Last Week’s Links—Monday, December 12, 2011: Defense Appropriations Bill; Contempt for the 5th Amendment; The Economics of Inequality; others….

  1. A little intimidating, but true.

  2. There is a lot of buzz about this goin’ ’round my online circles. One of my faceook friends was kind enough to link to the actual bill text. I don’t want to say too much about it before I study it. Things often don’t live up to the hype.

  3. “Other purposes,” indeed. Attention is called to Sections 1031 and 1032. It sounds more like the inane ranting of a conservative pundit than an actual bill before congress:

    SEC. 1032. REQUIREMENT FOR MILITARY CUSTODY.
    (a) CUSTODY PENDING DISPOSITION UNDER LAW OF WAR.—
    (1) IN GENERAL.—Except as provided in paragraph (4), the Armed Forces of the United States shall hold a person described in paragraph (2) who is captured in the course of hostilities authorized by the Authorization for Use of Military Force (Public Law 107–40) in military custody pending disposition under the law of war.
    (2) COVERED PERSONS.—The requirement in paragraph (1) shall apply to any person whose detention is authorized under section 1031 who is determined—
    (A) to be a member of, or part of, al-Qaeda or an associated force that acts in coordination with or pursuant to the direction of al-Qaeda; and
    (B) to have participated in the course of planning or carrying out an attack or attempted attack against the United States or its coalition partners.

    It’s like the arguments in favor military tribunals for Gitmo detainees, now applied to everyone “who is determined” to be a “covered person”. The bill’s drafters write is determined in the passive voice, as if such determinations float infallibly down from the high heavens. You’d think maybe they would have cared to mention who, exactly, is to make such determinations, and how such determinations are to be made. 

  4. Here’s one interpretation of the defense bill. Sounds kind of alarmist to me, but I don’t know, you know?

  5. Certain things just don’t ring true. You gotta be able to spot them. If you see quotation marks, look for a citiation. Quotation marks without a citation is like, I don’t know…eyes without a face.

    If this were a courtroom I would object, under Federal Rule of Evidence 602, that Patrick Meighan lacks personal knowledge of what Citigroup executives internally called their securities. Patrick Meighan likes to quote well enough, but he doesn’t like to cite. Very well. That’s what Google is for. If you Google up the infamous “collection of dogshit” quote, you’ll find that CNN Money reported it, but attributed it instead to an SEC comlpaint against citigroup, which in turn, quoted “one CDO trader”. The orginal SEC complaint is available. The quote is on page 19. The report does not identify the trader but describes him as among “certain sophisticated market participants”. I’m not sure I’ll ever know how “one CDO trader” became “citigroup executives”, but it sounds to me like a kindergarden game of ‘whispering down the lane’. And it’s not as if an SEC complaint against citigroup is anything close to a neutral exposition of facts. I’m recalling the Orewellian spin throughout the DOJ’s comlpaint against Bernard von Nothaus and the Liberty Dollar.

    Patrick Meighan’s personal knowledge about the arrest tactics are very valuable. I would encourage everyone concerned about the state of liberty in this country to read that. In contrast, I would call his third-hand accout of the causes of our economic troubles ‘junk journalism’. I’ll take it for what it’s worth, which isn’t very much.

  6. Vodpod videos no longer available.

    This young lawyer is a hero and a role model. Off the cuff, I’ll say that, when setting bond of bail, the judge is to consider only the danger to the community of letting the accused go free and the risk that the accused will flee and fail to return for trial. I don’t know what the judge expects to glean from either of those two issues by asking the accused when he last used controlled substances and whether he expects traces amounts of such substances to appear in his urine. I would consider these to be illegitimate bond questions.

  7. I’m trying to get back into Democracy Now!, or, as I used to call it, the Real News. Guess who is the guest: our new friend, economist Richard Wolff. He’s shaping up to be my go-to guy for the anti-capitalist perspective on economics. Here he says some things that I can’t abide, mostly his definition of austerity as “making the mass of people pay” for the crisis. The opposite is true. When governments confiscate money from the public, in the form of either taxation or inflation, and pay off special interests with it, that, literally, is “making the mass of people pay” for the crisis.

    Austerity is a boo word throughout the interview. There seems to be some argumentum ad baculum going on here. That the mass of people will “rise up” if governments continue with austerity programs does not make austerity a bad idea. It just makes the mass of people thugs.

  8. I with Epstein here on pretty much every point.

  9. This response applies to the Rick Wolff radio show posted last week, as well as some questions asked of Richard Epstein above. Yes, top marginal tax rates were high, but few people paid them due to extensive loopholes and fraud. Peter Schiff gave this same response to the 99%ers that he addressed on Wall Street: People simply didn’t pay those taxes. I’m sure there’s more to the story. I’d like to learn more details.

  10. Which is more harmful to democracy: this monkey business, or the Citizens United decision? I say this monkey business.

  11. The state of Utah made gold and silver legal tender earlier this year, but refuses to accept it as payment of property taxes. Hey, Utah State Tax Commission: go play in traffic.

    “It doesn’t allow much,” Senate Majority Leader Scott Jenkins, R-Plain City, said of the bill he co-sponsored recognizing gold. “But the concept behind it is powerful. Little by little our currency is being devalued. … It’s a little pushback on one hand, but on the other, maybe it will make us look at the value of our currency and strengthen it.”

    No, the concept behind it is impotent. It does not push back unless it is actually practiced.

  12. I can tell you unequivocally that the Obama Administration is not taxing Christmas trees. What’s being talked about here is an industry group deciding to impose fees on itself to fund a promotional campaign, similar to how the dairy producers have created the ‘Got Milk?’ campaign.

    Economic Freedom responds here:

    The Christmas tree industry has tried programs like this in the past, but after a few years the programs fail because of their “voluntary nature.” So what is the solution? Make the program involuntary!

    Industry groups can impose fees on themselves whenever they want without any help from the government. Growers need government’s help when they want to impose fees on others. I hope this has been delayed indefinitely.

  13. I vote no. Next?

  14. So, if you slap a mosquito, is that murder?

  15. By the time all this shakes out the only tablets left on shelves will be refurbished Etch-a-Sketches.

    The unfortunate side effects of patent wars.

  16. IMO, the most effective thing the Catholic Church could do to increase membership would be to invent some more believable truth claims.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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