Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Where does Trump buy his drugs? Asking for a friend.
President Trump thinks drugs cost as much as a Snickers or Butterfinger.
“Drugs are becoming cheaper than candy bars,” Trump said at a news conference Thursday.
Could drugs cost less than a candy bar? Perhaps, if the government wasn’t investing so many resources into wielding violence against peaceful drug manufacturers, sellers, and users. But risk increases prices and the war on unapproved drugs adds a lot of risk for participants in the drug market.
When Obama was in office a bunch of neocons claimed that he was planning to use the United Nations military to establish martial law, secretly a Muslim Brotherhood operative trying to bring Sharia to the United States, plotting the destruction of Israel, and a whole bunch of other conspiracy theories. Meanwhile, the neoliberals were calling those neocons paranoid and mocking them ruthlessly.
Today a bunch of neoliberals are claiming that Trump is planning to abolish the public schools, reestablish institutionalized racism, round up and kill homosexuals, and a whole bunch of other conspiracy theories. Likewise, now the neocons are calling neoliberals paranoid and mocking them ruthlessly.
As it turns out, this sudden flip in conspiratorial thinking is pretty common:
Even as Democrats decry the false claims streaming regularly from the White House, they appear to have become more vulnerable to unsupported claims and conspiracy theories that flatter their own political prejudices. The reason isn’t just that a Republican now occupies the White House. Political psychology research suggests that losing political control can make people more vulnerable to misinformation and conspiracy theories.
This isn’t surprising. Anybody who isn’t directly embroiled in the political mess of this country but pays attention to those who are have noticed this type of behavior. When a politico’s team is in power all is great and the world is moving in the right direction. When a politico’s team isn’t in power everything is terrible and the world is going to come crashing down. Regardless of the situation, politico’s will tend to believe whatever news fits their personal bias. If they think everything is great they’ll believe any news that supports that bias and label any news that doesn’t as fake or propaganda. The same goes for when they think everything is terrible.
The State makes hypocrites of everybody involved in it. At some point even the most principled individual will have to compromise those principles. Take Representative Devin Nunes, for example. He strongly supports the National Security Agency’s (NSA) widespread surveillance program when it’s used against you and me. But when surveillance is used against him and his ilk he suddenly hates it:
Back then there was a bipartisan push to try to require some more due process in National Security Agency (NSA) surveillance of Americans. Nunes used the deadly attack on the nightclub in Orlando to argue against it, claiming it would hamper the government in its fight against the war on terror.
But while he was opposed to protecting you and me from unwarranted government surveillance, apparently Nunes does think that the feds recording a call between ex-National Security Adviser Mike Flynn and a Russian ambassador in December is beyond the pale. From The Washington Post:
The chairman of the House Intelligence Committee said Tuesday that the most significant question posed by the resignation of national security adviser Michael Flynn is why intelligence officials eavesdropped on his calls with the Russian ambassador and later leaked information on those calls to the press.
“I expect for the FBI to tell me what is going on, and they better have a good answer,” said Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, which is conducting a review of Russian activities to influence the election. “The big problem I see here is that you have an American citizen who had his phone calls recorded.”
The ability of politicians to hold two mutually exclusive beliefs simultaneously never ceases to amaze me. Usually their cognitive dissonance comes out when discussing so-called rights. Most politicians seem to believe that the State has unlimited rights whereas the people have no rights.
The right to free speech? The State can say whatever it wants, even if it’s false, but the people should have certain restrictions placed upon what they can say. The right to bear arms? The people should be heavily restricted in what they are allowed to possess while the State should be allowed to have an unlimited number of goddamn nuclear weapons. The right to privacy? As Mr. Nunes demonstrated, the State should enjoy an expectation of privacy while the people should be surveilled at all times.
The politicians espousing their cognitive dissonance always have a convenient excuse. The right to free speech is dangerous when that speech is seditious, hateful, untrue, etc. The right to bear arms is dangerous in general because people use weapons to kill other people. The right to privacy is a direct threat to national security because it makes it more difficult for the State to find terrorists. All of these excuses would apply equally to the State but the politicians never mention that.
