Wednesday, May 27, 2015

To Ticket or Not to Ticket

The people hate red light and speeding cameras, but our rulers love them. Citizens to Abolish Red Light Cameras claims, “Since 1991, there have been a total of 35 election contests in Arizona, California, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, Washington. With few exceptions, automated ticketing has failed by as much as 86 percent. One city did embrace the use of cameras after uniformed police officers were dispatched to go door-to-door to "encourage" citizens to keep the ticketing system in place.” If you really thought we had a “government of the people, by the people, for the people,” the red light camera issue should disabuse you of that mistake.
As if reading from a script, Dayton Police Chief Richard Biehl communicated our rulers’ perspective to The Dayton Daily News. “‘The purpose of using red light and speed enforcement cameras is to prevent accidents and save lives,’ Biehl said. ‘The very presence of the cameras has been proven to change people’s dangerous driving habits. Since the red light cameras were installed in 2003, we have seen a noticeable reduction in light-running accidents at intersections where the cameras are in place, and a similar reduction in accidents citywide. We expect to see further reductions.’”
Even if Biehl was telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, which he’s not, his argument would still be illegitimate. It presupposes that mundane adults - those who don’t work for government - are children who must be controlled by morally and intellectually superior rulers. This is obviously untrue. People who work for the government have no moral or intellectual superiority over people who don’t. Adults are not children who must be looked after by a paternalistic government for their own good.
Even if Biehl’s claim was true, he fails to mention the trade-offs which the people overwhelmingly reject. The DDN reports, “The number of speeding tickets issued in Dayton increased nearly 1,400 percent to 58,325 since the city added speed cameras to some of its busiest streets two years ago. A Dayton Daily News investigation found at a rate of 152 a day, or more than six per hour, the city’s 14 traffic cameras issued 55,676 speeding tickets in 2012.” Clearly the people do not find Biehl’s supposed benefit worth this outrageous cost.
Furthermore, Biehl is not telling anywhere near the whole truth. A number of independent studies show red light cameras increase accidents and risk to safety, contrary to Biehl’s claim.
Biehl also fails to mention the cameras open the door to significant corruption. Since the people receiving the tickets have no recourse in a criminal court to challenge the evidence against them, there’s no way to know if the camera actually caught the person speeding or running a red light. Many victims claim they didn’t break the law. Many districts shortened yellow lights in order to catch more people.
But the elephant in the room Biehl fails to address is the financial motive behind the cameras. The DDN discovered, “[Dayton] records show speed camera citations generated $2.38 million between April and December 2012.” That’s a lot of other people’s money stolen using these cameras. If everybody paid, that number would have jumped to $4.52 million. Tickets in the region cost car owners $5.6 million in 2012. Al Capone would consider this racket dirty. That’s why a Hamilton County judge banned the cameras. A Florida legislator called them a tax on poor people. That’s why most of Dayton’s cameras are located in poor neighborhoods. There are none around the University of Dayton, Miami Valley Hospital or downtown. Rulers don’t steal money from their cronies; they steal it from others and give it to them.
A suburb of Cleveland called Maple Heights illustrates stealing money, not safety, is the motive behind the cameras. The mayor of Maple Heights told the Associated Press, “‘[Opponents of the cameras] really didn't win anything,’ Lansky said. ‘They bankrupted the city is what they did.’” The oppressed people of Maple Heights can only hope.
Voters also banned the cameras in Cleveland, cutting $5 million from their rulers’ stolen haul. That’s $5 million their rulers can’t use to oppress them, so that’s a double victory. Cleveland’s rulers will have to make do with the millions more they steal in other ways.
All Ohioans may soon breathe a sigh of relief since the Ohio Senate recently passed a bill that would require all tickets to be issued by a police officer. As commonsensical as that sounds, it’s going to take an act of Congress, well, the legislature, to make it reality.
But the legislature isn’t doing this because it’s the right thing to do. They’re doing it because 65 percent of the money collected goes to an out-of-state manufacturer. If this ban passes, some crony will begin producing red light cameras in Ohio and get that ban overturned. Then we’ll be right back where we are today but with no hope for a legislative remedy.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

