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Archive for June, 2010

For the second straight day, one of the leading stories in the American press has been the FBI’s takedown of a Russian deep-cover spy ring. The more I learn about this story, the less I care. Yes, the stories of these “spies” are interesting and figuring out America’s interest in handling this case this way is even more interesting, but the information they were looking to gather sounds more and more mundane by the minute. If I were a paranoid loon who was really concerned with the “Russian menace,” I think I’d be glad that Russia chose to waste wads of money supporting and establishing spies tasked with gathering information they could have gotten just as easily online. (more…)

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Via Andrew Sullivan, Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi (confession: I am a huge Taibbi fan, going back to his eXile days) weighs in on the Michael Hastings vs. establishment journalists issue. You should read the whole thing, but I’ll select out the conclusion for the lazy:

[Establishment politicians] don’t need your help, and you’re giving it to them anyway, because you just want to be part of the club so so badly. Disgustingly, that’s really what it comes down to. Most of these reporters just want to be inside the ropeline so badly, they want to be able to say they had that beer with Hillary Clinton in a bowling alley in Scranton or whatever, that it colors their whole worldview. God forbid some important person think you’re not playing for the right team!

Meanwhile, the people who don’t have the resources to find out the truth and get it out in front of the public’s eyes, your readers/viewers, you’re supposed to be working for them — and they’re not getting your help. What the hell are we doing in Afghanistan? Is it worth all the bloodshed and the hatred? Who are the people running this thing, what is their agenda, and is that agenda the same thing we voted for? By the severely unlikely virtue of a drunken accident we get a tiny glimpse of an answer to some of these vital questions, but instead of cheering this as a great break for our profession, a waytago moment, one so-called reputable journalist after another lines up to protest the leak and attack the reporter for doing his job. God, do you all suck!

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Reason‘s Peter Suderman doubles-up on bad news for Obamacare today. In his first post, he samples comments from a former director of CBO–most importantly, this guy projects the bill’s supposed savings of $140 billion in the next decade will actually materialize as another $550 billion add-on to the deficit, which itself pales in comparison to the $1.5 trillion deficit hit he expects Obamacare to cause in its second decade. Yikes. I suspected the numbers were cooked, but not that badly.

His second post is about Massachusetts and its government healthcare system. The honeymoon period is over. Insurers wanted to raise premiums to cover their costs, but were greeted with a populist campaign for price caps by the governor. Surprisingly, state insurance bureaucrats sided with the insurers. I love the idea that the Massachusetts governor thought it was his right to compel companies to operate at a loss. Drive them out of business, then pitch single-payer.

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Via Brendan Kiley at Slog, the Guardian covers Hugo Chavez’s adoption of a favorite old Soviet standby, the anti-speculator campaign. (more…)

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Via Nick Gillespie at Reason, Rep. Tom Roomey writes an op-ed in favor of continuing the blindingly stupid U.S. travel ban on Cuba. Guess which state Roomey is from? I know everyone was guessing Wyoming, but in a real shocker, he’s from Florida. (more…)

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Via Matt Welch at Reason, the NY state senate is considering a bill to ban subleases of less than one month. Since this bill is mainly aimed at stopping people from subleasing their apartments to vacationers, I can imagine only two reasons behind it.

  1. The state doesn’t like that it’s losing out on potential hotel tax revenue
  2. The hotel lobbyists don’t like the competition and are leaning on the senators

Either way, it’s gross. If you control the property, you may dispense with it as you please.

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but the Globe & Mail published an anti-fiat currency op-ed today. Framed around the pro-gold standard remarks made by former Canadian foreign minister Maxime Bernier, the op-ed is anti-gold standard at the same time it is anti-fiat, but the writer at least understands and sympathizes with gold-buyers as people who want a consistent store of value in the face of the constant inflation of fiat paper. Can you imagine America’s newspaper of record publishing something like this?

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