- MacLean’s: Shocking article about NATO compensation schemes for civilian deaths in Afghanistan. It’s a business. Compensation for one tragedy was $20,000 and a new car, whereas for another death, it was just $210. That NATO forces are able to put a dollar value on human life through bargaining is proof of the devastating and dehumanizing effects this war is having. End it now before any more blood ends up on our hands.
- Via Andrew Sullivan, HuffPo: Visualizing what America’s armies hath wrought in Iraq: 100-150k dead civilians, 2 million refugees abroad, 2 million displaced persons domestically. If you had any illusions about this empire being a liberal or ennobling one (contradiction in terms), they must be shredded by now.
- The Globe & Mail: In news that should shock no one, a Kelowna (B.C.) Mountie kicked the hell out of a suspect. You can watch the video yourself. Eyewitnesses report that the suspect, Buddy Tavares, was complying with the officer. Cops are not your friend.
- Juan Cole: We already knew about Jawaher Abu Rahmah, the Palestinian woman killed by Israeli tear gas recently. Add to the list of Israel’s victims the names of Anas Salih (died in Gaza after being denied the exit visa he needed to get medical treatment) and Omar al-Qawasmeh (innocent man murdered in his home in a case of mistaken identity). The occupation must end.
- Glenn Greenwald: Writing about the “climate of fear” the American government has created in the minds of its citizens. I used to study totalitarian regimes. Many scholars agreed that the worst kind of censorship they exercised was the self-censorship that went on in the fear-wracked minds of their citizens. This self-censorship is now here in America. Progress!
- Radley Balko at Reason: Guess what–stupid anti-meth laws had the unintended consequences of making the meth trade far more profitable and seeing a boost in meth use. But hey, at least those kneejerk laws that make you feel like a criminal when you go to buy cough medicine kept some old lady without an ID from getting the Nyquil she wanted.
- NYT: Do not forget the name “Nasrin Sotoudeh.” She is a human rights lawyer in Iran who has been sentenced to 11 years in jail, disbarred, and (my favorite) banned from leaving Iran for 20 years. “You are such an awful criminal that…we cannot bear to have you leave us!” What a vile place. Sotoudeh’s “crime” was talking to the foreign media.
- National Post: In this time of governmental austerity, the Canadian government has somehow found additional money to expand their prison capacity. To be fair, Canada’s incarceration rate is much lower than America’s. This move still repulses me. At best, it is a cynical way to “create jobs,” never mind the fact that building more jail cells creates a powerful incentive to fill them. At worst, it is a declaration of faith in the untruth that locking more people in cages makes a better society. It doesn’t.
- Ilya Somin at the Volokh Conspiracy: Post on the Illinois budget crisis, where income taxes may be jacked up to cover a deficit. I don’t have a strong position on the budget crisis. What I do have a strong position on is oft-quoted beltway “libertarian” Megan McArdle, who wrote, “Whether or not you think these programs should exist, they do now, and you can’t simply throw people off who planned their lives around them.” Time to write that loser out of the libertarian movement.
- Via Thomas DiLorenzo, Anne Applebaum: It’s not often a mag like Foreign Policy prints an article titled “Homeland Security Hasn’t Made Us Safer,” so relish it for now. After unmasking the fact that DHS is a porkbarrel subsidy program, Applebaum writes, “As for the TSA, I am not aware of a single bomber or bomb plot stopped by its time-wasting procedures.” Amen.
- Via Liberale et Libertaire: “Serious” and “respected” pundit Matt Yglesias recently called for the U.S. to institute a gendarmerie system (as he put it, “a quasi-military federal organization specialized in police/security functions rather than finding and killing bad guys per se.”) Sweet Jesus! As if the thing that this horrid little police state needs to get it going again is more cops with more power.
- MacLean’s: This article about drunk driving nearly made me cry. In each case discussed, a drunk driver killed a beloved passenger. In each case, the family of the dead victim asked for clemency for the drunk driver, a friend of their lost loved one. In each case, Leviathan said, “Down, slave! I know what is best for this society,” and promptly threw the book at the offenders. No respect for the dead.
- Cienna Madrid at The Stranger: Blogging from day two of the inquest into the
murderdeath of half-deaf woodcarver John T. Williams at the hands of SPD Ofc. Ian Birk. A homicide investigator apparently tried to claim that the legal-sized whittling knife Birk claimed Williams had open but was found closed at the crime scene somehow magically closed itself when Williams dropped it. Mmmm-hmm. Then Birk took the stand to admit that he never called for back-up in 10-second confrontation that ended with Williams dead on the pavement. Birk has the gall to claim Williams looked at him threateningly, even though dashcam footage shows the perpetually drunk Williams shuffling across the street in a pitiful and harmless enough way that other pedestrians continued to walk towards him. It can’t happen in this inquest, but I look forward to the day Birk faces murder charges.
- NYT: Israeli bloggers question their government’s use of tear gas following the tragic death of Jawaher Abu Rahmah. Awesome work, bloggers. It is a powerful and important thing for the world to understand that not all Israelis support the brutal thuggery and murder carried out in their name.
