When You Hire Storm Troopers to Enforce Laws

Apparently the San Francisco Police Department is hiring many of the Storm Troopers who found themselves unemployed after the Empire fell:

Authorities in San Francisco released body camera videos on Tuesday of a dramatic shootout in which police officers fired their weapons at least 65 times in 15 seconds at a murder suspect.


“Nobody was struck by gunfire during this incident. The evidence in the case so far indicates Armstrong fired two rounds from a weapon, and that seven officers fired 65 rounds from their department-issued weapons,” SFPD Commander Greg McEachern told KTVU.

65 rounds were fired and nobody was hit? That’s almost impressive.

What makes this matter funnier is that these are the people to whom gun control advocates want to give a monopoly on legal gun ownership. While any gun owners is capable of firing 65 rounds and failing to hit a target, they are at least held accountable for their actions. The officers involved in this shooting will probably face no consequences for recklessly endangering bystanders, especially since they were extremely lucky and failed to hit any of them.

A Government of Governments

What do you get when you establish a government made up entirely by other governments? Another terrible government:

New revelations about the sexual exploitation of hundreds of women by United Nations peacekeepers have emerged a decade after the organization first identified the problem.

In a draft report obtained by the Associated Press, the U.N.’s Office of Internal Oversight Services — a U.N. watchdog within the U.N. — said members of a peacekeeping mission had “transactional sex” with more than 225 Haitian women. The women traded sex for basic needs, including food and medication.

“For rural women, hunger, lack of shelter, baby care items, medication and household items were frequently cited as the ‘triggering need,’” the report said. In exchange for sex, women got “’church shoes,’ cell phones, laptops and perfume, as well as money” from peacekeepers.

I don’t have a problem with prostitution when prostitutes are performing the job voluntarily. However, no interaction with a government agent is truly voluntary. Moreover, the United Nations is holding a good deal of the Haitian population in its prison, err, refugee camps, which gives the government of governments almost absolute control over many Haitians lives.

There is also the issue of accountability. The United Nations was established to oversee national governments. But who watches the watchmen? There is no organization to oversee the United Nations, which means it seldom faces consequences when it does something wrong. While the organization may claim that it prohibits its soldiers from having sex with the people it is oppressing saving, there is nobody to hold it accountable when it ignores its own soldiers who are breaking that rule.

If Nobody Knows About a Discount and You Take It Away, Does It Really Matter?

Many companies have announced that they’re severing ties with the National Rifle Association (NRA) after the latest shooting in Florida. Why companies are severing ties with an organization that had literally nothing to do with the shooting is beyond my ability to comprehend but it has lead to at least one rather funny revelation. Did you know that Delta offered NRA members discounts on flights? I’ve been a member of the NRA (it’s a membership requirement at the range that I’m a member of) for quite a few years now and I was unaware of this. It looks like I’m not alone:

But the airline said only 13 passengers ever bought tickets with an NRA discount. That translates into each discount costing the airline about $3 million in tax breaks.

If nobody knows about a discount and you take it away, does it really matter?

The State of Georgia responded to Delta’s announcement by revoking roughly $40 million of tax breaks but I’m fairly certain Delta didn’t expect this response. It probably looked at the number of discounted tickets it had given out, realized that nobody even knew about the discount for NRA members, and decided that removing that discount would be a cheap way to do some public virtue signaling. What may have appeared magnanimous (to gun control advocates at least) was really just an extremely cheap way to get some publicity (although it ended up not being so cheap in the end).

Censorship Is Good for Business

A lot of popular websites have begun increasing the amount of user content they censor. This post isn’t going to devolve into a freedom of speech rant. I believe that private companies have every right to decide what they will and will not host on their websites. This post is going to be discussing an interesting economic phenomenon related to censorship.

I think many of the people who have been pushing sites like Facebook, Twitter, Discord, and YouTube to more heavily scrutinize user content honestly believe that if those companies remove content, that content ceases to exist on the Internet. While the content ceases to exist on those websites, it can be uploaded elsewhere, which creates a business opportunity for competitors of those websites.

The users being censored will seek another way to publish their content. These users become a new potential customer base that didn’t previously exist. Entrepreneurial types can profit from this by attracting that customer base with an offer to exercise less scrutiny over user content.

Online censorship doesn’t remove content, it merely shifts revenue. While YouTube may stop hosting a video, one of its competitors may be willing to host it or an entrepreneur may decide to start a website that is geared towards hosting content that has been censored by YouTube. Whoever ends up hosting the censored content stands to make money that YouTube is no longer making.

This phenomenon is nothing new though. Censorship has always been good for business. Whenever a publication has refused to publish something, another publication either stepped in or was created.

I Am Altering the Deal

I have a theory that the biggest threat a government poses to an economy isn’t any specific set of regulations but constantly changing regulations. One day your business venture is perfectly legal, the next day it’s illegal:

The 2015 Butte wildfire had ripped through nearly 71,000 acres in Amador and Calaveras counties and left millions of dollars in damages behind. More than 900 structures were destroyed in the two counties, according to Cal Fire. Some residents left the community, deciding not to rebuild.

