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"Today, the fascists of D.C. have over half a century of experience in how to milk the capitalist cow without causing its demise, and we their adversaries are a whole lot better informed and a whole lot more articulate--and we have the Internet, and are not shy about publicizing their malfeasance. "
"The solution instead is to end the bi-partisan, federal-pork fiasco by cutting spending, regulation and taxes and ending the Federal Reserve’s ability to create credit and debt bubbles."
"A hundred and thirty college presidents and chancellors have signed a controversial statement calling for a new debate about the legal drinking age; their notion is to lower it from 21 to 18. Alas, college presidents are politicians of a sort, so none will take the reopened debate where it needs to go. There should be no drinking age at all."
"Exchanging one reference to an excretory orifice for the euphemism 'belly button,' he said everyone would understand the reference. 'If I say there is one hell of a belly button in the White House, you know what I'm talking about,' von NotHaus said."
"Emergencies happen fast. I basically had a choice between shooting at him or being killed, with not much time to make up my mind. I was lucky to have the gun, to have taken it to the door with me, and lucky to know something about firing it. Some miracle had made me keep it loaded the two years since I’d left the farm where it had been used on squirrels and other varmints."
"Taxpayers did not get their fair share of the upside, but they are getting all of the downside and a huge IOU. While Wall Street is made whole, the folks on Main Street are getting the bill." Wake up America!!!
"An entire generation of American policy-makers - Clinton, Bush, Rubin, Greenspan, and the Congressional leadership of both parties - has come perilously close to ruining a great nation. The creation of the credit bubble was one of the most disgraceful episodes of economic government in western history. Nothing can justify it. There is no parallel to the Spain of Phillip II, who ruined his empire to pursue the religious cause of Counter-Reformation, or to the bankruptcy of the British Empire combating fascism. It occurred because America abandoned all restraint and gave licence to consumer hedonism."
"We now have a generation (or two) that is so alienated that many young people believe the police are an instrument of their oppression rather than their protection. While young people suffer the most under current anti-pot laws, they lack the financial means and political capital to influence politicians to challenge them."
"Rail transit is expensive to build, to operate and maintain. One of rail transit’s dirty secrets is that the entire system - rails, cars, electrical facilities, stations - must be replaced, rebuilt or rehabilitated roughly every 30 years."
"Denver police, who face several lawsuits over confrontations with protesters at the Democratic National Convention, have created a ruckus in the Mile High City with a T-shirt commemorating the event. Declaring, 'We get up early, to BEAT the crowds,' the shirt shows a bat-wielding officer towering over a caricature of the city's skyline."
"The state always and everywhere constitutes a tiny minority of the population, Murray Rothbard argues. It is outnumbered by the people many times over. For this reason, it must rely on a false consciousness to sustain its rule."
"[W]hy is the idea of sound money so foreign to most people? Why do they trust the state’s inflatable notes and the inflationist in charge of them, then wonder why the economy blows up? Given its record, why do they trust the state at all? "
"The error that statists commit is that they believe that politics and economics are driven by individuals. But that only applies when people take responsibility for their actions. When people don’t question their own actions, and follow the system blithely (and why should they not, when they’ve been thoroughly indoctrinated to believe in it?), then they become nothing more than puppets for that system. In that case, we can say that politics and economics are driven by the properties of their systems."
"Here’s a famous old Wobbly cartoon ... And ... the new version for this modern world...."
"It's a grave mistake to portray the economic problems as consequences of the welfare state, as traditionally defined. Rather, this is a failure of the corporate state, or state capitalism."
"China is a major buyer of U.S. Treasury bonds, and through its sovereign wealth fund it has taken stakes in two large U.S. financial institutions."
"Wanna dodge the draft, get gay-married or smoke a joint without fear of life in the clink. Where do you go? Canada! The frosty land of curling and Celine Dion has long been a destination for Americans fleeing the puritanical, war-mongering excesses of the States. And now, according to a new study, our ... neighbors to the north have surpassed the U.S. in its degree of economic freedom. Not only can Canadians more accurately pronounce laissez faire, they have more of it. And that was before the U.S. government nationalized half our mortgage industry and bought the world's largest insurance company."
