Sometimes when the outrageous material that seems to make up so much of life in today’s world, and especially today’s America, gets too thick in the air it produces something not unlike vapor lock for me.
I’ve sadly neglected this humble little blog for several weeks now, and although no one’s going to suggest that the absence of its voice has diminished public discourse to any degree, I still feel guilty about it. But what to write about? Hillary Clinton turning out while Secretary of State not only never to have used anything but a private e-mail address, maintained on a server physically located in her private house in New York, but never even bothering to have a State Department e-mail account set up for her? It’s not just her, either, but also her Muslim Brotherhood operative of an assistant who used a private e-mail account on that same server. We’re supposed to accept at face value her suggestion that she never, ever, not once, discussed any classified material by e-mail the entire time she was tramping all over the world? Breaking every previous record for miles travelled and places visited and time spent away from her office, the head of the U.S. Department of State was able to forego classified communication for weeks on end? Even better, two years after she leaves office we’re supposed to trust her assistants (including the Muslim Brotherhood’s representative) to tell us what we need to see from all those e-mails? Remember Hillary is a person with a documented track record for making important records disappear. She’s been that way, so far as we can tell, since Day 1: She disappeared public records while on the staff of the House Judiciary Committee, preparing articles of impeachment against Richard Nixon, and she disappeared the Rose Law Firm billing records that later surfaced (will wonders never cease?) in the White House private quarters. Her explanation was, “Shut up.”
The comedy that is Greece? They’re running out of money, have no intention of altering the habits that got them into this fix, and their only response to the rest of the continent’s reluctance to keep them afloat indefinitely is, “Shut up and pay.” They have the Hellenic equivalent of Dear Leader – mouthy, sarcastic, vastly-overly-impressed-with-himself, skilled skirmisher from the faculty lounge, but no, absolutely no idea of what it means to pay one’s own bills – as their finance minister. He’s scared the bejesus out of the guys with the money and irretrievably pissed off his peers who might lean on the guys with the money to get over it. It’s like the entire country’s been taken over by petulant sixteen-year-olds.
Closer to home, how about the EPA? Having already pretty much banned the production of wood stoves – notwithstanding large numbers out in flyover country heat with wood – now they’re wanting to come after your backyard cook-out. No, seriously, you can’t make this stuff up.
Or maybe, on the theory that the knee is closer to the shin, as they say, how about Washington State’s idea of having “limited license legal technicians” out there practicing law without supervision? They are supposed to be the “nurse practitioners” of the legal services industry. Sounds nice, and in truth there are many hundreds of thousands of people out there, without law licenses, doing what for all intents and purposes is indistinguishable from practicing law. You’ll find them working as lawyers’ paralegals and assistants. What’s novel about this new suggestion is that the legal “technicians” are going to be operating completely without supervision. After someone has worked for a skilled lawyer for twelve or fifteen years, she (most frequently she, but sometimes not) will not only have the skills to attend to a huge amount of the nuts and bolts of a client’s needs (and very frequently those will be some extremely complicated nuts and bolts), but she will also know the boundaries of her competency, and will never be more than a door or two away from the person she needs to kick an issue upstairs to see if this cow is or is not spotted. In other words, your highly-experienced assistant to a lawyer complements the lawyer’s skills and efforts; she does not substitute for them. The State of Washington is proposing to unleash on the unsuspecting world people with a year or so of junior college behind them. But don’t nurse practitioners do much the same thing in medicine? Well, yes. On the other hand if you’re going to see a nurse practitioner for a specific problem, you, as the owner/operator of your own body, are going to have some independent feedback to tell you whether what this person is doing is or is not getting you better. Not always true, of course (there wouldn’t be medical malpractice cases for failure to diagnose if you could always tell what was going on inside your own skin), but for a large slice of what ails you, if your nurse practitioner is tinkering around with you and you’re not getting better, you’ll know it. That’s simply not the case with legal services. Your legal position and problems do not produce unmediated physical manifestations and sensations. How you deal with a legal problem today can lay a land mine which won’t blow up for years, but when it does, will produce a blast out of all proportion to the legal issue of today which you thought you resolved, and will eviscerate your personal or financial existence. I do business organizations as part of my practice (in fact over the years I’ve done a fistful of seminars on LLCs, corporations, and LPs for one of the larger continuing education operators). An enormous portion of the mental effort involved in setting them up is working through with the client the numerous questions that all start with, “What happens when . . . ?” Even for the nominally purely domestic matters which the Washington program contemplates these “technicians” working around regularly implicate the substantive laws of property, taxation, and creditors’ rights. They also frequently involve financial planning and related economic principles as well. I beg leave to question whether a couple of years of junior college is going to prove sufficient to instruct them on when they’re out of their depth.
