Altruist notions of governance. They are consistently wrong.

Most people are not aware of the true notions of altruism. In true altruism one must sacrifice one’s self. I think few progressive/statist/”altruists” are prepared to do that. Generally, they think of “altruism” as being “nice.” Altruists “help the needy” or “flush their toilet a few less times” to save water or “drive a hybrid car” to emit a little less CO2 or “recycle” to fill landfills a bit more slowly. I do those things, but, I assure you, I am not an “Altruist.”

When notions of altruism drive statist legislation, the results are rarely what the “altruistic voter” who elected those statist representatives think they will be. An excellent example is “green energy.” The Americans who elected the progressive/statist/”altruists” that passed the laws that ensured a large “investment” in green energy did not think that these laws simply provided a large pot of cash to be drawn upon by the wealthiest Americans. It should have been a “benefit to all” and “particularly low income Americans.” That would be “nice.” Au contraire, mon ami!

[Source: The distributional effects of U.S. clean energy tax credits, by Severin Borenstein and Lucas W. Davis]

The study was conducted by the University of California. Therefore, if the study is biased in any direction it would favor progressive/statist/”altruism.” The study found the following facts:

  1. The US federal government paid $18.1 billion in tax credits since 2006. These were aimed at encouraging American households to install energy-efficient windows, air conditioning schemes, rooftop solar in their homes and buy electric and other hybrid vehicles.
  2. The bottom 60 per cent US households by income received about 10 per cent of the value of the these tax credits. The top 20 per cent extracted 60 per cent of the benefit.
  3. The top income quintile received about 90 per cent of all credits for the purchase of electric vehicles. (You remember our President’s promise to have one million electric vehicles on American roads by 2015. He’s only 690,000 short and 90% of the tax credits offered went to the 20% of Americans with the most money – RF.)

Let’s think about how hard this would have been to predict. The vast majority of these “investments” come in the form of tax credits. Think about it, all of my progressive/ statist/”altruist” friends. Who gets “tax credits?” Right  – people who actually pay taxes. For all intents and purposes the bottom half of Americans on the wealth scale do not pay taxes (other than payroll taxes). It is difficult to enjoy a benefit from these policies if one has no income tax liability.

Additionally, the overwhelming majority of purchasers buy energy efficient appliances and install solar panels to save money – not to be altruistic. They would almost certainly have purchased them anyway to heat their swimming pool. Have you seen a lot of swimming pools in Blackwater, AZ or Muniz, TX or Beattyville, KY? They certainly could use them. It’s hot in Arizona, Texas and Kentucky. (I mention these as they are the three poorest communities in America.)

[Source: US Green Energy subsidies ‘Unfair and Ineffective,’ study finds, by Adan Creighton]

“While there may well be political or other rationales to prefer this approach, it would seem to be difficult to argue for these policies on distributional grounds,” the professors said.

“We were struck by the… inequity of these programs,” the authors said.

Their study… found installations of energy efficient household items had soared but couldn’t conclude the tax credits were responsible. “If credits do not induce additional sales, then the primary effect is just to transfer cash to participants in transactions that would have taken place anyway,” they said.

And who were those “participants?” The wealthiest Americans, not the poorest. My friends, the examples of the folly, foolhardiness, brainlessness, thoughtlessness, inanity and absurdity of “altruist” notions of government abound. Again I will say, if you want to be an altruist, my hat is off to you. But it is no way to run a government!

And thanks to HP for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

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Which country has reduced it carbon emissions to the greatest degree?

Here’s a test. Which country leads the world in carbon emissions reduction?

A. Sweden

B. Germany

C. Japan.

D. United States.

E. France.

If you answered that the United States of America leads the world in carbon emissions reduction, you are correct!

If that is so, why is the Obama administration constantly pushing for regulations to force more reductions upon us? Answer: (the test is still going on) because if one controls carbon, one controls life!

How did the US achieve this immense goal (OK, the test is over)? The answer must be the deepest wound to President Obama and his fellow progressive/statist/altruists. We achieved it through fracking – the methodology for obtaining fossil fuels from rock. Fracking is detested by environmental extremists. Ah, savor the moment!

