Libertarian Commentary on the News, 18 AUG 15, #15-33b: Crime and government

By Nathan Barton

Hmmm. What is going on? Business Insider reports that the latest reason for Wal-Mart profits dropping is increased theft from the big-box retail chain. No matter what is done, more and more people are stealing more and more things. While violent crime nationally continues to be reported as dropping, theft and fraud seem to be climbing. I don’t suppose this has ANYthing to do with the example of lawlessness exhibited constantly by government politicians, appointees, and agencies.

Mama’s Note: Increasing theft and vandalism is part of the problem, especially in some larger metro areas. But it’s only a small part overall, I’m sure. The entire economy is changing, shrinking, more and more distorted by the political things too. One positive change is the growing electronic market, such as Amazon.com. The advantages of lower overhead is a big one, and while employees can and do steal, the potential is much less in a warehouse environment.

I expect this market to expand to ever more products and people as time goes by and technology improves. If we can just get government out of the way, the sky is truly the limit. I can’t wait for the first delivery drone to land in my yard.

Including this sort of criminal activity, which IS violent. Yahoo News reports that a total of nine people were arrested for conspiracy and murder, including both a defense attorney and THREE California Highway Patrol officers, in a bizarre plot that sounds more like something the FBI would come up with to entrap some wannabe Jihadists. (Which is just as immoral and illegal, at least at common law and in a sane world.) They beat a man to death who was suspected of stealing scrap metal from the attorney’s property. Some “defense attorney,” eh?

Which also makes actions like this more attractive, and perhaps needed. The Gateway Pundit in Saint Louis reports that Oath-Keepers is planning to hold an armed march in Ferguson, working with local black groups and protesters, that will include at least fifty people armed openly with AR-15s (or equal, I assume). Police have threatened to attack and arrest anyone doing so, which means that the COPS will be breaking a law, as carrying long-arms openly IS explicitly allowed by Missouri’s open-carry law. To say nothing of a violation of constitutionally-protected liberties. The most recent shooting of a black man in Ferguson, on the anniversary of last year’s mess, has again riled many people in the suburban slum. And Oath Keepers is taking seriously its self-assumed mission to defend individual rights and force law enforcement to live up to their voluntarily taken oath. Is this aggression? Oath Keepers states that it is defensive in nature.

Mama’s Note: Some recent discussions of this leave me shaking my head. First, nobody can be “forced” to honor their oath. Second, the Oathkeepers still need to clarify just how their “oath” is relevant to freedom, since the promise to defend the “constitution” has nothing to do with individual liberty, and lots to do with enabling the “state” to continue its tyranny.

A Russian news source, Sputnik states that recently declassified documents document that American military leadership in 1945 planned to drop an additional DOZEN nuclear bombs on Japan if the Empire had not surrendered after Nagasaki’s destruction. If true, this totally contradicts the story told for almost seven decades, that the US had only enough fissile material to build three bombs: the original at Trinity Flats in White Sands, and the two dropped on Japan.  Of course, without reading the original documents, this might all be a wild story, and of course, Truman could have flat-out refused to do so: remember how he later treated MacArthur. But it does bring to question long-accepted history.

Mama’s Note: I’d never heard that particular story of “only” three bombs, but I’m not sure why it would matter now. Truman could have done a lot of things, and only he knows what all he was thinking at the time. The lesson I hope people would draw from history is the understanding that no individual should ever have this kind of power over others. And history just keeps trying to teach this, year after bloody year.

This guy may be scheduling a trip to Las Vegas. Denver Channel 7 reports that a Greeley man struck by lightning, crashed his motorcycle in the fast lane, but “miraculously” survived. A man in Colorado said he feels “pretty good” after he miraculously survived a lightning strike while riding his motorcycle. Eugene Villines of Greeley, Colorado thinks his helmet may have saved him. Well, I’ve never said that helmets are not a good idea, just that people should choose whether or not to wear them.

Is this a good idea? A United Methodist Church in Alabama is reported by Freedom Outpost to have constructed a shooting range on the back of their property, to provide a place for their members, especially elderly women in the church, to have a safe place to train. Training to use guns in self-defense IS a very good thing. And apparently the local sheriff is both supporting the endeavor and showing his approval by having his deputies use the range and assist in the training. It is certainly a solid rejection of the “pacifism” that so many claim followers of Christ should practice.

Mama’s Note: Sounds like a great idea to me, but I get a kick out of imagining the pearl clutching and hysteria from other ladies in town… so worried that their precious “DeShawn” or “Edwardo” could now be in serious danger of getting shot during their innocent home invasions and such like.

More news coming out of China about the deadly explosions at the major seaport for Peking. Business Insider reports that the dangerous goods warehouse that blew up had been operating without the right permits or licenses for years. This is, of course, a moot point: Licensing does NOT ensure that good management practices are followed, and in fact can cause people to do the wrong thing as conscientiously, because they are “legal.” And it is not like the government officials that administer those licenses are likely to know how to do things right – as long as the paperwork is okay, the licensed facility is likely to get a good grade. It is reported that the company DID get the right permits just a couple of months ago – so you could argue that having the permits made no difference: two months should be more than enough time to correct problems, IF the permits were enforced.

The death toll has risen to 114 now, and tens of thousands have been evacuated due to air contamination. The damage is likely to be in the billions of dollars (and trillions of whatever the Chinese are using for currency these days, the way their market and money system are imploding.)

Mama’s Note: I was really curious about the designation of “dangerous goods” in the first place. There may be something lost in the translation, who knows? In any case, seeing the photos of this disaster, all I can say is that there was some miracle that limited the death toll to such a few – if that number is anywhere near accurate. Amusing to see the Chinese government frantically trying to contain the reporting of this story, and failing. Did you know that China is increasingly importing workers from other Asian countries? Maybe their control isn’t as good as they would like us to think.

Business Insider also reports that copper is down to six-year-lows, less than $5,000 a ton. (About $2.50 a pound). This, together with diesel prices which continue to drop (and are nearing $2 a gallon!) indicates that the economy is doing VERY badly, and those predicting catastrophe have some justification. People in Texas are expecting major disasters, as oil prices drop to under $42 a barrel and more and more drilling and even production in the big new plays like Eagle Ford is grinding to a haul. This is typical boom-bust in Texas and the Oil Patch, but too many people don’t plan ahead, or figure that government will bail them out.

Mama’s Note: Why in the world would lower prices be “bad” for the economy? Unwelcome to the producers, of course, but a blessing to their customers. These are corrections, and much needed. Of course, the roller coaster will continue as long as the government is trying to control the economy… and much worse if it is actually trying to destroy it. That’s the joker in the deck, not prices falling from inflated levels that the real market could not, and should not sustain.

About tpolnathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (christian), Pahasapan, Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer.
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