How will parents react when they find out they will be expected to provide workers’ compensation benefits, rest and meal breaks and paid vacation time for…babysitters? Dinner and a movie night may soon become much more complicated.
Assembly Bill 889 (authored by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, D-San Francisco), will require these protections for all “domestic employees,” including nannies, housekeepers and caregivers.
The bill has already passed the Assembly and is quickly moving through the Senate with blanket support from the Democrat members that control both houses of the Legislature – and without the support of a single Republican member. Assuming the bill will easily clear its last couple of legislative hurdles, AB 889 will soon be on its way to the Governor’s desk.
Under AB 889, household “employers” (aka “parents”) who hire a babysitter on a Friday night will be legally obligated to pay at least minimum wage to any sitter over the age of 18 (unless it is a family member), provide a substitute caregiver every two hours to cover rest and meal breaks, in addition to workers’ compensation coverage, overtime pay, and a meticulously calculated timecard/paycheck.
Failure to abide by any of these provisions may result in a legal cause of action against the employer including cumulative penalties, attorneys’ fees, legal costs and expenses associated with hiring expert witnesses, an unprecedented measure of legal recourse provided no other class of workers – from agricultural laborers to garment manufacturers. (On the bright side, language requiring an hour of paid vacation time for every 30 hours worked was amended out of the bill in the Senate.)
Unfortunately, the unreasonable costs and risks contained in this bill will discourage folks from hiring housekeepers, nannies and babysitters and increase the use of institutionalized care rather than allowing children, the sick or elderly to be cared for in their homes. I can’t help but wonder if that is the goal of AB 889 – a terrible bill that needs to be stopped.
This state is filled with leftist totalitarian morons.
How about - and I know this is radical to statists everywhere - people come to mutually beneficial, voluntarily-agreed-upon decisions? Parents offer what they are willing to pay, babysitters accept only what they feel is just. Those babysitters who can earn more money doing something else, can choose to do that. Those parents who can’t afford to pay above a certain amount, can still have an opportunity to enjoy a night out by finding a cheaper babysitter.
We pay our babysitter well above minimum wage. I know other families who use cheaper sitters, but ours is punctual, responsible, good with my girls, and we trust her. She didn’t need a law to make more money, she just needed to be better qualified at what she does.
GOP presidential candidate Ron Paul says federal disaster managers should get out of the way of state and local governments. He’s got an unlikely co-religionist, to a certain extent: Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate (at left).
In the second of two parts of Decoder’s look at FEMA (see part one here), Fugate’s public statements on FEMA’s mission and approach spell out a way of looking at disaster management that balances federal resources with local knowledge and access.
“When a large-scale catastrophic disaster, take an earthquake… occurs, it’s unrealistic to expect that resources from outside the area can get to everybody fast enough. We always need to maximize what’s already there… Too often, government wants to control everything… We need to look at the public not as a liability but as a resource.”
And that’s Fugate putting things nicely. From his Atlantic profile:
“We need to change behavior in this country,” Fugate told about 400 emergency-management instructors at a conference in June, lambasting the “government-centric” approach to disasters. He learned a perverse lesson in Florida: the more the federal government does in routine emergencies, the greater the odds of catastrophic failure in a big disaster.
There’s a subtle distinction there. On smaller disasters, an invasive federal government leads to atrophied state and local systems. But when a big disaster strikes, as the Atlantic’s profile continues, leaving disaster relief up to smaller players can lead to dire consequences:
If the feds do more, the public, along with state and local officials, do less. They come to expect ice and water in 24 hours and full reimbursement for sodden carpets. But as part of a federal system, FEMA is designed to defer to state and local officials. If another Katrina hits, and the locals are overwhelmed, a full-strength federal response will inevitably take time. People who need help the most—the elderly, the disabled, and the poor—may not get it fast enough.
A quick look at the list of things FEMA took on prior to Hurricane Irene shows just how sweeping the agency’s mandate is and how challenging it would be for other actors to set up. From a White House release on the subject, FEMA was at least in part responsible for a range of activities, including prepping urban search and rescue teams, deploying groups responsible for monitoring critical communication systems, and setting up military bases to be able to rapidly deploy aid, among other measures.
The Bottom Line: While corporations may be excellent at, say, getting badly-needed supplies to a few, localized areas, massive crises call for massive, coordinated responses. Harnessing both local acumen and federal horsepower, Fugate appears to argue, may be the key to getting disaster responses right.