Betsy DeVos was confirmed as the Education Secretary yesterday:
WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Betsy DeVos on Tuesday as education secretary, approving the embattled nominee only with the help of a historic tiebreaking vote from Vice President Mike Pence.
The 51-to-50 vote elevates Ms. DeVos — a wealthy donor from Michigan who has devoted much of her life to expanding educational choice through charter schools and vouchers, but has limited experience with the public school system — to be steward of the nation’s schools.
The only thing newsworthy about this is the fact that it was getting so much goddamn media coverage than even I heard about it. Why did the nomination of a secretary to a government department get so much media coverage? I have no idea. But I hope other nominations don’t have the same coverage because there are far more interesting things going on in the world.
Still, I’m entertained by the aftermath. People genuinely cared about this nomination. Those who didn’t support DeVos are genuinely upset over her confirmation.
Here’s the thing, the Education Secretary doesn’t matter if you don’t put your children into a government indoctrination center. A lot of people figured this out some time ago. Instead of letting the government brainwash their children under the guise of providing an education they opted to enroll their children into a private institution, homeschool their children, unschool their children, or chose some other means of providing their children with an actual education.
There’s a valuable lesson in DeVos’ nomination for those who are upset that she’s not running the Department of Education. If you place your children into a government indoctrination center they’re going to be indoctrinated by whoever is currently controlling the government. If your political opposition controls the government then they will be indoctrinating your children.
Many World War II movies have a scene where normal folk are walking down the street minding their own business when they’re suddenly confronted by a pair of police officers who say, “Ihre Papiere bitte.” Usually the people being confronted will hand over a set of documents, the officers will look them over, and then one officer will say, “Ihre Papiere sind nicht in Ordnung.” Such scenes are used to show the audience that Nazi Germany was an authoritarian police state. But if demanding identification from people minding their own business made Nazi Germany a police state what does it make the United States:
PHOENIX – You could go to jail for four months if you get caught without an ID as a passenger in a car if a new law proposal passes.
Current law only requires the driver of a vehicle to carry a drivers license, which serves as evidence of identity.
If this bill passes, a passenger would also be required to have evidence of identity. Failure to do so would be a class 2 misdemeanor, which allows for up to four months in jail by current state law.
Isn’t it funny how all of the things the United States government once criticized authoritarian regimes for doing are either being done or are being proposed here? And isn’t if funny that many people living here have managed to delude themselves enough to believe that they live in the freest country on Earth?
Germany has a dark and sordid history of tagging those it deems to be undesirable. In the past it relied on badges. The most famous badges, the yellow Star of David, was used to mark Jews. But the Nazis also had other symbols such as pink triangles for homosexuals.
In this day and age tagging people for their religious beliefs or sexual orientation is frowned upon through most of Europe and the United States. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t people deemed undesirable. In many European countries and the United States the governments have implemented a new list of undesirables. They usually refer to these lists as terrorist watch lists. The names that appear on these lists aren’t people who have been found guilty of anything, the governments that created and are maintaining these lists merely suspect that the people on them might do something… possibly… maybe. Or at least that’s what they claim. But even that much cannot be determined since the criteria for appearing on these lists is usually secret.
Now that Germany has a list of undesirables again it has decided to modernize its old trick. Instead of making people on the terrorist watch list wear badges they’ll be required to wear GPS anklets:
The German government will electronically tag all people on the country’s terror watchlist even if they have committed no crime, reflecting a tougher approach in the wake of December’s terror attack in Berlin.
The tagging proposal had been agreed by justice minister Heiko Maas and interior minister Thomas de Maizière last month as part of a package of measures to beef up security.
Mr de Maizière said tags were “no silver bullet” but were an “important instrument, to make it easier to monitor people”.
The tag is a GPS transmitter attached to the leg which emits a signal when a suspect approaches a prohibited zone.
The Nazis claimed those badges were an important instrument to make Germany safe as well. But this has nothing to do with safety. It’s about creating an enemy for Germans to fear. So long as the German people are afraid the State is able to grab more power for itself with little resistance.
I’ve seen quite a few friends flipping out over this news:
Now that Republicans have quietly drawn a path to give away much of Americans’ public land, US representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah has introduced what the Wilderness Society is calling “step two” in the GOP’s plan to offload federal property.
