The Evil of Hip-Hop

Apparently, listening to hip-hop causes young Muslims men to go crazy and start lopping of heads.

A British rapper whose father is awaiting trial in Manhattan for a pair of US embassy bombings is a leading suspect in the barbaric beheading of American journalist James Foley, it was revealed on Friday.

Abdel-Majed Abdel Bary — who recently tweeted a photo of himself holding up a severed head — was among three Brits identified as possibly being the masked killer known as “John the Beatle.”

Bary, 24, is the son of an Egyptian-born militant who is awaiting trial on terror charges tied to the deadly 1998 bombings of embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

Also under investigation are the brother of a British doctor once charged with kidnapping two Western war correspondents, and a former gang member who converted to Islam and traveled to Syria, Britain’s Telegraph newspaper reported.

A dozen American counterterrorism experts are expected to fly to the UK “within days” to help identify Foley’s killer, Britain’s Daily Mail reported.

Former hostages held by ISIS have said he is one of several jihadists they nicknamed “the Beatles” due to their British accents, with two of his cronies referred to as “George” and “Ringo.”

Bary, who went to Syria last year to fight in its bloody civil war, has a build, skin tone and ­accent all similar to those of “John,” according to The Telegraph.

Clearly, we must do something about this hip-hop music before all of our fine young Muslim men run off to Syria.

The Bridge Club Gets The Vapors

There is a lot to dislike about libertarians. In fact much of what makes libertarianism unpleasant is libertarians. Even so, there are some laughs to be had. This post as Marginal revolution is a good example.

Maybe less than you thought, at least after adjusting for other variables. The Economist reports:

In Sweden the age of criminal responsibility is 15, so Mr Sariaslan tracked his subjects from the dates of their 15th birthdays onwards, for an average of three-and-a-half years. He found, to no one’s surprise, that teenagers who had grown up in families whose earnings were among the bottom fifth were seven times more likely to be convicted of violent crimes, and twice as likely to be convicted of drug offences, as those whose family incomes were in the top fifth.

What did surprise him was that when he looked at families which had started poor and got richer, the younger children—those born into relative affluence—were just as likely to misbehave when they were teenagers as their elder siblings had been. Family income was not, per se, the determining factor.

That suggests two, not mutually exclusive, possibilities. One is that a family’s culture, once established, is “sticky”—that you can, to put it crudely, take the kid out of the neighbourhood, but not the neighbourhood out of the kid. Given, for example, children’s propensity to emulate elder siblings whom they admire, that sounds perfectly plausible. The other possibility is that genes which predispose to criminal behaviour (several studies suggest such genes exist) are more common at the bottom of society than at the top, perhaps because the lack of impulse-control they engender also tends to reduce someone’s earning capacity.

The original research, by Amir Sariaslan, Henrik Larsson, Brian D’Onofrio, Niklas Långström and Paul Lichtenstein is here, here is how the authors report the conclusion:

There were no associations between childhood family income and subsequent violent criminality and substance misuse once we had adjusted for unobserved familial risk factors.

There seems to be a trend in economics to take all controversial topics over to Scandinavia if possible. If it is race related, then South Africa is the place. Neither place is representative of anywhere else on earth. Sweden has one of the lowest crime rates on the planet. Maybe that’s why a lot of crime studies done by economists are done in Sweden or Norway. There are so few criminals, the researchers can pretend they are casting a wide net.

It also avoids the big taboos. Black crime is different from white crime. For instance, whites commit far more sex crime than blacks. Assault is also more common with whites than blacks. On the other hand, blacks commit many more murders. It gets even more thorny when you look at theft. Whites and blacks both prefer to rob white people, for example. When you bring Hispanics in to the mix, it gets more dangerous, because not all Hispanics are the same, no matter what the left claims.

As far as what causes crime, people have known since human settlement that criminals cause crime. There’s no fun in that as it takes real science and real intellect to tease out why criminals are criminals. You’re not doing that with Excel or a statistics program you barely understand. That leaves no room for economists to gas-bag about it.

