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[P]
The US Criminal Justice System Must be Reformed.

By brain in a jar in Op-Ed
Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:00:04 PM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

America now has in excess of two million of its own citizens in jail, from a population of 286 million (0.7 %). For comparison China ,which most would consider to be an authoritarian police state, has a prison population of 1.4 million from a population of about 1.3 billion (0.1%). This is the largest proportion of any country in the world. Twelve percent of all black American males between the ages of 20 and 30 are presently in jail. A black person who killed a white person is 40 times more likely than a white person who killed a black person to be sentenced to the death penalty. The changes I suggest probably go against popular opinion in the USA, but popular opinion and moral hypocrisy are largely responsible for the problems of the present system.


For the sake of clarity it is necessary to start off by explaining the purpose of the justice system; what should be covered by law and what should not. It is clear that if I lived alone on an island there would be no need for any kind of law whatsoever, I could do whatever I liked without any consequences for anyone else. However as soon as people start to live together then laws become necessary. The purpose the law is to prevent the actions of one entity (a person, group of persons, corporation or the government) from harming other entities or society in general. Where no harm occurs, then there is no requirement for a law; this follows from the idea that people should be free to live with as little government interference as possible. In addition, the law should be in general agreement with the views of the people to which it applies. This follows directly from the idea that the government derives its right to govern from the consent of those that it governs. Thirdly the law should be applied fairly, treating all entities equally, regardless of religion, wealth, color or social status.

The present system fails on all three counts. It prohibits activities which cause no harm to anyone except those involved in them, while failing to sufficiently control activities that cause significant harm. In many areas the law is badly out of touch with the views of those to whom it is applied, which makes the law difficult to enforce and leads of a distrust of the police by the communities they are trying to protect. The law also fails in fairness; wealth and ethnicity have a huge effect on how individuals and organizations are treated by the law.

The True Meaning of Being a Conservative

America was founded on conservative principles; the idea being that the government should interfere in the private lives of its citizens to the minimum extent possible. Today the idea of conservatism is too often misused. Advocates of low taxation, and of gun ownership often refer to the ideas of minimal government, and of personal freedom, but they almost always fail to be consistent in applying the idea to other issues. The legalization of drugs is for example in line with the concept of minimal government, because drug use causes no direct harm to other individuals. It is true that drug addicts are responsible for a great deal of crime, stealing to feed their habit. This is however not a valid reason to prohibit drug use. Theft, not drug use, is the crime. To argue otherwise is analogous to banning gun ownership because some gun owners use their guns to kill people. Murder is a crime and the law rightly prohibits it, but owning a gun, even if it makes it more probable that you will kill someone, is not a crime. The idea of minimal government is also completely at odds with laws that govern consensual sex. The state laws of Texas which prohibit homosexuality and the purchase of most sex toys are a huge infringement on personal freedom and obviously sex between consenting individuals does not harm any third party. A more trivial example, but one that is symptomatic of the problems of the legal system is that skateboarders are persecuted by the police for what is, when you think about it, a rather harmless activity. Despite being known as "The Land of the Free" America lags behind most European countries in terms personal freedom (any Americans who try to disagree with this had better have lived in Europe for a while, if you haven't you have no idea). It is not the job of the law to ensure that people conform to social norms, or to inflict the moral standards of the majority on all members of society, it is purely to prevent harm to third parties.

It is Time to End the War on Drugs

If there is one aspect of US law that requires urgent reform it is drug law. The war on drugs which, was started as an election issue by President Nixon in 1968 has now been running for more than three decades, and yet it has achieved none of its goals. Drug use has in the USA has risen, 21% of the 2 million citizens now in American jails are there for drug offenses. The US government has for years put pressure on the governments of Columbia and Bolivia to crack down on growers of the coca plant, from which cocaine is made. Soldiers are sent in helicopters to spray fields with herbicides, leaving poor people without a livelyhood and frequently destroying food crops and natural vegetation. This policy has done nothing to stem the flow of cocaine into the US but it has made America so unpopular within coca growing countries that many travel guides advise English-speaking visitors to stitch British flags to their bags for safety.

The policy of prohibition of drugs is as much of a disaster as the prohibition of alcohol was, many of its effects are similar. Because drugs are illegal the vast amounts of money which are made by the drug trade go into the hands of criminals, making them powerful. The government are quick to tell the American public that by buying drugs we support terrorism, if drugs could be obtained legally this would not be the case. It is clear that if drug prohibition was ended entirely tomorrow huge problems would occur. A good deal of education would be necessary to ensure that the population was capable of making rational decisions on the subject.

Some degree of liberalization is however entirely necessary. The use of marijuana is widespread in the USA. Its health effects are similar to that of cigarette smoking (increased risk of lung cancer and respiratory disease), it does not produce physiological addiction (nicotine does) and produces less dependency than alcohol. Despite these facts huge amounts of policing effort goes into attempts to control marijuana use. This is not only a waste of resources, but it also turns huge numbers of otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals. Also critically it naturally leads to conflict between the police, and those groups of people for whom marijuana use is common (students, skateboarders, musicians etc.); this loss of contact between the police and the community of course makes police investigations much harder. Because marijuana is illegal pot smokers have to go to dealers to get it, this increases their exposure to hard drugs, which they are more inclined to experiment with because the legal line has already been crossed. This is made worse by government propaganda against marijuana use, once people try it and find out for themselves that it is no more harmful than nicotine and alcohol, this causes them to doubt the information they have been given about hard drugs. By taking an unreasonable line on marijuana the government loses credibility.

Policy on hard drugs, has been driven not by practicality, or concern for citizens, but by moral outrage. Successive governments have steadily increases sentences for drug offences, in an attempt to prove that they are tough on drugs, and by implication tough on drug users. The politicians and the electorate are in denial about the extent of drug use, they compete to see who can be the most outspoken in their condemnation of the evil drug users, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the drug users are in fact their own sons and daughters. In a parallel with the reluctance of many republicans to allow effective sex education, they look the other way and pretend that it isn't happening, they try to claim the moral high ground, while the children suffer in ignorance for their hypocrisy. Instead of denial and hypocrisy we need a drug policy that recognizes that addicts are human beings just like the rest of us, and that they need help.

Dutch experience for example has shown that providing heroin addicts with a daily fix, which they take under supervision, massively reduces the problems caused by heroin addiction. Addicts no longer risk AIDS and hepatitis from dirty needles, and the collapsed veins which impure heroin causes, they no longer need to steal to feed their habit and can often hold down day jobs and so no longer claim welfare. The drug itself is cheap, and is commonly used for the relief of severe pain, its medical name is diamorphine. The cost to the taxpayer for such a scheme is small, and the savings in medical costs and reduced crime are huge. A similar approach is entirely possible for other addictive drugs such as cocaine, and in fact such a system where doctors could give addicts the drugs they needed was in place in the UK for the first half of the 20th century, until it was destroyed by the 1971 misuse of drugs act, a mistake which is only now starting to be reversed. The solutions to the problem of drug addiction start with compassion, which those on the religious right should remember, is a key Christian value.

Does the USA Really Need More Than 800000 Police?

According to official figures from the department of justice (DOJ) in the year 1999 the USA had 848000 full time police officers, which is 3 for every 1000 people. Again we can compare this to everyone's favorite police state China which had 1,484,000 (data from US-dept. of justice) police officers for a population of 1.3 billion which is about one officer per 1000 people. Or if that is a bit abstract, compare an average UK university to an average US university. The university of East Anglia (Norwich UK) has about 7 security staff (private security there is no police presence), of those several are near retirement age. The chief duties of these security staff are preventing vandalism, dealing with fire alarms, and helping students who manage to lock themselves out. The security staff are generally well liked and do a good job. Compare this to a typical US university (University of Maine), which has its own police station, and around 30 full time officers who appear to spend the majority of their time trying to combat under age drinking (another victimless crime) by searching cars for alcohol when they come onto campus, and generally hassling people. In contrast to the security guards in the UK the campus police are not well liked and the U-Maine department of public safety (police force) is known to the student as the department of public nuisance. This story is a microcosm of what is happening all across the USA, an excessive amount of effort is being spent pursuing people for victimless crimes, and the chief result is that the police loses the trust of the public making it more difficult for them to solve more serious crimes.

Fairness

If you take time to look at a statue of justice, she has two distinguishing features. A set of scales which symbolize the weighing up of right and wrong, and she is blindfolded symbolizing the equality of all before the law. At present the US justice system is so far from this idea that no one outside the legal profession even pretends that it exists. In far too many cases, money is the deciding factor in dealing with the legal system. Money buys the best lawyers, as well as teams of private investigators, researchers and expert witnesses. Time and again in capital cases inexperienced public defenders have to go up against a more experienced and better funded prosecution team, leading to miscarriages of justice. The huge effect of wealth on the workings of justice means that in practice the rich can get away with crimes, provided that the victims are poor.

In the case of corporations, there is some balance since law firms will often pursue class action suits free of charge in exchange for a share of the damages claim. But even this avenue of control over corporate wrongdoing is being closed as the present government pursues reform of the laws governing damages claims (Tort reform). Most recently, gun manufacturers were granted immunity from prosecution and it is likely that this will be extended to other businesses in the future, leaving corporations free to kill or injure their customers unhindered; a fact which is likely to change their behavior for the worse since legal costs are presently an important factor in business decision making. In fact, the extent to which big business has had (and largely continues to have) a free hand to flout the law is shown by the recent rash of corporate fraud. Years of under-funding of the securities and exchange commission (SEC) left far too much leeway for corrupt business practices, which have damaged the economy and left thousands of people short of a pension. Although SEC funding has been increased recently it is still tiny compared to the resources which business will undoubtedly put into avoiding legislation. Meanwhile environmental legislation designed to protect US citizens from being poisoned is being steadily eroded, as the present administration allows the industry to fill the regulatory bodies, which are supposed to police them with their own advocates. The most recent example of this being the control exercized by the lead industry over who should be on the committee that decides safe levels of lead exposure, and it would be naive to suggest that this will not lead to a slackening of standards.

So, with this bleak picture how can fairness be achieved. Perhaps the only way to reduce the effect of wealth on the justice system is to place limits on the amount of resources which any single plaintiff or defendant can use. Perhaps we could start by limiting the number of lawyers to one per person, expert witnesses should be available to both sides in a case with the state paying them some minimal level of compensation for their time. This would prevent the wealthy from scouring the world to find an "expert" who is willing to testify to whatever is necessary for their case. In capital cases their should certainly be a parity between the amount of resources available to the prosecution and defense (the defense should have at least as many resources available to them). These reforms are very unlikely to be implemented, as they go against the interests of the rich and powerful, who are very well served by the system as it stands. It is my hope however that one day enough people will understand how grossly unfair the present system is and will demand change and get it.

So to summarize, the criminal justice system needs to be reformed to give back many of the personal freedoms that it has needlessly taken away. It must be reformed to bring fairness back into the system. Until this happens there will always be groups of people within the USA who feel that the justice system is their enemy rather than their protector, and it will deal with these people by imprisoning them in their millions. Its time the "Land of the Free" lived up to its name.

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The US Criminal Justice System Must be Reformed. | 480 comments (454 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
Bad initial premise. (4.10 / 10) (#6)
by Kwil on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 05:03:14 AM EST

Where no harm occurs, then there is no requirement for a law

Unfortunately, this is untrue. Consider such things as attempted murder, speeding, simple tresspassing, and statutory rape laws.  In these cases, perhaps no actual harm occurs, but we still (rightly) have laws against these things.

Laws are not simply about preventing harm, they are about mitigating risk and defining what we as a society consider acceptable.

Because you're working from an incomplete initial premise, a good portion of your arguments and examples are simply wrong.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


Gotta disagree. (4.54 / 11) (#10)
by kitten on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 05:45:15 AM EST

Unfortunately, this is untrue. Consider such things as attempted murder, speeding, simple tresspassing, and statutory rape laws. In these cases, perhaps no actual harm occurs, but we still (rightly) have laws against these things.

Gonna argue with two of those.

First, speeding. I say that speed limits are designed more for revenue collection than for safety purposes. The speed limit should, in theory, be set at the 85th percentile. In practice, the limit is almost always much, much lower. Speed limits are not designed with public safety in mind; they are there to generate revenue for the state. Lowering the speed limit doesn't make people drive slower - but it does mean more of them can be pulled over and ticketed, which means more money in the pockets of the government.

Ever wonder why cops set up "speed traps" on certain roads? Well, obviously, it's because the cops know that lots of people speed on that particular road. And why do lots of people speed on that road? Is it because they're actually driving too fast to be safe?

No - it's because they're driving at a perfectly safe velocity, and the speed limit itself is set artificially low, just so cops can pull people over.

This study was carried out by the US Department of Transportation, and has some interesting quotes:
Prior research has shown that the upper region of acceptable risk is in the vicinity of the 85th percentile speed. ...

In 22 states...posted speed limits were set, on the average, at the 45th percentile speed or below the average speed of traffic...

Lowering speed limits by 5, 10, 15, or 20 mi/h (8, 16, 24, or 26 km/h) at the study sites had a minor effect on vehicle speeds. Posting lower speed limits does not decrease motorist's speeds.

Raising speed limits by 5, 10, or 15 mi/h (8, 16, or 25 km/h) at the rural and urban sites had a minor effect on vehicle speeds. In other words, an increase in the posted speed limit did not create a corresponding increase in vehicle speeds.
The first quote shows how the limits are set to ridiculously low speeds. If the posted limit is the 45th percentile, that means 55 out of 100 drivers are breaking the law. What kind of stupid law makes over half the population into criminals?

The last two demonstrate that drivers basically ignore the speed limit anyway - lower it, and they won't slow down, but raise it and they won't speed up. They'll drive at whatever they feel comfortable with, given road conditions and their car's capabilities.

The government really needs to wake up and find some other way of getting their money (which they waste anyway), than by screwing innocent citizens out of it through such duplicitous means.

Second, the statutory rape law. It's good in some areas and completely inane in others. The same law that protects an 11 year old from being taken advantage of by some sicko, also "protects" a 17 year old from having sex with her 18 year old boyfriend. Or for that matter, two 15 year olds. People mature at different rates, obviously - but the law does not take that into consideration. I know plenty of 16 year olds who are fully responsible enough and mature enough to deal with sex. I know plenty of 40 year olds who are not.

The law is a ham-fisted, sweeping approach, and is usually used not for protecting children, but as a means of revenge for pissed-off parents to attack the evil high school kid who dared to defile their daughter.

Laws are not simply about preventing harm, they are about mitigating risk and defining what we as a society consider acceptable.

The laws are not made by society. Legislators are elected by the people (at least, the ones who aren't so disillusioned and actually bother voting, which is usually around 30%), but after that, they operate more or less autonomously. They do not have to answer to the people, or ask the people they represent what they think.

At the risk of sounding like some ranting indymedia type, the fact is that laws are made, in general, by wealthy, old white men, who are more interested in playing with budgets than doing what's right or what their people want. Laws have very little to do with "what society considers acceptable".
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[ Parent ]
Yes, you're right. (5.00 / 1) (#13)
by ti dave on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:14:32 AM EST

Stay the hell away from my daughters.

Endorsed by the American Taliban Association
[ Parent ]

One thing, though (4.00 / 1) (#26)
by transport on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:36:44 AM EST

While I agree that the illegalisation (word?) of speeding is at best questionable, I disagree with your premise that it is purely motivated by money. Both you and the original piece fail to mention what some consider the primary task of a government, namely protection of its citizens. Combine this with the argument that the people who built the road and who have tested the capabilities of typical drivers in typical road legal vehicles in typical weather conditions are better equipped to judge what is the safe maximum speed than a driver who is not as well educated and only has a short time to judge the oncoming situation.
 
Now, if only this argument was used more often and with greater sincerity by people who actually had any power to effect changes, we might see some drivers actually pay attention to speed limits :-(

[ Parent ]
If only research and testing was the norm... (5.00 / 3) (#50)
by Happy Monkey on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 12:44:01 PM EST

Combine this with the argument that the people who built the road and who have tested the capabilities of typical drivers in typical road legal vehicles in typical weather conditions are better equipped to judge what is the safe maximum speed than a driver who is not as well educated and only has a short time to judge the oncoming situation.

I think that the "85th percentile" rule was devised from research, while current speed limits are set by a combination of local city councils and federal funding requirements. There are not very many roads in the US whose speed limits are set using input from the road builders and speed testers.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Speeding (4.66 / 6) (#30)
by catseye on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:54:13 AM EST

It's not just about the speed people will travel... that's irrelavant. What's important is the speed at which people will get into accidents, and be able to avoid them.

The average person is able to keep better control of his/her car, with regards to avoiding an accident, at 55mph than at 100mph. At a lower speed, you have more time to react... perhaps only a fraction of a second, but still significant. And as people get older, they need all the time they can get.

As well, as you incrase speed, following distances need to be longer and in some areas traffic is simply too dense for that. In Dallas, for example, traffic can be moving at 70-80mph on the highways, and if you actually put more than a carlength between you and the car in front of you, someone will cut in front of you and take that space. It's incredibly dangerous, and accidents occur all the time.

There's also the problem that the entrance ramps on many limited access highways are barely long enough to allow people to get up to 55mph to merge into traffic at speed, much less 80.

Basically, even in areas where the roads aren't too crowded, the average person is just too stupid, reckless, old, or uncoordinated to be allowed to travel at high speeds.

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

No way. (3.66 / 3) (#100)
by kitten on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 07:02:08 PM EST

It's not just about the speed people will travel... that's irrelavant. What's important is the speed at which people will get into accidents, and be able to avoid them.

Actually, I think that's the only relevent thing. If raising or lowering the speed limit has no effect on the speed people actually drive (as the study suggests), then the speed limit has no use for traffic control - it can only be there for one reason: Making money.

The average person is able to keep better control of his/her car, with regards to avoiding an accident, at 55mph than at 100mph. At a lower speed, you have more time to react

Look, I'm not disagreeing with that. Lower speeds probably are, on the whole, safer. But that isn't how it works in real life. People will drive as fast as they think they possibly can, with a safety margin, because they want to get where they're going as quickly as possible, and the speed limit has no real effect on what the people do.

In fact, the speed limit in these situations can be detrimental. As you pointed out, most people will do 70 to 80 on the freeway. So someone who is obeying the law and crawling along at 55 is actually getting in everyone's way, making them slam on the brakes, swerve around, and otherwise causing problems. One jackass impeding traffic is a much higher safety risk than ten people driving 15mph over the limit.

And, as the study shows that the limit is set at the 45th percentile in many states, I think that proves that the limit is there for revenue generation. That means that 55 out of 100 people are "speeding", which is apparently very very dangerous. Yet the accident statistics don't support this. If 55 out of 100 people are driving too fast to be safe, we'd be seeing much higher accident rates.
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[ Parent ]
I drive 68 on 55 (3.66 / 3) (#244)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:52:16 PM EST

I can't afford speeding tickets. They cost over a hundred dollars in Illinois, where the speed limits on the interstates are mostly 65.

If you drive exactly the speed limit, they think you're carrying contraband and will pull you over and waste your time. If you drive under the speed limit they'll think you're smoking pot and pull youover, even though there is not only a 65 mph upper limit but a 45 mph lower limit.

So I set my cruise control to 68.

I almost never pass anyone. Usually it's a semi doing 60 or 65 (their limit is 55), or an old piece of crap rust bucket.

Most people pass me doing about 70.

However, ever since the rich bastards stopped flying after 9-11, there are always a very large number of brand new SUVs, Caddilacs, Lexuses, and other very expensive cars blowing past me at at least 85.

You're not going to tell me those five expensive cars, blowing past me at 90 with 1/2 car length between them, are in any way safe.

A hundred dollar ticket is nothing to these folks. That doesn't even pay their lunch most days, hell it isn't even an hour's pay. Their $200 per hour lawyers go to court to pay the ticket.

THIS is wrong. If speeding tickets were based on yearly income this wouldn't happen.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

More than spped laws need to be enforced (5.00 / 2) (#236)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:33:24 PM EST

"In Dallas, for example, traffic can be moving at 70-80mph on the highways, and if you actually put more than a carlength between you and the car in front of you, someone will cut in front of you and take that space. It's incredibly dangerous, and accidents occur all the time."

Here too. Don't you Texans have laws against tailgaiting? Of course you do. If that law were enforced- if people were getting warnings then tickets for following too closely, then the speed limit could be safely raised. Which would have you and everyone off that road sooner, lessening traffic, reducing the requirement for ever more roads and lanes.

Except not only do the cops not pull you over for tailgating, they do it themselves!

In fact, a lot of the bad driving behavior you see in civilians you see the cop cruisers doing.

There was a case here in town where a cop was responding to an emergency at dusk, doing over 80 mph in a 30 mph zone, not only without his flashing lights on but without his HEADLIGHTS on! He hit a car that crossed the intersection, and the driver that hit the cop was somehow at fault!

The police set an example for all other drivers, whether a good or bad example.


"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

where do you live? (none / 0) (#327)
by partykidd on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 08:35:24 AM EST

I'm from a northern suburb of Detroit, and the cop speeding scenario situation has happened twice in the past year. If I remember correctly, both times the lights weren't on, both times the police officer was racing to a scene, and both times an innocent bystander was hit and killed.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

where do you live? (none / 0) (#332)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 10:23:48 AM EST

Springfield, the Capital of Illinois

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Which is more unsafe? (none / 0) (#432)
by rantweasel on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 07:03:56 PM EST

The speeding, or the weaving, cutting-off, tailgating, etc?  Sure, if you're in an accident at 80mph you're in a lot more trouble than if you're in an accident at 10mph, but is the speed as likely to cause an accident as other bad traffic behavior?  No.  So why is the speed trap so common, yet the tailgater trap is unheard of?  Speeding is an easy revenue collection point, while ticketing tailgaters and other bad drivers is harder.

mathias

[ Parent ]

Some states... (none / 0) (#74)
by gzt on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 03:35:58 PM EST

...actually have good statutory rape laws that don't make your pathological cases illegal.

[ Parent ]
statutory rape (3.25 / 4) (#78)
by adequate nathan on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 04:27:03 PM EST

In my opinion, we ought to make all sex illegal except for people who can pass a gruelling seven-hour Star Trek trivia quiz, and their chosen partners. This way, all the beautiful girls will be horny, and all the g**ks will finally get laid, consequently shutting the f*ck up about statutory rape laws.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Flawed argument. (3.50 / 2) (#99)
by kitten on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:53:38 PM EST

This way, all the beautiful girls will be horny, and all the g**ks will finally get laid, consequently shutting the f*ck up about statutory rape laws.

But the beautiful girls won't be allowed to have sex, since they probably know nothing about Star Trek, and thus the geeks still won't get laid.

Furthermore your argument has nothing to do with statutory rape.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
dear sir (1.00 / 1) (#107)
by adequate nathan on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 07:51:54 PM EST

Please stop trolling with such flawed, cursory readings of my posts.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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[ Parent ]

Sir, (3.00 / 2) (#109)
by kitten on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 08:27:09 PM EST

I assure you that I give each of your posts the attention they deserve.
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[ Parent ]
dear sir (1.00 / 1) (#112)
by adequate nathan on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:09:50 PM EST

Please stop trolling.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Trolling? No way! (3.00 / 2) (#245)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:59:00 PM EST

Look, I watch Star Trek, program computers, and even have my glasses repaired with a lead from a diode.

REAL geeks wouldn't have star trek questions, they would have questions like "how far is the nearest star? What is its name? Who was Gallileo? What is the value of pi to the 4th decimal place?

But, er, I agree- the girls couldn't answer that anyway. Mankind would become extinct!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

dear sir (3.00 / 2) (#363)
by adequate nathan on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 07:31:14 PM EST

I am a music major and I can correctly answer those extremely elementary questions.

I hope this does not attract you sexually.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Madam- (1.00 / 1) (#368)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 09:33:28 PM EST

I am a music major and I can correctly answer those extremely elementary questions.

Then you are a geek and a nerd. Congratulations!

I hope this does not attract you sexually.

Not unless you have a vagina.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

dear sir (1.00 / 1) (#369)
by adequate nathan on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 10:02:09 PM EST

Then you are a geek and a nerd.

No, I do not wish I were ersatz Japanese; I do not enjoy science fiction; I do not use Lunix; and I am not a libertopian.

Not unless you have a vagina.

Sorry to disappoint. Perhaps you should check the stock at your local pick-up bar.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

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[ Parent ]

Hypocracy in action (1.50 / 2) (#385)
by nanobug on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:58:10 AM EST

HEY! You're a sick and twisted individual for being so hateful to others! tool.

[ Parent ]
sick and twisted (1.00 / 1) (#400)
by mcgrew on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:48:29 PM EST

"HEY! You're a sick and twisted individual for being so hateful to others! tool."

Guilty as charged, sir.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Hipocracy? (3.33 / 3) (#467)
by rmn on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 03:40:09 PM EST

Hipocracy? Is that a form of government?

[ Parent ]
Speed limits serve multiple purposes (2.00 / 1) (#101)
by dipierro on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 07:10:57 PM EST

First, speeding. I say that speed limits are designed more for revenue collection than for safety purposes.

I thought the purpose of the speed limit was to lower levels of pollution. In that respect, it certainly makes sense to force people who pollute more to pay for it. Of course the proper place to do that is probably at the level of the gasoline tax.

I don't have much of a problem with speed laws. It's those damn mandatory insurance laws... And the point system. Screw the point system.



[ Parent ]
Except.. (5.00 / 2) (#110)
by kitten on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 08:52:23 PM EST

I thought the purpose of the speed limit was to lower levels of pollution

Your car pollutes far, far more sitting idle in traffic (which, by the way, is where most people drive - to and from work in rush hour gridlock), than it does at highway speeds. A car is most efficient at highway speeds - the exact speed obviously depends on the car and engine.

But sitting idle, a car is at it's lowest efficiency, and that is where pollution comes from. If the state cared at all about lowering pollution levels, they'd work on increasing and improving traffic throughput and flow, so people would actually get where they're going instead of sitting idle in traffic pumping out exhaust.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
well (5.00 / 1) (#111)
by dipierro on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:03:04 PM EST

Your car pollutes far, far more sitting idle in traffic (which, by the way, is where most people drive - to and from work in rush hour gridlock), than it does at highway speeds.

Higher speeds increase gridlock. Slowly moving traffic will merge seemlessly.

A car is most efficient at highway speeds - the exact speed obviously depends on the car and engine.

The average used to be about 55. This has changed, though.



[ Parent ]
Just so. (5.00 / 1) (#113)
by kitten on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:37:04 PM EST

Higher speeds increase gridlock. Slowly moving traffic will merge seemlessly.

The premise of "speed limits control pollution" is still defeated, though. If the cars drive fast (high efficiency), they get gridlocked. If the cars drive slow, they're inefficient and putting out more pollution.

But during rush hour traffic, which is when most people drive and when most pollution occurs, it doesn't matter anyway. The speed limit is like a cruel joke. 55mph? Yeah, I wish we were going that fast! I left home half an hour ago and I can still see my house from here.

So, when you actually have a chance of getting up to "highway speeds", it won't be during rush hour, and you won't get gridlocked anyway.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
No, it's worse (5.00 / 1) (#247)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:02:16 PM EST

Idling you are at NEGATIVE efficience, and are getting NEGATIVE gas mileage.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

No (5.00 / 2) (#115)
by j1mmy on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:34:04 PM EST

In theory, the speed limit of a particular roadway is an engineering decision based on the expected level of traffic congestion, lane width, road curvature, presence of pedestrians, grade, pavement type, visibility, etc. In practice, politics overrides most engineering decisions, for whatever reasons the politicians claim to have.

[ Parent ]
Small point. (5.00 / 1) (#169)
by tkatchev on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:32:05 AM EST

Until you reach 18, get a job and move out of your parent's house, you don't have any legal rights.

For all intents and purposes, you are your parent's property. (A crude way of saying it, but it is true.)

Your argument would hold only if you hold "sex" to be a fundamental human right like eating or breathing.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Please tell me.. (none / 0) (#320)
by Kwil on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 02:21:41 AM EST

..how people disobeying the law disproves, ipso facto, that the law is there to mitigate risk?

Consider the question: If everybody obeyed the law, would risk be lowered?
If the answer is yes, the point holds.

As for statutory rape laws, again consider the question: If the law was obeyed universally, would risk be lowered?

Now, this is not to say that some particular implementations of the laws may be poor, and there is also a balance that needs to be struck between personal freedom and law, but the point remains: Laws are present to lower risk.

As to your second point, the theory is that what society considers acceptable comes into play in the elections.  Unfortunately, it seems that media has much more influence than what the elected official actually did while in office, I'll admit. But the theory remains -- and my point was specifically addressing the article poster's stance on the theory of why laws exist, as this is what s/he generally judges the examples on.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Er. (none / 0) (#346)
by kitten on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 02:31:36 PM EST

..how people disobeying the law disproves, ipso facto, that the law is there to mitigate risk?

Consider the question: If everybody obeyed the law, would risk be lowered?


Completely irrelevent. My point was that the speed limit is far lower than necessary to reduce risk. On a road where most drivers can do 60mph safely and with a minimal risk, the limit will be set at 40 or 45 - not because it would be any safer to travel that much more slowly, but because the state needs cops to pull people over and write revenue-generating citations.

Most people drive faster than the limit, yet most people do not get into accidents. Therefore I conclude that the limit is set artificially lower than it has to be for risk mitigation.

As to your second point, the theory is that what society considers acceptable comes into play in the elections.

Yes, that is the theory, and it's a completely worthless one. In practice, politicians are elected by slim margins, and by a very small percentage of the overall population. With 30% voter turnout, and a politician winning by 2 or 3%, I don't think he represents the will of society. 70% of the society is so fed up and disillusioned with the system that they don't even bother voting - and that, sir, is a more powerful statement than who the other 30% elects, and a statement that the politicians should be listening to.

Besides, the elected official then acts completely autonomously once he is elected. He does not carry out the will of the people - rather he carries out the will of what will get me re-elected?
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Nice way to completely.. (none / 0) (#348)
by Kwil on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 02:55:11 PM EST

..ignore the main point of my message.

I wasn't commenting on implementation.
I was commenting on theory -- which is what the original poster was talking about.

So if you want to talk oranges while I'm talking apples, that's fine, but stop trying to use your oranges to prove my that my apples don't look right.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Oh please. (none / 0) (#355)
by kitten on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 04:37:30 PM EST

The original post stated, in effect, that we have many laws in place where there probably is no real victim, but the laws are good anyway and serve a purpose.

I countered by showing that the laws were not good, did nothing beneficial, and only served as revenue generation for the state.

What is your issue?
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
however (5.00 / 1) (#86)
by RJNFC on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 05:35:01 PM EST

Many of the arguments still hold true, because simply outlawing, say drugs or underage drinking, could be a much riskier thing to do than some of the other ideas for dealing with them which are proposed.

For example, if you outlaw underage drinking, there is a tendency to sneak around. If you have a person who drank way too much it would be better if they were simply taken to a hospital instead of MAYBE taken to the hospital and MAYBE not because their friends are too scared of being caught. This also is the direct cause of people doing that retarded 21 shots on their 21st birthday thing which would not be an issue if it wasn't some sort of arbitrary line.

In this instance, as with several others that were mentioned, outlawing the activity across the board simply means people will do it in secret, sometimes at a GREATER risk, and that law enforcement will be busy trying to catch them when they are doing little harm. This means that leaving those actions legal would reduce the risk which as you correctly stated is the whole idea. You are right in saying that the "no harm... no law" idea is incorrect but keep in mind that the basic premise of the article and many of the points still hold true.

[ Parent ]
Almost... (5.00 / 1) (#248)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:09:26 PM EST

Make it illegal to provide a minor with drugs or liquor, and let his/her parents deal with the kid if they're caught. Make supplying liquor or smokes to kids under 18 a jailable offense, not some silly little slap on the wrist fine.

Minors aren't adults and aren't mature enough to make that kind of decision.

If they ARE, then get these two teenagers out of my house! AARG what expensive slobs...

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Explanation for fewer prisoners in China.. (4.00 / 11) (#11)
by StephenThompson on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 05:54:22 AM EST

See, 'deviant' people are not tolerated by the Government, and they are disappeared.  This I have heard from ex-chinese citizens.

And this never happens in the US (2.00 / 6) (#16)
by brain in a jar on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:56:36 AM EST

Whereas the the recent dissapearance of an intel-employee by the US government is completey different of course.

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Statistics (5.00 / 3) (#33)
by Ken Arromdee on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:23:30 AM EST

The point is that the China statistics are artificially made lower than the US statistics because of the large number of people who "disappear" instead of going to prison. Just saying "the US does it too" is irrelevant--it's not just that it happens, it's that it happens so many times that it affects the prisoner statistics. That isn't true for the US.

(Besides, the guy you're referring to in the US hasn't disappeared in the same sense anyway; he hasn't been executed, and everyone acknowledges that he is being locked up.)

[ Parent ]

We've been over this (2.27 / 11) (#12)
by Filthy Socialist Hippy on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:00:33 AM EST

No more special treatment for whiny minority liberals!  No more!  That was under Clinton, remember?  Come off the goofballs for a while and you might discover that there's a Bush in the White House again.

There will be no more grease for the squeaky wheels.

Understand this, obey the law, or do the time.  Your desires are in the minority, therefore they are irrelevant.  This is not a consensus democracy any more.

--
leftist, you don't love America, you love what America with all its wealth and power can be if you turn it into a socialist state. - thelizman

So poor people are a minority now. (3.50 / 8) (#17)
by brain in a jar on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 07:00:21 AM EST

All the people that republicans like to think of as minorities: blacks, people who earn less than 40k a year,union members, if you add them together actually make up the majority. What Bush calls the national interest is in fact the interests of the business community.

so consider youself told.
 

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

So I keep hearing (2.71 / 7) (#23)
by Filthy Socialist Hippy on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:25:41 AM EST

It's just a shame that more of them didn't get off their lazy liberal asses and vote then, isn't it?

Congress has a Republican majority.  There is a Republican - and a damn fine one - in the White House.  That means that de facto Republicans have a majority, regardless of how many liberals wish they'd actually raised their voices back when it mattered.

Do you understand how our electoral system works?  It's based on votes, not mid term opinion polls.

--
leftist, you don't love America, you love what America with all its wealth and power can be if you turn it into a socialist state. - thelizman
[ Parent ]

Damn fine republican (3.00 / 2) (#202)
by Ublis on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:36:13 AM EST

I should remind you that your damn fine republican is the one basically everyone else in the world laughs at (and that's a LOT of people), including the majority of the American people who actually did not vote for him. It is de mid term opinion polls which show approval ratings above 50%, not the actual votes.

[ Parent ]
no real popular-vote presidental election (none / 0) (#466)
by raptor on Sun Apr 20, 2003 at 09:43:57 AM EST

> Do you understand how our electoral system works?  
> It's based on votes, not mid term opinion polls.

Regardless of what you think, presidental elections are a joke. Your vote doesn't count, it is simply a 'suggestion' for the electorial college. Luckily we do vote-in the electorial college, which is why they typically follow the popular vote.
Eric
[ Parent ]

Actually... (4.50 / 2) (#249)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:21:36 PM EST

Racism and sexism are tools of the rich to keep the rest of us at each other's throats.

People talk of racial discrimination in housing, but I doubt any of these conservatives would mind living next door to Bill Cosby. They wouldn't tolerate living next to hazel-eyed me, let alone some of my white trash friends!

I saw a study about the (now hot topic) school quotas. There are a lot more blacks in college than poor kids, regardless of the poor kids' work or intelligence and despite their race.

Sociologically, a rich black is a hell of a lot bore like a rich white than a poor white is.

We no longer live in a democratic republic. It has become a republican plutocracy. What scares me are the plutocrats who theink they're libertarians.

Oh, and if Bush wants us to "stop talking about class warfare" he and his God damned friends should stop waging it.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Correction? (4.25 / 4) (#15)
by llamasex on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:31:17 AM EST

"The war on drugs which was President Reagan started in the late 80s"

I thought Nixon started the war on drugs.

Howard Dean punched me in the face

You're right, thanks for the info. (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by brain in a jar on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 08:28:06 AM EST


Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Yup (none / 0) (#46)
by krek on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 12:09:26 PM EST

Nixon wanted to be the President who was tough on crime, but, as it turned out, drug legislation was the only crime that was under federal control, everything else from shoplifting to murder was under state jurisdiction.

So, really, it was never meant to be war on drugs, but since an idiot got elected, war on drugs it is then!

[ Parent ]
also (none / 0) (#224)
by puppet10 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:54:06 PM EST

it gave him a way to attack the anti-war/counter culture movement at the time, since many were openly using drugs.  Until the controlled substances act passed during Nixon's tenure the drug laws were dramatically different (in addition to not having a war on drugs) and were individually legislated tax laws and such.  The controlled substances act introduced scheduling which allowed the FDA to determine the legality of various drugs based on their medicinal value and potential for harm (and also created the DEA).  Not surprisingly the most used drugs by the protesters were classed as schedule 1 drugs illegal under all cercumstances but extremely limited and controlled medical research.

[ Parent ]
Funny (3.33 / 3) (#22)
by SanSeveroPrince on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:18:00 AM EST

The fist thing I thought on reading your title was 'DUH?'.

The second though that comes to mind is 'home of the free indeed'.

----

Life is a tragedy to those who feel, and a comedy to those who think


That's funny.... (2.20 / 5) (#51)
by AnomymousCoward on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 12:44:42 PM EST

Because as soon as I read the intro, I knew this was going to be a long, hidden story about why we have to legalize drugs so he could justify his guilty conscience.

Oh, you don't like the fact that people who break the law end up in jail? Put down the pipe and you'll have much less to worry about.

Vobbo.com: video blogs made easy: point click smile
[ Parent ]

trite (1.83 / 12) (#25)
by everhum on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:34:23 AM EST

It's the same tired libertarian arguments over and over again.

Trite (4.00 / 1) (#333)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 10:42:38 AM EST

Well, that's better than the same old paternalistic, authoritarian arguments all over again.

There are "support our troops" signs all over town, most with an American flag stuck next to them- hanging on the ground.

Is this a concealed protest against the war, or against America? Or are they just too damned stupid to know that it is disrespectful to let a flag touch the ground?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

re: China (4.00 / 8) (#28)
by catseye on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:41:15 AM EST

I think we can safely say that there are two reasons there are fewer Chinese in prison than Americans in prison.
  1. The Chinese have the death penalty for many more crimes than America does, and in China there is no lengthy appeals process.
  2. Conditions in Chinese prisons are far worse than US prisons, so the Chinese are actually afraid of going to jail.
Also, I wonder if the labor camps count in the prison statistics?

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
Fear (4.33 / 6) (#37)
by Torka on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:44:28 AM EST

Yeah, because the possibility of going to jail for 6 months for some minor infraction, being raped several hundred times and coming out dying of AIDS doesn't scare me at all. No sir.

[ Parent ]
Jail (2.00 / 6) (#40)
by catseye on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:57:42 AM EST

In the US, it can be assumed that if you're in jail you've either committed an actual crime or you're suspected of committing a crime.

In the US, if you don't commit crimes, your chances of going to jail are pretty slim, even if you belong to a non-mainstream religion or are a politial dissident.

In China, you can go to prison simply for having the wrong politial views or the wrong religion.

Don't get me wrong... I know prison is a horrible place and it's a deterrent for many people... but it's not bad enough to be a deterrent for the desperate, the violent, or for powerful criminal types. I mean, really.. who's going to ass-rape a mafia boss or a 6'5" 300# skinhead? And does the junkie already dying of aids really care?

----------
How can we fight Islamic Fundamentalism abroad if we do not fight Christian Fundamentalism at home?
[ Parent ]

Crimes (4.60 / 5) (#55)
by Happy Monkey on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 12:57:42 PM EST

In the US, it can be assumed that if you're in jail you've either committed an actual crime or you're suspected of committing a crime.

In the US, if you don't commit crimes, your chances of going to jail are pretty slim, even if you belong to a non-mainstream religion or are a politial dissident.

In China, you can go to prison simply for having the wrong politial views or the wrong religion.


In China, that is a crime. The not-so-subtle point that the article was making is that some things shouldn't be crimes. Political and religious views in China, and drug use in the US.

And does the junkie already dying of aids really care?

Yes.
___
Length 17, Width 3
[ Parent ]
Oh yeah? (5.00 / 2) (#251)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:30:49 PM EST

In the US, it can be assumed that if you're in jail you've either committed an actual crime or you're suspected of committing a crime.

Our Constitution demands that bail not be excessive. So nobody should be in jail for just being SUSPECTED of a crime.

As to people being convicted, in Illinois our last Governor stopped the death penalty after it was found that half the people we were executing were in fact innocent, put there by crooked cops and prosecutors (some of whom are now in prison themselves).

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Oh really foo? (5.00 / 10) (#42)
by FunkMasterK on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:09:56 AM EST

According to Amnesty International, China executed about 40 people a week during the peak of its "Strike Hard" anti-crime campaign, which brought the highest rate of executions in recent history.

Now, China doesn't publish statistics on the number of executions, so lets assume those numbers are too low.  In fact, let's assume instead of 40 people per week, they were executing 400 people per day.  That would produce 146,000 bodies every year.

That still leaves over half a million more prisoners in America than China, which has four times the population.  How do we explain this away?  We can't.  It's a simple fact that the US imprisons far and away the most people in the world, at a rate four to five times that of our peers, eclipsing even those "non-free" countries it opposes.

[ Parent ]

Victimless? (3.22 / 9) (#29)
by Kasreyn on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:46:22 AM EST

"...combat under age drinking (another victimless crime) by searching cars for alcohol when they come onto campus"

Well, if the alcohol is drunk while driving a car, it's quite possible for there to be victims: the people the drunkard smashes into.

I agree that we should legalize a lot of this shit and loosen up, but let's keep our heads clear: there are a lot of people out there who are too irresponsible to use mind-altering drugs in a way that avoids harming others. We still need to keep an eye on them.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Reckless endangerment. (4.33 / 6) (#36)
by Hektor on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:33:43 AM EST

Well, if the alcohol is drunk while driving a car, it's quite possible for there to be victims: the people the drunkard smashes into.

The same is true of people who drive while on certain medications.

Drinking is victimless. You do not hurt people by drinking. Doing illegal stuff while drunk is something else - there is nothing you can do in an intoxicated state, that you cannot do while completely sober.

