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Bad advertising
Jan 30th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Late­ly I’ve been see­ing lots of adver­tise­ments on tele­vi­sion plug­ging four bal­lot ini­tia­tives hav­ing to do with casi­nos on Indi­an reser­va­tions. They ads are almost iden­ti­cal, and they’re basi­cal­ly say­ing (almost in so many words) “vote for the­se propo­si­tions to steal more mon­ey from Indi­ans.” And this is sup­posed to encour­age “yes” votes!

Appar­ent­ly the peo­ple push­ing this gen­uine­ly believe that the major­i­ty of Cal­i­for­nia vot­ers will respond to this bla­tant 19th-century appeal to greed and big­otry. I’m sur­prised they didn’t throw in “vote yes to get revenge for Custer.” Cer­tain­ly the “vote yes” cam­paign has done an excel­lent job of ensur­ing that I will go to the polls specif­i­cal­ly to vote no on all four ini­tia­tives, and I cer­tain­ly hope they fail over­whelm­ing­ly.

Destroy the village in order to save it (from drugs)
Jan 28th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Geor­gia Sher­iff Pat­tons Up for the War on Drugs.

Just in case you thought talk about how the drug war has “mil­i­ta­rized” our police depart­ments was exag­ger­at­ed:

Offi­cials in Clay­ton Coun­ty have inten­si­fied their efforts in the war on drugs. Sher­iff Vic­tor Hill announced he is plan­ning an inva­sion into drug-infested com­mu­ni­ties.

The ACLU said the ques­tion of whether or not the so-called inva­sion is legal, is a trou­bling one for them.

[…]

Deputies have iden­ti­fied five known drug hous­es, that they want to inves­ti­gate. Thurs­day night, deputies set up a road block, and checked each car com­ing into or out of the street in ques­tion for drugs. 

The oper­a­tion has been dubbed Oper­a­tion Jeri­cho. Mobile police check­points have been set up out­side sus­pect­ed drug hous­es in the neigh­bor­hood. Clay­ton Coun­ty Sher­iff Vic­tor Hill said the plan is to occu­py sus­pect­ed drug ter­ri­to­ries with deputies — one house, one loca­tion at a time. 

[…]

Hill said the con­ven­tion­al method of war­rants and arrests are not work­ing, and that military-like occu­pa­tion of deputies is nec­es­sary.

[…]

The war on drugs in Clay­ton Coun­ty, as in most juris­dic­tions, I liken it to the Viet­nam War,” Hill said. “Hit and miss, there is no clear win — we don’t know if we’re gain­ing ground or not. What we want to do is we want to change our strat­e­gy. We want to make this more like a Nor­mandy inva­sion.”

And of course when you’re fight­ing a war, you can’t real­ly con­cern your­self with col­lat­er­al dam­age.

[The Agi­ta­tor]

Accord­ing to Wikipedia, the 2006 pop­u­la­tion esti­mate for Clay­ton Coun­ty was 271,240. The low end esti­mate of civil­ian casu­alties in the Viet­nam War is 2,000,000. Well, that’s one way for Sher­iff Hitler Hill to get his “clear win”–if he exter­mi­nates the entire pop­u­la­tion of the coun­ty in his Viet­nam War reen­act­ment, there won’t be any­one left to use drugs.

No kidding
Jan 24th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Out of con­trol. Heard on NPR this morn­ing that 60% of the movers and the shak­ers at Davos believe that cen­tral bankers can’t control/manage the glob­al econ­o­my any­more. Impli­ca­tion: it’s too big, com­plex, and fast for the­se orga­ni­za­tions to man­age. This is a big shift in think­ing that puts them in line with the glob­al guer­ril­la think­ing re: the decline of the nation-state, more fre­quent black swans, etc. [John Robb’s Weblog]

If it’s real­ly tak­en 86 years for just 60% of “the movers and the shak­ers” to notice that cen­tral plan­ning of the econ­o­my doesn’t work, we prob­a­bly can’t expect them to rec­og­nize the ben­e­fits of cap­i­tal­ism any time soon.

What “enforce immigration laws” really means
Jan 22nd, 2008 by Ken Hagler

The Effects of Mass Depor­ta­tion Would Ruin Us. To say this would be a messy affair would be an under­state­ment of mag­nif­i­cent pro­por­tion. SWAT-style assaults and home inva­sions would be the order of the day. Today’s ruth­less, tyran­ni­cal drug raids would actu­al­ly look tame in com­par­ison as gov­ern­ment thugs went door to door seek­ing out sus­pect­ed ille­gal aliens. The right to pri­va­cy of cit­i­zens and non-citizens alike would con­se­quent­ly evap­o­rate as prop­er­ty rights became a thing of the past. Chaos would ensue. Racial ten­sions would inten­si­fy as pri­mar­i­ly brown tar­gets would be ensnared by their pri­mar­i­ly white cap­tors. Protests and riots would erupt, the mer­its of which would be hard to dis­pute.

