Archive for September, 2011

Bloomberg: Policing what you eat part of ‘government’s highest duty’

by David McElroy

When discussing NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, I have trouble deciding whether “arrogant” or “condescending” is a better word to describe him. Based on his latest statement at the UN last week, it’s only fair to use both, at a minimum.

What do you believe government’s “highest duty” is? If you still believe coercive government is legitimate, what is its top priority? When he’s not being hugged by giant hotdogs, Bloomberg apparently believes it’s government’s primary duty to make sure you that you make healthy decisions for your life, including forcing you to eat as he thinks you should eat:

Speaking on the government’s role in diet and health last week, Bloomberg told the UN General Assembly, “There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce and results only governments can achieve. To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government’s highest duty.”

Bloomberg has been known for years for his efforts to force restaurants to cut down on the amount of salt they use, even though there’s never been a real scientific basis for the recommendation to cut salt intake. But once food nannies get something in their minds, the actual facts don’t matter. All that matters is forcing you to obey them.

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NEWS LINKS: USA Patriot Act’s warrantless provisions ruled illegal

by Staff Monkeys

  • Part of the USA Patriot Act has been ruled unconstitutional by a federal judge in Oregon. This judge is under the odd notion that the Constitution was serious when it said government has to have “probable cause” to search Americans. If her way of interpreting the Constitution catches on — actually reading what the text says — there’s no telling what benefits we might see next. But don’t get your hopes up.
  • If you ever forget just how barbaric the Iranian regime is, the evil rulers of that country are planning to kill a Christian pastor on Friday — for the terrible “crime” of leaving the Muslim faith and proclaiming Jesus Christ instead. The pastor was given the chance to be spared if he would renounce Jesus and claim to be a Muslim again, but he refused.
  • A branch of the University of Wisconsin has wholeheartedly endorsed censorship, not just of the students, but of faculty. A theatre professor had a poster on his door depicting a character from the television show “Firefly” along with a quote from the character. Because the quote mentions killing, the university police removed it, claiming that it could be interpreted as a threat. Then the professor put up a poster attacking fascism. The university also took that one down. The university president supports the censorship.

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In ’98, Ron Paul warned U.S. policy was leading to terrorist attacks

by David McElroy

We’ve been told over and over that nobody could have reasonably predicted the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States. The people who say this believe the terrorists “hate us for our freedom.” If it was so hard to predict that we were going to be attacked, why did Ron Paul warn the nation about it almost three years before it happened?

I remember Dec. 16, 1998 very well. President Bill Clinton was in the middle of impeachment hearings in the House of Representatives. For the crime of lying under oath about a sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, congressional Republicans were trying to throw him out of office. Clinton’s actions were slimy, unprincipled and illegal, but hardly qualifying of “high crimes and misdemeanors.” Clinton was the ultimate political animal, so he did what politicians like to do when they’re in trouble. He wrapped himself in the flag and took invented an excuse to attack a country.

Although most people saw through the political motivations for the air attacks on Iraq which killed hundreds of innocent Iraqis, U.S. Rep. Ron Paul stood virtually alone in opposing the attack for the right reasons. At a news conference at the House, Paul laid out his arguments very clearly. He seemed quite angry. Take the four minutes or so to watch this video clip from that news conference. Right around the three-minute mark, you’ll hear Paul explaining that U.S. policy was not only killing innocent people, but it was also making it more likely that U.S. military personnel were going to be killed and that the United States would be attacked by terrorists.

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Understanding frequently matters more than fixing someone’s problem

by David McElroy

When someone we care about hurts, it’s natural to feel the pain ourselves. That empathy is one of the most important parts of being a loving person. In our action-oriented Western culture, it’s hard to remember that understanding is frequently more important than solving someone’s problem.

This issue has been on my mind this morning because of something I found out late last night. Someone I care about greatly is going through a tremendous amount of pain, and I’m not in a position to do anything about it. What do you do when you can’t make someone’s pain stop and you can’t fix everything that’s wrong?

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NEWS LINKS: White House bullies Ford into pulling anti-bailout ad

by Staff Monkeys

  • Did you hear about the ad that Ford was running recently bragging about being the only U.S. automaker not to take federal bailout money? According to a Detroit newspaper, Ford is pulling the ad because of pressure from the White House. It seems that the administration found the ad embarrassing, although we’re not quite sure why Ford cared about that.
  • We thought Barack Obama was popular in Europe, but maybe not. After Obama attacked the European countries for their debt problems, German commentators are blasting the U.S. president for his “arrogant” and “absurd” remarks. We would say that Obama’s comments were the pot calling the kettle black, but you never know who’s going to be offended, so we won’t say it.
  • Being a candidate for president means constantly apologizing for saying what you really think, and Rick Perry is learning that the hard way. After having to back-peddle from pre-campaign statements (in his book) about Social Security being a Ponzi scheme, Perry is now apologizing to GOP voters for saying that anti-immigrant voters who opposed lower tuition for illegal immigrants were heartless. Just put your finger to the wind before you say anything next time, Rick.

