Free Markets, Free People

Daily Archives: March 3, 2011


TSA screens people AFTER they get off train?

This allegedly happened at the “Savannah train station” (I assume that means Savannah GA), after passengers had come OFF the train on Feb. 13, 2011:

Here’s a description [sic] of what you’re seeing  from the person who uploaded the video:

The only bad thing on our trip was TSA was at the Savannah train station. There were about 14 agents pulling people inside the building and coralling everyone in a roped area AFTER you got OFF THE TRAIN! This made no sense!!! Poor family in front of us! 9 year old getting patted down and wanded. They groped our people too and were very unprofessional. I am all about security, but when have you ever been harassed and felt up getting OFF a plane? Shouldnt they be doing that getting ON??? And they wonder why so many people are mad at them.

Make sense to you?

[HT: Me Again]

~McQ


Hillary Clinton: Al Jazeera shaming US Media

In a defense of the State Department budget, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says “we are in an information war and we’re losing that war”.

Further, Clinton claimed that the private media isn’t up to the task of winning it saying, “Our private media cannot fill that gap”.

The message – we need more money for government propaganda and media.

Interestingly she then goes on to cite a private media network as “winning”:

"Al Jazeera is winning. The Chinese have opened up a global English language and multi-language television network, the Russians have opened up an English language network. I’ve seen it in a couple of countries and it’s quite instructive."

There is a place (and need) for government propaganda and it isn’t on a private media network (although in some cases you’d be hard pressed to believe that given that some of our private news networks seem to be entities dedicated to the unquestioning republishing of government press releases).  So propaganda operations should be conducted via government means – many of which are in place today.

Clinton seems to be calling for a government news network to compete with other government news networks (Russian and Chinese).  Yet she uses Al Jazeera as the example of who is winning the information war.

Al Jazeera is kicking butt in the coverage of the Middle East and N. Africa.   If you haven’t checked out their live blogs, you’re missing the inside scoop.  For instance did you know that Hugo Chavez has offered to mediate the crisis in Libya and Gadhafi has accepted (I’m not sure what that means, since there is no mention of the other side in this mediation, but still).

But Clinton is doing a little bait and switch – Al Jazeera (private) is kicking the US (private) media’s rear when it comes to ME coverage, the US media (private) is not up to the job, therefore we need more money to set up a government outlet (what?). 

Yeah, nothing could go wrong with that, could it?  

And again, more government (and more spending) is the answer to a perceived private sector deficit (Al Jazeera is located in the ME – that’s their beat).

Of course all of this sort of depends on how you define the function of a news organization, doesn’t it?   Sounds to me that Ms. Clinton thinks they should be “aiding and abetting” government in the functions it deems important – like propaganda.  And they should be covering the stories she deems important.  She’s not at all pleased with how the media here has covered the news in the Middle East apparently.

And then there was this little nugget:

“Our private media, particularly cultural programming often works at counter purposes to what we truly are as Americans. I remember having an Afghan general tell me that the only thing he thought about Americans is that all the men wrestled and the women walked around in bikinis because the only TV he ever saw was Baywatch and World Wide Wrestling."

So because some Afghan general prefers to see grown men wrestle and beautiful women prance around in bikinis, our private media is deficient and presents a picture that is at "counter purposes to what we truly are as Americans". Sounds like someone really, really, really wants a government propaganda channel set up so we can present what we "truly are as Americans". My bet, though, is that Afghan general will still be watching wrestling and bikinis when all is said and done … and spent.

~McQ


Harry Reid and the drive to preserve the big government “status quo”

Who are the reactionaries and who are the revolutionaries (progressives?) now?  Senate minority leader Harry Reid sure sounds like the reactionary:

At a Capitol Hill Press conference to announce that the Senate had agreed to a continuing resolution that will keep the government funded through March 18th, Reid was asked about GOP plans to eliminate the Home Affordable Modification Program–a program that has permanently modified nearly 600,000 loans since its inception.

“Why can’t they work on things that help the economy?” Reid asked. “Why do they have to work on things that hurt the economy? Why would they want to eliminate a program like that? Just because it came from the White House? This is hard for me to understand why they’re so fixated on destroying our government, our economy.”

What he’s talking about is the Home Affordable Mortgage Program or HAMP.  Earth to Reid — we can’t afford stuff like that anymore … not that we ever could.  And besides, it isn’t a function of government.

But Reid is convinced, as are many of his colleagues, that it is the job of government to redistribute wealth and use other people’s money to rescue those who’ve gotten themselves into a financial bind (through no fault of the “other people”).  And, of course, there’s this:

The Treasury Department had set aside $75 billion for the program,the administration promised would prevent 3-4 million foreclosures by helping people modify the terms of their loans. As of December 521,000 mortgages had been modified. That an abysmal record. But worse still is the fact that some money from HAMP has been diverted to other housing programs that are doing an even worse job of helping people stay in their homes.

"About $8.1 billion was set aside to enable certain borrowers who are current on their mortgage to refinance into Federal Housing Administration loans if their homes are worth less than what is owed on the mortgage. About 44 loans have been closed under that program." Did you get that? HAMP was poorly designed in that it was supposed to subsidize those who were delinquent on their mortgage payments, but at least some money was diverted to "help" those who were actually paying their way.

Another in  a long line of wasteful programs modified on the fly to do things not approved originally.  And that may be some sort of record – $8.1 billion and only closed 44 loans?  If you think “created or saved jobs” cost a lot, do that math.    It wasn’t the only diversion from the original program:

Another $7.6 billion was reallocated to emergency mortgage relief payments to unemployed workers in some states. The other program targeted by Republicans helps communities buy and redevelop foreclosed properties.

And there’s more.  Says an expert:

Julia Gordon, senior policy counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending, said killing the entire lineup of foreclosure prevention when tens of thousands of homes are lapsing into foreclosure each month makes no sense. "If something is not working well enough, you fix it," Gordon said. "You don’t just toss it out."

How about if something isn’t working well at all and it costs money you can’t afford Ms. Gordon?  What if it isn’t something government should be involved in – at least by the Constitution most of us were taught in school?  That’s one of our problems, Ms. Gordon – we create these wasteful bureaucratic programs and never kill them off when they’re found to be useless or costing far more than anticipated.   It is time to kill this turkey.

A $75 billion dollar boondoggle that should be cut and all we get from the reactionary Democrats and “experts” with a vested interest in continuing the farce is a fact free emotion laden argument about hurting the economy and destroying government?

Get a grip Mr. Reid.

~McQ

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