Thursday, April 17, 2014

Harry Reid Calls Cliven Bundy Supporters “Domestic Terrorists”

Paul Joseph Watson at Infowars reports:
Senator Harry Reid has escalated the war of words over the Cliven Bundy dispute, sensationally labeling the Nevada cattle rancher’s supporters “domestic terrorists” during an event in Las Vegas today.
During a ‘Hashtags & Headlines’ event at the Paris Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, Reid referred to Bundy supporters as “Nothing more than domestic terrorists,” adding, “I repeat: what happened there was domestic terrorism.”
I don't believe the Bundy affair is over and I don't believe it is going to end well. With Reid talking up like this, he clearly doesn't like that the government lost round 1. They will not lose round 2.

This Week on The Robert Wenzel Show



This Week:
Sunday April 20th
7AM on EPJ
Jim DeMint
Discussing His Book: Falling in Love with America Again


Next Week:
Sunday April 27th
Matt Kibbe
Discussing His Book: Don't Hurt People and Don't Take Their Stuff: A Libertarian Manifesto


Miss a show? Here's the archive.

What to Do If You Are a Jew in Donetsk

According to U.S. government officials, fliers have been handed out by masked men in front the main synagogue in Donetsk, Ukraine, where pro-Russian protesters have declared a "People's Republic."  The fliers order Jews in the city to register with a government office.

"All citizens of Jewish nationality over age of 16, living on territories of Donetsk People's Republic, have to register with DPR commissioner of nationality before May 3rd, 2014 at the Donetsk Regional Administration, room 514, registration fee is $50," read a photographed copy of the leaflet translated by CNN. "Must have in person $50 cash, passport, all available IDs, and documentation of ownership of real estate and transportation."

Geoffrey Pyatt, the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine, told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" that a respected Jewish leader in Ukraine showed him a photograph of one of the leaflets. He called the document "chilling."

This smells to me like a psy-ops campaign to discredit the pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine. Indeed, according to CNN:
The Jewish community there dismissed it as a "provocation."... 
[A]Jewish community statement said it was not clear who was behind the fliers, and the self-proclaimed head of the "People's Republic," Denis Pushilin, denied any connection to them. Pushilin told CNN the handwriting on the flier wasn't his, and the title attached to his name was not one he uses..."Who is behind this is an open question," Rabbi Pinkhas Vishedski said in the statement. But he said the act was a provocation "and should be treated accordingly ... full stop and end of topic."
Even the Anti-Defamation League raised suspicions about the fliers and hinted at political motives:
Provocation or not, the U.S.-based Anti-Defamation League condemned their distribution and what it called their "cynical and politically manipulative" exploitation of anti-Semitism.
"We are skeptical about the flier's authenticity, but the instructions clearly recall the Nazi era and have the effect of intimidating the local Jewish community," ADL Director Abraham Foxman said in a written statement.
Yet, despite the words of caution about the fliers from prominent Jews, the U.S. instigators expressed concern at high decibel levels and addressed the news as if the fliers were genuine.

 "It's almost inconceivable that this kind of thing could be happening in the 21st century," Pyatt said.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called the leaflets "grotesque" and "beyond unacceptable."

NyPo controlled by neocon Rupert Murdoch is playing it up the fliers on the front page of its web site, which I'm sure will please NyPo's CIA controls. The NyPo headline reads: Jews in east Ukraine forced to register with authorities. This pic is being run, though fliers have been only been passed out by a few men, no military or police forces of any kind were involved



What should you do if you a Jew in  Donetsk?

Probably nothing. From a distance, it does not appear a true threat. However, if you are in  Donetsk and do feel a real threat, do what Sigmund Freud and Ludwig von Mises did, when they felt threatened in Austria, get the hell out while you still can.

Rand Paul Won't Publicly Say Why He Supports Mitch McConnell

HuffPo reports:
Though Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has endorsed his fellow senator from the Bluegrass State, he didn't seem comfortable enough at a community forum to explain why.
Paul visited Edmonton, Ky. on Wednesday, where he was reportedly asked why he backed Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who faces a tea party-favored primary challenger this year.
The Glasgow Daily Times noted the discussion between Paul and a constituent:
After addressing about 30 people who turned out to hear him, the senator opened the floor for questions.
One constituent asked him why he came out in support of Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Louisville.
Paul declined to answer the question publicly, saying he would speak with her in private and explain his reason for supporting the senior senator.
Paul has avoided giving a detailed explanation for his endorsement of McConnell in the past as well. 
Rand on some level must be ashamed of his support of McConnell. It is simply bizarre not to publicly explain why one supports a candidate. It is especially bizarre if the endorsement is made by a political figure.

Did BLM Bury Bundy Cattle In Mass Grave?

