The Market Ticker
Commentary on The Capital Markets
2014-09-15 07:10 by Karl Denninger
in Editorial , 200 references

No, really?

We only respond if there's video.

That's one lesson that can be drawn from the belated reaction to football player Ray Rice knocking out his fiancee in an elevator. Rice was arrested back in February, and in July was suspended for two games. But once video of the actual punch surfaced this week, he was banned indefinitely.

Time and again, we are informed of outrages — Rice's domestic violence; beheadings and******by the fanatics calling themselves the Islamic State; Donald Sterling's racism; abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib — but only grow outraged and force action when video or audio or images emerge.

How many injustices get short shrift because nobody's recorder was rolling?

Yeah, like in Ferguson?

So here's the thing -- why is it that in Miami the cops don't want cameras?

I'll tell you why: Because cameras exonerate the good guys and nail the bad ones, whether the bad guys are perps or cops, and it is more important for the union to protect the bad cops than the good citizens.


If you want to know why so many of our police departments are in fact little more than bands of armed thugs, there it is.

Are there potential issues with cameras on cops?  Sure.  One of them is privacy and the ability to indefinitely go back and look for activity you can then use later on.  But there's a simple solution to that: Video that is not tagged as evidence in an arrest at the time, or is not requested as a part of a complaint within 90 days is destroyed under penalty of criminal sanction for anyone in the department or elsewhere in the government who misuses it.

So basically video is there for one purpose and one purpose only: To document what really happened during an official action, and if there are no charges laid at the time and no complaint is raised about conduct within a reasonable time then the video is destroyed.

Tampering with video that is part of an actual arrest or is documentary of a complaint becomes a criminal offense individually prosecuted against the department members involved, as is archiving or otherwise using "stale" video later on to cook up charges that were not laid at the time.

Problem solved on the privacy aspects of things, I suspect.

So let's catch the bad guys, whether they're wearing magical blue costumes or black hoods, and help provide the evidence to exonerate the good guys.

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From the you gotta be ****ing kidding me file...

In her first year as principal of the all-girls Fontbonne Hall Academy, Mary Ann Spicijaric was leading a grand experiment that couldn't be discussed outside the halls of her Catholic high school in Brooklyn. The 38 teachers, along with school administrators and attendees, were under strict rules to keep quiet about the new Web-based software they were testing that helped educators manage assignments, grade papers and communicate with students.

As Spicijaric enters her second school year at Fontbonne, the secret is out and it has a name: Google Classroom.


So now we're gonna give every kid from kindergarten on a Google login ID, and that's going to track everything they do in school.  Oh, and I'm sure it won't be just in school either.  Google will own all of that data, your child will not, it will form a part of their indelible record in the hands of commercial interests that have no responsibility to guard that information or remove it on request.

In fact, Google appears not to be charging for this, which means they're getting value from somewhere -- and you can bet it's not as simple as CNBull**** wants you believe, which is simply the proposition that everyone so-exposed will then "use" Google later in life.

Like Hell.

That data, from school performance to where else that kid goes online has value.  Lots of it, and there is utterly nothing to prevent Google from using it.

They will.

You're flat-balls nuts to allow this to happen.

The simple test is this: Will Google still offer it for "free" if, as a condition of being able to do so, all of the data generated by your kid's use is irrevocably assigned to them and delivered upon their 18th birthday, with the originals being destroyed, and should Google violate that premise they will be held account for felony privacy invasion and a statutory penalty of $100,000 per kid that is so-violated.

The answer to that question, if someone dares ask it, will be "No."

And there you have it.

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Oh this is nice...... and where is President Zero?

Dozens of Christians arrested at a prayer meeting in Saudi Arabia need America's help, according to a key lawmaker who is pressing the State Department on their behalf.

Some 28 people were rounded up Friday by hard-line Islamists from the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in the home of an Indian national in the eastern Saudi city of Khafji, and their current situation is unknown, according to human rights advocates. 

So let me see if I get this right.

Saudi Arabia is all bent out of shape about ISIS, and worried about them attacking Mecca.  Ok.

But -- they were almost-certainly involved in 9/11 (and not just as a source for most of the terrorists by birth either), we as Americans still can't see that part of the report 13 years later because it remains "classified", and yet the Great Religion of Peace, as practiced by this very same nation, rounds up and arrests people who pray the "wrong way."

