Afternoon Links

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012
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30 Responses to “Afternoon Links”

  1. #1 |  Timmy Pea | 

    The food truck stories never cease to amaze me.

  2. #2 |  Personanongrata | 

    Congressional report finds that anti-terrorism “fusion centers” trespass on civil liberties, produce very little counter-terrorism intelligence.

    Just another day in the world of waste, fraud and abuse known as the US government.

  3. #3 |  Personanongrata | 

    Headline of the day: Mr. Wu edition.

    Note to self never, ever feed the hogs alone.

  4. #4 |  StrangeOne | 

    The only thing I like about these small town stories about shutting down food trucks and the taxi cab rackets, is how transparently crooked it all is. On the national level congress makes it pretty hard to find out who really benefits from various legislation. But, with these small town deals its always the competition pushing for protectionism. It’s so straightforward that the whole notion of “public safety” or “necessary regulations” can be thrown out the window.

    If the only people complaining about the food trucks are the restaurants that compete with them then there’s no problem for the government to fix.

  5. #5 |  el coronado | 

    Hmmm. Y’know, those ‘questions for Obama in re Libya’ seem to be quite reasonable, and worthy of asking/answering. I wonder why they won’t be asked?

  6. #6 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Percentages! How do they work?!

    Rummy tried to pull that card about how we’re spending less on Defense than in the past. Most libertarians get strange looks when they say they want to about double the percentage the US spends on Defense. Meaning that they want to first cut the budget by about 95% and then spend about 10% on Defense. And…change the name back to “Department of War”.

    Question for Donald: Where are those weapons again?

    No matter. Just keep printing money, killing around 100,000 people a year, and promising the Moon. There’s simply no way that plan can fail. I mean, if there were really anything to worry about we’d hear it at the Presidential debates, right?

  7. #7 |  Aresen | 

    This takes an unexpectedly dark turn.

    Hilarious.

    I’d like to see a sports report version of that.

  8. #8 |  DoubleU | 

    That was a better Headline of the day, but this was a close runner up.
    http://goo.gl/d3Bnq

  9. #9 |  Aresen | 

    One Libya question that Mother Jones didn’t ask:

    6) When did Congress declare war on Libya?

  10. #10 |  citalopram | 

    #4 – I believe the word you’re looking for is ‘regulatory capture’. This is what corporatism looks like; however I’m extremely skeptical of the libertarian solution.

  11. #11 |  Elliot | 

    Radley:On the other hand, Kerry Howley makes the strongest argument for a Marxist candidate you’re ever going to read. The outrage from the earnest Slate commenters is especially precious.

    At the risk of being misinterpreted as lacking a sense of humor, I’m just going to ask: would substituting “Nazi” for “Marxist” would illicit the same lighthearted treatment (“precious”)?

    Marxists murdered many times more people than Nazis, stayed/stay in power far longer, and, with the exception of a few like Caucesceu and Allende, almost always die old men and never face Nuremberg-style justice. But somehow it’s hip to wear Che shirts or to flirt with Marxism in college.

    If you would laugh at a silly argument to vote for a real-life neo-Nazi type too young to serve and comments containing serious outrage, then your sense of humor is a bit darker than I realized. If so, ignore this comment.

  12. #12 |  Brian | 

    Re hog farmer eaten by his hogs: Were their names Snowball and Napoleon?

    An Oregon man trying to feed his 700-pound hogs was eaten by the animals

    I’d say he succeeded beyond all expectation. Apparently he was dying to feed his hogs. I guess you could say he was really consumed by his work.

  13. #13 |  Les | 

    I’m just going to ask: would substituting “Nazi” for “Marxist” would illicit the same lighthearted treatment (“precious”)?

    I think of Marxists like Catholics. Even though the Catholic Church was behind some of the worst atrocities in history, there have always been Catholics opposed to genocide and racism. Genocide and racism aren’t central themes in what Marx proposed, while they are central themes in what Hitler proposed.

    I’m the farthest thing from a Marxist (or a Catholic) and I don’t think commies get as much blame as they ought to for their crimes against humanity (or even the inherent evil in the total control of the state), but there are good people out there who are Marxists (and Catholics, despite the continued awfulness of the Vatican). I don’t think the same can be said for Nazis.

  14. #14 |  SJE | 

    Interesting to see a story on this site about pigs, the four legged variety. Believe me, they are dangerous: 500+ lbs, tusks several inches long, and smart. My uncle would never let kids even in the pen with the boars, and we were not allowed in if we had a bleeding cut.

