Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Like a really big banana republic.

Meanwhile, one really does have to wonder if laws really matter. If it is acceptable for people to illegally cross our borders (and even reward them as was done in 1986), for corporations to defraud their clients and for the government to exempt itself from prosecution for any number of offenses, why should we have to worry about their rules on speeding or gambling or what weapons I can own…or anything else?
It's been getting more and more banana republic-y around here of late. Even the socialism isn't as good as it used to be. Sure, FDR was pinker than a carnation, but at least he had that whole organized Il Duce vibe going on. For the last thirty or forty years, though, everything's been getting ever more slapdash and make-it-up-as-you-go.

Every crisis begets a new government bureau with rules so arcane nobody can understand them and nobody's going to comply properly anyway, since they'll be enforced only in the most whimsical and arbitrary way.

Why don't we just start dressing census workers and TSA inspectors like Turkish field marshals or Peruvian train conductors and familiarize ourselves with the concept of the mordida and get it over with?

37 comments:

Old NFO said...

Um... I 'think' we are closer to that than anyone wants to admit... And with the NRA getting it's "exclusion" from the free speech bill, they're now on the sidelines, so we (bloggers) potentially are under the gun next.

Bram said...

Every generation seems to think things are falling apart and getting worse.

I had the misfortune of being a history major and spent an entire semester on FDR. The guy was as slapdash and make-it-up-as-you-go as anyone in history. He just had a much better personia than Obama and no internet to correct the fawning MSM.

His approach to the recession was to throw random government programs at it. When they didn’t work, he dreamed up different government programs that didn’t work either. He tried everything except less government and lower taxes.

John Stephens said...

I would also point out that FDR ultimately had WWII to bail him out, and cover his mistakes. Not a particularly comforting precedent.

Joel said...

Maybe a non sequitur, but this bit from the Turley article stopped my reading momentum:

With polls showing about 60% of people supporting the Arizona law and almost half supporting similar laws in their states, it is implausible to suggest that all these people are racists or extremists — let alone fascists.

Do your poll numbers determine whether you're a fascist? I'd remind him that Il Duce, who pretty certainly was a fascist, was wildly popular in Italy until the Allied invasion and his eventual encounter with a lamppost. Was he not really a fascist while he was popular?

Brian J. said...

Perhaps Obama's genius lies in his foreign policy, which might lead to a world war to bail the US economy out.

DirtCrashr said...

Definitely got a more greasy Huey Long feel to it, more clammy than the Patrician stiff and pseudo-folksy FDR - and more Czars in the window-display than imperial Russia at Christmas.

Anonymous said...

"Like a really big banana republic"

Worse.

It's a whole bunch (heh) of little banana republics, as you recognized here: "Every crisis begets a new government bureau"

Now, being from the real (Southern) part of America, I'm all for decentralization and "home rule"...but we're going in the exact opposite direction of home with this orgy of bureaucracies.

Instead of one giant sucking black hole, now we've got a whole slew of tiny ones from which reason, logic, and money can never escape.

AT

Anonymous said...

"Why don't we just start dressing census workers and TSA inspectors like Turkish field marshals or Peruvian train conductors and familiarize ourselves with the concept of the mordida and get it over with?"

Perhaps that would get more people to participate in the Census. But, we can't count all the hoi polloi or they'll start ... voting!

Ulises from CA

Earl said...

Saw a Police Car yesterday from the Veteran's Administration - why? Maybe the security detail from the VA hospital. I was sure they didn't have a police force when I was younger, do they have jails and judges, too?

Außenseiter said...

As John Walker wrote in 1992.. "one evil empire down, one to go.."

Tam said...

Außenseiter,

I bet if you try really hard you could come up with something more laughably simplistic. We're pulling for you!

(As I once remarked to a friend of mine trying to make a moral equivalency of the treatment of the Juden and the Nisei in the '40s: "The difference between Auschwitz and Manzanar is that you could exit one of them without passing through the chimney. There are degrees of Wrong, which is why we give different sentences for speeding and murder.")

Anonymous said...

"There are degrees of Wrong"

Right.

AT

Noah D said...

"one evil empire down, one to go.."

PRC? The Norks? Islamic Republic of Iran? Canada?

