Slo-Mo Looting

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That's a good one!! If I hire someone to "interpret" spanish for me and he tells me that "uno" means "take out the trash", he was NOT interpreting, he was just making it up. That is what judges do as far as I am concerned. When Supreme Court Justice Blackmum spoke approvingly about a "living Constitution" he was simply saying that he was happy that he did not have to abide by some document written and approved by some old white guys and that he (with the concurrance of 4 other Justices) could just make it up as they go and "pass laws" by decree. This is the very definition of a dictatorship - or more specifically an Oligarchy - 9 people in power for life that can make law by decree.
Dave Hall
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snipped-for-privacy@nhsd.k2.pa.us (David Hall) wrote in wrote in message >

Thats hardly the same thing. One is a case where there is a simple fact and a single word at that. The other is one where there is legislation that can run into hundreds of pages of not always crystal clear text.
That is what judges do as far

And yet the very concept of these 9 people appointed for life was created by those same "old white guys" Those same 9 people are appointed by the president. The president who, the last election not withstanding, was appointed by the majority of voters and only after approval by the Senate, again placed there by the voters.

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wrote:

... snip

Public policy instituted by judicial fiat, not by legislative action. The courts ruled that various municipalities *had* to enforce the judicially commanded desegregation by busing students from one area to another. In many cases, the judges also determined how many students were to be bused and from where. The judges certainly viewed what they were doing as a matter of law, they further overturned legislative actions and ordered that legislative bodies enact laws to implement their decrees. Doesn't sound much like public policy nor local government to me.
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On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 13:13:12 GMT, "Leon"

'course, leon, one of it's functions is to keep you, and other idiots like you, in check. thank god it's there.
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    Greetings and Salutations....
On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 19:08:03 GMT, "Leon"

    Hum...I sort of recall this case, and I remember shaking my head over it. I thought, though, that the problem was twofold. Firstly, the perp was an old white guy with a chunk of cash. Secondly, I thought it was a "not guilty by reason of insanity" sort of verdict. It's not that he did not do it, but, that he was crazy as a loon when he did it.     Now...I think that, in a case like this, he probably SHOULD be put away in a home for the criminally insane for the rest of his life, but, again, I don't know all the details of the case.     I think, though that the problem is less that of the laws that are passed, as there are WAY too many of them, and, if actually applied as written would be rather draconian. I belive that the problem is based more in the way the court system has evolved over the past thirty or forty years. The big roots of the problem seem to be the willingness of the courts to plea bargain in order to get "bigger fish" or to expedite the process; There is also the problem that the whole concept of a "search for truth" seems to have gone away. Both defense and prosecution lawyers appear to feel that it is perfectly ok to lie, cheat and steal in order to win their side of the argument. Juries are not given all the facts in a case, but, only a very carefully selected set of facts that support each side's contention as to how the case should be determined; There is the increasing tendency for courts to "send a message" with a given case, by either allowing fairly lax standards of evidence, or increasingly draconian penalties for the laundry list of crimes that the person has been convicted of; There is the (perhaps honest) attitude that prison is not there the rehabilitate, but, simply to punish and warehouse folks that bump up against the limits of society; Finally, there is the continuing problem of economic justice. Like it or not, the rich get one level of justice, and the poor get another. I suppose I should take heart in the evidence of the OJ verdict that says that this is not a racial thing...just a money thing. That will even out the playing field as more and more people of color achieve some level of economic success.     Back to the looting problem...that may well come from the social stresses caused by the ever increasing distance between the "haves" and "have nots" in America. We are still bombarded by thousands of ads a day pushing consumerism and having "stuff" that validates our existence. On the other side of the coin, there are fewer and fewer sources that might point out that having "stuff" does not make a person's life better, or make one a better person. That sort of spiritual teaching is falling into disrepute in America, alas. The bottom line is that there are more and more pressures to fill that spiritual void with "stuff" and the economy is making it harder and harder for folks to do so...which pushes a person to the point of theft.     Now...just before the French Revolution, the penalty for stealing a loaf of bread was death. Do we want to be that sort of society? It is the "easy" thing to set up simplistic and harsh rules to deal with lawbreakers. it is much harder to set up a society that finds the best in its citizens, and brings that out.     It is a complicated issue, and one that I was discussing with an acquaintance a week or so ago. He feels, and I agree, that America is at a crossroads. We can, as a society, decide to run down the path of increasing extremities, decadance and decay, or we can turn to the path of becoming that shining beacon that folks THOUGHT we were at the time that France gifted us with the Statue Of Liberty. It might be a harder path, but, in the long run, it will do more than all the guns in the world to make us safer from terrorism and decay, both internal and external.     Ok...I am stepping away from the soap box now.     Regards     Dave Mundt
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Well said.
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On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 22:38:54 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@esper.com (Dave Mundt) calmly ranted:

