The Gross National Debt

Monday, June 17, 2019

Making the money matter

The SF novel, I forget which, was a utopian setting. (Aside - I realize "utopia" should have the "an" declarative instead of "a" but it reads better to me the way I have it. If you object, then do so and get yer own blog.)

In this mythical place, people earned credits for doing work. Credits were then swapped for stuff. Think cash, but you never got to hold any of it.

One of the things that made this a utopia was the pay scale. Pay was based on need. How important was the job? The more important job, the more it paid. In this fictional reality, being a garbageman was a pretty high-payin' job. Tending the roses paid next to nothing.

Think about that.

Now apply some mental molars to this idea –

Any and every job should pay what you are willing to accept for doing the job.

Hrm. Confusing. Lemme try again.

What is the minimum amount you'd take to do the job? That is the pay.

Mo betta.

The "you" part of that is critical. You. As in the singular person. As in the individual. NOT the government handing down an edict. NOT a forced decision. NOT a kinder, gentler machine gun in hand to make sure you do it.

You decide.

Shades of Ayn Rand someone will say. Could be, could be.

Shades of Karl Marx someone else will say,  Could be, could be.

Certainly, there are smatterings of many economic systems there.

YOU PICK YOU PAY


So what would you accept as the minimum salary for a job?

Under my idea, you pay whatever you'd take to do the same work. I cannot think of anything more fair than that. That's my utopian idea anyway.

Let's continue to run this You Pick You Pay thought experiment. Whether or not you can do the jobs below is irrelevant. I wanna know what you require as the pay to do 'em. Saying "There ain't enough money in the world" is an acceptable answer.

How much pay do you need to be a:

Garbage man?

A waiter/waitress?

Truck driver?

Farmer?

Police officer?

Member of Congress?

Convenience store clerk?

Butcher?

Mechanic?

That's a good place to start. I'm sure you can come up hundreds of other jobs. The question remains, what is the minimum you'd take to do the jobs?

Bout dat "ain't enough money" comment. If you said that about any job, then in my utopia, you never get to have those services. Not enough money to a police officer? Then you never get to call law enforcement for help. Not enough money to be an elected official? Then you lose access, privileges and protections created by the law. Yes, you anarchist, you are also freed from being under the law. That sounds like a good idea to many until someone bigger, meaner, tougher and better armed comes up, takes everything you have and turns you a bone-broken heap. On yer own, you are.

THE CLUE-X-FOUR

So now lemme come upside yo haid with a Clue-X-Four.

Why ain't you paying these people what YOU require to do the job?

"I don't control how much they get paid."

Now there is the cop-out. There is the lie. There is the rejection of reality. Don't think so, Cleopatra? (Cause you is the Queen of De Nile.) Lemme prove it to you.

S'called tips. Who do you tip and how much?

Oooooooo.

"But I –"

Shup.

"But not tip –"

Shup.

"–"

Done said shup three times. Do it.

You can tip anyone. You CHOOSE not to. You CHOOSE to underpay those folks? You can tip and bring the pay up to the level you'd accept. You CHOOSE not to.

Why? Are those people less than you? Are you more important than them? Is your value to this world greater than theirs?

"But I can't –"

Don't make me get out the duct tape.

YES YOU CAN


Yes, Little Engine That Could, you can. You can tip. I am not aware of any law in any state that prevents you from tipping anyone.

You choose not to. Why?

I tip all kindsa folks, if I can get to 'em. It's not always cash either. I've delivered water to linemen. Beer to the guys on the garbage truck. If I can catch the cook in a restaurant, I slip some George Ws his way.

The difference it makes is AMAZING.

I tip folks when I believe their service to me is greater than what they are paid to do the job.

I do understand that some businesses have signs that say "No tipping allowed." I give those signs and policies all the attention they deserve. None. I have yet to be called out for tipping someone.

The contrarian in me does HOPE someone tries to tell me I cannot tip. That's gonna be interesting.

In the meantime, you do control how much people make. The question is, will you own up to it or not?

Thursday, June 6, 2019

No, you don't have the right

This is not a discussion on abortion. Promise. It is a discussion about a flawed argument the abortion rights crowd uses.

Body autonomy.

The argument says, "It is my body. I can do what I want to with it." This argument is then backed up by several Supreme Court cases like Roe v. Wade.

It's also wrong.

Local, state and federal law and the United States Supreme Court say you do not have body autonomy. These laws and court cases say, explicitly and implicitly, that the government has the right to regulate your body.

"Nuh uh!"

Yes.

Jacobson v. Massachusetts. "The Court held that the law (mandatory vaccination) was a legitimate exercise of the state's police power to protect the public health and safety of its citizens. Local boards of health determined when mandatory vaccinations were needed, thus making the requirement neither unreasonable nor arbitrarily imposed."

"Um. But that decision was made in 1905."

So? It is still the "law of the land" as people like to tell me when citing SCOTUS cases to back up their (often incorrect) opinions.

The next argument is that the Jacobson decision needs to be revisited. In other words, the High Court needs to discuss this again. The unsaid words are "The Supreme Court needs to change that ruling."

