L.A. Liberty

A Libertarian in Leftywood

Los Angeles Is Killing Itself →

Governments are corrupt and inefficient drains on societal progress and peace, always and everywhere. Trying to “improve” this inherently bureaucratic morass of ineptitude and shysterism tends to be an extreme exercise in futility. 

"Janet Yellen … constantly lectures us on Keynesian verities as if they were the equivalent of Newton’s Law or the Pythagorean Theorem. In fact, they constitute self-serving dogma of modern vintage that is marshaled to justify what is at bottom an economic absurdity. Namely, that through the primitive act of banging the securities “buy” key over and over and thereby massively expanding its balance sheet, the Fed can cause real wealth—-embodying the sweat of labor, the consumption of capital and the fruits of enterprise—-to magically expand beyond what the free market would generate on its own steam.

In a fit of professorial arrogance, Bernanke even had the gall to call this the helicopter money process. His contention was that the rubes on main street would happily scoop up the falling bills and coins and soon “spend” the economy into a fit of expansion. In other words, according to Bernanke the essential ingredient in economic life is money demand, which is a gift of the state’s central banking branch, rather than production, savings, innovation and enterprise, which arise on the free market in consequences of millions of workers and businesses pursuing their own ends.

Indeed, under Keynesian dogma the latter can be taken for granted; the supply of labor, enterprise and output is automatic and endless until an ethereal quantity called potential GDP is fully realized. To achieve the latter requires that the state dispense exactly the right level of money demand so that the rubes on main street will not stubbornly remain poorer than they need be. This unhappy estate happens, of course, owing to their inexorable propensity to withhold the production and enterprise of which they are capable (i.e. keep plants idle and labor unemployed).

Stated differently, under Yellen’s primitive bathtub economics there is no possibility of inflation unless the central bank mistakenly over-dispenses money demand to the point where actual GDP and the job count overflows potential GDP and the full-employment of labor. Needless to say, we can trust the experts in the Eccles Building to stay on the safe side of this potential GDP divide—-an invisible boundary which can only be seen and calibrated by economics PhDs.

Once upon a time the world knew better. The pre-Keynesian rule was that when central banks hit the “buy” key they always and everywhere create monetary inflation. Ordinarily that resulted in the inflation of credit, which, in turn, caused prices to rise—whether of commodities, services, wages, real estate or financial assets like stocks and bonds.

[And] the problem with monetary inflation—a process that has taken the Fed’s balance sheet from $200 billion when Greenspan took office to nearly $4.4 trillion today—is that its deformations, distortions and malinvestments are cumulative.   Worse still, owing to the “recency bias” of players in the Fed’s financial casino, increasingly outlandish pricing errors are taken for granted. They are viewed as part of the bubble landscape, rather than as a screaming indictment of the monetary inflations’ insidious results.

David Stockman, "California Housing and the Bubble at Hand"

California Court Slams Teacher Privilege in Name of Student Rights in Vergara Decision →

Somehow I missed this last month…

Of course, the ultimate answer isn’t with minimally improving state schools but dismantling them altogether and allowing the demands of parents and students to direct educational options and alternatives.

tylerferrari:

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will fine people for misusing water, unless, they are misusing it themselves. 

Why should they care? It’s not like they pay any price for being inefficient.
This is like those sprinklers in Hollywood on the side of the 101 that run for an hour straight. Considering my LADWP bill is regularly ridiculous, there’s no doubt that this waste is coming out of all of our hides…

tylerferrari:

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will fine people for misusing water, unless, they are misusing it themselves. 

Why should they care? It’s not like they pay any price for being inefficient.

This is like those sprinklers in Hollywood on the side of the 101 that run for an hour straight. Considering my LADWP bill is regularly ridiculous, there’s no doubt that this waste is coming out of all of our hides…

Meter Bleeder →

A $63 fine for parking at an expired meter might cost Los Angeles its entire system of parking fines.

In February, Jesus Pimentel brought a lawsuit after getting slammed with what he says is an unconstitutional punishment. He ended up having to pay $175 on the ticket in question after missing the two-week deadline to pay and having various non-statutory fees added on top of the initial fine. He’s suing to prove such a large figure ought to be treated as a violation of the Eighth Amendment prohibition against excessive fines (and of a similar provision in California’s constitution).

Because the state threatened to take Pimentel’s car or make it illegal for him to drive it if he didn’t pay, he considers such a threat without a chance for a fair adversarial process a violation of his constitutional right to due process as well.

As the lawsuit notes, what the city expected Pimentel to pay amounted to 175 percent of the daily median per capita income of a Los Angeles resident. For Latinos in Los Angeles such as Pimentel, it’s 336 percent of daily median income. The lawsuit also points out the disparate impact on the poor. “Imposition of these penalties is particularly onerous and disproportionately affects low income workers.”

