The “cause,” (continued…)

As that last post on “causation” reminded me, anything can be said to have caused anything.

Especially when it comes to the war on drugs. Anything caused by the war on drugs can be and is said to have been caused by the drugs themselves. This includes insanely high prices, murder, corruption, terrorism, whatever. It is absolute flimflammery, and I cannot believe so many people fall for it.

A major reason the drug war will not go away anytime soon is that illegal drugs are powerful. Certainly much more powerful than legal drugs. By attributing “power” to them I do not mean that the drugs themselves do anything especially powerful. Rather, I mean that their illegality is a huge source of power for those whose lives and fortunes revolve around their continued illegality.

Illegal drugs mean fortunes can be made, and vast power acquired. Not only by criminals, but by enforcers. It creeped me out to read about a massacre of troublesome student protesters in Mexico. Not so much because they were murdered by drug cartel thugs, and not so much that they appear to have been burned alive. Rather, what bothered me is the way the police simply sicced the cartel hit men on the students.

MEXICO CITY — The search for 43 missing college students in the southern state of Guerrero has turned up at least 60 clandestine graves and 129 bodies over the last 10 months, Mexico’s attorney general’s office says.

None of the remains has been connected to the youths who disappeared after a clash with police in the city of Iguala on Sept. 26, and authorities do not believe any will be. Prosecutors say the students were turned over to a drug gang that killed them and incinerated their bodies in a case that has put attention on the huge number of people who have gone missing in Guerrero and other Mexican states where drug violence is widespread.

That’s power. And while we are told that the power derives from drugs, it actually derives from the war on drugs.

Try explaining that to a drug warrior.

Or to Hillary Clinton, who opined that we cannot legalize drugs because there’s too much money involved.

(Too much power might be more accurate.)

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To convince, or not to convince?

I recently received an email invitation to attend a local lecture by a man named Rafael Cruz, who happens to be the father of GOP presidential contender Ted Cruz.

I Googled him, and found this fascinating statement:

Evolution is one of the strongest tools of Marxism. Because if they can convince you that you came from a monkey, it’s much easier to convince you that God does not exist.

“They” presumably are the evolutionist communist atheists, who are of course synonymous in the minds of true believers like Cruz and his followers.

Not that it would matter to them, but as a non-Communist, non-atheist who believes in the self apparent nature of evolution, I find the man’s argument insulting and ridiculous.

Beneath his fiery rhetoric, though, is an assumption that reality is not so much about getting to the nature of the truth, but that it’s all about convincing people.

So the converse of his argument becomes: “if they can convince you that you were created by God, it’s much easier to convince you that God exists.”

In other words, whether evolution is to be rejected should depend not on whether it is real or scientifically valid, but whether it undermines belief in God.

I suspect the man is arguing to the convinced, and I think I’ll opt not to attend the lecture.

(I’d say that religious crackpots are the Republican Party’s misfortune, but that might be a microaggression, and I am too steeped in political correctness to do that.)

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The cause

Great minds agree. Global Warming caused ISIS.

Because, like, there was a huge drought in Syria and the government handled it almost as incompetently as Bush handled Hurricane Katrina! So, just as babies eaten by alligators and owners of looted stores were Bush’s victims (and thus victims of Global Warming), when the Syrian populace turned to ISIS, they were actually victims! Similarly, the brutal and callused ISIS leaders are not really responsible for their behavior.

Global Warming is the root cause.

And when three climate scientists were murdered for their beliefs, they too were victims of Global Warming!

There’s a lot of causation out there.

But for Global Warming, I would not have written this post.

Case closed.

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“the party of the past”

While there are a lot of legitimate criticisms that can be leveled at the Republican Party, this one had me chuckling:

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — A Democrat is not likely to win this state in the 2016 presidential election, not even one with the last name Clinton.

But on Saturday, Hillary Rodham Clinton returned to Arkansas where she and her husband began their political ascent, delivering a fiery critique of Republican policies and a pep talk of sorts for Democrats who suffered dramatic losses in the midterm elections.

