Independent Country

James Leroy Wilson's blog

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Voter registration, etc.

I have to check my voter registration. Only because the death penalty, which the Nebraska legislature abolished over Gov. Pete Rickett's veto, is being put to referendum. Ricketts spent a lot of political capital on getting it on the ballot because he wants the death penalty restored. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE 2020 GOP  PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION. THIS IS NOT ABOUT THE 2020 GOP  PRESIDENTIAL NOMINATION.

Funny thing about politics. Mrs. Clinton is for the death penalty. She also is to the right of George W. Bush when it comes to foreign intervention. But many of her supporters wring their hands over the moral dilemma of the death penalty, even as they don't mind when Obama slaughters people overseas and want Mrs. Clinton to do the same.

If a friend or family member signs up to go to Mars, I will think: "Really? You can't stand being on the same planet as me?"

Packers coach Mike McCarthy should never be President because he was pissed that Eddie Lacy was overweight last year. 

Mrs. Clinton said on the news last night that she doesn't know how college tuition got so expensive, but that "we'll fix it." Because the person to solve the problem is the one who doesn't understand it.

In Mr. Trump's universe, unfree trade, trade that raises the cost of living, is "fair".

Seems like train crashes are a lot more frequent than in decades past. #ClimateChange

America's electoral systems may or may not be vulnerable of hacking by Russia or other foreign governments. I don't know. But if we are being hacked, HOW DARE THEY!!! We should not tolerate such unprovoked aggression! I mean, sure, we probably hacked them long before they ever hacked us, but when we do it it's for National Security. And if you say National Security you can justify anything.







 

September 29, 2016: Whole lotta wisdom about liberty going on

September 29 in history (from Wikipedia

 1938 – The Munich Agreement between Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy settles the Sudetenland dispute in Germany's favor. The Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia are not invited.

Prime Minister Chamberlain gets the blame, though no one has explained to me how this conflict was any of Britain's concern in the first place.

 Birthday Quotes I 

 "There's not the least thing can be said or done, but people will talk and find fault."

"Let every man mind his own business."

 "Let us forget and forgive injuries."

 - Miguel de Cervantes (29 September 1547 (assumed) – 22 April 1616)

Birthday Quotes II 

 "The idea of abolishing Income Tax is to me highly attractive, both on other grounds & because it tends to public economy."

"All the people who pretend to take your own concerns out of your own hands and to do everything for you, I won't say they are imposters; I won't even say they are quacks; but I do say they are mistaken people."

"The rule of our policy is that nothing should be done by the state which can be better or as well done by voluntary effort; and I am not aware that, either in its moral or even its literary aspects, the work of the state for education has as yet proved its superiority to the work of the religious bodies or of philanthropic individuals. Even the economical considerations of materially augmented cost do not appear to be wholly trivial."

- William E. Gladstone (29 December 1809 – 19 May 1898)

 Birthday Quotes III 

 "Only the individual thinks. Only the individual reasons. Only the individual acts."

 "All this talk: the state should do this or that, ultimately means: the police should force consumers to behave otherwise than they would behave spontaneously."

"A free man must be able to endure it when his fellow men act and live otherwise than he considers proper. He must free himself from the habit, just as soon as something does not please him, of calling for the police."

 "It is not true that the advocates of the free-market economy are defenders of the selfish interests of the rich. The particular interests of the entrepreneurs and capitalists also demand interventionism to protect them against the competition of more efficient and active men. The free development of the market economy is to be recommended, not in the interest of the rich, but in the interest of the masses of the people."

 - Ludwig von Mises (29 September 1881 – 10 October 1973)

Birthday Quotes IV 

 "It constantly amazes me that defenders of the free market are expected to offer certainty and perfection while government has only to make promises and express good intentions. Many times, for instance, I’ve heard people say, 'A free market in education is a bad idea because some child somewhere might fall through the cracks,' even though in today’s government school, millions of children are falling through the cracks every day." - Lawrence Reed (born September 29, 1953)

Birthday Quotes V 

"Two kinds of players ain't worth a damn: One never does what he's told, and one who does nothin' but what he's told."

 "You fail all the time, but you aren't a failure until you start blaming someone else."

