I've been a little depressed about how little time I have/make for blagging and reading about politics and economics this year, but it's because I'm working a lot, exercising five or six times a week, and watching things obsessively on DVD, like Star Trek and Futurama and True Blood. I get paid more or less by the hour as an independent contractor and not as a salaried employee, so the more I work, the more I earn, and I wants me a fancy plasma TV this summer.
The Obama regime has been up to some heavy justice-trampling entirely aside from planting the seeds for takeovers of both the health care and financial trading industries. Glenn Greenwald details Obama's authorization of the assassination of U.S. citizens. While it's true that this has become old news and I have even written a few blag posts since this Greenwald post, the quotes are no less juicy:
Obama's Director of National Intelligence, Adm. Dennis Blair, acknowledged in Congressional testimony that the administration reserves the "right" to carry out such assassinations.
Today, both The New York Times and The Washington Post confirm that the Obama White House has now expressly authorized the CIA to kill al-Alwaki no matter where he is found, no matter his distance from a battlefield.
No due process is accorded. No charges or trials are necessary. No evidence is offered, nor any opportunity for him to deny these accusations (which he has done vehemently through his family). None of that.
Instead, in Barack Obama's America, the way guilt is determined for American citizens -- and a death penalty imposed -- is that the President, like the King he thinks he is, secretly decrees someone's guilt as a Terrorist.
In more Orwellian news, the Supreme Court ruled that some convicted sex offenders can be kept in prison indefinitely by federal officials (presumably the Department of "Justice"), after they have completed their prison sentences. It is terrifying how broadly sex crimes are defined, how aggressively they are pursued, and how remorselessly people who have only been accused, much less convicted, of sexual crimes are treated. There are people whose lives are ruined because they had oral sex as teenagers or because they walk around naked in their kitchens and their wannabe-tyrant neighbors have some twisted appetite for punishing others for anything they can. This ruling will soon extend to terrorism and all other crimes that some lawyer or judge can construe as being related to "national security", if it doesn't already.
The RIAA and MPAA want the government to force all computers to contain software that automatically deletes alleged copyright-infringing material. The best arguments against the RIAA and MPAA anymore are quoting them verbatim and reporting their behavior. As Voltaire quipped, "I have never made but one prayer to God, a very short one: 'O Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.' And God granted it." The RIAA and MPAA could not exist in their present form or commit any of the violations they have become infamous for without a monopolistic state and, particularly, a powerful central government backing them up. By the way, did you know there is an "Office of Intellectual Property Enforcement"? My god, they might as well rename it MiniIntelProp.
We are coming up on Presidential Candidate Obama's original proposed date (summer 2010) for withdrawing (or at least beginning to withdraw) most American soldiers from Iraq. While I don't believe he ever actually had any intention of scaling down the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan or reducing the U.S.'s military presence in the Middle East to any considerable degree, my skepticism and his duplicity are not even necessarily the most important issues about his promises/plans to withdraw troops. Most important is any well-intentioned president's inability to divert our military's path from one of aggression and expansion to one of defense and contraction. There are too many people and too many industrial interests opposing such a sea change for it to ever happen, except that I think America's impending financial collapse will force the military to contract and withdraw, which side effect will be nothing but good.
You don't have to be remotely libertarian-ish to be outraged at this: Novartis sales rep who alleges she was raped by a client was subjected to "disciplinary action" by HR, and the managers showed no interest in pursuing the case or bringing the alleged rapist to justice. I don't have anything to add; the heinousness of it all is self-evident.
I think it's sad how many people want more nationalization/centralization of all kinds of laws and regulations. An alarming percentage of people think national or even worldwide standards for businesses, behaviors, and just about everything else would make our lives better, but this is exactly the wrong attitude. More diversity of options, as a general rule, makes just about everything better in the long run, mainly because freedom is good for people and more innovation occurs when we can try different things and succeed or fail based on merit. The latest example that prompted me to write this is a comment I read in a discussion thread about stupid alcohol sales laws, commonly called blue laws. The comment read, "i hate the variation in alcohol laws from State to State. this shit needs to be modernized and made uniform across the Nation. i think it's absurd that in my state, PA, i can't buy liquor/wine from ANYWHERE but a State store." Yes, since it is obvious that government and only government has created your problem, then the best solution is MORE government and MORE concentrated power in the hands of people who are EVEN FARTHER removed from your home and your life and who care about you individually EVEN LESS than the people who passed the current laws, if that's possible. I'm sorry to end on an arrogant or haughty note, but Statists are stupid.