Mrs. Clinton lambasted Republicans as “the party of the past” and tried to portray the extreme comments of one candidate, the businessman and reality TV star, Donald Trump, as representative of the entire party.

OK, I can see a young person pointing out that because the GOP is mired by social conservatism it is hopelessly behind the times, but Hillary Clinton? 

The past is all she has.

Perhaps she should consider new speech writers.

Because, if she’s not more careful, the party (or parties) of the past might consider Bernie Sanders.

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Done Deal?

America has made a deal with a country that hosts “Death To America” rallies. What could possibly go wrong?

Well that country is not entirely happy with the deal.

Kermani said Iran would accept a deal only if sanctions were lifted immediately, frozen revenues were returned and Tehran’s revolutionary ideals, including its fight with “global arrogance” – a term for the West and Israel — were preserved.

Well, the lifting of sanctions will assist Iran in the fight against “global arrogance”. No doubt a good time will be had by all. Except for the “globally arrogant”.

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Wall Nuts

China is hitting a wall both financial and ecological. And a leading indicator is water. And walnuts.

Here in Yunnan, the scenic countryside stretches to the horizon with beautiful farms and vast walnut groves, benefiting from the province’s gentle climate.

Yunnan is actually one of the biggest walnut producing regions in China, which itself is the largest walnut producer in the world.

But this won’t last. It can’t. They simply don’t have enough water.

That’s actually the reason I’m here– walnuts.

One of the two major focuses of our Chilean agriculture business is walnuts– something we chose precisely because of the long-term water crisis in China (not to mention the water crisis in California, another major walnut producer).

As Chinese production declines, the resulting shortage should boost prices and substantially benefit our firm.

For now, China’s government is doing everything they can to stem their food security and water crises from getting worse. And that includes commandeering the Mekong.

Over the last few years, the Chinese government has built several massive dams along the Mekong River in Yunnan province.

The Nuozhadu and Xiaowan dams are so large, in fact, that their combined reservoirs have enough capacity to cover the entire state of Maryland in five feet of water.

In addition to providing bountiful hydroelectricity for Chinese industry, these dams are also being used to hoard water.

You can read more about the financial side of the crisis at the link. China’s strength is an illusion. Quite a few people think that the China bubble is bigger than the American real estate bubble was in 2008.

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“gender socialization may exacerbate obesity risk in both sexual minority females and heterosexual males”

That’s what scientists are studying. At a cost to the City of San Francisco of some $3.5 million.

“It is now well-established that women of minority sexual orientation are disproportionately affected by the obesity epidemic, with nearly three-quarters of adult lesbians overweight or obese, compared to half of heterosexual women. In stark contrast, among men, heterosexual males have nearly double the risk of obesity compared to gay males.”

Yes, it is well-established enough that in places like San Francisco, how a man’s body looks is often a clue to his sexuality. I always thought gay men took better care of their bodies because it gave them a better chance of getting laid, and that whether straight men get laid depends less on their physical attractiveness, while men who are married and settle into sedentary domestic lifestyle have less of an incentive to worry about their looks. But what do I know? I’m not a scientist, and no one will pay me $3.5 million for my opinions.

As to why lesbians are obese, I don’t really know, but recall an old slogan which was a book title: “Fat is a feminist issue.”

fat is not about food, but rather about protection, sex, mothering, strength, assertion, anger, love.

Hmmm…. There’s gotta be a common denominator. Maybe straight fat guys are basically feminists at heart.

More money is needed to confirm my theory!

And what if sex with women makes people fat?

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Smuggling Is So Harsh

Yes, “smuggling” seems like a harsh word.

To which I replied:

How about “Going Solo”.

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Green Is Closet Racism

That experienced political campaign director I used to know – I once asked her opinion about climate change. She replied “All this green nonsense – it’s closet racism. They want to deny Africa cheap energy, to keep them poor”.

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Happy Fourth!

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The Ethic of the Ethnic American

This Fourth of July, I’m officially changing my race (I heard we can do this now). Unlike Rachel Dolezal, I won’t need to alter my appearance, because from this point forward my ethnicity will be one that goes beyond appearance and speaks to what I believe: American. Unhyphenated. Indivisible, you might say.

