Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Second Thoughts on First Responders

Second Thoughts on First Responders
©2017  Ross Williams

The city of St Louis has an insanely high sales tax.  They also have a 1% earnings tax.  And they wonder why businesses are moving out of the city and into the surrounding suburbs − including to the east-side in Illinois which has its own idiotic high cost-of-government impositions.

On the first Tuesday of November past, city residents lined up by the dozen to vote on Proposition P − for “Police” − a half-cent increase in the St Louis city sales tax.  Its purpose would be to provide a pay raise to police and firefighters.  … read: “politicians”.  St Louis hopes paying its cops more would mean being able to retain quality cops instead of having them move to the County and getting hired as St Louis County cops or municipal officers.

Prop P passed with 60% of the miniscule vote.  St Louis city sales tax is now at a mind-numbing and commerce-killing rate of over 10%.  The Mayor estimates that the city will see this money start to fill their coffers by next June at the earliest.  I remain skeptical that any new money will be collected at all.  Instead, I predict that total revenues from sales taxes will remain virtually unchanged, inspiring the city Board to use the Prop P portion for “other” outlays.  If used for its mandated purpose, I remain even more skeptical that it will work toward the stated purpose.

On the other hand, if the St Louis Board of Aldermen handle its windfall the same way some county municipalities handled their similar cop-financing sales tax millage last year, government officials in St Louis are going to be getting brand new cushy office furniture, but cops aren’t going to get a pay raise.

But let’s assume that St Louis politicians actually do what they are legally obligated to do with this revenue.  Among the cops who’d get an advertised $6,000 pay raise will be this dickweed and the two backups who covered his ass.  It is worth noting that the original dickweed is a detective in the special unit formed after the Ferguson Fiasco of three years ago whose purpose is to investigate claims of excessive force used by police officers.

If that ain’t the coyote supervising the foxes who patrol the henhouse, I don’t know what is.

Also in line to get a $6,000 pay raise would be the myriad cops who ducked and covered for Officer Jason Stockley.  His bench trial for first-degree murder in the death of Anthony Lamar Smith resulted in still-continuing panty-wetting protests all over the St Louis metro region after the not guilty verdict was rendered last August.

In all fairness to Stockley and the cops, Smith was a heroin dealer likely responsible for the deaths of dozens of St Louis city youth, either from drugs or bullet holes.  He was in the act being arrested for same when he decided to flee.  While fleeing, he attempted to murder Stockley with his car, and he plowed into one or more police cars.  Smith then embarked on a brief chase through the decrepit north St Louis side streets at a pedestrian-friendly 87 miles an hour.

Upon Smith crashing his vehicle, Stockley approached and claimed Smith was “reaching for a gun”.  Stockley thereupon plugged Smith 5 times when once − at extreme close range − would probably have sufficed.

In all fairness to the idiot protesters who uniformly laud Smith, the heroin dealer, as an “innocent” 
“murder victim”, Stockley was, in violation of law, toting his private arsenal on duty.  It was this private arsenal which Officer Stockley dropped when Smith ran into him at the start of the car chase.  Stockley promised to kill the guy for it.  That promise was recorded by dash cam.  Not recorded on dash cam was the gun in Smith’s vehicle that Stockley claimed was being reached for, and which only had Stockley’s fingerprints on it.

Stockley, I should note, would not get a similar pay raise.  Soon after this incident he moved to Houston, returning only briefly for his murder trial.

For what it’s worth, the not guilty verdict was predicated on the prosecution being unable to prove that there was not a gun in the front seat of Smith’s vehicle, and that Stockley or a cohort planted it there.  Rather than attempting to prove manslaughter, which would likely have been a slam-dunk − why shoot five times when once would have incapacitated Smith? − the prosecutor caved into the sentimentalist outrage of the community which sees every police shooting as deliberate, racist murder.  That argument is virtually unwinnable, jury or no, without even considering the fact that blacks kill their own by a 500:1 ratio.

