Monday, August 31, 2009

Liberals need only speak or write to prove their stupidity

Look here for one of my favorite hobbies: giving a smackdown to a liberal turd who has no brains, has no balls, and has no grasp of reality.

Over at ThreeSources, Silence was silenced by my simple exposure of his state-worshipping. This liberal "DocWashboard" (who uses other handles to sockpuppet) just couldn't leave it alone, and that's when I have fun.

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

How to liberals lie with statistics

The classic can't hold a candle to liberals' tricks. An occasional commenter at my friend Karol's blog linked to perhaps the most dishonest "study" I've ever seen. My reply:
Stop trying, Toowoozy. You keep failing.

1. You're engaging in the same old fallacy that because country X's population lives to only __ years, that country Y's greater longevity means it has superior health care. It's a fallacy because it assumes every cause of death is preventable and/or treatable. Notice something at the top of the chart? "All causes." So this "study" is just another way of presenting what we already know: American life expectancy is lower because of higher homicide rates.

Try a study that is restricted to natural causes, and adjust for Americans' higher-fat, higher-cholesterol diets. Oh, that can't be done? Well, coincidentally, neither can socialized medicine -- effectively, that is.

2. Presumably he's talking only about South Korea, but to call it just "Korea" is idiotic.

And now the biggie:

3. He's a liar. He so massaged the statistics that they're meaningless.
a. He's using males against the entire population's life expectancy. We already know that American men, on average, die a bit younger than the average life expectancy for both men and women. American women have a life expectancy of about two years more, as I recall, so it's not surprising to see numbers that show American men don't live as long as the average.

To put it in simple terms for you, let's say Jack died at 78, Jill died at 80. This study would look at Jack only, then say "American health care is inferior because Jack didn't live until the average of 79!"

b. He doesn't need to use "per 100,000 males" for this kind of average. He could have easily had it "For each average male." However, he needs this lie to inflate his numbers.

According to his own numbers, it comes to 0.06397 years per American male. That's 23.35 days. The "best" country on his list, Japan, therefore comes to 13.55 days per male.
So this study proves "nothing" except that when it comes to dying, there's more gender equality in other countries.

And you're welcome for the free lesson on how to look past statistics.
Then my P.S.:
Just saw that I forgot one last thing:

You now see (or SHOULD see) that the putz is lying about his data. But let's assume he wasn't. Let's give him the benefit of the doubt, shall we?

His "study" would be comparing the average of 100,000 individuals to the average of that particular population. The difference would ZERO. Do you understand that?
Always be skeptical of data that purports to prove something. I don't even ask people to trust things that I cite. Never take anything at face value, or anyone at his word, and especially question hard some clever new "analysis."

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

"Mary Jo Kopechne was unavailable for comment."

A Google search shows that what popped into my mind isn't original, but it is fitting. I shed no tears for Ted Kennedy, none whatsoever.

Billy Beck remembers that goddamn bastard, justly:
The horrible thing is gone now. I hope it died choking like Josef Stalin.
Note to Billy: my father always said that the existence of evil means there cannot be an omnipotent, benevolent Supreme Being, but I countered that the existence of monstrous evil is reason he should at least wonder if there's a hell. And I tell you, my friend, there is a special place reserved for the goddamn bastard.

Here's one of the pictures Yahoo News used today. I guess he was doing his "Mary Jo drowning" impersonation.

I despised Kennedy for who he was and what he did. After his brain cancer was announced, I still never developed the least bit of sympathy for him. I say openly that I can only hope he died in the most wretched misery imaginable, with the cancer spreading throughout his body such that all his systems were shutting down in excruciating pain.

No doubt that liberals will accuse me of being cold-blooded, but it was he who was so cold-blooded. No one should have to ask me what I'm referring to. I was not yet born when the "water-based incident" happened, yet I know. My father did his duty and told me when I was old enough; it would have been at least 20 years ago.

No doubt that people of varying political persuasions will say that mine is a horrible hope, that I've never known anyone who died of cancer. The truth is that I have. That's how I know it still wouldn't have been appropriate punishment for who he was and what he did.

As if we needed another example of how Republicans are so weak, Michelle Malkin writes,
Put aside your ideological differences for an appropriate moment and mark this passing with solemnity.

There is a time and place for political analysis and criticism. Not now.
Why "not now"? Expose the goddamn bastard for who he was, and tell of all the evils he did from every mountaintop. No one should have qualms to speak ill of evil, even if dead. I recently said I had no tears for Cory Aquino, and I heralded news of Molly Ivins' death with "Ding dong, the bitch is dead." I can be so blunt because I know the mere act of death does not confer respect.

This goddamn bastard was worse than both put together. Kennedy was not just any regular worshipper of the state. It was not sufficient for him to be, say, a Paul Krugman that taught people to cling to false gods. No, he had to spend virtually all of his adult life, when not too inebriated or cheating in school, in what's absurdly called "public service." It's as much "service" to the "public" as the book "To Serve Man" in the old Twilight Zone episode: the pursuit of forcing everyone to bow to the state, feeding others to the beast he so happily served. So God damn him, literally.

Nick Gillespie's wishful thinking is that Kennedy's death is "(Hopefully) of an Era." Does he honestly think it will make a difference? This was not a king who died without an heir. This was one man of hundreds "in charge" in power who share the same evil visions of subjecting man to state. Has Gillespie never noticed that when any of them die, there is always a steady supply of successors, "The Next Generation" that is worse than the one before?