Charles Pergiel said...

Canada!

Sorry, couldn't resist.

Außenseiter said...

I'm not exactly convinced by his argument, but he probably did have his reasons for re-locating to Switzerland. Not just taxes, he's one of the founders of Autodesk,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Walker_%28programmer%29

//
I know it's a rather simplistic, but then, during my lifetime, US of A has been failing rather spectacularily at being a "good empire". Or at least a republic.
First it was friendly to Saddam, then it had to boot him from Kuwait. It also sold weapons to Iran, to found a not very nice guerrila fighters in Nicaragua.

Then it did nothing about the Rwanda Genocide, but later bombed Serbia to stop what arguably wasn't a real, live, genocide. Then it invaded Iraq, and the justification was "weapons of mass destruction".
Which weren't found there. They could have given UN weapons inspectors a few more months. (they asked for extra time).
Darfur? What Darfur? Doesn't matter that the Sudanese gov't has probably killed a few hundred thousand innocents there. That could've been stopped had US convinced the UN security council to allow it to send a few brigades of infantry for aggressive peace-keeping duty there. The Janjaweed wouldn't dare attack so brazenly then.

About the only right thing US did was ousting the Taliban, though, the follow-up hasn't been stellar. Then, I doubt anyone could do much better in such a hellhole.

Then it wrecks the global economy because of it's reckless monetary policy. If it's not evil, it's a consummately blundering empire, at least.

@Noah D
I'm kind of wondering why he didn't include China. US does torture and kill innocents, but China probably does more of it and opresses it's population quite brutally.
At least it doesn't project an air of smug moral superiority, like certain Americans.
(though, it tends to not do so abroad, which counts a little).
So far, US hasn't stooped to dissecting dissidents and selling their organs.
Let's hope objectivists don't get to govern, they would probably see that as fit punishment for treason.(plus, it's profitable)

Really, I'd be feeling much more secure if instead of United States and China, there were dozens of smaller countries. Likelihood of getting detained erroneously, shipped to Afghanistan, tortured for 10 months, then released without even a fucking sorry would probably decrease. Also, if there were smaller states instead of the one huge USA, perhaps the world economy would've been more resilient. US has been abusing the position of the dollar as a reserve currency..

It's a crapsack world anyway.

Anonymous said...

The kid's right. We have blundered so badly as self-appointed and sanctimonious savior of the world that what we need to do is eliminate any and all presence and support outside our own territory, except as necessary for our own direct protection and benefit.

The peoples we help hate us because we don't help them enough. The enemies of the peoples we help hate us because we helped their opposition. And the irrelevant societies of the world hate us because...well, because they're not us. Fuck 'em all. They, and us, need to concentrate on makin' it or breakin' it without outside intervention or intervening.

Is anyone else reminded of a kid peering through the window of an ice cream parlor at the other kids enjoying their treats and he can't have one? "I hate ice cream anyway! (sniffle)". Aubenseiter eh? That says a lot.

wv: bilatera...hell, no; unilatera all the way.

AT

Außenseiter said...

@AT

I chose that nickname because I'm not your average guy in terms of sociability. I just don't care enough to pretend that I'm someone I'm not in order to be liked. Also, what most people are interested in leaves me bored to tears (football, cars, phones. stupid music, etc)

As to envying Americans? Apart from your cheap guns, electronics and the few bits of pristine nature you haven't managed to despoil, there isn't that much to envy. For me, anyway. Your country locks up people for drug possession... That makes about as much sense as Lost. You have a prison population second to Norks only. (everyone there is de-facto in prison). Sure, you're number one...

Tam said...

And besides, you didn't want that ice cream anyways! ;)

Cargosquid said...

Mordida for census workers....?

Speaking as a census worker....great! Except, that we ain't go no power. Tell us to go and we go. So, how about pity money?

Billy Beck said...

"We have blundered so badly as self-appointed and sanctimonious savior of the world..."

We did that in 1945 at the latest. My first count in the indictment is Poland.

George S. Patton was right, and principles matter. That sort of hypocrisy was always going to be impossible to survive.

Anonymous said...

"We did that in 1945..."

Huh. What happened then?

And please explain in terms an "outsider" can understand.