[ Parent ]

To Clarify (3.00 / 2) (#38)
by brain in a jar on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:48:14 AM EST

The alcohol in question was usually not being drunk in the cars but being brought onto campus for later consumption. If any of the people in the car were under 21 this was an excuse to confiscate the drink.
 

Life is too important, to be taken entirely seriously.
[ Parent ]

Drinking (5.00 / 4) (#39)
by Jim Dabell on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:54:11 AM EST

Well, if the alcohol is drunk while driving a car, it's quite possible for there to be victims: the people the drunkard smashes into.

It's also quite possible to fit more than one person into a car.

I think singling out this as an example though is not the best choice. The primary reason why UK university students aren't hassled about alcohol is because virtually all university students are old enough to drink legally (18 years old).

there are a lot of people out there who are too irresponsible to use mind-altering drugs in a way that avoids harming others

People can and are held responsible for errors in judgement like this. Case in point: drink driving. I don't see how smoking something and endangering somebody is any different to drinking alcohol and endangering somebody.



[ Parent ]
Not just a lower legal age limit (none / 0) (#261)
by Arevos on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:09:07 PM EST

It's not just a lower legal age limit. Britain also tends to be fairly relaxed about the whole underaged drinking issue. Most people probably start drinking at perhaps 16 or so, probably sooner. I only really started drinking when I was in University, but even then I was 17 to start off with. It's more up to the people in pubs or bars to check ages, and then they just turn people away rather than over to the law. The police don't usually bother with something like this. I'm told it's quite different in the US.

[ Parent ]
Underage drinking (5.00 / 1) (#54)
by jt on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 12:54:49 PM EST

As I see it, lowering (or even abolishing) the minimum drinking age in the U.S. would require a major societal change -- people's conception of alcohol, their exposure to it from a certain age, etc.  Granted, you will still have drunkards, but the whole idea is to not treat it as something 'taboo' or 'rebellious' so that young people wouldn't embrace it as such, and then go out and get smashed to be 'cool'.  Whether this would actually work in practice is a whole other argument.

[ Parent ]
societal change (none / 0) (#335)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 10:52:54 AM EST

"lowering (or even abolishing) the minimum drinking age in the U.S. would require a major societal change"

Not really a problem- there have been MANY profound societal changes in my lifetime.

Including RAISING the drinking age. It used to be up to the states to determine the legal drinking age. Many (most?) states had drinking ages at 18 or 19, some had it at 21. Then the feds used extortion against the state governments, withholding highway funds unless they raised the drinking age.

Then there was the "sexual revolution in the late 60s and 70s when everybody and their brother were sluts, and then swung back after AIDS cropped up in the 80s.

The America today is a far cry from the America of my youth. And a MUCH farther cry from my Grandfather's day.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

quite possible? (2.50 / 2) (#83)
by dipierro on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 05:08:52 PM EST

Well, if the alcohol is drunk while driving a car, it's quite possible for there to be victims: the people the drunkard smashes into.

Did you know that in the state of New Jersey the penalty for drinking alcohol while driving a car (39:4-51a) is only $200. No loss of license. No points. No jail time.



[ Parent ]
Oh yeah? (5.00 / 1) (#252)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:39:10 PM EST

there are a lot of people out there who are too irresponsible to use mind-altering drugs in a way that avoids harming others.

You could also say:
there are a lot of people out there who are too irresponsible to use bicycles in a way that avoids harming others.

there are a lot of people out there who are too irresponsible to use scizzors in a way that avoids harming others.

So, you're for outlawing scizzors and bicycles too? By your reasoning we should outlaw everything that might possibly be used irresponsibly. I guess we should give up our fire and stone tools and move back into caves!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Sorry everyone! (1.53 / 13) (#31)
by Terence J Crewcut on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 09:59:42 AM EST

I read the title and realized there was probably a trolling goldmine in here, but the article was too long and boring for me to actually read. So any trolling I wrote here would end up being offtopic, at best. Just thought you should know and in any case it's a good thing for me to admit my shortcomings, so thanks for allowing me the space in which to do it.

Great Minds Think Alike (2.50 / 2) (#142)
by KWillets on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:24:20 AM EST

Maybe we could pick different parts, and work on each one separately.

I actually made it through most of it.  Off-the-shelf factoids, with no supporting sources.  Looks like a pretty standard Libertarian talk-through, with some racial justice, legalization, and skateboarding thrown in as needed.

The part about the University of East Anglia threw me though.  Do you suppose it's a secret signal to  terrorists?

[ Parent ]

Some Thoughts on Penalties (3.85 / 7) (#32)
by HidingMyName on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:02:23 AM EST

In many of these countries which are believed to be authoritarian, "street justice" is more frequently dispensed (e.g. killing of drug users) In these authoritarian countries with stiff penalties, the prison life expecancy is likely to be much less than the U.S.

Here in New York state, we have very strict drug laws (the Rockefeller Drug Laws, which account for a large fraction of our prision population. These laws cause problems because there are a large number of "boundary condition" cases which get a stiff mandatory penalty and are not left to the judge's discreetion. I suspect a more effective approach would combine some positive reinforcement for not taking drugs (a good economy would help there), since people who take drugs (in my opinion) are "quitting", that is they don't have a productive goal, so they start trying to kill time. Unfortunately, the "American Dream" of living better than your parents based on hard work and education is not so clear.

Then you must be a quitter (4.66 / 3) (#77)
by Ndog on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 04:14:05 PM EST

Tell me you don't take any drugs and I'll call you a liar. Caffeine, alcohol, ephedra, whatever. Are you telling me that someone taking caffeine is quitting? Please, get a grip. Either be much more specific about what drugs you're speaking of or stop the hyperbole.

Regardless, someone that drops acid on a Friday night and trips all night is no more quitting than someone who plays computer games all night, goes for an all day bike ride, or just about any leisure activity. Just because someone has some leisure time, that doesn't mean the person is quitting on society in some way.

This article is not only about drugs, either. There is clearly something wrong with our legal system when US Department of Justice statistics for the year 2000 indicate that one out of every 142 Americans is in jail. It's not because there are more crimes or more people are caught, it's because of a broken system and stupid laws.



[ Parent ]
Let me help (2.25 / 4) (#84)
by HidingMyName on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 05:09:26 PM EST

If you go up to an average person on the street in the U.S. and ask them to sell you drugs, you'll either wind up buying some illegal substances or you'll end up arrested for soliiciting purchase of controlled substances (e.g. Marijuana, crack, cocaine, opiates, amphetimines, etc.). While the term is not precise (since it can be applied to things like aspirin, caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, etc.) I didn't intend that usage. Furthermore, in the context of a discussion of large prison populations and legal issues, a reasonable person could be expected to infer that it referred to the controlled substances usage. As a general rule I don't take controlled substances (although I do get a fair amount of caffeine, and more rarely a little alcohol), and seldom take medicine without a physician's recommendation.
Regardless, someone that drops acid on a Friday night and trips all night is no more quitting than someone who plays computer games all night, goes for an all day bike ride, or just about any leisure activity. Just because someone has some leisure time, that doesn't mean the person is quitting on society in some way.
When's the last person who had a bike ride make them think they could fly and walk off a tall building? When is the last time you saw a bike rider prostituting themselves or robbing people to support their bike riding habit? When is the last time you've seen shoot outs over gangs over bikes? How many international bicycle cartels are there, and how many kidanp and kill government officiels? I strongly suspect that the answer to those questions is never as bike riding and most leisure activities don't lead criminal behavior.

However, enough about where we disagree, we do agree that there is an unusally high proportion of U.S. citizens in jail. I suspect a large number of inmates are arrested for drug offenses (buying or selling) or drug related offenses (crimes committed during a drug induced lapse in judgement, turf wars over sales locations or thefts to buy the next fix). Changing the laws is one approach, but many of the illegal drugs have serious physiological and psychological consequences. I feel that it would be better to avoid those problems by addressing the demand side and encouraging people to find productive activities. Legalization would reduce much of the auxilliary crime, but would not correct the health care issues.

[ Parent ]

Bah.. (2.66 / 3) (#164)
by mikael_j on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:29:46 AM EST

When's the last person who had a bike ride make them think they could fly and walk off a tall building?When was the last time you could actually prove that someone who wasn't already mentally ill walked off a tall building while tripping on LSD?

I'll just ignore the rest of your arguments since they don't really apply to LSD, they are more hard drug issues..

/Mikael
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

Ignore facts if you must (nt) (none / 0) (#357)
by HidingMyName on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 05:56:12 PM EST



[ Parent ]
If you're gonna reply.. (5.00 / 1) (#408)
by mikael_j on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:49:49 AM EST

..then don't rate my comment as well..

/Mikael
We give a bad name to the internet in general. - Rusty
[ Parent ]

Help him jump, you mean? (5.00 / 1) (#258)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:01:55 PM EST

If you go up to an average person on the street in the U.S. and ask them to sell you drugs, you'll either wind up buying some illegal substances or you'll end up arrested for soliiciting purchase of controlled substances

So, you've tried it then?

When's the last person who had a bike ride make them think they could fly and walk off a tall building?

Dude, if you want to jump off a building, stoned or not, it's none of my damned business. Not that riding a bike is 100% safe, either.

When is the last time you've seen shoot outs over gangs over bikes? How many international bicycle cartels are there, and how many kidanp and kill government officiels?

Never. But make sale and possession of bicycles a felony with hard jail time and declare a "war on bicycles" and it will be common.

Read a little history. During the 20s and 30s alchohol was illegal and guess what? Shootouts, bomings, kidnapping and bribing of police and government officials.

When was the last time you heard of a turf war over alchohol? Yep, when your grandpa was in diapers and my grandpa had a beermaking kit in his barn.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Impaired Judgement and Physical Damage (4.00 / 1) (#334)
by HidingMyName on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 10:51:04 AM EST

My comment doesn't say that reform of the penalties is necessarily wrong. What it does say is that even if legalized, many of the currently illegal substances (I'll call them "Drugs" for short, which I'm sure someone will find controversial in spite of the common colloquial usage in the U.S.) are likely to have negative consequences. You are right that legalization of drugs could remove some of the supply side crime. However, the demand side also creates problems, in particular users seldom reach their potential, have illnesses, and may pass congenital problems on to their children (especially for the harder drugs).

People act like drugs were only invented in the 1960's but in fact they've been around in the U.S. just about forever. Unfortunately, self medication/recreational drug use has only really become pronounced over the last 40 years or so. In particular, it seems to be especially prevalent among teenagers (in high school especially). I grew up during this era, so I can't say what it was like before, but I strongly suspect that drug abuse during my parents teenage years was rare, and there was a lot more social pressure not to take drugs. I can't say what it is like for teens currently, but when I was in high school there was peer pressure to take drugs. Perhaps this is because high schools are just killing time for many students as opposed to moving them toward their goals.

[ Parent ]

In other words... (5.00 / 1) (#255)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:47:34 PM EST

"Drugs are bad, mkay?" -some stupid cartoon character

Haldol? Paxil? Alchohol? Niccotine?

You realize that the USAF requires the fighter pilots to use amphetamines? And for the same reason that they are outlawed in sports? So why are amphetamines illegal on the street? Seems if everybody was snorting meth productivity would shoot sky high, even if the life expectancy would fall to 40 or less.

A plutocrat's dream come true!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I have the perfect solution (2.42 / 7) (#34)
by glauber on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:26:48 AM EST

Take these people who are in jail or going to jail, and offer them a chance to be part of the American Imperial Armed Forces (AIAF, or FAIA as they're known in the Spanish speaking colonies), the greatest occupation army that the world has ever seen. We will need about half of them to keep order in Iraq and Afghanistan, but the system is so good at generating new convictsrecruits, that they will never run out.


glauber (PGP Key: 0x44CFAA9B)

+1 Great article (4.00 / 4) (#43)
by x3nophil3 on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:14:31 AM EST

Although this is a pretty dubious claim:

Because marijuana is illegal pot smokers have to go to dealers to get it, this increases their exposure to hard drugs, which they are more inclined to experiment with because the legal line has already been crossed.

Can you point to any proof of this? It's a common claim of both sides of the marijuana legalization issue, but I've never seen any compelling evidence that it's actually true.

Seems sorta self obvious. (4.50 / 2) (#57)
by Zara2 on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 01:05:56 PM EST

Assuming that weed were legal you could go down to a "coffee shop" or liquer store and pick some up. The propriater of a liquer store is unlikely to be selling heroin or meth as this would cause him to loose his high priced and lucerative licence.

OTOH a dealer does not risk loosing his licence. If he is caught with a lb of weed the sentance is the same as if he also has a few grams of speed on him to make some money on the side for people who like that sort of thing. Also from personal experiance I can say that most weed dealers are barely breaking even. Any extra resource of money (like selling harder drugs) is going to probably be exploited.

[ Parent ]

Not that simple (5.00 / 1) (#64)
by x3nophil3 on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 01:21:10 PM EST

This is self-obvious, but unfortunately that doesn't make it true. It was considered self-obvious that the sun orbited the earth at one point.

I've met two sorts of weed dealers. One sort are drug dealers, who have access to harder drugs. The other sort, and the majority in my experience, are people who deal as a way of ensuring that they have a steady supply themselves. These people don't generally have harder drugs, except mushrooms, perhaps. These people don't mind barely breaking even (actually they usually make a small profit that supplements another income source).

I think this 'obvious' statement is only 'obvious' if you've already accepted the 'War On Drugs' propaganda stereotype of what a 'drug dealer' is. In my experience people who sell weed aren't generally the same people that sell, say, crack.

Which isn't to say that crack dealers won't sell you weed, just that it isn't true the other way around.


[ Parent ]

Weed dealers (3.00 / 1) (#309)
by Zara2 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:56:51 PM EST

I agree with you there. Most of the weed dealers that I have ever gone too just sell weed and weed alone. This doesn't change the fact that these weed dealers have a higher chance of having access to some sort of "hard drug" than a liquer store does. Personally I wont go to a person who sells anything other than a few extra hallucinagens on the side and maybe a little coke. Anything else and I tag the guy as a crazy and stay clear. ;)

[ Parent ]
Proof? (2.50 / 2) (#260)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:08:27 PM EST

You need me to take you to a crack house and prove it? The fact that both sides of the argument claim it is a pretty good indication of its veracity.

But it's worse. Sometimes dealers will get some cheap crap pot that woouldn't stone a fly, so they lace it with PCP, crack, heroin, DMT, and other crap.

I imagine (but don't know) that there are people that will lace pot with hard drugs to stealthily get them hooked on those drugs.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Re: Proof? (none / 0) (#367)
by Norkakn on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 09:27:59 PM EST

"But it's worse. Sometimes dealers will get some cheap crap pot that woouldn't stone a fly, so they lace it with PCP, crack, heroin, DMT, and other crap. "

this is true (though they don't [usually] use the things you mention) and people know find out and generally, people get sorta pissed and then no one buys from the person for a while. (at least that is how it works around here)  Weed is easy enough to find that most people don't feel like taking any of the risks associated with lacing it.

"I imagine (but don't know) that there are people that will lace pot with hard drugs to stealthily get them hooked on those drugs."

I have never heard of this happening.  It is actually quite a bit harder to get addicted to smack or coke than you probably think, and this would be expensive!  Drug dealers are stupid if they are there to make money (and they are the ones who get caught).  90% of the drug dealers that I know hook up friends and friends of friends to smoke with them or to pay for their own weed (i.e. buy a quarter pound and sell 2 oz in quarter bags and then breaking even by smoking the other ounce)

There are a lot of shitty people in the drug world, but with pot, most are naturally shitty and cause harm whether they are using or not.

[ Parent ]

Glossing over the facts (4.37 / 8) (#44)
by duffbeer703 on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:23:26 AM EST

Especially with regard to China.

How many Chinese are in "reeducation" camps? A reeducation camp is not a prison per se.

In most areas of China, Communist party functionaries and the military also performs many police functions, particularly in the countryside. So while China may have 1.5 million policement, they also have a 5 million man army and many millions of party snitches and secret police.

You also may want to compare what police are used for what. Petty theft and street crime is much, much higher in China than most places in the US. IMHO, the most unjust police actions in the United States are usually tied directly to narcotics and gang units.

Your real problem is not with the Criminal Justice system -- it is with the drug laws. And while the Police, Judiciary, and Correctional systems enforce these laws, it is your neighbors and the state & federal legislatures who are responsible for them.

But still... (none / 0) (#156)
by epepke on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:17:18 AM EST

"We're not doing quite as badly as China, all things considered" is cold comfort.


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
Torture in US prisons/SARS/Alternatives (4.37 / 8) (#45)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:32:18 AM EST

There are a couple issues this article neglected. Another poster said conditions in US prisons are far better than in China. I would suggest that is href="http://www.hrw.org/reports/2001/prison">not the case for some subsets of prisoners:those that are white, fair-haired, middle class, openly effeminate and/or slight of build/disabled. That is the profile of a prisoner in the US most likely to be repeatedly raped/tortured-often with the prison authorities winking at what is going on according to Donny Donaldson of Stop Prisoner Rape. This is a mass violation of basic constitutional rights. The problem could be mitigated with simple procedural changes(i.e. those in place in San Francisco)--and virtually elimimated by improving camera surveillance in prisons.

Furthermore, US prisons are a serious public health hazard-spreading AID, TB and other diseases. If SARS gets into the US prison system, the government could easily loose tens of thousands of prisoners.

I would suggest that the reason these problems haven't been addressed: the major authorities in the US are addicted to the power that mass prisoner torture gives them among those populations for whom prison is most objectionable. There is a fundamental need for reform of the US judicial and legislative system--which now largely consists of lying con artists supporting special interests. That situation might be mitigated by a) ending all campaign donations above some small amount b) requiring congressmen to place all personal assets into a blind trust c) cessation of the ability of those dependent upon legislation to serve in legislative bodies(i.e. no more laws by, of and for attorneys)-put lawyers under the status of the "officers of the court" and forbid them from running for office just as judges are prevented from doing so in many states. Judges should be much more carefully monitored than they are now-particularly judges that handle cases that involve substantial financial assets. Other professions that are "protected"(i.e. accountants where the nature of the tax law generates that profession's revenue) should have similar status.

The constitution never gave the federal government authority to have a war on drugs. The original plan was for states to vary quite a bit on areas like this. New York could legalize heroin and Utah could put in place the death penalty for marijuana possession. Folks could then sort out who they want to live near-and we'd see the real affect of drugs on a community.

As far as the penal system itself: the basic problem with the US prison system is that it is very lax for small crimes-and then can be utterly horrible for latter infractions. For countries like Singapore, littering of vandalism is a serious crime with real consequences-corporal punishment. If corporal punishment were offered as an alternative in the US to prison/jail time , we'd see men choosing it--which says something about the present situation.

Federal vs. State Governance (5.00 / 2) (#56)
by duffbeer703 on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 01:03:14 PM EST

Your point about Federal authority over criminal behavior vs. State authority is a very interesting one.

As the nation has grown and communications improved, law enforcement has changed dramatically.

Outside of the cities, there were no organized police in the United States. New York founded the NY State Police in 1918 after a posse of citizens was overwhelmed by a gang of rural bank robbers.

The world has changed since then, in 1918, 95% of Americans never ventured more than 50 miles from their place of birth. Today people rountinely commute 50 or 70 miles and move across state boundaries routinely.

As we as a society have become more mobile, we demand as a society for more consistent laws and law enforcement. The Federal government funds national projects like the Interstate Highway System and uses that funding power to influence local laws. Coalitions of corporations pushed for a Uniform Commercial Code to simplify business and contracts.

The Constitution is a living document that is capable of adapting to changes in society. Our society, like it or not, is consolidating into a more homgeneous one.


[ Parent ]

Reply (none / 0) (#82)
by nomoreh1b on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 04:57:51 PM EST

I understand the changes you are talking about. Still, I would suggest that de-regionalization of the US was quite intentionally pursued after the Civil War-and was driven by specific elites not by any popular movement.

The fundamental question here: Has deregionalization been a good thing? Has centralization really given the American public what they want? I don't think that is really the case. I think much of the public would either like to avoid living next to people with habits radically different from their own.

As we as a society have become more mobile, we demand as a society for more consistent laws and law enforcement. The Federal government funds national projects like the Interstate Highway System and uses that funding power to influence local laws. Coalitions of corporations pushed for a Uniform Commercial Code to simplify business and contracts.

The Constitution is a living document that is capable of adapting to changes in society. Our society, like it or not, is consolidating into a more homgeneous one.

I've seen other reports that on a state by state basis, the US is becoming _more_ segregated(even though the non-white population in the US is becoming a larger portion of the whole).

[ Parent ]

I'd probaly agree with you (none / 0) (#120)
by duffbeer703 on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:02:20 PM EST

I don't know whether de-regionalization is a good or bad thing. Right or wrong, it isn't going away. The issue is something that really needs to be studied.

My feeling about this is that economics, technology and demographic changes have been most responsible.

The segregation that you speak of is not really a black and white issue. The shift from blue-collar manufacturing to white collar office work prompted millions of americans to buy cars and a plot of land out in the suburbs. Those who cannot afford cars need to live in urban areas. Those who can don't.

De-Regionalization is a direct outgrowth of globalism. The only way to compete with cheap Chinese or Indian or Mexican labor is to consolidate and increase economies of scale to lower costs. In order to compete globally, you must increase efficency.

[ Parent ]

Globalism is a con (3.50 / 2) (#147)
by nomoreh1b on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:00:44 AM EST

I don't know whether de-regionalization is a good or bad thing. Right or wrong, it isn't going away. The issue is something that really needs to be studied.

Empires centralize until they collapse under their own weight. Yankee imperialism will be no different in that respect. The question is just _when_ it will collapse.

My feeling about this is that economics, technology and demographic changes have been most responsible.

Politics here are driving economics. The various international trade arrangements mandate that countries can't have radically different tax systems(i.e. income taxes are a religious icon in the West).

There is simply no way that a western country can compete with enormous tranfer programs driven by income taxes and a predatory class of accountant attorneys and other such special interests driving legislation for narrow interests. Japan has something like 1/50th as many attorneys per capita as the US and 1/20th as many accountants.

The segregation that you speak of is not really a black and white issue. The shift from blue-collar manufacturing to white collar office work prompted millions of americans to buy cars and a plot of land out in the suburbs. Those who cannot afford cars need to live in urban areas. Those who can don't.

The stuff I'm talking about is state by state segregation. Since busing became imposed on areas with substantial non-white populations, moving to the burbs doesn't count for much-so white folks that can are moving to states with relatively small African populations. Likewise, substantial numbers of black professionals are moving to places like Atlanta.

De-Regionalization is a direct outgrowth of globalism. The only way to compete with cheap Chinese or Indian or Mexican labor is to consolidate and increase economies of scale to lower costs. In order to compete globally, you must increase efficency.

De-regionalization started with the Civil war-which was followed by legislation that concentrated things like financial and transportation infrastructure in "secure" states--often with quite explicity protective legislation. The US functioned quite well economically with substantial tarrifs and well maintained borders-functioned better IMHO for the average US citizen. Globalism was just a way for predatory corporate interests to mine the national capital stock of the US. The _right_ thing for the US to have done would have been be get serious about technical innovation--not create a vast class of parasitic middle class folks dependent upon legislation for their middle class status. Letting companies use immigration rights as a corporate perk isn't "competing" it is capitulation.

What I would suggest here:

1) Confiscate property of companies that have systematically violated US immigration laws.

2) Deport illegal aliens, with substantial resettlement arrangements to those that have been long term US residents paid by 1) above.

3) Eliminate income and Social security taxes on lower income US citizens(at least to the point of having something substantially over the poverty level).

4) Raise taxes on international trade enough to cover increased defense and public health costs there(which might do wonders for US balance of payments). Stuff like paying for middle east wars shouldn't come out of general revenue--that is a a corporate/special interest subsidy.

5) Raise taxes on industries that pollute substantially.

6) Raise taxes on increase in the value of property associated by the above.

7) Start viewing substantial concentrations of wealth as a more appropiate object of taxation than income simply associated with having a middle class family. (Since much of the source of concentration of such wealth the last 80 years has just been legalized theft).

8) Allow companies and housing developments to escape civil rights legislation by simple payments directed at reparations to the black and native American communities.

9) Put in place substantial prize awards for major technical innovations important for US national security and independence(i.e. something that would eliminated the economic apparent advantage of mid east oil would be worthy of a major prize here IMHO--though once mideast oil users pay the cost of these dang wars that source might not be used anyhow).

10) Eliminate the current system of legal bribery in the form of political donations

11) Classify attorneys, accountants and other professions whose livelyhoods depend on legislation as "officers of the state"-and prohibit them from running for legislative office just as judges are prohibited in many states.

12) Require that the President and all congressme and cabinet official, place all assets into a lifetime blind trust and forgo all payments other than their congressional salaries/pensions(which could be raised to make this practical and geared to the average income in the US). This stuff like president Bush Sr. taking $3 Million from Rev. Moon has just got to stop.

13) Require market-based risk analysis of major corporate policies so that companies can no longer fake profits by passing risk onto the general public(i.e. corporate trade with Asia is largely responsible for US SARS cases-companies engaging in such trade should either be liable or find insurers that can take the responsibility for a pandemic. In that case, insurers would get _VERY_ careful about what they expect of international travelers)--as would companies that sponsor business visas like those used in 911.

This list isn't comprehensive-but it is a start.

"Globalism" has just been a way to transfer wealth on a broad basis from countries like the US to other countries-facilitated by giving corrupt political and corporate leaders a cut of the trade. I don't think the scourge of Globalism will go away peacefully--it will take something like SARS running rampant in New York, Washington and LA to make that happen.

[ Parent ]

Globalism is a Con = NO SHIT! (none / 0) (#149)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:27:31 AM EST

Unfortunately some people will never see the light of day.  I agree with most of your points.  However, there are a few I disagree with.  

You said "3) Eliminate income and Social security taxes on lower income US citizens(at least to the point of having something substantially over the poverty level)."  
     -This is redistribution of wealth; and it does not work.  What you are doing is creating a class of citizens with no tax liability, therefore creating little incentive to create more wealth (or at least report it).  Perhaps eliminating these taxes altogether would make more sense.  

You said "8) Allow companies and housing developments to escape civil rights legislation by simple payments directed at reparations to the black and native American communities."
     -Reparations is nothing but extortion.  (legalized bullshit!)

Other than those two, I pretty much agree with you.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Income Taxes (3.00 / 1) (#230)
by nomoreh1b on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:45:43 PM EST

I would actually be willing to substitute land/monopoly property taxes entirely for income taxes. Now, that is a VERY big paradigm shift and it isn't going to happen overnight quite likely. The first priority in my book is to facilitate broadly held capital accumulation. The kind of capital that is held by someone of low income is generally MUCH more efficient than that held by someone that has so dang much wealth he can't really keep track of it all. Removing income taxes at the lower end would remove the _disincentives_ to work/report income/generate wealth that are quite substantial for lower income Americans--and which the wealthier Americans get around by lobbying for preferential legislation, goverment pork and what not.

Part of the problem here: the major income redistribution in the US is from the young to the old. Social Security was set up in such a way that folks got much more back than they'd EVER put in. The young got wammied with transfer payments and never got a chance to accumulate much capital, unless they were very, very lucky.

The US has engaged in significant redistribution of wealth the last 80 years-from rural landowners and industrialists to corporate/legal/financial elites. I see no particular reason to respect corporate wealth, particular wealth obtained by political manipulation. The important thing is to respect the small holdings of wealth that people have worked hard for and which is broadly held--and set up a system where there is real competition.

Now, the other thing to keep in mind here: just because you eliminate taxes on lower income workers, doesn't mean that those workers will be taking home much--or anything-more. I fully expect most of that income that might be freed up by removing taxes on the lower end will be capitalized into increased property values and corporate equity which is why I favor taxes on concentrations of wealth and property.

As far as reparations: Something is _wrong_ when two identifiable populations(i.e. Blacks and Native Americans) that have been in the US from the start have virtually no chance at autonomy and self-determination. EEO laws _are_ legalized extortion. The real question is how to change those policies from something that is utterly destructive into something that actually might help the people for whom it is intended.



[ Parent ]

Just making it up as you go along (none / 0) (#243)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:50:52 PM EST

The kind of capital that is held by someone of low income is generally MUCH more efficient than that held by someone that has so dang much wealth he can't really keep track of it all.
Don't just start making shit up.
Removing income taxes at the lower end would remove the _disincentives_ to work/report income/generate wealth that are quite substantial for lower income Americans--and which the wealthier Americans get around by lobbying for preferential legislation, goverment pork and what not.
Again, just making shit up. The rich pay all the taxes buddy. Something like the top 10 percent pay 90 percent. Does that sound fair?
I see no particular reason to respect corporate wealth
That's a really good reason to redistribute steal someone's money to give to someone else. You need to think a little harder before you open your mouth.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Sources (3.00 / 1) (#265)
by nomoreh1b on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:31:10 PM EST

According to one source, picked at random, the top 10% of earners paid 58.5% of all taxes in 1993-not the 90% you claimed. Now, the next question here: what is the ratio of taxes paid vs. benefits received? How does what the government does with those tax revenues received relatively affect different groups.

A group may well vote to pay higher taxes if it gets more protection from competition-and more security of property. One thing that is a bit harder to assess here is distribution of wealth as opposed to income. Someone living in an urban area, may have what seems like a "high income" and just be skating by(due to cost of living).

The bulk of folks I've seen with enormous concentrations of wealth or high incomes(i.e. above $200K or so) did it largely by manipulating the system one way or another. That is why the first people I'm concerned about giving tax relief to and property protection are those at the lower end of the scale. Having a system in which the majority of people didn't even have to file income taxes--which is what the US had until Roosevelt--would have dramatic improvements on things like unemployment. Having red tape in place around even basic stuff discourages innovation and entrepreneurship.

Those with substantial wealth holdings(note I didn't say high incomes here) have worked the system to their advantage in _all_ kinds of ways--government farm subsidies, government contracts, licensure laws that prevent competition, defense contracts, H-1b legislation(which basically makes immigration rights into a a corporate perk).

As far as efficiency of capital-I didn't make this up--there is a whole economic literature (which you seem to be ignorant of) on the relative efficiency of large vs. small businesses.

[ Parent ]

The rich pay all the taxes (3.50 / 2) (#275)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:05:06 PM EST

"Again, just making shit up. The rich pay all the taxes buddy."

If 90% of the taxes actually WERE from the rich, it seems they could do without taxing anyone else at all! Hell, the rich cut my hours from 40 to 30 during the corporate takover feeding frenzy in the 80s when Reagan slashed capital gains taxes. If I can afford a 25% pay cut, then the rich can certainly afford a 10% tax increase.

Another poster mentio0ned that they actually pay more like half- and this isn't "all taxes", this is income taxes only.

The poor and we middle class pay a very high percentage of income in taxes. How much of a Rockafeller's income goes to sales tax? .00000000001%? The guy with two minimum wage jobs spends ALL of his money to survive- so at a 7% sales tax, he pays 7% of his income.

I pay 7% of my income on social security, and my employer matches it. As that tax is capped at the $75k bracket, again, Bill Gates and Microsoft are paying .000001% of gate's income on this tax.

The rich get tax breaks I don't (business deductions and the like) and I get breaks the poor don't - like a deduction on my mortgage interest. His landlord gets that mortgage interest on the house the poor guy lives in, while the poor guy is paying (via his rent) the landlord's property tax on the rented property.

In dollars, sure, my rich cousin pays moire tax. But as a percentage of income, let alone a percentage of actual wealth, he's paying a tiny pittance compared to me, and I fare much better than the poor.

Our tax systemn is very regressive.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Friendly suggestion (2.00 / 1) (#283)
by nomoreh1b on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 07:12:43 PM EST

You need to be more careful in how you describe folks that are "rich" vs. "high income". There are folks that make quite a bit on money and spend it quite rapidly-others transform their income into capital. One of the biggest benefits of being wealthy is that you can use that wealth to shield yourself from paying taxes!(i.e. by investing in stuff that gives you tax breaks).

I agree the tax system is highly regressive-but that is only part of it. A portion of the very poor work the system quite well-as do many of the very rich. When I look at the highest income professions: doctors, lawyers, accountants, actuaries, stockbrokers,financial moguls, media execs--all are heavily tied up with protective legislation of various types. They didn't get their wealth in the free market-but by distorting the free market to their advantage.

At this the capital structure of the US is REALLY messed up. The wealthy in the United States are largely those that can lie, cheat and steal effectively. If you are the type that just can't lie well, you won't hold onto your wealth very long in the USA.

The Federal government has played _massive_ games with wealth redistribution:The S&L crisis, the Nixon inflation are some good examples. Anyone with a fixed interest mortgage in the late 60's made out like a bandit(particular in high rent areas). The people that lost? Those that held fixed interest bonds.

The folks that I'm most concerned with getting some relief are those that have been prevented from accumulating the basic levels of capital necessary to function as a member of the middle class. The wealthy have been working the system to their advantage for quite a while and need no help from me.



[ Parent ]

are you telling me (none / 0) (#291)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:09:55 PM EST

that doctors, lawyers, accountants, actuaries, stockbrokers,financial moguls, media execs are people you didn't earn their wealth in the free market?

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

yes (4.00 / 1) (#315)
by nomoreh1b on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 12:25:32 AM EST

that doctors, lawyers, accountants, actuaries, stockbrokers,financial moguls, media execs are people you didn't earn their wealth in the free market?

Yes. Look at doctors for example. That profession is tightly regulated in such a way that in the 50's-80's, having an MD was practically a license to print money. In the early 20th century, doctors made a good living that corresponded with significant educational investment. After the Flexner report, came out, lots of medical schools got regulated out of existance(many of which catered to blacks and other groups that were using this as a path into the middle class). The supply of docs was regulated via how many places each accredited US medical school could graduate--just because you were perfectly capable of functioning well as a doc and getting through a medical school curriculum was no guarentee you could get access to medical education(a violation of the Hippocratic Oath as I see it). Basically docs functioned as a tight union, with tight, legally enforced entrance requirements-and this enormously raised both medical costs and doctor's incomes(and the ability of lawyers and HMOS to extract income from this area down the road).

Lots of professions using entry barriers and preferential regulation to increase their incomes. A really "free" market eliminate this(read Capitalism and Freedom by Milton Friedman for more on this). The problem is that if eliminate preferential regulation, those folks that avoid getting deregulated will be the ones that benefit.

IMHO the capital structure of the US is REALLY messed up. The 60's/70's were a period of government directed wealth transfer-via inflation. Anyone that had a fixed interest mortgage and a stable job made out like a bandit-those that held fixed interest bonds lost their money--all courtesy of the Fed.

When I look at the US, the real serious technical innovators aren't people that are particularly wealthy or influential. Kary Mullis is a good example-he got 20K and a Nobel for an invention the slimeballs at Cetus got $120 Million for. That just isn't the way to run a technological society in my book-and is a formula for disaster. Cetus was within their legal rights for doing what they did-and I'm within my political rights for voting to burden folks like them with as much of the tax burden as is humanly possible.



[ Parent ]

Taxes aren't punishment (none / 0) (#324)
by partykidd on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 07:29:30 AM EST

I'm within my political rights for voting to burden folks like them with as much of the tax burden as is humanly possible.
Taxes weren't designed to make things "fair".

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Taxes affect incentives (5.00 / 1) (#337)
by nomoreh1b on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 11:16:01 AM EST

We in the US have a situation in which the overwhelming factor that affects the relative prices of products made in the US is the tax structure. There is simply no way that the US can function as a technological national indefinitely with its present tax system. Every country that has adopted these kinds of policies has stagnated. No country that has industrialized successfully(i.e. acheived first world status) has done so with this kind of tax system in place--and yet international treaties pretty much mandate important aspects of tax policy in a country wants good access to international trade.

The present economic system makes it more or less inevitable that there will be important niches of extremely concentrated wealth and income--that don't reflect anything close to world, market rates. I don't think it is immediately possible to get rid of the demand for government services, what I do think is plausible is to undo some of the damage the government causes with its tax system.

I'm a bit over 40. When I was a young man, barely scraping by, I was paying something like 50% of my rather meager income in taxes.(15% FICA + 10% State+ 25% Federal income taxes), plus I was living in a state with high sales taxes and property taxes(the latter I paid indirectly as a renter). In California, the wealthier voters had voted themselves exemptions from property taxes--Prop 13.

Now, in that case, Nobel prize winners like Friedman will tell you a tax on land values is the least bad tax you can have(i.e. if distorts prices the least--and affects things like unemployment the least). If it were done correctly, such taxes could be put in place so property owners maintained their equity(though I don't trust the government to do it correctly).

Still, when I look at the history of the last 80 years. What I see is a small, wealthy powerful groups working to pass costs on to other and protect themselves from market forces. That has created enormous concentration of capital ownership in the US(particularly capital that isn't tied up in things like penson plans and trusts). Well, what the government gives, I'm not going to worry much if it takes away.

The _big_ thing I'm concerned about is that the broader population gets some respect for their property rights and right to earn a livelyhood they dont' have now.



[ Parent ]

So you're telling me that the government... (none / 0) (#289)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:05:14 PM EST

can spend the money better than the rich person. You fail to understand why redistribution of wealth doesn't work. Just because the government taxes the rich more, doesn't mean that the money they get ever gets to see you. What would the rich do, just spend it, right? So I guess they would be buying products that middle class workers make, therefore stimulating the economy and providing you with work. Every time the marginal tax rate gets cut, the economy gets a boost and, low and behold, government tax revenue actually goes up. You may have lost hours or even your job when Reagan dramatically lowered the top marginal rate from 79 percent to 39 percent back in the '80's. It takes time for the economy to readjust. Flat tax making any more sense yet? You think that a tiered taxing scheme is fair, but who the hell are you to decide what fair is? Don't allow jealousy and envy decide your tax policy!

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

I'M telling you it CAN (4.33 / 3) (#339)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 12:15:36 PM EST

So you're telling me that the government can spend the money better than the rich person.

For functions that need government, yes. Roads? Absolutely.

Schools? You bet your ats. Yes, private schools are better than public schools but most people can't afford them. I'd like to see private schools outlawed- if the rich were forced to send their spoiled brats to the shitty schools my kids go to, you'ld see the public schools do a 180 in quality.

Police? YES! I do not want to be policed by a rent-a-cop. Courts? You want private courts?

Military? Rediculous. Feudalism.

You fail to understand why redistribution of wealth doesn't work.

Then my wealth should STOP being redistributed to the rich. You realize that Microsoft pays no Federal tax? Redistribution of wealth mostly goes UPWARDS. The rich recieve far more "welfare" than the poor. I personally don't mind some of my tax monet going to the poor, but I am angered that Kodak is given grants, and appalled that the rich pay less of a percentage of their taxes than I do.

So yes, I'm all for stopping the redistribution of my wealth to the rich. How shall we accomplish this?

Just because the government taxes the rich more...

As I said, they DON'T.

...doesn't mean that the money they get ever gets to see you.

It doesn't come my way anyway. I trade my time and services to the rich for cash. Nobody GVES me a dime.

What would the rich do, just spend it, right?

Wrong. This is the fallacy. You can't stimulate ANYTHING by giving anyone something that they have already.

So I guess they would be buying products that middle class workers make, therefore stimulating the economy and providing you with work.

NO! Remember, they're RICH. They already have the big TV, the ten million dollar house on the lake, five very expensive cars, etc. Giving money to the rich is like giving food to a farmer.

Every time the marginal tax rate gets cut, the economy gets a boost and, low and behold, government tax revenue actually goes up.

If you are talking about tax breaks for the rich, NO IT DOESN'T. You are NOT going to induce him to buy more goods and services. AND he isn't going to invest it in a faltering economy. It is foolhardy for a businessman to hire workers and buy equipment when he isn't selling much of his product. He will instead invest it where it will do HIM some good- like overseas, in a country that may have a better economy, like the American rich invested in Japan during the 80s and the European investors invested in the US during the 90s.

Giving tax breaks to the rich is counterproductive and unpatriotic.

Give that tax break to the guy working at K-Mart and he'll spend it. He has to- he is living hand to mouth, where what would be a small setback for me would be a major disaster for him.

You may have lost hours or even your job when Reagan dramatically lowered the top marginal rate from 79 percent to 39 percent back in the '80's. It takes time for the economy to readjust.

LOL, it took 20 years! And it wasn't "time" that did it, it was Clinton's investing public money where it would do the most good- on hiring his famaous 10k beat cops, giving tax breaks to the SMALL businessman, etc.

Flat tax making any more sense yet?

If it were truly a flat tax I would be for it. But Forbes' flat tax ain't flat. There are a myriad of taxes- federal, state, local, county, sales, income, exize, gas, cigarette, booze, hotel, you name it.

Then there are deductions and tax credits, which unflatten the tax even more, ALWAYS in favor of the rich.

If there were only ONE tax, say a 20% income tax with NO deductions whatever for ANYBODY for ANY PURPOSE, no business, mortgage, medical, or ANY deductions whatever and and NO tax credits whatever then I would agree.

But it ain't gonna happen that way. The rich, who push for their "flat" tax, will never allow it.

And your flat tax would have to be a flat income tax. VAT or sales taxes are regressive, as the poor are forced to spend all their money, I am forced to spend most of mine, and the rich need to spend a very small percentage of theirs.

I'm against a tax on property, too, as you are being taxed over and over for the same thing. Once I have paid for my house, I shouldn't be taxed out of it. A businessman who owns his building and equipment shouldn't be taxed out of business during en economic downturn.

You think that a tiered taxing scheme is fair, but who the hell are you to decide what fair is?"

Who the hell is ANYBODY to determine what fair is??

Don't allow jealousy and envy decide your tax policy!

It doesn't. Logic and reason does, and I believe I have demonstrated that with this post.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

You said it! (none / 0) (#482)
by partykidd on Sun May 04, 2003 at 03:47:46 AM EST

You can't stimulate ANYTHING by giving anyone something that they have already.
In terms of taxes, you'd stimulate the economy by letting people keep their money. If they have to give it up, it isn't theirs. So they don't have it already.
If there were only ONE tax, say a 20% income tax with NO deductions whatever for ANYBODY for ANY PURPOSE, no business, mortgage, medical, or ANY deductions whatever and and NO tax credits whatever then I would agree.
WE AGREE!!!!
it was Clinton's investing public money where it would do the most good- on hiring his famaous 10k beat cops, giving tax breaks to the SMALL businessman, etc.
No, it was Reagan's supply side economics that gave America its '90's economic boom.
I'm against a tax on property, too, as you are being taxed over and over for the same thing. Once I have paid for my house, I shouldn't be taxed out of it. A businessman who owns his building and equipment shouldn't be taxed out of business during en economic downturn.
WE AGREE!!!!