Don Boudreaux, the quintessential Southern gentleman (which I can knowingly say, having had the pleasure of meeting him), rightfully expressed no grief and ably pointed out Kennedy's hypocrisy:
You report that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick supports “changing state law to allow him to appoint an interim successor to Sen. Edward Kennedy’s seat while a special election is held” (”Gov. would OK law change for Kennedy successor,” August 26). You report also that only last week a dying Sen. Kennedy requested this rule change.

But you fail to mention that the very rule that Sen. Kennedy last week pleaded be scuttled is a rule that he himself lobbied for in 2004. As your own Jeff Jacoby wrote last week, “Kennedy wants the Legislature to upend the succession law it passed in 2004, when – at his urging – it stripped away the governor’s longstanding power to temporarily fill a Senate vacancy. Back then, John Kerry was a presidential candidate and Republican Mitt Romney was governor; Kennedy lobbied state Democrats to change the law so that Romney couldn’t name Kerry’s successor.”

To the very end, Mr. Kennedy displayed his lack of principles. And your paper continues to display its reporting biases.
As my father said about Ayatollah Khomeini, "I hope that bastard rots in hell!"

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Just because they're out to get you doesn't mean you have to be paranoid

A couple of weeks ago, McQ noted that for the first time with any presidential administration, federal websites will start using tracking cookies. Naturally, civil libertarians were alarmed.

I had to be the voice of reason:
I can't say I'm too worried about this. Cookies are just anonymous trackers. Ordinary websites like Yahoo, Amazon, et al, only know you by the cookie they place and modify. Now, it's possible that the the federal government here, the one entity on the planet with the resources to track and the power to force ISPs to reveal who was using a particular IP at a certain time, could match you to a cookie. However, this is a no-worry for two reasons:

1. Cookies are easily blocked. If you use Firefox, you can set up a whitelist for cookies (block all cookies except for those domains you approve). If you prefer Internet Explorer, set it to block all cookies, which does not apply to websites in your Trusted Sites zone. (In fact, in Internet Explorer it's best to turn off all Java and JavaScript for your Internet Zone, as a matter of security, and add trustworthy websites to Trusted Sites.)

2. If the feds want to track anyone, it's already a piece of cake to do that via web server logs. Tracking by cookies is superfluous.

There's an argument against the principle of cookies, but as a matter of practicality, it's easily defeatable.
There are bigger concerns, like Obama continuing warrantless wiretapping (with not a word of criticism from Democrats, of course), and that his administration set up an e-mail address so that its loyalists could "snitch" on opponents. The e-mail address has been deactivated but was replaced by a submission form, so it's still there albeit in a different form. Consider that Obama's tactics are to smear and vilify opponents, using the power of his MSM propaganda machine to paint them as "racist," "greedy" or ignorant. Joe the Plumber's life was exposed in ways that required government access, but of course the methods could not be traced back to the White House.

This president has already shown himself, to anyone paying attention, to be as vengeful as any ever was. Yes, more so than Nixon. Do we really believe that the Obama administration will not use or act on any personal information that it claims it doesn't want people to include? The Secret Service has been set on someone who was completely misquoted by the pollsters who "reported" her, and they have confiscated people's cell phones "temporarily" when Michelle Obama walks into a fast-food restaurant. This administration is capable of anything.

Right now we only have to worry about unfair attacks on our character and reputation. That's nothing: it is sufficient for us to know we are on the side of righteousness. But there may come a time, and I fear soon, that the targeting will be more than words against us. It was never so easy for Tories to report colonial revolutionaries to British governors and local military officers.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Anything government can do, the free market can do better

That is, anything peaceful. Government will always have comparative and absolute advantage in aggression (e.g. wars and conscription, subjecting people to "law enforcement" when they have committed no crime, and seizing people's homes).

When it comes to creating prosperity and promoting true peace (as opposed to military stalemates), the free market does it just fine on its own, because it works purely according to what individuals want and their subsequent voluntary exchanges to attain their own individual happiness. The alternative, government, works purely by forcing people against their will: decisions are made arbitrarily, and whether they are done with caprice or careful calculations, whether they are based on politics or intentions of the greatest benevolence, they are ultimately immoral for forcing the individual against his will.

Over at Three Sources, a commenter going by "Silence Dogood" defended government as able to provide the infrastructure that makes the free market possible. This is not so, and I refuted his arguments one by one, demonstrating that everything he credited to government could be supplied and supplied better by a free market.

