Morning Links

Thursday, October 11th, 2012

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31 Responses to “Morning Links”

  1. #1 |  Marty | 

    bad news about the blogger- I thought this would be a slam dunk for IOJ.

  2. #2 |  Jim | 

    Politicians lie – Voters believe.

  3. #3 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “•Politicians lie. And America likes it that way.”

    I don’t know if they like it. Maybe they’re just accustomed to
    the fact that the whole political system is based on false promises,
    sanctimonious flag-waving, and other flavors of horsecrap and, therefore, go along with it, since nothing is likely to change.

  4. #4 |  el coronado | 

    So this Jack Shafer guy, whoever he is, writes a wispy little pissant article pompously bemoaning lying pols – and especially lying Presidents. An article in which the word “Obama” appears exactly once, & then only peripherally: “[that fucker Romney lies more than Obama]”. This immediately after the White House is found to have lied their asses off in re the Libya atrocity; and put out a favorable unemployment number so ridiculously manipulated as to be statistically impossible. And the words “Bill” and “Clinton” – the President universally acknowledged to be the most unrepentant sociopathic serial liar the White House has ever seen – are mentioned *not at all*.

    Yeah, that there’s some SUPERfine nonbiased Libertarian intellectual honesty he’s got goin’ on. Uh-huh.

  5. #5 |  Radley Balko | 

    Jack Shafer actually is a libertarian. I can’t speak for him, but I’d guess that because he was writing a column about how the electorate responds to political lies and not about which side lies more, he didn’t feel obligated to prove his lack of partisanship by making sure to draw an equal number of examples of lies from each of the two major parties.

    I’ve been reading Shafer for years. I can assure you, the guy is definitely the furthest thing from “liberal media bias.”

  6. #6 |  Michael Chaney | 

    We really need to get judges in this country to sit down and actually *read* the Constitution instead of the body of case law around it.

    It starts like this in the 1st amendment:

    Congress shall make no law…

    What that doesn’t mean is that someone has to be dicked over by a bad law for it to be deemed “unconstitutional”. What it does mean is that the *very act of passing the law* is unconstitutional and therefore illegal. Such a law doesn’t exist legally and cannot be enforced legally. (Note that the 14th amendment expanded these concepts to include government in every branch and at every level, not just Congress, as well as in every act, not just the passing of legislation)

    It’s sad that someone can spend 7 years in college, including 3 in law school, and not be able to read 20 very simple words and understand them.

  7. #7 |  James D | 

    wow … that pitched down baby stuff IS about the creepiest thing I’ve heard all year ….

  8. #8 |  Red | 

    Progressives only care about protecting people’s rights when the person is clearly a real criminal (Someone who causes others harm). They don’t give a fuck otherwise.

  9. #9 |  MikeV | 

    Why we vote for liars? Because there is no one who isn’t a liar to vote for.

  10. #10 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Politicians Lie:
    Not that it is much of a study, but I started noting how many negative articles were headlining on for Mitt vs. Obama. After about 45 days I had 35 negative stories about Mitt and 1 about Obama. The one for Obama was pretty mild if I remember correctly (it was about how massively he failed in the debate).

    It seems to me that pretty innocuous sites like Yahoo are blatantly taking sides. Meanwhile the President lording over one of the harshest 4 year stretches in US history can do no wrong if you listen to Democrats. Kind of like Bush/Republicans before that.

    So why the hell listen to any member of these two gangs?

    Another reason to not vote and, instead, let these assholes keep driving the bus to Crazy Town.

  11. #11 |  Nick T. | 

    #8 Red, not sure your theory jibes with that story.

    I respect the Progressive philosophy insomuch as it desires a world with more equality, peace, justice etc, but its problem is that generally it will accept any infringement on principles, or liberties, or rights, as long as the result gets us closer to that better world, in their estimation.

    Such an approach is completely flawed because ultimately a society where you hand some people (sometimes enormous) power but don’t stricly apply rules to how they use it, is essentially tyranny even you get to (sort of) pick the tyrants and they sometimes do nice things, or might even be good people.

