Selective Anger At “Freeloaders”

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In my dialogues with defenders of statism, online and off, I routinely encounter people – usually though not always on the political right – who express feelings of anger, disgust, contempt, etc., toward those whom they characterize with terms like “lazy”, “bums”, “freeloaders”, “parasites”, “anti-social”, “welfare queens”, “druggies”, “illegals”, “junkies”, “leeches”, “the homeless”, “non-productive members of society”, etc. Most of the criticisms seem to boil down to resentment that the people who are the objects of their ire are in some way being assisted or provided for by government at the expense of others.

Are such feelings a step on the path toward libertarian enlightenment, or just narrow-minded self-justification? I’d like to think the former, and in some cases that may be the case, but I often have my doubts. Because from where I sit as a long-time observer of San Francisco politics and local political attitudes, the sad truth is that not just the folks who are often criticized in such terms, but the vast majority of the local population, appear, both from their voting habits and from their own comments, to want to be taken care of by the nanny-state in one way or another.

It is bitterly ironic, and hypocritical as hell, for anyone who wants government to provide them with “free” elementary schools, “free” libraries, “free” fire protection services, a “free” regulatory bureaucracy of immense scale and complexity that intrudes into everything from air travel to household pets, “free” enforcement of border controls and persecution of people who reside in or attempt to enter the U.S. without government permission, a “free” military whose budget is inching toward $1 trillion with hundreds of bases in other countries, “free” enforcement against people lying on sidewalks or sleeping in tents in the commons, etc., to look down their noses at somebody who wants “free” food stamps, “free” SSI, or “free” housing vouchers as being necessarily a much worse leech or parasite than themselves or their friends…

Before we judge anyone else too harshly, here’s an illuminating pair of questions for each of us to ask ourselves:

1) How much theft, and how much coercion, would be required for government to do the things that I want it to do?
2) How can I reduce the amounts of theft and coercion that I am effectively demanding?… (more)

These are some pretty profound statements from an anti-war “anarcho-capitalist” Libertarian.

 

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Congress Passes Measure to Protect Board that Monitors Nuclear Safety

by Rebecca Moss of Santa Fe New Mexican : propublica – excerpt

The Energy Department had taken steps to curtail the reach and authority of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board. New Mexico’s senators are fighting back.

This article was produced in partnership with The Santa Fe New Mexican, which is a member of the ProPublica Local Reporting Network.

Congress has moved to block an effort to weaken a federal board that oversees worker and public safety at nuclear facilities, adding language to an appropriations bill to prevent the agency from altering the board’s structure.

The bill also requires the Energy Department to answer questions from Congress about its recent attempts to limit the board’s access to information and change how the panel conducts its work…(more)

What a crazy world we live in. Today we get news of this move by the Energy Department to curtail the reach and authority of the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board by cutting back on their budget, and news of a North South Korean agreement to move away from nuclear development.

United Methodist Church, Financially Troubled, Attempts Hostile Takeover of Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco

By: Zennie Abraham : oaklandnewsnow – excerpt

Glide Memorial Church (best known by the work of now former pastor Cecil Williams and recently used as a “demonstration safe injection site for drugusers”) prides itself in continually striving to meet the challenge set by Lizzie Glide in 1930 to welcome all. Glide was established by Lizzie Glide to honor her late husband as well as a means to share her spirituality and commitment to those in need.

In a San Francisco that has changed dramatically over the past decades and veered into a Manhattan-like gluttony for monetary gain and social status, Glide has remained the heart and soul of the city, serving as the last refuge of the downtrodden, the poor, the disenfranchised, and a place where anyone can say “I am somebody” and find some hope.

Now Glide Memorial Church Faces The Greatest Threat To Its Existence In Its History

Ironically, the threat comes from Glide’s partner, the United Methodist Church itself, the second-largest Protestant denomination in the U.S., which is financially crumbling and looking for every penny, nickel and dime to save itself–no matter the impact on the Glide and the thousands of needy it serves every day with food and social services and prayer.

