Quote of the day—Cliff Mass

Take a walk around downtown Seattle.  You will be shocked by a shuttered, dystopian city and made angry by the inaction and ineptness of its political leadership.   It is simply beyond words.

I swung by the infamous McDonalds* on Third Ave– infamous for both drug dealing and violence, and I could not believe what I saw:  an obvious drug deal going down right in front of me.

What didn’t I see on my two-hour walk? Not a single police officer.  Not one police car.
A boarded up central core of a major U.S. city was being left to the homeless, drug dealers, and security guards.  Even the most notorious, crime-ridden corner of the city had no police.  The streets of the city had become a fearful abandoned place.

Cliff Mass
August 5, 2020
Seattle: A City in Fear Can Be Restored
[Mass concludes with some suggestions and hope that Seattle can recover. I’m not so certain.

This morning I spent most of an hour talking with daughter Jaime about the death spiral of Seattle and other major cities. We’re not so sure Seattle can be saved. A significant part of the success of cities the last 200 years has been because most of the best jobs were in cities. Part of the response to the pandemic, many workers being able to work from home, has proven that reason is no longer valid. And just the existence of the pandemic is a deterrent to city life. Another attraction of city life was the restaurants and nightlife opportunities. Those were among the first casualties of the pandemic. So, why should people stay in the cities?

Many have already left. The people staying are those who contribute the least, if not a net drain, to the tax base. In New York Governor  Andrew Cuomo has been begging rich people to return to New York City from their second-home retreats so they can pay taxes to help offset the state’s growing coronavirus-related revenue shortfall. The people the politicians want to come back are those most sensitive to the loss of police protection for their property. So what is their motivation to return?

Add violence and property destruction to the ability to be prosperous and safe outside the mega cities and we may have a death spiral for Seattle, New York City, Chicago, Los Angeles, and other large cities. Those cities have been accepting and even encouraging the terrorists who have been making the cities less desirable. So what are the plausible outcomes?

Add mega cities to the list of causalities of 2020..—Joe]


* This is ground zero of Mugme Street.

Historic

A few minutes ago the price of gold reached a new high in relation to the U.S. dollar. Or, one could be equally accurate to say that the U.S. dollar reached a new low relative to gold. Click for a higher resolution version:

GoldHistory

In the mid to late 1990’s gold was selling for $300/ounce. I was making more money than I am now (contracting work for Microsoft with unlimited amounts of overtime allowed at 1.5X base rate) and bought a few ounces. But most of my money went into paying down the house mortgage and putting a new roof on it. And then half of that, which wasn’t very much to begin with, went to my ex-wife in the divorce. I wish I had bought more now. It would be worth a lot more than what the house appreciation was.

Gold surging is generally an indicator of troubling times which certainly describes 2020. But what is interesting now is that vaccine trials are looking pretty good and the economy is doing okay considering the circumstances. But yet, the price of gold continues to climb. I suspect the huge surge in the “printing” of money is a major contributor.

We live in interesting times. This year will be one for the history books.

Quote of the day—Glaeser and Shleifer

By differentially taxing different groups of voters, the incumbent leader can encourage emigration of one of the groups, and maximize the share of the voters who support him. While benefiting the incumbent, these taxes may actually impoverish the area and make both groups worse off.

Edward L. Glaeser and Andrei Shleifer
2013
JLEO, V21 N1 1T he Curley Effect: The Economics of Shaping the Electorate
[Via a comment by Richard in regard to Cascading failures in policing where he said:

Look up the Curley Effect. This was perfected by Coleman Young, mayor of, you guessed it, Detroit

I haven’t read the whole paper yet. The Appendix looks particularly interesting. It starts with:

ProofsOfPropositions

I was going to make a big blog post after reading this paper and several others on the topic address the current situation in Seattle, Portland, and other cities, then extrapolate the concepts to corporate cultures. I didn’t get around to it because I worked late on some work stuff then one of my daughters called and we talked for quite a while. Maybe tomorrow.—Joe]

Cascading failures in policing

I recently had an opportunity to play a card I had been holding for a few weeks. I waited until a former Seattle police officer I know grumbled* again about his current job. So I asked, “I’ll bet you really wish you still had your old job back at the Seattle Police department.

