America the Police State

America, "home of the free," actively destroys more of its citizens' lives, per capita, through imprisonment, than any other country in the world. It puts people in jail at a higher rate than even communist China.

Based on the latest figures from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Drug War Chronicle estimates that more than 530,000 people were behind bars for drug offenses in the U.S. at the end of last year. Drug offenders accounted for about 25 percent of jail inmates, 21 percent of state prison inmates, and 55 percent of federal prison inmates. The total number of people behind bars was about 2.3 million, an all-time record, giving the U.S. an incarceration rate of 724 per 100,000--the highest in the world, according to the Chronicle, which says we even beat out China this time.

If you have any fondness for the government of this country; federal, state, or local, then you're a fucking moron. I'm serious. Take it to heart; quote me.

Thieves, Thugs, and Mobsters…

...always protect their turf and income stream.


The Supremes

Well, given no choice for actual freedom, I'll take a judicial conservative any day over a commie activist. I'll curse them for their damnable meddling in the private consensual affairs of adults; I'll poke fun of their primitive and childish beliefs in fairy tales; and I'll pray for their early and painful deaths when they conflate their religious moral values and American culture (all conservatives deserve 50 lashes in the public square for that one). But, I'll take them over the utterly contemptible evil represented by the communist / democrat party any day.

Look, as regards politicians, I really hate them all: top-to-bottom and wall-to-wall, as I like to say. But, many conservatives truly hold values of which even they don't grasp the fundamental magnitude. They are so woefully misguided, mixing their silly religious beliefs with objective ethical considerations -- too ignorant to understand that the strength of their values comes not from unverifiable, superstitious assertions, but from the observable, factual, objective nature of man and his inviolable requirements for living a human life.

But I can't have everything, so I take what I can get, sometimes.

Michelle Malkin is probably the best source for running commentary from around the net and assemblage of "important" views on all matters "Supreme."

Update: Frequent commenter Kyle Bennett has a very optimistic take on all of this. I'm not so optimistic, but it was pleasant engaging the fantasy for a while.

Sent Items

This just out, in email:

Me? I just can't and have never been able to muster any energy for this event. From day one, over two years ago. Not a single word on my blog about it, ever.

My view? This is a bit different than Martha Stewart in that she was a private citizen just trying to save her own ass; and what do you expect anyone to do when prosecutors come knocking? It's like asking someone what they'd do if, you know, both children fell in a swift river and you can only save one, etc., etc..

Libby is near the top of the top. It's hardball, there. Those who choose that sort of thing for their lives know and understand that it’s fast, furious, and unforgiving.

He knew the stakes, took his chances, and came up short.

I got no tears.

That said, I just have a problem with this chickenshit way of prosecutorily leaning hard on someone until you can catch 'em in a lie, and then gettin' 'em for that -- and not the "crime" you were investigating in the first place.

My book? There's a big difference between crime (i.e., doing unjustifiable harm to people), and lying about crime.

Here's how it is, objectively: should someone go to prison for lying to me? To you? If your answer is no, then there is not a moral justification in the world for imprisoning someone for lying to the government. Do you grasp all the implications of that?

Myth

From John Stossel's weekly email forwarded by my dad:

By the way, I'm writing another book. It will be called "Myths." Do you have any myths you want me to research and write about?

[email protected]

And dad's follow-up email:

Hey, why don't you come up with some myth's for J.S.'s new book, Myths.

Hey, it's not a bad idea, though judging from Stossel's first book, there's probably nothing I can come up with in the political / philosophical sphere that he doesn't already know about. Besides, the myths that most concern me are the most fundamental ones, i.e., those that the logic of the current macro human culture all reduce to.

For example, isn't it like 95%+ people who believe in a God of some sort? That being the case, it seems to me rather futile to chase around a whole lot of derivative myths (and that emphasized word has implications). The problem isn't the facts of the matter as much as it is mythology, as such.