- NYT: The Russian opposition thought they had a way around the country’s absurd permit process for protests–sending out protesters willing to stand an approved distance away from each other. Now pro-Kremlin groups are counter-picketing the solo protesters by standing near them, just to get them arrested. Of course, the cops are not arresting the pro-Kremlin folks. Vile.
- Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason: In case you still thought NAFTA was really a free trade agreement, did you know Mexican truckers have been banned from driving in the U.S. since 2009? This then led to punitive tariffs from Mexico. Sounding like free trade, right? Well, Obama might be about to address the situation, but not without the noxious Teamsters warning us how awful that would be for America.
- NYT: My, my, the Israelis are bloodthirsty lately–the latest allegation is that they killed a 65-year-old Gazan man on his farm…for getting too close to the security fence. Of course, Palestinians responded with violence of their own.
- NYT: The post-election crackdown in Belarus is getting worse. Lukashenko’s rotten state is now trying to place Danil Sannikov, the 3-year-old son of (arrested) opposition leader Andrei Sannikov and his (arrested) journalist wife Irina Khalip, in an orphanage. Never mind that his grandmother has been appointed to care for him! How dare Lukashenko bring innocent children into his bloodsport.
- Daily Anarchist: Another “ugh” moment from this (formerly good) blog–author Seth King says that it is right to milk the state for benefits. Why? “Only then will the productive class begin to realize that paying taxes is for chumps.” Also, “you are not responsible for its theft because you never condone forced wealth redistribution.” Whatever helps you sleep at night after you’ve spent your ill-gained food stamps, Seth. Shameful.
- Brendan Kiley at The Stranger: The fourth (and last) installment in an awesome investigative series on the drug war. Kiley comes to the conclusion that the best thing to do is legalize all drugs. This is very good. The only problem is this statement: “The only way out is to legalize—and regulate—everything.” Regulate it? Why? Just let people put what they want into their bodies and face the consequences. If they don’t like the risk, then don’t ingest the drug or create a private testing organization to give them the safety they want. Even if I disagree with regulating, it’s a great and invaluable piece of writing.
Posts Tagged ‘Iran’
Posted in Miscellany, tagged Afghanistan, Aleksandr Lukashenko, Anas Salih, Andrei Sannikov, anti-meth laws, Belarus, Buddy Tavares, budget crisis, Canada, civilian casualties, civilian deaths, collateral damage, Danil Sannikov, DHS, drug war, drunk driving, Ian Birk, Illinois, Iran, Iraq, Irina Khalip, Israel, Jawaher Abu Rahmah, John T. Williams, Kelowna, Megan McArdle, Mexican truckers, Mountie, NAFTA, Nasrin Sotoudeh, NATO, Omar al-Qawasmeh, Palestine, police brutality, prison system, Russian opposition, Seattle, tax hikes, Teamsters, tear gas, TSA, whittler, woodcarver on 01/12/2011| 1 Comment »
Posted in Miscellany, tagged Alex Jones, Anwar al-Awlaki, asset forfeiture, asset seizure, Aurora, Bradley Manning, Britain, Canada, Canadian Museum of Human Rights, Cancun, Chinese tires, courthouse, Danroy Henry, Drudge, fast food ban, Franklin County, Henry Glover, Holodomor, incest, Iran, IRS, Julian Assange, L.A., leather chairs, MacLean's, McDonald's, Mike Layton, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Monet Parham, NOPD, one-child policy, Pace, police brutality, porn, Richard Holbrooke, Saeed Malekpour, student riots, Switzerland, tariff, tax evasion, Ted Turner, Too Asian?, trade war, tuition fees, Ukrainian-Canadians, Vladimir Putin, Washington Monument, Wesley Snipes, WTO on 12/22/2010| 1 Comment »
Welcome new readers from Slog! Thanks for following me over here. Please keep coming back or just subscribe via RSS.
To the old guard, the last few weeks have been hectic with me facing the end of my internship. Apologies for the long layoff. But I’ve accumulated a good batch of links for you in the meantime. Note: I am saving the majority of my links about WikiLeaks for a separate, dedicated post.
- Globe & Mail: Saeed Malekpour, a Canadian resident, has been sentenced to death in Iran for running a porn site. That is it–running a porn site. This case is just as bad as the wife-stoning last summer, but getting nowhere near the attention. Don’t forget this guy’s name, don’t let him die.
- Via Brian Doherty, Chicago Breaking News: Aurora (Ill.) police have yet to return $190k confiscated from two drug suspects in a traffic stop. A judge has even ordered the money returned, only to have the city refuse. This is nothing new–the cops routinely confiscate money from suspects and then make it so hard to get back a lot of people just give up.
- Via Andrew Sullivan, The Telegraph: Switzerland considers overturning their ban on incest between consenting adults. Do I think incest is disgusting and unfathomable? Yes. But could I agree more with this statement? “Incest is a difficult moral question, but not one that is answered by penal law.” No, I couldn’t. Freedom means defending even the rights of people with whom we do not agree.
- Kevin Carson at Center for a Stateless Society: Covering every angle of the UK student riots in a way no other outlet has. Such a well-considered piece. Carson points out that it’s easy to blame the protesters for being thugs, but harder to see them as victims of a government education system that perversely subsidizes education and creates infinite new credentialing standards.