AT

Anonymous said...

"you're number one..."

Yeah I know, but thanks for the ackowledgement. Really though, the only number one that appeals to me is as in "looking out for..."

We do have doper and jail problems, though it's really one problem...i.e. dopers in jail. I advocate a plan to issue them all getoutofjailfree cards and prepaid tickets to a more enlightened place, preferably one with really nice free treatment facilities and decent housing, food, and dope subsidies. Someplace where they really understand human rights!

As an added boneus, we've got a very charismatic, very politically correct and very experienced in "the art of free" chief executive that we will throw in, well, free.

What's fairly stunning to me is that your young, educated, and articulate self blithely mentions "cheap guns" as if that is something entirely incidental. That access didn't come free, Junior; nothing does for long. A few decades, especially the few decades directly ahead, will teach you that at the very least.

As for the good ol' USA, well, I further advocate that we adopt the Israeli approach and aspire to become the leader of the isolationist hawk world.

AT

Bubblehead Les. said...

Well, so far the only saving grace is that BHO and his buddies are the "Ivory Tower" type of Commie (Bill Ayers being an exception, of course) and not a "True Believer" type who didn't spend time in Siberia like Trotsky and Stalin, or who actually picked up arms and fought like Mao and Fidel. But since I read that there is going to be a new UAV squardron set up near Wright-Pat, and BHO does have access to the "Football".....

Außenseiter said...


And besides, you didn't want that ice cream anyways! ;)

Ice cream isn't a substantial meal for it's price, especially when not bought in bulk(and I don't do that, as eating almost plain sugar and fat and water doesn't seem like a good idea), and I generally avoid eating anything that doesn't contribute much to my daily caloric needs.
For the price of that ice-cone, I could buy myself a pretty decent burger from one of the Vietnamese fast foods.
(It's funny how every non-franchise operation manages to sell big. juicy burgers for a $ here, in constrast to McDonalds, where they give you something that looks like a burger that has spent the better part of the past year on an Atkins diet. To me, the world-wide success of MacDonalds is a mystery)

Außenseiter said...

dopers in jail
It's a swell idea. Send kids who smoked dope to jail, where they can mingle with hardended criminals. I believe a felony conviction doesn't help one's employment prospects. So they're more likely to turn to crime after being in jail.

But, it's good for the prison industry at least, meaning, it's good for everyone..

700+ people in jail per 100K. In land of the "free". Delicious irony, methinks.

Anonymous said...

You're a machine, ain'tcha? Smart and prolific as hell but sadly devoid of senses of humor and irony.

AT

Außenseiter said...

@AT
Observation: recent comments by a gun store owner hereabouts have led me to a conclusion that local high gun prices are caused by smaller market size that is more vulnerable to cartels. Exact words of said owner, as near as I can translate them "fuckers have got themselves a cartel, but no one can be bothered to do shit about it"..

Other price differences can be ascribed to VAT tax. Alas, wealth redistribution in a society costs something.

Your society has been abusing the privileged position of your currency to fund excessive and needless consumption, that has brought your nation nothing valuable.

US of A adopting an isolationist hawk position? Who is then going to lend you money to sustain your non-negotiable way of life? You should go more for the "bald eagle" position, as bald eagles are noted for their thieving ways.
http://www.jstor.org/pss/4513320

The "doves" of the world will surely eagerly fund your deficits,

?Machine?
And you don't think you are a machine? We are all mere self-replicating machines, but sadly not artificial ones, but evolved ones. Therein lies the crux of our problems. Once we are no longer born but built to specifications, peace and order will prevail..

Geodkyt said...

I love Außenseiter's typical European attitude --

No weapons of mass destruction were found in Iraq. Therefor Bush lied.

Uh, wrong.

First, EVERYONE agreed that WMDs were in Iraq, including the inspectors (who had failed to actually conduct proper inspections in 12 years becuase Saddam kept throing them out or blocking access to the stuff they wanted to see). Inspections had been tried for OVER A DECADE, with little results, and on-going interference from Saddam. Why continue a failed policy?

Even the Un and the European nations believed - from their OWN sources - that Saddam had WMDs. Even the French. It was UN and EUROPEAN developed intelligence that formed part of the US intel estimate.