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

90% (none / 0) (#349)
by pyro9 on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 03:07:23 PM EST

Actualy, the top ten percent hold 90 percent of the wealth in the U.S. but (as another poster points out) pay 58 percent of the taxes.

I don't buy your argument that removing taxes from the lower and middle class would destroy their incentive to generate wealth. Let's be honest, would you rather make $30,000 a year and pay no taxes, or make $100,000 a year and pay out $20,000 in taxes?

Consider that much of our economy IS a wealth redistribution system. The more money you have, the more money you get. The less you have, the more things cost. It's perverse but true.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Yes, rich paying ALL the taxes sounds fair to me (1.00 / 1) (#419)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:53:26 AM EST

They have most of the money, so I say they pay all the taxes.
HTGS75OBEY21IRTYG54564ACCEPT64AUTHORITY41V KKJWQKHD23CONSUME78GJHGYTMNQYRTY74SLEEP38H TYTR32CONFORM12GNIYIPWG64VOTER4APATHY42JLQ TYFGB64MONEY3IS4YOUR7GOD62MGTSB21CONFORM34 SDF53MARRY6AND2REPRODUCE534TYWHJZKJ34OBEY6

[ Parent ]
Showing your true colors (none / 0) (#443)
by partykidd on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:10:23 PM EST

Its too bad they are evil.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Create Wealth? (3.00 / 3) (#267)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:41:42 PM EST

"...therefore creating little incentive to create more wealth"

A lot of false premises here, starting with the lie that wealth is created by the wealthy.

The wealthy do not create wealth- they aggreate and control wealth.

Wealth is created in the programmer's cubicle, the factory floor, and behind the McDonalds counter.

Your math is wrong, too. Even if I take half your income, would that not be preferable to your having none at all?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

maybe I should clarify (none / 0) (#293)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:23:22 PM EST

when I said "...therefore creating little incentive to create more wealth", I was talking about the poor people (class of citizens with no tax liability) that you suggest we don't tax. The more you make, the more you're taxed. What kind of incentive is that? You'd also have less incentive to report your income to the government because you are now in a new higher tax rate. A tiered taxing scheme hurts the poor and middle class more than the rich. It also helps foster class envy and division.
Your math is wrong, too. Even if I take half your income, would that not be preferable to your having none at all?
What the hell are you talking about? If I break only one of your fingers, would that not be preferable to your having all ten broken?

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Fingers (none / 0) (#340)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 12:33:00 PM EST

"What the hell are you talking about? If I break only one of your fingers, would that not be preferable to your having all ten broken?"

Yes it would. You realize that you are proving my own point? People aren't paying taxes voluntarily, you know.

Your point about taxing people more as they earn more WAS finally getting through some politicians' and bureaucrats' thick heads with thw 1996 welfare reform act.

Right before the corporate feeding frenzy in the 80s I was often offered overtime. I started turning it down unless it was a full day, and even then hesitated, as there were times I would recieve LESS take home pay for MORE work, after taxes.

However, they made quite a few changes in the tax law, and If I work overtine now I actually take home more money.

People were not taking minimum wage jobs because welfare paid better. Why should they? That would be stupid! Illinois started a program called "work pays" around the time welfare was reformed in 1996, where for every three dollars a welfare recipient earns, his check is only cut by one dollar. It worked very well. Illinois welfare rolls have been slashed since the mid '90s when welfare was reformed, and even in the present recession with unemployment up, the state's welfare rolls haven't risen (unlike many other states).

Now Bush wants to undo much of the progress that was made then. Child care subsidies will and have been cut, forcing a lot of single parents back onto welfare and off of their jobs, because child care is taking so much of their money they would be better off on welfare, at home raising their kids.

But as another K5er's sig says, "your straw man is on fire." The (US federal income) tax system now is such that it DOES pay to work harder and smarter. Yes, I'll agree that TOO progressive a tax hurts the economy, and has done so in the past. But that isn't how it is now.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

3) Eliminate income and Social security taxes on l (none / 0) (#266)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:32:36 PM EST

"3) Eliminate income and Social security taxes on lower income"

When my Grandfather was a young man (1920s) only the rich were taxed. But inflation and "bracket creep", as well as the rich's habit of waging class warfare against the rest of us, has turned it on its head so that now I pay a much higher percentage of my local, stete, federal, excise, and other taxes than any rich person.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

EXCELLENT COMMENT! (none / 0) (#418)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:36:36 AM EST

PLease run for office....
HTGS75OBEY21IRTYG54564ACCEPT64AUTHORITY41V KKJWQKHD23CONSUME78GJHGYTMNQYRTY74SLEEP38H TYTR32CONFORM12GNIYIPWG64VOTER4APATHY42JLQ TYFGB64MONEY3IS4YOUR7GOD62MGTSB21CONFORM34 SDF53MARRY6AND2REPRODUCE534TYWHJZKJ34OBEY6

[ Parent ]
SARS would help reduce prison population though... (1.33 / 3) (#61)
by simul on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 01:11:46 PM EST

Another way of keeping prison pops low. Allow them to rape each other - and then poison them if they do it.

For example: AZT is mandatory if you are HIV positive in prison. Even though 1) being HIV positive doesn't mean you have AIDS, and 2) AZT does little to affect infection rates. What AZT often does is kill the recipient who otherwise, especially if he was of European descent, may have lived a lot longer.

Read this book - first 24 pages are free to browse - it rocks
[ Parent ]

Sadam would have loved you! (5.00 / 1) (#276)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:14:11 PM EST

"Another way of keeping prison pops low. Allow them to rape each other - and then poison them if they do it."

3 strikes and you're dead?

There are people in prison for stealing golf clubs, for growing pot, etc.

So you are not only for getting rid of the Constitutional injunction against "cruel and unusual pounishment" and besides that you are FOR the death penalty for growing pot or stealing golf clubs?

You're one sick puppy, dude. I'll pray for your worthless soul. You turn my stomach. Please move out of my beloved country, Syria seems just like your kind of place.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Islamic Law is more humane (4.00 / 1) (#319)
by nomoreh1b on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 02:13:01 AM EST

Prison populations under Islamic law are VERY small-punishments include flogging, the death penality and cutting off of hands(and the only for very specific crimes). What folks miss here-it is acutally pretty hard to get the death penality in an Arab country for less than murder(i.e. that Princess that committed adultery had to mouth off about it under specific circimstances to get her head chopped off). Still, which is more barbaric: flogging for a minor crime or sending a man to a local jail where he is gang raped and gets AIDS? Personally, I'd take the flogging any day. The cutting of a man's hand for theft always rubbed me the wrong way-but not as much as the US practice of prisoner rape.



[ Parent ]

Wow! It Speaks! (3.50 / 6) (#47)
by RobotSlave on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 12:24:50 PM EST

And here I thought the brain in a jar had been created solely to down-rate comments in hidden stories!

Go get 'em, Spaghetti!

Oooh! And it's *angry* !! (3.66 / 3) (#53)
by RobotSlave on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 12:47:54 PM EST

Boy, it's a good thing it's not trusted, or I'd have a big fat zero by now, you can be sure!

Look out, everyone! Don't mess with the brain in a jar!

[ Parent ]

+1 section, but disappointing anyway (4.85 / 7) (#48)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 12:33:02 PM EST

I would have preferred to see a lot more information about the inequality of the death penalty as practised in the United States. It is truly horriffic to look at the demographics and how the death penalty is applied there.

Also lacking was a call for the extreme need for reform in the prison systems; the prisons in the US serve as places for gang rape and breeding of even more violent criminals, instead of the "rehabilitation" of offenders which is desired.
--
your straw man is on fire...

well yes (none / 0) (#396)
by fringd on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:36:08 PM EST

imagine you are making a business decision as the corporation that runs the prisons, do you want to:

  1. make a prison that fixes everyone and makes them good law abiding citizens?
  2. make a prison that makes them evil bastards that break more laws once you let them go?

it seems to me that the later would be a much better career move as CEO of prison inc. you don't want reform, you want repeat customers.

[ Parent ]

that brings forth the idea ... (none / 0) (#436)
by Burning Straw Man on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 09:50:28 AM EST

... how about prison corporations become responsible for the funds to imprison "repeat customers"? Watch how fast education and skills programs crop up across the country's prisons.
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]
-1, Here's The Problem(s) (4.47 / 23) (#59)
by thelizman on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 01:07:53 PM EST

First of all, there's nothing original about this article. I'm not impressed by your ability to take statistics and wholesale statements about the USs supposed prison problems and apply it to the whole of modern juris prudence in order to demonstrate that it has a problem. Putting aside the fact that statistics alone are lies when not contained in an analysis, your article really doesn't even discuss the "criminal justice system" at all. It discusses law enforcement, which is merely a reflection of community expectations. The "Criminal Justice System" is the judges, lawyers, clerks, bondsman, majistrates, and litigants.

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics
America now has in excess of two million of its own citizens in jail, from a population of 286 million (0.7 %). For comparison China ,which most would consider to be an authoritarian police state, has a prison population of 1.4 million from a population of about 1.3 billion (0.1%). This is the largest proportion of any country in the world.
China is not the best country to choose for a statistical comparison. Why? Because they execute over 2,500 per year, which with a given prison sentence of 6.5 years equates to 16,500 bodies not in jail at any given time. Also, Chinese prisons are for the worst offenders: murders, rapists, and active political dissidents. People convicted of other crimes like fraud, theft simple assault, or political incorrectness are often sent to reeducation (aka labor) camps to work out their sentence. Statistics for China do not include Hong Kong or Tibet, since China sees those as "special cases". China is a totalitarian regime, where the people live in constant fear of being punished for some wrongdoing. This would actually seem to bolster support for a harsher criminal justice system.

One other statistic of note: The average sentence in the us is only 5 years, and 95% of prisoners are eventually released. We also have a higher recidivism rate, which means that unlike China we have the same characters in prison at any given time.
Twelve percent of all black American males between the ages of 20 and 30 are presently in jail.
Again, in a vacuum these statistic suggest racism and oppression. While that can certainly be a key factor in a large percentage of cases, it is not supported by the statistics alone. Likewise, it is better argued (and by many black community leaders) that the reasons for those statistics are cultural, and of little relevance to the criminal justice system.

The simple fact of the matter is that the black American male is far more likely to live in poverty, and poverty breeds crime (through various avenues of inducement). This is not a failing of the criminal justice system, this is a failing of a society which is still failing to effectively provide education and opportunities in impoverished areas. There is also a cultural aspect that many black leaders have been crying foul over for years. The blatent promotion of violence and criminal behavior as a hallmark of black culture through popular media. When is the last time you saw a rapper bust a rhyme about 'getting his learn on'? Even Spike Lee, who was considered the film industry's concience for black society, hasn't directed a new movie in years.

A black person who killed a white person is 40 times more likely than a white person who killed a black person to be sentenced to the death penalty.
The sentence follows the crime. Statistical abstracts show that black males are more likely to commit premeditated crimes that white males. In short, stupid white men get off because they act impulsively. Our criminal justice system doesn't respect restraint because it rewards the lack of restraint with shorter sentences. Ironically, and in contrast to stereotypes, black criminals are being more heavily punished for thinking things through.

And Then The Rest Of Your Article...

...I'm not going to talk about. I agree: less government intrusion, end the 'war on drugs', and you can get rid of a few cops (the doughnut industry will suffer, but we'll make it through). Just be careful when using statistics in an article without context. A statistic is just a number. In and of itself it says nothing, and outside of a context it is simply misleading.

If you're interesting in finding the problem with the American Criminal Justice System, check out "Guilty", by Judge Harold Rothwax. It details everything from country club laywers making backroom deals without their clients consent to the maddening bureaucratic operations of the court systems which actually work on 'guilty until proven innocent' and encourage recidivism with laws like "three strikes you're out".
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
Maybe this is the exception (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by duffbeer703 on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 01:18:27 PM EST

But I recently served on a jury in County Court for a drug case.

I came in with the attitude that "Guilty until proven innocent" was the norm. I was amazed to find it just the opposite.

In this case, the police made some mistakes and displayed a incredible lack of competence in some areas. Even so, they still had a compelling case against the defendant.

Maybe it was the judge, but the court, while buerecratic and slow for my tastes, created an environment as fair as possible. The jury selection took a long time. The prosecution presented a case and the defense challenged the witnesses. The judge took great pains to explain the law and clarify how we were to interpet them.

The defendant ended up getting acquitted after two hours of deliberation. The system worked.

[ Parent ]

"Guilty until proven innocent" (5.00 / 1) (#278)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:20:08 PM EST

I came in with the attitude that "Guilty until proven innocent" was the norm.

So... your school system sucked as bad as mine?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

A question (5.00 / 1) (#280)
by pyro9 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:37:41 PM EST

Were you informed at any time that as a juror it was your duty to find not guilty if you disagreed with the law itself or it's application? Was the defendant alleged to have harmed anybody?


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Spike Lee (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by mrselfdestruct on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 02:12:38 PM EST

Spike Lee directed 'The 25th Hour' which was released a few months ago...
"He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man." -Dr. Johnson
[ Parent ]
Okay, Let Me Rephrase That (4.00 / 1) (#69)
by thelizman on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 03:06:07 PM EST

...he hasn't released a socially concious movie about black society since 2001 (Bamboozled). How was 25th hour anyway? I was "indisposed" during it's release and play.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
getting his learn on (4.75 / 4) (#70)
by Burning Straw Man on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 03:12:04 PM EST

When is the last time you saw a rapper bust a rhyme about 'getting his learn on'?

I still listen to one of my old US3 albums, Hand On The Torch. Several of the songs detail the rapper's pursuit of knowledge and education, especially "Knowledge of Self".

So that's one in what, 100,000 rappers?
--
your straw man is on fire...
[ Parent ]

also (4.50 / 2) (#73)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 03:31:11 PM EST

KRS-1 is well known for pro-education lyrics, as is Common.

[ Parent ]
2 in 100,000... (5.00 / 1) (#88)
by thelizman on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 05:50:00 PM EST

...and both acts are stale. Honestly, Eminem is more socially concious than any rap act today...if you call him rap.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
why wouldn't you call him rap. (none / 0) (#89)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:05:21 PM EST

Common isn't stale, yet, and KRS-1 still puts on the best live shows ... i've got mixed feelings about eminem, because his lyrical skills are incredible (and his movie was great), but his lyrics are hateful - and i feel targeted by some of that hate. :(

[ Parent ]
Nas's latest... (5.00 / 1) (#103)
by skim123 on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 07:18:46 PM EST

Lryics for I Can. An excerpt:
Be, B-Boys and girls, listen up
You can be anything in the world, in God we trust
An architect, doctor, maybe an actress
But nothing comes easy it takes much practice
Like, I met a woman who's becoming a star
She was very beautiful, leaving people in awe
Singing songs, Lina Horn, but the younger version
Hung with the wrong person
Gotta astrung when I heard when
Cocaine, sniffing up drugs, all in her nose
Coulda died, so young, no looks ugly and old
No fun cause when she reaches for hugs people hold they breath
Cause she smells of corrosion and death
Watch the company you keep and the crowd you bring
Cause they came to do drugs and you came to sing
So if you gonna be the best, I'ma tell you how
And it's pimped out to tunes of "Fur Elise."

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
Oh, and (5.00 / 1) (#223)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:41:11 PM EST

Run DMC "It's like that"

You should have gone to school, you could've learned a trade
But you laid in the bed where the bums have laid
Now all the time you're crying that you're underpaid
It's like that (what?) and that's the way it is
Huh!

One thing I know is that life is short
So listen up homeboy, give this a thought
The next time someone's teaching why don't you get taught?
It's like that (what?) and that's the way it is
[...]

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

err.... (5.00 / 1) (#163)
by MajorMajor on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:26:39 AM EST

...which with a given prison sentence of 6.5 years equates to 16,500 bodies not in jail at any given time.

or about 1% of the total Chinese prison population. Not very statistically significant.

Statistics for China do not include Hong Kong or Tibet, since China sees those as "special cases"

There goes another insignificant 9 million of the population then.

People convicted of other crimes like fraud, theft simple assault, or political incorrectness are often sent to reeducation (aka labor) camps to work out their sentence.

So that would be a bit like community service then, which presumably doesn't figure in US statistics?

[ Parent ]

Here's The Problem(s) (3.50 / 2) (#184)
by Hornblower on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:48:31 AM EST

As others have pointed out already, your critisism of the statistics is severely flawed. However, I do agree that a comparision with China may not be relvant. Let's compare with the European Union instead. With an average of about 0.09% of the population in jail, it contrasts sharply with the US 0.7%. Furthermore, I don't think the average sentence in the EU is anywhere near 5 years. Is it even possible to procure an example of a democratic state, other than the US, with a higher average than 5 years?


Make tea, not war.
[ Parent ]

"Where no harm occurs..." (3.00 / 5) (#65)
by dr k on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 01:32:27 PM EST

In case you missed it, the whole good versus evil concept has been out of fashion for at least a century. That is to say, a seemingly evil act does not result only from the desire to do evil. An act free from the desire to do evil does not guarantee that evil will not be the result. Basing laws on the occasion or absence of harm -- where harm is categorized as evil -- is simply not a solid idea.


Destroy all trusted users!

more info... (4.50 / 2) (#66)
by pb on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 02:04:20 PM EST

Here are some links from both sides of the fence.

Maybe China's criminal justice system could use some reform; that doesn't mean that the US doesn't need any, so please, try to stay on the topic.
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall

Staying on topic -- even better links! (none / 0) (#80)
by Ndog on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 04:39:46 PM EST

To the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Statistics (sounds very noble, doesn't it?):

Gee, only one in 112 males in jail at yearend 2001 and one in 109 at yearend 2000. Sounds like everything is working great!



[ Parent ]
gah. (5.00 / 1) (#90)
by pb on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:05:50 PM EST

The increase in prisoners (especially Federal ones) from 1990 to the present is insane! That's roughly an 8.3% yearly growth rate after adjusting for any population changes; at that rate, the entire Federal prison population doubles in under 9 years...
---
"See what the drooling, ravening, flesh-eating hordes^W^W^W^WKuro5hin.org readers have to say."
-- pwhysall
[ Parent ]
I think you will find that it coorelates to (none / 0) (#134)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:22:17 AM EST

a huge clime in foresnic and survailence technology.....to get a better idea of the situation, coorolate the numbers of crimes commited to the number of criminals caputed.

then put yourself in a hypothetical situation that we have perfect criminal captureing techniques that only catch criminals and do not invade the privacy or civil rights of anyone.

then figure out how much the prison population would climb.

[ Parent ]

Your tax dollars at work (4.00 / 5) (#71)
by michaelp on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 03:22:14 PM EST

40 people out of work and a growing small business shocked and awed.

For the pre-crime of selling something that might be used in a victimless crime.

See the movie.


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

I find your critical thinking like interesting (3.00 / 1) (#132)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:17:16 AM EST

by your statment I see you have taken the stance that a youth who is protesting MUST be excercising their critical thinking skills.

so, critical thinking means to take up the opposing oppinion to the dominant thought in a subject?

to me that seems anti-critical thinking.

yes you have to be scheptical, but that also means being scheptical of the opposing position.

in almost ever case of highschool students protesting that I have come into contact with, they cannot articulate why they are protesting, they can not point to the credible evidence, and in many cases tehy have an older sibling or a parent or even a teacher who is inundating them with some one side of the issue.

highschool students are not equiped with the capacity to make good decisions yet. Imean my god, I think back to highschool and so many of the ideas and thought I had are laughable. I thought I had a great grasp of the information out there and now I just shake my head.

it is good for highschool students to learn about critical thinking and to be guided by a teacher who does not telegraph his or her thoughs on the subject. the unfortunat fact is that many highschool teachers do a poor job at teaching and guiding the development of those skills.

[ Parent ]

Evidence of critical thinking (none / 0) (#151)
by michaelp on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:47:00 AM EST

Arcata High sophomores Meredith Baku and Samantha Fox organized the walkout, along with Brinton, a Laurel Tree Charter School sophomore. The group planned the walkout two weeks in advance, handing out flyers, writing a news release and gathering support.
my god, I think back to highschool and so many of the ideas and thought I had are laughable. I thought I had a great grasp of the information out there and now I just shake my head.

Maybe if you had some good critical thinking classes, you would have been able to evaluate your ideas and thoughts & weed out the laughable ones. You should certainly be able to do that by High School if you had access to a decent education. I certainly could.

By the way, you don't really beleive having a "good grasp of the information" is evidence of higher order cognitive skills, do you? Don't give up, it's never to late to try and move yourself a bit higher up on Blooms'.


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
I read that link...and my previouse title should (4.00 / 1) (#203)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:38:29 AM EST

have been "I find your critical thinking LINK interesting" it was late at night when I types it out :-p

and no I do not think that JUST having a grasp of all the information equals a higher order of thought, you also have to know how to evaluate what is credible and what is not and must be schepticle of all sides before you decided upon your position.

the fact that you think you could realy truly exercise good critical thinking skills at that age IMO shows you do not have a grasp of them.

an adolecent mind is far from mature and lacks all adult judgement. given that situation a teenager might be able to learn HOW to think criticaly but they do not have the judgment to impliment those skills correctly.

[ Parent ]

in my younger years (5.00 / 1) (#239)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:38:24 PM EST

" an adolecent mind is far from mature and lacks all adult judgement." ...i used to assume that adults had some way of judging truth and falsity. [ Descartes similarily thought people had "Good Sense". ] ...i kept thinking this until around grade 9...when it was becoming more and more apparant that there was nothing in becoming an adult that specifically faciliated higher thinking. If anything, being an adult meant it was less likely you were thinking, and more likely being influenced by things such as sexual desire, burnout[whether by influence from environmental factors or just plain working too hard]...and after awhile - the idea that you may accept falsity because of dialectic factors...'flipping from one side of the spectrum to the other'...

even socrates, in...what was it...plato's charminides?...where one youth was seen as the equal of "many beards" ? it _is_ possible...
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
I suggest you read about physiology (3.00 / 1) (#242)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:48:33 PM EST

of the adolecent brain. it is scientific fact that teenages lack adult judgment.

sure, there are adults who make stupid desisions and are irresponsable, but all that means is they were much worse as a teenager.

[ Parent ]

Appeal to authority? (none / 0) (#250)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:28:45 PM EST

just becaue a group of acedemic scholars decides something does not make it necessarily true. [ie it was once a scientific fact that the world was flat. ] It doesn't make it necessarily false, either, but until you throw me either A) a reason why or B) some Of this "physiology" literature[ie link me] you havn't really accomplished much... granted that stupid adults were likely either just as stupid or stupider while younger, that does not imply that the 'non'-stupid adults were, merely that stupid adults were, which i think i've allready pointed out.
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
your lack of knowlege is not my problem (none / 0) (#256)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:59:57 PM EST

read up on psycology...highschool text books provided a pretty good source of this information.

[ Parent ]
Folks who actually have done their homework (none / 0) (#287)
by michaelp on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 07:59:55 PM EST

know the research doesn't support your claims.

If you want to claim "science" is on your side, behave like a scientist and reference sources that support your claims.

Or behave like an adult and admit there aren't any.


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
You should practice some critical thinking (none / 0) (#254)
by michaelp on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:43:15 PM EST

on your own statement:

an adolecent mind is far from mature and lacks all adult judgement. given that situation a teenager might be able to learn HOW to think criticaly but they do not have the judgment to impliment those skills correctly.

First, you are making absolute statements regarding a skill with a wide degree of variation: it's like saying that adolescents can't walk "correctly" because they haven't finished developing.

Next, you make further absolute claims that physiological studies prove your point. well, physiological studies show structural differences between adolescent and adult brains, but this:

it is scientific fact that teenages lack adult judgment.

Is a ridiculous conclusion to draw from those studies, which shows either you don't understand the studies you are (failing to) reference, or you hope that other folks won't understand them and therefor think you have "won" the debate.

Fact is, no one has shown a particular brain structure that suddenly appears at adulthood that reliably correlates with "judgement", nor has it even been demonstrated that the differences in size or maturity of the brain structures in question reliably predict higher scores on standard tests of "judgement".



"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
Teen angst and inability to... ok, read it (5.00 / 1) (#284)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 07:14:36 PM EST

http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns99992925
Teen angst rooted in busy brain

Nerve activity in the teenaged brain is so intense that they find it hard to process basic information, researchers say, rendering the teenagers emotionally and socially inept.

Robert McGivern and his team of neuroscientists at San Diego State University, US, found that as children enter puberty, their ability to quickly recognise other people's emotions plummets. What is more, this ability does not return to normal until they are around 18 years old.

McGivern reckons this goes some way towards explaining why teenagers tend to find life so unfair, because they cannot read social situations as efficiently as others.

As a result, they can find emotional situations more confusing, leading to the petulant, huffy behaviour for which adolescents are notorious.

Does it state specifically that they have trouble with judgement? No. Do they? LOL!

Being socially inept interferes with judgement. Ask your parents, son.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Again, the failure to think critically (none / 0) (#290)
by michaelp on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:07:52 PM EST

this research supports neither your claim nor 'modmans' (but your mistake is common among folks who uncritically rely on single sources from non-peer reviewed popular 'science' journals: the research doesn't even support the claim wrt to 'basic information' of the journalist writing the article!).

Instead the methods the researchers used reveals that they were testing emotional responses, not higher order thinking.

Again, try applying a little critical thinking to your research, it's never to late to learn...


"Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."

[ Parent ]
given (4.50 / 2) (#225)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:58:51 PM EST

these past few months have distanced me quite a bit from my old modes of thought, but how dare you suggest that highschool students all cannot make descisions based on critical thinking, or some other obscure method which may or may not prove useful? Speak for yourself if you don't think that you were, in highschool, smart enough to understand the issues out there, fine...don't expect that everyone else was like you.

" in almost ever case of highschool students protesting that I have come into contact with, they cannot articulate why they are protesting, they can not point to the credible evidence," ...i'd suggest, around 50% of people havn't got a clue. they didn't have a clue in highschool, and they still don't have a clue. and in 20 years...they won't have a clue. iq less than or equal to 100. so sure, you could point to an "average high school student"[...who is just as likely to be against or for the war...] and they woudln't be able to defend their belief beyond anything...but for every one of those you'll be able to find someone, pro or against who *can* and furthermore, you'll be able to find someone, perhaps 10 years older and a television-newspaper-radio-conservative who thinks in such ways such as 'that god exists because it sais so in the bible, and the bible is true because god wrote it.'

Secondly, do you really think you have "a grasp" of the "real" issues today? and why do you think that you are better off now than you were then? i think that is the only laughible thing...to think that you really know something when in fact...you may or may not.

and thirdly, this "you need all your beliefs to be justified" stuff is simply the road straight to solipicism and skepticism...i myself am only sure that i am here now, sensing something...and even then _i could be wrong_..there could be an omnipotent god trying to desceive me, or something. when justification becomes our requirement, i can at least hope that you see where this leads.

i for the record, have been more or less "for" the war...but i think people like you who belittle the "against-war" and "there is another option" efforts are just the people who need to be lined up against the wall, and shot...i'd be much much better off without you...
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
I am not saying a highschool student is incapable (4.00 / 1) (#240)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:44:35 PM EST

of making a desision. what I am saying is their brains are not fully developed yet and their judgement is impaired. if you want to contest that fact I suggest you read up on the physiology of the adolecent brain.

given this fact, highschool students can not reliably make the correct desisions based on critical thinking. yes they can practice the method, but their judgement is such that they are easily influenced.

[ Parent ]

I find it interesting that you (4.00 / 1) (#241)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:45:45 PM EST

have concluded that I am pro war based on my thoughs on critical thinking skills of teens.

[ Parent ]
HEY ! (none / 0) (#253)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:42:19 PM EST

I did no such thing. wake the fuck up and then reread. i remember saying that I was pro-war...but in that statement i did not say that you were. you are belittling the anti-war movement, whatever your position, and that's what i pointed out. I may have even come to a conclusion or two without justification, but hell...that wasn't one of them.
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
hmm...then you interpret this (none / 0) (#259)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:07:51 PM EST

"i for the record, have been more or less "for" the war...but i think people like you who belittle the "against-war" and "there is another option" efforts are just the people who need to be lined up against the wall, and shot...i'd be much much better off without you..."

people like me. so I am the oposit of the "against-war" and "there is another option" people.

so, what does that make me in your eyes? to me it is a veiled acusation that I am pro-war or at least Anti-these groups.

I never said I was anti-those movements anywhere in my statement. I think YOU need to improove your critical thinking skills.

[ Parent ]

so true. (none / 0) (#270)
by Prophet themusicgod1 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:13:38 PM EST

/me picks up his Creative and Critical Thinking [by Moore Mcann & McCann] textbook [ISBN 0-395-35780-2]
"I suspect the best way to deal with procrastination is to put off the procrastination itself until later. I've been meaning to try this, but haven't gotten around to it yet."swr
[ Parent ]
Experiential thinking (none / 0) (#316)
by gnurb on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 01:21:59 AM EST

Critical thinking skills come with experience, be it age or otherwise.

Generalizations suck.

[ Parent ]

Perfect example (5.00 / 1) (#279)
by pyro9 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:24:57 PM EST

That is a perfect example of the way our laws have been allowed to spread unchecked.

First we outlaw theft and assault for the obvious harm they do. Then we outlaw drug use ostensibly because it leads to theft and assault (never mind that alcohol tends to be one of the worst in promoting violence in succeptable people and pot generally promotes a non violent demeanor).

Then we outlaw the many harmless items that 'promote durg use' (or any number of other perfectly legal uses). One wonders how many levels of indirection we will end up with. I suppose next they'll want to outlaw the tools needed to make the paraphenalia used to use the drugs that lead to the harmful acts.

Even if I believed the claims of cause and effect, it's getting out of hand. As an example, a hypodermic needle and syringe are damned useful for oiling intricate parts (in some older machines, the felt oil pads were INTENDED to be replenished with a syringe and needle), but apparently, I'd be a criminal if I actually managed to get my hands on either.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
The real Problem with jthe legal system (4.88 / 9) (#72)
by omegadan on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 03:30:58 PM EST

In the last few years the courts have given up the idea of "jury nullification". Trial by jurry was not only intended to be a trial of the accused, but a TRIAL OF THE LAW. Jurors used to be informed of this fact but courts have gradually halted that practice to the point that people have been arrested for giving out this information to jurors infront of court houses. Jury Nullification was crucial for winning many civil liberties (such as ending prohibition and jim crow laws) as well as protecting religious freedoms.

Here's a few quotes from founding fathers (from the FIJA website):

Thomas Jefferson once said that juries were the "only anchor yet devised by man by which a government can be held to the principles of its constitution."

John Adams said of the trial juror, "It is not only his right, but his duty...to find the verdict according to his own best understanding, judgment, and conscience, though in direct opposition to the direction of the court."

And John Jay, the first U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice, said that jurors have a right "to determine the law as well as the fact in controversy."

Anyone who wants to know more should go to FIJA (Fully Informed Jury Association)

Religion is a gateway psychosis. - Dave Foley

Jury Nullification is a dangerous remedy (4.50 / 2) (#122)
by HidingMyName on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:22:53 PM EST

Not all jury nullifications are good, consider the infamous Emmet Till case. The dilemma appears to be that Nullification not only can prevent the application of unjust laws, but it can undo the just actions of well considered laws as well.

[ Parent ]
that is all figured in (5.00 / 1) (#129)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:07:33 AM EST

and is why it was said by...a founding father (name escapes me ATM)

"it is best to let 10 criminals go free if it keeps 1 free man from going to jail"

[ Parent ]

Someone correct me if I am wrong... (none / 0) (#144)
by Francis on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:12:28 AM EST

but I believe that was Franklin?

[ Parent ]
hmmm (none / 0) (#145)
by modmans2ndcoming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:34:33 AM EST

I don't know if it was him, I thought it was one of the other guys...but it is certainly something that could have come out of his mouth...that guy is so damn quotable he would be all over the TV if he were a contemporary.

[ Parent ]
not all are good (4.00 / 1) (#159)
by Dogun on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:53:36 AM EST

It's true; with jury nullification people sometimes get off.

In fact, I prefer the following system:
Anyone we arrest is guilty.  Now we simply trust the police to do the job of the courts and everybody's happy, right?

Obviously not.  The reason we don't have police do everything is that we don't trust the police to do everything.  We also don't trust congress to make universally good law.  We have jury's to determine both the fact and the law, and whether it should apply.  In fact, we even have an appeals process for AFTER the trial, so we can let the people who got jax0red get unjax0red if things weren't kosher in their first trial.

There's a reason that we have appeals and a no-double-jeapordy law.  The reason is that THAT is the philosophy of the law.  Jury nullification is part of that process.  Remove that and you remove one more protection that keeps you out of jail for something you didn't do.  Sure, Emmet Till might be in prison.  But so might you and your 60 closest friends for something that a jury of your peers doesn't consider a crime.

[ Parent ]

Don't trust congress to make good law? (5.00 / 1) (#206)
by parliboy on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:57:31 AM EST

Unfortunately, we do in the current system. Consider Eldred vs. Ashcroft, where one of the points made by the SC was that they can't overturn a law just because it's bad.

----------
Eat at the Dissonance Diner.
[ Parent ]

Nullification necessary (4.00 / 2) (#274)
by pyro9 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:01:57 PM EST

Agreed. In addition, nullification MUST exist in order to maintain the integrity of the jury system at all. The jurors are supposed to hear the evidence, then weigh it in private. They are not bound to explain their verdict in any way. The fate of the defendant will be on their conscience.

It is patently unfair to expect a citizen to do the unconscionable in service to society. So if a juror feels that imprisoning a defendant is unconscionable (in spite of the facts of the case or relevant laws), they can either nullify or prove that they are not a person of good conscience (and so not the sort of person we want passing judgement in the first place).

It serves as a sort of final check on government power.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]

-1 Why Aren't Drugs Legal Yet (3.25 / 4) (#76)
by KWillets on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 03:49:56 PM EST

This should be a category of its own, or just post this to talk.politics.drugs.  

Some others... (3.00 / 9) (#81)
by dipierro on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 04:53:34 PM EST

The purpose the law is to prevent the actions of one entity (a person, group of persons, corporation or the government) from harming other entities or society in general.

A corporation? What is the purpose of the law establishing corporations in the first place?

Here are some other laws which cause no harm to others:

Counterfeiting Money

While it is true that counterfeit money can be used in ways which harm people, the fact of the matter is that the mere act of creating or spending counterfeit money does not actually harm anyone.

Trespassing

You're away at work. My wife, my kids, and I climb your fence, go into your backyard, and swing on your swing set.

Cable Theft

We tap into your cable connection and watch some pay-per-view movies with our cable descrambler.

Invasion of Privacy

My wife and I go upstairs into your bedroom and look through your drawers. She giggles as I read to her the contents of your wife's diary. Apparently your wife has been cheating on you. We then read your diary. Apparently you suspect your wife of cheating, but you don't care since cheating on you doesn't cause you any harm. We set up a hidden camera so we can watch the two of you performing your "consensual" acts.

Back downstairs, get the kids off the swing set, and off to the movie theatre to sneak into the matinee.

Prostitution

But of course this is more than just prostitution, this is the buying and selling of everything. Buying kidneys, hearts, eyes, ears, etc., right from living people. Having someone voluntarily kill himself in exchange for money to be paid to his estate. Buying political votes. Buying cities, states, entire regions of the country to rule as your own private kingdom. This of course won't be too useful since there are no trespassing laws, though.

Arson

Of your own private property, of course. But what if a firefighter is killed trying to save your home? Does that count as harming someone? What if you tell the fire company beforehand? Should this be opt-in, or opt-out?

Suicide

I wonder. Does suicide hurt your creditors? Or do we have no such thing as credit in this wonderful world? Because it would seem that if we do have credit, then drugs do hurt someone, your creditors. Can you enter into a contract not to commit suicide? Can you enter into a contract not to do drugs? Can you enter into a contract that if you're ever caught doing drugs you will immediately kill yourself? Are there any contracts at all in this wonderful world of yours?

Copyright, trademark dilution, quackery, reckless driving, attempted murder, mutilation of corpses (or do your rights extend beyond your death?), possession of nuclear weapons.

I'm intrigued by your ideas. Please, I'd like to discuss them further.



nope. (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by aphrael on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:08:03 PM EST

the fact of the matter is that the mere act of creating or spending counterfeit money does not actually harm anyone.

Yes and no - if you're passing it off as though it were real money, it's fraud.

[ Parent ]

So there shouldn't be a law against counterfeiting (1.00 / 1) (#95)
by dipierro on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:39:39 PM EST

the fact of the matter is that the mere act of creating or spending counterfeit money does not actually harm anyone.

Yes and no - if you're passing it off as though it were real money, it's fraud.

I didn't say passing it off as though it were real money. I said "the mere act of creating or spending counterfeit money."

But let's delve deeper into the issue. Who is harmed directly by me passing off counterfeit money as real money? How are they harmed? What's wrong with fraud?

Society as a whole is harmed, perhaps, because the fact that I can print my own money means I don't have to work. But isn't society as a whole also harmed in a quite similar way when I smoke pot instead of doing something productive?



[ Parent ]
I am harmed! (5.00 / 1) (#102)
by skim123 on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 07:12:08 PM EST

But let's delve deeper into the issue. Who is harmed directly by me passing off counterfeit money as real money? How are they harmed? What's wrong with fraud?
In fact, everyone who doesn't counterfit money is harmed, because their money becomes worth less. Furthermore, you harm the person who you pass off the counterfit money to if, when he tries to use it, the person he is exchanging it with realizes it is counterfit and won't accept it.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
The Wickard v Filburn argument (1.00 / 4) (#104)
by dipierro on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 07:31:58 PM EST

In fact, everyone who doesn't counterfit money is harmed, because their money becomes worth less.

If you're going to use that as an excuse then you can make anything illegal. By growing an apple tree in my backyard, everyone else who has apple trees are harmed, because their apples becomes worth less.

Of course, perhaps even that is a legitimate argument. It was successfully used in Wickard v Filburn. Let's apply it to growing pot: By growing pot, everyone else who has pot is harmed, because their pot becomes worth less. Guess we can regulate growing pot.

Furthermore, you harm the person who you pass off the counterfit money to if, when he tries to use it, the person he is exchanging it with realizes it is counterfit and won't accept it.

OK, but then the law should only make it illegal to pass off counterfeit money which someone will eventually realize is counterfeit.



[ Parent ]
You're comparing apples and oranges (none / 0) (#154)
by skim123 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:11:23 AM EST

with your apple tree comparison (no pun intended). Each dollar represents "legal tender for all debts, public and private." Therefore, its printing must be controlled by some central, authoritative figure. If anyone could print it then it would become worthless, since money only has worth because its creation is reserved and limited, as you know.

Apples have a different worth, they are for food. You having an apple doesn't make my apple any less tasty or nourishing. Granted, it reduced the economic worth of my apple, but that's just simple economic facts of supply and demand. Money's supply must be kept in check to ensure its value.

Without such laws, society would have to revert back to a bartering system. While you may think this a step in the right direction, many of the things we take for granted today could not have been possible without the more efficient economic means that currency provides.

Money is in some respects like fire; it is a very excellent servant but a terrible master.
PT Barnum


[ Parent ]
You don't get it (1.00 / 1) (#176)
by dipierro on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:19:00 AM EST

Each dollar represents "legal tender for all debts, public and private."

That's only because there's a law that makes it that way! You can't exactly justify a law by using that very law itself.

Therefore, its printing must be controlled by some central, authoritative figure. If anyone could print it then it would become worthless, since money only has worth because its creation is reserved and limited, as you know.

Right. So? If the purpose of government is only to stop people from harming each other, then that doesn't include creating a supply of money. That's merely convenient.

Without such laws, society would have to revert back to a bartering system.

Yep, that's why the original poster has it ridiculously wrong.



[ Parent ]
More to it than that. (5.00 / 1) (#185)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:01:09 AM EST

The reason only one authority in the US prints notes is because the notes themselves are worthless -- what they represent is invaluable. As far as I remember, every dollar has to be backed in the US with its equivalent in gold bullion. The federal reserve secures the gold, and issues shares of the gold on paper.

"Creating a supply of money" has nothing to do with printing banknotes. To create money, you have to aquire some gold. I recommend heading to the Californian hills. You can also do what most people do these days to create money -- get some foreigners to give you their currency (perhaps in exchange for goods and services). This foreign currency has value, and for an appropriate fee can be given to the federal reserve who will use it to purchase more gold, and give you paper notes representing that new gold. Bingo. You have added money into the American economy.

So, concisely, printing banknotes is not creating a supply of money. Banknotes merely represent the money to which you are entitled. It's like writing a million dollar cheque and trying to spend it when you don't have a million dollars in the bank.

FYI, in England, only the Bank of England can print money. In Scotland, three banks (Bank of Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, Clydesdale Bank) can print money. This was part of the Union agreement which created the United Kingdom. The Scots were already printing their own money, and didn't want to lose their minting facilities to the English. Now, we have the situation where certain racist English shopkeepers refuse Scottish currency, and they can get away with it. Scots money is "legal tender", but all that means legally is it can't be refused as payment of your pre-existing debts. It does not mean they have to accept it.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

we're not on the gold standard any more (1.00 / 1) (#190)
by dipierro on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:16:07 AM EST

As far as I remember, every dollar has to be backed in the US with its equivalent in gold bullion.

We went off the gold standard years ago. Money used to be a contract. Merely a bearer certificate of ownership of gold. But that hasn't been true in many years now. The rest of your argument fails accordingly.



[ Parent ]
No it doesn't. (3.66 / 3) (#194)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:38:34 AM EST

Regardless of the gold standard, banknotes aren't valuable by themselves. You refuse to acknowledge this point. They are merely the promise of money, and must have their value backed by the issuer. Genuine banknotes are creations of the government mint and are backed by the government. Non-governmental copies of government banknotes are backed by nobody, pretending they're backed by the government. It's like me writing a cheque drawn on your bank account. I don't have the authority. It's not my money.

