Archive for July, 2012

Milton Friedman centenary

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

The Man Who Saved Capitalism
Milton Friedman, who would have turned 100 on Tuesday, helped to make free markets popular again in the 20th century. His ideas are even more important today.

In the early 1990s, Friedman visited poverty-stricken Mexico City for a Cato Institute forum. I remember the swirling controversy ginned up by the media and Mexico’s intelligentsia: How dare this apostle of free-market economics be given a public forum to speak to Mexican citizens about his “outdated” ideas? Yet when Milton arrived in Mexico he received a hero’s welcome as thousands of business owners, students and citizen activists hungry for his message encircled him everywhere he went, much like crowds for a modern rock star.

Well over 200 million were liberated from poverty thanks to the rediscovery of the free market.

The folks at HACER are celebrating 100 years of Milton Friedman’s ideas with 10 events in 8 countries of the Americas

Thanks to the generous support of the Friedman Foundation for Educational Choice, HACER’s allies in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, the United States and Venezuela will join efforts to celebrate Friedman’s life and legacy for freedom around the world.

Steven Hayward remembers Milton Friedman

My all time favorite Milton story involves the time he was motoring in Europe, and noticed a large group of men digging in a field with shovels. Milton asked someone why they didn’t use a steam shovel or earth mover, and was told that digging with shovels was an employment measure, and if they used an earth mover it would put people out of work. To which Milton naturally followed up: “Then why don’t you give them spoons?”

Thomas Sowell:

No one converted Milton Friedman, either in economics or in his views on social policy. His own research, analysis and experience converted him.

As a professor, he did not attempt to convert students to his political views. I made no secret of the fact that I was a Marxist when I was a student in Professor Friedman’s course, but he made no effort to change my views. He once said that anybody who was easily converted was not worth converting.

I was still a Marxist after taking Professor Friedman’s class. Working as an economist in the government converted me.

What Milton Friedman is best known for as an economist was his opposition to Keynesian economics, which had largely swept the economics profession on both sides of the Atlantic, with the notable exception of the University of Chicago, where Friedman was both trained as a student and later taught.

In the heyday of Keynesian economics, many economists believed that inflationary government policies could reduce unemployment, and early empirical data seemed to support that view. The inference was that the government could make careful trade-offs between inflation and unemployment, and thus “fine tune” the economy.

Milton Friedman challenged this view with both facts and analysis. He showed that the relationship between inflation and unemployment held only in the short run, when the inflation was unexpected. But, after everyone got used to inflation, unemployment could be just as high with high inflation as it had been with low inflation.

When both unemployment and inflation rose at the same time in the 1970s — “stagflation,” as it was called — the idea of the government “fine tuning” the economy faded away. There are still some die-hard Keynesians today who keep insisting that the government’s “stimulus” spending would have worked, if only it was bigger and lasted longer.

This is one of those heads-I-win-and-tails-you-lose arguments. Even if the government spends itself into bankruptcy and the economy still does not recover, Keynesians can always say that it would have worked if only the government had spent more.

Although Milton Friedman became someone regarded as a conservative icon, he considered himself a liberal in the original sense of the word — someone who believes in the liberty of the individual, free of government intrusions. Far from trying to conserve things as they are, he wrote a book titled “Tyranny of the Status Quo.”

Milton Friedman proposed radical changes in policies and institution ranging from the public schools to the Federal Reserve. It is liberals who want to conserve and expand the welfare state.

As a student of Professor Friedman back in 1960, I was struck by two things — his tough grading standards and the fact that he had a black secretary. This was years before affirmative action. People on the left exhibit blacks as mascots. But I never heard Milton Friedman say that he had a black secretary, though she was with him for decades. Both his grading standards and his refusal to try to be politically correct increased my respect for him.

My favorite Friedman clip: when he pops Donahue’s balloon,


Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

It’s vampire day!

Bill Richardson’s scared:

From Univision, the Lateeenoh  network:

Former New Mexico governor and Democratic presidential candidate Bill Richardson admits to the Univision cyclops that he is very afraid of Marco Rubio.   The Castro-hugging Richardson — whose propaganda exploits on behalf of the regime have been exposed here on Babalu numerous times (see this sample from last year)  — broke free  from the talking points memo of the Obama campaign and admitted that Marco Rubio could siphon off some of the HIss-Panic vote despite the fact that he is a Cuban-American and therefore also wrong  on just about every issue that matters to Hiss-Panics.

As former SCTV superstar Count Floyd would say: AWWWOOOOOOOOO, ARRROOOOOOOOOO!

Meanwhile, That heartless vampire capitalist is kind of a … wimp?

Anything, any thing, to distract from the dismal economy and jobs situation.


Romney: “Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” UPDATED

Monday, July 30th, 2012

Jennifer Rubin:

Without specifically criticizing President Obama in his speech in Jerusalem, Mitt Romney delivered a blow to the Obama campaign’s frantic efforts to defend the president’s hostile stance toward the Jewish state simply by saying: “It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” The Obama administration can’t even say that much, a sign of how reflectively protective of the Palestinians’ sensibilities is this president. Of course, Jerusalem is the capital. It was declared so in 1948. The Knesset is there. The disposition of its bordersis a matter for final status negotiation, but only an uninformed or virulently insensitive administration would be unable to distinguish the two.

