feeling of lawless decay. It takes a long time to destroy a nation’s wealth but a decade of kirchnerismo—government by President Néstor Kirchner and now his widow, Cristina —seems to be doing the job.
BY ROBERT B. ZOELLICK
America’s commitment to free trade will be tested in 2014. After years of indifference to trade policy, the Obama administration now has an agenda. Congress must decide whether the U.S. will lead in opening markets and creating fair rules for free enterprise in a new international economy. Where will Republicans stand?
The starting point will be Congress’s consideration of Trade Promotion Authority, which enables the president to negotiate agreements subject to an up-or-down vote by Congress. Through TPA, Congress sets goals, procedures for working with the executive branch, and controls the details of the enabling legislation. The Obama administration has been slow to press for negotiating authority.
BY DUDLEY ALTHAUS
MEXICO CITY — Hell seems ever more liable to bust loose in western Mexico’s Michoacan state, with heavily armed civilians squaring off against feared meth-producing gangsters who’ve had the run of rural hamlets and towns for years.
The self-defense militias, at least some of them accused of connivance with criminal rivals of the local Knights Templar gang, have been working to encircle the Templar-dominated city of Apatzingan since last summer.