Any Taxes You Pay Can and Will Be Used Against You

Reason contributor Trey Garrison looks at the stimulus wish lists of cities in Texas, and finds lots of toys for cops:

• Frisco wants $125,000 for an armored vehicle and $200,000 for a mobile command vehicle. You know, for all that gang tank warfare going on up in Frisco.

• McKinney wants $5 million for SWAT toys and stuff.

• North Richland Hills wants $51,000 for volunteer patrol volunteers. Let’s throw in $10 for a dictionary so they can look up the word “volunteer.”

• Irving wants $5 million for biometric scanners, digital cameras, RFID scanners — nothing Big Brother there.

• Grand Prairie wants $1.25 million for nicer landscaping around the public safety building.

• And finally, Arlington is really gearing up for urban warfare. Arlington wants $1.6 million for SWAT toys like military grade carbines, $625,000 for unmanned aerial surveillance drones, and $130,000 for “covert ops"...more equipment for those deadly but camera-friendly no-knock raids...

It isn't just in Texas. For example, I'm thinking the last thing Frank "Worst Mayor in America" Melton of Jackson, Mississippi needs is a Bearcat armored tactical vehicle.

Other examples:

• Sparks, Nevada wants $600,000 to purchase a "live fire" house its SWAT team can shoot up, and another $420,000 for a SWAT armored vehicle.

• Pleasanton, California wants $250,000 to buy a vehicle for its SWAT team.

• Gary, Indiana wants $750,000 for a host of "modernization" upgrades to its police department, including "sub-automatic machine guns" and an "armored vehicl" [sic].

• Hampton, Virginia wants a whopping $3.5 million for "Air Tactical Unit Support and Equipment," which I'm pretty sure means they want a sweet helicopter for the SWAT team.

• Ottawa, Illinois (population: 18,307) wants $60,000 to purchase, among other things, five "tactical entry rifles."

• Glendale Heights, Illinois wants $96,000 to purchase red light cameras, and another $67,000 to hire someone to monitor them.

• Toward a more Orwellian America!  The following cities requested stimulus funds to supplement, initiate, or upgrade public surveillance camera systems: Brockton, Massachusetts; Buffalo, New York; Burnsville, Minnesota; Caguas, Puerto Rico; Cerritos, California; Columbia, South Carolina; Compton, California; Homestead, Florida; Hormigueros, Puerto Rico; Indianapolis, Indiana; Inglewood, California; Lewiston, Maine; Lorain, Ohio; Lynn, Massachusetts; Marion, Ohio; Merced, California; New Rochelle, New York; North Richland Hills, Texas; Oakland, California; Orange, New Jersey; Orem, Utah; Orlando, Florida; Pembroke Pines, Florida; Ponce, Puerto Rico; Riverdale, Illinois; Shreveport, Louisiana; Silver City, New Mexico; Sumter, South Carolina; Tallahassee, Florida; Warren, Ohio; and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. 

Winston-Salem, North Carolina requested just under $85 million in security-related stimulation. But top prize goes to Tulsa, Oklahoma, which is asking the rest of the country to stimulte its economy with a whopping $135 million in public safety-related requests.

All in all, America's mayors asking for a little over $5.5 billion in public safety "stimulus."

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  • Bingo||

    Fuck these fucking assholes. Argh. I have nothing more intelligent to add than unbridled rage.

  • ||

    What do these fucking SWAT teams do when they're not raiding people's houses? They're training--and itching to go out on another real raid.

    We are paying these guys to train all day to oppress us except for the days when they actually get to oppress us. And we are also paying for their toys as they militarize away.

  • ed||

    President Teleprompter neglected to mention any of those things today in Elkhart, Indiana.
    Somebody is lying.

  • ||

    • Grand Prairie wants $1.25 million for nicer landscaping around the public safety building.

    Can you say shovel ready? I know you can.

  • ||

    Anyone know if New Zealand has such militarized police? Anyone know if you can smoke pot there without getting raided? How about gun ownership. It's far. I want to get my exodus right the first time. Thanks.

  • Elemenope||

    This is pretty disgusting.

  • ||

    According to what sources I can access while at work, NZ is only slightly better than here re: MJ laws.

    The search continues. I know about the Netherlands, but they have their share of issues, too.

    Where is Libertopia?!

