Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Federal judges block Travel Ban III

Second judge halts Trump's travel ban | TheHill - Lydia Wheeler:

October 18, 2017 - "Judge Theodore Chuang, a federal district judge in Maryland, temporarily blocked the majority of the president’s ban on nationals from eight countries, but he said the president could still ban individuals from North Korea, business officials from Venezuela and individuals lacking a credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.

"The order now allows entry of individuals from Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia and Chad.

"Chuang is the second judge to halt the ban. Hawaii District Judge Derrick Watson went even further Tuesday, blocking all of Trump’s restrictions except with respect to Venezuelan officials or immigrants from North Korea....

"Chuang’s order is similar to an order the Supreme Court issued in June in two cases challenging Trump’s previous ban on nationals from six majority-Muslim countries: Iran, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia and Yemen.

"The Justices reinstated the ban but carved out an exemption for people with a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the U.S."

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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

'Libertarian paternalist' wins economics Nobel

Nobel Board Awards Micromanaging Fake ‘Libertarian’ Its Economics Prize - Joseph Bast, Federalist Society:

October 12, 2017 - "On Monday, the ... Nobel Prize in economics [was awarded to] the University of Chicago’s Richard Thaler. It was a poor choice. Thaler might be very smart and even clever, but his contribution to economics was largely, as he put it himself, to 'make a career stealing ideas from psychologists.'

"Thaler and other 'behavioral economists' observe that many people do not seem to act purely rationally all the time. Sometimes we exaggerate risk, procrastinate, give in to temptation, and fail to save for the future. Sometimes we need to be 'nudged' — Thaler’s most influential book, coauthored with Obama official Cass Sunstein, was titled Nudge.... Of course, some of this is true. Yet the core problems with behavioral economics are two-fold.

"First, Thaler and others stole their ideas from the wrong psychologists. Like many other academic disciplines, psychology was invaded by liberals and socialists in the 1960s.... Thaler and Sunstein relied on these liberal activists pretending to be psychologists for much of their 'evidence' showing how people are 'predictably irrational.' In fact, other scholars did not replicate the findings of these activists, and their conclusions were explicitly debunked by some researchers who tried, such as Judy Cameron and David Pierce....

"Good economists are quick to admit they are unlikely to be better judges of what people really want than the actors themselves.... A great example is fuel economy. The Obama administration, following the lead of previous Republican and Democrat administrations, believed people are too stupid or short-sighted to choose cars and trucks that get better gas mileage, so mandated that car and truck makers produce fleets with higher average miles per gallon than people want....

"But people choose cars and trucks with lower gas mileage because they value having bigger vehicles (for hauling kids and stuff), heavier vehicles (which are safer), and vehicles with more horsepower ... more than saving a few hundred or even a few thousand dollars on gasoline.... How can government bureaucrats possibly know the value of these features to each consumer? Obviously, they cannot....

"[T]housands of people die every year in car accidents that would not have been fatal but for the light-weighting of vehicles to meet the government’s fuel economy rules (called CAFE standards). In this case, Thaler’s 'nudge' philosophy is actually killing people every day....

"In Nudge, Thaler and Sunstein called for something they labeled 'libertarian paternalism.' Yes, that’s an oxymoron, and it’s almost incredible that two academics who take themselves seriously could have written it and not realized just how stupid their 'contribution' to the national debate is..... You can’t choose objectives for people ... while considering yourself a 'libertarian.' Goal-setting is part of freedom, maybe the biggest part....

"So congratulations, Mr. Thaler, on receiving the Nobel Prize. Too bad you didn’t earn it."

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Monday, October 16, 2017

Weld draws flak for attending GOP event

Bill Weld Didn’t Renounce Libertarianism by Supporting A Former Cabinet Member For Governor - Jack News:

October 12, 2017 - "An article last Thursday by Frank Phillips for Boston Globe said that former Gov. Bill Weld of Massachusetts was somehow betraying his Libertarian Party affiliation by appearing at an October 3 event with other prominent Massachusetts Republicans, including incumbent Gov. Charlie Baker, whom Weld has endorsed for re-election....

"Governor Weld’s friendship and support for Baker has never been a secret. After all, Baker served in two different cabinet positions during Weld’s own governorship. Weld noted that he would continue to support Baker, and other individual candidates as he saw fit regardless of party affiliation, to Libertarians at the 2016 convention in Orlando....

"In the 2016 US Senate race, the Alaskan State Libertarian Party’s ballot line had been hijacked by a pro-Trump candidate named Joe Miller. Weld instead endorsed incumbent Sen. Murkwoski, and didn’t hesitate to denounce the ostensible Libertarian Party candidate who was instead campaigning for Donald Trump.

"There’s nothing surprising or transgressive of any commitment here. As with Republicans and Democrats, Libertarians can endorse candidates in other parties when it suits them. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for Libertarians to support some like-minded candidates who are running as Republicans or Democrats....