  12. #12 |  Len | 

    I’m hardly a progressive, but I see many problems with this rape decision and even the claim that to charge this individual with rape under the other subsection is double jeopardy. One of the problems with due process here is the state denying justice to someone because it screwed up. Why does a legislature unable to make good law mean justice should be denied? The purpose of double jeopardy is to ensure that an innocent person isn’t railroaded, and yes it is a technicality, but some people so immerse themselves in legal thinking that they miss that they have placed law above justice. If I have a bad lawyer, I have recourse to claim incompetence, but a victim does not? See the problem there? It is the state that is defending the law, not the victim.

  13. #13 |  Personanongrata | 

    Criminal defense bloggers trounce progressives for their reaction to the Connecticut Supreme Court’s decision in State v. Fourtin: Popehat, Scott Greenfield, Gideon. It’s another piece of evidence in support of my thesis that progressives tend to value equality more than principles like due process, presumption of innocence, and individual rights.

    Cries of equality evoke images from Kurt Vonneguts futuristic ngihtmare of a short-story Harrison Bergeron. Where the government has decreed every person within equal and uses various man-made handicaps to make it so.

    Equality under the law is one thing but to decree that all persons regardless of their physical/mental attributes or beauty are equal is insane.

  14. #14 |  el coronado | 

    In re lying politicians…..

    From today’s “Business Insider’: “Earlier this morning, the Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims plunged to 339K from 369K a week ago.

    Economists were looking for a reading of 370k.

    Immediately, Twitter exploded with tweets mocking Jack Welch, who claimed last week’s jobs report was fixed to artificially drop the September unemployment rate to 7.8 percent from 8.1 percent in August.

    Coincidentally, cryptic messages came through from Bloomberg and the WSJ that raised doubts about today’s report. From Bloomberg:

    One state accounted for most of the plunge in claims, a Labor Department spokesman said as the data were issued to the press.

    And from the WSJ:

    “However, the report may not be as positive as the sharp drop indicates. A Labor Department economist said one large state didn’t report additional quarterly figures as expected, accounting for a substantial part of the decrease.”

    Initially, rumors started circulating that an entire state’s worth of jobless claims was excluded.

    The DoL was not immediately available to comment.

    However, CNBC’s Kelly Evans is reporting that the discrepancy is that “one state did not process & report its typical seasonal workload” and that a rebound next week is likely.

    We will update as we get more details.”

    So let’s recap. A mere _week_ after Obama’s Bureau of Labor Statistics releases an unemployment number amazingly favorable to Obama’s re-election prospects…..a number so blatantly false, so statistically impossible that the hugely respected nonpartisan money/finance blog ZeroHedge exploded in outrage and then ripped it to shreds in a matter of minutes…..the BLS releases *another* favorable unemployment number! Numbers much better than anyone expected! “Plunging” numbers!! Numbers the Obama campaign can trumpet as evidence of progress! THEN, a journalist does a little digging and discovers that number *does not include* the data from “one large state”. Which, strangely, doesn’t seem to be mentioned *at all* in the BLS press release trumpeting the wonderful news. See for yourself: “One large state” which Obama’s BLS refuses to identify, *didn’t report their numbers*! – which IS a little weird, seeing as how this seems to never have happened ever before….. Gee, which state could it be, ya think? Texas? Alaska? Utah?


    So ya know what this means? It means Shafer was _right_! That fucker Romney’s a damn LIAR!!

  15. #15 |  len (not the one you hate) | 

    Conservatives believe the primary purpose of the legal system is to protect property and to promote order and stability. Liberals believe it’s to promote equality—or to combat inequality. Libertarians put a premium on individual rights, favoring a limited legal system that serves only to protect society from those who cause direct harm to others or their property.

    Your opinion is backed by some research by Jonathan Haidt, and his quite reaqdable book The Righteous Mind.

  16. #16 |  The Late Andy Rooney | 

    Jack Shafer is no pissant: he’s been invaluable to countering the latest media scare stories about FourLoko, pill parties, sexting, and whatever else they’re reporting on. His “Bogus Trend Story of the Week” was one of the best things in Slate, but I believe they fired him, for reasons I was never clear on.