The core problem and issue is that the "best" mythology is pernicious. That is, it's viral, meaning: it contains within itself all the properties necessary to defend and propagate itself. Forgive my anthropomorphizing, but I hope you get the point.

And the point -- the point that I try to make each and every day -- is that human freedom is about humanity -- man qua man. And, there is nothing in humanity, in and of itself, that requires any sort of external authority, be it the state, the church, your favorite political party, or any or those organizations that send you mailers predicting disaster in our times and begging donations. To accept any such authority is to compromise your ability to discern reality as it really is, no matter your innate cleverness (cleverness only arbitrates winners and losers). Any compromise in that ability, your natural ability, leads to diminished lives -- if not outright destruction.

Much as he might actually sympathize, I doubt John could find much use in what I have to say about myth. He does, after all, have to sell his book.

No Contradiction

The other day, someone wrote somthing about Billy Beck that could just as easily apply to me and others.

I am constantly both amused and dismayed by those who regularly ridicule government, then take some supposed 'long view' of history to justify war, which is merely the ace card of government's stranglehold upon citizens.

...

I have never really understood why he trusts government to go to war, over against those who distrust our government--as much as does he.

I've never spent any real time explaining this. I've always just said, essentially, that it's necessary to "kill the bad guys." That's an imperative, and it happens that the state is the only current practical way of accomplishing such a task. There are all sorts of imperatives in my life, should I desire to live a human life, and many of those imperatives involve dealing with a government that I do not believe has any moral right to exist.

Anyway, Billy went and broad-stroked the whole thing and I encourage you to read it all. Here are some choice excerpts:

At root, there is a crucial difference between the bloody fools running this war and the mindless dipshits who stand against war -- any war, in general principle -- with their strictly amoral demands for peace and no regard at all for the prospect that there really is a right and wrong which must sometimes be resolved by main force. And there should be no mistake that that difference is where this thing fundamentally turns. [...] ...a great deal of opposition to this military episode is founded in the outrage on the left borne of the simple fact that the White House is not occupied by someone commie enough to suit the tastes of creatures like Katrina vanden Heuvel and Michael Moore. Anyone who thinks that these people are really screaming about the war is deluded.

...

The matter of the state security apparat is fundamentally separate from the imperative to kill the bad guys. Read that again, and understand the thirst for blood. I'm talking rationally applied savagery here, kids, and I don't apologize for it: the thing to do is to summarily destroy those who have set out to destroy us, with all the world-original American aptitude for going to the extremity of the thing. Nobody who cannot or will not grasp this imperative is fit for the discussion, because they're simply not coming to terms with reality, and I don't attempt to discuss anything with insane people. There's just no percentage in it.

...

You bet: every time I hear of a dead fourteenth-century throwback, shot down in the streets of some shitty little pest-hole where actual and actualizing human beings would not live beyond the length of a desperation that would drive them out to something better, I cheer.  "Fuck 'em."  That's my motto on the thing.  If they would attend their primitive dirt-scratching in peace, then my attitude would be exactly opposite -- as it is the opposite in the individual cases of people who are not interested to blow me to pieces in order to get their ticket punched into Paradise.

...

Nothing would thrill me more than to see George W. Bush and his whole cohort headed across the Fourteenth Street Bridge and out of Washington D.C. with their shit strapped to the roofs of mini-vans like a bunch of political hillbillies, as long as -- and this is crucial -- it would be the last time such a mess would have to be handled in such a way.

Nobody gets to question my anarcho-cred.  I'm as heavy as anyone in the world, and way heavier than most.

But don't mistake this: just because I hate this government, it doesn't mean that I am not interested in the war.

They are two categorically distinct concepts, and anyone interested to address the matter would do well to handle them competently.

Good, then. I hope it's now clear. No Contradiction.

Up, is Down; and Etc.

For starters, I'm no Great Big Fan of the U.S Constitution, on principled grounds. That said, I coincidentally agree with a number of the general legal principles espoused therein, as well I understand the underlying basis and logic for it and respect the integrity of conservatives who strive to keep it and abide by it.

