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"Most recipients of extortion letters from Ms. Wodinsky and other FTC regional bureaucrats simply sign the "settlement agreement" and pray for mercy. The Hershisers took the opposite approach — they filed a preemptive lawsuit against the FTC in US District Court in Albuquerque. They have asked the court to enjoin the FTC from proceeding against them, primarily on the grounds that the First Amendment protects their website from government censorship."
"Linux -- especially Ubuntu -- has become so reliable and simple that for most end users it's simply not worth thinking about, any more than we think about tools like wrenches and screwdrivers. Does this mean desktop GNU/Linux has become so boring that it's not worth noticing?"
"Polls show fewer than one in four Czechs support the radar, with almost 70 percent against."
"The most interesting story the media is downplaying is the ASUS announcement that it will have a ROM boot chip on all its motherboards, which will boot Linux instantly on start-up. "
"Being naturally argumentative, here is my thinking: You gotta pay the taxes anyway, whether you get the money now or later, and so by NOT taking the money out of the 401(k) right now, you are betting that the retirement plan will go up in price, AND go up enough to offset the loss in the buying power of the dollar! And to that I bellow a Loud Mogambo Honker (LMH) of a laugh 'Hahahaha!' Hell, the dollar has lost 40% of its value in the last 5 lousy years! And you are probably sitting on a year-over-year 20% loss in your 401(k) to boot! Hahaha!"
"With a population swollen by military families, DEA and FBI agents, border-control officers, customs officials, admirers of the militarized police force, weapons manufacturers, surveillance technology companies, and the usual surplus of uniform fetishists, San Diego has—for quite some time—presented a ripe target. The demographics are perfect for a no-holds-barred game of Sophie’s Choice in which all of the 'players' are deeply enmeshed in the welfare-warfare state."
"The Bush Regime’s 'terrorist' protection schemes have reached the height of total incompetence and utter absurdity. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, a private organization that defends the US Constitution that inattentive Americans neglect, there are now one million names on the 'terrorist' watch list. "
"One reason the lawmakers have not stopped these injustices is that the IRS is a partisan weapon that can be used by shameless politicians. It can be used to destroy a political opponent. ... Another reason to give free reign to the IRS is bipartisan: The IRS is charged with finding money and more money to fund the endless spending schemes of the welfare/warfare state."
"Government action has directly and indirectly caused much of the disaster now coming and has exacerbated the rest. We either put an end to the coercive, ham-fisted, destructive meddling of our politicians and their central-bank masters and corporatist parasites, or that entire system will put an end to us. "
"The FDA's powers are predicated on fear: fear of the bad things that would happen in the absence of government regulation. However, if we have concrete and widespread examples of unregulated heath care arenas that operate safely and efficiently, perhaps those fears have been greatly exaggerated."
"In the long run, honest business is good business. In social situations, obnoxious people are avoided and shunned. Those unwilling or unable to keep their promises find themselves out of work and out of friends, because people don't want to deal with untrustworthy or difficult people."
"[T]he governments of New Hampshire and Vermont were little more than loose confederations of town meetings, in which individual towns didn’t feel bound by any provision of the state constitution or enactment of the legislature that wasn’t ratified locally. The overwhelming majority of the population were self-employed farmers and tradesmen, whose main political activity was to attend meeting every year and vote against any proposed tax, as well as against appropriating the money to waste sending a representative to the legislature."
"In Panarchy, in the same way that persons choose friends, a club, a spouse, and a church, they choose a Community and a Government. They are not automatically inducted into a Government and Laws that are not of their choosing, as is the case today."
"The term capitalism being determined by the scene of the 19th century then, the idea that a capitalist economy could find any common definition with the free-market seems absolutely ludicrous. Indeed, for from early antiquity, to the 19th century, and even to this day, the plague of statism infests the very same economies that all correctly hail as capitalist."
"Here, in a simple one-storey brick house next to a row of wooden shacks, is the home of Antonio Garcia Baron. He is the only survivor still alive of the anarchist Durruti column which held Francoist forces at bay in Madrid during the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939) and the founder of an anarchist community in the heart of the jungle. "
"I think he [James Howard Kunstler] neglects the possibility of transforming the suburb into a diversified and self-sufficient local economy. It will require the development of networked local economies, the emergence of commercial centers in existing monoculture suburbs, and local exchange systems and division of labor based on household production and crop specialization."
