jueves, 23 de marzo de 2017

Austin, Texas Is Already Regretting Its Decision to Force Out Uber and Lyft

Austin, Texas Is Already Regretting Its Decision to Force Out Uber and Lyft

Force Out Uber and Lyft
Onerous fingerprint requirements would create needless ‘friction,’ and shrink the pool of rideshare drivers. (The Blaze)
By Generation Opportunity
More than a year ago, Uber and Lyft warned the city council of Austin that if they passed a package of burdensome fingerprinting requirements for ridesharing companies, Austinites might be left without options. The sponsor of the regulation, Ann Kitchen, issued a sharp rebuke.
“To threaten to leave, simply because we are trying to protect public safety, cannot be my deciding factor,” Kitchen shot back. “There are other transportation network companies, and they will be here.”
The onerous fingerprint requirements would create needless ‘friction,’ and shrink the pool of rideshare drivers.

Trump’s Border Wall Will Join the Ranks of 70 Others Worldwide

By: Elena Toledo -

Trump is hardly the first world leader to build border walls (
Trump is hardly the first world leader to build border walls (Issues Post).
Although the border wall planned by US President Donald Trump has created widespread controversy, it is not the only one, since the barriers that divide people around the world are a frequently used resource in order to prevent migratory flows.
There are currently approximately 70 border walls around the world, in comparison with a dozen 25 years ago when the well-known Berlin Wall fell, according to Elisabeth Vallet, a researcher at the University of Quebec.

Mexico Offers Free Legal Assistance to Undocumented Immigrants in the US

By: Elena Toledo - @NenaToledo 

The Mexican government stated that it will not encourage illegal immigration by the people it defends in the United States, but it will defend human rights. (Univisión)
According to a study by the Pew Research Center, 5.8 million Mexicans live in the United States without legal immigration status, which means that they constitute more than half of all undocumented immigrants. This figure, however large it may seem, is actually a decrease, since in 2009 it was 6.4 million.
For this reason, the Mexican government is concerned about US President Donald Trump’s stricter immigration policies, which expanded officials’ power to deport undocumented immigrants as well as increasing cases that are considered a priority. In addition to people who have committed serious crimes, it also includes those who arrived with any criminal record.

How to Respond to Radical Islam in Wake of London Terror Attack

Public policy must make a clear distinction between Islam and "Islamism" (
Public policy must make a clear distinction between Islam and “Islamism” (ABC News).
Yesterday’s London terror attack serves as a reminder to Western democracies about the continuing danger of radical Islam and jihadism. This is a danger that poses a far greater threat to Europe than it does to the US and Canada, for simple reasons of geography and demographics. Yet, how does a government that values rule of law, civil liberties, and diversity target the type of Islamic extremism that fuels such attacks? How does a Western democracy stamp out radicalism, while safeguarding the rights and liberties of Muslims in their midst?

Oil-Rich Venezuela Paralyzed by Gasoline Shortages

Widespread gas shortages have brought Venezuela to a standstill (
Widespread gas shortages have brought Venezuela to a standstill (Radio Fe y Alegria).
Although Venezuela has 18 refineries throughout the world and six on its own soil, today most states face a shortage of gasoline that has led to long lines at gas stations around the country.
Venezuelans have spent hours in such lines, as they await a product that has been in short supply for several days in different cities across the country.
The morning of this Thursday, March 23, the country dawned partially paralyzed, as thousands of Venezuelans are unable to head to school or work.
“We are reinforcing our distribution in the center of the country to stabilize the fuel supply … Queues have been generated at some service stations in four states of the country, due to the delay in distribution of gasoline,” said the vice president of PDVSA, Ysmel Serrano.

Maduro Threatens to Lock Up Congressmen Supporting International Sanction against Venezuela

Maduro Threatens to Lock Up Congressmen
Maduro called for the punishment of opposition members supporting the OAS (El Ají)
lPresident Nicolás Maduro called for severe punishment of opposition officials in the country’s congress for backing the implementation of the Democratic Charter that the Organization of American States has discussed implementing of late.
The Democratic Charter would theoretically be imposed if Maduro does not allow for free and open elections, and would result in Venezuela’s removal from the organization, which would in itself have long-lasting economic and political consequences.

