Despite what is heralded as a banner year for proxy resolutions submitted by religious shareholder activists As You Sow and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, 2014 was anything but. Even the left-leaning Center for Political Accountability reports most so-called shareholder victories for political spending disclosure were performed on companies’ own initiative rather than prompted by resolutions authored by CPA and submitted by activist shareholders under the guise of religious principles.

The AYS and ICCR narrative collapses further under scrutiny from the New York-based Manhattan Institute for Policy Research. In the MIPR Proxy Monitor 2014, authors James R. Copland and Margaret M. O’Keefe report:

Shareholder support for shareholder proposals is down. In 2014, only 4 percent of shareholder proposals were supported by a majority of voting shareholders, down from 7 percent in 2013. The percentage of shareholder proposals to win majority support in 2014 was below that of any previous year in the ProxyMonitor.org database, which dates back to 2006. Among Fortune 250 companies, only ten proposals have won majority support to date this year, and only seven over opposition from the company’s board of directors.

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Mako Fujimura

Mako Fujimura

Acton broadcast consultant, Paul Edwards, will guest host West Michigan Live on Tuesday, October 21 at 9:00 am EST on WOOD Radio in Grand Rapids. His guest at 9:30 a.m. is artist Makoto Fujimura, whose 2014 ArtPrize entry, Walking on Water, was exhibited at the Acton Building.

At his blog, Mako has written an engaging and thoughtful piece about his experience at ArtPrize which will be the focus of Paul’s conversation with him.  In West Michigan, you can listen live on  Tuesday, October 21 at 9:00 am EST on WOOD 1300/106.9. The interview will also be live streaming at www.woodradio.com for those listening elsewhere.

Fujimura’s thoughts on culture and the care of artists are summarized here on the Acton PowerBlog.

Blog author: ehilton
Monday, October 20, 2014
By

Jenny

Jenny

Human trafficking can be prevented. It takes tenacity, hard work, and knowledge of the needs of the people in a particular area of the world. One of the greatest “push” factors (those factors that drive people into human trafficking) is poverty. Poverty creates desperation, and desperation drives trafficking.

Parents cannot afford to feed children, and will sell them off. Sometimes people are tricked, thinking that their child will be given a job or education. Women will sell their bodies because they feel they have no choice. (more…)

Contrary to current policy, this is not reality.

Last Saturday The Imaginative Conservative published my essay, “Let’s Get Back to Robbing Peter: The Welfare State and Demographic Decline.”

To add to what I say there, it should be a far more pressing concern to conscientious citizens that the US national debt has risen from $13 trillion in 2010 to nearly $18 trillion today. That is an increase of $5 trillion in just four years, or a nearly 40 percent increase. It is becoming more and more clear that, at our current rate, our nation’s entitlement programs represent the injustice that people today feel entitled to spend the tax dollars of tomorrow on benefits that we cannot realistically continue to afford. John Barnes wrote in 2010 that “the total value of all debt and unfunded promises made by the U.S. government is $61.9 trillion over the next 75 years.” I don’t know how much that figure has changed in the last four years, but I doubt it has shrunk, to put it lightly.

As any student of the Old Testament should know, God is very concerned about each generation leaving a proper inheritance to the next (cf. Numbers 27:8-11). No doubt many readers in their private lives have made provisions for their children after they pass. But as a nation, we are doing the reverse: paying for our provision today with the resources of tomorrow.

I write,

The German economist Wilhelm Röpke, commenting on the expansion of European welfare states in 1958, wrote, “To let someone else foot the bill is, in fact, the general characteristic of the welfare state and, on closer inspection, its very essence.” While he did not argue that, therefore, such state assistance should in all cases be stopped, he put the question in sober terms: “[T]he welfare state is an evil the same as each and every restriction of freedom. The only question on which opinions may still differ is whether and to what extent it is a necessary evil.”

In the interest of carrying on that same sobriety of analysis, I believe the picture is far bleaker today. Röpke, in the title to the essay quoted, characterized the welfare state as “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” But Sts. Peter and Paul were contemporaries. If only we would simply rob our peers! Then we could have a lively discussion regarding “whether and to what extent” such robbery is “a necessary evil.” Instead, it is our children and grandchildren who must “foot the bill.” Yet on our current course, when the time comes to pay up there will be much less welfare available to them.

Read more . . . .

Michael Matheson Miller

Michael Matheson Miller

Acton’s Michael Miller, director of the documentary Poverty.Inc, spoke with Bill Frezza at RealClearPolitics. Miller asks listeners to rethink the foreign aid model, which has not been successful in alleviating poverty in the developing world. Rather, Miller makes the case for supporting entrepreneurship and supporting the social and political framework that enable people to lift themselves out of poverty.

Listen to the interview here.

