Welp, guess it’s time to start committing crimes


Only big crimes, though. The little crimes get you shot.

At least, that’s the lesson I get from the news. Arm yourself with a big gun, go murder a couple of protesters, you’re fine — better than fine, you’ll be lauded by your fellow gun fondlers. Commit treason and try to overthrow the government, and if you’re the big kahuna who incited it all, everyone is afraid to arrest you, although your little dupes get picked up and get jail time. Fill a court with incompetent ideologues, and you’ll be safe from everything, in addition to corrupting the entire goddamn government. Wrap yourself up in a great big flag and a great big god, and no one can touch you, as long as your criminality is sufficiently massive.

That’s justice in America. I really should start planning my crime spree. It’s tough, though. You can’t just knock over a local bank, instead you’ve got to wreck the entire economy to steal billions, and then you can get away with it. Anything less, then some bigger crook will take your ill-gotten gains and punish you.

Also, darn it, I’m infected with this no good secular morality that tells me I shouldn’t do harm to others. It’s really getting in the way of taking advantage of our system.

Comments

  1. iiandyiiii says

    Strong hints that DOJ still plans to prosecute Trump, from what I’m reading. Just going up the chain and building the best case possible. We’ll see, but I’m still hopeful.

  2. raven says

    It’s tough, though. You can’t just knock over a local bank, instead you’ve got to wreck the entire economy to steal billions, and then you can get away with it.

    That would work.

    Or, you could invade another country and steal everything. Including stealing millions of tons of grain that were meant to feed people in Third World countries.
    The current destination of choice for war criminals and oligarchic crime bosses is….Ukraine.

    You have to be fast on this one. The locals in Ukraine are objecting for some reason to mass theft and that seems to involve heavy weapons and armed drones.

    If you want to take it easy this summer, have you considered Cryptocurrencies of NFTs?

  3. says

    Yeah, I have the same problem.
    A moral code based on a few clear axioms like that doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room. I’m comfortable with my choices, although it gets frustrating when people with criminal records start lecturing me on morality and blaming people like me for the supposed state of the country. They’re given forums to preach and financial rewards for spreading their piss-puddles around our feet and the feet of anyone else in the vicinity, all the while I quietly go about my law-abiding existence. Hell, sometimes they’re elected to high office.
    I did get arrested once, though. It was on this very day in 1972. Yes, 1972, fifty years ago. I was shoplifting, dumb kid that I was. Stupid little rubber ball THAT I DIDN’T EVEN NEED. Well, that never happened again. My mother cured me of that shit, and she did it without ever laying a hand on me.
    Now that’s a mom.
    My other run-in with the law was a speeding ticket in 1983. I was driving 67 mph on the highway, when the limit was 55. Obviously I did it because I hate America.

  4. ardipithecus says

    It took 2 years to bring Haldeman and Ehrlichman to trial, and that was a much less complex case.

  5. Tethys says

    I think there are multiple traitors who require prosecution, and several of them still hold elected office. Maybe they can flee to a more friendly regime? I would gladly trade a few of them for the Americans currently being jailed by Putin.

  6. birgerjohansson says

    The various regulatory agencies in USA have long since undergone “regulatory capture” and are run by people that worked for the businesses they are supposed to regulate.
    Thus, no one gets serious fines or even mild censure.
    The supreme court is simply the ultimate example of this corruption.

  7. drew says

    Voting for the lesser of two evils doesn’t work.

    Politicians are motivated by greed and fear. So unless you’re wealthy enough to buy a few of them, terrify them.

    Riots work. The most important lesson from 1/6 is that rioters threatening physical harm actually make Congress act. It made them flee, but at least the people (as opposed to “corporations as people”) were finally getting politicians to act. They’re back to finger pointing and ass covering so maybe the people needed larger or more sustained riots to make a difference. Who knows?

    I do not side with the 1/6 insurrectionists/rioters. But just like the Christian right can take lessons from Saul Alinsky, we should take lessons from the far right about what works.

