Friday, January 30, 2009

Changefest 09

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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

200 Economists Oppose the Bailout

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We now have a little bit of help on the way. 200 economists have signed up to oppose the instantiation of the Keynesian broken windows fallacy, also known as Obama's bailout package.

Included in the list of 200 economists is Nobel Prize Laureate James Buchanan (the economist, not the president). Mr. Buchanan won the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1986 for his work on public choice theory, which basically exposed how political leaders' self-interest gets the better of them and negatively affects their policy decisions, to the detriment of us all. Oh, how fitting.

I doubt Obama will ever see or hear of this advertisement. He is probably too busy to be reading the ads in The New York Times. But the mere fact that these dissenters are pushing their message (and pushing it quite well) is a very good sign. This is but a small symbol of the slowly building rise toward post-politics in society. Progress-minded people like us should recognize events like these and embrace them wholeheartedly.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Drugs Make You Lose Your Head

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Or this guy's head anyway.

The new Ciudad Juarez Chief of Police had his head chopped off and left in a cooler, just 4 days after taking office.

So now who wants the job? Any takers?

Clearly, the drugs are pwning the police in the War on Drugs. I think it's time to call the match. The victor here is obviously the drugs. All hail drugs, our new master!

But if we think about it seriously for a moment, what happens if we officially lose the drug war? Would the legalization of drugs be an indicator that we lost? If so, then I think we are already halfway there, as marijuana is now legal in 22 states.

On the other hand, what if we win the drug war? Will an indicator of our success be the eradication of all demand for the drugs? Probably. Who seriously thinks that we can ever eliminate demand for drugs? You would have to have lost your head to believe such a ridiculous thing.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Police solve six percent of Sweden's crimes

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Police solve six percent of Sweden's crimes:

Nearly 95 percent of violent crimes and robberies committed in Sweden go unsolved, and an individual police officer solves an average of three crimes per year, according to a recent analysis.

Can someone remind me why we need a monopoly on security forces that are forcibly funded through tax revenue? Why do people complain that without "police" we would have rampant crime? Sweden's police are quite clearly not performing the task they are assigned with. Why? Because they are at no risk of losing their revenue based on the quality (or lack thereof) of the service they provide. Nor are they at risk of losing market share to any competition (except competition from criminals it seems). The same principles apply to all services in all societies.

Why do we think that we need to monopolize something in order to guarantee its performance? This is exactly backwards thinking. If we want to starve, then we should make all our farms state-run and monopolized. If we want rampant crime, then we should monopolize our security services and fund them through tax dollars.

But if we want to eat well and be safe in our homes, then the LAST thing we should do is monopolize these things and fund them through taxes, essentially disconnecting the revenue received from the quality of the product or service provided. And until we cease monopolization of essential services like security, we will continue to see 6% crime solving rates as well as innocent men being shot in the back at train stations.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

You Are Not Protected

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But you can be sure that the government protects its own. This story shows why it's a bad idea to let an entity be the judge over conduct involving itself:

The Supreme Court said Wednesday that evidence obtained after illegal searches or arrests based on simple police mistakes may be used to prosecute criminal defendants.

The justices split 5-4 along ideological lines to apply new limits to the court's so-called exclusionary rule, which generally requires evidence to be suppressed if it results from a violation of a suspect's Fourth Amendment right to be free from unreasonable searches or seizure.

The conservative majority acknowledged that the arrest of Bennie Dean Herring of Alabama — based on the mistaken belief that there was a warrant for his arrest — violated his constitutional rights, yet upheld his conviction on federal drug and gun charges.

Coffee County, Ala., sheriff's deputies found amphetamines in Herring's pockets and an unloaded gun in his truck when they conducted a search following his arrest. It turned out that the warrant from neighboring Dale County had been recalled five months earlier, but the county sheriff's computers had not been updated.

Chief Justice John Roberts, writing for the court, said the evidence may be used "when police mistakes are the result of negligence such as that described here, rather than systemic error or reckless disregard of constitutional requirements."

Justices Samuel Alito, Anthony Kennedy, Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas sided with Roberts.

In a dissent for the other four justices, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg said the ruling "leaves Herring, and others like him, with no remedy for violations of their constitutional rights."

Ginsburg said accurate police record-keeping is of paramount importance, particularly with the widespread use of electronic databases. Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens also dissented.

Herring was arrested after a Coffee sheriff's employee asked her counterpart in Dale County whether Herring, called "no stranger to law enforcement" by Roberts, was wanted in Dale. An arrest warrant had been issued in Dale, but it had been recalled by July 2004.

The sheriff's electronic records, however, showed it was still a valid warrant.

Acting on that information, Coffee County deputies arrested and searched Herring.

The Dale employee meanwhile discovered the warrant was no longer valid and called Coffee County to say so. But it was too late for Herring.

Some courts have ruled that as a deterrent to police misconduct, the fruits of a similar search may be excluded from evidence.

But the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta said that suppressing evidence in Herring's case would be unlikely to deter sloppy record keeping.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

In Soviet Russia, Change Believes In YOU!

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Here's some change you better start believing in real quick: Obama promises us “trillion-dollar deficits for years to come."

Funny how everyone insists that its a good idea to spend more during economic hard times. By the way, when are we supposed to spend less? During the economic good times, the government says that we can afford to spend more, yet when the economy recedes, we are again told that spending more is something that we should do. Soooooo... when are we ever supposed to spend less?

It seems to me that the government is giving us a big dose of "heads I win, tails you lose" logic.