Archives for category: Crime


In the 1970s, unions were out of control in Great Britain.
Fun fact: some of the leaders of some of the unions were paid by Moscow to monkeywrench the system.

So, British unions served as tools of the Communists. This is not an unfounded accusation. This is a fact gleaned from evidence in the Soviet archives, to which scholars were granted access in the early 1990s (since rescinded).

Now, compare and contrast:

Today, Hillary Clinton and her team charge Julian Assange and WikiLeaks with being subsidized by Putin’s Russia. The batches of Clinton campaign emails, as indexed and published by WikiLeaks, are castigated by the Clintonistas as attempts by Russia to influence the American election in favor of Donald Trump.

Shades of the Cold War!

img_0742Note, the Clinton camp is not denying their leaked emails’ veracity. Instead, they are merely trying to poison the well of respectsbility, using shame to dissuade anyone from bringing up inconvenient truths about Mrs. Clinton’s many, uh, shenanigans.

The anti-WikiLeaks/Russian subversion charge would be easier to accept, and its defendants more excoriable, had we not learned from these very same emails that the Clinton team itself had encouraged, during the primary period, friendly media outlets to promote Trump over his GOP competitors. Why? For the secret purpose of scuttling the candidacies of Republicans they thought harder to beat, primarily Rand Paul.

The Clinton team is attempting to blame Russia for doing what it itself did! And on flimsier evidence than has been so far supplied.

trumpinghillaryIt is possible, in politics, to be too clever for one’s own good.

The British paid agents of the Kremlin were traitors, back in the 1970s, sure. And what Maggie Thatcher did to them was necessary for the survival of the country.

But Julian Assange? Is he an enemy of the U. S.?

No more than Hillary herself, who appears to be a traitor . . . well, at the very least to her own cause, her own campaign.

She thought she could bleed trump by pushing Donald Trump, and take the last tricks of the campaign to win the election handily. Now, it appears, she may not succeed. It is still possible for Trump to win (though if you watch CNN, that seems impossible), even if oddsmakers put Hillary out ahead. Unless Trump’s reputation completely implodes in these last weeks, whatever the Electoral College meld tallies out to be, it will be a close election.

And if Hillary does indeed fail, she will have no one but herself to blame.

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See: http://tomwoods.com/podcast/ep-756-was-margaret-thatcher-a-libertarian-hero/ and http://rare.us/story/leaked-email-shows-how-much-hillary-clintons-campaign-feared-rand-paul/. Visual meme, at top, courtesy of Paul Jacob at ThisIsCommonSense.com.

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So, under interrogation by Congress, FBI Director James Comey admitted that had one of his underlings done what Hillary Clinton did, that employee would have been fired.

Sigh. Americans apparently think so little of their national security that they are preparing to hire as COMMANDER IN CHIEF a person so careless that she would lose security clearance and be fired if a mere employee.

O, the comeuppance that America shall receive.

John Fiske booksWhat I dislike most about modern life are bad laws. Bad laws encourage disloyalty among citizens and criminality among police.

Bad legislation thus cuktivates the very “anarchy” that government is supposed to prevent.

And the most witless response to this is to demand loyalty to law . . . without context. As a principle in and of itself.

What must be done is to change the law.

If you folks keep voting for the same goobers over and over, you will merely increase the “anarchy” — de facto lawlessness, disorder — of modern tyranny. Which is to say, you play a part, in every vote for an old-timer incumbent, in the deepening corruption of soctal life.

Further, demanding that new law be enacted after every crisis is foolish on the face of it, perverse at base. Many laws cause more problems than they can possibly solve, and to not admit this is to fly in the face of human experience. If a candidate can think of no law or program he or she would try to repeal, that candidate is at least a fool, probably a dunce, perhaps even a knave.

Also: expect a candidate for office to be capable of subtlety. If there is no evidence of this in a candidate — if everything is claimed to be simple, no complexity admitted — then vote against that candidate.

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timo-dither

Hillary Clinton Takes Part In Ceremonial Swearing-In As Secretary Of State

On Fox last night, erstwhile ambassador John Bolton called FBI director James Comey a coward.

And that was my first thought, too.

