I suppose it was bound to happen sooner or later.
Archives for September 2006
Take a look at this, again. I just blogged it as #4 in my "Radley Roundup." There’s been something brewing and festering in me for some time now.
You know, Republican conservatives are responsible for every inch of this, and as the guy said,
this is the greatest injustice the United States has perpetuated on
people since slavery. Stop and think about that for a moment. Consider
a slave owner; black, white, brown or yellow (they do come in various
colors). Consider what they were capable of doing and did to other human
beings, from treating men like working livestock, to raping their
wives and daughters. As great as this injustice is, it is no
worse than what the police forces, prosecutors, courts, legislators and
chief executives are doing to people nationwide through the new prohibition.
This is a republican legacy, through and through, and every
republican has this blood on his hands. Every one of you is culpable
in the imprisonment, financial ruin, and deaths of people who haven’t harmed a soul. Every
Republican ought to be ashamed of himself. I don’t want to hear any bullshit about how democrats have prosecuted the drug war too. They have indeed, but they do that to politically out-tough the republicans, just as the rebublicans try to politically out-steal the democrats. But on a philosophical level, the republicans own the drug war and G.I. Joe wannabe, jackboot-thug SAWT Teams in Mayberry, America, and the democrats own envy-politics and the war on individual prosperity and business.
So I grapple with what’s worse, and in particular, worse for me, in my life. Though I don’t vote, I have
in the past generally "rooted for" republicans over democrats on a
strictly pragmatic level. They tended to exert at least some pressure towards reducing the size, scope, and cost of government — though even that
distinction is tenuous, at best, anymore. I tend to like republicans at a personal level. Democrats are commies. Every
one of them; through and through. And I loath most of them personally. Bunch of whiney, envious, pathalogically lying organisms when it comes to any and all political issues. I understand where that can
lead. In western Europe, it seems to have so far led to significant economic
oppression (their governments steal even more than ours does), combined
with a relative high degree of personal autonomy and liberty in nearly every area except economic freedom.
I lived there (France) for a couple of years and recently drove over 5,000
kilometers through France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland, and Germany. If I note any real changes, they largely seem positive to me. Big business is far more prevalent and positively affecting Joe Average standard of living now than in 1992 (huge box stores like IKEA everywhere, now). Individual prosperity has clearly notched up, which is really obvious just by looking at the cars on the road now as compared to then. Most are no more than 2-3 years old, just like here.
Guess how many cops I saw on the auto routes in those 5,000 kilometers. ZERO.
Not one. I saw a cop car guarding Chirac’s place in Paris. There were a few cops at the border between Andora and Spain. Then I saw one or two in downtown Florence. That was about it. There may have been more, but at a point it becomes completely divorced from your field of attention. At some point, in Italy I think, I mentioned this observation to someone with whom I’d struck up a conversaiton and he said that most cops are embarassed by their jobs. They don’t ever wear their unifoms outside the job, and they don’t advertise the job. There’s apparently little or no glory or prestige in it. I recall thinking how badly we need a serious dose of that here. I long for the 60’s, when it was all the rage to refer to cops as "pigs." Indeed, they were, and are. We need to restore a sense of disgust for the uniform.
Anyway, last weekend we made a 500 mile round trip to San Diego
and back, and I stopped counting cops on the roads after I passed 50 (within a couple of hours after leaving San Diego for the return). Add to this the propaganda machine going non-stop on the radio.
"Cops will be out in force this weekend, and if you drink and drive, you will be arrested, hauled off to jail, and your car impounded. If you speed, you’ll be ticketed. There’s going to be zero tolerance this weekend."
…And on and on and on. On every news program on every station. I heard the same variation at least a hundred times.
Somewhere along that drive, I realized that my focus about making money is changing. Now my goal is singular. I intend to leave America. For good, and the sooner the better. I come from a different perspective, you see. I’ve already lived a total of seven years outside the U.S., and for the most part, I’ve been to some degree unsatisfied with life ever since I returned. And my loathing for what this country is becoming grows by the day. In the midst of the best food and drink I’ve enjoyed on a daily basis since leaving France 15 years ago, I lost three pounds — that quite dearly needed loosing — in the three weeks I was there. That tells me something.