Maybe less than you thought, at least after adjusting for other variables.  The Economist reports:

In Sweden the age of criminal responsibility is 15, so Mr Sariaslan tracked his subjects from the dates of their 15th birthdays onwards, for an average of three-and-a-half years. He found, to no one’s surprise, that teenagers who had grown up in families whose earnings were among the bottom fifth were seven times more likely to be convicted of violent crimes, and twice as likely to be convicted of drug offences, as those whose family incomes were in the top fifth.

What did surprise him was that when he looked at families which had started poor and got richer, the younger children—those born into relative affluence—were just as likely to misbehave when they were teenagers as their elder siblings had been. Family income was not, per se, the determining factor.

That suggests two, not mutually exclusive, possibilities. One is that a family’s culture, once established, is “sticky”—that you can, to put it crudely, take the kid out of the neighbourhood, but not the neighbourhood out of the kid. Given, for example, children’s propensity to emulate elder siblings whom they admire, that sounds perfectly plausible. The other possibility is that genes which predispose to criminal behaviour (several studies suggest such genes exist) are more common at the bottom of society than at the top, perhaps because the lack of impulse-control they engender also tends to reduce someone’s earning capacity.

The original research, by Amir Sariaslan, Henrik Larsson, Brian D’Onofrio, Niklas Långström and Paul Lichtenstein is here, here is how the authors report the conclusion:

There were no associations between childhood family income and subsequent violent criminality and substance misuse once we had adjusted for unobserved familial risk factors.

– See more at:

More Libertarian Madness

My chief complaint against libertarianism is that it is a convenient hiding place for people unwilling to take on the Left. If you reject central planning of the national economy, but are afraid to be called bad things by the local lunatics, calling yourself a libertarian is a nice safe haven. It’s most obvious in the homosexual marriage debate. Libertarians choose a third option with no basis in reality, one that makes them sound like anarchists, rather than face off against the Left.

In war, you have to know the guy next to you will do his job, have your back and fire his weapon at the enemy. In the culture war, libertarians will never go over the top and will, once in a while, turn their weapons on their comrades. You just can’t trust them to fight with you. I recognize that’s not a critique of the ideology, but of the ideologues, but I’ve never figured out how to separate one from the other.

And maybe that’s it. Libertarianism is fine. It’s libertarians that are the problem. A good example that comes to mind is the uncommonly dim Alex Tabarrok.

How does a stop for jaywalking turn into a homicide and how does that turn into an American town essentially coming under military control with snipers, tear gas, and a no-fly zone? We don’t yet know exactly what happened between the two individuals on the day in question but events like this don’t happen without a deeper context.

First off, we know it was not a stop for jaywalking. The giant was walking in the middle of the street. That’s not jaywalking. Second, the giant slugged the cop. As far as the deeper context nonsense, most of life has no “deeper context.” Shit does, in fact, just happen – a lot. In this case, the giant punched the cop because he felt like it. Poor people lack self-control and often do crazy shit for no reason. This is the sort stuff a fully formed adult needs to know.

He then quotes himself:

Debtor’s prisons are supposed to be illegal in the United States but today poor people who fail to pay even small criminal justice fees are routinely being imprisoned. The problem has gotten worse recently because strapped states have dramatically increased the number of criminal justice fees….Failure to pay criminal justice fees can result in revocation of an individual’s drivers license, arrest and imprisonment. Individuals with revoked licenses who drive (say to work to earn money to pay their fees) and are apprehended can be further fined and imprisoned.

This guy tends to get the vapors over stuff that most of us just shrug at. That’s not uncommon with hot house flowers. Regardless, if you don’t pay your fine, the fines get bigger and the risk of prison increases. That’s the point. If it did not work that way, no one would bother paying the fine. How can he not know this?

This is the line that makes my eyes bleed.

You don’t get $321 in fines and fees and 3 warrants per household from an about-average crime rate. You get numbers like this from bullshit arrests for jaywalking and constant “low level harassment involving traffic stops, court appearances, high fines, and the threat of jail for failure to pay.”

What an idiot. The people with the warrants don’t have an average crime rate. They commit a lot of crimes, which is why they have all of those fines and warrants. You can be sure that the black crime rate in Ferguson is something like the black crime rate nationally. That’s seven times the white crime rate. The reason the cops spend all of their time in the ghetto areas is that’s where the crime happens.