  15. #15 |  croaker | 

    If you ever need to make sure a pesky bureaucrap disappears, there’s no better place than a hog farm.

    Speaking pesky bureaucraps, why isn’t that cop with family in the restaurant business suspended for abuse of authority?

  16. #16 |  Bill Poser | 

    I’m not sure that the food truck story is correctly characterized. It sounds like there IS a permit that the food truck could get, the one provided by the old law aimed at pedlars and so forth. It may be onerous or unnecessary, but a permit is available. On the other hand, since we are not given the text of the ordinance, it is not entirely clear whether it applies to food trucks. If not, there is no permit, but there is no need for one either.

  17. #17 |  Elliot | 

    Les (#13): “Genocide and racism aren’t central themes in what Marx proposed, while they are central themes in what Hitler proposed.”

    Charles Taylor, wrote a review of the Martin Amis book Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million in Salon :

    The left’s romance with Stalinism ended decisively 30 years ago with the publication of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s “The Gulag Archipelago.” For the true believers, things have only gotten worse. The onset of glasnost in the ’80s saw the release of official documents that not only confirmed but exceeded the numbers of dead the historian Robert Conquest had claimed in his 1968 book “The Great Terror.” When Conquest set about preparing a new edition of the book using those documents (it appeared in 1990 as “The Great Terror: A Reassessment”), his publisher asked whether he thought a new title would be appropriate. “How about, ‘I Told You So, You Fucking Fools’?” Conquest responded.

    For Martin Amis, in his new book “Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million,” the fools were people like the philosopher A.J. Ayer, whom Amis recalls in conversation with Amis’ father, Kingsley Amis:

    “In the USSR,” Ayer argued, “at least they’re trying to forge something positive.”

    “But it doesn’t matter what they’re trying to forge, because they’ve already killed 5 million people,” Amis said.

  18. #18 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    In re the pig story: Leaving the false teeth outside the pen seems like a warning.

  19. #19 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    @#17

    I was really confused about Charles Taylor being a Salon columnist. Tough name to have and write about brutal dictators.

  20. #20 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    TSA Confiscates camera, deletes photos, and steals memory card in San Juan PR.
    Then gives it back when passenger threatens to call 911.
    Gov’t payback for the crime of photography in an airport.

    http://www.infowars.com/tsa-confiscates-camera-deletes-footage-of-checkpoint

  21. #21 |  Marty | 

    #18- THAT was the comment of the day. I need to not be drinking coffee while I read these things…

  22. #22 |  C. S. P. Schofield | 

    Les,

    It is commonly accepted that the Catholic Church was responsible for some of the worst atrocities in history, but is it true? The behavior of the Spanish Inquisition (which most historians agree was largely out of the control of the Church in Rome) was certainly reprehensible, but Communist governments of the 20th century routinely murdered much larger groups. The Japanese Tokugawa Shogunate was more inventive when it came to torturing religious minorities (in that instance Christians). I have said for years that the collision of the Conquistadores and the Aztec was a case of two bunches of bastards who richly deserved each-other.

    Communism murdered something like 100,000,000 people during one century. I think the idea that any ideology on earth has even come close to that record of barbarism is an artifact of the Intellectual class’s desperate need to pretend that they weren’t accessories.

  23. #23 |  Elliot | 

    @Schofield (#22) globalmuseumoncommunism dot org and 20th century democide have some great resources for computing the scope of the terror.

    I find it unfathomable that a rational person who has read history could even entertain the idea that fascism has evil core values while socialism has good core values which were just implemented in horrible ways by a few…well, many…OK, MOST of the socialist states. Both are forms of collectivism which sacrifice the individual to the interests of the state–or, more precisely, to those who hold the reins of state power. Whether you officially put ownership of industry under the government or you nominally leave ownership in the hands of puppets and cronies (who effectively do what the government commands, just as with communism), the differences are cosmetic.

    And, citing the racism and genocide of Nazis as some sort of dividing line ignores the genocide and ethnic purges in socialist countries (Holodomor, persecution of religious groups) as well as mass murder of other targeted groups (intelligentsia, kulaks, entrepreneurs, inter-party rivals). Hitler exploited existing, centuries-old animosity towards Jews, Romani, etc., but Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot, etc. exploited the eternal class warfare jealousy. I realize that, for some people, class warfare is “legitimate” while other forms of bigotry are taboo, but that’s just horseshit. When it involves demonizing, persecuting, dispossessing, imprisoning, and murdering whole groups of people for some overwrought stereotype, do you really want to be the person who tries to sift through that to categorize the “good” and “bad” ones?