Love it or leave it? Sure. Why not? But listen. I love America, which is why I’m ready to leave the United States, which governmental entity has completely — most probably beyond repair — ruined America at a cultural level. Do you understand what that means? It means that we no longer have the sort of cultural underpinnings that created a nation of rugged individualists. Now we’re just a submissive lot of law-abiding citizens, like western Europe, and so long as we can vote and shop, everything is just fine and dandy. So why not just go back to Europe and at least enjoy the far richer history, and at least the maturity of a people who seem to understand at some levels what it means to mind one’s own business?
I don’t know if I could explain that last sentence to you if you don’t immediately grasp it. Let me try it this way: There are no tabloid publications in France. They don’t sell. People don’t care. The cultural implications of such a fact run very deep and permeate a whole lot of things I can’t begin to explain. I don’t know if that applies to anyplace but France, and I know it certainly doesn’t apply to Great Britain. Perhaps that’s where we got our childish nosiness from. But I hate it, and I think there’s a lot more to it and it runs a lot deeper than I even suspect.
Here’s kinda how it shakes out. No matter where I go, I’m probably going to end up having upwards of 50% of what I produce stolen from me, though there are tax havens known to negotiate tax rates if you’re bringing in significant assets. (Needless to say, these will all be assets shielded by corporate law and thus not subject to U.S. worldwide taxation, as I am personally, for life, as a "citizen."). So, in essence, I’m going to have to play ball just about no matter where, so long as I’m unwilling to sacrifice what I’ll have left over to the principle of not dealing, and consequently having nothing in the first place. That’s not a slam at those who do make that "sacrifice." To them, the sacrifice is the other way around and I respect that.
Aside: I think it’s important to preemptively kill anyone who threatens to kill you and really means it. That’s the moral basis of my support for the "war on terror," so-called. But this is a general principle that applies at all times, in all places, to everyone. So do I worry about being forced to pray to Mecca five times per day, or forced go around in public wearing a dirty nightshirt, or that I’ll be killed by one of those crazies on purpose or at random?
No. They need to be killed until they decide to attend to their delusions in peace and leave us alone, but whether they are or aren’t is really unlikely to affect my life in meaningful ways. What does affect my life is our ridiculous and insane reactions to the threat of more terrorism, which, of course, could happen tomorrow — or not until the 10-year anniversary of 9/11. Or never again. Who knows when, or if, but if you ask me, I’d say the terrorists have already gotten far more than they could have ever hoped for. We’ve whipped 300 million Americans into a frenzy of irrational fear. The terrorists can be impressed with themselves. There’s no way they would have thought they’d be this effective at instilling personal, organizational, and institutional terror.
So why the diversion to the war on terror? Because my grudging "support" for republicans over democrats in the past has had a lot to do with that. But let’s face it. Both are going to do something, and both are going to fuck it up. And all the while, we’ll be paying the price.
What’s left is prohibition, and that, more than anything else, is destroying America. The republicans are chiefly culpable. Do I mean that people can’t smoke dope and pop pills and that’s important? Of course not. Addiction is usually an awful thing. It is, however, a personal and medical problem, not a police problem. The police have no business in it, yet one of the latest developments in the war on drugs is that doctors are being prosecuted and sent to prison for "over-prescribing" pain medication to people. Average Joes are going to jail because they become addicted to pain medication after serious accidents cause chronic pain and they have to find creative ways to get relief because of the fear the DEA has instilled in doctors.
You mindlessly spout the mantra that "America is the Greatest Country on Earth," as if that’s something that, once achieved, can never be lost and requires no upkeep. Listen: when you say that, keep in mind that you’re talking about a dusty trophy sitting on the mantle and not anything reflective of the current state of the world.
