Breaking it down nice and easy

Posted on December 30th, 2008 by bile
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Krugman Still Wrong After All These Years by Mish Shedlock

Krugman seems particularly proud of a piece he wrote a decade ago. His new remake, Hangover Theorists, is as wrong now as it was then. Let’s take a look.

The hangover theory, which I wrote about a decade ago, is still out there.

The basic idea is that a recession, even a depression, is somehow a necessary thing, part of the process of “adapting the structure of production.” We have to get those people who were pounding nails in Nevada into other places and occupation, which is why unemployment has to be high in the housing bubble states for a while.

The trouble with this theory, as I pointed out way back when, is twofold:

1. It doesn’t explain why there isn’t mass unemployment when bubbles are growing as well as shrinking — why didn’t we need high unemployment elsewhere to get those people into the nail-pounding-in-Nevada business?

2. It doesn’t explain why recessions reduce unemployment across the board, not just in industries that were bloated by a bubble.

One striking fact, which I’ve already written about, is that the current slump is affecting some non-housing-bubble states as or more severely as the epicenters of the bubble. Here’s a convenient table from the BLS, ranking states by the rise in unemployment over the past year. Unemployment is up everywhere. And while the centers of the bubble, Florida and California, are high in the rankings, so are Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas.

So the liquidationists are still with us.

Let’s answer Krugman’s two points in reverse order starting with number 2:

I’m always surprised how simple Austrian economic theory is and yet so many monetarists and Keynesians seem to completely misunderstand it.

Read More…

A back and forth between J.H. Huebert, Walter Block and Roderick Long on corporations, unions, etc.

Posted on December 12th, 2008 by bile
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“Kop Busters” in Odessa, TX

Posted on December 5th, 2008 by bile
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Odessa, Texas – They didn’t find any drugs; instead they found a poster telling them they were on a reality show called “kop busters.”

It’s an online reality show that goes around the nation exposing what they say is police corruption. The reason they came to Odessa is because they were asked to by a man who says his daughter is falsely imprisoned.

Video cameras, plants masquerading, as drugs, and a message are what police found while serving a search warrant today.

Barry Cooper CEO of Kop said: “The best equipment known to man is what Cop Busters has and we’re going to continue going across America busting these cops.”

The reality show team out of Austin has been setting up the fake drug den for 6 months, going through painstaking methods to keep it a secret.

“We had to use encrypted emails, we had to use Wal-Mart blowup cell phones in case our phones were tapped,” said Cooper.

But why all the trouble? “Get Yolanda Madden out of prison,” said Cooper.

In 2005, Odessa woman Yolanda Madden was convicted of the possession of drugs with the intent to distribute. Now she’s serving a 7-year prison sentence.

“I could prove absolutely without a doubt she’s innocent,” said Raymond Madden

Her father says he’s been trying to get a court to retry the case since the conviction.

“We had a witness that planted the drugs he testified in court that he planted the drugs,” said Madden.

Cop Busters says the show exists to help fix the system.

Odessa police say the matter is still under investigation and at this point they are looking to see if any laws were broken.

Barry was really weak on the question at the end.

Also some info at CBS 7′s site and there is a thread about it over at the Free Keene forum.

Mark Edge of FTL, after dropping lawsuit against town, prepares letter for the bureaucrats

Posted on July 31st, 2008 by bile
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Proper names replaced.

Dear Council people,

I have recently withdrawn my lawsuit against the Town of Edgeville, as I am sure that you know. Mr. B did his job and sufficiently scared me into submission. This is one of the things that governments do. They keep people scared. So I thought I would send you a letter outlining why you scare me.

The first thing I should do is state that I believe I own me. That I am the sole owner of me and that you do not own me nor do any of the people of Edgeville. I own my past, my present and my future. Self ownership of my future manifests itself as my liberty. I do what I want to do, as long as I harm no one, therefore I control my future. It manifests itself is the present as my life. Dead people don’t own anything. And self ownership is manifested in the past by property. The things I decided to do with me, made what I own.