Donate to the Red Cross’ efforts to help those affected by Hurricane Irene here.
See video of Ron Paul’s statements about FEMA here.
Read FEMA’s blog detailing their efforts at mitigating the effects of Irene.
Well! If the administrator of FEMA thinks FEMA is helpful and necessary, what more do I need?!
My gardeners used to cut my lawn every other week, but when they told me that it was necessary for them to cut my lawn every day, I of course agreed. After all, they are the experts (and with 15 times more pay, they could stimulate the economy or something).
If a private business had botched services and wasted resources in the exorbitant manner in which FEMA did during Hurricane Katrina, that business would have faced serious consequences and not exist today. See here, here, and here for more.
It’s hard to tell if the idea that Ron Paul cannot win in 2012 is more ignorant, in its complete lack of historical sophistication, or more arrogant, in its claim to certainty amid all the complexity of 300 million lives and the myriad issues that affect them. …
Specifically, on all the metrics that a year ago everyone accepted as useful indicators of political standing, Ron Paul is not just a front-runner but a strong one.
First, and most directly, he does extremely well in polls. The organization of his grassroots support is not just excellent; it is remarkable, by historic and global measures. His ability to raise money from actual voters is second to none. His appeal to independents and swing voters is an order of magnitude greater than that of his competitors. Secondarily, he has more support from military personnel than all other candidates put together, if measured by donations; he has the most consistent voting record; he has the magical quality of not coming off as a politician; he oozes integrity and authenticity, and, as far as we know, he has a personal life and marriage that reflects deep stability and commitment.
To believe that Ron Paul’s victory is a long shot in spite of all standard indicators that directly contradict this claim is to throw out all norms with which we follow our nation’s politics — and that is a huge thing to do. The only way it can be done honestly is to present another set of contradictory reasons or metrics that are collectively more powerful than all those that you are rejecting. I am yet to find them.
If it is true that the studied neglect of data to hold tight to a paradigm is the best evidence that the paradigm is about to collapse, then the massive and highly subjective neglect of all things Paulian is specific evidence that the country is moving in Paul’s direction.
Of course, none of this means that Paul will definitely win. But it does mean that a bet against him by a politician is foolhardy and by a journalist is dishonest. …
If Paul wins, it won’t be because he is the kind of candidate Americans have always gone for. It will be precisely because Americans have collectively decided on a dramatically new way of doing business — a new political and economic paradigm — and then he’ll not only have ceased to be a long shot; he’ll be the only shot.
A toaster oven takes more than big-screen tvs, mac server, laptops, refrigerator, washer/dryer, and dishwasher combined? Just...how? And if so, wouldn't that make a full-size electric oven off the charts expensive? Also, just out of curiosity, how do you figure out what appliance is the biggest part of your bill? Do they break it down for you?
Because I live in a house, I can simply look at my power meter (recently “upgraded,” non-voluntarily, to one of those creepy “smart meters”) for a gauge at power usage. When the toaster oven is running, the meter is scary.
Generally it takes a lot more power to heat coils and filaments (more or less one of the reasons incandescent bulbs use more power than compact fluorescent bulbs) than to simply provide a limited charge.
Also, I have one of those fancy convection toaster ovens, which kicks things up a notch when the internal fan is circulating the heat. Luckily, we have a gas stove which means it can actually be cheaper (if slower) to use our traditional oven.
“In a sense there have always been but two political philosophies: liberty and power. Either people should be free to live their lives as they see fit, as long as they respect the equal rights of others, or some people should be able to use force to make other people act in ways they wouldn’t choose. It’s no surprise…[that the] philosophy of power has always been more appealing to those in power.”—
A lot of people make the claim that the Cato Institute is just another conservative think tank that has the same beliefs as people like the Koch brothers or Citizens United. But the Cato institute is really a very libertarian group. David Boaz is actually gay. So, I think he’s going to be a pretty good watchdog on social conservatives.
Michael Gerson, former speechwriter for President George W. Bush and now a columnist for the Washington Post, has denounced libertarianism as “morally empty,” “anti-government,” “a scandal,” “an idealism that strangles mercy,” guilty of “selfishness,” “rigid ideology,” and “rigorous ideological coldness.” (He’s starting to repeat himself.)
In his May 9 column, “Ron Paul’s Land of Second-Rate Values,” he went after Rep. Paul for his endorsement of drug legalization in the Republican presidential debate. “Dotty uncle,” he fumed, alleging that Paul has “contempt for the vulnerable and suffering.” Paul holds “second-rate values,” he added.
