#GunControl as a sign of liberal cultural superiority

March 31, 2013

I came across an article this morning by Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner in which sees the current efforts to restrict our Second Amendment rights as another front in the “culture war,” a war in which the Left sees itself as morally superior to everyone else. That is, you can’t have rational reasons for disagreeing with them on gun-rights issues, you must be morally wrong.

The spark for his essay is a new book by Dan Baum, who’s both a Jewish liberal Democrat and a gun owner, called “Gun Guys.” As someone who sits in both worlds (the liberal and the gun-fan), Baum is able to understand how both sides thinks. Carney introduce’s Baum’s book with some examples of how the left sees gun enthusiasts as not just wrong, but inferior, even evil. Here are a couple:

The Post’s Gene Weingarten in 2011 spat on the Second Amendment as “the refuge of bumpkins and yeehaws who like to think they are protecting their homes against imagined swarthy marauders desperate to steal their flea-bitten sofas from their rotting front porches.”

After Columbine, a Boston Herald op-ed described the average participant in a 1999 Boston Common pro-gun rally as a wannabe “hicksville cowboy, as in way out there, somewhere off the Mass Pike or at the far reaches of 93. From towns with something to prove and lots of Amvets posts.”

And President Obama in 2008 famously told a wealthy crowd at a San Francisco fundraiser that rural voters “get bitter, they cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them … “

Well, the “antipathy toward people who aren’t like them” clearly is mutual.

From this, Carney segues to Baum’s discussion of the liberal-left’s loathing for the culture that guns represent and how they think they can use the law to control or destroy that culture:

Liberals, Baum writes, “recognized the gun as the sacred totem of the enemy, the embodiment of this abhorrent world view. They believed that they could weaken the enemy by smashing his idols — by banning the gun if possible … “

Many liberals hate it that some conservatives have a different set of values, morals and aesthetics — and so these liberals want to use the federal government to fix that.

(…)

“Assault rifles,” writes Baum, “were just as powerful symbolically as they were ballistically. A renewed assault-rifle ban would really smash the enemy’s idols.”

Also, when speaking about sales without background checks, gun controllers always refer to “gun shows.” Most guns used in murders aren’t bought at gun shows — they’re stolen or bought on the street. But gun shows are large gatherings of the “gun tribe” — and so they must be shut down.

Not mentioned directly, but certainly a subtext in this article and, I suspect, Baum’s book, is the idea that gun control as an assault on the so-called “gun tribe” is, as Dan Bongino put it, a form of people control. And that is the real objective of progressivism.

Makes sense, when you’re convinced you’re superior.

RELATED: And if you need another example of how the other side sees us, don’t forget, if you oppose gun control, you might be an Antisemite.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The death of common sense in America

March 31, 2013

Writing on the rolling global financial crisis, the Diplomad shakes his head at the foolishness reigning in the US today:

The western world continues on a totally unnecessary suicidal path. What was once common sense is no more. Everywhere one looks, the insanity is evident: The refusal to deal with real issues and the insistence on taking up marginal or even totally extraneous issues instead is stunning. Here in the USA, our economy remains stagnated for no logical reason. Instead, for example, of freeing up the exploitation of our vast fossil fuel resources, we continue to push money at phony green industries, throw road blocks in the way of our private sector’s ability to get those fuels, block importation of fuel from our friends in Canada, and blather on and on about discredited, voodoo science global warming. Our leaders rulers take lavish vacations on our dime, push ruinous tax and spend policies, including the criminally destructive Obamacare, and avoid cutting even a bit of our bloated spending. A hypothetical “threat” to reduce ever so slightly the rate of growth in spending is declared disastrous and the equivalent of a nuclear attack. 

Well, when you put it that way…

Instead, we allow ourselves to waste our energies on issues of far less importance, such as same-sex marriage (1) or “assault weapons bans,” or whatever false crisis the left raises to distract us from their near-criminal mismanagement of the nation’s affairs.

And the truly frustrating this is that it often works. At least for now, common sense is truly dead.

Read the rest for a discussion of Europe even-worse state and for an explanation of how the Greek banking crisis lead directly to the Cyprus bailout.

