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STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS Showing 851 - 900 of 4428
Ohio's Mystery Marijuana Fans
August 21, 2015
On the surface, Ohio looks like a strong candidate to join the list of states allowing legal recreational marijuana. Look deeper and you will find a more complicated story. "ResponsibleOhio" is a noble-sounding name for a group of investors who seek a state-enf ...
Local Government Larceny
August 20, 2015
Charles Blow, the New York Times columnist we quote today, is no libertarian. Nonetheless, he points to an important issue libertarians should consider. The reasoning goes like this: If we must have government at all, power should reside mostly in local governm ...
Trump Proves Money Matters
August 19, 2015
Donald Trump's persistent poll lead puzzles both journalists and political operatives. Despite breaking all the normal rules of electoral politics, he obviously appeals to a sizable voter segment. Yet another paradox is that, in the course of pursuing public of ...
Ma Bell Lies, Betrays Customers
August 18, 2015
The line between government and private business is often fuzzy, but for AT&T it seems almost invisible. Asked by the National Security Agency to help spy on American citizens, the company apparently jumped at the opportunity. So did other telecom providers, bu ...
Could 'Smart Contracts' Render the State Powerless?
August 17, 2015
Those of a libertarian or anarchist bent like bitcoin for both its privacy and the incapacity of governments to debase its value, but the underlying "blockchain" technology has a wealth of other potential uses. "Smart contracts" are one such use. As MIT Technol ...
War: Still a Racket
August 14, 2015
Like the proverbial frog in a kettle, the American public is almost completely unaware that its president is waging an illegal war. President Obama has been spending American blood and treasure in and around Syria for a full year now. Whether attacking the Isla ...
'The Man's' (Unreliable) Best Friend
August 13, 2015
Dogs may be man's best friend, but they do make mistakes. Lex, an Illinois drug dog, signals drugs are present in 93% of his searches. Yet searches by human officers find Lex is wrong some 40% of the time. A federal appeals court upheld the conviction of a man ...
Fast Coffee and the Internet Reformation
August 12, 2015
The news media loves to speculate about the impending robot invasion. Automated systems will steal our jobs, they say. The robot apocalypse will seal the doom of unskilled workers. You might buy some time by learning to code now, at least until the robots learn ...
NSA Debate Goes Primetime
August 11, 2015
Last week's GOP presidential "debate" was more interesting than expected. While Donald Trump certainly enlivened the event, the night's most substantive discussion was the Chris Christie – Rand Paul exchange on warrantless National Security Agency surveillanc ...
'The European Project' Takes Another Step
August 10, 2015
"Never let a good crisis go to waste," a phrase attributed to various American political strategists, is advice politicians everywhere try to follow. Certain European leaders are following it right now. The Greek debt drama exposed serious divisions in the Euro ...
'I Trusted the Government Too Much'
August 07, 2015
When farmers plunge their life savings into mining stocks at 6-to-1 leverage, it is fair to assume a bubble has formed that will eventually pop. That is certainly the case in China right now. Farmers like Yang Cheng made the mistake of believing their governmen ...
Policing is Intrinsically Risky
August 06, 2015
Police shootings have been a major news topic for a year now, dating back to when a Ferguson, Missouri officer killed Michael Brown in August 2014. Social media and video evidence have convinced many Americans police kill citizens far too frequently and without ...
Jimmy Carter Calls U.S. an Oligarchy
August 05, 2015
Americans were ready for a change when Jimmy Carter left office in 1981. No amount of money would have outweighed the damage a weak economy and an Iranian hostage crisis did to his presidency. Almost 35 years later, Carter is now the longest surviving ex-presid ...
NYPD to Launch Future Crime Unit
August 04, 2015
New York City Police Commissioner William Bratton, never a privacy zealot, now just denies the whole concept. "There are no secrets," he says. We will remember that next time one of his officers kills an unarmed citizen. If he's serious, the investigation will ...
Wealthy Psychopaths Hate Competition
August 03, 2015
That the super-rich are not like you and me is no surprise. Among other differences, they have billions of Federal Reserve Notes to their name – more than they can possibly spend. How does one join them? The author profiled in today's article asks that questi ...
Police Demand Compliance or Death
July 31, 2015
Today's excerpt is by Orin Kerr, a George Washington University law professor. The Sandra Bland arrest video he discusses will – or at least should – outrage anyone who respects justice and decency. The way the officer repeatedly screams, "I'm giving you a ...
The Algorithm of Crowds
July 30, 2015
Modern technology makes life easier, but it can also change our perception in potentially dangerous ways. For instance, the Internet lets us see news and political commentary from many different perspectives. Intuitively, this might seem positive. We can easily ...