"At first sight, Russia's role in the international financial system does not seem very large. However, as a major exporter of hydrocarbons, her role in the world economy is actually very important. As the age of the dollar draws to a close, Russia will have to consider selling her oil and gas not in the devalued American currency, but instead in the euro used by most of her customers. It is surely unnatural for two geographical neighbours to do such large volumes of business using the currency of a distant and now ailing nation. Second, the Russian leaders might also consider making their own currency, the rouble, convertible into gold."
"Free-enterprise capitalism, embodied in entrepreneurialism, is all about the little guy. Big companies exist because some little guys some time in the past beat the odds."
"Just as advertisers know they're always getting the market price for keywords on Google's AdWords system, wireless users would always get the market price for wireless data service -- or phone calls. The system could potentially free users from cellphone contracts and locked phones that tie them to one service provider and allow them to switch from one carrier to another, seamlessly, based on which carrier had the lowest price at that moment."
"What is striking here is the level of public opposition. ... we have here a wonderful thing: a clash of group interests, as Mises would say. It is the state and its friends vs. the American people. That doesn't mean that Congress won't pass something or other. The administration is prepared to pay off every member. And yet the proximity to the election complicates matters. A lost election means no payoff, no matter what. If public anger is intense enough, these guys might balk in the end."
"The focus on regulation, narrowly defined, distracts attention from all the ways that the government has made the financial and housing industries unstable through guarantees and other privileges. Those guarantees systematically transferred the risk of dubious mortgage lending from bankers to taxpayers."
"In thrall to the natural, inexorable, cyclic states of empire, the American government is finally beginning to sprout hair on its lip and smell like all the others, and is almost beginning to resemble an adult superpower, in regard to the vast, regrettable and boringly predictable evils of monarchic leadership."
"The link between the financial collapse and the underlying problem of a nation living beyond its means is big government. Which is why the solution that the Bush administration is applying with support from the Democrats—even bigger government—is the wrong one."
"The Bricker amendment, which has been reintroduced from time to time in Congress, remains relevant in an era of the imperial president, an era in which the protection of liberty requires the restraint of the institutional powers of the president. "
"Okay, so they're both evil. But don't you have a moral responsibility to choose the lesser of two evils? All that democracy asks of you is your best judgment. You won't be held personally responsible for the consequences."
"Financial industry rep. Paulson is the ringleader in a bankers’ coup the results of which will decide America's economic and political future for years to come. The coup leaders have drained tens of billions of dollars of liquidity from the already-strained banking system to trigger a freeze in interbank lending and hasten a stock market crash. ... Paulson's bailout does not even address the core issues which have been obscured by demagoguery and threats. The worthless assets must be written-down, insolvent banks must be allowed to go bust, and the crooks and criminals who engineered this financial blitz on the nation's coffers must be held to account."
"The final act of this farce has been the so-called 'financial industry.' That "industry" turned out to be most earnestly devoted to the production of complex swindles. They were so finely engineered that it took twenty years for the swindles to stand revealed, and they were cleverly hitched to the primary thing that the American public vested its identity in: house-and-home. Thus, much of the public finds itself in very real danger of becoming homeless and broke."
"Here and now, the market - right or wrong - is pricing toxic debt and derivatives at zero or worse. US subprime mortgage bonds, if marked-to-market - rather than against the apparent 'final redemption value' used to help pay $66 billion to Wall Street staff in 2007 - are also worth zilch. That's why there's no danger of anyone buying them, no one outside Washington, that is. And there's the true danger today."
"So sure, around 2/3s of the respondents to the AP/National Constitution Center poll oppose further expansions of executive power. But how people answer broad, abstract questions about governance is one thing; what they actually demand from potential presidents is another thing entirely."