 - Bum Phillips, football coach (September 29, 1923 – October 18, 2013)

Happy Birthday Jerry Lee Lewis!

 


 And Happy Birthday Mike Post, the John Williams of television!


 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Flag Follies: Has the military preserved the Bill of Rights?

Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich had insightful thoughts on silent protests during the National Anthem over police shootings.

But even he said this:
I don't think a condemnation of any sort of act should happen until it's thought out. For instance, with Kaepernick, a pretty good group of people immediately thought he was disrespecting the military. It had nothing to do with his protest. In fact, he was able to do what he did because of what the military does for us. 
Countless others have said something similar: We should be grateful to the military who gave us the freedom to disrespect the National Anthem and the Flag, 

By implication: the military has protected our First Amendment freedoms.

I must have missed it in history class, so I will ask: 

When? 

And how?  

Actually, most of America's wars have been fought on foreign soil against nations that had neither the desire nor the ability of conquering us, let alone censoring us.

And the reality is that the military has not protected the First Amendment. That's because the threat to it does not come from foreign "enemies."

Think of other provisions of the Bill of Rights...

It's not foreign enemies who've undermined the Second Amendment with thousands of federal, state, and local weapons laws; American politicians passed them.

It's not foreign enemies who've engaged in warrantless searches in violation of the Fourth Amendment: the Defense Department's own NSA does that.

It's not foreign enemies who use asset forfeiture laws to take our property without due process, in violation of the Fifth Amendment; our own police does.

It's not foreign enemies who detain terror suspects indefinitely, in violation of the Sixth Amendment; the military itself does that.

It's not foreign enemies who've inflicted cruel and unusual punishments such as lengthy sentences for drug offenses; Congress passed such laws.

The only clear and present danger to the Bill of Rights is our very own "government" that the military serves.

Do you really think the military can or will protect the First Amendment?  

September 28, 2016

Birthday quote I

Guide the people by law, subdue them by punishment; they may shun crime, but will be void of shame. Guide them by example, subdue them by courtesy; they will learn shame, and come to be good." - Confucius (September 28, 551 – 479 BC)

Birthday quote II

"Looking back, I'm almost happy I lost that fight [to Joe Louis], Just imagine if I would have come back to Germany with a victory. I had nothing to do with the Nazis, but they would have given me a medal. After the war I might have been considered a war criminal." - Max Schmeling (September 28-February 2)

Birthday quote III

“People believe unbelievable things because it's self-flattering to think that you are intellectually daring enough to accept what others find preposterous.” - Christopher Buckley (Born September 28, 1952)

Happy Birthday Moon!






And fondly remembering Ben. E. King (September 28, 1938 – April 30, 2015)


Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why I didn't watch the debate

An atheist is forced to watch a debate between a Lutheran and a Baptist. The subject is eschatology: amillenialism vs premillenialsim.

Then he's asked who won the debate.

What could he say? I could imagine something like this:
How  can you win a debate when you're not even talking about anything having to do with the world as it actually exists? And does it matter who won when they're essentially on the same side? What looks like a very big difference to them seems like no difference at all to me.

Think of it this way: the Lutheran would be happy if I dropped my atheism and became a Christian, even if I became a premillennial Baptist. And the Baptist would be happy if I converted to Christianity even if I became an amillennial Lutheran. At least I'd be "saved." 

So it really doesn't make any difference who won. They're essentially the same even when they pretend they're not.
 I skipped the September 26  Presidential debate for the same reason an atheist would want to skip the eschatology debate. How can a voluntaryist like me decide who "wins" a debate on the best ways to coerce people?

Can there be a black Arnold Palmer?

Arnold Palmer passed away last Sunday. He remained beloved sports figure until his, even though one must be nearly a senior citizen to remember his golfing prime. I understand he was still making tens of millions in endorsement in his 80's.

I don't know if he ever spoke out on politics or social issues. I don't know why he would.

I predict Peyton Manning will become the next Arnold Palmer. He's such a good commercial spokesman, he'll probably keep doing it for decades to come, long after contemporaries like Tom Brady and Brett Favre leave the public eye.

I don't know if Peyton Manning has spoken out on social issues. I don't know why he would.