Footnote:
(1) My apologies to supporters of allowing same-sex marriage (I’m one, too), but I simply do not believe this is one of the crucial issues facing our country, today. Not when our national debt is astronomical (and growing), our national borrowing to support out of control entitlements resembles a heroin addict needing his fix, Islamic jihadists want to reach paradise over our corpses, and crazed dictatorships that hate us are desperately seeking nuclear weapons. There are far, far more important things demanding our attention as a nation.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


March 30, 2013

This is a very interesting study. I’m sorry to say my beloved California comes in only at second place in “most un-free” states, behind New York. Come on, Sacramento! I’m sure you can do more to screw this place up! I have faith in you.

International Liberty

Sometimes I myopically focus on fiscal policy, implying that the key to prosperity is small government.

But I’ll freely admit that growth is maximized when you have small government AND free markets.

That being said, our goal should be to expand freedom, not merely to have the largest possible GDP.

Which is why the Freedom Index is a good complement to Economic Freedom of the World.

It shows, for instance, that Singapore may be ranked #2 for economic freedom, but it is only #39 when you look at all freedoms.

We also have a comprehensive ranking of economic and personal freedom for the 50 states.

Here are the full rankings from the newly released Freedom in the 50 States from the Mercatus Center, showing North Dakota as the state with the most freedom, with South Dakota (#2), Tennessee (#3), New Hampshire (#4), and Oklahoma (#5) also deserving…

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You’re welcome, America: California’s high-speed rail will need a federal bailout

March 29, 2013
"Train wreck"

“Train wreck”

I just knew it would come to this:

When California finishes tapping out the taxpayers in its state to pay for its nonsensical high speed rail, it will ask the taxpayers of other states to chip in, according to a new Government Accountability Office report requested by House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA). The GAO report found that the federal government will have to give California an astonishing $38.7 billion in order for the state to complete the idiotic project, footing more than half of the total cost.

Not that California will ever see much, if any, of that money; with Republicans controlling the House and the public increasingly concerned over ludicrous levels of federal spending (and borrowing), there’s going to be heavy pressure not to give Sacramento a dime.

And I call that a good thing.

My fellow Californians passed Prop 1A in a fit of bong-born enthusiasm in 2008, but, since then, public opinion has soured to the point that a majority would just cancel it, largely due to skyrocketing costs. Here are five good reasons this boondoggle should be tossed in dumpster, including the fact that rider numbers –and thus the ticket sales needed to pay off the debt we’re incurring– will never match projections.

(Which is surprising. You’d think millions would flock to ride that opening stretch from Bakersfield to Madera.)

Thankfully, Representative McCarthy and his Republican colleagues are working to block any federal aid to this folly. It’s sad when a federal representative has to work against his state government, but, in this case, call it “tough love.” If Governor Brown and the dreamland progressives in the legislature can’t see the need to kill this lunatic project, someone will have to do it for them. Sadly, my guess is this will only happen after we’ve taken on tons more debt pursuing it.

Why is the left so obsessed with fixed rail? Or does “progressive” really mean “the future as seen from the 1930s?”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bloomberg’s dystopia: you may only defend yourselves with sticks and rakes

March 28, 2013

Still suffering from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, the people of Staten Island, denied their Second Amendment rights, are reduced to neolithic means to defend themselves:

As CBS 2’s Dick Brennan reported Wednesday, when darkness sets in on Wavecrest Street in New Dorp, people say squatters make their move – crashing empty homes wrecked by the hurricane.

“They just go in there late at night when nobody is supposed to be looking, and they just flop in the house and sleep in there, wherever,” resident Steven Sumner said.

Residents said the squatters are most attracted to homes that have electricity.

But Sumner said it is not just the squatters, but the looters, too. They have tried to break into his Sandy-ravaged home next to the trailer where he has been living temporarily.

But he said he has managed to fight back, with many different weapons, including a cane, a baseball bat, two rakes, and a stick.

And if you think they’re effective, think again.

This is just the kind of situation the Founders had in mind when they wrote the Second Amendment, recognizing (not granting!) an individual’s right to arm himself for defense of life and property. It is the difference between the free citizen and the victimized subject. And the laws of New York City, the joys of which its liberal fascist mayor wants to impose on the rest of us, have turned the first into the second.

via JWF, who has a trenchant observation on Obama, Bloomberg, and guys like Mr. Summer.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


This is why California can’t have nice things: taxing email

March 28, 2013
taxes IRS shakedown

“Shakedown”

Not yet, but a Berkeley (natch) city councilor thinks it’s a grand idea:

Gordon Wozniak, a Berkeley city councilman, proposed taxing email messages during a recent city council meeting in an effort to reduce the spread of “spam,” or unwanted emails.