At this point, I generally dissolve into hysterical giggles. Yes! Let the High Court revisit a decision I disagree with! But any decision I agree with has to be left alone. Stare decisis

Canya feel the sarcasm?

Want more?

Suicide. About half the gun deaths in the United States each year are suicides. The left loves to scream "BODY AUTONOMY!" and scream "GUN CONTROL!" at the same time. Pick one. Suicide is body autonomy. When we eliminate those deaths from firearms deaths, then the death rate is halved. When you eliminate gang murders, the death rate is halved again. Remove cops shooting people ... you get the idea.

Income tax.

"What does economics have to do with body autonomy?"

People are arrested and jailed regularly for not paying income taxes.

"But they broke the law."

Body autonomy.

"Grrrrrrrr."

Prostitution. This is the one that makes the right have splodey heads. We have no federal law on prostitution, but only some counties in Nevada make it legal.

Bigamy. Another right-wing splodey header. Personally, I think the punishment for bigamy is inherent in the action. 2 or more mothers-in-law. (shudder) "The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 1878 that plurality of wives (polygamy), as originally permitted by the Mormon religion, violated criminal law and was not defensible as an exercise of religious liberty. "


I'm not gonna get deep into taxes and economics, but as long as the government can lock you up for breaking a "law" because you want to keep what you earned using your body, then you ain't got body autonomy.

So, please stop using that as a reason for anything based on the law because it is legally false.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Of gander, geese and mindin' yer own $^&#^$^*&!)#^ business thankyouverymuchforasking

Bear with me as I must use a fusion-hot topic to start today's rant. I switch off that very quickly. Promise.

I keep hearing people saying men have no right to make a decision (abortion) for women 'cause men cannot have children.

M'kay.

Jes f'r the purpose of today's rant, I accept that logic. As I understand the logic it is -

If you do not understand, you cannot be part of the decision making process.

If you do not participate, you cannot be part of the decision making process.

If you are not a part of, you cannot be part of the decision making process.

If you are not directly affected, effected or impacted, you cannot be part of the decision making process.

If it cannot directly affect, impact, effect or otherwise actually matter to your life in a way that can be empirically measured, you cannot be part of the decision making process.

If you did not participate in the series of decisions that led to the need for a decision, you cannot be part of the decision making process.

Even if you did participate in the decisions, unless the situation has an empirical affect, impact, effect on you, you cannot be part of the decision making process.

Did I miss anything? Did I get something wrong here? Did I misunderstand? If so, I sincerely ask you to correct me in the comment section. I will update and revise. (Rene Alsept, if yer reading this, I welcome a rational comment.)

LOGICAL APPLICATION



By accepting that logic, I agree to its application in other matters. If you agree my summation above is correct, then you also agree to its application elsewhere

Do you live in Africa and live next to big game animals like elephants, rhino and lions? Do you understand the life cycle of these megafauna? Is your life directly affected by attacks by these land tanks? Are you willing to pony up the bucks needed to provide proper habitat, food, water and etc for these walking modes of destruction?

Are you gonna support the people whose crops were destroyed by elephants & rhinos?
https://allafrica.com/stories/201905130538.html

What about the people the big animals kill? Will you bring them back to life?
https://people.com/human-interest/lion-rips-off-4-year-old-girls-scalp-south-africa-big-cat-farm/

No? Then please excuse yourself from any discussion regarding the hunting and preservation of these critters.
https://www.timeslive.co.za/tshisa-live/tshisa-live/2019-05-24-thula-sindi-weighs-in-on-botswana-vs-ellen-degeneres-fight-over-elephants/

Being less polite, shut up and go away. You don't get to make a decision on this.

https://metro.co.uk/2019/05/22/botswana-lifts-ban-elephant-hunting-plan-manage-population-9655006/

A CLUE X 4


While I'm giggling insanely swinging my cluex4 upside some haids, lemme slap more information on you.

"TROPHY HUNTING CAN play an essential role in the conservation of African wildlife, according to a growing number of biologists. Now some experts are calling for a program to regulate Africa's sport-hunting industry to ensure its conservation benefits."

So says National Geographic, which of the past 15 years or so has turned more liberal than Rolling Stone and New York Magazine. https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2007/03/trophy-hunting-africa-save-animals-conservation-news/


A SIMPLE SOLUTION



Of course, there is a simple solution to all this. I can take no credit for the idea as Jonathan Swift was the first to popularize the idea.

As Botswana, according to the folks living there who DO get to make the decision (your logic, your rules, I just apply them across the board) cannot support the growing people population and elephant population, we have a choice. Well, some have a choice to make.

As some folks can't bear the thought of an elephant being killed, then they need to journey their unhappy butt down to Botswana and start thinning out the second most dangerous animal on the planet. This thinning can be done however the person wants. Bring #2 back home and care for 'em out their own pocket. Go Soylent Green. Declare war. Get Genocidal. Start a holocaust.

Or, adopt an elephant, rhino, lion, etc. Bring it home, feed and care for it. That is if you can stomach the thought of caging a wild animal for the rest of its life.

Something has to be done. Lives will end, one way or another, unless other people step in with massive amounts of regular, constant and consistent aid in the form of cash, food and other necessary supplies.