Stop being deliberately dense. It's annoying.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Racism? (none / 0) (#286)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 07:30:18 PM EST

Now, we have the situation where certain racist English shopkeepers refuse Scottish currency

The Scots are a different race than the British? Since I am of Irish decent, dowes that mean I can claim to be an ethnic minority and gain preference in college admissions?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Try it. (none / 0) (#302)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:07:16 PM EST

Well, the Scots are mostly Celts, whereas the English are mostly Normans and Angles. If racism isn't the word for it, what is the word for discrimination based on nationality? Scotland is a different nation to England. It has its own parliament, currency, churches, legal and education system. The whole "United Kingdom" thing is that Scotland volunteered to unite in some aspects (the monarchy) with England.

There is certainly no technical reason why they can't accept Scottish money, as their bank will definately accept it. I can understand vending machines only being programmed with Bank of England notes (there's no law demanding the English accept Scottish notes, just like there's no law demanding Scottish people accept English notes), but I can't imagine why a shopkeeper would face-to-face refuse custom.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Counterfeit. (5.00 / 1) (#116)
by it certainly is on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:36:22 PM EST

Both normal money and counterfeit money are just paper (or hemp, flax, ...). However, normal money is backed by a bank and counterfeit is not backed at all. "Counterfeit" is a very specific word, it implies that the copied notes are INTENDED to be used for fraud.

Backed tender is simply an abstraction of barter. So, if you enter into a transaction where you obtain goods and/or services from one person (which he is only offering to you in exchange for X amount of backed currency), you are defrauding that person when you offer counterfeit money.

They did not volunteer their goods or services to you for no remuneration. They demanded for backed currency as remuneration. You did not give them backed currency. You have completely broken your part of the bargain. If they were not fooled by your attempt to cheat them, you have harmed them by wasting their time. If they were fooled, you have defrauded them, stealing their time and effort (services) or stealing their material posessions (goods). Both of these harm the person.

Thus, spending counterfeit money is harmful to others. Making duplicates of backed currency is, of course, a nice hobby that causes no harm, but creating counterfeit currency once again implies its use in deceit. You either knew all of this already, or you're stupid.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

a clue (1.00 / 1) (#178)
by dipierro on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:22:46 AM EST

Making duplicates of backed currency is, of course, a nice hobby that causes no harm, but creating counterfeit currency once again implies its use in deceit. You either knew all of this already, or you're stupid.

I'm merely following the poster's argument to its logical conclusion. "Where no harm occurs, then there is no requirement for a law" "Murder is a crime and the law rightly prohibits it, but owning a gun, even if it makes it more probable that you will kill someone, is not a crime."

Printing counterfeit currency, even if it makes it more probable that you will spend it, is not a crime. Err, or is it?



[ Parent ]
Like I said (5.00 / 2) (#183)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:38:38 AM EST

producing copies of banknotes for your own amusement is not harmful, but by calling them "counterfeit", you acknowledge they were created for fraudulent use.

I'll put it another way. Imagine I said "it should be legal to own murder weapons". Murder weapons? WTF? But I didn't mean murder weapons, I simply meant guns. But my use of language implied a crime. It should be legal to own guns, but not "murder weapon" guns, because murder is a crime.

Oh, and while it might cause no harm to create copied banknotes, and it might cause no harm to share them with your friends, if one of your friends tries to use them as counterfeit, you're now implicated in a crime, and police may very well believe that all your banknote copies were intended as counterfeit, even if that's not the case.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

ok (none / 0) (#189)
by dipierro on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:12:02 AM EST

It should be legal to own guns, but not "murder weapon" guns, because murder is a crime.

OK, so you do support creation of copies of money.

Oh, and while it might cause no harm to create copied banknotes, and it might cause no harm to share them with your friends, if one of your friends tries to use them as counterfeit, you're now implicated in a crime, and police may very well believe that all your banknote copies were intended as counterfeit, even if that's not the case.

That's certainly an interesting viewpoint. Am I likewise to be implicated if I sell my friend a gun and he uses that to commit murder?



[ Parent ]
Answers. (3.00 / 2) (#193)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:25:33 AM EST

OK, so you do support creation of copies of money.

No, I support creation of copies of banknotes and coinage. You can't copy "money", as I have already explained at great length.

In countries where the banknotes are nicer looking than the homogenous US banknotes, artists occasionally apply their talents to drawing or painting pictures of banknotes. They don't pretend they are currency, but regularly sell them for more than the "face value" (e.g. they might sell a picture of a 10 note for 15).

Am I likewise to be implicated if I sell my friend a gun and he uses that to commit murder?

Yes. You have not committed murder yourself, but you supplied a murderer with the means to carry out his act. Of course, implication is not a crime Conspiracy (to perform illegal acts) is a crime. You have a number of defences to the accusation of conspiracy to murder, including the defense that you sold your friend the gun in good faith, not knowing that he would use it for murder.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Fraud (5.00 / 1) (#133)
by duffbeer703 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:17:34 AM EST

Fraud is an act of decieving someone to make an unfair or illegal gain. In other words, you are taking advantage of another, which is certainly harmful to that person.

Money is a medium of exchange with specific value, by "purchasing" something with a counterfeit banknote, you have never acquired title to the thing that you "purchased". You have an implied contract with the seller that you are paying for good or services with legal tender money. "Purchasing" with counterfeit money is theft, which is certainly harmful to the victim.

[ Parent ]

What if you told the person (none / 0) (#277)
by dipierro on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:18:27 PM EST

that the money was fake?

[ Parent ]
Then it would/should be a legal exchange (nt) (none / 0) (#321)
by PowerPimp on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 05:56:11 AM EST


You'd better take care of me God; otherwise, you'll have me on your hands...
[ Parent ]
You realize of course (none / 0) (#336)
by dipierro on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 11:02:35 AM EST

that allowing that would cause the entire economy to come crashing down.

[ Parent ]
Someone's doing it right now. (none / 0) (#356)
by dark on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 05:09:58 PM EST

Gah, Google won't tell me where it is. But I read an article once about a man who would go into a restaurant to eat a meal, and then offer to pay with a hand-drawn dollar bill of an appropriate denomination. He would explain that he's not offering it as money, but as an artwork offered in exchange for the meal. About half the time, they'd accept it.

From his point of view, the real artwork is not the picture of money, but the transaction, where such a picture is accepted as a valid form of payment. He'll later sell the information about the transaction (including receipt) to a collector, who will then try to get hold of the actual drawing.

[ Parent ]

That's completely different (none / 0) (#360)
by dipierro on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 06:46:32 PM EST

The problem is that somewhere down the line someone is going to pass off the fake money as real money. That person probably couldn't even be charged with a crime, because they could claim they didn't know the money was fake. But even if they could, if the money is really close to the real thing they're not likely to get caught. The problem with counterfeit money is laundering it. If you make the laundry legal, you're defeating the purpose of making counterfeiting illegal.

[ Parent ]
Learn about law (none / 0) (#365)
by duffbeer703 on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 09:05:59 PM EST

You cannot "launder" fake money. Money laundering is when you use various means to obfuscate the origin of money. Counterfeit money is always counterfeit.

Counterfeit money is not legal tender for public or private debts. Therefore any transactions made with counterfeit money are null and void.

The fact that you may have been unaware of the counterfeit money is irrelevant and makes you a victim -- who still owes a merchant for his products & services.

Conversely, if you buy a stolen stereo from someone in good faith, you do not posses title to the stereo and do not own it.

[ Parent ]

Not what I'm saying (none / 0) (#381)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:51:14 AM EST

You cannot "launder" fake money. Money laundering is when you use various means to obfuscate the origin of money.

And that's exactly what you're doing here. You're obfuscating the origin of the fake money to avoid evidence that you know it's fake.

Counterfeit money is not legal tender for public or private debts. Therefore any transactions made with counterfeit money are null and void.

The fact that you may have been unaware of the counterfeit money is irrelevant and makes you a victim -- who still owes a merchant for his products & services.

Sure, but you're not going to go to jail. If you can buy a counterfeit dollar for $0.50, and you can then pass it off to someone else with a greater than 50% effectiveness, you're going to make out on the deal. And as long as no intent can be proven, you'll stay out of jail. That's why it's illegal to sell counterfeit dollars on ebay for $0.50.



[ Parent ]
Keep thinking that. (none / 0) (#386)
by duffbeer703 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:59:57 AM EST

Your argument makes no sense. It is illegal to distribute counterfeit currency, period. Possession of a certain amount of counterfeit notes establishes your "intent to sell".

And in any case all this is irrelevant to the larger argument. Any person who innocently accepts or purchases good & services with counterfeit currency is a victim -- because and contracts fulfilled with the currency are null & void.

[ Parent ]

the larger argument (none / 0) (#387)
by dipierro on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:17:27 AM EST

Your argument makes no sense. It is illegal to distribute counterfeit currency, period.

That's not true. If you don't know that the currency is counterfeit, there's no mens rea, and you're not guilty of a crime.

Possession of a certain amount of counterfeit notes establishes your "intent to sell".

Yes, but PowerPimp (and others) are saying that shouldn't be the case.

And in any case all this is irrelevant to the larger argument. Any person who innocently accepts or purchases good & services with counterfeit currency is a victim

That's completely irrelevant to the argument. The question is whether or not manufacture of counterfeit currency should be illegal, and whether or not distribution of counterfeit currency (while admitting that it is counterfeit) should be illegal.



[ Parent ]
Besides EVERYBODY (3.00 / 2) (#285)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 07:23:59 PM EST

If you pass a fake hundred to me and I try to deposit it, I will likely not spot it as fake, but the bank teller probably will.

Not only will I be out a hundred dollars (maening you stole a hundred dollars from me), I'll have to spend all day with the damned secret service explaining where that bill came from. And I might not know who passed it to me.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

um.... (5.00 / 3) (#92)
by RJNFC on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:22:13 PM EST

You are missing the point and using fuzzy logic. The point is that there are some things which are riskier or more costly to society to make illegal than to leave legal. Marijuana is a good example. A lot of the things you list are simply stupid:

Counterfeiting is theft, pure and simple, and we all agree (I hope) that theft is wrong.

Trespassing is invasion of privacy and/or theft (using property that does not belong to you) and again I hope we all agree that that is wrong.

Prostitution is another good example of something which has no victim. You list buying organs, which I think falls under suicide (see below) Buying votes already happens, basically (lobbying) and buying property is legal.

Arson of your own property is fine as long as the purpose is not to steal from an insurance company, as this would be simple theft. Again, I doubt you will find a society that agrees theft is a good thing.

Suicide should be legal (imo) because if the absolute punishment in our society is the death penalty then any crimes(?) you may commit by killing yourself have already been paid for with the max. punishment that is given for ANY crime, so that shouldn't be a problem. I personally feel that suicide being illegal is one of the stupidest things even because if you can't control THAT then are you really free at all?

You should try to use a little more logic if you want to make a strong point.

[ Parent ]
Fuzzy logic? (3.00 / 1) (#94)
by dipierro on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:35:38 PM EST

You are missing the point and using fuzzy logic. The point is that there are some things which are riskier or more costly to society to make illegal than to leave legal.

If that's the point then it was explained poorly. Much of the author's argument rests upon this assertion: "The purpose the law is to prevent the actions of one entity (a person, group of persons, corporation or the government) from harming other entities or society in general. Where no harm occurs, then there is no requirement for a law; this follows from the idea that people should be free to live with as little government interference as possible." My logic was via reductio ad absurdum, which is not at all fuzzy.

Counterfeiting is theft, pure and simple, and we all agree (I hope) that theft is wrong.

I don't agree that counterfeiting is theft. And as for whether or not theft is wrong, it depends on the situtation.

Trespassing is invasion of privacy and/or theft (using property that does not belong to you) and again I hope we all agree that that is wrong.

I don't believe that real property ownership is something which is natural. It's useful sometimes, but real property naturally belongs to everyone.

Arson of your own property is fine as long as the purpose is not to steal from an insurance company, as this would be simple theft.

You didn't answer my followup questions. What if a firefighter dies trying to save your property which you set on fire? Should we not have firefighters?

Suicide should be legal (imo) because if the absolute punishment in our society is the death penalty then any crimes(?) you may commit by killing yourself have already been paid for with the max.

What about assisting in suicide?

You should try to use a little more logic if you want to make a strong point.

You should try responding to all of my points instead of the select few you choose.



[ Parent ]
ok... (5.00 / 1) (#106)
by RJNFC on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 07:46:33 PM EST

I believe I DID try to respond to all of your points but if I missed some, please forgive me. Here we go:

Yes, the point of the article was explained somewhat poorly but that WAS the point which was being explained.

If you don't think that counterfeiting is theft then what would you call it if I took the standard representation of your hard work (ie money) which represents your time and energy and made some in my printer? You are basically giving someone NOTHING and taking their goods/services. Sounds like theft to me. I would very much like to hear under what circumstances you do not consider theft to be wrong.

Like it or not, in this society we own property and that makes trespassing a form of theft.

If you want to burn your own property then you should definitly not let anyone risk their life trying to put it out. I would think that would be obvious.

Again this is my opinion but I would say that suicide should be legal and that would obviously make assisted suicide legal as well.

I begin to see a distinct pattern here in that your points are not really based in reality. Please convince me otherwise, because things like debating whether theft is wrong or whether proporty can be owned do not sound like the product of a very rational mind, at least not in this period in history.

[ Parent ]
I'll get on topic, but first some responses (1.00 / 1) (#108)
by dipierro on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 08:09:03 PM EST

If you don't think that counterfeiting is theft then what would you call it if I took the standard representation of your hard work (ie money) which represents your time and energy and made some in my printer?

Counterfeiting.

You are basically giving someone NOTHING and taking their goods/services. Sounds like theft to me.

So long as they agree, it's not theft. Is accepting a gift theft?

I would very much like to hear under what circumstances you do not consider theft to be wrong.

Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor is not wrong.

Like it or not, in this society we own property and that makes trespassing a form of theft.

Whatever. I'm not going to play a game of semantics with you.

If you want to burn your own property then you should definitly not let anyone risk their life trying to put it out. I would think that would be obvious.

Right, but what if you just light a match, and go watch a movie? Are you responsible for the death which results if a firefighter breaks into your burning building and dies?

Please convince me otherwise, because things like debating whether theft is wrong or whether proporty can be owned do not sound like the product of a very rational mind, at least not in this period in history.

Really? I figured whether or not theft is wrong per se is something that would be discussed by just about any introductory philosophy class. Same thing with whether or not real property can be owned. The native americans certainly didn't believe in that concept. Perhaps that's not applicable in this period in history though, since we pretty much wiped them off the face of the Earth. Might makes right, I guess.

<hr>

Let me get back on topic. You seem to agree with me that the purpose of the law is not solely "to prevent the actions of one entity (a person, group of persons, corporation or the government) from harming other entities or society in general." Well, if so, that was the point I was making. I wasn't arguing against the entire writeup, only that one part of it. I too think drugs should be legal. I also think the statistics at the beginning are useless.



[ Parent ]
lol (3.00 / 2) (#117)
by RJNFC on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:36:45 PM EST

Ok you are definitly a fruitcake. "Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor" - very nice, Robin Hood, very noble indeed but it's still stealing. I really despise that sort of attitude, too. If it weren't for losers like you there wouldn't be any problems in this world. Theft is wrong because it's wrong to take something that does not belong to you. Period. And argue all you want but counterfeiting is a form of theft.

Anyway, the whole point here was that you were trying to point out bad examples of victimless crimes and you are doing a really poor job. I believe the point that was initially being made was obvious enough and I really don't think you understood it, but I'm not going to bother to refute your stupid posts any more so have a nice day.

[ Parent ]
All in the spirit of peace (3.00 / 2) (#130)
by duffbeer703 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:09:41 AM EST

Theft, counterfeiting and arson is fine, as long as you use the proceeds to save the Iraqi children and the caribou in Alaska.

[ Parent ]
More victimless crimes (none / 0) (#180)
by dipierro on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:32:33 AM EST

Theft is wrong because it's wrong to take something that does not belong to you. Period.

And who deemed the government worthy of saying what belongs to whom? No, that's nonsense. Morality and legality are two completely separate issues.

Anyway, the whole point here was that you were trying to point out bad examples of victimless crimes and you are doing a really poor job.

No, you only were able to point to the crime of spending counterfeit money. You weren't able to show me one for counterfeiting money, trespassing, cable theft, invasion of privacy, arson (of your own property), copyright infringement, trademark dilution, quackery, reckless driving, attempted murder, mutilation of corpses (or do your rights extend beyond your death?), or possession of nuclear weapons.



[ Parent ]
Actually (none / 0) (#262)
by subversion on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:18:20 PM EST

Counterfeiting money, then burning it (in your own home), should in fact be perfectly legal.  It hurts no one.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
Arson? (4.00 / 1) (#119)
by techwolf on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:43:56 PM EST

are you on crack? Arson DOES hurt others, it hurts me because I have to pay for the firemen who have to put it out before it burns down houses and buildings around yours. and of course what if it spreads to other buildings ti hurts tthem then, or if it jumped to the wilderness, hat then smart guy?


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

I believe (none / 0) (#155)
by subversion on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:14:24 AM EST

Many cities have instituted fees for calling in false alarms on fires (maliciously, not for simple mistakes).

Simply add a fee if the f.d. has to be called in for a fire the owner set, and we've made it okay on both ends.  If the owner takes care of their fire themselves, then no harm no foul, right?

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

oh yeah (none / 0) (#182)
by dipierro on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:37:59 AM EST

Simply add a fee if the f.d. has to be called in for a fire the owner set, and we've made it okay on both ends.

Yeah, cause a fee is really going to bring back a dead firefighter.



[ Parent ]
Death is seperate (5.00 / 1) (#231)
by subversion on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:54:58 PM EST

Obviously, then its involuntary homicide or negligent homicide, with fire as the weapon.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
um dude (none / 0) (#442)
by techwolf on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 06:08:55 PM EST

a fire costs a whole shitload to put out, more than most people who set or cause fires could afford, thus they default on the bill, it goes to collections and the rest of us have to pay for it until they [the city] can recover some (but likly not all) of the cost.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

And? (5.00 / 1) (#445)
by subversion on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 01:29:50 AM EST

This is different from your average civil crime how?

The point is that burning your own property should not be a criminal offense.  At most, it should be a civil (financial) offense.  Burning anothers should.  The second that fire crosses over onto your neighbors property, you're on the hook for destruction of another's property.  But if it's your shit, there is no crime.

To put it another way: under my system, a poor person who burns their house down (without burning their neighborhood down) gets to pay as much of the fire fine as can be collected.  The city has to pay the rest.

Under the current rules, the person gets arrested for arson and thrown in jail for 20 years, the city has to pay to put the fire out and to imprison the prospective criminal.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

what a dumbass! (4.00 / 5) (#121)
by RelliK on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:08:21 PM EST

While it is true that counterfeit money can be used in ways which harm people, the fact of the matter is that the mere act of creating or spending counterfeit money does not actually harm anyone.

Don't know economics much, do you? Supply & demand, fiat money and all that? OK, I'll give you a short introduction. Modern currency is what's called "fiat money". The piece of paper has no intrinsic value (unlike a commodity such as gold, silver, etc.). A commodity is naturally scarce: there is only so much gold available. However, paper money can be printed at virtually no cost. Therefore, in order for that piece of paper to be actually worth something, its supply must be limited artificially. Hence only the government can print currency. What do you think would happen to the value of US $ if I doubled its supply with counterfiet currency? Do you seriosly believe this wouldn't hurt anyone?

There is more to it than that, but this should be enough of an introduction.

You're away at work. My wife, my kids, and I climb your fence, go into your backyard, and swing on your swing set.

Uhhm, you'd be infringing on my privacy AND using my property without my permission. If you don't consider privacy or property rights to be fundamental, then at least you should counsider a non-zero wear & tear of the fence, the swing, and the lawn. In most countries though, my property rights are held to be more imporant than your right to swing on a swing set.

We tap into your cable connection and watch some pay-per-view movies with our cable descrambler.

... and the cable company picks up the bill. Yeah, sure that doesn't hurt anyone!

But of course this is more than just prostitution, this is the buying and selling of everything. Buying kidneys, hearts, eyes, ears, etc., right from living people. Having someone voluntarily kill himself in exchange for money to be paid to his estate.

I see nothing wrong with that. Note that there must be a concent in order for this to be truly a sale and not a robbery.

But of course this is more than just prostitution, this is the buying and selling of everything. Buying kidneys, hearts, eyes, ears, etc., right from living people. Having someone voluntarily kill himself in exchange for money to be paid to his estate.

That, unfortunately, is already happening, but don't tell me it doesn't hurt anyone!

Of your own private property, of course. But what if a firefighter is killed trying to save your home? Does that count as harming someone? What if you tell the fire company beforehand? Should this be opt-in, or opt-out?

Fire regulations exist to prevent a dumbass like yourself from causing damage to other peoples' property and/or endangering their lives. It is the same reason we have drinking & driving laws. Note, however, that by itself, drinking is legal.

I wonder. Does suicide hurt your creditors?

Now you are simply being ridiculous. What are you going to do to a person who commits suiside? Sue them post-mortem? Sentence them to a death penalty? How about soldiers / policemen / firefighters who are killed in action? Are you proposing we impose a penalty for accidental death? Talk about fuzzy logic!
---
Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism it's just the opposite.
[ Parent ]

Selling of organs (none / 0) (#391)
by cevans7 on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:44:06 PM EST

But of course this is more than just prostitution, this is the buying and selling of everything. Buying kidneys, hearts, eyes, ears, etc., right from living people. Having someone voluntarily kill himself in exchange for money to be paid to his estate. Wow! Fantastic idea, what a great way to secure your loan... just put a contract on your heart. If you can't repay, then the creditor gets your heart, liver, and what other organs you have. This would do wonders to helping the poor and middle class get capital... especially young ones.

[ Parent ]
sure (none / 0) (#402)
by RelliK on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:15:01 PM EST

Considering that dipierro was complaining that suiside hurts creditors, that's not such a bad idea...
---
Under capitalism man exploits man, under communism it's just the opposite.
[ Parent ]
Contracts (5.00 / 1) (#173)
by King Salamander on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:42:27 AM EST

I can't believe that nobody in the long discussion below posed the argument that a breach of contract is harmful.

The author does not mention contracts in his article. However, contracts could be an important part of keeping order between private parties with minimal government interference. The only law or government interference needed is that breach of contract is harmful and therefore a punishable offense. There are also contracts that are not able to be ended by a party which the government should not have to enforce. An example is slavery. The person selling himself as a slave has no ability to end that contract. Indentured service however is an endable contract and completely enforceable.

Your examples can be taken care of with a breach of contract rule and need no extra laws.

Counterfeiting Money

The US monetary system is based on a contract between the people and the government that issues the contract that involves the government and people agreeing that the pieces of paper will be honored as valuable. It is also possible for private entities to make similar contracts with each other(e.g. gift certificates, credit cards). However, when a third party creates counterfeit currency it interferes with the contract which is harmful.

Trespassing

Property can be defined as a social contract between the property owner and all other parties that the other parties will obey the property owner's rules about who may do what with the property. A fence being a method of keeping people out implies a rule that uninvited parties are not allowed to enter. This also applies to items.

Cable Theft

The cables and data travelling across are the property of the cable company or a third party in contract with the cable company. Stealing cable is a breach of the social property contract since it is using the property of the cable company or third party against the owner's rules.

Invasion of Privacy

Invasion of privacy is another example of a property rights contract. Consider that in your example to invade my privacy you had to break our contract that you would respect my rules about who can use my property.

My personal information is also my property and mine to choose what others can do with it.

Prostitution

Prostitution is widely misunderstood. By calling prostitution "selling your body" that makes it seem like slavery. It is just a contract between consenting parties that money will be exchanged for a service. This is a lot like consulting and other contract services. The party delivering the service determines the terms of what the service involves. So prostitution and other service contracts are enforceable.

Selling your organs(to be extracted before death would otherwise occur except for one kidney) or your own life on the other hand are unable to be terminated and do not have to be enforced by the government.

Arson

As long as the fire department doesn't have to come out then there is no problem since you are allowed to do what you want with your property. If your fire spreads to other people's property then that is harming their property.

Suicide

The current laws regarding suicide mostly regard assisted suicide. Taking your own life while in contract with others(i.e. creditors) is harmful to the creditors, but you've already taken the ultimate punishment. Assisted suicide is a tough call though. I think you should have a choice to end your life, but if you can't by yourself then a doctor should be able to form a contract with you involving your life being taken to end suffering.

There are more examples of contracts being involved in other actions crimes while extra laws bring in other innocents as criminals. But even redusing most laws to contracts wouldn't completely fix the justice system.


In a very real sense, *anyone* who makes a public issue out of the fact that they are involved with Linux in any way is seen as an advocate. (Derek Glidden)
[ Parent ]

some more questions, responses, etc. (none / 0) (#188)
by dipierro on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:08:20 AM EST

Now this is the kind of answer I was looking for. I take it you agree with the original poster. My questions were meant for him, but since you seem to agree with him I'll ask them to you. You have answered many of them.

There are also contracts that are not able to be ended by a party which the government should not have to enforce. An example is slavery. The person selling himself as a slave has no ability to end that contract. Indentured service however is an endable contract and completely enforceable.

I alluded to this in my "suicide" section. You seem to be of the opinion that any endable contract is enforcible, correct? Can you enter into a contract not to do drugs? Can you enter into a contract that if you're ever caught doing drugs you will immediately kill yourself? Let's say that both of these contracts are endable as soon as you pay back the money.

Property can be defined as a social contract between the property owner and all other parties that the other parties will obey the property owner's rules about who may do what with the property.

Likewise drug laws can be viewed as a social contract between members of society not to do drugs. Hell, all laws are a social contract. If you don't follow them, then you don't get protection from society. A police officer can throw you in jail and no one will stop him. But social contracts are not regular contracts. What if I don't agree to the property contract? What justifies the social contract of property laws? What about property owned by the state? Can the state make up any rules they want regarding this property? What about eminent domain? Doesn't the community own all the property and is merely leasing it to the citizens when they pay real estate taxes? Are fiefdoms legal in this world?

By the way, note that I'm talking about real property, i.e. land.

The cables and data travelling across are the property of the cable company or a third party in contract with the cable company. Stealing cable is a breach of the social property contract since it is using the property of the cable company or third party against the owner's rules.

I guess you can justify that, although you'd have to take it to the electron level. Fair enough, though. Cable lines are actually chattel which is in possession of the homeowner but remains owned by the cable company.

I always forget about chattel. "This credit card remains the property of blah blah bank." I'm not sure I fundamentally agree with that premise. If you legally possess something, even if it's owned by someone else, you should still be able to do anything you want with it so long as it does not cause any actual damage (or you are willing to pay for the damage upon return). That leads back to the question though, who is harmed? Or are you by definition saying that using someone else's property without their permission is harm in and of itself?

Invasion of privacy is another example of a property rights contract. Consider that in your example to invade my privacy you had to break our contract that you would respect my rules about who can use my property.

I never agreed to that contract. Same problem. If you're going to allow arbitrary contracts to be imposed upon people without their permission, then the entire argument breaks down.

Further, once again, you are defining harm to include invasion of privacy, but you do not justify it any further. Can't I just as well say that I am harmed by knowing that you have anal sex with your wife? Can't I say that you broke a social contract not to have anal sex with your wife?

My personal information is also my property and mine to choose what others can do with it.

Now you're adding yet another law without any justification.

Selling your organs(to be extracted before death would otherwise occur except for one kidney) or your own life on the other hand are unable to be terminated and do not have to be enforced by the government.

Two questions here. First of all, beyond not being enforced by the government, would there be any other restrictions? Once the exchange is made (let's say I pay cash), would there be any reprecusions?

Secondly, what about selling your virginity? That cannot be terminated either, it seems. I use selling your virginity as merely an example. There are many other non-terminable sales.

As long as the fire department doesn't have to come out then there is no problem since you are allowed to do what you want with your property.

Are fire departments opt-in, or opt-out? Who maintains the list? What if for some reason the list is unavailable?

The current laws regarding suicide mostly regard assisted suicide. Taking your own life while in contract with others(i.e. creditors) is harmful to the creditors, but you've already taken the ultimate punishment.

True, but really I used the question of suicide to bring up other points, mainly those dealing with unconscionable contracts.

ssisted suicide is a tough call though. I think you should have a choice to end your life, but if you can't by yourself then a doctor should be able to form a contract with you involving your life being taken to end suffering.

Wouldn't that violate your against non-terminable contracts?



[ Parent ]
Woah (4.16 / 6) (#85)
by tang gnat on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 05:15:24 PM EST

For a second there, at the beginning, I thought this wasn't about drugs.

The truth (3.50 / 4) (#87)
by SilentNeo on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 05:48:08 PM EST

An excellent and insightful article. I agree absolutely that the current legal system is at odds with our modern interpretation of the utopian ideals written down in the constitution. (modern, because it is clear our current interpretation is not what the writers had in mind, and utopian because it does not reflect physical reality. More on the second in a moment)

However, the purpose of a society of rules is not to maintain individual rights. It is to propogate society itself, replicating like any other life form. While I would like to create a society that instead truly values individual freedoms, physical reality means that any such society will be out-competed by one that actually values traits more suited to reproduction.

Physical reality is such that despite the enormous cost of the drug war, it is probably far less than the lost productivity to society if a large slice of the populance used drugs. A drug addict using the harder drugs usually is not able to care for himself and must be supported in numerous ways by the productive members.

Reality is such that members of society possessing more resources probably should get a better say than individuals with fewer resources. (because they are more likely to lead the society to gaining more resources).

Physical reality is such that even ideas about rights to do whatever one wants with ones own land and property are not always correct. Land and space are finite, thus using ones land in an inefficient manner (for instance, using it to do hunter-gathering rather than farming) affects others.

I am not advocating an authoritarian state like Russia or China. These states failed for information processing reasons. Placing all decision making in a few human hands, and using lies and propoganda as a means of communications, also ignores reality. I don't have enough information to suggest the optimal solution to many specific examples. For instance, while it would appear that stopping all members of society from using drugs and alcohol would make the group more productive, there may be consequences I am unaware of.

What I am saying is that trying to maintain utopian ideals is delusional and will harm this society. Decisions should be made based upon the best information available about their consequences, not whether they agree with some arbitrary and inconsistent human created set of rules. Trying to live by the bible/koran/any other document of this nature (or even reading it literally as a document written by a deity) is a worst case example of such fallacy.

partly right... (3.50 / 2) (#93)
by RJNFC on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:32:53 PM EST

Reality is such that members of society possessing more resources probably should get a better say than individuals with fewer resources. (because they are more likely to lead the society to gaining more resources).

Incorrect. This could easily just lead to a caste system or something like that with the powerful people using their increased decision-making to create more and more power for themselves.

I agree that reality means that some things which seemed like a good idea (ie total privacy) will need to be altered for the good of the whole, but utopian ideals MUST form the basis for any society which is trying to be a good society to live in because otherwise what do you have?

[ Parent ]
Alas (5.00 / 2) (#96)
by SilentNeo on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:49:28 PM EST

I just explained : the point is for society to replicate itself better than the competitors.  There is no other goal, for the simple reason that following any other goal will lead to failure.  

The bit about the resource using members thing is true, I was going to add a disclaimer but didn't.  Obviously, if Mr. Rich Man uses his power to vote himself more riches (without providing anything useful to society in return, or at least not anything useful in terms of cost/benefit) the society gets nowhere.  

[ Parent ]

no... (4.50 / 2) (#105)
by RJNFC on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 07:34:12 PM EST

The point of a society is for people to combine their efforts to achieve a standard of living not possible on an individual basis while at the same time remaining as free and as happy as possible. It is NOT some sort of race, or evolutionary experiment where the various societies are in a "survival of the fittest" contest. Where did you come up with that?

[ Parent ]
I think he just meant that the best idea wins (none / 0) (#138)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:58:09 AM EST

And, more importantly, the idea that works wins. I agree with you totally though, your definition of the point of society was the whole reason societies sprang up to begin with.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Yes... (5.00 / 1) (#166)
by SilentNeo on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:14:27 AM EST

"It is NOT some sort of race, or evolutionary experiment where the various societies are in a "survival of the fittest" contest. Where did you come up with that?"

Ahh, but it is exactly that.  Whether you want to admit it or not, it is a competition whether the participants want it to be or not.  Over a long period of time the societies with better methods for gathering the only things that matter : matter and energy and time and space will squeeze out all the rest.  Like any other organism, the society that cannot gather those resources as well as its competitors will die.  

A society that does not acknowledge this fact (and its a fact, whether you or anyone else agrees or not, as true as the color of the sky) is probably not going to be as efficient as one that does.  A society whose main competitive weapon is a set of arbitrary, restrictive, and static rules will probably eventually fail completely because while the rules can make some things more efficient, changing environments will eventually make them obsolete.  

The bible, the koran, the Constitution, venerated documents, are exactly this.  They provided a competitive edge soon after their writing but over time no longer reflect reality.    

[ Parent ]

That's why the Constitution isn't static (none / 0) (#174)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:54:39 AM EST

The Constitution is said to be a living, breathing document. It isn't static, it can change, and that's why I personally believe that it is an idea that should survive in the evolutionary ladder of society. Its funny that I read this because I've always thought of different civilations of the past to be the failed attempts up the evolutionary ladder. I am often surprised and sickened when I think of some of the evil governments that lasted so long. Makes me come to the conclusion that we are pretty near the bottom of the ladder.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Well.. (5.00 / 2) (#197)
by SilentNeo on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:06:49 AM EST

Well actually the reason it still works is because while the document hasn't changed (and I would argue has long since become mostly meaningless) the readers of it have. Its the same set of words, just the readers are completely different.

This is why I don't think it should be treated as anything other than it is. The "founding fathers" were politicos like anyone else, just from a different era. They made some mistakes and got some things right. Be realistic. Just because it mentions 'God' doesn't mean all Americans have to believe in Him. Just because it says "trial by jury" does not mean this is the best process for resolving disputes. Just because gun rights seem to be included doesn't mean they are real today nor will be in the future (as I've pointed our earlier, you essentially have no real rights to weapons that are competitive in todays world).

People are now reading the constitution like the bible. It has no mention of modern issues, and much deadwood. People stretch a couple of words to mean entire oceans of information (see "necessary and proper" clause). But most damningly, the document is so vague about many important issues that both sides argue from it. Obviously, if a document supports both sides it probably does not contain relevent information about either.

[ Parent ]

Semantics... (5.00 / 2) (#288)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:01:17 PM EST

"Just because it mentions 'God' doesn't mean all Americans have to believe in Him."

But it doesn't say "God" anywhere. It says "the creator".

If you believe that the big bang and entropy created us, as athiests and many agnostics do, then by "the greator" means the big bang and entropy.

"We believe these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal".

Yep, one pissing and dooling baby is pretty much like another, even a thalidomide baby or a crack baby. None of them are very useful in the short run.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

My apologies if this is a double post, I'm drinkin (5.00 / 2) (#292)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:13:33 PM EST

"It has no mention of modern issues, and much deadwood."

What "modern" issues exist that didn't always? The only "modern issues" are the same old issues twisted semantically by the priveledged few for their own personal gain.

For instance, file swapping of copyright material over the internet. It was never illegal to make a copy of a book, drawing, or anything else until very recently. It also wasn't illegal to give those copies away. The fact that technology makes it easy to share my books with millions of people the world over makes no difference.

However, the Lawyers (like a certain lawyer who ran the country and posited that oral sex isn't sex, and who debated the meaning of the word "is") have twisted the constitutional words "limited time" to mean "whatever congress wants limited to mean".

People haven't changed. Some of them just got rediculous power and started changing the meaning of certain words (like "sex", "is", "limited time", "gay"...)

A fellow named George Orwell made this one of the central thesises of a work of fiction. "Doublespeak," he called it.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

My point (4.00 / 2) (#301)
by SilentNeo on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:00:27 PM EST

The reason why it isn't that relevant to current issues is that the language is vague enough that it can be twisted. While you can argue what "limited time" in the Constitution means all year, you cannot argue the universe revolves around the earth using Princia Mathematica. Truely good information is extremely specific, exact, and readily provable.

[ Parent ]
the meaning of "is" in conext (none / 0) (#431)
by arbofnot on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:41:54 PM EST

Clinton gets a raw deal on his parsing of the word "is", because it is humorous on its face. Yet it is important to be precise in legal proceedings.

"It depends on what the meaning of the word "is" is. If the--if he--if "is" means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement." (Bill Clinton, Grand jury testimony, August 17, 1998)



[ Parent ]
Drugs (5.00 / 1) (#97)
by zakalwe on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 06:51:13 PM EST

Physical reality is such that despite the enormous cost of the drug war, it is probably far less than the lost productivity to society if a large slice of the populance used drugs. A drug addict using the harder drugs usually is not able to care for himself and must be supported in numerous ways by the productive members.
Leaving the side whether legalisation would cause a large slice of society to use drugs (I'd expect some increase in usage, but not a huge one, especially for the harder drugs), I don't think this is true. Most of the problems caused by even the harder drugs are also consequences of their illegal nature - the high price means that crime is often the only way for addicts to pay for them, which precludes them getting/keeping proper jobs, which causes a viscious spiral downwards. Theres no real reason why drug use in someones own time (ie not on the job) should affect their productivity any more than alcohol use, or any other leisure activity. The productivity argument always seemed pretty silly to me though. No one owes society productivity - the essence of capitalism is based on providing a motive (money) for providing it, not trying to nanny people by taking away other things they could be doing with their time. It also raises the question of whether drugs that might improve productivity, such as cocaine should be legalised (or required!)
Reality is such that members of society possessing more resources probably should get a better say than individuals with fewer resources. (because they are more likely to lead the society to gaining more resources).
I think its more accurate to say that they are likely to lead society to gaining them more resources. This is not neccessarily the same thing.
For instance, while it would appear that stopping all members of society from using drugs and alcohol would make the group more productive, there may be consequences I am unaware of.
Assuming you could do it without affecting other beneficial things, like freedom, privacy etc, you're probably right. If you think this is possible though, then its you who are maintaining utopian ideals. In a society like ours there is no way to stop everyone from using drugs. Even the most draconian regimes have never eliminated it completely. Unfortunately too many people seem confuse the goals with the reality and think "Making drugs illegal" is the same as "Making drugs go away".

[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 0) (#167)
by SilentNeo on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:22:45 AM EST

If you think this is possible though, then its you who are maintaining utopian ideals. In a society like ours there is no way to stop everyone conmmitting robbery. Even the most draconian regimes have never eliminated it completely. Unfortunately too many people seem confuse the goals with the reality and think "Making robbery illegal" is the same as "Making robbers go away".

Your argument is identical with this word replacement. While there is a COST to the system to make anything illegal (from paying cops to food and ammo), that doesn't mean it can't eliminate most of that illegal activity, nor cannot save society orders of magnitude more resources than the law consumes.

As I said : the true equation, the one that reflects the best information on reality as we know it, is probably to compare the cost of making abused drugs illegal (which means real physical resources, all finite) to what you are proposing, which will again cost physical resources, all finite (to take care of all the addicts, of which there may be many many more of). The probably is a disclaimer : I do not know everything, and would not put myself forward as "the best possible information" for actually making this decision. However, I do believe I am on the right track as to the method for making it.

[ Parent ]

Not what I'm claiming (5.00 / 2) (#208)
by zakalwe on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:19:40 AM EST

Your argument is identical with this word replacement.
Only if I was claiming that because drugs can't be eliminated, reduction is futile. This wasn't what I was arguing though. In fact, this replacement serves to reinforce my point. No one believes prosecuting robbery will eliminate it - but for some reason many seem to equate the war on drugs with eliminating drugs, and extoll what a wonderful utopia that would be, when the real result is what we have now - probably some reduction in usage, but at the huge cost to society that results in turning a popular product into a vast revenue stream for crime, while at the same time causing another vast headache in enforcing and imprisoning vast quantitys of people. In your original post you mention "while it would appear that stopping all members of society from using drugs and alcohol would make the group more productive." I think its very important to realise that no amount of enforcement will ever produce this situation without a society that makes 1984 look utopian. The result of enforcement is what we see - not a drug free society, and so that is what we should be comparing alternatives to.

the true equation, the one that reflects the best information on reality as we know it, is probably to compare the cost of making abused drugs illegal (which means real physical resources, all finite) to what you are proposing which will again cost physical resources, all finite (to take care of all the addicts, of which there may be many many more of).
I agree with this, but I suspect we have different ideas on what the costs of each approach would be. For instance, what do you feel the extra costs to take care of addicts would be? The majority of the debilitating medical effects of drugs are due to impuritys and the unreliability of the supply. Heroin, for example, famed for its wasted junkie image, is relatively benign in its pure form. Even if the number of Heroin addicts increased 100fold, the effects of a legal, regulated supply would cause the current resources required for medical care to plummet.

I'd expect the cost of caring for addicts to be similar to the cost we now have for legal drugs like smoking or drinking. Even if we have fully socialised medical care, and society pays the full cost for the user's health, in many cases the cost is probably actually negative - A healthy person who lives to 90 is going to cost a lot more to care for than a junkie who dies at 50 - Old age is a far more expensive malady than death.

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 0) (#272)
by SilentNeo on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:39:53 PM EST

"I think its very important to realise that no amount of enforcement will ever produce this situation without a society that makes 1984 look utopian."

Actually, while this is irrelevent to the discussion, there may actually be a way to do this. In theory it may be possible to create a 'vaccine' that prevents the brain from developing physiological addictions, and blocks certain known drugs from having an effect. Obviously such a product might have too many side effects to ever be used in mass...but if it were possible, you'd have your utopia in a bottle.

[ Parent ]

Morally dubious though. (5.00 / 1) (#314)
by zakalwe on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 12:00:12 AM EST

I suspect that a perfect vaccine, with no ill effects whatsoever is impossible, for the very real reason that there are many legitimate, non-leisure-related, uses for many drugs - the big one being anaesthetics.

Even if a perfect vaccine was developed though, I would be rather dubious about the morality of vaccinating everyone against drugs. Certainly the practicalitys of such a scheme would be difficult - especially for the more socially acceptable drugs like alcohol. The only real possibility is to vacciate at birth, "for the good of the children". However, suppose someone removed your ability to enjoy a favourate pastime/food/drink etc, because it was determined that using/overusing it could harm you. Would you consider that justified? Whats the difference between the government deciding you're spending too much money or time on drugs, compared with spending too much on computer games, or books, or those dangerous, often physically damaging skiing holidays? I would probably be financially better off, and much more productive if all possibility of any leisure activity was removed from me - but I don't think I'd consider it a utopia.

