Cawnpore and Perseus in Print. Buy a Book, Get the eBook Free from Amazon

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Cawnpore and Perseus are now available in the Createspace eStore and on Amazon.com (and other bookstores.) Buy a physical copy of either from Amazon, get the eBook free.

Coming soon: Hercules, the not-a-sequel to Perseus.

CA Schools Suck So Bad Their DoE Expunged Test Scores So You Wouldn’t See

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EdSource is highlighting the deleting of 15 years of standardized test score data by California’s Department of Education, in a desperate attempt to avoid people seeing what an unmitigated disaster Common Core has been. they’ve pulled test results for math and English from 1998, expunged the STAR (Standardized Testing and Reporting) database. They haven’t touched other subjects, like history, where the standards haven’t altered.

There’s one reason for this: the test scores are going to suck like a ten-penny whore. Badly. A lot. And they knew it would — in 2013, the Superintendent of of Public Instruction, pushed for a law that would prevent the state from comparing test results prior to the implementation of Common Core and the CAASPP California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress.

The CC supporters tell us that’s because the stardards are more rigorous and the tests “harder” It’s not fair to compare them. Except it is. Test scores have remained steady for decades, despite huge influxes of funding from the federal government. Money isn’t solving anything, but it has built massive public education bureaucracies that fail the children at every step.

As for the rigor and difficulty…having neices and nephews dealing with this technocratically-created collection of bullshit, the tests are certainly harder. The amount of homework is crushing and will lead students to learn less as they give up or get bored. The teachers have zero ability to tailor their lessons and they spend more time doing paperwork and “teaching the test.” And the whole time, Microsoft, Pearson, and EDS are making tons of money while your kids fail.

Listen to Some Cabbies Whine About Losing Their Monopoly

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Uber! The bogeyman of the medallion holder.

Like every industry, if you get the hell out of peoples’ ways, they create new, better, and usually cheaper ways of doing things. those who already are in the market don’t like competition, and they’re not shy about locking you out of working to protect their positions.

So…How’s That Drug War Going?

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Great — if you’re a drug dealer!

Slow Motion Economic Collapse Underway

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The stock markets in the “emerging” world are imploding, their commodity prices are shriveling (a boon for consumers, but a disaster for those lenders and marketeers that bet on them), and they are up to their asses in US loans they won’t be able to pay back (shade of the Latin America collapse of the 1980s, and the Asian implosion of the 1990s…)  Greece is a money pit that the Germans can’t fill, but the Bundesmorons feel that their people can be soaked for another €13 billion (to start.) China’s currency is falling apart and it’s GDP has been based on bogus construction projects, and foreign manufacturers shipping jobs to that country.

Central banks — which snatched control of the markets after the 2007 collapse and have worked tirelessly to prop up the real estate and banking communities at the expense of their citizens — have put to much easy credit in play to people and companies which cannot pay, and have artificially inflated the value of US assets for longer than the last two bubbles that wrecked the global economy (see the Great Depression and dotcom bubble for more on that…) Then there’s this…

And of course most of the major stock market crashes in U.S. history have been in the fall.  Just go back and take a look at what happened in 1929, 1987, 2001 and 2008.

Zero Hedge, admittedly, tends to the apocalyptic in their analyses, but here, they’re not wrong: 23 different markets around the world have tanked, and several of those very important — China, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand are all very important to the cheap production Western companies have been using to lower their costs. Brazil, Peru, and Chile are going to drag an already weakened continent down. Much of the former Eastern Bloc is taking a dump, as well.

It’s only a matter of time before these interlocking events blow a hole in the developed world’s economies. And September — that month most crashes start in — is only a few weeks away.

Boston Police Commissioner Wants to Ban Filming Police

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The Bay State Examiner is reporting on an interview the Boston police commission, William Evans, in which he “…whined about people who record the police, even going so far as to call for a new law that would criminalize the act of recording a police officer while standing within a certain distance of them.”

The desire to restrict the simple human right of free speech or assembly is nothing new for the political class — even founder John Adams, while president, passed the odious Alien and Sedition Acts to quiet his political opponents, Woodrow Wilson brought the same thin skin to World War I, and HUAC and the McCarthy inquiries all tried to quiet dissent or unwanted political speech. Evans is just the latest in a long line of would-be aristocrats that hope to protect their privileged positions by quieting, disarming, and arresting people without due process.

To be fair: Would you want to be photographed if you looked like a corpse returned to life?

To be fair: Would you want to be photographed if you looked like a corpse returned to life?

Not that it’s likely to help, but here’s the contact information for Boston’s mayor. Maybe it’s time a guy who ignores his oath of office to be booted.

Phone: 617.635.4500, email: mayor@boston.gov

Di Feinstein and Susan Collins Go After Small Cosmetics Companies

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I suspect they got lifetime beauty products from Big Beauty…but it’s really not gonna help ladies.

Are Libertarians The Only Real “Left” In America?

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Jeff Riggenbach makes a very good claim to that notion in Why I Am a Left Libertarian in which he charts the differences between authoritarian/totalitarian political views vs. the individualist, liberal views of libertarianism.