Ben Swann reports:
Ben Swann interviewed Ryan Bundy, son of Cliven Bundy, on his radio program Wednesday. Bundy spoke about the continuing battle over the grazing land, the next steps federal agents may take, and what has already taken place on the property so far.

Bundy told Swann that federal agents have fled the area and left a great deal of gear and equipment and that they aren’t likely to return any time soon for it. He also said that federal agents destroyed much of the grazing infrastructure on the land, including water lines, water tanks, troughs, corrals, and fences.

The damage didn’t stop at just destroying infrastructure: Bundy revealed that their cattle, about 40 or so, had been killed by federal agents and thrown into a mass grave.
 “The mass grave that was dug was about 50 feet long, 18 feet wide, 10 feet deep, and about a third of the way filled back in with cattle.”
The interview and graphic pictures are here.

Does Warren Buffett Talk Like a Kenynesian...Yet Walk Like An Austrian?

By Chris Rossini

Jeff Deist, President of The Ludwig Von Mises Institute, makes a very interesting observation:
Watch what people do, not what they say...You can make a case that someone like a Warren Buffett is an Austrian in a sense, because if you look at his track record, his hardcore "value investing" and never-ever overpaying for anything, and giving up a possible home run hit to avoid the downside of overpaying...That value strategy oftentimes has an Austrian underpinning, in a sense that the value that someone like a Warren Buffett seeks is always based on a real rate of return net of the currency it's valued in.
In a certain sense you can say that Warren Buffett has been shorting the dollar for many years now through Berkshire Hathaway. The stuff that Berkshire Hathaway tends to buy is tangible physical stuff, companies with underlying real-world bricks and mortar assets, as opposed to 'paperclips.com' or some ephemeral startup.

Warren Buffett is someone I would say who talks a Keynesian game, but perhaps in his own personal life walks a more Austrian line.
Warren also puffs out his feathers about how "the rich" should pay more taxes, while he himself avoids them, much like NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Good point by Jeff Deist. Never listen to the words of crony oligarchs. Their actions speak louder. Warren seems to be nothing more than a finger-in-the-wind type guy.


Chris Rossini is on Twitter

The Rothbard-Hating Kochs and Astro-Turf "Student" Organizations

Lifted from the comments at the SFL Board Member: Lee Harvey Oswald Acted Alone in Killing JFK post:
Pay no attention to to the power elite, says a Koch-funded, astro-turf "student" organization. This same org is promoting hostility to Russia, on behalf of the Kochs, to increase the relative value of their vast energy resources, and to have a hand in Ukraine's. It is also part of the decades-long attempt by the Rothbard-hating Kochs to turn libertarianism into a tame Republican philosophy that buttresses their part of the oligarchy.
One has to ask why the Kochs and others spend so much time and money attempting to co-op the hardcore libertarian movement. The answer is simple, the hardcore libertarian movement  has a very powerful message that has been delivered by a great libertarian communicator, Murray Rothbard, and the greatest entrepreneur, ever, in the sphere of libertarian ideas, Lew Rockwell. This creates a powerful following.

The Kochs may have billions to attempt to promote their agenda and attempt to dilute the libertarian message, but that is their weakness. Diluting the libertarian message is logically inconsistent and will never gain support among the independent thinkers, who can't be bought. Theese advocates of pure liberty will always have the edge when going up against the inconsistencies of the astro-turf organizations.

You can buy crony politicians and agenda advancing operatives (very cheaply in most cases), but you can't buy people who want to be free. When it comes to the advancement of ideas, the power is ultimately in those who have the powerful ideas and not those who carry the biggest wallet.

Milwaukee NBA Team Sold by Ex-Senator to Hedge-Fund Billionaires

Herb Kohl, the former U.S. senator, has announced that he is selling  the Milwaukee Bucks to hedge-fund billionaires Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. Edens is the co-founder of Fortress Investment Group and Lasry is the co-founder of Avenue Capital Group.

The price tag was $550 million, and the new owners will contribute at least $100 million to a new arena, as will Kohl. However, the public will still be taxed heavily to finish out the financing of the arena so that these billionaires can run their business through a souped-up revenue generating building--and that's how crony capitalism plays the game.

It is important to note that Kohl would never have been able to sell the team for $500 million wihout the prospect that the public would be coerced into building a new arena for the team. Kohl, who represented Wisconsin in the Senate from 1989 to 2013, bought the team for just $18 million in 1985, according to ESPN.

The team has the worst record in the NBA for the 2013-14 season, with only 15 wins and 67 losses.

The Ugly Facts of Federal Government Land Ownership

There is no legitimate reason the government should own all this land. It should be auctioned off with the proceeds given to the people of the United States. Note well: The government has minute ownership of land in the area of the 13 original colonies. The founders of this country had no conception of massive government ownership of land.



