This Is Your Police Department

Sunday, February 9, 2014
Posted in category political correctness

This is an amazing piece of Detroit police propaganda from 1951 titled “This is Your Police Department.” The intro talks about ”the men of the Detroit Police Department.” The Detroit police are described as providing “the protection of the lives and property of the people of Detroit.” Meanwhile, the narration is host to a backdrop of introductory music that sounds like something out of a Charlton Heston epic. Some really fun snippets ensue throughout this piece, including at 3:00 mark where commando practice is introduced, and at the 6:40 mark that shows Joe making his first arrest, and afterwards it is said that “somehow his uniform seemed to fit better.”

I like the part where it is said that Joe sometimes did unpleasant things that were a part of his job, like “giving someone a parking ticket.” Oh, and count how many times the word “hero” is used. Still, this is representative of a police mentality that is far different from what has emerged today, and for that I offer you the following.

Joe

This is Joe, the 1951 police candidate for patrol officer.

 

new joe

The New Joe has plenty of military training and equipment paid for by taxpayers who keep approving millages because they still believe that the police “protect them.”

 

cops

Joe has a new role, and it ain’t handing out parking tickets.

 

 

The New Aggression: Emotional Pain

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Posted in category Victimology State

Thane Rosenbaum, a law professor at Fordham Law School, has published a commentary for the Daily Beast that has Nazis painted all over it, yet it actually has nothing whatsoever to do with, well, Nazis. This emotionally digressive piece is Rosenbaum’s personal proclamation that a democratic and civil United States should rethink the First Amendment and instead of protecting free speech, government should try to measure “social costs” that are deemed to be injurious to others. He champions the cause that government should assume the role of regulating, or making criminal, the use of speech that invades the emotional space of others.

So therefore, emotional harms – one person’s subjectively-based perceptions – should be equated with physical injury, which requires force, or an act of aggression. He writes:

And recent studies in universities such as Purdue, UCLA, Michigan, Toronto, Arizona, Maryland, and Macquarie University in New South Wales, show, among other things, through brain scans and controlled studies with participants who were subjected to both physical and emotional pain, that emotional harm is equal in intensity to that experienced by the body, and is even more long-lasting and traumatic. Physical pain subsides; emotional pain, when recalled, is relived.

Pain has a shared circuitry in the human brain, and it makes no distinction between being hit in the face and losing face (or having a broken heart) as a result of bereavement, betrayal, social exclusion and grave insult. Emotional distress can, in fact, make the body sick. Indeed, research has shown that pain relief medication can work equally well for both physical and emotional injury.

Professor Rosenbaum goes on to say that a civil society should protect individuals from emotional harm caused by the actions or speech of others wherein the perceived victim is “made to feel less free, their private space and peace invaded, their sensitivities cruelly trampled upon.”

Mr. Rosenbaum, a law professor, manages to write this entire article while escaping the use of the words “private property,” but then again, when the pedagogues of academia precipitate discussion of the First Amendment, the question of property as a basis of free speech is rarely mentioned. Of course, when private property is trespassed upon, there has been an act of aggression, or a crime. However, the ‘violation’ of a person’s peace and sensitivities are not ascertainable and therefore one cannot dispassionately measure that person’s sense of being violated (meaning offended). Yet Rosenbaum seeks to right the wrongs of bad behavior by viewing such behavior through a criminal lens.

Most libertarians are acutely aware of Murray Rothbard’s explication of free speech from “The Ethics of Liberty.” His most basic passage is the following:

Take, for example, the “human right” of free speech. Freedom of speech is supposed to mean the right of everyone to say whatever he likes. But the neglected question is: Where? Where does a man have this right? He certainly does not have it on property on which he is trespassing. In short, he has this right only either on his own property or on the property of someone who has agreed, as a gift or in a rental contract, to allow him on the premises. In fact, then, there is no such thing as a separate “right to free speech”; there is only a man’s property right: the right to do as he wills with his own or to make voluntary agreements with other property owners.

I find it disturbing that Mr. Rosenbaum takes to portraying highly subjective emotional sensitivities as being not only analogous to physical aggression, but he also points to the notion that Congress, courts, and cunning lawyers can somehow measure “emotional harm” and criminalize speech or non-aggressive and non-invasive actions that superficially put others in a state of emotional strain.

The overbearing Nazi art gracing the article’s header is, by itself, an emotive maneuver designed to associate all crude and unpopular speech and actions with something that is so easy to abhor: a gaggle of flag-bearing hate Nazis pouncing on our beloved central government’s turf to show support for an egregious dead guy who has become the symbol for all things that demand government action in order to stamp out individually-held hostility by punishing bad behavior as hate crimes.

