Friday, October 21, 2011

Why Our Constitution is Failing Us

The U.S. Constitution is failing us. Or at the very least, the people we have empowered to "support and defend" the Constitution are failing us.

Look how the world view's the U.S.! The offending officer, a high ranking NYPD detective, lost 10 days of vacation pay for what would have been an aggravated assault case for you and I! If there are no penalties for the authorities when they violate our Constitutional Rights then, by definition, we HAVE NO CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS.

This man is a disgrace. Anybody can make a mistake, but he says he would do it again! Is ANYBODY out there comfortable with this miscreant walking around with a gun and a badge?

High ranking NYPD officials have experienced a LIFE TIME of being above the law. How do you expect them to react? Sources report that the offending officer was SURPRISED that this video went viral and that the world was appalled! This old bastard must still have a f***ing rotary phone at home. Everywhere you go, everything you do, is recorded. Not just you and I, but government agents, too.

These agents had gotten used to a lifetime of getting away with some nasty stuff. No more. My bet is this won't stand any more than the "you can't video tape police officers or other government officials doing their job" thing.

Dear Abusive Government:

We, The People, are watching YOU.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Tables are Turned on Big Brother

Ubiquitous video and cell phones that tracked our every movement used to scare the snot out of me because of the potential for government abuse. On balance, it seems I should have not been so concerned. These technologies have completely turned the tables on the NYPD in their confrontations with the Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York.

(And I am not all that aligned with the sensibilities of the protestors, many of whom are just kids and very young adults who have little experience and less sense. That is not the point. The point is is that I am, and we must all get to be, a strict constructionist when it comes to the rights and freedoms guaranteed in the U.S. Constitution. That OWS will be used by Obama supporters to deflect blame on the economy is of course true - and completely beside the point.)

Watch this video, particularly the footage from 1:40 to 1:55.

It would appear that a brawny police supervisor is punching a young woman in the face/head. Such blows can render a person unconscious and unable to protect their head/brain as they fall to the pavement. This incident is under "investigation". No reasonable person can conclude this was an honorable decision by this officer under any circumstance. This is not to say the police are not in an impossible situation - they are. There is a fine line between maintaining order and brutality.

The days of privilege for government officials, to be able to get away with such behavior, has come to a close (in public). What they do in the "back room" is still an issue, but I think the tables have been turned on Big Brother.

Monday, October 17, 2011

An Open Letter to the Men and Women of the New York Police Department

From a U.S. Marine Corps veteran of the wars. "There is no honor in this!" Indeed.


From me:

Dear Officers of New York Police Department:

Over the past several days and weeks the NYPD has been at the center of a media storm concerning the "Occupy Wall Street" assemblers. I have taken the time to speak to several of your members including your media representative (who really should be in another capacity, if I may be kind). It appears to me that the attitudes of the sworn officers I have spoken to, and of the officers filling the screen on my computer from all of the video that comes our way, is that you are just doing your job. Just following orders.

Fair enough. Given that, a definition of "your job" and what, exactly, are legitimate "orders" is then necessary.

First, let us be clear that all of you are sworn officers. You hold appointed office, and have taken an oath  for that office. Herewith is the oath that you have sworn:

I [name] do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend
  the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign
  and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same;
  that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or
  purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the
  duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.
Regarding the arrests of the members of "Occupy Wall Street" assemblers: You have taken an oath to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States" and to "bear true faith and allegiance to the same".

Were these mere words to you? Or is it that "support and defend" and "bear true faith" take a back seat to protecting your upward mobility within the NYPD and/or your pension? Have you read the U.S. Constitution? You know, the one you are sworn to support and defend and bear true faith to? So which is it? Do you support the U.S. Constitution and its protections of free assembly and speech or do municipal ordinances requiring permits to assemble override, in your mind, the intentions of the Framers? Clearly, the U.S. Constitution does not require any such permits for assembly and speech... does that mean your allegiance is to the City Government of New York?  Then why take an oath to support and defend the U.S. Constitution?  If you refuse to follow it for personal or professional conveniences, perhaps your oath should be to the NYPD or the City of New York. Oh, that would be illegal, wouldn't it? If you are an American, be an American. The American People rallied around you and the FDNY after 9/11; is this how you respond to them in a time of national crisis?

Think about it, Sworn Officers of the New York Police Department:

Refusing to pepper spray some college girl for exercising her Constitutionally protected rights of association, assemblage, and speech is not the same thing as refusing to confront a violent felon. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO THESE THINGS. YOU WILL NOT BE FIRED NOR DISCIPLINED FOR REFUSING TO VIOLATE YOUR OATH!!

Let me also appeal to your self-interest, if not your honor: Following unethical, immoral, or illegal orders can come back to haunt you; perhaps even destroy you.