The massive U.S. government land ownership states:

Nevada: 84.5 percent
Alaska: 69.1 percent
Utah: 57.4 percent
Oregon: 53.1 percent
Idaho: 50.2 percent
Arizona: 48.1 percent
California: 45.3 percent
Wyoming: 42.4 percent
New Mexico: 41.8 percent
Colorado: 36.6 percent
Washington: 30.3 percent
Montana: 29.9 percent

(Chart and data via the American Spectator)

The Evils of Government Data Collection (And Its Origins)

I found it fascinating to learn from Zachary Karbell's new book, The Leading Indicators: A Short History of the Numbers That Rule Our World, how intertwined government and statistics have been right from the start:
The word statistics wasn’t much used before the eighteenth century, and its origins are often ascribed to a German named Gottfried Achenwall, who combined Latin and Italian words to coin the term statistic to refer to data about the state.
Murray Rothbard always understood the evil in government data collection. From The Logic of Action II: Applications and Criticism from the Austrian School:
Ours is truly an Age of Statistics. In a country and an era that worships statistical data as super "scientific," as offering us the keys to all knowledge, a vast supply of data of all shapes and sizes pours forth upon us. Mostly, it pours forth from government.

While private agencies and trade associations do gather and issue some statistics, they are limited to specific wants of specific industries. The vast bulk of statistics is gathered and disseminated by government. The overall statistics of the economy, the popular "gross national product" data that permits every economist to be a soothsayer of business conditions, come from government.

Furthermore, many statistics are by-products of other governmental activities: from the Internal Revenue bureau come tax data, from unemployment insurance departments come estimates of the unemployed, from customs offices come data on foreign trade, from the Federal Reserve flow statistics on banking, and so on. And as new statistical techniques are developed, new divisions of government departments are created to refine and use them.

The burgeoning of government statistics offers several obvious evils to the libertarian...

Not only do statistics gathering and producing go beyond the governmental function of defense of persons and property; not only are economic resources wasted and misallocated, and the taxpayers, industry, small business, and the consumer burdened. But, furthermore, statistics are, in a crucial sense, critical to all interventionist and socialist activities of government...

Statistics are the eyes and ears of the bureaucrat, the politician, the socialistic reformer. Only by statistics can they know, or at least have any idea about, what is going on in the economy...

Thus, in all the host of measures that have been proposed over the years to check and limit government or to repeal its interventions, the simple and unspectacular abolition of government statistics would probably be the most thorough and most effective. Statistics, so vital to statism, its namesake, is also the State's Achilles' heel.
Then, of course, there is the perspective of the great apologist for the state, Paul Krugman :
Just a quick note in support of government statisticians. They do an incredibly important job, and by and large do it very well. 

The Cronyism Behind the Calls for Equal Pay for Equal Work Legislation

Who better to spot and explain a Democratic-led crony deal than a crony Republican. Karl Rove writes in WSJ:
To understand President Obama's legislative agenda, follow the money.

At a Houston fundraising dinner last week, Mr. Obama criticized Senate Republicans for opposing the Paycheck Fairness Act, which he called "common sense" legislation "to meaningfully enforce the simple concept of equal pay for equal work."

Here's what the president didn't say...

he Paycheck Fairness Act would reward one of the Democrats' most generous sources of ready cash: wealthy personal-injury lawyers.

Consider John Eddie Williams and his wife Sheridan, the hosts of the president's Houston fundraiser where 55 guests paid between $16,000 and $64,000 to the Democratic Senatorial and Congressional Campaign Committees. Mr. Williams got rich by suing tobacco and drug companies. The dinner was held at the couple's 26,463-square-foot mansion, complete with five full baths, seven half baths, five fireplaces and an elevator. It is carried on the tax rolls at $17.1 million.

The same day as his Houston fundraiser, Mr. Obama also attended a roundtable with 25 donors at the mansion of Steve and Amber Mostyn. Mr. Mostyn is president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association and made $150 million from lawsuits over hurricane insurance. He vows to spend $10 million this year to help Mr. Obama's national campaign field director, Jeremy Bird, to "turn Texas blue," changing the Lone Star State from reliably Republican to comfortably Democratic, starting with this fall's gubernatorial election.

Messrs. Williams and Mostyn have each contributed millions to Democratic candidates and raised tens of millions more. Mr. Obama would reward trial lawyers like them with the Paycheck Fairness Act. How so?

Section 3 (a) of the bill would remove the presumption of innocence for companies accused of wage discrimination. They would now be presumed guilty unless they can pass three difficult tests, which could be invalidated if a plaintiff demonstrates "an alternative employment practice exists" and the employer refused to adopt it. Just tell your boss what to do and when she doesn't, sue her.

This is more than an open invitation to lawsuits. It's practically an order to companies to settle any suits filed against them.

Section 3 (c)(1) allows for punitive damages, ensuring the trial lawyers get more millions to bankroll Democratic campaigns. This section exempts the federal government from paying punitive damages...