If such a vaccine were developed, there may well be legitimate uses. I think a more reasonable method would be use for those who request it, because they know they have an addiction problem. In some cases, it would even seem legitimate to administer it as punishment/treatment for a crime where addiction is an underlying cause. I don't think enforced mass-administering of it would be a terribly good idea though.

[ Parent ]

Real world example (none / 0) (#297)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:43:03 PM EST

"A healthy person who lives to 90 is going to cost a lot more to care for than a junkie who dies at 50 - Old age is a far more expensive malady than death."

My Uncle began smoking at age 12 and never stopped until they put him in a box. He died from emphesema(sp) after working and paying taxes all his life. He bought his own insurance, paid his own doctors, never collected Social Security or a pension of any kind- he died at age 62.

My Grandmother, his mother, was born in May of 1903- before the wright brothers flew.

She collected Social Security for 35 years. During that time she went to the doctor about weekly on Medicare's dime. The last ten years of her life were spent in a nursing home, at society's cost.

I fail to see how rational people can say that smoking costs society through increased health care costs. Everybody gets sick, gets hospitalized or put in a nursing home, and dies.

The broken hip that killed her earlier this year didn't cost a dime less than my Uncle's ultimate hospitalization and death. The difference was that he died young and didn't spend over a quarter of a century collecting Social Security, medicare, and medicaid (for a nursing home). I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of dollars my Grandma's lack of smoking cost society?

So light up those cigarettes, it's the patriotic thing to do!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I do not worship your god. (4.50 / 2) (#294)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:26:27 PM EST

As I said : the true equation, the one that reflects the best information on reality as we know it, is probably to compare the cost of making abused drugs illegal

You assume that all costs are counted in cash and goods. That's fine for those who worship mammon, but many (most?) Americans do not.

Can I cut off your balls? You don't really need them, do you? They have no monetary value whatever. In fact, they are a drain on society, as they will produce more resource- draining humans. I'll give you ten bucks for them, that's more than anybody else is offering.

Some would rather lose their balls, even their lives, for freedom. Patrick Henry?

The biggest cost of outlawing drugs (and of the war on terror) is the cost of my freedom. Some things have far more worth than anything money can buy.

Including my soul. As I said, I do not believe in your puny little green god. It, like everything else, will perish.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

morphine (5.00 / 1) (#362)
by pyro9 on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 06:57:12 PM EST

When morphine was the drug of choice for relieving pain from a war wound, a great many soldiers went home as addicts. All things considered, they were no more or less productive than their non-addicted peers.

Drug users tend to be non-productive for two major reasons. In some cases, they were dysfunctional in the first place, and are likely self medicating (ineffectively) a psychiatric illness. In the other case, the legal/social stigma makes them unproductive (can't pass drug test for employment, etc). In effect they are not contributing members of society because society cast them out.

Part of the reason drug users appear to be so much less productive is the way stigma stacks the deck. Anyone engaging in an illegal activity will try to hide their activity from the public. Functional drug users will generally be good at this, while dysfunctional ones will likely fail. So we see mostly the dysfunctional ones. In addition, because drug use IS illegal, a drug user is more likely to have been in jail with the consequent loss of employment, loss of employment opportunity (due to criminal record) and warped socialization into prison society.

I suspect the resources sunk into the drug war outweigh the productivity gains from reduced drug use.Although this is only conjecture, it may also be that if people couldn't drown their problems in alcohol, they'd turn to even more harmful activities.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Addict soldiers (none / 0) (#453)
by spiralx on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 08:51:19 AM EST

When morphine was the drug of choice for relieving pain from a war wound, a great many soldiers went home as addicts. All things considered, they were no more or less productive than their non-addicted peers.

Similarly many herion addicts came home from Vietnam. And guess what? Most of them gave up when they got back home from the war with very little trouble, I'm guessing because they had lives to come back to.

You're doomed, I'm doomed, we're all doomed for ice cream. - Bob Aboey
[ Parent ]

Society _does_ serve individuals (5.00 / 1) (#114)
by wytcld on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:01:54 PM EST

The only way for society to "replicate society" (which is a crude attempt to apply Darwinian principles to an area where they really don't belong) is to enable individuals to flourish maximally. It is up to individuals, both individually and as members of a social group, to gain the maximal latitude to apply their own wisdom to their individual situations. That is the genius of Adam Smith, and of Hutcheson and Shaftesbury before him. And those last two were well-read by the Founders (Hutcheson was Smith's teacher).

Persons elevated to government positions by the group are not smarter about each individual's circumstances than the individual. They do not have the data that the individual has, and are in no good position to fine-tune the individual's life, either economically or morally. Yet that fine-tuning, according to Aristotle not to mention Lao Tzu, is how true virtue is realized. Governments are what you bring in when virtue breaks down - and you paradoxically have to withdraw the governments to regain virtue subsequently.

The belief that the "society" comes before the individual is, quite simply, fascism. As it was popular in Germany, and we're a largely Germanic culture (the Angles and Saxons were both Germanic tribes) we shouldn't be surprised that many still aspire to its ideal here. But please don't pretend it's Darwinian. Darwinian selection happens on the level of the individual, not on the level of societies.

[ Parent ]

Really? (3.66 / 3) (#168)
by SilentNeo on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:31:38 AM EST

"Darwinian selection happens on the level of the individual, not on the level of societies.".

Oh, but it does. That's my whole point. Society is a set of rules, which is information which is subject to the same Darwinian laws as physical creatures. The same pressure to reproduce exists. An environment inside real human minds which have finite capacity exists. The memescape of ideas is just as real as the information hard coded as DNA(and various exotic variants) competing in the physical world. While the information coded as genes literally embodies itself as a physical creature in order to compete, ideas (from calculus to religion) embody themselves as control codes to help or harm physical creatures (well, neuron weights but the point is the same and just as valid). There are many other documents proving this fact, which you should read before we argue any further.

[ Parent ]

Ypu should change your name to.. (none / 0) (#136)
by Sesquipundalian on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:46:04 AM EST

PRIO~PRESUMPTION!


Did you know that gullible is not actually an english word?
[ Parent ]
Yeah (3.00 / 1) (#157)
by FuriousXGeorge on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:18:18 AM EST

"A drug addict using the harder drugs usually is not able to care for himself and must be supported in numerous ways by the productive members."

ALCOHOL.

--
-- FIELDISM NOW!
[ Parent ]

Eh (3.00 / 2) (#172)
by SilentNeo on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:41:29 AM EST

Umm I said "harder drugs" merely because nearly all the time the addict can get to the point where he is a drain on society. Of course alcohol can and does have the same effect. Should we ban alcohol for this reason? Possibly.

The decision whether or not to ban it should depend on the best information available, not on hypothetical and hypocritical ideas about "freedom"(hypocritical because obviously current American society has many many exceptions to the rule), which is the point of my original post. These ideas need to be replaced with the ones that matter (pun!) : ideas based on how the actual world works. Acknowledging that society is subject to competitive pressure, and that to succeed it must be designed to compete better than all other societies, is a start.

[ Parent ]

Inverted Socialism (4.00 / 1) (#186)
by Space on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:01:44 AM EST

This post seems to advocate the redistribution of resources by government to those individuals who manage them most efficiently. Even more disturbing is the argument for abbandoning democratic representation of government on this premise. The logical progression is simply feudalism.
<recycle your pets>
[ Parent ]
Hmm (1.00 / 2) (#198)
by SilentNeo on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:17:22 AM EST

I think the "logical progression" is that you are a troll. I'm not going anywhere. I'm pointing out the problems with the current approach, and suggesting honest and improved solution finding methods to current problems. That is, when trying to solve societies problems we should be conscious of the true resource cost and the competitive nature of the game. We should probably use the best information available to make decisions, not yellowing documents.

What is truely ignorant about your last post is you seem to think that any proponent of a major change in government methods from the status quo must be advocating a system that already exists, or has been tried. (uhh....feudalism? alrighty...) There is absolutely no reason to believe the solution space of possible government systems has been explored fully. Maybe the solution generated by my suggestions would be unlike anything seen in all history.

Ironically, you also prove a point. Your automatic assumption is that I've been infected by one nasty meme or another, and am merely blindly championing a fallen idea of the past.

[ Parent ]

40 times? (4.55 / 9) (#118)
by ThoughtMachine on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 10:41:09 PM EST

A black person who killed a white person is 40 times more likely than a white person who killed a black person to be sentenced to the death penalty.

I've heard this before, but like many statistics I'm not convinced that it tells the whole story. I'm actually not even sure it's true. Can you cite your source? Because what you are saying doesn't jive with this article. Here's a quote from the article:
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, whites who are arrested for murder or non-negligent manslaughter are actually more likely than their black counterparts to be sentenced to death (1.6 percent vs. 1.2 percent). Of those inmates under death sentences, whites are actually likelier than blacks to have their sentences carried out (7.2 percent vs. 5.9 percent). These disparities are not huge, and the purpose here is not to suggest that they indicate bias against whites; the point is that in no way do they support the notion of bias against blacks.

Rate low? Why so? It's bad form to rate low and run.
Not that I know the actual accuracy, (5.00 / 2) (#131)
by spcmanspiff on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:12:41 AM EST

but you're not reading carefully enough.

It's not just any old black murderer who's 40 times more likely to be put to death than any old white murderer.

It's the black murderer with a white victim vs. the white murderer with a black victim.

A very different thing, and I find the statistic quite believable -- although that's a gut feeling and not solid proof.

 

[ Parent ]

RTFA (5.00 / 1) (#140)
by KWillets on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:11:52 AM EST

They cover all the hot-button categories.

[ Parent ]
40 Times! (none / 0) (#160)
by ThoughtMachine on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:15:26 AM EST

spcmanspiff,

I'm aware of the difference you mention. Did you read the article that I referenced?

It goes on to state that:
whites who had killed whites were more likely than blacks who had killed whites to be on death row, [and] whites who killed blacks were more likely to reach death row than blacks who killed blacks
There fore, to be logically consistent with the notion that "A black person who killed a white person is 40 times more likely than a white person who killed a black person to be sentenced to the death penalty" then this means that by transitivity a white person who killed a white person is more than 40 times more likely than a black person who killed a black person to be sentenced to the death penalty. However, this is clearly not true.


Rate low? Why so? It's bad form to rate low and run.
[ Parent ]
Flawed logic (4.00 / 2) (#222)
by wumpus on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:33:54 PM EST

This assumes particular ratios of racial murders. The US is still highly segregated and those numbers are indeed possible assuming a high number of murders within ones own race.

A more likely explanation is that typically a murder victim knew his killer, but the rare occasion where he didn't is more likely to fall in the black/white or white/black case. It is also more likely to be a 1st degree murder and subject to the death penalty.

On the other hand, most executions are in the south (86%), with Texas in the lead (46%) being followed by Virginia and Oklahoma (numbers not available). I strongly suspect that the willingness to kill is strongly related to the willingness to lynch.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]

Flawed logic? (5.00 / 1) (#237)
by ThoughtMachine on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:34:07 PM EST

It's not clear to me what part you feel is flawed. Can you explain? You state that:
A more likely explanation is that typically a murder victim knew his killer, but the rare occasion where he didn't is more likely to fall in the black/white or white/black case. It is also more likely to be a 1st degree murder and subject to the death penalty.
If this were true, this would imply that blacks that killed whites would be more likely to receive the death penalty than whites that killed whites. However:
whites who had killed whites were more likely than blacks who had killed whites to be on death row.
and thus, this would seem to directly contradict what you are saying.

I wish I had more hard data. I'll look around and see what I can find.

Rate low? Why so? It's bad form to rate low and run.
[ Parent ]
It's your math thats wrong. (none / 0) (#269)
by wumpus on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:05:24 PM EST

There fore, to be logically consistent with the notion that "A black person who killed a white person is 40 times more likely than a white person who killed a black person to be sentenced to the death penalty" then this means that by transitivity a white person who killed a white person is more than 40 times more likely than a black person who killed a black person to be sentenced to the death penalty. However, this is clearly not true.
Hint, there are plenty of variables here, you are ignoring most of them.

There is no reason to believe that because a black murderer who killed a white is likely to die means that a white who killed a white is likely to die. To assume this means that you would have to have roughly specific numbers for each category (white/white, black/black, white/black, and black/white). If the numbers of whites who kill whites and blacks who kill blacks are much higher than the number of blacks who kill whites and whites who kill blacks, then the number could be lost in the noise. You also ignore the possibility of great leniency toward white murderers of black victims (note that standard practice in states that routinely execute convicts is to exclude blacks from juries).

What I'd really like to know is if you read your own article (I didn't at first, your math errors didn't require it). It does show that whites are likelier to be executed, which is the result you expected in your earlier post. You would have to show that whites murder blacks (and not get away with it) in numbers similar the amount of whites killed (by whites). You haven't shown that.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]

It's my math that's wrong? (none / 0) (#273)
by ThoughtMachine on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:58:03 PM EST

You state that:
There is no reason to believe that because a black murderer who killed a white is likely to die means that a white who killed a white is likely to die.
But this is exactly the point the article makes:
whites who had killed whites were more likely than blacks who had killed whites to be on death row

Rate low? Why so? It's bad form to rate low and run.
[ Parent ]
Looks like my reading is wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#299)
by wumpus on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:54:41 PM EST

Also, the article has bad data. Thats what I get for replying to your original post (which quoted only believable results) without reading the article.

Your article mentions that 9 of 13 on Maryland's death row were black. Somehow it doesn't mention that every single one of them was on death row for killing a white, I wouldn't trust this not to "cherry pick" studies to find exactly what it wants. The Maryland study (which seems to be the study your article is complaining about) is here . That study shows that between 1978 and 1999 the following statistics:
Racial combination********percent of **percent of
*******************************cases***executed
White defendant/Black victim***01.9%***01.3%
Black defendant/White victim***23.0%***50.0%
Black defendant/Black victim***47.9%***18.4%
White defendant/White victim***21.9%***30.3%
Does anybody know a good way to do tables under the allowable HTML?

While this hardly shows the "40 times more likely" it hardly shows anything like what your study claims "whites killing blacks more likely to be executed than blacks killing whites".

I did notice that your article's article (an amount of indirection likely to lose data) studied 1977-1984. According to this (draft) study Virginia only executed 2 convicts in that period, but killed 77 by 2000. Virginia also seems to average 15% of all executions in the US, and should be more representative of attempts at justice (or lack thereof) in the US.

Wumpus

[ Parent ]

Unfair for defendant or victims? (none / 0) (#313)
by ThoughtMachine on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:36:08 PM EST

So from the Maryland study

Key:
b=black
w=white
exec = execution
p(exec) = probability of execution
x->y  x murders y

From Figure 7

        #cases  #exec   p(exec)
b           882     48     .05
w          291     23     .08

From Figure 8

        #cases  #exec   p(exec)
w->b        22      1    .045
b->w       266     34    .128
b->b        575     14    .024
w->w       274     22    .080

So in Maryland, whites still have a greater likelyhood of being executed than blacks overall.

A black that murders a white is a little less than 3 times more likely to be executed than a white that murders a black.  However, note that the number of w->b cases is tiny.  And there was only 1 w->b execution.  This is not really enough data to draw meaningful statisics from.  If the outcome of only a couple of w->b cases had gone differently, then the situation would be reversed.  

But what I think is most interesting about these numbers is that it would appear that it matters less what race the defendant is, and more what race the victim is.  People that murder a white are 4 times more likely to be executed than people that murder a black.

So these numbers would seem to support the notion that our criminal justice system is more fair about its treatment of defendants than it is about its treatment of victims.  Justice costs money, especially a capital murder trial.  And I would not be surprised if prosecutors felt that there is a bigger political bang for the buck by nailing people that murder whites.  And of course, that's a problem.

Thanks for this study.  I'll give it a more thorough read.
Rate low? Why so? It's bad form to rate low and run.
[ Parent ]

That's the problem with the article (none / 0) (#201)
by p3d0 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:35:53 AM EST

No citations whatsoever, except for population numbers and other non-controvercial things.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
"article" ambiguous (none / 0) (#209)
by ThoughtMachine on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:21:25 AM EST

I take it you're referring to the k5 article?

Rate low? Why so? It's bad form to rate low and run.
[ Parent ]
40 time huh (1.00 / 2) (#123)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:38:23 PM EST

why don't you throw in the number of people murdered rather than jailed?

err...woops (none / 0) (#124)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:40:06 PM EST

40 times was in the wrong sentance:-p...I should read more carefuly...

any way......1.4 million in jail in china, how many were killed rather than jailed? also, what is the turnaround for those who are sentanced to death there? here the average is about 15 years.

[ Parent ]

Lies, Damn Lies and Statistics (none / 0) (#455)
by Richard Henry Lee on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 01:28:46 PM EST

Source

1.4 million in jail in china, how many were killed rather than jailed?

China: 1060 out of 1.4 million imprisoned out of 1,287,000,000 population.

USA: 71 out of 2,015,475 imprisoned out of 290,000,000 population.

Percentages.

China:
Executions - 0.00008236%
Imprisonments - 1.08%

USA:
Executions - 0.00002448%
Imprisonments - 2.24%

Conclusion:

You are 4 times less likely to be executed by the government in the USA.

You are more than twice as likely to be imprisoned.

.



Let this happy day give birth to an American republic. Let her arise, not to devastate and to conquer, but to reestablish the reign of peace and of law. - June 7, 1776

[ Parent ]

Just from the headline (2.14 / 7) (#125)
by jeremyn on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:40:31 PM EST

Maybe that means that black people are commit more violent(not more as in more murders, but more violent) murders or more unprovoked murders of whites than white people do of blacks? Perhaps the USA has more in prison than China because in the US, the state doesn't <u>murder</u> people.

Is there a racial bias to crimes? (none / 0) (#150)
by lukme on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:36:06 AM EST

If the police are looking for a serial criminal, who are they looking for?




-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
Depends on the crime (none / 0) (#153)
by subversion on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:11:02 AM EST

For serial murder, I believe they look for white people first.

For bank robberies, petty theft, assault, rape, and the like, they're usually looking for a black person.

All generalizations made without respect for any local peculiarities; for instance, in Dearborn (near where I live), Arab-Americans are often suspected in crimes, because the population is very high.  I expect the Texas border immediately looks for Mexican suspects, central Miami for Hispanics, etc.

If you disagree, reply, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]

oh yeah, also (3.50 / 4) (#126)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:57:28 PM EST

in a free society that respects a certainlevel of privacy (how ever little it may be, in the eyes of the law much of the lack of privacy is inactionable) you will end up with more people commiting crime than in a tightly controled society becasue the inhibitions are lower.

why are the inhibitions lower? becasue in a free society there is much more oportunity for a criminal to comit his/her crime, the police have a very strict rule book that they play by and the criminal does not have that so most criminals think they can evaid capture and in the court room, the defence is given more lattitude to make its case and it even gets the last word making a greater impression on the jury so that further gives criminals the idea that there is wiggle room to beat the wrap.

in China, the smash through your door and you are thrown in prison with out knowing what it is you are being arrested for (technicly, becasue if you are a criminal you know what you did).

if the crime is bad enough you might not even make it to "trial" and if you get to "trial" your chances of being alive in 3 months are very low. add to that the poor conditions of the prisons in places liek China and I bet most long term inmates have a mortality rate above 50%.

give all of this, it is not suprising that we have more prisoners, we take better care of them, those who are to be executed could die in prison of old age before the sentance is carried out, AND our society makes it easier for criminals to comit (I stress comit becasue they will most likely get caught) their crime.

now, does all this mean I think the criminal system is inno need of reform? hell no. victomless crimes are overly representative in our prison system. a drug addict should be forced into a closed rahabilitation facility rather than living in a cell with a violent rapeist, and many fraud cases are sentanced WAY to long,ther are better ways to deal with those type of people. also, if we are going to have a death penalty, for god sakes..follow threw...there has to be a way to get appeals through the court system faster.

Rehabilitation? (5.00 / 1) (#175)
by Space on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:10:12 AM EST

On what basis do you justify forcing a person into rehabilitation? Do you have any idea what rehabilitation is and how successful it is when people are "forced". How do you define addiction? People can't be sent to jail for being "addicted" yet and thinking you have a mandate to send these people into rehab is more likely to increase the police state!
<recycle your pets>
[ Parent ]
Sidebar: Drug war IS accomplishing its purpose... (4.28 / 14) (#127)
by MalTheElder on Fri Apr 11, 2003 at 11:59:53 PM EST

...if you consider what the effects have actually been. The pretext of the war on drugs has been used to systematically whittle away at Constitutional rights and freedoms that USians once accepted as natural and absolutely inviolate. The U.S. government has been waging a FUD campaign for decades now, and has largely succeeded in getting USians to voluntarily throw away their rights. While the Drug War was quite successful in this respect, along came the 9/11 tragedy and provided an even more effective basis on which to complete the process.

Now we have the unPATRIOT act, under which most of my rights can be ignored upon accusation (founded or not) of terrorism. Soon to come is the even more far reaching unPATRIOT II act, in which you can become an unperson, stripped of your citizenship and all, for what amounts to disagreeing with the administration in power. Expressing these opinions could get me busted under those provisions. Can you say 'thoughtcrime'? I knew you could. (Sorry, Fred)

Excuse the off-topic rant; I just had to address this. Of course, as an actual 'war on drugs' to reduce usage and all, the WoD has failed miserably. So miserably one might presume it was not intended to succeed in that way. After all, what would the DEA do if they actually won? Featherbedding has been around a long time, folks.

Ah, fsck it. Maybe they have some respect for civil liberties in Russia.

Sewing up my venting spleen,
Mal The Elder

Had to rate you as 1 (1.00 / 11) (#128)
by duffbeer703 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:06:27 AM EST

For the excessive use of the term "USian"

[ Parent ]
Nopraw, rider (none / 0) (#296)
by MalTheElder on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:38:45 PM EST

I can live with it; I kinda like the erm USian. I grew up in the Caribbean, and know first hand that the rest of the Americas resent the US appropriating the word 'American' to refer only to folk from the USA.

Hope you otherwise got something out og my comments.

Have a nice war,
Mal The Elder

[ Parent ]

Of course it is serving its purpose (4.50 / 2) (#141)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:20:34 AM EST

Like all other US laws, the drug laws were bought and paid for by those with a vested, monied interest in those laws.

And who profits from the drug laws?

The drug lords do. Illegal drugs nets them BILLION$. They aren't about to let that profit go down the toilet, so they bribe our legislators to not only NOT make the laws more logical, reaonable, and sensible- but to impose ever more stringent and draconian laws so they can charge more.

The drug laws hurt everyone except the drug lords and politicians.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

More likely interest groups... (4.50 / 2) (#158)
by jeti on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:21:04 AM EST

I think you overestimate the power of "drug lords".

But AFAIK most US prisons are privately owned. Imprisoning people has turned into a business, and with it come interest groups and lobbyism.

Another point: I find it hard to believe, but I heard that in the US your property can be confiscated as soon as you're accused of producing or trading drugs. And that you don't always get your property back if you aren't convicted. In that case enforcing drug laws is quite profitable for the executive branch of your government.

[ Parent ]

Absolutely True,... (none / 0) (#161)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:22:31 AM EST

Your property can be confiscated stolen even if you are never convicted. It is nearly impossible to get your property back (that is, if it hasn't already been auctioned off), so most people never even bother. And there are still people who believe that this war is actually a war on drugs!

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

a billion dollars is a billion dollars (none / 0) (#171)
by mikelist on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:38:46 AM EST

I agree that 'drug lords' are overestimated, but the money they wield looks just like W's oil money. I doubt that much of it is actually used to lobby government agencies or legislators, but those large suppliers who live in the US generally have an alibi that lends legitimacy to their wealth. Lacking that, they would do like street dealers do, and spend that monry as fast as it rolls in. If they are arrested bank accounts and T-bonds aren't of any use to them, except in lawyer-fee sized amounts. The big guys use their mantle of legitimacy surreptitiously to further their wealth and legitimacy.

[ Parent ]
There is money in everything (5.00 / 1) (#235)
by Magnetic North on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:09:41 PM EST

There is truth in what you say. It reminds me of an article I read a while ago. Who do you think paid for the "free" nation wide anti ecstacy billboard campaign, when Leah Jones died in the UK - allegedly from an ecstasy overdose?

It was a gift from two great philantropic advertising agencies, who also just happend to be the advertising agencies of britains two largest breweries.

Ironically, Leah Jones didn't die from an ecstasy overdose, but rather from water poisoning. She had heard that drinking a lot of water was smart when on ecstasy, but overdid it somewhat. Sad.



--
<33333
[ Parent ]
No, "The pretext of the war on drugs" (3.66 / 3) (#143)
by bluehead on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:53:41 AM EST

is to get rid of bad evil drugs. Drugs are bad mmmkay?

What you mean is that the true reason of the war on drugs is to systematically whittle away at Constitutional rights and freedoms that USians once accepted as natural and absolutely inviolate.

I agree with that.

Hard like a criminal.
[ Parent ]
USians (none / 0) (#298)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:52:07 PM EST

Do you mean the United States of Mexico, or the United States of America?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

This is a major problem with the term (none / 0) (#312)
by zakalwe on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:30:44 PM EST

I propose it should be modified to "USAmians" to remove this ambiguity. This will have great future payoffs after the US is encouraged to invade "Usama" - last known location of all the 9/11 terrorists.

[ Parent ]
What's in a name? (none / 0) (#341)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 01:17:00 PM EST

We'll just call my nothern neighbors "Kanucks", my southern neighbors "Spicks", and those in my country "rednecks".

Oh hell that doesn't work either. We have all sorths of minorities here, including hispanics (like in the Carribean).

As long as everybody understands what is meant by the word, wtf does it matter what word is used? When I say "American" you know it is the same as "USian" and it doesn't sound as stupid.

You, the guy in Brazil, do you consider yourself an "American"? I thought not. Neither do my Canadian friends.

So what's the problem?

Some groups find that their group is reviled so they change the name. That's stupid. You're not reviled because of your label, but because of your group. Whether you call a homosexual a homo, queer, fag, gay, or whatever won't make people accept homosexuality any more. What's even dumber is that all these labels were invented by the homosexuals themselves. Fag, for instance, is a British cigarette. You suck on it. Someone who allows his cock to be sucked (whether by a woman or another man) is a fag. "Queer" means "odd", which conjures up a much nicer image than "homo". The "bad words" of now were the euphamisms(sp) of yesteryear.

And the term "gay" is a very good example of doublespeak, changing the meaning of hundreds of years of literature and poetry. Can anyone explain what is so "gay" about a group of people that half of the members have attempted suicide?

Personally, I don't care how you get your rocks off. But I don't want to hear about it, whether you are homosexual or heterosexual. You DO understand why it's so funny to send someone to goatse.cx, right?

To paraphrase long decomposed British corpse, "A turd by any other name would stink as bad".

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Your prejudices betray you. (none / 0) (#382)
by synaesthesia on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 08:58:19 AM EST

What's even dumber is that all these labels were invented by the homosexuals themselves.

Would you care to support that assertion?

  1. Fag. If it meant someone who would let their cock be sucked by either a man or a woman, why would a gay man choose to be called that?
  2. Queer. Queer doesn't just mean different, it carries negative connotations. For instance, "I'm feeling a little queer," has never meant that you are experiencing a wave of feeling unusually healthy.
  3. Gay. Can anyone explain what is so "gay" about a group of people that half of the members have attempted suicide? Of course! Go to a Mardi Gras Pride parade sometime.
p.s. When defending your position, remember that 'inventing' and 'adopting' are not the same.


Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
They're not spics (none / 0) (#459)
by epepke on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 09:41:42 AM EST

They're greasers. Spics don't eat tacos and mole poblano; they eat paella and gazpacho. Get it straight.

Personally, I have a great love for Mexico, even though I'm a Yank/Kraut/Limey/Frog with a bit of Kike mixed in.

As for USian, why not just call Europeans EUniks?


The truth may be out there, but lies are inside your head.--Terry Pratchett


[ Parent ]
University of East Anglia (2.00 / 2) (#135)
by DodgyGeezer on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:42:31 AM EST

It's called the University of Extreme Apathy for good reason.  It's no wonder they have so few security guards!

I read my degree at UEA.  Let's be honest, it's a pretty small place.  When I was there (1993-1996) there were only 7,500 students, including post grads and over 500 foreign exchange students.  Although the grounds are quite large and sprawling (it's built on an old golf course and includes a lake and woodland), it's probably only 10 minutes walk from one end of the main buildings on campus to the other (Constable Terrace to Waveny [Wolfson??]).  I don't know what the University of Maine is like, but most N. American universities that I've seen are far larger.

Now, don't take those doddering old men with funny Norfolk accents for granted... they co-ordinated quite an operation against a friend and me one night when we were trying to carry an empty beer barrel back to residence!  I find it hard to believe that they only have seven staff... they had at least that many on duty that night when I ran in to them.  It was a quiet mid-week night, and very late.

sex between consenting individuals does not harm a (2.11 / 9) (#137)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:55:37 AM EST

"sex between consenting individuals does not harm any third party."

Yes, it can.

If you commit adultery with a married woman and are caught, you have certainly harmed her entire family. In fact, her family is very likely to be shattered. There is real pain involved in adultery.

Secondly, consider that I screw your wife and you don't know it, and she becomes pregnant with a son. You screw my wife and I don't know it and she becomes pregnant with a daughter. Neither wife knows the husband has been dallying.

Now your son marries my daughter. No relation legally, but your son is my daughter's brother.

When you condone adultery, you condone incest. Incest causes birth defects. You can't say that there is never any harm between consenting adults having sex.

The irony here is that adultery is NOT ILLEGAL!

Why is it legal for me to have sex with your wife so long as I don't pay her?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

Adultry is a violation of a Contract,... (5.00 / 1) (#139)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:08:19 AM EST

not consent. So saying sex between consenting adults does not harm any third party is still very true. Adultry violates a legal contract and has nothing to do the the consent issue. Sex with a hooker is an informal contract between two consenting adults and should be none of the state's business.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Eh (5.00 / 1) (#204)
by ubu on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:41:27 AM EST

If marriage is a legal contract, then adultery is indeed a violation of said contract. That does not, however, have anything to do with criminal law regarding adultery as practiced in the United States and elsewhere. Recognize the difference between criminal and civil law: in the former case, suit is brought by the State against its own citizens, "on behalf of Society", upon the basis of a politically-motivated code or statute (known colloquially as "law"). In the latter case, suit may or may not be brought by a private individual or organization, on behalf of himself or themselves, upon the basis of Common Law which protects contracts, property, and person.

Ubu


--
As good old software hats say - "You are in very safe hands, if you are using CVS !!!"
[ Parent ]
Law (none / 0) (#310)
by zakalwe on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:14:54 PM EST

I was under the impression that adultery itself was not against the law (at least here in the UK - the US may be different). It's only relevent in divorce proceedings, which would bear out a contract interpretation. Some googling shows that its considered a misdemeanour by some states, but rarely prosecuted. Even there it seems to be ranked alongside laws against cohabitation - something I doubt is enforced these days. What exactly does criminal law say regarding adultery? Is it actually enforced, or is it on the same level as sodomy laws?

[ Parent ]
So???? (none / 0) (#148)
by lukme on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:21:52 AM EST

You don't think your situation could happen in the several odd million years of human evolution?

So what would you say of a father and daughter having a child?

How about all of the birth defects of cleopatra?




-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
Adultery is a motherfucker (none / 0) (#303)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:12:42 PM EST

"You don't think your situation could happen in the several odd million years of human evolution?"

I hate to quote myself, but here goes from a very long smartassed piece I wrote about art and art history about five years ago (should I submit it to K5?)

(http://www.mcgrew.info/art/)

"Some four to ten thousand years (the figure is disputed by those who don't know for sure, meaning everybody) before a guy got nailed to a cross for not stealing an ass (go figure), one of these incestuous Egyptian kings decided that he wanted a really nice grave. Prehistorians (or "archaeologists") claim that it really had something to do with the economy instead of the fact that the guy was stupid and crazy because his father was also his uncle."

My daughter's cats had an incestuous litter, and although the birth defects are minor, they are there.

So yes, it is certain that there has been incest in human history (like was referenced above). What do you think all the "white trash redneck" jokes are about?

But adultery, which is LEGAL by the way, has caused me more pain than any other harm I have ever suffered in my half century on this earth. And I have had arthritis, broken bones, auto accidents. I'm no stranger to hellish pain.

Do you know what it's like to have your daughter ask you if you are really her father after finding out that her mohter is a slut?

I finally understand what the ghetto kids mean by "motherfucker", and why it is such a terrible insult.

I thank God and science for Paxil.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

On life, love, and the legal system (none / 0) (#317)
by lukme on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 01:44:19 AM EST

I am sorry to hear about all of your pain and depression that your wife's affair has caused you. Considering you are much more sensitive and articulate than I am, you've probably had a heart to heart with your dauther and point out to her that you have been and will continue to be her father, and you will continue to love her unconditionally. If you have'nt done this, then I think you should. One thing though, make sure that you do not express any anger towards her, and try not to express any anger towards her mother.

I am glad to see that you are dealing with your depression.

Unfortunatly, the real problem with the legal system as implemented here in the US, is its system for revenge. Just look at the amount that people have to pay for child support. With the amount that I pay, I make at least a full car payment, if not the car and the house. My family lives on less per month than I send my ex for our daughter.

A second thing to consider, how many people actually get reformed in prison. Usually the reforming is into a leaner, meaner criminal who does everything possible to go back to prison. My father vivedly describes couple of the criminals who went to the welfare office in shackles with armed guards to pick up their welfare check. The next day the prisoner is released and put on a train to go home. The one guy mugged someone on the train, the other waited until he got home to mug someone. Both of these guys were "reformed" and served their full sentence.

Quite frankly, if the legal system got involved, it would be completely screwed up. There would be so many loopholes in those laws since a huge number of politicians have extramartial affirs (President Clinton was just notablly prolific, although he is just the tip of the iceburg).

PS:
Good luck, and I hope that this wasn't too much of a random rant.

PPS:
Just a side note, the references I was thinking of were Cleopatra and the biblical story of lot and his daughters.




-----------------------------------
It's awfully hard to fly with eagles when you're a turkey.
[ Parent ]
Very good post and thank you (5.00 / 1) (#342)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 01:28:44 PM EST

Yes, I did talk to my daughter, thank you. No, I have not been angry at either daughter for their mother's actions, although neither one is very happy with either parent right now.

I agree with you completely about the child support issues, and it was a very good point. I worked with a fellow once who was paying more in child support to his daughter, whose mother didn't work, than I was making.

I know another fellow on his third marraige, with one kid from each marraige. His first wife was a crackhead who walked out on him. He had custody, but no support. His second wife got custody, and he's paying half his salary in child support, despite the fact that he has two children living with him!

There is a hell of a lot of sexual discrimination written into US law, and it isn't the women who are being discriminated against.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Adultery = incest? (5.00 / 2) (#199)
by Ublis on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:30:08 AM EST

"When you condone adultery, you condone incest."
I'm sorry to say so, but I find this one of the most stupid arguments in this thread. Let me tell you why: adoption can lead to inbreeding in much the same way. Sperm banks and any other case where the father is either unknown or known, but seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth (e.g. migration, an "adventure" the father had in his days as a soldier abroad) can lead to inbreeding. So unless you're willing to punish adoption and sexual intercourse between unmarried individuals (you know, much like what they did in Afghanistan), I can't see how it can be ironic that adultery is not illegal.
Adultery can lead to divorce, yes, and in that case the offending party can and will be punished (alimony, bad relations with the kids, etc.).

[ Parent ]
it CAN (none / 0) (#305)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:38:33 PM EST

"adoption can lead to inbreeding in much the same way."

Which is why I am against sealing adoption records and for a child's right to know who his or her biological parents are.

"Sperm banks"

I'm against sperm banks. For that very reason. Actually, I am against reproductive therapy PERIOD. The world is overpopulated. IMO a married woman using donated sperm is committing moral adultery.

"any other case where the father is either unknown"

There should be NO reasons the father is unknown. NONE.

"...or known, but seemingly disappeared from the face of the earth (e.g. migration,"

Which is why marriage should be a lifelong commitment.

"...an 'adventure' the father had in his days as a soldier abroad)"

You condone this? And yes, I was guilty of it. I am not Christ, I am a sinner who tries his best...

"Adultery can lead to divorce, yes, and in that case the offending party can and will be punished (alimony, bad relations with the kids, etc.)."

No, they are NOT punished, not in Illinois at least, not by the law. As to the kids, love of a mother usually trumps the shame and hurt the poor child feels. Could you hate your mother, regardless what she did?

Adultery is grounds for divorce here, and that is ALL. I'm not only not going to get any alimony, the law says she gets part of my pension because it is a "marital asset", despite the fact that her lover makes as much money as I do and she'll have his pension, too. I'm getting roally shafted in the divorce, thanks to our God damned politicians and their immoral, stupid, and insane laws. The lawmakers in this state are some amoral bastards who I hope get some awful disease.

Which is another strike against motherfuckers- I your wife gives you the clap, herpes, Syphilis, and AIDS. Idiot.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Condoning (none / 0) (#328)
by Ublis on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 08:42:58 AM EST

It is not a matter of condoning, it is a matter of reality. It is pointless to say "there should be NO reasons to ...", because it happens, whether you like it or not.
You are against adoption? Sure, just keep all those abandoned children (whether they should be abandoned or not, they do get abandoned) or children whose parents are dead, or children abused by their parents in those cumfy, personal, caring institutions, right? Great idea, wished I'd thought of it!
You are against sperm banks? No problem, the would-be parents will arrange a donor for themselves, possibly in the process getting some diseases which are passed on to the child.
Marriages should be lifelong? Sure, in the ideal case. Reality shows however that a lot of marriages start nice, but end up as dramas because people cheat or just get fed up with each other. Sometimes one of the partners just vanishes. Forbidding this would be as pointless as forbidding... I don't know, wearing pink underwear.
You are against fertility treatment because of overpopulation? Surely, then you are against treatment for ANY disease, because many diseases can be lethal if left untreated, thereby reducing the population. For some reason I have the impression you are an anti-abortionist too, which (if true) would also conflict with your overpopulation theory.
You are against adventures of soldiers? Right, but you know it happens. What are you gonna do about it? And it's not just soldiers. There's loads of sex between unmarried individuals. How exactly would you like to control that? Stone pregnant but unmarried women to death if someone finds out? There are some countries you could move to if you'd like that.

Regarding the mother: if my mother was a bitch, I would be very much capable of hating her. Or at least of not caring, I don't think I'd waste my time on hate. I don't think people should feel obliged towards their mothers because they gave birth to them. What makes a parent a true parent is the care afterwards. That is also the reason I don't understand why adoptees sometimes are so eager to look for their natural mother.

Now if the laws where you live are biased towards the female, that is not fair. The solution is to change those laws so that they are fair (which is one of the points made in the article, but here applied on civil law), not to make marriage last forever by all means available (like force, prison) if otherwise not possible. Prenuptial agreements can help a lot in this regard.

[ Parent ]
Condoning (none / 0) (#344)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 02:04:34 PM EST

It is not a matter of condoning, it is a matter of reality. It is pointless to say "there should be NO reasons to ...", because it happens, whether you like it or not.

Just because it happens doesn't mean it's not destructive. A thing that is condoned will happen more often than one that is not. Shoplifting happens too, but we do not condone that like we (wink wink, , nudge nudge, know what I mean, know what I mean?) condone a soldier's dallience.

You are against adoption?

No. Read it again. I am against sealed birth records, and FOR a person's right to know who his or her birth parents are, whether adopted or not.

You are against sperm banks? No problem, the would-be parents will arrange a donor for themselves, possibly in the process getting some diseases which are passed on to the child.

You have examples of this from before sperm banks? Again, outlawing a thing will not stop it, but it will cut down on its incidence.

Marriages should be lifelong? Sure, in the ideal case. Reality shows however that a lot of marriages start nice, but end up as dramas because people cheat or just get fed up with each other. Sometimes one of the partners just vanishes. Forbidding this would be as pointless as forbidding... I don't know, wearing pink underwear.

SHOULD be. You DO take an oath to be with your partner "til death do we part" and to "forsake all others". I'm not saying all divorces or remarriages are a bad thing- certainly ending an abusive relationship by divorce is better than murder. Sometimes you have to choose the lesser of two evils (like at the voting booth)

But divorces are too easy to come by, and way too readily accepted.

You are against fertility treatment because of overpopulation? Surely, then you are against treatment for ANY disease

No, I am not for killing people. I am for birth control. Not being born cannot be equated with dying.

For some reason I have the impression you are an anti-abortionist too

Actually, I am both anti-abortion and pro-choice. Even though I am against abortion, I believe it should be between the fetus' mother, its father, and whatever diety (even if their deity is coincidence or entropy) they believe in, and the doctor. It isn't my business, nor government's. I think the morning-after pill is a good idea, as I can't equate a few cells with a human. And a lot of bad marriages are started by unintended pregnancies.

You are against adventures of soldiers? Right, but you know it happens.

And was guilty. None of us are perfect.

What are you gonna do about it?

I think education is, alas, the only thing that CAN be done about it. Just because "shit happens" doesn't make things right.

What makes a parent a true parent is the care afterwards.

I agree with that completely.

...I don't understand why adoptees sometimes are so eager to look for their natural mother.

Because if they have a family history of, say, heart disease of hemophilia or diabetes, that information could save their life. This goes for the father, as well.

Now if the laws where you live are biased towards the female, that is not fair.

Damned right!

The solution is to change those laws so that they are fair...

Heh, I intend to write a scathing letter to all my state representatives when all the shit that has hit the fan stops flying,.

...not to make marriage last forever by all means available (like force, prison) if otherwise not possible. Prenuptial agreements can help a lot in this regard.

I agree there, too.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Your example is flawed (5.00 / 6) (#200)
by p3d0 on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:33:24 AM EST

Secondly, consider that I screw your wife and you don't know it, and she becomes pregnant with a son. You screw my wife and I don't know it and she becomes pregnant with a daughter. Neither wife knows the husband has been dallying.

Now your son marries my daughter. No relation legally, but your son is my daughter's brother.

No, those two children have no genetic relation at all. Think about it.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
"Your example is flawed" (none / 0) (#345)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 02:25:26 PM EST

Yes, you're right, I'll try again. Here's another (soap opera writers, pls feel free to steal this; ianasow and it's probably been done and done and done already)

Say I'm a slut, who knocks up a female slut and then marries her. She has my son.

