Anonymous vs. Mexican Drug Gang

As darkness draws near, a decentralized group of nerd-superheros is here…

This is pretty badass. Anonymous makes a pretty bold statement to the violent and “don’t wanna fuck with them” Zetas.

Anonymous - the folks who bungled MasterCard’s and Visa’s websites, after they shut down donations to Wikileaks - now threatens to reveal the names of Mexican officials complicit to the Zetas’ horrible, horrible actions.

Pro - truth, opportunity for justice and a viable option for rectifying the symptomatic effects of a wrong drug policy.
Con - It’ll aggravate the Zetas. And if they have the less-than-elementary understanding of technology that our leaders possess, well, they might equate Anonymous with any social media activist.

Ugh. How annoying.

If I could purchase marijuana the same way I can purchase spinach, I might not decide to buy it from my drug dealer. In fact, most people wouldn’t buy it through their drug dealers and instead just purchase the drugs at the grocery store like HEB.

"H-E-B…Here everything’s better, because you can leave our store with your head still attached to your body."

"We’ve got to be able to identify who they are amongst us, that absolutely cannot help themselves…That’s actually one reason we should not have the government in this business…They [Government] can’t identify; this is only done on a very local and personal level."

"Once we’ve identified them, how do we help? He do we really help those who cannot help themselves?"

Good interview with Star Parker, founder and president of the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.

She talks about Clinton’s successful welfare reforms in the 90’s, despite the warnings of doomsday and starving babies.

And she makes an interesting point about school choice. First, we have to identify those who need help. Second, we have to empower local charities via tax credits and sensible policies that enable individuals to donate to charities that work. Third, for those folks who are really stuck in a horrible environment, a sensible public education / school choice policy is the best ticket to improve a child’s life.

(Source: reason.tv)

Remember when you hated school vouchers? Remember when you thought the rich, able kids would leave their old schools with their for better schools, at the expense of the poor, unable kids?

Bright, white lighting lit up the conference hall at my university.

Two pale-faced, hormonally challenged students from the Texas Freedom Network, - the university’s student chapter of the state’s progressive organization – climbed onto the lecture stage and sat in their plastic chairs.

Two other pale-faced, hormonally challenged students from The Young Conservatives of Texas also climbed onstage and assumed their positions.

And I, as part of a sparse group of 15-20 students, looked on from our seats in the audience.

We were here to see a good, old-fashioned debate – a debate about school vouchers.

I don’t remember much about that debate at all. But I do remember what people thought.

I remember folks who hated any voucher system simply because they feared if students and families were given the freedom to choose schools, all the good, rich students would leave and abandon the bad, poor students.

There would be a massive reorganization of school populations, and bad schools would be unable to benefit from the work ethic, test scores, and money of good students.

As though a bad school is entitled to such things from any child.

But it’s not just the bad schools that would be hurt from a student’s freedom to choose schools. The bad, poor students would also be hurt too. If all the good, rich students left, the bad, poor students would be unable to benefit from the money of the good, rich students.

And now the tides are turning towards school improvements, via distance learning, charter schools, decentralization of authority, the ability to fire bad teachers, and yes, school vouchers, to name a few methods. 

The U.S. Department of Education found that the voucher kids read better than their government-school counterparts.

There’s no need to be conservative and keep things the way they are until there are a wall of facts pointing in another direction. Apparently the freedom to choose schools helps the kids receive better education in reading.

Should we just give school vouchers for reading programs and wait until there is data to support similar conclusions for math, social studies, and science?

Or can we just take a look at other industries, other services and understand the benefits of the freedom to choose?

It seems like before a problem is even discussed, there is a strange network of prejudices and disparagement at work, shaping our opinions before logic and facts can.

I see similarities between the anti-school vouchers voice and the pro-individual health care mandate voice. They both limit the freedom to choose. They both have admirable objectives, but advocate a means relying on forcing a person to spend money so that others can be subsidized.

They both are forms of representative democratic slavery.

Hopefully the tide continues to change.

Iraq War veteran in critical condition after being sludged in the face with tear gas from Oakland Police.

I know we’re all a bit desensitized by violence and protestors and police brutality and excessive use of force. Let’s regain our lost senses for just a bit. We’ve probably seen worse things on the Internet and TV than what’s in that video.

