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May 7, 2011

^ gently caress me.

Check out Cafe Hayek, the Austrian polemic 'Dan Bordeaux' regularly posts vitrolic letters into NYT and copies them to his blog.


May 7, 2011

Bruce Leroy posted:

What really bothers me about conservative assholes like Cal Thomas is that they are intentionally ignoring the fact that Norway has very low crime rates and small prison populations compared to the US. These positive results are very likely due to all the social welfare programs that prevent crime in the first place and far more humane prison policies that reduce recidivism, but such policies are anathema to conservative ideologues like Thomas.

So, yeah, this incredibly loving awful thing happened, but Norway is otherwise a very safe and progressive country with far lower rates of poverty than the US. Breivik's terrorism was the worst violence in Norway since about World War II. The US has had numerous incidents of domestic terrorism in the last half-century, so I think the US should be taking a page from Norway, not the other way around.

I love how the U.S. reaction to this - and to the shooting of that democratic candidate - was 'let's loosen up gun laws', whereas Norwegians have basically said 'terrorise all you want, we aren't going to stoop to your level'.

May 7, 2011

vxskud posted:

The amusing part is increased Government regulation and Tariffs on Trade would actually bring more jobs back to America.

But of course that would be UnAmerican :america:

And the interests of the CEOs and shareholders must be protected at all costs!

Corporate tax also incentivises employment where it is levied.

Cost of employee = wages + payroll - corporate tax, roughly

May 7, 2011

David Henderson, blogger at the Koch funded GMU and self professed 'Randite', proving that he is a complete moron:

David Henderson posted:

Presidential aspirant John Kerry likes to discuss "the wealthiest one percent". In this he is following in the footsteps of Al Gore who, when running for president, excoriated the one percenters to drive a wedge between them and the rest of us, hoping that enough of the rest of us would vote for him. Fellow demagogue Paul Krugman also often attacks the top 1 percent.

Whom do you picture as the wealthiest one percent? Many of us think of the famous athletes and entertainers earning $10 million a year, trial lawyers wearing expensive suits, and heads of multinational corporations making important decisions in exquisite wood-paneled boardrooms. To be in the top one percent in 2001, the most recent year for which the Internal Revenue Service has released statistics, you had to have an adjusted gross income of $292,913 or more.

But if you take a wider and longer view, you reach a striking conclusion: virtually every American who has heard John Kerry or Al Gore speeches is in the top one percent. This includes the middle-class family from Indiana, the barber in Florida, the K-mart clerk in Oregon, and the Virginia junkyard worker.

Here's why. Carl Haub, senior demographer at the Population Reference Bureau in Washington, D.C., has estimated that 106 billion humans have been born since Homo sapiens appeared about 50,000 years ago. That means that the richest one percent in history includes 1.06 billion people. There are currently 6.2 billion humans alive, leaving approximately 100 billion who have died. Who among the dead was rich by today's standards? Not many. Royalty, popes, presidents, dictators, large landholders, and the occasional wealthy industrialist, such as Andrew Carnegie and Leland Stanford, were certainly rich. All told, it is difficult to imagine more than 20 million of these people since ancient Egyptian times. This leaves 1.04 billion wealthy alive today, or 17% of the world's population.

The World Bank counts 900 million people living in 28 "high-income countries," like the United States, Japan, Canada, and much of Europe, where the annual gross national product per capita is $9,361 or greater. If we include the 140 million richest people from all the remaining countries, we have 1.04 billion rich people. On the other end today are 3.5 billion of the world's 6.1 billion who live in countries whose per capita GNP is less than $760. The poorest of the poor, more than 1.2 billion, live on less than $1 a day. Now that's poverty.

The poor in the United States, by contrast, live on up to $23.50 a day. Except for the few hundred thousand who are homeless, the Americans whom the U.S. government defines as poor live exceptionally rich lives. In most ways, their lives are better than those of kings and queens just 200 years ago. Consider the quality and quantity of our food, clothing, refrigerators, televisions, washing machines, stereo systems, and automobiles. King Louis XIV of France had a greenhouse so he could eat oranges. The poor in this country can eat an orange every day, regardless of season. King Edward III of England could summon the royal musicians to play music. The poor in this country have a wide variety of music at their command, 24 hours a day, played note-perfect every time. Edward III lived in a dark, smelly, cold castle. Even the worst houses in this country are more comfortable and have electric lights, too. Care to live without showers and flush toilets? The kings of England and France had to. Next time you see a Shakespeare play in which kings and princes cavort, remember that royalty in Shakespeare's day had rotten teeth, terrible breath, and body odor that would make you keel over.

Finally, who can ignore the dramatic increase in lifespan that we enjoy? This is due to better food, clean water, and sewage systems that work. It is also due to technologically advanced drugs and surgeries that are available today even to poor people, medical treatments that even a king 60 years ago would have envied. Even what we casually throw away is better than the objects that most humans treasured throughout history: plastic utensils; resealable, leakproof glass drink containers; resealable plastic bags; jeans with a hole in the knee; leftover lasagna and week-old bagels; newspapers for insulation and starting fires. Many magazines have photographs and artwork better than the average human could ever hope to own just centuries ago. The poor in today's society throw them away without a thought.

Count yourself as one of the luckiest and most successful humans ever. Celebrate your wealth and ignore politicians who preach the gospel of the haves and the have nots. They try to divide us when in fact what we have in common exceeds our differences. While you're counting your blessings, take a minute to honor the system that created it: the system of property rights, free markets, low taxes, and the rule of law. And if you want to help people who are in the bottom, then urge your politicians to stop blocking imports from India, Kenya, Peru, Cuba, Bulgaria, and other poor countries around the world. While charity has its place, few of the wealthiest one percent got rich from charity, and neither will today's poor. We moved from poverty to wealth through economic growth. Let's allow the rest of the world's poor to do so also.