Wozniak also said an email tax could raise money to keep the U.S. Postal Service functioning.

“There should be something like a bit tax … [it] could be a cent per gigabit and they would make, probably, billions of dollars a year,” he said.

First question for Mr. Wozniak: are you taxing the senders or the recipients? If the former, how do you plan to get Nigerian scammers and Chinese porn spammers to comply? If the latter, then how…. Wait, I know: “It’s for the good of the community.”

Can you imagine how fast businesses would leave California if email messages (or data transfer) were to be taxed? Hint: hard to believe, but even faster than they are, now. And what about people who rely on email for their small or micro-businesses, or their hobbies? The Internet has been a fabulous engine for wealth creation, so naturally progressive Luddites want to kill it through taxation.

And what is it with the leftist obsession with preserving dying institutions? The Postal Service is collapsing, in large part due to the efficiency and convenience of email. It can’t compete, so let it go and let other, better services take its place. Just like their obsession with railroads, “progressives” boldly look to the past, when the future is staring them in the face. And because the future frightens them, their reaction is to tax it to prevent it.

Meanwhile, a suggestion to Councilman Wozniak: If spam email so annoys you, stop whining and get a service or software with a good spam filter.

And keep your grasping paws off my wallet.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Canaries in the Coal Mine

March 27, 2013

Call this a follow up to my worries that Cyprus is a warning and this morning’s post about America being in danger of becoming Europe.

In this latest “Afterburner,” Bill Whittle warns us that, with the European Union lurching from fiscal crisis to fiscal crisis, and with the US headed by an administration enamored of many of the same foolish policies as the Europeans, the members of the EU are serving as “canaries in the coal mine:”

Prediction is a fool’s game, so I won’t guess what’s going to happen, but I’d feel much more comfortable if this man were in charge.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Is America Becoming Europe?

March 27, 2013

A philosophical question for you from Encounter Books and narrated by, I think, Bill Whittle:

My short answer is “No, and I’d  rather not live in Europe, thanks.” (Even though I live in one of the states closest to “might as well just join the EU and get it over with.”) If it means permanent 10% unemployment, economic stagnation, dependency on a cradle-to-grace welfare state, the high taxes meant to support it, and rule by a political class that thinks the people are to be controlled, not consulted… Well, I’ll pass.

Wait. I’ve  just described the modern (Social) Democratic Party, haven’t I?

Seriously, I’m old enough to remember the stagnation, declinism,  and national bad mood of the 70s, particularly under Jimmy Carter. Those times passed, and I’m sure these will too, but only if we work tirelessly to remind people there is a better way.

Complacency really will make us Europe.

PS: I can almost hear someone saying “Yeah, but we had Reagan, back then.” But few if any in the 70s knew that Reagan would become one of the most successful presidents in our history. Many didn’t take him seriously, calling him a fringe politician, a Goldwater throwback, even a nut and an amiable dunce. It wasn’t until several years into his presidency that we realized how right he was and how much good he was doing. We may or may not have a “Reagan” waiting in the wings, now, unnoticed or underestimated, but my point is that we can’t sit back, waiting for that person to save us. We have to work at it and stand against the spread of statism and dependency and for the promotion of liberty day after day, every day.

/soapbox

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Eurozone Chief: Cyprus was just the start

March 26, 2013
"Obama loan officer at work."

“EU bureaucrat at work.”

Hoo, boy. I just had a feeling that, once the the EUrocracy learned it could take depositors’ money at will without a total meltdown, the temptation to do it again (and again and again and again…) would be too great to  resist. Thus we read in the Telegraph:

Cyprus bail-out: savers will be raided to save euro in future crises, says eurozone chief

Savings accounts in Spain, Italy and other European countries will be raided if needed to preserve Europe’s single currency by propping up failing banks, a senior eurozone official has announced.

The new policy will alarm hundreds of thousands of British expatriates who live and have transferred their savings, proceeds from house sales and other assets to eurozone bank accounts in countries such as France, Spain and Italy.

The euro fell on global markets after Jeroen Dijsselbloem, the Dutch chairman of the eurozone, told the FT and Reuters that the heavy losses inflicted on depositors in Cyprus would be the template for future banking crises across Europe.

“If there is a risk in a bank, our first question should be ‘Okay, what are you in the bank going to do about that? What can you do to recapitalise yourself?’,” he said.