But what’s in that video is real (allegedly).

A person with hopes, dreams, desires, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, arms, legs, brain and heart was injured. As an Iraq War veteran, that person was a loyal servant of the warfare state, protecting our freedom and so forth.

And for some reason, like borg drones receiving instructions from a collective consciousness, the policia attack unarmed protestors, namely, this Iraq War vet.

I’m sure they didn’t mean to harm a vet. And yet, they did.

I don’t know the means. But we can see the end.  Not good.

(Source: reason.com)

~ $14.9 TRILLION national debt
~ 99.3% debt-to-GDP ratio
~ $116 TRILLION unfunded liabilities (sorta like the balance on our national credit card)
LOL 2.0
And our beloved leaders have come up with a plan to save us:

Cut ~ $3 TRILLION over 10 years.

Even if things stayed exactly the same over the next 10 years (no GDP, no inflation, no more spending, no more production) that’s roughly 20% of our debt in a decade.
Now let’s take an extrapolated view of reality into account:
Federal spending today is ~ $3.6 TRILLION. Extrapolate to the end of the year and that’s ~ $4.3 TRILLION. Assuming annual spending stays exactly the same, we will have spent ~ $43 TRILLION after ten years.
Wait, I forgot about today’s ~ $3 TRILLION plan.
Make that ~ $40 TRILLION debt.
O_O

~ $14.9 TRILLION national debt

~ 99.3% debt-to-GDP ratio

~ $116 TRILLION unfunded liabilities (sorta like the balance on our national credit card)

LOL 2.0

And our beloved leaders have come up with a plan to save us:

Cut ~ $3 TRILLION over 10 years.

Even if things stayed exactly the same over the next 10 years (no GDP, no inflation, no more spending, no more production) that’s roughly 20% of our debt in a decade.

Now let’s take an extrapolated view of reality into account:

Federal spending today is ~ $3.6 TRILLION. Extrapolate to the end of the year and that’s ~ $4.3 TRILLION. Assuming annual spending stays exactly the same, we will have spent ~ $43 TRILLION after ten years.

Wait, I forgot about today’s ~ $3 TRILLION plan.

Make that ~ $40 TRILLION debt.

O_O

Good interview with economist Russ Roberts
(co-creator of the Keynes vs. Hayek: Round 2 rap battle video).

 I really like Roberts’ analysis of what economists think about our current stimulus:

It’s a little awkward when you have really smart, Nobel-prize-winning economists say, “If we’d only spent $2 trillion, instead of close to $1 trillion, we’d have been fine by now.” [And] others saying, “Well, we should have spent zero.”

What does that tell ya? It tells you it’s not science…despite 80 years of trying to understand how the macro-economy works in the face of big recessions and sometimes a depression, we don’t really understand it.

 There seems to be this ideological battle between the majority of folks, consisting of various interest groups who want to steer the juggernaut of our government to manage the economy, and a minority of folks who view the economy as an organic process and thus, unmanageable.

Roberts closes with a point about the Internet:

"Things like the Internet have given people an appreciation of emergent order to solve problems."

That’s kind of representative of the economy as a whole. Ideally, no one forces another person to enter into a transaction. And yet, our desire to interact and trade with one another has solved a lot of problems via emergent order.

(Source: reason.tv)

Real, sustainable aid.

Life-sized LEGO sets for building villages.

The above, plus basic “useful” education, could revolutionize a small farming village.

(Source: kickstarter.com)

We’re consuming and accumulating more than ever.- Median size of houses increased 40% b/w 1979 - 2007- Annual spending to improve existing houses increased 167% b/w 1979 - 2006-  Higher % of people in 2006 said certain items (i.e. clothes dryer,  computer, a/c) are necessary, rather than luxuries, than we did in 1996 - Consumer expenditures across all income levels increased b/w 1984 - 2006- Highest % change in consumer expenditures b/w 1979 - 2004 were for “healthcare” and “recreation”- Overall self-assessment of “good, very good or excellent” health increased across all age levels b/w 1982 - 2006BUT- Household debt also increased between 1980 - 2008

Historically, society has gauged progress by the growthin “things  obtained”— whether it be housing, health care, education, entertainment  or sundry consumer goods and services—because people tend to purchase  things that make life more convenient, pleasurable and productive. And  virtually across the board, the middle class is consuming more of  everything, which makes the notion of a stagnant middle class an  argument that doesn’t fit well in the garage.

