Recent comments

  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 29 weeks 3 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Superb reasoning, Jim. It is what you do better than anyone I know. I agree with you completely. I took Paul Bonneau's recent essay about not having any rights to be facetious, not serious. However, I thought he made some seriously excellent points. He may well have meant to provoke a response. My interpretation may have been in error, of course, but he seemed to resent that government always thinks of rights as being privileges, which are subject to being rescinded at any time, for any reason. Senator Feinstein thought up another such limitation on free speech this last week. Namely, that government should and must define who is a real journalist, subject to persecution and/or prosecution for disagreeing with official news releases or analyses. Her plan rephrases Nazi and Stalinist policies, not to forget those of Lincoln. Paul rephrased various rights to simple sentences that could stand independently from those of government documents, all of which have indeed been shredded by Bush and Obama, et. al. I confess that I enjoyed his revisions. It is easier to know when you are serious, since you always say what you mean and mean what you say, with passion and conviction, after careful analysis and research.
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 29 weeks 3 days ago Page Jim Davies
    Like Rothbard, you got the basic premise correct - even though you missed on a few details. Able has the right to protect his property (and was considerate enough to warn any potential thief of the attendant consequences). It isn't his fault that Baker failed to take heed. Do I think that killing Baker was a bit much, just for stealing a bicycle? Yes, yes I do. But Baker could have "opted-out" of the penalty by not stealing from Able. Baker ignored the open warning, and paid the full price that he was warned - in advance - would be charged. Baker chose poorly - the bike was worth more to him than his life. Now, had there been a sign in Able's yard reading, "Keep Out. You Take My Stuff, I Call the Police," it would be a different animal entirely. Had he killed Baker in this case, Able would be at fault, for presenting misleading information as to the penalty for theft. Just thought I'd point that out. Keep up the good work.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 29 weeks 3 days ago Page Jim Davies
    It seems so simple. Liberty + -arian = libertarian. Who else but someone that holds liberty as their highest ideal could truly call themselves a libertarian? There is just one tiny problem. If people are truly free, they might decide that "libertarian" means something else to them, and use it in a different sense from the previous iterations in the etymology, completely without fraudulent intent. After all, "liberal" no longer means quite the same thing it once did. Would you stop this, by instituting a language authority, by placing just one little restriction on everyone's liberty? Or would you allow libertarianism as a worldview to be attacked by subtle shifts in the popular definitions of its terms and jargon? As it happens, I don't believe that "libertarian" has so narrow a definition. Whether or not I use the word to describe myself depends on what I think it means to my audience. Among people not likely to know the subtle shades of meaning in unfamiliar terms like "minarchist", "anarcho-capitalist", "anarcho-socialist", "Georgist", "non-aggression principle", "Austrian (economist)", or any of the other words the people we associate ourselves with tend to use, I call myself a "libertarian", unless someone is likely to be a politically orthodox square, when I am more likely to say "independent". I do this despite my belief that "natural" rights do not exist. I don't believe cooperative civilization is stable without mutual recognition of a set of common principles for behavior, which could be described as a form of "rights", but I am not so wise as to believe I know which of those are absolutely necessary, or the best order in which to prioritize them. Those rights do inevitably rest upon a common foundation: might makes right. But they also benefit from the aphorism that many hands make light work. The defense of rights is a common burden that cannot be delegated, only reciprocally shared. I agree that property exists, my body is inherently my property, and the things I do with it can create additional property according to some simple rules. Jim Davies and a host of others also agree, usually up to the point where we may disagree on the rules for acquiring other property, and in this sense we are all partially compatible propertarians. Going that far, we can probably agree to not kill each other most of the time, and to help each other defend our respective properties--inasmuch as we can both agree what qualifies--against people who don't uphold it as a right, or those who give other rights higher priority. But who has time to negotiate a mutual defense treaty with every person he knows? I don't. I need to do work that actually puts food on the table most of the day. This is where branding becomes important. If you can publish your bill of rights, and put a brand name on it, why then someone can say "I am a Davies Version 3 (Strict) libertarian" and I can say "I've heard of that guy; you and I probably won't have any trouble, but I'm more of a Blammonoiac type of guy." By pigeonholing ourselves, we