REASONAs Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg prepares to testify before both houses of Congress this week, a little more of the internet prepares to die.

We are in a social panic over social media, and the final outcome will almost certainly be some sort of government regulation or self-regulation-by-shotgun (think Comics Code Authority) that will ultimately serve only regulators and the dominant companies that help to write the new rules.

But come on, we’ve got to hurry up! Science says social media makes us depressed, alienated, lonely, bad-smelling! Social media is a vector for youth violence! FFS, even Facebook, which boasts over 2 billion users worldwide, says it makes us crazy and might even be “destroying how society works!” Worst of all, social media—and all the Russian hacking and fake news it abetted—might have helped Donald Trump become president. Regulate now!

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1.1 Self-Ownership

Posted: 12th May 2018 by SouthernWatchman in Freedoms, Libertarianism, Slavery, SouthernWatch

If you don’t own your own body, then someone else owns it… and that makes you a slave. You’re not a slave, are you?

1.1 Self-Ownership

Help Support and Grow the Southern Watch

Posted: 12th May 2018 by SouthernWatchman in AmazonAffiliate, FreeMarket, SouthernWatch

Help support and grow the Southern Watch by doing your amazon shopping through our Affiliate Program. It’s easy, secure and costs you no more than the time it takes to click twice. Cheers!

http://www.southernwatch.net/amazon-affiliate/

1.0 PERSONAL LIBERTY

Posted: 12th May 2018 by SouthernWatchman in Freedoms, Libertarianism, responsibility, SouthernWatch

The glaring lack of personal responsibility in today’s American society is astounding.  Don’t be a statistic.  Be responsible. Have liberty.

1.0 PERSONAL LIBERTY


REASONLast night President Trump launched military strikes against Syria, as punishment for the Assad regime’s apparent use of chemical weapons in its ongoing civil war. The actions were supplemented by leaders of France and Britain, who said the attacks are a protest against the use of chemical weapons, not a call for regime change. Trump, who only weeks ago was calling for the pulling of all U.S. troops from the region, said that the United States will “sustain this response until the Syrian regime stops its use of prohibited chemical agents.”

Whatever Trump’s argument for intervention, it seems to be an unconstitutional act on its face. The president has broad powers to defend the country as commander in chief but we are neither technically at war nor were we facing an imminent threat, the two conditions that would allow him to act unilaterally under without prior authorization. In bombing first and asking permission later, of course, the president is merely following in the footsteps of many, if not all, of his recent predecessors.

As is common in this administration, key officials are at publicly at odds with one another. Defense Secretary James Mattis has announced the missiles and bombs were a “one-time shot” while Trump avers this is part of a sustained action until the right outcome (not exactly clear that that means) is reached.

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INTERNATIONAL LIBERTY – When trying to convince someone about the downsides of socialism, I generally make a practical argument. I point out that socialism has universally failed, whether looking at totalitarian versions in places such as North Korea and Cuba or democratic versions in places such as Venezuela and Greece.

Simply stated, the particular strain of socialism doesn’t make a difference. At the end of the day, the greater the level of statism, the greater the level of economic damage.

But our friends on the left aren’t discouraged. Indeed, the support for cranks like Bernie Sanders and Jeremy Corbyn is a sign that socialist policies still have appeal to some people.

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REASON – After several years of steady investment growth and higher contributions from taxpayers, most of America’s public sector pension plans are still awash in red ink.

According to a new report from the Pew Charitable Trusts, the states collectively carry more than $1.4 trillion in pension debt—and only four states have at least 90 percent of the assets necessary to meet their long-term obligations to retirees. The Pew paper, which is based on states’ 2016 financial reports, shows that pension debt increased by about $295 billion since the previous year, making 2016 the 15th consecutive year in which state-level pension debt increased.

The really scary part is that pension debt keeps increasing despite the fact that taxpayers’ contributions to state-level pension plans have doubled as a share of state revenue in the past decade. Also worrisome: Pension plans are chasing increasingly risky investments. The gap between returns on safe investments and state pension plan investment assumptions was the highest in decades, the Pew researchers note, leaving pensions more vulnerable to market volatility and raising concerns that another downturn could drive already deeply indebted systems over a cliff.

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REASONFor those of us who grew up during the Cold War, the TV series “The Americans” is a blast. The main characters are Soviet “illegals”—a married couple who pose as travel agents, but engage in espionage and murder on behalf of the Russians in their spare time. I’m not sure it’s realistic, but the back stories (Afghan war, Nicaraguan Contras) certainly are. The series, which I started watching recently, brings back memories from that era.

Another recent matter has brought back old thoughts of Yuri Andropov and Leonid Brezhnev, as well. Oddly enough, it came in a statement sent by California Attorney General Xavier Becerra’s office touting legislation to crack down on “California’s growing underground economy.” What really grabbed my attention was its quotation from Senate Bill 1272’s author, Sen. Cathleen Galgiani, D-Stockton. She praised a pilot program for cracking down on “economic crimes.”

That’s an arcane term one doesn’t hear much in the United States, given our longstanding love of enterprise. It echoes terms from the Communist world. In those totalitarian societies, virtually every form of private economic activity was forbidden. Soviet, Bulgarian or Cuban citizens were not allowed to own property, start businesses, or buy and sell things in the black market, which is just another term for the “underground economy,” writes Steven Greenhut.

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How the Market Can Redeem the University

Posted: 12th May 2018 by SouthernWatchman in Education, FEE, markets, SouthernWatch, university

FEE.ORGThe Dilemma: Colleges and universities are increasingly relying on adult learners, students from corporate partnerships, online learners, and first-generation higher education participants to fill their enrollment needs. Yet, much of the academic fare is still traditional—or structured for a novice scholar. A recent Wall Street Journal article, More Companies Teach Workers What Colleges Don’t  (Belkin, 2018) points out that organizations are filling the gaps where higher education may be missing the mark in regard to what workers need to know, do, and how to behave professionally.

Basic knowledge and skills may be developed in formal education. Yet, the full stock of a human’s capacity is developed through daily work, practice, reflection, and refinement. Strong and full human capital development requires participation in free markets. There is no substitute. Markets are the proving ground for knowledge application, skills, professional behaviors, and even values that shape an individual’s human capital. The union of individuals pulling education as needed (demanded) while participating in free markets is quickly becoming the new imperative. Many students cannot afford a four-year traditional experience hoping to net a professional role. Society needs productive workers, and businesses need skilled personnel that is “work ready.”

Organizations are filling the gaps where higher education may be missing the mark in regard to what workers need to know.

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REASON – Budget-watchers have been predicting the return of trillion-dollar deficits for months. That forecast will likely become offical—or as official as these things can ever be—later this week, when the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) releases its annual outlook for revenue and spending.

The 2018 Budget and Economic Outlook will be the CBO’s first major assessment of the federal government’s fiscal trajectory since December’s sweeping tax bill and February’s two-year budget deal, which shattered spending caps and boosted federal outlays by more than $400 billion. Either of those developments would have been likely to increase future deficits, but together they’ll be like adding cocaine to your morning coffee. Even under the sunniest set of assumptions, the tax bill will add between $1 trillion and $1.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade; the spending plan tacked on another $320 billion.

That means trillion-dollar deficits are the “new normal,” says Stan Collender, author of The Guide to the Federal Budget, in a new column at Forbes. It fact, the deficit is likely to push well above the $1 trillion in future years.

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