Donating 10 bucks here & there as a salve for the conscience makes things worse. It creates an expectation that more is coming. When it does not come, the result is crushing. People literally die. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2009/feb/19/dambisa-moyo-dead-aid-africa

NO HELP HERE


Ms. DeGeneres, a mega multi-millionaire, can complain loudly. Will she do anything to actually help? Nah. Will people like her do anything to actually help? Nah. Air-conditioned ivory towers are too comfortable.

Who is helping? People who preserve the animals for hunters. Who is helping? The hunters who drop the bucks to go to Africa to hunt. Again, National Geographic - "As big game populations dwindle further under pressure from human encroachment, shifting climate norms, and widespread criminal poaching,.."- https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/10/trophy-hunting-killing-saving-animals/ - Not licensed hunts, in other words.

As PH in the NG story asks, "Who’s going to pay for the party?"

SPEAKING FOR THE SPEECHLESS


Just 'cause someone is gonna throw this at me, yes, animals cannot speak in their own defense.

Ahem.

That's all I'm saying on that subject.

BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!


Yes! Act now and you get a whole lot more than you bargained for!

You get the "social contract" that allows you to bully other people at will while loudly complaining about being bullied yourself. You get to be part of a group that can ruin the lives of individuals and you don't have to care, at least until it happens to you.

You get to hire people to kill other people and be completely immune from prosecution. You get to hide behind voting, or not voting, as a way to excuse yourself from trampling the rights of other people because your elected reps made the decision.

Our elected reps are supposed to work for us. They are supposed to do what WE ask them to. Public servant. We give orders. They carry 'em out.

As the boss, you are accountable.

When the truth hurts, yer living wrong.

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Be kind and help others or we'll arrest you; no, that's IF you help ... hang on



To this I add, the left also seeks to make voluntarily helping the less fortunate illegal.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/nicksibilla/2018/08/27/federal-court-first-amendment-protects-sharing-food-with-homeless-people/

Someone, as happened on Facebook, is going to say these local ordinances were enacted by Reboobicans.

I do not say which side of the oligarchy coin passed these local laws. I do say these laws are done in leftist communities.

Proof you say?

http://nationalhomeless.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/Food-Sharing2014.pdf

See Page 5. If you look at the cities, most listed there are considered Damnocrat strongholds. Leftist communities. These are same people who believe it is entirely fine to send armed law enforcement to someone's house and take what that person has and give whatever is taken to other people who did nothing to earn it,

Of course, Reboobicans do exactly the same thing. They send armed law enforcement to take what is yours and give it to someone who did not work for it.

My sole point above is these anti-homeless-feeding communities are aligned with the D side of the oligarchy, that group that publicly professes to want to help the less fortunate, Obviously, as proven by their actions, they only want that help forcibly taken from others. Voluntary help is not allowed. Volunteering to help the less fortunate puts you in front of the same gun that comes to take what you have and give to the less fortunate.

In case you don't wonder, I've been there. A local effort was launched a few years ago to shut down the local food bank where I am a director. Why? We give away raw meat, meat that comes from the Second Harvest warehouses I add. Same meat you can buy in a grocery store. Why? I, not the food bank, give away raw deer and raw wild hog. Apparently spending my own time, money and other resources helping people in need is wrong, at least according to the people who tried to shut the program down.

This was done by leftists.

Lemme share you a story.

A band of guerrilla fights swept through the small village. As they went through they shouted "Liberation! Freedom! Power to the people."

One of the fighters stopped at an old man's hut and grabbed two chickens.

With rheumy eyes, the old man looked at the young revolutionary. "The government, they took my chickens too,"

The idealist looked down at the sad and broken man and said, "The liberation fighters, we fight for you. We must have food to carry the fight to the oppressors to free you!"

The old man cast his eyes to the ground. "My chickens," he said. "my chickens, they do not know the difference."

Friday, May 17, 2019

Demanding inequality and unequal rights

As the nation again loses its collective mind over the issue of pregnancy, I have a few things to point out.

1) The Alabama bill was signed by a woman.
https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/15/politics/alabama-governor-signs-bill/index.html . Yes, the law was passed by the state legislature, mostly men.

The Alabama governor could have vetoed the bill.

2) It takes 2 to tango. Yet, the law does not see it that way.


Yes, a man can decide to NOT have anything to do with the child. This requires going to court, hiring a lawyer, getting a judge to rule, signing paperwork, etc etc etc. A man must get permission from a bunch of other people to not be the father/dad. This is not cheap.

A woman makes an appointment, pays some fees and gets an abortion. No lawyer, no judge, no hearing.

Men should NOT be forced to support a child they do not want if a woman can abort the fetus at will.

Men should have an equal right to decide to NOT be a parent.

S'called parity.

It doesn't happen that way. The article linked just below reads like something from a sociology textbook, but it definitely points out how the legal system is heavily slanted toward mothers and against fathers, despite what is said.
https://elibrary.law.psu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1268&context=fac_works

3) In divorce, women get custody the vast majority of the time.

