Saturday, March 17, 2012

30 Seconds to Destroy Democracy

All tyranny needs to gain a foothold
is for people of good conscience to remain silent.

Thomas Jefferson

Author's Note: Regardless of your position on the Presidential candidacy of Dr. Ron Paul, I believe you will find this attack on the democratic process profoundly disturbing. If the rule of law means nothing at the lowest levels of the political process in America, how can we expect it to have meaning at the highest? Please share this column with everyone you know. Our silence grants a foothold to tyranny.

If you believe that democracy is still alive and well in the United States, I invite you to watch the video below. In less than 30 seconds, from the call for the vote to the closing of the convention, you'll see an attack on democracy intended to destroy the will of the people, bringing to mind Jimmy Doolittle's 30 seconds over Tokyo, intended to destroy the will of a different people. This Tireless Agorist is sure that just as the raid on Tokyo provided a morale boost for the American people, the Athens-Clarke County Republican Party establishment got a boost in their morale from believing they had successfully completed their raid on democracy.

But just as Doolittle's raid strengthened the resolve of the Japanese people, so too has this action strengthened the resolve of those who expect their voices to be heard through peaceful, democratic means and the rule of law.

Shocker: Hybrid Cars Stalled

First Shocker: General Motors has announced it will idle production of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid for five weeks because of slow sales, in spite of efforts to boost the vehicle's consumer appeal. The shutdown begins March 19th and ends April 23. Approximately 1,300 workers at the Hamtramck, Michigan factory will be out of work for that period.

The Volt was launched with great fanfare last year, but has suffered a rocky start with sales far below projections. Its primary purpose has been to serve as a lightning rod for critics of the Obama administration's auto-industry bailout and concurrent emphasis on alternative energy. It's also a fine example of crony capitalism at its best.

The company currently has an inventory of more than 6,000 Volts on hand. At current sales volumes, that represents almost a six month's supply.
The world's No. 1 automaker sold just 7,671 Volts last year. Some 1,203 Volts were sold last month, about double the number for January, but well below December's total of 1,529.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Rise of the Phoenix Society

In the first column in this series, The Apolitical Economic Superpower, we discussed the rapid growth of the untaxed, unregulated economy. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), it already provides an estimated 50% of the world's jobs. And in only eight short years, they estimate that two out of three workers world-wide will be employed in jobs outside the control of government, in the apolitical economy that this article from Foreign Policy refers to as System D.
By 2020, the OECD projects, two-thirds of the workers of the world will be employed in System D. There's no multinational, no Daddy Warbucks or Bill Gates, no government that can rival that level of job creation. Given its size, it makes no sense to talk of development, growth, sustainability, or globalization without reckoning with System D.

Beware the Ides of March

Caesar, beware the Ides of March... a day for all the world's autocrats, despots and grandees to ponder the consequences of their deeds.
Salman Rushdie, today, on Twitter

Salman Rushdie's tweet seems an appropriate call to this Tireless Agorist to recap those articles I've published that address autocrats, despots and grandees, and the consequences of their deeds. I'll even throw in a column or two that offers some hope for the future. I've categorized the articles for your convenience. The groupings are just rough approximations; some essays may fit in more than one category.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

California's Broken Sex Registry

Meet Joe. Joe is a convicted sex offender. He will remain on the California Sex Offender Registry for the rest of his life. His crime? Consensual sex with the woman who is now his wife. He was convicted of statutory rape, defined as lewd and lascivious acts with a child, because he had sex with his underage girlfriend.

Her parents found out about their relationship and chose to press charges. She was just shy of 16. He was 18. After his jail term, and the three-year period when they were not allowed to see each other for fear of his reincarceration, they were married. They are still married ten years later. Joe and his wife deal with the issue every day. They've had to put a restraining order on a neighbor who was constantly harrassing him. Because registered sex offenders are not allowed to live within 2000 feet of a school or a park, even finding a place to live was extremely difficult. Joe and his wife now live in a trailer park, and Joe hasn't been able to find a stable job since he was required to register.

"We're together, we're married, he did everything he was supposed to do... and it's sad to live this way. I'm scared all the time." says Joe's wife. Having been declared a victim by the state, she is still being victimized by the state ten years later.

A Government Big Enough...

A government big enough to give you everything you need,
is a government big enough to take away everything that you have.

Gerald R. Ford, 38th President of the United States, August 12, 1974.

According to a report just released by the Congressional Budget Office, the cost of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has almost doubled, from $940 billion to $1.76 trillion, in just two and a half short years. Dial the way-back machine to September 9, 2009, and listen to President Obama.
Now, add it all up, and the plan I'm proposing will cost around $900 billion over 10 years -- less than we have spent on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and less than the tax cuts for the wealthiest few Americans that Congress passed at the beginning of the previous administration.
It's also very unlikely that this is the end of the story. In 1966, when Medicare was just a glimmer in power-hungry politician's eyes, the government projected that Medicare would cost $12 billion in 1990. The actual tab was $110 billion, falling just short of a factor of ten miscalculation.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Today I Beat Up Your Mom

There's apparently nothing in the world better for one's self-righteous pride than verbally threatening and mentally beating up on an older white lady who's enabling your sense of privilege, at least if you're of the mindset of the author of this Daily Kos "Diary."
"If you say one more fucking thing I'll go find your manager and all three of us can discuss this."

At that, she suddenly deflated. Now the look in her eyes was fear. She looked down and meekly mumbled "Ok. Sorry sir."

I left then, proud of myself and still full of anger.
The Diary of DuzT, cleverly titled "Today I told off a cashier who was trashing the president," is a poster-child example of Dr. Michael Huemer's essay that we recently discussed in Why People Are Irrational About Politics. Thanks, DuzT.