Wotka World Wide

Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt shut down the internet completely at 12:34 am on Friday morning. Kinda scary, but that is life under a dictatorship, even one allied with the US. Hopefully this will remind people why we don't need such a thing here. There is no good reason to shut down communications. Unless you want control.
A Hollywood film about the gulag and the horrors of Stalinism, directed by Peter Weir? Maybe some people are finally realizing that the Nazis weren't the only evil ones.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Obama nominates RIAA lawyer for Solicitor General. Well, at least he has great practice grinding the little guy into the ground, so he should be a natural fit defending an overweight bureaucracy. I'm wondering when the twenty-somethings that fawned over Obama early on will realize the fact that he is not really supporting any of their natural interests, but rather those of big business. I don't expect too many journalists to actually point this out though...
More Climategate shenanigans from the supposedly independent inquiries, each of which featured outright climate change advocates on their review boards while asserting that nothing improper occurred. However, British MPs aren't buying the cover-up, and from the looks of the comments, neither are the people.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jacob Sullum recently had yet another excellent piece on the drive to regulate political speech:

The over-the-top reactions to Citizens United reflect a view of corporations as giant, soulless automatons that are fine for producing goods and services in a regulated environment but bound to wreak havoc if let loose in the halls of political power. That view obscures the fact that corporations, no matter how large or profit-driven, are by definition associations of individuals who have joined together for a common purpose. It also misleadingly suggests that behemoths such as Wal-Mart and Exxon Mobil are typical corporations, when in fact the vast majority of the 6 million or so corporations registered in the United States are small businesses or nonprofits.

“In 2010 almost everything is incorporated,” notes Allison Hayward, a former George Mason University law professor who recently became vice president of policy at the Center for Competitive Politics, which favors deregulation of political speech. “Anything you want to do as a group with other people—apart from the context where partnerships might work, like practicing law—you’re going to do through a corporate form of some kind.” Civil society, including churches, charitable organizations, and grassroots political groups of every interest and ideology, consists largely of corporations.

For an illustration, one need look no further than the case the Supreme Court decided. Citizens United, founded by the conservative activist Floyd Brown in 1988, is not a huge corporation seeking subsidies or permission to pollute. It is a nonprofit, ideological organization with an annual budget of $12 million that wanted to run a documentary about Hillary Clinton on pay-per-view TV. It was forbidden to do so, under threat of fine and imprisonment, because a) Clinton was running for the Democratic presidential nomination, and b) the documentary made her look bad. The movie therefore violated the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, a.k.a. McCain-Feingold, which banned “electioneering communications,” defined as TV or radio ads sponsored by unions or corporations that mention a candidate for federal office within 30 days of a primary or 60 days of a general election.

Contrary to all the rhetoric about corporations drowning out the voice of the people, corporations are the voice of the people—people who pool their resources because they hate Hillary Clinton, love the rainforest, worry about the national debt, support gay marriage, think abortion is murder, oppose gun control, or even believe that corporations have too much influence on politics. McCain-Feingold told these groups they were not allowed to talk about their issues close to an election if the discussion happened to mention any politicians running for federal office.

It is long, but read the whole thing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Americans are playing checkers while the Chinese play grandmaster chess:
Every deal to tap the vast Chinese market comes with a requirement that they turn over their technology to the Chinese: nuclear plants, green energy products, autos will be made by American companies in China –until the Chinese complete construction of their copycat plants. The initial orders satisfy the American executives, their eyes focused on the next quarterly report. The Chinese, their eyes focused on 2020 and beyond, know that the technology in hand, they can duplicate the factories and techniques needed to dispense with the American capitalists. Westinghouse Electric recently turned over 75,000 documents to its Chinese customers as the initial part of the technology transfer to which it agreed as part of a deal to sell four nuclear plants to China. Nothing seems to have changed since Lenin observed, “The capitalists will sell us the rope with which we will hang them.”
Read the whole thing.
Cool map from The Economist comparing state economies to world countries.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Great article from the Weekly Standard on Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Bob Corker and the value of becoming highly knowledgeable on certain subjects to affect change in that area.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

New Obamacare restrictions ending construction at 45 doctor-owned hospitals? Is anyone surprised by things like this being in the bill? I expect more and more stories like this every day...
Jacob Sullum highlights the craziness of Western advocates for China's one child policy, along with the attendant barbarism that accompanies enforcement:
The tools that Chinese officials use to enforce this policy include "family planning contracts," birth permits, gynecological surveillance, fines that may amount to several years of income, denial of employment and government services, and forced abortions, sterilizations, and IUD insertions. CHRD finds that enforcement is wildly uneven, varying from one jurisdiction to another and over time in the same jurisdiction. While women in some parts of the country may get away with bearing an "over-quota" child by paying a fine, elsewhere women in the eighth or ninth month of pregnancy are abducted so their not-quite-born children can be killed and extracted. Areas where limits on family size are flouted for years with impunity may be suddenly subject to crackdowns in which population control officials use fines, property seizures, beatings, arbitrary detention, and kidnapping of relatives to whip people into line.
Yet another reason to be thankful that we live in a free country. The arbitrariness of the policy only underscores the tyranny under which the Chinese live. But problems like these never bother fans of enlightened despotism like Thomas Friedman and his ilk. Funny that they don't seem to be rushing to move there or even volunteering to follow similar restrictions on their own families.
Environmental water controls are causing massive unemployment in California's Central Valley, all over protecting an endangered bait fish. The best thing this country could do to jump-start the economy would be to halt unilateral environmental acts like this by the EPA and the judiciary. Unelected people shouldn't be making these decisions without some form of review and accountability. However, yuppie Californians would rather have a quarter of the state unemployed and going hungry so they can feel like they are helping the environment. As long as it doesn't directly affect their lifestyles...