Archives for category: Crime

The 20th episode of the LocoFoco Netcast is up:

LocoFoco #20, August 6, 2020.

The podcast is accessible via LocoFoco.net, and using podcatchers such as Apple’s and Google’s, Pocket Cast and Spotify. It is also available as a video on BitChute, Brighteon, and YouTube:

LocoFoco #20, August 6, 2020.

Among the monuments dishonored by “Black Lives Matter” mobs are those of Miguel de Cervantes, himself a slave for several years as well as a Spanish literary master, often said to be the inventor of the novel; John Greenleaf Whittier, America’s abolitionist poet; and Ulysses S. Grant, the general who ended the Civil War and thus materially ushered in the abolition of slavery.

That mobs are mad is a truism; that its participants are willfully stupid, obvious. But support for same among bystanders is worse than mad and stupid.

I’ll let you guess the word I think most apt here.

When, at the fall of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Soviet Socialist hegemony, the statuary of Stalin and Lenin were pulled down, I was jubilant, too. A tyranny and its iconography were being smashed. Great!

But a tyranny had fallen. The Soviet Union had not been a real republic. It was, indeed, an “evil empire.” In America, there are surely elements of evil in our empire, but it is not on the same order. And the empire has not fallen. The icons going down are being taken down by unruly mobs who bypass the rule of law to express their own feckless hegemony on our state and our culture. The empire is letting this happen. Why? Because it shows, I suspect, how secure it is to have all the ancient iconography pulled down yet it remain, barely shaken.

The current iconoclasm is probably best seen as an attack upon the idea of the republic, a rejection of its goodness and virtue and justice. While I am sympathetic with that general critique, the specific critique is insane, since you cannot claim that the bourgeois freedom of American society is evil “because of slavery” when slavery is obviously (and was recognized as) at odds with freedom.

Black Lives Matter is not subversive of The State. It is subversive of Liberty. The leftist idea is to use the mere existence of past slavery as a rationale to set up a completely different kind of socio-political order. Since most of these ninnies are promoting some form of socialism, those of us who identify socialism with slavery must express some alarm.

To get caught up in the peculiar arguments about “systemic racism” is irrelevant. For insurrection is no way to fight that.

For example, while I am more than willing to defend black lives from the depredations of the state, once the movement goes socialist, or engages in some vast doublethink Orwellianism of destroying ancient monuments, all I itch to do, then, is simply destroy the mobs. Bring in the guns and start shooting. Let the blood run at the wreckage of the statuary.

Is that the best way to handle the mobs? Probably not. Especially since what we are really dealing with is a ginned-up race war by the corporate media and the Democratic Party. Violence should probably be avoided.

The real problem is not the intransigent minority of African-American “protesters.” The real problem is the sick, cowardly, intellectually flabby support of same — and the rioters who follow so closely at their heels — by white “liberals.” Who are not of course liberal.

It is they who deserve the fate the mobs have directed merely towards the statuary.

I hope they do not get what they deserve, if for no other reason than I know these asshats, and I would likely be caught as collateral damage. But they might. For who knows where this will end?

If we are lucky, it will peter out as it becomes apparent that it was all fake and nonsense from the beginning.

twv

Here is a man whose place in history demonstrates something different than what he intended. John Flammang Schrank (March 5, 1876 – September 15, 1943) shot Theodore Roosevelt in the chest during a speech on October 14, 1912, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. TR survived. 

Schrank claimed to have had nothing against TR the man (I do: TR was a lunatic, as many of his contemporaries testified), but, instead, TR “the third-termer.” 

A good grudge, on the whole. But . . . not a good act.

Schrank’s claim that former President William McKinley, himself famously fatally shot by Chuckles the Anarchist, had come to him in a dream instructing him to do the deed got him into a nuthouse instead of prison.* And, as a warning to future presidents not to seek a third term, Schrank proved spectacularly unsuccessful, considering that another Roosevelt survived a third term in office and got part way into his fourth.