What did Paul do to set him off? He said that adult Americans ought to have the freedom to make their own decisions about their personal lives — from how they worship, to what they eat and drink, to what drugs they use. And he mocked the paternalist mindset: “How many people here would use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody would say, ‘Oh yeah, I need the government to take care of me. I don’t want to use heroin, so I need these laws.’”
Gerson accused Paul of mocking not paternalists but addicts: “Paul is not content to condemn a portion of his fellow citizens to self-destruction; he must mock them in their decline.” Gerson wants to treat them with compassion. But let’s be clear: He thinks the compassionate way to treat suffering people is to put them in jail. …
In a recent Cato Institute report, Jeffrey Miron of Harvard University estimated that governments could save $41.3 billion a year if they decriminalized drugs, an indication of the resources we’re putting into police, prosecutions, and prisons to enforce the war on drugs.
What Gerson correctly observes is communities wracked by crime, corruption, social breakdown, and widespread drug use. But that is a result of the failure of prohibition, not decriminalization. This is an old story. The murder rate rose with the start of alcohol Prohibition, remained high during Prohibition, and then declined for 11 consecutive years when Prohibition ended. And corruption of law enforcement became notorious.
Drug prohibition itself creates high levels of crime. Addicts commit crimes to pay for a habit that would be easily affordable if it were legal. Police sources have estimated that as much as half the property crime in some major cities is committed by drug users. More dramatically, because drugs are illegal, participants in the drug trade cannot go to court to settle disputes, whether between buyer and seller or between rival sellers. When black-market contracts are breached, the result is often some form of violent sanction.
When Gerson writes that “responsible, self-governing citizens … are cultivated in institutions — families, religious communities and decent, orderly neighborhoods,” he should reflect on what happens to poor communities under prohibition. Drug prohibition has created a criminal subculture in our inner cities. The immense profits to be had from a black-market business make drug dealing the most lucrative endeavor for many people, especially those who care least about getting on the wrong side of the law. Drug dealers become the most visibly successful people in inner-city communities, the ones with money and clothes and cars. Social order is turned upside down when the most successful people in a community are criminals. The drug war makes peace and prosperity virtually impossible in inner cities.
There is a place where drugs have been decriminalized, not just de facto but in law. Maybe Gerson should have cited it instead of Washington, D.C. Trouble is, it doesn’t make his point. Ten years ago Portugal decriminalized all drugs. Recently Glenn Greenwald studied the Portuguese experience in a study for the Cato Institute. He reported, “Portugal, whose drug problems were among the worst in Europe, now has the lowest usage rate for marijuana and one of the lowest for cocaine. Drug-related pathologies, including HIV transmission, hepatitis transmission and drug-related deaths, have declined significantly.”
The Keynesians assume that a market economy can get stuck in a “liquidity trap” in which mutually advantageous gains from trade are not occurring. The possible benefit of alien invasions and terrorist strikes, in this view, comes from their ability to jumpstart the private sector out of its funk.
Yet for those economists who reject such a notion and instead think that markets can use resources efficiently when they are left alone, there is no upside at all to destructive events. Even though we can imagine situations in which these events confer benefits to particular groups, on net society is always made poorer, because the necessity of applying more labor power — just to return to the status quo in terms of tangible wealth — is a cost of the episode, not a benefit. Other things equal, we are better off when people have to work less to achieve a given level of wealth or flow of consumption.
The Coffee Bean is currently running a “Support from Home" initiative that sends bags of coffee and tins of tea to troops stationed overseas. Customers who purchase a bag or tin for this purpose may then write a short message on the back.
Might I recommend the following message:
Vote Ron Paul. He’ll bring you home from these pointless wars quickly.
(Though I’m sure such a message wouldn’t actually make it to the troops…)
“European welfare states have been in place for decades now, crushing private initiative. The bills have come due and the cupboard is bare. This is the more fundamental cause of the European crisis, and nothing will be solved until Europeans begin to face up to it. And rather than indulging in Schadenfreude, we in the United States would do well to apply European lessons to our own troubles.”—Warren C. Gibson
Gathering information about government officials in a form that can readily be disseminated to others serves a cardinal First Amendment interest in protecting and promoting “the free discussion of governmental affairs.” Moreover, as the Court has noted, “[f]reedom of expression has particular significance with respect to government because ‘[i]t is here that the state has a special incentive to repress opposition and often wields a more effective power of suppression.’” This is particularly true of law enforcement officials, who are granted substantial discretion that may be misused to deprive individuals of their liberties. Ensuring the public’s right to gather information about their officials not only aids in the uncovering of abuses, but also may have a salutary effect on the functioning of government more generally.