create shortcuts to negotiations regarding our interpersonal relationships. But then the other guy would have to ask me for my Blammonoia URL, because I don't expect to be all that well known. At least I wouldn't have to spell it out from scratch and in detail each time. If I had a very common or popular worldview, I could probably leech off of someone who was both better known and a better writer than I am. But I am not so famous or eloquent that I could possibly become the authoritative source for what it means to be "libertarian." At best, there would always be that parenthetical "(as Log from Blammo defined it)" attached. Henry George and Karl Marx made their own brands--quite a lot of people know what it means to be "Georgist" or "Marxist"--but that wasn't necessarily their intent. The ultimate point I want to make here is that attempting to rely upon the common use of a word is likely to be a point of failure in the future. You can't be certain that someone else will hear a word and understand it in just the way you want them to. You can only put out your definition and hope that you swing enough weight to make it stick. It's the only libertarian way to define "libertarian." A Daviesist, though, would make a fine ideological ally, don't you think?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 29 weeks 3 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    I will have to defer to you on that one, Lawrence. It may well be more than a side effect. However there is (as far as we are concerned) only one world, the one we are living in. It is hard to run controlled experiments, and any research concerning humans is immediately suspect in any case. Did you ever read Ira Levins' "This Perfect Day"? That was in the back of my mind when I wrote the passage in question. There may well be "better" (according to some standards) worlds without liberty, that are possible. I still would want nothing to do with them.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 29 weeks 3 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Just to comment on my own comment, I want to make it clear that I have no problem with the notion of something being "normative". I am perfectly at ease with the statement, "People should not kill others for no good reason." I do think there are oughts and ought nots, and the reason for these is cultural and even possibly genetic: in our tribal period, those tribes who practiced certain oughts and ought nots thrived better than tribes that chose the wrong ones. In other words, it is tied to survival. Culturally, it's a matter of personal preference: it's just easier and more pleasant to live in a society where people aren't killed willy-nilly, so people select for that by moving from less pleasant places to more pleasant. My problem is again with the use of language. The word "ought" implies it doesn't happen that way all the time. Thus, it is an accurate description of reality, and allows people to take into account not only the norm, but also the exceptions to the norm. The language of rights and of "Natural Law" (usually capitalized, as if law were something more than the pile of crap it usually is), on the other hand, discounts or completely ignores the exceptions - and thus is ill-chosen for survival purposes.
  • blackeh's picture
    blackeh 29 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Each of these "imposed" measures look, to me, like less government dependence and more freedom. Privatizing the gas companies does not necessarily mean relatively higher prices. Lifting the ban on foreign investments, more free market and less government dependence does not seem to be bad ideas. What am I missing?
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 29 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Worblux, thank you very much for that reference to Long's article. I have started to dig through it, and it is very well done (he has an excellent facility to instruct people). However I skipped forward to the bit about rights: http://freenation.org/a/f42l1.html#4.1 ...and I already have some disagreements. 1) I like his breakdown into 3 types of rights, "normative", "legal" and "de facto". This seems a very clear way of looking at it. However we should not be too impressed that he can make it clear, because virtually everybody else makes a hash of it, usually confusing normative, legal and defacto, not to mention throwing in some of the other umpteen definitions of the word "right". Much of my criticism of the concept of rights is linguistic: Language is not imposed or static but is always changing according to the habits of those who use it. It is no use insisting on a concept that 99% of people use incorrectly (and that percentage is an understatement). You might as well heave the concept, or at least, find a better word for it. 2) Having done so, we are not left unable to describe reality. We can still say, "Anyone, including Chinese, should be able to say what they please," - what he has been calling a normative right. We can still say, "According to their law, Chinese can say what they please." We can still say, "Chinese should be able to say what they please, but if they do they may get in trouble with the rulers." And other varieties of the same thing. When we do, those who listen to us are not confused. But they will be if we bring in "rights". He argues against Rollins by saying "natural law can sometimes protect", suggesting that some Jews managed to escape the Holocaust. I think he