TR went on to make a terrific speech — one that I largely disagree with for a variety of reasons, but it was quite good rhetorically. This part still carries some power:

When the Republican Party — not the Republican Party — when the bosses in the control of the Republican Party, the Barneses and Penroses, last June stole the nomination and wrecked the Republican Party for good and all; I want to point out to you nominally they stole that nomination from me, but really it was from you. They did not like me, and the longer they live the less cause they will have to like me. But while they do not like me, they dread you. You are the people that they dread. They dread the people themselves, and those bosses and the big special interests behind them made up their mind that they would rather see the Republican Party wrecked than see it come under the control of the people themselves. So I am not dealing with the Republican Party. There are only two ways you can vote this year. You can be progressive or reactionary. Whether you vote Republican or Democratic it does not make any difference, you are voting reactionary.

Note, however, the pure demagoguery of stealing an election ‘from you.’ Such men as TR, alas, are almost impossible to keep away from power. 

Trump seems a bit like that, though far less tyrannical and murderous than TR. I mean, Trump doesn’t have TR’s death count and deeply racist version of American imperialism and eugenics.

It is common among today’s Democrats to admit to admiring only one Republican, Teddy Roosevelt. This does not reflect well on them, in my opinion, and as much as I shrink from murderous violence, my mind not rarely drifts to Schrank.

That admission being made, and daydreams acknowledged, I make no more outrageous confessions: though in my dreams I may or may not follow others’ instructions, and I may or may not commit crimes, I insist that I do not take Dream Time commands and put them into action during Waking Life.

Further, my support for term limits itself is subject to certain limitations. One of them is: I will not kill for them.

twv


* Wisconsin, the state in which he shot TR, did not have the death penalty — indeed, Schrank followed TR state to state, waiting to pull the trigger until he got to a Progressive state lacking the death penalty.

While reading a novel, last night, I was interrupted by intrusive thoughts — a memory of the day a man repeatedly called the magazine offices where I worked over two decades ago, threatening to kill us all with a knife. “I’ll rip out your guts,” he snarled. I took the phone from Kathy and, using a popular curse, wished him the worst in forceful terms. Actually, the grammatical form was an imperative, not an indicative or subjunctive: “wish” is an understatement. I told him never to call again.

As far as I know, he never did.

I sort of marvel that anyone would do such a thing, make an apparently empty threat. Unless I was so minatory that I scared him off? Seems unlikely.

Every now and then I wonder whether I knew the man in real life, if he followed me or any of the other people in the offices. Probably he just dialed a random number. At the time it did not cross my mind that he might have been the hitchhiker I once picked up who threatened to kill me. (I talked him down: he was a drunk and hadn’t put on his seatbelt, so my power over him was almost total.)

It did not once cross my mind to call the police. 

The police — indeed, the State — does not exist to protect us. The State intervenes in “justice markets” to suppress “the feud” and other patterns of revenge, and the police are mainly in service to clean up messes, chiefly those made by violence. An important job, but if you think protection is what they are all about, you have not been paying attention. We must protect ourselves.

twv

As House Democrats hide underneath the capitol cooking up a cockamamie impeachment case, and as Hillary Clinton publicly contemplates running again, Attorney General Bill Barr has officially switched the inquiry into the origins of the ‘Russia hoax’ to a criminal investigation.

This could get fascinating, bigger than Watergate, with the partisan shoes switched.

Hilarious.

For a real fun time, watch Rachel Maddow ‘react’ to this. For somewhat more sober discussion, here is the New York Times coverage, in part:

For more than two years, President Trump has repeatedly attacked the Russia investigation, portraying it as a hoax and illegal even months after the special counsel closed it. Now, Mr. Trump’s own Justice Department has opened a criminal investigation into how it all began.
‘Justice Department officials have shifted an administrative review of the Russia investigation closely overseen by Attorney General William P. Barr to a criminal inquiry, according to two people familiar with the matter. The move gives the prosecutor running it, John H. Durham, the power to subpoena for witness testimony and documents, to impanel a grand jury and to file criminal charges.
… The move also creates an unusual situation in which the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation into itself.
‘Mr. Barr’s reliance on Mr. Durham, a widely respected and veteran prosecutor who has investigated C.I.A. torture and broken up Mafia rings, could help insulate the attorney general from accusations that he is doing the president’s bidding and putting politics above justice.
‘It was not clear what potential crime Mr. Durham is investigating, nor when the criminal investigation was prompted. A Justice Department spokeswoman declined to comment.
… Federal investigators need only a “reasonable indication” that a crime has been committed to open an investigation, a much lower standard than the probable cause required to obtain search warrants. However, “there must be an objective, factual basis for initiating the investigation; a mere hunch is insufficient,” according to Justice Department guidelines.