But, something is wrong with the way things are going.Any advances we make occur despite DC’s dunderheadery.
If we had separation of economy and state,perhaps things would be even better.

—  —  —

Not that I agree or disagree necessarily,but it is pretty suspect to  use data ending in 06 and 07, at the height of the bubble, and use it to  draw conclusions for 2011.
By most measures, real  wages did stagnate around 1980. We have more stuff because we’ve gone  into more debt and because stuff has gotten cheaper (thanks to free  trade and Chinese manufacturing, among other things.)
The amount of debt  incurred by healthcare and education spending is going through the  roof, as these costs are growing way faster than income or inflation. If  we want to live in a country where people like Herman Cain can look at  an unemployed person and say “the only reason you don’t have a job is  because you didn’t maximize your opportunities” and actually be correct,  those trends have to change.

We’re consuming and accumulating more than ever.

- Median size of houses increased 40% b/w 1979 - 2007
- Annual spending to improve existing houses increased 167% b/w 1979 - 2006
- Higher % of people in 2006 said certain items (i.e. clothes dryer, computer, a/c) are necessary, rather than luxuries, than we did in 1996
- Consumer expenditures across all income levels increased b/w 1984 - 2006
- Highest % change in consumer expenditures b/w 1979 - 2004 were for “healthcare” and “recreation”
- Overall self-assessment of “good, very good or excellent” health increased across all age levels b/w 1982 - 2006

BUT

- Household debt also increased between 1980 - 2008

Historically, society has gauged progress by the growth
in “things obtained”— whether it be housing, health care,
education, entertainment or sundry consumer goods and services—
because people tend to purchase things that make life
more convenient, pleasurable and productive.

And virtually across the board, the middle class is
consuming more of everything, which makes the notion
of a stagnant middle class an argument that
doesn’t fit well in the garage.

But, something is wrong with the way things are going.
Any advances we make occur despite DC’s dunderheadery.

If we had separation of economy and state,
perhaps things would be even better.

—  — —

Not that I agree or disagree necessarily,
but it is pretty suspect to use data ending in 06 and 07,
at the height of the bubble, and use it to draw conclusions for 2011.

By most measures, real wages did stagnate around 1980.
We have more stuff because we’ve gone into more debt
and because stuff has gotten cheaper (thanks to free trade
and Chinese manufacturing, among other things.)

The amount of debt incurred by healthcare and education
spending is going through the roof, as these costs are
growing way faster than income or inflation. If we want to
live in a country where people like Herman Cain can look
at an unemployed person and say “the only reason you
don’t have a job is because you didn’t maximize your
opportunities” and actually be correct,
those trends have to change.

Engineers vs. Intellectuals (Engineers win, hands down).
This essay pretty convincingly lays out the difference in results  between people who make decisions based on facts (scientists and  engineers) and ideologies (communists and fascists.)
Pretty amazing how much better things have gotten in the past 200+ years for humanity thanks to the scientific method.

So the experiment has been run,and the results are in. Science and technology wins; ideology loses.
A Neanderthal axe-maker might not make sense of a postmodernist lecture, but I doubt that he’d have much trouble getting comfortable with a  laboratory lathe.
Meanwhile the world’s grubby, error-prone scientists and engineers toiled away. And what did they produce? The greatest increases in knowledge, health, wealth, and happiness in all human history.

Engineers vs. Intellectuals (Engineers win, hands down).

This essay pretty convincingly lays out the difference in results between people who make decisions based on facts (scientists and engineers) and ideologies (communists and fascists.)

Pretty amazing how much better things have gotten in the past 200+ years for humanity thanks to the scientific method.

So the experiment has been run,
and the results are in.
Science and technology wins;
ideology loses.

A Neanderthal axe-maker might not
make sense of a postmodernist lecture,
but I doubt that he’d have much trouble
getting comfortable with a laboratory lathe.