Federal energy policy is being driven by the failure of neo-Keynesian economic policy.
Stimulus spending was supposed to end the Great Recession and transform tax expenditure into additional tax revenues. Instead, we are left with both recession and broke government. Obama borrowed from the future and made the present worse. George W. did his share too.
Keynesian economics failed during the Great Depression (will more textbooks now admit it?). The activist approach of Herbert Hoover (the first New Dealer, according to Murray Rothbard) used the powers of government to slow the liquidation of unsound investments, narrow profit opportunities, injure international trade, and block employment.
Government spending and deficits crowd out private-sector activity that is consumer driven and thus efficient. The timeless explanation of the artificiality of public jobs by Henry Hazlitt in Economics in One Lesson applies to the U.S. experience in the 1930s and to today’s quagmire. Rothbard’s America’s Great Depression (1963) documents the artificial 1920s boom from expansionary monetary policy (the Federal Reserve Bank was founded in 1913) and the necessary bust that was not ever allowed to run its course to sustainable recovery.
Keynesianism failed again with the 1970s stagflation, which occurred during the energy crisis. The simultaneous existence of high unemployment and high inflation empirically refuted the (Keynesian) Phillips Curve, which graphed how more of one meant less than the other with the two never being high at the same time.
In the face of stagflation, neo-Keynesian leader Paul Samuelson, his guilty textbookEconomics exposed, lamented:
It is a terrible blemish on the mixed economy and a sad reflection on my generation of economists that we’re not the Merlins that can solve the problem. Inflation is deep in the nature of the welfare state. Even when there is slack in the system, unemployment doesn’t exert downward pressure on prices the way it did under “cruel” competition.
But lessons were not learned, and Obama finds his third-way interventionism running on empty. The stimulus borrowed from the future and simply propped up mal-investments and created new ones, such as the government-dependent wind power industry. “Green” jobs are bubble jobs that are set to burst sooner or later.
So playing college sports is not a unique “student-athlete experience.” It’s a job like any other job. Just like in any other corporate job, you go to work every day for a stress-sick executive who needs you to bust ass 24 hours a day to save his neck and stave off his aneurysm.
Unlike any other job, though, you don’t get paid, because the company you work for, the NCAA, has cleverly designed a series of pompous rules making it “illegal” for you to be compensated. In order to preserve this bottomless well of unpaid labor (poor kids, both black and white, coming from the ghettoes and from busted country towns in West Texas or the Ozarks, etc.), the league has created and carefully nurtured the myth of “amateur status,” essentially arguing that the 200-300 players they deliver to the NFL draft every spring must be economic virgins at the moment they sign their first NFL contracts, or else all moral hell will break loose.
The reality, of course, is that preserving the virginity of those 300 lucky future NFLers a year is all about not having to pay the tens of thousands of kids who play college football every year and don’t make it to the pros, while earning millions for their schools.
Objectively speaking, there’s no logical reason why it should be wrong to pay a star football player who’s helping the University of Miami secure a multimillion-dollar TV deal. But the NCAA says it’s wrong, and its officials even wrote a complex series of rules to back themselves up – and, unbelievably, the entire sportswriting community buys the myth.
The Republican Party is desperately seeking a candidate who can unseat Barack Obama.
What qualifications would the ideal candidate have? How about these?
1. He should bring to mind popular past Republican presidents and leaders, to prove his authenticity and excite the Republican base.
2. At the same time, he should be able to win the support of a large number of Independents and disaffected Democrats.
3. He must provide a sharp and positive contrast to Obama. The country is souring on Obama – polls show him at all-time lows. Obama’s youth, once appealing to voters as freshness, is now looking more and more like inexperience and uncertainty. A mature GOP candidate, with successful experience inside and outside of politics, would provide a sharp and appealing contrast.
4. He must have a solid record of foresight on the economy. As in past elections, the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” may decide the election.
5. His message should excite and motivate the increasing number of voters looking for a limited government, pro-Constitution candidate.