For the record, I hope the Democrats go on with their insane impeachment course. It is too funny to maintain composure.

But about Hillary?

On the one hand, a rematch would be entertaining, sure, and all sorts of dirt could come out to the fore.

On the other, if I were looking for a stable U.S., and some dignity to the union, I guess we should urge her not to run.

Personal opinion: it is probably too late to save the union, and we might as well have fun watch it unravel as its corrupt leaders satirize themselves in public.

I don’t disbelieve James Patterson, when he says that he found no evidence that either President Donald Trump or former President Bill Clinton engaged in unlawful hijinks on Jeffrey Epstein’s Lolita Express and Orgy Island. But I do not consider his investigations the last word on the subject. Bill and Hillary, it seems likely, were, if not blackmailed by Epstein, at least somehow entangled.

But perhaps I mistake the Clintons’ buy-in to power — with its vast scope of conspiracies — as not intersecting with Epstein’s career so much ss, instead, merely existing in parallel.

Two sharks passing above the deep, just below the surface. Where the scum lies.

James Patterson, author of Filthy Rich.

So, to repeat, I don’t disbelieve James Patterson. But in interviews he seemed . . . naive.

But then, of the upper crust, I am perhaps too cynical. Those attached to government, anyway, tend to be murderers. But their hands are clean. They wear gloves.

twv

The inability of progressives to pass Ideological Turing Tests is well recognized. It has even been definitively studied, and not just by Jonathan Haidt. My own experience with progressives, in argument, often shows to me their utterly em-bubbled brains. Take a recent Facebook interchange about a Tweet. A friend posted the following, and I responded (in the first two screenshots below, my name shows but my interlocutors’ do not):

What I am trying to show here is that the shared tweet is utterly wrong-headed. I even understate the case, engaging in respectful argumentstion in one of my not-infrequent attempts to reach out to ideologues. This woman, Geraldine, does indeed state that the “penalty for getting an abortion” . . . is in play. It is not. The Alabama law would only punish someone for performing an abortion.

This means that this Geraldine either does not understand the basics of the law, or is a liar.

What she is doing is appealing to the same instinct that the Alabama legislators were allowing for when they exempted abortion-seeking pregnant women from prosecution. As I suggest in my response, this makes scant sense. If abortion be murder, the abortive mothers would be as guilty as the doctors, nurses and coat-hanger specialists who perform the abortions.

I think this should give “pro-life” anti-abortion activists pause.

But the utter witlessness of Geraldine’s tweet far outshines the cluelessness of the pro-lifers. For she also misses the painfully obvious point that murder always has and should be considered worse than murder.

And I think that provides us with a clue about the nature of the issue. But, be that as it may, her inability to retain an obvious point of her opponents shows that she is utterly confined by her ideology. She is not dealing rationally with the issue and the debate. She is defensive and foolish.

What her witlessness shows, though, is that she cannot keep in her head the notion that abortion might be murder. Killing fetuses just seems different from the murder of adults, children and (presumably) infants.

The responses to my corrective comment were predictable:

My friend marked over in Red cannot wrap his head around the ideas of his opponents. I suspect he never listens to them. He just works up hatred. My response to him makes a simple point about who supports pro-life positions: lots and lots of women. Note how he evades this, not seeing that he must be charging a majority of women in this country with wanting to control women. He is in his bubble, apparently, and only talks to women who are pro-choice, like the female Fber I’ve marked in Blue who took the tolerance angle. The problem with her gambit is that it, too, ignores the basic charge, that killing fetuses might be murder (that is: unjust; wrong). Would she say also say that “this woman, mother, friend, would never murder anyone, and this is right FOR ME . . . but I am also aware that if other people want to murder that is NONE OF MY BUSINESS!”?