Blog author: jcarter
Monday, October 20, 2014
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Latest Oxford Economics Research Debunks Five Millennial Myths
Susan Galer, Forbes

More so than any other type of workers, millennials want to make a difference in society through their work, are willing to toil beyond the exhaustion point, and always have one foot out the door—or not.

Nigeria Says Boko Haram to Release Kidnapped Girls
Polly Mosendz, The Atlantic

Government aides say they are “cautiously optimistic” about this new ceasefire agreement

In Alabama, the religiously ‘unaffiliated’ now surpasses this major religious group
Carol McPhail, AL.com

The percentage of Alabamians not affiliated with a specific religion surpasses the percentage of white mainline Protestants, ranking it third among “religious” groups, according to new research.

Who and where America’s poor people are, in charts
Sonali Kohli, Quartz

There are 48.67 million people living in poverty in the US, according to the new Census Bureau Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM). That’s 15.5% of the country’s population.

socialist_unity_poster_by_party9999999-d4bphbmThere’s something almost charming about people in American who champion socialism. Yes, their economic views are naive and destructive. And yes most people (though especially the poor) would be much worse off if their vision for “progress” was actually implemented. But it’s hard to be too concerned when they are, at heart, really just capitalists who like to play political dress up.

Consider one of their favorite causes, a $20 minimum wage. In their most recent party platform, the Freedom Socialist Party advocated for raising the minimum wage to $20 an hour. Naturally, you might assume that the Freedom Socialist Party would be a great place to work for since the minimum pay you’d received is $20 an hour, an annual salary of $40,000 per year. But that assumption would be based on their applying their socialist principles to themselves. In reality, of course, their wages are based on the tenets of free enterprise.

Last week the party posted a notice on Craigslist that they were looking for a web developer. The pay: $13 an hour.

web-600x253

Like all good capitalists running a business or organization, I’m sure they have a good reason for offering the wages they do. But as good socialists, how do they justify such “slave wages”?

(Via: AEI Ideas)

Writing on September 22 in the Wall Street Journal, Devlin Barret and Danny Yadron reported,

Last week, Apple announced that its new operating system for phones would prevent law enforcement from retrieving data stored on a locked phone, such as photos, videos and contacts. A day later, Google reiterated that the next version of its Android mobile-operating system this fall would make it similarly difficult for police or Google to extract such data from suspects’ phones.

It’s not just a feature — it’s also a marketing pitch. “It’s not technically feasible for us to respond to government warrants for the extraction of this data,” Apple’s website says.

This would not protect all data, however:

Apple acknowledged it could still hand such data over to law enforcement that users back up on the company’s iCloud servers. And police can access some iPhone data without Apple’s help, because phone firms keep call logs and Apple doesn’t control data from third-party apps.

The FBI has not taken this news well, in more ways than one. Amy Schatz reports for re/code,

New encryption technologies on smartphones will make it harder for law enforcement to solve crimes or stop terrorists, Federal Bureau of Investigation director James Comey said Thursday in a speech asking companies including Google and Apple to reverse course. (more…)

Liggio

Liggio

Almost 20 years ago I was invited to speak at the celebratory banquet for the Atlas Economic Research Foundation (now Atlas Network) and the Institute for Humane Studies, then celebrating their 15th and 35th anniversaries respectively. I was an alumnus of both and six years into the launch of the Acton Institute (founded in 1990). Both organizations considered me “successful enough” to reflect at the banquet on how each had influenced my life.

It was an undeserved honor, of course, but such was my gratitude to these institutions, that I accepted. The room was full of luminaries of the free market movement, and I was very conscious that Acton’s work was launched from the shoulders of intellectual giants.

One such giant there in the room that night, was Leonard Liggio, who died this past Tuesday at the age of 81. In reflecting on my sadness at his passing this week, I thought I would share my public comments I made about Leonard that evening 19 years ago:

It probably won’t surprise you to learn that it was none other than the great connector himself, Leonard Liggio, who really brought me into the free market fold. He wasn’t the first to introduce me to classical liberalism—that was Robert Sirico, who at the time was not yet ordained and was only an expectant father. But it was Sirico who introduced me to Leonard and the rest is history. If I’m not mistaken, we first met the night of January 16, 1986. That date wasn’t coincidental, Leonard and I were introduced at a private showing of an uncut, unedited 3.5 hour Italian version of Ayn Rand’s We the Living which had just surfaced more than forty years after Mussolini had ordered it destroyed. (more…)

Subpoena1After hearing the news that the city of Houston had ordered several pastors to submit their sermons for legal review, many people had the same reaction as Brian Lee: “My response? So what? Sermons are public proclamation, aren’t they?”

Sermons are indeed proclamations intended for the public, and most pastors would be eager for anyone — including public officials — to hear them. So what is the reason for the current objection?

Mollie Hemingway explains that the true “governing authorities” in America aren’t people, but laws:
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