Ooh, ooh! I vote for the latter, to be sure. The question remains: What will it take to accomplish this? It certainly won't happen with the current crop of either Republicans OR Democrats in power + the herds of voters grazing on their daily ration of pork.
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On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 20:06:06 -0700, Larry Jaques

I fear Larry, that the prior comment was actually advocating expanding the pork. i.e. by taking from the upper "extreme" and giving that taken to the "lower" extreme.

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On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 21:41:08 -0700, Mark & Juanita

I just reread it and don't find that angle at all. (Say it ain't so, Dave!) I see the proper amount of contempt for the legal system and a wish for better leadership by and for the people.
Please quote the part which gives you that idea, Mark.
-snip- Hum...I sort of recall this case, and I remember shaking my head over it. I thought, though, that the problem was twofold. Firstly, the perp was an old white guy with a chunk of cash. Secondly, I thought it was a "not guilty by reason of insanity" sort of verdict. It's not that he did not do it, but, that he was crazy as a loon when he did it. Now...I think that, in a case like this, he probably SHOULD be put away in a home for the criminally insane for the rest of his life, but, again, I don't know all the details of the case. I think, though that the problem is less that of the laws that are passed, as there are WAY too many of them, and, if actually applied as written would be rather draconian. I belive that the problem is based more in the way the court system has evolved over the past thirty or forty years. The big roots of the problem seem to be the willingness of the courts to plea bargain in order to get "bigger fish" or to expedite the process; There is also the problem that the whole concept of a "search for truth" seems to have gone away. Both defense and prosecution lawyers appear to feel that it is perfectly ok to lie, cheat and steal in order to win their side of the argument. Juries are not given all the facts in a case, but, only a very carefully selected set of facts that support each side's contention as to how the case should be determined; There is the increasing tendency for courts to "send a message" with a given case, by either allowing fairly lax standards of evidence, or increasingly draconian penalties for the laundry list of crimes that the person has been convicted of; There is the (perhaps honest) attitude that prison is not there the rehabilitate, but, simply to punish and warehouse folks that bump up against the limits of society; Finally, there is the continuing problem of economic justice. Like it or not, the rich get one level of justice, and the poor get another. I suppose I should take heart in the evidence of the OJ verdict that says that this is not a racial thing...just a money thing. That will even out the playing field as more and more people of color achieve some level of economic success. Back to the looting problem...that may well come from the social stresses caused by the ever increasing distance between the "haves" and "have nots" in America. We are still bombarded by thousands of ads a day pushing consumerism and having "stuff" that validates our existence. On the other side of the coin, there are fewer and fewer sources that might point out that having "stuff" does not make a person's life better, or make one a better person. That sort of spiritual teaching is falling into disrepute in America, alas. The bottom line is that there are more and more pressures to fill that spiritual void with "stuff" and the economy is making it harder and harder for folks to do so...which pushes a person to the point of theft. Now...just before the French Revolution, the penalty for stealing a loaf of bread was death. Do we want to be that sort of society? It is the "easy" thing to set up simplistic and harsh rules to deal with lawbreakers. it is much harder to set up a society that finds the best in its citizens, and brings that out. It is a complicated issue, and one that I was discussing with an acquaintance a week or so ago. He feels, and I agree, that America is at a crossroads. We can, as a society, decide to run down the path of increasing extremities, decadance and decay, or we can turn to the path of becoming that shining beacon that folks THOUGHT we were at the time that France gifted us with the Statue Of Liberty. It might be a harder path, but, in the long run, it will do more than all the guns in the world to make us safer from terrorism and decay, both internal and external. Ok...I am stepping away from the soap box now. Regards Dave Mundt -snip-
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I'll snip out the parts that don't apply
On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 07:02:40 -0700, Larry Jaques

Where I found that implication was the following:

So how do we decrease that distance between the have's and the have-nots? This is where I was getting the feeling that Dave was implying that somehow we have to narrow that gap. One of the ways to do that is through government intervention and the perennial, "tax those who have benefited most from our society" in order to "help those who need it most".