In both of these cases, no arguments against the pro-life position are offered. What we see, instead, are clichés brought up to provide an alternate way of thinking about the subject. And in both cases the clichés border on the inane. My Red friend reverts to the “men shouldn’t have a say” gambit, which he does not realize is an awfully weak reed to flail against the abortion-is-evil position. And, once again, does nothing against the argumentation of pro-choice women.

But, alas, messing up this debate is the norm, even for super-smart non-leftists. Take Kat Timpf, a Fox News-employed libertarian who is as clever as anyone on Twitter:

Taking Ms. Timpf’s lead, I did not read the many comments either.

Here she sets up two issues, gun control and abortion prohibition, and shows, she thinks, that both right and left contradict themselves on these two issues. And it almost works . . . except that the two turn out not to be parallel.

Laws prohibiting abortion are not like laws prohibiting gun ownership. Prohibiting abortion is like prohibiting murderous shootings. Both of these are laws against killing. And neither are designed to STOP the bad acts from occurring, but, instead, to punish guilty parties and thereby provide the standard and indirect disincentive to the crime. Deterrence is not the only goal, though. Retribution establishes a moral order, and sets the boundaries of rights.

Gun control, or firearms prohibition, is an attempt to prevent a crime by taking away the ability to commit it. It is not deterrence as such, but an attempt at incapacitation. The parallel with gun control would be fucking control. Or the castration of all males. Or telling women they must give up their eggs.

Progressives who defend “abortion rights” would be parallel to those non-existent people who defend killing innocents.

Conservatives who defend the right to own guns would be parallel to all those people (everybody) who defend the right to keep their penises, testicles, uteruses, and eggs, and think people should be allowed to engage in non-forced coitus.

Maybe the reason progressives think such awful thoughts about those conservatives who want abortion made illegal is that they expect conservatives to hanker to do what they themselves want to do regarding violence: engage in intrusive, preëmptive control of personal life, just to get the social results they want.

But that is not how conservatives think. Progressives, it seems to me, have a controlling mindset, and tend to go overboard. So when they defend a grisly activity like abortion, they become unhinged and impute their worst instincts onto conservatives.

It seems to me that on so many issues, people in general and progressives in particular lack the ability to think clearly about the transactional nature of human life.

As for me, I regard abortion with moral horror, and think it quite an evil thing. But for reasons almost no one cares to hear, I doubt the horrifying, disgusting practice should be treated as unlawful killing. As murder.

But no one asks. I guess they just want to keep making lame arguments and screaming at each other. Asking a question about a novel argument? They might have to change their minds!

twv

A Facebook post.

I am glad I waited a few days to comment on the Christchurch shooting. It is apparent that one of the big takeaways from the atrocity is that center-left opinion makers are wildly mischaracterizing the opinons of the mass murderer. And, had I shot my mouth off early, I may have missed this, the biggest story.

John R. Lott, Jr., clarifies:

The shooter wrote: “The nation with the closest political and social values to my own is the People’s Republic of China.” And the political figure with whom he most closely identifies? England’s Sir Oswald Mosley, who self-identified as a member of the “left” and proponent of “European Socialism.”

Ever encountered a right-winger who pontificates about the need for minimum wage increases and “furthering the unionization of workers”? Or who denounces “the ever increasing wealth of the 1% that exploit the people for their own benefit.” He goes on to declare that “conservatism is dead” and “global capitalist markets are the enemy of racial autonomists.” He called himself an “Eco-fascist.”

Media Calls The New Zealand Shooter ‘Right-Wing,’” Townhall, March 18, 2019


The shooter was a self-declared leftist.

That being said, very few people are wholly left- or wholly right-wing in political bent. And I am very tempted to call murderous racism a rightist obsession. It is just inconvenient in this case, as in so many others, that the shooter was basically leftist . . . except in his racism.

But even that is not quite correct, for being against Islam and third-world immigration is not, in the shooter’s case, really racist: he opposed both because of population growth fears. Eminently a leftist canard.