But, throwing a fit and stomping of in a huff is the libertarian way out of addressing the elephant in the room. That elephant is the massive disparity in crime rates between whites, blacks, Hispanics and Asians. As soon as you notice that well known bit of reality, you risk being called bad things by the screeching harpies on the Left. That defeats the purpose of being a Libertarian.

Self Defense

I was listening to Imus this morning and he was gas-bagging about the Ferguson shooting. He said something stupid, but obviously intended to tell the rulers he was not going to be any trouble on the subject. Since his return from exile, Imus has been extremely careful about anything touching on race. In fact, he has been very sensitive about the whole metastasizing list of official taboos.

This is becoming more and more common. As the lunatics get better and better at ruining careers, the people on radio and television become increasingly frightened and cautious. I still watch Red Eye, for example, but it is so tame now I hardly see the point in watching it. Every show they do a segment on how much they love homos or trannies now. Once in a  while they worship a black guy. I fast forward through the piety segments, but sometimes that’s most of the show.

Anyway, he said something about how the cop had no right to shoot the big black guy in question. His argument was that there are no circumstance in which a cop can shoot an unarmed person. I’m a police skeptic and I said from the start that I would need a strong case to justify this shooting. Getting bashed in the face by a giant and then having said giant come back for another shot is enough for me.

In fact, it is enough for everyone in most states. When you get a concealed carry in most states, you learn when you can use lethal force. The first rule you learn is the seven yard rule. When the bad guy is within 20 feet, it is assumed retreat is impossible. About 20 states do not require any retreat whatsoever. Others have laws on the books requiring a citizen to take reasonable steps to get away from the bad guy. Once the bad guy gets close, however, you can do what you need to do to avoid harm.

That rule applies to cops too. This guy is not required to take a beating just because the giant did not have a weapon. Once the giant punched the cop, the cop had every right to assume the giant posed a threat. The only two questions left are how close was the giant when the cop fired on him and was the giant coming forward toward the cop. If the giant was running away or surrendering, then the cop is guilty of murder. If the giant was a block away then the cop is guilty of murder.

What we know so far is that the cop was struck in his car hard enough to fracture his eye socket. That sounds worse than it is as that part of the skull is fragile. Boxers suffer broken orbital bones frequently. Still, it takes a big hit to cause that level of damage. The other thing we know is the giant was shot in the front. Assuming the autopsy report is correct, his arms were at his sides and he was facing the cop. What we don’t know is if the giant was surrendering or advancing. Witness accounts are all over the place and press accounts are full of deliberate lies.

That’s what makes this post from the increasingly deranged Karl Denninger hilariously stupid. He’s arguing that the cop can only shoot the giant if the giant is actively attacking the cop. Not even the Brits have laws like this. In America, no one, not even the cop, has to submit to a beating in order to claim self-defense. Otherwise, there’s no such thing as self-defense and there’s no reason to give the cops guns.

The Hermit is Right

The hippies got exactly one thing right. That was dropping out. The whole “turn on, tune in and drop out” gag was mostly nonsense. Sitting around getting high all day is no way to live. Hallucinogenics will certainly make you feel like you are reaching a higher consciousness.  You’re not. You’re just high. Maybe it is a good idea to get in touch with yourself and your relationship to nature, but if you need drugs to do itm odds are you will never really reach your goal.

Dropping out, however, has merit. A great deal of what ails the world is due to participating in it. Even if that bit of philosophy is nonsense, active engagement with society brings a lot of misery. This former hermit probably had it right the first time.

A man who lived nearly three decades in the woods now has a job and is adjusting to life back in society.

Christopher Knight, who survived brutal winters in the Maine woods by stealing food from homes and camps, could graduate from a special court program as early as this fall, Kennebec County District Attorney Maeghan Maloney said.

After serving about seven months in jail, Knight, known as the North Pond Hermit, was admitted last fall into the program, whose participants receive treatment and counseling.

While in jail, Knight told GQ magazine that he didn’t like the society he was being forced to re-enter.

