January 28, 2018

Day 13 Cuban Missile Crisis – The End to End All Things and Almost Everything

Filed under: Americas, History, Military, Russia, USA — Tags: , , , , , — Nicholas @ 06:00

Published on 21 Dec 2017

On Sunday, 28 October, 1962 the Cuban Missile Crisis is supposed to end, but there are still two nuclear armed Soviet submarines in the waters around the island hunted by the US Navy. And what about Fidel Castro?

“[A] right to due process in politics? That has never been a thing”

Filed under: Cancon, Politics — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 05:00

Chris Selley on the weird, fast end of Patrick Brown’s career as leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservatives:

Many women often said they got a creepy vibe off Patrick Brown. His haircut was kind of odd. In question period, he was too shrill.

The Red Bull fridge in his office put me off. I associate Red Bull fridges and their foul contents with terrible nightclubs full of muscle T-wearing jackasses on the make. In 2012, Brown tweeted a photo of himself with two friends dressed up for Halloween at a terrible-looking Barrie nightclub he was known to frequent. He’s dressed up as James Bond. He’s pointing his toy Walther at Goose from Top Gun and Joel from Risky Business. I want to reach back through time and space and slap all three of them.

These would all be bad reasons for a bank to deny Patrick Brown a loan, or for a taxi driver to deny him a ride, or for a company to fire him from a job in the legal department.

But they are precisely the sorts of often silly, unfair, perhaps totally misguided little whims that can turn people off politicians.

It’s widely accepted that Robert Stanfield’s 1974 campaign was materially harmed by his dropping of a football. John Tory’s principled stance in favour of funding religious schools in Ontario besides Catholic ones sent the Tories’ 2007 campaign rolling downhill onto a pier that then collapsed into a lake. People still can’t believe Hillary Clinton’s emails might have cost her the presidency.

In short, there is no justice in politics. Morons win, geniuses lose, people get screwed who don’t deserve it. So it has been very strange to see some commentators and correspondents portray Brown as having been horribly hard done by in the aftermath of two women’s allegations of sexual assault and coercion at his hands.


In the (seemingly unlikely) event these allegations result in criminal charges, he will have his day in court and face his accusers just like anyone else. And we do have defamation laws in this country. Brown must surely know who his accusers are.

But a right to due process in politics? That has never been a thing.

As party leader, Brown could turf from caucus any MPP who displeased him — as he turfed Jack MacLaren after a spree of idiocies. Every four years, his and all his fellow MPPs’ job prospects rest in the hands of the voters. That’s assuming they pass a party review that considers criteria as vague as “any ethical questions or concerns,” and assuming the leader is willing to sign their nomination papers. (It seems unlikely that whoever leads the Tories into the June 7 election will sign Brown’s.)

I was never a fan of Brown, but I’m not a conservative, so it only bothered me in the sense that I thought he was unlikely to be the one to turf the Liberals out of office at Queen’s Park. I’ve paid so little attention to the man that this will only be the second time his name has appeared on the blog since he was elected leader (another Patrick Brown shows up in searches, but he was an NFL hopeful with the Vikings back in 2010).

Trenches At 10,000 Feet – Fighting On Mt. Lagazuoi I THE GREAT WAR On The Road [4K]

Filed under: Europe, History, Military, WW1 — Tags: , , , , — Nicholas @ 04:00

The Great War
Published on 27 Jan 2018

Check out the Open Air Museum: http://bit.ly/LagazuoiMuseum

Join a very cold Indy as he explores the Italian and Austro-Hungarian positions on Mount Lagazuoi and finds out how they were built and operated during the Great War. A special thanks to Stefano Illing for guiding us through this incredible place.

