Death by the State Returns

by Cato Rand
Profound apologies at my work-related hiatus from the blogosphere. Glad to be back.

Mario Deane’s Death
I begin with comments re: the recent beating death of Mario Deane. This 31 year old construction worker was arrested on the morning of August 3 – while on his way to work – for the possession of a ganga spliff.

Deane was later that day severely beaten while in custody at the Barnett Street police lock up in Montego Bay, St James and died in the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) some 3 days later. The Police have subsequently charged three men with his death. Interestingly (and most conveniently us cynics may say), two of the men are mentally ill and one is a deaf mute (who by the way cannot read and does not understand sign language.)

Many Jamaicans, myself included, do not believe the account being proffered by the Police especially considering that reports indicate Deaneʼs bail was interrupted because of comments that he does not like the police. The person who had come to stand surety for Deaneʼs bail became suspicious and later returned – before the appointed time – only to be told that Deane was in hospital.

American pathologist Dr Michael Baden, who observed Deaneʼs September 2 autopsy on behalf of his family, has noted that post mortem findings are in keeping with death resulting from extensive brain damage due to multiple impact injuries to face, head and brain.

The Police who are “to serve and protect” certainly have many questions to answer as even if they did not inflict such wounds they are certainly negligent in not preventing Deane being subjected to such violence whilst in their care. Sadly, incidents like this occur much too often in a country that wants to brand itself as “the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”.

Kamoza Clarke’s Death
As recently as February 2014, 31 year old Kamoza Clarke died at the CRH some 4 months after being severely beaten by policemen whilst in custody at the Falmouth Police Station. The Police at the time put out a story that his injuries resulted from him hitting his head on a wooden bench while being restrained. Fortunately footage from closed circuit television cameras that had been installed at the recently constructed (2012) Falmouth Police Station was able to contradict this story and showed Police personnel reigning blows on Clarke (who has a history of schizophrenia) after he refused to obey orders to return to his cell. Unfortunately cameras are not present in the Barnett Street lock up.

Deaneʼs death again highlights the need for our society to be more concerned about individual rights. One does not sense that our political leaders are incensed and revolted by such gross violation of human rights. The citizenry on the other hand will make the cry for “we want justice”, but I suspect this will recede as time passes.

Lets hope that Deanʼs death will result in us Jamaicans collectively drawing the proverbial “line in the sand” – declaring that enough is enough, that any and all interactions among individuals must be centered on individual rights and we adopt the concept that the primary function of the nation-state is to protect these rights and thus the reason that governments are created among people.

Deaneʼs death also brings into sharp focus our societyʼs stance on marijuana. Legislation will soon be passed into law to decriminalize possession of small quantities of the “herb”. While this is certainly commendable, I think we should really be instituting the legalization of the use of marijuana. As a matter of fact I think we should legalize the use of all drugs.

Legalize It
For many this may seem too drastic a move but I think it is the only sensible thing to do. Jamaicaʼs “War on Drugs” has for example not prevented their continued use, created criminal empires and corrupted law enforcement personnel. Drug legalization will lead to the state shifting resources from preventing trafficking of drugs which is nothing but Sisyphean to the rehabilitation of drug addicts and educating citizens about the dangers of drug use. Our society can thus adopt a medical approach to drug use rather than a law and order approach.

Making the use of drugs legal will also enable the authorities to collect taxes from drug sales and considering the parlous state of the countryʼs coffers, we desperately need to identify new revenue streams.

Hopeton Lewis Passes on
In closing let me express condolences at the death of singer Hopeton Lewis whose recording of “Take it easy” is considered by experts on Jamaican music to have ushered in the rock steady era. His cover of “Grooving out on Life” is certainly another classic.

By the way what has become of Twiggy who recorded a few songs on Donovan Germaineʼs Penthouse label during the 1990s.

Posted in CATO RAND, Individual Rights, Jamaican Issues, Justice, Right From Yaad | Leave a comment

Myths about Capitalism

We had posted this video shared by Dan Mitchell some month ago. Great piece by the way Dan!!

International Liberty

In addition to his side job as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the Economics Department at Harvard University, Jeff Miron is Director of Economic Studies at the Cato Institute.

He’s also the narrator of this video from Learn Liberty that discusses three myths about capitalism.

Unsurprisingly, I think Jeff is right on the mark. Here are some of my thoughts on the three myths, but I’ll take a different approach. I’ll state the truth and then add my two cents to Jeff’s debunking.

