Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fwd: Taper


'Fed Pares Bond Buying by $10 Billion per month

 

After months of intense discussion at the Fed and in financial markets, the Fed's policy-making committee said in a statement Wednesday that, beginning in January, it would trim its purchases of long-term Treasury bonds to $40 billion per month from $45 billion, and cut its purchases of mortgage-backed securities to $35 billion per month from $40 billion. However, the pace of bond purchases is "not on a preset course," the Fed's statement said.'

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304866904579266432764849504

 


FW: Marriage

From: Daniel

 

Hay,

 

Rush Limbaugh just said what I have been saying for a few years.

 

“Sooner or later someone will want to marry their pet”.

 

Can I be first, please….

 

Regards,

 

Dan H.

 

 

 

There is a type of argument called reductio ad absurdum, which tries to argue that something is false by taking it to the absurd level.  In my view this does not invalidate the original argument, but only serves to show that going to the extreme might be a bad thing.

 

People by their nature have desires.  What people desire varies from person to person.   It is in the nature of human beings to be different and want different things.   Wanting different things does not define a person or make them good or bad.   

 

Now we know that some people wish to marry people of the same sex.  Provided that this does not harm anyone else, for the government to tell people that they can’t do this is a form of oppression.  You could argue that this would somehow have a negative impact on society, but the only way that this might possibly be true is if you consider homosexuality to be immoral, which I do not.  Gambling, drinking and smoking have a negative impact on society, but we tolerate these things and regulate them because people are going to do them anyway and they are not bad in every situation. 

Best wishes,

John Coffey

 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The Three Stooges Theory of Fiscal Policy - NYTimes.com

http://mobile.nytimes.com/blogs/krugman/2013/12/06/the-three-stooges-theory-of-fiscal-policy/?_r=0

Fwd: Iran


'Not too many years ago, hardly anyone disagreed with John McCain when he first said that "the only thing worse than bombing Iran is letting Iran get the bomb." Today hardly anyone disagrees with those who say that the only thing worse than letting Iran get the bomb is bombing Iran. And in this reversal hangs a tale.

 

The old consensus was shaped by three considerations, all of which seemed indisputable at the time…'

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303560204579246142096554348?mod=WSJ_Opinion_LEADTop

 

Fwd: Russia


'Russia's largest government-owned news agency has warned defiantly of "a tightening of state control" over the country's media after Vladimir Putin announced plans to close it down and replace it with a new organisation headed by a controversial anti-Western television talk show host.

 

In a surprise decree published on the Kremlin's website on Monday, Mr Putin "liquidated" the RIA Novosti news agency and created a new organization called Rossia Segodnya , or Russia Today — in what many commentators see as a decision to eliminate one of the most balanced news outlets in the Kremlin's sprawling portfolio of news agencies, newspapers and television stations…

 

RIA Novosti began life under Josef Stalin in 1941 and has struggled to shake off a Soviet legacy of managerial inertia since the fall of the USSR, but has acquired a reputation as a relatively trustworthy and balanced source of news under Svetlana Mironyuk, the chief editor since 2004.

 

In contrast to state-owned Federal television channels, which are tightly controlled by the Kremlin and have a reputation for screening hatchet jobs on opposition figures, RIA Novosti appeared to have a licence to operate relatively freely under Ms Mironyuk's leadership, reporting controversial stories including the 2012 anti-Putin protests in Moscow, and more recently the pro-Europe protests in Ukraine, with little if any bias.'

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/10505386/Vladimir-Putin-dissolves-Russias-RIA-Novosti.html

 

"I'm sure achieving Eurasian integration will only increase interest (in it) from our other neighbours, including from our Ukrainian partners," Mr Putin said. "I hope that all political sides can successfully reach an agreement in the interests of the Ukrainian people."

 

"Our integration project is based on equal rights and real economic interests," referring to a customs union with Belarus and Kazakhstan which Mr Putin plans to develop into a political and trading bloc to be known as the Eurasian Union…

 

Without naming the United States, Mr Putin warned that the development of anti-missile shields and powerful long-range non-nuclear weapons could "reduce to nothing" existing nuclear arms control pacts and upset the post-Cold War strategic balance.

 

"Nobody should have any illusion about the possibility of gaining military superiority over Russia," he said. "We will never allow this to happen. Russia will respond to all these challenges, political and military."

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/russia/10513330/Vladimir-Putin-claims-Russia-is-moral-compass-of-the-world.html

Fwd: Budget

'Patty Murray and Paul Ryan have reached a budget deal that would add about $63 billion to discretionary spending, partially reversing the deficit-reduction scheme known as the "sequester." While the plan is a small step in the right direction, it does almost nothing to mitigate a decades-long decline in public investment and discretionary spending.'

 

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2013/12/12/the_murray-ryan_budget_deal_and_the_slow_death_of_public_investment_100790.html

 

 

'For most of this year, the brutal cuts to federal spending known as the sequester have wreaked havoc on important programs, cutting off hundreds of thousands from Head Start and low-income housing assistance, setting back scientific research and environmental protection, and costing more than a million jobs. Getting rid of the sequester for domestic programs was a high priority for Congressional Democrats, and they achieved much of what they wanted in a budget deal reached on Tuesday that in other important respects was disappointing.

 

The deal will cancel 61 percent of the sequester cuts for nondefense discretionary domestic programs this fiscal year, adding back $31.5 billion over the next two years to be divided among departments like transportation, education, and health and human services. That's a significant achievement, considering that many Republicans want those cuts to continue in perpetuity.

 

Paul Ryan, the House negotiator, ignored the Tea Party's insistence that the sequester was untouchable, agreeing to raise discretionary spending in 2014 by $77 billion above his own budget proposal. Patty Murray, the Senate negotiator, resisted Republican demands for new cuts to safety-net programs. As a result, money will soon start flowing to programs that have been starved all year.'