Section 3 (c)(5) also allows individuals to be counted as plaintiffs for class actions without their consent, which fattens paydays for trial lawyers and provides an additional incentive for companies to settle rather than fight.

To help personal injury attorneys identify possible targets and relieve the lawyers of research costs, Section 8 requires every company to report pay data by sex, race and national origin to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Section 3 (d) would add to lawyers' fees by allowing the Labor Department to seek additional compensatory or punitive damages, turning it into an unpaid auxiliary of the personal injury bar.

This is public policy in the age of Obama: legislation drafted by West Wing political hacks to boost the Democratic Party's election chances and reward its financial backers.

Now They're Cooking the ObamaCare Stats

These guys don't stop at anything. Everything coming out of the U.S. government should be considered propaganda.

WSJ on the Census Bureau changing the manner in which the insured are counted:
Out of the blue, the Census Bureau has changed how it counts health insurance—at the precise moment when ObamaCare is roiling the insurance markets.

Since 1987, the Current Population Survey, or CPS, has collected information on the health-insurance coverage status of Americans. The annual reports are widely cited because their large sample sizes improve accuracy, the data are gathered constantly, and they tease out state-by-state details. But this year the Census revamped the CPS household insurance questions, muddying comparisons between the pre- and post-ObamaCare numbers. The results of the new method will be disclosed this fall...

Robert Pear of the New York Times obtained internal Census documents that note that the new CPS system produces lower estimates of the uninsured as an artifact of how the questionnaire is structured. One memo refers to the "coincidental and unfortunate timing" and that, "Ideally, the redesign would have had at least a few years to gather base line and trend data."

Ideally, the White House would have provided those years. For changes this substantial, standard procedure would be to ask the new and old questions concurrently. With an overlap, researchers could study changes over time using the long-term historical information without introducing bias, as well as interpret emerging developments with new tools....

this sudden change will undermine public trust in the supposedly nonpartisan institutions of government. Muddying a useful source of information about ObamaCare's results is definitely unfortunate, but our guess is that it wasn't coincidental.

Gary North Donates 10,000 Books to Mises Institute

Wow, I thought I had a lot of books. I don't come anywhere near 10,000.

Dr. North said that he decided to donate the library to the Mises Institute as a way to assist the Institute’s Fellows and faculty, according to the Institute web site. “The Mises Institute has very bright summer interns: Ph.D. candidates working on their dissertations, with the assistance of scholars.”

The library “is heavily oriented towards history and social science,” North explained, recalling that “not many economists are gifted historians the way Murray Rothbard was. He would have loved [the library].”

The books arrived Wednesday.


SFL Board Member: Lee Harvey Oswald Acted Alone in Killing JFK

Ankur Chawla, 2010-2011 Executive Board Member at the Students for Liberty, didn't a exactly say Oswald acted alone, he just doesn't want you to talk about theories that suggest a conspiracy occurred, any conspiracy. In an essay at the SFL web site, he writes:
The truth is that conspiracy theorists, however unfortunately, are dealing a crippling blow to the movement for liberty. As long as they are associated with libertarians, the movement will be held back. 
I really have to wonder what the hell is going on at some of these "libertarian" organizations. First, we have the promotion of feminist agendas (SEE:  Was Ludwig Von Mises a Feminist?) and now we have the call for the elimination of conspiracy theory discussions amongst libertarians.

Murray Rothbard explained the linkage between conspiracy theories and the advancement of the libertarian movement:
Anytime that a hard-nosed analysis is put forth of who our rulers are, of how their political and economic interests interlock, it is invariably denounced by Establishment liberals and conservatives (and even by many libertarians) as a "conspiracy theory of history," "paranoid," "economic determinist," and even "Marxist." These smear labels are applied across the board, even though such realistic analyses can be, and have been, made from any and all parts of the economic spectrum, from the John Birch Society to the Communist Party. The most common label is "conspiracy theorist," almost always leveled as a hostile epithet rather than adopted by the "conspiracy theorist" himself.
It is no wonder that usually these realistic analyses are spelled out by various "extremists" who are outside the Establishment consensus. For it is vital to the continued rule of the State apparatus that it have legitimacy and even sanctity in the eyes of the public, and it is vital to that sanctity that our politicians and bureaucrats be deemed to be disembodied spirits solely devoted to the "public good." Once let the cat out of the bag that these spirits are all too often grounded in the solid earth of advancing a set of economic interests through use of the State, and the basic mystique of government begins to collapse.
To be sure, Rothbard made clear that conspiracy theory must be based on fact but, when it is, it should be advanced as showing  the true motives of those in power:

Far from being a paranoid or a determinist,the conspiracy analyst is a praxeologist; that is, he believes that people act purposively, that they make conscious choices to employ means in order to arrive at goals. Hence, if a steel tariff is passed, he assumes that the steel industry lobbied for it; if a public works project is created, he hypothesizes that it was promoted by an alliance of construction firms and unions who enjoyed public works contracts, and bureaucrats who expanded their jobs and incomes. It is the opponents of "conspiracy" analysis who profess to believe that all events — at least in government —are random and unplanned, and that therefore people do not engage in purposive choice and planning.
There are, of course, good conspiracy analysts and bad conspiracy analysts, just as there are good and bad historians or practitioners of any discipline. The bad conspiracy analyst tends to make two kinds of mistakes, which indeed leave him open to the Establishment charge of "paranoia." First, he  stops with the cui bono; if measure A benefits X and Y, he simply concludes that therefore X and Y were responsible. He fails to realize that this is just a hypothesis, and must be verified by finding out whether or not X and Y really did so. (Perhaps the wackiest example of this was the British journalist Douglas Reed who, seeing that the result of Hitler's policies was the destruction of Germany, concluded, without further evidence, that therefore Hitler was a conscious agent of external forces who deliberately set out to ruin Germany.) Secondly, the bad conspiracy analyst seems to have a compulsion to wrap up all the conspiracies, all the bad guy power blocs, into one giant conspiracy. Instead of seeing that there are several power blocs trying to gain control of government, sometimes in conflict and sometimes in alliance, he has to assume — again without evidence — that a small group of men controls them all, and only seems to send them into conflict...
 Do we say that David Rockefeller's prodigious efforts on behalf of certain statist public policies are merely a reflection of unfocused altruism? Or is there pursuit of economic interest involved? Was Jimmy Carter named a member of the Trilateral Commission as soon as it was founded because Rockefeller and the others wanted to hear the wisdom of an obscure Georgia governor? Or was he plucked out of obscurity and made President by their support? Was J. Paul Austin, head of Coca-Cola, an early supporter of Jimmy Carter merely out of concern for the common good? Were all the Trilateralists and Rockefeller Foundation and Coca-Cola people chosen by Carter simply because he felt that they were the ablest possible people for the job? If so, it's a coincidence that boggles the mind. Or are there more sinister political-economic interests involved? I submit that the naïfs who stubbornly refuse to examine the interplay of political and economic interest in government are tossing away an essential tool for analyzing the world in which we live.
BTW: Here's Rothbard on the JFK assassination:
The evidence is now overwhelming that the orthodox Warren legend, that Oswald did it and did it alone, is pure fabrication. It now seems clear that Kennedy died in a classic military triangulation hit, that, as Parkland Memorial autopsy pathologist Dr. Charles Crenshaw has very recently affirmed, the fatal shots were fired from in front, from the grassy knoll, and that the conspirators were, at the very least, the right-wing of the CIA, joined by its long-time associates and employees, the Mafia. It is less well established that President Johnson himself was in on the original hit, though he obviously conducted the coordinated cover-up, but certainly his involvement is highly plausible.
The last-ditch defenders of the Warren view cannot refute the details, so they always fall back on generalized vaporings, such as: “How could all the government be in on it?” But since Watergate, we have all become familiar with the basic fact: only a few key people need be in on the original crime, while lots of high and low government officials can be in on the subsequent cover-up, which can always be justified as “patriotic,” on “national security” grounds, or simply because the president ordered it. The fact that the highest levels of the U.S. government are all-too capable of lying to the public, should have been clear since Watergate and Iran-Contra. The final fallback argument, getting less plausible all the time is: if the Warren case isn’t true, why hasn’t the truth come out by this time? The fact is, however, that the truth has largely come out, in the assassination industry, from books – some of them best-sellers – by Mark Lane, David Lifton, Peter Dale ScottJim Marrs, and many others, but the Respectable Media pay no attention.With that sort of mindset, that stubborn refusal to face reality, no truth can ever come out. And yet, despite this blackout, because books, local TV and radio, magazine articles, supermarket tabloids, etc. can’t be suppressed – but only ignored – by the Respectable Media, we have the remarkable result that the great majority of the public, in all the polls, strongly disbelieve the Warren legend. Hence, the frantic attempts of the Establishment to suppress as gripping and convincing a film as Stone’s JFK.
Yet, Chawal writes:
 There is a fundamental disconnect between the rationale behind most conspiracy theories and the philosophy of liberty. If central to our world-view is that government is by nature inefficient, then how could the bureaucrats and politicians possibly mastermind complex plots to control global politics and economics?
What is occurring here is that Chawal is placing a blanket over all activity of government actors and saying that they can never accomplish anything. This is a terrible distortion of Austrian economic theory and libertarian theory---and a denial of reality. Government is terrible as far as being a central planner when considered in relation to free market prices and economic activity, but if a small group of government actors wants to get together to stage a coup or plot legislation to benefit cronies, they certainly can be effective. Chawal's distorted theory is in denial about that fact that coups do occur, that big pharma, the big banks, two name just two groups, do have varying degrees of influence over government and devise government driven schemes that benefit them at the expensive of the people.