  • ||

    What happens when we finally get out of Iraq and the Pentagon has all kinds of surplus equipment? And what about soldiers trained in dynamic entry joining the SWAT team? At least previously, the SWAT teams were usually just glorified beat cops. How much more dangerous will they be with trained soldiers on board?

    I mean, if you come back from Iraq with that kind of training, you're obviously going to at least consider a job on a SWAT team, I'd think.

  • Bingo||

    Radley: You might want to clean up the Arlington paragraph.

    Also the Gary, Indiana SWAT team is almost endearing with their childlike misspellings. It's like they understand what it takes to be a cohesive bunch of fascists, but don't quite have the intelligence to put it into words.

    I can haz asslolt wifle?

  • ||

    Obama is now comparing our situation to the Great Depression (as deep and dire as any crisis since the Great Depression, so there's a little wiggle room). What happened to Hope™?

    I read something about the CBO saying that the recession will end by the end of the year. . .with or without the "stimulus."

  • ||

    Ele,

    It's meant to be stimulating. They just didn't tell you that it was your gag reflex they were going to stimulate.

  • ||

    All in all, America's mayors asking for a little over $5.5 billion in public safety "stimulus."

    Hey, that's only 6.7% of the proposed stimulus package. Anyone who's ever run a budget knows that 6.7% is almost the same as zero.

  • ed||

    No worries. It Can't Happen Here.

  • ||

    I can haz asslolt wifle?

    Oh. My. God. You are a genius. Someone needs to make a lolcat SWAT picture. Right now.

    Im in ur hous shootin ur dogz

  • Taktix®||

    I have nothing more intelligent to add than unbridled rage.

    Me either. No intellegent discussion. I'm warn out.

    This whole thing is fucked, no matter how you slice it, and as many times as we've said it before, there really is no turning back -- we live in a socialist, command economy, police-state, and that's just how it is...

  • ||

    Can someone explain to me, even via e-mail how the hell all of theese bailouts is NOT taxation without rep. I say it is, this is why we revolted against the english in the first place!

  • Elemenope||

    Oh. My. God. You are a genius. Someone needs to make a lolcat SWAT picture. Right now.

    Im in ur hous shootin ur dogz


    One of my favorite "making fun of SWAT" photos was due to a meme from D&D, where some geek or other realized that given the stats for cats and the stats for your average human serf, cats should be able to easily kill a guy. So someone made a photoshop with a SWAT team executing a violent arrest, but digitally edited out the perp and inserted a cute fluffy kitty, with the caption "SWAT: keeping commoners safe from dangerous feline predators is all in a day's work". They also edited in an ominous cat under a car in the background, watching the proceedings.

  • ||

    Kind of like this, LMNOP? Note the cat under the Jeep in the background, too.

  • Kyle Jordan||

    "I can haz asslolt wifle?"

    "Im in ur hous shootin ur dogz"

    +∞

    Though I'll admit, I'd be anglin' for a Noveske N4 in 6.8SPC if I could. Or an LWRC M6DMR in 6.8.

    And yeah, we're fucked. The Nevada desert is calling my name.

  • ||

    lolswat 4 Epi

  • Elemenope||

    Kind of like this, LMNOP? Note the cat under the Jeep in the background, too.

    That's the one, only someone captioned it.

  • Elemenope||

    lolswat 4 Epi

    That's a keeper.

  • ||

    lolswat 4 Epi

    Epic. Thanks dude.

  • ||

  • ed||

    From a simpler time, this classic.

  • JB||

    Orem, Utah wants money for cameras? You mean, #12 on the "safest cities" list? http://www.statestats.com/cit07pop.htm#25

    WTF

  • ||

  • Taktix®||

    Orem, Utah wants money for cameras? You mean, #12 on the "safest cities" list?

    Why do they need cameras in Utah? Don't they have special American-Jesus underpants to prevent them from wrongdoing?

  • Fred||

    Well, that does it. Can you say "tax revolt"?

  • ||

    Arlington wants ... $625,000 for unmanned aerial surveillance drones

    Excuse me; I'm sorry. For a second there I thought you said Arlington wanted unmanned motherfucking surveillance drones.

    Obviously I misundertood, though, because that would just be ridiculous. Now I'll just stick my fingers in my ears and hum until 2035...

  • Bingo||

    Yo dawg, we heard you like guns so we sent a team of guys with guns into your house to shoot your pets in case you have guns!

