Posts tagged ‘rube-tool’

“It takes a talking ass”

Jim Carrey, rube-tool of the month!

A seminal event in the vaccine-autism controversy was the 1998 publication of an article in The Lancet, an old and prestigious medical journal in Britain. Coauthored by Andrew Wakefield and 12 others, the article reported on an examination of 12 children who had developed both gastro-intestinal problems and severe behavioral problems after receiving the measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) vaccine. Nine of the children had become autistic. The authors concluded that they had identified a new syndrome involving “colitis and pervasive developmental disorder,” which they surmised but had yet to demonstrate was caused by the MMR vaccine.

Although immediately criticized as scientifically implausible, the article nevertheless created a firestorm—as did its flamboyant lead author. Ever since, the Wakefield Lancet article has been the single most prominent weapon in attacks on vaccines as a cause of autism. Among its consequences was that MMR vaccination in England dropped to dangerously low levels.

The Wakefield article cried out for close scrutiny, which it eventually received. Investigative reporting by Brian Deer, a British journalist, has played a crucial role. Starting in early 2004, Deer’s reports for the Sunday Times (of London) and a television network revealed numerous troubling details about the Wakefield study, including that Wakefield, some of his coauthors, and some patients in the study were involved in liability litigation against vaccine firms, that some of Wakefield’s research was funded via the plaintiff bar, and that subjects were recruited in a non-scientific manner. (One source for these and other details is the excellent Medscape medical news service.)

Junk Science and the Anti-Vaccine Fraud

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The President is not my “boss” nor my king nor my God. Rubes

Our Current Philosopher King

Did you know the president of the United States is now in the business of “issuing goals” for his subjects to live up to?

Strange how the monarchical urge persists even in a republic two-and-a-third centuries old. Many commentators have pointed out that the modern State of the Union is in fairly obvious mimicry of the Speech from the Throne that precedes a new legislative session in British Commonwealth countries and continental monarchies, but this is to miss the key difference. When the Queen or her viceroy reads a Throne Speech in Westminster, Ottawa, or Canberra, it’s usually the work of a government with a Parliamentary majority: In other words, the stuff she’s announcing is actually going to happen. That’s why, lest any enthusiasm for this or that legislative proposal be detected, the apolitical monarch overcompensates by reading everything in as flat and unexpressive a monotone as possible. Underneath the ancient rituals — the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod getting the door of the House of Commons slammed in his face three times — it’s actually a very workmanlike affair.

The State of the Union is the opposite. The president gives a performance, extremely animatedly, head swiveling from left-side prompter to right-side prompter, continually urging action now: “Let’s start right away. We can get this done. . . . We can fix this. . . . Now is the time to do it. Now is the time to get it done.” And at the end of the speech, nothing gets done, and nothing gets fixed, and, after a few days’ shadowboxing between admirers and detractors willing to pretend it’s some sort of serious legislative agenda, every single word of it is forgotten until the next one.

In that sense, like Beyoncé lip-synching the National Anthem at the inauguration, the State of the Union embodies the decay of America’s political institutions into a simulacrum of responsible government rather than the real thing, and a simulacrum ever more divorced from the real issues facing the country.

Achieve Ye This Goal

Chris Rock, rube-tool of the month.

Bringing the usual clarity to an issue for which Hollywood celebrities are known, a gaggle of professional entertainers is lending their gravitas to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Comedian Chris Rock, for his part, tells us all we should support gun control because, well, President Obama told us to.

The President is Neither Our Boss, Nor Our Dad, Thank the Deity of Your Choice

After stonewalling for more than a year federal judges and ordinary citizens who sought the revelation of its secret legal research justifying the presidential use of drones to kill persons overseas—even Americans—claiming the research was so sensitive and so secret that it could not be revealed without serious consequences, the government sent a summary of its legal memos to an NBC newsroom earlier this week.