Alaska: Socialist Worker's Paradise?
July 29, 2015
In the 2008 election, Tea Party conservatives embraced Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as one of their own. Many still revere her and insist the "liberal media" distorted her record. In fact, no one needed to distort Palin's record; reality was bad enough. She rose ...
Hackers Can Use Your Car to Kill You
July 28, 2015
The news last week that "friendly" hackers could seize remote control of a vehicle forced Fiat Chrysler to recall 1.4 million vulnerable cars and trucks. Fiat Chrysler said in its statement, "The Company is unaware of any injuries related to software exploitati ...
U.S. General Spits on Constitution
July 27, 2015
Last week we featured a refreshingly candid retired U.S. general. Today we have another one, who is far too candid in the opposite direction. General Wesley Clark thinks the government should send "radicalized" Americans to internment camps. We need not explain ...
Banks, GMOs and Tail Risk
July 24, 2015
The two authors of today's story draw an interesting parallel between financial manipulation and genetic manipulation. Both, they say, are interventions in complex, imperfectly understood systems that risk dangerous negative consequences. Big Finance and Big Ag ...
Who Is Frustrated at the Fed?
July 23, 2015
We have to wonder what Michigan Republican Rep. Bill Huizenga is thinking. His effort to remove the New York Fed's permanent position on the Federal Open Market Committee is probably doomed to failure. It will accomplish almost nothing of consequence in the unl ...
General Rebellion and Media Choices
July 22, 2015
Retired generals frequently land jobs with Wall Street or defense contractors, through which they can convert their military knowledge into substantial income. At least one is going a different direction, though. Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn appears uninterested in a ...
Pointless Law Punishes Puerto Rico
July 21, 2015
Don't feel bad if you had to look twice at the source of today's media excerpt. It's not every day the Washington Post reports a law outlived its original purpose. The Jones Act of 1920 was probably a bad idea in the first place, but it certainly serves no purp ...
Neocon Hypocrites and Christian Diplomacy
July 20, 2015
Rev. Franklin Graham may be a fine preacher and a decent man, but his incoherent view of the Iran nuclear agreement does not enhance his credibility. It does the opposite, exposing him as simply another neoconservative hypocrite. That Rev. Graham opposes the de ...
Introducing Citicoin, 'Equivalent to Bitcoin'
July 17, 2015
A few months ago we looked at Citigroup's apparent desire to abolish cash altogether. Now we learn they are actively working in that direction, using bitcoin's blockchain technology as a model. More shocking, however, is the news that Citigroup has an "Innovat ...
Federal Reserve Spies on France
July 16, 2015
New documents from WikiLeaks show the National Security Agency spies on French companies as well as its government. That's not especially surprising. What is surprising is seeing the Federal Reserve Board on the list of "supported elements" for whom the NSA spi ...
Feds Cry Wolf, Again
July 15, 2015
As Americans prepared to celebrate Independence Day, their government did its best to spoil the party with ominous terrorism warnings. No such attacks were even attempted, so far as we know. In the maniacal mind of FBI Director James Comey, the lack of attacks ...
Greece Finds Real Money
July 14, 2015
Greece is ahead of the economic curve. While the rest of the world is stuck with various state-sponsored paper currencies, Greece has a chance to start fresh. Unpayable debt will drive it from the Eurozone at some point. No paper currency can last forever, not ...
FBI Director Comey is a Maniac
July 13, 2015
When the successor to the chair of J. Edgar Hoover feels he must reassure the nation that he is not a maniac, we have strong evidence that he is probably a maniac. FBI Director James Comey may be a fine family man but he also wishes to "keep people safe" in way ...
The Upside of Grexit
July 10, 2015
The drama gripping Europe seems to have grown tiresome for the continent's leaders. They look intent on ending it one way or the other at summit meetings this weekend. Greece may leave the currency union, voluntarily or not. We hope they do. A "Grexit" would be ...
Insanity on the Thames
July 09, 2015
UK Prime Minister David Cameron is a seriously deluded man. First, he apparently believes Facebook and Twitter users currently have "absolute privacy" in their communications. That is nonsense. Second, Cameron believes this nonexistent absolute privacy is unsus ...
Discrimination Is the Fastest Road to Freedom
July 08, 2015
One reason freedom proponents make slow progress is that they promote only selective freedom. Some same-sex marriage advocates are proving the point right now. Fresh from their Supreme Court victory, they now want to bolster their own newfound freedom by taking ...
