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Posts Tagged ‘stimulus’

  • 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!
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  • Via Tyler Cowen, CNBC: British tax authorities would now like to have employers send paychecks to the government, let Caesar take his tribute and then transfer the remaining sum to employees’ bank accounts. It’s just like direct deposit, except with massive concerns about privacy and Big Brother! Yay! And I thought U.S. withholding taxes were a gross violation of my rights…
  • The Globe & Mail: fascinating rundown of an American soldier-refugee who has invoked the right of sanctuary and taken up residence in a Canadian church rather than get deported home to a military prison. I know ours is now a volunteer military and the case isn’t as clear-cut as it was in the Vietnam era, but many of the ex-soldiers who have absconded to Canada did it for reasons of conscience or ridiculous policies like stop-loss. It’s sad to see Canada cooperating with the bullies in Washington. If you want to help these refugees out, check out the War Resisters Support Campaign.
  • Free Keene: hilarious video that shows exactly how to exercise your rights as a free, law-abiding, camera-bearing citizen in the presence of the police. I haven’t laughed this hard in weeks. It’s amazing to watch just how maddening it is for these cops that people will only answer the questions they are required to answer and want nothing more than to observe them.
  • Andrew Sullivan: responding a (not-worth-linking-to) piece from a dead soldier’s sister about how network news coverage of graphic war scenes is insulting and wrong. Andrew hits exactly the right note here–if you really care about our soldiers and their safety, you should hope for graphic war coverage of the sort that will not allow Americans to forget the deaths going on in our name.
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, Wired: calling for the U.S. to rub out the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Congo. Wh-what? You want more wars in our name? There’s not enough death and destruction and bills we can’t afford already? Go hug a cactus, you dithering little “humanitarian interventionist,” you.
  • LewRockwell.com: covering the inexplicable case of an 84-year-old man slammed headfirst on the ground by a 26-year-old cop. He was drunk and he did raise a hand against the cop, but talk about disproportionate force! Witnesses confirm that he was not a physical threat and now, because of what was originally a towing call, the man clings to life with broken vertebrae.
  • National Review: bemoaning the Atlantic Yards development project in New York…not primarily because of their gross use of eminent domain, but because it will be financed largely through investments from foreigners interested in acquiring residency permits under the EB-5 visa program. The EB-5 program lets you get a green card if you agree to invest $500k in the U.S., so it’s basically a cute little way for the government to tell foreigners “Well, we don’t really like you or respect your rights as a free individual, but if you pay us enough money, we’ll look the other way.” And somehow these people coming to the U.S. is a bad thing? People who will pay outrageous sums to help prop up our failing economy? Sweet Jesus, National Review.
  • Damon Root at Reason: reporting on WaPo and Institute for Justice coverage of one of the nation’s dumbest licensure laws, the D.C. license for sightseeing tour guides. The usual nonsense line trotted out by happy cartel members is that licenses are needed to protect public safety–“Why, of course we need a barber’s license. There’s scissors involved!” But with tour guides, there’s not even that flimsy argument. Living in Seattle has exposed me to another colossally stupid licensing scheme–the Washington food handlers’ permit. Yes, many restaurants looking for unskilled labor in the kitchen actually want you to have a state permit to do it.
  • National Post: fresh off their successful signature drive and the provincial government’s disappointing announcement of a referendum in only a year’s time, the anti-harmonized sales tax (HST) folks in B.C. prepare to initiate recalls against 18 provincial legislators. They’re even making a Survivor-style contest out of who they go after first.  Good for them. They just have to be careful not to forget that all politicians are sick people who love power and force, not just the HST liars.
  • Der Spiegel: at least 100,000 Germans have asked Google to blur out their homes on Google StreetView. It’s interesting because I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a building blurred out in an American street search. And they say Americans value privacy!
  • The Globe & Mail: the Conservatives spent a record-breaking $130 million on advertising last year. Ugh. You’ve seen the same stuff in the U.S., too–all of those “Paid for with stimulus funds” signs hovering around any highway project. Must they constantly remind us of how much they are doing to for us?
  • Via National Review, the (ugh) Weekly Standard: Koch Industries’ legal team wants to know if the White House might have gotten a little bit too excited about killing the Kochtopus and leaked too much tax information to the press. I don’t really like the Kochs’ brand of libertarianism, but this reminds me to mention that Jane Meyer’s anti-Koch hit piece in The New Yorker was a revolting exercise in conflation and deception, and the normally-stellar Terri Gross’s interview of Meyer on Fresh Air was beyond the Fox News-does-Sarah-Palin level of softballing.
  • Center for a Stateless Society: holding the state to the same standards to which they hold us. Oh, Bradley Manning is a murderer for leaking documents that include information about informants in Afghanistan? Does that mean that all the war-supporting politicians in Washington are murderers for supporting two endless, bloody wars? Cat got your tongue?
  • National Post: people in Nunavut learn how to cope with their territory’s ban on alcohol imports from Europe. The ban was initiated because the EU is boycotting Canadian seal products, upon which the Nunavut economy is heavily dependent. Isn’t it cute how people in the EU and Canada can both lose out on products they want and maybe even need because their governments can’t get along? How delightful!
  • NYT: not for the faint of heart–trying to reform India’s rape laws. For a flavor of what you’ll get, Human Rights Watch “called for an end to the [finger] test, which as the name suggests, involves inserting fingers into the woman to measure ‘vaginal laxity’ and thereby ascertain whether she was ‘habituated to sex’ before the alleged assault.” Sweet Jesus. Let’s use a test that has a spurious physiological basis to suggest that sexually active women deserve to be raped. Come on, India.
  • The Economist: putting the Afghanistan murder-squad case in the context of a genre of surprisingly similar tales going back to WWII, My Lai, etc. It’s an interesting analysis. And the final commentary is one with which I agree: most Americans would just rather not know this stuff.
  • The Globe & Mail: a former Conservative campaign manager calls for both sides in Canada to get consistent on personal freedoms. Liberals, stop trying to restrict gun rights whilst respecting drug rights. Conservatives, stop trying to restrict drug rights whilst respecting gun rights. Amen!