Meanwhile the world’s grubby, error-prone
scientists and engineers toiled away.
And what did they produce?
The greatest increases in knowledge,
health, wealth, and happiness in all human history.

Gut $1 Trillion from the budget? Could it really be that easy?I almost released an uncontrollable chuckle when I saw this.No more Departments of:-  Energy-  Housing & Urban Development-  Commerce-  Interior-  EducationFreeze spending at 2006 levels for Departments of:-  Defense-  Health & Human Services -  Justice-  Agriculture-  Homeland Security-  StatePrivatize the:-  FAA-  TSAEnd all wars.End all corporate subsidies.End all foreign aid.End all onerous Executive Order regulations.Audit the Federal Reserve.Like it or hate it, this statement rings true: 

Ron Paul is the ONLY candidatewho doesn’t just talk aboutbalancing the budget,but who has a full planto get it done.


—  —  —

I’ll give him credit for actually creating a concrete planthat  identifies exactly what he would cut and by how much. That takes some  balls.
That said, his plan would put us into a depression. Government  spending is part of our GDP. $1T is about 7% of our $14T economy. This  plan would wipe out 7% of the economy—Much worse than the worst of the  recession.
Is there a rational argument that this would be good for the  U.S.? We’ve already got 14 million people unemployed. After the chain  reaction of another 7% knocked off GDP we could be at double that. Maybe  triple.
Thousands more businesses would go under. The blow to tax  revenue would mean that this plan wouldn’t even balance the budget.
I  agree that there are lots of examples of where government needs to get  out of the way, but we don’t need to ruin the economy to get there.

—  —  —

A point to consider:The bad economist looks only at the immediate term effects of any given policy.The good economist looks at the long-term, as well as the short-term effects, for all groups, not just a few.I’d say our President’s current batch of myopic meatheads fall into the former category.Perhaps this $1T plan looks too much to the future, which this would be great for the long-term health of our country. No doubt about that.I’m not sure how thousands of businesses would go under by cutting  government spending. Sure, maybe the folks receiving subsidies or the  folks supplying office materials to federal agencies that add little  sustainable value to the economy will go under. But should these  businesses have ever been around in the first place, had we implemented  smart economic policies? Certainly not by the threat of force.Say government increased spending by $10T next year (all for good,  well-intentioned, poorly implemented reasons, of course); I could make  the argument that cutting that amount that we should never have been  spending in the first place, would also place us in a depression.
We increased spending by $10T this past year.The increase is about 42% of our $24T economy. Getting rid of that spending would put us in a depression!
This probably isn’t the plan. But I’m not convinced severely reducing our federal budget, not just reducing the increase of our  federal budget, isn’t the answer. That the one organization in our lives  who can employ the legal use of force, is spending money it doesn’t own  wildly, is. Not. Good.Neither for the short-term, nor for the long-term.

