“Mitch Daniels … Isn’t he the former Bush budget director who said the Iraq War would cost $50 billion when it ended up costing $3 trillion? The bureaucrat who promoted the Bush tax cuts when we were fighting two wars? The one whose budget projections were so fraudulent that he predicted federal surpluses in 2004 and 2005? Why the hell should we listen to him criticize Obama?”—Mitch Daniels: Bombast From the Past - truthdig.com (via abaldwin360)
Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backs
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame; all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind.
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.
If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin;
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,—
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.
How sweet and fitting it is to die for one’s country.
Biotech giant Monsanto has been genetically modifying the world’s food supply and subsequently breeding environmental devastation for years, but leaked documents now reveal that Monsanto has also deeply infiltrated the United States government. With leaked reports revealing how U.S. diplomats are actually working for Monsanto to push their agenda along with other key government officials, Monsanto’s grasp on international politics has never been clearer.
He wants to establish a trade enforcement unit, i.e. more bureaucracy, to stop counterfeit goods from entering the country. He said last night that:
“Tonight, I’m announcing the creation of a Trade Enforcement Unit that will be charged with investigating unfair trading practices in countries like China. There will be more inspections to prevent counterfeit or unsafe goods from crossing our borders. And this Congress should make sure that no foreign company has an advantage over American manufacturing when it comes to accessing financing or new markets like Russia. Our workers are the most productive on Earth, and if the playing field is level, I promise you — America will always win.”
So if illegal and pirated products don’t have a place in America, why do illegal aliens have a place to produce products in America?
People are not, in any way, products. Don’t try to equate them.
We already have an agency that attempts to keep undocumented immigrants out of this country, it’s called ICE.
Obama is, by no means, for illegal immigration. He’s deported more people than Bush had by the same point in his presidency. It’s not a stat I’m happy about, but it’s the truth.
Feel free to make comments about policy, just make sure they’re accurate.
“The selection of a Republican candidate for the presidency of this globalized and expansive empire is — and I mean this seriously — the greatest competition of idiocy and ignorance that has ever been,”—
“He makes his money the same way I make my money. He makes money by moving around big bucks, not by straining his back and going to work cleaning the toilets or whatever it may be. He makes it shoving around money. I make it shoving around money.”—Warren Buffett, on why Mitt Romney should pay higher taxes. (via think-progress)
On Tuesday, Congressman David Schweikert (R-AZ) introduced H.J.Res 99, the National Debt Relief Amendment (NDRA). This constitutional amendment would require approval from a majority of states before Washington increases the federal debt level.
Oh, what a wonderful idea. This is exactly what this country needs, more gridlock when raising the debt ceiling. We can barely raise it now because of all of the political brinkmanship, and this guy wants to add another component to the already sluggish machine.
But beyond delaying the process, we’d just never get the debt ceiling raised ever again. It’s a well known fact that state legislatures tend to be more radical than Congress, regardless of whether the state leans to the left or the right. In Congress, we all know that the ceiling with eventually be raised, because no matter what, the people in charge of the parties on a national scale know that not raising the debt ceiling has the ability to tank our country’s economy. In state legislatures, however, most people just don’t give a shit.
A Gallup poll from last January found that people who identify as either “conservative” or “very conservative” would rather politicians stick to their principles than actually get anything done. They want gridlock. What’s significant about this, though, is that this is how the conservative members of legislatures in states like Nebraska and Alabama think. If a proposal to raise the debt ceiling came up for a vote, it’s clear that it would be shot down in nearly all of the red states.
But beyond the issue of the debt ceiling not being able to be raised and the resulting crash of the world economy (I know…… but there’s more, trust me), is that the very reason that the amendment was proposed is flawed. This is taken directly from Rep. Schweikert’s press release:
Washington has demonstrated an inability to rein in its reliance on debt and continues to mortgage our future with more borrowing, spending, and bailouts.
Conservatives continue to use the phrase “mortgaging our future” (we can probably thank Mr. Frank Luntz for that), regardless of the fact that when the U.S. government borrows money, it is nothing at all like when a family borrows money from a bank. When the government borrows money, it never has to pay it back. As Paul Krugman wrote in his recent article “Nobody Understands Debt”:
The debt from World War II was never repaid; it just became increasingly irrelevant as the U.S. economy grew, and with it the income subject to taxation.
If a family didn’t repay their debt for 70 years, I think they might be in trouble.