Fingers crossed…

rtamerica:

Warning: Graphic content
Video courtesy: https://www.facebook.com/yoanna.prieto
https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=…

Salinas, California police officers claim they had to use lethal force on a man who didn’t obey their orders and tried to attack them. However video filmed by an eyewitness shows that the man tried to back away from officers when he was shot to death

(via maxlibertarios)

LAPD Shut Down Community Over Police Shooting That Might Not Have Actually Happened →

The system was kind of kept confidential from everybody in the public. A lot of people do have a problem with the eye in the sky, the Big Brother, so in order to mitigate any of those kinds of complaints, we basically kept it pretty hush-hush.

— 

Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department Sgt. Doug Iketani.

This incredible admission amounts to: The people would hate to know how we’re violating their rights - so we just didn’t tell them.

Ultimately, that’s the basis for most state secrets. Here, LASD didn’t want us to know how extensively they are spying on citizens and the military technology being deployed on the unwitting public they ostensibly serve.

Per Ed Krayewski:

Via Techdirt comes the story of the newest toys acquired by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD), former war-zone tech that allows “wide area surveillance.” Camera systems are attached to civilian airplanes and can capture 10,000 times the area of a police chopper.  The system is provided by a company called Persistent Surveillance Systems that got it start, where else, designing wares for the U.S. military in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Police are excited about having the power to spy from the air in real time, recording video to play back later in order to track the movement of residents in places like Compton. Cops also knew, though, that this new ability of theirs might not play well with the public they still theoretically work for. 

You know who else had a problem with being monitored? The Los Angeles Police Department, whose officers destroyed equipment attached to their police cars that would record (audio only!) their interactions with residents. The LASD itself, meanwhile, was the recent target of a federal investigation after trying to hide an informant that was going to testify to corruption and excessive force at the department.

Can someone explain to me why Los Angeles needs two police forces? 

LAPD audio-recording saga provides another argument for the ‘Missing Video Presumption’ →

Go away.

Go away.

LAPD Cops Sabotaged Equipment Installed to Monitor Them →

shocking

Hey! Kids! Leave Those Teachers Alone! →

Basically, by lying.

Scott Shackford explains how California hasn’t “recovered”:

I have been pushing back on claims that California’s economy is fine and awesome and should be used as a model for other states’ recoveries. California is doing better these days than five years ago; but so are most states. However, it’s sheer bullshit to say that the state doesn’t still have huge, dire economic issues, and Gov. Jerry Brown, like previous California governors, is concealing the problems with accounting tricks.

So the next time anybody insists that California’s problems are “fixed” or suggests that Brown’s handling of the state’s fiscal crisis should be a model for other states, drop some knowledge on them, courtesy of David Crane at Bloomberg View. He explains how Brown (and other governors) is able to trick journalists into thinking the state of the state is better than it really is:

They avoided scrutiny thanks to an accounting method known as “cash-based budgeting,” which recognizes expenses only when cash changes hands and treats any cash received, even borrowed cash, as revenue. That’s how New Jersey Governor Chris Christie “balanced” New Jersey’s budget in 2010: by simply pushing a $3 billion pension payment from one year into the next.

Similarly, Brown is using cash-based budgeting to underreport the cost of an employee benefit—retiree health care—by $3 billion. The governor could have chosen to report the expense at its full size, but to do that under cash-based budgeting, he would have had to actually contribute $3 billion in cash to a retiree health-care trust fund.

That’s exactly what governors are supposed to do. Retiree health-care expenses, like pensions, are supposed to be pre-funded in order to protect future generations from having to pick up an earlier generation’s costs. But Brown chose not to do so, making his budget look rosier than it is. This shortchanges future generations, which will have less money for their own services because they will have to pay off the skipped costs.

Brown is also ignoring a $3 billion in required payments to the state teacher pension fund, so really there’s $6 billion in payments unaccounted for by the state’s budget. But thanks to these games, it’s not counted as debt. And not paying it helps avoid putting the state back into a spending deficit, and the lack of a deficit is what folks are pointing to when they insist California has recovered. Crane notes:

Even though California teacher pensions—and therefore that debt—are guaranteed by the state, for accounting purposes the state treats that obligation as off its balance sheet, as if it’s not on the hook. When the trust fund runs out of money, the debt will total more than $600 billion.

Crane concludes by pointing out how badly California is leeching off its citizenry. Despite getting more money from taxpayers than ever, the taxpayers themselves are getting crap out of it:

Just as California’s budget wasn’t fixed in 2000 or 2007, it isn’t fixed in 2014. In fact, even though revenue, taxes and fees are higher now than they were the last time California reported a balanced budget, in 2007, state spending on most state services is lower. Spending on welfare, universities, courts and parks is down more than 20 percent because spending on employee salaries, pensions, retiree health care, debt service and Medicaid is up more than 20 percent.

And even with that huge increase in spending on its own workers, there’s still billions of dollars in debt that’s unaccounted for.

How long can this state survive swindling its residents like this?