“If the bank can’t do it, then we’ll talk to the shareholders and the bondholders, we’ll ask them to contribute in recapitalising the bank, and if necessary the uninsured deposit holders.”

Ditching a three-year-old policy of protecting senior bondholders and large depositors, over €100,000, in banks, Mr Dijsselbloem argued that the lack of market contagion surrounding Cyprus showed that private investors could now be hit to pay for bad banking debts.

Don’t you just love how Dijsselbloem puts it? “We’ll ask them to contribute.” As if Manuel the Madrid taxi driver, who’s put his life’s savings into a bank he thought he could trust, will get any chance to say no. If he’s lucky, he’ll wake one morning to discover that his masters in Brussels have left him anything at all.

This is just immoral. Depositors in Cyprus are being robbed to cover for the bad borrowing decisions of governments and the equally stupid lending decisions of bankers, and now Dijsselbloom and his fellow mandarins are casting their gaze across Europe and seeing a smorgasbord filled with tasty accounts waiting to have a bite taken out of them.

Let’s review an old principle of (real) liberalism that’s more and more forgotten these days: your bank account is your property, as it represents the fruits of your labor. Security in your right to property is essential to your liberty; if you do not have the first, then you lack the second. If some bureaucrat can come and take your property via a diktat dressed in legal finery, then you are not a free human being.

Desperate to save their precious Euro at all costs, the Eurocrats and the national governments are all but guaranteeing a future bank run and financial panic as frightened people take their money and try to put it beyond the reach of grasping, blundering officials and quite possibly creating the very crash they’re trying to avoid.

With establishment politicians like these, is it any wonder people turn in frustration and anger to radical politics?

PS: And I wish the EU would stop giving Obama ideas…

via Bryan Preston

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


This just in: If you oppose gun control, you might just be an Antisemite

March 25, 2013

According to MSNBC, that is.

Background: loathsome nanny-state Mayor (1) Mike Bloomberg has been on a crusade since the Aurora and Newtown mass killings to take New York City’s extremely restrictive (and, in my opinion, unconstitutional) gun laws nationwide, spending millions of his own money to pressure (2) Congress and various state legislatures. In reaction, defenders of the right to bear arms have been very critical of Bloomberg, both on policy grounds and his overall infatuation with statism. (3)

On America’s “lean forward” network, however, it couldn’t be that you oppose Bloomberg because you believe in the right to bear arms or that, in general, government should stay out of people’s private lives. Nope. If you oppose Bloomberg, it must be because you hate Jews:

According to MSNBC contributors Mike Barnicle and Al Sharpton, opposition to New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg’s gun-control push is partly the result of anti-Semitism. “Let’s get down to it, Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, there’s a level of anti-Semitism in this thing directed towards Bloomberg,” Barnicle argued on Morning Joe, “It’s out there.” “No doubt about that,” Sharpton responded.

“If he was not a big-city Jewish man and was from another ethnic group, in some parts, I think it would be different,” Sharpton continued. 

If you can’t win on the facts, fight with slander.

At PJM, Bryan Preston reminds us that both Barnicle and Sharpton are a bit lacking in the ethics department:

Mike Barnicle, who a few years back was caught plagiarizing, and Al Sharpton, who a few years before that built his career by accusing an innocent man of rape, have resorted to smearing those of us who think New York Mike Bloomberg should at least confine his overbearing nannyist instincts to the city that actually elected him.

So I guess we shouldn’t be surprised at this latest bit of poo-flinging.

It’s all they have left.

Footnotes:
(1) That Allahpundit has such a way with words.
(2) Or buy, judging by the results of the recent primary election in IL-2.
(3) And that’s putting it nicely. Michael Walsh comes right out and calls Bloomie a liberal fascist.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Britain’s Green chickens are coming home to roost, as will ours, soon

March 25, 2013

Christopher Booker in last Saturday’s Telegraph: “It’s payback time…”

As the snow of the coldest March since 1963 continues to fall, we learn that we have barely 48 hours’ worth of stored gas left to keep us warm, and that the head of our second-largest electricity company, SSE, has warned that our generating capacity has fallen so low that we can expect power cuts to begin at any time. It seems the perfect storm is upon us.

The grotesque mishandling of Britain’s energy policy by the politicians of all parties, as they chase their childish chimeras of CO2-induced global warming and windmills, has been arguably the greatest act of political irresponsibility in our history.