- National Post: Oh my God–a woman is filing a lawsuit against McDonald’s for marketing food to her children and making it hard to say no. Oh my God. I am about to explode in flames just reading about this vile human trying to use force against a business for more or less existing. Burn in hell, Monet Parham.
- Globe & Mail: This story fails in every way possible. What was once a private project to build a Canadian Museum of Human Rights is now a government-funded boondoggle (funded by the supposedly conservative Harper government, btw). Now, Ukrainian-Canadian groups are whining that the museum doesn’t do enough to cover the Ukrainian famine of the 1930s. There’s almost nothing more unseemly than this sort of genocide porn.
- The Volokh Conspiracy: Dinging Drudge for linking to PrisonPlanet.com, the main Alex Jones site. Alex is too far out there, way too wrapped up in conspiracy theories for me to like him. But just because he is a conspiracy theorist doesn’t mean his (very popular) site is incapable of breaking stories.
- Via Tyler Cowen, Bruce Schneier: Interesting argument that rather than arguing about security for the Washington Monument, it should be closed as a “monument to our fears.” I don’t think Schneier really wants to close it and neither do I, but his “this is why we can’t have nice things” point about America’s love of fear is pretty awesome.
- Tim Cavanaugh at Reason: Did you know Wesley Snipes is sitting in jail now, even though he beat his tax charges, just because the judge brought him up on another misdemeanor? And that the sentence he got for the misdemeanor is longer than a lot of sentences issued to felons? The statists don’t like it when you mess with their revenue stream.
- Der Spiegel: In a super-minor WikiLeak, American authorities got butthurt over Austria’s “limited” worldview. In this case, “limited” means “not interested in pursuing imperialism and global war.” Yet another reason for me to love Austria.
- National Post: A trade war may be brewing in my native Ohio, where a Canadian contractor made the cheapest bid to provide chairs to a courthouse, only to be told the contract needed to be awarded to an American firm. First of all, color me disgusted that Franklin County (home to Columbus) “needs” a $100 million, 7-story courthouse. Sounds like too many laws. Second of all, the idea that this will “create” jobs when it just means government will have to spend more money stolen from working people on the stupid chairs is ludicrous.
- NYT: Old news, but the judge tossed out the case against
extrajudicial murderstargeted killings filed by Anwar al-Awlaki’s dad. Apparently, this issue should be left up to the executive branch…because they are transparent, fair, and moral. God, this is sickening.
- Globe & Mail: Ted Turner urged leaders at the Cancun conference to institute a worldwide one-child policy. Bye bye, Ted. Go back to your ranch and STFU. You are insane and you hate humans. Guess what? We hate you back, you old loon.
- NYT: Telling the chilling story of Danroy Henry, another unarmed black man killed by a white cop in shady circumstances. It happened in October and we still haven’t heard much about the evidence. People need to stop trusting the police and start realizing they are bullies who kill people.
- Matt Welch at Reason: L.A. extended a moratorium on fast food restaurants in low-income neighborhoods to become a full-on ban. I understand fast food is horrible for health and encourages bad decisions. But this isn’t the way to solve the problem, by denying people their access to it and telling companies where they can and can’t operate.
- LewRockwell.com blog: Using Foreign Policy‘s list of the world’s top 15 imprisoned dissidents to ask when Julian Assange and the tortured Bradley Manning will make the list. These dissidents are worth learning and remembering, for sure. But the point about Assange and Manning is incredibly valid–we are doing things we associate with dictators.
- NYT: The WTO ruled in favor of a U.S. tariff against Chinese tires. This is what passes for pro-trade in our world. No more WTO, no more NAFTA-style free trade agreements, no more tariffs. Just free people in different places trading freely with each other, please.
- Globe & Mail: The idiotic son of Canada’s third-party leader, who is unfortunately on the Toronto council, is calling on the council to condemn MacLean’s for their now-infamous “Too Asian?” article. And just like all of the other kneejerkers complaining about this article, little Mike Layton seems to have failed to read past the title. Or maybe he did and he is just a cynical opportunist pol gunning for more votes. Whatever it is, shut up.
- Globe & Mail: One of the articles in a series about religion in Canada was about unused church infrastructure closing down and falling into disrepair, especially in Quebec. I just really loved this quote: “It’s not because you stop believing in Amon-Ra that you destroy the Pyramids.” So well said!
- NYT: Three New Orleans cops have been convicted in the post-Katrina murder of Henry Glover. Amen. Have fun in jail, you thugs. Would that more murderer cops were getting acquainted with the general population right alongside you.
- Justin Raimondo: Remember all the big media fawning over Richard Holbrooke’s death last week? How the power-loving, arrogant old fool had said we should end the war in Afghanistan as his last words, even though he was too much of a coward to do it whilst he lived? Raimondo points out that that was only the tip of the crappy iceberg with Holbrooke.
- The Economist: The judge hearing Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s case suddenly and inexplicably decided to postpone his ruling. In fact, just long enough for Vladimir Putin to make a tamper-tastic, completely unfair statement condemning Khodorkovsky on national tv. Khodorkovsky is no saint, but his punishment has already far exceeded his crimes.