What I’m getting at is that the debt shouldn’t be as pressing an issue as politicians are making it. The legitimate economic fear related to debt is called “Crowding Out”. This idea says that when a government borrows too much, it raises interest rates throughout the country, thus decreasing internal private investment. However, that just hasn’t happened. Despite our large debt, interest rates are still at historic lows.
This amendment would even be counterproductive. Everyone knows that, as of now, the United States will not default on its debt, so our interest rates stay low. If this amendment were to pass, it could rid investors of that perception of security. If investors don’t feel comfortable buying U.S. debt, then interest rates will rise.
So congratulations Mr. Schweikert, you win this month’s competition for shitty legislation.
An 11-year-old Muslim schoolgirl has been subjected to a horrific racist assault by a group of older white girls in Surrey just because she was wearing headscarf.
Surrey Police stated that the little Muslim girl who was waiting for the bus was “targeted during a racially aggravated assault” in Sunbury-on-Thames.
The group of suspects had kicked the schoolgirl in the leg and the back and pulled her rucksack off her back before pushing her to the floor. As the Muslim girl was lying on the floor, the white girls drew on her face with make-up and racially abused her, Surrey Police added.
Detective Constable Simon Egan, leading the investigation into the racist attack, considered the incident as appalling where a young victim was subjected to an “unprovoked attack.”
“It would seem that suspects targeted the victim for no reason other than because she was wearing a headscarf and serious offences of this nature will not be tolerated by Surrey Police,” Egan said.
While appealing for witnesses, Egan urged any pedestrians or motorists who saw the incident to come forward as the assault had happened at the side of a busy road in broad daylight.
This was not the first act of violence against a Muslim woman in Britain, but dozens of similar incidents took place on Muslim women because they refuse to take off their hijab. The British government has been running anti-hijab campaign and supporting the spread of Islamophobic agenda in the country to limit the Muslim community.
“I get a kick out of folks who call for equality now, the people on the left, ‘Well, equality, we want equality.’ Where do you think this concept of equality comes from? It doesn’t come from Islam. It doesn’t come from the East and Eastern religions, where does it come from? It comes from the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, that’s where it comes from.
So don’t claim his rights, don’t claim equality as that gift from God and then go around and say, ‘Well, we don’t have to pay attention to what God wants us to do. We don’t have to pay attention to God’s moral laws.’ If your rights come from God, then you have an obligation to live responsibly in conforming with God’s laws, and our founders said so, right?”—
I’ve heard the argument that rights come from God before. But the equality thing, goddamn. That’s a whole new layer of fuckery.
But whatever. I’ll play.
“A woman should learn in quietness and full submission. I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent. For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not the one deceived; it was the woman who was deceived and became a sinner. But womena will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith, love and holiness with propriety.” 1 Timothy 2:11-15
“Let all who are under the yoke of slavery regard their masters as worthy of all honor, so that the name of God and the teaching may not be blasphemed. Those who have believing masters must not be disrespectful to them on the ground that they are members of the church; rather they must serve them all the more, since those who benefit by their service are believers and beloved. Teach and urge these duties. Whoever teaches otherwise and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that is in accordance with godliness, is conceited, understanding nothing, and has a morbid craving for controversy and for disputes about words.” 1 Timothy 6:1-4
“But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.” 1 Corinthians 11:3
“For the man is not of the woman; but the woman of the man. Neither was the man created for the woman; but the woman for the man.” 1 Corinthians 11:8-9
“Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home.” 1 Corinthians 14:34-35
“Give me any plague, but the plague of the heart: and any wickedness, but the wickedness of a woman.” Eccles. 25:13
“Of the woman came the beginning of sin, and through her we all die.” Eccles. 25:22
“The whoredom of a woman may be known in her haughty looks and eyelids.” Eccles. 26:9
“Better is the churlishness of a man than a courteous woman, a woman, I say, which bringeth shame and reproach.” Eccles. 42:14
“One of illegitimate birth shall not enter the congregation of the Lord.” Deuteronomy 23:2
I’m done. In general, organized religion does not have the best track record of promoting equality. I imagine Rick Santorum has a different version of equality than the one found in the US Constitution. That’s the definition I follow.
And that’s one big reason Santorum should never hold public office again. He loves to rail about Iran’s unjust theocracy. Listening to Santorum talk, it seems he’s taken notes for his imaginary presidency.