“I don’t think I’m going to fit in,” he said in the GQ story, which will appear in the magazine’s September issue. “It’s too loud. Too colorful. The lack of aesthetics. The crudeness. The inanities. The trivia.”

Knight never fully explained why he disappeared into the woods, telling GQ that he didn’t have a reason and that it was a mystery to him too. He committed more than 1,000 robberies while he lived as a recluse, he told the magazine.

Maloney declined to say what job Knight had taken and where he was living. Members of Knight’s family couldn’t be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Maloney said Knight has done everything that he has been required to do in the court program and has done a “remarkable job.”

“He has been working hard to understand what it takes to become part of society again,” she said.

He was better off in the woods.

Weed World

One of the central arguments in favor of legalizing drugs is that it eliminates the black market for drugs. At first blush, it sounds reasonable. If you can buy your fix at a legitimate store, there’s no need to go to the street dealer. That drives out the street dealer, the street crime, gang wars and so on and so on. It all makes sense, which is why everyone and his brother is carefully watching what is going on in Colorado. All of these arguments are being put to the test.

This story from the Guardian is interesting.

In these, the curious, infant days of Colorado’s legalisation of recreational marijuana, of shiny dispensaries and touch-screen ordering and suburban parties where joints are passed like appetisers over granite countertops, no one would notice the duplex. Plain brick, patchy grass behind chain link, it appears weary, resigned to what the tenant calls “the ‘hood” and others might call left-behind Denver, untouched by the frenzy of investment that has returned to downtown.

The front door of the duplex stays closed. Sheer white curtains cover the living room window. A basement filtering system vents air scrubbed of the sweet funky smell of the pot growing in the basement. The tenant keeps his grow operation here small. It’s his home. That’s his grandson upstairs watching TV with strict instructions not to open the door if someone knocks. Should the cops inquire, they’d find a frail-looking, middle-age Latino with diabetes and heart problems, talking about his pension and his Medicaid and waving his medical marijuana registry card.

The red card – part of the state’s legal landscape since 2000 when voters approved the sale of marijuana for medical use – allows the grower to cultivate a doctor-prescribed 16 plants. It does not allow him to sell what he does not consume to the underground market. It does not allow him a second grow operation in another rented house where he and a partner grew 55 plants until the landlord grew suspicious. It does not allow him to run his own little corner of a black market that still exists in the state with America’s most permissive legal pot sales.

The grower says he recently sold more than 9kg of his weed – Blue Dream for the mellow, Green Crack for the perk – to middlemen who flipped it for almost double the price.

“I try to keep it legal,” he says, “but sometimes it’s illegal.”

Camouflaged amid the legal medicinal and recreational marijuana market, the underground market thrives. Some in law enforcement and on the street say it may be as strong as it’s ever been, so great is the unmet local and visitor demand.

That the black market bustles in the emerging days of legalisation is not unexpected. By some reckonings, it will continue as long as residents of other states look to Colorado – and now Washington state – as the nation’s giant cannabis cookie jar. And, they add, as long as its legal retail competition keeps prices high and is taxed by state and local government at rates surpassing 30%.

I’m inclined to support these experiments in marijuana legalization. I don’t know the right answer, but discovery through trial and error is the way we have sorted these things out for 15,000 years. That said, I find it hilarious that people thought it would eliminate the black market. A highly regulated and taxed legal product will always be more expensive than an unregulated and un-taxed product. Unlike cigarettes or booze, there already exists an efficient and sophisticated black market.

“I don’t know who is buying for recreational use at dispensaries unless it’s white, middle-class people and out-of-towners,” said Rudy Reddog Balles, a longtime community activist and mediator. “Everyone I know still has the guy on the street that they hook up with.”

Obviously, legalizing weed was an upper middle-class novelty cause. It was the pseudo-libertarians from SWPL-ville who pushed it through in Colorado. Even a “longtime community activist and mediator” should get that.

This black market boom, the state argues, is a temporary situation. As more legal recreational dispensaries and growers enter the market, the market will adjust. Prices will fall. The illegal market will shrink.