"As a general rule, most states require that the mother automatically be awarded full custody of her child if she is unmarried -- unless the father makes an effort to receive custody as well." https://family.findlaw.com/child-custody/who-gets-custody.html

"There was once a presumption that children should always stay with their mother following a divorce. Most states no longer honor that presumption, however. (In fact, some states have passed laws stating that there is no custody preference for women over men.) Despite this change, mothers are still more likely to get custody when parents divorce."
https://www.divorcenet.com/resources/divorce/for-men/divorce-for-men-why-women-get-child-custody-over-80-time

"Women are typically awarded custody of the children. Because our predominant social values suggest that children are best situated with their mothers, women often do the lion's share of child rearing in divorced families, even in shared custody cases." https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/men-v-women-who-does-better-in-a-divorce

My considered opinion is - A parent who uses their children as a tool of revenge against the other parent does not deserve custody at all.

4) 'Cause someone will bring THIS up, yes, women usually get the short end of the financial stick in a divorce. "Women who worked before, during, or after their marriages see a 20 percent decline in income when their marriages end, according to Stephen Jenkins, a professor at the London School of Economics." https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/04/the-divorce-gap/480333/ This is not the point of this morning's diatribe, but again, someone will bring it up.

5)

Thursday, April 4, 2019

Tons of crap

Mom's best friend died and owing to peculiarities in Florida law, an attorney had to step in (had to. State law) to help settle stuff despite Mom being the estate executor.

Let's run this to the heart of the matter.

Tons. Of. Crap.

Honestly. Literally. Without question.

Tons. Of. Crap.

The deceased lady (we shall call her JS) left behind a doublewide trailer packed with Tons. Of. Crap.

After three trips down, we've dented the pile.

Example - JS had, and I am not kidding, 10+ pounds of mailing labels from places like the Humane Society, Easter Seals, Veterans and etc. If your name was JS and you lived there AND YOU ARE STILL IN THE WOMB, you'd have enough labels to last the rest of your life, once you were born.

One room we could barely open the door. Stuff was stacked in boxes to the ceiling. Other rooms had stuff shoved, stacked and piled in every available space. Open bags of trash were common.

We threw out receipts and bills 15 years old. We threw away catalogs, random pieces of paper, pens that probably quit working 10 years ago. We found staples, staplers and scissors everywhere. Apparently, when JS needed something and could not immediately find it, she went out and bought another. We expect to find many more duplicate items.

JS' mom was a quilter and seamstress. JS was not. We found busted sewing machines, quilt frames, boxes and boxes of material just shoved in boxes and pushed into a room. Part of the cleanup crew includes an expert quilter so what is useful is being taken to a local quilter's group.

Yes. We found finished quilts. These are no trash, but very real treasures. Oh yeah.

We found broken and busted appliances and equipment. Why?

This has given me severe cause for pause.

What about the stuff I have?

Uh, yeah.

Tools. Lots of tools (and now more thanks to JS' estate). 300 pounds of nail gun nails and decking screws, again TY JS estate. Well, when I'm gone finding a home for the tools will be easy enough.

Fishing gear. How many more fishing rods do I need anyway? One more.

Oy. Still, finding a home for that when I am gone, way easy. Susan & Jesse have one giant yard sale, it's with a new owner.

Books.

Someone say books?

Gad. I have got books. Mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy. I gottem. Rehoming these will be more of an issue. I've tried to give some away (ahem, James?) but no takers.

Vinyl records. I have a 10-foot high stack of classic rock vinyl. (YOU! NO! Hands off Bubba!) But these too, easy enough to get rid of. The 75 or so CDs, no so much. Also have a stack of 78 vinyls from the Big Band era. No one wants those. (Want 'em? Lemme know.)

Some things I wonder why I have 'em at all. Why do I need 2 retired breathing apparatus tanks? Damfino. Same with the camera collection. Who uses film these days anyway? Gonna be useless junk when I'm gone, but they do remind me of the days when we had to work to be a photographer.

The keychain collection. I hear you saying WTH? I have a few hundred keychains, a few pounds worth. They take up almost no space, but der yaggo.

Some will call me a hoarder. Will not argue. But I'm nowhere near JS's league.

Still, I need to start winnowing.

The screws and nails, keeping those. Need to repair my own back deck as well as build for handicapped folks in need. (Have a crew that builds handicapped ramps. All you gotta do is buy the wood.) Other stuff, well, may have to go,

Anyone want a bushel of SF novels? The good ones from the 60s, 70s and early 80s?

Tuesday, March 12, 2019

About that college entrance exam scam

Cheaters prosper. Cheaters win. Some do get caught and are held accountable. Some never are, in this life at least.

This is the way of things.

This story amuses me immensely.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/fbi-accuses-wealthy-parents-including-celebrities-in-college-entrance-bribery-scheme/2019/03/12/d91c9942-44d1-11e9-8aab-95b8d80a1e4f_story.html

I have ZERO issue with cheating on college entrance exams. None. College will weed out the vast majority of the ones who can't hack it.

I think college entrance exams are pretty stupid anyway. For one thing, some people simply don't do well on standardized tests. For another, standardized tests are also stupid. And yet one more thing, college is not mandatory. If you really want to go to college, you will make it happen. Guaranteed.

A very select few will manage to scrape through, thanks to parents with wallets bigger'n that gator killed on Lake Blackshear.

