Country Risk Assessment for Resource Investors: Mexico

By Lobo Tigre The drug war is heating up in Mexico. Narco gun battles and massacres of women and children are making headlines. Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) released the son of convicted drug kingpin El Chapo rather than go to open war with his cartel. President Trump says he’ll designate the drug cartels as terrorist organizations, which could result in military intervention. My heart goes out to my family, friends, and all Mexicans who are already affected and may yet get caught in the crossfire. Sad to say, but it’s looking like my Colombian friends were right when they said Mexico was headed down the path of terror and guerrilla warfare that made such a tragic mess of Colombia for decades. When they first said this to me some years ago, I answered that the battles in Mexico were largely between government forces and the narcos, as well as between the narcos themselves. The violence hadn’t become predatory on the general population. That now seems to be changing. I don’t see the Mexican government winning its war against the drug cartels. I also don’t see it allowing the US military to step in to wage war on Mexican soil. The only way out I see, frankly, is for the US to lead the world in ending the drug war through legalization—and that’s not gonna happen anytime soon either. Personally, I do think ending the drug war would be for the best. Even if I thought that drugs were so bad it would be better to ban them, I’d have to face the fact that the drug war is having the same results that Prohibition did in the 1920s: war and corruption. I’m sure that decriminalizing drugs would result in many tragedies for those vulnerable to addiction. But …

Join Project Arizona 2020!

Project Arizona is an elite program established in 2017 that consist in a semester-long program for young, outstanding leaders of the global freedom change. Now, it is organized by Liberty International! How it works? In Phoenix, these international talents conduct meaningful internships, academic seminar at ASU, and fruitful networking. They gain a thorough understanding of the ideas of liberty and how to implement them when they return to their communities. Project Arizona consists of 4 major pillars: 1. Internships With Project Arizona, you are guaranteed an internship with leading state policy group, attorney office, media outlet or museum. Our concern is to match your candidacy with your internship provider. Thus you can be assured that your internship will benefit your career and strengthen your position on the market. Internship providers represent broad spectrum of businesses but all of them provide high-quality and meaningful training. Internships are usually part-time and last three months. You can read more about our internship providers HERE 2. Education Education is a very important part of Project Arizona. We want students to better understand the history of the place (United States of America) and learn the mechanisms of free market economy that made it prosperous. There are two major elements of the educational plan that Project Arizona offers: – Weekly participation in three classes of American History and Political Philosophy offered by Arizona State University Center for Political Thought and Leadership (ASU CPTL)– Designed specifically for Project Arizona: 3-day long Seminar on Free Market Economics and practical implementation of the freedom philosophy. The Seminar is co-sponsored by ASU CPTL, Center for Study of Economic Liberty and the Language of Liberty Institute. 3. Networking During Project Arizona we will be participating in many events, meetings and conferences – all of them are a great opportunity for networking. In the past …

World Of Freedom #2 : Awards for work for freedom

By Marek Tatała, Vice President, Civil Development Forum (Poland)Translation: Sylwia Szymańska It is important to appreciate outstanding liberty organizations and the people who participate in these important activities. One of the ways to show this appreciation is by means of the prizes awarded by, among others, Atlas Network and America’s Future Foundation, prizes that you can read about in the latest episode of the “World of Freedom” series. At this time, we are going to visit some places including India, Greece, Serbia and the African continent, places from which we will begin reviewing the most interesting actions of liberty organizations that we could hear and read about in May. The Center for African Prosperity, founded by The Atlas Network is good news for the people in African countries. It is a good a new initiative that aims to promote economic freedom, property rights, the rule of law and entrepreneurship. The organization was headed by a respected entrepreneur from Senegal, Magatte Wade. This liberty-oriented center’s purpose is launching processes in African countries that will allow for permanent poverty recovery and raising the life standard of living of the continent’s inhabitants. Moving to Europe, in Athens, the annual Europe Liberty Forum conference took place. It was a chance for both deepening knowledge and exchanging experiences, above all in the field of work of the liberty-oriented NGOs. During the Forum, we could hear some inspiring performances and learn about tools that are used by organizations from Europe and other parts of the world. I myself had the pleasure to participate in a discussion about the threats to liberalism in Europe. I described the attacks on the rule of law in Poland carried out by the ruling party and the means which we use to defend ourselves against these attacks. Moreover, the heads of …

Open Letter to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez

By Lobo Tiggre Dear Rep. Ocasio-Cortez, Your official House web page requires me to enter a zip code in your district to send you an email. I understand that you work for your constituents, but you’re going to vote on laws that affect everyone in the United States, and you’ve become a national figure. So, while I live in Puerto Rico and not New York, I’m writing you this open letter, hoping it reaches you. First, I want to say that while I disagree with every policy idea I’ve heard you advance, I don’t hate you. I’m not here to call you names, nor gain brownie points from “my side” by attacking the object of their fear, anger, and derision. Actually, I have no side. I’m not a member of any political party. Or perhaps we’re on the same side; you clearly seem to care more about people than parties. So do I. That’s why I’m writing. I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt, taking you at face value. You seem intelligent, well informed, and sincere. Your willingness to attack entrenched injustice regardless of the consequences for your career is admirable. And if you are what you appear to be, then you should be willing to engage in respectful dialog with those who disagree with the means you propose to achieve ends we may well agree upon. I suspect we’d both like to see a future in which people flourish in a world no longer scarred by bigotry and institutionalized violence, motivated more by positive dreams of the future than nightmare fears of the past. If so, I’d like to talk with you. I’d like to exchange ideas and—if either of us is as intellectually honest as we’d like to believe—find where either you or I might be wrong …