  8. rorschach says

    The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of the USA is long stocks. Before the recent crash, indices were 200% valuation above GDP, and almost 3 standard deviations up on the Buffett indicator, because Powell printed money as if there was no tomorrow during the pandemic to prop up the stockmarket.
    Trump is the obvious one when it comes to crime and corruption, but this is inherent in US politics and finance.

  9. KG says

    drew@7,

    Riots work. The most important lesson from 1/6 is that rioters threatening physical harm actually make Congress act.

    Riots sometimes work. But they didn’t on 1/6: the rioters’ aim was to prevent the confirmation of Biden’s election win, with the further goal of keeping Trump as President. The outcome was the confirmation of Biden’s election win, and the end of Trump’s Presidency.

    I do not side with the 1/6 insurrectionists/rioters.

    In practice, you do. If enough people had followed your advice not to vote for the lesser evil, Trump would have remained President – which was exactly what the 1/6 insurrectionists wanted.

  10. unclefrogy says

    @9
    thank you!
    @2 I suspect that what grain is being stolen will still end up where it was ‘intended” the money will just end up in the russian corruption market
    it is unfortunate to be blessed with empathy sympathy and healthy guilt makes it harder to cheat and lie and steal.

  11. HidariMak says

    A few months ago, Republican candidates in the state of Pennsylvania were competing to show off their Trump endorsements. Now, not so much, with Dr. Oz removing Trump from his own campaign site. That’s not just in PA either. Perhaps it’s because of the majority of Republicans now believing that Trump is guilty of trying to overthrow the democratic process, unlike a few months ago, according to some polls out there.
    Trump is getting panicky in some of his messaging. While the insurrection inquiry is rather damning, I’ve heard that his Georgia interference case might be a bigger challenge for his attorneys. And both sets of attorneys, plus the attorneys fighting for him in his civil cases, all need a lot of money. He might not ever see the inside of a jail cell, but at best, he’ll be little more than a TV spokesperson on stations such as Fox News. George “Dubya” lost the admiration and the biblical insertions of him by his fanatics once he became politically irrelevant. And my guess is that there will be enough conflicts between the pro-Trump republicans and the anti-Trump republicans, to prevent either from gaining power. Like with iibilliiii, I’m optimistic, and believe that his reputation tanking will neuter his influence.

  12. logicalcat says

    Yea I know PZ. What’s the world coming too. Hell I’ve seen a lot of people actually defend the actions of a racist who yelled at BLM protestors “shoot me n****” and then attacked a man who was seen chanting BLM with other protestors. And people actually shit on the BLM protestor for defending himself and not the racist rioter who attacked him. It’s crazy what the world is coming to.

    Seriously it’s like right wingers create a straw man that the left doesn’t believe you should have the right to defend yourself against multiple attackers (one of which was armed) and then a bunch of dumb leftists are like “yea. Yea I like the straw man better. I’m it now for real.” Well at least you didn’t use the right wing talking point of “he put himself in that situation he shouldn’t have been there.” Like I had enough of that shit when the Trayvon Martin happened.

    @Drew

    Tell me your white without telling me your white.

  13. vucodlak says

    @ logicalcat, #14
    Double-murderer Kyle Rittenhouse had spent the evening pointing his popgun at peaceful protestors, before one of them finally took his threats seriously. That person “attacked” him with a plastic shopping bag full of clothes. Rittenhouse murdered him. Another protestor, seeing Rittenhouse murder someone, attempted to defend himself and others with a skateboard. Rittenhouse murdered him, too.

    The armed person who confronted Rittenhouse didn’t do so until after Rittenhouse had murdered two other people. Strangely enough, that armed person who you claim intended to do some sort of harm to the little fascist didn’t blow Rittenhouse away even after Rittenhouse shot him.

    But hey, at least he’s super sorry for what he had to do. It’s not like he’s been partying with white supremacists, cracking jokes about it, and suing people for calling him a murderer when even he himself admits he intentionally killed two people. Oh, wait, he’s been doing all those things.

    Rittenhouse seems to find the fact that he murdered two people and maimed a third, then fake-cried his way out of consequences, absolutely freaking hilarious. He shows not a trace of remorse for what he did, or regret for the loss of life. It’s a joke to him that those people are dead. It’s funny to him that he got away with it. It thrills him to be elevated as a hero by genocidal white supremacists.