Actually, it will probably grow. Quasi-legalization makes it nearly impossible to police the black market. If you can’t bust a guy for holding, you can’t squeeze him for his dealer, which means you can’t squeeze small dealers for the bigger dealers. Then you have the race angle. Busting the black guys in the hood for smoking reefer is not going to go over well when Kendall and Dylan are buying it at the mall with mom’s credit card.

In any case, these first curious months of the legal recreational market have laid bare a socioeconomic faultline. Resentment bubbles in the neighbourhoods where marijuana has always been easy to get.

The resentment goes something like: we Latinos and African Americans from the ‘hood were stigmatised for marijuana use, disdained and disproportionately prosecuted in the war on drugs. We grew up in the culture of marijuana, with grandmothers who made oil from the plants and rubbed it on arthritic hands. We sold it as medicine. We sold it for profit and pleasure.

Now pot is legalised and who benefits? Rich people with their money to invest and their clean criminal records. And here we are again: on the outskirts of opportunity. A legion of entrepreneurs with big plans and rewired basements chafes with every monthly state tax revenue report.

Sing it brotha! Sing it!

Ask someone who buys and sells in the underground market how it has responded to legalisation and the question is likely to be tossed back with defiance. “You mean, ‘Who’s been shut out of the legal market?’” asks Miguel Lopez, chief community organiser of the state’s 420 Rally, which calls for legalisation of marijuana nationally.

“It’s kind of like we made all the sacrifices and they packed it up and are making all the money,” says Cisco Gallardo, a well-known gang outreach worker who once sold drugs as a gang member. For the record, he does not partake. It rattles him a little, he says, to see the young people with whom he works shed their NFL and rapper dreams for the next big thing: their own marijuana dispensary.

In this light, taxation is seen as a blunt instrument of exclusion, driving precisely the groups most prosecuted in the war on drug further into the arms of the black market. In one Denver dispensary, a $30 purchase of one-eighth of the Trinity strain of cannabis includes $7.38 in state and local taxes – a near 33% rate. As Larisa Bolivar, one of the city’s most well-known proponents of decriminalising marijuana, puts it: that $7 buys someone lunch.

“It’s simple,” she says. “A high tax rate drives black market growth. It’s an incentive for risky behaviour.”

It’s not hard to see where the logic is going. The thing is, legalization does nothing for Red Team or Blue Team. Red Team is going to be the tax collectors for the weed industry. The Blue Team will go the social justice route demanding free weed and subsidies for the poor. Two decades ago, the ruler passed welfare reform which was supposed to start kicking loafers off the dole. Today, one third of the population is collecting. How long before they are giving away free weed in the ghetto?

Christian Blues

The collapse of Christianity as both a social force and a political force in America has gone unnoticed. One reason for this is the Left stick mocks Christians, despite their disappearance from the scene. The other is the conditioning most people have from their youth, when it was assumed Christians played an active role in politics. The fact is, Christians are disappearing and that means the Christians, social conservatives and Evangelicals may find themselves without a candidate in 2016.

Perched on the edge of his chair in a study overflowing with books, Pastor Gino Geraci reels off the Republicans he no longer believes in. His friend Mike Huckabee is an “odd bird” who couldn’t win a general election. Sarah Palin doesn’t inspire him with her “cliched responses to difficult questions.” Rand Paul is “fascinating but frustrating.”

Of all the Republicans weighing a bid for president in 2016, the only one who puts a smile on Geraci’s face is doctor-turned-conservative-media-darling Ben Carson. And yet, Geraci concedes, Carson is “not in the mainstream” and has little chance of ever being elected.

The assessment from Geraci, the founding pastor of Calvary South Denver, a sprawling evangelical church with several thousand congregants, reflects a broader sense of despair among white evangelicals about the Republican Party many once considered their comfortable home.

Many social conservatives say they feel politically isolated as the country seems to be hurtling to the left, with marijuana now legal in Colorado and gay marriage gaining ground across the nation. They feel out of place in a GOP increasingly dominated by tea party activists and libertarians who prefer to focus on taxes and the role of government and often disagree with social conservatives on drugs or gay rights.