Had statists had their way the United States would be very different – and not in a good way. Capitalism provided the means to achieve the greatest reduction in CO2 emission of any nation in the world – not ugly, bird massacring windmills or Solyndra.

[Source: Fracking is our clean power plan, by Jackie Pick]

Natural gas has not only helped reduce carbon emission but it has also contributed to the economic growth of the U.S. (50% in a 27 year period). This impressive economic growth was the result of cheap fossil fuels and fracking was key to their production.

The economy as a whole has benefited by having lower energy costs resulting in a manufacturing renaissance and estimates predict that in the near future it will be less expensive to manufacture goods in the U.S. than in China. (OK! That phrase needs to be repeated! In the near future it will be less expensive to manufacture goods in the U.S. than in China – RF.)

Let us move on the the latest Obama plan – the Clean Power Plan. Nota bene! It is the Clean Power Plan, not the Clean Power Act. It is another unilateral move by President Obama employing “Executive Power.” As is almost universally true of an Obama “plan,” it is poorly thought out and frequently counterproductive. Do da’ name “economic stimulus” and “cap and trade” ring a familiar note?

[Again, from the Pick article] The federal government’s initiative contained in the Clean Power Plan aims to achieve carbon emission reduction through an ineffective approach.

  • It relies on costly and inferior energy production methods.
  • It forecasts unrealistic numbers of green jobs (Footnote).
  • It would be the most expensive regulation ever imposed upon the power sector.
  • Could easily force manufacturers overseas again, killing jobs.
  • Fixed-income Americans would be the hardest hit by these soaring energy bills. (I guess I will need to subtract “altruist” from my label “progressive/statist /altruist.” – RF)

Fracking, making use of advanced technology, has already achieved what environmental advocates have failed to achieve: to make America the top carbon emissions reducer in the world, along with the strengthening of the U.S. economy.

Roy Filly

Footnote:

According to President Obama, his “stimulus” will “create 5 million ‘green’ jobs; will invest $150 billion over ten years to deploy clean technologies, protect our existing manufacturing base and create millions of new jobs.”

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the economic stimulus, supported green industries through more than $90 billion in tax credits, grants, loans and loan guarantees.

The complete list of faltering or bankrupt green-energy companies:

  1. Evergreen Solar ($25 million)*
  2. SpectraWatt ($500,000)*
  3. Solyndra ($535 million)*
  4. Beacon Power ($43 million)*
  5. Nevada Geothermal ($98.5 million)
  6. SunPower ($1.2 billion)
  7. First Solar ($1.46 billion)
  8. Babcock and Brown ($178 million)
  9. EnerDel’s subsidiary Ener1 ($118.5 million)*
  10. Amonix ($5.9 million)
  11. Fisker Automotive ($529 million)
  12. Abound Solar ($400 million)*
  13. A123 Systems ($279 million)*
  14. Willard and Kelsey Solar Group ($700,981)*
  15. Johnson Controls ($299 million)
  16. Brightsource ($1.6 billion)
  17. ECOtality ($126.2 million)
  18. Raser Technologies ($33 million)*
  19. Energy Conversion Devices ($13.3 million)*
  20. Mountain Plaza, Inc. ($2 million)*
  21. Olsen’s Crop Service and Olsen’s Mills Acquisition Company ($10 million)*
  22. Range Fuels ($80 million)*
  23. Thompson River Power ($6.5 million)*
  24. Stirling Energy Systems ($7 million)*
  25. Azure Dynamics ($5.4 million)*
  26. GreenVolts ($500,000)
  27. Vestas ($50 million)
  28. LG Chem’s subsidiary Compact Power ($151 million)
  29. Nordic Windpower ($16 million)*
  30. Navistar ($39 million)
  31. Satcon ($3 million)*
  32. Konarka Technologies Inc. ($20 million)*
  33. Mascoma Corp. ($100 million)
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This surprised me.

Donald Trump is loaded with dough, as the saying goes. Ben Carson is a neurosurgeon. They make a lot of money (of course, he was a university neurosurgeon which more than halved the potential earnings – something to which I can attest). Carly Fiorina must have made a significant salary as the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Isn’t that what Hillary and Bernie are complaining about? By contrast, Hillary is “dead broke.”

