Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Red Herrings

As has always been the case, the draconian, economy destroying, giant, evil, monstrously, insanely huge budget cuts are, in fact, not.  Some nifty infographics from our friends at YAL:

Also check out the analysis by Reason:
Widely quoted as $85 billion for spending in fiscal year 2013 (which ends on September 30), the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) underscores that just $44 billion of spending reduction are slated for 2013, with the rest coming in later years. So what we're talking about is trimming $44 billion from total federal spending expected to be $3.6 trillion this year. If you use the $85 billion number, that's about 2.4 percent of the budget. If you use the $44 billion, you're looking at 1.2 percent.
We should try to define austerity. In its latest budget document, the CBO notes in table 1-1 (look at outlays) that, assuming sequestration happens, there will be a slight dip from 2012 to 2013 in discretionary spending levels. Then discretionary spending rises every year through 2023. Total federal spending is projected to rise from $3.5 trillion in 2012 to $5.9 trillion in 2023. Good luck matching that sort of austerity in your salary gains over the next decade.

If only it were so.

Friday, February 22, 2013

No guns for you!

Democrat Joe Salazar says college women shouldn't be allowed to carry guns to prevent rape.  First he says women don't need guns - apparently schools are gun free "safe" zones and students have access to whistles and emergency call boxes.  Then he says women are clearly too hysterical, too irrational to carry them, because you may start indiscriminantly popping off rounds at random "innocent" people.
It’s why we have call boxes, it’s why we have safe zones, it’s why we have the whistles. Because you just don’t know who you’re gonna be shooting at. And you don’t know if you feel like you’re gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone’s been following you around or if you feel like you’re in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop … pop a round at somebody.
A little tip for you Representative - straight from Dirty Harry himself.  
When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn't out collecting for the Red Cross.
- Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry
The University of Colorado advises students to prevent rape by yelling, vomiting, and urinating on yourself instead of, well, you know, shooting the attacker. Amanda Collins disagrees with both the Representative and the University, and considering she was raped at gunpoint in a "safe" zone, I think she has the right of it.  This picture from Rob Allen's blog really says it all.
Of course the real reason politicians don't want you armed is because with arms you can resist them, and they wouldn't want that, would they
The right of the citizens to keep and bear arms has justly been considered, as the palladium of the liberties of a republic; since it offers a strong moral check against the usurpation and arbitrary power of rulers; and will generally, even if these are successful in the first instance, enable the people to resist and triumph over them.
- Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, 1833

Update 3/5:

Republican state Sen. Ted Harvey attacks gun control bills, rightly saying the firearm bans are in place to prevent people from becoming uncomfortable, and that they are not trying to tackle violent crime at all.
“How does rendering me defenseless protect you against violent crime?” Collins asked. 
“What we are trying to do here tonight is not to protect ourselves from violent crime. What we are trying to do here tonight is prevent students and teachers from feeling uncomfortable by you carrying a gun to protect yourself,” Harvey said.
Unless you realize he is deriding the efforts, it sounds like he's a nutcase, but in fact he's pointing out the idiocity of the bill.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The War on Drugs?

As a child I was very impressed with the policeman who came to our school and talked to us about the DARE program.  Do you remember that?  Drug Abuse Resistance Education.  It was all about teaching kids about the dangers of illegal drugs and preparing them to say no if they were ever offered such.  Of course the officer never told us that 60% of all drug overdose deaths involve prescription drugs.  He never told us that 75% of those that died overdosing on prescription drugs (a full 45% of all overdosing deaths) died overdosing on pain killers.  We were never told that the pharmaceutical industry would fill over 120 million OxyContin and Vicodin prescriptions, or that this industry would rake in $300 Billion dollars and provide the drug that kills nearly 40 thousand Americans in a single year.

Of course he never told us.  How were children supposed to understand the difference between good drug dealers and bad drug dealers?  Sure the good drug dealers kill tens of thousands of people, but the bad drug dealers are - gasp - black!  Oh boy, you know how "uppity" they can be.  That's probably why there are something like half a million of them in jails right now for non-violent drug offenses.  They are non-violent uppity blacks.  Trust the policeman, trust the government.  The war on drugs is not a vehicle created for the sole purpose of destroying the minority blacks and their families. Continue on the path you're on and keep filling those prescriptions. 

Update 2/25:
In another example of the failed "War on Drugs," California prisons which are so overfilled with non-violent drug offenders are paroling sex offenders, and not re-jailing them even when they cut off their tracking devices

Update 3/4:
The ACLU produced a great infographic detailing the prison industrial complex.