He frequently uses the term invader, but his reason was an environmentalist one. “The environment is being destroyed by over population.” Did he hate minorities? He certainly did: “We Europeans are one of the groups that are not over populating the world. The invaders are the ones over populating the world. Kill the invaders, kill the overpopulation and by doing so save the environment.”

You certainly won’t find any of the media, including CNN, blaming environmentalists for the carnage at the mosques.

And it is worse: one reason for his rampage was to spur New Zealand and America to establish further degrees of gun control.

The media also conveniently ignores what the killer hoped to accomplish by his attack. He did it to help achieve “the removal of gun rights” for New Zealanders and Americans. And within a day, politicians in both countries were doing what he wanted. The New Zealand government has already promised a complete ban on semi-automatic guns. American gun control advocates such as Shannon Watts, founder of Moms Demand Action, quickly applauded the move and suggested that it is a model for United States lawmakers. 

Of course, this isn’t the first time that mass public shooters have supported gun control. The Columbine school killers were also gun control advocates.

This armament regulation position is preëminently left-wing, in that socialism (and leftism in general) denies the individualist foundation of government legitimacy as expressed in Anglo-American liberalism, which rests on the very idea of self-defense. Government is said to gain its just powers from the rights and consent of the governed. To deny self-defense is to find a different source for government legitimacy. Which is far, far left — not liberal or conservative.

So, the murderous ideologue is a leftist, confessedly so. Anyone holding the leftist line that this massacre provides a good reason to confiscate guns is actually siding with the murderer in his own intent. Arguably, if you use this event to push for greater gun control, you have chosen a side: mass murder.

Propaganda by the deed, a century ago, was notoriously counter-productive. The anarchists who engaged in terrorism, way back then, miscalculated. They thought that by attacking the institutions of business and government — and, most specifically, the people who run them — that they would undermine general support for those institutions. But the opposite was the case. Anarchists, not surprisingly, did not understand human nature.

Nowadays, anyone with a lick of sense knows that committing acts of terrorism against individual persons will unite most people against either the murderer’s cause or the murderer’s weapons. Or both. Which is one reason why I expect to see more leftists engage in more shooting: they can count on leftist media and politicians to focus attention away from the cause and against the weaponry.

The only defense, really, is to arm ourselves with the weapons . . . and target the lies of the leftist media and political class, shooting them down one by one.

One of the odder works to bubble up out of the political landscape in the days of anarchist terrorism. More standard fare? Joseph Conrad’s The Secret Agent.

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For Democrats and Republicans, the biggest issue dredged up by ever-increasing number of sexual harassment accusations against Hollywood, media and political celebrities is whether the scandals will morph from Teachable Moment to Impeachable.

But maybe a better way to look it pertains to what you might call “the demarcation problem”: the thing we need to know, of any particular accusation — apart from its factuality, its truth-value — is the nature of the behavior:

Creepy or Criminal?

According to the exact wording of Donald Trump’s infamous recorded boasts, his offenses were, if true,* merely creepy. But, if his boasted-of grabby hands were not always met with assent, then in those non-consensual instances his offenses were likely criminal.

Indeed, the reason so many people think Trump has confessed to sexual assault is that no one really believes that all the women he has hit on consented to grabbing of them “by the pussy.”

With Senate candidate Roy Moore, on the other hand, we have quite a number of very specific allegations, of which we learn more every day. Moore apparently liked very young women, and we have heard the most about a 17-year-old and a 19-year-old, both of whom he had “courted” when he was much, much older.

That may indeed be creepy. (Most people seem to think so.) But not illegal, since Alabama’s age of consent is 16.

It gets worse for Moore, however, since he is also accused of inappropriate relations with a 14-year-old, and outright sexual assault, too. Those would be criminal.

rat-styleAnd Moore, as Jacob Sullum sagely notes at Reason, has made matters worse for his own cause, putting out conflicting stories about his relations with his older inappropriate inamorata. This undermines his defenses regarding the truly more serious allegations.

Meanwhile, Republicans are rallying around Moore — as if their complaints about the creepy-and-criminal Clintons were just a matter of partisan convenience.

And that is creepy.

