Judge on NSA: “This court believes there are millions and millions of Americans whose constitutional rights have been and are being violated.”

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This is in reference to the NSA’s “bulk data” collection program.

You’re darn right that millions of people’s rights are being violated by this program. We have a Constitution. We have a 4th Amendment. Blanket searches are not constitutional this seems pretty clear. But it stands to the power of the agency that this is even still being discussed. The program pretty clearly should be gone, finito, adios. That is if we think the Constitution and the rule of law mean anything anymore. For some people in Washington this may be a very open question.

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Median Total Compensation for Redwood City (California) Firefighters – At Least $226,365

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By Ed Ring, executive director, California Policy Center

 

Back in February 2014 the California Policy Center publicly announced the Transparent California website, developed in partnership with the Nevada Policy Research Institute. An article covering this announcement was posted on the Forbes Magazine website, entitled “Hundreds Of California Government Employees Are Paid Over $400,000 A Year,” which a review of 2013 Transparent California data (2014 data is still being assembled) easily confirms. As a matter of fact, in 2013, total compensation in excess of $400,000 was paid to 1,292 public servants in California. A staggering 2,818 of California’s public employees collected total compensation in excess of $300,000 in 2013.

Some have argued that it is misleading to claim people are making, for example, over $400,000 per year, when in fact the $400,000 being referenced is total compensation, not regular earnings. We reject this argument categorically. It is incumbent on anyone who assesses compensation to treat total compensation as the only valid measurement both for comparative purposes and, especially, when considering employer costs. Total compensation represents the actual cost to the employer, and it represents the actual value earned by the employee. Every penny of total compensation, whether it’s to fund future retirement benefits or to pay for current benefits such as health insurance, is something a worker will have to pay for themselves out of their regular earnings, unless it is instead paid for by the employer.

When talking about how much we pay our public servants, we contend that it is misleading to reference anything but total compensation.

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How Airbnb actually makes NYC affordable

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Airbnb isn’t just making New York affordable for tourists, it’s making it (more) affordable for people who live in the city.

Have an extra bedroom? Why not rent it out a couple of nights a week to help make ends meet? The rent is $5000/month so every little bit helps.

But the hoteliers don’t like people doing this and they, like the cab companies battling Uber are fighting Airbnb in the courts and at City Hall instead of tailoring their product to a new, more competitive marketplace.

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Win for free speech: WSU says professors may not discriminate against students who use terms “male” or “female” in class

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Political correctness is so disheartening. It is a speech code imposed by those who spend their lives perpetually offended. Everyone (well nearly everyone) knows that these perpetually offended individuals are out to lunch, but for a long time people were afraid to say anything for fear of being labeled a “racist” or worse. Such a tag from the politically correct community of grievance studies professors could potentially derail a career in academia for a student or prospective professor. It is a deeply totalitarian phenomenon. Thankfully the newspeak brigade is being challenged on campuses. But it needs to be challenged more vehemently still.

Those professors who indulge in this sort of behavior at state colleges should not be tolerated. At a private school, if it wants to let the speech fascists run free while oppressing everyone else that’s their business.(Though students and donors should fight PC in private schools also.) But when taxpayers are paying for things the deal is totally different. We should not be expected to fund such anti-intellectual nonsense.

Free speech is a fundamental tenant of this country. White, black, gay, straight, red head or blonde, one should feel free to speak. Particularly at a university.

Fight PC. It is against the very spirit of higher education.

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The Crony Capitalist Crash Continues*, Dow down 468, S&P at 1913

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Oil got hammered over 8% today. Stocks in the US 3% roughly.

This is largely driven by reality hitting China, the Ultimate Crony Capitalist State, and reality hitting investors around the world who have ridden the Fed driven asset inflation of the last few years. As we have said there are huge, massive, pockets of monetary cotton candy in markets which will collapse sooner or later.

But don’t worry, supposedly China has another dose of “stimulus” on the way. That ought to make things better.

Below are a few of the articles we have done on markets and China in the past 6 months or so for your information.

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Socialism sucks (the life out of an economy): A 90-Year-Old Goes Shopping in Venezuela

¡Viva Socialismo!

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Socialism is death. It is sold as life of course. It is sold as a way to get even with those nasty capitalists with their “greed driven” profit motives. A way to bring heaven to earth. Better to let the cronies in government manage things than the people in a free economy. The cronies only have your best interests in mind.

Socialists prey on the ignorant and hopeless.

Socialism is a kind of religion. It has many offshoots and schisms, but fundamentally it is about all too fallible cronies telling other people what to do, and these same cronies thinking that they are smarter than the market. This is the faith.This is the religion. It is about power OVER people. But again, it is sold as liberation.

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World’s Poor: “We Want Capitalism”

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The way out of poverty is through capitalism, free enterprise, free markets, and free prices. But so many people who I believe honestly want to do good do not understand this. They believe that central planning and aid from “rich countries” will solve the world’s problems even though they have only worsened things in aggregate around the world for decades.

Where poor people can build wealth and enjoy property rights and honest pricing the tendency is toward prosperity. Where there is government intervention, where the government or connected cronies can just seize the limited wealth of the poor (often in the name of “justice”), where prices are obfuscated, there is poverty and misery.

We do not believe in free prices and free markets because we want to keep “what’s ours.” We believe in them because we know, and have seen, how much better capitalism is for everyday people than state intervention and its associated cronyism.

In order for a society to truly proper people need both personal liberty and economic liberty, which are actually one and the same. Capitalism allows for both and offers a path out of poverty. (Not that it is always easy.) But many people just refuse to see this. It fundamentally conflicts with everything they’ve been told, to date.

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Bloomberg: Afternoons in the Chinese stock market have turned into a waiting game for the state-backed funds to arrive.

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Why have we focused so much attention on China as of late? First because the Chinese economy is huge and hugely important to the overall world economy. Second because China is, as we say, The Ultimate Crony Capitalist State. It is an economy built on fiat. It is an economy built on commands from on high. It is an economy with massive potential, potential which to some degree has been actualized, but which is undermined by cronyism and central planning.

China in many respects is a cautionary tale.

China will continue to grow. It will continue its rise as a great power. But it is increasingly obvious that the Chinese model is not one to emulate.

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China stockmarket: Journalists, traders, officials rounded up in wake of ‘panic and disorder’

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China is going all coo coo bananas here lately. Not that arresting journalists and other people is outside the norm for The Ultimate Crony Capitalist State, but still. Tianjin, the yuan devaluation, the stock crash, this new explosion, the big military parade on the 3rd. Lots of stuff going on. Lots to keep the jailers busy.

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Seriously, what is going ON in China? Another massive blast at a another port, Just south of the Tianjin exlosion 2 weeks ago

A stones throw from the previous blast. Image: Google Maps

A stones throw from the previous blast.
Image: Google Maps

So as of this moment we are being told that it was another chemicals depot. OK. That is pretty weird especially coming on the heels of the Tianjin explosion earlier this month.

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