Joe’s Reading Log

January 26, 2006

How To Squash Dissent in Three Easy Steps

Filed under: Government, National Politics — Joe Martin @ 8:39 pm
  1. Convince people that political campaigns are hopeless corrupt
  2. Pass a “Campaign Finance Reform Act”
  3. Use the new law to stomp on anyone who threatens you

It’s not just provacative, it’s what really happened. Read the true story behind the McCain-Feingold Bipartisian Campaign Finance Reform Act.

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January 24, 2006

Power Corrupts: the Police

Filed under: Civil Liberties — Joe Martin @ 2:39 pm

While America has many brave officers who routinely put their lives on the line, it would be foolhardy to assume that the police are never wrong and are always worthy of deference. Radley Balko at “The Agitator” has been chronicling police abuses for a while now. This morning, he had yet another story to relate:

Here’s a particularly egregious example of puppy-cide from Marcicopa County, Arizona, home of conservative darling and self-proclaimed “toughest sheriff in America,” Joe Arpaio. After conducting a ridiculously bumbling and overly militaristic raid that netted a total of one arrest for outstanding traffic violations, a raid which subsequently set a friggin’ house on fire, and in which the sheriff’s armored personnel carrier (yes, he has one) lost its brakes and rolled down the street, smashing a car — the SWAT team wasn’t quite done

[I]n the ultimate display of cruelty, a SWAT team member drove a dog trying to flee the home back into the inferno, where it met an agonizing death.

Deputies then reportedly laughed as the dog’s owners came unglued as it perished in the blaze.

Read the whole thing. It’s pretty scary. And it’s a good reminder of why the police shouldn’t be trusted with too much fire power, authority, or immunity.

Robbing Peter to Pay Paul

Filed under: Economics, Government, National Politics — Joe Martin @ 2:28 pm

Patrick provides a grim outlook on the future in Triumph of the Redistributionist Left.

Discretionary spending is dwarfed by mandatory spending – spending that cannot be changed without changing the laws. Shifting demographics combined with an inability to change those laws virtually ensures that, through programs such as Social Security and Medicare, America’s workers will be forced to redistribute a larger and larger portion of their income to other Americans in the coming decades.

Certain trends have been favoring the left for the past several decades. In the early 1960s, transfer payments (entitlements and welfare) constituted less than a third of the federal government’s budget. Now they constitute almost 60 percent of the budget, or about $1.4 trillion per year. Measured according to this, the US government’s main function now is redistribution: taking money from one segment of the population and giving it to another segment. In a few decades, transfer payments are expected to make up more than 75 percent of federal government spending.

Currently the federal government consumes about 20 percent of the GDP, which is another way of saying that about 20 percent of Americans’ income, on average, is paid in taxes to the federal government. According to the Government Accountability Office, that is on course to rise to 30 percent by 2040.

By 2040, 30 percent of the national income will be confiscated by the Federal government. 70 percent of that massive amount will then be given to whomever the government feels is most needy — or has the most votes. It’s not a pretty future for my future children.

January 23, 2006

Know Your Rights

Filed under: Civil Liberties — Joe Martin @ 12:39 am

I stumbled across an older article from Reason magazine: Drunken Assertion. In it, Brian Doherty talks about “Ramsell’s Roadside Rights Kit”:

It’s shaped like a passport and opens up to a pocket that holds your driver’s license, insurance, and car registration. On the back is a card emblazoned with an assertion of your rights when stopped by the cops. The kit also contains a button to activate a sound chip; press it, and it tells the officer that you will only exit the vehicle for the officer’s safety or if under arrest.

Although I found many more articles talking about the kit, I wasn’t able to find any site that was actually selling it. That’s a pity, because it sure sounds like something useful to have.

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