Why Batman is a Lousy Utilitarian

Batman v. Superman: The Dawn of Justice isn't a great movie, but it does have one great teaching moment.  Batman is trying to get his hands on some Kryptonite.  Faithful butler Alfred wants to know why.  Batman's rationale:
Batman: He [Superman] has the power to wipe out the entire human race, and if we believe there's even a one percent chance that he is our enemy we have to take it as an absolute certainty... and we have to destroy him.
No one should be a utilitarian.  But from a utilitarian point of view, Batman's logic is superficially appealing: He can sacrifice one life to save 7 billion humans with 1% probability, for a net expectational gain of 69,999,999 lives.  Until, of course, you pause and reflect.  Consider the following utilitarian counter-arguments, in ascending order of quality.

Pacifism in 'Hell's Angels'

Until recently, I only knew Howard Hughes' World War I saga Hell's Angels (1930) second-hand, from Martin Scorsese's Hughes biopic, The Aviator.  I was amazed when I finally watched Hughes' classic.  The special effects are stunning even by modern standards.  And the Pre-Code script is too good to be true. 

On the surface, the audience is supposed to detest the selfish, unscrupulous Monte Rutledge, the "bad brother" of protagonist Roy Rutledge.  But as in Milton's Paradise Lost, the author plainly has great sympathy for the devil.  The best scene must have shocked World War I veterans around the world.  When Monte feigns illness to avoid combat, a fellow pilot angrily declares, "He's yellow and we all know it."  Then Monte pulls off the mask:

Europe Rose Because of Jurisdictional Competition

During the dark ages, nations like China were relatively advanced while Europeans were living in squalid huts.
Governments were forced to adopt better policies because labor and capital had significant ability to cross borders in search of less oppression.
But that began to change several hundred years ago. Europe experienced the enlightenment and industrial revolution while the empires of Asia languished.
What accounts for this dramatic shift?
I’m not going to pretend there’s a single explanation, but part of the answer is that Europe benefited from decentralization and jurisdictional competition. More specifically, governments were forced to adopt better policies because labor and capital had significant ability to cross borders in search of less oppression.
I’m certainly a big fan of making governments compete with each other, but even I didn’t realize how jurisdictional rivalry gave us modernity.
But you don’t have to believe me. This topic was discussed by Professor Roland Vaubel at last week’s Mont Pelerin Society meeting. Here are some excerpts from one of Professor Vaubel’s papers on the topic.

The Place of Mises Liberalism

The great intellectual and political movement known as liberalism has been one of the prime shapers of the modern world. As Ludwig von Mises wrote, it “changed the face of the earth,” creating for the peoples who shared in it a life of freedom and abundance unexampled in previous history.
Given this, the paucity of general works on the history and philosophical bases of liberalism and the mediocrity of most of the readily accessible ones is curious indeed. (This does not hold, however, for works of more limited scope. The Decline of American Liberalism, (1955) by Arthur A. Ekirch, Jr., for example, combines fine scholarship with a seasoned understanding of the true meaning of liberalism.)
The best known book in the field is doubtless the History of European Liberalism, by Guido de Ruggiero, originally published in 1925. Still useful in some respects, it suffers from a conceptual haziness and a lack of cutting edge perhaps attributable to the neo-idealist philosophy popular in Italy at the time, of which the author was a follower.

Why Europe Rose And Others Did Not

This essay originally appeared as "The Theory of Economic Development and the European Miracle" in The Collapse of Development Planning, edited by Peter J. Boettke.
Among writers on economic development, P.T. Bauer is noted both for the depth of his historical knowledge, and for his insistence on the indispensability of historical studies in understanding the phenomenon of growth (Walters 1989, 60; see also Dorn 1987). In canvassing the work of other theorists, Bauer has complained of their manifest "amputation of the time dimension":
The historical background is essential for a worthwhile discussion of economic development, which is an integral part of the historical progress of society. But many of the most widely publicized writings on development effectively disregard both the historical background and the nature of development as a process. (Bauer 1972, 324–25)
Too many writers in the field have succumbed to professional overspecialization combined with a positivist obsession with data that happen to be amenable to mathematical techniques. The result has been models of development with little connection to reality:

Liberalism's 20th Century Rebirth

The First World War was the watershed of the twentieth century. Itself the product of antiliberal ideas and policies, such as militarism and protectionism, the Great War fostered statism in every form. In Europe and America, the trend towards state intervention accelerated, as governments conscripted, censored, inflated, ran up mountains of debts, co-opted business and labor, and seized control of the economy. Everywhere “progressive” intellectuals saw their dreams coming true. Thee old laissez-faire liberalism was dead, they gloated, and the future belonged to collectivism. The only question seemed to be: which kind of collectivism?
Bismarck won out, and the welfare state was eventually copied everywhere in Europe.

When Liberalism Went Into Retreat

As the nineteenth century began, classical liberalism — or just liberalism as the philosophy of freedom was then known — was the specter haunting Europe — and the world. In every advanced country the liberal movement was active.
Tens of millions who would have perished in the inefficient economy of the old order were able to survive.
Drawn mainly from the middle classes, it included people from widely contrasting religious and philosophical backgrounds. Christians, Jews, deists, agnostics, utilitarians, believers in natural rights, freethinkers, and traditionalists all found it possible to work towards one fundamental goal: expanding the area of the free functioning of society and diminishing the area of coercion and the state.

The Epic Triumph of Liberalism and Its Tragic Betrayal

Three years ago, the New York Times asked whether “the libertarian moment” had finally arrived. Since then, we have seen no libertarian revolution in politics or policy, leading many to ask whether the libertarian moment had indeed come… and gone.
Perhaps, the thinking goes, the libertarians had their political American Idol audition, delivered a pitchy performance, and were sent home: end of story.
In a sense, to even frame things in this way is silly. It would only make sense if libertarians were a curious sect with quirky ideas that somehow gained outsize national attention, giving us a one-time chance to seize the reins of power: like how the South Korean presidency was won by a member of the Church of Eternal Life cult. Since that president was recently forced from office, surely the Church of Eternal Life’s “moment” has come and gone.
A Branding Problem
Poor branding is partly to blame: specifically, the use of the label “libertarian” instead of the philosophy's original name, “liberalism.” In defense of those who made that name change, they didn’t have much of a choice. By the time “libertarianism” was adopted, “liberalism” had already been long lost: hopelessly hitched to a decidedly illiberal ideology.
Liberalism is actually a centuries-old tradition with millennia-old roots.
But the new label has created the false impression that the liberty tradition is much younger and more idiosyncratic than it really is: as if it’s a new-fangled left/right hybrid cooked up in the 1970s. Yet the truth is quite the opposite. As I will discuss below, what we now call “liberalism” and what we now call “conservatism” are both themselves hybrid descendants of what we now call “libertarianism.”
Abandoning “liberalism” has detached the philosophy from its long and glorious history and heritage. Liberalism/libertarianism is actually a centuries-old tradition with millennia-old roots. It is the founding philosophy of America, the catalyst of the rise of the West, and the source of almost all things sweet and splendid about the modern world around us.

On Russia, Trump’s Haters And Boosters Are Making America Stupid

On Russia, Trump’s Haters And Boosters Are Making America Stupid

Donald Trump has a responsibility to offer concrete evidence before demanding investigations. As do Democrats.
A new CNN poll finds that around two-thirds of Americans want a special prosecutor to investigate contacts between Russians and the Donald Trump campaign, and 55 percent are “somewhat concerned” by reports that the president’s associates had contact with “suspected Russian operatives.”
Well, if you put it that way, what kind of seditious scoundrel wouldn’t be troubled by the president’s comrades huddling with “suspected Russian operatives”? What if CNN asked voters this, though: Are you concerned that an attorney general nominee met with the Russian ambassador in course of his duties as a U.S. senator and member of the Armed Services Committee? I suspect the numbers would look a bit different.

BOMBSHELL: Intelligence Reports Show Trump Was Monitored By The Obama Admin Post-Election

BOMBSHELL: Intelligence Reports Show Trump Was Monitored By The Obama Admin Post-Election
Intelligence reports show then-President Elect Donald Trump and his transition team may have been monitored by agencies in the weeks after the election via “incidental collection,” a top Republican revealed in a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
“I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the President-elect and his team were, I guess, at least monitored,” House Intelligence Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-California), said.
Nunes explained “incidental collection” of information regarding the President-elect and his team occurred primarily in November through January according to reports.

