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Posts Tagged ‘Estonia’

  • LewRockwell.com: Three videos of police brutality. Take your pick, they are all horrible: an elderly disabled woman thrown to the ground, a cop pointing a gun at a woman’s head for getting in a car accident, a girl tased through her skull. Never forget: these thugs are not your friends.
  • National Post: Two Canadians are facing charges for desecrating an American flag as part of a bet over last year’s gold medal hockey game in Vancouver. The flag is just a stupid piece of fabric. It is only the false religion of nationalism that makes it anything more. I would encourage everyone to go out and burn five flags tomorrow just to knock the nationalists down.
  • Justin Raimondo at Antiwar.com: Best and worst of 2010. I am obviously going to love that Glenn Greenwald is one of his best, but I’m really more excited about seeing the repulsive Michael C. Moynihan of Reason as one of his worst. That a hateful little statist apologist like Moynihan works at Reason is appalling. The rot he has been churning out against WikiLeaks is awful, thus making me quite glad to see LRN.fm drop Reason.tv from their lineup.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: The Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld the decision to list a teen on the sex offender registry for forcing another teen to accompany him in collecting a debt. Wh-what? How is that a sex crime? Quiet, slave–do not question the wisdom of Leviathan!
  • Glenn Greenwald: What Glenn learned from his campaign of pro-WikiLeaks media appearances. Money quote: “From the start of the WikiLeaks controversy, the most striking aspect for me has been that the ones who are leading the crusade against the transparency brought about by WikiLeaks — the ones most enraged about the leaks and the subversion of government secrecy — have been . . . America’s intrepid Watchdog journalists.”
  • Via Conor Friedersdorf at Sullivan, USA Today: Railways are apparently the next target for the DHS/TSA fascists. The airport racket wasn’t a big enough employment program for fat skinhead knuckle-draggers, so they are going to need to start up unconstitutional and utterly pointless searches at subway stations to create some more jobs for their brethren.
  • NYT: Have you heard of Jamie and Gladys Scott? They had spent 16 years behind bars for an $11 armed robbery. Well, luckily for them, Miss. Governor (and GOP presidential hopeful) Haley Barbour went and said some vaguely racist crap a few weeks ago. Looking to prove he didn’t hate blacks after all, Barbour suspended their sentences, contingent upon one sister giving the other a kidney. I am glad these women have been released from their ridiculous sentences, but that Barbour did this for opportunistic reasons and that there is some sort of caveat attached pisses me off.
  • Western Standard: Highlighting the inspiring story of an incidence of de facto jury nullification in a Montana marijuana possession case. During jury selection, the drug warriors couldn’t find enough potential jurors in the pool willing to even consider locking someone up for having a sixteenth of an ounce. Not like the quantity should really matter, but still awesome.
  • Eugene Volokh: Phillip Greaves, the sick dude who wrote the infamously-banned-on-Amazon book The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure, was recently extradited to Florida to face felony obscenity charges. Undercover cops baited him into sending them a copy of the book. Is Greaves  a sick puppy who should be ostracized by other adults? Probably. But is writing a book reason enough to entrap someone and then lock them up? Hell no.
  • Via Jacob Sullum at Reason, Michael Siegel: the top 10 anti-tobacco lies of the year. Why just talk about the realities of lung cancer when you can make up much worse lies? That seems to be the motto of the anti-smoking zealots. It’s mostly BS about secondhand smoke.
  • The American Conservative: A great parody poster, ridiculing America’s support of all manner of reprehensible regimes.
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer: Meet John Harmon, a diabetic who was repeatedly tased and beaten by Hamilton County cops during a groundless DUI stop. Cops suspected Harmon was drunk when really his blood sugar was low. It probably didn’t help that Harmon is black. Now he is suing. Good–punch the cop-bullies in the nose.