"Different people have different conceptions about what kind of lives they want to lead, what kind of knowledge is important, and how they want their children to be raised. These differences do not represent one group’s being right and the other’s being wrong. Rather, a free society will always be characterized by reasonable pluralism in values and worldviews. But if this is the case, then it seems the idea that we should all get together under one roof and democratically decide how to educate our children is a bad one. Instead, it’s sensible to welcome a number of different approaches to education, with the crucial decisions about how children are to be educated ultimately being left to their parents."
"It's an inconvenient truth: laws may be national, but the market is global. And no national law can overturn the economic law of supply and demand."
"A rudimentary form of natural selection likely existed in the primordial soup even before life arose on Earth. If so, the complex 'ecosystem' of prebiotic molecules may have made the eventual arrival of life much more probable."
"On September 27, 1983, Richard M. Stallman announced his intention to found the GNU project in order to build a free operating system. Now, 25 years later, the Free Software Foundation is marking the anniversary of the announcement with a month-long celebration. Looking back at the last quarter century, Stallman expresses some guarded satisfaction with the growth of the free software movement, but also some bemusement about how it has grown more complex as it has faced new challenges from within and without, and an awareness of how far it still has to go to reach its goals."
"A 'shortage' occurs when the amount of a good demanded exceeds the amount of a good supplied at the prevailing price. In other words, shortages happen when the price is too low. The market mechanism fixes this automatically by moving us forward along the supply curve and backward along the demand curve until we reach a price at which the quantity supplied and the quantity demanded are again equal."
"Politicians have an obvious interest in portraying the financial meltdown as the result of a government hands-off policy. They can’t very well advocate government controls if government controls are responsible for the debacle we’re now living through. "
"The United States government is the number one counterfeiter in the world, the number one Ponzi scheme operator and the number one enemy of the free market system."
"When Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson says, 'I don't believe in raw capitalism without regulation,' he is not revealing a scoop. He is reiterating what has been official American policy for the last century. Whether the result is financial socialism with a human capitalist face, or state capitalism with a strong socialist flavor, it is a matter of choosing between a half-empty and a half-full glass. The partial exportation of American regulation to other countries has led to a sort of global financial statism. ... There is no inherent reason to trust the state to regulate efficiently. The state is made of men (politicians and bureaucrats) who respond to their own incentives and interests. If there is a political gain to be made from expanding mortgages and postponing a crisis for future politicians to deal with, it will be pursued."
"The people on whose behalf these schemes are being implemented -- the true beneficiaries -- are the very same people who have been running and owning our Government -- both parties -- for decades, which is why they have been able to do what they've been doing without interference. They were able to gamble without limit because they control the Government, and now they're having others bear the brunt of their collapse for the same reason -- because the Government is largely run for their benefit."
"I’m afraid I just don’t get this 'free market' stuff. Recent government bailouts of private companies look to me like anything but adherence to free market principles, but then, what do I know? I’m just an average American, not someone economically savvy like George W. Bush who — well, we’ll just say I’m not economically savvy."
"Power breeds arrogance and quickly becomes an overweening pride. In Washington, they imagine they can legislate their way out of the crisis and once again conjure up a convenient reality: this, they believe, is their prerogative as history's actors. The rest of us, you see, are only acted upon. Their failure is inevitable, but there's a way out for them, if they can manage to pull it off. Yes, you guessed it: another war, another foreign 'enemy,' a heretofore undetected threat to the Homeland that will divert us – and keep the engines of the economy running."
"In a remarkably candid document, 'The 2008 Army Modernization Strategy,' the Pentagon lays out the perpetual blowback arising from the relentless pursuit of what George W. Bush once proudly hailed as 'the single sustainable model of national success' -- i.e., rapacious crony capitalism backed up with state violence. This 'model' -- which was once proclaimed as the 'end of history,' the unsurpassable apex of human development -- has been imposed -- at gunpoint, bribery and extortion -- on much of the world. The result has been, quite literally, the devouring of the earth: resources stripped bare, the climate poisoned and sent careening wildly out of balance, nations destroyed, populations dispossessed, societies rent asunder, violence run rampant, a tsunami of corruption and degradation ravaging the world."