Old Ben must be rolling in his grave at someone using his pseudonym. Like most people, "Silence" doesn't believe that it's possible for a free market to provide things like roads and other infrastructure. He outrightly refuses to believe it, not even giving the free market a chance. Now, you don't have to be Paul Krugman to worship the state; it only requires a belief that certain things -- good things -- can result only from government's direction. As Bastiat put it:
Do those worshippers of government believe that free persons will cease to act? Does it follow that if we receive no energy from the law, we shall receive no energy at all? Does it follow that if the law is restricted to the function of protecting the free use of our faculties, we will be unable to use our faculties? Suppose that the law does not force us to follow certain forms of religion, or systems of association, or methods of education, or regulations of labor, or regulations of trade, or plans for charity; does it then follow that we shall eagerly plunge into atheism, hermitary, ignorance, misery, and greed? If we are free, does it follow that we shall no longer recognize the power and goodness of God? Does it follow that we shall then cease to associate with each other, to help each other, to love and succor our unfortunate brothers, to study the secrets of nature, and to strive to improve ourselves to the best of our abilities?
And then over at Karol's, one of her guest bloggers was, shall I say, unfortunate enough to talk about credit default swaps when he doesn't really know how they work. He was even more unfortunate to talk about "reforms" and creating "transparency" in financial exchanges -- via government, so I had to set him straight. Let me just say that I know a thing or two about CDS: they're not the maligned financial instruments so many people think they are, nor are they traded with very little information. A specific CDS implicitly requires the buyer to know what he's getting into. Now, there have been cases of fraudulent misrepresentation with some Collateralized Debt Objects, but that's entirely different.

Re-read what Bastiat said above, and think of how Wall Street began. There was no law to tell certain stock traders what to do, so how did those individuals know to congregate and formalize their association? Or was it, in fact, that God has given us the ability to think, to reason, and that humans for thousands of years have been able to trade and associate voluntarily without needing overlords to direct us?

Government's record is that of the anti-Midas touch, continually ruining everything it meddles with, from charity to the financial system. In the event it ever "fixes" something, look for how it created the problem in the first place. Even then, the solution will never be as effective as keeping government at bay and letting the free market clean up the mess that the state created.

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"The Conscience of a Liberal": as mythical as the unicorn

The Tagalog phrase "walang hiya ka" (which you may have seen me saying lately to some twit commenters) literally means "you have no shame" but is quite strong in connotation. It's appropriate here: Krugman has no shame whatsoever. The hypocrite and partisan hack wrote last April about "overpaid bankers." Not once did he mention Robert Rubin, who received $115 million for his 10 years on Citi's board. (In return, Rubin did the wonderful job of increasing Citi's risk-taking, contributing in no small way to its financial woes.) But his biggest hypocrisy is predicting "A fiscal train wreck" in 2003, after the second round of Bush's tax cuts.

Well, the problem was never the cut in taxes, but that Congress actually increased spending at the same time. Now that the budget has gotten Really, Really Bad, painfully obvious to anyone paying attention, what is Krugman saying? Well, as I wrote in May, when a Times op-ed says "Fiscal Suicide Ahead" while a Democrat is in the White House, you know Krugman didn't write that.

Yesterday he blogged about how the debt is bad but not that bad, with the title, "How much is $9 trillion?" What happened to the self-professed "alarmist" Krugman of 2003? If you put the two pieces side by side, there's no way in hell you could think it was the same person. The difference is obvious to anyone who understands Krugman: as long as Democrats are in power, Krugman's the Monty Python Black Knight when it comes to the burgeoning federal debt. "It's only a flesh wound!"

"But what's really scary — what makes a fixed-rate mortgage seem like such a good idea — is the looming threat to the federal government's solvency." - Paul Krugman, March 11, 2003

"Right now, federal debt is about 50% of GDP. So even if we do run these deficits, federal debt as a share of GDP will be substantially less than it was at the end of World War II. It will also be substantially less than, say, debt in several European countries in the mid to late 1990s. (There are some technical issues in comparing these various numbers — gross debt versus net (mainly about Social Security) and overall government debt versus federal, but they don’t change the basic picture.)" - Paul Krugman, August 23, 2009

My, my, what a difference an administration makes!

Actually, the picture is even worse than is commonly calculated, because the "percentage of GDP" debt ratios typically do not count the unfunded liabilities of Social Security and Medicare. When you factor in what Krugman deliberately ignores (because with a Democrat in power he doesn't want to admit it's that bad), the debt situation is far worse than World War II. Starting in 2016, Social Security payouts will exceed payroll tax revenues, and this country will see problems it never has before.

I will, though, admit that Krugman finally did get one thing right. Part of what he wrote in 2003: "But my prediction is that politicians will eventually be tempted to resolve the crisis the way irresponsible governments usually do: by printing money, both to pay current bills and to inflate away debt." Was he listening to Austrian economists at the time?

Then again, he said it only in hypocrisy. The Federal Reserve is buying up trillions of dollars of U.S. Treasury securities and mortgage-backed securities, far more than it ever did in the Bush years. But while Democrats are in control of the executive and legislative branches, Krugman's criticism is nowhere to be found.

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The latest Darwin Awards winners

What goddamn fools. I don't blame the little girl who died, because she was too young to comprehend the danger, and it's even worse to me because her goddamn idiot parents survived.

Sometime in the 1980s, there was some tsunami in the Pacific, and some Californians did the same thing: "Ooooh let's go see the waves!" I don't remember if any actually died, but it would have been just as easy as this weekend.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Morons at the AP, but what's new?

Something I saw yesterday. Helloooooo, AP, do any of your goddamn fools have basic spelling ability?

And as of right now, it's reproduced on ABC News with the same misspelling.

Prices are not rationing, not in any way

It's bad enough that liberals believe that "the price mechanism is a form of rationing goods and services," leading to their argument that health care can't be worse if government rations it. (Note that some liberals deny that government-run health care will be or will require rationing, demonstrating that one side is lying, and the other is a bunch of fools.) We have enough of these idiots in the world. We don't need twits like McArdle, who dare to call themselves "libertarian," who also believe that prices are rationing.