As noted in a rare angry rant from back in 2010, I saw the writing on the wall (it didn’t take much prognosticating prowess to predict, as I did, further pension and entitlement expansions, the tax increases of 2012, and continued record unemployment) and I hoped - as I still do - that when the inevitable request/demand for the federal government to bail out California comes that the people in all of the other states get mad enough to not let that happen.

Los Angeles Wants You To Be Its Surveillance Spook →

Here’s one story that’s illustrative of a larger issue.

Read this news blurb, from the local ABC affiliatecarefully.

That’s the entirety that was posted.

Note the man who was “declared dead from a gunshot wound.” Did the blurb tell you who shot him? The use of the phrase “assault with a deadly weapon” instead of what specific weapon being used left that ambiguous. The actual call that came in was “assault with a deadly weapon, man with a knife.” Why not mention the knife if to give the impression of something deadlier or to leave open the possibility that the man was shot by the someone else or to make the shooting seem more justified? And since the two men who were leaving the residence “confronted” and “aggressed” the police, per this blurb, the implication was that the officers were merely defending themselves.

Here’s the story from a different source that has a little more - though not much more - specificity:

A 24-year-old man was shot to death in a confrontation with Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies at a West Hollywood building where a knife fight had taken place, authorities said today.

Three other men were hospitalized in stable condition with stab wounds in connection with the same incident at an apartment building in the 900 block of Palm Avenue, said sheriff’s Deputy Lillian Peck.

Peck said deputies responding to a call of an assault with a knife around 9:30 p.m. Monday were confronted by two men as they approached the apartment. A fight inside the apartment spilled outside and drew in the two responding deputies, added Deputy Crystal Hernandez.

The deputy-involved shooting occurred during that confrontation, and the 24-year-old suspect later died at a hospital, Peck said. It was not disclosed whether one or both deputies opened fire.

A large knife was discovered at the scene, and investigations are continuing, she said.

Here we learn that it was, indeed, the cops who killed the man. But we know nothing else.

What about the LA Times?

A 24-year-old man was shot and killed Monday night by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies who were responding to reports of an assault with a deadly weapon at a West Hollywood apartment complex, authorities said.

The shooting occurred about 9:30 p.m. as deputies approached the apartment building in the 900 block of Palm Avenue and two men came outside and “lunged” at the deputies, said Deputy Crystal Hernandez.

The deputies shot and killed the 24-year-old but did not hit the other man, according to a statement issued by the Sheriff’s Department.

Moments later, the statement said, the deputies heard a scuffle going on inside an apartment, found one man choking another and broke up the conflict.

The two men fighting inside, as well as the surviving man outside, had all been stabbed, authorities said. All three men are expected to survive, they said.

A large knife was found at the scene, authorities said.

Detectives continue to investigate the incidents, officials said. The identity of the man shot by deputies was not immediately available.

Note again, the similarly vague information and how the details of the killed man “are not available.”

These were the first three links that pop up on a Google News search for this story, so it’s not like I’m cherry-picking here. 

Well, I was informed of this through a friend of mine who lives in a building next to where this incident took place.

The initial confrontation was of one man attacking two others with a knife. Apparently, this was a result of a break-up or lover’s quarrel turned bloody.

The unidentified man who was killed was John Winkler (who was actually 30-years-old, not 24). Winkler arrived home to hear his neighbor in distress, and rushed to help him.

One of the bloodied victims was able to escape and Winkler was helping him flee. When the victim and Winkler barged out of the doors to the building, the heavily armed officers who were about to enter the building assumed that the unarmed Winkler was the killer and shot him dead.

To repeat: the police shot and killed an unarmed man who was helping a stabbing victim.

At the very least, this is gross negligence and incompetence on the part of police. It is inexcusable. Their profession - their very existence as better-armed state agents funded through coercion and with a monopoly on force - is justified precisely for properly and safely dealing with “high-stress, life-and-death” situations just like this. 

But the compliant media does what it always does: it simply parrot’s the “official” (as in, police) account of events. They withhold information and fail to ask important questions.

And when further details are later known, they still diligently report the police’s version of events.

In this report from a much smaller newspaper, we can read far more details on the incident; but like the first blurb, the police’s allegation that an unarmed Winkler was “lunging” at the victim is passed along as if true (they wrote “lunged” in quotes - not “allegedly lunged,” not “appeared to lunge,” not “seemed to lunge, per statements by the deputies”). Why would an unarmed man be “lunging” at a man he was trying to save? And yet, no efforts to question the police’s version of events is made. Here’s the ABC affiliate’s follow-up piece that notes the cops “mistakenly killed an innocent man,” but no one asks why the police initially claimed that the bloody stabbing victim and the unarmed good samaritan “aggressed the deputies” since it is painfully clear that such an allegation was a complete fabrication.

And the lack of accountability will not stop there. We can be assured that (1) an internal investigation will clear all officers involved and (2) if there is a law suit, the department and the relevant government agencies will simply settle with taxpayer money. Per usual.

When will people stop defending the police and start holding them accountable?

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