OK, how about Ferguson, the little town that last summer became America’s favorite place to hate? Gentle Reader will recall that a very large young thug attacked a police officer and got his ass shot for his troubles. The professional grievance-mongers assured us that the shooting was in cold blood, while the young scholar (nay, choirboy) was attempting to surrender. The left – which is to say the lamestream media and their pet constituencies – uniformly demanded the police officer’s head. Then the actual physical evidence was laid before the grand jury and it got to see what actually happened, and it declined to indict the officer. Ferguson exploded. Lost in the lamestream hand-wringing about “racial justice” and all the rest was the fact that they’d demanded the criminal prosecution of an innocent man, and it was the refusal of the responsible authorities to pursue that innocent which prompted the destruction of a city.
And it was all a lie, as even some lefties are now admitting. This thug, who matched the description of the suspect in a just-completed violent felony the report of which had within recent seconds been disseminated by radio and heard by this officer, was hailed by the officer and then reached into the police car, physically attacked the officer, attempted to seize his weapon, then when the officer attempted to arrest him for that attack, attacked again, and was shot with his head down, charging the (physically much smaller) officer. He got, in other words, neither more nor less than precisely what he deserved.
Enter the most politicized Department of Justice since the Palmer Raids. The everything-is-about-race minions of Eric Holder’s DOJ swept down on Ferguson, looking to act where the locals wouldn’t. In something of a surprise move, after parsing back through the physical evidence, even the race baiters of the DOJ concluded that the police officer acted in legitimate self-defense, and lawfully employed deadly force, thereby neither depriving this thug of any “civil right” he might otherwise have enjoyed nor committing any crime. Even Dear Leader, whose politics are so steeped in race-mongering that he claims opposition to any single one of his policy preferences must necessarily be a function of his skin color, is defending the DOJ’s decision not to press on.
But the DOJ didn’t stop there. It conducted a wide-ranging investigation of the entire law enforcement system of Ferguson, including its police department, its prosecutor, its municipal court, and its general government. It has now released its report.
The DOJ came looking for racism and – mirabile dictu! – they found it. In truth that’s not the interesting part of the report. It’s not interesting because it’s expected, both objectively and subjectively. I say “objectively” because you’ve got a nearly all-white police force in a part of the country that has a track record of racial animosity, policing a city that is almost exactly two-thirds black, but that as recently as 25 years ago was only a quarter black. I say “subjectively” because we’re talking about investigators from Eric Holder’s DOJ, under the overall command of Dear Leader, and those ass-hats can make talking about adding a turning lane at the corner of Main Street and Vine into a racial issue.
Before we start on this, let’s remind ourselves of some universals. Observation No. 1: Every institution out there which intentionally sets itself apart from the rest of the citizenry, and which enjoys rights and powers not enjoyed by citizens in general, will inevitably develop an us-versus-them mentality. That is true of the armed forces. It is true of the IRS. It is true of the DOJ’s very own FBI. It is true of the NSA and the CIA. It is true of the police forces of every penny-ante town in America. [Irrelevant aside; rant to follow: I hate it when I hear a police officer or bureaucrat refer to ordinary citizens – in contrast to themselves, of course – as “civilians.” Listen, jack-ass, unless you are a member of the United States Armed Forces actually on active duty, you are a civilian. Period. That you cops like to dress up in military gear and play around with weapons you’re not trained to use correctly does not make you anything other than a civilian. You’re just a very dangerous civilian. The contrast to “civilian” is not “government,” it’s “military”; when you bust someone for stealing, that person goes before a civilian court, not a court martial. End of rant.]
Observation No. 2: Every group which thinks of itself as “not-them” is going to seize upon every last point of distinction between “us” and “them,” and highlight it. It is simply not human nature to ponder the points of commonality that “we” share with “them.” It’s precisely why fraternization in the midst of combat, e.g. the Christmas truce of 1914, is so vigorously discouraged and punished. When you think of the guy in the trenches opposite yours as being even a tiny bit not-fundamentally-distinguishable from yourself, you lose a little something of your moral capacity to blow his brains all over that corner of Flanders.