I was very fond of this particular passage:

Some libertarians are in the habit of saying, “We libertarians are neither Right nor Left; we are libertarians.”  But no matter how emphatically they thump their chests while saying this, they’re wrong.  They have allowed themselves to be deceived and misled by a political confidence game foisted on the American electorate beginning in the 1930s, when an opportunistic demagogue named Franklin Delano Roosevelt began passing off as the newest kind of “liberalism” a package of homilies and government programs that had traditionally been presented to the American public by the Republican Party, the party of big business, the party that was in favor of capitalism but opposed to the free market.  Roosevelt’s “New Deal” consisted mainly of government programs introduced by his Republican predecessor, Herbert Hoover, laced with a generous dose of the bribery of the electorate first popularized by Otto von Bismarck.  Some will object that conservatives have historically been for individual liberty and free markets, but this view is uninformed and ahistorical.  The Republicans who opposed the New Deal opposed it mostly because they weren’t running it themselves; they took their libertarian rhetoric from true liberals, the classical liberals who are labeled “the Old Right” today by the historically confused.  These people, many of them publicists like H.L. Mencken, Albert Jay Nock, and Isabel Patterson, had joined the Republicans after being forced out of the Democratic party, apparently in the belief that only by doing so could they oppose FDR’s policies.  The party adopted their rhetoric, but they employ it only to dupe that subset of the electorate that cares about such things; then, once in power, they do as FDR did, the precise opposite of what they claimed to believe in.

 

Quote of the Day: Otto von Bismarck

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My idea was to bribe the working class, or shall I say, to win them over, to regard the state as a social institution existing for their sake and interested in their welfare…

Otto von Bismarck, Chancellor of the German Empire (1871-1890)

…and the Progressives (the first of these having been trained in aristocratic English and German universities) continue this traditional of bilking the public to give them the scraps off the table.

No Property Rights Do Not Restrict Liberty…They Are ESSENTIAL To It

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Here’s an excellent analysis and response to Matt Bruenig’s purposefully obtuse Why Have Property At All? by David S D’Amato. At the heart of the argument is the idea that private property is inherently “mnopolistic” and hence restricts freedom by disallowing use of said things by all.

It sounds great, except it’s rubbish. Even in a communist society, property is held by something or someone — the state, the Party, the bureaucracy. Remember that initiall, the Russian revolutionaries were going to give the farms to the serfs that had worked them, but instead snagged everything they could to state control, so that the apparatchik’s could benefit from them…and they continue to today, in the kleptocratic, fascist economy of modern Russia. They just call themselves “businessmen” now.

At the heart of the issue is the notion of ownership — all people have one piece of property that should never be stripped from them: their body. Their living corpus is their first piece of property, and all other property proceeds from the use of this body and mind. The money you earn, the things you buy, are all manifestations of your labor or invention. Private property helps to ensure the survival of that primal piece of property, the body your consciousness inhabits.

Clothing, food or the means to get it (weapons), a house, a parcel of land to farm or use — these are all elements necessary to the survival of the human being. Property is, therefore, an extension of yourself — something any five year old understands.

The idea that coercion is always used to obtain property is Bruenig’s main strawman here, and it is a demonstrably false proposition. Were he right, you wouldn’t buy property, you would be murdering someone in ritual combat to gain your fiefdom. In the past, that is certainly a valid criticism, and the aristocracy based on violence and coercion was a major foil for early capitalist thought, was Adam Smith’s main point of criticism, and remains — in the form of the political class today — an antagonist to libertarians everywhere. Bruenig’s fallacious premise shows his true stripes — the acadenic who sides with government intervention and theft because, as an “expert”, he views himself as part of that ruling class, however unconsciously.

D’Amato addresses the notion that property is monopolistic very well:

Libertarians unreservedly agree with Bruenig that true liberty cannot mean an economically privileged group “fencing off” resources, forcibly excluding and thereby starving everyone around them. We come, perhaps, to the heart of the matter: Since we cannot avoid the fact of assigning ownership rights in society, we must ask what kinds of property rights best serve the primary goal—maximizing the freedom of all individuals, while ensuring that no one can transgress the legitimate sphere of sovereignty rightfully surrounding each other individual. When is property actually “liberty-infringing” (as so worries Bruenig), and when is it a just and proper defense of an individual’s rights? It is this line—the one that divides defensive force from aggressive or invasive force—that interests libertarians and informs our practical prescriptions as regard property.

The trade in property — from garments made or food farmed, to iPads and cell phones, to automobiles, and ultimately, real estate — are cooperative in nature, and the ability to find profit or solace in an object or place, is imperative to self-incentive. The notion that stealing land or products from someone is central to a political philosophy that views coercion as wrong shows a misunderstanding of these ideals, or is actively seeking to mischaracterize them. (I feel the latter is the much more likely motivation.)

All of the events that might be used to characterize capitalism’s “evils” were usually mercantilistic in nature — from the slave trade, which was initiated by the rulers of various tribes and Portugal; to the homesteading of the American West and Australia; to the confiscation and reallocation of property in communist countries — these were the policies of a political class…aristocrats, if you will, who sought personal or national profit from the theft. A perfect example would be Andrew Jackson’s removal of the Cherokee out of prime Georgia land despite the Supreme Court finding for the property rights of the tribe.

States hide behind their monopoly of the legitimacy of force to engage in the sorts of monopolistic use of resources that Bruenig is accusing the average person of. Save you don’t have this monopoly on force; you have to prove the legitimacy of force you initiate — be it using deadly force to defend yourself, or when taking someone’s property or money without their consent.

Property rights manifest when people acknowledge someone’s legitimate right to exclusive use, either because the object in question was made, loaned, or purchased by the possessor. This acknowledgement requires cooperation. To have your ownership recognized comes with the requirement that you reciprocate with the others in society.

The mischaracterization of libertarian thought has become trendy, of late, because it does stimulate liberty and self-actualization — something that aristocrats fear, as it reduces their power, and in some ways more importantly, their sense of exclusivity. Those that support these “elites” often self-identify, or are dependent on these worthies, and will fervently defend the system that protects them.

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