It appears that nobody has demanded either to "speak out."

Now compare that to black athletes of similar stature.

Cam Newton was put on the spot regarding police killing of a black man in Charlotte. He admitted that anything he said, on whichever side, would anger somebody.

Thus, black athletes walk a tightrope. They want their "brand" to reach all races, but that means they are non-controversial. They're often criticized in the African-American community for not speaking out or doing enough. If they do speak out, they get backlash from many whites, who resent black men for not thinking the same way they do.

The decision to be or not to be controversial is itself controversial. That's why there won't be a black Arnold Palmer.






Will Greg Hardy get the Dennis Hastert Treatment?

Former House Speaker Dennis Hastert sexually abused minors while he was a high school wrestling coach.  He wasn't punished for that; the statute of limitations had passed. Instead, he was imprisoned for withdrawing his own money from his own bank account.

Football player Greg Hardy got away with domestic abuse. But he's not a popular figure and is out of the NFL. I wonder if he'll get the maximum punishment for cocaine possession as "payback."

Hastert's a bad guy, but there's no justification for the law which he violated. Hardy's also a bad guy, but he doesn't deserve any punishment for possessing a substance.

Just because both hurt people, doesn't mean they should be punished for actions that hurt nobody.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Freedom is Free

Jose Fernandez, Marlins ace pitcher, was killed early Sunday morning in a boating accident. He was just 24.

He was born in Cuba. Before he was even 16, according to Wikipedia,
Fernández attempted to defect unsuccessfully three times, with each failed defection attempt followed by a prison term. Fernández, along with his mother and sister, defected in 2007. On that successful attempt, José's mother fell overboard when the boat hit turbulent waters, and José had to dive into the water to save her life.[5] They reached Mexico, and then moved to Tampa in 2008
Hearing about his life on Sportscenter yesterday made me feel gratitude for already living in the United States and never having to take such a risk.

My gratitude, however, is relative. I feel fortunate because most of the world has not been born into the favorable circumstances of  countries like America.

I do not, however, feel like I owe something to society or to political authorities for my relative freedom. Those who say, "freedom isn't free" are wrong. An early libertarian blog was called Freedom is Free, with the tagline "Who owns you?"

Fernandez and his family risked quite a lot for freedom. The Castros owned them, and they escaped.

That's a price they should not have had to pay.

To say "freedom isn't free" is to suggest that hierarchy and coercion - slavery of one kind or another -is the natural state, and freedom is a modern innovation. It's also an implied threat: As long as you obey these laws and fight these wars, you deserve to be free. If you don't, you should be locked in a cage.

To say "freedom isn't free" is to say Cubans who are unwilling or unable to escape or rebel somehow deserve the Castros.

It's to say that freedom is a privilege, not a right.

It's to say that freedom is what you get to have after rulers do what they want to you.

But I would ask again: Who owns you?

The price of freedom is nothing. Nothing.

If you live in a place where the price is higher, that price is not being set by people who are protecting you or have your best interests at heart; it's being set by criminals.

Saturday, August 06, 2016

The 20 reasons I would have wished to be born a girl

20. To sing this on Karaoke night.




19. To sing this on Karaoke night:





18. To sing this on Karaoke night:





17, To sing this on Karaoke night:





16. To sing this on Karaoke night:






15  To sing this on Karaoke night





14. To sing this on Karaoke night

m


13. To sing this on Karaoke night.




12. To sing this on Karaoke night.





11. To sing this on Karaoke night:




10. To sing this on Karaokke night:






9. To sing this on Karoake night:






8. To sing this this on karoake night:





7. To sing this on /Karoake night:





6. To sing this on Karaoke night:






5. To sing this on Karaoke night:



4. To sing this on Karaoke night:




3. To sing this on Karaijke night:




2. To sing this on Kaaoake night: (because the only people I've know who can sing it are women)




1. To sing this at Kaaoke night:





That's it. That's the list.