A MINOR PROBLEM


I only have a slight problem with the people who manage to graduate from college by underhanded means.

In the real world, most of the people who cheat their way through college will seriously crash&burn when they get a job. Darwin at work. Those who do continue to roll their way up the corporate ladder through cheating, obfuscation, misdirection and slight-of-hand have to be smart enough to be there anyway.

I am not excusing their malfeasance. I am saying if they can get away with it, then they are good enough to be there anyway.

My small problem with those who make it through runs right back to academia. Those who do work their way through but cannot get a real job fall back into academia. I ain't saying those who can, do and those who can't teach. I know many teachers at all levels who are thoroughly capable of making a living in the private sector. Some of them taught me and they were the best teachers I had.

I also know too many teachers who are in education because they cannot hold down a job outside of academia. Inside those hollow (no typo) halls of learning, they are insulated and protected. They need not be able to do. They just need a sufficiently advanced degree, which is laughably easy to obtain. Google this phrase - easy to get PhD .

Had plenty of those teachers too. They are not worthless. They are a great bad example.

Proof? Real world experience is not necessary to get a job as a professional instructor. All ya need is a degree. Show me any job qualification list for a professional educator that requires real-world experience in that field. I'll show you a dozen that only demand teaching experience and a degree.

Which is harder? Getting into college or getting a PhD? Depends on how good you are or how much money you have. The more money you have, the less your ability matters.


MONEY TALKS


People have bought their way into college for as long as college has been a thing. Lemme tell you right now that if I won a giant lottery, I'd buy admission for my kids, nieces and nephews to the college of their choice. No college will turn down a few million dollars and "oh yeah, make sure my nephew's application to attend school here is accepted or I find another college that wants the money." Proof follows.

People also get into college strictly on physical ability. Academics are irrelevant.

https://www.cnn.com/2014/01/07/us/ncaa-athletes-reading-scores/index.html

http://time.com/3827196/why-student-athletes-fail/

https://sports.vice.com/en_us/article/yp8bvj/north-carolina-scandal-continues-to-show-how-ncaa-incentivizes-eligibility-over-education

https://www.cbssports.com/college-basketball/news/heres-two-more-times-the-ncaa-is-failing-to-rule-sensibly-on-players-academic-issues/

Plenty more where that came from.

DOUBLE DOUBLE DOUBLE STANDARDS



Boston’s U.S. attorney, Andrew Lelling told reporters, "These parents are a catalogue of wealth and privilege. This case is about the widening corruption of elite college admissions through the steady application of wealth combined with fraud. There can be no separate college admission system for the wealthy, and I’ll add there will not be a separate criminal justice system, either.”

I do not like calling someone a liar, but yeah, he's a liar.

His statement is a direct contradiction to reality. He make not like reality. Reality is under no obligation to conform itself to the expectations of him, you, me or that guy stalking you who just ducked around the corner so you wouldn't catch him.

If the truth hurts, yer living wrong.

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/politics-government/article174707216.html

Again, how much more proof do you need?

Cheating to get into college? Hilarious. Knock yo'self out and make it happen. Eventually, you must have the ability to make it. Otherwise, you will have to get a PhD and teach in a college.

Friday, February 8, 2019

What we have here is a failure to tell the whole story

I have an issue with this story, but on the main point, what happens is wrong.


My issue is found in this quote:

“It just sort of reinforces an understanding we already knew — that black residents disproportionately come in contact with law enforcement given the way criminal justice policy is oriented in this country,” said Nicole Porter, spokeswoman at The Sentencing Project, a reform advocacy group.

TELL IT ALL


That is a correct statement, but it does not tell everything. The journalists writing this story did not tell it all.

Some years ago I did a study of calls to 911 for police assistance in the City of Ashburn. I split the City down Highway 41 and Highway 112 - quadrants.

Over six months the NE quadrant hand 1 call for law enforcement, a fight at the then-alternate school.

The SW quadrant accounted for nearly 75 percent of the calls for law enforcement. The SE and NE quadrants had the remainder.

I'm willing to bet you that LEAs are called to certain neighborhoods far more often in any given community than in other neighborhoods.

THEY ARE CALLED


The greater point which is not discussed is: Police go where they are called. They meet with people who call them. This is results in massively disproportionate contacts with law enforcement. This is NOT discrimination. This is law enforcement simply responding to calls.

It also follows that LEAs will make more arrests where they spend the most amount of time. They will make the most arrests from the pool of people they deal with the most.

That is not complicated.

Complaining and trying to draw racial inferences from this is like complaining nursing homes have most elderly and ill people as residents. It is true, but the base reason for this is not discrimination.

MORE TO IT

Not saying some people are profiled and targeted. This does happen. As the report points out, a certain group of people is stopped for traffic violations more often than others. This definitely smacks of being wrong. I wonder if there is more to it.

I've done ride-alongs with police officers. I cover law enforcement regularly. I know profiling happens. At the same time where the traffic stops are discussed, I just wonder what the whole picture has to show. I am reminded of the story of three blind men and the elephant. One described the elephant as long, muscular and strong. He had the trunk. Another said no, an elephant is round, solid and thick like a tree. He had a leg. The third said no, the elephant is short and somewhat stiff with coarse hair like a heavy hemp rope. He had the tail. Certainly, the court system is harsher to a segment of the population compared to other segments. That is flat wrong. Rich people get off much lighter than poor people when hauled into court.