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/12/opinion/the-minimalist-budget-deal.html?hp&rref=opinion

 

 

'With the clock quickly winding down on the legislative year, Congress has cobbled together a budget deal, something they have failed to do since April 2009. The details have yet to be finalized, but many are praising it as a return to regular order, ending the budget brinksmanship that has dominated Washington for most of Harry Reid's tenure as Senate Majority Leader. Unfortunately, the budget deal breaches the spending caps created under sequestration-the only measure of fiscal discipline that has made it through Congress in recent years-in exchange for promises of budget cuts down the road…

 

Many in Congress claim the boost in discretionary spending is more effective fiscal policy than the arbitrary and damaging across-the-board reductions in spending mandated by sequestration. In reality, the budget deal abandons the only mechanism that has limited federal spending in the 113th Congress. In fact, sequestration provided an opportunity to address politically charged fiscal decisions on defense spending, giving cover to members of Congress who could point to sequestration as the reason for the cuts. Instead, the budget deal appears to be creating another round of short-term spending increases for some promise of spending cuts at some point in the future.

 

At the same time, it is difficult to identify economic harms created by sequestration. The latest jobs report was better than expected, with unemployment dropping to a five-year low of 7 percent. Growth in gross domestic product accelerated by 3.6 percent in the third quarter of 2013, and, according to the Federal Reserve, household net worth increased to $77.3 trillion in the third quarter-$1.9 trillion higher than at the end of the second quarter. While the economy clearly continues to struggle, things are moving in the right direction. Sequestration has little effect on the underlying economic fundamentals one way or the other, but it does have political implications for a Congress seeking to spend more money.'

 

http://www.realclearmarkets.com/articles/2013/12/12/paul_ryan_gave_away_the_sequester_along_with_fiscal_discipline_100793.html

 

Fwd: Iran/Russia

'Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in a meeting in Tehran voiced the two countries' readiness to increase consultations and meetings to confer on international and regional issues…

 

Focusing on the roles played by Iran and Russia in the region and the world and Tehran-Moscow consultations and cooperation in regional and international scenes, he said that they include shared work in Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, the Middle East, the Caspian Sea, and the nuclear field, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which are of great significance.'

 

http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13920921000697

 

Fwd: Spain


'Catalan leaders set date for vote on independence'

 

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/00f9a3a6-6341-11e3-a87d-00144feabdc0.html

 

 

Scottish independence vote

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-25155234

 

 

Fwd: budget

This coming from a man who believes that government spending is the path to prosperity ...

Fwd: Budget

'Today, the Democratic House leader's message for rank-and-file members grumbling that jobless benefits weren't included in the Paul Ryan-Patty Murray budget deal was blunt: "Embrace the suck."'

 

http://firstread.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/12/12/21879716-pelosi-to-dems-on-budget-deal-embrace-the-suck

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Arab Spring: Three Years On

In December 2010, Mohamed Bouazizi, a fruit vendor in Tunisia, set himself ablaze in protest of his government. In the three years since that event much of the Arab world has experienced upheaval ranging from mass protests to toppled governments. Though the western media has portrayed this uprising as a grass roots democratic response to the various totalitarian regimes, the facts do not, nor have they ever, supported that analysis. In many ways, there have been few real changes in governance, and in some cases the uprisings led to armed conflict with the involvement of different regional and extra-regional powers.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

China

'The New York Times and Bloomberg irritated the Communist Party leadership by publishing, respectively, an in-depth reporting series on the alleged vast, $2.7 billion family wealth of the avuncular, "man of the people" ex-premier Wen Jiabao, and the alleged $376 million family fortune of the current chairman of the Communist Party — and self-declared foe of official corruption, Xi Jinping. 

 

The New York Times won the Pulitzer Prize in 2013 for its "striking exposure of corruption at high levels of the Chinese government, including billions in secret wealth owned by relatives of the prime minister, well documented work published in the face of heavy pressure from the Chinese officials."

 

Reporters at Bloomberg and the Times have been "mysteriously" stymied in their attempts to get visas to operate since these blockbuster reports were published. At least 24 journalists now face unceremonious expulsion from China, according to the New York Times, due to the recalcitrance and anger of Beijing over these reports.'

 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/china/131205/china-expel-new-york-times-bloomberg-journalist

 

Israel


'But on Thursday, as the General Assembly convened to adopt no less than nine resolutions condemning Israel, it wasn't the Israeli envoy who voiced outrage – but an interpreter translating from Spanish to English.

 

At one point during the meeting the woman stopped her simultaneous translation of a representative's remarks to express indignation over the course the meeting had taken.

 

"I mean, I think when you have five statements, not five, like a total of ten resolutions on Israel and Palestine, there's gotta be something, c'est un peu trop, non? [It's a bit much, no?] I mean I know… There's other really bad shit happening [around the world], but no one says anything, about the other stuff," she said.

 

The resolutions, which were passed by a large margin, dealt with Israel's occupation of the West Bank, the Palestinian refugees , the Golan Heights and other issues. No resolutions concerning other global issues were adopted during the meeting.

 

A few seconds into her rant the interpreter realized that her remarks, evidently directed at a colleague, were heard by the diplomats in attendance'

 

http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/diplomania/.premium-1.558302

 

Romain Hatchuel: The Coming Global Wealth Tax - WSJ.com

http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702304355104579232480552517224

Steven Levitt: The freakonomics of McDonalds vs. drugs

Check out this video on YouTube:

http://youtu.be/5UGC2nLnaes

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Burke, Paine, and the Politics of This Era

http://www.commentarymagazine.com/2013/12/03/burke-paine-and-the-politics-of-this-era/

Health Insurance

'Bob Shlora of Alpharetta, Ga., was supposed to be a belated Obamacare success story. After weeks of trying, the 61-year-old told ABC News he fully enrolled in a new health insurance plan through the federal marketplace over the weekend, and received a Humana policy ID number to prove it.

 

But two days later, his insurer has no record of the transaction, Shlora said, even though his account on the government website indicates that he has a plan.

 

"I feel like this: My application was taken … by a bureaucrat, it was put on a conveyor belt and it's still going around, and it's never going to leave the building," he said. "I've lost hope. If it happens, great."

 

Obama administration officials acknowledged today that some of the roughly 126,000 Americans who completed the torturous online enrollment process in October and November might not be officially signed up with their selected issuer, even if the website has told them they are.

 

Technical problems surrounding the transfer of an applicant's personal information from the federal marketplace to the selected insurance company have plagued the system since its launch, making it difficult for insurers to finalize some enrollments. The 834 forms that issuers receive from the system have been riddled with errors, including often duplicate or incomplete information.

