Stimulus Money at Work

Even though the intelligent economists (better known as Austrian economists) have been warning governments against the false hopes of Keynesian economics since Keynes first published his works nothing has changed. Although it’s been demonstrated time and time again that “public works” projects serve no purpose other than transfer taxpayer money into the hands of politically well connect companies without any actual benefit to the people governments still implement them.

I know the government is adverse to hearing the arguments put forth by intelligent people but how many times do the government’s failures have to be pointed out until the people wake up and realize something has to change. Let’s look at the fairly recent stimulus plan and it’s effect on the “green” energy market:

According to a Feb. 17 letter signed by Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton, Michigan Republican, and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Cliff Stearns, Florida Republican, to Energy Secretary Steven Chu, the Fremont, Calif.-based solar panel manufacturer should never have received a $535 million loan guarantee from the stimulus.*

The company became the first recipient of an Energy Department loan guarantee under the stimulus in March 2009, which was intended to “finance construction of the first phase of the company’s new manufacturing facility” for photovoltaic solar panels.

The Energy Department estimated in a March 20, 2009 press release that the loan guarantee would create 3,000 construction jobs and a further 1,000 jobs after the plant opened.


Instead, Solyndra announced on Nov. 3 it planned to postpone expanding the plant, which put the taxpayers on the hook to the tune of $390.5 million taxpayers**, or 73 percent of the total loan guarantee, according to the Wall Street Journal.

It also announced that it no longer planned to hire the 1,000 workers that Obama and Biden had touted in their speeches and that it planned to close one of its older factories and planned to lay-off 135 temporary or contract workers and 40 full-time employees.

A closer look at the company shows it has never turned a profit since it was founded in 2005, according to its Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings.

This is the result typical of government intervention in any market, they prop up the companies who are politically well connected which gives them an unfair advantage over those who lack such connections. In a majority of cases the politically well connected companies are also those that are incompetent (birds of a feather flock together after all) and lack profits (because people view profit making corporations as “evil” and “greedy”). The companies that are actually competent and provide goods that consumers want are left to flounder and eventually be killed off by their competition who can afford to outspend them now that they have that half a billion dollars in stimulus money.

But the most heinous piece in this puzzle is the fact that money stolen from taxpayers is used to fund these stimulus plans without delivering any benefit to those taxpayers.

Court Rules Massachusetts’s Prohibition Against Recording Police in Public Unconstitutional

Getting good news out of Massachusetts is rare but certainly welcome. For a while Massachusetts has been enforcing its law against filming police in public much to the dismay of everybody but the police. Thankfully the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston have ruled that Massachusetts’s law is unconstitutional:

A Boston lawyer suing the city and police officers who arrested him for using his cell phone to record a drug arrest on the Common won a victory today when a federal appeals court said the officers could not claim “qualified immunity” because they were performing their job when they arrested him under a state law that bars audio recordings without the consent of both parties.

In its ruling, which lets Simon Glik continue his lawsuit, the US Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston said the way Glik was arrested and his phone seized under a state wiretapping law violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights:

The entire ruling can be read here [PDF]. It would be nice to get the Supreme Court to take up one of these cases and rule the prohibition against recording police unconstitutional so we would no longer have to deal with these egregious laws.

When Did Being a Skeptic Become Insult Worthy

Although I generally like to avoid giving much time to Al Gore’s apocalypse I have to say I really don’t understand one thing about its proponents. Namely the use of the word skeptic as a form of insult. Those who believe in anthropomorphic global warming climate change global climate disruption Al Gore’s apocalypse throw the term skeptic at those who dare not agree with the proponents’ beliefs.

Perhaps it’s because I come from a scientific background but I have always seen skepticism as a positive trait found in people who refuse to believe the claims of others simply because those others said they were trustworthy. Global warming skeptic doesn’t ring as an insult in my book but as a complement. It’s the same as saying a person who refuses to believe others without first analyzing the evidence for themselves.

I say our world could use a lot more skepticism. When the state tells you we need to go to war with Eastasia people should be skeptical. If somebody says that the government should confiscate your firearms for the good of society people should be skeptical. Skepticism is good and I think much of the world’s problem would be far more manageable if people would stop simply believing others without fist looking at the evidence for themselves.