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  • NYT: Lindsey Graham is a sick, sick puppy. A man equally dough-faced in politics and his own countenance, he has come under fire from the Republican base in his home state of South Carolina for being too liberal. Graham has seen what the Tea Party has done in getting rid of Republicans even more conservative than him this year and can’t hold much hope for his future. That’s what I think is behind his proposal to alter the 14th Amendment and get rid of birthright citizenship. It’s a page stolen from the playbook of “tough on crime” leftists, who knowingly sell out civil liberties and nonviolent criminals in an attempt to not look wimpy. In my mind, this ploy is even worse–the schmuck is talking about altering the Constitution and changing a working citizenship law just to protect his political future. I hope you will have many long years to reflect on your next term in the Senate when you are burning in hell, Lindsey!
  • NYT: Senate passes an immigration bill by unanimous consent that will require increased U.S.-Mexico border security to in part be funded by raising fees on Indian-owned firms that employ Indian immigrant-majority staffs in the U.S. What? It probably won’t surprise you to learn that Chuck Schumer was the guy behind this populist bit of hijacking. Please issue a moral defense of the idea that companies that hire too many Indians should pay for more wasteful security on a border with which they have no concern. I’m waiting.
  • The Independenta British backpacker stands to be freed after serving six years of a ten-year sentence in an Indian jail cell shared with 50 other inmates. His crime? Drug possession. And the best part is that his trial was conducted entirely in Hindi (which  he does not speak) and presented no DNA or fingerprint evidence connecting him to the drugs. It took the guy four years to even get an appeal. The list of conditions he’s picked up in jail: “malaria, dysentery, rat bites, depression, prostatitis and urinary dysfunction.” Another life ruined by the drug war!
  • Der Spiegel: Germany reaches a settlement with the families of Afghan civilians mistakenly killed in a bombing. I find it remarkable that the compensation will be $5000 per family. $5000 goes a long way in Afghanistan, but for us in the West–isn’t it sad that we’ve reached a point at which innocent life is worth only $5000? Do we really want this war tarnishing our souls any longer?
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, Bill Kristol: giving Obama a checklist for reelection. This is one of those, “Oh no…my God, he’s serious!” sort of posts. The checklist Kristol offers: 1. extend tax rates, 2. rescind the Afghanistan withdrawal deadline and 3. oppose the not-really-at Ground Zero mosque. But hey, at least if Obama can get through the next year with that BORING list, Kristol has military action in Iran for him to look forward to. These policies would be bad enough in a vacuum, but it’s like Kristol completely missed the last decade.
  • NYT: Hamid Karzai throws a hissy fit over anti-corruption investigators looking into the dealings of his government cronies. Because that’s what innocent guys who aren’t involved in corruption up to their eyeballs tend to do. But hey, at least it isn’t like American teenagers are dying and dropping bombs on innocent people for the sake of this guy and his dope baron brother. Oh wait….
  • People’s World: article accusing Rand Paul of being a shill for anti-workplace safety coal companies. It’s not very interesting, except for this part: Paul also argued for “local and state” control instead of federal regulation of mining….”The bottom line is I’m not an expert, so don’t give me the power in Washington to be making rules. You live here, and you have to work in the mines.” But miner Tim Miller, a United Mine Workers representative in Madisonville, Ky., saw things differently. “Rand Paul and his deregulation – all he talks about is deregulation and the local authorities having total control over any regulation,” Miller told the Associated Press. “I think that takes us back at least 100 years, back to when 12-year-old kids could work in the coal mines.” Seriously? Rand Paul admitting the limits of his own knowledge and saying that coal regulations probably shouldn’t be made by people in Washington who have never even seen a coal mine rather than local actors who are intimately acquainted with every step of the production process makes him the bad guy? The left can be incredible at times. Here, it is like they are faulting Rand Paul for taking a textbook Hayekian position on information asymmetry rather than being humble enough to defer to the judgment of people who know more than him. Thou art a politician, thou must control!
  • LewRockwell.com: one of those head-scratching articles that keeps LewRockwell.com confined to the fringe, this time railing against a 13-year-old Canadian girl for raising money to boost education for women in Afghanistan. Why publish an article like this one? It’s mainly meanness, and meanness  directed against someone in no position to defend herself. I get the point the author is making against universalist humanitarianism as grist for the mill of “humanitarian” interventionism and imperialism. But using this girl to make your point (along with some low blows against Canada) is stupid. And this is why LewRockwell.com will remain mired where it is.