But Comey concocted a script that served two purposes: it got him off the hook with his bosses, all party movers and shakers, while providing all the data we the outsiders need to make the obvious induction.

The investigation was rigged, we all knew it going in, and Comey spelled it out.

Of course, you have to be able to read, and hold more than one idea in your head at a time . . . that is, read a statement as ironic. But not ironic-funny, ironic-sinister.

Indeed, Comey’s official statement was such a thing of beauty that he should be commended.

And perhaps given some slack. Not a coward. Legitimately afraid.

When a hostage writes an official statement, one forgives him for the evasions and the strange perspectives. These are the tells. The classic evasion between “extremely careless” and the legally relevant term, “gross negligence,” is one; another is focus on an irrelevancy: the intent of Secretary of State Clinton to undermine security. (She intended to hide information, and, indeed, did; she intended to flout the rules, and did — but did she intend to commit or aid and abet treasonous breaches of security? Irrelevant to other prosecutions, but somehow relevant to hers.) All these and more (including admission that the investigation into that House of Corruption, the Clinton Foundation, remains ongoing) tell us what we need to know.

Comey is hostage to partisan Washington, as corrupt a place as any on the planet.I don’t know, exactly, what the establishment has against him. I do not know precisely what he is afraid of. But he is afraid of something, perhaps something so trivial as his future career and the esteem of his colleagues, most of whom are probably Democrats. (The Democracy is the Party of Government, after all.)

Clinton, Obama? These are people deeply in over their heads, desperately clinging to lie after lie to keep their party in power, and to keep the Leviathan of State on course, distributing goodies to the kept classes and insider cliques and cabals. It is amusing that the party of these insider governing classes calls itself “democratic.”

It isn’t.


Visual meme courtesy of ThisIsCommonSense.com.

H. L. Mencken, America’s greatest writer of popular non-fiction c. 1910-1940 (George Santayana being the nation’s greatest producer of elitist non-fiction prose during that period), was never impressed with the broad run of journalism or politics. He scorned the usual manner of reform as “Uplift,” and denied that it did much actual lifting up.

Sketch of H. L. MenckenThis you can witness in this criticism of gun control, from the 1920’s. In “The Uplifters Try It Again” (Baltimore’s The Evening Sun, November 30, 1925), Mencken demonstrates his understanding of what law and its enforcement is, actually, rather than the fairy dust version promoted by his competition in the word biz. 

This essay is worth studying. Mencken takes something familiar to us even unto this day, and shines some light:

“Crime statistics,” it appears, “show that 90% of the murders that take place are committed by the use of the pistol, and every year there are hundreds of cases of accidental homicide because someone did not know that his revolver was loaded.” The new law — or is it to be a constitutional amendment? — will do away with all that. “It will not be easy,” of course, “to draw a law that will permit exceptions for public officers and bank guards”—to say nothing of Prohibition agents and other such legalized murderers. “But soon even these officials may get on without revolvers.”

As elsewhere, his contempt for the journalist-as-savior is obvious. Mencken considered most journalists messianic mountebanks — just as were most politicians. Actually, the passage under attack hailed from The Nation, a magazine he praises in the general. But in this essay he takes as an exception, for, as he sees it, it is a grand example of a lapse at The Nation:

Ever and anon, in the midst of its most eloquent and effective pleas for Liberty, its eye wanders weakly toward Law. At such moments the old lust to lift ’em up overcomes it, and it makes a brilliant and melodramatic ass of itself. Such a moment was upon it when it printed the paragraph that I have quoted. Into that paragraph — of not over 200 words — it packed as much maudlin and nonsensical blather, as much idiotic reasoning and banal moralizing, as Dr. Coolidge gets into a speech of two hours’ length.

It is obvious that Mencken had mastered the invective. (I quote only a few snippets, even from this one essay.) But what of his argument? He has one. “The new law,” he writes, would have but one “single and sole effect”:

to exaggerate enormously all of the evils it proposes to put down. It would not take pistols out of the hands of rogues and fools; it would simply take them out of the hands of honest men. The gunman today has great advantages everywhere. He has artillery in his pocket, and he may assume that, in the large cities, at least two-thirds of his prospective victims are unarmed. But if the Nation’s proposed law (or amendment) were passed and enforced, he could assume safely that all of them were unarmed.