Wednesday, August 03, 2016

When bipartisanship ended

In a post on social media, I wrote:
"Our leaders used to put nation over party!" Yes, back when they sent 100,000 draft slaves to their deaths in east Asia. Good times!
To be fair, bipartsanship persevered after the draft ended and there was relative peace. Reagan's tax cuts, the tax reform of 1986, and the Gramm-Rudman deficit reduction plan all passed with Democratic input and at least some support, because it had control of at least one chamber of Congress all through Reagan's 8-year term.

The first George Bush, H.W. never had even one chamber in his favor. Bipartisanship in this era existed to the degree he agreed with or was willing to compromise with Democrats.

The turning point was the 1994 election, in which Republicans gained control of Congress in a voter repudiation of the Democratic agenda of the time. There was little, if any, bipartisanship through the 90's even as the economy chugged along and budget deficits turned into surpluses
.
Bipartisanship returned to some degree during the second Bush, W. After 9/11, he could push through any "security" measure or war with Democratic assent and worked with Democrats on their agenda for greater federal control of education and expansion of Medicare.

But it ended a second time in 2010, after Obama's first two years in office. What was the main issue? Obamacare.

So let's review. When did bipartisanship stop?

With Hillarycare.
 
And then with Obamacare.

That is, government control of healthcare.

And always lurking in the background is gun control. If Democrats had a House majority and a filibuster-proof Senate majority, gun control would get passed. So we have, at the root of the partisan divide: 

Government control of healthcare.

Government control of our means of self-defense.

Government control of your right to life. Government deciding if you can exist.

Who would surrender the right to life to an agency that says "We're compassionate. Trust us?"

Conservatives don't.

They think this is evil, and evil isn't entitled to a compromise. 

I'm not sure if Republican voters consciously think this way, but it's my theory of why they hate all things Democrat. The problem isn't that Democrats want to run your life, it's that they want to decide if you should live.

I understand that instinct, even though Republicans have their own anti-liberty agenda of controlling our bodies through prohibitions and surveillance. And I oppose that as well.

I wonder if Republicanism can be summarized as, 'You can take away our freedom, but you can't take away our lives!"

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Robin Williams' real disease, for those who still don't know

Near the end of a May 17 Joe Rogan podcast, Bobcat Goldthwaite talked about the death of his best friend Robin Williams. He felt it was important to mention it, nearly two years after the autopsy results were announced, because the news hadn't sunk in.

Robin Williams didn't commit suicide because of Depression. Not because he faced a bleak future with Parkinson's (which was an incorrect diagnosis). Not because of marital problems; there weren't. Not because of financial difficulties, of which there were none. As to Robin having spoken of suicide in the past, Bobcast said the question should be: When do comedians NOT talk about suicide?

Bobcat said the autopsy revealed that Williams had Lewy Body Dementia, and that was concsistent with his experience that on most days Robin was most often misperceiving reality. There was no speculation on the podcast as to what was going on in Robin's mind at the time of the suicide, but Bobcat is certain it wouldn't have happened without Lewy Body Dementia. 

I recall in the immediate wake of Robin's death, the conclusion was that he must have had Depression, with the undertone of why else could he have committed suicide? There were pleas to those who were contemplating it to get help RIGHT NOW with hotlines promoted on tv. Perhaps that was helpful to some people, so this immediate reaction may have been a good thing. There's no shame in Depression.

But it's unfair to Robin, and to the truth, if the facts aren't known. Because then there weren't be awareness of  Lewy Body Dementia..

So I'm posting this in case some readers don't know the facts.

Monday, August 01, 2016

How does the U.S. compare?

(Adapted from a Facebook post of August 1, 2015)

Russell Wilson and J.J. Watt are "football players." That's the general profession they've chosen. Both are great, in their own way. And you can decide who's "better" by deciding which one you'd pick first if you were building a team.
 
But the comparison ends there. The players are so different in size, abilities, and role that you can't criticize one for not doing, or not being able to do, what the other does.

The United States and Denmark are countries. That's how history unfolded. You can decide which country is "better" by  deciding which one you'd rather live in (if indeed it'll let you in), but the comparisons end there. Judging them by what their governments will do or can do, however, is a different story.

I looked up lists of country populations and area. Because China and India each have approximately a billion more people, I don't see how they can compare to the U.S. A different tier.

It seems the only countries in the same tier as the U.S. are Indonesia, Brazil, and Russia. Even then there are vast differences.