6. Above all, of course, the candidate must have a genuine shot at beating Barack Obama.
“The U.S. Government loves to demand that other countries hold their political leaders accountable for serious crimes, dispensing lectures on the imperatives of the rule of law. Numerous states bar ordinary convicts from profiting from their crimes with books. David Hicks, an Australian citizen imprisoned without charges for six years at Cheney’s Guantanamo, just had $10,000 seized by the Australian government in revenue from his book about his time in that prison camp on the ground that he is barred from profiting from his uncharged, unproven crimes. By rather stark contrast, Dick Cheney will prance around the next several weeks in the nation’s largest media venues, engaging in civil, Serious debates about whether he was right to invade other countries, torture, and illegally spy on Americans, and will profit greatly by doing so. There are many factors accounting for his good fortune, the most important of which are the protective shield of immunity bestowed upon him by the current administration and the more generalized American principle that criminal accountability is only for ordinary citizens and other nations’ (unfriendly) rulers.”—Glenn Greenwald (via azspot)
Ben Bernanke may, or may not be, clueless about the exploding money supply (now 9% plus). But he sure wants to keep the focus away from money supply, since he doesn’t even mention the topic in his speech. Got that? The one thing the Fed does control is the money supply and Bernanke doesn’t mention the accelerating growth in his speech. Bernanke is one tricky dude. Watch the numbers not his lips.
Here is what is really going on. Bernanke is printing money at very aggressive rates. This is going to [continue to] lead to huge price inflation. Below is the data from the St. Louis Fed on annualized perecentage growth in money supply (m2) since the start of the year:
“I won’t perform in Cuba until there’s no more Castro and there’s a free Cuba. To me, Cuba’s the biggest prison in the world, and I would be very hypocritical were I to perform there. The people in Cuba, they know what I stand for, and there’s a lot of people in Cuba [who] stand for the same. But they can’t say it.”—Pitbull
“Don’t you think it is a bit odd for the White House to send out an appeal to victims so they can identify themselves? That’s not normally how the political system works. The more usual scenario is: victims unite and form interest groups; they lobby Congress, write letters, testify, etc; and eventually the pressure become so great that Congress legislates. When have you ever heard of that entire process in reverse? When has Congress ever before decided it wants to do something and then conducted a nationwide search to find people who will benefit? The reasons for the reversal is that this whole problem has been completely hyped and exaggerated from the get go. In this country we have made it increasingly easy for people to get health insurance after they get sick.”—John Goodman on the incredibly low number of people enrolled the President’s pre-existing condition insurance program. (via evilteabagger)
The Austrian view is that recessions are the consequence of preceding inflationary booms that are themselves caused by expansionary monetary policy. Government central banks are responsible for the monetary excesses that eventually lead to recession.
Expansionary monetary policy not only cannot cure recessions; it is their very cause. Those central banks are not a “natural feature” of capitalism but, rather, were established by governments as a device to raise revenue, often for war, and distort economies for political gain.
The total number of troops fighting wars under Obama has been higher than it was under Bush except at the end of Bush’s term. At the first half of the Bush administration, which is when there were people in the streets shouting, “Bush is a war criminal” — when the Left was correct about something — there were fewer troops.
There were more US fatalities in Iraq under Bush, although the total number of US fatalities in 2009 and 2010 was higher than it was in 2003, and higher than it was in 2008, the last Bush year.
Let’s say we had a third Bush term. If he was planning to withdraw gradually from Iraq and leave Afghanistan alone, I think the trajectory would have been much better than it is today, where Iraq is about where I think it would have been, and Afghanistan is much worse [with over 20% more U.S. fatalities in Afghanistan in Obama’s first two years than all eight years of Bush]. …
We have the same basic trajectory on war, on spending, on civil liberties, [on torture], on foreign policy; the Defense Department is as bloated as ever. People forget that both parties are the same on pretty much everything, and foreign policy maybe more than anything else.
“Libertarianism is not and does not pretend to be a complete moral, or aesthetic theory; it is only a political theory, that is, the important subset of moral theory that deals with the proper role of violence in social life… Libertarianism holds that the only proper role of violence is to defend person and property against violence, that any use of violence that goes beyond such just defense is itself aggressive, unjust, and criminal. Libertarianism, therefore, is a theory which states that everyone should be free of violent invasion, should be free to do as he sees fit except invade the person or property of another. What a person does with his or her life is vital and important, but is simply irrelevant to libertarianism.”—Myth and Truth About Libertarianism, by Murray N. Rothbard (via conza)
Limited-government libertarians believe that government should only do those things that on net promote the general welfare and that [they believe] could not be done voluntarily. These tend to be very big projects such as national defense because large-scale financing is usually the main problem; and they tend to be a monopoly ultimately under the control of government at some level.