    This was never about “self-defense.” This was about an immature sociopath who dreamed of being an action “hero,” who found a way to get away with murder. That’s the one and only thing that separates him from the average school shooter- he picked victims he could demonize with the help of the fascist right, which most definitely includes you.

    Like I had enough of that shit when the Trayvon Martin happened.

    Let’s count all the ways that’s a great and not-at-all dishonest comparison:
    1.) Tea and candy are just like an assault rifle.
    2.) Taking a walk is just like strapping yourself with military armaments and playing soldier in the middle of a volatile protest against white supremacy.
    3.) Being stalked like an armed vigilante is just like threatening to shoot peaceful protestors.
    4.) Attempting to punch an aggressive, gun-wielding stalker is just like shooting a loud-mouthed asshole armed with a bag of clothes.
    5.) Shooting people because you’re afraid they’re going to take away the gun you’ve been threatening them with is just like being shot by the man who has been stalking you because you were the wrong color.

  14. StevoR says

    @ ^ vucodlak :Seconded and well said.

    @7. drew : Riots get people killed and things smashed and destroyed and provide a justification to ignore the reasons for the protests and dismiss the seriousness and rationality and cause of the protesters.

    As (#9) KG has already pointed out the Jan 6th rioters failed in their Attempted Coup.

    If everyone in the nation thought the way to get their way was to riot then what sort of nation would you have?

    Voting for the lesser of two evils doesn’t work.

    Does voting for the greater evil either directly or indirectly (i.e. by not voting at all or voting third party at least under the dreadful current USA’s system) work?

    If Democracy doesn’t work then what alternative is there and is that alternative better? Actually that is something I’m wondering about myself. But at least here in Oz Democracy did see sanity finally prevail over the Murdoch inflicted govt we previously had at the start of this year. It does seem hard and often incredibly frustarting so, yeah, I can see where you are coming from & sympathiese eps when you don’t have preferential voting and do have an Electoral College but rioting isn’t the answer.

    @6.. birgerjohansson : When the fascists have captured all the courts and all the other bodies and systems and rendered govt illegitimate then what? Those regulatory captures really need to be reversed somehow. Hopefully by peaceful and legal means. I wish the Democratic Party and here the ALP were doing much more in this regard. Trump’s treason SCOTUS “Justices” should NOT be allowed to remain on the Court nor have their previous votes stand. Biden should do absolutely everything in his power including removing their security protection or threatening that and having them arrested and jailed without bail to make that happen.

    Howeever, it is also worth noting that the reason they are on SCOTUS to begin with is the 2016 election and the fact that an insufficiently large majority (though still a majority) voted for HRC. Had she won the anti-Democratic EC vote as well as the popular one, the USA would not be in this mess. So, yeah, voting – even for the lesser evil – really makes a whopping difference. /Cap’n Obvs.

  15. consciousness razor says

    Does voting for the greater evil either directly or indirectly (i.e. by not voting at all or voting third party at least under the dreadful current USA’s system) work?

    You’re not voting “indirectly” when you don’t vote. What actually happens when you don’t vote is that you don’t vote. And when you’re voting for a third party, you’re voting for that, not something else.

    If Democracy doesn’t work then what alternative is there and is that alternative better?

    What democracy?

    Yesterday, the House voted on the military budget, the National Defense Authorization Act of 2023 (H.R. 7900). Only 17.7% of Democrats (39 out of 220) and 29.4% of Republicans (62 out of 211) voted against it.

    Besides being gratuitously expensive at roughly $840 billion and a massive increase to last year’s already bloated amount, it also prevents Defense department resources from being used to provide humanitarian aid to Afghanistan (such as the magnitude 6.1 earthquake last month). As that article mentions, we’re also not returning billions of central bank reserves which we stole from the country either.

    But the things that most people in this country actually want? Those do not happen. Most of our so-called “representatives” do not represent anything like that.

    So, where’s the democracy?

    Is that what you see, when for example Democrats prevented the Green party from being recognized in North Carolina or when they deceived and harassed voters who had signed the petition? (See here for a comment I wrote about it last week.)