American Voters are Insane

Einstein called doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result insanity. By that definition, American voters are insane. By continuing to vote for the same two big-government, progressive parties, voters keep America trapped in a spiral of decline.
Younger readers may not remember Bill Clinton’s presidency. In 1992, voters were angry at Bush the Elder for raising taxes after he promised he wouldn’t. Contrary to the myth the media created about him, Clinton was a hardcore leftist much like President Obama, but unlike Obama, he was also a realist. He had been forced to govern moderately in conservative Arkansas, and, like Obama, he ran as a moderate because he realized Americans would never knowingly elect a hardcore leftist. As soon as he took office though, like Obama, he governed like a corrupt, hardcore leftist king. He had Hillary push a health care plan, Hillarycare, more oppressive than Obamacare. Angry voters quickly punished him by electing large Republican majorities to both chambers in 1994.
By 2000, voters were fed up with Democrats and barely elected Bush the Younger president because he lied like all Republicans and claimed he supported smaller government. By 2006, voters were rightfully fed up with Republicans and packed both chambers with Democrats then elected Obama in 2008. In 2010 they punished Obama by giving the House to Republicans. In 2014 voters were so angry they packed both chambers with Republicans again.
Voters keep repeating the same cycles and getting the same result then acting surprised. It’s impossible to change direction by electing the same two thieving parties which are destroying the country, but voters do it every time.
With that in mind, it’s easy to predict what to expect in the next two years. Ron Paul tweeted, “Republican control of the Senate = expanded neocon wars in Syria and Iraq. Boots on the ground are coming!”
That’s an easy prediction since both parties love to kill both US troops and foreigners, but Republicans are more bellicose about it. Thomas DiLorenzo observed on Fox News, “Politicians like to talk about problems without doing anything about them and pretending that they will just go away, said the neophyte [Republican] senator. [sic] ‘But ISIS is not going away!’ she continued, followed by lots of canned clapping and cheering by the GOP plants/flaks in the audience.”
Political commentator Lawrence Vance remembers how Republicans dealt with Clinton, “[After 1994] they spent the next six years making excuses for their actions while complaining that they needed a Republican president so they could really do something.” Republicans will chant that same mantra for the next two years.
Vance continues, “Then they got one: George W. Bush in 2000. And we know what happened then. The Republicans went on a spending spree, passed their own version of health care reform, and started two wars.” He forgot to mention expanding, instead of abolishing, the unconstitutional, immoral and counter-productive Department of Education like President Reagan had advocated.
Vance expects a repeat, summing up his prediction for Republicans, “They will continue to spend, spend, spend, bomb, bomb, bomb, tax, tax, tax, and regulate, regulate, regulate.”
That’s exactly what Republicans will do because, the same as Democrats, the more they expand the size and scope of government, the richer they get. The more Americans and foreigners they kill, the richer they get. The more they spy on us, the richer they get. The more money they counterfeit, the richer they get. The more welfare they hand out, corporate and otherwise, the richer they get. This is why Republicans govern identically to Democrats. The only notable difference is their rhetoric.
Sixty-six percent of Americans say the country is on the wrong track. Something is seriously wrong with the other 34 percent. The country is on the wrong track because it’s following the same path to self-destruction the Soviet Union followed. The more government interferes in our economy, the more it interferes in our personal lives, the more wealth our rulers loot, the faster the country declines. Our only hope to mitigate the damage from the impending Soviet-scale, or potentially Roman-scale, collapse, is to aggressively dismantle our oppressive government at the local, state and federal levels. Anybody who voted for a Republican or Democrat for any office, local, state or federal, or a tax increase, is preventing that from happening, and is therefore helping destroy the country.
The biggest irony of the election might be that resistance to Obama’s threat to illegally grant amnesty to millions of illegal aliens drove the historic Republican wave, but Republicans have pushed to grant amnesty to illegal aliens since 2000. Voters empowered the fox to guard the henhouse. And Republicans couldn’t stop Obama if they wanted to. The House could impeach him, but Republicans don’t have enough votes in the Senate to convict, so they won’t make the mistake of allowing Obama to play the martyr while remaining in office.
So nothing of substance will change. We can expect both Obama and Republicans to become more aggressive, belligerent and tyrannical, and America’s decline will continue apace.