The plain fact is that prices are not rationing. I always meant to link to my comment at QandO a month ago but never got around to it. I reproduced it here, which you should check out for my latest exposé of McArdle's idiocy.

Slightly clarified, let me explain that it is a pure fallacy that a price system is "still rationing."� Prices allocate who gets goods and services, but that is not the same as "rationing." Rationing implies an attempt at equal shares, whether an individual's consumption over time or a population's aggregate consumption, whereas allocation can and often is unequal. Rationing is a system that forcibly controls demand, no matter that buyers are able and willing to pay what suppliers ask. By contrast, allocation by price means that whoever has the ability and willingness to pay (that is, for what sellers have and at their asking price) will buy what he wants, based purely on his own perception of his needs and desires.

Now, any distribution of goods and services by government depends 100% on rationing. There's no way about it, because government creates nothing on net. As Bastiat taught us 160 years ago, it can produce nothing except by taking an equal amount from the private sector. So government's resources are finite by definition, and because government distributes on the arbitrary basis of politics rather than someone's ability and willingness to pay, government must try to institute some sort of rationing system so that supply does not exceed demand.

We can see how well that works with Social Security and Medicare, which the NCPA reported two months ago have "unfunded liabilities" of $107 trillion, as of 2009! The NCPA reported in 2008 that the unfunded liabilities were $101.7 trillion then. Year-on-year, the unfunded liabilities grew at over a third the size of the current U.S. economy. This, clearly, is not sustainable. But did we really expect government to be "efficient" when it steals from Peter to give to Paul? At some point Peter will have to be taxed more, and/or Paul will have to accept less.

It would be nice to live in a world of infinite resources, but we don't. Given the choice between government choosing how much to give me, and the freedom to pay for it myself, there's no question for me: as someone who is an economic producer, I'd much rather depend on myself. At least it's up to me to develop my talents to improve my situation in life and afford more (including health care). Therefore I have influence over how much I earn, perhaps not complete influence, but I can't say I have any influence at all over how much a bureaucrat will decide to give me.

I make no excuses whatsoever for liking that "money talks."� It's precisely how people can get the resources they need badly and when they need them, instead of waiting for "their turn." This summer, both my wife and I had to go to the doctor for insect bites. My wife's developed a bacterial infection, and some bug gave me a virus that left me lethargic with terrible chills. We've never had anything like those before in our lives, but no matter, we paid cash. Because the doctor required payment, it allocated his limited time only to those who deemed it worthwhile to pay his fees. Quite modest fees, too. Thinking about his costs of taxes, paying the staff, maintaining the building, I wonder how much he really made. But it was clearly a beneficial trade for him, and for us. Government could never perform such a marvelous feat.

Imagine if (when?) Obama and Co. get their dream of an Canada-like system with 100% government-provided health care and a ban on private care. It was patently obvious to me at 17 years old, when the Clintons were pushing for universal health care, that everyone would want a doctor's appointment for the slightest cough, since "after all it's free." Meanwhile, "saving money in the system" -- like Obama's recent rubbish of "rewarding doctors for quality, not just the quantity, of care that they provide" -- will mean government reducing what it pays to health professionals, driving them out of the health care system into other jobs, further reducing supply and increasing wait times.

But no matter, right? Just wait your turn for a "free" appointment. We can look at the present UK system for how we'll develop: in some cases, that appointment will only be with your undertaker. "The doctor will not be seeing you now...or ever."

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Friday, August 14, 2009

"1 gallon of chocolate milk, 1 gallon of normal milk, 3 dozen donuts, 3 cases of mountain dew, and 2 packages of cookies"

Remember who I called the welfare state's new posterwhores? Maybe they haven't been supplanted today, but they've certainly been equaled. Good lord.

A friend just told me that his wife was grocery shopping, and the fat woman ahead of her in line was buying all those things enumerated in the title. With food stamps. I don't know how long ago it started, but the old stamps have been phased out in favor of debit cards, because supposedly "we the people" don't want people to feel "ashamed" for being on "public benefits." That's just the thing, they should feel ashamed. They should feel lower than scum to spend so much as a penny of other people's money that wasn't willingly given.

The woman had to pay a dime over the total (I guess her card didn't have enough of a balance), apologizing, and the checker said, "It all spends the same." Only to them. Thieves and those they trade with don't care where the money comes from. They never once consider, or if they do they dismiss it, that it's not at all "the same" to us who labor and have part of it stolen to be given as faux "charity."

This reminds me of something I forgot to mention from last year. Three Hispanic women were ahead of me in line at the grocery store, and they spoke exceedingly little English. They must have swiped their card a dozen times, at one point even insisting the cashier punch in the numbers, but it was always declined. This wasn't just swiping a card and getting a read error, either: this was swiping the card, then waiting 10 seconds to get the "Declined" message. So this took a very, very long time, and I didn't notice how, but they eventually paid some other way.

The cashier was so patient throughout. When it was my turn, I asked her what was the three's problem. She explained that their card, a food stamps debit card, had only $4 left. And the putas actually asked why it had so little left!