Take note, Ron Paul fans. It is a bad idea, and economists everywhere agree.
The poll you link to surveys central banking apologists, mostly Monetarists and Keynesians. They are by definition in support of fiat currency. They view the economy as something to be engineered through the manipulation of the money supply - something impossible with a gold standard. Consensus among them is meaningless.
That’s like asking your local butcher if eating meat should be outlawed.
Looking at their answers, it’s clear even the “experts” are anything but. Allow me to address a few:
Nancy Stokey: “There are much better ways to avoid excessive inflation, while maintaining the flexibility of a fiat currency.”
Inflation is an increase in the money supply. You cannot avoid excessive inflation by allowing for the mechanisms of excessive inflation to control inflation. This is like keeping a flame at bay with a firehose of gasoline.
Though perhaps if wine (1) retained value over thousands of years without decay, (2) were easily divisible without losing value, (3) were malleable and ductile, able to be shaped into more convenient and portable forms, (4) remained stable in a wide range of temperatures and climates, (5) has never been worth nothing, (6) was fungible (an ounce from one source would be equal and identical to an ounce from another source), (7) supply was finite without being so rare as to be difficult to use, (8) new supply was relatively uncommon and difficult to acquire (certainly relative to the success of vineyards or activity of a printing press), (9) had a long-standing history of being used as currency, and above all else (10) free people were using it as a medium of exchange or intermediary of trade - then you might have a point. Seeing as none of that applies to wine, Thaler’s comment exposes some serious economic shortcomings.
Kenneth Judd: “The relative price of gold can be very volatile.”
Yes - relative to the dollar because the dollar is volatile:
This chart clearly shows the effect of fiat currency that can be inflated at whim - such as the greenback during the “Civil War” or the Federal Reserve note when losing its silver/gold backing in the late 60’s.
Meanwhile, the value of gold is incredibly stable relative to other commodities.
Let’s look at gasoline back in 1980, which, like 2011, also had a spike in the price of gold and oil (these are my calculations, but feel free to look into it yourselves):
There are many things wrong with this post, but I’ll address the main one… The fact that the gold standard, in relation to the way the banking system is now, is completely nonviable. We cannot simply decide to go to a gold standard now. Maybe, if we went back in time and redesigned the initial financial system, the gold standard would work. However, anyone championing the implementation of the gold standard today is championing the economic collapse of this country, and most likely, the world.
There’s no doubt that the Fed has made mistakes (the 30s, the 70s), but that does not mean that the whole system has to go down.
I understand your sarcasm and how absurd that sounds when put so bluntly, but that’s how government in general works. The people relinquish some of their rights in order to promote the common good.
Even Robert Yates,…
I could actually agree to most of what you just said. I’m not really of the anarchist variety of libertarianism. I do believe a limited government, restrained by a constitution, is necessary to the preservation of liberty.
With that said, my comment was actually made in regards to Rick’s views on social issues such as abortion. He tried pandering to evangelicals by saying abortion doctors should be criminally charged and sent to jail for their practices. By taking the right away of woman to have an abortion and the right of a doctor to perform a medical service he would be protecting the rights of the unborn.
My point more or less was to poke fun at his fucked up populist policies that simply wouldn’t get him elected in a general election.
Statement Introducing Repeal of Sec. 1021 of National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012
Mr. Speaker: I rise today to introduce a very simple piece of legislation to repeal the infamous Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, quietly signed into law by the president on New Year’s Day.
Section 1021 essentially codifies into law the very dubious claim of presidential authority under the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force to indefinitely detain American citizens without access to legal representation or due process of law. Section 1021 provides for the possibility of the US military acting as a kind of police force on US soil, apprehending terror suspects – including Americans — and whisking them off to an undisclosed location indefinitely. No right to attorney, no right to trial, no day in court.
This is precisely the kind of egregious distortion of justice that Americans have always ridiculed in so many dictatorships overseas. A great man named Solzhenitsyn became the hero of so many of us when he exposed the Soviet Union’s extensive gulag system. Is this really the kind of United States we want to create in the name of fighting terrorism?
For all of the lefties who are going after Ron Paul for being absent the day NDAA was voted upon, I believe this qualifies as being worthy of redemption.
CHICAGO, IL – President Obama’s Chicago homecoming on Wednesday was less welcoming than he expected, as Obama was shocked to learn his Hyde Park residence had been foreclosed upon some time last year. Obama was in Chicago for a series of fundraisers and decided to visit his old home, only to discover the locks had been changed and a new family had moved in.