Chawal's piece is really urging the whitewash of all activity that points to these evil operators in and around government. They do exist  and it takes a major distortion of correct economic and libertarian theory to suggest there is a "fundamental disconnect" between such theory and an examination of facts with regard to specific events to determine whether a conspiracy may have occurred. 

Why Young Male Doctors Earn Much Higher Incomes Than Young Female Doctors

By Thomas Sowell

The "war on women" political slogan is in fact a war against common sense.

It is a statistical fraud when

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Laurence Vance with the Big Questions

Laurence writes:
Why does the federal government have a Bureau of Land Management? Why does the federal government still own land outside of D.C.?

FIGHTING THE STATE: Battling the First FAA Prosecution of a Civilian Drone

In this video Luke Rudkowski interviews Brendan Schulman of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, a lawyer who is taking on first ever FAA case against a drone.

Some Sanity on Ukraine from the Council on Foreign Relations: Decentralization is the Solution

The Council on Foreign Relations put out this release earlier today:

Dear Colleague,

Yesterday, Russian president Vladimir Putin declared that Ukraine was on the “brink of civil war.”

He might be right writes American University professor Keith Darden in Foreign Affairs. Even more than the battle between Russia and the West, the internal cleavages within the country threaten to tear it apart.

“Inattention to Ukraine’s internal demons reflects a dangerous misreading of current events; the struggle between Russia and the West has been a catalyst, but not a cause. The protagonists in this conflict are subnational regions. The EU association process, and especially the protests, repression, and revolution that followed, activated very deep and long-standing divisions between them. Unless Kiev deals with its regions and installs a more legitimate, decentralized government, Ukraine will not be won by the East or the West. It will be torn apart.” Darden argues that the solution lies in constitutional change. “Call it what you want: decentralization, federalization, regionalization. The label makes little difference.”

In order to do that, the new government must balance power between the western and eastern regions of the country, which are divided by culture, history, and political say.

“Kiev needs to transfer some very substantial powers, including those over education, language, law, and taxation, to the regions. It also needs to make the officials who hold such powers democratically accountable to elected councils and governors.”

He concludes positively, “There is certainly a deal to be made between Ukraine’s regions that will satisfy its regional power bases, appease its neighbors, and keep the country whole.”

Read “How to Save Ukraine.”

Walter Block and Michael Edelstein: Memories of Murray Rothbard

Dr. Michael Edelstein, author of Three Minute Therapy: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life, recently gave a talk at the Circle Rothbard in San Francisco.

A few days prior to the meeting, I suggested to Dr. Edlestein, who knew the great economist Murray Rothbard, to also come up with some stories about Rothbard for the meeting. Not only did he come up with stories but he contacted his friend Dr. Walter Block, author of Defending the UndefendableDefending the Undefendable II: Freedom in All Realms and The Privatization of Roads and Highways: Human and Economic Factors and they reminisced about Rothbard. Dr. Edelstein brought along a tape recording of those reminisces. Here is that recording:



Rand Paul: The Military Option Should Be On the Table With Regard to Iran

Rand Paul has an op-ed in WaPo, today, where he does a lot of dancing on his position, especially with regard to the containment of Iran:
I am not for containment in Iran. Let me repeat that, since no one seems to be listening closely: I am unequivocally not for containing Iran.

I am also not for announcing that the United States should never contain Iran.
There I hope you have that straight. Rand used the Reagan card to justify his seemingly being on both sides of the issue:
Ronald Reagan was once criticized for not announcing in advance his policy toward particular situations. 
But then, because he has been getting pressure from neocons, he let it all out
I believe all options should be on the table to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons, including the military option...False choices between being everywhere all of the time and nowhere any of the time are fodder for debate on Sunday morning shows or newspaper columns. Real foreign policy is made in the middle; with nuance; in the gray area of diplomacy, engagement and reluctantly, if necessary, military action.
Bottom line, Rand is far from the clear speaker and principled that his father is. (SEE: The Most Important 4 Minutes and 34 Seconds for Liberty in the Early Part of the Twenty First Century)

This is Rand's real position: "I want to be president and will say whatever it takes, no matter how logically absurd, as long as it advances me toward the presidency. If elected, I will do whatever it takes to get re-elected."



How Laws Have Become Cluster Bombs

James Bovard emails:

Bob -

Here's a link to a piece in today's Washington Times on  how laws have become cluster bombs, quietly scattering hidden explosives across the nation that later detonate under hapless citizens.

I am having fun on Twitter with the #ClusterBombCongress hashtag.