is missing something. The Jews themselves were misled by the concept of rights. Their belief that they have a right to life is the very thing that led them into the gas chambers. You can argue they got the distinction between normative and defacto wrong, but that is not very consoling for 6 million dead. In the cases when the Jews gave up on rights and simply acted as if someone was attempting to kill them all - the Warsaw ghetto - they did amazingly well. If all Jews had acted like this, killing the Gestapo right at the point they were first attacked, I am certain far more of them would have survived - and even if for some reason they still did not, as Lloyd Cohen put it, "Dying even futilely defending yourself, your family, and your group has an honor and a dignity to it that is not vouchsafed by being helplessly slaughtered. Thus even if none had escaped from the Warsaw or Vilna Ghettos or the Sobibor extermination camp, those who took vengeance there honored themselves, their families, and their people." I have still to dig through this but I haven't changed my mind yet.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 29 weeks 4 days ago Page Paul Bonneau
    [“If” self ownership is the agreed-upon operative social premise, subordination to anyone or anything is logically excluded. That is really all there is to it.] Thanks Sam. That's just the way I look at it, short and sweet. Freedom does not require a law degree to understand. Although, in fairness, saying anti-self existence is something that most choose is probably stretching things. There is nothing in the way of informed consent there; the indoctrination is designed to yield uninformed consent. It's more like most people are not even aware they could own themselves.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 29 weeks 5 days ago
    Dependency
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    Good catch, zygodactyl. It does seem there's a forked tongue at work here; the FDA hasn't quite nailed down a monopoly control of oxygen. Yet.   http://elsmar.com/Forums/showthread.php?t=48325 shows several particpants debating the question. One Laura Halper wrote "Yes, the FDA regulates compressed oxygen as a prescription drug, and the production/processing is subject to 21CFR Parts 210 and 211" but added "it's hard to apply" some sections of those regulations. She provided a link to the FDA's own page about it.   The net of it may be that the gas itself is not yet controlled by government, but devices that deliver it in concentrations other than the natural one, to those who need it, are. So if you don't need it so as to live there is freedom, but if you do need it, there is not. Catch-22?   Hmm again. So you're climbing Everest, and definitely need it near the peak so as to go on living... but you didn't need it when buying the cylinder at Amazon so you didn't get a prescription. Would it break the law to sniff a whiff, or not?  Oh, wait, Nepal isn't in FedGov jurisdiction. Breathe freely.
  • zygodactyl's picture
    zygodactyl 29 weeks 5 days ago
    Dependency
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    I did a little research after my last post and learned a few things: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diving_cylinder Filling cylinders Diving cylinders should only be filled with air from diving air compressors or with other breathing gases using gas blending techniques.[14] Both these services should be provided by reliable suppliers such as dive shops. Breathing industrial compressed gases can be lethal because the high pressure increases the effect of any impurities in them. Special precautions need to be taken with gases other than air: oxygen in high concentrations is a major cause of fire and rust. oxygen should be very carefully transferred from one cylinder to another and only ever stored in containers that are certified and labeled for oxygen use. gas mixtures containing proportions of oxygen other than 21% could be extremely dangerous to divers who are unaware of the proportion of oxygen in them. All cylinders should be labeled with their composition. cylinders containing a high oxygen content must be cleaned for the use of oxygen and lubricated with oxygen service grease to reduce the chance of combustion. Contaminated air at depth can be fatal. Common contaminants are: carbon monoxide a by-product of combustion, carbon dioxide a product of metabolism, oil and lubricants from the compressor.[14] Keeping the cylinder slightly pressurized at all times reduces the possibility of contaminating the inside of the cylinder with corrosive agents, such as sea water, or toxic material, such as oils, poisonous gases, fungi or bacteria. The blast caused by a sudden release of the gas pressure inside a diving cylinder makes them very dangerous if mismanaged. The greatest risk of explosion exists at filling time and comes from thinning of the walls of the pressure vessel due to corrosion. Another cause of failure is damage or corrosion of the threads and neck of the cylinder where the pillar valve is screwed in. Aluminium cylinders have been observed occasionally to fail explosively, fragmenting the cylinder wall. Steel cylinders usually remain mostly intact, and tend to fail at the neck.[citation needed] Oxigen bottles that welders use would be deadly for us to use. I wonder if the divers oxigen tanks are considered as containing a drug? I live a very long way from a body of water that would have a store supplying diving tanks nearby.