Update 3/18:
What happens when you're a white West Hollywood drug dealer?  You get probation and your medical license is suspended for a mere one year.  Perhaps it's not just because he's white, but because he's a psychiatrist?   These "well respected" criminals routinely get out of paying for their crimes - whether they are rapists, drug dealers, or whatever else.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Drone valor! 1 out of 50 ain't so bad I guess...

Apparently drone pilots will be receiving medals that are higher in seniority than the bronze star, which is awarded for valor in combat. 

Drone strikes kill 49 civilians for every intentional target they kill, according to a study by Stanford and NY Universities.
Released on Wednesday by researchers at Stanford and New York University law schools, the study recommends the U.S. conduct “a fundamental re-evaluation of current targeted killing practices,” which has led to 49 civilian deaths for every one known terrorist killed.
Can you imagine an infantry soldier killing 49 civilians and 1 terrorist and getting a medal?  Me neither.  Usually they go to jail.

A list of children killed in the strikes

Update 2, April 15th:
Hagel cancels the drone medal.
Two months after the military rolled out the Distinguished Warfare Medal for troops who don’t set foot on the battlefield, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has concluded it was a bad idea. [Duh. - Aaron]  Some veterans and some lawmakers spoke out against the award, arguing that it was unfair to make the medal a higher honor than some issued for valor on the battlefield.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Math, owch edition.

There are 46.6 million people on food stamps.  If each of these people lined up on the roads, standing 10 feet, 7 inches from each other, they would be cover every one of the 46,726 miles of interstate highway in this country, on both sides of the road.  That's a sad statistic, and one up more than 100% since the President first took office.

Monday, February 11, 2013

If it’s illegal for us, don’t sell it to police!

 Via No Lawyers, Only guns and Money blog: LaRue Tactical stands up for your rights!
LaRue Tactical of Leander, TX is well known for both their tactical accessories and their highly accurate AR-style rifles. On Friday, Mark LaRue, the owner and president, issued a notice stating his company would limit their sales to state and local law enforcement agencies to what the citizen of that state or locality was permitted to own or possess. In other words, if, for example, the residents of California or New York are limited in what they may possess due to "assault weapons bans", then sales to the LAPD or NYPD will be limited to that as well.

Grass Roots North Carolina is starting a campaign to get other companies on board with this. Their position with which I agree is that the "Only Ones" should not be allowed to have special weapons that are forbidden to the average citizen by state or local law.
Copy and paste this email, and send to these sales managers:
publicsafetysales@sigsauer.com, dgrier@smith-wesson.com, LE.info@glock.us, mreissig@colt.com, sales@fnhusa.com, lawenforcement@ruger.com

subject: If it’s illegal for us, don’t sell it to police!
Dear Law Enforcement Sales Manager,

Recently New York rushed an ill-advised and unconstitutional law infringing on the rights of law-abiding gun owners. Other states are poised to write similar laws. I urge you to follow the lead of LaRue Tactical which has adopted this policy: If it can’t be sold to law-abiding citizens, it won’t be sold to state and local police agencies either.

There are 800,000 sworn police officers in the entire United States. The FBI reports a total of 2,495,440 NICS checks, and thus firearms sales, in January alone. Police sales are not your major business. It’s time for firearm manufacturers to send a clear message that you will not participate in the slow erosion of our Second Amendment rights.
(NICS numbers Source http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/nics/reports/20130205_1998_2013_monthly_yearly_totals.pdf)

Some people may be opposed to this action.  Some may accuse supporters of hating the police, or being anarchists.  That is not what is happening here.  That is not what this is about.  This post is about destroying the concept of "one law for us, another for them," which is all too prevalent in our country, and has "public servants" thinking they are our betters.

Read this quote I first saw on the Smallest Minority blog:
The most glaring example of the cognitive dissonance on the left is the concept that human beings are inherently good, yet at the same time cannot be trusted with any kind of weapon, unless the magic fairy dust of government authority gets sprinkled upon them. 
This does not really only apply to the left. It applies to anyone who thinks the police are inherently more trustworthy than non-police, which just isn't true. We're all people. You, me and the police. Let me say that again. The police are people. They are subject to all of the same stresses in their daily lives, and in many cases more, than everyone else. They intake the same chemicals. The drive in the same traffic. They pay their mortgages. If every civilian is a criminal waiting to happen, that applies to police officers as well.