    Or do you just bury your head in the sand and think some bullshit like “there are some people in voting booths, so it must be democracy.”

  16. consciousness razor says

    That last line was supposed to be a question … but it’s not that I can’t guess at the answer.

  17. StevoR says

    @17. consciousness razor :

    You’re not voting “indirectly” when you don’t vote. What actually happens when you don’t vote is that you don’t vote. And when you’re voting for a third party, you’re voting for that, not something else.

    Yeah, technically, at one level yes.

    Except that when the less evil side needs your / more votes to beat the more evil side and its a binary choice i.e. the third party essentially in effect amounts to not voting or for voting greater evil in practice / reality…

    Basically if you do not vote for less evil you are effectively voting for greater evil in reality because the alternatives are NOT that a third party of theoretical unicorn rainbow ice cream dream party will just emerge and win out of nowhere because, again, in practice, in this realistic universe as we know it where there’s no preferential voting or run off voting like, y’know, many other nations have..

    Ok, example (sadly not all that exaggerated for illustrative purposes) You have 11 people. Five of them are douchebags who vote for the Absolute Sadists Kitten-burning party, Four of them vote for the Mediocre Don’t Burn kittens party but then you choose to vote for the Make the World a Paradise for Kittens party – and thus not only are outvoted 9 to one but you also convince your friend that both parties are equally bad and they then decide not to vote at all. Which means that the Absolute Sadists Kitten-Burning party wins 9: 1 rather than potentially losing 6 : 5 and that greatest evil party now has the power to, y’know, sadistically burn kittens when you could have stopped that by being willing to settle for less than ideal but still better than the worst. Kapiche now?

    Yes, it totally sucks that the options wren’t better but in the circumstances, what chocie makes sense and what doesn’t and what delivers better vs worse?

    Sheesh. How many times have we been over and through this before again now?
    What part of this still don’t you & others grok exactly?

  18. consciousness razor says

    StevoR:

    Yeah, technically, at one level yes.

    The best kind of correct.

    Except that when the less evil side needs your / more votes to beat the more evil side and its a binary choice i.e. the third party essentially in effect amounts to not voting or for voting greater evil in practice / reality…

    Oh, they need stuff from me, you say? You act like they’re entitled to votes, but in reality, the only legitimacy that such candidates could ever have comes from the people, the ones who are actually entitled and have all the rights these pompous assholes routinely disregard for their own benefit. That’s what it looks like in fucking practice.

    What part of this still don’t you & others grok exactly?

    Which part of my earlier comment did you ignore? And which part of this one will get the same treatment?

  19. StevoR says

    @ 20. consciousness razor : What it looks like “.. in fucking practice” is SCOTUS overturning Roe vs Wade, the EPA’s power to regulate Global Overheating, reasonable gun restrictions that most Americans actually want and a shit-tonne more needless misery suffering, grief and damage. A pregant 11 yearold incest victom, a whole lot more avoidable gun massacres, a probable loss of equal marraige rights and voting rights and so very much more for ..political purity’s sake!

    But, hey, at least you & your ilk can say HRC didn’t become POTUS & continue & preserve Obama’s legacy and work (among others) because, fuck knows, Trump & his lifetime-appointed treason SCOTUS was so much better and preferable eh?

    Also, are you actually admitting that in practice and reality you are actually wrong but just technically accurate? Coz kinda looks that way..

    Y’know we want pretty much the same things but, hey, fuck it let’s form a circular firing squad anyhow coz that’ll help and is what the world needs right now..

    Oh and also let’s scapegoat Ruth Bader Ginsberg for the heinous crimeof choosing to die at the wrong time and for anticipating that Americans and especially leftwing progressives would actually do the right flippin’ thing when they chose to vote.. becoz that’s worked out about as well for them as Assange’s wikileaks interventions against HRC has worked out for him hey?

  20. StevoR says

    PS. consciousness razor : Yes, they need you to vot efor less evil beacuse it isbetyter than WORSE evil.

    Again, you saw my example, you saw what I wrote in #19 and, yes it stinks, yes it shouldbt ideally be what it is but it is the reality so, again, what part don’t you get?

