- 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 ‘Russian opposition’
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 Anwar al-Awlaki, BART, child labor, cotton, dairy and poultry protectionism, Four Loko, Gabor Lukacs, Happy Meal ban, Ilario Pantano, immigration, imperialism, instant recall voting, Iraq, Islom Karimov, Johannes Mehserle, Kim Jong-Il, lese majeste, liberal interventionism, malnutrition, Michael Ignatieff, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Montana, none of the above, North Korea, NYPD, Oakland, Oscar Grant, payday loans, Potash Corp., Randy Quaid, refugee, Robin Hood Tax, Russian opposition, San Francisco, Saskatchewan, showtrial, starvation, stop and frisk, Strategy-31, SWAT, tariffs, Terrence Chan, Thailand, torture, University of Manitoba, usury, Uzbekistan, Washington Metro, Yemen on 11/08/2010| 3 Comments »
It’s been a while. Last week got a bit nutty with election coverage. But I’ve done a ton of reading and now you get a super sized-order of links.
- NYT: Sane people in NYC have run the stats on NYPD’s stop-and-frisk campaign and they aren’t pretty. Of course minorities were stopped more frequently. It turns out that more than 30% of the 2.8 million stops between 2004-2009 probably weren’t justified. Thank God activists are filing a lawsuit. The cop-bullies need to be punched in the nose for this one.
- Via Tyler Cowen, IT World: Demands a clickthrough, just to see the heartbreaking photo of a 23-year-old North Korean girl who could easily be mistaken for a malnourished preteen. Enjoy your cognac, Kim Jong-Il. If there’s a hell, you’re going to be roasting in it. If there’s not, hopefully your people manage to Ceausescu you first.
- LewRockwell.com blog: Johannes Mehserle, the Oakland cop who murdered Oscar Grant, received a two-year sentence. With time served, he could be out in just over six months. It’s their country, we just live in it.
- Via Radley Balko at Reason, poker player Terrence Chan: U.S. customs thugs turn the tourist Chan away twice at the border, even after he gave them personal documents with the insulting level of private information they wanted from him. These people are out of control. Let’s not even get into the right of free people to cross borders. Let’s just leave it at the sheer idiocy of customs bullies keeping people from spending money in our economy during a recession. How smart, you scumbags.
- Justin Raimondo: Running down a murderer’s row of happy little accomplices to state-sanctioned murder who are about to find themselves holding leadership positions in the House. Yuck. But as Raimondo points out, at least the utterly vile war criminal Ilario Pantano lost his campaign. Thank God.
- IMPORTANT — English-language PDF of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s final remarks at his showtrial in the gulags. I don’t agree with every word, but I know that we must not forget this man. He abused a corrupt system, he probably did some extremely shady things in Russia’s early capitalist era, and he would have never become as rich as he did if not for state power. But that doesn’t mean he deserves to end up serving a life sentence in prison whilst men who did worse roam free.
- Glenn Greenwald: Having a field day with the slavish U.S. media’s attempts to blame the letter bomb campaign on al-Awlaki. This is Greenwald at his best, pointing out the near-total lack of evidence for any involvement by al-Awlaki…except for the very convenient fact that he is a U.S. citizen Obama wants to
- The Economist: They’re getting bolder–after the FBI provoked a man into supporting one of their little agent-provocateur fake terrorist attacks on the Washington Metro, transit police wanted to start searching bags the next day. You didn’t keep us safe from anything, you losers. This guy would have never done anything if he wasn’t put up to it. Don’t you dare try to take away more of our rights.
- Via Andrew Sullivan, Mickey Kaus: Pitching “instant recall” voting with “None of the above” as an option. If “None of the above” wins, Mickey wants a fresh election with all new candidates. This is how sick democracy is. Even when you don’t want anyone, they make you pick someone, just to make the system look legitimate. Here’s an idea: “None of the above” as an option and the office ceases to exist if it wins.
- NYT: “Well wouldn’t you know it, most politicians didn’t want to talk about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan in their election campaigns.” Is this surprising to anyone? Both parties support our imperialist agenda of death. Of course they aren’t going to remind people of the two evil wars we are fighting.
- National Post: Columnist says “Embrace the hypocrisy,” regarding the U.S. and Canada’s positions on torture. We condemn other countries for it and condone it ourselves. It’s disgusting to see things have come to this. It’s even more disgusting to watch the supposedly anti-torture left roll over and play dead now that Obama is president.