 

While the front-end of the website has been vastly improved, the back-end glitches remain a serious concern, IT experts and industry officials say.

 

"Until the enrollment process is working from end-to-end, many consumers will not be able to enroll in coverage," said Karen Ignani, president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans. "In addition to fixing the technical problems with healthcare.gov, the significant 'backend' issues must also be resolved to ensure that coverage can begin on Jan. 1, 2014."

 

Meanwhile for consumers, it's all turning out to be a giant headache. Shlora, who currently pays $2,800 a month for health care, told ABC News the "false braggadocio" coming from the White House is making it worse.

 

"The White House announced that they have met their goal," he said of the much-touted improvements to the website. "They are taking applications but they aren't going anywhere. What kind of goal is that?"'

 

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2013/12/new-obamacare-headache-is-your-enrollment-real/

 

 

 

Fwd: Budget


'U.S. budget negotiators are near a deal to ease automatic spending cuts that congressional aides say could boost user fees rather than end corporate tax breaks.

 

Negotiators are "down to the last few items," said Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma, a member of a 29-member committee aiming to reach an agreement by Dec. 13 that sets federal spending levels for this year and next. Both parties are "careful to say they don't have a deal," Cole said.

 

"It's not the grand bargain but it's a workable deal," Cole said today after a meeting of Republicans who control the House. "In this environment, that's something to be proud of."

 

Cole said the deal would probably cap spending at about $1 trillion, instead of $967 billion, through mandatory spending cuts known as sequestration and endorsed by House Republicans. Democrats set a $1.058 trillion cap in their plan.

 

Lawmakers from both parties doubt the possible budget deal would have the votes to pass Congress. Democrats have insisted that Republicans agree to end at least some corporate tax breaks to reach a deal while Republicans probably will balk at a spending levels than exceeds a 2011 budget compromise.'

 

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-03/budget-negotiators-seen-near-to-deal-to-ease-u-s-cuts.html

 

We need to keep the sequester at its planned levels. If we open it to negotiation, the planned cuts will end.

We need to be asking for more cuts, to increase the debt ceiling.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Boobs for Obama

Fwd: Ukraine/Thailand/Lebanon



'Protests continued into the night Monday in Kiev as opposition leaders urged the swelling crowds to stand together and call for the resignation of President Victor Yanukovich.

 

Angry about the government's U-turn away from integration with Europe, Ukraine is seeing its biggest demonstrations since the Orange Revolution nine years ago.

 

On Monday protesters took over some government offices and -- braving cold weather while waving flags and chanting against the government -- converged on Kiev's Independence Square and surrounding streets, setting up tents and blocking traffic, in response to an opposition call for a nationwide strike over Yanukovich's switch toward Russia.'

 

http://www.cnn.com/2013/12/02/world/europe/ukraine-protests/

 

 

'A Thai government supporter was shot and killed early on Sunday at protests in Bangkok, raising the death toll to two as protesters invaded a police compound and forced the evacuation of the prime minister, Yingluck Shinawatra, to a secret location.

 

Some reports said anti-government demonstrators had seized control of the broadcaster Thai PBS.

 

Police backed up by the military were attempting to protect government buildings amid the deadly street clashes between supporters and opponents of Yingluck and her billionaire brother, the ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

 

Anti-government protesters on Sunday broke into the compound of a police sports club where the prime minister had been during the morning but she was able to leave the premises and went to an undisclosed location, an aide said.

 

In another area of the city police fired teargas at protesters near Government House, where Yingluck's office is located, a Reuters witness said.'

 

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/dec/01/thailand-protest-yingluck-shinawatra-violence

 

 

'Lebanon decided Monday to put the northern city of Tripoli under the command of the military for a period of six months in a bid to end repeated clashes there linked to the war raging in Syria.

 

The measure, last employed during Lebanon's 1975-90 Civil War period, came as security forces deployed in the restive city where 12 people have been killed and more than 100 people wounded in three days of clashes between supporters and opponents of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

 

"We decided to commission the Lebanese Army to take all necessary measures to maintain security in Tripoli for six months and place the military forces as well as police under its command," caretaker Prime Minister Najib Mikati told reporters after a high-level security meeting at Baabda Palace, adding that the decision was in line with Article 4 of the Defense Law.

 

http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Lebanon-News/2013/Dec-02/239657-lebanon-pm-declares-tripoli-military-zone-for-6-month-period.ashx#axzz2mMLD9XBb

 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Fwd: Unthinkable


'President Obama's signature domestic policy may have accomplished something previously unthinkable: taking an issue where one party had a dominant hold on public opinion, and reversing it in favor of the opposing party.

 

If the latest poll numbers and enrollment figures are to be believed, we could be witnessing a political achievement unequaled in modern political history: the complete demolition of one party's long-term dominance on an issue area – the Democrats' ownership of the health care issue – in the space of a few months. Quinnipiac finds that young people trust Republicans in Congress more on health policy than the president; that a plurality of Hispanics, long the most pro-Obamacare faction, are now opposed to the law; and that overwhelming majorities (70+ percent) of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are in favor of delaying the law.'

 

http://thefederalist.com/2013/11/13/obamacare-accomplishes-unthinkable/

 

Fwd: Nuclear option

'"The nuclear option abandons America's sense of fair play . . . tilting the playing field on the side of those who control and own the field. I say to my friends on the Republican side: You may own the field right now, but you won't own it forever. I pray God when the Democrats take back control, we don't make the kind of naked power grab you are doing."' Senator Biden, 2005.

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/senate-poised-to-limit-filibusters-in-party-line-vote-that-would-alter-centuries-of-precedent/2013/11/21/d065cfe8-52b6-11e3-9fe0-fd2ca728e67c_story.html

 

Fwd: Afghanistan


'Rice arrived in Afghanistan under a cloak of secrecy Saturday, and the White House did not confirm she was here until after she was meeting with Karzai on Monday evening, along with other top officials from both Washington and Kabul, and Karzai's senior aides.

