Mein Kampf, E-Readers, and the Power of Nazi Propaganda

Mein
Kampf
 is the
sleeper e-book hit of 2013
, with a number of competing digital
versions of Hitler’s autobiographical manifesto surging at online
retailers.
According to journalist Chris Faraone
, the trend may have much
to do with the anonymity digital editions afford readers. 

People might not have wanted to buy Mein Kampf
at Borders or have it delivered to their home or displayed on their
living room bookshelf, let alone get spotted reading it on a
subway, but judging by hundreds of customer comments online,
readers like that digital copies can be quietly perused then
dropped into a folder or deleted.

Mein Kampf survives as one of the most effective pieces
of propaganda created by the Nazis, who knew a lot about using mass
media to instill fear and loyalty. In a 2010 Reason TV
video, Steve Luckert of the United States Holocaust Memorial
Museum’s highlighted some of the artifacts displayed
in”
State of
Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda
.” Among them: a
braille copy of
Mein Kampf.

The original text from the Dec. 2, 2010 video, which was
produced by Jim Epstein, is below. 

From radio and film to newspapers and publishing, the
Nazi regime controlled every aspect of German culture from
1933-1945. Through Josef Goebbels’ Ministry of Public Enlightenment
and Propaganda, the German state tightly controlled political
messaging, promoting deification of the leader—the
Führerprinzip—and the demonization of the ubiquitous and
duplicitous “racial enemy.” A new exhibit at the United States
Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., examines “how the
Nazi Party used modern techniques as well as new technologies and
carefully crafted messages to sway millions with its vision for a
new Germany.” Reason.tv’s Michael C. Moynihan visited with museum
historian and curator Steve Luckert to discuss the role and
effectiveness of propaganda in the rise of fascism and what lessons
can be drawn from the Nazi experiment in mass
manipulation

Approximately 6 minutes.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/the-power-of-nazi-propaganda
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Irish Finance Ministry Reveals It Has Lost Banking Crisis Files

We are sure there is a joke in here somewhere but it is no laughing matter. Following a request for copies of 8 documents  of correspondence between Ireland’s (former) finance minister and the nations’ largest bank executives, the Irish minstry of finance has been forced to admit that it cannot find two out of the eight. The documents, previously 100% redacted, raises questions as to whether other documents have gone ‘missing’. As RTE reports, the Department of Finance said it had carried out a widespread search for the documents and it was not clear why the original versions could not be located. Those darn leprechauns… We are sure, however, it has nothing to do with the Irish banks “picking bailout numbers out of their arses.”

 

Via RTE,

Documents relating to the banking crisis have gone missing at the Department of Finance.

 

The department has conceded that some correspondence forwarded from Bank of Ireland to the former minister for finance Brian Lenihan can no longer be located.

 

 

In 2009, the department was asked under Freedom of Information to release copies of all correspondence between the late Mr Lenihan and the chief executives of the banks during the period August 2008 to March 2009.

 

The department released eight items.

 

Late last year, Sinn Féin finance spokesperson Pearse Doherty requested repeat copies of these documents.

 

He was told that two out of the eight could no longer be found.

 

When released in 2009, both had been completely redacted.

 

They concerned correspondence between the governor of Bank of Ireland Richard Burrows and an advisor to the Jupiter group, Noel Corcoran.

 

Jupiter was trying to buy Bank of Ireland at the time.

 

Mr Doherty said the fact that the department could not locate records was worrying ahead of the banking inquiry.

 

He said it raised questions as to whether other documents may have gone missing.

 

In a statement to RTÉ News this evening, the Department of Finance said it had carried out a widespread search for the documents and it was not clear why the original versions could not be located.

 

It said that it had undertaken a project which would ensure the completeness and integrity of its records from the time of the bank guarantee.

 

 

It said that it was not aware of any documents relating to the bank guarantee which may have gone missing.

 

Mr Doherty said: “These letters existed in 2009.  They were released but the content was fully redacted to a journalist under the Freedom of Information legislation.

 

“However I have now been informed that these letters have gone missing from the Department of Finance.

 

These are some of the only documents between the Governor of the Bank of Ireland and the Minister for Finance during a period when the government decided to pump €3.5m of taxpayers’ money into that bank.”

