Gun Control and Mass Shootings

May 29, 2014

Because gun-control laws have been such a failure in the past, the natural response is to…. demand more gun-control laws. :/

International Liberty

Well, another loser killed a bunch of people, this time in Santa Barbara, California.

Which gives gun control zealots an opportunity to seize upon the tragedy to recycle their calls to restrict private firearms ownership and otherwise erode the Second Amendment.

But I’m not too worried that they’ll succeed. The evidence is simply too strong that gun ownership reduces crime. The research shows that criminals are less aggressive when they fear potential victims may be armed.

Moreover, they don’t even have practical proposals. Here’s some of what Jacob Sullum wrote for Reason.

None of the items on the anti-gun lobby’s wish list makes sense as a response to the crimes of Elliot Rodger, the 22-year-old college student who murdered Martinez’s son and five other people on Friday night. …the Isla Vista massacre, which took place in a state with firearm laws that are among the strictest in the nation…

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About that melting Antarctic ice sheet

May 29, 2014

volcano

One word: volcanoes.

Let me repeat that: volcanoes.


Pelosi channels Whoopie Goldberg on the #VAscandal: It’s not really a scandal-scandal…

May 29, 2014

Oh, brother.

While her minions race to the microphones to denounce VA Secretary Shinseki before the voters take out their wrath on them, House Minority Leader (1) Nancy Pelosi took the softball question lobbed to her by Vox’s Ezra Klein (2) and explained that, yes, the poor treatment of veterans was scandalous, but she wasn’t sure if it really was a “scandal:”

Gee, Nancy, it sure seems to me that VA administrators and employees manipulating federal records to hide the poor treatment of veterans and win themselves some bonuses amounts to a scandal. Maybe even a criminal matter. What else do you need? Oh, wait. I know.

An (R) after the president’s name.

via The Right Scoop

Footnote:
(1) And a person very much responsible for creating that minority. Thanks, Nancy!
(2) He who thinks the Constitution is too old to understand.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Seattle: $15 minimum wage already costing jobs

May 28, 2014
"But at least we won the election! Obama!!"

“But at least we raised the minimum wage!”

And it’s not even in effect, yet.

But, it’s not surprising. Business managers have to plan for the future, and a looming huge increase in their labor cost will force many to rethink how they do business in Seattle, if they continue to do business there at all. Writing for the free-market Washington Policy Center, Erin Shannon reports on how small businesses are planning to cut back on hiring, delaying expansion, or moving out of the city to deal with the new wage law. Most striking, though, is the account of one business owner who supported the law, but now thinks she may have made a mistake:

One of those business owners is a well-known and active supporter of “progressive” labor policies, including a higher minimum wage. Jody Hall, owner of Cupcake Royale, initially supported a $15 minimum wage. But now Hall admits the proposed policy is, “keeping me up at night like nothing ever has.”

While Hall has serious concerns with Mayor Ed Murray’s plan to phase in a $15 minimum wage over seven years with a temporary tip credit, her biggest fear is if voters approve the radical charter amendment sponsored by the group 15Now. The charter amendment would force all large employers to begin paying $15 in 2015, and would give small business owners just three years to acclimate to the high wage. And the 15Now proposal would not allow for any tip credit.

If the charter amendment passes, Hall says she would be forced to close half of her seven locations and lay off 50 of her 100 workers.

But beyond the differences between Mayor Murray’s proposal or the more aggressive 15Now proposal, Hall says she now has “serious second thoughts” about a $15 minimum wage in general, especially since Seattle would be “going it alone” with a wage that is significantly higher than any other minimum wage in the nation.

Hall’s second thoughts about a $15 minimum wage have led to second thoughts about expanding her business. She was set to open a new business in Seattle this year, but has tabled the plan until after voters have their say on the charter amendment in the November election. Hall says if she considers any new locations before then, they will be outside the city limits.

In other words, when progressivism meets economic reality, guess which wins? You would think a successful businesswoman like Hall would have seen this coming. Maybe she thought she’d get a waiver from Obama.

And pay special attention to her comment about “going it alone.” As minimum wage increases are applied and then have the same effect in various places, there will be more and more calls from the fairness crowd to apply these laws statewide and even nationwide, to make sure business owners can’t just move to a friendlier jurisdiction, which would be “unfair.” The minimum wage thus becomes a wedge issue in an attack on local control, federalism, and jurisdictional competition, things progressive just hate, because their favored policies usually fail.