  • zygodactyl's picture
    zygodactyl 29 weeks 5 days ago
    Dependency
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    Hmm, that is very odd considering that divers and people who use acetylene torches such as myself can get large bottles of compressed oxigen from stores without a doctors permission. I wonder if a little bit of rent-seeking is going on. Brian
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 19 min ago Web link Bradley Keyes
    It would be fun to think that he will lose his election, but I tend to think that anyone who would try to censor Twitter probably already has vote fraud down pat.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 30 weeks 17 hours ago Page Paul Bonneau
    As I see it, this is one of your best. The idea of "rights" is indeed religious in nature, depending upon a "Rights-Giver" of some sort. The late Delmar England put it thus: I have lived too long and seen too much to imagine that self ownership and freedom is ever going to happen on a large scale, and very few small ones either. For sure, as long as governmentalist and “anarchists” remain stuck in “government think” and insist on bringing in concepts of government and calling them non-government, things are going nowhere. Speaking of commonalities under different labels, but in the same vein of thought, a common claim among “anarchists” is the concept, “right of self ownership.” “Right”? What is a “right”? Entitlement? Allocated “privilege”? By whom or what? By what rationale? Based on what premise? The reality is that any human individual can believe whatever he/she wishes and take any action within his/her capacity. “Right”? Permission? With permission comes command. With command is the external ownership premise. “Rights” are a contradiction of individual identity, hence, anti-individual and anti-freedom. This is why in practice, “rights” (a version of “God intended”) become “bestowed privilege” at the point of a gun. The idea of self ownership is not a “bestowed right.” It is a matter of personal choice. The natural law of individual volition validates this. The premise of self ownership is my personal choice, but not necessarily the choice of another, others, or all. I wish it were, but my wishes do not create reality. “If” self ownership is the agreed-upon operative social premise, subordination to anyone or anything is logically excluded. That is really all there is to it. The fact that most choose anti-self existence does not change the principle and derivatives of the self ownership concept. Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 30 weeks 1 day ago
    M for Malaysia
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    My interest in the MH 370 mystery remains, as perhaps does yours; and I've formed a theory that may explain it. Goodfellow's fell foul of a few facts he did not know, and mine amends it accordingly.   Find it here - and if you think it has legs, give it a boost on social media. Notice its footnote.
  • Hugh Akston's picture
    Hugh Akston 30 weeks 1 day ago Web link A. Magnus
    There is a Libertarian website here falling over themselves in praise of the virtues of Gina Reinhardt and her late father Lang Hancock. This confirms that my incredulity was not misplaced!
  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 30 weeks 1 day ago Page Paul Bonneau
    Nice one, Paul. I am clearly able to relate to your thinking on this subject. I like "mind your own business", and "I will not be disarmed." " I will go where I please" is delightful. Your underlying premise is essentially "to hell with what the government thinks or says." I wish I had thought of that.
  • WorBlux's picture
    WorBlux 30 weeks 1 day ago Page Paul Bonneau
    "Number 18 is ..." Can't anyone decide? Often the government does decide, but the definition here does not limit itself to a particular legal system. "Number 19 is..." Here claim is limited to just claim. We might disagree about what that means but that doesn't make the idea fictional. The idea can point to a specific legal system, or can point to a broader conception of jusice. "Number 20 is..." Not what people mean when the say having a right. It's what they mean when they say "I'm in the right" or "I want to do right by him". "Number 22..." This I think is the only one of the definitions you've included that shows religious thinking if the rights asserted are free-floating or axiomatic. That rights can be violated is no evidence they are fantasy. Going back to #19 rights are that which is due, as distinct from something that is automatic or given. Rights can still describe something actually about humans and thier relationships, just as saying a knife is something that cuts things is descriptive and valid, even though we can find examples of knives that have never cut anything. The hinge of the issue is wether or not there really is such a thing as natural law distinct from the particular positive legal system. Roderick Long makes a good argument in his article "The Nature of Law" Whether argueing from rights is effective is another issue. I like your plain language clause "Rulers hate armed peons..." but you're describing the interaction through a sort of game theory lens. It's interesting, yet you've lost some of the meaning that was in the previous normative appeal of rights language.
