More on violence vs.
Sep 29th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

More on violence vs. cooperation. Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack, perhaps testing a theme for a possible 2008 presidential run:bq. Abraham Lincoln once said: “government should only do what citizens can not do for themselves or what citizens can not do better.” Katrina and Rita prove the wisdom of that approach. Organizing mass evacuations, rescuing stranded homeowners, securing abandoned neighborhoods, financing long term and temporary housing, rebuilding public infrastructure, attending to medical needs, and avoiding future tragedies — those are items that government must do. Individuals, non-profits, and the private sector cannot, and should not, handle them.To reiterate a theme I blogged about yesterday, the message here, stripped of pretension, is that “violence is superior to cooperation.” Vilsack believes that humans cannot peacefully produce infrastructure, health care, or security, so all of these things must be provided through violence. [Mises Economics Blog]

I wonder what (if anything) Vilsack was thinking when he came up with those examples? He’s somehow managed to come up with a series of examples where the government failed catastrophically, and the people did very well (to the extent that they weren’t stopped from helping by the government).

Jamming Aircraft Navigation Near Nuclear Power Plants .
Sep 29th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Jamming Aircraft Navigation Near Nuclear Power Plants. The German government want to jam aircraft navigation equipment near nuclear power plants.

This certainly could help if terrorists want to fly an airplane into a nuclear power plant, but it feels like a movie-plot threat to me. On the other hand, this could make things significantly worse if an airplane flies near the nuclear power plant by accident. My guess is that the latter happens far more often than the former. [Schneier on Security]

That’s an idea that deserves some kind of prize for “silliest false-sense-of-security measure.” Perhaps the German government is unaware of it, but around sixty years ago many thousands of pilots managed to fly all the way from Britain to precise locations in Germany without any electronics!

More war crimes from U.S.
Sep 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

More war crimes from U.S. soldiers. MORE WAR CRIMES BY U.S. SOLDIERS. In violation of the Geneva Convention, they’re apparently sending gruesome photos of Iraqi war dead and wounded to be published on the Internet. Their reward: access to amateur porn. And apparently also the dubious “delight” of writing funny captions about maimed and mutilated people — like the caption describing a woman with her leg blown off and her naked crotch visible: “Nice puss — bad foot.” The Geneva Convention forbids displaying and ridiculing photos of war dead. Even if it weren’t a war crime, it certainly blows away any notion that U.S. soldiers in Iraq are “heroic liberators.” The other day, I ridiculed the idea that abuse of prisoners came from “failure of leadership.” But you really have to wonder … who’s in charge over there, and how clueless can the “leaders” actually be? Badmuggafugga posted this in the midst of an otherwise innocuous and unrelated thread at TCF. The story deserves wider attention.

The notion of US soldiers as heroic liberators was dead long before this, I think. I suggest that all the soldiers who sent the photos in question should be given dishonorable discharges, stripped of their weapons and equipment, and kicked out the door–in Iraq. I’m sure the Iraqi people will give their artistic and comedic talents the reception they deserve.

Police Superintendent Compass retires .
Sep 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Police Superintendent Compass retires. New Orleans Police Superintendent Eddie Compass announced his retirement at a hastily called press conference today. Mayor Ray Nagin, who… [Times-Picayune]

bq. “Although this is a sad day for New Orleans, it’s a good day for the Compass family,” Nagin said.

Sounds like a variation on the rather overused line about “wanting to spend more time with his family.” Well, good riddance.

Only the Cows Can Come Home .
Sep 27th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Only the Cows Can Come Home. The New York Times reports on Rita evacuees lining up to return: Mr. Reeves has worked in the last year… [Hit and Run]

Predictably, the government is now interfering with attempts to help people after Rita.

M 7.5, northern Peru .
Sep 26th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

M 7.5, northern Peru. September 26, 2005 01:55:39 GMT [USGS M>2.5 Earthquakes]

That’s a fairly large earthquake. I hope it wasn’t near an inhabited area.

And We Call Them “Terrorists”?
Sep 24th, 2005 by Ken Hagler

And We Call Them “Terrorists”?. I asked once before: “Is the United States a Terrorist State”? [ Blog]

If any state is, the US is.

Houston and Martial Law .
Sep 23rd, 2005 by Ken Hagler

Houston and Martial Law. As posted previously, I evacuated from Houston on Wed. before the main exodus and nightmarish traffic snarls started (but feel free to call me a “Rita Refugee”; I won’t be offended). A friend who was trapped there finally got out this morning; the road to Waco was finally clear, as of early this a.m., he said. Apparently in the meantime there is some variant of martial law being imposed, as a relative still in Houston told me that even though the roads are now open people are not permitted to leave their homes–it seems to be a type of martial law called “shelter in place”. If you hit the Interstate now you get arrested. Makes sense–as soon as the roads clear up, you can’t leave–with over 12 hours until the storm hits. By Stephan Kinsella. [ Blog]

The government really doesn’t like it when people take care of themselves in potentially dangerous situations.

An Explosive Story .
Sep 22nd, 2005 by Ken Hagler

An Explosive Story. The Battle of Basra, where British troops “rescued” two out-of-uniform British soldiers who’d gotten into a contretemps with Iraqi police, gets more fascinating by the moment. A news item put out by China’s Xinhua News Agency’s contains the following fascinating paragraph:

“‘Two persons wearing Arab uniforms opened fire at a police station in Basra. A police patrol followed the attackers and captured them to discover they were two British soldiers,’ an Interior Ministry… [ Blog]

I used to think that the Iraqis who claimed that a terrorist bombing was actually done by the US were just believing paranoid rumors. Now it’s starting to look like they were right after all.

At Least They Didn’t Shoot Him… .
Sep 22nd, 2005 by Ken Hagler

At Least They Didn’t Shoot Him…. This unsettling account by a London blogger explains how he was stopped by police on the Underground for, apparently, having a backpack and wearing a coat they regarded as too bulky. They looked through his things, apologized for the inconvenience… and then arrested him. He was then held for about eight hours while they carted off all the computer equipment from his apartment. [Hit and Run]

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