Hurrr durr people are starving in Africa so CEO pay is justified.

May 7, 2011

Oh The Economist, you have become so teeth gratingly poo poo:

The Economist posted:

MY LUNCH money is safe. As I so boldly predicted last week, America has swiftly soured on the Occupy Wall Street movement. OWS is now even less loved than the positively ancient tea-party movement. David Weigel plumbs the trends from the last two surveys from Public Policy Polling:

Do you support or oppose the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement?

Support: 33% (-2) Oppose: 45% (+9)

Do you have a higher opinion of the Occupy Wall Street movement or the Tea Party movement?

Occupy: 37% (-3)Tea Party: 43% (+3)

Mr Weigel suggests that OWS's fall from favour is "a reflection of a steady thrum-thrum of viral Internet articles and local news reports about the dark side of Occupation..." Surely it's partly that. But Julian Sanchez lucidly articulates what I think many Americans find bothersome about OWS, even if they share its concerns:

Almost everything about the execution of yesterday’s eviction of protesters from Zuccotti Park was an outrage, from the interference with reporters seeking to cover the event, to the needless destruction of protesters’ property, to Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s stunningly lawless disregard for a court order restraining the city. But on the underlying question of whether the city must allow any group to set up a tent city in public space indefinitely, I think Doug Mataconis gets it right: There’s no First Amendment right to camp out in a park, and no reason to think that there’s anything constitutionally offensive about a content-neutral rule designed to ensure that public parks can continue to be used as, well, parks. People, of course, have every right to speak their mind in public (or, in this instance, quasi-public) space. But laying down dozens of tents and announcing that you and your friends intend to live there indefinitely always sounded suspiciously like an attempt to, in effect, privatize that public space.

I’ve always had a similar reaction to that hoary protest chant: “Whose Streets? Our Streets! Whose Park? Our Park!” Here we’re supposed to understand that “our” means “the people” as a whole. But protesters—even when they call themselves “The 99%”—comprise a pretty minuscule fraction of a percent of the population of a city the size of New York. In practice, “our” means “this particular group of people,” even if they aspire to represent a much larger group. We don’t put expressive rights to a vote, fortunately, but it does seem like a whole bunch of democratically elected city officials are under the impression that their constituents want their parks to remain usable for traditionally park-ish purposes. Maybe they’re wrong, of course, or maybe that’s a pretext offered to squelch a threat to their corporate paymasters. But it always seems presumptuous when soi-disant populist movements, left and right, declare that “we the people” want this or that.

It's time for OWS to relinquish our cities' public spaces to the actual public and get on with the tiresome and frustrating grind of actual democratic politics. As Mr Sanchez puts it, "To imagine protest not as prologue to politics, but as a substitute for it, suggests a denial of the reality of pluralism, and an unwillingness to find out what democracy actually looks like."

But what if our system is so badly broken that honest democratic politics is no longer possible? This is, indeed, a main theme of the progressive master narrative: the 1% has grown so disproportionately powerful that it, for most practical purposes, owns "the system". In that case, telling tent-dwelling enthusiasts of participatory democracy to go home and actually participate in our democracy amounts to telling them to surrender to the oligarchs.

As Mr Sanchez observes, conservatives have their own stories about why their political preferences do not prevail.

This has long been a major strain in conservative thinking: Everyone would see that our views are just simple common sense—obviously correct!—if not for a liberal media cabal systematically lying to people all day. Dark as this sounds, it’s utopian in one sense: It implies we’d all agree but for the malign influence of this or that small but powerful group.

But we will never all agree. Refractory disagreement is a bedrock fact of liberal society. As is, I would add, the darkly utopian idea Mr Sanchez identifies: the notion that disagreement is a product of malign, illegitimate, external influence. We are much too confident in our political beliefs, and our over-confidence is sustained in part by just-so stories about why others fail to see things our way. The liberal media! Right-wing think tanks! The socialist indoctrination camps known as "colleges"! George Soros! The Koch brothers! The Bilderbergers! Corporations! The state! The military-industrial complex!

There is something profoundly satisfying about believing that one's own team alone has seen through the fog of disinformation and propaganda to the real truth about the treacherous interests that stand between our condition and the reign of justice. And there is something terrifically exciting about the sense, often engendered by visible protest movements, that one's own team is growing, that its narrative is catching on. Conversely, there is something profoundly dissatisfying, and a little bit demoralising, in acknowledging that most people will never accept many of ones' most ardently-held convictions, and that, therefore, none of us will ever get to live in a society that closely matches, or even roughly approximates, our beloved ideals. But it's true all the same. And it's true all the same that our actual democracy, for all its problems, does about as well as democracy can be realistically expected to do, given the size and diversity of this country. Frankly, we're pretty lucky our democracy works as well as it does. There's a great deal we can do to make it a little better, but there's very little we can do to make it a lot better, because we'll almost never agree enough about the really big stuff.

Banding together with a bunch of like-minded citizens to make a big noise is a great way to get noticed, to rally similarly-outraged others to a cause, and to shift the terms of the public debate. OWS has done all that. Now they've got to get some sympathetic folks elected to public office, because that's how this democracy thing works, when it does. Anyway, if our democracy really is irredeemably broken, the polls would seem to suggest that further camping is unlikely to turns things around.

May 7, 2011

In fairness they got hosed by the housing bubble and tuition fees are *really* expensive in the U.S.. I'm not saying I feel sorry for them but the truth is that a family of four on $100,000 isn't the enemy.


May 7, 2011

I was directed to this essay via here:

John Derbyshire posted:

(10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).

(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.

(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.

(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.

(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.

(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.

(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.

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