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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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