 

The meeting lasted several hours, and it continued into what Aimal Faizi, Karzai's spokesman, who was there, described as a working dinner. And while the tone was said to be generally diplomatic and polite, the president at one point became angry at U.S. Ambassador James B. Cunningham.

 

Cunningham voiced objection to an extra demand by the loya jirga: the release of all Guantánamo inmates. He insisted that U.S. law governs the release of the prisoners and that the issue had no bearing on the bilateral security agreement, or BSA.

 

"That made the president very angry; his reaction was very strong and intense," Faizi said..

 

 

For her part, Rice warned Karzai that his refusal to sign the agreement would jeopardize Western aid to Afghanistan, including an annual $4-billion to support its military, which is entirely dependent on U.S. aid.

 

"The lack of a signed BSA would jeopardize NATO and other nations' pledges of assistance," she told Karzai.

 

She added that the United States would "continue to work with Afghanistan to support a smooth security transition and to help ensure free and fair elections."

 

Karzai's strongest language was again said to be over the issue of U.S. counterterrorism raids on private Afghan homes. Despite having approved in principle a security agreement that allowed for such missions, with limits, in his address to the loya jirga Sunday, he insisted the raids should be banned immediately and completely or he would cancel the security agreement.

 

Such raids are the main combat activity remaining to U.S. forces in Afghanistan, and have been identified by U.S. commanders as a crucial, continuing mission.

 

"The president insisted on the stance: a total ban on home raids since yesterday," Faizi said. "He assured Madame Rice they will get the BSA signed – you will get a BSA signed, but give the Afghan people time to see that the U.S. has changed its behavior, that home raids are banned in practical terms."

 

He said Rice deferred that issue to the U.S. military commander, Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., who assured that he had given instructions to his forces to "take all necessary measures to avoid civilian casualties and that the commanders will be acting in accordance to the recommendations of the loya jirga and what is said in the BSA,"'

 

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/afghan-president-handed-ultimatum-after-making-last-minute-demands-on-us-security-agreement/article15600584/

 

President Signs HOPE Act, Clearing the Way for HIV Positive Organ Donation Read more: President Obama Signs HOPE Act into Law, Lifting HIV Organ Ban

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Fwd: Nuclear


At the National Press Club on April 26, 2005, then-Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., was asked about a move being discussed by Senate Republicans, then in control, to change the Senate rules so as to require a mere majority vote rather than the 60 votes necessary to end a potential filibuster… known by opponents as the "nuclear option," and by supporters as the "constitutional option"

 

"You know, the Founders designed this system, as frustrating it is, to make sure that there's a broad consensus before the country moves forward.

I would like to think that this is something that we could sort out,

And I think that the way to sort it out would be for this administration to do what every administration previous to this one has done;

which is to say, 'Here are a set of nominees. Let's run them by members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, figure out which of these judges generate the most heat, are considered most out of the extreme, and then let's work out what the list is of judges who in fact can gain some bipartisan support.'

I mean, that's what every president has done up until this point.

And what we have now is a president who has decided, you know, 'I've gotten 95 percent of my appointees, but there are these 10 that I want just because I want them.' Hasn't gotten his way.

And that is now prompting, you know, a change in the Senate rules that really I think would change the character of the Senate forever."

 

http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2010/02/obama-quotes-on-nuclear-option-in-2005-given-new-scrutiny/

 

Fwd: China

'Two long-range American bombers have conducted what Pentagon officials described Tuesday as a routine training mission through international air space recently claimed by China as its "air defense identification zone."

 

The Chinese government said Saturday that it has the right to identify, monitor and possibly take military action against aircraft that enter the area, which includes sea and islands also claimed by Japan. The claim threatens to escalate an already tense dispute over some of the maritime territory.

 

American officials said the pair of B-52s carried out a mission that had been planned long in advance of the Chinese announcement this past weekend, and that the United States military would continue to assert its right to fly through what it regards as international air space.'

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/27/world/asia/us-flies-b-52s-into-chinas-expanded-air-defense-zone.html?_r=0

 

Fwd: China

'an increasing number of Chinese and Japanese ships and planes are frequenting a very small area in the East China Sea. The Japanese government announced Tuesday that twice in the past three weeks Chinese warships have upped the ante even further by "painting" a Japanese warship and helicopter with the same type of radar used to aim missiles.

 

In a region devoid of rules like those that existed between the United States and the Soviet Union when their ships and planes crossed paths, the possibility of a deadly accident is high. In addition to the radar scares, the two sides have exchanged threats, with Japan stating that its fighter jets would fire tracer bullets near Chinese aircraft if they strayed too near the rocks. A retired but influential Chinese army general responded that such an act would constitute a "first shot."'

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/japan-and-chinas-island-argument-is-a-us-concern/2013/02/05/fbc7ed62-6999-11e2-af53-7b2b2a7510a8_story.html

 

Germany rethinks its liberal ways on sex workers

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Fwd: Robert Reich

'We are becoming a vastly unequal society in which most of the economic gains are going to the top. It's only just that those with higher incomes bear some responsibility for maintaining the health of Americans who are less fortunate.

 

    This is a profoundly moral argument about who we are and what we owe each other as Americans. But Democrats have failed to make it, perhaps because they're reluctant to admit that the Act involves any redistribution at all.

 

    Redistribution has become so unfashionable it's easier to say everyone comes out ahead. And everyone does come out ahead in the long term.'

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303281504579222202405206972

 

Fwd: Japan

'Caroline Kennedy has had some dramatic challenges in her life, starting with her father's assassination 50 years ago. Her new job as Washington's s ambassador to Japan has already thrust her into the middle of growing geopolitical tensions in East Asia less than two weeks after her arrival.

 

The daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy came to Japan with the profile of a superstar, but with little experience in foreign policy and no specific ties to her host country. Rather than easing into her new role, the 56-year-old lawyer, author, and mother of three has found herself on the spot, delivering a stern message to China whose growing dominance in East Asia challenges the U.S.'s own regional strategy.

 

"Unilateral actions like those taken by China…constitute an attempt to change the status quo in the East China Sea," the ambassador said in her first policy speech Wednesday, four days after Beijing ratcheted up its territorial dispute with Tokyo by unveiling a new air defense zone that overlaps with Japan's. "This only serves to increase tensions in the region."