Ludwig von Mises explains in his book Bureaucracy that the management of government programs, even when they meet the limited-government libertarian’s criteria, is inescapably “bureaucratic management.” The central feature of bureaucratic management is rule-following, while the central feature of management in the free market is profit-seeking. The difference is profound. Managing for profit, ipso facto, is done to minimize cost and to discover new opportunities. Even a private monopoly with market power, which restricts output below what consumers are willing to pay for, would still seek new markets and to minimize production costs.
In contrast, bureaucratic management, precisely because it’s used in cases where the private costs would exceed private benefits (otherwise private firms not government would undertake them), is inherently inefficient. Or more precisely, the criterion of efficiency does not even apply. If it were possible in principle to measure costs against benefits, then private firms would do it. But since it’s not, government should do it. And because it faces no close competition, it has less of an incentive to innovate.
The bottom line is that when it comes to government programs justified under the limited-government approach, it’s not reasonable to expect them to be efficient or innovative. …
If you believe that government has any legitimate role in society at all, you will have to rely on bureaucracy. [Then] there’s the obvious question of how, if… cost-measurement is not possible, we could ever really know if government, minimal or not, ever promotes the general welfare. I doubt that we can tell (which is why I lean more toward the anarchist end of the libertarian spectrum).
In the meantime, I will endorse what Mises says in Bureaucracy: “What people resent is not bureaucratism as such, but the intrusion of bureaucracy into all spheres of human life and activity.” These days things change quickly, and you’ve got to be pretty light on your feet. That’s just not bureaucracy.
When soldiers die, the politicians who sent them to their deaths typically use euphemisms and circumlocutions — like “lost,” “fallen,” or “ultimate sacrifice.” On one level, the avoidance of blunt language can be seen as a sign of respect, but on another, it is just one more evasion of responsibility for the snuffing out of young lives. …
The president’s and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s words about the 30 [recently killed American troops whose helicopter was shot down over Afghanistan], including members of the elite SEAL Team 6, were very carefully chosen. But they bore the telltale earmarks of “the Lemming Syndrome.” [Anything short of jumping off the cliff would dishonor all the lemmings that have gone before us.]
“We will honor the fallen by showing our unyielding determination to press ahead … to move forward with the hard work,” said Panetta on Aug. 8.
That same day, President Obama also stressed how “our troops will continue the hard work.… We will press on.” There was also subdued talk from both leaders about how the troops were “lost.”
Gosh, I thought, I did not know that the 30 U.S. troops were just “lost” or that they had simply “fallen.” Sounds like maybe we can still find them and help them get up — when the hard truth is that they’re dead.
Similarly, the persistent use of “helicopter crash” seems to be a deliberate attempt to hide the hard reality that it was a rocket-propelled grenade that downed the helicopter and that this is why the troops ended up “fallen.” The anodyne language helps soft-pedal the fact that Afghans who don’t like American troops making middle-of-the-night raids all over their country have access to RPGs capable of downing aircraft.
These angry Afghans are usually described as “militants” or, in a sad reflection on the primitive level of the conversation on the war, simply as “the bad guys.”
The following comment was left at the above-linked post (“We are the Rope,” please read for context).
Putting aside your improper categorization of the United States as a democracy, it seems you are the one with issues in reading comprehension since calling something “circuitous pretzel illogic” is not the same as calling it incomprehensible. It’s abundantly clear I understood exactly what Rep. Kanjorski was saying.
You must at least acknowledge the serpentine sloppiness of his phrase “control corporations to a sufficient degree to prevent them from controlling governments.” What he means to say is “control corporations.” Period. After all, if a government “controls corporations” it definitionally is not being controlled by said corporations - and if a corporation can “control governments,” then said governments aren’t really in control. But by his roundabout phrasing, he softens what he means so as to (I presume) not sound so socialist.
By the way, shareholders are people too. And you know how a corporation (also composed of people!) pleases its shareholders in a free market economy where governments do not grant the favors I outlined above? They earn profits - by providing a good or service consumers voluntarily pay for at a price or quality better than its competitors. In other words: pleasing consumers. Not pleasing bureaucrats or politicians or other protected corporations and oligopolists - consumers.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation employs upwards of 15,000 undercover agents today, ten times what they had on the roster back in 1975.
If you think that’s a few spies too many — spies earning as much as $100,000 per assignment — one doesn’t have to go too deep into their track record to see their accomplishments. Those agents are responsible for an overwhelming amount of terrorist stings that have stopped major domestic catastrophes in the vein of 9/11 from happening on American soil.