Over 9 million people are held in penal institutions throughout the world, mostly as pre-trial detainees (remand prisoners) or having been convicted and sentenced. About half of these are in the United States (2.03m), Russia (0.86m) or China (1.51m plus pre-trial detainees and prisoners in ‘administrative detention’).
- The United States has the highest prison population rate in the world, some 701 per 100,000 of the national population, followed by Russia (606), Belarus (554), Kazakhstan and the U.S. Virgin Islands (both 522), the Cayman Islands (501), Turkmenistan (489), Belize (459), Bermuda (447), Suriname (437), Dominica (420) and Ukraine (415).
- However, more than three fifths of countries (60.5%) have rates below 150 per 100,000. (The United Kingdom’s rate of 141 per 100,000 of the national population places it above the midpoint in the World List; it is the highest among countries of the European Union.)
Did you get that? The U.S. has 4% of the entire world’s population, yet 22% of its prisoners. It has more people locked up than any other country, including communist China, and it locks up more as a percentage of the population than any other country. 701 out of every 100,000, which means you have a far greater chance of being a victim of American enthusiasm for creating and prosecuting "crimes" than you’ll ever, ever have for getting whacked by a terrorist. 701 out of 100k in America. Western Europe? Less than 100, on average. If you’re a Swiss citizen and you immigrate to the U.S., you’ve just made it 10 times more likely that you’ll spend time in prison during your lifetime.
The awful French, right? Well, if you move there from here, especially if you’re an inner-city black man, you’ll cut your chances of ever going to prison by a factor of eight.
Now if that all isn’t quite sobering, you’re just lost, so please don’t comment because I’m just not interested.
It was a couple of months ago when my wife and I walked downtown with some family to have some dinner and see a comedy club performance. Afterward, she wanted to go with sister and bro-in-law somewhere for additional fun & games, but I wasn’t much into it. She went on with them and I headed north for the 1/2 mile walk home. I came upon a street, there were no cars, and so I proceeded across. ‘Bout halfway, I hear this loud and abrupt voice over a P.A. system: "get out of the street," and I notice it’s a cop car and he’s talking to me. Apparently, though there were no cars in either direction, I’m breaking some law or other because some light is red rather than green.
I acted as though I didn’t even hear, proceeded on, and that was the end of it. I’d have done the same thing had it been a gang of thugs, rather than, say, flip them off and utter some colorful language.
The reason I’d act that way in the face of a gang of thugs is identical to the reason I acted as I did in the face of the cop. Good thing I hadn’t had a few more drinks, like San Diego Charger Steve Foley. If you don’t think there’s a circumstance where a chain of events could lead to you being dead on the street, all with a cop protesting "I thought he was reaching for a gun," then you’re just not dealing with plain facts of reality in evidence.
1. The law’s the law in New York. And just wait until Eliot Spitzer gets his hands on you.
Sad state of affairs when an ounce of week gets your home invaded, your door broken down, and your dog slaughtered.
2. Of course, there’s never been such a thing as a separation between church and state, anymore than there’s a separation between mind and body. It’s just another false dichotomy. More accurately, the church and state are soulmates and bedfellows.
A recently enacted law allows
county prosecutors, the state attorney general, or, as a last resort,
alleged victims to ask judges to civilly declare someone to be a sex
offender even when there has been no criminal verdict or successful
…the Catholic Church pursuaded
Ohio lawmakers to put off allowing the Church to be held liable for sex
offenses by priests. In exchange, the state will set up a system where
by people never convicted of a crime — Catholic priest or no — can be
tagged with a career-ending, unfathomably stigmatizing "sex offender"
label without so much as a trial.
3. If this guy is who he says he is, the most remarkable bit about it is that there aren’t thousands of him amongst the police forces in this country. That there is not tells you all you need to know about public enemy number one.