Greek Debt Was a Two-Way Deal
July 07, 2015
News stories about the Greek crisis constantly return to a familiar refrain. The country's politicians and citizens alike borrowed unwisely, spent too freely and now don't want to pay their debts. This impression isn't wrong, but it misses half the story. Loans ...
When War is the Only Option
July 06, 2015
The world might not need diplomats if it had no nation-states. Since we do, they serve the valuable function of lubricating relations between governments. They nevertheless represent governments, not citizens. Our excerpt today is from Chas Freeman, a retired U ...
Dignity and Respect in Blue
July 03, 2015
The curriculum in most police academies is heavy on firearms and self-defense techniques. This is necessary but not sufficient. Police need public cooperation for one simple reason: They are usually outnumbered. Top marksmanship will not help one officer contro ...
NSA: Visualize Everything
July 02, 2015
Do you remember those "Visualize World Peace" bumper stickers? They gave the National Security Agency an idea, apparently. Now the agency that hears and reads everything wants to see everything, too. This is interesting in several ways. For one, it shows the te ...
The Three Senses of Marriage
July 01, 2015
The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to permit same-sex marriage nationwide has both winners and losers. One loser, at least so far, is clarity of thinking. People on all sides are discussing concepts without considering what they really mean. Let's try to bring s ...
Central Bank Lies & Consequences
June 30, 2015
Fractional reserve banking is intrinsically dishonest. Bankers promise depositors instant access to their money, even as they lend that same money to unrelated persons. The depositor agreement is a contract the bank knows it cannot possibly fulfill. This pyrami ...
They Must Be Controlled
June 29, 2015
In a 1968 Star Trek episode titled "The Gamesters of Triskelion," disembodied aliens abduct Captain Kirk and two of his crew for their own entertainment. They fit the humans with special collars that create enormous pain on command, thereby ensuring compliance. ...
Keep the Tinfoil Handy
June 26, 2015
Critics often deride those wary of government surveillance as paranoid tinfoil hat wearers. We're learning now that paranoia may be entirely appropriate. It turns out the FBI really is watching Americans from the sky. We know this because the FBI itself said so ...
Democracy and Baboons
June 25, 2015
After reading the quote above, our first thought was that baboons already have run for office and even won. This would explain legislative behavior in many democratic countries. Scientists missed the opportunity to study this, however, by focusing instead on fu ...
More Dangerous than ISIS?
June 24, 2015
During the Cold War, American soldiers learned to fear the Soviet Union's advanced weaponry and fanatical communist foot soldiers. Where did we get this fear? Our leaders instilled it in us. As it turned out, the fears were misplaced. We learned in the 1990s th ...
Attention Millennials: Daddy Warbucks Wants You!
June 23, 2015
Ron Fournier of National Journal knows "a better way to fight ISIS." Obviously, Pentagon planners should have consulted him months ago. He has just the ticket to solve their vexing challenge. What is this solution? Give more people "skin in a very dangerous gam ...
On Charleston, Fear and 9/11
June 22, 2015
In a literal sense, the word "tragedy" does not describe what happened in Charleston, South Carolina last week. Storms and earthquakes are tragic. No human summons these events and no human can stop them. Murder, on the other hand, is entirely human. It occurs ...
Peace at Last in the GMO War?
June 19, 2015
The war between those who oppose and embrace genetically modified food crops has almost no middle ground. Those who know what "GMO" means are enthusiastically for or against it. We explained back in April how The Free Market is Solving the GMO Problem. Consumer ...
U.S. Navy: Up to No Good?
June 18, 2015
We saw the Navy's "Global Force for Good" commercials on TV a few months ago, and thought them strange at the time. The service it portrayed bore no resemblance to reality. Instead of carrier-launched fighter jets pursuing terrorists, it showed earnest youngste ...
Top Leaker Invited to Bilderberg Insider Fest
June 17, 2015
The secretive Bilderberg group held its annual conclave at an Austrian mountain resort last weekend. As the Guardian article says, the event was private in every imaginable way. Invited guests only, Chatham House rules, everything off the record and certainly n ...
Stop Blaming Snowden, Start Questioning Obama
June 16, 2015
Newspapers once had journalistic standards, one of which was not to report events as factual without a primary source and a confirming second source. Those standards fell away long ago. The Sunday Times claims National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowd ...
Barron's Handicaps the GOP
June 15, 2015
The quadrennial American presidential slugfest is right around the corner. Our wish here at Chez Gastonne is that all the candidates would lose and the country proceed into the future confidently leaderless. Sadly, that is not one of the options. We took note o ...
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