  • newjerusalemtimes's picture
    newjerusalemtimes 30 weeks 2 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Yeah, these people are crying to the same people who created their sudden communized/ponzi scheme problem. And they're not happy about the prospect of actually having to afford the fair or market rate of insuring buildings in a flood plane, most of which would have never have been build without the State and US Federal State enticing them with subsidized insurance rates or extorted funds from others not in the flood plane. I'm guessing that water rates in the Southwest will soon show signs of unsustainable, financially speaking, population centers, due to the current artificially low and State-subsidized water rates, which the State will no longer be able to prop up or keep low. So, as the States and Federal State budgets become more unsustainable, due to slowing growth, demographics, and fiat currency issues, these are the kind of stories that we'll see more of; that is, how the statist idolators, who've worshipped and adored a false god, are horrified to find that their idol is going turn and rip them to shreds, financially, or at least not save them all, with extorted funds from others who are becoming increasingly more resistance to communized State predations like this. I'm sure that it's probably mandatory, by contract, for many of those properties, especially the mortgaged ones, to maintain flood insurance. But, sooner or later, people will stop paying into many of these State schemes, and then, suddenly, it won't be required anymore, because enforcement will be unsustainable for the State and US Federal State. Of course, a lot of wailing and moaning will come first, is my guess.
  • zygodactyl's picture
    zygodactyl 30 weeks 2 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    As a former OTR truck driver, I can vouch that trucks carry things like that. Personally, I have not ever hauled radioactive cargo, but I have hauled general loads for the military and hazardous loads for regular companies. Such loads get placed into a semi trailer, secured appropriately if needed, and gets the correct placards on all four sides of it.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Are we ready for the commercial exploitation of space exploration yet? It is nice to dream about how NASA research benefits humanity in some abstract way, but really, we need to see people actually *GO*, and permanently settle the new frontiers. And it would be nice if those settlers did not owe some debt of allegiance that makes them do stupid things contrary to their own interests.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    It is an election year. If the people are not sufficiently bribed with their own money, they might actually vote to reform state politics!
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    I'd say we have a moral duty to protect property owners from governments telling them how to build. In a perfect market, land is used for its most profitable purpose. In a market where land that experiences frequent severe flooding is used for housing, using the same building standards as houses on dry land, something is severely distorting the market. That distortion undoubtedly includes federally subsidized flood insurance.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    As the manhunt for Osama bin Laden showed us all, once the U.S. has decided to take you down, you may only have an entire decade left to live. Kony had better start planning his funeral now, such as by making small monthly contributions to an interest-bearing account for the next 120 months. Though it seems like it would be more his style to begin a campaign of rape and pillage now, so that he can have a platoon of 9-year-old child soldiers as his personal honor guard when the time comes. Hyperbole aside, Kony's mode of operation seems rather familiar. Take control of people's children, brainwash them to love, fear, and obey you, and then do whatever you want without fear of retribution.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    Homeland Security is likely involved because the MDMA was likely shipped across the international border. And 50 years for this is why America is the most imprisoned country on Earth. The law also makes little distinction between home-grown cannabis and lab-produced MDMA--which are among the "lighter" recreational drugs--and the heroin or cocaine sourced from war zones in Asia and South America. Some drugs actually are worse then others; the D.A.R.E. "gateway drug" propaganda being almost entirely untrue. Of course, if the law were entirely rational, you could buy Aloha Phatty and Kingston Gold from the shelves next to Marlboro, Pall Mall, Jack Daniels, and Grey Goose. Alas, the law is a creature of politics, and bent by people with their own prejudices, so the drugs accepted by the establishment, tobacco and ethanol, are legal, while the demon weed and the aphrodesiac made famous by bass-thumping teenager-filled illegal warehouse-trespassing parties are both outlawed. You don't have to take drugs to believe that an entire lifetime in prison is a just punishment for what this man is alleged to have done, but if you do, you might just benefit from Ecstasy, as it supposedly enhances your sense of empathy.
