Aug 312010
 

(UPDATED BELOW)

We hear a lot about barbarism and backwardness and bloodthirstiness among the nations of the Middle East, where violent religious extremists are praised and supported — and often hold state power. A lot of this is hype and misinformation, of course, but sometimes it’s all too true. From the Guardian:

An Israeli army officer who fired the entire magazine of his automatic rifle into a 13-year-old Palestinian girl and then said he would have done the same even if she had been three years old was acquitted on all charges by a military court yesterday. ...

The soldier, who has only been identified as "Captain R", was charged with relatively minor offences for the killing of Iman al-Hams who was shot 17 times as she ventured near an Israeli army post near Rafah refugee camp in Gaza a year ago.

The manner of Iman’s killing, and the revelation of a tape recording in which the captain is warned that she was just a child who was "scared to death", made the shooting one of the most controversial since the Palestinian intifada erupted five years ago even though hundreds of other children have also died.

… The military court cleared the soldier of illegal use of his weapon, conduct unbecoming an officer and perverting the course of justice by asking soldiers under his command to alter their accounts of the incident.  …

The army’s official account said that Iman was shot for crossing into a security zone carrying her schoolbag which soldiers feared might contain a bomb. It is still not known why the girl ventured into the area but witnesses described her as at least 100 yards from the military post which was in any case well protected.

A recording of radio exchanges between Capt R and his troops obtained by Israeli television revealed that from the beginning soldiers identified Iman as a child.
In the recording, a soldier in a watchtower radioed a colleague in the army post’s operations room and describes Iman as "a little girl" who was "scared to death". After soldiers first opened fire, she dropped her schoolbag which was then hit by several bullets establishing that it did not contain explosive. At that point she was no longer carrying the bag and, the tape revealed, was heading away from the army post when she was shot. ….

Palestinian witnesses said they saw the captain shoot Iman twice in the head, walk away, turn back and fire a stream of bullets into her body.

On the tape, Capt R then "clarifies" to the soldiers under his command why he killed Iman: "This is commander. Anything that's mobile, that moves in the [security] zone, even if it's a three-year-old, needs to be killed."

At no point did the Israeli troops come under attack.

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Aug 312010
 

“Since the FDA only has jurisdiction over compounds involved in ‘interstate commerce,’ they have no jurisdiction over our kitchens—yet. Should my client lose this case, however, the FDA will have set a precedent to invade the privacy of our homes.”

- Attorney Nancy Lord, M.D.

Daniel Smith is between the proverbial “rock and a hard place.” For the last couple of years, he has been selling “MMS Professional,” a high-quality sodium chlorite solution used to purify water. He has also been selling citric acid, a food acid similar to that found in lime or lemon juice.

Daniel also sold books, CDs and DVDs produced by others that explained how mixing sodium chlorite and citric acid produce chlorine dioxide, a chemical commonly used to purify water. Chlorine dioxide also is an effective mouthwash (Compendium of Continuing Education in Dentistry Vol.21, pp. 241-248, 2000).

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Aug 312010
 

A couple of weeks ago, David Boaz discussed the Old Testament story in which the people of Israel ask Samuel for a king to rule over them. God’s instructions to Samuel can be summed up as “tell them to be careful of what you wish for.” David brought up the passage in the context of civil liberties, but the story’s lesson also applies to economic liberties.  

Over the past eighty years, the public has become conditioned in times of crisis to turn to their rulers and demand that they “do something.” That the rulers had a hand in the crisis is all too often either unrecognized or it’s a secondary concern. As Robert Higgs demonstrated in his seminal book, Crisis and Leviathan, the rulers will willingly oblige the public and, in the process, come away with more power and control than they had prior to the crisis. Unfortunately, the rulers’ enhanced authority begets more crises in the future. 

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Aug 302010
 

Sometimes editors like to have fun with their writers — like this week when my editor at the Charleston City Paper declared that controversial Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and yours truly are actually the same person. Explains Chris Haire:

“You want proof? Well here goes: As you know, Rauf is the guy behind the so-called Ground Zero mosque. Not surprisingly, Sean Hannity doesn’t like him. On his Monday afternoon radio show, Hannity played an audiotape of Rauf, one which Sean believes proves just how anti-American the imam is … The funny thing is, the main point that Hannity offers as an example of Rauf’s virulent anti-Americanism is more or less the same point that the City Paper’s own Jack Hunter has been saying for years now … . Namely that the United States has killed more innocent Muslims than Al Qaeda has killed innocent Americans.”

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Aug 302010
 

In the introduction to Capitalism and Freedom, Milton Friedman complained of the perversion of the word “liberalism,” which early in the 20th century underwent a shift in meaning from a philosophy favoring free markets and individual liberty to a philsophy favoring government intervention to guarantee individual security. He quoted Joseph Schumpeter’s statement that the enemies of the system of free enterprise had appropriated its label.