REPORTING

The story does make a backhanded attempt at addressing the whole situation at the end of the report. It's pretty pathetic reporting too. "One police official said..."

One officer. One department. Stacked against in-depth research covering the entire state.

Is there more to this story? Betcha. Will the reporters cover it? Probably not. The resources and effort that went into this story were massive and I seriously doubt there was a return on investment. S. Carolina media simply does not have the money to invest in this kind of reporting on a regular basis, so we are stuck with a partial story.

IT IS WRONG

On the whole, the asset forfeiture as discussed in this story is flat wrong. It is nothing more than theft by government. Exactly the same as taxes. I really see no difference between the two. If you do, please explain.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Some help for the journalist

The Society for Professional Journalists is actually doing something useful.
For once. 
This is like using a belt-fed machine gun to hit a pie plate target at 1,000 yards. Sling enough lead and you're bound to hit the target, eventually.
Anyway, the SPJ is hosting a conference on stress and journalism March 9 in Savannah.
Some topics on the agenda:
• Are you having a hard time handling the stress of burnout?
• Do you need resources to help a colleague that is having a difficult time?
• Did you have a hard time processing the trauma of a crime scene or disaster?
• Are you afraid of the stigma of asking for help, to share your emotions?
• Do you need to know that you are not alone in how you are feeling and it's okay?
• How can we support ourselves as journalists?
In case you don't wonder, I answer:
Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes Sometimes #1 thing - quit being flaming infected hemorrhoids toward each other.

IT'S A ROUGH JOB

Coming up through the ranks many years ago I was told journalists suffer an unusually high level of alcoholism compared to other industries. I no longer believe that to be as true. https://www.businessinsider.com/most-alcoholic-jobs-2011-10
Journalism is rough though. As I remember, France dictates a month of vacation for professional working journalists because of the stress. But France does a lot of things that make me wonder.
I don't know of any other career that has the same kinds of stress-inducers. Certainly, other professions have their share and many overlap. ER workers, law enforcement, and fire, EMS, dispatchers come to immediate mind. Some less-expected professions that have some of the same major stresses are minister or preacher, politician, human resources. You can probably add many more to this.
But journalism stands unique. Only journalists are called on to be in any profession at any time. We can spend one day being a police officer, another day as a commercial fisherman and yet another day as a funeral director. Good journalists try to understand the people we write about and that means learning what they do and how they do it. Sometimes it means hands on. It always means observation.
At the same time, journalism is unique because at the end of the day, we get to walk away from that job and move on to something which may be a polar opposite. Whether we can actually leave that temp job is another matter entirely. The rough stuff stays with us. The good stuff stays too, but the bad parts are more durable.
On any given day a journalist can see the very worst humans can do to each other and then all the way to the very best. Then, we have to process that and present it to our audience. That kinda stuff sticks with a person.
Journalists also don't have a lot in the way of stress support. Example: Journalists can get PTSD. I have it. Unlike soldiers who have a support network, whether it is effective or not is beside the point, journalists do not have that (however effective) safety net. Soldiers have thousands of comrades who went through the same thing. Journalists may have a handful.
So thanks to the SPJ for finally doing something worthwhile. I seriously wish I could attend the conference, but it is not gonna happen. Y'all who do attend, I hope you are able to find a way to beat down those demons that haunt us all.

Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Protection, bribes and theft

Imagine paying someone, someone carrying guns with a record of extreme violence, money just so you can:

• Keep living as you are living now.

• Keep your business open.

• Keep your job.

• Keep your property.

If you do not pay, this person will visit you and commit all sorts of extreme violence on you, your family, your property and pretty much anything else you have.

What would you do? Call the police?

HAND IT OVER



Out of a million people, 999,9999 pay. Pay whatever is demanded as often as demanded. That fraction of a percent refuses to pay. More about them in a moment.

Say you do refuse to pay. With violence inbound, what will you do?

Call for reinforcements? Few, if any, will show up. Likely you are on your own.

Then, the violence hits.

What will you do then? You protest? Deaf ears.

LEGAL OR LEGAL?



Extortion is illegal.

Except when it is not.

This is called "protection" in by some. It is extortion in reality. Call it bribes if you like. Theft is another good word.

It is taking something from someone else against their will. Verifiable, measurable economic harm.

"All taxes are bribes," says the character Earl Harbinger (the name is that for a reason in the book). "Just roll with it."

That tiny fraction of a percent who won't pay to play? The great majority of those people have mental problems, abuse problems or a combination. The bums, hobos, homeless.

Only a very few, I'm guessing less than 10,000 in the United States are sane enough to know what they are doing and, more importantly, how to get away with it.

VIOLENCE


My friends on the left decry violence, except when it suits their purpose. My friends on the right decry violence, except when it suits their purpose. So much for tolerance, eh? Their purpose is to bend everyone to their will, by whatever means necessary. This includes killing us.