"Oklahomans are trying to recover some of their lost state sovereignty by House Joint Resolution 1089, introduced by State Rep. Charles Key."
"The proposition that long tail aggregators can offer to creators is profound, but simple: you have a choice between a itsy bitsy niche audience (with nano profits) or no audience at all. Before the LT was expanded your masterpiece on breeding salt water aquarium fishes from the Red Sea would have no paying fans. Now you have maybe 100."
"The confidence that the Iranians displayed in Madrid is further confirmation of their growing influence in Europe and the Mideast. Indeed, their presence at the conference bolsters the belief that Iran may be the biggest winner of the Second Iraq War. And the oil and gas deals they are doing – with the Malaysians, Indonesians, Syrians, Venezuelans, Chinese, and others – provide evidence that America’s ability to influence global energy policy, particularly when it comes to policies that involve sanctions against Iran, is diminishing."
"Welcome to the world of direct-sale commodity deals, better known as "off-take" deals and sometimes bilateral deals. In such arrangements, the commodity—oil, natural gas, base minerals, precious metals, iron—doesn't go to the London Metal Exchange (LME) or other public energy markets. There are no intermediaries. The commodity is, in effect, locked up and taken off the global market. These kinds of deals are suddenly everywhere, to the point that some energy and mining bosses think that the whole concept of open and transparent global commodity markets, where the highest bids get the shipments, is coming to an end." [That seems only a natural consequence of state-sponsored cartels controlling prices in the supposedly open and free futures “markets.”]
"The Bush Regime claimed that its illegal behavior, which requires an unconstitutional retroactive law to protect telecommunication companies and President Bush from being held accountable, is necessary to protect us. But as our Founding Fathers and every intelligent patriotic person since has patiently explained to the American public, it is the Constitution that protects us. No safety can be found by fleeing the Constitution. Without the Constitution we have no protection. We simply stand naked before unbridled government power. "
"The implications of a government killing its own citizens for vengeance, deterrence, or any other reasons, however, are far greater than individuals taking lives in self-defense. The government is vastly more powerful than individuals and often has poor incentive structures compared to individual citizens."
"We do not know the extent of Bush's extrajudicial surveillance. But in 2004, even Ashcroft and other Justice Department officials considered his spying program illegal, refused to sign off on it, and threatened to resign over it, according to former Deputy Attorney General James Comey's testimony at the Senate Judiciary Committee last year. And now Obama and the Democratic leadership have approved the extrajudicial activity that even Ashcroft considered outrageously illegal. This is no surprise, actually. "
"Although the House last week voted 251-166 to send Kucinich’s articles to the Judiciary Committee for hearings, the New York Times, the Washington Post and the nation’s television news organizations ignored this breakthrough (which included 24 Republicans voting for the measure)."
"The G8 gathering had been seen as a 'world food shortages summit' as leaders sought to combat spiralling prices of basic foodstuffs in the developed world, and starvation in the developing world. But not since Marie Antoinette was supposed to have leaned from a Versailles palace window and suggested that the breadless peasants eat cake can leaders have demonstrated such insensitivity to daily hardship than at the luxury Windsor hotel on the Japanese island of Hokkaido."
"This is really the crux of the matter: George W. Bush. Reckless, more radical than most of his advisers, and now dangerously fixated on his 'legacy,' he is more determined than ever to leave his lasting mark on the Middle East and the world – and, given that the Constitution has been abandoned, and a single man can take us to war without the consent of Congress or the people, an apocalyptic departure from office seems more likely than not."
"Economics properly conceived is just common sense about human activity. Nearly all Republican politicians claim the economy needs a stimulus that only they can provide. This is odd right off the bat. Politicians produce nothing; they spend other people’s money and, in the process, interfere with their productive activities. Why would anybody think politicians could stimulate an economy?"
"In several significant ways, the foreign policy differences between the two candidates can best be understood as two competing visions for the enhancement and perpetuation of American imperialism."
"What is most striking is that when the Congress was controlled by the GOP -- when the Senate was run by Bill Frist and the House by Denny Hastert -- the Bush administration attempted to have a bill passed very similar to the one that just passed today. But they were unable to do so. "
"We are in the midst of a political movement to concentrate private wealth into fewer and fewer hands while at the same time placing more and more of the burden for public expenditures on working people. If that sounds like half-baked Marxian analysis... well, shit, what can I say? That's what's happening." [I definitely do not agree with everything in this article, but it still qualifies as interesting.]
