Archives for: July 2013

Pets are bad..

At first I thought that there might be some humor to glean from this story about dog eating man. But while there is some cosmic coincidence that could be seen as humorous when some dude that had his testicle eaten by a fluffy small dog ends up in a hospital called “St. Bernard’s Regional Medical Center”, the fact that the dog ate his nut, still sucks. Was there peanut butter involved, and will they add a Medicare code for small fluffy dog eats nuts to the code list?

Yet another economic revision they wish would go away..

The constant revisions to our GDP numbers, always downwards, after story after story of how the latest mediocre if not downright ugly numbers show growth and improvement, is starting to feel like these reports are created by the same people that constantly fudge the numbers to push the AGW agenda. That much touted 1.8% GDP first quarter growth that the collectivists kept telling us, for the umpteenth time, was an indication that things were getting better – finally: all blame Boosh!! for what came before even if he has been gone for half a decade now – has been revised, downward, as it has been every other time, to a measly 1.1%. That’s not even anemic: that’s tragic.

How much do we want to bet that the 1.7% GDP number for the second quarter, which we have not heard much about in the LSM these days, ends up being revised (care to bet against me that it will go down?) soonish, and end up at or below 1%? Things are not getting better: they are getting worse. That GDP revision is not the only number that’s bad. It looks like all that effort to prop up homeownership and all the stories about the recovery right around the corner, were just tall tales. In general everything but the number of people dependent on government, many of them quite employable, is going the down. Things are going bad in every indicator that matters. And if we let these fucking idiots do more damage in the name of trying to fix things, things are going to get much worse, and much faster. This collectivist shit not only doesn’t work, it is economically destructive. But we can keep pretending otherwise, while the world goes to shit.

These idiots will never admit that what they believe in is destructive and that it will never work, so we can’t compromise with them, because they are not willing to do anything of the sort. Collectivism sucks.

Good for thee, but not for me…

Our political masters seem to be vexed by a problem of their own making, and we find out:

WASHINGTON — As President Obama barnstorms the country promoting his health care law, one audience very close to home is growing increasingly anxious about the financial implications of the new coverage: members of Congress and their personal staffs.

Under a wrinkle that dates back to enactment of the law, members of Congress and thousands of their aides are required to get their coverage through new state-based markets known as insurance exchanges. But the law does not provide any obvious way for the federal government to continue paying its share of the premiums for the comprehensive coverage. If the government cannot do so, it could mean an additional expense of $5,000 a year for individuals and $11,000 for families under some of the most popular plans.

Not surprisingly, that idea is unpopular on Capitol Hill.

Yeah, sure. We should be made to pony up money because of a nasty and stupid law they enacted, but they find it an inconvenience and are looking for ways to get around it?

In the current political climate, any effort to clear up the confusion excites suspicion. Tea Party groups say that lawmakers are seeking special treatment or an exemption from the law, an assertion flatly rejected by Democrats.

Representative Henry A. Waxman, a California Democrat who helped write the 2010 law, said, “The federal government, as our employer, should provide the same contributions it makes to our current health plans.” The Office of Personnel Management could establish that policy administratively, without legislation, he said.

Funny that. A democrat, and a member of the party that stuck us with this law, thinks the law shouldn’t apply to them at all. Loophole, or something….

We are nothing but their serfs to these people, and doubly so to the collectivists.

Obamanomics in a nutshell…

And this Obamanomics phenomenon applies to collectivism’s economic precepts in general. The idea is to stifle small businesses by subjecting them to ridiculous tax rates, to control them and limit their ability to compete. After all, small businesses are anathema to the big government types, because in general, big government is the enemy of these entities and their biggest economic pain point. In the mean time the big corporations that the government elite favor, both as business entities and as the type of business said government feels should be economic winners, are given tax breaks. That’s always in return for said businesses supporting the efforts of the big government types. From the article:

The New York Times reports that President Obama is reviving an old proposal to lower the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 28 percent (and 25 percent for manufacturers). Obama’s push to lower the corporate tax rate to 28 percent comes less than a year after he raised the top individual income tax rate, paid by many small businesses, to 39.6 percent.

In a speech delivered Tuesday afternoon, Obama did not explain why he thinks it’s a sound economic idea to raise the top marginal tax rate on small businesses but lower it for corporations.

It is not accidental that the nanny stater’s philosophy is to favor the big over the productive. That’s what the USSR was all about. Practically every entity in the collectivist’s way of doing things needs to be centrally managed by them, leading to a model where anything from manufacturing to healthcare end up as behemoths that are gigantic, inefficient, ineffective, and tied to the state’s whims. While we no longer have the collectivists in charge wanting the state to outright own everything like the good old days of communism, we should not be fooled into believing they have abandoned they belief in central planning and bigger is better. “Too big to fail” is something, and something really bad, the nanny staters gave us.

