Tuesday, May 28, 2013

More on the theme of getting males to -- actually -- think about any new approach in the American labor market (or anything else)

Tomorrow I start writing what I hope will be a "doozey" on the minimum wage.  First, let me explain what I have been doing lately.  I've spent two months crossing the country with email: hitting top newspapers in almost every state (47) with a long message, "Open letter to Oakland mayor Jean Quan -- the only law that can end gun violence", pushing my big obsession -- the only way back -- legally mandated sector-wide labor agreements.  I figured journalists could digest something long.  And hitting every state legislator with an email address (except New Hampshire state reps: all 400!) with, first, earlier versions of my $15/hr minimum wage pitch and then the "black hole theory" -- which latter I started sending that to both papers and legs once I dreamed it up.  May have sent out 14,000 altogether.  AT&T kept cutting me off for suspected spamming -- finally figured out how to restart (wait 6 hours first for a bad one -- don't do more than 200 in an hour or be cut off for an hour).

My "doozey" will take a phrase that a professor hit me with: "marginal productivity."  I had to look it up too.    Without bothering with the "technicalities" (I'm more salesman than tech) I am going to ask -- after some tech explanation:
Did LBJ consult the concept marginal productivity when he raised the minimum wage to $10.75/hr (adjusted and rounded);
did Congress consult marginal productivity when it failed to raise the minimum wage for the next 5 years ('69-'73);
or for 8 years in a row ('82-'89);
or for 4 years in a row ('92-'95);
or for 9 years in a row ('08-'06);
for for now going on 4 years?

Not impressed?  That is because you are a female -- you don't need to be coaxed that doubling the minimum wage is not an impossibly big step.  Males, OTW, are so slaved to checking in with group -- even the top progressive economists -- that they will not consider anything too novel, too different for one second  -- no matter how much sense it might make in the logical abstract.  How else are we going to cooperate going after small animals with big sticks -- can't think too independently!
Egro, my open letter to female mayor Jean Quan -- trying to get her to approach my favorite (mostly male) economic faculty up the road in Berkeley (my California driver's license says I live up that same road) on the subject of sector-wide labor agreements.
The "doozey": whisks away the concept of any (scary) established economic order in the way -- portrays just years of sleepy forgetfulness.  Then, comes the lock: I point out that double indexing LBJ's minimum wage to inflation and per capita income growth yields $20.20/hr -- leaving today's federal minimum wage at just 36% of that -- maybe not even that much to fix, just fill in part of what's missing (enough to get to $15/hr?).  
Want to get somewhere with the male animal on doubling the minimum wage: first, supply the magic numbers, the "black hole theory of the minimum wage" ($15/hr being the median wage: half the workforce will get raises percentage multiples of what their employers pass through to prices will be: wages cause demand to go up) -- and -- then, have fast food workers make a scene for $15/hr all across the nation, anywhere and everywhere you can (the absolutely needed social signal).  Last I heard they are making a stink in Missouri.

[LATE THOUGHT -- possibly to be included with the "doozey"]
Even according to Malthusian theory -- from the pre-industrial world where per capita output could not expand every year: all other things held equal, the federal minimum wage would have dropped only a third as US population grew by half (200 million to 300 million).  Instead by early 2007 the federal minimum wage had dropped almost in half.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

RE: Amanda Bynes' allegation that New York police officer sexually assaulted her

RE:  Amanda Bynes' allegation that New York Police Officer sexually assaulted her 

As I was shocked to discover upon my researching what I thought TSOs could and could not legally touch at the airpot: every male police officer in this country is taught that frisking a woman is no different than frisking a man.  Their department policy may spell out limits (e.g., heel of the hand lifting breasts) but as far as they are concerned the criminal law does not apply -- to them.  Sorry about that Amanda!


Three videos of male officers subjecting female victims to (ever so slow motion) sexual battery:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8RxH1CnYhd8&feature=related (groped in first minute – released at tenth minute) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3NI7JEA4iK4&feature=related
http://www.wktv.com/news/local/FULL-DASHCAM-VIDEO-OF-21111-Utica-traffic-stop-136602198.html (groping begins at 12 minutes -- takes a long time to load)
 * * * * * *
Back when the airport screening got heavy I got on the net to research what the constitutional limits must really be.  Turns out police departments around the country think there are no limits criminal or constitutional to male officers groping females.  I was shocked by one of my first finds: a widely reported story of a courthouse guard groping a mother with two little children to find a sticker in her back pocket.  Story was about scanners coming to courthouses -- groping not even commented on!