The following video taken in front of the White House is very enlightening.

And thanks to JM for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

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Do you remember the “stimulus?”

The plan was grand! It would bring the Great Recession to its knees! Oh, it would cost more than a trillion dollars (after adding in the interest), but finally and at long last Keynes theory and the notion that government is our salvation would be tested and prove the worth of “progressivism.” Do you ever wonder why Barack Obama never uses the word “stimulus” or “shovel ready” in speeches anymore? Because the “stimulus” was the most expensive political disaster in the history of political disasters. And guess what? The disaster is still unfolding!

You also may be interested to know why “shovel ready” will never be heard leaving the lips of a politician ever again (see Footnote).

[Source: Wired to fail, by Tony Romm]

A Politico investigation found that roughly half of the nearly 300 projects the Rural Utilities Service (RUS) approved as part of the 2009 Recovery Act (i.e., the “stimulus’) have not yet obligated the full amounts they were awarded. (I guess we are still “stimulating.” – RF)

  • All RUS-funded infrastructure projects were supposed to have completed construction by the end of June, but the agency has declined to say whether these rural networks have been completed.
  • More than 40 of the projects RUS initially approved never got started at all, raising questions about how RUS screened its applicants and made its decisions in the first place. 

If these networks do not draw all their cash by the end of September, they will have to forfeit what remains. In other words, they may squander as much as $277 million in still-untapped federal funds, which can’t be spent elsewhere in other neglected rural communities. 

Either way, many rural residents who should have benefited from better Internet access — a utility that many consider as essential as electricity — continue to lack access.  Even RUS admits it’s not going to provide better service to the 7 million residents it once touted; instead, the number is in the hundreds of thousands. (Can you imagine Comcast having such a dismal record of laying cable and providing service? – RF)

The checkered performance of RUS offers an all-too-familiar story of an obscure federal agency that has grown despite documented failures, thanks in large part to its political patrons in Congress. 

“We are left with a program that spent $3 billion,” says Mark Goldstein, an investigator at the Government Accountability Office, “and we really don’t know what became of it.”

God save us from Big Government! A very wise man (and, by the by, the 40th President of the United States) told us and showed us that “Government is not the solution to our problems. Government is the problem.”

Roy Filly

Footnote:

[From: FreePublic.com, by tigerlikesrooster] The phrase “shovel ready,” incessantly invoked by the Obama administration… as a way to sell its federal stimulus bill, died Thursday. The official cause of death was overuse, according to Lake Superior State University, which announced the phrase’s demise in its annual List of Words to Be Banished from the Queen’s English for Mis-use, Over-use and General Uselessness… (The list is a real thing – RF) dug its own grave by forcing its way into speeches and out of the mouths of the president and too many other politicians… “Stick a shovel in it. It’s done,” seethed Joe Grimm of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., in his nomination to the university’s Word Banishment Committee.

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Income inequality – the reality.

I have said many times in my posts that the Democrat Party is better at politics than the Republican Party. The Democrat Party knows how to unify their base, develop slogans, promulgate their message, and then get out the vote. The Republican Party… well, not so much. One of the “big messages” promulgated by the Democrat Party is income inequality. Probably no other issue demonstrates how crafty they are at changing perceptions.

The reasons that “income inequality” is a non-issue are manifold, but in this post we are considering the craftiness of the Democrat Party. By comparison, Republicans “talk” about ISIS, illegal immigration, and out-of-control debt – issues that have or could have profound impacts on the American way of life. By contrast “income inequality” is essentially a nonentity. Nonetheless, the Democrat Party has made it front-and-center of the political debate.

[Source: Misperceiving Inequality, National Bureau of Economic Research, Working Paper 21174, by Vladimir Gimpelson and Daniel Treisman]

Listening to Hillary Clinton or Bernie Saunders one cannot help but believe that “income inequality” has important political consequences. Indeed, it can. When income inequality is high the populace cries out for government income redistribution in democracies like ours. It promotes class conflict. In countries with dictatorships, it often results in revolution. However, both sets of consequences assume that ordinary people know how high inequality is, how it has been changing, and where they fit in the income distribution ladder.

