[VIDEO] Documentary: Thomas Sowell, National Treasure

Mike Slater took time on his show this week to celebrate the 90th birthday of a great American by the name of Thomas Sowell. He provided a sneak-peek of the trailer for a new documentary on the life, legacy, and countless contributions of the conservative intellectual giant. Drafted into the Marines as a young man, […]

Source: The First TV

Hawkish Trump Officials Plot National Security Actions Against China

As the Chinese government accelerates its crackdown on Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protesters, the Trump administration has sharpened its view of the world’s most important bilateral relationship.

What’s happening: Senior officials tell me they are increasingly concerned about Beijing’s treatment of activists in Hong Kong and, increasingly, fear overreach that could also target Taiwan. This comes as any chance of an armistice in the trade war seems to be shrinking away. 

Why it matters: Based on numerous conversations with Trump administration officials over the last few weeks, it is clear that many of the president’s top advisers view China first and foremost as a national security threat rather than as an economic partner. 

  • This is a new normal. And it’s poised to affect huge parts of American life, from the cost of many consumer goods — likely to go up under a punishing new round of tariffs — to the nature of this country’s relationship with the government of Taiwan.
  • Trump himself still views China primarily through an economic prism. But the angrier he gets with Beijing, the more receptive he is to his advisers’ hawkish stances toward China that go well beyond trade.
  • The big open question remains whether Trump’s anger with China — especially its flooding of the U.S. with deadly fentanyl and its backtracking on promises to make huge agricultural purchases — will ever grow to such a point that he wants to move in a tougher direction on national security and human rights. If he gets to that point, his advisers will have plenty of hawkish policy ideas waiting for his green light.

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New Measure of Literary Unpopularity: ‘The Picketty Index’


“Capital in the Twenty-First Century” by Thomas Piketty 

Yes, it came out just three months ago. But the contest isn’t even close. Mr. Piketty’s book is almost 700 pages long, and the last of the top five popular highlights appears on page 26. Stephen Hawking is off the hook; from now on, this measure should be known as the Piketty Index.

So take it easy on yourself, readers, if you don’t finish whatever edifying tome you picked out for vacation. You’re far from alone…

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Reality Check: Milton Friedman



Paul Krugman Explains Racism: Why Evidence and Facts Don’t Matter


Paul Krugman – New York Times

Extra Credit: Ian Haney López hears the pig-whistle signal calling him to join his fellow postmodern backwoods knuckle-dragging academic goons at the Republican-bashing Picnic. (and according to reports, he brought a delicious potato salad) don’t miss Ian’s Paul Ryan-smearing indictment “Is Paul Ryan Racist?

Excellent question. Is Paul Ryan a racist? At the risk of giving away the surprise ending, the answer is yes! How did he reach this conclusion? Like this: Paul Ryan, by “employing rhetoric closely connected to…” (rhetoric used by alleged racists) Ryan demonstrates that he is, in fact, a racist. That, and that Ryan sinks when you dunk him in water.

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The Mirage of Social Justice


[Check out The Road to Serfdom: Text and Documents–The Definitive Edition (The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek, Volume 2) at Amazon]

[VIDEO] The Economics of Sex

Essential to the mission of the Austin Institute is the dissemination of both thought-provoking and rigorous academic research on family, sexuality, social structures and human relationships. In order to engage a wider audience, we are developing select research projects into a medium amenable to our digital age…

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[VIDEO] F. A. Hayek on Social Justice

From Firing Line, William F Buckley Jr hosts a discussion on social justice with George Roche III (Hillsdale College) and Noble Laureate economist F. A. Hayek. http://www.LibertyPen

Note host William F. Buckley arguing the case for social justice and redistributionism, to drive the discussion. Not because Buckley personally embraces and defends collectivism, obviously, he’s merely conducting a revealing interview,  drawing out contrasting views. Artfully performing his role as moderator, Buckley’s does a surprisingly fair job of making the opposition (socialism) case, in order to probe Hayek’s and Roche’s positions. It’s a pleasure to watch. Hayek is brilliant.