If anything you have
understated the extent or true danger of the problem. Many of us in
police work call these people ninja wannabes and they frighten US! It
seems these units are largely constituted from people with no military
service or training yet they want to dress up and play like cowboy
4. Look at it this way, Radley. They get to dress up like tough guys, and, you know, it’s all tied up in that "respect the uniform" larceny in the quest to build a false sense of self-esteem. Then, in all that body armor, flash-bang grenades, tear gas, and automatic weaponry do they actually go out and put their lives on the line taking out some genuine bad guys? No. They’re pussies. They go and hassle honest folks who aren’t hurting a soul.
Wires, guns, and undercover
cops. All paid for by you, American taxpayer. And all to prevent sick
people from medicating themselves with demon marijuana. Not only that,
but in a state whose citizens have specifically authorized the drug for those purposes. What a terrific bunch of limited government Republicans we have running this country.
5. Rounding up Radley’d roundup. "Scalia’s ‘New Professionalism’"
6. I was in San Diego last weekend when this happened. Yep, like I’ve always said, there is one ultimate and final penalty for every single law, statute, and regulation on the books. That penalty is death.
7. Careful how much money you pay for your next home purchase. If someone thinks you paid too much, someone might want to question you. So, naturally, that’s gonna involve a SWAT team, teargas, and all that stuff that goes along with serving "high-risk warrants." Now, this happened in Powell, OH, but you know what they say: coming soon to a SWAT team near you."
Look, man, I know your heart is in the right place. But see what happens when you grant respect to a tool of the state? See what sort of mileage you get from a "libertarian / conservative perspective?"
You see, Radly, he’s an LA Assistant District Attorney. He has a libertarian/conservative perspective, which apparently doesn’t preclude being an instrument in locking up thousands of "darkies" on drug charges. It apparently engenders "concern" over wrongful convictions in crimes where investigators have falsified evidence and withheld exculpatory evidence, but that’s about it. Let the "legal system" sort it all out, ‘in the long run,’ and in the meantime, he and they can all be high-fivin’ each other in the corner bar after work when they all get another "conviction" in thier employment files.
Patterico can go straight to hell.
Then again, as Beck often points out: nuthin’ to worry about. There’s an election right around the corner and everything’s gonny be just fine, because, y’know, we can vote!!!
The title refers to a condition that you may have seen in the DOW, S&P, and other indexes last week, if you follow. It began a couple of weeks ago, actually. The markets were moving up, up, up…relentlessly — every day — with very little in the way of consolidation, profit-taking, or retracement. When that happens, the market reaches a condition we refer to as overbought and you can pretty much know with certainty that you’re going to get some stiff down days very soon.
Happened on Wed and Thursday. No surprise at all.
I wonder if we’re approaching overbought on this whole "airline security" thing, yet. It’s really up to you, you know. I mean, those TSA goons’ll be gladly ramming their latex-gloved fingers straight up your ass as a routine and widespread screening measure the moment they’re told it will be their duty to do so.
At what point will you demand an end to it?
If you didn’t catch it, yet, this was my experience heading out the other day. Billy Beck? He narrowly escaped being blown up by a "toddlerable’s" apple juice on his flight this morning. But, you know, they disposed of the highly volatile fluid in the "explosive-proof" trashcan sitting next to the TSA screening station.
Me? My flight this morning? Well, nothing stolen, though I did go ahead and leave behind the deodorant I bought at the hotel shop to replace what was stolen on the trip out. I did practice up on Beck’s routine for the thing — though it doesn’t require much practice. It happens that I was fortunate enough in my mélange of genes to have been bestowed with a natural frown. That thing you’ve heard about using less muscles to smile? Bullshit, as applied to me. I’m much more comfortable with a scowl. For added effect, I gave a bit of a nostril flair here and there, while looking as disgusted as possible.