BTW, I certainly agree with portions of the above paragraph -- people have allowed materialism to become their god. Thus more things translates to more happiness in such a mindset. At the same time, I don't believe that the lack of funds necessarily means that this drives people to steal. Lack of morality training is more of a contributor than lack of money.
... snip

Again, that comment about increasing extremities -- does this mean he wants the government to somehow, through regulation or taxation to decrease the extremes?

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    Greetings and Salutations...     Going to touch on a couple of things here...bear with me.
On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 21:41:08 -0700, Mark & Juanita

    A good point. I don't think it is something that is going to be quick to fix, because it has been decades in the making.     Having already deleted a lengthy rant about specific problems I see in today's society, I thought I would try again with a couple of smaller observations...SIgh.     We need, as a society to start bucking the trend of the government treating us like the humans in The Matrix. We have moved a long way towards a "cradle to grave" control, and we need to walk away from it. That is a tough road, though.     For decades, we (as represented by our Federal government) have presented two faces to the world. On the one hand, we have claimed to be seeking democracy, equality and human rights for all...And yet, we have pumped up a number of terribly repressive and outright evil governments with money, training and arms. We have created terrible situations for ourselves by really stupid decisions. For a couple of examples...the Bay of Pigs, and, the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq. In the first case, we made promises to the Cubans that were going to try and overthrow Castro...then screwed them by leaving them out to hang in the wind when they made the effort. In the latter case, our ambassador said to Saddam that the US would have no concerns about Kuwait, leading directly to the original invasion that was the root of the current situation. I have thought for years that we need to pick a side and stick with it. The one thing that we do with this hypocracy is to teach the world that we are not to be trusted.     American society went through some dramatic changes in the 50s and 60s, because of the Civil Rights movement, because of the Vietnam War, and, because of the rise of the Hippies. Some very good things came from this turmoil, but, one of the bad things was an attitude of "do your own thing" which has evolved to "do your own thing and screw everyone else". This has left us with a society where the goal is to get as many goodies for ourselves, rather than finding ways to make everyone's life better.     An attitude grew up during the 70s and 80s that children were simply little adults and (for many folks) their opinions should hold the same weight as those of their grandparents. This is, alas, nonsense. Kids simply do not have the depth of knowledge or wisdom to make "the best" decisions at times. It is our responsibility, as adults, to teach them not only enough raw data to be able to make those decisions, but, the analytical tools necessary to allow them to gather MORE data, correlate and process the information and add it to their experience database. Because so many of us "Don't want to inflict our values" on our kids, we have failed to do this.     As a side effect of this, we also have at least a couple of generations of kids who have no respect for their parents, and are not shy at making that known. That is a bad thing for a lot of reasons, both on a private and societal level.     Oddly enough (considering this growing attitude about kids being simply little adults) , we have also had the attitude of "zero tolerance" grow up in schools and other public arenas. Some folks feel that this is a GOOD thing because it "keeps the kids safe". It may or may not...but one thing that I KNOW that it does is erode the concept of personal responsibility. "Zero Tolerance" teaches the kids that a whole list of things exist not as tools...but as weapons, and that any one of them is likely to run amok and hurt or kill their classmates if they bring these weapons to school with them. The fact of the matter is that a pocket knife is a tool. Part of growing up is to learn to use tools properly. When I was growing up, it was a proud day indeed when my parents decided that I was mature enough to carry a pocket knife, and, because I understood the respect I had earned from them, to be allowed to carry the knife, I was pretty careful with it.     But then...I respected my parents a great deal.     As another facet of this...there is the business of gun control. That could easily generate another hundred posts arguing both side of the issue. I, personally, think that the problem with 9/11 was not that there were too many weapons on the planes...but that there were too few. I also think that this mindless fear of guns that has taken root in too many folks minds is weakening the heart of America. They are a tool, nothing more...nothing less. When used properly, they can be great things. If it were not for guns...We would still be a colony. Accurate control of a gun is a difficult skill, and, requires a great deal of mental focus and practice, so, it is a good discipline. Finally...slaves can't own guns...and that is one reason why the founding fathers noted down that the right of private ownership of guns was second only to the right of free and unfettered speech.     One last thing...on a totally different subject...I want to touch on the evolution of many services and industries in the USA to becoming nothing more than profit centers for their investors.     Whether we are talking about Insurance, health care providers, or industry, there is a terrible trend away from their primary reason for existence to being nothing more than money pumps designed to get as much cash from consumers as possible, with as little investment in time, energy or resources as possible, and to pump that cash to their investors. When a company gets more concerned with their stock value than why they exist, it is always bad for the consumer. As a quick example...I was chatting with a fellow who used to work in a care facility for troubled kids that went from a non-profit to a profit making organization. There was a notable drop of quality of care in the facility, because the new owners were more concerned with increasing profitablity than with caring for the kids. The nurse to patient ratio dropped from 1/5 to 1/15. The time allocated for a psychiatrist to work with the kids dropped to fifteen minutes per kid per week. Another effect of this was who decided what medications to give to the kids. It used to be something that was determined by a doctor. After the take over...most of the time it was the nurses that suggested what levels of medications would be applied, and the doctors simply signed off on it. There is no question that this facility went from a place where kids might get help getting their heads back together, and becoming a productive member of society to a high-priced warehouse. Is that a good thing?          I don't have the answers. I have a lot of questions. I think that if Americans start working back to some of the "old fashioned" concepts of personal responsibility, resourcefulness, respect for themselves and for others and a willingness to see a job and take it on, though, and, if we start setting standards for how we want our government to behave as our representative and start voting folks out of office if they don't live UP to those standards, we might have a chance to get back on the positive path.     Regards     Dave Mundt

