June 20, 2009
Do Not Read This
Iran's supreme leader is warning the thousands of people who have been protesting last week's presidential vote to maintain self-restraint or face a stiff reaction from authorities.
Members of the opposition -- who have staged noisy demonstrations for the last six days to protest what they believe was a rigged election -- are weighing their options after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei drew a line in the sand during his all-important sermon during Friday prayers. ...
Human rights monitor Amnesty International issued a statement on Friday saying Khamenei's sermon "indicates the authorities' readiness to launch violent crackdowns if people continue to protest which may cause a widespread loss of life."
"We are extremely disturbed at statements made by Ayatollah Khamenei which seem to give the green light to security forces to violently handle protesters exercising their right to demonstrate and express their views," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty's deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa program.
"If large numbers of people take to the street in protests in the next couple of days, we fear that they will face arbitrary arrest and excessive use of force, as has happened in recent days."
From The Washtington Post: Opposition Protesters Clash With Riot Police in Tehran.
Security forces blocked downtown streets Saturday and used tear gas, water cannons, batons and warning shots to break up a demonstration against the reelection of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as his chief political opponent called for a national strike in the event of his arrest and said he was prepared to sacrifice his life for his cause. ...
The Associated Press reported that 50 to 60 protesters were seriously beaten by police and militiamen and taken to a hospital in central Tehran. Demonstrators could be seen dragging away comrades bloodies by baton strikes, AP said.
Members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, riot police in full gear and members of the pro-government Basij militia were deployed in force to try to keep protesters from gathering or to corral them in side streets and alleys so they could not get to the square, the main starting point of the planned rally.
From National Post: Social media breaks through Iran censorship.
Social media websites became the front lines in Iran's nascent revolution on Tuesday, after the government banned foreign media from reporting on ever-growing protests in the wake of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election last week.
"No journalist has permission to report or film or take pictures in the city," a Culture Ministry official in Tehran told Reuters on Tuesday, after Iran cancelled accreditation and banned all foreign journalists from leaving their offices to cover the widespread unrest.
And while censorship efforts also appeared to be targeting ordinary citizens and websites, users around the globe joined in online efforts aimed at circumventing the crackdown, protecting information sources within Iran and getting their story out, against the government's will.
May 15, 2009
From RealClearPolitics: The Lawless State Comes to America by Robert Tracinski.
America's traditional legal system is all about laws and rights and contracts-a fine web of protections for the rights of the individual-and that tends to get in the way of vast schemes for government disposal of our lives and wealth.
So President Obama has decided to throw out that existing legal system and knock down the protections for individual rights.
Our first major warning of this is the deal being forced on Chrysler's "secured creditors." These are institutions that loaned money to Chrysler when it was in trouble; they were willing to take the risk because they were relying on a legal principle which gives them first claim on the company's assets in case of bankruptcy. Thus, in the worst case scenario, they expected to reclaim as much as 80 cents on each dollar of their investment, limiting their losses.
But the Obama administration wants them to accept only 29 cents on the dollar, in the name of "sacrifice." The beneficiary of this sacrifice is the United Auto Workers, a Democratic pressure group which is being shoved to the front of the line and favored above the secured creditors.
How did Obama get these creditors to relinquish their rights? Major banks who have taken TARP money caved in first. When they were dragooned into taking government money last fall, Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson swore that the government would not interfere in their operations or dictate their decisions-except, apparently, for dictating how much they lend, how much they pay their executives, how much they accept as a buyout in major bankruptcy cases, and so on.
As for the non-TARP lenders, Obama has publicly singled them out as villains to be punished-and one prominent bankruptcy lawyer says that Obama's minions have been making direct threats to ruin firms who don't accept the sacrifice of their rights. Tom Lauria of White & Case, which represents several of the secured creditors, explains in a radio interview that "One of my clients was directly threatened by the White House and in essence compelled to withdraw its opposition to the deal under threat that the full force of the White House press corps would destroy its reputation if it continued to fight."
Venture capitalist Bill Frezza succinctly sums up the meaning of the Chrysler deal: "There's no law to protect the politically unfavored in this country."
While Obama has not sought a real explanation of today’s economic problems, Americans should. Otherwise, we will simply swallow “solutions” that dogmatically assume the free market got us here--namely, Obama’s plans to swamp this country in an ocean of government debt, government controls, and government make-work projects. But alternative, free-market explanations for the crisis do exist--ones that consider the inconvenient facts Washington ignores--and every American should seek to understand them.
Those who do will likely end up telling our leaders to stop saying “Yes, we can” to each new proposal for expanding government power, and start saying “Yes, you can” to Americans who seek to exercise their right to produce and trade on a free market.
March 15, 2009
“Barack Obama claims that Americans can only stave off economic disaster by trillions in government spending--which means trillions of dollars taxed or borrowed to finance government make-work programs,” said Yaron Brook, executive director of the Ayn Rand Center for Individual Rights. “Obama-nomics couldn’t be more wrong. “Prosperity requires that the government drastically cut government spending. That way, as much real capital as possible will remain in private hands, and be put to productive use by entrepreneurs to create valuable goods and services to sell at home and abroad. By taxing and inflating our wealth away, Obama will simply be creating more of the crushing debt that brought about the current crisis.”From RealClearPolitics: The "Can-Do" Economy-Killer by Robert Tracinski.
Obama is offering the basic Roosevelt method or formula: buoyant American "can-do" optimism--in the service of the economy-killing agenda of a high-taxing, high-spending welfare and regulatory state. Get the people to love you for giving them a pep talk that lifts their spirits--even as you impose policies that dash their hopes.
If Obama is identical to FDR in his basic method, all we can hope that he does not achieve the same result: another ten years of economic collapse.
From Capitalism Magazine: Obama's Plans Will 'Work' -- To Breed Servile Dependence by Richard Salsman.
Oddly, these [conservative] “critics” [of Obama's economic policies] bestow undeserved compliments on their political opponents – and thus provide them with crucial political cover. By implicitly praising their enemy’s underlying motives, these critics effectively shield them from justified criticism. The critics who argue this way – including Rush Limbaugh – unwittingly carry water for President Obama. By insisting the schemes “won’t work,” the “critics” mean they won’t work to grow the economy – won’t revive the stock market – won’t fix the banks – won’t attract capitalists on strike – won’t bolster job creation – and won’t lift the poor out of poverty. Well, all that’s true, but it’s false to assume the Obama administration actually wants to achieve these things.
In fact, it wants no such thing.
It has other ideas -- a wholly opposite aim.
Besides a desire for re-election, shared by all politicians, at root the Obama Administration wants individuals and firms to become more dependent on government. That requires not merely a more intensive redistribution of wealth to the needy (whether needy people or needy firms), but also programs and plans that might proliferate the ranks of the needy, even if that requires turning otherwise healthy people and firms into unhealthy, needy ones.