A National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) study, using a variety of large, cross-national surveys, shows that, in recent years, ordinary people have had little idea about such things. 

  • What they think they know is often wrong. (Thank you, Democrat Party – RF.)
  • Widespread ignorance and misperceptions of inequality emerged robustly, regardless of the data source, operationalization, and method of measurement. (You can fool some of the people all of the time – RF.)

The study also shows a perceived level of inequality — not the actual level — correlates strongly with demand for redistribution and reported conflict between rich and poor. The study suggests that most theories about political effects of inequality need to be either abandoned or reframed as theories about the effects of perceived inequality.

I am not suggesting that “ignorance is bliss.” Quite to the contrary, I have spent considerable effort in my posts showing that “income inequality” is not what the Democrat Party says it is (see Footnote). But, the NBER study shows again the mastery of the Democrat Party at messaging. It matters little whether or not there is real “income inequality” – it is the perception that counts!

Roy Filly

Footnote:

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/what-are-the-facts-about-equal-pay/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/class-warrior/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2014/04/08/the-facts-about-equal-pay-revisited/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2012/10/19/upward-mobility-and-the-american-dream/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2014/05/29/imagine-everything-was-equal/

https://theruggedindividualist.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/exactly-how-unequal-is-income/

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Is it possible to “fix” the federal government?

If my blog has a mantra it is that “big government is bad government: it’s axiomatic.” It turns out that it is, indeed, “axiomatic.”

Many Americans assume we can solve our problems by electing a new party to govern us or by appointing more “competent” officials to run our agencies, or by adjusting the tax code to make it “fairer,” or by reducing the deficit to levels lower than the growth of the GDP. I certainly harbor such hopes and spend hours each week writing this blog to convince at least one Democrat that they looking for help from the wrong party.

As predicted, the only way to help our federal government to meet the demands of its citizens rather than its inherent needs is TO MAKE IT SMALLER – A LOT SMALLER!

[Source: Why the federal government fails, by Chris Edwards]

Americans, deeply unhappy with Washington, agree better governance is needed.  The only way to achieve it is to greatly cut the federal government’s size and scope. Here are five reasons for its failure: 

First, policies rely on top-down planning and coercion, which creates winners and losers, unlike the mutually beneficial markets. It also means federal policies are based on guesswork because there is no price system to guide decision-making. Further, failed policies are not weeded out because they are funded by taxes, which are compulsory and not contingent on performance. 

Second, the government lacks knowledge about our complex society. Markets gather knowledge from the bottom up and are rooted in individual preferences… 

Third, legislators act counter to the general public interest. They use debt, an opaque tax system, and other techniques to hide the full costs of programs. Furthermore, they use logrolling (the ploy of convincing another legislator to support his/her inane, fatuous, ludicrous, vapid legislative proposal in return for supporting their inane, fatuous, ludicrous, vapid legislative proposal – RF) to pass harmful policies that do not have broad public support. (Indeed, the public usually doesn’t know they even exist. Check the list in the footnote. How many of you knew we were doing these things? RF)

Fourth, civil servants act within a bureaucratic system that rewards inertia, not the creation of value.  Many have tried to fix the bureaucracy, but the incentives that generate poor performance are deeply entrenched in the executive branch.

Fifth, the federal government has grown enormous in size and scope. Each increment of spending has produced less value but rising taxpayer costs. Failure has increased as legislators are overloaded with a vast array of programs. Today’s federal budget is 100 times larger than the average state budget, and it is far too large to adequately oversee.

My friends, the problem is not a Gordian knot. We simply must take a very large axe to government bureaucracies and their budgets. There is much to be said for simplicity.

Roy Filly

Footnote: Some will say the dollar amounts of most of these are piddling. Perhaps, but that doesn’t make them ANY LESS STUPID! The question is, “Did you know about these expenditures?”

[Source: Thirty stupid things the government is spending money on, by Michael Snyder]

#1 The U.S. government is spending $750,000 on a new soccer field for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay.

