Libertarian Commentary on the News, 27 Nov 2015, #15-47C: Black Friday, Mobs and More

By Nathan Barton

It is “Black Friday,” once a quaint event that turned into an activity of epic proportions and supposedly a key economic indicator, that has now expanded into a “Black Friday Week” or more and which has gotten to be such a burden that a number of chain stores have publicly repudiated it: a heresy of great implications. We as a family have played the game now and then, but seldom seriously, and today are NOT even pretending to participate: I suppose many people are like that.

Some personal notes:  Thanksgiving has always been more of a family “special event” and holiday for our family (we don’t treat either Christmas or Easter as religious holidays, for obvious reasons, and so while we do enjoy them as holidays, they are not as important to us), and yesterday was a good and wonderful day.

Mama’s Note: I seriously doubt many of our readers would understand why you don’t consider Christmas or Easter as “religious holidays.”  🙂 I don’t consider them “religious holidays” either, but that’s simply because I don’t believe in any religion.

All of our newly-expanded family (six humans, six cats) were present, together with three members of one of our closest family of friends and brethren.  It came at a price, of course, but worth it. Five of us humans and three cats arrived here at 4 AM Thanksgiving morning after sixteen hours on the road, including crossing one major mountain pass in snow packed and snowing conditions, a near-encounter with two Black Angus cows on the fog line of a nighttime highway, and dealing with two idiots driving pickups on the flats of the San Luis Valley that drove like they were drunk (but were not).  As as usual, it was at least partially a working day for several of us.

Political comment regarding Thanksgiving.  The government-run, tax-funded (“public”) schools have increasingly driven anything to do with unapproved religions out, and Thanksgiving is nearly as abused this year as Christmas. Apparently, the “approved” story-line is now that the “First Thanksgiving” was so that the pilgrims could thank the “native Americans” for allowing them to immigrate to Massachusetts and for saving them by providing them food and vocational education to learn how to grow crops, fish and hunt… Whatever is being taught in these institutions on ANY subject is just one more argument to keep children out of those places.

Which brings me to an interesting case I was reminded of this week.  It was called Wisconsin v. Yoder, and was decided by the SCOTUS Nazgul way back in 1972, in a unanimous decision for which Chief Justice Warren Burger wrote the ruling.  Three Amish families were tried and convicted of breaking the law of the State of Wisconsin for refusing to allow their children to go to the “public” schools beyond eighth grade.  At the time, the State in its infinite wisdom, made it a crime to take your children out of school unless they were sixteen or older.  The Amish fought on First Amendment issues, as they believed that the education and indoctrination, as well as the social setting, of high school was an attack on their religious beliefs.  By modern standards, the decision was amazing; the fact that it was unanimous by the infamous Burger Court even more so.  The contrast to decisions in the last decade is startling, to say the least.

One item in the news this week leaves me scratching my head. Fox News reports that a school in Utah is apologizing for a homework assignment given to middle school students to make up a fake propaganda poster for ISIS (the Caliphate).  This seems to me to be a useful technique for teaching children of that age, and I do not see it as something which will turn them into rabid Islamist terrorists, which seems to be the idea the parents who screamed bloody murder about this are pushing. If we cannot understand HOW propaganda works and is made, will will be more susceptible to it.

Mama’s Note: I only read a little about that, but it seems to me to be as dangerous as anything else taught in government schools. They can’t get MATH right, for pity sake, so I don’t know how they’d succeed teaching the truth about propaganda. It would be nice if they could, but I’d not trust the “public schools” to teach breathing.

Here during Thanksgiving week, BEFORE the madness of Black Friday, this news is a bit of a wake-up call or should be. Empty shelves?  All over the world, except in Asia?  Zero Hedge reports that global shipping has again taken a sharp hit. Fewer cargos are being shipped, and shipping rates (prices) are dropping in response to declining demand.  That means that businesses are shipping less and less, although the holiday season in North and South America and Europe is upon us.  This could mean more empty shelves (and less sales) in Wal-Mart and Family Dollar and Target and even Krogers and Safeway.  Makes you wonder how much of this is a response to the public release of the horrible terms and conditions of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is SUPPOSED to be about free trade and seems to be anything BUT.