  • Paul's picture
    Paul 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    “But we have a moral duty — we have an economic duty — to protect property owners that have built as government has told them and have been law-abiding Americans." Fools.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Emmett Harris
    I believe that sensitive military materiel is often shipped on the public highways and across ordinary train routes in unmarked semi-trailers and cars, indistinguishable from more innocuous traffic. Sometimes it goes direct via military cargo plane, but those movements are more easily traced. The original production runs of these weapons are decaying, as the chemicals used in them break down eventually. They become dangerous to keep, just like old dynamite that has begun to sweat the nitroglycerin out of the binders. Since the required skilled labor and capital is expensive, processing the old rockets happens at only one place. I don't believe for a moment that this location was selected because it was the only place such weapons can be found.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    A couple of remarks. First, my own (pre-1985) employment experience was very different. Possibly, you may have encountered an unrepresentative company. My observation was that human resources were highly valued, and trained in one way or another, and paid well so as to minimize attrition. The cost of recruiting and acclimatizing a new hire was recognized as considerable, so this made good sense for the bottom line.   Second, I later began my own business and for a few years it prospered well, to the point when I needed to hire help. Aware of the enormous surcharge of regulation and red tape I succeeded in avoiding hiring any employee, and that was deliberate; the government-imposed hassle was simply not worth it. So I used a temp-help agency instead, and paid over the odds. Had the growth continued I'd have had to change that, but alas it did not.   Having seen the scene from both ends, I do recommend setting up shop as an employer, or at least visualizing what it would be like, and figuring out what you'd choose to do differently from what you've seen. Who knows, if employers are that bad, you may discover a business opportunity!
  • Sharon Secor's picture
    Sharon Secor 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    Work culture is different from working for somebody else. It is a culture that connects work with obtaining the stuff of life, the expectation that work -- whether it is work you do for pay or work in your garden or work in effectively disciplining your child -- is part and parcel of achieving anything in life. A person may not have a job, but can still feed the family by investing labor in hunting, trapping, gardening, etc. 'Tis the concept of work as an intrinsic part of life having value and dignity that seems to be lacking...
  • ReverendDraco's picture
    ReverendDraco 30 weeks 3 days ago
    Onward into the Night
    Web link Sharon Secor
    I haven't the slightest idea what I'm to feel otherwise - since the question has never occurred to me. Pure, indefatigable contempt is all I have ever felt for the terminally ignorant.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    I'm glad Popehat mentioned that the state system is not just that which people recognize as "the government", but also the constellation of dependent businesses that could not survive without it. It is sometimes difficult to realize that as big as it appears to be, the state is like an iceberg, where what you can see is only a fraction of what is actually there.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    I have noticed (anecdotally) a trend in business wherein a worker is fired, or not hired, on the basis of his current productivity. While profitable, employment may continue, otherwise the worker is dumped at the curb. Thus, training and apprenticeship programs are gone. Training costs money. If the company hires only trained workers, they will train themselves at their own expense to get the job. If a contract or big order is lost, a mass layoff occurs, rather than shuffling those affected to other work. If they want another job with the company, they can apply for it, just like everyone else, except the company won't have to pay them as HR works out the details. Entry-level jobs are among those that are initially unprofitable. So they disappear. Companies remove the lowest rungs of their career ladders. Unless you bring your own stilts, you cannot even begin to climb. And this creates a culture of chronic deprivation, without hope, opportunity, or thought for the future. People stop looking for work because it is a fruitless waste of their time. They find other ways to survive. They abandon work culture in the same way that work culture abandoned them.