#2 The Obama administration plans to spend between 16 and 20 million dollars helping students from Indonesia get master’s degrees.

#3 If you can believe it, the U.S. government has spent $175,587 “to determine if cocaine makes Japanese quail engage in sexually risky behavior”.

#4 The U.S. government spent $200,000 on “a tattoo removal program” in Mission Hills, California.

#5 The federal government has shelled out $3 million to researchers at the University of California at Irvine to fund their research on video games such as World of Warcraft.  Wouldn’t we all love to have a “research job” like that?

#6 The Department of Health and Human Services plans to spend $500 million on a program that will, among other things, seek to solve the problem of 5-year-old children that “can’t sit still” in a kindergarten classroom.

#7 Fannie Mae is about to ask the federal government for another $4.6 billion bailout, and it will almost certainly get it.

#8 The federal government once spent 30 million dollars on a program that was designed to help Pakistani farmers produce more mangos.

#9 The U.S. Department of Agriculture once gave researchers at the University of New Hampshire $700,000 to study methane gas emissions from dairy cows.

#10 According to USA Today, 13 different government agencies “fund 209 different science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education programs — and 173 of those programs overlap with at least one other program.”

#11 A total of $615,000 was given to the University of California at Santa Cruz to digitize photos, T-shirts and concert tickets belonging to the Grateful Dead.

#12 China lends us more money than any other foreign nation, but that didn’t stop our government from spending 17.8 million dollars on social and environmental programs for China.

#13 The U.S. government once spent 2.6 million dollars to train Chinese prostitutes to drink responsibly.

#14 One professor at Stanford University was given $239,100 to study how Americans use the Internet to find love.

#15 The U.S. Postal Service spent $13,500 on a single dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse.

#16 The National Science Foundation once spent $216,000 to study whether or not politicians “gain or lose support by taking ambiguous positions”.

#17 A total of $1.8 million was spent on a “museum of neon signs” in Las Vegas, Nevada.

#18 The federal government spends 25 billion dollars a year maintaining federal buildings that are either unused or totally vacant.

#19 U.S. farmers are given a total of $2 billion each year for not farming their land.

#20 The U.S. government handed one Tennessee library $5,000 for the purpose of hosting a series of video game parties.

#21 A few years ago the government spent $123,050 on a Mother’s Day Shrine in Grafton, West Virginia.  It turns out that Grafton only has a population of a little more than 5,000 people.

#22 One professor at Dartmouth University was given $137,530 to create a “recession-themed” video game entitled “Layoff”.

#23 According to the Heritage Foundation, the U.S. military spent “$998,798 shipping two 19-cent washers from South Carolina to Texas and $293,451 sending an 89-cent washer from South Carolina to Florida”.

#24 The U.S. Department of Agriculture once shelled out $30,000 to a group of farmers to develop a tourist-friendly database of farms that host guests for overnight “haycations”.

#25 The National Institutes of Health paid researchers $400,000 to find out why gay men in Argentina engage in risky sexual behavior when they are drunk.

#26 The National Institutes of Health also once spent $442,340 to study the behavior of male prostitutes in Vietnam.

#27 The National Institutes of Health loves to spend our tax money on really bizarre things.  The NIH once spent $800,000 in “stimulus funds” to study the impact of a “genital-washing program” on men in South Africa.

#28 According to the Washington Post, 1,271 different government organizations work on government programs related to counterterrorism and homeland security.

#29 The U.S. government spent $100,000 on a “Celebrity Chef Fruit Promotion Road Show in Indonesia”.

#30 The feds once gave Alaska Airlines $500,000 “to paint a Chinook salmon” on the side of a Boeing 737.

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Lucky us! The Federal Government is raking in tax dollars.

Despite an old saying that taxes are the price we pay for civilization, an absolute majority of the record-breaking tax money collected by the federal government today is simply transferred by politicians from people who are not likely to vote for them to people who are more likely to vote for them.

Thomas Sowell

You may be surprised to learn that the federal government collected a record amount of taxes in the first 10 months of fiscal year 2015. The revenue collected was greater than $2.6 trillion. This amount eclipsed the first 10 months of all previous fiscal years, even after adjusting for inflation. Most of the money came from individual income taxes, which comprised nearly half of that total.

