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The FM newswire for 17 November – news you can use

17 November 2009

Today’s broadsheet from the FM website pressroom.  There are 5 sections, all with hot news.

  1. Links to interesting news and analysis
  2. Ayn Randian Quote of the Day
  3. Featured articles about today’s followers of Ayn Rand’
  4. Plus, an Afterword

(I)  Links to interesting news and analysis

(a)  Anyone care to bet that we’ll see swarms of “Internet patriots” speaking out on this:  “Camp Lejeune whistle-blower fired“, Salon, 15 November 2009 — “A psychiatrist who tried to prevent Fort Hood-style violence among Marines about to ‘lose it’ instead loses his job.”  I’ll bet “no”, as their care about wars that make them feel bold — not for the men and women who must actually fight the wars.

(b)  “Can We Save America?“, George Washington’s Blog, 16 November 2009 — Ideas about protests.

 (c)  Invisible mishandling“, Paul Rosenberg, Open Left, 15 November 2009 — What Adam Smith actually meant by the “invisible hand.”  To the public the “invisible hand” has come to mean the “Blue Fairy”.

(d)  Most depressing poll of the decade, a tribute to the intensive propaganda campaign of the past few months:  NBC-Wall Street Journal Survey, 22-25 October 2009.  We’ve learned nothing from the past 50 years.  Or from our many ways going back to the Civil War.

Would you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose increasing troop levels in Afghanistan?  October poll/September poll:

Strongly support……28%/19%
Somewhat support…19%/25%
Somewhat oppose…15%/20%
Strongly oppose…..28%/31%
Not sure………………10%/05%

When it comes to making major decisions on overall military strategy and the number of troops needed, such as in Afghanistan, who do you have more confidence in to make the right decisions:

The President and the SecDef……………………………25%
The Generals running operations in that country…62%
Not sure………………………………………………………..02%

 (e)  “Broader Measure of U.S. Unemployment Stands at 17.5%“, New York Times, 6 November 2009 — Probably the highest since the 1930’s.

(f)  Does anyone find this surprising?  “F-35 fighter program is behind schedule, over budget“, For Worth Star-Telegram, 15 November 2009 — Future historians will consider the adulation of the “bold reformer” SecDef Gates more evidence of early-21st century madness of America.

(II)   Ayn Randian Quotes of the Day

From Glen Reynolds,  The Instapundit:

Despite the fantasies of a tenured university professor, falling tax collections result not from Randian heros’ opting out of the economy, but from falling household and business income.    Those record high 35.1 million people receiving food stamps pay no income tax.  Nor do the 16 million unemployed workers.

(III)  Feature articles — about today’s followers of Ayn Rand

(a)  The Bitch is Back“, Andrew Corsello, GQ, 27 October 2009 — “2009’s most influential author is a mirthless Russian-American who loves money, hates God, and swings a gigantic dick. She died in 1982, but her spawn soldier on. And the Great Recession is all their fault.”

(b)  Ayn Rand: The Boring Bitch is Back“, Barry Ritholtz, The Big Picture, 15 November 2009 — Excerpt:

I haven’t read Rand’s work for decades, but I do recall two things:

  1. It was a giant pedantic bore;
  2. Debating it with people in College was always a hoot. The thing that struck me most was the lack of rigor in the arguments — it was more religion than logic, more wishful thinking than reality based observations of how humans actually behave.

You can the concentration of ARAs in a certain groupings.

  • These are the folks who blame the CRA for the collapse of the economy;
  • ARAs tend to be hardcore idealogues;
  • many are rabidly partisan.

All too many are deeply uninformed.  They breathe cognitive dissonance they most people breathe oxygen.  When confronted with facts, data, reality that challenge their ideology, they make up new facts.