Meanwhile, I want to thank Seattle for volunteering to be a case study on the foolishness of government control of wages.

via Adrian Moore

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Why Obama’s polls will never tank with limousine liberals

May 27, 2014
"My will is enough!"

“Ruler of the New Versailles”

Historian Victor Davis Hanson writes at PJ Media about Obama’s poll numbers and why they’re not likely to hit the dismal late-term numbers of, say, George W. Bush or Harry Truman, in spite of the man’s obvious incompetence. While he discusses Obama’s support among minorities and the cover given him by  a protective media, it’s what he wrote about a third group, wealthy liberals, that I want to share:

 3) The well-off are indifferent to the Obama record, interested only in its symbolic resonance. Doctrinaire liberalism resonates mostly with the very wealthy. We see that by the voting patterns of our bluest counties, or the contributions of the very affluent. In contrast, Republicanism is mostly embedded within the middle class and upper middle class, while liberalism is a coalition of the affluent and the poor.

The result is that the Kerrys, Gores, and Pelosis are dittoed by millions of the affluent in Malibu, Silicon Valley, the Upper West Side, the university towns, Chicago, academia, the arts, highest finance, corporate America, foundations, the media, etc. Their income and accumulated wealth exempt them from worries about economic slowdowns, too much regulation, higher taxes, or the price of gas, electricity, or food. That under Obama gasoline has gone from $1.80 a gallon to $4.10 is as irrelevant as it is relevant that he has so far not built the Keystone Pipeline. That the price of meat has skyrocketed or that power bills are way up means little if global warming is at last addressed by more government.

For the liberal grandee, there is a margin of safety to ensure that the California legislature takes up questions like prohibiting the sale of Confederate insignia or ensuring restrooms for the transgendered or shutting down irrigated acreage to please the delta smelt. In their view, Obama represents their utopian dreams where an anointed technocracy (1), exempt from the messy ramifications of its own ideology, directs from on high a socially just society — diverse, green, non-judgmental, neutral abroad, tribal at home — in which an equality of result is ensured, albeit with proper exemptions for the better educated and more sophisticated, whose perks are necessary to give them proper downtime for their exhausting work on our behalf.

In other words, unlike the rest of us, the liberal elite can actually afford the society they want to impose on us all. For our own good.

And of such times are populist revolts born.

Footnote:
(1) Seems like VDH and I were thinking along the same lines. As usual, though, he says it a lot better than I.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


The IRS wants to tax your frequent flyer miles and hotel points

May 27, 2014

taxes IRS shakedown

It’s as if the agency was worried it wasn’t hated enough.

Writing at Reason, Ira Stoll reports that the Internal Revenue Service is looking at taxing rewards points offered by airlines and hotel chains:

Just in time for your summer vacation, the IRS is getting ready to toughen the tax treatment on frequent flyer miles and hotel loyalty reward programs.

The IRS announced in 2002 that it wouldn’t try to go after individuals for income taxes on frequent flyer miles or hotel loyalty points earned on company-paid business trips. Yet the temptation to wring some tax revenue out of the vast non-dollar economy of Starwood Preferred Guest Starpoints, Marriott Rewards points, American Airlines AAdvantage miles, Delta Skymiles, and so on is apparently so great that that the government just cannot resist.

Sure enough, the Tax Foundation, a research group that tracks tax issues, flags a recent post on the View From the Wing blog that runs under the provocative headline, “The IRS Looks To Be on the Verge of Imposing a Big Tax Burden on Loyalty Points.”

The IRS’s plans are vague, but they have airlines and hotel owners concerned enough about the issue that they reportedly sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew. “The IRS’ proposal to alter the tax treatment of loyalty programs will impose a significant new tax on existing and future loyalty points that travel customers enjoy and rely upon,” said the letter, according to a report in Politico. “Any change or clarification of loyalty program accounting should be made through the legislative process, not IRS promulgation.”

Frequent flyer mile fanatics got a wake-up call on the issue back in 2012 when Citibank sent IRS Forms 1099, documenting “miscellaneous income,” at a rate of 2.5 cents a mile, to customers who had signed up for an American Airlines-branded credit card and gotten 40,000 AAdvantage miles as a bonus. It was an unpleasant surprise to cardholders who thought they were getting a free trip, not an unwanted extra tax bill.