Wow! Finally, we must be able to balance the budget! Au contraiare, mon ami! Despite the record revenue, the federal government ran a deficit of $465 billion. That means we are still borrowing nearly one dollar of every five that the federal government deems appropriate to spend. And, at least prior to the Administration of Barack Obama, exceeds the deficit in all but one year, 2008.

[Source: Government collects record-high taxes in first 10 months of FY 2015, by Ali Meyer]

Roy Filly

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Read this. You’ll find it illuminating.

I have noted, as I’m certain you have as well, that fines for traffic violations have dramatically increased. There are an ever increasing number of sly means by which a variety of citations are issued: red light cameras, cameras that detect speeding violations, and then automatically issue tickets. more Highway Patrol speed traps. The problem is greater than I anticipated – could it possibly be that Big Government has yet again reared its ugly head?

John Goodman, who I respect enormously, takes an interesting look at this as it relates to Frerguson and other recent incidents of police v black Americans.

Why Conservatives Should Care About Ferguson

John C. Goodman

Last Saturday I made a first-ever visit to the down town Dallas Police Department to fill out a report. I had never been to a police department before. My only image of one was the police station I had seen on the television series Hill Street Blues.

Unlike the television show, the building I approached was thoroughly modern — constructed of glass and steel. I was impressed.

Also unlike the television show, the building was locked. Locked? Yes locked. The police take off on weekends? Apparently. From what I remember, people walked in and out of the Hill Street Blues police station at any time night or day. It was part of the community. Not in Dallas.

That Saturday morning there was someone behind the locked front door. But he would only talk to me over an intercom. “Come back Monday morning after 8:00,” he ordered. When I did, I observed the interior of the building was as impressive as its exterior. But the mood and demeanor of the personnel was not much different than what I had experienced at the Department of Motor Vehicles or the Social Security administration office or almost any other government agency.

Conservatives have a long tradition of being suspicious about the power of government. But they have tended to make an exception for the police in particular and the criminal justice system in general. It was not that long ago that “support your local police” bumper stickers were popular in some parts of the country.

It’s time to reset.

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. was just the first in a disturbing string of widely publicized deaths of black citizens who were stopped by the police or in their custody. Most of what I’ve read about this lately has been written by liberals. But try to put that thought aside and objectively consider what New York Times columnist Charles Blow has to say:

Many local municipalities experience budgetary pressure. Rather than raise taxes or cut services in response, things that are often politically unpalatable, they turn to law enforcement and courts to make up the difference in tickets and fines. Some can also increase the number of finable offenses and stiffen the penalties.

Officers, already disproportionately deployed and arrayed in so-called “high-crime” neighborhoods — invariably poor and minority neighborhoods — are then charged with doing the dirty work. The increase in sheer numbers of interactions creates friction with targeted populations and ups the odds that individual biases will be introduced.

Blow isn’t saying the police are racists. They are probably no more racist than anyone else. The problem is that pressure from City Hall creates a situation that disproportionally affects blacks. As Blow writes:

There is blood on everyone’s hands, including the hands still clutching the tax revenue that those cities needed but refused to solicit, instead shifting the mission of entire police departments “from ‘protect and serve’ to ‘punish and profit,’ ” asMother Jones magazine recently put it in a fascinating article on this subject.

Is it a coincidence that many of the recent cases involving black people killed by the police began with stops for minor offenses?

And that’s just the first step people encounter when they interact with the criminal justice system. If they are charged with a crime, it gets worse. Writing in the New York Times Magazine, Nick Pinto says that:

[A]t any given time, close to 450,000 people are in pretrial detention in the United States — a figure that includes both those denied bail and those unable to pay the bail that has been set… In New York City, where courts use bail far less than in many jurisdictions, roughly 45,000 people are jailed each year simply because they can’t pay their court-assigned bail. And while the city’s courts set bail much lower than the national average, only one in 10 defendants is able to pay it at arraignment. To put a finer point on it: Even when bail is set comparatively low — at $500 or less, as it is in one-third of nonfelony cases — only 15 percent of defendants are able to come up with the money to avoid jail.