These days the collectivists masters prefer to create the veneer of free enterprise while setting up a legal system that makes them the de facto power brokers. The ability to pick the winners and losers and to create an incestuous dependency between big business and big government, has all but replaced that. And they still keep the ability to rile up the stupid masses through the usual marxist envy and jealousy based class warfare bullshit that has served them so well, while they and their crony corporatists buddies laugh all the way to the bank. The LSM might ignore the truth, but the facts speak for themselves. This is not happening by accident: it is by design.

Collectivists have no use for a middle class. Their system is predicated on an elite class that rules, and the serfs that serve them. That’s why their policies, while always sold as well intended, have as a side effect the erosion of the middle class at the same time as it expands the number of lower class members dependent on government handouts for their daily subsistence. Punishing small businesses and using them as a cash cows, while favoring the giant corporations that they favor, plays very well into this collectivist model. Collectivist are good at pretending to care, but what they do destroys prosperity. Ask the people that lived under the old Soviet system, the people left behind in communist China, the North Koreans and Cubans, and anyone else subjected to the whims of these fools.

Manning Verdict

The story is still breaking, but it looks like Bradley Manning was just convicted of espionage but not convicted of aiding the enemy.

I know it won’t make me popular with fellow libertarians, but I think the verdict is reasonable and it’s easy to see why when you contrast his behavior against Edward Snowden. Snowden blew the whistle on very specific programs he believed were violating the Constitutional rights of Americans. Manning dumped a whole bunch of documents. Some of these contained embarrassing information or showed lousy behavior; most of it he clearly had not even reviewed. It’s one thing to break secrecy when you think our citizens’s lives are being violated; it’s another to break it just for the sake of breaking it. (You can see my take on some of the more explosive Manning allegations here).

Snowden has been careful about releasing information with compromising national security (so far). Reports that he has turned over classified info to the Chinese and Russians are unverified at this point but would obviously change the equation. But Manning dumped everything to Wikileaks and there is evidence that insufficient vetting has cost the US dearly and cost some our allies their lives.

Whatever evils you may attribute to our government, they do not make Manning’s indiscriminate leaking of classified and secret information justifiable.

However, it does not appear that he was deliberately aiding Al-Qaeda or any of our enemies. So not convicting him of the more serious charge (which would have been the Civil War) seems reasonable.

The Stenographer Class

As you may have heard, San Diego Mayor Bob Filner is under fire. He has been alleged to have sexually harassed a number of women, including many of his own staff members, over a span of decades. We’re not talking about the odd dirty joke; we’re talking about groping and kissing just about any woman who was alone with him for ten minutes. This might sounds familiar.

But check this out:

Regardless of how the Bob Filner mess eventually ends—and it will end, somehow—there are questions that need to be asked and answered.
They are questions that should have been asked long ago, and should have been asked by those whose job it is to ask such questions: us.

Who are “us”?

“Us” are the San Diego news media reporters, editors, producers and writers who pretty much knew who and what Bob Filner is and has been.

Yes, I’m including myself in that group. I’ve covered Bob Filner off and on since he was elected to the San Diego Unified School District Board in 1979. From the beginning, most of us saw how arrogant Filner was and is, how abusive he could be to his own staff members, how he felt elective office entitled him to be all those things and more.

We keep seeing this over and over again. Bill Clinton’s behavior was ignored by the media until Matt Drudge dragged it out into the open. John Edwards’ scandalous and awful behavior was ignored until that National Enquirer broke the silence. Ted Kennedy was treated as the “Lion of the Senate” and Chris Dodd was praised even as they left behind trails of shaken women.

We’re not talking about extra-marital affairs; ignoring politicians’ personal lives goes back to Jefferson. What we’re talking about are men who treat women with callous disregard and disrespect, who engage in systematic predatory behavior and get away with it because they are powerful. Men who go through life with people looking the other way for decades as they engage in rotten abusive behavior. They behavior is ignored because the media always cozy up to politicians. And ignored because these particular politicians are advancing views they agree with.

How many other Bob Filners are out there? How many more women are being ignored or being told to grit their teeth for the greater glory of the party? Don’t come to me with your feminist credentials after a powerful politician’s awful behavior has been unveiled after decades. Don’t come to me when you rant about it with one party but ignore it with the other. Come to me when you’re the first to say, “We won’t tolerate it no matter who he is.”

For every media person who is out there doing hard work and exposing corruption and abuse, there are ten who are glorified stenographers. Worse than that: glorified publicists. They repeat anything the politically powerful say uncritically. They write glowing profiles of men they know are awful people. They constantly tell politicians how swell their ideas are. This phenomenon is heavily biased in favor with Democrats, of course, but Republicans are not without their own gaggles of faithful media dogwashers.

