Egypt Sliding into Military Dictatorship

When the revolution that eventually overthrew Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak began, I warned that the end result could easily be a government as bad or worse than Mubarak’s was. In a revolutionary situation, liberal democratic forces often get outmaneuvered by more ruthless and better-organized opponents — even if majority public opinion would prefer a liberal regime. In Egypt, I pointed out, the establishment of a repressive regime is made more likely by the fact that public opinion is in may ways extremely illiberal. Unfortunately, this fear has so far been justified by events. As Thanassis Cambanis explains in the Atlantic, the new Egyptian government is well on its way to becoming a military dictatorship in some ways more repressive than Mubarak’s regime …

via The Volokh Conspiracy » Egypt Sliding into Military Dictatorship.

“Tell Men They Need To Man Up”

Cleaned up from a comment at Heartiste. (The rest of the site is might not be safe for work, or your sunny outlook.)

  1. Deconstruct the great books on university campuses

  2. Tell men they need to man up

  3. Dumb down the entire school system

  4. Tell men they need to man up

  5. [Screw over] men in divorce court

  6. Tell men they need to man up

  7. Send men to die on foreign shores in foreign neocon wars

  8. Tell men they need to man up

  9. Drug boys with ritalin/adderall for being boys

  10. Tell men they need to man up

  11. Encourage women to [have sex] early and often with douchebags

  12. Tell men they need to man up

  13. Destroy the classical, heroic character in their neocon movies, replacing them with […] gay cowboys

  14. Tell men they need to man up

  15. Print money from thin air and inflate and deflate bubbes to seize a man’s home and property

  16. Tell men they need to man up

  17. Encourage women to become fat, whiny bitches

  18. Tell men they need to man up

  19. Transofrm the church from an instititution where a man could once go to
    meet a virginal, exalted wife, into a front for the divorce industry, where
    single mothers with three children from three [different fathers] go to rope in a
    beta male to pay for [the other mens’] spawn

  20. Tell men they need to man up

  21. Castigate, attack, and impugn men for acting like men

  22. Tell men they need to man up

  23. Transform the noble, exalted university into a nursery, ruled by neocon
    women […] exiling and deconstructing the great books and men, and rewading
    the servile future nannies of the nanny state with fiat dollars delivered
    fresh from Ben Bernanke’s helicopter

  24. Tell men they need to man up

  25. Remove all men from the publishing industry, so that Priscilla Painton of
    Simon and Schuster […] can publish Tucker Max […] stories on how he
    [slept with] somone’s future wife who will [screw over] her future huspband in
    divorce court as revenge for having [had sex with] a neocon) and taped it
    secretly without her consent. Remove all men from the publishing
    industry and repalce deep, profound really great books for men with Twilight
    vampire […] female rape fantasy “romance” novels.

  26. Tell men they need to man up

  27. Conceive of a hundred government programs to criminalize men and force
    them to hand over their assets to women

  28. Tell men they need to man up

  29. Financially incentivize womem to file for divorce, promising them that
    their former husdband will have to pay for all their future [lovemaking]
    sessions, and that they get the kids/house/car/assets

  30. Tell men they need to man up

  31. Fill the law schools with fat, embittered, burned-out, nasty (in looks and
    spirit) […] lawyeresses, and replace Moses’ and Zeus’s law with Bernanke’s
    banker laws which exalts theft via the inflation tax.

  32. Tell men they need to man up.

Godwin’s Law For Poverty Arguments: “The Income Gap”

Americans in the bottom 10 percentile are incredibly well off by global standards, as a general rule.  And I’m not even going to dignify the lefticle wank of "income gap" with a response, except to note it’s pretty much Godwin’s Law for economics. If you bring it up, you’ve admitted you have no argument.

via Speaker to Morons » You Keep Using That Word. I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

How Bias Works (and smart people are not immune)

Bias matters not because liberals deliberately slant their stories, but because they are much more likely to interrogate the facts that contradict their ideological beliefs, than the ones that support them.  When they come across an uncomfortable fact, they’ll go out of their way to figure out why it isn’t really true.  When they come across a fact that confirms what they believe, they’ll be more likely to accept it at face value.

I’m not claiming that liberals do this more than conservatives (I think that being human, they’re equally prone to this phenomenon)–only that in the media, liberal bias is mostly what matters, because the media is overwhelmingly somewhere to the left of the American center.  Even if you have a conservative reporter prone to insufficient interrogation of convenient facts, those same facts are going to set off alarm bells with his editors, who are quite likely to question the whole story.