Being a slut, I have sex with your wife, who is also a slut. She gives birth to a daughter, and dies in childbirth. On her deathbed she confesses to you, and in a rage you come by my house and kill me, and then commit suicide. Nobody living knows that these children are brother and sister. My brother raises the son, and your wife's brother raises the daughter.

They grow up and marry (or just have sex).

There's your incest.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Try again (none / 0) (#456)
by p3d0 on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 03:01:37 PM EST

There's your incest.
The incest here had to do with everyone's inexplicable suicidal tendencies, not with infidelity. Imagine your example again with just you and your wife having a daughter and a son. If you kill her and yourself for whatever reason (say she kept finishing the cookies without throwing away the empty box), your two children could be adopted by two different families, and then they could marry with the same disastrous outcome.
--
Patrick Doyle
My comments do not reflect the opinions of my employer.
[ Parent ]
Paying (none / 0) (#373)
by daliman on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:41:14 AM EST

I really can't believe you think that adultery should be illegal though... What business is it of the governments who the fuck I fuck?



[ Parent ]
Government? (none / 0) (#401)
by mcgrew on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:10:34 PM EST

What business is it of the governments who the fuck I fuck?

So, you think rape should be legal?


"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Effective arguing. (none / 0) (#403)
by daliman on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:38:47 PM EST

The principle of charity, as it applies to sensible discussion, is to assume that the person you are arguing with intends to put forward the best argument that they can. Deliberately misrepresenting what someone has said gets you nowhere; you know I didn't mean that, so what have you proved? Nothing.

If your wife wants to fuck me, and I want to fuck her, then it is none of the government's business. If she doesn't want to, and I try to force her, then it's the government's business.



[ Parent ]

There IS a victim- ME. (5.00 / 1) (#463)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 19, 2003 at 05:58:56 PM EST

You deliberately ignore the point.

If you fuck my wife, I am harmed one hell of a lot more than if you steal my wallet. Yes stealing my wallet is illegal.

Adultery is not a crime (here any way) but if it were, it would NOT be a victimless crime. I am harmed.


"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Sorry - Long weekend (5.00 / 1) (#469)
by daliman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:26:59 PM EST

So I've been busy...

A line has to be drawn somewhere around personal freedom to prevent it from impinging on the freedom of others. If one is prevented from making any decisions which may harm another's emotional state, then where do you stop? If your wife leaves you, that will probably cause you a lot of emotional damage too; but it's her right to do so. Do you think that she should be stopped, just because it will hurt you?



[ Parent ]
You answered your own question (none / 0) (#470)
by partykidd on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:34:36 PM EST

it's her right to do so
There's nothing to stop you from getting emotionally hurt.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Well, duh... (none / 0) (#472)
by daliman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:08:55 PM EST

<p><sarcasm><i>Really?</i></sarcasm></p>


[ Parent ]
Well, duh... (Mk II) (5.00 / 1) (#473)
by daliman on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:11:20 PM EST

<sarcasm>Really?</sarcasm>

*cough*Must remember to preview*cough*



[ Parent ]
Scratch my other comment, apparent sarcasm lost (none / 0) (#474)
by partykidd on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 11:53:24 PM EST

I didn't read it fine enough. Maybe I was tired or something, I don't know...

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

True Liberalism is Conservative (4.50 / 2) (#146)
by Baldrson on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:48:35 AM EST

America was founded on conservative principles; the idea being that the government should interfere in the private lives of its citizens to the minimum extent possible.

In its original form from the Enlightenment, liberalism meant human experimentation (e.g.: "laboratory of the States") but experimentation requires experimental controls. Therefore the prime cause for concern was not that there be agreement between parties but that disagreeing parties find ways to separate from one another to form experimental groups, allowing control groups to preserve older ways. The Age of Exploration was therefore consequent to the Enlightenment.

You can't have experiments that inform without experimental controls. Descarte, Voltaire and the founders of the United States were both liberal and conservative for that reason. It is for precisely this same reason that anti-separatists are supremacist, anti-conservative and anti-liberal.

-------- Empty the Cities --------


Irritating Definitions (5.00 / 2) (#226)
by isobars on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:22:47 PM EST

I've been studying liberalism and conservativism in 19th Century Britain for the last 2 years, (Gladstone and Disraeli) and have decided that both these definitions are absolutely rubbish.

Note i'm using "liberal" to indicate the ideology, not to be confused with the "Liberal" party. Same is true with conservative.

Back in the 1860s-1880s, liberalism meant reducing taxation, reducing state interference and free trade. Abolition of income tax was a major liberal aim. On the other hand, liberals as a whole did not see government's role as one that introduced social reform. They would certainly oppose the current level of social security in the UK (e.g. the NHS). This all gets somewhat confusing later on, as the "Liberal" party does not always pass liberal laws.

conservativism, on the other hand, meant maintaining the current institutions of the country, upholding religion, law and order and Her Majesty the Queen. It also involved itself more and more with expansion and maintenance of the British Empire. The curious thing, however, was that in the later 19th century, the Conservatives were the party that began to campaign on social reform. The Liberals mostly kept well clear of the issue.

And now, i have absolutely no idea what modern day liberal groups are meant to represent, nor conservative ones. They seem to have fallen out with their ideologies at some stage (both of which in some respects seem to be lacking.) Believe in personal freedoms? Then you might be a liberal, but you could be a conservative in every other sense. Believe in social reform? You're probably just misguided ;-)

As a whole then, to hell with distinctions, the important thing is what the hell everyone is actually doing.


He who laughs last... Hasnt Seen the Cattle Prod
[ Parent ]
Definitions are Switched, Simple Effective Ploy (none / 0) (#227)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:35:01 PM EST

I have often brought up the fact that the word liberal means personal liberty and freedom. But it is used in a completely opposite manner. Here's a hint: the people that are trying to take away your freedom aren't going to tell you. They will try to sell you on the idea in a deceptively simple way. Such as reversing the definitions of certain words. War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Doubt it. (2.80 / 5) (#162)
by tkatchev on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:26:32 AM EST

"Criminal justice" is usually the sort of grass-roots community-backed movement that doesn't depend on the government much. A sort of legalized Mafia.

If you dismantle "criminal justice", you're likely to just go back to the good old days of Mr. Lynch.

I doubt that is really what you want.

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.

More punishment due to more crime (4.62 / 8) (#165)
by swr on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:34:41 AM EST

Have you considered the possibility that the reason the United States imprisons so many people is because they have more actual crime?

I live in Canada. The per-capita murder rate in the United States is three times what it is here. The imprisonment rate is more than 4x, so (using the murder rate as a general gauge of "real" crime) most of the difference is probably explainable as more actual crime.

The U.S. does have problems, and I suspect the problems in the justice system are only a symptom of larger issues.



Statistics (5.00 / 2) (#192)
by yst on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:25:03 AM EST

Here are some telling statistics for firearms homicide and homicide in general internationally from the government of Canada. The US has a rate of firearms homicide 107 times that of Japan.

[ Parent ]
What's the knife/sword rate? (4.00 / 1) (#217)
by it certainly is on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:59:49 AM EST

Culturally, Japan dislikes guns but loves knives and swords. Murderers in the US are most likely to use a gun as a weapon, murderers in Japan are most likely to use a knife or sword as a weapon.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Actually (4.85 / 7) (#195)
by meyou on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:48:17 AM EST

The people who are improsened in the USA are not the homicidal maniacs. According to the Human Rights Watch are Fifty-three percent of all state inmates incarcerated for nonviolent crimes, mostly posession of drugs.

According to Amnesty, many blacks are arested due to racial profiling by the cops and not because they commited (large) crimes

There is a lot to be said about the (in)justice of America's prison system.



[ Parent ]
Larger issues (4.40 / 5) (#306)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:55:04 PM EST

"The U.S. does have problems, and I suspect the problems in the justice system are only a symptom of larger issues."

Yes, income disparity, classism, and a lot of things the author only touched on.

For instance, I was acquainted with a young fellow who drove a taxicab for a living. He dropped off a fare in the projects (since razed) and an armed robber put a gun in his chest and demanded money. My acquaintence only had fifty cents.

The robber shot him point blank in the heart. Claimed the gun went off "by accident" in court. The robber served less than TWO YEARS in prison for an armed robbery and murder. (BTW, my friend was white, the assailant was black. So much for racial predjuce in the justice system).

Meanwhile, a friend's brother spent ten years in prison for loaning a drug dealer money, which the drug dealer invested in (duh) drugs. Ten years for being a moron, two years for armed robbery coupled with a murder.

I think this explains the murder rate. When murdering a policeman will garner you less jail time than selling crack, a crack dealer would be stupid for NOT shooting a pursuing police officer. And our politicians are STUPID for writing these insane laws.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

First time offenders? (5.00 / 1) (#398)
by curunir on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:54:15 PM EST

How many of those accused of all those murders are first time offenders?

In Oakland California (near where I live), they've seen the murder rate skyrocket and one of the things they've attributed it to is that nearly all the suspects in the murders (as well as the victims) are fairly recent parolees.

It's a chicken and egg problem...if the prison system wasn't such a breeding ground for repeat offenders, would the murder rate still be 3 times as high. Of course there would still be murder if the prison system was reformed, but a large number of the homicides in Oakland stem from people whose lives were ruined by previous time in prison, usually for non-violent drug offenses. We lock people up with the most violent people our society has to offer and then, when they get out, ensure that they can only hold menial jobs with no real chance of getting ahead (remember that checkbox on employment forms?) Is it any wonder that these people turn to crime? Crime offers easy money and a feeling of empowerment that our penal system has robbed them of.

Punishment is a delicate issue. You need to find the right balance between being too lenient and too strict. If you're too lenient, there's no disincentive to not commit crime. If you're too strict, an overly large percentage of the population is made to feel bitter and hopeless. Any reforms to our prison system should strive for this balance.

[ Parent ]
what you probably don't want to hear: nyc story (4.33 / 12) (#170)
by circletimessquare on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:32:17 AM EST

1980s new york was a nightmare of crack and crime. bernie goetz was a posterchild for the era. he shot some black kids in the subway, he says they were committing crime, others conclude he was a loonie. but he only became prominent because people were just plain fed up with crime, and supported his right to take the law into his own hands because the police/ court system was incompetent and/ or overworked.

"giuliani time" in the 1990s was in effect a beefing up of police and cracking down hard on all crime, no matter how otherwise insignificant. it went under the guise of the "broken windows" theory: that small-time crime led to big time crime by breeding a social environment conducive to the growth of crime. squeegie men, homeless: it was open season.

and overall? it worked. new york city is enjoying it's lowest crime in decades. it's murder rate is at all time historical lows.

hey, don't shoot the messenger. i'm just telling you history, what happened: crime went down. people were happy. that's good politics. more schools, less prisons? sure, sounds nice. but it is easier to crack heads than buy books. am i supporting this? no. i am just saying that it is more politically expedient, it gets results, it gets votes: people see less crime and are happy and vote accordingly. more schools less prisons would probably solve the problem better. but not in the same span of time. see the problem?

then there was diallo. louima. dorismund. all young black men. all killed/ abused by the cops for no crime/ petty crime. so there is racial polarization on the legacy of "giuliani time." the story is still being written.

but overall? people are ecstatic about lower crimes in new york city. property values soar. the inner city enjoys a renaissance. the lesson? people will put up with police abuse and deep prison populations that doesn't rise to a high level of stink as long as the streets are clean of petty crime.

here's the real lesson: with crime rising in other cities, mayors the world over are studying new york's formula for success. london. mexicio city. new orleans. vancouver. etc.

so what does the future hold? more prisons. more cops. why? because it worked in new york, and won votes. and enchanted other cities with gorwing crim eproblems. that is powerful engine for change right there. change oyu don't want to hear about. but i'm just telling you which way the tide is flowing.

i agree the longterm solution is less prisons, more schools. but longterm is not politically expedient. and "giuliani time" is in very much vogue in schools of civil urban governance and mayor's offices of policy worldwide. your thesis is sound, but i fear your words go against the tide of conventional wisdom right now.

again, don't shoot the messenger, i am not supporting this state of affairs, but i am warning you of the reality of the situation. your voice is, unfortunately, lost to fashionable trends which work against it.


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

NYC Reform (4.50 / 2) (#221)
by randinah on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:19:01 PM EST

My problem with what Giuliani did is that he actually kicked homeless people out of the city to cut back on crime. So Giuliani didn't get rid of the crime, he just shoved it out to Jersey.

Yes New York city is hundreds of times cleaner and safer than it was ten years ago, but what Giuliani did was arguably not ethical at all.

I would have to say in this case the ends do not justify the means.


"Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
[ Parent ]
What??? (none / 0) (#361)
by benzapp on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 06:51:42 PM EST

Nice link. Too bad its only a collection of surveys on what the people of new york supposedly think about homelessnes.  

Giuliani did not kick homeless out of the city. How would this be accomplished? Throw them in the back of a truck, drive over to jersey and just drop them off?

New York City is the only government under court order to provide anyone housing who needs it.  Today, if you are a vagrant you will be supplied housing.  If you refuse to live in the housing supplied to you, then you will go to jail.  ITs very simple.  

Also, I won't get into how the city's rental regulations have pretty much destroyed SRO's...

[ Parent ]

A Few Links (none / 0) (#405)
by randinah on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:08:06 PM EST

Here is a link that specifically lets us know what Giuliani did to the homeless. Scroll down to the second article.

Here is another link that verifies the same thing.

I don't know what New York City's policy on the homeless is today, but in the 90's, I'm quite sure that Giuliani kicked thousands of people out of shelters, and consequently arrested them for sleeping on the street to get them out of his city.


"Why waste time learning when ignorance is instantaneous?"
[ Parent ]
avoiding the issue (4.00 / 2) (#233)
by llimllib on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:57:53 PM EST

You avoid the issue of what's really going on. Did buying a ton of new cops and kicking hobos out of new york make it a safer place? yes, undeniably. However, the poster's point was that (legalization|decriminalization) of drugs would make a more lasting and truly safer place than does prosecuting drug users as our enemies. Drug users are among our friends and family, and we have spent an ungodly amount of money prosecuting them, without a thought towards helping them. While you can find local cases where enforcement has worked, on a national scale, I would argue that it's a near total failure.


Peace.
[ Parent ]
drug use as healthcare issue (3.50 / 2) (#390)
by circletimessquare on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:25:37 PM EST

marijuana should be legalized. let me get that out of the way.

as far as calling drug use a healthcare issue rather than a criminal issue, well, you're partly right.

the truth is, drug use is both a criminal and a healthcare issue. you cannot treat the problem of drugs without looking at it both ways.

you treat the drug addict like an aa member, you give him methadone, you give him counseling, you give him support and a helping hand economically and housing/ feeding wise. you give him love.

but drug use does lead to criminal behavior as well. there are various levels of functional drug users, but on the average, drug use impairs a person's ability to be a contributing member of society, and, overall, it moves a segment of users into the camp of those who must resort to crime to support a habit. this segment of users you can't hold their hands gently and give them love: you have to punish them for the crimes they do. sure, they still need treatment. but that doesn't nullify anyone they killed/ anything they stole.

drug use is insidious. it is a cancer on society. it is a psychological parasite on the user. it must be fought with a full recognition of what kind of monster it is. and looking at it as just a healthcare issue or just a crime issue is wrong. it is both, and it must be understood to be both things at the same time. and so it is most effectively fought with that realization in mind.

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

I agree, mostly (1.00 / 1) (#399)
by llimllib on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:49:12 PM EST

First off, thanks for posting a thoughtful, rational response. K5 can really be excellent sometimes.

Now, As to my personal beliefs, I seem to agree with you almost entirely. If I had "control", I would continue prosecuting illegal drug dealers (those with large amounts of drugs in their possession, and those who help them) while trying to treat the users. Drugs are, IMHO, a Bad Thing, and drug users undeniably present both a criminal and a healthcare problem.

What I wanted to say with my post was that it seemed you were talking about how successful a tough drug war stand could be while at the same backing off from that position, creating a point that could not be argued effectively. I wanted to say that New York's successes, while real, aren't as clear-cut as they sound in your post, and that legalization could conceivably effect the same changes.


Peace.
[ Parent ]
Drugs and crimes (none / 0) (#441)
by John Bayko on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:55:30 PM EST

"[...] on the average, drug use impairs a person's ability to be a contributing member of society, and, overall, it moves a segment of users into the camp of those who must resort to crime to support a habit."

It's not a habit, it's an addiction - a physical effect that is overwhelming to the victim.

I think people should have the choice whether to use drugs or not. However, drugs which cause a physical addiction take away the ability to choose - strongly addictive drugs should not be legal. Even non-addictive recreational drugs should be controlled for safety, but still available - this is done for Viagra, which is almost entirely recreational, so could apply to something like XTC.

However, once someone is addicted, then it is no longer a criminal problem - in jail, the person will still have the addiction. It's a medical problem, and should be managed as a medical problem. At that point, the person is as dependent on (for example) heroin as a clinically depressed or schizophrenic person is on their medication - as such, they should be available with a prescription. As part of a subsidized drug plan, if necessary.

The goal is to have functioning people and a safe society.

[ Parent ]

British flags? (4.40 / 5) (#177)
by The Devil on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:19:45 AM EST

British flags? Okay what are we, stupid? Canada is the country you all pretend to be from when you go outside of the US, not the UK. You would have to talk really funny to sound like you were from the UK, which is why the US pretends to be Canadian - which also excuses them from acting stupid, because everyone in every corner of the world knows that all Canadians are whacko, although somewhat harmless. And they have a good health program. And they have a funny leader.

An acquaintance told me he was approached by some US citizens, in France, back in the early nineties. They wanted to buy Canadian flag pins and a Canadian flag from him for their gear. He said no, but told them they had to be crazy to pretend to be from somewhere other than their home. I agree. If you are American, you should wear American flags. And just buy No War pins. That would make you US protesters, and people around the world like those types of people. They really do. I don't but at least you won't get salad thrown at you for being oppressors.

Canada's Health Care not that Good (4.20 / 5) (#179)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:30:55 AM EST

If you live in Canada and you want top of the line cutting edge treatment you come to America as does the rest of the world. Case in point, MRI's (magnetic resonance imaging) came out in America in 1973. Canada had billboards exclaiming MRI's are here! in 1999!

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Hospitals (none / 0) (#191)
by The Devil on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:20:49 AM EST

How long is the average waiting period in the states? Like if you go down to Emergency because you feel sick, or you are hurt, but maybe not critical... how long do you wait? On average we wait about three-four hours. That's terrible. My point above, wasn't that we Canadians have a good healthcare system. It was that people believe we do. And Americans come up here all the time for free operations.

[ Parent ]
Well, at least you believe you do (2.50 / 4) (#207)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:00:35 AM EST

I guess that's all that counts when you're sick, right? Mind over matter; you might have a point there. Reality doesn't stack up to what you believe.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

My Original Post Somehow Disappeared (5.00 / 1) (#210)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:27:33 AM EST

It was there, now its gone. It wasn't vulgar or anything. Has this happened to anybody else?

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Trusted Users... (5.00 / 1) (#212)
by Gandhian Rage on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:35:55 AM EST

Trusted Users can give a "0" rating to a comment, thus making it invisible. It then goes into the Hidden Comment archive where other TUs can vote on it. If your post is below 1.0, then it is hidden to regular users.

---
I am the protector of Rusty.
[ Parent ]
That kinda Sucks, But I see the Point of It (none / 0) (#213)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:43:45 AM EST

Its just that I've seen the 0 abused a lot already and I've only been frequenting this site for about a week. I don't always have a view everyone likes, but I'm always open and honest and I don't unnecessarily troll. How do you become a trusted user? What's the criteria?

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Cock. Sucking, that is. (none / 0) (#214)
by Gandhian Rage on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:51:48 AM EST

Yeah, the 0 does get abused, but there is always someone who will vote up the undeserving.

Unnecessarily trolling? What's your criteria for a necessary troll?

I don't know the specifics, but I believe you must have a certain amount of recent comments (30 in a month?) with an average rating of 3.5 or 3.0.

---
I am the protector of Rusty.
[ Parent ]
Go here: (none / 0) (#216)
by Gandhian Rage on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:54:04 AM EST

Bueno.

---
I am the protector of Rusty.
[ Parent ]
A Necessary Troll (none / 0) (#218)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:02:04 PM EST

Stimulates the conversation while still having something worthwhile to say.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

At least you Believe (none / 0) (#211)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:34:09 AM EST

that you have a good health care system. Mind over matter, right? Nothing is free in life. Free operations for Americans? I'll have to remember that.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Wtf? (5.00 / 1) (#304)
by Rob Simpson on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:37:26 PM EST

On average we wait about three-four hours.

Where the hell did you get that from? The longest I've ever waited was a little over an hour to get an Rx for a minor sinus infection (which I should've made an appointment with my doctor for earlier). The only people that I'd expect would have to wait 3-4 hours on a regular basis are the welfare junkies trying to bum a script for free T3's or other narcs.

[ Parent ]

KGH Emergency (none / 0) (#383)
by The Devil on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:11:05 AM EST

Last time we went to KGH Emergency with my 2 year old daughter to get her looked at for a fever, we waited about 3.5 hours. In Canada, we don't really have that many junkies. Actually in Kingston I don't think we have any at all, or at least it's not as bad in the media as it's portrayed in the states. Even Toronto doesn't have that many NFAs, compared to Vancouver or bigger US cities.

[ Parent ]
BTW (none / 0) (#384)
by The Devil on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 09:11:39 AM EST

Where did you wait that long please? Just curious. :)

[ Parent ]
U.S. waiting times (none / 0) (#351)
by pyro9 on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 03:25:54 PM EST

The wait is about the same in the U.S. unless you're uninsured. Then it may be more like 6 hours. And, of course, if you can't pay, you will recieve minimal treatment.

The big difference in the U.S. a serious health crisis may leave you destitute.


The future isn't what it used to be
[ Parent ]
Yes but... (5.00 / 2) (#196)
by lurker4hire on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:58:07 AM EST

... if you are unlucky enough to be poor, in canada you will still get that MRI. Not so in the USA. The US system of private healthcare offers astoundingly great service, if you happen to be in the top 10% of economic earners.

I would argue that Canada's approach is better, although you generally have to wait longer for diagnostic procedures, the majority of people in need at least has an opportunity to get one. Also, the canadian system is setup as such that (in theory), the only way to jump the line is for you to have a dire medical necessity (not just the luck of having a politician as a relative).

Also, wealthy canadians tend to just go to the states if they feel they are not getting service fast enough. Although some argue this is a 'bad thing', I'm not so sure. If canada allowed private clinics to take patients on a first come first pay first serve basis, the whole principle of universality would be dead. The only people who lose out by going to the state are the very small minority who can afford 10K+ minimum out of pocket, which is acceptable as far as i'm concerned.

Sure, Canada's health care system has problems, but don't sell it short, in general its pretty good. Bloody expensive, but pretty good.

[ Parent ]

How come the Incentive to Invent is Totally Gone? (2.00 / 4) (#205)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:56:56 AM EST

If Canada's current health care is so great, then how come you don't have superior treatment even though its more expensive? Government health care is better than private health care? What kind of fool do you take me for? American health care is not perfect. And its only getting worse with more government meddling (Medicare). In fact, you can blame most of the problems of American health care on government already. Think about it, if something is "free", what happens to the price of it? It goes up. And why not, it is guaranteed to be paid for, so price isn't an issue anymore. Do you see the fuzzy logic of government programs yet? Do you think America has superior products because of government involvement? or because the government (generally) stays out?

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

lol (4.50 / 2) (#281)
by lurker4hire on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 06:42:16 PM EST

If you are going to attack my position... attack my position (that Canada's healthcare provides better overall care for more people than a freemarket system for healthcare), not your assumption of what other views I hold based on your stereotypes.

As a matter of fact I believe the market model is generally a 'good thing', however I try not to be a fundamentalist ideologue on any of my points. It's easy to take one particularly appealing model and apply it to everything. Unfortunately back in the actual world one size does not fit all, and attempts to make it so invariably fail.

[ Parent ]

Free!!! (4.00 / 1) (#308)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 10:13:44 PM EST

Think about it, if something is "free", what happens to the price of it?

It's "free" down here too- IF you have insurance, or IF you are on welfare. Of course, care for the indigent is lousy.

And the "free" care the insured get is worse than the "free" care Canadians (and everybody else in the world but us has); by "worse" i mean in the sense you mentioned, inflationary.

If I am getting something "free" yeah, I might say "hey it's free, lets go!"

But if I am PAYING for it via insurance, I am FAR more likely to abuse it.

Looking at another angle, Joe gets free phone service. Say his rich uncle or somebody is paying for it, and it costs them fifty cents per call. Now, Fred is paying a flat fifty bucks per month for his phone regardless of useage.

Joe is going to use the phone when he wants or needs it. Fred is going to get as much out of his fifty bucks as he possibly can.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

So you think Government is the Solution? (none / 0) (#326)
by partykidd on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 08:19:01 AM EST

I'm still not convinced that government can provide anything better than the free market can. I understand your example, as it makes complete sense, but it seems to be a problem with the angle that you're approaching the problem. You're saying a big problem with the American model is that it's too easy to abuse the easily available superior system. That sounds like a self defeating arguement to me. I'm glad I have the choice. Canadians end up paying more for their health care (no, I don't have a link) for sub-par service and treatment they don't get right away. I agree that American health care has some insurance problems, but I don't agree that a sub-par government solution is any kind of answer for anything. The government's only incentive is to keep the populace from revolting. Sure, there's some good going on, but the major drive of the capitalist is greed. Like it or not, that's a powerful incentive and it always delivers.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Sheesh! (4.00 / 1) (#338)
by lurker4hire on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 11:20:59 AM EST

The big problem with the american model isn't that it is too easy to abuse an "easily available superior system", but that the "superior system" that exists is only for the richest 10% (if you want the truly world class superior system then probably 5%) of the population. The vast majority of americans cannot afford those treatments. Sure you have insurance through your company if you work, or can afford private insurance, but the primary motivation of an insurance company is to make money (not save your life). Insurance companies will often exclude particularly expensive, or rare, or whatever from coverage, in an effort to save money. In a healthcare system based on the principles of universality and protecting public health, the idea is that if you need treatment, you get it... regardless of the cost. Canada is more than willing to send Canadians to the US to get those "superior" services, because the top priority for the canadian system is to help people, not make money.

The freemarket model is fundamentally flawed because it attempts to explain everything in terms of greed, when that is not reality. Greed is just one of many motivations for an individual, often one of lesser importance at that. Another big problem with the pure freemarket model is that it ignores the fact that profit driven companies do not want a freemarket, and that they will use their power and influence to make conditions favourable for themselves, freemarket be damned. Look at the numerous examples from within the bastion of freemarket thinking (the usa), tariffs dictated by special interests (steel for example), subsidies for whole industries (military etc)...

This is not to say that the american system is completely horrible, it has many good (even great) points, but so does every system. If you can't honestly evaluate the limitation of your system in contrast to its benefits, how can you hope for progressive change? Although I guess if you are in the top economic strata, why would you want it? After all, everybody is just as greedy as I am, so I'm perfectly comfortable sitting in my gated community while the world goes to shit around me.

[ Parent ]

erroneous "facts" (none / 0) (#440)
by partykidd on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:50:23 PM EST

the idea is that if you need treatment, you get it... regardless of the cost.
If you need treatment in America, you get it. No hospital will turn you away and I even believe there's a law proventing them from doing so. Where do you live, and have you ever had to deal with an American hospital? You think that only the top 10% get treatment? You're arguements just don't hold up to fact.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

That's the problem. (4.00 / 2) (#464)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 19, 2003 at 06:33:04 PM EST

If you need treatment in America, you get it. No hospital will turn you away and I even believe there's a law proventing them from doing so.

That is part of what makes our system so expensive. The only place that can't turn you down for treatment is the emergency room.

So you have people with no health care who go to the emergency room for a runny nose- because it's the only place they can get treatment. Incredibly stupid waste of resources. The ER is the most expensive place to get treated for anything. And the hospital eats the cost, and passes it on to my insurance company, who passes it on to me. I'd MUCH rather my tax money went to sending them to a family doctor for their sniffles than my insurance premiums sending them to the ER.

On top of that, conditions that are easily and cheaply treated get out of hand, and some people won't go to the doctor until they're close to death. If they had gone to the doctor's office for, say, an infection, for a $40 office visit and $20 worth of pennicillin, the hospital eats (and passes the costs on to paying customers) of a $10,000 hospital stay.

Now, let me tell you about Jim Dawson. Jim was my oldest and best friend. He was a Vietnam vetran, having enlisted when I did. He worked selling trailor homes, and his employer did not offer insurance. He and his children did without.

Jim contracted appendicitis. He ignored it until his appendix burst, and was rushed to teh ER for an emergency appendectomy costing thousands of dollars that he could not afford. His credit was ruined, and it took him years to pay off the debt and get his credit back.

Ten years after the appendectomy, he confided to another friend that his "insides were messed up real bad" but he wasn't going to let his children go hungry to pay some greedy industrial hospital like he had done before.

Three weeks later, two weeks before his 40th birthday, he told his 13 year old daughter he wasn't feeling well and was going to take a nap. She found him dead of a massive coronary.

So don't fucking tell me that "we" have the best medical care in the world. In no other country would Jim have died. You rich bastards have the best medical care in the world. For the rest of us, it is the worst sysyem in the world. Third world nations do better. It is a God damned disgrace and anybody who can afford America's best medical care will answer to God for my friend's death when they meet St. Peter.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

stupidity (none / 0) (#471)
by partykidd on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 05:59:55 PM EST

So don't fucking tell me that "we" have the best medical care in the world. In no other country would Jim have died. You rich bastards have the best medical care in the world. For the rest of us, it is the worst sysyem in the world. Third world nations do better. It is a God damned disgrace and anybody who can afford America's best medical care will answer to God for my friend's death when they meet St. Peter.
You know, mcgrew, I agree with 90% of what you say, as most of it is undeniable truth. But you're way off base here. No offense, but your friend died of stupidity.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Is this (none / 0) (#475)
by partykidd on Tue Apr 22, 2003 at 05:18:13 AM EST

what you meant when you said that you are guaranteed service in Canada? As you can see,...you're not always guaranteed service!

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

The reason.. (none / 0) (#476)
by Kwil on Thu Apr 24, 2003 at 03:43:06 AM EST

..you don't have a link to back up this statement, "Canadians end up paying more for their health care (no, I don't have a link) for sub-par service and treatment they don't get right away," is simply because it's not true.

Were you to do the reasearch, you'd see that Canada has a slightly higher per-capita cost for health care delivery than the United States. However, when you look at the cost on a per-patient basis, you find that Canada's costs are actually slightly lower.

Now, some of this can be explained, as you suggested, by the respective levels of technology and medical equipment present in each country. However, to simply say that Canadians pay more for less is wrong.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Canadians pay more for less (none / 0) (#477)
by partykidd on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 01:12:32 AM EST

and no, I do not have a link...

You said, "Were you to do the reasearch, you'd see that Canada has a slightly higher per-capita cost for health care delivery than the United States." and "Now, some of this can be explained, as you suggested, by the respective levels of technology and medical equipment present in each country."

And the answer is: (drumroll please) Canadians pay more for less.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

We pay more for more.. and less for less. (none / 0) (#478)
by Kwil on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 01:58:19 AM EST

We pay more per capita for more service per capita.. our patient numbers per capita are higher than the US. The reason is not stated, but I'm willing to bet that people not being able to afford health care in the US is a major factor.

We pay less per patient than the united states because we get less service per patient, in the form of lower technologies etc.

Now, if you want to continue to quote out of context to try and prove a point that isn't true, there's nothing I can do to stop you, but let's at least be honest about it. It's too bad, however, that you seem unable to live by your own quote.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
I am able to entertain a thought (1.00 / 1) (#479)
by partykidd on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 04:43:41 AM EST

but I don't have to accept it. Especially when it is government trying to shove bullshit into my life that I have no choice about.

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

Which part of the phrase "top 10%"... (none / 0) (#389)
by synaesthesia on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:42:16 AM EST

...don't you understand?

Sausages or cheese?
[ Parent ]
would you consider... (5.00 / 1) (#219)
by khallow on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:02:23 PM EST

donating your brain for fun and profit? We at K5 Debating Technologies (R) are attempting to create an embedded health care debate system for the human brain. Clearly, your brilliant and instinctive focus on the key difference between Canadians and US residents (that Canada's health care system sux) is a sign of a highly developed debating mind. We'd like to shift that raw power and ability into silicon so that millions if not billions of people can enjoy debating endlessly - no matter what the original subject was - the subtle vagaries of health care. Hence, we boost human well being tremendously. I think we can even offer as much as 5000 shares of the company stock! Now isn't that generous? I have instructed my secretary to send you our prospectus.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

Stating the obvious since 1979 (none / 0) (#220)
by partykidd on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 12:11:53 PM EST

I only have to look at the facts and the results of government health care to see that it is a farce. It doesn't work as well as a capitalist system. The incentive to invent, innovate, and create wealth all but disappear when the government gets involved. If its so great, then how come its not the best? Can you answer that very simple and basic question. Without the BS?

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

I got ten years on you (3.00 / 1) (#311)
by khallow on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:16:13 PM EST

I only have to look at the facts and the results of government health care to see that it is a farce. It doesn't work as well as a capitalist system. The incentive to invent, innovate, and create wealth all but disappear when the government gets involved. If its so great, then how come its not the best? Can you answer that very simple and basic question. Without the BS?

Depends on what "best" means, I guess. The US has top of the line treatments, but does it have better overall medical care? According to this site, Canadians on average can expect to live 68.2 years while US citizens can expect to live 66.4 years. This isn't consistent with the assertion that the US has better health care than Canada.

You seem to confuse access with effectiveness. Just because certain treatments are more available in the US doesn't mean that they are being used more effectively than the less costly and less advanced treatment in Canada. Further, we have strong examples of treatments that are at best negligible, but have been around for a long time. For example, hormone replacement therapy was found to have little justification for most women which is odd given it's prevalence in US medicine over the past 20-30 years. Common over-the-counter treatments can induce the symptoms they supposedly cure, eg, calcium-based antacids, headache medication, and cough supressants. IMHO the US is a leader in overprescription of antibotics.

Further, the US system is far from capitalist in a number of significant ways. The US has extensive regulation of medical practices, professionals, research and drug trials. In particular, supply is artificially constrained. Further, the insurance companies are restricted in many ways from providing capitalist incentives for medical treatments. Ie, some treatments have to be paid for no matter whether they will benefit the patient or not.

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

You're not exactly stating the obvious (none / 0) (#325)
by partykidd on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 07:58:10 AM EST

Canadians on average can expect to live 68.2 years while US citizens can expect to live 66.4 years. This isn't consistent with the assertion that the US has better health care than Canada.
I can't believe that you used this as your supporting evidence. That amount is so small as to be negligible. I agree that antibiotics are prescribed way too much. Some people go to the doctor for them for every shit, fart, and cough. In the end diseases will find a way to live with the poison. Common sense to you and me. Unfortunately common sense isn't common. All I know is that the best treatment is designed and perfected (for the most part) here in the US. The rest of the world then gets to try the treatment out because we have a Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that's as slow as piss. You said, "less advanced treatment in Canada". Think about that. If it was better, wouldn't it be more advanced?

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." - Aristotle


[ Parent ]

'Life Expectancey' and 'Medicine' (5.00 / 1) (#329)
by brianscott on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 09:19:25 AM EST

I don't know whether or not these differences in life expectancy are significant, put they shouldn't automatically be refuted, especially when we are comparing relatively similar countries. On the other hand, life expectancy can also be affected by other factors, such as diet. Also, when one says 'advanced', it probably means newest or most technologically dependent, which does not neccesarily make it better.

[ Parent ]
What is better health care? (4.00 / 1) (#330)
by khallow on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 09:54:59 AM EST

I can't believe that you used this as your supporting evidence. That amount is so small as to be negligible. I agree that antibiotics are prescribed way too much. Some people go to the doctor for them for every shit, fart, and cough. In the end diseases will find a way to live with the poison. Common sense to you and me. Unfortunately common sense isn't common. All I know is that the best treatment is designed and perfected (for the most part) here in the US. The rest of the world then gets to try the treatment out because we have a Food & Drug Administration (FDA) that's as slow as piss. You said, "less advanced treatment in Canada". Think about that. If it was better, wouldn't it be more advanced?

I'm not sure what your point is here. Mine is that US healthcare seems to have fairly common cases of excess treatment, significant non-capitalist problems and for what it is worth, no obvious improvement in longevity over Canada, the other nation that you mentioned. We haven't discussed what "better" health care means and that may be why there's disagreement here. For me, it's a cost-benefit thing and not just access to the latest and greatest. If I want a life expectancy of 80 years from birth, how much do I have to pay in the US or Canada? My impression is that the US healthcare system is overpriced and geared towards servicing people on death's door and maybe pushing pharmaceuticals and other reoccuring treatments like dialysis (ie, mechanical flushing of blood in cases of kidney failure).

Stating the obvious since 1969.
[ Parent ]

this is bullshit (none / 0) (#282)
by cyrus on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 07:08:06 PM EST

The first commercial (i.e. not an experimental prototype) MRI scanners were available in 1983.
~c
[ Parent ]
Why any flag? (none / 0) (#271)
by chrisseaton on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 05:25:16 PM EST

Why do you have to carry any flag? You're not a diplomatic mission.

[ Parent ]
Simple. (none / 0) (#300)
by mindstrm on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:56:04 PM EST

When people see a white guy with a north american accent, they assume you are American, because there are 10x as many American travellers out there.

In many countries, when many people discover you are, in fact, Canadian, they are much nicer to you, don't try to rip you off as much, and even occasionally invite you over for dinner.

They suddenly see us as VERY different from what they perceive as the American stereotype.

That's why we tend to wear flags on our backpacks and pins on our jackets.

Or to put it differently.. Canadians wear flags so nobody mistakes us for Americans.


[ Parent ]

Careful what you wish for (4.66 / 6) (#181)
by abe ferlman on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:37:42 AM EST

A black person who killed a white person is 40 times more likely than a white person who killed a black person to be sentenced to the death penalty.

The usual conservative response to this sort of dispartity is to increase rather than decrease punishment- so we'll start executing 40 times more killers of blacks to make up the difference.

The Baldus study was novel because it looked for a kind of discrimination that no one ever thought to hide- race of victim statistics. Since then states have been somewhat more careful to defend their death penalty statutes against such a rhetorical attack. I think newer studies will show more balance by race of victim.

But I think you're on the right track. Conservatives should take the same approach to the death penalty that they take to sex ed: "abstinence is the only way to be sure".

Bryguy

Watch it, we're not all Texans here... (none / 0) (#187)
by PhyreFox on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:05:22 AM EST

Leaving the mindset of "if it moves, shoot it. if it doesn't move, shoot it 'till it moves" out of the argument, you'll find that the typical Conservative's approach to the death penalty is the same as just about anything else -- "don't do it".

[ Parent ]
conservative (5.00 / 4) (#229)
by llimllib on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:43:59 PM EST

do you mean philosophical conservative, as in real belief in minimal government, or American Conservative, as in a supporter of the Republican party? I would argue that the two are very different, and in fact, almost mutually exclusive.


Peace.
[ Parent ]
China As A Comparison (4.50 / 10) (#215)
by Wang Yangming on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 11:52:41 AM EST

This article is interesting but has a major flaw. Quite frankly comparisons to China are ridiculous.

As pointed out in one comment the sheer size of the population makes very large numbers almost meaningless. The only country currently that would yield a fair and meaningful comparison to China is possibly India.

In addition to this your article is most likely aimed at a non-Chinese audience. While I think all people are able to wrestle with and find the answers to the problems that life has; people may be more adequately prepared to use some information than other information.

Most Americans (myself included) are clueless about China and most likely will remain this way. I have been living in China for most of a year and have realized that most of my previous education has been quite frankly wrong. It is all history and not the present. Even the Chinese are currently having trouble keeping up with what is going on in China. Everything in China is changing so fast now that anything that you say about China could be wrong before it leaves your mouth.

In the short time that I have been here I have seen the beginning of checking accounts, the opening of the stock exchange, and a vast change in the leadership of the country.

The authoritarian police state that colors the opinions of most is simply not there nor can it be that effective if it was. There are just too many people and the government does not have enough money.

Strangely enough this view of the Chinese government and way of life is mirrored by the average Chinese opinion of what life in America is like. Most Chinese I have met want to learn English but are afraid of going to America they much prefer the safety of Canada. They often mention that all Americans have guns, the police are everywhere and can shoot you for any reason. I continually must inform them that this is not the case at all and that in fact most of my friends in America fear that the Chinese police who are everywhere will bash in my door and shoot me on the spot any day now. Both views are ridiculous.

Finally as this is my first post I guess I should note that the name I am using is that of a Confucian philosopher who advocated individualism and Adam Smithian (is this a real word?) economics.

Never been to east anglia... (4.25 / 4) (#228)
by llimllib on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:40:14 PM EST

I've never been there, but I go to a very small college in the USA called Ursinus College (link, please excuse our awful website) outside of Philadelphia. We only have 1400 students, and our safety department is pretty much the way the author describes east anglia's. Note, I said safety, not security, because there is no security force. Our only campus rule is that you can't carry open containers of alcohol outside, and even that isn't very strictly enforced.

I understand the point you were trying to make, but I think that comparing a large US school (U Maine) to a small UK school doesn't make much sense. If you meant it as a metaphor, well, fine, but it's hardly endemic of the prosecution of United States students as opposed to UK students.


Peace.
The comparison is fair (5.00 / 1) (#323)
by sjmurdoch on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 07:12:23 AM EST

Please do a little research before making blanket statements.

The University of East Anglia is not small - it has approximately 13,000 students. UMaine has approximately 10,000 students.
--
Steven Murdoch.
web: My Home Page
[ Parent ]

shut up already (1.10 / 10) (#232)
by dh003i on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 01:55:10 PM EST

The reason these fucks are in jail is because they committed CRIMES. They are dangerous. Period. End of discussion. China does not need to imprison many of it's people: they can scare their people into obediance by the threat of torture and mass death. See Square. They also have a homogenous population of people brainwashed from youth to all believe the same things. The US, however, has the most heterogeneous population in the world, filled with more diverse beliefs than anywhere else. That might explain why we put more people in jail for crimes.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.

Consider.. (4.66 / 3) (#238)
by kitten on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:37:59 PM EST

The reason these fucks are in jail is because they committed CRIMES. They are dangerous. Period. End of discussion.