 

He went on to say: “The only reason we know that these documents are missing is because two separate FOIs were made on the same document over a four year period.  The question has to be asked about what other sensitive documents have gone missing.  The reality is that we may never know.

 

“If the upcoming banking inquiry is to be successful it is important that all relevant documents are found or returned.”

 

Good job they got that bond issue off eh?


    



via Zero Hedge http://ift.tt/1gZvNsK Tyler Durden

The US Is Not Switzerland: Weighs Sanctions Against South Sudan

Despite telling us just yesterday that it would not take sides in the tensions in South Sudan…

  • *U.S. NOT TAKING SIDES IN S SUDAN: PSAKI

the US government is on the verge of deciding to… take sides. As Reuters reports, the United States is weighing targeted sanctions against South Sudan due to its leaders' failure to take steps to end a crisis that has brought the world's youngest nation to the brink of civil war. Africa, as we have discussed at length, remains the only region on earth with incremental debt capacity (and therefore growth in a Keynesian world) and so it is no surprise the US wants to get involved in yet another conflict.

 

Via Reuters,

"It's a tool that has been discussed," a source told Reuters on condition of anonymity about the possibility of U.S. sanctions against those blocking peace efforts or fueling violence in South Sudan. Another source confirmed the remarks, though both declined to provide details on the precise measures under consideration.

 

No decisions have been made yet, the sources added. Targeted sanctions focus on specific individuals, entities or sectors of country.

 

The U.S. government was unlikely to consider steps intended to economically harm impoverished South Sudan but would likely focus on any measures on those individuals or groups it sees as blocking efforts at brokering peace or committing atrocities.

 

As we discussed previously, there is an African scramble so it is unsurprisng the US would choose to take sides and get involved:

While those in the power and money echelons of the "developed" world scramble day after day to hold the pieces of the collapsing tower of cards in place (and manipulating public perception that all is well), knowing full well what the final outcome eventually will be, those who still have the capacity to look, and invest, in the future, are looking neither toward the US, nor Asia, and certainly not Europe, for one simple reason: there is no more incremental debt capacity at any level: sovereign, household, financial or corporate. Because without the ability to create debt out of thin air, be it on a secured or unsecured basis, the ability to "create" growth, at least in the current Keynesian paradigm, goes away with it. Yet there is one place where there is untapped credit creation potential, if not on an unsecured (i.e., future cash flow discounting), then certainly on a secured (hard asset collateral) basis. The place is Africa, and according to some estimates the continent, Africa can create between $5 and $10 trillion in secured debt, using its extensive untapped resources as first-lien collateral.

Africa is precisely where the smart money (and those who quietly run the abovementioned "power echelons"), namely China and Goldman Sachs, have refocused all their attention in the past year precisely because they both realize that Africa is the last and only bastion of untapped credit growth and capacity. But you won't read about it in the mainstream papers: the last thing those who are currently splitting up Africa into its constituent parts want is for the general public to become aware what is in play. You will, however, read about it on these pages (see here and here and here). Also, if you are a Goldman client, you will certainly know all about it, as the firm ventures out with reverse inquiry indications of interest to its wealthy clients giving them the right of first equity refusal, and slowly but surely providing "financial services" to the last great hope for the developing world, which ironically is what most still consider the poorest continent…

Africa in geographical perspective…


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/CANdQYv5E5A/story01.htm Tyler Durden

4 Facts About Chris Christie and Bridgeghazigate!

Our
story thus far
: Back in September, lanes on the George
Washington Bridge, which links New York City with New Jersey, were
closed for no apparent reason. It turns out that the lanes were
closed on the orders of staffers for Gov. Chris Christie (R-N.J.),
who did it to punish the mayor of Ft. Lee for not supporting their
boss in his easy bid for re-election.

The mind boggles for all sorts of reasons, none more obvious
than this: How in the hell does freezing traffic for hours and
miles for schoolchildren, truckers, and commuters punish a
mayor
? Among many other things, this revenge plan makes no
fucking sense at all. As a proud New Jersey native, I’ve gotta say
that this is something you’d expect from idiot Long Islanders, not
whip-smart Garden Staters.

Here are four things to remember about Bridgeghazigate.