Stealing – To take the property of another without permission or right, esp. secretly or by force (or the threat of force).

The Nazis (I am not intending to say that you or the people of Edgeville are Nazis. I use them as an example because most people know who they are and what they did.) murdered people. The Nuremburg Trials convicted officers and enlisted men, leaders and followers. They prove that: 1. just because something is legal doesn’t make it right. 2. Governments can commit crimes. And 3. “I was just following orders” is not a valid excuse.

The Town of Edgeville issues annual threats of extortion called tax bills. I never contracted nor gave my permission to pay for, nor largely, use the “services” the Town uses the taxes for. I do not consent. As I understand it, I bought my property free and clear, but the Town is treating me like a renter. If I don’t pay my annual rent, out on my ear I go (along with my wife and baby). The Town will claim that it gets its power to tax from the State. The State will claim that it gets the power to tax from The People. This is bull. I’m one of the The People and I don’t give them permission. None of the other people have the right to take my property from me. How then can they give that power to the State? They can’t.

Both the State of New Hampshire and the Town of Edgeville are stealing from me and my family.

I use Route X in the normal course of my business. So certainly I should pay for that, but that is a State Road not a Town Road. I have used Lala Road a few times to get to Town Hall, but that was Town business. I’ve also used it to go to Another Town a couple of times. That deserves some sort of compensation, but not the kind of money I paid in taxes. The volunteer fire department might come in handy, but vigilance and some fire extinguishers are far better protection. There is nothing else I use. Most of the Town’s Budget goes for the school. I promise I will never use your school (I hear it is quite good.). I am morally opposed to government schools. Wal-Mart doesn’t send me a bill for toothpaste just because they have it available to me. Home Depot doesn’t charge me for ladders that I MIGHT use. How can the Town justify robbing me to pay for a school I don’t want? I want to pay for the things that I use. I might support a philanthropic endeavor, no one has ever asked me if I am willing to chip in. The Town has just defaulted to doing what governments do. You threatened me.

You sent me a letter saying if I didn’t pay your bill, you would take my house away and put me and my family on the street. You would take the property that I, and I alone, own and leave me with nothing. The money that you took from me could have been put into a fund to pay for my four month old son, Jack’s education. Instead you made me pay for the education of other people’s children, people that likely make more than I do. You took Jack’s education money. Would you like to spit in face, or break his little fingers too?

You frighten me. I am complying only because the organization you represent appears dangerous to me.

I want to be clear. Edgeville frightens me far less than most governments do. That is why I moved here. The people are reasonable, the taxes are low, there is no cop, there is virtually no crime, and everyone I have ever met here is friendly. I love Edgeville, NH, the place, but the town government is still stealing. A little stealing, is still stealing.

I encourage you to use your positions to protect me, my family and the people of Edgeville. Make people pay for what they use, encourage voluntary solutions that don’t use stolen (tax) money, ASK people to pitch in, and refuse to threaten people.

Thank you,

Mark Edge

If you’ve got any suggestions follow the link above and drop him a line.

Bio-plastics causing issues

Posted on April 27th, 2008 by bile
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The worldwide effort by supermarkets and industry to replace conventional oil-based plastic with eco-friendly “bioplastics” made from plants is causing environmental problems and consumer confusion, according to a Guardian study.

The substitutes can increase emissions of greenhouse gases on landfill sites, some need high temperatures to decompose and others cannot be recycled in Britain.

Many of the bioplastics are also contributing to the global food crisis by taking over large areas of land previously used to grow crops for human consumption.

The market for bioplastics, which are made from maize, sugarcane, wheat and other crops, is growing by 20-30% a year.

The industry, which uses words such as “sustainable”, “biodegradeable”, “compostable” and “recyclable” to describe its products, says bioplastics make carbon savings of 30-80% compared with conventional oil-based plastics and can extend the shelf-life of food.

Concern centres on corn-based packaging made with polylactic acid (Pla). Made from GM crops, it looks identical to conventional polyethylene terephthalate (Pet) plastic and is produced by US company NatureWorks. The company is jointly owned by Cargill, the world’s second largest biofuel producer, and Teijin, one of the world’s largest plastic manufacturers.