Hans Blix HIMSELF reported that the Iraqis had at least 600 tonnes of unaccounted NBC materials and that they were not fully accepoting the disarmament requirements.

Hell, Saddam not only had USED THEM IN COMBAT, but he issued orders to his generals detailing the NBC response to any Coalition attack in 2002 and 2003. His generals (who had used WMDs in combat before) certainly believed they existed.

Lastly, Hans Blik DID find WMDs in Iraq. They locked them up. They recorded the locations.

When Coalition troops reached those areas, the seals were breeched and the WMDs were GONE.

I guess the Zyklon-B Fairy must have come down from Heaven and whisked them away. . .

But he didn't whisk away the individual chemical munitions that keep popping up (often in IEDs) that HAD been in storage that the UN left behind in 1998 and never saw again, he didn't whisk away the 2 tonnes of enriched uranium yellowcake that the post-war Iraqi government sold to a Canadian company.

And he didn't whisk away the two bunkers of chemical weapons and five production facilities that the Iraqi government admitted to and declared in 2009, also stating that these locations were damaged in the 2003 Invasion and therefor were very hazardous to approach for inspection.

It's kind of tough when facts, like the ACTUAL REVELATION OF CHEMICAL WEAPONS by the IRAQI government that has been sitting unnoticed by the European and Leftist communities since they were damaged by the 2003 invasion that was, in large part, an operation to find and destory these weapons that Iraq admitted in 2009 they still have. . .

Außenseiter said...

@Geodkyt
As far as I know, the only WMD's that were found were chemical artillery shells waay past their "best before" date.

Nerve gas apparently decays into relatively harmless chemicals in just around a decade.

As to what Blix said:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/feb/14/iraq.unitednations1

It's his statement to UN sec council.
Your post is mostly wrong.

Anonymous said...

A whole big scientific survey on the evil of greed and free enterprise: "fuckers have got themselves a cartel, but no one can be bothered to do shit about it"...

But as to gov theft (VAT), just acceptance:

"...wealth redistribution in a society costs something."

Meanwhile, in the USA we are:

"...abusing the privileged position of your currency to fund excessive and needless consumption..."

The naivety is just stunning.

Try waving around some of that privileged currency and see how fast that cartel folds; "no one" (else) need be bothered to do shit about it. Then kill that "from each to each" crap and save some real dough.

You can then buy two guns, unless that would be considered excessive and needless...by someone.

Of course, who am I to try to convince you to take our road when we are so busy here taking yours?

AT

Außenseiter said...

@AT

You mean, the soaring diabetes rates in the US are not a testament to needless gluttony? (over-consumption).

The fact that Americans have houses with floor areas far above other countries while people in your country are according to surveys less happy and have less close friends than twenty years ago?

The the number of people using antidepressants or other psychoactive drugs has been growing too. You also have triple the number of people who claim mental disabilities than you had twenty years ago.

http://search.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/ISBNInquiry.asp?r=1&afsrc=1&EAN=9780307452412

[quote]
"...wealth redistribution in a society costs something."
[/quote]
If I had to choose between living in a society where you have to carry a gun and definitely cannot walk safely around everywhere, and where you pay 20% in taxes, versus living in a society that has some redistribution, some welfare, and doesn't have rampant criminality, high incarceration rates and a looming police state and where university education doesn't cost a fortune, I'd choose the 40% taxation one.

Waving around dollars? Why would I do that?
I seriously doubt they'd accept them. More hassle with accounting, the need to exchange them.
Our currency has been appreciating against the dollar for years. And, haggling doesn't work in central Europe. Either you pay the list price, or you'll be politely told to go fuck yourself.

As to the cartel, it is at the level of state gun importing companies. Good luck breaking that.

Tam said...

Soaring rates of anything most often prove improved diagnoses and detection plus media thirst for scare and scandal plus the fact that humans are shockingly gullible = Soaring Rates of __________!!!

"Our currency has been appreciating against the dollar for years."

Like fuck it has.

Anonymous said...

We're fat and gluttenous. We're spoiled but not satisfied and we're depressed and unfulfilled; albeit depressed and unfulfilled as we wander around our badass pads. And we have a bad superiority complex.

