When it comes to private property, wrote economist Ludwig von Mises, it is a simple “either-or” proposition: “either private ownership of the means of production, or hunger and misery for everyone.” In 1959, Fidel Castro essentially abolished private property in Cuba, and the result has been exactly as Mises predicted: a declining standard of living and shortages of basic necessities such as food, building materials, and housing. Faced with this reality, Raul Castro, Fidel’s brother and successor, has begun scaling back government and liberalizing property laws. He has pledged to trim nearly one-quarter of the government workforce, which accounts for over 80 percent of all jobs in Cuba. Last year he began allowing private enterprise in some limited circumstances, and now “the number of private business operators has hit more than 333,000, above the expectations of the authorities, from 148,000 in 2010,” according to Agence France-Presse. In October he lifted some restrictions on the buying and selling of automobiles. Now, in what the Associated Press terms “the most important reform yet,” Castro’s government has announced that individuals will, for the first time in half a century, be able to buy and sell real estate.
There was precious little good news in the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) for October. Employment rose by 80,000, less than economists expected, and much less than the 250,000 needed to begin to bring down the unemployment rate significantly. But inside the numbers there was a little good news: The unemployment rate dropped slightly to 9.0 percent, the number of long-term unemployed declined by 365,000 and private-sector employment increased by 104,000. At the same time government payrolls have been decreasing, reducing slightly but inevitably the drag on the private sector that ultimately pays for that government overhead. In fact, according to the BLS, “employment in both state and local government has been trending down since the second half of 2008,” having shrunk by nearly 500,000 jobs. The August and September private-sector employment numbers were revised upwards as well, showing that sector struggling but making some progress in putting people back to work in real jobs. In the meantime President Obama’s “jobs bill” continues to be excoriated as being nothing more than show and tell for his political purposes. His flawed infrastructure plan couldn’t even get past the Democrat-controlled Senate as more are recognizing that dumping more money into the economy by taking it from the productive sector is counterproductive, to be kind about it. And his “executive proclamation” establishing the Fort Monroe National Monument in Hampton, Virginia, was touted to generate as many as 3,000 jobs in the area.
After spending the entire weekend trying to sell his company, MF Global, Chairman Jon Corzine finally capitulated, and his board declared bankruptcy on Monday morning, October 31. It was during negotiations with a potential suitor for the business, Interactive Brokers (IB), that word leaked out that customers’ monies were missing, and IB left Corzine to fend for himself. A board meeting was hastily called and ended Corzine’s dream of building another Goldman Sachs with other peoples’ money.  
With the U.S. Justice Department and Attorney General Eric Holder continually under fire these days, it was something of a surprise, even to Capitol Hill insiders, that the Freedom of Information Act, or FOIA, is now in the crosshairs, and that new rules are being advanced not only to deny the public access to documents, but to lie outright, telling requesters that either the documents never existed or don’t exist now. Washington Times reporter Luke Rosiak quoted portions of the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Center’s (EPIC) letter to the Justice Department lambasting its 180-degree turn: “These changes [to FOIA] … are contrary to law and exceed the authority of the agency.” EPIC’s letter called the move a “retreat from current practice.” “The administration’s proposed changes to the Freedom of Information Act guidelines would allow the Department of Justice to deny the existence of documents and [even] prevent judicial oversight,” wrote Seth Mendel in Commentary Magazine. He noted that even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) agreed that Obama was “authorizing agencies to lie.” The changes were announced October 30 and promptly picked up by most major news outlets. Legal Counsel for the Sunlight Foundation, John Mr. Wonderlich, wrote a strongly worded letter to the Department decrying the blatant retreat from open-government policies.
An illegal alien has admitted stabbing a woman to death in a Walmart parking lot in Albion, N.Y., police say, the second murder by an illegal this year in the small community about 30 miles northwest of the city of Rochester, near Lake Ontario. Authorities have charged Luis A. Rodriguez-Flamenco, 24, with the stabbing murder of Kathleen I. Byham, 45. She was leaving the store on October 30, the Batavia News reported, when Flamenco attacked her as two illegal aliens from Mexico watched. The other two have not been charged, but police turned them over to federal immigration authorities.  
On Wednesday, the state of North Dakota joined several power cooperatives in filing a lawsuit against the Attorney General of the neighboring state of Minnesota over Minnesota's restrictions on emissions from out-of-state electricity generators.  The law involved in the controversy, Minnesota’s Next Generation Energy Act (NGEA), was passed by the state legislature and signed into law by then-Governor Tim Pawlenty in 2007.    