Pla is used by some of the biggest supermarkets and food companies, including Wal-Mart, McDonald’s and Del Monte. It is used by Marks & Spencer to package organic foods, salads, snacks, desserts, and fruit and vegetables.

It is also used to bottle Belu mineral water, which is endorsed by environmentalists because the brand’s owners invest all profits in water projects in poor countries. Wal-Mart has said it plans to use 114m Pla containers over the course of a year.

While Pla is said to offer more disposal options, the Guardian has found that it will barely break down on landfill sites, and can only be composted in the handful of anaerobic digesters which exist in Britain, but which do not take any packaging. In addition, if Pla is sent to UK recycling works in large quantities, it can contaminate the waste stream, reportedly making other recycled plastics unsaleable.

Last year Innocent drinks stopped using Pla because commercial composting was “not yet a mainstream option” in the UK.

Anson, one of Britain’s largest suppliers of plastic food packaging, switched back to conventional plastic after testing Pla

in sandwich packs. Sainsbury’s has decided not to use it, saying Pla is made with GM corn. “No local authority is collecting compostable packaging at the moment. Composters do not want it,” a spokesman said.

Britain’s supermarkets compete to claim the greatest commitment to the environment with plant-based products. The bioplastics industry expects rising oil prices to help it compete with conventional plastics, with Europe using about 50,000 tonnes of bioplastics a year.

Concern is mounting because the new generation of biodegradable plastics ends up on landfill sites, where they degrade without oxygen, releasing methane, a greenhouse gas 23 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. This week the US national oceanic and atmospheric administration reported a sharp increase in global methane emissions last year.

I’m not sure that the government is subsidizing this bio-plastic but I don’t doubt it given the same parent company gets lots of subsidies to create corn based ethanol. Looks to me not enough research went into this bio-plastic plan. How much does one want to bet the idea was pushed on the stores by people who didn’t know better or just wanted to look like they were green? If you look at even the IPCC reports there is little or nothing that can be done which would make a significant impact on the current trends, assuming we have any significant impact on this trend in the first place. If we just let the market work, as the scarcity of oil increases so will the prices and customers will demand a better product. That process will be more drawn out and likely a lot more reliable then this current ram rod method we are receiving from the government. There would be real incentives to get it right for the long haul and those who don’t get it right won’t be subsidized by the government and their impact will be minor. These unintended consequences seem to occur very regularly in the government central planning system.

Police State: Memphis Part 2

Posted on April 21st, 2008 by bile
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Operation Thug Huntin’

…or “How I spent my Saturday night”

Over 50 law enforcement agencies came together this weekend for Operation Sudden Impact (they said my name for it wasn’t PC enough). In any case, a whole boatload of the Po-Po got together and ran gang interdictions, traffic saturations, drug sweeps, fugitive searches, and some other things I can’t tell you about for a 24 hour period.

It was fun. More about it here.

On the serious side, we now know the mid-south agencies can work together and bring a LOT of police presence and firepower down on a given area if we ever need to do it in a hurry.

Here is a list of agencies involved courtesy of the Shelby County Sheriff’s Web site:

Follow the link to see the huge list of agencies. Check out the comments:

Thank you for the work you do! I’m a Memphis native, relative of former MPD officers, and worked in law enforcement myself. I really enjoy reading your blog. My entire family still lives in Memphis and I go home as often as I can. It’s sad to see what’s become of my hometown. You guys are to be commended for the hard work you put in. Love your commentary!!!


FBI raids, Arabs whine, liberal media listens…

There are a couple of stories this weekend on two separate Memphis TV stations (WREG and WHBQ) about some FBI raids on local businesses last week. Both stories center on the poor Arabs who are being harassed by the big, bad Feds. The TV reporters seem really ticked off the FBI didn’t bother to call the TV stations personally and let them know all the facts of the case and exactly when the raids were going to take place…how DARE law enforcement do something without telling the TV news departments?This would be funny except for the fact that the public buys this biased crap.