 

Ms. Kennedy has a lot to prove before she gets high marks for her diplomatic skills from foreign policy experts, some of whom questioned her qualifications when her name first surfaced as President Barack Obama's choice for the Japan job earlier this year. Still, Wednesday's speech was received enthusiastically by an audience made up of Japanese and American business leaders and officials who filled a cavernous Tokyo ballroom. Speaking after her speech, Ichiro Fujisaki, a former Japanese ambassador to Washington, described her arrival as "a Thanksgiving gift and a Christmas gift coming together. It's a great gift to Japan from the U.S. government."

 

Such enthusiasm is apparent across the nation, where President Kennedy's popularity endures. Japanese reporters staked out at curbside at the airport even before she left New York on Nov. 14. When she took a carriage ride to deliver her credentials to Emperor Akihito last week, an estimated five thousand people lined up on her route. The Japanese media are eagerly reporting the details of her daily activities, with television hosts weaving in comments about her outfits and her family history.

 

Ms. Kennedy's superstar power was on display in Tohoku, Japan's northeastern region where many residents are still suffering from the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in 2011. After spending her first week in Tokyo visiting top officials and greeting U.S. troops at local bases, Ms. Kennedy chose the area as the place for her debut before ordinary Japanese and took a two-day tour earlier this week.

 

The trip came just three days after the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Ms. Kennedy's father, an event that thrust her family in the spotlight and one she chose to observe privately at her new home in Japan.'

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303562904579223691747214718

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Best of the Web Today: Excuses, Excuses - WSJ.com

http://m.us.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303281504579222202405206972?mobile=y

The Peerless Cluelessness of Thomas Friedman | The Jewish Press

http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/elder-of-ziyon/the-peerless-cluelessness-of-thomas-friedman/2013/11/24/

Fwd: Thanksgiving


'Had today's politicians and opinion-makers been in power four centuries ago, Americans might celebrate "Starvation Day" this week, not Thanksgiving.

 

The Pilgrims started out with communal property rules. When they first settled at Plymouth, they were told

 

"Share everything, share the work, and we'll share the harvest."

 

The colony's contract said their new settlement was to be a "common." Everyone was to receive necessities out of the common stock. There was to be little individual property.

 

That wasn't the only thing about the Plymouth Colony that sounds like it was from Karl Marx: Its labor was to be organized according to the different capabilities of the settlers. People would produce according to their abilities and consume according to their needs. That sure sounds fair.

 

They nearly starved and created what economists call the "tragedy of the commons."

 

If people can access the same stuff by working less, they will. Plymouth settlers faked illness instead of working the common property. The harvest was meager, and for two years, there was famine. But then, after the colony's governor, William Bradford, wrote that they should "set corn every man for his own particular," they dropped the commons idea. He assigned to every family a parcel of land to treat as its own.

 

The results were dramatic. Much more corn was planted. Instead of famine, there was plenty. Thanks to private property, they got food -- and thanks to it, we have food today.'

 

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/11/27/thankful_for_property_120794.html

 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Direction


'Pope Francis called for renewal of the Roman Catholic Church and attacked unfettered capitalism as "a new tyranny"…

 

In it, Francis went further than previous comments criticizing the global economic system, attacking the "idolatry of money" and beseeching politicians to guarantee all citizens "dignified work, education and healthcare".

 

http://www.businessinsider.com/pope-francis-calls-unfettered-capitalism-a-new-tyranny-2013-11#ixzz2lltg83Po

 

RealClearWorld - France Flirts with Fiscal Asphyxiation

http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2013/11/14/france_flirts_with_fiscal_asphyxiation.html

Al Qaeda in Kentucky: US May Have Let 'Dozens' of Terrorists Into Country as Refugees - ABC News

Several dozen suspected terrorist bombmakers, including some believed
to have targeted American troops, may have mistakenly been allowed to
move to the United States as war refugees,

http://abcnews.go.com/m/story?id=20931131

Monday, November 25, 2013

Fwd: Sanford


'Washington state resident Jessica Sanford was bursting with pride when President Obama mentioned her story during a Rose Garden event on health care reform last month at the White House.

 

"Who wouldn't?" Sanford asks. "I'm a nobody really to have him mention my story."

 

Back in October, Sanford had written a letter to the White House to share her good news. The 48-year-old single mother of a teenage son diagnosed with ADHD had just purchased what she considered to be affordable insurance on the Washington state exchange.

 

"I was ecstatic. I couldn't wait to call the doctor for an appointment on January 2nd," Sanford told CNN about the feeling she had when she first enrolled.

 

Her heartfelt letter made it to the President's hands and then into his October 21 speech.

 

"'I was crying the other day when I signed up. So much stress lifted.'" Obama said, reading from Sanford's letter.

 

The president said Sanford's story was proof, despite the technical problems with the healthcare.gov website, that the Affordable Care Act was working.

 

"That's what the Affordable Care Act is all about. The point is, the essence of the law - the health insurance that's available to people - is working just fine," Obama said.

 

But then, after Obama mentioned her story, Sanford started having problems. Sanford said she received another letter informing her the Washington state health exchange had miscalculated her eligibility for a tax credit.

 

In other words, her monthly insurance bill had shot up from $198 a month (she had initially said $169 a month to the White House but she switched plans) to $280 a month for the same "gold" plan offered by the state exchange.

 

Sanford said she was frustrated with the state's error. But she decided to purchase the new plan and thought everything was fine.

 

It wasn't fine. Last week, Sanford received another letter from the Washington state exchange, stating there had been another problem, a "system error" that resulted in some "applicants to qualify for higher than allowed health insurance premium tax credits."

 

The letter said the state exchange was "disappointed to have discovered this issue" and apologized.

 

The result was a higher quote, which Sanford said was for $390 per month for a "silver" plan with a higher deductible. Still too expensive

 

A cheaper "bronze" plan, Sanford said, came in at $324 per month, but also with a high deductible - also not in her budget.

 

Then another letter from the state exchange with even worse news.

 

"Your household has been determined eligible for a Federal Tax Credit of $0.00 to help cover the cost of your monthly health insurance premium payments," the latest letter said.

 

"I had a good cry," Sanford said about her reaction to the latest news from the state.'