Sub-Observation No. 2.1: Noticing easily-observed physical distinctions between “us” and “them” is hard-wired into the human animal. It is the vestige of survival instincts the failure of which meant, in a world in which humans were not even at the top of the local food chain (let alone a world in which luxuries such as “social justice” could be even imagined), death by violence or starvation. When there is never enough food to go around, every other group of hominids, Neanderthals, Cro-Magnons, or Clovis People, is a potential source of food. Successfully take theirs and your little band of hunter-gatherers survives for another day, another week, another season. Lose that fight and you and your little band (with all of whom you’re blood kin, by the way) dies. Just that simple. Agriculture and husbandry, the twin innovations which for the first time allowed humans to enjoy Enough to Eat on even a precarious basis, are less than 10,000 years old. Neanderthals, from whom we get something like 10% of our DNA, survived the world that preceded those innovations for something like a quarter-million years; Cro-Magnon Man had evolved by fully 43,000 years ago. Whatever may be the morality of it in today’s world, it is not realistic to suppose that police officers will fail, in seizing on points of distinction between “us” and “them,” to seize on observable physical differences as well.
Observation No. 3: Institutions which enjoy, relative to the people or groups among which they exist, rights and powers not enjoyed by those other groups or people, are going to be exposed to a powerful temptation to engage in predatory behavior. It is why the medieval nobility rode pell-mell through the peasants’ fields, trampling their crops, in pursuit of game. They did it because they could and the peasants could do nothing about it. It is why whites in the Jim Crow South were so routinely abusive towards blacks. They did it because they could, with no consequences to themselves. It is why historically civilian populations have fared very poorly when invading armies move among them, at least when the soldiery is not restrained by threats of draconian punishment from its commanders. [Wellington understood this when on the Peninsula. He once came upon a group of his troops outside a peasant’s house. One of his soldiers had taken an apple without paying for it. Wellington turned to the junior officer among them and told him in ten minutes to report to him that this man had been hanged. Which he was, with the apple jammed into his mouth. Compare and contrast the behavior of the French armies among the same populations at the same time, and how they were treated when caught alone or in small groups.]
Observation No. 4: Most people are no better behaved than they are compelled to be.
Observation No. 5: Things like how a police force lives with the population it supposedly serves do not develop or exist in a vacuum. This is not to play who-shot-John; in fact, I say that more to point out that games of who-shot-John in situations like Ferguson are nearly always going to steer you into a dead-end. Mutual hostility breeds . . . mutual hostility. It needn’t start with any clear-cut or even specifically identifiable data point, such as a horribly tragic – and all too frequently occurring these days, it seems – sequence where young child is, whether aware or not, acting as if armed and threatening, and a police officer over-responds, whether out of inexperience, or fear, or excessive zeal, or whatever, and shoots the kid dead. The thug that Officer Wilson shot was not that hypothetical child, by the way. But at least that’s the kind of incident you can point to and say, “That was when the walls went up.” I didn’t see anything in the Ferguson report to suggest that such a point ever occurred. I get the impression that, little by little, through thousands of points of interaction, the Ferguson police force and the population each came to the conclusion, each seemingly justified by the other’s behavior, that the other side was the Enemy.
All of that having been said, the DOJ report does recite several instances of what can only be described as explicit bigotry of white police officers about and toward blacks. It recites several anecdotes which are explicable only in terms of overt racial animosity. The report does not say that each of the reported incidents was corroborated by the investigator, either through independent witnesses or documentary sources, although I’d hope that were the case. Objectionable? Absolutely. Surprising? Not really.
Here I may as well shove in a general comment on the DOJ report. In the race-specific discussion I found it to be somewhat light on numeric data, and sketchy on cause-and-effect discussion. For example, for each of the instances discussed where the Ferguson police engaged in behavior that was pretty plainly tinged with – even if not actually arising from – racist animus, you have to assume that some number of people would have heard the story from the mouth of the protagonist. How many? You can’t know for sure, but my question is how reasonable is it to assume that each of those stories became widely enough known to seep into the consciousness of the black population of a city of roughly 21,000 people? On the other hand, replicate enough such events and no single one of them needs to get widely known before some critical mass of the population personally knows someone who has had a bad experience with the Ferguson police where any objective, reasonable observer would agree that the police’s behavior was racist. What would be that critical mass? I can’t say, and I don’t know that anyone can.