Posted in Miscellany, tagged Afghanistan, Ahmed Wali Karzai, anti-smoking, Barack Obama, Ben Bernanke, bomb scare, cell phones, Chris Gregoire, cigarettes, civilian trial, coffeehouse, currency exchange, David Petraeus, Department of Homeland Security, donations, El Paso Police Department, FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force, Food and Drug Administration, Four Loko, Free Bradley Manning, free expression, Germany, Hamid Karzai, investment bankers, Iran, Jacob Appelbaum, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, licensing cartel, Michael Ignatieff, Michigan, Namibia, NATO, obmen valjuty, Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Paul Chambers, Paul Krugman, poppyseed bagel, porn, protective services, QE II, Russia, Saeed Malekpour, smoking ban, Stalin, Stasi, Stephen Harper, traders, Transportation Security Administration, Twitter, unlicensed barbers, Vienna, Washington, Washington State Liquor Control Board on 11/23/2010| Leave a Comment »
Well, it’s been too long again, dear readers. I return to coverage with another large accumulation of internet curiosities to share with you.
- Glenn Greenwald: Meet Jacob Appelbaum, the Free Bradley Manning advocate who was stopped at customs on his return from Mexico and had all of his electronics confiscated. He wouldn’t give up the encryption keys, but the bottom line is that thousands of dollars in property have not been returned to him in more than four months. All because he visited Bradley Manning in jail. But hey, this isn’t a police state, guys!
- The Vienna Review: Vienna’s famous and beloved coffee shops are under assault thanks to Austria’s adherence to EU-wide anti-smoking directives. Fascism is worse on national level than a local level, worse on a transnational level than a national level, and worst on a global level. We’re already to the transnational point. How long until we reach the global one? It is repulsive to see private property owners told how they can define owner-client relationships based on mutual consent, but even more sickening when it involves beloved cultural institutions.
- Jacob Sullum at Reason: The FDA is proposing to mandate the addition of graphic illustrations of cancer patients to cigarette packaging. Burn in hell, you losers! Even if you hate smoking, you should hate even more the spectacle of a bunch of useless bureaucrats trying to make themselves relevant by thinking up new ways to punish private corporations that sell products to adults.
- Via LewRockwell.com, Orlando Sentinel: It’s an old story at this point, but Orlando cops decided to “protect and serve” by arresting barbers at unlicensed shops. In one case, 14 armed thugs raided one shop. Does that make you feel tough, you bullies? They arrested 37 barbers in all. I guess it is nice that the state decided to be so blatant in playing their role in their symbiotic relationship with the licensed barber cartel.
- NYT: God, I wish this was a joke–Britain is now going to require the recording of all conversations conducted on the work cellphones of investment bankers and traders. This is like if the Stasi moved to modern-day Britain and wanted to monitor phone calls, but they were too lazy so they subcontracted the work out to the employers of the relevant people. Predictably, people aren’t up in arms because they hate bankers that much. The bad news is this is a gross extension of the surveillance state. The good news is that it will be laughably easy to circumvent. Stupid statists, always a step too slow.
- NYT: A Michigan town is seeking donations to its budget from non-profits in its jurisdiction. I like that they are at least not being coercive about it, but here’s a better idea for how to balance your city budget: fire people! Lots of them. In fact, fire all of them.
- Via Andrew Sullivan, StopTheDrugWar.org: A couple had their newborn taken away by protective services goons for five days because the mother submitted a positive drug test. A lot of people are angry because she tested positive due to a poppy seed bagel. I’m angry that mothers are getting children taking away for drug test results at all! Do you really think smoking a bowl makes someone a bad parent? If yes, this is the wrong blog for you.
- NYT: I didn’t even read this story about NATO deciding to extend their stay in Afghanistan until at least 2014. I began seething as soon as I saw the photo of a beaming Karzai sitting across a table from the gleeful warmongers Obama and Petraeus. Of course Karzai is smiling! He is now guaranteed four more years as the mayor of Kabul, four more years of secret cash from Iran, four more years of secret cash being stored in Dubai, four more years of protection for his dope-baron half-brother in Kandahar. And for Obama and Petraeus, well, they get to continue to see American teenagers killed and killing innocents in a foreign land. What could make an imperialist happier?
- William Grigg: Grigg always does the best police brutality write-ups–“the city’s most violent street gang — the El Paso Police Department.” In this case, an El Paso cop, sirens off, cut off a man who wrecked his motorcycle into him. The man was grievously injured and also got charged with evading arrest. The cop served a brief paid administrative leave and is now up for promotion. It’s their country, we just live in it.
- The Globe & Mail: Poor Canadian PM Stephen Harper said he “didn’t really want to do it, but felt compelled to bend” and keep Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan beyond his original deadline. Poor Steve! This spineless coward should be embarrassed to even spout such intelligence-insulting muck. What we are doing in Afghanistan is wrong. Shame on Harper for going along with it, whether it’s because he’s a lapdog of American imperialism or because he wanted to coopt
soft imperialistliberal interventionist Michael Ignatieff’s position.
- The Globe & Mail: Canadian resident Saeed Malekpour is being held on a death sentence in Iran…for allegedly running a porn site. “Allegedly” is key–his confession was coerced. He’s already been in jail since October 2008. He could yet be killed for something that, at worst, was an expression of free speech and, at best, he didn’t even do.