The growth of central planning, and the concentration of power in the last several years makes the Johnson-era “Great Society” catastrophe of federal overreach and corruption look quaint by comparison. There’s no lucid counterpoint being made. The public debate is muddled by smaller minds. It makes me wish we had a respected public figure like Hayek in national media, in our time. This discussion is more relevant now than when it was recorded. Popular intellectuals of this caliber are sorely missing. The ideas expressed here are as fresh and vibrant–and consequential–today as they were then. And the stakes are just as high.

F A Hayek – Social Justice – YouTube

Cover of the Week


The Economist – World News, Politics, Economics, Business & Finance

[VIDEO] Professor of Economics Walter Williams talks about the Encroachment of Government

Walter E. Williams is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute. He is an expert on discrimination, labor policy, regulation, and South Africa as well as a well-known columnist and the author of South Africa’s War Against Capitalism (1989), The State Against Blacks (1982), and More Liberty Means Less Government (1999).

In this lecture given at a Libertarian Party of Georgia event in 1991, Williams talks about libertarianism generally and relates his own moral arguments against state coercion. Williams also briefly suggests a few things he thinks libertarians should be doing if they want the libertarian movement to grow.


Cartoon of the Day

Cartoon of the Day

Fight of the Century

Keynes vs. Hayek. Fight of the Century! E-con Stories, by John Papola & Russ Roberts. I forgot how good this is.

A Pyrrhic Victory for America’s Youth

By Scott W. Atlas
November 12, 2012 4:00 A.M.

Dancing in Chicago, young voters gleefully celebrated President Obama’s victory. Indeed, voters younger than 30 may well have changed the outcome of the race. They represented 19 percent of all voters, even more than they did in 2008, and they favored President Obama by 60 to 37 percent, according to exit polling.

One college student asked me, “What exactly are they so excited about?”

Presumably, they aren’t celebrating their job prospects. Under this administration, unemployment of younger Americans and recent college graduates is not very different from the scandalous unemployment rates of youth in failing European countries whose misguided economic policies are creating a nearly jobless generation.

Presumably, they aren’t celebrating the increasing tax burdens awaiting the lucky few of them — mainly those who have studied hard and long and spent a great deal on both the direct and indirect (from delayed entry into the work force) costs of advanced education — who will finally attain lucrative jobs.

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Poster Child for Obama Administration’s Deficit Spending Habits

Never let a good metaphor go to waste

Cartoon of the Day

Cartoon of the Day

David Gelernter: “Why do we live in America-Lite?”

“…Americans are not a skeptical people.  But we could use a double shot of skepticism right now.  Half of what experts say about this ongoing campaign makes no sense.  Romney does make mistakes, does have weaknesses–but in light of recent presidential history, they are trivial.  Obama is said to have great personal strengths, and he has—but not the ones he is said to have…”

via David Gelernter: Don’t say we didn’t warn you (or Dammit, wake up!)

via >>  Power Line.

CRS report: number of able-bodied adults on food stamps doubled after Obama suspended work requirement

CRS report

Obama administration officials have insisted that their decision to grant states waivers to redefine work requirements for welfare recipients would not “gut” the landmark 1996 welfare reform law. But a new report from the Congressional Research Service obtained by the Washington Examiner suggests that the administration’s suspension of a separate welfare work requirement has already helped explode the number of able-bodied Americans on food stamps.

In addition to the broader work requirement that has become a contentious issue in the presidential race, the 1996 welfare reform law included a separate rule encouraging able-bodied adults without dependents to work by limiting the amount of time they could receive food stamps. President Obama suspended that rule when he signed his economic stimulus legislation into law, and the number of these adults on food stamps doubled, from 1.9 million in 2008 to 3.9 million in 2010, according to the CRS report…

Related:  Millions commit food stamp fraud every year


More via CRS report:  WashingtonExaminer.com

Rotten Fruit: Patronage, Clientelism, and Romney | Part 2

Seeing the campaign controversy sparked by a leaked video — Romney Calls 47% of Voters Dependent— I’m reminded of Jay Cost’s insightful book “Spoiled Rotten”.