While we all laugh at an NAACP Chapter President basing her career claims to be black or an Ivy League socialist who sought promotion for being Native American, ethnic self-identification is an increasingly serious issue — my family could lay claim to ancestry from all the major ethnic groups and several minor ones, and that’s going to be case for more and more families as miscegenation becomes an ever more popular contact sport.

And ultimately how we self-identify dictates what kinds of decisions we make, what kind of communities we form. Low crime communities are filled with individuals who for whatever reason are philosophically reluctant to commit crimes, especially violent crimes. High income communities tend to be full of people who have decided to work harder at creating value. Race is irrelevant, character paramount, institutions decisive.  Higher incomes, lower crime: this is the future.

America is not the government, or the borders, or even the people within those borders. America is an idea, an ideal — life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Recognize that that which unites us is more important than that which divides us. On this July 4th, be an American.

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When It Stopped Being Against The Law

We have hordes of socons bemoaning the gay marriage ruling of he Supreme Court. Where did this country go wrong? I wrote the following in response to this commenter who was decrying the fact that the Government was no longer following God’s law and was allowing abnormal behavior. I replied:

If it is abnormal behavior shouldn’t it be punished? I think stoning to death is appropriate. Too bad we no longer adhere to the correct religious principles.

Well OK. Stoning may be too harsh. How about jail?

Well OK. No jail. Next thing you know they will think they are just like regular people and will want to marry.

===

You fools lost the argument long ago. Give it up.

=====================================================

Reason magazine has an article up on just where the argument was lost. How Liquor Licenses Sparked the Stonewall Riots.

============

Another commenter said it was like we were drag racing toward Gomorrah.

And I said: I want a faster car.

Fortunately Eric has posted a video of the kind of car I’m looking for. And if you watch the video closely you will see two guys kissing. The horror.

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Hell in a bucket, anyone?

That’s where a lot of people say we’re headed, especially these days.

I am reminded of this classic.

(Not a new idea….)

 

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There Is A War On

An interview with a police officer – Radley Balko.

The officer says:

I had an awakening. I remember it very well. I was doing narcotics work. And so I was spending a lot of time doing surveillance in a van, or in some vacant building. You have a lot of time on your hands with that kind of work. You’re watching people for hours at a time. You see them just going about their daily lives. They’re getting groceries, running errands, going to work. Suddenly, it started to seem like an entirely different place then what I had seen when I was doing other police work. I grew up in Bel Air[, Maryland]. I didn’t have exposure to inner cities. And when you work in policing, you’re inundated early on with the “us vs. them” mentality. It’s ingrained in you that this is a war, and if someone isn’t wearing a uniform, they’re the enemy. It just becomes part of who you are, of how you do your job. And when all you’re doing is responding to calls, you’re only seeing the people in these neighborhoods when there’s conflict. So you start to assume that conflict is all there is. Just bad people doing bad things.

But sitting in the van and watching people just living their lives, I started to see that these were just people. They weren’t that different from me. They had to pay rent. See their kids off to school. The main difference is that as a white kid growing up in my neighborhood, I was never going to get arrested for playing basketball in the street. I was never going to get patted down because I was standing on a street corner. There was no chance I was going to get a criminal record early on for basically being a kid. As a teen, I was never going to get arrested for having a dime bag in my pocket, because no one would ever have known. There was just no possibility that a cop was ever going to stop me and search me.

When you watch people for hours and hours like that, you start to see the big picture. You start to see the cycle of how these kids get put in the system at a young age, often for doing nothing wrong, and how that limits their options, which pushes them into selling drugs or other crime. You start to see that they never had a chance.

I missed this the first time I read the article. The officer talks Prohibition:

I’m 100 percent against the drug war. I’d legalize drugs tomorrow if I could. What we’re doing to people to fight the drug war is insane. And the cops who do narcotics work — who really want to and enjoy the drug stuff — they’re just the worst. It’s completely dehumanizing. It strips you of your empathy. I just think it had a different effect on me because I started watching the people.