—  —  —

Actually, there is doubt about that. The basis for Paul’s proposal is ideology and economic theory, not undisputed fact.
7% of the economy gone. This doesn’t just affect businesses and people  who take money directly from the government. Thousands of business  failures and millions of newly unemployed would be among the unintended consequences of this plan.
I see your point, but it’s a false equivalency. We’re pretty close to  historical averages on spending and taxing as a percent of GDP 23%  compared to ~20 for spending and 15% compared to ~18% for taxation.  Arguing to maintain a level of spending near historical average is not  the same as your example—the act of government borrowing and spending  $10T at once could crash the economy on its own, nevermind what happens  the year after when that money is gone.
This is the foundation of the argument—the unfounded assumption  that all government spending is inefficient when compared to  non-government spending, and that government spending crowds out private  investment. In same cases this is true. That doesn’t make it true in  all cases.  If it’s a long-term plan, then implement it over the long term. —  —  —Well, yeah…as time increases, there are very few undisputed facts about the economy’s future (and human behavior).Newly unemployed, yes. And I concede I don’t know how to deal with that (not that I’m supposed to [yet]).But how would businesses go under by decreasing government spending?  I know its an established fact, but maybe you could explain via a real  example? I get how businesses who depend on their spot in line at the  feeding trough would go under. But outside of that, what are the  unintended consequence businesses that would fail? Is there a real  demand for these businesses in the first place? Can we afford to keep  them in business?Traditional levels of spending and taxing? Is there something better  to go by than tradition? I mean, what if whatever we’re up against  today is an accumulation of long-term effects of our adherence to  different traditions?We have an estimated $13.5T in debt…shaving off $1T long-term  won’t really mean much (especially if the level of spending increases).I don’t know.;-(—  —  —Additional businesses would go under beyond those receiving direct aid  from the government because each of those businesses and people support a  much broader network of businesses. Those facing the direct loss would  then pass along the absence of wealth further down the supply chain—a  ripple effect.We don’t really need to get rid of the debt… we just need to stop  increasing it. Get more people back to work and the tax revenues get  back in line with spending and we won’t have nearly the deficit issue  that we do now. Certainly spending is a part of that too. In my book,  military spending should be priority number one. Everything should get a  look. If private enterprise can do it better, farm it out. If not,  reorganize the way government is doing it so that it’s done more  efficiently. Every business in the country has laid people off and  increased productivity, so can the government. I guess what I’m getting  at is that the budgeting approach currently in place is very  ideologically influenced. Each department is fighting to get a bigger  slice of the pie. Instead, they should each be trying to do more with  less pie. Maybe to get there they have to operate like a private  business, I don’t know. As to whether there is a real demand for them…there is obviously some demand,  but whether it would survive the free market is unknowable since they  have never been subjected to it. That’s part of the reason I support  gradual spending reductions and reorganization of government agencies  rather than topline budget cuts.  You bring up a great question as to what the correct level of taxing and spending should be for  government to take on. I don’t think there’s a right answer here. It’s  whatever the people want it to be—that’s the way our system of  government works. Maybe if we had more direct representation it would be  easier to find the right answer. Remember that NYT interactive that let you pick your  own solution to the deficit? Why can’t our representatives send that to  their constituents, aggregate the results, and use that as the basis  for the solution that they propose and vote for? Why even have Congress  now that the Internet allows each person the ability to vote on anything  instantly? The entire city of Green Bay owns the Packers football team,  and it is one of the most successful in history. Is there any reason  that each person taking an equivalent ownership over management of the  country couldn’t work as well?

Gut $1 Trillion from the budget? Could it really be that easy?

I almost released an uncontrollable chuckle when I saw this.

No more Departments of:
-  Energy
-  Housing & Urban Development
-  Commerce
-  Interior
-  Education

Freeze spending at 2006 levels for Departments of:
-  Defense
-  Health & Human Services
-  Justice
-  Agriculture
-  Homeland Security
-  State

Privatize the:
-  FAA
-  TSA

End all wars.
End all corporate subsidies.
End all foreign aid.
End all onerous Executive Order regulations.

Audit the Federal Reserve.

Like it or hate it, this statement rings true: 

Ron Paul is the ONLY candidate
who doesn’t just talk about
balancing the budget,
but who has a full plan
to get it done.

—  — —

I’ll give him credit for actually creating a concrete plan
that identifies exactly what he would cut and by how much.
That takes some balls.

That said, his plan would put us into a depression.
Government spending is part of our GDP.
$1T is about 7% of our $14T economy.
This plan would wipe out 7% of the economy—
Much worse than the worst of the recession.

Is there a rational argument that this would be good for the U.S.?
We’ve already got 14 million people unemployed.
After the chain reaction of another 7% knocked off GDP
we could be at double that. Maybe triple.

Thousands more businesses would go under.
The blow to tax revenue would mean that this plan
wouldn’t even balance the budget.

I agree that there are lots of examples of where
government needs to get out of the way,
but we don’t need to ruin the economy to get there.

—  — —

A point to consider:

The bad economist looks only at the immediate term effects of any given policy.
The good economist looks at the long-term, as well as the short-term effects, for all groups, not just a few.

I’d say our President’s current batch of myopic meatheads fall into the former category.

Perhaps this $1T plan looks too much to the future, which this would be great for the long-term health of our country. No doubt about that.

I’m not sure how thousands of businesses would go under by cutting government spending. Sure, maybe the folks receiving subsidies or the folks supplying office materials to federal agencies that add little sustainable value to the economy will go under. But should these businesses have ever been around in the first place, had we implemented smart economic policies? Certainly not by the threat of force.