"Somebody" has got to fix that shit, by law, by coercion, or by force if "necessary".

I really believe that you really believe that.

Sad.

AT

Anonymous said...

"gluttonous", dangit.

Anonymous said...

As I read that last comment, I saw and fixed my dumb spelling, then felt sick as I realized an edit was required.

""Somebody" has got to fix that shit, by law, by coercion, or by force if "necessary".

I really believe that you really believe that.

Sad."

Edited to add:

"Many here believe it too.

Way sadder. And very dangerous."

wv: skeri...yes, it certainly is.

AT

Außenseiter said...

@Tam

Czech Republic is not using the euro. We have Czech crowns.


Soaring rates of anything most often prove improved diagnoses and detection plus media thirst for scare and scandal plus the fact that humans are shockingly gullible = Soaring Rates of __________!!!

Yeah. So, Americans are not.. fatter than they used to be, on average? They used to be grossly fat too, but no one saw it.

Fuck yeah.
See: CDC data
http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/USObesityRate1960-2004.gif


Or just look for some a WWII period photos, then count the whales in them. Then go out to a mall, take some pictures, count the whales in each and average.

As to diabetes, it's been established beyond reasonable doubt that obesity increases the likelihood of contracting type II diabetes tremendously.

Although, feel free to deny it. I mean, you come from a country where people try to not have their kids vaccinated, and you are also a libertarian.


""Somebody" has got to fix that shit, by law, by coercion, or by force if "necessary".

Did I ever say that? I couldn't care less about US problems.

Though, yes, if I could choose to live in an efficient scientific oligarchy without corruption(a tall order, but we'll get there one day), a country that would be busy utilizing all proven methods at behaviour modification with the aim of achieving excellence and ultimately transcendence..

Fuck democracy. Why should a demented popularity contest be the right way of choosing the government? Wouldn't a lottery work better?
Just look at Italy. A slimy, but crafty guy who looks like an aging, high class pimp who has moved into real estate gets to be prime minister. His chief concern is re-writing laws, so no one can nail him on corruption charges.

Or just consider Obama, for example. Is he a scholar? Is he a thinker? Has he ever managed to achieve anything except being elected president? I see nothing more than a nice suit, a charismatic shell, who really wanted something, then got there, and now he doesn't know what to do.

Geodkyt said...

So, weapons that Saddam wasn;t supposed to have, but everyone said they knew he did have them, magically do not exist, when the contents are old? Old ordnance doesn;t count?

Cool. . . I guess we can tell the Frnech farmers around Verdun to stop worrying. And teh Metro and untility workers in DC who dug up caches of WWI chemical weapons a few years back.

Still doesn't explain the fact that the CURRENT Iraqi government fessed up to possessing weapons and production facilities left over from Saddam, that were damaged during the 2003 invasion. Still doesn't explain the enriched uranium (suitable for refinement to enough weapons grade for at least one bomb) the current Iraqi govenrment sold to a Canadian company, explaining it was left over from Saddam.

Blix REPEATEDLY stated that Iraq had WMDs, and wasn;t cooperating. . . right up to teh point were Bush made it obvious he was not going to just keep repeating teh same failed methods of teh previous 12 years.

Then all of a sudden, Hans couldn't go 180 degrees and claim that there was, "Nothing to see here!"

Given that the UN officials responsible for keeping Saddam from getting weapons, especially WMDs, were, by and large, taking German, French, and Russian bribes to let Saddam sell extra oil and NOT spend the money on medical supplies and food as he was supposed to, I have serious doubts of ANYONE UN official who claims that the corrupt, sociopathic, murdering Thrid World despot they are working with is suddenly all kittens and unicons, and sparkles.

One of the last useful things the UN actually did occurred because the Soviet represntative was having a snit. That was in 1950. . .

The last time the French were trustworthy with regard to the US, they had a friggin' king. As soon as they tossed the Bourbons out for the first time, they started playing games.

The Germans stopped being honest with the US as soon as they realized that the Soviets would not be rolling through the Fulda Gap or the North German Plain.

The Russians have NEVER been honest with the US. But then, they've never been honest with tehmselves, so fair's fair.