"Truth is a precondition for economic recovery. Bad investments need to be avoided. Good ones need to replace them. That is the very core of what all this economic activity is about. If the informed guesses of traders turn out to be wrong, there is a profitable opportunity for other traders to guess more accurately. To dampen this spirit is to do nothing but prop up illusions and perpetuate error. What can the state contribute to this cause? It can get out of the way."
"Almost any society faced with a sudden influx of outsiders would feel understandably threatened. But the evidence flies in the face of ... of these fears."
"Much as we may pine for this or that project to achieve market dominance, it is one of the cardinal virtues of open source that there are no legal or business policies that would entrench it as a monopoly. People may choose to use it for a long period of time and to the exclusion of other products/projects, but there are no nefarious designs in the code to make it so."
"[O]il is a commodity and just like any other commodity is primarily subject to supply and demand considerations, while gold is, despite the views of some figures in the Central Banking community, a currency. Gold is still ‘money' as far as much of the world is concerned and thus behaves differently from most other metals."
"The long and short of it is that if a speculative 'bubble' were responsible for a substantial part of the rocketing oil price since February 2008, we should have seen a very large increase in non-governmental stocks, for any speculation that was not reflected in a change in stocks would have been self-cancelling."
"We can see a pattern in the apparent incoherence of the prohibitionists’ position if we recall that the war on drugs, like all the preceding prohibitionist crusades in American history (some of them still continuing), amounts to a defense of bourgeois WASP conventions against persons and classes deemed less respectable."
"So essentially, we’ve allowed our country to be taken over by gangs and organized crime syndicates fighting to control the black markets in illegal drugs. We’ve created lawless, militarized police forces that view us as an occupied enemy, sadistic bastards who taser people in diabetic comas to death for 'resisting arrest,' and murder 92-year-old women in their sleep in botched SWAT team raids. "
"That fact that an executive branch agency can simply issue such an order (or, in this case, reiterate an earlier order), with the supposed force of law, should prompt at least some people to ask: in what sense are the investment markets a form of 'free' enterprise? ... And of course, it will avail nothing to invoke sound logic by pointing out that the SEC is an enforcement instrument of a Regime guilty of wholesale 'market manipulation,' with plans for much, much more of the same."
"Examples of this bureaucratic brainless blindness abound. But the very best cases come from the UK. This may be because the United Kingdom is much farther down the dirt path toward the Total Socialist Welfare Surveillance Centrally Planned Collectivist Police State than the US, in spite of the hyperventilating, eyelid fluttering wet dreams of the Clintons and Obamas and McCains and their assorted authoritarian ilk."
"I told you to buy gold… But did you? No! You called the police and had them come over here to make me shut up just because it was 2:00 AM and you wanted to sleep like a stupid little baby through the catastrophe that IS the damned economy!"
"When the state is at war – the government apparatus seems more justified, more needed, and we the people – if we are frightened and uneducated in history and economics and common sense – tend to make excuses for government stupidity and overreach."
"I have no sympathy for people who make others suffer. Nevertheless, I wonder at the International Criminal Court’s pick from the assortment of war criminals? Why al-Bashir? Is it because Sudan is a powerless state, and the International Criminal Court hasn’t the courage to name George W. Bush and Tony Blair as war criminals? ... But of course the Great Moral West does not commit war crimes. War crimes are charges fobbed off on people demonized by the Western media, such as the Serbian Milosovic and the Sudanese al-Bashir."
"The Bush administration is interested only in appearing to be serious about resolving this peacefully, when in actuality this diplomatic "surge" is merely a new tactic aimed at their real goal, which is regime-change in Iran."
"In 1953, the CIA ousted Mohammed Mossaddeq, the elected leader of Iran, because he nationalized British oil interests. The U.S. government reinstated and supported the brutal Shah, who ruled until the revolution in 1978, and grabbed 40 percent of Iran’s oil for American companies."