"Additionally, the Globe article implies that Gov. Weld compounded this by not attending his home state’s Libertarian Party convention.... By the time the Massachusetts Libertarian convention was announced, Gov. Weld already had made other commitments, he explained. It was a simple scheduling conflict....

"Since the 2016 election, Weld has helped to secure support and fundraising for several Libertarian candidates and causes.... He’s also spoken at libertarian events, including an upcoming major speech at the regional conference of Students for Liberty in New York City on November 4th.

"As Gov. Weld told Reason magazine: 'I think in 8 to 12 years the Libertarian Party could become the number-one party in the United States, and I intend to participate in that.'"

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Sunday, October 15, 2017

The free market's safety net

The Sharing Economy Is a Free Market Safety Net - Foundation for Economic Education - Working for a free and prosperous world - Brittany Hunter:

September 15, 2017 - "The sharing economy has been one of the most groundbreaking market creations in our modern time even though its concept is quite simple. If you own a car, you can earn money as a driver. If you have an apartment or home, you can earn money renting out the space. There really isn’t much to the sharing economy. If you have property or a skill that is in demand by another consumer, you have the ability to earn money. And for those in between jobs or trying to figure out their next employment move, the sharing economy can be a lifesaver....

"I once had the pleasure of riding with a driver who was currently out of work while she was recovering from surgery ... and ... had used up all her paid time off.... But thanks to Uber, my driver didn’t have to worry about income or filing for short-term disability or other welfare programs while she waited to get back to work. She was earning money while avoiding the stir-crazy feelings of being trapped inside her house while she healed.

"Another driver I rode with in DC had recently moved to the United States from the Middle East and was trying to start his own catering business. Not only did Uber allow him to pay his bills while he was starting his business, it also helped him network. Each of his passengers was given a business card and one free 'trial' meal which he would personally deliver....

"I could tell dozens of these stories, as I am sure many of you could as well. Ridesharing helped all these drivers provide for their well being and even helped some build their businesses. But ridesharing is only one small sector in the broader sharing economy.

"One of the most stressful components of sudden unemployment is the worry that rent won’t be paid. But the homesharing sector has also provided a solution. As long as you have a friend who is willing to let you sleep on their couch or perhaps family who resides nearby, there are ways to rent out your lodgings in order to pay the bills.

"But the sharing economy is not limited to property. There are many who many find themselves unemployed without either a car or a rentable living space, but they may have a skill. Smartphone apps like TaskRabbit allow users to sell their own labor. If you possess the muscles needed to move boxes all day, you can become a mover. If you are capable of mowing a lawn, you can find someone in need of a yard trimming.... For those in the beauty or wellness world, there are also apps that will connect cosmetologists and hairstylists to clients....

"Work is not some construct invented by evil capitalists.... It is a source of pride and self-esteem.... When that daily opportunity to take pride in creation is removed because a person is unemployed, especially for longer periods of time, there are psychological impacts that extend far beyond the stress that comes with money problems. In fact, depression and unemployment are an ominous duo.

"Uber and ridesharing in general is a great way to not only socialize with other humans, but can also be beneficial for preparing for an interview. Once you are able to master the art of conversation without the often accompanying nerves, you have gained a skill that may help during the interview process.

"Is the sharing economy the perfect solution to the problem of unemployment? Absolutely not. But neither is our current unemployment system.... Our current unemployment system comes with red tape, strings attached, and a whole lot of bureaucracy. And all this must be endured before even receiving that first unemployment check. But so long as the government allows the existence of the sharing economy, the market can continue offering nearly instant employment opportunities to those looking for work."

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Saturday, October 14, 2017

Thinktank studies 3rd approach to climate change

Climate Change Wars | Liberty Unbound - Robert H. Miller:

October 10, 2017 - "In the climate change controversies, the Left ... overwhelms with data, models, and prognostications warning of environmental disaster because atmospheric CO2 concentrations have increased....  The Right is skeptical of the data and how they’re gathered, ... and ... accuses the Left of ignoring ... causes having nothing to do with human activity. But most of all, the dispute is about increasing government power....  The battle lines have been drawn along ideological lines, with science — both good and bad — playing second fiddle: most people just don’t have the knowledge or critical skills to evaluate the methodology and all the factors, conclusions, and opinions.

"Fortunately, there is a third approach, one that relies on the Hayekian insight that markets are much better at analyzing all available data than any one individual, institution, or government (and I would include computers in that list) could possibly be. This is the approach taken by PERC, the Property and Environment Research Center, a libertarian thinktank dedicated to improving environmental quality through property rights and markets.