I’ll say. I rarely rack up enough points for a free flight or hotel night, but I know plenty of people who fly a lot and who rely on those points to help cover the occasional vacation. Suddenly taxing them not only diminishes their value as a customer-retention tool, but also burdens the consumer by imposing a monetary cost for a non-monetary reward. (Sure, the points have “value,” but it’s not like real income. Just try paying for a meal with airline points…)

Stoll covers several problems with this plan, but I’ll add one of my own: this is another example of the gradual bureaucratic usurpation of legislative power that’s grown to be such a problem since the Progressive Era. Congress writes laws that allow regulatory agencies to create rules for their implementation, but agencies, like bureaucracies everywhere, constantly push the bounds of that authority to accumulate ever-greater power to themselves, to the point whereat they’re no longer writing rules, but actually making law in place of the elected legislature. Which, for progressive ideology, is a feature, not a bug. (1)

Although, perhaps “usurpation” is too strong a word. After all, congresses dominated by both Democrats and Republicans have gone along with this, even if they didn’t agree with progressive ideology, passing vague legislation and letting agencies “fill in the blanks.” It’s a tempting bit of laziness: as Washington accumulated more power to itself, Congress had to deal with more and more, until it became expedient to let someone else deal with the details. And it gives them political cover: It wasn’t your congressman who decided to tax your airline miles, it was the IRS. Left unsaid is how generations of congressmen and senators have enabled this.

Of the many reforms our government needs, congress reclaiming its power to make laws and reining in the bureaucracy —especially the IRS!— is high on the list.

Footnote:
(1) The basic idea is that democratically-elected legislatures are too prone to public passions, too full of unqualified people, to be trusted with governance. Progressives prefer unelected, dispassionate boards of technocrats who would practice scientific management of public affairs. They may be right about the problems of legislatures, but I think the last century has shown their solution is even worse.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


(Video) Concerned environmentalists can’t figure out if it’s “global warming” or “global cooling”

May 26, 2014
"We're still here!"

“We’re still here!”

So, PJTV’s Michelle Fields went out among the people in Washington, D.C., to find out what self-described “environmentalists” thought about global warming… or, maybe, global cooling. Or maybe both at the same time. Either way, most were sure government should do something about it. Whatever “it” is.

Just do something!

Actually, I agree with the last person’s mother: they can’t even accurately predict the weather a week out, so why take seriously predictions for a century from now?

But, government should do something!

PS: That 97% consensus among scientists that catastrophic anthropogenic climate change is real that one person mentioned? It’s bunk.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Will Chile’s Politicians Ruin the Latin Tiger?

May 25, 2014

Sigh. The Left never learns. I wonder what “Killing the goose that laid the golden egg” is in Spanish?

International Liberty

There aren’t any nations with pure libertarian economic policy, but there are a handful of jurisdictions that deserve praise, either because they have comparatively low levels of statism or because they have made big strides in the right direction.

Hong Kong and Singapore are examples of the former, and Switzerland deserves honorable mention.

And if we look at nations that have moved in the right direction, then Chile is definitely a success story.

The free-market revolution in Chile is remarkable. If you look at the Economic Freedom of the Worldrankings, Chile was in last place in 1970 and third from the bottom in 1975. But then reforms began. It climbed to 60th place in 1980, 40th place in 1985, 28th place in 2000, and Chile now has one of the world’s freest economies, hovering around 10th place.

And the results are amazing. Now known as the Latin…

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Opposition to #Obamacare is racist, and why Democrats love the race card

May 25, 2014

Liberal tolerance racist

Oh, brother. If we needed any more convincing that it was well-past time for Senator Jay Rockfeller (D-WV) to retire and never be heard from again, this clip of him not just playing the race card, but slamming it on the table and dancing around it should do the trick:

(h/t David Freddoso)

Apparently the senator’s “analysis” was aimed at Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI), who was at the hearing. Naturally, Johnson took offense:

“My opposition to health care has nothing to do with the race of President Obama,” Johnson said. “I objected to this because it’s an assault on our freedom. … I found it very offensive that you would basically imply that I’m a racist because I oppose this health care law.”

“You’re evidently satisfied with a lot of people not having health insurance,” Rockefeller responded.

“I am not. Quit making those assumptions. Quit saying I’m satisfied with that. I’m not. There’s another way of doing this,” Johnson said. “Please, don’t assume, don’t make implications of what I’m thinking and what I would really support. You have no idea.”

“I actually do,” Rockefeller said. “God help you.”