- MacLean’s: Using the absurd Randy Quaid refugee case to say Canada shouldn’t accept refugee claims from the U.S. Boo! If I thought I could go to Canada and win a refugee hearing on the grounds of my opposition to the warfare state that operates in my name and with my tax dollars, I would. Americans need Canada to be our safety valve of last resort.
- Der Spiegel: Reporting on child labor in the Uzbek cotton harvest. I know a lot of Uzbeks. Almost everyone of them had a story about being part of cotton-picking student labor gangs. No, people aren’t dying as under military conscription, but sending 11-year-old girls to cotton fields and paying them nine cents for a day’s labor is SICK.
- The Globe & Mail: Looking back on liberal interventionism, seven years after we invaded Iraq. It’s not looking too good. Of course, this isn’t stopping Michael Ignatieff from trying to run to the interventionist right of Stephen Harper on foreign policy. For Americans, you can think of Ignatieff’s foreign policy as basically identical to Clinton’s, or you could just read this article about it.
- Jacob Sullum at Reason: Destroying the Four-Loko witchhunters on the basis of their own stats. Four-Loko, the new caffeinated beer tallboy, actually has less caffeine than coffee, but this isn’t stopping news hacks from claiming it causes heart attacks. I bought 24 of them for our newsroom last week and drank part of one myself. It’s vile sludge, but we’re all still alive. Of course, this didn’t stop Michigan from banning it last Thursday.
- The Moscow Times: When two governments suck at once. Canada institutes a new visa questionnaire that could require some Russians to reveal national security info they are prohibited from revealing by law. Canada—get rid of your visas. Russia–stop telling your citizens what they are allowed to say.
- Tyler Cowen, in the NYT: Immigrants create jobs. Suck it, Lou Dobbs.
- National Post: Reporting on blatant lying used by nanny state health tyrants. I think our food system is messed up. I hate to see people drink soda. Obesity is out of control here. But trying to assert control over people’s right to ingest things into their own bodies is repugnant, especially when it is hatched on the basis of lies.
- Katherine Mangu-Ward at Reason: Covering Montana, the latest state to cap payday loan interest rates. “Capping interest rates” is just a polite way of saying “Drives out of business.” Payday loan rates are so high because they are for at-risk clients. In addition, no one makes anyone take one out. Damn these politicians and their populist demagoguery.
- National Post: A math professor at U of Manitoba sues the school over their decision to award a PhD to a guy who failed his comprehensive exams twice, only to have the requirement waived because of his “extreme examination anxiety.” It gets better–he didn’t even take the required courseload. Rock on, Gabor Lukacs, you principled academe!
- The Globe & Mail: Requesting Canada get rid of its dairy and poultry protectionism. Amen.
- NYT: The ugly side of Thailand–censorship. If you haven’t already heard of Thailand’s horrifying lese majeste laws, read up now.
- NYT: How about some good news? Russia’s brave opposition has absorbed the blows and continued their fight and now they have won a bit of breathing room for their protests. Things are still horribly restricted, but these opposition activists are heroes, people who really put their lives on the line for freedom. Wonderful news. Поздравляю вас, Стратегия-31!
- Via Andrew Sullivan, LA Times: The specifics of San Francisco’s health-fascist Happy Meal ban. Nice job respecting our right to choose, you fascist guttersnipes.
- Radley Balko at Reason: Cops will charge a 72-year-old man who fired his gun at suspected robbers entering his house during a poker game. Turns out it was a SWAT team. What would have happened if a SWAT thug shot an unarmed person inside? Paid administrative leave? A commendation?
- Via LewRockwell.com blog, WaPo: Federal judge rules to limit the liability of the Washington Metro in a lawsuit over an accident that killed nine people. And people really think a court system in which the referee plays for one of the teams only could ever be a fair court system.
- The Globe & Mail: Discussing the Harper’s government sick hypocrisy in blocking the foreign takeover of Saskatchewan’s Potash Corp. Harper the guy who wrote his Master’s about free market economics blocked the deal to win some votes in Saskatchewan. This columnist seems to feel bad for him. No. This was unprincipled opportunism of the lowest order.
- Ross Kenyon at Center for a Stateless Society: Attacking the proposed “Robin Hood tax” on the financial sector from both the left and the right. Great piece.