1. Cause and Effect: As I noted yesterday, groups of people under the “occupy” umbrella are beginning to resist evictions subsequent to foreclosures on people’s homes. There are implications here for “property” rights, but again the real threat to property rights greatly predates the recent civil unrest. For a long time people have thought of themselves as “homeowners”, even though by law another entity – a lender – had a superior right to their property, because the home was mortgaged. All sorts of government and lending institutions encouraged this misconception because it encouraged borrowing and lending to buy homes, and the primary beneficiaries of this practice were the political and financial classes.
People’s homes were turned into interest generating machines. This is profoundly morally wrong, and everyone involved is to blame. Which means everyone.
2. Mindlessly siding with the police is not “conservative”. It’s just mindless.
3. As food for thought regarding the otherwise lame explanations of law enforcement for unjustifiable use of force, a suggestion: if you receive an order to clear an area of what appear to be peaceful protesters, drop the riot gear and weapons. Part of the reason – perhaps even the main reason – that these situations seem to irrationally escalate is the very basic cop concern that any physical contact at all involves a danger that someone is going to take your weapon(s), which is always extremely embarrassing, and potentially far worse than embarrassing. So don’t introduce the hardware into the situation to begin with, if you have no reason to suspect that you are going to face violent resistance.
4. On a slow news day, local media largely revert to just reporting bullshit arrests, charges, convictions and sentences from the police feed, such as so-and-so is charged with misdemeanor “pot grow” operation; so-and-so is charged with DWI; so-and-so is sentenced for such and such. These stories are stupid, boring and do not attract readers; but far worse, the practice creates a dependency on police cooperation and “friendship” with journalists which, let’s face it, corrupts the reporting of the news.
5. Personal anecdote: I’ve discussed debt relief as a solution to the “financial crisis” a lot on the blog here, not that anyone is especially interested in what I have to say about the matter. But there is someone that commands a lot of attention on the subject, who is consistently identified in the press as “respected” and “distinguished” and has Harvard, MIT and the IMF on his resume. His name is Ken Rogoff. Ken Rogoff is from Rochester, went to East High School and had a younger brother named Richard, who was a friend and classmate of one of my brothers. Richard met an untimely death in his early teen years in a train accident. It was an extremely sad event that reverberated throughout the SE Rochester community where both the Rogoffs and my family lived. Every time I see Ken Rogoff quoted I think about Richard and how sad that was, not so much about Ken Rogoff’s convergence with or divergence from my own far less noteworthy opinions. Kenneth’s prominence and importance seems to confirm that the world probably lost a lot when Richard was killed.