This triggered a five minute monologue which began with “Absolutely not!” on the consequences of the political situation in regards to police in general and Seattle and surrounding areas in specific. He described it as “cascading failures”. Here is a synopsis of what he told me:

As of a couple years ago there were about 1350 people in SPD which was considered significantly understaffed. This number included support staff and rookies patrol officers up through to the captain level.

SPD is currently losing hundreds of people via retirement and them finding different jobs. Officers that have 20+ years on the job can’t take their pensions yet (I think he said they have to be 53 years old before they can do that) but they can quit and still get their full pension when they do cross the age threshold. Replacements are nearly impossible to get. Not because of defunding, but because no one wants those jobs. Detectives and other high skill areas are especially hard hit because those are the people most likely to have 20+ years on the job.

Some skill areas have mutual aid packs with surrounding areas. But while the surrounding areas have not had as severe political stress as SPD they have been affected. The mutual aid packs increase the stress on the surrounding areas and is causing people to leave their law enforcement positions there as well. It’s a cascading system of failure that affects the entire area.

Even some rural counties are pushing people out of law enforcement. One such country recently removed all U.S. flags from their patrol cars. This was to avoid offending anyone.**

SPD is rapidly approaching the situation where when you call 911 the only time someone will show up is if there is a life and death situation.

I’m now extrapolating from his observations.

If the police only show up for life and death situations and detectives are among the skills sets hardest hit by personal shortages then law enforcement protection of property is going to asymptotically approach zero. If a cold body with no obvious signs of foul play and/or no hot leads is found it will essentially ignored. Even clear murder cases will have low closure rates. Assault and battery will be ignored. Without justice for the victims of violent crimes and reduced odds of being punished self administered “justice” will become common.

These cascading law enforcement failures will trigger other cascading failures. This is city killer type stuff. Seattle is highly dependent upon high tech money. Most of those jobs can be performed by people 100s of miles away as easily as they can be performed by people within commuting distance. People and companies will leave the immediate area in droves. The property values, and all tax bases will crash. City services of all types will suffer. This could create Detroit like conditions within a few years.


* I think, overall, he actually likes his job. He just likes to grumble about things.

** I expect the people insisting the flags be removed are bewildered as to how the police could have a “real” issue with this. This probably extends to at least some of my readers.

A significant number police are former, and even current reserve, military. The U.S. flag is more than a piece of red, white, and blue colored cloth to members of the U.S. military. I have never been in the military and I only sort of understood this. A former Army Ranger described the depth of that meaning when he told me that if he were on the jury of someone accused of murdering a person who was burning a U.S. flag he would not vote to convict even if there numerous witnesses and video of the event, fingerprints in the neck bruises, and matching shoe prints in the blood. He wouldn’t kill someone burning a U.S. flag. But he could understand why someone would.

Quote of the day—Got Doubt @GotDoubt

Capitalism is all about inequity. Communism is about equity. By its nature, capitalism is racist, sexist, discriminatory vs religion, creed and behavior other than greed. It’s easily observed that race and wealth are linked. Capitalism abuses the minority.

Got Doubt @GotDoubt
Tweeted on July 10, 2020
[If we ran the numbers I wouldn’t be surprised if communism actually does achieve a closer approximation to equality of outcome. Hundreds of millions of people are equally dead because of communism.

It is far better that there exist a few hundred billionaires and 10s of thousands of homeless people than 100 million are murdered by their own government each century.

That should be more than sufficient but that’s not the only issue I have with socialism/communism. There is a more fundamental issue I have.

That equality of outcome is presumed as a desirable goal should be challenged whenever it raises its ugly head. Does anyone seriously believe someone who consistently makes extremely poor life choices and ends up homeless, a drug addict, and gravely ill should have the same standard of living as someone who consistently makes good life choices? If so, then I have serious doubts about having sufficient things in common with such a person to enable meaningful communication. They would literally be living in an alternate reality from me.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Carl "Bear" Bussjaeger

Heinlein’s Crazy Years got nuthin’ on us. His pastors ate clay sandwiches. We’ve got the crazocracy. His fictional society recovered and achieved space flight. We won’t have the education, technology, or resources to redevelop the automobile because they’re all “racist.”

Our future will look a lot more like Anthem than RAH’s “future history.”