Yeah. America, "what a country" indeed.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

The silencing of Willie Revillame

No tears here for Cory Aquino
You have nothing to apologize for, Willie Revillame

(Updated 11:45 p.m.)

What more proof does any rational person need? Democracy is all about subjecting the individual to tyranny. Now, it happens to involve a tyranny of the majority (or a voting plurality), but tyranny is tyranny nonetheless, whether the rule is by one, a thousand, or a billion people. That Willie Revillame has been silenced is only the latest example. It's downright tragic how it came at the "outrage" from the majority of Filipinos, whipped into a frenzy by their masters (especially the powerful Cojuangcos and Aquinos).

What I heard tonight on TV Patrol World (a decent news roundup on the Philippines' ABS-CBN channel, but I see it half a day after the original airing) was that Willie was taking a "voluntary" "leave" -- but the fact is that it's as "voluntary" as handing a wallet to a mugger so that you aren't shot. This, though, reports it as a "suspension," which implies it wasn't Willie's decision. I wonder if that person actually watched either the Wowowee episode or the news broadcast, because he calls Willie's statement an "outburst."

It was hardly an outburst. Here's a transcript of what he said, which shows Willie's excellent point: how is he supposed to host a game show, implicitly about happy and fun times, when they're showing footage of Aquino's funeral in the corner?

But what Willie said is a red herring. Even if he did have an "outburst," the government has no right to silence him. Willie has the right to express himself -- God-given rights don't appear and disappear just because you cross or are within certain borders -- and if his employers (the station managers and owners) don't like it, then they can fire him. If everyone else doesn't like it, they can change the channel, they can insult him, but they have no right to force him to be silent. Unfortunately that isn't what happens in the Philippines. As I pointed out in the previous entry on Willie, the Philippine national government's Movie and Television Review and Classification Board has the power to shut down, fine, and even imprison a person for what they deem "objectionable." And that's what's happened to Willie (again).

There's no simple irony here, but outright hypocrisy that Cory Aquino's supporters want to use this law. They are without shame, every last one of them. Ferdinand Marcos made the law in 1985 by presidential decree, as I pointed out. Aquino, that alleged champion of Philippine democracy for overthrowing the Marcos regime, made no effort to repeal the law, and now her supporters have no problem using it themselves. Hypocrites!

Kris Aquino, a good friend of Willie's, accepted his early apology but refused to comment further. That's a lot of class on her part, and her family would do well to follow her lead. Also featured on TV Patrol World was this bastard, "Senator" Noynoy Aquino, claiming he doesn't want the issue to continue. What a miserable son of a bitch, smiling smugly. Good lord, most Filipinos have no clue how easily they're being manipulated.

"Arrogance can help you end your career." This is true, but what MissAiE doesn't appear to understand is that people should be free to hang themselves. If you don't like it, change the channel and/or complain to the station. Don't be so eager to trample on other's rights, don't be such a mini-tyrant, that you want to use the force of government to silence someone with whom you disagree.

And again, it's not just irony, but outright hypocrisy being displayed by Aquino supporters. Look at the fools here, calling for a boycott of Wowowee not in support of Willie, but to oust him:
I'm with you Even Demata in your advocacy to punish the man who killed democracy in television as the late President Corzon Aquino initiated to us a couple of years ago. Let us join hands to boycot this show not only tomorrow but remove it in our watching habit. According to willie, this is only a simple matter, but for us filipinos who also fought for democracy with the late president, this is unfair and truly a disrespect to the mother of democracy.
How did Willie "kill democracy in television"? How does he force anyone to watch him? And there we go again, that "democracy" word. They know enough Filipinos don't care enough to affect the show: they'd value Willie's suspension about as much as a carabao dung heap. That's why they have to claim "disrespect" and have government do their dirty work.

I scoff at these people who claim things like they "fought with" Cory Aquino. There's a version of an old joke in the Philippines. "How much is a billion?" "The number of Filipinos who claim to have been in the Bataan Death March."

Aquino supporters have been flooding websites like this with their anti-Willie diatribes, which is their right. At the same time, though, they don't believe others have the right to disagree. At first they'll use mob tactics to try to intimidate opponents (remember what they did here on the Eidelblog, hypocritically denouncing my freedom of speech when I allow them to mostly exercise theirs on my turf?), and if that doesn't work, they'll use government.

Yeah. If any of them make it to the United States, they'd make perfect Democrats.

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Sunday, August 09, 2009

Comment and e-mail policy

I've never posted a formal policy before. I shouldn't have to, but in this ideal world, it's inevitable that you run into morons.

It was a bit over three years ago when I had to institute comment moderation, because 300 NYPigD decided to spam my blog after I "dared" to criticize them for ticketing cab drivers at an "unapproved" spot outside Grand Central. I deleted some of the most vile

And then in April, a bunch of Filipinos went ape-shit because I (truthfully) called Charice "overrated." They can like her screeching if they want; people think Mariah Carey is a good singer, too. After they spammed comments all over my blog, I again instituted comment moderation and have kept it on. As I said, can I be expected to engage in any sort of intellectual reasoning with such illiterate nitwits?
ppl lyk that should be ignored...y should we argue w/ that guy or anyone who r not impressed w/ charice? taste can't be quantified...that's a thousand year old fact...
So here we go: comments are 100% moderated and will remain that way for the foreseeable future. Now, I don't ever want to spend so much as a second to delete spam, even if my readers won't see them, so leaving a comment requires a Google ID or OpenID (LiveJournal, WordPress, TypePad or AIM). If you have a point to make, feel free to comment. I will not delete your comment just because you disagree with me, but if you want to pick a fight, you'd better know what you're doing.