Countries smaller in area and/or population will generally be less diverse ethnically and won't have people separated by vast wilderness. There's greater cohesion making them easier to "govern."  

Those who want to compare the United States as a whole to smaller, more homogeneous European countries would be better off comparing some states to some countries of similar area and size. That the country as a whole falls behind in some statistics shouldn't be that surprising. It's too large to "govern."

Lew Rockwell, in a speech years ago, suggested a world of 30,000 city-states.

At least then, we might be able to make comparisons.


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Not enough evidence!

How can you beat the system? In a now-old routine, Doug Stanhope says take jury duty and say "Not guilty!" (Not Safe for Work)




Just recently, I came across an episode of  Doug;s podcast from a couple of years ago (I couldn't locate the specific episode) where he talks with a lawyer who had served as a prosecutor, then defense attorney, and is now a prosecutor again. This guest said that defending those accused of victimless crimes seems like the honorable course, but you don't have any leverage. One must change the system from the inside, where prosecutors can recommend the lightest sentences or deferral programs for "criminals" who don't belong in prison.

It's a nice thought. It's also a fantasy for more than a handful of prosecutors to ever behave that way. But if there were prosecutors who like him were willing to be lenient, why can't they go further?

I was reminded of Emailgate. After the FBI investigated Hillary Clinton about her email server, the Director's conclusion was that there wasn't enough evidence to persuade a jury. The Attorney General went along with his assessment and chargers were not filed.

Why can't prosecutors who want to change the system act like that when dealing with victimless crime? Why can't they refuse to prosecute in the same spirit Stanhope would ask jurors to say "Not guilty!"

Video and audio evidence of a pound of cocaine exchanged for a wad of cash? Not enough evidence!

Semen stains and wallet left at a brothel? Not enough evidence!

An openly running brothel? Not enough evidence!

The host of unlicensed poker games admits it? Not enough evidence?

Prosecutors who refuse to enforce unjust laws wouldn't be shirking their duty, they'd be preserving justice. Which is their job.  


Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why must black celebrities speak out?

The first episode of OJ: Made in America chronicled O.J. Simpson's rise to celebrity and contrasted his non-controversial persona to that of other star black athletes of the era. Although there were indications of a self-obsession associated with sociopathy, which might explain his later criminal conduct, I had no complaints with Simpson's decisions at the time.  

If he had an obligation to speak out for social change, then Joe Namath had no more and no less of an obligation.

Likewise, if Michael Jordan had, or has, an obligation to speak out for social change, Larry Bird has no more or no less an obligation.

How is it NOT racist to hold black athletes to a higher standard?

The obligation DOESN'T EXIST. Not for anyone of prominence, of whatever race or background. Doing what you love to do, and not hurting anybody else while you do it, means you're helping society.

It's unreasonable to demand anything more from anyone.

In any case, if a celebrity "speaks out" for anything other than more liberty, what they really are demanding is "social change" for the worse.

It's better if they stay silent.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

What is and isn't a victimless crime

I know that whenever I mention "victimless crimes" some people will question it.

"But drug addiction produces victims!"

"But prostitution produces victims!"

"But markets create victims!"

"But gambling creates victims!"

Such complaints confuse the issue. Broken agreements create victims. The victim of child neglect isn't the victim of a parent's substance abuse, but of neglect; parents doing legal things can also neglect their children. A gambling addiction can destroy families, but so can other forms of financial mismanagement.

So who is a victim?

Someone with objective, measureable damages as a result from the direct actions of someone else:
  • You lost money through fraud? That loss can be counted.
  • You were physically injured? That can be diagnosed.
  • Your property was vandalized? That can be seen.
  • Something was stolen? That can be investigated.  
But your broken heart? Lost trust? Disappointment? Wasted time? Hurt feelings? Self-destruction? 

Those are huge parts of life. That doesn't mean they should be a part of the law. Because to legislate their prevention requires the threat of inflicting measurable damages on people who themselves aren't inflicting measurable damages. When you punish the immeasurable, the law becomes arbitrary. And when law's arbitrary, there's no freedom. Where there's no freedom, there's no happiness.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Players should celebrate Nick Wright and Joy Taylor

I listen to sports talk radio whenever I can. Stories about sports are my escape.and favorite conversation topic.