If your allegiance is not to your fellow Americans you do not deserve to wear the uniform or carry the badge. The American citizens assembling in New York deserve your protections, not your institutionalized violence.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

This needs to go viral

Please watch this important video and share it with as many people as possible.

Statist jag-offs should watch this video over and over until they get it. One minute the State is doing your bidding... the next, it is eating you alive... the unintended consequences of funding State enforcement arms is replete throughout history.

What is it We Want? What if that is no longer Possible?

At first I was dismissive of the Occupy Wall Street crowd. No more (as of 10 or 12 days ago).

No, most of these folks don't know exactly what they want... and, no, this is no uni-faceted special interest group... there are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, and many of those pieces are MIA.

I have no answer for the crowd. I DO have some suggestions for individuals within that crowd.

Trust me when I tell you, you are NOT all in this together. It may feel that way now... take a look at the people involved at the Woodstock festival lo these many years ago... some of the performers and organizers are on their last leg; others are multi-multi-multi millionaires. Somehow, I doubt the folks on the right side of that equation are interested in providing for any of the needs of those on the wrong side. Nope, in the end you are on your own... unless you have family... and even then family is not like government... you are required to give as well as take.

I hear the complaint about no jobs and crushing student debt. Ok, fair enough. What if there are NEVER going to be enough jobs in the corporations you folks are protesting to provide you with the standard of living you expected when you signed the doted-line for that student loan? What then? Are you going to protest until death do you part?  The government can't FORCE corporations to hire you (at least not yet... and command economies have not experienced much success throughout history)... what are you going to do if you can't have the job you expected, the house you expected, the car you expected, the vacations you expected, the engagement ring you expected...?? Because I think that that is the case from- now-Mother-F***in on... or at least for a decade or 2, which for our purposes is the same thing.

I watch in horror as young adults (late 20's early 30's) endlessly discuss what the president "should" do... yet they don't notice that time is getting away from them. In my experience, the only folks that can "catch up" from spending half of their young adulthood in school are people with critical and barrier-to-entry training, such as surgeons, certain legal specialists, and technology wonks.... not working until 30 while going into debt for an education that does not include actual training has demolished the futures of millions. Heck, 75% of American families either could not, probably not, or probably could come up with $2000 in an emergency... got that? The second best economic quartile is not entirely sure they could come up with $2000!

It would seem that most people don't know how to provide for themselves in the information and industrial economies... and they no longer know how to take care of their basic needs like billions do in the 3rd world everyday (ever been to the mountains of Peru? The jungles of Columbia or Southeast Asia? I have... saw a great deal of subsistence living going on with no Food Stamps from the government nor rioting)... but they do know how to go to school and get into to debt... they just don't know how to operate in the real world sufficiently to be able to put together $2000. None of that will get fixed by protesting - unless you go after the really bad guys:

The University/Industrial complex.

And why are these guys getting a pass??

We need to educate the populace... but who can afford $200k for an undergrad degree in the humanities? The children of the 1%, that's who.  The University/Industrial complex saw the limits there and convinced millions to take out a mortgage for an undergrad degree. Somewhere along the line the children of the 99% felt that they were entitled to storybook weddings, and diamonds, and vacations in the South of France, and a total of $400k in private school educations for the lovely couple, etc...  I've been poor and I've been rich. Rich is better - but you don't get there by going into debt for education (as opposed to training. There is a huge difference between the 2... surgeons are trained, accountants are trained, plumbers are trained, engineers are trained... if your education did not give you specific training that would enable you to make a living, it was just that - an education. Don't you feel smarter, Ms. Starbux barista with the "women's studies" degree?). The 99% really need to understand what defines financial security - and it ain't 6 figures in student loans, a mortgaged house, and a leased Bentley.

So protest! I was dismissive at first but have come around and applaud your efforts... but I won't delude you like the Woodstock generation (who have taken complete advantage of you folks). There may never be a job in a corporation with health benefits and a pension for you. You might not be able to live in New York, vacation on the Vineyard, and BBQ with Muffy and Biff on the weekends the way the brochure from the admissions department of your University said it would be... In fact, I am pretty sure that for the vast majority of you that that is a certainty.

The other certainty is that it is very likely that you will never pay back your student loans. Yet I doubt the government is going to forgive those loans irrespective of how much you protest. Best to ask for things that can actually be had. I leave that to you.

So keep at it, get what you can... and then get to work building your lives... because the government can't do that for you... not to put too fine a politically-incorrect-point on it, but the group most associated with protests and marches in America has not exactly benefited too much from that activity.

In the end it is your own decisions that you must live with.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Not Liking what I am Seeing in Europe (and maybe China)

I have reconsidered holding energy equities at the moment... and have sold out more than half of my positions.

There is an old saying in Hedge Fund Land... "If you can't be sure you are right, be liquid."

I am liquid. I feel much better prices are to be had over the course of the next couple of quarters.