Thursday, March 8, 2012

Small things...

Greetings good citizen,

Markets are (as usual) ‘up’ around the globe and again, for no discernable reason, raising disturbing questions about ‘moral hazard’ and the ‘self-serving’ nature of the financial sector.

Because the weather isn’t the only thing that isn’t ‘normal’ around here!

Prepare to shift mental gears with me good citizen as we examine the, er ‘plunge’ in street crime most often associated with our growing Police State:
James Q. Wilson, who died recently, was a political scientist who often studied the government response to blue collar crime. The public knows him best for his theory called "broken windows." The metaphor explains what happens to a vacant building when broken windows are not promptly repaired. Soon, most of the windows in the abandoned building are broken. The criminals feel little compunction against petty destruction because the building’s owners evince no concern for the integrity of their building. Wilson took social norms, community, and ethics seriously. He argued that as community broke down, fewer honest citizens were active in monitoring and policing behavior. The breakdown in community led to widespread serious blue collar crime. Wilson urged us to take even minor blue collar crimes and breaches of civility seriously and to demand that they be contained through social pressure and policing. [snip]

"This book [does not deal] with “white collar crimes”…. Partly this reflects the limits of my own knowledge, but it also reflects my conviction, which I believe is the conviction of most citizens, that predatory street crime is a far more serious matter than consumer fraud [or] antitrust violations … because predatory crime … makes difficult or impossible maintenance of meaningful human communities (1975: xx).

I am rather tolerant of some forms of civic corruption (if a good mayor can stay in office and govern effectively only by making a few deals with highway contractors and insurance agents, I do not get overly alarmed)…." (1975: xix)" [snip]

The Supreme Court has held that banks and other entities that aid and abet securities fraud are immune from suit by the victims of securities fraud. Only the federal government may sue those that aid and abet fraud. The federal government has cut the number of financial fraud prosecutions by over one-half over the last twenty years even as financial fraud has grown massively. No elite CEO leading a control fraud that helped drive the current crisis has even been indicted. Elite CEOs can defraud with near impunity and become wealthy. Elite white collar fraud is a “sure thing” – the only strategy likely to make a mediocre CEO wealthy and famous.

Um, if you read the article you will learn the obvious, Mr. Wilson was a conservative…thus did he have a rather ‘skewed’ worldview.

(Ironically, Mr. Wilson would have argued with me when I point out that MOST crime is ‘cash and carry’, save ‘crimes of passion/hatred.’ He would have insisted crime was mostly ‘class related’ while pointing to the rarer ‘crimes of passion’ which know no ‘class lines’…

Thus do we have the situation we are faced with today…

It is, in fact, the same thing I was bitching about yesterday.

‘No cops at the top’.

Which is a weirdly conservative idea…that policing ‘the best of us’ is totally unnecessary…(at least until the revolution breaks out!)

Yeah, social backlash can be wicked sometimes!

And it promises to be real ball buster this time. (Probably make ‘the terror’ look like a Church Social…)

But you never know until it happens.

I sort of wrestled with the title of this piece…we are all familiar with conservative reasoning that states, ‘How can we trust you to do the big things if you can’t do the small things right?’

This, naturally, is the same thing only it’s ‘omni-directional’ as in ‘top down’…

Yes, much has been made of ‘plummeting’ crime rate (while White Collar criminals go unmolested…as well as being largely ignored!)

Why our politicians never connect the new, improved (and heavily militarized) police force of today with the relatively stable level of violent crime across the decades is either stupidity on their part or a bad case of ‘willful ignorance’ on the pundits part.

Even the local police force has quadrupled since I moved to this sleepy little burb twenty years ago….and there wasn’t a crime problem then either.

Which brings us back to a different issue entirely, one tied directly to the mass exportation of our jobs, why did the police force get expanded without reason?

Which is wrong…there WAS a reason, just not one they could talk about…directly. They made no secret about the last TWO economic recoveries being ‘jobless’ (and when you boot large numbers of people out of society there is an ‘inevitable’ amount of ‘social backlash’.

So what did our leaders opt for?

Did they choose to put an end to the export of our jobs or did they double down on law enforcement? (and jail time…our prison population is the largest on the planet!)

Which is to ask good citizen, don’t you think somebody else belongs ‘behind bars’? (or at the end of a rope?)

Without equality there can be no justice and without justice there can be no peace (and without peace there can be no prosperity!)

Thanks for letting me inside your head,


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