Officer safety is the first excuse.  But a female checked for guns -- which can be done without touching anything with fingers -- and rear cuffed behind is a shield is not going to, first, do the Houdini and slip the bracelets and, then, do the Incredible Hulk, tear aside the partition, draw a sharp object from her bra and scratch the police officer. 

Second is the mindless notion that it is not sexual battery as long a cop does it.  "We are professionals doing a job."  Even: "We are like doctors."  Policy may or not discourage going as far as possible but whatever they do, they don't consider it illegal.

Turns out at the airport the letter of the law is that once you enter the security zone, you must submit to the complete body grope -- even if you are a female and only males are available (which is supposed to be not extremely unusual in small airports).  It presumably is not strictly enforced -- but just the idea that it can be written shows a giant mental cog is missing with law enforcement on this issue.

Here a female reporter incredibly subjects herself to a male full body frisk on camera.
They even practice kids on kids (presumably over 18).

Simple enough: any search for evidence can be conducted at the police station by the same matron who would strip search the woman if arrested.  Probable cause means better than 50/50 chance she will be charged, right?  In any case, women in this country can live with the fact that they may be pulled in to a police station to be searched some time in their lives.  I can't find the link but Kansas City (I think) police recently held a woman for three days until a female officer came to work to search her for a major shoplift.  What women cannot live with is leaving their driver's license home and knowing some brute will perfectly free to grope all over her like she was a teenage boy.

The same law applies to cops that applies to everybody else.  A possibly needed common sense legal point: you cannot justify battery because of some good overall effect -- like freeing more police to patrol -- you can only justify battery because of a dangerous circumstance on the spot.  One more: If any male police officer can grope a female for any reason as long as it is not sexual -- so can any other male.

The police point to the Terry decision allowing a pat down under clothing under certain constitutionally approved circumstances as if no distinction needs to be made as to sex (as to sexual battery actually).

If there had been a state law that prohibited male police frisking a female intimately (lifting breasts with the heel of the hand, hips and legs any way they want to in today's practice) as a felonious sexual battery could Terry's words have canceled that -- the word of "God"?

Actually, there is no constitutional path by which a court can set aside a criminal prohibition.  A court can set aside a protection of a citizen (Fourth Amendment in this case) for police or societal need -- but it cannot allow an exception to a legislative prohibition against harming a citizen other than for imminent danger.  If the Terry court had consciously thought of excepting females from protection from sexual battery it could not have done it.

If a legislature excepted police officers from the prohibition against sexual battery, then, an opposing equal protection (the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment) argument would come into play to protect the citizen.

California actually has a half thought out rule that police and private security should try to get a female, first, before a male frisks a female -- which implies sloppily that such male-on-female frisks are not actually illegal.  Since this was written to protect females, it should not be taken as establishing an exception but as regulating an exception that the legislature misunderstood to already exist.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Why do women always have the balls -- about the $15/hr minimum wage?

In my cab driver "psyche theory", males are too instinctively stuck in (hunting pack) group think to seriously ponder any radically new direction, no matter how well proven, or for how long, outside their pack territory (like Europe, Canada, South America, Asia).  Take (my eternal obsession) legally mandated, sector-wide labor agreements that could instantly re-write the social contract in America which all progressive economics academics have heard of but will never mention out loud -- or (in today's instant case) a $15/hr minimum wage; no matter how reasonably well the eighth-grade math says the outcome will (automatically) work out (click below).

In today's case, the female Los Angeles City Controller Wendy Greuel (an instinctive individual gather) -- takes after the female Massachusetts freshman US senator in advocating a much higher minimum wage -- in her instant case, $15/hr.

Somewhere in Robert Kuttner's 2010 book "A Presidency in Peril" is a scene from the early Obama administration in which a female member asks -- in the context of going against the pro-Wall Street think -- "Why do women always have the balls?"  The women don't of course; or they would get all over us.  We must learn to think about what might actually work in the abstract, first, boys -- then and only then worry about how to go about getting it.

Time -- or at least a place -- to switch "Great Wage Depression" for "inequality"

I finally came up with a justification -- in at least one segment of the labor market -- to switch in the words "Great Wage Depression" and switch out the wan, antiseptic word "inequality."

Much unemployment is due to Americans now willing to work for badly substandard wages -- especially for a minimum wage that is $3.25/hr below LBJ's 1968 minimum -- double the per capita income or productivity later!

Which super low minimum wage results in 100,000 out of 200,000 -- half! -- of Chicago's gang age minority males *working* for drug dealing street gangs (also results in schools not working because students wont make the effort when nothing reasonable is waiting for them in the labor market).