This revelation will come as a great surprise, and not a little annoyance, to U.S. District Court Judge Colleen McMahon, who heard many hours of oral argument during which the government predicted gloom and doom if its legal research were subjected to public scrutiny. She very reluctantly agreed with the feds, but told them she felt caught in “a veritable Catch-22,” because the feds have created “a thicket of laws and precedents that effectively allow the executive branch of our government to proclaim as perfectly lawful certain actions that seem on their face incompatible with our Constitution and laws, while keeping the reasons for their conclusion a secret.”

She was writing about President Obama killing Americans and refusing to divulge the legal basis for claiming the right to do so. Now we know that basis.

The undated and unsigned 16-page document leaked to NBC refers to itself as a Department of Justice white paper. Its logic is flawed, its premises are bereft of any appreciation for the values of the Declaration of Independence and the supremacy of the Constitution, and its rationale could be used to justify any breaking of any law by any “informed, high-level official of the U.S. government.”

Obama Gives Himself Permission To Kill

Having said all that, I still think Obama is a rotten stinker for what he’s doing. I’m not saying that it’s bad to kill al Qaeda operatives wherever and whenever we find them in a foreign country, and regardless of whether they are American or non-American. Rather, my view arises because Obama is a hypocrite who hasn’t had the decency to come before the American people and say that he was wrong to malign George Bush and our troops as rabid killers.

Nick Gillespie, who has the true libertarian’s disdain for these killings (and I don’t necessarily agree with him, but I do admire his consistency), perfectly sums up Obama’s disgusting double standards:

There is a darkly comic aspect to this, I suppose: Here’s a president who once taught classes in constitutional law and swore up and down that America doesn’t torture, that he was against “dumb wars” waged by his predecessors, that he was more transparent than a glass of triple-filtered water, and who won a goddamned Nobel Peace Prize! And he turns out to be not just a little iffy when it comes to being constrained in his willingness to break all sorts of rules but downright godawful.

And his main mouthpiece is a former MSM drone whose babyface is quickly turning into a map of wrinkles brought on by working for an administration which has manifestly failed to live up to even the mediocre standards of the previous occupant of the White House.

The worst thing about those drone strikes is Obama’s moral preening and hypocrisy


Hahahahaha

Yesterday, a memo describing the president’s legal justifications for drone attacks against U.S. citizens was obtained and published by NBC’s Michael Isikoff. The memo is a disturbing assertion of discretionary executive power that should concern and frighten all Americans.

The President’s Drone Memo


Another rube-tool.

4. Two days ago a memo describing the president’s legal justifications for drone attacks against U.S. citizens was obtained and published by NBC’s Michael Isikoff. The memo is a disturbing assertion of discretionary executive power that should concern and frighten all Americans. Unfortunately, the secretive use of drone attacks is one of the few areas of bi-partisan consensus in this highly divisive town, and the public still seems to resoundingly support current counter-terrorism policies.

The memo gives broad legal boundaries on the use of drones. There are virtually no actual restrictions.

All of the Pieces for the Next President to Command Skynet

The country’s in the very best of hands….

Nothing to see here.

Ozymandias

Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT).

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Imperial Capital on the Potomac

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!

Crony capitalism is another reason we need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT).

Throw Them All Out: How Politicians and Their Friends Get Rich Off Insider Stock Tips, Land Deals, and Cronyism That Would Send the Rest of Us to Prison, By Peter Schweizer (Google Books)

OpenSecrets.org

[T]he regulatory superstate depends on inflicting pain on the rest of the country, pain that only Washington itself can relieve—if you pay up and have the right connections, that is. Washington’s fortunes and America’s are increasingly at odds. The region is prospering because it’s becoming something that would have horrified the Founders: an imperial capital on the Potomac.

Hail Columbia! The federal government’s relentless expansion has made Washington, D.C., America’s real Second City.

From time to time my colleague David Boaz posts about the many ongoing ways in which the economy of Washington, D.C. continues to outpace that of the rest of the country, thanks to a well-paid and layoff-resistant workforce of federal employees and contractors, a thriving lobbying sector, and so forth. Thus David noted this week [December 9, 2010] that the Washington, D.C. metro area has now attained the highest family median income of any major city, and last month [November 2010] that, according to Census Bureau figures analyzed by Newsweek, “seven of the 10 richest counties in America, including the top three, are in the Washington area.”