  • Thunderbolt's picture
    Thunderbolt 30 weeks 3 days ago
    Vlad's Oscar
    Page Jim Davies
    You are correct, Jim. The really scary thing is that all the bluster may lead to the death of the planet. No longer is hubris and posturing just entertainment. There are enough nukes to make these psychopaths extremely dangerous to everyone, including their own families. McCain wants war with Russia. Israel wants war with Syria and Iran. Obama is probably content to murder a few wedding parties, but he is being pushed to think big. Perhaps those photographs of Nagasaki and Hiroshima should be included in every government communication.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago
    Onward into the Night
    Web link Sharon Secor
    To answer the question, we are supposed to feel empathy and compassion for them. They are raised in an environment of ignorance to be ignorant, and in a culture that is fearful and hateful toward the unfamiliar to hate and fear the unfamiliar. They do not know how many of their opportunities withered to nothing before they ever knew they existed, because they have been systematically denied the non-scarce resources required for their personal growth. Contempt is blaming the victim.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    The most useful skill you can teach a child is how to use all available learning resources (such as classroom teachers and parents) effectively in pursuit of his or her own goals for self-education. Once children learn that they are able to learn anything they wish to know, their educations are no longer limited by either teachers or parents, but by their own aptitudes.
  • Samarami's picture
    Samarami 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Here are a couple interesting articles from different sources this morning: http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/35144/Congress-Mulls-Licensing... http://dollarvigilante.com/blog/2014/3/23/tdv-week-in-review-march-23rd-... Sam
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    "The state... reduc[es] women to enslaved baby factories" - well said, Log. Mea culpa, but I've never seen it expressed so clearly.  Not only do anti-abortion laws force pregnancy, these intrusive "child care" edicts compel women into slavery.   This particular case might be defended on the grounds that the still birth did not result from cocaine use. But one day there will be another, in which a still birth was so caused. If the mother wants to give birth, snorting coke would be highly irresponsible of her; but if she doesn't much care, she should, if anything, be helped and encouraged to abort anyway. Unwanted children are an even greater tragedy than infant mortality.  
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    The state--embodied in the zealous prosecutor--places the interests of the unborn over pregnant women. This is misogynist in the extreme, reducing women to enslaved baby factories for the duration of their gestation. In the absence of a marriage or similar reproductive rights contract, I believe the only person with standing to represent the interests of an unborn child is its mother. If the mother does harm to her baby, only those with a pre-existing agreement with her have any potential interests to be recovered--via civil process, not criminal. In the example detailed in the article, the overreach is made worse, as it is clear that the prosecutor was chasing down any reason, no matter how implausible, just to color a misfortune with a faint hue of malice. This is someone apparently looking to build a political career based upon the support of people who oppose abortion, forgetting that the people thrown into prisons are just as much people, if not more so, than the babies that were never born healthy.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago Web link Sharon Secor
    The U.S. reliance on trade sanctions to produce diplomatic pressure only serves as a depressing reminder than Americans just don't export as much as they once did, and that the U.S. government is all too willing to cut American producers off from their foreign markets for political purposes. But there may be other motives. Vigorous trade between nations is one of the most powerful deterrents to war yet identified. Cutting trade is often a precursor to military adventures.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 3 days ago
    Vlad's Oscar
    Page Jim Davies
    I suspect that Chinese politicians are watching carefully, working frantically to engineer a remotely plausible mechanism to achieve a 96% positive secession and annexation referendum on an unpopulated group of islands in the South China Sea. The state is always pondering what you may have that can be taken from you profitably. The health of the state rests upon what it can take by force. Putin can take an entire peninsula on the Black Sea, even with the supposed "protection" of another government. As long as states hold incredibly powerful reservoirs of violence, no one can be secure in their own property. And as violence is required for the state to exist, they will always hold them. As long as states exist, you can only keep what freedom and property you have because no one backed by the power of the state has yet decided to take it from you. The one and only thing that creates restraint in such a person is the willingness for people to resist.
