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Monday: Rambling around

First of all: What Lambert Said.

Secondly, I found this story through an email message headlined, “Ayn Rand on the Public Dole” — which I think is a wildly dangerous joke (it doesn’t appear in the story.) Yes, we all know that Rand sneered at the very idea of a country feeling responsibility for it’s citizens. I’m sure she would have laughed her head off at the very idea of “It takes a village” … So what? The notion that people who are on Social Security are on the dole should stay as dead as she is.

Still, the irony is sweet:

Her books provided wide-ranging parables of “parasites,” “looters” and “moochers” using the levers of government to steal the fruits of her heroes’ labor. In the real world, however, Rand herself received Social Security payments and Medicare benefits under the name of Ann O’Connor (her husband was Frank O’Connor).


Cow Most Sacred: Why Military Spending Remains Untouchable

In defense circles, “cutting” the Pentagon budget has once again become a topic of conversation. Americans should not confuse that talk with reality. Any cuts exacted will at most reduce the rate of growth. The essential facts remain: U.S. military outlays today equal that of every other nation on the planet combined, a situation without precedent in modern history.

. . .

What are Americans getting for their money? Sadly, not much. Despite extraordinary expenditures (not to mention exertions and sacrifices by U.S. forces), the return on investment is, to be generous, unimpressive. The chief lesson to emerge from the battlefields of the post-9/11 era is this: the Pentagon possesses next to no ability to translate “military supremacy” into meaningful victory.


Lambert is live-blogging the live-stream Al Jazeera’s live stream — and their blog. He’s on his 4th post now. It’s a good way to catch up on what’s going on in Egypt if you can’t be tied to your own PC.

This post at Naked Capitalism discusses the looting and government thugs.

Guest Post: Is the Egyptian Government Using Agents Provocateur to Justify a Crack Down On the Protesters?

Al Jazeera reported today:

[Al Jazeera reporter] Ayman Mohyeldin reports that eyewitnesses have said “party thugs” associated with the Egyptian regime’s Central Security Services – in plainclothes but bearing government-issued weapons – have been looting in Cairo. Ayman says the reports started off as isolated accounts but are now growing in number.

The Telegraph reports:

“Thugs” going around on motorcycles looting shops and houses, according to Al Jazeera. They say they are getting more and more reports of looting. More worryingly, one group of looters who were captured by citizens in the upmarket Cairo district of Heliopolis turned out to have ID cards identifying them as members of the regime security forces.

There’s much more — many links and a historical discussion of the practice.


Medicare for Everyone — That’s how I’d do it. Without universal health care for everyone, ideas like this are a complete waste of time:

White House to launch job-creating start-up effort

Senior officials are to launch a national campaign called “Startup America,” which will encourage private sector investment in startups and small firms, accelerate research and address barriers to success for entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Officials are to announce that President Barack Obama will propose making permanent the elimination of capital gains taxes on key investments in small businesses, a White House official said.

Oh, and by all means, keep lowering those pesky business taxes.