No? How many IRS raids have you been on?

https://www.forbes.com/sites/peterjreilly/2016/08/15/irs-weapons-and-ammunition-spending-is-unremarkable/#1c552eda6c0a

If lethal force is not needed to collect taxes, whyinhell does the IRS need guns and ammo?

BOUT DAT CONTRACT

Frankly, I'm damned all tired of hearing about the "Social Contract" that allows legal extortion. Apparently, a group of people can come together, declare themselves to be a "government" and do whatever the hell they want to the rest of us.

That is exactly how it works. Prove me wrong, I will change my mind.

Majority rule?

Voter turnout in the United States fluctuates in national elections. In recent elections, about 60% of the voting eligible population votes during presidential election years, and about 40% votes during midterm elections. Turnout is lower for odd year, primary and local elections. 2018 turnout was the highest midterm turnout on record at 49.6% with more votes still to count. 
https://www.fairvote.org/voter_turnout#voter_turnout_101

Majority rule? If you are over 18 and legally allowed to vote.

Given that 80% plus of candidates do not receive a majority of the votes from eligible voters, we have minority rule. A minority imposes their wishes on the majority.

What then is the real difference between a group of thugs extorting a business owner and a business owner who pays some guys in the neighborhood to not trash his store?

Still disagree? How are cities created? Familiar with the annexation process which brings property into the corporate limits even against the will of the people who own that property?

https://fee.org/articles/involuntary-municipal-annexation-the-ugly-truth/

Speak ye not to me of democracy and majority rule for I shall laugh in your face.

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

About that tear gas at the border

This will not convince anyone to change their mind. However, I need to get it put down in words to make things clear in my head. I also need to just get it written. If you are a writer, you understand.

This week (last week of Nov. 2018) a bunch of people gathered at the US-Mexico border. Those on the south side started throwing stuff at the folks on the US side. Rocks mostly, but other stuff too.

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/11/26/18112474/tear-gas-border-patrol-caravan-rocks

The US responded with tear gas.

This is a measured and appropriate response. Have a splodey head if you like and feel free to rip my argument to shreds, but hear me out first.

1) There were children in this group. 

Some are decrying the US response because of the children. My question is WTH were children doing in the middle of a riot in the first place? A riot? Yes. If this happened in a street in a city, it'd be called a riot. Again, why are children in a riot?

A bunch of people throwing rocks and other stuff at armed government personnel is a riot. Change my mind? Unlikely.

Children learn from adults. The kids see adults throwing rocks at people in the US. WTH do you think this is teaching the kids? If you saw one of your kids throwing rocks at someone, what would you do? 

In parts of the world children who learn to throw rocks "graduate" to firing rockets.


This same week in a neighboring community a man was murdered and one of those accused of doing the shooting is a 15 YOA.

Children. Kids need to learn that actions have consequences. Adults too.

2) This happened at a border.

Yeah, it's an international border. So? Borders are artificial barriers created by man to say "Hey. That's your side. This'n is mine." Someone shows up on the street outside your house and starts throwing rocks, what would you do? 

This is simply a matter of magnitude. A border is a border is a border is a border.

Those of you who demand equality across the board (I do not), get over this. This is equality across the board.


3) No one was killed in the tear gas response.

Cain killed Abel with a rock and it's been going on ever since. Even today.


4) It needed to be stopped.

Yanno what happens when you let things go? They go. Yanno what happens if you do not kill a rabid animal? It infects more animals. The rabid analogy is going to offend someone. Good. Be offended. Point remains. Volatile situations can either be contained or allowed to expand and create even more destruction.

The tear gas response told those at the border: It is time for you to stop. If you don't, we're going to step up the response. Tear gas was a mild response to a situation that was - yes it had - been brewing for a few days. Sometimes you just gotta stop things. You step up the response until things are stopped.


Had this not been stopped, how far would it go?

Appeasement does not work.



5) These people want to come to the US.

My opinion on immigration is not changed by this instance at the border. Despite what you believe about my thoughts on immigration (and you are likely wrong), I still say this was an appropriate response. I also say let 'em in after some vetting.

We have rules in this nation. Even as a minarchist, I believe in rules. Do not hurt anyone. That rule applies here. People who were throwing stuff were engaged in an attack. Attacks need to be stopped. We do not tolerate attacks on people (unless it is the government attacking people which is another blog entirely).


They wanna come here, they need to play by the rules. Our rules say throwing rocks at people is not allowed.


6) The US should have retreated.

Someone throwing rocks at you and your house. Retreat?

Ok, say you own a vacant lot, no structures. You do not live on the lot. Someone starts throwing rocks at you on the lot. Retreat? OK. They keep coming. Now what? You either call law enforcement (um, DUH, that's what happened here!) or you fight back (ditto.) The simple fact here is, law enforcement stepped in to stop the attacks. It's just a matter of scale once again.


Castle Ground.


Once you retreat, you have set a precedent. Sooner or later you run out of room. Start your defense immediately and make it clear that any advance is gonna be costly.

Again, appeasement does not work.

7) There is a fence in the way.






8) This is legal.

I looked it up in the Geneva conventions. (NB - I have a degree in political science so yes, I am a scientist where politics are concerned.) Tear gas is a "riot control" agent. While its use is proscribed in war (and we ain't at war with Mexico), its use in convincing rioters to find somewhere else is OK.