"Iraq contains perhaps the second largest oil reserves in the world, which are, furthermore, very cheap to extract: no permafrost or tar sands or deep sea drilling. For US planners, it is imperative that Iraq remain under U.S. control, to the extent possible, as an obedient client state that will also house major U.S. military bases, right at the heart of the world's major energy reserves. That these were the primary goals of the invasion was always clear enough through the haze of successive pretexts: weapons of mass destruction, Saddam's links with Al-Qaeda, democracy promotion and the war against terrorism, which, as predicted, sharply increased as a result of the invasion."
"The myths of the FDR era never die. All this despite the fact that the Federal Reserve was created sixteen years before the crash on ’29 and its credit expansion brought the crisis about in the first place; despite the signature of Roosevelt’s hand in the current crisis (Fannie Mae originated with him); despite the fact that for years we have been told the post-New Deal economy was one that would not fail us the way the "laissez-faire" 1920s did."
"So intoxicating is the power to print money that Congress could not restrain itself. By the end of 1775, some $6 million in Continental currency was either printed or authorized, a 50 percent increase of the estimated $12 million colonial money supply. "
"Microsoft has been a dirty player over the years, and this reputation has finally caught up with it. Playing dirty isn't necessarily ineffective or a bad idea. The point is that the effort should have been spent on making a better product rather than discrediting critics."
"A founding member of the International Society of Financial Analysts, Sir John was one of the earliest members of the Young Presidents Organization and became President of the Chief Executives Organization, and he was a member of the Society of Security Analysts, World Presidents Organization, Mt. Pèlerin Society, and Phi Beta Kappa."
"After the Cold War ended, some critics of American foreign policy hoped that Helms' hatred of the United Nations and nonmilitary foreign aid would transform him into an old-fashioned isolationist who eschewed foreign entanglements. That isn't how it worked out. ... A good politician knows how to lie, and Helms was an expert politician."
"Inflation is almost always one of the consequences of war, and it can be the worst, worse even than losing. If it impoverishes the middle class, the country has little if any base from which to recover. "
"Israel has probably the world’s second or third most potent air force, with around 400 state of the art, US-supplied combat aircraft and among the world’s most skilled pilots. The IAF is supported by a galaxy of electronic warfare systems, drones, and long-range recon. Israel’s Arrow is the world’s most advanced operational anti-ballistic missiles system and is expected to down over 85% of any incoming missiles."
"What are the threats against Iran really about? Despite what you may have read, this issue is not about nuclear proliferation—in fact an attack would increase the likelihood that Iran would acquire a nuclear weapon...."
"Iran must decide between confrontation and co-operation in the dispute over its nuclear plans, the US has warned."
"Rather than an emphasis on the military option, a positive step toward limiting nuclear proliferation would be to retool the NPT and strengthen safeguards aimed at timely detection of a country's diversion from civilian nuclear materials to nuclear weapons."
"The price of staples like corn, wheat, and rice are escalating, indicating that demand is outstripping supplies. Why? Because of political and economic institutional failures, not overpopulation."
"Today, when the statists unveil new plans for government control over our actions, they run into immediate and ferocious opposition from scholars and bloggers using what are at their core libertarian arguments to show why more government can only make things worse."
"But all is not, I guess, lost, as we now must prove Thomas Jefferson right when he warned that if you let banks take over the money supply, what will grow up around them will make us landless slaves on the very land our ancestors fought to give us, which seems to [be] coming true...."
"In less than 7 years, Mercedes-Benz plans to ditch petroleum-powered vehicles from its lineup. Focusing on electric, fuel cell, and biofuels, the company is revving up research in alternative fuel sources and efficiency."
"Klein says many organizations and home users have installed operating systems and other software on their networks and machines that have been set up to enable IPv6 connections by default, despite the fact that there's very little IPv6 traffic on the net as of yet. Because IPv6 traffic isn't common yet, many protection systems aren't set up to guard against malicious IPv6 traffic."
"Ray Bradbury has never given in to cheap despair or the illusion that air conditioning and moondoggles signal the inexorable march of Progress and Light. He is Waukegan in its Golden Age, between the wars, the Waukegan of grandfathers sitting on porches with grandsons, telling family legends and transmitting winemaking secrets, and while those grandsons may grow up to design rocketships and even fly to Mars, they will, in the world and wishes of Ray Bradbury, bring Waukegan with them."
"Director Christopher Nolan's version of Batman is an almost-believable early adopter, with every high tech gizmo at his disposal firmly grounded in real-world technology. To get the lowdown on the five coolest pieces of gear from the film, we sat down with the film's Oscar-nominated production designer, Nathan Crowley, to find out where the inspiration for each Bat-gadget came from."