Cognitive Dissonance Strikes Again

Although I don’t make it obvious sometimes I do feel somewhat bad for anti-gunners. I can’t imagine living my life in fear every day as anti-gunners do. They have a fear that somebody will bring violence against them combined with a fear of taking action. As they fear taking action they want somebody else to do so in their name, which is what leads them to demanding the government strictly control or outright ban the private ownership of firearms. Pro-gun people are ones who have no fear of taking action, and subsequently dealing with the consequences. They realize that you can’t rely on others for your personal protection and that the only person who can keep you safe is you.

I think deep down inside anti-gunners realize that their attitude is self-defeating but don’t want to think about it. It’s likely this realization is what leads them to practice cognitive dissonance. Lionge did a masterful job of pointing out the logically fallacies in a comment made by an anti-gunner. As par for the anti-gunner course his comment was removed from the anti-gunner’s site and no other pro-gun comments were allowed to appear.

This happens time and time again, after an anti-gunners makes an false claim or comment about firearms somebody in the pro-gun community calls them on it. Usually a short back and forth ensues until the anti-gunners deletes all the pro-gun comments and enacts complete moderation powers on the post to ensure no further arguments in opposition to their beliefs appear. I honestly believe this is a defense mechanism used by those afraid to act; if they had to critically think they would realize they have no real choice by to act and suffer any consequences of their actions.

The Most Metal Beer Ever

Amon Amarth have come out with their own beer. It’s called Ragnarok and is an imperial porter. Why do I bring this up? Because when I’m not bitching about the government, shooting guns, or writing code I’m head banging to death metal and being a pretentious beer snob. Imperial porters/stouts are my favorite type of beer so combining one of my favorite bands with my favorite styles of beer is nothing but pure fucking awesome.

This is getting ordered.

Terrorism in the United States Since 9/11

Bruce Schneier points out an analysis of attempted terrorist attacks since 9/11. I think Schneier’s summary explains everything:

So few of them are actually real, and so many of them were created or otherwise facilitated by law enforcement.

Most cases of so-called terrorism involve government agents finding gullible people, egging them on to perform an act of terrorism, and then enabling those people by providing knowledge and materials required to perform the act of terror which has usually devised by the government agent. They aren’t keeping us safe, they’re creating the problem.

Several Justice Department Employees’ Kids Probably Have New Guitars Now

Sebastian over at Snowflakes in Hell pointed out that Gibson, a well-known manufacturer of guitars, is a little pissed off that their property was stolen by the government without reason:

The Federal Department of Justice in Washington, D.C. has suggested that the use of wood from India that is not finished by Indian workers is illegal, not because of U.S. law, but because it is the Justice Department’s interpretation of a law in India. (If the same wood from the same tree was finished by Indian workers, the material would be legal.) This action was taken without the support and consent of the government in India.

It’s nice to see the government enforcing its interpretation of laws in foreign countries. Heck the Indian government didn’t even need to be consulted because our federal government is efficient like that. So what’s required to investigate a guitar manufacturer for potentially violating the United States government’s interpretation of Indias law? Apparently machine guns and theft but not criminal charges:

In 2009, more than a dozen agents with automatic weapons invaded the Gibson factory in Nashville. The Government seized guitars and a substantial amount of ebony fingerboard blanks from Madagascar. To date, 1 year and 9 months later, criminal charges have NOT been filed, yet the Government still holds Gibson’s property. Gibson has obtained sworn statements and documents from the Madagascar government and these materials, which have been filed in federal court, show that the wood seized in 2009 was legally exported under Madagascar law and that no law has been violated. Gibson is attempting to have its property returned in a civil proceeding that is pending in federal court.

A dozen agents with machine guns are absolutely necessary to raid a guitar manufacturer, they’re a dangerous lot after all with their thin wood strips and guitar strings.

This probably all went down because the head of the Justice Department wanted to give his kids guitars for Christmas.

Violence Policy Center Caught Lying Again

Part of the reason the battle for gun owner rights is so easy to fight these days is because our opposition’s lies are so easy to point out. Miguel over at Gun Free Zone caught the Violence Policy Center lying yet again.

Namely they claimed Louisiana has the highest rate of gun-related deaths in the United States when in fact Washington D.C. (you know that federal district with extremely tyrannical gun control laws) does.