The new piece of legislation would direct the interior secretary to immediately sell off an area of public land the size of Connecticut. In a press release for House Bill 621, Chaffetz, a Tea Party Republican, claimed that the 3.3m acres of national land, maintained by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), served “no purpose for taxpayers”.
What amuses me isn’t the face that I have friends flipping out over this, it’s that they believe the government has any right to the land in the first place.
The State, being an illegitimate organization, cannot legitimately own anything. Yet it claims ownership over a great deal of land in the Western United States. Now it believes it has the right to sell that unowned land. And for some reason people are not only happy to play along with this charade but they’re upset that the State is planning to sell the land because they want it to remain in the State’s hands!
This is why I don’t give a shit about politics. Politics isn’t an act of legitimate parties trying to resolve disputes. It’s an act of two sides arguing over things neither of them have any right to involve themselves with in the first place. This issue is a prime example. Two sides are arguing over whether or not the State should sell a particular chunk of land. One side says it should sell the land and the other side says it should keep the land. But neither side has any right to decide what should be done with the land because they don’t own it.
In order to involve yourself in the political process you must first accept falsities. Why waste time arguing over falsities?
The hits seem to keep coming. First Trump issued an executive order to build a multi-billion dollar wall that will serve no meaningful purpose. Then he issued an execute order banning people from
victims nations the United States is bombing from traveling to their tormentor’s realm. Now it appears that he’s planning to issue an executive order to boot out poor legal immigrants:
Now, with the huddled masses yearning to breathe free taken care of, the Trump administration is coming for your tired and your poor. Or so a draft executive order obtained by Vox and the Washington Post seems to suggest.
But the Trump administration’s draft order would change that, by instructing the Department of Homeland Security to bar immigrants from the U.S. if they are likely to receive any means-tested benefit at all.
More radically, the order would subject visa holders who are already in the U.S. to deportation, if they use public benefits above a certain threshold. And — just in case that isn’t enough to keep non-wealthy foreigners away from our shores — the order would require the friend or family member who sponsored the deported immigrant to reimburse the federal government for the cost of the benefits he or she used.
While opponents of Trump flip out about is executive orders anybody who is well read on history or has ready Nineteen Eighty-Four knows exactly what’s going on here. The health of the State is fear. Fear is what allows the State to continuously expand its power. Without an enemy there is no fear. What Trump and his administration are doing is the same thing previous administrations have done, they’re creating an enemy.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union the enemy was always communists. Before the enemy was communists it was always the Jews. Before it was the Jews it was always the Chinese. United States history, and the history of almost every nation on Earth, is a constantly changing stage of boogeymen.
I doubt Trump or anybody in his administration has any real feelings about immigrants one way or another. All they know is that immigrants are outsiders and outsiders always make a good enemy.
Neoconservatives, the alt-right, and even a lot of libertarians are unable to contain their enthusiasm for Trump’s order to build a wall between Mexico and the United States. Why would these supposedly fiscally conservative individuals cheer on the construction of a multi-billion dollar wall that won’t accomplish anything? Because they are under the mistaken belief that a mass migration of immigrants into the United States will cause a loss of individual liberty. Like the boogeyman, this is an entirely imaginary fear as Dr. Robert Higgs so eloquently explained on Facebook:
Remember the good old days when neocons were whispering about armed revolution and neoliberals criticized them for it? Remember the standoff at the Bundy Ranch and the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupation where neocons traveled to help with the armed standoff? Remember the neoliberals calling those neocons traitors and wanted the feds to send in the troops to take them all out?
Now the neoliberals are whispering about armed revolution and neocons are criticizing them for it. Last year Time was already trying to start a tax protests. Within the last week we’ve had a Nazi get punched, Madonna talk about blowing up the White House, and a Dallas school teacher shooting an image of Trump with a squirt gun while yelling “Die!” In each one of these cases neoliberals justified these acts and even called for more while neocons labeled the perpetrators traitors and want the feds to throw the book at them.
Those two groups were made for each other. I just wish that they would hurry up and fuck and get it over with.