Evangelicals have always it wrong, as far as how to engage in politics. They think putting people who are from their sect in office is all that’s needed to get their desired policy outcomes. That was never going to work because big government is incompatible with religious liberty and social conservatism. The liberal democratic state is always at war with private association and private contract. The bigger the state, the more hostile it is to these things.

Meanwhile, the list of possible front-runners for the party’s 2016 presidential nomination includes New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who has a limited relationship with evangelical activists, and the libertarian-leaning Paul, the senator from Kentucky who only recently began reaching out to social conservatives. One prominent establishment favorite weighing a bid, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), is a supporter of legal same-sex marriage who claims his views on the issue could help him and his party appeal to younger voters.

This is where the Post shows itself to be blazingly ignorant of what’s going on outside of Washington. Tubby is not getting elected to anything and he is pro-life. Rand Paul has been playing the social conservative side of the street for years, as did his old man as a the leader of paleo-libertarianism. He’s not winning the nomination, but he is hardly a typical libertarian. Rob Portman is a company man who has no chance in the GOP primary, even assuming he runs.

The disconnect between social conservatives and the GOP has become a “chasm,” said Gary Bauer, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 2000 and is now head of the Campaign for Working Families. He pointed to the party’s two most recent presidential nominees, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, as examples of candidates who were touted initially as having broad appeal to centrists in the general election but ultimately never inspired evangelicals and lost.

Neither McCain or Romney were centrists. McCain has always been a bit of nut and hostile to Evangelicals. He went into Suffolk Virginia in the 2000 primary and told Evangelicals to shove it. Romney actually did well with social conservatives, despite the fact no one believed a single word that came out his mouth. His problem was not his positions. His problem was no one believed him.

Fundamentally, that’s the problem facing the GOP. No one believes them. If you are a social conservative serving the cause for the last twenty-five years, you have to be discouraged. In 1990, there were pro-life Democrats and no trace of gay marriage or tranny rights. The DLC was advocating a more conciliatory tone with social conservatives. Things were looking pretty good.

Today, even Republicans flinch at the mention of opposition to the most extreme perversions. This garbage is jammed in your face everywhere you look. The degenerates have been running wild now for a decade and the damage is immeasurable. It seems that the hours has passed for Evangelicals, at least as a political force in modern American democracy.

Lessons From Ferguson

We have had a week to stare at the mayhem going on in Missouri. Most everyone has found themselves on the wrong side of the truth, because we still retain that foolish desire to trust the media. By the time you have a good bead on things and you have a well formed opinion, no one cares. Everyone is onto the next big deal that will not be remembered in a week.

Anyway, here a few lessons I think we can take from this story.

Black people don’t like white people. There are some black people who are comfortable around white people, but those are exceptions. Generally speaking, blacks don’t like whites. The news has brought a parade of black people telling us in one fashioned or another that they think all whites are suspect and probably guilty of doing some harm to blacks. It’s a fact white people never consider. It’s only when something like this happens that they recoil in horror at the realization.

Here’s a Rasmussen poll that makes it clear. Blacks assume the worst of whites and they are probably not unreasonable in thinking it. If you grew up being told by your mother that white people want to own you like a dog, you’re going to have a dim view of white people. Once you are convinced white are evil, no amount of good will from whites will matter to you.

White people don’t know anything about black people. In the South, whites and blacks have been rubbing shoulders since Anthony Johnson sued Robert Parker in the Northampton Court in 1654. In the rest of the country, where separation still remains the model. whites know nothing about black people. Unfamiliarity breeds boundless ignorance.

The thing is, these whites want to know about black people. They just don’t want to live near them. As has been the case for 150 years, the culture of the north dominates on this issue. Now, whites only know black people on TV. If you learn anything from Ferguson, it should be that black people are nothing like Beyonce and Jay-Z.

There’s no fixing the race problem. White people try hard to help black people over the last 70-plus years. The trouble is they don’t know anything about black people and wind up wasting time and resources on things that just make things worse. Nowhere on earth have blacks and non-blacks been able to live side-by-side in peace. In post-colonial Africa, the first thing the blacks did was attack the non-blacks. First it was the Europeans. Then it was the Indians, Arabs and Chinese.

