Freedom of Speech in India

Shekhar Gupta’s column in the Indian Express today is about the incipient threats faced by freedom of speech in India.

Authoritarianism vs. the Internet by Daniel Calingaert goes into the ways in which the Net increases freedom, and the way governments are fighting back. I got nervous when I read this description about some of the things that repressive regimes do:

Users are required to register with an ISP when they purchase internet access at home or at work, so that they cannot operate online anonymously. Customers at cybercafes have to present identification, and cybercafes install software to monitor and filter customers? web browsing. In Vietnam, cybercafe owners are required to keep a record for 30 days of all the websites their customers visit.

Do we do similar things in India?

The article by Calingaert led me on to this measurement of the freedom on the Internet in 15 countries by Freedom House. Their score shows:

Rank Country Measure of repression
1 Estonia 10
2 UK 20
3 South Africa 21
4 Brazil 26
5 Kenya 31
6 India 34
7 Georgia 40
8 Malaysia 40
9 Turkey 40
10 Egypt 45
11 Russia 51
12 Iran 74
13 China 78
14 Tunisia 78
15 Cuba 90

I’ve seen the following pattern again and again: In measures of governance quality, India looks good when compared with China and Russia. So two of the BRIC countries really have a system of governance which is not comparable with that found in India. Far more interesting are the BSST countries — Brazil, South Africa, South Korea and Taiwan — which are democracies much like India, and have a lot of things done right in governance which India should learn from.

Finally, see Donald Morrison on the Dreyfus Affair in the Financial Times. I often wonder whether India has the depth of commitment to human rights and liberal values to be able to achieve a similar outcome. At present, I’m not convinced.

Good News on Good Friday

From BLS (link):

Nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 in March, and the unemployment rate held at 9.7 percent, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Temporary help services and health care continued to add jobs over the month. Employment in federal government also rose, reflecting the hiring of temporary workers for Census 2010. Employment continued to decline in financial activities and in information. Among the major worker groups, the unemployment rates for adult men (10.0 percent), adult women (8.0 percent), teenagers (26.1 percent), whites (8.8 percent), blacks (16.5 percent), and Hispanics (12.6 percent) showed little or no change in March.

National Income Decline: Time to Put Your Kids to Work?

The fact is that Social Security is seemingly doomed, as, for the first time, this year more money will be paid out to beneficiaries than will be collected from workers.

I am trying not to laugh as I tell you this, but a lot of people are idiotically-unaware that this is a lot of bad news for many reasons, one of which being that the federal government has always spent all those excess Social Security contributions of the last half century or so, by simply taking the money and exchanging some new Treasury bonds for it! Hahahaha!

I laugh because it reminds me of when I tried that crap with my kids. I mean, how could I not? They had all this “idle” money in their piggy banks, or stashed in their “secret hiding places”, or stashed in their college funds, or jingling in their pockets, or left in their wallets and purses which were just lying around unattended.

Naturally, as they are all moronic Democrats, I thought they would appreciate my kindness in exchanging my personal IOUs for their money, under the theory that everyone could have a nicer life by my spreading their money around, and as a result, my esteem would grow, and my income would grow so that I could later redeem the IOUs, with interest, and everyone would live happily ever after.

Well, I will save you all the hysterical screaming and death threats when they discovered my scheme and they tried to force me to redeem the IOUs, which I couldn’t do because I didn’t have any money, which caused their crying and wailing to get worse, even after I patiently explained to them, so that they would understand and just shut up, “If I had any money, I would not have taken yours, you morons! You think the money to support a drinking problem and a golfing problem grows on trees or something?”

Well, the same thing is happening to Social Security, as there are now trillions and trillions of Social Security contribution dollars tied up in these bonds, some of which must now be, theoretically, sold to get the money to pay the Social Security beneficiaries, and soon the wailing and whining and finger-pointing will begin, making me live that nightmare all over again.

This at the same time that the idiotic Marxist-yahoo Obama administration is deficit-spending $1.6 trillion this year – 12% of GDP! – and almost another $9 trillion over the next 10 years! And then these trillions in ObamaCare on top of that! The utter preposterousness of it makes me laugh again! Hahahahaha!

So, at a stroke, the federal government has less money to spend and they are supposed to find buyers for bonds clogging up the Social Security system, although, of course, nothing like that will happen, as that is the magic of a fiat currency!

The government can just force the Federal Reserve to print up as much money, to buy up as many bonds, as is needed or even wanted, plus more to give itself as much money in excess of receipts as the government wants to spend, right up until the day when prices are so high because the buying power of the dollar is so low as a result of this monetary and fiscal insanity that the dollar falls to, literally, worthlessness! Hahahaha! Easy!

And don’t count on making more money to offset the higher prices that are coming as a result of all this massive expansion of the money supply by the Federal Reserve, as a new analysis by the US Bureau of Economic Analysis finds that the average per capita (every man, woman and child) personal income fell a whopping 2.6% nationally in 2009, which means that a man with a job and a woman with a job raising two kids who do not have jobs saw their income fall by 5.2%.

This is, beyond the catastrophe of a huge fall in income, but also a clear, clarion call to reexamine those pesky child-labor laws and put those kids to work!

It makes you wonder how we have done as well as we have when you read that they also found that the national average of net earnings declined 3.7% in 2009, too.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again; buy gold, silver and oil to protect yourself against terrifying, bankrupting, ruinous inflation in prices that is surely coming, or be the kind of person who stands around, terrified, bankrupted and ruined, muttering, “I should have bought gold, silver and oil, but I was too stupid to listen to that Wonderful Mogambo Fellow (WMF), or I could have looked at what happened all the other times in the last 4,500 years of history when thousands of other governments did this Same Stupid Crap (SSC)!”

If you had done either, you would know, clear as a bell, “Whee! This investing stuff is easy!”

National Income Decline: Time to Put Your Kids to Work? originally appeared in the Daily Reckoning.

Economic Events on April 5, 2010

At 10:00 AM EDT,the value of the pending home sales index for February will be announced.  This index fell 7.6% in January despite attempts by the federal government to prop up the housing market, and February will probably be another weak month for existing home sales because the poor weather in that month.

Also at 10:00 AM EDT, the ISM non-manufacturing index for March will be released.  It rose 2.5 points in February, and the consensus estimate is that it increased 1 point last month, pointing to continued economic growth in the United States.

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