Why Civil Defense Still Matters

Doctors for Disaster Preparedness is a small group of top scientists and doctors who publish a newsletter and hold an annual meeting at different defense and nuclear sites. At meetings speakers cover issues relating to civil defense, diseases, new chemical/technological discoveries, and global climate issues. Speakers offer varied viewpoints and the group is often bitterly criticized for its unorthodox challenges to the medical establishment. Their last program, described in more detail below, shows the variety of speakers and topics covered. I have been attending meetings since the 1980s when I first wrote about nuclear war survival. Personally, I have always been interested in civil defense since studying in Germany in 1952, taking shortcuts to my classes through still bombed out city blocks. I was always amazed that “only” a million German civilians died from the bombing that flattened every single city. I even saw East Berlin, which was just rubble as far as the eye could see. Human beings are amazingly resilient. But the Germans also had built good bomb shelters. After 9/11, Dr. Jane Orient, who runs the Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, explained how American city fire departments were being supplied with useless radiation detectors measuring Millirem instead of Rems. They were based on the EPA’s incoherent threat levels, which have been obsolete since the 1950s. The EPA has since modified its threat levels by a factor of hundreds. Dr. Orient then donated higher-scale measuring detectors to her local Phoenix fire department. I attended the last meeting in Omaha, site of the Strategic Air Command, the military unit in charge of two-thirds of the Nuclear Triad. It had the usual complement of fascinating speakers and topics. Lectures at the meeting included “Freedom of Information Act in Climate Science,” “An Update on Emerging Diseases,” “Police, Fire and Civilian Emergency Medical Preparedness,” “Combatting …

Why Trump won

The media elite, who have proven themselves to be hilariously wrong about everything in this election, are scrambling to come up with an explanation for how Donald Trump was elected to become the 45th President of the United States.  Everything about this carefully crafted election narrative has since fallen apart in the wake of what was an unimaginable Trump victory just weeks ago. Journalists, politicians, and social media warriors everywhere are trying to make sense of such a spectacular failure on the part of the ruling class to control the outcome of this election, which was considered an easy victory for Clinton.  I, too, must admit that I never expected Trump to stand a chance against such a broad coalition of the 4th estate united for the singular purpose of denying Trump the presidency. So how did we get here? First, we must analyze the election narrative that existed PRIOR to Clinton’s stunning defeat at the hands of the most reviled character in modern American politics.  Indeed, many are still conforming to this narrative of “racism,” “bigotry,” and “misogyny” and “3rd parties” as an explanation for Trump’s victory.  Countless articles were written to this effect by journalists on both the left and the right.  That Trump was anti-woman and therefore would do terrible among women was a foregone conclusion.  And yet, 42% of American women (including a majority of white women), voted for Donald Trump.   That amounts to 25 million women who were not convinced by the media narrative that Trump hates women.  Do these women also hate women?  Are they less intelligent than the rest of us?  What could possibly explain how 25 million women would vote for a woman-hating “misogynist?”  If Sarah Palin or Barbara Bush were the Republican nominees, does anyone here seriously believe that Republicans would have stayed home and not voted Republican because they are all “sexist bigots?” “I’ve never …

Trade Talks, the Jones Act, and the International Cost of Protectionism

[alert style=”grey”] This article was originally published on the Grassroot Institute website, you can view the original article here. [/alert] For years now, the US has been involved in two important trade talks: the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). Both seek to provide new market access, expand existing markets, and provide regulatory transparency and consistency among European and Asia-Pacific markets. Many different industries and policies are being discussed in the TPP and TTIP negotiations. One policy that is often mentioned in such trade talks is the Jones Act, more formally known as the Merchant Marine Act of 1920. While the TPP and TTIP are unlikely to reform the Jones Act due to a strong pro-Jones Act lobby, the these trade talks remind one of the great domestic and international cost of the Jones Act and protectionism in general. The Jones Act is a protectionist policy that restricts foreign competition from domestic coastal shipping and, in doing so, keeps prices artificially high, especially in America’s non-contiguous states and territories. For goods shipped between US ports, the Jones Act requires that ships be 1) built in the US, 2) crewed largely by American citizens 3) owned largely by Americans, and 4) be registered US vessels. With up to 90% of goods transported by sea,1 protectionism in the shipping industry can have massive, widespread costs. For America alone, the Jones Act costs “at least $2.8 billion [$4.37 billion in 2014 inflation-adjusted dollars] annually and its removal would lower domestic shipping prices by 26%,”according to a 1995 report from the U.S. International Trade Commission.2 More recent research by Justin Lewis of Tulane University has shown that “a full repeal of the Jones Act would yield economic benefits of up to $682 million per year” with domestic coastal shipping “approximately 61% …

Our experience at “The Best Liberty Show on Earth!”