In any event, that’s St Louis.  St Louis is, like many medium- and large-city systems owning a generation-long liberal democrat political pedigree, a septic tank of mutant alligators fighting over the floating turds.  He who lands on the biggest turd wins.  At the moment, St Louis’s biggest turd is occupied − due in no small part to Shyster General Holder’s Justice Department “recommendations” following the Ferguson Fiasco − by drug dealers like Smith fighting their turf wars.  And more power to them.

I live in the affluent [for now] Illinois-side bedroom community ring surrounding St Louis, where the cops are paid well.  Very well, actually.  Yet our cops act just like any others ever captured on viral iPhone footage.  It is this behavioral similitude between cops in the “problem environment” of St Louis and those in the drowsy environs of its affluent suburbs which leads me to believe that giving St Louis cops a $6,000 raise will only make them better-paid assholes.

Cops tend to act the same as cops everywhere − coppelganging, as it were − imperious, authoritarian, self-righteous.  I have the sad opportunity to see and interact with cops in a social setting at least once a week, and typically more often than that.  Every single cop I encounter, from any jurisdiction, despite it being thoroughly non-cop-duty related, is unfriendly at best.  Small talk is beyond them and smiling is apparently a disciplinary infraction.  On those rare occasions when they deign to say anything at all to a mere citizen, they spit “sir” and “ma’am” as if having such venomous words lingering on their tongues causes physical pain.

Most are suspicious to the point of psychotic paranoia and look at everyone, from small children to feeble oldsters, as if they are felons for whom there isn’t yet enough evidence to justify slamming them to the ground and tasing them.  Same as they act in a traffic stop, by the way.

And this police-statism is accomplished in a community populated by relatively wealthy [mostly] white people, and the relatively wealthy young adults from around the state attending university.  Cops’ actual behavior flies in the face of both the antithetical outlooks we’re told by competing propagandist media sources we must hold.

The first is the “cops are racist murderers” victimology.  Yet the only material difference between how cops behave within my mostly white population versus how they behave in the mostly black population twenty miles away is the rate of criminal activity within the community.  Viral video evidence unmistakably depicts cops behaving virtually identically in both places − like irredeemable dicks.

The second is the chin-quivering Thin Blue Line fairy tale.  Cops are all that supposedly separates us from zombie apocalypse … or something.  Yet, even where crime rates are low enough to support this delusion, cops are all too often the very zombie apocalypse they are saving us from, trying to manufacture arrestable offenses out of nothing.  Far too frequently, these confrontations end tragically, and I point at Eric Garner and Sandra Bland just for grins. Their crimes were, respectively, attempting to make a buck by undercutting Bloomberg’s obscene cigarette taxes, and moving out of the way of a speeding cop who was not driving to an actual emergency.

Pathetically, these incidents are not as isolated as the Thin Blue Liners would have everyone believe.  Nor are they predominantly − let alone solely − confined to the black community, as our dishonest press continually preaches.  I could just as easily bring up John Wrana, but no one knows who he is; the media doesn’t dwell on white people killed by cops.  Police-state barbarism, in the name of public safety, is a nationwide phenomenon.

But police, in a free society, cannot provide safety without destroying the freedom in the free society.  A free society is built on the premise of leaving people alone right up to the moment after they commit actual crimes − not pseudo-crimes, like being stupid and irresponsible, nor criminal precursors, like being anti-social and a pain in everyone’s ass.

Until actual crimes are committed, the cops are there only to make sure nothing gets out of hand.  Unless and until it does, they are permitted only to join the crowd watching the fracas.  And please pass the popcorn.  They are specifically not permitted to drive things out of hand themselves.

Yet that deliberate escalation of conflict is pretty much exactly what cops do the nation over, as anyone can attest who’s ever been stopped for “43 in a 25” while poking along at 18 miles an hour behind an overloaded livestock trailer through a small town on the last day of the month.  Or the Trekkie geeks with out of town plates stopped for taillight infractions.  Or the guy going back to work from lunch behind an unmarked cop car who thinks green means “awww, look at the pretty color”.  Or any of a million other encounters too numerous to mention, a large number of which are on YouTube.