“No senator, God help you for implying I’m a racist,” Johnson replied.

Thankfully, Senator Rockefeller (D-RaceBaiter) will retire in January, hopefully to be replaced by Republican Shelley Moore Capito.

But the senator from West Virginia didn’t just slam his colleague from Wisconsin; he cavalierly insulted all of us who oppose the Affordable Care Act. While I can’t speak for others, let me recapitulate the reasons I oppose it:

Political Philosophy: By placing the State in charge of people’s healthcare, you fundamentally alter the relationship between citizen and State, turning free people into dependent wards of a Leviathan-like government and taking away their control over a crucial part of their own lives. To a conservative/classical liberal like me, this is a bad thing.

Constitutionalism: Congress has no authority —none!— to force a citizen to buy a private product under penalty of law. This is an abominable legislative usurpation and a trammeling of individual liberty. It tortures the Commerce Clause until it begs for mercy. It goes against the spirit and intent of our founding documents, and the Supreme Court, in the worst decision since Korematsu, was wrong to uphold the law.

Bad Law: I’ll be more charitable than Senator Rockefeller and stipulate that most voting for this law thought they were doing good and helping people. But that doesn’t justify defending a law that just isn’t working. It’s not even meeting its basic goals: healthcare premiums are still skyrocketing; millions have lost the insurance they liked; millions have lost access to the doctors they liked; and, even when you have insurance, you may not be able to find a physician who will take you. (Really. Watch that one.) When a law performs as poorly as this, is it any wonder people hate it? Are they all racists, Jay?

Somehow, looking over those reasons, I think it’s safe to say the President’s ancestry doesn’t matter to me and my opposition to his miserable law. In fact, I can quite honestly say I couldn’t give a rat’s rear end about President Obama’s race.

But I don’t expect you to get that, Senator.

PS: On a lighter note, I’m happy to say Andrew Klavan is back at last making satirical political videos. Longtime readers will recall my love for his “Klavan on the Culture” series. Now he’s returned, producing them for Truth Revolt. (He also still works with PJMedia and PJTV) In this video, he explains what we’ve all wondered: Just why do Democrats call us racist? Enjoy.

Welcome back, Andrew! smiley dance

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Bookshelf update: The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism

May 25, 2014

Renaissance scholar astrologer

I’ve updated the “What I’m reading” widget to the right to reflect the latest item on the Public Secrets lectern, Steve Goreham’s The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism.”

book cover goreham mad climatism

I’m only a few chapters into it, so far, but it seems to be a good discussion for the layman of the “science” of global warming and its politics, and the flaws, errors, and problems in both. It’s available in both Kindle (1) and paperback formats.

PS: Why, yes. This is a shameless bit of shilling on my part. I like getting the occasional gift certificate that comes from people buying stuff via my link. But I still think it’s a good book.

Footnote:
(1) I’m happy to say I’ve found no typos or formatting errors, so far. These are all too common in Kindle e-books.


Unofficial Death Panels at the VA Show Where Obamacare Will Lead

May 23, 2014

The amazing thing to me is that, having known about this since taking office and having touted VA as a model for how Obamacare would work, why in Heaven’s name did the Obama administration not fix VA??

International Liberty

In hopes of warning people about the dangers of Obamacare, I’ve shared horror stories from the United Kingdom about patients languishing on waiting lists and being left to die.

Now, thanks to whistleblowers, we have horror stories from America. The government-run system operated by the Veterans Administration has maintained secret waiting lists that have led to lots of delayed care and numerous deaths.

The Wall Street Journalopines on the scandal.

The real story of the VA scandal is the failure of what liberals have long hailed as the model of government health care. Don’t take our word for it. As recently as November 2011, Paul Krugman praised the VA as a triumph of “socialized medicine,” as he put it… What the egalitarians ignore, however, is that a government system contains its own “perverse incentives,” such as rationing that leads to treatment delays and preventable deaths, which the bureaucracy…

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We’ve known for a while , but it bears repeating: Obama is monumentally incompetent

May 22, 2014
Liar.

A winning smile isn’t enough.

Writing at Commentary after Obama’s pathetic press appearance yesterday on the VA scandal, Peter Wehner wrote on the administration’s overarching theme, what future generations may most remember it for: epic incompetence. Looking first at his domestic and then his foreign failures, Wehner sums up with the Veteran’s Administration scandal:

More and more Mr. Obama speaks as if he’s a passive actor, a bystander in his own administration, an MSNBC commentator speaking about events he has no real control over. We saw that earlier today, when the president, in trying to address the public’s growing outrage at what’s happening at the VA, insisted he “will not stand for it” and “will not tolerate” what he has stood for and tolerated for almost six years. His anger at what’s happening to our veterans seems to have coincided with the political damage it is now causing him.