A good deal of the DOJ’s analysis of the racism problem in the Ferguson police department relies on so-called “disparate impact” analysis. I’ve already vented my problems with “disparate impact” analysis elsewhere on this blog. What I would have preferred to see is a more detailed statistical analysis – neither more nor less than a multi-variate regression analysis – of their data. In several places there are statements that blacks experienced Outcome X more frequently than whites, “even after accounting for” a litany of stated factors. Did they in fact “account for” all these other things? Statisticians, sociologists, political scientists, economists, and others in the behavioral sciences have a great deal of experience in such numerical analysis. How much of that kind of rigorous number-crunching went into the DOJ report? I’d remind Gentle Reader that it’s been only roughly six months since the grand jury decided not to indict Officer Wilson. I must question whether the data could be assembled, modeled, and tested with anything like mathematical rigor in that time. Gentle Reader will further bear in mind that any given statistical test can only look for correlation, really. Causation has to be teased from the results of multiple tests, each subjecting the observable data to stresses from different approaches.
Just for example: Let’s take two of the concrete data points given in the report. Ferguson has a population of roughly 21,000 people and roughly two-thirds of them (by the 2010 census data) are black, or roughly 14,000 people. We know nothing much at all about the individuals who make up that 14,000 people. We do know, on a purely random sampling of them, that among those of them who are males between the ages of 18 and 34, they are significantly more likely than the general population to have a conviction for a serious crime in their history, or to have pending charges for a serious crime. Again on a purely random sampling basis, we know that the females of that group are much more likely than the general population to have a child who was born while they themselves were still teenagers. Since that latter pattern has existed for some time, it’s not unreasonable to expect that, among all individuals of that 14,000, those who are in the 18 to 34 age bracket – those who were born between 1981 and 1997 – many more than in the general population were born to women who had their first child while still a teenager. We can expect those patterns to emerge because they’re generally true of the American black population. Those patterns almost assuredly do not hold true for all of the 14,000 black residents of Ferguson, and you wouldn’t necessarily expect each to be equally true – statistical variation is an ever-present phenomenon – but you’d have to be a fool or a charlatan – like Eric Holder or Dear Leader – to suggest that none is true for any statistically significant proportion of them.
So what? Well, each of those data points is a strong predictor for future involvement in the criminal justice system. And like it or not, people who are involved in the criminal justice system are seldom involved at only one point of contact. They tend to have multiple points of intersection, and to have repeated intersections over their lives. So just based upon those two data points – 21,000 population, 14,000 black – even with a 100% black police force we’d expect any police behavior patterns which can be described as unduly aggressive for any reason at all to have a “disparate impact” on Ferguson’s black population. Is there anything that might throw some cross-bearings on that? I suppose you could look at those persons from the 14,000 for whom none of the general patterns is true. Go find those black inhabitants of Ferguson who have no serious criminal past, who were born to women whose first birth occurred at age 20 or later, and look at their interactions with the Ferguson police department. Now do the same thing for the 7,000 Fergusonians who aren’t black. Some of them will fit into either of the criminal-history or teenage-mother groups, and others won’t. Figure out how many of each there are, and then see how their interactions with the Ferguson police play out.
How would those numbers look? Can you even assemble the data for such analysis in six months? I’d wager that you’d find some irreducible statistical disparity between blacks’ experience of the Ferguson legal system and whites’, but that disparity would be nowhere nearly the strength reasonably sufficient to indict the entire force for pervasive racist behavior. I’d like to see, for that matter, some data on the distribution of use-of-force incidents among the individual officers who have served on the Ferguson force over the past decade or so. Are they concentrated among identifiable individuals? But I’m just guessing; I could be wrong. Wouldn’t be the first time. My point on all that is that the DOJ report just doesn’t give the impression of being the result of the kind of rigorous mathematical analysis that would allow it to reach the conclusions it does, whether or not those conclusions are in fact true. Even a blind pig will find an acorn every so often.
Last point on the racism angle of this report: Ferguson may present a marvelous chance to conduct precisely that kind of statistical examination. It’s a small town, but still large enough that there will be lots and lots of data to measure. Its institutional omerta has been shattered; you show up with the proper credentials and my guess is you’re going to get to see the actual records necessary to figure out who has been doing what, how, when, and to whom.