County supervisors embraced legalizing cannabis as a way for the local economy to generate revenue that could help it recover. Enticed by cheap land and friendly laws, the rural county of 45,000 people saw an influx of pot growers.

Not long after, however, anti-pot supervisors, including Mills, were elected to the five-member board. They had promised to ban cultivation in Calaveras County. In January they scored a victory with a 3-2 vote ordering growers to cease operations by June.

With a single vote a bunch of perfectly legal businesses became illegal. While the farmers are talking about suing, they won’t be able to operate their farms during the lawsuit, which could last years, and may not win anyways.

I think this story also explains the obsession most business ventures have with maximizing profits at all costs. Anti-capitalists like to blame capitalism for this obsession but any capitalist would tell you that maximizing long term profits is a better way to maximize overall profits… unless you’re operating in an environment where your business might be declared illegal overnight. I’m of the belief that business ventures are obsessed with short term profits at all costs, at least in part, because they have no idea what the rules regulating their business will be tomorrow. You can’t make any realistic long term goals when you don’t know what the rules will be tomorrow, in a month, or in a year.

This story will likely incentivize cannabis growers in California to maximize short term profits and give little through to long term profits. And when they do, anti-capitalists will blame capitalism instead of the real culprit, government.

So Much for That Narrative

“In order to prevent tragedies like the one that happened in Florida, we must ban magazines that can hold more than 10 rounds,” said the gun control advocate. “The shooter didn’t even use standard capacity magazines,” said the person who actually reads the news:

The Parkland shooter did not use magazines larger than 10 rounds, but gun reform lobbyists are calling on lawmakers to ban higher capacity magazines after the Valentine’s Day tragedy.

The 19-year-old school shooter who killed 17 in Florida on Valentine’s Day had 150 rounds of ammunition in 10-round magazines. Larger ones would not fit in his bag, Sen. Lauren Book, D-Plantation revealed.

Many gun control advocates claim that forcing shooters to reload more frequently by banning standard capacity magazines will both reduce the number of people a shooter can kill and give law enforcement a window to engage the threat during one of their periodic reloads. Neither claim is based in reality. Reloading a firearm doesn’t take that lone, certainly not long enough to reduce the number of killing or to provide a long enough window to reliably engage the threat.

Possible Theft Versus Guaranteed Theft

There are a lot of criticisms against cryptocurrencies. One criticism that I see come up periodically is that transactions can’t be reversed. If somebody manages to steal your cryptocurrency, there is no way to reverse the fraudulent transfer. Fraudulent electronic transactions in dollars, on the other hand, can be reversed.

That is a valid criticism. But I would like to point out something that is generally ignored by advocates of government issued money. Holders of dollars are being stolen from every moment of every day via purposeful inflation and there is no way to recover the purchasing power lost to inflation.

Cryptocurrencies can be stolen and if your cryptocurrency is stolen, there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it. However, government issued money is guaranteed to be stolen and there isn’t a damned thing you can do about it.

Incarceration without Conviction

Here in the United States we have a right to a speedy trial… according to four out of seven judges:

New York State’s highest court has tossed out a murder indictment against a man who sat on Rikers Island for more than six years awaiting trial, ruling the delay was caused by the Manhattan district attorney’s office, which kept him locked up as it struggled to bolster its case against him.

In its split decision on Thursday, the New York Court of Appeals wrote in unusually pointed language that “incarceration should generally follow conviction, not precede it.” The court’s decision, which cited the defendant’s constitutional right to a speedy trial, was issued less than a month after a federal appeals court in New York vacated a marijuana distribution charge against a man from Cattaraugus, N.Y., who spent seven years in jail and never went to trial.

The real takeaway from this story is that this ruling came down to a single judge. Three out of the seven judges apparently thought it was perfectly acceptable to incarceration a man for six years even though he hadn’t been convicted of a crime.

Stories like this are why I refer to the United States as a police state. A man lost six years of his life just so a district attorney could build a valid case against him. Then only four out of seven judges thought that the incarceration was unlawful. Now the district attorney and everybody else involved in keeping that poor bastard in a cage for so long will likely walk away unpunished. At most a civil suit will result in the man receiving some taxpayer money as an inadequate form of apology. Many Americans assume that a country has to be as bad as North Korea to qualify as a police state but all that is really necessary is for government agents involved in enforcing laws to go unpunished when they abuse their power. Once an environment of accountability ceases to exist, government agents are free to punish anybody they want for whatever reason they want.

Sixteen Thousand and Three-Quarters Dimensional Chess

Trump’s game of multidimensional chess to defend gun rights is getting really complicated:

During a live broadcast in the White House Cabinet Room, Trump appeared to signal support for Feinstein’s radical gun control measures which include banning assault-style weapons.

“Dianne, if you could add what you have also — and I think you can — into the bill,” Trump said.

“Joe, can you do that?” Trump asked. “Can you add some of the things. I’ll help. Can you add what Amy and what Dianne have?”

“I’m going to say this,” Trump continued. “We’re going to get it passed.”

As I said before, you can’t trust a popularis because they will do whatever they believe the masses want them to do. Next week after everybody has forgotten about the shooting in Florida he’ll probably be claiming to support gun rights again. And his supporters will believe him because they’ve invested too much of themselves into him to admit that he might not be what they wanted.