Mama’s Note: I have not noticed empty shelves, except years ago at WalMart on “welfare check day” once… I learned not to shop then. I actually went to town yesterday after dinner to snap up a sale item at the mercantile store, and there were plenty of shoppers. The shelves were full and the prices were terrific.

What I have noticed in the last few years is that the selection is becoming ever narrower, with many sizes and varieties no long offered. The toilet paper and napkins are shrinking, as are the cans of soup and a great many other things – usually at the same or higher price. None of this is the fault of the manufacturers, really, just a desperate attempt to keep things flowing without serious and sudden increases in price. Not sure what can be done with a one inch wide (eventually) roll of toilet paper, but I guess we’ll find out unless they find a better strategy…

After Paris and Mali, no new horrific attacks in the West by terrorists, and they finally regained a bit of sanity in Brussels.  The response in Syria and Mesopotamia, though, continues to be incredibly stupid and counter-productive.  As it is elsewhere.  Mama Liberty found this one: DC Police Chief: ‘Best Option’ Is For Citizens To Take Out Paris-Style Attackers, as passed on to us by Breitbart.

Mama asks, Just what is it they are supposed to fight with… bare hands?  I suppose, it being DC, the answer is yes.  And the reason might be that it is in government’s interest to run up the death toll, and “demonstrate” that the mundanes cannot defend themselves: the wolves of the state must be the ones to do it. Certainly, given DC’s track record, anyone in a DC situation with terrorists who dared to pull out a pistol and fire rounds at a gunman will find themselves in court facing charges of illegally owning bullets, having the gun, AND terrorism, as well as civil charges for every dead or wounded attacker, even if the attackers killed themselves with suicide vests (Your honor, it was fear of this man shooting at them with his illegal weapon that made them blow themselves up.)

Mama’s Note: And, since there wasn’t a “terrorist” attack, they had to gin up the fear somehow. Fox News reports: FBI using elite surveillance teams to track at least 48 high-risk ISIS suspects. More “justification” to use all of the illegal and immoral tracking and spying technology, and attempt to extort even more money and technology to do it with.

Of course, SOME people don’t care if they are breaking the law when it comes to defending themselves, and even others.  Russia Today [] reports that Sicilian-American mobsters in NYC have offered the Big Apple protection from the “psychopathic” ISIS (Caliphate).  Leaving aside cracks about how it takes one to know one, this makes perfect sense.  A mob boss has given the Islamic State a stark warning, saying if they are planning any attacks in New York, they will have to contend with the Sicilian mafia. The notorious crime syndicate say they want to do their bit to protect locals.

Giovanni Gambino, the son of a key figure in the Gambino mob organization, says the mafia is in a much better position than security bodies, such as the FBI or Homeland Security, to give New Yorkers the protection they need.  Gambino is right, of course, and for many reasons he is too tactful to mention. For all its MANY faults, the Mafia IS a free-market organization, and mostly funded by the (theoretically) voluntary transactions for drugs, gambling, prostitution, and other enterprises. (I realize that is a generalized statement, and that there are many evils besides the basic sin activities that the mob does.) But the non-governmental organized crime syndicates (especially in the many Northeastern urban areas where they are strongest, like NYC and Boston and Philly and Scranton and Pittsfield and Trenton) have a reputation of providing “government services” more reliably than the actual city governments. It is worth a longer discussion, and I am far from the first to point that out: there is little or no difference between MANY government programs and the “shadow government” programs offered by the mob: the numbers racket, protection money, street maintenance, and much more.

Mama’s Note: The only answer is the complete repeal of all “laws” prohibiting (or licensing) such things as drugs, gambling and prostitution. If people think these are a “sin,” they are welcome not to indulge. Nobody has legitimate authority to prohibit anything but the initiation of force, however. Peaceful trade and voluntary association in a free economy would do what governments have never really wanted to do… eliminate the mob, and “crime families” would soon be history.

About TPOL Nathan

Follower of Christ Jesus (a christian), Pahasapan (resident of the Black Hills), Westerner, Lover of Liberty, Free-Market Anarchist, Engineer, Army Officer, Husband, Father, Historian, Writer, Evangelist. Successor to Lady Susan (Mama Liberty) at TPOL.
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