Libertarian Commentary #16-14C, by Nathan Barton
We see it all the time. To one group of people (and pundits), Joe the politician is a scoundrel, fool, and crooked as a dog’s hind leg. To another group and pundits, he is the reincarnation of Flash Gordon, Savior of the Universe. It is more than just politics; also in law, economics, and advertising. Here are some examples from this week’s news.
Whom do we believe? It seems that the Fed thugs (FBI et al) have dropped the fight with Apple in the San Bernardino terror probe According to the San Jose Mercury News, “The U.S. Justice Department has dropped its legal fight with Apple over demands to unlock an iPhone in the San Bernardino terror probe, for now defusing a high-profile showdown pitting national security needs against worries about consumer privacy. In court papers filedMonday, federal prosecutors disclosed they’ve managed to unlock the iPhone 5C of Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the attackers in the San Bernardino terror shootings in December that left 14 people dead. As a result, the FBI no longer needs Apple’s help in the investigation.” How convenient! So the issue will NOT be decided, not that we really should expect the Nazgul to do the right thing and stand up for liberty.
Mama’s Note: The latest is that Apple is now extremely interested in discovering just how the feds managed to unlock this phone… if they did. Who knows?
Indeed whom do we believe? The San Francisco Chronicle crows about a poll which says that a supermajority of Americans are ready to legalize cannabis. “A significant Associated Press and University of Chicago poll released Thursday found a supermajority of Americans (61 percent) believe marijuana should be officially legalized, versus 39 percent who do not. The Associated Press and the NORC Center for Public Affairs Research survey of 1,042 adults on substance use and treatment in the United States found that pot legalization can mean different things. Of legalization supporters: ‘[A] third of them endorse legalization with no restrictions. Forty-three percent say there should be restrictions on the purchase amounts. And a quarter of those who support legalization only approve of its use when prescribed by a doctor,’ the poll finds. Marijuana is legal in some form in 23 states, four states and Washington DC permitting adult-use of pot. By contrast, the federal government lists marijuana as ‘Schedule 1’: among the world’s most dangerous, useless drugs.” Of course, we KNOW that we can’t believe the government, but there are a lot of people who also take that position. What I find interesting is that supposedly none of the people polled had NO OPINION or UNSURE. (61+39=100.) And of course, what is freedom if it is limited? Sorry, you are only allowed 1000 words of free speech a month. Sorry, your liberty to travel is limited to just 100 miles distance. Sorry, your right to keep and bare arms is just limited to three weapons. Opps, that last one is all too common.
Mama’s Note: I’d sure love to conduct a national survey with just one question: Who owns your life? You? The government? Other? Unfortunately, I suspect a lot of people wouldn’t really understand the question…
Yes, whom DO we believe? Is the minimum wage good for people and business and the economy? In California, workers and firms differ on $15 minimum wage, explained by USA Today. “A plan to increase California’s minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2022 has opened the biggest fault lines yet between advocates of higher pay and critics who say it kills jobs and raises prices for consumers. Proponents say the Golden State’s bold move will provide a decent living wage for millions of low-income residents, prove a bonanza for California’s economy and prompt other states to follow. ‘They’re showing that it’s economically realistic to restore decent wages at the bottom [of the pay scale],’ says Paul Sonn, general counsel of the National Employment Project. But opponents say it will force employers to replace workers with technology and sow particular hardship in a diverse California economy that includes many rural and distressed areas whose businesses can’t afford such a lofty base wage.” Steve Trenward commented on this: ‘Fewer jobs “at the bottom,” more automation in service industry, small companies cutting back or shutting down; book it!’
Of course, small companies who CAN are fleeing California and this will just speed it up. For years – decades, we have done this; raise the minimum wage, listen to the wonderful promises about how it will improve people’s lives and help the economy. Steve has it right, it has NOT worked and it isn’t going to work this time either. But too many people don’t have the economic knowledge to understand. Including the majority of that gang of stupid people that run the government of California, as the next story Deal reached to take minimum wage to $15 an hour, in the San Francisco Examiner points out with delight. “California legislators and labor unions have reached a tentative agreement that will take the state’s minimum wage from $10 to $15 an hour, a state senator said, a move that would make for the largest statewide minimum in the nation by far. … The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the deal, said the wage would rise to $10.50 in 2017, to $11 an hour in 2018, and one dollar per year to take it to $15 by 2022. Businesses with fewer than 25 employees would have an extra year to comply.” Wow, will there even BE a Californian Democratic People’s Republic in 2020, much less 2022? And I obviously missed something. When did the labor unions become an official part of California’s state government? Are the unions more believable than the businesses?
Mama’s Note: This insanity can easily be shown for what it is. The few times I’ve talked with someone about this, I immediately nod my head and suggest that $15. is a paltry amount and the “minimum wage” should immediately be hiked to $100. an hour, or heck, why not $1,000. an hour? The poor folks wouldn’t be poor anymore and everyone would prosper, no? Then listen to the sputtering while THEY tell you all the reasons that would not work and would be a disaster. See, we’ve already established what and who they are… and now just quibble about the price.
The eight-Nazgul called the Supreme Court apparently deadlocked on a First Amendment case: 4 in support of the Bill of Rights and 4 supposedly in support but claiming it doesn’t mean what it says. Whom do we believe? The WaPo claims the result was a defeat for a group of California teachers who claimed their free speech rights were violated when they were forced to pay dues to the states teachers union. I think that the Nazgul shafted them. But then, I’m just a engineer, not a constitutional scholar like them and that guy in 1600 PA.
Trumps campaign manager charged with battery in incident involving reporter. The WaPo says one thing (agreeing with the cops in Florida, and Breitbart reporter that she was attacked by Trump’s campaign manager; Trump and others say no. Corey Lewandowski turned himself in to police in Florida and was charged with misdemeanor battery. Trump’s campaign denies what is now seen on video, with the candidate himself tweeting that there is “nothing there.”
Mama’s Note: Seems to me that anyone who voluntarily goes into one of these emotionally charged events, especially with large rowdy crowds, needs to assume responsibility for their own safety even more than usual. I’d think that such encounters would be considered the norm, not any big deal. Nobody was harmed here anyway, so it’s all political posturing and nonsense.
Oil prices up 50% in just six weeks: is the worst over? Whom do we believe? Zero Hedge says that it is all gambling and manipulation: others claim it is proof that the economy is recovering and NOT diving into a depression. Others claim it is a temporary spike before the bottom really drops out, and they seem to have more justification for their opinion. We’ll see.
Mama’s Note: I forgot to buy gas the last two weeks (only fill up about every two or three months), so of course the price went up! I can’t procrastinate any longer, so I’m sure the prices will drop again just as soon as my tank is full. Always seems to work that way.