  21. consciousness razor says

    What it looks like “.. in fucking practice” is SCOTUS overturning Roe vs Wade, the EPA’s power to regulate Global Overheating, reasonable gun restrictions that most Americans actually want and a shit-tonne more needless misery suffering, grief and damage. A pregant 11 yearold incest victom, a whole lot more avoidable gun massacres, a probable loss of equal marraige rights and voting rights and so very much more for ..political purity’s sake!

    You’re blaming that on the left and going with that “purity” crap, not the establishment Dems who’ve actually had power and have been worse than useless for my entire life? That’s a choice.

    How about you just keep that kind of shit to yourself in fucking Australia? The US doesn’t need any more bootlicking apologists.

    Also, are you actually admitting that in practice and reality you are actually wrong but just technically accurate? Coz kinda looks that way..

    No. You just can’t read (or think or write coherently). Technically correct is correct, despite your inane protestations and other garbled ramblings.

  22. StevoR says

    @ 23. consciousness razor : Obvs I disagree. Maybe I’m am “incoherent” but I’ve noticed that its you that has’t answered my question put in #19 above.

    What part of that example explaining how not voting and voting third party in the USA’s elections is effectively the same as voting for the worse evil don’t you understand?

    You’re blaming that on the left and going with that “purity” crap, not the establishment Dems who’ve actually had power and have been worse than useless for my entire life? That’s a choice.

    As I noted in # 22, yes the Democratic party stinks and it sucks that Biden was the choice. But to win Sanders and other progressives have to either persuade the majority of other Democrats or create a real third party that actually replaces the Democratic party. They haven’t been able to do either.

    Am I happy with Biden et al? No. In Biden’s place I would have jailed Trump and his traitor perjurer SCOTUS “justices” and be a lot stronger against the regressive reichwingers but its not my position and it is his. Hopefully Biden won’t last and will be replaced by Kamala Harris and maybe she’ll be better?

    But again, we have bad and we have worse as the two actual choices and until the political system of the USA is reformed that’s your options.

    There’s plenty of blame to go around and yes the “purity” mob – as well as the establishment Dems – need to accept their shar eof it and then act accordingly and learn from past mistakes. Which some have I guess hence Biden’s win.

    How about you just keep that kind of shit to yourself in fucking Australia? The US doesn’t need any more bootlicking apologists.

    In case you haven’t noticed, the influence of the USA is pretty massive over Australia and the world generally. What happens over there affects us. As long as the USA is a global superpower with a massive political and cultural influence over others, people like me will have our say. Also what “shit” exactly? The arguments that you seem unable to actually subtstantially address? You keep saying I’m wrong but not saying why.

    @ 17. CR :

    Or do you just bury your head in the sand and think some bullshit like “there are some people in voting booths, so it must be democracy.”

    No. The USA has major issues Democracy~wise and I’ve already repeatedly stated some of them that I think badly need addressing. Electoral College, preferential or run-off voting, gerrymandering and voter suppression ad nauseam. I also
    agree with what Corden powerfully observed here on the USA’s vs British systems and SCOTUS’es abortion ruling .

    What democracy?

    The very flawed, badly in need of reforms one you do have such as it is. What’s your alternative? Oh yeah, rioting. Coz that’ll work ..not.

    But the things that most people in this country actually want? Those do not happen. Most of our so-called “representatives” do not represent anything like that.

    No and then there’s the fact that something like 80% of Americans want abortion to be legal in at least some circumstances (See : https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/383496/ ) but SCOTUS just overturned the Constitutional right to it because Trump not Hillary Rodham Clinton became POTUS in 2016 and thus got to appoint 3 SCOTUS “Justices.” Time that your system was reformed to no longer allow SCOTUS to over-reach like this. Time, America’s outdated and flawed Constitution was rewritten for the current century.

    The North Carolina Green Party was denied its petition to be recognized as an official party by the state’s Board of Elections, despite having many more signatures than was (supposed to be) necessary. It was a 3-2 vote, and unsurprisingly the board consists of three Democrats and two Republicans. It’s bad enough that things are set up this way in the first place, to hand control of the whole system over to these parties, but that’s not even the end of the story…. They were also harassing and lying to citizens, in order to get them to renounce their signatures.