    Marx wrote theory and didn’t anticipate that his ideas conflicted with reality, that human beings with free will would so strongly resist the abominably unethical wholesale theft of their property, and that those who took absolute control over whole nations would be absolutely corrupted by the power. Regardless of his naivete in projecting a fantasy of what the future would be, the morally depraved principles which are the core of Marxism are the primary source for the evils perpetrated under the red banner. When you’re not engaging in wholesale theft of what other people created, the “need” to kill them isn’t so pressing.

  24. #24 |  Woog | 

    Gary Johnson is a failed republican hack, who: “balanced the budget” in New Mexico by porking up on debt, just like the fedgov; solicited funds from libertarians to pay off his previous republican campaign debt without stating such to be the case; runs his current campaign with a severe debt load; said “no one committed any crimes” in the robosigning (felony fraud), land title-destroying (MERS), billion-dollar stealing (MF Global), HFT front-running (felony) financial industry.

    The national Libertarian party is a joke, played by their own hand.

  25. #25 |  Juice | 

    http://blogs.houstonpress.com/eating/2012/10/video_council_member_andrew_bu.php

    Food trucks are now a terrorist threat.

  26. #26 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    “Go where the money is—it’s in the entitlements,” Rumsfeld finished, raising the volume of his voice as he blamed government entitlement programs for America’s debt problem. “Not in defense.” Members of the audience nodded in agreement”

    Rummy and his assembled bobble heads pretty much summed up conservatism right there. “Pay no attention to the Pentagon. Don’t buy into that commie Military-Industrial complex stuff that Comrade Eisenhower babbled on about. Let’s just blame those fucking poor people! Let’s have more bombs, more cops, more prisons and NO fucking food stamps, social security or unemployment insurance. Yeah, anybody else gettin’ a chub here or what?”

  27. #27 |  Elliot | 

    Helmut (#26):Let’s have more bombs, more cops, more prisons and NO fucking food stamps, social security or unemployment insurance.

    It’s hilarious that anyone familiar with the history of the federal government would ever pose such a false dichotomy, except when grandstanding and trying to scare people with bullshit propaganda.

    They told LBJ he had to choose between guns and butter. He decided to do both. The federal government has been running on that model since then…even before back to FDR’s disastrous lengthening of the depression. Even the holy Reagan continued that model.

    Having “NO fucking food stamps, social security or unemployment insurance” has never been considered. Republicans may complain about those, but they roll over and expose their soft underbelly every time the Democrats extend and expand such programs. They learned their lesson with the Gingrich revolution, in which a reduction in the rate of growth was a “cut” and the “Gingrich who stole Christmas” was starving children.

    Meanwhile, Democrats complain about Republican defense overspending, but they love to bring home pork projects for their districts, so they aren’t any better. Mr. Nobel Peace prize expands Afghanistan, expands drone strikes, starts a new war in Libya, and has been asleep on the watch as the Middle East goes up in flames, more concerned with spinning to help his reelection than with protecting embassies.

    Only libertarians seem to be interested in real cuts to defense and socialist programs. Bring the troops home, end the “war on drugs”, AND phase out fiscally ruinous entitlement spending, along with stopping the pattern of rewarding failure (bailouts or unemployment).

  28. #28 |  Aresen | 

    @ Elliot | October 5th, 2012 at 9:43 am

    Why do you hate children?

    ;P

  29. #29 |  Helmut O' Hooligan | 

    Eliot: “It’s hilarious that anyone familiar with the history of the federal government would ever pose such a false dichotomy, except when grandstanding and trying to scare people with bullshit propaganda.”