The stations ran different angles on the same basic story, but the common thread was that the FBI is harassing Arab-owned businessmen and employees. So, in the interest of balance (not to mention those fact thingies), Memphis, ETC would like to share some general facts about middle eastern businesses, terrorism, and the reality of it all.

I wasn’t in on these raids, but we’ve done some in the past. The FBI is always armed with a search warrant, which makes the raids totally legal. Most federal judges won’t sign a search warrant without some really compelling evidence that something criminal is afoot. Apparently that was the case here as well.

To the citizens with their heads buried in the sand, let me state another fact. Terrorists and those who support them are living right here in the Mid-South. They are 99% middle eastern. You may try to spin that, or ignore that fact, but that IS a fact. They are using our laws and our society’s political correctness to skirt the law and fund operations that directly threaten the security of the United States. You may not like that fact, but again, it IS a fact.

Yes, it looks like the FBI did raid Arab owned businesses. Well, last I heard, there were no Canadian, Native Americans, or any other ethnic group besides the Arabs trying to explode a nuclear device in our country. Plus, it’s a funny thing about police work…you follow the evidence in anti-terrorism ops and it just seems to lead to middle eastern folks. Gee, I wonder why?

One of the stories also made mention of the fact that there were some odd items seized in the raid, such as ball caps and jewelry. Well, that may be odd to some Cub reporter who doesn’t care about getting both sides of the story, but that was the bit of information that made the light go off in my head.

I believe the FBI is on to some Arabs running these little corner grocery stores you see that offer all sorts of things besides groceries…you know, CD’s, DVD’s, clothing, jewelry. I’ll bet you my stock in Halliburton this particular case is about counterfeiting and media piracy. Plus, I’d further bet that the FBI thinks funds from these illegal sales are being funneled back to whatever county these jerks are from to fund terrorist operations.

Here’s how it works: Mohammad opens a little store usually in the poorer sections of town. Oh, by the way, your governments lets these folks do this and not pay taxes for 7 years to encourage new small businesses…but guess what? Mohammad has a huge family over here, and at the end of seven years he just sells the business to his brother. Gee, another 7 years of tax-free operations, courtesy of the U.S government. Mohammad sells DVD’s and CD’s cheaper than Wal-Mart, because Mohammad has a $10,000 DVD duplicator in his back room where he is duplicating these movies and CD’s. He sells in the black communities and poorer sections of town because he knows no one will report it because they don’t care. Mohammad is also in the market for stolen cell phones which he can wipe and sell overseas. Since Mohammad pays no taxes, he can afford to send a large amount of his profits back to Yemen, Iran, or wherever…where the money is funneled to the same organizations trying to kill out sons , daughters, moms and dads in Iraq. But in this case this week, the FBI seems to have gotten wind of the operations, and the big bad Feds busted in and took Mohammad’s computers and duplicating equipment, his business records, and some of his counterfeit stuff for evidence. So, Mohammad goes crying to the liberal media which happily gives him a stage for his predictable “They are profiling me” whine, and the liberals just drink that stuff up like it was a Starbuck’s latte’.

I am constantly amazed at the willing suspension of disbelief a lot of Americas have about terrorists operating in American, right now, in YOUR neighborhood. Chances are you’ve bought stuff from them. Even more amazing is that the news media takes a passing glance (maybe) at these stories when actual terrorist are caught…like the University of Memphis Arab student who just happened to have a pilot’s uniform, airport layout diagrams, and books on how to fly planes and act like a pilot (plus all his Muslim jihadist propaganda) in his car.

Wake up, people….

Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right. Is this guy going to go justifying what Mao, Stalin, Hitler, etc. did because it was all “legal.” And what was the results from those raids? Where any of them convicted on anything related to terrorism or even the dubious “sponsor of terrorism?” Where are these Arabs who are bringing in nukes? What’s the delivery mechanism? Prove to me that this isn’t bigoted propaganda used to bring about a police state?