In truth, an outrageous notion such as criminalizing the triggering of emotional discomfort and couching it as a “public welfare concern” that needs to be regulated and punished is more “Nazi” than the picture the author has attempted to paint for the reader. Just think of the Nazi Special Courts wherein the Reich bypassed conventional legal channels in the existing courts by creating special jurisdiction for declared “war crimes” that allowed the Reich regime to be free of judicial constraints so that it could arbitrarily silence speech that dissented against Reich totalitarian policy; questioned the fascist economy and takeover of private interests; or engaged in unregulated, unapproved radio broadcasting.

So consequently, Mr. Rosenbaum advocates for a United States Special Court to mimic the courts created by the Nazi regime as an antidote for all the horrible stuff that a few Nazi types, anti-gay loonies, and racist protestors project upon a peaceful populace that can simply choose to walk away and not listen.

Detroit’s Got Soul

Wednesday, February 5, 2014
Posted in category Detroit

Here’s a nifty video that starts out with the usual stuff about Detroit’s good, bad, and the ugly.

Then the filmmaker showcases the Brightmoor Youth Entrepreneurship Project, a training program that teaches youths various skills and entrepreneurial savvy. It’s referred to here as “curb-side economics,” and the people are known as road-side entrepreneurs. City youths in this program learn woodworking, bike repair, community gardening, and how to make t-shirts. Brightmoor’s principal Bart Eddy makes the point that “we have to awaken young people to a larger dream.” He also notes that while “old institutions are crumbling apart,” Detroit’s entrepreneurial spirit is kicking up. Detroit is a place of many small and spontaneous changes, while the bigger changes take planning and investment. Indeed, with this resurgence kicking up at a steady gallop, private investors and developers are circling the city like vultures looking for prime properties and entrepreneurial opportunity. The big changes, as Eddy notes, are coming to our town.

One gal from Detroit Soup, who is a transplant to Detroit, accurately portrays (at 7:45 of the video) Detroit’s very special environment where human relationships are unique, and in fact, conversations that take place here don’t seem to take place north of 8 Mile.

My city-folk friends and I call this “the village of Detroit.” There is indeed a very smalltown feel here – everyone who gets out a lot knows everyone, and wherever you go in the city you run into friends and acquaintances as if you were moving about in a small town. I’ve made friends in the city by bumping into a total stranger and having a conversation about a commonality, or by finding out that we have a mutual friend. Time alone in a coffee shop or a bar ends up with one joining a spontaneous conversation with people who you get to know quickly, and who you end up bumping into over and over again. Everywhere I go in the city I know someone or see the friendly face of an acquaintance. And still, I have little familiarity with the folks in my own suburban neighborhood. People who love Detroit and understand its magic make friends of strangers who pay the friendliness forward, making life here seem intimately sociable. I’ve never experienced such a thing in my life as I have in the village of Detroit.

Lastly, I want to note the Shinola representative, Bridget Russo, who makes the comment that “Detroit has swagger.” Shinola is a maker of rustic goods, beautiful bikes, and made-in-Detroit watches. In fact, they manufacture the first watches made in America in almost fifty years. The narrator notes that Shinola is “successfully marketing that indefinable Detroit feel.”

shinola1

Shinola store
Photo by Karen DeCoster

 

shinola2

Shinola store
Photo by Karen DeCoster

 

With two friends and our trio of Shinola watches

With two friends and our trio of Shinola watches

 

And that feel is unique, and those of us here know it exists even if we can’t define it. And yes, while New York has lost its swagger, we are the new gritty city.

 

Culture of Narcissism Meets Google Glasses

Sunday, January 26, 2014
Posted in category Just Stuff

The recent case of Google Glass wearer Cecelia Abadie being given a citation for wearing a computer-in-eyeglass device while driving is only a launch point for what will be some very interesting court battles. The citation was dismissed in a San Diego court by a judge who properly noted that the police could not prove the device was in use and therefore charge Miss Abadie with distracted driving under the code.

Abadie was cited under a code banning operation of a video or TV screen at the front of a vehicle that is moving. Blair said the code’s language is broad enough that it could also apply to Google Glass if there were evidence the device was activated while the motorist was driving. But Abadie, who wore the device around her neck during her trial, insisted afterward that the screen is above her line of vision, its functions can be activated with her voice or a wink, and it is not a distraction even when activated.