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Gun Control – Poor And Minorities Hit Hardest

From Salon Magazine

Gun control’s racist reality: The liberal argument against giving police more power

Well isn’t that interesting. And from Salon? Big surprise there.

There is no reason to expect fair enforcement of gun control laws, or even that they will mainly be used to someone prevent these massacres. That is because how our society polices depends not on the laws themselves but on how the police – and prosecutors and courts – decide to enforce the law. Especially given how many guns there are in the U.S., gun law enforcement will be selective. That is to say, they will be unfairly enforced, only deepening the injustices daily committed against poor minorities in the name of law and order.

This former DEA agent says the same thing about our Drug Laws starting about 1 minute 30 seconds in.

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“not something that we have ever fully come to terms with”

In light of the horrible massacre by an admitted racist and terrorist, President Obama has issued a renewed call for gun control.

“Unfortunately, the grip of the NRA on Congress is extremely strong,” Obama said in a clip of the interview with “WTF with Marc Maron” posted by the New York Times.

It was not the first time Obama has railed against the NRA. After the Newtown, Connecticut school massacre in 2012, a tragedy that Obama has called his toughest time in office, he pushed for changes to gun laws.

He proposed more background checks for gun sales and pushed to ban more types of military-style assault weapons and limit the capacity of ammunition magazines.

But he failed to convince enough lawmakers to support the restrictions.

“I don’t foresee any legislative action being taken in this Congress. And I don’t foresee any real action being taken until the American public feels a sufficient sense of urgency and they say to themselves, ‘This is not normal, this is something that we can change, and we’re going to change it,’” he said in the interview with Maron.

The U.S. constitution protects the right to own guns. Obama acknowledged in the interview that guns are an important part of many Americans’ heritage.

“It’s part of how they grew up, part of the bonding they had with their dad,” Obama said in the interview.

“The question is just: is there a way of accommodating that legitimate set of traditions with some common-sense stuff that prevents a 21-year-old who is angry about something or confused about something or is racist or is deranged from going into a gun store,” Obama said.

“That is not something that we have ever fully come to terms with,” he said.

OK, I realize this is an exercise in the ridiculous (after all I am only writing a blog post in a 12-year-old-blog suffering from years of neglect), but I am willing to attempt to come to terms with the question the president has raised.

First, I think the president ought to recognize that gun ownership is not an exclusively male phenomenon. Far from gun ownership being grounded in male bonding, statistics show that 23% of all women own guns.

Second, out of simple fairness, I think the president ought to recognize that while there never were and probably never will be laws preventing suspicious characters (whether they are angry racist nutjobs or not) from merely entering gun stores, there are, and were, laws intended to prevent this particular angry racist nutjob from buying the handgun many media stories continue to insist he bought legally.

The fact is, the man was a prohibited purchaser under existing gun laws. For whatever reason, neither the news media nor the president want to recognize that simple fact. Instead, they clamor for more laws.

What possesses them to imagine that an angry 21-year-old who burns the US flag, wants to start a race war, sees himself as a twisted sort of “Rhodesian” martyr, and is actually willing to go into a church and murder worshipers, would even consider obeying whatever additional laws they propose?

 

 

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The Origins Of The 2008 Crisis

I have no love for the bankers. But it wasn’t them. They just played along with the game because that is where the big profits were.

The game went something like this –

SJW “there are under served minorities”

Bankers – “their record of repayment is not good”

SJW – “we will rate their paper at AAA and the government will buy it”

Bankers – “we will serve even liars and foist the bad paper produced on the government” (to themselves: “the payday will be HUGE – suckers”)

In 2008 reality and fantasy collided. Reality won.

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Against Profit

 
 

If you are against profit quit eating. You profit from it.

 
 

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Alternate Headline – Armed Churchgoer Stops Rampage Shooting

Except it is not an alternate headline – it happened in Aurora, Colorado.

“Police said two vehicles ended up in the church parking lot after some sort of argument between the drivers. Police said one vehicle was chasing the other. The man who was being chased got out of his vehicle and entered the church and told people to take cover. A woman came out of the church to see what was happening in the parking lot and got shot.

Police said an off-duty officer was at a service and went outside and shot the man who shot the woman”

If only some of those people at church in South Carolina had been armed.