In the quest for a new Associate Justice, it seems to me that you want someone smart. Someone who can separate fact from fiction and can follow a line of reasoning to its logical conclusion, and by logic, I mean: without any hint of inherent contradiction anywhere. Now, square logic and the plain language of the Constitution with what the federal government has become, in all of its "magnificence."

So it rather seems that what the Court has not received are those of clear and simple reasoning, but rather, those given extreme bouts of obtuse mental masturbation. As such seems to be the case, I have just the candidate for them in police Cmdr. Paul Watkins.

Lynnwood police concede they engaged in "rarely used" tactics during an undercover investigation into a suspected prostitution ring.

Those tactics, which included officers allowing prostitutes to masturbate them in exchange for cash, have raised questions among law-enforcement officials, legal experts and the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office.

Lynnwood police Cmdr. Paul Watkins said he spent a great deal of time justifying the officers' actions to prosecutors to prove that the officers themselves weren't breaking the law.

He'll be perfect. He'll even "spend a great deal of time" to "prove" that up is down. As backup, Bush can check the "legal experts" who are "raising questions." There might be some candidates there. After all, it's a rare mind who can "prove" that a law banning masturbation for hire applies to both the masturbator and masturbatee, except if the masturbatee is a "law enforcement" person who is engaged in enforcing the law banning masturbation for hire. Yep, indeed, we need some "great legal minds" on the bench.

Bunch 'a fuckwads. Don't think for a second that I don't see clear through every single one of you self-important assholes, and that includes you, Watkins.

Via Balko. And just so I don't get email, prostitution -- or handjobs as part of a massage "package" -- are issues between consenting adults and nobody else's business. It's not a question of "legal" or "illegal" (those pricks can all just fuck off, every last one of them). I'm just pointing out the hypocrisy, and what miserable scum they all are. As Radley points out:

So they get a nice body scrub, a handjob, and they get to push around some immigrant women doing their best to make a living.



It Usually Begins With Theft

Want to be right most of the time, with little effort, and with hardly even thinking about it? Just attribute each and every problem you perceive with government to: theft. I can't, offhand, think of a situation where you wouldn't be fundamentally correct.

Billy Beck demonstrates how everyone is wrong about one problem, "inflation," and if you use my simple principle, above, you'll be right. You'll be right, and Alan Greenspan, for instance, will be wrong (Greenspan, of course, does know what "inflation" is, but he long ago sold out his honesty and integrity for the political spotlight).

You really should work through this yourself (here's some help), but essentially, the rise in prices is an effect of "inflation," not a cause. "Inflation" is the government stealing your labor, as well as a portion of the return on any investments you hold, such as securities, collectibles, real estate -- even a portion of depreciating assets you hold. It is, in essence, an additional tax (theft) on virtually everything that has any monetary exchange value. The government does it by printing money that's not backed by something tangible.

This does not mean that the cause of "inflation" is the lack of some backing for the currency, such as the gold standard. It just means that it's far easier for the government to "inflate" the currency without it.

Even on the gold and other commodity standards, governments have always found ways to steal via "inflation." Even in ancient times, with gold and silver coins, the state, in minting coins, would gradually increase the amount of alloy in the coins, stealing the gold and silver they were able to keep out. Of course, prices rise in order to adjust to the reduced amount of gold or silver in each unit of coin.

Do you get it, now? If you do, then you know that "inflation" is merely an euphemism for theft (just like "taxes"). Next time you hear talk of taxes and inflation, think: theft and more theft.

Yes, Indeed

Best single day in the market for me since I began serious short-term swing trading 'round six months ago.

I've learned a lot in that time; won some, lost some, but the last three weeks have been excruciating -- forcing me to refine my systems considerably. I was buying good stocks/options, but my entry timing was often off, I was missing good sell signals so that winning trades often turned to losing trades, and losing trades were not exited early, when the projected reasons for getting into the trade were not quickly verified.