So I, and the rest of the world are supposed to believe two things:

  • This nation does not explicitly support, at an official government level, religious bigotry and extremism.


  • They are not themselves religious bigots willing to use force to compel religious observance of the specific form they prefer.

Uh huh.

Pull the other one.

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As they say, heh heh heh....

Two independent journalists have confirmed with the San Francisco Police Department that Anita Sarkeesian, a video game social justice warrior, may have used false pretenses to raise money for her non-profit entity. The police have said that she has not contacted them as she claimed after receiving a Twitter death threat in August. Under Federal law, this may put her on the hook for felony wire fraud.

Wait, what?

Video game social justice warriors?

Yes, they apparently exist.  You know, people who argue that it's so damned unfair that {women|minorities|gays|whoever} are {underrepresented|victims of misogyny|harassed} in {whatever} -- in this case, video games.


There are actually people who do this.  Some of them even set up allegedly "non profit" entities to "benefit" their cause.


It is broadly illegal (at a felony level) to raise money under false pretense.

It appears that this woman claimed she had received death threats and that she had reported them to the cops.  Making death threats is in fact a crime.  But -- it appears -- there were no actual threats and no report was made.

I don't play video games, but a lot of people do.  And apparently the grievance industry is alive and well there, complete with people making a "career" out of it.

This one might get cut a bit short....

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I got into a rather heated back-n-forth with a commenting party on one of my recent blog posts having to do with drug legalization.  You can read it here, if you wish, so you have context.

This person asserted, basically, that there's something "different" about certain groups of people (which happen to share a skin color) and that this was responsible for the thugging -- thus, drug legalization wouldn't materially impact it.

Legalizing or decriminalizing drugs will not address the problem which you have explicitly described. The present prohibitions apply to females, whites, those of northeast Asian descent, etc., but they are not shooting each other, so the "why" you posit above seems very likely to be incorrect. This is not a logic, physics, or arithmetic problem, so I believe you are applying the wrong template.

It continued from there.

The premise I operated from (and still do) is pretty simple: All people in an economy, which is all people incidentally since we all eat, shower and ****, make economic decisions every single day.

You do it.  I'm sure of it.  You drive past a gas station with regular placarded at $3.45 because you remember yesterday there was a station down the road at $3.39.  The amount of money involved is utterly trivial, yet it's enough to motivate you not to stop in one place but seek the other, assuming you have enough fuel to get there.

Amazon and WalMart have created their entire business plan about you making one choice over another for economic reasons.  Remember that economics is all about cost and benefit; not all of either is denominated in dollars.  The package that shows up at your door in two days has a cost (time) .vs. getting it "right now" but it has a benefit (convenience) as well; you don't have to drive to said store.

There are two basic views you can have about people.  The first is that they're all individuals.  The second is that they're all divided into some group that brands them in some fashion.

It doesn't matter which of those is true by the way.  What matters is how you treat people and how you analyze a situation.

If you remember Clinton cut back welfare by a significant amount.  When he did so there was much hue and cry about how he was going to literally kill millions of children via starvation, because their parents (the vast majority of which were black, by the way) were incapable of doing anything productive for money and thus we either subsidized them or they, and more importantly, their innocent children, would starve.

Well the advocates for not cutting welfare lost and thus the benefits were cut back materially.

Then an interesting thing happened: Nobody starved.

Subsequent to that a second interesting thing did not happen: Neither the media or the politicians who had publicly called all these minority people incompetent at the level of being incapable of providing for themselves and their children were excoriated and (politically at least) burned at the stake for what was outrageous and overt bigotry.

Nobody paid politically for that, but they should have because their prognostication was predicated on a simple claim: Poor black people are economic and intellectual infants; they're incompetent to manage their own affairs and that of their children.

The claim was false, outrageous, insulting and racist at a level not much different than what was believed in the 1800s about slaves; that the black family was incapable of managing to provide for itself and therefore the white plantation owner was doing these people a favor by taking care of all of the requirements of life -- and the forced labor extracted in exchange was a "small price" that, on balance, favored the slaves!

That crap still exists among us folks, but now it comes from mainstream politicians on both left and right.

The premise these people put forward is this: The black gang-banger gang-bangs not because he has a willing customer for his economic transaction in drugs and has calculated that he can make more money selling drugs illegally than pulling coffees at Starbucks or framing a house but rather because he's incapable of making that computation!