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Want to start a ‘free city’? Check out the guidelines to see if you qualify

by David McElroy

For those of us who have been thinking about the idea of autonomous cities for many years, the idea of a good source for realistic information is like a dream come true. I’ve been researching various ideas for years and found precious little. The best source of info I’ve ever seen has just gone online this week, so I highly recommend the new Free Cities Institute website.

I’ve been talking to you about free cities for months. (I’ve covered the idea probably half a dozen times, so there are other stories.) Although I’ve been pursuing the idea of independent entities for more than a decade, it was only recently when I met Michael Strong and was acquainted with the idea of autonomous free cities within existing countries. It’s not the full independence that I see as the eventual future, but it’s a huge leap forward over anything realistic today. I’m a believer in the idea, and I hope to be involved with one of these free cities very soon.

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You’re not watching real news; you’re watching a scripted show

by David McElroy

Most people with at least half a brain realize that “reality TV” is anything but reality. It’s scripted and edited to create the drama and tension producers want — to attract and entertain viewers. But how many people understand the same is true of news?

Newsweek’s Howard Kurtz has a great article this week about how Fox News boss Roger Ailes is making changes at his news channel to tweak its positioning. Although the moves are interesting all by themselves, I was struck by some of the details that emerge in Kurtz’ reporting, because it’s very obvious that the purpose of the producers is to create drama, not to enlighten people.

Because Fox let Kurtz have behind-the-scenes access to meetings between producers preparing for last week’s Fox GOP presidential debate, it’s clear that the network doesn’t mind you knowing this. The unreality of news has become so accepted that it doesn’t cross anybody’s mind to be ashamed of manipulating what should be serious discussion into being a televised melodrama about personalities instead. They might as well be plotting to create chaos between cast members of “Big Brother.” Kurtz reports:

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NEWS LINKS: Kids paid brainiac thousands to take SAT for them

by Staff Monkeys

  • They’re pretty serious about the SAT at some prestigious high schools, apparently. At one NYC high school, they were so serious that six students paid another student to take the SAT for them. The seven students and former students were arrested Tuesday. The one smart guy among the bunch was paid between $1,500 and $2,500 to take the test for the others.
  • Newly released documents show that the U.S. government keeps people on its “terrorist watch list” even if those people are acquitted of crimes or if charges are dropped. The number of people on the list is now getting close to half a million. If you can’t really get off of it, we suppose it’s bound to keep growing.
  • The new government of Iraq is going to buy 18 U.S.-built F-16 warplanes, at a cost of roughly $3 billion. Wouldn’t it be more accurate to just admit that U.S. taxpayers are buying these planes and sending them as a gift so that yet another country will have sophisticated weapons with which to later kill people in its own country or in other countries?

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Time to face facts: Most people don’t really want individual liberty

by David McElroy

A new poll from Zogby is going to get plenty of attention in the next day or so, because it shows Herman Cain is the top presidential choice of 28 percent of GOP voters. My view is that it’s irrelevant and won’t hold any water, but I’ve been wrong many times before.

Rick Perry is at 18 percent and Mitt Romney at 17 percent. In fourth place is Ron Paul with 11 percent, and then there’s a host of others who really aren’t worth mentioning at the moment.

Writing at Human Events, a writer commented on Paul’s steady poll performance: “Paul’s the most solid performer in Zogby’s polling history for the 2012 GOP race — his 11% might as well be chiseled in stone.” While this sounds like a compliment, it’s more evidence of what I’ve been saying for some time. As much as I like Ron Paul — and would be quite happy if he won — he has no chance of winning.

It’s very simple. There is a very solid core of support for individual freedom. It’s right around 10 percent. It’s not going to get much bigger than that anytime soon. You can bemoan the fact. You can be angry. You can deny it. It’s not going to change. People just don’t want what you and I want. Period.

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Jobs are created from ‘selfish’ acts; they don’t just exist on their own

by David McElroy

The bureaucrats at the UN’s International Labor Organization are worried. They say the world’s economies are heading toward a “massive job shortfall.” Who would have thought that if you destroy the incentives to start new businesses and take risks, jobs would go away?

The problem is that bureaucrats have things backwards. They want policies designed to create jobs, as though jobs are manufactured and come stacked up in boxes. That’s insane. Jobs are simply by-products of economic activity. When you restrict economic activity and make it more difficult for people to be productive, you’re going to get less economic activity — which leads to fewer jobs. What’s so hard to understand about that?

People such as the economic illiterates waving their signs about “green jobs” are just as ignorant about this as the government bureaucrats. They all believe the focus should be on jobs, not understanding that the focus has to be on letting people pursue their own self-interest — at which point the jobs will be there.

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Start over here

When this site launched in 2011, it was intended as a way to find others who were sick of partisan politics and wanted to connect with like-minded people who were ready to go beyond politics and find ways of escaping. It has shifted focus in ways that reflect my own shifting thinking. I’m less interested in politics and more interested in looking at the things that make life worth living, such as love, creation, self-understanding and connecting with others. Every article I have posted since 2011 is still in my archives, but everything I write is a reflection of my current thinking. Sometimes I’m wrong — and that’s fine with me — and I don’t always end up agreeing with what I wrote five years ago. For now, you can still read what I wrote about the site’s purpose in 2011, but I should rewrite this. Read more.

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