That is why there cannot be one law for us and another for them. There simply is no magic fairy dust.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Do the police have to protect you? No.

Warren v. District of Columbia held that the police generally do not have an obligation to protect you.  Read the dispicable actions of the police and the horrible ruling here on Wikipedia.
Warren and Taliaferro heard Douglas' screams from the floor below. Warren telephoned the police, told the officer on duty that the house was being burglarized, and requested immediate assistance. The department employee told her to remain quiet and assured her that police assistance would be dispatched promptly.

Warren's call was received at Metropolitan Police Department Headquarters at 0623 hours, and was recorded as a burglary-in-progress. At 0626, a call was dispatched to officers on the street as a "Code 2" assignment, although calls of a crime in progress should be given priority and designated as "Code 1." Four police cruisers responded to the broadcast; three to the Lamont Street address and one to another address to investigate a possible suspect. (This suggests that when they heard that there had been a burglary, the police must have felt that they had a promising lead on a culprit.)

Meanwhile, Warren and Taliaferro crawled from their window onto an adjoining roof and waited for the police to arrive. While there, they observed one policeman drive through the alley behind their house and proceed to the front of the residence without stopping, leaning out the window, or getting out of the car to check the back entrance of the house. A second officer apparently knocked on the door in front of the residence, but left when he received no answer. The three officers departed the scene at 0633, five minutes after they arrived.

Here on Police Chief Magazine they discuss the ruling and the exceptions:
Law enforcement generally does not have a federal constitutional duty to protect one private person from another. For example, if a drunk driver injures a pedestrian or a drug dealer beats up an informant, agencies and their officers usually would not be liable for those injuries because there was no duty to protect.
Nonetheless, agencies need to be aware of two exceptions, referred to as the special-relationship and the state-created danger theories, which, if pled and proven, may establish a constitutional duty to protect by police. While plaintiffs who are harmed by third parties often raise both theories when they sue police, the state-created danger exception appears to be litigated more frequently than the special relationship exception, which often is more easily analyzed and defined. Since its 1989 holding that a duty to protect generally does not exist, the U.S. Supreme Court has not directly spoken on the two exception theories that have since evolved.1 Instead, many federal courts have analyzed, defined and applied these exceptions to a variety of fact patterns. Not all of these lower court decisions are consistent with one another. Agencies, in reviewing their policies, should be aware of the approaches taken by the federal courts in their circuit. This article gives a brief overview of the different judicial approaches to a federal due process claim but does not address whether a failure to protect action could be brought under state law.

And via John Lott's excellent blog, Chicago police will no longer respond to 911 calls for robbery, car theft, burglaries, etc:

Robbery is a serious violent crime (Fox News video is available here). For police not to respond to reports of robberies will only lead to one prediction: there will be an increase in robberies. In a city that makes it extremely difficult for people to use guns defensively, not having the police respond is dangerous. 
There is also the James Q. Wilson notion of "broken windows." As the city disintegrates, it may encourage other more serious crime to occur. 
Now, for the "gun control" advocates out there, how do you feel about further restricting gun ownership for law abiding citizens?  If you don't live in Chicago, you may be able to brush this off, but I urge you to consider for a moment if these policies come to your city.  Neighborhoodscout.com has a crime index they develop from the uniform crime reports, collected by the FBI from 17,000 local law enforcement agencies.  Here is the data on Los Angeles and on the US:
Los Angeles:
  • BURGLARY 17,606
  • THEFT 54,971
  • BURGLARY 2,188,005
  • THEFT 6,159,795
Should these 9 million people every year not be allowed to protect themselves, even knowing the police are not obligated to respond, and in some cases have official policy not to respond?  When you've given over your personal protection to someone else, and they turn down the responsibility, what must you then do?  Think it over.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Good-doers vs Do-gooders

Good samaritans may have to re-think the way they behave.  Apparently it's criminal!
Should an Indiana couple go to jail for saving Bambi?

That’s the question surrounding the case of Jeff and Jennifer Counceller, who rescued an injured fawn and nursed it back to health at their Connersville, Ind., home. The couple now faces the possibility of jail time and fines after state officials charged them with a misdemeanor for harboring the animal.

Jeff Counceller, a police officer in Connersville, and his wife were charged with unlawful possession of a deer, a misdemeanor that punished to its fullest extent could put the Councellers in jail for up to 60 days and cost them up to $2,000 in fines.