We’ve learned the hard way that Mr. Obama’s skill sets are far more oriented toward community organizing than they are to governing. On every front, he is overmatched by events. It’s painful to watch a man who is so obviously in over his head. And more and more Americans are suffering because of it.

In fact, Obama’s responses to the various crises and challenges of his time in office have been right in line with the modern progressive vision for the nation: we are all victims, even the President:

In his speech on the VA, the president said that he would not stand for things that he clearly and undeniably has stood for some years now, and swore that he would not tolerate that which has has been tolerating since 2009.

He’s been described as acting like a bystander to his own presidency, but it’s more like he’s a victim of it, as though the presidency were this terrible thing that just happened to him one day that he’s now courageously dealing with.

(…)

It’s a remarkable talent he has. When he was getting beat up politically for his association with that goofy racist clergyman, he lectured us on the evils of racism, as though we’d been the ones sitting in on those hateful sermons. Every time he has some spectacular screw-up, which seems to be about once a quarter, he pronounces himself outraged, as though he had not failed us but had been failed himself.

“It’s not me. It’s you.”

In his Morning Jolt newsletter, Jim Geraghty (sorry, no link available) wishes Wehner had expanded on his essay in more depth and himself offers many more examples of Obama’s failings in office, but one in particular strikes me as the reason for all the rest:

A Focus on What Matters Most:  His own staffers have described him as “impatient and disengaged” in key meetings, and the intelligence community has wondered how closely he reads his briefings. With increasing frequency, he says he learns about problems within his own administration from media reports. (See the NRCC’s new “Obama Excuses” page.) He really enjoys the good life of the presidency and doesn’t see any reason why he should limit public expenditures on himself and his family during hard economic times. He recently laughed, “That’s the good thing about being president, I can do whatever I want.

Translation: Color me shocked that a narcissist can’t see beyond himself.

Moments like these make me ask a question I never thought I’d ask: “Would Joe Biden really be all that bad?”

Of course, like I said in the subject line, we’ve known since about 2007 that Obama was unqualified to be president, though I think many of us were surprised by the depth and breadth of his incompetence. And he has more than two years left to impress us even more!

Yay?

It took a perfect storm of circumstances, including, but not limited to, an economic crisis, the desire of many to “make history” by electing the first Black president, and an MSM that was almost wholly the media arm of the Democratic Party, in order to put this bumbler in office. I’d like to think that won’t happen again anytime soon, and there’s some evidence that some folks are learning from the recent past, but one never knows until the day after election day.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Congressman offers amendment to end spending any money on U.N. climate programs

May 21, 2014

It’s not a ban on all federal spending chasing the global warming mirage, but solely by the Department of Defense. Still, this would stop DoD from wasting any of the nearly $600 billion they get on “Green nonsense.” I can get behind an idea like this; shame it will likely die a lonely death in Harry Reid’s Senate.

Watts Up With That?

Being debated today in Congress is The Howard P. “Buck” McKeon National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015 (H.R. 4435). It is the latest proposed National Defense Authorization Act. According to the House Armed Services Committee, the bill “will be the comprehensive legislation to authorize the budget authority of the Department of Defense and the national security programs of the Department of Energy.” Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) is introducing an amendment to cut off funds for a whole bunch of climate programs. See the list and amendment below.

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The racist origins of the minimum wage

May 20, 2014
Chattanooga VW workers, per MSNBC

Also supported a minimum wage

I came across an interesting blog post from a few weeks ago while trolling the news this morning for something interesting. Now, we all know about the racist history of the Democratic Party: the defense of slavery, even inciting a civil war to preserve it; the creation of terrorist organizations, such as the KKK, in order to keep Blacks from exercising their rights as free citizens; and the creation of Jim Crow, which created a legal framework for Blacks’ oppression that lasted into the 1960s.

But did you know the minimum wage, the distraction du jour for Democrats anxious to talk about anything other than Obamacare’s failures, itself had its roots in minority oppression? Here’s an excerpt from a short piece in Forbes by Carrie Sheffield:

The business-friendly National Center for Policy Analysis points out “the 1931 Davis-Bacon Act, requiring ‘prevailing’ wages on federally assisted construction projects, was supported by the idea that it would keep contractors from using ‘cheap colored labor’ to underbid contractors using white labor.”