Yet cops, and their legion of sycophants, have the temerity to whimper about the lack of respect shown them − and other authority figures − by the general public.  Boo hoo.  Try earning it.

Respect of authority − in a free country − is earned by the authority figure remembering that he is authorized to hold authority over free citizens in a free country, not over subjects in a police state.  If that means the job of being the authority figure is made more difficult, so be it.  If that means the job of being the authority figure is made more dangerous, so be that as well.  That’s the price of a free country: freedom requires concessions from the government to the people
, and never the other way around.

And, cops … it wouldn’t hurt to also learn to engage in pleasant conversation with strangers about nothing much, and knock off the paranoia.  Citizens are not simply future notches on your professional belt.

Thursday, November 09, 2017

Diogenes the Libertarian Rides Again

Diogenes the Libertarian Rides Again
©2017  Ross Williams

I don’t like my brother.  Not because he’s gay, but because he’s a lapdog “progressive” who likes to rationalize why the government needs to pick my pocket to pay for his health insurance.  He’s also a small business owner − a CEO by function if not by name − who refuses to pay for the health insurance of his employees.  He doesn’t see the connection, the selfish bastard.

That’s not the only reason I don’t like him.  He also went out of his way to explain how his feels took precedence over my data as he was boorishly commanding me to alter how I did my job as a DoD data analyst during Dubya’s regime-change war but not − ironically − during Cuckold Bill’s regime-change wars.  There are other reasons besides.  He is every bit the soft-skulled dink that most idiot progressives are, and which I remind them of as often as possible.

In any event, I do feel bad for him.  Back in the mid nineties he was shacking up with his boyfriend when a Navy buddy of his asked a favor of him; both the Navy buddy and his wife knew my brother was gay and shacking up.

It seems that this Navy buddy’s oldest child, a mid-teen hellion, was uncontrollable in their home and wreaking havoc upon his younger siblings.  The Navy buddy and his wife decided it would be best for the entire family if the hellion stayed someplace else for a while.  So my brother, not merely a soft-skulled dink, but also a soft-hearted schmuck, went for it.  The teen moved into my brother’s home.

Some time in the next few days, ostensibly to watch television, the hellion got up in the middle of the night, walked to my brother’s bedroom door, opened it, and watched − apparently for quite a while − as my brother and his boyfriend did what two homosexuals do when they are in bed together.

The next day, the hellion called his mother and said, “Guess what?

The police arrived and arrested my brother.  The hellion’s mother, as so many mothers do when seeking to explain the behavior of their children away from themselves or their child’s innate personality flaws, insisted that the live sex show was the reason for the long history of the teen hellion’s sociopathy.  She pressed criminal charges.

On advice of counsel, my brother pleaded hoping that the judge would see that, first, what the kid saw was his own doing, and second, that it had no bearing on the kid’s long history of being a pain in everyone else’s ass, and third, people need to have some sort of expectation of privacy when a “victim” goes out of his way to be a victim.

Not so.  My brother was sentenced to what was, at the time and location, the upper end of punishment for performing lewd acts in front of a minor, even though the minor’s presence was unknown until well after the arrest, and brought on by the minor himself.  My brother served some amount of time in prison − I forget how much exactly − in the cell block devoted to homosexuals and sex offenders.  He can’t vote or own a gun.

It was roughly a decade later, maybe more, in the spate of sniffling piety surrounding “sex offenders”, that my brother − like all “sex offenders” in state after state after state − was required to register as a sex offender.  Naturally, this was so everyone else could be aware that he was spied on by a bratty kid.  Or, wait, the “spied on by a bratty kid” thing isn’t mentioned.  All that’s mentioned is “sex offender”.

Libertarians should have several problems with this.  Libertarians recognize that the power of the government to punish people for what is defined as a crime is limited by a number of factors.  First, of course: does the government have the authority in the first place to define a specific action as criminal.  Lewd conduct, i.e., having sex, is not criminal in and of itself.  To the degree it might be, it entirely depends on circumstances.