  • Glenn Greenwald: assessing Elena Kagan. Greenwald would prefer a justice more “progressive” than Kagan, I would prefer more of an originalist, but we can agree that Kagan will be no friend of civil liberties. Greenwald had one quote that I loved: The reality is — and this has long been clear — that Americans have little respect for, and even less interest in, people who stand for nothing and seem afraid of their own belief system.  Clarity of principle and courage of conviction are almost always more politically appealing than muddled incoherence, calibrated careerism, or muted cowardice. Here’s hoping we never see a candidate so artificial, self-censoring and calculating as Kagan again.
  • South China Morning Post: a Western expat calls for the Hong Kong government to compel all licensed taxis to install GPS devices because this loser has trouble communicating with the cabbies in English. “Boo-hoo, I didn’t get where I was going fast enough, you need to put a gun to the head of private business owners so my feelings don’t get hurt again!” Hey guy–if you don’t like the taxis you’re hailing, then stop hailing cabs or book through a higher-end service. If enough people are like you and get tired of the low English capacity, then taxi companies will respond. Until then, take your force-loving whining back to Australia where they could probably use your help in building the internet firewall they want.
  • Matt Welch at Reason: you’d think the government would have learned not to encourage people who can’t afford to own homes to buy them…but you’d have thought wrong. Even after the property bubble, even after we are encouraging Section 8 renters to rent McMansions in foreclosure-capital-of-the-world Las Vegas, these people still haven’t learned. I don’t know if it’s just that home “ownership” is really that much of an entrenched fetish in Washington or that there’s whole federal agencies and close buddies like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac that would probably be in for significant layoffs if the market scaled back down to where it needs to be and are filled with self-preservation types.
  • Via Andrew Sullivan, Jon Chait at the war-loving New Republic: “surely you can’t mean you only support defensive wars!” Chait is smugly shocked and argues that Joe Klein is over-reacting to the Iraq war in saying that we should only fight defensive wars–that is, wars in which we have been attacked first. What an insane standard for making wars! We can’t let our tanks and planes go to waste like that! Bring on the death!
  • NYT: very interesting article on the Italian economy. It’s interesting that much of Italy’s huge public debt is owned by Italians themselves, not foreign creditors. It doesn’t really matter whose passport they are carrying if they all present their notes at once and demand payment, but it is an interesting point that probably help to explain why Italy had fewer problems with credit rating agencies than Greece, Spain or Ireland earlir this year. My favorite quote: “‘Before World War II, Argentina was rich,’ he says. ‘Even in 1960, the country was twice as rich as Italy.’ Today, he says, you can compare the per capita income of Argentina to that of Romania. ‘Because it didn’t grow. A country could get rich in 1900 just by producing corn and meat, but that is not true today. But it took them 100 years to realize they were becoming poor. And that is what worries me about Italy. We’re not going to starve next week. We are just going to decline, slowly, slowly, and I’m not sure what will turn that around.'”
  • St. Petersburg Times: discussing whether Russia’s current policy course leads to a Soviet future for the country. Things you don’t want to miss include a fascistic drug cop who wants Moscow-area clubs to close at midnight because it would help him fight drugs and the revelation that an anti-red tape/corruption measure designed to cap corrupt inspections of businesses put a temporary dent in bureaucratic salaries is just being replaced by fewer inspections with higher payments.
  • Via Publius at the Western Standard, Maclean’s: analyzing Canada’s stimulus. Publius pulls the particularly egregious case of $25 million ferry terminal for a village of 450 people that will admittedly be used for only a few hours per week. This is a big part of why centrally-planned projects like the ever-popular stimulus are doomed to failure–throwing productive dollars at unproductive, politically beneficial programs the market would never support. Publius wants to make the point that Conservative voters aren’t getting a very conservative deal under Harper. Agreed.
  • LewRockwell.com blog: good post highlighting the recent disclosure that this will be the first year Social Security pays out more than it takes in, or the first year that people might be forced to recognize its insolvency.
  • NYT: public sector pensions are bloated and they’re dragging down governments across the country, but at least public sector retirees recognize the problem and are cooperating. Not! The main guy profiled in the piece is a poor, pitiful 62-year-old who toiled away as a public school math teacher for an insufferable 29 (!) years and thinks the Colorado pension reforms could cost him half a million dollars over the rest of his life. Oh, poor you! Money quote:
  • Taxpayers, whose payments are also helping to restock Colorado’s pension fund, may not be as sympathetic, though. The average retiree in the fund stopped working at the sprightly age of 58 and deposits a check for $2,883 each month. Many of them also got a 3.5 percent annual raise, no matter what inflation was, until the rules changed this year.