The genuinely interesting point of the DOJ report, in contrast, is the first part, which throws a really glaring spotlight on the monetization of the American criminal justice system. Not to put too fine a point on it, but the entire system – the city manager, the council, the chief of police, the command structure, the field officers, the city judge and court staff – viewed enforcement of the criminal law and civil fine system as being neither more nor less than a revenue source for the city. Attempted summary is pointless; as the Blogfather would say, read the whole thing.
It wasn’t just that the city intentionally set its fines and penalties as high as they could. How offenses were charged and prosecuted was viewed as a revenue function. If a given offense could be charged as a state crime or a violation of a municipal ordinance, the offense would be charged under the city code, explicitly so that the city could keep the revenue. Officers’ individual responsibilities were structured so as to favor generation of municipal violations rather than investigation of state crimes, which is to say felonies (you know, the serious crimes). Jail time for offenses was not favored (in fact the judge could recall only a single instance), but rather imposition of fines and penalties. Missing a court date, however, was greatly frowned upon (and was itself the subject of still more monetary punishment); most people who went to jail in Ferguson did so not because they committed an offense, but because they missed some court date or other obligation imposed with respect to the monetary punishment imposed on the underlying offense. A treadmill, in other words.
The city court routinely set over 1,000 cases for each docket call. Each docket call was scheduled for no more than three hours. The judge – who was also the city attorney, and so tasked with rendering general legal advice to the city council and its officers, including in respect of its financial affairs one would assume – regularly refused to permit witnesses to testify, or heard all the available proof, in order to get through the docket. Just handed down decision after decision after decision. I have a stupid question: Why does this individual still hold a Missouri law license? How in the hell can you advise a city on how to structure its municipal code and ordinances so as to create revenue streams, and them impartially preside over the tribunal at which the translation of those laws into revenue occurs?
The DOJ report documents numerous examples of correspondence within the system in which everyone is in the know and everyone – including that judge – discusses how to collude to extract the maximum revenue from the legal system. It is really sickening. It is, in fact, nothing less than a chicken-shit town’s version of the same idea behind Stalin’s Gulag. As Solzhenitsyn relates, the Gulag in the form it became was a specific economic response to the industrialization question in the Soviet Union. Solovki began as a more-or-less straight-up extermination camp. Then Naftaly Frenkel arrived and showed them how the prisoners could make money for the system. At first they worked principally in logging and other extractive industry in the Karelian peninsula, but then Frenkel showed Stalin how the system could be scaled, massively scaled, upwards. The Belomor – the Baltic-White Sea Canal which ate several hundred thousand dead – was merely the first big industrial project. After that and for the next 25 years they never looked back. Ferguson, Missouri could not – thank God! – establish a network of camps fed on eternally-replenished supplies of enemies of the people, but they by God could float their lousy little patch over hell on the revenue from their criminal justice system.
The drive for revenue was relentless, and produced what the DOJ was able to document as pervasive violations of constitutional law, both in its processes and the substance of its law enforcement. One example: The police would regularly do what they call a “ped check,” or the pedestrian equivalent of a traffic stop . . . for no reason at all. Hint: You’re no more entitled to pull a pedestrian over without probable cause than you are a motor vehicle. They’d demand to see identification, which you are constitutionally entitled to refuse to produce except as a result of a lawful stop . . . which these “ped checks” were not. Then when people would refuse, or dog cuss the cops (which you’re constitutionally entitled to do, actually), they’d arrest you for “failure to comply,” which you’re likewise constitutionally not permitted to do except in respect of a lawful order, which demanding identification without constitutionally permissible basis is not. And not infrequently while they were arresting you for “failure to comply,” they’d go ahead and beat the shit out of you or taze you for good measure. Because. See Observation No. 3 above.
I do think that the DOJ reports gets it right when it points out that, at bottom, it was the single-minded focus on money which drove the police to a place where all of those constitutionally objectionable behaviors were not merely likely, but nearly inevitable.