The couple rescued the deer more than two years ago after finding it on their neighbor’s porch. The Councellers said the deer had sustained injuries, and they wanted to nurse it back to health.

“I could feel all of the open wounds all along her back side and she wouldn’t stand up,” Jennifer Counceller told ABC News.

They brought the deer home and named her Little Orphan Dani.

The Councellers said an Indiana Conservation Officer stopped by their home and discovered the deer this past summer. The Indiana Department of Natural Resources wanted to euthanize Dani, saying she might be dangerous and a threat to people.

“I was devastated. I spent a year and several months nursing her into adulthood, getting to the point where she was able to go out on her own,” Counceller said.

On the day Dani was to be put down, the Councellers said she inexplicably escaped from their backyard. Even though Dani disappeared back into the wild, the Councellers’ legal problems didn’t go with the fawn.

This is another report detailing massive over-reach on the part of government, criminalizing not just trivial behavior, but good behavior as well.  I can't write a better paper on the subject than Glenn Reynolds, so read Ham Sandwich Nation: Due Process when Everything is a Crime now!
Though extensive due process protections apply to the investigation of crimes, and to criminal trials, perhaps the most important part of the criminal process -- the decision whether to charge a defendant, and with what -- is almost entirely discretionary. Given the plethora of criminal laws and regulations in today's society, this due process gap allows prosecutors to charge almost anyone they take a deep interest in. This Essay discusses the problem in the context of recent prosecutorial controversies involving the cases of Aaron Swartz and David Gregory, and offers some suggested remedies, along with a call for further discussion.
The Oligarchy is out in force, making sure you don't do ANYTHING without permission, from resucing wildlife to encouraging your children to start up a lemonade stand.  If you don't take a stand this will only get worse.  I've said it before, but I will say it again: liberty lives or dies on our action or indifference.

Victory for the Caswells and the Rule of Law!

You may recall my post from 2011 about the Rule of Law.   In this post I linked to a video discussing the civil forfeiture case against Russell Caswell, of Tewksbury, Mass., a law abiding citizen.  The facts of the case boiled down to these: criminals sometimes sold drugs on the motel property; the owner and employees reported suspicious activity to the police; the police decided to seize the motel and sell it at auction because of the criminal activity - even though it had nothing to do with the law abiding owner who actively attempted to disrupt said activity.

I am happy to report that the court has officially rejected the seizure of the motel.
In a sometimes scathing ruling, which for now halts the civil action brought by the federal government, U.S. Magistrate Judge Judith Dein said the federal government "had not met its burden of proving a substantial connection between the Motel Caswell and the forfeitable crimes, and, therefore, has not met its burden of proving that the Property is forfeitable."
The judge added that the motel's proprietor, Russell Caswell, of Tewksbury, Mass., did meet his "burden of proving the innocent owner defense."
The government justifies asset forfeiture by saying the practice deprives drug dealers of their assets and thus hurts their operations.  In practice, though, what it is really used for is to fund local and state police departments - often at the expense of law abiding citizens without the means to fight back.  Such is the case in several states in the south, where police routinely pull over out of town visitors and confiscate their cash under the pretense of fighting drugs, and also with the Caswells, among others.  Read the Institute for Justice's article Policing for Profit.
Federal and most state laws allow both civil and criminal asset forfeitures. In civil asset forfeiture, action is taken against a person’s property or assets, not against an individual. A person’s property is the target of the legal proceeding, and the owner is secondary. The owner does not have to be arrested or convicted of a crime to have his property taken. By contrast, criminal forfeitures occur against a person after conviction for an underlying criminal offense.
The bottom line is that law enforcement agencies and the state and federal government are rejecting the presumption of innocence, which is the cornerstone of justice.  Without the presumption of innocence, we really live in a pure tyranny, where anyone, at any time, can be stopped, arrested, beaten, robbed and killed by authorities who are supposedly working for us.  This disgusting behavior is systemic in the American justice system, as even up at the highest levels, the President justifies the murder of American citizens overseas without due process.  Indeed, the President and his cronies have put foward the idea that due process does not mean judicial process - they redefined due process to mean they had a lawyer write up a secret justification on a secret memo that explains why he says it's OK to kill citizens without charge, trial or conviction.  No need for any judge to see said memos, they too often get in the way of executive privilages. 

Sometimes the courts get it right, though.  For the Caswells, I am sure this has been a good week.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Another speech in defense of the 2nd Amendment

Another immigrant explaining why firemarms are needed.  His speech is filled with facts, including citing US law.