I’m not too interested in the state’s case for distracted driving because most of these laws are totalitarian, no matter how much we dislike the abject quality of driving that materializes from the dimwits of distraction. While I personally despise those moments where drivers distract themselves to the point of a total lack of spatial awareness, as my friend Amy Alkon has written, “you can’t ban our way to safety.”

For the most part, I am more intrigued by the imminent evolution of Google Glass and how this device will further redefine the human connection in a way that sacrifices conversation in exchange for cyborg companionship. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend the Google Glass event at MOCAD (Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit) when Google came to Detroit in November 2013 to promote a user demonstration of Google Glass.

The Detroit Free Press headline reads, “Google Glass Wows at MOCAD.” It was a well-organized event where folks were let into the demo area in small groups to speak with the Google Glass Guides and try out the device for as long as was desired. Afterwards, attendees were ushered over to a lounge area of the museum to indulge in free beverages and appetizers. All participants had photos taken while wearing the device, and we left with a printed copy as well as an emailed digital version of the photo.

I attended with an open mind because I wanted to be educated on the product so that I could either endorse it or condemn it as just another overt device of the culture of narcissism. The demo I experienced began with the Google Guide telling me he was “very excited” to see my reaction to this amazing new device. After thirty minutes of fussing with the Glass and trying out all of the available options, I was absolutely floored over the lack of excitement I experienced in totality. To be truthful, I went in a bit prejudiced, thinking that perhaps this was a device that was going to turn a generation of digital narcissists into unrestrained egomaniacs. On the other hand, I expected the actual product to be somewhat cool, and it wasn’t. It was completely unexciting and uneventful – sorry Google.

The options the Glass offers as an extension to the cell phone are skimpy and barely useful. What surprised me the most was the amount of eye strain the Google Glass causes after just a few minutes of use due to the fact that you have one eye looking upward into a corner to pick out a tiny screen. I can’t imagine being subjected to that kind of strain on a perpetual basis. The Google Guide told me it doesn’t cause eye strain because you shouldn’t be looking at it that long, yet the Glass functions – web, maps, photos and videos, etc. – demand that, yes, you do keep looking at it. It’s a surefire way to a quick headache.

And worse yet, you have to talk out loud to control the interface, making yourself seem like a babbling moron to those who are in your vicinity. Overall, Google Glass is uninspiring. As some folks may not know, I am no luddite. Though I adhere to many classic patterns, traditions, and embrace a whole lotta retro in my life, I am promiscuously digital in all respects. I long ago digitized my photo and music collections, and I have more than one eBook device, two Mac computers, and multiple iPad, iTouch, and iPod devices. I am continually fascinated with the next digital device that does things we couldn’t have imagined just a few years ago. But with Google Glass, the digital return you get as you strain your eye upward is barely passable and the functions are deficient.

I don’t know how this device offers an advantage in comparison to pulling out my Samsung S4 computer with it’s gorgeous 5″ screen that brings the world of information to my fingertips. Marketed as an extension of a cell phone, I’m just not seeing how Google Glass becomes a productive add-on to one’s cell phone at all. More likely, it seems to be an apparatus that appeals to the cyborg culture wherein the individual Glass wearer puts self-absorption just a tad closer to the brain that has now become one with a digital device while removing the Glass wearer from the realities of a human-based world where conversation, eye contact, body language, and human interaction skills matter. On her Facebook page after the citation dismissal, Miss Abadie is quoted as such: ”Yes, we can continue to be CYBORGS even when we drive!”

google glasses - Version 2

Google was kind enough to take a photo of me wearing the Glass.

 

My disparagement toward this robotic apparatus certainly won’t make me a luddite given my own digital love affair, but it will draw some chagrin from the connected crowd that rejects any criticism whatsoever of their electronic existence. Psychologist Sherry Turkle, who studies technology of mobile communication, calls the perpetual digital addiction the “central paradox” that changes what we do and who we are, allowing us to ”be together while not being together.” The Google Glass device takes the earthling cyborg well beyond the zone of useful technology that keeps useful information at our fingertips. It is very much a brazen statement about our existence and the lack of importance placed upon our relationships to those around us.

The Glass lurking in the corner of your eye is a constant reminder that you are always a short step away from experiencing the bliss of popularity amongst a crowd of one, thanks to the fact that you are brandishing a tool of extraordinary etiquette that will instantly irritate even the boldest supporters of digital identity.

Public Prison Sex Education

Monday, January 20, 2014
Posted in category Public School Prisons

Imagine conflating “talking,” “hugging,” and “dancing” with “anal sex,” “grinding,” and “oral sex”? Oh – and that’s material for 13-year-olds. See what one parent in Kansas is fighting.