“After a shooting spree, they always want to take guns from the people who didn’t do it.” -William S. Burroughs.

Eric sent me an example of “take the guns from the people who didn’t do it“.

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Either way, gun control works! Right?

Speaking of things that don’t pass my smell test, here’s another piece of weirdness.

Media reports do not agree on whether the Charleston shooter bought the gun himself, or his father bought it for him.

According to CNN, Roof bought the gun himself:

One key part of this horrific scheme — the weapon — came in April, when Roof bought a .45-caliber handgun at a Charleston gun store, the two law enforcement officials told Perez and Bruer from CNN, the first network to report this development. His grandfather says that Roof was given “birthday money” and that the family didn’t know what Roof did with it.

But according to the Washington Post (and many other accounts), his father bought it for him. The WaPo story is titled ”The legal loophole that allowed Dylann Roof to get a gun“:

Dylann Roof, the man accused of a shooting spree that left nine people dead at a historic black church in Charleston on Wednesday night, should not have been able to get a gun.

Federal law prohibits people with pending felony charges from obtaining firearms. In February, Roof was arrested and later charged with felony possession of Suboxone, a narcotic prescription drug. He was released, and the case is pending.

Because of his criminal record, Roof would not have been able to buy a gun from a store. Federally licensed gun dealers are required to run background checks on gun purchasers, and Roof’s pending charges should have turned up as a red flag.

But Roof didn’t need to go to a dealership. According to his uncle, Roof received a .45-caliber pistol from his father in April for his birthday, Reuters reports.

South Carolina is one of 40 states that do not require background checks for private gun transactions, like the one that allegedly took place between Roof and his father. Gun control activists call this the “private sale” loophole.

It’s illegal to give guns to felons or people with felony indictments — but that’s only if you know about their criminal records. In South Carolina, you don’t have to ask, so private citizens can more or less freely exchange guns.

If prosecutors can show that the father knew about Roof’s indictment but gave him the gun anyway, Roof’s father could face up to 10 years in prison.

That was my first reaction when I read about Roof’s father buying him the gun while felony charges were pending.

Anyway, no matter how they spin it, gun control laws were violated.

Is anyone surprised?

And will anyone be surprised when they say that because gun control laws did not work, we need more gun control laws?

MORE: Another WaPo story uncritically repeats a dubious assertion by unnamed government “officials”:

When Roof was arrested — about 250 miles from Charleston — he had a Glock .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun that law enforcement officials said he had obtained in April, either receiving it as a birthday gift or buying it himself with birthday money. The gun was purchased legally, officials said.

If he bought it himself with a felony pending, the gun was NOT purchased legally. Nor was it purchased legally if his father bought it for him knowing about the pending felony (and the latter seems very likely).

AND MORE: Not that it would matter to a criminal bent on mass murder, but South Carolina law also prohibited Roof from carrying a handgun without a permit.

We know how well that law worked, don’t we?

MORE: The official line continues to be that Roof bought the gun legally. Here’s today’s version from USA Today:

Authorities have determined that Roof legally obtained a .45-caliber handgun earlier this year, using money likely provided as birthday gift from his family, the official said. The weapon was purchased at gun store near Columbia, S.C.

Nonsense. It is impossible for anyone with a pending felony to buy a handgun legally in a gun store.  All buyers have to complete Form 4473, which asks these questions very plainly, and if the responses are other than those listed below, the sale cannot proceed.

4473

 

Obviously, if Roof answered “yes” to the second question, he could not have bought the gun legally. And if he answered “no,” then he committed a federal felony, and any gun purchase would have been illegal.

This is painfully simple, and does not require a feat of great logic.

What is going on?

You’d almost think the “authorities” want Dylann Roof to have purchased the gun legally.

UPDATE (6/22/15): Now that the “legal purchase” narrative is being undermined by the pending felony, they are really scrambling to keep it alive. The latest is the claim that Roof was not arrested for a felony, but for a misdemeanor:

Nothing would have prevented Roof from buying or owning it, despite a pending drug charge, according to federal gun laws.