1. This is a big frickin’ deal, but ultimately only for
the NYC metro crowd.
If you’re familiar with the greater
NYC metro area, you know what chronic traffic fatigue does to a
person. It makes them ornery, annoyed, and one missed light away
from snapping into a rage worthy of Tony Soprano. The idea that
anyone anywhere would do anything to make traffic worse is
virtually inconceivable. Having said that, even for most of New
Jersey, much less the rest of the country, could give a rat’s ass.
I mean, everyone hates New Yorkers and the Jersey folk dependent
for work and meaning on the Big Apple. I guarantee you that people
below, say, Interstate 195, which bisects the state between Trenton
and Belmar, mostly laughed at the traffic jam. Whadda they
expect, living near NY?

2. It shows that Gov. Christie is surrounded by total
idiots.
As of this moment, there’s no evidence showing
that Chris Christie had direct or even subsequent knowledge of what
the hell was going on. Still, that he would be working with people
capable of such ill-conceived plans reflects extremely poorly on
him. Given his press conference yesterday – itself a deeply
depressing spectacle that showed the governor to be a self-absorbed
baby – there’s no wiggle room going forward: If it comes out that
he knew about Bridgeghazigate and/or signed off on it, he might be
moving into a bachelor pad with reviled former New Jersey Gov. Jim
McGreevey.

3. This will have next to no effect on Christie’s
run for the GOP nomination.
 

Assuming that nothing more surfaces about Christie’s
involvement, this episode will have absolutely zero impact on
whether Christie ultimately wins the Republican nomination for
president in 2016. This is the classic case of a mountain being
made out of a molehill and no one will give a good goddamn about
this by the end of the month, much less 2016. It may weaken
Christie’s hand as governor a bit, but that’s about it. And for
god’s sake, it did drown out much of the fallout of former Defense
Secretary Bob Gate’s scathing indictment of Barack Obama and
Hillary Clinton. That’s a far more important story, both now and in
terms of the future.

4. Christie’s record in New Jersey will be the real
issue – and the real problem – in his run for the GOP
nomination.
 Christie has proposed and signed off on
budgets that have increased spending every year he’s been in office
(his
budgets start FY2011
; see page 71). He is a classic
big-spending Republican who absolutely loves to
shower tax breaks
on favored corporate citizens, even when the
projects they are pursuing have
failed any sort of market test
. If he’s ultimately weak on the
sort of fiscal rectitude that the GOP faithful will be looking for
in a president, he’s also weak-kneed on social issues in a way that
will frustrate both social cons and moderates. He refused to come
out in favor of (or against!) marriage equality, instead pushing
for a statewide vote on the matter. He’s bad on medical marijuana
(see video below) and, as a former prosecutor, he’s even worse on
recreational pot. When it comes to foreign policy, he’s essentially
a cipher who seems willing to play along with a hawkish status quo.
Again, that may win him some primary votes among GOP voters but
that will also cost him dearly among the growing
non-interventionists in the party of Lincoln and not go over
terribly well with a general electorate that will be even more
war-weary two years from now.

Watch “‘Don’t Let My Daughter Die, Governor!’: Chris
Christie vs. Medical Marijuana”:

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/4-facts-about-chris-christie-and-bridgeg
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Humana Warns of “‘Adverse ObamaCare Enrollment Mix”

Thought the incredibly unpopular ObamaCare health plan (the most epic disaster story was the woman who was touted as a success and then later kicked off her plan) had put most of its problems behind it? Think again. Yesterday, after the stock market close, health insurer Humana warned that the “risk mix” of those who have signed up for the program will be “more adverse than previously expected.”

In plain english what this means is that only old and sick people are signing up, while younger generations with piles of student debt, a couch in their parents’ basements and no jobs decide to ride things out uninsured.

Honestly, I can’t blame them, as I just received my own 12% rate hike the other day. Happy New Year to you too Barry.

From Investor’s Business Daily:

Humana said the “risk mix” of its ObamaCare exchange members will be “more adverse than previously expected,” the latest evidence that the health reform is attracting older, sicker Americans than originally projected.

The health insurer, in an SEC filing late Thursday, cited the Obama administration’s 11th hour decision to let people stay on plans that had been cancelled due to ObamaCare regulations. The White House was reacting to political anger of President Obama’s “if you like your plan, you can keep it” vow.