Rise of an Imperial City, Cont’d

Dr. Benjamin Carson and proportionality

Tithing is a good model

America the Beautiful: Rediscovering What Made This Nation Great (Google Books)


Ah yes, the 1st Amendment.

The country is in the very best of hands.

Ozymandias

Mockery, truculence, and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline. We also need a Revolving Door Tax (RDT).

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New York City’s Future?

It is the new aristocracy; landing a job with the state is like hitting the lottery. Californians have discovered that, in today’s low/non-interest economy, a $70,000 salary with defined benefit public pension for life is far better than having the income from a lifetime savings of $3 million.

Or, look at it another way: with passbooks paying 0.5-1%, the successful private accountant or lawyer could put away $10,000 a month for thirty years of his productive career and still not match the monthly retirement income of the Caltrans worker who quit at 60 with modest contributions to PERS.
. . .
There are thousands of drivers without licenses, insurance, registration, and elementary knowledge of road courtesy. Half of all accidents in Los Angeles are hit-and-runs.


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Coastal folk seem to view high taxes like Mafia protection money, but in the sense of psychological satisfaction and freedom from guilt. For now, sales, gas, and income taxes are not so high as to matter to those who voted for them, at least in view of the social and political advantages of coastal living: the beautiful weather, the Pacific panorama, the hip culture of recreational light drug use, neat restaurants, sports, fine wines, solar and wind romance, foreign cars, and general repugnance at religion, guns, conservatives, and traditional anything.


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One of the questions I always hear from strangers: “Why doesn’t everyone leave?” The answer is simple: for the coastal overdogs there is nowhere else where the money is as good and the weather and scenery are as enjoyable. How much would you pay to walk in cut-offs in February and not in three jackets in Montana? And for the interior underclass, California’s entitlements and poor-paying service jobs are paradise compared to Honduras, Jalisco, or Southeast Asia. And, yes, the middle-class small farmers, hardware-store owners, company retirees, and electricians are leaving in droves.


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How then does the California coalition work, and in some sense work so well?

The coastal elite offers an agenda for more welfare funding, scholarships, class warfare, public unions, diversity, affirmative action, open borders, and amnesty, and in response the interior voter signs off on everything from gay marriage, solar and wind subsidies, gun restrictions, mass transit schemes, and the entire progressive tax-and-spend agenda. Most of this coalition never much sees one another.

The young Mountain View programmer keeps clear of Woodlake. He even has only a vague idea of what life is like for those who live in nearby Redwood City and make his arugula salad at the hip pasta bar in Palo Alto. In turn, the Redwood City dishwasher has an equally murky sense that the wealthy kid who works at Google does not wish to deport his uncle — and so the two become unspoken political partners of sorts. One of the state’s wealthiest cities, a gated Atherton, is juxtaposed to one of its most Latinate communities, Redwood City. But they might as well be Mercury and Pluto. Or should we applaud that the owner of the manor and his grass cutter vote identically — and against the interests of the guy who sold and serviced the Honda lawn mower?

In the flesh, the energetic people I associate with during the week in Silicon Valley and see on the Stanford campus and on University Avenue are, it must be said, innovative folk, but soft apartheidists: where they live, where their kids go to schools, where they eat, and whom they associate with are governed by a class, and de facto racial, sensibility that would make Afrikaners of old proud.

The liberal aristocracy is as class-bound as the old Republican blue-stockings, but saved from populist ostracism by what I have called the “hip” exemption — liberalism’s new veneer that allows one to be both consumer and critic of the Westernized good life, to praise the people and to stay as far away from them as possible. Mitt Romney is an outsourcer; Google’s offshore holdings are cool.

California at Twilight, Victor Davis Hanson


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Ozymandias

Mockery and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline.