Ruwart Minimum Wage

Mark Skousen’s Freedom Fest is truly the most spectacular gathering of free minds in the world. Spectacular? Of course! Barnum and Bailey had exotic animals, clowns, and acrobats to promote…how hard can that be? But Mark turns intellectuals and academics into a scintillating 3-ring circus with a gala film awards showcase, fiery debates, testy courtroom trials, glorious musical theater, and glitzy Vegas dancing. ISIL speakers made nearly dozen appearances during this 3-day liberty extravaganza, opening on Wednesday, July 9 with eight speakers in three sessions: 1) Ken Schoolland, “School & Land in India: Fighting Poverty, Socialism, & Caste”; Glenn Cripe, “Johnny Appleseed of Liberty: Reaching Hundreds of Youth Leaders Worldwide”; Jan Kuban, “Tigers and Outsiders: Avoiding the Polish Way to Tyranny”. 2) Barbara Kolm, “Looming Crises in Europe”; Mary Ruwart, “How Liberty Can Save the Environment?” 3) Li Zhao Schoolland, “From Mao to Hayek: An Introduction to the Free Market Movement in China,” Leon Louw, “Looming Economic Crises in Africa,” and Katya Akudovich, “Liberty: From Fear or From Courage?” Mary Ruwart’s debate with a university labor professor over the minimum wage was shown nation-wide on C-Span and had a very good impact. Appearing on the big stage, she smashed her opponent who came across as a disconnected academic completely in the clouds. Mary politely cut him down to size and the audience was completely ours. On another forum during concurrent sessions, ISIL filled the house with these respective topics: Doug Casey, “Don’t Cry for Me: Living Dangerously in Argentina”; Mary Ruwart “Do Cry for Me: Living with Big Brother in the Former Land of the Free”. Doug advised people of great ways to find places to live free. Mary’s speech focused on the tragic impact of the FDA. She was the only one on such a hot topic with Obamacare looming on the political horizon. Li Zhao Schoolland made her second appearance and a very positive impact on the grand stage with Steve Forbes, …

The Town that Privatized Everything

Sandy Springs, Georgia may look like any other town in America. It has parks, roads, and beautiful places to live. But there’s one thing that separates this town from every other town: Sandy Springs privatized almost everything. In 2005, Sandy Springs outsourced almost all functions of the city government (with the exception of police and fire) to a single company, which runs the town. That company is in charge of running all the vital functions of government, from the running the parks, to paving the roads, and even 911 calls! The town is run very efficiently, with zero backlogs in permit requests. Call the city, and you’ll be surprised to find that you actually get a friendly person on the other line! The city has a 24/7 non-automated customer service hotline which fields about 6,000 calls per month. It also has a state of the art traffic system with cameras and a high tech command center. When people come to Sandy Springs, they usually have no idea that it’s privatized, says Sharon Kraun, media relations director for the city. There are no signs with corporate logos or anything like that. According to Sharon, “What people can tell is that the city is well taken care of, and the residents who live here or individuals who work here, like being here and are happy with the level of service provided.” When the project first started, the University of Georgia estimated that the city would need 828 employees. But because the town is managed by a private company, they’ve cut their workforce down to just 471 people.  Besides fire and police, the city only has eight full-time public employees. Because of this efficiency, Sandy Springs generates huge surpluses. They have no unfunded liabilities. The city specifically decided not to use the traditional …

ISIL at Freedom Fest 2014

From Mark Skousen, producer of FreedomFest: I woke up this morning thinking about “Why We Need to Get Together Once a Year.”  Over the years, I’ve been impressed with the proliferation of free-market think tanks and freedom organizations which are doing their part to make a difference:  publishing websites, special reports and books; holding meetings and conventions; influencing elected officials or using the court system to overturn bad legislation. ISIL is doing a great job reaching out to an international group of hard-core libertarians with your Liberty Camps, China conferences on Austrian economics, publications like JG, and your own annual international conference.  Reason, Cato, Heritage, FEE, ISI, Manhattan Institute, and all the other state think tanks do much the same to make a difference. That’s where FreedomFest comes in. Our mission is simple: to bring together once a year all the freedom groups and provide a place to learn, network, socialize and celebrate liberty.  And we do it in the nation’s most libertarian city, Las Vegas. We are a for-profit organization, so we don’t compete for fundraising with all these good causes. We try not to promote one organization over another. We support them all. In Hayekian terms, it’s a spontaneous order, with every think tank and freedom organization deciding for themselves what to talk about. FreedomFest is not “my” conference, it’s “our” conference. The idea came to me when I was president of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE), the country’s oldest free-market organization. Why not have an annual reunion, I thought, and bring together all the think tanks and freedom organizations from around the world, to talk about philosophy, history, science & technology, healthy living, music & dance, investments, and geo-politics?  We would create an intellectual feast in a fun town, the entertainment capital of the world. And …