…which is the next limitation on the government: circumstantial: did the person accused of the lewd act knowingly and deliberately have sex in front of the minor?  There has to be a distinction made between a couple whose kids walk in on them in flagrante delicto, and the couple which says, “Hey kids! Wanna see where you came from?”  If there isn’t a distinction, then the government is called tyranny, or, in modern parlance: fascism.

The next limitation on government power is Due Process.  Does the law criminalizing specific circumstances contain the specific punishments that were meted out, at the time they were meted?  If not, then it violates Due Process and the government is not permitted to do it.

Are additional punishments added onto the pile years or decades after original sentencing?  If so, that violates the prohibition on ex post facto laws.

Are the penalties for the specific crime disproportionate to the offense?  Then it violates the prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment.

As libertarians, we know these things − or we’re supposed to.  There are tens if not hundreds of thousands of people across the country accused of, and convicted of, “sex crimes” where there was no sex, and the act was not particularly criminal … especially in a society which was defined to be free.  In some cases there is no conviction, but a person is punished just the same.  They are subjected to administrative barriers, and the lifelong attendant consequences of them, erected by unelected bureaucrats − the Deep State swamp we hear so much of today.

Who of the following are considered "sex offenders" in the United States today − multiple answers are allowed:
a] the girl in kindergarten who hugged a classmate
b] the pimply 19 year old dungeon master who raped his 3 year old neighbor
c] the 8 year old fourth grader who noted that his teacher has a nice ass and lusciously jiggly tits
d] the creepy uncle who felt up his pre-pubescent nieces on both sides of the family
e] the frat brother who had too much beer and was seen relieving himself behind the bushes
f] the couple who were seen copulating in their own home by neighborhood kids looking in their windows
g] the 19 year old guy who knocked up his 16 year old girlfriend
h] the 15 year old girl who sexted her 17 year old boyfriend a nude selfie
i] the 17 year old boyfriend who saw that nude selfie

This was a trick question; the answer is “yes”.  All of these people, and many many many more, are considered “sex offenders” in the United States.  Depending on circumstances, all of these are also considered “child sex offenders” − a sex offender who victimizes a child − as well.

The 4th grader who develops a crush on his teacher and says so, is not necessarily a child sex offender … unless he makes his confession to other children in graphic-enough detail.

The frat brother who whizzes behind the bushes isn’t necessarily a child sex offender, either, unless one of those who sees him is a 17 year old sorority pledge.  Then he is.

And the kindergarten girl who hugs her classmate will, as we’ve seen multiple times under the modern Zero Tolerance insanity, be arrested for it but there will be no trial.  Her punishment may, though, include expulsion.  When her parents attempt to enroll her in another public school, her prior expulsion is forwarded to her new school, and that − under Zero Tolerance psychosis − is enough to deny enrollment.  The government has effectively fucked this girl for life, but just try arresting the government for a child sex crime.

Libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to all of these conditions carrying criminal credentials with the exception of b and d − raping little girls and molesting others.

Libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to [e.g.,]the penalties for being seen whizzing in the bushes − by anyone − being identical to the penalties for raping little girls.

Libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to additional penalties being added onto an already-adjudicated criminal case, years or decades after the fact.

Libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to the government using raging non-differentiation between individual actions, and to the government’s anti-Due Process and pro-ex post facto proceduralism, and to the sentimentalist foppery of popular feels to add yet another punishment upon those who should never have been punished at all.

And libertarians are opposed, by philosophical temperament, to the academic conceit required to rationalize why dragging along hundreds of thousands of non-sex offenders is perfectly fine when a few actual sex offenders are caught.

If you can’t insist that the government recognize the difference between boyhood crushes, innocent affection, consensual teen-aged lust, invasion of privacy at the most private times, public urination, and techno-stupidity on the one hand … and child rape on the other, then you are not even marginally a libertarian.

That is the answer.  The government’s power is severely limited for a reason.  I shouldn’t have to be the only one who can remember that.