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Big Government and Statolatry


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The government is huge, stupid, greedy and makes nosy, officious and dangerous intrusions into the smallest corners of life. . . .

Parliament of Whores, P.J. O’Rourke


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Why do you people love the state so much? It doesn’t love you.

Michael Munger


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Something has changed, even as our society has become wealthier. Sure businesses have to comply with regulations and millionaires need to pay taxes, but somewhere we’ve shifted from honoring success to envying it, from viewing government as a limited tool to achieve a few necessary things (infrastructure, enforcing the rule of law) to seeing it as the be-all and end-all of our society.

Why is it assumed by these moralistic Affluence Police that the rich are mainly greedy people who spend their money on luxury goods? Charities and non-profits are funded by wealthy people. Real capitalists invest millions of dollars into ideas and often create good jobs in the process. I have no idea what Mickelson does with his money, but it isn’t any of my business. Given California governmental attitudes, one can’t blame him for looking elsewhere.

For instance, during a recent Capitol press conference, the Orange County Register’s Sacramento reporter asked Gov. Jerry Brown about the spending increases in his supposedly austere budget. Brown joked about there being no hope for Orange County readers, according to a Register editorial. Then he mocked “this doctrine that government is the problem,” which he said is promoted by the “Orange County Register or whoever all these people are.”

At the Capitol, the free market is viewed as an arcane joke. Yet I look at everything government does—at all those programs and bureaucracies and entitlements that Brown and Obama prefer. I see enormous debt, corruption, abuses of power, union-enrichment schemes, shoddy services, terrible attitudes, and an endless sea of scandal and greed. Just read the newspapers.

How Big Government Undermines Freedom and Prosperity


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When did the government become a paragon of telling the truth?

Andrew Napolitano


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Feeling good about yourself is not the same as doing good.

Theodore Dalrymple

Ozymandias

Mockery and minimalist living are best, then enjoy the decline.

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Nothing to see here.


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Nothing to see here. Please disperse.


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Nothing to see here. Move along.


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Police Officer Bob – It’s the police officer’s job to observe. And it’s the citizen’s job to be observed.


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I see nothing!

Nothing to see here.

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Government debt is merely future taxation


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Government borrowing is a source of many evils, not least of which is that for decades it made big government appear cheaper than it is. Could the federal government spend nearly $4 trillion a year if it had to raise every penny through taxation? Unlikely. A tax revolt would have been ignited. But let the government borrow a trillion dollars a year, more than 40 cents of every dollar spent, and government looks relatively inexpensive—or it did before things got so out of hand that everyone could see the looming danger. Most people pay no attention to how much interest the government must pay each year to its creditors, but interest payments have been running at over $400 billion a year. December’s [2012] payment alone was $95.7 billion.


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That money represents resources that were previously diverted from the productive private sector to the government for purposes chosen by politicians looking out for their careers. The interest payment goes back into the private sector, but since government continues to borrow to pay its debts, it’s still taking resources from the productive sector. Also, when the Federal Reserve buys up government debt, it remits the interest (minus overhead) to the Treasury. Such interest-free borrowing might make credit look inexpensive, except for the fact that the Fed creates money when it buys the debt, which threatens potential price inflation, an implicit tax on the people’s cash balances, distorts relative prices,and depresses interest rates, skewing investment decisions.

Borrowing appears to be a voluntary form of funding government, but [Destutt de Tracy (1754-1836) in A Treatise on Political Economy] wrote that “this an illusion [because the lenders] force the government to raise, one day or other, a sum equal to that which they furnish and to the interest which they demand for it. Thus, by their obligingness, they burthen without their consent not only the citizens actually existing, but also future generations….”

Such burdening of people yet to be born offended Tracy, and he proposed that “whatsoever is decreed by any legislature whatsoever, their successors can always modify, change, annul; and that it should be solemnly declared, that in future this salutary principle shall be applied, as it ought to be, to the engagements which a government may make with money lenders. By this the evil would be destroyed in its root: for capitalists, having no longer any guarantee, would no longer lend.”

Against Government Debt


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