This is why I think liberal media bias is worrisome–not because it’s a vast conspiracy, but because it creates a giant store of pseudofacts that "everyone knows", like all those ludicrous statistics about abortion and domestic violence that used to appear everywhere.  And new pseudofacts are being created, or resurrected, all the time.  Longtime readers of the blog have endured my jeremiads against Republicans who say that cutting tax rates raises revenue.  A few weeks ago I was flabbergasted to find out that a very smart left-of-center blogger I admire seemed to think it was common knowledge that there’s really no evidence that tax cuts provide stimulus . . . a belief that I then find out seems to be common among some of the left commentariat.  This is not at all what any mainstream economist I’m aware of believes (the debate is over the relative size of secondary and tertiary effects of various kinds of stimulus, not whether tax cuts are stimulative at all.)  But somehow this belief had become common . . . presumably because in the milieu where it was transmitted, no one was disposed to question something that fit so neatly with what they already believed.  Add in a few hundred repeitions from people you like, and voila, "Everyone knows . . . "

But we don’t investigate things that everyone knows–reporters do not start off each new story by checking if gravity is still in operation. The more things that everyone knows, the more unnoticed holes there will be in stories. And there is no one without blind spots–the best you can achieve is getting together a bunch of conscientious people who all have different blind spots.

via How Bias Works – Megan McArdle – Business – The Atlantic.

Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet

A computer virus has infected the cockpits of America’s Predator and Reaper drones, logging pilots’ every keystroke as they remotely fly missions over Afghanistan and other warzones.

The virus, first detected nearly two weeks ago by the military’s Host-Based Security System, has not prevented pilots at Creech Air Force Base in Nevada from flying their missions overseas. Nor have there been any confirmed incidents of classified information being lost or sent to an outside source. But the virus has resisted multiple efforts to remove it from Creech’s computers, network security specialists say. And the infection underscores the ongoing security risks in what has become the U.S. military’s most important weapons system.

“We keep wiping it off, and it keeps coming back,” says a source familiar with the network infection, one of three that told Danger Room about the virus. “We think it’s benign. But we just don’t know.”

via Exclusive: Computer Virus Hits U.S. Drone Fleet | Danger Room | Wired.com.

Elizabeth Warren: Twisting the ‘social contract’

Warren is … a pyromaniac in a field of straw men: She refutes propositions no one asserts. Everyone knows that all striving occurs in a social context, so all attainments are conditioned by their context. This does not, however, entail a collectivist political agenda.

Such an agenda’s premise is that individualism is a chimera, that any individual’s achievements should be considered entirely derivative from society, so the achievements need not be treated as belonging to the individual. Society is entitled to socialize — i.e., conscript — whatever portion it considers its share. It may, as an optional act of political grace, allow the individual the remainder of what is misleadingly called the individual’s possession.

The collectivist agenda is antithetical to America’s premise, which is: Government — including such public goods as roads, schools and police — is instituted to facilitate individual striving, a.k.a. the pursuit of happiness. The fact that collective choices facilitate this striving does not compel the conclusion that the collectivity (Warren’s “the rest of us”) is entitled to take as much as it pleases of the results of the striving.

Emphasis mine. Via Elizabeth Warren and liberalism, twisting the ‘social contract’ – The Washington Post.

Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? (“No.”)

In fact it isn’t cheaper to eat highly processed food: a typical order for a family of four — for example, two Big Macs, a cheeseburger, six chicken McNuggets, two medium and two small fries, and two medium and two small sodas — costs, at the McDonald’s a hundred steps from where I write, about $28. (Judicious ordering of “Happy Meals” can reduce that to about $23 — and you get a few apple slices in addition to the fries!)

In general, despite extensive government subsidies, hyperprocessed food remains more expensive than food cooked at home. You can serve a roasted chicken with vegetables along with a simple salad and milk for about $14, and feed four or even six people. If that’s too much money, substitute a meal of rice and canned beans with bacon, green peppers and onions; it’s easily enough for four people and costs about $9.

By the way, note the phrase “despite extensive government subsidies.” It’s almost as if the government doesn’t know what’s best for you. Via Is Junk Food Really Cheaper? – NYTimes.com.

Koch Flouts The Law? False.

… everything Bloomberg wrote about Koch Industries could just as easily have been written about G.E. G.E.’s foreign subsidiaries have done business in Iran, and G.E., like Koch, has publicly noted that its subsidiaries’ dealings with Iran were legal. Likewise, employees of one or more G.E. companies paid bribes to obtain business in Iraq, and just last year, G.E. paid a $23.4 million fine as a result. And G.E. has had environmental problems, like–to name just a few–contaminating the Hudson and Housatonic Rivers with PCBs, along with the Coosa River Basin, and releasing dimethyl sulfate, chlorine, 1, 1, 1, -trichloroethane, ammonia, and toluene from its silicone manufacturing plant in Waterford, New York. G.E. has had product liability problems, including claims of wrongful death that were, tragically, justified. And, while Bloomberg makes a laughable price-fixing claim against Koch, G.E. was in fact a party to one of the most famous price-fixing conspiracies of all time.

So, is Bloomberg’s story titled “The Secret Sins of General Electric”? Or, in the online version, “General Electric Flouts Law With Secret Iran Sales?” Of course not. G.E. is generally identified with the Democratic Party. Does anyone seriously doubt that Bloomberg wanted to do a hit piece on Koch Industries solely because that company’s owners are prominent conservatives? Of course not.

The Bloomberg piece is “battlespace preparation.” Read the whole response at Bloomberg Whiffs, Part 1 | Power Line.