Another thing those agents are responsible for, however, is plotting those very schemes.
The FBI has in recent years used trained informants not just to snitch on suspected terrorists, but to set them up from the get-go. A recent report … reveals that the FBI regularly infiltrates communities where they suspect terrorist-minded individuals to be engaging with others. Regardless of their intentions, agents are sent in to converse within the community, find suspects that could potentially carry out “lone wolf” attacks and then, more or less, encourage them to do so. By providing weaponry, funds and a plan, FBI-directed agents will encourage otherwise-unwilling participants to plot out terrorist attacks, only to bust them before any events fully materialize.
Additionally, one former high-level FBI [official] speaking to Mother Jones says that, for every informant officially employed by the bureau, up to three unofficial agents are working undercover.
Decent people should not obey immoral laws. What’s moral and immoral can be a contentious issue, but there are some broad guides for deciding what laws and government actions are immoral. Lysander S. Spooner, one of America’s great 19th-century thinkers, said no person or group of people can “authorize government to destroy or take away from men their natural rights; for natural rights are inalienable, and can no more be surrendered to government — which is but an association of individuals — than to a single individual.” French economist/philosopher Frederic Bastiat (1801-50) gave a test for immoral government acts: “See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime.” He added in his book “The Law,” “When law and morality contradict each other, the citizen has the cruel alternative of either losing his moral sense or losing his respect for the law.” …
Philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe explained that “no one is as hopelessly enslaved as the person who thinks he’s free.” That’s becoming an apt description for Americans who are oblivious to — or ignorant of — the liberties we’ve lost.
“The individual must choose between two monstrous packages of services every time he votes instead of choosing in an incremental manner from a large number of small packages as he does in the market.”—Gordon Tullock
“I do not believe in the death penalty. 68% of the time they make mistakes — and it’s so racist too. More than half the people getting the death penalty are poor blacks. This is the one place, this is the one remnant of racism in our country: the court system, enforcing the drug laws, and enforcing the death penalty. I don’t even know, but I wonder how many people have been executed — over 200? — I wonder how many were minorities. If you’re rich, you usually do not get the death penalty. And the DNA evidence now has proven people innocent. I don’t think it’s a very good sign for civilization to still be invoking the death penalty.”—
Tumblr’s left-wing hacks won’t reblog this because it doesn’t fit the trite narrative of Ron-Paul-is-a-white-supremacist-lol. Also because they seem to not give a shit about anything that actually matters.
In a post up today at the Huffington Post (no, not The Onion), former Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D-Pa.) had a few things to say about the relationship between corporations and government. First, this:
"Because [corporations] have become so international and global in nature, it’s highly questionable whether governments can actually control corporations to a sufficient degree to prevent them from controlling governments."
You get that? Can governments “control corporations to a sufficient degree to prevent them from controlling governments,” he wonders. This circuitous pretzel illogic seems to presume that there is an equilibrial state in which each controls the other to a certain extent, but that the more beneficial dynamic is one in which government has total control. Unfortunately, in this macro-tug-of-war, the consumer/taxpayer is the rope.
Here’s the solution to corporations having too much power: strip government of its monopoly powers on aggression and its control over the economy. If government cannot impose taxes or offer tax breaks, impose tariffs or offer subsidies, impose regulations or offer liability protections, impose fees and licensing or offer interest-free loans, impose wage and price controls or offer bailouts - then what good is it for a corporation to control the government? Only government has a monopoly on force and as such only with government’s help can corporations be gifted guaranteed revenue streams and protections from failures. And, further, these corporations would be accountable to millions instead of simply to a favored few.
But this is not all Kanjorksi had to say.
"Hey, these are very powerful people controlling huge amounts of money and influence," Kanjorksi said, referring to big bank executives. "What we need is a very strong prudential regulator. We need a philosopher king, and I nominate Paul Volcker. Somebody like Paul Volcker could take this thing and run with it."
Amazingly, this tyrannical state-worshiper was in office for 26 years. We’re all better off with him not having any power over our lives. Unfortunately, hundreds more like him remain.
The paramilitary approach to law enforcement flies in the face of the idea that the police and the citizens are on the same side. Officer Friendly, strolling the block in a blue uniform and playing a paradiddle with his baton on a white picket fence, looks like he is ready to help carry groceries for the little old lady who lives on the corner. A cop in combat gear with an assault rifle slung over his shoulder looks like he is ready to go to war. In war, there is no presumption of innocence—and the opposing side is not a fellow citizen with constitutional rights. He is the enemy.
