STAFF NEWS & ANALYSIS Showing 1251 - 1300 of 4858
Generals Manipulate Media, Media Complies
October 02, 2015
When top generals talk about protecting military secrets, the average citizen will think some important subject must be at stake: troop movements, weapons capabilities, intelligence sources and the like. The public presumes its generals are men and women of int ...
Orwellian UN Picks a Surprising Human Rights Judge
October 01, 2015
To the so-called neoconservative advocates of "realistic" foreign policy, Israel can do no wrong and Iran can do no right. What do they think about Saudi Arabia? Mostly they pretend it doesn't exist. This saves them from having to explain how Saudi Arabia is a ...
District Attorneys Gone Prison-Happy
September 30, 2015
U.S. prisons are stuffed to the rafters, often with non-violent offenders. By all kinds of measures, we incarcerate far more people than most of the world. Why? The standard assumption blames aggressive drug law enforcement and mandatory sentencing laws. New re ...
Pentagon-Protected Pedophiles
September 29, 2015
That evil acts occur when nations go to war is no surprise. Soldiers arrive already expecting it, their leaders having described the enemy as vermin worthy of death. What some American troops found in Afghanistan is different. It was not an evil they brought wi ...
The Age of Conditional Ownership
September 28, 2015
"After all, it's their car," says the author of today's excerpt. This is incorrect. No one "owns" his or her car, if ownership means the right to do what you want with the object you own. What we really have is a sort of long-term conditional lease. The so-call ...
The Pope without a Country
September 25, 2015
We do not know what Pope Francis and President Obama discussed during their 45-minute private Oval Office meeting this week. It would be nice if he heard Obama's confession, but they would likely have needed more time. Their conversation, whatever it was, will ...
Innovation is No Excuse!
September 24, 2015
Bitcoin promoters who long for recognition got their wish last week. It is not an official currency, nor is it likely to become one. The cryptocurrency is an official commodity, though. Whether this is good news remains to be seen. The designation resulted from ...
Breaking News: Governments Lie!
September 23, 2015
The story we excerpt today is almost two years old. The topic, U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan, is interesting but what it reveals about governmental deception is even more so. Bob Woodward of the Washington Post obtained top-secret documents detailing CIA drone ...
Corporate Democracy Doesn't Work, Either
September 22, 2015
We all know that the various forms of democratic governance don't work nearly as well as advertised. Representatives usually turn corrupt in short order, no matter how the people select them. They devolve into oligarchy under a democratic façade. The same is t ...
Texas Police Are Alarmingly Sensitive
September 21, 2015
Last week's much-publicized and completely unnecessary arrest of young Ahmed Mohamed brought to light an alarmingly (pun intended) broad Texas law against so-called "hoax bombs." The statute is an open invitation for police to detain anyone for anything. In Tex ...
Apple to DOJ: Sorry, No Can Do
September 18, 2015
Relations between the U.S. technology industry and federal law enforcement look less cordial every day. This summer saw FBI Director James Comey begging them to believe he is not a maniac for demanding back-door access to private customer data. Now Microsoft is ...
Why Not More 9/11 Attacks?
September 17, 2015
Each year on Dec. 7, ceremonies occur to mark the 1941 surprise Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Each year the memorials get less attention as those who actually saw the event pass away. Will Sept. 11 also lose its hold on our collective memories someday? Proba ...
NYPD Sings the Blues
September 16, 2015
Yet again, the public is seeing video of a police-citizen encounter gone wrong. Retired tennis star James Blake, whom everyone agrees was guilty of absolutely nothing, was nevertheless tackled and handcuffed by an NYPD officer with a history of using excessive ...
Guilty of Thought Crimes
September 15, 2015
Any American, regardless of age and ancestry, who flies to Turkey in hopes of joining the Islamic State has made a terrible choice. He or she is taking a road that leads nowhere good. On the other hand, anyone who has parented teenagers learns to expect bad cho ...
Crony Capitalism to Blame Not Free Markets
September 14, 2015
The writer for Germany-based Spiegel rightly notes the increasing wealth concentration in the United States in recent decades. The rich are indeed getting richer, while many in the bottom 99% struggle to make ends meet. He veers off course, however, by blaming ...