Carl “Bear” Bussjaeger
June 24, 2020
HEINLEIN WAS AN OPTIMIST
[Both Heinlein and Rand references in one great quote. Few will fully understand and they will puzzle at it’s meaning until they spend many hours reading the books. Sorry about that.

I post this anyway, knowing that only 25%, at best, will fully appreciate it with additional effort. But the enthusiasm of those the get it on the first pass will be awesome.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Don Kilmer @donkilmer

Obama might have started out as a likable, naïve socialist.


But he became the inevitable state-worshiping fascist that is always necessary to sustain socialism in the face of its inevitable failure and devastation.

Don Kilmer @donkilmer
Tweeted on May 21, 2020
[This may be giving Obama more benefit of the doubt than he deserves, but that doesn’t change the correctness of the conclusion.

As my friend Eric E. once described it, “Socialism is like a piece of candy which, years later, causes terminal cancer.”—Joe]

Quote of the day—Charles Hugh Smith

Dogmas collapse first in the minds of believers, when they slowly awaken to the reality that the dogma no longer serves them, it only serves to prop up the wealth, power and prestige of their increasingly fanatic leaders. Propping up a failed system doesn’t actually fix what’s broken; it only guarantees the banquet of consequences will include shackles: the option to escape the consequences will no longer exist.

So sorry, but your karma ran over your dogma.

Charles Hugh Smith
September 29, 2019
So Sorry, Your Karma Ran Over Your Dogma
[He has a point there.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Tom Kendall

Incensed that eight years of bungling, mismanagement, decline, insults, mischaracterizations, slander, lies, theft and voter intimidation had somehow failed to win hearts and minds, the Left decided at last it was time to embrace the inner communist they always had wanted to be, and went full potato. In one decade we went from a Left that insisted vehemently that Republicans were only calling them socialists as negative spin, to one with so many declared socialists it looks like the Berkley faculty lounge. Gone are the days of hiding the tax’n’spend policies behind centrist platitudes. The Left has a very cohesive platform, just not a coherent one—billions in taxes, trillions in spending, government healthcare, government transportation, government income, government spying, racially based reparations, open borders and a brand new Llama named Jimmy for every little girl. I made the last one up. It’s too sane and fiscally feasible. Also it assumes there’s such a gender as “girl”, bigot.

Tom Kendall
September 11, 2019
The Side-Takers by Tom Kendall
[H/T to Kevin.

He’s got a point you know. The left has gone over the edge and is demanding to take the rest of the country with them.

We live in interesting times.—Joe]

Quote of the day—SayUncle

I can’t wait for those who want their political opponents dead to be in charge of health care.

SayUncle
August 29, 2019
Details here.
[The same concerns would apply to law enforcement in a disarmed society. Criminals would know they could prey on those who were politically disfavored with little risk. In the early days of the USSR the criminals were openly considered allies of the communist party because they would prey upon those who owned property.

Although he doesn’t address the health care issue this guy from East Germany told me his experience with housing and jobs also confirms SayUncle’s point.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Thomas Sowell

The grand fallacy of the political left is that decisions are better made by third parties who pay no price for being wrong. Much of the 20th century has been taken up proving how tragically mistaken that theory is, all around the world. But those who want to be the third-party decision-makers remain undaunted.

Thomas Sowell
March 6, 1999
THOMAS SOWELL: Back again – random thoughts
[This is true in economics, personal ethics, self-defense choices, and all but a few special cases mostly covered by the enumerated powers given to the U.S. government in the constitution.

At this point I’m convinced it’s only a fallacy or mistaken belief on the part of the useful and professional idiots. Those who are smart enough to rise and retain political power have to know the truth.

Evidence for making the case for the 21st century will be little different from the 20th is Venezuela.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Bob Barr

The world in which most liberals live is one of magic and fairytales — where socialist systems have starved millions of people and destroyed every economy forced into its model, but which certainly will work the next time. It is a world in which using fascist tactics to silence opponents actually makes you an anti-fascist; and where presidential candidates can promise everything for everyone, and still have enough money left over to cut taxes. In this fantasy land, anything is possible if you just feel it to be true.

Bob Barr
July 24, 2019
The Elephant in the Gun-Control Room
[Via Matthew Bracken.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Harvey

If Trump were to have a socialized medicine plan, it would cover treatment for whatever disease it is that causes liberals to consider socialism a good idea.