… Worst of all, Rand’s Objectivism has become the rationale for all manner of morally repugnant behaviour. However, I did take one personal lesson from Atlas Shrugged to heart: Anytime I see a parked car with a John Galt bumper sticker, I like to knock off one of the sideview mirrors, and leave it on the hood. I include a note stating my selfish, random act made me feel good, and therefore should be a perfectly fine act in their world.

I assume the recipients miss the irony . . .

(V)  Afterword

Please share your comments by posting below. Per the FM site’s Comment Policy, please make them brief (250 word max), civil and relevant to this post. Or email me at fabmaximus at hotmail dot com (note the spam-protected spelling).

Reference pages about other topics appear on the right side menu bar, including About the FM website page.

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8 Comments leave one →
  1. gpanfile permalink
    17 November 2009 10:57 am

    My son is at Camp Lejeune. Conditions are as described in the article, but worse. Those posting for a war with Iran, and the sources of so many wonderful platitudes just a week or so ago on 11-11, are of course utterly absent, unconcerned. Tragedy.
    FM reply: My best wishes for your son!


  2. nweaver permalink
    17 November 2009 1:43 pm

    Good Ayn Rand joke from Barry Ritholtz:

    Worst of all, Rand’s Objectivism has become the rationale for all manner of morally repugnant behaviour. However, I did take one personal lesson from Atlas Shrugged to heart: Anytime I see a parked car with a John Galt bumper sticker, I like to knock off one of the sideview mirrors, and leave it on the hood. I include a note stating my selfish, random act made me feel good, and therefore should be a perfectly fine act in their world.

    FM reply: This appears in section IIIb of this post.


  3. nweaver permalink
    17 November 2009 3:59 pm

    OOPs, sorry, I had only read to the “going galt” bit before posting… Bad me.


  4. 17 November 2009 4:47 pm

    Two points:

    1) Those would would go galt should be encouraged to do so; that would make it easier for others to get along without them.

    2) The foremost security security threat is Mexico. Neither the civilian nor the military officials nor the public are paying it much heed. The above poll undermines my confidence in the ability of pollsters to ask good questions.


  5. drmoloch permalink
    17 November 2009 8:49 pm

    Regarding the “deprssing” poll, I would like to say that if the Stratfor column about McCrystal’s intended strategy that you linked to here is accurate, then I am not at all confident about its prospects of success. That having been said, whatever one may think about the decisions that the commanding General in Afghanistan has made regarding strategy, he at least seems able to make a decision. Which is more than can be said for the President. Which may account for some of those poll numbers.


  6. annanic permalink
    17 November 2009 10:59 pm

    Q’s re services/mental health ( MH )issues . Crime , suicide and longterm unemployment come to mind as measurable . But all these might be likely to afflict the sort of person who would consider joining the armed services , whether or not they did join.
    1 in 12 of UK prison pop’n is supposed to be ex-services . But I have not seen this compared with non-service peer group .
    Of course I’ve heard of shell – shock in WW1 . And its hard to use prison pop’n as a measure in UK after WW1 or WW2 because so many men of the eligable age , who would not have chosen to join , had been in the services . But I dont think there was a huge splurge in violent crime as they came back from war . Even if ,like the Burma veterans , they hadnt been home for 4 years .
    Di I just not know the stats , or were these people less liable to MH problems ? If so , why ?
    Victory ?
    A feeling of moral righteousness ?
    Louder sergeant-majors ?
    A tougher upbringing ?
    Less contact with home ?
    Toxic chemicals ?


  7. mikyo permalink
    18 November 2009 5:07 am

    Re: comment #5

    Ultimately, the General, and the President, work for “we, the people.” The choice is up to us, you and me.


  8. 18 November 2009 5:22 am

    If only Hyman Minsky had written a pot boiler describing the build up of aggregate debt inducing cycles of euphoria and irrational exuberance alternating with bubbles and busts. His John Galt could have railed against Ponzi investing schemes and casino banking, with concomitant regulatory deep capture, followed by devastating unemployment, endless tracts of abandoned real estate, and 30 painful years of de-leveraging. Oh well.


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