Yes, we want guns to shoot criminals who threaten us. Firearms are so readily available to them that we are really asking for nothing more than – in Guardian terms – equality and social justice between the criminal and non-criminal communities. We are not fussed how many criminals die, but that doesn’t make us uncaring because we also believe that many people would never become criminals if it could be made as risky as, say, being a victim of crime.
But we also want to deter the heavily-armed state. To break its monopoly of force. To keep it in its place as our servant by restoring its fear of us. We don’t believe there would be nearly as many smug Guardianisti telling us how to live our lives if every Englishman’s castle still had guns behind the portcullis.
- ‘Tom Paine‘
A $64.2m road built for the games leads to the “Science Centre Biosphere,” which Russian officials say will monitor climate change during the Olympics. The site consists of a ski lift, tennis court, snowmobile trail, two helicopter pads, and a 14-room alpine chalet”
- An infographic in (of all places) Mother Jones, reporting on the immense cost of the current Sochi Winter Olympics. Research in other places informs me that this private ski resort is of course Vladimir Putin’s dacha, or more correctly one of his many dachas. Apparently he was trapped there once and had to walk out after it became impossible to get helicopters in or out during a snowstorm. As it was obviously appalling for a man such as Putin to suffer such an indignity, it became necessary to spend $64 million on a road.
Disregarding the absurd plunder of Russian public money that these games represent, I personally rather love the Winter Olympics. Rich people from rich countries compete with each other at absurdly dangerous activities. I am often baffled as to why or even how some of these sports came to be invented, but they sure are fun to watch.
The paper money of the Soviet Republic supported the Soviet Government in its most difficult moments, when there was no possibility of paying for the civil war out of direct tax receipts. Glory to the printing press! To be sure, its days are numbered now but it has accomplished three-quarters of the task. In the archives of the great proletarian revolution, alongside the modern guns, rifles, and machine guns which mowed down the enemies of the proletariat, an honorary place will be occupied by that machine gun of the People’s Commissariat of Finance which attacked the bourgeois regime in its rear – its monetary system – by converting the bourgeois economic law of money circulation into a means of destruction of that same regime and into a source of financing the revolution.
- Bolshevik economist Evgeny A. Preobrazhensky, in his booklet entitled Paper Money during the Proletarian Dictatorship, published in 1920.
Quoted by Dominic Frisby in Life After The State (p. 92).
I agree with what Simon Jenkins says here. I take it that he opposes the 1965 Race Relations Act and the other measures that have undermined freedom of speech in this land.
- Paul Marks
I am reactionary on freedom of speech. I am for it. I have no time for the weasel words of pseudo-liberalism, that freedom must sometimes be curbed to advance freedom. It is like the tyrant’s censor who declares he approves of all criticism provided it is fair, constructive, offends no one and is not conducive to violence. That is free speech a la Putin. It is the more dangerous as it often has the best tunes.
- Simon Jenkins
Do you think Apple helped [the NSA] build that? I don’t know. I hope Apple will clarify that… Here’s a problem: I don’t really believe that Apple didn’t help them. I can’t really prove it, but they [the NSA] literally claim that anytime they target an iOS device, that it will succeed for implantation. Either they have a huge collection of exploits that work against Apple products, meaning that they are hoarding information about critical systems that American companies produce and sabotaging them, or Apple sabotaged it themselves. Not sure which one it is. I’d like to believe that since Apple didn’t join the PRISM program until after Steve Jobs died, that maybe it’s just that they write shitty software.
- Jacob Applebaum
I don’t think Cameron has conceded anything very much. The Lib Dems are not much farther to the left than he is personally and he would have a much harder time with his own party if he was not in a coalition. I think Cameron has done quite well by his own miserable standard.
Cable is just one of those people that think that the debate (was there one?) about the role of the state has been settled and that elections are just about replacing the management team.
- Samizdata commenter Peter T
[Nigel Farage] is a politician, so everything he says needs to be decoded. But licensing [of handguns] is vastly preferable to banning, not just a little bit preferable… more importantly he is doing the one thing you are not supposed to do in polite society, he is actually discussing the subject. Next thing you know people will be discussing the NHS and the phrase “envy of the world” will not be heard anywhere.
- Perry de Havilland
“But please, let’s not now pile hypocrisy on top of our grotesque abdication of responsibility. No more hand-wringing. No further calls for “something to be done”. Nothing is going to be done. Because we don’t actually want it to be done. Yes, we want the horrors of Syria to disappear. We want Assad to disappear. But we want someone else to make them disappear for us, so we can go back to congratulating ourselves about how we stood tall for peace.”
- Dan Hodges
He raises the uncomfortable fact that, while non-interventionists can clearly state, with a lot of hard evidence to back them up, that intervening by military means can just make things worse, lead to a quagmire, etc, doing nothing also can have its costs. And he’s right to say that anyone who complains about Assad, and the other side, has no real credibility without at least stating what could or should have been done about it instead. Of course, if Western politicians say, “The situation is terrible, both if we get involved and if we don’t. Life is a bitch sometimes but there it is,” they are not going to be very popular.
Via Tim Worstall, this is far too good not to share:
Cuba for me is a bright flame in a dark world. I am fully aware that it is no utopia and that there are many shortages and imperfections but they have learnt many interesting lessons during the special period after the USSR collapse and so are building from a self sufficient standpoint. When one looks at the madness of the US and the EU where freeloader bankers run and ruin the economy, where corrupt central banks print more debt onto future generations and where all rationality and sustainability has left the room… Cuba is a beacon in front of all of this. I think the most humiliating lesson they have thought the world (And more importantly the US) is that you can provide free and excellent healthcare despite being bullied by exterior forces. Cuba is particularly interesting in the case of Greece with a similarly (but with no embargo!!!) crippled economy, they could really learn alot from Cuba who is also blighted by a heavy civil service.
I love the final sentence.
It was disappointing, however, to see that many of the recommendations offered by Obama’s own Surveillance Review Group were either neglected or specifically rejected. While the unconstitutional permanent gag orders attached to National Security Letters will be time-limited, they will continue to be issued by FBI agents, not judges, for sensitive financial and communications records.
Nor did the president address NSA’s myopic efforts to degrade the security of the Internet by compromising the encryption systems relied on by millions of innocent users. And it is also important to realize that changing one controversial program doesn’t alter the broader section 215 authority, which can still be used to collect other types of records in bulk—and for all we know, may already be used for that purpose.
- Julian Sanchez
Crudely put, George Orwell is anyone’s bitch. Whatever the topic, whatever the political position, he can be wheeled out in support to enunciate universal truths in a voice as compelling as the ghost in Hamlet.
- Alastair Harper