Chil­dren born as Amer­i­can cit­i­zens would be seized from their par­ents, auto­mat­i­cal­ly ren­dered home­less and con­vert­ed into wards of the state as a result of such total­i­tar­i­an behav­ior (Huck­abee once seemed to under­stand the demer­its of such atro­cious behav­ior). Human beings who have come to this coun­try to make a bet­ter life for them­selves and their fam­i­lies would be treat­ed like ani­mals as they were hunt­ed, cap­tured, incar­cer­at­ed, and even­tu­al­ly deport­ed. And this would mere­ly be the fate of those who com­plied.

Those who resist­ed, on the oth­er hand, would not fare near­ly as well. They would end up beat­en, maimed, tor­tured, and even killed. If Amer­i­cans can be elec­tro­cut­ed and shot by the road­side sim­ply for argu­ing with the police nowa­days, just what type of treat­ment would befall the ille­gal immi­grant sud­den­ly ren­dered per­sona non grata via this new Soviet-style dik­tat? [LewRockwell.com]

I’m glad to see some­one else writ­ing on the inevitable con­se­quences of anti-immigration poli­cies. If the big­ots got their way, it would be the worst act of eth­nic cleans­ing in record­ed his­to­ry. And while it might not actu­al­ly cause a civil war, I can pret­ty much guar­an­tee that there would be at least some Amer­i­can cit­i­zens vot­ing “no” with rifles when the Gestapo came into their neigh­bor­hoods to kick their neighbor’s doors down and drag them away.

The author of the arti­cle also has a follow-up post on his blog.

Security operative kicks down the wrong door
Jan 19th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Vir­ginia Cop Killed in Drug Raid; Sus­pect Says He Was Defend­ing His Home.

Offi­cer Jar­rod Shiv­ers was shot and killed while exe­cut­ing a search war­rant in Chesea­peake, Vir­ginia Thurs­day night. 

The sus­pect had no crim­i­nal record (at least in the state of Vir­ginia). And he says in an inter­view from jail he had no idea the under­cov­er cops break­ing into his home were police. The sus­pect, 28-year-old Ryan David Fred­er­ick, also says a bur­glar had bro­ken into his home ear­lier this week.

Thought the raid was appar­ent­ly part of a drug inves­ti­ga­tion, police aren’t say­ing what if any drugs were found. They won’t even con­firm that police had the cor­rect address. But they have arrest­ed Fred­er­ick and charged him with first-degree mur­der.

More to come, I’m sure.

[The Agi­ta­tor]

Given the way cops invari­ably trum­pet any­thing they can find to jus­ti­fy their actions in such cas­es, it’s pret­ty obvi­ous that they guy didn’t have any drugs. Fur­ther, since this was a drug war­rant, it seems like a clear case of the cop get­ting what he deserved.

And how we burned in the camps after, think­ing: What would things have been like if every Secu­ri­ty oper­a­tive, when he went out at night to make his arrest, had been uncer­tain whether he would return alive and had to say good-bye to his fam­i­ly?

Alek­san­dr Solzhen­it­syn, The Gulag Arch­i­pel­ago

Quote of the Day
Jan 19th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Par­adise always has a lousy gov­ern­ment, because peo­ple will live there any­way. Hell­holes have to be more cir­cum­spect about their poli­cies, since no one is going to live there for the intan­gi­bles.

Joshua Holmes

People don’t like being oppressed
Jan 17th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

RODERICK T. LONG: Why They Fight.

[cross-posted at Austro-Athenian Empire]

Great quote from Tom Woods today:

In the 1980s, the Ayatollah Khomeini called for a jihad against America, on the grounds that we were degenerate, had filthy movies, our women didn’t know their place – all the reasons that we’ve been told are the causes of the current attacks. The result was absolutely nothing. No one blew himself up. No one did anything. Khomeini issued the call and there was no interest. It was a total flop – no one wanted to sacrifice himself on those grounds.

Then the 1990s come along, and we have Osama bin Laden. He does not make that fundamental cultural critique – obviously, he doesn’t like those aspects of American culture, but that wasn’t his main critique.

His criticism is actually very specific. He says the U.S. is responsible for propping up police states around the Arab world; exercising undue influence over oil markets; showing undue favoritism toward Israel; supporting countries that oppress their Muslim minorities; basing American troops on the Arabian peninsula, and on and on.

This is the sort of thing he offers as a rationale. So while there may certainly be the potential for Islam to be violent, what sparks that fire? It’s the combination of practical grievances and the Islamist ideology. Some people will do battle on behalf of an abstract philosophy, but most people will only fight and die for a specific grievance. For example, when you look at the Al Qaida recruitment tapes, they don’t simply quote from the Koran. They actually show images of people killed by U.S. weapons.

Why are they making those tapes if there’s no connection between U.S. foreign policy and what the terrorists are doing? It just doesn’t make sense.

Read the rest.

[Liberty & Power: Group Blog]

Indeed. I think it's significant that the Neocons didn't invent all that "islamofascism" and "they hate us for our freedom" nonsense until after 9/11 when they were frantically looking for a way to avoid the real answer to the question of why it happened.