Mencken was the chief critic of mere “good intentions” of his day. And he saw the problem everywhere, for there are what we now call “unintended consequences.”

The real victim of moral legislation is always the honest, law-abiding, well-meaning citizen — what the late William Graham Sumner called the Forgotten Man. Prohibition makes it impossible for him to take a harmless drink, cheaply and in a decent manner. In the same way the Harrison Act puts heavy burdens upon the physician who has need of prescribing narcotic drugs for a patient, honestly and for good ends. But the drunkard still gets all the alcohol that he can hold, and the drug addict is still full of morphine and cocaine. By precisely the same route the Nation’s new law would deprive the reputable citizen of the arms he needs for protection, and hand them over to the rogues that he needs protection against.

This is a logical position. It is still controversial, however.

Recently, on Facebook, I linked to a graph on unbiasedAmerica.com:

massShootings

I framed the graphed information in this manner:

Perspective helps. Which is one reason I don’t think anyone, right or left, should be talking about chucking constitutional rights right after a still comparatively rare shooting.

A friend of mine, a journalist, responded:

Who’s talking about chucking the second amendment? That’s an invention of the NRA. All the serious suggestions I’ve seen are for things like waiting periods, background checks, linking databases, studies, gun safety equipment, and so on. It’s akin to someone in the 1970s saying, “What do you mean all cars must come with seat belts? Everyone! They’re trying to outlaw cars!”

Why is it OK to have traffic laws, food safety laws, zoning laws, rules for air traffic controllers, law enforcement officers, doctors, lawyers, and teachers, while gun ownership must be the one area where there can be no rules at all? There seems to be some kind of collective hypnosis on several areas in the U.S., but this one is the most baffling to me.

I reacted, briefly, in a number of ways, and friends and followers on Facebook leaped to respond, as well. First, about the Second Amendment:

Lots of people talk about getting rid of it. Most are a tad quiet right now, and cover their beliefs, because after Heller, it is “not serious” to go all the way.

We have plenty of gun rules right now, and most of them are not very effective. For obvious reasons.

And yet I do not think those obvious reasons are very obvious to my critic. He wanted to make the context regulation in general, of which he is an enthusiast, while I tried to steer the discussion back to the topic of crime stats and secular trends, especially now that gun crimes are going down, over the long run:

Much of quality regulation is security theater, and much of it was enacted not to improve quality but to reduce competition. There is an extensive economic literature on this subject.

I don’t believe everything the government tells me. Much of what it does, even in good intent, goes horribly wrong — see the War on Drugs, for example.

I went on, saying that “We have actual gun warfare in cities where they [guns] are illegal,” to which my friend responded with a correction:

There are no U.S. cities I know of where guns are illegal. Some do have strict restrictions, which is what I think you’re referring to. But those cities take those measures for a reason, precisely because they’re so violent. Study after study says Chicago, for example, would be even more violent without the restrictions, and that the guns used there come from other parts of the country with more laissez faire gun laws. Chicago can’t control its borders the way a country can.

My friend will not mention, apparently, that the violence in those cities is almost wholly a factor of African-American poverty and the War on Drugs. The idea that these unnamed “studies after studies” can accurately predict the counterfactual strikes me as absurd. There is a lot of evidence to the contrary, for example (again) the secular trends in America outside our hellhole inner city bastions of chaos and “welfare.” What is the trend? As guns increase in private hands, violence goes down. At the very least, all violence has gone down.

But more importantly, there is what gun controls actually do: prevent some people, who are law-abiding, from acquiring, owning, or carrying guns, while letting some others do so, because of special privilege or because they have special connections. Or because they go outside the law to obtain the weapons they want.

Recently in Britain, an MP was shot. Though there was a lot of hysterical political manipulating of the story, I saw not one example of a big deal being made of gun control. Why not? Oh, right: Britain already has gun control — a sweeping crackdown that did, in fact, take guns out of private hands — and yet the malefactor somehow had a gun.