African-American economist Thomas Sowell with Stanford University‘s Hoover Institution gives an uncomfortable historical primer behind minimum wage laws:

“In 1925, a minimum-wage law was passed in the Canadian province of British Columbia, with the intent and effect of pricing Japanese immigrants out of jobs in the lumbering industry.

A Harvard professor of that era referred approvingly to Australia’s minimum wage law as a means to “protect the white Australian’s standard of living from the invidious competition of the colored races, particularly of the Chinese” who were willing to work for less.

In South Africa during the era of apartheid, white labor unions urged that a minimum-wage law be applied to all races, to keep black workers from taking jobs away from white unionized workers by working for less than the union pay scale.”

It is a plain-as-day fact that raising the cost of labor will force a business to do one of four things:

  • Go out of business
  • Accept lower profits
  • Raise prices for the consumer
  • Or cut employee hours or reduce the number of jobs to compensate for higher costs.

The first two are very unlikely to happen, which leaves passing on the cost to the consumer or cutting back on labor. And if the owners decide to cut back on labor, guess whose hours get the ax first? That’s right, it’s most likely the lower or unskilled employee, because it makes less sense to pay them the higher wage when you have more skilled employees who give more value in return for their wages. Now, just who makes up a large percentage of that at-risk labor force? That’s right: young Blacks.

The next time you encounter some Lefty blathering about raising the minimum wage, ask them why they have it in for young people and Blacks.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Puppy Dumped From SUV Tries to Follow Vehicle As it Drives Away

May 19, 2014

There are some people in this world who just need a good beating.


The Democrats’ anti-constitutional constitutional amendment. Updated

May 19, 2014
"Senate Grinch"

Hates free speech

Upset by court rulings that, in effect, declare that “free speech” really means free speech, Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) introduced a constitutional amendment granting Congress sweeping powers to regulate campaign expenditures, both monetary and “in kind.” This amendment has the full support of Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV):

“The shadowy Koch brothers are attempting… a hostile takeover of American democracy,” Reid charged Thursday. “No one should be able to pump unlimited funds into a political campaign.”

Reid urged his fellow lawmakers to support a proposed constitutional amendment, written by Democratic Sen. Tom Udall and co-sponsored by 40 of the Senate’s 55 Democrats, that would give Congress the right to regulate all political contributions and all spending of any kind in all federal elections. (It would also give states the power to do the same in state elections.) The Supreme Court has held such far-reaching restrictions to be unconstitutional, which is why Reid wants to take the extreme step of changing the nation’s founding document.

“Amending our Constitution is not something we take lightly,” Reid said. “But the flood of special interest money into our American democracy is one of the greatest threats our system of government has ever faced.”

You know, I fully expect Reid to soon start ranting about strawberries. But, back to the Left’s latest assault on free speech, here’s the key excerpt from the proposed amendment:

Congress shall have power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in-kind equivalents with respect to federal elections, including setting limits on (1) the amount of contributions to candidates for nomination for election to, or for election to, federal office, and (2) the amount of funds that may be spent by, in support of, or in opposition to such candidates.

Byron York is right, of course: this amendment has no chance of passing the Senate and House, where two-thirds votes are needed, nor has it any chance of being approved by three-fourths of the state legislatures. It’s another attempt to find an issue that will get their base voters excited for the coming election and distract from the rolling Obamacare disaster by invoking two great liberal demons — the Koch brothers (1) and the Citizens United decision.

What is disturbing, however, is Reid and the Democrats’ willingness to put themselves on record as willing to curb our fundamental freedoms, free speech being a natural, unalienable right, in pursuit of short-term electoral goals. It’s emblematic of progressivism, which sees the Constitution as obsolete, and of the Democrats’ predilection for putting their narrow electoral interests ahead of the nation’s well-being — for instance, undercutting American forces even before they enter battle in order to oppose a Republican president. It’s not new, however; we’ve seen plenty of examples in recent years of anti-democratic Democrats, such as former Governor Perdue of North Carolina suggesting that congressional elections be delayed, something not even done during the Civil War, largely because her party was set to do poorly.