Three more events last week brought home again just what a mad bubble of make-believe these people are living in. Under the EU’s Large Combustion Plants Directive, we lost two more major coal-fired power stations, Didcot A and Cockenzie, capable of contributing no less than a tenth to our average electricity demands. We saw a French state-owned company, EDF, being given planning permission to spend £14?billion on two new nuclear reactors in Somerset, but which it says it will only build, for completion in 10 years’ time, if it is guaranteed a subsidy that will double the price of its electricity. Then, hidden in the small print of the Budget, were new figures for the fast-escalating tax the Government introduces next week on every ton of CO2 emitted by fossil-fuel-powered stations, which will soon be adding billions of pounds more to our electricity bills every year.

Be sure to read the rest. Not only is the government in London heavily subsidizing uneconomic wind farms and granting needless subsidies in tribute to get nuclear plants built, but they’re doing all they can to drive coal plants out of business, even though coal plants are necessary as backup for those times when the wind doesn’t blow. Hence the warnings about blackouts in the dead of winter. Britain is looking at a new Dark Ages, one wholly of its own doing.

And before we cluck our tongues at our cousins’ folly, this is just the future Obama and the environmentalist movement would lead us to:

Booker is right that Britain’s energy policy is insanity. But what can we say about a nation —us— that sits atop almost unimaginably immense energy resources, enough to restore the cheap energy needed for prosperity and make us nearly energy independent, and yet fights tooth and nail  against developing it in the name of battling a problem that does not exist?

Madness!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Sunday Book Review: The Founders’ Second Amendment

March 24, 2013

book cover founders second amendment

The right to carry a weapon and the efforts to restrict that right, the latter euphemistically called “gun control,” have been much in the news lately. In the wake of horrific mass-killings at an elementary school and a movie theater, the liberal left in America (and other people genuinely appalled at what happened) have called for new restrictions on the kinds of firearms people are allowed to have. Strenuous efforts were made in the federal Senate to reinstate a ban on so-called “assault weapons,” while the states of Colorado and New York have recently passed highly restrictive new firearms laws.

Central to this debate (more of a screaming argument, really) has been the Second Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which reads:

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Since the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are documents meant to limit the power of government, a central question has been “What does the amendment mean, and what does it allow the government to do?”

One would think the question would be an easy one, the phrase “shall not be infringed” being quite clear, but things are no longer so simple. Advocates of strict gun control have variously argued that the Second Amendment refers to a group right, not one held by individuals; that it refers to the right to bear arms solely while serving in a militia, not to have them in one’s home; that the right is limited only to hunting and other sporting uses, thus allowing the government to regulate firearms “not necessary” to that; that the frontier no longer exists, so there’s no need for militia-style defense; and that the progress of technology has made weapons too dangerous for individual use, thus rendering the amendment obsolete and non-operative.

Defenders of the right to bear arms, on the other hand, not only point to the plain text of the amendment, but argue that one must look to the experiences of the founding generation at the time of the amendment’s writing and how they understood the precise words they used in it and other areas of our core documents. In other words, one must consider their original intent.

Stephen A. Halbrook’s “The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms” (hereafter “TFSA”) provides an invaluable contribution to the “originalist” argument in defense of the right to keep and bear arms. Halbrook explains his intention thus:

This work seeks to present the views of the Founders who actually created the Second Amendment. It is based on their own words as found in newspapers, correspondence, debates, and resolutions. Generous quotations from the Founders are used to allow them to speak for themselves, thereby avoiding the appearance of re-characterization of their views.

The “Founders” were the generation of Americans in the eighteenth century who suffered in the final stages of British colonialism, fought the Revolution and won independence, debated and adopted the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and established the republic. The members of that generation passed away by the early nineteenth century, but their constitutional legacy is, if not immortal, a singular triumph in the history of human freedom. (Kindle edition, beginning at location 175)

Halbrook covers the roughly 60 years from 1768 (the British military occupation of Boston) to 1826 (when Adams and Jefferson died) and the Founders thinking on the right to keep and bear arms in great detail, from the colonists’ original assertion of their rights as Englishmen through the writing of the first post-independence state constitutions, the writing and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and the debate over the Bill of Rights. He cites not only the opinions and arguments of the first-tier, well-remembered Founders (Adams, Jefferson, Madison, &c.), but also of nearly forgotten but influential men such as Tench Coxe and St. George Tucker. Quotations come from both those who supported the ratification of the Constitution (“Federalists”) and those who opposed it (“Anti-Federalists”), as well as those who would support it only with a Bill of Rights, with the right to bear arms being primary among their concerns. To make sure we understand the meanings of the amendment’s words as the Founders’ did, he frequently cites from Noah Webster’s “Compendious Dictionary of the English Language” (1806).