"Let me state this very plainly: I do not believe for one second that if the government fails to nationalize Freddie and Fannie that the world as we know it will come to an end. Those who are saying that are trying to scare the population, the same as with every other major demand by the regime. It was the same with NAFTA, the WTO, the war on terror, the war on bird flu, the nationalization of airport security, and everything else."
"I’m referring to the war in which Americans are battling hard to get into the pocketbooks of other Americans, take their money, and pocket it for themselves or distribute it to others."
"The 1st BCT’s soldiers also will learn how to use 'the first ever nonlethal package that the Army has fielded,' 1st BCT commander Col. Roger Cloutier said, referring to crowd and traffic control equipment and nonlethal weapons designed to subdue unruly or dangerous individuals without killing them." [Right, like the police have been showing people with tasers. Goodbye Posse Comitatus.]
"The Anti-Federalists regarded consolidation of governmental power with what seems to me a meet suspicion, though it has seemed to others to verge on paranoia. One of my favorite Anti-Fed pseudonyms was taken by the writer who called himself 'None of the Well-Born Conspirators'."
"Having heard preliminary discussions of the possibility of such a takeover, I had wondered about the government’s authority for such an action. The Post’s report answered my question as follows: 'The Fed is using the emergency authority it was granted during the Great Depression'."
"Kevin Kelly, who was editor-in-chief at Whole Earth was looking at an old Whole Earth Catalog came to the realization that it was a 1970s version of a blog."
"Left Wing and Right Wing.... left and right wings of what?"
"America's first native locomotive loses a smackdown race to a draft horse. Embarrassment does not alter the course of history."
"President Bush and the other advocates of the growing alliance don’t seem to understand that if you bring NATO up to Russia’s doorstep, which seems to be the plan, the Russians may not believe it’s the Welcome Wagon."
"Through 40 years of the Cold War we managed to avoid a nuclear war with the Soviet Union. It would be devastating and tragic if now we were to become embroiled in a war with Russia, which has nuclear weapons, plus the intercontinental missiles powerful enough to deliver them to the U.S."
"One key aspect of the Georgia conflict is that Russia’s position on Abkhazia and South Ossetia is nothing new. Those regions, with Moscow’s backing, achieved political autonomy-actually, de facto independence-by defeating Georgian military forces in the months following the breakup of the Soviet Union in December 1991. Russian "peacekeepers" established a presence in both regions during the presidency of Boris Yeltsin, not Vladimir Putin."
"[I]f Obama is right on Iraq, he is wrong on Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. His prescriptions for each are so close to the policies of the Bush administration that if McCain is McBush, Obama appears to be O’Bush. It seems many voters’ desire to climb up out of the Bush league altogether is doomed to frustration."
"A more aggressive policy by the U.S. in Pakistan, when combined with the continued occupation of Afghanistan, is likely to make the Taliban even more wildly popular in both places. Rising Islamic radicalism in Pakistan is very dangerous, because the country possesses nuclear weapons. The U.S. originally helped create al Qaeda; let’s not create any more threats."
"The danger is, once again, that the current problems created by the corporate state (state capitalism, if you will) will be 'addressed' through major new government interventions devised by politicians desperate to 'do something.' We will likely end up with the equivalent of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act for financial companies and new regulatory mechanisms. Thus the government will set the table for the next crisis. ... The complexity of financial markets is beyond the comprehension of mere mortals. Trying to make these markets safe through government management is as sensible as waving a magic wand while chanting 'abracadabra'."
"Even if Congress backs the Paulson bail-out, the $700 billion blast cannot save the US, Britain or the world from the deepest economic slump since the Thirties. If Congress balks, God help us. The credit system is suffering a heart attack. Inter-bank lending is paralysed. Funds are accepting zero interest on US Treasury notes for the first time since Pearl Harbour, because no bank account is safe."
"Consolidation and financial uncertainty at the nation's largest securities firms will close some doors to tech companies aiming to go public, slow the process for M&A deals, and generally add more worry lines to tech investing."
