Monday, January 5, 2015

SAR #15005

Prediction for 2014 2015: A lot of people will be killed in unnecessary, unwinnable conflicts.

Breathe Deeply and Step Back: Yes, cops should not be shot. Neither should black teenagers and poor white bums and so on. But let's keep a sense of proportion to our ashes and sackcloth – there are about a million 'peace officers' toting guns for the federal government, states, counties and cities. 126 of them got killed on duty last year. For every million guys nailing roofs on our houses, 405 die every year. Being a cop isn't particularly dangerous as occupations go. Or useful, apparently; since the NYPD has been on strike (yeah, they don't call it that, but it is) traffic tickets and summons for minor offenses are down 95%, yet the city keeps functioning quite nicely. This suggests that most of what these cops do is of questionable value and amounts to an armed force extorting money from the populace. Maybe if there weren't quite so many armed guards herding us about we'd get along a lot better.

Either/Or: Greek Euro Exit Would Be ‘Lehman Brothers Squared’ or Eurozone Could Cope With Greece Exit. Frau Merkel doesn't care as long as she gets to keep the silverware.

Whoa, Partner: Obama is slapping sanctions on North Korea for something that few think they did – to a Japanese company. Because why not?

Death Of The Artist: The institutions that have undergirded the existing system are contracting or disintegrating. Employees are becoming independent contractors (or unpaid interns). Everyone is in a budget squeeze: downsizing, outsourcing, merging, or collapsing. Now we’re all supposed to be our own boss, our own business: our own agent; our own label; our own marketing, production, and accounting departments. Entrepreneurialism is being sold to us as an opportunity. It is, by and large, a necessity. Everybody understands by now that nobody can count on a job.”

Resolute: Going on a diet? Write a will.

RIP: Andrew Cuomo, who lived the American Dream while that was still possible.
One and Done: The Republicans are going to insist on “dynamic scoring”, which proves – they claim – that cutting taxes increases revenue. Someday. Far down the line. Never mind that there is no proof of this. And Bernie Sanders warns that the Trans Pacific Trade Agreement (TPP) is a terrible idea and must be defeated. Well, it is a terrible idea, but it is not going to be defeated -Americans who don't have 'CEO' after their name will be defeated, which is the idea behind dynamic scoring and the TPP.

For A Good Cause: A jihadi cleric advises "you must agree to be sodomized for a while to widen your anus so it can hold the explosives"

Quoted: "I find myself in meetings with international financial types...
...It's all the usual discussions, and they don't like to talk domestic U.S. politics, but then at some point, somebody says, what if we had another major financial crisis? What if we really needed something like TARP again? What are the chances that something like TARP could actually happen in this political environment? And everybody goes quiet, and looks down at their blotter...” Paul Krugman.

Missing the Point: Duluth city officials want the videos from police body cameras kept secret.

Let's Do The Math: Americans supposedly saved $14 billion as gas prices fell this year. There are just over 300 million of us, so each of us saved $46 bucks, $138 for a family of three, so far. About $3 a week per family. Next year it'll be a lot more – over the full year for a family of three it'll come to about $15 a week. Pizza all round!

Large Grains of Salt: Iraqi media says ISIS militants have contracted Ebola.

First Edition: Prominent folks, otherwise suspected of being more or less rational, have begun touting the secret success of Obama. What? Permanent dis-employment of a sizable number of potential workers? Faster growth in income inequality than Bush could arrange? Americans' income continuing its downward spiral? Continued illegal surveillance of citizens? Leaving Iraq? (Ha, that's a good one!) Trying and failing to set up a puppet state in Ukraine? Libya? Supporting democracy in Egypt? Equipping our police with surplus military weaponry?

W/O Comment: F-35 Joint Strike Fighter can't fire its guns – the software doesn't work. But it will, maybe, by 2016.

Porn O'Graph: Argentina after Monsanto.


Matte Gray said...

As much as I agree that Obama's "successes" have been a disappointment, I have to wonder how much better things would have been under the wise leadership of President McCain and Vice President Palin.

Blissex said...

«since the NYPD has been on strike (yeah, they don't call it that, but it is) traffic tickets and summons for minor offenses are down 95%, yet the city keeps functioning quite nicely. This suggests that most of what these cops do is of questionable value and amounts to an armed force extorting money from the populace.»

They are doing something clever: they are going slow in revenue-generating enforcement, but at the same time they do the not-for-profit stuff.

Because when police forces go on strike, or even worse are not paid for an extended period of time, the usual result is rioting and looting and rule by gangs (as seen numerous times).

So having "some" police force is essential.

Police abuses come from a very simple bargain between police forces and property-owning voters: the police forces don't bother property-owning voters, and property-owning voters elect politicians who have a "gloves off" attitude to policing, and a "but they are good people", "better safer than sorry" attitude to police officers who kill and torture "untermensch" (unpeople who don't vote or don't own property, usually of different ethnic/tribal background from the property owning voters and the police officers).

In general police do need to have a wider latitude in behaviour than for the general population, so for good cause there are usually exceptions in law, e.g. allowing them to exceed the speed limit in pursuit, carrying weapons, and presuming good faith. But even those have boundaries, and in civilized countries where there are no "gloves off" categories of "untermensch" those boundaries are strictly enforced.

In the USA where there are various categories of "untermensch" (e.g. married men, dusky-skinned men, destitute looking men) the rule is that the police will usually steer clear of non-"untermensch" and do as its sees fit with "untermensch".

Try to imagine what would happen to a police office who instead of shooting a dusky skinned destitute looking "untermensch" because he panicked, would shoot a property-owning suburban middle aged lady after seeing her stabbing her husband with a knife and turning with the bloodied knife towards him when he tried to intervene (to protect her from her husband of course).

In Real America liberty and justice are for those who are popular (or can pay for them).

Blissex said...

To be explicit:

«something clever: they are going slow in revenue-generating enforcement,»

Which is popular with voters as they no longer get fines, but causes trouble with city finances and terrifies politicians that they will have to raise taxes.

«but at the same time they do the not-for-profit stuff.»

which is also popular with voters because they still feel protected.