Rants

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Rant
#1
: This morning I was watching Fox 5 News in the DC area when
there was a news bit about how DC police are cracking down on stores
selling cigarettes that don’t have the proper stamp indicating payment
of local taxes. Reportedly the Virginia tax is only a few cents
per pack, while the District charges about 60 cents. (Just why the
District charges such high taxes isn’t questioned. Since Marion
Barry isn’t in office to convert tax revenue into “nose blow” and
womanizing, I question the reason. It’s probably the same as always – a greedy government vilifying one group to justify taking its
money in “sin taxes.”) Apparently some storeowners have purchases
cartons of cigarettes in Virginia and sold them in the District,
avoiding the local taxes. It’s not much, but it caught the attention
of the DC government.

The
news broadcast showed five policemen – uniformed and plainclothes – inspecting cigarettes in a family-owned Korean store somewhere
in the District. When the police left, I saw them carrying away
three cartons (Wow, what a haul!), leaving the owners with a $5,000
fine. A news crew was there – no doubt invited by the DC government
to accompany the officers and broadcast the event to help intimidate
others tempted to partake in such wicked behavior – and the newscaster
put his microphone in the face of a little old Korean woman, asking
her about the fine and what it would do to her business. English
was clearly her second language, and she had a hard time getting
words out, but it’s obvious that such a fine could be devastating
to the store. She rubbed her hands together and appeared to contemplate
the difficulties that lay ahead.

Washington,
DC, was formerly known as the Murder Capital of the World, but I
think it has lost the title, not because of police action, but because
of flight by both whites and blacks to the suburbs to escape the
crime, high taxes, and incompetent government. Its population has
shrunk significantly over the past couple of decades, leaving fewer
people for the predators – criminal and governmental – upon which
to prey. Few entering DC have any misconceptions that the police
will be of much help in ensuring one’s safety. Their main function
is to draw a chalk outline around your cold body. Their lack of
ability in solving murders periodically flares up in the press,
but then the issue fades away and the bloodletting continues.

Besides
drawing a chalk outline, I see they have another function – ensuring
the government beast remains well fed with tax revenues and fines.

The
Koreans in DC set up little stores where no whites would dare go,
and they’re typically family affairs, where people work every day
of the week, from very early in the morning until late at night.
Their stores are robbed by local black thugs, who are quite happy
to beat and murder them. Blacks resent Korean stores in black neighborhoods
and don’t like it when storeowners keep an eye on them while they’re
in the shop. (The fact that robberies are not uncommon and shoplifting
is seen as a right may have something to do with it.) When a Korean
is beaten or murdered in his or her store, no one cries, “Hate crime!”
Koreans have long shown an incredibly capacity to put up with suffering,
evidenced by the long-lasting, widespread starvation in North Korea – but they grit their teeth and hang on, day after miserable day.
When a local storeowner finally calls it quits and wants to sell
the store, typically he or she finds that only the inventory holds
any value. The store itself, because of its location in the heart
of DC’s crime-ridden neighborhoods, is essentially worthless.

While
I’m not advocating tax evasion, I see why stores with marginal profits
may be tempted, even if it’s for trivial amounts. Still, it’s disheartening
to see small stores being attacked by both the criminal element
and the government. If I were a storeowner, I would never count
on the DC police to be of much assistance in combating robberies,
but they would come around when they sniffed untaxed money.

If
a store closes because of fines and high taxes – not to mention
the local crime – who gains? Now the city receives no revenue at
all from the store, but I hope the Koreans will join us in Northern
Virginia for a better way of life.

Rant
#2
: Recently there have been radio commercials encouraging youth
to sign up for the Selective Service. It starts out rather humorous,
with lots of yells and grunts in the background as someone is apparently
trying to demonstrate that he’s a true he-man by practicing martial
arts and banging his head against very hard objects. The narrator
advises that there are better ways to show that you’re a “real man,”
and one of them is by registering with the Selective Service, adding
that it’s shows one is “responsible” and “in charge of your own
life.” I don’t think I’ve ever heard a bigger lie (except for anything
coming from Clinton’s lips). Should a young man actually be drafted
into the military, he'll quickly learn the truth.

I
well remember my own initial experience in Army basic training in
February and March 1975. We basic trainees were cursed, humiliated
and belittled in ways I didn’t know existed. We were called, among
many other things, “split-tails,” indicating something feminine
about us, and it was quickly clear that we were the lowest scum
to ever ooze across the face of the earth. Real man? In charge of
my own life? My hair was shaved off, I wore only uniforms, ate only
in mess halls, lived in barracks (WWII-era “government housing”)
and virtually all of my activities each day were directed by someone
else. During nightly outdoors guard duty on the cold, wind-swept
hill where my company’s barracks building was located, I felt that
I’d been sent to a penal institution, but somehow I’d missed the
trial and sentencing. My crime: Enlisting. I’d asked for it, and
I got it.

Nothing
about military service “makes a man out of you.” More than anything
else, it shows that your government can really abuse you when it
has a mind to, and there’s really nothing you can do about it. One’s
lot in life improves after basic training (although that varies
depending upon the type of unit to which one is assigned), but one’s
status in uniform takes years to improve. You know you’ve truly
“arrived” when you can abuse others the same way others initially
abused you. I think some lived for that day.

The
radio commercial noted that registering ensured one remained eligible
for government jobs, government-based student loans, etc. Gee, I
wouldn’t want to miss those goodies!

Rant
#3
: These days I’m a “weekend warrior,” an Army Reservist. I
think most of us in uniform see it as sort of a “boys outing” for
married guys (you don’t get paid for fishing trips, but you do for
reserve weekends) or beer money. Honestly, no matter what the official
propaganda says, I don’t see much patriotism in reserve duty. Just
watch all the howling that starts when it looks like one’s unit
will be activated for an extended period of time.

Due
to the attack on the USS Cole, security has become a bigger issue,
and at our last drill weekend one of our captains gave us a briefing
on it. He noted possible threats from various local organizations,
to include a group protesting the Navy’s use of the Visques Islands
for bombing practice, currently holding demonstrations outside the
gate of a nearby naval base to air their opinions. Another threat
came from those who oppose income taxes. Terrorist threats all.

The
last time I looked, non-violent protest was a right of free Americans.
Also, I don’t like the income tax either, for reasons already eloquently
stated on your website. I now see I’m a potential terrorist threat
in the eyes of our government.

My
time in uniform is nearing its end, and none too soon. I can see
that my views are at odds with what has become official policy,
and I want no part of government that views its citizens as the
enemy.

February
2, 2000

TM
wishes to remain anonymous so long as the military has even its
part-time claws in him.

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