In America, the story has been far better, but that’s because blacks are 13% of the population. Small minority groups tend to get along well with the majority. That does not change the fact that America is an anomaly in the race game. We probably had the golden age of race relations in the 80’s and 90’s and now it is heading back to something like the 70’s.

That’s not awful, but it is never going to be the dreamy, weepy-eyed fantasy many white people imagine is just over the next hill. Race relations are going to be a tense stand-off for as long as any of us are alive. If anything, they will get worse. Obama in the White House will be seen as a terrible mistake, because it spoiled race relations. We could have riots in the streets in a half dozen years.

We have a cop problem. The warrior cop business is getting a lot of play, but it is a symptom of a bigger problem. Liberals have decided to herd non-docile blacks into urban reservations. Conservatives decided to turn the cops into game keepers. Both sides then raced to see who could load the game keepers up with the most authority and weaponry. Now we have an army of pudgy robo-cops guarding a bunch of angry black people. The results are inevitable.

It is normal to be sympathetic to the cops working the ghetto. They are given a job that is impossible. These are not men with the capacity to be philosophical about it. They want to get satisfaction from their work. Arresting the same guy over and over until he finally kills someone is not very satisfying. It does not take long for the cops to view the people they police as zoo animals. The ghetto is no place for people with a desire for accomplishment.

That said, it does not change the fact we have a cop problem. We’re asking them to do things they are incapable of doing. Arming them to the teeth is not helping either. The fact is, the people of Ferguson don’t want the white cops from the suburbs policing their black streets. Policing has to be local and personal. The cops in the black area should be from the black area. Let the blacks police themselves. It is not a perfect solution; it is just a better solution.

Shit Ain’t Free

Stop if you heard this one before.  Stupid woman is shocked to learn there is no free ride – even from the government.

Ending insurance discrimination against the sick was a central goal of the nation’s health care overhaul, but leading patient groups say that promise is being undermined by new barriers from insurers.

First off, you cannot insure the sick. Insurance is a gamble. The customer buys a policy believing they will use more health services than they will pay in health insurance premiums. The other side of the insurance bet is the insurance company. They are betting they will charge you more than you cost them over the life of the policy. The insurance company is almost always right about that bet. Otherwise, they lose money and go out of business.

When you force them to insure people with known illnesses, they bake those known costs into the premium. If they cannot, then they find other ways to mitigate the costs, like not selling you a policy or jacking up the rates on the healthy. Like all gambling propositions, the losers pay the winners, while the house takes a piece.

The insurance industry responds that critics are confusing legitimate cost-control with bias. Some state regulators, however, say there’s reason to be concerned about policies that shift costs to patients and narrow their choices of hospitals and doctors.

With open enrollment for 2015 three months away, the Obama administration is being pressed to enforce the Affordable Care Act’s anti-discrimination provisions. Some regulations have been issued; others are pending after more than four years.

More than 300 patient advocacy groups recently wrote Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell to complain about some insurer tactics that “are highly discriminatory against patients with chronic health conditions and may … violate the (law’s) nondiscrimination provisions.”

Among the groups were the AIDS Institute, the American Lung Association, Easter Seals, the Epilepsy Foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the National Kidney Foundation and United Cerebral Palsy. All supported the law.

Coverage of expensive drugs tops their concerns.

Sure it is. People like free stuff. Men who spend their weekends in bathroom stalls with strange men, contracting an incurable disease, would love it if the rest of us had to pay for their treatments. People who engage in risky behavior are more expensive to insure than people who play it safe. In a sane world, the risky pay more while the prudent pay less, but that’s not America. At the end of the piece we have this gem.

“People who have high cost health conditions are still having a problem accessing care,” said law professor Timothy Jost of Washington and Lee University in Virginia. “We are in the early stages of trying to figure out what the problems are, and to what extent they are based on insurance company discrimination, or inherent in the structure of the program.”

No, they have plenty of access to care. They are having trouble getting someone else to pay for it.  When you believe you can defy the laws of nature, deny the realities of the physical world and force everyone to pretend your fantasies are reality, you are a probably insane. Many of these people are insane or just stupid, but many are liars, who make money getting us to pretend that fantasy is real.