- NYT: Briton Paul Chambers was found guilty of causing a “menace” and fined $4,800 for a joke he made on Twitter. He made the mistake of joking about bombing an airport. That might be a stupid thing to do, but it’s an expression of free speech that only a bunch of terrorist-obsessed loony tunes like the Anglo-American governments would bother to violate. And don’t even think of mentioning Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. or I might vomit.
- St. Petersburg Times: In late summer, Russia banned the once-ubiquitous currency exchange booths. It made me angry at the time, so I am glad to see that the entrepreneurs behind the booths basically just found a loophole and spit in the state’s eye. Good for them!
- Der Spiegel: Earlier reports were that Namibian airport officials had found a luggage bomb sent from Germany. Nope! Turns out that it was one of the state’s own test bombs. Part of me wants to laugh at the ineptitude of these fools, but a much larger part of me is angry because I know that it was the first headline that mattered, not the later correction. People have been scared again, lost rights will probably follow.
- Jacob Sullum at Reason: My new home state of Washington banned the caffeinated beer drink Four Loko recently. Basically, some kids got sick at a party and annoying public health bullies talked about how dangerous the drink was, so now an entire state of people won’t have the option of buying this beverage because three old hags on our state’s Liquor Control Board decided it was dangerous. I hate these kneejerkers who just think they are giving the people what they want. Stand up for freedom, you scum!
- Pat Buchanan: Taking on Helicopter Ben’s
massive campaign of inflationQuantitative Easing II. It’s too bad Buchanan quotes Sarah Palin, but he did have this one really great section–
But “sit on cash” is a definition of saving. Is saving bad? Once, Americans were taught that saving was a good thing.
Not to Krugman. He wants to panic the public into believing the money they have put into savings accounts and CDs will be rapidly eaten up by Fed-created inflation, so they will run out and spend that money now to get the economy moving again.
Whatever the economics of this, the morality of it is appalling.
- Glenn Greenwald: Vintage Greenwald–if giving terrorists civilian trials was about restoring the Constitution and getting rid of the Bush legacy, does Obama’s recent decision to put off indefinitely Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s civilian trial mean he is violating the Constitution? It’s pretty appalling to see how the Left went from being totally anti-torture under Bush to pro-torture, pro-naked scanners, pro-everything under Obama. This isn’t a partisan issue.
- St. Petersburg Times: Just ignore the title (“Russia Could Have Been China”–like being a corporate fascist state would be a good thing) and this is a great piece. It’s a debunking of all the people who say dumb things like, “Oh, what Stalin did was horrible, but it was the only way to get Russia over the hump and into modernity.” Did Stalin kill a ton of slave laborers in building things like the Moscow Metro, the dam at Dnipropetrovsk, and the Belomorkanal? Yeah, and those things did get built. But was that the only way they could have been built? Hell no. Late imperial Russia was actually one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
With the Republicans winning control of the House last week, Rep. Buck McKeon R-CA stands to become chair of the powerful Armed Services Committee. I had not heard of Bucky before, but immediately upon reading his flagrantly retarded imperialist paeans to death, I wanted to tell this man to do something to himself that rhymes with his name. It did not rhyme with McKeon.
First there was LewRockwell.com tipping me to an Antiwar.com article that revealed Bucky has already said his top priority for his chairmanship will be continuing the
vile festival of death war in Afghanistan. Isn’t it refreshing when someone’s declared top priority is continuing to see American teenagers come home in bodybags and Afghan kids get blown up by drones? I am so proud to be a patriot and wring my flag out in the blood of innocent people!
Then Lewis McCrary at The American Conservative pointed out that McKeon is also on the record as supporting a higher defense budget. This is less offensive to me than the war thing because it doesn’t necessarily have to mean people die. That being said, it’s just about 100 times more retarded and logically unfathomable. We already account for 48% of the world’s military spending. Again, we spend nearly as much on our
imperialist killing machine military as every other country on earth combined. And this suntanned little imbecile from California wants to spend more? Our country is going bankrupt. Our military is so big it needs to be fed with wars. And he wants to expand it.
This is why the Republicans winning was really no better than the Democrats keeping it. Sure, maybe they won’t blow quite as much money on stimulus programs and healthcare, but they are a bunch of warmongering psychopaths who are certain to continue the wars we have now and sure wouldn’t mind starting another one in Iran. Heck, the Democrats probably would have done the same thing. There’s one party in Washington–the War Party.
Posted in Miscellany, tagged Afghan detainee, Antonio Musumeci, asset forfeiture, asset seizure, bailout, bile, Blackwater, CIA, Department of Defense, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Don't Ask Don't Tell, drug laws, drug possession, due process, East Germany, escape, Fannie Mae, FBI, Freddie Mac, Glenn Beck, Godwin's Law, Guantanamo Bay, habeas corpus, human rights, imperialism, Iran, Islam, Joe Miller, Julian Heicklen, Kandahar, Keene PD, Kokomo Indiana, Lee Baca, liquor license, Mattel, Medicare, Mont Pelerin Society, moral hazard, Muhammad cartoons, murder, NCTC, NSA, Omar Khadr, photographers' rights, Prop 19, Property and Freedom Society, racism, security apparatus, stimulus, Taliban, torture, toy regulations on 10/26/2010| 3 Comments »
- Via Strike the Root, Wired: the NSA gets a new set of cartoon snow leopard mascots to recruit kids. Of course, the CIA, National Counterterrorism Center and FBI all already have games aimed at kids. So you can’t market cigarettes to kids, but you can try to get them to become human-hating tool-drones of the American imperialist security apparatus? What a sick country.