"Even if I'm a couple of days late for Independence Day, I have to read from the Declaration...."
"The Web is another reason there’s been this explosion. Up until recently, you just couldn’t get the bandwidth. I think we now take it for granted. I still know people on dial-up, but I think in the last year or two we’ve reached the tipping point of people who have the bandwidth to be able to watch and trade video in this way."
"In May 1997, a four-man Marine Corps team deployed to Redford, Texas, to monitor drug trafficking across the US-Mexico border. For three days, it hoped to make a major bust, but saw little suspicious activity. ... The patrol's stupor was interrupted on May 20, 1997, when a local 18-year-old named Esequiel Hernández, who was grazing his goats near the Marines' post, lifted his rifle and squeezed off two shots. The Marines tracked him for 20 minutes before shooting him once, killing him."
"Congress is currently considering an emergency economic-stimulus measure, tentatively called the Bubble Act, which would order the Federal Reserve to† begin encouraging massive private investment in some fantastical financial scheme in order to get the nation's false economy back on track."
"Donnie Hoyle sizes himself up against some old memories."
"Both candidates are stepping up their efforts to attract crucial 'no values voters' by abusing animals and murdering the elderly."
"I was hoping that he would then segue into Mogambo Invasion Plan Number One (MIPNO), which is how the whole country should rise as one and storm Washington, D.C. with flaming torches and a steaming, screaming sense of outrage, run every government employee either out of town or into prison, or both, and install The Wise And Wonderful Mogambo (TWAWM) as Omnipotent Emperor Mogambo (OEM) with a fabulous, fabulous salary and benefit package."
"The best way to measure the candidates' success in wooing the Latino community is the Dobbs-O-Meter."
"Conscience, it is widely assumed, can play no role once the nation is at war, at least not with respect to whether one’s own government is in the right or the wrong. All that matters is victory. It was the same mindset that guided most Germans in World War II."
"But on this star-spangled evening I'm struck by how these kinds of events play a role in creating a sense among the elites that, in the end, they really should be running things, and that, moreover, things ought to stay largely as they are - subject, naturally, to various marginal tweaks and reforms that above all must not and will not alter the social and economic relations that have brought us together on this lovely summer night."
"One must be careful to make one's intended meaning known when using the terms 'socialism' and 'capitalism' (as well as related terms) because they have undergone polemic re-definition over the decades that can cause a great deal of confusion."
"It may be time to rethink the stereotype of grunting, wordless Neandertals. The prehistoric humans may have been quite chatty — at least if the ear canals of their ancestors are any indication."
"Everybody recognises the earthy smell of a field that's been freshly tilled, but how this smell forms has so far remained a mystery. A team at Brown University has now identified the bacterial genes responsible for the scent."
"In 'Little House in the Big Woods,' Pa also owned a pig. 'It ran wild in the Big Woods, living on acorns and nuts and roots.' Of course, the brief but happy life of Pa's pig was 130 years before localists, seasonalists and scientists would tout the possibility that pigs allowed to live and eat just like this might contain heart-healthy (if still mightily caloric) Omega-3 fats rather than just the artery-clogging stuff. ... When you hold an animal's insides in your hands, big and fresh and smelling of nothing but flesh and fat, you feel a certain responsibility to put them to good use."
"I’m sure many people were appalled that young Mr. Sanders — eligible to vote in his first presidential election — would even dream of selling his vote. How cynical he is, they must be thinking. I don’t think he’s cynical. I think he’s naïve. He thought someone would be willing to buy his vote for $10 or more. Why would anyone do that? One vote isn’t going to change the outcome of the election. The chance that McCain and Obama will tie in any of the 50 state elections is roughly zero. No single vote will be decisive."
"Arash Shiva's images give us a glimpse into daily life in Iran: an Iran that our administration would prefer we didn’t know about."
"[H]elp me solve my conundrum :-)"
"Microsoft has long stopped promoting itself as a pure software firm and has simply lost focus. Things changed the day Bill Gates quit bragging about how the company sold 'code.' (As an aside, Microsoft is an out-and-out laggard in high-profile programming tools. How did PHP -- a key language used to create dynamic Web sites, for example -- become so dominant in the Microsoft era? But I digress.) "
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