What is missing, here? Our attention has been called, once again, away from substantive crimes of the federal government. Like in the Wag the Dog days, the criminal aspects of our government receive scant attention. All the fuss is over the sex stuff — the sloppy kisses, blue dresses, unwanted ass-grabs, and worse.**

The creeps and criminals have distracted us from the true enormities.

twv

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* But remember — the boastful are notorious liars.

** Note that what is missing from a lot of this is any consideration of the appropriate level at which creepy or merely unwanted advances (or even mere ribaldry) might be distinguished from those very few grave affronts requiring a full warlock hunt (as I put it a few weeks ago, and as Claire Berlinsky dubbed the mania more recently) and those crimes that deserve prosecution. (And then there is the technical difficulty of coming to the truth, especially after decades’ long lags, and the horrific institutionalization of enabling mere accusations to ruin lives. Warlock hunt, indeed — what is being established is the cultural totalitarianism of Ms. Grundy.) Most of what we are dealing with, here, are not rapes or sexual assaults, but, instead, faux pas best handled at the level of manners, and not made the federal cases or national outrages that the great Paul Jacob judges with more approbation than I can muster.

Bill Clinton's Shadow

This just in — in the mail:

Richard Posner's Sex and Reason.

I have been meaning to read this book since it first came out. I wanted to review it, but the magazine I worked for at the time was run by a crazy boss, and his rule was that review copies that came in belonged to him, and, alas, not to his employees even if they reviewed the book in the magazine.

Talk about unreasonable! So I never read it, never reviewed it. Such was the magazine’s loss.

Anyway, Posner’s tome could not come at a more auspicious time, for taboo sexual relations all the way from risqué jokes up the ladder of evil to rape are on our minds.

But I have not read it yet. So I cannot comment. What I can honestly comment on are yet more elements of the current wave of sex abuse allegations. And have. Though some, like previously today, I would not direct to strangers on Facebook, others I did place on that site. Like this, below:

While I believe (or at least “strongly suspect”) that the Roy Moore and Hollywood sex scandal pile-ons are true, my caution advises me to bracket out all opportunistic and witch-hunty accusation binges, and suggest discounting them as possible fabrications.

I remember the mania of Satanic child-abuse cases in the ’80s and ’90s, all of which turned out to be false. But they looked so real at the time. (Though I had doubts, back then, big doubts from the beginning . . . largely because I know that children fib regularly, and are easily manipulable.) When there is a “cause” that leads people to pile on, some of those doing the piling are almost invariably opportunistic liars. The trouble is, we have no way, by hearsay and reporting alone, to judge such accusations. So we don’t really know what to make of most of them.

Then, I wouldn’t vote for Roy Moore even if he were a eunuch on estrogen.

It is true. I do believe most of these accounts. I speculated yesterday why so many people in the public eye seem to have these problems, and I guess I should reiterate at least one point: those who are given to breaking basic taboos are also the same kind of person to take up professions where those taboos are easiest to flout, and which feed the egos of the people doing the flouting.

But I am greatly worried about all the precipitous judgments outside courts of laws, especially when it all depends upon testimony and nothing else.

It’s not just that men can be corrupted by situations of power, and seek out those situations because of a predilection for corruption itself, but also because women (and anyone, for that matter) can be corrupted by waves of accusation, by herd behavior, mobbing. And no doubt some of these accusations are opportunistic lies.

They are, I think, this: too much too late.

Had they been made earlier, then the crimes (or slights) could justly find proper redress. Now it just looks bad, even in cases where the accusations are true and the accused are in the wrong.

This being said, when The Atlantic, today, published an article taking up the feminist movements near-united defense of the oft-accused Bill Clinton, I tagged my Facebook post “It’s about freakin’ time.”

twv


P.S. And then, in the Schadenfreude Department:

And a sensible perspective, with a proposal:

P.P.S. A final thought of some substance: The context of a sexual offensive maneuver can turn it from a slight of etiquette to an assault. For instance, a disgusting suggestion when you have exit from a room may be just that, a disgusting suggestion. But if someone has blocked the door and looms over you saying it, it does indeed become something much more serious. (I wrote this before watching the Feminism KEK video by Diana Davison. And yes, this too was pulled from Facebook.)