On reading TFSA, several things become clear:

  • That, as the Founders understood it, “rights” vest in individual people and cannot be taken from them, only suppressed through tyranny.
  • That governments have no rights, only powers, and these powers can be restricted by the People.
  • That the keeping (as in “possession of property”) and bearing (“carrying”) of arms covered everything from hunting to self-defense to defense against oppressive government, and that this was a private right of the citizen, not something granted by the State or to be used only when the government permitted it. Indeed, the bearing of arms was considered the hallmark of a free citizen and necessary to the defense of his other rights, while the banning or restriction of arms in Europe was seen as prima facie evidence of oppression.

In no case, Halbrook avers, did anyone among the Founders acknowledge a government “right” to restrict, ban, or confiscate the arms of law-abiding citizens.

TFSA also spends a great deal of time on the question of a “militia” versus a “standing army,” which was a topic of overriding importance at the time, given the Americans’ experience of tyranny and violence at the hands of British regulars. Halbrook argues, to my mind convincingly, that the militia clause of the Second Amendment, “A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State,…” is a statement of purpose, not proscription limiting the right to bear arms to militia service. It is an assertion that the People’s right to keep and bear arms cannot be denied because a militia, composed of the body of the People, is essential to enforce the laws, suppress rebellion, defend against invasion, and as a last resort against tyrannical government, that last being something the Founders had very personal experience of in their own lives.

Regarding style, Halbrook’s writing is straightforward and easy to follow. If the book sometimes seems tedious, it is because the author is making a strong effort to be thorough and to bring home the point that early American opinions on the right to bear arms were remarkably consistent. In this case, this thoroughness is a virtue, not a flaw. However, the Kindle version, on which this review is based, is plagued with frequent typographical errors that look to be the result of scanning from the original without a subsequent editing. While very annoying, this does not detract from the book’s immense value in the current debate.

“The Founders’ Second Amendment: Origins of the Right to Bear Arms,” by Stephen Halbrook, is available in both paperback and Kindle format. (Fair disclosure: Buying a copy nets me a few pennies.)

Highly recommended.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Quote of the Day: James Madison on making Congress obey its own laws

March 23, 2013

In regard to the duty to serve in the militia and who might be exempt, James Madison said that members of Congress…

“…ought ever to bear a share of the [burdens] they lay on others in order that their acts may not slide into an abuse of the power vested in them.”

(cited in “The Founders’ Second Amendment,” Kindle edition, location 6281)

While Mr. Madison was talking about militia duty, it seems to me that his recommendation is applicable in many, many instances, and as valid now as it was then.

Wise man, that Jimmy M.


March 23, 2013

“Caring about the environment” is just a cover. What they want is more revenue, and “fighting climate change” is the fig leaf used to hide it.

Watts Up With That?

Guest Post by Christopher Horner, CEI

In November, I and CEI sued the Department of the Treasury to produce emails and other records mentioning “carbon”. See Joint_Scheduling_Agreement PDF

I sought emails and other documents from two offices: Environment and Energy (really), and Legislative Affairs. This action after the administration first ignored us, which they followed with an unfortunate stumble, trying to delay us with fees — even absurd and surely anti-‘green’ ones, like $1,800 to photocopy electronic mail, typically copied on a disc for no charge — which fees, even when they’re not mindlessly trumped up like that one, not-for-profit groups which disseminate government information are exempt by statute from paying.

Delay can only work only so well once we file suit, and recently Treasury turned over a first production of approximately 770 pages of reports. Despite its better efforts Treasury managed to hand over some docs that in an…

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Senate Democrats rush to repeal tax they rushed to pass without reading, first

March 22, 2013

Remember how the Democrats pushed and pushed to ram through Obamacare as fast as they could, despite huge public opposition? So fast, most didn’t even bother to read the bill before voting on it? So fast, the Senate had to use “Rube Goldberg” procedures to pass it? So fast, Nancy Pelosi said they’d have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it?

Those were the days, my friends.

But, now that they’ve found out about at least one part, the idiotic “medical devices tax,” Democrats, especially those from states where the medical device industry is important, are joining with Republicans to repeal it:

The Senate gave sweeping bipartisan approval Thursday to a proposal by Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., to put senators on record in favor of repealing a tax on medical devices – a key part of President Obama’s controversial health care law.