1. Capitalism is pro-consumer, not pro-business.

I think the myth about a link between capitalism and big business arises because defenders of free markets often are in the position of opposing taxes, regulations, and mandates that also are opposed by the business community. But for some reason, many people overlook the fact that those same advocates of free markets also oppose cronyist policies that are widely supported…

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Celebrating the Work of F. A. Hayek

An Article from the Future of Freedom Foundation

http://fff.org/explore-freedom/article/celebrating-the-work-of-nobel-prize-winning-economist-f-a-hayek/

 

Celebrating the Work of F.A. Hayek

by Richard M. Ebeling

Forty years ago, on October 9, 1974, the Nobel Prize committee announced that the co-recipient of that year’s award for economics was the Austrian economist, Friedrich A. Hayek. Never was there a more deserving recognition for one of the truly great free market thinkers of modern times.

The Nobel committee recognized his contributions, including “pioneering work in the theory of money and economic fluctuations and for [his] penetrating analysis of the interdependence of economic, social and institutional phenomena.”

Over a scholarly and academic career that spanned seven decades, Hayek was one of the leading challengers against Keynesian economics, a profound critic of socialist central planning, and a defender of the open, competitive free society.

The awarding of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1974 represented capstone recognition to an intellectual life devoted to understanding the workings and superiority of social systems grounded in the idea and ideals of human freedom and voluntary association.

“Austrian” Influences on Hayek

Friedrich August von Hayek was born on May 8, 1899 in Vienna, Austria. He briefly served in the Austrian Army on the Italian front during World War I. Shortly after returning from the battlefield in 1918 he entered the University of Vienna and earned two doctorates, one in jurisprudence in 1921 and the other in political science in 1923. While at the university, he studied with one of the founders of the Austrian school of economics, Friedrich von Wieser.

But perhaps the most important intellectual influence on his life began in 1921, when he met Ludwig von Mises while working for the Austrian Reparations Commission. It is not meant to detract from Hayek’s own contributions to suggest that many areas in which he later made his profoundly important mark were initially stimulated by the writings of Mises. This is most certainly true of Hayek’s work in monetary and……(To read more Click here)

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A Two-Question Challenge for Supporters of Intervention and Big Government

International Liberty

I want to challenge supporters of intervention and big government. Here are two simple questions. I’ll be happy if I can get a semi-reasonable answer to either of them.

1. Can you name a nation that became rich with statist policies?

Before you say Sweden, or even France, note that I asked you to name a nation that became rich during a period when it followed policies of interventionism and big government. Countries in Western Europe became rich during the 1800s and early 1900s when government was very small. Indeed, government spending consumed only about 10 percent of economic output in Western Europe prior to World War I and there was almost no redistribution. That’s more libertarian than what you find today in places such as Hong Kong and Singapore.

Speaking of which, what I’m really asking my leftist friends is that they give me the…

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Morgan Freeman on Racism

Enough said!

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Blacks Must Confront Reality

An Article from Townhall.com

Find article on original site at the following link: http://townhall.com/columnists/walterewilliams/2014/08/27/blacks-must-confront-reality-n1882887/page/full

 

williams

by Walter Williams

Though racial discrimination exists, it is nowhere near the barrier it once was. The relevant question is: How much of what we see today can be explained by racial discrimination? This is an important question because if we conclude that racial discrimination is the major cause of black problems when it isn’t, then effective solutions will be elusive forever. To begin to get a handle on the answer, let’s pull up a few historical facts about black Americans.

In 1950, female-headed households were 18 percent of the black population. Today it’s close to 70 percent. One study of 19th-century slave families found that in up to three-fourths of the families, all the children lived with the biological mother and father. In 1925 New York City, 85 percent of black households were two-parent households. Herbert Gutman, author of “The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925,” reports, “Five in six children under the age of six lived with both parents.” Also, both during slavery and as late as 1920, a teenage girl raising a child without a man present was rare among blacks.

A study of 1880 family structure in Philadelphia found that three-quarters of black families were nuclear families (composed of two parents and children). What is significant, given today’s arguments that slavery and discrimination decimated the black family structure, is the fact that years ago, there were only slight differences in family structure among racial groups.

Coupled with the dramatic breakdown in the black family structure has been an astonishing growth in the rate of illegitimacy. The black illegitimacy rate in 1940 was about 14 percent; black illegitimacy today is over 70 percent, and in some cities, it is over 80 percent.