This is true in a sense which Friedman perhaps did not intend. Most people who call themselves “liberal” these days are, indeed, hardly friends of free enterprise. But if Friedman meant to imply that liberal Democrats are uniquely hostile to free markets, among political movements in the American mainstream, he was mistaken.

In fact, any time you hear a politician on C-SPAN or a wonk on one of the talking head shows praise “our free enterprise system” or “our free market system,” you can be morally certain the words are being spoken by an enemy of free enterprise and free markets.

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Aug 292010
 

Domestic violence
Sex/Rape
Child sex
Stealing money
DUI, Drinking and Drugs
Tazering
Murder/Death
Plain text is all the violent action they do and anything else.

August 21

Petersburg WV hires policeman accused of sexual assault in neighboring town

Ypsilanti MI man dies after being tasered (video)

Kingwood WV trooper was placed on administrative leave for a domestic-violence investigation

August 22

Boston MA transit police officer placed on paid leave on allegations that he assaulted a transit employee

Indianapolis IN police asst chief, deputy chief & homeland sec cmdr demoted for mishandling cop’s fatal on-duty crash

Newport TN officer fired after exposing himself to two women

Saline County IL Chief Deputy arrested for sexual assault and official misconduct of a 17 year old girl

Freeport IL sheriff’s deputy is accused of visiting with a woman and working a second job all while on duty

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Aug 292010
 

The video above was taken by a surveillance camera maintained by police in Denver, Colorado last year.

Michael DeHerrera (Source: DenverPost.com)

Michael DeHerrera (Source: DenverPost.com)

The video shows Officer Devin Sparks brutally slamming a young man named Michael DeHerrera to the ground. After the take-down, the camera pans away, but the officer can still be seen repeatedly striking DeHerrera with an object that the Denver Post later identified as “a department-issued piece of metal wrapped in leather.” After the beating, the officer violently lifts a barely-conscious DeHerrera up then lets him fall back to the ground. He then picks him up again and drags him to his police cruiser. After forcing Dehererra into the back seat, the officer appears to slam the car door on him several times.

In his police report, Officer Sparks justified his brutal attack on DeHerrera by claiming that he “spun to his left attempting to strike me with a closed right fist,” however, the video proves that this was an outright fabrication.

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Aug 292010
 

You have two assholes. One is a citizen, he’s got the right to be an asshole. They other is a public servant. He doesn’t (or shouldn’t) have the right to be an asshole.

You can read about it here.

One thing I learned from this article. That property rights are more important with your free speech rights.

You can read about it here.

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Aug 272010
 

“The sleekest revolutions,” notes Barry Lynn, “are won not at the barricades but in the dictionary.” To control the terms of a debate is to control the outcome. This is certainly true of the term “free market,” a term which has come to mean almost its opposite, and hence a system which is manifestly unfree. The claim that our markets are not free is a serious one, and should only be made on serious evidence, just the kind of evidence that Barry Lynn provides in Cornered: The New Monopoly Capitalism and the Economics of Destruction.

The surest sign that a market is free is that it is competitive; there should be a rich variety of products provided by a vast number of firms, a situation which affords entrepreneurs many opportunities to enter the market and workers many places to sell their labor. And when we waltz into our local Wal-mart, that is what we seem to see. Alas, it is an illusion of competition rather than the reality. For example, if you want eyeglasses, you can go to Pearl Vision, or Lenscrafters, Sears Optical, JC Penney, Target, Macy’s, Sunglass Hut, or buy frames from 25 different manufacturers. Surely choice and competition prevail in this market. But no. All of these are one company, the Italian conglomerate Luxottica. And as with glasses, so also with so many other products. Most of our beer—even some that try to pass themselves off as “craft” beer—is provided by just two companies, ImBev of Belgium or the South African Brewing Company. Proctor & Gamble provides 75% of razors, 60% of detergent, 50% of feminine pads, etc. Even what few companies remain in each market often engage in collusion rather than competition. Wal-mart, for example, appoints one company as a “category manager” to allocate shelf space for all the “competing” companies.

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Aug 272010
 

In the grand scheme of history, in the great wash of the collective American cosmos, in the midst of the day to day howls and earth rattles of towering financial and political giants, many of us tend to see ourselves as “the little people”. We consider ourselves inconsequential in the wake of epic events that appear to rise and fall like irregular tides and determined by some frenetic force of chance; a great cultural roulette wheel. In fact, we are often encouraged to emulate this belief. Better to roll with the river of difficult times than to fight against the current in a fruitless attempt at changing its direction. Better to let more important and more powerful men blaze the trails that we will later follow, right…?

Human beings have a strange attachment to the concept of the “decision makers vs. the decision followers”, even in the U.S. The Declaration of Independence was meant to herald the birth of a society which dissolved the separation between the rulers and those who are ruled. Our country was built upon the premise that every citizen has a right to participate in the making of his own providence, to play a part in the decisions that directly or indirectly affect his future. Of course, those were the days when average Americans saw themselves as giants, as innovators of history, not as little people.

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