Brownshirts Rising?
September 11, 2015
Political mavens tell us polls are mostly meaningless this long before an election. I certainly hope so. As Jeffrey Tucker says in today's excerpt, the current data point to a seriously problematic outcome next November. Nascent authoritarianism has long simmer ...
Democracy Minus Voters
September 10, 2015
The phrase "to carefully gerrymander" is more than just a split infinitive. It is apparently a legally permissible activity in Missouri. The Business Loop 70 Community Improvement District tried its best to make sure no annoying voters could stop its new taxes, ...
Chris Christie Thinks Inside the Box
September 09, 2015
The presidential race is already entering silly season. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker wants to build a wall spanning the U.S.–Canada border. Do we have a problem with Canadians sneaking into the United States to take our coffee and donuts? No, of course not. Ca ...
ISIS Goes on Gold Standard?
September 08, 2015
Islamic State militants may be crazed killers, but at least some of them are taking an interest in the evil that underlies modern banking. They claim the group will soon issue gold coins as its medium of exchange. In compliance with sharia, the new dinars will ...
Rubio's Selective Religious Freedom
September 07, 2015
Civil disobedience in defense of individual rights can be noble and effective, but its success usually depends of the view of the evaluator. People defend disobedience when they agree with its goal. Senator Rubio defends the Kentucky county clerk who says that ...
Homeland Security Busts the Rentboys
September 04, 2015
Government officials including FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers frequently demand greater investigative powers. They justify it by highlighting – some would say hyping – terrorist threats from ISIL and other radical groups. To s ...
Will Your Car Obey You or the Police?
September 03, 2015
Our view of civil rights has to evolve as technology changes our lives. More often than not, the changes are for the worse. Fifty years ago, could the police enter your home without a warrant and review your family photos for criminal evidence? No, and they sti ...
How Shoddy Science Creates Big Government
September 02, 2015
Many non-scientists hold a romanticized view of scientific research. We think it is very black and white, with scientists rigorously searching for measurable evidence, and happily conceding when experiments prove a hypothesis wrong. In fact, scientists are as h ...
Prepare To Be Droned, America
September 01, 2015
The technology that lets unmanned U.S. drones blow up alleged "enemy combatants" in the Middle East is coming home. U.S. police departments, which already embraced drones for surveillance purposes, now want to deploy weapons on them. North Dakota's legislature ...
What is Your Computer Hiding From You?
August 31, 2015
A good question arose in the comments to our Thursday story about U.S. border agents searching and seizing laptop computers. Can't people simply store their data on the cloud to keep it safely from government hands? Let's think this through. Say you have a few ...
US Political System Faces the Trump Test
August 28, 2015
George Will, who often has no problem embracing Big Brother, found enough small-government vocabulary to write an entertaining takedown of Donald Trump's immigration plan. The article exemplifies the exasperation mainstream GOP powers must feel at Trump's ascen ...
Bordering on Insanity
August 27, 2015
There are logical arguments for nation-states to defend their borders against illicit persons and goods. Those arguments are not nearly as compelling as some people think, but they exist. They apply mainly for people and goods entering a country – not those l ...
Entangling Alliances and Women's Suffrage
August 26, 2015
Having the right to vote is significant only to the extent it means you can vote for some meaningful office or issue. Saudi Arabian women can now vote in municipal elections. This is progress for a kingdom in which men, particularly men of the royal family, hol ...
The Pentagon Door Revolves Again
August 25, 2015
Americans like to think the nation takes good care of their veterans. Its actual record for doing so is spotty at best, as recent VA hospital scandals demonstrate. Nevertheless, one category of veterans always lands on its feet after it hangs up the uniform. Re ...
Approaching Asteroid Threatens Banks
August 24, 2015
In a world where economic dinosaurs quickly go extinct, traditional banking is one of the prime survivors. Abundant capital and friendly capital have let it adapt to every challenge. When banks lost commercial lending business to asset backed securitization in ...
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 ...
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