  17. #17 |  Shea Levy | 

    Along the lines of the baby crying:

  18. #18 |  Bernard | 

    It’s 100% true that people like to vote for liars. Being lied to gives people someone to blame when things don’t go perfectly. Incompetent politicians are a more reassuring reason why bad things happen than the reality that the world is complex and uncertain.

    The political class are used car salesmen because used car salesmen are what people (on the whole) want.

    False certainty just feels better than real uncertainty on macro issues that individuals can’t influence.

  19. #19 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    The bizarre thing about the politicians lie article is that the public will tolerate any amount of lying about policy or the facts, but won’t tolerate politicians lying about their personal lives. Shouldn’t it be the other way around, at least for non-criminal behavior?

    What might people be thinking?

  20. #20 |  el coronado | 

    “Politicians are the same the world over. They promise to build bridges even where there are no rivers.” – Khruschev

    OTOH, that baby cry is some *seriously* disturbing shit. My dogs were looking at me like, “Dude.”

  21. #21 |  awp | 

    “value equality more than principles like due process, presumption of innocence, and individual rights.”

    The response shows a valuation of inequality. The point of due process here is for everyone to be treated as equal before the law. Allowing the prosecutor to mis(over)charge people whom he does not like is the opposite of equality.

  22. #22 |  Sancho | 

    Really? In the age of completely arbitrary conviction in the wars on terrorism and drugs – initiated and wholly supported by the right and fought against almost exclusively by the left – you’re arguing that the left has less respect for due process than the right?

    This is just one example of why “I’m a libertarian” is interpreted by most people as “I’m a hipster conservative”.

  23. #23 |  el coronado | 

    Gee, thanks so much for setting this hipster conservative straight, there, Sancho. Quick question, though: this brave, freedom-lovin’ “left” you speak of, that’s “almost exclusively” “fought against” the wars on terrorism and drugs and due process….could you help a tired old hipster conservative out, and show me where they did that?

    No, I don’t mean the righteously outraged speeches they made for the cameras just before they voted “aye”. ‘Cause as we all know, that’s just mendacious bullshit posing for the media and the halfwit suckers who stupidly buy into that con. I mean all the _concrete steps_ they took to dismantle the terrible awful unfairness against due process started by those eeeevil republicans. See, try as I might, I just can’t recall *any* Executive Orders signed by Carter, Clinton, or Obama legalizing drugs. Nor can I recall *any* bills signed into law that would end those ‘Wars’…even in the doubleplusgood days when our beloved Dems controlled the White House, Senate and House. Why didn’t they Strike Like a Cobra for Freedom then??

    They *could have* done it easily. Put doobies in vending machines, leave chronic pain patients alone by shutting down the DEA & use the spare money to free the tens of thousands in prison for drug “crimes”, (Hell, Jimmuh, Bubba, or Barry could have just _pardoned them all_ at will, right?), close Gitmo and free the brave & noble freedom fighters unjustly held there, shut down the NSA, Etc Etc Etc. The goddamn republicans wouldn’t have been able to do a damn thing about it. I just…..can’t….remember….that…happening, Sancho. In fact, what I remember is the dems *expanding* those awful ‘wars’ on civil liberties and due process! Why is that? Could you set a brother straight, citing specific laws passed and EO’s executed, pretty please?? Surely you can do that, right? Surely your post wasn’t just vague propaganda that had no basis whatsoever in reality, but merely sounded good, right??

  24. #24 |  freedomfan | 

    I generally like what I have read of Jack Shafer, and I certainly feel no urge to defend Mitt Romney. However, Shafer gives Romney’s quote, “Regulation is essential. You can’t have a free market work if you don’t have regulation,” as an example of Romney lying. Really? What gives Shafer any reason to think Romney doesn’t believe that? A good anarchist might argue that Romney is wrong, but Romney is hardly an anarchist and Shafer knows that, or should. For Shafer to imply that Romney’s real position is to oppose all regulation would be nonsense.

