Rolling Stone: “The federal government has made it easier than ever to borrow money for higher education – saddling a generation with crushing debts and inflating a bubble that could bring down the economy. . . . But the dirty secret of American higher education is that student-loan interest rates are almost irrelevant. It’s not the cost of the loan that’s the problem, it’s the principal – the appallingly high tuition costs that have been soaring at two to three times the rate of inflation, an irrational upward trajectory eerily reminiscent of skyrocketing housing prices in the years before 2008. . . . Tuition costs at public and private colleges were, are and have been rising faster than just about anything in American society – health care, energy, even housing. Between 1950 and 1970, sending a kid to a public university cost about four percent of an American family’s annual income. Forty years later, in 2010, it accounted for 11 percent. Moody’s released statistics showing tuition and fees rising 300 percent versus the Consumer Price Index between 1990 and 2011.”
The Daily Caller: “Looking for a good paying job? Well, look no further. No, really, stop looking. In 35 states, welfare benefits pay more than a minimum wage job, according to a new study by the libertarian Cato Institute, and in 13 states welfare pays more than $15 per hour.”
The government needs and wants your property and is using civil forfeiture laws to turn citizens property into money to fund more government.
The New Yorker: “you needn’t be found guilty to have your assets claimed by law enforcement; in some states, suspicion on a par with “probable cause” is sufficient. Nor must you be charged with a crime, or even be accused of one. Unlike criminal forfeiture, which requires that a person be convicted of an offense before his or her property is confiscated, civil forfeiture amounts to a lawsuit filed directly against a possession, regardless of its owner’s guilt or innocence. . . . But a system that proved successful at wringing profits from drug cartels and white-collar fraudsters has also given rise to corruption and violations of civil liberties. Over the past year, I spoke with more than a hundred police officers, defense attorneys, prosecutors, judges, and forfeiture plaintiffs from across the country. Many expressed concern that state laws designed to go after high-flying crime lords are routinely targeting the workaday homes, cars, cash savings, and other belongings of innocent people who are never charged with a crime.”
American police have become militarized and have lost the concept of reasonableness. Nothing illustrates this point better than the outrageous raid carried out by 13 law enforcement officers at the St. Francis Society Animal Shelter in Wisconsin. The legalized thugs served a search warrant on the animal shelter because it had taken in a motherless young deer. The July 9th raid was the result of two anonymous tips that the shelter had a baby deer, which caused the full weight of the law to rain down on the do good animal society.
The offense? Possessing wildlife without a permit. The animal cops acted as judge and jury put little “Giggles” the fawn into a bag and took the little animal from the safety of the animal shelter and killed the innocent little thing! The animal shelter was across the street from the Illinois state line. The deer was a resident of Illinois because it had been found by Illinois residents who brought the animal to the St. Francis Society. Instead of extraditing little Giggles back to its state of birth where the St. Francis Society had found a permanent home for it the animal police murdered the fawn. According to Jennifer Niemeyer, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources local warden supervisor, Wisconsin law requires the DNR to euthanize animals “because of the potential for disease and danger to humans.”
For more see “Baby Deer, ‘Giggles,’ Killed After Raid On St. Francis Society Animal Shelter,” “Armed agents raid animal shelter for baby deer” and “Wisconsin DNR defends removing fawn from shelter, killing it.” In the latter article the DNR says it took Giggles because the St. Francis Society didn’t have a permit for the deer. If that is the case, why didn’t DNR just send one civil servant to the animal shelter and say “Please complete this application for a permit for Giggles?” Instead, the DNR sent 13 armed thugs to terrorize the animal shelter people so it could kill the deer for its own good.
Former President Ronald Reagan said “The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help.’”
New York Times: “New York City plans to enact a far-reaching ban on the sale of large sodas and other sugary drinks at restaurants, movie theaters and street carts, in the most ambitious effort yet by the Bloomberg administration to combat rising obesity.
The proposed ban would affect virtually the entire menu of popular sugary drinks found in delis, fast-food franchises and even sports arenas, from energy drinks to pre-sweetened iced teas. The sale of any cup or bottle of sweetened drink larger than 16 fluid ounces — about the size of a medium coffee, and smaller than a common soda bottle — would be prohibited under the first-in-the-nation plan, which could take effect as soon as next March.