In general, I will keep your e-mails and names private. However, if you're being enough of an ass, they will be posted as I see fit.

If you posted a comment but I didn't allow it through, and you have a rational reason for asking why I didn't, just send me an e-mail.

Friday, August 07, 2009

You have nothing to apologize for, Willie Revillame

(Updated 10:08 p.m. with a few extra links I found.)

"It's not good for us to have fun here while the whole country grieves. I cannot make people laugh at the same time that this part of the funeral of our former president is being shown."

Willie was absolutely correct, but for making that objective and true comment, he could now be the most hated man in the Philippines. He has earned my respect, though, for daring to question the establishment, for daring to split from the tens of millions of Filipinos worshipping a woman who did plenty of damage on her own to her own country.

Willie has now apologized, under considerable pressure from the ABS-CBN network that broadcasts his show, not to mention the politicians looking to censor him. I hope he was 100% insincere about it. The letters to TV Patrol World were as contemptuous as I've ever heard, saying Willie should be "taught humility" and outrightly calling for government involvement.

The Aquino family spokesman said, "It is regrettable and a crass attempt to desecrate the memory of the beloved Tita Cory." How? From any perspective, he was simply saying the funeral video was inappropriate to the game show.

Ricardo Lo of the Philippine Star made a half-assed defense, acknowledging Willie was correct but saying Willie was still "disrespectful." That reminds me, in the opposite way, of Louis Farrakhan defending one of his cronies with faint criticism: "While I stand by the truths that he spoke, I must condemn in the strongest terms the manner in which those truths were represented."

And here are 14448 idiots (and counting) who are "petitioning" online to have Willie removed. They're not calling for a voluntarily boycott of viewers, they're calling for government to step in! "I am calling the attention of the MTRCB to be more vigilant, so that this lowest form of personal attack by a tv showbiz talk show host, for her/his personal agenda, will not happen again"

This is the law he's being threatened with, Presidential Decree 1986, made on October 5, 1985, that created the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board. Previous government censorship wasn't sufficient, so they created a new body:
Section 3. Powers and Functions. - The BOARD shall have the following functions, powers and duties:

a) To promulgate such rules and regulations as are necessary or proper for the implementation of this Act, and the accomplishment of its purposes and objectives, including guidelines and standards for production, advertising and titles. Such rules and regulations shall take effect after fifteen (15) days following their publication in newspapers of general circulation in the Philippines;

b) To screen, review and examine all motion pictures as herein defined, television programs, including publicity materials such as advertisements, trailers and stills, whether such motion pictures and publicity materials be for theatrical or non-theatrical distribution, for television broadcast or for general viewing, imported or produced in the Philippines, and in the latter case, whether they be for local viewing or for export;

c) To approve or disapprove, delete objectionable portions from and/or prohibit the importation, exportation, production, copying, distribution, sale, lease, exhibition and/or television broadcast of the motion pictures, television programs and publicity materials subject of the preceding paragraph, which, in the judgment of the board applying contemporary Filipino cultural values as standard, are objectionable for being immoral, indecent, contrary to law and/or good customs, injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines or its people, or with a dangerous tendency to encourage the commission of violence or of wrong or crime, such as but not limited to:

i) Those which tend to incite subversion, insurrection, rebellion or sedition against the State, or otherwise threaten the economic and/or political stability of the State;

ii) Those which tend to undermine the faith and confidence of the people in their government and/or the duly constituted authorities;

iii) Those which glorify criminals or condone crimes;

iv) Those which serve no other purpose but to satisfy the market for violence or pornography;

v) Those which tend to abet the traffic in and use of prohibited drugs;

vi) Those which are libelous or defamatory to the good name and reputation of any person, whether living or dead; and

vii) Those which may constitute contempt of court or of any quasi-judicial tribunal, or pertain to matter which are sub-judice in nature.

Section 11. Penalty. - Any person who violates the provisions of this Decree and/or the implementing rules and regulations issued by the BOARD, shall, upon conviction, be punished by a mandatory penalty of three (3) months and one day to one (1) year imprisonment plus a fine of not less than fifty thousand pesos but not more than one hundred thousand pesos. The penalty shall apply whether the person shall have committed the violation either as principal, accomplice or accessory. If the offender is an alien, he shall be deported immediately. The license to operate the movie house, theater, or television station shall also be revoked. Should the offense be committed by a juridical person, the chairman, the president, secretary, treasurer, or the partner responsible therefore, shall be the persons penalized.
There you have raw, unadulterated tyranny in the guise of protecting public morality and people's good names. The board's chairman directly said, "It's really a violation of PD 1986 and the [Kapisanan ng Brodkaster ng Pilipinas] Code. He should have had respect. He should gone off air."