The origins of the minimum wage

Filed under: Business, Economics, Government — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 03:00

In Ontario, many businesses are still struggling to cope with the provincial government’s mandated rise in the minimum wage (the Tim Horton’s franchisees being the current Emmanuel Goldsteins as far as organized labour is concerned). In this essay for the Foundation for Economic Education, Pierre-Guy Veer points out that most franchise businesses have very low profit margins (2.4% for McDonalds franchises, for example) meaning that they can’t just pay the higher wages without a problem, and that the original intent of minimum wage legislation in the US was actually to drive down employment for certain ethnic and racial groups:

Normally, wages are determined at the intersection of supply (employees offering their services, the blue line) and demand (employers wanting workers, the orange line), the letter E. Since working in retail or restaurants requires little more than a high school diploma, that equilibrium is much lower than, say, a heart surgeon, who must endure years of training and study.

But when governments come and impose a minimum wage (the dark line), wages do increase… at the expense of workers. With a base wage now at E’, more workers want to work but fewer employers want to hire because of the increased cost. The newly formed triangle is made of surplus workers, i.e. unemployed workers who can’t find a job. This unlucky Brian meme summarizes the situation of what minimum wage is: wage eugenics.

And don’t think it’s a vice; creating unemployment was the explicit goal of imposing a minimum wage. It was a Machiavellian scheme imagined during the so-called Progressive Era (late 19th Century to about the 1920s), where it was thought that governments could better humanity by “weeding out” undesirables – in other words, eugenics.

In the U.S., this eugenic attitude was explicitly aimed at African Americans, whose (generally) lower productivity gave them lower wages. To “fight” this problem nationwide, the Hoover administration passed, in 1931, the Davis-Bacon Act in order to impose “prevailing wage” (usually unionized) on all federal contracts. It was a thinly veiled attempt to “weed out” non-unionized workers, who were either African American or immigrant, in order to protect unionized, white jobs. Supporters of the bill, like Representative Clayton Algood, were very explicit in their racist intents:

    That contractor has cheap colored labor that he transports, and he puts them in cabins, and it is labor of that sort that is in competition with white labor throughout the country.

But while the racist intent of the minimum wage has disappeared, its effect is always very real. It greatly affects the people it wants to help, i.e. low-skilled workers, and leaves them with fewer options. So don’t be fooled by unemployment statistics from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Youth participation rates (ages 16-19) are still hovering around all-time lows (affected, among others, by minimum wage laws); this means that fewer of them are looking for jobs, decreasing unemployment figures.

It gets worse when breaking down races; only 28.8 percent of African American youth were working or looking for a job, compared to 31.6 for Hispanics and 36.7 percent for whites in December 2017.

Sexual Enlightenment – Defining what is Normal l HISTORY OF SEX

Filed under: Europe, History, Liberty — Tags: , , — Nicholas @ 02:00

Published on 28 Sep 2015

With Sexual Enlightenment came radical changes to the perception of sex in society. This episode on sex in modernity covers discussions held in salon culture, debating and defining ideas of what sexual liberty meant. Public figures like Anne Lister openly addressed homosexual relations and the first sex researchers took up on the topic.

QotD: Protectionism

Filed under: Economics, Quotations — Tags: , , , — Nicholas @ 01:00

All protectionism is rooted in the mistaken presumption not only that existing, domestic producers have a moral right – enforceable by the state – to the patronage of domestic consumers, but also that no future domestic producers have such a right as against current domestic producers. This right, were it real, implies that consumers exist to please existing domestic producers; it implies that continued or expanded production of that which is currently produced domestically is the end, while consumption is only the means of encouraging such production.

Only the widespread, if unthinking, acceptance of this presumption gives credence to the demands of domestic producers that some “unfair” practice by a foreign rival or foreign government justifies the imposition by the home government of punitive taxes on domestic consumers who purchase imports. Only a widely shared, if seldom articulated, belief that current domestic producers have a right to some minimum portion of domestic-consumers’ incomes explains the nodding of the heads of many people of all political persuasions when they hear some politician or pundit or preacher demonize foreign producers for selling wares to domestic citizens.

Don Boudreaux, “Protectionism”, Cafe Hayek, 2016-05-27.

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