The measure would not apply to diet sodas, fruit juices, dairy-based drinks like milkshakes, or alcoholic beverages; it would not extend to beverages sold in grocery or convenience stores.”
Congress passed laws that ban the manufacture of incandescent light bulbs because our leaders know what is best for us. 100 watt incandescent bulbs cannot be manufactured in the U.S. now and beginning in 2014 the manufacture of incandescent light bulbs of 40 watts or greater will be banned. The U.S. Department of Energy had a contest called “Bright Tomorrow” for manufacturers of energy efficient alternatives to the 60 watt bulb. Guess what? Only one company entered the contest and it was a Dutch company. Yes, it was the winner.
BBC News: “Made by Dutch electronics giant Philips, the bulb swaps filaments for light-emitting diodes to provide illumination. Using LEDs endows the light with a long life and a hefty price tag. The first versions are set to cost $60.”
I just counted 25 60 watt light bulbs in my house. At $60 a bulb I would pay $1,500 to replace those bulbs. The simple result of this ban on incandescent bulbs will be that people will have fewer light fixtures because they cannot afford the new high tech bulbs. Congress and other state and local governments now routinely pass laws and ordinances that take away our freedoms.
The Daily Caller: “The Department of Energy announced Thursday a $100,000 prize for software developers to come up with mobile applications to tell consumers how much energy they are using. But there’s already an app for that. A quick scan of the iTunes and Android markets shows nearly two dozen existing applications that accomplish the same purpose — helping users keep track of their energy consumption at home.”
World’s Largest Solar Plant, With Second Largest Ever Department of Energy Loan Guarantee, Files For Bankruptcy
ZeroHedge: “Solyndra was just the appetizer. Earlier today, in what will come as a surprise only to members of the administration, the company which proudly held the rights to the world’s largest solar power project, the hilariously named Solar Trust of America (“STA”), filed for bankruptcy. And while one could say that the company’s epic collapse is more a function of alternative energy politics in Germany, where its 70% parent Solar Millennium AG filed for bankruptcy last December, what is relevant is that last April STA was the proud recipient of a $2.1 billion conditional loan from the Department of Energy, incidentally the second largest loan ever handed out by the DOE’s Stephen Chu. That amount was supposed to fund the expansion of the company’s 1000 MW Blythe Solar Power Project in Riverside, California. From the funding press release, “This project construction is expected to create over 1,000 direct jobs in Southern California, 7,500 indirect jobs in related industries throughout the United States, and more than 200 long-term operational jobs at the facility itself. It will play a key role in stimulating the American economy,” said Uwe T. Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Solar Trust of America and Executive Chairman of project development subsidiary Solar Millennium, LLC.” Instead, what Solar Trust will do is create lots of billable hours for bankruptcy attorneys (at $1,000/hour), and a good old equity extraction for the $22 million DIP lender, which just happens to be NextEra Energy Resources, LLC, another “alternative energy” company which last year received a $935 million loan courtesy of the very same (and now $2.1 billion poorer) Department of Energy, which is also a subsidiary of public NextEra Energy (NEE), in the process ultimately resulting in yet another transfer of taxpayer cash to NEE’s private shareholders.”
Huff Post: “About 50 students were suspended Thursday from the all-boys Frederick Douglass Academy in Detroit, Mich. for walking out of classes in protest, demanding ‘an education.’ Among their complaints: a lack of consistent teachers, the reassignment of the school principal, educators who abuse sick time and a shortage of textbooks. ‘We’ve been wronged and disrespected and lied to and cheated,’ senior Tevin Hill told the Detroit Free Press“
Estate of Denial: The Cato Institute’s Julian Sanchez provides important perspective regarding public outcries over the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECT-IP Act (PIPA) by reminding of how the FBI already has significant power when it comes to internet regulation. That certainly doesn’t mean that apparently successful protests over these two acts weren’t a good thing, but Sanchez uses a Justice Department action that took place just last week to illustrate his point. From FBI Reminds Us Government Already Has MegaPower to Take Down Websites:
Online activists were still busy celebrating a successful day of protest against proposed (and now shelved) Internet censorship legislation when the Justice Department pulled the popular cyberlocker site Megaupload offline Thursday, and indicted its owners on charges of criminal copyright infringement. It was a serendipitously timed demonstration of two important facts.
Continue reading about the government’s power to regulate the internet.