Humana made no mention of the administration’s late December decision to let people with cancelled plans avoid the individual mandate tax penalty in 2014. Those who choose to forgo insurance presumably will be younger and healthier.

continue reading

from A Lightning War for Liberty http://libertyblitzkrieg.com/2014/01/10/humana-warns-of-adverse-obamacare-enrollment-mix/
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5 Things To Ponder: Markets, Valuations & Investing

Submitted by Lance Roberts of STA Wealth Management,

In yesterday's post, I showed several charts that "Market Bulls Should Consider" as the mainstream media, analysts and economists continue to become more ebullient as we enter the new year.  This weekend's "Things To Ponder" follows along with this contrarian thought process particularly as it appears that virtually all "bears" have now been forced into hibernation.

David Rosenberg recently penned a piece for the Financial Post discussing his views on why the market in 2014 still has room to run.  While his arguments of stronger economic growth via increased fixed capital investment (discussed in detail here), a steep yield curve and rising leading economic indicators (LEI) are certainly compelling; it is worth noting that the last two arguments have been directly impacted, to a large degree, by the interventions of the Federal Reserve.  The article is well worth reading as it provides the context behind today's missive.

 

1) The US Is The Most Expensive Developed Market In The World via Zero Hedge

"The chart speaks for itself, but for those greatly rotating their 'cash on the sidelines' into stocks; JPMorgan points out that US equities are 2 standard deviations rich to their average valuation and are in fact the most expensive in the developed world…"

zero-hedge-011014

 

[Note:  The reference to "cash on the sidelines" is part of Cliff Asness' 10 Pet Peeves which is a must read for any investor.]

For more charts from JP Morgan on market valuation go here.

 

2) The Biggest Redistribution Of Wealth From The Poor To The Rich by Shane Obata-Marusic (@sobata416)

While the current administration has continued to promote the "war on poverty" the reality is that, as stated by Robert Rector, it has been less than successful.

"Fifty years and $20 trillion later, LBJ's goal to help the poor become self-supporting has failed."

Shane's most recent study discusses the ongoing impact of the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing" programs as a wealth transfer mechanism from the poor and middle class to the rich.  The implications of this transfer effect, as shown in the chart below, on an economy that is nearly 70% driven by personal consumption expenditures suggests that the real "wealth effect" of the Fed's interventions has been a negative rather than a positive.

The-Great-Wealth-Transfer

 

3) 5 Questions On The Economy To Be Answered In 2014 via The Wall Street Journal

Economic forecasters are counting on 2014 to be a breakout year. But whether the economy finally moves past its sluggish growth will rest on several forces playing out differently than they have since the recovery began. Some of the key questions that must be answered in the coming year are:

  • Will businesses finally shed their caution?
  • Will Washington's tentative truce continue?
  • Will the Fed's path out of the bond buying get bumpy?
  • Will housing adjust easily to higher interest rates?
  • Will the rest of the world cooperate?

While the WSJ gives their assessment the importance of the questions, and how you personally answer them, are critical as to how you structure your current asset allocation.

 

4) How To Lose Money In A Hurry by Mark Hulbert; WSJ MarketWatch

Mark Hulbert wrote a great piece discussing the most often forgotten phrase by investors; "Past performance is no guarantee of future results."  As he states:

"'This phrase, ubiquitous in the small print of financial products, often falls on deaf ears,' according to Adam Reed, a finance professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 'Investors have a tendency to rush into those funds that are at the top of the previous year's performance rankings,' he says, citing numerous studies.

 

They shouldn't. The evidence is that last year's top performers will lag the market in 2014 — if not lose a lot of money."

This is clearly shown in the following periodic table of returns by Callan.  While it is entirely possible that chasing the stock market in 2014 could yield a positive return, it is also likely that an unloved asset class like "bonds" could just as well rise to the surface.  Just food for thought.

Callan Periodic Table of Investment Returns-2012-notated

 

5) The Death Of Long Term Thinking (1800-2013) an Obituary by Morgan Housel

I have written and articulated many times in the past that the "long term investor" is dead.  In a market driven by artificial interventions, high frequency and program trading and a "casino" mentality by individuals the age old axioms of "buy cheap and sell dear" have all but been forgotten.  This idea was brilliantly opined in this obituary of "Long Term Thinking."