"At the moment, the prospect of an American president sitting in the dock of the International Criminal Court seems remote. It should be remembered, however, that in 1973, nobody would have believed that 33 years later General Augusto Pinochet would die under house arrest in Chile, facing trial on charges of human rights abuses, including kidnapping and murder, committed during the dark days of Chile’s military government."
"Utilizing gene therapy, researchers at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada) report, for the first time, that they have successfully restored the ability to make vitamin C in a genetic strain of mice that no longer produces vitamin C as most animals do, suggesting a future day when this lost capability can be restored to humans."
"The sisters Elliott were like those glorious chestnut and maple trees that grew up in the old America and that the new America removes without a second thought to make way for another Wal-Mart."
"Russell Taylor, one of the writers of Alex, the cartoon of city life which runs in the Daily Telegraph's business section, has written his own version of James Stewart's speech from It's A Wonderful Life. It captures just how Alex Masterley - the caddish hero of the comic strip - would describe the events of the past week. "
"The interview, which covers subjects related to science fiction, fantasy, and technology, among other things, is a little over an hour - the entire show, in fact."
"I have enjoyed many of Paul Newman’s movies ... If I had to pick a favorite, one does stand above the others for me . . ."
"What's the worst that can happen if you vote Republican in November? Science fiction has the answer, with a wealth of stories about right-wing policies taken to their most horrendous extremes. We already recounted the scariest dystopias where liberals triumph, and now here's our list of the most awesome dark futures where Sarah Palin holds sway."
Multi-panel cartoon, too accurate for hilarity...
"Henry Paulson and Ben Bernanke appear before Congress for the most awkward loan interview ever."
"Disney claims its latest batch of child stars is so lifelike, you’ll barely be able to tell they have no souls."
"Responding to the nation's economic turmoil, Sen. McCain said that as President he would create millions of jobs 'by putting Americans to work making negative ads'."
"Donnie Hoyle maps his current predicament and merges toward a solution."
"I have argued in the past that the corporate economy is so closely bound up with the power of the state, that it makes more sense to think of the corporate ruling class as a component of the state, in the same way that landlords were a component of the state under the Old Regime."
"The core issue is that there is nothing to restrain money creation. The first time that people hear this, they find their minds rather boggled, and they want to know more. My whole experience in this area is that once people start digging around the area of monetary theory, they find that (1) it is not as difficult a subject as it seems, (2) it is endlessly fascinating, and (3) it explains far more than they realized before."
"A definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result each time. Advocating massive government spending and other forms of intervention to pull a country out of an economic slump is therefore a form of insanity."
"1,000 years is too distant and remote to even contemplate, particularly for busy contemporary folk like us who have trouble making next summer’s vacation plans. Ten centuries so exceeds our own lifetime and the horizon of our imagination that we want to dismiss it as extraneous and unapproachable, and simply not worth thinking about."
"There are two classes of contraband at airport security checkpoints: the class that will get you in trouble if you try to bring it on an airplane, and the class that will cheerily be taken away from you if you try to bring it on an airplane. This difference is important: Making security screeners confiscate anything from that second class is a waste of time. All it does is harm innocents; it doesn't stop terrorists at all."
"In a performance career that spanned more than half a century, Mr. Newman played rogues and rascals that audiences couldn't resist, probed more deeply into roles he played in his 50s and went on to fashion a gallery of aging and emotionally complex characters in his 60s and 70s. Few American actors have made such a deep and sustained imprint."
"Cannabinoids, chemical compounds found in cannabis, are drawing the interest of medical scientists, as they contain compounds that may lead to treatments for ailments ranging from bacterial infections to nausea from chemotherapy."
"Ain't ain't so bad"
"Observations from the Ulysses spacecraft, which launched in 1990 show the stream of charged subatomic particles emitted from the Sun's upper atmosphere has dropped 20% since the mid-1990s. The drop will increase the amount of cosmic radiation in the inner solar system."
"LuisDS looked at the metadata on the video for Microsoft's new 'I'm a PC' commercial and learned that it was made on Mac using Adobe Creative Suite 3."
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