Posted by on October 31, 2019 1:16 pm
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Categories: Weekly Update


But Halloween is supposed to be fun?


People vanishing, dead monsters coming back to life, Winnie the Pooh in the gulag.  It may sound like a misjudged Halloween special, but in fact it’s just our everyday (un)reality now thanks to the mercurial nature of digital media, as TES GeoPolicy editor Dan McGroarty points out in a spooky new post.


Ripping three items from the headlines, McGroarty notes that hyper-proliferation of content of all kinds, combined with fake news, “deep fakes,” and deliberate misinformation have made it virtually impossible to know what’s true and what isn’t. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi may have blown himself up, but Russian psy-ops would have us believe he’s still alive. Meanwhile sweeping government censorship, also enabled by digital technology, can erase real people and cartoons from the face of the earth: just try finding Winnie the Pooh, the South Park gang, or the NBA’s Daryl Morey in China.


In short, digital media, which was supposed to make information free and bring the world together, has instead reduced all to the spectators in Plato’s cave, watching shadows moving and trying, amid smoke and flickering firelight, to guess whether they are real. Happy Halloween!



Featured Opinions



James Edwards: Achieving Economic Security Depends on Assuring National Security

Reports have exposed various ways America’s competitors — particularly China and Russia — assault U.S. national security by economic means. It’s increasingly clear that economic security and national security are uniquely entwined. And for the United States, private property rights are a key to our prevailing in both respects. More



Mihalio Gajic: Doing Business 2020: Much ado about (almost) nothing

The World Bank recently issued the new version of its regulatory index, Doing Business 2020. Central and Eastern European countries continue to show signs of good business regulation quality, but to be frank these good results needs to be taken with a grain of salt. More



Colin Grabow: The Jones Act continues to make no sense at all

This 1920 law mandates that vessels transporting cargo within the United States must be U.S.-registered, at least 75 percent U.S.-owned, at least 75 percent U.S.-crewed, and U.S.-built. But no ships capable of transporting liquid natural gas in bulk quantities that meet these requirements exist. More



Jennifer Anthamatten and Patrick Dümmler: How should small countries navigate a “tripolar” world?

In the last two decades, global trade flows have shifted markedly, and the current geopolitical structure is in transition. The time in which there was an undisputed hegemon seems to be ending. Instead, a future tripolar world is emerging. More



Angelica Dominguez-Cardoza and Cristoph Trebesch: Argentina’s bankruptcy assured, could default to IMF

The government has borrowed nearly $45 billion overseas in just two years. The country’s debt ratio has nearly doubled since 2015 to 80 percent of GDP, with inflation at 50 percent. Given the severe economic crisis and political uncertainty, this debt burden is no longer viable, and Argentina now faces the ninth bankruptcy in its history. More



Helen Parr: Even after Brexit deal and election, UK will face hard questions

The whole country might breathe a sigh of relief if Brexit appears to edge closer to finality. But this an inaccurate picture, and it would only be a temporary relief. More



Policy At Work…

Washington Beyond the Headlines

Editor’s note: Our esteemed correspondent Andy Blom has the day off for trick-or-treating. Please enjoy our ghoulish attempt to fill his shoes.



Breathe free: Capitalism helps protect the environment

By Nicolas Loris, Herbert and Joyce Morgan fellow at The Heritage Foundation

A recent Rasmussen poll found 20% of voters feel we should eliminate capitalism to protect the environment. That’s like saying we should eliminate teachers to improve education. Truth be told, capitalism has helped cleanse our planet—improving living standards while protecting the environment. Rather than eliminate capitalism, policymakers need to unleash it. Markets incentivize efficiency by rewarding people for coming up with ways to do more or do better with less. People choose—and businesses make—more efficient products because it saves them money while delivering what customers want. More



Afghanistan is much more important to US than Syria—Afghans need American troops

By James Jay Carafano, Vice President of Foreign and Defense Policy Studies at The Heritage Foundation

While the U.S. foothold in northern Syria was tenuous at best, the American presence in Afghanistan is welcome and secure. And it is working. It remains to be seen what deal, if any, can be reached with the Taliban in the future. But whatever happens at the negotiating table, U.S. national security interests require that we keep a right-sized military presence in Afghanistan. More



Tapping the power of self-driving cars

By Madeline Fry, Commentary Writer for the Washington Examiner

Autonomous vehicles, for example, could be transformative for the disabled community. According to industry experts, it’s already time to seize that opportunity. A U.S. DOT representative said the government can do two things on self-driving cars. First, it can fund research and provide grant challenges to encourage innovation. Second, it can roll back needless regulations which, rather than ensuring safety, only add more red tape. More



Lip service is not a substitute for robust competition

By George Landrith, President of Frontiers for Freedom

The US Air Force (USAF) is in the process of developing the next generation Inter-continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM). This critically important next generation nuclear deterrent is known as the Ground Based Strategic Deterrent (GBSD) and it is needed because America’s current ground based nuclear deterrent is the Minuteman missile that was first deployed in 1962. Unfortunately, the USAF has completely mismanaged the process and despite paying lip service to “competition,” is now on the verge of awarding a sole-source, cost plus contact for more than $85 billion. More





Fall is full of Galas, Exciting Educational Opportunities, Informative Discussion and Just Plain Fun… Don’t forget to RSVP! 


  • The Impact of Prescription Drug Price Controls: An International Policy and Patient Perspective. Tuesday, November 5 12:00-1:30pm at the National Press Club, Hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute. International pricing indexes, price setting, reference pricing, importing socialized medicine – what are their real impacts? Join us for a lunch discussion on proposed policies that just might change America’s lead on innovation and access. More



  • Liberty Forum & Freedom Dinner 2019. November 6-7 in New York City. The Atlas Foundation’s annual Liberty Forum brings together amazing freedom champions to exchange ideas, share strategies, and celebrate successes that create the conditions for liberty to thrive. The gala Freedom Dinner serves as a fitting grand finale to this conference, celebrating heroes of the freedom movement and the principles that Atlas Network’s partners are advancing worldwide. More



  • Regime Change: How to Replace the Beltway Blob with the Foreign Policy Americans Want. Thursday, November 7 at Hart Senate Building, Room 902, 210 Constitution Ave NE. Hosted by The American Conservative. Join us at TAC’s 6th annual Foreign Policy Conference where we discuss how to defeat these vested interests whose broad tentacles are working directly in conflict with real American goals and values. More



  • The Austrian School of Economics in the 21st Century, 8th International Conference. November 13-14 in Vienna. One of the premier gatherings of the sharpest libertarian economists in the world. The Economic Standard will be covering the conference as an official media partner. The program will include the presentation of the 2019 Hayek Lifetime Achievement Award on November 14. More



  • The Inaugural Charter Cities Conference. March 17th and 18th, 2020 in Johannesburg. Ever wanted to build your own city? Well, here’s your chance. Participants will learn how to build the foundation for strong, economically vibrant charter cities from experts who are traveling from around the world to discuss projects both planned and in progress. This is your opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an exciting movement to build the future of governance for the cities of tomorrow. More