In prepared statements, police departments may speak of dedicated professionals who desire only to serve and protect. But in their riot gear and armored vehicles they look more like an occupying force, intending to conquer and command.
“The boring and hackneyed ‘Glass-Steagall’ myth [goes like this:] that the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, which prevented the commercial banks that hold the savings of ordinary Americans from engaging in speculative investment, was the reason for the 2008 crash. This is only true in the narrowest of senses — you have to ignore the entire body of US regulation and the actions of the various financial authorities to come to this conclusion with a straight face.
“We live under a massive, overarching system built to favor gigantic connected corporations over ordinary people. This is NOT a free market, it is a heavily commanded one. It is one that purposely undermines the plans of ordinary citizens in favor of the plans of the few lucky enough to have the ear of the politburo. It’s called ‘fiscal policy,’ and it is that for which ‘liberal’ ‘economist’ Paul Krugman gets paid to propagandize. Sadly, progressives unwittingly agitate for MORE of this evil system, thinking they will ever hold the reins. They will not.
“To say, as many progressives did after the crash, that ‘everything was deregulated’ is to fall into the trap of the power elite. The world’s biggest corporations love regulation — after all, they write it, someone else enforces it, and their alleged enemies on the left cheer this system on as they are taxed to pay for it. It’s insane. And it ignores all the other crashes of the last 200 years, all due to some intervention by the ruling rich into the voluntary economic affairs of everyone else.
“So, no, progressives, we are not Republicans. We do not favor lower taxes over ending war — ending war lowers taxes! And what good is a healthy economy anyway when your government rampages over the world creating enemies who plot to destroy your wealth?
“If you oppose war and its concomitant monopolistic control over the economy by connected elites, we are with you. But if you just want a D in front of the murderer-in-chief, it’s best if you left the real opposition to violence and institutional control to those of us who actually care about human freedom.”
Except…I’m not entirely sure that there are any remaining “anti-war progressives.” Hellooo? Anyone out there? “Bush lied, kids died?” Code Pink, where’d you go?
There certainly aren’t any on Tumblr, as even a cursory scan of the #Politics tag reveals that what the intellectually dishonest hacks who make up the left-wing blogging community have actually become is, to quote Bill Kristol, “born again neo-cons,” party loyalists, ideologues, and rabid, sycophantic Obama zealots.
Indeed. And I’d add “Ron Paul slanderers” to that list - and even from the ostensibly more “reasoned” and “intellectual” editors… Shame how some people damn the truth in favor of promoting their worldview and maintaining their status quo.
“If the government told you tomorrow that it was going to choose for you where to live, how to earn your keep, and who to marry – would you fall to your knees and thank the heavens that you have been saved from such terrible anarchy – the anarchy of making your own decisions in the absence of direct political coercion? […] Thus we can see that we human beings are deeply, almost ferociously ambivalent about ‘anarchy.’ We desperately desire it in our personal lives, and just as desperately fear it politically.
Another way of putting this is that we love the anarchy we live, and yet fear the anarchy we imagine.”—Everyday Anarchy, Stefan Molyneux. (via libertarians)
[G]overnment cannot protect us. No matter how many laws we pass, no matter how many police or federal agents we put on the streets, a determined individual or group can still cause great harm. Both Norway and England have strict gun control laws, and London in particular has security cameras monitoring nearly all public areas. But laws and spy cameras are useless in the face of lawless mobs or sick mass killers. Only private individuals on the scene could have prevented or lessened these tragedies. And we should remember that theft, arson, and property damage were not the only criminal acts in London — innocent bystanders were assaulted and killed as well. In those instances deadly force used in self-defense would have been fully justified. …
Do we really want to live in a world of police checkpoints, surveillance cameras, and metal detectors? Do we want to imprison every disturbed or alienated individual who fantasizes about violence? Do we really believe government can provide total security? Or can we accept that liberty is more important than the illusion of state-provided security?
Freedom is not defined by safety. Freedom is defined by the ability of citizens to live without government interference unless they use force or fraud against others. Government cannot create a world without risks, nor would we really wish to live in such a fictional place. Only a totalitarian society would even claim absolute safety as a worthy ideal, because it would require total state control over its citizens’ lives. Liberty has meaning only if we still believe in it when terrible things happen and a false government security blanket beckons.