With public acceptance of the theory of manmade global warming steadily waning, a new book that exposes the shoddy “science” peddled by the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is offering further proof that there is little reason to give credence to the “doomsday” threats issued by globalists and environmental extremists. The IPCC has been troubled by a series of scandals in recent years, several of which center directly on its chairman — Rajendra Pachauri — who received (on behalf of the IPCC) the Nobel Prize with former Vice President Al Gore in 2007. In the aftermath of the “Climategate” revelations, which raised fundamental questions about the "scientific" character of the entire theory of manmade global warming, a series of less memorable, but still highly significant, scandals erupted under Pachauri’s leadership at the IPCC. A debacle that was quickly named “Glaciergate” involved one of the more bizarre examples of the IPCC allegedly playing “fast and loose” with the facts. As reported for The New American in January 2010, “Glaciergate” involved claims in the supposedly-definitive scientific assessment of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC regarding the Himalayan glaciers that were not substantiated by science. Pachauri ultimately had to concede that the claim the glaciers would simply melt away by 2035 was “a regrettable error” and that “the whole paragraph, I mean the entire section is wrong.”
Operation “Fast and Furious” — the scandalous sale of thousands of weapons to Mexican drug lords with the complicity of President Obama’s Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (still known as ATF) — is now being used as an excuse for further governmental interference in the rights of American citizens to keep and bear arms. Rather than blaming the ineptitude of a federal agency run amok, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D.-Calif.) declares that the fundamental problem exposed by the “Fast and Furious” debacle is, in fact, that “anyone can walk in and buy anything” when it comes to firearms. As reported by CNSNews, Sen. Feinstein does not blame the Obama administration for the scandal of foreign drug cartels being armed as a result of the deliberate policy decisions of highly-placed government officials; instead, she blames the existence of almost-vestigial rights of Americans under the Bill of Rights: “This is a deep concern for me. I know others disagree, but we have very lax laws when it comes to guns,” Feinstein, an advocate of gun control,  said during Tuesday's hearing of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism. “My concern, Mr. Chairman, is that there’s been a lot said about Fast and Furious, and perhaps mistakes were made,” Feinstein said. “But I think this hunt for blame doesn’t really speak about the problem. And the problem is, anybody can walk in and buy anything.”
Only days before Solyndra’s bankruptcy, the Obama administration mulled over a last-minute bailout plan that would have granted the federal government part ownership of the solar panel-maker. The financial rescue would have infused cash into the company and delegated a new board of directors, two of whom would have been appointed by the Energy Department. The bailout plan was orchestrated by the investment banking firm Lazard, which was paid one million dollars to analyze the company’s financial options — and whose Vice Chairman is a major Democratic donor who contributed more than $2,000 to Obama’s 2008 campaign. However, the plan was ultimately rejected by the Energy Department. E-mails released in early October showed that the Obama administration restructured the loan guarantee in February after revelations of Solyndra’s financial woes. Because private investors agreed to contribute only if the repayment terms were modified, the restructuring plan allowed $75 million in private investments to be shuffled before taxpayers’ financial interests if bankruptcy ensued.
The Supreme Court has declined to take up the appeal of a lower court ruling that bans crosses placed along Utah’s highways in honor of fallen state troopers. The justices ruled 8-1 on October 31 not to hear the appeal filed by Utah and a state troopers’ group that had wanted the court to overturn the decision and give more leeway on the display of religious symbols on public lands. Reported the Associated Press: “Since 1998, the private Utah Highway Patrol Association has paid for and erected more than a dozen memorial crosses, most of them on state land. Texas-based American Atheists Inc. and three of its Utah members sued the state in 2005.” Two years later a federal court upheld the constitutionality of the crosses, but that ruling was later overturned by the 10th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals in Denver. In April the Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) took up the case on behalf of Utah and the Highway Patrol Association, asking the Supreme Court to review the case. ADF Senior Counsel Byron Babione expressed his disappointment in the High Court’s refusal. “One atheist group’s agenda shouldn’t diminish the sacrifice made by highway patrol officers and their families,” he said. “Thirteen heroic men fell, leaving their survivors to mourn and memorialize their loved ones, and now those widows, children, parents, colleagues, and many more must suffer through losing the very memorials that honored those heroes. Justice is not well served when unhappy atheists can use the law to mow down memorial crosses and renew the suffering for the survivors.”
JBS Facebook JBS Twitter JBS YouTube JBS RSS Feed