The crime of being American

Luni, 15 Octombrie, Anul 4 d.Tr. | Autor: Mircea Popescu

First, this excellent illustration from Nathaniel Burney (New York defense attorney) :

crime-of-being-american

Pretty good, huh ? The guy’s talented.

I on the other hand am not equally talented. I’m just pissed off.

mircea_popescu
Whoa WHAT THE FUCKING HELL. You can’t have bird feathers ?i Fuck that bullshit country.

BTC-Mining
There’s TONS of silly laws in the US
mircea_popescu
Fuck that shit. The US is a rogue state. Americans should just be executed on sight.
BTC-Mining

But…
mircea_popescu
A. I am going to pluck any bird I feel like ; B. I am going to make soup out of any turtle I get my hands on. Anyone doesn’t like it better bring fucking enough ammo.
BTC-Mining
They can be repaired!
mircea_popescu
Who cares ? This is like the fucking zerg.
BTC-Mining
But the zergling is all cuddly, grabbing you and nibbling at your internal organs. Embrace the zergling…
mircea_popescu
No. Americans. Executed. On sight. It is now a crime to be American.
BTC-Mining
I think the crime here is politicians rushing through new laws for their public opinion.
mircea_popescu
I do not care. Fucking muppets ranting on about what the SEC bla bla ? Fuck this shit.
BTC-Mining
Also, did you know that those muppets might be making some of the criminal laws? Not all laws are voted by the representatives. Many regulations are made by expert in their fields but who have poor or no understanding of criminal law and it’s intent. The website summarize the issue nicely. Although the problem of “broad/uncomprehensible laws” has been quite an issue globally, in many nations.
mircea_popescu
It does. It also explains why the United States has no room and no place in civilised society. I’m sorry (well not really), but it was just expelled. Can go hang out with Gabon, Sierra Leone and the rest.
BTC-Mining
Well, you seem to be overreacting to laws being too broad in the US by creating another broad law:
it is now a crime to be American.

Are you sure you aren’t part of the problem?

mircea_popescu
This isn’t a law. This is a matter of private policy. (Really, I was mostly making a point, rhetorically.)
BTC-Mining
Eh, and I wasn’t really serious, just pointing out it was a rather harsh and excessive stance. People that dare organise into such a state are hostes humani generi. Universal public enemies.
mircea_popescu
No it’s not. It’s perfectly commensurate with the offence.
BTC-Mining
Eh, “americans” are just born in the US, not a direct cause of everything that happens in the US
mircea_popescu
Listen, if you’re part of some mob cause “you grew up into it” you still go to jail. Sword cuts both ways.
BTC-Mining
Well that would be something applied too broadly… Not everyone in the US agree with the US.
mircea_popescu
Orly. Are they paying tax to the us ? Seems to me if you pay the mob boss you’re in the mob, whether you *claim* disagreement or not.
BTC-Mining
Depends on the individual. Most people in every country pays taxes. Doesn’t mean they all support 100% of the state.
mircea_popescu
Yes, actually, it does, for this discussion.
BTC-Mining
I don’t see how you could reasonably expect someone who object to any single law in a country to be able to move somewhere that has no rules they disagree with. Unless everyone lived in their own one-man nation.
mircea_popescu
You don’t have to move. You just send them your citizenship in the mail and be done with it. Being a US citizen is a crime in itself.
BTC-Mining
Except that doesn’t really work that way…
mircea_popescu
Says who ?
BTC-Mining
Since when will any government anywhere accept to take citizenship back and accept you stop paying any taxes? Tough luck on getting that through.
mircea_popescu
Not the same. You can renounce any citizenship, it’s no big deal. If you’re not a citizen and are paying taxes I dun care, you’re not liable. I’ve paid taxes in maybe twenty jurisdictions so far, I don’t see why anyone could claim I have anything to do with them.
BTC-Mining
How do you even renounce citizenship? You never agreed to that. The state just decided by itself to consider you a citizen based on it’s own set of rules, without your accord.
mircea_popescu
Nah. You were born one. Your citizenship really predates any law other than the Consitution. People tend to forget the state is much ulterior in the process.
BTC-Mining
I try to completly make abstraction of the state/whatever is in place and consider each individual individually for their own actions and intent. Regardless of their citizenship/government. If I see they support something I don’t agree with, then I object.
mircea_popescu
But they are actively engaged in a criminal entreprise (the us federal government). This is over their head, uneffaceable.
US data : There were between 222-235 renunciants in 2008, between 731-743 in 2009, and about 1485 in 2010; In 2011, there were 1781 renunciants.