 

 

http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2013/11/19/woman-cited-by-president-as-obamacare-success-story-frustrated-by-sign-up-process/

 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Fwd: Venezuela


'Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro received authority to pass economic laws without congressional approval, a move the opposition says will increase the harassment of businesses and attacks on political rivals ahead of local elections.

 

The national assembly approved today the so-called enabling law by a three-fifths majority, allowing Maduro to enact laws, such as limits on profits, without the oversight of congress.

 

"It's my responsibility to sign this to fight against corruption and speculation," National Assembly President Diosdado Cabello said from congress in comments broadcast on state television. "I sign this in Chavez's name."

 

Maduro acquired for the first time the same power his late predecessor Hugo Chavez relied on for a third of his 14 years in office to nationalize companies, create taxes and increase labor rights. Maduro said he will use decrees to protect the people from the "parasitic bourgeoisie," which he accuses of hoarding goods and overcharging customers. He will pass populist measures to regain support that has been eroded by the fastest inflation in the world ahead of the Dec. 8 vote, David Smilde, a sociology professor at the University of Georgia, said.'

 

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-11-19/venezuela-lawmakers-grant-maduro-power-to-rule-without-congress.html

 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Fwd: Mexico



'Since 2008, the seven main drug cartels have emerged as an existential threat to Mexico's future. Cartels like Los Zetas, which recruit members from Mexico's Special Forces and federal police, behave like organized paramilitaries, not ordinary criminals. They generate perhaps $30 to $40 billion a year in illicit profits. And the price has been horrendous. Between 2007 and 2012, around 47,000 Mexicans were killed in the drug war. Some estimate that the true toll is over 60,000.

 

When we think of torture, beheadings and assassination, Iraq, Afghanistan and Somalia come to mind. Many Americans and Canadians would be surprised to learn that these are commonplace in Mexico, a country many associate with beaches and margaritas. Yet the situation in Mexico has deteriorated so badly that one Juarez mayor and a newspaper publisher took up residence in Texas, while one journalist took refuge in Canada.

 

As neighbors, we should be concerned. But there's even more to it than that: The drug cartels pose a direct threat to American and Canadian security.'

 

http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/mexico-americas-number-one-threat-9205

 

Fwd: Arak

Fwd: Iran


'Instead of opining on the proposed deal with Iran taking shape in Geneva, let's decode it.

 

From the reported outline of the proposal, we learn four things:

 

1) Iran remains intensely committed to achieving a nuclear weapon.

 

Iran's new president, Hassan Rouhani, promised his countrymen relief from international sanctions. Since coming into office this summer, he has made various conciliatory noises. Was he readying Iran for a real deal?

 

The message of Geneva is: No, no real deal.

 

Iran's red line at Geneva, the thing it would not trade away, was a capacity to continue and resume nuclear bomb development at any time. Iran's offer at Geneva amounted to a six-month delay of its nuclear program that will not in any way impair its ability to get back to bomb-making at any time.

 

Iran won't neutralize or surrender any of its fissile material; that is, material used to fuel reactors—or nuclear bombs. It won't disable any of its nuclear facilities. It will only pause. Economists use the phrase "revealed preference" to describe the way in which our actions indicate our priorities. Iran's priority remains gaining a weapon; post-Geneva, there can be no doubt about that.

 

2) The Iranian economy has collapsed into desperate condition.

 

At Geneva, Iran gained a promise of the potential release of $3 billion in frozen international reserves and the right to import potentially up to $9.5 billion of gold. For a major oil producing nation, these should be petty sums. (Iraq's oil revenues amounted to about $7 billion per month in 2013.)…

 

3) The Obama administration wants an Iranian nuclear deal more than Iran does.

 

By most reports, it was the United States that came to Geneva armed with proposals, and Iran that did most of the refusing.

 

As Eli Lake and Josh Rogin reported in the Daily Beast last week, the Obama administration began relaxing sanctions simply to get talks started. Iran, by contrast, has offered no such concessions to the United States….

 

4) America's allies are not deferring to American leadership on this one.

 

It's not only France that has rebelled against the outlined deal in Geneva. Israel is protesting vocally and publicly; America's Gulf Arab allies are protesting less publicly, but nearly equally vocally. On "Meet the Press" on Sunday, Kerry insisted that there was "zero gap" between the United States and its regional allies. Then he immediately got on a plane to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, presumably to try to upgrade his Sunday talk-show words into something closer to reality…'

 

http://www.cnn.com/2013/11/11/opinion/frum-iran-deal/?hpt=hp_bn7

 

Fwd: 5th year approval


'OBAMA = BUSH - The latest survey from Gallup finds President Obama holds a nearly identical approval rating to former President George W. Bush at this point in his presidency. The firm's tracking poll shows Obama with a 39 percent approval rating compared to Bush's 40 percent in the fall of his fifth year in office.'

 

http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/11/06/virginia-squeaker-sends-shivers-through-dems/

 

Fwd: Iran


From: <larry.r.trout

'Tens of thousands of demonstrators packed the streets Monday outside the former U.S. embassy in Tehran in the biggest anti-American rally in years, a show of support for hard-line opponents of President Hassan Rouhani's historic outreach to Washington.

 

Such protests occur every year outside the former embassy compound to mark the anniversary of the 1979 takeover following the Islamic Revolution. But the latest demonstration is the largest in years after calls by groups such as the powerful Revolutionary Guard for a major showing, including chants of "death to America" that some of Rouhani's backers have urged halted.'

 



Fwd: History



'More than a decade later, most people remain totally unaware of the troubling issues behind "Roots" — or simply don't want to hear that this still-acclaimed work was essentially a fake.

 

That view is shared even by such noted African-American historians as Harvard's Henry Louis Gates, a Haley friend who conceded that it's time to "speak candidly" and admit that "it's highly unlikely that Alex actually found the village from whence his ancestors sprang," adding that it was not "strict historical scholarship." The late John Henrik Clarke, dean of Afrocentrist scholars, said he "cried real tears when I realized that Haley was less than authentic."