That's all changed, now, and the result has been that my trading the last week has been 100% winning. We're in the sort of choppy market that is the absolute most difficult in which to profit consistently. If you can make good returns in the sort of market we've had the last few months, you'll profit hugely in a clear bull or bear situation.

OK, so, the market was up about 1.7%, today. Here's how I did: out of my 11 positions, I'm up in 9 of them (8 of those are options plays). One position is unchanged from Fiday's close, and I'm down one whole penny in one stock posiotion that equates to $3 for the 300 shares owned. Overall, 6.5% gain on the day. That's better than halfway back from my losses over the last three weeks.

Hey, anyone catch Google (GOOG)? Here's the 5-day chart:

Goog

Friday, it was up about $36 on the day, on the heels of teriffic revenues and earnings reports. But I think it's way over-priced. Of course it's way over priced. It's 1999 all over again with this stock. The question is not if Google will tank, but when. Right now, analysts predict the stock going to something like $420. It might, which will only mean that it'll be even more insanely priced (kind of like California real estate).

I stay as far away as I can get from over-hyped stocks like this. Way too much emotion dictating things -- even though Google, qua company, stands upon excellent fundamentals. Revenues, earnings, growth, management, business plan. All excellent. This, of course, is a far cry from the late '90s when the Wall Street fraudsters (yes, fraud) were issuing IPOs on companies that not only had not ever generated any profits, but in many cases, never any revenues.

Over the weekend, I half toyed with buying one November $340 Put contract for $1,190, just in case the stock dove back down to its $300 - $310 level today. Luckily, I decided to wait to see how the first half-hour of trading went, and by the time I checked, around 10:15 EST or so, it was already trading at almost $350. Had I bought that Put, I'd be out  400 bucks on the trade in one day, plus commissions both ways. Google was up almost $9 on the day, today.

Here's a new Trading Journal Blog by a fellow INVESTools practitioner.

Good Service

It's so nice to get good service. I find that I'm usually satisfied with the service I get, with the singular exception of getting my eggs truly "over easy" at restaurants. Every now and then, though, I get service that's so exceptional that it just merits a mention.

Three years ago last July, we had an in-ground pool/spa built.

Pool

Nice, huh? It's essentially a small pool, about 11' x 7' with a large pool size heater, so I can get it up to 100 degrees in about 15 minutes in the summer, and about 40 minutes in the winter. It was built by Royal Pools in San Jose, California, whose offices and showroom are only about 10 minutes away from us.

About a year and a half after it was completed, the temperature sensor went out, so while the controller would think it's a hundred degrees, and it says it's a hundred degrees, plunging into it in November or December became quite unpleasant.

I actually didn't even think about calling Royal at first. I called around and went to various poll supply houses, like Leslie's and such. All of the sensors they had in stock were different from mine, and it was difficult to be sure that an ordered part (about $80) was the right one. Finally, in frustration, I called Royal to ask them from where I might be able to order it and be sure to get the right one.

So, she says, "Hang on a minute....is the electric gate  combo still ****, and do you still have Rotor?" Yep. "OK, great, we'll take care of it." Got home that afternoon and it was all done. Rotor was safe & sound. No charge. A year and a half after install.

...I'd turned on the spa jets & heater last night around 7pm or so, ate dinner, fiddled around here and there, and then thought about getting into the spa around 9 or so. Even though it had been way more than enough time to get up to temp, I check the panel anyway, out of habit, to see what the temperature is. Instead of seeing the expected "100 Deg.," I see 68. Uh, oh. So I grabs the flashlight and head on out to troubleshoot. Nothing apparent. I cycle all the breakers on the control box. No joy. I believe I've isolated the problem down the the ignitor. The fan stats just as it should, the gas valve opens just as it should, but it does not ignite within the 7 seconds time allotted before the gas valve shuts.

Of course, you guessed it. This time, I wasted no time in calling Royal. Their only question was whether this afternoon would be too late, or did I need them to come immediately. This, after more than 3 years since installation.

Ya think I'd ever use anyone else, or recommend anyone else?