Cosmopolitan Doesn’t Understand How The Constitution Works

<em>Cosmopolitan</em> Doesn’t Understand How The Constitution Works
Cosmopolitan’s Jill Filipovic has constructed an argument against originalism that should embarrass even the most disinterested of history students.
Jill Filipovic’s latest essay at Cosmopolitan is like the Lernaean Hydra: it is almost impossible to know where or how to strike it, given its multi-headed absurdities. Every so often—really, quite often—there comes along a piece of political literature that is almost impossible to wrangle. Conceptually, factually, logically, aesthetically—everything about it is a total mess. This is what Filipovic has written and a number of Cosmo editors inexplicably, indefensibly green-lit.
“9 Reasons Constitutional Originalism is Bullsh*t,” Filipovic’s headline reads. We must be conscious of the possibility that Filipovic is not familiar with originalism and indeed had not even heard of the concept until someone told her about it sometime during the past six weeks or so. There is plenty of evidence throughout her essay to suggest as much, but I just want to focus on one example.

Are Republicans For Freedom Or White Identity Politics?

Are Republicans For Freedom Or White Identity Politics?
Donald Trump could transform the Republican Party into a coalition focused on white identity politics. We've seen this in Europe, and it's bad.
Now that we have had time to observe the Donald Trump phenomenon, there is enough evidence to make a clear assessment of what it represents. The rise of Trump is an epic expression of frustration with the American political system, and it is a natural outgrowth of frustrations with America’s changing demographics; the hollowing out of white working class values and culture, as Charles Murray has documented extensively; and what life is like when governed by the administrative state, where the president increasingly acts as a unilateral executive and elected representatives consistently ignore the people’s priorities.
At its best, these frustrations would be articulated by the Republican Party in ways that lead to more freedom and less government. At its worst, these frustrations cast aside Constitutional principles, encourage dictatorial behavior, and become the toxic political equivalent of the two Southie brothers who claimed Trump inspired them to beat up a Hispanic homeless man.

How Trump Can Reform Immigration Without Tanking Republicans Or The Economy

How Trump Can Reform Immigration Without Tanking Republicans Or The Economy

As a Republican, President Trump should be inspired by how Texas conservatives have handled immigration instead of looking to California’s Republican Party.
President-elect Donald Trump ran on an immigration enforcement platform, and when crafting policies his administration can take some lessons from California and Texas’s experience. Their experience suggests smart ways to enforce immigration laws without causing a political backlash or economic problems. As a Republican, President Trump should be inspired by how Texas conservatives have handled immigration instead of looking to California’s Republican Party.
California and Texas are similar in many ways. Hispanics are about 39 percent of the population of both states, both share a border with Mexico, and both have a long history of Mexicans living there (although Texas’ history is longer and richer). Crucially, large numbers of voters in both states have worried about illegal immigration and border control for decades. However, the political outcomes in both states are radically different because their state Republican parties dealt with illegal immigration and border security in very different ways.

Sanctuary Cities Represent The Worst Kind Of Liberal Lawlessness

Sanctuary Cities Represent The Worst Kind Of Liberal Lawlessness
The debate over sanctuary cities is about far more than immigration; it's about who has to obey the law and who doesn't
So let me get this straight: America is thrown into an overwrought political debate about the Confederate battle flag—a relic that has absolutely nothing to do with the shooting in Charleston—but is unwilling to engage in a conversation about the deliberate disregard of federal law that directly leads to the murder of at least one young woman?
That’s basically where we stand. After sending mixed signals, The Hill reports that Democrats will be making a concerted effort to defend San Francisco’s sanctuary laws and killing of Kathryn Steinle along the city’s famous waterfront.  Most Republicans will avoid the matter altogether for the sake of political expediency. Soon enough, I imagine, it’ll be xenophobic to bring it up at all.  One of these conversations, after all, is risk-free, jammed with self-satisfying preening about the right sort of evils. The other, morally complex—especially for the supporters of immigration reform (like myself)—and fraught with electoral consequences.

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