Why Obama refuses to kill the sequester

Economist Bill Black:

We are in the midst of the blame game about the “Sequester.” I wrote last year about the fact that President Obama had twice blocked Republican efforts to remove the Sequester. President Obama went so far as to issue a veto threat to block the second effort. I found contemporaneous reportage on the President’s efforts to preserve the Sequester – and the articles were not critical of those efforts. I found no contemporaneous rebuttal by the administration of these reports.

In fairness, the Republicans did “start it” by threatening to cause the U.S. to default on its debts in 2011. Their actions were grotesquely irresponsible and anti-American. It is also true that the Republicans often supported the Sequester.

The point I was making was not who should be blamed for the insanity of the Sequester. The answer was always both political parties. I raised the President’s efforts to save the Sequester because they revealed his real preferences. Those of us who teach economics explain to our students that what people say about their preferences is not as reliable as how they act. Their actions reveal their true preferences. President Obama has always known that the Sequester is terrible public policy. He has blasted it as a “manufactured crisis.”
Continue Reading →

The Department of Pre-Crime

I don’t even recognize this country anymore. Members of our ironically named “Justice” Department are little more than private security guards for the corporate elite:

A Justice Department representative told congressional staffers during a recentbriefing on the computer fraud prosecution of Internet activist Aaron Swartz that Swartz’s “Guerilla Open Access Manifesto” played a role in the prosecution, sources told The Huffington Post.

Swartz’s 2008 manifesto said sharing information was a “moral imperative” and advocated for “civil disobedience” against copyright laws pushed by corporations “blinded by greed” that led to the “privatization of knowledge.”

“We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive,” Swartz wrote in the manifesto. “We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.”

The “Manifesto,” Justice Department representatives told congressional staffers, demonstrated Swartz’s malicious intent in downloading documents on a massive scale.

Swartz was 26 when he killed himself in January. He had been indicted by federal prosecutors in 2011 for downloading millions of academic journal articles from the nonprofit online database JSTOR using the Massachusetts Institute of Technology computer network. He faced a felony conviction and prison sentence for downloading the articles, though he maintained he had permission to access them.

Lucky

Some things just seem fated:

(NEWSER) – A car accident turned out to be very lucky in Sweden yesterday: Police officers accidentally skidded off a snowy road into a ditch, only to discover a missing 2-year-old girl, the Local reports. They heard the barefoot, lightly-dressed toddler crying; she had wandered off while playing with her sister three hours before and was almost two miles away from her house. The officers made their way through waist-deep snow to get the child, who was “frozen and sad, but … didn’t need any medical attention,” a police spokesperson says.

Site Meter