Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Cold War Collapse Didn't Drive Totalitarian Police States Mythical

Anyone convinced the Cold War's meltdown created global freedom should pay attention. Not only is Russia a thugocracy run by veterans of the KGB, and Iran an Islamofascist state, but North Korea – ironically calling itself The "People's Republic" of North Korea – remains a fully-functioning totalitarian police state complete with trial-less incarceration, summary execution, etc.

Not that evil is isolated to formally-recognized enemy states.  Current governments of friendly nations, and their elected officials, continue to defend civil rights violations, wink while a multibillion-dollar industry of slavery thrives in the "free" world (including the U.S.), and otherwise make a mockery out of the rule of law.

There's some evidence that economic pressure still works, but it's not easy finding the right place to apply it to every problem. The big trick is figuring out how to arrange economic incentives in favor of, rather than against, the rule of law and meaningful (that is, enforced) rights.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Judged Olympic Events Strike Again

During the Beijing games the Jaded Consumer wrote a piece about judged Olympic events, and nothing has changed.  Usually performers know when they're on and when they're off, looking nervously at the scoreboards when they're aware of an issue that could affect their judged scores. You've seen it yourself if you've watched. So this picture at CNN is worth a thousand words on the difference between performance and score at the "Most corrupt Olympics ever".

The problem isn't just in Sochi: the Indians who entered during the opening ceremony did it as unaligned independents under the Olympic flag, because India was still under sanction for corruption among its officials. This doesn't mean there's less corruption elsewhere, just that they're not electing folks who've been caught at it to represent countries as officials.

Snowden: Because Our National Intelligence Director Lied under Oath About It

For those of you interested in the traitor/hero debate on Snowden, the DC Clothesline has an article and interview that's been curiously absent from mainstream channels.

If the rule of law isn't respected by government even when citizens' lives are involved,
it's no surprise that it's ignored utterly when the issue is personal freedom and autonomy. The right to be informed about government is a fundamental assumption of democratic process: if you don't know what your government is really doing, how will you know whether you must vote differently?  In that regard, Snowden is plainly doing something good for democracy irrespective of whether his conduct would be prosecuted by our current administration. 

And why shouldn't the current administration use judicial process to miscarry justice? It's already lied to its own judicial overseer.  Why would it stop there?

To do what Snowden did for America, knowing what it would cost him, is a sacrifice worthy of respect.