    Hum...I don't know if *I* am the "prior comment" here or not. I suspect I am. In any case, let me touch on this a bit, too. When I said "extreme" I was actually thinking more of some of the trend towards black and white thinking as discussed above. However, I have also spoken out with concern about the increasing disparity between the lowest paid job in a given company and the highest paid job. It makes no real sense for there to be a 50x or more difference between the lowest and highest paid jobs. The main result of this is that it fuels the trend of society in general to have more and more folks drifting into poverty from what used to be the "Middle Class". I would suggest that it would be BRIGHTER for the companies to do more to pump up the pay of the lower ranks and lower the pay of the higher ranks a bit.     Do I advocate the government using taxes to do this. Emphatically, NO! Money to a politician is like crack to an addict. It becomes the center of their lives, and, it does not matter how much they have, they always need more. What good does it for anyone for the goverment to take (as an example) a million bucks from one guy, keep $900,000 of it for their own programs, and, "give back" $100,000 to folks in poverty? As we have seen time and time again over the years, way too much of that cash ends up in the pockets of the "fat cats" again through lucrative governmental contracts, double dealing and padded billing.     John Stossel (sic), in a recent book titled "Give me a break" has an interesting chart, showing the percentage of the GNP that is eaten up by the government. It is a power curve that goes from a low of a few percent back in the 40s to over 40% today. Think about that. Actually, I found an interesting page that touches on this very subject here:     http://www.patriotist.com/taxfacts.htm The facts that I recognize there seem to be fairly good...although they seem to quote the GNP percent as 20%. On the other hand, they also point out that we have to work until July to pay for our share of the taxes collected by the government.     No...letting government do it is not a good way to go about it. However, at some point, if the gap between the haves, the "have mores" and the "have nots" gets too great...there may well be a forceful realignment of wealth that will not be fun for anyone, but, will be really uncomfortable for the folks at the top of the pyramid. Now...in the late 1300s, the Black Death acted as the agent to redistribute wealth in Europe, and, did a pretty good job of it. I doubt that it will work as well here, though.
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Dave Mundt writes:
>    Hum...I don't know if *I* am the "prior comment" here or not.

Yes. Does it make sense--and we're not talking 50 times here--for a company to pay its chairman 50 million bucks in a money losing year, while the guy emptying trash baskets gets 18 grand even though he does his job magnificently?
Not to me it doesn't.

What doesn't stop in government pockets tends to shift over to the pockets of their pals.
Charlie Self "Bore, n.: A person who talks when you wish him to listen." Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary
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On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 18:00:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@esper.com (Dave Mundt) calmly ranted:
(snippage throughout)
I said:

If we as a people could just make the first small step (as 25% of us voters did in '92) it would be the beginning of very good things. Consider the snowball effect, and we have a mighty big mountain of sh*t to start it rolling down...

Ayup. (See reference to Murray below.)

Yeah, and that makes me sick. Read Kaplan's "The Coming Anarchy" for even scarier information about our current misdirection. He shows what has happened (and will continue to happen) to countries which are subjected to democracy without having fought for it. Nasty! And if we keep propping up nastyarse gov'ts, we'll keep on getting Afghanistans and Iraqs, etc. (Stupid politicians.)