Question: how do people express sexual feelings? Answer: let the village tell ‘em how, after a committee of knuckle-dragging, school-board’ing dipsticks collectively assembles numerous charlatan studies supporting the notion that your children are to be gathered and herded like mindless androids into a program that teaches individual-personal intimacy like it is a reflex-based, beastly behavior. You teach your children to love and respect and set boundaries, and the schools teach them to “grind” and give BJs to strangers for peer acceptance.

Says robotic bureaucrat: “This curriculum aligns with national standards…”

If “it takes a village,” these are the village idiots that you want to be far, far away from your children. Oh shucks, I guess this must make me a “prude.”

Children are spending their childhoods locked up in compulsory educational prisons being bombarded with collective-egalitarian twaddle from a cluster of undereducated, over self-esteemed cyborgs masquerading as teachers with their paper certificates from MindWarp University.

No revolutionary spirit – of the soul and mind and heart – can ever emerge from such a tragic, collective, and mind-suppressing environment as today’s public schools.

“What If…”: Judge Napolitano

Monday, January 6, 2014
Posted in category Totalitarian Government

This classic from my favorite orator is worth watching again and again and again. Judge Andrew Napolitano on the rigged establishment and public opinion as a “manufactured narrative.” Except I do not think this particular segment is responsible for him being fired from FOX.

Celebrity Makeovers?

Monday, January 6, 2014
Posted in category Uncategorized

Good, Old-Fashioned, American Fear Mongering

Sunday, January 5, 2014
Posted in category Crisis & Fear Mongering

Yes, we are supposed to get up to a foot of snow today in SE Michigan, depending on what way the winds blow and what forecast you believe. Every time I see these stories about folks rushing to the stores in anticipation of a winter snow dump, I wonder … do people really not have food in the house to the point they feel the need to rush out and “stock up?” Of course not. People are conditioned to panic and follow the lead of others – everyone else is doing it, and they will follow. It makes the conformists feel as if they are a part of the collective, the pack. Generally speaking, the masses want to be on a leash, told what to do, and they don’t want to stray too far from the comfort zone established for them by the fear mongers in government and media.

On that note, I was in tears watching this video that someone plopped onto my Facebook page today.

Detroit Police Chief: “Good Americans Are Armed”

Friday, January 3, 2014
Posted in category Detroit

People carrying guns equals a reduction in crime. This comes from the new Detroit Chief of Police James Craig. For an urban Police Chief this is pretty radical stuff, and it’s a good start.

Does Anyone Pay Attention to What Obama Says?

Thursday, January 2, 2014
Posted in category Czars

Harry Binswanger is an old favorite of mine. As a young, radical 20-something, I tore into the delightful “Ayn Rand Lexicon” that was edited by Mr. Binswanger. For the sake of this blog post, I am not interested in all of the libertarian operatics surrounding Ayn Rand and Objectivism – after all, pre-Internet days, for many of us it began with Ayn Rand. I was never an Objectivist or a Randroid – but like so many freedomists my age, I began as a Randian.

Binswanger has put forth a clever article on Forbes; “Obama to Americans: You Don’t Deserve to be Free.” He has nicely deconstructed (and appropriately reconstructed) two paragraphs from ObamaLand, a place where fiction and historical cock-and-bull are the norm. Binswanger is not exaggerating when he calls the text of this speech “a remarkable document.” It’s astonishing to think that, for the most part, these statements went unchallenged in the general media. Here is a link to Obama’s speech in both video and transcript format.

Binswanger takes the simple approach and looks at the underlying fundamentals of markets vs government: “Capitalism means freedom. Government means force.” I will take a step back to explain how government equals force.

All government is necessarily established, administered, and influenced by politics. It is politics that controls all elections, governance, and where the achievement of power resides. Power is achieved only at the expense of others who are subjected to that power without having any choice to opt out of the regime’s rules and actions over enforcement. The political system, played out in the form of an oligarchical structure, props up an artificial entity known as the state, and it is the state that coerces individuals via its random decrees, institutions, and arbitrarily empowered packs of elites. Politics is thus necessarily defined as coercion. Coercion is force. Forcing someone to do something against their will is a crime. Your government is an institution of criminality.

Binswanger has shown how the propagandists in ObamaLand produce fuzzy-sounding, historical falsehoods and then proceed to tell us why that history didn’t work. Then comes the speech from His Majesty on how the government can right historical wrongs that never occurred. This gives rise to sanction for yet another layer of central planning, courtesy of our thieves writ large. But who in the audience has a clue about the lies, let alone the truth?