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Friday, February 17, 2012

The End of the Future, Anarchy in Mexico, South Texas Lawman Busted With Million Dollars

One of the best articles I've read in a long time on what is wrong with the USA ran in
The National Review in October. The author Peter Thiel, is one of the founders of Facebook,and (I believe) an engineer by training. The main points are that since 1969 we have been in a long decline from the most scientifically advanced country - putting men on the moon, great discoveries in medicine, computer technology, and so on - to a country run by lawyers, government bureaucrats, and regulators, whose policies don't just not encourage innovation and growth, they suppress it. We spend our resources on entitlement programs, instead of science and development. We won't build more nuclear plants, or even try to make them safer, because there's just too much risk. So we're stuck with Arab oil and coal.

Thiel writes that the Woodstock festival was the beginning of the end. I agree that it was a powerful symbol of a radical turn to a hedonistic, narcissistic, culture, but I think the real turning point was November 23, 1963, when John Kennedy was assassinated and Lyndon Johnson became president. LBJ gave us the "Great Society" welfare state, which paid unwed teenagers to have children, who grew up without fathers, and gave us the urban underclass, drugs and high crime. He also lied to get us into the Vietnam War, without raising taxes to pay for it. You really should read all of Thiel's article. Here's a sample:

The End of the Future
The main argument is that the United States is in decline because it is squandering its resources on the welfare state, and the government is run by lawyers and buer

Modern Western civilization stands on the twin plinths of science and technology. Taken together, these two interrelated domains reassure us that the 19th-century story of never-ending progress remains intact. Without them, the arguments that we are undergoing cultural decay — ranging from the collapse of art and literature after 1945 to the soft totalitarianism of political correctness in media and academia to the sordid worlds of reality television and popular entertainment — would gather far more force.

Men reached the moon in July 1969, and Woodstock began three weeks later. With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that this was when the hippies took over the country, and when the true cultural war over Progress was lost.

Today’s aged hippies no longer understand that there is a difference between the election of a black president and the creation of cheap solar energy; in their minds, the movement towards greater civil rights parallels general progress everywhere. Because of these ideological conflations and commitments, the 1960s Progressive Left cannot ask whether things actually might be getting worse. I wonder whether the endless fake cultural wars around identity politics are the main reason we have been able to ignore the tech slowdown for so long.

However that may be, after 40 years of wandering, it is not easy to find a path back to the future. If there is to be a future, we would do well to reflect about it more. The first and the hardest step is to see that we now find ourselves in a desert, and not in an enchanted forest.

Vigilante mob killed apparent innocents
By Dudley Althaus, San Antonio Express News
SAN MATEO HUITZILZINGO, Mexico — In this raw town on the hard eastern fringe of one of the world's largest cities, a fatal mob attack on three apparent innocents stands as the latest frenzied monument to vigilante justice.
Hundreds of enraged villagers savagely beat then burned to death a man and two teenage boys who many presumed had come to Huitzilzingo to kidnap, steal or worse.
But this time, prosecutors say, the mob got it wrong.
If shocking in its brutality, last Friday's lynching in Huitzilzingo, a former farm town a few miles east of Mexico City, hardly is unique. Vigilante justice reigns in much of Mexico, as people sidestep a legal system they consider inadequate to deal with rampant crime.

Valley constable candidate arrested with $1 million in his car
By Lynn Brezosky, San Antonio Express-News
BROWNSVILLE — A Rio Grande Valley constable candidate remained jailed Wednesday on money laundering charges after state police stopped him for speeding and found $1 million in his vehicle.
Robert “Bobby” Maldonado, 46, was stopped Monday afternoon on U.S. Highway 59 in Victoria County.
He initially refused a search, but a police dog smelled contraband in his car, a 2011 Chrysler 200.
The cash was said to be wrapped in more than 100 bundles in suitcases, which police say is consistent with drug trafficking.

1 dead, 1 hurt in Calif. federal building shooting
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — A federal immigration agent shot and wounded a colleague at their office, before the gunman was killed by a third agent, the FBI says.

Several shots were fired about 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the Immigration Customs Enforcement office, leaving one man wounded, said Steven Martinez, assistant director in charge of the FBI's Los Angeles office.
MEXICO CITY -- The U.S. State Department is recommending that Americans avoid travel to all or parts of 14 of 31 Mexican states in the widest travel advisory issued since Mexico stepped up its drug war in 2006.

The department advises against any nonessential travel in all of Chihuahua, Coahuila and Tamaulipas, which border the U.S, and in the central state of Durango, as well as sections of 10 other states.

It advises caution for traveling in three other border states and many areas of central and western Mexico where drug cartels have been warring.

The advisory issued Wednesday says U.S. citizens have been victims of drug violence, including killings, kidnappings and carjackings.

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