- National Post: An “internationally acclaimed psychiatrist” says there is no evidence Omar Khadr, the boy-turned-man locked up at 15 in Guantanamo Bay in 2002 and held there ever since, is a ‘good kid.’ I. DON’T. CARE. Good kid or not, he has human rights, you bag of pus. And hey, guess what…maybe he would be a much nicer kid if he hadn’t been held without trial and maybe tortured for going on ten years. Burn in hell.
- Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason: Regulations are Horrible, pt. 500,000–stiffer testing regulations passed on toymakers in the aftermath of a few Mattel recalls were quickly altered to exempt Mattel. Now those same onerous regulations are driving smaller toymakers to grovel before Leviathan and probably go out of business. My God, this is especially sick. Corporations write regulations, guys. Stop thinking they protect you, they only protect their share of the marketplace.
- Via Liberale et Libertaire, CBS: Alaskan Senate nominee and Sarah Palin buddy Joe Miller makes a mistake and accidentally speaks the truth in saying he wants America’s border to look like East Germany‘s. An estimated 1,100 innocent people died at the Inner German Border, you freak. I hope you lay in bed tortured by their death groans.
- NYT: From the department of Do You Really Think We are That Stupid, “Coalition Forces Routing Taliban in Key Afghan Region.” If you’re the NYT reporter doing this story, how do you even finish it? How do you keep a straight face listening to the military hacks feeding you this tripe? You’re driving the Taliban out of their caves in one region, whoopee! Guess what, guys…Afghanistan has three things in abundance, AK-47s, poppy seeds, and caves. “We” are not winning this game of whack-a-mole.
- NYT: An American guard killed an Afghan detainee in a prison near Kandahar. Oh, wouldn’t you know it, he was trying to escape! If you believe that story, I have some primo real estate in Las Vegas to sell you, too.
- Glenn Greenwald: This is such a classic Greenwald post, haha. Glenn wants us to remember the cruel and unusual prison policies of the Iranians…which happen to look an awful lot like our own at Guantanamo and the black sites worldwide. “You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
- Via Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason, Crispy on the Outside: Did you know Kokomo, Ind. was “saved” by the stimulus? A stimulus that made it possible for Our Father the State to unselfishly charge only $1,000 for a liquor license that normally costs $100,000? Oh Father, what would we do without you to make us lick your boots and pay exorbitant costs to exercise our fundamental rights?
- Via Brian Doherty at Reason, NYT: Antonio “bile” Musumeci, the producer of the awesome podcast Thinking Liberty, won a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security thugs who arrested him and confiscated his memory card for videotaping a protest outside of a federal courthouse. This is great news for everyone who recognizes the newest front in the war against the state, photography and videotaping.
- Via the New Humanist, WaPo: a Ugandan tabloid publishes photos of 100 suspected homosexuals and tells readers in their deeply homophobic country to “hang them.” Ideas have consequences, you American evangelicals who went to Uganda and helped draft their anti-gay bill. Four people on the list have already been attacked. All Western countries should offer these people immediate asylum.
- Der Spiegel: We talk about the rhetorical awfulness of Godwin’s Law a lot, but you can’t understand how ridiculous and hurtful the argumentum ad Hitlerum is until you hear a German discuss it. Dear Glenn Beck, kids singing Obama praise songs and warnings about global warming might be annoying and gross, but they are not on par with the Hitler Youth and death camps. Stop embarrassing yourself.
- Free Keene: Keene PD shut down (video included) Cub Scouts and homeless shelter volunteers for putting up tables at a festival without licenses. Even though the tables were on private property. If you are a cop who does stuff like this, who are you helping? What are you thinking? Are you thinking?
- NYT: Know how the GOP keeps talking about deficits? Guess what, they have few specifics on how they want to cut the deficit. It’s hard to have much of a plan when you are running to the left of the Democrats on Medicare and have no intentions of cutting defense. If you vote for these clowns, you have your head on backwards.
- NYT: So the military is allowing some gays to reenlist now. I hate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and I’m all about equality. My only question is, why do these guys even want to be in the military?
- National Post: Pointing out the fallacy of people who don’t like Muhammad cartoons saying Islam should be treated “equally.” Hey guys, guess what? This is the West. We have the right to express ourselves. If it hurts your feelings, go back to a Muslim country. Oh, and please stop trying to kill cartoonists.
- NYT: Headline–“Efforts to Prosecute Blackwater Are Collapsing.” But hey, the Department of Justice tried really hard! Just like they tried really hard to prosecute torturers.