"Thank you, sir," he says. I turn and walk away. No acknowledgment whatsoever. >snort<
We stopped off in the Starbucks on the way to the gate, my COO and I. (Somehow, these mysterious concoctions are no danger at all until brewed and mixed and placed in your care. That’s when they’re transformed into virtual orgies of hypergolic substance ready to blow — I dunno — when put in contact with the lousy coffee the airlines brew, and thus cannot be taken on board (for safety’s sake, don’tcha know).) I was telling him of my trip to Sevastopol, USSR, in 1990. Now I remember what all your faces remind me of, standing in that TSA line.
How long ya gonna put up with it?
I raise the volume of my voice, so others in the coffee shop were sure to hear. "I’m tired of hearing people thank those TSA assholes. Fuckers. Thieves. Thugs. They merit no respect and ought not be granted any by any sane person forced to undergo their gauntlet of intimidation and pacification."
Then I told him of how, there in Sevastopol, just about every afternoon trucks would suddenly arrive to various points in the city and begin unloading whatever goodies the commissars had in store for their subjects that day. Sometimes boxes of cupcakes. Sometimes boxes of ice cream bars. And everyone would scurry over like children receiving their treat for being such good and submissive citizens.
So don’t be surprised if, in the not too distant future, a clear and convincing display of submission to your authorities at airport security wins you a box of bon bons or the like at the other end.
George Reisman is 100% dead on the mark. Utterly.
A people can only be dominated by undermining the individual’s single most important attribute; his primary tool of survival; his innate characteristic that defines him and sets him apart from all other animals; his mind: reason.
And how is such a thing accomplished? By forcing his silent acquiescence to obvious lies.
My company’s COO and I boarded a plane this morning to attend a conference in Vegas tomorrow and Friday. The spectacle going through the TSA-goon-gauntlet is so obviously absurd that I’m at somewhat of a loss feeling a need to describe it. I mean, whom do I live among, that I must overhear people actually thanking these thugs? In what crazy dimension am I stuck, where stealing my toothpaste and speed stick — and my COO’s Right Guard and shaving cream — causes people to be deluded into a sense of relative safety, and to thank their oppressors, whom, I might best describe as: those who just do their jobs.
Let me tell you this. Any society that can employ people who will dutifully forge through people’s luggage stealing common toiletries, all while spouting obvious bullshit like, "if this was opaque deodorant, it’d be OK, but since it’s clear, it’s not," is a society capable of employing people to perform any "duty."
They don’t get off the hook. Neither do you. I expect as much from politicians, as their stock in trade is to perpetuate the complete illusion that marginal risks to your life are something you ought to obsess about, and that they, government, reduce those already minuscule risks in meaningful ways at reasonable cost. Such is a fantasy, but perhaps not an obvious one. Finding a threat in a can of Right Guard and believing you’re safer? Completely delusional.
Now, ask me how it happens that people — average citizens — are brought to a point where they can be enlisted to commit the most heinous atrocities, a-la every communist movement that has ever existed, as well as the holocaust.
Hush now baby, baby, dont you cry.
Mother’s gonna make all your nightmares come true.
Mother’s gonna put all her fears into you.
Mother’s gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She wont let you fly, but she might let you sing.
Mama will keep baby cozy and warm.
Ooooh baby ooooh baby oooooh baby,
Of course mama’ll help to build the wall.
Hush now baby, baby dont you cry.
Mama’s gonna check out all your girlfriends for you.
Mama wont let anyone dirty get through.
Mama’s gonna wait up until you get in.
Mama will always find out where you’ve been.
Mama’s gonna keep baby healthy and clean.
Ooooh baby oooh baby oooh baby,
You’ll always be baby to me.
-"Mother," by Roger Waters; Pink Floyd, The Wall
It’s only going to get worse. But fear only that which you’re told to fear, out of all proportion, and believe that your "authorities" will protect you. In the meantime, sign up for another home-equity line-of-credit, pay off those cards, and keep on buyin’ and consumin’ and keepin’ the whole thing propped up.
Lots of fun. Went to see it last night with some friends/relatives while visiting here in Vista, CA, just north of San Diego.
A real riot. Samuel L. at his normal best. Go see.