The Hatch-Klobuchar amendment to the GOP budget plan is the latest effort to roll back the tax that applies to a range of medical products, from surgical tools to heart devices. It’s among several taxes in Obama’s 2010 health care overhaul.

The amendment passed the Senate by a vote of 79 to 20. The bill that it was attached to did not pass, but the sponsors used it as an opportunity to rally support for repealing the tax — as well as a separate bill they’ve introduced to achieve that. 

“Today, bipartisan members of the Senate spoke loudly and clearly that this tax on medical devices simply must go.  It is a drain on innovation, on job creation and on our ability to provide ground breaking medical technologies to patients,” Hatch said in a statement.

The Affordable Care Act levies a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices with the goal of raising nearly $30 billion over the next decade.

The Obama administration, naturally, is opposed to repeal of the tax, because the money it is expected to raise is crucial to Obamacare’s funding. But Democratic senators from vulnerable seats don’t want to have to explain to angry voters why their pacemakers and prosthetics cost more, or why the pace of innovation will slow, as the profits that would have been plowed back into R&D instead goes to the Treasury.

Expect this to happen more and more as the full weight of the PPACA kicks in. An already impossibly unwieldy law will become increasingly unstable as people demand unpopular taxes be repealed or find ways to avoid them, until the whole structure just collapses.

Of course, some would argue (and I would agree) that this collapse is an acceptable outcome to democratic socialists like Obama and Illinois Rep. Jan Schakowski, who think and hope that the turmoil caused will lead people to demand what the Left really wants: state-run single-payer health care.

Our job is to remind people every day that Obamacare is itself the problem, that the only solution to rising medical costs is a program of patient-centered, market-based reforms that remove the price distortions caused by government intervention and respects the liberty of the individual. If someone says that “Too late, Obamacare is set in stone, we can only tinker with it,” just give them a one-word answer: “Prohibition.”

Meanwhile, we can enjoy the spectacle of liberals like Senator Klobuchar running screaming from the monster they helped set loose.

RELATED:

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The horror of sequester: congressional aides might have to pay more for subsidized lunches

March 22, 2013
"House cafeteria, post-sequester"

“House cafeteria, post-sequester”

Have those heartless House Republicans no mercy, no soul? How could they do this to poor, starving congressional staffers?

Speaking at a hearing of the House Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, [Debbie] Wasserman Schultz worried that prices of meals in House restaurants are getting so high that aides are being “priced out” of a good meal.

At the carry-out cafe in the Cannon Office Building, where Wasserman Schultz has her office, you can get an 8oz bowl of Ham and Bean soup for $2. You can buy gourmet sandwiches and wraps for around $5. Both of these are cheaper than I can get at delis down the street from my house.

Her aides could walk across the street to the Longworth Building, which has a large sit-down cafeteria. Today, it is featuring a roasted stuffed Chicken, with asparagus and mashed potatoes, for around $7. Or, one could opt for a heaping 12oz bowl of Chicken Chili for $3.

There is also the tried and true method enjoyed by millions of workers around the country: a brown-bag lunch.

Curse you, Tea Partiers! Have you no sympathy for long-suffering, hard-toiling aides who make more than the median salary in the US?

You can imagine that I, who lives the life of luxury –bringing my breakfast four out of five days to work, my lunch every day, going out to a cheap dinner with friends just once per month– Well, dear readers, you can picture just how my heart breaks for people who might have to pay $8 for roasted stuffed chicken with mashed potatoes and asparagus, instead of seven.

I weep.

Actually, I don’t. In fact, Wasserman-Schultz and her overpaid entourage of whiny self-entitled oligarchs can go do something anatomically impossible to themselves. It was her party’s leader who thought of the sequester, it was her party’s leader who fought tooth and nail any effort ease what little real pain it would cause, and it was her party’s leader and his minions (including Debbie) who tried desperately to scare the American people with a “sequester terror” that turned out to be a giant nothing. If she and her staff now have to live a tiny bit more like us great unwashed, don’t expect sympathy from me.

Honestly, this is a glaring example of just how (to use a cliche) out of touch and removed from the everyday life of Americans those who live within the Beltway must be, especially the progressives. If the Republicans don’t use this monumental example of elite cluelessness as a populist  club to beat the Democrats over the head with from now until November, 2014, they don’t belong in politics.