"Crime" does not equal "dangerous", to society or anyone else. There are tons of people in jail for commiting "crimes" where there is no victim.
mirrorshades radio - darkwave, synthpop, industrial, futurepop.
[ Parent ]
Canada (5.00 / 1) (#359)
by Hillman on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 06:43:12 PM EST

Is more diverse than the US could ever wish for. We have more guns by capita. Where's the violance? Oh wait, our jails aren't privatized.

[ Parent ]
It's obvious (3.00 / 7) (#234)
by Big Dogs Cock on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 02:02:16 PM EST

The US has more people in jail because they commit more crimes. They have a far higher murder-with-firearm rate than countries with higher ownership of guns. Why?

Simple really: the worship of "rugged individualism" and "free enterprise". Essentially, selfishness and greed. The US has made a virtue out of, basically, shitting on anyone you can to get what you want. That is why there are more criminals. Surely the ultimate form of "free enterprise" is to go and rob a bank? A lesser form might be to sell addictive, harmful subjects to your fellow citizens (tobacco, drugs - whatever).

To summarise, the US is a brutal, crime ridden place because they like it like that.

People say that anal sex is unhealthy. Well it cured my hiccups.
Obvious? (4.00 / 2) (#347)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 02:37:23 PM EST

"The US has more people in jail because they commit more crimes."

Did you ever consider that we commit more "crimes" because we have more laws? We certainly have more lawyers!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Corporatization of Prison system. (3.80 / 5) (#246)
by Fantastic Lad on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 03:00:48 PM EST

A reasonably good article; despite complaints about how some of the numbers jive, I agree with the general symantics.

Though, I was a little surprised that one of the most vile growing problems was not mentioned. --The continuing privatization of the penal system. (When there is a profit incentive behind maintaining high numbers of prisoners, the problems start to bleed as well as just scream.) The fact we are seeing with increasing frequency the word 'Prison' used alongside the word, 'Industry' should be terrifying. But it isn't.

--Having 7% of your population imprisoned in a so-called, 'free' society should be a dead give-away, I would think. But again, it doesn't seem to be.

I have to conclude that the tactics used are actually quite clever.

Many systems over the last couple of centuries in the U.S. have been deliberately manipulated in order to produce financial, social and cultural stress points. The media encourages violence and selfish behavior, (Programmed behavioral response templates.), as well as the wholesale selling of 'fear' and one-sided arguments/solutions. --And a legal system which has been methodically de-humanized at every level, so that natural human empathy has a more difficult time in stopping stupid things from happening.

An example is that of the Beat Cop. Used to be that everybody in a neighborhood knew by name the cop who made his daily rounds. This sort of community tie was a very effective means of keeping things sane, making people aware that a big, strong alpha male member of their community was playing his role. This system, of course, was un-made, probably because it was a sensible way of maintaining an effective and freindly, low-level disciplinary presence. The cops, these days, have for the most part, been psychologically set against the very citizens they are sworn to protect. And how could they not be? When they have to deal with the obscene kinds of domestic problems as displayed on shows like COPS, how can anybody maintain a love and respect for their community?

But then, that kind of ugliness is a new thing as well. There are a hundred and one systems through which community has been thrown into disfunction; turned away from policing itself through extended family and connected community, and taught instead to be dependant on compartmentalized, de-personalized authority and control. Taught to be selfish and hopelessly juvenile, isolated, tantrum throwing nit-wits. (Thank you, television! You have turned our 'advanced' people into sweating savages!)

This kind of project is one which takes centuries to implement. The result being a system which is highly geared towards the general acceptence of massive, historically unprecedented, population control. --And high, high levels of daily anxiety.

I've been grumbling for some time now about the looming prospect of American Death Camps, (or their analogue, whatever form they may ultimately take. Essentially, efficient methods for processing in drawn-out, painful ways, a few million people into soap or something.)

I was more confused about the hows and wherefores, etc., regarding these ideas back in the mid-90's. --Sure, FEMA had their fully staffed, empty and waiting barbed-wire prison compounds scattered about the U.S., but the arguements of disaster readiness made sense to a degree. Disease containment, and all. But then 9-11 happened and the whole machine was kick-started into action. The puzzle pieces began to fall into place quite rapidly. I am continually surprised at just how far the American public seems willing to be herded. --I am amazed, simply because the propaganda seems just so dumb and obvious. But people seem to be buying it.

I continue to strongly recommend that people Get Out of the U.S. while they still can.

-Fantastic Lad

Domestic violence is new? (5.00 / 1) (#295)
by bodrius on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 08:27:27 PM EST

I hate being a grammar nazi, but I think you could stop playing Deus Ex for a few seconds and run a spell checker on your post.

More on topic, I'll follow along a point on your rant:

The "domestic ugly thing" is not a new thing. It has always happened, and it was actually less "policed" before, but the big quantitative and qualitative difference is simply  because the value system was different.

I'm not saying that domestic violence was part of the old moral system; although I think awareness has lowered the tolerance for what we call today "domestic violence", the extremes you mention were not under the old tolerance barrier.

I'm saying that when it did happen before, even (particularly) when it was "policed" by the community, the value system imposed a code of silence. If someone beat up their wife to a pulp and the community had to go and beat him to a pulp and send the wife to her relatives, or if the local sheriff had to arrest a drunk or drug addict in front of his kids... well, it was a matter of shame and you didn't talk about it in public.

I think there were two main reasons for this:

I) Privacy was ingrained in the moral code, ironically because in smaller communities everyone knew pretty much everything about everyone else. It was impolite to acknowledge that privacy was not real.

II) Conformity to normal line of decency was ingrained in the moral code, ironically because it was impossible to conform to said normal line and everyone knew it (due to I). Protecting the illusion of privacy was fundamental to protect the illusion of "decency", and actually convincing everyone both were real gained a lot of social status.

The current moral code, however, is exactly the opposite:

I) Privacy is contradictory to the current moral code, which actually values Invasion of Privacy. Sure, lip service is still paid to personal privacy, but when it comes to social behavior few people pay it any actual respect.
   That someone expects privacy, rather, is considered offensive, or even criminally suspect. This criteria began to be applied to public figures (can you say projection?) and is quickly spreading to private citizens.
   Witness the popularity of organized forms to invade and renounce privacy: webcams, diary-form weblogs, reality shows, hidden camera shows, etc. Witness the ease with which personal information is considered public and available to marketers. Witness the increasing legislation that takes advantage of this narrowing concept of privacy.
   This change in values is, I think, precisely because privacy is almost inherent in our large communities unless the situation is "repaired" by technology. No one, relatively speaking, knows anything about us, so "being famous" has become a currency.
   As a result, people spend insane amounts of time and effort making sure as many people know the least bit about their lives (maybe someone in the Internet will care about the 5 minutes update on their current fight with their boy/girlfriend) and are morally outraged when someone "famous" squanders that "gift".

II) The "Outrageous" is a moral value, and conformity, "decency", has become an anti-value.
    Once more, this is precisely because "normality" is now extremely flexible and everyone is pretty much there by default. When fame is a currency, the subject of fame has to distinguish itself somehow from the competitors, and its damn hard when everything you do is considered "normal".
    Once upon a time DeSade could acquire literary (and psychiatric) immortality for writing stories that would be considered tame in today's Usenet, and Oscar Wilde could be the scandal of a century for being homosexual. Today you better be transvestite midget in love with the underage daughter of your gay lover if you want to appear on Jerry Springer.
    Of course there are slower, more permanent and less travelled ways to fame. But they all pretty much go in the same direction. Whether you make amateur porn films, found a cult to gods or aliens (or alien gods), make a living out of insulting or being insulted on camera, or have a blowjob in the Oval Office while you're the elected President, the path to fame is the path of outrageous behavior.
    And it is famous and outrageous people those who keep social status these days. Those are the leaders of our society. Just ask around and see whose opinions matter to most people, whose they even remember.
    Scandalous behavior and/or opinion lead the fame, and fame lead to status. In turn, restraint leads to loss of fame, if you have any, and therefore to loss of status.

Are people beating up their wives hoping to appear on Cops and become famous?

Well, I wouldn't be that surprised it has happened, but I don't think it applies to too many of them.

Rather, I think as a side-effect of this process restraint and moderation have been lost as moral values. As a result:

- We get shown as much as possible of what does happen, when we used to get shown as least as possible.

- Where before someone was encourage to think before acting, and "thinking" included considering a big list of selfish and hypocritical reasons to not-do something evil and/or stupid... today people are encouraged to act without thinking, to rationalize everything they do, and to take whatever they do to the extreme to gain social status. Where before the moral code was insufferably restrictive to every action, today it offers practically no restrictions. Practically and morally speaking restraint and moderation is discouraged.
  This will not make someone beat their wife to a pulp. But it will make them used to impulsive actions, and when someone does decide to beat their wife to a pulp emotions will have freer reign.
Freedom is the freedom to say 2+2=4, everything else follows...
[ Parent ]

Some good points there. . . (2.00 / 1) (#322)
by Fantastic Lad on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 06:28:20 AM EST

First off, my poor spelling over the last couple of posts was just one of those periods where my brain was full of gas pockets or something. Happens sometimes. Don't know why. Probably because I bashed somebody earlier this week for the same thing. (ahem. "sEmantics".) In any case, I wouldn't touch a Deus Ex style game with a ten foot pole.

So anyway. . ,

I absolutely agree with most of your observations regarding fame and outrageous behavior and the diminishing of privacy for one reason or another.

Still. . . I absolutely disagree in one respect. I think the level of community violence has not remained static. I think it has become much, much more common in recent times. I don't think that this is a case of alarmism; "Nothing has changed. Human nature is as it always was. Move along citizen, nothing to see here."

Consider. . .

Not until very recently have people had such wide access to small arms and exotic drugs like crack, meth and heroin, and other highly addictive narcotics which basically drive people insane to the point where theft and violence are virtually assured consequences of use. Alcohol, despite its long history of horrid effects upon people, was never quite so nasty or intense, or so immediately linked to crime. --Indeed, I seem to recall hearing that in less modern times, because spirits were one of the few available ways to assure a germ-free source of water, fermented drinks were consumed much more regularly, and as such, people were much more adapted to processing the alcohol, and experienced fewer negative effects. (This from an old history teacher; I don't actually know how accurate his info was, so grain of salt that one. Seems to make sense, though. . .)

Further, I think that television has without question provided people with a set of violent, juvenile and inappropriate auto-responses; I regularly witness people using them. --Everything from thoughtlessly repeating adverts, "You have a head-ache? You should try. . .", to playing out the selfish, whiney inter-relationship behaviors they see on programs (hmm, there's that word) like, 'Friends' or 'Seinfeld'. I have no doubt whatsoever that these kinds of behavior-copying patterns extend to such areas as conflict resolution.

Yes, I agree with the argument that people are able to make their own choices, and that behaviors witnessed on television can be observed purely in an intellectual way. But I also think that this is rarely the case. --In order for people to be able to decide not to use the sets of behavioral solutions provided by television, they need to have an alternative, better set of behavioral solutions to draw upon. And for best effect, that alternative behavioral set should be burned more deeply into the mind through repeated exposure to healthy role models than those provided by television. HOWEVER. . , with television being consumed as regularly and as exclusively as it is today, (Now, going on four generations of dedicated viewers, three of which began as children, when minds are most pliable), those alternative, healthier behavior sets are getting pretty darn polluted and overwhelmed by the garbage message.

Mind you, I think the exception to all of this is the very example you primarily used. That of wife beating, which was perhaps as common two hundred years ago as it is today. Perhaps more so. I don't know. The reasons you cite make it a difficult thing to determine. But as vile a behavior pattern as it is, it wasn't really what I was referring to when I was talking about the degradation of the social fabric and the kind of repugnant behaviors police forces must regularly deal with today in America's neighborhoods.

-Fantastic Lad

[ Parent ]

Guns and crack (5.00 / 2) (#350)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 03:10:25 PM EST

Not until very recently have people had such wide access to small arms...

If you are referring to the US, you are incorrect. We have the second amendment, which is considerably weaker than it ever was. A hundred fifty years ago people walked around with "small arms" (pistols) strapped to their waist, and always travelled with a shotgun. They had to- there were very danerous animals to contend with.

and exotic drugs like crack, meth and heroin"

Crack is no more addictive than powdered cocaine. It's pretty much the same drug, just easier to smuggle. The same with Heroin and Morphine (and to a lesser extent opium, which was smoked)- there are chemical differences, but they are minor. Heroin is stronger and hense more addictive than morphine, but probably not by much. There were indeed always junkies of all stripes.

...which basically drive people insane to the point where theft and violence are virtually assured consequences of use."

You shouldn't get ALL your information from government propaganda. The thieft and violence are more a consequence of the laws against those substances (heroin, cocaine) than the substances themselves, particularly the opiates. Keep a junkie stoned and he's harmless. He steals because the shit is EXPENSIVE.

Cocaine turns people into assholes, but doesn't usually make them violent.

Alcohol, despite its long history of horrid effects upon people, was never quite so nasty or intense, or so immediately linked to crime.

Were you aware that most murders, whether in the US and its 2nd amendment, and elsewhere where people use other weapons, are committed while under the influence of alchohol?

And, as a former cigarette smoker, I can't imagine a more addictive substance than niccotine. Getting off of the butts was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life. If they outlawed cigarettes you'ld see a wave of violence like the world has never seen- one of the withdrawel symptoms is anger. Nasty stuff. As long as tobacco is legal, no other drug should be illegal. There simply isn't a more deadly drug on Earth, and probably none so addictive.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Again, some good points, but. . . (4.00 / 1) (#358)
by Fantastic Lad on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 06:00:49 PM EST

If you are referring to the US, you are incorrect. We have the second amendment, which is considerably weaker than it ever was. A hundred fifty years ago people walked around with "small arms" (pistols) strapped to their waist, and always travelled with a shotgun. They had to- there were very danerous animals to contend with. . . . You shouldn't get ALL your information from government propaganda. The thieft and violence are more a consequence of the laws against those substances (heroin, cocaine) than the substances themselves, particularly the opiates. Keep a junkie stoned and he's harmless. He steals because the shit is EXPENSIVE.

Cocaine turns people into assholes, but doesn't usually make them violent.

In this instance I wasn't referring to the US but to the history of community living in general. Small cartridge weapons which could easily be kept in one's pocket are a relatively new invention. Much, much newer than the advent of concentrated population centers. Still, I realize that my referencing was unclear, and a little shaky given that I had previously been talking about the United States. A poor staging of that aspect of my thesis, (re, easy access to powerful weapons being a factor in the failure of community stability), which I still think is the case, and will attempt to refine in a moment. . .

In any case, I find your comments regarding drug use, while reasonable from a certain perspective, do not really change the over-all point I was trying to make.

I know directly that things are pretty awful; I lived for two years with an addiction counselor and dealt with her stress and stories on a daily basis. I also spent some time traveling on the cheap. (Back-pack and sleeping bag), and spent time hanging out with a number of homeless kids in a couple of different hot-spot cities, (Vancouver, Toronto, Amsterdam). I listened to their stories about their lives. I spent a bit of time in the company of some ex-bikers turned pot dealers. Their stories were likewise enlightening and unsettling. I also spent an additional 3 years living in a neighborhood where hard drug use was common. (Had my wallet stolen on one occasion, and was attacked in the lobby of my building on another. Both times by hard-drug users. Thankfully, the pair who attacked were not armed, though I still sport a damaged left elbow today as a result of that encounter.)

It is, of course, regional. All the data I've looked at seems to agree that poverty is a huge factor. And I certainly don't think that alcohol is in any way benevolent. I have a friend who works in a beer store in a rough part of town, and the stories he can tell are quite disturbing. He also described the absolutely staggering amount of beer sold in a given week for that small area. Truck loads.

Gross.

But I think it is extremely unrealistic to think that the addition of hard drugs, (crack, etc.), has not had any impact upon existing patterns.

In any case, in my own dealings with the police, (in reporting attacks, dealing with problem neighbors, etc.) I found that their attitude was one of thinly veiled disgust and disrespect, (and who can blame them?). These were not police who lived in the community, but who commuted from the burbs into work, so there was no sense of responsibility or pride. The whole situation seemed a fairly insoluble one.

Now, I realize that this is an area where my beliefs have without question been somewhat influenced by the media. So I stopped and did a touch of research, trying to work from both ends of the spectrum, and of course was able to find conflicting data. More interestingly, however, were some of the observations which could be found in the middle. . .

I found some data which stated that, "Youth homicides rose 111% in California from 1985 to 1993, due entirely to a 204% increase in gunshot homicides." (Ref)

However. . . Another piece claimed that actual youth crime has declined dramatically since the 1970's, while felony crime among people over 30, has sharply increased.

"The sharp rise in adult crime remains a mystery. Among adults age 30 and older, felony crime rates have doubled and felony arrests have quadrupled in the last quarter century, reaching a staggering 250,000 arrests in 1998." (Reference)

Hmm.

Whatever the case, there definitely seems to be a trend of increased social pressure. Moreover, I find I don't really understand the direction of your arguments. I'm saying that the underlying health of the American community fabric, under a number of influences, has been altered in ways which increase both the demand for, and the acceptance of, heavier and heavier control solutions. You seem to be disagreeing with me.

Now perhaps you are correct in one sense; Perhaps there really is no growing pattern of community decay. Perhaps I have just been too close to the picture to get a proper look at it. Perhaps things really have always been this horrible. (A bleak perspective if there ever was one, and one which I still disagree with.) But regardless, the message remains one of, "It's getting worse all the time!" Which, in the final analysis, is maybe the only important thing, seeing as how so many seem to both believe it and act upon it at the administrative level and the community level.

Oh, and just a quick observation, and I don't mean to be rude here, but I just thought it was interesting. . . That spell checker? You might want to run it as well. (Weird how the karma on that one bounces back and forth so quickly. I think it must be some kind of subconscious program people tend to run. If so, it might be an indicator of a good conscience!)

Take care!

-Fantastic Lad

[ Parent ]

The world has always sucked. (5.00 / 1) (#465)
by mcgrew on Sat Apr 19, 2003 at 07:15:36 PM EST

I find I don't really understand the direction of your arguments.

I'm only saying that today's drugs are not more addictive than yesterday's drugs, nor more harmful to those who abuse them, and pointing out that guns are NOT more prevalent. And you can easily hide an antique 1850's colt 45 in a coat pocket.

I'm saying that the underlying health of the American community fabric, under a number of influences, has been altered in ways which increase both the demand for, and the acceptance of, heavier and heavier control solutions.

I'm not sure what you mean by "control solutions." If you mean drugs, there was no "war on drugs" in 1850. This was a pretty much a libertarian society until the 20th century, when the uber-rich capitalists (Hearst, etc) turned it into a paternalistic plutocracy.

If by "control solutions" you mean the paternalistic plutocracy, I think you have cause and effect reversed.

If you are saying that the rate of society's change has escalated rapidly, I won't disagree with that.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

I'm glad you wrote about this. (4.50 / 4) (#257)
by Futurepower on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:00:18 PM EST

I'm glad you wrote about this. The viciousness of the U.S. society has worried me for a long time. Anyone who truly loves the U.S. will give attention to the bad things, and not just the good things.

I couldn't agree more! (3.00 / 3) (#364)
by adequate nathan on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 08:31:12 PM EST

Anyone who truly loves the U.S. will give attention to the bad things, and not just the good things.

The oppressive, coercive nature of the liberal political establishment has revealed itself time and again. We live in a society where public discourse is dominated by the likes of Stanley Fish and Andrea Dworkin. We can't just focus on strong American family values and our powerful industrial economy. We can't just focus on our healthy moral climate and advanced American health-care system.

We have to remember that freedom is constantly imperiled by state-coercivist treachery. This society's vicious conformism and political correctness has blighted the careers of many promising young men (rarely women, obviously) from the wrong "ethnic group." "One law for the Lion & Ox is Oppression," Blake wrote, but while we have many laws, we are more oppressed than ever by the One Unwritten Law of leftivist domination and groupthink.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Well (1.00 / 3) (#374)
by Greyshade on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:41:19 AM EST

If Americans had strong moral values, a powerful industrial economy, or stong family values...

[ Parent ]
dear sir (3.00 / 3) (#397)
by adequate nathan on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:37:17 PM EST

Please stop trolling. America is the greatest country in the world, even though it is also riddled with traitors and liberalists.

strong moral values: show me a country that sticks up more effectively for the unborn and the elderly. In Holland they're practically sending them to the fertiliser plants.

a powerful industrial economy: show me a country with a larger, more influential, or more efficient economy (American workers are far more productive than their European counterparts.)

stong family values [sic]: we've begun to slip in this department, but despite the best efforts of the anti-Christians we've yet to fall into a state of Japanese or European collapse.

Nathan
"For me -- ugghhh, arrgghh."
-Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, in Frank magazine, Jan. 20th 2003

Join the petition: Rusty! Make dumped stories & discussion public!
[ Parent ]

Wild guess: (1.00 / 1) (#406)
by tkatchev on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:00:32 AM EST

China?

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Penalties (3.12 / 8) (#263)
by jth on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:23:58 PM EST

It seems to me that the penalty averages for different types of crimes are really fucked up these days. Not just in the US, same can be observed in several european countries. Roughly, for the most general crime types the scale goes like this :

--- low penalties ---
Environmental crimes
Economic crimes
Sex crimes
Violent crimes
Drug crimes
Property crimes
Intellectual property crimes
--- high penalties ---

As it should be completely reversed, IMHO.

err (1.00 / 2) (#264)
by jth on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:26:04 PM EST

Property and drug crimes should be switched in that list.

[ Parent ]
That Constitution Thing! (none / 0) (#366)
by WhiteBandit on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 09:22:16 PM EST

While I do agree with you that the penalities and severity of the crimes are screwed, if you go back to our founding fathers and look at what they were thinking when they were writing the constitution, property was one of the top things on the list.

The constitution makes numerous references (direct/indirect) about owning property and how it is one's right. "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Interesting to think about :) Even back then there were greedy SOB's! ;)

[ Parent ]
Corporations and justice (5.00 / 16) (#268)
by stevie on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 04:48:34 PM EST

When I was in the US in the summer of 2001 I read an article in the New York Times titled "Number of People in State Prisons Declines Slightly" (here's a link that I found). It's full of interesting statistics, but there's one paragraph that I found really worrying:

But a decline in the number of inmates could be bad news for private prison companies, whose stock prices depend on a steadily growing number of inmates, and for some prison guards unions, like the California Correctional Peace Officers Association. The association has been the biggest contributor to a number of California politicians and the most powerful force in the state pushing for tougher sentencing laws, like California's "three strikes and you're out" statute.

Maybe this looks perfectly normal for you Americans. But I'm from Europe and that sentence really made me look for any indication that this may have been intended as humor.

Prison Industrial Complex (4.75 / 4) (#354)
by odds on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 04:36:08 PM EST

It's well known enough to have its own name, adopted from the military industrial complex: prison industrial complex. - David

[ Parent ]
do you want suggestions? fine. (3.80 / 10) (#307)
by chimera on Sat Apr 12, 2003 at 09:59:07 PM EST

here are some (sensible and flamebaits alike):

-drop the jury system. it doesn't work even though the idea is nice and all. Aim for maximum professionality of parties involved in the case.

-drop the death penalty. this is the single most devastating justice issue in comparisons between US and other legal systems, particularly European ones. I'd wager that if the death penalty was abolished in US it would be fairly competitive in 'fairness points' to the EU ones (who by no means should be thought of as fair and equal justice).

-fix your gunlaws. most handguns and rifles are seldom used outside a practice range even in proliferant gunowning countries such as Canada and Sweden. The difference in Deaths-by-arms count is with anything semi- or fullautomatic that is primarily made for military usage. Those type of arms have no place in a civilian lawabiding home, end of story. So why are they legal?

-fix your taxproblem. Not many persons WANT to relieve themselves of their money, but a LOT of non-USians understand the basic need for a government to provide services for its people, regardless of an individuals position in society or income. And the higher the demand by the populace the higher the taxes need to be. If people want and need healthcare and good education its the government's responsibilty to provide it in the best amount possible. And that requires money. Loads of money. Either by taxes or fees.
A good justice system requires money too. Which brings me to the next point.

-Depolitisize your justice system. When judges and prosecutors both have to get themselves elected by a regular populace they open themselves and their offices up for lobbying from fringe groups, outright bribery, and more importantly lesser integrity of the invokation of the law itself. The highest court of a country will always be subject to, as it should be, some influence from the political arena as the court always will get its pointers from the laws the politicians write according to a politicians mandate. But each court and position under the highest court should always be appointed on merit base, which is formed on the professionality of practice of the law. Politisizing a complete pyramid in a field of work  only undermines the authority of the decisions made at the top since the whims of politics is introduced at the lower levels. Hence in the case of justice the integrity of the Law is undermined and placed under political scrutiny. Separation of powers is useless if you dont separate them as much as you can.

-stop being so goddamn moralistic about sex. To some extent the practice of unsafe and weird (IMO anal, animal, drunken) sex is introduced to the US population by the sheer enigmas and excitement they seem to be when it is prohibited or hushed. Moralistic education on sex only lead it to become more interesting to an always-rebellious teenager. When the topic of sex in all its forms become boring since there is nothing particularly exciting or secret about it, society benefits as most people will keep in the mainstream as they always do. Less extremes cost less money to manage and causes less grieve (and less fun, sadly. but hey, this is life).

-kill your politicians. Change the rules of politics. Restrict monetary contributions or make them equal for all parties. Bribery, favours and lobbying will always exist in a politicians world. But you could atleast pave the way for simple normal joes to venture into politics and change things by making it less obvious and less necessary to be rich to make powerful friends.

-stop yelling at the Government, BE the Government. Go vote. Dont know of someone or some partyline that you agree with? Find one, or become  one. If you don't vote you can't complain on the results, it's that simple. Realize that government  can easier become Good, if YOU do your part. Avoiding the governemtn just because you dont like it dont fix a goddamn thing thats wrong with it. It only seems so because the sand looks better up close.

-fix your voting rolls. Make it mandatory for an eligible voter to vote on all levels of participation. It shouldn't be punishable to not vote, but it must be mandatory. And THAT means providing the infrastructure for voting. Why is there any need of registering to vote? You are already registered - in lots of governmentprovided records! Its just a matter of sending you a Voters Card and showing you the location to vote. Dead people are dead people and black people are still people, even if they live in Florida or Texas. Stop inventing the wheel all over again, and let the EU parliament do that.

-make your laws changeable, not amendable. Do a national vote to abolish your constitutional restriction on changing the constitution. You can't fix a problem if you can't fix the problem!

-Less media in the courtroom! Respect the right of privacy. The populace have no need to get each detail on the lives of suspected criminals or victims of crime. Most criminals think of themselves as failures anyway, I do. The two faces of justice is that there is punishment, and there is forgiveness. A victim doesn't have to forgive the offender, but society has to, and that becomes impossible if a criminal gets plastered all over the land when process is ongoing and possible punishment is given. In the media there is no forgiving, there is only the Next Story. Be gentle.

-Realize that, as the story's editor points out, addiction is treatable.

-drop the three-strikes rule. Justice isn't baseball! It's lives at stake, for Christ's sake! Besides, by making all third crimes equal in terms of punishment there is no real grading of the crime commited and of the err against a citizen or society. If your third strike is up, then what is the difference between stealing an apple, raping a woman, killing a child or airbombing WTC? None.

-understand that liberalism is about conceding. Conceding of power, space, resources and time to those around you so that they can help themselves and also help you. One can only go so far. Two and a bottle of water can move even further. It also means acknowledging mistakes for what they are and understand that solutions sometimes cannot be provided by you yourself, even if you pay for it.

-understand that morality and religion has nothing in Justice to do, ethics however do.

-chill out. relax. take a few weeks off from work every year. bring some pals over. make food that makes your stomach juice for more. have some french wine. sleep outside under the stars. learn a language. see foreign films. go places you dont understand. read old books. read new ones. think. make art, make babies. be human.

Do you want to fix your justice system, or just pretend you are for your own conscience?

Uhm (5.00 / 1) (#318)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 02:12:11 AM EST

It would be easier to just ship everyone over to Europe.

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."
[ Parent ]

Thank you for the suggestions... (4.75 / 4) (#353)
by Wateshay on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 04:19:11 PM EST

...now here are some refutations.

-drop the jury system. it doesn't work even though the idea is nice and all. Aim for maximum professionality of parties involved in the case.

Despite some of the very widely publicized failures of juries in the U.S. (i.e. O.J. Simpson) I think you'll find that for the most part juries work. They're also a lot more fair, and less subject to the politization that would occur if juries were professionals hired by politicians. There may be some room for reform (the defense shouldn't be able to reject and engineer because they're more likely to think logically), but that's no reason to throw it out entirely.

-drop the death penalty. this is the single most devastating justice issue in comparisons between US and other legal systems, particularly European ones. I'd wager that if the death penalty was abolished in US it would be fairly competitive in 'fairness points' to the EU ones (who by no means should be thought of as fair and equal justice).

Hmmm... Seems to me like this one is actually keeping our prison numbers down (just kidding). Seriously, though, I'm not going to argue this one with you because your opinion on it is most likely based on core values that can't (and shouldn't) try to change in a Kuro5hin discussion.

-fix your gunlaws. most handguns and rifles are seldom used outside a practice range even in proliferant gunowning countries such as Canada and Sweden. The difference in Deaths-by-arms count is with anything semi- or fullautomatic that is primarily made for military usage. Those type of arms have no place in a civilian lawabiding home, end of story. So why are they legal?

You make a good point. The truth, though, is that most guns used by hardcore criminals aren't obtained legally anyway, because that would make them more easily traceable. You say that semi- and fully-automatic weapons don't belong in law-abiding homes. My question is "why?" If the home is law-abiding, why shouldn't they have whatever they want if it's not hurting anyone (and may protect them someday)? I should also point out that the places in the U.S. with more lax gun laws tend to have lower crime rates, not higher ones.

-fix your taxproblem. Not many persons WANT to relieve themselves of their money, but a LOT of non-USians understand the basic need for a government to provide services for its people, regardless of an individuals position in society or income. And the higher the demand by the populace the higher the taxes need to be. If people want and need healthcare and good education its the government's responsibilty to provide it in the best amount possible. And that requires money. Loads of money. Either by taxes or fees. A good justice system requires money too.

Well, I'm not sure I buy that state supported medical care and crime are related. I'd like to see some evidence for that. As far as law enforcement goes, doesn't it make sense that if we reduce our law enforcement, it would cost less money?

-Depolitisize your justice system. When judges and prosecutors both have to get themselves elected by a regular populace they open themselves and their offices up for lobbying from fringe groups, outright bribery, and more importantly lesser integrity of the invokation of the law itself. The highest court of a country will always be subject to, as it should be, some influence from the political arena as the court always will get its pointers from the laws the politicians write according to a politicians mandate. But each court and position under the highest court should always be appointed on merit base, which is formed on the professionality of practice of the law. Politisizing a complete pyramid in a field of work only undermines the authority of the decisions made at the top since the whims of politics is introduced at the lower levels. Hence in the case of justice the integrity of the Law is undermined and placed under political scrutiny. Separation of powers is useless if you dont separate them as much as you can.

Well, at the Federal level, our judges are appointed. In the highest court (the Supreme Court) the appointment is even for life, to ensure that once they have been chosen they are no longer bound by the winds of politics to keep their jobs. Of course, politics to play a role in the appointment of judges, but I'd like to see a system proposed that would eliminate politics from the process (short of a computer choosing them, I don't see how it could be done--and even the computer program would have to be written to choose based on rulesets chosen by people with political motivations). There are some states (maybe all of them?) where judges are elected, but they usually run very low-key campaigns and reelection is often just a matter of voters saying whether or not the judge should be retained.

-stop being so goddamn moralistic about sex. To some extent the practice of unsafe and weird (IMO anal, animal, drunken) sex is introduced to the US population by the sheer enigmas and excitement they seem to be when it is prohibited or hushed. Moralistic education on sex only lead it to become more interesting to an always-rebellious teenager. When the topic of sex in all its forms become boring since there is nothing particularly exciting or secret about it, society benefits as most people will keep in the mainstream as they always do. Less extremes cost less money to manage and causes less grieve (and less fun, sadly. but hey, this is life).

Again, this is a valid opinion, but doesn't really have a lot of bearing on the issue at hand. I don't know how your medias portray it to you over there in Europe (which is where I'm guessing you are--my appologies if I am mistaken), but for the most part things are pretty open here. In most places there are very few things that are illegal, and even in those places that still have sodomy laws and such, they are rarely enforced and few people base their actions out of fear of those laws.

-kill your politicians. Change the rules of politics. Restrict monetary contributions or make them equal for all parties. Bribery, favours and lobbying will always exist in a politicians world. But you could atleast pave the way for simple normal joes to venture into politics and change things by making it less obvious and less necessary to be rich to make powerful friends.

Here's a question. Do "normal joes" venture into politics at the highest levels in Europe? By "higest levels" I don't mean your national levels, either, since those correspond in populations more closely to our state governments, where "normal joes" do get into politics--maybe not starting out as governors, but certainly in the legislatures. What about the EU, though? How many average construction workers or fry cooks have successfully run for offices at the EU level and won? I'm going to guess that none have. Running for office at that level requires a lot of money, because it requires a lot of visibility. On the other hand, "normal joes" actually do get elected to our House of Representatives, because they are running for office in small regions where it doesn't take that much money to mount a campaign.

-stop yelling at the Government, BE the Government. Go vote. Dont know of someone or some partyline that you agree with? Find one, or become one. If you don't vote you can't complain on the results, it's that simple. Realize that government can easier become Good, if YOU do your part. Avoiding the governemtn just because you dont like it dont fix a goddamn thing thats wrong with it. It only seems so because the sand looks better up close.

No arguments here.

-fix your voting rolls. Make it mandatory for an eligible voter to vote on all levels of participation. It shouldn't be punishable to not vote, but it must be mandatory. And THAT means providing the infrastructure for voting. Why is there any need of registering to vote? You are already registered - in lots of governmentprovided records! Its just a matter of sending you a Voters Card and showing you the location to vote. Dead people are dead people and black people are still people, even if they live in Florida or Texas. Stop inventing the wheel all over again, and let the EU parliament do that.

I would agree that there are a lot of reforms that could be done to our voting systems. The voting systems should be good enough that problems like what happened in Florida in 2000 don't occur. The dead voting, on the other hand, is a fairly rare, isolated problem, and becomes less and less of a problem as computers make records more and more accessable. As far as blacks voting goes, I don't really think there is much credible evidence that blacks were disenfanchised in Florida, and I haven't even heard about it occurring in Texas (if you have references to contrary evidence, by all means produce it). As far as "mandatory voting" goes, I disagree. Everyone should have the right to vote, but those who don't take the time to learn the issues well enough to make an informed decision are not helping things by voting. In an ideal world, everyone would learn the issues and make an informed vote. In reality, though, that will never happen, and increasing the number of uninformed voters will only make it easier for a demagogue to sway the populace.

-make your laws changeable, not amendable. Do a national vote to abolish your constitutional restriction on changing the constitution. You can't fix a problem if you can't fix the problem!

I'm not sure what advantage is to be gained by making our laws changeable instead of amendable, other than making the lawbooks shorter and making it easier to the historical record of what laws used to be (the first being somewhat desirable, the second one being very undesirable). As far as making the constitution easier to change goes, all that would do is take away a stable constant that protects us from the whims of polititians. Anyway, other than possibly the second amendment (the one on guns) and the somewhat anacronistic electoral college system for electing a president, I'm curious what you think should be changed about our consitution. Should politicians be able to use temporary changes in public opinion to do away with things like free speech or freedom of religion. Or, should it be easy enough to change the constitution that it would become possible for a single demogogue to manage to pack the congress and get them to change the rules so he/she could become a dictator?

Incidentally, a national referendum would not be sufficient to change our constitution. It requires either an amendment passed by congress (with a 2/3 vote) and then ratified by a certain percentage of the states (can't remember the exact percentage off the top of my head), or the calling of a constitutional convention. On what grounds a constitutional convention could be called is not well defined, nor are exactly what powers it would have (presumably all bets are off and the constitution could essentially be rewritten). A constitutional convention, however, has never been called, and at this point I don't think it would ever be possible to do so (too much time has passed, without it ever being really defined).

-Less media in the courtroom! Respect the right of privacy. The populace have no need to get each detail on the lives of suspected criminals or victims of crime. Most criminals think of themselves as failures anyway, I do. The two faces of justice is that there is punishment, and there is forgiveness. A victim doesn't have to forgive the offender, but society has to, and that becomes impossible if a criminal gets plastered all over the land when process is ongoing and possible punishment is given. In the media there is no forgiving, there is only the Next Story. Be gentle.

Again, no arguments on this one.

-Realize that, as the story's editor points out, addiction is treatable.

Ditto.

-drop the three-strikes rule. Justice isn't baseball! It's lives at stake, for Christ's sake! Besides, by making all third crimes equal in terms of punishment there is no real grading of the crime commited and of the err against a citizen or society. If your third strike is up, then what is the difference between stealing an apple, raping a woman, killing a child or airbombing WTC? None.

Well, the 3-strikes law is only a law in California. As far as whether or not is works or not, I don't know any statistics to argue either way.

-understand that liberalism is about conceding. Conceding of power, space, resources and time to those around you so that they can help themselves and also help you. One can only go so far. Two and a bottle of water can move even further. It also means acknowledging mistakes for what they are and understand that solutions sometimes cannot be provided by you yourself, even if you pay for it.

That depends on who you ask, and what type of liberalism you're referring to. I'm not going to argue that those things aren't true, but I personally tend to subscribe my own views more to the classical liberalism that supports individual rights and limited government.

-understand that morality and religion has nothing in Justice to do, ethics however do.

Agreed.

-chill out. relax. take a few weeks off from work every year. bring some pals over. make food that makes your stomach juice for more. have some french wine. sleep outside under the stars. learn a language. see foreign films. go places you dont understand. read old books. read new ones. think. make art, make babies. be human.

I do (well, not all of those specific things, but you get the point). I also do things like that throughout the year, even when I'm working. There's not much point in living if you don't enjoy it. On the other hand, chilling out does absolutely nothing to solve societies serious problems. That takes hard, tireless work.

Do you want to fix your justice system, or just pretend you are for your own conscience?

I'm all for fixing it. It's actually quite broken. I just don't happen to think that most of your solutions are the correct ones.


"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."


[ Parent ]
Wow, rational discussion! (1.00 / 1) (#371)
by daliman on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 12:27:14 AM EST

Don't seem to see it much. Congrats ;-)

[ Parent ]
Constitutional convention, etc (5.00 / 1) (#372)
by jagg on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:35:06 AM EST

It requires 2/3 of the States to petition Congress to set up the convention and 3/4 of the States to ratify it. The neat (in terms of mutability) thing about a convention is that all bets are off. In other words, the constitution can be thrown out the window and be completely re-written. Also, it requires 3/4 of the States to ratify a constitutional amendment proposed in Congress.

The idea that juries are much worse than appointed (or even elected!) judges is absurd. Cronyism and corruption are present in many European justice systems as a result of politicians appointing judges at all levels. Sure, there are many problems with jury trials, but at least it keeps the judiciary accountable.

Europe's national politicians are, by and large, members of the social elite who have the best connections to money or influence. Europeans are kidding themselves if they believe that their rulers come from the average populace. Not that many do in America, but money is what counts rather than social status over here and it's easier to get the former than the later. Also, the emerging EU is a bureaucratic superstructure that makes all the major decisions. Unless democracy means, "I voted for a guy, who voted for a guy, who made a law about which bureaucracy makes a final decision," the EU won't be able to claim any sort of democratic legitimacy.

--
A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. --James Madison
[ Parent ]

So that's how it works...cool (none / 0) (#375)
by Wateshay on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:42:25 AM EST

Hey, thanks for clearing that up about the constitutional convention. I didn't realize it was that clearly defined. Not sure why, since if it's in the Constitution I'm sure I've read it before. Just didn't remember.

"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."


[ Parent ]
Yeah, (none / 0) (#377)
by jagg on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 05:54:19 AM EST

Article V is written in a very convoluted manner, which is why you probably don't remember it well. In any case, the likelihood of another constitutional convention is about as remote as Saddam rising up and driving those imperialist infidels into the sea :)

--
A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. --James Madison
[ Parent ]
Highest political levels in the EU (none / 0) (#379)
by Amorsen on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:40:02 AM EST

Here's a question. Do "normal joes" venture into politics at the highest levels in Europe? By "higest levels" I don't mean your national levels, either, since those correspond in populations more closely to our state governments, where "normal joes" do get into politics--maybe not starting out as governors, but certainly in the legislatures. What about the EU, though? How many average construction workers or fry cooks have successfully run for offices at the EU level and won? I'm going to guess that none have. Running for office at that level requires a lot of money, because it requires a lot of visibility.
The "highest levels" in Europe are:
  • The European Commission: Consists of officials (non-elected). It has the right of initiative; it is the only body which can propose new EU directives.
  • The Council of Ministers: Consists of a Minister from each member country.
  • The European Parliament: Is elected directly by the populace; each country gets a specific number of seats. It is debatable whether it should be mentioned along with the two above, since it has only one power: It can dissolve the Commission. That power is quite theoretical and it has never been used.
The only place to get elected is the European Parliament. That seems to be where old politicians go for retirement.

[ Parent ]
and you call this _more_ democratic?!?! (3.00 / 2) (#407)
by Wateshay on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 02:54:43 AM EST

I certainly have no idea what your views are, but I hear a lot of Europeans preach to us Americans about how Europe is overall more democratic than the U.S. I just don't see it, though. In the federal government over here, we have exactly nine unelected officials who don't ultimately answer to an elected official (the Supreme Court justices). True, our president is indirectly elected by the people, but that's a far cry from appointed.

Yes, I know that the EU and the U.S. governments aren't quite the same thing, but still...


"If English was good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for everyone else."


[ Parent ]
Elected vs. responsive (4.00 / 1) (#437)
by John Bayko on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 03:19:05 PM EST

"I hear a lot of Europeans preach to us Americans about how Europe is overall more democratic than the U.S. I just don't see it, though."

The U.S is fairly unique in the way the government is formed almost entirely of non-elected officials. If you look at something like the British parliamentary system, the government is actually run by those who were elected by voters (this is more out of tradition than law, so there can be exceptions, but this is the principle).