9) You don't have a frame of reference.

You get dismissive with me because of this. I extend the same courtesy to you.


Ever been in a riot?

I've been shot twice and shot at a third time. How about you? Ever had someone come to your house as a paid assassin to kill you? I have.

Only one (that I know of) person who'll read this has a suitable frame of reference. He says the response was inappropriate. Yet he still packs a heater. 

Until and unless you have faced down someone who is attacking you, can actually kill you with that attack and at that moment doesn't have a problem with killing you, you don't have a frame of reference. Rocks are a lethal weapon, see links above. 


You will tell me I can't understand some things because I lack a frame of reference. You are correct. I am also correct.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Teen brains and other folks' mental instability

"Raising the age to purchase from 18 to 21 to match our rules for handguns just makes sense. Studies show that people 18 to 21 years of age commit a disproportionate number of firearm homicides in the United States. We know from research that the brain does not fully mature until a later age, especially the part of the brain responsible for decision making, risk assessment, and impulse control."

This is from a gun grabber group in Washington State. Pay special attention to that last sentence.

Teens and younger people don't have the same brain as someone older. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051

The laws of this nation are even set up with this in mind. The US Supreme Court has handed down ruling after ruling using this as the basis. https://deathpenaltyinfo.org/u-s-supreme-court-roper-v-simmons-no-03-633. For instance.

And yet, so many people are screaming, demanding and even reacting with violence to insist teens be treated exactly the same as a mentally competent adult of 25+ years of age. Except of course when it comes to other things.

I'm good with either course.

No, I'm not. Teenagers, as proven by SCIENCE!, do not have the developed brain of an older adult. Treating them as such is flat wrong and flies in the face of the SCIENCE! so many see as their god.

What I am good with is picking a direction. Either SCIENCE! is correct in this - in which case S.T.F.U. about holding teens to the exact same level of accountability across the board - or hold teens to the exact same level of accountability across the board, period.

Trying to have it both ways is cognitive dissonance, not that it will matter to people who are hypocrites on this issue.

Stick to the issue if you wanna debate. Opinions welcome, preferably backed up with SCIENCE! and laws. I've booted people in the past 14 days for personal insults, attacks and ad hominem. I don't like doing it, but I will do it again.

One of these things is exactly like the other

Why does government have any right to things I have and earn? Socialists and those otherwise on the left and most of those on the right as well come up with all kinds of excuses.

Me bud Paul makes the most concise case for this. The Social Contract.

Dictionary.com says it is "an implicit agreement among the members of a society to cooperate for social benefits, for example by sacrificing some individual freedom for state protection. Theories of a social contract became popular in the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries among theorists such as Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau, as a means of explaining the origin of government and the obligations of subjects."

In other words, we as a society opted to do this. Don't like it? Three choices:

Move

• Be beaten into submission

Die

On the far fringes is the other side that calls for anarchy. No rules. Somalia then? No, these people say, that is a failed state. Me? I ain't able to find a difference between anarchy and the "failed state" of Somalia, but that's another blawg.

WE VOTED


The Social Contract is just another way of saying the people with the most physical power make the rules. Don't believe me? Cool. Show me an instance where the people with less physical power made significant changes. For every one you give me, I will give you 10 or more instances where the powerless were crushed, often literally. Maybe even 100:1.

STRETCHING YOUR LIMITS


So let's apply this "social contract" conventions in ways that will horrify people on the right and the left. I'll even use real life examples.

1) Women cannot drive. Yeah this is changing. Why? Canya say "superior power?" I knew you could. World opinion is against the Saudi idea that women should not be able to drive. That's enough physical force to mandate a change.

2) People are property. No? Don't pay your taxes. The IRS has the ability to arrest you, take you to court and throw your non-taxpaying butt in jail where you become a ward of the state and you are told where you can be, when you must be there, what you can wear, when you have to wear it, what you can eat, when you can eat it and so on.

3) Women are property. Aghast much? Under the "social contract" of the 1%ers, this is reality. Some women want out of this kind of life, but cannot get free. Murder is illegal, but it still happens. In much of the 1%er life, a man may make the beast with two backs with any woman he chooses, including the "old lady" of another biker brother with his permission. The lady has no say in this. S'called a social contract. This is also a reality in another subculture in "western" civilization. In some cases, men are also property, literal slaves, but this is much less common than owning a woman.

THE PROBLEM


These three examples of literally thousands illustrate the problem with the "social contract" and anarchy for that matter. The people with the power make the rules.

If the "social contract" suddenly declares raping women is OK, how many of you will go along with that?

Can't happen? Proof that it can, does and will is just above. I could give you plenty more instances of the "social contract" calling for things that will give you a splodey head. If you are willing to think about this rationally, you have enough on your mental plate.

ONE OF THESE THINGS


This next is really gonna cause splodey heads. Before you judge me, make sure you have a full understanding of who I am, what I have been through and how I survived. Else, you are making unwarranted assumptions, AKA likes. I am one who says taxation is theft. It is economic rape. It takes something a person is not willing to give for the satisfaction of someone else. One of these things is exactly like another.


The "social contract" may say it is proper and appropriate. Tell that to the person who objects.