Progressive economists should research just how many Americans are unemployed because of super-low pay -- especially not for a minimum wage that would have to be *tripled* to catch up with a doubling of productivity over the last 45 years.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Israel: the North Korea and South Africa of the Middle East – and the world's worst counter-insurgency nightmare

Can’t fault Jane Fonda or Walter Cronkite for not understanding
the nature of the Vietnam War any better than General William WestmorelandThey mistook the conflict for WWI (one), a battle of attrition, when what was needed was an all-out counter-insurgency effort, securing the population from intimidation and seeing to its material welfare.  

General Creighton Abrams-mode counter-insurgency could have pulled off victory had it been applied from the introduction of large scale American ground forces. 
Post-Westmoreland late-launch might still have cut it without Jane and friends undermining public support.  The caveat in either case was that Ho Chi Minh, the Genghis Kahn of Southeast Asia, may have been willing to kill half the population of Vietnam to get what he wanted, or then half of the half, until no one was left.

 In Iraq, the same generals who performed remarkably doing what they were trained to do – brush aside Saddam’s tank forces – likely instigated the initial insurgency (not the current sectarian violence) with their occupation – excepting some counter-insurgency learned types like General David Petraeus.  Rousting families to round up suspects; collateral kills; patrolling intrusively by day, retreating to out of town forts by night all encourage more insurgents than they discourage.

In today’s Iraq, [this section will be re-written when I finish Endgame.]

Our Afghanistan frustration: effective counter-insurgency measures take the form of mutual aid agreements with local regimes, which President Karzai and cohorts resolutely discourage, wanting no competition running -- and looting -- their country.  We could be there forever.

However accurate historically these assessments may be, they show and tell counter-insurgency dos and don'ts.

Israel more like tries (and succeeds!) to instigate and exacerbate every genus and species of violent insurgency against itself -- and its supporters.  America’s next question ought to be: why go on supplying super-power succor for Israel’s madcap lashing out at whole terrorist raising populations (e.g., 2006, Lebanon and Gaza) and for its, incomprehensible for a supposedly Western state, unabashed ethnic cleansing of its closest neighbors?

New York City is missing 3,000 people and its formerly two tallest skyscrapers over our support for the insurgency nightmare state.  What’s next?

Today’s jihadists remind me a lot of 1960s Communists – with no spelled out plan of how to get from where they are to where they want to be; they just know they should fight, fight, fight.  They run to any place there is some resistance provoking injustice (Chechnya?) to proselytize and convert the struggle into a religious fight – themselves having been started over some perceived social injustice – and so they breed.

The exception: the only purely religiously based motive for jihad I know of is Al-Qaeda’s leadership's -- not its rank-and-file's -- who get more frenetic over American troops in Kuwait; Christian warriors in the holy land! -- than over Israel's depredations.  Al-Qaeda has not attacked Israel.

Could Israel be pushed into the sea without America to prop it up?  Eighth-grade tank math: it would take 9,000 NATO quality tanks and elite crews to successfully invade against Israel's 3,000 (2006 figure).  9,000 tanks were what NATO could have mobilized with the "Russians coming" in the middle of Europe in the middle of the 1980s.  Egypt attacks?  LOL.  Syria, Jordan?  ROFL.

Eighth-grade nuclear deterrence math: Israel will be acquiring its seventh and eighth second-strike submarinesElectric propulsion is quieter than nuclear because a reactor's cooling system can never be shut down. The German built subs can be modified to carry at least eight 1,000 mile range cruise missiles.  The latest acquisitions recharge their batteries with fuel cells rather than diesel engines, potentially making them totally undetectable – even by us?  Don’t forget Israel’s  atomic artillery rounds, ICBMs and gravity bombs.

Israel’s fetish with the West Bank settlements reminds me of the Irish Republican Army’s fixation on the six northern counties.  The IRA's caterwauling would make you think the fate of the Holy Roman Empire were in question.  The total population of Ireland is about half that of the city I grew up in -- reducing the six counties in my sight to the "British quarters" analogous to New York's Jewish or Italian or Irish neighborhoods.  (If Ireland were not an island how would the IRA know those counties were "Irish"?  :-])
Ditto for Israel's "Greater Neighborhoods" -- over the absorption of which these people seem willing to see launched the "War of the Western and Islamic Worlds.”  I have read that most people in Israel know someone who was killed by terror.  They took 80% of Palestine in 1949 – is making that 85% really worth today's ton of troubles?

Israel considers itself so overpowering that it can forever get away free (with $200 billion of our help over 40 years) goading its little corner of the world into a seething sectarian cauldron.  America should leave Israel at its word -- and get away free.