In a bit of cleverness the Romney team sent out the text of the speech with this header: “Mitt Romney today delivered remarks to the Jerusalem Foundation in Jerusalem, Israel.” That is a deliberate dig at this administration. which has repeatedly put out documents suggestingthat Jerusalem isn’t in Israel and has attempted to scrub from the White House Web site the reference to Israel’s capital.

Romney’s speech paid tribute to America’s historic relationship with Israel. (“Different as our paths have been, we see the same qualities in one another. Israel and America are in many respects reflections of one another.”)

It also was a forceful rebuke to Obama on a number of levels.

  • on Iran
  • on Obama’s notion that because he’s been supportive of Israel with military assistance he can be credited with a good record on Israel
  • on Egypt, so “the new government honors the peace agreement with Israel”

Legal Insurrection has video,

Barry Rubin looks at the speech (h/t Power Line),

What was especially interesting was Romney’s list of five factors that brought together the United States and Israel: democracy, the rule of law, a belief in universal rights granted by our Creator (a reference to the Declaration of Independence and a subtle rebuke to Obama’s frequent omission of that divine attribution), free enterprise, and freedom of expression.

And then Romney added something that might become one of his most important lines in the months to come: Capitalism was the only economic system in history to raise people from poverty and create a huge middle class.

Full text and video.

Meanwhile, Tina Brown’s Bankrupt Magazine Newsweek Calls Mitt Romney a ‘Wimp’ as they steal from themselves.

Romney’s foreign travels/travails: telling the truth


If the United States wants to regain its status as a superpower, it will have to begin acting like one.”


Monday, July 30th, 2012

And, at that price, the hook-and-eyes are pulling apart, while the center panel has been altered.

Click on the photo for details.

UPDATE, Aug. 1:
Ann Romney slammed for $990 Shirt, Michelle Obama praised for $6,800 jacket

50 Shades of Grey, read by the Washington Nationals

Saturday, July 28th, 2012

Via Tree Hugging Sister.

Cocaine’s Flow Is Unchecked in Venezuela

Friday, July 27th, 2012

Flights to nowhere? Or Drug Flow Through Venezuela?

William Neuman reporting for the NYTimes on how Cocaine’s Flow Is Unchecked in Venezuela

e and it doesn’t matter,” said one resident, standing beside an eight-foot-deep hole that soldiers had blown in a runway near the Cinaruco River, the plains stretching out for miles. “They can make another one right next to it.”

But perhaps the main attraction for traffickers is that the federal government’s hold on large parts of Apure, the poorest state in the country, is tentative at best.

In many areas, residents say, the real power is held by the FARC, which they describe as moving around the state with alarming impunity.

One resident living in Santos Luzardo National Park, a picturesque preserve abounding in wildlife, said that last month two FARC members patrolled the remote area on motorcycles, asking farmers if they had heard any airplanes, apparently concerned that traffickers were using a nearby airstrip without paying.

The guerrillas also collect protection money from local businesses, ranchers and fishing camps along some parts of Venezuela’s long border with Colombia. One resident said that a small group of FARC members showed up at a homestead in December and set up camp for a week, using it as a base to patrol the area and possibly protecting drug flights. He said the owner had no choice about whether to accept, although the guerrillas brought their own food.

The residents also expressed fear and mistrust of government authorities. Most said they believed that local officials and soldiers were in league with the traffickers and that passing along information about the traffickers’ activities would result in reprisals. Residents said they had learned to coexist with the traffickers just as they had gotten used to the frequent sound of low-flying aircraft at night. But many said they were fearful and felt intimidated.

h/t Dick.


Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

Who is this guy?

Is he a Dude wannabe?

No, it’s Ralph-pronounced-Rafe Finnes (his little brother is Joe, pronounced “Joe”; and no, they do not have a brother named Dalph-pronounced-Dave), preparing for an upcoming role.

Unfortunately, the part Ralph-pronounced-Rafe got is Charles Dickens, since there is no sequel to The Big Lebowski in the works, and, besides, only this guy is The Dude.

Maybe Ralph-pronounced-Rafe could make it to the next Lebowskifest (Seattle, August 10-11). All he needs is a bathrobe.

For those of us who remember The English Patient, here’s a tear-jerking moment,

Blogging on more serious matters shall resume shortly.

Romney questions whether Castro 
regime had hand in Paya’s death

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

It’s been a while since a Presidential candidate has not been willing to kiss up to Castro: Romney questions whether Castro 
regime had hand in activist’s death (h/t Instapundit)

Romney called Payá’s death “profoundly heartbreaking and infuriating.”

“The circumstances surrounding Mr. Payá’s death again raise questions about the pattern of conduct by a despotic regime that is constantly seeking ways to annihilate all internal dissent while the world stands in silence,” Romney said in a statement. “The international community should demand that the facts concerning Payá’s death be accurately determined and that the surviving witnesses be protected.”

Cuban dictatorship beats and arrests dozens during Paya’s funeral. Video here:

Argentina: Cristina will miss the Olympics

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

London 2012: Argentina to snub UK by refusing to send president to Olympic Games opening ceremony

Argentina has decided not to send its president to attend the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in a diplomatic snub to Britain at a time of growing tensions over the Falkland Islands.

$5 says no one will miss her.

Monday night tango: It takes 1 to tango

Monday, July 23rd, 2012