Free Markets, Free People
From the Wall Street Journal:
Egypt’s highest court ruled on Thursday to allow a former regime loyalist to run in presidential elections starting Saturday and to dissolve both houses of Egypt’s parliament, in verdicts that could add another pressure point to Egypt’s already fraught transition from military rule to democracy.
Actually it’s a little worse than that:
According to Ahram Online, a news website owned by the Egyptian government, a constitutional court judge announced that the ruling effectively dissolves both houses of Egypt’s parliament.
Taken together, the verdicts return the military—and the civilian cabinet it appointed—to full authority over the country, unhindered by an elected parliament.
One assumes there may be some resistance to this.
On Wednesday afternoon, Egypt’s ministry of justice endowed the military and intelligence services with expanded powers to arrest and detain people for participating in protests and disseminating media the military finds offensive—a decision that human rights groups said smacked of a return to the draconian justice of the former regime.
You think? Probably cut down a lot on the molesting of women in Tahrir square too … well maybe.
Other than political fodder, of what significance is this poll?
Americans continue to place more blame for the nation’s economic problems on George W. Bush than on Barack Obama, even though Bush left office more than three years ago. The relative economic blame given to Bush versus Obama today is virtually the same as it was last September.
Uh, so what?
Is Bush running for President?
When people enter the voting booth few if any are going to vote based on who they blame for the economic downturn.
Instead they’re much more likely to vote for the candidate they think can best turn it around.
One will have 3+ year record of failure to this point.
The election isn’t about who is to blame. It is about who the voters think can fix it.
The following statistics were released today on the state of the US economy:
The Consumer Price Index for May fell -0.3% at the headline level, while the core CPI rose 0.2%. On a year-over-year basis, The CPI is up 1.7%, while the core rate is 2.3%.
Initial claims for unemployment rose 6,000to 386,000. The 4-week moving average rose 3,500 to 382,000, the third straight weekly increase.
The US Current Account Deficit increased to $137.3 billion in the first quarter vs. a revised deficit of $118.7 billion in the fourth quarter.
The Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index rose to -36.4, the highest level since April.
It’s a bit of a mixed picture with both state and federal nannies doing their best to get the proles under control. The base premise, of course, is only government can save you from yourself since you’re too freakin’ dumb to handle it yourself. And since you’ve been so kind as to put these people in power they find it only fair that they exercise the power they’ve accumulated to ensure you live the life they deem best.
First a local example from NYC:
The New York City Board of Health showed support for limiting sizes of sugary drinks at a Tuesday meeting in Queens. They agreed to start the process to formalize the large-drink ban by agreeing to start a six-week public comment period.
At the meeting, some of the members of board said they should be considering other limits on high-calorie foods.
One member, Bruce Vladeck, thinks limiting the sizes for movie theater popcorn should be considered.
"The popcorn isn’t a whole lot better than the soda," Vladeck said.
Another board member thinks milk drinks should fall under the size limits.
"There are certainly milkshakes and milk-coffee beverages that have monstrous amounts of calories," said board member Dr. Joel Forman.
Ye gods. When government is given the okay to manage your health care, this is what you can expect to happen. Update on the drink ban – refills, according to Bloomberg, will be “ok”. Yeah, so what’s the purpose of the drink ban?
Moving on to a federal example of drink ban stupidity:
The vending machines are unplugged at a Utah high school after a violation of federal lunch rules. Davis High School was fined $15-thousand dollars for selling carbonated beverages during the lunch hour.
Vending machines in the hallways at Davis High School normally sell carbonated beverages and candy, but to receive federal nutrition funding, they can’t sell it during lunch. Students say it doesn’t make sense.
"Everyone goes out to lunch anyways and drinks them so it’s pretty dumb."
District officials say the policy can be confusing too. Chris Williams, the Davis School District Spokesperson, says there are definite rules about how, and when carbonated beverages can be sold. “It is challenging when you can buy a Coke before lunch, and consume it during lunch, but you can’t buy a coke during lunch."
It’s not just soda sales that are a problem; candy can be too, depending on what kind it is. Davis High School’s Principal, Dee Burton, says Snicker Bars are considered nutritional and legal, but other candy is not. "We are not allowed to sell anything that is carbonated or any candy that sticks to your teeth”
“Snickers” is considered “nutritional?” And you can buy carbonated drinks before and after lunch but not during? Oh, and the $15,000 fine? Any guess where that comes from? Yeah, Mr.Taxpayer – you.
Finally, the FDC is going after cigars:
Though the agency has yet to lay out its new regulations in detail, industry insiders speculate that it could ban flavored cigars, require ugly warning labels or graphic pictures on cigar boxes, bar customers from entering store humidors, or require that cigars be kept out of the reach of potential buyers, who typically handle and examine them before choosing which ones to buy.
“Banning that experience would be crippling,” says Gary Pesh, the owner of Old Virginia Tobacco in Richmond, Virginia, and executive officer of Cigar Rights of America. “Making a customer pick their brand of cigars from a black-and-white catalog — that destroys the way we’ve done business.”
Pesh says some speculate that the FDA would also bar shops from letting their products be visible to anyone outside the store.“That means I’d have to put blacked-out windows on my storefront,” he explains. “Like a porn shop or something.”
Well let’s be honest, among the zealots it is akin to a porn shop. Well, with one exception – they’d likely support the right of a porn shop to exist with much less regulation.
Real effect: if (and they say a number of times that they’re speculating) these sorts of regulations are indeed passed, then they will negatively impact jobs at a time that this economy can’t afford to lose more:
New FDA regulations could result in the immediate closing of many cigar shops, most of which employ only three to five people and operate with slim profit margins. About 85,000 people work in the premium-cigar industry — jobs that would be in jeopardy if the FDA’s regulatory power grab succeeds.
“To jeopardize 85,000 jobs in today’s economic times is absolutely unconscionable,” says Bill Spann, CEO of the International Premium Cigar and Pipe Retailers Association.
Pesh thinks small shops could also be hurt by user fees the FDA can charge to the businesses it regulates. “I’d have to pay to put me out of business,” he explains.
But that’s not the real problem. We’re talking about a voluntary transaction between consenting adults. Why is government involved in any other way but to prevent the use of force or fraud?
Freedom? Forget about it. Choice? Not if the FDA does this the right way.
There’s a bill in Congress right now to stop this overreach. By the way, has anyone noticed that instead of being involved in oversight of many agencies, Congress has been reduced to the role of reactive legislation to remove or prevent the most egregious examples of regulatory overreach?
Folks, freedom means the freedom to consume bad things if that is your desire as long as you doing so doesn’t violate the rights of others. What we see with these examples are attempts to violate that freedom of choice and use the power of government coercion to prevent you from making choices it deems harmful.
Not. The. Job. Of. Government. In. A. Free. Society.
Yet certainly the growing trend is to do more and more of that.
And in the case of the NYC soda ban, a good portion of the left is just fine with it.