Today is the 116th anniversary of the birth of F. A. Hayek, one of the greatest scholars of the 20th century.
David Boaz writes: Back in 2010, as the tea party movement was on the verge of delivering an electoral rebuke to President Obama’s big-government policies, the New York Times derided the movement for reviving “long-dormant ideas [found in] once-obscure texts by dead writers.” They meant Hayek especially. But a more astute journalist might not have regarded Hayek as obscure.
Who was Hayek? He was an economist born and educated in Vienna. After the Nazi conquest of Austria, he became a British citizen and taught there and at the University of Chicago for most of his career. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1974. President Ronald Reagan called him one of the two or three people who had most influenced him, and so did some of the dissidents behind the Iron Curtain. President George H. W. Bush awarded him the Medal of Freedom. Margaret Thatcher banged his great book “The Constitution of Liberty” on the table at Conservative Party headquarters and declared “This is what we believe.” Milton Friedman described him as “the most important social thinker of the 20th century.”
But respect for Hayek extended far beyond libertarians and conservatives. Lawrence H. Summers, former president of Harvard and a top economic adviser to Presidents Clinton and Obama, called him the author of “the single most important thing to learn from an economics course today” — that markets mostly work without plans or direction. He is the hero of “The Commanding Heights,” the book and PBS series on the battle of economic ideas in the 20th century. His most popular book, “The Road to Serfdom,” has never gone out of print and saw its sales explode during the financial crisis and Wall Street bailouts. John Cassidy wrote in the New Yorker that “on the biggest issue of all, the vitality of capitalism, he was vindicated to such an extent that it is hardly an exaggeration to refer to the 20th century as the Hayek century.”
In much of his work Hayek explored how society can best make use of “the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess.” Read the rest of this entry »
The obscene action appears to be part of a protest against the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s conference, a pro-Israel annual gathering last month where Vice President Mike Pence was a keynote speaker. Outside of the conference, an estimated 1,000 people gathered in Washington DC to protest it and push the idea that Israel should give up more land in an effort to appease hostile neighbors.
The same account belonging to an individual who describes himself as a Black Bolshevik and aligned with the #BlackLiberationMovement and #FreePalestine tweeted out anti-Israel, anti-police, and pro-Palestinian photos of demonstrators just minutes before issuing the photo of a group of people flipping off the memorial. Read the rest of this entry »
NEW YORK—Enraged by his public pronouncements regarding that which is yet to be, the almighty gods on high are said to have blinded political statistician Nate Silver this week as punishment for seeking forbidden knowledge of the future. “Any mere mortal who dares trespass into the realm of the Fates by making grand prophecies or electoral projections shall suffer swift and holy wrath,” said Sophioxis, a representative for the all-knowing deities, who added that Silver’s blinding should serve as a warning to all who might venture to aggregate various polling data, weight it by historical accuracy and methodological rigor, and seek visions into the veiled worlds beyond the present over which the gods hold sole dominion…(read more)
Michael Barone writes: “The world may have a polling problem.” That’s the headline on a blogpost by Nate Silver, the wunderkind founder of the fivethirthyeight.com website. It was posted on 9:54 Eastern Time the night of May 7, as the counting in the British election was continuing in the small hours of May 8 UK Time.
“Polling provides useful information, but information whose reliability is often ephemeral and increasingly, it seems, limited.”
That was an hour after the result in the constituency of Nuneaton made it clear that all the pre-election polls were wrong. Nuneaton, in the Midlands just east of Birmingham, was number 28 on a list of 42 marginal two-party contests. Projections based on pre-election polls were that Labour would win 35 of these 42 seats. Instead Conservatives won 34 of them.
Nationally, the pre-election polls predicted that Conservatives would win about 280 seats, barely ahead of Labour and far short of a 326-seat majority. The exit poll pegged them at 316. They ended up winning 331.
“Readers may have noticed that all these errors seem to come from one ideological direction. In nations where the dominant media lean left–the New York Times and the old-line TV networks here, the BBC in Britain, Ha’aretz in Israel–opinion on the right has been understated in the polls.”
Something similar happened in 1992, when pre-election polls showed the two parties tied but Conservatives won by a 7.5-point margin. The most common explanation, advanced by Conservative analyst Rob Hayward: “shy Tories” were unwilling to tell pollsters they favored the Conservative party.
“Evidently, some people don’t want to identify themselves as troglodytes to telephone interviewers or even on robocalls.”
British pollsters made adjustments then but, as Hayward notes, they didn’t work this year. Internal party polls apparently did better. American pollster Stanley Greenberg, working for Labour and using a longer questionnaire, found the party’s numbers sagging. Australian consultant Lynton Crosby, running Conservatives’ campaign, assured party leaders they would win 300 seats. Read the rest of this entry »
BREAKING: Chinese Hackers Reveal They Have Archive of Hillary’s State Department Emails, Offer them to GOP in Rare DealPosted: March 12, 2015
Chinese hackers offer Clinton Archive in Exchange for Exclusive Access to Future Celebrity Porn Leaks
HONG KONG – Chinese hackers contacted John Boehner‘s office this week, offering their archived record of Hillary Clinton’s email database, in exchange for a guarantee of exclusive access to future leaks of celebrity nude images and videos, sources inside the capitol have confirmed. The Department of Homeland security, however, denies any knowledge of a deal being offered by the Chinese, and authorities in Beijing decline to comment. “This is either a rogue operation, or a prank”, said Eric Holder, when contacted for comment. “There’s no evidence the emails they claim to have are authentic.”
Other officials disagreed, conceding that military and non-military hackers inside Chinese have long held copies of every email written and received by cabinet officers in the U.S. “We know they keep records of our correspondence, probably even more complete ones than we do”, said one official. “There’s really not a lot we can do about it. We might as well benefit from it.” Boehner agreed, and suggested that negotiations with A-list actresses are already underway.