- Jacob Sullum at Reason: Yet another reason to support Prop 19–blacks are incarcerated for drug crimes at a rate up to twelve times that of whites, even though white use rates are the same or higher. And yet somehow Prop 19 looks less and less likely to pass. Come on, people!
- Center for a Stateless Society: Lede–“Mexican authorities recently burned 134 tons of marijuana in a display of Drug War success. The flames of the burning goods were a visible statist spectacle casting marijuana and the people who use it as villains, while the smoke from state propaganda conceals the real villain, which is authority.” Amen!
- NYT: Oh hey, nothing to see here, but Fannie and Freddie might need another $19 billion from taxpayers. $135 billion wasn’t quite enough. But hey, go watch your American Idol and we’ll get back to subsidizing some more mortgages for people who can’t afford them!
- NYT: This is one of the dumbest pieces I’ve read in a long time–a morbidly obese man whines about the insults and difficulties of traveling whilst fat. He’s been doing it for over twenty years. Here’s an idea, bucko: if you find it so dehumanizing and sad, lose a few pounds. And no, you do not get to be 5’7 285 by being big-boned.
- Brian Doherty at Reason: Thuggish celebucop Sheriff Lee Baca of L.A. County says he will continue to enforce marijuana laws even if Prop 19 passes. Of course, the L.A. Times is already using this as another reason to vote no on Prop 19 and “avoid controversy.”
- Lew Rockwell: Engaging in a favorite Misesian past-time, tweaking the nose of the Mont Pelerin Society. I feel bad for the college kids who watch documentaries like Commanding Heights and come away thinking the MPS Friedmanite shills for conventional conservatism are really free marketers. Join Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s Property and Freedom Society instead, kids.
- Kevin Williamson at Exchequer: Profiling a favorite statist tactic, campaigning against budget cuts by putting only the best and most essential programs on the chopping block. But what about the firefighters and the police? Think of the children! Meanwhile, we will think of our pensions, mua ha ha.
- Radley Balko at Reason: Great article on the State’s cute little asset seizure programs that like to take all sorts of property from suspected criminals and then make it incredibly difficult to get back, even when you end up being innocent. We need it for the common good, slave! Now lick my boots!
Iranian-Canadian Hossein Derakhshan, known as the “Blogfather” for his immensely influential role in helping kick off the Persian blogosphere, has been sentenced to 19.5 years in jail. Derakhshan was first jailed in 2008 just two weeks after returning to Iran. He made his name as an opposition blogger, but things got weird with him doing some pro-regime apologism from 2006 forward. I don’t care what he believed or with whom he associated, no one deserves to be locked in a cage for writing or saying anything. Not even for a day, let alone nearly two decades.
Don’t forget this man’s name. The Iranian regime is capable of being embarrassed and shamed into doing the right thing. Macleans runs down some good CBC coverage of the case here.
Posted in Miscellany, tagged 15 Penn Plaza, advertising, Afghanistan, Ahlam Mohsen, AIDS, Armed Services Committee, Benigno Aquino, bombing Iran, botched rescue, brain, bungled rescue, Carl Levin, civilian casualties, collateral damages, Donald Tsang, drug legalization, economic nationalism, Empire State Building, Gary Hart, HIV, Hong Kong, hostage crisis, Houston Police Department, Iran, journalism, Julian Assange, Just Say Now, moral culpability, Penn Station, Philippines, police brutality, Potash Corp., property rights, rape, Russia, safe sex, Saskatchewan, Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, TSA, unprotected sex, war with Iran, zoning laws on 08/25/2010| Leave a Comment »
As promised, here’s the links I owed you from last night.
- NYT: the Empire State Building whines and petitions for the imposition of state power in a private real estate dealing to keep another tall building from being built too close to theirs. In fact, they don’t just want to stop this project, they want to create a “17 block no-go zone” around their building. How would that be worded? “Hereby resolved that within this 17 block zone, fundamental economic and civil rights are declared null and void.” If the Empire State Building guys want to protect the skyline, then they should go buy up the land where this tower is going to be built. What they are doing right now is crying and playing emotionalist media politics in the hope of getting the gun barrels of state power behind them.
- Center for a Stateless Society: college student Ahlam Mohsen faces five years in prison for throwing a pie at Senator Carl Levin D-MI. Mohsen chose Levin because he chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee–making him one of the bloody-handed sickies in Washington most responsible for our two immoral wars. So the guy who perpetuates wars that kill hundreds of thousands of civilians is a victim and the woman who throws a pie at him and kills no one is a criminal. Hmm. Interesting bit of calculus there. Show your support for Mohsen by liking this Facebook group.
- The Volokh Conspiracy: Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals rules in favor of lawmakers in my home state of Ohio, who decided that a mother and father did not need to be notified by the coroner that their dead son’s brain would be removed and held indefinitely as part of a criminal investigation. Wow. I’m all in favor of solving crimes, but couldn’t the state at least have asked them or even just notified them? And if the parents weren’t suspects in the crime, why would the state have any right to seize the brain at all?
- NYT: an investigation kicks off into the killing of 8 Afghan civilians and the wounding of 12 more by NATO forces. The dead included two women and a child. I think I have an answer for that emotionally abusive Time magazine cover with the noseless girl and the “What happens if we leave Afghanistan” header–what happens if we leave Afghanistan is that no more blood of innocent Afghans ends up on our hands. How do people support this war anymore? What business do American teenagers have dying on behalf of a corrupt president and his dope baron brother and being put in situations in which they kill innocent people? End the war now.