And I was very, very impressed with the original thoughts from Nick Wright and Joy Thomas, who guest-hosted The Herd for at least the past two days.

Among the gems I heard in a limited amount of time, all paraphrased:

Nick: "I'm not a fan of slippery slope arguments. 'It could lead to something,' is a bad argument."

Nick: "I don't want my kids celebrating after making a play. But I don't want them getting cortisone shots either. Pro athletes and children are different."

Joy: "Just because pro sports can be watched by kids, doesn't mean they should be catered to them. Lots of things can be seen by kids without being for kids."

(I'm open to correction if I misinterpreted their points.)

I was impressed with their on-air compatibility and insights. I hope to see and or hear a lot more of them.


  

   


Degree of Certainty: Why Hillary Wins

Donald Trump has picked Mike Pence as his running mate. While I most likely disagree with Pence on most things, he might be a relatively capable Oval Office sitter if Trump wins but resigns in a year to become a judge on America's Got Talent

But that won't happen. Whatever Pence's qualifications may be, the ticket as a whole has a glaring omission: nobody with a Harvard or Yale degree.

That means it will lose. It might have lost anyway; Hillary Clinton Yale law degree, uh, trumps Trump's Penn bachelor's degree. But perhaps getting a Harvard or Yale running mate could have evened things up.

Here are the universities that the Presidential and Vice Presidential nominees since 1980 attended. If two schools are listed, the first is the undergraduate school. The Democrat is on the left, the Republican on the right. The winning ticket is in italicData from before 2004 and earlier is copied from this 2008 blog post.

2016 (likely): Wellesley, Yale (law) v. Pennsylvania
vp:     ???  v. Hanover, Indiana U. (law)
2012: Columbia, Harvard (Law) v. Brigham Young, Harvard (Law, MBA)
vp: Delaware, Syracuse (Law) v. Miami (OH)
2008: Columbia, Harvard (Law) v. Naval Academy
vp: Delaware, Syracuse (Law) v. Idaho
2004: Yale, Boston College(law) v. Yale, Harvard(MBA)
vp: NC St., North Carolina v. Wyoming
2000: Harvard v. YaleHarvard(MBA)
vp: Yale v. Wyoming
1996: Georgetown, Yale (law) v. Kansas
vp: Harvard vs. Occidental
1992: Georgetown, Yale (law) v. Yale
vp: Harvard vs. DePauw, Indiana (law)
1988: Swarthmore, Harvard (law) v. Yale
vp: Texas v DePauw, Indiana U (law)
1984: Minnesota v. Eureka
vp: Marymount Manhattan, Fordham (law) vs. Yale
1980: Naval Academy v. Eureka
VP: Minnesota v. Yale

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Why did they pursue D.B. Cooper?

The FBI will no longer look for D.B. Cooper.

In Cooper's 1971 hijacking of a Boeing 727,  no one was hurt, passengers weren't traumatized because they weren't even made aware the plane was hijacked, and the sum stolen was only $200,000.

That raises the question: Why did the FBI spend so much time and money pursuing him in the first place? 

The subject can quickly turn, in online comments sections, to general FBI incompetence. And its ethics, considering Director James Comey's recommendation against pressing charges against Hillary Clinton.

I think that misses the point.

Normally, I oppose the FBI. It shouldn't exist.

But of its few Constitutionally-legitimate functions, investigating a hijacking-for-ransom on an interstate flight is one.

And if this investigation shouldn't have been aggressively pursued, why should any?

If we let the criminal get away with it, wouldn't he be encouraged to commit the same crime again? Or use his criminal profits to fund other criminal schemes?

The purpose of capturing criminals and removing them from society is so they won't commit crimes again.

And as commenter Steven Sizemore notes:
Even so, there's a lot of value in the FBI's deep investigation; to deter others if nothing else. Deterrent came from the public knowing the FBI was going to look under every stone, and keep looking. Maybe they came up empty on this one, but I warrant the high profile investigation deterred other attempts all the same!
Most of the laws we live under are unjust and unnecessary. But there is some comfort for me in knowing that if you commit a real crime, like issue bomb threat in order to steal, they will come after you.