As mentioned in Part 1, before I was exposed to Cost’s writing on this subject, I hadn’t encountered the concept of clientelism. But it aptly describes the relationship between voters, and vote-seeking candidates. Public officials trading special favors in exchange for votes is not new, Republicans and Democrats alike. But the increasingly-fragmented targeting of “groups”–dividing citizens into classes of victims, with specialized needs to attend to, at the expense of everyone else–is a tumorous growth that threatens to weaken the Democratic party, undermine its best intentions, and leave them incapable of governing for the public good.

But that assumes their intentions are good in the first place. Are they? The advantages and benefits of this custom are obvious. The more a party’s political machine can foster dependence, the greater the chance  the party has of developing a permanent governing class. From Andrew Jackson, to FDR, to JFK, clientelism’s spoken agenda is to protect the concerns of the little guy, but its real agenda is to promote their own party’s rule, to achieve and maintain a lasting political hegemony.

When Romney was captured on tape speaking candidly about the troubling increase in benefit recipients–nearly half of all American homes not paying any federal taxes, but receiving benefits–conceding out loud that this 47% will automatically vote for Obama, they’re unreachable. Romney may have alienated or insulted some listeners, once the comments were leaked and made into political sport. But the historic decline in taxpaying, stake-holding employed citizens, the historic increase in the size of our national debt (and the associated decline in the value of our currency) is a real problem. It’s not just a campaign problem. It’s a National Crisis.

While Romney was speaking frankly about  an institutional disadvantage his campaign is faced with, like most observers, I’m more interested in the larger crisis. Appealing to voters about the need to reduce government liabilities, while trying to preserve and protect our necessary obligations, is a less enviable calling card than than the oppositions’s more “caring” approach, making generous promises, offering protection, and fostering dependence. All this while demonizing conservative realists by creating a fantasy caricature of an enemy more dangerous than Iran: The Average Republican. A knuckle-dragging, free-marketeering, hyper-individualistic evil-doer, deaf to the concerns of the disadvantaged.

Whenever I see a campaign use language that’s designed to identify, isolate, and pander to specialized group concerns–instead of recognizing all Americans as free and equal–with promises of favors, tax breaks, rewards, grants, special protection–the more clear it is to me that fostering dependency is no longer simply a way to insure voter loyalty. Maybe it’s now actually required by the legacy political machine in order to survive.

After generations of succeeding at creating classes of victim groups, dependence-fostering Democrats risk being poisoned by their own success. How can they meet their current obligations, much less deliver on the promises of new obligations being made now?  What happens when we’re overextended, and run out of taxable income creators? Democrats already have more clients than they can ever hope to service with the customary schemes.

The more the party depends on clientelism in order to govern, the more the relationship between the  government and the governed becomes mutually destructive…

Nonfiction Review: Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble Democratic Party and Now Threatens the American Republic by Jay Cost. 

Spoiled Rotten: How the Politics of Patronage Corrupted the Once Noble … – Jay Cost

The Road to Recovery

Burdened by slow growth and high unemployment—especially long-term unemployment—the American economy faces an uncertain future. We have endured a painful financial crisis and recession, the recovery from which has been nearly nonexistent. Federal debt is exploding and threatening our children and grandchildren. In my view, the reason for this predicament is clear: we have deviated from the principles of economic freedom upon which America was founded.

Few thinkers of the past century understood the importance of economic freedom better than the Austrian economist Friedrich Hayek did. As we confront our current situation, Hayek’s work has much to tell us, especially about policy rules, the rule of law, and the importance of predictability—topics that he discussed in his classic The Road to Serfdom (1944) and in greater detail in The Constitution of Liberty (1960). But his work in these areas goes beyond economics into fundamental issues of freedom and the role of government. That’s why reading Hayek is more important than ever…

via City Journal.