BTC-Mining
That’s like me saying you doing business like dinning out in a mob’s restaurant is being actively engaged in a criminal enterprise. You have dealings with it, it doesn’t mean you know or support what they do. You simply pay them for a service. Same with citizens paying taxes. I consider it payment for services.
mircea_popescu
Some may accept that argument. I do not.
BTC-Mining
Now the issue is, there will be laws you don’t agree with in every country. And pretty much every country charges taxes one way or another.
mircea_popescu
I’m pretty happy with Romanian laws so far. Obviously no laws are perfect. What we’re discussing here are laws that are criminal in themselves.
BTC-Mining
I’m pretty sure even if they don’t abound, we could at least find a few falling under that definition of yours in Romanian laws.
mircea_popescu
Please do. I’m happy with one, actually.
BTC-Mining
I’m afraid I don’t have the skills required to do such legal research. In any case, I’m satisfied so far of canadian laws, although I’m pretty sure there’s plenty I just don’t know of.
EskimoBob
Can a law be criminal? Probably not but it sure can be absurd and instead of protecting people it harms them. But still, can you call it criminal?
mircea_popescu
EskimoBob sure. Nazi Germany laws were criminal, and they created liability for loyal subjects of the 3rd Reich.
EskimoBob
mircea_popescu: No, they are criminal now, but not back then.
mircea_popescu
Well US laws are’t criminal in the US.
EskimoBob
And most are not even criminal now days.
mircea_popescu
Well most no. But most doesn’t matter in this context. Some are an’ it’s good enough for me.
EskimoBob
My point is, your example was a hyperbole. US laws have turned in to a pile of shit and same happens all over the world. Law is not for protecting society any more.
mircea_popescu
Nope, not the same, and not all over the world. This is just misguided jingoism. The insanity is quite speciffic to the US, with some overlap in the 51st state (UK). But yes my example was a hyperbole. Problem is, it’s a matching one.
BTC-Mining
Well, yes, many countries are FAR from being in such a mess as the US.
mircea_popescu
Right.
BTC-Mining
It doesn’t mean the US is unrecyclable or that I’d hold every American responsible for the current situation however.
mircea_popescu
The only way to get the lazy bums out of their bubble of confort and don’t-give-a-shit is to put a loaded gun in their face. Responsibility is something that kills you. So. All Americans. Strictly liable. For being part in the US war on mankind. To be executed on sight.
BTC-Mining
Well I’m speechless.
mircea_popescu
Hey, I’m kinda speechless too.
BTC-Mining
If I applied that logic for anyone who is a citizen of a government I held responsible for crimes, I’d have to execute everybody on Earth, including myself.
mircea_popescu
Really ? Like, for instance, the icelandic people ? Or whatever, Andorra.
BTC-Mining
Simply for the fact no single government can be reasonably assumed to be 100% corruption free and applying laws correctly 100% of the time.
mircea_popescu
This is a strawman argument. We’re not putting the standard at either 100% corruption free or applying laws at all. We are putting the standard at not making laws which are enmitous to mankind. It doesn’t even matter whether such laws are ever applied or were ever applied. The simple fact that htey exist is sufficient.
BTC-Mining
Corruption in governments is almost always for making laws that are not bad for mankind.
mircea_popescu
We’re not discussing “bad for mankind”. We are discussing, hostile to mankind.
BTC-Mining
What I meant by bad. Harmful.
mircea_popescu
Yes, but is a difference between harmful and hostile. If I snipe at you while you sunbathe I am hostile, whether I hit you or not. If I take the parking spot you wanted, it may be bad for you, but there’s no hostility involved.
BTC-Mining
The latter isn’t really harmful, just vaguely inconvenient. I’d class sniping someone as harmful.
mircea_popescu
Well, if I don’t hit you, no harm done. Harmful discusses effect. Hostile discusses intent.
BTC-Mining
I suppose. Seems more like it was an unagreement on definition of words.
BTC-Mining
Even so, would you claim your government has done absolutly zero hostile acts toward mankind for all the time you were a citizen?
mircea_popescu
You ever heard of Romania starting a war ? They tried to prevent the one in Serbia… bout all.
BTC-Mining
Aye, but I’m pretty sure at some point, it caused harm to its own citizen under one law or another. Although I guess that’s not a receivable argument.
mircea_popescu
But anyway, this isnt a “oh I’m so much better than anyone else” thing. I’m just trying to point out the immensity of US insanity
BTC-Mining
I lack facts. But so do you against american citizens for merely being american citizen. Also, since you consider intent, I suppose you wouldn’t be against minors or infants who have no choice or knowing intent of causing such hostile acts. As such, why held adults responsible for inaction when they themselve are completly clueless. I’d consider their inaction as a poor choice, but would not consider them responsible. Purely personal opinion however. To each it’s set of standards and ethics. Eh, guess that’s it for today, 4:30 am already. Goodbye.
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16 Responses

  1. While I really enjoyed the comic and got riled up a bit myself, I kept waiting for the cites that never arrived. There’s plenty of mysterious third-party documentation of crazy laws worldwide; it’s illegal to leave your house commando in Thailand, it’s illegal to complain that it’s not sunny in the winter months in Sweden, etc.