Even if they don't get you, you pay a price. As I've noted on social media:
Q: If he survived, what's the only thing worse than being D.B. Cooper and not being able to tell anyone?
A: Prison.
Was it worth it?

Monday, July 11, 2016

Just laws, cop abuse, and the arrogance of Eric Garcetti

The 2006 Duke Lacrosse case featured:
  • An investigation of a  real crime. Unlike, say, the phony "crimes" like gun or drug possession, rape has an actual victim 
  • White men, athletes at an elite university, as suspects. Maybe they weren't all rich, but they were privileged with access to  competent legal counsel.
Even after evidence indicated the accused were innocent, the police and prosecutor pursued the case.

If innocent Duke athletes aren't safe from The State, nobody is. Botched prosecutions and wrongful convictions are commonplace even when the laws, such as  laws against rape, murder, and robbery, are just and necessary.

So what happens when they're not? Increasing the minimum wage is a case in point. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in a Freakonomics interview, said it will lead to increased "net economic activity" in his city.

That's a dubious proposition at best, but the more important question is...

Who does Eric Garcetti think he is think he is to make it illegal for people to take jobs at wages they are willing to accept?

Garcetti admits there will be some displacement with a minimum wage hike, but somehow thinks it's worth it. What will happen to the jobless?

They'll likely get public assistance of various kinds. But also, the circumstances will encourage them to earn money in the unlicensed, untaxed shadow economy.

Even if the goods and services they provide aren't illegal in themselves, they're made illegal by the lack of paperwork and taxes.

And that can lead to nosy neighbors calling the police, or police spotting and inquiring into "suspicious" activity themselves. Arrests will be made, convictions plea-bargained, and honest peaceful people will have misdemeanors or even felonies on their record.

In addition, some of that police contact will get out of hand. Sometimes police will panic or become abusive. It's statistically likely the victims will disproportionately be racial minorities.

And when an incident becomes a national headline, we'll again wonder how we can "reform" police departments so they'll be less racist in practice. No doubt Eric Garcetti will have something reasonable and "compassionate" to say.

But it's the Garcettis of the world who are the fundamental problem. Don't pile on victimless laws on top of just laws and then be shocked when minorities bear the brunt.



Just laws, cop abuse, and the arroagance of Eric Garcetti

The 2006 Duke Lacrosse case featured:
  • An investigation of a  real crime. Unlike, say, the phony "crimes" like gun or drug possession, rape has an actual victim 
  • White men, athletes at an elite university, as suspects. Maybe they weren't all rich, but they were privileged with access to  competent legal counsel.
Even after evidence indicated the accused were innocent, the police and prosecutor pursued the case.

If innocent Duke athletes aren't safe from The State, nobody is. Botched prosecutions and wrongful convictions are commonplace even when the laws, such as  laws against rape, murder, and robbery, are just and necessary.

So what happens when they're not? Increasing the minimum wage is a case in point. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in a Freakonomics interview, said it will lead to increased "net economic activity" in his city.

That's a dubious proposition at best, but the more important question is...

Who does Eric Garcetti think he is think he is to make it illegal for people to take jobs at wages they are willing to accept?

Garcetti admits there will be some displacement with a minimum wage hike, but somehow thinks it's worth it. What will happen to the jobless?

They'll likely get public assistance of various kinds. But also, the circumstances will encourage people to earn money in the unlicensed, untaxed shadow economy.

Even if the goods and services they provide aren't illegal in themselves, they're made illegal by the lack of paperwork and taxes.

And that can lead to nosy neighbors calling the police, or police spotting and inquiring into "suspicious" activity themselves.

Some of that police contact will get out of hand, and police may panic or become abusive. It's statistically likely the victims will disproportionately be racial minorities.

And when an incident becomes a national headline, we'll again wonder how we can "reform" police departments so they'll be less racist in practice. No doubt Eric Garcetti will have something reasonable and "compassionate" to say.

But it's the Garcettis of the world who are the fundamental problem. Don't pile on victimless laws on top of just laws and then be shocked when minorities bear the brunt.