Libertarian Commentary on the News, 23 July 2015, #15-29C: The State Fails, and Fails, and Fails

By Nathan Barton

The Third Reich is a classic example of a failed state. Now, welcome to the “Fourth Reich” here in the Fifty States.  Personal Liberty discussed this on Monday; A second view is found at “First Look” That most political of political generals, retired NATO commander and former Democrat presidential candidate Wesley Clark, publicly advocated and promoted “reeducation” or “concentration camps” for “disloyal Americans,” seeking to revive the evils perpetrated against German-speaking Americans in the Great War (1917-1918), Japanese-speaking and descendant Americans in 1941-45, and pioneered by the Brits in Sud-Afrika during the Boer Wars (and the US during the Indian Wars).  This thug, a progressive or Tranzi, wants to open the doors to putting someone in an internment camp for such evil crimes as defending the Southern Cross, speaking ill of that squatter in DC, speaking out against SSM (same-sex “marriage”) or speaking out for Arabs, Muslims, or… christians.  No, he did not mention any of these specifically, but what he proposes leads to all these things, already seen as evil or even hate crimes.

The Nanny State fails, again.  As discussed in Health Affairs (newsletter): “The FDA’s Menu Labeling Rule,” the Abominable Act (ObummerCare or PPACA) mandated that many chain restaurants and other “similar” food establishments list the calorie count of the food they sell. The requirement will take effect nationwide in December 2016, more than six and a half years after the ACA became law. On July 9, 2015 the FDA yielded to industry pressure, announcing that it would push back the rule’s effective date by one year, from December 1, 2015 to December 1, 2016.  (But many chains have already done this.) The requirement is partly a response to the following: A little more than one in three adults are obese, and an additional one in three are overweight. The percentage of total food calories consumed in restaurants has almost doubled, from about 18 percent in the 1970s to about 33 percent today. A small reduction in calorie intake can go a long way. A March 2015 study in the same journal concluded that among all consumers, there is a decrease of ten to twenty calories per meal.  The FDA estimates that despite the cost of adding nutritional information to the menus, the new requirement will produce a “stream of benefits” of anywhere from $3.7 billion to $10.4 billion over the next twenty years. (Yeah, right.  Calculated by the same people that determine cost-benefit ratios of new federal programs, new dams, new national parks, and welfare programs.) Health Affairs points out several other concerns with the new rule, including: Some believe that calorie labeling had wide industry support because it was preferable to more onerous but far more effective obesity-reduction policies — in particular — taxing the sugar content of food. The supermarket industry had said it might have to spend up to a billion dollars to implement the new labeling requirements. A meta-analysis in the May 2015 issue of the American Journal of Public Health found no significant impact in the relationship between calorie labeling and what consumers actually order. This last item is of course, the “utilitarian” philosophy to support getting rid of the entire thing, never mind that the FedGov has no legitimate authority to demand this labeling or even try and reduce people’s weight and obesity.

Mama’s Note: Oh sure… more labels and signs. Truly epic fail. Same reason the “no guns” signs fail to prevent lunatics from shooting innocent bystanders on occasion. The actual impact of these menu labels, of course, is to raise all prices and make doing business even more difficult. Fewer businesses, fewer choices and ever higher prices. Those who make poor choices are seriously unlikely to be influenced by menu labels or even outright bans. Not that the would be controllers consider any actual facts, of course.

Service State Fail: USA Today reports on the bridge that collapsed in the California desert on I-10 this week: apparently it was determined (probably by CalTrans, a state government agency) to be in good to excellent condition not that long ago.  The damaged bridge blocked one of the major highways in the Fifty States for most of a week, and seems to be directly tied to government incompetence.

They just don’t get it, do they? The New York Times has an article about how Isis is becoming a “real” functioning nation-state but one that uses terror as a tool… Folks, I can’t think of a SINGLE “nation-state” – not even Andorra or Monaco – that does NOT use “terror” as a tool to control its population and any “threats” that it perceives.  Some are more open about it, and more skilled at it, than others, but government is not just force, it is force applied for political purposes and objectives, especially against innocent private citizens.

Mama’s Note: Indeed! The words “failed state” have a nice ring to them. Every “state” fails eventually, because people finally decide they are tired of being terrorized. Unfortunately, most don’t understand the process and wind up setting up new tyrants to terrorize them… in the mistaken belief that they can control the new “boss.”

Drug-war Fail (War on Some Drugs):  In opposition to the squatter’s pardon of “nonviolent” drug offenders languishing in prison, the head of a federal prosecutors’ professional association (a union?) says (per CNS News) that “drug trafficking” is inherently violent. No doubt one of the federal nasty attorney guys said the same thing about the liquor industry back in 1929 or 1930. Violence is a “gift” of making selling some drugs illegal, driving competition underground, just as competition for selling untaxed (or less-taxed) cigarettes in NYC, or liquor in dry counties or state, becomes violent, since there is no way that conflicts between competitors can be easily and peacefully resolved.

Mama’s Note: And conflict between competitors is only a small part of the problem, at least in the US. The major source of violence and the destruction of life and property involved in the drug trade today is the conflict with the roving gangs of local, state and federal enforcers of the anti-drug “laws.” Outside of the all too frequent murder and maiming of individuals, “asset forfeiture” is one of the most destructive activities by badged and costumed terrorists, operating under color of totally false authority to control the lives and property of others.

Climate Change News (obviously a partisan website, just based on its name: a worshiper of the “new religion” of Manmade Global Warming) reports that, between 2007 and 2013 emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuels burnt in the US fell significantly − by about 11% − and many credited this to a change from coal to natural gas in electricity production. But new research says it was, in fact, the economic recession that explains most of the decline, and more extensive use of natural gas may not do much to slow global warming. “Natural gas emits half as much CO2 as coal when used to make electricity,” says research professor Laixiang Sun… But that is only part of the story, he says in a paper published in the journal Nature Communications. “This calculation fails to take into account the release of methane from natural gas wells and pipelines, which also contributes to climate change.” Methane is 34 times more potent a greenhouse gas than CO2 over a century, but 84 times more over just 20 years. In the US, coal-powered electricity fell from 50% to 37% of the mix between 2007 and 2012 (most of it replaced by natural gas).  They claim most of this change is “due to fracking and underground mapping technologies.”

I admit that I like Heritage’s puns (“The Many Problems of the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and Climate Regulations,” Heritage Foundation ) on this subject: “President Obama’s climate plan would have a chilling effect on the economy, not the climate. As the EPA finalizes regulations for new and existing power plants, the restriction of opportunities for Americans to use such an abundant, affordable energy source will only bring economic pain to households and businesses, with no environmental benefit to show for it. Lawmakers and state officials should exercise leadership and reclaim their authority from the unelected bureaucrats whose regulatory ambitions threaten economic growth and individual prosperity.” And, given Heritage’s minarchist orientation, I agree with their point.  Best would be getting government OUT of the market: freeing it (what a radical idea, guess that makes me eligible for Gen. Clark’s camps), but until that happens, bringing things back to local and state level is certainly better than the current mess.

About tpolnathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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