In a post at Slate, Andrew Kahn and Chris Kirk note that:

  • Black and Hispanic drivers are far more likely than whites to be stopped and searched by the police.
  • Black Americans are more likely to be jailed while awaiting trial.
  • Blacks are more likely to be offered a plea deal that avoids trial.
  • Blacks are more likely to serve longer sentences for the same offense.
  • Blacks are more likely to be disenfranchised because of a felony conviction.
  • Blacks are more likely to have their probation revoked.
  • Blacks are more likely to be excluded from jury pools.
  • Blacks are more likely to have their probation revoked.

None of this means that racism is involved, although it may be.

Conservatives are prone to point out that there is more criminality in the black community. Writing in USA Today, criminology expert James Alan Fox notes that:

“[T]he police were not the greatest threat to black citizens and the tranquility of their neighborhoods during the late-80s crime wave. At that time, blacks were only 12% of the U.S. population, yet constituted nearly half of the nation’s homicide victims. Moreover, well over 90% of these black homicide victims were slain by members of their own race. Black lives do indeed matter, but not just when they are taken by officers in blue.”

Fair enough. But that can’t excuse a lot of current practices.

Conservatives who become outraged when city governments overstep their powers of eminent domain and seize private property should be even more outraged when the criminal justice system abuses rights instead of protecting them.

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Does Mexico have an incentive to stop illegal immigrants?

If we are waiting for Mexico to stop their citizens from illegally entering the United States we will have a long wait.

chartoftheday_3737_which_country_sends_the_most_remittances_n

Remittances are dollars sent from illegal (and legal) immigrants back to family members in their home countries. However, almost all of the remittances come from the more than 11 million Mexicans living illegally in the United States. These funds play a vital role in the Mexican economy. Remittances provide more funds to Mexico than either receipts from international tourism or foreign direct investment flows. In Mexico’s poorest areas, they provide nearly 20% of local income.

Remittances are also likely to be much larger than official figures suggest. According to various estimates, informal flows add up to 35-250% of the official total. It is difficult to calculate exact totals of “cash” that cross the border. These remittances frequently are “disguised.” They range from jewelry and second-hand cameras to mobile phone minutes and cash stuffed into socks.

Remittances sent home by Mexicans living abroad rose by 7.8 percent last year. It appears illegals are doing better than the legal American workers. Did your pay go up 7.8% last year?

Roy Filly

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No more being Mr. Nice-Guy. Part II.

I recently wrote a post that garnered a bit of controversy. It seemed that some were under the impression that Israelis mistreat Palestinians – not the other way around. It dawns on me why rational people misjudge the situation. The media bias is remarkably misleading.

The following story was printed in YNet News: In the third incident of its type in a week, a Palestinian terrorist was shot and killed after attempting to stab a Border Policeman at the Tapuach Junction in the West Bank.

Police said the attacker, Mohammed Amsha, 25, from a village near Jenin, arrived at the Tapuach Junction checkpoint and told the Border Police soldiers stationed there that he was feeling unwell. The troops instructed him to approach so they could help him, but once he came within a short distance of them he pulled out a knife and attacked, stabbing one of the soldiers in the neck and upper body. The soldier succeeded in pushing the attacker away. Another Border Policeman shot and neutralized the attacker who died later.

Here is the interesting part. The following was the headline in the New York Times (NYT).

nytimes170815

Let’s assume you are scanning the NYT, what would you think? The notion of “confrontation” implies something far less than someone trying to ram a knife into your carotid artery! It implies an equivalency that was met with unnecessary brutality.

But, readers of the NYT were far better off than readers of the The Irish Times.

irishtimes170815

If you are scanning the headlines of that newspaper your only possible conclusion would be that you should never tell an Israeli Border Policeman that you feel sick. Far better to take a chance on surviving the illness. Maybe its only a massive heart attack or metastatic cancer. You are more likely to survive one or the other of those than a bullet in the brain!

And thanks to PCoop for sending this to me.

Roy Filly

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