Although the U.S administration is answerable to an elected person in theory, in actual fact the President is a figurehead. In the current administration for example, almost everyone except for the President and Vice President were also in the Bush I and Reagan administrations, and will be in the next Republican one (barring retirement, of course). No matter which Republican candidate had been chosen, the people making the decisions would have been the same because that depends on the structure of the party (internal politics, towing the party line, obligations for campaign support, funding, etc), not on the desires of the voters. The Democratic party is not as well organized, and the elected president may have more choice, but the principle is the same.

Basically you have ended up with two governments which trade off. The ranks of each are made up of a sort of oligarchy similar to how communist governments choose their leaders. The voters only get to choose (in theory) which of these oligarchies to rule them for four years.

This is not democratic. In most democracies, the governments are responsive to the people who elect them. They face pressures from the party to support the party line, but also pressures from the voters - if their department fails in its responsibility, they may not be re-elected, even though the government itself is.

People in such democracies become involved in government, because they can and do have an effect on the results. If an American, for example, likes Powel, but hates Ashcroft, there's nothing they can do - it's accept the entire Republican government, or switch to the entire Democratic Party oligarchy. They're only barely enfranchised, as opposed to voters who do elect their government - not just legislators. This is why so many U.S voters don't bother.

These differences are not necessarily obvious. There may be more appointed positions, but at the same time those doing the appointing are more responsible to the voters, so it's not as anti-democratic as it sounds. You can only see one system or another as more democratic based on the results - and in Europe, for example, the government does reflect the will of the people more often and in a more positive way than in the U.S.

[ Parent ]

Europe is generally fairly democratic (4.00 / 1) (#480)
by Amorsen on Fri Apr 25, 2003 at 06:19:20 AM EST

The European Union is not, but the individual nations are (with some exceptions, sadly). Which is why some of us try to fight the EU as much as we can. Whether a democracy of that size is even possible is debatable, and I do not consider India or the US to be existence proofs.

[ Parent ]
EU government (none / 0) (#481)
by Halo on Mon Apr 28, 2003 at 09:37:53 AM EST

The EU (European Union) is not a government. It has no territory, no citisens, no police force (Interpol is a seperate organisation), no armed forces, no schools,hospitals,prisions & no ability to impose or raise taxes. Yes there are EU/EC laws that in theory every member state must abide by but in reality no member state has implemented every law & even when a law has been ratified by a member state it is not uncommon for the law to be ignored.

[ Parent ]
Gun laws (none / 0) (#439)
by John Bayko on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 04:54:39 PM EST

"I should also point out that the places in the U.S. with more lax gun laws tend to have lower crime rates, not higher ones. "

There are two main effects that happen as the number of guns in a society increases. The first is the crimes enabled by a gun grow, almost immediately - these are crimes that wouldn't be possible, or would be too difficult to be worthwhile without a gun. The second is the deterrent effect, which doesn't grow until the number of guns in a society reach a critical point, after which the risk of committing a crime is high enough that the crime rate is reduced.

The result of these curves together is that at first, the enabling effect dominates, and as the number of guns increases, so do the number of crimes, until a peak is reached, after which the number of crimes decreases.

I believe the U.S is (in general, there are regional variations) on the hgh end of that curve, while other industrialized countries are on the low end. The question is, at which end are the number of crimes, and safety in general, minimized. If you take into account other effects (accidents, theft of guns, human stupidity), I think safety is most improved when the number of guns is minimized.

There are other effects to consider for a more detailed analysis.

[ Parent ]

ok twothings (4.50 / 2) (#392)
by techwolf on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 01:23:35 PM EST

First IF I wanted to live in a european-like country then I would move there.

-fix your gunlaws. most handguns and rifles are seldom used outside a practice range even in proliferant gunowning countries such as Canada and Sweden. The difference in Deaths-by-arms count is with anything semi- or fullautomatic that is primarily made for military usage. Those type of arms have no place in a civilian lawabiding home, end of story.

No not the end of story, I have need of them in my home to protect my family, and have used them to protect my family and property in the past.
The last time I checked Canada outlawed most forms of private gun ownership, and last anything semiautomatic? um that covers EVERYTHING short of a bolt-action, or muzzleloader. sorry But I like some laws the way they are. Why do some people always want to go around changing laws to take away the most basic freedom, The freedom of CHOICE. Look I'll admit some of your suggestions have very good merit (adding professionals to juries and non-elected judges) but sometimes things are fine the way they are, so leave them be.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

you think you could get into Western Europe? (none / 0) (#417)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:31:30 AM EST

I doubt it. The western europeans control their govts much better than we Americans do our own. Thus, it is much harder to legally move to Western Europe.
HTGS75OBEY21IRTYG54564ACCEPT64AUTHORITY41V KKJWQKHD23CONSUME78GJHGYTMNQYRTY74SLEEP38H TYTR32CONFORM12GNIYIPWG64VOTER4APATHY42JLQ TYFGB64MONEY3IS4YOUR7GOD62MGTSB21CONFORM34 SDF53MARRY6AND2REPRODUCE534TYWHJZKJ34OBEY6

[ Parent ]
try looking up the (none / 0) (#420)
by techwolf on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:11:25 PM EST

facts on how hard it is. if you have technical skills and want to become a citizen it isn't very hard.


"The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." - Thomas Jefferson
[ Parent ]

Check again on Canadian gun laws. (5.00 / 1) (#421)
by 0xA on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 01:18:11 PM EST

The last time I checked Canada outlawed most forms of private gun ownership

You are mistaken. If you measure ownership levels as # of guns / person Canada is about the same as the US (a little higher IIRC). Violence using guns is much lower though.

[ Parent ]

You have some good suggestions.... (none / 0) (#415)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:27:35 AM EST

....especially about killing the politicians. I am all in favor of it. But only if we do it in a coldblooded rational fashion. You see, I see elected office as a public service, as serving your country, just like Marines serve their country. And some soldier give up their lives in the service of their countries. I think politicians should occasionally have to give up their lives. I think we should try many of our politicians for treason, and if found guilty, they should be publicly executed. Politicians and leaders have always been the opposite of public servants--they have instead been alpha males and females who dominate in a Darwinian sense. This is animal behavior. I suggest we go beyond that and take control of our govt. And kill those politicians who do not serve the common good. Hang them, publicly, and in doing so, move definitively beyond pack animal behavior, to the posthuman stage.
HTGS75OBEY21IRTYG54564ACCEPT64AUTHORITY41V KKJWQKHD23CONSUME78GJHGYTMNQYRTY74SLEEP38H TYTR32CONFORM12GNIYIPWG64VOTER4APATHY42JLQ TYFGB64MONEY3IS4YOUR7GOD62MGTSB21CONFORM34 SDF53MARRY6AND2REPRODUCE534TYWHJZKJ34OBEY6

[ Parent ]
You have some good suggestions.... (3.00 / 1) (#416)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:28:40 AM EST

....especially about killing the politicians. I am all in favor of it. But only if we do it in a coldblooded rational fashion. You see, I see elected office as a public service, as serving your country, just like Marines serve their country. And some soldier give up their lives in the service of their countries. I think politicians should occasionally have to give up their lives. I think we should try many of our politicians for treason, and if found guilty, they should be publicly executed. Politicians and leaders have always been the opposite of public servants--they have instead been alpha males and females who dominate in a Darwinian sense. This is animal behavior. I suggest we go beyond that and take control of our govt. And kill those politicians who do not serve the common good. Hang them, publicly, and in doing so, move definitively beyond pack animal behavior, to the posthuman stage.
HTGS75OBEY21IRTYG54564ACCEPT64AUTHORITY41V KKJWQKHD23CONSUME78GJHGYTMNQYRTY74SLEEP38H TYTR32CONFORM12GNIYIPWG64VOTER4APATHY42JLQ TYFGB64MONEY3IS4YOUR7GOD62MGTSB21CONFORM34 SDF53MARRY6AND2REPRODUCE534TYWHJZKJ34OBEY6

[ Parent ]
Your Whining is Out of Line (3.50 / 10) (#331)
by Frank Anderson on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 10:21:06 AM EST

...skateboarders are persecuted by the police for what is, when you think about it, a rather harmless activity.
Skateboarders are not allowed to convert private property into skate parks without the permission of the property owner. I would hope the logic behind this is obvious to you. In addition, they are not allowed to use public sidewalks, stair, benches and other architectural features as platforms for their sport, for at least two obvious reasons. First, they endanger themselves and others. Second, they effectively take over parts of public property, preventing their intended use, intimidating citizens and reducing the social barrier to crime.
See, the part you don't understand yet is that when the police "persecute" (as you put it) skateboarders, they aren't acting out personal beliefs. They are enforcing the will of the community. A 49 year old woman doesn't feel comfortable telling a bunch of loud, rambunctious youths to clear out. She relies on the police to do that. In many cases, this reliance is direct - citizens call 911 and ask police to handle loiterers, skateboarders, etc.
Because marijuana is illegal pot smokers have to go to dealers to get it...
So it's totally out of the question for them to just follow the law? They have to have their fix? Face reality. Marijuana users choose to commit a crime. Once they make that choice, they must accept the consequences.
The university of East Anglia (Norwich UK) has about 7 security staff...Compare this to a typical US university (University of Maine), which has its own police station, and around 30 full time officers...
Isn't there something missing from this comparsion? Like the number of students at the respective schools? Also, if the British adopt a more lax standard towards the discipline of their students, why do you assume this is desirable? A recent article in The Economist characterized British universities as "overcrowded, cash-strapped and demoralized" and afflicted with "pub crawls and binge drinking." Does that sound like a healthy environment in which children can pursue academic excellence? If a team of police officers is needed to restrain students from such excesses, that is money well spent.
This story is a microcosm of what is happening all across the USA, an excessive amount of effort is being spent pursuing people for victimless crimes, and the chief result is that the police loses the trust of the public making it more difficult for them to solve more serious crimes.
Actually, the police enforce laws made by the elected representatives of the people. Since the 1970's, the people have demanded a crackdown on crime, and the governments have delivered it. Cracking down on minor crimes helps prevent major crimes - this is called the Broken Window theory.
Look at the chaos in Iraq and give a heartfelt thanks to your local police officers.

Relative Populations (5.00 / 1) (#343)
by blakdogg on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 01:50:14 PM EST

UMaine
Enrollment
Undergraduate = 8,511
Graduate = 2,187
Total enrollment = 10,698

Univ of East Anglia
UEA has more than 9000 undergraduate students and nearly 4000 postgraduates studying on campus.

I get the feeling he checked.
Woe be onto the United Nations, there nothing but a front.
[ Parent ]

You missed the point. (4.33 / 3) (#370)
by daliman on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 11:32:27 PM EST

So it's totally out of the question for them to just follow the law? They have to have their fix? Face reality. Marijuana users choose to commit a crime. Once they make that choice, they must accept the consequences.

The point was that the law is wrong, and impinges on individual rights. There should be no consequences; punishing people to protect them is (to quote a tired line) like fucking for virginity.



[ Parent ]
Oh, come on (2.00 / 1) (#376)
by olethros on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 04:31:54 AM EST

Do we need the police so that students don't get drunk?!

In my experience, university security in the UK was pretty tough anyway.

-- Homepage| Music
I miss my rubber keyboard.
[ Parent ]

Crackdown (5.00 / 2) (#378)
by Quila on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 06:39:25 AM EST

Since the 1970's, the people have demanded a crackdown on crime, and the governments have delivered it.

Closer to the truth is that the politicians have convinced the people that a crackdown on crime is the answer to their troubles in order to get an easy platform on which to be reelected.

Actually doing something about the causes of crime and removing consensual crimes from the books would be more effective, but it doesn't make for a very good campaign platform.

[ Parent ]

Politicians::Voters = Chicken::Egg (2.00 / 1) (#448)
by Frank Anderson on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 02:22:43 AM EST

Closer to the truth is that the politicians have convinced the people that a crackdown on crime is the answer to their troubles in order to get an easy platform on which to be reelected.
Are people easily convinced of arbitrary ideas from political candidates? If they are, why don't you try your ideas? Or do the ideas have to hit some resonance in the voters? If so, why do you think the issue of crime had resonance for voters?
Actually doing something about the causes of crime and removing consensual crimes from the books would be more effective, but it doesn't make for a very good campaign platform.
Legalizing crime might be "effective" in some legalistic sense, but it's not very effective at stopping crime. Consensual? If Bob and Mike make a plan to steal your car, is this acceptable because it's "consensual" so far? I say, absolutely not. They are guilty of conspiracy to commit a crime. If Bob sells Mike an illegal drug that increases violent behavior, is that "consensual"? Is it OK? Obviously, I say no. Actions can have an impact beyond the actors. I will agree with you on one thing; legalizing lots of crime based on some abstract theory doesn't make for a very good campaign platform.

[ Parent ]
voters and crime (5.00 / 1) (#451)
by Quila on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 06:06:21 AM EST

Are people easily convinced of arbitrary ideas from political candidates? If they are, why don't you try your ideas? Or do the ideas have to hit some resonance in the voters?

I see your point. It's probably somewhere in the middle. In general though, I get the feeling that the society does have problems that need to be solved, the people want the solutions. But effective solutions are either too hard or not glamorous enough for a campaign. So easily-sold, ineffective solutions are pushed by the politicians so they think they're getting what they demanded.

If Bob and Mike make a plan to steal your car, is this acceptable because it's "consensual" so far? I say, absolutely not.

You're right. They were planning to commit an action against a non-consenting third party, causing direct and intentional injury or loss.

If Bob sells Mike an illegal drug that increases violent behavior, is that "consensual"? Is it OK?

Yes, it's okay, as long as Mike knew what he was buying (no false advertising). However, if Mike should commit a non-consensual crime while on that drug, we show absolutely no mercy in the punishment dealt.

I drank more than almost anyone in my unit at one point in the Army (rarely drink anything anymore). However, I never got in trouble while drunk, or showed up for duty while drunk, so I was never disciplined. No harm, no foul. However, there were others who didn't drink as much, but were severely disciplined (Art. 15) for their "alcohol abuse" because they always got in trouble while drunk.

So, is the solution here to ban the alcohol or punish those who can't conduct themselves properly while using it?

Actions can have an impact beyond the actors.

Okay, you're right. It should be illegal for non-professionals to play football because the resulting injuries raise insurance costs for the rest of us. It should be illegal for someone with severe allergies to take strong antihistamines because they might be driving a car when the drowsiness hits.

If you want to live in a free society, you have to accept that others may have freedoms you don't personally want.

In other words, if you live in an apartment building, you have to accept that there will be a certain amount of noise in order for others to accept that which you create. We are human, so there's no way it's always going to be perfectly quiet.

I will agree with you on one thing; legalizing lots of crime based on some abstract theory doesn't make for a very good campaign platform.

It also doesn't finance the multi-billion dollar police and prison industries, which are heavy campaign contributors. The regular people who would be freed aren't such big contributors.

Police were pissed when the confiscation laws in some states were tightened, denying them of their booty. Of course, many found ways around that, using the Federal government for the confiscation, who then gave some back to the police. (note, I'm talking about the common confiscation without criminal conviction)

[ Parent ]

Hey everyone! I read The Economist! (5.00 / 3) (#380)
by it certainly is on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 07:13:41 AM EST

Look how amazingly cultured and well-read I am!

Seriously, you talk like an idiot. "Children" do not go to university, unless they're child prodigies. Adults (or young adults, if you prefer) go to University. Secondly, pub crawls have been an institute of UK student life for hundreds of years, much like stealing traffic cones and eating mouldy things in the fridge. University is both an academic and social challenge. Students can and do cope with both. This means that UK graduates are not only intelligent, they're also not antisocial pricks like USians. They don't come out of university as Nazi Puritans like yourself.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Offended by The Economist? (none / 0) (#447)
by Frank Anderson on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 01:54:09 AM EST

Hey everyone! I read The Economist! Look how amazingly cultured and well-read I am!
Looks like you resort to sarcasm when faced with an unwelcome fact. A lax disciplinary environment is hurting British schools.
Seriously, you talk like an idiot. "Children" do not go to university, unless they're child prodigies. Adults (or young adults, if you prefer) go to University.
You can call your cat a dog, but it won't start barking. Until the 1960's Universities stood in loco parentis to these immature, impressionable young people to shield them from harm. If you want to call college kids "young adults", go right ahead, but be aware that the term highlights the need for these students to take on an adult's burden of self-restraint, respect for others, and adherence to the law.
Secondly, pub crawls have been an institute of UK student life for hundreds of years, much like stealing traffic cones and eating mouldy things in the fridge.
If you want to go back that far, many workers went through the day under the influence of alcohol. Safety, quality and productivity were abysmal. The modern global workplace has zero tolerance for substance abuse. England has been somewhat slow to catch on, continuing to tolerate consumption of alcohol at lunch, but the pressures of globalization will put an end to that. Behavior that was accepted hundreds of years ago is not necessarily OK today.
The phrase "pub crawl" is ambiguous, but "binge drinking" isn't. This is substance abuse, and should be met with both disciplinary and medical intervention.
A person who steals traffic safety devices is a thief, and an especially harmful one. He imperils the safety of others merely to fulfil his greed. Such a thief should be severely punished.
As for the deliberate consumption of moldy food, I find the idea baffling. This is an even more serious threat to one's health than taking drugs, without the obvious lure of "getting high". Is it done from poverty, or a desire for risk-taking, or the excessive hunger caused by taking marijuana? I hope that this is not common.
This means that UK graduates are not only intelligent, they're also not antisocial pricks like USians. They don't come out of university as Nazi Puritans like yourself.
Apparently you consider me a "Nazi Puritan" for opposing a lifestyle of substance abuse, theft and malnutrition. If that is your definition, both US and UK are governed by the "Nazi Puritans". The conflict is not between the US and UK, but between the lax state of universities today and the parents and taxpayers who must foot the bill, and increasingly demand some results for their money.

[ Parent ]
I knew a guy like you, once, (none / 0) (#452)
by it certainly is on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 07:27:35 AM EST

but he was a fictional headmaster in a fictional Victorian school. Great people, the Victorians. They taught guttersnipes how to talk properly and shoved little boys up chimneys.

There was also this guy called Draco, but with your classical education you've probably heard of him.

Curiously, I showed your opinion to a real (retired) secondary school headmaster, and his basic opinion was that if you thought students were bad, imagine what it would be like if the real troublemakers from the mandatory educational path magically passed their exams and got to go to university.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

Bizarre (5.00 / 3) (#388)
by alt on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 11:23:21 AM EST

Because marijuana is illegal pot smokers have to go to dealers to get it...

So it's totally out of the question for them to just follow the law? They have to have their fix? Face reality. Marijuana users choose to commit a crime. Once they make that choice, they must accept the consequences.

Which is a greater crime? Allowing someone to be in constant pain when a simple, effective and safe drug is available? Or purchasing pot?

Pot has medicinal properties that can benefit society as a whole if used properly. The problem with North American governments is that they've bought into the "gateway drug" argument and have made something that should be at the very least a restricted drug into something completely illegal.

The Canadian government is finally starting to realize this and is starting to move for the decriminalization of pot.

The US Government needs to get its collective head out of its collective ass and start dealing with the issues constructively. Hard drug addiction is a disease and should be treated as such.



[ Parent ]
US police (5.00 / 2) (#395)
by Eivind on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 03:28:33 PM EST

It's a fact that the US has a ridiculously large prison-population and a equally large police-force compared to any other civilized country I can think of.

The question is offcourse why. Here you're free to take your pick, I'm afraid most choises aren't very pleasant.

You migth say it's because Americans are so much more criminal than other people. But unless you prescribe to the theory that this is genetical, and that americans are inferior, this would mean a failure of the education-system. (by this I mean everything that converst a newborn into a responsible member of society, not just schools)

Or you migth say that you're stricter, that more things are, and should be forbidden in the US. But this does not jive very well with all the retoric about "The Land of the Free" and such nonsense.

[ Parent ]

"Ridiculously Large" (none / 0) (#449)
by Frank Anderson on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 03:10:42 AM EST

It's a fact that the US has a ridiculously large prison-population and a equally large police-force compared to any other civilized country I can think of.
The phrase "ridiculously large" is an opinion, not a fact.
The question is offcourse why. Here you're free to take your pick, I'm afraid most choises aren't very pleasant.
Tony Martin, a British farmer, was convicted of murdering Fred Barras, a 16 year old burglar. He also shot burglar Brendan Fearon in the legs. Leaving aside the other interesting aspects of this case, it's shocking how many crimes these two had commited. Brendan Fearon had 34 convictions for burglary, theft and handling stolen goods. Fred Barras had 29 convictions for crimes including burglary and assaulting police officers (same source). Getaway driver Darren Bark had appeared in court 52 times - number of convictions not noted.
How much misery and hardship has this trio caused? How many crimes have they commited that will never be brought home to them? People like this are the reason that some American states have "three strikes" laws. Maybe the difference in incarceration rates is that the US finally got tired of being victimized by people like Fearon.

[ Parent ]
more ganja and less police, my dear child ;) (5.00 / 2) (#424)
by harlock on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:40:06 PM EST

Face reality. Marijuana users choose to commit a crime. Once they make that choice, they must accept the consequences.

Go back at university (you *child*! :) and try to study a little of U.S. history as we do here in this overcrowded, cash-strapped and demoralized old Europe... so maybe you'll find that everything in the "land of the free" started with crimes committed for a right purpose!
If your government and your media (so, your government itself :) fool you with crackdowns and security, just turn off tv and have a walk with a nice joint in your lips, look around and tell me where all of these enemies are...

Actually, the police enforce laws made by the elected representatives of the people.

Can you assure me that your state is doing everything you ask trough your representatives (I hope it doesn't:) ?
By the way, did you know that Hitler was elected as a representative of his people? And Stalin as well?
So let me understand, they both did right?



[ Parent ]
You sir are a conceited cad... (5.00 / 1) (#433)
by xealon on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 12:41:54 AM EST

... and incredibly naive also.


:wq
[ Parent ]

What should be done? (4.71 / 7) (#352)
by mcgrew on Sun Apr 13, 2003 at 03:45:41 PM EST

An earlier, European poster suggested that we turn America into a copy of Europe. If I want to be European I'd move to Europe- but hey, Cromwell threw my anscestors out so ya know, I don't quite feel like my family is welcome there...

But I think REAL campaign finance reform would do a LOT to fix many of these problems.

WHY should I or anybody else be able to contribute huge sums of money to someone I have no right to vote for? My kids have no say in the political system whatever- they are too young to vote. Bill Gates' kids CAN have a say in the selection of MY "representatives" in MY state, by sending a teensy bit of (to them) pocket change, say a few hundred thousand dollars.

There is no music recording industry presence in Illinois. There are a LOT of that industry's customers here. So why did Dick Durbin accept $4,000 from the RIAA, and then, like every other Senator (all who were "donated" to by the RIAA) vote FOR the anti-consumer DMCA, the anti-consumer Bono Act, and the Anti-consumer NOTA? These laws help the (California) recording industry to the detriment of Illinois (and indeed, US) citizens.

This sure smells like bribery to me. Perhaps all 100 Senators carefully weighed all the facts and each and every one of them decided that these laws were in the citizens' interest? With not one single politician opposing, despite the public's revulsion of these laws?

Why is a corporation or a union allowed to bri... excuse me, "donate to" these politicians when they can't vote? If they should indeed have a say in our political process, why can't they vote?

I want to see it illegal for any person or entity to donate to any candidate that they cannot vote for. Registering to vote should also be registering to donate.

Granted, a rich person in my district would have more of a say in my candidates' selections, but at least they're in my district! Why in the hell should the RIAA care what happens to the people of Ilinois? I'm sure they don't! They don't live here!

And an even more important question- why is ANYBODY allowed to contribute to BOTH or even ALL candidates in a race? How can this possibly be seen as anything but bribery? Attempting this should be a prison felony, not accepted behavior!

Actually I'd like to see elections financed publically, so no one would have any more pull than anyone else.

I hate the fact that my government is a republican plutocracy, rather than the Democratically elected Republic that it was designed to be.

Gotta go, hell awaits. Where's my handbasket?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie

Cromwell (4.50 / 2) (#409)
by pmgolz on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 06:37:41 AM EST

I doubt Cromwell threw you ancestors out of anywhere. Under (puritan) Cromwell religious tolerance was all the rage.

I think the poster was suggesting that a good model for US law might be found in Europe, rather than suggesting you live in Europe yourself. Certainly the European legal system is less corrupt and, on the whole, more fair than its american counterparts. But perhaps this is because our political system is more democratic?
------
Enthios
[ Parent ]

Cromwell (none / 0) (#460)
by mcgrew on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 08:15:18 PM EST

Cromwell dodn't throw ALL of my anscestors out of Ireland, but the fact that he threw SOME of my anscestors out is well documented. I am decended from the Bryans- I don't have the docs in fromt of me right now, but the anscestor I am referring to was known as "Prince William of Ireland", who was in fact exiled to the new British colonies by Mr. Cromwell for being a rabble rousing rebel. Were Prince William alive today, he would be called a "terrorist".

I imagine a great many (if not most) white Americans are decended from "Prince William" and the like or are somehow related, and don't know it. I wouldn't, had my uncle not done genealogical research and gotten lucky. It's actually not a point of pride with me, but a point of shame, as the "nobility" of the time, in all nations, were a bunch of selfish, murderous scumbags.

The poster I was referring to said rather than adopt a European style government (as the poster you are referring to said) we should all move to Europe.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Oliver's "Tolerance" (5.00 / 1) (#468)
by czolgosz on Mon Apr 21, 2003 at 02:54:35 PM EST

Oliver Cromwell's vision of religious tolerance at least initially encompassed a broad range of Protestantism, and was benign towards the Jews by the harsh standards of his times. But he was uncomfortable at the notion of religious liberty for Catholics, though in England he did at times decline to enforce existing discriminatory laws against them for tactical reasons. But the one reason for the brutality of the ethnic cleansing and genocide that the Puritans committed in Ireland was that the Irish stubbornly clung to their Catholicism.

Even in England, the Puritans' tolerance declined the longer Cromwell was in power, as he and his cronies became increasingly fearful of conspiracies to restore the Stuarts and as popular discontent continued to simmer. Anyway, it's odd to characterize any government as tolerant when one of its chief means of holding power was its extensive network of spies and snitches. That was certainly the case with Ollie and his fellow regicidal coup leaders.

In any case, "tolerance" is a notion that is implicitly condescending, authoritarian and discriminatory. "I'll allow you to be yourself, within bounds that I will define." As if a license is being granted for a belief or custom. Such a position starts with an assumption of an "us" and "them," then proceeds by telling "them" how to toe the line to fit in.

As for the central point: having lived in both Europe and the US, the Europeans have significantly less violent and more livable societies, and their criminal justice systems are also far less savagely punitive. Perhaps these two are causally connected, perhaps not-- there are obviously a number of other differences to consider too. But as a start, I would certainly welcome it if the US electorate showed greater suspicion of zealots and demagogues, and if there were far tighter restriction on the corrupting role of commercial interests in formation of policy. Both of these problems are behind our harsh and ineffective (but lucrative) prison-industrial complex, as well as behind so much other ranting that takes the place of meaningful and pragmatic political debate in this country.
Why should I let the toad work squat on my life? --Larkin
[ Parent ]
A Republican Plutocracy -- Are you joking??? (none / 0) (#446)
by mpthompson on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 01:38:44 AM EST

I hate the fact that my government is a republican plutocracy, rather than the Democratically elected Republic that it was designed to be.

You are joking, right?  Below is a list of my representatives at both the federal and state level.  Considering I'm a Republican, from my perspective things look overwhelmingly lopsided towards the Democrats.

Despite lack of representation of my political views, I'm still a great believer in the United States as a working and viable republic.  Even when asinine laws such as the DMCA and Patriot Act are passed, things tend to work themselves out over the long run for the better, but only when people get off their asses and decide to make a change.  That's the beauty of this country and I wouldn't trade it for any other.  Perhaps you need to do less whining about how this country is going to hell in a hand basket and get more involved in the political process.

----------------------------------------

SAN CARLOS, CA -- CURRENT OFFICIALS

President George W. Bush - (Republican)
Vice President Richard Bruce Cheney - (Republican)

U.S. Senate
Senator Dianne Feinstein Senior Seat - (Democrat)
Senator Barbara Boxer Junior Seat - (Democrat)

U.S. House
Representative Tom Lantos District 12 - (Democrat)

California Senate
Senator Byron D. Sher District 11 - (Democrat)

California Assembly
Assemblymember Joe Simitian District 21 - (Democrat)

California State Offices
Governor Joseph Graham 'Gray' Davis - (Democrat)
Attorney General Bill Lockyer - (Democrat)
Controller Steve Westly - (Democrat)
Insurance Commissioner John Garamendi - (Democrat)
Secretary of State Kevin F. Shelley - (Democrat)
Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell - (Democrat)
Treasurer Philip Angelides - (Democrat)


[ Parent ]

A republiCRAT plutocracy... (4.00 / 1) (#454)
by cryon on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 10:38:33 AM EST

....no real difference btw the Democrats and Republicans, is there?

Because there are no real punishments for polticians who take bribes/campaign money/peddle influence/sell out to corporations, etc., we have no control over our own govt.

If we would just start trying these congressmen for treason (and that is what they are doing when they sell out to CorpGovMedia) and then hang them publicly when found guilty, we would have a much better, and more manageable govt.

Elected office is supposed to be *public* *service*. And, just like the armed forces, you may have to give up your life if you chose public service. It is time we start holding our elected officials to MUCH higher standards, and start enacting harsh harsh punishments.

Yeah, yeah, I know, crazy and paranoid. Well, I disagree. We, the citizens, are supposed to be in charge of our own govt; THEY are supposed to be the servants, not us.
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[ Parent ]

Not "Republican party" (5.00 / 1) (#461)
by mcgrew on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 08:28:12 PM EST

I believe you misunderstand the terminology I am using, and the confusion is understandable. I obviously wasn't clear. The United States was formed as a Democratic Republic- that is, we do not vote directly for our laws, as a pure democracy does, but instead vote for representatives (or vote for electors who vote for representatives). This is a Republican nation, even during times that the Democrats have control of both House and Senate with a Democrat President. "Republican" in the context I am speaking of doesn't mean "Republican party", it means our form of government.

A Plutocracy is governance by the rich. And indeed, we have become a Plutocracy. In the previous Illinos Governor's race, tha scandal-ridden Bill Ryan outspent his Democrat opponent by a margin of ten to one. He barely squeaked by in winning the election.

There is no way you will convince me that had both candidates had equal campaign coffers that Ryan would not have lost by a landslide. He had been a terrible Secretary of State, with many scandals during his SoS administration, including the illegal sale of commercial drivers' licenses (for the giant tractor trailors) to unqualified paople who could not even read a road sign, because they were not even literate in their own language and did not speak English!

THIS is what I am referring to. When the candidate with the biggest campaign chest wins no matter what other factors come into play, you are living in a Plutocracy.

I am dead serious. We need campaign finance reform. A hoosier should not be able to contribute to a race in Texas, let alone contribute to BOTH candidates for Texas' governor.

And I am doing something about it, or at least as much as a disenfranchised middle class man can. I vote. I write my representatives. I write the newspapers. I post on the internet. What more can I do under our Plutocracy?

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Effecting meaningful drug law reform (1.00 / 3) (#404)
by wcbell on Mon Apr 14, 2003 at 10:34:20 PM EST

As the article states, current drug laws are counterproductive. They waste my tax money providing food, clothing, and shelter to ungrateful addicts who promptly resume the commission of serious felonies upon release.

As drug rehabilitation is an expensive, time-consuming process, this is a service best left to the private sector so that those who have contributed to society may pay for a solution to the problem they have created for themselves.

The main change that we should make to current drug policy is a de-emphasis on incarceration, and a stronger emphasis on sterilization. As most drug addicts would say, "you can bet yo ass" that somebody with a substance abuse problem is highly likely to have a negative impact on the lives of any children they produce. Therefore these miscreants should be removed by force from the gene pool so as to avoid perpetuating the cycle of poverty and drug dependence that they have voluntarily placed themselves into.

Do keep in mind that when the number of households afflicted with poverty drops significantly, our cities will again be safe and livable for middle-class professionals, and our quality of life will go up as suburban sprawl declines. Everybody wins.

Everybody wins? (none / 0) (#444)
by noquarter on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 09:18:57 PM EST

Do keep in mind that when the number of households afflicted with poverty drops significantly, our cities will again be safe and livable for middle-class professionals, and our quality of life will go up as suburban sprawl declines. Everybody wins.

Now see, when I say things like this as a defense of government taxation to support/improve social programs, I get called a communist.

[ Parent ]
WE HAVE A 12% AFRICAN POPULATION (1.85 / 7) (#410)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 09:59:44 AM EST

That is probably the main reason we have so much crime and so many prisoners, especially black prisoners. Homo Sapiens of African descent, especially males, are more aggressive than other varieties of Homo sapiens. Don't give me any of that racist BS. We all know it is true. Science even says so. More testosterone, earlier maturation rates etc. THey are generally biochemically different in some small ways, and have evolved to survive in a more competive, dangerous environment. And, yes, they are probably a little bit less intelligent in general, or at least less able to use their intelligence at the type of tasks that we use to measure intelligence. You can see this sort of dynamic all over the animal kingdom. Look at the difference btw the orang and the chimp. THe chimp is probably more intelligent, yet the orang is more likely to be able to figure out complex tasks by himself b/c of his less aggressive, more contemplative nature. Pure intelligence is not all important. Often, TEMPERAMENT is more important. And temperament can be similar in extended families, which is what human races are. This is the price we pay for slavery. I agree with Chimera--What we really need is to remake this country. We could break it up into smaller, more homogenous countries, which are easier to control.

Rising to the Trolls Bait (1.50 / 2) (#411)
by Wang Yangming on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:11:35 AM EST

Black humans and White humans are the same. Just like a brown haired chimp and a black haired chimp. Not like Chimps and Orangs which are two seperate species.

[ Parent ]
you are an idiot (1.00 / 2) (#413)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:19:44 AM EST

Now that is a troll. Learn the difference.
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[ Parent ]
You are the fascist, not me (3.00 / 2) (#423)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:36:56 PM EST

Do even know what the word "fascist" is supposed to mean? I don't mean the current, politically correct version, which you are using in order to be adhere to the proper politcally correct fashion. I mean the original version.

"Fasces" means a group of bundled sticks, which are forced together in a bundle. All the sticks (read "people") must think and behave the same way. Hence, "Fascist" and "Fascism."

I think differently. I am the opposite of fascist. You think whatever the boob tube tells you to think.

I think the USA ought to be broken up into more homogeneous nations, the better for the working class to be able to control the govt and make their investment in their countries work for them.

You think we all ought to be forced together, thinking and acting the same, just more sheeple fodder for CorpGovMedia, always taking our thoughts from the boob tube.

You are the fascist, not me.

1984 is almost here, and you are its harbinger.
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[ Parent ]

oops, responded to the wrong post again (3.00 / 2) (#426)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:42:03 PM EST

sorry
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[ Parent ]
of course (1.00 / 3) (#427)
by harlock on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:43:02 PM EST

of course, you're right... Fascist.

[ Parent ]
Idiot and fascist (1.00 / 2) (#422)
by harlock on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:21:20 PM EST

...and racist too! Even if you claim you're not!! go hide, trash!

[ Parent ]
You are the fascist, not me (3.00 / 2) (#425)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:41:28 PM EST

Do even know what the word "fascist" is supposed to mean? I don't mean the current, politically correct version, which you are using in order to be adhere to the proper politcally correct fashion. I mean the original version.

"Fasces" means a group of bundled sticks, which are forced together in a bundle. All the sticks (read "people") must think and behave the same way. Hence, "Fascist" and "Fascism."

I think differently. I am the opposite of fascist. You think whatever the boob tube tells you to think.

I think the USA ought to be broken up into more homogeneous nations, the better for the working class to be able to control the govt and make their investment in their countries work for them.

You think we all ought to be forced together, thinking and acting the same, just more sheeple fodder for CorpGovMedia, always taking our thoughts from the boob tube.

You are the fascist, not me. 1984 is almost here, and you are its harbinger.
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[ Parent ]

of course (1.00 / 2) (#428)
by harlock on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:45:28 PM EST

of course, you're right... Fascist.

[ Parent ]
good little sheeple.... (2.33 / 3) (#429)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 03:47:37 PM EST

....you have such DEEP thoughts!
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[ Parent ]
let's go deeper (2.00 / 2) (#430)
by harlock on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 04:07:45 PM EST

So let's go deeper, you fascist:

CorpGovMedia (as you call it) is working hard to keep people *separated* : can't you see that goods and money travel everywhere and people can't even cross a silly border? So we have to unite, they (=you) want us to stay separate.

CorpGovMedia *IS* the big brother of 1984, using the media to brainwash people with bs like inferior races, superior cultures etc. just to perpetuate this separation and provide easy-to-find enemies: the best way to assure to CorpGovMedia itself that nobody will ever knock to ITS door. Learn to fight the real enemy.

CorpGovMedia has a big imperial goal to reach: perpetuate his domination with all means necessary; so it has always used people as you, making them think that they're the real opposition... while you're just guard dogs of their power.

That's why I'm absolutely *not* interested in being *different*, as you say: I'm interested in changing the way things go, and things go this way: in your post you're talking exactly about the "corporative" system that italian Fascists tried to extabilish at the end of thier experience (while they happily collaborated in sending people to Auschwitz etc.) - but you know how it ended, don't you?

Tied upside down in a square of Milan.


[ Parent ]
Fascis (1.00 / 2) (#434)
by anothertom on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 05:22:57 AM EST

"Fasces" means a group of bundled sticks, which are forced together in a bundle. All the sticks (read "people") must think and behave the same way. Hence, "Fascist" and "Fascism."
No, man. Sorry. "Fascis" mean a bundle of rye wrapped around an axe, carried by the lictores to represent the feeding and punishing powers of the roman empire.
Got any smarter? Nice, but you still are a complete asshole.


[ Parent ]
Google says otherwise: (2.00 / 4) (#435)
by cryon on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 09:27:45 AM EST

510 for "fasces" + "sticks" 43 for "fasces" + "rye" Thanks for playing...
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[ Parent ]
so you believe google (1.00 / 2) (#438)
by wrax on Wed Apr 16, 2003 at 03:20:46 PM EST

but you don't believe any other mainstream media? whos the asshole now. just cause google says its true doesn't make it so.
--------------------

I don't know whats worse, the fact that people actually write this crap or the fact that people actually vote it up.
[ Parent ]

You are a tool (2.50 / 2) (#462)
by mcgrew on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 08:34:44 PM EST

ALL humans, according to the anthropologists, originated in Africa. However, that is of no concern here.

Racism and racists are tools of the rich, black or white, to control the poor and middle class. O.J. Simpson lives in a rich, "white" neighborhood. before he murdered those people, nobody would have objected to being his next door neighbor (besides "poor white trash" racists).

Steve Forbes wouldn't object to Bill Cosby moving in next door to him, but he would raise hell if I or any of my (beer-swilling white) friends moved in next door.

"The legacy of slavery" shouldn't have much at all to do with "more aggressive than other varieties of homo sapiens". Slaves were bred like the farm animals they were believed to be. Negros were not considered human. Just as we have "house dogs" to act as doorbells and burglar alarms, and hunting dogs for sport, slave owners had "house niggers" and "field niggers". An agressive slave, like a dangerous animal, would not be allowed to breed- in fact would have been put to death by his owner.

Post-slavery poverty, particularly the welfare-born poverty born of the "great society" with its violence and drugs in the impoverished slums, is what breeds the "agressiveness". The same violent temprament was seen in Americans of Italian decent in the early 20th century, and in the American Irish in the 19th century. And you don't get much whiter than me or any other American whose anscestors came from Ireland. Note the our stereotype, as well, is one of a drunken brawler!

So what kind of American are you? A violent, drunken Irishman, a stingy Scotsman or Jew, a stupid wimpy Englishman, a cowardly Frenchman, an abusive, world-conquering racist German? Or are you, like me and my black neighbors, just Americans?

You are a fool, and a dangerous fool at that.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

You are an idiot (1.00 / 2) (#412)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:18:42 AM EST

Now THAT is a troll. Learn the difference, boy.
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oops. Responded to the wrong post. (none / 0) (#414)
by cryon on Tue Apr 15, 2003 at 10:21:05 AM EST

see title
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[ Parent ]
Hypocrisy (none / 0) (#450)
by o reor on Thu Apr 17, 2003 at 03:20:06 AM EST

Here is a good article, actually a letter sent by a reader to The Register, about the brutal repression of underage drinking among students at the university of Colombus, Ohio. The cops seem to be more interested in a quick and easy bashing of a students party than in looking for real criminals (serial rapists and so on), thanks to the influence of the gubnor's biggot wife.

By the way, this letter was a reaction to an article mentionning the ludicrous suit against four students by the RIAA, who demands $97 trillion from them for sharing music ($150 000 per infringed song). Wazzat you sed about justice, power and money ?

Drinking (none / 0) (#458)
by A Trickster Imp on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 07:41:10 AM EST

Drinking age in Detroit: 21.  Drinking age across the border in Windsor, Ontario: 19.

So, when you live in Michigan and durn 19, what do you do?  Go to Windsor to drink.

Coming back, of course, drunk drivers have been a proper target.

Now, though, Michigan has passed a law that states it is simply illegal to even be drunk under the age of 21.  Thus they try to give tickets to other people in the car who were drinking where it was perfectly legal to drink.

Yeah, we don't need a constitution limiting government power.  Sigh. Trust in the democratic process.  Yay.  Senator Byrd r00lz!!!

[ Parent ]

Agree...disagree (5.00 / 1) (#457)
by n8f8 on Fri Apr 18, 2003 at 06:22:18 AM EST

I agree on the most crucial point - the war on drugs. I belieeve that if you own anything in a supposedly "free" society it is your body. So pumping non-necessary drugs into it shouln't be a crime. Sure it should be held against you in the jobs marketplace and your family should disapprove of it, but it should be your right. This also include suicide and assisted suicide and prostitution.

As far a trying to find a bunch of statistics pointing to unfairness in the system or disproportionate blah blah, the only thing I care about is if someone broke the law. I would like to see a little more logic to who gets what length of incarcerations, but that will take time to change. As far as I'm concerned every corporate executive at Enron, Arthur Andersen, et al should be rotting in prison for 20 years. When you commit a "wrong" against another person's persuit of life, liberty and happiness without cause you should be punished.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)

The US Criminal Justice System Must be Reformed. | 480 comments (454 topical, 26 editorial, 0 hidden)
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