It’s not that this amendment would be unconstitutional –by the nature of the process, ratification would make it part of the Constitution and therefore “constitutional”– but its very nature is profoundly and disturbingly anti-constitutional, striking at the concepts of natural rights that are foundational to the Republic. Political speech must be free to have any meaning at all, and that includes expressing your political opinions by donating money and time or other property to further a cause or support a candidate. That the Democrats would think of attacking this fundamental freedom in order to excite their base speaks of a deep rot within their party (2), something that should concern us all.

PS: Take a look at this list of the biggest donors since 1989, and note a couple of things: first, 11 of the top 16 at least lean Democratic. You don’t find one that leans Republican until number 17. And the evil Koch brothers, whom Harry Reid denounces daily like Cato demanding the destruction of Carthage, only place 59th on the list. That alone reveals the vile cynicism of his bleatings: the Majority Leader of the United States Senate by name demagoguing against two American citizens, regardless of the truth. Second, the proposed amendment would require statutes passed by Congress to be implemented. Take a good look again at that donor list: unions and other groups have donated tens of millions to the Democrats, with unions also providing invaluable in-kind donations in the form of campaign volunteers. Does anyone think the Democrats, given half a chance, wouldn’t write implementing legislation that somehow allowed these groups to keep right on helping Democrats? If so, raise your hand; I have a bridge to sell you.

Footnotes:
(1) A pair of libertarian billionaires who are apparently plotting to take over the government with the horrifying goal of leaving us alone. Where do I sign up?
(2) Not that I wholly excuse Republicans. John McCain’s sponsorship of the hateful McCain-Feingold bill revealed him as a constitutional lightweight.

UPDATE: National Review’s Charles Cooke wrote about this a few days and had the following to say:

The move is the final act of a contrived and hamfisted morality play, whose purpose is to cast the Democratic party and its allies as champions of the people and the Kochs as a proxy for all that ails America. Lofty as its broader goal may seek to be, the whole endeavor nevertheless carries with it the ugly smack of the Bill of Attainder — of a change to the nation’s constitutional settlement that serves largely to punish two people that the man with the gavel disdains. Rambling in the general direction of a BuzzFeed reporter earlier this week, Reid inadvertently revealed something about his motivations. His reelection to the Senate in 1998, he griped, “was awful”: “I won it, but just barely. I felt it was corrupting, all this corporate money.” Translation: I almost lost my seat once, so I need the supreme law to protect me. Corruption, schmorruption. This is about power.

Do read the whole thing.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Frances refuses to fly US WWII vets to Normandy for D-Day anniversary

May 18, 2014
"Dear France, you're welcome."

“Dear France, you’re welcome.”

It’s the 70th anniversary, and the men who carried out the landings are in their 80s and 90s, now. You would think, given France’s miserable performance during the war, they could show a little respect and gratitude to those who risked their lives to kick the Nazis out of their country (1). But, no. They’re French, after all.

Ingrates:

Seven decades after ­Allied troops stormed Normandy’s beaches and saved France from the Nazis, the surrender-happy nation is turning its back on hundreds of US veterans who want to return next month to mark the invasion’s 70th anniversary.

France has broken its promise to pay for the vets to fly to this year’s commemoration, according to Rep. Michael Grimm.
“Our chief-of-staff heard it from the French Embassy in DC — that they would be flown out to France [for free],” said Nick Iacono, a spokesman for the Staten Island congressman.

But when The Post contacted the embassy Friday, the French turned up their noses as if smelling rotten Camembert.

“The French government never offered to pay for the plane tickets of the veterans traveling to France for the 70th commemoration of D-Day,” said Dana Purcarescu, a spokeswoman for the French ­Embassy in Washington.

Let’s hope this is the result of some sort of miscommunication, and not the slap in the face it appears to be.

But, I doubt it. This is France we’re talking about. They’ve made condescension and insult into an art form.

Footnote:
(1) And, for the record, I think the French government owes the same respect  and honor to the surviving members of the British, Canadian, and Polish armies that also risked everything on D-Day.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Another ‘Climate McCarthyism bombshell’, leaked memo shows concern within ranks on ‘professional ethics’ of climate science

May 17, 2014

If you ever wanted evidence of “noble cause corruption” in the climate science “community,” this memo from dissenting German meteorologists should suffice.

Watts Up With That?