The irony makes my brain ache.
“The Smartest President Ever” must’ve had a brain fart or he really, REALLY wants to show the average American citizen that he too has gone through foreclosure - like so many of us - heading into the 2012 elections.
I understand your sarcasm and how absurd that sounds when put so bluntly, but that’s how government in general works. The people relinquish some of their rights in order to promote the common good.
Even Robert Yates, who contributed to the Anti-Federalist Papers under the pseudonym “Brutus” wrote, “A certain portion of natural liberty should be surrendered, in order that what remained should be preserved.”
While he went on to say that “But it is not necessary, for this purpose, that individuals should relinquish all their natural rights. Some are of such a nature that they cannot be surrendered,” he made it clear that some rights do need to be given up if government is to function. And remember, this is coming from an Anti-Federalist, not even a Federalist.
So as much as I hate the despicable human being that is Rick Santorum, he’s not wrong.
“When the laws undertake to make the rich richer and the potent more powerful, the humble members of society—the farmers, merchants, and laborers— who have neither the time nor the means of securing like favors to themselves, have a right to complain of the injustice of their government.”—
“Today there are more African-Americans under correctional control — in prison or jail, on probation or parole — than were enslaved in 1850, a decade before the Civil War began.”—Michelle Alexander, on the number of blacks in the criminal justice system. On Monday’s Fresh Air, Alexander details how President Reagan’s war on drugs led to a mass incarceration of black males and the difficulties these felons face after serving their prison sentences. (via nprfreshair)
“Depriving a person of their freedom for a period of time is sufficient punishment in itself without any need whatsoever for harsh prison conditions.”—Arne Kvernvik Nilsen, Norwegian Prison Governor of Bastoy Prison near Oslo. (via letterstomycountry)
I wrote a post recently in which I explained the idea that civil liberties and universal healthcare are not only compatible, but in many ways co-necessary to preserve and maximize personal liberty within a practical framework. You can see this exemplified in countries like Norway, where police officers don’t even carry firearms, prisons are more like Rehab centers than dungeons, and their response to terrorism was more democracy. All this while government spending accounts for roughly 45% of Norway’s GDP.
With this being said, let me ask you a question: how much do you pay for your smart-phone plan?ArsTechnica has reported on cell-phone plan pricing in France, where a company is offering unlimited talk, text, and 3G web access for 20€/month:
Remember when AT&T tried to buy T-Mobile last year for $39 billion, and how it kept insisting that reducing the number of national wireless carriers from 4 to 3 wasn’t a problem because the market was just so competitive? If you want to see what real competition looks like, turn to (gasp) France, where the hugely popular Free.fr broadband provider just blew the doors off the mobile marketplace with its €20month unlimited use plan.
This was a story too important to bury beneath the deluge of gadget news pouring forth from CES. Free has long been one of France’s most popular Internet providers. When we profiled them back in 2009, the company was offering 20-30Mbps Internet, free landline phone call to 100 nations, and TV service along with an HD DVR for €30 (US$45) a month.
…This last week, Free dropped a nuke on the wireless business, too. For €19.99, subscribers can get unlimited calls to mobile and fixed line phones in France (and to fixed line phones in 40 other countries). They get unlimited text messages. They get unlimited 3G data (with a “fair use” policy). They get net neutrality. And they get it all without a contract.
It gets better. If you subscriber to Free broadband, the wireless phone service costs only €15.99 a month.
Finally, light users can have 60 minutes and 60 texts for €2 a month—and Free broadband subscribers get it free.
This story also comes on the heels of the Heritage Foundation’s 2012 Index of Economic Freedom, in which 9 countries ahead of the United States all have some form of universal healthcare, most of which are accompanied by a robust safety net.
This inefficiency is part of the reason why virtually every other 1st-world nation has come to the conclusion that publicly-funded, and yes, socialized healthcare schemes are superior to the private-centric alternative. People don’t consume healthcare the same way they consume other goods. Public health functions as a floor for all other economic activity. The fact that you can get an amazing cell phone plan in France for nearly half what it would cost from America’s corporate giants exemplifies the trend: countries with universal healthcare and robust safety nets tend to be more practically free than countries without. A shibboleth-like fetishism of perfected individual liberty in economic matters tends in practice to lead to the exact opposite, as it has in America.