Take it easy,
Jim

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/15/bovard-our-cluster-bomb-congress/

This Is Not a Joke: Krugman to get $25K/mo from Income Inequality Institute

Gawker reports:
In late February, the City University of New York announced that it had tapped Princeton economist and New York Times blogger Paul Krugman for a distinguished professorship at CUNY’s Graduate Center and its Luxembourg Income Study Center, a research arm devoted to studying income patterns and their effect on inequality.
About that. According to a formal offer letter obtained under New York’s Freedom of Information Law, CUNY intends to pay Krugman $225,000, or $25,000 per month (over two semesters), to “play a modest role in our public events” and “contribute to the build-up” of a new “inequality initiative.” It is not clear, and neither CUNY nor Krugman was able to explain, what “contribute to the build-up” entails.
It’s certainly not teaching. “You will not be expected to teach or supervise students,” the letter informs Professor Krugman, who replies: “I admit that I had to read it several times to be clear ... it’s remarkably generous.” (After his first year, Krugman will be required to host a single seminar.)
(ht  Jim Brownfield)

NYC's Socialist Mayor Sure Doesn't Like to Pay Taxes

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has released his tax returns for 2013. According to WSJ, de Blasio earned $165,000 as public advocate last year and brought in an additional $52,000 in rent on a second home he owns in Park Slopes. de Blasio’s effective tax rate was, get this, 8.3%.

The "There Is No Inflation" Report: Fruit and Vegetable Edition

Although the California drought may be a catalyst for fruit and vegetable price increases, I have been pointing out in the EPJ Daily Alert that the supply side causes of price increases are only part of the problem. Once these prices start to climb, they really tend to heat up. We are seeing this in the food sector and the metals sector. Below, via a WSJ chart, are some price forecasts put together by Arizona State University.


Yet Another Shoddy Democratic Hack Job from Paul Krugman on ObamaCare

by Lambert Strether

I know, I know. Film at 11! But let us sorrowfully pull on our waders and look at Krugman’s latest. From the lead paragraph:
The current state of public opinion on health reform is really peculiar. If you’ve been following the issue at all closely, you know that the Affordable Care Act [ACA; ObamaCare] is one of the great comeback stories of public policy: after a terrible start, it has dramatically exceeded expectations. But hardly anyone seems to know that.
Let’s parse this out. Tellingly, Krugman conflates a public relations narrative (“comeback story”) with actual public policy success, and by what metric? ObamaCare  “dramatically” (narrative again) “exceeded expectations.” What expectations? Whose expectations? Krugman does not yet say. Be that as it may, if “you’ve been following” electoral tactics “at all closely” over the years, you’ll recognize the hollow triumphalism of the expectations game successfully played. (In this case, the comeback was so extraordinarily successful that the coach, Sebelius, fell on her sword to protect the owner, Obama, by resigning to spend more time with her family, but never mind that.) And if “nobody knows,” it’s not because the Democratic nomenklatura hasn’t beentaking not so much a victory lap, as a victory tongue bath.
So in the second paragraph comes the reveal: Krugman’s metric for success is signups; the famous lowballed 6 million that turned into 7 million and change. (Never mind the oddity of taking a metric from horse race journalism and applying it to health care policy; we’ll get to that.) And in some way this makes sense: Numbers are obviously important, as Krugman himself points out when critiquing the Ryan budget: “[P]eople who actually know how to read budget numbers weighed in, revealing it as a piece of mean-spirited junk.” The problem here is that the ObamaCare numbers are soft, as this blog has consistently pointed out, and about to get softer.
First, and remarkably...

On Campaign for Liberty and Their Refusal to Hand Over to the IRS Campaign Donor Lists

I am getting a bunch of emails from readers who are sending along a link to a Washington Examiner story: Ron Paul group to defy IRS.

I touched on this a bit a couple of days ago: Ron Paul Letter Warns IRS Is Attempting to Shutdown Campaign for Liberty.

I continue to suspect that there is more to this than the surface story. As I pointed out in my initial post:
The C4L donation page makes clear that data is being collected because of federal law:
Federal Law requires us to use our best efforts to collect the following information for each donor.
Thus, this request from the IRS should not be a surprise to C4L or anyone that donated, nor would I imagine it is the first time such information has been requested. Though not entirely unjustified, it seems to be an odd point to take a stand on.

The Question of Animal Rights

By Luke Marshall

Today, many animal rights activists and groups discuss ideas of animals being abused and mistreated and many even saying animals should have the same rights that human beings have. When discussing the issue of animal rights it is important that emotion does not get in the way of rationality. So often like other issues, animal rights debates become diluted by feelings taking precedent over rationality. While the preferable behavior is to treat animals right, this does nothing to provide for the truth claims of animal rights philosophers and activists. With humans, we can examine that our rights derive from our very nature and this is where morality is put into libertarian philosophy. So we must examine the nature of animals to determine their rights. When we look at how animals interact with each other we see lots of violence and conflict. A predator will kill its prey in order for it to survive. When we see a lion kill a gazelle we do not declare this murder and say it is evil. Why is the lion not a murderer for killing a gazelle? For something to be immoral, it must understand virtue. Lions have no understanding of right and wrong and therefore are not evil. Evil must know virtue in order to be evil. The predator and prey relationship between animals is not civilized exchange. Animals do not respect one anothers rights. Animals do not respect property rights. How can an animal be held to the non-aggression principle if it cannot understand property. How can an animal have any inherent right when it cannot even reason if it has rights?