 

Genealogists, eager to retrace the historical steps Haley claimed he took in his 12-year search for his family heritage, discovered this early on: Documents didn't match any information Haley cited; the dates were all wrong and so was the supposed slave lineage. Elizabeth Shown Mills, editor of the National Genealogical Society Quarterly, went so far as to denounce Haley's "subterfuge."

 

And the first half of the book — Kunta Kinte's life in Africa — was blatantly plagiarized from an earlier novel by anthropologist Harold Courlander, who sued Haley, accepting a $650,000 settlement after the court's expert witness concluded that the copying in the book and the movie was "clear and irrefutable . . . significant and extensive."

 

That deal was made after the judge hearing the case, alarmed not only by the extent of the copying but also by Haley's repeated perjury in court, pressed the sides to settle, then sealed the official file from public view. The judge later admitted (in a BBC documentary that has never run on American TV) that he "didn't want to destroy" Haley and his reputation.

 

Perhaps the most damning exposé of Haley's historical hoax came in a devastating 1993 Village Voice cover piece by Philip Nobile, who'd had access to Haley's personal papers before they were broken up and auctioned off. There he found compelling evidence that the non-plagiarized section of the book had been primarily written not by Haley but by his longtime editor at Playboy magazine, Murray Fisher.

 

Moreover, the BBC located a tape of the famous session in Gambia with the griot, or oral historian, who supposedly made the link between Haley's slave forebears and their African ancestor, Kunta Kinte. It showed the griot's story being repeatedly corrected by Gambian officials and Haley himself specifically asking for a tale that fit his predetermined narrative.'

 

http://nypost.com/2013/11/11/history-channel-plans-to-remake-historically-problematic-roots/

 

Fwd:



'France blocked the first stage of a nuclear deal with Iran that had support from the United States, Britain, Germany, most of the rest of Europe, Russia, and China.

 

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said he was preventing his allies from falling for an Iranian "con game…

 

Diplomats in Geneva criticized the French privately not only for objecting to some aspects of the interim deal with Iran, but also for leaking the substance of some of the discussions. One of the hallmarks of the diplomacy that led to the near-breakthrough had been the extent to which its details were kept under wraps, even as the atmospherics raised great expectations.'

 

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/11/10/why-france-is-to-blame-for-blocking-the-iran-nuclear-agreement.html

 

Fwd: Iran

From: <larry.r.trout

'Current Iranian President Hasan Rouhani was his country's nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005, when Iran briefly suspended its civilian and military nuclear work in the teeth of intense international pressure (and American armies on its borders with Iraq and Afghanistan). That previous suspension is treated by U.S. negotiators as a model of what they might achieve now.

 

It's really a model of what they should beware. "Tehran showed that it was possible to exploit the gap between Europe and the United States to achieve Iranian objectives," Hossein Mousavian, Mr. Rouhani's deputy at the time, acknowledged in his memoir. "The world's understanding of 'suspension' was changed from a legally binding obligation" to "a voluntary and short-term undertaking aimed at confidence building."

 

Now the U.S. seems to be falling for the same ruse again. This time, however, Iran is much closer to achieving its nuclear objectives...The Saudis, who gave up on this Administration long ago, are no doubt thinking along similar lines. The BBC reported last week that the Kingdom has nuclear weapons "on order" from Pakistan.'

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304448204579185651742048532

 

 

'Saudi Arabia has invested in Pakistani nuclear weapons projects, and believes it could obtain atomic bombs at will, a variety of sources have told BBC Newsnight.

 

While the kingdom's quest has often been set in the context of countering Iran's atomic programme, it is now possible that the Saudis might be able to deploy such devices more quickly than the Islamic republic.

 

Earlier this year, a senior Nato decision maker told me that he had seen intelligence reporting that nuclear weapons made in Pakistan on behalf of Saudi Arabia are now sitting ready for delivery.

 

Last month Amos Yadlin, a former head of Israeli military intelligence, told a conference in Sweden that if Iran got the bomb, "the Saudis will not wait one month. They already paid for the bomb, they will go to Pakistan and bring what they need to bring."

 

Since 2009, when King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia warned visiting US special envoy to the Middle East Dennis Ross that if Iran crossed the threshold, "we will get nuclear weapons", the kingdom has sent the Americans numerous signals of its intentions.

 

In the late 1980s they secretly bought dozens of CSS-2 ballistic missiles from China.'

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-24823846

 

 

'We never thought we'd say this, but thank heaven for French foreign-policy exceptionalism. At least for the time being, François Hollande's Socialist government has saved the West from a deal that would all but guarantee that Iran becomes a nuclear power.

 

While the negotiating details still aren't fully known, the French made clear Saturday that they objected to a nuclear agreement that British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Barack Obama were all too eager to sign. These two leaders remind no one, least of all the Iranians, of Tony Blair, Margaret Thatcher, Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. That left the French to protect against a historic security blunder, with Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius declaring in an interview with French radio that while France still hopes for an agreement with Tehran, it won't accept a "sucker's deal."'

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304448204579185651742048532

 



Fwd: Korea



'South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo newspaper reported that the co-ordinated public executions took place in seven separate cities earlier this month.

 

In one case, the local authorities rounded up 10,000 people, including children, and forced them to watch, it reported.

 

Those put to death were found guilty by the state of minor misdemeanors, including watching videos of South Korean television programmes or possessing a Bible.

 

Sources told the paper that witnesses saw eight people tied to stakes in the Shinpoong Stadium, in Kangwon Province, before having sacks placed over their heads and being executed by soldiers firing machineguns.

 

"I heard from the residents that they watched in terror as the corpses were so riddled by machinegun fire that they were hard to identify afterwards," the source said.'

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/northkorea/10442375/Dozens-executed-in-North-Korea-for-watching-foreign-films.html

 



Fwd: Dropped


'As a liberal Democrat and a retired health care professional, I have been a strong supporter of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). I was willing to give President Barack Obama a pass on the disastrous launch of the website because I am confident that the glitches will be fixed in a reasonably short period of time. However. I am very distressed about the prospect of 3 to 5 million Americans losing their existing health insurance after hearing for three years from Mr. Obama they would not ("The president's political apology," Nov. 11).