“I’d do my part, if it meant this scandal could be neutralized”, said actress Kirsten Dunst, “but only if other actresses do it, too, and only if the images don’t appear outside China.” A spokesperson for Jennifer Lawrence said that under certain conditions she might allow personal photographs to be shared among Chinese hackers, but declined to say what those conditions are. “Jennifer is a patriot,” her spokesperson said. “But she’s also a realist. She doesn’t necessarily trust the Chinese to honor non-disclosure agreements. Another actress, Kate Upton, declined to participate, “If they wanted picture of me, they’d have them by now. Everyone else does”, she said. Read the rest of this entry »
The withdrawal from the world stage is associated not just with a massive borrowing and spending spree at home, but also with administration penance for supposed past self-righteousness and sins abroad
Victor Davis Hanson writes: Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke to Congress on Tuesday to warn Americans of the anti-Western threats from theocratic — and likely to soon be nuclear — Iran.
Netanyahu came to the U.S. to outline the Iranian plan to remake the Middle East with a new nuclear arsenal. His warning was delivered over the objections of the Obama administration, which wants to cut a deal with Iran that allows the theocracy to continue to enrich lots of uranium.
“Amid such moral confusion, who is the American enemy and who is the ally? Netanyahu has received more administration invective than has Iran — as if a Western democratic nation, not the specter of a nuclear Iran, was the source of growing tensions.”
Netanyahu received a standing ovation for stating the obvious. Iran is currently the greatest global sponsor of terrorism. Tehran now has de facto control over four Middle East nations: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, and Yemen. Iran has serially ignored all past U.S. deadlines to stop nuclear enrichment. It habitually misled U.N. inspectors. It threatens to spark a nuclear arms race in the Middle East.
At one point the Iranian economy was sputtering due to Western sanctions. Hundreds of thousands of reformers hit the streets of Tehran in 2009 to protest what they believed to be the fraudulent results of a presidential election. The theocracy was worried that its nuclear plans would either cause economic collapse due to the sanctions or prompt some sort of Western military response.
But all of that has changed due to the Obama administration’s zeal to conclude an agreement with Iran at any cost.
“The Obama administration’s paralysis is not just rhetorical. For the first time since 2001, defense spending will dip below 4 percent of GDP, as the Army, Navy, and Air Force shrink to near–record-low postwar levels.”
For the last six years, lots of American allies besides Israel have become scared of this strange new diffidence of the United States — as if the Obama administration feels that America’s prior prominence as leader and protector of the West was either unwarranted, too costly, or resulted in an unfair world order in need of adjustment.
President Obama entered office promising reset diplomacy with Russia. He declared an end to former president George W. Bush’s punitive measures against Russia — as if somehow the United States, not Russia, was responsible for the growing estrangement.
Russian president Vladimir Putin, however, interpreted the reset as American guilt. He assumed there would be few consequences to gobbling up the Crimea and eastern Ukraine in the same way that he had sliced off parts of Georgia. So far, he has been right. No wonder that he eyes the Baltic states next.
Controversy surrounds the creation and spread of the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. But there is no disagreement about what followed Obama’s abrupt withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, as he fulfilled a campaign promise.
At one time the administration bragged of Iraq as possibly its “greatest achievement,” and as being “stable” and “secure.” But the precipitous pullout led to anarchy and a fertile landscape in which the Islamic State could thrive. After 2011, it turned out that the absence of U.S. troops in Iraq, not their presence, had enabled the savage terrorists. Read the rest of this entry »
Israel’s prime minister delivered a sober reminder of the risks of dealing with Iran—and painted Obama as naïve in the process
James Oliphant writes: Congressional Republicans haven’t had many victories in their lasting conflict with President Obama, but Tuesday brought one. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu‘s somber, provocative speech to Congress checked all the boxes.
“If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country. This is a bad deal. It’s a very bad deal. We’re better off without it.”
— Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
It called into question the efficacy of any deal the Obama administration might strike with Iran over its nuclear program, it likely renewed momentum for another round of Iranian sanctions on the Hill, it positioned the GOP politically as the party more worried about Israeli security, and, despite the White House’s best efforts, made the president appear petty and churlish.
“Obama, in an interview with Reuters, had dismissed the speech as a ‘distraction,’ and aides made sure everyone knew he would be too busy to watch it. But if the president didn’t cast an eye at a TV, he might have been the only person in Washington not to. And that’s the problem.”
Obama, in an interview with Reuters, had dismissed the speech as a “distraction,” and aides made sure everyone knew he would be too busy to watch it. But if the president didn’t cast an eye at a TV, he might have been the only person in Washington not to. And that’s the problem.
For weeks, the White House has worked steadily to write the speech off as a thinly veiled Republican ploy to undermine the delicate negotiations with Iran. But network coverage treated it for what it was: the head of state of a critical ally delivering a controversial address on American soil. That served the interests of both House Speaker John Boehner, who was the impetus behind the speech, and Netanyahu, elevating both of them while key Democrats such as Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, Hillary Clinton, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren stayed offstage.
Netanyahu was hailed in the House chamber like a conquering hero. The moment felt, well, presidential. Read the rest of this entry »
WILLIAM BIGELOW writes: A former Israeli national security adviser who is a retired Major General in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has claimed that Barack Obama forced Israel to abandon attacking Iranian nuclear sites last year.
According to the Israeli paper Mida, Giora Eiland said, “Israel has the capability to destroy the Iranian nuclear program,” but White House officials told Israeli Benjamin Netanyahu, who was ready to issue the order, to jettison the strike. Eiland asserted, “At that time the prime minister thought that we were at the crossroads with regard to the Iranian nuclear program.” Read the rest of this entry »