You mean "devolved", right? I'm reading Murray's "What It Means To Be a Libertarian" right now and am enthralled with his ideas. It's strongly suggested reading for everyone.

Yeah, go figure. And it'll bite us in the butts even more as we blend into our gray years. Hang on!

Ditto.
I used to be anti-gun but after doing a -lot- of reading, I found the truth: Guns are used in -saving- many more lives annually than they are in taking them. See "More Guns, Less Crime" by John Lott, "Targeting Guns: Firearms and Their Control" by Gary Kleck (anti-gun crusader who learned the truth and switched sides by presenting it in books), etc.
    

A freakin' Men!

Yeah, we really must START doing something about that THIS YEAR.

It would appear that 50% = 20% to them, eh?

Murray points out how there were vast changes already happening when the Civil Rights bills came out to enforce them. Then he shows how integration, etc. might have increased even more quickly without the governmental restrictions on all of that.
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But heard, half-heard in the stillness, Larry Jaques writes --

No, See:
http://tinyurl.com/zcs2 http://tinyurl.com/xlnr http://tinyurl.com/zcrr http://tinyurl.com/zcsh http://tinyurl.com/zcsk
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Why hide the URLs behind tinyurl links? Are they that obviously biased sources that you don't want people to know what they're blindly clicking on?
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But heard, half-heard in the stillness, Dave Hinz writes --

Long links.
The first is The Final Bullet in the Body of the More Guns, Less Crime Hypothesis by John Donohue. It is an excellent summary of the work by Donohue and Ayers.
The second is Chris Mooney's "Double Barreled Double Standards" article that demonstrates Lott's blatent dishonesty in changing and back-dating models.
The third is a summary by Michael Maltz of the severe reliability problems with the UCR data used by Lott.
The fourth is Michelle Malkin's article on Lott's behavior last year.
The fifth is Tim Lambert's comprehensive summary of John Lott's unethical conduct over the past few years.

Nope.
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On Thu, 19 Aug 2004 18:00:36 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@esper.com (Dave Mundt) wrote:

... snip

David,
    I apologize, I misinterpreted your remarks. I am somewhat sensitive to the attitude that the government should make sure that everybody are "equals" as opposed to "equal under the law" and took your comment on extremes in society in that light. Again, my apologies, I think you and I share very similar opinions.
Mark

I think what we are going to see here is simply nature taking its course. The builder generation is aging and the boomer generation is going to inherit the wealth they built -- some will be used for good, some not. But, the boomer generation is also aging -- as their heirs inherit, or as they spend their wealth, I think we will see that being redistributed as a function of the capitalist process. One thing that can be noticed is that second generation millionaires, with a few notable exeptions, have a notoriously bad reputation for being able to hold on to the wealth they have been given, rather than earned.
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Leon wrote:

It's not necessarily the statutes that are at fault. The problem is that the jury did not find him guilty of crime with which he was charged. Homicide is not a simple charge--there are degrees of it ranging from murder in the first degree to involuntary manslaughter, with each having a set of criteria for applicability. If the prosecutor chose to apply a charge for which all the criteria were not met then the jury would be right to find the defendent not guilty of that charge. The prosecutor's job is to apply the most stringent charge for which he can get a conviction--unfortunatley prosecutors have to answer to pointy-haired bosses who sometimes micromanage the case without knowing the law themselves and so a charge not supported by the evidence is applied and the defendant walks. I have been told that juries can convict of a lesser charge even if it was not brought, but most of them are not informed of this power--whether they should be is a topic of fairly hot debate.

--
--John
Reply to jclarke at ae tee tee global dot net
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On Wed, 18 Aug 2004 11:08:20 -0400, "J. Clarke"
| |I have been told that juries can convict of a lesser |charge even if it was not brought, but most of them are not informed of |this power--whether they should be is a topic of fairly hot debate.
No debate about it from the judges and lawyers standpoint. A good friend's wife was an Assistant DA and is now a judge so I have had some conversations about this. The last thing in the world they want to see is an informed jury and "jury nullification" is really something they don't want to talk about.
In their eyes, juries should be just like mushrooms.
Judges decide that the law is what *they* say it is, not what the statutes say. They sure don't want some dumb jury deciding what the law is, even though they have that right.
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Are you saying for instance that a guy being tried for murder can be convicted for a lesser charge that has not been brought against him?
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