    Private sector retirees who want their own monthly $2,883 check for life, complete with inflation adjustments, would need an immediate fixed annuity if they don’t have a pension. A 58-year-old male shopping for one from an A-rated insurance company would have to hand over a minimum of $860,000, according to Craig Hemke of Buyapension.com. A woman would need at least $928,000, because of her longer life expectancy.

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It was an exceptionally busy day today and I’m tired, so you’ll have to make do with an extra-long list of links for the day. Full coverage returns tomorrow.

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Lew Rockwell absolutely K.O.’s the idea of government “creation” of jobs today. His article is framed around the recently-ended U.S. census jobs. First money quote:

The press has been posting tributes to these people and their jobs and wailing about their fate now that their jobs are vanishing. And that raises questions. If these jobs were so great, why should they be eliminated at all? Surely, there is a way that these people could be transitioned to some other kind of government-funded service? That way, one might reason, people would have jobs, work would get done, and everyone would be better off.

Right? Wrong. Census jobs perform no market function, and the wages of these workers are paid by the taxpayer, meaning that these jobs are actually destructive of wealth. They siphon wealth and work out of the private sector into the wasteful sector. In fact, we can go further to say that eliminating these jobs is actually a step toward economic recovery.

Bingo! Taking money from some citizens to pay for temporary jobs for other citizens is no way to create a lasting recovery. It’s only a way to make the statistics look better for the present and help us all feel a bit hope-y. (more…)

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Consider this article title/subhead at AlterNet today: “Inaction by Congress Deepens the Jobs Crisis: The jobs crisis is getting worse. Why won’t Congress do anything about it?”

Reworking the famous quote a bit, when I hear the phrase “government creation of jobs,” I reach for my gun. (more…)

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