  • Jim Davies's picture
    Jim Davies 30 weeks 4 days ago
    Generalissimo Cuomo
    Blog entry Jim Davies
    CNBC drew their report from original research by WalletHub; details here. It's a good effort, but on taking a closer look I can see some frayed edges.   Examples: (a) New Hampshire ranks 28th, not #1 or in the top few, as I'd thought. Looks suspicious. In particular it fails to list NH as being free of income taxes; news to me. (b) The methodology assumes an individual lives in a home worth the median $174,600, but I'm not clear how they handle the common practice of a family living in such a home. Wouldn't that mean the individual slice, for two adults, is $87,300? Further: $174,600 will buy you a lot of house in rural areas, but only a rat-infested slum in NYC. So this guide is not all-encompassing.   For all that, Wyoming and Nevada look very good.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    The great thing about paleontology is that there are so many species that existed over the millennia that if you work long enough in the field, you are almost guaranteed to discover one. The bad thing is that Ken Ham will still have more revenue than you.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Bureaucrat discovers a new way to convert more public funds into private profits. I am shocked, simply shocked. Why is the state involved at all? All it does is muddy up the price system and make an efficient market in health care absolutely impossible. But isn't that the point? Inefficient markets create opportunities for arbitrage, wherein people with an information advantage can profit as the expense of everyone else.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    This is a small symptom of a big problem. The type of jobs that were the mainstay of the middle class years ago--the kind where you work at the same company your whole life and earn your pension--vanished. The state attempted to pick up the slack by inventing jobs that looked like about the same thing to the worker, with one critical difference. They did not produce anything of value. So rather than being an engine of economic prosperity, they were parasitic ticks, growing fatter every year. We are approaching the point at which the remaining jobs are dying from the parasites directly, rather than just competitive pressures. So there isn't enough actual work getting done to support the charade, and the state organization goes officially bankrupt. Never mind that it was insolvent from the day the critical factory left town, and never voluntarily accepted the pain from that loss. People chase money around so much they forget that money is just a mathematical shortcut for trading goods and services. If you don't produce any, before long, you won't be able to get any from anyone else. The state's power to steal can keep up a shell game a lot longer than anyone else, but eventually it can run out of people to rob.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    In other words, cops don't want criminals to be smart or careful about their cell phone use. They must have forgotten that most of their usual targets are neither smart nor careful, which is likely a significant factor in their choice to become criminals. Also likely is that the general public, who do not see themselves as criminals, may take offense at this overt attack on the fragile security of their main communications network and complain.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    According to the article, the enzyme does not itself reset the body clock. It just makes the body more responsive to those triggers. One such trigger for resynchronizing the circadian body-clock is to shine bright light into the eyes with a significant blue component. This stimulates the melanopsin in retinal ganglion cells, which triggers, among other things, pupillary dilation and contraction, and circadian response. Peak response for this pigment is 485-495 nm, which is a greenish-blue or cyan color. To the body, unaware of technology, this indicates that the sun has risen high enough in the sky for its blue component to still be significant after atmospheric scattering. If the sky is blue, it must be daytime.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    I suspect this was a chaff test. Curious investigators should look for metallized polymer fibers on the ground at the closest publicly accessible site to the radar blot's earliest known location.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    In earlier eras, tyrants would jail the writers and editors of publications critical of their rule. Machiavelli seriously needs to update his playbook, now that it is so much easier for people to communicate. Now we have the Streisand effect, where attempting to remove something from the network can make it more popular than ever. Erdogan may have simply made Twitter a bigger platform in Turkey.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    This is simply putting wings on an existing technology--the WiFi Pineapple. You can stop this by forcing your device to ask you before connecting to any wireless network. If it asks to connect to McDonald's when you are at home, you know someone is up to no good. In a similar vein, it is only a matter of time before the Stingray takes to the air, to target "criminals".
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    Is there no end to the number of people who believe that authoritative censorship is compatible with a free society? I am eager to see how the people who will actually be affected respond to this.
  • Log from Blammo's picture
    Log from Blammo 30 weeks 4 days ago Web link Melinda L. Secor
    It stands to reason that if you want to read all the mail in a neighborhood, you don't go around picking the lock on every mailbox. You just find the one delivering the mail, and copy every key on his key ring.