  • NYT: Headline: “Abuses Cited in Enforcing China Policy of One Child.” Oh gee whiz, do you think? I don’t really know how you differentiate when the one-child policy is itself just one great instance of abuse. There is a story in this report about a woman carried off to a hospital and sterilized against her will. To the criminals perpetrating these crimes–I don’t often wish violence upon people, but may you end up first against the wall come the revolution.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: A how-to on recording the cops. Not exactly a thriller, but excellent for logistics. The recording front is one of the primary ones on which we are fighting right now.
  • Kevin Carson at Center for a Stateless Society: Headline: “Statism: An Unfalsifiable Religion.” Pointing out the endlessly self-perpetuating loop of statism. I liked this quote: “Market failures are taken as evidence that we need a regulatory state, but regulatory failures are used as a pretext for even more government.”
  • William Grigg at LewRockwell.com: Pausing to remember the horrific story of Derek Hale, executed by cops in 2006. Hale’s widow recently received a settlement from the City of Wilmington, Delaware, but that can scarcely bring back her tased-into-a-stupor, then-shot husband Derek.
  • Daily Anarchist: Ugh…a guy writes about how he no longer hangs out with his non-anarchist friends. I hate this crap. Saying that you don’t want to hang out with non-anarchists is just as collectivist as being a collectivist. People must be treated as individuals.
  • Juan Cole: Top ten myths about Afghanistan. Must-read. Cole just demolishes every one of the plot lines you hear articulated in White House briefings and mainstream reporting. It is an unwinnable war.
  • NYT: Remember the name Qian Yunhui. He began as no hero–a Communist Party apparatchik. But he later fought for his neighbors’ property rights, and this is why he may well have been killed by the regime.
  • NYT: Estonia joins the Euro. Poor Estonians. We’ve covered this story before. At a time when the euro is facing an existential crisis, let there be no doubt that this decision had nothing to do with the good of average Estonians and everything to do with bureaucrats and politicians seeking more goodies from the European Union.
  • Jacob Sullum at Reason: Covering the federal court ruling that NYC can’t force cigarette merchants to put up anti-smoking posters. This is one small victory for private business, but it comes in the midst of a losing war.
  • Via Conor Friedersdorf at Sullivan, The Washington Examiner: When it comes to for-profit colleges, no one wins. You have the colleges themselves fighting to keep their meal-ticket, the 87% of revenue they get from taxpayers. Then you have guys shorting the stocks of for-profit colleges fighting for more onerous regulation of them in Congress, just to make sure they make money on their short. Yuck.
  • The War Nerd Gary Brecher at The eXile: Lessons from the Pashtun. I don’t always love Brecher’s column, but this one was hilarious. Good example: “They still remember Timur in Herat, but they won’t remember us. Not even all the money we spent, because Afghans are not future software billionaires. They’ll spend it on guns or pretty little dancing boys, and it’ll all end up in the form of Muhajir merchant families, or the 32-foot Bayliners sitting in the driveway of some merc’s house in Tracy.”
  • NYT: Those who petition the Russian Orthodox Church to rescind Tolstoy’s excommunication either totally misunderstand his philosophy or just want to make a name for themselves. My guess is the latter. If Tolstoy knew that his great-grandson was campaigning for Putin and begging for the Patriarch to restore Tolstoy to good graces, he would implode.
  • John McWhorter at The New Republic: Fantastic essay on how ending the drug war–and not just on marijuana–would be a tremendous thing for black America. My only concern with McWhorter’s essay is that it’s a bit too pragmatic. The war on drugs should be ended because it is morally wrong, not because it leads to a lot of innocent black men going to jail. If fewer black men go to jail once this great wrong is eliminated from our society, then so much the better.
  • Daniel Larison: Pointing out the uncomfortable truth that Liu Xiaobo is a pretty lame stooge of Western imperialism (read: supported the war in Iraq). This news disappoints me, but like Larison, it does not diminish my belief that Liu Xiaobo should be freed immediately.
  • Radley Balko at Reason: Cornelius Dupree Jr. became the 21st man to be exonerated by DNA evidence…in just one county. He had been in prison since 1980. What a tragedy, 30 years stolen.
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NYT:

