Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Two wolves and a sheep...

And people wonder why I never submit my rights to the majority.

The saying goes: "Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on whats for dinner"...and it's not even thoughtful sheep.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Solving the Great Regulation Shortage...

...one brutally stupid step at a time.

Once again, nanny-state pioneer Great Britain shows the world how to bury problems in a mass of paperwork and bureaucratic make-work.

Dog owners who walk their pets on leads longer than 6'8 face £1,000 fines.

From the Magna Carta to that.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Trusting Google

Some snippets from the recent MSNBC article titled German official slams Google for ‘alarming’ privacy breaches (sounds more to me like Google is just picking up on other people's alarming privacy breaches/errors)...
...growing concerns about whether the company can be trusted with the vast storehouse of personal information that it has gathered through its search engine, e-mail and other services... Consumer Watchdog, a group that has become one of Google's most outspoken critics, renewed its call for a regulatory crackdown Friday... Street View provides photographs of neighborhoods taken by Google cameras that have sometimes captured people doing things they didn't want to be seen doing, or in places where they didn't want to be seen... Google...programming picked up the Web surfing on publicly accessible Wi-Fi networks if the company's vehicles were within range of the signal. (emphasis mine)

Well, right from the get-go, I trust Google more than I trust any government.

Second, Google's cameras captured people "doing things they didn't want to be seen doing, or in places where they didn't want to be seen". I have one question: were any of these people in legitimately "private" areas? Because, if not--them's the breaks; don't do it or don't be there--or don't do it there. Google is not responsible for other people's lack of discretion.

Third, "publicly accessible" means...publicly accessible. Exactly what expectation of privacy do people think they have on that kind of network? I assume an open network is open and...uh...public. Weird, I know, but words means things.

Honestly, is there anyone who connects to the net that hasn't seen this warning: "When you send information to the internet it might be possible for others to see that information. Do you want to continue..."? I've seen it more times than I have fingers and toes.

Fourth: all a regulatory crackdown will do is put the fox firmly in charge of the henhouse. Is Consumer Watchdog alleging some sort of serious "regulations shortage", like we don't already have enough rules?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

From the article "U.S. drug war has met none of its goals" (MSNBC)
After 40 years, the United States' war on drugs has cost $1 trillion and hundreds of thousands of lives, and for what? Drug use is rampant and violence even more brutal and widespread.

Even U.S. drug czar Gil Kerlikowske concedes the strategy hasn't worked...His predecessor, John P. Walters, takes issue with that.

"To say that all the things that have been done in the war on drugs haven't made any difference is ridiculous," Walters said. "It destroys everything we've done. It's saying all the people involved in law enforcement, treatment and prevention have been wasting their time. It's saying all these people's work is misguided."
All either war has done in the US or Canada--or anywhere--is criminalize users and dealers and enrich and empower the nastiest people in the business. You probably think I mean the cartels.

After all, some people will say "you'd think the governments would have been able to predict the result by looking at prohibition:.

Don't you get it? The governments could--and did--and they knew exactly what the result would be.

And they did it anyways.

It was the excuse the governments needed for the police to become overtly paramilitary (and very, very well-equipped, at that) without any concerted objections. After all, how many people were gonna stand up and argue in favour of lawbreaking and drug use.

So, when Apparatchik Walters says the drug war has worked--he's right. The lie is saying the drug war has met none of it's goals. It's actually met its only real goal, in spades.

Of course, if you think I'm wrong, explain to me how shooting people and putting them in jail helps users and dealers, or helps you. Please, tell me how your life is better now.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Braiding hair in the Nanny State...

Hair Braiders need a cosmetology licence???

From the article:
Braiders charge $300 and up for the most elaborate styles, which can take up to 12 hours, and around $50 for simple cornrows than can be done in an hour, they said.

Sherry Williams, 44, learned to braid as a teenager and did hair out of her home as a side job for 10 years before opening her own salon last year in Chicago's south suburbs. She, like many braiders, learned the craft from family members and hasn't had any formal training.

But there are 63,000 licensed cosmetologists in Illinois, and "many of them do not look kindly on people practicing their profession without a license," said Susan Hofer, spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. In fact, most of the tips about unlicensed braiding shops that come into the department are from licensed cosmetologists, she said. (emphasis mine-ed.)

This isn't about safety. This is just cosmetologists using the State as a goons against competition in a plain old fashioned "turf war".

Monday, February 22, 2010

Straight up.

From Billy:
Oh? You think I have an attitude on? Well, that's just tough. Get those guns out of my face and nobody will have to put up with it.
Exactly the right attitude when dealing with people who claim to be your rulers, your superiors, your authorities.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Idiot Government Prudes...

Australian "businesses will face fines of up to $5000 for displaying a "poster, pamphlet or other printed material" for films classified R18+".

That means a poster for Mad Max, for just one example.

Uh...if the government tried that crap here, I think I'd simply put a poster or three up in my home's front window, and then tell them to fuck off and come and get me.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What is seen & what is not seen

here's the BIG print...

Obama: ‘We want our money back’
In earlier remarks prepared for the appearance, Obama said he was determined that every dollar spent from the $700 billion Troubled Asset Relief Program to rescue Wall Street firms, auto companies and mortgage holders is either repaid or paid for in some fashion.

"My commitment is to recover every single dime the American people are owed," Obama said in his prepared remarks. "My determination to achieve this goal is only heightened when I see reports of massive profits and obscene bonuses at the very firms who owe their continued existence to the American people who have not been made whole, and who continue to face real hardship in this recession."

The president is proposing a levy of 15 basis points, or 0.15 percent, on the liabilities of large financial institutions. The tax, which officials are calling a "financial crisis responsibility fee," would apply only to financial companies with assets of more than $50 billion.

Here's the small print:

Those firms — estimated to amount to about 50 institutions — would have to pay the fee even though many did not accept any taxpayer assistance and most others already paid back what the government lent to them.

That's not payback -- that's pure theft. It's outright stealing.

Monday, January 04, 2010

Pay attention all you small-d democrats...

Daniel Gross, in SLATE, remarking on the comments of China's Xu Kuangdi, "a veteran apparatchik, engineer, manager, and leader...mayor of Shanghai from 1995 through 2001, vice chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference and president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering Sciences"...Mr Xu was explaining why democracy doesn't work:
Democracy promotes the sort of arguing that hinders growth. The performance of other Asian countries seemed to have suffered when fractious democracies emerged from authoritarian or military rule. Xu added a new one: It would promote unhealthy class warfare. If elections were to be held in a large geographical area where gaps between the rich and poor are wide, and in which people have different educational backgrounds, "it might cause turbulences to society," he said. "If somebody just went out in the street and shouted, 'I will divide the property of rich people into poor people,' I think he would be elected. But it is useless, as parity will not solve the problem of economic development."
Mr Xu is, of course, correct.

Now, if leaders in China fer cryin' out loud have realized that "parity will not solve the problem of economic development", then even the "Marxists" must now know that the whole egalitarian-collectivist argument is dead, and that that whole body of theory doesn't work. And they've now also realized that democracy is nothing better or different than "two wolves and a sheep deciding what's for dinner".

That leaves only individualism (read: freedom) or totalitarianism.

And The West isn't exactly being the champion of individualism these days, what with Mr Obama (and he only for example and not just to single him out) doing his level best to emulate and put in place the worst of the old democratic-collectivist thinking.

Saturday, January 02, 2010