Many of these people truly believe their is an unlimited, inexhaustible supply of health care in the world. The only reason everyone is not dipping their cup into the well of health care is the mean old health insurance companies are guarding it. Like the hero who slays the dragon, these people imagine themselves slaying the reality of health care so everyone gets free medicine.

The End Of The Republic

Historians disagree about when the Roman Republic ended. Some argue that it was when Tiberius Gracchus stood for re-election as tribune in 132 BC. Some argue it was when Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon refusing to disband his army and submit to the Senate. some argue in favor of the lex frumentaria as the beginning of the end. That’s the law passed by Gaius Gracchus providing subsidized grain to the poor.

It is one of those debates historians and cranks enjoy having as there is no right answer, just what works for your theory about the present. You pick a date that fits your needs and go from there. The best case for the end is when Tiberius Gracchus stood for re-election in 132 BC. It was at this point when the ruling elite of Rome, the patrician class, lost their respect for their own rules.

At that point the law was no longer the agreed upon rules under which they would settle their differences. It became an obstacle to power or a weapon to wield against rivals once you attained power. The spirit of the law, the point of the law, no longer matteredto the people charged with enforcing the laws. From there is was a short road to a “who, whom?” social order.

Of course, none of this could have happened without the destruction of the small landowners after the destruction of Corinth and Carthage. In 146 BC the Romans finally defeated their old enemies. Both cities were destroyed in spectacular fashion. The Romans burned the cities, killed all of the men and sold the women and children into slavery. That created a glut of cheap labor.

The influx of slaves changed the economics of the Republic. Large landowners could now replace their free Roman labor with slaves. This undercut the small landowners, who could not compete with slave labor. The result  was a consolidation of the land and a massive influx of people into the city, mostly former farmers and soldiers. This removed the check on the ruling elite.

This story from yesterday makes suggests we are firmly in the lawlessness stage of decline that we saw with the Romans. The people in charge no longer respect the laws that are supposed to keep them in power.

Senior White House officials are in talks with business leaders that could expand the executive actions President Barack Obama takes on immigration.

Obama was initially expected to focus only on slowing deportations of potentially millions of undocumented immigrants and altering federal enforcement policies. Now top aides are talking with leaders in big companies like Cisco, Intel and Accenture, hoping to add more changes that would get them on board.

Representatives for high-tech, agriculture and construction interests have put forward a range of fixes, from recapturing unused green cards to tweaking existing work authorization programs.

The outreach is an effort to broaden the political support for Obama’s decision to go it alone on immigration — another sign that suggests the White House fears a backlash in November, particularly among independent voters in battleground Senate races where Republicans are seizing on the issue.

“The president has not made a decision regarding next steps, but he believes it’s important to understand and consider the full range of perspectives on potential solutions,” said White House spokesman Shawn Turner. “The meetings were in keeping with the president’s commitment to do whatever he can, within the constraints of the law, to address the immigration issue.”

Turner said the meetings with business leaders were among more than 20 “listening sessions” with outside groups.

“They are very seriously looking at a big variety of things to figure out what people think would be helpful,” a source in one of the meetings said, describing the meeting as a “productive listening session.”

Senior administration officials stepped up their engagement with companies and business groups over the past month as they look to produce a series of executive orders starting in September. Aides are asking industry executives for ideas and are trying to earn their support against an expected barrage from Republicans opposed to Obama taking any action.

You’ll notice that the Obama administration is not looking for how they can enforce the spirit of the laws passed by the people’s representatives. They are not looking at the law as a limit to their power. They are looking at the law as an obstacle and spending all of their time scheming to get around it.

All of those quislings from corporate America in there know they are a part of an effort to subvert the law and harm the American people. They just want to line their pockets with your money. If we had any sense, the roads leading out of Washington would resemble the Appian Way after the Third Servile War.

No one can point to a single line in the Constitution that gives the president this power, but the Constitution is a museum piece now. No one can point to anything in the law that gives him this right. Obama probably does not understand any of it, but the people around him surely know it. They don’t care about the law or the results that will flow from their lawlessness. Whether or not it is the point of no return is unknown, but it is on the way to a might makes America.