Tonight, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 237-170 to use taxpayers funds for a downpayment on a recovery program for the failing auto industry. Alabama’s US Senator Richard Shelby is leading the opposition to the bailout. Shelby declares that the total cost of the bailout will easily exceed $100 billion. The late Samuel Francis often quipped that the United States has two political parties: the Evil Party and the Stupid Party. Occasionally, you see a true bi-partisan effort and you can count on that bi-partisanship involving both evil and stupidity.
Max Boot, a contributing editor of the fervently neoconservative publication The Weekly Standard and senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations has stated what progressives and libertarians dread most, that Obama is warming up nicely to neoconservatives in Washington. Some might contend that his appointments thus far have gained more approval from the statist right than from his own party. Maxx Boot in his own words regarding the matter-
An interesting commentary entitled “And now for a world government” appears on Gideon Rachman’s blog on the web site of the Financial Times in London. He begins by saying:
“I have never believed that there is a secret United Nations plot to take over the U.S. I have never seen black helicopters hovering in the sky above Montana. But, for the first time in my life, I think the formation of some sort of world government is plausible.”
From Reason comes the story of a man arrested for buying “too much” allergy medication:
(I was) made to feel like a criminal – Made to feel low, dirty. Just totally degraded,” recalled Tim Naveau, who says he’ll never forget the hours he spent in Rock Island County Jail – he says all because of his allergies.
“They searched me, made me take my shirt off, my shoes off,” he recounted.
Tim takes one 24-hour Claritin-D tablet just about every day. That puts him just under the legal limit of 75-hundred milligrams of pseudo ephedrine a month. The limit is part of a new law that Quad Cities authorities are beginning to strictly enforce.
Over the weekend the United Kingdom’s internet regulatory agency, The Internet Watch Foundation, blacklisted Wikipedia over concerns of “indecent images” of minors under the age of 18. The image is of the album art for a 1976 Scorpions album titled “Virgin Killer”. Beyond the problem of a centralized authority having the fiat power to blacklist sites without court order, this particular case is quite intriguing because while the image itself is quite disgusting, according to Wikimedia Foundation-
“We have no reason to believe the article, or the image contained in the article, has been held to be illegal in any jurisdiction anywhere in the world,”
Congressman Ron Paul, in his most recent Texas Straight Talk column, draws attention to some very important lessons from the recent terrorist attacks on the city of Mumbai in India. India happens to have very draconian laws restricting gun ownership. One of his points is that violent attacks tend to happen in places where guns are not allowed, such as schools, while such aggressive, terrorizing attacks are almost unheard of in places such as gun shows and military bases.
In the Reason.tv talk show this month, which is hosted by Reason head honcho Nick Gillespie along with three other libertarian bona fides, four intelligent guys got together and basically said nothing. While they start off by talking about issues of substance like Obama’s election and the continued bailouts, they degenerate into a ten-minute discussion of who’s a real libertarian and which think tank is secretly libertarian.
The Lakota people of the north-central U.S. have established the Free Lakota Bank. It is touted as the “world’s first non-reserve, non-fractional bank that issues, accepts for deposit, and circulates REAL money” in the spirit of Austrian economics.
The bank charges a fee for the protection of your savings, which are measured in ounces, and for those who wish to put their savings at risk, there is an investment fund. Deposits to the fund are frozen for one year, but have a healthy return of over 7%. Loans are granted from the investment fund are distributed to applicants based on the merit of the investment - imagine that!
The world was greeted on Saturday with Barack Obama’s announcement of a massive public works program to “save or create at least 2-1/2 million jobs so that the nearly 2 million Americans who’ve lost them know that they have a future,” as Obama put it in his weekly radio address (yes, he’s already doing this, even before the inauguration). A detailed article at Politico.com opens with the following:
President-elect Barack Obama added sweep and meat to his economic agenda on Saturday, pledging the largest new investment in roads and bridges since President Dwight D. Eisenhower built the Interstate system in the late 1950s, and tying his key initiatives – education, energy, health care –back to jobs in a package that has the makings of a smaller and modern version of FDR’s New Deal marriage of job creation with infrastructure upgrades.
According to Troy Patterson over at Slate, the Saddam Hussein portrayed in HBO’s series House of Saddam resembles more a crime lord than a genocidal dictator. It’s quite a relief to read that HBO went that route, as Hussein’s career resembles more that of a gangster than an ideologue.