Say government increased spending by $10T next year (all for good, well-intentioned, poorly implemented reasons, of course); I could make the argument that cutting that amount that we should never have been spending in the first place, would also place us in a depression.

We increased spending by $10T this past year.
The increase is about 42% of our $24T economy.
Getting rid of that spending would put us in a depression!


This probably isn’t the plan. But I’m not convinced severely reducing our federal budget, not just reducing the increase of our federal budget, isn’t the answer. That the one organization in our lives who can employ the legal use of force, is spending money it doesn’t own wildly, is. Not. Good.

Neither for the short-term, nor for the long-term.

—  — —

Actually, there is doubt about that. The basis for Paul’s proposal is ideology and economic theory, not undisputed fact.

7% of the economy gone. This doesn’t just affect businesses and people who take money directly from the government. Thousands of business failures and millions of newly unemployed would be among the unintended consequences of this plan.

I see your point, but it’s a false equivalency. We’re pretty close to historical averages on spending and taxing as a percent of GDP 23% compared to ~20 for spending and 15% compared to ~18% for taxation. Arguing to maintain a level of spending near historical average is not the same as your example—the act of government borrowing and spending $10T at once could crash the economy on its own, nevermind what happens the year after when that money is gone.

This is the foundation of the argument—the unfounded assumption that all government spending is inefficient when compared to non-government spending, and that government spending crowds out private investment. In same cases this is true. That doesn’t make it true in all cases. 
If it’s a long-term plan, then implement it over the long term.
—  — —
Well, yeah…as time increases, there are very few undisputed facts about the economy’s future (and human behavior).

Newly unemployed, yes. And I concede I don’t know how to deal with that (not that I’m supposed to [yet]).

But how would businesses go under by decreasing government spending? I know its an established fact, but maybe you could explain via a real example? I get how businesses who depend on their spot in line at the feeding trough would go under. But outside of that, what are the unintended consequence businesses that would fail? Is there a real demand for these businesses in the first place? Can we afford to keep them in business?

Traditional levels of spending and taxing? Is there something better to go by than tradition? I mean, what if whatever we’re up against today is an accumulation of long-term effects of our adherence to different traditions?

We have an estimated $13.5T in debt…shaving off $1T long-term won’t really mean much (especially if the level of spending increases).

I don’t know.

;-(
—  — —
Additional businesses would go under beyond those receiving direct aid from the government because each of those businesses and people support a much broader network of businesses. Those facing the direct loss would then pass along the absence of wealth further down the supply chain—a ripple effect.
We don’t really need to get rid of the debt… we just need to stop increasing it. Get more people back to work and the tax revenues get back in line with spending and we won’t have nearly the deficit issue that we do now. Certainly spending is a part of that too. In my book, military spending should be priority number one. Everything should get a look. If private enterprise can do it better, farm it out. If not, reorganize the way government is doing it so that it’s done more efficiently. Every business in the country has laid people off and increased productivity, so can the government. I guess what I’m getting at is that the budgeting approach currently in place is very ideologically influenced. Each department is fighting to get a bigger slice of the pie. Instead, they should each be trying to do more with less pie. Maybe to get there they have to operate like a private business, I don’t know.
As to whether there is a real demand for them…there is obviously some demand, but whether it would survive the free market is unknowable since they have never been subjected to it. That’s part of the reason I support gradual spending reductions and reorganization of government agencies rather than topline budget cuts. 
You bring up a great question as to what the correct level of taxing and spending should be for government to take on. I don’t think there’s a right answer here. It’s whatever the people want it to be—that’s the way our system of government works. Maybe if we had more direct representation it would be easier to find the right answer.
Remember that NYT interactive that let you pick your own solution to the deficit? Why can’t our representatives send that to their constituents, aggregate the results, and use that as the basis for the solution that they propose and vote for? Why even have Congress now that the Internet allows each person the ability to vote on anything instantly? The entire city of Green Bay owns the Packers football team, and it is one of the most successful in history. Is there any reason that each person taking an equivalent ownership over management of the country couldn’t work as well?

(Source: )