    And it’s hilarious that you take yourself and your ideology so seriously, Eliot. That’s a real problem, even if you say you have given up on the old Team Red vs. Team Blue bullshit. Principles are important, but extreme commitment to ideology and the party line destroys critical thought. “Team Libertarian” doesn’t have all the answers either. Indeed, U.S. libertarians seem to have a limited understanding of the history of libertarianism. You throw around the scare word “socialism” without apparently understanding that the 19th century libertarians/anarchists like P.J. Proudhon and Benjamin Tucker considered themselves socialists. But I digress…

    I thought it was pretty clear that my remarks were over the top. I was simply mocking the idea that conservative politicians, officials and pundits are even remotely interested in “small government.” While they are unlikely to go so far as to do away with entitlement programs, they talk the talk and they do try to make poor people the bogey man. Romney’s recent discussion of “the 47%” was a prime example. I am also well aware that Democrats are not, as a general rule, interested in cutting defense spending. And I am also aware that the national security state and the warfare state are intimately linked to the welfare state. I don’t mean to speak too highly of the welfare state. I am only suggesting that Rumsfeld’s argument that entitlements are more costly than “defense spending” (read: aggression spending) is disingenuous nonsense.

    Summing up, I would rather spend on entitlement programs–at least for awhile–than the kind of military/security spending that people like Rumsfeld want to spend on. With that being said, I certainly don’t consider the current system to be sustainable. There is plenty of fraud and waste in government social services. My wife works at a public aid office and I hear about it all the time. But to focus all this ire on those “welfare queens” while diverting attention away from the military-industrial-congressional complex is ridiculous.

  30. #30 |  Elliot | 

    Helmut (#29):Principles are important, but extreme commitment to ideology and the party line destroys critical thought.

    The word “and” there marks a lazy attempt to conflate two generally opposing concepts.

    To toe the party line is to blindly follow the lead of others, for the sake of increasing the power of the members. I agree that being a party man requires that one abandon critical thought. For that matter, I reject the premises underlying the use of popularity contests to settle moral questions and I look at any political party, including the Libertarian Party, as just another organized mob.

    As for ideology and principles: adhering to principles is simply a matter of being ethically consistent. Abandoning principle for the sake of expediency or “pragmatism” is a sign of weak character.

    The phrase “extreme commitment to ideology” fails to discriminate between dogmatic stubbornness, clinging to bad ideas, and standing by good ideas. It falsely suggests that strong ethical consistency is, in and of itself, a bad thing, because those who carry bad ideas to the hilt end up murdering a lot of people. It’s not the commitment, but the fact that the ideas are bad in the first place, which is the source of the evil.

    An extreme commitment to the principle that rape and murder are wrong should never be condemned. And yet, by condemning the ambiguous “extremism” (a modifier with no subject) and indicting thought as a means of making decisions (“idea” being the root of “ideology”), you lump together the jihadist suicide bomber with men like William Lloyd Garrison, the abolitionist who was admonished for not moderating his opposition to slavery.

    “On this subject, I do not wish to think, or speak, or write, with moderation. No! no! Tell a man whose house is on fire, to give a moderate alarm; tell him to moderately rescue his wife from the hand of the ravisher; tell the mother to gradually extricate her babe from the fire into which it has fallen; — but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present. I am in earnest — I will not equivocate — I will not excuse — I will not retreat a single inch — AND I WILL BE HEARD.”
    –William Lloyd Garrison, 1831

    Continuing on:

    You throw around the scare word “socialism” without apparently understanding that the 19th century libertarians/anarchists like P.J. Proudhon and Benjamin Tucker considered themselves socialists.

    Proudhon is the imbecile who authored the famous example of the Stolen Concept fallacy: “la propriété, c’est le vol”. He falsely attached the acquisition of values through reason to government, after which his notion of anarchy falls apart. When I see news of “anarchists” rioting in the streets to protest “globalism”, 99% of the time they are either some variation of a socialist or just a nihilistic or confused criminal type. Modern day self-described “left-libertarians” similarly fail in this regard, or cynically exploit the popularity of libertarianism to disingenuously cloak their socialism. Noam Chomsky, for example, had his chance to stand for freedom and against the tyranny of the state, but he decided to point his finger at the refugees from the Khmer Rouge mass murder and accuse them of lying.

    I thought it was pretty clear that my remarks were over the top. I was simply mocking the idea that conservative politicians, officials and pundits are even remotely interested in “small government.”

    I guess I didn’t catch the sarcasm. Mea culpa.

    Summing up, I would rather spend on entitlement programs–at least for awhile–than the kind of military/security spending that people like Rumsfeld want to spend on.

    It’s all well and good for you to decide that you would prefer to spend someone else’s money on one thing and not another. And, there are plenty of other Americans who would say the opposite. But the proper solution would be for those who make the money to decide, for themselves, how to spend it.

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