"Long-Term Thinking died on Tuesday. His last true friend, Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, was at his side. He was 213 years old.

 

Long-Term Thinking lived an illustrious life since the start of the Industrial Revolution, when for the first time, people could think about more than their next meal. But poor incentives and the rise of 24/7 media chipped away at his health. The final blow came Monday, when a trader on CNBC warned that a 10% market pullback — which has occurred on average every 11 months over the last century — could be 'devastating' for investors. 'That's it,' Long-Term Thinking whispered from his hospital bed. 'There's no more room for me here.' He died soon after Bloomberg published its daily tally of how much the net worths of the world's billionaires changed in the previous 24 hours."

And on that sad note I leave you to ponder the risk in your portfolio, the potential for 2014 and how the "evolution of cats explains why they are grumpy."


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/nEPXU9hALDk/story01.htm Tyler Durden

5 Things To Ponder: Markets, Valuations & Investing

Submitted by Lance Roberts of STA Wealth Management,

In yesterday's post, I showed several charts that "Market Bulls Should Consider" as the mainstream media, analysts and economists continue to become more ebullient as we enter the new year.  This weekend's "Things To Ponder" follows along with this contrarian thought process particularly as it appears that virtually all "bears" have now been forced into hibernation.

David Rosenberg recently penned a piece for the Financial Post discussing his views on why the market in 2014 still has room to run.  While his arguments of stronger economic growth via increased fixed capital investment (discussed in detail here), a steep yield curve and rising leading economic indicators (LEI) are certainly compelling; it is worth noting that the last two arguments have been directly impacted, to a large degree, by the interventions of the Federal Reserve.  The article is well worth reading as it provides the context behind today's missive.

 

1) The US Is The Most Expensive Developed Market In The World via Zero Hedge

"The chart speaks for itself, but for those greatly rotating their 'cash on the sidelines' into stocks; JPMorgan points out that US equities are 2 standard deviations rich to their average valuation and are in fact the most expensive in the developed world…"

zero-hedge-011014

 

[Note:  The reference to "cash on the sidelines" is part of Cliff Asness' 10 Pet Peeves which is a must read for any investor.]

For more charts from JP Morgan on market valuation go here.

 

2) The Biggest Redistribution Of Wealth From The Poor To The Rich by Shane Obata-Marusic (@sobata416)

While the current administration has continued to promote the "war on poverty" the reality is that, as stated by Robert Rector, it has been less than successful.

"Fifty years and $20 trillion later, LBJ's goal to help the poor become self-supporting has failed."

Shane's most recent study discusses the ongoing impact of the Federal Reserve's "quantitative easing" programs as a wealth transfer mechanism from the poor and middle class to the rich.  The implications of this transfer effect, as shown in the chart below, on an economy that is nearly 70% driven by personal consumption expenditures suggests that the real "wealth effect" of the Fed's interventions has been a negative rather than a positive.

The-Great-Wealth-Transfer

 

3) 5 Questions On The Economy To Be Answered In 2014 via The Wall Street Journal

Economic forecasters are counting on 2014 to be a breakout year. But whether the economy finally moves past its sluggish growth will rest on several forces playing out differently than they have since the recovery began. Some of the key questions that must be answered in the coming year are:

  • Will businesses finally shed their caution?
  • Will Washington's tentative truce continue?
  • Will the Fed's path out of the bond buying get bumpy?
  • Will housing adjust easily to higher interest rates?
  • Will the rest of the world cooperate?

While the WSJ gives their assessment the importance of the questions, and how you personally answer them, are critical as to how you structure your current asset allocation.

 

4) How To Lose Money In A Hurry by Mark Hulbert; WSJ MarketWatch

Mark Hulbert wrote a great piece discussing the most often forgotten phrase by investors; "Past performance is no guarantee of future results."  As he states:

"'This phrase, ubiquitous in the small print of financial products, often falls on deaf ears,' according to Adam Reed, a finance professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. 'Investors have a tendency to rush into those funds that are at the top of the previous year's performance rankings,' he says, citing numerous studies.

 

They shouldn't. The evidence is that last year's top performers will lag the market in 2014 — if not lose a lot of money."

This is clearly shown in the following periodic table of returns by Callan.  While it is entirely possible that chasing the stock market in 2014 could yield a positive return, it is also likely that an unloved asset class like "bonds" could just as well rise to the surface.  Just food for thought.

