Blogs

Finally, A News Organization That's Not a Government Agency Pretending to Be One?

This is great news that Glenn Greenwald and Laura Poitras are joining forces with multimillionaire Pierre Omidyar to resurrect journalism with their new venture. I wonder if the various PR arms of the government -- like the Washington Post and New York Times -- will have to compete for eyes in the future. Or will they be driven offshore as GovCo increases its lockdown on information? Is the market working in spite of having its legs broken?
 

Half-Million Iraqis Died in the War, New Study Says

Before the (second) war in Iraq began in 2003, the Pentagon estimated it would cost about $50 billion and, as far as expected casualties went, it didn't seem there would be very many. Heck, the locals would welcome us with open arms and after we eliminated Saddam and his scary Weapons of Mass Destruction, everyone would be free and happy.
 
Well, not so much. As far as money goes, the bill grew to several trillion dollars, counting long-term care for wounded vets, replacement of destroyed weapons and other gear, and other on-going costs. But the biggest cost is in human lives, and the 4,804 US and other coalition casualties is the least of this: roughly half a million Iraqis died from violence and other effects of the war between 2003 and 2011, according to a survey published in PLOS Medicine and featured in a National Geographic article yesterday.
 
 

Wanna Bet Wal-Mart Gets Paid?

For their absurd "right choice" of allowing an EBT shopping spree in a couple of Louisiana stores?
 
Perhaps they won't, but my money's on a payday. Of course, in typical conservative fashion, comments about this story focus on all the "leeches" that flooded the aisles because Wal-Mart decided to literally give away the store.
 
Those of us who look a bit deeper, and for whom the insidious nature of US fascism is no secret, know that there indeed is a true welfare queen in this story- The Store!
 
Don't get me wrong, Wal-Mart is nothing but a symptom of twisted market interventionism, the disease is the corrupt and evil local and state politicians who facilitate such anti-market institutions. The only possible cure is the elimination of such power.
 
But, before there can be any hope of being rid of such pestilence it has to be recognized for what it is. Leeches, indeed!

"Economics Teaches Us Humility"

Humility is a virtue the State abhors.

The Market Works

Before I was out of short pants, some British Socialist blowhard triumphantly announced that henceforth, health care would be provided to everyone, free of charge, as of right.
 
Half a century later, this news item reports the truth - thanks to Elmo Zoneball for letting me know. The cost isn't measured any more in pounds or dollars, but in delay time. This lady died waiting. It so happens her job, while living, was to administer the health care service.
 
I noticed a detail: she had a major operation, then stayed resident for months in hospital awaiting follow-up surgery, which was postponed four times - one too many. So there was plenty of bed space, but too few surgery resources. Space being readily remodelable, I presume it was the surgeons who were in short supply. What? You mean potential surgeons don't like working in such a system? - say it ain't so!

Votes Sell for about $5 in Afghanistan as Presidential Race Begins

The Afghani system is being decried, but it's much more honest than the one here.

Authoritarianism Western Style

I like watching old westerns on Youtube like Have Gun Will Travel episodes, Rawhide, Wagon Train, Death Valley Days, et al and recently I’ve been on running through Gunsmoke.  I spent much of my youth with my grandfather who liked to watch them and I have fond memories of watching with him.  I loved HGWT the best, because it shows people handling their differences privately without “the law” using natural law, negotiation, reason and a hired facilitator.  Gunsmoke is the exact opposite, every conflict must be settled by “The Law” or, as the story goes, we’d all kill each other.  This episode in Season 6 “Love Thy Neighbor” is a classic representation of the underlying propaganda that runs through most episodes with authoritarian “justice” being the precursor to civil society. 
 
With many of the 1950s and 1960s western icons (Jack Elam, Warren Oates, Dean Stanton, et al) guest-starring in this episode, these poor, ignorant characters could have all been saved if only they had let Marshall Dillon take care of them.  When the Marshall kills somebody, he “had to do it”, but when others use the same methods as he, then they are criminals because they don’t have a tin star on their chest.  As a side note, it’s funny how Marshall Dillon is a stickler for the law with most people, but when he feels “The Law” needs to be ignored for his friends and those he sympathizes with, then it’s the right thing to do to “stretch the law” arbitrarily.  Looking back at how I watched these shows as a kid and how easily I was brainwashed into accepting authoritarianism as the righteous alternative to liberty, I must laugh at myself while realizing how most people never even question how they became authoritarians.
 

"Fama, Hansen, and Shiller"

When I learned about the 2013 recipients of the Economics "Nobel Prize" I immediately wondered what Austrian economists were thinking.  Per usual, the Mises Institute provided a quick answer.  See this misesmedia video discussing this topic.

Malala Yousafzai to the Predator: 'Drone Strikes Are Fueling Terrorism'

"That fact was conspicuously absent from the White House statements on the meeting." HAHAHA.

Oklahoma Doctors vs. Obamacare

As a practicing physician in the United States I cannot overstate just how radical the business model of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma actually is.  This ReasonTV video profiles this business.  I am currently brainstorming how to transplant this business model to my specialty of radiation oncology.

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