Tuesday, November 07, 2017

Odd Time to Be Acting Libertarian

Odd Time to Be Acting Libertarian
©2017  Ross Williams

The object of libertarian personality cult adoration was smacked in the head, blindsided, in his own home, by a neighbor, a fellow doctor.  Yes, Rand Paul, the non-libertarian libertarians love to claim is a libertarian was assaulted!  The reasons were undisclosed.  Probably some HOA spat about whose lawn in their gated community isn’t being mowed often enough, or who needs to put white-backed curtains in their kitchen windows the most.

The social libertarian media has been on fire − veritably a-twitter − ever since the incident.   Libertarians have been crawling out of their skin to rush to his defense.  Invariably, these libertarians cite the Non-Aggression Principle, the holy NAP, in doing so.

The holy NAP does indeed support the urge.  As I’ve mentioned before, “non-aggression” permits force to be used in self-defense or in the defense of others.  Rand Paul is an ‘other’, in this case, and libertarians are justified in using force to defend him.

How much force is truly needed to defend against a rather feeble pensioner doctor is anybody’s guess, and my guess would be not much.  But who knows, I may be very wrong.  What I do know is that it would be very very unwise for any, let alone the thousands who have volunteered, to go rushing off to Bowling Green Kentucky to patrol the perimeter of Paul’s manse. 

Aside from the logistical nightmare involved, there is the matter of trampling Rand’s begonias, wearing paths into his bluegrass sodded landscaping that will be filled in the spring with dandelions and mouse-ear chickweed, and the motion-detecting flood lights clicking on and off all night long around the neighborhood raising further breach-of-HOA rules for him to contend with.  And that’s not even to consider the most likely event that he doesn’t want anyone there to begin with.

…nor do the cops.

…nor does the Secret Service detail.

It would just be a mess.  Leave it alone.

But yes, the actual wording of the libertarian Non-Aggression Principle does indeed justify rushing to his defense.  The wisdom of rushing to his defense is a separate issue entirely.

It is this Justification versus Wisdom problem that I’ve brought up multiple times in other circumstances to mostly hoots of pacifist outrage from pseudo-libertarians.  Yet, here we are, in the exact same academic position but with vastly different biasing data, and the political philosophy tables seem to be turned.

Why is it permissible under the holy NAP to rush to the aid of Rand Paul after he is assaulted, but it is not permissible to rush to the aid of the Kurds? or the Nigerian government? or any number of other people or sovereign systems being attacked by others?

Why does defense of others not count as NAP-permitted defense of others when the defense is accomplished by sovereign force? by our sovereign force?  For that matter, why does self-defense not constitute NAP-allowed self-defense when it is the self-defense of our sovereign entity against events recognized by International Law as acts of war?

The Non-Aggression Principle says what it says.  In myriad circumstances, large and small, the NAP justifies the United States taking forceful, military action around the world.  That answer isn’t going to change because libertarians don’t understand the geopolitics involved, or have been brainwashed by two generations of hair-shirted self-loathing as instructed by public schools and popular media.

The NAP justifies military force be taken by the United States under a wide array of current circumstances.  That cannot be rationally argued.

What can be argued is the wisdom of doing it.  But − as I’ve pointed out repeatedly − before one can argue wisdom, one must first have more than an infantile comprehension of the subject matter.  I’ve run across only a handful of libertarians who know more about the subjects of geopolitics and military doctrine, foreign affairs and International Law, than can be stuffed into a gnat’s navel.  Hence they perpetually fall back into the only argument they can make with conviction: It violates the NAP.

Yet it doesn’t.

Here’s the thing: if it violates the NAP for the US to rush to the defense of the Nigerian government being besieged by Boko Haram, or the Philippine government beset by Abu Sayyaf [et al], then it violates the NAP to rush to the aid of Rand Paul who got clocked by his neighbor.  Just like there is no invisible ink addenda in the 4th Amendment justifying warrantless government searches at airports if a large part of the American people are terrified of idiots trying to light their farts in an aisle seat, there is also no invisible ink addenda in the Non-Aggression Principle distinguishing between personal and sovereign force.  Nor between the object of political Personality Cult affection and anonymous people half a world away.

Apply your principles evenly, or don’t claim to have them.  Self-serving hypocrisy reeks too much of Other Peoples Politics.  It should be beneath us.