Callan Periodic Table of Investment Returns-2012-notated

 

5) The Death Of Long Term Thinking (1800-2013) an Obituary by Morgan Housel

I have written and articulated many times in the past that the "long term investor" is dead.  In a market driven by artificial interventions, high frequency and program trading and a "casino" mentality by individuals the age old axioms of "buy cheap and sell dear" have all but been forgotten.  This idea was brilliantly opined in this obituary of "Long Term Thinking."

"Long-Term Thinking died on Tuesday. His last true friend, Vanguard founder Jack Bogle, was at his side. He was 213 years old.

 

Long-Term Thinking lived an illustrious life since the start of the Industrial Revolution, when for the first time, people could think about more than their next meal. But poor incentives and the rise of 24/7 media chipped away at his health. The final blow came Monday, when a trader on CNBC warned that a 10% market pullback — which has occurred on average every 11 months over the last century — could be 'devastating' for investors. 'That's it,' Long-Term Thinking whispered from his hospital bed. 'There's no more room for me here.' He died soon after Bloomberg published its daily tally of how much the net worths of the world's billionaires changed in the previous 24 hours."

And on that sad note I leave you to ponder the risk in your portfolio, the potential for 2014 and how the "evolution of cats explains why they are grumpy."


    



via Zero Hedge http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/zerohedge/feed/~3/nEPXU9hALDk/story01.htm Tyler Durden

Anyone Can Be an Interventionist if They Think it Helps Them Hold on to Power

back to iraq?In an interview with the Washington
Times
earlier this week, Iraq’s ambassador to the U.S. had
some
complaints
about President Obama’s lack of engagement on Iraq,
especially compared to George W. Bush, who the ambassador says took
“ownership” of the issue. (Shouldn’t be surprising; it was his
war).  The Times
reports
:

“The administration has to have a better understanding
of any adverse impact of any delay in provision of support to
Iraq,” Ambassador Lukman Faily told The Washington Times in an
interview Wednesday. “It cannot afford a whole town or province of
Iraq falling to al Qaeda and becoming a safe haven. It’s against
the U.S. strategic interest. It’s against the U.S. national
security to do that.”

It may be against Nouri al-Maliki and his party’s interest if
more Iraqi territory falls to Al Qaeda, it may even be against
Syrian national security interests, given the role of Al
Qaeda-linked fighters in the rebellion there. But in regards to
U.S. national security, it’s far more more plausible that U.S.
military intervention in Iraq would work against U.S. interests,
not for them. The last American intervention in Iraq, after all,

helped bring Al Qaeda
into the country in the first place.

The Times hits on how al-Maliki’s government helped
foment the problem it’s
now facing
:

Human rights groups have accused the
al-Maliki government of strategically and politically
alienating Iraq’s Sunnis. Some leading foreign policy analysts
in Washington have gone so far as to suggest that
the government’s posture has prompted residents in
Sunni-dominated areas to tolerate the presence of al
Qaeda-linked groups such as the Islamic State in Iraq and
the Levant, which seized control of Fallujah last week.

“The resurgence of al Qaeda and other extremist
movements, and the growing depth of its sectarian and ethnic
divisions, is the fault of its political leaders, not outside
states or a lack of Iraqi nationalism and inherent forces within
Iraqi society,” stated a report released Monday by Anthony
Cordesman and Sam Khazai, who are analysts with the Center for
Strategic and International Studies.

Recall that the “defeat” of Al Qaeda in Iraq toward the end of
the American war was
credited
in part, even by the military leaders behind the U.S.
surge , on the “Anbar Awakening,” when Sunni Muslims in Iraq began
to resist Al Qaeda’s influence in an organized fashion. Al-Maliki’s
work on antagonizing Sunnis in Iraq began immediately after the
withdrawal of U.S. troops; his government issued an arrest warrant
against Iraq’s Sunni vice president just a day later, eventually

sentencing
him to death in abstentia. Were U.S. troops to
re-enter Iraq, their mission would not be in support of expelling
Al Qaeda from the country, but in helping a developing strongman
consolidate his power.