  • ||

    Pleasanton! What the hell would the Pleasanton police SWAT team need a $250k vehicle for? Destroying McMansions full of underage drinkers?

  • ||

    If the republicans really want to favorably distinguish themselves, not a one should vote yay. If they want some bonus points, every one of them should take the podium and condemn the law enforcement pork. They should do it unambigously and unequivocally.

    What are the chances?

  • Bingo||

    libmike: this is probably the one provision of the bill that the GOP is wetting its panties over, they aren't going to condemn anything related to "our boys in blue"

  • TallDave||

    Come on guys, we can't have a police state without proper funding!

    Let's stimulate some no-knock raids!

  • Kyle Jordan||

    libertymike,

    Something like a snowball's chance in Hell.

  • waldo||

    A ton of the Junk that people want to spend money on is ridiculous and merely goes to pay the richest companies even more. BUILD THINGS! Hospitals, roads, schools.

    We have overcrowded schools. So, Build More schools *employs construction and suppliers* Now we need to staff it *emplys teachers, janitors, cooks, administrators* Now we need kids to get there *employs bus drivers.

    Wait, and now kids get an education so they don't make the same dumb mistakes the repubs of the past have made!

  • ||

    I can haz plazma wifle in forti wat rangez?

  • Paul||

    • Sparks, Nevada wants $600,000 to purchase a "live fire" house its SWAT team can shoot up, and another $420,000 for a SWAT armored vehicle.

    Lolz!!!11!!!

    The town of Sparks, Nevada is a live fire house for its SWAT teams. Replete with live, moving dogs and scared residents.

  • Warty||

    Waldo is so cute. *pats his head* That'll work out just great, cutie pie.

  • ||

    Gary, Indiana wants $750,000 for a host of "modernization" upgrades to its police department, including "sub-automatic machine guns" and an "armored vehicl"

    First, you'd think they need $50 to get somebody from the Geek Squad to show them how spellchecker works.

    I'm actually all in favor of sub-automatic machine guns for these cretins. I'm thinking sub-automatic would be some kind of muzzleloader?

  • ||

    "That's our shootin' car. Three more payments and that baby is all ours."

  • Elemenope||

    I can haz plazma wifle in forti wat rangez?

    "Hey, pal. Only what you see here."

  • Kolohe||

    I am going mildly dissent and take the position that I don't mind the surveillance cameras all that much. No surveillance camera ever killed an unarmed man on a train platform, a little old lady in her own home, or any pets anywhere. I will further take the no doubt extremely unpopular position that there really is no such thing as privacy in public spaces.

    The Arlington Predator thing is a bit much, though.

  • Doctor C||

    First, you'd think they need $50 to get somebody from the Geek Squad to show them how spellchecker works.

    Nah, that makes it too hard to weed out the smart ones.

  • Elemenope||

    I am going mildly dissent and take the position that I don't mind the surveillance cameras all that much. No surveillance camera ever killed an unarmed man on a train platform, a little old lady in her own home, or any pets anywhere.

    Just cause it doesn't murder folk, that doesn't make it good!

    I will further take the no doubt extremely unpopular position that there really is no such thing as privacy in public spaces.

    Actually, IIRC, the last time this came up I was in the extreme minority in asserting that the notion of public privacy was not incoherent.

    Many folk, however, were still bothered by the notion of a physical record of the observation being made, rather than being bothered by the observation itself.

    The Arlington Predator thing is a bit much, though.

    It's worse, cause it has wings!!!

  • ||

    Elemenope-

    The extreme minority to which you refer includes me. Why does some public entity have the right to photograph you crossing the street?

  • ||

    Nick | February 9, 2009, 2:24pm | #
    Anyone know if New Zealand has such militarized police? Anyone know if you can smoke pot there without getting raided? How about gun ownership. It's far. I want to get my exodus right the first time. Thanks.



    Buy a gun and fight for your rights here.

    If you start running you never stop.

  • Kolohe||

    mike, iirc you don't even believe in the legitimacy of a 'public entity' itself, right?

    So, -and this is not a flippant question - does a private entity have the right to photograph you?

  • Doctor C||

    Sparks, Nevada wants $600,000 to purchase a "live fire" house its SWAT team can shoot up ...

    Hell, for $600 k they can buy my house and shoot it up.