 

After the first time that he made that misstatement, someone on his staff or at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services should have pointed out his error. The result of not doing so is that people who are in the middle of chemotherapy or on dialysis, not to mention millions of others with lesser maladies, are without coverage. Unless a mechanism is created "stat" to correct this problem, I believe it will go down in history as the biggest domestic disaster in American history.

 

How could such a thing have happened?

 

Marc Raim, Baltimore'

 

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-obamacare-letter-20131112,0,5777537.story

 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Fwd: Teachable Moment


'The debacle of the rollout of Obamacare is yet another moment for re-learning the fundamental truth about how little we know about what we think we can control.

 

That last phrase comes from F.A. Hayek, of course.  Hayek died in 1992, on the cusp of the World Wide Web and the explosion of the Internet, which has transformed our economy and our individual lives profoundly.  In one of his last interviews with Forbes magazine shortly before his death, Hayek was asked whether the rapid advances in technology and computing power made economic management—planning and regulation—more feasible.  Hayek was emphatic that no matter how big and how fast our computing power got, it did not change the fundamental defect of all centralized economic control: the problem is not simply mastering or processing a large amount of raw data.  Information and circumstances change too quickly.  More fundamentally, the data necessary for centralized decision-making is not available at all.'

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/realspin/2013/10/15/the-obamacare-rollout-debacle-is-a-hayekian-teaching-moment/

 

'Prediction: even if HealthCare.gov is fixed by the end of the month (unlikely), Obamacare is going to be repealed well in advance of next year's election.  And if the website continues to fail, the push for repeal—from endangered Democrats—will occur very rapidly.  The website is a sideshow: the real action is the number of people and businesses who are losing their health plans or having to pay a lot more.  Fixing the website will only delay the inevitable.

 

It is important to remember why it was so important for Obama to promise repeatedly that "if you like your health insurance/doctor, you can keep your health insurance/doctor."  Cast your mind back to the ignominious collapse of Hillarycare in 1994.  Hillarycare came out of the box in September 1993 to high public support according to the early polls.  This was not a surprise.  Opinion polls for decades have shown a large majority of Americans support the general idea of universal health coverage.  But Hillarycare came apart as the bureaucratic details came out, the most important one being that you couldn't be sure you'd be able to keep your doctors or select specialists of your choice.  The Clintons refused to consider a compromise, but even with large Democratic Senate and House majorities the bill was so dead it was never brought up for a vote.

 

Remember "Harry and Louise"?  Obama did, which is why he portrayed Obamacare as simply expanding coverage to the uninsured, and improving coverage for the underinsured while leaving the already insured undisturbed.  But the redistributive arithmetic of Obamacare's architecture could never add up, which is what the bureaucrats knew early on—as early as 2010 according to many documents that have leaked.'

 

http://www.forbes.com/sites/stevenhayward/2013/11/11/obamacare-will-be-repealed-well-in-advance-of-the-2014-elections/

 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fwd: Edie


'Everyone now is clamoring about Affordable Care Act winners and losers. I am one of the losers.

 

My grievance is not political; all my energies are directed to enjoying life and staying alive, and I have no time for politics. For almost seven years I have fought and survived stage-4 gallbladder cancer, with a five-year survival rate of less than 2% after diagnosis. I am a determined fighter and extremely lucky. But this luck may have just run out: My affordable, lifesaving medical insurance policy has been canceled effective Dec. 31.

 

My choice is to get coverage through the government health exchange and lose access to my cancer doctors, or pay much more for insurance outside the exchange (the quotes average 40% to 50% more) for the privilege of starting over with an unfamiliar insurance company and impaired benefits…

 

Two things have been essential in my fight to survive stage-4 cancer. The first are doctors and health teams in California and Texas: at the medical center of the University of California, San Diego, and its Moores Cancer Center; Stanford University's Cancer Institute; and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

 

The second element essential to my fight is a United Healthcare PPO (preferred provider organization) health-insurance policy.

 

Since March 2007 United Healthcare has paid $1.2 million to help keep me alive, and it has never once questioned any treatment or procedure recommended by my medical team. The company pays a fair price to the doctors and hospitals, on time, and is responsive to the emergency treatment requirements of late-stage cancer. Its caring people in the claims office have been readily available to talk to me and my providers.

 

But in January, United Healthcare sent me a letter announcing that they were pulling out of the individual California market. The company suggested I look to Covered California starting in October.'

 

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304527504579171710423780446

 

Monday, November 4, 2013

Fwd: Keynes



'Ms. Yellen, a former professor of economics at Berkeley, has openly proclaimed her views on economic policy, and those views deserve very careful scrutiny. She asks: "Will capitalist economies operate at full employment in the absence of routine intervention?" And she answers: "Certainly not."

 

Janet Yellen represents the Keynesian economics that once dominated economic theory and policy like a national religion -- until it encountered two things: Milton Friedman and the stagflation of the 1970s.

 

At the height of the Keynesian influence, it was widely believed that government policy-makers could choose a judicious trade-off between the inflation rate and the rate of unemployment. This trade-off was called the Phillips Curve, in honor of an economist at the London School of Economics.

 

Professor Milton Friedman of the University of Chicago attacked the Phillips Curve, both theoretically and empirically. When Professor Friedman received the Nobel Prize in economics -- the first of many to go to Chicago economists, who were the primary critics of Keynesian economics -- it seemed as if the idea of a trade-off between the inflation rate and the unemployment rate might be laid to rest.

 

Nevertheless, the Keynesian economists have staged a political comeback during the Obama administration. Janet Yellen's nomination to head the Federal Reserve is the crowning example of that comeback.

 

Ms. Yellen asks: "Do policy-makers have the knowledge and ability to improve macroeconomic outcomes rather than making matters worse?" And she answers: "Yes."

 

The former economics professor is certainly asking the right questions -- and giving the wrong answers.

 

Her first question, whether free market economies can achieve full employment without government intervention, is a purely factual question that can be answered from history. For the first 150 years of the United States, there was no policy of federal intervention when the economy turned down.

 

No depression during all that time was as catastrophic as the Great Depression of the 1930s, when both the Federal Reserve System and Presidents Herbert Hoover and Franklin D. Roosevelt intervened in the economy on a massive and unprecedented scale.'

 

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2013/10/15/a_return_to_keynes_120332.html