Harvey
June 26, 2019
Trump Truths: TrumpCare
[I find it humorous but the last I checked there wasn’t a cure for stupid.

Well, I suppose that isn’t entirely fair. A fair number of smart people believe socialism is a good idea because they believe they would be one of the special ones in power.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Cliff Maloney

Therein lies the lesson for U.S. policymakers. The consequences of gun control run far deeper than either side of America’s gun debate cares to admit. We all need to learn from Venezuela’s example and shape our public policy accordingly.

Gun control legislation might seem like an easy answer when tragedies force us to passionately look to politicians to do something, but history repeats itself time and time again.

Venezuela’s disarmament reminds us of a key American principle: An armed citizenry is the greatest defense against a tyrannical government.

Cliff Maloney
May 22, 2019
Cliff Maloney: Venezuela is a poster child for gun control gone wrong
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Quote of the day—George Monbiot

We’ve got to go straight to the heart of capitalism and overthrow it.

George Monbiot
April 11, 2019
Tweeted by Novara Media @novaramedia
[Some of the most repressive nations ever, the Soviet Union and Communist China, were not able to completely exterminate capitalism no matter how many people they murdered. Free markets always find a way.

Yet, this loon wants to try yet again.

Just keep saying no until you run out of ammo.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Clémence Michallon

One election after the next, we have seen how much the results of the US presidential vote impact not just the 50 states, but the rest of the planet too. And if the future of foreign countries is shaped to a significant extent by what goes on on US Election Day, shouldn’t they get a say in who gets to lead the most powerful nation in the world for the next four years?

In other words: shouldn’t foreign countries have a right to vote in the US presidential election?

Clémence Michallon
March 23, 2019
America should allow other countries to vote in the 2020 election
[No and no.

Next question.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Thales

If a Rightist is going to have a problem with you, the odds are he’s going to punch you in the face. Or follow you into a bathroom and beat you down. The Right is much more fond of directness. Does anybody really think, say, a redneck is going to dump bleach on you and run away? Do you think he cares about the symbolism of a noose, or that he’s going to go out of his way to wear a certain hat – so as to make the right fashion statement during the attack? No. If he has a problem, he’s going to get in your face, probably punch it repeatedly, and walk away when he feels his point has been made.

In this the Left betrays how little they understand us. For even their hoaxes seem like bad parodies to us. It’s what a Leftist would do, only reversed in ideological polarity. It’s not what a Rightist would do. They don’t get us. Their rank-and-file doesn’t have any clue who they are dealing with anymore. Even the Media is too stuck on Leftism to understand anymore. There was a time, perhaps, when wiser Leftists would have thought “well, that doesn’t sound a whole lot like them… maybe we should check into this a little more.”

That time has passed.

This is profoundly dangerous to us all. Because, not knowing us, they cannot understand where the limits are. They’ve been butting up near our maximum levels of tolerance for some time now. Sooner or later, one of them is going to exceed that boundary because he doesn’t even know it’s there, anymore.

Thales
February 22, 2019
Leftist Hoaxes: A Failure to Understand the Right
[I have nothing to add.—Joe]

Quote of the day—Brinda Karat

The tremendous achievements of the first Socialist State beckon us to understand what was possible and what is possible to create today. The Soviet Union created records, equally relevant today in wiping out poverty, backwardness, and illiteracy, in establishing equality among peoples and nationalities, between men and women. It is an inspiration of what was and what can be, and that is why we say that the era it established of the transition from capitalism to socialism is as relevant today. Capitalism is not the end of history.

Brinda Karat
November 9, 2017
The Russian Revolution Is Still Relevant Today
[Via email from Chet.

Delusions are often functional but I’m struggling to find the function in this whopper of a delusion. Perhaps Karat thinks they would be one of the leaders who would be in control.

I can’t imagine they believe conclusive evidence supports the claims they made. Just reading a few chapters of The Gulag Archipelago, 1918-1956: An Experiment in Literary Investigation (Volume One) would dissuade anyone of sound mind that this is a path a society as a whole would knowing and willing venture.

And yet, via another link from Chet, we have Teen Vogue discussing the differences between resistance, rebellion, and revolution while speaking fondly of the Russian and Cuban revolutions.

We live in interesting times.—Joe]