Consider the tale of John Stossel, who tried to exercise his right of self-defense by personal armament — that is, get “permission” (which is something a person with rights does not need — in New York. He was insulted, sent through a Kafkaesque paperwork nightmare, given the runaround, made to cough up fees, and provide an essay why he needed to carry a sidearm.

The fact that he regularly got death threats from leftists was not enough. He was denied.

It is only the extremely well-connected who get such permits. In New York. Or Chicago. Which leaves only criminals and high mucky-mucks able to defend themselves. (People like Trump and Hillary.)

Why my friend does not see this — why he does not get that regulation such as he wants does not have the univocal effect that he supposes; why he does not recognize that regulations like this have been around for a long, long time, and have been ineffective; why he does not see them as inadvertently (?) racist and elitist at core, I do not know.

He is a journalist. A successful one. Respected. I expect such people to be skeptical at heart. But they are only selectively, as I challenged him:

If the government licensed journalists, regulated who could and could not blog, or require waiting time for background checks before writing about politics, I would hope you would have the sense to see how these regulations infringed on the First Amendment.

He did not respond to this challenge, other than say he was glad not to live in America any longer. Or recognize that the failures of one set of gun “controls,” when they lead to worse conditions (as they always do), only snooker the credulous into believing that more regulation is necessary. And thus laws multiply. And, as Tacitus and other ancients made clear, the more the laws, the more corrupt the state.

As John Stossel noted in his program devoted to idiotic regulation, after he failed to get a concealed carry permit, the system that “regulates” such activities was shown to be corrupt — cops even went to jail. A week after our Facebook exchange, this news story hit the wires:

Screenshot 2016-06-21 16.13.26

Yes, an outspoken and politically powerful California politician, well known for his anti-gun (I mean, “reasonable gun control”) advocacy, was caught in the underground gun-running business. Transporting the very kind of guns he said “shouldn’t exist.”

Talk about Bootleggers and Baptists! In Leland Yee, they were one and the same!

Just like in the War on Drugs, the War on Guns leads to more violence, more death of innocents, and a culture of corruption, in politics and policing.

I understand why not very bright common folk — Mencken’s “booboisie” — might think gun control would work. But why would a smart, skeptical journalist be so snookered? It stretches the credulity.

Oh, until you recall Mencken and his criticisms of his own industry, of the messiah complexes of too many journalists. Then it all makes sense, I guess.

If you have not read Mencken before, the essay discussed here is a good start. But there is a great wealth of writing by him available, and most of it is great. Try A Mencken Chrestomathy, or the Prejudices.

I wrote a foreword to an early book of his, available, I think, on iTunes, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, as ebooks. It may not be the best place to start in the Menckenian oeuvre, but it surely provides a key to his life mission, and his character:

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Fifty dead and even more wounded in the Pulse Massacre. The victims? Patrons of a gay night club. This targeting of gays by a Muslim mass murderer is the first such that I am aware of.

But is hardly surprising.

The event has been called a “mass shooting,” an “act of terrorism,” an “act of evil” and an “act of hate.” All these seem reasonable, though I prefer the neutral but exact word massacre, too little used in the age of terrorism.

I guess it is not often used because its defining phrase, “indiscriminate slaughter,” seems a tad out of place, since the targets in this case were almost certainly selected because they represent an offense against Islam. (And Islam? It means “confident submission” . . . to God. But it really means submission to those who would kill to persuade.) This, despite the fact that the Islamic world often sports long-tolerated patterns of homosexual behavior and culture.

Expect hypocrisies and antinomies from any major religion.

A religiously inspired massacre, the largest such atrocity on U. S. soil not counting shooting in war, that is what it is. So of course there is of course a lot of nonsense being said about it.

Indeed, most people seem to get loopy when it comes to such atrocities. The word “terrorism” is thought by many to be precise. But it is worth noting that there are several dimensions to the idea, and loose thinking about it inspires over-use and misuse. In this case, I don’t really know if the motive of the now-dead murderer Mr. Mateen was really to instill fear, or just kill people he disapproved of. But he did declare allegiance to ISIS. So the political element was there.

But then, ISIS purports to be Islamic in its very name. So focusing on the religion as an inspiration for this act of violence is hardly out of line. ISIS would be the first to concur.