Contrary to some media reports, Roof’s pending drug charge was not a felony. The charge is a misdemeanor, according to a review of court records, including a copy of the warrant obtained by The Greenville News.

A spokeswoman with the State Law Enforcement Division said Roof’s criminal record incorrectly listed the pending charge as a felony due to a data entry error. The record has since been corrected to reflect it is a misdemeanor, she said.

The original police printout can be read here, and it clearly states it was a felony arrest and gives a list of these substances “MDP” (apparently that’s Methamphetamine), LSD, Cocaine, and “SUB” (presumably suboxone).

But even if the record were later corrected to call it a misdemeanor, it makes absolutely no difference, because any purchase of a gun by Roof would still be illegal. Form 4473 requires a NO answer to the following:

b. Are you under indictment or information in any court for a felony, or any other crime, for which the judge could imprison you for more than one year?

In South Carolina, the penalties for Schedule I (LSD) and Schedule II (Cocaine) possession are as follows:

 (c) It shall be unlawful for any person knowingly or intentionally to possess a controlled substance unless the substance was obtained directly from, or pursuant to a valid prescription or order of, a practitioner while acting in the course of his professional practice, or except as otherwise authorized by this article.

(d) A person who violates subsection (c) with respect to:

(1) a controlled substance classified in Schedule I (b) and (c) which is a narcotic drug or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and in Schedule II which is a narcotic drug is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than two years or fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

[...]

(3) cocaine is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, must be imprisoned not more than three years or fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

What this means is that regardless of whether his offense was listed as a felony or misdemeanor, Roof was not allowed to have legally purchased a firearm.

AND MORE: Reading the actual charge in the linked police report, it gets even more complicated, and more serious.

The report states that Roof was charged with a violation of Section 44-53-370(b)(1), which is not mere possession, but possession for sale:

SECTION 44-53-370. Prohibited acts A; penalties.

(a) Except as authorized by this article it shall be unlawful for any person:

(1) to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, purchase, aid, abet, attempt, or conspire to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase, or possess with the intent to manufacture, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase a controlled substance or a controlled substance analogue;

(2) to create, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase, or aid, abet, attempt, or conspire to create, distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase, or possess with intent to distribute, dispense, deliver, or purchase a counterfeit substance.

(b) A person who violates subsection (a) with respect to:

(1) a controlled substance classified in Schedule I (b) and (c) which is a narcotic drug or lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) and in Schedule II which is a narcotic drug is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, for a first offense must be imprisoned not more than fifteen years or fined not more than twenty-five thousand dollars, or both. For a second offense, or if, in the case of a first conviction of violation of any provision of this subsection, the offender previously has been convicted of a violation of the laws of the United States or of any state, territory, or district relating to narcotic drugs, marijuana, depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogenic drugs, the offender must be imprisoned not less than five years nor more than thirty years, or fined not more than fifty thousand dollars, or both. For a third or subsequent offense, or if the offender previously has been convicted two or more times in the aggregate of a violation of the laws of the United States or of any state, territory, or district relating to narcotic drugs, marijuana, depressant, stimulant, or hallucinogenic drugs, the offender must be imprisoned not less than ten years nor more than thirty years, or fined not more than fifty thousand dollars, or both. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person convicted and sentenced pursuant to this item for a first offense or second offense may have the sentence suspended and probation granted and is eligible for parole, supervised furlough, community supervision, work release, work credits, education credits, and good conduct credits. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a person convicted and sentenced pursuant to this subsection for a third or subsequent offense in which all prior offenses were for possession of a controlled substance pursuant to subsections (c) and (d), may have the sentence suspended and probation granted and is eligible for parole, supervised furlough, community supervision, work release, work credits, education credits, and good conduct credits. In all other cases, the sentence must not be suspended nor probation granted;

(2) any other controlled substance classified in Schedule I, II, or III, flunitrazepam or a controlled substance analogue, is guilty of a felony and, upon conviction, for a first offense must be imprisoned not more than five years or fined not more than five thousand dollars, or both.

What this means (assuming the linked police report is correct) is that the charge is in fact a felony charge after all.

 

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