"It makes little difference whether the United States remained in or left the 2015 Paris Climate Accords: the agreed upon CO2 reduction levels were minimal, unreachable, and unenforceable. And ... solving the perceived problem of climate change on a global scale would be economically devastating, politically unattainable, and practically impossible. So PERC’s latest report focuses on adaptation, a concept heretofore deemed either taboo or irrelevant....But adaptation is the name of the game, and market forces are already at work — and have been for a long time, even though they’re seldom heralded by the media. As the latest PERC Reports (Vol. 36, Issue 1, Summer 2017) puts it:
Market prices send signals about local conditions that no central planner or scientific expert could possibly know. Property rights give resource owners the incentives necessary to adjust to changing conditions. If sea levels rise or crop yields decline, property owners have good reason to act — whether to invest in protections or innovations....
"PERC ... is to environmental policy what the Cato Institute is to political and economic policy. All of PERC’s scholars are well-placed experts with impressive credentials.Two of its resident scholars are Liberty editor Randal O’Toole and water policy expert Terry L. Anderson, director of PERC and also a senior fellow at Stanford’s Hoover Institution. Anderson is the author of a groundbreaking book, Water Crisis: Ending the Policy Drought (1983).... "

"Other PERC reports focus on how privately organized, ground-up, rights-based fishing groups have evolved in Fiji, Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Northern Australia, Belize, and other places, protecting near-shore fish and near-shore fishermen’s livelihoods. There are PERC articles assessing the runaway costs of the federal government’s wild horse program, and showing how human-wildlife conflicts were mitigated when elk were reintroduced into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. One fascinating piece ... is a contrast between the policies advocated by such environmental organizations as the Wilderness Society and the Audubon Society and the way in which they manage their own properties.

"PERC’s analyses focus on politically achievable and practical ends. The organization’s style is thinktank noncontroversial. The appeal to libertarians is clear."

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Property and Environment Research Center

Friday, October 13, 2017

Hoppe: unleash police to beat, crush anti-fascists

Hans-Hermann Hoppe: Libertarians Must "Crush The Anti-Fascist Mob" | The Liberty Conservative - Shane Trejo:

October 12, 2017 - "Austrian economist Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s ‘Libertarian and the Alt-Right’ speech that he delivered for his 12th annual Property and Freedom Society conference that took place last month in Bodrum, Turkey ... was finally released for the public yesterday.... Hoppe delivered a brutal excoriation of social justice warriors, saying that it is incumbent upon libertarians to 'crush the anti-fascist mob.'

"'Public anger must be aroused, and there must be clamoring far and wide for the police to be unleashed and this mob beaten into submission,' Hoppe said, mincing no words....

"After sharing this controversial sentiment, Hoppe rushed to address obvious concerns that more left-leaning libertarians would have regarding compulsory government policing being used to crush leftists.

"'Do you also object … that the police arrest murderers or rapists?' Hoppe asked his critics. 'Aren’t these legitimate tasks performed also in a libertarian order by private police? And if the police are not allowed to do anything about this mob, isn’t it ok then that the target of these attacks – namely the so-called racist right – should take the task upon itself of giving the social justice warriors a bloody nose?'...

"Hoppe listed many pillars on which a realistic libertarian movement can be built, and derided Jeffrey Tucker, a former ally, and the Students for Liberty for embracing leftism and political correctness.

"'We must speak out whenever and wherever … against anyone affronting us with the – by now only all too familiar – politically correct drivel and left egalitarian balderdash,' Hoppe said."

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Thursday, October 12, 2017

Trump signs order enabling healthcare competition

Trump clears way for ObamaCare 'alternatives' in new executive order, goes around stalled Congress | Fox News:

October 12, 2017 - "President Trump on Thursday took executive action on health care, calling for a plan that could let employers band together and offer coverage across state lines ....

'So this is promoting health care, choice and competition all across the United States,' Trump said as he signed the order.... The president described the executive order as 'the first steps to providing millions of Americans with ObamaCare relief.' He said he isn't giving up on getting lawmakers to repeal the law....

"The executive order aims to offer 'alternatives' to ObamaCare plans and increase competition to bring down costs, the White House said.

"The president was joined at the signing by several Republican lawmakers, including Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who called it 'the biggest free market reform of health care in a generation.... This reform, if it works and goes as planned, will allow millions of people to get insurance across state lines at an inexpensive price,' Paul said.

"Trump said he will direct the secretary of labor to consider expanding access to Association Health Plans, which could allow employers to form groups across state lines offering coverage.... Those 'association health plans' could be shielded from some state and federal insurance requirements.... The order also calls on other federal agencies to consider expanding coverage in low-cost, short-term insurance plans not subject to ObamaCare rules....

"It's unlikely to reverse the trend of insurers exiting state markets. About half of U.S. counties will have only one ObamaCare insurer next year....

"The move comes after congressional Republicans repeatedly have been unable to pass legislation repealing or reforming the Affordable Care Act, which critics say has led to rising premiums and diminishing coverage options – in some cases forcing consumers to lose their previous plans and doctors. Trump’s executive order could clear the way for cheaper, more bare-bones insurance policies.

"Trump's order is likely to encounter opposition from medical associations, consumer groups and even insurers -- the same coalition that has blocked congressional Republicans. They say it would raise costs for the sick, while the lower-premium coverage for healthy people would come with significant gaps."

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