What we see is some of the thinking of Kant taking place. Kant held that rationality is what holds us higher than animals. Due to mans ability to think and use logic, we are higher creatures than animals. While this belief is valid, I do not find it the most sufficient. Humans have rights derived in humans having natural domain over their body. Since humans control their own body, they should be able to have rights to the fruit of their labor since property is nothing more than the reward of using our body or mind for labor. What we see is the view of John Locke of self-ownership and property rights coming from our own nature cannot be applied to animals. Since animals have no inherent right in their nature we cannot enforce the protection of animals unless the animal is the property of someone else. What we see is that animals cannot use reason and adhere to contracts, have no understanding of virtue, and even though they can employ their means that it is due to instinct not to reasoned thought. I think Murray Rothbard said it best in regards to why humans have natural rights, “For the assertion of human rights is not properly a simple emotive one; individuals possess rights not because we "feel" that they should, but because of a rational inquiry into the nature of man and the universe. In short, man has rights because they are natural rights. They are grounded in the nature of man: the individual man's capacity for conscious choice, the necessity for him to use his mind and energy to adopt goals and values, to find out about the world, to pursue his ends in order to survive and prosper, his capacity and need to communicate and interact with other human beings and to participate in the division of labor. In short, man is a rational and social animal. No other animals or beings possess this ability to reason, to make conscious choices, to transform their environment in order to prosper, or to collaborate consciously in society and the division of labor.”

Rights are like a contract in how all individuals have to have knowledge of other individuals'rights and they either adhere to the contract or break the contract. Animals do not understand principles such as property rights and non-aggression and should not be held to these principles, also these principles should not be held to animals. The difficulty in deciding if animals are deserving of rights come from our emotional attachment to them since they are living creatures. Even though near all human beings have a place in their heart for animals this does not mean that they are deserving of rights. If an animal belongs to someone else, then they should be protected like any other form of property. However, to force people not to eat animals because is the true initiation of force. Still people should treat animal right as a matter of preferable behavior. Just because animals do not have natural rights does not mean everyone in a free society would be permitted to abuse them. While animals do not have inherent rights due to their lack of knowledge of virtue and inability to respect rights does not mean animals should not be treated well. For the most part animals do not aggress against human beings and the need to use force against an animal is unnecessary. As long as the animal does not violate you or your property the animal should be treated with respect like a human. The difference between a non-aggressive animal and a non-aggressive human is that a human should be protected by privatized companies or by his own power and should under no circumstance be coerced. While animals should be able to be used for meat, one is not permitted to use a human for meat. Animals should be treated with respect and those who do not respect animals should be ostracized. While a private defense agency can not haul an animal abuser to court unless the animal belongs to someone else, an animal abuser should be ostracized by society.

Just as one would choose not to do business with a prejudiced person, one should choose not to do business with companies that abuse animals. Private citizens who abuse animals should not be allowed on other individuals within the societies property. People who are not criminals yet act in a non-preferable way should be ostracized by society to prevent further non-preferable behavior. While one should not be arrested for mistreatment of animals, the individual should be subject to members of his or her society looking down on them.

To lock someone up for mistreating animals seems not only distasteful, but, also seems inefficient. Sending someone to prison for mistreating animals only increases their chance for becoming more violent in the future against animals and people alike. Prison serves as nothing more than a criminal college and this is only going to create further atrocities and creates problems for society in the future. Giving someone a fine for abusing animals just strengthens the power of the state who abuses its people. What we see is private individuals in a free society not serving, providing, or allowing animal abusers on their property would help stop the abusive individual and is the civilized way to approach the issue. The law is an opinion with a gun. Violence is at the core of the law and to treat people who mistreat animals with violence is a non-civilized approach to dealing with the issue of animal rights. While animals do not derive rights from nature, the majority of people understand that it is wrong to treat animals badly. A free society could provide the most efficient way to stop animal abuse despite them not having respected rights or rights in the eyes of privatized law.

Luke Marshall is a 15 year old Free Market Anarchist. He enjoys reading philosophy, writing, debating, and working in his GMO free garden. You can read his article on how he came to be an Anarchist at http://voluntaryist.com/howibecame/before15.html#.U03cG8u9KSM. You can email Luke at lukemarshallskates@gmail.com