Notice the date: Marcos made the decree! In 24 years, Cory Aquino, Ramos, Estrada and Arroyo never so much as suggested repealing the law. And why not? Because they're all the same. Because no matter what post-Marcos presidents claim about "democracy," they will use Marcos' own methods of using government to silence anyone critical or "disrespectful." And Filipinos generally want to have so much "pride" in their country and famous kababayan (the equivalent of "paisan") that most of the lot think this is a good law. Remember how, in their blind worship, they spammed my blog and villified me on their own forums, just for daring to call someone "overrated." It's still a nation where you can hand out a few pesos apiece to children, and you'll instantly have a thousand protesters to make your cause look good.

Ayn Rand's observation is continually and everywhere proved true: "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power the government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws."

"Tita" Cory, bah. She was no more "Tita" to the nation than Mussolini was "Zio Benito" to his own. Does that mean I can never enter the Philippines again?

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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Jim Nicholson: now here's a real American hero

To hell with Key Bank. As of today, I'm glad they haven't had my business for years, and they'll never get it again until they apologize to Jim Nicholson and compensate him.
Seattle bank teller chases robber, loses job

SEATTLE — A Seattle bank teller has lost his job because he ran down a would-be bank robber and held him until police arrived. Jim Nicholson, 30, who had worked for more than two years at a Key Bank branch near the Seattle Center, says he understands the bank's strict policy that employees comply with robbery demands and avoid confrontations.

But he told The Seattle Times that instinct took over when a thin man in a beanie cap, dark clothing and sunglasses pushed a black backpack across the bank counter on Tuesday and demanded money.

Nicholson threw the bag to the floor, lunged toward the man and demanded to see a weapon. The man bolted for the door with Nicholson in pursuit.

He chased him several blocks before knocking him to the ground with the help of a passer-by. Nicholson then held the man until police arrived.

On Thursday, Nicholson was fired. Key Bank spokeswoman Anne Foster declined to comment on Nicholson and his actions.

Police and the FBI discourage such heroics. Bank tellers are trained to get robbers out the door quickly and are advised against possibly escalating a situation over money that's federally insured.

Nicholson said he understands why he was fired.

"They tell us that we're just supposed to comply, but my instincts kicked in and I did what's best to stop the guy," he said. "I thought if I let him go he would rob more banks and cause more problems."

Seattle police Sgt. Sean Whitcomb said the best course for citizens is to be good witnesses to crimes.

"When confronted by a violent criminal, it is best to comply unless they feel their personal safety is in jeopardy. It is possible that taking action and confronting the criminal may lead to the injury of the victim or other bystanders."

"You want tellers to be proactive, but you want them to do it safely," said FBI Special Agent Fred Gutt.

The would-be robber, a 29-year-old transient, has a lengthy criminal history, including convictions for theft and robbery, according to court records. Charges in the attempted robbery were not immediately filed.

Nicholson said he has run after shoplifters while working at other retail jobs.

"It's something I almost look forward to. It's a thrill and I'm an adrenaline-junkie person. It's the pursuit," he said.
Without a weapon, Nicholson saved the bank money, he saved the taxpayers money by doing what law enforcement couldn't have done (respond in time), and he didn't get hurt. Read what he said again: "I thought if I let him go he would rob more banks and cause more problems." He didn't fall for this fallacy that, "Oh, the money is federally insured, the taxpayers can just eat our losses!"

He should be getting the Employee of the Month parking spot and a special letter of commendation from the CEO, not a pink slip. Do you hear me, Henry L. Meyer III?

Good luck to you, Jim. It's small solace that potential employers now know you have the guts to defend yourself and your workplace.

No tears here for Cory Aquino

Aquino was sick for over a year and passed away Friday. I don't think so many Filipinos have cried together since Manny Pacquiao's 2005 loss to Erik Morales. But the truth is that tears are being shed unnecessarily for someone who did so much damage to that country.

I'm reminded of that line from "JFK": "They're bawling like they knew the man. Makes me want to puke." It's one thing to weep over someone you actually know, but the vast majority of Filipinos are weeping over someone whose "legacy" is nothing more than a fanciful construction. She was the Philippines' equivalent of Jimmy Carter: a seemingly "nice" person, pleasant in appearance, but incompetent, and forgettable except that she succeeded a completely corrupt president.

The housewife's only "qualification" to seek the Philippine presidency was that her husband, Benigno Aquino, then-president Ferdinand Marcos' chief rival, had been assassinated a few years earlier. It would have been fine had she done no more than lead the "People Power Revolution" that eventually toppled Marcos, step down disappear into private life. That would have been a legacy worth remembering, but she believed she could actually wield real power over people.

Her efforts at economic controls did nothing but set back what private progress struggled to achieve in the post-war years. Marcos' attempts to force rapid development were bad enough, taxing the productive (and borrowing from foreigners) to "invest" in his pet projects, but Aquino did much the same thing. Her "land reform" purported to break up the huge lands held by the "oligarchy" and redistribute them to the lower classes, but history had already proven by 1986 the inevitable disastrous results of central planning. Moreover, as oppressive as the wealthiest Filipino landowners have been for centuries (mini-tyrants during Spanish colonial rule, and corrupt today via vote-buying), the "reforms" also targeted honest families who happened to amass more than a few hectares. So this was hardly "taking back from the rich what they stole from the poor."