Still, there is no evidence that Mateen was trained by ISIS, or had close ties. He was likely just inspired by the group.

So we must look closer at the basic motivators, not just the institutional ones.

Self-righteous denigration of others is quite a heady brew. Islam in its modern context — as an ideological bastion of very old and very bad ideas, among people beleaguered on all sides, wounded and outperformed by the West, betrayed by their own leaders, outshone and marginalized and brutalized — breeds all sorts of resentments, from envy (familiar trait among Western socialists) and spite (familiar enough to anybody) to frustrated rage (with a tinge of righteousness to muddy our thought).

The Quran itself is no great succor, since it quite literally instructs its people to kill and conquer and rule. But the Islamic world is not in a position to rule. They inhabit some of the poorest regions on the planet, and those that are rich because of oil reserves, they bring very little to the civilizational table other than redistributive consumption. The Islamic peoples, in nation after nation, are not great workers. Hence their atavistic practice of slavery.

But Mr. Mateen was an American whose parents hail from Afghanistan.

And here we have the real problem. And it remains Islamic. It is not the first generation of Muslim émigrés that we really have to worry about. It is usually the second generation disaffected who commit these horrible acts. And it is ideology — Islam is an ideology, remember — that changes opinion and inspires acts of an extreme sort.

What are we to make of it? I won’t preach love or hate. I think those of us capable of extended thought should collect and retain as much information as we can, look at the problems from as many sides as is feasible, and try to promote justice as much as possible.

It won’t be easy.

For now, I merely note that the Pulse Massacre is a fine example of initiated force. Mr. Mateen may have thought that he was justified, perhaps because of some other deaths elsewhere in the world, by the U. S. government, or by American infidels, or what-have-you. But he could not justify his initiation of force against people who had literally nothing to do with those other, distant crimes. A citizenry is not wholly responsible for the acts of its government. It may have been cowardice that led Mr. Mateen to select innocent homosexuals as his targets rather than paid agents of the U. S. government. Or laziness. But by deflecting his attention away from any possible malefactor against people in the Mid-East who share his religion, he scuttled any defense, no matter how tenuous, that his act was retaliation, and thus not initiation of force.

So, it is good that he is dead, then. No need for an extensive trial.

Though that could have been instructive.

When the political violence started, last summer, the media tried hard hard hard to pin it on Donald Trump. He incited it, you see.

Further, Trump’s willingness to defend those who would punch the interlopers and bullies (called, euphemistically, “protestors”) who infiltrated Trump rallies was seen as an excuse for the “protests” and their latent violence, crazed outbursts, and constant obstructionism. Tackling a Trumpeter(In the photo at right, taken from DrHurd.com, of a self-described Black Muslim tackling a white Trump supporter, we see a fine — and, in this case, not gruesome — example of the violence.)

So . . . one thing happened and two things didn’t.

Trump and his followers backed away from some of their rhetoric and violent responses. Meanwhile the protestors manqué did not let up — their tactics did not really change.

The other thing that didn’t happen? Trumpsters, conservatives, and libertarians didn’t make a big show of protesting, much less derailing and obstructing, Bernie and Hillary rallies.

So what we have is an overwhelming amount of invasion and violence perpetrated generally by the “left” against what is seen as the “right.”

Dr. Hurd Dr. Michael Hurd asks the obvious question: “Why Violence Against Trump Supporters, But Not Sanders/Clinton Supporters?” The doctor concludes what many of us have been saying all along: it is no surprise. Leftism is the channeling of violence in the adoration of the State in its many massive (and allegedly messianic) social intrusions. It is entirely fitting for a subset of the left to turn violent. They are just doing what comes naturally, given their pro-force, pro-coercion, pro-violence beliefs.

Further, this has been the case for centuries. Socialism has long been associated with violence on its behalf. Hence the talk of “revolution,” few of which are bloodless.

To conclude, I give it over to the doctor: “The initiation of violence at the Donald Trump rallies foreshadows the force to come when socialism — an ideology of force — continues to gain ground in what was once the land of individual liberty, private property, freedom of association and freedom of speech.”