    I think Shafer is falling for the common fallacy that someone who isn’t for more of X must be against X in general. In other words, Romney may favor less regulation while still thinking that some regulation is necessary. Frankly, there is so much regulation that one could easily want to get rid of 50% of it while still favoring lots of regulation. Romney’s quoted statement is consistent with that view (there’s too much now, but zero is too little). I have seen no evidence that Romney wants to end all regulation and I doubt Shafer has seen any, either. And, Shafer’s following line in which he implies that Romney’s supporters are okay with that “lie” because they know Romney doesn’t believe it is also nonsense. The typical GOPer doesn’t want a world without any government regulation or even a world with what libertarians like me would consider minimal regulation. Romney’s supporters simply understand that Romney has never claimed to be against all regulation and they believe his claim that some regulation is necessary, even if there ought to be less of it.

    If that’s the sort of statement that Shafer considers to be a lie,then this is a weak article for Shafer (he usually has more compelling examples). And, I say that fully agreeing that Romney lies, Obama lies, and just about everyone in high elected office could be found in a lie without much searching.

    BTW, is Shafer really a libertarian or just a cynic? Does he favor government more along the lines of Ron Paul or Gary Johnson, or does he think there ought to be plenty of government but that the current set of clowns (and their predecessors) haven’t been running it right? Just curious…

  25. #25 |  freedomfan | 


    Really? In the age of completely arbitrary conviction in the wars on terrorism and drugs – initiated and wholly supported by the right and fought against almost exclusively by the left – you’re arguing that the left has less respect for due process than the right?

    No offense, but it sounds like you are conflating the stereotypical rhetoric one side uses to secure votes with what actual elected office-holders do after they are elected.

    In other words, it’s one thing for a presidential aspirant who wants to be seen as caring about civil liberties to give a pretty speech about how the USA PATRIOT Act needs serious reforms and it’s another for the sitting President to rubber stamp the Act’s reauthorization when his former colleagues in Congress (where his party holds both houses) sends it to his desk. It’s one thing for a politician to claim his administration will respect state laws on medical marijuana and another when federal prosecutions against dispensaries (licensed by local governments in accordance with state law) increase under his administration. Obama decided to assassinate a U.S. citizen who’s not in a combat zone and specifically argued that this odious power was the President’s to use without judicial oversight, which is a line of outrageous offense to due process and civil liberties that not even W Bush had crossed.

    I don’t know whether politicians on the worthless left have less respect for due process than those on the worthless right. It’s gotten so that one needs a microscope to really see that respect from either side. But, I damn sure won’t give the left the benefit of the doubt just because their empty rhetoric sounds better.

  26. #26 |  Nancy Lebovitz | 

    Off topic:

    Woman facing jail because she won’t give names of other anarchists– this is a matter of ideology rather than crimes.

    The left/right discussion about the war on drugs reminds me of the time (some 15 years ago or so) that I asked about left-wingers who were opposed to the war on drugs. I was given three or four names, but they weren’t politicians, they were comedians. Which is definitely better than nothing, and ideas have to get promulgated somehow– but this is where the process starts, not how the laws get changed.

  27. #27 |  tarran | 

    Hey Radley, I have a request.

    Your site (and many others) keeps showing ads for

    This site purports to allow us to look up arrest records for our friends. The ads come with lurid pics of people leering or sobbing in their booking photos.

    It’s an incredible turn off.

    I’m wondering if you might be able (and willing) to modify your adsense settings to block these guys.

    It would make your site much more enjoyable to read (except for the trademarked nutpunches).

  28. #28 |  Mattocracy | 

    “you’re arguing that the left has less respect for due process than the right?”

    I honestly don’t know how you can look at the evidence and think otherwise.

    “This is just one example of why “I’m a libertarian” is interpreted by most people as “I’m a hipster conservative”.”

    This is an example of why libertarians don’t take liberals anymore seriously than conservatives. Everytime anyone makes a legitimate criticism of the left or right, the response is always “yeah, well…you guys are just of them, aren’t you!”

  29. #29 |  CK | 

    Progressive is like fascist but with more letters?

  30. #30 |  John David Galt | 

    I’m surprised that the Huffington Post folks let you get away with mentioning Fortin, a topic on which they showed their behinds.

  31. #31 |  Sancho | 

    Judging by the responses to post #22, it seems “the right” is the media that lean right, right-wing blogs and commentary, right-leaning think tanks and NGOs, plus every human being who identifies as being on the right, while “the left” is American presidents belonging to the Democratic Party.

    Interesting variation on No True Scotsman.