- Photography is not a Crime: Houston police detain a man and impound his camera for taking photos of a TSA checkpoint. God forbid you take a picture of them telling old ladies to take off their shoes and making people remove liquids from their bags. At least this story has given me a good idea for what to do the next time I feel bored. I think it’s gotten to the point that all of us need to take our cameras everywhere and take pictures of everything–test them, force them to back down, force them to recognize our rights.
- Der Spiegel Online: an HIV-positive German pop star goes on trial for having unprotected, disclosure-free sex with men, including one who now has HIV. It’s interesting because the defendant is a woman and we usually think of men as being more likely to desire unprotected sex, so there has to be some distinction made between not telling a partner who doesn’t want to use a condom that you have HIV and telling a partner who wants to use condom not to use it and also not disclosing that you have HIV. Oh, and I also wonder how they have any means of proving that the aggrieved man contracted HIV from this singer and not someone else. I don’t know all of the details of this case, but it sounds like it would probably be better handled in civil than criminal court.
- Moscow Times: following the trial of a cop who beat a drunken, chained-up reporter into a coma and later saw the reporter die. This story coming from Russia and the Russian state’s “respect” for journalists (see: Anna Politkovskaya, Anastasia Baburova, Natalia Estemirova) well-known by now, I have to wonder if this death was accidental. Even if it was an accident, it remains yet another barbaric instance of police brutality.
- Via Jacob Sullum at Reason, HuffPo: Facebook drops ads from pro-legalization group Just Say Now because its pot leaf logo violates a ban on ads for “smoking products.” According to HuffPo, the ban is really only tobacco product advertising. I don’t really care what Facebook does with their advertising policy because they’re a private company and it’s their right to set policy as they see fit. But this decision leaves me with even less respect for Facebook. Tobacco, marijuana, alcohol–maybe you don’t like these things, but if you’re a company that doesn’t believe adults should have the right to put them into their bodies without government interference, then I have precious little interest in continuing to do business with you.
- The Globe & Mail: addressing the potential sale of Saskatchewan-based Potash Corp., the world’s largest Potash producer. It was private, then got seized by a provincial NDP government in the 1970s, later when private again and now is coveted by an Australian mining company. In the CBC coverage I heard and in this article as well, the primary response seems to be nationalistic whining. Sample some of the stupidity in this article–“Potash belongs to the people of Saskatchewan. They, and they alone, can decide how the material under their province should be exploited, and by whom.” “If there’s one industry in which Canada should be a world leader, with its own multinationals spanning the globe, it’s mining. Take Toronto’s Barrick Gold Corp. out of the equation, and our industry presence worldwide is pathetic, given our domestic attributes.” Being born in Ohio gives me no more entitlement to or veto rights over the sale of the soybeans grown in the northwest corner of the state than being born in Saskatchewan gives some random dude in Regina any claim to potash commodities his province. And then there’s this whole idea of being a world leader. Economic nationalism leads to really dumb decisions like bailing out General Motors. Whoops.
- Via Daniel McCarthy at The American Conservative, Gary Hart: if you’re the sort of brainless, death-worshiping moron who thinks bombing Iran would be a good idea, here’s a list of five pragmatic reasons for why it isn’t.
- Julian Assange round-up: Glenn Greenwald points out instances of blatant lies being used in a classic “throw out a whole bunch of crap and hope some of it sticks” attack against Assange. It’s really cute how the war-worshipers are trying to discredit the one guy who is just putting a ton of facts out there and saying “read through it and interpret it how you like.” And in what seems like an oddly assured, authoritative handling of the issue, the NYT tells us that we have no reason to worry that the rape charges against Assange could have been planted. Of course we have no reason to wonder about the potential involvement of a government that fanatically hates Assange and did crazy things like plant rumors that Martin Luther King was a gay communist and gave Fidel Castro poisoned cigars to ruin his beard. I can sleep so much better now!
- Hong Kong tourist tragedy in the Philippines mega-post: in case you missed it, a disgruntled Filipino cop took a bus full of tourists from Hong Kong hostage and ended up killing eight of them. Let me just begin by saying that this cop deserves to burn in a very warm place for a very long time–don’t use violence to resolve your grievances, especially when it’s violence against people who had absolutely nothing to do with creating your grievance. My favorite piece was in The Globe & Mail, perhaps because it focused on the narrative of the Chinese-Canadian Leung family, which lost three of its five members on the bus. Horrific. The NYT piece is good, too–less narrative, but more time spent looking at potential causes, including a theory that Filipino police stood down in tacit agreement with the disgruntled officer’s grievance. South China Morning Post published this fascinatingly tone-deaf, responsibility-abnegating screed from the Filipino president blaming TV coverage for the failed rescue attempt on the bus. And then for good measure and balance, SCMP replied with an op-ed of its own, squarely placing the blame on the aforementioned Filipino president. I don’t know anything close to all of the details, but I do know that I feel deeply saddened for the eight people who were killed and their families. Violence is awful.