Her Executive Order 229 of July 22, 1987 implemented the "Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program" of her earlier Presidential Proclamation 131. History had already proven the inevitable disastrous results of central planning, but Aquino had promised "agrarian reform," and her administration thought they could devise a way. Department Administrative Order #3, issued in October 1987, required compulsory registration of lands and estimated production. The only purpose for a government to know such things is so that it can exercise control; nothing less. It also included the onerous provision: "The citizenry, in general, and farmer's organizations and other non-governmental organizations in particular, will be encouraged to participate in the campaign, particularly in creating social pressurs on those who, intentionally or otherwise, do not register or declare false information."

Then Republic Act 6657, passed on June 10, 1988, applied reforms to all lands, including privately owned land: the landowner would be "allowed" to keep five hectares (about 12 and a third acres), and each child over 15 who was actively working or managing the land could keep three hectares. The government would let the families choose which sections of the land -- how gracious!

Then there's the price tag, originally set at 50 billion pesos -- approximately U.S. $2.4 billion, a huge amount for such an impoverished country! The money was needed partially for administration, and mainly to "compensate" landowners (hence the registration requirements mentioned above) for what was seized. How did Aquino propose to pay for it? No problem, because her people had a plan: recipients of the land transfers would have to buy the land outright, via 30-year loans at 6% interest from the government. The government would be making money there, and Aquino's administration figured that any losses could be covered by...foreign aid!

The Philippines still suffers today. Current president Arroyo has her windmills, and she's destroyed food production by encouraging ethanol: farmers are turning from rice and vegetables to sugarcane, which would otherwise not be as profitable, but now Arroyo's government is giving them money. Is it any wonder that sugar and rice production have gotten worse, forcing the Philippines to import both? It's true: the Philippines must import sugar, and it's the biggest rice importer among Asian countries. It's not just the growing population, or the lower production compared to American farms with advanced machinery. It's all the government intervention, from "encouraging" less profitable industries to outright property seizure. Similar to Zimbabwe, the government "redistributed" land to those who didn't know the first thing about managing agriculture. Because government placed its own valuations on land, people could no longer make a rational decision between, say, continuing to plant sugarcane or building a house.

Even so, there were ways around the land redistribution. A family could incorporate its holdings and then transfer shares of stock in lieu of giving up actual land. By transferring no more than a minority of the shares outstanding, the family could retain effective control. Aquino's own family, the powerful Cojuangcos, were the first to use this trick. Suits were filed against them, but the Philippine courts conveniently dismissed the litigation. Meanwhile, the smaller, still-wealthy families had neither the loopholes nor the political connections to preserve their holdings. "Reform," then, was a perfect means for the biggest landowners to drive out their mid-size competitors.

And yet this woman is being remembered, and will probably be remembered for decades to come, as incorruptible and some sort of saint. Unbelievably, she's been compared to Joan of Arc.

Millions of Filipinos will disagree with this, and they won't want to hear this, but the truth hurts.

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Saturday, August 01, 2009

State-worshipping conservatives: "But the law says so!"

Here's McQ's take on the so-called "Birthers." Well, I think "Birthers" are crazy, but not for the common reason. I think they're so crazed about removing Obama from office on the basis of being unqualified, when instead they should focus on his immoral actions being the reason to remove him from office. Does it matter if he was born in Kenya, or Hawaii, or on the moon, when he's set out to destroy this country?

It's Obama's own actions that created the issue. (He could have done it deliberately as a distraction, or so he could paint his detractors with a broad brush, but that's another topic.) The only copy of his birth certificate that I've seen was the original posted online, which was debunked as fake, and now all we have is a copy. I could accept it as "good enough" on its own merits, except that even these conservatives are falling back to, "But the state of Hawaii's laws says it has the full weight of an original, and the COLB says it's genuine, SO THEREFORE IT MUST BE REAL, NYAH NYAH!!!" (That's a parody of what he said, but only a mild one. That is the essence of his argument and his attitude toward others.)

In science, this is called "begging the question." Most people misuse that phrase when they should be saying "This begets the question," as in to say something produces a question. The true definition of "begging the question" means to form a circular argument where the original premise is now assumed to be true. In other words, this absurd idea that because a purported copy of Obama's birth certificate says it's true, therefore it must be true. And because the state of Hawaii's laws says it is as genuine as the original, therefore it must be true.

Good lord, with state-worshipping conservatives like this, who needs liberals? I'm not arguing either way: the birth certificate could be real, it could be fake. I started by trying to do this putz a favor, correcting him on the U.S. Code and also pointing out that he should judge a document on its own merits, not rely on "the law" to declare something as truth. Apparently he considers this "sophistry" and wanted to devolve the discussion from there.

What does it matter if "the law" says something is true? Since when in history has "the law" ever been inherently right? If something is true, then it can be proven on its own merits, not just because the state declares it.

As Thomas Jefferson said, "It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. Subject opinion to coercion: whom will you make your inquisitors? Fallible men; men governed by bad passions, by private as well as public reasons."

As I said,
Considering I’ve had police and a DA lie about me in their “official documents,” and magistrates and their clerks bear false witness against me AND threaten me arbitrarily with incarceration, you’ll kindly excuse me for ascribing zero face value to any government documents.

I’m not stating this about Obama’s birth certificate (including the lack of an original). I’m stating it as a general principle.
Does it matter if Obama was born in Hawaii or Kenya? It's his actions that define him as the antithesis of everything about the word "American." As far as I'm concerned, he's virtually the Beast described in Revelation that he might as well have been born of a jackal.