DMG_memo_2 Leaked Memo On Climatology Exposes Growing Worry Within German Meteorological Society…

”Unacceptable Unethical Developments”

A reader/professor has sent me an internal memo he recently obtained from a meteorologist and member of the Deutsche Meteorologische Gesellschaft [German Meteorological Society], abbreviated as DMG. Clearly grave concern is emerging over a large swath of the broader German meteorological-climatological community in the wake of the Lennart Bengtsson witchhunt.

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(Video) Bill Whittle on Boehner and McConnell: “Time to go”

May 16, 2014

In this episode of Afterburner, Whittle talks about the role and nature of the Loyal Opposition and how its leader or leaders should act. After examining great Opposition leaders of the past, Bill looks at Boehner and McConnell and concludes it’s time for them to go and for a younger, more combative leadership to take their places:

I don’t have anything against either man personally, but it’s hard to argue with Bill’s logic. We’re in an era of ideological ferment in America, and we need leaders who can draw bright lines between what we as conservatives, classical liberals, and libertarians stand for, and what the (Social) Democrats stand for.

Maybe January, 2015, will be a good time to make that change.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Intellectual fascism: respected scientist hounded for daring to doubt the “climate consensus”

May 15, 2014
"The new liberal tokerance"

“Confess, Dr. Bengtsson! Recant your heresy!!”

Well, so much for freedom of thought and open debate in the sciences. Dr. Lennart Bengtsson, a Swedish meteorologist with an accomplished professional record, just a couple of weeks ago joined the advisory board of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), a British organization skeptical of the theory of catastrophic man-caused warming and headed by noted skeptic Lord Lawson. It was quite a coup for the GWPF, since Bengtsson was highly regarded in the Warmist camp and is a specialist in numerical modeling, which is critical to Warmist arguments. (1) But, Bengtsson had become highly critical both of the pressure for consensus in climate science, seeing it as anti-scientific, and of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the UN-sponsored global scientific organization that regular issues reports of “climate doom.” Via Judith Curry, here’s an excerpt from an interview Dr. Bengtsson gave with the Dutch web site State of the Climate, in which he shares his opinion on “scientific consensus:”

Interviewer: Is there according to you a “climate consensus” in the community of climate scientists and if so what is it?

Bengtsson: I believe the whole climate consensus debate is silly. There is not a single well educated scientist that question that greenhouse gases do affect climate. However, this is not the issue but rather how much and how fast. Here there is no consensus as you can see from the IPCC report where climate sensitivity varies with a factor of three! Based on observational data climate sensitivity is clearly rather small and much smaller that the majority of models. Here I intend to stick to Karl Popper in highlighting the need for proper validation.

If you read the whole interview, you see that Lennart Bengtsson is an “old school” scientist, one who respects the scientific method and knows that theories (which is what a model is!) must always be tested by observation. I doubt this man would ever say “The science is settled, so shut up.” Thus he joined the GWPF in the spirit of open investigation and good science.

That was his big mistake.

Just a week later, Dr. Bengtsson was forced to resign from the GWPF’s board of advisers, hounded by his former colleagues and even in fear of physical violence. From his resignation letter:

I have been put under such an enormous group pressure in recent days from all over the world that has become virtually unbearable to me. If this is going to continue I will be unable to conduct my normal work and will even start to worry about my health and safety. I see therefore no other way out therefore than resigning from GWPF. I had not expecting such an enormous world-wide pressure put at me from a community that I have been close to all my active life. Colleagues are withdrawing their support, other colleagues are withdrawing from joint authorship etc. I see no limit and end to what will happen.

It is a situation that reminds me about the time of McCarthy. I would never have expecting anything similar in such an original peaceful community as meteorology. Apparently it has been transformed in recent years. Under these situation I will be unable to contribute positively to the work of GWPF and consequently therefore I believe it is the best for me to reverse my decision to join its Board at the earliest possible time.

Emphases added. This isn’t “science.” This is a mob of fanatics, a primitive tribe turning on one of their own who’s dared to point out their idol is just a piece of wood. It’s naked Lysenkoism; all that’s needed is a show-trial. They should be praising Professor Bengtsson for being willing to work with reasonable skeptics, but, instead, they set on him like a rabid pack of hounds. Convinced of their righteousness, they’re willing to frighten an old man for the cause. (2)

Science, and with it civilization itself, does not advance when scientific questions are put off-limits as untouchable dogma. Down that path lies a new bonfire of the vanities.

RELATED: Science as McCarthyism.

Footnote:
(1) Especially since the Earth keeps refusing to cooperate.
(2) He’s nearly 80, for Pete’s sake!

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)