But why do I describe that as the “interesting” part of the report? Because it rips the curtains off what the criminal legal system in the United States has become. It has become an enormous apparat whose acknowledged (at least within itself) purpose is not the protection of public health and safety, but rather the feeding of itself from its own population. Civil forfeiture; these cock-eyed “drug task forces” out on the interstates who never seem very interested in catching mules carrying smack, or grass, or blow in one direction, but rather cash in the other; the crazy over-charging of everything (see the Blogfather’s wonderful, short, and very distressing “Ham Sandwich Nation” in the Columbia Law Review) in an effort to extort guilty pleas; the hamster wheel of probation which artificially produces violations which artificially produces yet more fines and penalties, and longer probations – the legal system can no longer exist without creating offenses. Short of going out and hiring people to commit crimes, the only way the money can be brought in is precisely the sort of behavior documented in Ferguson, Missouri.
While outside the scope of the DOJ report on Ferguson, it is not at all inappropriate to ask to what extent the last several decades’ lavish municipal spending on benefits contributes to this unslakable thirst for revenue. Unlike the feds, cities like Ferguson can’t just print up the money to fund their health insurance and retirement programs. Unlike the State of Missouri, they are subject to oversight by state-level officials who likely won’t let them get too far off the balanced budget reservation. So the only way they can put people in their early 50s on long-term, 80% of highest-average-five-years’-salary (or whatever other unreasonable measure) retirement is to haul in more money. Taxes are an imperfect method; in fact, one of the communications the DOJ report cites is one city official reminding his interlocutor that, sales tax revenue being problematic, the court system needs to step up to the plate. Jack the city’s property taxes too high and people leave.
You have, in fact, to wonder how much the city’s financial (mis)management is to blame for the shift from one-quarter to two-thirds black in a single generation. Blacks, being as a group less well-off, are more immobile, and those who cannot easily move are more likely to congregate in areas where property prices are lower than elsewhere . . . like places where the whites are leaving as fast as they can price their houses and businesses to sell. Thus you get several reinforcements to a vicious cycle: City spends beyond its means; those who can begin to leave, and the more who have left or are leaving, the lower the prices the next to leave can obtain for their properties; property tax revenue begins to fall off, which means the city must charge a higher tax rate to produce the same overall revenue; more people leave, driving property values still lower; the city begins to fill disproportionately with those who can’t pay a lot for their houses and don’t go shopping at the more expensive stores; now sales tax and property tax revenues are down; the city’s pension obligations are unchanged through all of this and the state comptroller keeps busting them for under-funding their obligations; so the city jacks up its tax rates some more. At some point you’ve hit the practical upper limit to what you can raise by way of tax revenue. What’s left (remember we decline to consider spending less as an option, Gentle Reader)? What’s left is funneling 1,000 people an afternoon through a court on bullshit charges of “failure to comply” with some swell-head cop’s demand to cough up identification on the street corner.
I am afraid there is no cure for Ferguson, in the sense of restoring it to a functioning municipal corporation. Every single member the police force, every single staffer on the court, the judge, the mayor, the city manager, and every member of the council should be removed from public employment and barred from ever being employed by the State of Missouri or any of its agencies, instrumentalities, or political subdivisions. I know that’s harsh; there are probably a few police officers who have long wanted to vomit over how they have been made to do their jobs. But the problem is that those officers don’t bear the mark of Cain; you can’t tell them apart from the guys who’ll taze some 18-year-old kid whom they just decide to hassle on the sidewalk one afternoon because they’re running behind on their monthly ticket quota. It’s not, in other words, that we know that they are “bent coppers,” it’s that we cannot know that they’re not, and when you’re talking about the kind of power that goes with a badge and a gun, the people are entitled to more assurance than that. The city leadership can go to hell; every stinking one of them had the chance to raise six kinds of hell over what was going on and they all not only chose not to, they played along.
The Assistant Chief Race Baiter, Eric Holder, famously accused the United States population of being “cowards” because we didn’t want to talk about – “conversation” is the word you hear, by which is meant, “You people shut up and I’m going to harangue you” – race all day, every day. We sure do need to have a conversation, that much is undisputable. But it’s not the conversation he’s wanting to have. We need to discuss to what extent it is or is not Good Policy to give the criminal law enforcement authorities such a direct financial interest in the continuance and expansion of criminal behavior. I humbly suggest it is Bad Policy to align the interests of the police and the interests of the criminal so closely. At some point, after all, you get to the point that the money extracted from the crook by the criminal law system, to be funneled into the police officer’s pocket, becomes nothing more than a cost of doing business for the criminal element, to be built into its financial calculations. It’s overhead to be recovered from the criminal classes’ customers . . . by which is meant you and me, tovarish.
Where are we headed?