  • ||

    Thanks, kwais, or should we call you Mr. Miyagi. "If you start running you never stop"? If you Yodafy that it sounds even more ridiculous.

    The sensible libertarian sees abandoning this country as a perfectly reasonable alternative to fighting a fight in which you are categorically outmanned, outspun, and outgunned. Not all of us want to spend the rest of our adult lives bitching about the sorry state of our government. It seems vastly more productive to move someplace where the impules to bitch is replaced by the impulse to enjoy life with a relative minimum of government intrusion.

  • Doctor C||

    The sensible libertarian sees abandoning this country as a perfectly reasonable alternative to fighting a fight in which you are categorically outmanned, outspun, and outgunned. Not all of us want to spend the rest of our adult lives bitching about the sorry state of our government. It seems vastly more productive to move someplace where the impules to bitch is replaced by the impulse to enjoy life with a relative minimum of government intrusion.

    So to where would one flee exactly? Last time I looked, all the land in the world has been spoken for.

    Need I remind you that this country is the product of such flight?

    He's right. Eventually you must stand and fight, because sooner or later you run out of places to flee.

  • ||

    It seems vastly more productive to move someplace where the impules to bitch is replaced by the impulse to enjoy life with a relative minimum of government intrusion.

    I suppose you are right, if you have somewhere to flee to. Voting with your feet so to speak.

    But, I don't think there is any libertarian place on the planet. This is the only country that was founded on libertarian principles.

  • ||

    Doctor C,

    I said abandon, you said flee...twice. Interesting case of perspective. I think of it more like getting out of a bad relationship, flee suggests a deadbeat dad.

    As you say, all the land in the world has been spoken for, but that doesn't mean its been spoken for by our federal government. As Obi-Wan Kenobi said, there are always alternatives. Yes, I quoted a dead white Jedi.

    No, you don't need to remind me that this country is the product of such flight. I'm well versed in the history of pain and fortitude exhibited by American revolutionaries. I disagree that eventually I must stand up and fight. I mustn't have to do anything.

    You and kwais are under the impression that there is no nobler thing than sticking it out and fighting the good fight. I am suggesting only that yes, there is. And it simply means researching other countries and trying to find a culture and government structure that is least egregious, most protective (of rights), and pathologically self-limiting. I'll settle for 2 out of those 3; in fact, I've realized I'll have to.

    So, have at it. Buy your guns and fire away. Seems awfully early to start talking about standing and fighting in the absence of something as cohesive and visionary as a model for overhauling or replacing the current crown. In the absence of that urgency, moving is just common sense.

  • ||

    kwais, I hear you: where is that libertarian ideal? I'm not sure it exists -- from A to Z. That's to be expected. But it seems that scale has a lot to do with the viability of practical libertarianism. Although the U.S. was founded on libertarian principles, that doesn't mean anyone in power today, or any of the people who put them in power, are interested (more than abstractly) in those principles. You deserve the government you have, etc. I just don't think most Americans (who dwarf the population of the thirteen colonies and have endured none of their hardships) want or can handle the responsibility libertarianism demands. Because I don't share that sensibility, I'll opt for a country much smaller in scale, where sensible individual voices stand a better chance of making a local or even national difference.

  • Doctor C||

    Sorry Andy, but evidently I'm descended from a little hardier stock than you. And you are correct, you don't have to do anything. Likewise, I don't have to respect you, which I don't.

    Enjoy your serfdom.

  • John||

    We're at the point where we need a companion to the Posse Comitatus Act that forbids the police from engaging in military activities.

  • ||

    Doctor C, I agree with both you and kwais, but I also agree with Andrew. You can fight or you can find a pleasant place to live with minimal intrusion into your life. Why is one better than the other? What does "stock" have to do with it? Why didn't your ancestors stay where they were and fight? Didn't they move here from somewhere else because this was better than that?

    If I think here will improve I would love to stay. If it doesn't, and I can find a new possibility for me and my offspring, I owe it to my ancestors who wanted better things for their descendents to search out that same free place. In the meantime, I fight with the rest of you.

    Lock and load.

  • bill||

    I feel like I've taken a crazy pill. WTF is going on?

  • ||

    Bill, you have been taking crazy pills for a long time now.

    Just now the effects are starting to wear off.

    Weird huh?

  • heshaojie||

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