How the hell in 2014 does anyone allow that sort of crap to form the predicate of any sort of political debate?

Here's my view: Whatever you provide incentives for, intentionally or otherwise, you will get more of.  That which you make expensive, intentionally or otherwise, you will get less of.

Will you ever completely get rid of thugs?  No.  Some people will choose to be thugs.  You can try to argue that this is a matter of race, but you're wrong.  Some of the worst gangs out there when it comes to violence are the Mexican drug gangs.  Doubt me?  Go down and check it out for yourself; they hang people from overpasses on a pretty-much daily basis!

You know who doesn't want drugs legalized?  It's a fairly decent-sized list; let's try it.

  • The Mexican gangs that run billions worth of the drugs into the US.  Their income source would evaporate.  All those guns, ammunition and gang-banging they do requires money, and this would eviscerate their income.

  • The US "street gangs" that distribute the drugs.  Their income source would disappear.  Not only are guns expensive but so are flashy cars, grills on the teeth and $300 "sports figure" tennis shoes.  Suddenly the ability to make a thousand dollars a day, tax-free, would disappear.  By the way, may I ask exactly what job a young black man can opt for that has that income potential?  Good luck with your list of alternatives that have equal earnings capacity, and thus good luck with your argument that this isn't an economic decision.

  • The cops that make billions allegedly "interdicting" said drugs.  Some departments have half of their budgets made up of forfeiture proceeds.  That corrosive impact extends all the way down to your local police department and all the way up to the FBI.  Never mind the jails we have to build, staff and operate to lock up all these participants in consensual economic transactions.

  • The politicians who want their wedge issues -- specifically, gun control and welfare.  Yeah, it doesn't make the news when a black guy shoots another black guy on a corner in Chicago.  But when it spills out where white people can see it (e.g. on Michigan Avenue in the MagMile area) then it suddenly becomes a screaming point for said politicians to exploit.

  • The members of the public who want their polemics to demonize people who aren't like them.  

Here's the ugly truth: The last group is the largest by far, and yet all of you enable the people above that profit, both monetary and in human misery, from the bull**** that spews forth.

There's a very clean argument to be made that we shouldn't be spending welfare money on drug addicts so they can sit around and stick needles in their arm.  Ok, but let's ask the question the other way: Why do we have the present welfare system at all?

Oh, you say, there are real people who are really down on their luck and need some help?  I agree with you.  How about this: Three hots and a cot, along with a place to shower, shave and ****.  Anyone can come there and get a bowl of soup and a cot to crash on in a heated, dry space -- and a place to shower and **** in the morning.  Doesn't matter if you're rich, poor, young or old.  We can certainly afford to do that as a country.  But here's the bargain: One act of violence or thuggery against anyone else in or around the facility and you're barred for life.  Period.  Behave like a human or starve like an animal.  You choose.  That's not a new position by the way; I put it forward during the first part of the crash in a white paper I sent to all 535 members of Congress.

Yes, I know, it would be "degrading" to have to give up your flashy rims and such, along with your 65" widescreen TV and XBox.  Oh darn.  You know what?  You can go get a job instead of taking advantage of the free place to sleep and free food!  Can't find a job?  It's a big country; there is always an opportunity somewhere and mobility is an asset in that case.  Sounds like you just found some mobility, since you have nothing.

If you want to get high then have at it.  Again, so long as you don't commit violence against someone else I don't give a damn what you do.  There's no more money in it with these changes and you can't leech off society either, and there's no reason for anyone to "push" drugs.  They're in the drug store (duh!) and you have to show ID to buy 'em. Injected drugs all come in a package with a one-time-use syringe per dose (make them so they cannot be reused as they have a ratchet mechanism in the body that allows it to be withdrawn outward only once, going a long way toward addressing the transmission of disease, most-particularly but not exclusively HIV and Hepatitis, among IV drug users.)  No kids under 21 permitted, and I'm perfectly ok with making furnishing to minors exactly as it is for booze.  No pharmacist in his right mind is going to risk his or her license and six-figure income to sell to 17-year-old Jane.

We can do this and drop the BS.  All of it.

Or we can keep up with the claims that black people are inferior and incapable of making economic decisions for themselves.

To all the politicians, pundits and citizens: Which will it be?

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