About 7.5 percent of Estonia’s 1.35 million people are stateless. Their “alien’s passports” allow them to enter many European countries without visas, just like Estonian citizens, though they tend to face more bureaucratic hurdles. In Estonia, they cannot vote in federal elections or hold some jobs.

And why are they stateless? The vast majority are ethnic Russians who didn’t leave Estonia when the USSR crumbled and haven’t passed Estonian language and citizenship tests. Estonian is a Finno-Ugric language and not an especially easy one to tackle for speakers of Indo-European tongues like English or Russian, but I’d agree with the ethnic Estonians that a lot of the ethnic Russians haven’t given it much of a good faith effort, either because they are too old or because they’re too stuck in a one-way “our older brother Russia” bilingualism that predominated in the Soviet Union.

But the idea that Estonia finds it productive to keep nearly 10% of its permanent residents disenfranchised and carrying stateless passports two decades on seems ridiculous.

So how does this apply in the American context? Imagine that the stateless ethnic Russians in Estonia are the children of illegal immigrants born in this country if Lindsey Graham has his way and gets rid of birthright citizenship. Is it going to benefit the U.S. when 10% of our population consists of people carrying Mexican passports by birth who have never even set foot in Mexico, or people who don’t have a state at all? Will they riot like the Russians do in Estonia or will they just be unable to participate in society and sit around and rot?

Estonia could stand to incorporate its Russian citizens better, but no matter what, let its example of convoluted citizenship laws serve as a lesson to those who would seek to get rid of a constitutionally-protected system that works here in America.

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Yesterday The Country Estate discussed the EU’s decision to allow Estonia to adopt the suddenly shaky euro and offered our advice to Estonia: run!

Juri Estam at Letters from Estonia has an even better post from the perspective of someone who is actually on the ground. Money quote:

The announcement about admittance to the eurozone in six months time provides Brussels and her cheerleaders in Estonia with a great photo opportunity. At the moment, Europe needs Estonia even more than Estonia’s politicians have pushed for the euro. By bringing Estonia aboard, Brussels can point to someone who still seems to believe that the euro is strong medicine. The EU ideologues who have put all of their bets on a single centralized European state (with the euro as its economic keystone) are bent on not having their ailing project implode. Estonia is in the role of a foil who is helping to buttress an edifice that looks to have been built on an insecure foundation from the outset. She lends a vote of confidence to the battered and seasick common European currency.

This isn’t flag-waving dollar triumphalism on my part; the dollar is a deeply flawed currency itself. In the past few years, the euro looked to be heading in the right direction and you could have probably made a decent case for Estonia losing its monetary independence and adopting the single currency. But in 2010, with the PIIGS suffering the way they are and intelligent people seriously discussing the possibility of Germany leaving the euro, the benefits Estonia might realize from losing its independence are rapidly approaching zero whilst the costs remain just as high as ever.

While I am plugging Estonian things, I enjoyed the movie Sugisball, find Finno-Ugric languages fascinating and think the Forest Brothers were among the most awesome anti-communists of all time.

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That is, the honor to adopt the euro if they so choose. From the NYT:

BRUSSELS — The European Union decided Thursday to allow Estonia to adopt the euro at the beginning of next year, despite earlier doubts that the country was ready for the move.

The Union’s 27 governments, meeting in Brussels, made the decision “based on sound economic and financial policies” in the former Soviet republic, as well as Estonia’s “fulfillment of all the convergence criteria,” according to a draft statement circulating at a one-day summit of heads of state and government.

Wow, what an honor: “Being the standard bearer of fiscal good management and currency stability that we are, we the EU will allow you to adopt our euro.” Am I crazy for thinking this just seems tone-deaf? Estonia has been working hard to meet euro adoption benchmarks for some time, but it’s only in the past few months or so, long since they began the process, that the Estonians will have seen the euro fall to its lowest levels against the dollar in years, witnessed pundits and countries alike discuss the feasibility and desirability of leaving the currency altogether and been subjected to the spectacle of the sovereign debt crises in the PIIGS nations and the resultant ECB bailout. Why would anyone want to adopt the euro right now?

Run, Estonia!

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