UPDATE: Mockery via Twitchy — #SaveTheStaffers

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Secret Police State: New York will pay you $500 to rat out other gun owners

March 21, 2013

The Stasi and the KGB approve, and Orwell nods knowingly:

Nearly a year before signing the nation’s most stringent gun control measure into law, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo launched a hotline that allows state residents to report illegal gun owners in exchange for a $500 reward.

The measure is part of a four-pronged approach established by the governor’s office to reduce gun violence in urban communities, according to CBS6Albany.com.

New Yorkers can call the “Gun Tip Line” if they believe someone they know has an illegal gun. Hotline calls are answered by state police and tips are referred to local law enforcement, the station reported.

“This initiative seeks to turn neighbor against neighbor and use their own tax dollars to pay for the $500 reward,” Republican Assemblyman Steve McLaughlin told the station.

Back in the days when East Germany was around, it was estimated that one in every twelve people was a paid informant for the Stasi, the Soviet satrapy’s feared secret police. Now New York has done them one better, turning everyone in the Empire State into a potential snitch.

What’s that you say? You think I’m overreacting? That this only applies to convicted criminals who aren’t allowed firearms in the first place, or maybe someone who illegally obtains an automatic weapon?

Perhaps you’d be right under the old rules, and perhaps I wouldn’t then have a problem with this program. But, consider New York’s shiny new draconian gun law and all the previously legal weapons it weapons it made illegal unless registered, or, God forbid, you fill your ten-bullet magazine to capacity.

Go ahead and exercise your Second Amendment rights, New Yorkers, as well as your rights under your own state’s Civil Rights Law, but, be careful.

Your neighbor may need the money.

via Rick Wilson

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Nancy Pelosi, a racist hypocrite?? Say it ain’t so!

March 21, 2013

I’m sure there’s a perfectly innocent explanation why a White Democratic congressman under investigation gets unstinting support from the House Democratic leadership, while Black Democratic congressmen also facing investigation are asked to step aside.

Back story: Representative Robert Andrews (D-NJ) has been credibly accused of using campaign funds to fund personal trips. He has received strong backing from Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, and Nancy Pelosi has promoted him into the caucus leadership. Representative Andrews is also White.

Don’t think the Black Caucus hasn’t noticed the difference in treatment its members receive:

“It bears notice that Pelosi appointed Mr. Andrews to a leadership position in the midst of this investigation,” the [chief of staff of a Congressional Black Caucus member] said. “That is in direct contrast to the approach taken with similarly situated members of the Black Caucus, who routinely faced pressure to step away from leadership posts during investigations.

“Her commitment to fairness will be tested in how she responds to this announcement.”

Dude, considering the Black vote always goes 90% for the Democrats and your caucus never seriously threatens to bolt, why should she “respond?” You’ll give the hypocrite what she wants, no matter how hard she backhands you. And until you start acting on the real interests of your constituents, instead of mindlessly parroting the Democrat-Left agenda, nothing is going to change.

Besides, Nancy is a San Francisco limousine liberal. Therefore, any charge or even hint of bigotry on her part is ridiculous on its face. In fact, the Democratic Party as a whole has been pure as the driven snow on race.

Just ask them.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


At least the President knows his priorities

March 21, 2013

National debt approaching $17 trillion? North Korean nukes and the threat of war on the peninsula? America’s credit rating?

Nah, it’s March Madness, baby! And Barack Obama, President of the United States, tweeted this morning to remind everyone to get in on the fun:

Now, as others have pointed out, the @BarackObama account has been transferred to OFA, his former campaign group, now turned into a national community organization, but, hey, it still has his name on it and it’s still “verified” by Twitter, so why not assume this represents what he truly values?

You can read the reactions at Twitchy telling him to finish his danged budget, first, but here’s one that best reflected my feelings:

Yup.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Bill Whittle: President Peevish makes it hurt

March 20, 2013

It struck me recently that I hadn’t posted one of Bill’s excellent Afterburner videos in a while, so here’s a good one to get re-started with. In it, Bill looks at the cuts made, so the administration claims, due to the devastating effects of sequestration and asks, “If things are so tough we have to furlough Border Patrol agents, how come the president can spend our tax dollars on his vacations?” (1)

Remember, kiddies: the sequestration is not a cut in spending, but a cut in the rate of increase of spending. Funny, isn’t it? We could afford that aircraft carrier and the White House tours last year, when we were spending less that we are under sequestration….

Footnote:
(1) To ask that question, of course, is racist. Naturally.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)