Our rulers strike again
Jan 14th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Anoth­er Dumb Pok­er Raid.

Police in San Mateo Coun­ty, Cal­i­for­nia appar­ent­ly first spent months inves­ti­gat­ing the small-stakes pok­er game. From this firsthand account, it looks like a cou­ple of the offi­cers were play­ing reg­u­lar­ly for sev­er­al weeks before send­ing in the SWAT team, guns drawn, last week. If Cal­i­for­nia is like most states (and I believe it is), a pok­er game is only ille­gal if the house is tak­ing a rake off the top. In this case, it looks like that “rake” was the $5 the extra the hosts asked from each buy-in to pay for piz­za and beer.

Police also took a 13-year-old girl out of the home, away from her par­ents, and turned her over to child pro­tec­tive ser­vices. In addi­tion to the charge of run­ning an ille­gal gam­bling oper­a­tion, the hosts are also charged with con­tribut­ing to the delin­quen­cy of a minor. Good thing the poor girl was saved before slouch­ing toward an inevitable life of crime. 

I’m not quite sure I under­stand this part, either:

A back­ground check on the house’s res­i­dents led offi­cers to a Web site adver­tis­ing week­ly pok­er games. The Web site was used to lure “unwit­ting” par­tic­i­pants to the tour­na­ments, which required a $25 to $55 buy-in with an extra $5 “refresh­ment” fee, accord­ing to the report.

How does an adver­tise­ment for a small-stakes pok­er game “unwit­ting­ly lure” some­one? Did they think the game was free? If they did, was there some­thing pre­vent­ing them from sim­ply leav­ing if they didn’t want to pay the buy-in? 

This account sug­gests the police hint­ed to indi­vid­u­al play­ers that the hosts may have been cheat­ing or defraud­ing them, though that’s not appar­ent in the news accounts. Firsthand accounts on pok­er sites have only good things to say about the hosts. Of course, even if the hosts were cheat­ing, it wouldn’t jus­ti­fy a full-on raid, par­tic­u­lar­ly in mid-tournament. The SWAT tac­tics seem more like intim­i­da­tion. Raid­ing in mid-tournament also ensures there’s a $1,300 pot to seize for the sher­iff department’s gen­er­al fund. 

Final­ly, the San Mateo Dai­ly Jour­nal includes this help­ful note:

The San Mateo Coun­ty Sheriff’s Office encour­ages cit­i­zens to report instances of heavy foot traf­fic, fre­quent vis­i­tors and ille­gal park­ing in res­i­den­tial areas by call­ing its anony­mous tip line…

Mustn’t be much crime in San Mateo.

[The Agi­ta­tor]

On the con­trary, there’s clear­ly a great deal of crime in San Mateo. Just this sto­ry iden­ti­fies break­ing and enter­ing, assault with a dead­ly weapon, assault and bat­tery, kid­nap­ping, child abuse, and grand theft. And there’s prob­a­bly more that a lawyer would spot.

But of course they were all com­mit­ted by cops, and cops are above the law.

Ridiculously high expectations
Jan 11th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

Young IT Workers Disillusioned, Hard to Retain. bednarz writes to mention that NetworkWorld has an interesting examination of young IT professionals and why many make unreasonable demands for their services. "'The issue managers are facing is with retention, not hiring. That means the work environment is not living up to the employee's expectation,' he says. For instance, many younger workers expect to get an office immediately or be paid at a rate higher than entry level."

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

[Slashdot]

"Expect to get an office immediately?" Symantec employees would be happy to get an office ever. I've worked there for nine years, and didn't get an "office" until I started working from home, and there are senior developers who have been there even longer who are still stuck in miserable little cubicles.

Electoral Compass
Jan 11th, 2008 by Ken Hagler

I came across a site, Elec­toral Com­pass USA, which asks a series of ques­tions on var­i­ous issues and com­pares your posi­tion to the var­i­ous pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates. As is often the case with such sites, I had to answer “no opin­ion” on some of the ques­tions because my actu­al opin­ion is one that most Amer­i­cans are appar­ent­ly unable to con­ceive of. Some exam­ples:

Peo­ple with high­er incomes should receive less Medicare ben­e­fits

Since there was no option for “nobody should receive any Medicare ben­e­fits,” I set­tled for no opin­ion.

The death penal­ty helps deter crime

I left this one neu­tral, as I’m not con­vinced one way or the oth­er. How­ev­er, of greater impor­tance (to me) is the fact that it’s been abun­dant­ly demon­strat­ed by the advent of DNA test­ing that a great many peo­ple con­vict­ed of crimes (even those who con­fessed) weren’t actu­al­ly guilty, which makes the death penal­ty a very bad idea.

The gov­ern­ment should spend mon­ey on keep­ing drugs off the streets, not on treat­ing drug addicts

Again, I chose no opin­ion because there was no option for “the gov­ern­ment doesn’t have any busi­ness doing either.”

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