This has been going on for a long time but the last decade, in particular, has seen the perfidy of the media exposed in all its appalling glory. When are they going to learn?

Hollywood Doing It’s Part

About a month ago I saw this really cool movie about Abraham Lincoln and the little known facts concerning his vampire hunting. American history has always had an appeal with me, any new material unearthed about our famous fore fathers, well, pile my plate high. Obviously when his mother succumbed to a vampire bite, naturally I could see why he wanted to kick some serious vampire butt, preserving the union and freeing the slaves came a distant second and third to his real passion.

NBC is working on another opus magnum, equally diligent in chronicling a great life and presenting it to the masses, somehow I think this work of art will be as historically accurate as an ax swinging vampire killing president;

A Hillary Rodham Clinton miniseries timed to precede the 2016 presidential election is part of NBC’s effort to create “event” programming that will draw viewers to the shrinking world of broadcast network TV, NBC’s programming chief said Saturday.

Let me translate that for you ,”Not resting on our laurels from that magnificent smear job we did on Palin last go around, we figured our anointed could use another helping hand. Targeting the all too essential (and all too numerous) low information voter, the ones that haven’t a clue between fact or fiction, we will be highlighting her many accomplishments (even if we have to embellish their importance) because really, who else are we going to support?”

If you think this reach around is going to be anywhere within the same zip code as honesty, take a look at who they have as playing Hillary, what, Kate Upton was off on a photo shoot and unavailable? Would not this woman be more accurate?

I was thinking about that time she said she came under sniper fire in Bosnia and how the GOP could use that for ammo, come to find out that she is pretty bad ass under fire.

The triumvirate (Hollywood, the MSM, academia) presents a tsunami of support every election and the GOP is usually a day late and a dollar short. But I see they have started campaigning early, and who’d a thought, they are not above idle threats;

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Here’s ten, just make it go away.

Cameron’s Firewall

British Prime Minister David Cameron is proposing a new firewall on British ISP’s. In addition to blocking material like violent pornography, it will included an “opt in” option for any pornography. If you’re wondering how long it will be before the list of people who “opt in” to porn gets leaked to embarrass them, it will probably be measurable in femtoseconds.

Even on its own terms, Cameron’s Great Firewall is objectionable. As EFF points out, there is little reason to believe it will stop people looking for illegal content who are web savvy. It is likely that a host of website and search terms will get “accidentally” swept up in the net. And it puts the tools in place for much more abusive censorship (put a pin in that for a moment).

Moreover, there is almost no evidence that internet pornography is “corroding childhood” or provoking violence. There is no evidence that even violent porn does this. In fact, as pornography has exploded over the last twenty years, every social trend has been positive. Rape and sexual assault are way down; divorce is down, domestic violence is down, abortion is down, even teen pregnancy is way way down. It has fallen faster in states with more web access. Even the most extreme porn shows no connection to any real world harm.

(I’ve previously blogged, in the context of movie violence, about why I think violent entertainment can reduce real-world violence.)

So why is Cameron pushing for something that will put women and children in greater danger in the UK? Why is he suddenly …

Oh:

The British prime minister’s internet filters will be about more than just hardcore pornography, according to information obtained by the Open Rights Group.

The organisation, which campaigns for digital freedoms, has spoken to some of the Internet Service Providers that will be constructing Cameron’s content filters. They discovered that a host of other categories of supposedly-objectionable material may be on the block-list.

As well as pornography, users may automatically be opted in to blocks on “violent material”, “extremist related content”, “anorexia and eating disorder websites” and “suicide related websites”, “alcohol” and “smoking”. But the list doesn’t stop there. It even extends to blocking “web forums” and “esoteric material”, whatever that is. “Web blocking circumvention tools” is also included, of course.

Needless to say, there is little justification for any of this. People don’t commit suicide because they read about it on a website. People don’t develop eating disorders because they read about it. People smoked and drank alcohol and beat the snot out of each other long before Algore was even born, least of all before he invented the internet. Blocking all this stuff and effectively imposing an ASBO on the entire nation is not going to make Britain any safer. It’s just going to put the British government’s claws into the information superhighway so that they can control content and, with it, people.

I have no problem with internet filters being available to people who want them. I’m a dad and there’s content I don’t Sal 11000 Beta to see, at least until she’s figured out my router password. But an automatic opt-in dictated by government is simply unacceptable. And don’t think for a moment that our own SOPA-supporting, CDA-befuddled politicians aren’t casting an eye across the pond to see how much freedom Cameron’s firewall can take away.

(H/T: Dr. Brooke Magnanti.)