The dispute has been portrayed primarily by the United Methodist Church as a fight over theology. The United Methodist Church has accused Glide of not following the denomination’s rules and regulations. Glide says it’s being asked to conform to a new bishop’s “personal idea of Methodism and Christianity,” according to news reports… (more)

What are we coming to when religious institutions are turning into cut throat capitalist land grabbing carpetbaggers, intent on  staying alive instead of helping people live in dignity? Is this the 2018 remake of Sodom and Gomorrah story? Is it time for the church to fall upon the sword and give up all its earthly goods to benefit mankind?

From Fish to Humans, A Microplastic Invasion May Be Taking a Toll

By Andrea Thompson : scientificamerican – excerpt

Tiny bits of plastic have seeped into soil, fish and air, posing a threat to animal and human health

This is the second of a three-part series that examines our growing understanding of the scope and impacts of microplastics pollution.

Mark Browne had a suspicion. He hoped the samples of dried blood taken from a blue mussel and placed under a special microscope would tell him if he was correct. As a fuzzy, three-dimensional image of the mussel’s blood cells appeared, there they were, right in the middle—tiny specks of plastic… (more)

Making noise and empowering girls: 15 years of Women’s Audio Mission

By Joanna Ladd : 48hills – excerpt (includes video)

Founder Terri Winston speaks about educating young women in recording studio technology—and WAM’s big fundraising bash, coming September 21.

ALL EARS For 15 years, the sound engineers at SoMa neighborhood-based Women’s Audio Mission have been applying their skills to one of the field’s trickiest problems: how to get girls involved in STEM. (That’s Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math, for you English majors out there.) WAM, a pitch-perfect acronym, is a professional recording studio, run entirely by women, that doubles as a playground where 1500 girls and women a year learn how to create the media they consume every day. Terri Winston, WAM’s founder and executive director, is an electrical engineer who designed the studio and much of the recording equipment herself. She laughs while revealing the simple hack that all the adults in STEM seem to keep missing: “You guys aren’t even talking to the girls.”

On September 21, WAM celebrates its 15th anniversary with—what else?—a benefit concert at the Brava Theater, which shares WAM’s mission to support women in the arts. Winston asked the luminous duo St. Beauty to headline the event, after she and her students were invited to the soundcheck for Janelle Monae’s Dirty Computer tour and were blown away by St. Beauty’s opening set. The Bay Area’s own Diana Gameros will start the evening with a set of traditional Mexican songs that she recorded at WAM last year. Proceeds from the event will fund WAM’s expansion to a new location in Oakland, where they expect to double the number of girls they reach.

In WAM’s gadget-filled studio, Winston mapped out how she became a sound engineer at a time when training programs like WAM didn’t exist. It takes a special kind of brain to see building a recording studio from scratch as the simplest way to fix intractable gender bias. Fortunately, Winston’s path started in the same sort of technology wonderland that she has created for her students…(more)

 

Zuckerberg and Musk can save their reputations by acquiring newspapers

: sfchronicle – excerpt

When you don’t know whether to laugh or cry…

Both of you are suffering through self-inflicted public relations crises. Mark, growing alarm about social media’s health effects and about how Facebook’s self-serving policies polarize society have turned you into a lightning rod.

Elon, your bizarre behavior — attacking financial analysts, crying during a New York Times interview (which included the revelation that you use Ambien and recreational drugs), tweeting yourself into a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation, and appearing to smoke pot during a podcast — have you over a barrel.

I don’t expect you to clean up your acts — you are who you are. But why haven’t you taken advantage of the obvious way to launder your reputations and improve your media relations?

Buy your local newspaper!

There’s no better balm for a billionaire’s press clippings than saving a newspaper… (more)

 

Los Angeles billionaire’s hospital system declares bankruptcy

New owner of the LA Times

California hospital chain Verity Health filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Friday and will attempt to sell some or all of its six hospitals after the failure of a yearlong effort by Los Angeles billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong to save the system.

In an official news release, as well as a letter provided by union and hospital employees, the nonprofit system said its hospitals will remain open during the bankruptcy proceedings with $185 million in secured financing…. (more)

It has been a busy year for Patrick Soon-Shiong. In one of the strangest of billionaire moves this year, the purchaser of this bankrupt hospital chain just bought the LA Times, sold off the historical property it was located on and moved the entire operation, including archived properties outside the city.