    (NB. CR’s comment #7 on the some-are-more-equal-than-others thread : https://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2022/07/08/some-are-more-equal-than-others/#comment-2141157 .)

    Yes, that sucks and isn’t fair or right. I agree with you on that I think. But I also don’t see how it is relevant here. We’re talking about the previous 2016 election and its consequences. We’re also talking abouta flawed system without preferential voting where the American Greens role is that of a spoiler taking votes that would otherwise go to the Democratic party in reality thus helping the Repugs.

    Personally, in Oz where we have preferential voting I vote Greens first and then ALP second and both the Greens and ALP suceeded at the last election. That is the sort of system the USA needs.

  23. consciousness razor says

    What part of that example explaining how not voting and voting third party in the USA’s elections is effectively the same as voting for the worse evil don’t you understand?

    Suppose that on a ballot there is D, R, L and G, for the two major parties and the two largest minor parties, although there might be more (which can vary a lot from state to state).

    If hypothetically I don’t vote (which has never happened by the way), then none of them gets a vote from me. Thus, this does not advantage the R over the D, not even because you dislike the R so very much or for any other reason. It simply does not work that way, not “effectively” or “indirectly” or what have you.

    Alternatively, if I were to vote for either L or G, that would also not give a vote to R. Thus, again, it would not make the proportion of R votes higher than they would have been. So this does not mean R gets an advantage. The only way I could vote for R and put an extra vote in the R column of the table is by actually voting for R, which by hypothesis is not happening in this case.

    Which part of that don’t you understand? That’s just how the math works. If you think there is some other mysterious thing going on, something which isn’t about counting votes and comparing the totals, then you haven’t explained what you think that is or how it matters.

    It is a campaign’s job (not mine) to attract enough people to vote for their candidate. If a campaign like Clinton’s in 2016 (or its apologists, like you) blames voters and not themselves for their own failures to do that job, you should expect more such failures from these people. They clearly have no regard for the ordinary people who are the bulk of the voting population; and as rich assholes are apt to do, they keep acting entitled, like it’s their god-given right to have our fucking admiration and to govern us peasants (while we presumably have no rights to speak of). We can often see many signs of that attitude and will definitely hate it every time. Even when you bring up the 2016 election now, six years later, that is still the only important thing that comes to mind for me. You weren’t there, so maybe you just can’t quite feel that same way.

    But as a matter of fact, I did vote for Clinton, after voting for Sanders in the primary. This was despite how awful she was and how little I wanted her to be president. However, it was in a “red” state, so it made no difference. Have the Dems gotten rid of the EC? Have they made things any fairer for third parties? Have they even allowed ranked voting? No. They use the same excuses and say the same bullshit you’ve been saying here, believing that it’s best for the party to prevent such reforms from ever happening. (It also happens to be great for Republicans, but that doesn’t matter to them, as long as they can keep their own careers.)

    If you don’t actually stand for that shit, then start acting like it. It seems like none of this matters to you, though, because you’ve become so invested in the idea that I (or people like me) should be blamed, rather than Clinton’s campaign or others in the party establishment who helped make it the garbage fire that it was, which lost in the electoral college to a rich old white guy with no political experience and the personality of a bowel obstruction.

    Yes, that sucks and isn’t fair or right. I agree with you on that I think. But I also don’t see how it is relevant here. We’re talking about the previous 2016 election and its consequences.

    Our system isn’t democratic. You may have decided that you only want to talk about an election from six years ago, one in which Hillary Clinton campaigned poorly, but I didn’t. I could have Joe Manchin as my Senator, and you will still be telling me to “vote blue no matter who” as if my life depends on it, that that asshole has to fuck it up even more for the sake of the party. The party which you think should get my unwavering support actively undermines democracy, any time it suits them.

    You wanted to tell us that we can depend on democracy in the US, but that doesn’t exist. That’s how it’s relevant. Understand that, then ask yourself whether there’s anything left of your original argument.

    We’re also talking abouta flawed system

    But I don’t just accept that. You do. I have to live here. You don’t.

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