    To the extent that any of these are true, I agree they’re deplorable. But for the reason that frivolous laws seem to come up solely for the intent of angering or amusing, I can’t help but suspect they’re at least in part the products of hearsay or exaggeration.

    Maybe it’s my civic duty to find out?

  2. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    2
    Mircea Popescu 
    Marti, 16 Octombrie 2012

    As to the two instances cited :

    Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918

    Prohibited Acts. Unless permitted by regulations, the Act provides that it is unlawful to pursue, hunt, take, capture or kill; attempt to take, capture or kill; possess, offer to or sell, barter, purchase, deliver or cause to be shipped, exported, imported, transported, carried or received any migratory bird, part, nest, egg or product, manufactured or not.

    Some examples of the stupidity in action :

    District Court Imposes Migratory Bird Treaty Act Criminal Liability For “Takes” of Migratory Birds By Unprotected Oil Field Equipment ; Federal District Court Upholds Criminal Conviction Under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act for Bird Deaths Resulting from Oil Refinery Operations

    the Lacey Act

    Under the Lacey Act, it is unlawful to import, export, sell, acquire, or purchase fish, wildlife or plants that are taken, possessed, transported, or sold: 1) in violation of U.S. or Indian law, or 2) in interstate or foreign commerce involving any fish, wildlife, or plants taken possessed or sold in violation of State or foreign law.

    Examples of the stupidity in action :

    On January 22, 2007, I received an e-mail from Dianne Blandford. She related the tale of her husband’s conviction for importing lobster tails from Honduras in supposed violation of the Lacey Act. The tale (pun intended) would be funny of it were not true. Mr. Blandford’s conviction demonstrates the dark side of prosecutorial discretion and oversight. The Lacey Act makes it a crime to import “fish or wildlife taken … in violation of any foreign law.” In this instance, the foreign law was allegedly Honduran fishing regulations that had been declared null and void in Honduras.

    via environmentalblog.typepad.com

    But, the Lacey Act has been expanded to require that importers of plants and plant-based materials make a declaration of the botanical name of the species involved and that it was harvested and exported legally. This is very tough when the importer is several steps removed from the person who harvested the tree, for example. Consider a car company in Germany that uses lovely rosewood in its interior trim. The importer in the U.S. needs to know that the wood making up the trim was harvested legally. That is way outside the usual visibility of the supply chain.

    via customslaw.blogspot.com

    On it goes.

  3. I’m satisfied, thank you. I hope nobody tries to tell me about “The Land of the Free” anytime soon.

  4. asta nu-i nimic, sclava a lui mircea popescu zis si piotr cand are barba si e ras in cap, stai sa vezi comicsu’ the crime of being mircea popescu zis si piotr cand are barba si e ras in cap.

  5. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    5
    Mircea Popescu 
    Marti, 16 Octombrie 2012

    Les ras, moar lafter.

  6. Simple fact - crime has been decreasing in the United States over the last three decades, and yet some prison population has been massively increasing.

    This EconTalk podcast describes how prison populations were relatively stable as a percent of the population until recent times:

    http://www.econtalk.org/archives/2012/12/pettit_on_the_p.html

    I’m all for law and order, but something is wrong here.

  7. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    7
    Mircea Popescu 
    Joi, 3 Ianuarie 2013

    I would guess it’s all order and no law, Soviet style.

  8. It’s happening just coz government can take any people by force and throw in jail. You believe in something named “Crime” and pay for building jails and hiring “law enforcement” thugs and government through circus named ‘Court’ and clowns named ‘Judges’ decide about putting you in jail. If you wanna live that way - you deserve it. You wanna obey for safety, but real safety cannot be received though obedience.

  9. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    9
    Mircea Popescu 
    Miercuri, 9 Ianuarie 2013

    Maybe so.

  10. subSTRATA`s avatar
    10
    subSTRATA 
    Vineri, 12 Iulie 2013

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zgWcAZlDyhQ

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