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/anyone-can-be-an-interventionist-if-they
via IFTTT

Fewest Americans in Forty Years Interested in Work, Fort Lee Residents Suing Chris Christie Over Lane Closures, Book Claims Hollywood Actor Offered CIA Services in Exchange for Cocaine: P.M. Links

  • lolwork?Fewer Americans are
    looking
    for work than at any time since the 1970s, as the job
    growth slows and the official unemployment rate drops to 6.7
    percent. Harry Reid is
    blocking
    Republicans from offering amendments to a bill
    extending unemployment benefits, jeopardizing the bill’s chance at
    passage.
  • The NSA is still
    lobbying
    to keep as much of its power as possible ahead of an
    expected announcement by President Obama on reforms.
  • Sixty-seven Democrats in the House
    voted
    for a bill requiring the feds to inform users whose data
    is breached under Obamacare, despite opposition from Congressional
    Democratic leadership and the White House.
  • Six Fort Lee residents are
    filing
    a class action lawsuit against Governor Christ Christie
    over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge. Democrats,
    eager to exploit a good scandal, are
    releasing
    1,000 pages of documents related to the lane
    closures.
  • A documentary filmmaker in Chicago
    claims
    in a lawsuit that police sodomized him with a gun in
    order to coerce him into being a drug informant
  • Bolivian President Evo Morales
    wants
    to use his time as the chair of the Group of 77 countries
    to push for the legalization of the coca leaf.
  • A book by acting general counsel of the CIA John Rizzo
    claims
    one Hollywood actor offered his services to the agency
    in exchange for $50k’s worth of good cocaine.

Follow Reason and Reason 24/7 on
Twitter, and like us on Facebook.
  You
can also get the top stories mailed to
you—
sign
up here.
 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/fewest-americans-in-forty-years-interest
via IFTTT

Court Rules Against Yelp and Free Anonymous Speech

The Virginia Court
of Appeals yesterday ruled that Yelp must reveal the identities of
seven anonymous individuals who wrote negative reviews of a
carpet-cleaning business.

Hadeed Carpet Cleaning claims they could not match seven posts
on the business review site to actual customers. Courthouse News
explains,
“The business sued the John Doe authors of seven critical reviews
and subpoenaed Yelp to learn the identities of the anonymous
reviewers. Yelp repeatedly refused to respond to it, however,
leading the trial court to hold Yelp in contempt.”

The case reached the state appeals court, which ruled 2-1 that
Yelp cannot conceal the users’ identities. Judge William Petty
wrote the majority opinion, explaining
that “ the freedom of speech—and within this, the freedom to speak
with anonymity—is not absolute.” He believes that “the review is
based on a false statement of fact… and ‘there is no
constitutional value in false statements of fact.’”

Techdirt
suggests
that “the Virginia court had no jurisdiction over
Yelp, a California company,” and that the court ignored the
precedents set by
Dendrite International, Inc. v. Doe No. 3
and other cases,
which “require giving the anonymous users a chance to respond and
(more importantly) require the plaintiff to present enough evidence
to prove there’s an actual case.”

Paul Levy of Public Citizen, a consumer rights advocacy group,
represented Yelp in the case. He
told
the Washington Times that this was the first time
he’s “seen an appellate court order the identification, the first
case in which I’ve represented a party in which we thought the Doe
was clearly protected and the court said
they were not.” Levy also
expressed
a skeptical view of the merits of Hadeed’s claims and
how they were used in court:

They don’t say that the substance is false… They say, well, we
can’t be sure this person is a customer. No one with this pseudonym
from this city is in our customer database. Well, of course! It’s a
pseudonym. They haven’t shown anything that really would lead any
person to believe that this isn’t a customer.

[…]

If you’ve been defamed, you ought to be able to [show evidence
of your claim of defamation]… And that’s both what Hadeed didn’t
do here—they just refused—they didn’t do that here and the court
didn’t require them to do that.

The dissenting judge on the appellate court expressed a
similar sentiment, adding that “Anonymous speech is protected by
the Constitution of the United States and by Article 1, Section 12
of the Constitution of Virginia.”

The review website has previously
exercised
robust enforcement of its terms and conditions by
removing falsified write-ups and taking action against their
authors. Yelp plans to take its case to the Virginia Supreme
Court. 

from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2014/01/10/court-rules-against-yelp-and-free-anonym
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