The point of bringing up these historical facts is to ask this question, with a bit of sarcasm: Is the reason the black family was far healthier in the late 1800s and 1900s that back then there was far less racial discrimination and there were greater opportunities? Or did what experts call the “legacy of slavery” wait several generations to victimize today’s blacks?

The Census Bureau pegs the poverty rate among blacks at 28.1 percent. A statistic that one never hears about is that the poverty rate among intact married black families has been in the single digits for more than two decades, currently at 8.4 percent. Weak family structures not only spell poverty and dependency but also contribute to the social pathology seen in many black communities — for example, violence and predatory sex. Each year, roughly 7,000 blacks are murdered. Ninety-four percent of the time, the murderer is another black person. Though blacks are 13 percent of the nation’s population, they account for more than 50 percent of homicide victims. Nationally, the black homicide victimization rate is six times that of whites, and in some cities, it’s 22 times that of whites. According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, between 1976 and 2011, there were 279,384 black murder victims. Coupled with being most of the nation’s homicide victims, blacks are also major victims of violent personal crimes, such as assault, rape and robbery.

To put this violence in perspective, black fatalities during the Korean War (3,075), Vietnam War (7,243) and all wars since 1980 (about 8,200) come to about 18,500, a number that pales in comparison with black loss of life at home. Young black males had a greater chance of reaching maturity on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan than on the streets of Philadelphia, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Newark and other cities.

The black academic achievement gap is a disaster. Often, black 12th-graders can read, write and deal with scientific and math problems at only the level of white sixth-graders. This doesn’t bode well for success in college or passing civil service exams.

If it is assumed that problems that have a devastating impact on black well-being are a result of racial discrimination and a “legacy of slavery” when they are not, resources spent pursuing a civil rights strategy will yield disappointing results.

Posted in Articles/Columns from US sources, Race, Right From Yaad, Townhall.com, Walter Williams Features/Articles | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Apathy Has Caused Our Parlous State

by Lipton Matthews

Transformational leadership has become a rather popular topic these days, but we often ignore the importance of effective ‘followership’ in determining the quality of a leader.

Jamaica’s current state is akin to a company in which the shareholders and employees alike have come to expect sub-par performance from management. Our citizens’ apathetic attitudes (and emigration) has resulted in declining profits, lower returns on investments for shareholders and massive lay-offs for employees, since a failing and loss-making company will no longer be able to afford wages.

Operating  country is however more complicated than running a business. Therefore, we should expect that the criteria for selecting public officials to be more rigorous. Unfortunately, this is not the case when partisan politics trumps meritocracy.

For example some years ago, a Gleaner Editorial entitled ‘Pickersgill’s contempt’ gave an apt description of the arrogance of the then Transport Minister, the Hon. Robert Pickersgill, who is still a cabinet minister of Climate Change. The Article went on to read: “After several years in government, as a Cabinet Minister in different ministries, Robert Pickersgill has yet to distinguish himself either as a performer or visionary.

We know that some parliamentarians are repeat failures. Phillip Paulwell has failed project after failed project, as has Roger Clarke. Yet we continue to elect them along largely political partisan leanings, and when they inevitably fail to deliver we wallow in self-pity.

We have become so apathetic we don’t make a fuss over inefficiency and waste either. Let’s look at one government agency. The Tourism Product Development Company among many is not efficient, but when it’s reported in the media that the agency only spent 15.2 per cent of its capital budget on special projects for the period 2013/2014 up to January 2014, with the majority of its funding going to salaries. Jamaicans, public outcry is necessary.

Unfortunately, however, this is Jamaica and the board members have not been fired. Notwithstanding, nothing is more disheartening than the public’s attitude to the parlous state of the Capital Development Fund. The fund had assets of about US$4b. In the early years its proceeds were used to finance tertiary education, but overall most of its assets were wasted on imprudent financial investments. Again the Jamaican people have remained silent. Perhaps it is out of ignorance why we are silent on such issues.

I will say it outright, the standards of Jamaicans are  low, with low expectations of our elected leaders. We can continue to lament the present state of affairs, and lambast Pickersgill and his comrades for their ineffectiveness through the written word and fora such as Right From Yaad, but we must not forget the fact that it is our apathy which created the present situation. Maybe it’s time for Jamaicans to take a page out of the Tea Party’s book.

 

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